Chapter 4: Dingo's Goal
Chaud walked slowly down the path, trees on either side. Protoman was being carried in his arms (with legs as small as he now had, it was hard to keep up with the NetOp), and feeling very bitter about his new appearance. They had already crossed through one town and a small forest (nothing dared to challenge them-apparently they'd been taught a lesson before now). Chaud had spotted the next town and had sped up, muttering something about the clouds above them. He stopped short and shifted protoman so he could get out his pokedex and point it at some bushes.
"Jolteon, the lightning pokemon. Jolteon's cells generate a low level of electricity. This power is amplified by the static electricity of its fur, enabling it to drop thunderbolts. When angered, the hairs on Jolteon's body turn into needles that are fired at its opponent."
A spiky yellow and white creature poked its head out of the bushes and blinked at them. A Raichu and several Mareep followed. The Mareep spread out to block the road, and the Raichu tried to keep them in a tight bunch. The Jolteon looked up at Protoman.
"Protoman, I presume?"
"Elecman? And where, may I ask, is Count Zap?"
"How would I know? I've got a giant rat and sheep following me everywhere, but I don't have a clue why," said Elecman. He grinned, saying, "But... I never thought I'd see the almighty Protoman morphed into a pom pom."
"Take it back!" hissed Protoman, struggling to get at the other pokemon. Chaud blinked in surprise and held protoman tighter, but this only made the former NetNavi angrier. Fire roared out of his mouth, and he wriggled free...
They dodged, and Maylu shouted, "Roll! Swift Attack!" Roll turned to face the large opponent and opened her mouth. Stars flew out, nailing Mightyena in the chest.
"Nice. When did you get that attack?" said Megaman.
"Since... Right now, I guess," she replied.
"Tomahawkman, Bone Club!" said Dingo.
"I'm gonna guess he means whack that thing with your bone," said Roll, when the Marowak glanced at them. He tossed the bone as hard as he could, hitting the Mightyena between the eyes. It howled and backed away, giving Tomahawkman enough time to retrieve his bone and dash back to the others.
"Iron Tail!" said Maylu. Roll's tail went silvery grey, and she thwacked the Mightyena with it. The dark pokemon stayed down, seemingly pouting. "Not so tough now, eh?" said Maylu, glancing at the others. The Mightyena took advantage of her lapse of concentration to jump at Roll, teeth bared.
"Pikachu!" said Ash. It leaped from his shoulder, sparking angrily.
"CHUUU!" The Mightyena yowled as it was hit with a thunderbolt attack, then fell to the side in a faint. The person in the tree scrambled down and shook their hands energetically.
"Thank you! Thank you! I'm not sure what happened when it evolved, but my Mightyena tried to EAT me! Thank you so much! Now, excuse me while I take this guy to a pokemon center..." The person put the Mightyena back into its poke-ball and ran away.
"That happens sometimes..." said Lan.
"Is something wrong with Megaman?" said Ash.
"He kinda forgot all of his attacks except Tackle and Tail Whip," said Lan.
"He won't download any chips," Megaman grumbled. "And my MegaBuster doesn't work either..."
"Don't expect them. Things have changed, remember?" said Roll.
"Then what should I expect?" said Megaman.
"Try watching Roll again, and imitate. Maybe that'll work," said Tomahawkman. Roll used Swift Attack again, and looked back at them. Megaman hesitated, then tried. A few tiny stars came out, dropping to the ground after about a foot.
"Keep trying," said Roll. Lan knelt down next to them.
"You can do it, Megaman! Just keep practicing, and you'll get it," he said. Megaman tried again, and got a few more stars. Dingo glanced up at the sky.
"It's getting pretty dark up there. I think we should get moving."
"Maybe we can get to Viridian before it starts raining," said Ash. Pikachu climbed onto his shoulder again. Maylu, Lan, and Dingo took out poke-balls and said in unison, "Return!" Megaman found himself in the ball again, and lay down, wondering exactly what he could use as attacks.
The next day, they walked out of the Pokemon Center in Viridian, and the pokemon trotted beside their trainer/NetOps.
"What're we going to do?" asked Tomahawkman, looking around at the others.
"We can figure out who's causing this and what we can do to get back home. It's like the classic video games- beat the boss and everything will go back to normal," said Megaman.
"It's creepy... This reminds me of that one anime, Princess Tutu. A scary old guy who was supposed to be dead was controlling people with a story. Do you think that's what's happening to us?" said Roll.
"Princess... Hey, Isn't that the anime with the girl named 'Duck' and the main character whose name sounds more like Choochoo?" said Tomahawkman.
"You actually watched that show?" said Megaman.
"Medi forced me after I said she looked like like a demented snowman," said Tomahawkman, shrugging. Pikachu watched them, clueless as to what they were talking about.
"So, where is Mt. Moon?" said Dingo, squinting around.
"East of here, I think," said Maylu.
"OKAY!" shouted Dingo, sprinting off toward God knows where.
"No, that's West! WEST!" Tomahawkman cried, running after him.
"That's the wrong way...." said Maylu, confused.
"He's got a problem with directions," said Ash, shaking his head. Pikachu nodded. Tomahawkman and DIngo reappeared a few minutes later, with the Marowak pulling the boy behind him.
"How was I supposed to know I'd run into a dead end?"
"I wish I was a NetNavi again. It gets really tiring to chase somebody all over the country," said Tomahawkman.
"Ten bucks say Maylu chickens out in Mt. Moon," said Lan.
"Oh yeah? Twenty bucks say you will," said Maylu. The pair glowered at each other.
"It's a pretty big change, huh? I got the first impression that Maylu had a cr-" Tomahawkman didn't get to finish his sentence, because Roll pounced on him with a howl of rage. Maylu turned her attention to helping Dingo pry the Espeon off her victim. After several minutes of struggling, Roll was hissing from her NetOp's arms.
"Let's hurry up. I've got a bet to win!" cried Lan, taking off at full speed toward the road. The others struggled to keep up, and they paused a while later. The mouth of a cave yawned before them, while the mountain itself towered above. "Scared yet?" Lan asked, smirking as he glanced at Maylu.
"Not a chance," she said. She walked inside, vanishing into the darkness. "Well? Are you coming or not?" Dingo whooped and followed, Tomahawkman on his heels. Ash and Lan glanced at each other before entering the pitch-blackness.
"This is exactly why I caught this guy!" said Dingo, tossing a poke-ball. A strange creature resembling a green and tan hedgehog with an overlong snout appeared. Instead of needles, flames flickered on its back.
"Cool!" said Ash.
'Cyndaquil protects itself by shooting flames out of its back. when tired, it sputters fitfully with incomplete combustion,' said the pokedex. Cyndaquil's fire was lighting up the cave around them, and Megaman was glad of this.
"There's no ghosts in a cave like this, right?" he asked, sounding uncertain.
"Of course not! just that," said Roll, pointing as something small and pink scuttled past them.
'Clefairy, the fairy pokemon. On nights of the full moon, groups of this pokemon come out to play. It's looks make it popular as a pet, but it is rare and difficult to find,' said Maylu's pokedex.
"A fat pink pokemon. I bet you'd want it, then," said Lan, glancing at Maylu. (the Clefairy looked highly miffed at this).
"I've already got a Clefable, thanks," she replied.
"Hey Tomahawkman, could you ask Clefairy if it's seen the superpower pokemon?" said Dingo. Tomahawkman nodded and asked the other pokemon. It started squeaking and pointing farther down the cave.
"Thanks," said Dingo.
"So, why are you trying to find it?" asked Ash, as they followed the black-clad boy and his Cyndaquil.
"Professor Birch asked me to come here and study it, since he's busy in Hoeen. Not only is he trying to cure Sakura's Rayquaza, but his son Brandon is going to challenge the Elite Four," said Dingo.
"I'm gonna beat the Elite Four," said Ash, a determined look etched into his face. Pikachu agreed.
"Shh!" Dingo hissed. Cyndaquil's flames almost went out, and they all jumped behind a large rock. Each were as silent as they could manage. Just ahead, something stirred. Whatever it was, it yawned before getting to its feet. Dingo held his breath, trying to discern its shape through the dark. Cyndaquil brightened ever so slightly. The creature moved its spiked head, and their eyes widened. it was looking right at them.