Hey welcome back to another week of Jana! The story's off to a bit of a slow start, but most games start the same way so don't let that put you off. It gets more exciting as it goes! I realize that last chapter, I was super sparce on the details, so for future reference, Jana's design is heavily influenced by that of Kris, the player character in Crystal. There's also a handy new story cover now, so I hope you enjoy that! Without further ado, it's time for chapter 2!
Jana knew something was off the second she stepped foot into Azalea Town. The people were frazzled and giving off an air of panic. She couldn't ask anyone what was wrong because everyone seemed detached and nobody was paying much attention to anybody else. She finally got her answers when she found the house of the local celebrity, Kurt. She found the old man sitting on his front porch, watching the day unfold. Jana saw that he was keeping a level head, unlike everyone else, so she asked him what was wrong.
"Are you new to Azalea?" Kurt asked. After she nodded in response, he answered, "look around. Normally, you'd be seeing groups of Slowpoke lazing about. Here in Azalea, we are all very in tune with nature, so the Slowpoke and humans coexist peacefully. Some time last night, the Slowpoke all disappeared, and nobody has any explanation."
"I see," Jana said. "Any idea what might have happened?"
"I think something might have happened in the Slowpoke Well. That's where they make their residence," Kurt explained. "I was just about to head over and check it out. Would you like to come with me?"
"Sure," Jana said.
"Good." Kurt stood up and approached her. "By the way, my name's Kurt. Yours?" He held out his hand as he said this.
"I'm Jana," Jana said as she shook it.
"Nice to meet you. Now let's go check on those Slowpoke."
Kurt showed Jana to the Slowpoke Well, which was the big hole in the ground she skipped on her way into town. They looked down it to see a ladder stretching into the dark well. "Nobody else lives in the Slowpoke Well, right?" Jana asked.
"No, why would you ask?" Kurt answered.
"I've had enough crazy people living in dark places for one journey, thanks."
"Um, alright then. After you?"
"Age before beauty," Jana said, gesturing for him to go down the ladder first.
"I believe the saying is 'brains before beauty,'" Kurt said.
"Same thing, you go first."
Kurt shrugged. "Fine then. I'll go." As he got on the ladder, he prepared for his descent by giving Jana a warning. "Be careful on your way down. The ladder's slippe—whoa!" Before he could finish, he slipped off the ladder and tumbled down the hole into the darkness.
"Kurt!" Jana yelled. She heard the sound of a heavy body hitting the ground and quickly followed him down, careful not to fall. She found him curled up in a ball and clutching his ankle. "Kurt, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," the old man groaned. "I'm just not as spry as I used to be. Ouch...Jana, when I fell, I heard someone yell from inside the well. Someone must be hurting the Slowpoke. Find out who's doing it and whup their ass, okay?"
Jana nodded. "You got it, Then I'll come back and help you out, got it?"
"Okay," Kurt groaned.
"Nobody hurts Pokémon and gets away with it," Jana grumbled as she made her way into the well. As she walked, she found several Slowpoke, shivering on the cold, wet ground. The first three she encountered didn't look like the Slowpoke she remembered seeing on TV, but she couldn't quite figure out why not. When she found the fourth, normal-looking Slowpoke, she realized what was wrong. The first three she passed were missing their tails. "Oh, that is so wrong!" Jana yelled. "I'm coming to get you, whoever you are!" Her continued yelling broke any traces of the element of surprise she had going for her, but she was so angry that she didn't care. A few moments of walking later, she came across a room lit by floodlights in the corners, powered by generators that were surrounded by men dressed in all black except for the dark red letters plastered on their chests. "Who are you and what are you doing to the Slowpoke?" Jana demanded of no one in particular.
A man holding a wicked looking knife stood from his perch atop one of the generators. "So you're the one who was making all that noise," he said. He pushed his hat up so Jana could see the anger in his eyes. "Who are you?" He asked.
Undeterred, Jana held her ground. "I asked first, now who are you and what are you doing here?"
Seeing that she wasn't going to cooperate, the man sighed. "Fine, if you insist." He took off his hat and ran his fingers through his bright blue hair. When he put his hat back on, he struck a stupid looking pose. "We are Team Rocket! I'm the admin in charge of this operation, Proton. We're cutting off these Slowpoke tails so we can sell them for big bucks. And you are?"
Jana gasped. "You're cutting off these poor Pokémon's tails for money? I'm not letting you get away with that." She grabbed her Pokéball from her belt. "I'm Jana and I'm the one who's gonna stop this operation in its tracks! Go, Totodile!" She threw her ball and Totodile came dancing out excitedly.
Proton smirked. "I'd like to see you try." He grabbed his own ball and tossed it in front of him, where it opened to reveal a Zubat.
Jana scoffed. "Oh man, a Zubat. Whatever will I do?" She asked sarcastically. "Totodile, hit it with with a Water Gun." Totodile obliged and soaked the bat Pokémon with water before Proton could respond. Zubat hit the ground unconscious and Proton stomped in frustration.
"Damn it, you useless bat." He recalled his Zubat and grabbed his second Pokéball. "Let's take care of this nuisance, Koffing!" A Pokémon Jana had yet to see emerged from this ball. It was big round, purple and riddled with craters. "Koffing, tackle it." Koffing zoomed toward Totodile and hit her with enough force to send her flying backwards. Jana crouched and caught Totodile in her arms.
"Don't let that weak-ass hit get you down, show him your chops and use Bite." Totodile nodded and jumped from her arms. She ran at Koffing and clamped down on it with her massive jaw. Koffing tried to shake her off, but Totodile held fast.
"Koffing, get that thing off with Poison Gas!" All the holes adorning Koffing's body erupted with purple smoke, which enveloped Totodile and caused her to start coughing uncontrollably. Totodile backed out of the gas cloud and stumbled backward a few steps before righting herself.
Jana bit her lip. As long as that gas was there, there was no way Totodile was going to get close enough to deal a solid hit. "Good thing we have a long range move. Totodile, use Water Gun again!" Totodile shot her attack toward the cloud, washing the smoke away and knocking Koffing out of the air. "Now bite it!" Before Koffing could regain its composure, Totodile jumped at it and bit it, again refusing to let go.
"We're just gonna do this over and over, aren't we?" Proton laughed. "Poison Gas again, Koffing."
"Jump back," Jana commanded. "Then use Water Gun again!" Just as the smoke started leaking out of Koffing, Totodile let go, jumped back and shot the water attack once again. This time it was too much for Koffing, who tumbled to the ground and remained still.
"Koffing, get up!" Proton yelled, having suddenly lost his composure. When Koffing didn't respond, he threw his hat down in disgust. "How could I lose to a little girl?"
"By using shitty Pokémon, honestly," Jana said, crossing her arms. Totodile crossed her arms as well, mirroring what her trainer was doing. "And don't get too torn up about the gender of who you lost to. You sucked, and who I am had nothing to do with it."
Proton growled. "Fine, you win this one, but you'll regret ever crossing Team Rocket. Why, if we knew where our boss was, you'd be in a heap of trouble!" Before Jana could respond, one of the grunts who was watching everything threw a smoke bomb at Jana's feet, filling the room with thick smoke. Jana and Totodile covered their eyes and coughed, overwhelmed by the smoke. When it cleared, The floodlights had been shut off and everyone besides Jana and her Pokémon had cleared out.
"Well, damn," Jana said. "They got away. I mean, at least we stopped them from cutting off any more tails." Totodile nodded agreement and Jana picked her up in her arms. "You did good, Totodile. I'm so proud of you." Totodile smiled at Jana and made a happy noise before being put back into her ball for the time being. As Jana was turning to leave, she heard noises in the cave behind her. "Who's there?" She demanded as she whirled around. From several small holes in the walls, Slowpoke started coming into the open one at a time. They all looked at Jana with happy yet confused expressions and several started yawning at her.
Kurt limped into the room and put a shaky hand on her shoulder. "The Slowpoke seem grateful," he said.
"How can you tell?" Jana asked.
"I told you we in Azalea Town are in tune with nature, didn't I? Trust me, I can tell by how they're acting that they're thankful you came. And I gotta say, I agree with them. If it weren't for you, who knows who would have stepped in to stop those goons in the black get-ups?"
"I couldn't just let it keep happening," Jana said.
"And for that, we are grateful. Now let's get out of this glorified hole in the ground, shall we?" Kurt offered. "I'll make you tea at my house."
"Thanks, old man," Jana said.
Later, Jana shared a cup of delicious tea with Kurt and his granddaughter. During the get-together, she had a question for the old man. "So, Kurt, what do you know about Team Rocket?"
Kurt set his cup down on the table and sighed. "Team Rocket is a villainous organization that came to power about four years ago. They would steal Pokémon and pawn them off to collectors for exorbitant prices. Three years ago, a young trainer from Pallet Town took them on almost single-handedly. She was a very powerful trainer."
"Wait, she?" Jana asked. "Huh. When you said a powerful trainer from Pallet, I figured you meant Gary Oak."
Kurt laughed and shook his head. "No, no. Few people actually know this, but the Champion actually set off on his journey the same day as his very best friend, and she was the trainer who took on Team Rocket. Unfortunately, nobody's heard from her for years. Nobody knows what happened to her, and when asked about it, Gary gets really cagey and refuses to answer. Some people think she stepped on a few too many toes and got herself killed, but I doubt Team Rocket would stoop that low."
"I see," Jana said. "The dude I fought in the cave said their boss was missing. Do you know about that?"
Kurt raised an eyebrow. "About two years ago, Team Rocket largely went quiet. A few grunts would be caught by police every once in a while, insisting that the leader disappeared and disbanded the organization. It seems a few members have been working underground since then. If they're back, it could mean they're making an attempt at catching national attention again so their boss will come out of hiding."
"I see," Jana said. "So we should let someone know and stomp them out while they're still small."
Kurt shook his head. "I'm sure the people in the cave weren't all that's left of the Rockets. Even without their leader, they wouldn't be stupid enough to send their entire workforce to do one job. There's probably a lot more left than we know what to do with."
"Well that sucks," Jana concluded.
"Indeed it does," Kurt agreed.
"I wonder why I never heard of them." Jana wondered aloud.
Kurt shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe your parents were keeping it from you."
"Maybe she was."
"But let's talk about something happier, shall we?" Kurt said. "All this adult talk is making my granddaughter bored." The little girl yawned dramatically in response. "So what brings you to Azalea in the first place?"
Jana perked up at the opportunity to talk about her adventure. "I'm taking the gym challenge!"
"Oh, are you now?" Kurt asked. "Tell me more. How far are you?"
"I only have one badge right now," Jana admitted. "I kind of started three days ago, and getting through the Sprout Tower with only my Totodile was a real bi—er, pain in the a—uh, butt." Kurt laughed as Jana tried to stumble her way out of cursing in front of his granddaughter.
"I see. So you're here to fight the gym leader."
"Yeah. That and the route to Ecruteak from Violet is blocked right now."
"I see." Kurt said. "Well, the gym leader here is kind of a pushover, but you're going to need more than just your Totodile if you hope to beat Goldenrod's leader."
"Yeah. I'm not saying anything bad about your Pokémon, but the gym leader there has a reputation for being really strong."
"I see. I'm excited!" Jana bounced. "That reminds me, I should probably go fight this gym leader. Any tips for me, old man?"
"I hope you're not scared of bugs," Kurt said as Jana got up and stretched.
"Me? Scared? Ha! Of course I'm not scared of bugs," Jana laughed. "But thanks for the tip anyway."
After soundly thrashing Bugsy, the Azalea gym leader, Jana strolled out of the gym with her newly evolved Croconaw proudly walking beside her. She admired the badge shaped like a ladybug, watching the twilight glint off it. "That's two down and six to go," she said to herself. "Anyway, I guess I should probably get some sleep. It's only just getting dark, but apparently there's a dark-ass forest in between here and Goldenrod?" Croconaw shrugged in response. "Oh well, it's been a big day anyway, so some rest wouldn't hurt."
Croconaw nodded in agreement and the two shared a high-five before heading to the Pokémon center for a rest.
The next day, Jana left the center as the sun was peeking out from behind Union Cave. Her parting words to the nurses inside consisted of praising the great beds in the centers. She was approached by a man slightly older than her before she could make it very far. "Um, excuse me," he said. "Are you the girl who saved the Slowpoke?"
Jana tilted her head in confusion. "Uh, yeah. I am. What do you want?"
"I just wanted to thank you for saving the Slowpoke," the man said. "We've all been very worried about them, and I don't know what we would have done without you."
Jana laughed. "Well, it's not big deal really..."
Suddenly, a passerby chimed into the conversation. "I heard she fought some rogue Team Rocket members!"
"Oh, that was just one guy, really," Jana explained. "I mean, there were like, five or six others there, but I fought their admin or whatever he called himself."
The two people gasped and a third overhearing the conversation joined in as well. "You beat one of the Rockets' higher-ups?"
"It's really no big deal," Jana said. Before she knew it, several people had joined in and her attempts at being modest only made them more interested in the story. From how dark it was to the strategy she used against Koffing to the fact that she took on both of his Pokémon with only one of her own, each new detail served to amaze them more. By the time she finally managed to get out of the conversation, a crowd of grateful Azalean natives were congratulating her and patting her on the back. When she was out, she had to sit on the ground behind the Pokémon center for a few moments to collect herself. She'd never seen a crowd that big, and the sheer amount of people had started to make her panic. After a few deep breaths, she noticed a pair of feet in front of her.
She looked up to see Nicholas with his arms crossed, glaring down at her. "So, word on the street is that you fought off Team Rocket. Is that true?"
Jana huffed. "What of it? Don't have a soft spot for them, do you, Pokémon thief?"
Nicholas scoffed. "Please. I hate those assholes. If I had known they were back sooner, that would have been me taking them down."
"I'm sure it would have been," Jana said condescendingly.
"They act all big and tough in a group, but once it's one-on-one, they're weak," Nicholas ranted. "Don't let that victory get to your head. Just because you managed to beat one does not make you stronger than me."
Jana stood up and shot daggers at him. "Okay then, want to see just how much stronger than you I am? It's easy to figure it out 'for real.' Fight me, tough guy."
"Fine, but remember you asked for it," Nicholas warned.
"Remember you're the one who called me weak in the first place," Jana replied as she sent out her Croconaw.
"Have you even caught any other Pokémon?" Silver asked.
"Hey, the decision to catch another Pokémon for Team Jana is a very important and difficult one, okay?" Jana shot. "Don't get on me for taking my time."
"Fine. Have fun losing," Nicholas said as he tossed his Pokéball, revealing a Gastly. "This one will be for punching me in the face. Gastly, use Lick." Gastly flew towards Croconaw with its long tongue outstretched.
"Croconaw, use Bite!" Jana yelled. Croconaw ran for Gastly and opened her jaws wide. She clamped down on Gastly's tongue, causing it to shriek in terror and evaporate completely for a moment before reappearing beside Nicholas. "Now douse it in your Water Gun." Croconaw shot a stream of water at Gastly, causing it to yell again and fall to the ground.
"What the hell!" Nicholas cursed as he recalled his Pokémon. "You just got lucky, knowing a dark-type move and all. That won't help against Zubat." Another ball was thrown and another bat jumped from the bright white light.
"As if I haven't fought a million of those," Jana said with a smirk. "Croconaw, hit it with Water Gun." Croconaw shot another torrent of water at Zubat, who dodged it quickly.
"You use Bite, Zubat," Nicholas called. Zubat flew at Croconaw and bit her arm. Croconaw shook it off and smacked it away with her tail.
"Congrats, your Zubat just did more damage than any other Zubat I've fought," Jana said sarcastically. "Use Rage, Croconaw." Croconaw ran at Zubat with a glowing red claw and swiped at it. Zubat was hardly phased by the attack and bit Croconaw once more, per its trainer's orders. "Rage once more!" Jana called. After being bitten again, Croconaw's attack was stronger, sending Zubat flying. This pattern repeated twice more before Zubat was finally out of stamina and Croconaw's rage was strong enough to knock over several grown men.
"Go, Quilava," Nicholas called. Cyndaquil's evolved form emerged and let out a fierce battle cry. "You're all I have left, so kick this Croconaw's ass. Use Smokescreen!" Quilava hurled a ball of dark gray smoke at Croconaw, which exploded on impact, clouding up her vision.
"All we need to do is get one hit in, Croconaw," Jana encouraged. "If you can just hit it with one rage attack, it'll go down easy. Now get out of that cloud and hit it with Rage!" Croconaw leapt out of the cloud of smoke, but was immediately hit by a second Smokescreen.
"Quilava, run around to the back and hit Croconaw with Ember." Quilava did as it was told and shot burning hot embers at Croconaw's back. Croconaw cried out in pain as she fought to get free of the Smokescreen.
It wasn't until Quilava pulled off this combination a couple more times that Jana got an idea. "Croconaw, use Water Gun on the ground!" Croconaw was confused, but obeyed. The water splashed on the ground and cleared the cloud somewhat, but more importantly, it propelled Croconaw high in the air, far above the cloud. She spotted Quilava on the ground and shot another Water Gun at it. The attack hit Quilava square on and sent it tumbling backwards. "Now use Rage!" Croconaw landed in the cloud, but thanks to her earlier attack, she knew exactly where Quilava was, so she sprinted out of the cloud and straight at her opponent. Her bright red claws raked across Quilava face and sent it flying. It hit the back of the Pokémon center and fell to the ground unconscious.
"Damn it!" Nicholas stomped his foot on the ground before returning Quilava to its Pokéball. "You win this time, but it was a fluke. Next time you won't be so lucky!" Before Jana could retort, Nicholas sprinted off in the direction of Ilex forest.
"What a baby," Jana said, rolling her eyes. "How are you, Croconaw?" Jana's Pokémon gave her a thumbs up and smiled. "Good!" Jana said, returning the gesture. "Sorry I make you fight your old friend like that, but that kid needs to know his place." Croconaw nodded understanding. "Glad you agree. Now let's get through that forest, eh?"
After an annoyingly long trek through the Ilex forest, Jana entered the next route with a shiny new TM and an old, worn out HM that she didn't think she'd ever need. She walked the path of Route 34, battling everyone in sight. The constant battling seemed to be getting to Croconaw, though, as she was starting to slow down and look fatigued. Jana noticed this and thought that maybe it was time to catch her second Pokémon to help Croconaw relax and not have to fight all the time. But what kind of Pokémon were on this route? Anything she would want? Like she said, picking out additional members was a very important and difficult decision, so she had to go about choosing in the best possible way.
Which, of course, meant tossing a Pokéball at the first Pokémon she found and hoping for the best. Luckily, she managed to catch the first Pokémon she attempted to catch, and the Pokédex was kind enough to tell her all about her new team member in its robotic voice. "Abra. Psychic-type. Level ten. Female. Abra hypnotizes itself so that, even when it's asleep, it can teleport away if it senses danger."
Jana looked at her new Pokémon, which was apparently called Abra. It was very small and entirely yellow aside form a single brown stripe on its tail and what looked like brown armor on its chest. She nodded as she took this all in. "You look like a Casey. I'm gonna call you Casey."
The Pokémon formerly known as Abra nodded, but Jana couldn't tell if it was out of listening to her or if she was simply nodding off.
"Okay, let's try you out in battle," Jana said. "What do you know, Casey?" She punched a few buttons on her Pokédex and managed to pull up Abra's moveset. "...You only know Teleport. I can't believe I caught a Pokémon that only knows how to use Teleport!" Immediately, Casey started glowing and before Jana could ask why, she found herself in the Azalea Town Pokémon Center. "You've got to be fucking kidding me." She looked at Casey angrily. "That wasn't a command, that was...oh god damn it I have to go through that forest again, don't I?"
END OF DAY 4:
"You won't believe the bullshit I've been through these past couple of days. First of all, I had to go through this musty old cave called Union Cave or something. It made me worried that I'd meet another cave-dwelling girl, but luckily I got through that without a hitch. Totodile and I got to Azalea Town, where we learned that these assholes calling themselves Team Rocket were cutting off Slowpoke tails! So obviously I took them down without breaking a sweat. The one we fought was named Proton, and while he had good taste in hair color, he had terrible taste in Pokémon. He used a Koffing and it smelled like what I imagine death smells like.
"After I kicked Team Rocket's collective ass, I took on Azalea's gym leader. His name was Bugsy and he looked kind of like a girl, but I'm not one to judge. He was significantly cooler than Falkner, but that doesn't mean I didn't beat him anyway. The best part is, that gym battle was the first battle for my newly-evolved Croconaw! Yeah, Totodile grew taller and got stronger and all around cooler looking. She's even more kick-ass now, if that was possible.
"After that, I had to go through this stupid forest. Of course, I didn't do that until I beat Nicholas again. He had three Pokémon against my one and I still whupped him! It was awesome. Anyway, in the forest, I found this asshole who couldn't keep his Farfetch'd under control. What am amateur. Anyway, I helped him and got an HM out of it, but to be honest, I might find more use out of this thing if I just sell it. I also got a TM for Headbutt which actually came in handy, but I'll get to that in a second.
"After the forest thing, I caught my first new Pokémon! Her name is Casey and she's an Abra. She's a bit of a trickster, because when I complained about her only knowing Teleport, she teleported us all the way back to Azalea! I was pissed I had to go through Ilex forest again, but I can't hold it against her, she's so cute. Again, she only knew Teleport, so that was a hassle, at least until I found out she could learn that Headbutt move!
"Now she's headbutting like the pros and, just between us, I think she's about to evolve! I definitely gotta do that before I challenge the third gym leader, who's apparently very strong.
"In art-related news, I still suck at drawing. Anyway, I'll get back to you on how the gym battles goes. Catch ya later!"