Originally Posted by ShionRasenka
A waterproof iPod.... Now I've heard just about everything.... I don't really see the point of a waterproof mp3 player. You need to either swim OR sit on the beach or whereever and just listen to ur music. I personally wouldn't want to listen to music while swimming.... too distracting XDDD
LoL, yeah. It'd be nice if you were just relaxing and floating around. I wouldn't mind it then. Man, I can't believe how random that got . . . X D
Hm . . . It's friday already. Guess I'd better put up another chapter. ^^
Chapter Two: First Steps
“How does it look?” I asked my two Pokémon as I held out my prize, its black metal glinting in the desert sun. The pair looked up from the passenger cart and eagerly responded with their cries. Yin sent his emotions through telepathy, and I could feel his joy as if it were my own. They might have been over-enthusiastic, but they were celebrating more than just my self-rewarded trophy. I had driven the runner far from the hideout, stopping at a well-known gas station and food joint known as the Outskirt Stand. Here, they knew that they were about to enjoy a rare treat. This place sold the best Pokémon food around, and today I was going to buy them as much as they could eat.
After filling up my runner, I placed the gas pump back into place and turned to the Stand. The building was actually a tarnished old train engine that had been remodeled into a restaurant, its property framed by rustic wagon wheels buried in the ground to serve as fences. Oddly located, the Stand seemed to just pop out of the desert from nowhere. This place, however, was the last chance for travelers to fuel up before crossing Orre’s grand desert. It was difficult to find, but somehow the Outskirt Stand received a decent flow of customers.
“Come on, boys,” I called to my Eevee evolutions, and they hopped from their cart to my side. A small gust of wind whipped some sand across the Stand’s parking lot, causing the well-worn sign hanging above the door to creak and sway. The place looked like a dump, but Orre was one of the more impoverish regions of the world. There was no doubt the owner of this place couldn’t afford any repairs to the outside of it. The only thing maintained was the ramp leading to the train’s door, but looking at it now I could tell that it was about due for replacement. Still, beggars can’t be choosers. I was going to listen to my stomach, not my eyes.
A junky green hover-truck was parked right in front of the ramp. Inconvenient, but the drivers probably could have cared less. For a moment, I thought about jumping in and moving it myself. Whoever owned this had carelessly left the keys in the ignition, and a good-sized sack in the back. Then again, both items were probably worthless. The vehicle looked ready to just fall apart. Sighing, I went to move around the truck just as two young men began walking down the plank. Both were strange-looking, but I had seen stranger characters. One of them had spiky, flame-colored hair above his blue, oval glasses. In his tank-top, he was tanned by obstinate desert sun. His companion wore a peculiar, ‘m’ shaped hat, and was constantly slouching. I stopped to let them pass, but overheard their conversation.
“That place is a dump, but they sure know how cook,” the hat-less one said, patting his stomach in emphasis.
“I’d say,” the other answered, smiling with deep satisfaction. “I think I ate too much, though.”
“Yeah, you big pig,” he punched his friend in the shoulder. “I’ve never seen anyone devour grease-bucket junk as fast as you! But you know what? We deserved it.”
The other rubbed his arm, but laughed. “Especially after a mission accomplished, right?”
Fire-hair laughed with the same, dark humor. “Naturally, we had to reward ourselves. But if you thought that this was a great, wait until the Boss sings his praise.”
“Life just keeps getting better and better.”
I raised my eyebrow as the pair jumped into the poorly parked vehicle and took off. Figures.
“Esp?” Yin placed his paw over boot, and sent me a feeling of hunger. I looked down and smiled at him and Yang, then proceeded into the train without thinking much about those two men. Inside was poorly lit, but as my eyes adjusted I could see how dusty and smoky it was within. The smoke from the kitchen was poorly ventilated, escaping into the front to plague the customers, and it mixed in with the sand that always seemed to find its way into everything. I held back a cough and quickly took a seat up at the bar. Yin and Yang curled up around the seat of my stool, warily eyeing the other customers in the room. Conversation was mostly quiet, masked by the sound of a television flashing various commercials.
The bartender, a sturdy man whose head almost touched the ceiling, finally took notice of me. I wondered why such a man would be working here, but I couldn’t assume much. Most folks had to find work wherever they could find it. I knew that as well as anyone. Taking a good look at me as he passed me a menu, the man asked in a rumbling voice, “What would you like to drink?”
“Just water, please,” I answered quietly, and the man speedily filled the order, filling the cup up with more ice than liquid. Just as I lifted the cold glass to my lips, the television suddenly sounded off a news broadcast. Everyone turned their heads to watch as a young lady with an excited expression appeared on the screen.
“We interrupt your broadcast to bring you breaking news! Just minutes ago, a mysterious building within the confines of Eclo Canyon was suddenly demolished by a series of explosions. Though the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, authorities have made a stunning announcement concerning the building itself. Apparently, this had once been the location of Team Snagem‘s hideout, a notorious band of thieves who are charged with crimes of theft and Pokémon abductions. However, this discovery was made long after the explosion happened, and when Police arrived at the scene the building had been completely abandoned. Authorities have not released any more information on the matter, but they assure that the cause of the explosion will be solved soon.”
As the broadcast ended, the restaurant erupted in hushed whispers. With my cup still raised to my mouth, none of them could see the smirk on my face. Well done, Wes, I congratulated my self. No evidence had been left behind, and the Snaggers had abandoned the place. Hopefully, that had been the end of them.
“Serves them right,” I heard a conversation between two men to my right.
“It’s just so odd, though,” his friend claps his hands around his drink, staring out the window. “I wonder what happened.”
“I don’t. If you asked me, it was a pity that those criminals weren’t blown up as well. Do you know what they do?”
“They steal Pokemon, right from under the noses of trainers,” the one continued, regardless of what the other man had said. “I know someone who had it happen to them. He was battling with one of them Snaggers. The battle went about like they usually do, but when his Pokemon were weakened the Snagger threw out some Poke Balls. These weren’t no ordinary Poke Balls, mind you. They were those special Snag Balls. Before he knew what was happening, that trainer’s Pokémon were sucked into them and carried off.”
“That’s got to be hard, losing your Pokémon like that,” the other man took a long drink.
“Yes. The man I knew is hardly himself anymore. That’s why I say, ‘Good riddance!’.”
I frowned and placed my own cup down on the counter, troubled. What if I had been that same Snagger? How would that man reacted, knowing that an old Snagger was sitting right next to him? How would he treat me if he knew I was responsible for ruining not only the life of his friend, but countless others? All this hate this man felt, no matter what I had done or will do, would always be fixed on me. Of course I never liked what I did, but I couldn’t hide the shame and regret that welled up within me.
“So,” a voice interrupted my thoughts, and I looked up to see the burly bartender. “You must be new to these parts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you here before.”
“Yes. I’m just a traveler,” I chose my words carefully, trying to use what little truth I actually had.
“Where you from?” the man was trying to be polite, but I wished that he would just take my order and leave. Now I definitely had to think up a lie.
“Down south,” I tried to be vague, and not draw too much interest.
“Ah, I see,” he nodded, and to my relief he didn’t press the matter further. Instead, he finally took my order and walked back into the kitchen. That was close, I leaned against the bar. I knew that I needed to come up with a better story than that, though. Just being a man from down south wouldn’t get me very far in other conversations. Exhaling a weary sigh, I looked back around the old restaurant. There was a jukebox at the far end, but the machine must have been out of order. Instead, the background music consisted of the blaring commercials from the fuzzy television set. The light fixtures overhead were tacky and small, being as bland as any other décor in the room. Booths were lining the one side of the train, but at the farthest one sat a Rider with pink hair. He seemed to be staring intently at me and my Pokémon, but I tried to ignore his gaze. Still, a little bit of panic flared up within. Why was he looking at me like that? He didn’t recognize me, did he? The restaurant suddenly felt much darker and less friendly. Maybe I had made a mistake coming here. I was out of my old uniform, and I thought that I was well disguised. But what were the chances of someone I had ran into from before seeing though it?
My uneasiness was erased by the arrival of my meal. Yin and Yang suddenly hopped up onto the bar stools next to me, their mouths watering at the appearance of the food. The bartender just laughed and scooted some dishes of feed towards them, not minding at all having Pokémon at the table. They eagerly dug in, ignoring the stares from the other customers.
“Man, they’re eating like it’s their last meal,” the bartender teased, refilling my glass. I offered a polite chuckle, then started enjoying my own meal and savoring every bite. The meat melted into my mouth with perfect flavor, and the roll’s soft texture was scrumptious. Perhaps I was exaggerating, but everything seemed to taste much better, especially after all that I had accomplished today. A poor man’s ration would taste like a king’s feast to me right now.
After I finished, a voice with a southern drawl startled me from behind. “That’s some impressive Pokémon you have there, stranger. I reckon that you must be a pretty darn good trainer.”
I turned to see the pink-haired Rider I had seen from the back of the store looking over Yin and Yang thoughtfully. When had he approached me?
“I’m reasonably good,” I answered carefully, unsure of where this man was going with this.
“Name’s Willie, by the way,” he smiled slyly as he reached out to shake my hand. “You new to these parts?”
“I’ve been here once or twice,” I shrugged, but still felt tense inside.
“Then you must be one tough customer to make it back in one piece,” the Rider crossed his arms and leaned against the bar. “Orre’s a rough place, but then again, you‘re probably just as tough. I’d reckon I wouldn’t stand much of a chance ’gainst ya in a battle. But you know? I think I’d like a challenge. Whadda say to that?”
Suddenly, I felt a warm wave of relief wash over me. I should have known better. All that this man was looking for was a battle. Hmm, a battle. Looking over at Yin and Yang, I saw their ears perk up at the word, and I smiled. A battle sounded like some good-natured fun. Why not?
“Let‘s do it,” I accepted his challenge as I set aside my fork.
“And that’s what I like to hear. Meet ya’ll outside, hear?” With that, Willie excitedly clonked his way out of the store, his cowboy boots and stirrups making a ruckus against the tiles and wood. I quickly paid for the meal, thanked the bartender, and followed after the eccentric rider.
“Kick it into full throttle ‘cause Willie’s on the loose! Yeeee-haw!” Willie was shouting as he waited for me in the sandy parking lot. He had two Poké Balls in his hands, tossing them into the air expectantly. A goofy grin was spread across his face that told me how much of a country boy he really was.
“Are we really battling this guy?” I whispered down to my Pokémon, to suddenly receive bubbling amusement from Yin. Without anymore hesitation, I jogged down the ramp towards him.
“Ready, partner?” Willie asked, catching his Poké Balls.
“Whenever you are,” I nodded to Yin and Yang.
“Let’s roll!” shouted the exuberant Rider as he released a pair of Zigzagoon. They jogged about his feet in a blur of brown and white, then turned to face my Eevee-lutions in hyper anticipation.
“Yin, Confusion!” I commanded, a feeling of excitement welling up within me. “And Yang, Quick Attack!”
The pair jumped into action, Yang disappearing in a blur while his partner’s eyes began to glow. One of Willie’s Zigzagoon, the female one, suddenly found herself flying through the air as the Umbreon appeared. Before she hit the ground, however, she found herself floating in the air. Glowing with an enigmatic pink light, the Zigzagoon helplessly flailed in the air for a moment, captive of my Espeon‘s psychic power. With a motion of Yin’s head, the opponent was sent flying into the other Zigzagoon.
Willie seemed impressed, even startled, but as he recovered he ordered his male Zigzagoon to make his move. “Quick, counter with a Headbutt on the Espeon!” The male Zigzagoon shook his dazed partner off of him, then raced in a zigzag pattern towards Yin. Having just broken his concentration from his psychic attack, Yin noticed too late and received the blunt force of the attack.
“Bite it, Yang!”
Swiftly, the Umbreon darted back to his brother’s side and threw himself at the attacking Zigzagoon to sink his teeth into its fur.
“ZAA-GOOON!” the tiny raccoon yelped in pain, and tried to bite back. Yang, however, kept him pinned to the ground.
Willie knew he was in a fix, but thinking quickly he shouted another command. “Pin Missile!”
The Zigzagoon’s fur began to glow at the tips, and suddenly they shot off like quills. Immediately Yang recoiled, rubbing his snout where the quills had pricked him as the Zigzagoon got back up on his feet. That was smart, I acknowledged with a chuckle. Who knew that this fellow could be resourceful? Still, I wasn’t about to let him win. Looking over, I noticed that Yin had shaken off the Headbutt attack and was ready for more action. And, he was close enough for a physical attack.
“Use Return, Yin!”
Getting back onto his feet, the Espeon focused for the attack. His body began to glow pink as he charged at the foe and landed a solid tackle. That had been enough for one of Willie’s Pokémon. The male Zizagoon fainted, and his Trainer regrettably recalled it. His only other Pokémon still looked dazed from the earlier attacks, but it was still on her feet. The Rider could surrender, but he didn’t look ready to back down yet.
“Come on, we can do this,” he tried to encourage the Zigzagoon, then ordered another move: Sand Attack. Dancing up to the opponents in the way of her species, the Zigzagoon skidded to an abrupt halt. Sand was sent flying into Yin’s face, diminishing his keen eyesight. I smirked, knowing that Willie had been looking to evening out the numbers. But I had a surprise up my sleeve. After one more command, this battle would be over.
“Yin, Helping Hand! Yang, Secret Power!” the words rolled off my tongue.
Yin stopped rubbing at his eyes, then began to glow yellow. The Espeon’s aura seemed to elongate and shift as it moved towards his brother. Yang was engulfed in the light, and as it seeped into his body he charged towards the opponent with a finishing blow. With the added strength, the move knocked the last Zigzagoon out. For a moment, all that Willie could do was stand there and stare in incredulity. Finally he remembered himself and returned his fainted Pokémon. Then, the Rider burst out laughing.
“That was quite the battle!” he managed to say between breaths. “You sure gave me a run for my money!” Walking up to me, he gave me a hearty handshake while the fit of laughter still gripped him.
“Thanks,” was my simple reply, but the man seemed intent on speaking more.
“You’ve got to be one of the toughest trainers I’ve ever battled. Are you on one of them League journeys?”
“No,” I knelt down and helped wipe the sand out of Yin’s face. “But I’ve been thinking about it.”
“Well, shoot,” Willie stuck a toothpick in his mouth, looking thoughtful. “Why would you be wasting your time here? League’s got nothing here.”
“Just business,” I shrugged.
“Well, since you’re in the neighborhood, I’ll swing this by you. There be a little old Stadium in the next little town here that I’d recommend ya visit. That’s were all the real competition is, and I’d reckon you’d get far there. What do you say?”
I looked up in surprise at Willie. I hadn’t really given it much thought about what I would do next. Somewhere, I had hoped that I could train my Pokémon freely now that I had quit Team Snagem. Maybe this was something I could do. Try my hand in a couple of Stadiums, then move on to the Leagues in the other regions. For the sake of keeping my facade up, I tried to feign ignorance. “What town is that?”
“Phenac City. Nice little place, with plenty of water to spare,” Willie chuckled at his own small joke.
Oh, yes. The famous oasis town. I had been there once or twice in my troubled past, but that part of Orre was a little more lawful then the rest. Phenac was there where most of the richer and cleaner citizens lived, some completely innocent of what went on elsewhere in the region. I enjoyed the peaceful feelings I got when I had visited that white city, though often times the reasons for my visits weren’t . . . well intended.
“Where is it?” I asked, making my interest obvious in my tone.
The Rider chewed on his toothpick with a wide grin, then turned his face to the east. “It’s ’bout a few miles that way. Hard to miss it. They‘ve got a nice Pokemon Center there, and a Mart as well. Even if you don‘t want to do the Stadium, it be smart to get over there anyway.”
I followed his gaze with a nod, saying, “I will have to go there. Thanks for the battle, Willie.”
“Yeah, you‘re just thankful ‘cause you won!” Willie laughed once again. How lighthearted and jolly could this guy be? “Good luck out there, um . . . Mr. . . ?”
“Wes,” I said over my shoulder as I walked towards my rusty desert runner.
“See ya around, Wes!” Willie waved. “I’ll want a rematch, someday? Hear?”
And there's the end of that chapter. Oddly enough, that was one of the first battle scenes I've written for a long time. I think I'm still new to it, so how did I do? Also, this was the first time I had to more or less follow what had really happened in the game. Those of you who have played it: Did I do okay? I'm not following to closely, am I?