So, I have a new chapter now. Sorry it's so late. I really have no excuse this time. I was one paragraph away from finishing for several weeks. I just got lazy. Still, it's here now!
Oh, and also, I've been working on an an RPG, so check it out if you like dinosaurs (read: shameless plug
And a general announcement: If you are on the PM list and have changed your user name, in the future, please notify me. I was able to figure everyone out this time, but it would help in the future.
Chapter Forty: Caves, Creeks, and Catfish
“All I’m saying is that you’ve caught two pokémon and evolved two more in the time it’s taken me to evolve one. Chances are that I’m either going to catch a new pokémon or evolve one soon, if not both.”
“Maybe,” Christy said as she opened the pokémon center door. “Or maybe I’ll keep catching and evolving pokémon, and you’ll stay behind. Route six does have a lot of pokémon, though, so you’ve got a chance today.”
After the two walked out the door and onto the road, they released their pokémon into the melting snow. “So, are we heading out now?” Linda asked.
“Yep,” said Christy. “Maybe we can get some training in while we’re out there.”
“Hey, Stinger,” Jake said, “I’ve got to ask you something.”
“I don’t know what happened yesterday,” Stinger said before Jake could specify what he was going to ask. “All I know is that the poison made me feel stronger.”
Jake nodded. “That sounds like poison heal. It can’t be, though. Only shroomish and breloom have that ability. I think this could be important.”
“Maybe we should call Professor Juniper about it,” Christy said. “She did tell us to report anything weird that happened to us.”
“Good idea,” Jake said as he reached for his pokénav. Before he could reach it, however, Christy was dialing the professor’s number.
“Christy?” said the woman on the screen of the video phone. “What do you need?”
“We were wondering if you could help us with something,” said Jake. “There seems to be something weird happening with my gliscor.”
Professor Juniper looked curious. “What is it?”
“Her ability doesn’t seem to be one of the usual ones for a gliscor.”
Juniper’s eyes widened before she stammered a reply. “Wh-what’s her ability?”
Jake and Christy were confused by her reaction, but Christy answered. “We think it’s poison heal. We were wondering if you knew anything that could help us.”
The professor nearly screamed. She finally got control of herself before speaking again. “Oh my god. Kids, I’ve got to go.”
Before Jake or Christy could ask what was going on, Juniper hung up.
“That was weird,” Christy said.
“I don’t know what else we would have expected from Professor Juniper,” Jake said. “Just be glad she wasn’t talking about muffins again.”
Leo and Joltine sat on a rock by the river as Leo examined a map on his pokénav.
“I told you we were lost,” said the girl.
“We’re not lost!” Leo said. “I’m just not sure where we are.”
“I’ll tell you where we are. We’re in the middle of nowhere. Why don’t we just send Flappy or Jasmine above the trees to look for the path?”
“We’re not lost!” Leo said again. “I’m going to find our position on the map as soon as it gets signal!”
“We should never have taken your ‘shortcut’ off the path,” Joltine said. “Since it’s your fault we’re stuck out here, I think I should be able to try to get us out.”
“No! I can do it!”
“Fine,” Joltine said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’m going to take a walk.”
“Yeah, okay,” Leo said, still staring at his pokénav. She sighed and walked into the woods.
“Jasmine, come on out,” she said.
“What the hell?” the emolga said as she appeared on the forest floor. “I was just getting a nice nap.”
“Nice to see you, too,” Joltine said. “I need you to fly over the trees and see where we are.”
“Fine,” said Jasmine. “I guess Leo’s too stubborn to send out Flappy.” Receiving a nod from her trainer, she jumped onto a tree and started climbing. After reaching the top of the canopy, she jumped out and spread out her wings, gliding around the treetops for a few moments before returning to her trainer through the branches.
“We’re about a day’s walk to the cave entrance,” Jasmine said. “If we follow the river about twenty minutes north of here, we can get there without much trouble.”
Joltine looked at her emolga with confusion. “A day’s walk? How is that possible? We were half a day’s walk away when we started yesterday morning!”
“Apparently, your genius boyfriend is as skilled a navigator as he is a deep thinker. I assume we ended up walking in the opposite direction we were supposed to be walking for about a half a day, and then walked in circles for the rest of the day.”
“So what happened today?” Joltine asked.
“Honestly, I’m pretty sure he’s trying
to keep us lost at this point. That, or he’s a less competent traveler than a drunk spinda in Victory Road.”
Joltine sighed. “I guess I’ll have to point him in the right direction. Come on back, Jasmine.”
After returning the electric type to her pokéball, Joltine stepped back into the clearing to find Leo still fiddling with his pokénav. “Hey, Joltine. That was fast. I’ve almost got this thing working!”
“Hey, Leo,” Joltine said. “Have you tried looking for landmarks instead of a GPS signal?”
“Good idea,” he said. “But there aren’t many features out here besides the trees.”
“How about the river we passed?” Joltine asked. They hadn’t walked past the river at all, but she needed to convince him to look for the river.
“What river?” Leo asked.
“You mean you didn’t hear it? I could hear the water about twenty minutes before we stopped walking. Maybe we should head back up, and your map could take us to the cave from there.”
“Great idea!” Leo said. “We’ll head out now.”
“So, are we there yet?” Tails asked as he and Leaf walked along the forest path alongside their trainers.
Leaf rolled her eyes. “Tail, it’s a six hour walk, and we started one hour ago. How on earth would we be there already?”
Tails looked about to argue, but decided against it. “Good point.”
Christy and Jake had been ignoring their starters until Christy cupped her hand to her ear. “Hey! I can hear the river from here!”
Jake and the two pokémon stood still and listened for the sound of rushing water. “Hey,” Tails said. “I hear it too!”
“So do I,” said Leaf.
Jake nodded. “We should head over and check it out.”
The group picked up speed and headed towards the source of the noise. The sound grew louder until they reached a hole in the wall of trees, revealing a river at least one hundred feet across, with several chunks of ice flowing through it.
“Wow,” Tails said. “That’s a big river.”
“Really, Tails? I didn’t notice.” Leaf stepped closer to the bank, testing it with her foot. “It’s mostly frozen. We can walk along it until we find the first bridge.”
“Cool,” said Tails. “Jake, Leaf says it’s safe.” The grovyle hopped off of the dirt ledge onto the mud. Christy followed him, landing on the hardened mud and walking along the bank.
“Come on, Jake,” Christy said. “Let’s go.”
“Coming,” Jake said. He hopped onto the mud, but one of his feet sunk into the muck. Instead of pulling his foot out, however, Jake screamed as a yellow aura surrounded his body for a few moments before he twitched a few times and fell to the ground.
“I say, my good fellow, please do watch where you step. You nearly crushed me there!”
“Huh?” Christy said as she looked around. “Who said that?”
“I did, madam,” said the voice in a strong British accent. “Is that chap quite alright?”
Christy was still unable to find the source of the voice as Jake pulled himself to his feet. From the hole he had stepped in, however, she did see something move. A brown fin reached out of the mud and pulled up a head of the same color. It was met by four quizzical looks as it was fitted with a top hat and monocle.
“Hey,” Jake said as he tried to ignore the odd choice of clothing. “Could you tell the grovyle and servine who that voice belongs to?”
“I assure you, my good man, that won’t be necessary. The voice belongs to me, after all.” Jake and Christy stared open mouthed at the stunfisk.
“But…” Christy said. “But… you’re a wild pokémon.”
The stunfisk’s beak twisted into a frown. “I most certainly am not! I am one of the most civilized pokémon you’ll ever have the good fortune to come across!” The stunfisk pulled himself completely out of the hole. “The sheer audacity of that – What? What are you staring at?”
“Your tail,” Jake said. “Its…blue.”
“Yes,” the stunfisk said in annoyance. “I happen to be of a rare variety of stunfisk. Now, if you’ll apologize, I’ll be on my way.”
“Apologize?” Jake asked, breaking away from the strange situation he was in. “You
“It’s an involuntary reflex, I’ll have you know, and besides, you stepped on me!”
“Well, that doesn’t mean that –”
“Both of you, shut up!” Christy said. “Now, let’s figure this out. You, stunfisk, you can speak English without a translator?”
“My name isn’t “stunfisk”. My name is Cornelius William Goodfellow. And to answer your question, yes, obviously. I’ve always been fascinated with your human culture, and I decided to learn human speech. To ask you a question, why are you waltzing through the mud in the middle of winter?”
“We’re trainers,” Christy said, still unnerved by the pokémon’s speech. “We’re trying to get to Mistralton City, and this is the quickest route.”
“Wait,” Tails said. “How did you keep the monocle and top hat clean when you were buried in the mud?”
“Ah, trainers,” Cornelius said, ignoring the grovyle. “I consider battles a barbaric sport, but to each their own, I suppose. You seem like decent people, anyway. I trust you aren’t connected with those awful blokes in the red uniforms?”
Jake and Christy’s eyes widened even more. “Team Legend?” Christy said. “Hell no! They’ve tried to kill us about three times in the last few months!”
“And how did you learn English if you’ve lived in the mud by a river your whole life?” Tails asked.
“I see,” Cornelius said. “Quite unfortunate. The savages came and tore up the whole bloody forest searching for two trainers. Might that be you two?”
“And why are you speaking in a British accent if we live nowhere near Britain?”
“Probably,” Jake said. “I guess Christmas break is over. We’re going to need to find a good hiding spot tonight.”
“I just might be able to help with that,” Cornelius said. “Chargestone Cave is just an hour downriver. You could stay there for the night.”
“That can’t be right,” Leaf said. “It’s at least five hours away.”
“Yes, if you’re walking,” Cornelius said. “If you float down, it only takes one.”
“Float down?” Christy asked. “But it’s the middle of winter, and we don’t have a boat. How are we supposed to float down?”
“Well, my dear, you simply surf down on one of your pokémon.” The travelers blinked at the stunfisk. “Oh, please don’t tell me you came here without a pokémon that knows surf.”
“How were we supposed to know we’d need it?” Christy asked.
“You can’t be serious,” Cornelius said. “There’s a bloody river flowing straight down the middle of the forest, you dimwits! How do you expect to get to get to Mistralton without using surf?”
“Oh,” Jake said. “I guess we never thought of that.”
“Oh, for the love of… I know how to surf, and I’ve been meaning to head down to Chargestone Cave anyway. I can carry one of you if you’d like, but you’ll have to find a way to get the other one down.”
Before anyone else could speak up, Tails waved his hand in the air. “Ooh, ooh! Me and Jake can get there ourselves. You can take Christy and Leaf.”
“Tails,” Jake said. “I hope for your sake you have an actual plan that doesn’t involve hypothermia or drowning.” The grovyle merely smiled in response.
“Very well, then,” Cornelius said, “I’ll take the two ladies down, while you two gentlemen find a way to follow. Hop on.”
Christy shrugged and returned the servine to her pokéball, hopping onto the stunfisk’s back. “Cheerio,” Cornelius said as his tail began vibrating at rapid speeds, propelling him downstream.
“Well,” Jake said, “I’m going to regret asking this, but what were you planning?”
“Tails, have I ever told you that you’re a complete idiot?” Jake asked as he gripped a makeshift raft anchored to the shore by a short vine.
“Several times,” Tails answered. He gave a final tug at the vines holding the branches together and used leaf blade to sever the vine holding them in place.
The raft’s initial slow speed disappeared quickly as it began tearing down the river. Both Jake and Tails held on to the raft for dear life. “Tails,” Jake said, shouting to be heard over the current, “If we make it to the cave alive, I’m going to kill you.”
“Good to know,” Tails said. “Oh, and there’s probably a waterfall up ahead, so I’d hold on.”
“A waterfall?” Jake said. “What makes you say that?”
“Don’t you remember the movies?” Tails said. “There’s always a waterfall right about here.”
Jake rolled his eyes. “This isn’t a movie, Tails. Just because something would be dramatic doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”
“Fine,” Tails said. “Just wait thirty seconds until the ominous roaring pops up in the background.” As he said this, the sound of rushing water appeared and the raft began speeding up. “Told you.”
“Damn,” Jake said. The river turned a corner, and the horizon became visible with water falling over it. “Oh, crap,” he said as the raft pulled closer and closer to the apparent edge of the earth. “I swear, Tails, you’re going to wish you were never born.”
“Less talking, more holding on.” As the raft reached the waterfall, Jake and Tails had just enough time to see the water twenty feet below them before the raft tipped over and fell into the pool at the bottom.
Christy yawned and looked at her watch. It had already been three hours since she and Cornelius had arrived at the cave. Cornelius was sitting in a corner, contemplating something unknown, and Leaf was sitting next to Christy, watching the entrance to the cave. “Hey, Leaf,” Christy said, “Where do you think Jake and Tails are?”
“I’d say there’s an equal chance of them being trapped on the shore somewhere, being at the bottom of the river and having somehow taken a wrong turn on a river without any forks in it.”
“Well I hope they show up soon,” Christy said. “It’s getting late, and –”
“We’re here,” said an angry-looking Jake as he and Tails walked into the cave. “This moron decided to take us over a waterfall in a homemade raft, and we had to stop to dry off and
make another raft before coming down the river. I think Buzz had a little too much fun drying us off with electroweb.”
“Look at the bright side,” Tails said. “At least we weren’t in that canoe that we accidentally knocked into the school of basculin. I still think that was your teacher.”
“Oh, yes,” Cornelius said, ignoring Tails’ comment as he flopped over to the group. “I probably should have mentioned the waterfall. You see, surfing pokémon have no problem with them, at least on the way down. Rafts, on the other hand, never seem to fare quite so well.”
“Well, thanks for the warning,” Jake said. He walked over to a corner and set down his bag, which was, remarkably, still dry. “It’s getting late, and we’re not going to get much further tonight. We might as well set up camp.”
“Alright, then,” Cornelius said. “Since you four seem to have absolutely no clue how to survive here, I’ll stay with you for tonight.”
“Cool!” Tails said. “Sleepover! Leaf, prepare the root beer!”
“If I might ask, however,” Cornelius said, “could you kindly keep the grovyle away from me?”
“I’ll take care of that,” Jake said as he pulled out Tails’ pokéball.
“Goodnight, everyone!” Tails said as he touched the button on the front of the ball, a flash of light sucking him inside.
“See you in the morning,” Leaf said as she tapped her own ball on Christy’s belt.
“Sleep tight,” Cornelius said, flopping back over to his corner.
“So, then,” Jake said, “I guess that leaves you and me to set up the rest of the camp,” Jake said. He looked to his left to see Christy snoring in her sleeping bag. “Fine then. I’ll do it myself.”