"We’ve been walking in the middle of nowhere for over a week now!"Misty exclaimed, as she, Ash, Brock, and Pikachu walked down the same little used path they had been following forwhat seemed to Mistyan eternity."I’m so sick of camping.Does anyone have even the slightest idea where we’re going?!"
Ashwhose ears were feeling the brunt of Misty’s tiradescratched his head sheepishly.
Brock continued to puzzle over the map, turning it sideways in hope of gaining some much needed clarity."Oh, now I see!I’ve been holding it wrong!"
Ash facefaulted, his feet sticking up in the air.Misty, on the other hand, seemed to tower over Brock in her rage.She smacked him in the back of the headsending him sprawlingand grabbed the map.
"I can’t believe you’ve been holding the map sideways for a week!"
"He must still be thinking about the last Joy we met."Ash said, grinning as Brock turned bright red.
Pikachu just sighed.
All but snarling, Misty bore down on the map, locating all the places of reference as she read them off.
"Here’s the town we left last.Then we went southwest through the forestthat must be here.So according to the map, this is the town we’re headed for."She growled, stabbing at the location with a fingertip.
Brock and Ash had gotten back to their feet and followed Misty’s direction to the spot on the map.
"Stone Cove," Brock read, "I’ve heard of it.They say it’s the best place to find evolutionary stones.Even a few that can’t be found anywhere else in the world!But not very many trainers bother to go there, since it’s so far out of the way, and makes their journeys that much longer."
Ash and Misty got sweatdrops, both were quite aware of the distance.
Further down the path, Team Rocket had already found Stone Cove.
Currently, they were holding Nurse Joy and a number of Chansey hostage at the gun-point, as they robbed the local Pokémon Center of it’s many evolutionary stones.
"How can you steal from a Pokémon Center?!"Joy exclaimed."Our only purpose is to help those in need!"
"Easy," James started.
"Yeah," Meowth broke in."We’re da bad guys!"
After a few hours of following Misty's direction, she and her friends could finally see civilization again, from high atop a ridge overlooking Stone Cove.
"Finally," Misty exclaimed, "we can find a real place to sleep instead of camping out!"
"And it looks like they have a Pokémon Center!"Ash said with a wide grin, as he gazed down into the little seaside town.
Laughing and smiling, the pair took off along the winding path that led down the ridge into the cove.
"Hey, wait up!"Brock called, taking off after them.
"Pikapi, pi cha!"Pikachu yelled, left in the trio’s dust.
Far below the ridge top, Team Rocket was hard at work with pick and shovel in a blind corner of the path.
"Another hole," Meowth complained, "dat trap hasn’t worked all da other times y’ve tried it!Why d’ ya think it’s gonna work now?!"
Jessie appeared behind him and whacked him with one of her paper fans."Shows how much you know!The hole ‘s just a diversion!Phase one of our brilliant scheme to catch Pikachu!"
"What sch..." Meowth started, but Jessie whacked him again before he could finish the sentence.
"Quiet!"She snapped, "I can hear them on the path above us."
Jessie leapt into the hole a moment later, narrowly avoiding Meowth’s claws.
"Hurry up, James!This hole has to be deep!"She snapped, picking up her shovel from beside him.
"I can’t," James whined, "this rocky ground ‘s to hard."
Jessie seemed to tower over him."Hurry up, or else!"
"Yes, ma’am!"James yelped, redoubling his efforts.
James had barely made it into a tree above the hole trap, when Ash and his friends came barreling down the path.Ash in the lead, Misty close behind, Brock and Pikachu bringing up the rear.
No sooner did they turn the corner, than they fell into the trap.Or at least Ash fell in, crashing all but head-first into the hole.Misty only had one foot in when the trap gave way, causing her to slide down the side of the hole, landing beside Ash.While Brock was too close to stop in time and slid in, but managed to awkwardly grab the hole’s edge at the last momentleaving him hanging precariously, his bulky backpack threatening to pull him into the hole.Pikachu, however, managed to stop in time.
All but a second later, Jessie’s voice rang through the trees."Prepare for trouble..."
James’ voice followed hers."Make it double..."
"Knock it off!"Meowth’s voice rang out, followed by a loud rustling in the trees.
After a moment, Team Rocket finally dropped to the groundMeowth headfirstlanding to eather side of the little mouse, quickly donning the head-gear of their rubber "anti-Pikachu" suits.
"Pi pika..." Pikachu groaned, attacking with a thundershock.
The suits deflected the attack, leaving Team Rocket unscathed.Jessie and James laughed triumphantly, advancing upon Pikachu.
"Hey!Stay away from Pikachu!"Brock exclaimed, struggling to pull himself out of the hole, but finding neither a firm grip nor a foot-hold.
"Pika chu!"The little mouse exclaimed, lashing out with as much electricity as her body could muster.
Team Rocket only continued to laugh as their suits deflected the attack.
Pikachu dropped to all fours, exhausted from the massive expulsion of energy.Team Rocket saw their chance, they dove upon the little mouse, capturing her in one of their "anti-Pikachu" sacks.
After a stunned moment, Jessie and James grinned from ear to ear."We caught Pikachu!"
"See ya later, losers!"Meowth added, as the trio dashed off into the forest.
"Hey, wait!"Brock yelled after them, to no avail.
"Brock!What’s going on?!"Misty called, standing in the bottom of the hole.
"Team Rocket just took off with Pikachu!"Brock exclaimed, still struggling to find a grip.
"Ash!What ‘re we gonna do?!"Misty wondered, certain that her friend would be furious by this point.
No answer came.
"Ash?"Misty asked, turning to face him.Only to realize that he was not standing behind her, as she’d assumed, but still sprawled, unconscious, in the bottom of the hole, his face contorted in pain.
"Ash!"She exclaimed, crouching and shaking the boy.
He didn’t respond.
Thinking quickly, Misty shuffled through the Pokéballs on Ash’s belt; and finding the one she sought, she readied the ball and threw it out of the hole.
"Misty calls, Bulbasaur!"
The grass Pokémon appeared at the top of the hole, taking in the scene before him.
"Bulbasaur," Misty called up to him, "Ash is hurt, use your vine whip to help us get him out of here!"
Bulbasaur regarded her for a moment, then lowered his whips.
Legalities: Pokémon © the zillion people who own the series, none of whom are LH-chan, who just borrowed their characters for a brief thrashing. =^_^=