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| “There! All better.”
Misty had just finished bandaging Ash’s wound. It was a little tricky to get the bandage to stay, especially since she could not wrap it around his head, but with some surgical tape and gauze, she finally made a make-shift tourniquet. With her last little tug, she heard Ash moan in front of her.
Misty: “Oh Ash! Are you ok? I didn’t hurt you did I?”
Ash: [gently feeling his new bandage] “Nah, it just stung a little. It’s starting to feel better already.”
Ash turned around from his seat on the floor and grinned up at her. Misty knew very well that Ash’s head was still hurting, and he gave it all away. He was smiling with his lips, but his eyes had that determined, stubborn gaze about them that clearly said, ‘This is really hard but I am going to do it anyway and I’m going to beat it’. She smiled back in admiration of the boy’s strength and willingness to put his feelings aside to make her not feel that she had done anything to hurt him.
Misty: ~What a guy…~
Ash: “Yoo-hoo. Earth to Misty. Hey, are you there?”
Misty: [snapping out of her reverie] “Oh yeah! Right! C’mon Ash, we need to get going. [reaching down for him after standing] Give me your hand.”
Ash obediently gave her his hand. He was already starting to get up when…
Misty: “One, two, THREE [pulling his arm up quickly upward]…
Ash was pulled up so quickly that he came up from the floor and got on his feet, but unfortunately kept going. He landed right into the unsuspecting Misty’s arms. She caught him, with his head in a very inappropriate place.
Ash: “Thanks Misty. [looking up, meeting Misty’s chest] Ah! [bolting up-right]”
Misty: [cheeks on fire from blushing so hard] “…”
Ash: [blushing almost as red] “Uh, I, uh, I’m so sorry, I, uh…”
Misty: “Um, it’s ok. Um, well, uh, let’s go! What are we waiting for? [almost starting out, but forgetting something] Oh yeah, I forgot about this.”
Ash: [taking the folded up piece of paper from her hands] “What’s this thing?”
Misty: “I don’t know. I couldn’t make it out in this dark room. I found right beside the first-aid box though. Hold onto it. Who knows, it may be instructions on how to turn the light on.”
Ash chuckled at her small attempt at humor to lighten the mood. Misty and Ash started walking down the small cell room toward the door that led to the next part of the cell. Each was still thinking of that last embarrassing moment as Misty was unlocking the door to the next room. Misty went in first, trying to get a good look at the room before she jumped right into something. In a place like this, you never know what could happen. Unfortunately, she didn’t find a flashlight mixed in with the other commodities in the small cabinet, so looking into this room was going to take some work. She was just about to walk in when…
“Oh excuse me Miss, but my you are beautiful. What is such a pretty little lady like yourself doing in such a terrible place like this when you could be out on a date with me. [grabbing her hands] Together, we could destroy Team Rocket and make the world a beautiful place!”
Misty: “What the?”
Ash had just started to come into the room when he saw a mysterious guy lurking in the shadows right in front of Misty. He was going to warn her, but then he noticed that the shadow man was holding her hands and speaking to her already. The green monster of jealousy rose within him and his protective nature came through as he started to take quick steps forward to teach this guy a lesson.
~ No one touches my girl and gets away with it! ~
Meanwhile, the dude was still talking to Misty.
“My, what beautiful hands you have. I can’t really see them or your face, but I know you must be beautiful anyway because you met me and I just draw in beautiful women. They don’t call me Brock the Rock for nothing, heh heh.”
Misty: [majorly confused and embarrassed] “Wha?”
Ash was rapidly approaching. Just within reach of Misty, Ash called out to her. “Don’t worry Misty, I’ll get this creep off your back. [to the guy] I’ll teach you to hit on her!”
[very slooooooooooooooooow moooootttttion…]
Misty: “Ash, wait. Don’t hit him, it’s…”
Without even being able to see (is it just one of those unexplainable love phenomena?), he pulled his arm back and swung with full power into Brock’s stomach, causing him to real back on the floor.
Brock: [lying on the floor in pain] “Uhhh…”
Ash: “That’ll teach you, you big, perverted jerk. [turning to Misty with concern] Are you ok?”
Misty: “Oh I’m fine, but I don’t think Brock is.”
Ash: [looking around] “Why? Where is Brock? [calling out] BROCK!”
Misty: “You just knocked him out, Ash.”
Misty: “He is the ‘big, perverted jerk’ that you just mauled.”
Ash: “Oh man! That was Brock. [looking down at the injured Brock w/ hand behind head, sheepishly] Hehe, sorry Brock.”
Brock: [sitting up, holding stomach] “It’s ok Ash. If I had known that was Misty, I never would have messed with her. Her TR outfit threw me off. I mean for one thing, I knew you were protective of her but geeze man…And anyway, if I knew it wasn’t a beautiful girl then I wouldn’t have bothered her.”
Misty: “See Ash? Everything’s just…wait! What do you mean if you knew it wasn’t a beautiful girl?! Why you…”
Poor Brock. He received another blow to the stomach.
Ash: “Hey man, [giving hand to Brock] let me help you up.”
Brock: “Th, thanks…uhhh.”
Brock was shaking out his head when Misty spoke. “So, I thought there were two more cells in the cell room. Where’s the other one?”
The trio looked around the room. There was indeed only one cell, the door having been left unlocked for Brock because the entire room was a dead end and had been locked from the outside. It seemed like there had been another cell on the right, across from Brock’s on the left, but the bars had been moved to another location.
Brock: “It does look like there should be another one there, doesn’t it?”
Misty: “Well, it’s not just that, but when I was speaking to the secretary at the front desk, she mentioned that they had a six-cell detention center here. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve only seen five.”
Brock: “No, your right. There are only five here.”
Ash: [looking up after thinking for a moment] “Say, Misty. How exactly did you get in here anyway without getting caught?”
Misty: “Well, I was walking up the trail in the woods when I got to this big clearing. Of course, I had no idea where to go from there, but when I took a step forward I noticed that I hit something. I reached down and picked it up, and it turned out to be a small creek rock. In fact, there was a small trail of them leading from the trail in the woods to the cave entrance.”
Ash: “All thanks to Pikachu.”
Misty: “Really? Wow, what a smart little guy. Anyway, I was about to go in when I heard voices, so I hid and saw Butch and Cassidy come outside. When they left, I went in because I knew it was the entrance to Team Rocket. I found a lost ID card, went inside, and faked being a trainee. Is that great or what?”
Ash: [smiling mischievously] “Either you’re really smart, or Team Rocket is really stupid.”
Misty: [fist waiting in the air] “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”
Brock: “That’s enough you guys! We need to…hey! What was that?”
Misty: “What was what, Brock?”
Brock: “I thought I heard…there! There it is again.”
Ash: “I don’t hear any…*click, click, click* oh crap…”
The three crowded around the door from the inside of Brock’s cell as they listened to this new, strange noise. At first, there was a soft click, as if someone were walking in the near distance, but the clicks were steadily getting louder. Louder. Louder.
Misty: “Oh no.”
Ash: “What is it Misty?”
Misty: “That’s the same sound I heard when…”
Brock: “Look, they’re coming in.”
Misty: “When I opened the door.”
Just then, two Rockets walked in the hallway door into the cell room. They moved around the front area, masked in the shadows so they were barely visible to Ash, Misty, and Brock, who all looked out their door’s window to catch a glance of the Rockets.
Ash: [with a sick feeling in his stomach] “I hope they don’t come down here.”
The two Rockets seemed to be looking for something. Millions of thoughts were running through Misty’s head at that moment. Did they notice the cabinet door was open and are going to check it out? Are they going to find that several supplies are gone? Are they going to see that Ash is gone?
All of them held their breath. They were acutely aware of the dangerous situation they were in. Tentatively, they peered around the sides of the window to continue to watch from inside the cell. After five, excruciatingly long minutes, the Rocket personnel began to head for the front door again.
TR 1: “Did you find anything out of place?”
TR 2: “No, but I thought since Linda said that the trainee was coming down this way, I should take a look. [going out the door] You know those good-for-nothing trainees. They’re so stupid that if you put their own finger in front of their face, they would bite it not knowing it was theirs.
TR 1: “Heh heh! Good one!”
Misty: “What!” [clamping hand over mouth, whispering] “Oops…”
The TR personnel stopped dead in their tracks, pivoting on their feet and turning right back into the cell detention center before the last one out had fully closed the door.
Brock: [whispering] “Misty! What did you do?!”
Misty: [whispering hastly] “It was an accident. I’m sorry. [turning to Ash, with tears in her eyes] I’m so sorry.”
Ash: [holding Misty’s head against his shoulder] “It’s ok. Shhhh. We’ll get out of here.”
Time was running out for our three heroes as the footsteps turned down the cell corridor, traveling ever closer to the hiding teens with each step. They had to think of something and fast, but with no other doors leading out of the dead-end cell but the one that was blocked by the nearing Rockets, there was little hope to be found. In utter frustration, one of the trio did the only thing he could think to do…
Brock: [holding his backpack in front of him] “Goodbye world. Goodbye, Nurse Joy. I throw this backpack to symbolize the wonderful love that will be thrown away when we die.”
Misty whimpered, and Ash held her tighter.
Ash: [frustrated and annoyed] “Brock! Stop that, you’re scaring Misty. [turning to Misty] It’s ok. We’ll make it.”
Brock: [throwing his backpack up into the air] “Goodbye, my love!”
* Clunk! *
As soon as the backpack was tossed into the air, it collided with the ceiling, making an unusual clinking sound right before it came sailing back down, right into Brock’s head.
Brock: [rubbing his aching skull] “Wow. This just isn’t my day.”
Misty: [looking up] “What was that sound?”
Ash: “Hey Brock. Can I stand on your back so I can reach the ceiling and see what it is?”
Brock: “Sure. Why not? All of the other vital areas of my body have been injured in the last five minutes. Why not my spinal cord?”
The Rockets had stopped walking toward the cell for a moment. Misty went over to the small window in their cell door, only to see the Rockets checking the other cells. Obviously an inspection before they kept walking straight to here where the group would be caught.
Misty: “Hurry guys. We don’t have much time.”
Ash swiftly climbed up onto Brock’s back as Brock got down on the floor, hands and knees on the ground in a crawling position. Ash felt around the ceiling above and felt it: a latch. He began to pull, tugging with all of the strength in his body so that he could open the compartment, whatever it may be. Maybe it would open to give them weapons to fight the Rockets with.
Misty glanced back out the window at the TR members. They silently conversed with each other and finally started their way once again to the back room, this time only seconds away.
Misty: [whispering frantically] “Hurry! They’re coming!”
At that moment, just as Ash felt he had no power left, the small door flew open to reveal a very dimly lit secret passage. Under normal circumstances it would have been too dark to see, but after becoming accustomed to the extreme darkness in the cell, the three could see, at least the bare minimum.
This was it. The teens had to make their decision now, a split-second decision that required all of their careful thoughts but at the same time had to be made immediately. Misty was the first to react.
Misty: [walking over to Ash, whispering] “Ash, you climb up first. I have a feeling that this is the only way out.”
Ash: “What about you? You should go first.”
Misty: “No. I’m going to stay here.”
Ash: “What?! Stay here? You’ll be caught by those Rockets for sure!”
Misty: “Ash, keep your voice down. I have to stay here.”
Misty: “Don’t you remember? I am a “Rocket Trainee”. I need to be here to cover for you guys.”
Ash: [with concern and determination] “Misty, I can’t leave you here. I…”
He was cut off my Misty quickly lifting her finger to his mouth to quiet him. She smiled, not knowing whether he could see her face or not.
Misty: “I’ll be okay. If I don’t do this, we’ll all be caught anyway.”
At that moment, keys began to jangle outside of the door.
Misty: [getting frantic] “You have to go now. [starting to turn toward the door, but turning back to Ash] Be careful. I don’t want to see you get hurt again.”
With that, Misty gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. Not exactly like the intense moment they had had earlier, but it was enough reassurance for Ash. Then she reached in her pocket and pulled something out.
Misty: “Here Ash, take this. [handing him a card] I’ve already had to use this once. You may need it along the way.”
Ash looked down to see the Team Rocket ID card that Misty had found earlier. “But Misty, if they catch you without this, they’ll know for sure that you’re not a Rocket.”
Misty: “They may find out anyway Ash.”
Ash: “But Misty…”
Misty: “Ash! [looking firmly, yet pleadingly into his eyes. Speaking softly] Please, just take it.”
Ash: [quietly] “Ok.” He quickly grabbed her hands and squeezed them tight.
Keys began to fumble around in the door lock.
Brock: “Guys. I hate to interrupt your little love confession, but Ash, if we don’t go we’re going to be tomorrow’s target practice victims.”
Ash: “Right. Ok Brock, give me a leg up.”
Brock kneeled on the floor and cupped his hands in front of him away from his body. Ash readied himself, putting one foot in Brock’s hands and using them to propel himself up into the secret space above. He then reached his hand down, grabbing Brock’s hand and pulling him up as well. Ash was just about to call out to Misty when the cell door opened. At the same moment, Brock swiftly shut the door to the passage.
Ash: [worriedly] “What are you doing Brock? How are we supposed to talk to Misty and see if she’s ok?”
Brock: [putting a hand on Ash’s shoulder] “Ash, she can take care of herself. She did save our sorry butts, didn’t she?”
Ash smiled vaguely. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. [shaking his head] Now we need to go get out pokemon.”
Brock looked around their new surroundings, surprised at the small specs of light he saw coming from microscopic openings in the ceiling passage’s floor.
Brock: “Hey, this isn’t a secret passage. These are the air shafts. We can use them to get to any room in this place
Ash: “Yeah, but it would sure help if we had a map.”
Brock: “Man, we always run into some kind of problem. How are we gonna get out of this one?”
Ash: “Hmm…hey, what’s this?”
Ash looked down at the floor of the air shafts only to see the paper that Misty had given him earlier. It must have fallen out of his back pocket when he climbed up. With a few specs of light peering in from a nearby hole, Ash crawled over to the light and opened the paper. All he could do was gasp.
Brock: “What is it? More bad news?”
Ash: [looking up at Brock with perplexed happiness] “Speak of the devil.”
Brock: “What are you talking about?”
Ash: “Misty found this old thing when she got a first-aid kit out for me. She told me to hold on to it just in case it told us how to turn on the lights.”
Ash: [holding it up so Brock could see] “This paper doesn’t tell us how to turn on the lights, but it does tell us how to get around this place.”
Brock: [looking closer, then smiling] “Wouldn’t you know. A map, with all the main rooms labeled too. Misty really is our saving grace today.”
Ash: “That’s for sure. [to himself] She sure is.”