Drew had already eaten breakfast, packed his things, and was ready to go before sunrise. It was now a couple of hours later and he sat on his pack in anticipation. He tapped his foot nervously. Sweat started to bead on his brow and he took the handkerchief from his jacket pocket to wipe his face. He stood up and looked to the village gate. It was closed and the local guard was patrolling back and forth along the top of the wall. At this distance, it was just a small silhouette. There had been a recent string of attacks on villagers by some of the local predator Pokemon so extra measures were being taken to secure the village. Drew had taken advantage of the early hours and snuck out while it was still dark. Once he reached the edge of the plains though, he stopped. He was unable to go further and feared getting lost. Though he wanted to move on, he knew that if trouble arrived he really wasn't prepared to fend for himself. Not completely anyway and it bothered him but, he was proud he came this far. He looked around for a tree but the plains were vast and shade trees scarce. The tall grass behind him rustled quickly and stopped. He turned and backed away from the dry savannah blades. There was a deep growl that rumbled and he felt it in his chest. He stepped back a little further. Just ahead of him stepped forth a large Mightyena.
The beast was abnormally large. Its mane was black, mangled, and dirty. The fur was thick and colored with mixture of grays. Dog-like, it snarled baring large ivory colored fangs and its muzzle was caked in a mix of dry and crusted blood stained from a previous victim. All Drew could think about was how painful the next few minutes were going to be. A chill shot down his spine as the beast before him cackled. Its seemed to be laughing however, this was a call. Two more Mightyena stepped forward and revealed themselves. They started to spread out to flank him. Gripped with fear, Drew grasped the only Pokemon he trusted. He had imagined this scenario a thousand times and each was never like this. He was always the hero. Always the victor. His hand shook violently and he could barely remove the small red and white orb from his belt. As he did, they attacked. The Pokemon before him crouched as the one from the left sprung forth. Without thought Drew dropped to the floor, more from fear than reaction. It leaped over the top of him and crashed into the Mightyena to the right tumbling into a mass of barking, snapping dust. The one before him prowled forth. A bit more cautious it lowered its head close to the ground waiting for the precise moment. Drew rolled over to his back and shuffled backwards. He looked to the Pokeball and let it roll out of his hands as he choked out the name of his little friend, "Torchic!"
The ball fell forward and bounced from side to side. A ray of flame poured forth from within and blasted into a pillar between Drew and the MIghtyena in front of him. The two that were fighting amongst themselves stopped and turned to the display. As the fire cleared, the small chic Pokemon burst forward. Its brilliant orange feathers were bright with flames. It jumped and spun around calling out loudly, Drew yelled, "Torchic, He..Heatwave!" He always stuttered when he was nervous. The chic looked at him and tilted its head back and forth. Before it could react, the Mightyena sprung into action. It whipped its tail forward and sprayed Drew and the Torchic with sand. Drew tried to cover his eyes, but it was too late. The small particles of dust burned. His vision blurred. The Torchic fell backward and blinked. It shook his head as it tried to recover.
The two Mightyena that were summoned looked to each other and snickered. One burst into laughter and rolled over to his back, kicking the other standing in front of him. This, in turn, set the other into a frenzy and the two started to fight once more. The leader of the pack sneered, disgusted with his cronies. He looked back to the dazed Torchic and its' master and pounced…
The Professor stood at the edge of town near the gated exit. Two sentries stood guard on each side of the opening and an officer atop the wall called down to the group. "Please, hurry. We can not leave the gate open much longer." Adam and Chloe arrived just as the man ended his statement. Adam huffed as he stopped and stooped over with his hands on his knees. Chloe, looked at him and chuckled. "We're ready Professor." Baruti nodded in acknowledgement, hiked his satchel over his shoulder, and set off. Chloe followed behind closely and Adam looked to them in hopes they would wait, or at least understand his physical limitations. His hopes were vain. He stood up and hoisted his pants as he set off after them. "Hey, hold up!" The gates closed with a loud thud behind him.
Just as the large Mightyena was about to strike it was knocked aside by a large club. A dense sound reverberated through the beasts body and as it hit the ground it let out a slight whine with a half bark. Drew lowered his right arm and looked up at the dark figure that towered over him. The sun shined bright in his eyes and he was unable to identify his rescuer. "This is a dangerous place for a boy to be playing with his…toys." He looked over to the dazed Torchic. The voice was gruff and accent think. European. "You stupid mongrels. Get back in the brush and find what I sent you for!" He raised his club in a mocking threat and the three returned from once they came with tail between their legs. He looked back to Drew and continued. "It's so hard to find good help nowadays. You should get up and head back to town. I don't have time to deal with helpless children."
Drew stood up and dusted off his clothes. He looked around and picked up the Pokeball that laid at his feet. The Torchic bounced around eager to please his trainer. He held out the small orb as a bolt of energy burst from within and enveloped the small chic. It returned to his ball and he placed it back on his belt. "Th..thank you sir. May I at least know the name of the m..m..man who saved me?" He was now able to see more detail as his vision cleared. The man towered over Drew. His beard was wild and matted. Several briars from the brush were caught within it and it seemed as if the man had braided in pieces of bone to decorate the growth. His hair was just as unkempt. A large mass of hair that grew in all directions. His height was matched by his weight. He easily weighed 110 kilos. Pokemon skins and manes draped over a dirty vest that was covered in pockets. The preserved pelt of a Beartic seemed to be staring directly at Drew. The glare of a once great beast now empty, hallow and lifeless, almost pathetic. His khaki pants were torn at the knees and looked to have blood and dirt caked on the cuffs and thighs. Strapped over his shoulder was a large gun, rusted and worn. He leaned in on his club as he answered Drew's question.
"Dr. Ulmas. Mikael Ulmas. I have things I need to attend too and I can't control those fools for much longer." Ulmas looked back to the brush and followed the tops of the blades of grass as they danced from the movement of the Mightyena below. "Before too long, they'll come back. You also shouldn't stutter. It shows weakness and sounds absurd." His eyes drifted from side to side as he glanced back to Drew. He motioned with his head towards the village and reentered the grass calling out in a foreign tongue. Drew walked over to his pack which laid on the ground, picked it up and slung it over his shoulder.
"Yeah, I'll just head… I'lll just go back to town." He spoke aloud to Ulmas but wasn't sure if he heard or was even listening. The next few steps hurt. The adrenaline had slowed and he the abrasion on his leg started to throb. Drew groaned and knew he was in trouble. He continued back to town and thought of ways to explain why he was filthy and hurt. The Professor was not going to be happy.
Baobab and Chloe walked at a brisk pace. Chloe was having trouble keeping up and often had to call out to the professor to slow him down. Adam lagged even further behind. The sun was bearing down on them now. A strong gust of wind blew sand into his face. He removed a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped his eyes. Baruti looked back and waited. He crossed his arms and tapped his foot as he stood there. He was visibly being impatient. Not a common trait displayed by the Professor. The sand blasted his skin but he was used the weather. Years of digging in sites open to the elements had conditioned him to the windy bursts. Chloe caught up and sat down at his feet. She took a drink from her canteen and splashed a bit of water on her face. A loud gunshot rang out to the North and scattered a flock of Tranquill. Adam hit the ground and held his ears. The professor ducked and covered Chloe. Another shot burst forth and a Tranquill dropped from the sky as it flew upward with the rest of the flock. The barks and yowls of excited Mightyena echoed in the air and seemed to linger in the thin, sandy air. It was a haunting sound that chilled the Baobab to his bones. He recognized the shots and scowled. "What is that Professor?" Chloe asked. She looked back to Adam who was still face first in the sand. "Oh my god he's been shot!" She pushed away from the professors protective grasp and ran towards her brother. "Adam!"
Adam looked up to her as she approached. His face was now covered in dirt. He spit sand and dust from his mouth. "What?" he sat up on his knees. "Did you hear that?" He looked around, surveying the surroundings.
"You're not shot?" Chloe asked. "You weren't hit?"
"Of course not! Don't be ridiculous!" He started to brush off his shorts.
"Ugh!" Chloe sounded in disgust. "You had me so worried! Laying in the dirt like that. You should be ashamed of yourself." She kicked more sand in his face and turned away from him heading back to the professor. She turned back to him, "Hurry up! We don't had all day."
Adam slowly worked his way to his feet. "Just go on without me." He took the backpack from around his shoulder and dug around inside. He pulled put a Dive Ball and tossed it in front of him. "Politoed." The ball hit the ground and rolled around.
Chloe giggled. "That Pokemon never listens. Three years now and half the time he refuses to even leave that ball." She turned to the Professor. "I'm worried about Drew. Especially with those shots. What if he's hurt?"
Baobab looked down at her. "He's fine. Those shots weren't meant for him and if they originate from whom I think they belong too. He's more safe than we assume." Adam looked up to the two. "Professor?" Baruti looked to him and furrowed his brow. "With force Adam. Let it know you want him."
Adam called out this time with more gusto and a bit louder. "Politoed!" The ball wiggled back and forth. Three blue jets of water spilled from within and the ball started to spin rapidly. It shot up into the air and burst into blue light. As it hit the ground a large toad Pokemon appeared. It looked to Adam and let out a croak. The Pokemon seemed to be smiling. Its throat expanded as it croaked and its cheeks lit up. "See, he does listen!"
"Let's go." Baobab directed. "That way." He pointed Northward and set off.
Just as the shots were fired, the loud bangs rang through Drew's ears. The sound was almost unbearable and explosive. He dropped down to his knees and scrambled away as a flock of Tranquil shot forth. They fluttered around him as they climbed into the air. Higher and higher they climbed in an attempt to escape. As the second shot fired one spun out of control and dropped, lifeless. Drew looked to the bird with confusion. He didn't realize what was happening. It landed with a thud just ahead of of where he stood. Drew looked onward, stunned. Almost immediately after, the Mightyena that had nearly attacked him jumped forward. It looked at him and sneered. The beast appeared to bark but made no sound. Eventually putting its attention to the prey, it snatched the small bird up in its massive jowls and disappeared back in the brush. Silence. A stinging, sharp ring slowly started to fill Drew's head. He tried to shake off the pain but it wouldn't work. The sounds around him came to be and came to his senses. He needed to get away from the area and took off down the path. Just over the hill he saw the Professor.