Welcome Back, Totter
June uttered a loud sound from her throat, struggling to speak, ended up choking on the dirt clogged air. With a sharp, high pitched cough, she covered her mouth, her entire body shaking as if outlined by jagged lines. “KIWI! Is it really you?”
Kiwi stood in a black coat that had a hood she wasn’t wearing. A white beanie hat sat atop her head. Her light blue slacks ended resting against the top of her black sneakers. She turned to June. “Of course it is,” she replied coldly.
June’s eyes widened in shock and she merely looked down.
I stood up shakily, wearily, trying not to breathe too much through my nose, unwilling to inhale through my mouth.
Kiwi’s eyes turned back to me. Her eyes were hard. There was no warmth in them. In all the years I’d known Kiwi, I had never seen her with that kind of a look on her face. Ever.
I nearly fell back down as she looked at me.
Kiwi seemed just a little bit different, and it was all in her eyes. No. Not just her eyes. Her stern face, pursed lips, and all around demeanor. This wasn’t the cheerful, zany girl I grew up with most of my life.
“Kiwi,” I finally said. A smile spread across my face. “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe you’re really here!” I ran to her eagerly and spread my arms to embrace her in a hug.
She raised an arm and shoved me back surprisingly hard.
I gasped and fell back, stumbling, and hit the ground. Unable to speak, choking on the thick, filthy air, I kept my eyes on my friend until I could breathe again. “Kiwi??” That shove was really strong!
She looked up, past me.
There was a roar, followed shortly by another one.
I got to my feet and turned around to see what Kiwi was staring at.
“CHOOOKE!” the Machoke raged, getting to his feet.
“Machamp!” Machamp groaned, glaring at us all.
They charged at us at once.
“Hypnosis!” Kiwi yelled.
“Haunter!” Haunter appeared in front of the two Superpower Pokemon.
Before Haunter could attack, Machoke and Machamp raised one arm, each sparking with a dark coating, and used Knock Off, sending Haunter flying past June and right through me.
As Haunter flew through me, I felt an incredible chill and collapsed onto my knees, holding myself, shivering.
“Haunter!” Kiwi called in shock.
Still shivering, squinting hard through the sudden, freezing cold, I looked up to see Machoke and Machamp getting closer.
Machoke suddenly stopped and hit the ground on his knees, and then fell facedown, leaking blood all over the ground, forming a puddle around himself.
Machamp headed straight for June.
“JUNE!” I ignored the deadly cold; or perhaps my body was warming up and got up, tackling her out of the way as she stood frozen in fear.
We both dropped hard, but Machamp never reached us.
Machamp suddenly exploded! Blood, guts, and all kinds of disgusting innards from Machamp’s body flew in all directions, some landing across my back and head. The sound was disgusting as things were splattered.
All was quiet soon after.
I slowly lifted my head, looking around, and turned away immediately from the sight.
Machoke was on the ground, not moving.
Everything in the nearby area was covered in red and other disgusting looking pieces and fragments of Machamp.
June tried to look up, but I held her down gently. “No, June,” I whispered.
“Return, Haunter,” I heard Kiwi say. Her footsteps approached me, drawing my attention. She stared at the gruesome scene calmly before turning to me.
“Kiwi.” More choked coughs came out from my throat.
June screamed, having looked up, and turned her back on the bloody scene, covering her eyes, whimpering.
Police sirens sounded from nearby, getting closer. The flashing lights on top of the cars approached us rapidly. Motorcycles holding an Officer Jenny were nearby as well.
Me and Kiwi’s eyes met once more.
“Same song and dance, huh?” Kiwi said solemnly. “Let’s leave Haunter out of it if we can, this time.”
The mess before us.
The approaching cops...
It took me a while to understand, but I suddenly realized that Kiwi was right.
A scene involving mass death, a Haunter involved, and me, June, and Kiwi looking guilty.
Just like what happened in Saffron City.
The experience with the police wasn’t a bad one. It was nothing like what happened when I had reached Celadon City the second time after having escaped from Saffron. The Officer Jennys asked if we all were okay and took us to the nearest Pokemon Center so we could take a shower, or in my case, scrub my freaking skin off, and we left our Pokemon to be cared for.
We had all changed our clothes, throwing out our bloodstained outfits before being escorted to the police department where we were questioned individually.
I only told them that the Machoke and Machamp came out of nowhere and attacked us, not getting into detail, but I said we used our Pokemon to hold off the two powerhouses until they finally ended up dead.
Machoke had died from such an immense loss of blood.
The officers said they would review the tapes in the city and see if they could find out what caused this in the first place.
I was offered food and water, but I only accepted a couple of glasses of water. There was absolutely no appetite in my usually willing stomach after what I’d just witnessed.
It was hours later when I was released, as were Kiwi and June soon after, and we left the police station together.
I stared up at the dark sky that stared right back.
June had her hands in her pockets, staring at the ground, visibly still shaken.
I turned to Kiwi and gasped, her cold eyes startling me. “Kiwi?” I asked, swallowing hard in an attempt to somehow make my heart relax. It felt as if a skeleton’s hand were gripping it, threatening to pop it.
“We’re famous,” she spoke sharply, giving me the shivers. “They recognized our names.”
“Yeah...” I muttered, nodding my head. Once I had given out my name to the police, they immediately knew I was the same kid from the Saffron City incident. I was afraid that might somehow incriminate me, but they didn’t treat me badly or like a criminal at all. They were very kind and caring to me. I kept my eyes on Kiwi. “Kiwi, where have you been all this time? Everyone in Pallet has been worried about you! You haven’t called anyone!”
Her eyes were hard to stare at. They were just so... cold!
But I didn’t dare turn away.
Her eyes tightened. “I’ve thought about you a lot.”
“Huh?” I gasped. “Really?”
“Kiwi, I’ve thought about you constantly!” I cried out, reaching out to hug her.
She again raised an arm and shoved me back swiftly.
I was so shocked by this, I fell again. “What is your problem?” I asked, emotionally hurt by this rejection.
“Don’t,” was all she said.
“Kiwi!” June asked fearfully, helping me to my feet. “Why are you being so mean?”
Kiwi didn’t reply. She just glared at us.
“Kiwi, where did you go?” I asked. “Why didn’t you contact anybody?”
Kiwi didn’t answer, her eyes stuck to me.
“Kiwi, please!” I begged. “Everybody has missed you so much! Tell me!”
“I was going to release my Pokemon and return to Pallet,” she said quickly. “I changed my mind.”
“Why?” I insisted.
“Gary!” she snapped. “I lost my beloved Starter Pokemon! What more do I really need to say? I don’t want to feel that pain ever again! You know what we went through!! I hated Pokemon! I needed time apart from this crazy world and I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore!”
“I’m sorry...” I apologized. “I shouldn’t have-”
“SHUT UP!” Kiwi barked. “You asked, now take your damn answer!”My mouth now hung open. I had no idea what to expect from Kiwi at this point.
She was a loose canon and her fuse had just blown. “I decided to release all of my Pokemon at first, but I was too weak to do it. I was conflicted. I love my Pokemon...” My old friend’s voice seemed to weaken. It was becoming less threatening and harsh, but remained strong all the same. “I couldn’t let that evil Haunter ruin everything me and my Pokemon had worked for so easily! But I couldn’t bare to talk to any of you guys. I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready to speak to you and have to go through this! Explaining what happened. Reliving the pain! But the police found me and questioned me extensively, and I cried! I had to relive what I had been hoping to forget! They incriminated me! I’d never been so embarrassed and scared! I thought I was going to jail for the rest of my life! They let me go when they realized some kind of error. Apparently they found out about our innocence in that dreadful tragedy but the cops who arrested me didn’t know our names were cleared. The idiots. When I was finally let go, I secluded myself from the rest of the world. It was just all about me and my Pokemon. Rebuilding myself through time with myself and my Pokemon! Just us! Nobody else! When I finally built up some kind of courage, some form of strength inside of me, thanks in large part to my Pokemon, we traveled again. We even went after Badges, eventually. I feel just a little bit stronger than I did before. A little bit more at peace. I just need a bit more time with my Pokemon and in my own mind. I’ll call my mom and everyone else. Just give me some damn time!!”
My mouth remained hanging. I finally did close it but I could only nod.
Kiwi continued leering directly at me.
I took a shaky breath. “Kiwi,” I started, and swallowed hard. “You were in Saffron with us.”
“Why do you own a... Haunter?” I asked, panic in my voice. “Of all Pokemon, why would you have one of those?”
“I had this Haunter before I ever set foot in Saffron. I caught it on my own and have raised it. I’m not going to get rid of a Pokemon just because I had a bad experience with another one of its species.”
“Kiwi, that was much more than just a bad experience! We were nearly killed! An entire city was destroyed! Supplies for Pokemon Trainers are still dangerously low due to a Haunter taking down practically an entire empire of the manufacturers of Pokemon goods!”
“That was one Pokemon, Gary!” Kiwi took a step towards me, paralyzing me with fear at her sudden action. “You can’t hate all Pokemon for that!”
“I don’t hate Pokemon at all. I just... I can’t help feeling a little scared about a Haunter. I mean, Ghost Pokemon can be dangerous!”
“You sound like a fool,” Kiwi stated. “A damn fool!”
“Kiwi, I’m worried. You’re different.”
Horrid silence joined us temporarily.
I hesitated. “I don’t exactly know...” I admitted. “But, you do seem meaner... You’re not the same.”
“Awww, Kiwi is being mean to me. Boo hoo hoo!” Kiwi mocked me. “Kiwi won’t hug me. Kiwi won’t be nice to me. She’s such a meanie now! Maybe after what happened in Saffron, I have a different outlook on life. Maybe you’re the problem for not having learned anything or changed from our past experience. Did you ever think of that? Huh?”
I didn’t know how to respond to that.
Kiwi wasn’t the same person anymore. Her time in Saffron had changed her drastically now. People can change so dramatically when they encounter certain things in life. They can become completely unrecognizable. Was that what it was? Or...
“Kiwi,” I said boldly.
“What?” she said impatiently.
I focused on her eyes.
They didn’t have the dead look of those possessed in Saffron City. Kiwi’s eyes were normal. But was the possessed look only for those already dead and being controlled? Did it matter if the person was dead or alive?
“Kiwi. Please, be careful with that thing,” I warned.
Kiwi stared at me solemnly for a very long moment.
I was afraid to say anything or look away, terrified now.
“My Haunter would never do that to me,” Kiwi finally growled, baring her teeth. She walked over to me and grabbed my coat roughly in her hands, tugging me in closer to her face. “And if you ever imply something like that about my dear Haunter again, you’ll really think I’m possessed.” She let go of me and I dropped once more, but I pushed myself up to my feet this time.
I could’ve gone for another glass of water again. My throat was dry and my heart was running a track race.
Kiwi kept her eyes on me, not budging. “I’m going to go get my Pokemon.” She walked away from us.
Neither June nor I moved.
I took a step forward, but she grabbed my arm.
She shook her head.
“I’m not leaving her.” I pulled my arm away, following quickly after Kiwi. Making sure to keep several feet from her, I kept watch on her, looking for suspicious behavior.
June was close by.
News reporters and helicopters were everywhere, reporting on the Machoke and Machamp incident, police cars and officers filling the area.
We reached the Pokemon Center and entered the crowded building, people talking excitedly.
Kiwi shoved her way through the crowd rudely, June and I following the path she made for us. She reached the desk and Nurse Joy smiled, handing Kiwi five Poke Balls on a tray. “Thanks.” She took her Poke Balls and turned, heading back out of the Pokemon Center.
“Kiwi, wait!” I called as she stomped past us.
I turned back to Nurse Joy. “Excuse me!”
The lovely nurse was already smiling at me, holding out a tray with six Poke Balls. “You’re next!”
“Oh, thank you!” I beamed gratefully and grabbed them. After securing them on my belt, I took off after Kiwi as June stayed behind to get her Pokemon.
Kiwi was gone by the time I burst through the doors.
Where is she? I wondered frantically. I left right behind her! I can’t let her get away. Taking off past the news reporters and police and heading past some of the buildings we had just walked past with Kiwi, June struggling behind to keep up, it wasn’t long before my stop.
Kiwi stood with a serious focus, seeming to have been waiting for me.
June cried out in fright and stopped next to me, having spotted Kiwi.
“Gary, I challenge you to a Pokemon battle!” Kiwi demanded.
My mouth dropped open. “You want to battle?”
“Don’t ask stupid questions! Yes or no?”
“Fine!” I was getting tired of her new attitude. “Let’s battle, then!”
“Works for me,” I agreed, grabbing a Poke Ball.
“Good! Arbok, I choose you!” Kiwi threw her Poke Ball.
“CHAAAARBOKKA!” the enormous Cobra Pokemon challenged me.
Arbok. The Cobra Pokemon and the evolved form of Ekans. Arbok live on land, but can also hunt underwater. If any part of its body is detached, except for the head, it regrows it back in a matter of weeks.
“I choose Dugtrio!” I sent out my Pokemon.
“Trio Trio Trio!” Dugtrio said.
Without hesitation, Kiwi shouted out, “Glare attack!”
Arbok slithered over to Dugtrio and stood up tall, its eyes glowing blue.
“Dugtrio, get out of there and use Dig!” I called out.
“TRIOOOOO!” Dugtrio cried out as it became Paralyzed from Glare.
“Now, Wrap attack!” Kiwi instructed.
Arbok wrapped around Dugtrio’s body and squeezed hard.
“Dig your way out and came back for a Super Effective hit!” I ordered.
Dugtrio finally regained focus as Arbok was squeezing him and went underground.
“Move it!” Kiwi commanded.
Arbok let go of Dugtrio just as he vanished underground and waited, staring into the hole.
“Do it!” Kiwi said.
Arbok raised the end of its tail high and smacked it to the ground.
To my surprise, the ground quaked!
Arbok knew Earthquake!
The quaking stopped.
“Now, dodge that Dig!”
In confusion, I watched as Arbok stretched out its body and laid on the ground! It stayed still for a moment, and then the ground began to quake again slightly. At the very last second, Arbok got up and moved out of the way as Dugtrio popped up right where Arbok was a second ago!
Dugtrio was breathing heavily, exhausted from the Earthquake it took while underground. The damage Earthquake did was doubled because Dugtrio was underground during the attack.
“Arbok can sense the vibrations in the ground by laying down to find out when and where Dugtrio was gonna pop up at,” June muttered. “That was really smart of Kiwi to do that. Her Arbok is really well trained!”
“Gunk Shot! Finish it!”
Arbok’s throat widened as it struggled to force something out.
“Use your Earthquake!” I retaliated.
“TRIO!” Dugtrio rocked the ground as Arbok’s throat widened and it forced up a sparkling silver ball of light.
The light soared through the air as Arbok was tossed off balance and hit the ground hard.
The ball turned into a black object that resembled a trash bag, outlined in purple, and hit Dugtrio, exploding and covering Dugtrio in glowing purple garbage. He collapsed amongst his other heads and lay still.
“Arbok wins,” Kiwi said, shooting me another cold pair of eyes.
I nodded and returned Dugtrio. “You did well, Dugtrio.” I grabbed my next Poke Ball and threw it. “Porygon-Z, you’re up next!”
Upon release, Porygon-Z let out a terribly sharp and painful cry. The noise caused the three of us to hit the ground and cover our ears, screaming in pain.
Arbok dug underground to escape the noise.
“WHAT IS THAT THING???” Kiwi roared.
“PORYGON-Z, CUT IT OUT!!!!” I bellowed.
When the noise finally faded, I heard a scream and looked around.
Kiwi had her fingers in her ears and was digging through them, but she wasn’t the one screaming.
Arbok was nowhere in sight.
I turned to see June staring at Porygon-Z in fright, Porygon-Z close to her face, staring at her.
“Gary, what is it with this thing??” June whined quickly, shrinking back in fear as the Pokemon got closer.
“That’s my Porygon-Z,” I answered. “You must remember it when I battled Cleopatra? I caught it a while back. You two never really met.”
“I mean, what does it want from me??” she asked in a panic.
I laughed a little. “You’re the Pokemon reader. You tell me!”
“Gary, it’s scaring me!” June shouted. “I can’t read this thing! HEEELLLP!!”
“Huh? Really? You can’t read this Pokemon?”
“NO!” June screamed. “GET! IT! AWAAAAAAYY!!!”
“Porygon-Z, cut it out and leave her alone!” I told it.
Porygon-Z ignored me and it gently rubbed up against June’s face.
June shrieked and smacked it away. She ran in terror a long distance before turning around and stopping, fright on her face.
Porygon-Z made a sad noise and lowered itself down to the ground.
“June!” I spoke angrily, shocked at what I had just seen her do. “You hurt Porygon-Z! Why would you hit it?!” I ran over to my Pokemon and knelt down, petting its head. “Forget about J-”
Porygon-Z let out a loud, mournful cry. It wasn’t shedding tears, but Porygon-Z was definitely crying! Its head spun around frantically in one direction while its body spun in a different direction.
I backed away, confused.
“What is wrong with your Pokemon?!” Kiwi snapped impatiently. “Are we battling or what?”
At that moment, Arbok burst through the ground, a few feet away from Kiwi. It turned to its Trainer, and then turned to watch me and Porygon-Z.
“Yes, yes! Just one sec,” I laughed nervously. “Porygon-Z, plea-”
Porygon-Z interrupted me and stopped crying, flying over to Kiwi!
Kiwi stared at it in shock and backed up a couple of steps.
Porygon-Z soared over her head and then underneath her, between her legs, and back over her head again, continuing to circle her in this fashion.
Kiwi turned to me, a very unamused look on her face. As Porygon-Z continued circling her, she returned her Arbok to its Poke Ball and turned to me.
“What are you doing, Kiwi?” I questioned my opponent, stunned by her move.
“You say I’ve changed?” she spoke to me through gritted teeth. “I truly didn’t expect you to allow your Pokemon to be such complete and total goofballs that you can’t even control! I joked that you’d never be as good a Trainer as I am, but to think you just let your Pokemon play around and do whatever they want! I honestly expected better from you, Gary. I came to battle, not play around.”
“Porygon-Z is just a little bit too friendly and kind of emotional,” I explained. “Give it a chance! It’s a great battler!”
“Then get this thing away from me!!”
“I’m sorry! Porygon-Z, get over here and stop the games!! We have a battle to focus on!!” I insisted.
Porygon-Z shot from underneath Kiwi and circled my head.
“COME ON!” I pleaded impatiently.
Porygon-Z flew a few feet away from me and floated in the air, staring at Kiwi. It let out a loud screech that made us all scream again in pain, covering our ears, seeking relief from the sound.
This thing has to go back to Prof. Oak, I thought. It’s nuts!
When Porygon-Z stopped screeching, Kiwi had her shaking fists at her side, glaring at me.
June was on her knees, covering her ears, staring at us, still very far away.
“I think we’re ready,” I said weakly.
“If that blasted thing does that damn noise one more time...!” Kiwi warned.
“It won’t, it won’t!” I promised. “Porygon-Z, no more of those loud screeches!”
Porygon-Z turned to me and stared.
“Uh... Please?” I repeated.
Porygon-Z collapsed to the floor and started crying again very loudly.
“Porygon-Z!” I cried out helplessly, exhausted, and jogged over to my Pokemon. Kneeling down, I reached out and pat its head. “Listen! It’s just very loud! You can’t just keep screeching like that. Calm down. Please! We can’t take the noise. It hurts! I just want you to be strong and battle and not act so crazy! Geez...” I picked up Porygon-Z and hugged it in my arms, cradling it like a baby. “It’s okay, Porygon-Z. Ssshhhh.”
Kiwi’s agitated eyes shot red hot beams of impatience at mine.
My eyes closed and I returned to my spot where I had been standing to battle.
June watched me from a distance, shaking her head pitifully.
I love my Porygon-Z, I told myself, ignoring them all. “I love you, Porygon-Z,” I told it over its wailing. “It’s gonna be okay. But we have to toughen you up, for sure. If you won’t fight, I’ll send out a third Pokemon instead. It’s okay.” With those words, I grabbed its Poke Ball to return it.
With a sharp cry, it flew out of my arms and faced Kiwi, no longer crying!
“Porygon-Z?” I said in surprise.
“This battle begins now or I’m out of here!” Kiwi flung out her Poke Ball, sending her Pokemon to the battle. “Arbok, use Gunk Shot!”
Arbok’s throat widened again as it coughed up another Gunk Shot.
Porygon-Z was hit and spun in the air, flying back. Once it stopped, it moaned a little bit and I could see it was now Poisoned, its body outlined in a thin purple flush.
“Porygon-Z, fight through it!” I encouraged. “Use your Psybeam!”
“Dig out of the way!”
Porygon-Z fired a multicolored beam at Arbok, who dug its way underground, dodging.
Arbok came up from the ground, underneath Porygon-Z, hitting it.
Porygon-Z cried out, bouncing across the ground, flinching in pain from the Poison.
This isn’t looking good at all, I knew. Kiwi is destroying me right now. We’re not fast enough. My eyes suddenly lit up, remembering Porygon-Z’s moves.
“Agility!” I instructed.
Porygon-Z got up into the air and zoomed through the air rapidly, disappearing and reappearing, side to side, and dodged the Gunk Shot. Its Speed was increasing.
“Don’t stop!” I pushed it.
Porygon-Z was still suffering from Poison, but it kept using Agility as Arbok tried another Gunk Shot, but it dodged it again.
“Your stupid tricks won’t work! Slow it down with Glare!”
Arbok stood up tall and tried another Glare attack, but Porygon-Z was all over the place, confusing Arbok.
“Again! Agility!” I insisted.
“Hm.” A smirk came over Kiwi’s lips. “Let’s see it dodge an explosive Earthquake, then! Use your tail to drop it straight to ground and shake this place up!”
Arbok raised its tail, trying to keep its eyes on Porygon-Z, waiting to strike it! Even if it missed, the explosion from Earthquake would catch Porygon-Z either way. It didn’t float that high in the air to escape.
“Stop that thing!” I couldn’t think of any of Porygon-Z’s moves in the moment, taken aback by Kiwi’s strategy of attack.
Porygon-Z used Tackle and interfered with Arbok’s Earthquake.
“CHAAAARBOK!” Arbok screamed out as it was dropped.
Porygon-Z used Psybeam and Arbok screamed out painfully, weak to the Psychic attack.
Arbok dug its way underground, wiggling frantically like a worm.
Porygon-Z looked around with me, trying to figure out where Arbok would appear.
Hey, wait! I remembered suddenly.
The ground started to quake.
“Magnet Rise, Porygon-Z!”
Porygon-Z was outlined in yellow and it rose into the air as Arbok rose through the ground, higher, higher, but Porygon-Z ascended further, staying out of Arbok’s reach.
Arbok’s time in the air finally ended and it came back down to Earth with a hard landing.
“Thunder!” I pointed at the snake.
Porygon-Z faced the ground and tumbled in the air in place.
The black sky suddenly sparked with electricity.
Porygon-Z started to crackle with electricity. With a loud cry, it froze, facing Arbok, and fired a beam of lightning into the sky as the sky sparked even more brightly. Lightning fell back down onto Porygon-Z and lit it up brightly, and then a beam of lightning was released onto Arbok.
Arbok screeched helplessly, electrified.
Porygon-Z doved back down, the lightning in the sky ending.
Arbok remained still.
“I guess we win this one.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally.
Porygon-Z let out a happy cry, but then flinched in pain from the Poison, wavering in the air weakly.
“That was great, Arbok.” Kiwi returned her Pokemon and gave it a kiss. “Your Porygon-Z is on its last legs. ...Or whatever,” she sneered at me, snatching up her next Poke Ball. This was a Great Ball! “Onix, I choose you!”
Onix roared as it appeared from its Great Ball, towering almost as high as some of the buildings in the area, a frightening sight.
Onix. The Rock Snake Pokemon. This Pokemon can be very vicious towards people and other Pokemon in the wild. They can rotate any part of their body at a full 360 degrees.
“Use Tackle!” Kiwi started.
“Tri Attack!” I responded.
Porygon-Z was much faster and it used Tri Attack.
Three dots, one red, one yellow, and one blue, positioned by its head, made the points of a triangle. A white, transparent triangle formed between the dots and flew out at Onix, making contact.
It roared, hit as it was flying at Porygon-Z. Ice formed around its body and it collapsed, Frozen.
“YEAH!” I cheered.
“Cheap shot!” Kiwi complained. “Onix, get out of there!”
Onix remained Frozen.
“Just use Psybeam on it!”
Porygon-Z used Psybeam on the ice block.
Onix didn’t move as the block of ice surrounding it shimmered in a multicolored glow matching the beam’s color.
Kiwi continued urging her Onix to break free, but it didn’t budge.
Porygon-Z continued attacking the ice statue with Psybeam.
Finally, the ice smashed apart loudly and Onix let out a roar, falling to the ground, beaten.
“YEAH!” I couldn’t believe my luck! Two down! “Porygon-Z, you’re the best! We won!”
Porygon-Z spun happily in the air, and then immediately crashed to the ground. It let out a weak, defeated whine.
“Porygon-Z!” I gasped.
“Poison finally finished it off,” Kiwi said, holding out Onix’s Great Ball. “Thanks, Onix. At least you bought us time. Don’t worry.” She returned her Pokemon.
“Porygon-Z, you were nothing short of fantastic!” I exclaimed, returning it.
“Milotic, you’re up next!” Kiwi sent it out.
“Ivysaur, go!” I said, sending her out.
Milotic. The Tender Pokemon and the evolved form of Feebas. This Pokemon seems to possess some sort of psychic ability, having the power to calm those filled with negative emotions.
The familiar Pokemon, Milotic was absolutely breathtaking in its mesmerizing appearance. Its body was long and elegant, a serpentine figure with perhaps an almost mermaid-like ending of a pink and blue tail. It glimmered with the beauty of that which I’d never witnessed from any other Pokemon in my life.
“An Ivysaur,” Kiwi noted. “You have the type advantage, but we’ll see how far that gets you.” She focused on Ivysaur for a second. “What happened to it? It has a bandage on its head.”
I nodded, having honestly forgotten Ivysaur had that on her. “A rough battle with a Gym Leader. She’s okay, though. Right, Ivysaur?” I smiled at her.
Ivysaur’s face got nastier as she focused on Milotic.
“See? Just fine, ha,” I chuckled nervously.
Kiwi kept her focus on Ivysaur, her eyes tightening. She then looked up at me. “Whatever happened to Charmander?”
“Charizard,” I informed her. And stopped.
“Congratulations.” She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. It was obvious that she had just fallen deep in thought. Upon hearing about my Charizard, something inside of her was struck. Her lips quivered for a second as she seemed to be trying to handle some kind of internal pain.
I looked down at Ivysaur. Kiwi doesn’t know what’s happened, I remembered. She has no clue what’s happened between me, Robin, and Aly. She’s secluded herself completely after the loss of her Starter Pokemon, Pidgeotto... She’s only just begun to work over that horror. How can I even begin to tell her about Aly...?
Kiwi’s eyes opened. “Ice Beam, now!”
“Ivysaur, dodge it!”
Milotic fired a stream of ice at Ivysaur and Ivysaur leaped out of the way, growling at Milotic.
Ivysaur used Razor Leaf and hit Milotic, who cried out but shook off the attack.
Kiwi looked up at me. “Your Ivysaur attacked without being given orders,” she commented. “It’s not just Porygon-Z. This one doesn’t listen, either. You’re a poorer Trainer than I thought, Gary.”
My eyes filled up with tears and I looked down at Ivysaur who continued growling at Milotic. I looked up at Kiwi.
She squinted at me. “What’s wrong with you?”
I opened my mouth and tried to find the words.
“I guess it’s me and Milotic versus your Ivysaur since you can’t control it,” Kiwi said moodily. She opened her mouth to order an attack.
I returned Ivysaur to her Poke Ball without a word, and took a big gulp.
Kiwi stared at me in shock, which soon turned into anger. “What the hell are you doing, Gary?”
“Ivysaur is Aly’s,” I blurted out. I didn’t realize June was now so close to me, so when she gasped at what I said, I jumped in surprise and turned to face her.
Kiwi’s eyes widened in shock. “She... traded with you for Ivysaur?”
I hated having to go through this again. It was bad enough when I had to tell Robin. Now, it was my duty to tell Kiwi. I had to. “Kiwi,” I said, my eyes leaking tears.
Kiwi stood still as a statue and stared at me silently.
“Do you know who Team Solace is?” I asked shakily, trembling on the spot.
“Team... what?? No, Gary,” she replied impatiently, shaking her head. “Just tell me why you have Aly’s Ivysaur!”
“I am, Kiwi,” I said frightfully now. “Team Solace. They’re a group of sick minded people who believe that Pokemon are pure evil. They have a goal to kill off every Pokemon species in existence.”
“WHAT???” Kiwi screamed, her face utterly stunned.
“They have launched attacks against Pokemon already,” I continued, trembling harder, ready to puke. “They’ve also used Pokemon to kill people and launch attacks against humanity to show the world just how dangerous Pokemon can be. They’ve used Pokemon like Golem and Electrode and others who have moves to blow up to destroy buildings, and have threatened a lot of areas in other, similar manners involving Pokemon. They play off of the emotions of parents who have lost their children due to Pokemon to justify their actions. And it’s working. People are siding with them.”
“But... they’re causing these attacks???” Kiwi questioned frantically. “These people??”
“Yes!” I shouted back. “They’re causing the attacks. They’re launching terrorist attacks on the world using Pokemon to make a drastic point that supports their message!”
Kiwi stared at me with a look of disgust. She looked completely sick and furious at once. She didn’t say a word. Her head lowered as she shook her head. “I can’t believe this...” she uttered. “This can’t be possible...”
I stared at Kiwi for a while as she digested this disturbing news, trying to find room for me to bring up the final bit of information.
Kiwi bared her teeth and took several steps towards me, past her own Pokemon.
Her stopping a good distance off from me is why I didn’t start taking my own steps back.
“That group has to be stopped!” she growled. “I’ll never let them get away with this. There is no way I’d let a group of freaking mental cases like this get away with such evil. There is no way! How do we find these guys? What do they look like? Where were they seen last? TELL ME!”
“Kiwi, they’re not just out in the open to find,” I explained. “They could be anybody.”
“I’ve never heard of these kinds of people, but I dare one of them to try their crap in my presence!” Kiwi’s fists raised to her face, shaking with anger. I’d never seen Kiwi so livid in my life. She had every right to be.
I swallowed constantly while listening to Kiwi continue on her rant about Team Solace, trying to swallow the lump in my throat blocking me from telling Kiwi what I had to. I could feel June’s stare upon me.
She knew what I was trying to do.
I didn’t look back at June, but instead, I kept my eyes on Kiwi.
Kiwi was still cursing Team Solace, kicking at the ground, cursing at the skies.
I cleared my throat.
“Aly is dead.” The words tumbled out of my mouth. I knew I had to just say them. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. They just had to be said, once and for all.
Kiwi looked up at me blankly. She didn’t say a word.
I refused to speak, staring right back at her, holding back my tears, somehow.
We stared at each other for what I honestly believed had to have been at least an hour. No exaggeration.
“What?” she croaked.
I swallowed and forced the words out of my throat. “Aly was killed... by Team Solace,” I repeated.
Kiwi’s face looked completely drained. Whiter than chalk.
I didn’t say anything more.
“Solace?” Kiwi squeaked. “Killed her?”
Silence infiltrated the area around Kiwi, June, and I.
“Why...?” Kiwi said in so low a voice, I just barely heard it.
Swallowing once again, I managed, “She stood up against them. She stood up for the rights of Pokemon. And they killed her.” I couldn’t bare to go into any more detail than that. Something was coming up out of my throat, or maybe I imagined it, but I swallowed the feeling down anyway.
Kiwi didn’t say anything more. She stood silent, not taking her eyes off of me. After a long time, she blinked and seemed to come back to reality with me. “What the hell are you doing with her Ivysaur?” she asked weakly.
“Prof. Oak was taking care of Ivysaur,” I informed her. “She’s always been a pretty disobedient Pokemon, even with Aly, and Prof. Oak felt that maybe I would be the best Trainer for her, for now.”
Kiwi didn’t take her eyes off of me. She silently returned her Milotic, reaching behind her to do so. She kept her eyes on me the entire time.
I stared back, afraid, worried, concerned, shaking. I wanted to talk to Kiwi. I knew she was in so much pain hearing this, just as I was.
Kiwi wore a solemn, blank stare. She wasn’t crying, nor did she even appear sad. Or angry. It was as if she had been replaced by a wax figure without me knowing. She had to be hurting, holding back so much right now. Maybe she didn’t know how to react to this yet. Maybe she was just too numb to even move.
I had to be there for her. To help however I could. Inhaling deeply, my right foot rose and led the way, taking the first step. Despite freezing up at first, my left foot followed suit, moving me towards my friend. Wondering what I could possibly do or say for her, I continued walking towards Kiwi steadily, more energy and determination filling me up with each step until I finally reached her. This close, just a couple of feet away, I could see the shock and pain in her eyes more evidently. My arms spread open as I took another step. “Kiwi...” I licked my lips uncertainly. “I-I-”
In the blink of an eye, Kiwi pulled back her fist and socked me in the face.
My eyes closed and I fell hard, grunting from the blow. Before I could even open my eyes, before June had knelt down beside me to aide me, I heard Kiwi screaming angrily.
“WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO RAISE HER IVYSAUR!!! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! YOU BACKSTABBING, ROTTEN SCUMBAG!!!! YOU LOWDOWN, DIRTY BETRAYER!!!!” Kiwi kept ripping at me verbally.
I felt my blood running from my nose.
June was holding me up.
I was stunned by the hit and couldn’t focus, unable to see straight, my entire head throbbing. June pressed a rag against my bleeding nose as I watched Kiwi yell at me. There was nothing I could say.
Kiwi’s anger was completely justifiable.
There was nothing I had the right to say or do.
Kiwi cursed at me several times, screaming at me, letting out all of her rage. She spit at me, the glob landing on my coat. “You dirty piece of trash! You filthy slime ball! I’ll tear Team Solace limb from limb with my bare hands!! They’ll need a new team to destroy their real threat! ME!!!! I swear I’ll kill them all!! I swear it!! I’ll never forgive you for what you did!! How dare you accept ownership of Aly’s Pokemon!!” Kiwi gave me a final, dirty look and stormed away.
I watched Kiwi until she was out of sight.
June held me close, pressing the cloth to my nose tightly as I just laid against her.
I didn’t feel safe moving at all. I was petrified. If Kiwi had gone to the Pokemon Center to heal her Pokemon, I didn’t want to run into her, so I just remained on the ground with June. After a while, I grabbed the rag from June and kept it up against my nose. I pushed myself out of June’s arms and onto my feet, stumbling a little, catching my balance.
This is the life of a Pokemon Trainer, I thought to myself, June and I exchanging concerned stares. This is the pain and sacrifice we are subjected to. This is what we all always wanted. We just never knew it. Knowing this, would we have chosen this journey? I stared up into the starless sky, staring at the blackness all around. Was it worth it? I wondered, closing my eyes. My nose had finally stopped bleeding, so I walked over to a nearby trash can and dropped the bloody rag inside. I took a deep breath and let it out, and then silently led the way to the Pokemon Center.
As June and I arrived there, I noticed news crews were still around the area, laughing, talking, seeming so cheerful.
Police cars were still everywhere, Officer Jennys and male officers casually sitting inside of their cars or just hanging out in the area.
Entering the Pokemon Center, I carefully scanned the building as I approached the counter.
The building was slightly less full than the last time we were inside.
Kiwi didn’t appear to be here, either.
I reached Nurse Joy and gazed sadly into her beautiful face, placing my Poke Balls on the table. “Please, they could use a little rest.”
Nurse Joy gave me a gentle smile and nodded. “Of course,” she replied.
I nodded and managed to force a quick smile before turning back around and leaving the building. I leaned against the wall of the hospital and closed my eyes. All I could think about was Kiwi and how distraught she was right now, just as Robin had been when he heard about Aly.
Robin was possibly mourning over Aly at this very moment.
June came out the Pokemon Center a moment later and stood by me, not saying anything.
“Gary?” a voice called out.
An Officer Jenny was approaching me, running in her high heels.
She stopped in front of me and turned to June. “And you’re June, aren’t you? The ex-Gym Leader of Gringey City?”
June and I both nodded.
“We’ve been looking for you for questioning to see if you, June, or Kiwi knew anything about some recently discovered information we found while checking our surveillance cameras! We found something in the video recordings!” she said eagerly. “We’re not sure of who it is, but it definitely gives us answers as to what happened to the Machoke and Machamp!”
“Really??” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Um... Kiwi isn’t with us right now, but June and I can assist!”
“That’s fine! Come with me to the Police Department!” Officer Jenny urged.
Officer Jenny led the way as June and I ran after her. She led us to her police car and drove us to the Police Department. We followed her inside, past several other officers, and into a room in the back with a long table, chairs, and a flat screen TV high up on the wall. She closed the door as June and I entered. “We see what caused the Machoke and Machamp to attack. And we even have people on tape. But we don’t know who they are. Please, take a seat.”
June and I sat down in one of the chairs by the long table, June picking one chair, me choosing one across from her on the other side of the table, and we turned to the screen.
The black screen turned on and I could see a part of a forest.
“We have the routes leading in and out of Cloud City on surveillance,” Officer Jenny told us. “This is one of them.”
A very clear video displayed the forest. There was nothing to see at first, and after a few minutes, I felt confused staring at the boring footage. Suddenly, a Machoke and Machamp appeared onscreen, backing away from something. Six men were revealed after a couple of seconds, all dressed in casual jeans and a T-shirt, three holding large, semi-automatic rifles to the Pokemons’ faces, the other three holding enormous spears sparking with electricity.
Two more men suddenly stepped onto the clearing, both dressed in black suits.
I gasped in horror and stood up immediately, my chair toppling over, and walked over to the TV to get a closer view.
The new men walked over to the Machoke and Machamp, one on each Pokemon, and they knelt down, feeling around the Pokemons’ belts. The belts finally came undone and hit the floor, and all of the men backed away immediately, the two men in suits turning to run, all of the men now offscreen, as the two Pokemon appeared to scream and flex their muscles viciously. There was no sound on the video. Instantly, I could see their muscles bulging way out of proportion of a normal Machoke and Machamp now that they were freed from their restraints.
The Machoke and Machamp ran from out of the view of the camera angrily, chasing after the men.
The video froze.
I turned to Officer Jenny, trembling.
She held the remote in her hand. “We believe that the men escaped unharmed. We didn’t find any evidence of any of these men when we went to explore the area, so we believe that once the Machoke and Machamp were freed, the men got away. It was obviously planned. Gary, do you know anything?” Officer Jenny stared at me expectantly.
“Dave!” I spoke loudly.
“Excuse me?” Officer Jenny squinted at me.
“The Safari Zone Warden!” I screamed at her. “Dave! From Team Solace! Team Solace did this! It was Team Solace!”
Her eyes widened with a sharp gasp, horror taking over her pretty face. “We suspected Team Solace may be involved! Wait here!” Officer Jenny covered her mouth and ran out of the room quickly.
June stared at me in disbelief.
I stared back, mortified.
Team Solace had caused all of this.
Team Solace killed Machoke and Machamp and so many people in this city.
I had recognized Dave immediately. His wavy, greasy hair. His tall stature. His face as he turned to run away from the Machoke he unbuckled.
I’ll get them back for this no matter what it takes, I promised angrily, my heart beating faster. Next time we meet...