Training in Eterna Forest had been a great idea.
“A'ight, finish it off! Gust!”
Combee’s wings beat viciously as it whipped up the blast of wind. The move connected solidly with a wild Murkrow as it tried to dive at the Bug-type, knocking it clean out of the air. Guzma gave a grin as the territorial Pokémon crashed to the ground, down for the count.
“Looks like ya couldn’t measure up, birdbrain! Hah! Thanks for fightin’ us, though.” The Bug-type specialist drawled as he crouched down next to the Murkrow, getting a glare in return. The look wavered as it noticed the Oran Berry he offered it, courtesy of Cyrus’ Berry Bag. With a huff, it snatched the berry out of his hand, hopping away into the underbrush to eat.
The image of a certain snooty Honchkrow sprung to mind as Guzma stood back up. Geez, guess the whole line is full of jerks.
A soft bump against his arm brought his attention back to Combee, which buzzed at its trainer with a haughty look to rival Honchkrow itself. Guzma couldn’t keep a laugh from bubbling up as the Bug-type bumped into his arm again, and he quickly retrieved another Oran Berry from Cyrus’ bag. “Yeah, yeah, you can have one too, yo.”
Combee devoured the berry, buzzing happily. Guzma gave it a pat, still smiling, then froze as the Tiny Bee Pokémon started to glow. Its body morphed wildly within the light, nearly tripling in size. Within the span of a few seconds, the Bug-type enthusiast found himself halfway to petting a newly-evolved Vespiquen.
Scratch that. Training in Eterna Forest had been the best idea.
“YOO! THAT'S SO AWESOME! CY!! CY DIDJA SEE–” Guzma cut himself off with a grimace, jaw audibly snapping shut. He turned his head back to his Pokémon from where he’d instinctively looked for Cyrus. No point finishing that sentence…
Shaking it off, Guzma refocused on his new bug, patting her on the head. “Damn, look at you! Barely a day of trainin’ and you’re already evolved? You’re fuckin’ awesome, yo!”
Vespiquen puffed up in pride. Of course she was amazing – it was only to be expected, after all. The reaction got another laugh out of Guzma, who retrieved a poffin out of Cyrus’ bag to give the Bug-type as well. If there were any upsides to Cyrus ditching all his stuff, it was that Guzma now had full reign over it.
The grin on Guzma’s face wavered, then faded as he thought again about Cyrus’ absence. What the hell was up with the troll? Had he really gone back to the cave? Where was he?? Anxiety settled heavy and cold in the Alolan’s stomach, forming a tight knot. What happened to Cyrus?
Vespiquen gave a loud buzz as if on cue, demanding another treat. If she’d noticed Guzma’s mini-crisis, she was making a point to ignore it. Maybe…maybe that’s what he needed. He just had to ignore it, do his own thing. Actually focus on enjoying his vacation in this weird region.
“Thanks, Vespiquen.” He murmured, digging out another poffin for the Bug-type. He let her finish the treat, then returned her to her Ultraball. She’d trained hard – she’d earned a break.
A sigh rushed out of Guzma as the sounds of the forest filled the air. Cyrus’ map had been utterly useless for navigating the natural maze, so it wasn’t much of a surprise how quickly he’d gotten lost. Not like he was in a rush to get anywhere…it was about as dark and eerie as a forest could get, but the plethora of ambient noise was enough to keep him grounded. At least there ain’t any Ghost-types out…yet.
With the map being of little help, Guzma was left with only one other option.
“Aight. Heads is left, tails is right.” For what had to be the hundredth time that day, Guzma tapped on his Pokétch’s screen to activate the coin toss app. “Aaaand…left it is!”
Guzma didn’t particularly have a destination in mind as he walked. The goal was just to have fun, and he could probably figure out how to do that anywhere, foreign region or no. It wasn’t like Sinnoh had any shortage of Pokémon, after all.
Speakin’ of Pokémon… The Bug-type enthusiast froze as he heard shuffling somewhere on his right, a small grin making its way across his face. It disappeared when another sound caught his attention. As weird as Sinnoh was, Guzma was pretty sure that Pokémon didn’t whisper.
Guzma crept slowly towards the source of the sound, poking his head around a large tree to get a better look. Someone rocking a pair of bright-orange jeans was knelt down by a bush just a couple yards away, their head and shoulders obscured by the foliage. The orange-clad ass swayed slightly as the whispers continued, which were noticeably masculine in sound now that Guzma had gotten a bit closer.
“…the fuck you doin’, yo?”
The stranger startled, badly, giving a loud squawk as he flailed away from the bush. He wound up flat on his back in the dirt, one hand slapped over his face. Guzma moved to loom over him, gracing him with a patented “ y’all are stupid ” look when the guy started chuckling on the ground.
“Sorry– Sorry about that, I wasn’t expecting someone to–” The guy cut himself off as he moved his hand, finally catching sight of Guzma. His eyes bugged out, the laughter in his voice morphing into a sharp gasp. “You!”
“You’re the Bugman!”
If Guzma had been touched by his fanbase’s enthusiasm, then he was nearly bowled over by this newcomer. Hell, the guy looked starstruck. The Alolan had to back up a step as the green-haired man shot to his feet.
“It’s great to meet you, Mr. Bugman, sir!” The guy bowed politely, the movement dislodging a few of the leaves still stuck in his hair. “I’m Aaron, of the Sinnoh Elite Four – also a Bug-type specialist!”
Now, Guzma wasn’t about to pay any compliments to any Elite Four, but if this guy was part of one? Well, the Alolan could at least say he had a favorite E4 member now.
“Name’s Guzma, yo! Nice meetin’ ya too.” He glanced between Aaron and the bush. “So, uh, again. The fuck were ya doin’ down there?”
“Oh! Um–” Aaron dropped back into a crouch; Guzma quickly mimicked the action. Shuffling back towards the bush, he pushed aside a couple branches, motioning for Guzma to look. Peering into the foliage, the Alolan was able to make out a small set of eyes staring back at him. “I was trying to get this little guy to come out. It’s being, well, kind of shy? You could say?”
“Shy, huh? Lemme take a look…” Guzma scooted closer, soon spying a tiny Wurmple cowering deeper within the foliage. It perked ever-so-slightly as it caught the Alolan’s scent, but still made no move to approach. He took on a gentler tone of voice as he beckoned to the frightened Pokémon. “Aww, hey lil guy, ain't nothin’ to be afraid of here.” Keeping his movements slow, he rummaged another Poffin out of Cyrus’ bag and held it out.
The offer of a treat, combined with the sweet, irresistible scent coming off Guzma himself, ultimately won the little creature over. It skittered over to his hand without caution, nibbling away at the Poffin with glee.
“Wow! You did that so easily, it just came right out to you!” Aaron had the sense to keep his excitement under control, not wanting to scare off the Bug-type just as it’d calmed down. As he glanced over at the other man to thank him, though, he gasped. “Wait – I know you!”
“…ya do?” Guzma had to resist the urge to scratch the back of his neck, hand already occupied with feeding the Wurmple. The hell’s this guy? I don’t know ‘im– shit, what if he knows me from Alo–
“You’re the Bug Man!”
Just like that, Guzma’s concerns went up in smoke. Hell yeah, newscast! Finally gettin’ the respect I deserve. “Ya better believe, yo! It’s ya boy Guzma!”
Aaron leapt to his feet suddenly, accidentally startling the Wurmple again in the process. “Let’s battle!” His voice nearly boomed in the quiet of the forest, but with the way his eyes were sparkling, Guzma couldn’t fault him. Besides, it wasn’t like the Alolan was any less hyped up.
“Hell yeah, let’s do this!”
Giving the Wurmple what was left of the Poffin, Guzma dug what he could’ve sworn was Vespiquen’s Pokéball out of his bag. A flash of light, and the Bug-type specialist’s eyebrows nearly hit his hairline. The unimpressed Honchkrow sitting before him was most certainly not his new bug.
For some reason, Guzma had a sinking feeling that this battle wasn’t going to go well.