The Road to Indigo (Pokemon RP (Closed): Chapter 7: Dead Living On The Radio...)

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Aeris had managed to train Xal, Ekans, Sonya and Felina before they had to return to the Pokecenter, both to heal up her team and to meet the others before going to the event on the S.S. Anne. She was nervous to go on such a huge ship, but she knew she'd be alright if she just stayed with the others.

While in the Pokecenter, she'd managed to call her mother to see how she was and to let her mother know she was alright as well.

"Hi mom!" she said once her mother appeared on the screen. She resembled her mother so much, but there were a few noticeable differences, age difference aside. Her mother had red hair and apparently the same affinity for red clothes, but her eyes were brown and there were some features on her face that were different from her daughter's. Though she had scars like her daughter, but in different places. In the background there was a visible Magmar, her mother's Pokemon.

"Hi sweetie. How are you? Is your journey to become a Pokemon trainer going well?"

"Yeah, it's going alright. I had some trouble with the second gym match, though..." Aeris kinda drifted off for a second before coming to her senses.

"What kind of trouble? You didn't get hurt, did you? Or, wait..." Her mother knew that response from Aeris. "It was a Water gym, wasn't it?"

Aeris nodded. "But I won!" she said proudly, showing her mother the two badges she wore on her vest. "And I did it with Blaze, too!"

Her mother couldn't believe what she heard. "I'm so proud of you, Aeris." she said with a warm smile.

"And Blaze evolved after our first gym battle. And I've caught other Pokemon as well, see?" She released all her Pokemon from their Pokeballs, showing her mother them all.

"My, my, you've been busy. But I can't help but notice that your only Fire Pokemon is Blaze."

"Yeah, we haven't met many Fire Pokemon along the way. At least not wild ones. We've met a Rapidash in a Pokemon club here in Vermilion, a Growlithe that belongs to a friend I've made and my boyfriend's Houndour." Then she realized what she'd said and turned red as an apple.

This was great news to her mother. "Oh, you have a boyfriend now? Well, it was only a matter of time. What's his name? How's he like?" Her mother asked a few other questions, but Aeris was too busy being embarrassed telling her mother that.

"His name is Mika, and he's really sweet. You'll be able to meet him once we'll be in Cinnabar. I'm not surprised that we'll have to battle Blaine at some point. I know how strong he is, but by the time we'll come to Cinnabar, we should be strong enough."

"Yeah, I should have figured that if you were challenging the gyms, you'd come here eventually."

"I've been traveling with a group of trainers and they're all pretty interesting." She went on about each of them and what she could tell. She wouldn't mention the Team Rocket incident because she didn't want her mother to worry, but she wouldn't have been surprised if she already knew about Team Rocket sealing off Mt. Moon. That sort of thing would surely have been in the news.

"Sounds like an interesting group indeed." her mother said with a little giggle.

"Ah. And I should mention that Jordan, the surfer guy I just mentioned, somehow got a ticket to an event on the S.S. Anne. Even after defeating Misty, the Water gym leader, I'm still pretty afraid of water. Can't cure it with just one victory. But I'm still looking forward to it, and I know I'll be safe with everyone." She gave her mother a smile, then returned her team to their Pokeballs. "How's Magy been doing?"

"She's been alright. She misses you and Blaze like I do, but we know you'll come to visit and once this is done that you'll return." Her mother's Magmar, Magy, waved to Aeris and Blaze, who Aeris had let be outside of her Pokeball. Both of them waved back.

"Ah, I need to go and get ready before we go, mom. It was good talking to you."

"It was nice to hear from you too. Don't you want me to send you some nice clothes for this event you're going to?"

"No, that's alright. I'll just wear what I'm wearing. And you know I don't really like skirts to begin with."

"And yet you wear shorts that are so short." Her mother gave another giggle. "I'll be waiting to hear from you again, my dear."

"I'll be sure to call you again. Maybe sooner than this, though. And before I forget, I assume dad is busy in the laboratory?"

Her mother nodded. "Yeah, sometimes you'd think he was married to his job and not me." Both of them giggled. "But he stops by here once in a while. And I walk over to it sometimes like before." Both of them smiled to each other. "You should go now to get ready, as you said."

"Ah, yeah. Talk to you later, mom."

"Stay safe, Aeris."

The phone call ended, and Aeris returned to her group. "I hope this will be fun for us all." she said to Blaze who nodded in agreement. Before they would go, she thought to take a shower and make a change of clothes. She was again wearing the same kind of vest and T-shirt she always wore, and she'd taken out a clean pair of jeans from her backpack. She pinned her two badges onto this vest, and headed to the front to get something to eat, but not too much before going to the celebration.

Now at the S.S. Anne, it was magnificent, but at the same time, Aeris didn't like it. Part of her phobia, perhaps. She stayed close to Mika, making sure to not go too far away from him. Though that was tough, considering how tightly she held his arm as they walked up the gangplank. She kept her Pokemon in their Pokeballs, even Blaze, because they could be released at some point while on the ship, but it would be better to keep them in their Pokeballs while walking towards it and into it.

"I think I'm just about ready to head on out," Eileen stated as she placed the last bandage over the cuts on her leg. Her Pokemon were sitting on the bed, watching their Trainer patiently as she got ready for the party. "What do you three think about the outfit? Good enough for a party right?" she asked, standing up and putting away the small box of bandages back into the first-aid kit. Her Pokemon gave various replies, with two out of the three sounding positive.

Cleo, however, gave an indifferent shrug at the question; not particularly caring about what her owner was wearing. She was interested in talking about something else involving the party, and made it known to her owner.

Meo-owth. Meow-meowth? Meow! Cleo asked. Hughes seemed unhappy with what Cleo had asked, and Ari didn't quite understand anything that was being said.

"I didn't quite catch that," Eileen replied, trying to understand what her Pokemon had said. Cleo sighed before going through her Trainer's backpack, taking out a notepad and pen. "Just only use a few pages if you can," her Trainer stated as Cleo did a quick drawing. It showcased a small creature that vaguely resembled a Meowth reaching into the pocket of a blob man in a suit.

Meowth? Cleo asked after holding up the picture, watching as Eileen realized what her Pokemon was asking.

"Well I guess that would be okay. Just don't get caught, and don't steal anything from the other Trainers that we're traveling with. Understood?" Eileen asked after considering what Cleo was proposing. With all of that figured out, she returned her Pokemon to their Pokeballs. She took a moment to look over herself after grabbing her bag, and while she felt that not everything was perfect it would have to be good enough.

The massive luxury cruise liner was stunning as they approached it at night; the dock area being illuminated by the many lights from the ship. 'Quite a beautiful ship. Should be quite a number of people on it tonight,' Eileen thought to herself as she followed the rest of the group up aboard the ship.

Callum's afternoon had become rather peaceful from that point forward. A good chunk of his time was spent trying to learn the ins and outs of his Pokédex, and he had come across fair good deal of useful information from it. He finally figured out where he could find the type listings, ability, and current move set of each of the Pokémon in his party. He also figured out how to teach his Pokémon moves from the TMs. His practical test of that last part resulted in him placing his Ledyba on tray that emerged from his Pokédex and downloading the move, Silver Wind, in place of the previous move Reflect.

After he was satisfied that he had learned enough about the device for today, Callum went over to one of the Pokémon Center's PCs and decided to change the Pokémon that he was currently keeping on him. He decided that he wanted to get to know most of his more recently caught Pokémon better so he transferred his Nincada and Spinarak to his box. Next, after he withdrew his Paras, Metapod, and Weedle, he decided to spend the better part of his remaining afternoon getting to know them and generally having fun with them. On his way out of the Pokémon Center Callum had run into Jordan again and was asked to join them aboard the S.S. Anne later.

Callum decided to wear his usual attire for the S.S. Anne's party. This was as much of a personal choice as it was due to the fact that he had never exactly owned any real fancy clothes. Although it occurred to him in his mind that he might not be let aboard because of his choice; he was content with what he owned and didn't wish to be a part of something that would judge him by his clothing.

Any worries that he had about his personal appearance, disappeared when he got close to the ship. He'd never seen anything man made in this scale before this day and it wasn't a wonder why. The Devon Corporation headquarters seemed small in comparison and Callum had a sinking feeling growing in his gut.

His personal silence and unease stayed with him as he bordered the ship with the group. His choice of clothing was ignored, and Callum completely overlooked the staff's lack of interest in who was bordering the ship. Maybe I should have taken a ship from Hoenn instead of flying.

As the trainers made their way onto the deck of the ship, the loudspeaker crackled to life with an auspicious welcome. "Attention honored guests! I would like to welcome all of you aboard the luxurious S.S. Anne on the 20th anniversary of her maiden voyage!" The voice booming across the decks was loud and unnecessarily perky. "My name is Katrina, and I'll be telling you about what you can expect during your time aboard the ship! Since this the anniversary voyage, this ship has been lovingly restored to its original conditions! All the details you see around you have been researched from the original ship and you will all be able to enjoy it, from the railings surrounding the ship to the conditions in the bathrooms!

Now first we will be allowing people to explore the top deck of the ship as we get more people on board. As we get closer to our departure time, that is when the lower decks will be opened up! We have many different attractions for you to enjoy. The banquet hall will be laying out a full buffet spread, featuring many different cuisines from all over the Kanto/Johto region! And if you're not interested in a bite to eat, maybe you're hungry for a battle! We will have multiple battle arenas open for trainers to test their skills against their fellow passengers, and those will be located in the grand ball room!

If you don't feel your team is up to snuff, there are other options for you to improve your team! Trading facilities will be available in one of the conferences rooms opposite the main ball room! Or, if you feel like catching your own new member, we have sport fisihing facilities set up at the stern, that's back, of the ship! There are a variety of rods to choose from and they might just help you land that Pokemon that will give your team the skills it needs to get closer to becoming a champion!"

Jordan liked the sound of that latest announcement. Cool, get a water bro for the team. Nothing like those lame Magikarps I was catching up on land there.

"After a period of time we will be disbarking from the dock for a pleasure cruise around the waters of Kanto Bay! We will be heading out into the open seas to give all partygoers the experience of being out on a luxurious cruise! Please note that any one getting to close to the front of the ship while proclaiming they are kings or queens of the world, will be advised not to get to close, so they don't fall over the railing! After the cruise is over, we will return to Vermillion dock and that will be the end of the party! OK? So I hope you all enjoy your time on the S.S. Anne!"

The number of guests still on land was almost zero, and soon the entire ship would be open for exploration.

"Ugh, it hurt to talk like that," Katrina commented rubbing her face. "Why couldn't we just have that ditz Kimmi doing this? She's much better at it than anyone else."

"Because Kimmi was incapacitated during ze Mount Moon mission, and you were ze next one who could maintain zat level of pep. You deed a good job. Once we are sufficiently out to zea, our plan will be put into action."


"Now go prepare."

"Yes, Jean-Simon."

As the final guest climbed the gangplank, the two employees at the bottom followed with them. As the plank was raised, the first trays of food were hitting the tables, and the lights in the ball room were shining spotlights on the arenas. The party was about to get underway.

The informative announcement was barely listened to until the announcer said the phrase 'hungry for a battle'. After that Eileen listened intently to the information regarding the Pokemon battles and where they'd take place. "I know where I'm heading. See all of you later," Eileen told the group as soon as the announcement was over, giving a quick wave goodbye before going to search for the grand ball room.

Eileen regretted her decision of not eating first as she followed the direction signs to the ball room. The movement of the boat wasn't helping either, though it seemed to get better once she was inside the interior of the ship. 'Maybe just a few quick battles and then I can head back and eat something to settle my stomach,' she thought hungrily, finding the large double doors to the ball room and heading on inside.

The grand ball room was all that Eileen could have dreamed of. The tall walls of ball room were a golden color with long, flowing drapes coming down the sides. The ceiling above had beautiful carvings, with a few of them being recognizable as Pokemon. While the room and furnishings were all very regal looking, the six raised stages were what interested Eileen. Each stage had a set of lights above them focusing right at the center of the area, and a scoreboard placed on the wall for each stage. Surrounding each one were a row of chairs for spectators to sit down and watch the battles, and Eileen noticed that there was someone in referee garb for each stage.

With more people coming in by the second Eileen rushed over to one of the stages to use, giving a quick hello to the referee as she waited for an opponent. The sheer excitement of it all made Eileen feel slightly sick, though it could have also been some rough waves. 'You got this girl. We'll kick some butt, and then celebrate with a tasty meal. Then kick more butt...yeah!' she thought with a crazed smile on her face as a young Trainer stopped by to look onto the stage before jumping inside.

"Hey lady, I challenge you to a battle! This is the place for them right, sir?" the youngster asked the referee, who gave a quick nod and proceeded to start the match with a quick explanation of the rules. Eileen eagerly accepted the challenge once the referee was done, watching as the young Trainer (who she figured must be the child of one of the many party goers) sent out a male Nidoran.

"I choose you, Hughes!" Eileen called out, tossing her Pokeball in the air. Hughes landed on the floor of the stage, his initial look of confidence disappearing as he looked around the area. He was on what looked to be a battle stage, and there was even another Pokemon in front of him. However, the room past that looked all grandiose along with the people in the room. The Growlithe couldn't make heads or tails of what was going, so he decided to do the first thing he could think of. Placing one paw in front of the other he started to do a dance around the stage, stopping when his Trainer told him that this was a battle and not their dancing lesson.

Groow? Hughes responded after he stopped, hearing a few claps from some spectators and making a quick bow.

"We can dance later if you want to Hughes. First we must battle!" Eileen exclaimed, before hearing her opponent laughing, "What seems to be so funny, kid?"
"It's just that you chose a male Pokemon, when my Pokemon is also male with the ability Rivalry! My Pokemon is even stronger now, and there is no way that you ca-" the youngster started to say, bragging about his Pokemon until Eileen told Hughes to use Flame Wheel.

"If Rivalry is his Pokemon's ability than there isn't a fear of getting poisoned with physical contact," Eileen muttered gleefully, watching as Hughes hit the opponent's Pokemon and sent it flying out of the ring. "Got anything else?" she asked smugly as the youngster went over to his Pokemon.

"Ann!" he cried out, holding his Pokemon up as a slightly older girl approached him. "The mean lady...look what she did to Pokey!"
"Hush now Tyler. You go find dad while I teach this trainer a lesson!" the lass said to her brother, watching him go before entering onto the stage herself. "You may have bested my younger brother, but there is no way you will defeat me!"

"We'll see about that," Eileen replied as the referee proclaimed her first victory. The scoreboard up above dinged as the number one was shown on her side, getting some more claps from bystanders. The lass sent out her Pidgey, who tried to take flight to dodge Hughes' bite attack. The tiny bird Pokemon could not get high enough before Hughes grabbed a hold of it and brought the Pokemon back down.

"Birdy, no!" the lass called out, returning her battered Pokemon before sending out her own female Nidoran. "Needle, use Scratch attack!"

"Hughes, retaliate with an Ember attack," Eileen said, watching as Hughes shot out a flurry of embers at the advancing Nidoran. The Pokemon jumped up to try to dodge the attack, only to be hit with a subsequent Ember while in the air.

"The Pokemon is unable to battle!" the referee called out after checking to see if the Pokemon could get up, the scoreboard now showing a two. More people seemed to be spectating at this point, with one girl close to the same age as Eileen's last opponent coming up. "How dare you do that to my friend. I, Dawn, challenge you to a battle!" Dawn proclaimed as the referee let the match begin.

"I'm just winning battles here, there is nothing personal in this," Eileen stated, calling back Hughes as Dawn sent out a Rattata. With Hughes returned, Eileen sent out Ari to battle next. The egg Pokemon seemed more interested with all the decorations and scenery than the actual battle which allowed him to get hit by a Quick Attack.

"Pay attention Ari. You can look at things later! Use Leech Seed, than a Barrage attack!" Eileen told her Pokemon who seemed to get back into focus now. His first Leech Seed attack missed and he was hit with another Quick Attack, whereby he quickly fired back with a set of Barrages that knocked the opponent Pokemon off of the stage. Dawn was about to tell her Rattata to get back onto the stage before the referee declared that her Pokemon went out of the ring and therefore lost.

"What!? Why didn't you say that!?" Dawn yelled in confusion, with the announcer replying that he had stated that rule numerous times by this point and that it was her fault for not paying attention. "Pff! Fine, whatever! Return Rattata, and go Pikachu!"

"This is a good opponent Ari. You'll need to learn how to battle an electric type to prepare for Lt. Surge," Eileen told Ari, telling him to try the Leech Seed and Barrage combo again. The Pikachu attacked first with a Quick Attack that allowed Ari to land his Leech Seed attack. While the Pikachu was entangled Ari started his Barrage attack. The damage wasn't too great against the higher-level Pikachu, but it was placing a dent in the Pokemon's health. "Ari, use Uproar!" Eileen said after Ari was hit with a Thundershock by the Pikachu, the egg Pokemon looking surprised that the attack didn't do as much damage as he thought it would. Shaking off his surprise he fought back with an Uproar, loudly taking out his opponent after a few more traded moves.

"You did it Ari! A bit too close for my liking, but you did well!" Eileen told her Pokemon, hearing the ding of the scoreboard above. With each victory the clapping of the growing audience grew louder, and by now it seemed that her battles were bringing in the most spectators.

"Anyone else want to challenge me?" Eileen asked, watching as a older man stepped up followed by the two kids she had first defeated.

"I, Brooks, challenge you. I will not go easy on you after what you did to my children!" the man said, telling his kids to stay off the stage while the referee explained the rules once more. When it was over Brooks called out a Pikachu of his own, though this one seemed a lot tougher than Dawn's Pikachu.

Ari seemed ready to go back into the fight, but was told to return by his Trainer. Ex...egg? Ari asked, looking up at his Trainer. "You can fight the next battle, but I'm giving this one to Hughes. I just don't think you're strong enough just yet," Eileen explained to Ari, the Pokemon looking sad at the reasoning. He was returned as Hughes was sent back out, the fire Pokemon surprised at how many more people there were this time.

"Alright Hughes, you defeated this man's kids now it is time to beat him. Start out with an Ember!" she said, Hughes giving a quick growl in understanding before firing his Ember attack. "Zolt, use Electro Ball!" Brooks commanded as his Pikachu fired a ball of electricity at Hughes. The two attacks collided in an explosion that Hughes used as cover to gain the speed needed for a Flame Wheel. The attack knocked back the Pikachu close to the edge of the stage, though the electric Pokemon was quick enough to hop away from the edge after being hit.

"Zolt, use a Quick Attack stat!" Brooks told his injured Pokemon who followed orders and charged at Hughes. Though Zolt did hit Hughes with his Quick Attack it allowed Hughes enough closeness between the two for him to use Bite against the opponent. "No Zolt! Try to...uh, no use a Thundershock!"

"Let go and get away Hughes, then use an Ember attack to finish this!" Eileen said to her Pokemon, watching as Hughes followed orders and back off just in time to dodge the Pikachu's attack. His opponent fell after his two Ember attacks made contact, the referee calling the match once the Pikachu was down.

"What!? No, I..." Brooks started before being drowned out by both his crying children by his side and the clapping of the crowd. He picked up his Pokemon and gave Eileen her victory money, muttering about how battles were different in his days and such.

"Thank you sir, and thank you Hughes for doing such a good job," Eileen told her Pokemon, petting him before calling out for any new challenger to face her.

It was very lively on the ship. Many people around, some getting to know each other because of what Pokemon they had, others rushing towards the many events going on. Aeris knew she would absolutely not be going to the rods to catch a new Pokemon because there was no way there would be wild Pokemon here apart from the ones in the sea. Though, hearing about a trading facility caught her attention. But where could she find a Pokemon that'd interest her? She kept her eyes open, though she was more just looking around.

"I'm going to take a look around the ship. You shouldn't have trouble finding me." she said to Mika, giving him a kiss on his cheek, then going off to find something to do on the ship.

After a bit of walking, she found the grand ball room, where she could see Eileen battling. She seems to be having fun. Perhaps I could try this out myself. There seemed to not be much of a line for any of the arena, though they all looked occupied at the moment. A few trainers seemed to be waiting for their chance to battle an opponent. While waiting, Aeris let Blaze out of her Pokeball to take a look for herself. Blaze was amazed by the look of the place and how magnificent it look. It was just so big and spectacular. One of the arenas cleared up and Aeris headed towards it. Another trainer appeared at the other end, a girl with short purple hair, wearing a mix between purple and violet clothes apart from her black fingerless gloves.

"Gonna use that Charmeleon of yours?" the girl asked her. Aeris looked between the girl and Blaze and thought that it would be nice to try using some of her other Pokemon. "Not right now, but perhaps later." Aeris didn't return Blaze to her Pokeball, but picked up one of her other ones. Both of them listened to the referee, then the girl spoke again to Aeris. "Why don't we use three Pokemon? Just using one is boring." Aeris didn't dislike the idea, and after both of them mentioning it to the referees and getting an agreement from them, she agreed as well. "Alright, but you'd better prepare to lose!" She was feeling very confident. "Heh, you've got spirit. I like that! Go, Maxie!" the girl said as she sent out a Voltorb. Aeris sent out her own Pokemon. "Go, Xal!" The Geodude hovered in the air, ready for a fight.

"If you think having a Ground type will help you, you're sorely mistaken! Maxie, SonicBoom!" The Voltorb created a loud noise that sent a shockwave towards Xal. It hit a bit hard, but Xal was still standing. Or hovering. "Xal, counter with Magnitude!" Xal hit the ground with his fists, making it quake and hit the Voltorb hard. It seemed to still have barely survived. "I'm not giving up! Maxie, hit him with another SonicBoom!" The Voltorb released another shockwave which hit Xal, but didn't take him down. "Xal, finish it with Rock Throw!" Xal picked up one of the lose parts of the ground and threw it at the Voltorb, hitting it before it could get away. The Voltorb was knocked back and knocked out. "Maxie, return." the girl said, returning her Pokemon back. The scoreboard for them looked a bit different from Eileen's. There were three windows under both of their names, with a crossed over Voltorb on the girl's side, who's name seemed to be Fiona, and two black windows beside it, while there was a Geodude on Aeris' side and two black windows for her as well.

"Next one up is my trusty Gerald!" Fiona sent out a Girafarig. "Attack with Confusion!" Gerald used it's psychic powers to both damage Xal and make him confused. As he spun around, he hit the ground and stayed there. "Xal, return." Aeris returned him back to his Pokeball, then picked up another one off her belt. "Go, Ekans!" She knew it would be risky because of her Ekans was weak against Psychic moves, but he had Bite which she would utilize. "Ekans, start with Poison Sting!" Ekans slithered fast along the ground towards the Girafarig and stung with his tail, making him poisoned. "Grrr..." could be heard from Fiona, though she wasn't about to return him to his Pokeball. "Gerald, use Confusion again!" He did so, and as fast as Ekans was, he couldn't avoid hit, but he survived the hit. "Ekans, use Glare!" He used a frightening glare to paralyze Gerald. "Oh no! Counter that with Confusion!" Fiona ordered her Girafarig, but he was unable to do so because of the paralyze. "Now, Ekans! Use your Bite!" Ekans again slithered fast towards Gerald and bit his tail. The Girafarig was down for the count, in no small part thanks to the poisoning he had gotten earlier. "Gerald, return." The Girafarig was returned to his ball, and Aeris got ready for the last Pokemon she would use.

"It's up to you now, Jessie!" The last Pokemon Fiona sent out was a Misdreavus. It got Aeris all excited. A Ghost Pokemon! So awesome! She was too busy admiring the Misdreavus, it got in an attack, an Astonish to be exact, on Ekans who couldn't avoid it. "Ah! I'm sorry, Ekans. Return..." She returned him to his Pokeball, then reached for the last one she'd use. "Go, Sonya!" The Venonat looked pumped for a fight. The scoreboard above now had two crossed out Pokemon for both of them, Voltorb and Girafarig for Fiona, and Geodude and Ekans for Aeris, and had a Misdreavus for Fiona, and a Venonat for Aeris. Those were their last Pokemon for their battle, and would decide who'd win. "Give it your best!" Fiona called to Aeris. "You as well!" Aeris called back. "Sonya, start with PoisonPowder!" A small cloud of spores came off of Sonya and headed towards Jessie. It hit her and she was poisoned. "Or is she?" Fiona said smirking. "Huh?" Aeris replied, seeing that the Misdreavus was munching on something. "I had her hold onto a Pecha Berry in case I would be up against someone who'd use a poison attack against her! You just wasted a turn!" Aeris was surprised by that strategy. She hadn't thought of making her Pokemon hold onto items before the battle. For that matter, she didn't think she had found any items she could have her Pokemon hold onto.

"Jessie, use Confuse Ray!" A small ray of light hit Sonya who was now confused and trying to make head and tails of her surroundings. "Sonya, snap out of it and use Confusion!" Sonya used her attack, hoping to hit, but barely missed. "Jessie, use Astonish!" Her Misdreavus charged at Sonya and shouted in a startling fashion. The attack hit Sonya, and she got knocked back. Still confused, she tried to stand up and counter the attack with another Confusion, but only hit the floor with her face, unfortunately. "Looks like your Pokemon isn't feeling well now." Aeris almost growled at Fiona, and was sure that Sonya would stand up. After a few moments had passed, Sonya stood up, snapped out of confusion. "Good job! Now use Leech Life!" While a Ghost Pokemon didn't have blood per se, it would still drain some of her life force. A bit of life force was given to Sonya by the Leech Life, but not much. Both Pokemon looked ready to continue the battle.

"Jessie, use another Confuse Ray!" Another ray was aimed at Sonya, but she wouldn't have being hit again, and ran away from the ray and towards Jessie, as odd as that seemed. "Now use PoisonPowder again!" This time, it would stay on the Misdreavus. "Damnit! And you can't have Pokemon hold onto two items, so there's that. But Jessie's health is still better than Sonya's! Jessie, Psywave!" The Misdreavus released a psychic wave that, while not being super effective against the Venonat, it still hit her, taking her down. Both trainers returned their Pokemon to their Pokeballs. Fiona walked over to Aeris and held out her hand. "That was a good battle. Thank you for that." Aeris shook her hand. "Thank you as well. This should make for good practice when I'll go up against Surge in the Vermilion Gym."

The two girls stepped off the arena and Aeris handed over a bit of money since Fiona had won. They both went to get their Pokemon healed since this wouldn't be a battle facility without a healing spot for the trainer's Pokemon. "You know, I saw the way you looked at Jessie earlier." Fiona suddenly said. "Ah. You noticed. Heheh..." Aeris said back to her. "To tell you the truth, that Venonat of yours looks really interesting as well. Why don't we make a trade?" That made Aeris almost spring up out of joy. "R-really?!" she said as she tried to contain herself. "Yeah, really. There is supposedly a trading facility close by this room. Why don't we head over there after our Pokemon are healed?" Aeris couldn't nod faster than she did. Both girls laughed a little at how Aeris was acting.

Once their Pokemon were healed, they placed them on their belts and headed for one of the rooms that were used for trading. A rather large looking machine was in the room they entered. It had a screen, probably for seeing the Pokemon travel between the tubes. The tubes themselves attached to the machine on one end and being on top of what looked like little bowls. Both girls released their Pokemon, Misdreavus and Venonat, to say their goodbyes. "You've been a good partner, Jessie. But now I think that it's time you found a new life with a new Trainer. What do you think?" Jessie nodded in agreement, smiling towards Fiona and then Aeris. "This isn't exactly easy for me, but I can feel that Fiona will take good care of you, Sonya." Aeris was hugging her Venonat, a bit teary eyed. Sonya tried to hug back, but her hands couldn't reach far from her body. She tried as much as she could, though. "Are you ready?" she asked her Venonat. Sonya nodded and both girls returned their Pokemon back to their Pokeballs. They placed the Pokeballs into the little bowls under the tubes and stepped back. "Ready?" Fiona asked Aeris. "Ready." she replied. They both hit the button on their sides, and the two Pokeballs disappeared with the same white light as when Pokemon were released from their Pokeballs.

On the screen, they could see as Jessie and Sonya approached each other, then passed each other and the two Pokeballs appeared again in the little bowls. The trade had been successful. They both took the Pokeballs and stuck them onto their belts. "I promise to take good care of Sonya. I hope the same will apply to you and Jessie." Fiona said, holding out her hand again. "Of course. It makes me glad to hear you'll take good care of her." Aeris shook Fiona's hand, then gave her a hug. "It makes me glad as well that you'll take good care of Jessie." Fiona hugged Aeris back, then both girls stepped out of the trading room.

Callum listened intently to the facilities and features that were being offered for the party. As the ship took off from the dock his appetite disappeared and he felt no need to add a water Pokémon to his team at this time. Instead he just decided to follow a few members of the group down to the Grand Ball Room for the battle arenas.

As completely expected, Eileen had rushed up to one of the battle arenas and had already started to wipe the floor with a small child. Why do I have a feeling that she's made a habit of doing that? Callum continued on past the first few stages and found several people negotiating with each other over Pokémon that they wished to trade. Callum had no use to listen in, since he didn't have any Pokémon in his party that he either didn't need for his job, or wished to trade in general.

After watching a battle between one trainer's Quilava and another's Fearow, Callum moved on and watched the end of Aeris' battle. The girl had lost but didn't seem too hurt by the defeat which was good. Callum noticed a large crowd forming around Eileen's arena and he could hear her yelling out taunts, hoping for a new challenger. This was causing attention to be brought away from the other arenas. One opened up and Callum headed towards it. I never did get around to testing out Ledyba's new attack, although I'm not sure that I want to...

Callum's train of thought was lost as he bumped into a ten year old looking girl wearing an expensive looking dress. "Look at what you've done!" the girl yelled at him. "Your dirty, grubby clothes got my dress dirty! You'll pay for this! Lina! Come beat up this rude man!" The girl's yelling seemed to be attracting the attention.

A few seconds later a beautiful woman, a few years older than Callum, walked over to her. "Cut that out. You're making a scene," the woman snapped at the girl, causing her to go quiet for a few seconds.

"Sorry about my sister Marina. She shouldn't be saying such nasty things," Lina apologized before shooting her sister a nasty look.

"But he ran into me!" Marina yelled back into her sister's face, displeased with the look she got.

"I said stop."


Callum looked on in awe as the two sisters started to argue with each other. What the fuck do I do? I'm not good with these situations. If I back away slowly enough I might be able to get away to the Banquet Hall, and hide there.

Sticking with his idea Callum began to slowly back up. Sadly, Marina noticed his attempted escape. "Look he's trying to get away!" She yelled at her sister, pointing at Callum. Well that didn't work. Lina sighed and smacked her sister's arm down. "Look that arena's not being used. Could we just battle in there so this little brat will shut up?" Lina asked, clearly not defeated by the little girl, but rather just annoyed with better things to do than argue with her.

"Umm...sure why not," Callum replied as he headed for one side of the arena, while Lina headed for the other side. The Referee announced the general rules of the arena before asking what type of battle they were having. "We're having a triple battle. Three Pokémon at the same time, understood?" Lina announced in a voice that questioned if Callum had even heard of the concept. "Sure," was Callum only reply as the girl released her three Pokémon; a Hoppip, an Exeggcute, and a Farfetch'd. Callum removed his Pokédex and scanned them.

An impatient look spread across the woman's face and Callum quickly pulled out three Pokéballs. His Weedle, Metapod, and Ledyba appeared on the field in front of him. "All right guys. You're all going to be fighting that Hoppip, Exeggcute, and Farfetch'd at the same time. Don't go out of the arena or else you are disqualified. Does everyone understand?" Three cries that Callum took as yeses came from his Pokémon as they lined up for the battle. The pictures of each of the Pokémon appear on a scoreboard on the wall and the Referee declared a start to the match.

Lina was quick to act and shout commands to her Pokémon. "Exeggcute use Leech Seed on that Metapod, and then use Barrage on that Weedle. Hoppip use Tackle on that Weedle. Farfetch'd use Aerial Ace on that Ledyba." A seed launched from the center of the group of eggs and landed on Metapod, before vines grew out of it and ensnared the Pokémon. Next a series of semitransparent balls flew out from the eggs and started to land around the Weedle, forcing it back towards to edge of the area. The Hoppip was closing in from the far side of the area for its Tackle and landed a hit on the Weedle, launching towards the outside of the arena.

Farfetch'd took to the air, and started to fly fast towards Ledyba. Streaks of white light began to appear around the Duck Pokémon, before a Mach Punch courtesy of Ledyba stopped the attack from forming. The Duck Pokémon went flying backwards from the attack and impacted with the ground before coming to a stop. At the same time Metapod's Shed Skin activated, and a thin layer of shell with the seed attached came loose from its body. Once completely free, the Pokémon fired a String Shot attack at the Weedle that was about to fall out of the ring. The long sticky string hit the Pokémon and wrapped around it. Using its superior weight, Metapod pulled the Weedle back to the edge of the arena.

"You didn't even give them a command. How did your Pokémon know how to do that?" Lina asked in a frustrated tone from across the arena. "Friends look out for each other?" Callum replied with an unknowing shrug. Callum's lack of a good response infuriated Lina. "What kind of answer is that? Stop fucking around with me and give your Pokémon some actual orders!" Callum remained silent from his side of the field and went back to watching the Pokémon battle.

By this point the Metapod was halfway across the field, wrapping the Hoppip with a String Shot attack as it progressed towards it. Weedle was also helping cover the Cottonweed Pokémon in the sticky substance. "Exeggcute use Hypnosis on that Ledyba. Hoppip get away from those stupid ugly bugs. Farfetch'd use Fury Attack once that Ledyba's asleep." Lina commanded of her Pokémon as the battle continued.

The Hoppip's struggle to get away was foiled when the Metapod hit it with a Tackle from one side. Waiting on the other was Weedle with its Poison Sting attack. The pink and green Pokémon started to glow white as it used Synthesis to regain some health. This only proved helpful for a second as the two bugs around it attacked again. The Hoppip collapsed to the ground and was returned to its Pokéball. Meanwhile the Hypnosis attack was successful and Ledyba had fallen asleep and dropped to the ground. The Farfetched was currently rapidly hitting it with its leak.

"Your Pokémon may have taken out one of my Pokémon without you, but if you don't start giving orders you'll lose this battle. Now Exeggcute use Uproar. Farfetch'd keep up the attack." Suddenly Callum's Weedle shot its head up into the air and started to glow. A mist of String Shot fell around it and a hard shell appeared around it. As soon as the evolution was finished the Exeggcute started to bounce up and down and produce a lot of noise, as it turned blue. Callum had just enough time to scan his Kakuna with his Pokédex before it was hit.

The Uproar hit Callum's Kakuna and Metapod. The Yellow Cocoon Pokémon fainted right away due to the earlier damage that it had taken during the battle. The Green Cocoon Pokémon on the other hand was still alive, but barely in the battle. Meanwhile, Farfetch'd had kept up its attack until Ledyba woke up and started to match every one of his hits with one of its Comet Punch punches. The two Pokémon seemed evenly match until suddenly the Ledyba launched a Mach Punch in place of a Comet Punch. The Five Star Pokémon flew over the bird's head.

"Ha. Your Pokémon missed from that close. Wait what?" Lina said as she realized his Ledyba had started launching silver crescents at her Exeggcute. 'So that's what Silver Wind looks like,' Callum thought to himself as he watched a fine mist and silver crescents appear from Ledyba's wings. The Egg Pokémon was taking a lot of damage and Callum's Metapod had crossed the field to it. With a hard hop forward, the Metapod used Tackle and sent the Exeggcute flying off of the arena's edge. "It's out!" Declared the Referee.

As Lina returned her Exeggcute she called out another command, "Farfetch'd use Aerial Ace on that Metapod. As the Farfetch'd took off a crack appeared in the back of the Metapod and a glowing white light was released. A Butterfree formed from the glowing light and took to the air as Callum got a scan of it. Before the information was loaded Farfetch'd had streaks of white light around him as he made contact. Callum's Butterfree took a direct hit and fell to the ground, knocked out. Callum returned his Butterfree as the Pokémon's data loaded.

"That's it. I'm going to win this battle," Lina professed. "Now Farfetch'd use Aerial Ace and finish off that Ledyba." The Duck Pokémon started to fly again towards the Five Star Pokémon. As soon as the white streaks appeared the Ledyba moved forward with another Mach Punch. The two Pokémon collided in midair and fell to the arena floor. Both Pokémon were struggling to stand up and Lina's Farfetch'd collapsed down and passed out. As Callum's Ledyba was still struggling to stand up and the Referee was about to name him the winner, he returned his Pokémon.

"What are you doing?" Lina demanded, as he walked off of the arena.

"It's a draw." Callum stated back in simplicity, as he raised his left hand into the air and shook the back of it to her. With his exit finished, Callum heard the Referee declare their match a draw before Lina began to argue with him. The first stop that he was heading for was the machine by the arenas; he wanted to get his Pokémon healed.

Eileen's win record continued to grow as she was challenged by other Trainers thinking they could defeat her win streak. All of them only proceeded to lose and add to her total number of victories. Currently she was at fifteen wins to zero losses, and she hoped to add on one last win before leaving. Sailor Trevor, however, was desperate for the victory. He was pushing his Pokemon to their limits, and even when they were both basically down for the count he ordered for them to continue to battle. The spectators booed him and complained to the ref to stop the match for the Pokemon's sake.

Finally the referee called the double battle between Eileen and the sailor over before any serious damage could be done to the sailor's Pokemon. "What do you mean it's over!? My Machop and Tentacool can still fight!" Sailor Trevor argued, pointing at his two Pokemon who were currently lying on the stage floor covered with burns and a Leech Seed. The referee said that his Pokemon were too injured to battle, and that his ruling was final. Sailor Trevor started throwing threats around before being carried off stage with his Pokemon.

There was a ding as the scoreboard recorded the last win, the number sixteen showing up in place of the previous. "Woo! We did it you two! Nice job there, though you are still having a bit of a hard time Ari. We'll need to work on you some more," Eileen told her Pokemon, the battered Ari giving a sort of cry of agreement. "Let's go and get you two healed, then we can eat," she added, returning her two Pokemon and heading off the stage towards the healing station. Along with healing her Pokemon she had also wanted to talk to Callum after spotting his battle during one of her previous ones. A few people seemed to followed her from the stage, but she promptly ignored them in favor of talking to her fellow Trainer.

"That looked to have been a good battle there Callum," Eileen started, placing her two Pokeball into the healing station, "I kinda caught a bit of it during that fight the with fisherman. Seemed like you took control of your Pokemon and did pretty well with it."

After a bit of a wait in line at the healing station, it eventually got to be Callum's turn. The station was at a bit of a bad angle, and only a few of the battle arenas were visible. None of the ongoing battle between people seemed to interest Callum, and Eileen's consecutive win counter on her arena's board was steadily increasing. A ding went off behind Callum and he retrieved his Pokémon from the station.

So I'm that's another two bug Pokémon off my list. I'm not sure of useful the Kakuna will be for now. Butterfree on the other hand should be a lot better addition to my team for the time being. Now why do I have this feeling like I'm forgetting something? Oh wait. I remember what it is.

Callum had left his backpack in a locker at the Pokémon center, but he had brought his TMs with himself just in case he needed them, and so they wouldn't be stolen with the rest of his stuff if someone broke into the locker. He removed both TMs and put one into his Pokédex. Nope wrong one. Butterfree definitely couldn't learn Rock Tomb. He ejected that TM and inserted the other one. Now if I check the list of Pokémon that can learn this move...and perfect. Butterfree Can learn Silver Wind. Callum hit the prompted command and the tray and placed the Pokéball with the Metapod sticker onto it; the new stickers for the evolved Pokémon were still in his bag. After a few seconds the screen on his Pokédex confirmed that Butterfree had learned Silver Wind and Callum put away his Butterfree, his TM and his Pokédex.

After a few seconds, he heard a familiar voice talk to him. "Thanks, but I thought I already told you that I let my Pokémon battle for themselves. They won the match and I stayed out of it," Callum replied to Eileen. "You on the other hand have seemed to rack up a fair number of victories and appear to have a small fan club starting," Callum said to her as he watched a few people arrive behind her that weren't cursing her name. "I should also mention the hate group that was the line of trainers for this station as well," Callum finished with a bit of a laugh. And there was certainly a lot more people in her hate group from the looks of things.

"You...didn't? I see. Well I did say I wouldn't comment on your battle practices, so yeah," Eileen started, just about ready to go on the importance of trainer input in a battle rant before remembering her promise to Callum. 'Should have just claimed I hadn't heard that part.'

The mention of a fan club and hate group caught her attention, and she looked around behind her at the numerous people around. Many were giving her dirty looks and muttering obscenities as they got their own Pokemon healed, but she didn't necessarily make the connection that they were shooting those looks at her for a reason.

"Fans are a nice thing to have. Not that you'd know, but perhaps one day you will," Eileen stated as she patted Callum on the shoulder, stopping once a young girl from the crowd approached her.

"I really liked your battles!" she started, looking back at an older man who gave a quick nod before she continued, "And I was wondering if I could see that pretty pink Pokemon of yours! Pretty please?"

Eileen smiled at the girl as she took her Pokeball containing Ari back out and sent him out. The Pokemon seemed ready to battle some tough Pokemon once out, only to get hugged by the young girl. "Kyyaaa! He's so cute!" she screamed, hugging the extremely confused Ari.

"Do you not have Exeggcute where you come from?" Eileen asked the young girl who seemed too distracted with Ari to reply. Instead the older man came forward to answer.

"We're from northern Sinnoh. I'm Swinton, and the young girl is my daughter Samantha," Swinton explained.

"Isn't the north of Sinnoh all snowy? Never been to a colder climate, though my hometown is close to one," Eileen replied, ignoring Ari's cry for help from Samantha.

"You'd be correct. To be more exact we live on Route 217, which commonly has blizzards most of the time. No chance of such a Pokemon like the one you have living wildly in those conditions," Swinton said as his daughter let go of Ari to talk to her dad.

"Can we get one daddy? Please? I don't want anything more than one!" Samantha asked excitedly, her father giving her a sad look.
"No dear. We don't have the time to try and catch one before we have to go back home," Swinton told her, sighing when his daughter started to cry.

Ari and Eileen listened in as Swinton kept explaining to Samantha why she couldn't have an Exeggcute, the two of them feeling pity for the crying girl. The feeling changed when Samantha asked why she couldn't just have Eileen's Exeggcute.

"Woah there little one. You can't just take Ari here. He might be a new part of my team and not the best fighter just yet, but I can't just let him go even though I know he'd make you happy," Eileen cut in, looking at Ari who seemed a bit relieved.

"My dad has a Pokemon that lives around the area we live at back home! Maybe there could be a trade? I know my dad's Pokemon is tough! Otherwise they couldn't make it out in the wild," Samantha replied anxiously.

"Oh? Well that might change everything," Eileen said with sudden excitement at the idea of a new, tough Pokemon. Ari didn't seem too pleased at the thought of being replaced, but he was shushed by his Trainer as Swinton spoke up.

"The Pokemon my daughter is talking about is Dalton, my Swinub. Quite a few live on with us at home, but there are many out on Route 217. They're used to the snow, and aren't really affected by it at all. If you'd be interested, I'd be okay with the trade," Swinton said, taking out a Pokeball with an icicle sticker on it and sending out the Pokemon inside.

Dalton the Swinub seemed to not care about what was going on once he was let out of his Pokeball. He did care about the smell around him; his nose sniffing the air and trying to make a beeline to the exit. Swinton grabbed him before he could leave though, and held the Pokemon in his arm.

"That's a Swinub for you, always sniffing out food. Perhaps we shouldn't have brought him out with a buffet nearby," Swinton said with a chuckle, watching as Eileen pulled out her Pokedex to examine the Pokemon.

220 Swinub
Pig Pokemon
Ice Ground
HT 1'04"
WT 14.3 lbs
It uses the tip of its nose to dig for food. Its nose is so tough that even frozen ground poses no problem.

"Interesting. He looks a quite a bit heavier than fourteen pounds though. I think I'll say yes to this trade anyways," Eileen stated after listening to the Pokedex, shushing Ari once more after he started to protest. "Ari, buddy you're going to make this girl extremely happy. We've only known each other for a few days, so it shouldn't be too hard to adjust. I do greatly appreciate that the first time we met was you saving me from my Meowth, but I think it's time for us to go our separate ways. I'm sure you'll enjoy it over there," she told Ari after kneeling down to return him to his Pokeball.

"Let's head to the trading room," Eileen told Swinton and Samantha, about to follow them out before grabbing Callum and dragging him along.

The trading room was opposite the Grand Ball room inside of one of what would normally be a conference room. There were a number of Trainers inside; most were just talking with each other, but there were also trades going on at the trade machines. Samantha ran over to the first available machine and called them over to it.

Eileen thought the machine looked somewhat odd, but wasn't going to sit down and examine it. 'There were more important things to do,' she thought, holding up Ari's Pokeball before placing it onto the trade machine. Swinton returned Dalton to his Pokeball and placed the Pokeball in the slot. Samantha pushed the button as soon as it was placed, watching with excitement as Eileen pressed the button on her own side. The two Pokeballs disappeared in a white light, and the two Pokemon showed up on the screen. After a minute the trade was completed with the Pokeballs returning into the slots.

"That was interesting. I hope you two take care of Ari and have a safe trip," Eileen told Swinton and Samantha, getting a hug from Samantha before they left the room. "Neat. Now I have a tough new Pokemon to train. However, I think dinner should come first. Care to join me Callum, or do I have to drag you again?" Eileen asked.

Rochelle, too, was interested in the option of battling. As a result she followed some of the others down to the ballroom after giving the rest of her friends a brief wave. However, she walked somewhat slower than the other Trainer, taking in the sights of the S.S. Anne. It was a fantastic thing to see, and she wished she'd brought a camera to take some photos. The decorations, the people, the layout of the ship...

Rochelle's looking around was interrupted by a hand lightly tapping her on the shoulder. She spun around to find a well-dressed senior citizen standing there, sporting a top hat, walking cane in one hand and a thick grey mustache on his upper lip. He stood straight and tall, with not a single thing out of place about his posture. "I say, you wouldn't happen to be on your way to the ballroom, would you?" he asked, a thick accent present in his cheerful voice. "You see, if that is the case, you and I have the same goal."

The younger Trainer noticed the stylised Poké Ball worked into the man's cane. It was the same size as the ones she kept on her belt. Could it be a functional ball, built into the cane as an easy-to-access Pokémon? "Yes, I am. I'm eager to see what other people are capable of, and how I and my Pokémon measure up against them in battle," she answered.

"I see... And how many Gym Badges do you possess, young miss?" the suited man asked. When Rochelle gave her answer of just one, expecting a derisive laugh, she was surprised to hear some advice from him. "Ah! So you are eager to prove yourself, then, only just starting out on your journey as a Trainer. Perhaps I may be of some help to your intentions." He paused momentarily. "Whoops! How rude of me! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Clive M. Prescott, hailing from Blackthorn City. Despite my age, I am still a dab hand at the old battling game."

"You're from Johto too? I'm from Goldenrod; my name is Rochelle Sanders," Rochelle introduced herself in turn. "You are more or less correct in that I'm fairly new to this. I've only been a proper Trainer for just under a week now."

As Clive began to answer, the two fell in step side by side, heading for the ballroom at equal pace. "Ah. So you are in the middle of assembling a team, challenging the Gyms... maybe someday taking on the Elite Four themselves? A capital idea, Miss Sanders, capital indeed. I have to ask, though: is Samuel Oak still running around? Last I heard he had settled down as a Pokémon Professor... If true, I do hope he's gotten his act together."

Rochelle grimaced at her memory of Oak, back in Pallet Town. The old Professor was in no fit state to continue his past work of instructing new Trainers and giving them their Pokédexes. "It's true, Oak is in fact a Professor... though to be honest I doubt he will be allowed to continue for much longer. When I met him to collect my Pokédex... he wasn't all there, I think the best phrase is."

Clive chuckled at her comment. "Samuel has never really been 'all there' as you put it. I may be six years his junior, but I feel that one can only truly respect one's elders for so long. Would you agree?"

Rochelle let out a quiet "hmm" at that. Respect was something to be earned rather than forced through authority or tradition. She treated her Pokémon as equals for just that reason.

The two continued to discuss Pokémon as they neared the open ballroom doors, covering topics such as the Johto Gym Leaders to the journey ahead of Rochelle. It turned out that Clive's own attempt at the Pokémon Gym challenge, many years ago, had been met with success, though he had never tried to challenge the Elite Four back then. The Pokémon Gyms of the Johto region had been different from their current versions: old Leaders retired and passed their title on to their descendants, or new people came along and took over, redecorating to suit their preferred Pokémon types and choices.

Upon entering the ballroom, Rochelle's jaw dropped. The place was stunning, putting all she had seen previously to shame. She was glad that she had dressed up for the occasion. The golden walls, the Pokémon carvings on the ceiling... the sheer grandeur of it was spectacular.

"Well, let's not just stand here with gormless expressions, Miss Sanders. The arenas will be occupied if we don't hustle on in there," Clive commented, laughing a little at Rochelle's reaction to the layout of the room. The younger Trainer pulled herself together. She did want to battle, of course. "Right, yes, let's go," she said as she led the way towards the closest arena.

As the two neared a ring, one dejected-looking Trainer was clambering down the stairs, while another stood triumphant at the opposite end. He looked to the crowds nearby and cried, "Is there no-one among you that can stand against me and my Sudowoodo?" The guy looked like he was in his early teens, probably hopped up on a string of victories judging by his confidence. Rochelle quickly pulled out her Pokédex to examine the Pokémon standing with him:

"Is there no-one at all?" the kid called out again. A smile set itself on Rochelle's face as she recalled one of the basic type advantages: 'Water beats Rock.' No-one else seemed to be interested in actually battling the guy, instead preferring to watch. So Rochelle spoke up: "I challenge you."

"Capital idea! Show this young chap how it's done!" Clive encouraged. The crowd broke up a little to let Rochelle make her way to the stairs, and she did so, her new acquaintance right behind her. Kirsten's Poké Ball in hand, Rochelle entered the ring to stand opposite the overconfident Trainer. "How do we want to do this? One on one?" she asked.

"Works for me," the guy answered before the referee began to speak. "The trainers agree to a one-on-one match! Trainers may not switch their Pokémon during battle! Send out your Pokémon!"

Rochelle's opponent looked down to the Sudowoodo, who nodded and bounded forward, briefly resembling a tree before it raised its arms in a fighting stance. Rochelle's smile turned into a small smirk as she released Kirsten from her Poké Ball. The Horsea bounced into the arena, recognising the familiar signs of a battle. The guy flinched visibly: he knew his Pokémon's disadvantages.

No sooner had the referee cried, "Let the battle begin!" than both Trainers sprang into action. "Kirsten, BubbleBeam!" she commanded at the same time as her opponent yelled, "Sudowoodo, use Low Kick!". Kirsten immediately began to fire a large spray of bubbles from her mouth; they were shot with enough force to propel them towards the Sudowoodo, who was running towards her. As the Rock-type moved into a slide with one foot extended, the bubbles began to impact and burst against its skin.

Despite the Water-type attack causing some visible damage to the opposing Pokémon, it continued its slide. Of her own accord, Kirsten bounced out of the way and let rip with a Water Gun to the Sudowoodo's face once it got up from its failed attack. Under the pressure of the water hitting it, it began to flail around wildly, quickly ending up on its back.

"Come on, Sudowoodo, get up..." the guy pleaded, biting a fingernail anxiously. When the Sudowoodo didn't move to get up, the referee declared the battle over. "Sudowoodo cannot continue! Victory to the challenger!" Applause and cheering broke out from the spectators, accompanied by Clive calling to Rochelle. "Most excellently done, Miss Sanders! Excellently done!"

After recalling their Pokémon, both Trainers stepped down from their sides of the arena. It was then that Clive gave her an interesting proposition. "Say, Miss Sanders... now that I've seen your skills for myself, would you care to face me in a battle?" Rochelle quickly agreed, and the pair returned to the stage.

"Another one-on-one match?" Clive suggested. "Make it two on two," was Rochelle's response, eager to give her other Pokémon a go. "I say, I've been holding onto a couple that my granddaughter bred. They're fairly young, as I've been raising them from Eggs which she gave me, but they shouldn't have much of a problem against your team. Let's go!" Clive raised his walking cane: sure enough, the stylised Poké Ball opened, and a purple bat-like Pokémon appeared in a burst of light. "Gligar!" It stuck a large tongue out at Rochelle as it walked around the arena, earning raised eyebrows from the Trainer.

Out came Rochelle's Pokédex a second time.

"Interesting... I think Phoenix will be suited to a battle like this," Rochelle thought aloud as the released the Spearow from his Poké Ball. The small bird hopped straight into the arena to get ready to battle.

"And your second Pokémon?" the referee asked. Rochelle answered by releasing Natalya to join Phoenix, earning a raised eyebrow of surprise from her opponent. The Murkrow and Spearow stood side by side as if they were a natural pair. Clive's second was a red insectoid Pokémon.

"Round One: Spearow versus Yanma!" the referee called out. Both Trainers called their respective Pokémon back, each standing beside their owners while the others remained in the center of the arena. When the referee told them to begin, both Pokémon leaped into the air immediately. Rochelle was a little worried about this match-up, since the Bug-type had the advantage of both size and weight.

"Joseph, Double Team, please," Clive instructed his Pokémon. The Yanma began to quickly flit around the arena, faster than Phoenix could keep up. As it flew, it began to glow, and identical Yanma began to appear in the wake of the original, all flying at the same height. There were now three Yanma buzzing around the place. Confused as to which was the original, Phoenix landed on the ground. Seeing this, Clive chuckled. "Aha. Riddle me this, Miss Sanders: how can you hit he whom you cannot place?"

The gears in Rochelle's mind began turning. Double Team created illusions, identical copies of the user. She needed some way to counteract its effects, or identify the real Yanma. A move like Foresight would be good here, but she didn't have anyone with that kind of technique. So she tried a different tack. "Phoenix, trust me on this. Use a Leer on all of them, and be ready to attack when I say," she suggested. She was guessing that the illusion Yanma would not be affected by the intimidation tactic, quickly finding the real one once it reacted.

A glint appeared in Phoenix's eyes as they narrowed, and the little bird cast his gaze upon each of the copies. Rochelle had guessed correctly: none of them reacted except one. The Yanma blinked. That was all that she needed to decide. "Now, Phoenix! Use Peck!" Phoenix took to the air with a quick burst of flapping wings, aiming for the one who had shown a weakness. The Yanma tried to move out of the way, but Phoenix was too fast, his beak connecting squarely with the red body of the Bug-type.

As the Yanma began a descent, Phoenix swooped in and caught the bigger Pokémon in his talons. A bold move, Rochelle thought, given the difference in size. Phoenix drove the bigger Pokémon into the ground with much more force than it would have used itself. He didn't let go, however, ready to deliver another powerful Peck if it tried to resist.

"A clever strategy," Clive conceded. "I must say, I did not expect such a defeat so quickly. I approve of your tutors, whomever they may be. Joseph, return." Clive recalled his Pokémon, sucking it back into its ball and slipping the ball into a pocket. It occurred to Rochelle that he cared about his Pokémon, and knew when leaving one in a battle was not the best thing to do.

"Round Two: Murkrow versus Gligar!" the referee called out again. Rochelle took a moment to call Phoenix back to her before sending out Natalya: the Spearow landed on her outstretched arm and received a scratch behind his head for his efforts. "You did good out there, little guy. Nice work," Rochelle praised.

"Row!" Phoenix chirped happily before hopping up to Rochelle's shoulder to watch the second round. Natalya took to the floor, picking at a feather before locking eyes with the unfamiliar Pokémon. The Gligar poked its tongue out between its large fangs again, giggling a mischievous giggle before it stepped up to face Natalya. The battle began with Natalya taking to the air. Since Clive's Pokémon had a preference for gliding, according to Rochelle's Pokédex, she was of the mind that it would have difficulty getting off the ground.

Her theory was quickly proven wrong, however, with Clive's initial command. "Eva, hit her with a Quick Attack." The purple Ground-type bent her short legs and sprang upwards with surprising speed and strength. The head-on attack connected, knocking Natalya down a short way before she recovered herself and stayed in the air. Now airborne herself, the Gligar commenced a wide arc of gliding.

"Natalya, go for a Wing Attack!" Rochelle told the dark-feathered bird. Natalya complied, swooping up to a greater height before taking a downward approach to her target. Rochelle waited for the attack to connect...

"Now, Eva, just like we practiced!" Clive quickly interjected. As Natalya's flight brought her closer in, the Gligar flipped over in mid-air and extended her wings out as far as they could go. Before Natalya could alter her course, she collided with Eva, who latched onto the Murkrow and wrapped her wings around the bird's head and neck. No longer capable of flight, the two became dead weight in mid-air... and came crashing down to the arena floor.

Clive and his Gligar must have had some strategy that Rochelle hadn't counted on, because the two Pokémon rolled over in mid-air as they fell. Natalya ended up between a rock and a hard place: the arena floor and the heavy Pokémon on top of her. Under the weight, Natalya struggled to get loose, but Eva was hanging on tightly. She jabbed Natalya with her stinger once, earning a loud squawk of pain from the Murkrow.

Rochelle knew when she was beaten. She called Natalya back to her Poké Ball, a little disappointed in the loss, but she took comfort in the fact that it hadn't been a complete trouncing. At the referee's question of a tiebreaker match, Rochelle looked to Clive for the decision.

"No, I think that will suffice, my good man. Thank you." Content with the draw, both Trainers departed the arena to applause from the stands, and quickly met up a short distance from the arena. "That was a clever strategy you had with the Gligar. Bait the opposing flyer into taking to the air, then send them crashing down," Rochelle commented. "I've often considered developing tactics outside of the usual techniques of which Pokémon are capable."

"Hm, yes. It is quite a good tactic. Though only useful against Flying-types. If I may change the topic, though, I could not help but notice the presence of a Murkrow on your team. My grand-daughter back in Johto is a breeder, as I mentioned. Young Libby has been looking for a Dark-type to expand her collection, but found none herself. May I ask where you caught yours?"

"That would be Viridian Forest, back before I and my friends entered Pewter City," Rochelle answered.

"Hmm. Such a place is marginally difficult for her to explore. The distance is problematic," Clive mused as they began walking to the healing station set up nearby. The two fell silent for a few moments, during which time Clive appeared to be thinking something over. Eventually, he spoke up again. "I say, Miss Sanders, I have had a thought. This question may be difficult for you to answer, but would you be open to an exchange of Pokémon?"

"An exchange... you mean trading? I can guess which of my team you're after. I don't know..." Rochelle mused. That Gligar of his would be an excellent help against Lieutenant Surge, being a Ground-type and thus immune to electricity. Perhaps some of the others could help out with Clive's offer of a trade, maybe provide a little information before she chose to commit to an exchange.

The prospect of a spread out buffet was very tempting indeed, but Jordan had made his mind up. He was going to catch a Water Pokemon come hell or high water. As the group split up and went their separate ways, he went towards the back of the boat.

"Hello and welcome to the Sport Fishing section of the boat!" This kind of welcome was quite unexpected from the burly man manning the booth near the door. "My name is Marlon, and I'm the attendant for the fishing section of the ship!"

"Uh, hi...Marlon," Jordan said tentatively.

"We have a fine selection of rods for you to use, including a pair of hand-crafted mahogany rods from Ecruteak!"

"Uh, I just want one that will like, catch me a good Water Pokemon. Can you pick one that will do that?"

"Of course!" Marlon turned behind him to the rack of rods on the wall. He looked at them for a few seconds before picking a silvery rod to his right. "This should get what you're looking for. This is the Mach Rod X-3, Rydel just came out with it last year, since they're trying to branch into other sporting goods. The same kind of quality construction that goes into the bikes, goes into the rod. It's lightweight, flexible, and if need be, you can use it like a pogo stick and hop around on it."

"O.....K, fine, that'll work."

"Now would you like to try one of our gourmet baits? We have some delectable choices here for a reasonable price. This is a lovely Miltank cheese based selection with hints of tarragon and-"

"You know what bro, I got something I'm gonna try. If it like, doesn't work, I'll be back in, k?"

"But of course. I'll be here." Marlon handed Jordan the metal rod and pressed a button, opening the doors to the open area in the back where a few passengers were already casting their lines into the water with the Vermillion skyline getting smaller in view. Jordan took an open stool and once settled in, he took the hook off the rod and popped one of his leftover jerky bites from earlier onto it. He cast the line hopefully into the ocean waters, looking for something good to happen.

Jean-Simon maintained his position in the bridge of the ship, right behind the helmsman. He had to, since it was the only way to make sure that the helmsman did what he was told. Guns are very helpful in that regard.

"Magnifique," he commented to himself. "A bumper crop of trainers aboard ze ship. Zis is going perfectly to plan." He prodded the crew member in the back with his pistol. "Keep it steady at zis speed. Once we reach ze Cylcing Road Bridge, turn around and reduce your speed in half."

"Why are you doing this? This was meant to be a pleasure cruise of celebration!" The helmsman cried out.

Jean-Simon lifted his arm and smashed his pistol into the side of helmsman's face, knocking out a couple of his teeth. "And yet we 'ave made eet into something much more eemportant. Eef you question it again, I shall keep making 'oles in your mouth."

"But did you have to keep the Captain locked in his cabin? He gets so seasick! His room must be coated by now!"

"Eet is none of my concern, or yours for now. Just keep driving ze ship."

This place is nice...

The S.S. Anne was every bit as elegant as its appearance suggested. Tyler felt rather under-dressed for the occasion, only clad his jeans and a t-shirt bearing an image of a tuxedo. Not the classiest getup, but it was the best he could do on a limited budget. His faux-tuxedo earned him a few bewildered and amused glances as he followed the considerably better dressed crowd onto the ship.

According to the announcement, there were fishing spots at the port side. Back in his scouting days, Tyler had gone fishing in the lakes south of Saffron. He never had much success beyond catching Magikarp, but it was a lot of fun. It was worth giving a shot, and if anything else, he would have a nice view of the ocean. After reading a few signs, he gleaned which way "port" was and started walking.

It took Tyler a little while - and some bumps and quiet apologies - to walk through the crowd of partygoers to get to the port side. He came across a booth, manned by a rather large man, who enthusiastically greeted him.

"Hello and welcome to the Sport Fishing section of the boat! My name is Marlon, and I'm the attendant." He gestured to the wall of rods behind him. "You don't seem to have a rod on you, so why don't you pick from our fine selection of premium sporting rods?"

"Uh..." Tyler took a second to come up with a reply. "...a rod is a rod to me. It's been a while since I've fished, so, uh, what's a rod that's easy to use?"

Marlon turned around and examined the wall. He reached up, pulled one down, and presented it to Tyler.

"You can't go wrong with a Model 6 Great Rod," he said proudly. "Same good 'ol fashioned design, but renovated to keep up with the new kids on the fishing block."

Tyler accepted the rod and looked at it approvingly. A nice wooden finish with sturdy metal parts. It was definitely nice to look at. Hopefully it would be good enough. "Okay, thanks..."

"Now, do you want to see our selection of gourmet bait?"

Gourmet usually meant expensive, which was a no-go for Tyler. "Uh...I'm okay for now. Thanks, anyway."

"Think nothing of it, my good sir," Marlon replied as he hit a button. A door opened, revealing the open portside of the S.S. Anne. "Good hunting. Just don't fall overboard," he said with a hearty chuckle.

"I'll be careful, then."

Tyler walked out and took a deep breath of crisp ocean air. The evening was pleasantly warm, with the skyline of Vermilion looming in the distance. A very nice view for a nice night. Along the railing on the far end, people sat on stools with fishing poles in their hands, trying their luck to catch a new Pokemon. One of them happened to be Jordan. Given his affinity for water Pokemon, it was probably a natural choice for him to be here. Tyler decided to take an open stool near him.

He nodded in recognition. "Nice out, isn't it?" he asked Jordan as he reached into his backpack. He couldn't buy the "gourmet" bait, but he could at least use some Pokemon food as bait. 'Should work well enough', he thought. Impaling the brown cube onto the hook, he cast the line into the sea. Hopefully he'd be lucky.

Jordan tossed a look behind him to see who was talking, pleased to see at least one of his group had come out with him. "Yeah bro," he agreed with Tyler's comment. "This is, like really sweet out here."

He reeled in his line, but in a continuing trend, there was nothing on it, not even his bait. "Dude! Like, I don't get it! That's like four in a row I've lost. I don't know if like the ocean is knocking my bait off, or what bro, but it's like not getting me anything." He took out another jerky ball and jammed it onto the hook, trying to get it on there good and tight before sending out his line again. "I dunno, maybe I will have to shell out for that dudes fancy stuff."

Down below the waves, the latest of Jordan's jerky bites was floating down into the depths of the ocean, to join the collection of detritus on the sea floor.

Oh so it would have if not for a shadowy blur coming out of nowhere to pluck the bite in mid-fall, continuing it's path following the massive craft that was now providing it free morsels of spicy food.

"That almost sounded sincere, so I think I'll choose to join you. Well that and I'd rather not have you rip my shoulder out of its socket with a sudden jerk," Callum replied to Eileen as they started to walk towards the buffet. She implies fault to how I battle, insults me, drags me alone to her trade where she pawns off her Exeggcute who saved her ass, and then threatens to drag me again. I'd run away, but I can't wait to see what karma's got in store for her.

"Although I didn't say this at the time, trading away your Exeggcute was pretty ruthless. I told you that you have to start forming better relationships with your Pokémon. Trading them against their will is definitely the opposite direction of what I intended you to do," Callum said while rolling the shoulder on the arm that Eileen had previously dragged him with.

Just as Eileen was about to respond to his comments on her actions, a large group of party goers rushed past them. Caught in the rush Eileen and Callum were separated for a moment before Callum reached through the crowd of people and grabbed her arm and pulled her closer to himself. Using his body as a shield he pushed them through the blitz of guests and into the banquet hall where the crowd thinned out.

The room itself was large open and spacious. There were at least twenty glistening, crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling over top of numerous rows of long tables covered in more dishes than Callum had even known existed. Beyond the Buffet tables were large round dining tables. Each table was covered in a snow white tablecloth, pristine Sinnoh plates, Charmeleon blow wine glasses, and pure silver cutlery. At the center of each table was a crystal vase, that matched the chandeliers, filled with an assortment of beautiful flowers from throughout Johto and Kanto.

Callum had never seen such a high class place in his life. An odd feeling in his stomach grew, as if he felt like he should be dressed better for a place like this. It took a second but Callum realized that he was still holding onto Eileen's arm; he quickly let go. "Sorry, were you about to say something?"

"I was about to say how rude those people were, but we're past that now. Have to be careful with all these people around I suppose. Thanks," Eileen added after they were safely inside of the banquet hall. The decor was certainly impressive to Eileen, but she had been to many parties so the stunning quality seemed common to her. All the different sorts of food were quite amazing though, and as Eileen went into the line (motioning for Callum to follow) she replied, "As for that whole trade thing; I don't see a problem with it. Ari will make that girl happier than he'd probably make me. It'll be good for him to travel too. I did like him a lot, but he had only been my Pokemon for a few days so it wasn't that bad trading him. Emotional attachment had yet to really set in, though I did like him greatly. He wasn't much of a battler either, so a life with that young lass will suit him well. It was a fair trade as well. Plus, I get a very strong and useful Pokemon out of it."

As the line moved on, Eileen grabbed two plates for her and Callum. She handed him his and started to recommend things to try. "You can never go wrong with anything drizzled with Combee honey. That stuff is amazing. Oh definitely try the Chansey eggs with Bluk berry juice," she told him, her mind completely off of her recent trade and onto the food she was gathering up on her plate.

Once her plate was as full of food as it could be she stepped out of line and started to look around for a table to find. "I'll get us a table, you can find me once you get your food," she told Callum, making her way to a vacant table. Once she was settled down at it she brought out Cleo, telling her Pokemon it was time for her to 'collect' things. "There is some room in my bag, so just start putting things inside of there. If it is too big just place on the table next to me. Take something to eat before you go, and don't get anything from the other group members," Eileen reminded, giving Cleo a Persim berry bar before letting her go into the crowds.

This crowd was big. Much bigger than Charles Delacroix anticipated. But then again, when one gives out free passes to a luxury cruise liner, one should hope to expect a huge turnout. This caused the young trainer to let out a bit of a sigh, as he found himself surrounded by trainers of all shapes and sizes. All of which seemed to be invading his personal space. However, once the large ship began it's anniversary voyage, the crowd began to shrink, everyone anxious to migrate into the lower levels and battle amongst one another. Charlie thought of joining them momentarily (along with grabbing a bite to eat; his stomach was rumbling before he realized it), but he just wanted to catch his breath and gather his bearings for the time being.

After a bit of wandering, Charlie managed to find a plush seat along the upper deck, thankfully unoccupied due to the previous inhabitants longing to battle. Plopping down with a heavy yet satisfied sigh, Charlie set his heavy black duffel bag down beside him before playing around with the four Pokeballs attached to his belt. Detaching one of the balls, it had a simple 'Q' drawn on it. The ball then opened, a flash of white light appearing in Charlie's lap. As the ball closed, the light vanished, and a small Cyndaquil replaced it. Charlie couldn't help but smile sincerely as his young Pokemon sniffed at the sea air with its long snout.

"We're aboard the SS Anne Quinn, a very famous cruise ship. You're not gonna get all seasick on me, are ya?" He asked, the flames on its back extinguishing.

"Cyn cyn..." The Pokemon replied quietly, shaking it's head. Charlie smiled in return.

"Heheh, good girl. No need to be shy here Quinn, i'm sure we'll be safe on this ship. Just try an' relax. I know I will..." He stated, picking up the Pokemon playfully. This conversation was promptly interrupted however, when his Xtransceiver started to vibrate, causing both him and the Cyndaquil to jump. Once Charlie put Quinn down, the small screen on the watch's interface lit up with the live feed of a familiar face.

"Hey momma." He replied flatly to the monitor. It was indeed his mother, and she looked pretty happy to see him.

"Hi Charlie! Whatcha doin'? Where are you?" She asked in a fairly bubbly tone.

"Nothing at the mo'. Just...gathering my bearings, trying to loosen up a bit. I'm on the SS Anne now. They were giving out passes for its 20th Anniversary voyage thingy, and I figured I could use the break."

"Well, I think you could too! Last you talked to me, you were talking about how you already had your second gym badge, but you've barely been in Kanto half a week! Slow it down a bit kiddo! Take in the sights! Make some friends! Fall in love! It's fine that you're on the road towards being a trainer, but there's no need to be in a rush. Ya know what I mean, jelly bean?"

"Yeah...I know..." Charlie replied admittedly, now rubbing Quinn's cream colored belly. Dalia's eyes perked excitedly as she realized what he was petting.

"Is that Quinn? Hi Quinn! You're getting cuter everyday little girl!" She replied, cooing at the Pokemon through the call.

"Yeah, she almost evolved yesterday, but I interrupted it just in time. I'm not ready for her to leave this adorable form yet. Say hi to momma Quinn!"

"Cyncyn!" She perked up, showing a smile for Charlie's mother.

"Oh, so now she wants to smile..." He said, rolling his eyes playfully.

"So what are you gonna do after this?"

"Well, I was planning on just lounging out on this chair, but my stomach's growling loud enough for me to know that I gotta get something to eat. I quite sure Quinn and the grumpy bunch are hungry too, so i'll find some food for them as well. After that...I guess i'll check out the battle circuit they got goin' on, scope out the scene a bit." He decided.

"Alright...well, it was good to talk to you. Just, slow it down a bit, okay?"

"I will ma, don't worry."

" ya!" She added lastly with a short excited wave before ending the call. As the Xtransceiver went dim, he looked down toward Quinn, who was staring back at him endearingly.

"Welp, I know you're hungry, cuz' i'm hungry. C'mon, i'll find us something to eat." He replied to his companion, who in turn scurried up his chest and rested on his shoulder. Seeing it as a sign of not wanting to go back into its ball, Charlie shrugged before rising from the seat, slinging his duffel over an opposite shoulder. Without another word, the two headed into the lower deck, in search of food, fun, and possibly friends.

Aeris had put Jessie back into her Pokeball, since she'd let her out to get a bit more used to her, while Blaze stayed outside of hers. Having said goodbye to Fiona and hoped to see each other again, Aeris realized she was hungry. Despite having gotten herself something back at the Pokecenter in Vermilion, she and Blaze thought to get something to eat and headed towards the banquet hall at the lower deck.

Walking towards it, she saw many more interesting people on the way. It seemed that people had come from all around Kanto, and some even from Johto, to be a part of this celebration. It was great how people were getting along, though some seemed to go to the battle arenas to settle any disputes that came up between them. Guess not everyone will agree on everything. Guess that's just how things are. She wasn't really surprised, but she hoped everything would be alright.

Her hair flowed as much as it could while she was walking. She tried to stay as much inside as she could, but some places she couldn't help but walk outside while going to her destination. The ocean still unsettled her, but she had to focus on her destination rather than the sea. Blaze helped her along the way by just staying by her side, but she still kinda wished she had someone from the group with her. Especially Mika. Where had that boy gone off to? She'd think about that later.

Once she reached the banquet hall, she was amazed by how magnificent it looked. Many tables lined up with lots of unique and delicious looking food, only a few that Aeris actually recognized. It was no surprise that there was a line for the food, so she got herself a spot in it and waited until it'd be her turn.

Once Charlie arrived on the lower deck, his eyes began to wander in wonderment. While he was never the one to fully appreciate classical architecture, he admitted to himself how nicely furnished the place was. Within minutes he located and entered the banquet room, the wafting scent of food greeted him, causing his stomach to grumble some more. His pace slowed as he stepped further into the room, his eyes scanning the area for an open table. He perked up in realization as he spotted one and headed towards it, setting his bag down at it. Following that, he removed the remaining pokeballs from his belt, Pokemon releasing from them one at a time. As the energy in the air died down, a Spinarak, Pidgey, and female Nidoran appeared on the table, each reacting differently to the present situation.

"Alright guys, I'm gonna find y'all something to eat, i'm sure they're serving Pokemon food as well as human food. Wait here and watch my bag, okay?" He replied to the three.

"Pidg!" The Pidgey chirped in reply, its wings flapping in a speedy succession. The Nidoran in return began nudging itself against Charlie's shirt.

"Ni! Niiiii!" It began to whine as Charlie gently pushed away from from her. Without Charlie realizing it, Nina shot a glare at the fire starter comfortably perched upon his shoulder. Quinn quickly noticed this however, and began to hide its face in Charlie's bushy hair.

"No Nina, you gotta stay here. Stop being so needy." He replied, before looking towards his Spinarak, expecting a reply from it as well. Instead, the string spit Pokemon found itself lost in his surroundings, facing away from his trainer. Charlie's eyes lowered in expectancy. Even before he caught that Pokemon, it seemed to be so absentminded (granted, it made itself that much easier to catch).

"Talon, please watch Parker. I don't want to spend the whole night looking for him if he wanders off...again." He said to the Pidgey. The small bird replied with what resembled a salute from its wing.

"Alright guys...i'll be right back." He said lastly before turning away from the trio, heading towards the barely seen buffet table, a line of people obscuring it from view. With a shrug, Charlie headed towards the last person in line, a girl, and managed to grab one of the plates stacked at the edge of the table, along with some utensils. He let out a bit of a sigh as he waited, eyes beginning to wander around the room yet again. Looking down, his eyes widened as he realized and identified the Fire Pokemon that idled around her feet.

"Whoa-oh-hoh, that's a Charmeleon!" He said louder than he expected. Still a bit eager, he tapped the girl's shoulder.

"'Scuse me if i'm intruding, but how'd you get a rare Pokemon like that?" He asked just as the line began to inch forward.

The healing process took little time, and soon Rochelle and Clive had returned to the ballroom. The two had also exchanged phone numbers while waiting for their Pokémon to heal. "So... tell me more about trading," Rochelle requested, hoping to learn a bit more.

"It's quite a simple process, Miss Sanders, though there is, of course, more to it than that," Clive began. "On the surface, there is the simple matter of two Pokémon changing hands and Trainers. But there is another side to it. It involves giving up a team-mate, a friend, in exchange for the opportunity to meet a different species and see how they fare under your care. Some people trade to build teams of Pokémon from foreign regions, and others do so to study Pokémon or to try to understand them."

"I see..." Rochelle fell silent, thinking. Clive wanted Natalya for his grand-daughter's breeding efforts. She wanted to be sure that Natalya would be okay, and said as much. Clive chuckled at her comment. "You need not worry, Rochelle. Your Murkrow would be well cared for; Libby is a compassionate young woman who would never harm a Pokémon. The few she has given me have also been brought up well. I can vouch for her skill as both a Trainer and a breeder. Natalya would be in good hands."

"Okay, so... which of your team would you be willing to offer?" Rochelle asked. Clive's response was simple: "Any one of the four that Libby has given me. Joseph, the Yanma you saw earlier; Eva, the Gligar whom you also saw; Gisela, a young Natu; and Ian, a Seel."

"Hmm..." Rochelle mused, again silent as she mulled over the options. The offer was an interesting one. She was allowed to make the decision. So which would be the best to choose, both for team diversity and for the battles she would face in the future? Clive's Pokémon all shared a type with someone on her team. She didn't need the Seel; Kirsten filled the spot of a Water-type. Natu was an interesting idea, as were the other two. But the Gligar, the strange combination of a Ground-type and a Flying-type, appealed to her. She liked the little heavyweight; its cheeky tongue-poking was kinda cute. And its typing would probably show some interesting moves in combat, in time. Eva would be useful against Lieutenant Surge, the owner of the Electric-type Vermilion Gym.

"Alright... I think I've made my decision. I accept your offer of a trade. But you're absolutely sure that Natalya will be okay? She's been a good companion, in the few days that she's been part of my team." A good companion, yes... but not much of a fighter. Natalya had lost her battle in Brock's Gym, and since then she hadn't seen many battles. Perhaps she would be happier in a less combative situation, like being with a breeder such as Clive's grandchild.

"There is absolutely nothing to worry about. All of the Pokémon I am carrying are the result of Libby's breeding efforts. They are well-trained and effective in battles. Which would you like, Miss Sanders?" Clive asked as he led the way to the trading hall.

"That would be Eva, your Gligar. If it isn't too much trouble..." Rochelle added, remembering that Eva was kept in the Poké Ball built into Clive's cane and indicating it.

"Ah! A capital choice indeed. And no, it is no trouble. Eva's ball can be detached if I need to use it in a situation such as this," Clive explained. By this time the two were approaching one of the machines designed to trade Pokémon. It was a curious thing, symmetrical in design. Each of the two halves was made up of a small console and a dish with a cylindrical tube above it. Presumably Poké Balls were placed in the dishes. A largish screen took pride of place in the center of the device.

"This is it, Miss Sanders. I trust you will want to say your goodbyes to your Pokémon? I will say a few words to Eva myself," Clive noted, taking a position at one of the two consoles before holding down a small button on his cane and detaching the Poké Ball that adorned the top. Soon the Gligar appeared in the usual white light, but Rochelle paid little attention. She was trying to think of what to say to Natalya before the trade took place.

Choosing to improvise, she released Natalya from her ball and invited her to hop up onto her arm. Once the bird was settled, Rochelle began scratching her underneath her feather hat and began to talk to the little Pokémon. "Natalya... this is kinda difficult. You're not going to travel with me any more. You're going with Clive, the guy we battled against just now."

"Murr... Krow?" Natalya seemed to ask, cocking her head to one side but allowing Rochelle to keep scratching.

"It's okay, you'll be fine. Clive has a grand-daughter who is a breeder, and he'll pass you on to her. He promised me she'd take good care of you. Are you okay? You understand what's going on? You might not see me again... but you've only been part of the team a few days. It might not be all that hard for you to get used to your new life."

"Krr... row, Murkrow," Natalya answered, nuzzling at Rochelle's hand. She couldn't tell if the Dark-type was okay with it... it troubled her that she didn't understand her. Perhaps Mika's talent of Pokémon Empathy could help, but he wasn't around. Rochelle had to rely on her own guesswork.

"Okay, Natalya, are you ready to go? You have to go back into your ball for this," Rochelle explained. When she held up Natalya's Ball, the Murkrow complied, going into the sphere without a fuss. She didn't normally like going into her ball. So perhaps she, as well as Rochelle, had agreed to the trade. She turned back to the trade machine to find Clive ready and waiting for her. "From that exchange, it is apparent that you care about your Pokémon. Natalya has had a good Trainer, and so will Eva." The older man gave Rochelle a warm smile. "When you are ready."

Rochelle placed Natalya's Poké Ball into the dish. Almost instantly a small white light played over it, and her console's screen flashed up:

Trade Murkrow in return for Gligar?

Accept |~| Cancel

Other Trainer has accepted.

Rochelle's finger hesitated. Nervousness fired up inside her mind, and her stomach twinged. She wasn't sure of this.. It was just last-minute anxiety. That kind of thing happened, and was easily dealt with. She pressed the Accept button, and the machine hummed into life. In twin flares of white light, the two Poké Balls were sucked into the tubes above. Rochelle looked up at the screen in time to catch images of Natalya and Eva passing one another... even on screen, the Gligar was sticking its tongue out. Rochelle had to smile at that.

Within seconds the two Poké Balls dropped back into the dishes. Natalya's ball now held a different Pokémon... it felt weird to know that, as Rochelle dug her page of stickers and a pen out of her bag. She peeled off the Natalya sticker and reattached it to the sheet, writing the name 'Eva' and species 'Gligar' on a fresh one and applying it to Eva's Poké Ball.

"Capital, Miss Sanders! Libby will be most pleased to receive Natalya from me. But now I regret to say that the two of us must part ways: I must seek out other friends of mine, with whom I shall be for the rest of the night," Clive explained. "You have my number if you should choose to contact me in the future. But for now, I wish you good luck with your journey, and may you do better than I did, eh? The Elite Four will not defeat themselves. That is the job of people like you and your friends."

"Ah, alright. Goodbye, and thank you... Goodbye, Natalya," Rochelle added, not sure whether to be sad about seeing her Pokémon leaving with another Trainer. But the exchange was done. She had Eva now, a Pokémon that she had not yet encountered before the party. She would have to reintroduce herself to the new recruit and get used to her battling style.

By this time Clive had given Rochelle a final wave and a tip of his hat, and left the trading hall. She suddenly realised she was hungry. She had forsaken dinner in favour of battling... perhaps it was a good decision, though. Otherwise she might not have met Clive and Eva. Happy that she had met a new friend and new Pokémon, instead of feeling down about trading away a member of her team, Rochelle made her way to the dining hall.

Upon entering the hall after a few minutes' walk, she spotted a queue forming at the buffet table... second to last in line was a familiar red-haired girl. Smiling at the sight of one of the group, Rochelle hurried to take a place in line behind Aeris. She briefly wondered who was talking to her. It was a guy she didn't recognise.

A loud voice was heard right behind Aeris. Don't shout into other people's ears! she thought. She turned around and was about to scold the person who asked rather than answer his question, but the Cyndaquil on his shoulder caught her attention. It was so cute, she practically squealed. "I just have to know where you got that Cyndaquil!" After a moment, she got a hang of herself, a little embarrassed by how she acted. "Heh, sorry. But I just want to know. I can tell you about Blaze if you want. I got her from my home island, Cinnabar Island. She was just a wild Pokemon there. I took care of her while looking for her trainer, since I didn't just want to take her if she had a trainer. After many people trying to claim her and none of them really being her trainer, I tried to set her free, but she didn't want to go. So, I decided she would be my Pokemon. I wouldn't expect you to find many other wild Charmanders there. I guess I was just lucky."

The line for the food was moving forwards, and Aeris moved in accordance with it since she was hungry. "Now, why don't you tell me about your Cyndaquil?" She noticed Rochelle behind the boy and waved to her. "Hey there, Rochelle! I just got back from having battled in the ballroom, then traded my dear Venonat, Sonya, for a Misdreavus named Jessie. What have you been up to?"

In just the first two minutes of being out, Cleo had already returned a total of thirteen times with various objects of value. Most of it looked to be the silver cutlery from vacant tables, though Eileen did notice a few pocket watches and jewelry go into her bag on Cleo's last return. 'I need to see where Vermillion City's pawn shop is either once we're done here or tomorrow morning. Might be safer to just do it tonight before anyone realizes things went missing,' Eileen thought after finishing her portion of steak spiced with different spicy berries.

Now that she wasn't starving, Eileen prepared a plate of berry bars for her first and newest Pokemon. Once it was done she set the plate down on the floor and called out Hughes and Dalton, giving a quick introduction of the other before letting them eat. Hughes was initially confused by the furry Swinub, not sure if it was a pillow or a Pokemon until it started to eat from the plate of food. There was a moment of wonder about how his Trainer had gotten a new Pokemon, but the thought was put aside as the smell of the food distracted him.

The two Pokemon ate most of the bars happily, though the ones that they didn't like were left to the side of the plate. Cleo grabbed both of the leftover bars after returning with some sort of small gold bottle, handing the bottle over to her excited Trainer before leaving to go and find some more shiny things.

With only one bar remaining on the plate, the two Pokemon looked up at each other (or at least it seemed the Swinub was looking up) to see if the other wanted it. Looking back down at the bar, Hughes moved it over towards the new addition to the group; ready to take a nap before the Swinub moved the bar back over to him. This scene of politeness continued until their Trainer told them both to just eat half, the two Pokemon once more looking at each other before Hughes bit off his end and Dalton took the leftover. With the two Pokemon full they both curled up at their Trainer's feet, dozing off to the sounds of the banquet hall.

Charlie couldn't help but listen to the girl's spiel with an eager intent, strangely because it was so engaging. It was like one of those stories that you'd think only exist in a character's backstory in a TV show or film, and yet this young woman was a living example. It was intriguing to say the least. As she came down from the heavy anecdote, Charlie couldn't help but blink, as if he were coming out of a sort of trance.

"Well, it won't be as awesome as your story, I can tell you that. It was a pretty typical beginning for a trainer. I went to Professor Elm (the professor of Johto, like Oak is here; I'm sure you've seen him on TV once or twice before), I told him I was becoming a trainer, and he told me he had a new batch of Pokemon to choose from. With me having a preference towards Fire types, I chose Cyndaquil. It just so happens that she turned out to a cutie as well as awesome. Isn't that right Quinn?" He answered, petting the petite Pokemon, Quinn smiling in return. Taking some steps forward, the girl in front of him changed the subject to the girl behind him, curiosity causing him to turn slightly towards her, in hopes to catch a glance. Getting a good look at her, he tilted his head slightly in thought, something he remembered about her face.

"Rochelle...? You wouldn't happen to have gone to Goldenrod High, have you?" He asked, beginning to fully face her.

"I'm the meat in a red-hot redhead sandwich? Niiice." He thought, sharing a high-five with his inner self.

I know that voice... Rochelle thought as she listened to the guy behind Aeris in the line. She recognised it from somewhere, probably back in Goldenrod before she became a Trainer. When the guy turned, she studied his face... she knew the face too. But from where?

"Rochelle...? You wouldn't happen to have gone to Goldenrod High, have you?"

There it was. The missing link. The guy was from Goldenrod City like herself; they had been to the same high school. It all came back to Rochelle: she knew the guy from one of her classes in her final year.

"I did... Wait. No way. Charlie Delacroix, right? Rochelle Sanders," she introduced herself. Or rather, reintroduced herself. "We were in a couple of classes together. Aeris, this is Charlie. He and I went to the same school back home." Rochelle then noticed the Pokémon on Charlie's shoulder, pulling out her Pokédex to score the information on it.

"As for what I've been up to, I was in the ballroom earlier. Met a guy named Clive, who offered to trade his Gligar for Natalya, my Murkrow. His granddaughter wants a Dark-type to use in her breeding program," she explained.

"Seems that you were in luck, then. I wouldn't mind a Cyndaquil of my own, but I wouldn't even know where to find one. And yeah, I have seen Professor Elm on TV. Didn't look as old as Professor Oak, but hopefully isn't as forgetful as he is." Aeris giggled and reached to pet Quinn on her head.

She turned to Rochelle after the petting. "I hope your Gligar will become a valuable member of your team. As I hope for with my Misdreavus, Jessie. I can just show you her." She reached for Jessie's Pokeball and let her out. The Misdreavus looked around and, not feeling hungry, just took a seat on Aeris' head. She wasn't heavy, so Aeris barely felt it.

She turned her attention back to Charlie to ask him. "What brings you here to Kanto, I wonder? And to not be rude, I should introduce myself. It's nice to meet you, Charlie. As Rochelle said, I'm Aeris. Aeris Crimson." She offered him her hand to shake.

Blaze took a look at the Cyndaquil on the boy's shoulder. Just seemed like a little softball compared to her. But you never knew if she packed a punch behind that cute appearance. "Charmeleon. Char. Leon." Pleasure to make your acquaintance. I'm Blaze, the strongest around here, and here to protect Aeris if the need arises. she said to the little Cyndaquil, if it was even paying attention to her.

Callum followed behind Eileen and started to pick food off of the tables. Remoraid fillets, Krabby meat, Pidgey wings coved in Combee honey, and an assortment of different berries and rice willed the gaps in between the different meats. Once his plate was as full as he liked, Callum went over to the Pokémon food tables and made a rather large plate with different plain berries and brown cubes of food before finding the table Eileen was at.

Once he arrived at the table Callum put his plate down before the Pokémon's plate. He took out his Pokéballs and Netballs and released all of his Pokémon. A Ledyba, Pineco, Paras, Oddish, Butterfree, and Kakuna appeared before him. "Alright guys this plate is yours, don't fight over the food and share properly. If aren't being good and try to start a fight amongst yourselves none of you will be getting desert," Callum said to his Pokémon before hearing an assortment of cries that he assumed were angreeances.

With that settled, he state down and started to slowly eat his dinner. It was the first time that we has eating such expensive food, and he want to savor each bite in case he never got a chance to eat this well again. After a while Callum noticed Eileen's Meowth dropping expensive goods into her bag before putting a gold bottle on the table beside her. "You realize that if someone confronts you you're on your own? I don't intend to take the punch for someone who's having their Pokémon steal," Callum said to Eileen in a little more than a hush whisper so that others around them wouldn't hear.

"I can take care of myself, okay? Besides you have nothing to worry about; Cleo has got this, and you're not involved at all. Well, I guess since you know about it you are, but whatever. I just need to find a pawn shop once we get back to port," Eileen mused as she took the cork out of the bottle, pouring half of the drink into one of the available wine glasses in front of her. She picked up the glass and drank, pouring more into the glass before placing it back down onto the table. "That is delicious. I'm loving all of this; easily one of the best parties I've been too," she said happily, taking another drink as Cleo came back with a Super Potion.

"We are certainly getting some useful things here. Thank you Cleo, and do you think you can get another one of these bottles? Thanks again," Eileen said after finishing off what was in the glass, refilling it with what was left from the bottle.

"You know Callum, you should really expand on your team. I know you have an Oddish, but it'd be good to branch out a bit from your current types. More coverage for future battles," she stated, watching his Pokemon eat from their plate.

"Yeaahh, I remember now! You used to sit at the front of our first period class. Or at least it seemed that way...I know you sat further front than I did." He replied, the name clicking like the final piece to a puzzle. He reminisced for a brief moment, mind wandering back to his semi-delinquent days in high school where he would lounge at a desk near the back while the teacher took attendance. As Rochelle began recording data of the timid Quinn, the girl facing his front decided to introduce herself.

"Crimson, huh? I see you like to take full advantage of your namesake." He replied as he shook her hand. Now that he realized it, she was brandishing a lot of red, from the deep red hair, to the equally red Charmeleon that stood at her side.

"As for why i'm here...Well, I was initially planning to just journey around Johto. But when I got to Elm's for my starter, he told me that Oak wanted trainers in Kanto for some type of survey...consensus...thingy-or-whatever (honestly, I don't even know how Elm takes that guy seriously, it's like he has alzheimers or something...i'm surprised they haven't like, retired him yet). Either way, Elm brought me to Kanto, dropped me off at Oak's, told me to make my parents proud, and went on his merry way. So here I am!" He described with an enthusiasm that bordered on confusion. His situation was a peculiar one, but he felt he explained it the best he could.

"But enough about me, how do you two know each other? With the red hair/green eyes combo you two got going on, I might've thought you guys were related or something. Are you two traveling together?" He asked them both, signalling to Aeris as he realized that the three were beginning to hold up the line.

As the three humans conversed among themselves, Quinn couldn't help but notice the much bigger Fire type that proudly stood at Aeris' side. It announced itself in a stern tone that feigned power and respect. Curiously enough, the timid Pokemon answered the Charmeleon as best as it could. "C-Cyn, Cyndaquil..." I-i'm Quinn. Pleasure to meet you. I hope to be as strong as you some day..." She answered quietly, knowingly admiring the Charmeleon, but not quite ready to leave her position on Charlie's shoulder.

"Not to encourage the fact that you're stealing, but going to the same pawn shop to sell the stolen items is a sure way to get caught. The Police in my home city have caught a fair few thieves because of them doing stupid things such as this." Callum replied to Eileen, before eating a berry covered in rice. The rice had been absorbing the juices which gave it a softened texture, but the juices' flavor covered the texture problem and it tasted delicious.

Upon Eileen's comment of expanding his team Callum started to watch them eat for a moment. Kakuna and Paras seemed to be sharing the same type of food. Oddish and Ledyba seemed to be doing the same. Butterfree and Pineco on the other hand were eating each and everything that the others weren't. All of them seemed to currently be getting along for now so Callum turned back to Eileen.

"To be honest I have been planning on expanding my team, however my job is a major problem with that. Bugs have to be the focus members on my team because I get paid not only for catching them but I get paid even more for training them. Twenty-five dollars for each one that I catch, fifty dollars for every stage two evolutions that I train my Bug Pokémon to, and one-hundred dollars for every stage three Bug Pokémon that I raise. Money's much more important right now, but I am hoping to find some more team members before the end of my journey," Callum told Eileen before filling his wine glass up with ice water and taking a drink.

Eileen listened as Callum explained the danger of pawning off the items here in Vermillion City, taking a sip every other word of his. "True. I suppose waiting would be the best option, though carrying all of that stuff won't be all that much fun. You're a smart man Callum, has anyone ever told you that?" Eileen asked him, raising up her glass to drink before realizing it was empty. Thankfully Cleo came back shortly after bringing two more bottles and some more cutlery, placing the bottles on the table and the cutlery inside of the back.

"Thank you once more Cleo," Eileen told her Pokemon as she opened up a new bottle and poured some more into her own glass and a new one. She placed the new one next to Callum's own wine glass, taking another sip before saying, "That sounds like some a good way to make some money. Wish I could get paid to train my own Pokemon. Still, it's good that you're thinking of adding more members to your team. The gyms will only get harder and harder from here on out, and with the advantage of your bug-types also comes their own disadvantage. I know I'll have to add some more Pokemon to my team soon; though I know it is possible to just use one Pokemon to complete the league challenge. That really isn't something I want to do though. My brother told me to try and get a good, diverse team whenever I left for the league challenge, and I haven't really done that yet. Soon."

Going along with the line, since Charlie pointed that it was kind of being held up by them three, Aeris replied to Charlie. "We met in Pallet Town where Professor Oak was handing out Pokedexes for trainers to collect data on. It could have gone better, to be honest, but we at least got what we came there for. And I'm not really sure why, but we decided to travel as a group. So we've been traveling together now, yeah."

Once she finished telling Charlie that, she looked around for what she wanted on her plate. Blaze had grabbed one as well, and seemed to have gotten a second one for Quinn. She might be a bit arrogant sometimes, but she was helpful and nice to others. Aeris picked some treats to put on both plates that Blaze had, then looked around for food for herself. "They even have the whole Char-line of sauces? This place is great!" She grabbed herself some meatballs and other kinds of meat, then poured on them the Charizard sauce. She also poured it onto Blaze's own plate. They smirked to each other, as a sign of competition as to who could handle the Charizard sauce better.

Aeris looked back to Charlie and Rochelle. "Did either one of you find an empty table? I didn't really think of doing that before I went here to get myself some food." She rubbed the back of her head and giggled a little.

Blaze turned her attention towards Quinn. "Char! Charme." Think you can handle spicy sauces? We could put some on for you if you want. She still got a competitive look in her eyes.

With the topic of a future team on his mind, Callum completely lost track of what Eileen was saying. What typings should I look for? I mean I figure I'll likely still be using some of the Bug Pokémon I catch, but I will need to expand my team. I'll likely keep my Oddish for a while and then I can see from there.

In the meantime Callum's Pokémon were finished their meal. Butterfree and kakuna had fallen asleep and the other Pokémon were quietly chatting with each other about where they were from and their past experiences before they were caught. Eventually Ledyba got bored of the conversation and flew up and landed on Callum's back.

Callum tuned back into what Eileen was saying when he felt Ledyba's presence. He only managed to listen to the last bit as she mentioned her brother. "I didn't know you have siblings. Actually I don't exactly know a lot about you other than you grew up on Cinnabar Island. Would you mind telling me about your family?" Callum asked before noticing the new glass of wine beside his water glass. He pushed it away and took note of how much Eileen was drinking. "But first I think you should slow down on the wine. You're drinking pretty fast and you won't be able to speak, let alone stand, if you keep your pace up."

"Firstly, I know how much I can drink. I've only hads a couple of bottles, and I've have had way more at other parties. Unless my parents really did water 'em down...then maybe I should stop. After this last one," Eileen started, quickly downing the rest of the wine in the bottle before placing it back down on the table loudly. She eyed the glass she had given Callum and tried to reach for it, only to knock it over onto the table.

"Darn," she said loudly, staring at the spill on the table before turning back to Callum. "Yes I have family. I have a mom and dad, just like everyone else. They are sciean-tests, and they work a lot. My mom works with the uh, inside of Pokemon. What they are made up of...cellularly and their geneticks. And then my dad, he travels around the world learning about anchent Pokemon and civil-zatons. They are always too busy with work to spend time, but I undertsand that they can't give much attention to me or! Yeah I have an older brother too! His name is Franklin, and he enjoys ditching the family to go on random trips with his Pokemon for some reason! He just disappears for months at a time, leaves without any words goodbye. It sucks, because he's like my only friend. And he just leaves! Wait, you're a friend right Callum? My friend? And I'm yours, right?" Eileen asked suddenly, moving her chair closer to Callum's (startling her two Pokemon sleeping under it, forcing them to move underneath a vacant chair) and poking his chest with her finger.

Despite facing away from Aeris, Charlie made sure to listen to everything she was saying as he began collecting his share of food for him and his Pokemon. Not wanting to make the trip back to the table a challenge, Charlie decided to stick to one plate, making sure to divide the pokefood from the human food.

"Group? I'm assuming there's more than just the two of you?" He asked, collecting some of the meatballs for himself before moving on towards the Torchic wings, Tauros steaks, and the fried Remoraid filets.

"Sheesh, they didn't hesitate to bring out the expensive stuff. I'm surprised I didn't have to pay for my ticket!" He thought to himself, making sure to move all his food to one side of the plate before moving on to the pokemon food. He managed to pour several portions of the dry food onto the empty side of the plate, making sure he had enough for his four pokemon. Reaching the end of the buffet table, he made sure to collect some poffins for them as well, all of which were assorted flavors, and hastily placed the pastries atop the food mountain.

Quinn began warming up to Aeris' Charmeleon, letting down her defenses as it asked her a question. "Cynda! Quilquil!" Yes! I love spicy foods!" She answered excitedly, perking up in response, oblivious to the Charmeleon's competitive expression. Charlie looked up from the table, as he was ready to go back to his. As Aeris giggled, he proposed a suggestion.

"Well, my pokemon and bag are at a table somewhere back there. I'm quite sure it has enough space for all of us to comfortably sit at it." He replied in a queried tone, pointing in the direction away from buffet table. As he realized it, he could see his three pokemon still patiently waiting on the table, and the three could still see him. He couldn't help but chuckle at their famished expressions.

"Aeris had it pretty much summed up. We met up at Pallet, as well as meeting a few others. I'll have to introduce you to them, if you want to come along with us," Rochelle suggested. "Though I must say, I didn't think of going to see Elm. Don't really know why... just went straight to Oak. I should put in a call to Elm sometime. But yes. I agree on retiring Oak. He's... well, he's not all there. Needs someone to take care of him," she mused.

Rochelle took her turn at the buffet table after Charlie, having taken one plate for herself and one for her Pokémon. She was in the mood for something new, something different. This was a rare opportunity, and it was as good time as any to expand on her experiences. With that in mind she chose a bed of rice as a base, a good number of vegetables and some of the fried Remoraid, plus a couple of the lemon slices that were arranged with the fish. She drizzled a little bit of sauce over the top of it all to add a bit more flavour.

For her Pokémon team, Rochelle secured a few different items, including a few Berries that she recognised and some of the familiar cubes of food. She wasn't sure of what her newest Pokémon preferred, so hopefully Eva would find what she had picked out agreeable.

Having been the last of the three to collect their meal, Rochelle rejoined Aeris and Charlie, taking a moment to look around for anyone she recognised. There was no sign of a good portion of the rest of the group. "Um, sure, your table works," she agreed to Charlie's suggestion. "I'm not sure I see anyone from the group."

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