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Thread: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 69

  1. #151
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Blog 8

    Anyone know what's up with the Mentions?

    Interlude Seven: Anger and Anticipation

    Darkness had set across Saffron City, but Buzz Bolton was not staring at his beautiful view for once. His back was turned as he stared angrily at the phone, giving the piece of technology a look so nasty you'd think the phone had done something to personally upset him. His laptop lay at his feet in pieces, broken glass, wires and keys scattered over the carpet. The last thing it had displayed had been the latest blog from Alaska Acevedo, a site Buzz had not expected to be updated again.

    His body tensed up as he waited for the phone to ring. Buzz's anger was consuming him, and the fact Amanda had not picked up only increased his rage. In fact, he was furious at her: why hadn't she personally phoned him herself to tell her about Alaska and the Power Plant, rather than leaving his easily frightened assistant to pass on the news. And why were they only learning now that Alaska was alive when the Electrode they planted should have killed her. Too many questions were filling Buzz's head, and the only person with the answers was at the other end of the line.

    The second it began to ring Buzz marched over, his feet stomping hard against the ground, and he snatched the phone up before the second ring, already beginning to crush it like a Bug type.

    "Hello?" Buzz roared, his usual calm, silky voice being taken over by fury.

    "Buzz, y-you need to calm down and let me explain," Amanda replied timidly from the other end, her stutter creeping in once again. Buzz let out a laugh, a loud, short sarcastic sound that he roared into the phone.

    "Calm down? You seriously expect me to fucking calm down?" Buzz yelled. "I think that everything is going to plan and we are well on a way to getting our revenge, and then Alice comes in telling me that there's been an accident at the Power Plant. I get sent a $200,000 bill to pay, and if that wasn't bad enough, I hear that whore is back in our lives! WHY ISN'T SHE DEAD!"

    "I don't know!" Amanda shouted back, though her voice was still weak. "Our systems show that the Electrode did indeed detonate, so I could only presume –,"

    "Oh of course, just presume one of the biggest threats to our plan is dead, that's some great work there," Buzz hissed in angry sarcasm. "I want people to get to the Underground Tunnel and find out everything they can about what happened there, namely being how on earth she managed to escape."

    "Yes sir," Amanda responded briskly, trying to compose herself.

    "Now, tell me my dear, if she did survive, why weren't we alerted to it earlier?" Buzz growled, sitting down on his desk and staring out to the neon glow of the city but not truly taking the view in. "She has posted a blog since Vermillion City, why weren't we told?"

    "I told you, I thought she was dead, I did not bother checking!" Amanda said in defence, but her voice showed she was merely finding excuses. "I-I-I-I-I-I'm s-s-sorry Buzz, I should have done better!"

    "And if that wasn't bad enough, you let her get involved in our competition?" Buzz said, getting angrier with every syllable as he brushed aside the stuttered apology. "What the fuck were you thinking you stupid woman? We already know she is stronger than our three trainers, so why let her show them up once more, and then let her destroy a fucking generator?"

    "Chloe insisted, and I thought it was best to try and hold her up in case I thought of anything," Amanda explained quietly. "Chloe nearly killed her Pidgeotto and Nidoran though, which I think is a positive."

    "A positive?" Buzz hissed. "A positive would be watching Alaska as she wiped blood and feathers off the floor: nearly is not a positive, make a note of that." He sighed angrily, rubbing his head as he wondered what to do next. "Why didn't you answer earlier?" Buzz asked, thinking it was a simple question, but Amanda suddenly fell silent. He didn't notice at first, but after nearly a minute without a response he picked up on it. "Amanda, I can tell your still there, I can hear your breathing. What happened? TELL ME?" Amanda gulped audibly at the other end, and Buzz growled as he waited for her response.

    "I told the kids they could go out and relax for the night, just for a change of p-p-pace," Amanda explained quickly. "I didn't think it would do any harm, but after half an hour I hear sirens outside and go to have a look. It turns out Alaska was there, and –" but Amanda never finished her sentence: Buzz roared into the phone, letting out a murderous, blood curdling cry that would be enough to frighten anyone that heard it. The producer could usually reign his anger in, but today he was losing it: Alaska Acevedo had escaped them too many times and was causing more problems than they had originally anticipated, and he was getting sick of it.

    "Make sure that whore bitch is dead by the end of the week!" Buzz yelled back into the phone. "I want her head to hang from my wall, you hear me? BRING ME HER HEAD!" And with that, Buzz grabbed the phone and threw it angrily at the window. The phone shattered into broken black plastic, and the window was now cracked, but Buzz didn't care in the least. He angrily grabbed his desk and flipped it over, sending his contents spilling to the floor and cracking the wood.

    For the next hour, Buzz let his anger out. He kicked and punched the wall, knocked over his mother's flax plant and tipped over both of his couches. The scarcely decorated room looked as if a bomb had gone off, but Buzz continued to vent his fury, smashing and throwing his photographs and diplomas around. Each thing he broke, each thing he tipped, each item he destroyed, Buzz imagined Alaska's face breaking into tiny pieces and covering his floor. He stamped down in sick glee, imagining screams of pain sounding around him with each stomp. The metal beneath his Persian skin rang with each furious stomp, and Buzz started to laugh maniacally as he crushed every piece of glass and plastic within sight.

    The end of many long years of planning was finally coming to an end. Buzz would soon crush everything else in his path, not just the irritating little girl that constantly got in their way. Buzz would leave her, Oak, Bill, the bloody lot of them to fight things out with Gideon, and it would leave the path clear for him to destroy the world around them.

    Buzz laughed at this for many hours yet, the stars and the artificial lights twinkling all behind him, unaware of the sadistic plans unfolding within the Silph Co. Building at that very moment, and the citizens unaware of the dangers that were soon to come…


    The mountains that Alaska had noticed earlier in the day around the Power Plant carried on for miles, their towering peaks and paths of gravel and stone stretching on seemingly for as far as the eye could see. The rocky mountains went down to the very end of Route 10 and carried on around Lavender Town, trapping the small and quiet town permanently by a wall of rock.

    At the bottom of the mountains was the hilly and nearly as rocky southern half of Route 10, split off from the top by mountains and the Rock Tunnel that lay between it. A bitter wind blew through here, coming down from the mountains and roaring through towards the town with dust and small rocks in tow.

    It was this wind that whipped up Gideon's coat as he stood silently near the mouth of the Rock Tunnel.

    He had taken a short time to recover and map out his plans, taking in the reaction from the bombing of Chrono Island and the destruction of Vermilion City. Charred bodies were still being removed from the island, while reports said it could cost up to one billion dollars to repair the city. These reports had made Gideon happy, but he had bigger things to worry about than fret about the past. He waited until Porygon-Z had recovered from the destruction caused, and now was ready to continue his plan.

    Gideon stared towards the small, dark town before, the long black coat he wore flapping around him in the breeze. Possibly the biggest part of his plan involved getting a single book that he knew was hidden within the town, and he would stop at nothing to get it.

    Nothing, Gideon thought to himself as he began to descend the unstable hill before him. I will tear this town apart if I must: nothing shall prevent me from getting that book.


    That's what you think

    Charlotte purred to herself as she stared towards the dark hill of Route 10 before her, managing to hear Gideon's thought even from this distance. The wind was threatening to blow the ghost away, but she sat remained still with her legs crossed, hands resting against her knees, sitting on the pitifully small building that now made out Kanto's main Pokemon graveyard.

    She knew exactly what the scientist wanted, and she knew exactly how he planned on achieving it. Charlotte had savoured the peace for the past three years, enjoying the time to relax, not sure if it was passing by too slowly or too quickly. Yet another challenge was being forced upon her, and the ghost felt compelled to deal with, whether it fell within her duties or not.

    "We shall see Mr Gideon," Charlotte whispered into the night, her lifeless body beginning to descend through the roof, "we shall we how it all works for you in the morning." The ghost decided quickly that she was up for the fight that was surely going to unfold, and decided that three years was far too long.

    It was time to save the world again.

    Rock Tunnel/Lavender Town Arc next. I will hopefully get one chapter up about next week before moving onto Galactic, which will take a while, but there will be more updates from now on as A Wish on Freedom concludes tomorrow(!), giving me more time to focus on 8ES. Also, you may be baffled over Charlotte, but I decided I am not going to give her a detailed introduction every time she first appears in a story, as she already has detailed explanations in Galactic and The First Warriors, and will have detailed ones in future stories as well. There will be some explanation when Alaska first sees her in the next arc, but reading the TFW prologue will shed some light on her before then.

  2. #152
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude 7

    Ah, it feels good to be back writing Eight Easy Steps! I have not yet checked how long it has been since the last instalment, but it has certainly been nearly two months! I apologise for the delay, Galactic was held up by school work so it took longer than necessary to finish, but now everything is getting back on track. And we can celebrate the return of 8ES with FIVE chapters in a row, no interruptions! I hope you enjoy the return of our favourite characters, and look forward to things getting exciting!

    Chapter Thirty Nine: The Hungover Games

    "I think my head is going to explode…"

    "Lucky you, I think my entire body is close to collapsing in upon itself, like a fat person that's starting to deflate."

    "I would tell you off for that, but I think I might throw up if I say anything."

    "Why don't you smash me over the head with a glass, seemed to work –"


    The roar shook the entire cave, and Alaska and Sandy stopped talking, covering their ears from the booming cry. They watched timidly as Onix swung his long tail around, hoping to send Darwin flying, but the Primeape grasped onto it as it came around and dug his feet into the ground, trying to hold him off.

    It was midday… well, at least that's what Alaska guessed. She and Sandy had passed into the Rock Tunnel a few hours ago, and with no light getting in, she could only estimate the time was based on how bored and tired she was. Alaska had woken up with her entire body in pain from her fight with Chloe, despite the medicine she had taken the night before, and she would have liked to have stayed at the Pokemon Center for a little while longer, but it was a wonder that Amanda hadn't slit their throats overnight, and it was best to escape before another confrontation arose. Sandy had decided going to Lavender Town soon would be best, as then they could rest there for a few days out of the way of any reality star that might come after them.

    The Rock Tunnel was the same generic cave that Alaska had come to expect from her travels. Wide expanses of dull grey surrounded the duo as they walked in pain, with jagged rocks hanging from the ceiling and sticking out of the ground like teeth, waiting to chew and swallow them up. The only major difference was that the Rock Maze would be a more appropriate title: there seemed to be multiple levels of to the mountain, with some areas only accessible through mouldy ladders or cliffs too steep to climb up normally, to sections blocked by boulders or landslides, and other areas that seemed to stretch on forever. It was impossible for Alaska to get down a ladder with her leg, so they were forced to move down steady slopes or use Onix if necessary to get around. But with no map and no signs telling them the way to Lavender, they were forced to walk around blindly in the semi darkness that the cave was permanently cloaked in, trying to find a way out.

    They had decided to stop for a breaking to rest their aching bodies and heads, and sent their Pokemon out to have a try at battling. Paige and Butterfree were fluttering over Darwin and Onix as they battled, and Nadia was showing off her strength to Frances and Bellsprout, neither of whom was willing to battle her.

    "At least they seem to be enjoying themselves," Sandy said drearily, rubbing her head for the umpteenth time. Depressed, Hungover Sandy was not as fun as the usual Overly Peepy and Friendly Sandy Alaska was use to, and could only nod along to her friend's slow pace. Sandy had spent half the night throwing up and had been silent with guilt for the other half, though neither of them knew how she had gotten drunk. Alaska had been running over the ingredients in her head, and unless the bar used vodka-infused Cheri Berries in their beverages, she could only guess that someone had spiked it. The only question was who, though Alaska had a few ideas floating around in her head.

    "NIDO RAN RAN!" Nadia cried, her voice breaking through Alaska's thoughts, and the trainer watched as her Nidoran ran towards Frances and Bellsprout. The two cried out as the Skull Bash crashed into them, sending the two small Pokemon rolling across the ground.

    "Nadia, that isn't the way to treat your team mates and allies!" Alaska scolded, shaking her stick angrily, though it made her feel like an angry old man. "Go and apologise to them!" Nadia looked disgruntled, but she nodded and moved towards the two. Alaska sighed and she sunk back onto the slightly flat rock they were sitting on, and pulled a chocolate muffin she had taken from the Pokemon Center out of her bag. "I should probably start preparing this lot for the next gym battle. I think the closest is Saffron City, right?"

    "Right," Sandy said with a nod that made her clutch her head again, "but I really think you should start working on their personalities before you teach them any more moves." Alaska froze, a large chunk of muffin wedged in her mouth, and turned towards her friend. This wasn't the sort of thing she would expect Sandy to say, and wondered what had brought it on.

    "Pardon?" Alaska asked politely after swallowing the barely chewed muffin. "What do you mean 'work on their personalities'? Are you saying there is something wrong with my Pokemon or the way I train?"

    "No no, nothing like that," Sandy said, sounding exhausted as she spoke, "I just mean… well, look at them! Paige is fine because she's been with you the longest and will follow you to the ends of the earth. But Darwin has some serious anger management problem and seems to take pleasure in disobeying you, Frances is sweet and strong but is afraid of her own shadow, and Nadia seems eager to fight. It's nothing to do with you, it's to do with how they are naturally born. I just think you should work on turning them all into cogs that can work in the same machine, not individual bits that need extra maintenance just to get going.

    "Take Nadia for example," Sandy said, pointing at the Nidoran. "She just attacked one of her team mates, but that is probably because she's been in a center for so long she's had no one to play with. She listens to you probably because she is loyal to you for rescuing her, but Nadia still needs to be taught not to be mischievous." Sandy sighed at this point and leaned back against the rock, sipping at a bottle of water as she tended to her hangover. Alaska continued to stare at her in shock, not quite sure she had heard those exact words come out of Sandy's mouth: it seemed her hangover and mood change had given her a spot more intelligence and insight than normal, or maybe this was how she acted whenever she wasn't happy… Alaska wasn't sure, but the words swam around her head as she turned back towards her team. Darwin seemed to be getting quite irritable with the giant Onix as his attacks struggled to hit, and Onix let out low grunts as the Primeape hit with more power than before.

    … but I think your just using them to cover up that you have no idea what your doing, only winning badges on flukes and simply causing some explosion or nearly killing your opponent whenever you come close to losing! Alaska hadn't thought much about what Chloe had said at the time, but now the words were coming back to her. Was she really prepared to take on more gyms when her Pokemon could not sort out their issues?

    "Alright!" Alaska shouted to the Pokemon, and suddenly they all fell silent. Paige and Butterfree fluttered down from the cave roof, while Nadia sat down obediently before Alaska. Frances and Bellsprout nervously made their way over as well, and Onix only had to slightly incline to be involved, though Darwin continued trying to Karate Chop his larger boulders. "DARWIN, YOU TOO!"

    "Ape Prime Prime Ape Ape…," Darwin muttered darkly under his breath, and then leapt forwards and landed with a thud next to them all, only startling Frances and Bellsprout more.

    "I think that this training session needs a bit more purpose!" Alaska said, smiling down at them all despite wanting to scream from the pain in her body. "So, I want you all to switch things up and focus on developing your moves! Battle someone different, see how it turns out!" The Pokemon looked around at each other, the confusion evident on their faces, and Alaska knew they need something to entice them. "Whichever team does the best will get… half of this muffin, and extra Pokemon food!" She smiled at them, and they smiled back, suddenly enticed.

    Alaska relaxed as the battles unfolded before her and Sandy: all the Pokemon began to work well together, using all their moves in a way that tested their skills and put each other on the spot. Paige seemed stunned that Bellsprout was able to hold her off, using Vine Whip to great effect, while Butterfree was having better success with her Special attacks against Frances, but the Paras was quick to fire Bullet Seed and Stun Spore to try and keep her away. Onix was alone, but seemed to enjoy using his attacks to destroy all the rocks in the nearby area, leaving Nadia to face off with Darwin. Alaska had been nervous about this at first, but the two seemed a good match up: Nadia had speed that stopped Darwin laying a single attack on her, yet her attacks weren't strong enough to harm the Primeape just yet. It was a lesson in balancing moves and testing skills, and Alaska was satisfied that it was going well.

    "Smart idea," Sandy said alongside, passing over an apple, more food taken from the Pokemon Center. "I think my team needs some training as well, not that we really need it: I am not planning on facing any gym leaders any time soon."

    "Why catch more than one Pokemon?" Alaska asked, the question coming out before it had been properly thought over. Alaska paused after the words came out, not sure how to continue, but Sandy was giving her a look and she thought it best to continue. "I just mean… if you aren't battling any gyms, and you are just enjoying yourself like you said, why did you need to catch Onix and Bellsprout?" She knew as she spoke that the words would seem hurtful, and a look crossed Sandy's eyes that proved her right: the blonde stared sadly down at the rock before them, something starting to settle into her eyes that didn't look right…

    "Sandy, I –," Alaska began, ready to apologize for being so stupid, but she before she could finish her sentence, a bang echoed throughout the cave. Silence fell as everyone tensed, and then a stalactite exploded several metres away. Sandy, Frances and Bellsprout jumped, and a second bang sounded.

    "GET DOWN!" Alaska yelled, and she pushed Sandy forwards as a boulder next to them shattered. The Pokemon began to cry out as they fell to the floor, two more gunshots causing more rocks to break, sending chips of stone hurtling around them. Alaska's back spasmed from landing on the floor, but she had to look up and try and see who was firing at them so they knew how to stop it.

    "This is ridiculous!" Alaska hissed. "We're barely five paragraphs into the day and already someone is trying to kill us!"

    "Paragraphs?" Sandy asked.

    "I meant minutes!" Alaska growled, though she was too annoyed to care what she said: it seemed that her life was on constant replay, every day someone setting out to murder her. She didn't seem to have any control in her life anymore or on what happened, and Alaska was certain that there was someone else out there, sending all these people to murder her just for their entertainment.

    "Onix, use Rock Tomb to try and protect us!" Sandy screamed.

    "OOONNNNNN!" The Rock Snake roared. He swung his tail around, smashing it into the ground and into boulders nearby, and tossed them all up into the air. They arced over his head as gracefully as if made of paper rather than stone, and than landed, piled high like a pyramid, before them with enough force to send dust trickling from the roof. The gunshots sounded again, but now the Rock Tomb was holding them off, giving them a chance to breathe.

    "We need to find an exit and get the hell out of this place!" Alaska shouted, pushing her cane to the ground and trying to get back to her feet. "Paige, Butterfree, you two should fly low and try and find something, and then come back to us as quickly as possible! We'll try and hold this guy off!" A chorus of 'Pidge' and 'Freee' came as a response, and the two friends began to flutter their wings and get ready to move. Alaska turned to watch them leave, hoping that any exit was nearby, but gasped as she saw something coming towards them: a flashlight, moving around rapidly as if the holder was searching for something in particular.

    "There's someone else coming!" Alaska whispered to the others, and Sandy let out a nervous whimper. "Darwin, get over their and use Karate Chop!" Darwin nodded, the Primeape eager for some action, and he hopped forwards, fists out and ready to attack. He was just passing Alaska when the gunshots began to sound again, and she looked around nervously to see where they were going. However, a second set of gunshots were being fired, but none of them were coming their way.

    "That person is trying to help us!" Sandy gasped intensely in Alaska's ear, pointing at the person with the flashlight: the light was showing the person was firing clearly towards the other shooter, though Alaska wasn't sure if they were both missing or someone was coming to their rescue.

    "You lot, get moving!" The person with the flashlight yelled, his voice clearly masculine. There were two flashes of red on either side, illuminating the speaker as being cloaked, his face cast in shadow, and then his Pokemon rose up. Alaska gasped in shock as a Charizard formed only a few metres away, the fire on his tail casting shadows across the dimly lit cave, wings that were wide but torn sending dust and stones hurtling up into the air. The Flame Pokemon roared, and a jet of flame was fired over their heads and towards the shooter.

    "Vaporeon Vap Vap Poreee!" Alaska had been so distracted by the sudden appearance of a Charizard that she didn't notice another Pokemon approach them, though she instantly recognized the shimmering blue Pokemon to be Vaporeon, one of Eevee's evolutions. "Vaporeeee, Vap Vapor!" She said, beckoning them forwards with her finned tail, and though Alaska was deeply confused by the past few minutes, she knew getting a move on would be the best idea.

    "Come on everyone!" Alaska yelled, and she led them forwards, hobbling after Vaporeon. Paige, Butterfree and Darwin were around her, and she could hear Sandy sticking with the others behind. The Vaporeon skirted behind a large, flat area of land that seemed to have simply risen out of the ground, and the group followed. There was a larger circle of light ahead, and Alaska gasped as she realized it was the exact, right behind them this entire time. She felt stupid, but had more important things to worry about as another Flamethrower lit up the cave.

    "Good job Vaporeon, now you need to get them out of here! Charizard and I will join you all in a minute!" Alaska looked towards the speaker, the voice seeming to emit from the shadows, but she realized it was their mysterious saviour, his flashlight now off and his body hidden by the dark clothes he was wearing. Sandy still hadn't joined them, and Alaska wanted to make sure they were alright, but the identity of the person before them was bothering her.

    "Excuse me, but who are you exactly?" Alaska hissed as the man made to move. "I don't just blindly follow after people, especially not people with guns and a Charizard that looks like it just battled against some weird Glass Pokemon! Give me one good reason why I should follow after you!" The person turned back towards her, and Alaska could see his eyes staring out at her through the darkness. For some reason, she was expecting him to say some snappy one liner or simply give her a look that showed what he meant, but was stunned when he pulled his gun out and pointed it towards her, leaning closely so she could see his slick smile and black hair hanging messily over his eyes.

    "You're going to go after Vaporeon here because my name is Trevor Archer, and I can't save your life or save the world unless you leave right now, and I am prepared to do anything it takes to make that happen," he purred, at the exact moment as a very manly scream echoed around the cave, and Alaska decided in that moment that maybe following Vaporeon wasn't such a bad idea after all.

    I hope you all enjoyed the little jab I wrote in against myself there :P The series is starting to tie in to the wider GalacticVerse now, and if you haven't read The Moral Highground, then feel free to check out Trevor's earlier adventures and see just how he got here ;)

  3. #153
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 39

    Chapter Forty: An Arrow of Hot and Shock

    Without another argument, Alaska made for the door, moving as fast as her busted leg would allow. Trevor Archer's Vaporeon lunged ahead of them, leading the safest path towards the safest exit. Charizard's roar mixed with gunshots behind her, though it sounded very one sided now, and Alaska could only imagine what would happen to the person who fired at them.

    A million questions were buzzing around Alaska's head now, though she had no idea what to make of the situation. She knew it would have to be someone connected to Gideon or Amanda, but the big question was the appearance of the mysterious Trevor Archer who had come to their rescue. Alaska had no idea who the man was, having only seen a hint of his face, but he had the general appearance of a quite stereotypical spy. Was he connected to Oak, Bill, Red, someone like that, or did was he someone that just happened to be passing by and decided to save them? But Alaska knew from what he had said that he wasn't just a stranger, and wondered who had sent him after her and how long he had been following.

    "Vapor Vap," Vaporeon called as they neared the next. The white sunshine was nearly blinding, and Alaska used her free hand to shield her eyes. The light was turning the stones and boulders around them into glowing spectacles, making them shine with beauty, and Alaska could hear noises that weren't just her echoing footsteps coming from the exit.

    "Let's get the hell out of this place and never come back!" She shouted, and Paige, Darwin and Butterfree cheered around her as they rushed across the last stretch of rock and broke out from the darkness and into the light.

    Route 10 seemed like the most beautiful thing in the world, even though it looked the same as everywhere else. It was enclosed by sheer cliffs, leaving only a narrow, sloping and unstable path before them. There were only thin patches of grass around, and areas of the path suddenly turned to ledges. Boulders and small rock formations were scattered everywhere, with a large section of jagged rocks nearly splitting the route ahead in two, and a light breeze was whipping dust up into the air. However, the path was empty, and Alaska felt relief that there was a chance of escape.

    "Oh my god, can people please stop shooting at us!" Sandy wailed as she burst out of the exit, nearly knocking Alaska over. "One minute, we're having a wonderful time and nothing's going wrong for the first time in days, and the next some random is trying to kill us and another random wants to save us! Can't we just meet some random who just wants to give us tea and biscuits?"

    "My mother always told me never to accept anything from strangers: do randoms fall under that category?" Alaska asked with a smile, and Paige giggled as Sandy glared back at her. Charizard roared again behind them, and Alaska turned back, seeing a flash of fire inside the cave that was more like a candle flame than a Flamethrower. Trevor Archer was still a mystery, but Alaska was certain he was on their side, even if his intentions and methods were dodgy: if he wanted them dead, than he easily could have arranged his Vaporeon to attack, but the … Pokemon was sitting calmly a metre away, ignoring Darwin as he danced around her, trying to coax her into battling. Alaska smiled at her, and was thinking about asking her something when she felt a tap on her shoulder, and found Sandy standing right beside her, bloodshot eyes staring intensely at Alaska.

    "Should we get a move on before this guy comes back?" She whispered, her eyes flickering towards Vaporeon, and Alaska wondered if Sandy expected the Water type to lunge at them. "He seems just a bit… dodgy…"

    "I agree, but he isn't the dodgy guy that's shooting at us," Alaska replied in equally hushed tones, "and I want to know what's going on: if there's another party following us, I want to find out who it is." Sandy sighed and gave a reluctant nod, and Alaska felt sorry for her as her friend backed away: she had never signed up for any of this, and Alaska knew that she was only getting to get more hurt the deeper they got involved in whatever was going on in Kanto. Alaska had anticipated it and could handle the pain, but she wasn't sure if Sandy would be able to cope with it much longer, especially if Alaska lingered on trying to solve the situation.

    But all thoughts of Sandy left Alaska's mind as footsteps sounded behind them. Everyone turned as Trevor began to emerge from the darkness, his body beginning to come into shape as the light caught him. He was average height, taller than Alaska but not by a great deal. He was wearing a black coat that hide the rest of his clothing, with a matching fedora hat resting on his head. His hair was black or brown, Alaska couldn't quite tell, but his skin was lightly tanned, the same colour as the dusty road around them.

    "Sorry about that, but I am afraid I have to be forceful at times," Trevor said as he approached them, stepping casually over Onix's long tail as it stood in his way. He flashed Alaska and Sandy a smile, and the two girls exchanged silent giggles, unable to control themselves: their mysterious saviour was actually quite handsome, and Alaska felt herself swooning over his perfect smile, shining eyes and toned cheekbones.

    "I bet you two are quite confused about all of this," Trevor said, ignoring their obvious attraction as if he got it all the time. "I am sure you will not be surprised to know I have been following you for some time." Sandy gasped, ruining his theory, but Alaska simply felt her giddiness disappear as she gave a brief nod: everyone seemed to be following them around these days, so it seemed no surprise to find someone else had an interest in their lives.

    "We've got about a million people watching our every move, so I think I can handle there being a million and one," Alaska replied with a false smile. "My only question is who you are exactly and who you are working for." Trevor smiled back at her, and Alaska wondered if he was trying to break down her defences with his smile.

    "You have so many questions, yet you haven't even thanked me for saving your life back there!" He said, and laughed at his own joke, but Alaska merely gave him a steely glare.

    "Maybe I'll thank you once I know you aren't truly trying to kill me," she replied, and Trevor stopped laughing, though Paige gave a defiant 'HA!' and stared angrily at him, making Alaska smile slightly. Their saviour sighed, the joy and joking fading away as quickly as it appeared, and when he looked back at Alaska his face had become serious: no smile, no laughter, even his eyes and skin seemed darker and moodier as he stared back at her.

    "I can't tell you everything just yet, but I do not work for Gideon, I do not work for anyone involved with Indigo Dreams, and I do not for any 'Kanto Elites', as you so frequently refer to them as," Trevor explained, quickly and seriously. "I work for an organisation that fights for the good of all the regions and the people and Pokemon that live there, but we are separate to other groups such as the Pokemon League, Contest Boards and Pokemon Research Groups. And unfortunately for you, you have become involved in something a lot bigger than anyone you ever anticipated, and it has gotten too far out of control for even us to handle.

    "My job is to protect you from the two parties that wish to harm you and to get you to safety. It is in the belief of our organisation that neither group will stop until you have been killed and eliminated as a threat, and that means you must be saved for the future of the Kanto region, and the rest of the world." Trevor stopped talking so abruptly that Alaska did a double take, wondering if something had gone wrong with her hearing. However, Trevor had suddenly turned around, and Alaska looked over to see his Charizard was stomping his way out of the Rock Tunnel. In the light, his scarred and cut wings were more evident, and it was easy to tell that the Flame Pokemon had suffered a tough life. Alaska wondered if this was as a result from Trevor's work with whatever his group was, and didn't feel particularly reassured by this site.

    "Did you dispose of him?" Trevor asked once Charizard was outside, and the Fire-Flying type gave a short nod before glaring around at all of the Pokemon. Alaska turned to see all of them cowering slightly in fear, including Darwin, who had stopped dancing and now stood behind Vaporeon in complete shock.

    "It is time to move," Trevor said, and at his words, both of his Pokemon suddenly moved: Alaska watched as Vaporeon leapt backwards behind Darwin and began to run down the sloping path ahead of them, and she turned around in time to see Charizard flap his wings, sending dust into everyone's eyes, and take flight into the skies above. "They are going to go ahead and watch us to make sure the path is clear. There is a chance that more people could be working with that man, and we need to be ready in case more people come after us. Please bring back some of your Pokemon and keep the ones that could be most useful when it comes to a first defence."

    "Easy enough," Alaska said with a smile, and she brought Darwin back before the Primeape knew what had hit him. She couldn't trust him in a situation like this, and it was best to keep him out of the way. As Sandy brought back Butterfree and Bellsprout, Alaska looked at her three remaining Pokemon. Nadia was sitting loyally beside her, but the small Nidoran would be no match for bullets and explosions. "I know you want to help Nadia, but I think you should sit this one out, is that alright?"

    "Ran Nido," she replied with a nod, but something sad appeared in her eyes, and Alaska bent down and pulled her into a hug before sending her back inside her ball. Alaska turned back towards Paige and Frances: keeping the Pidgeotto was obvious, but Frances was cowering slightly on the ground, shaking at the very idea of being kept. Alaska looked down at her sadly, wishing she could be braver, and, thinking of what Sandy had said what seemed like an hour ago, knew what she had to do.

    "Come on, your both coming with me," she said, and scooped the pair up. Frances looked petrified, but Alaska smiled warmly and stroked her back. "I know you're scared, but I need you to be strong. I know you're powerful and I know you can defeat any foe that comes your way, so I just need to trust me on this one: you can overcome your fears and be the strongest, bravest Paras there is!" Frances only nodded, though seemed more frightened than ever and burrowed herself into Alaska's free arm. Alaska sighed, but turned back towards Sandy and Trevor, who were talking about Onix as he swivelled around them.

    "Ready?" Trevor asked, and both girls, Paige and Onix nodded. "Excellent then. Now, let's head to Lavender Town. There's someone we need to meet before we head on our way."

    A bit of an uneventful chapter, but its setting up the rest of the very exciting arc, and the next chapter would have been very long otherwise.

  4. #154
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 40

    My attempts to make things go quickly have been thwarted by school work, but the next two should come by fast enough

    Chapter Forty One: It Smells Like Lavender… And Death

    For nearly an hour they made their way down the path towards Lavender Town. Alaska's leg and back felt like shattered glass and she was ready to collapse by the time they made it near the bottom of the slope. They remained in silence the whole way down: Sandy due to her headache that continued to throb, while Trevor seemed to be ignoring them as he led the way, possibly a way to avoid answering any questions. Alaska noticed he had his hands inside his coat, and wondered if they were clasped around weapons, ready to protect them when the time came.

    The Pokemon were silent as well: Alaska noticed Frances because the Paras was still cowering in her one good arm, but it was as if the others had disappeared. Charizard and Paige both flown out of sight and Vaporeon had gone so far ahead that she was only a blue blur in the distance. Onix was the only one that remained nearby, circling around them with his body grinding against the ground, but otherwise he made no intentional noise. Alaska sometimes wondered what her Pokemon thought about when they were silent, and she sometimes concluded that they shared the same queries and fears she had about the world.

    As they walked, a million different thoughts swirled around inside Alaska's head. So many new questions had formed with very few answers that it was hard to try and think about everything at once: Alaska thought about Gideon, about Amanda and Chloe, Damian and Lachlan, Latios and Suicune, the person that paid for the power plant, the generator explosion, the bar fight, about what Sandy had said, about what Trevor had said. Everything was starting to become quite confusing, and all Alaska truly wanted at the moment was answers to the questions that were remaining floating high above her.

    "We will get our first view of Lavender in a second," Trevor called out, shattering the silence so suddenly that it made Alaska, Sandy and Frances all jump, pushing all of Alaska's thoughts from her mind. "You can rest those pretty legs of yours in a minute," Trevor added, staring down at Alaska and then looking back up with a wink and a smile. Sandy turned towards Alaska looked stunned, and mouthed 'Hot' at her before waving a hand against her flustered face. Alaska smiled at this, but she was not attracted to their mysterious saviour: Trevor seemed to have his own agenda, and Alaska was not about to put her trust in someone as seemingly dodgy as him.

    But now that he had said it, Alaska was on the lookout for Lavender Town, and as they manoeuvred around a giant boulder resting before them, the town suddenly appeared before them.

    Alaska's instant impression was that Lavender was small: it was enclosed by mountain faces and cliffs on all four sides, with only three paths in and out of the simple square of land left. She could see only around three dozen houses scattered around the town, with a Pokemon Center and PokeMart visible in the middle, though even from afar it was clear they were quite small. It wasn't a visually striking town like Cerulean or Vermillion, and the main beauty was the hint of blue ocean that lay to the south.

    There were only two buildings there that were different to anything Alaska had seen before, both tucked away in the eastern corner of the town even though they seemed to be the town's centrepieces. One was a long and flat building, only two storeys high and painted lemon. It seemed like it might be the town hall or a conference building, though it was a random place for both things. The second building was far more recognisable, and was one Alaska had actually seen on television: the Kanto Radio Tower was several storeys high and fitted nicely into its corner as if it had been slotted there. The paint job was a dull mix of brown, grey and the same lemony shade of yellow, but it was topped with a giant radio mast that was around the same size of Trevor's Charizard. Alaska rarely listened to the radio, but the building regularly appeared on the news and in magazines, some referring to it as a 'Kanto Icon', though Alaska could only think of it as a bland piece of technology in a fairly old fashioned looking town.

    Alaska felt a pang of sorrow for the town as they got nearer to it. It was sheltered from the rest of the region, the sort of place you would only pass through rather than linger in unless you were a travelling trainer. With the cliffs surrounding it, looming over from all sides and casting huge shadows everywhere, it made Alaska think the residents were trapped behind giant stone barriers, something she was becoming all too familiar with.

    "I swear my headache is getting worse," Sandy groaned as they began to pass through the northern entrance to the town. "Can we please find somewhere to sit down? I think I might throw up."

    "We will go to the Pokemon Center once we have met with my colleague," Trevor responded. Alaska wondered who the colleague was, but her head was starting to hurt as well and decided not to bother with thinking for the time being. She noticed that Vaporeon was now moving alongside Trevor now that they were moving within the town's limits, and Alaska glanced back to check on the other Pokemon. Onix had been forced to move behind them due to the entrance they were taking, and Alaska felt less reassured without his large body protecting them from danger. Paige was flying around his head, and she looked down at Alaska with a face that basically said 'What the hell is going on here?' Alaska shrugged, and Paige rolled her eyes: both of them were confused about what was happening at the moment, and both of them were ready to give up.

    "So, have either of you ever been inside the Radio Tower before?" Trevor asked as they began to move to the left and towards the tallest building around for miles. Alaska and Sandy both shook their heads, though Alaska was keeping her eye on the town. It seemed like there might be more houses here than she expected, or possibly left, Alaska couldn't properly tell. The houses all seemed still and silent, no life moving anywhere even though it was midday. Only the breeze moved throughout the town, a breeze that seemed to have followed them down the valley and gotten worse as it moved. Alaska watched as it blew through the only change in colour within the stony walls: rows of pink flowers stood orderly around the lemon coloured building, a beautiful sight in a town so lacking of nature, yet the flowers seemed to be struggling against the wind as if they were nearing the end of life.

    "What is that building?" Alaska asked, and suddenly realised that Trevor had been talking, yet she had taken none of his words in, her thoughts of the town her only priority.

    "The yellowy one?" Trevor said, turning his head. "It is The House of Memories, a Pokemon graveyard. They wanted to replace the Pokemon Tower, the old one that was destroyed five years ago, but it was seen as too costly for the town and the government at the time and the two storey building was done instead, and the radio station brought the land."

    "That building looks happy but sad at the same time," Sandy said, staring towards the graveyard. "Why would they paint a graveyard such a happy colour, and why would you put it in the middle of a town? That is just so sad… I feel sorry for all those poor Pokemon… Wait, what sort of Pokemon are buried there?" Sandy asked suddenly, the tone in her voice suddenly becoming serious.

    "Every Pokemon from the Kanto Region ends up here at first, but you can come and collect them to do whatever you want to do with them," Trevor explained. "Now, we're running behind schedule so let's just get a move along, alright?" He headed towards the Radio Tower, the glass doors sliding open as he approached, but Alaska, Sandy and their Pokemon remained where they were. Alaska stared at Sandy as the blonde focussed upon the graveyard. Her eyes began to swell up, her pupils growing as if zoning in on something Alaska hadn't noticed. There was a sadness in them Alaska had never seen, and she wondered what was causing this reaction. She turned towards the graveyard, wondering why such a pitiful place was used to remember long lost Pokemon. A grand tower was what the departed souls of Pokemon needed, not a disrespectful tombstone painted to disguise the death within. It was no wonder Lavender seemed so dead, and she wondered if the graveyard was having this dreary effect on the town.

    "Pidge Pidge!" Alaska turned at Paige's cry, but turned into a slap of her wing. She stumbled backwards, struggling to remain upright on her leg, and turned angrily towards her Pokemon. "Pidgey Otto Pidge!" Paige said hysterically, and flew towards the glass doors before Alaska could react. She followed after and saw that Sandy was following quickly after Trevor. Onix and Charizard had apparently gone back inside their PokeBalls, leaving only Paige and Frances out.

    "Ready to go inside?" Alaska mumbled to Frances, staring up towards the radio mast, wondering what was waiting for them inside. The Paras merely whimpered in her arms, and Alaska stroked her with her free hand. "I hope it isn't something frightening either," Alaska said, and with a sigh she followed Sandy and Paige through the glass doors.

    Whilst she wasn't expecting a lot, Alaska wouldn't have been surprised to see photographers waiting by the elevators as some big music star left the building, with workers trying to move their way past screaming fans, like she had seen in the movies. So she was a bit stunned to find the reception was as empty as the rest of the town: it was very flash, with different coloured glass ornaments on oddly shaped tables, surrounding by curving red chairs that looked more like a geometric puzzle than a seat. A glass reception desk was to the side, surrounded by shelves of awards, gold and silver discs inside glass cases and various photographs. A young blonde woman was answering the phones and glanced up at their arrival, but if she wasn't there, Alaska thought it would be a piece of cake to storm the building.

    "Everyone is probably on their lunch break, that'll make things easier," Trevor said, though it seemed more to himself than to them. Alaska noted Vaporeon was still alongside, so it seemed fine for her to keep both her Pokemon out. Trevor kept them moving towards a series of elevators at the end of the hall, and the metal doors slid open to an already waiting lift.

    "If you see anyone that I don't speak to first, ignore them," Trevor said once the six of them were inside and the doors had slid closed. The lift began to move straight away, and Alaska felt unpleasant being trapped inside a small metal box with three Pokemon and a mysterious man. She wondered, as always, what his comment meant, but thought it was best to save the questions for later. "If we are in luck, my colleague will be waiting for us and we can get out of here quickly. I don't like being exposed like this."

    "How are we exposed?" Alaska scoffed. "You saw the reception, no one was down there!"

    "Which means they are either on lunch or all too busy working up here," Trevor hissed back in reply. "Besides, we the fact everyone that wants to kill you can read your blog, don't you think there are other ways people could watch us?" He pointed to the ceiling at this, and Sandy gasped intensely as they spied a camera pointing out from the corner of the lift. Alaska felt even worse to think all of her movements were being tracked, but the lift came to a smooth halt with a light ping above them.

    "Stay behind me and move quickly," Trevor said, his hands disappearing back inside his cloak, and he moved as soon as the doors opened. Alaska, Sandy and Paige all exchanged smiles and sighs while Frances quivered between them, and they quickly followed out to see what was going on.

    There were more people up here, though none of them seemed to notice or care as the group emerged from the elevator. The people were mostly young to middle aged, their clothing quite casual to match the brightly painted and decorated walls and hallways around them. Laughter emerged from one room quite close to the elevator, and Alaska could see through a window that is a trio of young men, the whiteboard behind them implying there were planning a show. Yet no one was leaping out to try and kill them like Trevor had made it seem, and in fact no one said anything at all. Alaska only caught a second receptionist glancing towards them as she left her desk, but otherwise it was as if they were ghosts moving through the hallways.

    "You'd someone would notice a dodgy looking bloke and three Pokemon moving outside their office," Alaska muttered to Paige, who replied with a simple nod, and she began to wonder if something was waiting for them. The fact they were getting so obviously ignored was strange, and Alaska wanted to know what they were getting themselves into.

    "Get in here, and be very quiet," Trevor said suddenly, swivelling around and opening up a simple oak door. Vaporeon slid inside first, and Sandy obediently walked in. Alaska knew better than to make a scene, though her eyes met Trevor's as she passed by, trying to find an emotion that would hint at what was inside, but he merely flashed a smile back and followed in after. Alaska grumbled to herself and looked around, though was surprised to see the room only contained a desk and a number of chairs. No one else was in there except for them, and the only strange feature to be found was the fact the walls appeared to be wavy.

    "What is this room?" Sandy asked. "These walls look like the ones in movie theatres!"

    "Just take a seat," Trevor said, grabbing a remote from the head of the table and pointing it to the wall to the right of the door. It was the only one that didn't look wavy, instead appearing to be made of black glass for the most of it, but at the signal of Trevor's remote, the glass began to shimmer, the colour changing from black to clear. The next room over appeared before them, and Alaska quickly realised it was a radio studio: a large table in the middle of the room had a series of computers and microphones scattered across it, with chairs to seat about four hosts. Only one person was in there, their back facing them with only long brown hair visible.

    "Is this your colleague?" Alaska asked, but Trevor only smiled at her as he pressed another button. A whirr and a buzz of static filled the room, but a feminine voice quickly became audible, and Alaska knew it was the person in the next room.

    "Thanks for your call James, and I hope your Torkoal gets better. That was our last question for this week, as we have sadly run out of time. Join me next week for another new broadcast of Daisy's Tips where we will be discussing ways to prepare your Pokemon for the Pokeathlon with help from some surprise guests, and I will answer more of your questions. Until next time, remember to treat all your Pokemon with care and consideration and take my advice today to heart! Bye everyone!"

    The woman in the next room took her headphones off as a musical chime began to play, but Trevor turned it off after only a few seconds. Alaska suddenly became on edge: the woman was moving towards a door, and it was likely she would soon be with them. Alaska was expecting answers, and was so worried and excited that she could barely focus, but her head, back and leg were searing with pain, and she made towards the nearest chair, unable to stand much longer.

    But as she lowered herself down, the entire building began to shake. Paige squawked and Frances cried out as the building lurched, causing Alaska to miss her chair and collapse to the floor. Sirens began to wail throughout the building and warnings and instructions came across the speakers.

    "Fuck, what the hell is going on?" Trevor hissed angrily, and he flung the door open. Alaska couldn't see him go as her back had seized up, leaving her trapped on the floor with a table wobbling right next to her and a Paras quivering on her chest. Shouts sounded from outside, and Paige was flying frantically overhead. Alaska sighed as she shut her eyes, trying to block out the pain spreading through her body: it felt as if she had become paralyzed, and realised with an uncomfortable jolt that she couldn't feel her damaged leg. Alaska should have been worried, but only questions filled her mind as they always did, and somehow they override the pain.

    Lavender had been a ghost town when they entered the tower, so what had happened in the past five minutes to change things so drastically?

    Tune in next time for a surprising change in story telling ;)

  5. #155
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 41

    Interlude Eight: Meanwhile…

    Five minutes earlier…

    Charlotte had expected a tough battle, but Gideon was proving a tougher opponent than the norm.

    It should have been easy: Charlotte had spent the last two thousand years following after people in silence, sneaking up behind them and only materialising when she wanted to scare them or had them right where she wanted them. The ghost had hidden in the shadows as Gideon entered the home of her fellow departed. Charlotte rarely came in the House of Memories, still disgusted with how horribly the dead Pokemon had been treated, but was able to restrain her anger in order to face off with Gideon.

    The scientist was wearing all black, the outfit someone wore when trying to hide something, yet it made them stick out more than anything else. Charlotte waited for several hours until he finally arrived, waiting until he had passed through the entrance before moving into the Hall itself before making after him.

    Beyond the doors was a wide expanse of small grey boxes in systematic rows, encased by bright walls the colour of sunshine in attempts to make the mass tomb of thousands of Pokemon seem happy. Gideon's footsteps echoed in the silent and wide room, and they easily masked any noise Charlotte might make as she silently and invisibly followed behind him, a shadow, a shimmer, following each and every step he made. Charlotte could feel the power of her spell book, and knew exactly where it was hidden. The only question now was if Gideon knew the answer, and how he planned on getting it if he did.

    Gideon turned suddenly into a row, and Charlotte smiled to herself: he was several rows away from the one where her book was hidden, and was glad that he had gotten things wrong. She waited at the end of the row as Gideon made his way down, pausing around the halfway mark and turning towards a coffin.

    Don't tell me he's here to mourn, Charlotte thought with an indignant snort. She had never imagined Gideon to have any sort of emotions, and was actually rather amused at the idea. Putting her duty to the side for a moment, Charlotte floated briskly down the row to appear by his side, peering over his shoulder at the little grey box. Now would be the perfect time to stop him, Charlotte pondered deviously, and a hundred spells rushed through her mind as she thought of what to do to him. But as she began to settle on one, there was a click, and Charlotte froze as she felt something pass through where her stomach had once been.

    "Hello Charlotte. It's been a while," Gideon purred, a slight laugh in his voice. Charlotte gasped to herself, confused and shocked that he had caught her, but before she could do anything else, a blast of energy was fired through her body. Charlotte let out a scream that she couldn't even hear, her body blasted apart like exploding sand, feeling all of her particles moving across the entire hall put unable to control them. Pain seared throughout her, and for a moment Charlotte thought back to the moment when she had died: that pain had been a thousand times more horrible and cruel than this, but this was one of the few things to come close in the past millennium.

    Only a few moments later, Charlotte reformed on the ground, a metre away from when she had just been. The grey boxes near her had been tipped over and scattered, causing ash to cover the white tiles beneath her. Gideon remained where he was, but as Charlotte looked up she saw he had turned around to face her: his body was still hiding by his black cloak, but his face stared out at her from beneath a head of oily black hair.

    "You'd think that someone that could see all the future had to offer would stop falling for the same tricks over and over again," Gideon hissed at her. Charlotte glared at him for a moment before staring towards the weapon in his hands. It looked like a normal handgun for the most part, but in the barrel was a large glass ball rather than an exit for the bullet, surrounded by a curved glass circle that looked as if it was trying to swallow the ball.

    "Like my latest gadget?" Gideon asked. "I heard about what happened to you at Solaceon Town a few years ago, and when I learnt that your book was here, I had a feeling you'd be waiting to protect it and thought I would equip myself. This weapon, as you may have realised, has the power to fire Ghost Energy, and you have successfully proven that it can blow you apart." Gideon laughed to himself, and Charlotte noted how unhinged and deranged it made him seem. She had begun to recover from her attack and was finally able to focus on him: Gideon looked thin and pale, a sickly glow around his skin that made him look almost dead. He had never been overly attractive, but thinking back to when they had last seen each other, Charlotte could clearly note deterioration in his health. But there were more important things for her to focus on right, and Charlotte quickly morphed through the space around them, appearing directly behind Gideon and placing her hands around his head.

    "I want to know how you learnt my book was here," she hissed, "and you'd better tell me the truth or I will melt your brain!" Gideon smirked and stepped forwards, spinning around and raising his gun.

    "I will simply strike you again if you try and hurt me," he purred. Charlotte stared down at the weapon and began to smile herself.

    "You really want to play this game with me?" She laughed. It echoed throughout the hall, and with a click of her fingers it began to magnify and multiply, so it seemed like hundreds of people were laughing at different volumes and tones. Gideon looked around in confusion, and gave Charlotte the opportunity to clap her hands together and push them forwards. The scientist yelled out as a gust of wind blew him backwards, tearing his cloak open and sending him crashing through three rows of deceased Pokemon. Charlotte waved her hands across the piles of ash, and was disgusted at herself for performing such an action, but knew that drastic measures had to be taken against Gideon. The scientist cried out as the ash began to circle around her, engulfing his body and leaving him trapped behind a grey veil.

    "I want answers!" Charlotte yelled, keeping a fist in mid air to leave the ash to spin. "How did you learn my book was here, and what do you plan to use it for?" But before she could get an answer, Charlotte noticed a flash of black behind the ash, and quickly spun away. The ash fell to the ground as a black beam was fired, firing off towards the back wall and exploding. Charlotte cursed and spiralled back towards Gideon, who was marching towards her with his gun up high. Charlotte raised both her hands and fired a bolt of electricity to match the Ghost Energy, and the two beams met each other in the middle. A shockwave that resembled a Beedrill was unleashed, and Charlotte was unable to stop herself from being blown backwards as easily as a plastic bag in the wind. The ghost stopped herself before she reached the back wall, but found Gideon had moved forwards, easily stepping over the graves and moving closer to the row where she had hidden the book.

    "Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte… it is about time you learnt you are not as clever or as powerful as you'd like to believe," Gideon hissed, his tone a lot darker that it was a minute earlier. Charlotte noted the stained white shirt he was wearing beneath his cloak and his torn pants, and she could only wonder how well his plan was going if he looked like this. "You first hid your precious book in a collapsible tower with the hope it would be taken, only for it to backfire by several times. You thought hiding it in plain sight would be better, but look at how well that worked for you at Pewter. And now you thought you'd combine your plans together: hide it with a spell but in plain sight. Very smart, actually, but the problem with you Charlotte is that you think your smarter than you really are. Do you know that your book gives off a special sort of energy, and did you know I kept all my readings around it so I would always be able to find it by simple searching for the right amount of energy?" At this, Gideon pulled a small device that resembled a smart phone, and Charlotte was stunned to see that an intense orange light was flashing across the screen. "This a smaller version of my monitoring program. That light means I am very close to the energy source, and you may notice there are red flickers: this means I am only a few centimetres away."

    "Don't even think about it," Charlotte hissed, her hands crackling with lightning. She could see Gideon's eyes turning towards the row where her book was hidden, and the ghost nervously but briefly eyed the exact grave that stood above it. There was no way Gideon would be able to get to it even with magic, but Charlotte would not take any chances.

    "Now, onto your second question," Gideon said, stepping forwards and raising his Ghost Gun up, "what am I planning on doing? Again, I expected better from someone that can see the future. Surely you know exactly what I am planning on doing, don't you?" Charlotte gave a reluctant nod, trying to keep him talking while she thought of a plan to stop him. "If you know what I plan on doing, why don't you stop me then?"

    "I do not know your entire plan, I only have a broad idea of what you hope to achieve," Charlotte hissed back. "I have a feeling we've had this conversation before, so I am not going to go into details. Just know that I will stop you from achieving it!" Gideon smirked, and he moved forwards again. A large beep began to emit from his scanning device, and Charlotte gasped to see he was already by the right grave.

    "We'll see about that Charlotte," the scientist purred, putting his phone away and pointing his gun towards the grave, black energy began to form around the glass ball. "You and Arceus have held the power in this world for far too long. It is about time something turned things around. And before you stop me Charlotte, how exactly would you feel if I upset the balance of your love's world to achieve my goals?" Gideon flashed her smile, and for a second Charlotte was thrown: she had not seen any harm coming to Giratina, not for a few more years, and was horrified at the idea. Unfortunately, the distraction was all Gideon needed. He pulled the trigger, and a black beam was fired towards the grave. It was blown apart, showering the scientist with dust, and the entire House of Memories began to shake. Charlotte quickly recovered, and she knew she had to stop the scientist from getting hold of her book.

    "YOU WILL NOT HARM ANYONE!" The ghost roared, and she summoned her own Ghost Energy together into her palms. Without thinking, Charlotte fired a black beam of swirling wind and energy towards the open grave. She expected it to overpower Gideon's feeble weapon, but was stunned when a giant black flash rose out instead. Charlotte had to shut her eyes and shield her ears from a series of ghostly screams out around her, and was then thrust backwards by a powerful explosion. Charlotte altered her form to stop herself being forced to phase through the wall, and felt her body hit the back wall, which seemed to be shaking. A siren began to wail over the screaming, and there was the sound of things falling and crashing that sounded far away, but Charlotte knew it was happy nearby.

    The black flash and screams faded after only a few seconds, and Charlotte opened her eyes to a very different world. A crater had formed only a few metres in front of her, and it seemed as if an entire Onix could fit inside. All the graves had been blasted aside, causing grey dust to hang in the air like dull snow. The walls to her left and right now had two large holes in them, and half of the roof had caved in, adding white plaster to the mix of particles hanging in the air. There was a slight rumbling above, and Charlotte could only imagine what damage the mix of Ghost Energy and charms she had placed around her book had done to the cliffs surrounding them.

    However, a bigger problem stood before her on the opposite side of the crater: Gideon was smiling at her, covered in dust and looking shaky, but smiling all the same as he clutched a thick, black leather bound book in his pale, bony hands, a book Charlotte had not seen since locking it away three years ago.

    "Thank you for helping me out," Gideon sneered, his voice quivering with either shock or excitement. "I knew your magic would be needed to break the spell, but I didn't think you would fall for it. I guess I will see you again when you try and put a stop to me, but I am warning you now: this time, you won't win." Gideon raised a finger to his watch and dramatically jabbed a button, causing it to glow.

    "NO!" Charlotte roared, and she fired a ball of black sparks at him. They quickly surrounded Gideon, making him looked pained, but his body began to glow all the same, and with a flash he was gone. Charlotte tipped her head back and screamed, a sound so horrible that any nearby human would be deafened, possibly even killed. More bits of the roof fell down, bringing a series of rocks down with them, and Charlotte angrily sent them flying to the opposite wall. As it was torn apart, the ghost began to think of a plan: her last spell would stop Gideon from getting far, but with his gun it was unlikely she could stop him on her own. Charlotte hated to admit it, but she was going to need help.

    And she knew just who to call.

    "Alaska Acevedo, it's time you meet your match," Charlotte purred to herself, and she exploded into a cloud of dust that quickly began to settle, falling amongst the ash, plaster and rocks like another dead thing in the world.

    A change in the usual structure seemed necessary for this arc to make sense, so I hope you all enjoyed this little shake up. Again, Charlotte's back story will be best told through Galactic and The First Warriors and won't really be elaborated on during this series, so read them if you want more details on her. And stay tuned for the new story

  6. #156
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude Eight

    Chapter Forty Two: A Surprise Around Every Corner

    Just when Alaska thought her day couldn't get any weirder, something materialized above her.

    The rumbling had stopped, but the searing pain throughout her body was still unbearable. Alaska was only managing to sit up thanks to Sandy's support. The sirens continued to wail and Paige was squawking at the ceiling irritably, showing her frustration at the sound, while Frances clung to Alaska's shirt in fear. Sandy was trying to say things to Alaska, but the sound was so overpowering that they had to shout to have a conversation, which only made Alaska's head hurt. She wanted nothing more but to get out of this building, but she had a feeling she'd seen Trevor and the brunette woman run past the door, with Vaporeon scuttling out after them, leaving them behind despite all he had promised. Alaska was ready to scream and yell, her day going just as badly as yesterday, when there was an explosion of white dust, and a see through girl appeared above them.

    "OH MY GOD, IT'S A GHOST!" Sandy screamed, and she leapt up in fright. Paige cried out as well, falling to the table with a thud as she had been stunned into silence, and even Frances stopped quivering, staring at the ghost with wide, terrified eyes, the presence of a ghost seemingly too much.

    "OH MY GOD, IT'S A BLONDE DITZ!" The transparent figure yelled back. "See, it isn't very nice to be judged straight away, is it? I could be here to help you or give you millions of dollars, but you just want to think I'm something scary, don't you?" Sandy simply stared at the girl with wide eyes, and her mouth opened and closed several times as if trying to save something, but than she turned to Alaska and gave her a look, edging her into speaking. But Alaska was just as stunned as her: the ghost of a girl, seemingly only around their age though wearing an old looking dress, was suddenly floating above them, right after what seemed like an earthquake had brought her crashing down. It was just a tad confusing, though, sadly, Alaska was becoming use to overly confusing things.

    "Are you here to help us or give us millions of dollars?" Alaska asked, not sure what else to say.

    "I have no money, no, though I can steal some if you want," the ghost replied. "Oddly no one has ever asked me to do that, so I usually just do it for fun," she added with a high pitched laugh. "And no, I'm not really here to help you… well, this will help you in the long run, but at the moment it will help me. All I need you to do is come with me and battle Gideon… I believe you know him?"

    "I do," Alaska hissed, and her confusion instantly turned to anger. She should have known Gideon would come back to piss her off eventually, but she wished it had been a time that actually suited her. Alaska wanted to end this war she had become embroiled in against her will, but whenever it seemed that Gideon was ready to face off, she was in an unfortunate state. Alaska was just as injured now as she had been at Vermillion, so how would she stop Gideon now?

    "We ha-have to w-w-wait for Trevor to come back!" Sandy said, her voice shaking as she tried to stand up to the ghost. The transparent figure turned towards her, for a second looking frightening and mad, but than began to laugh.

    "Trevor Archer and his little love pal have already left the building," she replied with a snort. "He thinks he can stop our mad scientist, but he has no idea what Gideon has just gotten his hands on. If you want to live, you need to come with me."

    "How can we trust you, we don't even know your name!" Alaska hissed. The ghost looked at her, an almost smug smirk crossing her face. Alaska had the impression that the ghost looked to stay in control, but she wouldn't let another thing, whether living or dead, try and control her life, and she stared back at her with all the fury she could muster.

    "You have balls, Alaska Acevedo," the ghost said, smiling in a proud way. "Very few of the girls I've had to deal with have had balls, and I don't think any of them had balls as big as yours."

    "This doesn't sound like a compliment."

    "Maybe it is, maybe it isn't," the ghost smirked. "My name is Charlotte, and I am two thousand and twenty seven years old, I think, I've stopped really keeping count. I like long walks on the beach, men that want to settle down, and I hate every single aging dickhead in this region as much as you do. I can give you the answers none of them will give you, and I can give you the knowledge you will need to stop Gideon should he escape today, but we are running out of time to stop him now." Alaska was severely tempted, and a smile crept onto her face, but before she could agree there was a tut alongside, and Alaska turned as Sandy got her feet.

    "I am s-s-sorry, but we need to have a q-quick chat… just for a mo," the blonde said with a forced smile before turning to Alaska, the smile fading and being replaced with a mixture of terror and shock. "Alaska, we shouldn't trust her!" Sandy hissed, bending low and whispering, but with her carrying voice it was hardly going to do anything. "She is dead for crying out loud! My mother always taught me never to trust dead people, and she seems the dodgiest of the lot!"

    "Why did your mother teach you that exactly? Did you live next to a zombie paradise growing up?"

    "Dead people, strangers, same thing!" Sandy scoffed, waving the point away. "The point is why do you suddenly trust this Charlotte? You've known her for five seconds and already you are giving her one of your tricky little evil plan smiles! She may be able to have you fight Gideon, but is that really a good thing?"

    "It is the best thing that could happen right now!" Alaska replied, not bothering with keeping her voice quiet and startling Frances. "I want to end this; I want this bloody battle I've gotten involved in over. Gideon has made my life hell and I have no idea why he is still out to get me, but if he wants a fight, than I will give him the fight of his life! Maybe then we can go back to a normal journey where we don't get shot at every day or have something explode near us!"

    "To be fair, yesterday's explosion was your fault," Sandy pointed out, but Alaska groaned and turned away to face Paige, hoping for some counsel. The Pidgeotto didn't look happy, but she gave Alaska a grumpy-faced nod, her own way of telling her to go ahead. Alaska felt more reassured and turned towards Charlotte, the dead girl floating above them airily as if she didn't care what happened next.

    "I want you to promise you will give me answers once this is over!" She shouted, her tone angrier than she expected. "Plus, for my friend's sake, I want you to give me a reason why I should trust you!" Charlotte smiled at her, and moved forwards so she was directly in her face, dead transparent eyes staring directly into Alaska's with more intensity than anything a real pair had ever given Alaska.

    "I promise," the ghost said simply, and she exploded into white dust. Alaska covered her mouth and shut her eyes, but found herself suddenly engulfed in a strange white glow. A blinding pale flash shone through her eyelids, and suddenly Alaska felt weightless as if she was falling through the open air, a feeling similar to what had happened with the water yesterday. Sandy, Paige and Frances were all making noise, and Alaska wondered if they were still near her or had moved far away, unable to tell by their voices as they seemingly fell through the earth.

    But barely a second later, Alaska opened her eyes to find herself staring at the Kanto Radio Tower. She was sitting on the lifeless ground in the same position as she had in the room a moment ago, but the world had completely changed. People were running past them towards Route 10, not seeming to notice or care what had just materialized before them, and Alaska preferred this than being stared at by strangers.

    "Pidge Pidge Pidge Otto Otto!" Paige squawked overhead, flying frantically around. Alaska looked up and saw she was staring over around, and knew the Pidgeotto was trying to find Gideon.

    "Alaska!" Sandy cried out to Alaska's left, and she turned to see the blonde running towards her through the crowd, her lavender dress covered with dust. "Alaska, we need to get out of here before we get trampled!"

    "We need to find Charlotte!" Alaska shouted back, but forced herself up to her feet anyway. It wasn't until she had properly straightened up though that Alaska realised that her back was no longer in pain. She pushed both feet into the ground and found there was no pain anywhere in her body: she had gone from lying in agony to a full and proper recovery in barely a minute.

    "My leg… my leg doesn't hurt!" Alaska cried to Sandy as she came near. "I'm better! I can walk properly again! Charlotte must have healed me!" She pulled Frances into a tight hug, making the Paras squirm but was not fussed: Alaska could face off with Gideon again, her body back to perfect health, and knew that she had to help Charlotte in return for this great deed.

    "That is fantastic Alaska, but we need to get moving!" Sandy yelled, and grabbed Alaska by her right arm and pulled her through the crowd. Alaska cast a glance around, trying to see where Charlotte had gone or if Trevor or Gideon was somewhere nearby, but instead she saw the House of Memories: it looked as if a bomb had gone off inside, destroying large sections of the walls and apparently damaging the cliffs surrounding it, rocks still falling from a sharp gash in the landscape. This explained the rumbling and possibly why a ghost was involved, but Alaska only had to add more questions to her already Harry Potter-length list, wondering what Gideon was doing with the dead.

    "Pidgey Otto Otto Pidge!" Paige swooped down, her wings whacking against the head of one of the receptionists but she was unfazed. Alaska pulled Sandy to a stop as Paige hovered above them, her wings flapping furiously and a stunned look on her face.

    "Have you seen something?" Alaska asked, and Paige only nodded before flying off towards the next street. Alaska quickly took off, towing Sandy with her, and they pushed through the crowds of startled radio workers. None of them seemed to be running the way Paige was flying, which Alaska didn't see as a reassuring sign, but if Gideon was near than it would at least mean no one would get hurt. Alaska clutched the shaking Frances to her chest, hoping that none of them got injured and wishing that this nightmare would finally end today.

    "Pidge Pidge!" Paige cried, stopping and turning towards them, pointing forwards with one wing down a narrow street. Alaska smiled and went to thank her, but a bolt of yellow electricity suddenly shot out from the street. Sandy screamed as Paige was hit, the Pidgeotto glowing as yellow as the sun for several seconds before falling out of range. Alaska ran forwards, nearly dropping Frances to ground as she did so, and managed to catch Paige just before she hit the ground.

    "Paige, are you alright?" Alaska shouted, shaking the Flying type despite a level of heat coming off from her. "Paige, can you hear me? Paige? PAIGE!" But the Pidgeotto simply lay in her arms, eyes shut and mouth open. Alaska could feel her heart beating beneath her feathered chest but knew that Paige was out for the count, defeated before the battle had even started. "Thank you for your help today Paige, it's time you had your rest," Alaska said soothingly, and she brought Paige back inside her PokeBall, still stunned at how quickly her closest ally had been destroyed. She turned back towards Sandy with tear filled eyes and pointed towards the street. "We need to stare down there first to see what to expect," she whispered, and Sandy nodded, looking just as shocked. The two girls and Frances poked their heads around the corner of the house right next to them, and found exactly what Alaska had expected.

    Trevor and the mysterious brunette colleague of his were standing several metres away, both their backs turned, but Alaska recognized Trevor's coat and his Vaporeon, who stood in a battle position before him with a Blissey standing before the woman. It was instead Gideon that was facing them, a furious, murderous glare in his eyes as he stared towards the two. Alaska became angry just by staring at him, memories of Pewter, Mt Moon and Vermillion rushing back to her, and she wanted to run forwards and hit him with the nearest sharp object. But there was an obvious sickness and shabbiness to the scientist than when they had last met: his clothing was stained and tatty, and Alaska could see his bones sticking through his pale, paper thin skin. He had two Pokemon in front of him: his Electrode, sparks flying off his round surface as he faced off with Vaporeon, and a Pokemon that Alaska had not seen him use before, though it looked like a flying saucer with magnets for hands and a single eye staring blankly out towards Blissey.

    "How are we supposed to get involved in this?" Sandy whispered nervously. "That Magnezone is not supposed to look like that, and I bet it used that Electric attack and not Electrode! Gideon is too strong, maybe we should we wait for Trevor to act!"

    "I will wait when I die," Alaska hissed back, "and let's just hope that isn't today." She pried Frances from her chest and faced the Paras: the orange Bug type stared back fearfully, her claws wrapped around each other in a defensive way, and Alaska felt sorry for her, but at the same time a touch annoyed. "Frances, I know you are afraid, but you are a powerful Pokemon and need to embrace your strength!" Alaska said, her tone stern in hopes that her Pokemon would listen. "You have defeated a lot of enemies before, so I know that you have the ability to really show your strength today, and I need your power to help me end this once and for all!" Frances stopped shaking, taking the words in, her eyes beginning to stare down as if in shame. Alaska gave her a comforting pat, hoping she would finally show them her power. But before anything else could be said or done, shouts sounded from the street, and Alaska and Sandy looked around again.

    "You people still think you can beat me after all these years?" Gideon yelled as Electrode and Vaporeon and Blissey and Magnezone began to fight. "You spies have always been weak and irritating fools that only stand to get in the way! There is nothing you can do to stop me: I will bring this region down to its knees and make you all bow down before me!"

    "That is a nice thought, but it isn't going to happen any time soon," Trevor growled. "Ice Beam, now!"

    "Egg Bomb Blissey, deflect any attacks that come your way!" The woman cried, her voice familiar from the radio broadcast. The Blissey picked up her egg and threw it towards Magnezone, where it glowed brightly upon impact and exploded. The energy wave shattered a window nearby and made the Steel-Electric type groan in a robotic manner. Cries sounded within the dust, and Sandy gasped as Vaporeon was blasted backwards, crashing into Trevor's legs and falling unconscious at his feet.

    "Vaporeon!" Trevor gasped and collapsed to the ground, clutching Vaporeon as she twitched, and Gideon began to laugh, the sound more twisted than it had been before.

    "I told you that you were weak, and all you've done is prove my point!" The scientist hissed. He let his cloak fall to the ground and raised his right hand, a handgun clutched within his twig-like fingers. "I should have done this to a spy a long time ago… maybe now you people will get the message!"

    "Just try me!" Trevor hissed, jumping back to his feet and pulled his own gun out. The two men pointed their weapons towards each other, a tense silence falling across the battle. Electrode and Magnezone both crackled with electricity and Alaska noticed that Magnezone's sparks were a lot darker, the colour of mustard rather than the bright lemon of the fallen graveyard behind them.

    "Give up Gideon, you are never going to win!" The woman yelled, her tone aggressive. "If you even attempt to shoot one of us, Blissey with bring every cliff around this town crashing down on top of you!" Gideon turned the woman and smiled, and Alaska knew from experience that it wasn't a good smile.

    "A challenge? You silly girl, you know I always accept my challenges," the scientist sneered, and he pulled the trigger without even looking. Sandy screamed as Trevor was knocked backwards, blood spilling from a wound in his stomach. Alaska was appalled too, but she noticed as Electrode turned towards them, a curious but malicious stare in his eyes.

    "He heard you!" Alaska hissed to Sandy, and she pushed her out of the way as Electrode began to glow yellow.

    "Egg Bomb Blissey, destroy this little bastard!" The woman yelled, choking back a sob as she looked towards Trevor's unmoving body. Blissey nodded and pulled another egg out of her pouch, but as she began to throw it Magnezone reared forwards, dark sparks circling around its metallic body.

    "I was buried under my old workplace for five years," Gideon snarled, his tone not matching the wicked glare in his eye, "and I don't plan on being buried once again. You can try, of course, but I don't think you'll like what Magnezone has to offer. Zap Cannon, NOW!"

    "EGG BOMB!" The woman yelled back, and Blissey threw the glowing egg towards Magnezone as a ball of electricity formed between its magnets. The two attacks exploded as they collided, and Alaska jumped out of the way as an electricity-powered shockwave was fired down the length of the road. The house next to them buckled as it was hit, bits of glass and wood flying across, joining the dirt coming from the initial blast.

    "I don't like this Alaska; he seems stronger than last time!" Sandy shouted, her face buried in the ground next to her.

    "That is wonderful Sandy," Alaska growled, looking up as grey smoke cleared from the explosion. She couldn't see the woman or her Blissey, but Trevor and Vaporeon continued to lie within sight, a pool of blood forming around the apparent spy. "Where the fuck is Charlotte, we need her!" Alaska wondered if this would bring the ghost out, but there was no sign of the mysterious girl, and it seemed they were going to have to go on ahead. "Frances, I want you to use Bullet Seed as a distraction in a few seconds, and then get ready to fight when I call you in, alright?" The Paras nodded nervously, and Alaska felt a sense of pride as she leaped to her feet.

    "Wait Alaska, you can't!" Sandy yelled, but Alaska ignored her as charged towards the scene. She wanted to end Gideon and get her journey back on the right path, but with no one else to help her, it seemed she was going to have to be the one to end things.

    "PARA!" Frances cried, and Alaska caught a series of green seeds firing down the side of the street. Hoping it would be enough to distract them, Alaska skidded to the ground and came to a stop alongside Trevor, her jeans tearing in the process. Trevor's eyes were shut but he was moaning in a feeble manner, his hands twitching towards his wound. Alaska wanted to do something, but she had no medical experience and could only watch as more blood spurted out.

    "Hang in there," she whispered, and grabbed his gun from beside his body. The smoke was clearing now, and Alaska could see that the woman had fallen to the ground, yet her eyes were open and were staring towards Alaska: there was something familiar about her face, which was thin and beautiful, though Alaska couldn't think of where she recognized her from. The woman looked at the gun in Alaska's hand and then back at the trainer, and gave a nod to approve the situation. Alaska nodded back and turned towards Gideon, ready to end this battle, no matter what the cost.

    However, the smoke had entirely cleared, and Gideon was standing only a few metres away, pointing his own gun towards her as Electrode and Magnezone flanked him, sparks flying frequently from their smooth bodies.

    "Oh deary, do you even know how to use it?" The scientist sneered, staring down at her hands as they clutched onto the weapon. "You need to have a lot of courage and a pretty good reason to fire one of those, and I don't think your pretty little head has properly thought this over. Are you really going to kill me, Alaska Acevedo?"

    "I will do whatever it takes to end this!" Alaska hissed back, but she could feel her hands shake, and she wondered if she would actually be able to pull the trigger: she hated Gideon and would love to see him dead, but could she be the one to end his life and live with the consequences? Gideon seemed to see the weakness, and he laughed to himself.

    "Just as I suspected," he chuckled. "And to think I thought you were a threat! Well, now that I have my lovely little book, you don't stand a chance of stopping me – none of you do! My plans are in motion, and soon I will be able to destroy this region and get my revenge, and you won't be here to stop me!" Alaska stared towards the gun as Gideon raised it up towards her head, and a million things rushed through her mind at once: the day she had received Paige, the day Freddie had been born, when her father lost his job, leaving on her journey, the first time she met Sandy, her first gym badge, Paige's evolution, capturing Darwin, Frances and Nadia… everything seemed so long ago, and everything seemed so wasted, clouded over by the questions that had plagued her for this entire journey. Had it all been wasted: had Alaska let these battles destroy her journey and distract her from achieving her initial goal? Alaska shut her eyes, waiting for the bullet to come, and wondered what would happen to the world once she was gone…

    "PARAAAAAAA!" A scream sounded around them, and Alaska turned and opened her eyes instinctively, fearing for Frances' safety. The … Pokemon was racing towards the battle, her little legs scuttling as fast as possible while her mushrooms began to glow bright neon green. A ball of the same colour was forming between her claws, and Alaska gasped as she realised what move it was.

    "FRANCES, SOLARBEAM, NOW!" Alaska yelled, and jumped out of the way. Gideon looked stunned at the sudden change, and both his Pokemon moved forwards with their bodies glowing yellow, ready to fight back. The scientist turned to face Alaska, who held the gun with more strength than before, and she smiled cheekily at him, daring him to move now. Gideon looked murderous, his entire body shaking with rage, and his right hand clenched around his gun. There was a bang and a small burst of fire, and Alaska turned to follow the path of the bullet: it wasn't aimed at her, and it was too high up for Frances…

    "No…," Alaska whispered, knowing the outcome but wishing it wouldn't be true. She turned to face to Sandy and saw a reflection of her own shock on her friend's face: eyes bulged, jaw dropped, a look of pure surprise covering her face. Sandy didn't say a word, but Alaska screamed for the two of them as the blonde collapsed to the ground, her light lavender slowly becoming darker, inch by inch, as the blood flowed from the small hole in her chest…

    A cliffhanger to leave you all with while I do the next The First Warriors. The Lavender arc will be concluded in the next lot of four: look out for the answers we have been waiting for and the fates of our characters

  7. #157
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 42

    I hope you are all excited about what will happen after the cliffhanger last time!

    Chapter Forty Three: Dealing a New Hand

    Nothing seemed to make sense anymore… nothing seemed right. Alaska ran forwards, but she felt as if she was falling backwards, a sick feeling knotting itself up in her stomach and sending dark thoughts to her mind. Sandy couldn't be hurt… not Sandy, not when she had done nothing wrong. This had been Alaska's fight, it had always been her battle, her war, whether she wanted it or not it was hers, not Sandy's… but then why was Sandy lying in front of her, why was Sandy the one bleeding and suffering before her… this wasn't right, it wasn't fair… but Alaska could not tell whose fault it really was.

    Electricity exploded right next to her, and Alaska paused and stood her ground, letting the attack wash over her. It made her muscles ache, her bones shake and her hair stand up on end, but when Alaska opened her eyes everything was moving normally again, and Sandy was suddenly a lot closer. She sprinted forwards once more as gun fire joined the sounds of Frances duelling with the Electric Pokemon, and Alaska saw that the brunette woman was exchanging gunfire with Gideon. It seemed to be distracting the scientist for now, and Alaska was relieved to have more time to spend with Sandy, and ran the last few metres towards her friend.

    Alaska froze as she looked down at Sandy, the full extent of the situation washing over her now that she was this close. Sandy was rapidly going pale, her skin turning milky white, almost as if her skin colour was leaking away through the bullet wound. The wound itself seemed so tiny, barely bigger than a fingernail, yet so much blood had escaped from it, and Alaska could see dark flesh and muscle beneath the broken skin, a sight too unnatural to think about.

    "Sandy… no…," Alaska whispered, and she collapsed to her knees and grasped onto her friend's hand, letting Trevor's gun fall to the ground besides her. Sandy was shaking uncontrollably, and she only seemed to notice Alaska now that she was so close: her eyes were wider and more frightened than they had ever been, and Alaska could see the fear etched into her skin. "You'll be alright, I promise… I won't let anything bad happen to you!" Sandy nodded, and then opened her mouth to speak, but only a slight retching sound came out, and Alaska clasped her hand tighter as she felt tears stream down her cheek. Watching her friend's life slip away was too painful, but there was no way Alaska could look away. She had to be here for Sandy and hope that they would be together for longer, but Alaska's fingers brushed against the sticky blood that now soaked Sandy's dress, and she knew that things were not going to end well.

    "Try and hang on Sandy, just try! I need you… I don't think I can handle any of this shit if I don't have you to keep me grounded… just promise me you'll stay around, alright… just promise..," Alaska said, struggling to talk through her tears. Sandy looked at her, and gave Alaska what seemed like a nod, but then her eyelids shut. "Sandy, no, don't do this, don't go! SANDY, NO!" Alaska yelled, and tried to shake her friend, unable to think of anything else to do, but she knew in the back of her mind that it was all lost…

    "Alaska, get your ass back in there right now!" A voice hissed behind her, and Alaska jumped as she turned and faced the transparent but furious face of Charlotte. The ghost had appeared out of nowhere, though Alaska wondered how long she had actually been there, watching them from the shadows. "Leave her to me, just go back and fight!" Charlotte growled and waved Alaska aside with a careless flick of her wrist. Alaska felt Sandy's hand slip away and tried to hold on, but Charlotte seemed to have control over her body, forcing Alaska back to her feet and turning her away towards the battle. Alaska was furious, both due to the fact the magical ghost was here and hadn't helped earlier and how she was now being shooed away from her friend's own revival. Alaska wanted to give Charlotte a piece of her mind, but when her eyes locked onto Gideon, all her rage went back towards him, and she knew he was the one that deserved to suffer.

    "Out of bullets are you Daisy my dear?" Gideon called out, and Alaska looked towards the brunette, who was hopelessly pulling the trigger of her gun but nothing was coming out. "What a pity, I always thought you were quite pretty!" The scientist began to laugh as he raised his gun high, and Alaska looked around for something to save the woman. The only weapon she truly had was Frances, and the little Paras was moving backwards as she charged another Solarbeam, all while Electrode and Magnezone were advancing towards her, about to cross the battlefield.

    "Frances, use Metal Claw on your Solarbeam!" Alaska yelled. Gideon turned towards her in shock and instinctively moved his gun towards her, but the damage was already down: Frances' claws glowed silver around the glowing green ball, and Electrode and the strange coloured Magnezone froze in surprise, not sure what would happen.

    "PARAAAAAA!" Frances yelled, and she smashed her own attack. A green wave of energy was released, firing out on all sides. Alaska watched as Gideon, his Pokemon and the woman called Daisy were blasted backwards by the beam until the white light of the attack nearly blinded her. Alaska was pushed backwards by remnants of the attack, but as she was standing behind Frances there was little chance of the beam coming back against the Pokemon that made it.

    The light disappeared and Alaska blinked several times until her vision was back, and quickly surveyed the scene. Daisy had been knocked over once more, and this time her eyes were shut and she lay limply, reminding Alaska of an unconscious Pokemon at the end of a battle. Electrode and Magnezone seemed to have been hit with most of the blast, flying backwards into the front yard of a nearby house: Electrode was embedded in the ground, only his red side showing, while Magnezone was sparking feebly as he lay on a fence.

    "Excellent work Frances," Alaska said with a weak smile and looked down at the Paras. Frances had stopped shaking and was actually smiling, and Alaska could only imagine what a huge confidence boost using this attack was and how happy it would make her feel as a result. She wanted to check on Sandy and see if Charlotte had stopped her yet, but just as Alaska went to turn around something moved in the corner of her eye, and she turned back to see Gideon slowly getting to his feet, seeming dazed from the attack but otherwise unharmed.

    "You!" Alaska hissed as she turned to face him. She didn't have a gun, and she knew better than to send a Pokemon in against him, but Alaska was not going to let Gideon get away… not this time, not after what he had done. And without another thought, Alaska began to run. She thought she saw something glow behind her, but didn't pause to check: Gideon was in her crosshairs, and she was going to make him suffer. The scientist didn't even see her coming until she was only a few metres away and he quickly raised his gun, the shock visible across his pale face. But it seemed that Gideon had used up his last bullet, as his gun proved as useless as Daisy's had, and Alaska began to smile as she let out a yell and ran towards him.

    "Foolish girl," Gideon hissed, and he swung a fist around. Alaska was caught off guard and allowed it to come across her face, knocking her off balance and gave Gideon the chance to sweep in with a kick to the stomach. Alaska groaned as the air was knocked out of her and she stumbled to the ground in pain.

    "Did you really think you could stop me like this?" Gideon sneered as he loomed over her, his face twitching maniacally as he pressed his foot against her stomach. "I can crush you like a bug and there is nothing you can do to stop me, not now that I have my little spells with me!" He began to laugh, the sound distorted and off key, and Alaska wished she had the strength to stop him, but he had knocked it all out of her and she could only stare up at him as blood filled her mouth.

    Suddenly green seeds shot out of nowhere, and Gideon cried out as they whacked against his head, forcing him to take his foot off Alaska's stomach. She tried to lunge for him but spasms went through her stomach, leaving her immobile. Gideon gave her one last sneer before scooping a large book off the ground and sprinting down the undamaged parts of the street, down towards a mountain wall.

    "Para Para Parasect Para!" A voice said behind her, and Alaska was so distracted by Gideon that she didn't notice the change in words. But a Pokemon appeared next to her, helping Alaska straighten up, and Alaska gasped and had to double take before she recognized who it was.

    "Frances?" Alaska asked in shock, and the Pokemon nodded, though it looked nothing like the little Paras: one giant red-orange mushroom with yellow spots covered her larger body, while two giant claws emerged out on either side of her large white eyes. Frances looked strikingly different as a Parasect, but Alaska couldn't be happier and pulled her into a hug.

    "Congratulations! I knew you had the power and the courage inside you. It just appears it had to come out in shades of green," Alaska said with a smile, and Frances beamed back up at her before pointing down towards Gideon, who hadn't gotten far just yet. "Good point! You stay here and make sure everyone is alright, and leave Gideon to me."

    "Sect Para," Frances said with a nod, and Alaska smiled again before using her tall mushroom to get her back on her feet. Her stomach still hurt but Alaska began sprinting, pushing through the pain as she thought of Sandy behind her, and wondered if the ghost would be able to save her. She focussed entirely on Gideon, not looking at anything else, only following the tatty scientist as he limped towards the mountain wall. There was no way he could escape her now, and Alaska would the savour the moment when she could finally put a stop to him once and for all.

    "Until next time Alaska," Gideon suddenly called out, and Alaska was taken aback and nearly stopped running, wondering what he was playing at. But Gideon turned around and smiled at her as he raised his glowing watch up for her to see, and a memory from Pewter City came back to her.

    "NO, YOU BASTARD!" Alaska roared and took off once again. Gideon laughed as he body began to glow, and Alaska ran as fast as possible, thinking that maybe she could catch him and teleport away with him, and then kill him in his own territory. The scientist leapt towards the nearest building, and Alaska briefly noted that it appeared to actually be a purple and yellow striped tent before jumping after him. She disappeared through a red velvet curtain and only caught the briefest of flashes before landing on a rug with a painful thud.

    "NOOOO!" Alaska roared, and angrily banged her fists on the floor. She had come so close to stopping him that to have it stripped from her at the last moment was so painful that it tore at her heart, and Alaska felt like crying again, as well as finding him and ripping him apart.

    "Have you come to my tent to have your fortune read, or do you simply wish to have a tantrum on my floor?" A silky voice asked from above her, and Alaska looked up: the walls and ceiling were draped with crimson red and luscious purple curtains, though very little seemed to be inside. A circular table was directly before her with a high backed wooden chair that Alaska grasped onto in order to pull herself up, and she found the speaker sitting on the opposite side.

    The woman had copper coloured skin and seemed to have a glow around her to match, with black hair done up in a bun and a flowing purple dress on that only reminded Alaska of Sandy. Her skin was unlined and undamaged but Alaska could tell the woman was old, possibly in her late fifties, though she wasn't entirely sure why. She had a simple smile on that gave nothing away, though her eyes seemed to be digging into Alaska, drilling her without saying a word.

    "I didn't come in here to have my fortune read sorry," Alaska said nervously, afraid to shout at someone like this. "I was just chasing someone in here, but I believe they teleported away, so I'll just… ya know..." The woman nodded without saying a word, flicking a purple backed deck of cards between her hands, and Alaska began to feel unnerved.

    "You seem afraid child, don't be," the woman said, her red lips slightly raising into a smile. "I am not a witch or anything: I simply look at my cards and tell you what I believe will come from it." She pulled one card from her deck and turned it the right way up as she placed it on the table, and though apprehensive Alaska peered in to see what it was.

    "A sword," she whispered, staring at the simple but beautifully drawn artwork of the classic weapon.

    "Indeed, a symbol of a warrior," the woman said with a brief nod. "Tell me, what Pokemon did you start your journey with?"

    "A Pidgey called Paige… she's now a Pidgeotto," Alaska replied instantly before wondering how the woman knew she was a trainer.

    "And she shall be a Pidgeot by the time you ride her into your final battle," the woman said before picking a second card. This one featured a pair of scales with one higher than the other. "One of my more frequent cards: your life, your quest is riddled with imbalance and you are finding it difficult to manage. You are letting one thing outweigh the other, and the heavier weight is something you do not want, am I correct?" Alaska nodded, thinking of how she was letting this war consume her actual journey so much, and, with a painful thought of Sandy outside, how it was affecting her.

    "The next card will be how you can change these weights," the woman said, and placed a card of an old Apricorn ball down on the table, which made the woman smile for some reason. "How funny… it is usually the clients that are not Pokemon trainers who receive this card, which is because the Apricorn, or the PokeBall, represents control rather than Pokemon. In this case, you need to find some level of control, with it is with yourself, you're Pokemon or those around you, which will bring you back to your rightful path and give you the balance you need." Alaska nodded along as usual, though she was more confused by this one: there were so many things out of control that it was hard to actually think of something she could control. She wondered if the fortune teller meant her Pokemon, but the fourth card was already being played, and showed a simple red rose.

    "Love and passion, this is what is on the horizon for you," the woman said, glancing up at Alaska for the first time since the reading has begun. Her smile and the look in her eyes seemed almost teasing or mocking, and Alaska froze, clutching the back of the chair with an unnecessary rage. Everything that had happened over the past fifteen minutes came rushing back to her, and anger quickly rose up and began to boil over: Alaska knew the fortune teller didn't deserve it, but she was angry, and someone had to know about it.

    "This is probably what you tell every fool that comes in here, isn't it?" She hissed, glaring down at the dark skinned woman. "Any of these things could apply to some bored housewife: she'll win a battle with her children or cleaning or something, her life is imbalanced but she will manage it if she gets a control on things, and her husband will shower her with love. Don't think you can give me the same shit as everyone else, because I am not going to stand here and take this when my friend is dying outside and you are only holding me up!" Alaska pushed the chair aside and turned towards the exit, but was so angry that she couldn't tell which curtains she had come through and furiously wanted to tear them all down. There was the familiar sound of a card being picked up and then placed down behind her, and Alaska paused for a second, waiting to hear what the fortune teller had to say.

    "The cracked gravestone," the woman whispered, and Alaska was so surprised by the sudden change in voice and tone that she turned around. The fortune teller seemed to be frowning at a card of a damaged grey gravestone, and Alaska thought she could see fear in the woman's eyes. She suddenly scooped the five cards up and placed them back in her deck, and then looked up at Alaska with wide eyes. "I have not picked up the cracked gravestone in many years. I would watch my back if I was you: I felt the power that man you were chasing had, and if you continue to go after him, it will not end well for you."

    "What does that card mean?" Alaska asked, her tone still stony, and she wondered if the woman would ignore her. However, she pulled the card back out from the deck and held it up for Alaska to see.

    "The dead will rise before your battle is over, and there is little you can do about it. Go tend to your friend and try to leave this war behind, it clearly isn't for you. But if you must fight, than know that love will be waiting for you and you must find balance before you can win." The woman stood up dramatically, and Alaska turned as she heard the swish of moving curtains, nearly blinded by the light that suddenly filled the dark room. "Go forth, Alaska Acevedo, and make your decision: will you end this war on the battle field or by simply refusing to take part?" Alaska turned back around, half expecting the woman to have disappeared, but she instead found one of the gravest and more serious expressions she had ever seen in her life staring back at her, and all Alaska could do was smile and nod once more before she stepped back out to the street, where she paused and sighed as several new questions found their way onto her never ending list.

    There's some imbalance for you; Alaska cursed, the ratio of answers to questions. Maybe I will find control when I actually know what war it is I'm fighting in…

    The Lavender Arc wraps up in the next part. Remember the fortune teller's words as they will come up again throughout the series.

  8. #158
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 43

    Chapter Forty Four: The Discovery Room

    Alaska was beginning to become quite sick of hospitals. The Lavender Town Medical Center technically wasn't a hospital, but Alaska still got the same vibe as she sat next to Sandy's bed: plain white walls, machines everywhere, the constant beeping from up and down the hallway outside, a strange artificial smell that clung to the air. It only made her think of being injured back in Vermillion City, and Alaska would have gladly left if it wasn't for her friend, lying nearly dead in front of her.

    It was still a mystery how it had happened, but Charlotte had managed to extract the bullets from both Sandy and Trevor and heal them up enough so the two still had a fighting chance by the time they reached the hospital. Alaska felt guilty that she had become so distracted with the fortune teller and paced nervously in the waiting room as the doctor's fought to save the two. They required a short amount of surgery to finish what Charlotte had started, but both of them were soon healed, and Alaska had been able to breathe properly for the first time in hours.

    Hours had passed since then, and Alaska now sat beside Sandy's overly crisp bed, staring at the slow rise and fall of her friend's chest. The blonde looked completely different in the white hospital gown, her skin still pale despite the blood transfusion she had had, or something like that: Alaska was struggling to stay awake and kept zoning out when the doctor explained what had happened. She heard that Sandy would live and was happy with that, and only got annoyed when the doctor kept talking. It wasn't like she was going to give him a grade or anything for his work.

    Even now Alaska was finding it a challenge to keep her eyes open, but she wanted to be there when Sandy woke up, just to make sure everything was alright and her friend wouldn't freak out. She had sent Frances off to collect a hot chocolate or a coffee, preferably something strong and alcoholic, in order to keep her through the long hours to come until Sandy was finally able to awake.

    "Hey there." Alaska turned to the door and was surprised to see Daisy standing in the doorway, smiling softly as her eyes darted between Alaska and Sandy. "How is she?"

    "She's fine," Alaska replied stonily, noting how Daisy was now walking in without an invitation. "How is Trevor?"

    "He is doing well, he woke up about half an hour ago," Daisy explained, moving over to the opposite side of the bed. "He feels terrible about what happened, though he did leave you in the Radio Tower for your protection. He asked me to pass on his best wishes to Sandy and he said he'll come and visit when his strength is up."

    "Brilliant," Alaska said, forcing a smile that she figured came out more as a scowl but didn't care either way. She wanted Daisy to go away and leave her alone with her friend and her thoughts, but didn't have the strength to tell her to piss off and could only watch as the brunette settled into the other chair.

    "Trevor asked me to come here for another reason," Daisy explained, her voice suddenly going quiet as she stared intently at Sandy. "You see, my name is Daisy Oak, granddaughter to Professor Samuel Oak and the Elite Four member Agatha. I have spent the last six years working for my grandfather and his friend Bill, who I believe you've met. It was through my work as a Pokemon professor that I was first approached by the International Police to assist them with a variety of cases." Alaska's interest suddenly rose and she stared across at Daisy, knowing where this was going. "I have worked with Trevor multiple times, and he recruited me after the incident at Pewter City to help me work out what Gideon was planning."

    "Has he been to Viridian Forest or the Underground Tunnel lately?" Alaska asked eagerly, thinking back to the mysterious man in the shadows who had saved her from the killer robots twice. However, Daisy looked confused, and Alaska shook her head. "Never mind… continue."

    "Yes… right… well, I have been trying to work out what Gideon is trying to do, but this has become difficult since he is one of the most brilliant minds in the world and as such has all his work protected immensely," Daisy continued. "However, I have begun to build up a theory, and I believe that Gideon is trying to build or steal a fossil machine and plans to resurrect a deadly new breed of the ancient fossil Pokemon."

    "That sounds a bit cra – well, now that you mention it…," Alaska said, and she leaned back in her chair and thought back: Gideon had stolen those fossils from Mt Moon, and he had been searching for some sort of fancy equipment at the museum but had to leave due her botching his plans. He had been disappointed by the fossils on display as well, so maybe he was looking for a stronger breed.

    "You may have noticed that his Magnezone was a darker colour than usual," Daisy continued. "When Team Rocket first attacked Kanto in 2008 and Johto in 2009, one of their many side plans involved forcing evolution upon Pokemon. This failed spectacularly on a series of Magikarp ate the Lake of Rage in North Johto, but I believe Gideon has worked on creating a better machine to force evolution upon his Pokemon and make them stronger. He would have had to have left his lab in order to evolve his Magneton to Magnezone, or used a proper trading machine to get his Porygon-Z that attacked Vermillion."

    "I don't get it though: what does forced evolution have to do with fossils, and what about that book he had when he ran off?" Alaska asked, rubbing her temple slightly.

    "I am not sure how everything fits together exactly, but I do know that Giovanni, the former Team Rocket leader, was intent on trying to create the perfect Pokemon," Daisy explained. "Have you ever heard of Mewtwo?" Alaska nodded, having seen a documentary about this mysterious Pokemon a few years ago, but barely knew anything aside from that he was a psychotic experiment gone wrong. "Well, he is Team Rocket's responsibility, a failed attempt to make a brilliant Pokemon that they could control. Maybe Gideon has found a way to combine Fossil Regeneration and Forced Evolution to create perfect Pokemon using Kabutops, Omanstar and Aerodactyl? We can't be certain about anything, and as for Charlotte's spell book, that is just something else to worry and wonder about."

    "Wait, that book is a spell book?" Alaska asked, and Daisy gave a brisk nod. "What the hell, why is there a spell book just casually lying around for people to take? And what is up with that bitch of a ghost anyway? She came in and got us to fight for her, and then didn't even join in! Next time I see that little tart I am going to give her a piece of my mind!" Daisy sighed and leaned back in her chair, rolling her eyes at the ceiling.

    "Charlotte is a very annoying person to deal with, but there is nothing we can really do about her," she answered in a slight droll as if she was being forced to say these words. "It would take me too long to explain her story to you, but she has been the unwilling and foul tempered servant to Arceus for the last two thousand years, and with that comes a lot of power and knowledge that she is both willing to dish out and hold above us. She would have had a reason for doing what she did, though I cannot tell you I have any grip on what fuels Charlotte's decisions." Alaska nodded, though she still felt angry, and she stared down at Sandy as her fury went through her: it was really Charlotte's fault that Sandy was laying there, a hole through her chest that she had barely survived, and even if the ghost had saved her, Alaska still had every right to be angry with Charlotte… or did she? Alaska groaned and slumped back in her chair: nothing seemed to make sense anymore, and she desperately wanted to sleep the day off so she could probably comprehend the day tomorrow with a fresh mind. How had her journey come down to trying to work out the reasons a ghost had betrayed her, or getting advice from nameless fortune tellers?

    "I saw a fortune teller before, when I tried to chase Gideon down," Alaska said, her eyes focused on the ceiling as she thought back to the red velvet tent and the copper skinned woman with all her answers to questions Alaska hadn't asked. "She told me the dead would rise before my battle is over. Do you think she means the fossils?"

    "Who knows anymore," Daisy answered unhelpfully. "Nothing has made sense to me over these last five years. I have witnessed multiple groups try to destroy the world, and even after having three years of near peace, I still have no idea what would have truly driven those men to act, just like how I have no idea why Gideon is doing all of this. Why did he destroy Vermillion City like that? What does he need Charlotte's spell book for? Frankly, I want to put my feet up and relax, but Trevor said that once he and Sandy have recovered that we are to escort you to friends of ours in Celadon where we will have a chance to relax."

    "That will be nice," Alaska said wearily. Another thought suddenly occurred to her, and while Alaska really wanted to sleep, she had to ask it now while she had the chance. "Are you aware how we have been attacked by robots, and some crazed gunman tried to kill us this morning?" She asked, glancing at Daisy, who nodded back. "Do you have any idea who might be behind that?" Daisy looked sadly back at Alaska, and the trainer thought there was something odd about this particular look, a look that didn't seem quite the right response to this question.

    "I am afraid we do not know," she said with a voice to match her expression. "We can tell you though that it does not seem like something Gideon would waste his resources on, when he has other methods of defeating you that are much more direct and reliable. We are looking into it, just like we are looking into the producers behind your favourite TV show, and if something comes up I will let you know." Daisy had smiled when she mentioned the reality show, and Alaska smiled briefly at the joke, though was disappointed that she didn't have an answer.

    There was a sudden beep right next to her, and Alaska turned in shock: Sandy's heart monitor had suddenly changed from the same tune it had been playing for the past two hours, and Alaska instantly had dark thoughts. However, Sandy's right hand began to twitch, and her eyelids slowly began to flicker.

    "Sandy, can you hear me? Are you alright, are you in any pain?" Alaska asked instantly, clutching her hand's friend, just like she had back on the road. Daisy rushed outside and called for a nurse as Sandy let out a little groan and turned her head slowly towards Alaska, somehow looking more pained and sadder than she had while asleep, but Alaska was too overjoyed to see her friend's eyes open once again to care.

    "A…. las…. ka… what's… go… ing… on?" Sandy asked, her voice sounded hoarse, making it seem that she had just aged rapidly in the past few hours. Alaska smiled down at her as her eyes became watery, and she clutched her hand even tighter.

    I wish I knew Sandy, I wish I knew, Alaska thought, and as the doctor and several nurses came rushing in to check on and pushed Alaska aside, she could only speculate about what the answer could be. Maybe as they all recovered Alaska would be able to discover more answers and finally solve some of her questions. But all Alaska knew for certain was that she had earned a week off, and while Sandy healed, she would finally give her mind a chance to rest and hope it could fully recover through all it was going through.

    Blog and interlude double up next! Anyone have theories on what Gideon might truly be planning? Are you relieved Sandy is going to live? Did this part clear up some stuff for you or are you still confused? I also feel that some people may wonder what the purpose was of Sandy getting shot. I can promise that the blog and interlude will shed some light on it, and the effects of the incident will affect the story as a whole rather than become suddenly clear. I can promise it wasn't some cheap gimmick or anything like that.

  9. #159
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 44

    Blog Nine: Ghost of my Former Self

    Another long day, another painful lesson: welcome, my dear readers, to another look into my increasingly insane life

    I hope you all had a nice day. Went and saw a movie, had a really nice meal, maybe got down to some kinky stuff in the bedroom: I don't care what happened, as long as someone out there had a good day. For all of those that had a bad day, feel free to throw some virtual rotten fruit at that person and mock them for such a dull, enjoyable life.

    However, none of you will be able to top the horrible day I had yesterday. I can't tell you everything that happened, as I fear that black cloaked men would appear at the end of the corridor and ask to escort me into a dark alleyway where no one will hear the gunshot, but I can tell you that I am currently sitting in a hospital in Lavender Town, watching as Sandy slowly recovers from a gunshot wound to the chest, only a few hours after some random stranger shot us and a few minutes after a graveyard exploded.

    I can hear your collective gasping from here! Yes, just when you thought my journey couldn't get even more screwed up; Sandy gets shot, as if we're suddenly in some bad cable cop drama trying to get ratings in its midseason finale. And before people start worrying and making god awful memorial Photoshop's, Sandy is going to live… just. If this had been any other situation, then Sandy would have died. But guess what folks: we had help from a ghost!

    I can hear your collective quizzical 'huhs' and 'WTF's' from here. Yes, just when you thought my journey couldn't get even more screwed up, a bloody ghost comes into the picture. From what I can tell you about yesterday is that Sandy and I met a lovely ghost named Charlotte, who is apparently over two thousand years old (but doesn't look a day over fourteen ;)), and she convinced us to go and fight that good old d'bag Gideon. My lovely arch nemesis stole a book from this bitch, whose a tad more transparent than most, and she got Sandy and me to go and fight him for it.

    Now, I can't give the psycho cow all the bad credit: I did want to fight Gideon and try and end this stupid war I seem to become embroiled in, and I did force Sandy to come with me. But the battle was bad from the moment we stepped in. Paige was instantly knocked out by an overly powerful Magnezone, and within a minute Sandy was shot. I cannot even begin to put it into words what went through my mind… all that blood, and seeing her lying on the ground, her face turning milky white and her eyes rolling into the back of her head. I thought she was dead, and my heart and mind broke in two. Sandy is the only human friend I have had in my entire life. I have never really fitted in, only ever having a few companions, but I never had the connection with them that I have with Sandy. If she had died, I don't know what I would have done…

    Yesterday has made me question this journey and my life. I want to blame Charlotte the Unfriendly Ghost for Sandy nearly dying, but I know part of the blame is mine: I wanted to fight Gideon, I wanted to make him suffer for what he has done to me and my life. I am letting this war take over my journey. It seems like weeks ago that I got the Thunder Badge, and I am going to have to wait a few more before I can get my next one. That was the whole purpose for travelling, yet Gideon, the reality stars, all these mysteries and puzzles have ruined this. I don't even know who I am anymore my mind is that messed up: I could probably be a dancing Snorlax for all I know! I like I am the ghost, and I am drifting further away from the goal I set out to achieve to try and fix the problems other people have left me with.

    I should have specified that Gideon got away, taking his magical book with him. I am on the right track towards working out what he is doing, but I do not have the full picture left: it is a jigsaw puzzle that is slowly coming together, but I just need a few more pieces. The big puzzle though is whether this is my war or not. I have become embroiled in all of these battles, with Gideon and the reality stars and probably some angry Japanese triad for all I know, and I just want to find a way to get out of this war or finally face them in battle so I could end it once and for all.

    A fortune teller gave me so good advice yesterday (though I am wondering if it actually happened or I had some really weird, opium fuelled dream…). She told me I need to find control in my life in order to get in back on track. I will not say I am an expert at working out encrypted prophecies, but I think I need to finally start training my Pokemon properly and get them in order before I can fully defeat my foes and master this journey. Looks like I know what I'll be doing while Sandy is resting. Frances evolved into Parasect during the battle, so I believe that this is one step towards getting a proper team, though Darwin is still a question mark…

    But, indeed I have two weeks off from everything while Sandy and another friend recover, and I am trying to find things to do aside from train. There are still many other questions I want answered just for me: why is Suicune following me, who is that man in the shadows, who is the voice in my head? (Though, let's be fair, these days I swear there are more voices in my head than even I know about…) And there are the people closest to me: somehow, Sandy knew that the Magnezone was a different colour than normal. She has never shown much Pokemon knowledge, so I was taken aback by this. There are still elements of her story I feel she hasn't shared, and while I respect her privacy know more than ever, I do wonder what secrets Sandy is keeping locked up from me. I want to protect her from danger that I fear I am putting her in, yet I can only do so much if there are things she is hiding.

    I will post again once I have made my way to my next stop! As always, please share your theories with me about all these different questions and let me know if you have answers! Sandy is doing well and is currently asking me to make sure all my readers know she is alright (attention seeker much! You think she'd just had a life threatening moment or something…), and she is eager to solve these mysteries with me and get back on her feet. That I am not too sure about… but we will wait and see, won't we?

    Keep safe all of you, and whatever you do, don't trust ghosts. The dead don't have to worry about losing sleep over their lies…


  10. #160
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Blog Nine

    Interlude Nine: The Murderers and their Victims

    "Yes…yes, yes, I understand… I am sure your men did the best they could… of course I am aware of the consequences, you bloody imbecile! If you are going to keep sharing your pointless thoughts with me, you can piss off and bother me when something that is actually important comes up! Now go and do what I am actually paying you to do!"

    Amanda angrily turned off the call and clutched at her head, feeling the irritating throb she always seemed to get whenever she was angry or annoyed. She threw her phone onto her inflatable mattress and fell down after it, unable to stop herself from groaning.

    For years Amanda had been planning this event: she had grovelled and fought and manipulated her way into Silph TV, and been working hard with Buzz to fine tune this reality show so it would all play into their favour. Amanda had always loved order and neatness, and she had been proud of herself for executing everything so there was no chance it would backfire.

    But she hadn't factored in Alaska Acevedo.

    It seemed quite unfair and unjust that after all this time, someone would try and stop them right when their plan began. It was as if Arceus had been leading them through a maze, only to turn around at one point and say "Sorry but there's not exit." Amanda had no idea why the girl was even causing this much damage to their cause. Maybe it would all be different if they had chosen different people… no, not that: this show needed ratings to survive and to make their final act a hit, and for that it needed the perfect team. Chloe, Damian and Lachlan were perfect for a reality competition, and Chloe was the perfect one, even though Alaska going after them all came down to her…

    Whatever the reason, Alaska kept crossing paths with them, and Amanda knew she had to be stopped. If she kept making a mockery of their show and kept destroying their tasks at every point their paths met, the entire plan would backfire. There seemed no way Alaska would willing leave them all alone, and this left destroying her as the only option.

    Buzz is not going to be happy… not happy indeed, Amanda thought irritably and grabbed her phone. Buzz would want to know if the people they had sent to follow the girl through the Rock Tunnel had worked. How would he react when he learnt they had escaped once again? Buzz was taking the girl's involvement as a personal insult, and Amanda could only wonder if it was opening old wounds about Sevii…

    Leave it! Don't even think about it… he'll know somehow, he always seems to know… Amanda warned herself, and she sighed once again and threw her phone out of sight. There was a definite connection between her and Buzz, there always had been… yet whenever he got angry… there were times Amanda questioned their relationship, and it was always based on his actions… which were usually her fault though, at least most of the time…

    "What is that racket?" Amanda growled, looking for some sort of distraction, and she leapt to her feet. Her tent was quite spacious, with enough room for her double mattress, a personal mini fridge, cheap fold-out desk and a few other necessities, and there was enough room for her to easily stand up straight. She quickly adjusted her clothes, a crisp white shirt and tight black dress, and checked herself over in the mirror: she didn't want the stars to know she had been crying. Feeling composed and ordered, Amanda Anderson stepped outside. She instantly saw a battle was unfolding before her: Damian and Lachlan were training, the former using Charmeleon and Kadabra against the latter's Wartortle and Growlithe. Several of their cameras were capturing the battle, watching as Kadabra struck Wartortle down with a ThunderPunch while Charmeleon and Growlithe exchanging burning streams of fire. It was evident their skills were improving, which was a welcome sight, and Amanda hoped they would be ready for the gruelling exercises she had planned for them. She then noticed Chloe was leaning against her tent, looking fairly bored with the proceedings, a bottle of nail polish in one hand and a phone in the other.

    You precious little bitch, Amanda thought viciously, glaring across at the blonde and feeling her muscles tense. We wouldn't be in this mess if you could just ignore Alaska and let her go on her way! I thought you could have embarrassed her and helped destroy her, but you are simply stubborn and weak and are endangering this project! She then thought back to her plans for the next few days and smiled to herself, glancing back to the battle before her as Charmeleon hit Wartortle with a Dragon Rage. Our robots have failed, and so have our men… it seems the only warriors I have left are my children… and if I can't destroy her, I know who will...


    "How could you be so idiotic? Do you know what would have happened if either of them had died?"

    "Of course I know Red, I know better than any of you!" Red let out a growl that came from deep within his throat, and angrily he kicked a piece of rubble across the cracked and broken floor of the House of Memories. The place was scheduled to be tidied up over the next few days and have repairs straight once it was all clear, but Red had requested the chance to look over the damage before it happened. Even though he was ready to murder someone, Red couldn't help but feel sorry for all the damage that had happened here: it would take a long time to get all the Pokemon graves repaired and properly sorted, and Red did not feel sorry for whoever had to do that. It stirred up memories of Blue, and Red sighed, struggling to control his thoughts.

    "I acted in the way I thought it was sensible to act," Charlotte said irritably behind him, and Red sighed again, composing himself before turning around to talk to her. Saying he and Charlotte didn't get along was the understatement of the century, and their relationship was always pushed to its limits at times like this. When Red had read Alaska's blog earlier that day and learnt what role the ghost had to play in yesterday's events, he wished she had a proper solid neck so he could strangle the life out of her again.

    "How was it sensible to send Alaska and Sandy into a dangerous battle with Gideon?" Red hissed, glaring angrily at the ghost from across the crater in the middle of the graveyard. "There was guns involved Charlotte! You may be able to let them phase through you, but for us people with bodies it pretty fucking hurts to get shot!"

    "It pretty fucking hurts to get you body blown to bits as well, but you never hear me complaining!" Charlotte snapped.

    "YOU ALWAYS COMPLAIN ABOUT IT!" Red roared, and furiously he grabbed a rock from the ground and through it at her. It went straight through, of course, but Charlotte looked stunned all the same. And then a smile crept onto her face, one that was condescending and mischievous rather than happy and joking, and Red wondered if it had been a mistake.

    "Look at you Red!" The ghost said with a smirk. "It's only taken five years but you've finally grown a pair. Leaf must be happy: you can actually pleasure her now!" Red glared at her and Charlotte simply laughed, and then floated forwards so she suddenly appeared right next to the Champion. "I feel dreadful about what happened to Alexandra, but I was there to save her, wasn't I? Besides, I needed them to fight in my place."

    "Why? What can they do that a magical ghost can't?" Red asked and turned angrily towards her. Charlotte's face fell, and she began to float backwards, away from Red, a strange look crossing her face, and Red knew that this could hardly be good news either.

    "The reason the House was destroyed is because Gideon has found a way to defeat me," she said in a whisper. "He has a gun that can channel Ghost Energy in such a way that it blows me apart and renders me useless for an unknown amount of time. He manipulated me into using my magic to get him my book, and I feel horrible. I have gone all this time without anyone being able to stop me, and that prat comes back from the dead and uses my powers against me!" Charlotte looked genuinely shaken by this, and Red couldn't help but feel a touch of sympathy for her, but it didn't last long as he thought of what needed to be done. With yet another sigh, Red collapsed onto a pile of rubble that formed a pretty decent seat a few feet away. Things were not making a lot of sense these days, but he needed to do his best to keep the region together against the plots that brewed against it.

    "Charlotte, I want you to stay here and organise the ashes back into their appropriate graves while you recover from this," Red said, and glanced up to see how the ghost would take the orders. Charlotte had paused, thinking it over, but eventually gave him a nod of approval. "I will send for you when the job is done, but stay out of things until you are called."

    "What exactly are you going to do?" Charlotte asked with her tone full of rudeness as always. "The girl is concerned about your legends following her around, maybe call the beasts off."

    "No!" Red said firmly, getting back to his feet and thinking in the back of his mind how relaxing sleep would be right now. "There needs to be something out there to protect her from everyone that's trying to kill her." And without another word, Red turned and stormed towards a hole in the wall, seeing it as easier than going through the reception. He needed to make sure Celadon was protected for when they went there, and he would have every possible person track down Gideon and work out what he was doing before he struck again.

    "You can protect Alaska for as long as you want, but nothing will stop Gideon, and when it comes down to it, nothing will stop her," Charlotte called out. "Just think back to 2008, Mr Lowe: weren't you just the same?"

    I certainly was, Red thought to himself as he stepped out into Lavender Town, which is all the more reason to make sure she doesn't do something stupid


    Gideon stared down at Charlotte's spell book, clasped within his pale and nearly skeletal hands, feeling a sense of happiness for the first time in years. It had been over twenty four hours since he had fled Lavender Town, yet he still couldn't believe he had it: this most prized and priceless item, something thousands of men had sought after for all their lives and something only few could lay their hands on. It had been years since Gideon had last possessed it, and he planned to hold onto it for many more.

    Yet as he stared down at the book, Gideon found he still couldn't shake this odd feeling stirring in the back of his mind. It had arisen halfway through the day, and though he had originally thought it to be a complication brought on from Charlotte tampering with his watch, the scientist was starting to believe it was something more than that. It was weighing down on his thoughts and distracting him from his joy, and Gideon wondered what had happened that could have brought these thoughts on…

    Alaska… he concluded at last, a foul smile forming from his lips. It was always her: the black haired teenager always came to him in the middle of the night, taunting him with the fact while she never defeated him; she outsmarted him, survived him and brought news of his actions to the wider world. The girl was a danger, and she had come so close to defeating him yesterday that Gideon had worried in a second before he teleported that she just might get hold of him.

    Yet she did not get me… why? Gideon thought, and the answer came as quickly as it was asked. Ah yes, she feared for her friend, the blonde… I shot her, she fell, and Alaska forgot all about me and went running back to her… Gideon glanced down at the spell book and smiled grimly: there was no delight in having this item if Alaska would only defeat him in the end, but the scientist may have just found his answer. The realms of sociology and psychology were sciences he had never truly understood, but even Gideon could see the girl feared and cared for the life of her friend, just like she would if it was a family member or one of her Pokemon's lives hanging in the balance…

    Gideon began to laugh a deep, cruel chuckle as he clutched the book to his chest, and became gleeful in the knowledge that he had finally found Alaska's weakness, which meant he finally knew how to defeat her…

    The Celadon Arc starts next, but I will only do one chapter before I start the next, shorter Galactic, so expect a few cliffhangers! Feel free to share any theories you have about what everyone may be planning, I would love to hear what everyone is thinking!

  11. #161
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude Nine

    Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter up! There were several things weighing me down but I hope it was worth the wait :D

    Chapter Forty Five: A Tunnel Too Far

    After two weeks of peace, relaxation and time to think, Alaska knew it was all going to end horribly as they ventured into yet another Underground Path.

    "Surely there is a path we could take that doesn't involve going into a cramped concrete hole, surrounded by darkness and who knows what else?" She growled as they descended the steps, the bright light of the world above quickly fading away to be replaced with a dim glow the colour of amber that appeared only sporadically.

    "I told you, and we need to get you two to Celadon City undetected, and there are several investigations occurring in Saffron City that would make it risky to go through there at this present time," Trevor replied with an agitated growl, shooting a steely look at Alaska from over his shoulder. Alaska pulled a face as he walked ahead of them, but glanced to her right and saw Sandy was giving her a look that seemed to say 'Really?'

    "What, I have every right to be worried!" Alaska hissed back. "Do you remember what happened last time we went into a tunnel? My leg has only just recovered!"

    "So has my chest," Sandy said, a smile crossing her face, and Alaska couldn't help but smirk as well: the blonde had found a way to one-up Alaska, and she enjoyed dishing it out at every opportunity when Alaska began complaining.

    Over the past fortnight, Alaska had been doing a lot of voicing her opinions, thoughts and questions aloud. Sandy and Trevor had been quick to recover due to the magic Charlotte had used to save them, so whenever Sandy wasn't asleep, Alaska would be waiting to discuss the many questions that puzzled her every day. She had brought Sandy up to speed on what Gideon was possibly planning, and the two friends quickly began speculating about what he was planning, as well as discussing the legendaries that followed them, Charlotte, the robots, the mysterious man in the shadows. Alaska kept what the fortune teller had said to herself though as she had no idea what any of it meant, and the cryptic messages of the dead rising would only cause worry rather than lead to any interesting discussions. She felt bad about hiding this, as Sandy seemed to be enjoying finally being in on the conversation and always suggested ridiculous ideas whenever they got bored (such as Gideon simply being an overly pedantic fossil collector or the robots secretly being Pokemon from the future that are really trying to warn them about the effects of global warming), but Alaska knew that telling her what the fortune teller said would only cause grief. She felt guilty enough about the role she had played in the blonde being shot, and Alaska didn't want to put her friend into any more damage than necessary.

    The thoughts rushed back to her now, and Alaska shook her head and tried to think of something else as the pair followed behind Trevor and Daisy into the new Underground Path. This one seemed to be nicer than the previous one, with all the lights working even if they were flickering on and off, and they could see parts of the walls this time, slightly reassuring Alaska: if they could see most of the tunnel, there was less chance people would have to hide in the shadows.

    "They had to rebuild this tunnel after an incident five years ago," Daisy explained, trying to break the silent tension that enveloped them all. "Half of the tunnel caved in, so they had to rebuild it, and it has managed to stay pretty much undamaged since then. The one from Cerulean to Vermilion was older and really needed to be fixed up."

    "Well, they have the opportunity to do that now," Alaska growled to herself, though she stopped when Sandy shot her another look. "Everything seems to have happened five years ago… I really want to know who thought one day 'Hey, what if I go and blow up every destination in Kanto? That sounds like a smart idea! Now where's my dynamite?'"

    "Did you ever watch the news when you were eight?" Daisy asked, glancing over at her. "It would have been all over there if you had looked! And don't you live in Viridian City anyway?"

    "Yes," Alaska said in a dull and bitter tone, half because of the reminder she was constantly being watched, followed and basically stalked by these people, and half because of the reminder about what had happened to Viridian five years ago. The city liked to gloss over this dark event, mostly as no one had been killed, but a large chunk of Viridian had been destroyed in a large battle between what they had been told was a Pokemon battle between rival groups. It had seemed far fetched when she was eight, and Alaska had always wondered what had truly happened that had turned half her city to ashes. Her family had been away at a wedding at the time, so Alaska had not seen the fight herself, but the events over the past weeks had brought the thoughts back, and Alaska was starting to wonder just what had happened behind the scenes that had brought the terrible event on.

    "When we get to Celadon, are you going to challenge Alexis?" Sandy said suddenly, and Alaska snapped back into her current setting, her mind coming back to her body. She glanced at her friend and saw Sandy was smiling softly but with a slightly sad eagerness in her eyes, trying to draw the conversation to happier discussions.

    "Oh definitely!" Alaska said quickly, willing to do anything to please her friend. "A Grass type gym leader shouldn't be too much of a challenge: I have Flying, Bug and Poison types on my team, so Alexis should be pretty easy to defeat. I think having all this time to train will definitely play in my advantage as well."

    "Looks like getting shot was a blessing in disguise!" Sandy said with a smile, and Alaska smiled in return, albeit weakly. "But yeah… all that training must have worked out! Frances is still making progress, isn't she?"

    "She seems to be improving with every day," Alaska replied with a wide and sincere beam: every since evolving, Frances had been gaining more and more confidence. The Parasect still wasn't entirely comfortable, and occasionally tucked herself away under her giant mushroom, but Alaska was still impressed by what she pulled off. She had defeated both Sandy's Onix and Daisy's Sandslash with a single Solarbeam, and nearly outlasted Trevor's Vaporeon. There was still some fear behind her tough new exterior, and there had been one bad period when Daisy's Ditto mimicked Paige, and Frances reacted badly to being threatened by two Flying types, but her massive improvement had brought Alaska a necessary boost after the shocking face-off with Gideon.

    But as the thought of this success came back to her, Alaska couldn't help but think of her large failure of the past fortnight. Despite everything she had tried to do, Darwin had only gotten worse. The Primeape frequently disobeyed her, using different attacks in battle and causing serious harm to the other Pokemon: a ThunderPunch assault left Daisy's Dewgong unable to battle for nearly an entire week, Sandy's Butterfree was sent crashing through a bench when she intervened a Karate Chop that would have obliterated Bellsprout, and the only Pokemon that could take him down was Trevor's grizzled Charizard. Alaska wanted to be there for Sandy during her recovery, and she wanted to celebrate Frances' success, and give Nadia more attention to grow, and spend more time with Paige, but Darwin was hogging all her time. The Primeape was proving a major hassle, and showed no signs of changing. Alaska tried teaching him new moves and tried to set up an obstacle course to give him a new challenge, but Darwin seemed to be pushing her away and getting angrier and more violent all the time. There had to be a solution, but Alaska hadn't found it yet, and it seemed unlikely that she was going to find it soon…

    "Alaska, are you alright?" A voice said around her, sending a jolt through Alaska's mind.

    "Wha? Yeah… I'm fine, honest!" Alaska said, snapping back into reality. She had kept moving without registering it, but now Alaska came to a stop as all three of her travelling companions had turned towards her and were looking confused at her obvious drifting off.

    "Are you sure?" Daisy said, her brow narrowing as her face turned concerned. "It's not being underground again that's worrying you, is it? We can always stop if you want. It must be a shock walking so suddenly again after a two week break!"

    "Actually, it feels good to walk properly again," Alaska said quickly. "I would rather keep on going: I am interested to see who our mysterious hosts are going to be." Daisy and Trevor both nodded and turned back around, and their minimal walking group carried on. Alaska gave Sandy a smile to reassure her, and wondered when they would be able to get out from within the tunnel. She felt suffocated, trapped inside here, surrounded by darkness and silence and with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Alaska couldn't help but feel awkward, walking alongside a friend that had been shot because of her and with two people guiding them to some unknown protector, unwilling to offer her any information that could actually help her. The trainer was desperate to find a way out, get to the Celadon Gym and face off for her fourth badge: that was all she truly wanted at the moment after going so long between battles, and if someone else got in her way, Alaska still had her brownies ready to force down their throats…

    "We are nearly at the end of the tunnel," Trevor called out. "It will be a short walk towards Celadon, and I believe our hosts will meet us before we reach the city to ensure we get in without being seen and get in safely."

    "Sounds like a plan," Alaska said. A plan I have no say in… She thought bitterly. It was strange being led away by a spy like this, and it was funny how this had all been arranged while Trevor was still bedridden and recovering. Alaska had started to wonder if there was a series of emergency plans in place to ensure her protection throughout Kanto, and though it should make her feel safe, it only made her feel more controlled than normal.

    "My bag is shaking," Sandy said suddenly, and Alaska glanced at her and nodding, her thoughts making her drift off and not pay attention. "Seriously, something in my bag is mov- OH MY GOD, THE EGG!" Sandy screamed, her voice echoing, and Alaska paused as the blonde swung her bag around and nearly knocked Alaska's head off with the force. Trevor and Daisy paused as well and watched as Sandy unzipped her bag and pulled the mostly yellow egg out. It was shaking violently, with small beams of yellow light emitting from its core. Sandy's face lit up, her eyes bulging and jaw dropping, and she looked at Alaska with the same look Freddie wore whenever he got a new toy.

    "It's hatching!" Sandy whispered, her voice shaking, and Alaska, Trevor and Daisy came in close as the egg shook in her hands. Alaska had never seen an egg hatch before, and was both tense and excited at the same time, Sandy's joy spreading through the dull and cold tunnel and washing away all her dark memories. The yellow glow was getting brighter and spreading throughout the entire egg, which was shaking as vigorously as if Sandy was channelling an earthquake into it.

    "Do you know what Pokemon it is?" Daisy asked in awe, and Alaska turned towards her.

    "Surge said it was going to be a –," Alaska began, but something caught her eye behind them, the yellow light illuminating the area around them. She froze and stared between Daisy and Trevor in silence, the sun-coloured glow highlighting a dark figure that stood behind them all, not moving, not speaking, not doing anything at all, simply standing there, and Alaska knew that the person was staring right back at her.

    "It's him!" She hissed, and charged forwards, her right hand reaching into her pockets and grabbing the first PokeBall she could find. Alaska didn't care if she sent Darwin out and he destroyed everything around them: the mysterious figure that had been stalking her all this time was within her reaches, and she wouldn't let him escape.

    "Alaska, what is it?" Daisy yelled behind her, but Alaska ignored her as she threw her PokeBall forwards. It burst open and the blue light briefly showed the silhouetted figure again, giving her a one second glimpse that reminded her of what Trevor had worn back in the Rock Tunnel, before Nadia landed before her.

    "Poison Sting!" Alaska yelled, not even stopping for a moment to think as rage and her burning desire for answers flowed through.

    "RAN RAN!" Nadia yelled, looking confused but firing the purple stings forwards anyway. A swish of black cloak appeared within the surrounding light, and Alaska quickly made after it, blindly chasing after the mysterious man.

    "Keep going Nadia, try and keep him trapped!" Alaska shouted as she reached inside her bag for the nearest weapon: with a great heave, she pulled out the knife that had been given to cut the brownies, and she began wildly brandishing it within the darkness, wondering if she would hit something.

    "WHAT ARE YOU DOING ALASKA?" Trevor roared behind her.

    "This creep has been stalking me since Viridian Forest, and I want to know exactly who he is and what he is up to!" Alaska shouted back, leaping backwards as a Poison Sting exploded in front of her. "Nadia, try using Skull Bash!" There was a sudden swishing, and Alaska turned around to see a dark figure had appeared behind her as quickly as if he had teleported. She raised the knife, but the person struck her down with a sharp jab to elbow that send shudders through her nerves, and than sent her sprawling to the ground beside Nadia with a kick to the legs.

    "FREEZE!" Trevor shouted, and Alaska saw he had his gun back in his hands, while Daisy had leapt in front of Sandy for protection. The figure glanced across at Trevor before leaping backwards, throwing something up as he moved. There was a bang that sounded ten times as loud in the enclosed confides of the tunnel, but the bullet harmlessly moved past the spinning PokeBall as it burst open. Alaska groaned as she sat up, but had to in order to scuttle away from the red energy forming before her. A Pokemon about twice her height formed and about the width and weight of ten Alaska's. The beast had a sweeping long tail that was topped with a brown boulder, and its head was adorned with two sharp horns. The Pokemon roared and beat his chest with his gigantic, tree trunk arms, and Alaska instinctively grabbed Nadia for protection.

    "Alaska Acevedo, this is not how a lady should treat her saviours," the same robotic she had heard before hissed. "I am here to save you from the threats that are constantly around you, and to try and pull you out from this cycle of destruction that will only destroy your life. You think I am some sort of foe, but you are willing travelling with two people you barely know into a city that you will not get out of alive if your true enemies know you are there. I saved you at Viridian Forest and I saved you at the last Underground Path, yet you still do not trust me?" Alaska froze, stunned by the words: she knew the person had saved her, but did they mean she should trust them? The frightening Pokemon she presumed was a Rhyperior was looming over her, and the image didn't exactly fill her mind with ease. But what if this person had the answers she wanted, or knew a safer place to go, or had a magical solution to stop this nightmare ride…

    "I demand you tell us your name right now or face the consequences!" Trevor yelled, his gun pointed towards the shadows where the figure had disappeared. "You are interfering with issues to do with the International Police, so unless you are willing to properly help us, you must leave or face arrest!" The robotic voice laughed to the side, and the Rhyperior laughed as well, though it was far more intimidating,

    "I am sorry you did not make you mind up sooner Alaska, but I shall give you another option sooner," the robotic voice said deeply, and Alaska nervously clutched Nadia, wondering what would happen. "However, I am not going to reveal myself to you, nor will I allow myself to be captured. Just me when I say I hope you all make it out alive." Alaska froze in shock, wondering what this could possibly mean, but then her eyes glanced towards the Rhyperior and knew in a second that there was a reason why it had been sent out…

    "RUN!" She yelled, at the exact moment that the … Pokemon let out an ear splitting roar. Alaska leapt to her feet and hugged Nadia close to her chest, and quickly signalled for the others to follow. She had forgotten about Sandy and her egg, and was shocked as Daisy led Sandy away from Trevor with something clutched close to her chest. Trevor fired his gun at the Rock-Ground type, but Rhyperior simply let out a roar, the bullets easily bouncing off him, and he raised his hands above his head. Alaska watched in shock as rocks began to form in his palms, energy flowing through them, and the horned Pokemon brought both arms together, the rocks moulding together.

    "GO ALASKA, MOVE!" Daisy suddenly screamed in her ear, giving her a shove forwards. Alaska began moving, but her eyes were transfixed on the slowly growing boulder in Rhyperior's hands, and her mind could only think of what was going to happen next.

    "RHYYYYY-PEEEEEER-IIIII-OOOOOOOR!" Rhyperior roared, and the rock, now twice the size of his head, was blasted upwards with a blast of red energy. It flew right up towards a light, which instantly shattered and plunged the beast and Trevor into darkness. Alaska caught Daisy looking back, and the scientist came to a pause for a single second, enough time for her to register what would happen to her partner. Alaska realised in that moment that she should have connected the glaring bond the two much older people had, and felt silly and immature for not noticing their relationship before… but than she felt silly and immature for getting them into this mess. Nadia was quivering in her hands, and Alaska could see Sandy was crying, something small, shivering and yellow huddled up in her arms: she had just been in hospital, she shouldn't be going through this…

    But just as the trio froze, wondering what was happening, that was when the world began to shake.

    "THE ROOF!" Daisy yelled, snapping back into her role as their protector, and she shoved Alaska and Sandy onwards towards the stairs. However, it was hard to run when the entire tunnel was shaking, and dust was falling from the roof. The light bulbs above them began to shatter, but Alaska glanced up in time to see large crack appearing above them, a central line streaming along the centre like a sweeping river, the others tributaries that only added to the chaos. The group sprinted quickly in the growing darkness, a dim outline of the stairs appearing ahead. Rhyperior roared in the background, and Alaska looked behind to see a flash of something red and desperately hoped Trevor survived, more for a prediction of guilt than a bond for the mysterious man.

    Her feet hit the bottom stair and Alaska nearly fell forwards, making Nadia yell, but regained her balance by the time Sandy and Daisy had rushed past. There were more rumblings and the sounds of things cracking, and Alaska looked behind to see a veil of dust engulfing the tunnel, only a few flickers of dark yellow showing the haze.

    "I am sorry Nadia, I never should have put you in this position… again," Alaska cried as she ran up the stairs, seeing the entrance building above was shaking and cracking as well. Alaska shut her eyes against the stream of dust that was chasing after her, and she thought back to everything that had happened to her: she had been so worried thinking about if she ahd caused Sandy to get shot, but she had never thought about what role she had played in all the other events: the fight with Chloe, mocking Sandy and sending her onto that bridge, trying to fight the ElectrodeBot, going to Pewter Museum… maybe she would never have put herself in any of this situations if she had simply minded her own business…

    There was a loud snap right above her, and without even wasting time to look up Alaska ducked down to the ground, not even sure where her body was but focussing more on safety. Nadia squirmed in her arms, and Alaska felt terrible for the journey she had made the poor Pokemon endure. But all her thoughts and worries left her as the falling concrete she had anticipated crashed down against her, and Alaska continued to hold on tight as a roar filled her ears and pain spread through her body: she had sabotaged her own journey and let it be consumed, but nothing would stop her from putting her Pokemon through further harm...

    The Celadon Arc continues after the next Galactic, so expect a bit of a delay but I will try and get this shorter chapter done faster. This arc will be a bit different, especially as it will be returning to more grounded action, and expect a bit of a shocking twist and some new issues for Alaska to overcome as she worries and plans. There will be a new gym leader, but for a look into who it is, I'd suggest looking over at 'Left Behind' to see some characters that will play a role in the new arc. Until next time, farewell, and I enjoyed reading all your theories: feel free to add any new thoughts in about our mysterious shadowed friend!

  12. #162
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 45

    Hello everyone! It has been a while, and I have still not finished Galactic, but I thought I would do an 8ES chapter before my exams came up and bogged me down even further. This arc will make up for the delay as there are several twists coming I doubt anyone would expect, so enjoy!

    Chapter Forty Six: Breakfast at Jericho's

    Alaska Acevedo, you have escaped death once more, escaped a folly caused by your own actions. If you keep this up, you shall not survive. You must focus on your battles; you must find a way to escape this path you have set your mind on.

    I can't leave; I have been dealt my cards. I have put too much into this to turn my back on it now

    Then you must face the consequences. Two forces are continuing to threaten your life, your Pokemon's lives, the lives of your friends and family. Death is closer than ever, and you are willing to walk into His net. You nearly lost Alexandra, and before you have left this city, you will lose another. Make your decisions wisely, Alaska Acevedo, and be ready to accept the consequences.

    What do you mean? Who is leaving me? Who is going to die?

    You face your greatest challenge yet. I hope you are prepared.

    Who is going to die? Tell me!?

    Goodbye for now.

    TELL ME!


    "Alaska! Wake up… snap out of it! Alaska!"

    Alaska's eyes opened, but she continued to thrash about, her body becoming entangled in covers and sheets. The light above her moved and blurred as she did, and Alaska could see faces looming over her, some familiar, some not, but all she could think about was the voice inside her head and the warning that had been left. She shut her eyes against the glaring artificial light and all the strange faces looming over her, and tried to go back to the place of the blue glow and the shadowed figure. Alaska knew it was Latios that had spoken to her, the same face she had heard twice before, the voice belonging to her grey handed saviour at Vermilion. She had to know what his message meant; she had to know who was going to die so she could save them.

    But when Alaska shut her eyes, all she could hear was screaming, all she could feel was something moving against her chest, and all she could see was dust as it swallowed her body whole, filled her nose and lungs, and pushed her back towards the darkness.

    When Alaska opened her eyes again, the room was empty.

    She had a feeling that a great deal of time had passed between since she had last awoken, but there was no way of telling as it was still as bright as it was earlier. Alaska groggily pushed herself up, struggling with the sheets that had bound her legs together. The room she was in was small and uncharacterised, the walls painted a drab shade of brown and only a few armchairs and a bedside table as decoration. There was nothing that told her where she was, though Alaska remembered seeing Sandy and Daisy's faces when she had last awoken, and was reassured that they were here. But no one else was here now, and there was an unnatural silence within the room that only made Alaska feel nervous.

    "Hello?" She shouted, her voice ringing off the walls back to her, but that was the only reply she got. Alaska nervously swung her legs out from the bed, letting the long silk nightgown she had been dressed in cascade past her feet. For a brief moment, Alaska wondered if the shadowed man had kidnapped them and brought them back to a dungeon. Her eyes flickered around nervously, expecting the man to emerge from the darkness and capture her. A breeze of air suddenly struck her back, and Alaska spun around as quickly as possible, fumbling with her gown for PokeBalls that weren't there.

    "Miss Acevedo, I am sorry if I frightened you," a timid voice said from the corner, and a figure moved aside, letting more light pour into the tiny room. Alaska stopped fumbling and realised she was breathing rapidly and frantically, her heart pounding against her ribs as if trying to break out. She tried to calm herself down, though the images of the blue light and falling dust clouds seemed embedded in her mind. The owner of the quiet voice moved forwards, and Alaska saw it was a girl that looked barely older than herself, dressed in a simple black dress with dry brunette hair that was tied tightly back. Her face was young and ghostly white, making the girl's worrisome green eyes glow at neon proportions.

    "Mr Athlew told me to bring you up when you had woken up," the girl said in a voice barely above a whisper. "Everyone is having breakfast now." She picked up a thick, plain grey dressing gown from one of the armchairs and passed it across, though Alaska was reluctant in accepting it. She had no idea who this Mr Athlew was, no clue if he was friend or foe, but hoped it was the former if Sandy and Daisy were here… though who knew how long it had been since she had awoken and what had happened to them since.

    "How long have I been unconscious for?" Alaska asked, pulling the dressing gown on and moving thankfully out of the room, entering into a long and narrow hallway of brown walls and grubby tiles. There were voices sounding from more doors to the sides, and Alaska wondered if Sandy or Paige might be behind one of them.

    "You were brought in yesterday after the tunnel collapsed," the girl replied quietly, moving quickly ahead towards a heavy set of double doors. "You received only a few bruises, though I overheard the doctor say that it is a miracle that you did so." Alaska nodded at the information, pleased that only a day had passed since the collapse. She was amazed as well that she was uninjured, something that had not dawned on her in wake of seeing Latios again, but as she thought of it, Alaska was certain the mysterious legendary would have had some role in protecting her, just as he had saved her at Vermilion.

    However, all thoughts of Latios faded away as the girl pushed the double doors open, and Alaska stepped out into the world beyond.

    She had emerged into what seemed to be a fairytale mansion. White walls surrounded her and towered above, reaching heights that could have dwarfed Onix. The floor had changed to the most gleaming white tiles Alaska had ever laid eyes upon, so bright she was forced to turn away. Two elegant staircases crawled up the sides of the walls, moving towards another storey before curving around and moving up to the floors above. A set of doors loomed over her from a few metres away, and sunshine poured in through gigantic windows that made Alaska's neck spasm when she tried to look to the top. Splashes of colour came from an old oak set of drawers, a variety of artworks and sculptures on display, and a Mamoswine hide that seemed to swallow the floor.

    "What is this place?" Alaska whispered in awe, having to turn around to take it all in. An open doorway stood directly opposite, and voices were coming at her from all directions, all of them faint but enough to blur together. This looked like the set of a television show or something you only saw in magazines, and Alaska was stunned that she had awoken here. Who would have this amount of money that wanted to protect Alaska? She turned to the girl, who she now figured was a servant, and posed the question to her.

    "Mr Athlew is waiting for you outside," was all the girl replied, and Alaska suddenly saw the girl's eyes in a completely different way. They were wide and staring directly at her, showing a sense of surprise but something else… fear, was it? Or a hateful look, the girl silently telling Alaska she didn't want to be here with her. The joy of the entrance hall suddenly disappeared, and Alaska felt cold inside, despite the gown she had been given.

    The two moved between the two staircase and down another corridor, decorated with more expensive portraits and strange statues that surrounded them as they walked. Alaska spied closed doors and more corridors that moved off theirs, leading towards secret rooms and what sounded like a kitchen. She wasn't taking it in with the same levels of joy as she had before, and Alaska could now only think again of who this Mr Athlew was and why she was here, as well as the message she had been given.

    They moved through open glass doors onto a concrete patio, which lead out to a wide green lawn, fenced in by hedges, with a tree house that looked bigger than the Acevedo household suffocating a tree in the corner. The girl led Alaska along the concrete though, past more doors and windows peering into a large and busy kitchen, larger statues and strange pillars forming their decoration, and came to a wider section. A long glass table stood before them, next to more open doors that led into an indoor dining area. Two butlers in fine suits came out carrying covered trays, placing them down amongst the four people seated at the very end. Alaska tried to work out who they were, but a butler pointed in their direction, and suddenly they all turned.

    "ALASKA!" Sandy screamed, and she got up so fast her seat fell down. Alaska had no time to prepare herself before being pulled into a hug, the breath knocked out of her. All she could do was hug her friend back, remembering the glow of her egg hatching and the terrified look as Sandy had fled the collapsing tunnel.

    "You shouldn't be running, you're meant to be resting!" Alaska said with a forced laugh to cover up the guilt in her voice, and quickly wiped away a tear before they moved apart. Sandy's eyes were watery though, making Alaska feel worse.

    "I thought you were going to be crushed down there, and for a minute it seemed that you had!" Sandy cried, her voice getting hysterical, and Alaska patted her back in an attempt at consulting her.

    "Come now Alexandra, be sensible and come and sit down!" A brisk voice said from behind them. Alaska glanced over Sandy and stared at the figures seated at the table. Daisy was on one side, smiling warmly at her over a bowl of fruit salad, seated next to a boy that looked the same age as Alaska with a head of flame-coloured hair spiked up like a yellow rock formation. At the head of the table was the owner of the brisk voice, a woman that appeared in her sixties, her hair short, grey and neatly brushed, her lined face plastered with make up despite the early time. Alaska was pleased to see Daisy was well, but was intrigued the very young and very old new guests, but could tell from a start they owned the mansion that sat calmly next to them.

    "Please Alaska dear, take a seat," the woman said, gesturing a gloved left hand at the free seat next to her. Alaska had no choice but to sit down and followed Sandy back to the table, though she turned to thank the girl, only to find she had already scuttled away. She couldn't be rid of me sooner, Alaska thought bitterly as she sat down on the blue whickered chair and pulled it forwards. A butler descended on her and poured her a glass of orange juice and a cup of tea, before serving her buttered toast and a bowl of colourful and juicy fruit salad.

    "Eat up girl, there is plenty of food and you have not eaten for a whole day, you must be starved!" The elderly woman said in a carrying voice as she cracked over a boiled egg. "Unless you are one of those prissy types that can only have a calorie a day, though you don't look the type, and trust me, I have met plenty in this business!" The woman said with a wink and let out a cackle.

    "And what business would that be?" Alaska asked before she could stop herself, though her desire to know who these people were overcame her smarts.

    "Why, my dear, the business of being wealthy," the woman replied with a twinkle in her eyes. "My husband did the earning, I did the smoozing, and I'll let you guess what the more difficult task was." Alaska smiled back at the woman, taken aback by her brashness and quick wit, and felt more reassured being in this mansion.
    "Are you feeling alright Alaska?" Daisy asked. "The doctor checked you over and said nothing seemed wrong with you, but of course only you can tell us the truth."

    "I feel fine, which is pretty surprising," Alaska said, and caught Sandy smiling at her, which wiped away Alaska's own. Asides from the busted leg, Alaska always walked away mostly unscathed except for bruises and cuts, but Sandy had been the one to actually get shot and nearly die before them. Though she had survived, Alaska still felt terrible to know what had happened to her friend, and knew that Sandy would have to deal with the injury for long to come.

    "I think we should probably introduce ourselves before we carry on," the orange haired boy said from across the table. "My name is Jericho, and this is my grandmother Evelyn. This is the Athlew Mansion, though is more commonly called the Celadon Mansion, so you may have heard of us." Alaska nodded with a blank face, but was gasping inside at her sudden realization. Of course she knew the Athlews: they were a well known family that were said to own all of Celadon City, from the Department Store to a series of commodiums and too many restaurants and cafes to name. It was an old family, having made their money through their purchasing of hotels and stores to build up their miniature empire.

    "Jericho played an important role in dealing with an enraged Dragonite a few years ago, and he has proved useful to our cause ever since," Daisy explained. "He is only young, but the Athlews have more money than they know what to do with, and that also comes in handy when we are in need."

    "We have been donating to charities for years, but what use is giving the people money if someone else is going to come around and slaughter them all?" Evelyn grumbled as she munched on her egg with better teeth than Alaska had seen in her old classmates.

    "I get private tutoring here," Jericho explained, "but I use my spare time to help create a small system to help Daisy, Archer and anyone else out with their work. It is only small, but it is enough to get the job done."

    "Where is Archer?" Alaska asked, annoyed at herself for not realising this earlier. She glanced at Daisy and saw a look of sadness cross her eyes and face. She remembered making a connection between Daisy and Trevor when the tunnel had start to shake, and could only imagine the pain the assistant was going through. But when she spoke, her voice was normal, strong and steady.

    "Trevor was still under when the tunnel collapsed, but whoever or whatever saved you must have saved him as well," she explained. "The Athlews sent builders down to clear away the rubble, and we looked around but couldn't find any sign of him. That would mean he would have at least survived long enough to get away, but we do not know where he went from there. There are still people down there securing what remains, so hopefully we'll find him or at least this shadowed man. He knew we were coming to the mansion though, so if he is able to get here, he will." Daisy smiled at them, her lips twisting up encouragingly with a hint of warmness, though the smile did not match her eyes. Alaska felt like she was going to scream in her rage at herself, and indeed she clutched the table tight enough she suspected it might crack.

    "Archer will find us, there is no way he could have died," Jericho said with a more youthful enthusiasm that made Alaska stopped hating herself and question his age. "Besides, this is one of the safest buildings there is. The room where you woke up Alaska is one of many hidden behind those doors that can only be reached by getting through the world's top security system. If they get through that, there is a securer area that can withstand a nuclear attack in the basement of the house."

    "Well, we know Gideon has nuclear weaponry, so that could come in handy," Alaska said bitterly, and she stabbed a watery piece of apple with her fork, spraying juiced across the surface of the table. When she looked up, she found all four of her fellow diners giving her looks of various degrees of shocked, and one butler had frozen halfway through placing a large tray of steaming French toast and a plate of muffins onto the table.

    "Sorry…," Alaska said awkwardly, cursing her anger, but Evelyn gave her a stiff pat on the hand.

    "It is alright dear, we understand what you must be going through," the elderly woman said with a slight smile crossing her lined face. "The fact that this Gideon is trying to destroy our planet is ghastly enough as it is, but you poor girls getting involved is just dreadful!"

    "There was a reason why we were coming here," Daisy explained. "This house is safe and secure, and there is no way Gideon or anyone else will be able to find you here. We put you in the rooms near the helpers in order to keep you protected in case something went wrong with Trevor or we were somehow tracked. The Athlews have the security systems to protect us, and after what happened at Lavender Town and in the tunnel, I think we need all the protection we can get while we stay here." Alaska had been nodding along while she spoke, grabbing several l pieces of French toast from the tray and covering them with thick, amber coloured syrup. However, as her childlike glee from doing this past, something behind the words started to dwell on her.

    "While we stay here?" Alaska repeated, looking up at Daisy. "What do you mean while we stay here? I am supposed to be travelling on my journey. I still have five gym badges to get! You can't expect me to stay in one city forever." Daisy, Jericho and Evelyn all exchanged looks, and Alaska glanced angrily at Sandy as if this was her fault, but her friend looked as surprised as she did.

    "Alaska, you have to understand, we need to protect you," Jericho explained. How can you protect me when you probably haven't hit puberty yet? Alaska thought viciously, but held her tongue. "Gideon is too powerful, and we still do not know the identity of those killers that struck you in the Rock Tunnel, or who is sending these robots after you, though we have suspicions. It is not safe for you to go out into the world until we have cleared these matters up!"

    "Suspicions, what suspicions?" Alaska asked, her eyes flickering between the three people before her, though no one jumped at the opportunity to tell her what she wanted to know, and her eyes settled on Daisy, Daisy who had said they had no idea who was doing it only two weeks ago. Furious, Alaska grabbed her plate and threw it on the ground, where it shattered and made Sandy jumped. "I have been fighting in this battle for too long now, and now you lot want me to stop doing it? You all need to get on the same page for those 'Elites' of Kanto and decide what path you actually want me to take before you drive me insane!"

    "I heard you never wanted to fight this battle in the first place!" Evelyn snapped back, the joy and laughter fading rapidly from her face and eyes, which began dark, glaring and angry.

    "I didn't, I only wanted to go around Kanto and earn my gym badges, but Gideon has stopped me from doing so. Yet now you don't seem to want me to do anything!" Alaska hissed. "You have to at least let me earn my gym badges if I am going to be banned from putting that crazed scientist in his place!"

    "Young lady, you should really hold your tongue!" Evelyn croaked, leaping to her feet and glaring down at Alaska. "We are trying to protect you because you are rash and out of control! You are not ready to even take on these gym leaders you are so desperately craving to defeat, let alone fight Gideon!" Alaska got to her own feet and felt around in her dressing gown for her PokeBalls, only to realise she still didn't have them. However, she felt something get pressed into her hand, and looked down to see a bold smile on Sandy's face as she pushed three PokeBalls into her friend's hands.
    "I am ready to fight because I have a strong team around me, both human and Pokemon wise," Alaska cried, and threw the three PokeBalls onto the table, and put a hand on Sandy's shoulder. The devices opened and light poured out, and a butler cried out in shock as Paige, Frances and Nadia landed on the table. The three cried out in joy, and Alaska was relieved to see that they were all happy and healthy, especially Nadia, who nearly leapt off the table in joy. Alaska beamed down at them all, relieved that Darwin had not been brought out, as she knew how badly that would end. The Apricorn Ball signalled for control… Alaska thought, but didn't voice this aloud. She ignored Daisy's, knowing the scientist would notice the cover up, and instead glared back at the Athlews. Evelyn looked furious at having Pokemon released onto her breakfast table, but Jericho got to his feet and put a reassuring hand on his grandmother's wrist.

    "You have a variety of Pokemon Alaska, I will give you that, and it is clear that Sandy has strong Pokemon as well and is a loyal friend," the teenager said with an almost cocky smile. "Good friends and a slightly odd mixture of Pokemon will not protect you in the end though, and I think it is time you learnt this." The smile in his eyes was unsettling, and Alaska was starting to wish she was still passed out in the slave's quarters where she could at least hold her tongue.

    "Gather up your Pokemon Alaska," Jericho said with a broad beam, "I think it is time we go and meet Alexis."

    The next chapter will be out after I finally finish this Galactic, and expect Alaska to mentally clear up what may seem like contradictions that appeared in this chapter.

  13. #163
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 46

    Chapter Forty Seven: Fifty Shades of Green

    As soon as they left the mansion grounds, Alaska found herself emerged within a beautiful city, but could quickly see that Celadon was not afraid to show its wealth.

    Everywhere there were tower blocks that rose to the sky, each one a different piece of architectural wonderment, pieces of imagination crafted from concrete and glass. The majority were apartment blocks that eventually blurred into one another after they had passed twenty of them, but there were many that were for business, giant corporate logos emblazoned across the entire building and their colours seeping into the glass and decorations. It seemed every building was trying to outdo the ones that came before it, each one get taller, bigger and shinier, and Alaska could only wonder how many millions, maybe even billions, had gone into glorifying these office spaces.

    The smallest buildings there passed were three storeys, and they only contained restaurants and shops. Alaska's stomach growled to try some of the cuisine they could smell, having being taken away before having a proper breakfast, but annoying her hosts may not be the right thing to do.

    "Unfortunately, the gym is on the other side of the city, so there will be a bit of a drive," Jericho said as he sat across from them, his smile warm and friendly but his eyes suggesting something sinister behind it.

    "We are perfectly fine with that," Alaska replied, and she leaned back in her seat. She had only seen limousines in the movies, so when the long black vehicle had pulled out in front, she had expected a celebrity to strut out and start signing autographs. However, the sleek limo has for her, along with Sandy, Daisy, Evelyn and Jericho, and it was more than Alaska could have expected. Cream leather seating went around the entire cabin, and there was plush purple carpet, two mini fridges and a small television. Alaska, Sandy and Daisy sat to one side, with the Athlew's opposite, and an awkward silence in between.

    "Ooooh, is that the Department Store in the distance?" Sandy said, pointing out the window. Alaska wasn't sure if she was being sincere or just trying to break the tension, but they all stared out the tinted black windows. The Department Store was the largest building in the city, towering over everything else beneath it. It was painted a luminous purple that made it stand out even more, and it looked wider than anything Alaska had seen.

    "The Department Store is the cornerstone of our industry," Evelyn said stiffly as they drove on. "We get about two million people through there every year, and some people come to Celadon simply to have a taste of what is on offer. There are over twenty floors, and if there is a product that is available in Kanto, than we sell it."

    "Good to know. Once this is all over, I might just celebrate with a bit of shopping spree," Alaska said, flashing them all a smile, and the limousine fell silent once again. Evelyn gave her a pursed look, while Daisy's face read 'What are you thinking?' Alaska simply sunk into the chair and watched the buildings slide past.

    She had not meant to lose it at everyone at the breakfast table. That had been the last thing she meant to say. But the one thing that was starting to annoy Alaska was how everyone she met seemed to have an idea of what she should do with her life. Keeping up this war with Gideon was destroying her, but being locked away inside a mansion was not going to help her either. Alaska wanted to finish her Pokemon journey and get the remaining badges that were simply waiting for her, and she was not getting to let them think they can simply shut her away from the life that she actually wants to lead.

    I was too rash though, Alaska thought, the comforts of the seat slipping away as she stared towards Jericho. She had only begun arguing with them over their attempts to lock her away and not let her do anything. Alaska had a funny feeling that Jericho had realised this and was simply trying to torture her, but there was something in his smile and the steely look on Evelyn's face that was simply unsettling. There was not much she knew about Alexis: the gym leader had been hired as a temporary replacement when Erika quit and disappeared within a few days, and had proved successful enough for the league to keep her. Alaska should have done more research on her and prepared for battle, but her words had forced their hands.

    This is how it always happens though, Alaska thought bitterly to herself. Everything that had happened recently had been based on rash decisions. She'd attacked the shadowed man without a second thought, and had gone after Gideon in Lavender Town, had destroyed the generators at the Power Plant on purpose, fought with Chloe and ruined the bar. All of those decisions had been the results of anger and quick thinking, doing the first thing that came to mind because it seemed like the right thing. Some of her intentions may have gotten through all the destruction, but mostly Alaska was only hurting those around her: Paige, Sandy, Nadia, Trevor, Daisy, all had been hurt by her rashness, and it was becoming too much to handle.

    I need to reach a decision about my life, and soon, Alaska thought as the limousine rounded a bend. Latios has warned me about continuing with this, the 'Elites' want me to fight, the Athlew family and the spies want me to hide, and the fortune teller thinks I need control… one of them has to have the right idea about what to do. The one thing that was clear though was that Alaska had become too deep in this mysterious plot that Gideon was controlling. If she kept fighting in it, there was a chance Alaska would only get hurt more, and the entire war was becoming too draining and demanding of her time. But after what Gideon did to Sandy, Alaska wanted to see him pay…

    "Oh look, we're nearly there," Jericho said suddenly, his voice cutting through the silence, and Alaska snapped out of her day dream, though a cold feeling lingered throughout her body. She, Sandy and Daisy stared out the window as they turned onto a fairly quiet road. It was a gardener's dream, rows and rows of flower beds flanking the car, each one coming in a different set of colours. There was a soft breeze outside that made the flowers all dance, and Alaska became lost in the beauty, feeling a pang of home sickness as she thought of all the flowering her mother use to do.

    The car came to a sudden halt, making them all lurch forwards, only Jericho and Evelyn remaining posed – clearly, they had practiced the art of remaining still in a limo. The driver suddenly appeared at the door, holding it open, and Jericho beamed his sneaky smile as he signalled for Alaska to move.

    "What lovely manners you have," she said with an acidic smile and stepped out onto the road, relieved to finally be out of the tension the limo had housed. Alaska found herself on one of the neatest roads she had ever seen in her entire life. The grass was perfectly trimmed and shined the brightest green as the sun pounced off it. The road was neatly formed and kept in by orangey-red bricks, and not a single piece of gravel was out of place. There were no skyscrapers, boutiques or restaurants nearby, and Alaska wondered dif they had stopped in the right place. But she saw Sandy staring past her in awe, and Alaska turned in the same direction, feeling her jaw drop as she moved.

    The Celadon City Gym was the most beautiful building in the city. It was a shining structure of jade light, the entire outside made from panels of green tinted glass that shone like emeralds. It was held together by giant chunks of wood that had been polished to glow as well, and vines were draped across them like leafy green scarves.

    "This place is beautiful," Alaska whispered, and she began moving towards it, the radiant nature of it overpowering.

    "It is called the Greenhouse by the locals," Evelyn explained behind her. "I have seen many of the other gyms, and frankly, it is the best one in Kanto, maybe even the best in the world!" Alaska had to agree. None of the others had shone like this or made her so willing to enter, and all of her problems began to drift away as Alaska moved towards it.

    "Alaska, wait up!" She paused and turned back around as Sandy rushed up alongside, her lavender dress bouncing as she moved. "Alaska, do you think you're ready for this? I know you've been training for the past few weeks, but you only woke up an hour ago! Do you think it is wise to have a battle right now?" Alaska sighed, the single action letting all her happiness about the beautiful gym slip right out of her.

    "To be honest, I would have liked a chance to sort out a proper battle strategy, but they've taken that from me. I want to wait, but I have to prove to these people that I cannot let them control me. If I can defeat Alexis, they might just let me go about my journey on my own accord." Alaska forced a smile, trying to encourage herself more than Sandy, but the silky voice of the fortune teller crept back to her, the cards with the scales and Apricorn Ball flashing before her eyes.

    "And what if you fail, what then?" Sandy said, her tone suddenly serious. "You have a good team, but it has been a while since your last proper battle that was not just for training. There is always the chance you will lose, and then what can you do? They will only end up controlling you in the end." Her words felt like a stab to the gut, and Alaska knew that she was right, but there were other reasons for her actions.

    "I know I could lose, but it's the same with every battle," she replied, whispering now as the others began to move towards them. "And you are right that I haven't had a gym battle since Surge, and that's why I want to do this. I need to know that I can still face gym leaders and that I haven't ruined my chances of achieving my original goals." It was almost as painful to say as it was to hear, but Alaska had to say it. Her mind was being turned to custard by all the mysterious questions that surrounded her, but she still had the central big decision to make: did she defeat the League or defeat Gideon first? The imbalance scales flashed before her eyes again, and Alaska knew that she had to make this decision soon. All the warnings and worries she had received of late were clouding around her mind, and it was past time that Alaska finally made a decision that was right for her.

    Sandy looked both shocked and saddened by what Alaska had said, and Alaska felt a twist of guilt, but Daisy, Jericho and Evelyn were upon them now, and there was no more time for discussion. Alaska merely gave her a reassuring smile, hoping it would be enough. "Are you still going to cheer for me?"

    "You know I will," Sandy replied, but the look in her eyes told Alaska the smile was not enough.

    "Come along you two!" Jericho boomed as he walked past, walking with a spring in his step. "We phoned Alexis ahead, and she is waiting for us. You can't keep a gym leader waiting: it will only cause them to defeat you faster." Alaska turned towards him and glared, the cocky smile on his face making her want to kick him where it hurts.

    "Tell me Jericho," she said, a gleeful thought crossing her mind, "are you worried about how when you hit puberty, it is going to look as if your balls are constantly on fire?" Alaska smiled as Jericho's beam disappeared in a second, and she walked past him and towards the parting glass doors when her head held high, Sandy unable to contain her laughter alongside her, and the look on Evelyn's face that the glass reflected was enough to make her day.

    The sliding doors parted as Alaska approached, and she was hit with a beautiful mix of aromas that reminded her at once of the old garden store her mother use to go to, playing outside after it had rained, and some tropical perfume her sister use to own. She paused in the entrance, letting the scents wash over her before she examined the gym, but before Alaska could even do that, something laughed behind her.

    "Oooh, look what the Persian coughed up!" The voice sneered. "It's be a while darling, where have you been?"

    "Have you missed me Clyde?" Alaska said, turning to look above the doors, wondering where the security system was placed in this gym. "I didn't think you were the sort to care."

    "I am shocked Alaska," Clyde replied in his droll voice. "We're besties, aren't we? In fact, if I had known you were coming, I would have set up for your arrival! You know, locking down the building, securing everything so your monsters don't destroy it, the usual."

    "Oh Clyde, your so considerate," Alaska said, beaming up at the system, and turned away with the smile lingering on her face. Throwing an insult back at Jericho had brightened up her mood, and Alaska was beginning to feel more like her old self again. The wonderful smells she got from the gym were stirring up old memories as well, and Alaska gave Sandy an overly bright beam as they made their way into the gym.

    As they walked through, Alaska wondered if the glass outside was actually green or if it just reflected the colours inside. The gym seemed more like a garden shop inside as they walked along a grassy floor through flowerbeds that made the ones outside look dead by comparison, a rainbow of colours smiling brightly up at her. Alaska saw bushes and trees that hade no place being inside, yet somehow it worked in here. Gym attendants and trainers dressed in green dresses that made them blend in were wandering around, Bellsprout, Oddish, Hoppip and strange Grass types Alaska didn't recognise following behind. All of them smiled and waved at Alaska and Sandy, and the Pokemon did the same as well.

    "This is such a happy gym," Alaska said, unable to help herself. She remembered the cold, steely appearance of the Vermilion Gym, the dusty emptiness of Pewter and the snappy tone Misty had used on them, and found herself slowly falling more in love with this gym.

    "I LOOOOOVE THIS GYM!" Sandy screamed next to her, causing Alaska to jump, and suddenly there were PokeBalls out. Butterfree was released into the air, and instantly she was drawn towards a bed of sunflowers that reached up to Alaska's shoulders. Bellsprout slumped on the ground, and her beady black eyes lit up in excitement at the world she had entered. Alaska was pleased that they were enjoying themselves as well, and was wondering if her own Pokemon might appreciate it when there was a tiny squeak.
    "Was that you?" Alaska asked indignantly, and turned to face Sandy. However, her question was answered by another tiny squeak, and despite her best efforts, Alaska found herself swooning. The tiniest Pichu she had ever laid eyes upon was resting in Sandy's arms, looking up at Alaska with wide eyes and wonderment that only newborns can manage.

    "I haven't shown him to you yet, have I?" Sandy said, smiling proudly and gleefully. "Isn't he just so adorable? When I first got a proper chance to lay my eyes upon him after Daisy and I had left the tunnel, my heart stopped for a second, and no offence, but he was the only thing on my mind for the time." Alaska shrugged it off and they laughed, and Pichu wiggled at the noise, yawning so that his rosy pink cheeks stretched, his spiked black tail seeming to wag in happiness.

    "Do you want to hold him?" Sandy said, moving her arms to Alaska.

    "What? Hold him? Me? Oh… ok," Alaska said, stunned, and she scooped the Tiny Mouse Pokemon up. Pichu gurgled for a second, but than he settled into her arms and continued to stare up at her with eyes too big for his head. Alaska felt her breathe disappear, and her heart twisted as she remembered he had hatched in the Underground Tunnel, only moments before Alaska nearly doomed them all.

    "There's no need to cry!" Sandy said, patting Alaska on the shoulder. Alaska hadn't even felt the tear creep down her face, but knew it was one of guilt, the innocent Pichu in her arms unaware of how close Alaska had come to killing him. It only made Alaska want to start this battle sooner so she could finally reach her decision and put everything behind her. She passed Pichu back to Sandy and wiped the tear away, turning around, ready to find Alexis.

    The search ended quicker than she expected.

    "Hello, you must be Alaska." Alaska jumped, having not noticed the woman appear behind her, and wondered how long she had been there and if she had seen the tear. She forced a smile as shook Alexis' hand, and quickly examined the gym leader. She was wearing a tiered turquoise dress that emitted happiness and positivity, with matching leather boots that nearly reached her knees. Alexis had long black hair tied back in a ponytail that brushed against the top of her dress, and was wearing only minimal amounts of makeup on her round but smiling face. Alaska had been expecting someone more intimidating after the last few gym leaders she had met, but everything about Alexis, from her warm eyes to the tips of boots, showed that she was going to be a much nicer, friendlier person to interact with.

    "Jericho called ahead to let me know to expect the great Alaska Acevedo," Alexis said, still smiling. "I must say that I have heard a fair few things about you from the other gym leaders and from Jericho, so you must know that I am expecting a great battle!"

    "I wouldn't listen to a word they say, I don't think any of them actually like me," Alaska replied, trying to make it a joke but the bitterness crept through anyway. Alexis continued smiling in a sympathetic way though, but her eyes darted towards Sandy now.

    "You must be Sandy, I have heard good things about you too," the gym leader said. "I was saddened to hear you had been shot, I hope you are recovering well? Oh my goodness, look at that little fellow!" Alexis leaned in and began to stroke Pichu's head. The Electric type stared blankly up at her for a moment before looking back at Alaska, and she smiled to see the little creature was more interested in her. It warmed her, but did nothing to take away her annoyance at being reminded how everyone was watching and talking about her.

    "Oh look, here come the others," Alexis said, and Alaska and Sandy turned as Daisy, Jericho and Evelyn marched through the rows of flowerbeds. "I am good friends with the Athlew family. I helped Jericho out a few years ago when he got in a bad situation, and after we fought a rampaging Dragonite, we became quite good friends. However, I don't think I have ever seen him this annoyed." That made Alaska feel better, and she smiled and waved at Jericho as he approached, his face almost as red as his hair. Daisy gave her a warning look though, and Alaska stopped, though kept the smile on.

    "Hello Daisy, it's been a while," Alexis said, and leaned forwards to kiss Daisy on the cheeks. Alaska wondered if her friendly nature was going to transition into the battlefield. It would be wonderful to battle someone that let Alaska go first all the time and told her Pokemon to accept every attack out of courtesy.

    "Can we just get down to the battling please?" Jericho said impatiently, glaring at Alaska.

    "Well, that is up for Alaska to decide," Alexis said, and she turned towards her, her permanent smile lighting up the world. "What do you say Alaska, are you ready to battle?" Alaska paused for a moment, glancing between the people around her. Jericho and Evelyn both looked furious, Daisy looked uncomfortable and Sandy's eyes were wide and staring, trying to convey her feelings in a single stare. The Athlews wanted her to battle for the wrong reasons, and Sandy knew that Alaska would struggle against the gym leader, and Alaska had half a mind to agree with her.

    But than her eyes lay upon Pichu, the Tiny Mouse staring up at Alaska in permanent wonderment. Her actions had nearly killed the Pokemon before he had even gotten a chance to live, another act in an endless string bad calls and wrong decisions made on the moment. Alaska had put herself into this very situation through the same stupidity and rashness, and it was time she put a stop to it. She needed to start making the right decisions, and she needed to get balance and control in her life. And there was only one way Alaska could find out what to do next.

    "Let's battle," she said, smiling determinedly and clasped a PokeBall in her hands, hoping that she had finally made a right call.

    Up next: the Celadon Gym Battle! And it will be the most exciting and unexpected one yet ;)

  14. #164
    Moderator AceTrainer14's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 47

    Here we go! After a long break, we finally have a new gym battle! I think this may be the longest one yet, so set back, relax, and enjoy what is to come!

    Chapter Forty Eight: The Grass is Always Meaner

    Never had Alaska been so determined to win in her entire life.

    She stood silently on the challenger's end of the battle field, trying hard not to be taken in by the beauty that made up the back half of the Celadon Gym. The flowerbeds and pot plants remained firmly at the front to entice and delight any visitors, but Erika, as Alexis had explained, had designed the back half to be purely about battling but still retain some of the garden elements. The field was simply knee high grass with the markings painted on, bordered by the challengers and defenders areas and the stand. Celadon's stands were three tiered wooden blocks, their supports wrapped with ivy and the wood painted a rich mahogany colour to give earthy tones. Green light created by the outside glass poured in here, giving everything a jade glow, making even Alaska radiate beauty.

    Alaska stared briefly at the people in the stands. On one side were all the gym attendants, the pretty young women with their Grass and Bug type Pokemon surrounding them, all smiling and looking happy with what was going on, and every seat was filled.

    The other side was completely different. Only Sandy wore a smile of the four people 'supporting' Alaska, but it was a tense and uncomfortable smile, as if the blonde was afraid at being happy for her friend. Evelyn and Jericho were both scowling at the other end of the row, closer to Alexis than Alaska and reaffirming where they stood. Daisy's face was blank, and she looked bored with what was about to happen.

    Great support guys, thanks, Alaska thought bitterly. At least Sandy had kept Butterfree and Bellsprout out to help cheer for her, though she wished her friend would bring Pichu back. Staring at the small Electric type only stirred up her guilt and fears, and Alaska needed a clear mind for the battle that was about to go down.

    "Are you ready to battle Alaska?" Alexis called from across her very literal battlefield. The gym leader was still smiling warmly at her challenger, but Alaska could see something rising in her eyes: battle fury and determination, a readiness to battle and a certainty of winning.

    "You bet I am," Alaska replied with a slight growl, and glanced briefly at Jericho and Evelyn again. They were about to see what sort of trainer Alaska truly was, and never again would Alaska be questioned about her decisions. As long as she won, everything would turn out the way Alaska wanted it.

    "Very good," Alexis replied. "I will be using three Pokemon, but you are allowed to use as many as you would like. The battle will be over once every Pokemon on either of our teams has fainted, and the person with the most remaining Pokemon will be the winner. Annabelle, would you mind refereeing for me please?" A perky, stick thin blonde rose up from the stands, looking stunned at being chosen and whispered excitedly to her friends, reminding Alaska too much of how Chloe use to act. She was tempted to throw a PokeBall at the blonde's head, but only just resisted.

    "Trainers, are you ready?" Annabelle called out in a surprisingly booming voice from the middle of the field. Alexis nodded, and Alaska repeated the movement. She had crafted a quick battle strategy in her mind, and could only hope that it would be good enough. "Alaska, how many Pokemon shall you enter as part of your team?" Alaska was taken aback by this, and she quickly fumbled with the PokeBalls in her pocket. Darwin would be a risk to use, but was it a bigger risk not to have his strength at her disposal?

    "Four," she announced, and caught Sandy gasping on the sidelines. Her heart began to beat faster and faster, and Alaska doubted if this had been the right move.

    "Very good. There four-on-three battle between the challenger, Alaska, and the Celadon Gym Leader, Alexis, shall begin!" Annabelle boomed. "Trainers, send out your Pokemon and let the battle commence!"

    "Jumpluff, I choose you!" Alexis called sweetly, and threw her PokeBall into the air.

    "Paige, this ones on you," Alaska said, and let her own PokeBall rise up above her. A Flying type against Grass types seemed to make sense, and Alaska knew Paige had the power to win this battle for her.

    "Pidgeeeey!" The Pidgeotto cried as she formed, flapping her wings to hover above the grassy fields. Paige instantly took in the setting and gave Alaska a determined nod, showing her readiness to battle. Alaska smiled back at her, and turned to check out their opponent. She had seen Jumpluff before on a gardening show her mother use to watch, and recognized the blue spherical Cottonweed Pokemon with its three yellow spores bobbing out from its body. Jumpluff seemed more cutesy than frightening, and Alaska wondered what Alexis was playing at.

    "Alaska, you have the first move," Annabelle said.

    "Gladly," Alaska said, and realised the battle had truly begun. "Quick Attack!"

    "Cotton Spore," Alexis replied. Paige shot forwards at blinding speeds, and slammed into Jumpluff beak-first. The Grass type squealed in pain as she rolled backwards through the air, and Alaska smirked to herself: too easy.

    "Pluff Pluff!" Jumpluff cried, and waved her spores around. Large Cotton Spores flew off and hovered towards Paige as she turned back around, attaching themselves to her feathers. Alaska was stunned to see Paige drop several metres from the weight of them, and a pained look appeared on her face.

    "Come on Paige, you can get through this!" She shouted. "Aerial Ace, go!"

    "Sunny Day," Alexis commanded instantly, her voice calm. Alaska looked across at the gym leader, wondering what exactly she was playing at. Jumpluff looked calm as her top spore glowed a flaming red, and a ball of fire was flung up towards the ceiling. Orange light spread across the tiles like butter across toast, and instantly the temperature in the gym doubled. Alaska waved a hand in front of face to cool herself as Paige slowly moved back up in the sky, her wings glowing as she moved. The Cotton Spores seemed to have halved her speed, and Alaska knew this would be a serious disadvantage the further they went in the battle.

    "Pidge!" Paige said, slashing her wings across Jumpluff and sending her spinning. Alaska noticed that Jumpluff had simply waited for Paige to strike, not showing any signs of trying to avoid the attack or escape it. Alaska reminded herself it was impossible to avoid an Aerial Ace, but trainers would still try and flee from it…

    "Aerial Ace again!" Alaska yelled, knowing she needed a non-missing move and wanted to see exactly what Alexis was up to. That was when she saw it: a glint appeared in Alexis' eyes, and the gym leader briefly glanced at Jericho. Alaska turned and saw the rich boy was smiling widely: unknowing, Alaska had stepped into some sort of trap.

    "Solarbeam!" Alexis said, her voice calm and normal, but it rang with power, and Alaksa's heart sank. Sunny Day would instantly make the attack work. It all made sense now. But Paige was a Flying type, so the attack should not be able to be effective… not unless there was another aspect to it.

    "PLUFF!" Jumpluff yelled, and suddenly she moved. Alaska blinked, and one second the Cottonweed Pokemon was high near her Sunny Day, the next she was a blue blur appearing directly behind Paige, her top spore glowing a dazzling green that made the tiles pale in comparison.

    "Chlorophyll…," Alaska realized as her heart disappeared into her stomach. Jumpluff's speed had been doubled by the bright sunshine, and Paige's speed had been lowered… everything was piecing together.

    "JUUUUUUUM!" Jumpluff yelled as the ball got brightly, and Alaska looked away. But nothing could stop her from hearing Paige's pained scream that echoed inside the gym, nor block the bright flash that illuminated everything, or the thud that shook the very ground she stood upon.

    Alaska felt sick. This was not what she had expected. It was a battle, and she should have known it would be difficult, but Alexis was sneaky, clever and cunning, her battling brutal and packing a powerful punch that Alaska had not anticipated. She turned back to the field to see Jumpluff now floated a metre above an indent in the grass, and Alaska wondered if Paige was still conscious, if she had survived the terrible attack.

    "Pidgeotto is still able to battle," Annabelle called. "Alaska, what will you do?"

    Good question, Alaska thought bitterly. Bringing Paige back and letting her rest was the right thing, but would Paige be able to battle later? If this was who Alexis used for her first Pokemon, what would her other two Pokemon be like?

    "Quick Attack!" Alaska shouted, hoping it would work.

    "Solarbeam!" Alexis boomed, her voice filling the air. Silence had fallen from the crowd as the few people watching leaned in to see what happened next. Alaska peered over the tall grass and towards Paige, seeing the very tips of her Pidgeotto's feathers rise up. A soft but pained groan came from the centre, and feeble white flashes briefly lit up the field, but Paige could not find it in herself to get back into the air.

    "PLUFF!" Jumpluff screamed, and she absorbed the sunlight in so quickly that Alaska could not prepare herself. This time, she watched as the Solarbeam struck Paige, the energy coming off it making the grass dance wildly. Jumpluff had moved closer, and the green spotlight bored into the ground, dirt flying up and the shockwave created making Annabelle's dress flap. Alaska wanted to scream, she wanted to throw something at the Pokemon and make her stop, but she could not bring herself to do it. She could only think of Paige as the Solarbeam dissipated, and how rashly and stupidly she had gone blindly into this gym battle.

    "Pidgeotto is unable to battle," Annabelle announced, the five words ringing in the silence. Alaska looked up with a pain in her heart, her chest constricting, her throat tightening. This had all happened too quickly for her to process it. Paige had only been flying a minute earlier. How could Alexis have destroyed her so quickly? None of the other gym leaders had been this ruthless. What had Alaska gotten herself into?

    Mindlessly, she withdrew Paige's unconscious form, staring sadly down at as the red light came back towards her. Sorry Paige, Alaska thought as she put the PokeBall away, I should have been more prepared. I shouldn't have let you go into this battle…I should not even be in this battle.

    "Come on Alaska, choose your next Pokemon!" Jericho yelled from the stands, and Alaska looked up as he flashed a smile at the gym attendants sitting opposite him. They all giggled and flushed, and Alaska wished she could hit the whole bloody lot of them.

    "Come on Alaska, you can do it!" Sandy yelled, shouting twice as loud as everyone else but kept going despite this. Butterfree was flying above her, her wings sparkling in the unnatural sunlight as they flapped and danced with her movements, and Bellsprout was waving her vines around in a sort of cheer.

    "Despicable," Evelyn muttered, her crisp voice carrying, but Alaska smiled, pleased to see that Sandy was still in her corner. Her friend was smiling warmly, looking as encouraging as possible, and Alaska felt the weight of the first loss lessen.

    "You can beat her Alaska!" Sandy cried. "Don't let their poisonous words beat you!" Alaska was taken aback, trying not to let it show on her face her surprise at Sandy's wording. She remembered how Sandy had reminded her about Frances's defeat of Gideon's Electrode during her gym battle with Surge, and realised what Sandy was trying to say.

    "Alaska, you must release your next Pokemon," Annabelle said with bulging eyes. Alaska pulled out Nadia's Great Ball at these words, but paused before throwing it. Had she really trained with Nadia enough to send her into battle? The Nidoran would have a type advantage, but would that be enough to defeat speedy Jumpluff or any of the other Pokemon Alexis sent out?

    What other option do you have? Alaska reminded herself bitterly. Nadia is tough, she will be able to fight. Alaska grimaced, hoping she was right, and tossed the Great Ball onto the field.

    "Nadia, show them your stuff!" The ball spun threw the air and landed amongst the field, the green grass swallowing the light and Nadia, leaving only a hint of her purple body between the blades. Alaska had not realised how tall the grass, and wondered how many more traps she would fall into before this battle was over. Alexis was still smiling across the field, but Alaska could not see it was a smug, self satisfied smile, the type Chloe and Amanda use to wear whenever Alaska stuffed up.

    "You can defeat these people Nadia!" Alaska yelled, and the Nidoran chirped back, her tiny legs pounding against the ground. "Poison Sting, let's go!"

    "Jumpluff, return!" Alexis yelled, and two PokeBalls appeared in her hands faster than Alaska had ever seen. Jumpluff turned into light, but she had barely left the field before the second ball was flying through the air. "Vinnie, your turn!" Alaska blinked in shock, taken aback by the speed, and watched as a larger Pokemon began to form on solid ground. She knew plenty about Tangela, having seen several when she had been to the beaches near Pallet, and presumed that the creature that landed was its evolved form: a giant hairy beast, a face hidden by the blue-green vines that made up Vinnie's body, only two wide eyes peering out from the mess. Tangrowth had two long arms that swung pathetically from the side, and Alaska wondered how fast a Pokemon like this could be compared to Jumpluff.

    "Nido Nido!" Nadia squealed, and she jumped up, firing the purple stings across the field. Tangrowth stood there and took it, barely showing any signs of pain or registering the attack, and Alaska cursed, hoping that a bit of poison would have done the trick.

    "Alright than Nadia, go in for a Skull Bash!" She shouted. The move required Nadia to charge up, and she watched as the Poison Pin Pokemon landed, and heard her kicking the ground, building up the strength to run forwards. If she could survive one hit, than Nadia could be able to severely harm or even knock out Vinnie the Tangrowth. Alexis was still smiling, showing no signs of fear, instead making Alaska worry.

    "Wring Out, go!" Alexis cried. Vinnie didn't make any attempts to move forwards, and for a moment, Alaska wondered if he had even heard. But than she blinked, and suddenly Tangrowth's arms had shot out, stretching out to twice their length, making Alaska gasp in shock. The red-tipped arms grabbed onto Nadia, and though she screamed and struggled, they wrapped around her and lifted her up. Alaska clutched her chest as she watched the arms move and constrict her Nidoran: they covered her body, only small signs of purple coming through, but while she could not see her, Alaska could hear Nadia's cries as the life was crushed out of her, and she could barely stand up.

    "You can pull through this Nadia!" Alaska shouted, her voice shaking as she spoke. "Push through and use Skull Bash, run across his arms!" A brief look of shock crossed Alexis' face, and Alaska allowed herself to calm down, glad that her order had thrown her. She was even happier when Nadia yelled out, a cry of triumph rather than pain, and pushed through the grip.

    "RAN RAN RAN!" Nadia yelled, and she sprinted forwards at a stunning speed, using Vinnie's right arm and shooting across, her head glowing a dazzling white. Jericho and Evelyn looked stunned from the sidelines, and Alaska smiled, pleased to have shaken up their plans.

    "Power Whip," Alexis commanded, her voice calm and cool. Alaska looked back on the battle and saw Nadia was still running, the right arm still outstretched, but the left arm was being drawn back in and glowing a lime green that made the grass sparkle. It was only too late that Alaska realised what was about to happen, and she went to cry out, but her voice caught in her throat.

    "Tan," Vinnie said simply, and he brought his left arm around. Nadia jumped, diving down head first towards Tangrowth's head, but was not quick enough: the glowing green arm swung around from beneath her, wider than her entire body, and Nadia gave a painful squeak as she was sent spiralling up to the ceiling, the attack so forceful that she moved back to Alaska's end of the field. The trainer looked up and nearly collapsed as Nadia smashed into the glass ceiling, and then fell down with shards surrounding her.

    "No," Alaska cried, and she held her arms out. Nadia fell into them, her tiny body only a slight weight in her arms, and she looked down at her Nidoran: eyes shut, body still twitching, but was starting to slow down. It had been her first gym battle as well, and Alaska had failed her.

    "Nidoran is unable to battle," Annabelle announced, and Alaska was forced to withdraw her. She looked up at Alexis, at Jericho and Evelyn, at Annabelle and her attendants behind her, trying to give them the angriest looks she could muster, but her emotions and guilt were getting the best of her, and Alaska silently sent out her next Pokemon.

    "Frances, you can do this!" She said, trying to sound encouraging, but even she heard her defeated she sounded. The Parasect formed in the field, her mushroom rising above the grass, though her pincers and main body were too low to the ground for Alaska's liking.

    "Beat them, crush them, pinch them, spray them!" Sandy chanted from the stands, and Bellsprout did her weird vine-flailing dance. Alaska half-smiled at this, but nothing was of any encouragement at the moment. All she could think of was how strong Frances had been defeating Gideon's Electrode, Lt. Surge's Voltorb and her powerful Solarbeam.

    "Solarbeam, now!" Alaska yelled, checking that the Sunny Day was still in play. Frances instantly began to absorb in sunlight, and a powerful ball of green energy glowed from the bottom of the field.

    "Wring Out," Alexis commanded, and the two overlong arms shot out once more. Alaska winced as they wrapped around Frances's mushroom, and the Parasect yelled and squirmed as she was lifted up, all of her health squeezed and crushed.

    "PARAAAAA!" She cried, and Alaska smiled as the Solarbeam was released. The powerful green spotlight hit Vinnie squarely in the stomach, sending the Tangrowth flying, dropping Frances back to the ground in the process. The gym attendants all groaned as Vinnie smashed into the back wall, Alexis having moved out of the way just in time, but Alaska only felt glee, knowing that this could be her chance. But as the happy thought crossed her mind, things suddenly became darker. She looked up and saw the Sunny Day was fading away, resembling water going down a sink hole, and she cursed – no more Solarbeam's, as charging it up was far too risky.

    "Metal Claw!" Alaska yelled. Frances began to race forwards while Vinnie lay confused against the back wall, struggling to get to his feet.

    "AncientPower!" Alexis yelled. Vinnie leapt up as soon as he heard the command, and he raised his arms above his head, the red tips glowing white. Frances was only halfway across the field when dust began to rise up from the ground, forming into glowing boulders in the air.

    "This can't be good," Alaska mumbled.

    "TAN!" Vinnie yelled, and he directed his arms forwards. The AncientPower moved, and Frances found herself bombarded with the dust boulders. The sound of the exploding dust muffled any other noises, but Alaska knew Frances would be overwhelmed by the attack. She looked across at Annabelle, but the referee was making no sound, so her Parasect would have to rage on.

    "Metal Claw again!" Alaska yelled, hoping Frances still had the strength. A cloud of brown dust engulfed the field now, and she could not see anything past the halfway point.

    "AncientPower!" Alexis repeated from behind the veil, and Alaska knew that this would be it. The dust was slowly clearing, and she could see Frances was on a tilt, her mushroom leaning to one side above the tips of the grass. She was making no signs of moving forwards, even as the AncientPower rose up once more.

    "TAN!" Vinnie's voice echoed in the silence that filled the gym, and Alaska shut her eyes as the boulders exploded again and again, dust rising up from the field as Frances was struck once more.

    "Parasect is unable to battle," Annabelle called, peering through the dust, and Alaska brought Frances back. She was feeling angry at everyone around her, wanting nothing more than to set her Pokemon on those that had brought her here. But as she clutched Frances's Great Ball in her hands, Alaska knew that it was all her own fault. She had put her Pokemon into this position, she had decided to battle even though she was unprepared, she had let herself get overcome with anger at Jericho and Evelyn…

    Latios had even warned me, Alaska thought, putting Frances's Great Ball away. This morning seemed so long ago, but Alaska only just remembered his words. This gym battle was indeed her greatest challenge yet, and Alaska should have heeded his advice.

    She pulled her final PokeBall out, trying, with difficulty, to block her guilt out, and it was only a second before she threw it that she realised who was inside. Alaska paused and stared down at the PokeBall, imaging Darwin rampaging inside. The Primeape had the strength, and he could definitely put a stop to this onslaught, but would he actually listen to her? Would Darwin be able to control himself, or would she leave the gym in ruins?

    "Hurry up Alaska, we don't have all day!" A voice called out cockily, and Alaska glanced up at Jericho. The flame haired rich boy was grinning broadly, clearly elated with Alaska's failure. A mental image appeared in her head of Darwin smashing all the artwork within the Athlew Mansion, throwing statues through windows and flipping the glass table over, and Alaska smiled. Without another moment's consideration, she threw the PokeBall onto the field, grinning broadly as she wondered how this would end.

    "Darwin, turn this back around!" Alaska cried. Darwin formed in front of her a moment later, and he instantly let out a screech and began jumping. The gym attendants all gasped in shock, and Alaska caught Sandy and Daisy exchanging looks from the stands. A voice in the back of Alaska's head told her this would only end badly, but she ignored it, giving Alaska and Jericho a smile to top their own. "ThunderPunch to start!"

    "Vinnie, return," Alexis called, and once again she sent her next Pokemon out before the Tangrowth had even faded away. Alaska thought that Darwin would have been perfect to deal tough blows to the unmoving Tangrowth that had waddled back from the wall, and expected Jumpluff to come back to finish things. However, this Pokemon landed on the ground once more, and a Grass type taller than the others formed on four legs.

    Even child around every region could recognize, name and recount facts about the various starter Pokemon unique to each region, and Alaska felt like she was six again as she stared longingly at Alexis' Meganium. She had fawned over the Johto Grass starter as a young girl before her toughness had taken over, and could see why: light green skin that still managed to glow, a face that was permanently smiling, a neck marked by four pink petals that were wobbling slightly. Meganium was the prettiest of all the Starter Pokemon, and Alaska felt mildly guilty about what Darwin would do.

    "PRIME!" Darwin shouted, having tensely waited for his new opponent to form, and he sprung forwards with his brilliant speed. The blurred ball of anger shot across the field, and a glowing yellow fist struck Meganium across the face. However, the Herb Pokemon barely registered the move, still smiling as Darwin landed. Alexis remained silent as well, and Alaska wondered why the gym leader had not spoken a single word, remembering exchanging insults and remarks with the previous three.

    "Brick Break!" Alaska commanded, judging which of Darwin's moves would cause the most damage.

    "Solarbeam!" Alexis cried. Alaska nodded, knowing it was a wise choice for a powerful Grass type to use a powerful move like that, but knew that Darwin's brute strength could deal significant damage. Indeed, Darwin was right near Meganium as she began to absorb in the dimmer sunlight within the gym, and he swung a fist out, catching her in the throat and sending her stumbling backwards. It was not as powerful as she would have liked, but Alaska was satisfied to see Meganium was more fazed.

    "Brick Break again!" She shouted in delight, and heard Bellsprout cheering from the stands. A well timed hit could throw Meganium off balance again, and than the Solarbeam would miss, and they would stand a chance… But than Alaska saw Darwin turn back towards her, an annoyed look on his face, and she knew that this was not a good sign.

    "APE APE APE!" The Pig Monkey Pokemon grunted, and he grabbed Meganium around her middle, beneath her glowing flowers. Concerned mumblings rose from the crowd as Darwin jumped up, heaving Meganium with him.

    "NO! I said Brick Break!" Alaska yelled, the weight of the world crashing down around her, shock and anger engulfing her, but Darwin did not hear. He spun around in midair, and the gym attendants gasped as Meganium was thrown back to the ground in a Seismic Toss. Alaska looked across and saw shock had crossed Alexis' face, and she tried to avoid the gym leader's eye as Meganium landed with a loud and painful thud. The starter skidded through the grass, and Alaska thought she would be harmed, but was taken aback when Meganium's long neck rose from the grass, and a green beam was fired before Darwin had even landed. Sandy's gasp was audible even from a distance, and Alaska watched painfully as her Primeape was sent flying into a corner of the ceiling, smashing into several sections at once before falling to the ground. Larger shards of glass fell this time, but Alaska could not see where they landed, only wincing with each one that shattered.

    "Primeape is still able to bat –"

    "My Pokemon have names, you realise!" Alaska hissed at Annabelle, and the referee looked as if she had been slapped, but Alaska no longer cared. She thought Darwin would have been able to withstand this gym leader, and could not believe what was happening.

    "PRIMEAAAAAPE!" The scream sounded all around them, as if twenty angry Primeape filled the Celadon Gym, and every eye turned towards Darwin as he sprung out from the glass, leaping through the air with his hands positioned like a demented Superman. Both fists glowed yellow and crackled with electricity, and the yellow light was so blinding that Alaska did not realise until Darwin was nearly upon Meganium that something green glittered in his fist…

    "NO!" Alaska and several gym attendants screamed, and horror filled Alaska's thoughts as she imagined the grass becoming stained with blood, Jericho and Evelyn screaming at her, the gym attendants piling upon her with angry fists and faces…

    "FREE!" A defiant cry rose from the stands, and a second before Darwin struck Meganium he was tossed aside, an invisible hand swatting him aside. The gym attendants scattered as the Primeape smashed into the stands, cracking several steps, the shard of glass falling to the ground. Alaska was stunned, unable to believe anything that had just happened: not just Darwin, but the entire gym battle as well. She had walked blindly into this battle, convinced of her own impending victory, and she had let her Pokemon become destroyed. And Alaska reflected on the thought that had crossed her mind when she had unleashed Darwin, and realised where it had nearly brought them.

    "Under my official rule as the referee, I hereby call an end to this battle, and declare the gym leader Alexis to be the winner under the official rules of the Indigo League!" Annabelle screamed, her voice nearly hysterically, all calm and cool fading away under the events of the last minute. Alaska silently brought a groaning Darwin back and turned towards Sandy, feeling hollow and dead inside. Butterfree still had a glare on her face and was flapping her wings with more vigour than usual, clearly ready to initiate another attack if necessary. Sandy stood beneath her main Pokemon, looking as shocked as Alaska felt, cradling Pichu as if he was about to be attacked as well, Bellsprout cowering behind her legs. Alaska wanted to say something, but words caught in her throat, a mixture of self disgust, anger, guilt and shock.

    "That was outrageous!" Evelyn Athlew cried, not directly to Alaska but her voice carried in the stunned silence of the gym. "I have never seen such a violent Pokemon in all my life!" Alaska wanted to yell her, insult her, pull off a witty remark, force her to try the brownies that weighed down her bag, but she remained where she was, unable to move. And there was no denying the truth to her words… you need to find some level of control, whether it is with yourself, you're Pokemon … back to your rightful path … give you the balance you need… Alaska wanted to be sick, but she would not throw up in front of these people. Her mind was spinning, and Alaska was starting to forget where she was or who was around her. She could only think of what had just happened to her… what had just happened to her Pokemon…

    "Alaska, may I give you some advice?" Alaska turned to face a woman with black hair and a Meganium, and it took her a moment to realise it was Alexis. "You fight well, and I believe you are a strong trainer, but you lack a sense of focus and well thought out decisions. You need to plan out every move before you give a command, and think of strategy and how that move fits in to your wider plan. These are the most important things about all battles in general, and you should think about these before you challenge me again. Oh, and lastly," Alexis said, as she turned to face Jericho and Evelyn, "try not to cause any more damage to my gym." Alaska nodded, feeling both gratitude and a desire to punch her, but mostly she felt nothing. She put Darwin's PokeBall back with the others, feeling the smooth, metallic surfaces and thinking of the unconscious Pokemon inside. She had let them all down, she had destroyed them based on rushed decisions and bouts of anger. Alaska had suffered her greatest defeat, and it was a struggle to hold back the angry tears that were filling her eyes… not only had she lost the battle, but Alaska had gotten the answer she had been looking for.

    Her gym journey was over… there was no turning back from this.

    Things are going to be pretty interesting for the rest of this arc ;) The official fiftieth chapter is coming up, so look out for something very special occurring because of that, something I don't think anyone will be expecting

  15. #165
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    Default Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 48

    Sorry for another long delay! Hopefully this chapter and the next three (which will be done soon as well, fingers crossed) will make up for it - I think the rest of this arc will be some of the best yet!

    Chapter Forty Nine: It's a Freaks Game

    I lost…

    The two words were the only things Alaska could think of. She had no idea how much time had passed since the gym battle, and had no clue where she was in this unfamiliar city. Alaska simply stared off into space, ignoring the world and the people around her, the two words replaying over and over again within her mind. I lost… I lost… I lost…

    "You can always rebattle her, there is no shame in that," Sandy had said at one point, though Alaska could not say where or when, and the comment was hardly helpful. One loss was all Jericho and Evelyn would need to find a way to keep her hidden away from Gideon. One loss was all Gideon needed to gain superiority above her. They would all wonder how Alaska could possibly defeat the scientist if she could not even defeat a gym leader. At one moment, Alaska thought it was funny how her enemy and the ones meant to be protecting her had a common reason to undermine her, though her depression and shock pushed the thoughts from her system.

    I lost… I lost… I fucking lost…

    "It is going to rain soon," Daisy said, bringing Alaska out of her thoughts for a moment. She looked up to see the slate coloured clouds looming above, perfectly reflecting her mood. A number of tall buildings surrounded them, though when Alaska looked around, she saw the green glass gym gleaming despite the lack of sunshine behind them, and realised they must not have gone far, and she wondered how much time had passed… I lost, I lost…

    "Is the Pokemon Center near?" Sandy asked, clutching Pichu in her arms and looking concerned, the clouds rumbling overhead.

    "We won't get there before this downpour begins," Daisy replied, "but my grandfather and Bill have friends just down the street. They could give us shelter, and they might be able to give you some advice Alaska." She smiled at Alaska, but the grin disappeared quickly. Alaska had barely noticed what she said, but realised in a moment that her face must be reflecting her foul and terrible she was feeling. I lost, I lost.

    "Let's go there," Alaska said, and glanced around for any signs of Alexis, Jericho or Evelyn, but realised quickly that there were not about. Where is everyone? How long did I blank out? I lost… I lost…

    "The others are staying at the gym," Sandy said when Alaska posed the question to her, her face riddled with concern. "They were going to help tidy up. I suggested we go for a walk to clear your head and you agreed." Alaska thought hard, and she could remember this conversation happening, though she felt as though she had been standing to the side and had not actually been involved. Everything seemed to have passed in a daze, and Alaska could not recall any parts of this apparent walk over the constantly repeating words… I lost, I lost, I lost

    The clouds continued to rumble as the trio turned down the street, and the first drops of rain brushed against Alaska's face as Daisy led them towards the only office block on the street. It was black and made of glass and metal like every other Celadon building, with an LED sign above the doors bearing 'Game Freak' in flashing colours. The name meant nothing to Alaska, but she followed Sandy and Daisy into the building with a grim smile upon her face, not wishing to be alone in a time like this.

    "Nice place," Sandy said as they entered past an extravagant water feature and a black leather lounge suite, though Alaska was barely registering anything, the thought of her loss continuing to plague her every thought. I lost, I lost…

    "I know, they spent a million redesigning the place last year when their newest game came out," Daisy replied, waving to a blonde bobbed receptionist behind an oversized wooden desk. They stepped inside a cosy elevator and were quickly whisked up, Alaska feeling a sensation in her stomach that she thought could be more related to her battle than the lift.

    "So who are these people?" Sandy asked. "Game developers?"

    "That's right," Daisy replied with a nod. "They do Pokemon simulation games designed for people unable to go on journeys or as artificial practice for trainers. Game Freak has released over a dozen games and they are insanely popular! My grandfather and Bill have helped them with making strategies and providing some of their research to make the game realistic, as they believe the games help encourage people to go on journeys and promote the proper treatment of Pokemon."

    I bet these games don't involve any sadistic mad scientists or murderous robots, Alaska thought darkly, but tried not to let it show on her face as Sandy looked fairly interested. The lift came to a halt and the trio stepped onto into what looked like a regular office area, with around fifty or so computers spread across the blue carpeted floor with views of the rain struck city. There were enclosed offices to the right, and Daisy moved towards a second receptionist outside one office and quickly whispered something.

    "This place seems pretty cool," Sandy said. Alaska went to say that it was as boring as every other office space, but caught her tongue when she realised Sandy was making the effort to talk to her. It was not her fault Alaska had lost, and she had warned her about taking on the battle without a proper strategy. I lost, she didn't

    "It seems alright, though the name is false advertising: none of these people look likes freaks. Disappointing," she said, and Sandy laughed. Daisy appeared beside them again, now accompanied by a tall man with light skin and a large hat resting upon his head, dressed darkly in a long coat that made him look large.

    "Alaska, Sandy, this is Morimoto, one of the head game designers here at Game Freak," Daisy explained. Alaska smiled back as warmly as possible, silently taking note of how much the man loomed over them all and the richness of his outfit.

    "It is a pleasure to meet you, Alaska Acevedo," Morimoto said in a deep, booming voice that echoed above the typing of keys around the office. "We may just be game makers, but we have heard plenty about your exploits." Alaska kept her smile on, though was irritated by the fact people she had never met and never thought she would meet seemed to know everything about her.

    "Glad to know I'm becoming famous," she replied with only a hint of bitterness, but the game developer did not seem to notice or chose to ignore it.

    "I would love a chance to talk to you about your travels so far and everything you have seen, but that would be quite discourteous of me," Morimoto continued. "Why don't I give you a tour of our facilities first before we retire to my office?" Alaska was not in the mood for more walking, but she was in even less of a mindset for casual chatting bordering on in depth interrogation, and gave a simple nod and smiled forcibly, though Morimoto was already signalling for the lifts again.

    It was a silent ride to the next floor. Alaska could feel the others judging her as they stood cramped together, Sandy and Daisy wondering if she was alright while Morimoto was trying to work out what she was made of. Alaska wouldn't be surprised if Pichu was thinking dark thoughts about her as well, and gave the newborn a dark stare that was returned with a cute smile that failed to shake her thoughts. I lost…

    The doors were soon sliding open again, though Alaska could not tell how much time had passed. For a moment, Alaska was knocked out of her thoughts as she stepped out into a space vastly different to the floor below. A neon lit battle field stood before them, taking up half the floor and giving the room a bright purple glow that seeped into every corner. Another desk stood to the left, this one longer and attended by a young man with a blue Mohawk and clothing that screamed hipster-wannabe. Several technicians were tapping away at computers that stood in all four corners of the field, and Alaska noticed rows and rows of PokeBalls behind the desk and along the walls.

    "This is our brand new Battle Testing Arena!" Morimoto explained in his booming voice, attracting the attention of everyone in the room, echoing above the faint whisper of rain lashing invisible windows. "We developed it so that we could have Pokemon battle before us and record what they do and how they react through cameras and laser beams designed to follow their every movement and attack. This is so we can make our games more accurate and use much more realistic and better graphics based on our mock battles. Our intention is to develop this system and build a holographic simulation arena game by 2020."

    "Oh my god, I would so love to play a simulation game!" Sandy said with a big beam on her face.

    "Why would you want to play a simulation game? You already have Pokemon," Alaska pointed out, causing Sandy to pause for a moment before blushing. Daisy shot Alaska a look, but she ignored it and stepped forwards, examining the field that shone before her. Memories of the gym battle came rushing back to Alaska, a blur of green and destruction, watching her Pokemon falling one after the other. I lost, I lost. This new field was so vastly different from Celadon… but were her Pokemon up to the task? Was Alaska up to it? I lost, I lost, I lost, I lost, I lost…It was all happening so quickly…

    "Do you wish to look more around this floor and our technology, or shall I show you some of our game software?" Morimoto said from behind, snapping Alaska back into reality. "There are so many other floors for us to look across, and this storm you are hiding from will likely last a while."

    "We're staying here," Alaska called out, walking slowly towards the field, the blinding purple light drilling into her eyes. "We are having a battle… I don't care who with, but I am battling someone." Silence was her only answer, but Alaska didn't care as she had the voice in her head to drill her on; I lost, I lost, I lost. The game programmers tapping away at their computers looked up at her, but Alaska only briefly glanced at them before staring back at the field… I lost, I lost…

    "Alaska, this is crazy!" Daisy cried. "You haven't healed your Pokemon, and if you forced them into battle now it could cause serious damage to them! Be responsible for once and don't go running blindly into a battle." Alaska paused and turned around, Daisy's words feeling like a punch to the stomach, and she was pleased to see her backing away at her furious look.

    "I will heal them before I battle, of course!" Alaska hissed, and she threw her four PokeBalls towards the counter, forcing the hipster to catch them. She had presumed it would be like a Pokemon Center nurse's station like the one her mother worked at, and Alaska was glad not to make herself look like a fool as the man slotted the balls into a machine.

    "If you are going to have a battle, you will need to have an opponent," Morimoto said, his eyes twinkling with each word he spoke. "If neither of your beautiful friends will take this role, I will gladly do it myself."

    "No thanks," Alaska hissed back, wiping the smile of the designer's face. "You want to test my strength and my skills so you can put me into a game, or report it back to Oak or Bill, don't you?" She glowered at him and waited for a response, but Morimoto simply gave her a brief smile that did not reach his eyes and did not answer. "I thought so. I know enough of what it feels like to be controlled like some avatar in a game, so I don't think you can pull that one on me! Sandy, I guess that leaves you and me to fight this out," Alaska said, and put all the warmth and caring that remained in her body into a smile for her oldest friend in the room. Sandy, however, looked awkward, her attention going between Alaska, Daisy and Morimoto, her eyes wide and worrisome, and Alaska felt her heart sink even further. I lost, I lost

    "Alaska, I would love to battle you, but…," Sandy said, before pausing and glancing down at Pichu snoozing once more in her arms. "Is there a chance Daisy may be right? You did just suffer a really bad loss Alaska, and I did say to you beforehand that it would be best to wait and plan and form a proper battle strategy. Why do you want to battle again so soon, when you and your Pokemon are not at top form?" You lost, you lost, you lost, you loser.

    "I want to prove that I can win!" Alaska shouted back, her voice going higher and louder than she had intended, though she did not stop. "I know I am not going to be able to continue my journey now. You can try and deny it Daisy, but losing against a gym leader is all those Athlews will need to keep me at their oversized doll house. I won't be able to change their minds, but I need to know that I can still battle and that I am still a good trainer, otherwise it would all just eat me away inside." I lost, I lost, don't you all know that I lost? Daisy and Morimoto exchanged looks, and Alaska could only wonder what they must be thinking about her right now. She looked at Sandy, wishing, hoping her friend would see how much she needed this. Sandy looked at Alaska, her face uncertain and awkward for a moment, but a smile quickly spread across her face.

    "Okay then. I can't guarantee you will win, but I will battle you Alaska: a two on two double battle," she said with a joking smile. Alaska beamed, and for the first time since her gym battle she began to feel calm and collected. The next minutes passed in a rushed, excited blur of burning neon glow and moving around, but Alaska collected her healed Pokemon and moved towards the opposite end of the field. Daisy seated herself begrudgingly in stands that extended out from the wall, while Morimoto stood firmly in the middle, seemingly going to referee. Alaska could barely think straight, her mind rushing with a thousand thoughts at once. The same two words continued to chant away at the back of her head, but Alaska looked across at Sandy, thinking about what Pokemon she had and would use, how she would be able to defeat them, what strategies her own Pokemon could use. You'll lose, you'll lose, the same voice chanted in her mind, and Alaska had to shake it out and concentrate on the battle at hand.

    "This will be a two on two double battle," Morimoto explained from the sidelines. "The battle shall end when both Pokemon on one team are unable to battle. Do the trainers accept these rules, and understand that by playing on this field, their Pokemon will be monitored and haven their movements recorded for our systems?"

    "Agreed!" Alaska shouted, grabbing two PokeBalls from her pocket. Sandy gave a less enthusiastic nod, and Morimoto glanced at the men behind the computers. They each pressed a few buttons and tapped a few keys, and they gave thumbs-up as purple lights began to glow on each of their stands.

    "If everyone is agreed, then let the battle begin!"

    "Butterfree, Bellsprout, come out and fight!" Sandy cried, throwing her PokeBalls forwards. Alaska had not noticed Sandy had passed Pichu across to Daisy, and for a moment she wondered why she had missed this detail and what else she may have forgotten. By the time the thought had passed, Butterfree and Bellsprout had formed on the glowing field, looking surprised by the arena they had been sent onto. Everyone was looking at Alaska now, and she realised her Pokemon should be on the field as well.

    "Paige, Darwin, I choose you!" She shouted, throwing the two PokeBalls forwards. Daisy and Sandy looked stunned by her decision, but Alaska knew Darwin was the right Pokemon to use. The image of him flying towards Meganium, glass in hand, was a hard one to shake, and Alaska had to reassure herself that he was a safe Pokemon to keep on her team and not a danger to them all.

    Glowing red light overcame the purple for a moment, and than Paige and Darwin were there, looking confused as well for a moment before settling into battle mode. Perfect, Alaska thought, my two oldest Pokemon and my two best battlers. They are what I need to win this… I lost, I lost, I lost…

    "PoisonPowder on Darwin and Sleep Powder on Paige!" Sandy called.

    "Defensive and status moves, I should have known!" Alaska shouted with a smile. "Paige, use Quick Attack on Bellsprout, and Darwin use ThunderPunch on Butterfree!" Paige shot forwards as soon as her command was given, a glowing silhouette above the blazing neon field, and she slammed into Bellsprout before the Grass type knew what had happened. Butterfree looked briefly at her team mate before going for Darwin, her wings turning purple.

    "APE!" Darwin screeched, and he jumped forwards, punching Butterfree in the abdomen with a glowing yellow fist. Butterfree cried weakly out as she was brought crashing to the ground, and for a moment Alaska thought she was already knocked out, but the Butterfly Pokemon floated back up as soon as Darwin backed away.

    "Excellent!" Alaska cried. "Darwin, you use Seismic Toss on Bellsprout, and Paige go for Butterfree with another Quick Attack!"

    "Psybeam and Vine Whip both on Darwin," Sandy said. Alaska looked across at her friend and saw Sandy looked nervous and worried, and she wondered what was causing this. However, Paige moved in front of Sandy, blocking her out from view. Alaska's eyes followed as her Pidgeotto soared across the field towards Butterfree, hitting her with enough force to send her flying as well.

    "Good job!" Alaska cried, beaming with joy, glad to see the battle was going well. Paige smiled back at her, but than her eyes bulged and her beak dropped. A yellow glow appeared on the field, and Alaska watched in confusion as Darwin turned towards Butterfree, his fist glowing with another ThunderPunch. "No Darwin, Seismic Toss on Bellsprout!" Alaska shouted, but Darwin merely shot her a look before running forwards. "DARWIN, STOP!"

    "PIDGE!" Paige shouted, and she quickly moved forwards, diving in front of Butterfree as Darwin jumped. The ThunderPunch struck her in the stomach, the electricity soaring through Paige and making her tail feathers stand on end.

    "What is the meaning of this Alaska?" Morimoto said angrily. "Why is your Pokemon disobeying orders and attacking your own team mates!"

    I wish I could answer that truthfully, Alaska thought. "He is having an off day I think," she lied in reply. "Darwin, use Seismic Toss on Bellsprout, now!"

    "APE APE APE!" Darwin screeched back, and he jumped up again, his fists glowing. Paige was still in the way, but when the fist connected this time, the Pidgeotto was forced back against Butterfree, and both Pokemon slammed against the stands.

    "DARWIN, STOP THIS!" Alaska screamed, watching as bits of wood broke off. She knew she should withdraw him, but she had to win as well… her mind was spinning, Alaska could not think which was more important… I lost, I lost, I lost

    "Alaska, withdraw him now, end this before it gets worse!" Daisy screamed from the stands. Alaska tried to follow what was going on, but all four Pokemon appeared to be yelling, Darwin the loudest of them all, and the purple glow from the battlefield was distracting, the light blinding her mind… I lost, I lost…

    Alaska suddenly found herself on the ground, the lilac glow surrounding her, swallowing her body whole. Someone was yelling, and unfamiliar faces were looming over her, but Alaska wanted them to go away, she had to continue her battle… I lost, I lost, why did I lose? Two simultaneously angry noises sounded behind her, and Alaska turned around in time to see a violent purple tornado spinning across the field, looking as though it had emerged from the neon lights, and Darwin was jumping towards it.

    "DARWIN, STOP!" Alaska screamed, though she was unsure why. The Twister briefly glowed yellow, and then the whole thing exploded. A powerful blast of wind sent Alaska, Morimoto and one of the computer monitors flying backwards. Alaska crashed into one of the programmers, bouncing off him and falling face first onto the floor below. There was a scream and a screech, and a loud smashing sound that made Sandy scream. Alaska tasted blood in her mouth and her nose felt as though it had snapped, but she looked up anyway, her brain bouncing against the sides of her head.

    A large hole remained where parts of a wall had once been. Rain and wind was coming up, whipping up papers and loose PokeBalls that had fallen from the shelves. The hipster attendant rushed forwards to gather things up, and it was then that Alaska realised the neon glow was gone, and she saw a large crack down the middle of the field. For a blurred, confusing second, Alaska had no idea what was going on, but than she realised four figures were missing from the battlefield, and Alaska realised, with what felt like a stab to the chest, what had caused the hole in the window…

    I lose, I lose, I always lose…

    This chapter may have seemed a bit rushed and disjointed, but note that was my intention, and hopefully you will be able to see why ;) The fiftieth chapter is up next, and it will involve something I have not done yet in my Pokemon writing, so look out for a shocking twist in a chapter that will shape the rest of the series

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