By: Theodore Leung
It was cold, very cold. The wind blew harshly against the white wastelands, white snow blowing across the desolate plains. The northern lands were difficult to cross, especially during the cold times of the year. Very few people were foolish enough to try to cross the vastness of the northlands.
Still, there are some that try. The average person would regard them as insane. The ones who try regard themselves as having the courage and bravery to attempt such a feat.
Then there were does who don't care. They trek across the frozen deserts, not caring about themselves or anyone else, to finish what ever they intended to do.
If one looks closely, they could see the silhouette of a person, partially covered by a thick cloak, pressing against the deathly cold winds, and then, the figure would disappear, into the visibility-less storm, never to be seen.
* * * * * * *
"Ryna, you should take a break…" the Pikachu implored to her trainer. The one called Ryna didn't stop, only pulled her cloak closer to her body, walking through the wastelands to her objective. "Why would Burner ever come up here anyway?" the Pikachu continued, waving her arms in front of the trainer to try to get some attention. "It's so cold…a fire type wouldn't like it up here…" Ryna ignored the Pikachu's comment, continuing her slow progression through the white desert. "Ryna!" the Pikachu shouted into Ryna's ear. The trainer from Pallet town stopped, regarded the Pikachu for a second.
"You didn't have to come, Lin," Ryna replied harshly, continuing her journey. Lin wasn't fazed, used to this attitude by now.
"I came because we're friends, and that you could always use help," the female Pikachu replied, sitting down of her shoulder underneath the cloak. Ryna snorted, obviously not caring about what the Pikachu thought. If she wanted to come, fine, let her come.
"Yeah, do whatever," Ryna muttered, pushing on through the wastes. Lin sighed, curling up in the cloak some more.
"It wasn't like this the last time we came through," Lin commented, sneezing afterwards.
"Times change," Ryna whispered bitterly, not caring about the health of her Pikachu.
"You've changed a lot," Lin told her trainer, sneezing again. The Pikachu sniffed, curling up in the cloak even more.
"Whatever," Ryna replied, continuing on through the blizzard.
* * * * * *
Simon yawned, getting his rear off his bed and staring outside. Glacier City was a nice place at times. However, at this time of night and with the blizzard going on, it can also be one of the roughest places to be in.
"I'm pretty sure no one would be foolish enough to travel in this weather," he told himself, yet somehow getting a nagging feeling someone was out there. "Ah well, guess there's nothing I can do about it," the Gym Leader consolidated, his gaze went left and right across the withering plains, catching eye of a slight glisten in the distance.
"What was that?" Simon asked himself, picking up a set of binoculars on his night table and leveling them with his eyes. Quickly turning the focus knob, the vision cleared, revealing a silhouette of a person, the person collapsing soon afterwards.
"Amy! Get up! Someone's out there!" Simon shouted throughout the house, quickly gathering the thickest jacket he could find and running downstairs.
"Who would be insane to do something like that?!" Amy shouted back, not revealing herself to Simon.
"I don't know, but we've got to help!" Simon yelled back, putting on a pair of boot with fur lining, then grabbing another thick jacket. "I'm going now! Get a lot of blankets and warm water ready, maybe even a warm bath!" With those final words, the Gym Leader opened the door, the torrent of snow piling inside the house before the trainer could force the door closed.
* * * * * *
Simon's boot sank deep into the snow. He cursed, wishing he had time to put on some snow pants.
"Never mind that," he whispered, finally reaching the collapsed subject. Simon kneeled down, examining the victim. "Ryna?!" he exclaimed, surprised the girl would try something as daring as this.
"Simon?" Lin asked weakly, revealing herself from under Ryna's cloak. Ryna coughed loudly, shivering and unconscious.
"Come on, we got to get you to the city," Simon said, wrapping the other jacket he was carrying around the trainer's body. After zipping the trainer and the Pikachu up, he lifted the trainer, placing her arm over his shoulder, then started his way back.
* * * * * *
Simon exhaled, heaving Ryna into his house. The Gym Leader hastily closed the door, then unzipped Ryna's jacket enough to allow the Pikachu to jump down.
"How is she?" Lin inquired, looking over the unconscious trainer.
"I think she has hypothermia," Simon assessed. He lifted Ryna up.
"Amy, the bath ready?!" Simon shouted through house, knowing he'll get an answer somewhere.
"It's ready!" Amy shouted back from upstairs. Simon glanced over at the Pikachu.
"There are blankets in the living room," he told Lin. "Get comfy, I'll attend to you once I get Ryna on the road to recovery." The yellow mouse nodded, sneezing again, but knowing her trainer was in more critical condition. Simon rushed upstairs, nearly tripping over his own mess over the hallway before reaching the bathroom. He quickly made sure the water was just right, then took off the trainer's jacket. He removed the cloak, then was about to remove her shirt before realizing what he was doing.
"Oh boy…" he whispered, turning bright red.
"I'll handle this," Amy said, sighing. She quickly but lightly pushed Simon out of the room and closed the door, leaving the Gym Leader to stare blankly at the door for a minute. Regaining his composure, the Gym Leader moved away from the door. He slid down the banister, and jogged into the living room, Lin shivering in her blankets on the couch.
"C-cold…" Lin chattered, sneezing again. Simon quickly headed into the kitchen, poured a cup of warm water, then headed back, and giving the water to the Pikachu. Lin nodded thank you, happy to have a warm substance.
"Feeling better?" Simon asked, wrapping some more blankets over the Pikachu. Again, Lin nodded, drinking some more of the contents.
"Thank you," Lin whispered, in between gulps. Simon smiled, happy to have helped a friend.
"Don't worry about it," Simon replied, patting the Pikachu. Lin would've taken another sip, but stopped herself, looking up at Simon.
"You understand me?" she asked, surprised by the turn of events. Again, Simon smiled, removing a small circular device from his right ear.
"These allow me to understand what Pokémon say," he told Lin, twirling them around for her to see. There were small speaker holes on each side, one for output, the other for input.
"How do they work?" Lin questioned, poking the device. Simon took the device and put it back in his ear, shrugging.
"I have no idea," he answered, leaning back on the couch. "I just found them one day in a deserted research facility." He sighed, stroking his hair with a hand. "I'm just wondering what the heck are you two thinking about coming out here during this kind of storm. Speaking of which, where are Charles and Flare?" Lin sighed, putting her now empty cup down. She curled up in the blankets a bit more.
"It's a VERY long story," she answered in one sentence. "I suppose you would want to hear it anyway," she continued, looking up at the Gym Leader. Simon nodded, getting comfy on the couch to listen to such a tale.
* * * * * *
"Ryna…" the voice whispered, like silent wind. The trainer from Pallet glanced left and right, not being able to see anything in the blanket of darkness. "Ryna…" the voice whispered again, the voice there, yet at the same time, wasn't.
"Who are you?" Ryna asked, unable to comprehend. She turned around, the blanket of darkness getting tighter.
There were footsteps, slowly coming closer, and closer, then fading away, back into the darkness that which it came from.
"Ryna…help me…" the voice said again, pleading in agony, like the soul was being crushed.
"Tim?!" Ryna shouted, her voice not penetrating the barrier of blackness. "Tim!" she shouted again, quickly being swallowed by the ensnaring dark.
"…help me…" the voice said again, fading into the void.
"Tim!!!" Ryna yelled out, running into the void, hoping to follow the voice. "Tim!!!" she cried out again, tears flowing.
* * * * * *
Burner looked up from his location. He could see a lot from his vantage point, on top of the abandoned research facility, specifically the trail that lead from this location to the nearby Glacier City. It was cold, much like the weather anywhere up north. The Phoenix flapped his wings, hoping they were ready for flight.
"Another disturbing dream," the Pokémon told himself, recalling how Ryna cried out for help. She wanted salvation, salvation from her tormented soul. "I wish I could help…" Burner whispered, looking down at the cross-shaped pendant around his neck. "Tim…talk to me…"
Burner nodded, flapping his wings one more time, then lifting off, heading towards destination unknown.
* * * * * *
"TIM!" Ryna cried out again, sitting up on her bed, dripping with sweat. She breathed rapidly, shocked by her dream. She ran her hand through her sweat-ridden hair, recalling the dream.
"It happened again…" she told herself, looking down at the blanket that she was wrapped in. "The dream keeps on coming…" the trainer whispered, looking around the environment. The heat was nice in comparison to the temperature outside.
"The last thing I remember was heading to Glacier City…" she thought to herself, standing up. Sunlight slipped through the cracks in the blinds, the room itself quite dark. "Where am I?" she asked out loud, unable to identify her surroundings. Her gaze quickly fixated on a mirror at the side of the room.
"What happened?" she asked herself, noting that she was only wearing a pair of black shorts and a white T-shirt. She turned around, noticing the Pikachu sleeping peacefully on the same bed she slept on. Lin's petite body moved up and down rhythmically with her breathing, turning here and there occasionally. She didn't look as bad as before when the two traveled in the snowstorm. The trainer's clothing lay lazily on the chair beside the bed.
Ryna turned her attention back towards the matters at hand, walking over to the door and opening it, exiting the chamber.
"Oooh!" Ryna shouted, knocking into another person, both stumbling over. "Why don't you watch where you're going?!" Ryna hissed, rubbing her bottom. She looked up, staring at a Jynx, the same one she defeated the last time was in Glacier City.
"Well, you seem to have gotten a lot more bitter since the last time we met," the Jynx replied, getting up herself. Ryna muttered an inaudible curse, getting up herself.
"Things change," she answered, brushing of some bust on her shorts.
"Yes, you definitely look better now then you did when Simon found you in the blizzard," the Jynx assessed, looking up and down the trainer.
"Whatever," Ryna replied carelessly.
"I guess we got off on the wrong foot," the Jynx continued, extending her hand. "My name is Amy."
"Yeah, sure…" Ryna answered, whacking the hand away lightly and walking past the Jynx. Amy sighed, wondering just how much the trainer has changed over the previous journey. She seemed more different then Lin described last night.
* * * * * *
Simon looked up from his cooking, noticing Ryna walking into the kitchen on the window that stood in front of him. She didn't reveal any of the enthusiasm she showed in their duel a while back.
"Hungry?" Simon asked, flipping over a pair egg on the frying pan. The produce sizzled on the pan before Simon decreased the heat on the stove. He placed the spatula on the counter top, turning around to face Ryna. She looked up at him, breaking the trance she was in.
"Um…huh? Pardon?" she asked, sitting down at the table.
"Are you hungry?" Simon repeated, concerned by just how much Ryna did change since their last confrontation. Ryna exhaled, shaking her head. "Are you sure?" Simon asked, worried.
"Why do you have to ask so many times?!" Ryna replied, annoyed, despite being asked three times, only twice being heard. Simon sighed, and sat down at the table.
"You're searching for Burner, aren't you?" he asked calmly. Ryna fell instantly silent, unable to say anything.
"Lin told you, didn't she?" Ryna asked, though knowing the answer already. Simon sighed, placing crossing his arms and leaning back on the chair.
"You've changed a lot, despite the short time we knew each other," he commented. Again, Ryna was silent.
"I didn't change that much, have I?" she asked herself mentally, noticing how everyone comments that she has changed.
"Where do you intend to go next?" Simon asked, curious.
"Abandoned Pokémon Research Facility in the northeast," she replied with little thought.
"Any particular reason?" Simon asked.
"Why do you care?" Ryna countered. She only wanted to go because something told her to go there. Maybe Tim is there, or at least, was so she can pick up the trail.
"I want to come with you," Simon answered, sitting back up straight on the chair.
"Don't you have a gym to attend to?" the Pallet Town trainer asked sarcastically, looking away.
"No," Simon answered with little deviation. Ryna looked back at him, wondering what the hell he was talking about. "Since Sarpal borrowed my Squirtle and Lapras, I have very few Pokémon to fight with, so I've closed down the gym for now. I figure I could learn a bit if I traveled with the one who defeated me in the first place."
"Whatever," Ryna muttered, getting up. "You do what you want. Follow if you want, I don't care, just stay out of my way. I'm leaving in thirty minutes. Be prepared or be left behind." Simon nodded, also standing up. Ryna quickly made her way back up to her bedroom to get ready for travel.
"You've changed a lot, my friend," Simon whispered under his breath, also scattering to get prepared for the journey that awaited.