Yes, it has been a while. Almost 6 years since the last chapter! I highly recommend you go back to the start (https://www.pokemonserver.net/forum/index.php?topic=3383.0) and read from there. While I have edited the chapters since then, they only contain a few spelling and grammar fixes, and a handful of passages have been changed to flow better, but nothing major has changed.
Also if you haven't, take a read of Pokemon Gray (https://www.pokemonserver.net/forum/index.php?topic=3306). The recent chapters are part of the reason why this one has been finished now. And Gray will soon be going to Johto!
Now the next step is to start writing Chapter 10, and kick myself into gear and do some work on the server...
Link to the beginning (https://www.pokemonserver.net/forum/index.php?topic=3383.0)
I stood up, a little dazed. The force of the door slamming into me knocked me to the ground. I pushed open the door to my room and saw a figure clad in black clothes running down the hallway of the Pokémon Centre's trainer dormitory towards the stairs that lead to the centre lobby. I watched them disappear around the corner at the end of the hallway as I rubbed my nose to numb the pain. Whoever that trainer was, they sure were in a rush.
"Early Pidgey gets the Weedle I suppose," I muttered to myself as I stepped back into my room to gather up my belongings.
Amber was curled up on a rug in the corner of the room. He had been quite reluctant to sleep inside his Poké Ball unlike the rest of my party, who seemed eager to get back inside their Poké Balls after I let them out here. I thought perhaps my other Pokémon, who were all originally wild, found this enclosed room a bit intimidating, after having spent their whole lives outside. Now that I think about it, I have no idea where Amber came from, or the Pokémon in the other two Poké Balls I could choose from, back at Professor Oak's lab. My Pokédex gave me no locational data on where a Charmander could be found in the wild, and it was the same for the Bulbasaur and Squirtle I had encountered during my battles. These thoughts took over my mind as I grabbed my bag and double checked everything was still there. I roused Amber from his sleep, and we walked down the hallway, up the stairs, across the lobby, and out the front doors of the Cerulean City Pokémon Centre.
The morning sunlight greeted my eyes and a cool breeze blew through the empty street I was now standing in. There was no one in sight. I decided to take a walk around the city for a bit before walking down Route 5 to Saffron City. Once again I visited the bike shop, but had to leave before the price tags made me dizzy. I passed by an overgrown tree that looked like it had never been cut back before. It had grown through the fence at the edge of the city, and a large root system spread out under it. As I rounded a corner, I saw a poster on the side of a house. It was identical to the one I took down in Pewter City. It was bad news if my wanted poster had already caught up with me. I should probably get a move on to the next city. I pulled the poster down and walked around looking for the exit to Route 5, but all I saw at the south end of the city was tall, dense shrubs, a high fence, and an overgrown tree. When I looked up at the tops of the tree, I could see a silver metal object tangled in the uppermost branches. I peered upward and saw it was actually a fence gate. I looked back down where the base of the tree met the fence and sure enough, there were remnants of what looked like hinges, albeit bent and twisted, on the edge of the fence next to the tree bark. It would be impossible for me to climb the fence, or otherwise get around the tree, so I would have to find another way. I left the tree, cursing the Cerulean City Council and their inability maintain a gate and prevent a tree from growing in its place, and continued my search for a city exit.
The ground shook as the explosion rung out across the city. I could see smoke rising from behind the Pokémon Gym. Lots of residents were poking their heads out their doors and windows to see what the noise was. With this many people suddenly emerging, one of them was bound to recognise me from the poster. I ran off through the streets, towards where I saw the smoke rising from. An explosion might mean something happened to the city fence over there, and with some luck I could sneak through.
I arrived at the building producing the smoke; a small blue house. The front door had been blown clean off its hinges and was laying on the ground on the other side of the street. As I got closer, a man came running out screaming. As soon as he saw me, he ran over.
"H-h-help! C-call for h-h-help!" he cried out.
There were small shards of glass in his face and on his arms, drawing small trickles of blood. It was an unpleasant sight and I winced thinking about the pain. The main dropped his gaze from me when he saw Amber, who had just caught up with me.
He looked up at me and then started dragging me towards his house. I reluctantly went with him, being careful not to let his blood run onto my arm. We went inside the house and the main room was a complete mess. Glass shards and wood splinters littered the floor, the furniture was all broken, and there was a giant hole in the back wall leading outside. Standing in the space of the hole was a person wearing all black, with a large red letter R stamped onto their shirt and hat. He had two Pokémon standing by his side; a short greyish humanoid and a weird brown and yellow creature with a short trunk for a nose. The short grey Pokémon was standing over a small hole in the ground, repeatedly stamping on the sides.
The man next who was still holding on to my arm turned to me and shrieked, "T-team Rocket!"
The person in black finally spoke up, "I am a Junior Grunt from Team Rocket, and I have come here in search of rare and valuable Pokémon!"
Ah, Team Rocket again, I thought.
"I couldn't find any rare Pokémon here, but I did find this valuable TM!" The Rocket Grunt held up a large golden disc in his hands. "Handing this in to the boss is sure to get me promoted!" He smirked with enthusiasm, and then looked at the man I was with. "You won't be teaching your lousy Pokémon this attack anymore!"
The moment he said that, a small brown shape shot out of the little hole in the ground, only to get stamped on by the grey humanoid Pokémon. It let out a squeal before sinking back into the hole.
"DIGLETT!!!" the main squealed out.
"I'll be taking my leave now," the grunt said enthusiastically as he began to turn around. "C'mon Machop, Drowzee. We'll become the best Team Rocket has to offer."
"Not so fast," I said, shaking the man off my arm and stepping forward. "While you can't undo this mess, but you shouldn't have created it in the first place. Let's do this, Amber."
Amber took a step forward, small wisps of smoke coming from the corners of his mouth. A low growl escaped him, right as the Rocket Grunt ordered his Machop to attack with a Chop. Amber was able to take the blow, minimising the damage by guarding with his arms, before flowing in to a close range Flamethrower. The Machop's midsection was engulfed in flames, and after a few moments, the smell of burning flesh was in the air. The Machop staggered backwards, clutching its stomach. They grey skin was now charred black in places, and resembled melting plastic. If it weren't such a hardy Pokémon, I'm sure the damage would be worse.
Seeing the damage done, the Rocket Grunt commanded his Drowzee to hypnotise his Machop.
"Team Rocket does not experience pain!" he shouted out.
Amber let forth another Flamethrower, this time at Machop's head. When the flame subsided, the flesh could be seen melting off the skull of Machop, but it just shrugged off the attack like it was nothing. The Drowzee's hypnosis was troublesome.
"Amber, we'll have to take out the Drowzee!"
Upon hearing that, Amber rushed past Machop, pushing it out of the way, and slammed headfirst into Drowzee. The impact knocked them both backwards and into the Rocket Grunt, who toppled over. The golden disc he was holding flew out of his hands and rolled across the floor. Amber scratched at the Drowzee's face, opening a large gash in its trunk. A moment later, the Machop let out an earsplitting scream, as it started scratching at the flesh peeling off its face and body. The Rocket Grunt looked in terror before grabbing two Poké Balls from his belt and throwing them at his two Pokémon. They disappeared into the Poké Balls in a flash of red light, and the Rocket Grunt scrambled to his feet before running off, without saying a word.
"T-thank you," sobbed the man behind me.
He walked past me and picked up the disc off the floor, and then turned back to me. All of a sudden, he regained his composure.
"I know it's not much, but I want you to have this. I was going to teach it to my Diglett, but that won't be able to happen for a while now. Not until he is taken to the Pokémon Centre."
He held out the disc to me. I just stared at it, until he thrust it into my hands.
"Uh, thanks. But what exactly is it, and how do I use it?" I asked the man, as I rotated the disc in my hands. It resembled an old vinyl record, but this one was badly scratched and looked unusable.
"This is a Technical Machine, for the move Dig. I want you to have it, for saving me, and my Diglett. Just give it to your Pokémon and they will learn the move if they are compatible with it. Just remember this one thing: it can only be used once. I have heard that scientists have been trying to find a way to reuse them, but they haven't had any luck so far."
I nodded at this odd information. I couldn't see how giving this to a Pokémon could let them learn a new move, but nevertheless, I stowed the bulky record into my bag.
"And what is your name? I want to remember the person who saved me."
"Um, it's Lavender," I replied, rather unenthusiastically.
"Ahh, so that's the name of the girl on the posters."
Upon hearing this, I froze. He knows who I am! Should I run now? Maybe when the police arrive, they won't believe him. I decided to tell him he was mistaken.
"Ah, no. You must be mistaken. That person is someone else..."
"Oh ho, you do have a sense of humour! There's no way you could be mistaken for someone else. Your hair has a very distinct colour!"
A million thoughts started racing through my mind what to do with this man. Before I had a chance to act on any of them he spoke again:
"Don't worry though. I won't report you to the authority. You saved my life, and my Diglett. And I don't need any reward. I'll cash in on my home owner's insurance!"
I figured the blood loss was finally catching up to him making him delirious. I was about to leave his house when he spoke again:
"I'm sure the police will be here very soon, and it would be bad if you're still here. The back of my house borders the city edge, so if you leave through this hole here, you can escape covertly."
With that, he began ushering me to the back of the house and push me out the hole. I looked back when I heard the sound of hurried footsteps just in time to see a Growlithe as I disappeared around the side of the house.
I ran for a bit to make sure I had enough distance between myself and the city. I stopped to take a break next to a giant overgrown tree, not dissimilar to the one that blocked the gate in Cerulean City. Maybe, just maybe, this area was a hotspot for untamed trees to grow.
After I had caught my breath, and Amber had too, we both set off south towards Saffron City.
I stuck my head around the edge of the doorway. The guard was sitting behind a desk, staring straight ahead. On the wall directly in the guard's line of sight was a notice board. I recognised the poster warning about Team Rocket, and also the poster with my picture on it. There were some other notices pinned to it, but I couldn't make out what they could be from the distance I was at. I decided to watch the guard for a bit to make sure I would be able to sneak past him.
For the few minutes I was watching him, he didn't move an inch, not did I see him blink. I was about to walk past him into Saffron City, but then I saw a Growlithe walk out from behind the desk. It was sniffing about the air and the ground, and slowly making its way towards my location. Then it started bounding towards where I was, seemingly excited by a new scent. It was at this moment I decided I would have to find another way into the city, so I turned around and ran back towards Route 5 and hid behind a building, observing the Growlithe from my new hiding spot. It reached the spot where I was just a few minutes earlier, sniffing around the location. Fortunately a small breeze began blowing, and after a few more minutes of sniffing around the location, the Growlithe turned around and went back into the building. I heaved a sigh of relief, and looked at Amber next to me, who appeared equally relieved. We crept out from behind the building and I read the sign next to the door.
"Underground Path to Vermilion City."
I recalled from my map that Vermilion City was south of Saffron City, so I might be able to find a way in from the other side. I walked through the open doorway, stepping inside.
There was a lonely lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, below which was a spiral staircase descending into the depths of Kanto. I approached the staircase, with Amber by my side. His tail flame could not piece the darkness below. Together we descended the staircase, and after a few minutes, we reached the bottom. A long hallway stretched out before us, with fancy lights along the walls, and fancy patterns tiled on the floor. The other end of the hallway was shrouded in darkness, a sign that this would be a long walk.
"C'mon Amber," I said, and we began the trek down the hallway.
"Hello?" I called out to the man sitting on the ground, his back resting against the wall. He was the first person I had seen down here in the hour or so of walking. There was no response from the man, and I didn't want to get too close to him in case he recognised me. I turned and continued my path down the hallway when I heard a small voice behind me.
I turned and saw the man looking up at me.
"This path. Never ending," the words escaped him again. "Every step forward, is two steps backward. Some force, distorting perception, space and time. I'm sure. Very sure."
"Hi?" I called out again.
He continued talking, his speech a bit more normal this time. "I don't know how long I've been down here, how far I've come, or how far is left. I don't even remember where I came from. I just know I can't reach the end."
He finished his rambling and turned his gaze to the floor. It was true that I had spent quite a long time down here, and I wasn't sure how far I had travelled, but seeing someone here made me feel like I had made progress through the tunnel.
"..." This time I wasn't sure how to respond.
Still looking down, the man spoke, "The end is coming, but this is only the beginning. Something big is going to happen."
As he finished speaking, his body slumped to the ground. I backed away slowly, and when I felt like I was a good distance from him, I turned around and continued my path. The instant I turned around, I heard a small click echo down the path. I looked all around but there was no indication of anything that could've made the sound. Strangely enough, where the man had been lying moments earlier, that space was now empty. I picked up my pace down the path, trying not to contemplate that odd encounter. With Amber by my side, I continued my way.
I squealed in delight and started sprinting towards the staircase that had just become visible. Amber was right behind me, muffled sounds of delight escaping him. I'm sure if he could, he would be crying tears of joy.
We ascended the staircase posthaste, and after bursting out of the doorway, the late evening sunlight blinded my vision. After a few minutes, my eyes adjusted, and I took in the view before me. A winding path lay before me, the gravel turning to cement where the route met the city. Further in the distance I could see a giant ship with two large funnels, both jetting small plumes of black smoke into the sky. Even from this distance, I could see "S.S. Anne" printed on the hull of the ship. I bounded down the gravelly path towards the city. There were a few trainers in the grass, but they did not appear to notice me, being absorbed in their own battles with wild Pokémon.
Reaching the end of the path, I set foot into Vermilion City, and hastily made my way to the Pokémon Centre. I decided tomorrow I would board the S.S. Anne and enjoy a relaxing cruise.
Link to Pt. X (https://forum.pokemonserver.net/index.php?topic=47)
It returns!! I'm excited to see what you do with the SS Anne. Looking forward 😁