Chapter Three: The Unexpected Hero
The wind ruffled through my sand-colored hair as the desert runner flew across the dry landscape. Yin and Yang sat in the passenger cart, scanning the horizon as carefully as I did. It was a dry summer day, and the sun beat down on our backs without restraint. Yet as we drew closer to our destination, the air began to cool as it sped past us. Suddenly, a splash of green and blue unfolded itself on the surrounding cream. As if out of nowhere, a lush and vivid oasis appeared before our eyes. The dense green foliage stood out like a sore thumb in the bland scenery. Even from here, over the roll of my motorcycle, my ears filled with a dull buzz of running water.
“And there’s Phenac,” I muttered under my breath, just as a white-marble wall rose up to meet us. Water was channeled along the top of it, serving to cool the air within the city a few degrees. However, those tiny rivers were nothing compared to what laid inside those walls. As soon as I pulled the runner up to the southern entrance, the buzz I had heard from earlier intensified into a roar from the waterfalls that crowned the city. All around in this miracle of a town was running water, crystal clear and ice cold. All of the white-walled architecture was centered on creating waterfalls or tiny rivers. The precious liquid ran across the rooftops of several homes, spilling into the street’s canals to flow towards the grand square. There, a fountain drew its strength and rose in mocking defiance to the desert. Beyond it, however, was the grand dome-shaped Stadium. From the way the water fell from its peak, it seemed as if the entire structure was made of it.
Every time I came here, I couldn’t help but be amazed by what I saw. By far, it had to be the most beautiful sight in all of Orre. No matter how much the desert struggled, nothing could mar this treasure. The citizens here were much different folk, as well. There was always a feeling of peace in the air, and tight friendships existed between each neighbor. Everyone here looked out for one another, and respected other beings. That seemed almost foreign in the world I grew in. What would it be like, I wondered, to have such a bond of companionship and trust? To know that there was always someone to watch your back, and to live without fear of betrayal? I loved my Pokemon, of course, but there were times when I longed for a more . . . kindred spirit.
A wave of uneasiness suddenly swept over me, and it took me a moment to realize that the emotion was not my own. Looking down, I noticed my Espeon sitting in the cart with his ears flattened against his head. His brother looked just as wary as well. What is wrong?
I wondered as I slowly followed their gaze. Just as I pulled the motorcycle to a stop, I could see it: the same, junky, old hover truck from the Outskirt Stand. So those two boys were here. Confused, I looked back down at my Pokemon. What were they worried about?
“Come on, guys,” I tried to dissuade their questionable cautiousness. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
They didn’t seem as sure, but they finally looked away when I killed the engine. Slipping off my glasses, I patted off the sand from my coat and tucked my keys into my pocket. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt a new sense of independence. For once, I was doing something I wanted to do, and not following orders. Right now, I could choose just to sit around and watch the water flow from a waterfall, or I could choose to wander about for a little sight-seeing. In a way, I felt a little grown-up, and I liked it. With my chin up, I finally took my first steps into the city. Almost immediately, my passage was blocked by two familiar people: the rusty hover-truck’s owners.
The duo were struggling with the burlap sack I had noticed earlier was in the back of their vehicle. The one’s hands slipped and his end fell to the ground with a thump.
“Geez, Trudly!” his friend with the flame-like hair complained. “What the heck is the matter with you?”
“I’m sorry,” Trudly griped, and quickly picked up the other side of the sack. “It just slipped.”
“It’s not exactly easy to hold to it when she’s moving around, Folly.”
“If it weren’t for this ridiculous pit-stop, we’d have this load back at base before she woke up, wouldn‘t we?”
Trudly mumbled something incoherently, and then the bag suddenly jerked again. “She’s doing it again!”
“Will you just settle down? Do you want to attract attention to ourselves?”
My eyes widened with surprise. What the heck was going on? Did they have something . . . alive in that brown, burlap bag? The two didn’t notice that I was standing close by. In fact, they hardly seemed to pay attention to what was going on around them at all. I realized now why Yin had been suspicious. Something wasn’t quite right here.
Suddenly, a scream came from within the sack. “HELP!”
“Great,” Folly grunted, bracing his grip on the sack as it thrashed about some more. “Now we got another problem.”
“Told you we should have gagged her better,” Trudly rolled his eyes, but the motion finally made him realize my presence. “Er… Make that two new problems.”
Folly spun around and cursed. “I hate witnesses!”
Both of them suddenly dropped the bag, earning a loud complaint from within. Ignoring it, they turned to face me.
“What’s in the bag?” I motioned with a quick jerk of my chin, narrowing my eyes.
“None of your business,” Trudly countered, sneering from within his slouch.
“You got two choices, buddy,” his partner tightened his fists threateningly. “The first one is to just walk away and pretend like nothing happened. The other is to be wiped from existence. Your call.”
“And if I make a third choice?” I stepped forward, undeterred. I wasn’t sure what these two were up to, but I knew that there was a person in that bag. This duo were definitely kidnappers, and that was sure. I wasn’t about to turn my back on something like this.
I couldn’t see the man’s eyes from behind his glasses, but I knew that this Folly character was glaring. “I’d like to see you try.”
Both of us knew what was coming, and without a word we became locked in a battle. Yin and Yang jumped from my side, while Folly released his own two Pokemon. Two purple- and cream-colored rabbit creatures materialized onto the cramped battle field: Whismur. I just couldn’t help it; I busted out laughing. Was I really going to be wiped from existence by those things?
“Stop laughing and start battling!” Folly shouted, enraged by my sudden fit of humor.
“Told ya,” Trudly muttered eyes downcast.
“Shut up, you!” retorted Folly as he stomped his foot angrily. Then turning back to his Pokemon, he called out his first order. “Uproar!”
Both of the Whismur suddenly began howling on the top of their lungs like trains, the noise amplified by the walls and water. I fell back, covering my ears with my hands, while Yin and Yang flattened their ears and squirmed. Astonished, I wondered how such tiny creatures could create such noise. Yin and Yang would never be able to hear me over this ruckus. How was I supposed to give an order to them? Looking across the way, I noticed a small smile spread across Folly’s face. I had underestimated him, but I wouldn’t make that mistake again.
I could only think of one way out, and that was through Yin’s powers. I knew that he was still inexperienced, but hopefully he could extend his telepathy far enough to hear my thoughts. Listen,
I pleaded in my thoughts. Light Screen! Use your Light Screen!
I looked over at them, and kept repeating the command over and over within my mind. Yang winced in pain as he fell to his elbows, but his brother glanced over in my direction worriedly. As soon as his eyes lock onto mine, I knew that he had heard me. The red gem within his forehead began glow, and before long a transparent but clear barrier surrounded them. Yes!
I wasn’t protected from the sound, but now my Pokemon were. I saw them stand back up on their feet and shake their heads. Now, to mute those megaphones! Within my mind, I thought of another attack. Yin, have Yang use Quick Attack!
Almost instantly, the Umbreon darted forward with a smirk on his face, a piece of the Light Screen moving with him. In a flash, one unfortunate Whismur was sent flying into the other, and the Uproar ceased.
“Ugh,” Trudly moaned, rubbing his temples. “My ears will be ringing for weeks.”
“What?” Folly turned to him, looking confused.
“I said I’m going deaf.”
“What?” Folly shouted a little louder, cupping his hand around his ears.
“THAT WAS A STUPID IDEA!” Trudly yelled at him.
“Hey, I know what I‘m doing! Whismur, Stomp!”
The only Whismur standing quickly jumped to attention, it’s beady eyes bright with fury. Bounding over to the Light Screen, it easily slipped through to pounce on the distracted Espeon. Caught by surprise, Yin found himself pinned to the ground.
“Good, now the other one. Use Astonish on the Umbreon!” came another order from Folly.
The other Whismur grudgingly got back up on his feet, and threw a punch towards Yang. The attack, however, didn’t seem to effect the Umbreon. The creature’s tiny fist froze on Yang’s fur, seeming to lightly brush through it. Blinking in bafflement, the Whismur sat there and stared up at Yang. My Umbreon rolled his eyes, looking both bored and annoyed.
“You moron!” Trudly scolded his buddy. “That’s a Ghost-type move! It doesn’t have any effect on Dark types!”
“Oh, and I suppose that you could do better?” Folly turned on him.
“Much, in fact.”
“Then why won’t you take over?”
“Look, just focus. Okay?”
“Quit nagging me like an old hag!”
I had enough of this nonsense. Without waited for them to resolve their pointless dispute, I shouted my next order. “Yang, Bite! Yin, Confusion!”
Yang clamped his jaws down on the Whismur who had tried to use Astonish on him; meanwhile the other Whismur was sent sailing back from the barrier.
“What the-?” Folly spun around, finally remembering our match. “Now look what you did!”
“Well, if someone had been paying better attention,” Trudly shook his head.
“If someone hadn’t been griping in my ear . . .”
“Seriously, you’re embarrassing me. Battle!”
“Sheesh, whatever. Okay, Whismur! Gang up with pound on the Umbreon!”
The two Whismur flung their rabbit-like bodies at Yang, who coolly waited until the duo was threateningly close. Then within mere seconds, he disappeared into thin air. Folly’s Pokémon ended up ramming themselves into the hard ground, with mouths full of dirt. Yin, meanwhile, surged forward with his body glowing pink and knocked them back in a Return move. The attack was followed up with Yang’s reappearance and the conclusion of his Quick Attack. Finally, the two Whismur were knocked out.
“Way to go,” Trudly grumbled, sticking his hands into his pockets.
“I blame you,” his companion stabbed a finger in his direction, and then stiffly returned his fainted Pokémon. Then, with his chin held defiantly, he turned back to me. “You were just lucky, that’s all. I didn’t have my strong Pokemon with me, anyway. Next time I see your face, you better start praying for mercy!”
“Lucky or not, I’ll have a look at that sack there,” I stepped forward.
“Over my-,” Trudly began, but Folly suddenly stopped him.
“Wait a second . . .,” the flame-haired boy scrutinizing me closely. “You look familiar.”
I stopped dead in my tracks, the old fear of recognition surfacing again. How did I look familiar to him? I had never met this guy before. Maybe he was just referring back to the Outskirt Stand, but then again they hardly gave me a glance when they walked by.
“Hmm, you’re right,” Trudly joined in staring, but then his friend’s eyes widened.
“He’s a . . . Snagem!”
“What’s going on over there?” a voice interrupted, and we all turned our heads to see a young man and a woman making their way to the gate. Apparently, the noise from the battle had attracted their attention.
“Shoot!” Trudly cursed as he span around. “What do we do now?”
“What do we do? What do you think we do?”
“HELP!” screamed the voice from within the bag. “Someone! Get me out of here!”
“Gaw! We blew it!” Trudly grabbed the top of his hat as if to pull it over his face.
“Run, you dingbat!” Folly smacked him over the head, and raced off through the gate.
“H-hey! Wait for me!” Trudly stumbled, then took off after his partner in crime, leaving me behind with the bag. The approaching citizens broke into a run, but by the time they arrived at the scene, Trudly and Folly had vanished.
“Stop!” the young man gasped for breath as he came closer. He was dressed in sweaty work-out clothes, and looked as if he had run just a little bit too much. The brown-haired woman that followed him struggled in her high-heels, hugging a small pink purse close as if she feared that it would be stolen.
“S-stop . . .,” the athlete repeated, though his voice was weak as he tried to catch his breath. He bent over, leaning on his knees, and shook his head. “Saw . . . the whole . . . thing . . . Too bad . . . they got . . . away . . . Phew!”
“What an amazing battle!” cheered his friend, clapping her hands together.
“Um . . . Hello?” came a smaller, quieter voice from within the bag. “Still in a bag here.”
“Oh my gosh! Is someone in that bag?!” the woman gasped, her hands flying to her face in panic.
“Those two were kidnappers, weren’t they?” said the man as he straightened his back. After a solemn nod from me, he wandered over to the sack’s side. “Don’t worry. We’ll get you out . . . Maybe . . .”
“Maybe? What the heck do you mean about maybe?” the sack demanded in distress, despite the athlete’s attempt at remaining collected.
“Well, it’s just that this knot is so tight.”
“Am I going to be stuck in here forever?!”
“No, no! We’ll find a way. Just stay calm!” But by now he sounded worried.