“Welcome to Storybrooke’s second Great Pokemon Go Event! Also known as the first one we’ve planned!”
The gathered crowd cheered at Regina’s little jest. Many of them knew of the effort that had gone into safely replicating the events surrounding Rumple’s bout of magical Flu. Months of spellwork and something that Henry insisted on called technomancy had finally borne fruit and now the town was ready to enjoy a day of catching pocket monsters. Unlike last time, there was an air of a carnival to this event, instead of the weary, low key panic that came with clearing the town of the latest magical disaster. Stalls were set up next to Pokestops offering drinks and snacks, bunting festooned the streets, the fairies had offered to act as marshals and were dressed as Nurse Joy or Officer Jenny to make them easy to find should anyone need help.
In the week leading up to the event everyone who wanted to take part had signed up to one of the three teams; Valour, Instinct or Mystic. For those who played the mobile game Team Instinct was considered a bit of a joke, so the numbers were initially very low, that changed when word got out about which team the dwarves had signed up for. During the Flu induced Pokemon event Bashful had proven himself to be a natural at catching flying types, once people heard that he would be playing in yellow sign-ups had increase. Instinct would still be the underdog, but they were confident they would give Valour and Mystic a run for their money.
Regina waved her hand in the air sending a shimmer of magic over the town.
“The Pokestops are active and the Pokemon are free! You have until three o’clock to catch as many as you can! The best Pokemon from each team will then battle the Gym Leaders. Ready? Steady? Go!”
The crowd roared in joy and became a confused mass of colour as everyone raced off to find Pokemon. After a moment a sort of order became apparent; the blues of Mystic were heading towards the docks and the beach; the reds of Valour were making a beeline for the forest and the yellows of Instinct were heading out into town. Regina stepped down from the podium and grinned at Rumple and Belle.
“Looks like every team has a plan.”
Belle shifted Gideon from her hip to his stroller and began buckling him in; “Oh yes, there have been loads of sneaky strategy meetings all over town.”
“So, what’s the inside info?”
Rumple raised an eyebrow at her, but his features quickly softened into a smile; “Valour are after bug and rock types, Mystic had opted for water types, and Instinct have chosen flying as their main power. Every team’s got people working on the medals to make sure that there is plenty of dust and candy on hand for evolving the best they can.”
Unlike the actual game where candy was specific to each Pokemon, they had decided to make it generic, so every team had plenty to evolve their best Pokemon and boost them up to strong stats in the hopes of topping the leader board. They had made a few other changes to the gameplay; the Pokestops would only drop berries and Pokeballs. It had simplified planning for Rumple, Regina and Emma, as had having only one Gym, no raids and limiting the Pokemon to the Kanto set.
Emma joined them just as Gold finished speaking; “I know for a fact that Lily and Mal are aiming for the most dragon types caught. Personally, I’m after a Squirtle.”
Gold pulled three Pokeballs from his pockets and juggled them, much to Gideon’s delight; “Shall we see what we can do for our little team’s score?”
The three of them would be acting as Gym Leaders for the battle portion of the day. They could have just magicked up their Pokemon, but had decided to collect them, so they could be part of the fun.
Belle gave Rumple a kiss and pulled a blue cap from the bag at the back of Gid’s stroller; “You guys have fun, Gid and I are off to help Team Mystic.”
“I suppose it was a given that Belle wold go out to bat for the blue team.”
“Of course, Emma, she looks best in blue.”
Regina and Emma shared a smile at the fond look on Rumple’s face as he watched Belle and Gid wave before they moved out of view.
“Come on, lets catch something.”
Archie adjusted his red cap and blew out a breath. Hansel dropped the now full Pokeball into their bag, as Gretel added another tally mark to their sheet; “That’s another Venonat for us, and it was a tough one.”
“Six balls to catch it! We’re going to need to circle back to the Pokestop.”
Archie nodded and followed as the kids led the way; “I hope the rest of the team are finding more rock type than we are.”
“Proves our idea was right.”
Gretel didn’t miss a step as she thumped her brother’s arm, and turned to walk backwards so she could look at Archie as she spoke; “We had this wild idea that because you were a cricket that Bug types would be attracted to you, it was just a daft idea, we didn’t be any offence…”
“No, none taken at all. And considering our haul so far, I’d say there is something to your idea. Is that why you suggested we should go for bug types?”
“Everyone underestimates them ‘cause they aren’t the best known, and they creep some people out.”
Archie considered this as he held the backpack while the kids climbed over a fallen tree. Once he was over the obstacle himself he asked; “Do you think anyone else in town has worked out that some of us have an affinity for certain Pokemon?”
The kids gave him matched looks of surprised; “Of course, why do you think Mal and Lily are aiming for the dragon type trophy?”
Snow shivered as another Kabuto appeared.
“Charming! Creepy one here.”
He two balls from his pockets and squeezed Neal’s hand; “We’re on it. There’s a Geodude over here.”
Snow tousled Neal’s hair as she switched sides with Charming. Most of the rock types she was fine with but the horseshoe crab-like Pokemon freaked her out. She was trying not to show it too much, she didn’t want Neal picking up on her hebbie-jebbies. From the sound of the conversation going on behind her she didn’t need to worry.
“Krabie is cute. Can we keep him as a pet, Daddy?”
“Erm, no we can’t son. We’ll look at the puppies at the shelter again tomorrow hey?”
Snow was glad they couldn’t see her face as she rolled her eyes. She’d already picked out a puppy at the shelter and was just having to wait until the little darling had his shots before she could surprise David and Neal with him. She’d have to come up with some reason why they couldn’t go and look at puppies tomorrow.
Grace hissed in sympathy as the Vulpix her Papa had been trying to catch headbutted the ball away. She was just about to throw him another ball when he tumbled forward and managed to get his hand under the ball and bat it back towards the Vupix. It looked a little put out as the ball connected and captured it.
Jefferson rolled and plucked the ball from the ground before bouncing to his feet and twirling to give his daughter a toothy grin. A tiny glimmer of doubt crept onto his face at the sight of Grace’s wide-eyed staring.
“Was that alright?”
Grace launched herself at him howling with laughter; “Papa that was awesome!”
He caught her and swung her around in a circle, laughing happily with her.
“Okay, I mean you are covered in leaves,” – Grace brushed at her jumper – “and now so am I, but we are going to save loads of balls if you can do that a few more times.”
“And that means less trips to the Pokestops, so maybe we can head further out than most people, might be able to grab some of the rarer ones, hey?”
She gave a thoughtful nod; “That would give us a better chance of getting the Catch ‘Em All Medal.”
Jefferson bowed with a flourish, that was only slightly spoiled by the scattering of leaves that fell from his clothes, and offered Grace his hand; “Shall we then?”
“We shall. Let’s see where Mom and Dad have got to, that Oddish shouldn’t have been too hard to catch.”
Aiden and Elsie were Grace’s parents under the Curse, for them waking up had been heart-breaking, because they lost the daughter they had always dreamed of. It had taken Jefferson time to accept that they weren’t going to try and steal Grace away from him, and slowly they had become their own sort of family. Jefferson still had his moments of panic, but Aiden, Elise and Grace got him through them. Now he twisted around on the spot trying to find which way his co-parents had gone. A shout from his left gave him a direction and Aiden’s head appearing from around a tree pinpointed them.
“Have you two got any balls left? We’ve got an Ekans here.”
It was a good thing that Pokemon were not as skittish as regular woodland creatures, because the racket that Grace and Jefferson raced across the dry leaves would have scared it away.
Granny eased the tray of snacks onto the table and braced for the stab of pain that normally shot through her hands as she uncurled them; it didn’t come as badly as she was expecting. Whale had been right about these new pills, oh well she had a bottle of bourbon with his name on in the diner.
Astrid skipped over to the snack stand, and almost tripped over her own feet. Granny raised an eyebrow at her choice of costume for today.
“So Nurse Joy, hey? Would have thought you would have gone for Officer Jenny.”
Astrid shook her head as she carefully poured herself a cup of soda; “Oh no, I only dress up as a police officer for Leroy.”
Soda slopped over the table as Astrid’s brain caught up with what her mouth had revealed. Granny calmly handed her some paper towels and said; “Got a thing for firemen myself, but as long as it’s safe, sane and consensual it’s nobody’s business what you two get up in private.”
Astrid was still looking flustered, but at least she was smiling now. Granny took the chance to change the subject to spare the poor girl anymore embarrassment; “Have you seen my wayward granddaughters?”
There had been some people in town who had speculated that Granny wouldn’t be happy about Ruby’s True Love; after all they had whispered it wasn’t a natural sort of relationship was it? Granny had welcomed Dotty with open arms and sternly told the whispers to stop projecting their prejudices onto other people. Several people had been barred from the diner, which basically ostracised them from the town since Granny’s was the social hub. Some had educated themselves and apologized to Ruby and Dotty, and then been allowed back. Others had continued spouting their bile around town but were met with a cold-shoulder by the majority of folks.
“They’d just caught a Growlithe last time I saw them.”
Granny wasn’t great on the names of these little critters, but she knew that one; “They evolve into Arcanine, first time I heard the girls talking about that one I thought they were saying ‘our canine’, thought they were talking about Toto.”
Granny fondly rolled her eyes as Astrid spluttered on her soda and handed her some more paper towels.
In the park as shadow swept over Tink. Lily was circling in dragon form. She’d been doing this all day to pop back to the Pokestop, up until now it had been fine, but this time Bashful was taking aim at a Ghastly. Tink bit her knuckle as the ball bounced off the Pokemon and whacked into the dragon’s snout.
In an impressive feat of aerobatics Lily snapped forward and caught the falling ball. She landed lightly within yards of Bashful and spat the ball at his feet. Tink set her Officer Jenny cap firmly on her head and rushed across to the two of them, praying that Lily was in a good mood. She was still a little way away when Lily transformed and snagged the ball from the ground.
“Here you go Bash. You ain’t gonna get any points for catching me.”
The dwarf caught the ball and shyly pointed to his nose with a questioning look at Lily.
“Oh, barely felt it, go catch your spooky.”
Bashful tipped his yellow baseball cap and ran off towards where the Ghastly had drifted to float around the sleeping form of Walter.
“Problem, Officer Tink?”
Lily turned around slowly with a small sad smile on her face; “You thought I was going to toast him, hey six months ago you might have been right, but I’m doing a lot better these days.”
“I admit it crossed my mind and I’m really sorry Lily. It was crappy of me to think that.”
Lily’s eyebrows rose in surprise; “Think you can teach Snow and Charming to apologise that easy? They didn’t want me to take part today until Emma and Regina went to bat for me, still haven’t said sorry for calling me an ‘unstable flamethrower’.”
Tink didn’t even try to contain her eyeroll. Since Blue’s ‘retirement’ she and Tiger Lily had become the leaders of the fairies and both of them had their hands full trying to undo the hypocrisy that Blue had fostered in the royal couple.
“I’ll have a stern few words with them Lily.”
“Thank you, Tink,” – she nodded her head towards the Pokestop, - “I need to reload, I left Mom playing with a couple of Dratini.”
Tink nodded with a smile; “Sure thing, see you at the party later? First drinks on me?”
Lily gave her a thumbs-up, “You’re on.”
Down by the docks Henry handed his Uncle Gid a rusk as Belle took aim at a Lapras.
“Fingers crossed Uncle Gid we really want this one.”
Gideon chewed on his rusk, apparently indifferent to Team Mystic’s need for a good strong Lapras. He did giggle and shout ‘Whoosh!” when it vanished into the Pokeball, but he did the same when it escaped, so he probably wasn’t cheering his Mom on.
“Can you throw me another ball, please Henry?”
He opened his backpack, but before he could reach inside a Pokeball flew out circled around his head and then sped towards the Lapras. Belle and Henry watched as the flying ball made a perfect capture. Gid clapped his hands together and laughed.
“Okay. So, I guess Uncle Gid’s magic is coming out.”
Belle scooped the ball from the ground; “Looks that way. Well done Gid. That was a very good catch.”
Gid made grabby hands towards the Pokeball and only grumbled a little when Belle insisted on wiping the mushed rusk from his fingers first. When he finally got hold of his Pokeball he cuddled it to his chest and babbled gently at it as he snuggled back into his stroller. Belle snapped a photo to send to Rumple.
“Looks like someone is ready for a nap.”
Henry bounced a Pokeball against his palm; “Do you think he’ll let us use that Lapras for the Gym Battle?”
Uncle Gid was teething at the moment and could be a bit grumpy about letting go of his favourite comfort toys, which now included the best Pokemon they had caught so far.
Belle shrugged; “Erm, might be best if we can find another one, just to be on the safe side.”
Gid pointed a sleepy finger along the dock where another Lapras had just popped into existence. Henry whistled under his breath; “Thanks Uncle Gid.”
Belle chuckled as they started towards the new Pokemon; “I’m sure Gid didn’t make that appear Henry.”
Henry raised an eyebrow at her in a manner that was a pretty good imitation of his grandfather. Belle rolled her eyes; “Okay, he probably didn’t.”
Perhaps a quick phone call to Rumple would be a good idea just to make sure that Gid’s magic wouldn’t interfere with the spells already running today.