'Man, this sure is odd,' I thought as I followed the two Ethereal members and Celeste out of the caves.
As we walked, I thought about what the white-cloaked people would do if I tried to capture that new pokemon. They were supposed to be people who kept pokemon free from what Celeste had said. And Zack and Myra hadn't went against that definition. Well, for now all I could do is focus on following Celeste's pink hair and keeping Max comfortable in my arms. He wasn't as used to battles as Tim and had taken damage in the fight.
Tim had been incredible, though. Max might have taken out two of those evil group's pokemon, but Tim had dispatched the rest with relative ease. He hadn't even been hit. I knew it was from all that training I had done with the Growlithe, but still.
I shook myself out of my head and looked at Myra, who had slowed down to walk at my side. Just ahead, Celeste and Zack had started talking about something to do with Nebula. I needed to look mature and cool. Mature and cool. I smiled slightly and nodded to Myra.
"How can I help you?"
She pointed at my feet where Tim padded along, unaware of anyone looking at him. "How long have you had your Growlithe?"
I had to think on that one. My first Growlithe was sent home, of course. I always did that with new catches. But Tim... "I caught him in the Kanto region near Pallet town." I nodded to myself. It had been four years now. "He was stealing food from a bakery so I decided to catch him in order to help Professor Oak out."
Myra nodded but then got a confused look on her face. "Wait, what pokemon did you use to catch him? Max?"
"Oh no, Max is far too weak right now. Tim was strong then and even stronger now. I had to use Hannibal at the time."
"He's an Ursaring that stays at home most of the time."
Zack called back at that point, saying we were at the exit. Sure enough, a dim light came into sight. We really had been in the caves longer than I thought. It was almost night time. I even spotted a few Cleffa running into some bushes nearby. Celeste saw too and looked at me excitedly. We had actually found the pokemon we were told was here. It eased me a little, honestly.
But, I decided not to catch one. I didn't want to upset our Ethereal friends.
"So, where to now?" I asked Zack, who had pretty much taken the position of leader. Not that anyone seemed to mind, of course. He was the oldest, probably.
"I think we should get away from the caves and strike camp."
We all agreed it would be a good idea and headed off. By the time we found a good spot - a small stretch of beach shore that looked almost like the place I had came in to - it was almost completely dark.
But I wasn't sleepy and Tim was energetic still. Max, being tired, dug himself a pit and buried his body in it to sleep. Celeste and the others found it funny and laughed a little. I don't think any of us were used to desert pokemon.
"Hey, Myra," I said as we finished gathering wood for the fire. "How about we have a friendly spar between Growlithe?"
In response, Myra released her own Growlithe and gave a competitive smile. "You're on!"
Tim barked in excitement and ran to our makeshift arena. Myra's Growlithe did the same. Zack walked to the shore and looked at both pokemon in turn. Celeste joined him and seemed to be in good spirits as he called for the battle to begin.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of a fight from Myra's Growlithe. Whether I was overconfident in my earlier victory or just doubting Myra's ability, I quickly found out how wrong I was. The battle came to a close on my victory, but Tim had barely managed to win. In the end, he was in need of a potion and a good night's rest.
"You're really good, Richard," Zack said, seeming impressed.
"You should have seen him catch that Nidoking," Celeste said, making me cringe. I was worried these Ethereal members would get mad at that. Luckily, they both seemed to have an 'oh!' moment instead.
"So, that battle was you, then." Myra walked over to the fire and patted her Growlithe on the head. Potions truly did work amazingly well. "Well, everyone should go ahead and come sit."
We did. It was a pleasant night after that.
Until we heard a shout in the forest.