Thursday, August 11, 2016

Arcus Bodark in Kanto: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Poke-Mart Problems

My second day, and first morning, as a pokemon trainer, I woke up early. I went over to my PC and withdrew the one healing potion I had from electronic storage. I got dressed and pulled on the backpack that I had been slowly adding items I would need into in preparation for this day. On my way out I gave my mom a hug, and she reminded me that I could stop back in at any time, especially if my pokemon or I needed patched up. I hugged my brothers and sisters too, then I was out the door.

Route 1 was the one land based road out of town. It headed north to Viridian City, and while at the time I thought all roads looked like this, it was in horrible condition. There was tall grass accross entire sections of the road, other parts had washed out in ways that created little dirt ledges that could only be jumped down from above. It was also steep, and not an easy climb at parts. In retrospect, I wonder how much of the terrible conditions many of the roads in Kanto were in was due to the war, and that they just hadn't been fixed yet.

I hadn't spent much time truly outside of town growing up. The farm was on the edge of town, but that isn't the same thing. Outside of town, especially in forests or tall grass, you can be attacked by wild pokemon at any time. Just like humans find certain pokemon to be a good food source, most wild pokemon aren't going to give up the high calorie meal humans could be turned into. Of course some pokemon only eat plants, berries, or other pokemon, but they also can attack humans because of seeing them as a threat or invading their territory. In order to leave town, you either need pokemon of your own to fight off any attackers, or to be with someone else who does.

Being uncertain how strong my bulbasaur, Anther, was compared to the wild pokemon on Route 1, I was walking rather carefully and quietly. I avoided attracting attention as much as possible. That didn't stop a young man in a Poke-Mart uniform from noticing me.

"Hi, I work at Poke-Mart!" He yelled as he ran up to me, "We are a convenient place to shop so come visit us in Viridian City!" All of the pokemon in the trees and grass went silent at his yelling. I was sure we were going to be mobbed by a murder of spearow, however I think he took my trepidation for not understanding, because he continued yelling, "Here, I'll give you a sample!" as he handed me a potion. "The first taste is always free!" He twitched a little bit saying that.

I slowly started to back away into the next grassy area of the washed out road. As I left he waved and continued yelling, "We also carry pokeballs!"

I walked as gently and quietly as I could through the tall grass, hoping that the madman from Poke-Mart was just attracting all of the would-be attackers to himself. No such luck, however, as I stepped on a wild pidgey sleeping in the grass.

As it attacked I called Anther out of his pokeball and told him to tackle the pidgey. The enemy pidgey swept it's wings forward, sending a small gust attack at Anther, who in response to another call from me performed a second tackle attack. The pidgey released a second gust, but Anther charged in and tackled a third time and and the battle was over.

Anther looked at the dying bird briefly, and after a bit of thinking, fired a few seeds from the bulb on his back at the pidgey. The seeds instantly sprouted and began sucking the last of the life from the pidgey, doing a tiny amount of healing on Anther before the wild pidgey died completely.

"Good job at battling Anther," I congratulated him, "Also, it's really cool that you already learned leech seed, but if you could check first before using it more I would like that, we don't want to hurt things we don't need to."

Anther looked quizzically at me for a bit before nodding agreement. I wasn't quite sure what to do with the dead wild pidgey. I could try to field dress it and carry it with me, but the smell of the blood and raw meat would definitely draw predators. While our first wild pokemon battle had gone well enough, I was still feeling a bit cautious, and Anther was at least a little bit injured. In the end I just decided to leave it for whatever scavengers found it and moved along.

With Anther in his pokeball I continued the hours long, all uphill, tiring climb to Viridian City without attracting any more attention. On my way into town a teenage boy walked up to me with fliers.

"Are you aware of the different kinds of caterpillar pokemon in this area?" he asked almost accusatorily, then continued without waiting for me to answer, "I am part of a poison pokemon awareness campaign.and we are on a crusade to make sure that everyone is aware that there are two kinds of caterpillar pokemon in our area. Weedle has a poison sting attack and caterpie does not." He handed me a flyer that repeated exactly what he had just said. "Poison sting attacks kill pokemon every day; don't let your pokemon become a statistic!"

Then the anti-poison activist was gone, off to assault another passerby with awareness. I looked at the flyer to see if there were any hints on how to tell if a pokemon was a weedle or caterpie, but there was no information on that. There also was no information on what to do if my pokemon was poisoned. However, I was now aware; I just didn't have any information that would make it so that my awareness was actually useful.

When I stepped into the Poke-Mart, the manager was sitting with his head leaned over on the counter. He looked up when the door opened, "Are you from Pallet Town?" he asked with exhaustion in his eyes.

"Um, yes. Why?"

"Thank goodness, the only delivery that came in this morning was for Professor Oak in Pallet Town. I can't leave the shop, and I have no idea where my cashier is now, and if this package isn't delivered my sales numbers will be absolute zero, and I'll lose my job for sure."

"Okay," I said, still not sure why he was having me deliver a package from his store if they had the extra people to have a guy handing out free potions on the roadside, "Can I buy some potions and pokeballs? Also, what do you do if a pokemon is poisoned?"

"For poison you give an antidote, which we would normaly have at our low, low, everyday Poke-Mart prices, but we have nothing in but that one package right now."

I looked around and saw that all of the shelves were, indeed, empty. "Why don't you have anything to sell?" I asked.

"My cashier was watching the store yesterday afternoon. As far as I can tell from the note he left, a customer came in with a psychic pokemon, hit him with some kind of mind attack, and he had a 'revelation' that the key to business success was to give things away for free. He took absolutely every product we have and, over the course of yesterday and this morning, has been giving every single item away for free." The store manager looked like he wished the tile floor his chair was on would just swallow him up so he wouldn't have to keep figuring out how to make this okay.

"I think I met the guy you're talking about on may way up here on Route 1," I said, "And I'll take the package to the professor, he gave me my pokemon, so I suppose I owe him at least that much. Is it alright if I wait until morning though? I'm still rather new to being a pokemon trainer."

"Yes, of course you would want to be well rested and have daylight before heading back out. The last thing I need right now is a liability lawsuit. Thank you so much, and thanks also for the tip on where to find my wayward casheer. I'll let the police know to look around there for him. Hopefully they can find him and get his head fixed before he finishes giving everything away..."

As I left, the Poke-Mart manager picked the telephone up, dialed it, and lay his head back down on the counter as he talked to the police.

Anther and I walked, tired and a bit hungry to the Pokemon Center. The nurse fixed up what injuries Anther still had from fighting that wild pidgey, we got some dinner, and then we both lay down in the Pokemon Center youth hostel bunk beds in the back.

As Anther and I lay on the top bunk, and I tried to quiet my mind so I could sleep, I kept coming back to how the cashier was acting, and how it was because a pokemon had controlled his mind. I knew people controlled pokemon all the time, but it had never occurred to be before that day that pokemon might be able to control people. Mom was right, even on my second day of being a trainer I was learning things that changed how I saw the world.