A Hoothoot chirped loudly from the nearby grass, and I almost jumped. "I don't remember night time coming down this fast in New Bark Town, do you guys?"

Jace shook his head. "Nope. It was gradual, first the sun came down, then it got dark, and *then* the moon and stars went up."

"It's weird, like someone just flipped a couple of switches, and voila, night time, no trace of the sun." Tarika agreed. "So many things are different when you're on a Pokémon journey… People don't ask me if I'm old enough to go out on my own anymore. I guess people think if you have Pokémon, you can go anywhere on your own." Suddenly, a Gastly popped up in her face. I saw Jace move to 'protect' her out of the corner of my eye, but Tarika merely facefaulted and tapped the release button on one of her Poké Balls. Bugsta leapt out with a Confusion attack, dispatching the Gastly quickly. It then went back into the Poké Ball.

"We're not in grass of any length, it looks like that Gastly was stalking us," she noted.

"Nah – just you – Zack's too ugly to stalk, ditto moi." Jace replied. I raised an eyebrow and made an 'S' sign with my fingers behind Tarika's back – our sign for a sarcastic "Real smooth."

Tarika rolled her eyes, sidestepping a small Spinarak. "Agh, I've had it with wild Pokémon popping up when there isn't any grass!"

I blinked. "You wouldn't happen to have a cousin in Ilex Forest, woulja?" Whispering to Jace, I added, "She's got cousins practically everywhere, who send her heaps of TMs, and pro'lly items too. Her Totodile wasted Fuego with Double Team and Dig, before she was even out of Route 30."

"Ouch. Pity, pity, pity." Jace whispered back. "But was Fuego actually trained when he got wasted?"

"Nope. Your point being?"

Meanwhile, Tarika was trying to figure out the relevance of my question, and dodge various nocturnal Pokémon. "Nope… And none of my Pokémon have Attract or Sweet Scent."

"Puh. Must be you with Attract then. Sure is working rather well." Jace muttered, too low for the preoccupied Tarika to catch, but enough for me to hear. I snickered quietly.

We finally went past a Violet City house, and the Pokémon immediately turned back at the Violet City boundary. Tarika 'tsk'ed. "Well then. Looks like it only happens on Route 30, and at night. Oh well, they *should* leave me alone now."

I thought over the odd spectacle. "Who knows, there could be some weird machine out there that randomly generates a route number, a time of the day, and a trainer registration number and tells the Pokémon of that route and time to stalk that trainer everyday."

Jace raised an eyebrow, as did Tarika. Together, they remarked, "You and your conspiracy theories. Grow up."

Some far off place in Johto where no trainer has been before or after…

today's route of the day: 30 (johto)

time: evening

trainer registration number: 296839

trainer name: Tarika Evans (female)

trainer description: black hair w/ dark blue/flame streaks, sea blue/green eyes, orange l/sleeves shirt, camouflage print bell bottoms, red League standard bandanna

most likely companions: Zachary Johnson, Jacon Acklyn

(back to Zack and co.)

Now that she was free from the Pokémon stalkers, Tarika was gazing up at the night sky. "Maybe there's a reason that night time comes on faster when you're a trainer…" she breathed, aqua coloured eyes transfixed on one star. "Check it out… It looks so much prettier than before, back in New Bark Town."

We all looked up at the sky together, and Jace suddenly smiled. "Don't forget to make a wish."

We started to recite the familiar child's poem, the one that Jace and Tarika still clung to and I only said to keep life interesting. I could easily guess what they were wishing for, but my wish would remain a secret. For now, at least.