Soft, that's what I was. How the hell had it happened? I had only been in the past for a few months and already year's worth of experience was lost. A few months ago this wouldn't have happened. It couldn't have happened. I'm better than this, how could my guard have been so damn low?
When you hear disembodied voices in this frozen world, you don't stop and demand who's there: you fucking run for your life. If Neppa were here she would have grabbed me, slung me over her shoulders and run as soon as the words "Who's there?" passed through my stupid mouth. If she was too slow and I was caught anyway she would have spent a few moments laughing at my utter stupidity before sending that twisted Spiritomb packing with a single, well aimed gunshot.
But then if Neppa were here, she wouldn't have let me become soft. We would have still trained together even while collecting the time gears. I had become weaker since I lost her, without someone on the same skill level as me to train with anymore, I was losing my touch. Or maybe, I just couldn't imagine training without her anymore.
My eyes widened when I heard voices drifting through the tunnel, so those kids were still alive, it seemed impossible that they could survive here for more than a few hours. But then I had done a good job of clearing away the stronger monsters. When the Spiritomb attacked them only one of them started fighting. The Treecko, who I had labelled as quiet and demure seemed more interested in staring at me than fighting for her life. I watched in utter confusion as the Treecko put her hands over her mouth and began shaking.
"What the heck are you doing! Get over here and help me!" her partner, the loud accusatory Torchick yelled through the bursts of flame he was spitting out at the Spiritomb.
The Treecko ignored him and continued shaking. As a few muffled sounds made it through her hands I realized that she was not shaking in fear... she was laughing at me. Why was she laughing at me? It didn't make any sense, had this world already begun twisting her mind? Was she that weak?
The Spiritomb got past the Torchick and sent a viscious ominous wind screeching through the chamber. Suddenly as the Treecko was about to be hit, she whipped around and sent a powerful bullet seed at the Spiritomb, it cut through the ghostly winds and tore into the mad pokemon. It was a critical hit and the Spiritomb ran off, screeching in pain all the way. The Treecko turned back to me and smirked in triumph. As she regarded me with her proud eyes and cocky smirk, I thought I saw something... familiar.
I realized that I was wrong about that Treecko, she was not a quiet and demure little girl. She was a daredevil, with a cocksure attitude and unshakeable demeanor. Just like Neppa, and for that, in that brief moment when she looked at me, I hated her.