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

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After Quinn's response, Aeris had put some Charizard sauce on her plate like Blaze had asked of her. They'd see if the little Cyndaquil could take the heat, so to say. "I don't think I see anyone either." Aeris said after looking around herself. "Lets have a seat."

Charlie lead the two girls back to his table where his Pokemon waited at. Aeris took a seat and took her backpack off to put it on her chair. Jessie still sat on top of Aeris' head, looking around her surroundings and quite interested in her new trainer. After looking at Blaze and Quinn, the former of those two looking at her trainer and the Cyndaquil, started eating competitively. So did Blaze. The sauce was very hot indeed. Worthy of being called the Charizard sauce. Each bite was hotter than the previous one, but Aeris didn't stop. Her face probably looked about as red as her hair did by now.

Blaze had put down the plate for Quinn to the side on the table and had put her own plate in front of herself on the table as well. She also started eating competitively, not minding the sauce after a while of eating. It was hot indeed, but she wasn't about to stop, not wanting to be outdone by her trainer. After all, if her trainer could eat food that was this spicy with more ease than she did, how well could she call herself a Fire Pokemon? Not that Aeris had it any easier than Blaze did with the spicy sauce, starting to sweat a bit on her forehead from the heat of the sauce.

Eventually, they both stopped after having finished from their plates. Blaze burped and with it released a little fireball up into the air that evaporated before it would hit anything. Aeris practically breathed fire by now since this was top class hot sauce. Though not the hottest of the hot sauces. There was still the Magmar line of hot sauces left to try out now. After a while, Aeris managed to talk again. "Man, was that some good sauce or what! I think I might pass as a Fire Pokemon now." She gave a big laugh and Blaze joined her. Then the two of them stopped that, sat back and patted their stomachs, both of them full. Jessie hovered over Aeris, quite amused by the sight of the two having eaten so competitively. Showed her how close the two were if they were doing that.

Eileen was sufficiently drunk and well on her way to making a fool of herself. Callum instantly regretted asking about her family. Clearly it was a sensitive topic that would have been better approached in a more sober environment. Callum sighed at his own foolishness as he pushed his nearly empty plate away from himself after she started to poke him in his chest.

Quickly he turned towards Eileen and grabbed her hand with a soft grip; as to not hurt her or give cause for increased aggression, but still stop her from poking him. Her last question cornered him into an answer as well, and there wasn't an option to further stall a response. "Yes I am your friend. And you're mine. I'm sorry for asking about your family, it's clearly something that you still need to work out in a more sober state," Callum replied in the calmest voice he could. Damn! That last sentence could easily backfire.

Callum quickly stood up, his Ledyba taking off from his back as soon as he did so, and he looked down at Eileen. "You're going to need some fresh air. Return your Pokémon and let's go out to the deck. The sea air should help sober you up," Callum added in the same calm voice. His free hand quickly found its way inside of the bag on his waste and started to return his Pokémon as he caught sight of the Pokémon stickers out of the bottom of his eye.

"Yeah, that sound slike a plan to me. And it is good that we are frinds; non-family or Poke frends...never had one of those before. Have you?" Eileen asked as she lifted herself off of her chair, getting her hand out of Callum's as she tried to hold onto the table to keep herself steady before she grabbed her Pokeballs. After almost falling over she slumped back down into her chair, staring at her Pokeballs as she tried to figure out which one was for her Pokemon. "I need you Pokes to get back inside of these for a bit. We can later battle a bit," she muttered, trying to return Hughes and Dalton into their Pokeballs. To those watching it was a hilarious sight watching her try to return her Pokemon; the red beams from the Pokeballs hitting everything except her Pokemon.

Hughes didn't appreciate the laughter and shot a small bit of Ember at one person. When the onlookers went back to their food and conversation, he grabbed Dalton's Pokeball out of his Trainer's hand and poked the Swinub in it. With one Pokemon successfully returned he gave back the first Pokeball and grabbed another; repeating this process once Cleo came back with some more stolen goods (though she didn't seem to appreciate it). With two out of three returned, he pressed his nose against his own Pokeball before being engulfed into it.

"He's a good Poke-man. I love him so much," Eileen told Callum, putting her Pokeballs into her pocket and picking up her bag. It was a lot heavier than she remembered it being, and for the life of her she couldn't recall why it weighed so much now. The bag made her even more unbalanced as she tried to stand up straight, immediately almost falling over until she grabbed a hold of Callum's arm. "At least there are no stairs, right? I tink some fresh air would be goods for us. Thanks for sugguesting it, and sorry for anyting I've done that you have not liked. I'm not sure if there has been anythin', but just in case," she added, putting her arms around him in a quick hug before sloppily walking away from the table.

Eileen's struggle to return her Pokémon and stand up was a painful sight to watch for Callum. It was like watching a slow, slurring, stumbling train wreck that Callum couldn't bring himself to stop. Something in his mind went off that told him to grab two of the cloth napkins, so he did so and shoved them into his pants' pocket.

I should do something but what can I really do. She's so headstrong and drunk that I doubt she'd accept any help. And why did I get caught in this? I just wanted to relax and continue on my way; now I'm going to play babysitter for Eileen.

Eileen's hug felt extremely uncomfortable and caused Callum to hesitate to follow her as she started to walk away. Before she could walk a few steps away, Eileen stumbled and started to fall; Callum caught her before she could fall. While he caught her, Eileen's bag hit Callum's side and he could feel how heavy it was.

A sigh left Callum's mouth as he slid it off of her arm and onto his own; not even bothering to ask for her permission or if she wanted him to carry it. He then wrapped an arm under her arm and around her back, so her weight was being supported on himself. "Just lean on me for now. You'll fall if you try to walk on your own. I also think there are stairs to take in order to get to the deck. And don't worry about anything you've to me right now. You'll have plenty of time to think about stuff like that later. Now just focus on putting one foot in front of the other," Callum said, trying to comfort Eileen as they slowly walked across the room.

"It's so hard though. My legs are like jello, or noodles. Jelloodles," Eileen replied with a laugh as the two of them left the banquet hall and exited into the main hallway. They slowly headed left to get outside onto the deck, coming to a stop once they reached the stairs at the end of it. "That is a lot of steps to take, when did stairs get so big?" she asked as she moved out of Callum's grip, trying to take a step onto the first stair despite not having the coordination to safely make it up. The result was her losing her balance and slumping to the floor, though what happened could have ended up much worse.

"I hate stairs. My room was on the floor at my house, so I never had to climb them," she explained to Callum as she laid down on the step, curling up as if to sleep. "Maybe I can just stay here ferabit. It's kinda comfy in a way. I don't like the wobbly feel I feel from the ship though. It is makin me feel kinda funny," she muttered sickly, slowly sitting up and leaning against the railing.

Crap. Crap. Crap. Callum turned around and knelt down so his back was facing Eileen. "Hop on I'll carry you upstairs. Don't argue and just do it," Callum half ordered Eileen as he waited for her to climb on.

Eileen stared blankly for half a second before lifting herself onto his back. The ride up the stairs was a bumpy one, with Eileen almost losing all of her food a few times. 'You gotta hold it down a bit longer, girl,' she thought to herself, clamping her hand over her mouth as they reached the top of the stairs. The salty breeze of the night wind could be felt from the opened doors to the deck, and Eileen thought the feeling was quite calming.

She was placed next to the side rail just in the nick of time, throwing up the contents of her stomach over half a minute. As soon as Callum let Eileen down he grabbed her hair and held it out of her face. The wind was travelling across the deck and hitting their backs so the vomit wasn't being blown back into them. After a moment Eileen seemed to stop and Callum took one of the napkins out of his pocket and handed it to Eileen.

"Thanks," Eileen said simply, accepting the napkin from him and wiping her mouth with it. "That was curtainly I think just laying down would be a good think now," she told him, lifting herself up off the ground using the railing. Down below she heard some shouting going on, and leaning over the railing she saw a sailor with the vomit over him yelling up at them.

"I think swe should get out of here firs," Eileen added after the sailor started to yell that he was going to come after them and wring their necks.

"Alright guys, i'm back." Charlie announced to his patiently waiting pokemon as the three reached the round table. After placing the plate of food down, he made sure to help Quinn down (she eagerly scurrying down his arm) before pushing his bag into one of the vacant adjacent seats, thanking his pokemon for protecting it as he did so.

"Alright, dig in y'all. The poffins are for dessert." He said, making sure to put the pastries off to the side to enforce his rule. He began to eat as well, only to pause as he caught a glance over towards Aeris and Blaze, who began viciously tearing into their food. He couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the sight.

"Huh. and I thought I was hungry..." He said in a somewhat encouraging tone. Looking beyond her, he noticed two people making their way out of the banquet hall, one of which begrudgingly helping the other as she sloppily stumbled about. Snickering at the sight, he brought his attention back towards the trainers that accompanied him at the table, the one called Rochelle sitting opposite from him.

"Rochelle, how'd you get your start in Pallet? If you didn't get sent here through Elm, then what else drew you here? I wasn't even thinking of coming to Kanto until Elm planted the idea." He queried her, cutting into his steak.

Quinn couldn't help but look on in confusion as the competitive Blaze and her trainer went at their food. Not expecting a race, she began eating at a much slower pace, smiling as the spicy sauces accented her food for the better.

Rochelle took a moment to sort out her Pokémon before starting on her meal of choice. She let Kirsten, Phoenix and Iskra out first, telling them to hold off on the food for a moment before she released Eva from her ball. The Gligar paused upon taking in its surroundings and the unfamiliar Pokémon standing before her. "Gli... Gligar?" She sounded confused... perhaps she was used to seeing a different group of Pokémon before now.

"Eva? Remember me?" Rochelle asked cautiously, lightly tapping the purple Pokémon on the shoulder. Eva turned around and looked up at her, her tongue hanging out slightly as she took in the situation. She nodded, remembering the voice and the name.

"Okay, good. Are you okay with being a part of my team, instead of Clive's team?" This time Eva hesitated a little longer. Rochelle hoped that Eva would agree a second time... thankfully she did. "Gar. Gligar."

"Excellent. Kirsten, Phoenix, Iskra, this is Eva. And Natalya is no longer part of the team," Rochelle said to the rest of her team. "I figure you guys can get some socialising in over dinner. Dig in." The four Pokémon needed no further instruction, each securing a small portion of the food Rochelle had procured. Satisfied with the introductions, Rochelle turned back to the table, making a start on her own meal before Charlie spoke up.

"Rochelle, how'd you get your start in Pallet? If you didn't get sent here through Elm, then what else drew you here? I wasn't even thinking of coming to Kanto if Elm didn't plant the idea."

"When I started out, I left Goldenrod by the north entrance. Made my way up to Ecruteak, headed out to Olivine City and took the SS Aqua over to Vermilion. I'd been pointed in the direction of Pallet by my parents as well as a couple of other recommendations, so I've travelled the routes from Vermilion to Pallet twice now," she began. "As for obtaining someone to start my team, I guess... well, I think my parents didn't want me to rely on a handout from Professor Elm. They didn't say it exactly, but they gave me a few Poké Balls as a gift, so I think they wanted me to catch my own rather than receive a Pokémon. I tried catching a couple of things on my way to Olivine... just ended up breaking the Poké Balls, though.

"I met Kirsten, my Horsea, in a pond between Vermilion and Cerulean. She'd been hurt and left on her own, presumably by another Trainer who didn't care enough to patch her up. So I took her in and I've been raising her ever since."

Tyler shrugged.

"Maybe I'll get lucky," he replied to Jordan as he reached into his bag and pulled out a Pokeball, setting it on his lap. 'Just in case'. He cast his line into the sea. "Here's hoping that Pokemon food can work as bait. I sure as hell don't wanna buy that gourmet stuff."

Beneath the waves, Tyler's bait descended slowly. The moonlight cast faint rays into the depths, cutting through the murky darkness. In the eerie silence, shadowy forms drifted in the distance. They seemed uninterested in the morsel of food floating by.

Well, except for one.

It swam cautiously towards the brown clump of food. As far as it was concerned, it had earned itself free dinner.


Something was tugging at the line.

"I think I got something!" Tyler said as he tugged back. He frantically tried to reel in whatever had attached itself to his hook. From the few experiences he had with fishing, he knew it was vital to keep tension on the line. A loose line would give the creature an opportunity to rid itself of the hook and swim off. It was giving a tough fight, but Tyler was slowly winning. The tugs became more erratic and panicked as the Pokemon on the line realized it was fighting a losing battle.

Tyler heard the sound of the Pokemon breaking the surface and yanked hard. Whatever was on the end of the line flew overhead and landed on the deck with a wet thud. He put the rod down and turned around, readying the empty Pokeball. A jellyfish-like Pokemon flopped around on the deck, left stunned and confused by the sudden impact with the ground. A Tentacool, to be precise.

"Awesome," Tyler said as he readied the Pokeball. There wasn't much time before the Tentacool got up and tried to attack. 'Here goes nothing'. He chucked the device at the Pokemon, who disappeared in a flash of red light. The Pokeball hit the deck and rocked violently back and forth as the Tentacool tried to break out. Tyler watched with bated breath. After a few seconds, the fight was over, and the Pokeball emitted a low tone.

Tyler picked up the now-occupied Pokeball and grinned. "I'm totally fine with this," he said as he collapsed it and placed it in an empty holster in his belt.

Without fully realizing it, the table became filled with Pokémon, all obediently eating along with their respective trainers. Once Rochelle released the newest addition of her party from its ball, Charlie couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at its unique appearance.

"Huh. Don't think i've seen a Pokémon like that yet." He murmured, pulling a black pokédex from one of his bigger pockets. As it flashed on, the screens beeped to life, one seemingly climbing upon the other. He pointed the device at the purple creature, and its information slowly began loading into it.

"And survey says..."

#207 Gligar
FlyScorpion Pokémon
image image
HT 3'07"
WT 142.9 lbs
It glides as if sliding. It startles foes by clamping on their faces, then jabs with its poison stinger.

"A Gligar huh? It's a lot heavier than it looks." He commented, mouth full of food. After Rochelle finished introducing the Gligar to the rest of her team, she turned her attention towards Charlie's previous comment. It was another interesting story, much like Aeris'. It made him wonder how his life turned out to be so average. Eventually, he shrugged the thought off.

"Huh. My parents didn't grow up training Pokémon, so I had no choice but to rely on Professor Elm for my journey, since, y'know, they figured he knew more about Pokémon and gyms than they did. But, whatahya gonna do huh?" He replied with a sigh and another shrug. He couldn't help but furrow his brow as she mentioned how she obtained her Horsea. Not slowing down on his food, he began his spiel.

"What? That's such bullshit. Oh, I mean, not the story, but the fact that some douche had the audacity to leave their Pokémon all high and dry after it just didn't live up to his or her's expectations. I mean, really? It's not the Pokémon's fault you're such a shit trainer. And B, double really?? A Horsea? Of all the Pokémon one would ditch, you ditch a freaking Horsea? Did they not know what it could potentially evolve into? Duh and/or Hullooo! Kingdra!" He said, the ignorant choice an unnamed trainer made obviously working him up, he in turn beginning to turn his excitement towards his food.

She sat on the deck in her modest two piece bikini. She had been sunning herself before the sun had set and now she sat sipping from a cool drink she had ordered. A journal, a couple of the pages folded over, and a pen stashed beside it all lay by her chair. It had all been so peaceful and perfect for contemplating what her opening paragraphs would be. She had lazily looked over for a second though and caught Mai staring at her. The Gothita always had that dazed look about her when she stared. It said in her Pokedex that Gothitas were always staring at something that only they could see and it intrigued her greatly.

Smiling at her Pokemon, she leaned over and looked into its eyes, focusing as hard as she could. She wanted to see something in her Pokemon, like it did to her. It looked as if a staring contest was the only thing that could resolve this.

As Sarah looked into Mai's eyes, she noticed that they never moved like a human's would. A human eye when detecting a foreign movement, tended to shift, if only for a second, to the new encounter, used as a defense measure for most of man's instinctive past. However Mai's eyes didn't shift, she continued to look into the distance, through Sarah even.

Sarah made a mental note to chalk down this observation and to check to see if any other Pokemon operated this way. It was all about consistencies after all, which made the evidence for a Master's Thesis. Was this something specific to the species of Pokemon or were all other Pokemon able to tune out everything to focus on one task?

She continued the staring contest only pausing to take small sips of her drink.

"You've got to be kidding me," Callum said as he looked over the railing and saw the sailor take off towards an entrance on the deck below. "Let's hurry up and get out of here," Callum agreed as he picked Eileen up across his arms and started to run down the side of the deck. "Sorry but you're too drunk to make a fast getaway if you walk on your own."

Callum turned a corner right as the sailor exited the stairwell and turned to see him do so. Catching the sight of the man in the corner of his eye; he booked it hard across the ship and turned into the stairwell upstairs on the far side. The stairwell was a bit taller than the previous one and Eileen's current position was making it harder to keep his balance. Because of this Callum had to slow his pace.

When he exited on the top there were two ways to go; straight ahead led back into the ship, and the ongoing party; and behind still on the deck, where a lot of chairs that people used often used to suntan during the day were set up. When a group of people, with two members wearing similar clothes, appeared down the hall in front of Callum he quickly turned around and headed for the latter direction. If he's still chasing us he will hopefully stop that group and head after them. Makes more sense to hide in a group than in an empty tanning area.

A few steps after Callum moved out of sight he heard swearing coming from down the stairs. "I'll beat you little cock sucking shit eating mother fuckers like red headed step children!" Callum quickened his pace at the sound of the man. He had half dropped, half placed Eileen down on a chair with its back facing the stairwell before heading for the one beyond it. He hopped over Eileen and was going to try and roll onto the next chair; before he got there he realized that a woman and her Pokémon were currently occupying it.

Crap! Callum quickly jumped over her in a sort of a half dive and came down hard on the other side. His right knee throbbed and he crawled up onto the next chair and turned his head back to the staircase. The sailor appeared and started to scream something, before and running down the hall that faced the stairwell. Callum looked back to the girl he jumped over. "Sorry about that. Did I hit you on my way over?"

It had been calm and collected when Sarah had begun the staring contest, but soon the deck had erupted in curses and threats. She blinked once and opened her eyes just as someone flew over her in a half jump and crumpled in a heap beside her. More than a little shocked she wondering quickly if he needed to be checked for injuries, when he stumbled up, favouring his left leg and asked her if she had been hurt at all.

She recovered her composure and stood up to dust herself off and faced the boy straight on, "No, you didn't hit me at all," she smiled, "I am curious, however, how you came to be in such a situation that flying over someone fixed in a very intense staring contest."

She looked to see if Mai had been hurt at all and was surprised instead, to see that the Pokemon had become fixated with either the boy or the water over the side of the ship, it was always so hard to tell with her.

Sarah caught herself staring in the same direction and finally brought herself back to the conversation at hand, "I'm sorry, my name is Sarah, why don't we start with your own name and then we can discuss what you were doing."

Callum was pleased that the girl wasn't hurt by his rash actions. "My name's Callum and that girl I dropped on the other side of you is Eileen. Princess over there had a little too much to drink and started to get seasick. I got her up to a deck railing and she went full tilt over the deck railing. The problem was we weren't on the bottom rail and an unfortunate sailor got hit by some; or most, "Callum responded before taking a breath and checking the hallway entrance to make sure the sailor hadn't returned yet.

"The guy instantly got mad and started to utter death threats. I prefer to avoid getting my limbs broken and dying so I picked her up and ended up running here in order to lose him. Summed up to saying it's currently worked and I'll be happy if it stays that way. I do have a return question for you though; why are you wearing a bikini since it's night out?" Callum asked with a quizzical look on his face. The woman's attire matched the evening's event even less than his own.

"I'm Eileen! Hi there!" Eileen said loudly as she leaned over from her own deck chair onto Sarah's, managing to prop herself up with her arms, "I tink he might have said that already. If not, then let it be known tat I am Eileen! I come from an i-land...out in the sea! Surve- surrounded by water! Lots of beaches, and water. You getup would do well there. Though, why do you wear tha here? Should be dresses fancy; and not like that! I suppose it is beetter than what my buddy over here is wearing."

It was then that Eileen noticed something interesting of Sarah's: her drink. She reached out to try and grab it, forgetting that she had the slight ability to get up from the seat and walk over to it. "So...close!" she muttered, waving her hand in front of it as if that would help bring the drink closer.

Sarah's eyes widened slightly as the companion girl made a move for her drink and failed miserably. She allowed a quick giggle and took the drink away before the poor girl hurt herself, "Well, based on this story, I think it might be my responsibility to make sure you don't have yourself another one of these then."

Turning back to the apparent sober one she addressed his own questions, "Because I forgot to leave the deck to get changed," she looked at the night sky, "It does seem inappropriate for this time doesn't it?"

She grabbed her sundress and slipped it on quickly before turning back to the boy, "I assume that you two are from this party that was to take place on the ship? Do you know the way back to it? I'd like to join you, if you allow me time to go back to my room and change into something appropriate."

She remembered the invitation that had been waiting on her pillow and decided that this interesting company would be very enjoyable at an otherwise boring party.

Blaze turned to the little Cyndaquil who was eating her food. "Charmeleon. Char, Charme. Charmeleon." How's the sauce hitting you? Pretty hot, isn't it? First time I've tried the Charizard sauce myself. She burped again and another fireball came out that also evaporated before it could hit anything.

Aeris managed to stand up after a while and thought to release the rest of her team from their Pokeballs. Tristan, Ekans, Xal and Felina appeared in a white light that quickly went away. All of them looked confused towards the Misdreavus that sat on her head, though Xal and Ekans were a little less confused than the rest of them, and wondered where Sonya was. "Guys, this is the new addition to our team. Meet Jessie. I traded her for Sonya with a girl I battled with. Xal and Ekans, you already fought against the girl, and Ekans even fought against Jessie. I do assure you that I didn't just trade her away easily. Sonya agreed to it and I am sure I can trust that trainer to take good care of her. Jessie here should become a valuable member of our team, so I want you all to make her feel welcome. Blaze already met her earlier when I had them both out of their Pokeballs."

The Misdreavus nodded towards all of them and they all nodded back. Tristan the Butterfree wanted to hug her, but he just went through her since she apparently didn't want a hug. Xal the Geodude just waved. Ekans, being the timid snake he was, just sort of waved his tail. And Feline the Meowth looked more around for stuff she could grab, the first thing she noticed being the food, so she made a beeline for it and came back with a handful of some rather tasty looking treats, which she shared with the ones that hadn't eaten. Tristan then flew over to the table and got himself a bit more, with Xal following him and both of them returning with more Pokemon food for Felina and Ekans, who thanked the two. Jessie thought that the interactions and friendship that the others showed was astonishing and interesting. Perhaps she was in a good place after all. Meanwhile, Blaze only just then stood up to walk over to Quinn, just more to watch over the little thing than anything else.

Aeris turned her attention to Rochelle and Charlie after making sure that Jessie might be starting to feel more comfortable with everyone else, which she seemed to be. Though she did visibly flinch when she saw Kirsten out of her Pokeball, so she moved over to Rochelle to keep her between herself and Kirsten. "I-it's just wrong to leave P-Pokemon just b-because they aren't good enough. I-I would never do that myself." She started to stutter just from having seen Kirsten. Crap in a bottle, I hate it when I start getting like this. Focus, Aeris, focus... She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself by just focusing on the conversation with Rochelle and Charlie.

"Neither would I... that's not something I would wish on any Pokémon," Rochelle agreed with Aeris, taking care to avoid commenting on her fear of Kirsten. "If they want to leave, it's their choice, but just ditching them like that... no. It's not right." With that she returned to Charlie's comments after another mouthful of food. The Remoraid was good, though it had some kind of flavour she didn't recognise. Perhaps it was a herb found in other regions.

"Hmm, yes, Kingdra. A good Pokémon to have, since it's part Water, part Dragon-type. Though it needs a certain object to evolve from Seadra, a Dragon Scale. I dunno where I'm going to get one of those... and it'll be a while before Kirsten will be a Seadra anyway. If I remember correctly, almost all Dragon Pokémon, or those related to them, take a while to raise and evolve."

She turned her eyes to Kirsten for a moment. The Horsea was happily munching on a cube of food, content with her place in Rochelle's team. The Trainer silently noted that if she ever found the person who had abandoned her, they would not be happy with Rochelle's reaction to him or her. Any decent Trainer wouldn't just leave a Pokémon, an injured one no less, behind them if they thought it was weak. But then, Kirsten had won Rochelle a good couple of battles, including the one against Brock. So she wasn't as ineffective as her previous Trainer had thought.

When Sarah stood up, Callum had a slight thought of shock passed through his mind. She's tiny. I mean really small. If I had hit her jumping over, I probably would have broken whatever I hit. I'm going to have to be a lot more careful around people; this isn't a forest after all.

Callum noticed he was staring a little in silence so he started to reply to her questions. "We did come from the party below. We were actually admitted with a bit of a large group and most people seemed to split up from each other. As for the way back I'm pretty sure that I can remember the way. If you'd like to join us and head back I'll be glad to wait here. It seems like Eileen needs a few minutes to laydown anyways."

When he finished his reply Callum walked over to Eileen with a slight stagger in his step. He pulled the girl back onto the chair so that she was laying down again before taking a quick look over at the hallway entrance to see if the pissed off sailor had returned yet. "If you could go fast it would be appreciated," Callum said to Sarah with a bit of a nervous tone. If the sailor was to return Callum was unsure as to if he'd be able to out run him with Eileen.

Charlie nodded along with the two girls as they conversed on the acts of selfishly leaving a Pokémon behind, before realizing that the plate in front of him was slowly emptying, the side once piled with pokémon food now almost entirely vacant. Not really sure how to react to Aeris' sudden stuttering (along with noticing how Rochelle didn't pick up on it as well), Charlie shrugged and turned his attention towards his Pokémon.

"Geez, you guys practically cleaned the plate! Was it good?" He asked, receiving satisfied confirmations in nods, chirps, and other sounds and motions. Nina took this chance to get closer to her master, eagerly jumping over the plate and landing in his lap. Charlie couldn't help but pet the Nidoran as she made herself more comfortable.

"Here Nina, have a Poffin." He said simply, placing a pink pastry with blue sprinkles in front of her. She sniffed at it quizzically before taking a bite, taking more bites as she realized how delicious it was. Passing out two more Poffins to Parker and Talon, he then turned towards Quinn, who was still eating in a very fast fashion.

"Quinnell Emily! Slow down! That food's not going anywhere!" He said, causing her to look up from the plate. Within that second, she let out a burp, a large ball of flame following it along with some small flames sprouting from her back before dying back down. Much too close for comfort, Charlie and Nina hopped back in the seat, almost tipping over as a result. With a nervous chuckle, Charlie wiped what was left of the apparently spicy sauce from around her mouth using a napkin. Nina, on the other hand, was not happy about the whole ordeal, and shot more daggers in Quinn's direction.

"Heh heh...Well, about your ordeal Rochelle, if you had found Kirsten while it was wild, you might've had a chance to already have the Dragon Scale. Back when I used to help out at the Day Care, I read a book about those type of things. It said there's a possibility that you could find on these scales on wild Horseas and Dratinis and such. I'm...surprised I still remember that." He remarked, now stroking his chin as the the cogs of his mind began working up a thought.

"...Through some otherworldly event we happen to eventually find the trainer that abandoned your Kirsten, we can shake 'im down, and see if they'd still have it. I mean, it's not they'd need it, right?" He said with a chuckle as he finished off the Torchic wings.

More interested in what was left of her food than Nina's general bitchiness, Quinn turned more towards Blaze as she moved in closer to the Fire Mouse. "Qui! Quiquil! Cynda!" It is hot! But a good hot! My flames will be so much stronger after this!" She replied happily, polishing off the remainder of food. Charlie began to notice Quinn's manner towards Blaze, and smiled at how well she's come out of her shell.

"Huh, I usually don't see Quinn this excited. Looks like she's found a friend in Blaze, Aeris!" He said, handing his Fire-Type the last Poffin, a red one topped with yellow sprinkles, as he too finished his dinner.

As Tyler started reeling in his line, the rod bending with the weight on the end, Jordan just stared at him. Dude, that's not cool. He wasn't even out here longer than me and he's got something? As Tyler fished up his catch, people in the immediate area hit the deck, and for Jordan he remained there after the Pokemon landed aboard the ship. Once he saw those glowing red orbs, his mind flashed back to his childhood, when one of that Tentacool's brethren tagged him and knocked him out of commission for a few months.

"Dude, not cool! Like, get that thing out of here, bro!" Unfortunately, Tyler decided to do the opposite of that suggestion, and quickly captured the Jellyfish Pokemon. Jordan emerged from behind his deck chair, as Tyler tucked away his latest catch. "Man, that's so gnarly, like I can't get anything going over here." Jordan reeled in his line to prove his point. As the hook rose into the line of sight, the hook on the end of it was empty. "Kidding me? What the hell is going on? Like I'm losing all my food over here."

Fary, with fishing pole in hand and Rogue in tow, emerged out on the fishing deck. She looked around and stopped once she saw Jordan. She sighed, the pangs of guilt filling her once again. "Ummm hey Jordan," she said, standing behind him with a guilty look on her face.

Jordan turned around to see Fary coming over, she seemed intent on joining the party out there. She had been silent since the outburst in the Cerulean Pokemon Center, so this was a surprise. "Oh, hey Fary. You like, out here to fish too huh?" Jordan put another hunk of his makeshift bait onto the line.

"Yes, something like that. Ummm, mind if I sit next to you?" she asked, biting her lip as she expected him to tell her to go away.

"Go for it, it's a free ship, you know?" Jordan answered. He could have told her to take off and ride on out, but that wasn't his style. If there was something to be worked on, it could be worked on. "So, how's the cruise treating you so far?"

"It's been OK. I've been spending most of my time in the main room. So, ummm, how are you?" she asked as she sat next to him. She looked at her feed and played with it, not being able to bring herself to look at him.

"I dunno. Wish I could catch something. I'm coming up zeroes, like with nothing. Can't even get a bite. It sucks."

"Well you caught a gym leader. That has to say something," Fary commented. She reached down and started petting Rogue.

Jordan sighed as Fary brought up his tryst with Misty. "Yeah, I guess, but it's like, I dunno. I dunno if there is really anything there, you know? Well, I guess. I mean, we're like, even on the GL count. You can have the next one." I guess she's like using her own stuff as bait. Damn, I should have thought of like, the homemade stuff.

Fary's hopes perked up a bit when she heard Jordan might not have a real connection with Misty. "I see and thanks." She hooked some of the bait she bought on the hook and cast it into the water. "I'm sorry Jordan."

"Sorry for what? We each, like, did that same thing I guess," Jordan said, still gazing out onto the water. "I just don't know how willingly you went with it. That's what like, I don't get you know? You jumped on Rock Dude's ass from the get go, like I was ghosting. So what was it? Like why, you know? Especially someone that lame."

"It's a long story. Look, I know I fucked up. I've been fucked up for a while now. I wasn't like this a year ago. I don't know what I was thinking with Brock. I really don't." Fary sighed, looking at Jordan.

"Well, I guess we're in like, the same wavepipe then, aren't we?" Jordan remarked. "I dunno what's going on with you there Fary, but yeah, I dunno stuff right now either. That's all I can really say."

"I should let you know something. My ex is..." Fary felt a bite on her line and stood up, pulling it back on the rod as far as she could as she reeled it in. "Hey I got something!" she exclaimed, pulling the rod closer to her. After some time fighting it, she pulled up a Shellder, which was immediately set upon by Rogue. "Yes. Water and ice based attacks." Once Rogue was clear, she threw a Pokeball at the tired Pokemon and watched it shift back and forth on the floor of the ship before clicking shut.

Jordan just stared at the latest person to reel up a new Water Pokemon. "What the fuck, man! What the fuck! I can't get anything up in here!" He reeled in his line to see if anything was waiting on the end of it, but it was another goose egg. Just like the other times, the bait had disappeared as well. "Son of a..," he half cursed as he threw his rod onto the deck. "Dude that's it. Like I'm done with this man. This is like gnarly ass shit man. I'm getting some food. At least that won't float away on me." He waved at Tyler and Fary. "Later bros." He bolted from the scene of his latest failure and headed towards the middle of the ship, to where the buffet was at.

Fary picked up her Pokeball and followed him. "Wait Jordan, let me join you," she called softly, placing a hand on his shoulder after she had caught up.

Jordan was still a bit miffed over the sequence of events but allowed the hand to remain. "All right, like then, let's go I guess."

As the two left, the attendant, Marlon, waved at them. "Hope your catch was bountiful, and come-"

"Dude, just no, no man. No." Jordan led Fary out into the corridors of the ship.

After the walked for a few moments, Fary bit her lip and stopped him, wrapping her arms around him. "I'm sorry for you're bad luck. You can take the pokemon I just caught if you want," she said as she rested her head on his back. "My ex is a member of the Unova Elite 4," she blurted, out of the blue.

Those two statements didn't really go together in Jordan's mind, but he decided to press on. "Uh, OK, who's the Elite 4?"

"They're the best trainers in the region. You'd need to face and beat all the gym leaders before you can battle them." Fary nuzzled into his back, gripping him tighter, her arms shaking as she started to cry.

Jordan could feel Fary almost burrowing into his back, but what was digging at him more was the crying. "Fary, why are you like crying on me?"

"He left me for the fucking Elite 4. Lied and said he had to be single, and then right before leaving he called me a slut. I've been acting like one, maybe to show myself he's right for breaking up with me." Fary shook more. "I've never told this to anyone."

Not having much experience with the whole getting personal thing, at least one this level, Jordan didn't really know what to say to this development. "I, uh, that...that really sucks, Fary. Some guys are just total assholes, there are a couple of them on the beach. At least everyone knows their assholes now, so they don't get anything they want without moving on. Dunno if that helps, but it's true."

"No, it helps. It really does." Fary unlatched herself from Jordan's back and moved to his front, cuddling into his chest. "I know I can't hope to get you back but dammit I'll try," she vowed.

As Fary swung around to the front, Jordan felt a bit conflicted. A couple cities ago, she was jumping all over the place, now she was in his arms begging for forgiveness. How can I like, be sure she's not going to jump off to the next leader dude right after? I dunno. He gave Fary a pat on the back, and told her, "We'll see, I guess. Come on, let's like, find this banquet place. I'm starving."

Fary nodded softly and resumed following after him. "I miss seafood so much," she said, trying to change the topic.

"Well then we totally need to go get some right now." Jordan led the two down the hall. He could smell the food wafting through the air. They had to be close.

Fary looked about and darted ahead. She opened some double doors and started drooling. "I found it Jordan," she stated, taking him by the hand and pulling him in.

"Awesome," Jordan remarked as he followed.

Sarah smiled and left the boy and his fairly intoxicated friend to their own devices while she returned to her room. Taking time for a short shower, she was careful not to wet her hair, she didn't have time to fix her hair and it wasn't that frayed from the sun in the first place.

Getting out of shower quickly, she sprayed her hair with what she thought was an acceptable amount of hair spray and worked it into something presentable. Finally she slid into something she saved for special occasions. She didn't have much in terms of formal wear so if something came up, she used it.

After a few tweaks and tucks she left her room and returned. The entire ordeal had maybe taken 20 minutes all together and it appeared the two hadn't moved upon her departure, something that she was very grateful of. The blue dress clung lightly to her as she turned the bend to meet them, "Well I see you weren't found in your little hide hole," she smiled, "Shall we go?"

Simon brushed invisible lint from his work shirt for the fifth time. The dark red long-sleeved shirt was spotless. As was his dark khaki pants. But Simon hadn't been able to iron the shirt for very long and it still felt wrinkled from being folded in his backpack. He probably should have gotten a suit like his mother had suggested.

Before arriving on the ship Simon had called home to give his mother an update on his whereabouts and offhandedly mentioned the party aboard the S.S. Anne. It was only mentioned because he'd had to leave before finishing the story of his last gym battle. His mother had latched onto the event as though it was a dinner with the President. She'd given him advice about what to wear and how to act and sounded genuinely excited for him.

"Are you sure you've got clean shirts? I noticed you didn't pack your suit. Do you need money for a suit?"
"No thank you, mom. My uniform will be fine. It's brand new."
"Don't forget to wear clean socks!"
"Yes ma'am."

Simon shook his head to clear the memory. He'd circled the boat a few times. There was food available and some entertainment to watch but he wasn't hungry yet. Battling looked like a good option to pass the time. But he'd missed the rules somewhere. Do I ask someone to battle or wait until I'm challenged? Simon wondered. What was the protocol? Were there official referees or was everyone on the honor system? Simon began looking for any clues. In his distraction he accidentally stepped on someone's shoe.

"Sorry." He immediately apologized but continued moving. There was a group of people up ahead with their Pokemon at their feet. Maybe they knew.

"Hey, mister!" The young boy whose Simon might have stepped on shouted in his direction.

"Yes?" Simon turned with a polite smile. He'd apologized already but maybe the kid needed help.

A Pokeball was thrust into Simon's face. He jerked his head sideways to avoid getting his glasses smashed in.

"I challenge you!" The boy declared. He struck a sudden pose that was too flamboyant to be anything but practiced.

"Excuse me?" The boy couldn't have been more than eight years old despite the expensive looking suit he was wearing. Surely he wasn't old enough to-

"I. Challenge. You!" With a stamp of his shoe the boy began to call out his Pokemon. Seeing no alternative except for walking away and since he had wanted to battle someone Simon retrieved Shadow from his Pokeball.


In hindsight it was a battle Simon should have passed up. The fights were extremely one-sided. In fact Simon only used Shadow while his young opponent used a Rattata, a Raticate, and one extremely grumpy Nidoran. Shadow had tried to jump on the boy at first, thinking he was a potential playmate. The boy yelled at Shadow just as he had Simon causing Shadow to whine and retreat.

"You're just lucky, mister." The boy was still ranting about his loss. "I'm SO much better than you! You'll see! I want a rematch, and then you'll see I'm the bes-"

"That's quite enough from you, Mister." Simon turned to see an older woman in a bright yellow dress and a champagne glass in hand. He was about greet her when the lady strode right past him and grabbed the young boy by his shirt collar.

"You know good and well you're not supposed to be out up here by yourself. It's past your bedtime and just wait until your father hears how you've been..." the scowling boy and his high-class mother disappeared into the crowd leaving Simon and Shadow a bit bewildered. Those who had stopped to watch the battle began to filter back into the crowds.

"Migh?" Shadow whined before turning in a tight circle. He still wanted to 'play'.

"I think we won, bud." Simon offered. Lucky... he was getting tired of being called that. What was wrong with his team? Nothing was wrong with his team...except for one.


"Let's go."

Though Shadow didn't need anything more than a nap Simon took him to the healing area. It looked a bit like a bar. There was a high counter built or temporarily bolted to a wall with nurses seated or standing behind it. Shelf after shelf of healing items were on display behind them. Presumably the items were for sale for anyone who didn't want to wait around for their Pokemon to be healed. Simon didn't see any of the normal machines but they must have been hidden because nurses kept putting Pokeballs into something. The nurses were dressed in Pokemon Center colors but reversed, what was usually white was red and was was normally red was white. And there was no Nurse Joy. The line of trainers was the same though. While he waited for Shadow to be healed Simon stopped one of the attendants who were wearing the same colors as the nurses but walking around with clipboards and pens talking about a survey for all of the guests.

"Excuse me, is there someone I could talk to about getting this updated?" Simon dug into his backpack and pulled out the first page of Drowzee's report. The one he'd been given in Vermillion's Pokemon Center.

The attendant took the sheet and glanced over it seeming to note the official Pokemon Center seal and the signature at the bottom.

"I'm not sure. Have a seat and I'll see if we can get someone to talk to you, okay?" A large group of trainers suddenly joined the crowd calling loudly for assistance. The attendant left Simon to go investigate the newcomers.

"Okay, thank you." Simon replied to the air. He found a group of chairs set against the far wall. The chairs were uncomfortable in design and function. Three legged wooden stools with high backs and no cushion to sit on. Simon propped his backpack up underneath the seat, stepping in between one of the straps so that if someone happened to grab the bag they'd be taking his leg with them. He closed his eyes for a few minutes...


"Excuse me sir? Sir!" Simon blinked slowly as someone continued to talk into his ear. "Sir, if you're not having Pokemon healed we really need you to keep this area clear."

Huh? "What?" Simon shook his head slowly. A new attendant was standing next to his chair. "I was...waiting for someone." he tried to explain but his head was a bit foggy. Ah, wait It wasn't just his head. Simon pushed his glasses back onto his nose.

"Could you maybe do that outside? We're on a tight schedule."

"But someone told me to-" Simon broke off and looked around. The woman he'd spoken to earlier was now gone. Simon checked his watch with a mixture of dread and resignation. "Did the shifts change?" he asked.

The attendant looked annoyed but answered "Yes, about five minutes ago. If you could just-"

"I'll leave. I'm leaving. Thank you. I'm sorry. " While he had taken his impromptu nap the Pokemon Center facility had gotten considerably more crowded. Uncomfortably so. Every uniformed person was busy. Just to pick up Shadow's Pokeball took Simon ten minutes. He pulled the handle extension on his backpack and began to move against the crowd. His backpack dragged behind him occasionally hitting people's feet. He began to apologize every few seconds until he cleared the area. Once free of the crowd Simon picked up his backpack and began to search for a less populated area of the ship.

While the deck chair wasn't as comfortable as her sleeping bag or one of the Pokemon Center's own beds, it was better than falling asleep on the floor. "Imma gonna take a nap," she mumbled quietly as she turned over to get herself adjusted to the chair, any thought of the potential danger that there could be if that sailor showed up immediately vanishing. The slight rocking motion of the boat quickly pulled her into sleep as she watched the waves glistening in the moonlight out in the sea.

Even though she had slept for a good fifteen minutes, it felt like she had just blinked before she was awoken by the sound of someone talking. "Whozzat?" she muttered, turning over to see the lady from before back in different clothes. Now that she was back, Callum helped Eileen get up as the trio started to head back towards the party.

The names of the fancy dishes laid out on the table were unknown to Jordan but at this time he didn't care. He grabbed whatever smelled good and loaded it up onto his plate. Once it was filled to the rimmed, he glanced around the banquet room for any sign of his travelling companions. Rochelle and Red were at a table, he could tell by the flames coming off both their hair and Red's Pokemon. However there seemed to be more people at the table than he remembered.

As he made his way over to the table, he had to dip around some of the other passengers. "What's up there bros?" he offered as a greeting before sitting himself down at an open seat. "I take it everyone is like, enjoying this thing a bit more than me, huh?"

"Katrina! Allon-sy," Jean-Simon called out to his crony in the bridge.

After a few seconds, Katrina emerged, dirty blond hair now drawn back into a ponytail that slanted to the right side, a bang left alone in the front to lean to the left. Her black Rocket uniform was now augmented with a pair of standard issue pistols on the sides. "Yes Jean-Simon?"

"I am 'eading down to prepare for our leetle party. Stay here and make sure zat zis man does not get any ideas, non? Make ze announcement in cinq minute for ze patrons to head to ze main deck."


A weary sigh escaped Jean-Simon's lips. "Five! Five minutes! Merde! In zat time make ze announcement! I am off!" The Frenchman left Katrina alone with the helmsman.

"Katrina is it?" The helmsman offered. "You don't have to follow him, you know. You have options. If you just let me get the ship to shore, I can-"

Katrina answered his offer with a pistol whip to the other side of his jaw. "Shut up and drive, I know damn well what I'm doing." Much as I hate to play the ditz again. Fucking Frenchie. I'll fix him eventually. "Just make the turn and head back towards the channel. Then cut the engines when I address the sheep below. Or I'll blow your brains out. Got that?"

The helmsman nodded and prepared the ship for a gentle U-turn back towards the upper waters of the bay.

"Yeah, looks like it." Aeris said to Charlie and giggled. Blaze tried to flex her arms to impress the little Cyndaquil, then stopped after realizing how silly it was. "Charmeleon. Char." It's good that you're enjoying it. I don't know about you, but I'm stuffed. Yet another fireball came from another of her burps which slightly missed Jordan's head. She chuckled at that.

"Hey there, Jordan. We have been enjoying ourselves, at least. Has everything been alright for you?" Aeris asked Jordan. She had a feeling things weren't alright for him by the way he asked them, but wanted to hear it from him before making assumptions.

"Oh, hey, Jordan," Rochelle greeted her fellow Trainer. "The night's going well, got a few battles in as well as a trade... and we ran into a guy I knew from high school back home. Jordan, meet Charlie Delacroix," she introduced, indicating Charlie as she spoke. She paused before continuing further, since she wasn't actually sure of how Charlie would react to the idea of him tagging along with the group.

With that in mind, she turned to Charlie and spoke up again. "Say, Charlie. We all travel together with a few others. If you want to come along with us, I'm pretty sure you'd fit in well... Oh, hang on a bit. How many Badges do you have? Did you visit the Vermilion Gym already?" If he had already obtained the Thunder Badge, then perhaps he would be pressing on ahead of the group to take on the Gyms on the road ahead.

"Sup bro?" Charlie greeted coolly to the latest character to join the company, displaying a short waving gesture resembling a salute. By the way the trainers before him knew each other on a first name basis, he immediately made the assumption of the three being a part of the fabled group. Said assumptions became confirmed as Rochelle released a barrage of queries upon him.

"Welp, my mom did say to make some if it's really okay with y'all, then yeah! I guess I can hang with you guys. What's the worse that could happen? If anything, it'll make the badge collecting job a lot less boring." He piped up, repositioning the Nidoran in his lap so he could reach one of his pockets. Pulling out a wallet, he showed what represented his process in the Kanto region, two glossy badges pinned to a inner flap within the wallet.

"I haven't been to the Vermillion Gym yet...I was planning on getting around to that after I relaxed here a bit. Am I like, falling behind you guys or something?" He let into the air, a bit intrigued of their progress as well. And like a schoolgirl finally being able to spend the night at her friend's house, Quinn couldn't help but smile as Charlie decided to join the group. His decision could only mean that she'd be able to spend more time with her new found friend.

Fary followed Jordan's lead and picked out several types of food from pasta dishes to sea food. After she finished there she looked around for Jordan and or the others and smiled seeing them sitting together with some other faces she didn't recognize. With a can of bubble tea in hand and a plate full of food she smile meekly and sat down.

"Hey guys. I just caught a Shellder, I think I may name it Scallop or ohh I like Shellbert. Anyway how have the rest of you been? This seems like a nice ship and all but I still think I like being on land much more then here." she joked softly setting up food for her Pokemon.

"Here you go guys enjoy the food. You've earned a break." she smiled then looked at her fellow trainers biting her lip softly taking a bite of what seemed to be crab.

They had finally reached the party; the rumble of laughter, music and the wafting variety of smell confirmed this before they even turned the corner. It was all very exciting to Sarah. While being a college student, she had most definitely attended some kind of parties; they were usually booze soaked festivities full of grinding, suffocating clubs, grinding music and casual sex for those who wanted it. Claire had always been a fan of those, but Sarah preferred the quiet affairs of a library and a soft classical sound in her ears.

Regardless, the mix of class and festivities had her excited and she was ready to bolt in her own direction when the boy, Callum, she believed his name was, flagged someone down. He called the other guy, 'The guy that was in Eileen's group.

Mildly disappointed that she was momentarily distracted with this new face, she walked up to the new boy and waited to be introduced.

"No bro," Jordan chimed in between mouthfuls of poultry as Fary sat down. "We totally haven't been to like the Gym. I didn't even get Misty's badge yet. So yeah." Fary bringing up her newly acquired Pokemon stung a bit as well, after his own attempts failed. Maybe I'm just not meant to have one...

Leaning over to the console, Katrina grabbed the speaker for the ship's PA system. "Attention passengers! Now that we are out into the water, we will be proceeding to the final party! There will be music, drinks, and at the end, a fireworks display! So, if everyone would please make their way towards the Fiesta Deck at the front of the ship, the party will get started as soon as all of the guests have arrived!"

After clicking the device off, she turned back to the helmsman. He had finished gently turning the ship around, back toward Vermillion. "Well your services won't be needed for the rest of the trip," Katrina informed him.

"What are-" the helmsman's question was cut off by another shot to the head. Only this one was more lethal than the previous ones. Katrina's pistol connected underneath his jaw and the blast went through his skull, instantly killing the man.

The blood spattered all over the ceiling and the floor behind the man's body as it slumped to the floor. "Oops," Katrina said coldly as she cut the power to the ships engines and then checked her outfit, now spotted with blood. "Damn it. Now I'm going to have to change again."

She grabbed the corpse's arm and dragged him to the door at the back of the bridge. Unlocking it, she looked in on the captain's chambers. The captain was still in the same position that she last observed him in. He was clearly emaciated and hunched over the bucket in the back, not that it was doing any good to contain the results of his seasickness. The room stunk and upon looking up and seeing what was left of his helmsman, the captain turned back to the bucket.

"Brought you some company," Katrina remarked as she tossed the body into the room. "Or lunch, if you would prefer. I imagine two days in here puking your guts up makes a man hungry. Anyway, I'm off to change before the party. Have fun." She shut the door and locked it.

In the back of the ship, the announcement resonated over the fishing deck and the passengers started to make their way out towards the exits. The attendant however stayed put, both to make sure the equipment was put away, and to ponder what this could be about.

Something wasn't right to Marlon. The ship's engines were silent, Vermillion was no longer in sight and fireworks were something the Captain had strictly forbidden on the ship for obvious reasons. This party was quickly turning suspect in his eyes.

He walked out to the deck to gather the leftover fishing rods, and as he picked up a couple, he reached down to his belt and pulled out a Pokeball. "Come on out, Loomis," he said quietly.

Emerging from the ball stood a large bipedal Pokemon. As the energy faded, the blue creature gave a salute. "Poliwrath!"

"Loomis. I want you to swim back to Vermillion and get a hold of the police for me. You remember Vermillion?" Marlon asked. Loomis nodded, as well as it could. "Good. Go there, as fast as you can. Once you find someone, get them to send some people out here. I'm worried about what's going on here."

"Poli! Poliwrath!" Loomis gave another salute and dove over the barrier of the fishing zone, into the water below.

Marlon gave a sigh and returned to collecting the rods. As he finished taking them back to the counter and hanging them properly, a couple of cruise workers appeared in the room. "Marlon, come on. Everyone's supposed to be at the party now. That includes the staff."

"Yes, of course." Marlon left the remaining rods on the counter and followed after the two disguised Rocket members.

As the announcement boomed over the banquet hall, Jordan looked up, not entirely pleased. "But, like, dude! I wasn't even done man! Not cool." He stood up from the table, still finishing the last piece of chicken he had. "So, what, like, does anyone know where this, like, Fiesta Deck is? Like how to get there?"

"Nope... I don't have the Cascade Badge yet. Misty thrashed me the first time round," Rochelle admitted with a hint of dejection in her voice. She glanced down to the floor briefly, her smile vanishing as she recalled yesterday's match. It was kind of hard to believe that it had only been a day ago. The group was going through the cities, and from city to city, so quickly... it had sometimes taken Rochelle more than a day to travel between cities in Johto on her own.

"I will say, though, when we get back up to Cerulean my buddy Iskra is going to show Misty how much we've improved in such a short span of time. Right, Iskra?" she added, turning back to the pink Electric-type, who was giving Eva a strange look. Evidently Eva had pinched one of the last cubes of food on their plate before Iskra could collect it for himself.

"Eva, share it with Iskra, please," she told the new addition to her team, eyebrows raised. Eva stuck her tongue out at Rochelle in a somewhat rude manner, but complied, splitting the cube in half with a snip of a claw. Happy with the compromise, Iskra gave his Trainer a nod in answer to her question before ensuring no-one else would claim his share of the food. It was good to know that Eva was playing nice with the others... at least, when she was told to do so. Satisfied, Rochelle turned her attention back to Charlie.

"So yeah. We should be able to beat Misty now that Iskra evolved from Mareep to Flaaffy, and Lieutenant Surge will be a piece of cake now that I have Eva on my team," Rochelle continued before another announcement played over the speakers. Something about a party on the Fiesta Deck? And it sounded like attendance was mandatory. That was weird. Maybe it was just the way the event was planned. Still, she saw no reason not to go... once she had finished eating, of course. No sense in leaving part of her meal behind.

With that in mind, she returned to the last third or so of her meal, pausing only to answer Jordan's question. "The announcer said it was at the bow of the ship, the front," she answered. An odd choice of words, using 'front' instead of 'bow'. But perhaps that was done so passengers wouldn't be confused by the directions.

Relax, 'Chelle. Nothing to worry about, she told herself.

"Heh, that's the spirit." Aeris said to Rochelle when she mentioned showing Misty how tough she'd gotten. "Well, I managed to get the Cascade Badge. And, unbelievably, it was with the help of Blaze." she said to Charlie, proud of her Charmeleon, who looked back at her with pride in her eyes. If they could defeat the Water Gym leader, anything was possible. So long as it didn't involve water, that is. She was on her way to recover from her fear of water, but it would still take time. "Though, it was still hard to d-do it." She began stuttering again a little just thinking about it. "But it's s-still a huge accomplishment for me, b-because of my fear of water..."

Focusing on what the announcer said, she cheered up a bit more and stopped thinking about the battle with Misty. "Sweet, a party. Wonder if I'll see Fiona there. If everyone will be there, I should see her again." Aeris looked around herself. "Now, where could that boyfriend of mine be?" She sighed slightly. She was with Rochelle, Jordan and Fary, so she was alright. And this new guy, Charlie, seemed fun and interested in joining their group, so now there was another trainer who started with a Fire Pokemon. Pretty sweet, in her mind.

"Hell yeah! Brofist for beating the Water gym with a Fire type!" Charlie blurted somewhat spontaneously, holding out a righteous fist for Aeris, in congratulations for overcoming adversity in her own little way. It was a situation similar to his, how he and Quinn delivered the finishing blow to Misty's team and earned the Cascade Badge.

Her fear in water raised a query in him however, but he ultimately decided to ask about it at another time. Seeing as the experience was potentially traumatic enough for it to cause speech impediments every time she mentioned it, he didn't want purposely impose such a fright upon her. Hearing Rochelle's confidant volition towards the aforementioned gym, Charlie couldn't help but contribute his two cents to the subject.

"Oh, so you guys are heading back to Cerulean after Vermillion then? I wouldn't mind seeing Misty again...I hope she doesn't hold grudges against trainers that beat her, she was hawt." He added, putting much emphasis on the last word. Before he could comment anymore on the situation, the lot was promptly interrupted by an announcement telling of a party out at the front of the ship. The news left Charlie conflicted, seeing has he wanted to train some and get into a battle or two, but he knew he couldn't turn down a party. With a small shrug, the optimistic in him deemed that there might be some still eager to battle at the final event.

Charlie's comment regarding Misty's attractiveness struck at the heart of Jordan's current moral dilemma. Man, like, who am I gonna pick there? They're both hot, they can both, like, train the Pokemon up and all. I dunno. I don't think I'm gonna bother thinking about it now.

"Yeah bro, she's totally hot," he commented in a lukewarm tone as they moved with the rest of the guests out of the dining room.

The throngs of guests were making their way onto the vast main deck of the ship. There was another long table on the port side, consisting purely of finger foods and culminating in an expansive bar at the end. Near the starboard side, on a raised platform, a DJ could be seen with his hands in the air, in an attempt to pump the crowd up. The music he was playing certainly wasn't doing the trick. Near the bow of the ship, a big display could be seen with tubes of all sizes pointing skyward, set to light the sky ablaze. There were various crew members standing along the railing of the ship at every post, making sure that any drunken passengers didn't barrel into the sea below.

Jean-Simon waited patiently below deck. He adjusted the bluetooth like device in his ear.

"We've moved all passengers onto the deck sir. There's no one left in the rooms or anything."

"OK, once ze DeeJay starts to play 'is remix of 'I Luvdisc You'," he shuddered having to say such a stupid song title, "Zat is ze cue to lock ze doors to ze deck. I will make my entrance once zat insipid song is finis."

As Rochelle entered the Fiesta Deck, she made a face in the DJ's direction. The... well, more noise than music - to her ears, at least - was not something that she had hoped to hear. "Bleah. There goes any hope for the organisers having good taste," she commented to the others, looking around for the few people she had not seen in the dining hall. She hadn't seen a fair few of the group since they had all boarded the ship. Hopefully everyone would meet up when the party was over, if not sooner.

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