Yay, it's a new SS chapter. Slightly long wait, but come on, this is SS, who notices? Fun happens in this chapter. ---------------------------------------------------- Alex and Tschel were actually making pretty good time to Terri City, considering that their means of transportation for at least half of the way was by walking. For the other half, they could hop on the tour bus that led from the caves nearby to the actual city. Oddly enough it was Tschel who wasn’t faring well for the walking. “It’s only six,” Alex said after the seventh or eighth time Tschel had suggested calling it a day. “Sun doesn’t go down for two more hours, and it’s about four to the Pokémon Center at the caves. We walk two hours in the dark and we avoid having to spend the night camping out.” Tschel sighed and groaned. He could always call it a night and tell Alex to go on ahead, but he didn’t want to have Alex waiting for several hours at the Pokémon Center waiting for him. He had pretty good walking stamina, although to be fair, he had been walking all day. If Rueni City had one thing going for it aside from boasting the toughest gym leaders in the League, it was that it was the most isolated city in the League. A mountain range cut it off from the rest of the mainland, and on the other side of the city was the ocean. Almost every other city had a bus line or monorail to another city, but it simply wasn’t feasible to set up something connecting Rueni to Terri, the most nearby city. Marril said something that Tschel didn’t quite catch. Although, Tschel thought, he wouldn’t have understood it anyway. “You might want to watch out,” Alex called to Tschel, who was lagging behind. “Marril says there’s a swarm of Duskull headed our way.” Tschel groaned again. While he was an exceptionally good trainer, he simply wasn’t an outdoors person. Alex was no forester or what-have-you, but he was a lot better at trekking outdoors than Tschel was. “Umbreon,” Tschel said, calling out the dark Pokémon, “if you see any Duskull, fight ‘em off, will ya?” Umbreon nodded and followed Tschel, looking around vigilantly. After about ten minutes of following, it decided that it might as well scout ahead, and bounded past Tschel, as well as nearly tripping Alex. Tschel heard Alex mutter sourly in front of him as Umbreon ran ahead into the slowly spreading darkness that was starting to envelop the forest they were in. He didn’t think about Umbreon at all until about thirty seconds later, when he saw several glowing yellow rings charging at him, squealing in fear. Alex stopped suddenly and Marril’s fur stood on end. Tschel looked past the two and nearly had a heart attack. There were at least thirty Dusclops moving slowly towards them. Tschel jumped forwards and in front of Alex, throwing out three other pokéballs. “Everyone beat those things back!” Umbreon spat shadow balls indiscriminately while Espeon’s eyes glowed and several Dusclops fell to the ground. Flareon breathed fire in the general direction of the mob, doing a good job of setting the forest on fire too, while Jolteon electrified random Dusclops. Alex recovered from the shock of seeing so many ghosts rather quickly. “Tschel you idiot!” Tschel twitched and froze. Alex sighed dejectedly. “Marril, Rain Dance while I see what I can do about that fire.” Tschel blinked. Alex didn’t even seem to care about the Dusclops because of the forest fire Tschel accidentally had Flareon start. He noticed he was really out of it, because he heard Gyarados roar and saw a huge wave of water envelop a good deal of the surrounding forest. Random Hydro Pumps splashed into especially intense areas of the flames, and his Eeveelutions were huddled around his legs. Recalling them, Tschel felt like a huge idiot. He’d tried to take on a swarm of Dusclops by himself and had wound up setting the forest on fire. He didn’t know why, but he felt worse than he figured he ought to have. Alex walked past Tschel and smiled at him. “Oh get that look off your face. I’m not mad at you or anything.” He didn’t know why, but that sounded better than he figured it ought to have. The following morning, David and Sam were riding on Gilgamesh, Sam’s Dragonite, above the treetops of the forest near Rueni towards Terri City, where they planned to catch a monorail to Kirara City. David pointed to a scorched and rather waterlogged area of the forest about half a kilometre to their right. “Hey, can you set down there?” The sun barely into the sky caused the forest to be darker than either would have liked. Gilgamesh followed behind David and Sam as the two headed into the scorched area. “What the heck caused this?” David wondered. “Forest fire,” Sam said as if she were talking to a child. “All the water’s probably from someone’s water Pokémon putting out the fire.” “I know that,” David muttered. “Just wondering why it’s such a large area and why I’m sensing so many weird things in this area.” He walked over to a fallen tree on the outskirts of the burned area, which had a darker than normal shadow under it. He frowned and tipped the log over. A Dusclops jumped out—so that was what caused that shadow, David thought—and at least five of its friends came out of the forest at him. “The night’s waning,” Sam called, “just keep them busy for a while and they’ll leave on their own!” David scowled. Sam was no help. “Go, Graveler! Nidoking! Charizard!” His three Pokémon put themselves between the horde of ghosts and himself. David, however, was left with one Dusclops in front of him. “Rock Throw!” David shouted, “Blizzard, Wing Attack!” His Pokémon went about using their assigned attacks, and David concentrated on the Dusclops in front of him. Fears of going insane forgotten to the adrenaline, David knew that trying to do anything psychically to the ghost was a waste of time. Doing something to the air around it was, however, not. He concentrated on the air and sent it in a tightly-spinning hurricane, catching the ghost and sending it hurtling. A thump came from behind him. Great. Nidoking was down. David spun and shouted the first thing that came to mind. “Graveler, use Earthquake!” David tumbled as the tremors knocked the ground apart underneath him. However, the Dusclops were knocked aside in a similar fashion. Two turned to leave after the shaking had stopped. Charizard roared, and the rest turned to flee. David turned and ran into the forest behind him. Acting on a whim, he found the Dusclops that he’d sent spiralling upwards. “Pokéball, go!” David shouted as he threw an Ultra Ball at it. Dusclops went inside and the ball shook once. Twice. Three times. Four times. Then it fell silent. David picked it up, shrunk it, and put it into his pocket. Not interrupting his slow walk as he walked back to Sam when he recalled his Pokémon, David gave her what he imagined was a rather harsh look. “Thanks for all the help,” he said sarcastically. Sam shrugged. “I figured you could handle it by yourself, and you did. The sunlight chased them off anyways, and it looks like you caught one of them too.” David muttered something, and then said, “Yeah, well, doesn’t say much about you when you don’t even help a guy.” Sam turned to Gilgamesh, waving her hand dismissively. “Whatever.” She knew that David had to win the fight on his own. It was good for his self-confidence to do something himself and without help. Plus, it showed him that he wouldn’t go mad simply by using his psychic abilities. She climbed up onto Gilgamesh’s back and David followed suit a few seconds later. Marril was most indignant. Its trainer, forgetting it like that! The nerve! Oh, Alex had always joked that if it kept on sleeping in like that, he’d leave it behind, but it never thought its trainer ever would. It walked down the hall of the Pokémon Center, wondering where its trainer had gotten. While it was mad, it was more scared of being abandoned. Alex’s scent was detectable, although Marril noted sourly that mice were terrible at following scent trails. Running though the halls, Marril was surprised to turn the corner and bump into someone’s legs. Ouch. It looked up. Oh, there was Alex. Now it was safe to act angry. “Marril, mar,” Marril said. “Marril mar, Marril.” “Nice to see you too,” Alex said, picking up Marril. “Learned your lesson?” “Mar!” Marril said, looking away to the left. To its left was Tschel. Marril didn’t really like the guy, although most of that was for the reason that Tschel treated it like it was simply another Pokémon. “Hey, don’t act all angry,” Alex said, hugging Marril. “I didn’t mean to scare you or anything like that, I just wanted to teach you not to sleep in so late.” Marril tried to stay angry, although it failed spectacularly. It took a few minutes to realise, but Marril found itself crying. “Wow,” Tschel commented, “you really scared it.” “I didn’t mean to,” Alex said, although everyone present already knew that. “Well, now that Marril’s here, we should be going.” As they walked out of the Pokémon Center, Tschel nodded towards Marril. “You know, you baby that thing too much.” “I do not,” Alex said, still holding Marril. “It almost never has to walk anywhere, and whenever it gets into a bad mood you always just give in to it,” Tschel said. “Face it, Alex, you’re really babying that thing.” Marril huffed in offence. “Could you at least not call it ‘that thing’?” Alex asked. Tschel almost started to say something in rebuttal, but realised that Alex was asking a fair question. Fifteen minutes later, they were on the bus headed for Terri City, and Marril had forgotten entirely about being angry with Alex. ---------------------------------------------------- Well, we actually see a nickname for once. Fun fun fun. Next chapter goes up when it goes up.