From: "Jom Tones" <publicenemanumberone@hotmail.nospam.com> Subject: [PW!] A pair of Aces Date: Saturday, June 12, 2004 9:30 AM [Hi, my name's Tom Jones - my friends call me Jom. Not because I share my name with another certain person from South Wales (you probably know him, he sings about pussycats and things that aren't unusual), but because there are one too many Toms in our group. The name issue aside - I'm new to PokéWars! and Pokémon in general. My close friend Steffan Alun introduced me to the idea of joining and here I am. I played Red back in the day when Pokémon was bigger than the sea, I'll admit I was riding the wave of the fad - sickening I know, but I repent for past crimes - and now I'm back for more! I'm currently chiselling my way through Sapphire and enjoying every second. I'm pretty new to Pokémon - I know the basics, but apart from that I'm pretty clueless. Having read bits and pieces here and there I'm intimidated not only by the vast knowledge that everyone displays concerning Pokélore, but the overall standard of writing. I haven't done anything like this before and I realise now that I'm jumping in at the deep end somewhat. I hope you'll let me know if I transgress any laws, big or small. Steff says you're a smiley bunch of guys and gals and I'm looking forward to hearing comments. I also owe him a substantial thankyou, considering he's helped avoid several newbie mistakes. I do want to state one thing before I let you read my efforts - while this is a story about training Pokémon, it isn't a story about a power hungry Ash clone. Just in case you were worrying ;-) By the way, these two characters I'm about to introduce have two separate writer's guides. For the first few stories at least I intend to keep them together, I want to have the option to split them up later on. I apologise for the size of the post, the rest wont need to be this big. ] Pokéwars!: "A pair of Aces" Jom Tones Arren sat up, rubbed the caked gunge out of his eyes and opened the side of his sleeping bag. Peeling it away, he lifted his lifeless legs from within and pulled them out, one a at a time. When this was done, he dragged himself to the door of the tent and pealed away the canvas. The cool morning air circulated through the stuffy, gloomy green den - it was a welcome relief. By nine o'clock the sun would be unbearably hot, it was because of this that he made a habit of getting up much earlier. Now, at seven, the sun wasn't high enough above the canopy of the trees to make a difference. He surveyed the clearing, the rubbish was piled to one side, ready to be buried and the remains of the fire were tidied away. Scyther had clearly begun the morning routine of getting things ready - scolding himself for being lazy, Arren quickly began the process of catching up. He threw on some new, clean clothes and begun to tidy away his things. Scyther and he had this ritualised way of doing things, it was practical and efficient but most of all distracting. If Arren stayed in one place long enough unoccupied he'd begin thinking and he tried very hard not to think. He carefully folded up his sleeping bag and stuffed it into its case; he gathered his clothes and belongings into his rucksack before dragging himself free of the tent. When everything from inside was outside, he began the methodical process of collapsing the tent. Systematically, each pole was laid out piece by piece; grass and loose dirt were brushed away before the canvas was folded neatly before all components were tucked away into the dedicated compartment in his rucksack. Satisfied with his work he gathered his pile together, ready to leave before going into the bushes to relieve himself. Meanwhile, from the opposite side of the clearing, Scyther returned. Seeing the pile of belongings, he scanned the surroundings and found Arren in the bushes. Content, Scyther folded his hind legs and sat down. When Arren returned, holding a wooden A frame, Scyther greeted him with a flurry of guttural clicks that signified 'hello'. 'Good morning Scyther. Pleasant hunt?' Arren asked, whilst strapping the A frame to the back of the rucksack. Scyther, of course, ate plants and didn't 'hunt' as such. However, the amount of times he was mistaken for a meat eating monster in the backwater villages of Hoenn had led to this familiar joke between Arren and him. Scyther wouldn't hurt a human being, he was deadly but gentle and was utterly loyal to Arren. CLICK, Scyther replied. One click meant yes; two meant no; three meant maybe. 'Good,' Arren replied, pulling his rucksack onto his back. Scyther crouched down in front of him and allowed Arren to pull himself up onto his back. 'Is there a stream nearby?' CLICK-CRUNCHCLICK 'A river? Excellent. I need to stop by and refill my canteens.' Scyther began to lope gently into the woods with Arren safely holding on to his back. Unlike most of his species, Scyther had no wings, they had been torn away by someone or something in his distant past. Arren noticed, by being in such close proximity to him all the time, that Scyther's shell had some nasty scars on it. Scyther was old and battle worn, although he could tell Arren about none of this. Arren's understanding of Scyther's clicks and crunches only reached a certain extent. Arren looked up to the canopy of the trees in the early, sharp sunlight. There were several low level flying types in the trees above him, nothing interesting. The cool morning air was very refreshing. He closed his eyes and inhaled, truly appreciating his surroundings. Soon the terrain began to slope downwards and Scyther's legs became dulled by the increasing wetness in the soil. When they reached the river, Scyther lowered Arren down onto the damp bank and he slid off his back. He removed three metal canteens from his backpack and began to refill them in the fresh bubbling water. After placing them back in his backpack, he took some time to wash his face. The water was icy and fresh, his skin tingled and he gasped with the intensity of the cold. Scyther stood over him, always watching, always aware. Arren was too absorbed with the water to notice what happened next. Scyther however, saw it in an instant and uttered his warning sound. This was accompanied by a great splash from further up the river. CRACKLICK! Immediately, Arren sat up and was pulling himself onto Scyther's back almost without thinking. He'd been living wild for a year and in that time his senses had become utterly sharp. From his backpack he withdrew his knife, his eyes were rushing around, looking for the cause of concern. Scyther pointed a long, bladed arm up river. Arren followed with his eyes and saw a person in the river. 'Quick, Scyther. Help!' Arren called. The powerful hind legs sprang into action, propelling Scyther and Arren through the air towards the floundering form. Arren's heart skipped and his veins burned with adrenalin. In the river, the person was draped over a log and seemed to be either dead or out cold. Scyther, using the blunt edges of his arms, lifted the person out of the water as they leapt back to the original side of the river. Scyther lay it down in the soft earth as Arren slipped to the floor, dragging himself to the person's side. He grabbed a wrist, it was pale and cold but there was a pulse. By checking the neck, Arren ascertained two things - this person was male, not much older than himself and definitely unconscious. Arren rolled the boy over and thumped his back, there was still a little water in his lungs. The boy began to cough and splutter wanly, he began to mumble things incoherently. 'Scyther, we need to get him back to the campsite,' Arren said, urgently. Over Scyther's back, Arren watched the boy's drained face bounce around as the forest surged by. The boy looked as if he'd been showered with glass, his face was cut and glistening chunks of it were littered through his wet blonde locks. Arren, who hadn't spoken properly to anyone his own age in over a year was consumed with interest and concern for his strange ward whose life hung in the balance. In a heartbeat they were back in the clearing, the chill air and dewy grass only made the cold, pumping chill in his veins even worse. The boy tumbled out of Scyther's arms like a dead fish, cold and slippery. Arren fell off Scyther's back and cast his rucksack aside. He quickly checked the boy's breathing and pulse. He was still alive, but barely. 'I need a fire!' Scyther bounded back into the woods. Arren tore his backpack apart looking for a blanket, spare clothes and the sleeping bag. He had to get the boy warm or he knew that he'd die of hypothermia. With the trickle of hope that knowing his pulse was still there, Arren clung to that hope like a child to its mother. He worked quickly to make the boy as comfortable as possible. After a series of crashes, Scyther returned with an armful of wood and suitable tinder. Arren had since dried the boy as best he could - it was hard though, even in deep sleep he was still restless and cried out gibberish to ghosts and shadows. The intensity in his knitted brow scared Arren. He looked to Scyther for hope, but Scyther knew nothing of human emotion and busied himself with preparing the fire. When it was built up, Arren sealed the boy into the sleeping bag and moved him closer to the fire. He checked the pulse and breathing again - it was stronger. He could only satisfy himself by sitting back and watching. While Arren sat for hours, watching, checking and worrying, Scyther made a frame made of wood over which he gestured to Arren to dry the boy's clothes. Arren checked the pockets, and draped each over the frame, close to the fire. Arren looked through the boy's bag and found several interesting items. A locket, which contained a ruined picture of an austere looking couple - the boy's parents. Arren quickly put this aside, wiping his eyes quickly. Scyther noticed, but satisfied himself by munching his way through the refuse of leaves stripped from the wood. There was also a large leather bound book, thankfully, this had mostly been saved from the water. Inside were pictures, several letters and many personal notes which were either ruined or made little sense to Arren. There were three pokéballs and a pokédex at the bottom of the bag. The pokéballs were the average type, nothing special about them, but there was something very interesting about the pokédex. Protected from the water by its own casing, Arren opened it out and booted it up. He gasped. Scyther looked at him, concerned. Arren was utterly astounded. The Pokédex was complete. **** Two hours earlier. It was five o'clock in the morning. In the east, the sun was rising and the sky was a chill blue colour. The oak lined avenue was quiet with only the sound of the earliest of birds. The houses in this part of town were large and walled off with extensive private gardens. Next to one such garden stood Nathaniel Forrester, or Huck to those who knew him. Huck was pretty average for a fourteen year old - average height average appearance. In fact it was his averageness that had singled him out for the specific task he was undertaking this very moment. You may be wondering why a fourteen year old boy was hanging around in the posh suburbs during the wee small hours of the morning. This was because Huck was in trouble. He knew it, but there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. Huck had been appointed a very special task, one which only he could do - or so he'd been told. Silently praying for success, he stood beneath the walled garden of a certain Baldrick Salamander. His employers wanted something from Mr Salamander, something he wouldn't give to them freely. Still muttering prayers and silent wishes, Huck summoned his Bellsprout as inconspicuously as possible. 'Bellsprout,' he muttered, kneeling next to his faithful pocket monster, 'I need you to vine whip that tree.' Huck pointed at the branch of a large tree that extended over the wall of the garden in question. This was an easy task for Bellsprout, but the Pokémon still looked apprehensive about the consequences. 'Just do it,' Huck pleaded, 'Please?' Bellsprout nodded reluctantly. After jumping into his master's arms Bellsprout's arms shot into the branches and gripped them tight. With extraordinary dexterity, Bellsprout pulled Huck up the wall. Before allowing himself to return to his Pokéball, Bellsprout gave Huck one last warning look. From his new vantage point, gazing through the branches Huck could see that the owner of this house hadn't put up much of a defense. Unless you counted an expensive looking sprinkler system. His wildly beating heart skipped a little slower with relief. He dangled his body down the side of the wall and slid the rest of the way to the ground. He fell neatly into a bed of bushy plants, the soft and loamy soil saving his ankles from a potentially nasty twist. From his second vantage point he checked the walls for hidden cameras, hidden booby traps and guard Pokémon. He scanned along the edge of the very tidy lawn and munched on the Wepear berries in the bushes. He knew they weren't poisonous but was regretting it anyway seeing as they tasted very strongly of garlic. Fortunately there weren't any booby traps or defenses that he could see, so he made his move, his mouth still strong with the taste of the berries. However, if he'd looked up he'd may have seen the sinister looking silhouette in one of the upstairs windows. Huck wasn't the type of person who thought too much about the lack of defenses either. As such he wasn't party to the warning and was presently about to suffer the consequences. Thinking himself safe, he crouched down and began to creep along the edge of the flower beds towards the house. The birds were actively twittering away their early morning ditties and the dewy grass soaked Huck's shoes through. As irritating as both things were he forced his mind to concentrate on what was going on around him. In both hands were his two strongest Pokémon, slippery in his clammy, anxious hands. When he reached the wall of the house, Huck crouched down under the windows. He cursed under his breath for not noticing the early morning servants within the house. They could quite easily have spotted him as he crept along the edge of the lawn. He risked a peek inside and found them attending to chores that kept their eyes away from the windows. He sighed deeply and let himself relax a little more. Berating himself for not being careful enough, he began to creep his way along the gravel path. The path led him to a wall covered in ivy, at the bottom of which was a large wooden door. Thinking that this probably wouldn't lead him into a land of fairy tale or make believe, he was still disappointed when he didn't find a snow covered wood with a large lamp post in the middle of it. What he did find was a very extensive kitchen garden with rows and columns of fruit and vegetables. Keeping to the wall he edged along the side until he was directly below a large upstairs window. Leading up to which was a trellis, barely recognisable through the climbing plant that clung to it like a child to its mother. From off to one side he could hear the kitchen staff chatting. He listened to see if they were 'on the look out' - it seemed that they were completely oblivious to his presence. Excellent, he thought, congratulating himself. The window above him opened with a slam, he looked up. From it emerged an extremely pretty young maid. Bonus! Huck thought. Unfortunately he started smacking the hell out of a rug with what looked like a tennis racket. The dusty contents of which fell on Huck in abundance. Whilst stifling a flurry of coughs, he listened to her talking. She was squinting into the distance and talking to somebody within. 'Hey,' she began, confused, 'Where's that arty Gnome, Io?' Huck frowned. Io must be the person she's talking to, as for the 'arty gnome', she may have been referring to one of the garden decorations. He wasn't sure. Presently she disappeared back into the house and Huck began his assent up the trellis. When he reached the top, he peeked into the bedroom to see where the made was. She was nowhere to be seen. He hoisted himself up onto the sill. That's when hell broke loose. The maid, bless her, was dusting under the window. Suddenly, she was confronted with the face of a complete stranger. Huck lost his footing and as a result, yelled in her face. She of course screamed but then started to choke half way through. The garlic flavoured berries must have been nastier than he thought. She was already stumbling backwards when her eyes started to water. As she tripped over a strategically placed vacuum cleaner, she uttered the words 'Crikey Moses!' before knocking herself out on the bedpost. Stunned, Huck pulled himself into the room and caught his breath, surveying the unfortunate comedy of errors that had reduced this poor girl to her present state. He got to his feet, horribly aware of the impending appearance of Io. After a moment's pause, when Io failed to appear, Huck relaxed and congratulated himself again. He regretted this. The last thing he saw as he felt a blinding pain in the side of his head was the pieces of a very arty gnome tumbling to the floor accompanied by a very loud smashing noise. He had no time to reflect on the irony of his situation because he had blacked out before he hit the floor. ** If pain was a colour, it'd be white, Huck thought as his eyes swam with milky shapes. He may have been sitting in a chair, he may have been held up by someone. He certainly wasn't standing up by himself because the components of his face that necessitated every day function definitely weren't working. Suddenly there was noise. After a pause, he recognised this noise as a series of words, his brain sluggishly translated the last of it. '...worst thief I've ever had the misfortune to meet.' Huck moaned in reply. 'I'd hoped they'd send someone who was at least competent. But no, it seems they're allowing any old riff raff to join these days. M&M was really scraping the barrel when he hired you.' The snide voice was coming from somewhere. Gradually the milky shapes became coloured shapes, coloured shapes soon became objects. Huck eventually recognised his surroundings. He was in a study, in front of him was a big stained oak desk, behind which was a large leather chair. Behind that were windows, the light from which cancelled out all details and considering the headache that was pounding in Huck's temples, he had to close his eyes. 'What possessed you to attack poor Mary? What did she do to deserve you pushing her over a vacuum cleaner? I'll have to give her sick pay now.' Huck processed the details and managed to figure out what he meant as the details of the morning returned to him. 'I didn't push her,' he grumbled. 'Ah, it speaks,' the snide voice replied, 'I was rather enjoying berating you while you were out cold. Now I shall have to do it to your face. Anything to pass the time until the police arrive.' Suddenly, Huck's faculties returned to him. 'Police?' He asked, alarmed. 'Of course. You are a thief, I am your 'victim', I have caught you therefore I have the right to have you locked up. Haha. I won that game.' 'Pardon?' 'Never mind. Suffice it to say Mr.' the voice trailed off, it was looking for something, 'Mr Forrester? Forrester, surely no.' The mood of the conversation changed from being quite light and sinister to being cold and sinister. 'Interesting. I'm sure the irony of your situation is lost on you entirely Mr Forrester, suffice it to say that you are in a lot of trouble and your parents are not going to be very happy about it. Not that they'll be able to do much about it, considering their current position.' 'What?' Huck was now very much awake, 'What do you know about my parents?' 'What don't I know my dear boy. They are closer to me than my most powerful Pokémon, and that's saying something.' 'What do you mean?' Huck asked, his voice trembling. He hadn't seen his parents in a year - they were an unsavoury pair and he despised them. 'Do honestly think I'm going to tell you? Fool of a boy. I'm having far too much fun dropping hints and playing with your attention. But I imagine you'll have some of your answers quite soon. I imagine the police will fill in all the details.' Huck looked at the chair silhouette with a pained blend of horror and confusion. If this man was involved with his parents, then this wasn't a good place to be. 'Dear me,' the snide voice continued, 'You may look a bit like them, but you don't share any of their valuable characteristics. You practically fell into my trap. No wonder they never mentioned you.' Huck's face bunched up, fighting back the sea of emotion he'd been trying to lock away for over a year. The snide voice noticed this. 'Aww, poor little thing. Have I hit a sore nerve? I'm not surprised, they were never really parent material. I'm surprised you're as sane as you appear.' 'Shut up!' Huck shouted, foolishly trying to stand up. He instantly fell back into the chair. 'Why? I'm having so much fun. You wouldn't want to deprive an old man of his fun, would you?' the snide voice chuckled. 'You know nothing about my parents! They're dead! They were bad people and they were punished for it! Stop making jokes!' Huck's voice broke harshly. 'You don't know anything boy,' the snide voice replied, 'Now, back to the topic at hand. You came here for this.' The snide voice waved a Pokédex in the air. 'Well, I'm sorry, but you can't have it.' At that moment the sound of distant police cars could be heard, getting louder. Huck broke out into a sweat of panic. 'Ah, just in time.' The snide voice said triumphantly. Huck weighed up his chances. He was absolutely livid with the man in the chair, his blood boiling with anger. What would wipe that smile off his face? He thought. Stealing the Pokédex, of course, he replied to himself. How can I do that? He pondered. Then it came to him. Huck looked closely at the chair, he was able to make out the faint outline of a bald man sitting in it. 'Like I said,' the man gloated, 'I've won this game.' Huck stood up. He was feeling desperate and angry. Not two states of mind to mix out of choice. Silly things tend to happen when they mix. Like what happens when one mixes drinks, shit now hit the proverbial fan. Before the snide man knew what had happened, Huck had dived onto and over the table, snatched the Pokédex and dived out of the big window. Huck hadn't really thought of the consequences. There was only one saving grace from this experience - he was about to fall into a river. Other than that he was in a very bad place. From above, Baldrick Salamander looked down on the resounding splash. Through gritted teeth, he muttered, 'Hucking Fell.' -- Hem Hem - - JomTones publicenemanumberone@hotmail.nospam.com