Epilogue

"So what's going to happen to Jack?" Kerrie asked, as she and Sheryl sat in PokePizza drinking glasses of Coke and sharing a cheese-and-tomato pizza.

Sheryl shrugged. "Dunno, but Dad says he's looking at at least six months in Juvenile Hall." She looked down at the Kirlia seated beside her, then at the other Pokemon nearby and smiled. This branch of PokePizza was designated "Trainer Friendly" and many trainers who passed through Saffron City brought their Pokemon here. Sheryl herself had brought Lilac here a few times, but this was Destiny's first visit. "Enjoying your fries?" she asked the Kirlia, who responded by diving into the basket of French fries Sheryl and Kerrie had bought as a side-order.

"Kirlia," Destiny said through a mouthful of fries. Sheryl smiled at her, recalling the events of the last few weeks - her first meeting with the Kirlia in the nearby alley, the special bond that had formed between them, Jack Sandford's maniacal insistance that Destiny belonged to him . . . This blind obsession had led him to Team Rocket and, ultimately to his arrest on charges of Pokenapping. Six months detention was the minimum sentence allowed for anyone caught kidnapping a Pokemon; the maximum sentence was up to five years. Either way, Sheryl was glad Jack had been caught, as it would mean she and Destiny could venture out without fear of the Kirlia being abducted. And there was something else . . .

"By the way," Sheryl added under her breath, "Sabrina says Jack could get kicked out of the Pokemon League for this. She told me when I called her from Cerise Town."

"Kicked out of the Pokemon League?" Kerrie asked, turning to look at her Pokemon. Swablu was perched on the back of the seat opposite her (the one in which Destiny was sitting) while the others were on the floor nearby, as was Lilac.

Sheryl nodded to acknowledge her previous statement. "Yes. It means he'll never be able to compete in League-sponsored battles again - and he'll be stripped of any Badges he's already won." Then, to change the subject, she added: "Great battle, by the way - you've trained your Scyther and Ninetales well."

Scyther and Ninetales, hearing their names, looked up from the Pokemon food they were eating. Sheryl was, of course, referring to Kerrie's recent battle against Sabrina, a hard-fought two-on-two match, in which both Gym Leader and trainer had given it all they had. Sheryl had been on the sidelines with Destiny and Lilac, watching as Sabrina's Kadabra and Haunter and Kerrie's Scyther and Ninetales fought each other. Sabrina had given Kerrie a good demonstration of her Pokemon's Psychic abilities; at one point, Scyther had been hit by a Confusion and nearly ended up Slashing his own foot before Kerrie told him to shake it off. But, when Haunter succumbed to a Fire Spin from Ninetales, she had conceded defeat and handed Kerrie the Marsh Badge.

Kerrie now took out the wallet which held her Gym Badges and admired the small pieces of shining, painted metal, six now with the addition of the Marsh Badge. She only needed two more to qualify for this year's Pokemon League. "What are you going to do now?" she asked Sheryl.

"Take Destiny and Lilac and head back to the Gym, what else?"

"Well . . ." Kerrie paused, wondering what to say next. ". . . you could come with me on my Pokemon journey. I'm going to Fuchsia City next."

"For the Soul Badge?" Sheryl asked, recalling that that was the name of the Badge earned by trainers who defeated Fuchsia Gym. "Sorry, but I've had enough excitement for a while, without starting a Pokemon journey." Then, seeing the disappointed look on Kerrie's face, she added: "We can stay in touch, though, and I'll be rooting for you if you make the Pokemon League."

Kerrie nodded. In the short time she and Sheryl had known each other, they had become close friends and she would have liked to have that friendship on her travels. But it was Sheryl's decision to stay in Saffron City and Kerrie knew she had to respect that. She would continue on her Pokemon journey, while Sheryl, Destiny and Lilac returned to Saffron Gym to continue training there. But, as Sheryl said, that did not mean they had to cut off all contact with each other; nor did it mean they would never see each other again.

"OK," Kerrie said finally. "If you give me Saffron Gym's number, I'll call you when I get to Fuchsia City."

Sheryl told her the number, which Kerrie scribbled down in a notepad shaped like a Jigglypuff. Then, with everyone finished eating, the two girls recalled their Pokemon and headed out into the streets of Saffron City. "Good luck," Sheryl told Kerrie, shaking her hand as she spoke. "See you around."

"You too," Kerrie said. With that, she pulled her hand away from Sheryl's and turned to walk away, waving over her shoulder as she did so. Sheryl watched her go until she rounded a corner and was out of sight. It had been an eventful few weeks, starting with her first encounter with Destiny, the Kirlia Jack Sandford had been so obsessed with catching that he was prepared to break every rule in the book to get her. And look where it had landed him! Still, if Jack hadn't kidnapped Destiny, Sheryl would never have had to go after her and she would never have met Kerrie. So, in a roundabout way, it was Destiny who had brought about the girls' friendship, Sheryl reflected as she recalled their first meeting at Cerulean City's Pokemon Centre. She did not know who had brought Destiny to the Centre, but, right now, she didn't care.

Reflecting on the appropriateness of the name she had given the Kirlia she found in the alley, Sheryl turned and headed back to Saffron Gym.