Chapter 3

Our heroes walked down the street towards the Pokecentre.  The doors opened and another Nurse Joy greeted them.

"Hello Ash!  It's sure been awhile since I last saw you!  My relatives keep on saying nice things about you."

Brock quickly stepped between them.  "Hi, I'm Brock!  I hope your relatives said nice things about me too!"  His face was turning red again.

Ash and Misty looked at Brock with embarrassed expressions.  They lowered their heads, shook them, then sweatdropped.

Nurse Joy looked a bit stunned, giggled, and then replied, "Some things never change.  I still remember how you wanted to volunteer at the centre, and that goofy look on your face whenever you saw me."  She then turned to Ash and Misty.  "I guess he gives my cousins and sisters the very same treatment, huh?"

"All the time," remarked Misty.

Nurse Joy smiled, took Pikachu and the other pokemon, and got back to her work.  "Wait for a few minutes, your pokemon will be ready by then."

Brock punched Misty at the back of the head when she wasn't looking.

They began to wait.  After a few minutes of silence, Ash spoke up.

"It sure seems that there's no one coming to the centre today," he observed.  They all turned and looked around the lobby.  It was quite empty, and they were the only ones there, even though it was the afternoon.

"You're right Ash," said Misty, "I think that new gym leader scared everyone off."

Nurse Joy came in with Pikachu and some pokeballs on a tray.  "Misty here is right.  I feel so sorry for those pokemon that came in here, we had many close calls in the ICU.  This place was full for the first few months, then everyone began to know about what was happening and decided to stay away.  Everyone wanted to do something, but the leader was fighting by the rules.  There are no rules against roughness, not yet, so they're taking advantage of it.  I would also do something, but I can't risk my Chansey."

"Well, I intend to do something," said Brock.

Ash took Pikachu and all of his pokemon and they left for the nearest restaurant.

During their meal, they discussed strategies and what they know so far of the mysterious gym leader.

A waitress frequently went over to their table, often to replenish the napkins and bring more ketchup for Pikachu.

"I think that new guy will use rock or ground pokemon.  I mean it's only appropriate for 'Pewter City'," considered Ash.

"You could be right, but this guy is a vigilante, so he might have a few tricks up his sleeve," replied Brock.

After finishing their meal and paying the bill, the same waitress took their dishes.  The waitress wore a pink uniform with a white apron and cap, had short, orange hair, and looked very familiar.

The waitress was none other than James, in drag, and he carefully listened to their conversation.

"We better hit the gym if we want to get teach that leader a lesson he'll never forget!" declared Brock.

They got out of their booth, paid the money and got out the door.  James scurried to the back where Jesse and Meowth were waiting.

"I can't believe you made me wear this!" he complained.

"Quit your whining!  Tell us what they said!" cried Meowth.

"They said that they were going to the gym, and that they were teaching the leader a lesson.  I also heard that this leader is ruthless, so that means they MUST have powerful pokemon!"

"Ruthless, you say?" inquired Jesse.  "We better not tell the boss about this leader, or else he'll replace us with that guy!  The only thing to do is just steal his pokemon, and where will he be then?"

"Another wonderful idea!" exclaimed Meowth.  "Boss will take me back as his number one kitty!  I'll be top cat again!"  Meowth thought of all the attention he would get, and leave that Persian out in the cold.

"Quit your daydreaming, Meowth.  We have work to do!" recalled James.  He was out of that silly drag and back in his uniform.

Team Rocket left the restaurant to a small forest where their balloon crashed.  The deflated face of Meowth hung loosely over the branches.  They began to work on their devious plan.