One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
With Morty defeated and the Fog Badge in hand, I can continue west from Ecruteak City, towards Olivine City, or turn and head east, towards Mahogany Town.
Johto’s mid-game is pretty open; you can do the next three gyms in almost any order. Whichever way I go, I’ll need Surf, either to investigate Lake of Rage or to cross the sea to Cianwood Island – but not immediately. I don’t have any Pokémon accessible at the moment who can use Surf, but the Kingslocke rules do make exceptions when you need an HM to move forward in the story; if it becomes necessary, I’ll be able to defy the Eight of Wands and withdraw Abazigal the Dratini to handle that. Still, it would be better if I didn’t have to… and I think my odds are best if I head to Olivine City first.
Now safely back in Pallet Town, Ash has to start preparing for the Pokémon League tournament – and in order to do that, he has to visit Professor Oak to find out when and where the tournament actually takes place (evidently, the answer is: in exactly two months, at exactly the same place as every year – the Indigo Plateau). It apparently never occurred to him before now to look this stuff up. When he arrives at the lab with Misty and Brock, Oak is apparently more excited to see Togepi than to see him, but nonetheless welcomes the gang into his sitting room, where they find out that – as always – Gary is two steps ahead of Ash. They are almost immediately at each other’s throats, but Professor Oak protests that it would be a shame for there to be a feud between Pallet Town’s two “top trainers” – to the indignant disbelief of both. Ash and Gary snipe each other for a while as the Professor examines their Pokédexes, and then it’s time for a tour of his facilities.