Chapter Five – Crime Wave
A mind-breaking shot of psychic energy made Ninja press his claws against his skull, trying to fight off the powerful blast as Jerry’s Ralts tormented his foe’s mind.
Erik rubbed the part of his hair where Gully used to nip at it, unable to get the recently defeated Pokemon out of his head. Erik had gained his first badge, but the events of the last couple of days had taken their toll on him. He had lost String, Speedy, Bunny and Gully all in a short space of time, and his only reward was a small piece of metal they called a gym badge.
Ninja continued to struggle against the attacks whilst his trainer was distracted, the Nincada pushed back further and further as Jerry encouraged his own Pokemon to finish the fight.
As Ralts inhaled breath in preparation for another psychic attack, it was blasted by roaring fire. Blaze had stepped in for Erik once again, rescuing Ninja.
“Hey, no fair!” Jerry complained, before he was shoved aside by his partner, Karen. The two newly qualified trainers having challenged Erik together as he re-entered Route 116.
Erik tried to remember how he had come back to the location, the memories of what happened after Gully fell in battle were little more than a blur to him.
He remembered hearing the shouts of help from a Devon Corporation employee as the man who had rescued before chased a thief.
He also remembered that the employee then came up to him, asking once more for his help.
“Erik!” the laboratory technician had called to him, “oh how good it is to see you. Remember that Team Magma thug that tried robbing us in the woods?”
Erik nodded in response.
“Well guess what, he’s now gone and stolen some parts from me, right outside the Devon Corp. building!”
Erik stayed silent, but knew where this was going, he wasn’t going to help the man without something in return this time.
“I need your help again Erik, please!” the employee begged.
“What’s in it for me?” Erik countered, his tone was dark.
As Erik recalled the day’s previous events, his mind was snapped back to the present. Ninja stepped out to meet Karen’s Shroomish in battle, the Nincada wanting another chance to prove his worth to Erik. Karen’s pale grass Pokemon released a plethora of poisonous spores into the air. Ninja inhaled them, against his better judgement.
Erik reacted quickly, grabbing the antidote out of his bag and letting Ninja drink from it, the poison coursing through the bug Pokemon’s body was destroyed. With this new lease of life, Ninja pounced on his foe, attaching his fangs into the Shroomish and leeching the life from it. Winning the match-up.
Erik put the Oran berries in his backpack as he approached Rusturf Tunnel. The employee had given him a handful of the food and a promise of meeting the president of Devon Corporation if Erik agreed to get the parts back off the thief.
Erik did agree to the deal, after healing at the Pokemon centre and burying Gully, Erik departed to Route 116 where Jerry and Karen were training together. Seeing Erik, and thinking he was an easy target, they challenged him to a duel in order to pick up some battle experience for their Pokemon. Blaze and Ninja had proven them wrong.
“Hello again young man,” a hoarse voice called as Erik was once again snapped back to the present.
“Mr Briney,” Erik exclaimed with surprise, “what are you doing here?”
The old sailor stroked his beard before replying, Erik noticed that the man’s hands were shaking with his eyes clouded by tears.
“It’s Peeko, my Wingull,” he started, struggling to speak, “Peeko and I were just shopping in Rustboro when a man came running through in a red hooded cloak. He grabbed Peeko and ran off with her.”
“Did he go inside?” Erik asked, nodding at the Tunnel entrance before them.
“Yes, I chased after him, but..” Briney lifted up the cuff of his trousers, revealing a leg covered in crimson blood. “He got his Poochyena to attack me. It bit my leg.”
“No wonder he’s so shaken,” Erik thought to himself, before announcing out loud – “I’ll get Peeko back for you.”
The Magma grunt was attempting to climb a large pile of rocks that were blocking the path through the tunnel. Peeko was in a firm grip, trapped in the thief’s arm. The cardboard package strapped to his back.
“I thought I got rid of that Poochyena,” Erik barked.
“Not you again,” the grunt sighed, “this is a different Poochyena, I had him in storage.”
“Why are you doing this? Who are you?” Erik’s anger amplified his voice into almost a roar.
“Grant is my name..”
“I don’t care who you are, I want to know about Magma.” Erik interrupted.
“Poochyena, attack!” Grant ordered, ignoring the question. The criminal’s Poochyena going straight for Erik.
All four of Erik’s Pokemon charged, but Ice was fastest. Erik’s own Poochyena tackling Grant’s. Ice had been quiet and distant after the gym fight, like his trainer, the deaths of Gully, String, Speedy and Bunny was taking it’s toll on him. But this was different, Ice was now fighting to protect his trainer.
Grant’s Poochyena got back to his feet and howled, to which Ice replied with his own roar, which was infinitely louder. The tunnel started to shake around them, causing rocks to tumble from the roof and onto the battlefield where they crashed into both Grant’s Pokemon and Erik’s.
As Ice clambered out of the pile of rocks, the opposing Poochyena was on him, fangs wrapped around Ice’s throat. As the life was suffocated out of Erik’s Pokemon, another rock fell from the roof. Seemingly in slow motion the boulder plummeted to the ground, before smashing into Grant’s Poochyena and winning the battle for Erik.
“Wingull, attack!” Grant shouted as he released Peeko from his grip. The Wingull soared, grabbing the cardboard package off Grant’s back in it’s beak, flying over to Erik, dropping the package in his hand, then flying to meet the onrushing Mr. Briney.
“Peeko!” shouted Briney with delight, the man had ran into the cave at the sound of the fighting.
“Damn you!” Grant cursed as he used the distraction to run back out of the tunnel. Erik went to pursue him but Briney held out a hand.
“He’s not worth it friend,” the old sailor said with a smile, “I cannot thank you enough, if I can ever do anything for you, you just need to ask.”
“You have the package!” the technician wailed as he saw Erik approaching the Devon Corporation office.
“Now for you to hold up your end of the deal,” Erik replied bluntly, as the employee took the package and gestured for Erik to follow him inside.
The building was huge, it must have been at least a dozen floors high. The reception area that made up the entrance was quite plain, the interior was enclosed by the same sandy brown coloured stone walls that made up by building. The only features of life in the front room was a receptionist lazily scribbling on some paper behind a desk in the corner, and some plants at the far side of the room.
The technician led Erik towards a lift in the far corner, once inside, he pressed the button to the sixteenth floor.
“This is Mr.Stone’s office,” the employee informed him as the lift stopped ascending, the doors sliding open to reveal a large office with huge glass windows overlooking the city, they were on the top floor.
On the walls were paintings of various fossils and ancient stones, with a glass table containing various stones inside located in the centre of the room, surrounded by four leathers sofas to each side.
“Ahh you must be Erik, the saviour,” Mr.Stone remarked from behind a large wooden desk, he wore a full length blue suit with matching blue tie covering a white undershirt. His grey hair covered by a bowler hat which matched the colour of the oak wood desk.
“You have saved my technician from Team Magma not once, but twice now,” the president continued, his voice so assertive and loud it felt like it could shatter the glass windows, “we have received an import of Great Balls from Kanto. The balls are an upgrade on the Pokeball which offer more comfort to the captured Pokemon, therefore making it easier to capture the wild creature.”
As Mr.Stone spoke he opened the top drawer of his desk to retrieve one of the balls, the ball looked exactly the same as a Pokeball, but instead of the top portion being crimson red, it was a deep ocean blue.
“We plan to sell these to Pokemarts around Hoenn, but you may have one as a gift from me.” To Erik’s surprise, the stern businessman threw the ball over the desk for Erik to catch.
“I hear you are taking the gym challenge, young man. Very good. The next gym is in Dewford town, located on a small island to the south of here, you’ll have to take a boat to get there.”
Erik hadn’t yet thought about how he was going to get there, he would need to come up with a plan as he was never the strongest swimmer.
“My son, Steven, is currently visiting the town,” Stone continued, “leading me to ask you for another favour if you would be so kind. I would ask of you to deliver a letter to him whilst on your way, and, in return, I will upgrade your Pokedex with a new feature.”
As Erik began to hand his Pokedex over to the president, the aged man pulled a letter out of his top pocket and exchanged it. He then began fiddling with the Pokedex.
“Just entering my authorisation code, I shall not be a moment.”
Erik heard a clamour from outside. Moving over to the window he saw a group of trainers running out of the gym, lead by Grant of Team Magma. Roxanne followed moments after, but the group managed to escape her.
“All done Erik, you will now be able to tune into the news station directly from your Pokedex.”
Erik grabbed the device out of Mr. Stone’s hand and ran downstairs without a goodbye, wanting to find out what the commotion was about.
“Fools!” Roxanne cursed as she sweeped away the shards of glass laying on the gym floor. The case at the front of the gym had been smashed open, none of the badges previously inside remained.
“What happened?” Erik queried as he jogged over to the gym leader.
“Yesterday, the law was finally passed which prohibited the use of Pokemon by trainers without a badge,” Georgia replied, Roxanne’s underling was helping her leader clear up the wreckage.
“And in retaliation a group of seven came in and did a smash and grab,” Roxanne screamed, “they were led by a member of Team Magma. All the badges are now in their hands, this is bad news Erik.”
“And if Magma are in control of who’s allowed to continue using Pokemon, this will only increase their numbers.” Georgia followed on.
“Have you informed the police?” Erik asked, to which Roxanne gave him a quizzical look.
“We have no police force in Hoenn, we’ve never needed one. Team Magma showed up about a month ago without warning.”
Erik was lost for words, deciding to leave to let the two get on with clearing up the mess.
“They let me continue without a badge because I’m not an official trainer,” May answered Erik’s question with her usual sweet smile.
Erik had been on his way out of Rustboro before May had caught up with him, when she had asked what his next move was Erik told her about his plan to ask Mr.Briney to sail him to Dewford, as the old sailor owed him a favour.
“Great idea Erik, I’ll accompany you to his hut. I’m on my way back to Littleroot anyway,” May had responded.
With Ziggy knowing how to cut down shrubbery, the journey through Petalburg Woods was quick and easy, May and Erik had followed the trail of scythed bushes without problem, the two now stood outside Briney’s hut.
“Do you want to come with me to Dewford, I’m sure there’s plenty for you to do there?” Erik asked hopefully as May prepared to say her goodbyes.
“Sorry Erik but I have to go back to my dad.” She replied despondently, giving him a kiss on the cheek, “I’ll see you soon though.”
“I hope,” Erik blurted, causing them both to laugh nervously.
“A young lady friend I see,” Mr. Briney’s hoarse voice sounded behind Erik as May walked off. The old sailor’s words made Erik blush.
“Don’t be shy Erik, we all had a crush at one point,” a throaty laughed followed the man’s words.,“now what can I do for you?”
Erik explained his predicament, Mr. Briney nodding along to his every word, before agreeing to take him to Dewford town.
“You and your Pokemon can have a rest in the boat’s cabin. Me and Peeko will steer us there!” the sailor exclaimed delightedly. The pearl white yacht docked at the beach beckoning.
Erik and his Pokemon did indeed sleep the entire journey, waking up to the sandy beach town of Dewford.
As Erik stepped off the yacht and onto the docks, he realised that the entire town was built on the sandy beaches. Barriers comprised of sandbags piled up all along the shore, defending the town against the vicious ocean.
Each building was built of what looked like soft wood, the town being made up by a doctor’s hut, a Pokemon Centre, a Gym, and half a dozen houses.
“Where you off to my boy?” Mr. Briney inquired, a large fishing rod in his hand, “this rod is for you by the way, to capture Pokemon living within the oceans.”
“I should check out the cave to the north of the town first,” Erik replied, taking the rod with a quick thank you, “it looks more like ruins than a cave, and if this “Steven” is anything like his father, he will be in there.”
“Good thinking friend, I will stay in Dewford and wait for you. Would be unfair to leave you stranded here,” another laugh erupted from the sailor’s throat, it sounded to Erik as if it hurt Briney to laugh.
“Erm, but first Mr. Briney,” Erik stumbled nervously around his words, “could you please teach me how to fish?”
After an hour or so of teaching, Erik had finally got the hang of fishing, but he was not expecting what happened next as the wild Tentacool lashed out a tentacle at Erik, the venom on the end of the whip easy to see. Mr. Briney chuckled as the ocean-dwelling creature’s limb was too short to reach Erik from the hook of the rod.
“You’ve got him my boy!”
Erik took one hand from the rod and reached into his pocket, throwing a Pokeball at the water and poison dual typed Pokemon. Capturing it.
“I’ll name him Gu, for his slimy skin,” Erik smiled, which caused even more seemingly painful laughter from the sailor.
Blaze, Ice, Ziggy, Ninja and Gu. He still had one more space in his team, and that Pokemon lay in the ruins up ahead, he knew.
“Granite Cave,” the sign outside had read, it was indeed, an ancient ruin Erik realised as he entered. The poorly lit cavern had a natural pathway leading straight through the middle. Wild Pokemon leapt around the place freely, some on the pathway, other’s on the more built up rocky sides.
The sand filled beach linking Dewford to the cave was inhabited by trainers who were using the area to build up their team. Two of which had challenged Erik to battle.
First up was a fisherman, who’s Tentacool was easily wiped out by Ice. A backpacker tried challenging Erik next, sending out a Slakoth to battle Blaze, but had as much success in battle as the trainer before him.
Erik ventured with his team into the ruins, the narrow path leading downwards, deeper and deeper into the caverns. The entire cave got dark very quickly as Erik turned a corner, a dim light in the distance beckoned Erik towards it.
Blaze lit up the pathway with fiery breath, leading the way.
“Hello?” Erik’s voice echoed around the stone walls as he called to the light.
“Go back,” A voice replied, the echo hiding the tone of it.
“I’m looking for a man named Steven,” Erik responded.
“He’s not here right now, just us explorers. We are conducting a dig right now, please do not disturb our work.”
Erik took their word and headed back out of the cave, to challenge the gym. Maybe the leader, Brawly, knew where Steven was.
The light returned as the party headed back up, they had almost reached the cave entrance when a wild Makuhita ambled up to them, stubbornly blocking their path.
Ice growled and Blaze blasted a warning shot at the ground, but the Makuhita just raised his fists into a fighting stance.
Ninja darted out. The Nincada was extremely irritating to the rest of the team with it’s constant buzzing and high energy levels, but it’s speed was very handy in a fight.
Ninja zoomed from one side of the cave to the next, but the Makuhita was able to keep up with the Nincada’s movements and attacked with a quick jab, sending Erik’s Pokemon flying backwards. Blaze blasted fire at the roof, using Roxanne’s Pokemon’s trick to cause rocks to tumble from the roof. The wild Makuhita sidestepped each one, but whilst distracted was rammed into the wall by Ziggy, who had snuck up on her foe.
Erik threw a Pokeball, and named his newly captured Pokemon, “Ali.”
Erik had healed at the Pokemon centre, knowing he’d only two further uses of it. So when Brawly stared him down with three trainers at his side, he knew he was in for a challenge.
The entire gym they were in was in fact, an actual gym. The room Erik was stood in was a mess, equipment all over the place. To his left was an open plan room with changing areas containing lockers, and another open plan room, with showers, to his right.
“So you think you can take my badge?” Brawly growled. The gym leader was in a black, skin-tight outfit, with long, sky blue hair tied up in a knot.
“Yes,” Erik countered, he had since made note that the gym was home to fighting type trainers.
“Then if you can defeat my three friends here, come join me in the back room, my own personal arena,” his gruff voice didn’t suit his more pretty-boy look.
“I’ll go first, I’m Laura,” a woman with matching sky-blue hair challenged, she was also wearing a skin-tight black and orange outfit.
Erik knew that both Ice and Ziggy were weak to fighting types, so it was up to Blaze, Ninja, Ali and Gu in this gym. Although he knew the latter duo were untested.
Laura threw a Pokeball. Her Meditite emerging from it’s home.
Blaze moved quickly, blasting fire at the Meditite, who in turn countered with psychic attacks. Laura’s Pokemon was a dual fighting and psychic type. Blaze shrugged off the mind blasts and engulfed the Meditite in flames. The first battle in the gym was won with ease.
“Laura was always weak. Now you face me, Hideki,” another woman jumped in, this trainer in a jet-black tank top and shorts. She sent out her Machop.
Blaze went first, another fiery blast engulfing the Machop, inflicting the fighting Pokemon with a burn. The aggressor wasn’t finished however, smashing Blaze with a karate chop.
Blaze nibbled on the berry Erik had given him to hold.
“Thank you Devon Corporation,” Erik thought, seeing his Torchic saved by the Oran berry.
A blast of fire from the recovered Blaze preceded another karate chop from the Machop. Blaze stumbled, and fell. The fighting Pokemon moved in for the kill.
Erik looked to Ninja, his fastest Pokemon, to zoom in and save Blaze, but even his Nincada wasn’t that fast.
Machop raised his arm to finish the fight. But before he could slam it down on Blaze, the fighting Pokemon dropped. The burn received earlier had finished it off.
“You won’t be so lucky against me,” the final trainer mumbled, another female dressed in gym gear. “The name’s Tessa.”
Blaze returned to his feet, facing off against another Meditite’s psychic attacks. The Torchic summoned all the energy he had left in one final wave of flame. Defeating the Meditite but finding himself unable to stand afterwards.
“It’s okay Blaze, you did well,” Erik smiled to his Pokemon, getting a weary chirp in return.
Tessa had another Pokemon though, sending out a Machop. Erik nudged Ali into play for his first official fight.
Ali confidently strutted out, the beefy Pokemon looking like he could match the Machop punch for punch.
Instead of walking into the centre of the room, Ali wandered over to the lockers and began taunting Tessa’s creature.
The Machop charged in, but as it went to punch Ali, the Makuhita dodged out the way, the Machop slamming into the lockers. As the dazed Pokemon turned back around, it was met by a flurry of blows by Ali. Erik’s new Makuhita had won him the right to face Brawly in battle.
Blaze flapped his wings as fast as he could, his light feathered body slowly rising from the ground.
Erik was staying the night at the Pokemon centre with his team. He knew that fighting types were weak to aerial attacks, so he was working with Blaze to help him to fly. The Torchic had been at it all night, attempting to gradually lift itself from the floor, and peck with his beak.
“You’ve done it!” Erik rejoiced, Blaze chirping happily before crashing back down to the white tiled floor, the rest of the team being awoken by Erik’s loud cheers, and were looking at the two from the king-sized bed. Each of his team were holding an Oran berry, the rest of the technician’s berries had been shared between them before tomorrow’s gym battle.
Gu had been sleeping separately from the rest of the group. The Tentacool choosing to return to the ocean for the night. The water typed Pokemon had remained indifferent to the group, choosing to remain inside it’s Pokeball or swim off alone since it was captured.
Despite this, Erik still felt he would be able to rely on his Tentacool the next day, if need be. Erik and Blaze joined the rest of the group in sleep, tomorrow they battled for the second badge.
Brawly jumped up and down on the spot, whilst the Machop he had sent out into battle flexed his arms.
Blaze stood adjacent to his opponent. Erik had gone to the back room of the gym which had turned out to be a circular space surrounded by gym equipment – from weights to treadmills to punch bags. Brawly himself stood in front of a case full of badges, the room being windowless and lit up brightly by lights sunken into the roof.
Blaze wasted no time, flapping his wings and managing to hover above ground, before flying in and pecking his opponent. The Machop recoiled, giving Blaze another chance to peck at it again.
Erik’s Torchic went in for another dig, but as he hovered over, the Machop was wise to his actions. Karate chopping Blaze square in the stomach, knocking the air out of him.
Blaze gulped down the berry that his trainer had given him. He knew now that the fighting Pokemon was unable to withstand an aerial bombardment, so the Torchic flew over and pecked at the Machop again. Brawly’s fighter slumping to the floor.
Erik sighed with relief, before seeing Blaze sent flying backwards, narrowly missing a treadmill. The Machop had managed to karate chop him. Both Pokemon were now barely able to stand.
“Just a regular potion?” Brawly laughed as Erik ran over to Blaze with a potion he had bought with the money gained from defeating Roxanne.
The Dewford gym leader moved over to his own Pokemon and took out of his pocket a potion that was yellow in colour, instead of the usual purple and white.
“This here is a super potion, twice as effective as your own!”
As Brawly healed his Pokemon back up to full health, Blaze moved quickly over to a punching bag. The Machop began charging, fist raised.
Blaze sliced open the bag with his sharp claws, sand slowly falling to the wooden floor, which he then kicked up at the charging Machop. Followed by a blast of fire.
The Machop shook his head vigorously, in a desperate attempt to get the sand out of his eyes. Blaze picked up more sand in his claws and hovered over in front of a treadmill, the Machop charged in again.
Blaze released the sand into Machop’s face. The blinded Pokemon couldn’t stop himself in time and crashed into a treadmill, the machine falling down on top of him.
Erik called the weakened Blaze back, sending out Ali to face whatever was up next. It turned out that Brawly had a Makuhita of his own.
“I see you have a Makuhita too, Erik,” Brawly sniped, “mine has been training here for weeks now, yours has no chance!” The gym leader paused for a moment, noticing Ali holding his Oran berry. “I see, Makuhita, your foe has a berry. Sort that out for me please, will you?”
Brawly’s Makuhita responded, moving with speed it knocked the berry out of Ali’s hand before eating it himself.
Ali backed away, before grabbed a fistful of sand and throwing it at his opponent. The opposing Makuhita bulked himself up, flexing his arm muscles before rubbing most of the sand out of it’s eyes.
Ali looked to Erik who shot his Pokemon an encouraging smile back. Ali slammed in with a series of punches, but his blows had little effect on the clearly superior Makuhita, so Erik called his Pokemon back to try a new plan.
“Gu, I’ve never tested you in battle before, but we need you now.”
Erik’s Tentacool crawled out, surprisingly quick out of water. But Brawly’s Makuhita moved quicker, grabbing sand and throwing it at Gu, causing Erik’s fighter to miss with a poisonous jab.
Gu, shook the sand off his body and blared out supersonic sound waves, causing the Makuhita to stumble around confused, punching the treadmill believing it was his opponent. The Tentacool took advantage of the situation and managed to poison Brawly’s creature, provoking the Makuhita to swing a punch with full force.
The blow hit Gu square on, a strike so hard it took the life right from the Tentacool.
Erik turned to call another Pokemon in, he hadn’t known Gu long enough to be able to fully grieve. Ali shot over to Gu without waiting for Erik’s say-so, checking for any signs of life from the Tentacool before lowering his head in shame when realising there was none.
Ali ran at his opponent, laying into him with a flurry of punches. The Makuhita retaliating by punching Ali in the chest. Ali slumped to his knees, the wind had been knocked out of and his foe was now standing over him, ready to apply the finishing blow.
Makuhita extended his fist towards Ali, but fell down halfway through the strike. The poison in his veins had taken full effect.
In death, Gu had won Erik his second gym badge.