Episode 2: Team Storm. From the thin silk curtains of the inn room, light flittered in from the outside, it wasn’t too bright, but it was enough to coax Lucas into waking up. He yawned loudly and got up from the wooden bed. Much to his surprise, Red was already up as well.
“Let me guess, not much sleep huh?” Red commented on his loud awakening.
“Whatever.” Lucas rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Well, I guess it’s about time I showed you around town then.” Red gestured toward the exit to the inn. Once they got outside it was a huge crowd, people were packing the streets and merchants had tents set up with all kinds of goods on display.
“Forgot to mention, it’s the summer festival today. The place is going to be crowded.” Red explained as he went up to one of the vendors to buy two loafs of bread.
“Well, it sure is lively.” Lucas said, eyeing the various things the vendors had to sell.
“Yep, I’ve lived here for, I’d say 14 years, and this event is always the busiest time of the year.” Red said. “Not just merchants coming here either, a lot of farmers and explorers come to sell their goods too.” Red carried on.
“Explorers?” Lucas asked while finishing the bread.
“Never heard of em? There teams of Pokémon that go around looking for ruins and treasure. I was thinking of signing up today as a matter of fact.” Red said, gesturing toward the middle of the town square where a huge crowd was assembling in front of a group of powerful looking Pokémon.
“Wow, sounds like a good living huh?” Lucas asked astounded at the massive size of the crowd.
“Oh yea, I hear some of the best live in mansions outside of town, I’ve heard their like, loaded with riches and girls.” Red responded with a wide eyed look.
“Well, if you want a second member, count me in!” Lucas said without second thought.
“Really!?” Red exclaimed in disbelief. All of a sudden, Red’s tail caught alight for a second time.
“Sorry, it does that when I get excited.” Tepig said, waving his tail franticly.
The two were about to head for the explorer sign-up tent when a Merchant- a Sandslash- gestured for them to come over to him. The two thought nothing and followed.
“Say, you’re looking festive today, especially with that fire going on there.”
Tepig looked back at his tail, which was, again, on fire. “Ugh, not again.”
The Sandslash looked confused for a moment but turned his head back to Lucas “Anyways, I called you over here for this.” He rummaged inside his tent and turned came out holding a cool-blue pendant.
“It’s a good luck pendant, made from gold and a shard of a water stone.” Sandslash explained while Lucas took a look at it.
It was a nicely polished gold making up the neck strap and an unimaginably shiny azure stone carefully placed upon the gold holder.
“Hmm. looks interesting, how much?” Lucas asked, still inspecting the ornate gold placed carefully on the necklace.
Sandslash set the pendant down on the pillow beside him “Well, glad you asked, let’s say, 150 dollars.”
Lucas was digging into his bag for money when a Charmeleon appeared in front of the Sandslash with a face blazing with rage. He pulled out a shattered gold ring with a cracked fire stone still attached to the top of one of the broken chunks.
“You call THIS piece of crap jewelry!?” He asked, absolutely infuriated. Sandslash almost immediately broke out sweat like a summer rainstorm.
The Charmeleon grabbed Sandslash just under the neck and hoisted the terrified merchant up right up to his face, his nostrils expelling red hot embers into Sandslash’s face, further adding to Sandslash’s terror and perspiration. Sandslash was absolutely speechless out of fear, his only action was to take the broken ring and exchange it for a couple hundred dollars. Upon seeing the money, Charmeleon grabbed the cash and abruptly dropped Sandslash, whose quills stuck in the ground, preventing him from getting up.
Red, who had finally snuffed out the fire engulfing his tail, looked over at Charmeleon and in an instant his jaw dropped.
“Wait! A-aren’t you t-the...” He stuttered uncontrollably.
Charmeleon turned around, only now noticing Lucas and Red’s presence behind him. “Aww heck, didn’t see you two there.” He said with embarrassingly, His voice was quite heavy with western accent, but it also had a slight hint of American, the latter was a bit dry in tone.
‘Wow, he changes mood quickly.’ Lucas thought, astonished at the fact that he went from that pissed off to absolutely calm almost instantly.
Red’s abrupt stuttering broke his train of thought “Y-you’re t-the one f-from Team T-Triad... r- right?” He could barely make out a word let alone a sentence.
Charmeleon broke out a smirk “You betcha! The name’s Garret!”
“Wait, who’s Team Triad?” Lucas asked, confused.
“Who is Team Triad!? Have you been living under a rock!?” Red sounded genuinely surprised. “They’re the greatest, most popular exploration teams EVER!” He ranted on “They’ve traveled the world so many times searching for treasure it’s almost unbelievable!”
Garret interrupted Red’s erratic speech “Well, aren’t you a fan?” He said, half humbled and half astounded by Red’s mass idolizing of him. He then turned to Lucas right after. “Let me guess, first time being around these parts, huh?” He asked.
Before Lucas could answer, Garret continued on “Yea, I could tell by your nervousness, and that you were almost suckered into buying one of those counterfeit charms.” He explained.
Garret then glanced back at the merchant, still struggling to get his quills out of the soft dirt laid in between the plaza’s cobblestone “Here I buy one of those fire stone rings, and it damn breaks 5 minutes later.” Garret muttered, just loud enough for the two to hear him.
He pulled out an ornate gold necklace from his leather handbag. “Want to see a real water stone charm?” He asked, handing it to Lucas.
Lucas examined it. The gold making up the necklace was engraved with mysterious runes and glyphs, like those found in pyramids, at the bottom of the necklace was a blue crystal, crafted to look like three icy glaciers side-by-side. The crystal reflected the light from the sun, giving the crystal a divine sparkle. It was truly a one-of-a-kind piece, even so, it also looked quite familiar to Lucas as well, a same quality that he felt when staring at the painting in the inn, it was a feeling that made him think he was missing something, something important.
Lucas was about to give the charm back to Garret, when he shook his head “No, keep it. A gift, from me.” He insisted.
“Really?” Lucas was quite astounded at his humble statement.
“Yep. Some young lady gave to me a while back, I forget who she was, but she insisted I take it. It never looked good on me though, I like more fiery things, but I should look nice on you.” Garret explained.
While Lucas put the necklace on, Red approached Garret with a question “So, where are the other two?”
Garret immediately answered “Oh? You mean Warturtle and Ivysaur. They went off to the kingdom to the east for a while, they told me to stay and relax, I am their leader after all.” He explained.
“Well, that’s a little unfortunate...” Red sounded disappointed. Suddenly the two heard a commotion over near the sign up tent.
Garret looked over towards the explorer sign up tent “Boy, it excites me to think so many young people are signing up to be explorers...” He commented on the long line leading up to the tent entrance. Red immediately responded “Ya think? Cause we were going over there ourselves!”
Garret grinned widely “That’s excellent! Nice to see you two joining the ranks!” Garret then started to walk over to the tan tent “C’mon, what are you waiting for?” Lucas and Red shrugged and quickly followed.
The line was abysmally huge, stretching for 25 or so feet from the entrance of the tent. “There is no way we’re getting in there TODAY.” Red sighed sarcastically.
Upon hearing this Garret said nothing and walked right up to the person at the front of the tent, without a word Garret flashed a ticket of sorts at him as Lucas and Red looked on, confused.
After a second, the person in front of the tent looked sternly at the two gestured for them to come inside. Lucas and Red followed quickly inside. “Huh, never thought we would actually get in here…” Red Thought aloud.
Inside was still as tan as outside, but more of a darkish-tan, in the middle was Garret, laying out some papers on the desk beside him. Before they could ask what he was doing, he said “Oh, I’m just setting up these papers here, you two need to fill em out, seems as if the lady who does it is out for the minute, so they asked me to do it. Here have a sit right there” He pointed to the wooden chairs in front of them. ‘Wow, he sure knows what people are about to say…’ Lucas thought at the back of his mind, somewhat rudely.
Garret sat on the chair to the opposite and of the desk “You just hafta fill out your names, age, sex and what your team name is going to be.” He explained. “And no sex jokes.” He turned stern almost immediately. “Aww shoot, how did he know?” Red whispered humorously, causing Lucas to crack an amused smirk.
They quickly filled out the form, until they came to the last part: Team Name. “Heck, I didn’t think about this one…” Red sounded quite annoyed.
Both of them thought hard for a few minutes, but to no avail.
All of a sudden, out of the silence, Garret blurted out “You know, you guys kinda remind me of my brother, th’ name was... Clyde I think, always the cool one he was, he’d meet someone and within the day become best friends. Me and my buds used to describe him as “A Glacier of cool.” Or “The western storm.” Heh, those were the days. Back then, I was just a Charmander.” Garret chuckled, recollecting his childhood.
“That’s it! How about: Team Storm!” Red exclaimed.
“Well, I think that’s an excellent name if I do say so myself, fits both your personalities well.” Garret responded. “Just don’t forget to pay me royalties once you start gettin’ famous.” He chuckled.
Lucas seemed lost in thought however, silently staring off until Red noticed him. “Hey! Lucas, you ok?” He tapped him on the shoulder. Lucas instantly snapped out and turned his head over to Red. “Yea, I’m fine, that name just reminded me of something. It’s a good name I suppose, so go ahead.” He responded, still drifting off into an empty stare, before shaking his head and snapping himself out of it.
Just then the receptionist came back into the tent, pushing the impatient crowd back from the entrance. “Thanks Garret, sorry I took so long, you can go now.” She thanked him, to which Garret nodded in acknowledgement. She then noticed Red and Lucas seated in front of her. “Well, who do we have here, two new explorers?” She asked. “You betcha! From the looks of em, they look like they’ll be experts in no time too.” Garret responded, glancing over to see Lucas and Red’s humbled expressions. “Well then, I wish you two luck.” She bowed at the two. Garret then got up and walked over to the exit. “Well then guys, we should go and let someone else in.” He said. Red and Lucas got up and followed him outside.
They spent the rest of the day walking around buying various goods and chatting. Until it was just at the brink of sundown when they had started to walk over to the inn. Garret was telling the two about his adventures “... So I was exploring that volcano I was talkin’ bout earlier, and a huge Salamence came up behind me.” He said. “Really, I was occupied with the tablet of runes I found next to one of the lava flows, so I couldn't hear the big lizard comin’, the thing roared so loud I swear the ground was splitting apart under me. So I turn around, and the thing slashes at me with its front claws, they just grazed me on the cheek.” He showed Red and Lucas his scar, a faint, but still deep, three claw gash on his left cheek, below his left eye as well. “Wow, looks like that hurt...” Red thought aloud “Oh yea, it hurt like a bitch. But anyways, so I jumped back in pain after his sharp claws hit me, and unsheathed my dagger. Heh let me tell ya, tryin’ to stab a big friggin’ dragon while it’s breathin’ fire and slashin’ at ya while you’re tryin’ to stop the gash on your face from bleedin’ is as hard as swimmin’ ‘cross a river without gettin’ wet!” He continued, while Lucas and Red listed quietly; quite immersed in his story.
“So, as I expected, the thing took a huge swing at me, I saw it comin’ and I ducked, but my dagger, my gold dagger with a ruby forged blade, went flyin’ right out of my own two hands, into the lava behind me. I got so angry I just WHAM! Right in the suckers face!” He punched the air in front of him hard, to show the two what he had did. “I punch the thing so hard, he actually started CRYIN’! Can you believe that, I punched a dragon 5 times my size in the face and it CRIED! Even I thought I was dreamin’ when that happened. But anyways, the thing just ran and, I got what I was lookin’ for.” Garret pulled out a small gold sceptre with a flame shaped ruby on the top from his bag. “Yep, no idea what is was, but ever since I heard legends of it, I knew it was my territory.” He explained as he put it back. “After that adventure, I became famous everywhere, and me, Ivy and Jet banded together and made team triad. Anyways, I guess the moral is, don’t piss me off.” His joke caused a stream of laughter from all three of them until they finally arrived at the inn.
Well, nice meeting you Garret, but we gotta bed down for awhile until tomorrow, then well head out for someplace to explore in the morning.” Lucas said.
“Ok then, I’ll be stayin’ at my buddies house just in town, hows about we meet up in the plaza next morning?” Garret asked.
“Sounds good!” Red responded.
“Ok then, see ya tomorrow.” Garret said running off into the purple dusk.
The two waved goodbye and headed into the inn through its mahogany doors...