“Artie, and Rich?” Hakel asked. “Are you people that we should know?”
“No, damn it,” Artie said, losing his composure for a second. “We're just a few Trainers that have come to challenge you!”
“Challenge us?” Machine asked. “Did you hear about us or something?”
“Actually, yes, Machine.” Rich responded, smiling at him. “We have heard all three of you, including Hakel and Kusa. You three have helped us gain the courage to become Pokemon Trainers. For that, we thank you.” Artie and Rich bowed to them, as Machine shrugged releasing his Ninetales from its Pokeball.
“Well, even though we're flattered by your comments, you're here for a Pokemon Battle, right?” Machine asked, as Rich stepped up to him. “Exactly, so enough with the common shit and let's go on with the shit that involves me beating your ass.”
“You are as confident as they you are, aren't you?” Rich asked, chuckling about it a bit. “Well, it's true you should. But can face against... this Pokemon?” Rich tossed his Pokeball into the air, releasing a Pikachu from it. However, upon seeing it, Machine knew something was wrong with it.
“What the hell is that? Is it even a Pikachu?” Kusa asked, from the sidelines.
The Pikachu, by Machine, Hakel, and Kusa's reaction, was much different from any one they had ever seen beforehand. Machine stared at Rich's Pikachu and saw that it was colored purple with its cheeks being colored light blue. It was also covered in a dark, purple aura but only Machine could see that part of it.
“Oh yeah, it is but... it's a special TYPE of Pikachu. I'm not going to reveal its name to you now but, you'll learn soon.” Rich said as Machine shrugged, not understanding why this Pokemon seemed this way. “Now, are we going to fight or not?”
“Of course! But, don't cry when you lose against me!” Machine shouted as Ninetales got ready to fight. The strange Pikachu also stood at the ready, looking stronger than most other Pikachu that they had seen. When it charged up its cheeks, blue lightning came out of them instead of its normal, traditional yellow. “Ninetales, let's do this! Quick Attack, now!”
“Pikachu, Quick Attack as well!” Rich shouted, as Pikachu and Ninetales disappeared at the same speed, surprising Machine once again. They clashed throughout the dirt road of Celadon City, smashing against one another and then disappearing again. Finally, when the two had reappeared, Ninetales was triumphant over Pikachu, knocking it down. However, it got back up, and sent a small volt of electricity that encompassed its body. Seconds later, Machine was astounded so see that Pikachu looked to be back at full strength.
“How the hell?” Machine asked looking at it as his eyes turned a crimson color. He could the dark colored Pikachu's stats and its health was back at normal. He shook his head after a short, sharp pain inside of it. “Pretty impressive, Rich. Your Pikachu... restored its health back to normal using its electricity to recharge it.”
“Well, that's not all we've got at our disposal! Pikachu, use your Shadow Blitz!” Rich shouted, as Pikachu began charging up its energy. It began to charging at Ninetales once it was done with its charging, covering itself in a dark, purple aura.
“Ninetales, Flamethrower! Go!” Machine ordered as Ninetales sent out a very large and blazing flame that ran straight from her mouth, smashing into Pikachu. It was so powerful that Pikachu was sent rolling back into Rich, throwing them both away from Ninetales. When Rich got back up, his Pikachu was lying in his hands, defeated.
“No! Pikachu!” Rich shouted to his unconscious Pikachu that was lying in his lap. He called it back to its Pokeball and said, “Okay, I'm done for now, Artie. Your turn.”
“Me too. I'm done for the moment.” Machine said calling back his Ninetales. “Kusa, you wanna take a shot at fighting this other guy?”
“Sure, Machine. I'll do my best to defeat him quickly like you did with that other guy.” Kusa said, as Machine smiled back at her.
“You better give it all you got.” Machine said as Hakel smiled over at Kusa.
“Alright, my turn then.” Artie said, stepping up to Kusa, facing each other in tension. He took out his Pokeball first and threw it up into the air shouting, “Come out, Clefairy!”
“Clefairy?” Hakel asked, noticing how the Clefairy looked.
“Yeah, I got it from this man in Vermillion City. I think his name was... Mr. Chairman?” Artie asked as Machine, Hakel, and Kusa gasped in surprise. “What's wrong? Do you guys know this Clefairy?”
Hakel thought about it for a second and then said, “No... No, I don't. I'm just surprised that someone like you would have a Clefairy. It may be powerful, I don't know yet.” Machine looked over to him confused, as Hakel grew a smile on his face. Machine then sighed and looked back at the battle, grinning.
“Oh, you bet it is!” Artie said, as Clefairy nodded at Kusa. “Come on, Kusa! I want to see what you have in store for me!”
“Alright, you asked for it! Go,” Kusa started to say as she threw her Pokeball up into the air. “Cubone!” Kusa's Cubone came out of its signature white light, spinning its boomerang in its hands.
“Perfect choice! Something for my Clefairy to beat on!” Artie said, confidently judging his opponents. “Clefairy, go!”
“That's what you think, kid! Cubone, attack!” Kusa shouted as Clefairy and Cubone charged at one another about to clash. However, just as they were about to, an explosion so large that it actually blew back everyone there. They crashed into a few buildings, knocking a small hole through each one of them. The people in the houses looked confused at the random kids flying through their household's but then again, the Trainers were just confused as they were. What the hell could have made that explosion? Their answer was given shortly afterward.
Team Rocket grunts, of all shapes, sizes, and stupidity came bursting out of the explosion nearby the Celadon Apartments. They all looked around and quickly dashed towards their next place of business, the Celadon Game Corner. They all headed into the game place and once everything seemed to be back to normality, Machine, Hakel, and Kusa converged back on the scene. Artie and Rich walked slowly out of the rumble and over to the group who was speaking about Team Rocket's random explosion.
“It's obvious what they were looking for, guys.” Machine commented, loud enough for only them to hear. “I don't what they're problem is but they really don't know how to do anything correctly. They ran out of here without checking the city and led us straight to where they all converge, the Celadon Game Corner.”
“Do you think that they're actually hiding their main base somewhere in that Game Corner?” Hakel asked.
“It's a possibility.” Kusa said. “Did any of hear anything about their Hideout from any of the others? Like Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow were supposed to be here checking things out right? Do you think they found anything?”
“No but that's all the more reason for us to check out the Game Corner.” Machine said, as Hakel and Kusa nodded and turned to the Celadon Game Corner. “If they are trapped in there, we have to get into that place and rescue them.”
“You're right, Machine. Let's go. It's time to take these bastards down a peg.” Hakel said, adjusting the looseness of his fingerless gloves. “We'll make Professor Oak and Professor Pine with what we're about to do!” As Machine, Hakel, and Kusa started to leave, Artie tapped Machine on the shoulder.
“Huh? Artie, Rich, what do you two want?” Machine asked.
“We want to come with you.” Artie said as Rich nodded. “We have a grudge to settle with these bastards as they killed both my parents and Rich's. We would also love to work with the Trainers we were about to lose to anyway...”
“True,” Rich said, feeling a bit disappointed. “Besides, you guys said you have to save your friends! We have to at least help you with that!”
“You know, Machine, they could be some help to us.” Kusa said, as Machine thought about it for a second. “Who knows what will happen before we find Red and the others? They could seriously back us up.”
“She may have a point there, Machine. They have a lot of potential and could seriously save our asses in there if they back us up.” Hakel commented, reassuring what Kusa had said.
Machine walked up to Artie and took his hand saying, “Artie, Rich... WE would love for you two to help us out with this!” Machine and Artie shook hands, confirming the deal for both of them to help defeat Team Rocket here as well. “Now, let's go!” Machine released his hand and turned toward the Celadon Game Corner, entering it after one another.
Once they were in, they were amazed by the inside of it all. The inside of it was large, with flashing lights, that washed the five heroes in its colorful lights. There were slot machines all around them and people stared into them, looking dazed at the amount of money they were either losing or winning. Machine laughed at seeing the people happy to lose so much money on all of their prizes. There were many seats in the upper left corner of the casino and all over the walls, they had plastered colorful pictures of Pokemon like Magikarp, Slowpoke, and Dratini. On the far middle right of the casino, there was an open space with a conveniently made poster depicting a picture of a beautiful girl that reminded Machine of Kris.
When they entered, a large poster above that small one read in giant, red letters, “The Playground for Everyone”. As Machine and the others stepped into the aisle with the slot machines, they noticed that behind the slot machines was the dance floor where a DJ with cool shades and laid attitude, scratched records and played remixes of different songs like one of Machine's favorites, “Born to be a Winner”. It all seemed so time consuming but Machine told himself that they would return here, with or without Hakel and Kusa.
As they made their way over to the seats, they noticed that someone was guarding the poster below the gigantic sign. Rich, while the rest of them went to buy a drink over by the sales counter where they were selling snacks and drinks to people, traveled over to the person watching over the sign. They hadn't noticed but, ever since they left Pallet Town, they hadn't had much to eat.
Upon arriving where the person had been standing, he noticed it was a Team Rocket Grunt. He went over to the grunt and said, “Hey, sir, why are you guarding that poster behind you?”
“None of your business.” The Grunt said, as he knocked Rich to the ground with a simple push. “Maybe you should leave before things get ugly or of course, you could take me on.”
“Please,” Rich said, taking out one of his Pokeball. “Things got ugly as soon as I saw you! And hell yeah, I want to take you on! Go, Flareon!” Rich released his Flareon in front of him, and it was colored the same dark purple aura as Pikachu was and it was covered in the same aura. Before the grunt could even do anything, Rich pointed at him, shouting, “Flareon, use Shadow Fire!” Flareon opened up its mouth and sent a giant blast of purple flame at the Grunt, burning him intensely. While he was burning up, Rich called back Flareon and went over to the smaller poster. He ripped it off revealing a switch hidden under the poster. “What the hell?!” He pressed the button as the Grunt fell unconscious as the flame finally went away. As he pressed the button, Rich turned to his left and saw that an entire staircase had opened into another section of the building.
“Rich!” Artie shouted as they all ran over to him seeing that staircase led into another, darker section of the building. “What is that?”
“I think, that's our ticket into the Team Rocket HQ.” Rich said, as Machine, Hakel, Kusa, and Artie looked at him and smiled. They headed into the Rocket Hideout and instantly, they saw a Team Rocket Grunt traveling past them, holding a few important papers. They ducked behind a few tall boxes, hiding from him as he walked past.
When they saw the coast was clear, Machine brought everybody together as a group. “Okay, I can already see this isn't going to work as a large group. So, we have to split up into two groups. Hakel, you take Artie, and Rich with you and check down that left corridor. Kusa and I will travel together and we'll check down the right corridor. Got it?” They all nodded him and rushed off together right after wishing each other good luck. Even though, Hakel and Kusa wanted to be together in this operation, they both thought that getting anyway from one another would do them good as well.
Machine and Kusa dashed down the right corridor and ducked behind another object, seeing two more Grunts walking down from what looked like an elevator. Machine and Kusa quickly jumped into it and took the elevator down to the bottom floor meaning that they were far into the earth now. Kusa and Machine jumped out of it and ducked behind a tall rock on the far left of the room. They looked in on something that a few scientists were working on. What Machine and Kusa saw, enraged them.
Inside a tall tank, Yellow was in a tank, being shocked and examined and dissected like she was some test subject. Machine tried to wonder why they want Yellow as their test subject and then the thought hit on his head like a ton of bricks. Yellow had special, Pokemon and Human healing powers that allowed to heal any wound and make it seem like it had never been in there in the first place! Not to mention that Yellow was a telepathic and could lift things through the air with her mind.
“Machine, is that Yellow?” Kusa whispered to him as he nodded, looking angrily at the Team Rocket Scientists doing this to Yellow. Machine glared at them, barely paying attention to what Kusa was going to say. So, she sighed and said, “Alright, Machine, it looks like you're really angry at what they're doing to Yellow... You can go rescue her, if you tell me one thing.” Machine heard that so he stayed where they were before jumping into battle.
“What is it, Kusa?” Machine asked, as Kusa smiled at him.
“Are... you in love... with Yellow?” Kusa asked, shocking him a little bit.
“Honestly...” Machine thought about what they had gone through together. Machine was definitely thinking of Yellow a lot. He hadn't realized it before but ever since he met Yellow, Machine's life had gotten a slightly better by each passing day. He came to adore her bubbly personality and the fact she had loved him from the start, and even after he had been revealed to be a monster in others eyes, she had even said with total confidence that she had loved him, despite the fact that his friends appreciated the honesty and the fact that they could stick with him through the end.
Not many of that effected Machine besides Yellow's words. She was a little bit of his inspiration as well. Upon entering and leaving Celadon Gym, the one thought on his mind was: If I survive this, would I be able to see Yellow again? That's why he and his Pokemon were so much more in tune in that battle, with Machine only losing two of his five Pokemon.
The fact was confusing, considering she was a random girl that had loved Machine on the spot, even before he knew anything about her. Her persistence was one thing that caught him. He usually hated that in a girl but seeing her try and try time and time again made him admire much about her. In a way, his feelings were bittersweet though.
He did feel great love and admiration for Yellow, but she may have been willingly to one thing for him that he couldn't return: Life. The ultimate test of endurance flashed into his mind. If he were to hop into this fight to save Yellow, sure, he could save her, by taking down those two scientists easily but what if there were more guys out there waiting for him? The conclusion to this insanely, should-be obvious question was decided the moment, Machine finished his thought to Kusa's question.
“Well?” Kusa asked as Machine stood up with his eyes closed.
“Kusa, there's only one thing I more than being a Pokemon Trainer.” Machine said, beginning to admit his feelings for her. “And that's Yellow. I would give my life for her, no questions. Love? Yeah, that word is an understatement. Love is what drives you to do insanely off the wall things like letting your lover die for you because you weren't strong enough to help them. But I'm different. I'll save Yellow and kill anyone who stands in my way! And I die for her, so what? She'll still be alive to live her own life!”
“That's the response I was looking for!” Kusa said, patting him on the back. “Let's do this, alright?” Machine shouted as he threw his Pokeball up into the air. Kusa did the same as she called out, “Ivysaur!”
“Charizard!” Machine shouted, as they both threw their arms up at the same time.
“ATTACK!” They both commanded as Charizard and Ivysaur quickly disposed of both of the scientists. A bit of blood splattered on the walls beside the Pokemon as Machine looked at Yellow who had her eyes open. In Machine's brain, he heard her call out his name, at least twice.
“CRIMSON! CRIMSON, PLEASE SAVE ME!” Yellow's voice boomed in his head a few more times until Machine was finally ready to rescue his girl.
“Charizard, get Yellow out of there! Use Slash!” Machine shouted as Charizard pulled out its claws and tore through solid glass, catching Yellow's body as it fell out of the tank. Charizard flew back over Machine and set Yellow in his arms as Kusa walked over to the two Pokemon telling them to turn around and let them have a few moments together. “Yellow! Yellow, are you alright?”
Yellow slowly opened her eyes because it seemed she was only able to keep her eyes open for that moment. She looked up at him as she saw that Machine's eyes were watering. “Crimson... Are... are you crying?”
Machine embraced Yellow and whispered through his tears saying, “No reason to... lie about that shit... Of course, I'm crying, for you, of course.”
“For me?” Yellow asked as Machine laid her head back on his lap. “Why... why for me?”
“Because...” Machine said, as he looked up at Kusa. Kusa gave him a thumbs up as he looked back at Yellow who was still very tired but able to keep her eyes open for a few more moments. “I... love you, Yellow...” Machine finally admitted as Yellow smiled and they shared a hug once more. As Yellow fell unconscious once more, she whispered something in his ears that made his entire blush bright red. When he was sure Yellow was unconscious, he slung her body over his back, similar to the way she rode on his back in Mt. Moon.
“Excuse, sorry to interrupt you lovebirds but... I think we have company.” Kusa said as Machine ran up to her next to his Charizard. As they tried to sense what was coming, a large projectile came falling from the ceiling that unleashed a gigantic light across the room's circumference. Machine, Kusa, the unconscious Yellow, and their Pokemon were flung backwards, smashing their backs against the wall behind them. Machine and Kusa soon fell unconscious, along with their Pokemon.
Hakel closed his Pokenav and said to Artie and Rich, “Damn it, sorry guys, they're not answering.”
“Do they normally answer when you call them?” Artie asked.
“Yes but something always happens to them when I call them... This doesn't look good guys, we might want to try and see what's going on there end.” Hakel said, as he started to turn around but three people were already standing there. As they started to scream, the boy covered their mouths quieting them.
“Shutup, you dimwit.” Blue said, as he pushed the three of them backwards. Red and Green were also standing with Blue, as they ducked behind a counter. Behind the other side of the counter, there were Team Rocket Grunts galore.
“Blue, Red, Green, what the hell are you doing here?” Hakel asked.
“We were trying to escape but no matter what we do, we can't find Yellow. Yellow was captured along with Green but Green managed to escape. Now, unless we can find her, we can't leave.” Red explained as Blue and Green nodded.
“Well, where is she?” Hakel asked quietly.
“We don't know, dumb ass or we'd tell you.” Green said, as Hakel shrugged. “Anyway, who are your new friends?”
“Oh these guys?” Hakel asked, pointing to Artie and Rich. “Their name's are Artie and Rich. They became Pokemon Trainers because of all of us, including you guys. Artie, Rich, these are a few of the other Pokemon Trainers that inspired you two to become part of the fold.”
“Nice to meet you, guys.” Artie and Rich said, shaking hands with Blue, Green, and Red who were just as happy to have a few Trainers to help out the cause. “We came down with Hakel to find you guys but now we've lost Machine and Kusa too.”
“Oh shit, are you serious?” Blue asked, as Hakel nodded. “They aren't answering their Pokenav's... again?”
“Yeah, but you know they ALWAYS answer their Pokenav's. SOMETHING must have happened to them.” Hakel said as Blue and the others agreed. “But what I can't figure out is... what?”
“Uh... I think we just found our answer...” Red said, as he pointed over the counter. Machine, Kusa, and surprisingly, Yellow were lying in a heap with one another along with Charizard and Ivysaur. They all had been beaten up pretty badly because their clothes was cut up and they had bruises all over their bodies.
“How do we leave for like... two minutes and they get caught up in that shit?” Hakel asked, sighing at the fact that when Machine is with someone, he always gets them caught, somehow or someway.
“Damn, they got Machine and Kusa!” Rich said, surprised. “So, what do we next?”
“We...” Green started to say as she took out a Pokeball and made it grow in size. “Fight.” Green was the first one to charge out as everyone shrugged and took out their Pokeball's as well. They dashed at all the Team Rocket Grunts, ready to fight them down at once. It was going to be all or nothing, in this next battle with Team Rocket.
“We're going to take you down, Team Rocket! I CHOOSE YOU!”