Story Level: Medium
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The Bouncing Gem
“Concheror, use Spike Cannon!”
Spikes shot from the plum-colored, spiny shell of Concheror the Cloyster and propelled themselves at the teal, walrus-like Sealeo across from it. They hit the Sealeo in its sides, causing it to cough and splutter, doubling over on to the cool sand bordering Lake Valor. The blue-vested boy behind it clutched the back of his blonde head and shouted.
“Don’t give up, Sealeo! Get up!”
I smiled broadly gave a small chuckle before continuing my instruction to Concheror.
“Great, Conch! Now use Surf and finish him off!”
“Quick, Sealeo, use Sheer Cold!” The other boy retorted. “It’s our only shot!”
“Seeeeealeeeo!!!” The Pokemon yelled.
And so it was summoned. The cold emanated from Sealeo and shot at Concheror. It hit. He stopped charging his Surf and fell to the ground, his spines slightly depressing the soft sand. The smile was quickly wiped off my face and transferred to Sealeo’s trainer. As fast as the boy could blink, I was kneeling by Concheror, my black-panted knees making great indents upon the ground.
“It’s all right buddy, you did great,” I assured him. He grunted slightly and twitched.
“Great match, dude,” the other told me. “Your Cloyster’s got some real power. I really thought Sealeo was a goner at the end there. But hey, when in doubt, use the wildcard, huh?”
I looked up at him. “Yeah, Martin. Great match. Okay, Conch,” I said, switching my gaze to the hurt shell before me. “Time to get u-“
“CLOOOOOOOYYYYY!!!!” Concheror shrieked when I placed my hand on him.
“What’s wrong, buddy?!” I asked quickly, suddenly alarmed. I did not receive a reply.
“Dude, what’s up?” Martin inquired as he ran over, hearing the scream of my Pokemon. “What’s wrong with your Cloyster?”
“I don’t know! He can’t get up and when I touched him, he screamed in pain! Wait, hold on.”
I plunged my gloved hand into my bag and drew out a red bottle.
“Hopefully this Potion will do the trick,” I said as I squirted Concheror several times. He did not heal.
“Man, you might wanna get him to a doctor.”
“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right,” I mumbled. “I’ll carry you, Conch, come on.”
As I lifted the heavy Pokemon into my arms, he gave another yell and twitched quite a bit. I began to run, when I realized something, and turned back around.
“Where are we supposed to go?”
Martin stared at me as if I had just said something ridiculous.
“Veilstone, where else?! We can get there through Route 214!”
And so we hurried. I jumped fences and knocked wild Pokemon to get there, no knowing or caring what chaos I left in my wake, as long as the whimpering, quivering Concheror in my arms would be healed. Martin lead me through the entrance of Veilstone into the city beyond. The streets bustled with happy-go-lucky people. The Veilstone Department Store towered over us, and the Game Corner blinked happily.
“Over this way,” Martin told me. “That house over there.”
The house in question was strangely darker than the others, as though it had a shadow cast over it from years of neglect. The curtains were drawn.
“That one? Who lives there?”
“Doctor Cred. I’ve never seen him, but I’ve heard of him. He’s a scientist who apparently knows things about Pokemon most people never even questioned.”
As we approached the hard wood door, I noticed a sign hanging above it, with the insignia of a stethoscope on a Pokeball, bearing the name “Dr. R. F. Credulous”. Martin knocked loudly, as my hands were full of a pained creature. A high-pitched man’s voice greeted us, like one of those shrinks with goofy white hair from old cartoons.
“Hello? Who’s there? State your business!”
I glanced at Martin and said, somewhat loudly, “I’m Shock and this is Martin! We have a hurt Pokemon and my Potion didn’t work on it! Can you help?”
The door swung open and the doctor ushered us inside. He wore a long, sweeping lab coat and thick, square glasses. His bare head shone in the newfound light from outside. As we hurried in, the most peculiar home greeted us. Charts and papers littered the floor, a computer glowed in a corner, a long, white table spanned the middle of the room, and a tank in the other corner held a fluid with something in it that looked suspiciously like a Gastly.
“Come come, place your Pokemon on the examination desk.”
Doctor Credulous then proceeded to turn on the light, which finally allowed the boys to get a good look at his face. His nose was slightly upturned, his mouth was somewhat lopsided when he opened it, and he was a bit cross-eyed. I set down Concheror gingerly onto the table and Credulous swept over with surprising speed. He crouched over the Pokemon in front of him and stared at him for a long, suspense-filled minute. Then, suddenly, he tilted his bald head upward at me and spoke.
“This is,” he began dramatically. “a Cloyster?”
I stared at him. “Y-Yeah,” I responded irritably.
“Yes, I thought so.”
He tilted his head back down and began to feel around Concheror, with the latter jerking violently and whimpering occasionally. After a few moments, he stood up and looked at me.
“I see signs of a battle. I assume you two were battling, yes?”
“Yes,” I said.
“And what attacks were you using at the time of this incident?”
“Well, Concheror was getting ready to use Surf,” I began. “And then Martin’s Sealeo used Sheer Cold and hit him. We thought he was only down because he was out for the battle, but he screamed when I touched him. So I tried-“
“I believe I know what is wrong. You see, a Cloyster has three layers: its outer shell, its inner shell, and its body. The inner and outer shells are connected simply by a bit of excess shell in the back in between them. The body and inner shell, however, are more complex than that. They are connected by a series of tiny, black, interlocking strings all around the back and sides of the body itself. You see, when a Cloyster generates water, it generates it from an opening in the back of its body. It then promptly shoots it out of two places. It comes from the space in between the inner and outer shells, and the spaces in the web of the connecting strings. What must have happened is that the water from the Surf was on its way out when the Sheer Cold hit. This froze the water, and expanded it. In the shell space, it simply cracked and melted away. In the inner space, however, I believe it has snapped several of the strings binding its body from its inner shell. The function is much like if a human breaks a bone. You can still move the body part, but doing so requires immense effort and causes enormous pain. It is like that, but for his whole body.”
I stared for a moment, stunned. I looked at Martin, who was looking at something interesting on his shoes with a guilty look on his face. I switching my focus back to the doctor.
“C-Can you fix him?”
Credulous gave a long sigh and responded, “It is hard to say. The tendons in question were in the back, so if I reached in, I could break others, which may be fatal. With enough Psychic power, however…” He ended there, paused for a moment, and started up again, his face alight with inspiration. “Do you have a Psychic Pokemon, young man? Or you?”
I shook my head and heard a muttered “No.” from Martin.
“Damn. Well, I have two. Galileo, Aristotle, come here for a moment.”
Two Pokemon I hadn’t seen before, standing by the tank, turned around and came over. The first was an Abra, floating through the air with its three-fingered yellow hands on its crossed legs. The other was a Mr. Mime, who seemed to be pulling itself over by clutching an invisible rope in its pink-tipped fingers. Both wore white lab coats.
“Galileo is silent, but enormously intelligent Pokemon that is fantastic at spotting things others do not,” Credulous explained.
The Abra, eyes closed, nodded its golden head.
“And Aristotle here can build me temporary, invisible structures fast as anything else,” the doctor continued.
“Mime, mime,” Aristotle responded.
I could not understand what he was talking about. He was just wasting time now; valuable time that could be used to heal Concheror.
“And what does this have to do with anything?” I said, not caring about rudeness at this point.
“Well,” Credulous started to explain. “With enough Psychic energy, we could, in theory, duplicate the strings that still bind your Cloyster’s body to its inner shell and put those duplications into the spot where the original strings snapped. The only issue is that we would need a focus point for that energy, that is to say, an object or something that could harness the energy and shoot it directly at your Cloyster.”
“And what could do that? Not like we have any crystal balls or anything, man.”
“You need… a Pokemon.”
I could not believe this. Concheror was injured and the only way to save him was to catch a new Pokemon. To make matters worse, I had to go alone. Dr. Credulous made Martin stay to help him with Concheror and to keep him out of pain. So I trudged alone, green eyes ablaze in the light, determined to reach my goal. Coincidentally, I was on my way back from where I came: Route 214. The good doctor told me that the Pokemon I was seeking was here somewhere. So I searched. I looked through tall grass, through short grass, asked trainers, asked policemen, and I still found nothing. After almost a half hour of searching, however, I was immensely tired, and decided to settle myself down upon a rock wall, perfectly aware that I was wasting precious time, and thoroughly annoying myself. After a few seconds, however, I realized: I have someone faster than me, with more eyes. I tore off my bag, ripped open a pocket, and pulled out a gleaming, red-and-white Pokeball. I pressed the button on the front, and red light erupted, sending a Pokemon out onto the ground.
“Trio! Trio!” Terro replied, his three brown heads bobbing up and down into the ground and his six eyes blinking happily at me.
“I need your help buddy,” I told him. “Go quickly around here and see if you can find a Pokemon bouncing around. It should have a spherical gem on its head. Go, quickly! Concheror’s hurt and I need this Pokemon to help!”
With a quick gasp of surprise and his left head saying “Dug!”, Terro went underground, and began popping up in random spots all over Route 214. I tried to keep track, but he was just too fast and, within minutes, he was back on the dirt floor in front of me.
“Nothing?” I asked, exasperated.
Terro shook his heads.
I didn’t know what to do. I was running out of options. Terro couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t see anything, and Concheror was lying hurt in a crazy doctor’s office with something only a newly captured Pokemon could cure. I couldn’t see how-
“God! How anyone is supposed to work with that ruckus is beyond me!”
A deep, but intelligent grunt of a voice came from behind a small opening in the cave I hadn’t seen before. A tall man stepped out. His clean-shaven, dirt-covered face was adorned with large goggles, a huge backpack was on his back, and he held a shining, silver pickax in his calloused left hand. He looked extremely irritated by something. I looked up and spoke to him, but did not get up.
The man jumped before speaking. “Good gracious! Didn’t see you there, boy. You almost gave me a heart attack. You are?”
“Shock,” I replied, with a slight inclination of my head.
“Name’s Jim, myself. Just been in there diggin’ when those damn Pokemon started up a huge ruckus again.”
“What Pokemon?! Why, the Pokemon on top of the cave I’m digging through.” He pointed up over our heads and over the cave opening to a flat area where Pokemon could easily be living.
“What are they doing?”
“Well, they’re just bouncing up and down on those springs they gots. Makes dust and stuff fly from the ceiling. Damn pesterin’, it is. Can’t see a thing. Ah, I’ll try again tomorrow.”
“Wait,” I said hurriedly, standing up as fast as I could. “Did you say… springs?”
“Uh-huh,” he responded, seemingly dumbfounded. “Those Spoink up there drive me mad on a daily basis. Geez. Well, I gotta get home. Can’t keep the wife worrying. See ya, kid.”
I was stunned. A savior, in the form of a filthy Ruin Maniac, had just told me what I needed to know. I swiveled and looked down to Terro.
“Terro, I need you to get on that rock wall.”
“Trio,” he replied.
Terro trudged up to the wall and, seeing as he’s in the ground, slid onto it, now facing sideways. I walked over and grabbed on to the lower parts of his two side heads. I then lifted myself off the ground and put my dirty sneakers onto the rock face.
“Now, climb, Terro! We gotta get up there!”
And, slowly, but surely, Terro began to climb up the rock wall, with me repelling upwards with him. As we approached the top, I heard the occasional tap of the earth, and the sounds of speaking Spoinks. Sure enough, once we reached the top, my mouth dropped open in astonishment.
It could have easily been twenty Spoinks that bounced playfully along this cave rooftop, perhaps more. Each had a small, round head with tiny pointed ears and a spring connected on the bottom of the head. In between each of their pairs of ears: a gleaming orb. This was the focus point that Doctor Credulous needed to cure Concheror. Some Spoinks were black with pink orbs, some beige with onyx ones. I didn’t know what to pick, what would be more powerful. I pointed the Pokedex at them, seeing if it could give me any extra info. It beeped to life and spoke in it’s robotic voice.
“Spoink, the Bounce Pokémon. Spoink bounces about on its tail. The pearl upon its head helps to magnify its psychic powers. If a Spoink loses its pearl, it grows extremely tired.”
“Damn, no help,” I said, shoving the thing back into my pocket.
I looked around the wavy sea of bouncing Spoinks for one that was… special. Doctor Credulous had informed me that the more unique the Spoink, the more it could focus its ball. However, all I saw were black and beige. I couldn’t see anything else.
“Hey Terro, you see anything here that doesn’t belong?”
“Dugtrio,” the small Pokemon beside me said.
I stood there for perhaps five or ten minutes, just searching for that one, powerful, special Spoink. When I began to think all hope was lost, I spotted it. The Spoink in question was a vivid violet color, with a shining silver orb atop its head. It seemed to spring a bit higher than the others, as well. I knew this had to be it. It was time to heal Concheror.
“Terro, see that purple Spoink?”
Terro nodded his middle head, which then nudged the other two and pointed them at the Spoink in question.
“We’re getting that one. Now… use Sucker Punch!”
Terro rocketed through the ground and, catching the Spoink off guard, hit it with its Slash. The other Spoinks bounced away quickly in fear. The purple Spoink screamed and rocked dangerously back and forth on its spring.
“Now use Earth Power!”
Terro yelled. The ground below the Spoink began to tremor and the dirt began to rise up, attempting to slash it and pound it. The Spoink, however, was too quick.
And it rose up into the air with an unmistakable Bounce, his gem almost blinding in the sunlight. That was a problem, if Terro’s ground moves would miss. I needed to catch it when it came down.
“Terro, use Earth Power on the spot where it was!”
So he used it again. The earth on that spot shook and began to rise up once more, when the Spoink came down.
The Spoink had landed right on target: on Terro’s center head. The one head lay limp and dazed while the others panicked slightly and attempted to stay focused. The Spoink went back to the ground, looking pleased with itself. I wasn’t sure what to do for a moment, when I suddenly remembered what Technical Machine I had made sure Terro knew. If we couldn’t catch him on the way down, we needed to get him while he was up. I ran over, fast as I could, whispered instructions to him, and then ran back.
“Now, Terro, use Earth Power one more time!”
“Duuuugtriiiio!!!” Terro bellowed.
The land began to do the same as it had before, looking as though it was trying to attack. Spoink once again Bounced into the air, high above us.
“Terro, quick now, use Aerial Ace!”
A strip of the grittiest dirt rose up from the ground into the air. It became a flat, sharp stick, somewhat like a blade. It shot at Spoink and hit head on. The Spoink came crashing down to the earth as fast as gravity would bring it. It laid twitching and moaning slightly on the ground, its spring almost straightened as it lost energy. I decided it was the time.
“For Conch!” I said, as the pink and yellow mass of a Heal Ball (that would make the Spoink fully healed once it was in) flew from my grasp. It hit the Spoink’s orb with a loud thunk, and sucked it in with a glowing, red beam. It landed with a pat onto the dirt, and shook with the Spoink’s attempts at freedom.