Erica didn't really much like cold mountains, so she was reluctant to enter this cavern. But she knew that if there was evil around, she would need to stop it. However, she refused to go into this place wearing light clothing.
Approaching the mountain, Keith touched the sides of the entrance. It was as if the brown haired trainer was looking for something, or someone. As he looked around he then noticed that Erica wasn't around.
"What?" He turned around and noticed that she changed into a thicker outfit. A red trench coat to be exact.
"Really Erica?" She crossed her arms in slight irritation.
"Hey, don't compare yourself to normal people." Her friend really couldn't counter since he was really far from normal.
They didn't notice that there was another entrance to the east of them. It was pretty hard to see, especially given their position. But somehow, Brett was able to find it. He was about to walk in when he felt some pain flare up in his side.
"Tch. Better make this quick."
The two of them walked into the cave and started to walk around, but not noticing how the floor was made of ice. Keith figured it out as he slipped on said ice and into a wall. Erica couldn't help but laugh at his position of being right side up.
"Thats not usually like you." Noted the blond.
"I think it is because Brett isn't here." Explained Keith as he got up.
They traversed through the ice cavern to see that not many of the trainers were around to stop them from continuing. Keith became curious as to why they weren't trying to challenge either of the trainers to a battle. Erica picked up on this and decided to ask a nearby hiker.
"Hey, why aren't you trying to challenge us?" She asked to the hiker.
"Well, some guy already curbed stomped me." He shrugged his shoulders in defeat. The blond protagonist became curious about this trainer. She wanted to battle him with her pokemon.
"Can you describe him?" The hiker scratched his chin in an effort to recall the image.
"Well, he was about 15 years old, and he had black hair."
Keith and Erica took a few moments to allow that information to sink in. When it finally clicked together, they both grew the same face. It was a cross between question and realization.
"We should have known." Whispered Keith as he pinched his nose.
"But how did he get out of the pokemon center?"
So after learning of just how stupid her friend could be, Erica made the decision to find him and bolster him down.
"Keith, do you have any sedatives?" Asked Erica.
"We're gonna need them for when we run into Brett." Even though her tone was a harsh one, Erica was more worried about her friend.
Deeper into the cave, Brett ventured in further with Kyu by his side. His side was becoming sore, and because Kyu was bipedal she was the only one who could help him. Right now instead of having the lust for a battle, Brett was more interested in finding out why the Mamoswine were out of there natural position.
"I'm sorry to ask this of you Kyu." She barked in response to his lament.
"Ok, if you don't mind." As he and his pokemon continued throught the cave, Brett came upon a sight.
There were footprints, a good bit of them. The shape indicated them to be shoe prints. Not only that, but they were also loafers. Brett knelt down to get a closer look at the footprints.
"Loafers? Now who would be stupid enough to do that?" Asked Brett, oblivious to the irony.
Kyu helped him back up on his legs and tried to take a close look herself. She barked back to her trainer, who some how was able to understand her.
"Yeah, I don't get it either."
The pokemon and trainer moved on foward, but neither noticed the important detail that lied in the footprints.
Elsewhere in the cave, Erica and Keith were stumbling to get around and find their friend. Erica noticed how Keith was moving along quickly. She was about to ask him to slow down, but he ended up slipping on the ice and hitting the wall again.
'Why is he moving so fast, so recklessly?' She was about to ask when it became apparent.
'If Brett is still injured, he might not be capable of defending him or his pokemon.' It was obvious that his pokemon were strong and were willing to defend him if it came to that. But there is only so far that they could go without being distracted about their trainer.
"Erica, I know that you're in thicker clothing, but can you hurry up?" Asked Keith.
"Yeah, but don't worry. Brett won't be defeated by some pushover, right?"
Keith gave a look of surpise, that was good reassurance. He stopped and put his hands on Erica's shoulders.
"You are really blossoming into a great trainer." Erica gave a look of surprise mixed in with a blush. Keith was happy for her, but his face returned to being serious.
"I know that Brett is a strong battler. But right now he is injured and I just want to make sure that he is ok." Erica nodded and understood her friend's concern. She looked down to the ground, contemplating who was more worried at the moment. While she was doing that, she noticed some footprints.
Keith followed her gaze and found the same footprints. Their faces paled as they noticed the crucial detail within the footprints. A detail that made both of them pale in worry, the Team Flare symbol.
"I know, lets go!" She grabbed Keith's hand and they ran further into the cavern to stop Team Flare.
They ran further into the cave, coming upon a room with several more people. The antagonistic Team Flare. This time they consisted of a scientist and two female grunts. They were cornering the snowman pokemon, Abomasnow.
"I don't see much more reason to deal with this annoying pokemon." Said one of the grunts.
"Nonsense, it has much potent energy. A fine specimen indeed." Said the blue-haired scientist.
Keith was about to step forward when Erica stepped up in his place.
"What do you think you're doing!?" Yelled Erica.
The blue scientist turned around revealing her strange mechanical visor. That device really caught Erica's attention, it seemed that all the scientists made use of that device. She felt inquired to learn more about it.
"Catching pokemon of course."
"That doesn't seem to right. It looks more like you're bullying that pokemon to your bidding." Suggested Keith. The blue haired scientist just laughed in response.
"Well what else are we supposed to do with a bunch of pokeballs? After all, Team Flare will be all thats left. We will need strong pokemon." Answered the scientist.
Erica and Keith pulled out their pokeballs to battlle against the Team Flare. The scientist sent out her grunts whilst she attempted to weaken the Abomasnow.
The grunt that battled Keith sent out a Mighteyena, and the other sent out a Manetric. Erica sent out Psyedge while Keith sent out a giant rock pokemon with four arms, and strangely a claw for a face. The searock titan, Barbaracle.
"The Binacle evolved?" Questioned Erica. Keith nodded in return.
"Mightyena, use thunder fang."
"Manetric, use bite."
Both of the hound pokemon attacked while utilizing type advantage. Erica was starting to see that this wasn't gonna be easy.
Meanwhile, Brett was wandering the cave tunnels. It seemed that while he was injured, he was also bad on directions. By now, he had returned Kyu so she wouldn't have to carry his burden. It was around this time that he came to the conclusion that the Mamoswine were just seasonally avoiding certain areas.
"Maybe I should've waited for my friends." Suddenly Brett stopped and started to whiff the air.
"I smell a battle." He took another whiff.
"And it is intense." Brett got up, ignoring the pain in his side, and then ran in the direction of the smell.
In the direction of said smell, Erica and Keith had finished off the grunts. However, Erica knew that Keith would have a better time taking on this scientist that she would. From experience, she had yet to defeat a scientist on her own. The heroine wanted to defeat her, but she swallowed down her pride.
"Keith, you go ahead, you're better at this than I am." Pleaded the blond. Keith understood what his companion was asking him to do.
"Don't worry, I'll take her down." Keith retrieved his worn out Barbaracle and he sent out Florges in the water type's place.
"I accept and by the way, the name is Maple." Said the scientist as she sent out a Houndoom.
"Florges use dazzling gleam." The fairy shot beams out of it's eyes. Keith wasn't about to waste time as he took type advantage.
"Houndoom, use a flamethrower." Fire spat out of the hound as a counter against its opponent.
Both attacks landed against their intended targets. But the Florges was left with a burn. Keith cursed his luck in irritation. Erica made use of this time to help the Abomasnow evacuate from the area. She ran over to the giant and ushered him towards the exit.
"Go on, get out of here quick." The ice type pokemon hugged Erica as if it was thanking her and then ran off.
"Florges, use captivate." Florges shot out a look of attractiveness which lowered the attack of the opponent.
"Like that'll work, houndoom use howl."
As far as it looked, this battle was turning into a stalemate. Erica watched from the sidelines, wishing she could help out her friend. But she knew that in this situation it would be best not to ruin his concentration. Something that she could do is find Brett and stop him, speaking of which...
"ALRIGHT, I KNEW I COULD SMELL A BATTLE!" Everyone turned their attention to the newcomer who could apparently smell a battle from afar.
"Who is this guy?" Asked Maple. She pointed her visor to him, like she was trying to scan him.
"Brett?" Keith was caught out of his battle stance.
"But you're supposed to be in the center resting!" Yelled Erica she ran over to him to corner him. She knew that Keith was in control of the battle, but Brett might attempt to take over at any moment.
Now he was literally trapped. Team Flare was in front of him, but so was his blonde friend who wouldn't let him pass.
"Come on Erica, let me through." Demanded Brett.
"No, you're still not 100% ready." Retorted Erica as she pointed to the side that Brett was holding. He was stronger that her, but Brett could get past Erica this time. She crossed her arms and bore an upset face.
"Besides, Keith can handle this." Brett pointed behind her.
"Tell that to his pokemon that just fainted." Erica turned around and noticed that Keith had indeed retrieved his Florges.
"Fine, now come on out Raichu." Keith had sent out the evolved form of Pikachu, he must've picked up a thunderstone form somewhere recently.
"Flamethrower." Both attacks missed their targets and instead struck parts of the ceiling.
"Raichu, use electric ball." The large mouse pokemon shot a ball of electricity that was too fast for the houndoom.
"Damn, Houndoom counter with a fire blast." The dark hound shot out a flame that was as hot as thirty furnaces.
Raichu dodged again from the attack, but Keith was starting to realize a problem in all this. Their electric attacks and fire attacks were starting to melt the ice around the cave. The structure wouldn't be able to take much more of this damage.
"Wait, we have to stop." Declared Keith as he put his hand up. The scientist just pumped her fist in denial.
"Team Flare never gives up!"
"But if we don't-" Keith was cut off as the cave started to rumble. Erica and Brett looked up to see that the cave was melting and caving in.
Both trainers returned their pokemon and evacuated from the collapsing den. This was a new challenge for Erica, for her it kinda felt like some kind of Indiana Jones scene. Brett immediately pushed her to give her a head start.
The blond quickly took advantage of the help that her friend gave her. All three of the trainers ran as fast as their legs could possibly take them.
On the outside, dust started to fly out of the cave as our heroes flew out with it. The trainers landed head first against the icy ground. They remained unconscious for some time. When they regained consciousness, it seemed that night had taken over.
"Ugh, what happened?" Groaned the blond as she got up.
"We must've fallen head first against the icy snow." Answered Keith. As they stood up, they noticed something crucial.
Brett wasn't there.
"Where is Brett?" Questioned Keith frantically. Erica was just as worried as her friend, if not more, but she tried to offer a solution.
"Maybe he went to the pokemon center?"
Erica felt as if it was a stupid question to even think about. Keith's face that was spread with worry reminded her of the face he and Brett bore when they realized Team Flare's plan in the power plant.
"Ok, you go back in check in town. I'll go back into the cave." Proclaimed Keith.
Erica ran back into town, she asked frantically if anyone had seen her friend. Nobody had seen such a person. She even gave exact descriptions of what he looked like, acted like, and even what pokemon he had. But to no avail, not a soul had seen Brett.
Reluctantly, Erica returned to the cave to help Keith search there for any sign of Brett. Once she reached the entrance Keith was waiting there, facing away from the town.
"I'm sorry Keith, no one has seen him." She then noticed that he was holding a white gem stone that had an orange core that was hooked to a necklace. A new idea popped up in her head, maybe somebody had seen his pokemon. Erica was about to ask Keith, but he spoke first.
"I'm sorry too, Erica." Apologized Keith. He turned around and walked away from the cave. Erica started to feel cold on the inside, a horrible despair was starting to grip at her heart.
"But there isn't anything else we can do." Now came the words that she didn't want to hear.
"Brett...he didn't make it." Keith spat out that sentence as fast as he could. Even though she couldn't see it, Erica knew that Keith was trying to hold back tears.
Those words stabbed Erica through the heart. She fell to the ground, Erica didn't want to believe it. Nothing in the world could make her want to believe that could to happen to her friend, especially the one who she viewed as her big brother.
"...No..." Tears streamed down her cheek and onto the cold ground.