Negrek – It is odd, in a way, to have researchers investigating topics the average Joe never even knows about. Yet it's not really that different than what happens all the time in our world. There are a ton of scientific advances and questions you're probably unaware of, after all…
Keleri – Really? Though I suppose it's not the most original idea. Just the whole pokedex/show/everything supports pokemon not laying eggs + pokemon lay eggs at the daycare thing suggests it pretty strongly, although whether or not it's entirely true…
VulpixTrainer – That's good to hear, I hope this chapter more or less makes sense.
Sunlight – You're not alone in guessing something odd, my little brother guessed about a dozen different pokemon for it, all wrong :) And if you remember, there have been a great many overheard conversations so far in Pokemon Centers (starting at ch4 or so) that involve someone very, very happy to get just one pokeball back, and a Nurse Joy who says not to use it for a couple days but doesn't lecture about injured pokemon, so the psyduck/Joy thing isn't entirely new, just the first time it's been completely put together. But hey, who said they actually are trying to kill the psyduck? And I love your guess for Prowler!
Firebird Flight – Ack! That's what I get for not proofreading properly…Thanks for pointing those out, I've fixed it.
BambookidX – Yes, the title is very obscure, but then, doesn't that fit with the rest of the story? You'll just have to trust me that it's relevant.
cloudfightback – :) Well, if I just told you about Prowler, that would ruin all the fun, wouldn't it?
The end at last, exactly one year since this all started. Or the end of Kanto, at least.
A note before continuing: don't take what he says as the total truth. Understand there's always the possibility for a person to be exaggerating, especially when they're trying to sell something.
Chapter Thirty-three: Anagnorisis
Anagnorisis, Greek; the point at which the protagonist in a tragic play recognizes the truth of the situation.
Elliot looked up. An older boy slid into the seat beside him. "Hi."
"You're the one with the persian, aren't you?"
"Yeah," Elliot said, feeling a nagging sense something was wrong in the greeting.
"You seem like a pretty smart kid. Got that thing to do what you say and all. I understand you haven't been doing too bad in battles either." He leaned forward conspiratorially. "How would you like to join the League?"
"Aren't I already…"
The boy laughed, too loudly. "Oh, that," he said dismissively. "That's just the surface, for the little kids. Seems you're ready to go beyond that. The League likes your battles – orthodox fights, normal pokemon. You haven't been getting too inventive. Now, we've heard you've decided to go to Johto, right?"
"How do you know all this?"
The boy shrugged easily, like it wasn't a big deal. "The League knows everything."
Try not to attract attention.
Don't trust anyone my age, understand?
No need for you to lose your chance by hanging around me.
Quiet. You want more trouble than you've got?
It wouldn't do for you to be seen carrying on a conversation with the likes of me.
Don't say that here!
"So," he continued, "I'm here to extend the invitation. You know, there's really no need to go to Johto. Nothing good can come of helping a few subversives."
"What do you want me to do?"
The boy's eyes seemed to shine. "Join the League and stay here. We can always use more members. You don't realize how lucky you are to get this chance; few trainers your age are offered this."
"And what will that mean?"
"Well, you'll be paid, for one, and you'll be able to get the newest items, before they even show up on the market if you like. You don't have to do much. Just show up at tournaments, knock out anyone taking advantage of the younger fighters. Help distribute money to newer trainers, give 'em a fair chance. Keep a look out for anything going on, especially those trainers with inherited pokemon, generational trainers. Maybe you'll even get to have a new pokemon if you're the closest at the time. And if someone winds up with the wrong pokemon, you trade for it. Nothing major."
"Is – is that what you did to me?"
"What are you talking about?"
"My persian. Everyone kept offering to trade for it. What would you have done with her if I'd done that?"
"Oh, nothing. She'd just have been trained by a more experienced trainer. But obviously that was unnecessary. Most younger trainers can't handle rogues, that's all. That's what she was, wasn't she?"
"I don't know what you mean."
"A higher-level pokemon that's on its own. Trained pokemon that go feral, usually."
"The bounty office told me she'd be killed. Wasn't that true?"
"Feral pokemon, rogues, they're usually useless, and they can't be left lying around, of course. That'd be anarchistic. You've very lucky she didn't kill you, you know. But since she's shown herself to be obedient, that wouldn't be necessary now." He paused. "I don't think you understand the magnitude of what I'm offering. One little persian isn't important. The League is everything. As a member, you'll have money, the best and newest of items –"
"Like the psyduck's helmet!"
His tone should have been a warning, but the boy was wrapped up in his own explanation. "Yes, of cor-"
Elliot stood and walked out.
No tickets could be bought for the SS Anne. Elliot wondered if the League was behind that too.
The guard raised his eyebrows when Elliot showed the ticket. Inside, Elliot thought he could guess why. Everyone on the boat was an adult. They got to travel, he thought. Why?
The trip was a short one, two days long. It didn't seem like any big deal. So easy…why weren't people allowed to travel whenever they wanted? The League again, he thought. Probably everything…
He was going to Johto. Johto. Maybe it'd be somewhere different. Where trades would just be trades. Where the tournaments wouldn't be rigged. Where there wouldn't be a secret group of people pretending to be normal trainers and watching everyone.
Somewhere where there wouldn't be other kids looking around while they talked, as if they were worried someone was listening.
Continued in Xanthic Growlithe Contract: Johto