Pokémon Journeys - Pt. XIII - Underground Path II

Started by tenebrae, Sep 16, 2022, 02:07 am

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tenebrae

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I started this one partway through writing the previous chapter while I was stuck at one part. I knew where that chapter would end so it was easy to get a start on the next one. That may be part of the reason why this chapter was finished a bit quicker, but I am getting closer to getting some major twists finally realised. Nothing too big, just one of the ideas I had that prompted me to start this story in the first place! This chapter was originally a bit shorter but upon proofreading I realised there was a bunch I wanted to add. There is still a little bit more I would have liked to have added too, but I could not figure out how to fit it in, and in all honesty, it's not super important. Enjoy the chapter!




Link to the beginning

The staircase down into the Underground Path felt a bit more inviting this time, but maybe only because I had already been down here once before. The descent still felt like it took forever, but we eventually made it to the bottom and started the long walk down the path. At least this time I knew what lay on the other side.

***

After walking for quite a while, a little further ahead, I could see two people with their backs to me, both wearing hooded garments. I crept up closer to them and could hear them talking.
"...the Union's been saying," the man said. "You'll be fine."
The woman nodded slowly and replied, "And what has your father said about this? He holds a lot of influence when it comes to matters like this."
"He informed me yesterday he has it fully under his control," the man replied. "So please, just wait a little longer, and everything should return to normal soon."
"I'll take your word then, if that's what your father said. If he's involved, then I hope everything should return to normal soon."
It was at this moment that I was noticed.
"Ah, hello," the man said, turning around to greet me. Peeking from under his hood was bright cyan hair, illuminated by the lights along the walkway. "It's been a while, Lavender."
"Why are you here?" I said with a mixture of shock and apprehension.
"I was expecting you to come this way, but, I see...heading north... You have already claimed the Thunder Badge then?" He completely ignored my question as he nodded to himself.
I nodded too, mildly confused. , but affirming his rhetoric.
"Good, good," he said, clapping his hands together. "Everything is progressing smoothly. Oh, by the way, this is Sabrina, the leader of Saffron City Gym."
He motioned to his left where Sabrina was standing. She pulled her hood back and long deep purple hair flowed down her back. It was much darker than my own. She gave a slight curtsy to me.
"Why are you here?" I repeated myself while attempting to not ignore Sabrina as best as I could. Cyan felt like a more pressing matter at this moment.
"Ah... When I reached Pewter City, I was unable to challenge the gym leader. His Pokémon had been gravely injured and were at the Pokémon Centre. Before they were fully recovered, my father came to get me, and I was pulled out of the gym challenge. Consequently, I will not be collecting any gym badges." He sounded slightly sad after mentioning this. "So now I am assisting my father with his mission. That is all I can tell you at this point in time."
I was about to try wrangle some more information about this from his but Sabrina spoke up. "I had some concerns over my safety in Saffron City, so I escaped into the Saffron Underground to meet up with Cyan." She tilted her head in his direction. "He has been of great assistance so far, but I am still worried."
"The Union is working to restore order there, so please don't worry," Cyan said, turning to face Sabrina, but it seemed more like he was addressing me. "There has been a notice put outside your gym informing any challengers that they will have to wait for your return. Unfortunately the situation is out of my control, so have faith in my father, please."
Sabrina nodded, though she still seemed quite annoyed.
Hearing all this made me question who Cyan really was. I was about to ask him about his father when he spoke first:
"Oh and Lavender." He turned back to me. "I am currently in the process of clearing your name with the Pewter Police. These processes take time, but sometimes accidents will happen. Such is the nature of dealing with fresh Trainers and their Pokémon, myself included, to a degree at least. However, do tread with caution. Some Trainers have their own idea of justice. Now I do believe you should be going. I still have more matters to discuss with Sabrina here."
"Goodbye. I hope you will be able to challenge my gym soon." Sabrina have another curtesy and turned back to Cyan, ready to continue discussions. I resumed my path down the walkway with Amber by my side. Once I was out of range of their voices, I looked back, but neither of them could be seen.

***

After ascending the giant staircase at the end of the path, I emerged into the afternoon sun. In the distance I could see a house atop a hill. Before it was a tall ledge much like what I had seen in other parts of Kanto. I walked up to it, but it was obvious I could not climb it. I recalled when I first set out on my adventure and my futile attempt to climb the ledges on Route 1. Knowing my limits this time, I followed the fence as I walked north, and left the house on the hill behind me.

***

The fence lay in ruins where there had once been a giant tree. In its place stood a tiny sapling. I stepped over the mess of twisted metal, watching where I put my feet so I would not stumble. Amber seemed to have no difficulty walking over it. The tree erupted back into existence, once again entangling itself with the metal fence and gate, but as the branches regrew, the new arrangement was even more of a mess. We left the tree behind made our way through the city towards bike store.

Once again I found myself in the bike shop, Miracle Cycles. I quietly browsed the small selection of bikes, trying my best not to look at the eye gouging price tags. A man in a blue uniform walked over to me.
"Can I help you?"
I turned around to tell him I was here to obtain a bike but before I could open my mouth, he started telling me all about the bike I had just been looking at.
"...has multiple gears to make riding in any condition easy, and even has an umbrella in case you find yourself in a storm! The price might seem a bit high, but it has all the latest technology in it for travelling Trainers. However, we also have last years model, which will only set you bac-"
I had to interrupt him here before he told me everything I didn't need to know. I pulled out the bike voucher I was given earlier in the day and waved it in his face. The moment he saw it, his expression changed, and he fell silent.
"I see..." he trailed off, sounding a bit disheartened. "Wait one moment please."
He left me next to this unnecessarily high-tech bike and walked behind the counter and disappeared into a storeroom. He emerged a few minutes later wheeling a smallish bicycle sporting a lamp and basket on the front. There was also a tray sitting above the back wheel with some straps dangling down.
"This is a lightweight folding bicycle, developed by Silph Co. It has been specifically designed to be easily rideable by anyone but can also fold up compact if the user encounters terrain unsuitable for riding."
He passed the bike over to me and I walked it around the store. Indeed it was very light and almost felt like I was pushing air. The basket was the perfect size for my bag and the tray on the back would be able to sit Amber quite comfortably.
"I haven't given too many of these bikes out in the past few years. It seems new Trainers in Kanto have been dwindling, and Silph Co. have been pursuing other endeavours lately, so recent revisions of the bike have less new features and upgrades. This is a bike manual. I doubt you will need it much as using the bike is pretty straightforward, but just in case. You never know when something will go wrong. Also, I'm obligated to give you a manual too."
He handed me a small booklet and then quickly showed me how to fold and then unfold the bike. When folded up, it was roughly half my height, the small wheels barely wider than me. It strapped onto the back of my bag easily, and I barely felt the weight pulling me back. I decided I would ride the bike out of town, and hastily unfolded the bike with ease.
"Stay safe out there," the shop owner said. "And good luck on your travels."
"Thank you," I replied.
He waved to me as I wheeled the bike out of the store. Amber crawled onto the back and sat down, appearing rather comfortable.

***

As I walked through the city, retracing my steps, I noticed there were no people about, and I didn't see a single poster up with my picture as I had seen in Pewter City. Maybe Cyan had already managed to have my name cleared with the Pewter Police, I thought. I kept the thought as I continued walking and soon enough I saw the familiar red roofed building. As I neared the Pokémon Centre on the way back to the giant Cut Tree, I saw a man walking around the building, holding scrunched up papers in his hands. His arms were bandaged up, but that was the only odd thing about him. When he saw me, he bounded towards me, waving his arms as he did so. I was about to jump onto my bike and pedal back the way I came, but I was not fast enough to mount it and consequently the man caught up to me. He stopped before me and crouched over a bit to catch his breath.
"Lavender!" he panties between deep breaths. "Good evening!"
It only took a moment to realise the person was the same man I had fended off that Team Rocket grunt from the other day. I saw the papers he was clutching were my wanted posters. It seemed I should still be careful who I show myself to around the city.
"It's been tough work but I've been collecting these!" He held up his hands and waved the posters around, grinning. We started walking as he hold me about how his home repairs were going and asked how my gym challenge went.
As we passed the Pokémon Centre, a poster caught my eye. I stopped to take a closer look.
"Seeking any information about Team Rocket and their involvement in the recent vandalism and attempted theft of Pokémon and items in the city. One member is known to be in possession of a Machop and Drowzee, but their whereabouts are currently unknown. They were reportedly seen fleeing east out of the city."
There was also a picture of a generic man wearing a black uniform with a red R on the shirt and cap. By his side was a Machop and Drowzee.
"Ah yes, these were the best details I could give the Pewter Police," the man said to me as I was looking over the poster. "Will you be going east too?"
"I'm not sure yet," I replied, and we began walking in the direction of the man's home.
"Well, why don't you stay the night and set off in the morning when you've decided?"
I pondered for a moment. "I think it's best if I continue while it's getting dark. There'll be no people about, and if I do encounter someone, I don't think they will be as friendly or understanding as you."
"Well, come and stay for a little bit at least. You could probably do with a short rest! And then you can decide where to go next."
I nodded in appreciation and said, "That sounds like a good idea."

The gaping hole was still in the back of the house, but there was a large tarpaulin covering it. A chilly breeze blew through. I sat down in one of the only pieces of furniture that had survived the damage. I rummaged through my bag and pulled out the map of Kanto. Saffron City was the closest city to Cerulean City but I didn't want to have to deal with the guards, even with the possibility that Cyan had already cleared my name with the Pewter Police. The fact that there were still wanted posters up here told me enough that I still wasn't safe. I didn't feel like taking the long walk to Vermilion City again, and taking the bike down then up the stairs would be more effort than worth. The next closest place was Lavender Town in the east, and there was even a Pokémon Centre halfway there too. It looked like a remote area so there should be few people around. I recalled that the Team Rocket grunt had also reportedly fled that way. I decided that would be the best course of action and I would set off soon before the sun had completely set.
The man came back to where I was holding a tray wth a tea pot and some cups. I stashed the map back into my bag and he set the tray down on the floor beside me. He sat down on a cushion and began pouring the tea.
"I see you've figured out where to go next," he said, breaking the silence and passing me one of the cups. "Be careful, it's hot."
I nodded in reply. "Thank you. I will go east and pass through Rock Tunnel to reach Lavender Town." I took a sip of the tea and winced from the temperature. It was scalding hot.
Amber was sitting on the floor opposite the man and also had a cup of tea. I watched him raise it to his mouth and gulp the whole thing in one go. It seemed high temperatures did not affect him at all.
I suddenly felt something pushing on the sole of my shoes. Startled, I raised my legs and almost fell over backwards. I peered under my feet and a small brown head was sticking through the floor.
"Diglett!" the man exclaimed. "It seems he wants to show you appreciation for saving us the other day."
I reached down and rubbed its head. Well, I could only see its head. The rest of its body was underground. It circled around my chair and peculiarly I noticed that the floor beneath was not damaged by the Diglett's hole. It must be some unexplained phenomenon I thought. Amber was running around in circles around me chasing the Diglett. Both were emitting playful squeaks and growls.
"It seems Diglett has grown fond of you two." The man stood up and walked over to a chest of drawers that looked awfully new compared to the rest of the place. I watched as he took out a Poké Ball and made his way back. Amber and Diglett stopped chasing each other and came to my side. Diglett was making odd purring sounds.
"He says he would like to join you on your journey," the man said, and the Diglett returned to the Poké Ball in a flash of red light. "He seems to yearn for yet another adventure, but unfortunately I have commitments here and cannot accomodate his desires."
"Um..." I wasn't quite sure how to respond. "Are you okay with this?"
The man nodded in return. "When I was young, I set off on my own gym challenge hoping to collect all the gym badges. Unfortunately I was defeated by Erika, the Celadon City gym leader. That didn't stop me though, but one of my Pokémon had an accident one day. My challenge ended in Lavender Town." The man was pensive as he recounted portions of his journey. "I caught Diglett in a cave just south of Pewter City quite early in my journey. That really ave me an edge when I battled Brock. I see you defeated him too." He motioned to my bag which was still open. My badges were in plain sight, attached to the inside near the top. I recalled the difficulty I had had with Brock and his Onix.
"Looks like the design has changed a bit," he said as he took a closer look at the Boulder Badge.
"I was very lucky to win that battle. If Amber hadn't learnt Metal Claw during the fight, I wouldn't be here talking to you."
The man nodded in acknowledgment of my and Amber's efforts before shifting the conversation back to the original topic.
"If you plan to pass through Rock Tunnel, then having a Pokémon that can dig will be indispensable. It would be the least we could do as a thanks for you saving us. He is also a high level and I believe that will be a great help to you."
This time I nodded. "I'll be glad to take him then."
"Seeing as its not safe for you to go out in the city yet, I will carry out the procedure. I just need your Trainer ID and I will go to the Pokémon Centre to do the transfer."
"Procedure? And I don't think I have a Trainer ID," I replied, slightly confused but also worried that I may be missing an important part of my identity as a Pokémon Trainer.
"Since Diglett is my Pokémon, I will have to transfer ownership to you. For that, I will need your Trainer ID. It wouldn't be necessary if this were a trade, but I doubt you would want to give up one of your Pokémon."
I pondered a bit I've this. I could trade Fin, but I spent a lot of money on him and it would be a waste to trade. "But I bought a Pokémon in the past and didn't have him transferred. Admittedly it's a useless Pokémon, but still. I paid a lot of money for it."
"Ah, some people breed Pokémon to sell. Those Pokémon will not have an owner until transferred into the hands of a Pokémon Trainer. It's likely that's what your Pokémon is."
I nodded, understanding somewhat more now. "But what about my Trainer ID? Professor Oak never gave me one, and Professor Blackthorn never mentioned it either."
"Ah, of course the professors would forget to mention crucial information like this. You probably won't have a physical card like I did back in the day. It should be on a digital device."
I rummaged through my bag and pulled out my phone and Pokédex and showed them to the man.
"Ah, this is quite an improvement!" he said as he took the Pokédex and looked it all over. "When I was travelling, the Pokédex I had was much bulkier. He opened mine up and the screen came to life. "This is also far brighter too!" He passed the device back to me. "Your Trainer ID should be in one of the menus."
The screen displayed on the Pokédex showed my current team and what I had named them. It also included their levels, learned attacks, and some other information I wasn't quite sure what it meant. I flipped through some menus and eventually saw a button that had "Trainer ID" on it. I tapped it and was greeted with a new screen that showed me some information about myself. The three gym badges I had were displayed on a small panel at the bottom, and my name was at the top of the screen next to a blank square. Underneath my name was a long string of letters and numbers.
"I think this is it," I said as I showed the man the screen.
"Ah, there it is!" He grabbed a pen and paper from the drawers and jotted down my Trainer ID.
"Alright, I'll try not be too long, but just in case, you can go into the other room and get some rest on the mattress. You'll probably need some before you set off again!"
He showed me into the other room and I sat down on the mattress with Amber, and a few moments later, I heard the front door close and a lock click as the man set off to the Pokémon Centre. I lay down and closed my eyes, feeling a wave of exhaustion wash over me. A lot had happened today, and as I recalled the events of the day, I felt myself drifting off to sleep with Amber curled up by my side, his tail providing some much needed warmth in the chilly night.

synderfin

Gotta watch out for that Pewter Police. I hear they're pretty badass.
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