Insert normal disclaimer here, with the addition that I own the Cave Stone. Quartzeon and the Cave Stone may be used *IF* you ask permission first. I'm reasonable. Ask and thou shalt receive.
The Gym Leader, whose name was Sandra, turned out to be a very pleasant person. She had obviously inherited her parents' love for Pokemon, although in a slightly different way.
"I drive my parents crazy," she admitted. "I prefer training and battling to breeding. It's more exciting. Neither of my parents can figure out where I got it from," she added with a small giggle.
"I guess I like training for the same reason. Sometimes I think I'm more like my parents than I care to admit. They're both trainers, y'know."
"Really? Both? Who's your mother?"
"I didn't tell you? Misty."
Sandra laughed. "My dad used to tell me about your parents," she said. "He and Mom thought it was a match made in Heaven. I always thought they should never have seen each other. I guess I was wrong."
"Yeah, they still bicker about the stupidest things sometimes, but aside from that, they're a sweet couple."
"I overheard Dad wondering how Ash and Misty were doing. Want me to tell him?"
"Sure." Kayla suddenly remembered something, and hit her head. "Oh!"
"Kayla, you idiot!" Kayla told herself. "I was going to call my dad when I got to Viridian City! He and Mom must be so worried about me!" Looking frantically around, she saw some phones and dashed towards them, dialing in her number.
Ash was pacing the floor anxiously, wondering how Kayla was doing. It wouldn't be so bad, except that he had been pacing for about twenty minutes. Finally, Misty stood up and put her arms around his waist, thus forcing him to stop.
"I'm worried about her too, Ash," she told her husband. "But wearing a rut in the carpet isn't going to tell us where she is."
"Yeah," Ash agreed resignedly. "I can't help it, though. I don't think I'll be able to sit still until I know how she's doing."
Before Misty could respond, the phone rang. Misty was forced to let go of Ash as he nearly fell over himself running to the phone.
"Hiya, Dad!" Kayla's voice chirped from the phone. The picture came in, showing Kayla looking very pleased with herself.
"Kayla!" Ash couldn't contain his smile. "How are you?"
"I think this'll explain how I'm doing." She held up her Boulderbadge and grinned.
"You got a badge!! Misty, come--"
"Already here," Misty said from directly behind him. "Kayla, that's wonderful!"
"You'll never guess who the Gym Leader is," Kayla said.
"Brock's daughter!" Kayla laughed.
"Brock actually settled down? That's a surprise," Misty quipped.
"You remember Suzie, right? He married her, and I guess they moved back here to Pewter, and they had a daughter named Sandra and she's the Gym Leader now!"
"I still think it's a surprise," Misty said, resulting in a light thwap from Ash.
"Oh, Dad? I'm really sorry I forgot to call you when I got to Viridian City... I really meant to!"
"It's okay," Ash said. "I'm just glad you remembered to call now."
"Pika pik pikachu!" Pikachu announced, running over to Ash.
"I think Pikachu wants to say hello," Ash grinned, picking up the little electric mouse and putting it on the desk where the phone was.
"Pi pi pi pikachu! Kachu pik pika!" Pikachu chirped happily.
"Hi, Pikachu," Kayla giggled.
"Pik pika pik?"
"He wants to know where Meowth is," Ash translated.
"Why do you think I'm calling from a Pokemon Center? Meowth kinda took a pummeling when I battled Sandra. Have you ever heard of a Quartzeon?"
"That's a rock Pokemon, isn't it?" Misty asked.
"Yeah. Meowth had to fight it. My Pokedex said it's another evolution of Eevee, but I don't know any element stones that would make an Eevee into a rock Pokemon..."
"I think I heard about it," Ash said. "It's called the Cave Stone, I think."
"Oh." Kayla paused, and made a face at something. "These stupid things have time limits. I hafta get off now."
"So soon? Oh well... bye, Kayla," Ash said.
"Stay in touch," Misty added.
"I will," Kayla said. "Bye Mom, Bye Dad!" The connection fuzzed out at that moment, and Ash hung up the phone.
"A badge already! And against a Quartzeon!" Misty said happily.
"How much do you want to bet that she'll be the next Pokemon Master?" Ash grinned.
"That's thinking a bit ahead. And I won't bet, because I agree with you."
After hanging up, Kayla turned around and nearly jumped out of her sneakers. Taralon was standing there, not six inches away from her!
"Did I startle you?" Taralon asked, oddly calm.
Kayla tried to regain some of her composure. "What do you *think*?"
"Okay, Taralon. You've been following me, and I wanna know why. Spill the beans."
"It's... too complicated to say," Taralon said, looking away. "At least right now. All I can say now is that I want to accompany you on your journey."
He'd braced himself to be turned down, but had guessed Kayla's personality wrong.
"Okay!" she chirped, all traces of her earlier surprise gone. "The more, the merrier! As soon as Meowth's healed, we can go! Okay?"
Taralon blinked several times. "........Okay," he said hesitantly, startled by Kayla's reaction.
Two chimes sounded. Kayla suddenly felt her arm grasped gently by Sandra.
"That's Meowth and Quartzeon. C'mon!"
Kayla dimly trailed after the young Gym Leader as she headed towards the nurse to pick up their Pokemon.
"A Boulderbadge already, and I've only been away from home a few days!" Kayla said happily, admiring the grey badge.
"Try not to be *too* much like your father," Meowth said rather flatly.
"This is my first badge! I figure I'm entitled to being a little excited!"
"Do you two bicker like this all the time?"
"Always," Meowth assured. "You'll get used to it."
"I'm afraid it'll kill me first," Taralon groaned.
The three travelers continued on, bantering the whole time. Next stop: Cerulean City.