“I can’t believe I’m back in Viridian Forest.” I gazed around cautiously, not wanting to move any further but not wanting to wait around and run into something unwanted.
“It must not be a very fond memory.” June had her eyes on me as we walked. “The last time you were here was when your journey was just beginning.”
“Yeah,” I shuddered. “The last time I was here, I was nearly done for by a gang of Beedrill.”
“The girl with her Butterfree saved you the first time you got the Beedrill all riled up, right?” June asked in a lower, suddenly moody voice.
I nodded, not looking at her, focused on keeping watch for bugs. “She came at the last second and put them all to sleep with her Butterfree. Then, after she left, the Beedrill came back, and Charmander was the one to save me. That was when he came back.”
June’s eyes burned against the side of my head.
“Well, no need to stick around, right?” I asked impatiently, picking up my pace.
“Hey, Gary.” June walked faster to keep up with me. “Why are you so afraid of bugs?”
“I just don’t like them,” I spoke shortly.
“Yes, but why is that? Did something happen to you once? You’ve never really explained your fear. Not to me, at least. Not that I remember.”
An impatient shot of air came from my nostrils and I narrowed my eyebrows. “I’m pretty sure I have. Back in preschool, I went to use the bathroom, and I could’ve sworn there was a giant bee, a Beedrill, on the wall. I ran out screaming at the top of my lungs, but when the teacher went in, all she saw was a little regular sized bee. No Beedrill at all. That’s pretty much all I remember. It’s the earliest encounter with bugs I can recall. Since then, I never liked any insects.”
June didn’t speak as I walked even quicker, hearing grass rustling to the side of me. “And yet, you’re not solely afraid of Beedrill, but of all bugs...” June said thoughtfully. “But why would one encounter with a Beedrill make you afraid of every bug out there?”
“I really don’t care,” I mumbled.
“Then again, maybe it is logical,” June continued. “Maybe you’re relating every bug to Beedrill in some kind of subconscious way.”
I glared at June from out the corner of my eye. Now she’s just talking out of her rear end, I thought. What does she think she is now? A psychiatrist? She probably doesn’t even know the meaning of the word “subconscious.”
“Preschool. That’s a while ago. You were only but a little baby.” June smiled at me.
I ignored her and tried to leave her behind as I moved.
“Have you had any other moments like that involving bugs?” June prodded, trying hard to keep up.
I sighed. “No.”
“I’m sorry, Gary. Am I being too nosy?”
I slowed down and quickly stopped, frowning as I glanced down at the ground. “No, June.” I took a deep breath and released it. “I just don’t like talking about nasty bugs, okay?”
“Okay, Gary. I understand. I’m sorry.”
At that, we proceeded through the clear path of the forest.
“Every time I’ve ever encountered a bug has almost always been a terrifying experience for me,” I told June. “I don’t really know where it stems from. I don’t truly care. I just do not like bugs. Bug Pokemon, and regular bugs in general. They all just disgust me. And that’s that.”
Neither of us spoke, my final sentence seeming to have put an end to the discussion.
Birds chirped from above. Creatures moved through the grass, out of sight.
The mix of heavy, thick air with the sun above beaming strongly down on me was absolutely miserable, sweat running down the side of my right cheek. I wiped at it, my palm removing the long drop, the tips of my fingers under my cap, rubbing into the wet hair on the side of my head. I knew my hat wasn’t keeping me any cooler, but I preferred wearing it despite that. I did seriously consider removing my jacket, though.
We reached a tree that stood right in the middle of the path. It looked as if beyond it, the path was split into several different directions.
I looked down each path, unsure of where to go from here. Viridian Forest is so easy to get lost in, I thought. Where do we go from here?
“Where do you think we should go?” June asked.
I stared silently at the paths, thinking of what the best course of action would be. “Let’s just take any path,” I shrugged. “It took maybe a day to get out of here the last time. We don’t have a lot of time to waste, so let’s just try one.” I led the way down a path laid out on our left.
June followed without hesitation or argument.
The silence accompanying our walk was broken by my loud gasp as I stopped in shock.
June gasped at what I was staring at.
“Wurmple,” a little Wurmple calmly said, slithering along the ground by the path.
“Ew... A Wurmple.” She snickered.
I watched the creepy insect crawl along ahead of us, close to the grass lining the dirt path, advancing slowly.
Wurmple. The Worm Pokemon. This easy target for birds uses the tail on its end to leak poison as a defense against predators. What a Wurmple will evolve into is essentially random, either becoming a Silcoon, or a Cascoon.
Wurmple paid no mind to me or June and continued sliding along.
June and I watched in silence.
Catch it, I told myself. Just like you caught a Weedle and Metapod early in your journey. Overcome your fear and be a Pokemon Master. Catch all the Pokemon in the world. All one thousand of them. Come on! I yelled these words in my head, but my body refused to move.
Wurmple reached a tree and started to slither up it. After a number of slow minutes, it disappeared into the leaves.
June and I remained silent, staring after where the Wurmple disappeared.
I grudgingly moved ahead. I didn’t even attempt to catch it, I thought angrily. I’m just as pathetic as I’ve ever been.
Something fell from the tree as I stormed past, grabbing my attention, and I turned around. “Ugh!”
A Caterpie looked up at me.
June stopped just a few inches from it and cried out.
Go away. I started to turn away from it.
June backed up quickly, the sound of her steps causing Caterpie to look behind it.
Caterpie let out a cry and slithered over to June.
June screamed loudly and backed up.
“June! Shut up!” I warned. “You’ll awaken the Beedrill here.”
“Then catch this thing, Gary!” June insisted.
“I already own a Butterfree,” I replied, pulling out my Pokedex.
Caterpie. The Worm Pokemon. Caterpie eat nearly constantly to fulfill their nutritional needs. They use their antennae to release a horrible smell to defend themselves from predators.
“Then battle him! Get this thing away from me!” June screamed.
“June, if you don’t keep your big mouth shut, Caterpie is gonna be the least of your worries,” I whispered.
June clasped her hands over her mouth and whimpered.
“Just read it and see what it wants from you,” I suggested.
June lowered her hands slowly, eyeing Caterpie.
Caterpie made a funny little cry repeatedly as it got closer to June.
“He wants to be my friend,” June whispered.
“Okay, so what’s the problem?”
“I don’t want to be his friend,” June grumbled angrily. “I don’t like bugs.”
“I thought you liked all Pokemon.”
“Gary!” June hissed. “Get rid of him.”
“You have Pokemon. You battle him.”
“Hmph. Fine. Be that way.” June remained standing as she opened her bag and reached inside, quickly pulling out a Poke Ball. “Eevee, get rid of that Bug!”
“Veeeee!” Eevee popped from her Poke Ball and immediately Tackled Caterpie.
Caterpie cried out in shock and flew into the grass.
“Let’s go, Eevee!” June urged, running past her Pokemon, past me, and kept on moving.
Eevee ran after her, and I followed quickly behind them.
After running for just a couple of minutes, we grew tired from the heat and stopped.
June turned to Eevee. “Thanks, baby. Return!”
Eevee happily went back inside of her Poke Ball.
June and I faced each other and glared. Our mouths opened at once to go at each other.
Out of nowhere, a creepy, undeniable from the fluttering of its wings, BUG, flew right in between our faces, the air from its wings hitting my face!
June and I screamed and fell back. We looked after the huge insect as it vanished into the forest.
Heracross. The Single Horn Pokemon. Heracross love to live in forest areas where they can suck sap from trees. This peaceful Pokemon is known for preferring peace over violence.
“I’m about down with this place!” I jumped up strongly and stormed through the path.
“Agreed,” June added. “Let’s just get out of here already!”
Together, we kept our eyes out for more bugs that littered this place. Grass rustled at all times. Movements around us took place constantly.
“Maybe Galvantula can get us out us here quicker,” June said suddenly. “She’s a Bug, after all. I bet she could protect us and find a fast path out of here.”
“No!” I said firmly, grabbing her wrist. “Keep that thing in the Poke Ball. We’ll find our way out in no time.”
June looked down at my hand and returned back to me.
Our eyes were glued uncomfortably to each other, and June’s face started to darken red.
I let go of her and swallowed, squinting at her.
“Gary, I really don’t like this place. Bugs are not my favorite type of Pokemon, so I can kind of understand your fear, but you have a complete phobia of them. It’s different from my mere, slight... lack of preference of some Bugs. Actually, I didn’t even realize that was a Heracross. I think those Bugs are awfully adorable. And they’re really strong, too. I actually wouldn’t mind catching one, to be honest...” June stared back where we walked from.
“Well go ahead and catch it. I’m getting out of this place. I don’t have time for this. The Pokemon League is coming up soon.”
“I’m not gonna chase after it, Gary. Geez. Let’s get out of here. Viridian City can’t be much further from here.”
I nodded and lead the way. A buzzing noise perked my ears. I gasped and looked around.
“Combee!” June said, staring towards the buzzing noise.
From out of nowhere, the buzzing bee Pokemon appeared all around the forest, hovering around trees, floating over flowers, making a buzzing noise that was making my skin crawl and driving me insane!
My hands rubbed along my arms, face, chest and stomach as I panicked from the sound that disgusted me so.
Combee. The Tiny Bee Pokemon. They typically flee when threatened, only fighting to protect the queen, never disobeying her orders.
The Combee around the area were in different numbers, some stacking as high as only three, while others were a collective group of about ten or more.
My body was trembling uncontrollably.
“It’s kind of pretty, you know?” June said, smiling at the surrounding scene.
Combee... I thought. Melissa...
A group of Combee from close by were glaring at me and June with glowing red eyes and began to buzz loudly. The bees flew at us, making us gasp.
“Gary, we have to move!” June yanked my arm as she ran.
I ran with her, naturally wanting to get away from the Bugs, but something about the way June was pulling me made me fear that something much more serious was going on. “June, what’s wrong?” A huge buzz from behind me made me turn my head.
All of the Combee were flying after us now! Their eyes were all glowing red with fury.
“What’s happening??” I shouted in horror. “OW!” Something bit right into my neck and I swatted at it with my free hand. I smacked a Combee from my neck, hearing it cry out. “They’re attacking us!”
“I know! That’s why I said we have to go!” June told me.
“But why are they attacking?”
“I didn’t have time to read that much! I just read the danger and knew we had to move it!” June stumbled.
“NO!” I yanked her forward with the arm she was still holding me by, forcing her to her feet as I pulled her after me, now.
A sudden gust of wind from behind us blew powerfully and we were forced forward at rapid speed. We screamed as the wind blew us helplessly as we tried to keep running straight, but we were blown against our will and we took a quick turn to the left. We both stumbled into a thicket of bushes and collapsed. The sound of buzzing bees was heard clearly in the area, and June and I stayed still on the ground.
The Combee sounded like they were everywhere.
Can they see us? I wondered. How long will they look for us? What do they want from us?
After what seemed to be a very long time of us not moving, the sound of the Combee ended, the forest now only carrying the sound of other insects and scurrying.
I slowly stood up and helped June to her feet.
June’s face had several smudges of dirt on it, but she still looked surprisingly cute as she stared into my eyes in fear. “One of them used Gust,” she told me. “If it weren’t for that, we may have been on the menu.”
“But, why?” I wondered out loud.
“They’re furious about something.” Her head shook. “I’m not sure what, but our best bet is to just get out of here. Using Gust was an accident. It was meant to trip us up, not help us escape. We got completely lucky.”
“Then let’s move it!”
June and I looked around.
Where are we? I wondered, rubbing my bitten neck. The bite hurt. I turned my head side to side. After that Gust, and all that running, it’s not clear what direction we should be heading in next.
“Where should we go, Gary?”
I didn’t respond, trying to think of an answer.
The return of the buzzing noise made me gasp and whip around.
June gasped right after me.
“We’re near their hive!” I realized.
June turned to me in surprise. “What?”
“They chased us from the opposite direction they’re flying in now, so...” I thought hard.
“Gary?” June was confused by what I was saying. And how I knew it.
“This way!” I grabbed June’s hand and pulled her down the path, making a left turn as soon as we were on the open path again.
The swarm of Combee were flying right for us.
“Gary, what are you doing??”
“Just come on!” I forced her, and myself, into the oncoming bees!
They flew into and past us, their wings buzzing right in my ear!
Almost there! I urged myself through them. It won’t be long now!
June shrieked as the Combee buzzed at her and she frantically started swatting back at them.
“We’ll be safe in a moment!” I promised. “Just stop screaming and attacking them or we’re dead!!”
June ducked her head and kept running, trying hard not to scream.
Shortly, the buzzing ceased and finally came to an end.
My running eventually came to a stop.
June kept running, but I held onto her and pulled her back.
“Ow!!” she let out as she sharply came back a couple of feet towards me. Her eyes went from me to the sky.
I also turned back and looked up.
The Combee were all gone.
“We’re out of the range of their hive,” I breathed heavily. “We’re safe now.”
“Gary.” June swallowed and took a moment to catch her breath. “H-h-how...? How did you know?” She held a look of amazement.
I breathed hard as I stared at her, not answering, waiting for my heart to slow down. I got tired of waiting and decided to speak. “Melissa.”
June’s eyes widened and then squinted in confusion. “Huh...?”
“Melissa,” I repeated.
“Your... sister?” June asked, completely lost.
I nodded. “Combee...” I paused, swallowing and still trying to get my breathing straight. “They’re her favorite Pokemon.”
June’s eyes turned to show sadness as she stared at me. “Gary.”
“My sister wasn’t afraid of Bug Pokemon,” I went on. “She liked them a lot.” I took a long, deep breath. June continued to stare at me as I walked past her, my eyes firmly on the path ahead.
“Gary, are you okay?” June asked, walking after me.
My eyes were filled with tears. My answer was a sharp sniffle, followed by a deep inhale which was released through my mouth.
Her gentle, light blue eyes stared out of me from my memory, her straight black hair shining. Her small lips were turned up into a caring smile I missed so much. “Gary, I’m off to become the best Pokemon Trainer in the world. I look forward to the day you and I battle for the ultimate title. I’ll be seeing you soon.” I could feel her last hug she ever gave me, followed by a gentle kiss on my cheek, which I reluctantly returned.
Melissa and her Starter Pokemon, Bulbasaur, headed off to Route 1 as me and mom waved her off with the rest of Pallet Town, including Robin, Kiwi, and Aly.
Against my will, I whimpered, trying to cover it up with coughs and clearing my throat as I wiped at my nose, trying to secretly swipe at my eyes and the tears falling from them. I exhaled strongly from my nose, taking control over myself. “She always taught me about Bug type Pokemon,” I said in a low, but strong voice. “She said if I let my fear of Bugs overwhelm me, I’d never be a Pokemon Master. I hated when she’d tell me about those disgusting Bugs, but she refused to let me leave the room. She’d lock the door to her room, and she was so much stronger than me. I guess it’s because she was older. Taller and everything. Honestly, she was just plain a good fighter. There was nothing I could do against her. She was just so damn determined to get me to accept Bugs. I now know it’s because she cared. I always knew she cared, but now, I can understand it better, being on this journey. We promised we’d both be the greatest Trainers in the world. She didn’t want my fear of Bug Pokemon to be a hindrance for me, so she taught me so much about them. She even went as far as making out a quiz for me once. I failed it because I didn’t care about Bugs. I didn’t even try. I just wanted to raise anything else but Bug types. I wanted to be a Pokemon Master without having any encounters with that one type.” Even though I had gone silent, June didn’t have anything to say. I didn’t even bother to look over at her. “Combee’s her favorite Pokemon,” I recalled. “She had Combee pictures all around her room and drew them all the time. One of many things I remember from Melissa is about Combee. I may not remember everything she tried to teach me about Bug types, but I sure do remember Combee. It was crammed down my throat, pretty much. It was her favorite Pokemon to discuss, and she knew those things like nothing else. She told me that most Combee born are males, and that only the females evolve into a Vespiquen at level twenty one. Vespiquen are the queen of the hive. They can control the Combee, and the Combee will do anything to protect the hive, and especially the queen. She said that Vespiquen can be more dangerous than any Beedrill could ever hope to be. And I was taught that none of these Bee Pokemon stray far from the hive. So I knew once we saw the Combee again that they must have gone too far out. They must have been returning to the hive, so I figured if they were too far out from where they came, then the direction they were going in must be the right direction to where they blew us off from. They were on their way back home.”
June sighed and smiled, placing her hand on the side of her head as she shook it, a confused look on her face. “Well, thank goodness you paid attention to that lesson from your sister.” June’s smiled faded slightly. “Gary, are you okay?”
“What about your mom? ...Or your dad? How... were they around bugs?”
I stopped walking.
June stopped walking, too. “I’m being nosy again, aren’t I?” June spoke quickly. “I’m sorry. Never mind.”
I moved from her, continuing to try to find my way out of this place, metaphorically. “My mom isn’t a fan of bugs, but I wouldn’t say she has a phobia,” I did answer. “Not like me.”
“Gary, you don’t have to tell me anymore. I was rude to pry into your life like that.”
It seemed hotter than ever before. I removed my cap and ran my hand along my face, mopping up, or perhaps just spreading, the sweat, and then swept through my dripping hair before covering it back. My hand slid along my jeans to dry them off. My legs felt overheated, but I never wore shorts. “My dad is dead,” I said grimly. “I don’t know how, or why. I just know he left to become a Pokemon Trainer. He died about three years ago.”
“I really am sorry, Gary,” June spoke sympathetically.
I nodded. “He wasn’t afraid of Bugs. It’s just me. I’m the only one in the family with this.” June’s silence allowed me time to dwell on Melissa. “I know she’s alive out there, somewhere. She’s doing well, too. I just know it. She promised to be a Pokemon Master one day. I promised I’d give her the battle of her life when we met next time, and we’d find out who the best Pokemon Trainer really was. Sometimes, I think, maybe, I chose Charmander because she chose Bulbasaur. Sometimes I wonder if I just wanted that little bit of an advantage over her.” I smiled and snickered a little bit at the thought. “Ha! I bet you I’ll run into her at the Pokemon League this year.” With a stronger laugh, I turned to June eagerly.
June looked at me, a pained, sad look on her face. She managed a small smile but looked away as her eyes began to water.
June’s face told me everything I was already thinking, and I frowned as I looked ahead, ignoring what I saw. You won’t break your promise, Melissa, I told her. You’re out there, somewhere...
It had been a few weeks after hearing about our dad being found dead that Melissa and I found ourselves huddled in each other’s arms on the floor of her room, crying. That was the first time since hearing that he was dead that we had cried, the reality of him never coming back home finally sinking in.
Once again, Melissa had called home, crying, distraught over not doing so well on her Pokemon journey.
Mom always had to snap her out of it and bring her back to her senses.
I hated seeing my older sister like that. I looked up to her. Wanted to be better than her. But besides that, it was my sister out there, all alone, and I couldn’t even reach out to touch her. To physically comfort her. It made me want to cry every time, but she was already crying, so there was no room for me.
We had to be strong for Melissa. Even when the call ended, we had to be strong.
I grabbed at my heart as it beat painfully. Something gripped my shoulder gently and caused me to stop walking. My eyes teared up, refusing to turn to June.
“Gary, please. Look at me.”
My eyes closed, instead.
“Gary. It’s okay. I’m glad you have so much faith in your heart that your sister is okay. Keep that faith, Gary.”
“No...” I whispered, shaking my head slowly. I finally did look to June, and as I did, tears instantly slid out and fell from my eyes.
June was in no better condition, her cheeks already glimmering from her tears.
“That’s not enough for someone like me. I believe she’s okay, but I need to know. I can’t just assume this for much longer. I need to know the truth about Melissa. Where she is, how she is, what she’s up to. I love her. I need my sister now more than ever. Now that I’m following in her path. Her, and my dad. My dad is gone and I don’t even know why. All of this is just killing me!” I swiped sharply at my eyes with the sleeve of my jacket.
June nodded and closed her eyes, which caused more tears to begin to stream.
A buzzing noise hit my ears. My heart stopped.
June and I stared at each other with wide eyes and then looked up, but saw nothing.
The buzzing noise was now right behind me.
We both turned to see a horrifying sight.
The angry, glowing red eyes hit me first.
“NOOOOO!!” June burst out.
“Vespiquen!” I screamed.
A Vespiquen hovered above us, hissing and buzzing, the noise making me cover my ears as I looked up at the enormous bee.
I lowered one hand and grabbed my Pokedex.
Vespiquen. The Beehive Pokemon and the final stage of a female Combee. On the underside of a Vespiquen lies honeycomb-like cells that house baby Combee.
Vespiquen hissed even louder, and a huge roar of buzzes erupted from behind me.
I turned around to see one enormous wall of Combee, fully connected together as one, buzzing angrily with glowing red eyes.
Vespiquen let out a loud cry and I jumped, turning around to face the queen. To my surprise, the Vespiquen had extended out her right arm, and was pointing at me!
What did I do? I wondered. Another loud buzz from the right side of me made me turn with a start.
June looked and screamed at the top of her lungs as a Beedrill flew by and charged right into Vespiquen!
“Whoooooa!” I uttered, my eyes popping out.
Vespiquen shook her head, not seeming very bothered by the hit. She glared at the Beedrill angrily.
Beedrill charged at Vespiquen again.
A group of Combee appeared in front of Vespiquen and formed a wall in front of her.
Beedrill slammed into the wall of Combee, but the wall of remained, shoved back, but staying in one piece. The Beedrill charged forward again, but the wall stayed sturdy.
I turned behind me to see that there was still a now smaller group of connected Combee blocking my escape as the other Combee broke off of this wall to form a new one to protect the queen.
Vespiquen let out a loud cry and the wall of Combee that had stopped Beedrill broke apart, hovering above the new Pokemon. The Combee buzzed furiously and fired multicolored beams at Beedrill.
Beedrill dropped to the ground lifelessly.
Vespiquen let out another cry, and all of the Combee behind me broke apart, joining the rest of the Combee swarm, and covered the Beedrill completely.
I was pulled by my arm suddenly and realized June was making a run for it!
I ran along with her and immediately heard the loud, angry hiss of Vespiquen.
She was pointing at us, and the Combee that had surrounded the Beedrill instantly lifted up into the air and flew after us.
“AAAAAAAAAHHHH!” I saw the Beedrill that had saved our lives.
The Beedrill was dead on the ground, pieces of its body missing, an ooze leaking from the remains all over the ground. “They killed it! They killed the Beedrill!!”
“Your sister wasn’t lying about how deadly a Vespiquen can be! Whatever Vespiquen says, goes! We’ll be next if we don’t get out of here!”
I ran as fast as I could, June just barely a step faster than me, surprisingly. “Why did that Beedrill save us?”
“That’s not a good thing, necessarily, Gary. Especially since the Combee killed Beedrill!”
“Why? What do you mean?”
“I think we’re about to find ourselves in the middle of a turf war!”
My heart just about dropped. A turf war?
“HERE THEY COME!”
I spotted them before June even spoke.
An entire swarm of Beedrill, and June and I were running right for them!The Vespiquen and Combee were right behind us!
“AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!” June bellowed as I ran right past her.
“JUNE!” I came to a stop, looking back at her in terror.
June had tripped and was facedown in the dirt! She looked up at me and screamed at the sight of Beedrill behind me. She turned behind her and wailed even louder at the oncoming Combee and Vespiquen.
There’s a way to escape, I realized.
June climbed to her feet, her legs trembling.
The Beedrill, Vespiquen, and Combee swarm got closer.
If I go get her, we’ll both get caught in this, together, I told myself. My skin crawled at the thought of the jumble of Bugs touching my skin. If I run now, I just might away. But I can’t leave her, even if it means facing an onslaught of these nasty things. But what’s the use if I can’t even save her? Can I?
Time was up.
“JUUUUUUNE!” I leaped desperately for her.
June closed her eyes and shrieked as if it were the last thing she’d ever say.
I tackled her to the ground and laid on top of her, covering her body as best as I could.
June’s face was in the dirt. She struggled to lift it, but I pressed my head down against her’s, keeping her face down as she grunted.
The Beedrill, Combee, and Vespiquen were fighting viciously, the angry buzzing more vicious and louder than ever before. Cries, screams, buzzes, and raw fury were everywhere.
The hairy feeling of the swarming bees brushing against my face every so often made me feel ready to throw up, freak out, and go mad. My fists clenched painfully tight as I shivered continuously against the feeling of these insects against me, the buzzing tearing through my ears.
“Gary,” June mumbled from beneath me. “What’s going on?” She spit out dirt.
“Stay low, June,” I told her. “Melissa told me that when you’re attacked by bees, it’s best to get away from the hive and stay low to the earth. Bees normally can’t reach this low.”
“Gary, I don’t understand what’s going on, but the Vespiquen is after you!” June managed to speak.
“We’ll talk about this later!” I insisted. “Just stay low and follow me!” I slowly, carefully, crawled off of June as countless bees bounced off of my face and body, making me furrow my eyebrows in anger. I felt ready to rip my skin off completely and continue my journey skinless at this point. I wanted to rip my ears right off as well. I couldn’t take these things touching me and buzzing any longer! I crawled on my stomach, as flat as I could, edging past the bees above me.
The noise of the fighting was tremendous. I was sure it could be heard all the way from Pallet Town, if not the Johto region.
A Combee fell right in front of me!
I yelled out and froze in place.
A Beedrill had the enormous stinger from the end of its body through the middle of Combee’s body!
Combee buzzed lowly, its dying body struggling in that squirmy, sickening fashion insects do.
I crawled around the two Pokemon and continued moving. A beam from one of the Combee hit the dirt to the side of where I was crawling, dust blowing up in my face. I turned against it as I heard June’s shout and continued to crawl through.
June was coughing and choking.
When I could no longer see any bees ahead of me, I crawled forward several more feet and finally got to my knees and eventually my feet. I turned around, looking for June, but was instead captivated by the sight before me.
Beedrill were jabbing at Combee with their multiple stingers, stabbing right through some of them. Some Beedrill had a dead Combee through their bottom stingers while attacking with the stingers on their arms at other Combee.
Combee were swarmed around several Beedrill, completely overpowering them.
Vespiquen was battling against two Beedrill, dodging their stingers while slashing back at them as the Beedrill avoided her attacks. She looked weary from battle. Suddenly, Vespiquen let out a loud buzz. Several of the Combee who were battling the Beedrill flew to Vespiquen’s aid and surrounded her, covering her body, buzzing mad. The Combee flew away from Vespiquen and returned to battling the Beedrill, Vespiquen now looking refreshed and ready to battle again!
“Gary, let’s go!” June appeared in front of me, leaping up to her feet, and grabbed my hand.
I ran with her and didn’t look back.
June didn’t look back.
We both just ran for our lives.
“I don’t really know what to say about what happened there.” June was sprawled out against the bench in the back of the Pokemon Center.
I stared at her as I sat in a chair near her.
June and I hadn’t stopped running until we had actually left Viridian Forest, which took us what could have been an hour of straight running. Though ready to drop dead, when we finally saw the signs of civilization, our energy was reinvigorated and we didn’t stop until we collapsed on the floor of the Pokemon Center in Viridian City.
Nurse Joy, who later revealed she remembered me from nearly a year ago when I had been here when my journey first began after me and Mankey had barely survived our attack, tended to our minor wounds and took our Pokemon so they could get something to eat and be checked on.
After a shower, one in which I scrubbed extra hard and sat under the water in as high a temperature as I could stand for four hours, trying to get rid of the creepy feeling of those sickening insects having touched me, and a much needed nap, it was dark out.
We ate at the cafeteria in the basement before returning to the lobby to rest and take it easy.
June had then begun to explain what she knew about what occurred in Viridian Forest. “I honestly didn’t get a chance to read the Beedrill, or the Combee and that Vespiquen,” June said, staring up at the ceiling. “But I did see her point at you. She was after you for some reason. She was completely controlling the Combee to attack you! She seems to know you. And the Beedrill were defending their territory. When the Vespiquen and Combee got in the Beedrill territory, it was naturally going to be a fight. Especially when they killed Beedrill. When bees are squashed, they typically release a pheromone that alert other bees and drive them into an angry frenzy. It became an all out war. Point is, that Vespiquen definitely thinks that she knows you and wanted you dead.”
“But I’ve only been to Viridian Forest once before,” I said in confusion. “I had a problem with the Beedrill, not the Vespiquen and Combee. I ain’t even know those things were out there!”
“Hmmm...” June said thoughtfully. “Perhaps your encounter with the Beedrill somehow crossed boundaries with the Vespiquen and Combee territory?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Well, were you chased by the Beedrill when you were in Viridian Forest the first time?”
“Yeah... For a short while. Until we stopped and battled the Beedrill.”
“I think it’s possible you disrupted the Combee and Vespiquen territory somehow during your fight the Beedrill,” June suggested.
“Then why didn’t the Beedrill come attack me, too?”
“They may have been too focused on the invading Combee and Vespiquen.”
“I don’t know, June...” I said uncertainly.
June shrugged and smiled. “Gary, I don’t have a clue, either. I just feel bad for those poor Pokemon, Bugs or not. Nature can really be-”
The lights in the Pokemon Center died suddenly and the entire building went pitch black.
Everyone in the building muttered in surprise and concern.
A light flashed from above, brightening up the room just a little. It was the television turning on. A blank, blue screen was shone.
The sound of footsteps echoed throughout the entire Pokemon Center, coming from the speakers.
Nurse Joy suddenly appeared on the screen.
“Oh, my! Is that me?” I heard Nurse Joy cry out in surprise from inside of the Pokemon Center.
I turned to see the vision of perfection that was Nurse Joy, barely visible in the light, behind the counter.
They both looked the same, but then again, so did every Nurse Joy.
The Nurse Joy on the screen seemed to look around at everybody in the room, everybody looking right back at her. Her eyes landed on me and she smiled. It wasn’t the usual, gorgeous smile that comes with every Nurse Joy. This smile had an overly eager, crazed tint to it. She opened her mouth...
...and a loud screech rang through the building, causing everyone in the Pokemon Center to scream, cover their ears, and drop helplessly.
“PORYGON-Z!!!!!!!” I roared.