Join Date: May 2010
Alright, while it's my birthday today, due to circumstances I won't be able to actually get started on my White scramble until tomorrow. However, that doesn't mean I haven't got anything for you guys yet!
Chapter One: Sand Stream
"People think it's easy being me. They think I have a natural talent for this job, that I can sit back and let Pokémon just heal themselves while I play Voltorb Flip in the parlour. They couldn't be more wrong."
Emily sighed and slumped back in her seat, the two men in the room glancing at each other nervously. One of them held a television camera, broadcasting the interview live.
"There's never an easy night's sleep. Sometimes you can't help a Pokémon at all and they have to be put down. And I sure as hell don't have a parlour. Don't get me wrong, it's rewarding work. I wouldn't dream of ever doing anything else with my life. It's just… it's difficult, at times."
"Alright, well, thank you," muttered the reporter, moving his microphone closer to himself. "Unfortunately, we're all out of time. Thank you for answering our questions."
She nodded in response, only half-paying attention to the men sat opposite. They left without another word, eager to leave the presence of the woman. For a person world-renowned for her work in Pokémon therapy, she sure didn't seem too happy about it. The interview had started well enough, but took a turn for the worse. In reality, they still had at least a minute left when they'd called it to a end.
Her phone sat in her lap, an unremarkable device compared to those of the younger generation. It had been the most simple handset available in the store. She had no need for extra features; if it could make and receive calls, she was happy. As it was, it featured a text messaging service and a low-quality camera, both generally unused. Unfortunately, the crude design hadn't been able to prevent the most recent cause for worry. A text message, sent by an acquaintance in Unova.
Hi Ems. Got two Pokémon with me that need your help. Will you be able to fly here soon? - Juniper x
Twice now, she had attempted to telephone Juniper for more information, unable to get through either time. That generally wasn't a good sign in her line of business. Nevertheless, she had booked a ticket on the next morning's flight to Unova. A taxi would be waiting to take her from Mistralton to Nuvema, where Juniper worked. All very organised and professional. Pity she was too worried about what lay in store to maintain the image herself.
She arrived at the airport travelling light. A single suitcase and a small handbag carrying the essentials; no need for much more. The journey from Johto wouldn't take more than a couple of hours, and she had some friends who lived there who could help if need be. Money was hardly short these days, either, hence why she could afford to fly to Unova at a few days notice in the first place. She'd manage just fine, she was sure.
The flight passed uneventfully, crammed into the usual sardine can seating arrangements. Emily had read for a while, then took to staring out the window, counting the fields and villages as they flew past. Eventually, the characteristic shape of Unova came into view and the plane began to descend.
A taxi stood idling outside the front doors of the airport, a plump man beside it holding a cardboard sign with her name writ in large, rough letters. Emily Rawling. The driver had recognised the name, and spent a large part of the journey pelting questions at her about her work. Emily answered them on autopilot, growing increasingly tense as they neared their destination.
"Almost there," said the driver. "'Bout five minutes. You got everything you need?"
"Yes, thank you," Emily replied. That was one advantage of travelling as light as she had; much lower chances of leaving something vital in the taxi, never to be seen again. The conversation dropped off, the car finally pulling to a stop just outside Juniper's office building.
"Here we are," he said, getting out and rounding the car to open Emily's door for her. "Thank you for travelling with us, Miss Rawling, and for answering my questions."
"Not at all, not at all."
Her sentences had grown shorter as the journey wore on. She attempted to inject some enthusiasm into her voice.
"It's been very interesting talking to you," she continued, then ran out of ideas for what to say next. The driver filled the awkward silence by hauling her suitcase from the boot of the car, setting it down by Emily's feet.
"Alright," he said. "I'm told you paid the fare in advance?"
"That's right. I felt it'd be less hassle that way."
"Okay. Then, take care. Hope to see you again some time."
He held up a hand in farewell as he rounded the corner, disappearing from sight. Emily returned the gesture, feeling all the more nervous now she had arrived. She pressed the buzzer set into the wall, stepping back to her suitcase. The door opened after ten seconds.
"Ah, Emily!" exclaimed Juniper, rushing down to meet her. "I hadn't expected you for another few hours!"
"Good afternoon, Aurea. How are things?"
"Very well, very well, except… well, I'll explain everything inside. Please come in, you must be rather tired after your journey. Would you like some tea or coffee?"
"Nothing too bad, it's been fairly smooth. And I wouldn't say no to some tea."
She dragged her suitcase up into the building, setting it down by a coffee table. Juniper had already disappeared into the kitchen, the distinctive sound of a boiling kettle audible. She soon came through with two steaming mugs of tea, handing one to Emily, who had settled herself into a seat. Juniper had barely sat down herself when Emily began to speak.
"So, how can I help?"
Juniper frowned. "You've only just arrived, and it's been a while since we last met… do we have to get straight to business like so?"
"Sorry, I just… I've been stressing about this a little. I wish you had answered your phone."
"I meant to get back to you, I've just been overrun lately, taking care of these two. I've had to keep an eye on them at all hours, it's been rather detrimental to my work. My assistants have been running things for the most part."
"May I see them now?"
"Okay. Though I suggest you finish your tea first."
Emily stared at her mug. She'd only taken a few sips, the liquid too hot to savour it properly.
"One of them has a thing about mugs. Broken a couple of them, and I found three in the airing cupboard the other day. I'd rather just avoid the risk of him spilling boiling tea all over himself."
Emily finished her tea as quickly as she could, scalding her throat in the process. Not at all how she would usually drink, but her eagerness to see just what she would be dealing with had gotten the better of her. She set the mug down and stood up.
"Alright, come on," said Juniper. "I have them in the back."
Emily followed Juniper through the kitchen into a room which opened out to the back garden. The room appeared to be empty, but then she spotted a wriggling lump underneath a pile of blankets. A small green head poked out, glaring up at Emily before deciding she wasn't a threat and removing himself fully from the pile.
"A Snivy?" asked Emily, hunkering down beside the Pokémon. "These are very rare. Where did you ever find him?"
"Somebody brought him to me," Juniper replied. "Apparently he found him injured by the roadside, and tried to help only to be attacked for his trouble. He was forced to knock him out before bringing him over."
"Aren't Snivy usually fairly docile?" Emily watched the Snivy wandering around the room, examining various objects. "He seems calm enough right now."
"Yeah. It took a little while, but we worked out what sets him off. He hates dark colours, you see."
"Mmhmm. You'll notice how everything in this room is relatively bright."
Emily glanced around. Juniper was right; the blankets, the decorations, the paint on the wall. All light shades of blue and white. Her own clothing was bright and vibrant, as was Juniper's. A mere coincidence.
"I take it the gentleman who brought him in wore dark clothes."
"He had a black coat and denim jeans on," nodded Juniper. "Not that we realised the connection at the time. We don't really know why the little guy hates dark colours, but I was hoping you might be able to find out."
"I can certainly try."
"Thank you. You've probably guessed this already, but I'll warn you anyway; the colour thing extends to Pokémon too. Somebody walked past with a Zorua just yesterday, do you know the species? Black as the night sky. Snivy went mad at the poor thing. It took three of us to restrain him."
"Could you show me the other one?" Emily asked, picking herself back up from the floor. Snivy dove back into its pile of blankets, watching the pair leave the room with suspicious eyes.
"The other one is a Patrat," explained Juniper. "I must say, if we're confused about what's wrong with the Snivy, this one has us completely flummoxed. Where is he…"
She looked around the garden, eventually spotting the small rodent-like Pokémon near the back fence, playing with a small pile of sand.
"He's been here for a few days now, and that's all he ever seems to want to do. If I take him inside, he tears the place apart trying to get back out to the pile. I leave food out for him, but it's almost never gone when I check on him again."
They approached the Patrat from the side, not wanting to startle him by coming from the rear. Emily started to hunker down as she had with the Snivy, but Juniper threw out an arm to stop her.
"I wouldn't recommend doing that if you can help it," she said. "He can be a little vicious to people he doesn't like."
The Patrat stared up at Emily, his eyes twitching rapidly from side to side. One eye appeared to be a different colour to the other, the darker lagging ever so slightly behind the lighter. It curled itself up slightly, apparently nervous of the new arrival. Then he flung both hands up, scattering sand from the pile directly into Emily's face.
"Hey!" she screamed, arms waving manically, eyes streaming. Juniper tried to help, only to receive a back-handed slap to the cheek for her trouble. Emily stopped and rubbed the sand away, apologising profusely.
"Gah, I'm sorry, I just sort of freaked out…"
"It's alright, it's alright," said Juniper with a rueful smile. "Even if it did really hurt."
Emily bit her lip to hold back yet another apology. The Patrat had sat on what remained of his sand pile, staring up at the pair with vacant eyes, clearly unaware of the commotion he had caused.
"Is there anything else I should know about him?"
"I think you've probably seen enough. If you take him with you anywhere, just be sure to bring some sand with you. And keep an eye on him when you're around others. As you might have guessed, he can be a little unpredictable."
"Indeed. I don't think he likes me very much."
"The same could be said for everyone he meets," muttered Juniper, shifting uncomfortably. "Still, if anybody can bring him in line, you can."
"I should think so. I'll be happy to take these two on for you. Shall we go back inside and trade ownership now?"
The pair headed back into Juniper's office, where Snivy's and Patrat's Poké Balls sat on the desk. Juniper plugged each one in turn into a slot on her computer, tapping a few keys to enter Emily's details. Within a few minutes, the two Poké Balls were set into Emily's belt.
"Should be good to go," said Juniper. "If there's any trouble, give me a call. I'll try to be a bit more reliable answering this time."
The comment had been meant as a tongue-in-cheek, but Emily merely nodded in reply.
"I think I'll take them for a walk along Route 1," she said. "Perhaps a quick visit to Accumula Town, if all goes well."
"Alright. Don't go too far until you're sure they'll be able to handle it."
Emily went back out, locating the two Pokémon and calling them back into their Poké Balls. Surprisingly, they stayed inside without much fuss; most of the Pokémon she dealt with took days to coax them into their ball. It made a pleasant change. She'd take them back out later, once she'd left town.
She considered pouring some of the sand into Patrat's ball before realising the exercise would only risk damaging the mechanism. In the end, it made no difference; Pokémon didn't actually live in the ball, instead being stored as actual digital data, rather like a portable version of the computer systems available in Pokémon Centres. Emily contented herself with scooping some into a few small plastic bags, tying them off securely before storing them in her handbag.
"Okay, I'm ready. See you later, Aurea."
"Keep in touch."
Emily left the building, walking the short distance to the town limits and end of Route 1. The sky glowed crimson, evening sunlight casting long shadows across the path. Stray clouds dotted the horizon, accentuating the backdrop perfectly. She sighed. Perhaps this job wasn't too bad after all.
A scream rang out through the trees, a cacophony of barks chasing the sound. Definitely spoke too soon. Emily made for the source of the commotion, pushing past a bush only to be greeted by a large pack of brown dog-like Pokémon, surrounding a petrified boy huddled up against a tree trunk. Emily didn't recognise the species, unfamiliar with the area.
The pack appeared to be led by the largest of the Pokémon. It seemed different to the others, somehow. More fierce, more eager to attack. The others almost seemed to be awaiting orders, heads angled its way.
Emily wasn't quite sure what made her call the word, but the sound hung ominously in the air. The leader turned on her and gave a yipping bark, charging forward. The order had been given, and Emily found herself being swarmed by Pokémon, with only a melanophobic Snivy and a sand-obsessed Patrat to protect her.
Last edited by Tetrinity; Apr 27th, 2012 at 4:14:28 PM.