The Show Must Go On
“Prof. Oak used to say that my father, Bill, knew more about Pokemon than him,” Peter chuckled from the podium, wearing a black velvet suit.
Gary stared up at the man who had given him his Porygon-Z. Tears came out of his eyes from behind his sunglasses.
“But it was Prof. Oak who was a hero for me growing up. I would see him on occasion as a child via video calls with my father, and only met him for the first time in person when I was myself a prospering adult. By then, we had met under less than fortunate circumstances; when my father passed away. The Oak family has always been a part of joyful memories for me growing up. I will never forget such a great man who literally changed the world.”
Gary stared at the giant photograph of Prof. Oak that was decorated with flowers and other bright decor beneath the stage, held above the red and white wooden casket. I hope I don’t have anything like that when I die, Gary thought. Simple casket, all black. Maybe a picture of me, but no flowers and crap, please. In fact, why even a photo of my ugly face, he added, his eyes tearing up, but he stopped the self-deprecation and cleared his teary vision. This wasn’t the time or place for that. I wonder if Prof. Oak wanted it like this or not... he thought.
“I’d always joke around with him about how uninteresting the Kantonian forms of Pokemon looked compared to the Alolan ones,” Prof. Oak’s cousin, Samson Oak, laughed. Despite his age, he spoke with so much energy, and had a slight accent. He was a lot darker than Prof. Oak. He wore the brightest of clothes out of anyone else, white slacks and a blue button up shirt with blue and red flowers on it. “But, we sure would get a kick outta the Pokemon we’d show each other from our regions. The differences were a Hoothoot!” He raised his hands, putting his thumb and index fingers around each eye, making a pose. Chuckling lightly, he relaxed and his arms fell before he looked to the roof of the building with a big, emotional smile. “Alola, Cousin.”
“My Gramps...” Prof. Gary Oak snickered and lowered his head. He looked up to the roof of the building and nodded behind sunglasses, wearing a suave purple suit, and then lowered his head back to the audience, smirking. “What can I say about him, huh? A genius is saying the least and most obvious. A sense of humor that was questionable.” He snickered again, a few others chuckling with him in the audience. Prof. Gary Oak sniffled but held his smirk. “He was a revolutionary. A fighter. A defender. A leader. My Gramps... He was the man who taught me everything I know. To ever think I could ever match what he did and knew... A man can dream, but admittedly, he’ll always be my idol.” His head lowered, unable to keep up his cool demeanor, his smirk finally vanishing, and he turned and walked off, gritting his teeth as tears slid down his cheeks.
“What more can I possibly add to this?” The breathtakingly beautiful woman was crying behind sunglasses, wearing a black suit. “My grandfather was someone to aspire to be like. Not as a Pokemon Professor, but as a human being, who loved Pokemon. It’s said that I work well with Pokemon, naturally, and if that’s so, all credit goes to my grandfather. I apologize for my tears, everyone, and I promised myself this wouldn’t happen, but... I just can’t believe this day would have dared to ever come!” Daisy Oak turned and ran off the stage, her black high heels clomp clomp-ing along.
June’s hand went under her black hatinator and wiped at the black veil over her face, weeping.
Robin stood wearing sunglasses, his chest puffed out in his black suit, and he inhaled, letting it out in a big sigh. His left hand rested atop his right hand, both in front of his pants.
Kiwi was silent in her long, black dress, her head lowered.
Aly’s black dress wasn’t like Kiwi’s, the tightest fitting of them all, with thin straps at her shoulders. She wept openly.
Gary had his back to his friends, looking up directly at the sun from behind his sunglasses. I’m so glad this is over, he thought. His eyes lowered to all of the people around him.
This service wasn’t the huge one that had happened days after Prof. Oak’s death. This was a more private one, so it was a lot smaller, but to Gary, this made it a lot nicer since it wasn’t so overblown like the earlier one. Not that the man didn’t deserve it, but for Gary, personally, he didn’t want to be at the first one. Instead, he watched that one on TV. It lasted almost eight days. This smaller one, over a month later, Gary knew he had to attend; and he wanted to. Friends, family, and strangers to Gary were everywhere, crying and talking. Not one smile could be found anywhere.
“I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Gary was startled and turned to a man that came out of nowhere.
June and Aly stopped crying.
The man wore a brown fedora in a matching suit with a black tie. His eyes were hidden under the hat, but the rest of his face showed he was old. Despite that, he had long black hair that went down to his neck. “Kids, I don’t know you or anything. I just know you guys knew Prof. Oak. Most of you even got your first Pokemon from him. I’m sorry about all of this. He was such a great man.” He turned and walked away quickly.
“Who is that?” Aly asked.
They all watched him leave in silence.
“When do we get to go home?” Gary looked around, spotting the orange jeep.
No one was inside it.
Gary sighed noticeably, impatient to get back home. His eyes closed.
He could still hear the THUMP! from Prof. Oak’s body as he hit the ground, Isaac landing on top of him.
Gary’s eyes were tight, tears squeezing out of them. How did he just get away? Gary pondered. The police were there! Better yet, how did I let him get away...? I had a gun to the man! I should have just...
The big, golden gun in his hands, Gary stopped right above Isaac and pointed it directly at his face. His hands shook, and he wrapped the index finger of his right hand around the trigger, anticipating the loud sound.“You killed... my best friend in Lavender Town.”
He opened his eyes, but he couldn’t see anything. He kept trying to blink the water out, but soon, his eyes were burning, and he had no choice but to wipe at them with his fingers, and then the bottom of his palms, sniffling. Why did I say that...? he ended up wondering. What did that mean? He looked to Aly. Aly’s not... He adjusted his sunglasses and looked to the ground.
“I can’t even describe how much of a punch in your ugly freaking face you deserve!!!”
“ALY, STOP!!” Gary demanded frantically!
The man with a gun pointed at Aly whipped his head around, looking behind him...
Screaming, Gary dove at the man, floating over to him with ease.
Gary rested on top of the man, not entirely sure how he got there, but knowing he had made the jump at some point.
The tour group started screaming frantically.
Remembering this, something still didn’t make any sense to the kid. Something didn’t feel right. How did I get behind him if...? Or was I...?
Prof. Oak hit the ground at the Indigo League.
This took over Gary’s mind, and he kept his focus on that moment. This isn’t over, Isaac, Gary promised. Nothing ends until we meet again you bastard...
“And your mom is just fine with this?” June asked Gary.
“I took all my stuff I need with me when I kissed her goodbye,” Gary told her, sitting on a couch, his eyes down to the floor in Prof. Oak’s mansion.
“After all we went through previously, I’d have thought she’d put up more of a fight.”
“Like she could keep me if she tried,” Gary muttered, rolling his eyes.
“You all have coats? It’s supposed to be cooler out there than here in Kanto,” Robin informed them, sitting on the same couch as Gary. “Not super cold like, the North Pole or anything. Just a little cooler.”
“So you think you’ll learn something about that monster out there?” June asked Gary, standing near the couch.
“There’s some stuff online I’ve been looking into a bit of. I think there might be a book in Canalave City that might be of some help. I saw something online about a book, but I can’t find the book myself to buy or anything, so I’m gonna head out there while I get my Badges, capture more Pokemon, and see what I can learn.”
“But it might not be related to that thing at all,” June mentioned.
Gary nodded. “Right. Either way, we know nothing now, and I’ve decided to try out Sinnoh’s League rather than stay in Kanto. I can only grow through exploration.”
“You know, in something I read after you told me about going to Sinnoh, Kanto ranked pretty low on the competitive level of Leagues, and Leagues like Sinnoh ranked pretty high.”
“Then I guess it’s good we’re all going to Sinnoh! We can give ’em a taste of what Kanto is really all about! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Robin laughed.
“Or get our asses beat,” Aly said with a slanted mouth to Robin, sitting next to him.
“Well, with that attitude, how’d you ever beat Gary or get further than me?” Robin frowned.
“And yet I did,” Aly responded, her hands on her hips. “I was only saying, okay? What happens if we all lose in the preliminaries? Huh? Huh? Huh?”
“Prof. Oak would want you all to make sure you’re catching loads of Pokemon,” Kiwi brought up, sitting in a chair by herself in front of a set of desktop computers.
The other three turned to her and then lowered their heads.
“Especially you, Gary.”
“Hey!” Gary let out angrily.
Everyone but Gary laughed.
“Were you serious about leaving today, though? Right after the funeral?” Aly asked, looking to Gary. She was the first to stop laughing, the others following when she started talking. “I really think you should take some more time off.”
“You guys could even leave tomorrow, if anything,” Robin added, looking at Gary and June.
“I can also just leave by myself. I can do the whole damn journey alone!” Gary snapped.
They all stared at him, taken aback.
“Whoa, dude. No need to snap, man,” Robin raised his hands.
“This is a stressful time,” Kiwi commented, her head down.
Silence filled the room.
Still frowning, Gary closed his eyes and his breath came out noisily from his nostrils. He shook his head, his face finally relaxing. “I’m sorry.” He opened his eyes. “I don’t know what came over me. I shouldn’t have snapped.”
“It’s cool. Kiwi’s right. Times are stressful right now. With Prof. Oak gone, it’s no doubt we would be on edge a bit,” Robin said. “Let’s just put that energy into taking down this supposedly more ‘competitive’ League! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Everyone else nodded.
“I’m just mad you’re not coming, dude,” Gary complained.
“Once Catherine’s better, we’ll catch up with you guys. I can’t do this without her,” Robin told him.
Gary nodded. “I know, I know. It just sucks, man...”
“It does... Will you be competing this time, June?” Aly asked her.
June shook her head sharply. “I’m not really interested. I have so much work to do with my Pokemon once they’re all okay.”
“You can’t just live following Gary’s shadow, you know,” Aly told her. “You have to live your own life!”
Gary swallowed uncomfortably. She is right, Gary thought. Stop following me so much, June. Especially with no purpose. His eyes widened as he realized everyone was staring at him! “Hey! What?”
Aly covered her mouth, snickering.
Robin laughed out loud.
Kiwi shook her head, looking down, smirking.
June’s eyes widened and she lowered her head. Her face flushed light red. “It’s not that I’m living in Gary’s shadow! I’m just... you know? I’m just...”
“Yeah, I think I know just fine, girlfriend, but surely there’s more for you to be doing with your life,” Aly said moodily. She crossed her arms. “If you ain’t datin’, what’s he makin’?” She snapped her neck while talking.
“What?” Gary let out in a rasp, not understanding what that meant.
“Huh?” June was also confused.
“I’m sayin’, if this boy ain’t rich and treatin’ you like a queeeeen, and y’all ain’t in a committed relationship, what’s his appeal, girrrrrrrl??”
“ALY!!” Gary yelled, jumping to his feet.
“Oh, I might be convincing her to leave, so noooooow you wanna jump up and complain? How many times have I seen this episode of Boy Needs Girl?” Aly rolled her eyes.“I NEVER SAID THAT!! SHE CAN LEAVE!! I DON’T CARE!” Gary crossed his arms, leering at Aly. He then turned to June.
June lowered her eyes.
Gary tightened his serious eyes on her. He felt ready to start barking on her. His hands started forming fists before, with a blink, he realized how angry and irrational he was about to get. Hey, take it easy, man, Gary told himself. What’s wrong with you? His fists opened up and he stared at his open palms, shocked. I guess I really am stressed...
“Gary...” Kiwi said in a scolding tone.
“If Gary’s not interested, I’d be more than happy to keep you by my side!” In the next second, Robin was magically in front of June, his hands clasped together in front of his face, down on one knee. “Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!” Robin went flying across the room, kicked out of the way by Aly.
“Oooooorrrrr... Homegirl can just travel alone!” Aly smiled. “She can come to Sinnoh with us all, and do her own thing! You know, they have those Contests there where you use your Pokemon to pull off cool tricks! You know, like those dog shows! Contests are hhhuuuuuge in Sinnoh compared to here.”
“Oh, yeah... Contests...” June muttered. “I... I dunno. Aha ha ha! I don’t know anything about that stuff.”
“You learn! We didn’t start our journeys as pros, and a couple of us are still pretty far from that, still.” Aly smiled, closing her eyes.
“Who would you possibly be talking about?” Robin had returned, staring at Aly slyly while dusting off his clothes.
The Yellow Scarf, Gary remembered while Aly and Robin continued arguing. Used in Contests for Toughness or something. That’s what that guy Ace told me. Gary found himself thinking about how Hitmonchan would always adjust his Yellow Scarf before eating and battling. Like some kind of courtesy. Hitmonchan was likely a Contest Pokemon. So was he and his Trainer originally from the Sinnoh region? “Have you guys settled on who you’ll be bringing to Sinnoh?” Gary interrupted the fighting. He regretted saying that suddenly, staring at June.
Everyone else stared at her, too.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
She shook her head. “That Electivire sure can take a hit, huh?” She smiled slightly at everyone, stopping at Gary.
“As expected. But everyone else will be fine in no time, I’m sure,” Gary stated.
“Everyone will be,” Robin added.
“That’s right!” Aly smiled. She turned to Gary. “So, if you wanna run off on your own, go ahead, but personally, I’m waiting for the morning to catch the ship. You guys can do what you want. After that funeral, I am not tryna just jump into a whole new journey. I know that may help out some people with problems, but it’s not how I operate.”
“What’s a day, anyway?” Robin agreed, turning to Gary. “A night’s sleep and you’ll meet this professor, fresh and ready for anything!”
“For an older lady, she’s kind of pretty, huh?” Aly turned to the boys.
“I’m far more interested in the young angel we have in our group!” Robin gushed, appearing like lightning in front of June, making her scream out.
Gary shrugged quietly. Yeah, she is really something, though. Especially for an older woman... he kept to himself, thinking of her. She looks like a model.
“You really never heard of ‘no means no,’ have you?” Aly barked, waving her hands at Robin as if he were a fly or some other kind of pest.
“Hey, hey! What’d I do? OW!” Robin was smacked by Aly.
I wonder if she knows anything about that book I’m after... Gary thought, ignoring his friends.
Kiwi walked over and stopped in the middle of the group. “If this is really gonna be our last time together for a while...”
Everyone turned to her.
She held out a hand and smiled. “One.”
“Ha ha ha! Yeah!” Robin ran with Aly to Kiwi. “Two!” He slapped an eager hand on top of Kiwi’s.
Aly placed her hand on top of Robin’s. “Three!”
Gary walked over and touched Aly’s hand. “Four!” He smiled at Aly.
Aly smiled back.
All four kids then turned to June.
She was smiling, staring at them do their thing. Her smile faded and her eyes widened as they all waited, watching her. “Huh?”
“Come on, you know you wanna touch Gary’s hand!” Aly rolled her eyes.
“ALY!!” Gary yelled.
“AHAHAHAHA!” Robin laughed. “But seriously, June, you’re one of us! Come over here!”
“Yeah. I wouldn’t leave a Pika Pal out of this,” Kiwi insisted.
June smiled gratefully and wiped at each eye. Sniffling, she got up and made her way to the group. With a laugh, she placed her hand on top of Gary’s and turned to him. “Five?”
Together, everyone threw their hands up and shouted, “KANTO!”
Gary sat by himself in a room on the ship, all of his friends outside enjoying the sight. It was about eight in the morning and far too cold outside for Gary to be staring at the water. He didn’t enjoy water much to begin with, and while the cold was nice, it was a bit too much, at too early of an hour, to be out there for no reason other than for a view. The journey of a Pokemon Trainer was more than enough opportunity to see the outdoors, he believed. Especially at this early hour.
He stared at his six Poke Balls on the table next to his bed. “Charizard, get better soon,” he mumbled.
Charizard was still in recovery. When told he’d have to stay behind, it was chaos at the Lab as the weakened Pokemon tried to prove his health, only stopping when he ended up injuring himself to submission.
Prof. Sketchit had told Gary it was determined he should be just fine in maybe another month’s time, which was great compared to a lot of other Pokemon injured during the Indigo League attack.
Two more Pokemon that had been in the Team Solace attack, Ivysaur and Dugtrio, weren’t expected to be recovered for a few more months. The last two, Kingdra and Weepinbell, were still in very poor condition, expected to pull through, but the time wasn’t clear at all.
June’s crew had Electivire, Magneton, Raichu, and Galvantula. Rotom, Pikachu, Manectric, Eevee, Blitzle, and Ampharos were all still recovering with varying, individual predicted recovery times.
Aly had her Mighty Ivy and even Persian made it through in time for the trip.
Gary had chosen to take Primeape, Hoothoot, Ralts, his Scizor Robin had nicknamed Fashioned before trading her to him, Clamperl, and his Pidgeotto he had nicknamed Sabrina. A healthy team, Gary told himself. We can alternate to raise the others, like normal. And once Charizard is back to normal, it’s on! Just a month, they said. You can do it, man! You’re the best of the best!
The structures the three saw looked strange. It started with two concrete, gray walls, between them, a metal gate. Beyond that were shrubs, grass, and a dirt plain. But amongst those stood a blue, metallic building in the shape of something similar to a bucket, a smaller brick structure, and a big windmill after that.
“So, this is it. The lab of the world famous Pokemon professor of the Sinnoh region!” June mused. “I don’t know much about her, but being as she’s a woman, I must say, I’m immediately impressed! There aren’t many females in this profession!”
Gary rolled his eyes. “Being a woman doesn’t mean anything. She could be absolutely unrespected in her field. A total low grade. I wanna meet her and see what she’s like. She could be a total jerk, even.”
June didn’t reply to this.
Another voice, not Aly’s or Gary’s, spoke out instead. “Well, what do you think of me?”
The kids jumped and turned behind them.
There stood a very tall woman.
Gary’s heart sparked alive.
The woman’s long hair was a dull-blonde color, with shining silver streaks added, hanging over her face and covering one eye, her revealed eye being gray. She was wearing a white blouse tucked into black slacks, a white lab coat on. A gentle, small smile was on her face.
Gary’s heart bounced like it was made of rubber. He found that the woman looked simplistic, and yet undeniably gorgeous. Wow... He smiled at her. And then, he jumped in place and looked around him. “HEY!” He whipped around in a complete circle. A moment later, realization setting in, his shoulders slumped and his breath came out heavily. Hitmonchan... he remembered. He’s not here to... He couldn’t even finish the thought.
“Are you alright?” the lady asked.
Gary looked up at her sadly. “I’m fine.” He looked down and closed his eyes, feeling his eyes watering up.
Nobody said a word for some time, all eyes on the boy.
“Well, should I leave?” a harsh, young voice said.
Everyone looked over to another new person!
It was a young boy. This kid had glasses on in front of slightly slanted eyes, all under a mess of loose, black hair that didn’t reach any further than his ears. He wore brown slacks and a black T-shirt, his feet in black sneakers, a large black backpack on his back. The kid was staring at the tall woman.
She smiled down at him. “If you wish. I do have a meeting with these children.”
“You do? With us?” Aly questioned.
“I assume you three must be Gary, Aly, and June?” she spoke kindly.
The three kids gasped.
“Then are you-?!” June gaped at her.
“It’s so nice to meet you all! I’m Prof. Cynthia!”
“PROF. CYNTHIA!!!” all of the kids, aside from the new guy, exploded with love.
“It’s such an honor to meet a woman in such a demanding, male-dominated field!!” June praised her.
“I hear you used to be Sinnoh’s Pokemon Champion!!” Aly brought up.
Prof. Cynthia laughed and raised her hands. “Thank you, guys. I appreciate the love. Very much. It’s my own honor to meet you all. I have some time set aside just for you, so, please, let’s make our way to the lab.” She looked to the boy beside her. “Will you join us?”
“Uh... I don’t think so. I’ve got to get going on my journey! I’m late as it is! My friends are way ahead of me!” he replied.
“Alright then, Rael! Keep in touch!” Prof. Cynthia smiled.
Rael nodded and then looked at Gary and his friends and just turned away, finally running off.
“That’s a new Trainer. Rael. He got his Starter Pokemon and is so eager to begin already! Anyway, come with me!” Prof. Cynthia led the way through the gates and along the path to her lab.
“What an... interesting looking location?” Aly said with a question in her voice.
Prof. Cynthia laughed. “I just haven’t had the heart to change much of it after the passing of Prof. Rowan. I respected that man far too much. Say, are you guys fans of Pokemon Contests?”
When nobody spoke up, Aly finally did. “I know a bit about them! Why?”
“I do, too!” June jumped in.
“Well, there’s an assistant of mine whose daughter is none other than Top Coordinator Dawn!”
No one had anything to say to this.
Prof. Cynthia laughed. “Think of a Top Coordinator as someone who won the Pokemon League, but for Coordinators!”
“Oooooohhhhh!!” the kids all exclaimed.
“I did want to be a Coordinator so long ago, but I never could find the time!” Prof. Cynthia giggled, her voice not deep, but not light.
Something about it really was getting to Gary, in a really good way.
“Well, here we are!” Prof. Cynthia led them through the front doors which opened for them, and they were in a metallic room, some plant life standing in pots. She turned to the young ones and smiled. “So, please, what did you desire to ask me about, children?”
The kids found themselves silent. June and Aly then turned to Gary.
He stared back at them in surprise.
“I guess it’s safe to say you’re the ringleader here, huh?” Prof. Cynthia laughed gently.
“NO WAY!” Aly burst out. “If you think that guy is the boss here, I’ll have you know I beat his butt good at the Indigo League in Kanto that just passed!”
Prof. Cynthia raised her hands, laughing while Gary scowled at Aly, Aly ignoring him completely. “I’m actually well aware! I was certainly watching!”
“Haaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!” Aly sang out in awe.
Gary whipped around to stare at Prof. Cynthia, his eyes wide in surprise, his face heating up with embarrassment. She saw that...?
“It just seems like Gary has the most to say to me, is what I meant.” She smiled sweetly at him.
Gary stared at her, doe-eyed, but then blinked himself back into a stern reality. “Well, to be honest, I... I kinda was wondering about your thoughts on the creature that’s been terrorizing Kanto right now. That monster thing that’s neither man nor... Pokemon, I guess.”
The professor stared at Gary blankly.
Gary’s friends also stared at him in surprise, though they knew what he wanted to ask. Overall, they were just surprised that he really did it.
Prof. Cynthia was smiling again. “I don’t know any more than the news. As a Pokemon Professor, I’m sorry to disappoint that I have not even one theory as to what it could be, Gary.”
Gary lowered his head and sighed. “I didn’t honestly think you would.” He stared up at the woman. “No one knows what it is, right?”
“Its last attack was actually only around a week ago at a Gym in this region.”
“Huh?? So it’s here? In Sinnoh??”
Prof. Cynthia nodded, her smile vanishing. “It seems so.”
Gary just shook his head. There’s no way... he thought. What are the odds?! I-
“If anything at all, I would say that, I may not have any thoughts as to what it is, but I definitely think it has an intelligent goal in mind,” Prof. Cynthia stated. “For whatever reason, it obliterated two Gyms of this region so far. Perhaps, it has a thing against human structures that involve Pokemon.”
“Whoa! What do you mean?!”
“It’s just a theory a friend of mine came up with, but he thinks that this thing could be purposely destroying establishments made by humans that also involve Pokemon. He didn’t tell me all of his thoughts, as usual. He likes to wait until he has evidence and a solid theory to build on, rather than creating misguided panic, but he may be on to something. But we don’t know what other attacks this thing has caused, so it’s hard to judge the motives.”
Gary nodded, looking down. “It’s something, though. An idea... But the Gyms here are still open, right?”
“Then I’ll get to them quickly. No sweat.”
Prof. Cynthia laughed at this. “I love your energy.”
“Yeah, he’s entertaining until he falls on his face,” Aly rolled her eyes.
“Watch it!” Gary growled.
“Or??” Aly placed her hands on her hips and leaned closer to him.“We love each other on the inside,” June smiled awkwardly at Prof. Cynthia.
Prof. Cynthia was laughing again. She got silent and stared upward quietly. “Friend; when every life meets another life, something will be born.”
“Excuse me?” Gary questioned.
“It’s the best explanation I can offer about this new creature.” Prof. Cynthia smiled at the kids, her eye stopping on Gary. “It’s from a ruin I’ve studied. It’s kind of a... philosophy I’ve adopted, and I feel it applies to this being.”“What was the quote again?” Gary asked her.
“Friend; when every life meets another life, something will be born.” Prof. Cynthia smiled even more at Gary. “It’s a lovely sentiment, isn’t it?”Gary nodded along with June and Aly, but Gary was frowning. “I don’t think I get what that means about the monster, though.”
“If I may,” June said hesitantly, “I think, maybe you’re saying, philosophically, something will come out of finally getting a hold of this creature,” June said.
Prof. Cynthia’s smile lessened, but it remained. She let out her breath. “All I can say is, I believe that inscription may define a lot for us, in these coming days.”
There were no more words spoken after that, Gary mostly feeling confused. He wanted to inquire further, but stopped at the look of worry that was clear on the woman’s face as she stared at the floor. This is stressful for everyone, Gary thought. Even professors. “Anyway, we’ve gotta go, I think. Thank you for the bit of information.”
“Just a theory,” Prof. Cynthia winked. Or perhaps both eyes had closed happily. It was hard to tell with her hair covering the other eye. “Please, don’t go spreading that out there.”
Gary and his friends all nodded. “You’ve got it!” he told her.
“I won’t say a word!” Aly promised.
“That was between us, Miss Professor Cynthia, ma’am!” June raised her right hand and then placed it over her heart.
“Thanks, kids,” Prof. Cynthia beamed. “Well, feel free to call me if you ever need to talk.” She reached in her coat and pulled out some white cards, handing them to the children. “Just don’t go passing ’em off to people, okay?” she laughed.
“Wow! Thanks!” Gary took one.
“Thank you, Prof. Cynthia,” Aly told her.
“Wow! Thank you so much, Prof. Cynthia!” June followed up.
“And, may I say, children, my condolences. I’ve met Prof. Oak in the past. The last time being when Prof. Rowan, the previous professor here, passed. He was so devastated. I just hope I was able to respectfully carry on the reputation of Prof. Rowan’s lab. He was a long time friend of mine.” She looked to the ceiling thoughtfully, sadly.
“Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss, as well,” Gary said.
“Thank you for your kind words. You’re doing a wonderful job,” June added. “Prof. Rowan would be proud of you.”
Prof. Cynthia smiled down at them. “Oh, thank you so much.”
“Um, Prof. Cynthia,” Gary started.
“Yes?” She looked at him with her widened eye.
“Before we head off, do you know anything about Sinnoh lore? I mean, obviously you do, but, I’m heading to Canalave City to a library there. There’s a specific book there, or I hope it’s still there.”
A more apprehensive look came over Prof. Cynthia’s face, and she chewed on her bottom lip for a second. “There are many lores in the Sinnoh region, Gary. Please, be careful what you seek in this region. Even before I became a professor, I was always dedicated to researching the myths here. I’ve read all I could find, excavated ruins, and uncovered things that are best never known to the world.”
“Like what?” Aly asked, her eyes wide with eagerness and anticipation.
“Aly!” Gary frowned at her.
Prof. Cynthia giggled, her hand to her mouth, her one shown eye closed. When it opened, she lowered her hand and stared upward. “I wish you luck on your journey.” She looked back down to them. “And don’t think I don’t have a gift for you guys to assist you!”
“A gift?? These cards are a gift in themselves! We can contact you if anything and let you in on any crazy things we encounter!” Aly smiled excitedly.
Prof. Cynthia laughed lightly. “That’s great, but I honestly think this might provide just a bit more assistance!” She reached into her lab coat and pulled out Pokedexes!
The kids gasped loudly.
“NO WAY! You don’t mean...?” Gary asked, freezing up.
“These are for you guys! Even June, who I heard doesn’t have one! If you’d like, you too can take one and use it, and all your extra Pokemon can be left in my care!” Prof. Cynthia said kindly. “And these have turn-by-turn navigation, inform you on upcoming events in towns and cities, function as a compass, and much, much more! And I’ve taken the liberty to register you all for the Sinnoh League this year!”
“This is incredible!” Gary took a blue Pokedex.
“Prof. Cynthia, thank you for this!” Aly got a pink-white one. “How cute is this?!” she squealed.
June didn’t move, staring up at the woman.
Prof. Cynthia smiled back.
June smiled and then lowered her head, closing her eyes. “I’m sorry.” She then returned her eyes to the woman. “I’ve gotten so used to taking care of all of my Pokemon. On my own. While I appreciate the offer, it’s just not something I can see myself doing at this time. Plus, I feel like it’s accepting an extra goal I’m not interested in right now.”
Prof. Cynthia kept her smile and nodded. “I completely understand!” She looked at the orange and green Pokedexes she had left and slipped them back into her pocket. “I’ll be sure to save one for Robin when he arrives. You won’t be traveling alone, anyway, from what I understand.”
June’s face went red, Gary’s eyes widened, and Aly grinned sinisterly at them both.
“This region is pretty big and full of spots to see and enjoy! A map always comes in handy, but they say Sinnoh is still a pretty easy place to get lost.” A mournful look came over her face. “Even before the destruction of Mt. Coronet... What a tragedy that was. Please, be careful out there, children.” She swallowed nervously.
The trio nodded solemnly.
“Yeah,” Gary said lowly. “Thanks a lot for these. I guess this is goodbye for now.”
“I’ll be in touch with Prof. Sketchit if anything, alright?” Prof. Cynthia said softly.
Gary nodded, swallowing a lump in his throat. Instead of Prof. Oak... he kept to himself. Maintaining a small smile, he turned away, feeling his eyes getting worked up with tears, but he held them back.
Aly and June waved to the professor and soon, the three were leaving her property.
“Wow, for an older woman, she was super hot, huh?” Aly brought up. She leaned over to Gary. “Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?”
“You know, Aly, the way you keep talking about her, maybe you’re the one who wants her!” Gary snickered.
“Pfft. Keep an eye on him, June. I’ll bet he’ll be on the phone a lot more often to trade stories about myths and stuff with her,” Aly responded.
“Oh...” June let out a little laugh dismissively.
“So this is Sandgem Town, of course. And... Oh, boy,” Gary muttered at his Pokedex.
“Prof. Cynthia wasn’t lying about this map being useful,” June commented, staring at the map on his Pokedex.
“Useful? I’m staring at it and still barely know where I am!” Aly cried, staring at her Pokedex.Gary sighed. “Okay, well, according to this map, there’s actually a Gym in the middle of the woods. It’s a few days off in distance, and that’s assuming we keep a steady pace. It’s called the Powerzone Gym. A Dark type Trainer is there. So, I guess we can all travel to that spot.”
“You two can get niiiice and cozy going there yourselves. I’m off on my own path!” Aly beamed.
“You’re not coming with us?” June asked.
Aly winked at her. “Like I’m any group’s third wheel! With a map like this, I’m outta here to discover my own way! Catch you all later! And don’t use the colder weather of Sinnoh as an excuse for extra cuddling ’kay baaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!” Aly took off, her voice carrying out even after she was long gone.
Gary stomped forward but his friend had already vanished. There was no way to ring her neck. “Say...” He looked back to Prof. Cynthia, but she was also gone. “I coulda given her my cell number...” Thinking of his phone, he then asked out loud, “And, how long is this phone gonna last, anyway?” He turned to June. “Like, who exactly is paying the bill if Prof. Cozmo and the Trick Master are both dead? It’s been a couple of months and I haven’t used the thing. I guess until we figure out if it even works, we can hold off on giving anyone the number.”
June managed a smile and just nodded silently.
“That makes me wonder, why don’t you have a cell phone?”
“Simple, really. My parents don’t want me to have one because I’m too young.”
Gary had questions about this, but knowing June’s history, he decided not to pry too deep. It wasn’t any of his business at this point. “Well, we’ve got some time to go, so let’s head off and get this first Badge.”
The two walked along a concrete street for a while in silence.
Gary took note of this pretty quickly, used to the ever-talkative June. He shot glances at her, seeing that her head was down, lost in thought. She’s been pretty quiet since Prof. Cynthia offered her the ’Dex... Gary recalled. Is something wrong?
Eventually they stopped in front of a sign that read: Route 202. The sign was an upside down white triangle with a blue outline, held up by a white, steel pole.
“This is it, alright. We keep going from here, and we’re good,” Gary mentioned.
The two Trainers turned to each other, June with a kind of sad smile, Gary’s face solemn, and they continued along the road. On either side of them was grass, shrubs, and trees.
“Can you believe we’re really in the Sinnoh region, now?” June asked.
Gary didn’t reply. A frown came over his face and his eyes closed tight as his head throbbed one time painfully. Can’t you ever shut up? he thought irritably as his eyes opened.
“I mean, all we’ve gone through, has led us here. I have so many mixed feelings... What made you want to come here? Was it really just a book?”
Gary sucked his teeth and they began to grind against each other impatiently as June kept speaking. Her voice... Her talking just... Gary’s breathing was getting more and more heavy as he felt himself losing his cool with June. Hearing her just irritates me! He made two tight fists. What happened to her being quiet?!! I’ll fucking-!! Gary came to a stop, and his hands opened as shock came over him. He stared at his trembling hands in confusion.
After walking by him, June stopped and looked back. “Gary?”
Why am I thinking such things? Gary wondered, keeping his eyes down. I’ve been really aggravated lately. Maybe going on this journey was a mistake... Maybe I’m not emotionally ready. Maybe I really am too stressed out to deal-
A sharp noise rang out, and June’s bag slid from her shoulder as she ended up on her knees. She covered her ears and closed her eyes, shrieking out.
Gary gasped and looked up to where the sound was coming from. He then yelled out, “JUNE!” Above him was something familiar, and absolutely terrifying.
THE MONSTER WAS IN THE AIR!! The terrible, ugly, horrifying creature Gary was seeking floated over the both of them. The same evil being that had been traumatizing them throughout parts of Kanto. The horrible entity that had killed Gary’s sister. Her nude body was outlined in blue electricity, her hair extended and wavering about like wild snakes. Her eyes were wide, all black except for the surrounding ends being in purple. There were no eyebrows or eyelashes on the creature’s face. She landed and the sparks disappeared. Her black hair rested like normal hair, flowing down her back. Her thick, muscular legs were very hairy, while her slender arms carried noticeably less hair. Her toenails were hooked, like talons. Red, diamond-shaped patterns were on the front of her body like tattoos. Visible even from her hairy legs, one large, red diamond pattern was seen on each one. Her stomach and chest held the least amount of hair. The being’s breasts themselves were large and had a diamond shape to them. Her nipples each seemed to be half of a whole diamond, and were completely flat on the breasts. Though her skin was dark as coal, the nipples were somehow even darker. Her hairless neck was long and curved, like a snake, holding her head above her body. It was scaly and a red diamond design was on each side. Her large lips were closed but looked as if they were being pulled back at the tips by an invisible force. Thick cheekbones protruded outward above them. She lacked a nose, but a hole in the middle of her face was shaped like one, and the hole shrunk and expanded continuously.
What disturbed Gary the most, to this day, were the eyes of the monster. The top and bottom of the eyeballs met with the skin of the eye sockets of the face, but nowhere else did it. As if the eyes had been removed, and a rectangular shape had been carved out of the circular holes, and then the eyes were placed back in. Darkness inside of her head was visible from the sides of her eyes.
The monster roared angrily...at June!
June screamed back at the monster, but in terror, keeping her ears covered and shutting her eyes.
Suddenly, a white beam came out of June’s bag.
“EEEEEELECTIVIRE!!” Electivire flexed his arms, both of them wrapped in white bandages, and his entire body sparked.
Her fat tongue couldn’t stay in her open mouth, sliding along her broken teeth. One of the monster’s hands rose, the fingers disgustingly long, the nails like broken claws. Her other arm extended behind her and, as her body twisted, the arm then reached out, and something flew out from the hand. She had just tossed something!
A ball flew through the air, spinning swiftly. It got closer to June.
Gary and Electivire watched as the ball neared the girl, matching stunned looks on their faces.
June, still covering her ears, squinted weakly at what was going on. Her eyes widened as she gasped and then stood up, taking a step back.
The ball hit her and hovered in the air. It was shown to actually resemble a Poke Ball, the top half a blue-gray color, and the bottom was pale green. It opened, and an orange beam came out, hitting June and making her also glow orange.
June screamed as she was turned completely into a shapeless, orange energy and pulled inside of the ball!
The ball hit the ground and rocked back and forth a few times. The middle of the ball had a button that went from white to black repeatedly. Finally, the black remained still with a PONG!
Gary was in complete shock, not believing at all what he was seeing!
Electivire was no longer sparking, his arms dropped to his sides and his face in disbelief.
The monster stepped up to the ball and picked it up. She stared at it and smiled. Then, she looked to Gary with a threatening sneer.
Gary was frozen, petrified, by the monster herself or by his own confusion and terror, unclear. He couldn’t even blink if he wanted to.
The monster reacted very little. And then, she spoke. “Once I have figured out this human, I shall kill her. And your unworthy Pokemon. If I have to. One by one. And last, you.” Her voice sparked like several hundred powerful jolts of electricity fighting in the air, each bolt also burning with a loud, intense, crackling blaze of fire. It was also as if she spoke with various voices at once, each one at different levels, tones, frequencies, but all with anger. The hair on her head then billowed out in a ball, and little dots appeared throughout it, the act making Gary grab at his skin. The monster then bent her legs, knees unclear, and she looked at Electivire, a smirk crossing her face. She leaped into the air, shooting fast, high into the sky for about two seconds before zooming off at an angle, completely gone.
Gary stared in horror at the sky where she had just been. After a few long minutes, he looked down at June’s black bag. “June?” he managed to get out. He looked back to the sky, thinking about what he had just witnessed.
The monster’s hand reached out, and something flew out from it!
An object resembling a Poke Ball flew through the air, aimed at June. The top half of it was a blue-gray color, the bottom half a pale shade of green. It hit her and hovered in the air, opened, and an orange beam came out, hitting June and making her glow orange.
June screamed as she was turned completely into a shapeless, orange energy and pulled inside of the ball!
The ball hit the ground and rocked back and forth a few times. The middle of the ball had a button that went from white to black several times. Finally, the black remained with a PONG!
June... Gary thought, trembling in place. His view went over to Electivire, who kept his eyes in the sky where the creature had last been, and then Gary returned his vision back up.
A ball flew through the air, aimed at June. It hit her and hovered in the air, opening, and an orange beam came out, hitting June and making her glow orange.
“June...” Gary whispered, stumbling towards her bag.
June screamed as she was turned completely into a shapeless, orange energy and pulled inside of the ball!
“June!” Gary cried, his eyes tearing as he landed next to the bag, on his knees.
The sky then darkened dramatically.
The ball hit the ground and rocked back and forth a few times.
“JUNE!” Gary was now running, a single man stampede, chasing after the being he couldn’t even see, following the direction she had been going in. He couldn’t believe how fast she had flown off. That she was out of sight within the span of a blink of time. More lightning blew up the sky as an entire explosion went off behind Gary, accompanied by the ferocious roar of Electivire, but Gary didn’t stop moving, not even looking back to see what had happened, enraged and determined to find the monster. Knowing he couldn’t afford to lose her after having just found her!
“ELECTIVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRE!!!!” Electivire bellowed, letting off an array of lightning and jolts both from the dark clouds in the sky above, and his own body, thunder exploding repeatedly like bombs in the sky.
The button at the middle of the ball went from white to black several times. Finally, the black remained with a PONG!
Gary inhaled hard, his feet thrashing at the ground as he ran, heading into the crowded woods up ahead, and he finally erupted in a rage, “JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNE!!!!!!”