And we're back. Little later than last update but, hey, it's not a year this time!

To be fair, this one's delay was more me trying to figure out exactly who I wanted to focus on for this particular moment in time, ontop of real world distractions like actually being productive.

I think I made the right call in the end though, after all, not like we've seen this guy for a while. And he's always good for a little relief when the plot gets kinda down and depressing.

Episode 344: Looking Forward

Ever woken up in pain? There's always a couple of seconds confusion when you are still half-asleep where you trying to figure out what hurts and why. Now imagine the confusion that sets in when pretty much everything, inside and out, hurts like all hell and you've got a pretty good handle on what it was like when I woke up. I have no idea how I managed to forget, even temporarily, that I'd been on fire but somehow I had managed it. I blame the painkillers, but at least they weren't messing with my head as bad at the moment, no more hellspawn or merry jaunts through someone else's memories. Not looking forward to if that happens again. Or when. Most likely when.

Anyway, after that momentary confusion over why exactly things hurt and the brief flaring up of said injuries when I did recall exactly how I got them (pun entirely intended) my brain decided to switch tracks to where I was. Much simpler and less painfull, that one, still in my room in the Pokemon Center. Not that I was expecting to have ended up somewhere else but, hey, I've been teleported against my will before and waking up in weird places was a regular thing back home in Hoenn during Oran season. So I kinda got used to having to size up where I was and if I was gonna need to make a quick exit.

It wasn't morning yet, still looked dark outside. Or at least as dark as it gets in the middle of a human city. Certainly didn't feel like I'd been asleep for more than a couple hours but then kinda hard to feel nice and rested with the whole burns everywhere thing. Sure, they weren't as bad after this specialist guy showed up and put this weird salve thing on 'em with a fresh set of bandages but I was still well aware they were there.

Getting back to sleep was probably out of the question. It had been hard enough the first time after all that chaos kicked off outside. Still had no idea exactly what that had been about, but I'd a pretty good guess. Pika'd gone to investigate and it'd turned out that I was right, Flame had gone crazy. 'Course that bit was easy to figure out, kinda heard him swearing when he fell past the window. After jumping off of the roof and hitting the same tree I did, it seems. (Should I be worried the weird coma world turned out to be that accurate?) Not sure what had happened after that though, I know he took off somewhere and then the salve guy showed up and I got more painkillers and my memory is kinda fuzzy from then on.

Could ask Pika, I guess. She was probably still here, keeping an eye on me. So I don't get into trouble and all. Because that's totally stopped me before. Her logic is weird like that, I'd pretty much given up making sense of it. Just an odd Pikachu thing as far as I care, or it could be just her. Hard to tell, I've only known a couple. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I, very carefully, sat up and looked to the chair she'd been essentially parked in to find a certain Wartortle there instead.

He'd been flipping through a book or something, lit up with a small lamp on the bedside cabinet. And I realise the irony in someone head to tail in bandages saying this, he looked like he'd had a rough time. Not physically, mind you. Apart from a couple scrapes and scorch marks, he looked pretty much fine. At least under the lamp light, anyway. Still, I suppose I shouldn't really expect him to look cheerful and all after everything that happened. That's kinda Blacky's thing.

"Didn't expect you to wake up this early," he glanced over, looking rather grim. It didn't suit him.

"Nice to see you too," I retorted, although some of the sarcasm was probably lost with how raspy my voice was. I hadn't really noticed it under all the other dry itchiness and pain the burns caused but it felt like I hadn't drank anything in weeks.

Squirt, to his credit, picked up on it and put his book down to pick up a glass of water. Took a couple seconds for me to manouver my way out from under the bedsheets. The bandages kinda made moving tricky, not to mention all the wires and crap from machines they'd attached me to, but I eventually got my arms free and took the glass. Was about to drink when a slightly disturbing thought came to me.

"Where'd the water come from?"

There was a flash of normal Squirt in the confused look I got in return.

"You're a water type," I elaborated. The look of dawning comprehension followed by digust was almost hilarious.

"No! No. It's from a tap, you idiot." He actually looked kinda ill, "jeez, that'd be disgusting."

"Tell me about it," I tried not to laugh as I took a sip of non-turtle water. "If you wanted to swap spit you could just ask. The direct path's much more fun."

"Really, Fervo?" Huh, he didn't even blush at that one. He really must be in a bad mood if I can't fluster him that easy. "You're doing this in that state?"

"Good point. My charming smile and lovely eyes aren't quite as effective under all these bandages."

There we go. Good to see that even if I can't tease him, I can still annoy him. Heh. It's the little things like that that makes life worth living, y'know?

"You are something else," Squirt said.

"Yup."

"It wasn't a compliment."

"I know." I chuckled, even though my ribs were not happy with me doing it.

Squirt was a gentlemen though, still looking concerned when I started wincing and coughing even after I'd pissed him off. Took the glass off of me until it'd all settled down and I could breathe again.

"Not going to say I had that coming?" I asked as I took the water back and started sipping away. I'd already learnt the hard way that trying to drink quickly wasn't worth it.

"Do I need to?" He rolled his eyes. "Can't believe you're so chipper after getting hurt that badly."

"'Course I am. Someone's got to balance things out, with you grumping up the place."

"You were nearly killed!"

"And I'm still breathing. That's something to be happy about. So why aren't you happy for me?"

He started trying to insist that he was but a flat glare stopped him in his tracks. Must have been one hell of a look, if it worked through bandages and everything. I held it for a couple seconds, placing the glass of water down before speaking with all the gravitas I could muster, "you know I'm just messing with you, right?"

The look on his face was the funniest thing ever. Unfortunately it really, really hurt to laugh. Not that it stopped me. Ahh. I'm such an asshole.

"I'm no longer happy for you," Squirt grumbled, although he didn't quite manage to hide the look of concern from my laughing induced coughing fit.

"You sound like Pika." Although thankfully he wasn't using the bandages or wires or whatever to strangle me, so he wasn't quite as bad. Yet. Give me time.

"Speaking of Pika, where'd she go?" She'd seemed pretty adamant she wasn't going anywhere.

"Sleeping in her room," he shrugged, "it is three in the morning." He guestured at a clock, clearly forgetting that I couldn't read it.

"So why are you here this late? Or is it early?"

"Me staying here was the only way to get her to leave."

"Oh." Yeah, that sounds about right. "And you're actually staying up now she can't see you?"

"Got stuff to think about."

Wow. Way to be melodramatic about it. There is something weird going on when the guy who got practically broken in half and then set on fire is less mopey than someone who got off pretty lightly.

"Fancy sharing, O' Great Thinker?"

"Not really my place." Oh no, you don't brush me off that easy, Squirt. I might be injured everywhere and slightly loopy from the drugs but I can still figure you out.

"So it involves someone else. Well, I'm pretty sure I heard your voice earlier after Flame fell past the window, so I'm going to take a wild guess and say it has something to do with him."

The look I got, slightly panicked and more than a little guilty, told me I was right on that one. I took another drink of the water. Partially because my throat was still killing me, partially to let him stew on that for a couple more seconds. See if he was going to crack and give me more to go on. Apparently not, the turtle's got more willpower than people back home did, that's for sure. Fine by me. Time to switch tactics.

"So what was that all about, anyway?"

It's quite funny how easy it is to throw someone off balance just be asking nicely. Squirt certainly didn't know what to make of it, looking at me with this utterly hilarious blank look for a few seconds before his brain kicked in.

"I shouldn't-" he started, I cut him off.

"Squirt, I'm not going anywhere for quite a while." Us grass types heal fast but not that fast. "All I can do is talk, so I'm gonna be asking everyone. One of them will tell me, so it might as well be you."

See, I'm good at talking when I want to be. And ultimately he knew it. So he caved.

"Fine." Hehe, I'm awesome. "But this didn't come from me, you hear?"

"Treecko's honour." I held a paw as high as I could without my ribs protesting. Not very, but it got the point across.

"You have no honour." He deadpanned. I feigned insult.

"No, I have no shame, there's a difference. Quit changing the subjects."

"He got betrayed by someone he cared about. Kinda a sore spot for him. So he went on a rampage, I tried to step in and got thrown through the glass entranceway."

"Whoa, talk about over-reactions. So who was this person that set him off?"

"Crescent. A Raichu we used to know."

I nodded as though I was satisfied with that. And, to be honest, I was. Squirt evidently didn't know that I knew who that really was. So it looks like Flame figured out Mew was involved here too. And if I know anything about that fire lizard, he went and tore that cat a couple new orifices. Heh, wish I could have seen that confrontation. Pretty safe to assume we won't be dealing with that kitten anymore. Ah well, I'll get the details from him later, I guess.

Thankfully the bandages meant that if those thoughts registered on my face, Squirt couldn't pick up on them. As I'd stopped questioning him, he'd sat back in his chair and picked his book back up.

"Whatcha' reading?" I asked. Not like I had anything better to do.

"Found a book on the lobby that caught my interest. Seemed a good way to pass the time while you were out."

"Anything good?"

"Old myths and legends." Huh? Wait a sec- "Ho-oh, Cresselia. Me-" he stopped in mid sentance, before trying to hide it with a cough, "you know, folktale stuff."

He knew. He'd found out. He'd had to. Flame getting pissed at Mew and Squirt suddenly looking up Legendaries and not mentioning that particular one's name, that can't be a co-incidence. So that was it, all of us on Moron's team knew. Flame, me, Scyther, Blacky and now Squirt. 'Course, the question was how much he knew.

I wanted to pry but I decided not to. I'm not stupid, sometimes it's best to quit while ahead. And there was way too big a risk he'd find out I knew as well, and there was no way to tell how that'd go down. Knowing my luck, badly. And I couldn't exactly outrun him in my state, or run at all. Save the probing for when the bandages are off and I can leg it if things go south.

"You might not want to bother trying to sleep, they'll be coming to change your bandages in an hour." He piped up, flipping through the pages of the book. Good, that meant he wasn't paying me any attention. Because now I have things to think over.

Putting the Mew thing on hold for now, that could wait until I can get a quiet word with Flame. Besides, I had something else literally burning at me. I'd lost that fight, I'd lost it badly. And the last few fights before that hadn't really gone any better. It was pretty clear that, even with Shadowball, my fighting style wasn't working out too well.

Well, that was easy to fix. After all, there was a certain ex-Treecko who held his own a lot better than I did. The moment I can move again, I'm going to go see if there's anything he might be able to pass along.

Next time I get into a fight with a demigod, they're going to get the surprise of their lives. That's a promise.