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Old 11-07-2010, 01:19 AM
Keta's Avatar
Keta Keta is offline
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Join Date: June 25, 2008
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Default Keta's Nanowrimo

Here is the piece I'm working on for Nanowrimo. I have no idea what to name it... D:


Synopsis: The Pokemon world is under colonization by Earth refugees. So far, Kanto and Johto are known regions under the jurisdiction of Shin-nippon, or Neo-Japan. Proteo-oncogenes (proteo from proteus; oncogenes from cancer-causing genes) have been discovered in Pokemon by leading scientists in New Britain University. Team Rocket is interested. Shit goes down, lalala.


Rated M. Strong violence sprinkled with swearing.


----


I'll be honest here, and I don't really want to have significant criticism of the plot of this piece- as it's going to demotivate me for Nanowrimo.


What I'm looking for is suggestions on how to improve the fluidity of the writing. Also, I want to know if it is boring- is it keeping your interest? (I know the beginning's fairly dry work)


Also, title suggestions are appreciated.






"This world is inhabited far and wide by creatures called Pokemon. For some people, Pokemon are pets. Others use them for battling. As for myself... I study Pokemon as a profession."
- Professor Samuel Oak


Chapter 1


Everything originates from the Earth. Yet, though it is our strength that we stand upon, like us, it is still an unusually fragile thing.”- Brock, Pewter City Gym Leader


“The first round of colonization of planet B-216 began in 2047 CE- in other words, five years after its discovery. Our current calendar, the Tajiri calendar, established 2042 CE, marks the discovery of B-216, as year zero.”


The holographic display flickered, then the four projectors, each at a corner of the huge square dais, generated an image of the Milky Way galaxy in little blue pinpoints. The lecture hall's lights dimmed, and a miniaturized model of outer space materialized in sharp quality. The planet Earth, highlighted in green, passed around a glowing yellow sun in its elliptical orbit; several feet away shone another planet highlighted in green.


“Each ten centimeters or so is a light-year. From Earth, in this arm of the solar system, the first colonizers traveled this distance to reach B-216.” The professor paused there, and she whisked out a long metal pointer. Her wrinkled hand shook slightly as she traced the line from Earth to B-216.


“The first on Earth to realize the dire situation economic and industrial activities had put the Earth in were the Japanese. Though their population suffered from severe economic and human resource strains, the Prime Minister at the time pulled off a genuine feat of political maneuvering. PM Sugimori Kenji, a double major in Physics and Political Science from Ryuutani University, was one of the most scientifically literate politicians of his day, not to mention one of the most underhanded and manipulative. Placating the Diet and an increasingly restless military with bribes, he secretly diverted a significant portion of funds towards scientific research. The exact time period in which Sugimori operated is unclear; however, it is estimated to have been around 2037 CE.


“There were those among the Japanese scientific community who hoped a new international space race would flourish; however, such hopes were dashed quickly. The world plunged into what was known as the Third World War at the time, but what is commonly referred to in modern history textbooks as 'The Last War on Earth'. Most of the war was a war of attrition; warfare at the time was conducted with droids and machinery, and the battlefront was largely devoid of any humanity besides the occasional technician.


“Upon the discovery of B-612, the Japanese scientists rejoiced in their good fortune. The first spaceship launched to B-612 was named “Kamiwaza”, or “divine miracle”- however, the pet name of the scientists was, humorously enough, “Kamikaze”. Sugimori Kenji lost significant popularity upon revealing his great project; his ratings slumped, and he was largely dismissed as an eccentric mad scientist playing in the government.


“As a result, Sugimori pulled what little influence he had in enticing the citizens of nations at war to board the Kamiwaza in settling B-612. The most willing were small groups of Ethiopians, Chinese, and Dutch- an eclectic mix of peoples, but all refugees of the international conflict.


“Sugimori's next decision was very interesting and still sparks debate today. In exchange for giving them the privilege of settling B-612, he demanded that all of these groups learn the Japanese language and adopt Japanese customs. The current debate is actually quite fascinating- the greater issue being whether this imposition of cultural oppression was just or not and the underlying issue being whether Sugimori actually suffered from mental illness or not. But I digress.


“In retrospect, the rigorous cultural standards imposed upon even foreigners gave a sense of collective identity that still can be seen in Neo-Japan today. As you all know, nearly all Neo-Japanese are bilingual in English and Japanese, but even most citizens of African, Caucasian, Hispanic, or non-Asian descent have spoken Japanese from birth and have Japanese habits, such as communal bathing or celebrating Japanese holidays.


“Now,” spoke the Professor, her voice suddenly imperious. Her stern gray eyes narrowed at the sleeping students scattered throughout the crowd. Upon being met by her iron glare, the neighbors of these drowsers edged ever so slightly away from their embarrassing friends. “Who would like to tell me when the British colonization began? Anybody?”


“Senkawa knows,” drawled a blonde football player lounging in the front row. He raised a muscled arm and gestured vaguely behind him, his eyes lazily eyeing those of the professor.


“SEEEEENKAWA!”


“Oh yeah, ask the kid genius as usual...”


“SEN-TEN-BEN-MAN!”


Kent Senkawa cringed inwardly at the attention. He sat in the furthest row of the lecture hall, some thirty-something rows of seats behind the first catcaller. The countless faces staring up at him unnerved him. His young face, still rounded with some baby fat, bereft of the stubble of most college males, flushed slightly. Even so, he did not let his embarrassment show on his face. Staring straight at the teacher, Kent raised his hand stiffly.


“The British colonization of B-612, otherwise known as Gaia, began in 2058 CE, Professor Albreight,” Kent responded, his words loud and clear across the lecture hall. Show them no fear. Show them no fear. Even so, his hands were clenched underneath the desk. He heard the customary sniggers amongst the crowd at his high-pitched voice and felt indignant rage- it was not his fault that his voice had not deepened yet.


“Very good Kent, but perhaps it would be best to let others have a try for once,” said Professor Albreight, but the corners of her lips twitched upwards slightly. Kent noticed this and relaxed, but only slightly. At least someone respects me, but I'll probably never hear the end of “teacher's pet” after this...


“As Kent just informed us, the British colonization of B-612 began in 2058CE. It was a last ditch attempt; the British of the late 22nd century CE were woefully headstrong and, in fact, their cultural supremacist attitude may have surpassed that of the Japanese of the time...”


Chapter 2


Science and astrology both claim to foresee the winds of change. But the only way to really know what will change is by riding them yourself.”
- Falkner, Violet City Gym Leader


The bell rang shrilly above their heads. Lecture section was dismissed.


Having packed his things carefully during the last few minutes of class, Kent was one of the first to get out of his seat and stalk out of the hall. Though most of the college students had congregated into their little cliques, meaning that their attention would not be on him anymore, Kent still felt uneasy, and with large steps he climbed the steps up to the exit.


Just because I have more of a future than they do. Just because I have more time, he thought resentfully. He glanced at himself in the mirror. The messy black hair and that face still rounded with the remnants of baby fat greeted him.


He was around 5'4” tall. So, in a sense, Kent was lucky; he was not so short as to merit second glances, as did the midgets and the physically handicapped. But even that population was small within the University. And that did not change the fact that, if he tried, his own voice could probably handle a soprano girl's in choral club.


Kent shrugged his backpack higher on his shoulders and made his way down the hallway. He watched the lab rooms as he walked by, a casual thing any student would do. He noticed one student, her bland white labcoat's anonymity broken by an ostentatious red bandana. She was avidly peering at molecular models on a high-res screen in one of the labs. Curious, Kent quietly walked into the room behind her, and he tiptoed in an attempt to see over her shoulder.


“What are you doing here!? Oh shit, oh fuck, oh damn-” The girl tried to pull away from him, and her elbow swung in a speedy arc straight into Kent's jaw.


The force knocked Kent backwards, his shoulder slamming into the heavy lab door painfully. On instinct, he stepped forward and grabbed her wrists with his hands, then with a sharp movement, he pinned her to the huge computer monitor. She was at least one or two inches taller, and judging by her chest definitely over middle-school age. Black hair, streaked with shades of brown highlights, framed a round and angry Asian face. Her dark eyes narrowed in a glare.


“What are you going to do now?” she hissed in a low voice. She tried to shift against him, and Kent felt something small and oblong in her pocket. The tell-tale lanyard trailed out of her lab coat; it was definitely a flash drive.


That's definitely fishy.


“Taking data from university laboratories is against the rules,” he said, and once the high-pitched words came out he instantly regretted it. I sound like a kid tattletale.


The girl raised an eyebrow at his voice, but she did not do much more. She turned her face towards the hallway, her eyes scanning the area. Kent felt his face flush a little; her profile was quite pretty. Unconsciously, his eyes fell downwards... Damn, she's pretty well off for a full Asian, unless she got surgery at her age...


He felt a sharp, painful slap on his cheek- the suddenness freed him from his small reverie, and he realized that his hand had let go of her wrist, and that now she had grabbed his wrist. The skin at his own wrist was turning a painful white.


“Listen here,” she told him in a low voice, her dark brown eyes staring straight into his. “I am going to make a break for it. Yes, this is a teacher's lab, and yes, I did get in. But you are not going to hear the end of it.”


“... what are you talking about?” asked Kent nervously.


“You, my good sir, are coming along. With me,” she said mockingly, waggling her head and mimicking a British accent. She stared at Kent thoughtfully now, much less resentment in her expression. “Come to think of it... why don't you have an accent?”


Kent opened his mouth to respond, but he was quickly cut off. “Nevermind that. We need to go. Now.” At the word “now”, Kent felt his entire body being tugged in the direction of his wrist. Following the strange girl, he took on an awkward speedwalking gait- then finally broke into a run.


They rounded a number of sharp turns through the laboratories, the sterile white rooms and quiet jars of entrails staring back at them from unlit rooms behind their glass cases. Kent's legs began to burn quickly- the girl was a sprinter, and she had high endurance at that. He tried to calculate the distance. They ran out of Lab 210-H, and now they were reaching the corridor for the 300-numbered labs in the next building over...


The girl abruptly stopped next to the fire alarm. She scanned the diagrams at his side, and Kent could see her eyes tracing the dotted lines that marked the evacuation procedures. He suddenly felt a sinking sensation in his stomach. Oh god, she better not-


The girl slammed the fire alarm down. The entire building blared a deafening alarm that felt like it was grinding the innards of Kent's ears. He tried to clap his hands over his ears; his left hand succeeded, but his right hand was jerked away by the girl, who crashed through the door and pulled him into the hot summer air outside.


Just when Kent was hoping they were done running, he was pulled again into another dead sprint away from the laboratories, towards the chain-link gates framing the outdoor sports facilities. A rusted corner of it had peeled away over a muddy puddle.


“You're going under. Do it now.” The girl shoved Kent into the mud. He thought he tasted dirt, an unpleasant condiment to the humid summer air. Kent scrambled awkwardly through the hole and emerged from it incredibly dirty.


“Catch.” Kent looked up just in time to see his backpack flying towards his face. He seized it from the air, and standing in front of him was the girl. Involuntarily, he stepped backwards from her and averted his eyes.


“Oy. Take me out to lunch,” she commanded him, this time a small smirk playing about her lips. She jabbed a finger into his chest. “What's your name?”


“Kent... and you?” he stammered.


“Janice. Okay, now that that's over, food time. Let's go.” Without letting go of his painfully squeezed wrist, she dragged him in a determined march towards the city.


---


“So, let me get this straight. You're a... double-double agent. You're doing spy work in New Britain, in the name of Team Rocket, and you're feeding the information to your home base, which means you're still perpetrating information leaks to some organization or another-”


“That's the gist of it. Good man.” Janice took another deep sip of her lemonade. The ice cubes clinked lightly in the glass. She daintily nibbled the remains of her lime pie from the tip of her fork. Crumbs littered the dish she had earlier strong-armed Kent into treating her to.


“But what makes your group any better than the Rockets? I mean seriously, your group sounds sketchy enough- you just said they weren't government or NGO-affiliated.”


“'Official qualifications' and the like are merely words in the end. It's the actions that show you really mean it, and I expect we'll be seeing a lot of action soon,” she replied thoughtfully. She leaned back in her chair, absentmindedly twirling a lock of hair.


Kent shifted uncomfortably. Though the air conditioning rendered the indoors considerably less hot and humid than outside, he still felt the stares of other patrons of the cafe, their narrowed eyes flicking over his muddied clothes. Janice's lab coat had saved her clothing from much of the grime Kent's jeans and t-shirt had accumulated; she was wearing short denim shorts and a tank top. That left Kent alone as the one sore sight in the cafe, a smart blend of solid colors, shades of blue, along with shining clean furniture. Not only do I look terrible... but my wallet's going to look depressing as well, he thought dejectedly, halfheartedly looking at Janice's empty plate.


“What are you anyway? Ethnically.” Janice chewed through her last bite of pie, staring thoughtfully at Kent's face. Kent could feel the heat rise behind his ears from the attention.


“Half Japanese. Half British. Why?” Kent stiffened a little. “That doesn't matter. More importantly, what do you want with me now?”


“First, pay our bill.” Janice casually flicked the crumpled paper from her straw with a fingernail; it landed nearly in the black tray with their receipt on it. Kent sighed; he no longer had the energy or willpower to complain about the events. As he pulled out his wallet, he noticed too late the evil gleam in Janice's dark eyes. With a swift movement, Janice snatched the wallet from his hands.


“What the fuck did you do that for, I-” Kent stood up indignantly, this time ignoring the stares he was garnering from bystanders.


Janice clapped a hand over his mouth. “You don't want to cause a scene, do you?” she asked him silkily, leaning closely. Kent felt his heart beat faster, and his brain frantically tried to generate a response. With a deft movement, Janice opened his wallet, and withdrew, to Kent's horror, his New Britian citizenship ID. The watermarks shone faintly in the sunlight as she held it up to view. Kent tried to lunge for it, but Janice withdrew quickly, pocketing her treasure in her shorts.


“I'll be keeping this. It'll be a nice incentive for you to shut up, I am sure. You won't be able to catch me, that lab incident was an exception,” she responded smugly. “Thanks for the meal. I'll contact you later.”


She got up, brushing her hair to the side. Kent could see her flash drive hanging on a belt loop, a small purple chip filled with stolen data... but Janice left as suddenly as she had appeared; before he knew it, she was gone.


Kent rubbed his eyes. A sleepless day coupled with intense physical activity and stress must have been addling his brain. Yet the white plate, dusted with crumbs, still sat in front of him. So did the bill, a terrible white slip of paper on its black tray.


Kent closed his eyes and sighed.


Chapter 3


Water is forgiving when it is tamed. It puts out fire and quenches thirst; it is salvation for the living. But even water has a temper, and, even fire has its uses. In that respect, they are the same.”
- Misty, Cerulean City Gym Leader.


He punched in the numbers on the number pad, and the garage door opened. Kent entered the house as quietly as he could. He rounded the corridor, and he shut his door as slowly as possible, its habitual creak silenced to a whisper. Kent quickly pulled off his clothes and tugged on fresh jeans and t-shirt, tossing their mud-encrusted brethren into a corner.


Kent let himself fall face-first into his bed with a thud. The soft blanket was a balm to his exhaustion, but he could not completely get himself to relax. A strange girl had broken into a computer in the biology department of the University- specifically, the Pokemonology wing. Though no one ever wanted to call it that; the British academia were notoriously anal about classifying Pokemon as “animals”, as opposed to the Japanese scientists, who had decreed that the metabolic and genetic differences between Pokemon and animals rendered them entirely different kingdoms.


The models on the screen- Kent tried to recall their structure, but he could only see the back of his eyelids. He groaned into the bed.


“Kent Senkawa! Are you in your room? We need to go now, it's Alan's big day, and we can't miss it!”


“Mmmph.” Kent forced himself to unglue his face from the pillow. “Yeah mom, I'm ready. Give me a minute.”


His round-faced brother, not even a teenager yet, looked up at him. Like Kent, his hair was a mousy brown color, but it lay flat on his head in bowlcut fashion. His eyes were dark, but they were large- obviously inherited from his mother.


His two parents looked down at Kent, stark contrasts to each other in appearance but their expressions of anticipation and pride evident. His father stood only around two or three inches taller than his wife, but both were fairly thin, like Kent, but unlike his pudgy little brother. His hair straight and black, Professor Senkawa had thin but smooth features, his dark eyes always thoughtful. On the other hand, Mrs. Senkawa's hair was dyed blonde, cut in bangs framing her narrow face and light brown eyes.


“About time,” Kent's dad said impatiently, glancing at his watch. “We're driving to the pier, the ship's leaving in 10 minutes.


“Alright dad, alright, I'm going,” said Kent, resigned to his fate. A knot of frustration had coiled itself at the base of his stomach, and he deliberately averted his eyes from his brother. Meanwhile, Alan excitedly waved his stuffed Pikachu doll in the air, jabbering rapidly to his mother while his mother responded with laughter in her eyes.


This is really unfair. I can't get over how unfair it is. I reach my 10th birthday and get good grades, and what do I get? I get another two years in tutoring and accelerated programs, I get another two years and counting in University. And as for Alan, he gets to have what I've always wanted, on top of being incompetent and childish. Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?


I wanted to become a Pokemon trainer.


---


The spectacle on the grassy field rivaled that of the little league baseball events Kent vaguely recalled from his middle school years, or, what little time he did spend in middle school. Family members and parents gathered on the field, a few of the ambitious ones even setting up tents, whereas most of the rest stood at the outskirts of a roped off square patch of grass.


At the center of the field, a pompous-looking, white man, dressed in a formal gray suit paired with a blue checkered tie, harrumphed at his seat on a plastic chair behind the folding table set up on the field. On the center of the table, a box like an egg carton held the prizes of the day. Shiny new Pokeballs gleamed in each slot, some overshadowed by a huge cardboard box, at the top of which Kent could see the gleaming red cases of newly-manufactured Pokedexes.


“Welcome, one and all, to the first annual New Britain Pokemon Trainer Registration Ceremony! Congratulations to your children who have submitted and passed the preliminary tests, your children will have the honor of becoming Pokemon trainers in Neo-Japan! If you have not already, please stand in that line, down over there, to register dual citizenship with Neo-Japan; without a Neo-Japanese ID card, you will not be able to continue your journey,” boomed the man on his microphone.


“Don't you mean Shin-nippon?” piped up Alan, to Kent's embarrassment. Kent hastily grabbed Alan's shoulder, causing him to wince. “Keeeent, what was that for?” But luckily, no one heard Alan's childish statement.


You don't call it that here, thought Kent to himself. It's always Neo-Japan, and those “Japs” here.


A small line of children started forming at the edge of the table, Alan Senkawa standing third in line to two other chubby white boys. Kent shifted uncomfortably at his position behind the rope, and he looked at the ground in taciturn frustration. The second glances he got from people did not help either; he pulled out his earphones and plugged them into his ears tightly so as not to hear or notice the gossip passing around. The contrast between his parents, who had picked the patch of grass closest to the rope, could be easily seen by the crowd, which a large majority of was Caucasian.


“Jack Kingsley, is it?” boomed the official. The black-haired boy in front nodded vigorously. “Which Pokemon would you like, Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle?”


“Bulbasaur,” declared Jack, and he thrust out an open hand for his prize. The official chuckled, his double chins wobbling as he did, and the microphone amplifying his guttural laugh. He handed the boy a Pokeball, and a Pokedex. Jack exited the fenced off area by ducking under a robe, straight into the arms of his parents.


“And your name is... Ronald Brown?”


After Ronald and his Charmander finally came Alan. Kent stared forward, deliberately blanking his mind. I am happy. I'm happy for him, just like mom and dad. I'm happy that Alan gets to go on a Pokemon journey, I'm happy he has to leave us because then the house will be emptier, but I'll have his room, I'm trying to be happy...


“Alan Senkawa, is it? Which one would you like?”


Kent saw Alan scrunch up his face in concentration, and he was tempted to walk up, seize a Pokeball, and shove it into his brother's mouth. Please don't tell me you haven't been thinking about this. Please don't say something stupid like “You pick” or “I don't know”.


After an agonizing minute of waiting, Alan made his choice. “I want a Squirtle,” he told the man. He got his Squirtle, and, like the rest, he came running towards Mr. and Mrs. Senkawa.


“Go, Squirtle!” he cried, pressing the button on the Pokeball and throwing it up in the air.


Kent had the first impression of a huge brick materializing on the grass, then it solidified into a turtle shell, around two feet at its longest length. A curled tail poked out from one end, and a round head from another, its dark black eyes staring up at Kent. The Pokeball landed on the grass with a thud, and Alan sheepishly walked over to pick it up. “I'm going to work on that,” he declared with renewed confidence.


Kent felt his own heart skip a beat from the eye contact with the Squirtle, and he could see the uneasiness but also the intelligence in the little turtle's eyes. Tentatively, he extended a hand towards the Squirtle and patted it gently on the head. Its skin was smooth and flat, the miniscule blue scales almost like human skin. The rest of the Pokemon's little limbs emerged from his shell, and it clambered clumsily to its feet. It gazed at Kent with questioning eyes.


“Isn't he a little runty for a starter? I was fairly sure they were bigger,” commented Mr. Senkawa. He placed a hand on Alan's shoulder, and he gestured towards Alan's starter Pokemon.


“I'm your trainer, not him! He's my older brother, he's Kent. He's nice too, but you're my Pokemon,” said Alan hurriedly, noticing Squirtle's attention on Kent. The Squirtle spun around, an expression of bewilderment in his eyes. The turtle toddled forward on its two feet, walking closer to Alan. Kent felt a small pain in his heart, and he averted his eyes. Aimlessly, he watched as another girl stepped up to claim her Pokemon.


“I-I'm Rosa Lee. I want a Charmander, please,” she said in an almost inaudible murmur. She nervously held her hands together, shoulders hunched. Her black hair fell slightly past the white summer dress she wore.


“Alright Rosa, here you go,” said the man kindly.


Rosa smiled falteringly, then she turned away from the man. “Y-you can come out now, C-charmander,” she called aloud.


The burst of red light materialized into a bipedal orange lizard. Unless it was Kent's imagination, the Charmander was slightly larger than average, at least a few inches above two feet... Its tail swished side to side, the characteristic flame burning brightly at its tip, hovering dangerously above the grass.


Sniffing the air, the Charmander waved its head back and forth in a way not unlike a snake. It glanced towards Kent, and Kent felt a jolt of irrational fear once he saw its eyes. The dark bluish eyes were looking in opposite directions; the left eye looking left, right eye looking right. A few of the parents had similar reactions; they stepped backwards or barely concealed their gasps. Kent decided to ignore the spectacle. I'd feel terrible if I were Rosa... but I guess I also feel bad for the Charmander. He idly watched his brother interact with the Squirtle; Alan had grabbed the Squirtle's front claws and waved them back and forth in a “dance” of sorts. The Squirtle did not seem to mind; it gurgled at Alan interestedly in response to Alan's poor singing.


A high-pitched scream suddenly erupted from the center of the crowd. Kent snapped to attention, and he gasped in horror.


“N-no Charmander, no, please,” cried Rosa softly. Blood erupted profusely from her right leg, a mangled mess of flesh and bone. If it had looked unnerving before, the Charmander looked even more inhuman now, its eyes flushed with blood and crouching on all-fours at her side. Ignoring her weakening pleas, it snarled viciously, tail waving side to side intently, and it lunged for her face.


Kent averted his eyes, his heart beating fast. Fucking hell. Then he heard it: the crunching sound of her windpipe and her last words dying in her throat. A chill ran down his spine, but a fire burned within his stomach. He clenched his fists and shoved roughly through the crowd of paralyzed onlookers. Time seemed to slow; either that or Kent's thoughts were going at a mile per minute. I need to stop this.


“Alan!” he yelled. His brother looked at him fearfully, tears shining in his eyes but his expression so vacant Kent dismissed any hope of depending on him. He decided to switch tactics.


“You there! Squirtle! Watergun it, now!” He pointed a finger at the blue turtle crouched at its trainer's side.


The Squirtle's eyes widened, but it started to withdraw its head and tail closer to its brick-colored shell. Kent groaned in frustration, and he glared down at the turtle Pokemon. I can't take any more of this idiocy. He roughly seized the Squirtle and pointed him the field, striding forward with his eyes squeezed closed so as not to see the bloody scene ahead of him.


“Open your mouth, and spit whatever water you have at it! Do it now!” He screamed.


The panicky Squirtle squirmed in his arms, but to his command, it gargled out a thin spray of water at the Charmander. The lizard froze in its actions, its tail swishing intently and its dark eyes flicking upwards towards the turtle. Upon eye contact, the Squirtle withdrew itself totally in its shell and shivered violently in Kent's hands. The Charmander bared its teeth in a hiss, its unnatural eyes still staring to the left and right. Then it scampered under the roped area, past screaming parents and children, and disappeared into the woods.


Kent nearly dropped the Squirtle; as the adrenaline left his veins his arms grew slack and an overwhelming sense of weariness flooded his consciousness. However, he seized the Pokemon as closely to his chest as he could, and he turned towards the audience.


The rest of the day was like a blur. He was recovered by his parents, had some questioning by the authorities to which he gave mechanical, blunt answers, and was neatly packed into the family car and driven home, with the Squirtle and Alan sleeping against his shoulders. That much he knew.


He knew what happened. He just didn't know what he thought of what just happened.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2010, 07:02 AM
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Keta Keta is offline
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Default Re: Keta's Nanowrimo

Chapter 4
"Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!"
- Ben, local resident of Pewter City


Kent couldn't sleep.


The plastic stars appeared to dance above his head. Shades of bright green, blue, and pink blurred like watercolors on the dark ceiling. He knew he was tired, and he rubbed his eyes for what seemed the millionth time that night. But though he was tired, he could not fall asleep.


The day's events did not repeat in his head. On the contrary, his mind felt empty, aside from the heavy weight and fog of exhaustion that weighed down his thought processes. And so he lay in bed for another round of counting Mareep.


A sharp knock came at the window. Kent groaned and turned over. His hand groped, seized something long, hard, and thin- and he flung it at the window. The pen bounced off the glass, and he heard a soft thud outside the window.


“What was that for?” came a muffled shout, a girl's voice.


Kent rubbed his eyes again, and he forced himself out of bed. He glanced at the digital alarm clock. It was 3:40AM. Why someone came to bother him at this ungodly hour he had no idea, but, weary as he was by the tiresome Friday he had... Please don't tell me it's her again.


He opened the window and stared. “H-how'd you find my house? Are you stalking me?” he demanded sleepily.


Still dressed in tank top and skinny jeans, Janice whipped out a familiar plastic card from her pocket. Fuck. My school ID. I should have known. Kent made as to rub his eyes again, but he realized that the corners of his eyes were already itching and hurting from the repeated motion. He sighed, and he turned his back to Janice as he headed for the lightswitch.


“No need, no need. I'm only here for a short time, but I've a limited offer for you. Listen up,” she interrupted cheerily.


“Mmph. Huh- what did you say?” Kent glanced back at her, eyebrows raised in suspicion.


“Yeah, but I need you to talk to me first. I swear this'll be fast. You were at the New Britain Pokemon Trainer Registration Ceremony today, weren't you?”


“Yes... and?”


“You saw the berserk starter didn't you? I need you to tell me- what did it look like?” she leaned through the window, and she put both hands on his shoulders.


“I saw it happen- but oy!” he snapped, and he twisted backwards in an attempt to free himself. “How did you know I was there? You are stalking me, what the hell- I give up now, okay, it was a Charmander, its coloration was slightly on the dark side as far as I could tell, and its eyes stared in opposite directions. It also seemed to prefer being on four limbs rather than two. Happy now? Can I have my ID back?” Kent made a lunge for it.


“Pipe down, your parents are sleeping, aren't they?” asked Janice, without the slightest look of concern. She held the card far behind her, and a mischievous grin played about her lips. She flipped locks of her black hair behind her with one hand, then she tugged her red bandana lower onto her head.


“Now, to answer your question, I did not intend to stalk you. I have your address because I have your card for blackmailing purposes. I was at the Pokemon event for my own purposes. I do admit though, watching you is interesting. You've skipped quite a few grades, haven't you? Yet you still seem to be pretty sane, somewhat socially inept, but a trade-off is a trade-off...”


“Knock it off, will you?” snapped Kent.


“Alright, alright,” said Janice, holding hands up in a gesture of surrender. “What I was saying now. I saw your face when your brother got that Squirtle. And, like I said, I'm here to make you an offer. How would you like to go on a Pokemon journey of your own?”


“... what? Did you just say... what?” Kent stammered in surprise.


“You heard me. I can get you some Shin-nippon registration. A Trainer ID, for a start. I don't think I can get you a Pokedex. But I know some people who will be willing to spare a starter or two. Just saying,” she said casually.


“What's the catch now?” Kent asked warily.


“None!”


“Look, let's say I do this. What do I tell my parents?” Kent pointed at the wall on his left. He no longer felt tired, to his surprise.


“Tell them you're studying abroad. You're a child genius, you're smart enough to arrange things for yourself. And there's so many trainers in Kanto, don't worry about running into your brother. Also, I'll be honest to you here. I did see what you did today- from a distance, but nonetheless, good job. And I mean it.” She looked into his eyes this time, the humor gone from her expression.


“You're already a better hand than most people- quick to understand Pokemon, quick to discipline them. From a trainer's perspective, you're a waste of talent. But in the long run, you're going to do better than your brother, and you'll work up the ranks fast enough that you'll be one step ahead of him if you invest the effort, I practically guarantee it.”


“Seriously? You'll do it for me?”


Janice suddenly started giggling. Her sides shook, and she leaned against the window frame for support with one hand while the other covered her mouth, to stifle the sound. Kent felt his face grew hot, and he realized how much like Alan he sounded, when Alan had received permission from their parents to go on a Pokemon journey. With some effort, the girl's giggles subsided, and she straightened up.


“If you can arrange for your 'study abroad' trip to happen by... next month, and tell them that you're leaving by, say... next week, to 'get used to the environment', I can arrange for you to go to Pallet Town within the same timeframe. Are you in?” asked Janice.


Kent did not hesitate. “Yes!” he practically shouted.


“Nice choice. You can have this back.” She flicked the student ID back into his room, where it sliced through the air and hit the far wall. “I'll contact you via e-mail when I've gotten the boat tickets. It'll take about a week, meaning... be ready around August 14th.”


Kent nodded, scarcely believing it.


“See you later then.” Janice winked at him, then she carefully pulled the windows closed.


Kent watched her figure pass under a streetlight, then she ran into the night. He retrieved his ID from the ground, and he flipped it idly between his fingers for a few moments. Then he placed it atop his digital clock and climbed into bed. Sleep overcame him instantly.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Keta's Nanowrimo

(I BROKE THE 10K WORD LIMIT AAAAAA)

Chapter 6
I'm on a boat, a motherfucking boat. Can I get off now?”
- Anonymous Team Rocket Grunt


The foghorn of the ship nearly deafened Kent. The crowd of New Britons, mainly tourists, swarmed around him like a sea of flesh. The sun was just as hot as earlier, but being outside in direct sunlight and humidity was far worse than sitting indoors. Kent uncorked his water bottle, after pulling it from the side pouch of his backpack, and he took a gulp of cold water he brought from home.


Wading through the crowd of people, he finally reached the line onto the boat. Climbing on with the other guests, he waved his ticket at the gate, pocketed the remainder ticket stub, and headed into the S.S. Victoria. Reading the seat numbers, he awkwardly navigated the narrow aisle, stepping carefully over strewn belongings towards the back of the boat.


Janice was sitting in the last row, her knees against the chair in front of her and her nose deep in a on-cruise magazine. The foam poked out of the backs of the chairs, and Kent could see the faint remains of graffiti in permanent marker, once decorating the cloth of the seat in front of him but now faint with time and repeated scrubbing. He gingerly sat down in the seat next to Janice's.


“Oh hey, you're finally here,” she said by greeting, not taking her eyes off the magazine.


“Uh, yep. So I am. How long have you been here?”


“For the past... five minutes or so. No big deal, though the engine maintenance sounds do get annoying,” she replied, pointing a finger behind her.


Kent looked up at the steel wall of the boat where she was pointing. “What sounds? I haven't heard anything since-”


A grinding screech of metal against metal suddenly erupted from behind them. Kent nearly jumped out of his seat. He could hear muffled swearing and grunting in deep voices; the wall between them and the engine must have been thinner than he thought- probably not steel then, definitely constructed from some cheaper metal.


The door the aisle ended in opened, and Kent gaped as he saw the thing that walked out of it. A large, red Pokemon, with rounded pincers for hands, sheathed wings, and a head crowned with three spikes stalked out from the engine room. The British tourists gasped as well and shuffled quickly out of its way, some tripping over their luggage.


The red thing looked like some sort of bipedal insect- as it walked past Kent, he saw its huge abdomen hovering behind it as it walked purposefully down the hallway. The Scizor gracefully strode over the baggage, its yellow eyes studying the ground as it walked. Then, it shoved open the folding bathroom door, stepped inside, and shoved it shut. The bathroom locked with a loud click.


“Did you just see that?” asked Kent in amazement, poking Janice's shoulder.


“Yeah, even Pokemon are entitled to their potty breaks.” She finally lowered her magazine, and her dark brown eyes looked perplexedly at him. Then, a look of realization came upon her face. “Oh, I forgot- Pokemon workers aren't as common around New Britain as they are in Shin-nippon- that's so weird- see, I grew up with Pokemon working alongside people. That one's a Scizor- a new species from Johto, they're somehow related to Scythers, but they look nothing like them...”


“I know what it is,” replied Kent. “There's an abundance of metal in Johto, and there's a variety of it called a “Metal Coat”. It reacts with Scyther genes to cause them to evolve into Scizor, a lot like what the evolution stones do. There's a trade-off though- it loses some speed, but it gains incredible defense.”


“I'm impressed. You're smart for a kid,” said Janice. Kent felt offended at first, but then he realized that she was actually complimenting him. He leaned back into his seat, not knowing what to say.


“Welcome aboard the S.S. Victoria! We will prepare for departure to Kanto momentarily. We will be mooring in the port of Viridian City- please prepare your immigration documents when we arrive there. In the meantime, please be patient with us, as we are still undergoing some maintenance.”


“That'll delay us by a good hour or two... what a pain,” muttered the passenger to Kent's right, across the aisle. He scratched his unshaven chin, reddened eyes glancing into those of the man next to him. The other man nodded silently, his expression inscrutable beneath his opaque sunglasses.


After some waiting, the ship finally lurched forward- and the S.S. Victoria went on its way to Kanto.


---


“Oy. We're here now. Rise and shine!”


Kent rubbed his eyes. He raised an arm and glanced at his wrist- it was 4:32PM, and the afternoon sun still shone brightly above them. From the porthole, he saw the harbor, and his heart fluttered when he remembered where he was. I'm in Kanto. I'm finally here.


He shuffled off the boat, still in a sleepy daze. His t-shirt clung to his back, and he knew by the slimy feeling on his back that his backpack's underside had probably collected a good amount of sweat as well. Janice followed close behind.


“What d'ya mean this passport ain't good? Lookit, it has my name and face on it! You're fucking with me aren't you?”


“This passport is an illegitimate forgery. Please produce your real passport within the next few minutes- otherwise, we are going to have to report you to the authorities,” responded the little Asian lady sharply. Her red fingernails drummed the desk impatiently, and she idly adjusted her bun without even deigning to look at the offender. Kent leaned over the guide rail to get a closer look- and he realized that he recognized the angry man.


“That guy was sitting across from me earlier,” he muttered to Janice. Janice, to his surprise, did not utter a word. She nodded at him thoughtfully, and she too squeezed next to him and leaned over the rail for a better view.


“Ah, fuck this. Clarence, what d'you think now?” drawled the man, straightening up. He squinted sideways at his partner, impassively standing behind him.


The man with sunglasses shrugged. He tugged on his Hawaiian shirt, the blue hibiscus patterns darkened with sweat. “This is taking too long,” he responded in a bored monotone.


“Let's screw this joint!” shouted the man. He reached into his shirt, and he withdrew a gun. The crowd let out a collective gasp, and a wide berth opened up around the two men. The Asian receptionist herself jabbed a furious code into the terminal she sat at, beads of sweat forming at her brows.


“W-who do you think you are? What are you doing?” demanded a tourist woman.


“Askin' me for my name? That ain't the problem, sweetheart...” The man cackled loudly, and he directed the gun towards the sky. He fired a round into the clouds, drawing a few screams from the crowd and several gasps. “What you should be askin' me is for mercy. But I will give you mercy. I'm that kinda guy. I'll tell you who we are. We're Team Rocket, and you, sweetheart, better get out of the way, fast!”


“Let's go,” whispered Janice in his ear. He felt her grab his arm again, and he wriggled uncomfortably through the crowd of frightened tourists as he followed her through the mass.


“Stop right there. You are under arrest, for illegal forgery of a Kantonese passport and possession and usage of firearms! You can choose to go quietly, or we will have to take you in by force!” Through the cracks between people's tight bodies, Kent could make out the figure of a police lady, with electric blue, shoulder-length hair. Her voice, amplified by a megaphone, echoed faintly over the harbor.


“Stop hesitating- this is going to be a bureaucratic mess, and they don't even check your documents for going in and out of Kanto- there's too many Pokemon trainers wandering around on their water Pokemon anyway,” snapped Janice. Kent unwillingly quickened his pace, and the pair sneaked past the crowd of onlookers and into the main roads.


Like the Shin-nipponese cities he had read about in textbooks and seen on the Internet, Viridian City was largely a pedestrian city. The roadsides were cluttered with bikes on bike racks and mopeds; few cars besides taxis and the occasional limousine used the main roads. The buildings were only slightly taller than the office complexes in New Aberdeen, but they were packed much closer together than the buildings Kent remembered at home.


The most unusual part of the city were its citizens and tourists. Pokemon of all sizes strode alongside their trainers in the sidewalks, often gazing longingly or curiously at the merchandise inside the department stores. Kent smiled to himself, as a little girl scolded her Meowth, who was pawing a glass window vigorously, the only obstacle between it and a basket full of colored yarn. Mankeys, Zubats, and Pidgeys perched themselves on many young trainers' heads, while the older trainers walked beside much more mature Pokemon; Kent already had caught sight of a Golduck, a Magmar, and an Electabuzz keeping pace with their respective trainers in the streets.


Janice pulled out her cellphone and began tracing the large touchscreen with a finger. Scrutinizing its surface, she turned the display off and pocketed the machine in her purse. “This way, this way,” she called, turning down a side alley. Kent followed quickly, adjusting his speed so he could keep up.


After some walking, they reached the outskirts of Viridian City. The difference between the city and the wilderness stood out sharply. The asphalt roads had worn down to run-down concrete, between the cracks of which weeds stubbornly poked their heads out. Ahead stretched a dirt path, which wound through a large expanse of knee-high wild grasses dotted with shrubs and trees.


“And no, we are not going to go through without Pokemon. That wouldn't be very intelligent,” remarked Janice.


She withdrew a Pokeball from her purse, no larger than a gumball. Pressing the button, the Pokeball enlarged into its full size, and pressing it again, it opened up and a stream of red light erupted out. A large equine shape materialized out of the red energy, and it solidified into a Rapidash. It whinnied loudly and stomped a hoof. The fiery mane and tail whipped gracefully in the wind, and as it shook its head up and down, Kent could see the lethal horn on its forehead.


“This is Iris. She's friendly, and she's going to be our ride to Pallet.”


“Wait a minute! You never told me- you were a Pokemon trainer this entire time?” asked Kent, incredulous. He ran both hands through his short black hair in consternation. I don't know whether to start admiring her or to be angry that she has bragging rights... I think I feel both right now. This totally changes my perception of her, I guess she is fairly capable after all. “When did you start your journey? How many gym badges do you have?”


“Hmm? I started when I was ten, like most kids- but I've been on break for a few years. It really strains the Pokemon sometimes. And they say that forcing your Pokemon to evolve faster though a two, three-year continuous journey stresses them out too much; it's really unhealthy. Plus, a lot of pre-teen trainers burn out quickly- it's quite a problem, but, admittedly, it weeds out those with and without talent. Just my opinion though... and oh yeah. I have five badges right now,” she added, as if an afterthought.


“I'm pretty sure that's true- it makes sense, since Pokemon in the wild take their own pace in maturing... I think it's wild Bulbasaurs that naturally take around two or three decades to mature into Venusaurs, while you see five-year old Venusaurs lumbering around in tournaments... but, I guess there's the human perspective and the Pokemon perspective...” remarked Kent thoughtfully.


“Even kindergartener-age Venusaurs can adjust well, but they do seem to miss a lot of their childhoods... but even then, they're an exception. Squirtles and Charmanders mature much faster- probably around their teenage years they tend to be full-grown already. As interesting as this conversation is, we should really get going,” commented Janice. Patting the muzzle of her Rapidash, “Down, Iris!” she commanded, and the Pokemon lowered itself onto its knees. “Come on. There's flames, but they don't burn- it's perfectly fine.”


Kent gingerly swung a leg over the horse's broad backside. He sat down, and, though the body was extremely warm to the touch, the fire licked past his cargo pants but did not burn them. I shouldn't be surprised about this, but even so... it- no, she's really tame for a Rapidash, no burning at all. He stroked her velvety neck with one hand and rested his other hand on Iris's other side.


Janice jumped over the horse much more quickly, and she slapped Iris's flank with one hand. The Rapidash lurched upwards without hesitation, her strong legs barely flinching under the strain of two passengers. “That way we go,” she directed, pointing down the path.


Iris responded with a snort of affirmation. Kent felt an uncomfortable jerk from his abdomen, as Iris plunged forward, and he hugged her neck even closer. Their shadows stretched far behind them, and the late afternoon coolness was a welcome and refreshing change from the noontime weather. Janice laughed in the wind as they rode down the rough, beaten footpath to Pallet Town.


Chapter 8
Battling, eating, and sleeping are what average trainers do. But some of the far too underappreciated joys of this world are the studying and research of the very beings we share this world with.”
  • Bugsy, Azalea City Gym Leader


“We have arrived at our destination!” declared Janice. Iris ground to a halt in the dirt, whinnying and stomping the earth.


Kent awkwardly swung himself around her neck and slipped off her backside. The sun had begun to set, the clouds blossoming in shades of pink and purple above them. They had arrived at a small cottage, behind which more rolling hills and tall grassland rose- however, this time, its borders were encircled by wooden fencing.


A chubby, short woman emerged from the cottage. She wore a khaki vest, sewn all over with various pockets bulging with contents, and atop her jeans was a flowery apron. Her mousy brown curls, lightly dusted with gray hairs, framed a kindly and round face. “Janice! It's so good to see you again!”


Janice grinned, and she slipped off Iris and ran to give the woman a bear hug. “Hey Dolores, long time no see. This is Kent, he's the guy I was talking about who wanted a Pokemon.”


“If there's anyone worth buying from around these parts, it's me,” responded Dolores cheerily, puffing her chest out in pride.


“Kent, this is Dolores. She's a very good Pokemon breeder, specializing in starter Pokemon. She usually sells them to more experienced trainers and professors- but she's agreed to make a special exception for me,” said Janice, and Kent thought he could hear a hint of pride in her voice as well.


“It gets chilly at night here! You two better come along inside. Iris, you'll be a good girl, won't you?” implored Dolores. Iris snorted in response, her fiery tail whipping side to side.


“Good girl. Now, Kent and Janice, let's go inside to discuss this for a bit.” Following Dolores' brisk pace, Kent and Janice walked into the cottage.


---


“So you're the one who wants a Pokemon. I sell Bulbasaurs, Charmanders, Squirtles, base price around 10,000 each,” said Dolores, counting the species off on her fingers. “Generally, the better-tempered they are, the higher the price. I'm also selling Chikoritas this year, just got a new breeding pair into the mix- but young Chikoritas I sell for around 15,000 each,” she added, with considerably more enthusiasm as she named the price.


Kent cringed slightly at the expense. However, he nodded at her with every phrase. Next to him, Janice idly tapped on her cell phone besides him, her legs swinging under her chair. “So, can I take a look at the Pokemon?” he asked.


“Of course, of course- let's go into the yard then! Sorry about that, I should have remembered!” Dolores unfastened the flowery apron from her round waist, hanged it on a pin off the wall, and she bustled to the back door, beckoning Kent with a hand.


“Are you coming?” he asked Janice.


Janice shook her head and made a dismissive gesture with her hand. “You go on ahead, I'm busy with something right now. Say hi to Iris for me, make sure she's not eating any weeds. They give her gas.”


Kent hurried out the door after Dolores. The sun was just beginning to set, and a few moths had already gathered around the electric lamps sitting on the fence posts. A wide expanse of grassy hillside opened before them, partitioned into three sections by wooden fences. The middle section was dotted with large boulders, some forming small caves and hidey-holes. The furthest section had a small, most likely artificial pond.


Several small Bulbasaurs had already curled up in the grass in the section just closest to them; waning sunlight had a soporific effect on grass-type Pokemon, Kent knew. Unlike the Bulbasaurs, however, the Charmanders were clambering up and down the bounders, chirping lightheartedly to each other while puffing out wisps of smoke from their mouths. The Squirtles were similarly active, but much less visible; Kent could only see the upper surfaces of the brick red shells and the occasional curled tail emerge from the surface of the water.


One of the Charmanders paused in its play with the rest. It toddled up to the fence, and it stared into Kent's eyes with large black eyes, shining like jewels. Unbidden, an image of the rabid Charmander from the New Britain Pokemon Trainer Registration Ceremony came to mind, and he twitched involuntarily, and he broke eye contact.


“Are you okay? You seem to be nervous about something.” Dolores peered at his face, her graying brown curls bouncing.


“I'm fine, I'm fine,” Kent replied quickly. I shouldn't let that one incident bother me too much... it's irrational. I can't let it control me like that. He looked at the Charmander again, which was still watching him. Besides... it's actually really cute.


He walked towards the fence, and he squatted so that he was eye-to-eye with the little bipedal lizard. Slowly, he extended a hand through the slot between two fence posts, holding it palm up towards the Charmander. The Charmander glanced at it sideways and cocked its head sideways. It then toddled a little closer, then it placed its own paw in Kent's hand. The five little claws on that orange-scaled hand rested lightly on the center of his palm.


“I'd like this one, Dolores,” he said aloud.


Dolores nodded thoughtfully. “This guys' a young one. He's around a year and a half old, I would say. We haven't really studied his nature yet- their natures don't really settle until their second year, so, he's a bit of a wild card. His behavior's a little funny sometimes, but he's definitely fairly intelligent- just a little bit naïve, see how he's so trusting of you? I'll sell him to you for 10,100.”


“Deal,” declared Kent. He finally broke eye contact with the Charmander and pulled his hand away. He fished his wallet out of his pocket, and he fumbled with it for a moment before withdrawing several bills. He handed the money over to Dolores, who smiled at him.


“Here's his Pokeball. We train all our Pokemon to get used to Pokeballs at an early age- and it's actually really easy to train the Charmanders and Squirtles at least. Charizards and Blastoises don't really develop a very strong parenting instinct- the young tend to bond more with their siblings and peers, and even then there's a few with more solitary natures. It makes it easier to train them into newer behaviors though. The Bulbasaurs are a huge pain to train though, especially when the mother Venusaurs are in hyper parenting mode,” she remarked, while handing the Pokeball to Kent.


Kent took the Pokeball gingerly, his hands running over the mechanism. He turned it at the Charmander, and he pressed the center button. The Charmander barely flinched as it evaporated in a stream of red light into the Pokeball. Kent minimized the machine, then pocketed it in his jeans, feeling strangely exhilarated. I got my first Pokemon. I have a starter Pokemon now, and I can start my journey now... He ran his hand over his pocket again, just to make sure. The bulge was still there, a solid and reassuring presence against his thigh.


“Why don't you talk to your Charmander for a bit? Get to know it a little better, you know. You've still got a lot of time and a lot of challenges ahead- take it easy today,” urged Dolores. Her blue eyes met his brown ones.


“Oh- alright then,” replied Kent hesitantly. He withdrew the Pokeball and enlarged it. “Go, Charmander!” he called aloud.


The Charmander rematerialized in a burst of red light. He shook himself briefly, and his tail swished from side to side. The flame flickered brightly just above the tips of the trimmed grass just outside the fence. He looked up at Kent expectantly, and he cocked his head sideways.


“Uh, hello. I'm going to be your new trainer- that means I take you around Kanto, and we meet new Pokemon and people and battle them,” he said awkwardly. The Charmander's eyes widened, and, to Kent's surprise, he nodded.


“I think it'd be best for me to give you a name though, I'd feel strange calling you Charmander all the time,” he said aloud, more to himself than to Charmander. The Charmander paused, as if in thought. Then it nodded again.


“Can I call you... hmm. Let me think.” Maybe I could make it reference something... like mythology or literature. Something that has a good ring, and something with a good reputation... Or maybe something simpler, like a word, that way he doesn't have a name to live up to- he could make his own name... He looked at the Charmander, which was now chewing on a blade of grass. Also, something that wouldn't seem too silly if he became a Charizard... imagine me riding a Charizard named 'Flamey' or 'Candle'...


“Caldor. I think you'll grow into it fairly well. Can I call you Caldor?” he asked the Charmander.


The Charmander looked up at him quizzically, dropping the blade of grass. He nodded more quickly now. “Chaaaaaar,” he chirped loudly.


“Alright Caldor. Let's go inside for a bit, I'll introduce you to Janice.” Kent bent down and patted the Charmander on the head. Caldor chirruped again, and he walked after Kent, as Kent headed towards the cabin door. He could hear Dolores and Janice's voices coming from inside. He raised a hand to knock on the door- then he caught himself before his knuckles met the wood. Leaning closer, he focused on the sounds coming through the thin crack between door and frame.


“Look, no matter how just your cause is, I still don't think it's a good idea for you to keep doing this, Janice. What would your parents think?”


“That's none of your business, and I wouldn't know- I haven't talked to them since I left them four years ago!” Janice's voice snapped. Beside him, the Charmander cringed at the angry tone, and he huddled closer to Kent. Kent rubbed his head reassuringly, and he tiptoed closer to the door to get a closer listen.


“Anyway, I have a right to decide what I want to do, who I want to work for, what I think is right, and-”


“And what I'm saying, is that you should really stop dragging other people into this! Like you said, I saw that boy, and he does have a way with Pokemon. But I know you, and I know you have another motive behind this. What do you plan to do with him? Why are you investing so much effort in him?”


“He's intelligent. And I can't tell you much more than that.”


“There are plenty of intelligent boys- and girls too. Why put all your eggs in one basket?”


A strange gurgling noise came from his heel, startling Kent. He looked downwards, and he saw Caldor, sheepishly holding his stomach with both orange paws. Caldor avoided eye contact with Kent, and he plopped himself on the ground forlornly. His tail rested listlessly on the ground, and his stomach emitted another small growl.


Though his curiosity burned for information, Kent decided that something else was more important. He rapped his knuckles on the door. He was greeted by Dolores. “Oh, so you're back. Did you have a nice chat with your Charmander?”


“He's quite hungry right now, actually. And we seem to be getting along,” Kent replied. “Come on Caldor, time for food.” Caldor perked up immediately, nodding vigorously, and he walked purposefully into the house ahead of his trainer.


Dolores chuckled, and she headed towards the kitchen cabinets and withdrew a bowl of Pokemon food for Caldor and placed it on the ground. Caldor plopped himself on the tile floor, this time his tail raised high in the air in anticipation. He began grabbing the food with each hand, alternately feeding himself and crunching the brown pellets loudly and appreciatively.


“Charmanders will take nearly any of the meat flavors of Pokechow,” Dolores told Kent. “But, in the wild, you're not always going to have food on you. In that case, let him catch a few wild rodents or insects on his own. Sometimes Charmanders will eat small birds too, but usually they find the feathers too irritating to swallow. Like most Pokemon, they'll try to avoid eating Rattatas and Pidgeys as much as possible, but they will kill for food if they're starving.”


“Thanks, I'll remember that,” replied Kent gratefully.


“Oh yeah, Kent. We're going to stay here for the night, it's the easiest thing to do. I'll be off early tomorrow morning though, probably before you wake up,” said Janice distractedly. She rotated her cell phone in one hand, and she tapped the table repetitively with the other. She shook her head briefly, as if shaking off unwanted thoughts.


“This'll probably be the last we'll see of each other for a while. Keep safe, be nice to your Pokemon, don't get yourself killed, enjoy yourself, yadda yadda...” she trailed off into a large yawn. “At any rate, 'night Kent. See you later.” Janice stretched her arms upwards for a moment, then she slipped off her chair and wandered out of the dining room.


“Kent, you can sleep here tonight. It's the best I can do, this house isn't made for many guests,” explained Dolores apologetically.


She led Kent to a small living room. A blue couch, layered with a woolen white blanket, sat in front of a dusty, antique-looking television. A small basket sat next to the couch, layered with several towels. He could understand from the labels advertising their flame resistance that Dolores had specially prepared it for Caldor.


“Goodnight Kent, see you tomorrow,” called Dolores, as she exited the living room. She turned off the lightswitch as she walked out.


Caldor himself padded quietly into the room soon afterwards. His tail flame illuminated his presence, casting a reddish glow about the room. His stomach bulging slightly from the food, he drowsily climbed into the little nest and curled himself into a ball there. Kent smiled to himself. He too climbed onto his couch and covered himself warmly with the wool blanket. Soon, both trainer and Pokemon fell asleep in the darkness.
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Old 11-13-2010, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Keta's Nanowrimo

I only read the first post so far, but I really like your style. This is some good writing, especially for NaNoWriMo. I might make it sound like I didn't like it in the following commentary, but that's just because it's easier to focus on negatives than on positives.

I was a bit wary of the premise of the story at first. The idea that the pokemon world is real on a second planet is not one that really appeals to me. Not only that, but it's very hard, at least in my opinion, to create a believable "alternate Earth", especially a reality that spans multiple planets. Either you bore you and you readers by writing long descriptions of culture, architecture and history, or you end up with a sort of vague "Earth, but" reality.

You seem to have somewhat ended up at the second scenario. Why would, for example, people hundreds of years in the future on a different planet drink lemonade, eat key lime pie, wear cutoff shorts, and play football? Additionally, due to my somewhat hurried reading of the lecture at the beginning of the story, I was confused through the whole time whether the tale was taking place on Earth or on the pokemon planet, but I guess I have no one but myself to blame.

So I think I've arrived at the conclusion that your world is essentially: "The pokemon world that we know is actually a planet separate from Earth but in the same universe, that has been colonized and populated by Earthlings." Have I got it straight? I will, as you ordered, refrain from criticizing this idea.

Quote:
“Senkawa knows,” drawled a blonde football player lounging in the front row. He raised a muscled arm and gestured vaguely behind him, his eyes lazily eyeing those of the professor.


“SEEEEENKAWA!”


“Oh yeah, ask the kid genius as usual...”


“SEN-TEN-BEN-MAN!”


Kent Senkawa cringed inwardly at the attention. He sat in the furthest row of the lecture hall, some thirty-something rows of seats behind the first catcaller. The countless faces staring up at him unnerved him. His young face, still rounded with some baby fat, bereft of the stubble of most college males, flushed slightly. Even so, he did not let his embarrassment show on his face. Staring straight at the teacher, Kent raised his hand stiffly.
I was really impressed by this piece of writing. It feels "real", gives an elegant transition from the infodump to the introduction of the main character, and in just a few words gives you a very good picture of the character in a very "show-not-tell" way. I did feel like the chapter ended a bit abruptly after that - I expected you to delve a little more into Kent's personality before ending the lecture.

I feel bad for Kent. :( I think you intended that, though, so that's a really good thing of course! Not only that, but he is a very believable character in my eyes, so nice work. Although, the part where he pinned the girl to the wall then stares at her tits in the following chapter seemed really creepy and bizarre. At first, I thought that was your intention, but then I began to second guess that. Also, during the part where he was going with his family to pick up the starter pokemon, he seemed obnoxiously bitter. But I guess that's just realistic, because it's how I would have behaved in the situation.

The girl also worked really well I thought. Obviously, no one really behaves like that in real life, but it makes for an interesting character and a good contrast to Kent's shyness. Loved the scene in the cafe where she forced the bill upon him.

Your writing is good. It's not perfect but I think it's a bit (maybe a lot? hard to say objectively) better than my own so I'm not really in any place to criticize it. Some of your description, like of Kent's face having "baby fat" seems a bit awkward, but in general most of your few issues with awkwardness and description are ones I'm trying to deal with myself. I can't really help you out there. :\

ALSO: I love the quotes from gym leaders in the chapter headings.

I'll probably read some more of this later. I like it a lot.
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:16 AM
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@Zeta Reticuli: I decided to look on wikipedia for key lime pie- the result? It has been around since the 1930s. And it tastes good. >:(

Okay, the bigger point in mind is that, yes, this is a planet settled by earthlings. Some cultural shifts have happened, such as cultural attitudes. However, I'm fairly sure humanity is going to wear shorts for a long time. After all, they're easy and comfy to wear. Even bigger point- I should make this clear, but this world is still fairly young in terms of colonization- I mean, there are grandparents on the "Pokemon planet" running around who have experienced life on Earth.

==> Colonization happens around mid-21st century, the Pokemon world is nearing around 22nd century, Earth-time. That's less than a century from today. Albeit the difference between 1910 and 2010 is striking. I'll elaborate a little later, but the thing is, because of international war and depletion of natural resources, the technological and social changes that would have normally occurred in this timespan simply didn't happen as fast as it should have.

Believe it or not, I've met girls who behave like Janice... it's fairly amusing. They're not so common. :P Janice is just a tricky person- she almost seems like she's flirting with Senkawa, and who knows? Either that, or she wants free food. She likes adventure and fun, that's for certain. xD

I have some more. I will add "wise" quotes later. Yeah, I know the plot build-up is slow. I'll kick it up a notch when I continue it.

======

Chapter 9


“What business were you on in New Britain? I doubt you were there for a field trip, there's honestly not much there...” said Dolores' voice dubiously.


“Important stuff. You should know about it Dolores, that's part of the reason I stopped here in the first place. Just listen to me, alright?” Janice's voice started to rise in impatience and volume.


Kent felt a gentle tapping on his leg. He rubbed his eyes and stretched out on the couch, his bare feet hanging over the couch's arm. He looked down and saw Caldor, standing upright next to the bed. The little Charmander stared at the hallway extending from the living room, and Kent too started getting curious. As gingerly as he could, he climbed out of the couch without a noise, rearranged the blanket and pillow as best as he could, and slowly walked into the hallway.


“They're doing research on proteo-oncogenes. Have you heard of them?”


“Of course, I'm a qualified Pokemon breeder. You mean the cancer-causing ones, right?”


“No- those are proto-oncogenes. I mean proteo-oncogenes. With an 'e' in it.”


“Nope, I haven't heard of those. But go on, I'm listening.”


“New Britain University scientists are doing high-level research on proteo-oncogenes. What the scientific world currently knows is that these genes are things that are unique to Pokemon, so much as to define them. Like, no regular animals possess proteo-oncogenes. However, every single Pokemon discovered to date has these in their DNA.


“The reason they're classified as oncogenes is that the data within these structures looks really similar to cancer. According to the New British research, they are thought to code for extremely rapid growth and development,” said Janice rapidly, in a low voice. “In other words... they point to the key behind Pokemon evolution.”


“Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. What about non-evolving Pokemon?” interrupted Dolores.


“I'm getting there. What's really interesting about this is that the structure of proteo-oncogenes differs slightly- but significantly- between non-evolving and evolving Pokemon. From the data I read into, it seems that proteo-oncogenes have become a vestigial trait of sorts within non-evolving Pokemon. Also, what's really weird is that there are non-evolving like Magmar and Electabuzz which have proteo-oncogenes resembling that of evolving Pokemon. Maybe they're like Scythers- Scythers native to Johto have access to Metal Coats, which cause them to evolve into Scizor there- however, Metal Coats aren't available in Kanto. Only time and more research can tell.”


“So what's so dire about this situation? Research is nice, isn't it?”


“Oh, it's nice alright,” Janice remarked wryly. “Whenever genes are discovered, what do the most power-hungry people think first? Genetic engineering. And therein lies our problem. Team Rocket also has this evidence, and that they stole it before us under the Britons' noses. The last raid we did on a Rocket Lab, we found printouts of documents from the New British laboratories- however, most of the important data was either smuggled away or destroyed in the building.”


“So you took it from the New Britain University instead? How does that make you any better than Team Rocket? How do we know that your group isn't doing any funny underground business?” interrupted Kent loudly, and he ignored their shocked looks as he strode into the dining room. Dolores, her hair rumpled from sleep and clad in the flowery apron, dropped the sunny-side egg she was flipping on her frying pan. Janice jerked backwards on her chair, knocking into the wall.


“Y-you! Always at the worst fucking time! I don't even-” stammered Janice.


Kent's eyes widened briefly; this was the first time he ever saw Janice so off-guard. But he turned his head towards Dolores now. “And I'm just as confused as you as to why I'm here in Kanto now, as a Pokemon trainer. I mean, I'm grateful for it, but I don't understand how this happened, and I really don't want to be involved in possibly illegal shady business!”


A look of rage flashed briefly over Janice's countenance. Instinctively, her hand traveled to her belt, and Kent saw there the telltale bulges of Pokeballs underneath her shirt. Oh shit. Now I've done it. But, to his immense relief, her expression relaxed slightly, and she looked awkwardly down at the table.


“There are a lot of... things... that I can't really tell you. But I'm sure it will turn out alright. Just go on your Pokemon journey,” she said quietly, avoiding his gaze. Kent started to relax, but Janice's dark eyes suddenly looked fiercely straight into his.


“And never breathe a word of this to anyone,” she hissed. “If you do, I'll get word of it. And once I do, I'll track you down and strip you of your freedom. Understand?”


“U-understood. I'll keep quiet,” Kent quickly responded. “I swear it- I know this is not my information to give, and I know it's dangerous stuff.”


“Smart boy,” replied Janice in a dry voice. She began gathering her straight black hair, still under that bright red bandana, and tied it in a ponytail behind her head. “I'm heading out. Bye, Dolores.”


Ignoring Kent, she got up and left the room promptly. Kent heard the sounds of the front door opening, then closing- then Janice was gone. She didn't even say goodbye. Kent felt strangely guilty, lonely, and relieved all at once. He shook his head and rubbed his temples, trying to make sense of what just happened.


“Kent? You should take a seat. Here's another few sunny-side eggs- it's a bit cold, it was Janice's, but she didn't eat it,” said Dolores apologetically, handing him some silverware and the plate of egg. Dolores bent down to pick the dropped egg, then she handed it to Caldor, who was waiting timidly at the doorway. Caldor cautiously took the egg in his claws, and tiptoeing to Kent's side, he began nibbling his sunny-side egg.


“She gets like that sometimes. She hates to lose control in front of people, but no matter how happy or capable she seems, she's really going through a lot of stress. I'm sure she doesn't really hate you- the fact that she brought you all the way here shows that. Also, even though she's really involved in this... thing that she can't even tell me about, she does have a kind heart.”


“Are you sure this is alright? I mean... I'm actually not from Kanto... I don't really know how to put this...” Kent nervously began cutting his eggs into smaller and smaller pieces.


“She got you things via her means, didn't she?” Dolores smiled at him, with a knowing look in her twinkling eyes. Kent nodded, relieved. “Yeah, she does that too sometimes... but usually, things work out in the end. She may try to find a use for you later, but trust me when I say she does trust you. Heck, I think I trust you too. Pokemon can tell when people are kind-hearted. And I've noticed something- you seem pretty shy on the outside, but you're definitely no idiot.”


“Thanks,” responded Kent. Feeling awkward, he continued to dig into his breakfast and chewing on his eggs.


---


“I just realized something.”


The Charmander looked up at him quizzically. The two were walking on a worn dirt footpath, just out of the way of the tall grass. Kent shrugged his backpack higher on his shoulders, but he let out a loud sigh.


“I don't have a Pokedex. I have no idea what moves you know... besides I think Scratch and... Tail Whip?” Kent asked Caldor tentatively. I hope I got these right... Upon hearing the attack names, the Charmander waved a clawed paw in the air and wagged his tail in response. Kent smiled at him and scratched his head, and Caldor made a pleased, birdlike trill in his throat.


“For now, let's try battling... Come on, Caldor.” They set off into the grass, Kent looking occasionally behind him to make sure the Charmander was still there. Caldor obediently toddled after him.


A loud hissing noise reached Kent's ears, just to his left. He looked, and he stumbled backwards, nearly tripping over himself. Caldor's eyes widened, and the Charmader waded quickly through the grass towards his trainer. “Char! Charmander!” the Charmander chirruped with a concerned expression.


A purple snake reared upwards from the grass, its fangs bared. Its slit-like pupils in its menacing yellow eyes flicked rapidly back and forth as did its forked tongue. The Pokemon slithered closer and closer to Caldor. But Caldor returned its icy stare with a determined face of his own. Does he feel no fear...? Why isn't he afraid, is he too overconfident? Kent worried to himself, then he shook his head furiously. Now was not the time to think about that; now was the time for action.


“Charmander! Use scratch!” called Kent.


Caldor's eyes narrowed, and the little lizard charged at the Ekans and viciously swiped it on its head. The Ekans let out another hiss and reeled backwards, but its tail surged forward and swiped at Caldor's feet. The Charmander lost his balance briefly, but Kent yelled at him “Get back! He's going to bite you!”


Just in time, Caldor took a step backwards and twisted out of the way of the Ekans, which had just launched its vicious fangs towards where Caldor's neck had briefly been. “Scratch him, again!” Caldor whipped his left paw into the Ekans' head. But this time, the Ekans made a swift lunge forward. Caldor's claws scratched into the flesh of its neck, but the Ekans's jaws opened wide and latched onto Caldor's leg.


Yelping in pain, Caldor tried to kick the Ekans off, but the snake continued to hold its bite. This can't be good, oh god... Kent began to feel panicky, as he watched their struggle.


Suddenly, a wave of heat rolled over Kent's face, and then he saw it: an incredible burst of fire. A high pitched, hissing scream pierced the air, and the flames disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared. Blades of grass around them had caught on fire, and trails of smoke floated in the air. The Ekans, its purple scales charred with ash, slumped in a dead faint onto the earth.


Caldor stumbled weakly towards Kent, limping on his left leg. Kent knelt down and put his hands on the Charmander's shoulders, hardly daring to believe it. T-that was not an Ember. Flamethrower? At his age? He frantically fished into his backpack and pulled out a potion and a roll of bandage.


“No poison as far as I can tell...” The bite marks were there, and some blood was welling up, but he could see no other funny-colored liquids around the area. He sprayed the bluish fluid onto the wound. Caldor winced at the stinging, but he nodded gratefully as Kent wrapped the bandage tightly around the bite.


Caldor carefully put pressure on his leg, leaning a few times before settling into a normal standing position. Kent nodded at him, and he started walking forwards. Caldor followed him soon afterwards. A few more wild Pokemon appeared, but they were mostly Caterpies and Weedles- nothing so terrifying as the Ekans. Caldor made quick work of the bugs with his scratch attack. Kent considered using Flamethrower, but he felt an inner aversion towards burning the bugs into a crisp.


“Look, Caldor, I know you want to use flame, but you'd burn these things to a crisp. It's a little unfair, and it makes it too easy for you. Plus, it's needless killing- we're here to make you a better and stronger fighter, not a killing machine,” explained Kent, after the third puff of flame he saw Caldor breathe out, while he thought his trainer wasn't looking.


The first time he lectured Caldor, the Charmander looked genuinely sorry, his eyes round and large and his tail limp and sullen on the ground. However, the effect of the many hours of scolding and walking had taken a visible toll on Caldor. The Pokemon let out a huge yawn at this speech, revealing a neat row of pearly white fangs. Kent sighed, then he turned around to continue the trek forward.


As he took a pace forward, he felt something hard underneath his sneaker. Kneeling down, he picked the dirt off the object- and then, he noticed it. It was a Great Ball, the mechanism identical to that of the Pokeball but with navy blue and dark red stripes adorning the top shell. Kent pressed the center button and waited for five seconds.


“Nice!” he said to himself with a grin. A free ball... that'll be very useful. Excited now, Kent stood straighter and looked about the field with renewed enthusiasm. I should get another Pokemon right now, I'll need a bigger team later...


“SPEEEEEAR!” screeched a harsh voice above him. Kent looked up in the sky, and he saw a sparrow-like bird flit above him.


“Caldor! Use Flamethrower in the sky!” yelled Kent, pointing at the Spearow. Eagerly clambering forward, Caldor opened his mouth and launched a powerful breath of fire into the air, almost unbelievable for his small stature.


The flames scorched the bird's wings, setting the end tips on fire. Good, the flamethrower weakens at a distance... so Caldor's not going to kill him, just incapacitate him a bit. The Spearow squawked in consternation, and it did an aerobatic nosedive towards the ground. Landing on the dirt, it hopped up and down in the grass. Several grass blades were singed black by the bird's frantic dance, but the strategy quickly extinguished the little fires at its wingtips.


“Scratch him, quickly!”


Caldor made a vicious scratch at the Spearow's body, which caught the little bird full-on in the breast. Staggering backwards in pain, the Spearow cawed at Caldor weakly in response.


Gripping the Great Ball in his hand, Kent raised it into the air. Let's do it! He flung the Great Ball at the Spearow, and the Spearow disappeared in a stream of red light into the container. The container wiggled violently for a few moments, grinding a small depression into the loose dirt. Come on, come on... prayed Kent fervently.


The center button glowed red for a moment, then faded away. “YES!” shouted Kent, thowing both hands in the air. He was exhilarated and ecstatic. I just got my first Pokemon- this means I'm a legitimate trainer now. I can't believe it!


Caldor edged closer to the Great Ball, and he nudged it with a foot in curiosity. Kent picked it up and looked down at Caldor. “This is going to be your new partner from now on. We can have introductions later... I think it's about time we head over to a Pokemon Center, it's starting to get dark out.”


And it was true; the sky had already begun taking on the pinkish violet tinge of Kantonese sunsets. Kent recalled Caldor into his Pokeball and began walking towards Viridian City. He could see the run-down sidewalks that marked the outside of the city, and with renewed energy he broke into a run into the city.


Chapter 10


“Hello, welcome to the Viridian City Pokemon Center! Would you like to heal your Pokemon?” asked the pink-haired nurse at the counter. The color of her hair was startling at first, but Kent had already started noticing more and more people in Kanto with strange hair colors. Maybe it's some kind of fad here, he mused.


“Yes please!” he handed the Pokemon over to her, and he flashed his trainer ID at her.


The nurse nodded at him, and she took the two Pokeballs in each of her hands. “Is there anything else you would like me to do, Mr. Li?” she inquired.


“No, it's fine- oh, wait, could you check what gender my Spearow is? I got it recently,” he added quickly.


“Of course. Please take a seat in the waiting room.”


He headed towards the opposite side of the room, and he slumped in a stout orange couch next to a skinny Asian boy- by the looks of it, not much older than Kent. The boy looked at Kent with an interested look on his face, his thin eyes widening at him. What is up with this dude...? Kent was very near to deciding to move to another couch when the boy started speaking to him.


“Hey. I'm a psychic. I can tell from your aura that you're not from around here. In fact, I don't think you're from Kanto at all,” he said, in a matter-of-fact voice. Kent stopped short, and now it was his turn to stare at the boy. Wait- did he say he was psychic? I heard that was possible, but... oh shit, does that mean he can tell what I'm thinking right now? Oh god, this might not turn out well...


“What's your name?”


“... my name's Kent,” responded Kent uncertainly.


“You're lying. I can tell when people lie. Show me your Trainer ID,” the boy demanded. He made a beckoning motion with his hand. As he pointed his hand towards Kent, Kent noticed a strange bracelet of metallic orbs hanging off his wrist. Unwillingly, Kent withdrew his ID from his pocket and held it for the boy to see.


“... Kenneth Li. See, I am psychic. Your name's Kenneth, not Kent,” declared the boy triumphantly. Kent suddenly felt the urge to snicker at him- though he was wearing jeans like a normal person, the bowlcut and the button-down shirt made it extremely hard to take him seriously.


“But!” the boy interrupted Kent's train of thought quite rapidly. “If you really want to keep it a secret, that's fine, I'll play along and call you Kent too. Don't worry, your real name's safe with Issac Pak!” the boy announced, by way of introduction, thumping his chest with his hand.


“Pfft-ahahaha-, um, alright then,” replied Kent, trying in vain to stifle a laugh. Isaac looked offended. “No really, you did amaze me in the beginning. I'm not from Kanto, but I'm here because I want to be a Pokemon trainer. I'm a bit older than average though,” he admitted with some embarassment.


“Oh, that's fine then,” replied Isaac, placated by Kent's reassurance. “I went to psychic school for most of my life, and they insist that you stay a few extra years past ten. I'm 13, but a few years isn't so bad an age difference. Besides, almost all the gym leaders in charge of the later badges tend to be pretty old.”


“Wait- so you actually learn psychic powers?” asked Kent, incredulous.


“No, we mostly cover theory. We practice some interaction with psychic Pokemon- it's really mindblowing, you should try to meet one someday if you can! But anyway, that's about the most we do. They claim it's best for us to develop mental powers in our own time... in the meantime, they did give me this guy,” he said, visibly perking up. He withdrew a Pokeball from his belt.


“Go, Keiken!”


A funny-looking, thin-limbed creature materialized on the linoleum floor. Armor-like, dark purple plates covered its shoulders, but otherwise, its skin was a goldenrod color. Its head had a vaguely foxlike appearance, especially with the sly expression it appeared to have with its eyes closed.


Kent stared at it for a moment. At a loud, snuffling snore from the Pokemon, he jumped in mild shock. It's sleeping right now? You can't even tell, it's sitting like it's meditating or something. Next to him, Issac Pak shook his head disappointedly.


“He doesn't do much besides that, to be honest. He doesn't really like listening to me either, and the Pokedex says that he only starts learning real attack moves when he's evolved.” Isaac looked thoughtful for a moment, rubbing his chin with one hand. “Keiken's not bad to be around though. It's actually pretty calming- his mental patterns are always relaxed because he sleeps so much.”


“Interesting,” replied Kent, though he couldn't really relate.


“Kenneth Li? Your Pokemon are back, feel free to take them now!”


Kent got up immediately to pick up his Pokemon. He looked behind him for a moment. Issac had a hand on Keiken's head, and he was smiling quietly to himself. To each his own, I guess. Kent shrugged to himself, then accepted his Pokeballs from the nurse behind the counter. Pressing both of the unlock mechanisms at once, he casually released his two Pokemon in the lobby.


“SPEAROW! SPEEEEEAR!”


The Spearow screeched loudly upon its exit. Kent flinched at the noise, but Caldor started speaking to the Spearow in response. Judging by the speed of the “Char, charmander!”s he kept saying, it looked like he was trying to scold the bird.


“Um, excuse me, what gender was the Spearow again?” Kent asked the lady.


“It's a female, and she appears to be around three years old or so. She's still fairly young, but you should discipline her before things get out of hand,” said the nurse quickly, gesturing at the two Pokemon.


“Spearow! Behave yourself. Stop squabbling, I'm your new trainer now. Got that?” Kent raised his voice threateningly. Keep a level but authoritative voice... he recalled from his textbooks.


To his surprise, the tactic worked. The Spearow froze and stared into Kent's eyes- however, this time, she settled into a crouch, looking intimidated. Kent relaxed his posture and knelt down next to her. Upon receiving his attention, she fluffed its feathers up then began to preen them one by one.


“I've already thought of a name for you... I'd like to call you Hasta. Alright? It's better than yelling your species name all the time,:” he added, seeing the Spearow's confused look. Cocking its head side to side, she shrugged her wings briefly. Kent decided to take that as an affirmative. The newly-christened Hasta resumed preening her wing feathers.


Caldor walked over and tried to pat Hasta on the head, as if a reconciliation. Hasta ducked under his hand and squawked at him. Her neck feathers flared, and she flapped her wings agitatedly. Caldor looked disppointed, and he broke eye contact with the bird Pokemon with an air of dejection.


At least they're not at each other's throats anymore. “Come on guys, I'm going to look for a hotel to stay in for a bit. We'll do more, uh, team bonding time... or whatever it is we're supposed to be doing... sometime later,” he finished lamely. He recalled the two Pokemon back into the Pokeballs.


“See you around Isaac! Good luck with your Abra!” he called at the Asian boy, still sitting next to his sleeping Pokemon.


Isaac nodded and waved back to him, and Kent headed out of the Pokemon Center into the city. The streetlights had turned on, and the city loomed above him as he walked into the darkness.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Keta's Nanowrimo

I AM SO BEHIND ON MY WORD COUNT. BUT IT WAS WORTH FINISHING HAYATE NO GOTOKU. 8D

====



“Caldor, you need to remember to dodge it when it tries to String Shot you!” said Kent with a laugh.


They were standing in a field of tall grass, and Caldor was agitatedly biting and scratching the sticky substance hanging off his little limbs. A near-exhausted Caterpie, now devoid of its initial bloodlust, inched exhaustedly into the tall grass behind him.


“Hasta, come back!” he called into the air. A wheeling bird dove down from the sky, perching on Kent's shoulder with ease. Kent knelt down next to his Charmander. “We need you to cut the strings again, come on,” he encouraged her, nudging the little bird with a hand.


Hopping down, the Spearow efficiently snipped away the bonds. Caldor yelped when her sharp beak grazed his side, causing the little bird to caw loudly in laughter. Caldor took a swipe at her, but she nimbly jumped upwards and tugged the sticky silk in her beak, causing the Charmander to trip over his feet.


Kent sighed to himself. Taking his Pokemon training had not been a bad idea in itself; it was only the antagonistic relationship between his two Pokemon that made the matter all the more difficult. “Oy, you two, knock it off already... a few more down, and we can take a break, alright? Or actually... why don't you try battling each other?”


The suggestion was taken with enthusiasm, and both Pokemon squared off immediately. Caldor brushed the rest of the cobweb-like substance off of his shoulder, and the hot gas he snorted out caused the air to shimmer. Hasta squawked a battlecry and flew a short distance away, fiercely eyeing Caldor.


Well, it's better than doing nothing... thought Kent. “I won't be directing this battle; I'll let you two use your own judgment. Don't kill yourselves, and I'll be stopping the fight if it gets too bad. Ready?”


Both Pokemon nodded, barely even glancing at their trainer.


“Fight!”


---


“Hey Kent, look at this guy I just got!”


Sitting in the Pokemon center again, after training his Pokemon on the outskirts of Viridian, Kent slouched on the bright orange couch. The beeping of the machines behind the counter rang faintly in his ears, but the rest of the center was quiet, as it was a Sunday. The afternoon sunlight was blocked momentarily by the silhouette of a skinny teenager leaning over him. Kent started and jerked sideways in surprise.


“Akutagawa! Come here, good boy!” called Isaac, looking backwards. Okay, now that he's out of my face... that came from nowhere, what the hell?


“Akutagawa” waddled over towards the two trainers, his wide eyes staring blankly up at Kent. His rotund body was covered in golden fuzz, aside from a large, flat beak and webbed feet, both a much paler yellow. The Psyduck peered upwards at the two trainers and sat himself on the floor expectantly.


“He's a little slow on the uptake... but he's supposed to be psychic and water type! He doesn't seem to know Confusion yet... but he should learn it pretty soon, he just need training!” said Isaac with renewed confidence.


“Have you tried training him at all?” asked Kent skeptically. Akutagawa had fallen asleep on the linoleum, both hands on the sides of his head.


“Spear!” “Char!”


Flapping through the air, Hasta perched herself on Kent's shoulder. Kent winced as her claws clung a little too tightly though his shirt, but Hasta didn't seem to notice. Caldor also sidled up to Kent and wrapped his tail around Kent's leg protectively, and he glared upwards at the bird on Kent's shoulder. The boy shifted in discomfort; the tail flame was unnervingly close to his shoelace. Oh god, not this rivalry again... I probably shouldn't have let them battle each other earlier... To his embarassment, Isaac had noticed the conflict and was grinning widely.


“What'd they do to each other? And as for your question, yes, I did work with them a bit earlier today,” responded Isaac, watching the two Pokemon attentively.


“Oh... I let them battle each other,” said Kent hesitantly. Are you even supposed to do that with your own Pokemon...?


“Ah, that'd do it. Who won?”


“Neither, it was a bit of a draw. Hasta crashed into a tree once she started getting too tired, and Caldor started coughing since he overextended himself with Flamethrowers... both aren't too great with accuracy, but both were tired even in the beginning of the fight, so it probably wasn't an even match,” said Kent resignedly.


“Hahahaha, good story,” laughed Isaac. “But it's not a bad exercise, you get to see their weaknesses. I'm going to train these two for a bit. Good luck with yours.” Isaac prodded his Psyduck awake, which sleepily stumbled after him out of the automatic doors. Kent sighed at both his Pokemon, who were glaring daggers at each other.


“Hey, let's go outside for a bit. I'll get you two some snacks, and you can pick for yourselves as long as you don't fight each other in the street okay?” Kent looked at them in turn. Neither of them appeared to be listening, and they had already started squabbling in Pokemon language.


Kent sighed again.


---


“Kent!”


Kent turned around, and he recognized the skinny bowlcut kid from just a few hours ago at the Pokemon Center. Hands on his knees, Isaac was panting as he ran up the asphalt hill that neared the outskirts of the city. “Oh, hey Isaac. What's up?” asked Kent curiously.


“Look I- I need your help. Shit just went down- a dude just stole Akutagawa! I need you to help, please- Keiken's pretty stubborn, and on top of that he knows no attack moves, so I'm screwed.”


“Aku...whatwa? Wait, you mean that derpy Psyduck?” asked Kent in disbelief. How does he get it stolen less than a day after he got it?


“Yes, and you're the only guy I know who's available right now- oh shit, that sounded wrong didn't it...”


“Where do you need me to go? And what happened?” demanded Kent, ignoring that last phrase.


“Some... dumbass in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses literally ripped the Pokeball from my belt when I was training; I have no idea where he came from. He ran into the woods afterwards, and I was about to chase him... when I realized that the only Pokemon I have right now is Abra,” he said, with an embarrassed shrug. “I do have other Pokemon, but the PC System is currently down...”


Hawaiian shirt guy? It better not be... “Look, I'll go with you to find him, it's better than you trying to take him on your own.”


“In that case, I'll save us some walking. Keiken!” Isaac yelled into the air. The Abra materialized into the air instantly at his side. “Teleport us to Viridian Forest, where we were just at!” he commanded.


Kent couldn't even protest in time. For an instant, he felt a terrifying rush of nothingness, as if his physical body had disappeared- then, his vision flashed white briefly, and he found himself standing in the woods, with Isaac at his side.


“Oh my god,” he said weakly, and feeling like Akutagawa for a moment, he rubbed his head with one hand.


“No time, let's go!” Isaac took off into the woods, and with the unpleasant sensation still lingering in him, Kent followed close afterwards.


As the two scurried through the woods, they caught sight of the criminal, a curly-haired young man. His Hawaiian shirt was stained with sweat and dirt as were his shorts, and strangely enough, he was standing barefoot in the forest. Isaac's Psyduck was cowering in front of him, peering fearfully up at the man's malicious face.


“Stupid piece of shit. I meant to get the Abra, not some retard like you,” spat the man. He gave the Psyduck a sharp kick in the head/. The Psyduck moaned in pain, clutching its head and curled up on the earth.


“Stop it!” Issac spluttered, his words coming instinctively. Beside him, Kent tensed up. We can't run away now...


The man's reddened eyes roamed towards the two, standing just a few meters away from the spectacle. “What, you want to pick a fight?” He pulled out a cell phone, punched in a speed dial, and spoke into it. “Clarence, Imma need a few more minutes here. Some punks caught up to me, no biggie. I'll get back to Team Rocket tomorrow.”


“Go, Caldor!” Kent released the Charmander onto the forest floor. Caldor peered about the area, taking in his surroundings.


With a deft movement, the Rocket withdrew a Pokeball and slammed it into the earth. It opened to release a giant hairy Raticate, its buck teeth fiercely gnashing, and the Pokeball returned instantly to his hand. “Use Super Fang! Destroy him!”


“Flamethrower him the instant he gets within a foot of you!”


Caldor hissed and opened his small mouth wide. The Raticate made a lunge forward, and it was met by a powerful cannon of flame from Caldor's mouth. However, it dove sideways, causing his legs and tail to be singed but his face unharmed. With a loud snarl, the huge rodent latched itself onto Caldor's tail.


“Char!” he gasped, and Kent clenched his fists in worry. “Smokescreen, into its eyes!”


Caldor spat a mouthful of soot into the Raticate's face. The Raticate let go from surprise, and it pawed its streaming eyes in pain. Caldor swayed weakly on his feet, his tail limp on the ground. Yes, I think I have the upper hand, thought Kent as he was battling.


Suddenly, the Raticate plunged forward and knocked headfirst into Caldor. His bulk, probably twice the weight of Caldor, flattened the Charmander. The lizard collapsed weakly, his breathing quickening and becoming shallow.


“Shit, I'm so sorry Caldor,” cursed Kent. He pulled out his Pokeball to return the Charmander, but the Raticate placed a skinny paw upon the prone lizard's neck.


“If you try to return him, I guarantee Raticate's reaction time is faster,” sneered the Rocket. “The moment he hears the Pokeball click, your Pokemon is as good as dead. Send our your next one, I want to see what happens.”


A shiver ran down Kent's back. He nodded at the Rocket, feeling fury in his stomach. “Go, Hasta!” A screech split the air as the Spearow emerged from her Great Ball. In response, the man called out an Ekans, and the snake hissed threateningly.


Hasta looked over at her fallen comrade, and she froze in the air, only the rapid hovering of her wings keeping her aloft. Her eyes widened, and Kent noticed a surprising amount of concern in her eyes. “Look, we're in a really tight spot. Keep to the air! Don't let the Ekans get you, but when it lunges for you, Peck at its head!”


Hasta tried to swoop into the air, but her wings could not build up enough wind. The Ekans hissed again, and it lunged forward to take the small bird into her mouth. Hasta squawked in panic and tried to flap her wings, but the Ekans' fangs were already sinking through the layers of feathers...


“Psy. Duck!”


The Pokemon thief's body was suddenly thrown by an invisible force into the next tree, as if he were nothing but a rag doll. Dropping its prey, the Ekans twisted behind to look at its master- but her body too was flung upwards, and before she knew it, she was hanging loosely from a tall branch. The snarling of the Raticate turned to whimpering, and he tried to shrink himself against the ground but to no avail. The rodent, like his master, sailed through the air a beat afterwards.


“Spearow, spear spear!” Hasta cried aloud.


Kent felt a hand grab his head and force it downwards, just in time to dodge the flying Raticate. With a thud, its body rammed into the next tree and slid weakly into a dead faint.


Akutagawa had stood up now, his body illuminated by a faint glow. But the light faded from him as quickly as it had come, and the Psyduck made a weak moan. His eyes briefly met Isaac's, then Kent's- and he bravely staggered forward before collapsing head over heels. His face made a squishing noise as it met the muddy ground.


“I-I'll get us back home. Return, Akutagawa. Go, Keiken. Teleport us back to Viridian's Pokemon Center.”


---


“Suspect Grant Killington, apprehended today, September 1st, this afternoon at 4PM. No items in his possession- no, he doesn't have the fake passport either, but it's definitely him. And no, we haven't caught Clarence Barrows yet... that is a bit of a problem, but we should find him soon if we can get Killington to crack” Officer Jenny Yokoyama spoke rapidly into her walkie-talkie, barely glancing at either Kent or Isaac.


Finally, snapping it shut, she nodded at the boys approvingly. “Thank you for reporting this to the police department immediately. You've done a great service to Viridian City. Sorry for being so abrupt, but recently there's been a lot of things I need to take care of. Stay safe!” She walked out of the Pokemon Center at a brisk pace.


The two stood in silence for a few moments. Then, Isaac glanced at Kent, bouncing a Pokeball in his hand. “I think you should take him,” he said quietly, and he gestured downwards at the sleeping Psyduck.


“Wait, you still want me to take him? But you got him via a trade, he's your Pokemon-”


“Look, I've asked him a number of times, and the way he keeps huddling behind your legs makes it pretty obvious. I even consulted Keiken, and everyone seems to agree, except you, that he should belong to you,” said Isaac in exasperation.


“I still don't feel like it's fair, just taking a Pokemon from you,” admitted Kent. Akutagawa had fallen asleep sitting on the floor, his fuzzy head leaning against the side of the boy's leg. Hasta was also sleeping, perched on Kent's shoulder, while Caldor picked idly at his bandaged tail, looking very bored.


“I think you can bring out some good potential in Akutagawa. He didn't trust me much in the beginning, and I can tell that he's still uneasy around me now. I mean, I'd only had him for a day, shit happens, and then a Kent in shining armor goes to defend him with all his might. It's had a big effect on his psychology, and it may be better for you to take him.” Grabbing Kent's hand, he dropped the Psyduck's Pokeball in it. “Run along now, you were planning to go to Pewter, yes?”


“Hey, do you want to come too? We can walk there together, and we'll see what happens later,” Kent offered.


“Nah, I'll hang around here for a bit. Once the PC System gets fixed, I'll get my other Pokemon and catch up later,” Isaac said with a small sigh.


“Hey, Caldor, Hasta, Akutagawa. Let's get a move on. I'll carry you in your Pokeballs, so you don't have to walk. No worries, no more training today. Alright?”


Caldor and Hasta nodded sleepily at him. Akutagawa failed to respond, but Kent smiled at the three nonetheless. In three flashes of light, he took back all three Pokemon. Then, he turned around to his fellow trainer. “Hey, thanks a lot Isaac. I'll contact you about how he's doing, okay?”


“Mm, okay, I'd like that,” said Isaac thoughtfully. “Oh, and you should really be careful out there. I can't teleport you back anymore, nor can I tell you what Akutagawa's thinking- you'll have to guess for yourself.”


“I think I can handle it. See you around,” called Kent, and he walked out the automatic doors of the Viridian City Pokemon Center.


Chapter 11
See, it's not just about how tough they look initially or how much power they release in one blast. And though I hate to say it, it's not even about how cute they look! A sprinting Pokemon is nice, but a long-distance runner is better.”- Whitney, Goldenrod Gym Leader


“I challenge you to a Pokemon match, two-on-two,” declared Kent Senkawa.


His voice echoed in the high-roofed Gym, and he felt the burning stares of the Pewter City trainers, disciples of Brock who had chosen to linger in his gym in search of easy pickings coming from Pallet Town. They didn't know what hit them, thought Kent to himself , with a small grin. But this is it.. This is the first real hurdle I need to climb.


“I accept your challenge,” responded a strong tenor voice. Brock narrowed his thin eyes sternly, and the fluorescent lights shone upon the tall, tan young man standing opposite Kent. He nodded at Kent.


“Go, Caldor!”


“Go, Geodude!”


Opposite Kent's partner materialized a rocky, boulder-like head with two powerful stone arms emerging from its sides. It gave a low rumble before opening its dust-encrusted eyes, and it mashed the ground fiercely with one arm. Caldor responded with likewise confidence, the hot gas from his mouth already simmering the air. The bipedal orange lizard watched his opponent keenly, his tail flame swishing through the air behind him.


“Caldor, Smokescreen in its face!”


“Geodude, Defense Curl!”


The Geodude withdrew its arms towards its face, but the Charmander was swifter. With a loud cough, Caldor spat a mass of black ashes into the Geodude's face. The Geodude grunted in irritation and rubbed its eyes with an arm, looking more irritated than in any kind of pain. Damn, it won't bother him so much as he's a rock-type... Let's kick it up a notch.


“Flamethrower, now!”


“Geodude, use Tackle!”


With a gravelly roar, the Geodude shoved himself forward with his arms towards the Charmander. Caldor stepped backwards, anticipating the move, and spat a whirlwind of hot flame into the Geodude's face. The Geodude began flailing its arms wildly; though Caldor had stepped out of the range of the tackle, he gasped as a rocky fist rammed his stomach. Caldor fell to the floor and skidded painfully against the gravel.


“Growl!”


“Another tackle, go!”


The Geodude winced painfully as he readied his arms for another launch. His rocky skin was still glowing red from the intense heat of the flames. Caldor had scrambled back on his feet, and he snarled viciously at the Geodude, raising a clawed hand high in the air. The Geodude's eyes widened, and Kent could see by its expression that it was very unwilling to experience another blast of flame. If he'd been an ordinary Charmander, Ember would definitely not be able to cut it... I kinda wish Janice were here, so I could actually thank her...


“Flamethrower, again!”


After the second burst of flame unleashed by Caldor, the little Pokemon was exhausted. But the Geodude's skin started flaking in black showers of dust, and it lay prone on the gym floor.


“Return. Go, Onix!”


“Caldor, you did well, take a break. Go, Akutagawa!”


“Psyyyyyduck!” cried the Pokemon triumphantly. His hands still clasped his head, throbbing with its constant headache, but his wide eyes were narrowed with determination. Kent wondered whether the Psyduck was bluffing his confidence or simply too stupid to notice his opponent; the monstrous Onix towered over him by several meters.


Kent himself felt his palms begin to sweat, but he called out his next command with conviction: “Watergun him, aim for its face if you get the chance!”


“Onix, bind him!”


With its one-horned head still reared to the sky, the Onix extended its lengthy body around the Psyduck. The moment its rocky body brushed against saffron-colored fuzz, the Psyduck opened its flat beak and spat a stream of water into the nooks and crannies of the rock snake's sides. The Onix roared in fury, but it loosened its grip on Akutagawa noticeably.


“Climb out of there, now!”


“Oh no you don't- Onix, bind it again!”


Akutagawa wriggled his pudgy body out of the Onix's grasp, panting with effort, only to meet another coil wrapping above him. Looking panicked, the Psyduck wriggled frantically in his rocky prison.


“Don't panic, you're much closer to its face now! Watergun!” commanded Kent.


Aiming straight for the Onix's forehead, Akutagawa let out another blast of water from his seemingly bottomless stomach. The Onix lost its focus again and thrashed on the the ground, eyes squeezed shut in pain.


“That's enough. Return, Onix.” The giant Pokemon disappeared in a brilliant flash of red light.


Akutagawa plopped down on the muddy ground. He rubbed his temples furiously as he was sitting- but other than that, he seemed pleased with himself, as far as Kent could tell.


“You would have won this match, and I consider this a good battle. You've finally defeated your first gym leader.” Brock had walked up to Kent, and their eyes met. Kent could see that his short, spiky black hair was glistening with sweat. The boy opened his mouth, about to speak, but Brock interrupted him.


“I won't sugarcoat my words. Your Pokemon journey has just started, and it's going to get a lot harder from here on out. Are you ready?”


“... I am ready. Thanks,” said Kent, and he nodded at Brock appreciatively when the Gym Leader dropped the badge into his hand. The silver, octagonal metal piece flashed in the light. Kent pulled out his cell phone and pinned the Boulder Badge on the strap.


“You're going to need a longer strap if you plan to get all the badges,” noted Brock with a hint of amusement.


“This is just temporary! I'll find a way later,” replied Kent. He felt his face flush with embarrassment, but inside he felt incredibly happy. I got past the first hurdle. Seven more to go. I think I'm doing fairly well, I think I can do this!


“Thanks Brock, I'll be going now.”


“Take care.”


As he neared the entrance of the gym, he heard a slow clapping sound come from next to the door. When he saw who it was, his jaw dropped. “... Janice? What are you doing here!?”


“Good match. I'm sad to say I didn't see all of it, but I saw the ending at least. Impressive.” Janice grinned at him. This time, though still in her usual tank top and shorts, she wore a tacky yellow bandana instead. “Hey, I think you've grown a little taller. Maybe an inch or two... or maybe it's your hair, it's getting long.”


“Yeah, it's poking at my eyes- but that's not important right now. How'd you know I was here?” Kent demanded.


Janice raised an eyebrow. “That's not important either! Oh, hold on a sec, I have a phone call.” She pulled out a cell phone clipped to her belt, drew a few zigzags with her index finger on the surface, then put it to her ear. “Hello? … wait, what? Oh my god, you should have told me earlier, then I could have at least had time to pull Iris from the PC- nevermind, I'll get on it now.”


“I'm sorry, but I'll need to borrow you again,” she said quickly, and she grabbed Kent's arm. Oh god, not this tirade again... Dragging him out of the gym, Janice forced Kent into a run onto the streets of Pewter City.


“What- exactly- are- we- doing?” panted Kent, as he struggled to keep pace.


“Fossils stolen from the Archaeological Museum. The PC system shut down again for repairs today, otherwise we'd be riding there on Iris... We should be able to catch up though- she'd have gotten away on a Pokemon too if she had one she could ride, but the reports say she didn't,” responded Janice easily. Damn, she does this way too often if she doesn't even need to catch her breath.


They ran all the way to the south of Pewter, past the small houses that constituted the majority of the city. The grass they stood in marked the border of the city; just beyond it lay Viridian Forest. A crowd of black-suited men stood at the start of the forest, their faces darkened by the shade from the tall trees. Large red R's were emblazoned on their chests...


“Well, well, well. You're outnumbered, silly girl. Give up, there's no roads here. We'll be long gone when the police get here.”


A woman emerged from the crowd. While the Rocket outfit looked baggy and cheap on the other Rocket grunt members, the black outfit, Kent noticed, accentuated her curves and complimented her good figure... Startlingly red hair poked from beneath her black cap, and she grinned as her blue eyes glanced briefly at Janice, then Kent.


“Lily Ayasaki,” muttered Janice to Kent. “She's a junior officer of sorts- while the other higher-ups we never see make the plans, we think she coordinates the actual implementation-”


“Oh? Gossiping about me already? I never knew Shizen's members were so rude to people they've met.”


“Shizen?” asked Kent.


“Not important,” said Janice to Kent in a low voice. “Go, Amazon!” she yelled, as she flung a Pokeball into the air.


A large turquoise Pokemon manifested itself onto the grass, the plant on its back unfolding its fronds to catch the sunlight. A rosy pink bulb rose from the center of the leaves. “Ivysaur!” it growled, and from beneath the ferns, two thick tendrils emerged and pointed themselves threateningly at Lily.


Lily smirked at it, unfazed. “Go, Kaiser!” A huge purple cobra emerged from her Pokeball, its length at least four meters. It reared its head and hissed venomously at Amazon, flaring the bright markings on its hood.


“Amazon, ignore it- grab Lily with your vines!”


“Kaiser. Use Glare,” said Lily almost lazily. Her red lips quirked in a sinister smile.


The Arbok opened its fanged mouth and stared down into the Ivysaur's red eyes. The hungry expression on the snake's face made cold sweat run down even Kent's back. Amazon's vines froze in mid-air, and it shuddered visibly under the Arbok's menacing gaze.


“Damn it, I'm sorry, Amazon,” Janice said through gritted teeth. “Go, Chiharu!” she cried, throwing out another Pokeball. Kent watched her, and he noticed that her left hand behind her back had its fingers crossed...


A serpentine shape longer than that of even Kaiser's materialized onto the grass. Brilliant sky blue scales and a pearly white underside, the Dragonair peered downwards at its opponent. The wings at its head flared, and its sharp horn pointed towards the shining sun above. Kent noticed though, that the crystalline orbs, one just under its jaw and two others at the tip of its tail, were a cloudy slate gray rather than the translucent royal blue they should have been.


“Oh? So you're the one who finally took her in... I see...” Lily looked pensive, her blue eyes focused on the Dragonair. The rest of the Rockets had left the scene, their silhouettes faintly visible through the thick growth of trees. Lily gave no sign of being aware of her solitude. She withdrew her Pokeball from her sleeve. “Kaiser. Return.” The Arbok disappeared instantly.


Wait, it's just going to end like that? That was fast- wait, what just happened?


“Enough games. I'm leaving,” said Lily curtly. She gave the Dragonair one last look. “I can see you've been taking care of her well. But, just a warning to you and the rest of Shizen. She'll never be tame again. Every day you keep her is just another chance you may die.”


Then, she disappeared.


“Fuck!” shouted Janice. She stomped the ground in fury, causing the Dragonair to turn towards her, wide-eyed. “She teleported- ugh, why didn't think of that earlier? If only we'd moved our psychic and dark Pokemon here, or if we had enough Magnetons on hand, we could have created an electromagnetic field, that'd have stopped her-” she stopped suddenly.


“Sorry Chiharu, I'm... just having a bad time right now, she said quietly, looking up at the Dragonair. The huge serpent visibly relaxed, and she lowered her head gracefully towards her trainer. “You can return to your Pokeball now, sorry to stress you out.” The Dragonair disappeared in a flash of red light.


“What's wrong with Chiharu?” asked Kent, curious now.


“She... she was experimented on. She's getting a lot better, but I don't feel comfortable using her in battle. She was a prototype- they messed with her genes and raised her in vitro, which is ridiculously risky- too many variables.”


“But not even New Britain University does that, and our laws on gene manipulation are a lot looser than that of Shinnippon- how'd they raise her in vitro successfully?” Kent stared at her in disbelief.


Janice sighed, looking strained. “I don't know either. All we know is that the technique's extremely labor and time-intensive, and on top of that it has a ridiculously low chance of success. There were three more Dratini that succeeded. But all of them died at different stages of growth...” she trailed off.


“Hey, Janice.” Kent put a hand on her shoulder firmly, and he looked straight at her this time. “Can you tell me what's going on now? I really think I have a right to know...”


“Sorry. I can't right now, I'll get back to you later,” she said quickly, brushing his hand off her shoulder. “Hey Kent, good job on the Boulder Badge. You're doing really well... I'll see you around.” Janice turned her back to him, and she ran straight into the same woods as Team Rocket did.


Kent felt the sudden urge to follow her, but his legs would not obey him fast enough. He made a few paces forward, then he stopped himself. Janice didn't want to see him. His Pokemon were still injured from battling Brock- and Hasta alone would not be enough to defend him from however many Rocket grunts were running around in the woods. He turned around to head towards the Pewter City Pokemon Center.


I wish I knew what was going on.
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