Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
What kind of Pokémon wanted to join you?
The odd thing is, you didn’t see it at first. You mostly remember releasing Bug Pokémon from the cages – Caterpie, Weedle, Ledyba, Spinarak. There were some Pidgey, even a couple of Pikachu, who immediately fled into the underbrush. Not really anything you’re surprised to see; hell, aside from the Pikachu you aren’t even sure what Pokémon there are here that are even worth poaching. What is the business model of a Pokémon poacher, anyway? You make a mental note to ask your prisoners that. The point is, everything you consciously remember seeing is… well, not that you’d ever put it like this, but trash.
But when you glance over your shoulder at Scallion and Nancy, the Pokémon talking to them isn’t any of those. It’s… a four-legged, furry charcoal-grey Pokémon with a pointed face and keen, intelligent, almost sinister eyes. Did it just come out of the forest? No, you’re sure it walked over to them from the stream of Pokémon you were releasing from the cages. You saw it out of the corner of your eye.
When you approach, the Pokémon breaks off its conversation with Scallion and looks up at you, grinning mischievously. It makes a cheery yapping sound and jerks its head to gesture at the Pokéballs clipped to your belt. You make eye contact with Scallion, who looks slightly puzzled at the new Pokémon’s manner, but gives you an affirmative nod without hesitation. Well… the more the merrier, right, kid?
Zorua has joined the party!
Height: 68 cm
Weight: 12.6 kg
Moves: Scratch, Leer, Pursuit, Torment
Special Skills: None/Unknown?
What do you do on the way to Pewter City?
– Try to get some information out of Kevin.
The walk to the northern edge of Viridian Forest is slow going, even with your advanced new understanding of the terrain – mainly because you have to take turns dragging Ned, who bounces along the ground in his silken cocoon like a child’s plush Growlithe on a leash, occasionally making furious grunting sounds. You briefly un-muzzle him at one point to see if he has anything interesting to say, but he mostly just yells and swears at you, so you pretty quickly ask Abner and Metapod to wrap his mouth up in String Shot silk again. Kevin is still trudging along, silent and despondent, his hands bound but otherwise unrestrained. May as well see if you can learn anything from him. You fall into step with Kevin, defusing a puzzled glance from Ellis with a quick smile and nod, and offer Kevin a protein bar from your backpack. He is taken aback, but accepts it and starts eating.
You ask him about the group he’s part of – what Kelly called “Team Rocket” – what their aims are and what he did for them. He claims not to know very much at all. You’d already guessed that Kevin was the junior member of this trio, and it quickly becomes evident that Kelly, who escaped, was very much the brains of the operation. According to Kevin, she was the one in direct day-to-day contact with their superiors. Since he doesn’t seem to have anything on the group’s wider activities, you turn to his own work with them. Apparently Kevin used to work at a grimy fast food joint in Saffron City and was approached by some charming, well-spoken people in Team Rocket uniforms with a better offer.
“First they said I could work from home making a million Yen a month, stuffing envelopes and making phone calls,” he tells you. “Me and a bunch of other guys had to contact people about some accounting stuff, like inheritance from dead relatives they didn’t know about, and get them to pay our head office a processing fee to sort it out. Some of them got really angry and didn’t want to pay for some reason…”
This guy’s a freakin’ moron. That’s not something you’ve just realised; you’re too damn nice to call anyone a moron. That little deduction is a freebie from me. You’re welcome.
“Then they said I wasn’t meeting enough of my targets to make the money they promised, but if I worked for them long enough they’d give me a Pokémon, and that’s how I got Zubat. And they said if I did some other jobs for them they’d give me another better one.”
You motion for him to keep talking – other jobs like what?
“Uh… you know, I just did some… stuff…” He suddenly becomes intensely interested in a perfectly ordinary larch off to your left. You try a withering glare, which makes him screw up his face and stare at the ground, but doesn’t prompt any further confession. Seems like this might be a job for someone with more natural charm. You try a different tack and ask him how his Pokémon, Zubat, feels about all this.
“Um…” He kinda stares into the distance for a bit, or what would be the distance if any of you could see more than ten metres in any direction through the trees. “Uh, I- I dunno? How does anyone know what Pokémon are thinking? Does that, um… matter?” You just sigh involuntarily, pat him on the back and tell him to think about that on his own for a while.
Late in the day, you finally see the trees start to thin and stumble onto a real path. You follow it to a rest house at the edge of the forest, just like the one you stopped at after leaving Viridian City. You’ve officially gotten through Viridian Forest – your first big hurdle as a trainer! If you were gonna die on this journey, odds are it would’ve happened here! Not that you should get careless or anything. You may have some fancy Pokémon and a bit of experience now, but if today should have taught you anything, it’s that there’s dangers undocumented and unsuspected in the Kanto region. When you reach the rest house, you immediately call for police from nearby Pewter City to come and formally arrest Ned and Kevin. The second order of business is for your bug catcher friends to contact their parents back in Viridian City and explain that they might be away a little longer than planned. Although the twins’ parents take some persuading, it’s eventually agreed that they’ll all be able to stay in Pewter City for another two or three days to watch your gym battle before catching a train home. None of them have ever actually seen a gym leader fight, since the mysterious Viridian leader’s attendance record is so notoriously spotty, and they’re all eager to take in the spectacle. By the time all that’s taken care of, it’s late at night and all five of you – and your Pokémon – are ready to collapse in your sleeping bags.
Tomorrow you’ll be headed into Pewter City. Obviously you’re itching to get your first gym challenge underway after that frustrating false start in Viridian City, but there’s other things you could do as well. When you arrived at the rest stop, Ellis spotted a flier for a big new fossil exhibition at the Pewter Museum of Science, which would be pretty cool to check out. Or, of course, you could just chill with your Pokémon – no one would blame you for taking a break after everything you’ve just been through, and you suddenly have a new Pokémon to get to know.