Working on a pokemon fanfic - Three
Rachel continued to ask questions, which Jared sidestepped.
“Rachel, don’t you have other patients to attend to?”
“We are in the middle of nowhere kid, how many patients do you think I have?”
Getting tired of this game Jared was playing with her, she stopped asking questions and started talking about random things.
These things greatly interested Jared, as he was new to this world.
She was born on Cinnabar island to a well-off family. Her parents ran a pharmacy. They specialized in creating antidotes, but their family business became crippled when the all-purpose antidote was created. Following the work, she eventually ended up here.
As the week passed, she would visit him from time to time just to talk about what she was up to that day, or a random anecdote. When she was gone, he had nothing to do, and since he was locked in, he couldn’t leave either.
He had asked her a few times to let him take a look around, but the old lady firmly refused him each time.
Jared learned from one of her visits that there is a group of people called trainers. These people are strangely revered. Perhaps they were the celebrities of this world. Well, at least the old woman thought as much.
On another day, Jared learned by chance that the old woman claimed to be over a hundred years old, yet she didn’t look a day over fifty. He was curious about that, but he held himself back. He didn’t want to ask about something that might be common knowledge. Jared was paranoid about giving himself away as someone that doesn’t belong in this world.
On another day, she was yapping like usual, “Five years ago this laboratory village was nothing more than a forest. With your strange condition, you are lucky to be brought here you know that? We are three days from the nearest… anything.”
At some point, Jared had begun to see the old woman in a different light. She reminded him of someone he used to know. He was a kid around his own age in juvie. His name was Daniel, and he would always get in trouble by saying whatever he thought of. It was as if he had no filter, but being around him was never boring because you never knew what he would say next.
Seeing Jared’s silent stare, she sighed, “I have some good news kid, you’ve healed up enough to move, and the ranger is coming back today. It looks like you are about to be out of my hair. “
“This ranger, he lives here with you and the scientists you spoke of earlier?”
Hearing a rare question from the young man, she spoke seriously, “Yes, you could say that. Richard is the only semblance of law enforcement around here, although he’s never around these days. He’s also been quite busy due to some strange occurrences. “
When she didn’t elaborate, Jared asked, “Strange how?”
The old woman joked, “You’re quite chatty today kid, it’s almost like the day we met.”
Seeing the young man turn his head away, she chortled, “This science lab in the middle of nowhere is actually funded by Pewter.”
‘Is that why there are only a few people living here?’ Jared mused.
She scratched the side of her head, “Actually, it didn’t use to be like this… there have been disappearances, and every time those scientists try to come on their own, well, one of them goes missing. Really useful, those people are.”
“Actually, that couple that saved you were brought up to Pewter too. The roads to and from the forest are barred from entry, and until they figure out what’s going on in this forest, they will continue actively deterring people from entering. Despite all that, those two still snuck in, and they even forced their way out… “
She crossed her arms for emphasis, “At any rate, with all these barriers, those two still showed up in the forest. It’s suspicious, don’t you think?”
Jared wondered if she was really allowed to be telling him this information, but he was happy he heard it.
Realizing that she was indirectly accusing him too, Jared shook his head, and then pretended to look out a window. This was made harder by the fact that there weren’t any.
During these days, Jared was idle in body, but not in mind. He realized now that his existence wasn’t exactly believable. Saying he didn’t want to talk about it won’t work forever.
Hearing about a ranger that will soon show up, it was time to play a card he had been saving. Before learning more, he had been holding his tongue, but he couldn’t think of any other way to explain his situation to the old woman, “I wasn’t going to mention it, but I have amnesia…”
“So you do have parents” Rachel chortled.
Deadpanned, Jared replied, “I don’t know, maybe I do. I just woke up like this… before those people found me.”
He didn’t know whether she believed him or not, but he thought himself a capable liar at least.
“Do yo-” Just then, there was a knock at the door.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Jared heard a deep voice, “Rachel, it’s me.”
“One moment Richard”
Rachel opened the door, and without missing a beat a man in his mid-twenties strode in. His clothing was worn and made of soft brown leather. The man was good-looking, but it was marred by his unkempt hair, and his face clearly hadn’t seen a razor in a few days.
Despite being young, he looked hardened.
Looking at the man’s mid section, Jared’s eyes gained some color when he found three pokeballs strapped to his belt. They seemed to be held individually by some kind of thin metal contraption.
Sizing Jared up, he then turned his head halfway to Rachel, “This must be the one?”
Rachel gave Jared a deep look halfway through her sentence, “Yes, this is Jared… and he claims he has amnesia.”
Richard smirked, “Amnesia, how convenient. Is that the story you are going with?”
Shrugging his shoulders Jared said nothing.
Richard then began making small talk with Rachel, seeming to forget Jared’s existence.
Soon, the two began leaving the room, “It’s been three long days Rachel, and I’ve had nothing to eat but dry rations. Please tell me there’s something good in the kitchen because my pokemon and I could eat a whole ponyta.”
Rachel smiled, “There’s some good herb radish stew, with egg, I’m sure you will like it.”
At the door, Rachel turned to Jared briefly, “Have a good rest, because early tomorrow morning you are going to be leaving with Richard.”
With that, the door closed, and Jared was alone once more.
About an hour later, Richard knocked on the door twice before letting himself in.
He came over and sat in the chair next to the bed. After a few moments, he asked, “Jared, right?”
“Well, Jared, is there anything you want to tell me? “
Displeased, the man pulled something out of his coat pocket before flashing it, “You know what this is don’t you?”
Getting a good look at the little square-shaped metal badge, Jared read the letters inwardly. ‘Pewter City Ranger’
While putting it back in his pocket, he continued, “I am an officer of the law, do you know what kind of trouble you can get into by lying to an officer? So, let me ask you again, kid, and I want the truth. Is there something you want to tell me?”
Richard spoke gravely in his deep voice, “Those two pokemon thieves were convicted you know?”
Jared knew to whom Richard was referring, but he didn’t like this high and mighty attitude. That piece of metal might mean something to Richard, or to the whole world for that matter, but In Jared’s eyes, it didn’t mean anything.
“Do you think you are being clever? I’ll tell you this now, they already sold you out. They told me everything. You and your accomplices entered the forest during lockdown to cause trouble. You got injured, and they brought you here. Isn’t that right?”
Leaning in, Richard whispered loudly, “So, Jared, what do you have to say?”
Jared could see that Richard was trying to look intimidating, but all he saw was a dancing clown. The old woman had already mentioned that those two had forced their way out and escaped. They should have at least gotten their story straight first.
Changing back to his usual pitch, Richards’s voice seemed to turn gentle, “I’m not your enemy, Jared, really. I can cut you a deal. Tell me what you know about those two, and I’ll let you go. You have my word.”
“No.” Jared hadn’t changed his expression once during this encounter, which unnerved Richard.
“No…?” Richard stood up.
As he was preparing to leave, he pointed at Jared, “Have it your way, but I’m warning you, If you don’t talk by the time we reach Pewter City, all promises are off.”
Left alone, Jared felt something about Richard was off. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he had the feeling that the man he had just met wasn’t as he tried to portray.
Unless he was a psychopath, then his temperament was all over the place. That’s why Jared believed it had to be an act.
That night, Jared tossed and turned. His thoughts abuzz, ‘But still, what if Richard was serious? What if this was another conspiracy against him. What if he was framed again? Will he be thrown in a prison cell? Will he be executed again? With a chance at a new life, he didn’t want that.’
In the morning when Richard came to get him, the man was also accompanied by a medium sized dog that Jared quickly identified to be a Growlithe.
Jared was curious about the pokemon, but he held in his reservations, and secretly observed the man instead.
A send later he was outside the room, and now he finally got to see what lay beyond that door. There wasn’t much to see. There were several doors along the pristine hallway, but they were all shut tight.
As they walked down the hall, Jared looked around and pretended to casually ask, “Where is the old lady, is she coming with us?”
“I want to thank her before I leave. I also need to discuss payment for my treatment as well.”
“Payment?” Richard seemed taken aback. He didn’t understand what this strange young man was talking about at all. What kind of criminal takes the initiative to pay their captors?”
Seeing his reaction, Jared was feeling more certain now.
“Yes, she took care of me while I was injured. I can’t pay the bill now, but when I’m able to, I will.”
“She didn’t mention anything about that, so just keep walking.”
Not budging, Jared replied, “I insist.”
Richard’s voice gave a dark breath, as he adjusted his hair in annoyance, “She has my contact. If there’s a payment, then I will hear about it, now get moving, “
Soon they were outside, and Jared raised an arm to shield his eyes from the sunlight. He took in a deep breath, and the morning air stung his nose. When his eyes adjusted, his attention was caught by the tall stone walls surrounding them.
When he looked down the steps, Jared was surprised to find two pokemon. They were standing on either side of a couple men. One of these men was casually dressed, and looked like he had been balding for a while. He was also carrying a large backpack with straps. The other… well, Jared couldn’t quite pin him down. Holding a similar bag, and sporting a full head of wavy brown hair, he was a man in that sometimes hard-to-discern age range. The ages between twenty and thirty.
Sitting on the younger man’s shoulder was a familiar creature, a one-foot-tall caterpie.
On the immediate left was a two-foot-tall blue creature with a black swirl on its belly. The armless creature was quickly identified to be a Poliwag. When it saw the two newcomers, the bottom of its head seemed to swell up as a frog would. Jared had a feeling that this is how it gave its greeting.
The casually dressed plump middle-aged man walked over and presented Jared with a handshake.
With a polite smile, the man introduced himself, “Good day, I’m Ryan, I don’t believe we’ve met. Do I have the pleasure of knowing your name?”
Deadpanned, as usual, Jared took his hand and replied, “Jared.”
Ryan then leaned in a little, with a lowered voice, “Did you just transfer to our little project?”
The man widened his eyes, “No? but you are coming with us?”
Seeing such a perfunctory response again, Ryan’s expression went blank for a moment.
“You seem to be traveling a little light. It’s a three-day trek, are you not bringing any supplies with you?”
“I guess not.”
Ryan felt stifled by the curtness of the young mans answers.
After collecting himself with a cough, he gestured to the young man behind himself with his left hand, “This is Gilbert, he recently came to work on the project.”
After saying that, he moved his hand back to his hip.
The wavy-haired young man walked forward with a smile.
Reaching out and giving a firm handshake, Gilbert spoke enthusiastically, “It looks like I’m in your care for the next few days. I hope it goes smoothly this time too.”
Staring at the caterpie on Gilbert’s shoulder with clear distrust, Jared replied, “Yep.”
“Right… Um…” Clapping his hands lightly, Ryan turned to meet Richard, to which he asked, “So who is this young man really?”
Richard gave a low grunt, as he decided what to say, “For now, just think of him as someone who got lost in the woods.”