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She knew she had to leave. Harmony wasn't raised to have any clue how to live the life of a celebrity. Deep down, she wasn't the greatest trainer alive; she was still a kid. She still wanted to live her own life, explore new places just for the sake of adventure.
"This'll be an adventure alright," she said to herself as she got out of bed.
She put on her favorite outfit, not counting her trademark jacket and shorts she wore before she beat Red. She'd mostly abandoned that outfit now, as it was what she was pictured in the most on various billboards and advertisements around the Johto region. She'd also begun to wear her hair down more often; it threw some people off to see her without her usual ponytail. Whatever gave her the best chance of going unnoticed was her favorite thing to do these days.
But today, she couldn't avoid the crowds. She had a trip to make today, and naturally, it required her to go through the two biggest cities in the Johto and Kanto regions.
Today she wore a style commonly called the "Cooltrainer" look. Nothing too flashy; a simple red, long-sleeved top that zips all the way up over a pair of knee-length latex shorts. Harmony's long, chestnut hair flowed down past her shoulders, a look that still seemed foreign to her.
"I wonder if he'll even recognize me..." she thought. "Maybe I'll put my hair back up when I get there."
She grabbed a rubber band from atop her dresser, snapped it on her wrist, and headed down the stairs, where she was instantly greeted by the somewhat shrill voice of her mother.
"Harmony! Harmony!" her mother frantically yelled, in an excited tone, "Guess what? We're about to close on the house! It's the same one I grew up in!"
"That's great, Mom!" Harmony said, the excitement in her voice mostly genuine. Having never even been to the Sinnoh region before, Harmony didn't truly care which house they were going to be living in. But she was happy to see her mother so joyful, anyway.
"Well don't you look spiffy today. Where you going, kiddo?"
There was a pause as Harmony decided how best to put it.
"...I'm going to say goodbye."
She went next door to Professor Elm's laboratory to get her Pokemon. Harmony's mother never bothered to buy a personal computer capable of transporting Pokemon, so Harmony managed her friends there at the lab.
"Hello Harmony!" a cheery Professor Elm said. "Going somewhere today?"
"Yeah, Kanto, actually."
"Business or pleasure?"
"Um..." in her mind, it was neither. If this meeting went anything like last time, it sure wouldn't be pleasurable. "Business," she lied, "I need to tie up some loose ends before the move..."
"Ah, I see. Well, you know how to log onto Bill's Pokemon Network by now," the Professor reasoned unnecessarily. "I hope you enjoy your trip!"
"Thank you..." She doubted she would.
Harmony withdrew six of her favorite pokemon, minus the legendaries. Not like she was planning on accepting any battles today anyway. As she left the lab she wondered why she'd even brought a full party along.
"Birdo, come on out!"
Birdo the Pidgeotto emerged from the Pokeball she had just thrown onto the ground in front of her.
"I gotta go to Kanto today, so I need you to fly me to Goldenrod, then to Pallet Town once we get to Saffron. Okay?"
The bird spread its wings wide and called its name loudly in agreement. Harmony smiled at Birdo's eagerness.
"Knew I could count on you," she said with a wink.
Harmony couldn't help but study the landscape as she soared through the Johto skies on the back of her Pidgeotto. She knew her days here were numbered, and she knew she'd miss these lands dearly. This was the only place she'd ever known, she'd had her very first adventure here. This place defined her legacy.
"A defined legacy, at seventeen... ridiculous."
By now, Birdo had learned that when Harmony said, "Fly me to Goldenrod," she actually meant "Fly me to a route nearby to Goldenrod." People touched down in the middle of town from the backs of their Pokemon regularly, but Harmony was instantly recognizable and would draw a crowd any time she attempted this. So Birdo landed just to the south of Goldenrod City and Harmony was happy to walk the rest of the way.
"Thanks Birdo, take a nice rest," she said as she withdrew the bird back into its Pokeball.
In the old days, she liked to bring a Pokemon out of its ball and have it walk around with her. But now, as her pokemon were almost as famous as she was, this too would draw large amounts of attention in her direction.
"I miss having fun..."
She made it all the way to the Station without incident. It wasn't the outfit so much as the hair that threw them off, she decided.
She said a silent prayer as she approached the gate that she wouldn't be recognized. Well, so much for that. It was the regular guard working today.
"Well hello Harmony!" he said warmly. Harmony cringed at the mentioning of her name. "Oh... don't worry, I won't make a big fuss about it. I... I know you like to keep to yourself..."
Harmony was truly stunned by this. The man had seen right through her.
"Th-thank you..." she said with a genuine smile, and handed him her rail pass. The guard swiped the pass through the checker and wished Harmony a pleasant trip.
Harmony liked riding the Magnet Train, even though it moved much too fast for her to admire the landscape. The train's speed was another trait she admired, for in a mere 10 minutes the train was pulling into Saffron City.
Harmony felt pretty safe now that she was in Kanto. Beating the great Red was an internationally significant accomplishment, but she found she was a much bigger deal in her native land of Johto.
She considered just bringing out Birdo here and flying off, but she decided she'd be better off leaving the city first.
As she was leaving the city, she heard a male voice behind her.
"Damn it," she thought, "I've been spotted..."
"Hey!" the stranger panted, out of breath. "I've been trying to get your attention for the past two blocks!"
"Sorry... I had headphones in," she lied.
"Uh, whatever... listen."
Here we go.
"I saw you on the train just now and um, I just gotta say, damn you're cute! You know that diner in Celadon? Well, I know the guy whose brother runs that place and he can probably-"
Great. Not a fan. Just some creep. She couldn't decide which was worse right now. She responded to his offer by shooting the ugliest glare she could muster at him and walking off mid-sentence. It made her feel bad in a way, but it also shut the guy up.
She turned the next corner and stopped for awhile, making sure the creep had actually stopped following her. She stopped a minute to catch her breath. Her heart was racing and her brain seemed to be pounding in rhythm with her pulse. Even the smallest social encounter gave her one of these attacks now.
"The hell is wrong with me..."
"Alright Birdo, we're here."
She let the bird out of its ball again. This time she could sense that something was wrong with her trainer, so she nuzzled her head up against Harmony's shin.
"Aw, Birdo... you're so sweet. Thank you. But I'm okay," she said with a cheery grin. "You ready to go to Pallet Town?"
Birdo nodded her approval and took Harmony to her destination.
Pallet Town was comparable in size to New Bark Town, so Harmony felt alright landing in the city limits. She took a moment to breathe; her heart had begun to go crazy again.
"Damn this anxiety..."
Once she'd gathered herself, she made her way further into the rural town. She stopped off at the first house on the right. After using the rubber band she brought to tie her hair up in her classic ponytail (she'd nearly forgotten), she took one last deep breath and knocked on the door. She waited about 10 seconds, there was no answer. She tried again. No answer. She tried one last time before giving up; again she was met with silence.
She felt ashamed to be so relieved that no one was home. She wasn't sure whether to ask around town to see if anyone knew where he was or if she should just cut her losses and go back home, but it didn't matter as she heard the door open behind her as she started to walk away.
"What're you doing here?" Hideki asked blankly.
"Yeah, it's really great to see you too..." Harmony replied, the sarcastic tone painfully evident in her voice.
"Harmony... you know I'm happy to see you. Come on."
"I didn't know you were happy about anything anymore."
"You know what I mean..."
Harmony was silent.
"Look... I'm sorry. I'm really glad you came to see me. Okay? Why don't you come inside."
Harmony finally accepted his offer and stepped into the house. It wasn't exactly a mess inside but it looked like it hadn't had a good cleaning in awhile.
She followed Hideki upstairs to his room. Ah. HERE was the mess. A seemingly random assortment of clothes littered the floor, and she couldn't move three feet in any direction without finding a can or bottle of some sort.
Hideki was looking just as tidy himself. He wore nothing but a pair of dark blue gym shorts and a white tanktop. At least, Harmony assumed it had been white at some point. It looked like he'd been wearing it for the last day or two now.
His shoulder-length hair was completely disheveled, leading Harmony to believe that he had been asleep up until she knocked on his door. His eyes looked dark and heavy, another sign that he hadn't been awake too long. She could tell he hadn't shaved in a few days either.
"Excuse the mess," he said to her as he sat down on his bed; she wasn't sure if he was referring to the room or to himself. "Ah... dammit," he exclaimed, looking down at himself as if he just noticed he was barely dressed. "Lemme throw something on real quick..."
He immediately stood up and went to a spot in the middle of his room where the pile of garbage seemed to mount the highest. After moving a few brown bottles and pizza boxes, he excavated a pair of jeans which he slid on over his shorts. She couldn't help but wonder about how long it must've been since the last time he'd worn pants.
He then started looking somewhat frantically around the room. "...My jacket," he said after noticing the puzzled look on the girl's face. "Can't remember where I put the damn..."
"Hideki, it's fine. Don't worry about it."
"I don't wanna be rude-"
"Hideki. I don't mind. Just sit. We... gotta talk."
Hideki relented and sat back down on his bed. Harmony sat down beside him.
"What's it gonna take to convince you, Harm?"
"I'm not here for that," she said, already knowing what he was referring to. "I'm... I'm leaving, Hideki."
"Leaving..." he repeated, a slight but genuine look of concern on his face. "What do you mean?"
"I'm moving. Me and my mom. To the Sinnoh region."
"I don't get it... You can't leave. You're an icon in Johto."
A look of realization then came across Hideki's face. "I was afraid of this."
"Afraid of what?"
"Afraid you couldn't handle it."
Harmony shifted her gaze down to her feet. She knew Hideki always spoke bluntly, but the harshness of his words hurt her more than usual this time.
"You're too free. I was worried this might happen. You're not the kind of person who could ever embrace that life."
Harmony chuckled lightly. It made her feel a little better that Hideki had developed this spot-on analysis of her without needing much of an explanation. It meant he still cared.
"I think it's better this way. Considering the alternative is you changing. I don't want you to change. Don't let this change you, Harmony."
Tears began to build in her eyes.
"Hideki... thank you, I won't. I promise."
"It... didn't have to change you either, you know."
"That's different, Harmony..."
"How's it different? We both took the same challenge. We both got to-"
Harmony already had a counter-argument for this point, for he brought it up every time they talked about this. But for now she thought it best to let the gravity of the statement sink in, weighed down by the silence between the two.
"But you also won. You won right here, in your home region."
"That... doesn't matter."
"Why the hell not?" She was getting upset now. She never could understand the boy's staunch insistence of his own incompetence. "Are you telling me that the whole thing meant nothing? That your Pokemon's efforts were meaningless?"
"That Gerald died for nothing?"
"DON'T-" he barked, "...go there."
Again a heavy silence fell between the two.
"Hideki... I'm sorry. I wish I hadn't said that... I just... I get so frustrated with you sometimes..."
Hideki was silent.
"I want so much more for you..." she began, tears welling up again. "I... I miss you!" She sprang towards him, embracing him and burying her face into his shoulder. She was sobbing uncontrollably at this point. Hideki put his arms around her in a feeble attempt to console her, but it took her several minutes before she could speak again.
"Why can't you understand?" she said through sobs. "You can change this. YOU. You can... You can bring the old Hideki back..."
"Harmony..." he said, his voice cracking slightly, as this was his first word for close to ten minutes now.
Hideki's phone began to vibrate on the nightstand. He let it go as he was still searching for the words that could repair the damage he'd done to her. He knew the best answer, of course. The answer she was looking for. But he couldn't lie to her.
"Aren't you... going to answer?"
"No. It doesn't matter. I don't care about that right now."
"I thought you didn't care about anything."
"I... care about you."
The phone began to vibrate again.
"Hideki... answer it. Twice in a row, it might be important."
"It's probably just Joey. I swear one of these days I'm gonna snap that Rattata's neck."
This got a chuckle out of both of them. After a short silence, the phone began to vibrate for a third time.
Hideki closed the phone. "It was Professor Oak," he explained. "He's got a... weird Raticate he wants me to look at."
"'Weird Raticate?' What's 'weird' about it?"
"Don't know, don't care," he said, standing up. Harmony stayed seated on his bed, rubbing her eyes.
"Harm... you okay?" he asked, genuinely concerned about the answer.
"Yeah... I guess I just... needed to get some stuff out there." She chuckled dryly.
"Look, Oak seemed pretty wound-up over this Raticate thing. I should-"
"No, wait, let me finish... I was wondering if you'd mind coming with me. You know the professor too, right? I'm sure he'd be happy to see you. Then maybe we can finish our talk. Unless you're in a hurry."
Harmony smiled. "No, I'm not in any hurry. I'd be happy to go with you!"
"Great." Hideki smiled in return. "Let's see if we can find that jacket of mine."
This made Harmony laugh, though she wasn't sure why.
Hideki looked a little more respectable once he and Harmony stepped out of the house. He found the jacket; it was a red, hooded jacket with a logo that created the shape of a black Pokeball when zipped up all the way. Hideki wore it unzipped. On his head he wore a dark blue hat with an interlocking N and Y insignia on the front. He wore the jacket's hood up over the hat.
When they reached the professor's lab, they were greeted without Oak's usual warmth.
"Hideki, Harmony... you two have spent extensive amounts of time around Pokemon. I want you to look at this Raticate of mine."
"I have no idea how either of us could possibly determine anything about any Pokemon better than you could, professor," said Hideki.
"I'm completely stumped..." the old man said. "And somewhat disturbed. I've never in all my born days..."
Oak led them to the back of his lab, where a Raticate sat in a glass case on top of a table. Hideki and Harmony walked up to get a better look.
The Raticate definitely seemed to be on its last leg. Its fur was matted and faded, where it still had fur, anyway. The bald spots were covered with scabby, crusted skin. It looked like it was struggling to keep its eyes open or even focused on one particular spot; yet at the same time, it also looked quite hungry.
"This thing looks like death, professor," Hideki noted.
"Funny you should use the word 'death'..." the professor said. "This Raticate died two days ago."
"But..." a perplexed Harmony began, "I mean... it's obviously alive... kind of."
"This Raticate belonged to my grandson. You may not recognize it now, Hideki, but I'm sure you faced it a few times at least. But Rattata and even their evolved form, Raticate, don't live very long. When it passed away two days ago I was hardly surprised."
"Are you... SURE it was dead?" Harmony asked.
"I felt its pulse, and it had none," Oak explained. "So I put it in this glass container to prepare to take it to Lavender Tower to have it properly put to rest... but you know how things pile up around here... but this morning, I heard a rustling coming from its cage, and there it was, clearly-"
The three spun around instinctively to find the source of the crash, and found that the Raticate had managed to push its cage off of the table and onto the floor, the fall shattering the container. The Raticate lay motionless on the floor, a few shards of glass sticking out of it.
"Damned stupid rat," Oak muttered to himself. "Well, it's dead NOW."
As Oak turned to clean up the mess, Hideki thought he heard a faint whisper coming from the dead rat:
To everyone's amazement, the creature again stood up, and started walking slowly towards Professor Oak.
"What in..." Oak began. He stooped down and picked up the Pokemon. "You're a resilient one, aren't you? Alright then, let's get you in a-"
Hideki and Harmony watched in horror as the Raticate lunged for Oak's throat, ripping him apart with its notoriously sharp teeth. Oak's screams of terror quickly turned into incomprehensible gargles.
"PROFESSOR!" Harmony shrieked.
"Harmony, get back!" Hideki yelled. Thinking quickly, he reached down to his belt and pulled out a Pokeball, which he threw on the ground in front of the Raticate, who was now biting into the Professor's skull.
"Rochelle! Use Brick Break!"
The Pokeball opened to reveal a Golem, and the beast instantly jumped into the air and landed hard next to the rat, slamming a fist down on its back as it did so, and producing a horrifying crunching sound. Rochelle had just shattered the rat's spine, but to Hideki's surprise, it didn't even cry out in pain. It didn't seem to feel the blow at all. Its back half now useless, the creature started feebly crawling after Rochelle with its front two legs.
"How the hell did that not-"
"HIDEKI! KILL IT FOR GOD'S SAKE!"
"Rochelle, use Brick Break again, this time aim for the head!"
The Golem again leapt in the air, this time plunging its fist into the Raticate's skull on its way down. This produced yet another crunch as the beast's head visibly flattened, blood now pouring out of its ears, eyes, and mouth. Finally, it had stopped moving.
"Rochelle... I don't know WHAT that was, and I'm sorry for making you do that, but you just saved us. Thank you." With that Hideki withdrew Rochelle back into her ball. "You alright Harmony?"
Harmony was frozen in place, a terrified look on her face. Hideki rushed over and held her tightly.
"It's alright, Harmony. You hear me? It's okay. It's over."
A great start, looking forward to more. I like that the first is Blue's dead Raticate.
Friend Code: 1006-1639-8826
EPIC intro Nick!
I was surprised when you brutally killed Prof. Oak, but I laughed like a little creeper anyways. Raticate got a hell of a lunch! *snickers*
Your characters are so much more developed here than they were even in your runs. Harmony's anti-socialism/shyness definitely makes her seem like she's inbetween maturity stages & doesn't really feel like she "fits". Her personality is surely that of a 17 year old girl, but even then she has a lot of emotional depth. Hideki reminds me of you :] especially how he keeps his room >.> hahaha (says the hypocrite). He's just as developed as Harmony if not more so. There's a lot more to his character than what's on the surface. *waits -cough- patiently -cough- for the next update*
ED: 2/4/2011 1:27pm (short summary of what I DID originally say)
I gotta say- this is epic. I can't wait to see what goes on next. I see you did get some influence from creepypasta! Looking forward to the next update
I have to admit, that was pretty freaking awesome. I kinda feel bad that Oak died....I mean, it's Oak! lol
Nice character development, btw.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas."
Dude, this is fucking amazing. I was even surprised that it turned into a zombie story, even though I already knew it would be a zombie story. You surprised me with something I already knew!
I am begging for more.
Ask me about my waifus
"I'm happy to report that my inner child is still ageless". James Broughton
guys, i am thrilled by your feedback. i am personally in love with it so far too, i just didn't expect everyone else to like it as much as i did!
my classes have been cancelled for today, so hopefully i'll have time to write at least another chapter today. look for it soon!
Okay, so. Altaria = Kyrie(female), Arcanine = Dante(Male), Haunter = Nero(Male), Vaporeon = Lady(female, Umbreon = Vergil(Male)
Hope Rides Alone
I hope to see some more today, maybe the introduction of some more characters?
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas."
Harmony opened her eyes and saw nothing but a ceiling high over her head. Then she noticed the soft warmth of the sheets underneath her.
"Thank God..." she thought to herself, "It was a dream. It was all a dream."
But something still felt off. As her senses slowly returned to her, she noticed that her bed was on the wrong side of her room. She sat up suddenly; trash and clothes littered the entire room. She was in Hideki's bed.
No one else was in the room. She didn't get it; she couldn't understand how she had gotten here. She didn't remember falling asleep. She looked down and noticed she was fully dressed, except for her shoes. She must not have come here willingly.
It couldn't have been a dream.
Harmony began frantically searching for a garbage can. She found one, nearly empty, close to Hideki's bed, which was odd considering how much trash was scattered around the room. In one heave, she violently deposited the entire contents of her stomach into the can.
Harmony heard footsteps from below. The door to the room slowly opened; it was Hideki.
"Hey... How do you feel?"
She looked down at the can she had just vomited into. She wasn't going to tell him the real answer, even though she knew her reaction gave it away anyway.
Hideki walked over to the bed and sat down next to Harmony, putting an arm around her as she leaned into him.
"Hideki... what happened to the professor... I didn't... dream that... did I?"
Hideki paused for a moment. "The professor?" he asked. "What do you mean?"
"Don't lie to me, Hideki."
It was a feeble attempt, but it didn't keep him from trying to give her a way to un-see what had happened a few hours ago in Professor Oak's lab.
"Heh... I should've known better. You're way too smart for that. No, Harmony. You... you didn't dream that."
Tears began to roll down the girl's cheeks. "Did I pass out?"
"Yeah. I brought you back up here so you could rest."
She forced a chuckle. "It must've been a bitch carrying me up those stairs."
Hideki forced one in return. "Anyway... After I was sure you were in alright shape... relatively, I mean... I called the Viridian City Police and told them what had happened."
"Did they-" A fearful realization hit her. "They're never going to believe what happened!"
"They were skeptical, they seemed so anyway. I'm... still the main suspect."
"You!? Why just you? I was there too!"
"Not... officially, you weren't. I left out any mention of you. You're, um... not actually here right now, as far as they know. You're not even in the region."
"Hideki! You lied to the police!?"
"I lied to... I mean, look at you. You are in no condition to be grilled by the cops. But we do need to get you back home as soon as you're up to it."
Harmony was even more confused now, although she was touched by the lengths Hideki had gone to to protect her from this.
"Wait, how are you able to be here right now? If you're the 'main suspect...'"
"I am. But there were three lab aides in the building that heard the Raticate scream, along with my orders to Rochelle to kill it. Plus the fact that I called it in myself adds to my credibility. So I'm not under arrest or anything. I just had to promise not to leave Pallet Town."
"It sounds like they have no choice but to write you off..." she tried to convince herself.
"I'll be fine, Harmony. Don't worry about me."
"How can you say that..."
She hugged him so tightly it actually hurt a little.
"Hideki... as... horrifying as that was... I am so glad you didn't get hurt."
"It could have been so much worse. We got lucky."
They sat like this for several minutes until Hideki broke the silence, as much as he hated to.
"Harm, I don't want to rush you, but... as soon as you feel up to it... you really need to go. If they find out about you now, you'll be in real trouble."
"You didn't have to lie to them Hideki... you're so dumb..." After saying this, she looked up at him and smiled, to confirm she was joking. Harmony had noted long ago that Hideki didn't deal well with subtleties; they'd had many a fight over jokes she'd made that he had taken the wrong way.
"Can you fly back okay by yourself?" he asked.
"Yeah, but I wish you could go with me..."
"I do too."
As a compromise, Hideki walked with her to the northern limits of Pallet Town, after making sure the cops weren't around, of course.
"Call me when you get home, alright?" he asked. "So I know you made it back safely."
"I'm the one who should be worried about you, not the other way around..."
"Promise me, Harmony."
"Will you come and see me again, when this is all over?"
"Absolutely!" she said firmly. Then a look of sadness quickly took over her face. "Oh... Hideki... we'll be gone by the end of the week. We'll be in Sinnoh..."
This realization hit Hideki hard, too. Sinnoh and Kanto were hundreds of miles apart. He wasn't sure if he'd even get to talk to her again, let alone see her again.
They stood in silence for several seconds, each staring down at the feet of the other.
"If... if this is the last time I see you-"
"This is NOT the last time you'll see me, Hideki," she interrupted. "I don't care what I have to do. I'll make sure of it."
"Harmony... even so, I need you to know. I... I'm sorry about everything before. I hurt you so many times and I hate myself even more for that now."
"Oh, Hideki... you don't have to-" she stopped herself mid-sentence. "Hideki..." she pointed a finger in the direction behind him.
Hideki turned to look where she was pointing: the entrance to Route 2. A small pack of Rattata were wandering in their direction, toward the town.
"Since when do wild Pokemon leave the tall grass?" Harmony asked.
One Rattata noticed the pair, then shouted what closely resembled a rallying cry, only twice as barbaric. Upon hearing this call, the other Rattata in the pack started racing toward them. This time Harmony was the first to react, throwing a Pokeball from her belt between herself and the horde of rats.
"Rocky, use Strength!"
An absolute behemoth emerged from the Pokeball; Harmony's Steelix, Rocky. With amazing speed, it whipped its massive steel tail forward, clobbering several Rattata in one swing.
"That's alright, Hideki, don't help me out or anything."
Hideki finally snapped back into reality. It wasn't often that Hideki was the last to react to anything, but the suddenness of the onslaught paired with his previous heartbreaking realization had forced him to let his guard down this time.
"Sorry..." he mumbled. "Go, Success!"
Hideki threw a ball different from all his others; an Ultra Ball, colored black and yellow to match its resident: Zapdos, the legendary bird of thunder.
"Success, attack with Thunder! Hit as many as you can!"
Success let out a shriek as a black cloud quickly formed in the sky from seemingly nothing.
"Zap... DOS!" the great beast proclaimed, as a bolt of lighting descended from the cloud, striking four or five Rattata at once.
The initial wave had all been eliminated, but Hideki saw more in the distance. They had heard the commotion and had come for their meal.
"Success, stay in the air. Harmony... these Rattata are all at a very low level. Wait until they get close enough, then take 'em all out with one Earthquake. I'll back you up with Thunder if you need me."
"Right," she confirmed. She waited until she could no longer see any Rattata on the horizon; now they were all about 70 feet from her Steelix. This wave had about 40 rats in it, she estimated.
"Alright Rocky... Earthquake!"
The Steelix let out a mighty roar and raised its head as high as it could, then slammed it on the ground, causing a massive tremor in front of him. Every Rattata in the group either fell into a crack in the ground which quickly sealed into a ready-made grave, or was crushed by a flying chunk of earth uprooted by the quake. As was the norm whenever a Pokemon used the move Earthquake, the ground settled back to the state it was in before the move was used, leaving nothing but a few flattened corpses.
The two trainers called their Pokemon back, and examined a few of the bodies. Most of them looked like normal Rattata, but Hideki noted some disturbing features of others. Some were missing limbs or eyes or entire patches of skin; one had nothing but a skull for a head, bound by a few remaining ligaments and tendons. These Rattata were beyond injured; they were flat-out decayed.
"Harmony, we have to get out of here, NOW."
"I thought you weren't allowed to leave-"
"That doesn't matter. Harmony... you trust me, right?"
"With your life?"
"With... with my life."
"Hideki, do you know what's going on?"
"I'm afraid I just might."
at least it's not bidoofs >.> cos there are MORE of those, it'd be an endless horde (survival mode!)
Another great chapter. I really like how the characters are developing. I'm also pretty excited to see how you weave everyone's characters in and develop them. This is going to be a great story; I can already tell.
"This could get bad," Hideki said as the two sprinted back to his house, "I just need to get my bag in case we need to carry some supplies. I have a spare for you too, you better take it. Just in case."
"Hideki..." she panted, "I trust you but can you please at least vaguely describe to me what the hell is happening?"
"If I'm right... these Pokemon are zombies."
Under any other set of circumstances, Harmony would have found this suggestion absurd. She never believed in any of the doomsday, end-of-the-world stories that had circulated since the dawn of man. By nature she was a very skeptical person. But she had spent her whole life studying about and living with Pokemon. She had never even heard of one capable of doing what that Raticate had done to Professor Oak. She had never seen one charge after her with such a bloodlust like that pack of Rattata she and Hideki had fought off.
When the pair reached Hideki's house, they were confronted by a man in a blue uniform.
"Damn," Hideki whispered, "Forgot about you..."
"Hideki, there you are! What were you doing? Who's your friend?" The officer asked these seemingly friendly questions in the most authoritarian tone possible.
"Officer, look, I know I promised not to leave town. I mean, I didn't! I actually didn't."
"Where'd you pick up the girl then?"
Harmony scowled at the implication that she was "picked up," like one of those hookers that come out from behind the Game Corner every night.
"Officer," Hideki tried to explain, "the Raticate that killed Oak. There are more. Tons more. They could be everywhere for all I know."
"More? More what? More Raticate? I know that."
Hideki loudly sighed at the officer's ignorance. "There's something going around. Some sort of virus or bacteria, or... something. I don't know. But these Pokemon are zombies."
The officer finally lost his patience. "Alright young man, I'm beginning to not like where this is heading. I came here to tell you you've been cleared but you're definitely hiding something. I'm placing you under arrest. Your girl too."
"Officer, listen to him!" Harmony pleaded, "We just fought off a whole swarm of them!"
"Sir, ma'am, spread out against the wall, palms out-"
"Sorry to do this, officer..." Hideki said, though at this point he was getting tired of the officer's failure to communicate and he really wasn't sorry. In one fluid motion, Hideki knocked a Pokeball off his belt; the ball hit the ground directly beneath the officer with just enough force to activate its opening.
"J-Dog, Thunder Wave!"
The light of the Pokeball materialized into a Jolteon, who instantly jumped on the officer's head. It secreted a strange, blue electric field, sending the officer crashing to the ground, fully paralyzed.
"Thanks J-Dog, that's enough," said Hideki as he brought J-Dog back into his ball.
Hideki squatted down on the ground close to the fallen officer, a look of pain and fear written across the man's face.
"Maybe now you'll shut the hell up and actually listen for once," Hideki said. "There are zombies running free. ZOMBIES. The living dead. Got it? Oh, you can't talk. Just nod if you understand. Oh wait! You can't do that either. My bad."
"Hideki..." Harmony said in a condescending tone. His sudden sadistic streak was scaring her ever so slightly.
"Alright, alright... Look, I just came back to get a few things. After I do that, I'm going to fly north and see how far this is spreading. When you recover the use of your limbs, I suggest you run tell your buddies to prepare for a shitstorm."
Hideki grabbed his old traveling bag out of his room, a beat-up old yellow backpack. He had a smaller, black backpack that he handed to Harmony.
"I'm taking you home as soon as I can, but..." Hideki explained, "just in case this gets out of control... you're gonna need to be able to carry some things."
"I have no intention of leaving you here."
"Now's not the time to get brave on me, Harmony."
Harmony was initially hurt by this line, taking it as an insult to her courage, the implication being that she was a coward before, particularly for deciding to leave Johto. She quickly realized Hideki probably didn't mean it that way; in her heart of hearts she truly believed he was looking out for her best interest.
Hideki went to a corner of his closet and retrieved a dusty cardboard box. It contained all the items and money he didn't use in his trip through Kanto.
"I had to heal a few times against the Elite Four, but I still had plenty left over." He quickly sorted the items into piles, giving roughly half of everything to Harmony to place in her bag.
Hideki felt the cloth bag containing his leftover funds. He had a look on his face indicating that the amount disappointed him. "Do you have money?" Hideki asked.
"Yeah, I haven't spent anything since my adventure."
"Good. We'll buy more in Celadon City, if we can get there in time."
"Big Bird!" Hideki called, as he summoned his Fearow from its Pokeball. "Take us north. I'll let you know where we're landing when I figure it out myself." The Fearow nodded his approval of the plan, and Hideki and Harmony hopped on the large bird's back. Hideki paused before giving the command to take off, though. He had forgotten about the policeman he had incapacitated.
"Can you talk yet?" he yelled back to the uniformed man, still lying on the ground.
"Yeah..." he replied, meekly.
"Here," Hideki reached into his bag and tossed a Paralyz Heal on the ground in front of the officer, "you should be able to spray that on yourself soon. No hard feelings, right?"
"F... fuck you, kid."
"Great! Glad to hear it," he said with a cheery grin. With that Hideki nudged the Fearow, his cue to soar into the sky toward Viridain City.
"Big Bird, fly a little lower. I wanna be able to see what's going on below."
The bird nodded again and began to descend. They were now flying about 80 feet above the ground.
Harmony gasped when they passed over Viridian City. Corpses littered the entrance to the town; most of them Rattata, some of them belonged to other various Pokemon... and a few were human.
"We're too late..." the girl said in despair.
"For all we know, the outbreak started here," said Hideki, "there's nothing we could have done."
As they passed over the gym, a stream of fire shot out of the door, scorching a few of the zombified rats that were clawing their way inside.
"It looks like a few have managed to hold out..." Hideki noted.
"Aren't we going to help them?" Harmony asked frantically.
"No," Hideki said, "we've gotta see what we're dealing with first."
To Hideki's disappointment, the flight over Viridian Forest yielded nothing in the way of information; the trees were as thick as ever and blocked any view of the ground below.
When they reached Pewter City, they were somewhat relieved to see that everything looked completely normal.
"The outbreak must not have reached here yet. We're lucky. Big Bird, take us down to the gym."
Hideki violently swung open the doors to the Pewter City gym.
"Well aren't you eager," said Brock, the Pewter City gym leader, "You're here for a battle, I assume?"
"No Brock, it's me, Hideki. You don't recognize me?"
"To be honest, no. What was our battle like?"
"I one-hit KOed both of your Pokemon with my Bulbasaur."
"Ah, that explains it. You know how many rookie trainers come in here every day and annihilate me with Bulbasaur and Squirtle? They all run together in my mind. The only battles I truly remember anymore are the Charmander fights. At least those are actual contests."
"Um..." Hideki wasn't sure whether to take pity on Brock or feel embarrassed, since he had just been firmly placed in the "Bulba-n00b" category.
"Hideki, I think there's something much more important-"
"Right. Brock, look, you're probably not going to believe this but Viridian City has just been destroyed."
"WHAT? What happened? What destroyed it?"
"We think..." Hideki looked at Harmony, hoping she had some better word to describe it. She shifted her glance down to the floor, leaving him to break the news the only way he knew how.
Brock stood still, staring at him. At least, Hideki thought he was staring at him. He could never be too sure considering that he had never actually seen Brock's eyes.
"Get out of my gym," he finally said.
"Damn it Brock! I know this sounds like a joke but-"
"Oh, Brock! You've just gotta believe us!" Harmony said with an unusually high-pitched voice. She ran over to the gym leader, finally collapsing into him, sobbing hysterically. "I saw it! I saw it all! My brother and me... we... we're only trying to help!"
Brock's face began to turn red.
"Please Brock! We came to you first because you're the strongest trainer I know! You have to help us! You have to save Pewter City!"
Hideki had to try hard to contain a smile. He finally understood what Harmony was doing.
"I... ah..." the gym leader stammered, "Are you SURE Pewter is in trouble?"
Hideki stayed silent. Harmony had this one in the bag.
"Yes it is! Don't you understand? Don't let anything happen to this city, Brock... I love it so much... I just... couldn't... bear it..." with this, Harmony became lost in her cries of despair.
"Don't you worry, my dear!" Brock said, with a sudden surge of confidence. "As the leader of the Pewter City gym, it is my duty to make sure this city is safe from any and all harm! I guess those doomsday stories were true after all..."
"Oh, Brock! Thank you!" Harmony said joyfully, hugging him.
"Harmony, we need to go tell the others..." Hideki said impatiently.
"Right! My brother and I have to go tell the other leaders what's happening... but we'll be back soon! Maybe I can thank you then," she said with a wink.
"Oh, come on..." Hideki said under his breath as he grabbed Harmony by the forearm and led her back outside.
"And the Oscar for best performance goes to..." Hideki said, in his mock-announcer voice.
Harmony giggled. "Someone sounds a little jealous."
"Wha-" Hideki started. Harmony giggled again. "Don't be stupid," he said shortly, "I just... think you overdid it a bit, that's all."
"Oh come on... you know Brock. If you're a woman, you can get him to do anything you want..."
"And what does THAT mean?"
Harmony broke out laughing. "Hideki... you're WAY too easy."
"You're... totally messing with me aren't you..."
"You mad, bro?" she replied, an over-exaggerated grin on her face.
"Harmony, that's enough."
"Come on Hideki..."
"Did you forget what happened to us earlier today?"
"No, Hideki, I didn't... that's the whole point."
"The point to what?"
"We aren't all robots like you, Hideki," she said, obviously hurt, "some of us mortals have our own ways of dealing with the truth when it's too ugly to look in the face. Some of us have to make our own sunshine on a rainy day."
Hideki had no response to that one.
The silence was beginning to weigh on him; they were almost past Mt. Moon and they hadn't said a word since taking off from Pewter City.
"I have to admit..." Hideki finally said, "making me your brother was a nice touch."
Harmony laughed slightly. She knew this was the closest she was going to get to an apology from him. In her mind, it was just as good as an apology, as it meant he felt bad about being so cold to her.
"We could pass for siblings, don't you think?"
"Yeah. We look kinda alike."
"We both have brown hair, that's about it."
"Okay, but still... I just figured saying you were my brother made me more believable. Made you less of a threat than if he thought you were my boyfriend or... or something."
"Do you really think I look like your-"
"Hey, you never told me where we were going," Harmony interrupted.
"I didn't?" Hideki asked. "I really meant to... We're going to Saffron City."
"Saffron City?" she repeated, puzzled.
"Well, I'm hoping that Brock can seal the spread of the infection off at Pewter. These things are usually spread through bites; if that's the case, there's no way any Rattata is piercing through his rock-types."
"So you think he can kill them all without letting them invade any further?"
"I really hope so. I'm making a pretty big assumption by saying it's transmitted by biting. It could be airborne, for all I know."
"Even so, worst case scenario, Brock buys me enough time to get some supplies and hold out somewhere."
"So we're getting supplies then? I don't understand... Why aren't we going to Celadon? They have the department store there."
Hideki didn't respond.
"Hideki, really, I don't get it. Why Saffron?"
"I just... like it better..."
"What? Hideki, you're not making sense."
Again, Hideki remained silent.
"Wait a minute," Harmony said suddenly, "I KNOW you aren't gonna try to dump me off on the Magnet Train."
Damn. She'd figured it out.
"You ARE, aren't you! Hideki, I told you I am NOT leaving."
"Harmony, I have to get you out of here while I still can! Who knows what this could turn into? You can still escape-"
"Escape? Oh, so you're going to charge into battle and save the rest of Kanto, but my priority is escape?"
"You're only here right now because of me. If anything happened to you, I'd-"
"Have you forgotten that I can hold my own in a battle too? I am the reigning champion, Hideki. My Pokemon are at least as strong as yours."
"It's not about your strength, Harmony-"
"Then treat me like your equal! I'm not your damsel in distress, Hideki."
She had him there. There was no way he could continue to insist on taking her back to Johto now.
"I'm every bit as capable as you. I'm just like you in a battle! You are twice as strong with me around."
"It really isn't about that, Harmony... I just don't want you to die. You understand that? You could die here."
"You asked me if I trust you, and I said I do. I meant that. I trust you with everything. I trust that you aren't going to let that happen to me."
"But now it's your turn. You have to trust me. You have to believe in me. Do you trust me, Hideki?"
"I don't want to take any risks with you-"
"This isn't about that anymore. Answer me, Hideki. The same thing you asked me. The same question I answered instantly. Do you trust me?"
Hideki took a long time thinking. He knew the longer he took, the worse it made him look, but he took her question seriously. He had to be sure he gave her the right answer. He had to be sure he knew the right answer for his own sake, as well.
"Big Bird," he finally said, "turn about 60 degrees to your right. We're going to Celadon instead."
"Hideki..." Harmony said quietly. "No. Not this time. I need to hear you say it. I need a firm answer from you. Just one time."
Hideki remained silent for the rest of the trip to Celadon City.
Dude, that part with Brock not remembering your battled made me straight-up, no joke, rofl.
This is going amazingly well! You have me drooling.
Ask me about my waifus
"I'm happy to report that my inner child is still ageless". James Broughton
This is awesome. I am inspired to write something now. I'm just bad at brainstorming....
"Why don't you tell me? I'd like to know my feelings y'know!"
i had you and the other hardcore fans of the games in mind when i wrote that part. thought you'd enjoy that, just because you know that's how he has to feel.
You know NIck, I think if you develop all of your characters as well as these two, your story could probably skyrocket up to one of the best I've ever read.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas."
And yet another post I wish I could just like.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas."