So today is my 10-year anniversary on the Server. Dang. Where's my long service leave at? It's crazy to think I've been a part of this community for that long and it is here that I have truly met some of my most treasured friends. As thanks for all the joy you've all brought me, I thought I'd say a few words about what some of you mean to me.
I've always looked up to you. You haven't just been a friend but also a mentor and role-model for me over the years. In many ways, you are like the older brother I never had. You're a funny, smart, and inclusive person, who is always fun to spend time with. You also have a big heart. Don't give up on it, someone will come to appreciate it as we have. What you have achieved here is meaningful. You have kept this community alive for all this time. I wouldn't have all these memories over the last 10 years without you, I wouldn't have made all these friends without you. You have built a community that has provided so many people with happiness. We all owe you so much. No matter what some might say, whether they be family, society or yourself, to me and to us all you are a leader and a success. That is how I see you.
Hello old friend. Where to start here? I have always regarded you one of my best friends in the world. I can't count a day over the last few years I haven't communicated with you in some form, even if it's just us doing our discord 'dailies. Sometimes, when I've been in a sad or just glum mood, it's been such a support to just start a chat with you over discord or the Server. Above maybe anyone I know, I've always felt most comfortable with being open with you about my interests, feelings, and passions, without fear of judgement. To quote our boy Fraser Edwards' 'Among the Stars' - "You were the only one that could see the real me." Many of my current interests or music tastes have been formed from our chats. You are such a funny, creative, and interesting person, who always has something incredibly unique and fascinating going on in your mind each time I talk with you. I know back in the day people used to question your irl identity. I never cared then and still don't. You are my friend and that's all that matters. Keep being the unique and passionate person you are.
You're awesome man! You're one of the most fun guys to hang out with on the Server and to chat with. I love your jolly and fun-loving attitude - it makes any day brighter. You provide such a unique perspective to everything as well. I am a big lover of political chats and debates and it's great to converse with you about it and even challenge my beliefs sometimes. One of my favourite memories with you was when we watched the 2016 presidential debates together live and just laughed along at the wildness. On top of this, you're a genuine and caring person, who will go to any limit to support those you care about. Being a volunteer firefighter is one of the most heroic jobs anyone can have, and I've seen you take that into your personal life. Keep being the best, friend!
You will always be ranked among my best friends on the Server over the years. You're a fun and enigmatic guy to be around. You're also super cool. I've often felt myself trying to act cool around you to live up to it. :p I have fond memories building and hanging out with you over the years. Over all the time we spent building in Hoenn and the other regions together, I really came to appreciate you as a friend, with your humour and self-willed personality. You're also an insane builder who is able to bring such creativity to what you build. No one else can pack so much detail into what are often really tight restraints. Your skills are unmatched. But what matters most is how much of a gripping, energetic and interesting person you are. Peace be with you my fellow Fuchsia Leader and Builder.
I've always really respected your level-headedness and reasonability. I've also appreciated the care you've given to the future of the Server and the community. Don't think your efforts have gone unnoticed. I've often thought you'd be one of the best choices for moderator, as someone that truly cares. You're also a fun guy to be around and to chat with. I know you've said before that you feel yourself to be often unlucky, well I hope at least one thing you find to have been fortunate was being a part of this community and our friend, because you will always be that.
Row Row Fight the Power old friend! You're one of the most energetic and friendly people I know. I've always tried to live up to your heart and friendship. Our old adventures on the Server are some of my fondest memories. We really got up to some crazy shenanigans as a duo. There's something about you that fills me with energy and drive to be better. I feel you always bring the best out of me. I remember one time a player tried to report you for accidentally getting in the way of our gym battle (despite winning anyway ;v) and I was unwilling to give them their badge unless they promised not to report. I knew an admin could have been vanished online at that moment and banned me or destroyed my overhyped dream to be a moderator, but I didn't care. All that mattered was protecting my friend, who would do the same for me. You were able to inspire that in me, to not care about my selfish goals for once. You are truly a selflessly giving person and a friend I would fight alongside until the end of time. P.S. SharkCo. is still superior to HoboCo.
Dan, I've always found you to be a person with such interesting and unique creativity and ideas. You're always able to add something funny or interesting to your creations and often times they go to hilariously insane levels. You also add a lot of energy and fun to any time you're online and are great to hang out and go on adventures with. You will always be a treasured friend and member of the community.
Another one of the oldies. It has been a privilege to have known you for as long as I have and to have grown up in the community besides you. You're a really funny and friendly person to be around and one of the most reliable people across the Server's history. I appreciate the respect you've always shown me over the years and your propensity to always know what the right thing to do is. Thank you for everything, friend.
I've always found you to be a really mature and level-headed person that can be counted on to be reasonable and fair. I've even sometimes been jealous of your maturity and calmness in handling situations. You were the mediator and moderator-figure I always wanted to be. As such, you've often been someone I've viewed as a role-model. Even if you don't feel it internally, you always gave off a calming and guiding presence to the rest of us. You're also an interesting and nice person and it's always great when you pop back into the community.
You're one of the funniest and most interesting people I know. I can't count the number of times you've made me laugh hysterically. I've also always valued the support and appreciation you've given me over the years. I'm sad I don't get to see you around as much anymore, but I will always value you as a dear friend.
While I haven't known you that long, you are already held amongst my closest friends on the Server. I'm not sure I've ever met someone with your drive, passion, and vision. You are such a creative person, who has so many wild and intriguing ideas. Thank you so much for the energy and care you've given us over the last year. You've really helped to revive our passion and keep the Server alive. Welcome to the family.
There are so many others I wanted to write about such as Tactic, Sweaty, Ali, Bes, War, Gavi, Doom, LilWaffles, Saha, Kj, Jeffro and many more. Everyone who has been a member of the Server over the years has touched my life in a meaningful way and I thank you all for that. I will treasure the friends I've made on here for the rest of my life. I love you all.
Vermilion City was quite lively at this time of day. As I walked through the city, I watched the residents and tourists alike bustling about as they carried out their evening activities. The Poké Mart had a long line of people waiting to enter, snaking around behind the rear of the building and into an empty lot. I made a mental note to stop by some time tomorrow to buy some supplies. Before then, I would have to check what items I have in my bag that need restocking. I spent a short time wandering around the city to make sure there were no posters up about me, or other similar signs. After a short while, I came to the conclusion the "news" had yet to reach here, however I did see a few posters warning about Team Rocket. Satisfied with my scouting, I started heading towards the Pokémon Centre, but was distracted by a large building sitting by the water's edge.
I approached the building, and upon closer inspection, I recognised it to be the Pokémon Gym. I couldn't see it's entrance anywhere so I assumed it faced the water. There were a few windows on its sides, but placed too high for me to see through. On the right side was Vermilion Bay, a sparkling blue broken up by a few large rocks, and on the left grew a somewhat familiar looking tree. "Wanna get ta the gym?" A deep voice bellowed out behind me. I jumped at the sudden voice and spun around, coming face to face with a large man towering over me. He was wearing a dirty brown leather jacket and jeans that looked like they had been burned and then patched many times. I nodded meekly in answer to the unexpected question. "Well, you'll hafta get rid o' this 'ere tree then! Hahahaha!" He laughed as his rumbling voice rung out. "But, can't I jus-" I started to say, but was interrupted almost immediately. "Oh, but can't ya just jump the wa'er and go 'round it?" His loud tone sounded as if he were mocking me as he cut into my sentence. "Well ya see, it's no' a safe jump, and ya don't wanna end up in the water, it can be dangerous. If ya don't have a Repel tha' is!" He motioned in a line that cut over the water and around the tree before walking up to the water's edge and peering in. I was about to follow but jumped back as I watched a blurry silhouette appear followed by a tentacle creeping out of the water and wrapping itself around the man's leg. "This 'ere Pokémon's a Tentacool. Well, jus' one of its two poisonous tentacles. Get too close ta the wa'er's edge and one migh' jus' snatch ya like this one 'ere got me. Oh, and nay, ya can't avoid 'em jus' by checkin' the water. Ya jus' can't see 'em 'til they're next ta ya. They'll surprise any Pokémon Trainer who finds themselves in wa'er. Oh, don't worry about me though, these pants protect me from the poison." With that, using his free leg, he stamped down hard onto the tentacle. It deformed slightly under his foot before letting go of its hold around his leg and slinking back into the water. The blurry silhouette disappeared a moment later. He shook his leg a bit before continuing talking: "Lieutenant Surge by the way, and tha' there building is ma gym." He pointed first at himself, then at the building. "If ya get tha' Hidden Machine Cut, you'll be able ta get past this 'ere tree as easy as Raichu winning the annual Kanto Surf League!" He finished with another hearty laugh which left me confused at the analogy. After his laughter died down, he pulled a Poké Ball from inside his jacket and pressed it to one of the branches of the tree. A brilliant white light shone where the bark was touched, spreading out to envelop the whole tree. Then it began to shrink, as if its growth was reversing. As the tree grew smaller, the light began to fade, until all that was left was a small sapling where the once mighty tree had stood moments ago. Lt. Surge walked through the space the tree had just occupied and then turned around and saluted me. "Board the S.S. Anne and find the captain. He'll give ya HM Cut. I trust ya got a ticket from Bill?" After finishing his little spiel, he turned and walked around the corner of the gym and out of sight. I heard a sound of a door shutting, followed by the clicking of a lock, and then the only sound was the waves and slight hubbub of people. Not a moment after he was gone, the sapling erupted into an enormous overgrown tree, identical to the one it replaced. I was left to ponder how he knew Bill had given me a ticket to board the S.S. Anne, as if he were expecting it, and why I had to go through such a convoluted method just to get to the gym. Such thoughts accompanied me as I finally made my way to the Pokémon Centre.
When I left the Pokémon Centre early in the morning, there was a large crowd gathered at the eastern edge of the city. While everyone was distracted, I took the opportunity to visit the Poké Mart and buy some supplies. "That'll be ₽4800," the clerk said. I opened up my bag to get my money, shoving aside the somewhat bulky golden rock still inside so I could access my money pouch. "Oh my, is that a golden nugget?" the clerk said, spotting the golden rock. "I'm not sure, someone gave it to me, and it's taking up a lot of space in my bag..." I said as I took the rock out of my bag and set it on the counter. The clerk pulled out an eyepiece and picked up the rock, turning it over a few times, before carefully placing it down again and removing the eyepiece. "I'll buy it from you. ₽5000. This seems to be a very fine sample." My eyes widened in astonishment at the request, but she nodded to me in confirmation that this was serious. She handed over some cash and then took the rock to a storeroom in the back of the shop. "Is there anything else you'd like to buy now that your bag has more room?" I thought for a moment before remembering what Lt. Surge said the previous day, and asked, "Do you have Repels here?" "Ah, yes. We just got some new stock yesterday. What strength would you like?" The clerk produced three aerosol cans from some boxes behind the counter. "They come in different strengths, Normal, Super, and Max. The names are just measures of their efficacy. Max Repel will last up to 24 hours, Super Repel will last up to 12 hours, and a Normal Repel will last up to 3 hours. Here, it even says on the can." She turned the cans around so I could see the labels. Sure enough, each one had their estimated time limits baked into the rather flashy logo. "I'll take one of each please," I said, and began to hand over the money. I carefully placed the cans in my bag, along with the other supplies I bought: food, water, and Poké Balls for when I would encounter more wild Pokémon. The additional money I had obtained the other day, along with the money from the nugget just now really helped me out, but I would still need to find a way to get more in the future. I left the Poké Mart with a heavier bag than that which I entered with, and set off to board the S.S. Anne.
The S.S. Anne loomed up ahead. The brick path turned to wood at the water's edge. A few small rowing boats lined the pier. Far to my left I could see a truck on a floating concrete platform. I assumed it was for bringing stock to and from the docked ships, but the platform did not appear to be connected to the landmass. I tried not to think about it and continued down the pier, following the bends in the path.
"Your ticket, miss," a man in a sailor's uniform said to me as I approached the ramp to access the S.S. Anne. "Ah, one moment," I replied, and began digging around in my bag for the ticket Bill had given me a few days prior. I pulled the crumpled paper ticket out of my bag and waved it towards the ticket checker. He took the ticket from me, looked me up and down, then at Amber beside me, before punching a hole in the ticket and passing it back to me. "Come aboard, miss," he said, stepping to the side and beckoning me forward. I stashed the paper back into my bag and walked up the ramp and into the S.S. Anne.
When I reached the top, I found myself in a long hallway lined with doors. There were no signs indicating where anything was, so I decided to go left down the hallway and see where that took me. The scenery of doors was quite monotonous, only broken up by the occasional painting of a Pokémon or some famous landmark in Kanto. The first few paintings I stopped to look at, but after the first few, I realised they all showed the same two Pokémon, Charizard or Pikachu, or they were various depictions of the S.S. Anne superimposed onto Kanto landmarks. It was as if the person who set up the interior decoration had a bias for these two Pokémon. I admired the first Charizard, imagining how Amber's golden colour will darken to an orange when he eventually evolves. As my thoughts evolved with each successive painting I saw, the hallway of doors rounded a corner and I found myself at the top of a long staircase. On one side was a wooden handrail, and the other was some sort of rail. There was no way this staircase was as long as the one leading into the Underground Path, and so I began the descent.
Not long into my descent, I saw a platform rising on my right. Riding it was a plump man in a chef's uniform pushing a trolley laden with food. Atop his head sat a comically large chef's hat. The platform began to slow as it neared me, before coming to a complete stop next to me. "A Pokémon Trainer eh?" he chuckled a bit as he saw Amber beside me. "I don't know why, but you trainers always come down this way, only to have to walk all the way back up." He chuckled again. I just stared at him wondering what he meant. "It's just the kitchen down here," he said, possibly in response to my quizzical expression. "And unless you have an employee keycard, you can't get in." He produced a small yellow card from a pocket on his hat and waved it in front of me before putting it back. "Another trainer just passed through here not so long ago. I saw him at the bottom trying to get into the chef's quarters. He even demanded a battle after I told him he couldn't get in. The gall of that kid! He did eventually leave, and so must I now too. I have to deliver this food to Room 2. Here, get on, it'll save you having to walk back up." I obliged and hopped on to the platform, and with the press of a button on the trolley, it began to rise again. The whole journey up, the chef told of how he had requested elevators to be installed, but the captain had always said no, citing the platform was still in perfect working order, and the cost of renovations, among other gripes about life on a cruise ship.
When we reached the top of the stairs, the chef stepped off, and with the trolley before him, bid me farewell and marched off to his destination. I stepped off the platform and retraced my steps down the hallway in search of the captain's quarters.
Shortly after passing a staircase leading to the ship's deck, I could see the end of the hallway. As I approached the end, I saw someone coming my way. They were spinning a disk on their finger, but stopped when they noticed me. "Oh ho ho," he spoke. "I didn't expect to see you here." Their tone of voice was undeniably smug and their hair was an unmistakable blood red colour. There was only one person it could be. "I got the Hidden Machine Cut!" Crimson boasted. "But the captain was lame, he didn't want to battle me. You. Let's battle. I'll show you how strong my Pokémon have become now!" "Why are you here?" I exclaimed. "Did you get a ticket form Bill too?" "Bill? Who's that? I just saw this scrap paper on a table and decided to take it with me." Crimson held up a crinkled paper that was undeniably an S.S. Anne ticket." "But didn't you see Bill? He was doing research in a house north of Cerulean City." "Oh, that place? That house was empty, but I saw a button on a table so I pushed it, but no one responded, so I took this paper next to it and left." He scrunched the paper up and stashed it back in his pocket. His hand re-emerged holding a Poké Ball, which he threw into the air between us. In a flash of red light, a large mouse Pokémon appeared before us. It had brown fur with a white underbelly, and front teeth that were so long they almost touched the floor. "This is my Raticate. I've been training it hard and it evolved yesterday." Upon hearing this, I came to the realisation that none of my Pokémon had evolved yet. I'm sure it would happen soon, but I haven't done enough training with them to gain experience. The Raticate's teeth looked dangerous, so I told Amber to stay back. I reached into my jacket and pulled out a Poké Ball, which I threw in front of me. In a flash of red light, a small purple Pokémon appeared, sporting a large horn on its head. It was my hope that the horn would defend against a bite from Crimson's Raticate. This would be a defensive battle for me. "Hyper Fang!" commanded Crimson, extending his arm and pointing towards Spike. "Defence Curl!" I shouted out to Spike in response. In a flash of white light, Spike curled up into a small ball, his big horn sticking out the top, and the smaller spikes on his body began to glow a dull purple. The Raticate rushed in and opened its mouth as wide as it could, before bringing its fangs down onto Spike. The fangs were just long enough that they grazed Spike's skin, but it seemed my plan was working. Spike's horn was the sole reason he wasn't seriously injured although now he couldn't move due to Raticate's overbearing position. Similarly, Raticate couldn't move or it might take damage from the horn, or be poisoned by the smaller spikes. The two Pokémon stayed in this position for a few moments as I wondered what would be the best action to take next. "Spike, use Poison Pin Needle! Into Raticate's mouth!" I commanded after a few moments of deliberation. Before Crimson had a chance to respond, and before Raticate itself had a chance to act, Spike uncurled and hurled himself into Raticate. Raticate has no choice but to take the force of Spike's momentum and the two Pokémon crashed into a wall. Spike's spikes were now oozing a gooey purple liquid which was dripping down his body onto the Raticate. It seemed like the horn hadn't managed to deal much damage, but Raticate was now radiating faint purple clouds from its body. Raticate was poisoned! "Damn it," growled Crimson, as he returned Raticate to its Poké Ball. "I was hoping to show you my other evolved Pokémon, but now I have to treat this damned poison status." He stashed his Poké Ball away and walked past me. "I haven't lost yet. Next time, I'll show you the true power of my Pokémon," he half whispered as he passed me. Before long, he disappeared around the end of the hallway and was out of sight. I looked down at Spike, who was lying on his side, panting from the battle. I walked over and knelt down beside him and reached out to pat him, but quickly retracted my hand. "Is it safe to touch you?" I asked Spike, looking at the purple ooze, hoping he would have enough energy to respond. He let out a little whine and rolled over, exposing his belly to me. I took this as a sign it would be fine, and scratched his belly. The experience reminded me of those I had seen with small dog Pokémon when I was a child. The purple ooze was slightly sticky, but evaporated completely after a few seconds of contact. I inspected my fingers but they seemed to be fine. Maybe it was only bad if came into contact with Pokémon? After a short congratulatory playtime, I returned Spike to his Poké Ball and walked the rest of the length of the hallway, reaching a door at the end. There was a plaque on the door that read: "Captain's Cabin." I knocked on the door, and heard a voice from the other side telling me to come in.
I pushed open he door to the captain's cabin and stepped in. I was immediately greeted by a short stout man in a tight white sailor uniform. "Hello! I'm the captain of th-" He trailed off as he looked me up and down, then shifting his attention to Amber beside me. "Uh... don't tell me you want a Pokémon battle too?!" "No no," I shook my head. "I was told to come find you." "Oh... Well then, hello! I'm the captain of the S.S. Anne. I wasn't expecting another trainer straight away... He just left a few minutes ago." I nodded in response. "And he kept demanding to battle me," the captain continued. He spoke with mild enthusiasm as he waltzed around the room. He briefly looked up at me standing in the doorway, and stopped in his tracks. "So you really don't want to battle? That's good, I'm not much of a Trainer myself. Since you're here, I suppose you're after HM Cut then? I should have another disc somewhere here." I watched on as he walked over the a desk in the centre of the room and began rummaging through all the drawers before finally pulling out a shiny white disc. The whole time he was mumbling to himself, but I couldn't catch any of what was spoken. "Found it!" he exclaimed as he extracted the disc from the desk. He ran over to me and presented the disc. "This is HM Cut, the first Hidden Machine ever created. Here you go!" I took the large disc from him and stowed it in my bag. He continued taking as I did so, "Hidden Machines differ to their counterparts, Technical Machines, in two major ways. Firstly, they can be used an unlimited amount of times, so don't worry about choosing which Pokémon to teach it to. You can teach it to every Pokémon you have that is compatible. Oh and secondly! Once you teach the move to a Pokémon, it's very difficult to overwrite that move. Something something about the way the data is written into the Pokémon, or at least that's what I was told! There is someone who can overwrite these moves, but I don't know where they could be, let alone remember who they are..." He trailed off and scrunched his face up in apparent concentration. "Uh, thank you for this, but how do I use it?" "Oh right!" He ran back to the desk and pulled a small pamphlet from the middle of a stack of papers. The pile teetered but somehow regained balance, losing only the top two pieces of paper to the captain's carefree attitude. He ran back over and handed me the pamphlet. "This is the instruction manual. Give it a read over and you'll be teaching all your Pokémon the move Cut in no time! Haha, but don't actually do that, you might be stuck with the move forever!" He bellowed a hearty laugh that echoed throughout the room. "Alright," he said after his laughter died down. "I better get this ship turned around soon or I won't make it back to port in time for the next cruise! Feel free to take a look at all the ship's facilities. There's still plenty of time left so enjoy yourself!" He turned around and climbed up a short ladder in the back of the room and disappeared into the ceiling. I left the room and decided to spend the rest of my time in the outdoor area I had passed earlier.
There were a few other trainers on the deck as I reached the top of the stairs leading outside. Most of the people up here appeared to be tourists. I walked over to an empty deck chair and sat down. A pool lay out before me, with a few water Pokémon swimming around in it. I pulled out my Poké Balls and let out my Pokémon. "Hey guys, take some time to play in the water! I'm gonna sit here and have a rest. And don't get into any battles okay?" My Pokémon bounded off to the water, except Fin, who was already swimming around aimlessly, and Amber, who did not want to be near the water at all. He pushed another chair beside mine and curled up on it, making sure to shield his tail flame from any splashes with his body. I lay back in the chair and closed my eyes, soaking in the warmth of the afternoon sun.
I awoke with a start. "...port soon." A voice rang out across the deck of the ship. "I repeat, this is your captain speaking. We will be arriving at Vermilion City and making port soon. I stretched and sat up in the chair. All my Pokémon were sleeping around me, with a few other Trainers' Pokémon among them. I got up and walked over to Amber and roused him from his sleep. Together we roused Swift, Pierce, Spike, and Button. Fin was still swimming around in the pool, but came to the pool's edge when I approached. I suppose the fish isn't as dumb as it looks, and its golden scales do look quite pretty. Wth all my Pokémon gathered, I returned them to their Poké Balls, and with Amber by my side, went to the edge of the deck to look out at Vermilion City as the ship closed its distance to the port.
The city was bustling with activity as I gazed over the edge of the railing. Every building shone with a brilliant light, the shadows of the people dancing to the rhythm of their movement. As I descended the ramp and walked up the pier, the sounds of the city grew louder. I passed a long line of people who I assumed were waiting to board the ship for the night cruise the captain had mentioned. I double checked I knew how to get to the Pokémon Gym before heading to the Pokémon Centre for the night. Inside, there was a short queue of Trainers waiting to get their Pokémon healed. After a short wait, I got my Pokémon healed, and after getting my Poké Balls back, I went downstairs into the dormitory where I entered the room I had booked. I hastily let my Pokémon out and inspected Spike but saw no visible damage. Spike also seemed full of energy now. Such was the magic of Kanto's healthcare. Satisfied with Spike, I bid my team goodnight and ducked under the bed covers in anticipation of tomorrow's battle with Lt. Surge.
Yes, it has been a while. Almost 6 years since the last chapter! I highly recommend you go back to the start 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. 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...
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. "P-pokémon trainer..." 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. "...verending..." 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.
"STAIRS!!!" 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.