"Well, you know your Pokemon," said Misty, standing up. "Now, I'm itching for a fight!"
I nodded. "Alright. Let's go."
So we did. I didn't know what I was doing, but Misty seemed nice enough, so I wasn't intimidated.
"Ready, Aurora? We use two Pokemon each. Last Pokemon standing - or swimming - wins! Okay?"
"Right! Go, Clefairy!"
"Misty calls... Staryu!"
Maybe Misty intended to call Staryu, but the Pokemon that appeared didn't look much like a star. In fact, it looked like a rather perturbed, fat yellow duck.
"PSYDUCK!" she shrieked, "I didn't want you!"
Terri was laughing on the sidelines, I was just staring.
"Why did you call it out then?"
"I didn't! Gahh. Okay you dumb duck. Get Clefairy with a water gun!"
"Clefairy, sing us a song! And pound it!"
"Dual attack," I heard Misty mutter, "she must be a good trainer."
I blinked. That was a dual attack? Why couldn't a Pokemon sing while attacking?
"Fairy!" chirped Clefairy, and leapt from its platform onto the Psyduck's head, whistling happily.
"Psy?" croaked the duck. It made no effort to use water gun. In fact, it looked positively confused. Its expression didn't change even when Clefairy slammed it into the water.
"Well... that's okay," said Misty, flustered, "Psyduck, just swim up and retaliate with scratch attack!"
"Clefairy, sing louder!" I yelled.
"Psyduck! Swim to the surface!"
I watched, confused, as the Psyduck splashed around below the water's surface, struggling.
"If that's a water Pokemon," I said, "why can't it swim?"
Misty sweatdropped. "You have a great talent for unknowingly saying annoying things!"
She looked as if she were about to call another order, but suddenly, Psyduck stopped moving.
Without hesitation, she dove into the water and dragged it up to the surface.
So, even an annoying Pokemon, I thought, is appreciated by a good trainer when it comes down to it.
But Psyduck hadn't drowned. It was just asleep. I yawned myself, then shook my head to clear it. Clefairy stopped singing and pumped its tiny fist into the air.
"Psyduck, return," said Misty. "Misty calls... Goldeen!"
I looked at the Goldeen. This, at least, was a Pokemon I knew something about. A lot of people had them in aquariums.
"Goldeen, use your horn attack!"
"Clefairy, go with doubleslap! Grab that horn!"
Goldeen leapt from the water, horn glittering.
"Clef," muttered Clefairy, concentrating, "fair. Y."
It took a carefully calculated leap, right onto the Goldeen's back, but landed heavily right against the horn. Both Pokemon plummeted into the water.
I cringed as I saw both Pokemon scuffling under water. Clefairy had puffed up its cheeks and was slapping Goldeen furiously. But its paws just slipped off Goldeen's smooth body, and the fish, pecking hard at Clefairy, was getting the advantage.
"Clefairy!" I shouted, hoping it could hear me underwater, "use your claws! Hang in there a bit longer!"
I knew it'd have to come up for air soon. I just hoped it could weaken Goldeen a bit more.
But I could tell it *had* heard me. Blood started seeping up to the surface. I cringed.
Both Pokemon swam to the surface, Clefairy gasping for air.
"Goldeen," said Misty, biting her lip, "keep at it!"
Goldeen had a few gashes in its side, it made me feel guilty suddenly.
"AURORA!" snapped Terri, "your Pokemon isn't supposed to INJURE the other one! Weaken, yes, but not injure!"
I blinked. "What's the difference?"
"Just use your Pokemon's real attacks. Don't get it to do things it shouldn't. You're not supposed to do doubleslap with claws!"
Misty nodded slightly. I bowed my head.
"Sorry. Clefairy, return."
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" shouted Terri, "DON'T END THE MATCH! YOU'RE WINNING, YOU IDIOT!!"
I winced. "Terri, you're standing three metres away from me. Do you have to shout?"
"Don't worry about it," said Misty, "but send out your second Pokemon. That Clefairy's a real scrapper."
"Yeah... okay. Let's try Omanyte!"
Omanyte appeared. I grinned, it was easier to know its name.
"Goldeen, use your waterfall attack!"
"That doesn't sound good. Omanyte, water gun!"
It wasn't good. The water gun sent Goldeen reeling back, where it hit against one of the ramps. But the ensuing waterfall send Omanyte right out of the pool and into the stadium bleachers!
I jumped off the platform I stood on, back onto dry land. However, being as coordinated as I am, I naturally tripped and landed heavily in the water.
Terri, Vulpix, Misty and Goldeen were all laughing really hard by the time I dragged myself out the pool for the second time.
I shook my hair back (amidst a shower of water) and tried to look down my nose at them. It was hard when they were both a lot taller than me.
Then I went into the bleachers.
"Omanyte!" I called, "where are you?"
I stepped over a row of seats, all of which were sopping wet, trying to find it. "Omanyte?"
Still no sign of it. "Omanyte! Are you okay?"
Suddenly, there was a yelp behind me. I turned, to see Omanyte back in the pool, tackling Goldeen against one of the platforms.
"Looks like my Pokemon is ahead of me," I muttered, before jumping rows of seats (and tripping over a couple) back down to the pool.
By the time I'd gotten there, Goldeen had fainted, and Omanyte was dancing around cheerfuly squirting water everywhere.
"Gah," I said, in disbelief, "what a way to win; with your back turned."
"Nii-ii-ii," laughed Omanyte.
"Goldeen, return," said Misty.
We looked at each other. Had it been that easy? Was being a Pokemon Master really a reachable goal?
"You know, Aurora," said Terri, encouragingly, "Goldeen was Misty's weakest Pokemon, she used it just to be nice."
I looked at her. "Why did you tell me that?"
She laughed. "I don't want you to get an ego, do I? Now come on! Let's leave this dump and go find our way! On to the next city!"
We looked around ourselves. We were nearing the outskirts of Cerulean City.
"Um... uh... whichever one we come to first?"
"Good point. No point in trying to follow a map, huh."
She laughed. And we kept walking.
It was weird, travelling with someone. I didn't like it at first, but there was no choice. It beat solitude, and feeling that if something bad happened, you had to tackle it all on your own. On the other hand, with the journey split, I couldn't just do whatever I wanted. And I soon found out just how different Terri was from me.
"Don't call me that."
"AUrora, get the firewood."
"So we can make a fire and cook food. What else?"
"Who can be stuffed? Let's just eat food cold."
"Aurora, you don't eat beef stew COLD out of a can!"
I opened the can and started shovelling it down.
I just looked at her.
"YOU want hot food, YOU make the fire."
And I went back to writing.
"You carry that notebook around too much," she said. "What's in it?"
"Go away," I muttered, trying to think of a synonym for 'battle'. She asked me that a lot.
"You like to write? Or is that a journal? ARE YOU WRITING MEAN THINGS ABOUT ME?"
"No. Go away."
She snatched the notebook and ran off with it.
"TERRI!" I shouted. That notebook had my heart in it... well, figuratively speaking (as you'd hope). Little bits and pieces, tips to myself about writing, poems, and yeah, some commentary on this journey.
I jumped up and chased after her. I was actually quite upset.
"That's MINE GIVE IT BACK!"
I looked around me. She was nowhere. I sighed. Fine.
"Fine," I said loudly, hoping she'd hear, wherever she was, "my soul doesn't have anything of value. Just run off with it why don't you!"
A notebook came flying down and hit me on the head. I clutched it protectively and ran back to the camp.
Terri was quiet that night.
"You don't want to be a Pokemon Master," she said.
"Uh, sure I do."
"You just want to write. This is just some game for you."
"So? Oh... forget it."
I tried to. But for some weird reason, her hand was shaking as she stroked her Vulpix's fur.
The next morning, I woke up choking.
"Kaaaahha," I groaned, trying to breathe. Something was in my face, suffocating me... I opened my eyes. I saw nothing but white. I screamed.
"Aurora! What the heck?"
I heard running footsteps, and then they paused, not far from me. And Terri started laughing.
"Hfammaaaapaf!" (Can you help me out here!)
She was still laughing hard, but now the white in front of my eyes cleared.
I blinked, blearily, and spat fur out of my mouth. Then I just stared, jaw dropping, literally like something out of the movies. I saw what had been suffocating me; sleeping on me, rather.
Terri was holding a very familiar-looking Persian...