Hello reader people! Thank you to the great reviewers from last time; love how you guys liked the portrayal of all the characters from the last chapter, especially Silver and Green. It made me happy it turned out okay. So it took me a little time, but I finally got an update ready to post. This one's for the mangaquestshippers out there because 1. it's Gold & Crystal's turn and 2. I've been mangaquestshipping deprived for a while. If you're a mangaquestshipper, yay! If you're not...well, good luck to you; hopefully you like Rald enough for this chapter to be your saving grace. Haha, just kidding. But on a more serious note, my updates for the next few weeks may lessen due to an important project I need to focus on, so if there aren't updates for a bit, please just bear with me. I'll try to update asap, but there are no guarantees. Hope you guys understand and as usual, please enjoy and review!
Disclaimer: Pokemon...if it were mine, mangaquestshipping would=canon
"I knew I shouldn't have let him wander off…"
I sighed, glancing around the area anxiously for a sign of Gold but only saw a few stragglers still departing from the docked ship. Their curious stares met mine and I dropped my gaze in embarrassment.
Luckily a small gurgle distracted me and I smiled as I picked up Rald from his previous seat on top of Gold and my bags.
"Any sign of him Rald?"
He only smiled and burbled some nonsense. I tried nodding then shaking my head and was amused to see that he tried mimicking me.
I dabbed at a bit of drool creeping from Rald's mouth with a spare tissue I had. "Then again, maybe that's the reason why he ran off so quickly…" I muttered wryly.
"Why is he crying?!"
I winced at both Gold's loud tone and Rald's noisy tears. At the same time, I was cringing at the annoyed looks we were receiving from the other passengers on the ship.
"Ah…I forgot…" I started to mutter.
"…Forgot that Rald dislikes ships," I finished, grimacing as Rald thrashed violently in my arms. Though Gold was still frowning at Rald's loud crying, he gestured for me to handle the distressed toddler which I did quickly.
Gold flinched as Rald made a blind swipe at him. "Dislikes ships?"
I nodded, pretending to ignore the glare of a prim looking elderly woman as she passed. "Yeah because…"
Before I could say another word however, Rald did exactly what I feared…he threw up. All over Gold's back.
"Ack-!" Gold yelled, holding the child an arm's length away, remarkably not dropping Rald despite the shock from Rald's last action.
"Oh my…" Hurrying over I grabbed Rald and held him against the rail of the ship where he proceeded to empty his stomach of this morning's breakfast overboard. I winced at the sounds of upchucking combined with wails emitting from the tiny boy. Finally, Rald stopped and only whimpered miserably.
I sighed, producing a napkin which I wiped Rald's mouth with then patted his back. "Poor Rald…"
"And poor me I hope?"
Turning with Rald still draped over my shoulder, I saw Gold approaching sans signature hoodie, clad in a plain black t-shirt. I offered him a sympathetic look.
"Sorry. I probably should have warned you about Rald's sea sickness problem earlier…"
Surprisingly Gold didn't freak out (which I was kind of expecting). "It's cool. I've got another jacket in my pack, I just didn't know he had this problem in the first place."
I nodded. "Well, it was mostly when he was younger I suppose. When he got older, he seemed to do better on boats; maybe it's because he's a toddler again…?" I mused.
Gold chuckled and I looked up.
"You look cute with that expression."
"W-what?" I sputtered. "I was just thinking that's all!" I peeked over my shoulder, both to check on Rald (who was sleeping peacefully now) and to avoid Gold's gaze. "I think we're almost there…"
At that very moment, the ship's horn sounded, signaling our arrival. Gold immediately stood up, grabbing the bags.
"Let's get off and you watch Rald and the stuff while I get the car okay?"
Still too flustered, I only managed a nod before Gold shot off.
I was pulled out of my thoughts quite literally by Rald tugging at my the ends of my pigtails. Looking down, I smiled.
"What's up Rald?"
The only response I received was a look of awe on Rald's face followed by a loud roaring from behind me. I turned.
I stared in shock at the thing Gold was seated on.
"A motorcycle!" Gold cried cheerfully. "Duh."
I glared. "I know what it is! But why is it here?!"
"Wasn't that what the voucher thing Oak gave us was for?"
"That's Professor Oak to you!" I snapped. "And he said it was for a car! Not for your childish amusement!"
Gold rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah. Well, it gets around just like a car and it's definitely cooler than a car so why not?"
I gawked at him. "Have you forgotten?" I held up Rald to finish my sentence.
Gold stared at me for a second, snatched Rald from my hands and deposited him in the sidecar I had just noticed. I blinked then met Gold's eyes.
"Why not?" Gold whined.
"Are you mental?!" I began ticking off my reasons. "It's completely illegal, completely unsafe, and if you've forgotten…Rald is currently not even a child, let alone an adult capable of riding a motorcycle!"
Again, Gold moved quickly, this time snatching my bag from the ground and rummaging around it for a moment.
"What are you doing?" I said.
"Ah-ha!" Gold said, pulling out something triumphantly. Looking closer, I realized it was Rald's Trainer I.D. card.
As I noted this, Gold held the card up to Rald's face. "See? There's like, no difference at all!"
Peering at the card, I had to admit…that Rald didn't seem to have changed much from his real age and his current form. The only difference really was how happy Rald looked now, waving his arms merrily in the sidecar.
"Well…" I struggled. "It's still illegal."
"But it's gonna take forever to get this changed for a car," Gold countered. "Just live a little Serious Gal. You do wanna get Rald and the others back to normal a.s.a.p right?"
I nodded reluctantly. Seeing my surrender, Gold handed me a helmet and gestured for me to get on behind him.
"If we get caught for this, I'm blaming it on you," I muttered as I put the helmet on and mounted the bike.
"It'd be interesting to play the bad guy for once," was Gold's smirking reply. "After all, I can't always be saving damsels in distress."
-just outside Lavaridge Town-
"According to the instructions Professor Oak gave us, the guide should meet us here…"
"Hey, look at this!"
I sighed, turning around to see Gold waving a paper at me excitedly.
Gold subdued for a second at my tone, but in a heartbeat was back to his usual up-beat self. "There's a petting zoo going on nearby!"
I blinked. "A…petting zoo?"
Nodding, Gold pushed the paper into my hand, nearly crushing the papers Professor Oak gave me. I threw Gold a glare (which he ignored as he went to play with Rald) and read it quickly.
"Patty's Pet-Pet Pokemon Petting Zoo! A mobile wonder of an array of exotic Pokemon from all over the world, including special rarities directly from Unova! Come see our shiny Ponyta, Pam! Located on the outskirts of Lavaridge Town for a limited time."
"There's a lot of p's in that poster…"
"So can we go?" Gold's voice interrupted me.
I narrowed my eyes at him. "We have to meet up with the guide Professor Oak sent!"
Gold waved his hand flippantly. "We got here early! We've got plenty of time so can we go? Pleeeeeeeeeease!"
Opening my mouth, I was about to protest when Gold held Rald in front of me.
"See? Rald wants to go to!" I didn't know if Rald truly understood what was going on, but he had his biggest Poccheyena eyes at me and I felt my resolve crumble.
"Fine." Gold cheered, tossing Rald up and catching him. "But-! Only for a little bit, understand?"
"Yup! Let's go Rald!"
Holding Rald under his arm like a football, Gold dashed off into the trees, leaving me to follow.
"What an idiot…" I sighed. Still, I couldn't help the smile creeping up my face at this "idiot's" enthusiasm.
-a few minutes later-
Emerging from the forest into a spacious clearing, the first thing I noticed was a large corral built of wooden planks. Enclosed within said corral was a large variety of pokemon, ranging from Mareep to Ponyta to Psyduck to Spoink and even a few Deerling and Sawsbuck (the "rarities from Unova" I supposed).
"Yo! Super Serious Gal!"
I suppressed a sigh as I noted many of the visitors inside the petting zoo look up at Gold's call. Hurrying over, I shook my head violently to shut him up.
Gold shrugged away my glare easily. Instead he grinned widely. "Here!"
Like before, he forced something into my hands. I jumped, almost dropping the things in my palms, due to their rather mushy texture. Seeing what they were, I relaxed.
"Pokemon chow?" I still said, still cupping the small pellets of compressed Pokemon treats.
"Yeah, cost like a buck for one turn of the handle," Gold answered, nodding at the machine I noticed beside the entrance of the zoo.
"Where's Rald?!" I just realized Rald was nowhere beside Gold.
Gold flicked his head toward the zoo. "He's already inside."
I resisted the urge to smack my head (or Gold's head). "Well, then let's go in!" Without waiting for a response, I headed into the corral while Gold followed.
"Mommy, look! Chocolate!" said a happy child, grabbing at something brown on the floor and attempting to stuff it into his mouth before his mother interceded.
"No honey! That's not chocolate!" she said, her voice rising anxiously as she swatted the mystery brown item out of her kid's hands.
Ignoring their drama, I looked around anxiously for Rald, heaving a sigh of relief when I spotted him standing a ways from the pokemon, looking rather timid among the ruckus.
Quickly I hurried over, dropping the Pokemon chow (drawing a crowd of hungry Pokemon), and scooped Rald up.
"Poor Rald," I said. "First the boat and now this."
I turned and narrowed my eyes at Gold. "You just leave Rald in the middle of this chaos and ask what's up?"
Gold shrugged. "My mom used to do that all the time and I turned out pretty fine if you ask me."
Sighing, I shifted Rald on my hip. "Well, Rald isn't quite as "fine" as you. I don't think he likes it here."
"What?! No way!" Gold grabbed Rald and placed him on the ground. "It just takes some time getting used to the Pokemon. Look."
He pulled both of us over to a corner where as mild looking Sawsbuck was lying down, chewing at some chow peacefully. For a second, it paused, eyeing us, before returning to its munching.
"All you gotta do is this," Gold said, placing his hand on the Sawsbuck shoulder and stroking down its back slowly.
Seeing that Rald was looking a little less wary, I decided to join in. "That's right Rald. See? Gentle strokes."
Bending down, I also proceeded to pet the Sawsbuck which had, by this time, closed its eyes contently at the double petting it was receiving.
Rald looked from Gold to me to the Sawsbuck with a look of open admiration. I nodded encouragingly at his interest. "That's it Rald; no need to be afraid…"
At my nod, Rald raised his hand…
…And brought it down with a solid "SMACK-!" on the poor old Sawsbuck's back.
"Buck!" the pokemon yelped, eyes opening as wide as possible. It reared and rushed off, starting off a domino effect of people and pokemon freaking out, pushing and shoving one another aside, and resulting in a stampede of the entire petting zoo.
"We should…" Gold started, glancing nervously at me.
I let out a breath of relief I hadn't realized I was holding at seeing Rald safe in Gold's arms. "…go?" I finished.
The two of us, with Rald in Gold's arms, snuck out of the corral as the cries and bawls of angry/annoyed/fearful pokemon and people followed us out.
"That was not what I was expecting."
Gold snickered beside me, drying his hands on a paper towel he'd gotten from the dispenser next to the mobile sink provided by the petting zoo outside the corral.
"You mean Rald freaking out one pokemon and managing to cause a riot in there to go on? No…how did you not see that coming?"
I opened my mouth to protest then shut it, catching the teasing glint in Gold's eye. "Huh…well, you do have more experience in these sorts of things so I have an excuse."
I handed Rald over to Gold who proceeded to dry the toddler's dripping hands while I washed my own hands.
"Ah…" I sighed, catching a glimpse of myself in the tiny mirror above the sink. "We're about to meet Professor Oak's associate and we look like a mess." Now that I was looking more closely, I could see bits of hay in Rald's hair, smudges of dirt on his cheeks, and dust over much of his clothes. Surprisingly, Gold was pretty dirt-dust-hay free.
I ran a quick hand through Rald's hair, pulled at his clothes to get the dust off and wiped his face with a damp towel. "There. That's better."
"What about you?"
"Oh, right," I sighed. I ruffled my hair and dusted at my skirt. "I think that's better…?"
"You missed a spot."
Still holding Rald with one arm, Gold reached out with the other arm. Cupping my face with his fingers, he used his thumb to rub at a spot on my cheek. Embarrassingly, I could feel my face heat up and from the grin on Gold's, he probably felt it too.
"There, now you're perfect."
"…Thank you," I managed to say as I turned. "We should probably get back to the meeting spot; it's almost time."
As we exited from the clearing back to where we had been before, I could see a tall figure stand up from where he'd been squatting beside Gold's motorcycle. As we got closer, I noted the person was a guy probably only a little older than Blue, Green, and Red.
"Hi, are you Crystal and Gold?"
"Ah, yes!" I hurried over, extending my hand as Gold, with Rald, followed a little more slowly. "I'm Crystal, but please call me Crys."
The guy smiled and I felt myself blush a little. He was almost as tall as Gold, also with black hair in a style that was short, but settled in an asymmetrical cut, unlike Gold's wild, spiky hair. I noted big brown eyes behind his dark-rimmed glasses as he offered me a kind smile and his hand.
"I'm Rhodi," he said, eyes crinkling as he smiled more widely.
"And I'm Gold." None too gently, Gold moved my hand out of Rhodi's grasp and pushed his own hand into Rhodi's. From the way his arm was tensing, I was guessing he wasn't giving Rhodi a "gentle" shake exactly.
Rhodi nodded, unfazed. "Ah yes. Professor Oak told me about both of you. And…?"
He trailed off, looking at Rald who looked back curiously.
"That's Emerald or Rald as we call him," I said. "You see, that's why…"
Rhodi held up his hand (which he'd managed to extract from Gold's grip). "Say no more. Professor Oak explained to me about everything." His eyes instantly became more serious. "You're looking for Jirachi, right?"
A/N: Hehe, more little kid drama along with Gold and Crystal time; but did anyone else besides me feel bad for Rald? Petting zoos combined with that child are not a good mix in my mind. This chapter was just Crystal's P.O.V., but no worries, I will be doing Gold's P.O.V. in an upcoming chapter I think. And now we're entering the more dramatic part, the legendaries! Oh, but first up, franticshipping for the next chapter so stay turned for that; and please review! By the way, Rhodi is an OC, more about him later. Ja ne!