As soon as I left the gym, Professor Elm called.
“Gold! Howdy! How are you doing?” he asked.
“Pretty good. I just got my first gym bad–”
“Dandy. Really. Listen, I have something I wanted to discuss with you.”
“Yes?” I asked.
“I want you to carry that mysterious egg around. Who knows? Maybe it will hatch. Oh my science, look at the time. Listen, my assistant should have the egg at the PokeMart there in Violet City.”
“How did you know I was in Violet City?”
“Gotta go! Bye!”
The line went dead.
I liked the guy, don’t get me wrong, but he could be awfully weird sometimes.
Since Quartza and Tiko were both in good shape, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to go straight to the PokeMart. Quartza was still bounding along happily at her victory, and I thought she deserved a victory lap around town.
The PokeMart was painted blue on the outside and sat just a few blocks west of the gym. In no time, I was there. Inside it was clean and organized–a regular convenience store, by all standards.
A man in a lab coat greeted me.
“You must be Gold,” he assumed.
“Yes. And you are?” I didn’t recognize him. Actually, I thought Ed was Elm’s only assistant.
“I’m Ralph. I’m usually out running errands for Elm, so I hardly get to stop in New Bark Town before I have to leave again.”
“I see. Elm called me a minute ago, said you had something for me.”
“Yessir. You should recognize it, at any rate.”
I did. He produced the egg from his bag; it was as big as a human infant, only round and covered by a hard shell.
“Elm really praised your ability to do good work,” Ralph said. “So he is expecting to see great things from you. According to our research, an egg will only hatch if it’s kept in close contact with other Pokemon. Carry it with you and it should hatch in no time.”
“Okay then,” I said, gingerly placing the egg into my own bag. “I’ll let you know how it goes.”
“Great. I’ll take my leave then. Good luck.”
Ralph left. Then it was just me, Quartza, an egg, and a few window-shopping customers.
I perused the selection, but found nothing satisfactory. Then, on second thought, I decided to buy a few potions with my winnings. Wouldn’t hurt to have some on the road to Azalea Town.
The second I was out the door, however, I was approached by Geisha. She was stunning… in a teenage curious dream sort of way. Her jade-green silk robes shimmered in the light of the setting sun. Her white face and red eyes stole my gaze.
“Good day, sir,” she purred.
“Good… day. Um, to you too.”
She swished her hips and came closer.
“I couldn’t help overhearing,” she said, her voice breathy, “That you happen to have a…” she reached out, touching my shoulder with a single finger, “Pokemon egg.”
It didn’t occur to me how creepy this all was. How did she know about the egg? Why was she approaching me over it? Was there someone stealing it out of my backpack while I stared at her perfect porcelain cheeks? Was her rope parting slightly in the torso area? Affording me a fleeting glimpse at the pillowy heaven underneath?
“…trust you will take good care of it.”
“What?” I blurted out, suddenly aware of time passing.
“Excuse me,” she said, somehow blushing under all of that makeup. “I rambled. I meant only to say that your egg is very important. You must take good care of it, and we trust that you will.”
“You can ramble any time,” I said.
She giggled, a trained, perfected, impeccably timed giggle that struck my… lust buttons? I dunno, I’m not good with metaphors when staring at a Geisha.
“We will meet again,” she said.
I stood in the street, staring at the shimmering contours of her backside as the silken robe swished back and forth with her gait. Soon, she was gone, and I was left with only a very clear image in my mind.
When I regained my reasoning abilities, I tried to plan out the next leg of my trip. Falkner, as crazy as he was, said to go to Azalea Town. The creepy murder tree was probably still standing between Violet and Goldenrod City. I checked my PokeGear map. It was a long journey south to Azalea Town. Probably a day or two to the Union Cave, then a day of hiking through there and maybe another day between there and Azalea Town.
It was already late, so I couldn’t very well travel very far before nightfall. Though I was excited to get a move on, I decided to stay put, and spend one more night at the Pokemon Center.
Where I took a very cold shower.