“Thank you for the pokemon, Professor. I’ve got to get going,” Cynn murmured, heart pounding. Could the kid Alder had seen be the one who had taken Pokey?
“Uh… bye!” Alder waved to Cynn as the latter stormed out of the lab.

“All right, you win,” said Cynn irritably, picking up Quill. “How’d you get a gengar, anyway? Don’t they live on the other side of the region?”
“I found Gen badly wounded, stumbling through my garden,” the girl said. “She’d originally been really powerful, but whatever happened to her weakened her a lot. I’m trying to train her back up and make her tough again.”
“Huh,” Cynn said. “So what’s your name?”
“Jennifer,” the girl said. She then scooped up her gengar and wandered away.
“See ya!” she called over her shoulder. Cynn sat down, leaned back against a tree, and waited for Quill to wake up.

William sat in the shade of an oak tree, tending to a young shuckle.
The shuckle, whom William had named Chuck, had caught his leg in a thornbush. Though shuckles have incredibly strong shells, their exposed limbs and head are very soft and weak- Chuck had scratched himself up badly.
William daubed medicine on the shuckle's leg. He then bandaged it up, allowing the shuckle to waddle around as good as new.
"Stay away from those bushes," William reminded Chuck, who responded by making happy gurgling sounds.

William stood up and walked through backyard of the Pokemon Day Care Center. It wasn't very big, but it included terrain to suit every pokemon- a rocky section, a pond, and so on. The path through the center of it was filled with grass, and led to the small house where William's grandparents lived. "Grandma?" William called.

"Yes, Will?" William's grandmother was sitting in a rocking chair at the very end of the grassy path.
"Chuck got his leg caught in one of the thornbushes. I know the tangela like those, but Chuck's the third pokemon this week to be hurt by those bushes," William said.
"Oh, dear," she said, getting to her feet. Her name was Sunny, though William generally referred to her as Grandma, and the pokemon called her Sun.
"Sun sun sun," squealed a clefairy, upon seeing Sunny stand up. The rest of the pokemon took up the cry within moments, causing Sunny to chuckle.

Cynn and Quill wandered the lonely road for hours.
Quill had finally woken up, and was trodding along behind Cynn. Both of them were getting rather bored. They had encountered no trainers since Jennifer, and very few wild pokemon, so they were glad to see a house in the distance- hopefully, someone inside could tell them how far it was to Maroon City.
"Lost?" said a voice from behind Cynn. He spun around- leaning against a tree was a kid wearing blue jeans, a black T-shirt, and an orange jacket.
"Bored, more like," said Cynn.
"You with that gengar girl that just passed through here?" the stranger asked.
"Nope," Cynn said in an uninterested tone.
"She'd be cute if she weren't so gothy," the stranger snickered.
"And you're telling me this why?" Cynn asked, rather rudely. "Anyway, she's not gothy, she just likes ghost-type pokemon."
"Pffft. She was using a Gengar. I mean, come on, one of its signature moves involves sticking itself with a needle. Talk about emo," the stranger said.
"Gengars are badass, and you still haven't said why you're telling me about this," Cynn said, ever the soul of tact.
"Because you're the first guy I've come across today, and I've been sitting here since one in the morning. My name is Torren," the stranger introduced himself.
"I'm Cynn," said Cynn.
"Wanna have a battle?" Torren asked.
"Sure, whatever," said Cynn, coolly detached.
"Awesome!" Torren said, enthusiastically.
"Okay," said Cynn. "Let's start."
Torren jumped up, calling out, "Absol! Go!"
He hurled a pokeball at Quill. An absol burst forth, in all its glory.
"Aaaaaaaaaaabsol," it cried.
It was going to roar again, but Quill was already tackling the absol.
The absol used Scratch, drawing blood. Cynn was already weak, and the battle had just started.
Quill tackled the absol over and over, but within minutes, the absol had won.
"You can't be serious about this-" Cynn began, but he was cut off by a voice behind him. A trainer with brown hair, wearing a blue jacket, was leaning against a tree much in the way Torren had been doing minutes before.
"Hey, Torren," said the trainer. "What's up?"
"Just battling a new kid," Torren responded. "How 'bout you, William?"
"I was picking some oran berries," said William. "Anyway, the thing about all the trainers that are just starting off is that they never really stand a chance against most of the guys that are already out there and have been training for years. This poor cyndaquil is really little, he doesn't stand a chance against you."
"Nope," said Torren pridefully.
"Hey!" said Cynn irritably.
"So I'm going to take you on in a double battle, Torren. I'll help the new guy. You challenge us both."
"Wha... okay," Torren said agreeably.

Torren sent out his absol and a togepi.
Cynn, of course, used Quill. Will sent out a zangoose.
The zangoose used Slash against the absol, while Quill tackled the togepi. The togepi used Metronome, resulting in a hyper beam blasting the zangoose backward.
William's zangoose quickly retaliated, using Return. The togepi fainted almost instantly.
Quill, invigorated, used the fire spines on his back to create a smokescreen. While the absol stumbled around, he snuck behind the absol and tackled it. It was unprepared for the attack, and the combined efforts of both the zangoose and Quill knocked out the absol.

Torren stumbled backward. "Wow," he said.
"Thanks," said Cynn. "Quill looks tougher now that he's won a battle."
Quill was happily bouncing around, shooting bursts of fire into the sky.
"My grandparents run the Pokemon Daycare Center," said William. "If you want, you can stop by there to rest up a bit before you reach Maroon."
"Sure," said Cynn.
"Good job, man," said Torren, who was waking up his absol and togepi.

After saying farewell to Torren, William headed back toward the Pokemon Daycare Center. Cynn went with him- it wasn't like he had anything better to do.

To be continued in part three of "The Road to Maroon!"