Summer time had come round again, and Camp Indigo was in full swing. Children between the ages of six and ten attended the camp for two weeks during summer to give their parents a break, or to help them make new friends. It had been a few days since the camp had begun and the children participated in different activities, like swimming in a river that ran by the camp, and playing with tame Pokemon.
The camp was set on an acre of land in the heart of the forest to the west of Pallet Town and was centred on a large pond. Small cabins were built between trees and the customary large dining room, where the whole camp came together, was located in a small clearing near the entrance.
At the far side of the park in a small, wooden cabin sat red-headed Misty Waterflower. Her legs dangled over her top bunk bed lazily and she held her head up in one hand. "I hate camp! Stupid sisters," she complained. I can take care of myself. They don't look after me anyway
, the seven-year-old thought, still angry at her three sisters who had sent her to camp so that they could "make over the Gym"; though Misty knew they just wanted to get rid of her. Misty's family owned the Pokemon Gym in Cerulean City and she had lived there all her life.
The young girl wasn't good at making friends, partly because she didn't try, and partly because of her temper. She tended to be bossy and so most of the kids steered clear of her. She had a single friend at the camp, and that was her pet Seel, which her sisters had agreed to let her take along. She wore Seel's Pokeball around her neck, and just knowing that it was with her always made her feel better.
Across the camp in his own little cabin on the other side of the pond was six-year old Ash Ketchum. He lay on his bottom bunk with his hands folded behind his head. "I hate camp! I miss my mom," Ash moaned sadly, rolling over onto his side. "Big boys don't cry," he reminded himself sternly, quickly wiping the tears from his eyes. Ash's mother was very protective of her son and hadn't wanted to send him to camp at all, but on the advice of her good friend, and Kanto's resident Pokemon expert, Professor Oak, Delia had been convinced that the experience could only be a good one for Ash. It was true that he enjoyed the camp's activities, especially playing with the Pokemon, but whenever they had spare time, Ash would always start feeling homesick.
"Look, baby Ash is crying again!"
Ash didn't even need to turn around to know that it was Professor Oak's grandson, Gary, standing in the doorway. Another reason that Delia had let Ash go was because Gary would be there and she believed that the boys were friends.
"I'm not crying!" Ash yelled angrily, but his shaky voice gave him away.
Gary Oak wore a purple shirt and dark pants and his light brown hair stuck up messily on his head.
"Does little Ashyboy miss his mommy?" Gary smirked, grabbing something from his bed.
"Grr, get OUT!" Ash yelled, balling his fists.
"Yeah, yeah, you're no fun. Smell ya later," Gary shrugged, bored of his little game. He shut the cabin door behind him.
"I hate camp," Ash sighed again.
"Time for Pokemon activities!" a voice over the loudspeaker called.
Misty smiled at this. The only things she liked about the camp were swimming and getting to play with all the different Pokemon. She came from a Water-Pokemon gym, so naturally she liked Water-types the best. She jumped down from the bed and headed out toward the large pen that held many different tame Pokemon.
Across the camp, Ash Ketchum grabbed his red and white Pokemon League hat and raced out the door. Pokemon were his favourite thing in the whole world and when he was old enough, he was going to be a Pokemon Trainer.
The two arrived at the Pokemon pen at the same time. Ash was trying to avoid Gary and see the Pokemon over the group of children, while Misty was busy looking for a Water type Pokemon.
"Quiet please," a teenager dressed in a red Pokemon Ranger's uniform said. Her name was Amanda and she was one of the camp counselors that helped look after the children.
"WOW, she's so pretty!"
Ash and Misty turned simultaneously to stare at the muttering dark-haired boy standing next to them. He had black, spiky hair and wore green and orange. Ten-year-old Brock lived in Pewter City where his father was the Pokemon Gym Leader.
"Weird..." Misty muttered under her breath, creeped out by the boy's infatuation.
"Yeah," Ash nodded, trying not to laugh.
Misty turned and smiled at the younger boy. He had messy black hair that stuck out under his cap and wore a blue jacket and light blue pants.
He smiled back, laughing as Brock pushed through the crowd of children to get to Amanda.
"Okay, now make sure you be gentle with the Pokemon. They're not toys," Amanda warned, directing her speech more toward the younger children in the group.
"Yeah, mmhmm, Pokemon aren't toys," Brock gurgled absentmindedly.
Amanda opened the gate and the children rushed in. Misty saw a Staryu and ran over to it right away, while Ash stood there for a moment trying to decide which Pokemon to play with first.
Amanda took a seat in a chair across the pen from where she could keep an eye on the kids.
"Wow, this Staryu's really great," Misty said to herself, running her hand down the smooth golden scales of the star-shape Pokemon. Staryu had a brilliant pink jewel at its core which flashed prettily in the sun.
Ash had decided to wander over to a sleepy Bulbasaur and sat down next to it.
"Bulbaaaa," it yawned as he patted its head. It then rolled over and rubbed against the boy affectionately.
After a few more minutes, Ash stood up. "When I'm a Pokemon Trainer I might choose a Bulbasaur as my starter, just like you," he said happily.
Bulbasaur seemed to think it was a good idea and offered the young boy a vine which he shook as a sign of friendship.
Misty turned her gaze from Staryu for a moment to look at the other Pokemon. Four young children were watching a Meowth, which was rolling around with a ball of string playfully. There were Pokemon everywhere, from Pidgey and Rattata to Eevee and Squirtle.
Misty noticed that the older boy from earlier didn't seem interested in the Pokemon at all. Instead he was over talking to Amanda who seemed to be a little creeped out herself. "I'm already a Pokemon Trainer," Brock was telling Amanda impressively. "I turned ten last week and got my license, look!" Brock proudly pulled a card from his pocket and showed Amanda, who smiled and nodded.
"I think you'll be a great Pokemon Trainer, Brock," she sweatdropped. "Now why don't you go play with the Pokemon...?"
Misty tore her gaze away from the strange scene and decided to go and see Squirtle.
Meanwhile, Ash patted Bulbasaur once more on the head, said goodbye, and then looked around at the other Pokemon, trying to decide which one to meet next. He spotted a small, blue turtle over in the corner, and decided to take a look. Squirtle was another Pokemon that he'd get to choose from when he started his journey. The young boy had spent hours trying to decide what Pokemon he would pick, but he still had no idea.
"Hey Squirtle! BOO!" Gary yelled at the Pokemon.
The little blue turtle yelped in fright and dove into its brown shell which spun in the air before dropping to the ground.
"Hahaha, what a scaredy cat!"
"Hey!" Ash yelled as he approached, "What are you doing to that Squirtle?"
"Oh, if isn't little Ashyboy. I'm not doing anythin'," Gary replied innocently.
Ash knew Gary was terrorising Squirtle. He looked over to Amanda but she was too busy with Brock to notice what was happening.
Squirtle stuck its head out of its shell for a moment, and Gary yelled at it again.
"Stop that!" Ash cried angrily, bending over Squirtle's shell. "It's okay, Squirtle," he coaxed gently.
Slowly Squirtle stuck its head out of its shell again and peered cautiously at Gary.
"Hmpf, we were just playin', weren't we Squirtle?" Gary said, annoyed at Ash's interruption. He bent down and reached out a hand to pat the turtle on the head.
The little Water-type had had enough. It got to its feet and scurried behind Ash.
"Hey, what's going on?" a young girl asked suspiciously, as she walked up to the pair. Her orange-red hair was tied in a ponytail at the side of her head and she wore a yellow shirt with red braces and blue shorts.
"I was just playin' with Squirtle and then this kid came and scared it," Gary pouted.
Misty turned to face Ash and realised he was the same boy from earlier.
"Hey! That's not true. You were the one scaring it!" Ash retorted, standing up to face Gary.
Misty took one look at Squirtle huddled behind Ash and could see who was lying.
"Give that Squirtle back! I was playin' with it first!" Gary took a step toward Ash, intending to push him.
"No way!" Ash yelled, stepping forward also.
Misty moved in first, knocking Gary backwards. He slipped and fell onto the soft ground.
"What are you doing?!" Gary growled, his eyes narrowing.
"Don't ever hurt a Pokemon again! 'Specially a Water type!" Misty yelled angrily, her hands on her hips.
Squirtle and Ash nodded in agreement.
"Gary Oak! What are you doing?" The three turned to see Amanda staring over them. It seemed she had finally managed to escape from Brock.
"She pushed me!" Gary sobbed, pretending to wipe fake tears from his eyes.
"He was scaring Squirtle!" Misty and Ash said in unison.
"There'll be no fighting at this camp," Amanda replied sternly. "As your punishment you will all miss out on swimming this afternoon. Now come on, Pokemon activities are over."
As soon as she was gone, Gary got up, poked out his tongue at Ash, and then followed the crowd of children out of the pen.
Misty turned to the young boy beside her. "That was pretty brave," she said shyly.
Ash grinned, "I didn't want Squirtle to get hurt... Wait… you have a Pokemon?!" He peered at the Pokeball tied around Misty's neck.
"Yes, it's my pet Seel" Misty replied protectively, her hand automatically moving to her necklace.
"That's so cool! Um, what's your name?"
"Misty," the redhead replied, "Yours?"
"Wanna be friends?" Misty blurted out nervously.
Ash screwed up his face. "Huh? I don't wanna be friends with a girl!" he cried, as if she was crazy.
"What?!" Misty yelled in disbelief, her temper flaring. "I just saved you from that bully!"
"Did not! I could have done it myself!" Ash said indignantly, folding his arms.
"OUT!" yelled Amanda from the door of the pen. The other children had already gone to get their bathing suits on and the two young Pokemon enthusiasts were the only ones left.
Misty and Ash exited obediently.
"I can do anything a boy can do!" Misty flared when Amanda disappeared.
"Prove it!" Ash said.
"I will!" Misty shot back.
The pair were half way toward their cabins when Ash stopped walking.
"Ha! I bet you can't catch a Pokemon!" the young boy challenged.
"I can too!"
"Can no- ...Hey!" Ash stopped in mid remark. He'd spotted a small, green caterpillar Pokemon, with a large, pink antenna on its head, crawling along the branch of a tree.
"Catch that one then," he said, poking out his tongue.
"AHHHHH!" Misty screamed, jumping behind Ash. "Get that gross thing away from me!"
Ash burst into laughter. "I didn't know you were scared of Pokemon, Misty."
"I'm not scared of Pokemon!" Misty said agitatedly, "I just hate BUGS!"
"Aw, but Caterpie are just sooo cute," Ash trilled happily, moving toward the caterpillar.
As soon as it saw him coming, it scrambled up the tree.
"Urgh, you think that's cute?" Misty whimpered, shaking the image of Caterpie from her mind. "I don't ever want a Bug Pokemon. I'm gonna to be a Water Pokemon Trainer..." she trailed off.
"Then catch that one..." Ash shrugged, pointing over her shoulder. There at the edge of the pond was a small jellyfish Pokemon. It had two tentacles and two large red jewels on its head with a smaller one in the middle. Its body was a sky blue colour and it wasn't moving. Ash presumed it was asleep in the sun.
Mist gasped. "It's... so... pretty!" she cried in delight.
Ash looked at her strangely.
"What?" Misty shrugged, blushing. She turned back to the Tentacool. All at once a determined look came over her face and Ash was sure he could see fire burning in her eyes. He stepped back.
Misty's fists were clenched by her side and she stood in a battle stance with one foot forward. "I'm gonna catch it!" she cried, pumping her fist into the air. "Er... how... do I catch it?"
Ash sweatdropped and fell backwards. "Duh, with a Pokeball..." he muttered from the ground.
"Do I look like I have
a Pokeball?" Misty snorted, her arms crossed. "And everyone knows that. What do you think I am; six?" she shot back, her embarrassment turning to anger.
"Hey, what's wrong with six?!" Ash cried, hurt at her remark. He sat up.
Misty ignored him, shaking her head. "I know I have to use a Pokeball, but where am I gonna get one?"
Ash allowed himself to fall backwards again, losing interest in the conversation. He looked up at the clouds in the bright, blue sky. "Ooh, look, that one looks like a Pikachu!" he laughed happily.
Misty was not amused, "Are you gonna help me or not?!"
"Oh, right..." Ash replied slowly, getting to his feet.
"I got it! That guy who's always chasin' Amanda said he was a Pokemon Trainer. Maybe he could lend me a Pokeball," she grinned.
"He's a real, live Pokemon Trainer?!" Ash asked excitedly, "That's SO cool!"
Misty shrugged. "I bet he's in the dining room with Amanda," she rolled her eyes. "Let's go."
The dining room was where the counselors hung out when they weren't on duty. Ash and Misty trudged there slowly, talking about all the Pokemon they would catch when they became Pokemon Trainers.
"And I'll have a Staryu," Misty finished, as they pushed open the dining room door. Sure enough, Brock was standing at the side of the room, wringing his hands anxiously.
"You wait here," Misty said to Ash, who began to protest, but was quieted when the redhead glared at him.
She walked over to Brock. "Hi," she smiled sweetly up at him.
"Er, hello," Brock said, looking past her and through a doorway from which Amanda's voice could be heard.
Misty shrugged. "You're a Pokemon Trainer, right?" she asked, trying to get the boy's attention.
"Yep... Pokemon Trainer..." Brock replied, not even glancing at her. Misty began to get mad.
"So you must have some spare Pokeballs, right?" Misty questioned. The boy nodded. "So... do you think I could borrow one?"
"What?" Brock asked unsurely, finally looking down at her. "What do you need it for?"
"I wanna catch a Pokemon!" Misty said happily.
"You can't catch Pokemon; you're too young, and besides you need your own Pokemon to weaken a wild Pokemon before you can catch it," Brock replied.
"Pleeeeease," she begged, clasping her hands under her chin and putting on her sweetest smile.
Brock shook his head. "Sorry... oh look... Amanda's coming!" he smiled dreamily.
Misty cut the sweet act and grabbed the boy's arm. "I wonder what Amanda would think if I told her that you wouldn't help me..." she whispered slyly into his ear. "On the other hand... I bet she would think you're really kind to help a kid like me out..."
Brock frowned, considering the idea for a moment. "You could be right..." he said finally, fumbling in his pocket.
Amanda appeared in the doorway and Brock handed two Pokeballs to the young girl. "Here, you can have all
my spare Pokeballs," he said loudly so that Amanda would hear. "What can I say, I just love
Misty snatched the balls from his hand. "Thank-you!" she cried, running toward the entrance. She grabbed Ash's hand on the way out and dragged him outside.
"What are you doing?" Ash cried, pulling his hand away.
"We're in trouble, remember?" Misty said, "We can't let Amanda see us messing around."
"Oh..." Ash replied, spotting the orbs in Misty's hand. "Yay, you got the Pokeball!"
"I got two," Misty grinned, raising her fingers in a 'V' shape. "Want one?" She handed Ash one of the balls.
"Woooow, a real Pokeball. Thanks Misty!" Ash grinned, clutching the ball to his chest.
"Now I'll show you that I can catch that Tentacool!" Misty exclaimed, and the two headed back to the pond.