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- I -


Chapter IV




As we walked along the eastern shores of Kanto, a sparkling sea to our left and near endless green grasslands to our right, all I had eye for was the small item in my hand. I fidgeted some more with the red and white ball while I pondered just why the hell Gastly had chosen, freely chosen on his own accord, to go with me. The guy that burned him, hit him in the head, and trapped him in a ball that was about six centimetres across. Actually, it was even less most of the time. I had it enlarged right now. Other than him hating the other ghosts more than me I couldn’t think of anything, but judging from Gengar’s reaction that wasn’t the case either. Was it actually a ‘him’ at all for that matter?


Rose snorted. “Would you stop looking at that thing already? Accept the fact you’ve been accepted and move on.” Accept the fact that I had been accepted. Maybe she was right, but it still felt off. “Bring it out and ask then if you don’t believe me.” She continued as I hadn’t truly responded yet. It was a good idea, and I was surprised I hadn’t thought of it. And so I raised the ball and hit the release. Moments later, Gastly’s surprised face took form and squinted its eyes at the sunlight. No doubt it was wondering why I’d called for it out of battle.


“Right, no sense in stalling. Sorry for dragging you out here like this Gastly, but I need to put something straight here.” I said to it while looking for the right words. Gastly looked at me with a blank expression for a moment, as if it was trying to read me. “You do understand that after that stunt you pulled in there you’re officially ‘mine’, right?” It nodded. “Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not your ‘master’ and you’re not by any means mine. If you want to leave I’ll just have to accept that. Okay?” A small smile formed on Gastly’s face, but I didn’t know what to make of it. Was it smiling because it liked me, or smiling because it could leave? “So are you sure this is what you want?” I tried carefully. Gastly turned around and seemed to take in its surroundings, as if it was trying to answer that question for itself. I gave it its time, unconsciously following its gaze into the distance. Rose followed the exchange with mild amusement. Then Gastly turned back to me and nodded firmly.


“See? It probably wanted to get out of that place and see the world outside for a change. Isn’t that right Gastly?” Rose beamed at the ghost. Gastly agreed, or seemed to agree at least. It was a good enough answer for me. Gastly had not just accepted me as its trainer, but it had pretty much chosen me to be its trainer so that it could travel. And I couldn’t help but wonder how long it had been waiting in that tower for a trainer that had the courage to come inside and actually look for a ghost.


“I’m getting tired of having to say ‘it’. Boy or girl?” I asked. Gastly turned to me. “Boy?” I asked again, to which Gastly nodded. “Then from now on you’re a ‘he’ and ‘him’.” I stated resolutely. And so we continued our trek, with me not recalling Gastly to let him take in the stuff he came for.




“Magikarp, use Flail!” The cry sounded desperate. But that was because the source of the cry was desperate. The source was a young man with a waterproof overall, rod in hand. Maxim was a fisherman. A Magikarp fisherman. To him angling was a top sport and the largest catches were the only ones he kept. He even trained them so that they got even bigger. Of course, Magikarp weren’t exactly the strongest Pokémon in existence so wins were rare to begin with, but he managed to get by fine in most fair battles. It never bothered him much though, because to Maxim battling was nothing but a nice add-on to his normal routine. The same could be said about his opponent today, in a manner of speaking. To the man standing opposite of him, who was smirking at his Fearow while it picked apart the poor fish, battling could also be considered secondary. But today Maxim wasn’t battling for fun, nor was his opponent. They were battling for Maxim’s Magikarp. All six of them.


“Fearow, Agility.” The man said calmly as his giant bird easily evaded the Magikarp’s attack, much to Maxim’s despair. The man was clad in a pair of black pants, with black boots underneath. On his torso he wore a grey shirt and over it hung an unzipped black jacket. Embroiled on the jacket were three letters. One on the back, and two smaller ones on either side of the front. All red, all ‘R’s. This fact alone told Maxim the guy meant business, so he cheered on his Pokémon even louder. Deep down though he knew this was a lost battle. “Drill Peck.”


“No! Dive, dive!” Maxim’s command was too late. The bird used its agility to zero in on the fish before it got the chance to move and relentlessly pecked it dozens of times in only a few seconds. Magikarp was at the Fearow’s mercy. Unfortunately for it, Fearow had no mercy. The last hit sent it flying through the air and the wounded Pokémon landed roughly onto the ground in front of Maxim’s feet. “No…”


“What a pity… and I think that was your last one too. I guess that means the fight is mine.” The man said in a mocking voice. “And of course, your Pokémon are mine too now.” Maxim growled as two of the man’s accomplices stepped forward to take his Pokémon. This was Team Rocket at its worst, stealing Pokémon from unfortunate trainers. Maxim was sure he wasn’t the first victim of these three. The other two were clad in the normal Team Rocket uniform. Black trousers, black top, black cap, and all with red ‘R’s embroiled on them. They were obviously there to do the dirty work.


‘Never!’ Maxim’s mind screamed, and with that fuelling him from the inside, his body sprung into action. He bolted forward and snatched his Magikarp up from the ground and quickly turned to run. Just as he started to pick up speed he felt something latch onto him; it was one of the Rockets who had managed to get his grubby little hands on his belt. Maxim’s hand shot down, but it was too late. He had to watch helplessly as the belt snapped from his waist and remained in the hands of the random grunt while he himself got away. On his belt were his other five Magikarp, but he couldn’t turn back for them now. He could hear the grunt drop to the floor after the sudden release, but the other one was still running for him. Forcing his legs to move faster, Maxim ran like he had never done before, trying his hardest to get as much space between him and his pursuer as possible. He didn’t even hear the leader call his grunt back. He just kept going, Magikarp firmly held in his arms.




“Team Rocket. No doubt about it. Their uniforms are black.” I said after hearing out the young girl sitting on the rock in front of me. Rose and I had made fairly good progress, covering a lot of miles in only a few hours. Then we ran into a sign saying ‘Sport fishing area’, and we saw this girl sitting there on a rock, staring into space. It was obvious she’d been crying. Rose had kindly asked what was wrong, and the girl had muttered something incomprehensible featuring ‘black’, ‘Pokémon’ and ‘gone’. After helping her calm down a bit we managed to make out that she was Christine, she was twelve years old, and she’d gotten attacked by three guys in black who took her Nidoran and Pidgey. I had sort of guessed it would be only a matter of time before I’d run into them, and I knew these wouldn’t be the bumbling fools from the anime.


“So what do we do?” Rose asked while eying the girl with sorrow in her eyes. Obviously I’d end up getting dragged over there to fight the bad guys and return the Pokémon regardless of what I answered. Christine stifled her recently restarted sobs and looked at me hopefully. Curse puppy dog eyes. The inventor should be shot.


“Well, we go over there to kick Rocket butt?” I suggested after succumbing to the evil. I felt little for risking my own haves for those of another, but my sense of justice got in my ego’s way. Just then, something came running our way from the jetty that provided the fishermen with something to fish from. It was a young man, slightly older than me from what I could see. He was wearing typical fisherman’s gear, and panting heavily. Just before he reached us, he tripped over a plank of wood that stuck out slightly more than the others and made a face plant on the dirt. I flinched at the impact and silently wondered if his nose would still be on straight when he got up. Only he didn’t get up. “Are you alright?”


“Just… a bit… tired…” He managed to blurt out in between the sharp intakes of air. Slowly he pushed himself up from the ground, wiping dirt from his face and clothes. “Are they… still after me?”


“Who is ‘they’?” Rose asked. The man glanced back quickly once before calming down some.


“Team Rocket… They stole my Magikarp.” More victims. How many people had they robbed here?


“Where are they?” I heard myself ask. Apparently my sense of duty was getting impatient. The man looked at me like I was mad.


“What, you’re not thinking about going in there, are you?” He asked incredulously. I simply nodded. “Well, I think you’re crazy… but if you really want to know; they’re about a ten minute run from here. If you follow the wharf around the bend over there you’ll run right into them.”


“I see.” I followed the jetty to the bit he was pointing at, seeing it weave left and right a few times to stick to the shoreline, then way in the back I saw the wooden structure make a sharp right turn. What came after the bend was pretty much up for grabs, as a thick patch of shrubberies hid it from view completely. It did look like a nice place to hide, right around that corner and out of sight, perfect for an ambush. I didn’t really have a clue what to do now. Going in guns blazing probably wasn’t the smartest thing, but it would definitely be a surprise for whoever was out there. And the fact remained we would have to battle them one way or another. I swallowed and started walking while muttering sarcastically. “Anyone care to join me on my final trip?”


“Sure, I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” Rose smirked as she followed casually.


“You two are nuts…” Maxim sighed as he slumped his shoulders in defeat and started walking. “But I guess I don’t have much of a choice if I ever want to see my Magikarp again… Lead the way.”


Though I half expected her to get up and follow us, I was relieved Christine stayed put on the rock. No offence to her, but being so small and having no Pokémon didn’t exactly mean it would be a good idea for her to harass Team Rocket. Then again, I wasn’t too sure how well I would do with my full line up either. But we still had Rose, and Haunter looked ready for just about anything.




“Sir! We have more trainers inbound! And that guy with the Magikarp is with them.” The addressed man looked up at the hushed shout of the grunt. He hadn’t thought the fisherman would be stupid enough to return. In fact, the guy had struck him as mildly intelligent. But it would seem looks could be deceiving. Now he would pay the price.


“I see. They know we’re here by now no doubt. I guess that rules out an ambush. You, go and challenge them, make sure to stall time.” The man said calmly to his associate. The grunt nodded and moved out, and the man quickly turned to his other helper. “Help me start that stupid truck.”


With that, both men made their way to the dense bushes that kept them from sight and started removing them. Slowly but surely, the smooth surface of metal started to show. Well, it used to be smooth, now it was rusty and looked like it had seen better days. Funding the research department had left other departments a bit short on cash, transport being one of them. This old thing had been a bargain, but getting it started was a major pain in the rear. And then you had to hope it kept going. The glorious days where Team Rocket ruled the streets were gone. Most of the top agents had been hunted down and caught, what was left was a bunch of riffraff and incompetent street thugs. When the Boss quit, the organization had splintered into a cell structure and the money tap had dried up almost completely. They needed a boost.




- II -


Author’s Note


Having to cut off this chapter here wasn’t planned. Not at all. But it was getting a bit too long for my liking. I’m okay with long chapters, actually, but having it twice as long as the last one, which was already a fair share longer than the others, felt a bit wrong. I wouldn’t be happy with the earlier ones anymore if I did that… Anyway, I hope it wasn’t too disappointing to have such a relatively small chapter after the last one. However, the next one will pick up where this one left off. Sort of right into a battle… Sorry for the uneventful and short chapter.


Chapter five: Trying to do the right thing, Rick takes on Team Rocket head to head. But with it being his first real trainer battle and being up against a ruthless foe that would do anything to win, is that really such a clever thing to do?


… A thousand apologies, seriously. It would’ve been well over twice the size.




- III -


Legal Gibberish


I do not in any way own Pokémon or any of its copyrights and rights of other merchandise related to it. All characters and places in this story are entirely fictional and taken from or based on various aspects of the Pokémon universe. Any form of copying and/or misuse of this story by others will be reported. Please respect the imagination and effort made by others. Stealing is bad, don’t do it.