'Let's take a shortcut through the desert,' he said. 'It'll be easy,' he said.
What an intelligent kid he was. To think that going through a route that was prone to violent sandstorms on a near daily basis and that was, no doubt, crawling with Ground-type infected hiding below the sand was ever
a good idea. Brendan was clearly in need of a few new brain cells. He'd discovered several times that the shortest route was not necessarily the easiest, and yet never seemed to learn his lesson.
His problem was, he figured, that he was letting his stomach do the thinking for him; they'd ran out of food the previous day, and his flat belly was beginning to rumble and ache. He had reckoned that Mauville City was the best bet for supplies due to its size and sheer abundance of shops and stalls. He wouldn't have been surprised to get there and find it deserted though; everyone seemed to get there before him these days.
And now they were lost in a blizzard of sand in the middle of nowhere. Brilliant.
Zuzu plodded along beside him, the Swampert's head dipped low against the raging sandstorm. Out of all of Brendan's Pokemon, he was the only one who could effectively manage the storm, but even he seemed to be struggling. His eyes were narrowed to slits as he ambled along, the razor sharp particles of earth bouncing off his hard skin. Brendan wished he had a spare pair of Go-Goggles specifically for his partner; even if he was hardy enough for the sand not to cut him, it was still a problem for the eyes.
By some miracle, his own goggles had managed to fit over his glasses. At least one thing today had gone the way he'd wanted it to. He had to be careful not to breathe in too deeply or else he choked on a lungful of it. His clothes were filthy, his skin covered in brown dust. They needed to get out of there."Almost there, bud,"
he said to Zuzu, giving his companion a pat on the head. Where 'there' was, exactly, Brendan did not know. All he knew was that the desert had two entrances: one to the north-west and the other to the west. Seeing as he was barely able to see three feet in front of his own face, Brendan wondered if they'd even find it at all today. Maybe their best bet was to find somewhere to shelter from the storm until it passed. Brendan remembered that this route had a few 'secret spots' back in the day; maybe they were still there?
Zuzu suddenly stopped dead at his side, staring at something in the distance. "Swaaamp...""What is it, pal?"
Brendan asked, his hand reaching behind him for the handle of the baseball bat sticking out of his backpack. "Infected?"
Zuzu shook his large head, but didn't move. Curious, Brendan squinted and moved forward cautiously, his Swampert following close behind. Clearly it wasn't something dangerous or else Zuzu would've sounded the alarm, and his eyesight was better than Brendan's in these conditions. The boy was finding it hard to believe that there was anything but
walking corpses and dead bodies out there, but he trusted his Pokemon's judgement. The question was: what the heck was it?
A tall shape emerged from the flurry of sand-- wait, two; something was perched on a rock just off to the side-- three.
Three shapes that, according to Zuzu, weren't infected. Brendan's heart began to pound in his chest; had he finally found someone? Sure, the chances of it being any of his friends were pitifully low in a region as big as this, but anything that wasn't trying to eat him for lunch was a good sign.
But just because it was breathing didn't mean it was friendly. Brendan's hand remained on his bat as he crept closer, the tallest of the shapes slowly coming clearer into focus. By the time he figured out what it was, Brendan's heart was going absolutely wild. "Zu, have I finally lost my mind, or is that a guy?"
Was he having another one of those dreams where the world was actually normal again? "Like, a human guy?"
Zuzu nodded and looked up at the shape on the rock; a Flygon, by the looks of it. It was high on the alert, watching them from beneath the red orbs covering its eyes. The third presence -- a Cacturne? -- sheltered underneath its wings. They'd clearly already seen them.
Brendan raised both hands into the air as he approached to show that he meant no harm. He couldn't believe it; he had walked in circles around this region for ... he didn't even know; he'd lost count of the years, all for a trace
of anything alive. And now for three
of them to appear at once was almost too good to be true."Hello?"
he called, coughing as a mouthful of sand clung to the back of his throat. "H-Hey! We're all right - we're not here to cause trouble!"
He glanced at Zuzu, who was still firmly watching the Flygon on the rock. "My name is Brendan, and this is my buddy, Zuzu. Who are you guys?"