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Chapter 7: The Celadon GymEdit

“Hey! Didn’t you read the sign? Psychics not allowed in the casino!” someone shouted vehemently.

Ash knew that he was in big trouble and had to get out of it fast. Immediately he scooped up his money. It didn’t matter that all through that time he hadn’t stolen a chip. Without thinking of anything else, his self-protection plans that he had practiced numerous times lately kicked in. “Ralts—go!” He dropped the pokeball onto the ground; upon releasing the Ralts it flew back into his hand. ((Get us out of here!))

“Freeze!” shouted yet another Officer Jenny, aiming her gun at him.

But by then he was already back in the city square, lost in the crowd – and holding all his 49 pink chips, totaling some 9800.00 Y (Kanto dollars). Or they would be, if he had had the luxury of trading in his chips for the actual money… Right now he had 200.00 in his debit card, the small bit of money that he hadn’t converted to the white chips to begin with. He couldn’t buy anything with that, so he could only hope that no one working at the casino’s cash registry had memorized his appearance. He hoped to be able to get in, get the money, and get out in a blast.

But for the meantime, he was stuck with not being able to do much.

Of course, he was in a city, and a city always had something worth doing.

Celadon City was even larger than Viridian City, and Ash was astounded by the sheer ease with which one could get lost along its many boulevards. ((Let’s check out the gym here, shall we?)) he asked Ralts, then proceeded on their way to the local gym.

“Huh?” was the first thing on his mind when he got there. This was no gym at all! Unlike at Viridian City, where it was serious business, Celadon’s Rainbow Gym didn’t seem like the place where one had a pokemon match at all. Instead, the overwhelming sensation was that of sweet fragrances of all varieties. The perimeter of the Gym was a sheltered hallway, giving the Gym the appearance of an oversized, artificial cell. All over the walls were draped flowering plants. The center of the Gym didn’t even have a roof, or if it did it was retractable. In the stadium grew and lived a great many plants of all sorts, ranging from the standard Bulbasaur to the beautiful Bellossum to the carnivorous Victreebel. In the center was a massive fountain bubbling with cascading water. Yet nowhere was there any room for battle. Instead, there were quite a few disciples who were taking good care of their plant pokemon, as well as gardeners for those plants that were actually plants.

Ash walked up to one of these plant-pokemon trainers. “Hey, what’s going on here,” he asked, quite embarrassed, as the lass turned to face him.

“Oh hi, you must be new to this city. Celadon Gym isn’t really a fighting place, it’s a place where plant-type pokemon can live in peace!” This was belied by the gurgling sound of a Bellsprout devouring a pesky mosquito mere inches from them. “And to feed themselves,” she finished.

“Oh, that’s great, but where’s the gym leader? I need to challenge her to a match.”

“Erika? Ha!” The lass burst out laughing. “Haven’t you understood yet, you don’t win Rainbow Badges by beating the gym leader!”

This took Ash by surprise. “Well then… how can I get a badge?”

“First you have to get yourself a plant type pokemon; almost any type will do. Then you have to prove that you can take good care of it. You’ll have to get that pokemon to be so at peace that it produces its own ultimate fragrance. The only test you have to pass is during Erika’s daily checkup routine – if she can detect that ultimate fragrance – and she knows what it’s like for every grass-type pokemon – then you’ll get your badge. What do you think we’re all doing here, sunbathing?” She explained smilingly.

“Oh, I see, so each gym has its own lesson! The one at Viridian is that one must play to the surrounding’s advantages, like when Dugtrio took advantage of the already-extant tunnel network to avoid taking damage and to deliver unexpected attacks. The one at Celadon is that one must take good care of one’s pokemon and nurse them to the utmost health!” Ash’s face lit up like a light bulb.

“That’s it!” the lass agreed.

“But…” Ash was depressed once again. This was yet another reminder of his defeat at the hands of Team Rocket… “I don’t have a grass type pokemon. My only one was stolen from me.”

“You mean Team Rocket? Those bastards…”

“Yeah, exactly, it was them,” chimed in Ash.

“Well, for your information, Team Rocket’s presence in Celadon City is considerably stronger than in Viridian. It’s rumored that their headquarters is in this city.”

“All right!” exclaimed Ash.

“What are you so happy about?” the lass was utterly perplexed.

“I… er… well… It’s a long story, and I don’t want to talk about it,” muttered Ash, his shoulders drooping. “Well, thanks for the information, but I don’t have any time to spare getting a grass-type pokemon and then trying my hand at lulling it into producing fragrances.” And with that, he brusquely rushed out of the gym, determined to find out where Team Rocket’s secret headquarters may be…

Then he smacked himself on the face for being such an idiot. Of course, it was secret, and the police stationed here have tried for years to locate the headquarters, so who was he to expect to find it in no time? Of course, he did have some psychic powers, and those certainly could come in advantageously when he had suspects to interrogate…

Which reminded him, of course, that he still had to practice psychics with his Ralts.

((All right Ralts, what was it you were going to teach me about telekinesis?))

((Well, you first have to stop acting like an idiot rushing off to the secret hideout,)) asserted Ralts, causing Ash to sweatdrop again.

((Okay, okay, I promise I will start to think before I act! Not like I didn’t already…))

((First things first: let me explain what is different. Sensing the thoughts and emotions of other humans without finding yourself zeroing in on any particular one is an incredibly difficult task, as you may have discovered already. In the past five days you’ve been concentrating on trying to access the thoughts of anyone you passed on the road, and only toward the end were you able to gain much success out of it. You let the entire world come at you at its own pace, and finally understood what meditating is all about. You understood what it means to relax.

((But for telekinesis, it’s entirely different. You have to be able to concentrate on what you’re trying to do – to lift a stone, for example. You do this by sending out your feelers – feelers you already developed when trying to sense others’ thoughts – and direct them toward sensing the environment around you. Each environment has its own particular feel that is a combination of what makes up that environment. It’s up to you to be able to find it and to lock on to that aura. This aura is intimately connected with the objects it lies within. Only then can you proceed to change anything using telekinesis. Are you ready?))

((Of course I am,)) replied Ash.

((Good. Then let us begin. Here is a leaf. It shall suffice, because it has a living component within it, though not as living as either humans or pokemon. Try to identify its aura.))

Ash did as Ralts told him to, and concentrated – on what? There was nothing to see, nothing to feel, nothing to sense! This aura that his pokemon referred – where was it? What did it look like? What was Ash supposed to be locking on to?

((This isn’t very successful, hmm? Well, I guess you’ll just have to practice some more. Else, you still won’t be ready when the time comes…))

((Don’t be pedantic to me, Ralts!)) Ash roared in anger, as he unslung his backpack and tried to hit Ralts. The pokemon of course promptly teleported away.

((You get to be pedantic to your Charmeleon, don’t you?))

((How did you know – why you! From now on you’re not to peek into my memories! I forbid it!))

The next moment Ralts did just that. Ash tried to resist by establishing a mental wall of his own, and felt that it was stronger than it ever had been before. For this time, he actually had a major reason to put his all, his being, into setting up this barrier.

Not that Ralts couldn’t break it down, of course. Ash turned to screaming for Ralts to get out of his head.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

It was the next day. Ash had begun to make a little bit of progress at identifying the aura that pervades all things – something he definitely needed to be able to master if he were to attempt telekinesis whatsoever. To make matters worse, his Ralts was poking fun at his “weak mind” all through that time. It was only broken with eating a small meal, or training to identify any other half-psychics before his mental intervention set off their alarm.

For that was what the person back in the casino was: a half-psychic, in other words, one whose psi quota was under 10. Though they had limited ability, it was enough to get Ash into this fix…

Ash hadn’t even wondered why the half-psychic was allowed to stay in the casino and play. Evidently he was a dealer, but that didn’t mean no one else would have cried foul. So he concluded that it must have been because half-psychics could only take care of their own minds, and not expand to the world outside. Hence, the half-psychic never stood a chance of discovering what cards Ash had in his hand at that last round.

((Do you think we should teach you Substitute?)) asked Ash.

((Of course, but you don’t have enough money--))

((Yeah I do! Err, I will have it soon, and right now I can get a credit line for up to 5000.00 Y, and/or pawn my chips for at least that much, if not the full value. My personal net worth is 10 grand!))

((You’re full of yourself. And no, I didn’t mean you don’t have enough money; you don’t have enough to spend less than half of it to apply even a single TM on me. Use your money wisely, Ash.))

((Well, maybe we can use this money some other way,)) said Ash. ((But first, we must get that money back!)) They had already been walking in the direction of the casino; but as he approached he saw wanted posters of people who had stolen from the casino – and Ash was on that list! And it said: “Psychic – handle with care. He may attempt to trade 49 pink chips for Kanto dollars.”

Ash was dismayed, and Ralts, sensing this problem, immediately teleported them back to the city center. ((What now? Obviously I won’t be able to get my money out. And if news spreads any more, I may not be able to exchange my chips for money!))

((Then exchange your chips for white ones.))

((Oh yeah!)) Ash slapped himself on the face. What an idiot I am! Subconsciously, people will only make the connection if I try to trade pink chips directly for cash, so…

He began sending out his feelers for anyone who would be willing to trade chips. He knew that going to the pawnbroker would be a bad idea because his chips’ value would be discounted by as much as 20. Here’s one! Amazed at his luck, he quickly approached the stranger.

“Oh, hi. I learned from other sources that you have white chips for sale. How much for them?”

“The going rate, 100.00 each, and I have a hundred chips,” the man replied.

Ash made a fuss of looking through his backpack. “Aww, man, I don’t have that much money! I just realized I had cashed in all my money for other chips! But uh, I do have 49 pink chips. Mind if we trade? You know what, just for you, I’ll offer you a special deal: my 49 pink chips for 97 of your white ones.”

Since the value for the chips were highly liquid the man immediately knew that this was a bargain that was worth 100 for him, since he could easily go to the casino and trade in. Before letting Ash change his mind, he jumped on the deal, and shook hands with the boy. “Deal.”

And Ash walked away with 97 white chips. Even as he turned the corner, Ash could sense that the stranger still didn't register that Ash was on the wanted list. “Off to the next stranger,” he said softly. There’s one! Thought Ash, having successfully utilized his psychic meditation ability to scan the thoughts of several people per second.

“Hey sir, how’re you doing?”

“Just fine, how about you?”

“Fine too, but I have a deal that will make us both have an even better day. How would you like me to fork over 97 white casino chips in exchange for 9600.00 Y?”

“It’s a deal, pal,” the man said, not wanting Ash to have any chance to back out of the deal, and Ash walked away with his debit card loaded by 9600.00 Y.

Just as he was milling around the city center, he came across a market stall where a fisherman was promoting a poke-rod. This immediately lit one of the lights in Ash’s head, as he recalled his earlier plan of getting a good water-type pokemon to complement his currently one-member pokemon team.

“Hey there, what do you have for sale?”

“Newly caught pokemon, and poke-rods! I assure you that all of these pokemon have received little training and so will take to a new master quite easily! Here we have a Squirtle lvl. 5, a Staryu, lvl. 7, a Goldeen, lvl. 3, a Horsea, lvl. 4, and a Tentacool, lvl. 10. Do any of these capture your interest? The Squirtle is a great all-around guardian to have, with the ability to easily put out fires as well as retreat inside its shell when in trouble. It also has the potential to evolve into a Wartortle and then a Blastoise, and that can get incredibly tough! The Staryu has immense regenerative powers as well as the ability to launch itself into the air, using its core jewel to launch light or with a TM, even psychic based attacks. The Goldeen packs a powerful drill of a punch, which only gets stronger when it evolves. It’s also the best of the lot if you’re out to enchant your favorite girl! Horsea is a good combination of ink screen defense, rough scales, and water hose, and Tentacool is a water and poison hybrid!”

Ash hadn’t heard much after that part about the Staryu. It has psychic potential? Could that mean that it is a water/psychic hybrid? If so, I can add it to my team and it’ll be just right! Of course, the stark reality was that this Staryu the peddler wanted to sell was totally inexperienced, and he didn’t want to have to start training it from scratch. He had enough of that with his Charmeleon and his Ralts…

“Why, what’s the matter?” asked the worried fisherman.

The thought of Charmeleon had moved Ash to tears. He had already been separated from his long-time guardian for so long, he didn’t know if they would find each other again…

“No, I can’t buy any of those pokemon,” thought Ash at last. But if I have one of those rods I’ll be able to catch my own pokemon! And hopefully in that case I’ll have the opportunity to get the one I really want, or maybe even get a higher-level Staryu to begin with! “I’ll buy one of your spare poke-rods,” Ash offered when he saw that the price tag for the item was only 999.99 Y.

“There now, I knew you’d be one of my favorite customers,” remarked the fisherman.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

“Can I PLEASE buy a grass-type pokemon!?” pleaded Ash to three of the lasses in the Celadon gym, all of whom were disgusted with his asking this question over and over. Two of them had even gotten together and whispered comments about what a loser Ash was not to even have a single grass-type pokemon.

Ash needed the pokemon if he hoped to get the Rainbow Badge Erika gave out, and he made it painfully obvious too. Unbeknownst to him, hidden out of sight at the rooftop to the no-ceiling gym were a few people shrouded in darkness, listening to every word that was being said below.

“Shut up youngster, if you aren’t able to raise your own pokemon, don’t try to bribe yourself a Rainbow Badge!” came a high-pitched voice from the doorway.

“Who’s that?” asked Ash.

The lass right next to him responded, “That’s Erika. She’s the one who will be inspecting our pokemon to decide if their trainers qualify for the badge yet.”

Ash turned to look at the newcomer, a petite girl with flowers in her hair and a flowing lavender dress. Svelte and graceful, she seemed to fit Ash’s stereotype for what to expect from a grass-type pokemon trainer. A Shaymin cuddled in her arms. The tiny gratitude pokemon didn’t seem all that pleased right now. “Oh.” Ash’s heart sank as he saw Erika give him a death-glare. “She really means it about taking good care of your own pokemon,” remarked Ash.

“And you better believe it,” finished the gym leader herself as she marched up.

“Well, you see, I don’t have any grass-type pokemon,” said Ash. And he was about to blurt out too that he didn’t see much use for them anyways, seeing as how they’re only really good against dark-type pokemon and those weren’t too prevalent around here. And although grass pokemon were also supposedly good against earth and water types, that was way over exaggerated. Nature really couldn’t do too much against unnatural quantities of floodwaters or avalanches.

“Well then quit whining to me here and go catch your own grass-type pokemon,” Erika gave him a glare.

Ash decidedly did not like this trainer, but didn’t tell that to the Ralts sitting on his shoulder. “Fine then, I’ll leave, and just so you know, when I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it.”

“YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING!!” screamed a rather familiar voice as suddenly the doors to the entrance of the gym burst open, and out stormed Officer Jenny and four police grunts.

“Officer Jenny!?” Ash was taken off guard by this. How did she know to come find me here? “What brings you here in this sunny weather?” he began, while simultaneously telling Ralts, ((get us both out of here the moment we’re in real trouble.))

She pointed her gun at Ash, as did the other officers. “You’re under arrest for—“ The last few words languished in her mouth as she stared at where Ash had just been. He was gone!

Ash and his Ralts appeared right behind Officer Jenny, and comically asked, “Hmm? For what?”

Officer Jenny shrieked out in surprise and rounded on him, gun pointing straight at his chest. “Don’t you dare try anything, or else you’ll regret it,” she intoned. In agreement the Arcanine beside her growled angrily.

“Uh… You know, I still don’t know why you’re out to arrest me,” he feigned, secure in his knowledge that he could get away easily.

“As I was saying you’re under arrest for—“ Officer Jenny looked around, trying to find Ash, and saw him and his Ralts drinking from a plastic bottle on the sofa not far away. “Why you! Would you stop making life hard for me!” she said pathetically, and the grunts all sweatdropped. “…For stealing money from the casino!”

“Exactly,” said a nasty-sounding voice from somewhere distant in agreement.

“See what I mean?” said Officer Jenny. “You can run, but you can’t hide forever. You’re now in big trouble, boy! For trying to evade arrest, you’re now in double trouble!” She announced coldly.

Just then the two shadowy figures watching from the rooftop jumped down, landing gracefully and with ultra-balls in hand. Although both were cloaked in black, one was clearly male and the other female. Neither looked pleasant. “And now, prepare for trouble,” said one in an icy tone.

“And you’ve already made that double,” said the other...

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