“Thanks for the ride again, Twist. I could never swim all the way there like you…” Theodore said, looking down at his new Buizel with a little smile. The water type was powering through the sea without a problem, propelled forward by his twin tails chopping the water up behind them.
The past few days were spent traveling from Viridian to Pallet to here. Though, Theodore did spent some extra time trying to find that Butterfree again… and yet, as much as he searched around, he never did find her. Sure there were others that looked like her, but not exactly. Eventually, he gave up, going through Viridian and Pallet rather quickly. The two places didn’t have much to do there anyway.
And now, here he was. Theodore had ditched most of his clothes, having stored his shirt and accessories in his backpack while he kept his shorts on. Though he had to keep himself as steady as possible. Not only could he accidentally cause Twist to tip over, but he also had Cookie on top of his head. The Eevee was currently his go to pokemon for taking out any of the wild ones that showed up. They were mostly just Tentacool, so they were easily taken care of with a Return. The move had been a lot more effective as of late.
He always meant to train her up more, but never really found the time to do so. But now that they were on route 21, and the sea was as far as he could see, it helped pass the time. Of course, it was some time after noon when he set out on the sea… had they been stalling with the battles? The sun was almost down!
Cookie let out a wide yawn, clinging tighter to Theodore’s head while she nuzzled into his fur. “Veeee.” She cooed, stretching herself out a little.
“I know, I know, we can all use some rest. Once we get there we’ll…” Theodore paused, looking ahead and squinting in the lowering sunlight. Was that…?
“Misty?” Theodore shielded his eyes from the sun, getting a better view of the swimmer up ahead. There was only one person he knew that wore a white swimsuit. “Hey, Twist! Double time please, we gotta catch up with her!”
“Bui!” Twist’s tails spun around faster as the sac around his neck deflated. That let him dip under the water a little, facing forward as he chased after her. They closed the distance in no time. In fact, they ended up passing her completely, and Theodore fell in the water as he tried to get Twist to turn around. Cookie panicked, jumping off of his head at the last second, paddling away in the water towards Misty, who was quick to scoop up the normal type.
Theodore flailed about in the water, quickly making himself surface, taking in a deep breath as he shook his head dry, panting. “Gah! Hah, hah, Misty, hi…” He puffed as he tread the water, looking up at Misty.
“Oh, hey, you’re one of those fuzzy little guys from back home. What was your name again…? Something starting with an A?” She spoke, watching his face as she tried to remember. “That was quite a wipe out.”
“N-No, I’m Theodore. You’re thinking of my brother Alvin.” Theodore answered, wrinkling up his nose. “You know, if people don’t think we look the same, they think we’re pokemon instead…”
Misty snorted in amusement, stifling a laugh as she shook her head. “I mean, you three look funny, but I certainly wouldn’t say pokemon. You need a hand? Plenty room up here.” Misty invited, gesturing to the Dewgong she was riding upon.
“I-I’m fine, really. Twist will be back in a little. You can pass Cookie back though.” Theodore said, looking around for his Buizel. “What’re you doing all the way over here?”
“Cookie? Hehe, that’s a cute name!” Misty smiled and shook her head, watching the Buizel swimming up to his trainer. “You know, I could ask you the same thing, but I think I have an idea. To answer your question, though, I always come out here now. Well… everywhere there’s water, really. Off time is amazing.”
Theodore looked at her with a raised brow, climbing up on Twist when the Buizel nudged him. “But what if someone wants to battle the gym…? Don’t you have to be there for that?”
“If you’re gonna keep asking questions, we can make a stop at one of those little islands, Theodore.” Misty said, nudging her Dewgong off to the right. “And no, I don’t have to. As long as I appoint someone to be in charge, I can go as I please. And I use that time to just unwind and not worry about battles. Gym leaders do still have a life, you know.”
Silence enveloped them until they reached the landmass. Misty sighed as her bare feet met wet sand, sitting down and looking out at the water and letting the Eevee go. “What’s on your mind?”
Theodore sat down at the edge of the water, letting his feet stay submerged as he breathed in, putting Cookie in his lap. “Well… I know when we met it sounded like we were all gonna end up having this big cool battle and all that, but lately… I haven’t really wanted to do that, you know? Like, don’t get me wrong! Battling is fun, and I know it’s important to pokemon, but I just… don’t really see it as something to want to be known for.”
“Hmm. Well, what would you want to do? I have a friend who’s a gym leader and a pokemon doctor at the same time. I’m sure you could do anything you put your mind to.” She leaned back, resting on her elbows now. “You don’t have to be a master trainer or anything.”
“Wellllll…” Theodore looked down at Cookie, then over to Twist. “You know Mr. Fuji?”
“Old guy in Lavender? Yeah, he’s running that little pokemon adoption service.”
“That’s what I wanna do.” Theodore said with a smile. “Taking in pokemon, helping them get better, and getting them to good homes? That’s awesome! A lot better than just having them fight all the time.”
Misty gave a slight nod. “See? It sounds like you’ve got it all planned out. Don’t feel bad for going after something you like, little guy. You’re the one who makes your path. And hey, if you don’t wanna battle, I won’t hold it against you.”
“Well… I dunno completely yet. I think I’d still wanna battle. At least until I get to the last gym.” He looked up at the sky. Night was coming closer… “Speaking of, I really gotta get some training in with Cookie if you don’t mind. I won’t keep you here any longer.”
“Hey, I don’t mind a chat here and there.” Misty said as she stood up to stretch. “But hey. If you’re really gonna go through with your plan, then don’t back out on it, okay?” She didn’t give him time to respond, hopping onto her Dewgong and waving. “See ya around, I guess!”
And with that, she was gone, surfing away in the rocking waves.
“Hmm…” Theodore looked down at Cookie, letting out a little hum as he pat her on the head. “How about we get you stronger, huh? There’s plenty Tentacool here!”
Cookie looked up at him, her tail waving slowly as she just nodded her head, hopping off of his lap and letting out an “Eve!” as she landed in the sand.
Theodore smiled, standing up as he looked at his Buizel. “Okay! Twist, I’m gonna need your help too. You’re gonna scare them outta the water, and Cookie is gonna use Return when they come up!”
The Buizel nodded his head, doing a little stretch before he dove down into the water, disappearing from view in no time. Theo looked down at his Eevee. “Alright, make sure you’re ready Cookie! Just give it the biggest hit you can so you can get stronger!” He encouraged. “When you’re done, I’ll give you some of my snacks.”
The mention of food got Cookie’s tail wagging faster than before, making the Eevee bounce around a little and bark eagerly, nodding her head as she stared out at the water’s surface. She stood at the edge diligently, the gentle sea breeze making her fur sway here and there.
Minutes passed… and a Tentacool launched up in the air, arms flailing around as Twist held it up.
“Vee!” At his command, Cookie leapt off of the ground, her body surrounded in a pink aura as she slammed her head against the Tentacool’s body, sending it flying back into the water with ease. Cookie turned in the air, dropping onto all fours gracefully as the pink glow stayed around her.
Theodore smiled. “That’s the stuff! Let’s keep it up!”
By the time Twist ran out of Tentacool to knock up, the sun was completely gone. Theodore even called Match from his pokeball to provide enough light for them to see, but now he was sitting down, rubbing at his throat. Barking out orders for so long was a strain…
“Buuuiiii…” Twist flopped out on the sand, rolling on his back with closed eyes, just about ready to fall asleep. Match looked somewhat uncomfortable around the water. But Cookie still had a spring in her step, letting out little growls as she bounded from one side of the landmass to the other in search of another target.
Theodore turned to watch her. “Cookie, that’s enough… We haven’t seen another one in a while now. Maybe it’s time to just call it quits for today. The sun’s gone anyway.” He said as he sat down with a sigh.
The Eevee pouted as she laid down in the sand, letting out a little whine. She didn’t want to… Something inside of her was driving her to just dive in the water herself. But, she obeyed, nuzzling closer to Theodore as she sighed.
“It’s okay. Tomorrow’s another day, and we’ll have more ground covered.” Theodore reassured her by petting her in between the ears, gently ruffling up her fur as he did. “This ought to be a good spot to rest anyway.”
Cookie tuned him out, however, swaying her tail slowly as she kept her eye on the watery surface. Something just didn’t feel quite right… She pawed at the sand nonstop, letting out low growls here and there. Her trainer didn’t seem to catch on, though, but moved closer to Matchstick’s flame instead. When he did, however, that’s when she saw it. Something bobbed against the surface. Red orbs, blue body, another target.
The Tentacool rose up from the water, the orbs on top of its head starting to glow brightly, aiming down at Theodore. Her trainer. And he hadn’t noticed it.
“Veee!” She bared her fangs, the glow on her body getting brighter and brighter as she pounced ahead, growling as the pink glow turned to white. Her body collided hard with the Tentacool, this time sending it straight down into the water rather than knocking it away. Easy. But her trainer was safe.
“What the- C-Cookie! You’re evolving!” Theodore squeaked, averting his eyes as the bright light landed on the sandy shore. He heard of how Eevee had so many different forms to take, he couldn’t even imagine which one it’d be! Even Match and Twist looked over to watch their friend’s change.
Soon enough, the light faded away from Cookie, and she was laying out on the sand. Or… He assumed as much. Even with the light of Match’s flame, it was a little tough to see. But then, he saw another light. Then another. And another and another, rings of yellow piercing through the darkness, giving Theodore a definite view of his pokemon.
“Umbree…?” Cookie huffed out as she got to her feet, shaking out her fur as she looked over at Theodore.
“Awwwwh! Look at you!” Theodore squealed, quickly taking off his bag so he could fish out his pokedex, holding it up as he activated the camera. “Cookie c’mere!”
The newly formed Umbreon bounced forward, sidling up to Theodore’s side and taking a seat. “Bre?” She cooed, bumping her nose on him on the shoulder. She’d gotten used to only being able to reach his belly at best when seated.
“Hey… You’ve still got your spots too! But they’re glowing now!” Theodore said with an amused smile, peeking down at her rump at the cluster of dots that gave off a weak yellow gleam. “Hold still, the guys gotta see this!” Theodore said, his dex scanning her while he quickly took a picture.
“Umbreon, the Moonlight Pokemon, and the evolved form of Eevee. When agitated, this Pokémon protects itself by spraying poisonous sweat from its pores. When darkness falls, the rings on the body begin to glow, striking fear in the hearts of anyone nearby.” the dex read.
“Poison…” Theodore echoed, lowering his head to sniff at Cookie a few times. “But this says you’re a Dark type. And I don’t smell anything poisonous on you. And your glow is nice, not scary!” He said, typing away on the screen to send off the picture of his new pokemon to his brothers. “Maybe the dex has wrong information... “ He mumbled in thought.
He hadn’t expected her to evolve… he just wanted to help her get stronger. But now that he had another pokemon evolved, well… “Hey, do you think we could try another gym tomorrow?” He asked, looking over his pokemon. They traded gazes, and Match was first to nod his head, that fiery tail swishing about eagerly as he made his flames burn brighter.
“Hehe, great! We’ll see what we’re up against tomorrow, and take it from there! For now, let’s eat!” He said as he opened up his backpack, rummaging around inside. The bag always seemed to hold more than it needed to… But he wasn’t about to complain about extra storage.
The marts had a lot of stuff to offer, and just earlier that day he picked up a bunch of berries to cook before he left. An online recipe let him turn the berries into poffins for his pokemon. How fortunate the hotel he stayed at had the equipment he needed! He kept everything he made in a bag, which luckily fit inside his own without issue.
“Spicy and sweet for Matchstick, sweet and sour for Cookie, and just plain sweet for Twist.” He said as he produced the bag, handing over the treats as he listed them off. While his pokemon ate, Theodore went back into his bag for himself, producing a sandwich he made earlier. He kept it simple, some sliced up pecha berries, lettuce, and crushed up acorns. Nothing too fancy, but that was enough for him.
And right as he started to eat, he couldn’t help but think about the next day. Would they be able to pull off another battle? What would the gym even be like, and where was it? He sighed a little through his nose, taking out another bite as he closed his eyes, letting the sound of the gently crashing waves soothe him for the night.