Chapter seventeen

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Once again, I did not create Warriors or Pokémon.

This is back to Terrence, the trainer who caught Hollyleaf.

"I was beginning to wonder when you'd come 'round."

Terrence opened his eyes. He was in a Pokémon Center, behind the nurse's desk, wrapped in a blanket. A nurse stood over him.

How did I get here? Terrence wondered. I can only remember brief things, like recalling Midnight and blue light and cold…

"You were half-conscious when your Staraptor brought you here," the nurse explained, as if she could read his mind. "Luckily, the cold didn't affect you too badly, there was a Vulpix in your arms, but you were a bit bruised from the hail."

"How long have I been here?" Terrence asked, standing and pushing off the blanket.

"Several hours. You were a bit over your team limit, so I transferred all your Pokémon to your PC account. There's been some system issues lately – trainers having trouble withdrawing stuff and such – so should I get them out for you?"

"Um, yeah, thanks. Could you get out my Vulpix, Staraptor, Raichu, Marill, Eevee and Persian?"

"There wasn't an Eevee on your team," the nurse spoke bluntly.

Terrence's brain locked. Flinch…no! I can't lose her! Flinch was his powerhouse, and he trusted her more than any other Pokémon. What if that hunter had taken her (Terrence didn't like hunters very much, particularly ones who worked for money)? Losing her would be like losing his right arm.

"There is, however, a female Glaceon," the nurse pointed out cheerfully, noticing his alarm. "Should I get her out?"

Terrence nodded, a bit stunned. She's finally evolved…

When Terrence had received Flinch, he'd fretted so much about how he'd evolve her that he'd given up and decided to let Flinch choose. He had all the evolutionary stones (or, at least, he used to. Charge had stolen the Thunderstone, and Crispin had been eying the Fire Stone for quite some time.) His policy was that Flinch could choose any Eeveelution form she liked, so long as at some point she did evolve.

The nurse handed him his six Poké balls, then shooed him out of the area and went to treat someone's injured Murkrow.

The door to the Pokémon Center opened, and the hunter who'd captured the two Persian-like creatures entered the Pokémon Center. When he noticed Terrence, he froze, then smirked. Terrence's face burned.

"What?" the hunter sneered. "Oh, I get it. You're one of those self-righteous trainers who deems hunting wrong. Huh. Get over it. Catching Pokémon's a part of life. I just get paid to do it for someone else. And I'm licensed. Oh, wait." He switched to a high-pitched whiny sing-song voice. "You have to catch your own Pokémon so you can form magycal friendships with each other, lally lally la."

"I'm looking straight in your eyes," Terrence growled, glaring straight into the hunter's eyes. He felt so angry he wanted to skip the Pokémon battle all together and punch that guy in the face.

The hunter seemed taken aback. Clearly, he had expected Terrence to too weak to invoke the eye-contact rule. "You think, kid?" he removed a Poké ball from his belt and sent out a massive, magnificent emerald and brown Pokémon. Torterra.

Terrence ran through his Poké balls, hunting for the one that contained Tornado. He was about to send out the Staraptor when a better idea came to him. Sure, she didn't know any Ice-type moves, but Terrence didn't care. He needed to – wanted to – make the hunter afraid.

"Flinch, attack," he murmured, sending his beloved starter out.

Terrence caught himself staring at Flinch when she materialized. He'd never seen a Glaceon in real life, and she was, admittedly, a bit beautiful. He forced himself to look at the trainer's face; sure enough, while the hunter tried to appear cool, Terrence saw uneasiness.

"Oh, Flinch? She's my starter. Cool, no?"

Terrence smirked at the hunter. Let him squirm.

"W-what? Oh, I-I get it. You're one of those your-starter's-your-best-friend kooks. Well, know this – this Torterra here? Yeah. You don't see these that aren't starters."

By now, most of the humans and Pokémon in the Pokémon Center were watching them.

Terrence bit his lip. The hunter was clearly several years older than him, and Flinch didn't know any Ice-type moves. He didn't doubt that if it came to a battle, the Torterra could defeat Flinch with ease.

"Well," he said, trying to remain calm, "I'll admit, she's got no protection against Grass or Ground, but I don't travel alone." He removed Tornado's Poké ball and his Dex, set his Dex on vocal scan, and aimed it at the Poké ball.

"Staraptor. Mukuhawk. Predator Pokémon. Normal – Flying. Continue?"

Terrence switched the Dex off, careful not to show the hunter that it wasn't a proper professional Dex. He put it away in time to see the hunter pale.

"What do you want?" The hunter breathed.

"Where are the Persians?" Terrence demanded in an undertone, one hand firm on Tornado's Poké ball.

Flinch's sensitive ears picked up something Terrence couldn't hear. She dashed towards the sliding glass door leading out. The hunter stepped towards her; in an instant, Terrence was in between them.

"Touch her, hunter, and I swear, I'll let my Staraptor attack you," he growled.

The hunter took a step back. "You really aren't one of those lame goody-goody kids, are you?" he asked, genuinely surprised.

In response, Terrence did what he'd wanted to do all along: he punched him in the face.

The door to the Pokémon Center opened, and a girl carrying two Persians entered. One of them had rich, tawny fur and no jewel.

Terrence turned to the girl. "Where'd you get those?" he demanded.

The girl looked frightened. "Fr-from Jared. He's a starthunter, see. Don't take them – they're my starters! Jared, what's going on?"

"Relax, Audrey," the hunter, Jared, drawled from behind Terrence. "He's just one of those crazy goody-goodies who thinks hunting's evil, but you're starters your best friend. So what are you going to do? Take her Persians? But they're her starters. By your logic, her best friends, even if she hates them."

Terrence's face burned. "I am not one of those freaks. I told you Flinch was my starter to tell you she's my most powerful – "

Terrence knew some Pokémon had the power to move from their Poké balls at will; he'd even seen it happen. But when it had happened, the Poké ball hadn't burst. Terrence shielded his face as one of the balls in his bag exploded into red-and-white plastic shards. A streamer of blue light fell to the ground, which transformed into the dark-furred Persian. She yowled to the tawny one, who leapt out of the girl's arms. She tried to stop him; there was a flash of claws, and she screamed.

"What's going - ?" the nurse started to shout.

A glimmering portal opened in midair, and several brightly-patterned jeweless Persians tumbled out. They scampered towards the others (presumably) of their kind. The girl screamed and ran, her arm slightly bleeding; Jared dug in his bag and fished out several Poké balls.

To make things even more complicated, the grey creature – the one that appeared to be blind – stumbled part Terrence.

"How - ?" Terrence asked, knowing no answer would come. How'd the grey one get out of the storage system? He'd never even heard of something like that.

He looked down. Lying next to his shoes was a pinkish-white scale the size of his hand. He picked it up; it felt slightly damp.

Terrence realized all his internet research about the legendaries hadn't gone to waste.

"Palkia," he whispered.