4th June 2013, 05:18 AM #181
◓Gypsy Vanner Horse
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 55
This is a review of the prologue & the first blog, as requested on the Review Game.
For the prologue, I thought it was a great hook, with whatever Gideon had been working on very much the ultimate plot point in the story. I found it great that it wasn't capitalised on as much as one would expect, but wasn't neglected either. As expected from you, great description throughout; it doesn't pander to the readers, and that is a difficult thing to master. Some word confusion is scattered, but it's not enough to take you out of the story.
My only other complaint is John and Arthur. They will probably be important characters later on in the story, but they haven't done anything memorable, and unlike Gideon, they seem to have been pushed to the back of the story. But as I said before; the prologue was great the way it was, so giving them attention would probably detract from the prologue, and removes the compact feel that, in my opinion, all prologues should have.
Moving to the first blog is almost like reading a different story. By its nature, blogs are different from fiction, but I like the healthy mix you got here, especially because of Alaska's deconstructive views. I love stories that aim to parody or lampshade a genre, and seeing it be implemented as a personality trait for the main character is a refreshing way of doing it. However, what I feel this blog does really well is give us a sense of how naive Alaska is, which is often neglected in journey stories. As any starting character, she has a lot to learn, and I'm glad that came across in the first blog.
Very few mistakes are scattered around the chapter, but like the prologue, they're don't detract from the story. I'm quite interested now, and I will continue to the first chapter and beyond when I have the time!
4th June 2013, 05:24 PM #182
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 55
Thanks for the feedback, very much appreciated :) I have a habit of introducing characters and accidentally making them see more worthwhile then they are: John and Arthur do appear again (one of them does, at least), but they were meant mostly to just set up the scene for this one/give some exposition as to what happened. If I had thought through their role properly I probably would have given them a more prominent role, now that you bring it up - something I will definitely keep an eye on for later.
The rest was largely complimentary, so thank you for that, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series should you keep going :) I hope Alaska and this semi parody of journey fics continues to feel refreshing for you as you venture with her!
5th July 2013, 06:36 PM #183
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 55
It has been another long break, but I can promise that there will be a minimum of another two chapters before the end of the month to make up for the break and help us move along to a big Saffron arc where a few plotlines are going to come together. I hope you enjoy a further look inside Sandy's mind!
Chapter Fifty Six: Something Fishy This Way Comes
"If I lose all my stuff, I am kicking you in the face."
Sandy heard Alaska's warning and knew it was being directed towards Mitchell, even though she knew he was not who her friend was really angry with. I am sorry Alaska, but I need to do this, Sandy thought as she positioned herself on the muddy island, wishing they both had the courage to say what they truly felt…
"If you kick me in the face, I will tell my mum, and she will tell your mum, and then you'll be sorry!" Mitchell retorted, beginning to act perkier now that his battle was over and someone else was facing Barney.
"We are all the way on the other side of Kanto; I could kick you in the face a million times and they wouldn't find out for months," Alaska replied with a devilish smile that made Mitchell shiver, and Sandy could tell she was enjoying tormenting the small child. The blonde haired girl smiled, glad Alaska was making jokes once more and that she was beginning to revert to her old self. Something had happened after she had freed Darwin and fled off into the storm, and while Alaska remained cagey on the subject and said it was just an 'epiphany', Sandy knew it had been beneficial for her friend.
"Are we actually going to battle or stand around and stare at the sea?" Barney croaked from his side of the field. Sandy pushed all thoughts of Alaska out of her mind and got into battle mode; she had to focus on beating the fisherman and saving their belongings. She had a strategy in mind, and it was going to be risky, Sandy was certain it would pay off in the end… it had to.
"I'm ready – let's get started!" She called out, her two PokeBalls in hand, and Barney flashed his disgusting, black toothed smile at her.
"Very well then, my pretty – Seaking, Poliwag, let's go!" The two Apricorn Balls spiralled forwards, and they opened with less flash like modern balls, white energy pouring out and forming on the field. Sandy knew what both Pokemon looked like and there were no surprises with Poliwag: it was small and blue with a spiralled pattern on its chest, with no arms and tiny legs so it would resemble a beach ball if it did have a long, slim white tail protruding from its back. Seaking, who formed alongside, was a larger version of Goldeen with a longer horn, bigger tail fin, and same colour scheme as its pre-evolution asides from darker red splotches. However, while Sandy knew Seaking were considerably bigger than Goldeen, this one was huge; it looked as though it weighed more than her, Alaska and Mitchell put together, and was roughly the same size as Onix's head. Sandy gulped, thinking of the size and weight of her own Pokemon, and wondered if her Rock Snake may be a better choice…
No, think of type advantages! She told herself, quickly shaking away the foolish idea. I need a chance at winning this, and Onix cant' me that. I have to win this, for Alaska, for Mitchell, for myself…
"Bellsprout and Pichu, I choose you!" Sandy yelled, and she threw her two PokeBalls forwards. Her two Pokemon quickly formed, with Bellsprout healed from her earlier battle, while Pichu's small stature was emphasized as he stood on a muddy patch, looking around in confusion as if he had just woken up.
"A Grass and an Electric type, smart move," Barney stated with a slight grunt, and Sandy could see he was already put off at his disadvantage. However, he did not know Bellsprout had minimal battle experience, or that this was the first time Pichu was battling competitively. Sandy had tried training him, and with some success he had fought and damaged Butterfree, but the Tiny Mouse Pokemon was still far from mastering the few moves he did know. He was still young and temperamental, and Sandy was not sure how he would react fighting proper opponents. However, he did have a super effective move on his hands, and it could make all the difference in this battle.
"Sandy, are you mad?" Alaska hissed, and Sandy turned to find her friend standing right next to her, smiling so everything looked fine but her teeth were clenched and her eyes burned with rage. "I thought you would have at least sent Butterfree out, she is your most experienced Pokemon! Hell, even Onix could do better than Pichu in this situation –"
"You have to trust me on this!" Sandy replied, smiling as well but was struggling to hide her own shock; how could Alaska say something like that, after everything they had been through together? Did she still not trust Sandy after all this time?
"How can when you make decisions like this?" Alaska whispered. "Do you remember what is at stake here? This is not a situation you can afford to take risks in! God, you should have let me fight!" Sandy was shocked, and for a second she let her sadness show. However, she remembered the wicked mind she was facing and quickly straightened her expression, but the words still cut deep.
"Alaska, I have always trusted your battle calls! I have never once criticized you; not for sending Pidgeotto out against Surge, not for relying on burning down Alexis' gym to secure a win, not even when we faced Gideon! I would have been well within my rights to call you out, but I never did, so you owe me the same damn courtesy!" And Sandy turned away before the tears started flowing, though she briefly caught Alaska's startled expression. She never liked confronting people, it always made her feel terrible, but Sandy almost felt good about saying that… though that made her feel bad…
"Are we battling or what?" Barney snapped. "I have other things to do today, y'know!"
"Oh really? I am sure that a decrepit old coot living on the edge of the world really has a busy day ahead!" Sandy snapped, letting her anger and confusion slip out, but she gasped and clasped her hands to her mouth as soon as she heard what she said. Barney's jaw dropped, Mitchell 'ooohed' from the sidelines, and even Bellsprout turned around, her eyes wider than normal.
"Oh, you little bitch!" Barney hissed. "I will make you pay for that one! I am starting this battle, I am sick of waiting – Seaking, ready Skull Bash, and Poliwag use DoubleSlap on Bellsprout!" Sandy was worried; she had known the battle would be difficult, but after insulting her opponent, any chance Barney would easy on her was gone. The massive Seaking shifted his weight so his horn was pointing straight forwards, and it began to glow white, pulsating energy that began to encircle his body.
I must focus, I can't let this get in the way, she told herself. We can win this, no matter what he throws our way!
"Bellsprout use Magical Leaf on Seaking! Pichu, begin with Quick Attack on Poliwag!" Sandy commanded, and she felt reassured as soon as her Pokemon began to move. Pichu still looked a bit absent, but he seemed aware he was in a battle now and gazed around before spotting Poliwag, and he quickly got into gear.
"CHU!" He cried, a high pitched squeal that nearly made Sandy 'awww', and the Electric type sprinted towards Poliwag. He slammed into the spherical Pokemon with enough force to knock her over, but she rolled back onto her feet and Poliwag looked more bothered about getting muddy than the fact she was attacked.
"BellBellBell!" Bellsprout called as her leaves began to flicker different colours, and she spun her body around, multiple leaves shooting off and rocketing towards Seaking. The Water type winced and emitted a low groan as the attack hit, but it did not seem to do as much damage as Sandy would have liked.
"POLIIII!" Poliwag shouted, and she leapt forwards. She began to spin as Bellsprout landed, and her tail came around, smacking the Flower Pokemon across the face. Bellsprout stumbled over, but the swirling Pokemon managed two more hits before landing on her feet. Sandy was stunned to see how disorientated Bellsprout now was, the Grass type's thin body wobbling as she tried to recover from the brutal slapping.
"One attack and it's already getting weak!" Barney sneered with a malicious smile, and Sandy angrily glared back at him, refusing to let herself get bullied.
"You can do this Bellsprout! Just stand your ground and focus!" She called. Bellsprout stopped moving and managed a no before turning back around, and she pushed her stick like legs into the ground to ensure her balance.
"That won't save her from my Pokemon! Skull Bash on Bellsprout, and Poliwag use Mud Shot on Pichu!" Barney ordered, and Sandy resisted the urge to curse, taken aback by Poliwag's super effective move; things were definitely intense now.
"Alright Pichu, you use Slam on Poliwag, and Bellsprout use Vine Whip on Seaking!" She cried. Her Pokemon readied themselves to attack but their opponents were already in action. Seaking suddenly shot forwards without order; the white energy that had surrounded him was used to propel himself forwards, and Sandy watched as the Goldfish Pokemon moved like a great white and red rocket heading for Bellsprout.
"KIIIIIING!" Seaking boomed as he approached. Bellsprout looked stunned and extend her arms out, trying to use Vine Whip as defensively rather than offensively, but it was no use; Seaking slammed into her, and Sandy gasped as her Grass type was sent careering through the mud, splattering it everywhere, and the force of the attack sent her rolling for metres, nearly over the edge, Seaking sliding right after her.
"WAAAAG!" Sandy turned back and witnessed as Poliwag whacked her tail onto the field, and suddenly a column of mud was flying forwards. An oblivious Pichu was still running forwards to attack, and the attack hit him head on, covering him in mud and blasting him backwards.
"Two Pokemon easily brought down!" Barney yelled, and he began to cackle, clearly enjoying his easy victory. Sandy was beginning to get nervous; her Pokemon were easily being overpowered, her type advantage going out the window against stronger attacks and a field that could be used against them.
There has to be something I can do… Sandy thought. I have been studying for this journey for years; I have to have learnt something that I can use here!
"Now Seaking, use Poison Jab while you have that thing trapped! Poliwag, DoubleSlap on Pichu!" Barney ordered. Sandy turned to Bellsprout and Seaking, unable to see the Flower Pokemon beneath all the mud, but she could see the purple glow of Seaking's horn as he readied to strike. She could see how close the two were, and an idea finally formed in her mind.
"Fire a Sleep Powder into his face!" Sandy commanded. "Pichu, use Quick Attack and then cling onto Poliwag's head!" Pichu quickly, almost magically, burst out from the mud and collided directly into a nearby Poliwag. Sandy was delighted by the ease of that attack, but there was a much trickier battle occurring behind her.
"Get away from there Seaking!" Barney yelled, and Sandy smiled to herself as that was exactly what she wanted; Bellsprout was a sitting flower trapped beneath Seaking like that, so she had hoped the threat of sleep would get the Water type to move.
"Sprout!" Bellsprout cried as she fired the particles, but Seaking used his fins to slide backwards, the field so muddy it was more liquid than solid.
"Get out of there!" Sandy yelled, and Bellsprout pushed herself up, her body completely coat in mud. Seaking was ready to strike, his horn now a similar shade to Sandy's dress, but Sandy had seen how effective the mud had been for him. "Slide forwards!" She ordered, and before Seaking could move, Bellsprout ran and dived into the mud; her light body slid across the surface, and she used her leaves as flippers to propel herself across. She was low to the ground now, and though Seaking chased after, there was no way his horn could get low enough to hit Bellsprout.
Grinning, Sandy turned to find Pichu clinging onto Poliwag's head and refusing to let go, even though the Tadpole Pokemon was desperately trying to fling him off. She could not use DoubleSlap without risking injuring herself, and Pichu went through the turn unscathed. Barney looked irritated, and Sandy could have skipped in delight; the battle was starting to go her way, and she had a chance to actually win this.
"Neat tricks, but that's all those were; silly little moves you won't pull off again!" The old man warned. "Waterfall on Bellsprout and Mud Shot on Pichu!"
"Pichu use Slam on Poliwag and Bellsprout use Magical Leaf on Seaking!" Sandy called. Bellsprout jumped back to her feet and turned around to face her opponent, but Seaking was clearly as into the battle as his trainer, and he quickly slammed his fins, now glowing a bright shade of blue, onto the muddy field. A column of water suddenly erupted underneath Bellsprout and she fired at least three metres into the air.
"BEEELLLLL!" She cried, and Sandy watched in horror as Bellsprout was bounced around by the attack, unable to escape from the never ending column.
"ChuChu!" Pichu cried to her left, and Sandy turned as Pichu sprung up from Poliwag's head, rising up nearly a metre, before crashing down on top of the Water type. The Tiny Mouse Pokemon laughed in delight at Poliwag's jiggling body, but his smile turned to fright as Poliwag finally threw him off with her tail.
"WAAAG!" She cried, forcing him to the ground, and she unleashed the Mud Shot directly onto the baby Pokemon. Pichu wailed as he was sent soaring backwards in a shower of wet earth, splattering Sandy and Seaking as he went by.
"Pichu!" Sandy cried as he crashed to the ground, completely buried by the mud. She wanted to go and comfort him, but Seaking moved into her path, smiling as maliciously as Barney did. There was a soft thud from behind, and Sandy turned back to find the Waterfall had disappeared; while Bellsprout had been cleaned of the mud, she now lay unmoving on the field, her eyes barely open.
No… this can't be… Sandy thought, and she felt on the verge of tears as she looked between her two Pokemon, both looking so fallen and defeated. She was foolish to have gotten her hopes up the last turn, there was still a long way to go until she could win this, but Sandy could not help but wonder if she had been foolish all along…
You can't train Pokemon; this is a fact, Alex, one you need to grow up and accept! Do you really think you can protect yourself with a Metapod? You'll get that thing killed and then yourself, and I won't be able to come and rescue you! Do you really want to die in the middle of a route, where the chances are higher something will find you and eat you before the police can get to you? You walk out that door and you are kissing your life goodbye Alex…
"Can you stop daydreaming like some ditzy tart and focus on our battle?!" Barney snapped. Sandy barely paid attention to him as her father's words swirled across her mind. She had never listened to him before, having always thought he was just overreacting, but this battle could very well prove him right; what would happen if she did get defeated here? How could she live without her supplies, without food or shelter or clean clothing? If Sandy lost, she would simply prove him right at the same time as confirming her death sentence.
I will just have to prove him wrong then, she thought defiantly. I have not survived terrorists and killer robots to let myself get beaten by some crusty, unstable old fisherman! If I take one Pokemon down first, then it could be easier…
"I am not waiting any longer! Seaking use Waterfall again, I liked that way the flower danced, and Poliwag finish that Pichu off with another Mud Shot!"
"Bellsprout use Magical Leaf and Pichu use Volt Tackle, both on Poliwag!" Sandy ordered. Barney's face dropped in surprise, and Sandy managed to perk up, but she would not declare this a victory until Poliwag had fainted. Seaking unleashed the Waterfall again, remaining backwards possibly to avoid any attacks, and Bellsprout was fired back into the air. She began to bounce around again and Sandy was worried she would not survive, but was relieved when she saw something glow, and seconds later a barrage of leaves soared down from the Waterfall, smacking Poliwag right in her spiral and sending her skidding through the grass and mud.
Now came the difficult part. Sandy turned around to face Pichu, and found the little yellow Pokemon had gotten back to his feet, though he was wobbling slightly, struggling to remain upright. Sandy knew that using Volt Tackle would likely knock him out as well, and that was a huge gamble to take, but so was using Pichu in the first place. Half the time when Butterfree had attacked him in training, Pichu had either burst into tears or gotten into a mood and refused to carry on. He was starting to look pouty, but Magical Leaf had not been enough to take Poliwag out and Volt Tackle was necessary.
"You can do this Pichu!" She called out, and her Pokemon looked up at her. "You have the advantage, you have the strength to make it work, but you just need to access that power and show us what you can do!" Sandy put on such an encouraging smile that it made her face hurt, and she could only hope Pichu would respond.
"Do it now Poliwag before he moves!" Barney ordered, and Sandy briefly turned away, watching as Poliwag started to run forwards and bring the attack to Pichu. She was nervous Pichu was not going to act, but when she looked back, it seemed the Electric type was not going to stand around and get attacked.
"Pi Pi Pi!" He yelled, and he ran forwards with steely determination Sandy had not seen from him before. Pichu began to glow yellow as he sprinted past Seaking, sparks flying from his body, and his natural light only got stronger the closer he got to Poliwag. Sandy beamed as Poliwag came to a stop, her eyes widening in fear, but there was no stopping it now: electricity burst from Pichu and shrouded his entire body, and it now looked like a bolt of electricity was rocketing across the field.
"PICHUPICHUPICHUPICHUPICHUPICHU!" Pichu yelled, and he ran straight into Poliwag. There was a yellow flash that nearly blinded Sandy, and the water on the field sparked as an electrical current skimmed across the surface. The force of the attack sent mud flying, and Barney cried out as he was hit in the face, not even noticing as Poliwag soared out from the cloud and splatted down right behind him. Sandy was delighted at the effects of the attack, but as smoke surrounded Pichu, there was no way of telling if either Pokemon had fainted…
"Oh right, we don't have a referee," Alaska said suddenly from the sidelines after a few moments of nothing happening. "I guess that will have to be me…" she said, smiling awkwardly, and the black haired trainer skidded through the mud towards Poliwag. "Oh yep, this thing is a dead as the blue rock it looks like," she announced. Sandy internally squealed, but did not want to seem too happy just yet as Alaska walked past Barney, purposefully bumping into him as she headed for Pichu. The smoke had finally cleared, but Sandy still could not tell…
"And, I am sorry to say, Pichu has fainted as well – only Bellsprout and Seaking remain," Alaska called. Barney made a sort of annoyed grunting noise, but Sandy felt crestfallen; Pichu had sacrificed himself to take Poliwag down, losing in his first significant battle.
"Great job Pichu, thank you for all you did," Sandy whispered as she withdrew her youngest Pokemon, feeling terrible for putting him in that position. She could not let herself dwell on this though, as she had to focus even more now that only Bellsprout remained to fight off the massive Seaking. She turned to see Bellsprout was doubled over, breathing deeply as she tried to stand back up. Meanwhile, Seaking seemed unfazed by it all, creepily watching Sandy with its yellow and black eyes.
Bellsprout can pull this off, I just know she can, Sandy told herself, but she found it difficult to feel great when Bellsprout appeared so weary. Alaska smiled, albeit stiffly, as she left the field and Sandy knew she would be worried about the battles overcome, and she felt a strong pang of regret. My Pokemon were not ready for this… they are not nearly as experienced as Alaska's…
"One down, only one left!" Barney yelled out, quickly ignoring the demise of his Poliwag as it was clear Seaking had an advantage here. "Let's see how well long Bellsprout can last against my mighty Seaking! Poison Jab!"
"Hold him off with Vine Whip!" Sandy yelled. "Keep your distance!" Bellsprout straightened up, stretching her arms to get herself ready, and Sandy smiled; she had a loyal soul in Butterfree and a rough powerhouse in Onix, but Bellsprout was the one that showed determination even when everything turned to custard. Even if they lost the fight, Sandy was proud that her Pokemon had such characteristics… if only she had displayed them herself.
"Seaking Seak!" Seaking called, and he slid forwards with his horn shining purple. The muddy grass easily parted for his hefty frame, and Seaking positioned himself so his horn was like a violet javelin, ready to tear into Bellsprout.
"Bell!" Bellsprout exclaimed, a touch of courage in her weakened, tired voice, and she sent her arms forwards. As Seaking approached, Bellsprout brought one vine crashing down on his head, hitting him in the right eye. Sandy was surprised to see Seaking slip, nearly going off balance, but he continued forwards, forcing Bellsprout to bring her other arm down on his left eye. She was taking Sandy's order and trying to put some space between herself and Seaking by pushing on Seaking's face with her vines, but there was less than twenty centimetres between the two, and Bellsprout was not strong enough to slow Seaking down.
"BEEELLLLL!" She yelled, suddenly slipping, and Seaking took the opportunity to shoot forwards. Sandy winced as his horn skimmed across Bellsprout's middle, and the Flower Pokemon was sent rolling backwards while Seaking came to a smooth stop.
"Excellent work!" Barney shouted, before turning to face his audience with a toothless smile. "Not long now until everyone you own belongs to me! That Bellsprout probably won't last another attack, wouldn't you agree?" Sandy didn't want to look at her friends, but she was riddled with guilt and could not help herself; Mitchell looked both shocked and sad at the same time, while Alaska was trying to ignore it all by staring at her shoes.
You know that I am doing this all wrong, don't you? Sandy thought, feeling teary as she gazed at her friend. You would have used Paige and Frances, ordered Twister and Solarbeam and we'd already be on done… my god, I know how to battle with your Pokemon better than my own! Sandy kicked out at the nearest mud clot and wanted to scream in rage. She was furious with everyone; Mitchell for starting this, Barney for being a disgusting creep, those Cerulean gunmen for making them flee to this route, with Gideon, with the reality stars, the robots, even Alaska – would Sandy feel the need to prove herself if her friend did not hog all the spotlight, and would she be losing if her Pokemon had not received the same attention as Alaska's?
But mostly, Sandy was annoyed with herself. All her life she had submitted to other people, letting herself get bullied and teased at school, then letting her father control her life, and now she had let herself become a sidekick rather than friend to Alaska. If anyone was to blame for the fact Bellsprout was close to fainting, Sandy knew it all boiled back to her, and that had to change before she lost everything
"We can end this Seaking! Use Skull Bash!" Barney yelled. "After that, Bellsprout will be history, and we will have a big ol' bag of goodies to last us through the summer!" Both trainer and Pokemon smiled and Seaking readied himself to attack, building up the necessary energy to propel himself forwards. Sandy was infuriated by these wizened loony's arrogant confidence, with the fact he was willing to risk two more attacks before hitting Bellsprout, but it was clear that Skull Bash would be all Bellsprout needed to go down – but she would not go down without a fight.
"Listen to me Bellsprout!" Sandy yelled, and her weary Grass type looked up. "We have been together since CeruleanCity, but this is our toughest fight yet! I know this looks impossible and that Seaking has the advantage… but trust me when I say that you can do this! I believe in you Bellsprout, and I know you are not the type of Pokemon to fall at your first big challenge! You are too strong and too good for that, and if you put your heart into this, we can win this! Now use Magical Leaf and show Barney what a Bellsprout is made of!"
"Bellsprout Bell!" Bellsprout yelled a tad hoarsely, but her pink lips curved into the biggest smile Sandy had ever seen, and she beamed with relief as the Flower Pokemon unleashed her barrage of glowing leaves. Seaking winced as they exploded against his body, and it became obvious that while he was strong, he was not as powerful as Barney would like them to think; super effective moves still had a chance to turn this around.
"Finish this Seaking!" Barney bellowed, looking a touch nervous. Sandy had to think of a way to end this and guarantee Bellsprout won. She begrudgingly thought back to Alaska's battles that she had watched from the sidelines, and remembered her friend's knack for spontaneous, unconventional moves…
"Use Vine Whip and slam both into his right side!" Sandy yelled, taking a huge gamble. At that moment, Seaking took off, his horn a blinding white as his built up energy propelling him forwards. Bellsprout looked more confident now even though she was struggling to stand, and she extended her arms and readied, waiting for Seaking to come closer. If this got mistimed, Bellsprout would be hit and Sandy would lose everything, but she was confident in her Pokemon… she would not, could not, let that happen…
"BEEEEEELLLL!" Bellsprout yelled, and she swung out with her vines when Seaking was only a few metres away. The Goldfish Pokemon yelled as they smashed into him, and the force was enough to send him spinning around on the slippery surface. His horn still glowed, but Seaking quickly turned into a rotating red and white blur.
"JUMP ON HIM!" Sandy yelled, and Bellsprout flung herself onto his tail as he spun towards her, latching on with her nimble body. Barney looked taken aback, and Seaking tried to throw Bellsprout off, but the spinning was making him unbalanced and the Grass type was holding on with every ounce of energy she had left.
"NOW BELLSPROUT, USE YOUR VINES AND THROW HIM!" Sandy screamed, getting a bit hysterical but she couldn't care less: her risky plan was working, and they were winning, it was actually happening!
"SPROUT!" Bellsprout yelled, and she slid off his body and wrapped her arms around his tail, ramming her legs into the mud and forcing Seaking to a stop. Then, with every last bit of energy, Bellsprout swung her body, pulling Seaking through the mud, and then flung him across the field.
"YES BELLSPROUT, YES! YOU DID IT BELL, YOU DID – Oh shit…" Sandy's delight evaporated instantly as she realised where Bellsprout had flung Seaking. Barney's jaw dropped, but they could only watch as Seaking bounced across the surface of the field before flying right through the closest corner of Barney's shack. The rotten wood easily gave way, and Seaking's massive frame took out a very large chunk as he rolled inside. Sandy watched in horror as the building creaked loudly, and suddenly the two walls hit caved in, bringing the roof down with them with more of a squelch than a crash.
Silence fell across the field, all except for the wind and the crashing of the waves against their island. No one was quite sure what to say, and Sandy was struggling with a cross between complete shock and amazement at what she had just pulled off. I won, I won a battle! I may have just pulled an Alaska, but I still won! We're safe, he can't take our bags now, and – wait, why is Bellsprout glowing? Sandy looked down at Bellsprout as the Flower Pokemon began to emit white light. She was confused, but then she remembered seeing the same thing happening twice to her before: once when a Caterpie had clung itself it to her window, and again when a Metapod's shell had cracked open on her dining room table…
"Bellsprout!" Sandy exclaimed in joy for the last time, and she watched as her Pokemon fully shone: her stick-like body began to shrink while her head grew, doubling, nearly tripling in size. A stick began to emerge from the back of her head, while the leaves transferred up on either side of her face…
It was a brief evolution, but when the light disappeared, Sandy was ecstatic: there, in the middle of a disgustingly muddy field, was a bright yellow and green Weepinbell, essentially a large version of Bellsprout's head, staring up with tiredness in her eyes.
"Oh Weepinbell, congratulations!" Sandy yelled, and she finally let herself cry as she rushed to greet her latest Pokemon. She scooped her up and wiped the mud off with her dress, not caring that she got dirty herself, and pulled her into a hug. "You were amazing out there; you so deserved this to happen! Thank you for being so amazing!"
"Weep," Weepinbell mumbled in acknowledgement, and Sandy held her close, wishing that she could be alone to celebrate this victory.
"You bitch!" Someone snapped, and Sandy's happiness shattered. She looked up to see Barney was still standing on his side, but was now looking at her with pure rage etched on his wizened face. Another Apricorn Ball was in his hands, and Sandy had a feeling that it did not contain Seaking. "You've destroyed my house! I built that thing myself, it has stood on this spot for DECADES! How dare you, you little whore! You are going to pay for this!" He roared, and he raised his arm.
"Don't you dare!" Alaska yelled, and she appeared before Sandy, her own PokeBalls in hand. Sandy did not want her to start another fight, as it would only lead to more damage and weaken their Pokemon further. However, Barney just winked and turned around; he threw the ball into the churning waves, and there was a brief flash of white from underneath the surface.
"What's going on?" Mitchell asked from the sidelines. Sandy was unsure, but it was clear the fisherman did not want to battle. Suddenly, something large and blue broke through the water, rising up into the sky. Sandy had seen plenty swimming past, but this was the first time she had seen a Gyarados up close since Damien's, and this one looked much nastier: its body was horrible scarred, big red wounds cut deep into its skin, one eye half shut from a bruise, and several teeth were missing. That only made it look even angrier, and Sandy held Weepinbell close as fear filled her, the great, ugly, angry Gyarados staring viciously down at them all.
"This is my oldest and most loyal Pokemon," Barney explained with a sadistic smile. "I don't use him for these petty battles anymore; I save his strength for capturing bigger rewards then you lot. However, I also use him to teach those that have wronged me a lesson; these scars are a mark of all those fisherman who tried fighting him off as he tore through their ships and sent them to the bottom of the ocean! Now, it is time you brats get what you deserve! SURF!"
"Our bags!" Alaska gasped, and as Gyarados roared and lifted his tail, she sprinted forwards and grabbed hers and Sandy's from the mud. Sandy was shaken, unsure what was about to happen, but she did not want to be separated from her friend. She rushed towards Alaska with Weepinbell pressed against her chest, but the attack was already coming; Gyarados slammed his tail against the water while his wicked eyes glowed blue, and it picked up one of the waves. Instead of crashing into the concrete path, it was whipped up, quadrupling in size, and was sent careering towards them.
Sandy watched in horror as the giant wave soared across the island, coming straight for them. Barney began to laugh as the wall of water slammed into Alaska and Mitchell, and Sandy yelled as it came towards her. She turned tried to run, but the Surf crashed into her, hitting her with the force of a speeding truck, and she toppled to the ground. Weepinbell yelled out as Sandy smashed into the mud, but she was only on the ground for a second before the roaring wave picked her up, sending her spinning around
Sandy gasped for breath as she was pulled beneath the water, the weight of the attack crushing her chest. She tried to find something to grab onto, but the wave was moving too quickly, and instead Sandy could only shut her eyes as they were pushed off the island, away from the path, and sent straight into open waters
17th July 2013, 07:02 PM #184
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 56
Chapter Fifty Seven: Washed Up
It had never occurred to Sandy just how necessary oxygen was to her existence, but now that it was running out, she knew that if she survived, she would treasure every breathe.
She was being pushed uncontrollably by the powerful Surf, trapped beneath gallons of water and flying forwards faster than she knew possible. Her body was getting abused, the water slamming her into the concrete path and against the rocks, making it feel like all her bones had broken. Sandy was trying her best to hold her breathe, but she would not be able too for much longer; her throat was closing up and her head was throbbing from the lack of oxygen and the effect of being spun around.
I have to protect Weepinbell, I must! Sandy told herself, and she kept her arms firmly wrapped around her Grass type despite all that was happening; there was a chance they would both drown in this monstrous Surf, but Sandy would not let her weakened Weepinbell get injured any further and lessen her chances of getting away.
However, with every second that passed, it seemed less and less likely they would get out of this. Sandy's eyes were tightly shut against the water, but a different sort of darkness was settling in on her, like a blanket wrapping around her brain. The lack of oxygen was killing her, but if she opened her mouth Sandy would only swallow water and drown sooner. She wanted to try and break free, but the Surf was too strong, and Sandy was getting weaker and weaker as the Surf carried her out to sea. When she had been shot, Sandy's body had simply gone into shock and she had only felt numb. Now, she had gained multiple injuries within seconds and was running out of oxygen, so Sandy could feel the pain as her life began to slip away.
She had always heard that your live flashed before your eyes when you died, but having already nearly died once, Sandy now knew that in your last moments you could not help but think back on the people and events that had shaped your world. As the water crushed her the life out of her, Sandy let her mind drift off so she would not have to think of this suffocating pain; she thought of her childhood, care-free and full of joy, she thought of her parents when they had both been happy and smiled willingly. Sandy remembered the day she had last seen her mother, then the day she had last seen her father smile. She managed a grin as she reflected on the day a Caterpie had appeared on her window sill, and then the morning she took it as a Butterfree away on a grand adventure. She remembered meeting Alaska, battling the robots, her mind switch with Butterfree, the attack on Vermilion, getting drunk, getting shot, watching Alaska burn down the Celadon gym… as her brain screamed for the oxygen it desperately needed, one final thought crossed Sandy's mind; after wanting it for so long, had her journey been worth it?
Suddenly, Sandy came to a stop, and for a moment she wondered if she had died, her mind and soul leaving the force of the Surf. She began to rise, feeling the water pushing her upwards, and Sandy opened her eyes to see a harsh light above her. Is this it… after everything I have been through, am I going to die thanks to a sadistic fisherman?
However, Sandy gathered speed, and she finally broke through the ocean surface into glorious sunlight. Blind and gagging for breathe, Sandy screamed as she flew forwards and slammed onto something solid, more grazes to join the rest of her wounds, and she coughed uncontrollably as a freezing cold engulfed her body. She vomited up more water than she had expected, and Sandy placed Weepinbell aside as she struggled to catch her breath. Other people were gagging on either side of her, and Sandy was reassured to know that Alaska and Mitchell had made it out alive.
"Of all… the bastards… we're fought… that guy… is completely… utterly… crazy!" Alaska yelled in between deep breathes. "Who… sends people… to drown… in the middle of the ocean!"
"He has lived… in that house… for years… it would make sense… if he was… a bit lonely… and… a bit… mad," Sandy suggested breathlessly as she looked towards Alaska. She was relieved that they had both survived, but Sandy was taken aback by the glare Alaska was shooting her, and it only made her remember the realisations she had come to during her battle.
"That guy is crazy, there is no excuse for that," Alaska replied angrily, and she stumbled to her feet, water dripping endlessly from her sodden clothes. "At least we have covered a lot of ground," she snarled sarcastically, and Sandy glanced up to see the little island with the ruined shack was far off in the distance, probably an hour's plus walk away. She had barely registered that they had been pushed so far or so fast, and it was a miracle they had managed to survive hitting the rocks or being underwater for so long. However, Sandy was not unscathed, and she began to examine her wounds; her dress was ruined, torn in a dozen places, her arms and legs had shallow but long cuts from the rocks and her chest felt so bruised that it was hurting to breathe. For the moment, she was not in too much pain, but Sandy was certain that would come later. But at least I am alive!
"H-h-how did we even s-survive?" A quiet voice mumbled to her left, and Sandy turned to find Mitchell huddled on the ground, shivering furiously, his eyes wide with fear.
Of course, he was not as use to life threatening experiences as we are, Sandy thought pitifully, and she looked around for their bags, spotting them a metre away. Sandy quickly opened them, but was dismayed to find they had all soaked through, everything inside completely saturated.
"Sorry Mitchell, but there is nothing dry for us to change into," Sandy said apologetically.
"Oh great, I g-g-get to freeze to death rather than dr-dr-drown!" Mitchell whined, and he threw his sodden shirt off without any shame or embarrassment around two older girls and lay on the path, letting the sun dry his pasty body.
"I think we may have been saved by that thing," Alaska said suddenly, and Sandy turned back to the ocean, the never ending canvas of blue suddenly calm as if three people nearly drowning had worn out the water. She was surprised to see something large and purple bobbing on the ocean's surface before them, and Sandy would have thought it a large, crusty rock if it wasn't for the smooth spike formations on the top and a sharper, grey one poking through the centre.
"Cloy," the rock thing mumbled, and it split open down the middle, revealing a perfectly round, purple-black head in amongst an inner grey shell, wearing an almost sinister smile across its nearly featureless face.
"It's a Cloyster!" Sandy exclaimed, and the Water type nodded in agreement. "It must have seen us in trouble and decided to save us! It could have used its own Surf to counter-act Gyarados'! Thank you Cloyster!" She cried, and extended a hand to shake before registering that Cloyster was still in the water and had no hands to shake either. Sandy caught Alaska rolling her eyes as she walked forwards and leaned over the edge.
"Thanks for, y'know, saving us all… that was pretty cool of you," she said, and the Cloyster nodded. "Is there any way we can repay you? We don't have much food, unless you want some brownies… or you could eat these lovely ruined clothes, they are nice and… fabricy…"
"CLOY!" Cloyster yelled while still looking at Alaska and smiling maliciously and Sandy thought it was going to attack. However, the water next it to rippled, and something shell shaped bobbed up to the surface. It was tiny and a richer shade of purple, with similar yet smaller spike-like mark on its back. This Pokemon opened down the middle as well but its shell lifted upwards, revealing a black face that stared out at them with wide, worried white eyes, with a long pink tongue that seemed almost as big as the rest of its body.
"That's a Shellder, yes?" Alaska asked, and a received a confirming nod from Sandy. "Did Shellder help us as well or something?"
"Cloyster! Cloy Cloy Cloy, Cloyster Cloy, Ster Ster Cloyster Cloy Cloy," Cloyster explained, and it then nudged Shellder forwards. Shellder appeared terrified, and it glanced frightfully back at Cloyster, whose smile softened as it nodded at the Pokemon, and Sandy gasped as she noticed the connection.
"I think Cloyster must be Shellder's parent, and it wants one of us to take Shellder with us," she explained. "I have heard of this happening before; while some Pokemon despise humans, others see their friends being captured and strive to follow after them. Cloyster must want a better life for its child," she explained, and smiled as Cloyster nodded once again, her frozen body feeling warm by the real life case of parental emotions in the Pokemon world. Shellder looked very nervous and uncertain, but Alaska bent down and leaned towards the ocean and scooped the Bivalve Pokemon up.
"Don't worry, I will give you a good home," she whispered, pulling Shellder in close and smiling affectionately. Sandy could see Shellder looked more relaxed now, but it still tried to turn back towards its parent. Alaska noticed and held Shellder out, and Cloyster moved closer. The Water-Ice type was no longer smiling, instead looking close to tears, and it nuzzled against the outstretched Shellder and whispered something.
"Shellder Shell Shell!" Shellder replied in a high pitch squeak, and Cloyster nodded one final time before turning emotionally away and beginning to descend beneath the waves.
I wonder what it would have been like if I had had a proper goodbye with either of my parents, Sandy thought as the tip of Cloyster's grey spikes disappeared forever. It had been so long since she had seen her father and even longer since seeing her mother and Sandy had no idea when she would see either again. She felt a tear forming, but she refused to cry over either of them, and she reached out and grabbed onto Weepinbell for comfort; the Flycatcher Pokemon looked deflated, undamaged by the Surf but still weary and beaten from her battle, and she would not last much longer.
"I am so proud of you! You deserve a nice, long rest!" Sandy said, and Weepinbell gave a weary nod before she dispersed into red energy and was sucked inside her Great Ball. Sandy hoped they still had some Potions left to get her back up to strength, but as she looked up to ask Alaska, she was surprised to see she now had a Great Ball in one hand whilst still holding onto the Shellder in the other.
"Why do you get to keep it?" Mitchell said indignantly from behind Sandy, his shiver beginning to disappear as he warmed up.
"Why not? Finder's keepers and I need a new Pokemon to replace Darwin," Alaska replied as if it was obvious. Sandy had been thinking along the same lines, as Alaska needed more than three Pokemon should she hope to win her remaining gym battles, but it was still irritating that she was acting without asking them first…
"That's rude Alaska! What if I wanted the Shellder or Sandy wanted it?" Mitchell snapped. "Don't be a bully!"
"Oh grow up Mitchell, this isn't the playground anymore!" Alaska growled back. "This is the real world, where you just have to accept the shit that comes your way rather than whinging about it! Be glad that missing out on a Pokemon is the worst thing to happen to you, rather than being shot at or nearly killed in tunnel collapses! Besides, based on what happened back there, you need to focus on training your own Pokemon rather than adding more sub-standard ones to your team!"
"Alaska!" Sandy gasped, looking back at a stunned Mitchell before turning back to her, shocked by her harsh words.
"What?" Alaska groaned. "He is being annoying! And he should not have battled Barney if he wasn't ready, and then we wouldn't have had to fight him!"
"Actually, I was the one that fought him, not you!" Sandy retorted.
"Yeah, and look how well that turned out!" Alaska said, and Sandy felt as if she had been slapped. She was not sure what to say to this, and it was clear Alaska was unware how hurtful her words were. Sandy was tempted to just sit down and ignore it and let Alaska win once more, but then all the angry thoughts she had had during her battle rushed back to her, and before Sandy knew it, she was turning back to face her friend.
"Well soooo-rry then Alaska! It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I apologise if my winning and nearly killing my Pokemon was not up to your usual standard! Would you have preferred if Barney's shack had exploded, or maybe I could have used Onix to make a sinkhole in the middle of the island? If I ever had the chance to train my Pokemon than I probably could have done a better job, and maybe cut off the water supply to rest of Kanto while I was at it; would that be a win in your books?!" Alaska and Shellder both looked stunned, Mitchell gasped and even Sandy was surprised she voiced her feelings in this way. She was breathing deeply, the icy chill of her damp clothes feeling worse from her guilt, but she could not back down; it was now or never, and she had only just begun.
"What has gotten into you?" Alaska said after a few moments of shocked silence. "Where is any of this coming from?"
"The sidelines, Alaska! That's where I have been stuck for so long, just a spectator in this mad little adventure of yours!" Sandy yelled. "I am not a key player in any of this; I am just your lackey that is there to help out whenever you need me! I am there so your Pokemon can train with mine, I am there to help you plan strategies, I am there to dissect the events of the day when you feel like it, but half the time I have no clue what you're thinking! Gideon and all your blog readers probably know more about your intimate thoughts than I do! And frankly Alaska, I am sick of it!"
"So what are you saying, you want to battle Gideon for me now, do you?" Alaska hissed. "Do you want us to wrap up nice and tight in our sleeping bags and discuss robots and terrorist attacks in between painting our nails and doing each other's hair? This isn't some fun, girly little adventure anymore Sandy; there are bigger things at stake!"
"And I want to help you!" Sandy yelled. "I am your friend, I have been since the day I caught Onix, and I will be as long as you actually let me get involved in this, like you promised me after Diglett Cave!"
"You need to accept there are some things I can't tell you Sandy!" Alaska snapped. "Some things are just too big for you to understand! Half of what is going on I don't even understand!"
"Then you can tell me those things! Maybe I might understand them, I am not as big of an idiot as you seem to think I am!"
"Well, frankly Sandy, I only met you because you fell from a tree and landed on top of me, what am I suppose to think!" Alaska yelled, but then she paused, eyes bulging as she heard what she said. "Sandy, I didn't mean –" She began, but the damage was done, a verbal knife rammed right into Sandy's heart that brought back a million horrible memories from her childhood.
"Oh no Alaska, you've said what you really think, you can't take it back now!" Sandy shouted back, her voice shaking slightly as tears formed in her eyes; she could not believe Alaska had just said that… her only friend in the world thought she was an idiot…
"Sandy, I don't want to argue anymore! Can you just drop this and we can go back to the way things were?" Alaska said pleadingly, but that was the last thing Sandy wanted to hear, and she could not help but screech like some possessed beast.
"NO! I am not going back to just being your simple sidekick that's getting dragged alone on this crazy, messed up roller coaster of a life you have! I don't want to remain on the sidelines, keeping quiet as I watch you stuff our lives up, biting my tongue least I offend you and get abused like I am right now! You may think this is a friendship Alaska, but for weeks it has been more like boss and employee! I bet you don't even know the first thing about me!"
"Hey, you can be just as cagey as me when it comes to your life!" Alaska snapped. "You act like I have all the secrets, but I know that you have not told me why you are really on this journey in the first place!"
"That's because you never properly asked! You're my friend, you should made me feel more supported if you expected me to tell you about the fact I had to run a –" Sandy froze at that, as this was not something she wanted to reveal in the middle of a shouting match. Alaska was staring at her in complete shock, and Sandy wondered if she had gone too far. Her rage had been silently building up for a while now that it was bound to come out eventually, but Sandy was instantly regretting the way she had gone about this.
"Ummm… ladies… we have some guests," Mitchell mumbled, and Sandy and Alaska both turned towards him. Standing behind a shaking, awkward looking Mitchell was a small crowd of people, staring intently at the two girls. The majority of them were burly men carrying massive video cameras, oversized bags, fluffy microphones on sticks called booms and various other technological devices, their expressions ranging from stunned to uncertainty. However, standing amongst them were three teenagers that did not belong with them, two boys and a girl, and it took a second for an angry, confused Sandy to recognise these faces she had not seen for weeks.
"Oh hell no," Alaska hissed, and Chloe Carmichael tipped back her head and laughed.
"Oh hell yes!" She purred viciously. "Now, if you two have stopped your little screaming bitch fest, can we pick up were we left off last time?" And before Alaska or Sandy could react, Chloe sprinted forwards, a manic look on her face and PokeBalls clutched in her talon-like nails, screaming as she jumped towards Alaska…
They were always going to come back eventually! Only two chapters left for this arc before probably the biggest and one of the most important interludes yet! Also, as I think I have gained some more readers lately, does anyone want to be tagged when a new chapter arises?
2nd September 2013, 04:16 AM #185
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 57
It has been a month, I am aware, so apologises! I forced myself to wrap this up soI can move on myself and get started on the rest of my backlog that is now months behind. Hope you enjoy, this arc ends next chapter.
Chapter Fifty Eight: A Dose of Reality
"CHLOE, NO!" A voice said firmly from behind the manic blonde, and Damian lunged forwards, grabbing onto his co-star just as she sent the PokeBalls flying. Chloe spun around and slapped him hard across the face, the sound echoing across the otherwise silent boardwalk, but Sandy was more focussed on the PokeBalls hurtling through the air towards them; the red and white capsules burst open, and Sandy leapt backwards as four Pokemon began to form around her and Alaska.
"Ivy, Ivysaur Ivy!" A green Pokemon snarled the second it had formed, four thick vines extending out from beneath a blossoming pink flower bud on its back. That's Bulbasaur's evolved form Ivysaur, Sandy thought fearfully, and she glanced around at the other Pokemon advancing for them. There's her Spearow and Clefairy, they should have evolved by now, it has been so long… and is that a Vulpix? She asked herself, looking down at a red furred Pokemon with curled locks over its dark eyes. A Fire type, the Fox Pokemon, evolves into Ninetales, capable of shooting flames at us…
"Shellder Shell!" A quiet voice emitted, and Sandy turned, having completely forgotten about the Shellder nestling in Alaska's arms. The Water type pushed itself out of Alaska's arms and landed in front of the opposing Pokemon, displaying a sudden eagerness for battle Sandy had not expected.
"Saur Ivy!" Ivysaur growled. Sandy had never seen one in real life before and could not help analysing it; it largely resembled a bigger Bulbasaur, but the Pokemon had an angrier face and the green bud on its back had changed, opening up into four leaves with a pink bud in the very middle.
"Vul Vul Vulpix!" Vulpix called from her left, an adorable Pokemon that could almost pass for a pampered pet with its curled maroon tails and soft paws, but Sandy cried out as the Fire type arced its back and unleashed a jet of amber flames.
"SHELL!" Shellder cried before stretching its mouth open wide; a rapid stream of bubbles came flying out, hitting Vulpix's attack and causing it to diminish into steam. As vapours began to shroud the Pokemon, Shellder turned towards her other opponents and began firing out a rainbow coloured beam that shone in the light.
"SPEAROOOOOW!" Spearow squawked as it received the brunt of the Aurora Beam, and a slightly frozen sheen covered her body. Ivysaur grumbled and it lashed out with his four vines, and Sandy flinched as one headed right towards her…
"That's enough!" Damian suddenly shouted, and Sandy opened her eyes. Before her suddenly stood Damian's Charmeleon; the red Fire type was taller and more muscular than Ivysaur, the flame on the tip of his tail burning bold and bright. The Flame Pokemon was staring menacingly down at his comrade, and reluctantly Ivysaur retracted his vines, stepping backwards and signalling for his team mates to follow his lead.
"For god's sake, can't we meet once without trying to maim and kill each other?" Damian yelled exasperatedly as he stood neutrally between the two sides, Chloe's Pokemon shuffling past him. Sandy could breathe calmly now, but she was unnerved at how easily she had been frightened. Can I really be blamed? I can't even walk down the street without getting shot…
"You can't blame me for any of this Damian!" Chloe shrieked, struggling against Lachlan's grip as he tried to hold her back. "It was those bitches that did all the damage last time! Look at my nose, look at my stitches!" She hissed.
"Stitches?" Sandy whispered confoundedly to Alaska, and the black haired girl turned with a slight smirk on her face.
"You really were off your face, weren't you?" Alaska sniggered. Sandy was perplexed by this, but she thought back to the evening at the bar, remembering the overly alcoholic drink she had taken, and the pieces she could hazily remember rushed back to her, creating an incomplete, unattractive puzzle of events: the reality stars entering, the insults, the cat fight, for some reason Sandy remembered sending Onix out, and then Chloe had been about to seriously injure Alaska, and Sandy had a blurred, alcohol-blinded memory of raising an empty glass above her head…
"OH MY GOSH!" She shrieked. "CHLOE, I AM SO SORRY, I DIDN'T MEAN TO HURT YOU, IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, I ONLY JUST REMEMBERED, DO YOU NEED ME TO PAY FOR YOUR HOSPITAL BILLS, I COULD IF –"
"Oh please, she had one tiny stitch that was only in for about three days, one of these guys put it in," Lachlan replied, gesturing to the burly camera operators behind him, and he smirked even as Chloe gave him her evil eyes. However, the blonde seemed to have been calmed now, and she stopped fighting against her co-star, instead simply glaring across at Alaska.
"What are you whores even doing here anyway?" She snarled. "We thought you were going to Saffron, that's what you said on your blog!"
"Maybe I lied," Alaska replied with acid. "There are a few nasty, manipulative little cows out there pathetically following my every move in quite a creepy way, and some of them I really didn't want to deal with." Chloe made a sort of grumbling noise, and her Ivysaur looking ready to advance again, but Alaska ignored them as she scooped up Shellder. Sandy had noticed that her friend had not really reacted to the sudden appearance of the reality stars as quickly or as viciously as she had in the past, and she could not help but wonder why.
"Whatever the reason why we're all here, I am sure we can get along… for once," Damian said with a forced smile. "Do we really need to destroy this walkway or create a tsunami over some silly squabble?" He added jokingly, though based on the look Chloe was wearing, Sandy wouldn't be surprised if she did end up having to flee from another metre high wave.
"Oh please, you can't stop these two; they've hated each other for years!" Another voice suddenly chimed in, and Sandy felt instantly guilty as she realised it was Mitchell, the young trainer being completely forgotten. The ten year old leapt to his feet, his wet shirt hanging over his shoulder, dripping down his pale back. All eyes were suddenly on him, but Mitchell stared around unfazed and unashamed at everyone before walking towards over to his bag.
"As much as I wouldn't mind the protection, I also don't want to get nearly killed again," Mitchell explained to no one in particular. "I always seem to nearly get killed when I'm near Alaska, and considering how much she and Chloe hate each other, I think there is a high chance that will happen," he added with an almost cheerful smile as he turned to Sandy and Alaska. "Nice seeing you two again, but I'm off," he finished simply, and turned and walked towards the camera operators, his sodden bag bouncing against his back. They all parted to let him pass, and Sandy smirked, impressed by Mitchell's spirit as the men merged back into their group and the ten year old disappeared from their lives once more.
"We need to get back to filming," one of the cameramen, a thin, blonde haired man, said as he gazed down at his watch. "We have a schedule to stick to, so if we can –"
"Stuff the schedule, I'm done!" Chloe hissed, and she broke free of Lachlan's hold and marched back the way they had come, forcing the crew to part again for her and her team.
"Chloe, we have to!" The thin cameraman wailed and he raced after. The other crew members had clearly lost interest in their cause and followed after, leaving only Sandy, Alaska, Damian, Lachlan, Shellder and Charmeleon behind.
"Sooooo…. what way are you going?" Damian asked with a touch of awkwardness.
"The same way you are, apparently," she replied, cutting in before Alaska decided they would face Barney again just to avoid Chloe. Sandy turned and smiled at her to get her to agree, and Alaska reluctantly nodded, her face showing little excitement.
Let her be angry, even though she has no right to be, Sandy thought as she grabbed her own bag and marched off without another word. She is always angry with someone, so let glare at me and glare at Chloe and then we will just move on and she will forget all about our argument, that's how it always goes! It had been a struggle enough voicing her feelings this time, and Sandy did not think she could do it again. She wanted to work out their issues, and she was certain they could have ended it now if the reality stars had not re-entered their lives.
"Hey there," someone said, and Sandy nearly jumped as she turned, half expecting it to be some new threat. However, she was relieved, albeit a bit surprised, to see it was just Lachlan, smiling pleasantly as he jogged to keep up with her.
"Hello," Sandy replied with a forced smile, realising she had sped off in her rage and slowed down. She tried to remember if she had ever spoken to the boy with the red-brown hair before, but Sandy quickly realised that she had never actually spoken to any of the stars on her own, simply watching in the background as Alaska tried to prove herself, get revenge, be catty for the sake of cattiness, whatever was fuelling her motivations that time around. Surely they must have some personality
"We haven't been properly introduced, have we? Even though we battled," Lachlan said, smiling awkwardly. "I'm Lachlan Lynch, but you can call me Lachy," he continued as he stretched out a hand.
"Sandy," Sandy replied, reluctantly shaking back.
"So, how was the water?" Lachlan asked, smirking slightly, and Sandy raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Your clothes… they're really damp," Lachlan explained. "Let me guess, you tried fishing and got pulled in by a Gyarados?" He chuckled.
"Close actually; a fisherman tried to kill us by getting his Gyarados to force us into the water," Sandy replied with hefty bitterness.
"Oh… sorry," Lachlan replied sheepishly. Sandy turned and saw how awkward he now looked, and she sighed before coming to a stop.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound so rude, it has just been a long day," she replied, smiling wearily. Lachlan nodded before glancing awkwardly backwards; Sandy copying him and spotting Alaska and Damian walking slowly behind them.
"We all heard your argument… unintentionally, of course," Lachlan explained. "I am guessing your friendship is getting a few cracks, eh?"
"You could put it that way," Sandy answered coldly, though she did not want to keep going over things when she could not actually talk to Alaska. Instead, she focussed on the route ahead; the walkway was finally nearing its end, moving closer to the tree-covered banks to their right and Sandy could see it turned a corner up ahead, leading back towards solid land – hopefully with no fishermen.
"How is the show going?" She asked, hoping for something to distract her from her own issues. The lanky boy shrugged with a look of bored indifference across his face.
"Same old, same old I guess," he mumbled in response. "We travel, eat and sleep, and then we film the stuff for the competition. Every second day we shoot a challenge where we have to complete some task to win bonus prizes, and then every other day we have training exercises and battle each other to get more points. We have been doing the same thing for the past few weeks or months, however long this has been, I've stopped keeping track."
"How come?" Sandy asked. She had only caught a few minutes of Indigo Dreams while staying at the Athlew Mansion, an episode based around Cerulean City, but it had seemed like a lively and entertaining show, the type of thing she'd watch if she was still at home and had no idea what had gone on behind the scene.
"I dunno, it's just not quite what I expected when I signed up to do this," Lachlan replied with a bored shrug. "They focus more on Chloe and Damian then they do on me, I am sort of just along for the ride."
I know the feeling, Sandy thought bitterly, but she was not going to make this about her. "What about all the training experience you get, and the fact you get to be on a journey towards the Pokemon League?" Lachlan turned and raised his eyebrows at her, smirking as they trumped along the concrete and neared the bend.
"Please, this thing is so rigged you'd think we were trapeze artists," he scoffed. "They don't keep track of the scores, Amanda basically just hands them out to which ever one of us she feels like giving them to, more often then not Chloe, and they edit the show to back up her decisions. They never show any of the stuff that involves Alaska, like that giant Beedrill or when she showed up at Mt Moon, they make us re-film the challenges and there ends up being different winners. It's as if they don't even care about us, they just want ratings or something…" His cheerful yet sarcastic tone faded as Lachlan finished his story, and he sounded rather deflated and dejected by the time he stopped talking. Sandy could understand his emotions; it must be crushing to sign up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this only to find out it is nothing as you expected it to be.
Though I guess the same has happened to me, she thought grumpily. The two walked in silence around the corner, and Sandy was relieved to find they had reached the end of the walkway. The past few days wandering almost aimlessly down the miles of walkway had been frustrating and depressing, and she could only hope the rest of their journey to Fuchsia would spice things up.
Her first step back onto dry land did not hold any exciting promises: Sandy and Lachlan stepped onto a long and nearly empty field, enclosed on the right and up ahead by trees untouched by human hands. There were some fences dotted around for reasons Sandy was not sure, though she could easily tell from the number of tents, collapsible tables and heavy black boxes that Indigo Dreams had set up here for the day.
"We've only been here a few hours," Lachlan said. "We were filming a training exercise when we ran into you guys, and we're doing a challenge with the fences tomorrow. Not quite sure what we are going to do now Chloe's stormed off, Amanda will have to reschedule." Sandy looked, wondering if Mitchell was still near, but the ten year old boy had taken off in a hurry and was nowhere in sight. She did notice the camera crew a few metres away, all of them delicately placing their expensive equipment in piles by one tent before roughly collapsing into folding seats alongside a table loaded with fruit, doughnuts and sandwiches. The show was clearly settled here for a few days, and Sandy was reassured by that; it would give her and Alaska more time to place some distance between them all, more of a chance to be alone and sort everything out…
"So, are you two going to carry on to Fuchsia?" Lachlan asked as if he had been reading her mind. Sandy was going to say 'yes', but she paused, listening out for Alaska's distant footsteps behind them. They had travelled all this way, had all their training battles, nearly died at Barney's hands all so they could make it to Fuchsia and face Janine. Sandy was willing to stick to this goal, but it was all up to Alaska at this point; she had voiced her feelings, she had made herself very clear how she felt, and now Alaska had to decide how to respond. Only then would Sandy know if she was carrying onwards with her partner, or retreating home, finally admitting that her father had been right all along…
"I really have no idea Lachy, not a single clue," Sandy mumbled finally, unable to hide the depression in her voice, and she felt a cold chill running through her body.
"Well, you want some food?" Lachlan asked uneasily. "We always have enough to feed an army!" Sandy was not sure about taking food from the reality show, but now that the thought had been put out there, she realized that she indeed felt a bit peckish, and she felt wrong rejecting Lachlan when he was being so kind.
"Why not!" She replied, smiling broadly, and Lachlan led her towards the table. The camera men and sound operators glanced briefly at them before returning to their plates, and Sandy wondered how weird it must be travelling around the region with these burly men following you, recording your every move. She could only imagine the strangeness of having a camera crew follow her and Alaska, documenting every explosion, every mistake, every weird thing that happened…
"WHAT?!" Someone suddenly shrieked from within the largest tent, and Sandy froze, her hand hovering just about a plate of chocolate covered doughnuts. Everyone turned to the mass of black fabric as the flaps were sent flying open, and out stomped Amanda Anderson, followed closely behind by Chloe and the thin cameraman. The thin, well-kept producer was impeccably dressed as always, wearing a charcoal coloured pencil skirt and matching blazer, her long hair done up in a tight bun with a stick to keep it in place. However, Sandy could not help but notice that all this effort went to waste with the furious look plastered across her face; Amanda looked as murderous as Chloe had a short time ago, her features horribly twisted as she leered at everyone, looking for the people that had ruined her day.
"DON'T TOUCH THAT!" Amanda shrieked as soon as her beady eyes spotted Sandy, and the blonde leapt backwards as if electrocuted, nearly knocking the plate over in the process. The producer stalked towards her, high heels squelching in the mud as she moved, and Sandy gulped, glancing nervously at a stunned Lachlan.
"What do you think you are doing here? I do not want you or your psycho friend anywhere near this production, not after what you did to a third of our talent!" Amanda hissed, her tight skin being stretched almost beyond its capacity by the furious flexing of her mouth. Sandy usually would have buckled under someone as frightening and threatening as this, and perhaps even a few days ago she would have apologised and fled for the hills. However, Sandy looked into that furious, twisted face glaring down at her, and she could not help but notice vague similarities between the woman looming over her and the friend only a few metres away; dark hair, pale skin, nearly identical in height, even their names had only a few consonants difference. Sandy could feel her rage from earlier risen up, and she straightened her back as she glared back at the producer.
"I am sorry Ms Anderson, but I do believe this is a public place and the only route going in this direction. You may manage this shoddy production, but you are not in control of who can and cannot walk through a public field!" She snapped, startling the producer. "I will gladly not touch your food if she wish, but considering I do not have much of my own left, I am sure the media would be very interested to know why a poor, starving trainer was denied a meal by your show!" In the background Chloe looked like she had been slapped, and Lachlan bulged his eyes in surprise, but Sandy took her greatest pleasure in watching Amanda's twisted face sink, her features straightening out, yet her eyes widen, her mouth fell slightly ajar, exposing unnaturally white teeth that clashed with her jet black hair. Sandy hated being spiteful towards other people, but she could remember the incident with the Clefairy at Mt Moon, the way the bitch before her had acted, it was greatly pleasing to be able to get some form of revenge against her.
"Very well then," Amanda said after a few tense moments, glancing awkwardly at the crew, who were struggling to stifle their laughter. "Have however much you want, but I want you and your friend gone by five."
"Don't worry, we will be," Alaska called, and Sandy glanced around as her travelling partner approached the table, giving Amanda a broad smile as she picked up a plate. "Hello Mandy, how's the show going?"
"Fine thank you, it has been a pleasant few weeks since we last saw you, we actually managed to film some content without something blowing up," Amanda replied icily.
"Well Mandy, we all know what the general public is like; gotta give them something new in order to tune in, am I right?" Alaska smirked as she piled as much food as she could onto her tiny plate. Amanda's eyes narrowed briefly, but she managed to get herself under control before turning away, whipping a phone out of her pocket and marching for the tent.
"Richard, meet me in here in five, we will arrange something new to film," she barked at the skinny cameraman before going inside and disappearing from view. The second she was gone Chloe wheeled towards Alaska, angrily snatching a plate.
"You should be afraid Alaska, very afraid!" The blonde hissed. "My Pokemon are getting stronger by the day, and when I get the opportunity to battle you, you will definitely be sorry!"
"I'm shaking in my boots," Alaska replied sarcastically.
"I wouldn't be surprised, those look far too poor to provide much warmth," Chloe snapped, and she began gathering food, not giving Alaska the chance for a final word. The black haired teenager simply smirked and glanced back at Damian, who smiled and laughed in a handsome manner.
Why are these two suddenly so buddy? Sandy thought with a touch of bitterness. I haven't seen her smile at me like that. One stroll down the boulevard means you've got a new bestie? Well two can play at this game!
"Over there looks comfortable," Sandy said to Lachlan, and she quickly walked towards a small boulder with a relatively smooth surface, her plate loaded with doughnuts, fruit and bread rolls. Lachlan followed and they sat down against the carved piece of rock, facing away from the tents and looking out at the ocean. The sea seemed bigger here, a never ending stretch of blue heading to the horizon. Sandy's clothes were still wet and she felt a chill run through her body as she imagined where she may have ended up her had Cloyster not come to the rescue.
"So after Fuchsia, do you think you will go back up to Saffron or head over to Viridian?" Lachlan asked, spraying chocolaty crumbs everywhere as he spoke.
"You forgot about Cinnabar," Sandy said, only half paying attention as she thought about the ocean, Alaska and Amanda al at once.
"Phwhat?" Lachlan mumbled, his mouth too fill of food to make proper sound. Sandy looked at him, his cheeks puffed out, crammed fill of chocolate and bread, and she laughed. It felt so good to let such a joyful noise escape her lips, something so much happier and freer than what she had felt recently. Lachlan raised an eyebrow in puzzlement, which only made him look funnier and reduced Sandy to further fits of laughter, nearly choking on her food as her stomach heaved.
"Are you alright?" Lachlan asked cautiously once he had swallowed, by which time Sandy had managed to control herself.
"I'm sorry… I have not had much to laugh about lately," she replied, blushing slightly but still giggling. She expected Lachlan to be weirded out, but instead he sighed and nodded.
"I know the feeling," he said in a soft voice. "I thought this show would be fun when we began, but we seriously have not done anything that exciting; just battling and sleeping, that's it! I'd like to be friends with Damian, but it feels really uncomfortable when people are recording every conversation you have, or they try and get you to discuss certain topics and say certain things, just to make everything more exciting." He turned to Sandy, his eyes swimming with water, and the blonde was completely taken aback.
"I wish I had never even auditioned for this show, I had no idea why I was even chosen!" Lachlan whispered, all sense of joking joy completely disappearing. "My mum suggested I do it, she thought it might be a fun experience, something I would remember for years to come. I've wanted to go on a journey for years, but it never seemed feasible money-wise until this opportunity arose. When they hired me I was over the moon, but it became quite apparent from the start we'd have very little freedom, that every movement would be monitored, that everything we did would be watched, processed and changed. I really hate this whole thing at times Sandy, I really do!"
"Oh Lachlan, I'm so sorry!" Sandy said, feeling partly obliged to say so but was taken aback by his frank admission. Lachlan turned to her, his body shaking slightly, and Sandy felt almost afraid.
"They have literally cut Alaska out of everything! No assigns of her, no signs of you, nothing! I swear to you Sandy, something is going on with this. I know she stuffs things up, but the way Amanda acts whenever you guys leave, whispering into her phone, shouting at everyone – it's as if you guys are ruining some great big plan of theirs!" Lachlan paused, looking back at everything for a second, before placing his plate on the ground and walked towards the edge of the land. A tense silence fell between them, the distant sounds of the crew creeping over. Sandy had no idea what to say; to his theory, to his feelings, it was too much to process.
A loud laugh sounded from behind, and Sandy glanced back to see Alaska cackling at some joke of Damian's. She watched her for a moment, waiting and wondering, and finally Alaska looked her way, the laughter fading from her face almost instantly. For a second the two exchanged a long glare, but Lachlan suddenly reappeared, sighing as he flopped back down, forcing Sandy to look away. The animosity was still there, the anger and the rage, yet as Sandy looked at the once joyful boy slouching on the rock beside her, slowing stuffing his face with the broken remnants of a jam filled doughnut, she could only wonder if she really had it worst.
15th September 2013, 01:15 AM #186
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 58
Chapter Fifty Eight: The Tale of Sandy Samson
After the day Sandy had had, night could not come quick enough.
The last few hours flew past faster than anything else that week, and Sandy savoured the time she spent simply laying on the cool grass, letting the sea breeze wash over her as the clouds soared above her. She watched the sky as it turned from baby blue to bright pink, fading into a rich purple before settling upon inky blackness, pale clouds replaced with dazzling stars that flickered as she watched. It was so simple and so peaceful, a proper break away from all the robots, the shootings, the explosions, the drama; Sandy felt like she was on cloud nine, sitting with Lachlan, eating cold pasta stolen from the catering, laughing about Chloe and Amanda. She almost forgot that Alaska was only a few metres away, talking to Damian whilst their Pokemon played amongst the grass. Occasionally, Sandy turned towards her friend, wondering what she and Damian were discussing in their hushed voices, but these looks only lasted a few seconds before Sandy decided she didn't want to know, not until Alaska was ready to finish their discussion…
As day slipped into night, the sun melting away into the ocean, it became clear Amanda had arranged some new activity as she began ordering the workers to arrange a series of ramps and obstacles around the field. Sandy watched as portable spotlights were turned on, illuminating them all with a harsh cream glow, and Chloe reappeared from her tent, Ivysaur and Vulpix already at her side as she prepared for the task ahead.
"I'd better head off," Sandy said, her peaceful day ending just like that. Even though she did not care what Amanda thought, Sandy was not keen on lingering around longer than necessary and facing the producer's wrath.
"That is a shame, they were only just starting to bond," Lachlan said dejectedly, and the trainers glanced at their Pokemon; Sandy had sent out Butterfree, Pichu and her newly evolved Weepinbell to play with Lachlan's Wartortle, Geodude and Growlithe. The … Pokemon was having the most fun, chasing the others around as they played some sort of Tag game. It was the sort of fun Sandy's Pokemon had not had for a few weeks now, as they only saw Alaska's Pokemon when it came time to battle.
Sandy got up and called her Pokemon over, giving them a chance to stay goodbye before they were withdrawn. Lachlan stood with her, and for a moment they stood awkwardly in silence, not sure what to say. After his tearful admission earlier the two had kept to tamer topics like battle strategies and favourite things, and Sandy had enjoyed chatting to someone new for the first time in months. She was dreading meeting up with Alaska once again, and she was tempted to stay with Lachlan and chat for the rest of the night, but there was no way that could happen with Amanda Anderson hovering about nearby.
"I'd better get ready," Lachlan said, breaking the tension but sounding uncomfortable in doing so.
"Yeah…," Sandy replied, equally as awkward. Butterfree appeared beside her, Pichu on her back and Weepinbell grasped between her blue hands. "Hey guys, make some new friends?" She asked, and there was a chorus of happy cries from the trio before her. "We will have to play with these guys again some time!" She added, smiling slyly at Lachlan before grabbing her PokeBalls.
"So there's going to be a next time, eh?" Lachlan asked in a teasing voice, and Sandy simply smirked as her three Pokemon dispersed into energy.
"Well, I'd like there to be a next time," she replied, grinning. "It has been nice talking to another person without there being a homicidal maniac in the background to deal with, and I think we'd all enjoy doing it again. "
"I'd like that too," Lachlan said, his joking smile softening. The two looked at each other for a moment, not sure what else to say, but their tension was broken for them; Growlithe rushed forwards and jumped into Lachlan's arms, nearly bowling him over, and at the same time the lanky cameraman called out for the brown haired boy to join them.
"You'd better go," Sandy said, her heart wrenching at losing this connection, knowing she may never get this opportunity again. "Bye," she finished, and turned away before her emotions got the better of her. She heard Lachlan call out his own farewell, his own voice soft and mournful, but Sandy forced herself to keep moving forwards.
It was not until she had left Lachlan behind that Sandy realised how much of the field the show had taken up, nor how many crew members there were. She could feel the grass rubbing against her knees as she walked through the stretch of green, yet the strangest feeling was that of all these eyes upon her. Sandy saw the crew pause in their actions to glimpse at her, over a dozen of them turning and following her. Chloe's Ivysaur snarled at her presence, attracting his trainer's attention, who gave Sandy an equally ugly look. Damian was the only sympathetic face in this crowd, offering Sandy a soft smile as he tended to Charmeleon, but he quickly looked away without properly greeting her. There was the swish of fabric amongst all this, and Sandy could not help but turn to face Amanda one final time. The producer stood beside her tent, her face so stony it rivalled Geodude's, phone clutched to her ear once more. Sandy mockingly smiled, but Amanda's mouth moved only to offer two words to the mobile, and Sandy almost shivered as she read those glossy, ruby red lips; it's done.
She quickly left the obstacle course behind, but as she walked down the empty route, Sandy still felt unsettled. Darkness enclosed her as she left the spotlights comforting glow, creeping up and engulfing her from all sides. She could hear the distant turning of turbines from a wind farm down the coastline, a sound that in this silent, unmoving night was almost threatening. Trees swayed as nocturnal Pokemon rose from between trunks and branches to begin their nightly journeys, and Sandy nervously eyed the forest rows, standing like sentinels looming above her, watching, judging.
She soon found that Alaska had already set up the tent; the triangle of black fabric was starting to bear the marks of a long journey, with several holes and cuts appearing, a slight dip on the right side from a broken support bar and plenty of mud caking the bottoms, but it was the closest thing Sandy had to a home right now, even if she did not want to step inside right now.
I left my old home to get away from someone I didn't want to be, and now I am in the exact same situation on the opposite side of Kanto. Only this time there's nowhere else to hide… Sandy stared at the flaps fluttering in the night wind blowing in from the sea, wondering what version of Alaska she would find in there; the happy, joking Alaska she had known at the start, the worried, silent Alaska that kept things to herself, or the angry, unpredictable Alaska that had to prove herself to the world? Sandy looked at the ocean, the waves crashing into the land like liquid coal, and she was tempted to leap back in and see how far she'd get this time, but she knew that would not solve her problems – for better or for worse, it was time to face Alaska.
Silence greeted Sandy as she stepped inside. The tent had just enough room for both of them and their bags but little head room, forcing Sandy to drop to her knees and crawl towards her half. Alaska was setting up her sleeping bag, her back turned and no sign of recognition that her friend had entered.
"Everything is still damp," she said suddenly, her voice half its normal volume and Sandy paused in the process of getting her own sleeping bag. "My laptop and that blasted gun managed to survive, but all my clothes are saturated."
"Mine too," Sandy replied softly, her voice cracking slightly. She began to arrange her own area, unfurling the soggy sleeping bag and realising too late that it would be too difficult to actually sleep in. It squelched as she moved it, and Alaska turned briefly.
"I could send Paige out, she could use Heat Wave to dry all our stuff," she suggested, and even reached for her PokeBall. Sandy went to respond but she paused, her hands resting on the damp, squishy surface of the sleeping bag. Alaska's words stirred up a year old memory in the back of her mind, and Sandy shut her eyes as it came back to her; she was standing in her back yard, feet planted firmly on the hard ground, eyes watching intently as a Metapod tried and failed to fire String Shot at a tree five metres away. It had been dusk, the sky the colour of a ripe peach, the evening call of gathering Pidgey echoing all around her.
"You've been out here for an hour and that thing still hasn't gotten a direct hit!"
"She's trying Dad; just give her have a chance."
"For god's sake Sandy – you whinge and moan about wanting to be a trainer, but you can't even teach a Metapod to use its only attack!"
"Sandy, are you alright?"
"You realise you will kill that Pokemon if you try to use it in battle, don't you?!"
"No Dad, I swear I can train her! Metapod, use Str –"
"Don't bloody bother, you pathetic green shit! This little idiot is never going to get you anywhere in life. It is a bloody miracle you made it this far without dying, but you can look forward to spending the rest of your life as some immobile, inactive invalid!"
"Daddy, you are making her cry!"
"It's crying, is it? Well let's see how much it cries when it can't even protect itself!" Sandy screamed at that point as her father stepped towards Metapod, his foot raised about her glossy green skin, ready to bring his foot down…
"POD POD!" Metapod yelled, and String Shot was fired directly into Jack Samson's face. He stumbled backwards and tripped over a rotting deck chair, and Sandy sprinted forwards and scooped up her Pokemon. Without another thought, she ran for the trees, sending a trio of Spearow soaring into the clouds as she fled into the safety of the forest.
"It's okay Metapod, he won't hurt you, he won't hurt you, he won't hurt you…," Sandy whispered repeatedly, believing her words for a second, but there was an angry shout from behind, and Sandy shed a silent tear slid, unable to avoid her fate for much longer…
"Sandy, what's going –"
"If I want to dry my sleeping bag, I will find a way myself," Sandy whispered in response, her hands angrily clutching the purple fabric of her sleeping bag, threatening to tear it in half. She could hear Alaska awkwardly shuffling on her sleeping bag, unable to react to this, and Sandy could almost laugh. "Wow… for once, you don't actually have a response!" She said, struggling not to collapse into hysterics. She turned to face her friend, and for the first time in hours Sandy found herself staring Alaska straight in the eyes; there was a mix of confusion and anger in her beady black pupils, an awkward expression that covered her whole face. Sandy savoured knocking her down a peg, but at the same time she regretted the fact they were in this situation, their friendship being backed into a corner with only two possible solutions to get out of it…
"Sandy, what's brought this anger on?" Alaska asked after a minute. "I'm really confused; everything seemed fine this morning! What's changed since then to make you get so angry with me?" Sandy glared at her, stunned by her friend's ignorance, and for a second she wanted to shout, unleash her built up rage and let Alaska have it. However, Sandy could see the confusion on her friend's face, and she knew getting angry was not going to solve this. She sighed and leaned back against the tent, feeling a cool breeze seeping in through a hole. Sandy had no idea where to begin or how to word any of this, but she had been letting her story build up for months now, hiding beneath the surface, waiting for her to get the courage to tell Alaska the details. She had wanted the right moment to say all this, and there was no better time than now.
"When I was a little girl, my mum left us – me and my dad, that is," Sandy began, choosing to look at the swishing tent flap, unable to face her friend yet. She sensed Alaska tensing up for a moment, but than felt the tug of the tent as the black haired girl leaned back, waiting and listening. "Isabella was her name; she named me after her grandmother. I only have memories of her being happy; she was tall, blonde, a smile permanently on her face. Nearly everything I remember about her is at our local park, where we always went for little adventures through the trees, by the boulders…
"According to my dad, she fell out of love of him and instead with some work colleague. I can't even remember what her job was meant to be, or if she even worked – I wouldn't be surprised if my father stretched the truth in order to back up his story. Either way, one day she was there and the next she wasn't. My last memory of her is going to the local park for what was the final time; we had ice cream by this little pond and watched as a gaggle of Swanna bobbed on the surface. I remember they were so beautiful, just like my mother…
"After she left, it was just me and my dad. He was a miner at Victory Road, keeping the path clear for all the trainers coming through. He had longer hours, so I was on my own a lot after school, and when he got home he would have to cook and clean and do all the jobs mum use to do. He insisted on doing these things on his own so his family and friends wouldn't interfere, but even at a young age I knew he couldn't cope with it all. It was not a pleasant environment to live in, so that's why I began my bubbly, beaming persona. I pretended everything in the world was perfect and happy so I did not have to think about the pain my dad was going through." Sandy paused for a moment, needing to catch her breath, her throat going dry. She felt Alaska shuffle, sensed she was about to say something, and Sandy forced herself to carry on, even though she felt like crying.
"After a while, my dad began to lose it a bit; his salary got cut, so he drank more to get over his pain. Sometimes he would stay out for the whole night, I have no idea where but we're both grown up enough to take a guess. He became abusive at times… whenever the subject came up of me going on a journey, he would scoff and say I wasn't ready and never would be. Last year, I found a Caterpie on my windowsill, I think trying to get to this flower I kept on my bedside table. My dad let me keep it, but it only made me want to go travelling more, and made him keep telling me I would never be ready…
"In the end… I ran away… I just took off, and I haven't been back sense. I haven't written or spoken to him for two months, he could have drunk himself to death after and I wouldn't know. When Metapod evolved into Butterfree, I knew I could not stay there any longer. I had to leave… I just had to…
"Half the time I don't know why I am travelling any more. I left so I could finally go on my own journey, so I could train my Pokemon and experience the world. I never signed up to take part in gym battles though my father never would have let me, so by the time I reached Viridian Forest I was beginning to realise there was not a lot of point in carrying on. I decided I would climb the tallest tree I could find and look across at the world before I trudged back home. I will tell you Alaska, before you are done with all this, you need to look across this glorious region of ours; I saw everything from Pewter in the north to Pallet in the south, I saw as far west as Cerulean and I gazed at the skyscrapers of Saffron in the distance. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen, and I thought retreating back home and admitting defeat would have been worth it, just because I managed to see that view.
"Then, when I went to climb down, the branch snapped beneath my feet, and I fell from the tree and into this amazing journey. After I met you, after battling Chloe and Lachlan and that very first robot, I knew I wanted to keep travelling. I realised then that there was more to this world than I knew, and that if I stopped in that forest I would not know what was really out there. Even though I nearly died, I never would have experienced the thrill of battling that robot if I hadn't run away, and I could not let myself miss out on another opportunity like that. So I made carried on, knowing everything would be worth it if I could see some more amazing sights like that. Then I met you again, I caught my second Pokemon, and I was determined that this journey would be amazing.
"But… but now Alaska… I feel like I am your sidekick, being dragged along with you and simply witnessing your amazing journey. I have seen some amazing things – watching you battle is simply breath taking – but I have nearly been killed more times than I can count. I would have died in the middle of a road in Lavender Town if there hadn't been some bloody ghost there to save me. Alaska… when I lay there, the darkness closing in as my body shut down, I thought 'what is the point of this? Why was I standing there when the gun was fired?' Dying might have been worthwhile if I had done something to stop Gideon and the robots, but I haven't been allowed to help you Alaska, that's the problem! I left home so I could experience the world, but how am I supposed to enjoy any of this when it feels like I am still living with my father and being treated like I cannot do anything, sacrificing myself for a cause you won't let me help you with!"
Finally Sandy stopped talking, unable to carry on. She wanted something to soothe her throat, but first she had to look at Alaska, unable to put it off any longer. However, her friend did not meet her eyes; Alaska was staring down at the sodden floor of their tent, still and silent, letting the weight of these words wash over her. Sandy had nothing more to say for now, and she waited, waited for her friend to say something, to defend, to argue, to blame, to admit, Sandy had no idea how she would react. She simply waited and wondered, feeling as though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, but part of lingered as she waited for Alaska's reaction.
"Do you think I enjoy not telling you things?" She said finally, and Sandy was stunned to find emotion in her voice she had never heard before. "I made a promise to you after Diglett Cave, and I want to keep that promise, but… but since then… you got shot the day after I made that promise Sandy," Alaska spat out, choking up as she spoke. "I want to tell you everything, you deserve to know, but I am scared Sandy… scared that the more and more we get involved in this, the higher the chance that something bad will happen to us… to you. I am the one that started this; I am the one that confronted Gideon at the museum! You never signed up for this, we were both just looking for a friend to travel with, but instead of giving you companionship I've endangered your life more times than I ever could have imagined. That is why I have tried to keep everything from you; to protect you…
"We are in a situation so completely insane I barely understand five percent of what is going on! Half the time I feel like I am trapped in a bizarre video game, with someone using me as some avatar for their own life. None of this feels real; meeting all these famous people, being targeted by robots and gun wielding mad men, encountering ghosts, running from explosions. I have no idea how I am ever suppose to come back from this… The other day, when Nitelite dropped us and that Snorlax began to wake up, I thought for certain it was going to kill us. I have never felt that way about Pokemon before. Sure, I have been frightened by some, but I always wanted to face them head on and show them what's what. But now… everything seems to want to kill us, and it is changing me more than I probably realise. For the past few days I have been trying not to think about all the crap in our lives, because I want this over Sandy, I want to end this more than anything."
"So that's why you've been battling so much?" Sandy asked, unable to keep quiet as she needed answers.
"Yes… You saw what happened with Alexis, I wouldn't have won that rematch if I hadn't burnt her bloody gym down in order to do so. You are right, I really need to stop relying on the fireworks to make myself heard," Alaska added, smirking for the first time since Sandy had entered the tent, and the blonde could not help but laugh a little. "I made a decision during the storm, I decided I want to focus on my gym battles and I want to get stronger, to defeat them and to defeat Gideon, but I cannot rely on tricks to do that anymore. I am so sorry if I have ignored you and your Pokemon, there is no excuse for using you all as training dummies. I got carried away but I swear to cut back now. Besides, now that I have Shelley, I can probably train on my –"
"Shelley?" Sandy interrupted.
"Oh yeah; the Shellder, I named her Shelley," Alaska explained. Sandy raised an eyebrow, a smirk creeping onto her face, and then she began to laugh. "What is wrong with Shelley?" Alaska asked, scoffing indignantly but smirking herself.
"Shellder… Shelley… not terribly imaginative on your part," Sandy replied, beginning to laugh.
"Rude Alexandra Samson, very rude!" Alaska tutted, but she was chuckling herself. "It's been a long week; I believe I'm allowed a lull day creativity wise!" Sandy continued to snigger, and Alaska descended into laughter herself. It lasted for over a minute, and by the time Sandy stopped she had fallen to her side, feeling the grass poking her beneath the tent's surface. She looked at Alaska and sighed as the last of the laughter died.
"We've had a long two months, you deserve as much time as you want," Sandy said dejectedly, and Alaska murmured in agreement. They paused for a moment, and while Sandy felt lighter, the air was not fully clear yet.
"I am so sorry for everything you've been through Sandy," Alaska said a minute later. "I have been a complete bitch, don't deny it, and I have made this whole journey about my fight with Gideon. I've wanted to protect you from everything, even bloody Barney this morning, but part of me has always known I was handling this wrong; if you want to help than you can and I will tell you everything, I shouldn't decide how you live your life." Sandy paused for a moment, letting this soak in, and then she looked at her and beamed.
"I may regret this the next time some killer Jigglypuff comes after us, but I want to help Alaska. You may have started this war with Gideon, but I am involved now and I am going to make sure we defeat that greasy bastard even if it kills us!" Sandy boomed with a smile so wide it made her muscles hurt.
"In this till the bitter end then, eh?" Alaska said, grinning herself. "That's what you get for wanting to be my friend."
"Well, it all seemed like a good idea at the time," Sandy replied, and Alaska snorted with laughter. A bang suddenly echoed throughout the night, and the two paused and gazed through the flaps; the latest challenge of Indigo Dreams was about to begin, and Amanda's shrill voice echoed as she organised her troops into order.
"Uptight bitch," Alaska hissed. "Good on you for sticking up to her before, I was quite proud of you!" Sandy beamed and blushed with pride, amazed to think the two had managed to reach this point in only a few hours.
"Lachy was talking about her before, seems to think the fact they cut us out of the show means Amanda is hiding something," she explained, and Alaska leaned back and pondered this.
"Potentially, I could be disrupting some larger plan of theirs… either that or she loses a botox appointment every time the ratings slide," she replied, smirking. "Before we get into her though, I owe you the truth on a few matters…"
And for the rest of the night, Alaska spoke and Sandy lay there and listened. She had to admit Alaska was right about it being difficult to comprehend all these things; fortune tellers with mysterious cards, the shadowed man appearing on the rooftop, Latios' prophecy, Sandy's head hurt trying to digest it all. They soon moved onto subjects they could discuss; who was behind the robots, why was Red following them, what did Gideon need the spell book for and why had he attacked Vermilion? For the first time Sandy felt she could properly share her thoughts, and the two friends debated and discussed long into the night, even while Alaska updated her blog. By the time they had exhausted themselves of all topics, Sandy found her bag was dry enough and they crawled under their covers.
Sandy lay awake for a little while longer, listening to the wind outside and the distant bangs from the obstacle course. She knew things were not going to be perfect straight away, and there was always a chance Alaska could hide something, but tonight had gone better than Sandy could have ever expected. She shut her eyes and thought back to that last day in the park, watching in awe as a Swanna took flight and soared above her head, Isabella Samson holding her up so her little arms could try and touch its glowing white wings. That had always been a happy memory for Sandy, one she liked to retreat to when her optimism failed to protect her. However, Sandy was pleased to know that after tonight she would have a new memory set right in this very tent to look back to when the world got too dark.
She and Alaska weren't just allies again; they were friends, and Sandy couldn't be happier.
This arc is finally over! I am relieved simply as I started it so long ago! Blog/interlude coming next, and then our story kicks back into gear. I hope you enjoyed this voyage into Sandy's mind and did not mind the heft of dialogue above; next time we return to Alaska's thoughts
6th October 2013, 04:55 PM #187
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 59
Blog Eleven: The Paths Untaken
Hello once more, my vivacious internet dearies. How's this whore we call life treating you all? Devilishly, I hope – no one likes an angelic whore now do they?
It is a tad difficult to describe how my own life has been these past few days. Obviously, anyone following the news will probably have gathered that I was involved in that incident at the casino, though I am pleased to say that was probably the only significantly life threatening situation I got into this week! I've been explosion-sober for a few days, so go me!
Essentially, my life this past week has been made up of walking – walking and thinking, two of the dullest activities on the planet, but I think I have deserved a dull week, don't you? I would recommend this to anyone out there who finds their life is usually full of exploding robots and nuclear arms wielding mad men: head to the very west of Kanto and just spend a week strolling down that concrete path, let your mind wander and simply relax. It will do you the world of good.
It's just been me and Sandy for the most part, and I couldn't be happier about that. It was nice to interact with some other humans whilst in Celadon, but me and other people don't really click, so going back to just the two of us having a nice little wander down this coastal path was rather refreshing. Mostly it's been quiet, and this route is so much more relaxing than anywhere else I have been lately, and it gave me a lot of time to think just with myself. I did dwell on some of those bastard questions that I have not yet managed to shake, like why our beloved champion has sent his legendary pets after me, or who exactly my shadowy stalker is, but largely I thought about simpler, non-earth shattering things.
I thought about my family who I have not seen or spoken to for months now (I did give them the link to this blog, so they either are following my every move like every other bloody person in this region, or my mother had a heart attack the second she saw the words giant robot Beedrill together in the same sentence. Considering my dear mother can't open the internet without assistance, I think I may be safe.) I am almost enviously wondering about my sibling's school life – to be honest, I would rather have to do mathematics at the moment than get shot at again. You may hate denominators, but they are pretty easy compared to fighting deranged weirdos. I pondered on the current state of ViridianCity and how that is going, I thought about all the shows I haven't watched, all the big news stories I have missed, the fact life is chugging on without me while I am living in my own little world with only Sandy, my Pokemon and assassins for company.
Ultimately, the biggest thing I think about is what my life would be like if I had not gone on this journey. Sometimes I just wonder how worthwhile this has really been, and how normal things may have been if I had stayed in Viridian, gone to school, raised Paige in my backyard and taken the non-trainer lifestyle like the rest of my school. Would Paige have evolved by now? Would my school grades have improved? Would I have somehow met Sandy in less life threatening circumstances? Would I be setting myself up for some boring desk job for the rest of my days? And what about Gideon and the giant robots? Would all those plans have been carried out if I had not been there to get involved? Maybe some of them would have never happened or maybe they could have been worse, who knows? That seems to be the curse of living a life like this, never being able to know what would have happened to you or anyone else if you had never gotten involved.
I got a new Pokemon today, a little Shellder who I have simply dubbed Shelley (Sandy told me it wasn't very imaginative, but I like it, what do y'all think? Feel free to abuse me in the comments if you want). Her mother, a Cloyster, saved our lives and wanted us to take her daughter with us as a thank you, to give her the life and experiences I guess the Cloyster never experienced herself. I can only imagine what was going through the Pokemon's mind, but I feel she was having similar thoughts to me: wondering what path her life may have taken if some trainer had captured her all those years ago. I guess these are things we must live with after the events of our life have unfolded; what if I had chosen to do that instead, what if I had did this, what if I hadn't done that. I only remembered afterwards how my own mother had been supportive of my decision to go on a journey, and it makes me wonder how both our lives would be different had she gone travelling as a child– though I try not to dwell on that too much, as I know I never would have been born…
I should probably keep you up to date on the other things that happened to me this week, considering that's what a blog is for; as I said above, Sandy and I nearly died again, but compared to everything else this latest freak Barney registered about a 3 on the Maniac-Scale (patent pending), and we met Mitchell and the reality stars again, but we all walked away unscathed. Normally these things may have made things a bit more interesting, but I really couldn't care less about them. My thoughts were all that mattered to me this week, everything else just got in the way of me realising a few things I probably should have considered a while ago. I had a long talk with Sandy – well, I say talk, we largely argued at first. When we finally talked like sane human beings and I heard what my friend had to say and what she had been keeping from me, I knew that there was one thing that I would change if I could go back. I just wish all of my decisions could be this easy.
My little adventure this week began with being flown away from a gunfight in the arms of a Dragonite, and it has ended in a tent in the middle of nowhere, listening to the world moving on outside this triangle of fabric. This has ended so peacefully that I have to think back to that dark floor beneath the ground, surrounded by men with guns, fallen limousines and broken rubble around me. As I type this I am looking back and wondering where I would have ended up if I had not been flown away to safety, and thinking what happened to those I left behind.
I have done enough soul searching for one day; it is time for a rest. This blog is probably rather vague and makes little sense, but I had to get these thoughts out there and say what has been bothering me. This journey has affected me in more ways than anyone reading this could possibly ever imagine, and these changes are going to stick with me for years to come (if I survive my way through this all, that is). The other week I was forced to make a decision on the future of my travels, and while I am now set firmly on this path to train for now and die another day, as Shelley and her mother will tell you, wonders of what could have been are a part of our daily thoughts – I just have the misfortune of mine being on a much larger scale.
Until next time - here's hoping your what ifs do not keep you awake at night,
Been so long since I did one of these, yet when I began writing it things went faster than probably anything else this year. Not quite as humorous as the others, but I figured that this was something Alaska needed to say. Next up, the first interlude in who knows how many months!
12th November 2013, 05:10 PM #188
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Blog 11
Just a warning, this chapter contains spoilers for Kris vs Gold, so avoid the first paragraph if you are reading that story. Sorry for another delay, on holiday now, hope things will come along faster
Interlude Eleven: Six Degrees of Madness
"Well, I guess that's me done for the night. I might as well head off if we have nothing else to discuss."
"Girl, are you even paying attention? What are you still doing out there anyway, it's getting late."
"What, it is? I had no idea! I could have sworn dark meant it was morning! But you are the expert on these things; I shall have to take your word for it."
"Well, I am here only to serve you, my Champion," Karen replied with a broad grin, unfazed by the younger girl's sarcasm. She strutted out of the dining room, her black boots clunking on the wooden floor, and stepped out once more onto the balcony. Kris Soul did not seem to notice, too focussed on staring across The Champion's Park, currently hidden within the darkness of the night, tiny pinpricks of golden light penetrating the gloom.
"Can you even remember what I came here to talk about?" Karen asked, leaning against the railing, feeling tired and light headed from her several glasses of wine, but she felt a need to check on things before leaving. It took Kris several moments to respond, her attention not wavering from the darkness beneath her. "Kris?"
"We discussed the Open Day that's happening in three weeks, and you reminded me that I am to have an exhibition battle with all four of you so I should really start training again, as you also reminded me that it has been six months since I last battled someone, and a further nine months since I last checked into my proper facilities," Kris responded quickly, tilting her head and smiling back at Karen for a moment before returning to her night view.
"Very good," Karen replied. "For a second I thought you had completely disengaged your mind for the duration of the night."
"I am the bloody Champion, my job description is essentially battling and paying attention to what I am told," Kris said coldly, and she raised a glass tumbler to her lips, taking an over-long slug of Hoenn wine. Karen remained silent, staring down at the folders clasped in her aging hands, allowing Kris to drink in peace. She recalled a discussion she had had the other day with her fellow Elite Four members, their concerns suddenly rushing back to her; she had thought them silly, not worthy of much note, but after tonight, Karen had quickly realised the warning signs about Kris had been right in front of her for months, that she had simply been ignoring them.
"I really should go before it gets any later," the Dark trainer said after several tense moments of silence. Kris gave no response, her attention drifting back to the nothingness below her. Karen turned to leave, but she before she could stop herself, words came trickling from her mouth. "However, I feel that you need some advice before I leave."
"Isn't that what you're here for?" Kris snapped. Karen rolled her eyes, unable to bite her tongue any longer, and she turned back to her Champion.
"Kris, we are all worried about you," she said, though she almost spat the words out, her calm, cool demeanour evaporating in a second as the concerns she had harboured for months burst through. "You have not been right for a while now; months, if not years. I cannot pretend that I know what is happening inside that head of yours, but all I know is that you are far too young to have gone through the things you've been through, but also far too young to become a bitter little bitch that treats everyone around her like dirt. I want to see the passionate young woman that first defeated me four years ago, not her ghost that seems to be here by force rather than choice. You have three weeks to get things together before the Open Day, otherwise the entire region will know and that will make everything worse, and I am sure more media attention is the last thing you want. You are the bloody Champion, so it is time you bloody act like it."
With that, Karen set off, marching through the living room, leaving Kris alone on the balcony. She felt that she may have been too harsh rather helpful, and probably a bit rash, but as Karen descended the staircase, she simply hoped that her words would have some effect.
Kris sat there, listening to Karen disappear. She retrieved her glass from the table, still processing the words of the woman who, currently, was probably her only friend in the world.
The bloody Champion, here by force, not choice, she thought bitterly, and downed the last of her wine. She felt a slight rush to the head, but whatever was in this that should make her feel better wasn't working; Kris felt as down as she had for the past two years.
"The passionate girl… passion… you were the one that told me to fight with passion, and look where that got me!" The teenager muttered to herself, hearing her front door slam shut, catching a slight shadow gliding across footpath before it disappeared into the night. "Passion… this is no place for passion…"
It had been four years since Kris had won the title of Champion, though it had taken two battles before she was finally allowed to claim that honour. She had fought her eternal rival Ethan Hartley, a battle that had nearly killed several of the Pokemon and had ended with him being arrested, his drug cheating ways finally being exposed. Kris had thought she had finally triumphed, but Gold was able to get one last thing over her: Lance, the previous Champion, the glorious, the powerful, the popular, demanded a battle, as it became clearer that he had only lost to Gold due to his cheating.
For the second time in only a few months, Kris was forced to battle on a truly Champion level. Afterwards, she had been told the battle was 'beautifully epic', 'a masterpiece', and 'the greatest battle Johto had ever seen.' To Kris, it had simply been two of the most gruelling, exhausting and painful hours of her life. Her Pokemon push themselves to the limits, but Lance's Pokemon were powerful, years of experience making them nearly unbeatable. It had taken Latios to finally secure the win, nearly killing herself to bring Lance's Salamance, Hydregion and his oldest and strongest Dragonite down.
And when a Pokemon you have a Psychic link is being destroyed, you feel every ounce of their pain.
It had been a cruel battle, one Lance had insisted go ahead despite the death of Kris' mother only a month prior. Now he had fled to Kanto and his original Elite Four, spreading ill-will about Kris across the regions and forcing her to keep battling long after Dragonite had crashed back to earth.
For four years now, Kris had called herself Champion, but she had done little to earn the name. Her biggest achievement had been headlining the rebuild of Champion's Stadium, after Dragonite and Latios destroyed half of it with an Outrage-Mist Ball collision, and renaming the entire area Champion's Park. Since then, Kris had only fought in ten battles as Champion, two of which had been from the bi-annual Johto League tournament. She had seen the horrors of Team Galactic's plans atop Mount Coronet, images that still haunted her nightmares, but most of Kris' life these past years had been regulated within the four walls of her house, alone…
No friends, no family, no point… Kris thought grimly. She had no reason to return to New Bark Town anymore, not when her childhood home was now occupied by other people; nor could she bear seeing her aunts and grandmother in Ecruteak, and suffer their thinly veiled concern that was more uncomfortable than helpful, or watch as death began to catch up to the great Hanoko. And it was rather difficult to see the love of your life when he worked for the family of the man whose legacy you crushed.
You have every right to be worried Karen, in fact, I would be upset if you weren't, Kris thought with a sigh. I sacrificed everything for my journey, a journey that nearly destroyed me, and only to lose everything that I gained. Sometimes, Kris wondered what life would be like had she not become Champion; it wouldn't have saved her mother, but Kris liked to imagine what she might be doing, where she would be living, who she could be living with: these thoughts dogged her more than she would like, as attached to her as her own dark hair. Kris had once spoken of it to Red about it at a function, and he had smiled sadly at her and whispered 'That is the curse of the Champion; you get everything you had ever dreamed for to only wonder how better your life would have been if you hadn't.'
Reassuring words as always, Kris thought. She looked at her empty tumbler and sighed, her head starting to feel heavy and sleepy, the darkness losing its appeal. Karen was right on one thing; if Kris didn't start training again, things were not going to go well for her come the open day. It would be interesting to see how the public treated her, considering people still referred to Lance as 'The People's Champion' – the one the public wanted, the one they had wanted to win.
Kris forced herself out of the chair, wobbling slightly, and stepped back into her house. She enjoyed watching the nothingness of night, letting her imagination float away and the darkness of her thoughts disappear. The recent events across the border in Kanto had not helped her mood; more death and destruction, with a young girl in the very heart of it all. Kris wanted to help and bring an end to it, but the Indigo League had insisted they could handle it; even they didn't want a bar of her.
Suddenly, Kris stumbled, white spots dancing before her eyes; one second she was upright, staying at her pale brown walls, trying not to stay bitter, and the next she was doubled over, and knew it was not the wine. The glass smashed against the wooden floor, the sound barely registering, but Kris felt the pain as her knees fell onto the tiny shards. She winced from this, but she was more distracted by the fact her head seemed to be splitting in two, as if someone had come and taken an axe to it. Memories suddenly rushed through her mind; her father leaving on his Skarmory, receiving Chikorita, battling Gold in the Goldenrod Underground, the explosion outside the theatre in Ecruteak, meeting Leaf on a rainy beach, her and Spike at her Christmas, the day of her mother's funeral…
"What… the… hell…," Kris puffed, clutching a bleeding hand to her head, trying to block out the pain that was consuming her. She blinked rapidly, trying to get rid of the spots, but saw something much stranger instead; blue light illuminated her entire house, filling every square inch in a dazzling glow that Kris would have appreciated were her head not being split in two, a glow that seemed oddly familiar.
Krystal Soul, I have searched for you for many days. A deep, beautiful yet frightening voice whispered inside her head, and Kris screamed in pain. I cause you no harm, I am simply scanning your memories to see if it is truly you. This process would have gone sooner, but I fear that I am in sudden need of your help.
A familiar sound echoed above Kris' screams, and she managed to open her eyes for a moment to see a silhouette hover across the room, eyes glowing pink as it moved towards the source of the voice.
Hello sister… it… it has been a long time
Kris was certain her brain was being torn apart. Unable to take it anymore, she turned, trying to find the source so she could possibly stop it. Instead, she saw Latias reaching out, facing a Pokemon that seemed to be her twin. The two reached out, their hands coming together, and Kris screamed as her mind burst, images of an exploding city swelling inside her mental vision, and suddenly everything was white.
"I am here for one reason only boy, and that's because they forgot to take Casimer's good scotch with them when they packed up his crap. I don't give a damn about your problems: they are far too big for anyone to handle, even me, and you should be able to fix them on your own by now."
"As always, it is a pleasure to be in your company Vivian," Red replied with a false smile, bringing the aforementioned alcohol and several glasses over on a tray. His brunette guest laughed, her trademark cackle echoing inside the confined living room.
"I'm always a pleasure darling, you know that!" Vivian purred. She was wearing a tight, lime green dress that looked horribly uncomfortable, and her feet were resting on the table, encased in black leather boots, looking far more dressed up than Red's casual t-shirt and old pants. Red smiled half heartedly, collapsing wearily into the chair opposite. It had not been easy arranging this meeting with the illustrious Vivian Winters, bitchy talk show therapist who could reduce anybody to tears within seconds, and Red had been tempted to not bother, but he was in desperate need of advice, and Vivian could be the only one to give it.
Things were not well in Kanto; the attack on the casino had made it clear that Gideon was not the only one out to cause harm and destruction. Red had nearly lost a gym leader and several supporters in the attack, who barely escaped unharmed; he had flown over as soon as he heard the news, but it had been too late for Red to help and or to catch the criminals. The entire region was getting worried, and the Champion needed help if he was going to stop things, and in this hour of need, he had no choice but to turn to his eldest, cattiest advisor.
"So, tell me boy," Vivian said with her trademark smirk, as she poured herself a glass of the rich, mahogany liquid, "how is your battle against this latest megalomaniac going?"
"Not very well, I am afraid," Red replied with a sigh. Vivian did not respond, simply raising her eyebrows and taking a long draught of her drink, and Red rolled his eyes at her control of the conversation. "As far as we can tell, there are at least two different groups targeting our region at the moment; Gideon is responsible for the attacks in Pewter, Vermilion and Lavender, while we believe a bigger group is behind the casino, but is also planning something far more significant. I have no idea where Gideon is nor do we have confirmation on our other assailants, but if we do not stop them than I am sure they will rival Team Rocket's actions five years ago in levels of violence and destruction. Yet the only person capable of stopping them seems to be is a thirteen year old girl who has no idea just how much of a role she could have in this, and I have no idea what I am supposed to do to save her or save Kanto!" Red barely scratched the surface of the situation, but Vivian was not one for details. The therapist nodded, finishing half of her scotch in one long gulp, and Red waited impatiently for her advice.
"A thirteen year old…," she said at last, "fighting a force much greater than herself – my, my, that sounds so very familiar, doesn't it?" Red tensed up at this, his fingers digging into the arms of his chairs, trying to avoid Vivian's triumphant smirk.
"This isn't about me, this is about Kan –" he began, but Vivian interrupted.
"You want to protect the girl because you know what will happen to her if you don't, as they are grooming her for glory the same way they groomed you," she purred. "The Indigo League is the oldest and proudest league in the world, and the one that is most image obsessed. They are well aware that these people are probably going to target you for what you did to Team Rocket, and Miss Avocado has gotten herself involved, so she is the prime person to take your place and become the first female Champion of Kanto and make up for the disappointment of Krystal Soul."
"How is any of this relevant?" Red asked, beginning to regret inviting her over. "I need advice on how to stop Gideon and save Kanto, not a bloody therapy session!"
"Oh Red, everything is relevant to you when you're Champion!" Vivian laughed, refilling her drink already. She paused, swigging back the scotch, shuddering slightly as it slid down her throat, and then looked back at Red, her face turning serious. "You want advice on how to handle this, well, here is what I have to say: you watched your best friend die in a hole in the very depths of Kanto, unable to do anything as Team Rocket got one final thing over you long after you though you had defeated them. None of this would have happened had you not been pruned like a show Ponyta into becoming Champion, so now that you see the same happening to Alaska, you want to save her in order to avenge your friend and finally vanquish Giovanni's failed attempt at glory once and for all. If you want to save Kanto, accept that as a fact and stop letting your guilt over Blue's death hold you back; now if I am wrong, I will donate my entire fortune to charity."
Red was taken back by the calmness in her voice despite the power in her words, and for a second he was left dumbstruck. He wanted to argue, Vivian always brought that out in people, but for once he was speechless, collapsing back into his own thoughts; was she right, was that really what he was thinking? Red had wanted to protect Alaska since he had learnt about her, knowing deep down there was no other course of action, but had his concern sprung from four year old guilt?
No, this isn't about him, this is not about Blue! Red told himself determinedly, but another side of his mind, the side he sometimes imagined Lapras had control over, hissed back but of course it is, it has always been about Blue, you have not stopped thinking about him since that bloody cave…
"You really should donate that money anyway," Red muttered finally, lunging towards the scotch, and Vivian laughed, though it was less bitchy this time. She waited until Red had filled a glass, downed it and refilled before talking once more.
"I may have a botox-riddled, thin lipped, unfazed ice queen persona for the cameras, but there are some things that get under my skin, asides from silicon," Vivian said glumly, looking at Red over the top of her famous red glasses. "I have been following this girl's blog, and I must say I am not impressed with how she has been treated, left alone to fight in another bloody war."
"I let things get out of my control," Red sighed. "The League told me they would handle things, and that I was too stay out of it and not risk my own life. I wish I had never listened to them; I sent Zapdos and Suicune to protect her, it was the only thing I could do at the time, but I have to do something else. I don't care about my own life at the moment, not when Alaska and her friend are risking their lives to save our region!"
"And the lives of everyone they meet," Vivian purred icily. "I presume you were spurred into calling me by the casino attack?" Red nodded his head in dismay, remembering the jagged crater in the road, smoke rising from deep below the ground as the magnificent fountain emptied itself into one of his old battlefields.
"Too many people that are close to me were nearly killed that day," he explained. "What happened to Vermilion and Chrono Island was terrible, and we still don't know why Gideon acted the way he did. But… but these other people, we have no chance of stopping them, and they are starting to get personal. What if they go after my mother next, or Professor Oak, or Murdoch or… or… or Leaf…," he finished weakly, well aware of how selfish and pathetic he sounded, but for once Vivian did not comment.
"This is a war, Edward, we are both aware of that – not as bad as five years ago, or what happened in the other regions since then, but it has already claimed too many lives and caused too much destruction. The League may want to protect you, but a general can't win his war miles from the fight, and you can't save us all from the side of a mountain. You are the Champion; it's your job to fight, and its time you did." Red nodded along to her words, a slight smile creeping across his face. The idea had been inside his head for weeks now, but now that Vivian in all her catty wisdom had confirmed it, there was clearly no other choice.
"I'm taking this with me," the therapist said, snatching the bottle of scotch with purple manicured fingers and slipping it into her handbag as she heaved it up from the floor. Red stood up with her, pleased that he had called her now, a hundred ideas quickly coming to mind. However, Vivian was not moving, remaining where she stood; face sinking, eyes suddenly full of pity.
"You know nothing is said in this region that doesn't reach me eventually, I have heard the rumours," she said as sympathetically as she could. "You know who these other people are, and they are coming for you, aren't they?" A lump formed in Red's throat, a chill creeping through his spine. The League refused to accept the truth, were ignoring the grainy security footage, ignoring the whispers and rumours that had dogged the Champion for months. Even Professor Oak was sceptical, assuring him that if the reality show really was an ex-Team Rocket front, he would know. But Red knew the truth, had sent Leaf away for her own safety, waiting for his killers to come to his doorstep.
"Yes, yes they are," he replied, trying to sound confident but his voice cracked slightly, the fear and intensity suddenly getting to him. Vivian sighed and lunged into her bag, pulling out a ruby cigarette holder and lighting its cigarette. Tense silence filled the air as she took a long puff, blowing the smoke out like a steam engine, letting it float up to the roof before talking again.
"Six years ago, in this very room, I warned Casimer – back when this all began, when Giovanni changed our world forever, I warned him to be careful, that Kanto would need her Champion. He smiled at me, but he was too confident for his own good. Will you make up for his mistakes Red; you Champions are all douches anyway, but will you try and not get yourself killed?" Red laughed, a chuckle bursting from his lips before he could stop it, and he let it carry on, the sound swelling inside the room. Vivian raised an eyebrow, her lips sucking on the holder, but Red simply kept on laughing, trying to find the situation funny, but it was ultimately fear fuelling this joy.
"Of course I will be careful, but what's the point?" He said finally, breathless with his own insane laughter. "You said it before; I've already been replaced, haven't I?"
Sleep refused to come to Leaf Oak.
The eighteen year old turned to her alarm, aggressively slamming a button so she could see the time. Luminous red numbers suddenly appeared, the flash blinding in the dark, but Leaf was able to keep her eyes open long enough to see the figures: 2:37 AM
"Shit," she hissed to herself, and angrily shoved the clock backwards, the numbers fading and the room retreating back to darkness. Four hours I've been awake! FOUR! Leaf reminded herself. She was tempted to scream in frustration, to throw her sheets around and vent all this rage, but all she could do was sigh.
It had been this way ever since she had arrived in Fuchsia City. While Leaf spent her days in bliss, exploring the city with Janine and training with her fellow gym leader, her nights were an absolute terror. She had not had a proper night's sleep since leaving Champion's House, and there had been some nights where she had not slept at all, simply laying on the mattress and waiting for morning to come and the nightmare to end. Leaf had reached the point where it was making her unwell, and she knew she needed to get help, but the Viridian native knew she had plenty of reasons for being restless.
The last few months, after three years of calm, of rebuilding their world, of finally finding a sense of normality in life, Gideon had turned everything upside down. Leaf had been horrified by the scientist's action, and she had wanted to find a way to help, but Red had refused. He had insisted she quietly close the gym, disappear away from the cameras and become obscure. Leaf knew it was his way of protecting her, but Red had no idea what his decision was putting his girlfriend through.
I have heard the rumours, everyone bloody well has! Leaf thought bitterly. She remembered when she had arrived in Fuchsia, and Janine had thrown her arms around her in greeting; the embrace had been uncomfortable, as if she had just hugged a widow, and the look in Janine's eyes had been pitiful. Leaf was not going to let Red Lowe die, not after all they had been through together, but she could do nothing from the other side of Kanto, rarely speaking to him, forced to get updates from her cousin, the news or, worst of all, Alaska's blog.
Poor girl…, Leaf thought wearily. She could remember what it was like, forced into battle against a powerful enemy with only few allies; watching as towns and cities were destroyed, struggling to protect yourself let alone anyone else, winning at the last moment long enough to get away, but only for the battle to catch up eventually. But at least when Leaf had fought for her life every day for several months, there had been Red and Blue, she had had her Pokemon, and Janine, and Daisy, and Mark and Murdoch and Madame… but Alaska had no one, only Sandy and less than ten Pokemon between them. Leaf had seen a new blog post before going to bed, and she had been concerned by the talks of tension between them. There had been times when her little trio had fallen out, and it was at those times that they had been weakest. Leaf hoped Alaska would be strong again soon, and hoped someone would go in and help her out of this mess before something worse happened…
A white flash illuminated the room. Leaf leapt up in her bed, trying to shield her eyes from the sudden blinding flash. For a second, she thought she was hallucinating, that her mass tiredness had finally gotten to her, but than a voice sounded from within the glow.
"Sorry babe, did I disturb your beauty sleep?" It cackled. Leaf stopped shielding her eyes, her arm flopping to her side, and she irritably turned towards the light.
"What the hell do you want Charlotte?" She moaned. The glow disappeared, and the ghost appeared clearly before her, a wicked smile stretching across her transparent face. It had been over a year now, possibly even two, since Leaf had last lain eyes on her, and her life had been all the more pleasant for it.
"Don't worry your pretty little head, I am only here for a moment," Charlotte replied, her grin only getting wider. "I am still a bit sore after I ran into Gideon the other week, so I can't stay long even though we haven't caught up in foreveeeeeer!" The ghost giggled to herself, but Leaf remained stony faced, refusing to let Charlotte get under her skin. Silence fell as she stared defiantly at the ghost, who was waiting for some kind of response, but it quickly faltered and she tutted.
"Fine then, be a stubborn cow!" Charlotte huffed. "You need to call Sabrina and warn her to be on her guard tomorrow."
"Sabrina?" Leaf repeated in shock; the Psychic trainer was rarely seen outside of her gym, and Leaf had not spoken to her properly for at least a year. "Why do I need to warn her? And hang on, why can't you just teleport over there and tell her yourself!"
"I just told you that I'm still weak, rude little non-listener!" Charlotte huffed. "Her gym has too many protective forces around it for my liking, and I really can't be bothered with them right now. So, can you just call her as soon as you wake up tomorrow?" Leaf was tempted to think of some witty response and get one over the frustrating ghost, but she was taken aback by the tired look in those long dead eyes, and her own weariness left her in no mood to fight.
"Yes, fine, whatever!" The brunette groaned. "As long as you bloody well piss off, I need to get some sleep!" Charlotte clapped her hands in delight, somehow managing to make noise despite the fact they weren't solid. Leaf rolled her eyes and fell back onto her pillow, hoping it was over now, but there was no flash signalling Charlotte's departure, and she turned back to face her.
"Thank you Leaf, I do appreciate this," the ghost said once her audience had returned to her. "In return of your generous gratitude, I shall give you a warning; the thing you have longed hoped to occur will happen soon, as will the long you have dreaded for longer. And you are going to meet the lovely Alaska soon enough, so I would suggest you start thinking up some advice to pass on."
"What are you talking about?" Leaf snapped her mind suddenly awake once more. "What have I been dreading? Is this to do with Red?"
"You'll never get to sleep with your head so full of questions," Charlotte replied with a smirk, and she floated forwards, her right hand outstretched.
"No Charlotte, answer me, what are you on about?" Leaf shouted. "Answer me, for fucks sake! ANSWER ME!" But Charlotte's hand brushed against her forehead, and suddenly Leaf was falling backwards, asleep before her head had even hit the pillow, her fears evaporating for tonight at least.
Here we go again…
In the shadow of the Magnet Train Terminus, hidden away from the other passengers that had disembarked the Late Night Express with him five minutes prior, a man watched Saffron City sleep. He watched the train travellers leaving in twos and threes, talking in hushed tones so as not to wake the massive city before them, but their voices were filled with excitement about the journey and what lay ahead for them.
I wonder how many of them will be alive next week, the man thought grimly. He instantly was annoyed at himself for the macabre thought, but he really couldn't help himself; three years of peace and civility, three years of small jobs busting low scale crime rings and Pokemon poaching, three years of built up calmness about to be shattered, and all because of one girl.
The middle aged man reached into a pocket of his tatty old trench coat, retrieving the lone cigarette he kept for times like this. It would not look terribly suspicious, an old man smoking in the shadows, and he was doubtful anyone was watching him just yet. The crowds had dispersed now, heading for cheap motels or homes of friends, and the man was left alone, turning his attention towards the heart of the city several blocks down. There lay the cities famous skyscrapers, some of the tallest buildings in Kanto, steely symbols of big business that dwarfed the rest of the city, which was a hard feat considering nothing here was smaller than three storeys.
However, the tallest of them was the Silph Company Building, a god amongst giants; one hundred plus storeys, appearing to be made entirely out of purple glass, it was so tall that lights on the roof turned on at night to warn airplanes and night Pokemon of the beast before them. Silph Co. was the biggest company in all of Kanto and Johto, and that building housed everything from the science and development team from which the company had born to the new initiatives like book publishing and television production.
The man smirked at the red lights so far above, twinkling like a beacon that was drawing everything towards it. Well, you've brought me here, now what do you want to do with me? He had no idea what would happen tomorrow when he stepped into that building, but all he knew was that this had turned into something that Trevor, his protégée, had been unable to handle alone. Tomorrow, the day would either end with the growing resurgence of a criminal organisation brought down, or with him lying dead on some executive's office, wiped off the face of the earth.
Here goes nothing, Looker thought bitterly. He took one long, last puff of the cigarette, letting the smoke swirl inside his throat one final time, before throwing the disintegrating stick aside. Looker snuffed it out with a single crunch of his heel, and then the spy walked away into the night, ready to see what tomorrow had in store for him.
The burnt black floors beneath the Celadon Casino creaked under Gideon's feet.
It had been years since the scientist had last been here, in the final days of Giovanni's war against the world, and Gideon was dismayed to see how it fallen into disrepair; he could still remember the day when this glorious building had been destroyed, and since being acquisitioned by the Athlew family, it had remained a broken shell of what had once been the greatest facility in Kanto.
When he had seen the news, the scientist had not wanted to return to his old base, unsure of what security there would be and the deciphering of Charlotte's book taking up most of his time. Eventually, nostalgia and curiosity had overpowered him, and Gideon knew he had to see what it had become.
As he walked, his feet stirred up ash and dust, rising up to greet him like an old friend. Gideon was frowned at the layer of filth, a grim reminder of what the base had been reduced to. They would have repaired it, had they won the war, but after the final battle, Gideon had only had time to save his own skin rather than rescue a dilapidated building.
He paused and looked around, trying to remember what had been where, searching through his memory for the colour scheme and layout, but he could only see was what it had become; burnt, broken, the blackened façade dented by bullet casings and rubble from the road above, scattered with the burnt out remains of several limousines.
"What happened to you?" Gideon sighed, staring into the darkness that surrounded him. He could remember it had once been bustling, the hub of everything he and Giovanni had tried to achieve five years ago, the place where the plans had been made, their army had been trained, and their experiments had been concocted. It had been massive, it had been glorious… and now it had become this, the skeleton in the Athlew's closet on their path to unnecessary riches.
Gideon tensed up as he remembered all the things he had achieved here, and everything he would have – if it hadn't been for them. His nostalgic feelings evaporated at once, anger quickly taking over; those miserable little children had brought this place down in one night, all those years of effort going up in a literal cloud of smoke, ruining years of planning and research. Gideon had thought it would be over, that the two survivors would be tied down with their responsibilities, yet here it was happening again; Alaska Acevedo bringing her hero act right through his old workplace.
"YOU BITCH, YOU WILL NOT REPEAT WHAT THEY DID, YOU WILL NOT BRING ME DOWN!" Gideon screamed, and he bent down and grabbed a piece of rubble and threw it at the nearest limo, forcing the scorched door off its hinges. "If only you would break so easily!" He hissed, and he fidgeted furiously with his watch. Gideon stared around at his broken paradise one final time, imagining what it would have become of this place had they won, if his own marble monument would be towering above him right now instead of a filthy casino, before the power of the teleportation field took over.
He had failed five years ago, he had let himself get defeated by children, but Gideon was not going to let that happen again; Alaska would die before he was ruined again.
"Wartortle, use Water Gun!"
"Confusion Kadabra – no, to your right!"
"Hurry up Vulpix, Energy Ball, knock them out!"
Amanda watched the challenge unfold with dismay. This doesn't make any bloody sense, she thought irritably, but it had been the best they could come up with in a short space of time. The producer watched as her three stars, standing in a triangle around a wide area, commanded their blind-folded Pokemon to try and defeat the others, all the while navigating ramps and obstacles that had been left behind from previous challenges. It was a silly game, and Amanda could tell the crew were all as bored as she was, one of the boom operators even appearing asleep.
We have to keep going though, just a few more minutes, it should be done by then, Amanda thought. She was feeling uneasy, her eyes continuing to flicker in the direction of the tent she knew was just further down the grassy road. The team would be there any minute now, and as long as Amanda kept everyone distracted, things would finally go to plan.
Silly little bitches, they didn't expect a thing, Amanda thought, her lips curling into a smile. It had been a shock when she had seen Alaska and Sandy back in her domain once more, acting so rude and defiant towards her as if she was just some lowly peasant they could simply walk all over. It had been infuriating, being treated that way again after so long, by someone as wretched as Alaska Acevedo…
Amanda was stressed to her limits these days, struggling to keep this front of a show going as well as keeping up with Buzz and his ever changing plans. The attack on the casino had been a catastrophe, and Amanda had been angry when she learnt how Buzz had stupidly risked his life for something as pointless and ostentatious as that. It was damaging their cause rather than helping, and it had done nothing to make Amanda calmer about the weeks to come.
However, after Alaska and Sandy had finished tearing her down before her own crew, a crew that barely looked up to her as it was, Amanda had had an idea; there was no way the two little whores would be able to get very far away from their site that day. Amanda had never been able to act on them before, not when there had been witnesses, not when her stars had been about (though it was not as if the boys liked her anyway). But now, the darkness provided the perfect opportunity to act, and Amanda had been almost gleeful when she had realized Alaska had walked right into a trap. Buzz had been on a phone within minutes, and a team had been organized a quarter of an hour later. Buzz's words had been kind and gentle for once instead of loud and hurtful. Amanda had almost cried, both in joy and relief, as she drank from the secret bottle of vodka she carried around in her suitcase, there for times like these.
She could feel the effects now, her vision slightly blurry, her stance not as steady as it should be. Amanda hoped no one noticed, but she also knew it could allow for a fine distraction should one be needed. She got bored of watching Wartortle spraying water several metres off target and glanced back in at tent; sea breeze struck her face, cool and tender, and Amanda greedily watched the night, hoping for some sign that her job had been done, but beyond their portable lights it was simply darkness.
As if the universe had heard her, her phone buzzed loudly, shrill enough to catch everyone's attention. Amanda smiled awkwardly and turned away, slipping the device out and quickly searching for the message. She eagerly hoped it would be news that they were moving in now, asking that no one's attention turned away from the game. She came across the text, from a blocked number, and opened:
We have caught a Pidgey and a Caterpie – B
They did it… they've finally done it… Amanda thought, eyes bulging, a strange rush of emotions coursing through her body; surprise, excitement, horror, happy, sad, it was almost orgasmic. She put her phone away and turned back around, barely noticing as Kadabra hit Vulpix, sending her flying up a ramp. Her attention was solely on the distant darkness, where some team had already swooped in, grabbed the girls and left without a single soul noticing… without even her knowing…
"YES!" Damian yelled exuberantly, the sound cutting through the night, and Amanda turned to see Wartortle and Vulpix flopped on top of each other, the competition finally finished. The crew muttered sounds of relief, and the production assistant dished out the next orders. Amanda forced a smile, pretending that the game had gone well as her mind drifting back to her vodka and how thirsty she suddenly was for it. She knew she should be happy, she knew she should be pleased, but Amanda could not ignore the strange, empty pit swelling inside her chest.
They did it, they caught them… without me…
As I forgot to in my last chapter, I would like to thank everyone who voted for the story, Alaska, Sandy and Paige in the recent Awards. I really appreciate the feedback and here's hoping it turns into a positive result!
28th November 2013, 04:44 PM #189
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude 11
Chapter Sixty: Waking Up to a Brand New Death
Several months ago, if Alaska had woken up to find herself not in the tent she had fallen asleep in, but instead gagged and bound to a chair in an unfamiliar room, she would have been rather startled. However, after a journey that had involved at least three different exploding robotic Pokemon, jumping from the top floor of a museum, having her brain swapped with a Pidgeotto, suffering massive head trauma, meeting a ghost and getting tsunami-ed by an insane fishermen, Alaska simply looked across at Sandy, hands tied with wire, mouth taped shut, eyes wide and frightful, and thought Wow, I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner.
That was not to mean she was not frightened. Alaska was deeply unsettled by the fact she had fallen asleep in her tent on Route 13 and had managed to be kidnapped and transported without waking, and apparently without anyone noticing and stopping their kidnappers. She had no clue where she was, how had kidnapped them or what was going to happen, but she did knew she could not let her fear get the better of her. Whoever was behind this latest setback would simply win if Alaska's courage failed, and even though she was doubtful how this situation would go, she had to remain confident.
With little else to do but wait for someone to arrive, Alaska let her eyes wander around the room; it was plain and boring, with colourless white walls decorated dully with diplomas and photos, a typical businessman's desk to her right, two leather couches either side of a tacky Persian skin rug on her left, and a sole pot plant resting in one corner, the only other sign of life so far. Floor to ceiling windows beside the couches let in glorious, early morning sunshine, a giving a sparkly view of multiple skyscrapers and towers; Alaska wondered if this meant they were in Saffron, though there was always the chance they were in Castelia or Goldenrod: there was no telling what day it was, how long they had been unconscious and far they had travelled.
Alaska and Sandy had been placed opposite each other, like a distorted mirror that was able to tell Alaska several things about herself: Sandy was still wearing the clothes she had fallen asleep in, and she appeared visibly uninjured, so things had not been a struggle it seemed. Alaska was trusted she was the same and was mildly reassured, but she was shaken by Sandy's terrified expression. Only the previous night (or so she hoped), the two had sorted a lot of their issues out; Alaska had been shocked by Sandy's story of her life before travelling, but she had been pleased that her friend was confident enough to share that information with her, as well as voice the tensions that had been lying between them. It seemed made this situation almost ironic, Alaska thought, having told Sandy she wanted to protect her but only to simply sleep through a kidnapping. .
I am not going to let her die. I don't care what happens to me, but Sandy is not dying for me! Alaska told herself determinedly, and she tried to smile at her friend, but the tape across her mouth prevented that and she had to resort to make her eyes look as kindly as possible. Sandy did not look very comforted, but before Alaska could think of a better way to calm her, a door behind them creaked open.
"… and I won't be taking any calls for the next hour or two, I have a lot of paper work to catch up on!" A smug, loud, very male voice uttered. There was a mumbled reply from whoever he was talking to, and the voice laughed loudly. "Well, you tell Frank that next time he offers a round of drinks!" The receptionist or whatever laughed back, and the man continued to laugh even after he had closed and locked the door; however, all genuine humour quickly disappeared, and a shiver went down Alaska's spine as the maniacal laughter echoed within the tiny room as she realised she had heard it before.
The man stepped into her line of vision, and Alaska was able to clearly see the person who had attacked the casino for the first time. He was not a tall man, but was mildly intimidating in other ways; buff and bronzed like a contestant in a Lt. Surge look alike competition, but with the gelled black hair and pinstriped three piece suit Alaska had only see in movie stars from the fifties. The man smiled at her, a malicious grin that bared his white teeth, and his blue eyes dazzled as they stared greedily down at her, a look like a hungry Liepard. Alaska had no idea who this man was or why he had brought them here, but he seemed more like the type of person who thought they were richer than they really were, not to lead gunmen on an attack underneath a casino. His appearance did make Alaska curious though; why exactly was this seemingly run of the mill businessman coming after her, and what role did he play in the wider scheme of things?
"Well, well, well…" the man said once he had stopped laughing. He looked at Alaska and sighed dramatically. "After all this time Alaska; after all your attempts to stop my plans from succeeding, after all the suffering and chaos you have caused, we finally meet!" He boomed. "Though, at times, I feel like I do know you, Miss Acevedo. I have read your blog religiously and I have studied your words and mannerisms quite well, and I have heard detailed reports about what the things you have done; the Pewter Museum, Mt Moon, Lavender Town, the Power Plant… such an expansive CV for a girl so young!" He smirked at her, and Alaska would have kicked him, well aware of a perfect target right between his legs, had her legs not been tied to the chair.
"Would you two ladies care for a drink?" The man asked, gesturing towards his desk and a pitcher of water. "Raise your hands if you want one… No? Nobody's thirsty? Oh well, more for me then," he said with a smile, and he poured himself a tall glass which he noisily and slowly gulped down before refilling. Alaska looked at Sandy and rolled her eyes as dramatically as possible, and her friend could not but unleash an involuntary snort. The black haired man turned towards them, fire suddenly burning in his eyes, and he let the glass fall back onto his desk, not noticing as it rolled over the side.
"Something funny, ladies?" He asked quietly, his eyes rapidly darting between them both. Alaska crafted her face to appear steadfast and unmoved, and Sandy attempted the same determined air, but her confidence wavered as the man strutted towards her. "Would you care to share what it was that made you laugh?" He hissed quietly. "I really would like to know. Alaska always seems to say funny things; I was hoping she would say something clever while we were having this little meeting. She has done this one very hilarious thing of costing me over twenty MILLION dollars by ruining nearly every single one of my plans! Now tell me: WHAT MADE YOU LAUGH?" He roared, and he lashed out before Sandy could have answered, striking her across the cheek. He hit with enough force to make the chair tilt, and a huge red mark formed on the visible parts of her face. Alaska yelled into her tape, and she tried to stand only to collapse backwards, her legs unable to move. The man turned away from Sandy, his face red, but a smile was coming back onto his features now.
"Ah... I seem to have found a soft spot," he purred. He reached out and grabbed Sandy's face, giving it a little squeeze that made her whimper. "It seems you have failed in this particular area, Alaska. The first rule of taking on an empire bigger than you could ever imagine is never create any relationships – it simply provides more targets for your enemies, and will only hurt more when we finally succeed." The man smiled viciously, the sun making his eyes glitter and his pearl like teeth shine, but he appeared more insane than attractive. Alaska put as much anger and contempt into her stare as she could muster, but it did not faze her enemy; he looked down at Sandy and made a sound of disgust, and let go of her lips with a shove before walking away. The blonde watched him go, her eyes burning behind the tears that streaked down her cheeks, and Alaska was furious; partly for what this monster was doing to her friend, but mostly because she could do nothing, forced to be an angry but helpless observer. Though it pained her to admit it, this man was right: Alaska could do nothing without her withering words or her Pokemon to fight her battles for her. He had stripped her of all her power, and there was nothing she could do.
"Now, I am sure you are both wondering why I brought you here," the man said, spinning around and popping himself on his desk. A remote appeared in his hand, and Alaska wondered what it would do; torture them, open the window and send them flying out, call for a new jug of water? "I have wanted to meet you two for a while now, ever since you first interrupted things back in Viridian Forest. These plans have been in the works for quite a few years now – indeed, the general idea has been around longer than I have been involved in it, really; I have simply adopted the ideas of my former boss. Anyway, regardless of the history, this was supposed to be the time this grand plan came into effect. It was meant to run smoothly and be close to completion by now, but you two have ruined everything and have cost me a lot, both financially and very, very personally. If you have not yet worked it out, I tried to stop you last week at the casino, a plan I had hoped would serve as a relaunch of this master scheme, yet, once again, you went and ruined things! But, thankfully, I am now finally going to put an end to that!"
The man eyed them both, his smile sadistic while his eyes were hateful, and pressed the remote's only button. Alaska and Sandy turned as the floor whirred, and the Persian rug had slid aside, revealing a rectangular pit in the floor. Most of its contents were hidden from their current position, but Alaska could clearly see a large screen that was rising up on a metal arm. The man walked between the girls and towards the pit, swiping a finger across the screen before reaching inside.
"I have been following your every move ever since you first interrupted things in Vermilion," he told them, watching them while his ferreted about in the pit. "I have managed to capture nearly every single one of your more spectacular moments since then. Anything you'd like to watch again before you die? I have footage from Pewter Museum, I have security cameras from Vermilion and the Power Plant, I have you and Chloe fighting in the bar – I even have a traffic camera that caught the moment you sent Alexis' Meganium crashing through the back wall!" The man laughed as he got back to his feet, a dagger clutched firmly in his hands. Alaska eyed the blade cautiously; it was long, at least several inches, with a jagged blade that shone silver, though she was sure it would be stained red with her blood within minutes.
"I know! How about I show you something you haven't seen!" The man announced as if the idea had only just come to him. He pressed several buttons on the screen, which was perfectly positioned so Alaska and Sandy could both clearly see it, and a fuzzy security image appeared. It did not seem to show anything of interest, only an empty room with a table in the centre, but when Alaska focussed, she was able to make out two familiar bags on the wooden surface.
"Ah, worked it out, have you?" The man chuckled, watching her now terrified eyes. "Your possessions are locked away within the very depths of this building, and have currently gone undisturbed. However, when I make one little call, the entire room will be sprayed with oil and set alight, where it will burn for several minutes before we pour concrete on top of everything. You will watch and see if the flames destroy your PokeBalls, and then we will see them get forever entombed. I will give you several moments to let grief consume you, and then I will cut Sandy into tiny pieces before your eyes Alaska, which I will do so across a long period of time in order to let your pain and suffering build up and up before you cannot take it anymore. Then I will destroy you in ways you cannot possibly begin to imagine, and once I have done that in within, perhaps, a fortnight's time, I will give you the sweet release of death. Are we all fine with that?"
Alaska's mind went blank. She felt sick, and wondered if she could make herself throw up, and die choking on her own vomit before he got to her first. It would be a vile way to go, but Alaska would prefer a disgusting death than being tortured and brutalized by this maniac (besides, it would be an almost rock star death, if you looked at the positives.) She looked at the fake businessman before her, a man that was prepared to kill them in his own workplace with a receptionist outside the door. What plans had she interrupted in order to make this man wish such a horrific death upon them? Surely defeating a few robots, as she now figured he was their creator or controller, was not worth dying in such a manner?
"Good, it seem you both understand," the man boomed, and he pressed a button on the side of the screen. "Once I have connected with my people downstairs, things will begin straight away!" He flashed another smile (Alaska could not help but wonder how his face was not getting tired), and glanced eagerly between them as if wondering who would be more distressed. Alaska looked across at her friend and could see Sandy was trying to stay tough, but her eyes were swimming with tears as they stared upon the screen that would soon show the death of their Pokemon.
Sandy and Butterfree have been together for so long, Alaska remembered. What sort of psychopath would make someone watch the death of their oldest friend in the world? It's just like if I had to watch Paige die… which I am about to see as well…shit…but she cannot die, not like this, not after all this time! Whoever this dickhead is, he is not going to win, we are not dying without fighting back first!
"MHHRRMRRRHHMM!" Alaska yelled into the tape, screaming so loudly inside her head but barely making a sound through the adhesive. She leaned the chair forwards as much as possible and then fell backwards, the sound ringing out inside the room. The man paused in his plotting and turned towards her, eyebrows furrowing at the disturbance. Alaska ignored the glare and watched him with huge eyes, refusing to look away even though every inch of his boy made her sick with rage. The man watched as she screamed and banged for over two minutes, and then his face softened, laughter once again filling the room.
"Ah, but of course, of course! The great Alaska Acevedo must have her last words before this begins," the man boomed, laughing joyfully. He strutted towards her, chest puffed out slightly, and loomed over her as he approached. Alaska caught a whiff of aftershave that nearly made her gag, but she kept on yelling, refusing to stop until she definitely got her way. "Very well then, Alaska," the man hissed through his smile, "I have always wanted to hear some of your famous insults, let's see what you come up with for me." He grabbed the corner of the tape, pinching her face as he did so, and slowly peeled it off. Alaska stopped yelling, her throat already getting sore, and stared up at her mysterious captor, trying not to grin now that she had a slim shot at victory.
"Has anyone ever told you what pretty eyes you have?" She said, and flashed her own wide smile. The man laughed briefly, but his face was lacking any trace of humour, and Alaska soldiered on before he could speak. "So, just out of curiosity, what exactly is your grand plan? I mean, if we are going to die, I don't see why –"
"Nice try, but I am not falling into that spy film trope," the man retorted quickly. "I am not going to tell you everything I have planned, convinced I have won, only for you to miraculous survive and use my own words to defeat me!"
"Ah, so you think I am going to get away then?" Alaska asked, and the man's smile disappeared, taken aback by the question. He looked uneasy for a moment, his calmness and control disappearing, but he quickly tightened the grip on his dagger and pointed it towards her neck. "I will take that as a no then. How about your name then, can I at least know that?"
"Why not, it's not my real name anyway – they call me Buzz," the businessman replied with a confident smirk, but Alaska could not help but snort at the letdown; she had been hoping for something more threatening, like Doctor Death, the Lord of Nightmares, hell, even Mittens would have been more of a surprise!
"Like the sound Beedrill's make?" She giggled. "Look at that Sandy, we've come full circle!" Alaska leaned around her intimidator as she yelled, winking at her friend and beaming. Buzz did not fake laughter this time, but instead lashed out, smashing his right hand into the side of Alaska's head before grabbing her by the jaw, pulling her face towards his own. Alaska winced as she felt pain in her neck, and wondered if he was going to snap it. However, he simply stared at her with cold rage, an anger that seemed to be casting a shadow across the room.
"You make think you are the greatest person that has ever left a shit hole like Viridian and set out on a journey, but you are WRONG!" Buzz snapped. "At the end of the day, when we dispose of what remains of your body, you will be remembered as just another little girl who had dreams of defeating Red and being Champion, only to fail miserably like the hundreds that came before you. If you had not stuck your nose in where it did not belong, this world would be a better place and you would have lived a slightly longer, safer life. I so desperately want you dead, but I want you to see the fates you have bestowed upon your Pokemon and your only human friend, and then you can die with a heavy conscience as you see the true consequences of your actions!"
"MHHRMMRRRHHHM! MHHHRRRRM!" Sandy began to yell from behind him, but Alaska did not pay any attention, staring back into Buzz's malicious eyes, ignoring the muscular hand crushing and misshaping her face; if she was going down, she was not going to go down silently.
"People will notice if I disappear. The cast of Indigo Dreams will wonder, my family will wonder, the gym leaders and all the elite and powerful of Kanto will wonder. You cannot kill us and get away with it; eventually, you will be found out and caught by people that are far more powerful than you could ever dream of being. I do not know what you are planning, but thanks to me, I am pretty sure you will never succeed." Genuine humour appeared on Buzz's face this time, a wide smirk unveiling his too white teeth.
"I am sure you sleep well at night thinking such a childish thought, but trust me when I say there is nothing anyone in Kanto will be able to do to stop me, not when they don't know who I really am or what I am truly planning," he replied icily.
"Team Rocket thought they were pretty great, and look where they ended up – crushed twice by children exactly like me," Alaska hissed in reply. "They were just glorified loonies that tricked the idiots of Kanto into thinking they were powerful, and you are just a tanned wannabe loser who thinks he will be the next Giovanni."
"When I am done, Giovanni will be a distant memory!" Buzz snapped, shaking with rage. "I will succeed where he failed, I will bring Team Rocket back from the ashes, I will lead the world into a new millennium with Rocket as the rightful dominant power, and within a year no one will ever think that a stupid little Viridian WHORE was ever a threat against the likes of me!"
"So you're former Rocket, are you?" Alaska asked simply, and Buzz froze, the grip of her face instantly slacking.
"WHAT IS IT?!" Buzz roared, turning around with his hands raised, but he quickly became still. Alaska wondered what was wrong, but it did not take long to realise that the room had gotten a lot darker since they had first arrived. The lights were still on, but a strange gloom now filled every inch of the office. Buzz looked nervously between Alaska and Sandy, struck dumb by the sudden change, but Alaska could see Sandy staring pointedly at the window. She looked curiously to her left, and Buzz caught her gaze and turned to face the glass, his mouth forming a perfect 'O' as he did so.
Alaska had only ever seen Zapdos once before, but then it had been flying above Vermilion in the midst of a violent terrorist attack. Now there was only a few metres and a piece of glass separating her from the legendary, and she could see every part of the creature in detail; the Electric type was a brilliant shade of yellow with black feathers beneath its wings, staring around the room with large, judgemental eyes resting either side of its javelin like beak. The Pokemon was so large that it was able to block all sunlight from getting it, but now that it had become the centre of attention, Zapdos began to glow, a lemon-like light spreading from the centre of its body that lit up the room. Sparks began to fly, and Zapdos pushed itself backwards, a shrill cry loud enough to sound through the glass.
"Wh… wh… what is this?" Buzz cried, stumbling backwards, the dagger falling to the floor. Alaska tore her eyes away from the magnificent bird, catching a stunned but joyful look in Sandy's eyes, and faced her captor.
"Some people might call this a legendary encounter, others might call it impossible, but I think you and I would refer to this as a miraculous survival," she said with a sweet smile on her face. Buzz turned to her, fear fading from his face and being replaced with pure rage, and he let out a scream like a tribal warrior, launching himself forwards with murder in his eyes.
It was at that point that the window shattered, and the entire room exploded within a burst of golden light.