The Closing Ceremonies: The Takeover Part 2 Of 2
June desperately begged for her Ampharos to stop as she used Thunder Punch on a Slowking.
Robin’s Scizor, Fashioned, was wrapping its pincer around a Minun’s head, crushing it as Minun screamed in agony, zapping Fashioned back.
My Noctowl and a Pidgeot were rapidly beating each other over the face with their wings, viciously clawing at each other with their talons, tearing at each other, their bodies coated in blood.
A loud explosion went off as a Machamp was swinging its four arms at an Alakazam, its arms surrounded by a dark aura. Both Pokemon were in the stands as the people screamed and ran away from them.
Something flew over my head and I ducked as something crashed into the stands, more people screaming and running.
Something else leaped from a brawl in the field and into the stands.
This was a Houndoom, leaping into the stands after a Torkoal, black smoke billowing from the top of the tortoise’s shell and nostrils, its eyes closed. Houndoom tackled Torkoal, howled as it stood on top of it, and bit into its neck.
“This fight is breaking out into the stands!” I yelled. “We have to get out of here!”
“But where?” June whined.
“We can’t leave the Pokemon!” Robin insisted.
“We won’t, Robin! But we can’t die here, either!” I spoke impatiently at him. “We need to get to safety and save everyone here! Solace will not get away this time! We have to stop them! We need that remote!” I pointed up at Isaac.
He was smiling down at the scene, swaying slightly to keep his balance as his hair whipped around his face in the wind. The remote was gripped in his hand.
“How can we even begin to get up there to reach it?” Robin was gritting his teeth. “We need our Pokemon!”
“We can’t even get through to them!” June complained. “They’re uncontrollable!”“I love my Pokemon!” Robin responded. “I can get through to mine! They can fight through this for me and we’ll stop Team Solace!”
“Noo!” June grabbed Robin’s shoulders as he tried to run away. “I’m begging to death for you not to go out there and try that, Robin! They will kill you! They won’t listen! What they’re going through, I can hear it! I feel it! They will not listen to anyone or anything! They’re going to fight until the pain they’re going through ends! We need to stop Solace. We need to find a way to Isaac!”
“HOW?!” Robin pulled away from June. “What are you gonna do? Throw rocks at him? He’s in a freaking helicopter, damn it!!”
June winced at Robin’s shouts and looked down quietly.
Robin turned back to the Pokemon. “They’ll have to kill me, then!” He started to leap into the field again.
A crash beneath us, against the wall, stopped Robin and dropped us to our knees. We got back up and looked over the edge, watching as a Slaking was punching a Wobbuffet repeatedly, Wobbuffet yelling constantly.
Wobbuffet’s body was outlined in orange and the next punch it took from Slaking bounced off, throwing Slaking back into the crowd of Pokemon. Wobbuffet wailed out wildly and leaped back into the midst of the battling Pokemon.
One woman in the stands had a Granbull fly from the fight in the field and land on her. She shrieked as she was shocked by the same jolt that was hurting the Granbull. A bloodcurdling scream that made my blood freeze in my veins. Granbull then proceeded to viciously chomp down on the woman’s shoulder, blood immediately spurting out all over the Pokemon’s face.
The woman’s voice echoed above all else as she collapsed and finally fainted.
Granbull continued attacking her, swiping its claws at her face, ripping it apart.
Something then landed in front of Robin, June, and I.
People around us tried escaping, but the three of us stared, frozen, at the Pokemon.
“That’s a...” I struggled to remember.
“Magmortar!” Robin answered as the Pokemon lifted one of its arms and pointed it at us. “RUUUUUN!” He grabbed June and I by the arm and leaped over the bleachers.
June and I followed as Magmortar fired a blast of fire at us from its arm.
Shouts came from the stands behind us, several people jumping into the field after the three of us.
“Well, while we’re here and out of ideas, I suggest we try to save our Pokemon!” Robin released me and June and ran to the battling Pokemon.
“ROBIIIIIIIN!!” I reached out to him.
A Seaking flopped by, knocking over Robin. As they connected, Seaking’s body lit up.
Robin’s agonizing scream forced me to cover my ears.
Even after Seaking was out of sight.
Even with Robin down; he continued to screech inhumanly, his body sparking off and on and convulsing.
June and I ran to him and knelt beside him.
“Robin, are you okay?” June stared at him hesitantly.
Robin’s eyes were closed. He flinched strongly. “S-s-so much... agony,” he groaned. “I should be... d-dead.” He let out a sickening, pained groan from deep inside. He opened his eyes and looked into my eyes, his body sparking again. “I-I-It was horrible. I don’t know how they are still standing, Gary. They-they’re gonna d-d-d-die if we don’t stop them-m-m-m-m-m.”
I turned furious eyes to the chaos as more Pokemon took over the stands, more and more people trading onto the field unwillingly. People were being attacked and zapped in the riot, the Pokemon battling to the end, enraged by the pain they were going through, unable to regain control over themselves and unaware of what they were doing.
A Weezing in the stands let out gas from its heads, attacking a Misdreavus, the gas choking a man who was nearby holding a little girl tightly in his arms as she coughed heavily against the attack.
“STOOOISE!” A Blastoise stumbled towards us, a Seviper wrapped around its body, its glowing, purple fangs sunk into the Blastoise’s shoulder.
“CATHERIIIIINE!” Robin charged at the two Pokemon.
“ROBIN, DON’T!” June pleaded.
“GET OFF OF MY CATHERINE!!” Robin leaped at the two, wrapping his hands around the snake. “YYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” Robin’s scream was the loudest thing of the night. He collapsed and didn’t move.
Catherine grabbed Seviper’s jaws and pulled them back, freeing herself from Seviper’s attack. She then proceeded to pull Seviper’s jaws back until they unhinged, and continued to pull them back further, Seviper choking out and letting out the biggest screech it could as its jaws were literally being pulled apart! Eventually, Catherine had pulled Seviper’s jaws all the way, the top and bottom of its head touching its body, and with one sharp, messy pull, tore Seviper’s head apart completely.
June groaned in disgust and looked away as the blood and much worse splattered the ground.
Catherine flung the body of Seviper aside and turned to the three of us, her shoulder dripping blood from two large holes in it. She looked down at Robin and roared in a manner that competed with Charizard! It was so abnormal to hear her make that kind of sound. She raised a foot to stomp down on her Trainer’s unconscious body.
“NOOOOO!” I ran to protect Robin.
“CHUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!” A Pikachu ran at Catherine and tackled her, its body sparking, forcing her back.
“Dots?” I gasped, stopping. “Or someone else’s Pikachu...? June?”
Robin stirred, moaning.
“Robin? You okay?” I forgot about the Pikachu and ran to my friend, kneeling beside him.
Robin’s body sparked and his eyes opened. He groaned, sparking again. “Gary. June.” He struggled to sit up, his body sparking again. He shook his head and laid back down. “Where’s Catherine?”
“She got caught up in another fight. June is right. Our Pokemon won’t listen to us. Catherine nearly stomped you out when she saw you!”
Robin looked at me in shock. “Catherine?”
I nodded solemnly.
Robin shook his head in disbelief. “I can’t believe that. My Catherine.” He looked up at the helicopter above us. “They can’t get away with this...” He turned to me, his eyes filled with fear and worry for the first time tonight. “But how do we stop them?”
We may not be able to, I thought to myself and looked up at the helicopter.
A loud stomping noise grabbed my attention and the three of us turned to see a Snorlax stomping by, a Mothim in its grasp. Snarling, Snorlax slammed the Mothim to the ground and proceeded to stomp down on it, instantly squashing the insect.
A Beedrill appeared from the slaughter and stung at Snorlax with all three stingers.
Snorlax swatted at it and smacked it away, chasing after the Bug.
The Mothim was nothing but a smudge on the ground.
A loud scream arose from the warring and an explosion sent everybody flying in different directions.
Screaming out as I soared through the air, my eyes closed tight, I quickly slammed hard into something and dropped.
This was followed by another explosion, dirt flying everywhere, the ground trembling roughly.
An explosion in the stands made my heart leap out of my throat as I was thrown away again. I laid on my face in the dirt, not moving. The remaining echoing roar from the explosions remained in my ears.
Children were crying. People were moaning. Voices called out for help.
I opened my eyes after a moment and stared at the ground. Lifting my head, I could see several Pokemon sprawled out, motionless, weakened, exhausted.
Robin was sprawled on top of a Medicham, both of their eyes closed.
June was on her back, a vicious, heavy looking Pokemon knocked out on top of her, both of them with their eyes closed.
I sat up and looked at the remains of everything.
Both were indistinguishable, covered in blood, on top of one another, neither budging an inch.
The Pokemon weren’t sparking anymore. It looked like the things on their backs were no longer suffering the victims.
I got to my feet and my legs quivered under me, but I bent my knees to keep my balance and looked up to the sky, leering. My teeth clenched as my jaw tightened. My hands made fists that could have forced my fingernails through my palms. “ISAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAC!!!” My voice echoed.
Isaac looked directly at me, a devilish grin on his face. He raised the microphone to his mouth. “Hello, my dear child! You almost look familiar to me.”
“AAAAAAAALLLYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!” I could have swung a punch that reached his smug freaking face if at all possible! “YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY FRIEND DYING IN LAVENDER TOWN!!! YOU SON OF-!!!”
“Ah, yes!” Isaac remembered, nodding his head. “You and the loud girl.”
“YOU’LL PAY FOR THIS!!!!”
“No, no,” Isaac shook his head. “I will be worshiped for this. Appreciated. Praised! The plan is almost complete, now.”“WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY DO??!”
Two attack aircrafts flew by Isaac’s helicopter, and Isaac looked up at something in the distance, his smile fading, his eyes squinting.
“THIS IS THE POLICE!” a voice seemed to come from a distant megaphone. The roar of an engine got closer, and an attack aircraft in white and blue colors flew by Solace’s helicopter. “YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!! SET YOUR HELICOPTER DOWN, AS WELL AS YOUR AIRCRAFTS IMMEDIATELY!!” The craft started to make a sharp turn, heading back to the helicopter.
One of Team Solace’s aircrafts flew at it and bullets shot from it!
The police aircraft was hit and began to fly shakily in the air before dipping sharply. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!! Now a flaming fireball, the aircraft dove down, landing outside of the stadium. CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
“No!” I whispered in disbelief as I watched our first and only sign of hope die.
“I see the cavalry has finally arrived,” Isaac chuckled. “No better time to drop the bomb, so to speak...” Isaac laughed, his voice getting louder as another pair of blue and white attack aircrafts flew towards his helicopter.
Team Solace’s aircrafts flew towards the new planes and fired at them.
The blue and white attack planes dove down and spun to avoid the attack. The police were flying away as Team Solace’s planes gave chase!
Two more blue and white attack planes appeared, firing at Team Solace, but Team Solace’s attack planes swerved away.
Another pair of attack planes from Team Solace appeared behind the new police planes and fired on them.
One of the police planes dived out of the way, but the other one was too slow and spun out of control in the air. It seemed to purposely fly away from the stadium as best as it could as it went down before going out of my sight and blowing up.
The four planes from Team Solace took off after one of the three remaining officer planes and fired endlessly.
The three police planes swiftly spun around and tried to escape, but one by one, they all ended up being downed and wrecked.
“Young boy,” Isaac addressed me amongst all the noise and murder. “It pains me to see all of you young children here. It is so sad, the path you all have been forced on. The manipulation of your young minds that you are unable to see through. It will stay with you forever, into your adulthood, where you will spread the same filth and venom into your future children. Or, you would have. But, instead, future generations will hail you all. You all will be eternally remembered here from this day forward. Instead of spreading evil into the minds of the youth of tomorrow, who will devour it as righteousness, you will sacrifice yourselves to spread the truth to the youth of today, tomorrow, and all eternity!” Isaac sounded so confident. So sure of himself. He believed he was helping anyone in the midst of all this bloodshed. The man backed away from the edge of the helicopter. A moment later, an enormous black object filled the doorway. “For the disobedience of the Kanto region, and their lack of support in Team Solace’s cause, a just judgment and swift execution must be delivered.” He spoke darkly, his voice growing manic with further words. “I am ruler of this Earth, now. You all will understand that this is due payback for the utter disrespect Team Solace was given when acting so nobly, so selflessly, for the better of this planet! You all shall now receive what is well deserved and beg for my forgiveness when my rage is over. The rage of I, GOD, in the flesh! Judgment shall be delivered through this here bomb’s explosion!! This one eruption will trigger a set of other bombs, which will set off further bombs, IN A CONTINUOUS CHAIN OF BOMBS ALL SPECIFICALLY PLANTED THROUGHOUT THE KANTO REGION, DESTROYING OVER TWO-THIRDS OF THE ENTIRE REGION!!!” He laughed loudly, his voice booming louder than ever in the stadium.
Robin groaned from the ground and looked up into the sky. “Huh...?”
“Understand, young heroes, that this is a sad farewell,” Isaac concluded. “It is almost like killing my own children. But in reality, it is Flora who will live on, due to your worthy sacrifice. I promise you all. You all, shall live, FOREVER!”
The bomb was being pushed from behind, rocking the helicopter.
Another aircraft in dark silver flew by, firing at Isaac’s helicopter!
One of Team Solace’s aircrafts flew in front of it and fired back.
The bomb fell out of the helicopter, spinning as it heavily, quickly, dropped.
Team Solace’s attack aircraft exploded right above the stadium, along with the police one!
“WH-WHOA WHOA!!” Isaac uttered as the force from the explosions rocked his helicopter even harder.
The hovering vehicle was knocked sideways, the CRAAAAAAASSSSHH!! of broken windows sounding out from it.
The bomb continued to drop fast, right over me!
Isaac tumbled right out of his helicopter! He wailed at the top of his lungs, flailing!
I was frozen in place as the bomb got closer. Two-thirds of the entire Kanto region in ruins... I repeated. Planted bombs... There’s no escape...
“Snor...” something behind me breathed heavily.
I leaped in fright and whipped around.
A Snorlax was behind me, standing up, looking up at the bomb as it headed for us, its mouth wide open in awe. “Snor...” The bomb dropped right into its mouth! Snorlax shimmied in surprised, the bomb sticking out of its mouth, already filling it, and grunted and GULPED! the rest of it down! Its mouth fell open as it breathed out heavily from the effort.
Isaac, shrieking in terror, fell right behind the bomb, and into Snorlax’s mouth as well! Only his head was in the gigantic Pokemon’s mouth, the rest of his body kicking and struggling. I could hear him screaming from inside of Snorlax’s closed mouth.
Snorlax didn’t let go and turned to me. Its eyes were naturally nothing more than slits, so I couldn’t see any real emotion on its face, but something told me it was confused about what was going on, and what was about to happen next. It grunted at me.
I stared back at Snorlax in shock, my eyes wide, my mouth wide in horror. I wanted to run, but I was paralyzed. “Oh, sh-!!”
A steady beeping sound rang through my ears. I kept my eyes closed and remained on whatever I was laying on comfortably. A hospital? I wondered after listening to the beeping for several more minutes before finally opening my eyes.
I was in a hospital, hooked up to wires and needles that were hooked up to machines that held bags of liquids, and...
I groaned and turned at the sight of my mom from the corner of my eye.
My mom cried out in surprise. “Gary!” She stood up from the chair against the wall and ran to me.
I turned my eyes as I noticed others in the room.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters!
My mom placed a hand on my shoulder and I winced and wailed out in pain, struggling from under my blanket.
“OH! I’m so sorry!” She lifted her hand off of me. “Did that hurt? Are you okay??”
I nodded and opened my mouth to try to answer, but nothing came out from my dry throat.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters stood up, but didn’t come any closer.
Mrs. Tot stood up and walked over to me, staring down at me with pain in her teary eyes. “Mijo.” She wiped at her eyes and stared down at me. “I’m so glad you’re okay. I was so worried when I heard you were here.”
I wanted to say “thank you,” but could only manage to nod and smile.
“Kiwi is back home, now,” Mrs. Tot said. “She’s even attempted walking, and the effort alone is miraculous, but not successful. She is in a wheelchair right now. She’s also been talking to people. I thought you might like to know that.”
I smiled and nodded. Kiwi is okay.
“She knows you’re here right now. I told her and she hopes you’ll be out of here soon. Her father is with her right now, making sure she’s alright.” Mrs. Tot wiped at her eyes again and gently touched my hair. “I have to go be with her right now, but I had to stop by and make sure you were okay.”
“Thank you,” I forced myself to croak out.
My mom and Mrs. Tot gasped, smiling happily.
Mrs. Tot turned and walked to the door, turned back to me quickly, and then left.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters stood still, staring at me, but didn’t move, looking nervous.
Ms. Say stood up and approached me.
My heart beat faster, the beeping machine beeping quicker as she stopped by my bed.
She sighed. “Gary,” she whispered. “For so long, I blamed you for Aly’s death.”
I closed my eyes, unable to look at the pain she wore on her face.
“I blamed you, Robin...” she continued. “...and myself. I blamed Pokemon. I blamed everyone in the world, quite literally, except those crooked men who took her away from me.” She stopped talking.
After a while of uncomfortable silence, I opened my eyes and saw she was still looking down at me.
“I thank you, Gary, for bringing me peace at last.” Ms. Say’s tears dripped from her eyes onto my blanket. “I’ll never forget what you’ve done. Your bravery. Thank you for stopping them.” She didn’t cover her face as she cried openly, her painful eyes on my own. Her makeup around her eyes was starting to run, but she didn’t so much as even wipe at her face, looking more and more a mess before me as she continued to cry. “Thank you. Gary, thank you so much!” It was when blackened tears started to drip from her face and land on me that she sniffled and looked down at my blanket. “Oh.” She inhaled sharply as she wiped at her cheeks, smearing the loosened makeup. “Excuse me.” She turned away, running out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
I looked away from everyone to the other side of the room, at the window, watching the bright sunshine sparkle against my tear filled eyes. Crying silently to myself, I wondered why Ms. Say thanked me, now feeling a lot worse. I had to see the pain a mother who lost her only child had to live with due to the wishes of four stupid kids.
A chair creaked and several footsteps headed for me.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters appeared, having walked around to the other side of my bed, blocking the window.
It was Prof. Oak who stopped at the opposite end, next to my mom. “I must say, that sure was something, Gary. It’s good to see you’re alright and talking again.”
“What... happened...?” I managed.
“Team Solace was defeated. That’s what,” Prof. Oak answered.
“You’re a hero, Gary!” Mr. Butters said with a smile, gripping my shoulder and shaking it hard.
“OW!” I let out, closing my eyes tight as pain shot through my body, my eyebrows narrowing angrily.
“Damn it, Robert!!” Mrs. Butters slapped her husband in the face.
“Sorry!” Mr. Butters instantly raised his hand to the slap he took.
Prof. Oak raised a fist to his mouth and cleared his throat. “Anyway, Team Solace has finally come to an end.”
“So, it’s just over? They’re finished? They’re all in jail?”
“Not all of them. But the higher ranking members are. I was told that you’d recognize the name of Dave?”
I squinted, sitting on the name for a moment before nodding. “Yeah. I do remember him,” I said coldly.
“Well, he’s in custody, along with many other grunts who were in the area. The leader, Isaac, was killed in the explosion. Any remaining members out there won’t be able to operate as a group with their executives in jail and their leader now dead. It’s over for the group.”
“He’s dead...” I whispered, not happy, but not sad by any means.
“Yes, and if you had been at as close a range as Isaac had been, you would have been killed as well. You were a safe distance away, outside of Snorlax. Good thing Snorlax is so blubbery. The explosion could have killed everyone there had Snorlax not taken in the bomb. There were deaths, of course, sadly, and the entire Indigo Stadium is collapsed now, but, things could have been a lot worse, as you know. You, Robin, and June were all quite lucky.”
“JUNE! ROBIN!” I screamed, sitting up. “OOOOOWWW!!”
“Take it easy, Gary!” Prof. Oak said, placing a hand gently on my chest.
His touch hurt, and I laid back down, groaning.
“They are just fine.”
“Yes,” Mr. Butters chimed in. “We all saw Robin and June and they were awake and doing just as good as you are!”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “So everyone’s okay.”
“Well, you and Robin and June are,” Prof. Oak said gravely. “All of your Pokemon are in recovery right now. They all are in very severe condition right now. The Poke Balls for all of your Pokemon are destroyed, but you can just recapture your Pokemon again. That shouldn’t be a problem. Assuming they are alright after all of this, of course. Not everyone was so lucky. Both before and after the final explosion, Pokemon and humans alike were killed. During the fight between the Pokemon, quite a few exploded, as you might recall. Steelix, Golem, and a Weezing.”
I shook my head, trying to remember.
“It was these explosions that knocked all of the Pokemon unconscious,” Prof. Oak told me. “They were strong enough to deactivate and destroy those devices Team Solace attached to the backs of all of the Pokemon, which is how the calamity was finally put to an end amongst the Pokemon.”
“Professor, how do you know all of this?” I asked suspiciously.
“We all know this, Gary,” my mom replied. “It was on TV. Televised all over the planet.”
“Like they did last time, in...” Mr. Butters got silent.
Lavender Town, I finished for him in my mind.
We all got quiet as our heads lowered, thinking the same thing.
“Hey, you did good out there, kid!” Mr. Butters said, breaking the silence, smiling somehow. “You saved us all!”
“How? I didn’t do anything! Snorlax saved us.”
“Yes, but you were there. You saved my boy when he wanted to recklessly run out there to save his Pokemon. You held him back. You talked sense into him during crucial moments. You also have a bit of history with Team Solace. The incident in Cloud City with the Machamp and Machoke. That Saffron thing with the Haunter. You have stopped them sev-!”
“The Saffron thing wasn’t Team Solace!” I interrupted. “That was something else... But it wasn’t due to them.”
“Oh, well, you’re missing the point, kid,” Mr. Butters chuckled. “You’ve helped foil their evil schemes before, and this is one where you guided yourself and your friends to safety and did the best you could to try to stop those creeps.”
“But, I never did anything to stop them any of the times I ran into them!” I groaned just from speaking too loud.
“Listen.” Mr. Butters raised a gentle hand. “You kept my son safe. You’re a hero. That’s that. Besides, your name is in the news as one of the survivors. And we all saw you and Robin and June on TV during the time of the mayhem, trying to find a way to stop Team Solace. You guys were great!”
My shoulders slumped and I nodded. “Thanks, Mr. Butters,” I accepted.
“Now do you see why I wanted you to cut out all of this nonsense with these Pokemon?” my mom asked seriously. “It’s this kind of-!”I opened my mouth to yell back at her, but Prof. Oak placed a hand on my mom’s shoulder, stopping her and speaking up before I could. “Let’s all just be grateful that Gary is alright,” he smiled warmly. “Right now, let’s look at what we still have, and not what could have been if whatever situations had or hadn’t occurred.”
“Fine.” My mom was clearly upset, an angry look on her face as she looked away.
“Yeah!” Mr. Butters agreed and then laughed. “In fact, I have this right here to lighten up the mood!” He pulled a white square from out of his pocket and laid it out on my stomach.
I looked down at a picture of me, my face scrunched in pain, my mouth open in a silent scream as I sat up on my bunk bed back at the Pokemon League when I had been surprised on my birthday! It was right when I had slammed my head into the top bunk, my hand blurry in the motion of reaching for my head.
Mr. Butters laughed his heart out, and Prof. Oak joined in, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Before long, everyone in the room was laughing loudly. Laughter of relief. Laughter of appreciation.
It hurt to laugh, but I had to do it. It felt good to take my mind off of the current drama and actually smile.
A knock on the door silenced us all and Prof. Oak called, “Who is it?”
“Um, I’m looking to speak to Gary, please?” the young voice answered.
“This is his room.” Prof. Oak walked over to the door.
The door slowly opened before Prof. Oak reached it and a face poked in.
A kid with short black hair looked in the room and smiled at me. He walked in and I saw that he had crutches and bandages around his arms and legs. “Gary!”
“Arnold!” I sat up sharply and grit my teeth against the pain that demanded I not move and lay back down.
He managed over to me. “I’m so glad to see you’re okay! And glad you know my name! Ha ha! I’ve been trying to see how the others who were in the explosion were doing since I’m in pretty good shape myself, given the circumstances.”
I hesitantly nodded, staring at his condition.
“I have been hoping others are doing well, too, or trying to see if there’s anything I can do to help them out, somehow.” He laughed. “Though there clearly isn’t much I can do.”
“Wait! You can do something for me, Arnold!” I said to him quickly.
Everyone shot their faces at me.
Arnold’s face brightened up more. “Yeah? What’s that?” he asked eagerly.“I know you from way before the Pokemon League!”
“You do?” he asked in shock.
“Yes! You met me and June, a red haired girl, when you were getting robbed by those three guys you knew,” I reminded him. “June and I saved you from them!”
Arnold thought about my words for a moment. With a gasp, he cried out, “Steve, Shawn, Dominique, and John! It was four of them!”
“Okay, four, but do you remember now?!” I asked impatiently.
“Yeah!” he nodded. “Hey, man, thanks again for that! How is that girl doing? Was she your girlfriend?”
I growled on the inside. “No, no,” I answered swiftly. Mr. Butters snickered, but I ignored him. “And she’s fine. But anyway, you said you went to Saffron and you didn’t win against Sabrina! I went there with my friends and we barely got out of there alive! That place was possessed and haunted by Sabrina’s Haunter! I need an explanation as to what happened to you there! Please! I’ve been trying to locate you since you beat my friend, Robin, at the League!”
Arnold lowered his eyes and looked away, hiding a secret in his eyes.
“Arnold! I have to know! Please!”
“Well, it’s a rather simple answer, to be honest. I just hate thinking back on that place,” Arnold told slowly. “You see, I had my Munchlax with me, and we battled that Haunter of hers. We lost, and, as you know, her Haunter, as well as Sabrina herself, were pure evil. They were after souls and they wanted mine for losing. I couldn’t escape anywhere, and they both closed in on me. Munchlax got to his feet and managed to do Metronome to try to help out, and it turned into Teleport! So we escaped and ran out of Saffron as fast as we could and never looked back.”
“Oh. Wow! You were pretty lucky.”
Arnold nodded. “Extremely! That was the first time he saved my life...” His voice trailed off.
Arnold nodded. “The second time was... Last night.”
“What do you mean?”
Arnold looked into my eyes as his own eyes blinked, tears falling from them.
“Oh, dear,” Prof. Oak spoke gently. He placed a gentle hand on Arnold’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry.”
Arnold wiped at his eyes and nodded.
It finally sunk in. I inhaled loudly. “You mean-?!”
Arnold smiled. “Yeah. The Snorlax that saved us all was evolved from my Munchlax. My very first Pokemon I got from my Pop. He caught it just for me. He knew Snorlax was my favorite Pokemon! It’s my only memory of him. He passed away the day after I left on my journey. I know he’d be proud of me and Snorlax.” Somehow, Arnold was able to maintain a smile.
My mom and Robin’s parents let out pained moans at Arnold’s story.
“It’s okay,” Arnold said, looking to us. “Not everyone’s lives can be so easy, right? We have to sometimes smile. It’s not always to hide the pain, but sometimes, it’s to challenge ourselves to dare to have a better life.” He pointed at the picture of me on my birthday. “Hey! That’s funny! Ha ha ha ha!” Arnold sighed. “Well, is there anything else I can help you out with, Gary? Or any of you?”
“Oh, no. Thank you, though.” My mom wiped at her wet cheeks, her lips pursed together.
“Thank you for all your help, son. You’ve done enough,” Prof. Oak smiled kindly.
Mr. and Mrs. Butters shook their heads, smiling.
“Have you found out about your other Pokemon?” I asked. “Are they okay?”
Arnold nodded quickly. “Yeah! Everybody else is doing alright. They’re in critical condition, but I believe they’ll come out on top and we can celebrate how far we made it!”
I closed my eyes and turned away, tears rolling down my cheeks. “Congratulations, Arnold. You were amazing.”
“Thanks, Gary! That means a lot. Well, find me if you need me. Take care!”
“You’ll find that red haired girl in one of the other rooms,” I mentioned, smiling a little. “She’ll be happy to see you. We both were looking for you before you battled today.”
“Ah! Sweet! I’ll be off to say hello, then! Say, what’s her name? I can’t just call her the red haired girl, ha ha ha!”
“June,” I answered, turning to him.
“Thanks a bunch, Gary!” Arnold said gratefully.
Prof. Oak opened the door as Arnold walked out, and then returned back to us. “That sure is one strong boy. Very well raised.”
We all nodded.
“Ha ha ha ha!” Mr. Butters laughed. “Good spirit! A hero! Stopping crooked people like that with a brave Pokemon and smiling through tragedies.”
“Quite so,” Prof. Oak added. “And Silph Co. is rebuilding itself after their huge collapse from the Saffron tragedy and Poke Marts are expected to be able to refill their stock in the coming months. All will be returning back to normal, soon enough.”
“At least this Hell is finally all over,” Mrs. Butters sighed. “Hopefully they all get a death sentence. They were horrid, twisted, mad people. They don’t even deserve a life sentence! Just kill them off!”
Mr. Butters wrapped his arms around his wife, and she leaned against his chest, bawling openly.
“They surely will be,” my mother reassured her. “If there’s any justice in this world, they’ll all be put to the chair.”Prof. Oak simply closed his eyes, narrowing his eyebrows.
These women had every right to feel how they did. Not just because their children were nearly killed, but the horrors Team Solace had placed upon the entire world was enough to make anyone view them as evil. In the wrong.
But, what exactly defines wrong? I thought to myself, knowing that sharing these thoughts with the others in my room wouldn’t be the best thing to do right now. The members of Team Solace weren’t acting out to be bad. They genuinely believed that they were right in their goals. They were acting out of a genuine desire to save the planet and expected to be rewarded as they saw fit. No different than the police who were determined to stop Team Solace in the name of good, seeing Team Solace as evil.
Realistically, no one can determine what is right and what is wrong. We only act on our hearts. What may be a blessing to one is a curse to another. What may be life to one is a grave to the next. Judging each other by the things we do is to be expected in such a world.
Mr. Butters judged the Saffron incident as an act by Team Solace. His point was that Team Solace was wrong in their feelings towards Pokemon, but unknowingly, he practically justified them by labeling Haunter’s actions as evil.
It was Team Solace’s point all along.
Nobody knows everything. No one can claim to be the holder of all knowledge. And yet, in a world of so much opinion, uncertainty, hypocrisy, and bias, everyone’s actions are under a microscope by everyone else. Those judged hate being judged, while judging.
But, judging is natural.
Perhaps, by using our life’s experiences and approaching this world through humble, accepting eyes, we can learn to take in things that are greater than ourselves.
By trusting the truth instead of dismissing them to our own comprehension, as if we ourselves are God, we all can finally see the same picture, clearly.
Instead of so arrogantly stomping along the dirt trail of life as if we are wearing the boots that will carry us through life the easiest, we might try on the next man’s shoes and see how those feel.
I wasn’t defending Team Solace in any sense.
It was just me doing what I do best.
Or, worst, perhaps.
As Prof. Oak once told me, “That is life, Gary. The creation of, or the destruction of.”
Black and white.
Two opposites alongside each other.
In a yet to be defined.
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