Chapter 3: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but when your god gives you lemons you find a new god.
AN: Well I'm kinda out of jokes now... Feel free to submit your own and get featured. So far I only got one though...
This chapter also is the first to feature a cameo appearance of someone. If you guess who it is you get a cookie and +5 internetz. If you have an easily identifiable pokémon character then you could be eligible for a cameo, though I'll be giving preference to friends.
On a not hugely important side-note Zeppelin only applies to dirigibles manufactured by Zeppelin. That's why it's a proper noun. In any case I'm still using it here because it gives a nice mental image. Also I like the word dirigible and my sister didn't even believe me that it was a word.
"Ugh... I'm so hungry..." groaned Puddle. "If only the trains ran between all the towns instead of just one town per region I'd be there already..."
He reached behind his back to check the food compartment of his backpack but found it as bare as it had been the previous few times he had checked. With a sigh he continued trudging along the road between Gonorrhoea and Syphilis. There was another hour or so of featureless terrain before he saw a sign and a set of buildings.
"Sour Lemon Square Kilometres," he read. "It's a farm! I can finally get some food!"
Rejuvenated by the prospect of a meal, Puddle began to sprint towards the farmhouse, which did also maintain a restaurant for travelling trainers. Along the way the roadside changed from wild countryside to neat rows of lemon trees. In the orchards, herds of ponyta carried buckets from tree to tree, filling them with lemons by kicking the trunks of the trees and shaking them loose.
Puddle exhaled contentedly as he placed his, now empty, glass of lemonade on the table.
"Would you like any more lemon meringue?" asked a waitress, smiling down at him. "Or maybe another glass of lemonade? We also have lemons and French pokémon, or le mon."
"No thanks. I couldn't eat another bite." he replied.
The waitress nodded and moved on to another table. Puddle took the period of quiet to get a better look at where he was. The restaurant was an open-air affair next to the barn. On the other side lay the lemon orchard and, facing away from the road, Puddle could see a fairly empty field bounded by a river, on the other side of which lay a forest. A few farm hands were helping the ponyta and one or two other trainers were eating, but aside from that the area was devoid of people. The sound of a splash and a giggle drew Puddle's attention back to the river though and he realised that there was a slight hill that had been blocking his view of a girl doing something. Curiosity piqued, he rose from his seat and went to investigate.
"Hey there. What're you doing?" greeted Puddle as he neared the river.
The girl he had heard turned to see him.
"Hi," she replied. "I'm looking after some mudkip. Want to help?"
Puddle shrugged, "Sure."
"We need to have lots of water plants in the river to keep the mudkip happy but they keep clogging up everything so I come and pull out the reeds on the banks to keep muddy patches available. I'm Lauren by the way."
"That's a strange name," commented Lauren.
"That's a strange hair colour," tease back Puddle.
Lauren grinned, flicking her dark blue hair behind her back. Puddle's eyes were drawn to the pink stripe that ran in single stripe down in on one side.
"It's unique," she countered. "You should see it at night. I use a special conditioner that adds a reflective dust that's sensitive to moonlight so at twilight it sparkles and looks really good."
"I'd like to see that. I don't think I'll be here still though."
The two worked quickly and after half an hour were lying on the side of the river, just talking.
"Why've you got mudkip here?" asked Puddle. "I thought this farm was about lemons."
"Mostly but they're seasonal so they're starting to breed mudkip for new trainers. I decided to stay and help out for a while."
"That was nice of you."
"I'm a nice person."
"The most modest you'll ever find," Lauren replied, cheekily sticking her tongue out.
There was a moment of silence before a knock made Puddle jump.
"Don't worry about it, it's just the ponyta lemon bucking," explained Lauren.
"Yeah. It's a totally original idea developed at Sour Lemon Square Kilometres that you'll never find anywhere else. Basically harvesting needs a lot of people but the farmers here taught ponyta the kick the trees to knock the lemons down."
"The ponyta can burn thorns before they get pricked and their hooves are so hard it doesn't matter if they kick a thorn. Hey! Look at that!"
Puddle sat up to see what Lauren meant. "Hmm?"
On the other side of the river a strange pokémon had emerged from the forest.
"What is that?" asked Lauren.
"I've never seen one," Puddled replied, not taking his eyes off the strange creature.
The pokémon had a dark-coloured coat and the shape of a quilava, as well as a patch of flame on the top of its head, but it's back was covered with protective plates like those of a sandslash.
"Uh... a sandlava?" guessed Lauren, just combining the names of what it most resembled.
Suddenly there was a loud mechanical noise and the strange pokémon bolted into the forest.
"What's happening?" queried Puddle, eyes widening in shock as the water level in the river began dropping.
"Someone's draining the river!" exclaimed Lauren.
Also alerted by the noise the owner of the farm ran up next to them. "Lauren! This is terrible. What's going to happen to the mudkip?"
"Don't worry," she assured him. "Whatever is happening it sounds like it's happening in the forest. I'll go check it out. Coming, Puddle?"
The two trainers ran through the forest until they suddenly burst into a clearing and stopped in shock. Resting in front of them was a massive Zeppelin, two thick tubes trailing from it's body to into the river and rapidly sucking up the water.
"We have to stop this!" declared Lauren. "If this continues all the water in the river will be gone and there will be nothing for the mudkips, or the farm."
"If you stop it then there will be nothing for us," came a reply.
The two trainers stopped and looked for the source of the voice, eventually spotting a confident man striding towards them. Although this man was wearing a far more decorated uniform than the man on Mount Vagina the blue 'S' and similar colouring gave his allegiance away.
"Thaaat's right! I'm Commander Houston of Team Shuttle and I'm afraid I cannot let you interfere."
"If you drain the river you'll do untold damage to the environment," protested Lauren. "Innocent mudkip will suffer. Don't you like mudkip?"
"I don't and I don't care," replied Commander Houston, pulling a pokéball from his belt and readying it.
"Well I like mudkip and I won't let you get away with this," countered Puddle, preparing Chikorita.
Before he could release him, Lauren stopped him. "Wait, Puddle. This is my fight. It looks like the controls are over there. You disable the pumps and I'll ground the Shuttles... permanently."
Puddle nodded, putting Chikorita's ball back on his belt. "Good luck."
"Ponyta! Come on out!"
At Lauren's call her ponyta was released from it's imprisonment and materialised, ready to fight.
"Graveller! Take a crop to that pony's arse!" Commander Houston shouted as he released his own pokémon.
"Don't think rock will save you. Ponyta's hooves are harder than diamonds!"
"But it's flesh is softer than rock. Graveller, tackle attack!"
"Don't let it hit you, kick it back!"
Graveller was a lot faster than his appearance would have you believe and was almost instantly rolling toward Ponyta. The fire horse was faster still though and had no problem spinning around and kicking back at the rock pokémon. There was a loud crack as the two pokémon collided then the graveller was flung back.
"Create a sandstorm! Take control of the field!" ordered Commander Houston.
"It won't work! Ponyta, use fire-spin to turn his attack on him!"
Even as the sand began to swirl through the sky and sting her flanks Ponyta focussed her inner fire before releasing a curling flame onto the field. The bright flames lit up the dust cloud for a few moments before the burning tornado absorbed all the aerial detritus into itself, making it even stronger than before.
"Fire-spin attack now!"
On command Ponyta sent the vortex of heat and stone to engulf her opponent. The twister lasted for a few seconds before fading away, leaving the graveller unharmed.
"You can neither harm with fire nor stone." laughed Commander Houston. "Give up now and I'll let you walk away. Continuing like this... this is madness."
"Madness? This... is... Sparta! Ponyta, show him your true power level!"
An evil glint came into Ponyta's eyes as she braced herself. Letting out a loud neigh, her whole body tensed up as flames started to burst out around her. As her body trembled the rising air began to lift some of the lighter stones that remained from Graveller's ineffective sandstorm.
Suddenly the stones fell to the ground again but Ponyta's eyes were glowing red and all around her was an aura of flames.
Puddle ran from the battle site to the soft glow of the computer console. Almost no one tried to stop him, confident in the encryption they'd installed on the control system.
"It's useless," commented a Shuttle grunt. "That's the same level of protection that is used on interstellar spaceships. You'll never crack it."
Puddle swore under his breath but tried to brush off the grunt. He needed to stop the pumps before the mudkip's habitat was completely destroyed. He had no idea why the grunts wanted all that water in the first place, but at the moment that wasn't his concern. He hit a key on the console and started randomly pushing buttons to force the computer to let him in. At first it seemed hopeless but then the security kicked in and tried to lock him out completely.
The code was scrambled into multiple parts and would need to be pieced together to break into the system. Luckily the code fragments just scrolled up the screen and there was even a guide at the top telling him which code segment he needed to find next. In almost no time he'd matched the three code segments that comprised the high-level security and quickly clicked to disable and disengage the pumps.
There was a loud grinding as the massive pumps were brought to a stop followed by an explosive burst of compressed air as the gigantic tubes were ejected from the Zeppelin’s storage tanks.
The sound of the pumps dying momentarily distracted the battling trainers but Lauren wasn't about to let her advantage disappear.
"It's useless!" shouted back Commander Houston, but now there was a note of uncertainty in his voice.
Graveller prepared to endure the attack but as the pillar of fire washed over him some of his craggy exterior began to glow and start melting.
"That's not possible!" exclaimed Commander Houston.
"Houston, we have a problem!" crackled a voice over a loudspeaker. "The police were alerted by the farm. We need to get out of here now!"
"You haven't won yet!" barked Commander Houston, returning his badly-injured pokémon. "We will meet again and then you will pay!"
He span around and jumped through one of the Zeppelin’s access doors before sealing it from the inside.
"They're getting away!" shouted Lauren as she and Puddle watched helplessly as the dirigible rose into the sky with thousands of litres of stolen water.
"They can't run for ever. The police will be after them now." stated Puddle. "We've saved the farm and the mudkip at least. Let's just go back."
A short while after going back to the farm Puddle was about to leave. Lauren had gone off to talk to the farmer and he was eager to get to a proper stop before nightfall. He thought about saying goodbye to Lauren but had no idea where she was so just began walking to the gate. He hadn't gone too far, however, when he heard her calling to him.
"Puddle, wait up!"
He paused and Lauren and the farmer came up to him.
"You can't leave just yet," explained Lauren. "I told the farmer about your help and he wanted to reward you."
"So I herd u liek mudkips," said the farmer handing Puddle a pokéball before running off.
"He's a bit strange..." explained Lauren, "but can be amusing."
"Well be sure to thank him for me. It was nice meeting you. Goodbye."
"Whoah. Why goodbye?"
"Well I can't stay here much longer," explained Puddle.
"That's not what I meant," said Lauren. "I told you I'd show you how my hair looks at twilight and I want to find Team Shuttle myself. I was thinking we might travel together."
Puddle couldn't help but smile, "I'd certainly appreciate the company. Let's go! To Syphilis City!"
Abra uses teleport in battle to escape from you when it's wild. When you capture it it can teleport you to the last pokémon centre you visited. How is that possible? So all wild abra teleport to the Pokémon centres then? Hell, I should wait outside them and use a net to capture them as soon as they appear.