From: "STEFFAN HEDD ALUN" <> Subject: Re: [PW!] Better Slate Than Never Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 9:48 AM "Rob" <> wrote in message news:993oc.5753$ > Nervous to reveal his lack of information to the nurse, but not one to > sweatdrop, Karl braces himself for the worst and blurts out, "The Tentacool > won't talk unless he gets money. I remembered to pack my NES and sunglasses > for this trip to Hoenn, but I didn't bring much money and..." > > "How much does he want?" > > "$12.95 a minute." > > Marcia narrows her eyes. "Okay, forget about the Slowpoke. Just find out > what the hell those Pokemon are doing here, let me know, then get out of my > sight." Karl breathed deeply and turned to Blizzard. She seems to be the most reasonably, Karl thought. "What do you say?" he asked. "All I need to know is why you're here. Then I'm out of your hair...erm, fur...forever." "Pur," said Blizzard. "Persian shan pur." "I don't have that kind of money!" said Karl. "Look, I can clean your undercoat instead." "Shan!" said Blizzard. "Shan persian shan purrrr." She reminded Karl that allowing this would be HIS treat, not hers. Ess had been watching Blizzard for some time. It decided that it was time to act. Blizzard suddenly saw an image of Karl in her mind. Unlike the Karl in front of her, this Karl was not scared or shy or quiet. THIS Karl was smiling and laughing, confidently talking with others. Blizzard looked around, unsure at first where this vision was coming from. Suddenly, the other people with Karl took on more solid shapes. Blizzard saw a couple of bizzare human-Pokémon hybrids, but suddenly the focus settled on a teenager with black hair and blue eyes. Blizzard didn't recognise him, and was beginning to find this tiresome. She looked around and finally spotted Ess floating next to Nurse Marcia, staring back at her intently. "Pur-" she started, but suddenly, Ess winked. As she did so, a bright light shone, and Blizzard was no longer on the SS Tidal. *** Where in the-? Blizzard was no longer in Hoenn, even. She seemed to be in Goldenrod City. Looking around, she spotted Karl. "Pur," she said, voicing her annoyance at Karl being the only person nearby whom she recognised. Suddenly, though, she saw someone else - the black-haired boy she'd seen in her mind earlier. He was catching up to Karl. "Hey, *pant, gasp* wait up." the boy huffed out, taking the final few steps needed to catch up. "What are you doing here?" Karl asked. "Would you believe I forgot to get something for supper?" the boy asked. "No." "Well then, I'm out for a cake or ingredients to make one. And you?" "I thought I'd get something for Vixxen for her birthday." Karl said. Vixxen? thought Blizzard. That sounds like a Pokémon's nickname, not a human name. "Cool, well how about looking together. Two heads can be better than one you know." the boy said, smiling. "Couldn't hurt." Karl said, shrugging. The two boys walked through town. Blizzard followed reluctantly, wishing Sting was here, if only to curse the situation. Eventually, the three of them reached Goldenrod Department Store. "Purr," said Blizzard, knowing that Karl could understand her. "<I've had enough of this. Get me back, or I shan't be lenient with my punishment.>" "Hmm, the food's on the second floor." the black-haired boy said. "The gifts seem to be on the fourth floor." Karl observed. "<I demand silence!>" insisted Blizzard. "<Let me go now.>" "Meet back here in an hour?" the boy asked. "Yeah." "<An HOUR?>" screeched Blizzard. "<I'm not waiting here for an hour.>" Fortunately, she didn't need to wait an hour, since she suddenly found herself elsewhere. They were in front of Game Corner. Persian recognised the place immediately, having been there before. "Um, we're too young for that Bob." Blizzard heard Karl say. "Yeah Karl, I know. I thought I'd go sucker a favour out of my uncle." Blizzard saw Karl and the black-haired boy, apparently called Bob, standing outside. Karl was holding a bag in one hand, and Bob was carrying a few boxes. "And who is he?" Karl asked, scratching his head with his free hand. "Uncle Frank is the Move Tutor." Bob said grinning. "And how are you going to convince him to do this for you. I hear he charges a lot." Karl asked. "Well, I AM his nephew. Plus, I have pie." Bob said, before going in. A few minutes later, Bob came out of the Game Center with a huge smile plastered on his face. However, his stuff to take back to the Day Care was one pie lighter, as evident by the missing, smaller box. "Told you. He'll be around around lunchtime tomorrow. He says to save him a piece of cake." Bob said. "Let's go back before something happens." Karl said, a bit worried "I'm with you on that one." Another flash, and Blizzard found herself at the Daycare Centre. "Hi guys, what 'chu got there?" asked a happy voice. Blizzard spotted the source of the voice. She seemed to be human at first glance; the right shape and preportions. However, there was something wrong with her, and Blizzard spotted that she seemed to show several signs of being a Pikachu. "Pie, a lemon, leek, and pie." Bob replied, holding up the stuff "You said pie twice." "There's two pies." The Pikachu girl scratched her head. This little exchange allowed Karl to slip by with his bag and off to the room where the other present was sitting, sucking on a grape or two. Suddenly, there was a change. Karl was no longer the happy lad she'd seen shopping with Bob. His face was now expressionless. He looked over at the group once or twice, but then left quietly and went outside. Blizzard followed. When she reached outside, Karl had released Ess. "<YOU!>" cried Blizzard. "<It's YOU doing this! Stop it! Stop it now!>" Ess didn't react. Blizzard gave up, and sat sulkily on the floor. Karl sat down next to her, even though he didn't appear to notice her. He gave a short laugh as Ess darted around. "You're great, Ess," he said. "You're just a listener, aren't you? You don't need to talk." "Shan!" exclaimed Blizzard, currently at the receiving end of Ess's alternative to talking. Didn't Karl realise that Ess was perfectly capable of communication? She was about to try shouting at Karl, when she stopped. Karl was crying. "I can never get a word in edgeways when we're all together," he sniffed. "They're all so...lively. How am I meant to be myself around them?" Ess flew closer to Karl. It lay down on his lap. "I mean, I like all of them," Karl continued. "Bob's loads of fun. Kitsu and Keaton are great, even though I don't get what they are. And Vixxen, of course..." Karl sighed. He leaned over to look through the Daycare Centre's window. Blizzard noted that he was watching Vixxen. "She's so confident. I could never be that outgoing." Karl sighed. "I just feel like they don't really like me that much. Like they wouldn't miss me if I weren't there. I mean, I'm not even there NOW." Ess stroked his hand with its "tail". Blizzard was now very tired of this. "<I insist,>" she snapped, "<That you let me OUT of this place and BACK to the ship RIGHT->" *** "<-NOW!>" Karl jumped. Apparently, the last word Blizzard said was the only one he'd heard. "Shan!" Blizzard started. "Persian shan purr-" She stopped. She was watching Nurse Marcia. She looked strange. "That's..." started Marcia. "That didn't really... I mean, I thought he ignored..." Blizzard suddenly realised. Marcia had seen the vision as well. Karl was still on the floor, cowering, apparently oblivious to the fact that Blizzard and Marcia had not been doing anything for the last several minutes. TBC? [NS: Sorry if this was a bit self-indulgent, but there was some stuff I wanted to establish before continuing, and a few things I wanted to remind us all of with regards to Karl's past. Credit goes to Clayton for writing the shopping trip - for cotnext, see'sbane10.html]