Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Putting A Pin In Lavender Town

Hiking down from the Rock Tunnel, Pokémon Tower juts out above the rocky hills that nestle the Lavender Valley. This prominent feature of Lavender Town was where Pokémon owners came to mourn and often inter their deceased Pokémon. I really didn't have much of an interest in visiting a Pokémon graveyard, but it was hard not to be awed by the dominating tower as you approach the town. Even after entering the sleepy little town, there wasn't much else remarkable about Lavender.
Emails from Professor Oak indicated there was a chance the local Pokémon expert had discovered a new type of Pokémon here in Lavender. That was pretty exciting! I had a chance at being a part of something new. There was a problem, of course. This local expert, Mr. Fuji, was nowhere to be found. No one had seen or heard from him in days. I spent an entire day poking around Lavender Town, talking to the locals, but no one had seen or heard anything from Mr. Fuji. The town was quite abuzz about "ghosts" in the tower, however. I wondered if these ghosts be the Pokémon that Professor Oak had sent me to investigate.
Despite having very little interest in wandering around a vertical graveyard, eventually the Pokémon Tower was the last place I had left to search for Mr. Fuji or new Pokémon sightings. It was early evening when I approached the tower. I figured if I was going to find any ghosts lingering about it would be after the sun set. Mind you, I really was skeptical about ghosts in the tower. The locals seemed to be deathly afraid of the place since recent sightings. They rarely left the ground floor if they went to mourn and no one would be caught inside after dark. Apparently, Mr. Fuji wasn't the only person to go missing in relation to this tower at night. It was certainly mysterious, but I didn't believe in ghosts.
"Yo." A voice called out to me as I made my way up the steps to the tower which was settled on a small, rocky hill. I looked up from my feet to see the young trainer I had met many weeks ago in Viridian City outside the Viridian City Gym. "We haven't been properly introduced," he said as he made his way down the stairs towards me. "I'm Blue."
"I've heard of you," I muttered. Blue was one of the trainers competing aboard the S.S. Anne, but I had not seen him in Vermilion City. I had only heard he was doing exceptionally well in the advanced trainer bracket. "I'm Fox," I offered.
"Yeah. I know. Gramps has you out here working on his Pokédex. Same as me." Blue pulled a Pokédex out of his pocket with a scowl. I could tell from his look that Pokémon research bored him to tears. "He also sent me to this tower - same as you, I assume."
"Yeah," I admitted.
"Well, don't bother. There's nothing we can learn here." He began descending the stairs again, nearly pushing me out of his way with his shoulder as he passed by. "Come on. Let's battle."
"Right here? Now?" I asked as I turned to follow after him.
"Yeah. There's something I need to see for myself." Blue spoke without turning to look at me. He was singularly focused now.
Official Art of Blue

"I want to do this a bit differently, cause I don't have a lot of time to waste on rookie trainers like you," Blue said. "You pick your best Pokémon. We'll do a one-on-one battle. Your best against… one of mine I think I can beat you with. I need to see how much you've improved."
Wow. I was amazed at his cockiness. I knew Blue was a rising star in Pokémon training in Kanto, but I couldn't believe the size of his ego even then. I pushed that aside and accepted his challenge. I thought carefully about which Pokémon to choose. Dustin the Hypno was clearly the strongest on my team, but Royal - now a formidable Gyrados - was tempting. I held both Poké Balls in my hands and thought about the pros and cons of each one. Ultimately, I decided on Dustin. He had far fewer weaknesses than a Gyrados, and with Dream Eater had a way to convert the psychic energy of his opponent into his own power.
"Let's do this," I said firmly as I tossed out Dustin.
"Interesting," Blue offered. "I didn't think you would have such an advanced Pokémon." He seemed pleased, though it was difficult to tell. "Hmm. Charmeleon." He flicked a Poké Ball in my direction and a large Charmeleon appeared between us.
Blue's Charmeleon was fast. It rushed in and slashed at Dustin who was hit hard. Dustin launched a psychic attack aimed to confuse the Charmeleon, but it only inflicted some psychic pain. Charmeleon reared back and spit a ball of fire out of its maw which slammed into Dustin's chest, scattering embers all around us. All the while Dustin was slowly, methodically swinging his pendulum that he held in his left hand. Before Charmeleon could land another blow, he was lying on the ground sound asleep. Dustin ambled forward and crouched down near Charmeleon to begin devouring his dreams.
"Enough." Blue was done. "I've seen enough."
"That's it?" I asked.
"You will win. Your Hypno is well trained. That's a powerful combination. I don't need to see any more. Charmeleon doesn't need to suffer. But now that I know what you're capable of, I need your help." Blue withdrew his Charmeleon and matching him I withdrew Dustin.
"What kind of help?" I asked.
"Something big is going down in Celadon City. I need you there."
"What about the research Professor Oak wants done?" I asked.
"Who cares? Gramps will live. This tower isn't going anywhere, and besides I told you its pointless right now. Right now, we need you in Celadon City."
"What's in Celadon?" I asked out of curiosity.
Blue stepped in close. "Team Rocket," he stated.
"What?" I took a step back in surprise. At first I thought he was trying to recruit me. I thought that Professor Oak's grandson was perhaps a member of a criminal organization.
"I want to take them down," he stated casually. "Not just me. There are other trainers involved. Some gym leaders, too. It's going to be big and we need all the able trainers we can find to help out. I just need everyone to be in place when we hit them and make it clear they aren't welcome in Kanto any more."
"Oh!" I said in surprise. "Wow. That's … not what I expected."
"Yeah. No one is going to expect a bunch of kids with their pets to flush out a massive criminal organization, but we're sick of them and we're sick of how they treat Pokémon and how they crap all over League rules and traditions. They have to go. Once everyone is in position, we're going to hit them hard at their base of operations in Celadon, and there are others trying to get into Saffron to see what's going on there, too. Are you in?" he asked.
Being completely honest, the whole thing felt way out of my league. We were just teenagers! How were we going to stand up to gangsters? What was the plan? What did Blue want me to do? It was pretty overwhelming, but at the same time I thought of losing Nibbles. I thought of Saffron City on a constant lock down. I thought of the trouble caused in Cerulean when I had been passing through. Team Rocket was a Kanto problem, but even so their reach had affected me as well. If Blue thought I could help, shouldn't I help? I don't know what I was thinking, but Blue's confidence was infectious. "I am in. I'll head to Celadon tomorrow morning."
"Good," Blue said and then brushed past me again.
"Smell ya later, Fox."

Current Team:
Attacks in Blue are recently learned.

Bill's Storage: Kiwi (Pidgeotto) & Vesper (Zubat)

Old Man Daycare: Charlie (Pidgey)


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