Separate Ways

In the Forest

James was, once again, trailing through the forest behind Carmen. It was a very hot day, and he was feeling irritable. He hadn't eaten anything since the day before and was starting to feel the effects as his stomach growled loudly.

"Will you be quiet!" Carmen hissed.

"Sorry," he muttered sarcastically. "I'll try to keep my involuntary stomach noises to a minimum."

"Shhhh!"

James said nothing else, but just kept on walking behind her, scowling at the back of her head. He didn't even tell her when a bug got stuck in her black hair.

Suddenly, Carmen stopped in her tracks and James nearly walked in to her. She was staring fixedly ahead at a large pink Pokémon shuffling about in the grass. It was a Chansey. Even James, in spite of his bad mood, felt a twinge of excitement. It was pretty rare to find a Chansey, and even rarer to manage to catch one.

James wasn't surprised when Carmen whipped around to face him and signalled for him to stay well back, her sharp features contorted in to a fierce scowl. She then proceeded to creep forward, her right hand hovering over a Pokéball on her belt.

Just then, a loud, piercing screech came from above them. The Chansey, startled, looked up to see the two Team Rocket agents and quickly shuffled away in to the undergrowth. James looked up to see a Pidgeot rocketing towards him. He ducked out of the way, wondering why it was trying to attack him. The bird shot past him and turned in a wide circle, slowing down and finally landing in front of him with a soft thud.

Carmen spat with anger, her green eyes blazing with fury.

James, however, was still staring uneasily at the Pidgeot in front of him. It was looking intently at him, ruffling its pale feathers. He noticed a little piece of paper tied to its leg. Assuming it was for him, he reached forward hesitantly. He untied the little piece of string attaching the note to the Pidgeot's leg. As soon as he had done so, the bird shot up from the ground and flew away, quickly becoming no more than a black speck against the pale blue sky.

Still a little startled, James opened the note, ignoring Carmen glaring at him.

James.

Jessie is asking for you. She isn't very well.

She's in hospital at Hearthome City.

Get here as soon as you can.

Dr. R.

Jessie was ill? And she was in Sinnoh? Any feelings of hunger he was experiencing disappeared abruptly, only to be replaced by a horrible feeling of dread. He didn't know why Jessie was in Sinnoh, but he was glad she was nearby. Hearthome City was only forty-five minutes away, but he could get there in half an hour if he ran. Stuffing the note in to his pocket, he turned without another thought and began to run from the forest.

"James! Where do you think you're going?" Carmen yelled as she ran after him.

James stopped running and turned around to look at her. "I have to go, I need to get to Hearthome City, it's Jessie. I don't know what's happening, but I need to get there."

"Don't you dare leave!" she snarled.

"I have to," James began.

"If you leave, I'll make sure you never get another assignment with Team Rocket again, mark my words!" Carmen hissed, her eyes blazing again.

"Fine." James answered, meeting her gaze calmly. "You might be a productive field agent, Carmen, but at some point in your life you'll realise that some things are more important than being in Team Rocket."

"James, I'm warning you..." she said.

"Consider me warned, but I'm still leaving."

With that, James turned on his heel and started running again towards Hearthome City, and towards Jessie.

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