The underground tunnel that would take us through Saffron City was a good three or four miles from Lavender Town. Tim and I walked in silence, neither of us had any Pokémon out. The trail was wide and well beaten, through a shady forest. As far as weather went, it was a fairly dull day, mostly cloudy with the occasional sun break.
But as was now the norm with me, not a day went by without something “exciting” happening.
We were about halfway to the tunnel entrance when I heard rustling in the bushes. Tim didn’t appear to notice and never broke stride, but I closed my eyes and tried to pinpoint the source of the sound. This was a mistake.
Suddenly I was grabbed from behind. My eyes flew open in time to see a Team Rocket grunt pulling the Poké Balls from Tim’s belt. I was released, and didn’t have to check in order to know that my Pokémon had been taken as well. I spun around. We were surrounded. No less than eight grunts circled us. Most of them had their Pokémon at their side. I noticed several Raticates, some Zubat, a Golbat, an Ekans, and a single Hypno, who stood by the one closest to me. He appeared to be the leader, as the two men who had grabbed us had given him our Poké Balls.
“I’m feeling merciful today so we’ll let you children go in exchange for this lovely haul of Pokémon,” said the leader.
This couldn’t be happening. Not now, not ever. I immediately tried to formulate a plan, but couldn’t think of anything. Tim yelled at them, “Give us back our Pokémon!”
“Now I’m hardly likely to do that, am I? I’d be fired, and we can’t have that,” replied the man, sneering.
I couldn’t believe what was going on. I was practically a Rocket magnet. They seemed to show up everywhere.
“Now get out of here, kids!” said the man.
Suddenly, a voice shouted from behind him.
(Heroic rescue music, GO! Heroes of Hoenn
All of the Rockets’ heads turned. A Nidorino appeared out of nowhere and gored one of the grunts through the stomach with his horn. A Nidorina appeared right behind it, breaking the ribs of another Rocket with a bone-shattering double kick. A wall of fire sprung up around the two Rockets closest to Tim.
I didn’t hesitate, but took immediate advantage of the distraction. I punched the Rocket leader in the stomach and kicked his legs out from under him in a similar fashion to the way I had been debilitated in the Tower. I snatched the bag of Poké Balls out of his hands and reached inside, identifying the first one with a small ruby on the front.
“Tim, catch!” I yelled as I tossed it to him.
My friend immediately caught it and threw it up in the air “Charmeleon! Join the fray!” Tim’s fire lizard sprang from its ball and slashed at one of the Rockets, snarling viciously in anger.
Suddenly a shadow loomed over me. I crouched and prepared to spring up at the Rocket, but he was grabbed from behind in a headlock. I punched the man hard in the face, which hurt my still healing knuckles terribly, but was well worth it. My rescuer threw the Rocket aside. My suspicions were confirmed. Who else would attack the people before the Pokémon? She brushed a strand of black hair off of her face.
“Nice to see you again Criss,” I said, with a smile.
“Get out your Pokémon, I’ll get your back.”
I released each and every one of the balls. Baron leapt up and began to engage the Golbat. Beedrill took on two Zubat at once. Psyke locked itself psychic combat with the Hypno. Tim’s Zubat carried his Weepinbell high in the air where it began throwing razor leaves everywhere. Gastly joined the fight against Hypno, where it almost instantaneously evolved into a Haunter. I smiled to myself, nothing like a stressful situation to bring out the best in a Pokémon.
Locustod and Tesla began fighting the three Raticate. Tim’s baby Cubone instead attacked the people, beating its bone club against the shins of the Rockets.
Criss and I stood back to back. She landed a kick in the side of one of the Rockets; I locked hands with another and pushed him backwards before hitting him hard on the side of the head. Pent up rage at Rainer’s loss spilled into my muscles in the form of adrenaline. The man fell to the ground with a groan. I looked over to see Tim calling out commands to his Charmeleon, who was still fighting off a Rocket.
“Even with your help, this will be difficult.” I said to Criss.
She shoved a grunt backwards over his already fallen opponent before responding, “Don’t worry, I’ve still got an ace up my sleeve.”
As if on cue, from the ground on either side of us burst Criss’s two other Pokémon. In front of me was her massive Onix, it gave a savage roar. Behind me I could hear Arbok’s poison sting spraying the unsuspecting Rockets.
Team Rocket and their Pokémon began to flee into the woods, most of them at least. The two that had suffered burns from Flareon lay on the ground moaning. The one that had been stabbed by Nidorino also lay on the ground but was much more still. I had difficulty feeling any sympathy for the gang members. Criss clearly felt the same, as she walked over to one of the burned grunts and kicked him in the head, silencing his lamentations.
“Thanks for that, Criss,” I said as we withdrew our Pokémon, “we would’ve been screwed without you.”
Criss glanced at me for a second as she recalled her Nidorino and Nidorina, frowning. “I knew I shouldn’t have taken you to Mt. Moon,” she said shakily, not looking at me. She started down the trail again, walking quickly, with Flareon at her heels. I looked at Tim, he shrugged, and we followed.
The two of us rushed to catch up with her. I strode up to her left, while Tim walked to her right. “What do you mean?” I asked.
She glared at me, her deep blue eyes piercing into mine. “You think you’re some kind of hero, don’t you?” She didn’t raise her voice, but her displeasure was clear. “Trying to live the life you seem to think I lead. It isn’t some glorious adventure, gallivanting around Kanto after Team Rocket. You’re not ready; you don’t know what it’s like.” Her ultimatum paused momentarily as she took in a breath. Her face was flushed with anger.
I took advantage of the cessation by interrupting, “What the hell are you talking about? Those Rockets jumped us back there! It’s not like I was following them!”
This time she shouted. “And it’s a good thing I was! You think I don’t know about your little escapade in Pokémon Tower? Lavender Town’s is one of the police forces I work closely with. They told me all about what happened.”
I began to get angry too. “I had no choice! We did what we had to in order to save Mr. Fuji and those Cubone!”
“Don’t kid me,” she replied, rolling her eyes. “There was nothing urgent about that situation. You could have gone to the police and not gotten involved.”
“Not gotten involved? You’re one to talk!”
She yelled again, “I know what I’m doing! I’ve been through that kind of stuff before, but not you. If you keep this up, one of these days you’ll get killed or have one of your Pokémon stolen!”
It took every ounce of will I had in my body to stop from punching her square in the jaw. She would have deserved it. I turned away, clenching my teeth. A tear formed in my eye and each step I took shook it ever so slightly, until it finally fell down my cheek. Criss didn’t notice.
She was voicing the exact same things that I had realized the night after Rainer was stolen. It was my fault, all my fault. I was stupid to have ever made the mistake of rushing in there.
Tim, who had been silent this whole time, leaned towards Criss. She glared at him and raised a hand to push him away, but he grabbed her wrist and whispered something in her ear. Her face softened instantly.
“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t… maybe they didn’t tell me everything. I shouldn’t have been so harsh, I’m sorry.”
Tim must have told her about Rainer. I wiped the tear from my cheek and said shakily, “No you’re not. You’re right. It was my fault.”
She bit her lip and looked at the ground, but didn’t say anything.
Not ten minutes later, we descended the covered cement staircase to the underground path. The dim lighting and echoes of our footsteps almost encouraged us to maintain our silence. I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally emerged into the sun on Route 7.
It was Tim who broke our unspoken vow of silence. “Keith,” he said, “I vote we don’t have any adventures for at least another week. You think we can do that?”
I smiled and conceded, “I agree, Celadon City sounds like a good place to rest.”
It was much easier to talk after that. I introduced Tim and Criss to each other and pleasant conversation proceeded.
“So Criss, those Nidos new?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ve been training them since about the time we last parted. Once I think they’re ready, I’ll put those moon stones I appropriated to good use.”
“That should be a force to be reckoned with.”
“You bet.” Criss nodded.
Tim entertained us the rest of the day by telling Criss about his various adventures that had occurred while I had been training with Sabrina.
The sun was beginning to set by the time we had gone the rest of the way to Celadon City. I gazed up at the buildings as we walked through the streets. It was certainly smaller than Saffron, but still fairly big. Criss stopped at an intersection.
“I have to go this way,” she gestured behind her, “The Pokémon Center’s straight along this road. See you around!”
We waved goodbye and made our way to the Pokémon Center where we both turned in our Pokémon and went immediately to the bunk room. Sitting down on bunks across from each other, we looked into each other’s eyes.
“You look damn tired,” Tim said to me.
“You look damn tired too,” I responded.
“Well,” he said, “You were right about Criss. She was pretty hot.”
My face met my palm. “She’s way out of your league.”
“Yeah, her and every other girl.”
We both laughed and lay back into our respective bunks. Although it was about three hours before I usually even considered going to bed, I fell asleep almost instantly.
I broke my promise to myself to always stay one chapter ahead by posting this, but oh well. I update more often than most do anyway.
NEXT: Two action chapters in a row? OH EM GEE! Be careful not to OD on awesome. Shit goes down while training for Erika.
Hold up! The crew is in Celadon now, right? Let's think, who ELSE is in Celadon?