And Then There Were Two...
Raikou released a deafening roar, causing June, Kiwi, and I to cry out in fright.
Kiwi screamed even louder as both mine and June’s grip slipped and she went down, June and I just barely holding her up, my own arms shaking uncontrollably as I struggled not to lose my friend.
June turned to Raikou, fear clear in her eyes. “Raikou...” June whispered.
“June, I know that thing is right behind us, but we can’t let go of Kiwi!!” I yelled. “Please, pay attention!! We have to help Kiwi!!”
Kiwi yanked hard on June’s and my hand, pulling us down hard as we shouted out in surprise, Kiwi trying to force herself up to the edge of the cliff. “Don’t let go, you two!!” Kiwi begged. “Help me!!” With a loud grunt, June and I yanked as Kiwi pulled hard, her feet kicking up the side of the cliff to get herself to the surface. Finally, Kiwi landed sitting on the ground, gasping, and looked up at Raikou. She almost started to back up in fear as the beast growled, but froze instead.
June wrapped her arms around Kiwi and held her tight as they sat on the ground, cuddled up close, gazing at Raikou in terror.
I remained on my feet. We have to battle it, I realized.
“Gary, watch out!!” Kiwi begged. “It’s dangerous!! It attacked me as I was gazing out near the edge of the cliff. It just tackled me and I was thrown off! I just barely hung on while it was ready to attack me and drop me from here, but then you guys showed up and it ran away! Now it’s back!”
“I’ll battle this thing,” I said bravely, not taking my eyes off of the Pokemon. If I want to be the best Pokemon Trainer in the world, I have to beat the best Pokemon in the world. I can’t allow anything to beat me. No Pokemon. No Trainer. I reached for a Poke Ball.
“Wait, Raikou attacked you for no reason??” June asked.
“Yes!” Kiwi insisted.
Something in June’s voice as she asked that question made me turn to her for a second before turning back to Raikou.
The glance was just long enough to see June looking at Raikou, confusion on her face.
I grabbed a Poke Ball. She may be my best chance, I thought. “Ivysaur, I choose you!”
“Ivysaur!” Ivysaur growled. “Saur?” Ivy looked at the angry Raikou as it growled, staring down at her, its enormous teeth showing as one paw clawed at the ground slowly. Ivysaur growled back and pawed at the ground repeatedly.
Raikou let out a loud roar at Ivysaur.
Everyone gasped in shock at the tremendous noise.
Ivysaur even backed up a couple of steps, still growling.
“Ivysaur, put it to Sleep!” I ordered. “Sleep Powder!”
Ivysaur growled and ran at Raikou.
“IVYSAUR!” I called out in horror.
With another huge roar, Raikou flew out at Ivysaur with rapid speed.
“SAUR! SAUR! SAUR!” Ivysaur used Razor Leaf.
“Ivysaur, I said to use Sleep Powder!” I barked. “This isn’t the time for this! Come on! Please!”
Just before her attack hit Raikou, the raging Pokemon vanished! It reappeared in the next instant, right in front of Ivysaur, slamming into her. The Legend made contact with her injured forehead.
Ivysaur was forced back and tumbled. Growling, she got back to her feet, shaking her head, handling the impact.
“Ivysaur, we need to beat this thing together! Just listen to me!” I insisted. “Use Stun Spore, now!”
Ivysaur cried out angrily and ran forward, her body covered in a gold aura.
“Ivysaur, I didn’t say Double-Edge!”
Raikou stood calmly, watching my angry Ivysaur charge at it.
I was furious.
Ivysaur wasn’t listening, and this was definitely not one of the times for her attitude to take over and disobey me.
“IVYSAUR!! CUT IT OUT!!!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.
Ivysaur kept running, nearing Raikou.
Raikou’s eyes glowed gold and a multicolored beam fired out, hitting Ivysaur.
Ivysaur wailed out painfully as the Extrasensory attack lifted her into the air!
“Ivysaur!” I watched as she was lifted over my head.
Ivysaur was thrown back, screaming.
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!” I ran after her as fast as I could as she soared hard, heading towards the edge of the cliff!
June and Kiwi screamed as Ivysaur flew at them.
June let go of Kiwi and stood up as Kiwi watched with wide eyes. A determined look came over June’s face as I took my limited number of steps to chase after Ivysaur. She took a strong leap into the air, getting just high enough to grabbed Ivysaur’s front paws as my Pokemon soared over her head. June cried out as she grabbed Ivysaur, but the force of Ivysaur was taking June with Ivysaur as the front of June’s body went over the edge of the cliff!
“JUUUUNE!” I burst out.
“GOTCHA!” Kiwi leaped up and wrapped her arms around the bottom half of June. She gasped and stumbled a few feet closer to the edge of the cliff, unable to keep her balance as June and Ivysaur went over the edge!
“Kiwi!” I grabbed her by the shoulders as I reached her in time and pulled her back with all of my might.
Kiwi, June, and Ivysaur were pulled back on top of me. I groaned loudly as someone’s elbow dug into my stomach.
June was hugging Ivysaur in her arms, afraid to let go, her eyes closed while on top of Kiwi.
Kiwi turned to me, a scared look on her face. “Gary, you saved me!”
I nodded, breathing hard, desperate for them to get off of me.
June finally opened her eyes and turned around, shock on her face. She looked at me. “Gary.”
Raikou let out a roar, demanding attention.
The four of us got off of each other and stood up quickly, facing Raikou sternly.
“IVY!” Before I could turn around, Ivysaur had already gotten out of June’s hold and ran to Raikou, stopping in front of the vicious feline looking Pokemon.
“She knows how tough Raikou is,” June said, her voice trembling. “She doesn’t want to battle by immobilizing Raikou. She wants the fight to be fair. She’s going to keep on attacking, Gary.”
“Ivysaur, that’s enough!” I held out her Poke Ball. “Return!”
Ivysaur was returned and I placed her Poke Ball back on my belt. I need something that will listen to me, I thought. Something that can fight back. Something that will take a hit, too. Extrasensory is too strong. Primeape can fight, but a Psychic move might be too much for him.
Raikou growled and its voice erupted into a huge roar that made my ears ring.
I covered my ears with my hands, not looking away from Raikou as June and Kiwi cried out.
Raikou suddenly charged at us!
I froze, unable to think of what I should do.
There was no place to run. June, Kiwi, and I were in plain sight.
I started trembling hard and finally grabbed a Poke Ball. “CHARIZAAAAAARD!! HEEEEEEELLLP!” My arm pulled back. I was bumped over to the side as something moved quickly past me. “JUNE!”
“June!” Kiwi called out at the same time.
June ran forward and stepped up to Raikou, her arms outstretched.
Raikou slammed into June.
June screamed as she was taken down, slamming down hard.
Raikou stood on top of her, growling over her, its face inches from her’s.
June’s eyes were closed tight in pain. Slowly, she opened them and stared up at Raikou. “Raikou...” she groaned.
Raikou cried out loudly, its jaws wide enough to snap off June’s head in one quick bite.
June closed her eyes and swallowed.
Raikou’s jaws closed as it looked down at her, breathing hard, threateningly.
To my surprise, June reached up her shaking hands and placed them gently on Raikou’s front paws which sat on her shoulders.
Raikou screamed angrily the instant she touched it and the thundercloud on its back sparked with electricity, soon followed by Raikou’s entire body.
June burst into a powerful yell as she was electrocuted.
“JUUUUNE!!” I gripped my Poke Ball tighter, ready to throw it as I gritted my teeth in fury.
June collapsed flat when the attack ended. She coughed and stirred quickly after, looking up at Raikou. Her hair was standing up on end. Her hands remained on the beast’s paws. June’s hands rubbed Raikou’s paws as she looked at it with firm eyes. “What happened, Raikou?” she asked shakily.
This question caught me off guard. It came out of nowhere. I wasn’t even sure if I had heard June correctly. Was she aware of what she had just said? Had the attack from Raikou jolted her brain?
Raikou roared again and the Electric attack that shocked June this time looked even more intense than the last.
June wailed out even louder.
I glared at Raikou, still holding Charizard’s Poke Ball in my tight fist. What does she think she’s doing? She’s going to get killed at this rate! I have to help her. I raised Charizard’s Poke Ball and pointed it at Raikou.
Raikou looked up at me and growled.
“HEY!” June spoke strongly. “I’m over here, Raikou!”
Raikou looked down at June furiously.
June looked back at me and glared. “Butt out, Gary! This has nothing to do with you! Leave Raikou alone!”
My mouth dropped in disbelief.
I lowered my Poke Ball slowly, confused.
June turned back to Raikou, softness coming over her expression. “Raikou...” she said gently.
Raikou shocked June once again with an Electric move.
June screamed intensely, her eyes closed even after the attack ended. She didn’t move.
“June!” I called out. “What are you doing?”
She didn’t respond.
Raikou stared at June silently for a moment. It sniffed her.
June remained still.
“June??” I cried out shrilly.
Raikou looked up at me and lifted a paw, heading towards me.
June’s hands that still sat on Raikou’s paws tightened.
Raikou gasped and looked down at June, completely shocked.
I gasped, dying to call out to June, but the words were caught in my throat. I swallowed. “June,” I could barely manage to whisper.
“Raikou, talk to me,” June begged, her voice sounding weak, her eyes still closed. “What’s wrong? What happened? Tell me!”
Raikou’s thunder cloud sparked again.
“If you want to attack me, then do it!” June challenged. “My name is June. I’m the ex-Gym Leader of Gringey City. I raise Electric type Pokemon. If you want to kill me, then you better hit me with a much better attack than that. Your Thunder Shocks and Thunderbolts are cute, but I’ve been through worse with my Electivire. I’m going to help you, even if it kills me! Now, TELL ME WHAT’S WRONG!!!”
Raikou’s thunder cloud stopped sparking.
My mouth had hit the floor as I gaped at June. I’d never seen her like this before.
Raikou stared at June silently.
June stared back, her breathing struggled as she looked into Raikou’s eyes.
My heart beating, my body trembling, made standing a struggle. My legs wobbled hard underneath me, but I maintained my balance.
June’s grip on Raikou’s paws tightened.
Raikou continued to stare at June, not moving or making a sound.
Are they communicating somehow? I wondered. If Raikou can use Extrasensory, then it must have some level of Psychic powers. I remembered communicating with Sabrina’s Kadabra back in Saffron City when he had shown me Sabrina’s life just by staring me in the eyes for a long time. We had silently been communicating telepathically. Is this what was going on between June and Raikou?
Raikou’s thunder cloud suddenly sparked again.
June rubbed Raikou’s paws slowly. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” June repeated. “It’s going to be okay. Please, just talk to me. Tell me what happened. Why are you so mad? Why did you attack Kiwi?”
Raikou roared and lightning fired from its thunder cloud.
The bolt hit the sky above. The sky darkened on impact and the clouds above flashed lightning threateningly. Thunder rumbled loudly, making me jump.
I gazed up at the sight in horror. It can’t be... I feared. Please, no.
Kiwi was on the ground in the same spot, curled into a ball, shaking terribly, looking up at the sky fearfully.
June continued to rub Raikou’s paws. “It’s okay. It’s okay. Stay with me, Raikou. Just relax. Tell me what’s wrong. Raikou, you have to tell me!”
Raikou’s head lifted to the skies and it roared again, a flash of lightning igniting the sky fantastically, and with a tremendous BOOOOOOOOOM of thunder, a single beam of lightning came down and struck Raikou with a Thunder attack, shocking June.
“JUNE!!” I took a couple of steps forward, furiously wiping at the tears clouding my view.
Kiwi called out helplessly.
June’s shriek was terrifying. Her back arched as she fingers dug into Raikou’s paws, her eyes closed tight.
I have to help her! I thought, and stared at Charizard’s Poke Ball. I can’t allow her to die right in front of my eyes while I do nothing. I won’t! This will not happen again!
Aly gasped loudly.
She collapsed on her side.
Gasping desperately for air, her eyes stared straight up to the ceiling as she coughed up blood all over herself.
Aly’s eyes gleamed with tears as she looked back at me, shivering and coughing up blood everywhere, splattering my shirt.
“Gary,” she managed. Her arm shot up and grabbed mine. She squeezed me hard as she began to shake even harder, blood splattering everywhere.
“Aly.” I was about to toss Charizard’s Poke Ball, but June stopped screaming and her eyes opened, causing me to freeze.
June’s eyes narrowed at Raikou.
Raikou let out a loud, shocked cry. With an angry roar, it shocked June with all it had in it.
June’s eyes tightened, her teeth baring at Raikou. “Raikou, please,” she groaned somehow. “I’m not going to harm you. I want to know why you’re so mad. I have to know. I love you. I love all Electric type Pokemon. I love... Pokemon. I can understand you, if you’ll let me, Raikou. Please.”
Raikou stared into June’s eyes, amazed at her resilience.
June painfully struggled to focus back at Raikou.
It may have just been my eyes, but it seemed like Raikou’s Electric attack had eased on June. Raikou and June were both enveloped in a less intense blast of yellow.
The sky above looked less threatening as the darkness slowly gave way to white clouds and a blue sky, lightening no longer flashing, thunder nowhere to be heard.
Raikou kept its glare on June, growling in a low voice, its face so close to hers.
June stared hard at Raikou, not moving.
I watched, breathless, afraid of what might happen next.
Raikou and June remained silent aside from the very low, constant growling Raikou did without pausing to take a breath.
The Electric shock around Raikou and June finally faded.
Raikou stopped growling, but didn’t move off of June.
June didn’t stop looking into Raikou’s eyes.
Suddenly, Raikou slowly backed off of June.
June slowly sat up, not taking her eyes off of Raikou, that serious, perhaps angry, look remaining on her face. She took a slow, deep breath, and then let it out. Rage slowly came over her often friendly, welcoming face.
“June?” I asked shakily.
June sparked with electricity as she stared past me, letting off whatever electricity was flowing through her from Raikou’s attacks. She walked right past me and over to Kiwi.
“June! What’s going on here?” Kiwi asked with worry.
Raikou continued to watch June silently, not moving.
What is it doing? I wondered, turning back to June.
As June got closer to Kiwi, now just a few feet away, she pulled back an arm and slapped Kiwi across the face!
I gasped from both the loud noise the slap made, and the action itself.
Kiwi nearly dropped as she grabbed the spot where she was hit. She looked up at June as if her head had split in two. “What-?!”
“Don’t you play dumb with me!” June shoved Kiwi back hard.
Kiwi stumbled back and tripped close to the edge.
June stormed forward after Kiwi, who looked up in fear at June, backing up further.
“STOP!” I ran up to June, holding her back.
“GARY!!! GET OFF OF ME!!!” June broke free from my tight grip. She charged at Kiwi and got on top of her. June slapped Kiwi’s face repeatedly with one hand while her other hand grasped Kiwi’s face and held it down, squeezing hard, digging her nails into Kiwi’s face.
Kiwi looked up at June, crying and begging for her to stop, confused and terrified.
June’s slaps turned into punches, and Kiwi blocked her face with her arms, begging for help.
“JUNE, HAVE YOU LOST IT??!!!” I angrily yanked her off of Kiwi. “What has gotten into you?!?!”
“SHE TRIED TO ATTACK RAIKOU!!!!” June struggled in my arms, making it incredibly difficult to hold onto her.
Kiwi gasped, her face scratched up and bruised.
“SHE TRIED ATTACKING RAIKOU!!! RIGHT HERE!!!” June accused Kiwi. “SHE TRIED TO KILL RAIKOU!!! SHE ATTACKED RAIKOU RIGHT HERE, ON THE EDGE OF THIS CLIFF!!!!”
Kiwi was trembling now, looking completely taken back by this accusation. “I would never...”
“YOU LYING LITTLE-!!!!” June screeched.
“JUNE!” I pleaded, struggling to keep her from breaking free and attacking Kiwi. “Please, don’t do this!!”
“June, is that what that... thing told you?!” Tears flowed down Kiwi’s face.
With a loud shriek, June struggled in my arms even harder.
“JUNE! STOP!” I struggled. “Just take a second to listen!! Look at her!!”
Kiwi was shaking and crying hard, pleading at June with her eyes.
“Why would she try to do that to a Pokemon?!” I reasoned. “She loves Pokemon!” Normally, I would believe anything June said about what she believed a Pokemon had told her, but this was just completely impossible! There was no way Kiwi would ever do something like that!
“Raikou told me!” June breathed hard, her murderous eyes on Kiwi. “I know what you did! Raikou wouldn’t lie!” “Maybe she was just trying to capture it,” I suggested.
Kiwi shook her head. “No,” she insisted. “I wasn’t! It just tried to attack me as I was gazing out over this cliff! I didn’t even see it coming! June, I’m being honest! I’m a Pokemon Trainer! I’d never, ever try to harm a Pokemon! I love Pokemon, June. Please believe me!”
“NO!” June was now struggling less in my arms as she began to wear herself out.
“June, maybe Raikou did start it! Remember Haunter in Saffron City? And I’ve seen a lot of Pokemon get really upset and attack for little reason before, June! It happens sometimes! They can be unpredictable!”
I recalled the Houndoom that had attacked me when traveling with Kai to Celadon City.
The Trapinch who had attacked me on the beach.
The Whiscash that followed me on the beach.
The Hypno who kidnapped the children.
“June, please think about this,” I said as she stopped struggling, breathing hard in my hold. “Kiwi would never do that to a Pokemon. This is just be some big misunderstanding.”
“No,” June growled, still angry. “You didn’t hear Raikou’s words to me. You don’t understand. I know-”
A loud snarl made the three of us look behind us. We all gasped as Raikou slowly stepped closer to us.
Raikou’s thunder cloud sparked with electricity again, and a bolt of lightning shot out from it and hit the sky.
“It’s using Thunder again!” I exclaimed.
The sky darkened and lightning flashed across it, thunder exploding loudly, making the ground quiver very slightly.
I leaped from the loud noise and covered my ears, June and Kiwi screaming.
Raikou roared to the sky and a beam of lightning fell and hit it.
“GARY, WATCH OUT!” Jun leaped at me, tackling me down and out of the way as Raikou used Thunder.
I gasped and forced June off of me, June gasping from my hard push, and I turned to Kiwi.
Raikou’s Thunder zapped Kiwi!!
“KIWIIIII!!” I jumped up to my feet.
Raikou’s Thunder attack ended, and the skies returned to their normal blue again, the thunder fading with one final, low rumble.
Kiwi was on her back, half of her body hanging over the edge of the cliff, sparking with electricity, shaking a little with each spark.
“KIWI!” I ran to her side and grabbed her, pulling her entire body onto the surface. “YAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!” A jolt from Kiwi as she sparked uncontrollably again caught me and I fell back, landing on my back. Shaking my head, I managed to sit up and turned to see June staring at Kiwi with disgust.
Raikou growled at Kiwi.
Kiwi was lying quietly on the ground, her eyes open, not moving aside from a spark of occasional electricity that lit her up momentarily, making her shiver.
I turned back to Raikou. I won’t let it harm Kiwi any further, I thought strongly, getting to my feet and facing Raikou.
Raikou looked up at me.
“If you want to get to her, you’ll have to get through me!” My eyes narrowed on the opposing Pokemon. “You’ll have to kill me!!”
“Gary!” June cried.
Raikou growled and lowered itself down, ready to attack me.
I heard the siren.
June turned towards the noise.
I looked for the location of the sound.
Raikou turned around. It turned back to me, growling. The Legend turned to June and stared at her. With a grunt, it turned and took an enormous, incredibly high leap into the air, landing and disappearing into the trees beyond.
I didn’t see Raikou again.
The loud siren got closer, and finally, I saw flashing red lights and the roar of an engine from the motorcycle of an Officer Jenny.
“Officer Jenny!” I let out.
Her motorcycle stopped sideways, kicking up dust, and she got off of it, taking off her helmet. She removed her dark sunglasses and glanced around in shock. “What is going on here?” she asked.
I was covered in dirt and looked a mess.
June did as well, her hair standing on end.
Kiwi was stuck on her back, shaking and sparking, her eyes wide open, her mouth agape.
“KIWI!” I turned to Officer Jenny. “We were attacked by a Raikou!”
“No!” June demanded, stepping up. “This girl needs to be put under arrest for trying to harm a Pokemon!” June pointed at the helpless Kiwi.
“Oh, my goodness!” Officer Jenny ran to Kiwi and kneeled down beside her. She reached out to touch Kiwi, but Kiwi sparked again, and Officer Jenny backed up. She turned to June and I with a serious look. “She’s paralyzed. And severely. This could turn permanent if we don’t get her to a hospital immediately.”
June and I exchanged glances.
Officer Jenny turned back to the speechless Kiwi and waited. After Kiwi sparked again, Officer Jenny quickly scooped her up into her arms and ran over to her motorcycle, placing Kiwi in the sidecar. She turned to us. “There isn’t enough room for you two, but you can find her at Cloud City. It’s the closest and best hospital for this type of situation. It’s a while away from here, though.” She got on her motorcycle and turned to June and I again. “Did you say a Raikou did this?”
“Yes!” I answered.
“It was her own damn fault!” June insisted.
Officer Jenny looked at June for a moment. She silently pulled on her helmet and sunglasses, and in the next moment, she was driving away from us, dust clouding the air.
June and I stood in silence as we watched Officer Jenny disappear.
Internally, my body was a wildfire at both Raikou and June. I turned to her angrily. “Were you trying to kill Kiwi???” I demanded.
June didn’t look at me. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, an angry look on her face. “No.”
“Well, you almost shoved her right off the FREAKING CLIFF!! What the HELL is wrong with you?!”
“I just wanted to beat her about half to death!” June replied. She turned around to me, matching my anger. “I KNOW WHAT RAIKOU TOLD ME!!! I BELIEVE RAIKOU!!! If you had seen what I did, you’d understand! You don’t understand at all, Gary! But I do!”
“Kiwi would never, ever, do that!! I believe Kiwi, not Raikou! There’s just no way Kiwi would do that!”
“Raikou wouldn’t lie!!”
“What makes Raikou so innocent that Kiwi has to be found guilty?!!”
June glared at me, shaking her head. “What didn’t you understand about what I said, Gary?” June asked. “You didn’t see what I saw. You didn’t hear what I heard. You’d never understand!”
I just glared at June, not saying a word, unable to think of anything to say. I suddenly had an idea and pulled out my Pokedex.
Raikou. The Thunder Pokemon. Raikou are said to fire lightning from the rain clouds on their backs. They are said to have descended with lightning. Due to centuries of humans trying to capture them, they are very distrustful of humans.
I looked up at June. “SEE?!” I shouted at her angrily, waving my Pokedex in the air. “They don’t like humans!! No wonder it attacked Kiwi! No wonder it told you whatever nonsense it did! It attacked you, too!!”
“I earned Raikou’s trust!! We communicated!! What you don’t get is that Raikou could’ve killed me in one good shot!! Raikou restrained the attacks used on me! If Raikou wanted to kill me, it wouldn’t have been a problem at all, but Raikou didn’t. A Pokemon with that good of a heart is not out shoving innocent girls off of cliffs, Gary!”
“It paralyzed Kiwi!”
“KIWI TRIED TO KILL RAIKOU!! A blast of Thunder is nothing compared to that!! Raikou could’ve killed her without a problem! RAIKOU DIDN’T!! Kiwi is still alive!”
“What if she does die?”
“She was alive,” June spoke lower, hesitantly. “She’s paralyzed. She deserved a beating. If I see her again, I’m giving her just that.”
“You’re not touching Kiwi,” I growled. I walked past her, heading downhill, not being able to look at June any longer, feeling I may totally lose it on her. I walked in silence for a while before I heard the hurried footsteps coming from behind me.
“What if Raikou is right?”
I didn’t reply.
I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t sure how to respond. If Raikou was right... I shook my head. “NO!” I shouted and ran away from June.
“Gary!” June ran faster to reach me.
We both ran in a race of sorts.
I ran, angrily trying to get away from June.
I ran, angrily trying to get away from the possibility that June demanded an answer from me about.
I knew Kiwi was innocent.
I knew Raikou had attacked her without any doubt in my mind.
Thinking otherwise was completely out of the question.
I ran from something else I knew.
There was a chance, whether Kiwi survived her attack from Raikou or not, that I may never see her compete in another Pokemon competition again.
There was the chance that Kiwi’s journey had just been permanently cut short.
If so, that left only me.