Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
What will you do tomorrow?
– Join up with some other trainers to explore.
You’re not the only trainer about to attempt a Viridian Forest expedition; a group of trainers from Viridian City, all friends, are also spending the night at the rest stop. You decide to sidle over and introduce yourself while they’re all chatting before lights-out. After all, Viridian Forest has kind of a dark reputation, and although you’ve already proven to yourself and your Pokémon that you can manage a couple of days in the wilderness on your own, it’d still be dumb to pass up company when it’s on offer.
There are four of them – Abner, Ellis, Stacey, Dane – all bug catchers, and you think they’re all about your age (I’m just gonna have to take your word for it, since you never told me how old you are). They’re not planning to travel all the way to Pewter City like you; they just want to hang out in the forest for a couple of days, have some battles, explore as much as they can and look for some wild Pokémon. They’ve done this before, and you get the impression they try to come out here every couple of weeks; they’re all in school so it’s the only serious training they get to do. They’re a touch standoffish at first – y’know, you are crashing their party a little bit – but they warm up to you pretty quickly when you introduce them to Aura. They’ve seen Wurmple before, but they’re extremely rare in Viridian Forest – Caterpie and Weedle are the bread and butter of young Viridian hobbyist trainers like this – so this is the first time they’ve ever been able to look at a Silcoon up close, and they take a while to admire Aura’s soft, silky body. Aura seems to take little notice of them, which is apparently pretty normal, based on their experience with Metapod and Kakuna, but you notice a subtle glimmer in her eyes and a low purring sound, which you think means she likes the attention.
The next morning, you stuff some tins of spiced berries from the rest house’s larder into your bag, then head into the forest with the other kids. Everything you can see is deep, dark green; ancient trees, carpets of moss, dense thickets, all under a vast canopy that turns the sunlight a soft emerald. It’s practically impossible to see anything more than a hundred metres away, and the dirt paths seem minuscule and disconcertingly precarious, surrounded by encroaching plants. The bug catchers lead you about two hours northward, aiming for a small clearing they’ve used as a campsite on previous trips. You don’t see many Pokémon on the way – just the occasional rustling bush or a Pidgey flying overhead – which disappoints them a little, but they talk and laugh the whole time anyway. Scallion, walking alongside you, takes a liking to them and laughs along with most of their jokes. The bug catchers have a loose protocol for their expeditions in Viridian Forest – they often split into pairs to look around, but no one ever goes off alone, and they always meet back up for lunch in the afternoon. When you all reach the campsite and start unpacking your gear, you discover that all four of your companions want to do different things, so they’re all looking for someone else in the group who’s willing to partner up.
Abner, the short one with the goofy grin, seems to be the informal leader. He has both a Metapod and a Kakuna, and is eager for them to evolve. He knows that in principle it’s only a matter of time with cocoon Pokémon, but he has some ideas he wants to try out for accelerating the process. The thought occurs to you that whatever he has in mind could help with Aura as well.
Calm, soft-spoken Ellis is apparently the most serious trainer of the four, and the only one with a fully-evolved Beedrill, as well as a Metapod that he hopes to evolve soon. He’s planning to practise attacks and manoeuvres, but you bet he’d be up for a couple of rounds against your Pokémon, which would be a great opportunity to practise battling against another trainer.
Quick-witted, talkative Stacey, whom you have learned is Dane’s twin, has become intrigued by rumours of rarer Bug Pokémon in Viridian Forest. She has a Caterpie that she seems to want to keep as her partner, but thinks the forest has more to offer if they could just figure out the right places to look. You think your expertise from studying ecology with Professor Oak might be helpful to her search.
Dane is tall, slender and athletic and seems at home in the woods, but you gather he’s actually the least experienced as a trainer. He has a recently-caught Weedle that probably isn’t ready for formal battle yet, but he’s planning to do physical training with it while exploring. He offers to put you through your paces and show you some techniques for navigating dense forest.