Author: Delu PM
Your Pokémon don't faint, they die. You must attempt to catch the first Pokémon you see on a new Route, and only that Pokémon. Ready for a challenge? Press Start. Rated T for poké-death, adult humor, and language. Based in Pokemon RSE games. Serious Fic.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Mystery - Blaziken/Bursyamo & Gardevoir/Sirknight - Chapters: 30 - Words: 129,796 - Reviews: 322 - Favs: 136 - Follows: 131 - Updated: 01-07-13 - Published: 08-19-10 - id: 6254462
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
New rules to an old game: Your Pokémon don't faint, they die. You must attempt to catch the first Pokémon you see on a new Route, and only that Pokémon. Ready for a challenge? Press Start. Rate T for poké-death, adult humor, and language.
Chapter Twenty Six:
Shivers raced through my body as I hugged my coat tighter around me. Even though I'd realized how drastic the temperature change was from the usual Hoenn-warm, I hadn't recognized the effect it would have on my method of travel.
"Just six more hours," I murmured to myself as my teeth chattered gently. Tugging my sleeves lower own on my hands, I re-gripped them around Copper's sky blue horns. It didn't help much – I could still feel the damp chill through both layers of glove and insulated jacket – but it was something, at least.
After ridding the outer edge of Lilycove of the disease that was Team Aqua, I'd taken a short pit stop back at the Pokémon Center to heal up my team and drop Morgan a line.
"You alive?" I said by way of greeting as he answered his PokéNav.
"Sadly, no. You see the volcano erupted unexpectedly on my way up there and all of western Hoenn is now covered in ash and drying lava. On the up side, I'm sure Magma is taken care of," he quipped with the barest edges of sarcasm in his voice. My lips tugged up in a smile involuntarily.
"How unfortunate. Ah, well, at least I don't have to worry about them anymore. Unless, of course, you think they've mutated into some form of rock-creature? In which case I should go catch a few more water types…" I mockingly replied.
"Quite," he agreed. We took a moment to enjoy the amiable atmosphere we'd created, even with the distance between us, before carrying on with more important things. "You took care of Team Aqua, I presume?"
"They're gone from Lilycove, but not done with their exploits quite yet. I don't suppose we had the good fortune of Team Magma getting caved in?"
"No, they made away after I confronted them. Of course, not before I could stop their leader, Maxie, from summoning the ancient Groudon." He sighed deeply and I could fully understand the feeling.
"We'll figure it out," I assured him but it sounded hollow even to my ears.
"We're going to have to, aren't we?" Morgan said. "Well, you'd best be on your way. The less time you waste talking the more time there is to stop our villains."
"Always so pragmatic," I chuckled. "All right, I've got the hint. I'll see you soon."
"Hopefully in one piece," he added.
"I make no promises." I smiled behind my PokéNav and we said our final goodbyes before I picked up my team and made my way out of Lilycove.
I shuffled closer to Copper, in a futile effort to draw warmth from my cold blooded Pokémon. I double checked my Nav again before huffing out a frustrated breath. "Just five and a half more hours…"
By the time Copper and I reached Mossdeep, my legs were numb from being in the same position for too long and my hands held only the barest of feeling in them. Copper sidled up as close as she could to the sandy landing that the beach provided before I stumbled my way off her back and to the ground below. My legs failed half way down and I fell to my knees on the grit, not particularly caring that I was getting sand all over.
"Oh, thank Arceus," I groaned. While riding on Copper was easier on my stomach than a boat would have been, after a while it still got nauseating. "Six hours," I groaned, rolling over onto my back. I stared up at the night sky through the goggles I'd used to keep the mist from my eyes and thanked Arceus once more that I hadn't lost my lunch during our expedition.
"Gyaaaa," Copper roared next to me, catching my attention. I lolled my head in her direction.
"Tired, love?" I asked. She roared again, quieter this time. I nodded slowly and lifted a heavy hand to grab her Pokéball. "You did great, Cop, you deserve a rest. Return." The brilliant red light lit the sky like a flash of bloody lightening before all was peaceful once more. "Ugh," I groaned. "Gotta move," I told myself. My body didn't follow the command, though, and I stayed on the ground for several seconds longer. "All right, all right," I muttered, shifting my body weight just enough to roll myself over. I slid my hands through the sand and held them flat before pushing against the ground and levering myself upwards. "Ehhh," I groaned as blood started to rush to my freezing extremities in a near painful manner. Hefting myself from my kneeling position, I stumbled across the beach and toward the rocky stairs that led up to what was surely Mossdeep proper.
The new movement of my body seemed to kick it back into gear and the shivers that had plagued me earlier were back with a vengeance. "C-c-c-crap," I chattered, looking around. "Where the hell is the Center?" The few streetlamps that littered the city were dim and rather useless to my tired eyes as I tripped my way down the street. "Finally," I said with relief as the red and white of the Pokémon Center came into view. I leaned heavily against the doors as I tried to pull one open with no success. "C'mo-on," I growled, shaking them. Giving up, I knocked soundly against the glass and waited for several minutes. No one answered.
Sighing, I shifted until my back was flat against the wall of the building before slowly sliding down to the ground. Curling myself into a ball and covering my face with my arms, I willed myself to stop shivering. "Just… gotta wait it out a few hours…" I yawned, my eyes drifting shut. Against my will, I fell into an exhausted sleep.
"Oh, dear!" a high pitched voice exclaimed, waking me from the restless sleep I'd slipped into. Lifting my head from my arms, I greeted Nurse Joy with a tired face.
"Are there any couches left?" I asked, voice still rough with sleep. It seemed to kick her into motion and she started bustling around me, helping me up, and guiding me inside the Center with a strong hand.
"Ooh, I knew I shouldn't have fallen asleep with the television on!" she chided herself. I murmured a half-hearted 'agreed' as she sat me down on one of the many empty couches. She paused and gave me one of those Looks. I shrugged; hey, I was all for her not falling asleep with the TV on if it meant I got to come in out of the cold. "You just lay right here and rest, I'll get you a blanket and a pillow in a jiffy, okay?" she said as she gently pushed my shoulders down onto the couches. I nodded vaguely, eyes drifting closed once more. The last thing I felt was soft hands on my face taking off the goggles I'd borrowed from Brandon oh-so long ago.
"Mmm, mrphm," I grumbled as wakefulness came over me. I snuggled down deeper into the couch, enjoying the warmth that had been denied me the day before. Someone – Nurse Joy, I presumed – had tucked a heavy throw blanket around my shoulders, sealing in the heat from both my body and my heavy clothes. I cautiously opened my eyes, blinking away the sleeping sand, and sat up from my pleasant cocoon of slumber. Feeling like a real human for the first time in over a day, I threw my arms over my head and stretched.
"Mmm, yeah," I groaned in contentment. Looking around, I found my bag with bleary eyes and dug through it for my glasses. I slipped them on as I stood up.
"Oh, good, you're awake," Nurse Joy commented as she came up from behind the couch. I turned to her and gave her a small smile.
"Yep, and better than ever. Thanks for letting me crash on the couch, I know standard protocol calls for all trainer's to be up by ten," I said.
"It was no problem," she smiled, tilting her head not unlike her anime counterpart. "We don't get many travelers here anyway, so the place is practically empty."
"Yeah, I suppose the journey from Lilycove isn't for the weary," I agreed. Taking a look out the window, I noticed that the sun was already past halfway in the sky. "Say, what time is it anyway?"
"Oh, it's about ten past four. You were only asleep for about seven hours, would you like to rest a bit more?" she asked.
"No, I think I'm good, thanks," I waved her off. "I will go up to get something to eat though." Before I walked away, another thought hit me and I turned back to face her. "Do you know when the Gym closes?"
She shook her head. "No, I don't. But the Leaders have been staying up very late at night and have started accepting most challengers only in the afternoon. I'm sure you'll be fine should you wait a little while to battle them," she reassured me.
"Right, thanks," I smiled at her again and turned toward the stairs, thoughts jumbled.
I forgot Mossdeep had two leaders, I thought as I climbed the stairs. They were…kids, right. Kids. Twins; a little boy and a little girl. Huh, I chuckled. Bet they're having a wonderful time in the amazing world of Pokémon. I, for one, would have been overjoyed to be in this world when I was still just a kid. Maybe a little overly enthusiastic, but still. Even now I was thrilled to be here but it was a more subtle contentment than the hyperactive enthusiasm of ten year olds.
I ate my meal alone, assured that my Pokémon were resting quite comfortably in their Pokéballs. I wanted to give them as much relaxation as possible before the match because I knew it would be a tough one. The Psychic Gym had always proved to be a challenge to me during the game, but I wondered just how I would fare against a couple of kids with a strong team of my own to fight back with. After all, this team – this family – was unlike any of its virtual predecessors saved on a game file back in the Real World. To be honest, it made everything a little bit more exciting.
Finishing up my meal, I headed back downstairs and outside.
The chill temperatures assaulted me the moment I was outside the warm safety of the Pokémon Center. A stiff gust of sea air ruffled my hair made me shiver momentarily. I tugged my scarf closer around my neck before glancing around and setting off in the direction of the Gym. It wasn't a hard thing to spot; the metallic edge of the outside plating glinting in the waning light of day and called to me like a homing beacon. As I strode to it, I contemplated how I would win this one. With the multitude of failures at this location in the past, the Pokémon used were something I was familiar with.
Originally they use Lunatone and Solrock, but I'm sure they'll use the more sturdy Psychic types to boost themselves up. Claydol, probably. It'll be difficult, I thought. Its Earthquake isn't something to laugh at, but that also means it's a ground type. Lunatone and Solrock are rock types – Solrock has fire-type attributes – so Copper will be more than helpful. And I can switch out Callie and Gabriel for a dark element.
Satisfied with my strategy, I nodded to myself and looked upon the Gym with weary eyes. Little kids or no, this was the seventh gym and was bound to be more than a little difficult. I set my shoulders grimly and pushed open the doorway to my next challenge. The room that it opened up into wasn't quite the sterile atmosphere I recalled. Instead was a small room with torch lights on a few walls and warp panels in the corner of the room. More Zen than minimalist. I stepped over to the warp panel and sighed.
"I really thought I was done with these," I commented as I stepped forward. A by-now familiar rush went through me and I found myself in a similar room as the first, another panel in the corner. I stepped on it, and another, and another yet, before finally finding myself in a much larger room. I had to take a moment to lean against the wall and collect myself after the dizzying transportation.
"Oh, look! Can it be?" a child's voice called loudly.
"A challenger," a second said matter-of-factly.
"This'll be fun!"
"We haven't had one in a while."
"Scared 'em all off, we did!"
"That's because you keep screaming."
"I'm not screaming," the first one pouted. "I'm just happy!"
I blinked and looked over to the two having the conversation; slowly but surely they were trotting their way over to my little corner of the room and the sight of them shocked me a little. I had been expecting kids, sure, but I had also sort of been expecting twins. These two were certainly not related.
"So who are you?" a little girl with dark hair and tea-colored skin questioned me.
"I'm – " I was cut off by her companion, a red headed, freckled boy an inch or so shorter than his friend.
"She's a challenger, obviously," he stated, repositioning his own glasses. He looked at me as though I were an experiment and he, the scientist. It was more than a little disconcerting.
"My name's Lucy," I said after a minute of contemplating the two of them, just waiting for one or the other to strike their conversation back up.
"Lucy, huh?" the girl asked, tilting her head at me. "That's a really common name."
"Oh yeah?" I said. "And what're your names?"
"I'm Marisol!" she twirled a bit in child-like enthusiasm before grinning at me. "And he's – "
"Hamish." He gave Marisol a side glance. "I can speak for myself, you know."
"I know, but I just figured I'd go ahead and do it for you," she shrugged, putting a hand on her hip.
"And what would you have done should I have taken over the whole conversation?" he asked her, quirking a brow and blinking benignly.
"Well I – " I cut her off before what was sure to be a row started.
"You guys wouldn't happen to have been playing a video game, by chance?" I asked. The vague distraction worked and they both turned to me. I expanded on the comment, "'Bout a month ago, you were playing Pokémon before going to bed and then, poof, you were here?" I gestured with my hands.
"Hm," Hamish hummed, facing me full on. It seemed that I'd finally gathered his attention in a non science experiment sort of way.
"Hey, yeah!" Marisol bubbled, nodding her head quickly. "I was over at Ham's house – "
"Please stop calling me that – "
" – and we were doing a practice battle against each other before his dad came in and told us it was bed time. We don't remember falling asleep, but then we woke up here so I suppose we had to, right?" she shrugged at me.
I nodded sympathetically at her. "Yeah, it happens."
"Personal experience?" Hamish questioned, light eyes studious. I nodded.
"My name is Lucy Spalding and I'm from the Real World, just like you," I informed them. "I was playing my Sapphire when I blanked out; the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the back of a moving van and under the impression that I'd lost my mind."
"Oooh!" Marisol squealed, clasping her hands together. "You got to take May Maple's place? That's so awesome! You get to travel around and capture Pokémon and have adventures beating up bad guys!" she said all in one breath. I barely caught on to what she was saying but Hamish seemed to understand perfectly.
"She also gets to experience the harshness of travelling by foot, the threat of the Rabies Virus, and the irreparable toll that so many battles have caused her Pokémon," he commented; the words sounded as though they were directed at his friend, but the tone, I was certain, was aimed at me. I nodded solemnly at him, letting him know that his conclusion was spot on – as I had a feeling it always was.
"That sounds awful," Marisol lamented on my behalf.
"It has its bad moments," I agreed, then added, "but the closeness you get with your Pokémon is well worth it." I wouldn't trade any cozy, vanilla life for the times I'd shared with my Pokémon. All the pain was small compared to the vastness of our connection.
"Even if you end up losing them in the end?" Hamish asked. The look on his face was more fit to his eleven year old self than any I'd seen on him previously. It held a dash of confusion, but was mostly filled with longing for the experience.
"Even then," I said quietly.
"I'd like to put your theory to the test," he replied, face once more masked in scientific calculation.
"Oh, a battle!" Marisol agreed vehemently, dark locks bouncing wildly as she nodded her head.
"Then a battle it is," I acquiesced. Hamish turned on his heel, pausing only momentarily to reach back and grab Marisol by the wrist and drag her along with him. I followed along behind them, my thoughts zipping quickly as I compared what I now knew of them and how I might use that during the battle.
He's intelligent, he'll be able to see the obvious moves for what they are and defend against them quickly. Unexpected attacks might be the way to go. But then there's also Marisol; she's pretty spontaneous – like any true eleven year old. Perhaps I can use that to distract or knock out?
"This will be a match between Leaders Hamish and Marisol," Hamish called, loud and clear. I blinked for a moment, taken aback that he would use their true names instead of those of the true Leaders they'd replaced. Maybe they didn't realize the true depth of their entrance into this world? I questioned myself. After all, they were just kids and it made sense that they'd think of the situation in terms of their own personal gain. Whatever. It people accept it, then they accept it. Move on. "Two Pokémon at a time, whoever runs out first loses."
"Ready?" Marisol called over, bouncing on her tiptoes. I smiled involuntarily at her enthusiasm.
"Mari, how many times do I have to tell you? Matches are professional," Ham chided her. She ignored him.
"Whenever you are," I shouted back.
"I call Xatu!" "I call Claydol!" they shouted simultaneously. The two psychic types appeared in a flash of light and I had a thrill of victory at accurately predicting at least one of their initial Pokémon.
I grabbed two balls from my belt and enlarged one in each hand. "Callie, Copper!" I chose, sending their spheres onto the field. My Pokémon emerged, Callie shaking the rest out of herself while Copper groggily uncurled herself. I bit my lip. Maybe I should have let her rest a bit more… I doubted. She had brought me a long distance yesterday. Perhaps I should've held this off another day? But it was too late to call the match off, I figured. Better get this done quickly. "Cal, Shadow Ball!"
"Xatu, Calm Mind!" Marisol commanded. As Callie released a darkened sphere of energy at Ham's Claydol, the bird type gathered itself close and shut its eyes, focusing its energy tightly. Unluckily for the Claydol, Xatu's attack didn't deter the Shadow Ball in the slightest and it hit the ground type full force.
"Cla," it grunted, forced back a few feet in its mid-air hover. Hamish's face contorted in a displeased glare.
"Earthquake!" he ordered.
As the Claydol started it spin its energy, I called out to Copper, "Quick, Surf!" But Copper was still wiped from our previous day's journey and before her Surf could manifest itself, the ground-shattering attack had Callie and I flat on the floor. I sat up as fast as I could, rubbing my now-sore leg in the process, and saw the tail end of Copper's look back at me.
"Gyaaaaaa!" she screeched. It was an ungodly sound that I hadn't heard her make before and I could only assume it was for the assault on my person. Out of nowhere a torrent of water was forming before her screaming mouth, the waves of the Surf attack white-capped and vicious. She let it loose and the water came crashing down on both the Xatu and Claydol. The bird type fluttered out from under the water, but it didn't appear that Claydol was so lucky. As the water calmed and dissipated with the attack, the massive form of the psychic type was revealed.
"Clay!" Ham gasped in surprise, taking an involuntary step toward his fallen Pokémon. He halted himself and quickly pulled the monster's ball and returned him; thankfully, the orb stayed red, but that didn't deter Hamish's uneasy glance up at me and my Pokémon. "She was… avenging you," he stated, seemingly confused at the action. I stood on unsteady legs.
"Like I said, you get close to Pokémon you've fought the earth with," I told him. This time, he seemed to understand.
Nodding, he pulled a second ball from his belt. "Lunatone!"
Marisol, it seemed, was also watching me with new eyes. "Xat, Sunny Day!" Her bird thrust its arms out, energy emitting from it to create a miniature sun at the top of the arena.
Perhaps she realizes her Pokémon won't be awake for too much longer? I knew her second Pokémon would be a Solrock and it was logical to assume she was preparing for the event of her Xatu fainting. She's more strategic than I would've given her credit for. "Callie, Shadow Ball again!"
"Mighty!" she roared, releasing a second ball of dark matter at our opponent. It struck in much the same way her initial one did, thrusting the newly released Lunatone back a few feet. The Leaders seemed a little taken aback that I'd attack Ham's Pokémon for a second time instead of moving onto Mari's. Hate to tell you, kids, but I know that the combo of Lunatone and Solrock is a deadly one and like hell am I gonna have them both out here at the same time, I thought to myself, if not a little smug.
"Ugh, Hypnosis!" Hamish shouted, frustration leaking into his tone.
"Shit," I muttered under my breath as Callie fell asleep on the mat. "Copper," I called, "another Surf!"
"Gyaradoos!" she obeyed, though the attack was much weaker than the first one. I studied her for a moment before cursing once more. The strain was evident on her scaly, blue face and I felt bad for leaving her in. "Just a bit more, Cop," I promised. I'd have taken her out, but with two rock types to still take down her water element would be invaluable to the battle.
"Xatu, Confuse Ray!" Marisol ordered of her Pokémon. It gladly obeyed, sending invisible rays at my Gyarados. I crossed my fingers but it was no use – Copper started shifting anxiously and I knew the attack had been effective. I glanced at my fallen Mightyena but Callie remained asleep. As I pursed my lips and went to grab a ball – I hadn't yet decided which; Callie's or Coppers? – Hamish called out his next attack.
"Lunatone," he ordered firmly, "Psychic!"
"Luuuunnnne," it hummed harmonically. "Tone!" Its eyes opened wide and the air distorted by a powerful wave of psychic energy – all of it directed at Copper. My eyes widened at the force I knew it would exert.
"Gyaaa," Copper cried out, too weak to resist the attack that ripped through her. Her blue serpentine form stuttered in the air before rippling downward and landing heavily on the matted floor of the gym. She let out another weakened call of her name, eyes locked on mine, before she stilled unnaturally. Faintly, I could hear someone screaming, though I didn't know who. My mind was too full of what'd just happened.
Copper? I couldn't seem to comprehend the situation. Surely she couldn't be – she can't have – not my big blue beastie. She can't have…
I blinked at the stupid Pokémon and sighed, throwing out a Pokéball.
"Welcome to the team, Copper," I said to the ball containing my new Magicarp.
Great. Just… great.
"Copper, what the hell are you doing? Get back her – " I stopped again, this time to watch as Copper grew. And grew. And grew some more. Her body was encompassed in white light and I grinned. "Hell yes!" I pumped my fist into the air. "I've got a Gyarados! Woo -
" - oooo!" I realized that I had been the one screaming as I fell to my knees hard. "No, Copper," I couldn't stop the tears that tracked down my face as I continued to stare at my fallen family member; my child. "You – you can't leave me," I told her, chest seizing spastically with my sobs. "You can't, Cop, you just can't."
I've had you for too long, we've been through too much. C'mon, you can get up, you can do this. You're my big blue beastie, my gentle giant. You can't leave me, not like this…
"Miii," Callie howled. The commotion had been enough to shake her from the forced sleep and as she saw what had happened to her sister, she too mourned. "Mightyena!"
"You – you killed it," Marisol accused Hamish blankly. I looked up at them through blurry eyes and saw that they were just… staring.
"I didn't – I didn't mean to," he stuttered, taking a step back from the arena.
They're just kids, some part of me said. You can't blame him, you have to tell him it's okay – it was an accident - !
Yeah, my pain-dulled mind agreed. But I didn't stand. I didn't move. I just kept staring at him. I couldn't comprehend that he was just a kid, that it wasn't his fault. All I could see was the person who'd killed Copper. My eyes trailed back to her; she almost looked like she was just sleeping. I could imagine her doing it, too; some sunny beach with waves lapping at her scales and soothing her along her dreams. But then I realized – that wouldn't happen anymore. That couldn't happen.
Because she was dead.
My fist clenched as the anger that came with grief struck me. He killed Copper, my mind muttered furiously. Killed her without even a thought. I looked up at him again, finally noticing how terrified and sick he looked and the anger drained out of me in a painful way.
I couldn't blame him, much as wanted to. I couldn't blame him, but I also couldn't stay here in the same room as him any longer. On shaking legs, I stood, head bowed with the weight of the pain in my heart. Lifting my arm, I enlarged Copper's Pokéball one last time.
A/N: Oh, jeez, Delu updated? All right, all right, calm down. I don't need anyone's heart attack on my hands. But, yeah, I updated! Wooo. Party time. -dance- And, you know what else?
Red Tide is officially one year old.
I know right? It's crazy. My baby's growing up so fast. -wipes away tear-
But, anyway. RT is a year old and Copper dies. How tragic is that? I say we all go out and drown our sorrows in chocolate milk and rum raisen ice cream.
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