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Fanfiction Off the Path

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Gazi, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Gazi

    Gazi Ace Trainer

    Stoick
    (Quilladin)
    Level 21
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Posts:
    681
    PokéPoints:
    ₽476.9
    Sequel to my story Changing the Plan.
    Chapter 1

    Log num. 37.

    Update on the Mewtwo situation: He has escaped.

    I’ve known from the start that this was inevitable. Mewtwo is far too powerful to be confined forever. I had hoped to get Mewtwo away from Team Rocket’s clutches, but this was not how I would have wanted it to happen. Mewtwo is still extremely unstable, emotionally, mentally, and, I suspect, physically as well.

    I thought that Mewtwo had developed fully, or at least as much as he could, but I’m beginning to fear that is not the case. The ache in my arm has gradually been getting worse, and there are times when I lose function in it altogether. My cells are not responding well to the invading cells I got from Mewtwo, and I suspect that the same is the case for Mewtwo. I cannot be sure though, not until I study Mewtwo himself.

    Hopefully I will soon have the opportunity to do just that. And if there is a problem, with luck I may be able to find a solution to stop our cells from conflicting with each other. If I can’t find a way to make it stop...no, I must find a way. For both of our sakes.

    Mewtwo’s wellbeing and control is my responsibility and mine alone. I had expected that I would have to travel this path on my own, but I am pleased to say that is simply not the case. I have had the pleasure of meeting a young boy named Ash who has volunteered to help me find Mewtwo. Normally I wouldn’t dare endanger anybody else, but Ash has already encountered Mewtwo, and from what I heard he formed a connection of sorts with him. Mewtwo likely won’t trust me, but he may listen to reason if it’s coming from Ash. Despite the dangers, my best chance of success in my quest is to bring the boy with me. I will simply have to do my best to keep him safe.

    I need to make sure to be on my guard for any potential problems, not just Mewtwo. For all I know, there are dangers waiting just behind me, waiting for me to let my guard down before they strike.

    Maybe I’m being paranoid, but one can never be too careful. I’ve made a lot of enemies, especially since I left Team Rocket. I can’t afford to be too careless and trusting. I would allow myself to relax, except that Ash is not the only one that I’m traveling with. He has brought three companions with him, and they are the ones that I am worried about.

    Sabrina, Koga, and Lt. Surge are all gym leaders, just like I am, but other than that I know nothing about them, except that Giovanni had been the one to introduce Ash to them. I know this isn’t necessarily proof that they are members of Team Rocket. Giovanni could just as easily know them from their work as gym leaders.

    Ash trusts his companions. He says that they are his friends, and all of them have been quick to help him understand his pokémon better and be a better trainer in general. Despite Giovanni’s betrayal, Ash hasn’t considered the possibility that his other ‘friends’ are merely using him.

    I am not so trusting.

    I have considered warning Ash about his companions, but I don’t think I will. From what I’ve heard from Ash, the whole reason why Mewtwo helped him was because he was naive and innocent. If I want Mewtwo to listen to Ash, which I do, then I need him to keep his trusting nature.

    Even if I didn’t need Ash’s help for Mewtwo, I wouldn’t want to destroy his trusting nature. Especially when I don’t actually know for sure that they are actually members of Team Rocket.

    Even if Ash’s friends turn out to be trustworthy after all, I’m not sure if any of them should be on this journey with us. It may be dangerous or harmful for them, and not just because we’re looking for Mewtwo, who is extremely powerful. I am speaking just of traveling on this boat. For one reason or another, none of them seem to be fit to be on a boat in the middle of the ocean for an extended period of time.

    Take Koga, the poison type gym leader from Fuchsia City, for example. We’ve been out at sea for nearly three days now, and I’ve barely seen any sign of him. I don’t think he has come up from below deck once in all this time. Though I haven’t seen Koga myself, I know for a fact that his companions, Lt. Surge and Sabrina, take turns keeping him company. One of them is always at his side, and while I don’t know for sure why, I can take a guess.

    All of the pain medication on this ship has disappeared. I know this because this morning I woke up feeling like my arm was on fire. I went looking for something to dull the pain, but could find nothing. After searching for quite some time I finally went to Lt. Surge, who is the closest thing to a captain that this ship has at the moment, and he says that they’ve run out. Not that there never was any, but that they’re out. This means that there had been pain medication, but it’s gone now. I can only assume that Koga is the one that is hurt. I don’t know how injured he is, but my guess is that it’s fairly bad. If it wasn’t serious, then Lt. Surge and Sabrina wouldn’t feel the need to keep a constant eye on him and all the pain medication wouldn’t be gone.

    It is never wise to travel with any kind of injury. Especially out on the open ocean when there’s no way to get help of it is needed. And if we’ve run out of pain medication and Koga is as injured as I believe he is, then I fear for his well-being.

    Then there is Sabrina, the psychic type (is she psychic herself? Something to look into) gym leader of Saffron City. A strange girl to be sure. I don’t know a lot about her, but she makes me uneasy. She is always looking at me as though she knows some dark secret (which is part of the reason why I believe all three of them are members of Team Rocket). Despite my hesitancy around her, I do feel sorry for the girl. She seems to be plagued with headaches that last nearly all day, and since she seems to be in constant pain I suspect that she saved all of the pain medication for her friend.

    As if that weren’t bad enough, Sabrina seems to be getting sea sick. Not horribly so, as she is still well enough to walk around, and she can even take control of the ship every once and awhile, but I’m still concerned. It seems that Sabrina is dealing with a constant feeling of discomfort, and I’m sure that the fact that the ship has been traveling in circles for the better part of two days now.

    And that brings me to Lt. Surge, the electric type gym leader of Vermilion city. An absolutely infuriating man. He introduces himself as Lt. Surge, but I do not know what he would have been Lieutenant of. His mannerisms and title lead me to believe that he is, or at least was, part of some kind of military. If that is the case, it might explain how he knows how to run a ship like this even though he’s not a sailor.

    If my theory is correct though, then it’s very possible that Lt. Surge has some kind of traumatic experiences, as I know many recent soldiers have. Could one of these experiences had something to do with the ocean, or a child, or both? If so, it would explain why Lt. Surge seems so distant and almost anxious when he’s behind the wheel. He does his best to hide it, but I know trauma when I see it. Was there some kind of boating accident caused by a wild pokémon that caused a child to be injured or worse?

    The reason I believe that a child has something to do with it is because whenever it’s Lt. Surge’s turn to take control of the ship (he and Sabrina switch off) he insists on having Ash at his side. Lt. Surge gets extremely on edge when Ash isn’t in arms reach, and the man has yelled at the boy any time he has seen him closer than five feet to the railing of the ship, as though he’s scared that he will fall overboard.

    I don’t know what happened, and I don’t necessarily need to know, but if the trauma is serious enough that it’s keeping Lt. Surge from doing his job as self proclaimed ‘captain’ of the ship, then maybe he shouldn’t be out at the ocean at all. Usually it’s not so bad, but whenever Lt. Surge gets any kind of readings from the equipment that suggest that a large pokémon, or even a large group of pokémon, is in the area, he will turn the ship around and find an alternate route. This combined with the way that I continuously say that we need to change course, as I can sense when Mewtwo has left for a new location, has made our progress extremely slow.

    The longer we’re out at sea, the higher tensions get. And I’m sure that now that there is no more pain medication and Koga might begin to be in even worse pain than he has been, that things will just get worse from here. Hopefully I’m wrong, but somehow I don’t think I am.
     
    Absolute Zero likes this.
  2. Gazi

    Gazi Ace Trainer

    Stoick
    (Quilladin)
    Level 21
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Posts:
    681
    PokéPoints:
    ₽476.9
    Chapter 2

    Ash grinned slightly as he leaned against the railing and watched his pokémon all enjoying themselves. Pidgeotto and Butterfree were up flying in the sky chasing each other, though they never went far from the ship. Squirtle, who never got very many chances to go swimming, was having a blast in the ocean. Ash was worried about him, of course, Squirtle just seemed so happy, and just so long as he stayed on top of the surface and in sight Ash didn’t see a problem with it.

    Pikachu and Bulbasaur were playing a game of catch. The two of them were tossing a pokéball back and forth between each other, with Pikachu running on the railing and Bulbasaur following behind him on the deck. Charmeleon was at Ash’s side, leaning against the railing next to him. Pikachu and Bulbasaur sometimes got reckless and bumped into Ash and Charmeleon, and that would normally irritate the fire pokémon, but he hadn’t given them a second glance. Charmeleon’s attention was focused solely on Pidgeotto and Butterfree.

    “Looks like somebody’s ready to evolve.” Ash jumped when he heard Lt. Surge’s voice behind him. He backed away from the railing so quickly that he accidentally stepped on Charmeleon’s tail and tripped. He would have fallen to the deck if Lt. Surge hadn’t caught him. “Watch yourself, kid. You don’t want to end up hurting yourself.”

    Charmeleon growled and finally tore his gaze away the flying pokémon to glare at Ash. The boy was scared for a moment that Charmeleon was going to use flamethrower at him, but Lt. Surge gave the pokémon a warning look, and he backed down and looked back at Pidgeotto and Butterfree.

    “You need to learn how to stand up to your pokémon.” Lt. Surge scolded slightly as he helped Ash sturdy himself. “They’re just gonna walk all over you.”

    “Sorry.” Ash said sheepishly. He just wasn’t like Lt. Surge. He wanted to be best friends with all of his pokémon, not be their master. But he knew that the man was right.

    “And another thing. What have I told you about being that close to the railings?” Lt. Surge scowled. Ash had known that the scolding was coming, he was just glad that Lt. Surge wasn’t completely freaking out at him like he did sometimes. Lt. Surge must be in a relaxed mood.

    “I know, I know,” Ash said. “I just wanted to keep an eye on Squirtle.”

    Lt. Surge looked slightly ill. “You let your pokémon swim in the ocean? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?” Lt. Surge creeped closer to the railing to find Squirtle for himself, but he seemed to change his mind before he got there. “Bulbasaur, can you get Squirtle?”

    “Bulba,” Bulbasaur nodded and sent a vine whip off towards the ocean. “Bulbasaur!”

    “Squirt!” Ash heard Squirtle respond and a moment later Bulbasaur drew back his vine whip and pulled Squirtle back on board. Squirtle looked a little disappointed that his fun had been ended prematurely, but he didn’t complain much about it.

    “What’s the big deal?” Ash asked. He knew that Lt. Surge was scared of something or another in the ocean, but he never really said what was bothering him. Ash didn’t mean to be nosy, but he was curious, and a bit worried.

    “There are dangerous pokémon that live in the ocean,” Lt. Surge said quietly, like he was afraid of being overheard by said pokémon. “Unlike any pokémon you’ve ever seen.”

    Considering Ash had seen Mewtwo, he seriously doubted that was true. But he wasn’t about to say so. And just because the pokémon that Lt. Surge might be talking about might not be as strong as Mewtwo didn’t mean that they weren’t big, powerful, or dangerous too.

    I’ll be more careful.” Ash promised. He still wanted to give Squirtle a chance to swim around, but he supposed that could wait until they landed on an island and the water wasn’t so deep and dangerous.

    “Yeah, you’d better be.” Lt. Surge scowled as he glared out over the railing like the sea had personally offended him. He sounded kinda mad and grumpy, but Ash knew that he was just worried.

    “So, uh, what were you saying about evolving?” Ash asked partly to change the subject to something a little less ominous, and partly because he really was curious about what the man had meant.

    “Huh?” Lt. Surge dragged his eyes away from the ocean and looked at Ash almost like he had forgotten that he was there, even though he had talked to him just a few seconds ago. “Oh, your Charmeleon’s about ready to evolve.”

    “He is?” Ash looked over at Charmeleon, who looked as confused as he was.

    “You can’t tell?” Lt. Surge gestured to where Pidgeotto and Butterfree were. “Your Charmeleon can’t take your eyes off of those guys. He wants to be up there flying too.”

    “And that means that he wants to evolve?” Ash didn’t really understand how that worked.

    “Trust me kid, Charmeleons are perfectly happy keeping their feet on the ground. It’s Charizards that want to be up in the air. If your Charmeleon feels like it wants to fly, that means he’s ready to get wings of his own.”

    “Really?” Ash excitedly looked at Charmeleon. “You’re going to become a Charizard soon? That’s so cool!”

    “Char.” Charmeleon nodded and held its head up proudly.

    “He’s probably just waiting for the right time.” Lt. Surge smirked and put a hand on Charmeleon’s head. “You know, like when he’s in the middle of a battle or you’re falling off a cliff or something so he can make a dramatic save and be the hero.” Charmeleon huffed and turned his head in annoyance. Ash just laughed, because that did actually sound like Charmeleon. He was a really nice pokémon, but he loved to be acknowledged for just how awesome he was.

    “Don’t make that face, you know it’s true.” Lt. Surge chuckled at Charmeleon’s annoyance. “What about the rest of your pokémon?”

    Ash frowned slightly in confusion. “What about them?” He didn’t entirely know what Lt. Surge was talking about. This actually happened fairly frequently.

    Lt. Surge sighed slightly in exasperation. “When are you planning on evolving the rest of them?”

    “Uh, I don’t know.” Ash bent down and picked up Bulbasaur. “I guess just like with Charmeleon, they’re just waiting for the right time.”

    Lt. Surge looked at Ash in a strange way, like he felt sorry for him or was completely confused by his words. “Look, I get that you wanted your pokémon to decide for themselves if and when they were going to evolve, but you can’t seriously still think that.”

    Ash glared slightly at Lt. Surge. He was happy to get training advice from Lt. Surge and the others. His friends all knew a lot more about raising pokémon than he did. The problem came when their advice directly conflicted with how Ash believed he should treat his pokémon. Giovanni had tried to get Ash to stop treating his pokémon like pets or friends. Ash didn’t need Lt. Surge sharing his own opinion like it was the only right way to train pokémon.

    “I’m not going to force them to evolve.” Ash insisted fiercely.

    Lt. Surge put a gentle, calming hand on Ash’s shoulder. “Hey, hey, calm down. I’m not forcing you to do anything. I just...really think you should think about this. You’re heading into a dangerous situation. If you want your pokémon to protect you, don’t you think they’ll do better if they’re bigger and stronger. You know, if they’re evolved?”

    Ash looked at his pokémon, and besides Pidgeotto and Butterfree, who were still flying around, they were all paying close attention to what was being said. Charmeleon looked proud and fierce, like he was willing to pick up the others’ slack and keep Ash safe himself. Pikachu looked slightly annoyed, but also concerned. Pikachu looked thoughtful, though not very happy. Squirtle did look intrigued by Lt. Surge’s words.

    “...I’ll think about it.” Ash promised. He wasn’t necessarily against evolving his pokémon. That was why he still had the thunderstone that Lt. Surge had given to him before. He just felt like it should be up to them. “But...wait, how do you know we’re going into a dangerous situation?”

    Lt. Surge rolled his eyes. “Believe it or not, Blaine’s not as good at keeping a secret as he thinks he is. I may not know exactly what’s going on, but the more the old scientist tries to keep everything under wraps, the more convinced I am that it’s something really dangerous.”

    Ash bit his lip and flinched ever so slightly. He didn’t know how that made sense. People kept secrets all the time, but that didn’t necessarily mean that it was because of something dangerous. He couldn’t exactly say this though, because Lt. Surge was right, the secret was something dangerous.

    “Now, I’m not going to tell you to keep your nose out of business that you have nothing to do with, because goodness knows that would make me a hypocrite on an entirely other level, but...just watch your back.” Lt. Surge warned.

    “Stop trying to scare the boy.” Blaine said as he came up on deck and approached them. Lt. Surge rolled his eyes in annoyance when he saw Blaine. Ash sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. Here they go again.

    “Hey, I’m not the one dragging some kid along to do my dirty work for me.” Lt. Surge said irritably. Ash didn’t understand why, but Blaine and Lt. Surge just couldn’t seem to get along with each other. Ash knew that Blaine was suspicious of the other man, and Lt. Surge hated people who decided they didn’t like him before they ever got to know him.

    “That’s not what he’s doing.” Ash protested, because it wasn’t. Ash was helping Blaine with something, but the scientist wasn’t taking advantage of him. At least, Ash didn’t think he was. But then again, Ash had thought the same thing about Giovanni, and just looked what happened there.

    Ugh, Ash hated this. He didn’t want to be too scared to trust anybody. He didn’t have to make friends with everybody he met, but he didn’t want to make enemies either.

    “Whatever you say, kid.” Lt. Surge said like he didn’t believe him, but wouldn’t bring it up again.

    “Ash, I need to talk to you.” Blaine said. He was trying to hide it, but Ash could see that Blaine was favoring his left arm again. Mewtwo must be acting up again.

    “Yeah, okay.” Ash nodded as he looked at Lt. Surge. The man shrugged and turned Ash’s hat so it was on sideways.

    “Hey, no need to say anything, I know when I’m not wanted.” Lt. Surge put his hands in his pocket and made his way below deck. He stopped in the doorway though and turned to look back at Ash. “Just think about what I said.” With those words Lt. Surge was gone, probably to check up on Koga again. Ash didn’t know what was wrong with the ninja, but even though Lt. Surge and Sabrina hadn’t said anything, they were worried.

    “What was that man talking to you about?” Blaine asked. Ash couldn’t help but laugh slightly at the accusing suspicion in Blaine’s voice. He really, really didn’t like Lt. Surge and seemed to be looking for any reason to blame him for something.

    “He was just trying to give me some advice.” Ash said. “I really don’t get what your problem with him is.”

    “I just want you to be careful with what you believe when he talks to you.” Blaine said. Ash nodded, because he was trying to be careful about it. When Lt. Surge told him he should evolve his pokémon, Ash listened to what he had to say, but ultimately used his best judgement on the matter. He may be trusting, but he wasn’t an idiot.

    “What did you want to talk about?” Ash asked. “Is it Mewtwo again?”

    “Isn’t it always Mewtwo?” Blaine grimaced in pain. “He’s getting worse.”

    “Is Mewtwo mad again?” Ash asked, because it seemed like Mewtwo was always angry, and it was only getting worse.

    Blaine nodded. “I’m not sure if anything can calm his anger at this point. It might be foolish to try.”

    Ash frowned slightly and helped Blaine roll up the left arm sleeve of his shirt. Without asking, Ash began to unwrap the bandages. He didn’t know why Blaine had them wrapped up all the time, but it couldn’t be healthy. “Why do you have this wrapped up all the time? Does it help with the pain?”

    “Not exactly.” Blaine said as they both looked at the deformed skin on his arm. “It somewhat dulls my connection to Mewtwo, though that may be why I haven’t been able to narrow down on his location.”

    “Maybe you could try not wearing these bandages for a little bit.” Ash suggested. “It might help.”

    “Yes, it might.” Blaine agreed as he rolled down his sleeve again and put the bandages in his pocket. “Are you sure you want to help me with Mewtwo? I don’t think I can stress enough how dangerous it will be.”

    “I know.” Ash said, and he did. He had met Mewtwo himself, had seen how powerful he could be. He was aware of the risks, but it wouldn’t feel right to walk away at this point. “I want to help him.”

    Blaine smiled. “I thought you would say that.” Blaine straightened the hat that he was wearing, and for the first time Ash took notice of it. The hat looked normal, a white fedora with a red band around it, but it was the little feather sticking out of it that caught Ash’s attention. He hadn’t really paid much attention to the hat that Blaine had been wearing since they had started their journey on the boat, but now he couldn’t take his eyes off of it. There was just something so...familiar about that feather.

    “Where’d you get that?” Ash asked, pointing to the feather. Blaine smiled and carefully picked the little feather out of his hat and held it out to Ash.

    “It’s called a Rainbow Wing.” Blaine said. “I found it a few years ago when I took a journey to the Johto region.”

    “What kind of pokémon did it come from?” Ash asked as he looked carefully at the feather. He didn’t think there were any flying pokémon in the Kanto region with this coloring.

    Blaine grinned mischievously, like he had a secret. “They say that the feather comes from a legendary pokémon with rainbow wings.”

    Ash felt completely breathless. A pokémon with rainbow wings? “Do you mean Ho-Oh.”

    Blaine looked shocked. “How do you know about Ho-Oh?”

    “I-I think I saw it.” Ash said quietly. “Back when I first started my journey. That’s...that’s why Giovanni was so interested in me in the first place.” Ash handed the feather back to Blaine who seemed somewhat reluctant to take it back.

    “That’s...intriguing.” Blaine carefully put the feather back on his hat. “I wonder...” Blaine trailed off, and didn’t seem to show any signs of continuing.

    “...Wonder what?” Ash asked. Blaine shook his head.

    “I’ll tell you later.” Blaine said. “For now, I have to figure some things out for myself.”

    “Alright,” Ash was disappointed, but he didn’t let it show. He knew that Blaine had a lot of work that he still wanted to do. Ash didn’t like being kept in the dark, but he didn’t want to pressure Blaine into sharing something with him that he wasn’t ready for.

    “Watch out for yourself.” Blaine said. “And be careful out here. You never know what dangers can lie in the ocean.

    As much as Blaine and Lt. Surge tried to act like they didn’t have anything in common, they both said that the ocean was dangerous. Ash would have trusted either one of them, but for them both to have said it? Ash would be an idiot for brushing their warnings to the side.

    Though he was left to wonder; just what was out there?
     
    Wings likes this.
  3. Gazi

    Gazi Ace Trainer

    Stoick
    (Quilladin)
    Level 21
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Posts:
    681
    PokéPoints:
    ₽476.9
    Chapter 3

    Koga closed his eyes and slowly breathed in through his nose. He inhaled until his his ribs started to burn. Even then, he pushed through the pain and continued to draw in breath until the pain became near unbearable. Only then did he breathe out through his mouth just as slowly as he had breathed in. It was painful and difficult, but that wasn’t going to stop him from doing his exercises.

    Koga usually did his meditation sitting down, and he would mentally block out any of his surroundings that might be a distraction. At that moment though he was taking a different approach. He had been spending far too much time these past few days sitting down, and he felt the need to get his body moving. Lt. Surge wanted him to take things easy, but that just wasn’t in Koga’s nature. Injured or not, he needed to be mentally and physically prepared for anything.

    Koga began to breathe in again as he silently slid one of his feet forward. He raised his arms and slowly pushed them forward, shifting his main weight to his front foot as he did so. Koga then began to shift his weight more to his back foot as he drew his arms back to his torso, as though he was pulling something back to him.

    Koga focused on his breathing and slow movement. He let his movements be inspired by the motion of the boat and sound of the ocean. If he really concentrated, he could almost forget about the constant pain in his chest.

    ...almost.

    Koga grimaced and couldn’t help but let out a slight grunt at the sudden flaring pain in his ribs. He faltered in his exercises, and with most of his weight on just one of his feet, it wasn’t really the best time for faltering. Koga would have lost his balance and fallen to the ground, but he was caught by firm, solid arms that just had to belong to Lt. Surge.

    “Well, now you’re just showing off.” Koga grunted. His pride made him want to get to get to his feet, but he knew that Lt. Surge wouldn’t loosen his grip for a few minutes, so there really wouldn’t be any use in even trying.

    Koga expected Lt. Surge to smugly brag about how he had, once again, been able to sneak up on him, even though Koga was the one who was the ninja. Lt. Surge usually took every opportunity he could to act like an arrogant jerk, in the best possible way. Koga was usually annoyed with Lt. Surge’s cocky behavior, but at this moment he actually missed it. He definitely prefered it when Lt. Surge goofed off much more than when he got all serious.

    “So I’m guessing your chest doesn’t feel any better?” Lt. Surge asked. It sounded like he was trying to be lighthearted, but it was so forced that it was almost funny.

    “If anything, I think it’s gotten worse.” Koga shifted his weight slightly, and Lt. Surge seemed to see this as a sign that he should sit him down on the ground again, because for some reason the man seemed to have a thing against chairs.

    “Yeah, that’s what happens when we run out of pain meds.” Lt. Surge frowned guiltily, like it was his fault that they had run out. “I really don’t know what to do for you at this point.” He finished quietly.

    Koga sighed and leaned his head against the wall. “Whether you believe it or not, I am a grown adult. I don’t need you to babysit me. I can bare through a little pain.”

    “This isn’t a little pain.” Lt. Surge glared at him. “You can’t even breathe without it making your chest hurt. Like it or not, that’s serious, and you can’t make me not worry about it.”

    Koga sighed, because he knew that Lt. Surge was right. The man always made it his business when somebody that he cared about was hurting or in danger. “I honestly don’t know why you’re so concerned. You know that this isn’t the first time that I’ve broken a rib. I healed just fine back then.”

    “Yeah, but you had access to actual medical treatment back then.” Lt. Surge reminded him. “And no offense, but that was years ago. You’re older than you were back then.” Koga scowled at the reminder. He was by no means an old man, but he wasn’t in his prime anymore, and that was becoming increasingly more obvious with every year that passed. His body was just not aging well.

    “I still feel like I should be recovering better than this.” Koga huffed in annoyance and winced at the pain that flared because of it. Lt. Surge snorted slightly. At least he wasn’t being as serious anymore.

    “Why don’t you call up that friend of yours that helped you out last time?” Lt. Surge rubbed his nose. “I’m sure that Branco’s had his fair share of chest injuries.”

    Koga rolled his eyes. “His name is Bruno, and you know it.” Despite his annoyance, Koga considered the idea. Bruno of the Elite Four was a master of fighting type pokémon. He did passionate, rigorous training by himself, so even though Koga didn’t actually know for himself, he believed that it was safe to assume that he’d dealt with injuries like this before. And Koga knew that Bruno liked to do his training up in the mountains, where he wouldn’t have access to medical treatment. He probably would have an idea of what Koga should do.

    And besides that, it had been a long time since Koga had seen Bruno. It would be nice to catch up again.

    Koga had met Bruno years ago after an assignment from Team Rocket had taken a bad turn. He had been assigned to lead a search for a legendary pokémon. The search had lead them through a series of tunnels, but then a cave in had happened and he suddenly found himself separated from the rest of his group. Koga had spent hours trying to find his way out, but he wasn’t getting anywhere quickly. He had been exhausted and injured from his mission, and could barely keep himself moving.

    Koga had been wandering blindly, wishing desperately that he had thought to bring his Golbat on this assignment with him, when he’d run into Bruno. The man had been training in the area, and had taken notice of Team Rocket’s presence. He had been in the tunnel caves to investigate what they had been doing there when he had stumbled upon Koga.

    Bruno had immediately recognized him as a member of Team Rocket, as he had been wearing his uniform, but he had still helped him out of the cave and brought him to the camp that he had been using during his training. Bruno had been suspicious of Koga at first, and had interrogated him about what Team Rocket had been up to. Feeling indebted to the man that had helped him, Koga told him that they had been looking for the legendary bird Articuno, who they heard had been seen in the area, but hadn’t been able to find it.

    Bruno hadn’t trusted Koga at first, but he had allowed him to stay at his camp anyways. In fact, Bruno had insisted on it. Koga had been hesitant, but he hadn’t been in any state to refuse, so he had stayed the night. Koga hadn’t trusted Bruno any more than Bruno had trusted him, and because they hadn’t trusted each other as far as they could throw each other, they had both just stayed up all night long, just to be sure that they weren’t attacked when their backs were turned.

    Bruno had spent the majority of the night training. Koga had watched Bruno for a bit before he had started to mimic his training. Koga was a martial artist, just like Bruno was, but their styles were nothing alike. Koga was intrigued by all fighting styles though, so he had given it a try. After some time Koga showed Bruno some of his own training, and after that the two of them had spend the rest of the night just talking about what else they had in common, and by the time morning came they had become closer friends than either of them had expected.

    Koga had only seen Bruno a handful of times since that first meeting, though they did regularly exchange messages delivered by flying pokémon, sharing what they were up to.

    “I suppose I could see what he has to say.” Koga said slowly. “But we’re in the middle of the ocean. Neither Golbat nor Venomoth are strong enough fliers to get to wherever Bruno is.”

    “Ash’s Pidgeotto might be.” Lt. Surge pointed out, and he had a point. Pidgeottos were known to be quite strong fliers with large territories. Even if Ash’s pokémon was unaccustomed to flying over the ocean, Koga didn’t doubt that he would manage it.

    “I would feel better about it if his Pidgeotto was a Pidgeot.” Koga said. He knew that Pidgeotto would be able to handle the journey, but this was certainly an example of when a pokémon would be even more capable if they were fully evolved.

    Lt. Surge scowled. “Good luck convincing Ash to evolve it.” The soldier was extremely bitter, and Koga didn’t understand why.

    “Alright, what happened?” Koga asked tiredly. Lt. Surge was clearly upset about something, and Koga was sure that his friend would tell him what was on his mind without any kind of hesitation.

    Lt. Surge sighed and glared at the wall across from them. “I’ve just had a conversation with Ash. Whatever he and Blaine are up to, it’s dangerous, but the kid still seems to think that it’s a good idea to let his pokémon decide whether they want to evolve or not.”

    “I don’t see the problem with that.” Koga admitted. Just because pokémon were usually a lot stronger when they were evolved that didn’t mean that they were completely useless when they were unevolved.

    Lt. Surge huffed and got to his feet. He began pacing around, and Koga realized how bad it was. Whatever was on Lt. Surge’s mind, it was really bugging him. “...When I joined the military they recommended that we fully evolve our pokémon. They even provided us with evolutionary stones if we needed them.”

    Koga nodded, indicating that Lt. Surge should continue. “Of course, not everybody did what we were all but ordered to do. Either they really didn’t want to, or they weren’t able to get their pokémon fully evolved before leaving, but...it really wasn’t pretty.” Lt. Surge shook his head. “I lost count of how many people and pokémon got...hurt, because of it.”

    “Ah,” Koga understood now, but Lt. Surge wasn’t done yet.

    “I was tempted to not evolve some of my pokémon.” Lt. Surge admitted. “My superior convinced me to evolve them, and if he hadn’t then I swear I wouldn’t be here today. My pokémon saved my life, but they wouldn’t have been big or strong enough to do that if I hadn’t evolved them.”

    Lt. Surge stopped his pacing and just stared at the wall. There was nothing there, but Koga knew that Lt. Surge was seeing something that he couldn’t. “I just don’t want the kid to get hurt.”

    “None of us do.” Koga agreed. “But it’s ultimately his decision. We can’t force him to evolve his pokémon.”

    “I know.” Lt. Surge practically growled as he ran a hand through his hair. “I just...I don’t know.”

    Koga didn’t know what to tell his friend, but he was spared from having to think of something when the ship lurched suddenly as though they had hit something. The sudden motion caused Koga to irritate his ribs again, and it was a lot more painful as it had been before. Despite the pain, Koga believed that Lt. Surge was reacting worse to the lurch than he was.

    Lt. Surge’s eyes were wide and he looked almost scared. His body was tense and he had instinctively reached for his pokéballs, though he didn’t use any of them. “What was that?”

    “We may have hit something.” Koga grunted breathlessly as he curled inwards and tried to catch his breath. It wasn’t going very well.

    Koga had thought that Lt. Surge had looked scared before, but it was nothing compared to now. The man looked absolutely horrified, like he was living his worst nightmare. Koga’s pain may be near excruciating, but he would say that Lt. Surge was in more agony than he was.

    “Why don’t you go on deck and see what’s going on?” Koga suggested through clenched teeth. He was sure if he made his pain more obvious, Lt. Surge wouldn’t dare to leave his side, and that wouldn’t be good for either of them. Koga would put himself through more pain in an attempt to hide any of it from his friend. And he knew Lt. Surge well enough to know that his anxiety would just get worse if he didn’t take action.

    A determined look came to Lt. Surge’s eyes. “Yeah, I’ll do that.” Lt. Surge hesitated for a second before picking one of his pokéballs and letting out his Raichu. “”Keep an eye on Koga for me, Raichu. I’ll be back soon.”

    Koga hated how Lt. Surge spoke as though he was incapable and needed to be taken care of. But if the only way that Lt. Surge felt comfortable to leave him alone was if he left his pokémon with him, then so be it. Koga just needed Lt. Surge to leave, and he couldn’t help but breath a sigh of relief when he did, and then immediately regretted it.

    Koga unwillingly let out a noise that was a mix between a groan and a whine. Over these past few days he had gotten used to a consistent throbbing in his chest, with the occasional flare of pain that usually went away just as quickly as it showed up. The pain caused by the sudden lurching of the ship still hadn’t died down. In fact, it was just getting worse.

    “Rai?” Lt. Surge’s Raichu frowned in concern.

    “I’m fine.” Koga said stiffly. His chest hurt so badly that Koga found it hard to draw in breath through the pain. He couldn’t just survive without air, so Koga reluctantly tried to draw in a deep breath, and just this simple act caused his ribs to flare worse than they previously had.

    Koga swore breathlessly, a habit he had picked up from Lt. Surge, and clenched his eyes tightly closed. He couldn’t breath. He physically couldn’t handle taking in more air than a little bit at a time, and it just wasn’t enough.

    Koga’s pride prevented him from admitting it out loud, not even to Lt. Surge’s Raichu, but he was starting to think that he was not, in fact, fine.
     
  4. Gazi

    Gazi Ace Trainer

    Stoick
    (Quilladin)
    Level 21
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Posts:
    681
    PokéPoints:
    ₽476.9
    Chapter 4

    Sabrina’d had enough of being out on the ocean. She wasn’t a seafaring person in the first place. The boat on the waves had been tolerable at first, and so had her psychic induced headache, but after three days of nonstop stomach aches and headaches, she was starting to just feel very sick, and she was tired of feeling really sick.

    Sabrina thought that she had been as patient as she could be, but her patience had worn thin. There was only so long she could deal with Lt. Surge and Blaine having a competition about who can be responsible for the most divergences and turnarounds. Sabrina had dealt with it for three days, and she was done with it.

    So when she was able to drag Lt. Surge away from the steering, the first thing she did w as find where the closest island was, and that was where she directed the ship. Fortunately for her they had reached the area of the ocean where a series of islands were located. Some people called them the Orange Islands, some people called them Sevii Islands. Sabrina honestly didn’t care what the islands were called, she just cared that there was some dry land nearby.

    Sabrina knew that the other passengers, but most especially Blaine, would be frustrated with the change in the path, but she really didn’t care. She wanted to get rid of her headache. She wanted to stop the ridiculous rocking of the waves. Most of all, she wanted to find something out there, be it medicine, herbs, magical healing water, she seriously didn’t care, but she needed something to give to Koga, because even if that man didn’t complain, he was in a lot of pain, and it was only getting worse.

    Sabrina was able to see the closest island in sight when Blaine came barging into the room. Sabrina knew that this would be happening, and she had warned her pokémon about it beforehand. They knew what to do.

    “I know that it’s frustrating that we’ve been changing course so much, but-what are you doing?!” Blaine’s casual and apologetic tone quickly turned to confused and furious when he ran into the reflection barrier that Kadabra had set up at the entrance.

    “I’m making a change in the itinerary.” Sabrina said simply as she kept her eyes on the island that they were steadily getting closer to. “We’ve been at sea for too long. We’re going to be spending a day or two ashore.”

    She could feel Blaine’s frustration and desperation behind her. “You don’t understand just how time sensitive the work that I’m doing is. We cannot afford to take a break.”

    Sabrina slowly turned and glared coldly over her shoulder at Blaine. “Are we any closer to finding whatever it is you’re looking for than we were three days ago?”

    Blaine seethed quietly. He didn’t answer her, because they both knew what the answer was. Whatever Blaine was chasing after, it wasn’t too keen on being found and was doing whatever it could to avoid them. Blaine may not be able to find whatever it was while they took a day or two off, but he also wouldn’t find it by sailing around in circles, and they all knew it.

    “That’s what I thought.” Sabrina turned her attention back to the ocean before her. “We won’t be able to help you find what you’re looking for if we’re injured, sick, exhausted, or just generally overworked. If we take some time off now, we won’t have to quit altogether later.” Blaine didn’t say anything to argue against her, so either he knew that she was right, or he had realized that there was no point in trying to persuade her.

    While Kadabra kept Blaine out of the room, just in case he took it upon himself to get them back on track, Sabrina focused on getting the ship to the island. She didn’t think it was that much of a problem. She may not be a sailor, but Lt. Surge had taught both her and Koga the basics on how to command a ship like this, and neither of them had forgotten. Sabrina could handle sailing a ship on the open water.

    It was only when they got right up close to the island did Sabrina see a potential problem. She was used to the open water, but too late she realized that, unlike Koga, she had never learned how to pull a ship into port. Sabrina was willing to give it a try, but she thought that she might just damage the ship and the island port if she tried to do it while only having a basic idea of what to do. Sabrina considered her options, and decided that it might be best if she turned the ship to the other side of the island and let the anchor down in some shallower water. If Lt. Surge wanted to redo the job himself, Sabrina wasn’t going to stop him. At the moment, she just needed to do what she felt most comfortable doing.

    Things went fairly smoothly for a bit, but then Sabrina tried to get just a little too close to the island. She was going slowly, careful of the shallower waters, and it seemed like everything would be fine. Sabrina hadn’t seen the coral just under the surface of the water, and they ran right into them. They were going slowly enough that Sabrina doubted the ship got damaged, but it definitely lurched, and that was a horrible shock.

    “”What are you doing?” Blaine demanded. Sabrina glared over her shoulder at him.

    “Calm down, we just hit some cor-agh!” Sabrina screamed in horror and clutched at her head as she felt a sudden and overwhelming feeling of panic well up inside of her. She knew that the feelings weren’t her own, which meant that somebody else nearby was filled with so much anxiety that she was feeling the effects of it too. Sabrina was most sensitive to the emotions of others when either she wasn’t feeling well herself, or if she was close to the other person.

    Sabrina brushed some hair that had fallen into her face back and stumbled back. The panic was so strong that she could barely think, let alone move, but she had to get to her boys. One of them was hurting, and she had to help them.

    Sabrina pushed past Blaine, ignoring the questions that he aimed at her. She would deal with him when she knew for herself what was going on. Sabrina went out on deck and kept a hand on the wall to keep herself steady as she tried to make her way below deck. It wasn’t quick going, especially since her inexplicable panic was just getting worse. Sabrina was almost to the door that would lead below deck when it was thrown open with so much force that she stumbled back in alarm.

    Lt. Surge stormed through the door aggressively, and Sabrina didn’t have to wonder just where all of the fear was coming from. Lt. Surge looked stern and determined, and anybody else might think that he was a man on a mission, but it was more than that. Sabrina could see the fear-filled distant look in Lt. Surge’s eyes.

    “Lt. Surge?” Sabrina pushed all of her own feelings to the side to focus on her friend. She approached him, but then flinched when he gripped tightly at her shoulders.

    “What did we hit?” Lt. Surge asked stiffly.

    “Calm down, Matis,” Sabrina said as gently as she possibly could. “It’s okay. We-I hit some coral. Nobody’s hurt, nothing’s going to get us, nothing is wrong.”

    “N-no.” Lt. Surge looked wildly out at the ocean, like he was seeing something, or at least looking for something, that just wasn’t out there. “No, no, something’s out there. Something’s...where’s...where’s the kid?”

    “Matis, Matis, look at me.” Sabrina put her hand against Lt. Surge’s face and made him look at her. “Ash is just fine. We’re all fine.” Her words weren’t doing anything to calm Lt. Surge. He was panicking, and Sabrina needed to get him to stop before he really spiraled out of control, for his own good.

    Sabrina took a deep breath and reached for one of her pokéballs. Still keeping one hand on Lt. Surge to ground him, she let out Alakazam. “Use calm mind.” She ordered. Alakazam didn’t hesitate to use the move on Lt. Surge, though Sabrina could feel the reaches of the move herself.

    Lt. Surge was still extremely tense, and there was still a deep fear in those blue eyes of his, but gradually he began to relax and calm down. Sabrina could still feel just how terrified he still was, but she knew that he had at least calmed down to the point that he wouldn’t do anything rash and foolish.

    Sabrina stood there with Lt. Surge for a few minutes as he gradually began to relax. He had stopped responding to her, and it didn’t take long for her to realize that he was mentally shutting down. It wasn’t the ideal situation, but Sabrina thought that it was better than how he had been before.

    Sabrina took Lt. Surge’s hand and gently guided him to sit on the ground. “I’m going to go get Ash. Stay here and wait for me, okay?” Lt. Surge didn’t respond, he just rested his elbows on his knees and clutched at his hair with his hands. Sabrina hadn’t expected him to do much more than this. She turned to Alakazam. “Continue to use calm mind. Make sure he doesn’t do anything foolish while I’m gone.”

    Sabrina got to her feet and went to look for the boy. She had barely made it three steps when Lt. Surge’s Raichu came running out from below deck, and it looked scared.

    “Rai, raichu, rai!” Lt. Surge’s Raichu barely spared a glance of concern at its trainer before going over to Sabrina and tugging on her pants. “Raichu!” Sabrina knew that something was wrong. She was tempted to look into Raichu’s mind to get an idea of what was bothering it so much, but she had the feeling that they really didn’t have the time to spare for that.

    “I’m coming.” Sabrina could find Ash after she knew what was going on with Raichu. Lt. Surge’s pokémon looked relieved at her words and it immediately turned around and made its way back below deck, with Sabrina right at its heels. Raichu lead Sabrina into the room where Koga had been staying, and she immediately saw what the problem was.

    “Koga!” Sabrina rushed forward and knelt by the ninja’s side. He looked like he was in absolute agony, and considering he had the tendency to hide his pain, this most certainly wasn’t a good sign. “What’s wrong?”

    “C-can’t brea-breathe.” Koga said breathlessly, and all of a sudden Sabrina felt a wave of fear hit her all at once. Alakazam was calming Lt. Surge, so that fear was coming from Koga, which concerned Sabrina even more than the fact that he was in pain.

    “Calm down.” Sabrina gripped Koga’s shoulder and lifted him to sit up straight. “You need to give yourself room to breathe.”

    “I can’t.” Koga said, but Sabrina wasn’t hearing it.

    “Yes, you can.” She insisted. “Just follow my lead.” Sabrina took Koga’s hand and put it on her chest so he could feel her breathing. It took a few minutes, but little by little Koga began to mimic her breathing. It was strained and obviously caused him great pain, but at least he was breathing again.

    “Is that better?” Sabrina asked. Koga nodded stiffly. “Do you think you can stand?” Another nod, though it was definitely more hesitant and cautious. Sabrina helped Koga slowly get to his feet. “We’ll get you some help ashore, okay?”

    “J-Janine.” Koga grimaced as he stood, and then scowled at himself for the pain he was in. “I-I have to…”

    “We’ll arrange for you to call her.” Sabrina promised. “But that means you’ll have to get better so that you’ll be able to talk to her.” Sabrina waited for Koga to get used to being on his feet before she began to lead him out of the room. Upon getting up on deck Sabrina saw that Lt. Surge was more aware than he had been when she had left him, and that was probably because Ash was now sitting next to him.

    When Ash saw Sabrina come up with Koga he got to his feet, his eyes wide in concern. “Are you okay? What happened?”

    Sabrina and Koga exchanged a glance. None of them had told Ash about Koga’s injury, it just hadn’t felt necessary, but there was only well that they could hide the fact that the ninja had broken ribs. When Koga didn’t answer, Sabrina took it upon herself.

    “When Koga learned that Giovanni was taking you to Cinnabar Island, he confronted him about it, and...well, not very many people are able to stand up to Giovanni and get away with it.” Sabrina said.

    “G-giovanni did this?” Ash paled and looked like he was going to be sick. “Why...Why’s he so mean?” Sabrina didn’t think that she had ever heard Ash sound as young as he did in that moment. She forgot sometimes that he was still just a child.

    “He likes to have things his way.” Blaine said. Sabrina hadn’t even realized that he was on deck with them. “People like that don’t know how to take no for an answer.”

    “Which is why one should always be cautious when dealing with them.” Sabrina said. She knew that her words would pretty much be ignored. Koga and Lt. Surge hadn’t learned how to pick their battles with Giovanni, and she imagined that Blaine and Ash wouldn’t be much better. Still, she had to try. Nobody could accuse her of not at least warning her companions.

    Sabrina sighed and watched as Lt. Surge’s Raichu went to join its trainer and curled up against him. Lt. Surge smirked weakly and put a hand on Raichu’s cheeks, which sparked slightly at the contact. Lt. Surge had to have been shocked, but he didn’t even flinch. He was so used to getting shocked by his pokémon that it barely bothered him anymore, and Sabrina didn’t know if that was impressive or concerning.

    Blaine also seemed to be watching Lt. Surge, and there was a strange expression on his face that Sabrina just couldn’t interpret. She hoped that this was a sign that he, at the very least, was realizing that they needed this break. “Do you see why we need to go ashore?” Sabrina asked.

    Blaine slowly exhaled impatiently as he looked from Lt. Surge to Koga. “...We’ll stay here for three days, no longer.” Blaine adjusted his white hat and walked off. He was clearly agitated, but Sabrina didn’t think that he was nearly as irritated as he acted like he was. After all, he had given them three days, and all Sabrina had initially asked for had been just one or two days. He wouldn’t have doubled their time off if he truly didn’t care about their wellbeing. She just wished that the scientist wasn’t so confusing, because Sabrina was just getting mixed messages from him.

    Ash frowned as he watched Blaine walk off. He looked vaguely disappointed, but also incredibly confused. “I’m sorry about him. Blaine’s a lot nicer than he acts like he is, he’s just a little stressed right now.” It was a bad sign indeed when a child felt the need to apologize for the behavior of an adult.

    “We’re all stressed right now.” Sabrina said. “That’s why we need this break.” Ash nodded in agreement.

    “Is there something I can do to help?” Ash asked, and he sincerely had the desire to help.

    Sabrina looked at Koga. “If you would go find a town and pick up some pain reliever, it would be a big help.”

    “I can do that.” Ash looked excited at the thought of doing some good.

    “I’ll go with him.” Lt. Surge got to his feet. “I could use some air.” Lt. Surge probably just felt the need to feel productive, and he would do so by making sure that Ash didn’t get himself into trouble. Sabrina didn’t think that it was healthy for Lt. Surge to hover over Ash, but at this point she thought that it would actually do them all some good. Sabrina couldn’t worry about Koga and Lt. Surge at the same time.

    “Be back before dark.” Sabrina said, and she felt like such a mother hen for saying such a thing. Ash and Lt. Surge could both be reckless sometimes, and Sabrina didn’t want to be the one to have to go out to look for them because they lost track of time training.

    “Okay!” Ash took Lt. Surge’s hand and all but pulled him away to go find a town on the island. “Let’s go!”

    Once the three of them were gone Sabrina was able to focus all of her attention on Koga. “What do you say we get started on setting up camp?” If they were going to be docked for the next three days, Sabrina for one didn’t want to stay on the ship. Camping wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but it was better than staying in a musty old ship that rocked when there was too strong of a breeze.

    “Sounds like a plan.” Koga agreed. “But remember to keep your eyes open for where Blaine puts his research. If we’re going to find out what he’s up to, we need to get our hands on those notebooks of his.”

    “And do it without bringing suspicion to ourselves.” Sabrina smirked ever so slightly. “It sounds like a challenge.” And there was nothing that Sabrina loved more than a challenge.
     
  5. Wings

    Static
    (Shinx)
    Level 100
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Posts:
    1,018
    PokéPoints:
    ₽661.1
    Hey, not sure if you like comments being left on this thread, but I just wanted to say that I really like the pacing of the story and the overall structure of the sentences and the word choice. What strikes me the most is how well you balance dialogue tags with actions and don't have very many "filler" dialogue tags--only the ones that are necessary! Overall I really like this. I almost never read stories featuring Ash, but this one really caught my attention and think you have some well-developed writing!
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  6. Gazi

    Gazi Ace Trainer

    Stoick
    (Quilladin)
    Level 21
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Posts:
    681
    PokéPoints:
    ₽476.9
    Chapter 5
    Blaine sighed and looked over his research notebooks and journals. He had left most of his things back at his lab on Cinnabar Island, but he still had a fair amount of research with him, and he didn’t know what to do with all of it. Blaine didn’t think that it would be practical to bring all of his things ashore, especially when he still didn’t know if he could trust their traveling companions. But he didn’t want to risk being away from his work for the same reason.

    As much as he didn’t want to, he had to compromise. Blaine reluctantly grabbed his summarized research notes on Mewtwo. He had many journals that were packed with notes and observations about Mewtwo, but this one book had a broad summary of all of it. Blaine also grabbed a map of the Sevii Islands. He put these things in a bag that he would take ashore with him. The rest would have to stay on the ship. However, Blaine wasn’t about to leave his things unattended.

    “Ninetales, I have a job for you.” Blaine grabbed one of his pokéballs and let out his pokémon. The cabin was a little compact and crowded for Ninetales to comfortably stay in long term, and Blaine felt bad about that, but he had a job for her to do. “I need you to guard my research for a few days.” He gently stroked Ninetales soft fur and smiled fondly at her.

    “If I need my things, I may send Ash here to grab something for me. You remember Ash, don’t you?” Blaine asked. Ninetales nodded and let out a noise that was something like a whine. Blaine had previously introduced Ash to all of his pokémon, to be sure that they were all familiar with each other. “If someone else comes in here or tries to take my things, I want you to stop them, but don’t hurt them.” Blaine didn’t want to cause harm to anybody, but he had to protect his research. His work was much too sensitive to be seen by just anybody.

    Ninetales nodded again. She was ready and willing to accept her task. Blaine appreciated her loyalty and devotion to him. All of his pokémon were much more loyal than he deserved. Blaine knew that Ninetales would dutifully do as he asked. He would have to make it up to her later.

    With one more grateful pet Blaine shouldered his bag and left his pokémon. He closed the cabin door behind him, but didn’t lock it. He didn’t want to give his traveling companions any reason to believe that he had something to hide, even if he did. Blaine hadn’t been given any reason to believe that they would try to snoop through his things, but he was still cautious.

    Blaine went up on deck and looked over the ship railing to see Koga and Sabrina sitting on the beach, meditating together. Blaine watched them for a few moments and frowned in concern. He had known that Koga was injured, but he wouldn’t have ever guessed just how bad it was. The man was struggling to breathe. If that wasn’t a problem, Blaine didn’t know what was.

    Blaine wished that he could be of assistance, but he didn’t know anything about chest injuries. If Ash was the one that was hurt, Blaine would go out of his way to help him, but he didn’t think his help would be well received by Koga. The ninja seemed reluctant to accept help from Sabrina, and they had known each other for years.

    Blaine may not be able to help Koga himself, but he knew that he would be able to help by allowing him to have the time to heal. Blaine was still concerned about taking a break from looking for Mewtwo. He couldn’t shake the feeling that any hour that he wasn’t out there looking for Mewtwo was an hour that he would spend causing trouble for everybody around him.

    There wasn’t much that could be done about it. Blaine couldn’t in good conscience put somebody else’s health and safety at risk because there was a possibility that others might get hurt.

    Blaine sighed and made his way to the gangway that the others had lowered. Because they weren’t at the island’s port, and they had only been able to get so close to the island, the gangway stopped about five feet away from the shore, and just like everybody else Blaine had to jump into the ocean and wade the rest of the way.

    Blaine grimaced when he jumped into the ocean. Call him a stereotypical fire pokémon trainer, but he had never been a fan of being wet. He liked the look and atmosphere of the ocean, which was why he enjoyed living on an island, but he could do without ever getting wet. He was just glad that the water was shallow enough that it didn’t reach all the way to the bag over his shoulder, because if his notes and map got wet, he would be extremely displeased.

    Blaine walked right past Koga and Sabrina, who didn’t even spare him a glance, and Blaine didn’t expect them to. They may be travelling together, but they weren’t friends. Blaine was more than happy to allow them their space, just so long as they returned the favor.

    Keeping a tight hold on his bag, Blaine made his way to the line of trees near the shore. They hadn’t set up camp yet, but he wanted some privacy to come up with a plan. Just because he couldn’t actually be searching for Mewtwo didn’t mean that he couldn’t at least be productive.

    When Blaine was far enough from the shore that he didn’t have to worry about being overheard, he sat himself on a wooden stump. He took his bag and placed it on the ground next to him. Blaine retrieved his notes from his bag, and opened the notebook with the intention of finding any information from the research that he had long since memorized. Blaine had scarcely been able to read just two words before his arm spasmed in such pain that he couldn’t even keep his grip on his own book.

    Blaine cried out in pain and didn’t even notice as he dropped his notebook. He clutched tightly at his left arm with his right hand, but it did nothing to ease the pain. His arm felt like it was tearing itself apart from the inside, and he didn’t know how to stop it. The pain was only truly in his arm, but Blaine felt it in his entire body. Blaine had gotten used to this pain caused by Mewtwo’s instability and anger, but this pain felt like something more. It was nearly identical to the short but powerful flare of pain that he had felt just before that explosion on Cinnabar Island.

    Mewtwo had been furious and powerful at that moment, but he had also been nearby. If Mewtwo was near…

    Blaine grimaced and struggled to roll up his shirt sleeve. His left arm was so swollen that it was much more difficult than it honestly should be, but he was eventually able to do it. Blaine undid the pin that kept his bandages in places and with trembling fingers hurried to unbind his arm. He let the bandages fall to the ground as he gently put his hand on his arm. Just that small amount of contact made the blemishes on his skin burn and boil in reaction. If that wasn’t because of Mewtwo’s hatred for him and all humanity, Blaine didn’t have a clue what could be the cause.

    Still, he hoped he was wrong. If he was, indeed, right, then there was no time to waste. He had to find Mewtwo soon. There was no other option.

    Blaine bit his lip and took his hand off of his arm. The flesh of his arm continued to pulse angrily. He was all too used to his arm behaving like it had a mind of its own, but this was an entirely other matter. The skin had looked like a terrible burn for quite some time, but at the moment it resembled a wave of lava, flaring to the right.

    Blaine frowned and turned his arm so it was pointing in the direction of the fleshy wave. As he suspected, though it still came as a bit of a shock, the wave turned with his arm until it was flaring up over his wrist. It seemed the wave was indicating in a particular direction. Considering just whose DNA was in his arm, Blaine didn’t need more than one guess as to what the wave was pointing to.

    Perhaps it hadn’t been a bad idea to take a break on this island afterall. Blaine was closer to Mewtwo than ever. Now he just needed to think of a way to find him.

    “Blaine!” The man turned to see his young traveling companion and one friend in this group run up to join him. Blaine was about to wonder how Ash had found him, but then he saw Pidgeotto and Butterfree flying just above the boy’s shoulder. Ash must have sent his pokémon to look for Blaine. The man was disappointed in himself that he hadn’t noticed them at all, but he had been far too preoccupied with his own pain to really be aware of any of his surroundings.

    “Ash, you’re back already?” Blaine didn’t think he had been out here for all that long. Had he really lost track of time?

    “Lt. Surge was in a hurry.” Ash said as he came closer and sat down on the ground near Blaine’s stump. “He wanted to get some pain medicine that he found to Koga.” Ash lifted a small bottle that Blaine hadn’t noticed he was holding and smiled. “He said there was enough for you to have some.”

    Blaine had only really been annoyed and confused by Lt. Surge, as he never knew what to think of the man, but at that moment he felt nothing but gratitude for the outspoken soldier. “Thank you.” Blaine said, and he didn’t think he had ever been more grateful in his life. Ash’s smile looked somewhat strained as he twisted the lid off and took two small tablets out. He handed them to Blaine.

    “Does your arm hurt a lot?” Ash asked in concerned curiosity.

    “More than it ever has.” Blaine admitted. He put the pills in his mouth and swallowed them dry. “Mewtwo’s nearby.”

    “He is?” Ash’s eyes widened in surprise and alarm. He looked around anxiously, as though he expected Mewtwo to just appear from behind a nearby tree.

    “He’s probably not on this island.” Blaine said. He suspected they would have long since heard or seen a sign of Mewtwo if that was the case. “But he can’t be more than a few miles away.”

    “What’s the plan?” Ash frowned thoughtfully. “Do we go look for him?”

    “I really don’t think he’ll be in any mood to listen to us if we try to reason with him.” Blaine said as he glanced at his arm, which was still throbbing painfully. “And I doubt either of us are fit to go against him in a battle.”

    “So...what can we do?” Ash asked slowly. He seemed to be a little scared, not that Blaine blamed him. He was feeling pretty frightened himself.

    “We can do our best to prepare.” Blaine said. “How are your skills as a trainer?”

    Ash grinned eagerly. “I’m pretty good, though we’re a little out of practice.”

    Blaine smiled encouragingly and got to his feet. He had always admired spunky young trainers. Back when he had still run the Cinnabar gym, he had looked forward to battling trainers with spirit, and he probably would have loved nothing more than to have a battle with someone like Ash.

    “Let’s see what you can do.” Blaine said as he reached for one of his other pokéballs.

    “Okay, but, uh, can we battle with you using one of my pokémon?” Ash asked, which Blaine thought was an odd request.

    “If that’s what you want.” Blaine frowned. “I warn you though, I do best with fire pokémon.”

    Ash smiled broadly at Blaine’s words. “That’s okay. I was going to ask if you would use Charmeleon anyways.” Ash put a hand in his pocket and took out a pokéball. He opened it and let out his Charmeleon, who was probably the most tempermental of all his pokémon.

    “Any particular reason why you want me to use Charmeleon?” Blaine asked. He saw Charmeleon watching him out of the corner of its eye, and he raised an eyebrow at the pokémon in return. Charmeleon huffed and turned his head away, pretending that he hadn’t been looking in the first place.

    “Lt. Surge thinks Charmeleon’s ready to evolve.” Ash put a hand on Charmeleon’s head. “He thinks that he’ll evolve if he’s given a reason to. Charmeleon hates losing, so I thought that having him battle Pidgeotto would give him that little push that he needs to evolve.”

    Blaine’s frown deepened. So Ash was planning on annoying Charmeleon by having Pidgeotto fly out of range from his attacks, forcing the fire pokémon to take his attacks aerial. If Charmeleon really was ready to evolve and was just waiting for the right moment, the strategy just might work, but it still wasn’t something that Blaine himself would do. “I thought you wanted to let your pokémon decide for themselves when and if they would evolve.”

    “I do.” Ash said without skipping a beat. “Charmeleon wants to evolve, and he’s ready for it, I can feel it.” Ash looked at Charmeleon, as though looking for confirmation, and by the way that the fire pokémon nodded, he got it. “He’s just holding back because he feels like it’s not what I want. He did the same thing when he was evolving from a Charmander to a Charmeleon.”

    So Charmeleon, despite his attitude and occasional disobedience, was desperate for approval from his trainer. Blaine didn’t know how Ash could know for sure that this was, in fact, Charmeleon’s motivation, but the boy seemed so sure that Blaine didn’t dare question him. And if he was right about his pokémon’s feelings, then this push just might be what was best for Charmeleon. It was enough of a possibility that Blaine was willing to not question Ash about his decision, though he did make a note to confront Lt. Surge about this, because that man was far too invested in Ash’s personal training decisions.

    Ash stood in front of Charmeleon and looked him in the eyes. “Now, Charmeleon, you haven’t really trained under someone else, but I want you to listen to Blaine just like you listen to me, even if you don’t agree with him, okay?”

    Charmeleon huffed and some smoke came out of his nostrils, but he reluctantly nodded. Ash grinned at his pokémon’s willingness to cooperate. “And try to remember what you learned from Koga, okay?”

    “What did Charmeleon learn from Koga?” Blaine asked as Charmeleon came to his side, ready and eager to train.

    “He’s been helping all of my pokémon learn how to control their attacks better.” Ash said as he gestured for Pidgeotto to come get ready for the battle against Charmeleon.

    “Koga’s been mentoring you?” Blaine frowned slightly. He didn’t pretend to know a lot about the ninja master, but from what Blaine had heard and seen, he was a solitary man that minded his own business. Why would he help Ash? “How did you manage that?”

    “Lt. Surge just asked him.” Ash said cheerfully, and that just brought to mind a whole string of questions that Blaine hadn’t even realized he had been pondering.

    “How did you befriend Lt. Surge anyways?” Blaine asked. Before their journey, he had never met Lt. Surge before, but back when he had accepted gym challenges he had heard many young trainers complain about how Lt. Surge was a bully who mocked their inexperience. Ash was the first child he had met who not only liked Lt. Surge, but looked up to him.

    “I don’t know.” Ash shrugged. “It just kinda happened.” Ash frowned slightly. “You know, he’s actually really nice. I don’t know why you don’t get along with him.”

    Blaine sighed. He was embarrassed to say that he didn’t actually have a good excuse. People sometimes just didn’t get along with each other. They could learn to resolve their differences, of course, but it was much easier to just avoid conflict, even if that meant avoiding the other person.

    “Honestly, I don’t know either.” Blaine admitted. He was about to ask Ash about the circumstances that had lead him to meet Lt. Surge and Sabrina, as it was really curious that a child who wasn’t taking the gym challenge came across so many gym leaders anyways. Before Blaine could say anything else, Charmeleon huffed and glared back at him. It seemed Charmeleon was done with waiting.

    “Alright, we’re going.” Ash laughed slightly as he looked at Blaine apologetically. “Are you ready to go?”

    “As ready as you are.” Blaine nodded at Charmeleon, who smirked as the flame on his tail flared brightly.

    “Pidgeotto, use gust, and aim for the tail.” Ash said. Blaine knew that it wasn’t the boy’s intention to put out Charmeleon’s flame, but probably to provoke him. Pidgeotto shot into the air and did as Ash asked.

    “Dash forward.” Blaine said simply. Charmeleon shot him an odd look, but ran ahead anyways, ducking under the gust of wind as he did so. “Use skull bash.” Charmeleon jumped up, ready to ram his head against pidgeotto.”

    “Fly out of the way!” Ash cried out. Pidgeotto screeched, and despite the trees and branches in the way, he successfully dodged out of the way. “Stay out of Charmeleon’s reach and use whirlwind.”

    “Stand your ground.” Blaine said. Charmeleon growled and crouched low. He dug his claws, both on his feet and on his hands, into the ground. The wind from Pidgeotto’s attack whipped around him, but Charmeleon stayed where he was and didn’t retaliate. He did curl his tail under around him in an attempt to protect the flame from the wind, but other than that he didn’t move.

    “Keep it up!” Ash told Pidgeotto.

    “Wait.” Blaine said quietly to Charmeleon. “Wait for the right time.”

    For a few tense moments the wind continued blowing with fierce force. But Blaine knew that no attack could last forever. There was always a moment, however brief, after a pokémon finished attacking when they were vulnerable, and that was the moment that Blaine was waiting for.

    Finally, he saw his chance, the moment when Pidgeotto’s exhaustion forced him to stop the long-held attack. “Now.” Charmeleon, who had been waiting for Blaine’s signal, let out the flamethrower that he had been building up during the wait. Blaine had known that Charmeleon would attack how he felt was best just as soon as he was given the signal. It was Blaine’s opinion that pokémon battled best when they worked from their own instinct.

    Charmeleon’s flamethrower hit Pidgeotto straight on, which knocked the flying pokémon to the ground. This wasn’t enough to discourage Ash.

    “Use sand attack.” Ash commanded without skipping a beat. Pidgeotto screeched and used its wings to push dust and dirt into Charmeleon’s face. As was common with this attack, the dust got in Charmeleon’s eyes, forcing him to close his eyes tightly. “Now use quick attack.”

    “Brace yourself.” Blaine warned. He knew that while Charmeleon could easily dodge, he might end up even more disoriented, and could very easily be caught off guard by another attack. It might just be safest to bare through this one attack.

    Charmeleon growled lowly and became stiff. At that inevitable moment when Pidgeotto’s body impacted with Charmeleon’s , the fire pokémon was pushed back, but he was able to get a grip on Pidgeotto’s body. Charmeleon pushed at Pidgeotto, but the flying pokémon pushed right back. The two of them were the same size, but Pidgeotto had more momentum and weight, so even though they looked like they were evenly matched, Blaine knew it was only a matter of time before Charmander lost the wrestling moment they were in, and would find himself vulnerable.

    Charmeleon seemed to recognize this as well, but he hadn’t accepted it. Charmeleon roared fiercely and his tail burned brighter than it normally did. Charmeleon’s body seemed to strain, as he pushed himself to his limit, and then he found a way to go beyond it. There was a bright flash of light from Charmeleon’s body, and it lasted for a few tense moments. Through the blinding light Blaine could see Charmeleon’s body getting larger. Blaine smirked at the sight. Ash had been right. Charmeleon had been ready for evolution, it had just been a matter of finding the right motivation.

    When the blinding light faded away it revealed that where Charmeleon had been standing, a proud and powerful looking Charizard was in his place. Charizard roared again and unleashed a flamethrower as he did so. With his new size and strength, Charizard was easily able to toss Pidgeotto back against a tree.

    The battle probably still could have gone on from there, but Ash didn’t seem to have any interest in the battle anymore.

    “You did it!” Ash laughed cheerfully as he ran up to Charizard, jumped, and wrapped his arms around his neck. Charizard’s eyes widened and he looked shocked at Ash’s sudden display of affection, but he awkwardly pat his trainer’s back with his claws. “I knew you’d be able to do it.”

    “Remarkable.” Blaine muttered. He didn’t think he had ever actually seen a pokémon evolve just by will alone.

    Ash laughed and finally let go of Charizard. “Look at you, you’re so big now!”

    Blaine chuckled, the boy was just so enthusiastic and eager. He considered telling him that his Charizard was actually small for his species, but ultimately decided against it. Ash was ecstatic, and Charizard was proud. Blaine would just feel guilty for ruining this moment for them. Besides, size really wasn’t everything. Blaine had met some pretty spunky and small pokémon. Determination was just as important, if not more so, than size and brute strength.

    Ash gave Charizard one last grin before he turned his attention to Pidgeotto, who was just getting to its feet. “Hey, buddy, you did great. Take a long rest.” Ash took out Pidgeotto’s pokéball and returned it. Ash then turned to Blaine. “How much preparing should we do before looking for Mewtwo?”

    Blaine frowned and looked down at his arm. “As much as we possibly can. Something tells me that we won’t find Mewtwo, even if we looked. He’ll find us though.” He couldn’t say how, but he knew it. When Mewtwo did find them, they had to be ready for him. At least, as ready as they possibly could be.

    Blaine knew that he and Ash, as well as all of their pokémon, would do as much as they could to be ready for Mewtwo. He was worried that it wouldn’t be enough. After all, how could one prepare for something that was created to be the ultimate weapon?
     
  7. Gazi

    Gazi Ace Trainer

    Stoick
    (Quilladin)
    Level 21
    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    Posts:
    681
    PokéPoints:
    ₽476.9
    Chapter 6
    Lt. Surge grunted as he slung another tent over his shoulders. They had to set up camp, which meant that they needed places to sleep. Usually setting up a base of operations was Lt. Surge’s number one priority when he was travelling for work, but he’d had other things on his mind. When Sabrina had crashed against the coral, it had really messed with his head. He had known that they were safe, but he hadn’t felt safe. He had been so sure that they were being attacked by some stray pokémon. Nothing else had mattered at that time.

    Sabrina’s Alakazam’s calm mind had been a lifesaver. He had still felt in danger, but at a point that he could manage. He had been in the military, and was currently a Team Rocket agent. These weren’t careers for the faint of heart, and Lt. Surge had managed to get higher up positions in both his areas of work. He wasn’t afraid of dangerous situations, he just...really could not handle anything that even remotely resembled the incident with Silver and that large bird pokémon.

    Lt. Surge had needed that little extra time to finish collecting himself. He would have been able to calm down on his own, but the whole reason why he’d been freaked out in the first place was because of what had happened to Silver. Sabrina, Koga, and Lt. Surge could take care of themselves, but Ash was just a kid. A really naive kid who was so sentimental that he wouldn’t evolve his pokémon unless he knew that it was what they wanted. Someone like that needed to be protected, and it was a lot easier to protect somebody when they were right at your side.

    Lt. Surge had started spending so much time with Ash because he wanted to be sure that he was safe, but when one spends a lot of time with somebody, they either grow to hate them, or really care for them. Lt. Surge had never been one for hating, but even if he was, he didn’t think that it was possible to hate Ash.

    The kid was so optimistic and cheerful. He had a willingness to learn, but still that stubbornness to hold onto what he knew. Lt. Surge had always felt neutral about kids, but when it came to Ash, that neutrality turned to a complete fondness. Even if he thought that Ash was too soft on his pokémon, and that could be pretty annoying sometimes, he couldn’t help but admire his insistence. Ash was a proud kid. He respected that.

    Going into town with Ash had been just what Lt. Surge had needed. Being able to stretch his legs for a bit had felt pretty good, and Ash’s excitement at getting off the boat after so long had been contagious. Just being near the kid had helped calm Lt. Surge down from his little shut down before.

    Lt. Surge would have been content to hang out in town for the rest of the day, but they weren’t there for a social visit. Koga had needed some pain killer, and the sooner they got that to him, the better. And because Lt. Surge was in a giving mood, and he really wasn’t as much of a jerk as people seemed to think he was, he had made sure to pick up something extra for Blaine to use. Lt. Surge didn’t know what was up with his arm, but he felt a little bad about making him bare through the pain up to this point.

    No matter how much he didn’t get along with somebody, he wouldn’t wish pain on them...unless they were in a situation where either he he had to get hurt, or the other person did, in which case he wouldn’t hesitate to do whatever he could to make sure that the other person was the one who was in pain. Some people thought this was cruel, but Lt. Surge didn’t think it was. It was survival.

    When they got back to where their ship was, Lt. Surge let Ash take some of the pain reliever to Blaine while he went to get some to Koga and put the rest on the ship. He was worried about Koga, but the ninja was way too proud to tolerate letting somebody hover over him. Sabrina was meditating with Koga, who had taken some pain reliever, so Lt. Surge could afford to give him some space.

    After restocking the medicine cabinet, Lt. Surge had grabbed the camping gear and brought it up on deck. He could easily just carry the three tents ashore himself if it weren’t for the fact that Sabrina had crashed into the coral. They weren’t too far from shore, but Lt. Surge knew that nobody would want to sleep in a wet tent, and jumping into the water would definitely come with the risk of splashing the tents.

    Fortunately, he had a backup plan.

    “Alright, Magneton, let’s go.” Lt. Surge grabbed four of his pokéballs and released his Magneton. He’d been critiqued for having so many pokémon of the same type, but he ignored all of these critiques. If people worked with so many pokémon of the same typing more, maybe they would come to learn new things that they hadn’t considered even possible before.

    Magneton, as their name implied, gave off magnetic signals. Their magnetic energies often reacted to each others, and Lt. Surge had figured out how to use this to his advantage. One of his favorite things to do was have his four Magneton arrange themselves in a pyramid like formation. Three of them in a triangle at the bottom, and one of them at the top to finish the connection. The Magneton’s magnetic energies would create an energy field that was so strong that it was practically solid. Lt. Surge could actually stand firmly on this barrier, and he could trust his pokémon to not let him fall. And if they could carry people, they could carry objects.

    “I need you guys to take these things to land.” Lt. Surge dropped the tent bags to the ground. He stepped back to give his pokémon room to work their magic. The four magneton arranged themselves into the pyramid around the bags, established their magnetic connection, and were able to carry the tents.

    Lt. Surge watched his his pokémon for a few moments, just to make sure that they made it. There wasn’t anything to worry about. His Magneton could handle much harder tasks than this. Still, it was always better to be safe than sorry. If he had the time, he always liked to make sure that work was done right. And he always enjoyed watching his pokémon at work.

    Once Lt. Surge saw his Magneton drop off the tents on the beach he let his gaze wander further down the beach. He glanced briefly at Sabrina and Koga before he focused on the trees just past the beach. He crossed his arms when he saw Blaine stepping out of the forest. Now there was a man who looked like he was up to something. Not that that was news. The whole reason why Lt. Surge, Sabrina, and Koga were here with them was because Giovanni thought that Blaine was up to something.

    They just needed to come up with a way to find out what that something was.

    Even though Lt. Surge had a job to do, that task was pushed to the back of his mind when he saw Ash follow Blaine out from the trees, and the kid had a proud looking Charizard at his side.

    “Way to go, kid,” Lt. Surge smirked proudly. Despite Ash’s weird philosophy about evolving his pokémon, he had still evolved his Charmeleon. Evolved pokémon were always stronger than the non evolved ones, but Charizard was definitely up there when it came to brute strength. If Ash was going to fully evolve just one of his pokémon, Lt. Surge was glad that it was Charizard.

    Now Ash just needed to learn how to control that power, and if there was one thing that Lt. Surge knew, it was brute force.

    “Hey, Ash!” Lt. Surge waved to the kid, who smiled broadly and ran to the edge of the beach.

    “Hi!” Ash waved enthusiastically back. “Look! Charmeleon evolved!”

    “So I see.” Lt. Surge laughed. “Hang on, I’m coming over.” Lt. Surge brought two of his fingers to his mouth and he whistled sharply. The sound carried over to his Magneton , who obediently came back to his side. Without even having to ask his pokémon positioned themselves in the pyramid formation. He hung on to the top Magneton as he stepped onto the electric force.

    “Alright, guys, let’s go.” His Magneton floated him back over to the beach. Lt. Surge knew that he could just jump into the water and walk right over, but he wanted to get to the beach as quickly as he could. Besides, Ash probably hadn’t ever seen a Magneton do something like this before, and Lt. Surge liked to show off what he had discovered.

    Ash stared at the Magneton like they were pokémon that he had never seen before. “You’re-you’re floating!”

    Lt. Surge grinned as he jumped down from his Magneton’s magnetic force. “Ash, you haven’t lived until you’ve flown with your pokémon.” There was just nothing like it. And now, Ash could experience it for himself. Lt. Surge gestured at Charizard. “Do you two want to give it a try?”

    Ash and Charizard looked at each other in confusion. “...Flying?”

    Lt. Surge raised an eyebrow at the two of them. “He’s got wings, doesn’t he?”

    “Well, yeah,” Ash admitted. “But I haven’t really thought about flying with him before.”

    Lt. Surge shook his head. Ash was an imaginative and adventurous kid, and he’d never even thought about flying on his pokémon? “You’re so lucky I’m here.” Lt. Surge eyed Charizard, who huffed in annoyance and turned his face away. “Why don’t you give flying a try? Unless you think you can’t…”

    Charizard roared and blew some fire into the air. Just as Lt. Surge expected, Charizard rose to the challenge and rose up into the air with one powerful burst of his wings. Lt. Surge could tell by how nervous Ash seemed to be, and how unsteady Charizard looked that this was Charizard’s first time in the air. There was definitely room for improvement, but it wasn’t a bad first attempt.

    Charizard flew around for a few minutes to get used to his brand new wings before he came back down. Charizard looked proud of himself, and he was also the happiest that Lt. Surge had ever seen him. Evolution had been good for him.

    Lt. Surge put his hands on his hips and looked at Ash. “You want to try?”

    “Um, I don’t know.” Ash took a step back. “Maybe Charizard should be more used to flying?”

    “That would probably be best.” Blaine said. Lt. Surge rolled his eyes. Couldn’t the scientist learn how to mind his own business. Even though Blaine was wearing sunglasses, Lt. Surge could just feel his judgemental gaze. “Ash’s Charizard is smaller than the average Charizard is. He may not have the strength to support any riders.”

    Lt. Surge scowled. “If Charizard is bigger than Ash, he can support him.” In fact, Lt. Surge was positive that Charizard was strong enough to fly riders bigger than he was. Lt. Surge looked at Charizard and frowned at the disappointment in the pokémon’s eyes. Charizard was strong and eager to prove himself, so Lt. Surge said that they should give him the chance.

    “Will you ride Charizard after you see that he can take it?” Lt. Surge asked Ash.

    “O-of course.” Ash said quickly. There wasn’t even a trace of hesitation in his eyes.

    Lt. Surge nodded before he turned to Charizard, a look of determination in his eyes. “You ready to show these guys what you can do?”

    That stubborn fire returned to Charizard’s eyes as the pokémon roared. He was ready.

    “Let’s do this.” Lt. Surge gripped Charizard’s shoulder and hoisted himself up onto the pokémon’s back. Charizard grunted slightly at the unexpected weight, but he didn’t buckle. Lt. Surge had to adjust his position, as he was actually bigger than Charizard was, but he was able to find a position that he thought would work.

    “I don’t think-” Blaine began to voice his concerns, but Lt. Surge wasn’t going to hear it.

    “Too bad,” Lt. Surge put a hand on Charizard’s head. “You just need to get into the air, and you’ll do just fine.” The hardest part would be getting off the ground.

    Charizard huffed and bent his knees. Lt. Surge bent down closer to Charizard’s neck as the fire pokémon’s wings rose, and an instant later Charizard kicked off the ground at the same time as he flapped his wings. This was enough to get them off the ground, but if they didn’t get more air they wouldn’t be able to stay up there for very long.

    “Come on, Charizard,” Lt. Surge barked. “You call this flying?” Maybe it was a little harsh, but Lt. Surge knew from experience that people with stubborn fighting spirits listened best to strong commands. Charizard would push himself if he was pushed to do so. And if Charizard was able to fly Lt. Surge around, he would be able to fly anybody.

    Charizard let out a flamethrower attack as he continued to flap his wings strongly to get higher. It was clearly taking a lot out of him, but once Charizard got his momentum going, it only got easier and it wasn’t long before they were fifteen feet into the air.

    “Now, let’s try some real flying.” Lt. Surge leaned forward and pushed slightly on Charizard’s neck. Despite never being ridden before, Charizard understood the unspoken command. He flew forward, and when Lt. Surge increased the pressure on his neck, Charizard flew faster. He was a quick learner.

    Now to see if his reflexes were just as quick.

    “Pull up a little higher, but don’t lose this speed.” Lt. Surge said as he flew Charizard up over the water. “I want to try something.” Lt. Surge kept his eyes on the ocean below them as Charizard climbed higher into the air. Finally, when it looked like they were finally high enough and the ocean below was deep enough that they wouldn’t immediately hit the bottom of they fell, Lt. Surge made his move.

    “Alright, Charizard, dive!” Lt. Surge tightened his grip. Charizard looked back at him, but when he saw the seriousness in Lt. Surge’s eyes, he obeyed. Charizard gave one more powerful flap of his wings before he dove down. Lt. Surge didn’t bother telling Charizard to pull up just before he hit the water. Charizard, who was a fire pokémon, would know to avoid the water. And Charizard was extremely proud, so he would try to impress Lt. Surge by getting as close to the water as he could. He could do this.

    Charizard dove until he was about fifteen feet away from the water, at which point he began to pull up. Lt. Surge would normally want the pulling up to be sharper, but that was too much to expect from a first time flyer. And it was a good thing that Charizard pulled up when he did, because as it was he only just avoided diving straight into the water. Charizard’s feet brushed against the water, but no more than that. And with just a few flaps of his wings Charizard was flying parallel to the ocean, just a few feet above it.

    “That’s how you do it.” Lt. Surge cheered enthusiastically. Charizard roared proudly, as well he should. Lt. Surge thought that it was a good time for them to return to the shore, but when he glanced at the ship he thought of another thing he could do to that related to their mission.

    “Fly as close to the ship as you can.” Lt. Surge said. He smirked as Charizard did as he said. These past few days every time Lt. Surge saw Blaine he was writing in one of those notebooks of his. Lt. Surge found Blaine’s know-it-all attitude to be annoying, but the scientist’s obsession with knowing what’s going definitely made it easier to find the information that he was hiding. It was just a matter of knowing where to look.

    Lt. Surge knew that Blaine would either have his research and notes on him, or kept hidden on the ship. Considering how many books and research Blaine had brought with him, Lt. Surge doubted that he had brought it all ashore with him, which meant it was on the ship. Fortunately, Lt. Surge knew exactly where on the ship Blaine had stayed. If he was lucky, he’d be able to take a look in through the window and see what was going on in there.

    Lt. Surge pulled Charizard back to slow him down a bit as they neared the window that he needed. “Steady, Charizard,” Lt. Surge muttered. He leaned closer to the window and smirked at what he saw. Just as he thought, there were a lot of books in there. Like, a library’s worth of books. There was also a Ninetales in there, looking like it was guarding the door.

    “Looks like somebody’s got something to hide.” Lt. Surge leaned back as Charizard flew away from the window, but he leaned back too far and began to lose his balance. Lt. Surge yelped as he fell off of Charizard’s back back and landed right in the water.

    Falling into the water was always shocking and potentially painful if you hit it from high enough and at a bad angle. Charizard hadn’t been nearly high enough for Lt. Surge to get hurt from the fall itself, but the ship was resting on a coral reef near the shore, and Blaine’s room was so close to the front of the ship that Lt. Surge hit the coral just as much as he hit the water, and it was not fun.

    Lt. Surge fell head first into the water. He hit his head on the coral beneath the water, which knocked the air right out of him. This wasn’t a good thing to happen at all, but especially not in the water. Lt. Surge’s vision went dark for a few moments. He was vaguely aware of somebody grabbing his arms, but he felt it as though they were phantom pains, more of an impression than anything else.

    Lt. Surge little by little became more aware of his surroundings, and though it took a bit, he eventually became aware enough to notice that his head wasn’t under the water. A few moments later his vision began to clear up and he saw Charizard standing on the coral next to him, and both Ash and Blaine were there too.

    “Th-that was…” Lt. Surge groaned and put a hand to the back of his head. He winced when he felt a warm wetness there. He brought his hand back and frowned at the blood he saw on his fingers. He let out a low laugh. “-Not what I was expecting.”

    “Are you okay?” Ash looked concerned.

    “I’m fine.” Lt. Surge tried to get to his feet, but the same hands that had pulled him out of the water were now holding him down.

    “No, you’re not.” Blaine gently touched the cut on Lt. Surge’s head, which made the soldier cry out in pain and try to pull away from the scientist. Blaine wouldn’t let him move. “Do you realize how dangerous that was?”

    “Hey, I only fell because I was acting like an idiot.” Lt. Surge scowled as Blaine kept on probing at the cut at the back of his head. Was the man trying to cause him more pain? “If Ash doesn’t do that, he’ll be just fine.”

    “You don’t know that.” Blaine said sharply. Lt. Surge chose to ignore him.

    “Kid, how ‘bout you try flying out for yourself?” Lt. Surge suggested to Ash. Blaine all but groaned in indignation.

    “You must be delirious if you still think that’s a good idea.” Blaine finally let go of Lt. Surge’s arms and stood up. “In case you haven’t noticed, you’re bleeding.”

    “It’s not like they’re gonna go flying over the coral.” Lt. Surge rolled his eyes before turning to Ash. “I’m serious though, kid. Fly with Charizard. It’ll get you to trust him more, and if he knows you trust him, he’ll be more likely to listen to you.” Lt. Surge had seen this to be the case countless times.

    Ash, who had been watching the two adults in concern and slight confusion, finally looked excited at Lt. Surge’s suggestion. “Okay!” Ash eagerly turned to Charizard, just like Lt. Surge knew he would. Most kids were eager to take a ride on a pokémon, and Ash had already shown that he was eager to do anything that he could to be friends with his pokémon. This opportunity just wasn’t one that he would pass up.

    Charizard crouched and lowered his head so that Ash would have an easier time getting on his back. This was Ash’s first time on Charizard, but he looked completely comfortable on his pokémon’s back. He was ready for this.

    “Just be careful.” Blaine called out as Charizard took off into the air and Ash gave an excited shout.

    “Relax, old man.” Lt. Surge stood up and winced at the pounding in his head that came with the sudden movement. “Plenty of trainers ride on their pokémon. It’s not a big deal.”

    “It is a big deal if someone gets hurt.” Blaine shoved his hands inside his pockets. “You can act like a fool all you want, but leave Ash out of it. He‘s reckless enough without picking up bad habits from you.”

    Lt. Surge glared at Blaine. “How am I a bad influence? All I did was encourage the kid to fly around with his Charizard. If the pokémon can carry me, it can carry Ash.”

    “I told you before you went on that idiotic joy-ride that Ash’s Charizard is smaller than most.” Blaine said coldly. “We didn’t know for certain if he was strong enough to carry the weight of a child, and yet you, a fully grown adult, thought that it would be wise to just take off and see how things went.”

    Lt. Surge shrugged. “Look, you can study and observe things all you like, but if you really want to know what will happen if you do something, the fastest way to learn is to just do it.”

    “That’s also the fastest way to get yourself killed.” Blaine looked up at the sky where Ash and Charizard were flying around. He frowned, clearly displeased. “Train your pokémon and live your life however you please, but don’t force others to join you.”

    “Hey, Ash wanted to fly with his Charizard.” Lt. Surge crossed his arms. He wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything.

    “Was it his idea?” Blaine asked. Lt. Surge opened his mouth to answer, but Blaine cut him off before he could begin. “No, you were the one who decided what Ash should do with Charizard, just like how you’re the one who has decided that Ash should evolve his pokémon.”

    “They’ll be stronger.” Lt. Surge said automatically. He didn’t understand what the big deal was. So what if he thought that Ash should evolve his pokémon?

    “But it’s not your decision to make.” Blaine turned his attention back to Lt. Surge, who felt his blood boil. He may not be able to see other man’s eyes, but Blaine’s tone made it perfectly clear just how much contempt he was feeling. “I can’t stop you from mistreating your own pokémon, but I won’t let you teach others to do the same.” Blaine turned away from Lt. Surge and began the walk back to shore.

    Lt. Surge scowled as he watched Blaine leave. That scientist sure knew how to run his mouth. Who did he think he was? To say that Lt. Surge mistreated his pokémon, even though Blaine had barely even seen Lt. Surge interact with his pokémon before. What was he basing his judgement on? The fact that he didn’t like the advice that Lt. Surge gave to Ash?

    Lt. Surge glared up at the ship. He felt lousy. He hated it when people acted like they knew everything about him, when they really knew nothing at all. However, there was one good thing about this little chat with Blaine, and that was that Lt. Surge didn’t feel even the least bit guilty about snooping through his things.

    Why should he feel bad for spying on a man who had made it perfectly clear just how much he hated him?
     

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