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

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Aeris had to take a moment before reacting to Charlie asking her. "Yeah, I'm alright. Was just letting my parents know I was alright." She tried to smile, but only managed a half-smile like the one she gave her father earlier. Probably didn't seem all that convincing, but it was the most she could give right now.

When Charlie went to get his Pokémon that were healed, Aeris was called over as well to get Xal who was now fully healed. There hadn't really been a lot to heal on him, but it was better to be safe than sorry sometimes. She picked up his Pokéball and put it on her belt alongside all the other Pokéballs there, staying near Charlie as she sat down close to him.

"Hmm. Well, it certainly seems like she's ready to become a big, strong Nidorina." Aeris answered Charlie's question after taking a good look at Nina. She watched as he taught her Thunderbolt, which she seemed to take well. Though Aeris wondered how in the world a Pokémon that wasn't an Electric type would be able to use an Electric move, but then again, that wasn't the first time she'd seen a Pokémon use a move that didn't really seem to fit it.

It was nice seeing how happy Nina was with Charlie. Which reminded her that maybe Jessie needed some time outside her own Pokéball. Aeris released the Misdreavus from her Duskball, Jessie appearing in a kind of shadowy light rather than the normal light a normal Pokéball would have a Pokémon appear in. Jessie of course immediately sat on Aeris' head, sitting there comfortably while Aeris barely felt that she was there, a small giggle escaped from her lips because of the Misdreavus being adorable on her head.

"I don't really know if any of my Pokémon can learn Thunderbolt. Or the other two TM discs I got from Brock and Misty." Not that she wanted to check if any of them could learn Water Pulse, of course. "I guess I could check it now..." She released all her Pokémon from their respective Pokéballs and scanned each of them with her Pokédex to see if any of them could learn either Rock Tomb, Water Pulse or Thunderbolt.

She found that Blaze could learn Rock Tomb, but wasn't really sure how useful it would be for her, especially since she had Xal, who was already part Rock type. Tristan couldn't learn any of them, but like with Blaze, Ekans could learn Rock Tomb, but it would be about as effective as it would be for Blaze. Obviously, Xal could learn Rock Tomb, however from memory, Aeris seemed to recall that Rock Throw had about the same kind of power as Rock Tomb, so it would be kind of a waste to teach it to him. Weirdly enough, Felina could learn both Water Pulse and Thunderbolt. That just doesn't seem right. she thought before finally checking Jessie, finding that she could learn Thunderbolt as well.

"Guess you're getting a new move, then." Aeris said to Jessie before returning Tristan, Ekans, Xal and Felina back to their Pokéballs. She might consider teaching Felina Water Pulse later on, but not right now. She didn't want one of her own Pokémon using a move with a type she was afraid of. She inserted the TM disc for Thunderbolt into her Pokédex and, after getting Jessie to sit on the table in front of her, the same red laser that had appeared from Charlie's Pokédex and had gone into Nina's head did the same to Jessie, and Aeris got the same prompt on the screen of her Pokédex as Charlie had gotten.

Technical Machine Recognised: TM24 - Thunderbolt
Pokémon Recognised: Misdreavus.
Checking Compatibility:Compatible.
Teach Misdreavus Thunderbolt? Y/N

Aeris selected the Y and shortly afterwards, the laser was gone and Jessie now had a new move. As expected, Aeris got an update now on Jessie's moveset after having taken out the Thunderbolt TM disc and put it back in its case.

Pokémon Recognised: Misdreavus.
Updates: The move designate 'Mean Look' has been omitted.
Moves: Psywave, Astonish, Confuse Ray, Thunderbolt

"That was easy." Aeris said as Jessie sat back on top of her head. "Misdreavus~" Yay~ Jessie said in a soft voice, happy to have gotten a new move, even though it was a little odd to be able to release bolts of thunder now.

"Will that be everything?"

"Yeah, totally bro. Like that's what I needed for now." Jordan scooped up the set of stickers he purchased from the craft shop. "Yeah, don't need any....glitter, or nothing." He tossed a slightly crumpled bill onto the counter. "Thanks man!"

Purchase complete, Jordan rushed back towards the Pokemon Center. Everyone still appeared to be inside. New New Guy and Red were talking, Pokemon out beside them, though that floating one was a little offsetting. Looks harmless enough, I guess. Rochelle was standing around, looked like there might have been something on her mind. Probably not the one to talk to though. As he contemplated where to stand, a ding rang out across the building, signifying that another batch of Pokemon had been fully healed.

Jordan moved to the counter where the Balls had been arranged on trays with the respective names on them. He retrieved his quartet of Pokemon and moved off to the side. Shoot. I like, better let Misty know we're coming back and stuff. He pulled out his PokeGear. Misty's number was still in it, as she had previously told him. Is it creepy she put that in there? I dunno. He dashed off a text that further mangled the English language. Hey. We r hedin bak 2 Ceru. ParT was bad. R-kets n sinkin n shit. Beat zap dude tho. Batl 2nite? Satisfied with his cryptic wordings, he sent it off.

With that sent he turned his attention to the Pokeballs. Cordoning off a small section of the lobby for himself, he released all four buttons as his entire team emerged in the room. Vince emerged in his usual pose, while Solana looked as dazed as ever. Spike was looking around frantically, it had been a while since he was out. Vicky flew right into a bookshelf with an accommodating hole for her to perch in, out of the glare of the Center's florescent lighting.

"All right bros," Jordan said. "No more, like, mixups and stuff. I'm definitely fixing that, specially since that's kinda what hurt against Misty and all." He took one of the balls and pointed it in the general vicinity of where his team was. As the red beam shot out, it collected Vince and returned the Mantis Pokemon to the ball. Jordan immediately dug his earlier purchase out of his pocket and placed a green sticker on top of the red half of the ball. "There. Green is for Vince bro." The process repeated with Vicky, Solana and finally Spike as purple, blue and orange stickers were placed on them respectively. "Now I just have to remember, like, which one is which color. Shouldn't be too hard...I hope."

Jordan returned to where it everyone who he recognized had gathered. It looked like their travelling party was all present and accounted for. He checked his messages, still no word from Misty. Probably fine to go. "So yeah, we like, heading out bros?" The consensus was yes and so finally, the group was moving on from Vermillion.


It was a quick jaunt through the underground path, unblocked by trainers on Route 6 who had retired for the day. By the time trainers emerged back onto the surface, the sun had dipped down below the Mountains to the west. As Cerulean City loomed in the near distance, Jordan's PokeGear finally buzzed indicating a message. As he checked it, he was slightly disappointed.

I saw the news. It looked pretty bad. Glad you're all right. I was handling challenges, and I'm done for the day. I'll battle you tomorrow.

"Uh, so guys, I think we're going to be like, crashing in the city," Jordan stated Like I am, anyway. Gonna be battling Misty and stuff tomorrow, you know. Since she's like, all done for the day." Another buzz disrupted him.

Also, if you promise never to text like that ever again, you can totally stay the night at the gym. ;) Better than PC beds, right?

"Uhhhhh, yeah. Sooooo, I dunno," he finished as he returned the PokeGear to his pockets. Do I even want to go back with Misty? Like after all the shit Fary laid on me? I...I dunno.

As the group started to discuss leaving, Eileen made her way outside early to try out a plan to get Dalton to train. Her recent addition to her team did not seem quite so keen on the idea of training, she had found out after realizing that the Pokemon had been sleeping while she explained her training to him. Once she had awoken her Pokemon, he had only been interested in eating his second dinner for the night.

'Going to have to be creative with this one,' she had told herself inside, going through numerous ideas for training before settling on the most obvious one.

When she was outside she brought out her fully recovered Hughes, greeting him with a few pats on the head before taking off her belt and wrapping it around his chest. She left her confused Pokemon there as she looked for a branch, bringing it back and connecting it to the belt with some tape. Finally, she attached a string to the end of the stick and took a step back to examine her work.

"Rudimentary, but it should suffice," Eileen muttered to herself, watching as some of the group started to leave the Pokemon Center. She brought out Cleo and Dalton, telling the latter that it was time to train. Cleo was allowed to go off and do whatever she wanted, while Eileen started to explain to Dalton what was going to happen.

"Here is how it is Dalton: you need to train. After looking up your Pokedex entry, I came up with a great way to train that makes us all happy," Eileen started, taking out a berry bar and unwrapping it in front of the (now) very excited Pokemon, "This is a Sitrus Oran bar. Now, I'm going to take this big chunk and tie this string around it. If you manage to catch Hughes, you can have all of that delicious berry bar. I still have the second half of this bar though, but I decided that, for every Pokemon you beat in a battle along this route, you will be given a piece. How does that sound?"

Dalton at this point had charged at Hughes, only being stopped when Eileen grabbed a hold of the Pig Pokemon. "Hughes, you can get a bit of a head start," she told her fire Pokemon, watching him trot off. Once he was a good distance away, she lowered Dalton to the ground. The Pokemon dashed off after Hughes, kicking up a bunch of dirt as he sped off.

'Almost a perfect plan,' Eileen thought, brushing off as much dirt as she could before running off after her Pokemon.


By the time Cerulean came into view, the only thing not out of breath was Hughes. Groow! Ro! he barked as Eileen knelt down to catch her breath, giving Hughes a pat on the head when he trotted by. "That...was good...everyone," she said, taking out a bottle of water from her pack and chugging it down before letting her Pokemon have some. "You guys deserve a nice rest after that."

She took the training contraption off of Hughes, splitting the piece of berry bar into thirds to give to her Pokemon. 'I'll have to get more of those tomorrow morning,' she noted, letting her Pokemon enjoy their treat before they would enter Cerulean.

"Uh, so guys, I think we're going to be like, crashing in the city. Like, I am, anyway. Gonna be battling Misty and stuff tomorrow, you know. Since she's like, all done for the day."

Misty not accepting challenges at this hour was fair enough. Each Leader was free to run their Gym however they wished, Rochelle mused to herself. She checked the time: it was still a decent enough hour. Some extra training couldn't hurt before re-challenging Misty tomorrow.

"Dunno about you guys, but I'm gonna get some extra practice in before turning in for the night," she thought aloud. "I'll see you guys back at the Pokémon Center." She gave the others a smile and a wave before heading off on her own, making her way through Cerulean's streets until she found the route north out of the city. It seemed that most Trainers had decided to return to Cerulean now that the sun had set: perfect. She could take the time to train her Pokémon against wild ones without too many interruptions.

Once over the bridge, Rochelle let Phoenix, Iskra and Kirsten out. Eva had earned a day's rest after the battle with Surge. Kirsten promptly hopped into the water near the bridge and began splashing about. Amused, Rochelle led the other two into the grass nearby. A few battles later, during one of which Phoenix found a snack in the form of a defeated Caterpie, the little Spearow seemed to take interest in one particular patch of grass. "Rrow! Spear-row!" he chirped as he circled above it, trying to get Rochelle's attention.

"Huh? Did you find something?" Intrigued, Rochelle pushed aside the grass in her way to reach her companion. She could hear what sounded like snoring. A sleeping Pokémon? Sure enough, she stepped through a tuft to find a small brown and gold Pokémon curled up in a ball, sound asleep. "Rra." It gave another snore as she approached.

An Abra, huh? Isn't that what... yeah, Tyler had one before it evolved. Geist, that was his name. Rochelle considered catching the Abra for herself. A Psychic-type could be helpful later on, especially against Gyms like the Poison Gym in Fuchsia. And half the Elite Four used Pokémon weak to Psychic-type moves... Sure, why not. "Alright, Phoenix, we're gonna catch this guy and bring him onto the team... but Abra can teleport," she mused. "We need some way to keep it here before I can catch it."

Phoenix landed on Rochelle's shoulder. "Row." Rochelle had no idea what he said. "Hmm... if we attack him, he'll wake up and teleport out of here... Lemme try something quick." She dug an empty Poké Ball out of her pack. Trying to catch a Pokémon without weakening it first was difficult to pull off. But if she instructed Phoenix or Iskra to use a move on the Abra, it would likely wake up and run away. "Let's take a gamble."

Rochelle tossed the Ball towards the sleeping Abra. It bounced off, sucked the Psychic-type into the familiar red light and fell to the ground. It shook once, twice... then burst open in a flash of white light. Rochelle heard a zwoip noise as the ball opened. The Abra was gone: it had been woken up by the impact of the Ball, and teleported away the first chance it had gotten.

"Damn! Phoenix, get into the air and find him! He can't have gone far." Rochelle's Spearow pushed off from her shoulder and began to search through the nearby grass. Rochelle collected the used Poké Ball before following him.

Iskra and Kirsten dutifully followed Rochelle, the latter keeping to the water, as the Trainer pursued her quarry through the grass beside the bridge to Cerulean.

Some time later:

"Dangit, where have you gone?" Rochelle was annoyed by the Psychic-type's teleporting, but didn't want to give up. It was properly awake now, and was running away from her at every possible opportunity. But Rochelle persisted. She wanted the Psychic-type on her team. She hadn't gotten the opportunity to try to catch it again, even though she'd found it a good five or so times now. I could swear I've covered every inch of this dang route looking for it... He's a slippery one.

"Flaaf!" Rochelle heard Iskra calling out, and a discharge of electricity soon after. She hurried to investigate the noise, and found her Flaaffy with the elusive Abra. Sparks were jumping off of both Pokémon, and neither was moving. The Abra would have vanished by now...

"Iskra, you paralysed it! Well done!" Rochelle praised her Flaaffy as she dug through her pack and found the Great Ball Brock had given her. She didn't want to take any more chances now that she had the Abra in her sights. She tossed the blue and red Ball, and it sucked in the immobile Psychic Pokémon before dropping to the ground.

One twitch... two... three... Click. Rochelle breathed a sigh of relief as she scooped up Abra's Ball and beckoned to her Pokémon to follow her out of the tall grass. Iskra was lagging behind, and sparking a little. "You alright there?" The Flaaffy whined at her and sat down. What was going on? Was he paralysed as well? Rochelle's Pokédex, beeping at her, provided the answer.

image#063: Abra Psi Pokémon
image
Height: 2'11" / 0.9 m.Weight: 43 lbs. / 19.5 kg.
Ability: Synchronise(This Pokémon passes status ailments to the Pokémon that caused the problem.)
Moves: Teleport
.
Using its psychic power is such a strain on its brain that it needs to sleep for 18 hours a day.

So the Abra had paralysed Iskra using Synchronise. Rochelle simply returned all of her Pokémon to their balls for now: she would patch up Iskra herself once she was back at the Pokémon Center. She'd also need to have some one-on-one time with the Abra she'd caught. Already she was thinking over what she could do to train her new Pokémon. That Synchronise ability is clever, but Abra doesn't have an offensive move... what am I gonna do about that? Rochelle tried to think of something as she made her way back into Cerulean, tossing her newly filled Great Ball in one hand as she did so.

Once they arrived in Cerulean City, Aeris thought that perhaps some training might take her mind off of the recent events, if only for a few moments. She could feel that Ekans was close to evolving, and so extra training would be pretty good for him, along with the rest of her team, obviously. Except Blaze, she was quite powerful enough as was.

Before taking off to the nearest patches of grass, she poked Charlie's shoulder. "I'm gonna go do some training, and I was thinking if you could keep me company. If you want to join me, I'll be north of Cerulean." Before getting an answer from him, she headed for the north of town, going over the bridge with Blaze close by her. There, she released her whole team and explained to them that it would be important for them to train some before they would continue. She told Blaze to stay back with her since she knew Blaze didn't need much more training right now. The other five went out to battle any wild Pokémon they came across.

Tristan unleashed a multitude of Confusions and Gusts on any unsuspecting and suspecting Pokémon he came across, while Ekans glared at any Pokémon he came across, paralyzing them before he wrapped around them and bit them or spat acid on them. Xal threw rocks with great strength at some Pokémon, while others he used his whole body to attack them, be it with either Tackle or Rollout, and did his best with Magnitude, which sometimes affected the opponent poorly and sometimes affected them greatly. Felina gladly scratched any Pokémon unlucky enough to be her victim, also biting them and using her Fake Out attack to make her opponents flinch. Jessie was trying out her new move, Thunderbolt, to see how effective it was. It was quite effective, as it turned out, and she was glad that it did, but she didn't just focus on that, also training using her Psywave and Astonish attacks.

Aeris was happy with how training was going, though she got distracted whenever she heard faint sounds from Rochelle, who had also decided to go and train there. Something was annoying her, but Aeris thought it was something she could handle, so she didn't worry about it too much. Again during her training, after some time had passed, she too heard Rochelle's Flaafy call before he apparently used some kind of Electric move. Hopefully he was alright. Aeris thought to check up on it later.

As the group tromped their way back into Cerulean City, Charlie found himself facing down a stark realization. Despite not being in the town no less than a few days ago, the trainer had no real memories of any of the city's buildings or landmarks, excluding the gym and its leader. Truly, the City of Cerulean housed an abhorrently unremarkable environment.

"Hehheh. Ok, no, but I think I might've just sped through this place the last time I was here. Maybe Mom was right. Maybe I should slow things down a bit..." A hind poke in the shoulder broke him from his thoughts. "Eh?" It was Aeris. Sounded like she wanted to get some training done. "Mmmmm, and she wants me to keep her company..." He shook the particularly scuzzy thought from his brain folds. Not that he would've done anything like that in the first place, he was much too honor bound, and not all that fond of destroying houses.

"If you want to join me, I'll be north of Cerulean." She added. "Word. Sounds like a plan to m-" She ran off ahead before he could answer. "O-oh. Well alrighty then." Actually, it seemed everyone began branching out after stepping foot in Cerulean. He tried to shrug with the shoulder he was poked in, but soon realized how sore it was. The heavy duffel bag slung from it would warrant such an effect. He tried repositioning the bag on the shoulder some, but to no avail. In fact, it made him notice just how much it had buried into the blade.

"Oooh, eee, ohhh, this is gonna result in some long term effects in my future, I can feel it." He winced and groaned as he started for the Pokécenter. It was one of those special ones, with a residential wing and lounge. Or at least, it seemed special to him. "They don't make 'em like these in Johto..." Approaching the nearest nurse, he asked if there was anywhere he could safely leave his bag unattended. Smiling at his concerns, she pointed him towards the locker systems they had towards the back of the place, closer to the rooms. "Whichever one has a key in its lock is free to use." She told him.

"Okay, now..." With his bag locked up and not slowly destroying his right shoulder, Charlie took off towards the north of Cerulean, wanting to get some training in himself. "Only seems natural, seeing it's where all the hot training action is going down apparently." He thought, only realizing how far out of the town he was after crossing the bridge that led into/out of it. Hearing the sounds and calls of both Rochelle and Aeris, it seemed like he wouldn't have to linger far before getting into a scuffle. To prepare himself for such, he let Nina back into the open air.

"Ready for some grind-time, Nin? I bet you'll be evolved before the night's out." He told the Nidoran. She chirped back proudly in reply before the two started into the tall grass. Their trek started relatively quiet, nothing being bold enough to jump out at them. As he got past a small clearing and looked ahead, he saw why. Aeris seemed to be in full battle mode, just about every one of her pokémon out and interlocked in their own encounters, with the fiery-haired trainer at the simultaneous helm of each one. With her back facing him, Charlie leaned against the nearest tree, crossing his arms as he did so.

"Hey, uh, wanna save some for the rest of us, Red?" He queried coolly, a cocked eyebrow and smug smirk accompanying the words to enhance the coolness. If he had sunglasses to wear, he'd be wearing them right now.

After they had spent a good amount of time resting outside of Cerulean City (partially to wait for the rest of the group, and because Eileen and Dalton were both winded), Eileen and her Pokemon made their way to Cerulean City's Pokemon Center. Her memory of the names of the streets and buildings came back as she walked down and past them; finally seeing her destination as she rounded a corner.

Nothing had changed from the last time she had been here; though she had not expected much, if any, change in such a short time. Even the nurse on duty recognized her after she dropped off her tired Swinub; giving Eileen a greeting and telling her the room she used before was free. Eileen thanked the nurse and dropped off some of her stuff in the rooms the Trainers could use in the Center, making her Pokemon's dinner before coming back out and settling down at a table by the windows.

"You two better enjoy staying in a Pokemon Center while you can because we will be back on the road soon I hope," she told Hughes and Cleo, watching the two eat their dinner, "I'm not sure if we will watch any battles tomorrow, or if we will just do some training. Dalton is the only one who needs battle experience right now, but I believe the two of you can have a little rest tomorrow if you want."

Hughes gave no indication that he cared either way. He was a dutiful Pokemon, and if his Trainer wanted him to do something he would do it no matter what. Cleo, however, perked up after being told; the Meowth giving her Trainer an appreciative glance.

"It isn't like I really force you to train Cleo. I understood when I captured you that you are more of an independent Pokemon who would prefer doing their own thing. I got that pretty fast," Eileen said to Cleo, remembering the first few encounters she had had with the Pokemon, "And I'm fine with that. I'm fine if you just want to prowl around and find interesting things, maybe once in a while partaking in a battle or two."

Meowth! Cleo said, picking up a piece of her food delicately and eating it. The Pokemon was certainly more pleased with how things turned out than she had been when first caught. Other Pokemon she had seen after they had been caught were usually not given as much freedom as she was, which had made her reluctant to be friendly after being caught.

"Not sure what you said, but I'm glad to hear it. I believe we'll get to bed in a bit after Dalton is healed up, and tomorrow we'll figure out what we want to do," she told her Pokemon, lounging back in the booth comfortably. Her thoughts drifted to what Pokemon would be available on the next couple of routes they would be visiting, and if any of them would be good additions to the team. She thought of the next gym in Celadon, figuring that Hughes would be all she really needed for that one. Thinking of that gym made her think of the one here in Cerulean, and she thought of whether or not to go at all tomorrow with the rest of the Trainers.

'Should I just tag along to show support for the group, even though I doubt the matches would be anything extraordinary? Would that time be better used training, or would letting my Pokemon watch some battles be better? I'd rather not have to watch a certain person battle, if it can even be called that. Maybe I can just leave once that match comes up,' she thought, trying to weigh pros and cons against each other like she always does.

Aeris got a bit startled when Charlie addressed her, then turned around and gave him a sheepish smile. "Heh, guess I was just so focused on training, I didn't think about anyone else coming to train." She called to her Pokémon to relax a bit on the training, so that they would still train, but not be as much in battle mode as she had been, apparently.

"And my name isn't Red." Aeris didn't say that with an annoyed voice, especially since it was quickly followed with a small giggle. "But I guess I've gotten used to being called that by now. So, who are you going to train? I have Blaze just chilling with me because she's already strong enough as is, and besides, it's not like I'm going to fight Misty tomorrow."

She leaned against the tree Charlie was up against while watching her own Pokémon battle. All the ones battling were doing well, and after some time, the thing Aeris had been waiting for happened. Ekans started to glow before his shape changed in size and form. Aeris just watched in excitement as a third Pokémon of hers evolved. Once Ekans stopped glowing, he was no longer an Ekans. Aeris already knew what kind of Pokémon he was, but pulled out her Pokédex anyway to get the data on him.

image#024: Arbok Cobra Pokémon
image
Height: 11' 06" / 3.5 m.Weight: 143.3 lbs. / 65.0 kg.
Ability: Shed SkinThe Pokémon can occasionally heal their own status ailments
Moves: Wrap. Crunch. Glare. Acid.
Level 22
With a very vengeful nature, it won't give up the chase, no matter how far, once it targets its prey.

"Yes! I knew it!" She put her Pokédex away and went over to hug Arbok, who didn't really have arms to hug back, so he just kinda coiled a bit around her. She let go of him and looked at him in kind of awe. "Now that you've evolved, it's probably time I give you a nickname. Should have done so sooner, to be honest, but hadn't really thought of one back then. What do you think about Viper? Seems kind of an obvious name for a cobra like you, but I think it fits." Arbok seemed to like so as well, responding with "Charrrrboka!" I like it, yeah. Aeris smiled and giggled in return. "Glad that you like it. Now, why don't you do a bit more training before we head back?" The newly named Viper nodded and returned to battle his previous foes, who were now startled to have an Arbok as their opponent. Aeris returned to Charlie and leaned back against the tree, a little closer to him than she had been earlier.

"But I guess I've gotten used to being called that by now." "I'd hope so! It's a main part of your color scheme, calling you that is just too natural!" Charlie quipped in thought, a chuckle and a smirk accompanying Aeris' quaint giggle. "So, who are you going to train?" Charlie thought those assumptions would be a little more obvious (what, with Nina being his only pokémon out in the open), but he thought no more about it.

"Well...Nina." He replied plainly, gesturing down to the petite Nidoran. "Speaking of which, you ready to get to work, Nin-" Charlie found himself interrupted by a steady glow of white light. The duo of trainers could only look on in awe as the light illuminated the dimming woods, shifting and growing in size. "An evolution..." An act Charlie knew all about, but could claim to have never seen in person. The boy was amazed, to say the least.

The light faded in time, and soon, a whole new pokémon stood before the two. Excitedly, Aeris ran up to the 'mon, wrapping her arms around it. "Whoa, it's a Arbok..." Charlie said in a bit of a whisper, mouth slightly agape. He began to straighten his posture as Aeris returned to his side. He gave a proud thumbs-up along with words of congratulations as she took back to leaning against the tree.

"Seems I wasn't the only one planning on evolving pokémon tonight." He replied, he and Nina even more eager to battle than before. Stepping away from the tree, he entered the fray of Aeris' kerfuffle party, all of which seemed to be involved in their own battles. Soon enough, a Pidgey descended from one of the nearer trees, exasperatedly landing in front of the two. Its wildly flapping wings displayed its eagerness to fight, and both trainer and pokémon alike were glad to oblige it.

"This should be textbook, Nina. Use Double-Kick!" The Nidoran heard his commands and was upon the Pidgey in a flash. "Oraoraoraora!" She battle cried as she attacked, pummeling the small bird with a flurry of strikes, putting her hind legs to work. The Pidgey managed to shove her away before trying its own attack. Nina, much too focused to falter, dodged the attack with some ease. "Whoo! That's what i'm talking about Nin!" Charlie encouraged from his position. The dueling pokémon distanced themselves only briefly before the Pidgey decided to rush the Nidoran once again.

"Nina, Thunderbolt!" Charlie announced with haste. The air around the Nidoran began to heat considerably as electric currents began surging through her. Soon after, a bolt of white-hot plasma both engulfed and shot from Nina, slamming into the unsuspecting Pidgey with force of a hundred thousand volts. The attack did a substantial amount of damage to the bird, and was more than enough to render it unable to fight any further. Charlie let out a quick "Whoo!" as it fell unconscious. Proud of the win, Nina ran back to her owner, chirping happily. Charlie knelt to her, petting her as he congratulated her. And soon after, she too began to glow. A little startled by the suddeness of the act, the trainer fell onto his butt, beginning to shield his eyes as the transformation began to take place.

"Ohboyohboy, here it comes-!" Charlie giddily squealed as Nina slowly grew from within the enveloping light. The light faded minutes later, and the trainer couldn't help but grin cheesily as a Nidorina stood before him.

image#030: Nidorina Poison Pin Pokémon
image
Height: 2'06" / 0.8 mWeight: 44.1 lbs. / 20.0 kg
Ability: RivalryDeals more damage to a Pokémon of same gender.
Moves: Double Kick, Poison Sting, Thunderbolt, Quick Attack
.
When it senses danger, it raises all the barbs on its body. These barbs grow slower than Nidorino's.

Equally as happy as he, Nina ran up to her trainer, hopping into his crossed legs. He hoisted her up into his arms. "Ooh, you're heavier, Nina! And bigger! And pointier!" He remarked happily as he hugged her. "Ni! Rina!" She squeaked back, returning his affections. With all his excitedness spent, Charlie butt-shuffled his way back to Aeris and the tree, reclining against it. "So, not only did we both win Surge's Thunder Badge today, but we also got one of our pokémon to evolve!" He summarized, pausing before emitting a accomplished sigh. "I'd say today was a pretty productive day, don't cha think?" He asked his crimson coated accomplice.

"Oh, right. Sorry, I just figured you might have wanted to train some of your other Pokémon as well, but only Nina is alright." Aeris had answered Charlie before Viper evolved. After he started training again, everyone she had sent out to train were doing well still.

Watching Nina evolve was almost as exciting as watching Viper evolve. She pulled out her Pokédex again to get data on a Nidorina, then put it back away. "So, not only did we both win Surge's Thunder Badge today, but we also got one of our pokémon to evolve! I'd say today was a pretty productive day, don't cha think?"

Aeris gave Charlie a smile when she answered him. "Yeah, pretty productive. If we keep this up, we might become Champions before the end of the month." She giggled at the thought. It would be pretty nice, returning home to show her mother and father that she was now a Champion. She'd need to work hard with her Pokémon in order to achieve that.

"Do you have any sort of plans after you become a Champion?" she asked Charlie. Personally, she didn't really have any sort of plans other than to go home and spend some time with her parents and her Pokémon. Maybe go traveling a bit, perhaps finally go to the Sevii Islands that so many people went to from Cinnabar.

Aeris' comment gave Charlie some thought. "If we keep this up, we might become Champions before the end of the month." She said with a giggle. "Yeaaaah. When you think about it, that actually could happen. I mean, the week's barely out, and we already have, what, about three badges? Makes me think how differently things would be for me if I hadn't recognized Rochelle last night. I'd probably be halfway way to Celadon by now." He told her with his own quaint scoff, letting out a relaxed sigh after. He began to close his eyes. He felt pretty good in his current position, starting to realize that being with this particular group of trainers easily answered to his mother's pleas.

"Is this how it feels to slow down? Things definitely feel a lot slower now. It's a good feeling." He thought, become awash with the feeling of mellowness as he reclined further against the tree. A warm breeze blew through the area, only accentuating Charlie's current state of relaxation. Aeris asked another question as Charlie began interlocking his hands behind his head.

"Do you have any sort of plans after you become a Champion?" She queried questionably. "Well, I...uhhh...huh. Y'know, I haven't thought that far ahead yet." As such a question acquired his attention, he opened his eyes and began sitting up. He racked his mind for a proper answer, but couldn't find an immediate response. He glanced down his Nidorina, curled up in his lap. He began to think of pokémon, and how he always tended to his party in an almost motherly-like fashion. "I always like seeing my pokémon grow. And other people's pokémon too. And it's a pretty satisfying feeling to know that you've had a hand in their growth, that you could help see them on their way." He thought some more on his words.

"...I think I'd become a caretaker." He said in an upbeat, spontaneous realization. "Yeah! That seems like the next logical step after the Plateau. Go back to Goldenrod, and continue helping out the old couple at the Day Care. It's a simple goal to aim for, but I can dig it." Satisfied with his answer, he retook his previous reclining position against the tree. "And (going in a completely different direction with this conversation), how did y'all all meet? Jordan and Rochelle and Mika and everyone? Was it like, a gradual-type thing, coming across people along the way? Or did you all start out in one town?" He asked, looking up to the girl only momentarily before lowering the gaze back to his level. "Ooh, can't be doing that too often..." He groaned slightly, some clicking noises coming from his neck as he rubbed and flexed it.

"Hmm... what shall I name you, little miss Psychic-type?" Rochelle mused to herself as she re-entered Cerulean City, making her way to the Pokémon Center. Briefly she went over the names of her other team members: Kirsten, Iskra, Eva, and Phoenix. A good team had names that went well with each other... Rochelle's team was kinda-sorta that way, but not entirely. Setting aside that train of thought, she went back to coming up with ideas. Abra evolves into Kadabra, which uses a spoon to focus its psychic power... Spoon? Nah. Needs to be something that an ordinary person would have as their name.

Rochelle continued to muse this over as she entered the Center. She elected to leave all of her Pokémon with the nurse on duty, instead of using up her own supplies to patch them up. Once she got them back, she would get in some face time with the new recruit. She began playing around with syllables and word structure as she took a seat. Kay... Kayla? Nah. Kara? Maybe. What else is there... Oh, y'know, Kara sounds good. She pictured a Kadabra, and soon after an Alakazam... Kara sounded like a fitting name for Abra and both of its evolutions.

Kara it is. Rochelle dug her pack of labels and a pen out of her bag, marking one with the name and her own. It would be applied to Kara's Ball once she got it back.

Sarah looked at the city of Cerulean. This would be her second city visited in Kanto and as such it deserved a picture for commemoration. She walked around for a while, snapping various things, shops, people and the Gym that her new friends would be battling in tomorrow.

As she walked the streets, she found herself turned around and walking right out of the city. The sun was just about set and the orange hue over the shadows of the city was a beautiful site to see. Sarah could see a Meowth napping on a fence post. Smiling, Sarah picked up her X-com again and snapped a picture of the scene. She finally had a picture to send.

Finding the number on her contacts list, she added the photo to the message, "I miss you, wish you were here with me," and sent the message on its way.

Absorbed in her phone, she didn't hear the two people behind her walking and almost turned into them when she went to go back towards the city.

The old man smiled as Sarah was forced to stop suddenly, only inches from colliding with him, her cheeks flushed red with embarrassment. Beside him, an equally old couple chuckled, "In a hurry are we? I'd have expected you to capture that Pokemon there, like most trainers your age."

Sarah backed away from the couple and regained her composure, "I only wanted a photo of it, it looks far too peaceful to wake up."

This statement caused the old man to burst out laughing and the meowth's ear twitched, "She's been awake this whole time watching you Miss, she's curious, I can see it in her eyes."

If as on cue, the Pokemon's eyes cracked open ever so slightly and it yawned and stretched out, before hopping to its feet and leaping off the fence. Ever so slowly, it walked around the three people, sniffing once and a while and rubbing against Sarah.

Sarah already had two Pokemon and she only really needed Mai for her paper, but something caused Sarah to forget all of that as the Meowth rubbed against her. Sarah took one of her empty Duskballs and tried to tap the Pokemon, but it jumped away hissing before she could.

The old woman clapped her hands, "Why, she isn't going to make it easy for you is she? You have other Pokemon don't you? Make it a battle this Pokemon can be proud of."

Sarah nodded and grabbed Mai's ball and released her Pokemon into the night. Mai stared blankly at the Meowth as the latter hissed back at the Psychic Pokemon.

image#52: MeowthScratch Cat Pokémon
image
Height: 1'04" / 0.4 m.Weight: 9.3 lbs. / 4.2 kg.
Ability: Pickup(Pickup allows the player to receive free items.)
.
It is nocturnal in nature. If it spots something shiny, its eyes glitter brightly.

Reading the information provided by the Pokedex, Mai realized the fight would be quick and easy. No real type advantages, the link between her and Mai would be their advantage. Smiling, the competitive spirit taking her, she cried, "PsyBeam Mai."

Mai snapped out of her haze and a blast of psychic energy was fired at the Meowth, who dived out of the way. While Mai positioned for another attack, the Meowth dived at her, Biting hard on the Pokemon.

Sarah was struck with sudden realization. Meowth could use Bite and Dark moves were powerful against Mai. Her Pokemon managed to shake off the aggressive Meowth and fired another PsyBeam, this one connecting with its target.

The Meowth flew back, recovering from the blow, landing on its feet. Its eyes glinted with the moonlight. Sarah was on the offensive now. Her commands were quiet but curt, "Confusion, now."

More waves emitted from Mai and the Meowth staggered, confused and disoriented. This was her chance. Sarah snatched the Dusk Ball up again and threw it at the Pokemon. It struck her dead on and opened, sending the Meowth into the ball with a burst of energy. It landed on the ground and shook, wavered and clicked. Sarah felt a strange feeling of ecstasy, perhaps this was why trainers did it. For now, she simply remembered a haiku she had heard once.

Cats appeal to our
sense of Higher Grace; when they
fall, they land - stable.

Grace.

Jordan looked around the patio of the nearly empty Slippery Seel pub and eatery. He had arrived ahead of when he was scheduled, mostly because he couldn't think of what he wanted to do beforehand. He didn't want to go out training, unable to muster up the kind of energy needed to match that of his Pokemon at the moment. He didn't want to go shopping, since he did a bit of that back in Vermillion. Everyone else in the group had seemingly gone off to do their own thing. As he stared down into the pint glass of Indigo Pale Ale he had purchased, he couldn't help but wonder. What am I doing here? I thought, like, I was going to try and patch things up with Fary. She looked like she was kinda sane again. I hope. But she bolted. Again. She's got a pattern, for sure. I dunno. Why am I here?

"Hey Jordan!"

Right, that's why.

Misty came bounding up the street towards the deck. She didn't look as dressed up as the last time the two hit the town, ditching the jacket for a shirt with sleeves. She did however looked dressed up from the last time Jordan saw her. When she was stomping the seafloor with his Pokemon in the Gym and getting into arguments with his glass-breaking first fling. She slid into the seat next to him, facing out into the trickling Cerulean traffic. "Hey, so, how you holding up? I know that must have been something going through all that on the boat."

"Yeah, kinda sucked. Shipwrecks you know?"

"I do know. Happened when I was on the original S.S. Anne. I think they throw it in with the ticket."

"That sucks. Think they'd like, get it right or something."

"Hoenn craftsmanship for you. They should just start building them right in Vermillion. At least Kanto can get it right."

"For sure."

"Anyway, I'm going to grab a drink. Be right back, OK?" Misty darted inside the building and Jordan took a long drink from his glass. She even asked if I was all right. Twice. I don't think I got that once from anyone else. Not Fary. She was all about her. I dunno, Misty might be the better choice. She hasn't done anything weird.

"Back!" The Gym Leader reappeared with some kind of reddish-pink drink in her hand. There wasn't much of it and it looked expensive. "If you had waited, I could have gotten yours for you. I have a blank tab here."

"Ah, it's totally OK. They gave us a check for going through all that so I got some money now."

"Better than they gave us. We almost got sued for destroying the theme park we washed up on. They ended up calling it even."

"Shitty."

"I'm just glad to hear everyone got out all right. I was worried when I heard about it, Jordan. I knew you didn't have a Water Pokemon, so I hoped you would get out before it went down. That's why I was so relieved when you texted me, even if it was nearly impossible to read."

"Yeah, I'm going to work on that."

Misty almost drained her drink in one swig. "You know, I think you should finish your beer and we can go back to the Gym. Have some cheaper drinks and some better entertainment than just watching random people pass by. You get what I'm saying?"

Jordan chugged the rest of his Deerling's in a matter of seconds. "Yeah-ah," he coughed out as a few drops went down the wrong tube. "I know what you mean."

"Awesome, let's get out of here then." Misty grabbed Jordan's hand and started leading him back to the Gym.

The sound of the nurse calling out to tell the Trainers that their Pokemon were ready brought Eileen out of her thoughts. 'Dalton is going to be hungry. I should prepare his food now instead of trying to do it while he tries to eat the whole bag.' The small, furry brown Pokemon was certainly a bit of a hassle at times; though Eileen knew that he would get more manageable with time. 'Or I'll just get more used to him,' she thought.

She got up from her seat after pouring some food in a bowl (placing it on the floor and telling her two Pokemon that it wasn't for them), and walked over to go pick up Dalton. Thinking back on it, she couldn't think of a time where Hughes had ever been difficult in any way. She had raised him from a young age though, 'So perhaps he just never got into any bad habits. If I get another young or new born Pokemon I wouldn't mind looking in on that.'

As she picked up Dalton's Pokeball, she noticed that someone else had left their Pokemon to be healed as well. Looking around the lobby, she saw one of the Trainers in the group she had started to travel with sitting down. It took her a moment to place her name, but once she did she called out cheerfully, "Hey Rochelle! Your Pokemon are all good to go."

"Huh. That was rather quick. Must be a short queue this evening," Rochelle commented in answer to Eileen, giving the other Trainer a wave as she got up. Page of labels in hand, she made her way to the counter to collect her Pokémon. Eileen was at the counter herself, presumably picking up one or more of her own.

"Cheers," Rochelle thanked the nurse as she collected her four Poké Balls and unlabelled Great Ball. Attaching the original four to her belt, she kept Kara's Ball on hand for now. Training with the Abra was going to be difficult unless she found some way to help her fight on her own, she thought as she applied the appropriate label to the Ball. With that out of the way, Rochelle stepped away from the counter and waited for Eileen to do the same. Once she did, the redhead spoke up again.

"So, how's your training coming?" she asked to try to start a conversation proper. "I'm fairly certain I'll be able to beat Misty this time around... kinda nervous about going back in though. If she beats me again, I'll be holding everyone else up until I can try a third time. They'll all want to move on to... Celadon, I think is next." Although, Iskra having Thunderbolt will probably win me the match.

"I don't think battling Misty will be quite as difficult as your match against her the last time. All of your Pokemon are stronger now, and you have experience on how she battles," Eileen explained to Rochelle, trying to reassure the other Trainer as she thought back to how her Cerulean gym battle had gone. "I don't think anyone would be too annoyed if they have to stay an extra day or two. I know I'm ready to move on, but spending a day or two longer wouldn't hurt anyone. More time to train, or to give our Pokemon a little break until we move on. The next few routes should be pretty fun to get through."

Holding out her Pokeball, Eileen let out the fully healed Swinub and directed him to where his food was. Dalton charged over to where Hughes and Cleo were, almost running Cleo over as he got to his food bowl and started shoveling food in his mouth. The Scratch Cat Pokemon glared at the new addition as it sloppily ate, licking her paws to clean off now that she was done with her meal. "I think I might have to buy more food before we go," Eileen muttered to herself, noticing Hughes' intense look and telling him everything was fine, "Rochelle is a friend. Just get back to eating."

Once the fire Pokemon went back to focusing on his bowl, Eileen turned back to Rochelle, "What a fun bunch they are. I think I need to have Hughes socialize with other people and Pokemon though; he is always so defensive. Cleo just likes to be alone, but my new Swinub seems friendly enough. He just has certain priorities. How are your Pokemon faring?"

Aeris lightly giggled when Charlie said he might be halfway to Celadon by now if it hadn't been for the group. "Guess we're a bad influence on you, then." She stuck her tongue out at him and giggled again. "Besides, you don't need to hurry up to become a Champion. We've got plenty of time. And plenty of Pokémon to catch." She made a mental note to keep an eye on any Fire Pokémon she'd notice, along with Gastly, the only Ghost Pokémon she knew of in Kanto aside from its evolutions.

"That seems like a nice goal to try and achieve. I'm not really sure either what I want to do after becoming a Champion. Maybe travel a bit with my Pokémon, possibly see other regions, hopefully have Mika by my side as I do." She wasn't allowing herself to become sad when mentioning Mika. She couldn't break down every time his name was mentioned. It'd just be ridiculous.

Although Charlie's next question didn't really help in that regard, but since Mika's name was really only mentioned quickly once, she didn't think too much about it, rather focusing on answering his question. "Well, we kind of all met in Pallet Town. We went to see Professor Oak, who was senile in every meaning of the word, he gave us Pokédexes and we kind of decided to go in a group from there. It's been going well so far, aside from, well, the occasional drama." She didn't want to think too much on all the drama that had happened so far either, so she didn't make any further mention of it.

"Are you alright?" she asked him when he groaned, then rubbed and flexed his neck. "I could massage it a bit if that'll help." She didn't let him answer before kneeling down, having him turn his back to her before she placed her hands on his shoulders and started to massage the back of his neck with her thumbs before gently massaging the sides of his neck as well with her other fingers.

"My team is doing alright, I think. Got a bit of training in before coming back here for the evening," Rochelle answered. "Found myself an Abra that I'm hoping I can train up... speaking of which, I should see how she's doing after all the effort I spent to catch her." She let Kara out of her ball. The Psychic-type looked around for a moment, not recognising her surroundings, before she caught sight of Rochelle.

"Aaa... Rra. Aabra." Kara seemed rather annoyed at the sight of her Trainer. She folded her arms across her chest, turned away from Rochelle and sat down. The Trainer turned to Eileen. "She's probably mad 'cause I spent a good fifteen minutes chasing her around before I could catch her."

"Rra!" Rochelle turned her attention to Kara, crouching down to place herself at eye level. "Hey there, missie. How are you?" Kara didn't respond. "Alright, guess you don't like me much. How about... I know." She rummaged through her pack for a case of food, picked out a piece and held it out to the Abra. "A peace offering, if you will," she noted aloud.

Kara turned her head a little, though Rochelle couldn't tell if she could see what was being offered. Then the Abra reached out and swiped the small brown cube from her, and Rochelle heard something that sounded like 'snorf' as Kara ate it. "Not so bad, is it? Now... you and I are going to work together. I've already picked out a name for you. What do you think of Kara?"

There was a pause as the Abra chewed her snack. Eventually Kara gave a begrudging nod as if to say, I can live with it, but I don't like you. Satisfied, Rochelle stood back up and looked back at Eileen. "That seems to have gone well... I'm not sure how I'm going to train her, though. All she has is Teleport."

"It seems the way to a Pokemon's heart is food, or at least the way to make them less apprehensive towards things," Eileen commented after watching Rochelle's Abra take the food. It seemed like the Pokemon would be one of the ones that needed time to get used to its new Trainer, Eileen noted after the Abra was given a new name.

Rochelle brought up the training predicament that was plaguing her regarding her latest catch; a common problem when training an Abra. "There are a few methods you can use to train it; some easier than others of course," Eileen told Rochelle, thinking over the options before continuing, "The easiest way would be to simply teach it a move that you, or someone in the group has. That way your Pokemon could actually attack in battle, instead of just running away. Another option would be to send it into battles than switching to a different Pokemon, but that is time consuming and I don't think Pokemon particularly like that. The other option I can think of off the top of my head would be to use teleport to make it win battles, but that would take a lot of out-of-the-box thinking and a lot of trust in your Pokemon."

"I'm not sure you have that last one yet. That might take time, though I wish it didn't," Eileen stated, looking over at her own Pokemon. Cleo had been a problem when she was first caught and, though she was doing better than before, she could still be difficult at times.

Charlie almost immediately tried to retract his question after asking it, it's subject instantly becoming sensitive with an inclusion. He began to mouth a "My bad" to Aeris, but she didn't seem to mind it that much. Then again, she mentioned him first. He nodded and chuckled along with her description of the ancient professor, agreeing with his case of growing senility. He pondered on the how they all decided to take on the Kanto challenge.

"Ah, so it was more of like a spontaneous thing? Huh. I can see the-ugh-sense in that. I mean, you're all going to the same place, where's the-eengghh-t-the harm in traveling to that place with a group of like-minded individuals?" He replied through a couple of groans. It seemed his pains were beginning to hinder him more than he anticipated. "Maybe it's time to head back to the center. I'm getting too old for this shit, I declare..." He began repositioning himself slightly, only for Aeris to take notice of his distraught expressions.

"Are you alright?" She asked, kneeling down to his level. "I could massage it a bit if that'll help." Charlie tried his best to play it off. "Nah, it's okay, no need t-O-oh." She insisted anyway, not really giving the boy another word in as she began pressing herself up against his back, kneading her fingers into his shoulders and neck. "Well, y'know. It's just, that heavy-ass duffel bag is really starting to take its toll on me..." He added. Naturally, such actions sent a bit of a shiver down the boy's spine, as he squirmed some in her grasp. He began to close his eyes some, reveling in the sensations. "Either I-oooh~-I was in more pain than I thought, or you're really good at this." He commented as she worked, letting out a satisfied sigh. And even though her generosity was sincere at best, it still felt slightly wrong to the trainer. "No! Away from me, ye dirty thoughts! She is taken!"

"It's uhhhh, startingtoget dark, dontcha think?" Charlie looked down at his X-transceiver. "We, heh, should start back towards theeeee Pokécenter, right? Yeah, I totally think it's about that time." He hastily spat, almost tossing Nina to the ground as he sprung to his feet.

When Jordan rushing out like that, Callum figured that it was a good time to go purchase a few things himself. Four Pokéballs and some Pokémon food was the ending purchase that he made before arriving back at the Pokémon center and moved along with the group. Eileen had rushed ahead with an insane looking training method and Callum silently reconciled with himself. She hates me for the way I battle, and then she goes and uses one Pokémon as bait to train the other. Callum just couldn't understand how she called his battling "disrespectful" and then goes around and does this to her Pokémon. What about being disrespectful to your Pokémon Eileen?


Callum had forgone letting his Pokémon battle on the route back in an attempt to hopefully return to the Cerulean Gym with enough time to battle that night. Jordan's announcement that there wouldn't be any battles against Misty that night was off putting to Callum so instead of the gym he found a restaurant to eat at instead of eating a Pokémon Center meal.

After eating some Spearow strips with fries, and ordering a plate of poffins for the Pokémon he currently had on his team. The meal itself was nice, and the restaurant atmosphere was quiet and drama free. The mood of the place helped improve Callum's own, and ultimately he decided to take his Pokémon out and let them train for a while.

The light from the city's street lights disappeared from the dimming light of the sunset as Callum walked out to Route Four. There was a small fenced in area there that had a decent sized stretch of tall grass. From the approaching distance Callum could see the Pokémon in that area; Ekans, Sandshrew, Rattata, Hoppip, and an occasional Geodude were visible.

Finally as Callum reached the stretch of tall grass, he released all of the Pokémon in his party. "Paras, Spinarak, Oddish, Kakuna, and Butterfree; all of you can go out there and battle if you want," Callum announced to his team and he took off his backpack, and leaned against the fence post to get lost in thoughts of nothing. The five Pokémon he had brought with him talked amongst themselves for a few seconds, before they made their way into the tall grass and started to gang battle the Local Pokémon.

Butterfree and Oddish used their Sleeping Powder to knock out the Spearows in the air, allowing for the ground Pokémon to quickly swarm them, and take them out. When a Geodude would appear, Oddish would normally take the front and quickly take it out with absorb. Anything else was fair game to the four ground Pokémon, with Butterfree providing emergency air support using Silver Wind and Confusion.

It wasn't long after this started that Kakuna began to glow, which caught Callum's attention. A yellow winged Pokémon with black stripes flew out of what used to be a Kakuna's shell. Callum quickly returned the Pokémon to its Poké Ball at its appearance. I still need him for my job. It's better if I keep him in his ball just in case. Callum replaced the sticker on the ball with one of a Beedrill and quickly pulled out his Pokédex to scan the Pokémon inside.

image
015 Beedrill
Poison Bee Pokémon
image
HT 3' 03"
WT 65 lbs.
Its best attack involves flying around at high speed, striking with poison needles, then flying off.

The four Pokémon that remained out gave an odd look before returning to their group battling. Callum himself returned the Beedrill's ball to his pouch, before going back to his thoughts of nothingness.

Soon enough Callum's Pokémon were exhausted, and with so much drama in the last two days; so was he. It was pitch black out when Callum recalled all of his Pokémon and made his way back to the Pokémon Center. The walk was quiet, with only the crisp newly damp grass beneath his feet making any sound. It was a nice feeling to be had before the lights of the city relit up the night, and Callum returned to the Pokémon Center to get his Pokémon healed, and spend the night himself.

It felt relaxing to massage Charlie, or just to massage someone who liked it and didn't feel too much pain from it. Aeris giggled lightly when he complimented her. "Thanks. I've done this a few times on my parents when they've been working really late and have no energy, so I know a little."

She was surprised when he hurried up on his feet and hastily spat out what he wanted to say. "Well, I guess it is. Okay." She felt a bit bad when she stood up and called her Pokémon back. Did I do something wrong? she thought to herself. She didn't think she'd done anything wrong. Just helping a friend who felt pain in his neck. Once all her Pokémon aside from Jessie, who sat on her head once more, and Blaze, who walked by her, had been returned to their Pokéballs, she started to walk back towards the Pokécenter with Charlie, mostly looking towards the ground because of how bad she felt that she'd done something wrong.

When they returned, Aeris went to the front desk and handed over the five Pokémon that had fought, after returning Jessie back to her own Duskball, and went to sit down while she waited for them to be healed. Blaze looked up towards her, feeling bad for Aeris since she didn't know why Aeris looked a bit down. Perhaps if she were a Psychic Pokémon, she could read her mind, but even then, she probably wouldn't have.

"Phew. Think I might've dodged a bullet with that one." Charlie thought with a bit of relief as Aeris began to collect her pokémon. But, from the day-and-a-half he's spent with this company of trainers, one of the things he realized was that the crimson-haired companion was very easy to read emotionally. And as the two began back towards the pokécenter, Charlie knew that her spirits had sunk. The trek entering the city was as brief as it was exiting, and once upon entering the refuge, Aeris quietly trudged towards the healing counter. As she did so, Charlie decided to retrieve his bag, grimacing as he did so.

"Good job with that one, Charles. Dodge one bullet, fly right into the other." He mumbled-thought, deciding to just drag the bag across the center's clean floors instead of carrying it. He returned Nina to her ball before handing her in for healing. Next in his sights, was the young trainer, sitting all by her lonesome, wearing a downtrodden expression while her Charmeleon tries to assess the situation. Charlie sat beside her, aiming to fixed what he most likely caused.

"Hey, what's up?" The puffy-haired trainer asked, clearly concerned.

"Nothing, really." Aeris knew that he wouldn't just be able to read her mind, so she'd have to tell him. "Did I do anything wrong when I massaged you?" she said to him after a bit while still looking down at the floor, or rather at Blaze since she was in front of her.

"Oh nononono, nahnahnahnah, I, that was...that was all on me." He began, voice fluctuating through several tones and octaves as he waved his hands to and fro. "No, you were fine...real fine-wait, shit, that didn't come out right. I mean, yeah, you were good, but uhhh...dammit..." He seemed to be having some troubles with his explanation, what, with him exasperatedly tumbling over his words and whatnot.

Such a scene of fumbling made her look towards him and smile, then giggle a little when she felt relieved that she hadn't done anything bad. "Well, I'm at least glad to hear I didn't do anything bad. But I'm curious to know why you acted like that. After all, I thought I had done something wrong, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Then what is it?" Blaze looked at the two of them, shaking her head at the boy's fumbling, but also glad to see that Aeris was feeling better. Charlie tried to think of how he was to explain himself. There were a lot of long "Uhhhhh"s as he tried to compile his thoughts, but eventually he managed to get it all together.

"Well, I like the thing you have with Mika. I'm totally all for you and your motivation to wait for him to come back. And i'm not trying to come in between you two. I mean, not that i'm saying you'll let that happen, but, I...I dunno. We've haven't known each other that long, but, I can say that we're friends, right?" He paused there, to let it all sink.

When hearing Mika's name again like that, it had a faint effect on her, but she kept listening to what Charlie had to say. When he paused, she said "You're not coming in between us. I don't think I could let that happen. And yeah, we are friends. I'd say we are." Charlie smirked at her answers. They were words he was expecting to hear.

Even then, he let out short sigh before taking a deep breath and continuing. "I'm sorry, I just...I got all weird with that massage. I mean, I know you were only being friendly, but...you're an attractive girl, and, i'm an eligible bachelor on the teetering edge of maturity and immaturity. Like any dude at my age, my hormones are all over, the fucking place. I am, a very horny teenager, and something as simple a friendly massage is borderline sensual in my head. ('S basically first base in some religions.) I just thought to stop it, before I did or said something stupid. You get me...right?" He stuck a query at the end of his rambling.

"I do get you." Aeris answered with a nod, blushing a bit after being called attractive. "I just guess I didn't think it would have that effect on you. I'm sorry it did." As on instinct, she hugged him, then let go after a short while. "And don't you dare let your hormones interpret that hug as anything other than a friendly hug." she said to him accusingly, but only jokingly so as she stuck her tongue out at him and giggled. Charlie chuckled along with her, letting a random hand scratch the back of his head in sheepishness. "Heh. Getting that off my chest, I don't think I will...probably...I dunno, I hate the way my body works." He let out in jest.

"That'll be fixed with time. Like most other things, such as wounds." Aeris said to him in return. Shortly thereafter, Aeris' name was called to come to the front desk, and she did so, retrieving the five Pokéballs she'd given for healing and put them all on her belt, releasing Jessie from hers before putting her Duskball back on her belt. Jessie promptly sat on Aeris' head, comfortable there, looking fresh from the healing.

She returned to where she'd sat and sat back down there with Jessie on her head and Blaze in front of her. She felt better now, though a stray thought crossed towards Mika, but she couldn't let thoughts of him make her sad. They'd had some good moments up until the incident on the S.S. Anne, and that was reason enough to not get sad.

"I wonder how everyone will do against Misty now." she thought out loud to herself. "Everyone who either lost against her or didn't get a chance the first time around, that is. I'm sure that Rochelle will do well with her Flaaffy, at least. If I hadn't won the first time around, I would be going up against her with Jessie. And probably Tristan. I'd rather not risk anything by using Blaze again against a Water type. Once was more than enough." There were always stories about how the flames on Charmanders' tails and their evolutions represented their spirit or something like that, or at least represented their life force or some such. If it was out, they were dead, and Aeris was not about to find out any time soon if that was true or not.

Charlie was called up to the counter soon after Aeris retrieved her pokémon. As he returned to her, she seemed to ponder on how her friends could fare with tomorrow's battles with the Gym Leader, Misty. Charlie thought her worries were understandable, he himself remembering his time with the Cerulean leader, her attacks and strategies were no laughing matter. "She was easy on the eyes though...ummph." He bit down on his bottom lip as he wondered if she ever used her feminine wiles to distract her more vulnerable opponents. It was then, that Charlie decided to comment on girl's fairly audible mumbles.

"How long has it been since you guys last seen her? I mean, i'm sure all the extra experience we've all gotten from the past few days should be more than enough to win against her, right?" He replied. He knew for sure Nina would be able to handle the leader, due to her most recent upgrades. "How'd you do against Misty?" He asked quite spontaneously. "You said you won against her using Blaze right? How'd you avoid getting her tail wet? Heh, I'd brag more about how I won my battle using Quinn, but I'm quite sure I got by with some crazy bullshit luck. Misty was not happy about that result, heh." Charlie added with a bit of a nervous chuckle.

There was a fair amount of questions from Charlie, but not too many for Aeris to answer. "We fought her the day before we met you on the S.S. Anne, so the ones that will rematch her shouldn't have too much of a problem against her. I did well against her, even with having used Blaze against her. And yeah, I did win with Blaze and Tristan. It's thanks to Tristan that I avoided having her tail get wet. He held her in his arms. Surprisingly strong for a Butterfree. Meanwhile, I had Blaze heat up the pool so Misty's Pokémon wouldn't be able to heal up in the water. After that, it was just Blaze's instinct to not have her tail get wet from Staryu's and Starmie's attacks."

She felt that she'd been rather lucky, nevertheless. Blaze had good reflects to avoid water attacks unless they were big water attacks, but Aeris would put her in her Pokéball if that were about to happen, anyway. "What about you? How did you do against Misty, beating her with Quinn?" she asked Charlie back.

The familiar lights of the Cerulean City Gym remained somewhat dim in the dusk hour, having not fully come to life yet. Jordan still had a good memory of the place, considering it was only yesterday morning he was here. Since he didn't really have to think about where he was going with Misty doing a great job of leading him like a Ponyta to water, he had more time to question the moral implications of what exactly he was consenting to again. At least Misty seems like actually happy to see me. Like even with the whole shipwreck thing, and Fary flipping out last time. She definitely seems more even then Fary, able to go with the flow and all that noise. Like she's able to deal with a bunch of shit and not go crazy or anything. That's always a plus.

"We're home!" Misty announced as she opened the door.

"We? Your imaginary boyfriend managed to make it back with you?"

"Shut up, Violet!" the redhead turned back to Jordan. "You know the drill."

"He does?" Another girl, standing in one of the doorways on the side chimed in. Tall and blonde, she appeared to be another resident who had Misty beat in terms of classical looks. "Like, you have a repeat customer? That totally hasn't happened in years! Good for you!" Jordan didn't really get what she was talking about, but he liked her. The voice sounded familiar, like home.

Misty however, was showing clear signs of irritation. "What was that, Daisy?"

"No, I mean it little sis! I'm glad you found someone who's more than a one night stand. I know there was nothing like recently or anything, so I thought you'd given up!"

"Thanks," the Gym Leader said through gritted teeth. "Jordan, let's go." She grabbed Jordan's hand and started dragging him back to the stairs that led down to her room.

"Nice meeting you," he said as the redhead guided him away from the siblings.

Misty quickly pulled him into her room and slammed the door behind her. "Ugh, sorry again about them. They just have to get their shots in at any time."

"I dunno, like, Daisy sounded nice."

"She disguises it very well." Misty sat down on her bed, inviting Jordan next to her. The blonde plunked himself down next to the redhead and she instantly wrapped her hand back around his. "You're great for being able to put up with them though."

"Dude, I can like get along with people, most people, you know? Something I'm good at."

"We could use someone like that around here. My sisters have pretty much retired from battling, and we get so many trainers here, sometimes, I just can't handle all of them."

"Huh, well you know, like, you could probably hire someone for that. Sure someone would take that job."

Misty traced her other hand up along Jordan's arm, "I think the perfect candidate is already in the gym."

Jordan looked over right into the Gym Leader's stare. "Ummmm, you know, like, I'm pretty sure we're going to be heading out tomorrow. You know, like out on the road and stuff."

"But why? When I travelling I was looking for something that I wasn't getting here. What could you want that you can't get right here? I mean, you can't really want to go for all those badges. From what I've seen, you're not a good enough battler to get anywhere in the League."

"Hey! Like, yeah, I haven't been training and junk for long, but like, I beat the army dude in Vermillion!"

"Oh Jordan." Misty moved her other hand and placed it on Jordan's shoulder, turning him towards her. "Surge is an arrogant idiot who can't get it through his 'roid-addled head that any chump with a Ground type can short him out. He's not hard to beat. Even for someone who I stomped in a couple minutes."

Jordan may not be bright, but he knew when he was being insulted. "Like, I got mixed up and sent out Vicky instead of Spike. I'm getting better and stuff."

"I don't think it would have helped you against me. That's another thing too. If you stay here, I can train you and then you might actually stand a chance against me in a match."

"Come on, like I think I can beat you now, and you know, I gotta get back down to Fuschia at some point. I want to get home before the waves start breaking bad. This is primo weather for them."

Misty wasn't appreciating the stubbornness that Jordan was showing in this instance. I thought he was more malleable than this....wonder if that would work again... "I tell you what Jordan. If you really think you're going to beat me tomorrow, how about we make another bet? I've still got plenty of prize money left to give away."

Well, could always use more money, I guess. "Well, if you want to, like hand it over like that, then sure."

"But! But, if I win again, then you stay here with me. No travelling, at least not for badges or anything like that. It'll be just you and me, and my stupid sisters. Deal?"

Jordan stared into those green eyes for a few seconds as he tried to debate what the pros and cons were, but as usual, he was drawing a blank. "Fine. But I'm going to win."

"I'm sure you will," Misty said condescendingly as she patted Jordan on the head. "Now, I know how we can seal this deal." She tossed Jordan down prone on the bed, and dove into the night's scheduled activity.

DAY 8

"Morning!"

Jordan uttered a groan and rolled over away from the light.

"If you get up, I'll give you the present I got you." Free stuff is a good way to get any slacker to do things.

Jordan instantly turned around and sat up right. Misty looked over smiling. "Thought that would get you up. One sec."

She turned away, already dressed and energetic. Jordan couldn't believe it. Dude, I wasn't that good, like what coffee pot she slurp down today? Like she's so different right now. Plunking back down on the bed, she revealed the present she held in her hand. It was a brand new hat, seemed pretty nice. It was mostly red but it had a giant white patch on the front, with a weird looking green logo in the middle. The logo had the look of a stylized boomerang hook, or something like that. Not as nice as my Sharks hat though.

"Put it on."

Jordan jammed the hat on top of his shaggy hair, it was a little tight and the rim of the hat made his hair flair out a bit at the sides.

"Yeah, that looks great on you. Maybe use some mousse get the hair sticking out there better."

"I dunno, I like having my hair down, ya know?"

"I think it looks better on the sides."

"Eh, whatever. Thanks for the hat."

"No problem. Now get outta here. I gotta get ready to whoop ya and some other scrubs again."

"Can I get dressed first?"

"Sure, I want to see that hat on your head when you're in my gym though, OK?"

"Yeah, OK."

Jordan quickly got dressed and then left Misty to her own devices. It was still a short walk back to the Pokemon Center where Jordan figured everyone was staying. She's already telling me what to wear? What's that about. I don't want to be changing or anything. That's just weird. He had more on his mind as he walked through the glass doors of the Pokemon Center.

Wandering alone in the dark, the cold and damp. Rock and stone everywhere, making up the walls, floor and ceiling. A handful of torches were scattered about the place, but they were dim. None of them illuminated much of the cavern that Rochelle was trying to escape. it was almost like a maze, the way the place twisted and turned.

The splashing of water soon began to sound throughout the area, closely followed by the crunches of heavy boots. lots of them. She picked up the pace, trying to find the way out. But when she rounded a corner, there was nothing. Just a blank metal wall two feet from the corner. Rochelle spun around, but her shoulder banged into another wall behind her. As if by magic, the light from the torches was gone. The walls closed in, crushing her down into a curled-up ball.

Rochelle tried to resist, pushing against the walls, hitting them with her hands, kicking with bare feet... her efforts had no impact. She was back in the closet... she wanted out. She needed out. She hit the door harder, and then harder still, scared for her life.

CLANG. The door shifted, and then flew wide open with her next strike. Instead of the caverns, Rochelle was on the deck of the S.S. Anne. People were milling about, talking to each other or battling... it was peaceful.

Then BLAM. Gunshots rang out, in perfect rhythm. Trainers began to jerk under the impact of the shots and fall to the floor, the life torn from their bodies in an instant. Blood began to pool around them... and then the cold grip of terror crushed Rochelle's heart. She recognised the fallen as they choked, writhed on the deck and then flopped down, glassy-eyed. First it was Aeris, then Callum, then Fary, Eileen, Jordan, Charlie, Tyler, Simon...

Rochelle screamed as black-clad people stepped over the bodies of her friends and approached her. Once again the red R on their uniforms was prominent... only this time it was painted in human blood. Her friends' blood. Thin streaks of it ran down the fabric as the world turned dark again...

Not for the first time, Rochelle's eyes flew open and she sat upright in her bed, throwing away the sheets to land in a pile near her feet. She buried her head in her hands and started crying, completely distraught by the nightmare, unaware of anyone else in the Pokémon Center accommodation wing that might be awake.

Aeris, who was awake because she didn't really feel tired or wanted to sleep right now without Mika, was surprised to hear crying, but not surprised to see that it was Rochelle doing the crying. She got up from her bed and walked over to Rochelle, sitting down on the bed by her. "I'm sure that you had a nightmare just now, but there's nothing to worry about right now. You're here with us." She placed a hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her.

Placed on a cot somewhere at another end of the room, the moving figures in the darkness caused Charlie to look up from the fiddling he was doing on his Xtransceiver. It was mere minutes after he and Aeris had seemingly concluded their nonstop chattering, and he too, was far from sleepy. The familiar voice caught his attention, and the sounds of Aeris comforting a crying individual caused him to rise from his cot. Using the wrist device's backlight, he made his way closer to the two without causing any sort of accident. Once he neared Aeris, Charlie quickly realized who it was that need consoling. "Rochelle?" He kneeled beside the cot, exchanging looks between one redhead to the other. "Yeah, you'll be alright. What...uh...what happened?" He hesitated to ask.

Rochelle whimpered and tried to shift away from Aeris' hand. She was shivering, and felt a bit sick in her stomach. She wanted it to stop... but the attack in Vermilion had only made things worse. The nightmares were slowly turning her into a wreck; she couldn't speak to the others. Instead she let out another whine and continued to cry.

Charlie looked on, now even more awake than before, entirely alert. Rochelle's state of enhanced distraught made his heart accelerate. He moved from the floor, placing himself at the foot of the small cot. "Rochelle..." He moved in a little closer. As delicately as he could, the big haired trainer managed to wrap his arms around her, embracing her to the best of his ability. He figured she could use the extra shoulder to cry on. "Rochelle... we're here, Rochelle... all of us... we're all here..." He uttered, the words little more than a whisper on his lips. He glanced up to Aeris, and reached out to her, a silent gesture suggesting she join in on the hug.

Aeris nodded to him, and wrapped her arms around Rochelle and Charlie, hugging them both. "And we will be here for you, no matter where or when." She held them both close to her, not hugging too tightly of course.

Rochelle buried her face in Charlie's shoulder, though she didn't return the hug. She was still in considerable shock despite the comforting words of the others. A new series of muffled whimpers emerged from the crying girl as she let herself let go and break down entirely.


Rochelle woke the next morning, curled up tightly in a ball underneath the bedsheets. She felt awful. Entirely spent. Slightly sick, with a bit of a headache. There was some of her hair in her mouth, and a damp patch underneath her head. She vaguely remembered something happening last night... another nightmare. Worse this time. She'd woken up, someone had been there... had she cried herself to sleep?

She raised a slightly weak arm to push the bedsheets off of herself, and tried to sit up. The second time, she managed it, but took a moment to rest her head in her hands. Roughly five minutes later, she managed to balance herself on her own feet, and staggered into the bathroom adjacent to the Center's accommodation.

Rochelle remembered she'd looked like a wreck last time she'd had a nightmare. 'Wreck' didn't begin to describe her state that morning. The clothes she'd worn overnight were rumpled and crooked, her hair the result of a hurricane passing through, and her face was marred by more dried-up tear lines. She'd been crying again. She was in no way a pretty sight.

She got in one of the showers, only remembering to remove her clothes at the last second, and lost track of how long she stood under the hot water. Rochelle only felt marginally more awake after she could be bothered to switch the water off. Eventually drying herself off, she redressed and wandered back to her bed for a fresh set of clothing.

"Oohh... Hell's teeth. What happened last night." She soon realised she'd spoken the words aloud instead of just thinking them.

BDEEPBDEEPBDEEPBDEEP! Charlie's Xtransciever rang and vibrated violently, thrusting Charlie from his state of rest. Not that he got that much rest last night. "Stupid, fucking, wrist phone-watch-computer...thing!" A flustered punch ceased the device's fevered blaring. A loud, cranky sigh escaped Charlie as a hand went down his face. He really wished he had got more sleep. But, considering the way things went last night, maybe him deciding to stay up was some sort of act of Arceus. He began recounting some of the things that went down the night before as he rummaged through his duffel for a fresh pair of undergarments.



Last Night...

One of the earlier conversations he and the fiery trainer Aeris were knee deep into, was about their respective victories against the Cerulean gym leader, Misty. "What about you?" She queried. "How did you do against Misty, beating her with Quinn?" This was one of those questions that Charlie had to think on before he could find the right words to answer with. And usually, this answer started off with a prolonged "Uhhhh..."

"Well, uh, I know for a fact that you and I did the same 'heating up the water' tactic...Mixed that with Quinn's smokescreen, and there was nowhere for them to go. And even then, you have to remind yourself that you're going up against water types with your fire type. I got a little cocky towards the end of the battle, and Quinn ended up paying for it. Okay, so, it was Misty's last against Quinn. Both of which, were on their last legs. There was a smokescreen up. Like, just enough to barely see the ground in front of you, but enough for me to see the look of frustration that was playing out on Misty's face. So she and I called out attacks at the same time. And her pokémon...missed! Like, I got hosed down with the water, and Quinn sidestepped it like a fuckin' G...I think (...those last few seconds kinda few by in a blur). Either way, her attack connected, finished off the 'mon, and Misty could've swore I cheated somehow. But hey, all's fair in love and pokémon, amiright?"

The two conversed late into the night, with Charlie eventually taking a gander at his watch for the time. The two eventually made their way towards the accommodations. "...Hehheh, have you actually been back here yet? S'kinda weird for me, all this open space with beds and the bathrooms...eh, it's alien, but i'll manage." He whispered to the girl's back as the two entered the darkened area, the sounds of heavy breathing and snoring filling the area with ambiance. He gave his good night to her before finding a free cot of his own, taking off his shirt, sneakers, and the frilly scrunchie that held his hair in its usual ponytail, before getting into the sheets. He didn't doze off, though. Instead, he played around with his Xtransceiver some, seeing if he could set an alarm for it for some reason. It wasn't long after that, he heard the sounds of distraught tears, and Aeris' consoling whispers...


"Rochelle..." He looked to the cot she slept at last night, to see that she had already moved on. He wondered how she was feeling now. "What happened to her?" He sat at the bed in silent thought, before realizing that it was (in fact) morning time, and he needed to take a shower. "Quite sure Nina and Quinn need to be cleaned too, 'specially after yesterday's battles." He mumbled, releasing the two onto the bed. The mannerisms of the two contrasted one another's, Quinn seeming more rested than the (now curling into a ball and trying to go back to sleep) Nidorina.

"Nina. Wake up sleepyhead, it's bathtime." He said in a bothered, sighing tone. "Niiiiiiiii..." She groggily whined in reply. "Nina, this isn't up for discussion. Get up, now." He let out in a sterner (albeit crankier) tone. She replied to that, standing up and letting out a yawn. He scratched behind one of ears as she came to, making sure he had her attention. "C'mon, the water'll wake you up." He said to the two, grabbing for his shirt only to catch a whiff of it. It was only natural that it stunk, seeing as it was the only thing he's been wearing since the week before. "Note to self, find a laundromat or some sort of fresh stream before putting this back on, eugh." He thought, tossing the blue v-neck into his bag. Lastly grabbing for his toiletries, Charlie started for the bathrooms, rustling out his hair as Quinn and Nina followed after him.

Aeris woke up pretty refreshed. After Rochelle had fallen asleep the night before, she'd gone off to her own bed, keeping an eye on her until she herself fell asleep. She grabbed a towel and headed for the showers, taking a little time to clean herself before she put on her usual attire. After the shower, she went to the lobby of the Center to get something to eat, for herself and her Pokémon.

She grabbed a plate with some toast that had butter and cheese on it along with a glass of orange juice and put it on a table before going to grab some treats for her Pokémon. Once that was done, she released all six of them and told them to dig in as she sat down and started to eat herself. All six of them started to eat happily after having done some stretching from the sleeping they'd done. Aeris looked occasionally towards the bedroom to see if Rochelle would come.

Tyler resisted regaining consciousness for as long as he could, but after a while it was futile. He opened his eyes and let the post-sleep haze clear away before rolling out of his temporary bed. As he went through the routine of showering and changing clothes, he began to regain lucidity. By the time he arrived at the lobby, Tyler was no longer working on auto-pilot. He grabbed a modest breakfast plate of pancakes and sausage and sat down with a glass of milk.

After breakfast, he planned to pick up his Pokemon, having left them with the Nurse overnight. He had no reason to rush, though, so he picked at his breakfast at a leisurely pace.

"You woke up crying last night and essentially had a break down. Aeris and Charlie tried to comfort you until you fell back to sleep. Even after that you cried in your dreams." Callum said before yawning as he woke up and swung off the top bunk of the pair of beds beside Rochelle's. Callum grabbed the shirt he had been wearing the day prior off of the top of his bag and pulled it on over his head and grabbed his bag. He had completely missed that the question was rhetorical.

"I'm not someone to get involved in this sort of things and I don't know what happened to you, but if those two are willing to do that much for you, you should consider talking to them about it. I never used to understand the whole talking to people helps your problems thing before.

I only got it when my mom described it to me like this. 'When you stub your toe or cut yourself you'll scream, shout, cry, or swear; even though it doesn't actually do anything, it makes you feel better. Keeping how the pain makes you feel inside just makes it hurt more. Like screaming, shouting, crying, or swearing; talking does the same thing when you're having problems. It makes you feel better even if it isn't actually doing anything.'" Callum said as he walked out of the room towards the showers.

He was terrible at helping people with actual problems that he couldn't bring himself to try and help Rochelle last night. And because he felt ashamed for not being able to do that he could bring himself to even look at her as he tried to help her this morning. It might have seemed stupid, but Callum couldn't help but hate himself right now. The only thing that he knew that he knew he had to do were shower, eat, beat misty, and keep moving on with his job.

Despite the hassle of washing and maintaining two pokémon along with himself (especially himself, since it usually takes at least fifteen minutes to tend to his copious mane) Charlie surfaced from the center's cleansing facilities quicker than one might've expected. "Aah, needed that. Feels like it's been days since I've took a shower." He mumbled, feeling refreshed and relieved. Then, he stopped and thought. "I-I think it has been days since i've bathed. Surprised no one called me out on it, heh." He began back towards the cot he inhabited, with Nina and Quinn trailing not too far behind. The mousy poison-type seemed to be in a more upbeat mood after the bathing, and the more petite fire-type pitter-pattered along as well, shrouded in one the pokécenter's complimentary towels.

He plopped down onto the thin mattress, with his companions hopping up alongside him. He made sure to completely pat down Quinn with the towel, to make sure her pads wouldn't encounter ignition problems in the near future. Doing so, he noticed Rochelle and Callum not too far ahead of him. As Callum addressed her, the thoughts of last night began plaguing him once more. He wondered if she truly needed help with her dilemmas, and if it was even his place to impede so. "There, all dry." He looked back towards the Cyndaquil, removing her from underneath the towel.

Quinn chirped happily as he did so, possibly showing gratitude for the act. Naturally, the bushy haired trainer smiled back at her, bringing the duffel bag into his lap to rummage through it. "What to wear, what to wear..." He mumbled as his hands traversed the bag's inner contents. He knew he wasn't putting his v-neck back on, and his undershirts (all being small a-shirts with emphasis on "small") didn't leave much to the imagination or elements. "Well, there's always..." He yanked out a sweater, very visibly grimacing as he held it up. "...this..."

He still wondered what gave his mother the idea to purchase the article of clothing. What would've looked more natural on someone's grandfather, the knit sweater was primarily grey, a black, plaid-like design complementing the vibrant, humongous pokéballs wrapping around the sweater's midsection. "I-i'll make it work." He said to no one, pulling the sweater up and over his head. He remarked on how surprisingly un-itchy it was as he rose to his feet, sliding into his tall sneakers and slinging the duffel bag over a shoulder. "Alright girls, breakfast time." He said to his pokémon, pulling up the sweater's sleeves before Quinn took to her usual perch. He took one last look to the two conversing trainers before deciding to head for the main area, not wanting to barge in on whatever they were talking about. He quaintly waved at the two as he left, but he was positive that neither noticed.

It didn't take him long to find Aeris afterward, who seemed to of had a headstart on the whole breakfast ordeal. "Mornin', Red. Room for a few more?" He greeted, finding some chairs to pull up alongside her and her pokémon.

Rochelle didn't respond to Callum immediately. Only once she replayed his answer to her question a couple of times did she properly wake up. Rubbing her eyes with one hand, she pulled a fresh set of clothes from her pack with the other and haphazardly changed into them.

"I suppose I do owe them an explanation," she murmured to herself, leaving her bandana in her bag. "Not before breakfast though." Hefting her bag onto one shoulder, she wandered through to the dining area. After collecting a small bowl of cereal for herself and a tray for five Pokémon, she chose the table next to Tyler and released everyone from their Balls for the morning meal. Almost instantly the new recruit was investigated by the first four. Rochelle let them talk, settling down to eat and think.

What was the overall plan? Oh, right, Misty, then moving on to Lavender and Celadon after that. Not going to enjoy the rematch... Eh. Iskra should be able to take care of it, since he has Thunderbolt. Phoenix or Kirsten as a backup. When that's over... Ah, hell. Rock Tunnel. Note to self, stay close to the others. Heck, cling to an arm if you have to. No repeats of the last cave. And ask for lots of light. Need light.

A "Gar!" came from under the table - Eva - followed by the zwoip noise Rochelle had heard Kara make before she teleported. She suddenly felt a large weight on her shoulders, surprising her, and the rather loud sound of a Pokémon chewing its food soon followed. Neither of the two Flying-types on Rochelle's team landed on her head to eat... "Kara, don't eat up there. You'll get crumbs in my hair," she complained. The Abra ignored her entirely; having secured her share of the food, she had taken it upon herself to get away from the others. Rochelle just sighed and tried to finish her breakfast without scraps of Pokémon food falling in the bowl.

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