With his pokemon all healed up, James headed out east of Pewter Gym after restocking their supplies at the Pokemart, thanks in part to obtaining half of Brock's money from their victory against him. Red and Spike were both incredibly jubilant about their personal victories, the charmander still rather stunned and shy about having defeated something so fearsome.
"SO," began James, "when were you gonna tell me about your Steel Claw huh?!"
He says he had not realised he had obtained that power at his current level. And that by the time he did, he was uncertain about using it against you in training, in case he wounded you deeply.
"Hah, alright fair enough, guess practice involving that wouldn't have worked out too well. Either way, we are the goddamn champions, now let's head off to the next city! ...Cerulean, right?"
That is correct. We must obtain the badge here and then we shall continue our mission.
"Wait seriously? Why?"
Only two badges are of real importance to our mission. The Boulder Badge of Pewter City, and the Cascade Badge of Cerulean City. Obtaining these will allow us to wield greater respect over the pokemon of this land.
"Iiiii seeee...like medals of command or something?"
Somewhat. Let us head back through Mt. Moon.
I would also recommend that we obtain more pokemon for our group. We can carry three more with us until we we reach the legal limit of pokemon owned at any one time.
"Right, six only, guess that's fair. We'll just wait and see for what kinda weirdos we wanna include with us then."
On that note, they had a longer road ahead of them than before now that James had a pokemon trainer license. A slew of kids, hikers and trainers were also along the way, all of whom were asking for a fight. With only two available fighters on him, James divvied up battle duties between them rather easily. Red handled any rock-types with his stronger defence and brutal Steel Claw, whilst Spike handled almost everything else. Except flying-types which FG found were very effective against bug-types, facepalming himself later.
Nevertheless, with only two pokemon to focus on training, James found the going rather easy, even when traversing through Mt. Moon once again. Despite Kirie's various recommendations, the raptor found himself wanting none of the other types of pokemon that dwelled within. He was sick of geodudes, and even moreso of the zubats that flapped blindly everywhere around him.
One particularly interesting creature he saw was a crab that was being slowly consumed by a set of parasitic mushrooms growing on its back, but James felt uneasy about such a creature and moved on. Being as it was one of the simplest and most well-excavated mountains of Kanto, the going was easy for all of them as they reached the other side, entering Cerulean City within minutes.
The only other event to occur that was of any interest, was Red's attempted evolution. Somewhere around level 16 of his power, according to Kirie that is, he was suddenly enveloped within a bright whitening light, just as Spike had been before. Due to Red panicking with the sudden influx of power that had been granted unto him, James forced the evolution to stop through a strong verbal command that all trained pokemon apparently knew. Another mystery that Kirie spoke to him of, much like the migratory patterns of birds that nobody truly understood.
What was rather strange however, was that every level or so, Red would try to evolve again, and every time it occurred, he was afraid and kept panicking not to. James respected his desires not to, the charmander explaining through Kirie that he was firstly afraid of such immense power filling his being all of a sudden, and secondly that he felt he did not deserve such yet. The raptor smiled at such humility, and in turn it would prove useful for Kirie explained another factor. Evolved pokemon were stronger, but they learnt new moves more slowly.
With a chance to relax more properly within the mountain-blue city, James in human disguise wandered freely around the place. Aside from the usual stores and Pokemon Center, a bike shop was also available with a wide range of colours and models, which James sneered at for two reasons. Firstly, they were incredibly expensive, and secondly, they were not motorcycles. The gym was essentially a swimming pool converted into a more appropriate place for pokemon battles, and while James peeked in to see the interior, he had no intention of entering.
The mountain north of the city was also impressive, with a cool clear river winding down all the way from the top to further imbibe the clarity of blue within this city. After enough wandering around, James sat down on a bench beside Kirie, who floated aimlessly beside his head while enjoying the cool breeze. The raptor occasionally looked down at his hands, which while remained the same three-clawed digits to him, would look always to five fleshy pale-pink digits to everyone else. The haunter chatted away to James as they let themselves relax.
Not up to a little water polo yet James?
"Water's not exactly the best thing we can fight against right? We need someone who can handle these guys, what's good against water?"
The most effective types are grass or electric types.
"Right, let's avoid electric types for now, I'm not good with those."
Very well...water types however cannot affect those of another water type, if that is one extra suggestion.
"Huh...where do you think we can find a good water type?"
We can progress to Vermillion City and see what lies there. It is a port city to the south with a good amount of fishing available to catch such pokemon.
"Right...well we're not TOO bad, we're a pretty good level right now after kicking everyone's ass on the way up."
Indeed, both your pokemon are at level eighteen now, a good level for this stage of our journey.
"Heh yeah, and now Spike can do that uh...Focus Energy thing? And we got a crapton of money too from all the people we beat."
You weren't as merciful this time I see.
"Hey, that kid's shorts really annoyed me, okay? He sounded like he'd been wearing them for ten years, jeez."
Ha ha ha...I must say I am quite impressed with your handling of pokemon James. Perhaps in another life you would have made a fine trainer growing up here.
"Heh yeah...not that hard, I mean Spike just wants to be strong and Red just needs a boost now and again for his confidence. Honestly, having two makes things a lot easier, now if I had to handle a WHOLE team that might be a problem."
One of the great skills of a pokemon trainer is to coordinate between all six of their pokemon to create a finely balanced team. Some may prefer one or two elements, but a truly masterful team combines as many types as possible.
"Variety is the spice of life after all, right?"
Indeed...poetic, coming from you.
"Iiii just remember Koopin saying that sometimes...hmmm...if this was a place to go swimming I'd try that too, he taught me to swim better and I never get a chance to use it."
Ahhhh yes, your dear pure-hearted lover.
"...did I...tell you about him before?"
I am quite sure you did...
"Uhhhh alright...hey, you hear something?"
The raptor perked his ear towards the northeast side of town, hearing a clamouring commotion of at least three voices. Stepping from the bench, he headed over towards the back of a small cluster of trees. Gently turning around the corner of them, he saw two men in black clothes with flatcaps on their heads, bearing down on one green-clothed girl who was holding some sort of small pink fox-like creature with several tails.
"Don' try to be brave kid," said one of the men, "you either walk away intact or you come outta here limpin', what's it gonna be?!"
"S-stay back!" said the kid tearfully. "Yer not takin' mah Princess!"
"Lissen, we got no time for this and if you ain' gonna fight, you either give her up or we take her by force! Now give us yer damn vulpix!"
"NO, SHE'S MAH FRIEND!"
Standing out from behind cover, James stared down the two men who turned and sneered.
"Wha-buzz outta this, this ain't yer problem!"
"Leave the girl alone or ELSE."
"Or else what?! You gonna curse us?"
"No. I'll burn your face off."
Pulling out one pokeball, James made his intentions clear as one man turned to the other and murmured:
"I'll handle this, grab the girl."
"Yeah, come 'ere girl!"
The moment he heard the girl squeal, FG hurled his pokeball as hard as he could straight into the back of the man's head, making him hurl himself forward and fall on his face.
"KID, RUN, GET HELP!"
James' command to the little girl made her run off desperately, still clutching her fox-like pokemon dearly to her chest. She fled the scene as fast as her little legs could, tears streaking in her eyes as her brown short hair swished hurriedly in the wind. The vulpix pawed at her chest, clearly quite young and afraid of the turn of events. The moment she turned her head, she bumped into someone's leg, falling on her rear.
"Oof, woah there. You okay miss?"
She gazed up into the sunstreaked afternoon to see a tall responsible-looking grown-up. Her eyes sparked with relief and panic at the same time as she jumped up.
"M-mistah! Mistah, help me!"
"Why, what's happening?"
"Th-there were these guys, they were gonna beat me up an' take mah Princess! B-but someone came an' saved me, you hafta help him mister!"
"Where was this?"
"O-over there bah the trees, please mistah get help, he migh' get hurt!"
The two men snarled at FG, who snarled back as Red popped out of his hurled pokeball. The charmander was ready for action, growling up at them as one of them said:
"Takes one to know one," said FG smugly.
"Oh that's it, Drowzee GO!"
"MACHOP, KICK HIS ASS!"
Both men threw their pokeballs together, releasing unto the battlefield two stranger creatures. One was like a child-sized version of the Machokes James had seen before, whilst the other was like a bipedal tapir, half his body brown with the upper half yellow.
"Oh you wanna twofer dontcha?!" said FG. "SPIKE, COME ON OUT!"
The moment the beedrill came onto the scene, the battle began, as both machop and drowzee readily slammed into both Red and Spike. In retaliation, Red swung his tail full of embers straight into the drowzee's head, slashing across the tapered short snout. Spike built up his fury by focusing his energy, buzzing venomously at the machop. The machop recognised this and began to do the very same, glaring into a small showdown.
While Spike had his own rival to contend with, Red was trying to contend with a while new dilemma in the form of this creature's stranger moves.
"Drowzee," commanded the thug, "Disable 'im!"
The drowzee nodded sleepily and stared straight into Red's eyes, flashing white light from his own as the charmander whimpered with uncertainty. James however did not realise what he did.
"Red, Ember again!"
The moment Red tried to do so however, his foot faltered. Suddenly his mind went blank. He whimpered up at FG and looked around himself with a whole new fear.
"Ch...ch-char! CHAR! CHARMANDER-CHAR!"
"Wh-what the fuck's wrong with you?!"
"Charmander-CHAR! Char charman-DAAH!"
In his fearful distraction, Red was slammed in the back of his head by a brutal hammerfist from the drowzee, pounding into his skull and throwing him down on the ground. He got up weakly, nervously facing down the strange creature.
"Wh-what the hell happened?!"
Red says he cannot do his Ember attack.
Somehow the Drowzee has blocked his memory of it. It is a move amongst psychic-type pokemon that allows them to disable one move at a time of their opponents.
"There's PSYCHIC types?! What fucking bullshit is this?! WHATEVER, RED, STEEL CLAW! Spike, you finished charging!"
"STAB HIM WITH FURY ATTACK!"
Red charged ahead, trying to ignore his uncertainty as he slashed powerfully across the drowzee's face, the tapir-like beast falling back from the heavy strike that caused him to fall. In retaliation, it lunged low and headbutted Red hard in the gut, making him stumble back hard whilst heavily winded. He winced deeply, standing up slowly before ready for his next move, repeating with Steel Claw. Once again a retaliation occurred in the form of another bizarre psychic move.
The drowzee chuckled darkly and began to chant a strange noise, barely low enough for FG to hear but perfectly within the charmander's range of hearing. His eyes began to open wider, as the drowzee's closed before blinking open a purple veil. The moment its eyes opened, Red shrieked and fell back from a sudden pain in his mind. Even worse, his body began to move rather oddly, stumbling around in a strange small daze.
"Wh-what did he do now?!" cried out FG.
Confusion. Red will now find it difficult to attack without hurting himself in his disorientation.
"Okay, that's it! Fuck psychics and FUCK YOU!"
At this point, Spike and the machop clashed hard, the beedrill stabbing away with his furious spear-tipped fists of rage constantly striking the machop in the face. In return, the little fighter tried to perform a karate chop straight onto Spike's head. Somehow it did not work, the insectoid thorax taking the blow well as the beedrill buzzed with greater fury. His opponent was now on the ropes, as Spike stabbed it in the chest with a thick welting poisonous sting that easily weakened the machop.
"WHA-NO!" roared one thug. "Stop messin' around and BEAT THAT BUG UP!"
The machop snarled with a growing weakness in it, the poison taking hold as it lumbered forwards to initiate a fierce low kick. Spike however simply flapped upwards, barely feeling it hit him as a particularly uneffective move, before re-initiating his fury attack once again. Combined beneath the assault of poison and punching spears, the machop was taking a terrible beating, before it fell backwards and finally succumbed to weakness. Gasping desperately for aid, the machop passed out, much to his owner's chagrin.
"You STUPID LITTLE BITCH! DAMMIT, I THOUGHT YOU WERE A FIGHTER!"
"Awww yeah," said FG with renewed confidence, "float like a butterfly, sting like a beedrill! Spike, go help Red, now we're making it two-on-ONE."
The beedrill gladly flew to Red's aid, who was wandering back and forth unable to focus. Spike plunged in with a fury attack, striking the drowzee repeatedly in the face whilst Red desperately tried to refocus himself. Occasionally he tripped and fell, hurting himself in the process. James was starting to turn infuriated, but more because of his opponent being so effective. Even worse was the fact that the drowzee was resisting the beedrill well, and it barely even felt the plunging tip of a poison sting into its belly.
"Who's laughing now huh?!" said the drowzee's owner. "You wanna quit now?"
"Shut up, you're just a fuckhead and you're going down like one!"
"Couldn't agree more."
A new voice came from nearby, cool and terse with an oddly Irish-sounding accent as a pokeball was suddenly hurled onto the battlefield. Sprouting forth within a reddening light, was a whole new creature that both James and the two goons freaked out at. A demonic-looking hound with white markings reminiscent of a skull and ribcage upon its head and back, its doberman-like colours accentuated with a devil-tipped tail at the end.
"Wh-what the hell-
The mysterious voice commanded this strange beast, who glared with red eyes before barking a fierce black fog from its throat, blanketing everyone's field of vision with dark choking mist. Red was even more confused now, stumbling to get back to FG before being assisted by Spike flying him through it. The thug however tried to focus his attention on the new opponent.
"AGH, s-stupid-DROWZEE, DISABLE!"
The drowzee however was too caught up in the thick smoke to even know where its opponent was, piercing straight into darkness several times with its stare in order to try and catch out its foe. Yet nothing could be heard, as the new voice commanded:
Suddenly, like a demon from the netherworld, two red eyes glared through the mist. Before the drowzee could even turn, a pair of vicious canine fangs tore down on its head, biting deep and crunching audibly. The thugs winced as the pokemon stumbled without even uttering a cry, falling unconscious like a boxer gone punch-drunk. The hound snarled straight into the two thugs' eyes powerfully so before they tried to run.
As they did, the sounds of their short yelps before flying fists came to James' ears. Just when the fog started to dissipate, a human walked through towards him. Tall and stern at 6'6'', his short black hair was as rigid as his eyes, barely moving apart from his long brown trenchcoat, the two men now lying flat on the ground cuffed individually. The devil hound now stood alongside his trainer, dutifully obedient as James replied hastily:
"Wh-who are you?!"
"Detective Corck, Olivine City Branch."
The man pulled out an ID card with practiced precision, flashing his official identification. James immediately tensed up with an instinctive anxiety. Badges meant police officers. ID cards meant the feds. He had never even met a federal agent before, and he never planned to in his life.
"Wha-wha...where did you come from?"
"Li'l girl ran up to me and said some punks tried to snatch her vulpix. Looks like you were the brave lad that stopped 'em. Good work."
With an unflinching walk, the detective turned towards the two criminals members, grabbing a face in each hand with a wry smirk as he recognised one of them.
"Well well, Hopkins. Got yourself a promotion I see, no longer the illegal delivery boy and now a real frontline goon."
"G-GET OFFA ME COP!" roared the thug.
"Let's just go through the cliched insults down at the station hmm? I'm arresting the two of you for attempted theft, attempted assault, and affiliations with a known criminal organisation. You have the right to remain silent, but anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to a lawyer also."
"I BETTER GET A PHONE CALL PIG!"
"Nnnnno that you don't get a right to, believe me I checked. Dante, you take the other one."
The dark hound nodded promptly and growled as the men were pulled up onto their legs and forced to walk. James watched the detective and his pokemon force the two thieves to march, hurrying after to ask:
"H-hey wait, officer!"
"Right um...sir, I guess? Don't you need me for anything here?"
"Aaaactually yes. Would you mind coming in as a witness after your encounter with these two? I'd ask you here but Cerulean's a li'l understaffed and I can't get anyone around nearby to help me bring these lads in."
"I guess I better, after the shit these guys and their pokemon tried to pull."
"Pokemon are not bad themselves," said Corck, "it's only because of their masters who act bad through them."
"You better get yours checked before coming to the station, they're looking a li'l ragged. Once you're done, head down to the station and ask for Detective Corck."
"Um, a-alright, sure."
"What's your name?"
"James. James Campbell."
"Well, Mr. Campbell, see you soon I hope. Come on boys, let's have a chat now shall we?"
"YOU'LL PAY FER THIS!" roared one of them. "TEAM ROCKET'S GONNA MAKE YOU REGRET EVER-"
"DUDE!" snarled the other, "shut UP!"
"Well now," said Corck, "that's PRACTICALLY a confession right there, but I think we can do better than that. Let's make it official back at the station, rules are rules. And no runnin'! Last guy who did that's still missing a cheek thanks to Dante."
"...um...I hope you mean his face."
"...you really wanna know?"
As the detective escorted the two thugs back to the police station, James felt uneasy yet relieved. Heading to the Pokemon Center, he sat down inside after healing them up within minutes of the hyper-powerful medical equipment restoring their health. Despite the rather thankful end to the confrontation with assistance from the police, he was still rather nervous with slightly shaking hands. Kirie noticed this and suggested:
You should go to the station.
You are nervous because you do not wish to interact with members of authority, are you not?
"...I'm just reporting a crime that's all."
"I mean I haven't DONE anything have I? Have I broken any laws since coming here?"
No, not at all. I made certain of that.
"So, there's NO way he could like, keep me in, not even for like some really severe littering law or something?"
You haven't even dropped a single item since you have been here. You haven't even eaten very much since your arrival here.
"...hhhhhh...what do you think of that Corck guy? You think he's legit?"
His ID card was real, if that's what you mean.
"N-no I mean, he's...we can trust him right?"
Why would we not, he is a member of the police to protect and serve.
"Heh...yeah...but who do they protect and serve EXACTLY?"
Ho ho ho...so many years it has been and still you are distrustful of any authority.
"I can't help it okay!? I...nnnngh, I just don't wanna give them any reason to throw me in jail."
Then go in and assist. You have nothing to fear, you have broken no laws here and as far as this Corck knows, you are a citizen who stopped a pokemon from being abducted from her owner. If you will not trust in him, then at least trust in me.
"...alright. Alright, I trust you. So if anything happens-"
I will be waiting outside with a file and a false key.
That was a joke.
James smiled awkwardly before trying to giggle, as he breathed heavily and steadied his nerves. Soon he found himself standing outside the Cerulean City Police Station, sighing to try and relax. Kirie offered a helpful reminder with:
Consider this. After facing malevolent spirits and demonic entities, you'll hardly be afraid of a human detective will you?
"I just don't want to cause any trouble."
Hm...that does not sound like the James Campbell I know.
"The James Campbell I knew would have run away."
Walking into the station was a strange sight. The last time he had been in a police station at all was in his old life, which was a false statement in itself that he self-corrected briefly. The last time he had been in a police station that was actually occupied was in his old life, various humans walking by in their duties amongst the linoleum-tiled halls and cool-blue corridors. Various pokemon also wandered about with little official hats or garter belts, which James found adorably disarming and helped ease him into the place.
The receptionist was a woman with blue short hair, smiling in her official clothes of blue with white gloves and a small hat.
"How can I help you today?"
"Uhhhh yeah, I'm here to speak with Detective Corck?"
"Yeah, uh, I was a witness to an incident with two guys, and he wanted me to come in to help give my report."
"Ahh. One moment please, may I have your name please?"
"Yeah, James Campbell?"
She pulled up her telephone and dialled a number within the station, the raptor in human disguise waiting patiently as the hustle and bustle of the precinct carried on.
"Hello, detective? Yes, I have a James Campbell here who wants to see you? ...alright then."
She put down the phone and turned back to James.
"He'll see you now Mr. Campbell, he will escort you soon."
A few minutes later he was escorted through the station by Corck himself, who came up from the direction of the prison cells. Weaving through various cubicles and office halls, they soon arrived at an unmarked office door. Typical clear-glass that was thick to the point of hazing the other side, within an oaken rough frame. He opened the door first and politely said:
The office itself was very typical, a single sturdy mahogany desk, with various items upon it between two bookshelves on each wall, with a window on the wall behind the desk's chair. The only thing unusual upon the desk to James was a small model of a horse, white-bodied with purple mane and crystal-blue eyes with a tail that spiralled like an eloquent curl of hair. The two sat down on opposite sides of the desk, with Kirie floating above as FG started with:
"Thanks, it was a gift..."
"...will your haunter be okay?"
"OH, yeah um, she doesn't like to be in a pokeball she's uh...never been in one."
"Yeah, she was my grandmother's, then before she passed away she gave me her to look after. Don't worry she'll be fine."
"Alright then. You want a drink, maybe some water?"
"Nah I'm good, I just wanna get this out of the way so I can keep walking."
"Alright I won't keep you. Now..."
The detective pulled out a notebook from his trenchcoat and readied himself to write.
"Let's start from the beginning of the incident. Tell me what happened when you encountered these men."
"Well...I was just chillin' on a bench with my Kirie here when we heard some commotion coming from the forest up uh...that way?"
"So I go over, and I see these assholes pickin' on a little girl, demanding that she hand over her pokemon or they'd take it from her by force."
"Did they say exactly that?"
"Oh yeah, they were real dickish about it."
"And then what happened?"
"Well I stepped forward and said to leave her alone or else."
"Who inititated the battle?"
"B-but see, one of the guys was gonna grab the girl, so I threw my pokeball SMACK into the back of the guy's head so he wouldn't grab her, then my charmander popped out and they brought out their pokemon!"
"Well we just kept fighting! My beedrill kicks one of their asses but my charmander was getting all messed up with this dickwad's psychic crap."
"Hehe ahhhhh...psychic pokemon can be tricky, are you a recent trainer?"
"Yeah actually, I just won my first badge back in Pewter City."
"Ohh good, planning to take on this city's gym next?"
"Naaaah not yet, none of my pokemon are good with water, I'm gonna skip on to Vermillion and see how I do there, maybe by then I can find a guy able to handle some water polo."
"Hah, alright. But back to this, was there anything else that happened?"
"Nope, was a bit on the ropes until you showed up, which I appreciate uh, officer."
"Alright, that'll do."
"Mmhmm. I got all I need, just needed an eyewitness account from ya and that was it."
"What about the little girl?"
"I sent her home when I found where you were, if I need to have her testify I will though I'd rather avoid having a child in that sort of position."
"Right, that'd be pretty tense."
"Well then we can-"
As James was about to stand up, a knock on the door came from behind as Corck said:
A somewhat-older man in a blue suit opened the door, smiling sheepishly as he said:
"Sorry uh James but just wanted to let you know the Hoenn region reports have come in, they're in your files."
"Wait what?" said FG. "I dunno any region reports."
"He meant me lad," said Corck.
"Wait your name is James too?"
"Mmhmm. Thanks by the way John, I'll read 'em when we're done here."
"Alright," replied John. "Also, the Canalave branch called about that company they were investigating-"
"Tell them I'm busy. We deal with one group at a time, they pop up every so often, fine, but we do not leave this unfinished. I'll look it over later alright?"
The man left quickly and dutifully as FG chuckled a little.
"Man you run a tight ship dontcha?"
"Comes with the job," said Corck. "Now, I believe we're done here, but do you have an address I could contact you at for any further information?"
Kirie suppressed her anxiety at this unexpected question, and presented an address cautiously into FG's mind for him to say.
"Three Hanger Lane, Lavender Town."
"Lavender Town? You come from there?"
"...just unusual to see someone from Lavender start with Pewter City."
"I uh...had to go to Professor Oak so I could get my license and my pokedex which was kinda broken."
"Ahhh right, well then, I wish you the best in your training."
"Thanks uh...sir. Um, hey, do you know who those guys were anyway? You recognised one of 'em too."
"Just criminals I've been tracking for a long time, that's all I can say. I would tell you more but it's for safety reasons I don't, you understand."
"Oh no, totally. Alright then, thanks sir."
With a shaking of hands they soon parted ways as FG cautiously made his way out of the police station, trying not to look nervous. The moment he stepped out into the cool afternoon air, he sighed deeply with relief.
"Hoy...god, glad that's over. I expected a lot worse than that."
Shall we depart for Vermillion City now?
With a spring in his step, the raptor in disguise headed out swiftly towards south for his next step in training. Leaving Cerulean City behind as well as all his worries, heading down to the incredibly short Route 5 which was nothing more than a large pathway between two rows of forests. A small hill laid here in the centre, a picturesque peaceful setting complete with a quaint small house upon it. Few pokemon roamed wild within the small patch of tall grass that James waded through from Cerulean City, but enough to pester him.
Other than the usual pidgeys, he also once spotted a bipedal cream-coloured cat with a coin infused on its head, as well as living sprouting plantbulbs waddling merrily around. As pleasant as the scene was, he wasted no time in heading up the hill and passing by the house, noticing it was a Pokemon Day Care Center.
"Wait day care center?"
Yes. Some people instead of raising them by themselves due to busy lives, will put their pokemon here where they are safely raised by a loving couple.
"Uh...no I...shouldn't be heh. Sounds nice, let's keep going though."
Very well. But let us not pass through to Saffron City, instead we shall take the Underground Tunnel.
It is a tunnel that goes underneath Saffron City which ends up directly out at Vermillion City. Just to make travel easier since Vermillion City is a port.
"Huh...alright then, you guide me."
Reaching the south side of the route with Cerulean City still in view behind him, James leapt off the hill with a boost of energy, finding the entrance to the Underground Tunnel to be an oddly-sloping shack next to the city entrance. As strange as it was, James stepped inside and found himself heading down a stairway, leading into a massive singular long tunnel. The place was the width of two trucks side by side, as the raptor made his way down cautiously despite the well-lit surroundings. An empty echo resonated throughout the man-made tunnel.
Grey upon grey welcomed him with each new step, as Kirie floated alongside him still, keeping the disguise on for James in case of any travellers passing by. Thankfully there were none, except for one old man hobbling by in black clothes with short white wavy hair, passing by James with a bump to the shoulder.
"Ungh, s-sorry sir...sir?"
He turned round briefly and saw the old man still hobble away to himself, the raptor wanting to call out his apology further before deciding it wasn't worth it. Kirie however asked him:
What is it?
"Huh? Oh, um, some old guy bumped me, I was saying sorry."
...what old man?
"That old guy right the-.......w-where'd he go?"
James and Kirie found themselves completely alone within the tunnel. Not even the wind came down to greet them, the raptor turning nervous before chuckling.
"Hhhahaha ohh I see."
"You're playing a prank on me arentcha? Come on, give it up, nice try with the whole illusion thing, come on, let's go."
...James. I swear to you now, that I have not played a joke on you at all for the past few days, not of this kind. And as a spirit I can tell you quite clearly, there is not a single soul but you and I within this tunnel. Are we clear?
Good. So, what did you see?
"I dunno, some old guy! Black clothes, white hair, he bumped me on the shoulder!"
...let us keep going.
We have no time to ponder on pointless things if it comes to nothing. But if anything like this should happen again, tell me regardless. Let's go.
Whether it was because she lacked a logical answer or because she was hiding something more, the raptor did not know. He also tried not to care, moving on through the long tunnel until they reached the other side. The stairway greeted them with the outside world once again, sunlight coming down from above as the smell of seawater welcomed them with open arms. The port city awaited them.