The gang arrive back in town by foot, their bodies covered head-to-toe in bruises and smudges. On Benny’s back is a pichu with blue and green bracelets on his arms. She places him down as soon as they stop in the square. “Okay, Jackson,” she begins. “You’re safe and sound.”
Jackson smiles at the three pokemon. “Thank you so kindly, Team Adventurers! Who would’ve known those bandits would be so vicious?!”
“Well,” Nate starts. “With us around, they’re not keeping up. And Team Rescuers has really been putting a lot of stress on them.” He turns to see the celebi and eevee talking to two other pokemon by the inn. “Huh, looks like they’ve decided to spy on us just in case.”
“Pay no attention to them, Nate,” Benny tells him. “We may have our rivalries with them, especially after the whole ‘berry incident,’ but just keep your cool. We have to make sure we cause no trouble with them. Am I right, Zach?” There is no answer. “Zach?” She faces the riolu, who keeps his eyes fixed on the celebi, watching as she speaks with the pokemon. “Zach!”
Zach flinches and opens his eyelids wide open, as if being forced awake. He looks to the buneary. “Huh, what?! What is it, Benny?”
“Did you even hear a word I said?”
“Why, of course, I did… We were talking about Team Rescuers.”
“Yes, we were, and how we should keep our eyes on them.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Definitely.”
“Right, so…” The buneary pulls out a piece of paper and pen from her cotton fluff. “Seems like we’re doing pretty good with the missions and tasks. Our reputation is certainly getting up there. Just need to make it better.”
“What else is there to do?” asks Nate. “Why make our reputation better?”
“To go on better missions, get better payouts, and even ally with other rescuers or adventurers. There’re perks in being higher on the fame list. So, any suggestions on what else we should do?” Nate shrugs. “Okay, Zach, how about you?” She turns to where Zach would be, yet the riolu is nowhere around. “What the?! Where’d he go?!”
“Uh, Benny…” Nate utters. Benny looks to where the fennekin’s gaze points and sees the jackal pokemon wander off towards the mew and celebi. “What’s he doing…?”
Zach approaches the two pokemon. Miffy asks what he wants, as does Cindy, but Zach keeps his attention to the celebi. “How are you today?”
“Um, fine,” answers Cindy the Celebi. “Any particular reason why you’re over here?”
“Just want to talk, if that’s all right.” Cindy gives a narrowed-eye look to him, yet is curious to what the riolu’s desires are. She plays along with him and the two start to talk, mostly about recent adventures and missions.
Nate remains fixed on the three pokemon as they converse. “Get a load of lover boy over there, huh?”
“Doubt he’ll get a date with the celebi chick,” says Benny. “He’s not her type.”
Zach continues on with chatting with the celebi. “So, are you free right now? What do you like to do for fun?”
“What?” Cindy questions him. “Where’s this going?”
“Want to grab a table at the Weed and Bucket Inn?” The riolu keeps a slight smile, hoping to get his expected response from her. “We should have nice lunch there.”
Cindy realizes what is happening and catches on. “Hm, not really hungry; just had lunch with Miffy. Although…” She walks up close, being three inches from his face. “I do appreciate your kindness and generosity.”
Zach’s cheeks blush with salmon pink. “R-really? You do?”
“Of course,” she says, forming a small smile. “In fact, I’ve got a special surprise for guys like you.” The riolu remains still, waiting for what the celebi has in store for him. She takes one step back and gives it to him. The red fruit remained grasped firmly in her clutches as she slammed it directly into Zach’s face.
“Gah!” The riolu stumbles backward, raising his paws to his face as he feels the squashed fruit sting his eyes. “It burns!” Nate and Benny rush over after he kneels to his knees. “Why did you do that for?!”
“You really think I’d fall for some pokemon like you?” Cindy asks. “After what you did to my teammates? You and your friends are nothing but trouble! Taking our jobs and trying to steal our spotlight! Shame on you and your team.”
Benny steps forward and puts her paws on her cotton. “How dare you treat my friend that way, you wretch!”
Cindy clenches her hands. “What did you just call me, Bunny Girl?!” The four pokemon growl and prepare to duke things out when the mew flies in between them and ceases their quarrel.
“Cindy, Miffy, why aren’t you back at the base?!” Ezma snaps. “You should’ve been back here.”
“We would’ve been there if that riolu didn’t harass me,” Cindy responds. “He’s at fault for our lateness.”
“Yeah,” Miffy agrees. “And now, his team’s trying to hold us up even more.”
“Enough! I will have no more excuses. Get back now!” The two girls do as they’re ordered and stray away from the scene. Ezma then turns to the three pokemon, who remain in their positions. “Why is it when something happens it involves you three?”
“Your celebi did this,” Benny tells her. “She threw a fruit at my friend, and he wasn’t even doing anything wrong.”
“And I suppose the ‘pecha berry incident’ wasn’t wrong, either?” The pokemon remain silent, not saying a word. “I’m getting sick and tired of receiving reports of you three causing issues with me and my team. If you dare cause anymore trouble with us, we’ll have no choice but to use harsh actions. Keep your distance, Team Adventurers! I will not order you again.” She flies off and catches up with the two other girls.
“Okay,” utters Nate. “Now, they’re really getting on my nerves.”
Benny kneels to Zach’s level, laying paws on him as he tears and groans with pain. “You okay, Zach?”
“I-it stings,” he replies. “My eyes… and my heart…”
“Here.” Benny treats his optics by rinsing them out with water from her leather pouch. “Sorry, I have nothing for your heart. Just give it time and let it heal…” Zach keeps his head pointed at the ground.
“You don’t want her, Zach,” Nate spurts. “Besides, there’s plenty of other girls in Leafy Creek.”
“Not like her,” Zach says. “She’s beautiful…”
“Come,” Benny begins. “Maybe some lunch at the Weed and Bucket will fix you. We should also discuss our next plans, while we’re at it.” Zach looks up to her, nods, and stands up. The two boys follow the buneary into the inn they were beside.