I knew just by looking at her that she was different. That girl with the dark eyes and the skinny Poochyena. She was… Strong. But what kind of strength she had, I hadn't yet figured out.
After arriving at Kanto following my previous exploits, I knew immediately that something was amiss. This wasn't the Kanto I had heard about. Maybe I just have a sense for these things, but I could feel heaviness in the air, darkness in the shadows that ran deeper than mere lack of light.
The events that took place on the boat only confirmed my suspicions. Those people, those… thugs. They were evidently looking for something, or someone. And I think they were looking for that girl. I need to find out why, what they were doing. If she's in any danger then I can't just let her wander off. I don't know why I feel obligated to help her, but after what happened to me… I just can't let anyone else fall prey to the darkness of others. I couldn't save my friend from the shadows, but maybe I can save this girl.
My respects paid to the kind ladies who opened their home, I left them with some money for their troubles and headed off in the direction of Viridian Forest. My instinct told me that the girl would continue on her way to Pallet, so I decided to follow suit. My pokemon were currently in their pokeballs-a rare occurrence-so I pulled out a red and white ball emblazoned with a flame curling around the letter 'A'. These pokeballs were the first thing I bought with the substantial money I earned from becoming the Champion in my home region. For each of my pokemon, I ordered a simple pokeball, but had each of their initials engraved, entwined with a signature of their type.
A beam of red light flashed from the pokeball, materialising a magnificent Arcanine from within. He stretched out his muscles then reared back, letting out a roar to the sky. Spinning around, he looked my way with bright, sparkling eyes and his boyish grin.
"C'mon boy, we're gonna go exploring in Viridian Forest!" I countered his grin as I wound my hand through his thick mane and pulled myself onto his strong back. With that, we set off at a run for the forest.
"It's been far too long since we've had an adventure,"
The breeze carried my laugh along with us.
As the trees grew thicker and denser, I had to dismount and pick my way through the fallen foliage. Arcane had been following his nose, leading us to the girl. Voices could be heard just ahead, so we pushed our way through the trees and found ourselves face to face with her, and her friend William.
"What?! You have an Arcanine?! I want one!" William gushed, running over to see Arcane. The two hit it off right away, and I turned my attention to the girl.
"What are you doing here?" she snarled, her lips curling up at the sight of me.
Unsure of how to answer this, I stuck with part of the truth,
"To see if you're okay,"
"I don't need a babysitter," she spat the words at me with such venom that I was a bit taken aback. In all my years, I have only ever heard such animosity from one other person. But that's history now. I have no need to be scared of this girl.
"You need protection. The man on that boat was clearly after you,"
"I can protect myself,"
"With one pokemon? Tell me, what level is your Poochyena?" I couldn't keep the sarcasm out of my voice, which only made her even more hostile. Her pokemon sensed the air and growled a warning at me, stepping forward with raised hackles. In an instant, Arcane was at my side, staring down the Poochyena. The size difference was incredible, yet I had to hand it to the small canine, she didn't back down in the face of Arcane. Instead, she growled again and stepped forward. Arcane was not about to attack a pokemon of such low level, but he didn't appreciate the threat. He retaliated with a snarl and a snapping of his jaw, revealing razor sharp teeth and white hot breath.
"Phoenix, leave the mutt alone. It's not worth our time,"
"Hey, don't call him a mutt! He's lovely!" William said in defence, patting Arcane on the neck. I smiled despite the hostility and stroked Arcane.
For a moment, I pondered on what to do now. This girl clearly did not want any help, but at the same time, she was vulnerable. Her pokemon was an incredibly low level and although she had William, he had no pokemon of his own. A sigh escaped me and the girl immediately glared at me.
"If you are so bored then just go. No one invited you here. In fact, no one wants you here. You have some nerve claiming that I need someone's help. I'll show you. I'll show everyone. One day, I'll be stronger than you. I'll be stronger than every single person who said I wasn't good enough. Just you wait!" she growled.
It almost sounded menacing. Almost. But I knew better.
"And one day you'll realise that strength isn't everything," I countered.
With that, she turned on her heel and began to walk off in a mood.
"Don't worry about Alina; she didn't like me at first either. I'll see you around, yeah?" William smiled, full of energy, then bounced off after Alina.
They had hardly walked five steps when a chilling scream ripped through the depths of the forest.