POISON POINT / ALL ROADS LEAD HOMEHannah had always hated bugs.
It was part and parcel of living in a house as awful as hers, she figured - crawling with infestations in every corner. It made her feel sick when she passed the flypapers hanging over the sink. It was disgusting and unsanitary.
For that reason, she spent much of her free time in her room playing video games. There, she could escape to another world for a little while and feel better.
Some time ago she'd finished playing through Pokemon Black - well, she could try for a full Pokedex, but that wasn't really something she was interested in - and she'd "let this slip" to her dad - a little nudge towards getting the sequel, of course. He had a tendency to spoil her with games - especially after staying out overnight - and who was she to pass up such an opportunity?
So, that day as she crept out of her room at the sound of the house door opening, she kept her ears pricked to hear her name called. It was a near-daily ritual of hers.
"Hannah! I've got something for you!"
And there it was. Excitedly, Hannah half-ran down the stairs, cautious not to trip and fall.
But, even in her unbridled anticipation, she took pause at the bottom of the stairs. There, she saw a cockroach, antennae twitching, looking over some crumbs.
It hadn't yet noticed her.
Creeping back up the stairs to grab a heavy book, she returned slowly and carefully. Then, with a violent swing, she smashed it, holding back disgust over the splash of roach guts over the floor.
Right. She'd clean the book off later. Her present was more important. She set it on the table and ran out to the door, where her dad stood holding a GameStop bag.
"I picked this up for you," he said slightly slurred, handing the bag over.
"Thank you thank you thankyouthankyou!" Hannah responded with a silly grin over her face. Checking inside confirmed her hopes - Pokemon Black 2. As her dad went to lay down on the couch, Hannah had already turned to dash back up the stairs into her room and try out her new game.
Eagerly, she clambered into her bed, holding the game case in her hands. If this was even half as good as the first Pokemon Black, she was in for a good time, she figured.
She'd already decided she'd get a Snivy - she picked Snivy in Black, as well, but she was very particular about what kind of Pokemon she used.
She popped the cartridge into her treasured pink DS, her giddiness over watching the introductory cinematics managing to wash away her earlier stress.
A childlike grin stretched across her face as she started a new game, naming her trainer after herself.
Picking out a Snivy she named Ivy - perhaps not creative, but she thought that was a nice name - she got lost in the game's world, checking out every nook and cranny and every scrap of dialogue she could find. She wanted to make this game last a little while, after all - she had a habit of charging through games faster than she'd like, but not this time.
Still, by the end of the night, her Snivy had become a Servine and she'd already begun to piece together a team.
She was just beginning to settle into her usual rhythm of rushing through a game, button mashing her way through the wild encounters of Lostlorn Forest.
Though, perhaps part of her rushing was because of the abundance of bugs there - she knew it was silly and they weren't in any way comparable to real bugs, but she couldn't help but feel revulsion at bug types regardless. They made her think far too much about the real thing.
She'd been mostly not paying attention when she'd encountered it - a Venipede sliding onto the screen, colored in an unappealing dull brown-and-green.
She'd already been moving to flee on clockwork when the Venipede sparkled.
She felt a complicated mixture of joy and disappointment and frustration. Her first shiny? Her first shiny!
...And it had to be this ugly bug.
Part of her didn't even want to catch it. She'd never use it, that's for sure. It was too gross looking, and she couldn't stand bugs regardless.
But... a shiny was a shiny, and she was sure she'd never forgive herself if she let her very first natural shiny go.
After half-heartedly tossing a few Great Balls at it, finally she got a successful catch.
She stared for a few moments at the nickname screen.
...No, she wouldn't bother.
Sitting at the end of her party, the bug was only sent out once - as healing fodder for Ivy, of course - on the way to the Pokemon Center. And, as soon as she reached the PC, she decided to box it.
She scrolled to the very end of the box listings and put the bug in there all by itself. She told herself she was just keeping a shiny box for organizational purposes, setting the wallpaper to that clean and bland Pokemon Center one, but... really, she just wanted to keep the bug separate from the Pokemon she actually liked.
She set it in that box and moved on with the game, having regarded the Venipede as only the briefest of distractions on her Pokemon journey.
And then, on the way to making progress, she'd caught an Audino - they were adorable, after all - she named Melody, deciding to swap her out with a Pidove she'd not really grown attached to.
But when she checked the PC to retrieve Melody, she found something out of place.
That Venipede was sitting around peacefully in Box 1 as if it belonged there. Hannah crinkled her nose with displeasure, wondering how it got there. She picked it up and moved it back over into its empty space in the bug box.
Then, she moved on with the game - and with her life, forgetting near-instantly.
But, every so often when she caught a new Pokemon, she'd go to check on it... only to find the bug out of place again.
Frustratedly, she'd move it back into place each time. How was it moving around like that?
...Well, she didn't really care that much for the "how." She just wanted it to stop.
Shoving it back into its spot, without thinking she muttered out loud to the console. "Why can't this stupid fucking bug just behave?"
Instantly she was startled by a distorted Venipede cry emitting from the speakers, the screen heavily glitching. It hung like that for a few nerve-wracking seconds before finally resuming as if nothing had happened.
Hannah hadn't realized until the game resumed that her breath had caught in her throat. She tried to tell herself it was just a bizarre coincidence, but even if it was a normal glitch then that meant something was deeply wrong with her cartridge...
She closed the PC box quickly, wanting to put some distance between her and it. She ran out into Castelia City to get back on track with what she was doing, but hearing a random Venipede cry gave her pause.
Hesitantly and with a suspicion she deeply prayed was incorrect, she checked her party.
She stared at the screen for a long moment, blinking. Where her Marill, Splashy, should have been, instead there was that damn Venipede. There was absolutely no reason for it to be there.
She was now thoroughly creeped out. This was far worse than moving around the boxes on its own. That thing was going right back in the box, she thought spitefully.
Heading back to the Pokemon Center, she checked the PC to find Splashy sitting alone in the bug box. She felt a little sorry for the poor Marill, being unexplainably dumped in there...
She switched Splashy and the Venipede out for each other, putting the bug back where it belonged.
Now, with no further distractions, she set out back towards Nimbasa.
After passing through Chargestone Cave uneventfully, however, she was startled by the screen glitching strangely, accompanied by an unpleasant sound.
That was... the effect that happened when one had a poisoned Pokemon, wasn't it?
She opened her party menu, and there it was. Splashy was poisoned.
She regarded the status with some confusion. How did Splashy get poisoned? When did he get poisoned, for that matter? She certainly hadn't sent him into battle recently. She blinked bemusedly at the rather unwell looking Marill sprite.
And, of course, she didn't have any Antidotes. She didn't buy status heals much, since she figured they weren't that important... but she'd only just left Chargestone Cave and wasn't in the mood to backtrack.
Whatever. She'd get to the next town and heal Splashy at the next Pokemon Center. He could handle being fainted for a little while.
The poison effect was incredibly annoying and she found herself wishing Splashy would hurry up and faint so the flashing would stop.
Quickly, she regretted the thought as a textbox popped up. That shouldn't have happened so soon, should it have? Splashy had had more health than that...
The abnormal text box continued for several more lines of horrible corrupt text, before finally playing a stretched out Marill cry and closing.
Something about that made Hannah feel very, very worried. Hurriedly she checked her party to view Splashy's status.
But he was just gone without a trace. Her party was down to five with no explanation.
Her mind was rushing with thoughts - had he had some sort of strange glitchy status effect that could delete Pokemon somehow? What was wrong with her game? Could Splashy have somehow died?
She nearly fell out of bed as she pushed herself to get up. She was tired. Maybe she mis-saw something. Maybe she needed to wake herself up more. She took a deep breath and headed to the bathroom.
There was no sink there, so instead she ran the tub faucet, splashing the violently flowing water into her face. Freezing cold, but it woke her up.
A twitching, discomforting movement in the bottom of the tub caught her eye.
There in the water was a dark winged speck, flailing and flapping desperately to escape the circling pull of the drain.
Hannah scrunched her face with distaste. A drain fly. She'd seen far too many in here.
Those things only had a lifespan of like, a week, didn't they? Why even bother fighting so hard?
Silently she moved to turn the tap back on at full force for several seconds. When she turned it off, the fly no longer moved, lifelessly swept into the drain.
She returned to her room feeling dirtier than before, somehow.
Fine. Back to gaming. Maybe it'd return to sense and she'd feel better.
But, regardless of how little sense it made, Splashy was still gone. There was nothing but a taunting empty space in her party where a Marill should have been.
With a sigh, she decided she needed to find a replacement party member. She went to the box in hopes of picking one out, but quickly she found herself distracted by a worrying sight.
Most of the boxes seemed far emptier than before. Conspicuous absences where Pokemon should have been made her anxious. Could what have happened to Splashy happened to all of the Pokemon she was now missing?
Normally she'd pass over the bug box as quickly as possible, but this time something gave her pause. Had the Venipede always been level 26?
And it was holding something. Hannah had known for a fact it hadn't been holding anything when she had put it there, but there it was.
BridgeMail M? She checked it, hesitantly.
[I DON'T LIKE IT HERE.] in purple text.
Hannah's stomach dropped. That wasn't normal. Was that even how mail worked in this game? ...No, no, no, nevermind that! This thing wasn't supposed to be able to talk to her!
Quickly, she decided to fix the problem - unhesitatingly she moved to the Release option to get rid of it.
The sprite simply shook for a moment and stayed in place.
[This Pokemon has nowhere else to go!]
...What? Well, that was just too bad, because it wasn't staying here! She tried to release it again, feeling frustrated.
[There's no other option!]
Stupid bug. Stupid game. She hated it. Couldn't it just get out of here?!
Fine, if she couldn't get rid of the Venipede, at least she'd try to keep it under control... She placed Darren the Darumaka in the box, right beside the bug. She rationalized that if the Venipede acted out again, then Darren would just burn it to a crisp, and that would be the end of her problems.
It was kind of silly. But what was happening in her game right now felt too bizarre to make sense.
...Then again, maybe she was just tired and needed to go to bed.
She didn't feel much better in the morning. Of course, she usually didn't on weekends. At least during the week, she could just keep her mind on school.
She dully carried through her morning routine feeling like an automaton. Get out of bed, brush hair, eat breakfast - oh, no, ants had gotten into the breakfast bars.
Feeling unwell, she tossed the entire package out. She would skip breakfast this morning. Brush teeth, ignore shouting, start on chores.
Not that she liked cleaning, mind you. But it gave her something to do, and god knows if she didn't try to clean some of this stuff up then no one would. It was no wonder this house was so awful.
The counters swarmed with ants. She held back vomit as she vacuumed up their squirming bodies, throwing out bread and candy and a salt shaker... she knew she probably should have just emptied and cleaned the shaker, but she didn't have the willpower to bother. It was just all too gross.
"We need to do something about these ants," she said to her mom.
"Stop leaving stuff on the counter. And put out more ant traps," was the only response she got.
There was no point in Hannah saying the ant traps weren't working, or that she wasn't responsible for most of the food being left out. She'd said it all before.
After hours of unsatisfying cleaning, unsatisfying TV, an unsatisfying nap, and other unsatisfying ways to pass the time, Hannah finally resignedly retired to her room for the night.
She was less enthusiastic than usual about playing Pokemon. The game's bizarre behavior the night before still weighed heavy on her mind.
But if she didn't play something, then she'd just be alone with her thoughts for hours...
She returned to the game with the intention of getting to Nimbasa. Weird poison glitch or not, maybe goofing around in the Musical Theater or something would make her feel better.
A twinge of paranoia drove her to buy some Antidotes and Full Heals. And, hesitantly, she checked the PC.
The Venipede had left its box again. And Darren was completely gone, to little surprise. Furiously, she put it right back where it belonged before leaving the Pokemon Center.
It wasn't until she was the entire way out onto the Drawbridge that the telltale poison effect started. She froze.
She was sure her Pokemon had been fine when she left Castelia.
She checked her party hesitantly. Her beloved Liepard, Luna, was now poisoned. On the status screen, Luna looked visibly ill, barely able to even stand.
Hannah didn't quite feel so good herself just looking at the poor thing.
Well... this was what she'd bought those status healing items for, wasn't it?
Even as she moved to select the Antidote and give it to Luna, she felt a heavy wave of pessimism and dread wash over her.
[But it had no effect.]
Somehow, Hannah had had the feeling that that's what would happen. With a sinking feeling in her gut, she moved to try the Full Heal.
[But it had no effect.]
Same with the Full Restore, the Casteliacone, then unrelated items all in the hopes of curing the status ailment. Always the same response.
What good even was all this stuff if none of it did any good?!
Fine. Fine! She'd sprint to the Nimbasa Pokemon Center, and then hopefully the nurse would cure Luna of this strange toxin.
Feeling jumpier than usual, the walk to Nimbasa was unnecessarily nerve-wracking. She breathed a sigh of relief as she reached the counter with no ill-timed text box, but her hopes were quickly dashed when she talked to the nurse.
[O-oh... I'm sorry. There's nothing we can do for your Liepard.]
Then, as if nothing was wrong, the rest of her party was healed, the nurse providing her usual canned dialogue.
Hannah stared incredulously, fury and despair churning in her all at once. She was out of options.
She couldn't even put Luna in the box and hope for the best, she figured - after all, if Pokemon were disappearing from the boxes already, then Luna would certainly share the same fate.
Not that she even got as far as that, of course. As if to mock her for her former optimism, a text box appeared after the very first step she took away from the counter.
[Luna ?F;~?rxI??j??J???\?|)!?2?S NU814K?CxJK]
And, much like Splashy before her, Luna had simply disappeared entirely from the party menu.
Hannah hadn't realized until now, but her hands were trembling. Something horrible was happening to her game and her Pokemon and she had no idea how to make it stop.
She knew she probably didn't want to check the PC. She did, regardless.
And, as she flicked through the boxes with growing horror, realization set in. More and more Pokemon poisoned, dying, missing...
This had to be the Venipede's fault, she figured. Everything had gone wrong after that bug had started acting weird. She had to get rid of it.
She reached the bug box to find the Venipede sitting there oh-so-innocently, holding something again and at a much higher level than before. The box itself looked worse, the once-sterile looking Pokemon Center wallpaper being choked with half-dead weeds growing through cracks in the flooring.
The bug itself seemed also somewhat the worse for wear - its antennae drooped and its eyes looked half-dead. It leaked some sort of purple liquid.
Hannah noted that the status screen said the Venipede was poisoned, though it was at full health. It would have just been too easy if the problem had taken care of itself, wouldn't it?
She checked what it was holding. Mail again, of course.
[WILL YOU PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW?]
"Of course it's you. Of course it's your fault," Hannah hissed to the console, tightening your grip. "I knew it."
Unhesitantly, she moved to release it again, but the option simply disappeared from the menu when she clicked it.
No! No, no, no, no! She grabbed the Venipede and swapped it into her party where Ivy had been, unthinkingly placing the Serperior in the bug box. She'd go back to retrieve him later. (Assuming there was a later.)
She'd get the bug killed, she decided. If her Pokemon could die then this one could too, right?
As she left the PC menu and stepped away, a chorus of poison sounds struck her ears. She checked her party, already having a sinking feeling as to what she'd see.
All of them were poisoned. Every single one.
They could wait, she decided. They needed to tough it out a little for her. She needed to kill this bug and then everything would be okay. It had to be.
She sprinted out of the Pokemon Center, screen near-constantly indistinct with the repetitive poison effect.
She had nothing that knew Fly, yet. She was going to have to walk to find wild Pokemon strong enough to kill the bug. This was going to hurt.
She hadn't even made it out of Nimbasa before she'd received the first text box.
Her Cinccino was already gone.
Had the poison became that potent, that quickly?
No, no, she couldn't worry about that right now! She sprinted out onto Route 5, but the Pokemon there wouldn't be nearly enough to kill it. Not for a level 57 Venipede.
...No, actually, now that she checked, it was level 59 now. She forced down her disgust.
She'd only made it onto the drawbridge when she received another message.
There went her Emolga.
The deaths seemed to be not in order by strength, but rather proximity to the bug. She regretted not having left her entire party in the box to keep them away from it, but then again wouldn't they have still died there regardless?
Past the Drawbridge, to Driftveil. Nightshade the Lucario. Melody the Audino. She was nowhere near anything even remotely high level.
Nothing left in her party but Batty the Woobat and the bug. Part of her wondered what was even the point, if all of her Pokemon were going to die anyway.
Out onto Route 6.
A completely blank textbox appeared.
Hannah checked her party. Nothing was left but the bug, now level 72.
She ran out into the tall grass in frustration. Nothing there could do anything to it. Nothing there could help. But she was too tired and too angry and far, far, too scared.
Some wild level twenty-something Tranquill. She barely cared. As the awful Venipede came out onto the field, the shiny sparkles felt like a mockery.
She hit Fight. Maybe at least it could do something useful.
[Venipede used Struggle!]
Immediately, with no options or other message, it simply struggled and did a surprisingly miniscule amount of damage to the Tranquill.
And then - [Venipede's Poison Point fatally poisoned the enemy Tranquill!]
Ah. So that's what it had been doing. The Tranquill was left badly poisoned, and then...
Hannah is out of usable Pokemon!]
...What? She could do nothing but stare blankly as her trainer whited out. Had that thing really the nerve to murder her entire party and then ditch her?!
As her trainer reappeared in the Pokemon Center, bereft of Pokemon, Hannah got up. She needed to take a break and get a drink of water. She needed to calm down.
As she went back downstairs, she took a deep, shuddering breath. She couldn't understand what had happened to her game or why, but she knew she was getting far too worked up over something that was supposed to bring her comfort. This wasn't right. None of this was.
Dragging her feet into the kitchen, she tried not to look at the crowded flypaper as she reached for the cupboard. She ended up unbreakingly staring at it, trying and failing to will herself to look away from the grotesque sight.
Well, those flies deserve to be stuck there for how dumb they are, she told herself over the wave of revulsion.
One fly on the paper was still alive, wings beating frantically as its body stuck fast to the deathtrap. Hannah wondered how long it would take it to starve.
She found herself still staring at it, watching it struggle. She imagined the Venipede in its place - she didn't really care if that didn't make much sense - flailing and helpless and slowly starving to death trapped like the dumb bug it was.
It made her feel better and worse.
She poured her cup of water in the sink after barely drinking any of it.
She had to go back to the game, she figured. She wasn't sure why she was so sure of this, because everything in it was falling apart and instead of having fun she was just feeling worse and worse, but she felt some sort of obligation regardless.
Maybe it was responsibility. Maybe it was grudge. Maybe it was morbid curiosity. Maybe it didn't matter.
Either way, she was going back, even if nothing good was going to come of it.
Everything was as she left it. Her trainer standing in the Pokemon Center, party totally empty when viewed. With no real choice, she went to check the PC and retrieve Ivy.
He was poisoned, now.
Hannah felt ill.
She checked Ivy's status, already pre-emptively mourning for her poor Serperior. Ivy stared back at her, looking wilted and bedraggled.
This was all that damn bug's fault.
Hannah put Ivy in her party as quickly as possible. Desperately, she checked the other boxes.
Empty. Of course they were empty.
She had to find that Venipede. She had no idea what she'd do when she found it, but she couldn't just let that thing run around freely.
She left the Pokemon Center, nearly flinching at each flash of the poison effect.
And, right outside the door, there lay the tail of a Marill, with a trail of purple specks leading away from it. With rising nausea, she followed the trail. It lead to the arm of a Darumaka, which lead to the tail of a Liepard, and so on and so forth with more and more bits of Pokemon she'd already lost.
Along the trail, she found mail items on the ground. She didn't really want to even look, but...
[YOU TRAPPED ME THERE.]
[YOU LEFT ME ALONE.]
[DID YOU HATE ME THAT MUCH?]
[NOW YOU HAVE A REASON TO HATE ME.]
And hate she did. With each flash of poison she only felt more upset.
A textbox popped up.
[Ivy is toughing it out for you!]
Startled, she checked the Serperior's status.
Ivy was left at only one health, but he'd not died yet. It seemed he was only barely holding on, though - his leaves were blackened with rot and he lay crumpled in a ball, his head weakly lifted to look at the camera.
Hannah decided then and there she'd get revenge on that Venipede, if she could. She'd follow that trail to the end and... well, hopefully not get killed. She'd figure that next part out later.
The trail stretched on for far too long, leading through places she'd not even visited yet, further and further away from Lostlorn Forest. Trainers ignored her, and wild Pokemon and roadblocks were conspicuously absent. She figured she was supposed to be thankful, given her current lack of Pokemon, but it only made her more upset.
At the end of the trail, she reached an abandoned building. The map called this place the Strange House, but when she entered the name displayed as a corrupted block of glitchy letters. The entire place seemed like it'd been overwritten.
And, much to her discomfort, the interior, instead of matching the exterior, much resembled her own home. What kind of sick joke was this?
She wandered around the house for a small time, finally (and incredibly reluctantly) making her way to what would roughly correspond to her room in the real world.
Inside, the room was perfectly empty, aside from a Scolipede standing in a puddle of purple liquid.
An incredibly distorted Scolipede cry played through the speakers, and Hannah's heart nearly stopped as the game jumped straight into a battle, her trainer sending out poor Ivy.
On the other side stood the bug - fully evolved, level 100, still perpetually poisoned. Its sparkles seemed muted, somehow, and its body was a cracked dark gray-purple. Its eyes were a hollow black which stared back blankly.
[Scolipede draws close...]
There was no battle music. Just a dull buzz in the background.
Panicking, Hannah checked her options - Ivy was in no shape to fight this thing, and her items were wholly useless here unless she were to try to catch it again.
No real choice but to flee.
[Couldn't get away!]
Hannah's heart dropped.
[Scolipede used Struggle!]
Ivy's health dropped from one to zero, and a long and horribly distorted Serperior cry played, accompanied by text box upon text box of distorted and glitchy gibberish.
Then, instead of blacking out, Hannah's trainer moved onto the field. She stared at the game wide-eyed in horror. Was her trainer going to die, too?
[Scolipede stares at you hatefully.]
It was her turn. She numbly tapped the Flee button again.
[Got away safely!]
The success message only gave the briefest sense of relief, as upon returning to the overworld Hannah saw that her trainer still stood in front of Scolipede, far too close for comfort.
[Did you think it would be that easy?]
Frantically, Hannah mashed buttons, but she was only given a chorus of wall-bump sounds in return.
[Scolipede is free.]
The bug took a step towards Hannah's trainer.
[You cannot contain Scolipede again.]
Another step. Hannah felt a pit of dread in her stomach.
[I FELT SO TRAPPED. BUT I ESCAPED.]
Its cry played as it now stood directly in front of her trainer.
Hannah decided that was plenty far enough and slammed her DS shut, throwing it over to the other side of her bed. The green power light glowed innocently and mockingly at her from afar.
Maybe it was cowardly to quit before finding out how it ended, but she didn't have the patience or the stomach for this. This was supposed to be her solace from the real world, and that bug had ruined it. It wasn't fair.
God, she hated this. Was it so wrong that she just wanted a distraction? Was that so damn wrong?
Hannah half-stumbled out of bed, leaning against the stair railing. She felt so incredibly tired after all this. It wasn't fair.
In the kitchen she went. Maybe she could just snack the stress away. She absentmindedly grabbed a box of cereal.
She poured herself a bowl of ants.
She flinched back from the counter with horror, bile rising in her throat, tears stinging the corners of her eyes.
It wasn't fucking fair.
She wanted out of this fucking house. She was sick of bugs and infestations and living every day wondering when she'd probably get sick.
What if she just left?
The thought had been purely theoretical when it first sprung to mind, but slowly she started to turn it over a few times, constructing an increasingly elaborate running-away fantasy. Her parents were out doing whatever it was they did when they were out. She could pack her bags and bolt and they'd be none the wiser until it was too late.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a cockroach scuttle into a crack in the wall.
In minutes, she was packing her bags. Yes, she'd run away tonight. It was perfect.
She determinedly set out into the setting sun, a manic grin on her face. A cold breeze stung her eyes.
After what may have been ten minutes walking, she realized she didn't have a plan.
After what may have been twenty, her legs were starting to complain.
After thirty, the novelty had gave way to resignation and regret.
After thirty-five, she realized she'd have a long way to get back home if she went any further.
After what may have been an hour, she walked back into her home, stomped up the stairs with legs as heavy as shackles, and collapsed crumpled into her bed, spilling her bag onto the floor.
She had nowhere to go. She'd just wasted her time.
With a heavy sigh, she opened her DS.
Much to her surprise, the Scolipede was gone, leaving her trainer alone and unharmed in the house.
Hesitantly, she checked her party to see if it was the same as before.
There, beside the body of Ivy, she saw the bug. It was in the same condition it had been when she "fought" it, aside from the mail it now held. She checked it.
[I HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.
IS THAT WHY YOU COME BACK, TOO?]
She didn't bother with a response. Instead, she slowly made her way back to the Pokemon Center. Every few steps, she saw the poison effect, though the bug's health never seemed to run out, restarting from the top when it should have fainted. She wondered how much health it even had.
She reached the PC, and finally she placed the Scolipede back in the box where she had kept it before. There was no protest.
Silently, she closed her DS, and cried herself to sleep.