“Well,” Mr. Pokemon said, “How about we get you along your way?”
“No rush,” I said, surprised that I meant it.
“Maybe not for you,” he replied, “But that Professor Elm can sure be impatient sometimes.”
Mr. Pokemon stode to a huge cabinet on the far wall and opened a giant glass door. He picked up a round, spotted object and brought it over to me.
“Careful now, but take hold of this.”
I did as I was told, cradling the object in my arms.
“Whoa, is this a Pokemon egg?” I asked, suddenly aware of the life I held in my hands.
“Whoa indeed. For the longest time, no one knew how Pokemon were born. We never see them mate, which is fascinating, and only recently were we able to detect the eggs. They hide them.”
“Do you know what will hatch from it?”
“Not at all. The PokeDex can’t pick up the signature from beyond the shell, so we can only guess about what’s inside. I got it from a… shall we say, shady but reliable acquaintance of mine? He assured me that it was a very rare specimen, but I don’t know where he got it or who may have suffered from the loss.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Just kidding,” he said, though I wasn’t convinced. “I got it from a daycare that found it one day. Thought Elm would like a look at it.”
My PokeGear phone began to ring.
In my surprise, I nearly dropped the egg, but Mr. Pokemon lent a steadying hand so that I could get the phone out.
“Hello?” I said.
“GOLD!” screamed Professor Elm. “Oh lord, it’s terrible. The humanity! Ohhhhh, the terror!”
Mr. Pokemon could hear Elm from several feet away. He rolled his eyes.
“What’s going on, Professor?” I asked.
“Something terrible. Something… awful! You have to return at once, as fast as you can!”
“That’s going to be difficult, sir. I have a Pokemon egg and I would rather not drop it.”
“Oh?” his voice grew calm. “A Pokemon egg, you say? From Mr. Pokemon, I presume? I suppose there is nothing that can be done here, so I’ll have to look forward to seeing that egg. Okay, come back as quick as you can while safely carrying that egg. Good luck!”
He cut the connection, and I slipped the phone into my pocket.
“I suppose I better go,” I said. “I can probably make it back to New Bark Town by nightfall, if I hurry.”
“Of course, of course. Safe travels.”
He waved from the door as I walked back down the hill toward Cherrygrove City.
I stopped at the Pokemon Center on my way back through Cherrygrove. Tiko was getting a little weary of setting everything on fire, and she flat out refused to use ember on the Metapod we encountered. She tackled it into mush, like she does.
It was a good thing though, because just as I set out toward New Bark Town, I ran into that strange redheaded kid from the day before. He had been lurking outside Elm’s laboratory, and I forgot to tell them about him during the whole whirlwind of new stuff.
“Hey, I remember you,” I began.
“You are weak,” he sneered, then snorted, then smeared snot across his shadowy sleeve. I was grossed out to the point of alliteration.
“Come again?” I said.
“You don’t deserve that Pokemon.”
“I dunno, I think Tiko can leave if she wants. I’m not keeping her. Right, Tiko?”
I looked down to see her leaning forward, growling at the pitiful guy. What was going on here?
“I challenge you to a Pokemon battle!” he cried, pointing at me, as if to single me out from amongst a crowd.
“Okay,” I said. “Tiko, go ahead.”
She barked, stepping forward a few feet. The redhead tossed a Pokeball toward me and it opened in midair. I have to admit, getting the timing down on pushing the button and throwing the ball was pretty badass. I made a note to practice it sometime.
A Totodile appeared from the glowing matter, standing several feet from Tiko.
“Craw?” it said, looking around. The pointy teeth were a little intimidating, but the last two days of battling with Tiko reassured me.
“Hey,” I said. “That’s one of Professor Elm’s Pokemon.”
“Totodile! Use leer!” he screamed.
“Tiko, uh, hit it with an ember.” I was caught off-guard and ember was the first thing I could think of.
Though the ember failed to turn the Totodile into a crispy thing, it did hurt. That much was obvious. The way it looked at Tiko, however, seemed to make her shrink back.
“Tackle it, Tiko,” I said.
“Use leer again!” said the acne-ridden boy. He had to have had the worst self-esteem.
Tiko barreled into the blue Pokemon, and I heard a crunch like a breaking bone. It kept its eyes open though, and Tiko shivered a little when it stepped away.
The Totodile could barely stand; it was using its tail for support and holding one clawed arm in to its abdomen. For such a rare specimen, it seemed like a waste to slaughter it.
“Totodile,” the boy said, crouching down next to his prized stolen Pokemon. “I have a plan.”
The creature looked up at him, one eye half-shut and the other… well, it was full of blind trust.
“Are you ready?” he asked, and the Totodile said, “Caw,” without energy.
The boy stood back up and pointed at Tiko.
“Hit her…” he paused, then chuckled to himself, his eyes narrowed with evil intent. I braced myself.
“With a leer!”
“Oh for crying out loud.” I rubbed my eyes with my free hand, balancing the mystery egg in my other. “Tiko, tackle it.”
Tiko hit it square in the face, and both of them tumbled over. The Totodile was still alive, but barely. Tiko went to finish the job–
“Tiko, stop,” I said. She froze.
I couldn’t allow her to kill the Totodile. I couldn’t do it for science. I couldn’t do it for the suffering animal. I couldn’t do it for the pathetic thief who didn’t know the first thing about battle. I just couldn’t be so heartless.
“Take your Totodile to the Pokemon Center,” I said. “We’re done here.”
“I told you that you were weak!” he cried out, leaping into the air as if he were the victor. Then he pointed his Pokeball at the Totodile and it disappeared, morphing into a glowing substance and jumping into the ball.
My Trainer Card beeped. I pulled it out of my pocket and took a look. It showed a picture of the redheaded boy and added some money to my account.
“I’ll see you again!” the boy declared, running past me. He took off for the Pokemon Center, but didn’t realize that his Trainer Card had fallen from his belongings.
I stooped to pick it up and saw his name. He swiped the card from me while I was lost in pity and looking away.
“Assmunch?” I said, “Oh you poor thing. No wonder you’re so messed up.”
I started jogging back to New Bark Town.