"Prepare for trouble!"
Huh. I was already prepared for trouble.
"Make it double!"
"To protect the world from devastation!"
"To unite all peoples within our nation!"
I looked around me. It seemed to be a male and female voice, but I had no idea where the sources were.
"To denounce the evils of truth and love!"
"To extend our reach from the stars above!"
As she said that word, a redheaded female jumped down from a tree and landed right in front of me. I cringed. I was a bit sick of having things jump on me from trees.
Another figure leapt down, and landed smoothly. It was a guy, not bad looking, holding a rose in one hand.
"Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light!"
"Surrender now or prepare to fight!"
"MeOWTH, dat's right!"
A third figure jumped down. It was a cat Pokemon, one I recognised.
"A talking Meowth?" I blinked. "Wow, you guys must be great trainers."
"That we are," smiled the female, running a hand through her hair.
"You numbskull! Meowth taught myself to talk," said the cat.
"Okay," I said. I still was uncertain about these people. Their speech hadn't sounded promising, but people, at least, didn't have special powers so I didn't have to be worried about them. Humans are human.
"Ahem, now down to business. You are a Pokemon trainer, aren't you, little girl?"
"How old are YOU, calling me little girl?"
It was a pet peeve of mine.
"Older and wiser than you, kid. Are you a trainer?"
"In the loosest sense of the word," I replied.
"Fabulous. Hand over all your Pokemon!"
I blinked. "What for?"
"What do you mean what for? We're Team Rocket! We don't need a reason to steal Pokemon!"
"You've never heard of Team Rocket?"
The guy was staring at me in dumb disbelief.
I hadn't, actually. Heard of them, I mean. Maybe I should've kept up with current affairs more, but I thought the news was boring on TV.
"Um, should I have?"
That was obviously the wrong thing to say. Jessie and James both adopted outraged expressions.
"You've never heard of the mighty and gorgeous Team Rocket?"
"We've established that."
I was wondering what was with these guys. I'd never met anyone who acted so strangely.
I could see the redhead was about to say something, but I interjected. "What are you doing out here, anyway?"
"Actually, we came to look for the boss' Persian," admitted James, "have you seen it?"
"It ran away," said the Meowth, and I could've sworn I detected a glimmer of happiness in his eyes when he said that.
"Well, I did see a Persian last night, but I don't know where it is now."
"It's around here?"
"In this forest?"
The trio instantly whirled and headed off through the bushes. I could hear them arguing for a long way as they got further and further away.
"The boss will love us if we get his Persian back!"
"Can't we jus' leave dat stupid Persian lost out in da woods?"
"Now Meowth, think logically!"
"I am thinkin' logically, an' if da Persian don't come back, Meowth can be top cat again."
"You'll be top cat if you help the boss by finding that Persian!"
"That don't make no sense."
"Well, too bad! We're gonna find it!"
"You have no idea where it is."
"Well, that girl back there said it was around here somewhere."
"You don't even know dat girl. And ya numbskulls forgot ta take her Pokemon."
"Ah who cares, this is more important."
"Nothin's more important dan stealin' Pokemon!"
After that, I couldn't really hear them any more. I'll admit, that was something of a relief.
I tried to forget them and turned back to my book. But I'll admit I couldn't help laughing a little at their theatrics.
That day was thoroughly boring, uneventful, and as such, a great day. I didn't see Team Rocket again, but I didn't see any other people either.
It felt weird living out of my backpack. Travelling was kind of uncomfortable, and there was no room to put anything except in my bag. But besides that, it was a beautiful day, and the night passed uneventfully. My nervousness around the forest was fading.
I was just by a lake, collecting some water, the next evening and deciding that it would be a good place to spend the night. That part of the forest was totally untouched by man, you could tell.
I wasn't completely stupid, and I knew that even though I was completely lost, food was always possible to come by in a forest.
So I started fishing.
Now, this is no mean feat at any time, especially when strong Pokemon can live in the water. But for someone who has never fished before, who has no idea about technique or even the right time of day to fish, and who doesn't even have any equipment, it is a challenge, to say the least.
So, I used my brains and my initiative.
That's a joke, by the way.
What I really did was start pacing by the water's edge, talking loudly.
"Hey, fish! Wanna come help me out here? I'd really like to eat you! Come oooon! I'm waiting you know. Food doesn't grow on trees. Oh hang on, yes it does. Well, I don't care, I'm a carnivore and I need my meat, so how about it?"
They say talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. But who else is there to talk to?
And then, to my amazement, the water rippled and something *did* come out!
It was clearly a Pokemon, because it made a weird noise unlike any fish. I couldn't work out what it was saying though, and I certainly didn't remember it from the Pokemon guide.
It looked at me. I looked at it.
"Hello," I said, happily.
"Pal, you're cute!"
"So, you heard me call ya, did you?"
"Aren'tcha gonna reply? Hey hey?"
You tend to act like an idiot when there are no people around to see.
It suddenly made a squealing noise and it was laughing. I feigned sadness.
"You're laughing at me? How cold!"
It stopped abuptly and blinked again.
"You like blinking, don't you. What's your name?"
"Nii," it said.
"Er, sure. You understand what I'm saying, right?"
It nodded uncertainly.
"Wow, it's nice to hang out with someone who knows what I'm saying. I mean, you try talking to trees, but they're pretty rude. They never reply. Don't make good conversation at all!"
The water Pokemon laughed again and squirted water in my face.
"Showoff," I scolded, "take this!"
Within five minutes, both of us were totally soaked. It would be cold that night, but I didn't care. I had a new Pokemon.
Pokemon capture was pretty easy, really. I just asked it and it agreed. So now it was asleep in its Pokeball while I was outside, wishing I could join it. Would be warmer in there, anyway.
The day following and the next day were uneventful. My new Pokemon helped me to fish. I still couldn't find what it was called when I looked it up.
I travelled more, heading more or less in a straight line. I knew I'd come out to civilisation at some stage, if I continued walking. And then I did.
I stumbled up a sloping path - and faint traces that it was a path had appeared - and found myself looking over a valley. And there, there was quite a city.
I could hear cars. Traffic! People!
I ran down the hill. It'd been about a week by myself, only seeing the weird plant lover kid and Team Rocket. The forest only had weirdos in it, and I'd almost become one.
I wanted to see Clefairy again, so I immediately searched for the recommended building...
When I opened the door to the Pokemon Center, a duo of pink Pokemon immediately ran up to me.
"Chansey!" one said, in alarm, and the two picked me up.
"Hey! Put me down!"
"Chansey!" came a human voice.
I looked up, as the two Chansey dropped me on the floor. I painfully picked myself up.
"Isn't this a Pokemon Center?" I groaned.
The human, which turned out to be a tall lady with pink hair, laughed. I had a real urge to hit her. Well might she laugh while her stupid Pokemon had thrown me on the floor.
"Oh, I'm sorry. You do look awfully dishevelled, I think Chansey thought you were the patient! Isn't that funny?"
"Um, I don't think so," I groaned, "but can you just look after my Clefairy?"
I gave her the Pokeball and she smiled. "Of course. I'll help your Pokemon right away. Please follow me."
I did so, and one of the Chansey, which I took an immediate dislike to, followed me.
We went into what I guessed was an examination room, and she opened Clefairy's Pokeball. My first little Pokemon came out on the bench, unmoving, of course.
"Oh, this shouldn't take too long," she said. "But I'll give you some potions and the like to make sure it won't happen again."
As I walked out, with Clefairy sitting on my head whistling, I was stopped by a girl.
She looked about my age, with slightly spikey blonde hair, a nice face and a conservative style of dress. In her arms, she held a slightly strange-looking Pokemon.
She looked very normal, which was why I was suprised when she jumped out at me and stuck her finger in my face.
"You're on a Pokemon journey!" she accused.
I took a step back and nodded. "Uh... hello."
"Hi!" she said enthusiastically, "My name's Terri, what's yours?"
Was it too much to ask that I not meet ONE normal person? "Um, I'm Aurora."
She looked at me, seeming to wait for something.
"Your, uh, Vulpix is very cute."
Her face lit up.
"You're it! You're the one!"