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~Ice Cave Calamity~

Vulpix By My Side
     It was a very cold but crisp morning up in the mountains between Mahogany Town and Blackthorn City. A thin wisp of smoke drifted into the sky as Pokémon trainer Tamaro Cuben covered his dwindling campfire with dirt and the light dusting of snow which had fallen during the night.

     As he stood staring out into a valley below and at the Johto region stretching out to the horizon, he could tell it was going to be a lovely day. A chilly breeze hit, which caused him to pull his coat collar up a bit. It would be a beautiful day, but it certainly was not yet.

     "Well Vulpix, shall we get moving?" Tamaro asked his companion. Vulpix replied with an enthusiastic "Vul", making him smile.

     Tamaro was an average lad in his mid-teens. What his exact age was he couldn't really say. He had left home on a Pokémon journey at age 13, and had lost track of all time in the years since. Though he was average enough himself, his love for Pokémon was not. Unlike so many trainers who dream only of battling and battling until they become Pokémon masters, Tamaro had a total love for all things Pokémon. Feeding and breeding, catching and raising, drawing and observing, it was all what made him tick. No element of the Pokémon world was complete on its own, to him it had to be everything or nothing. Despite the fact that he didn't focus as heavily on battles as so many others, he still had plenty of skills in that department.

     Tamaro first began a "normal" Pokémon journey at age 11 when he actually caught his Vulpix in the wild by throwing a Pokéball. After he had captured it he found that the only reason the Pokéball had worked was because Vulpix was injured. It was a rocky start, but once Vulpix was healthy, Tamaro had a Fire type, just what he needed to go against his hometown's Gym Leader, Erika. After a few local wins, he challenged the Celadon Gym Leader and won, mostly due to Vulpix's experience in the wild. Shortly after, he caught an Oddish and a Bellsprout and headed northwest toward Pewter City. On the way he captured a Jigglypuff. With two Grass types he was able to beat the Gym Leader, Brock, but after coming that far Tamaro could tell that this was not the path for him.

     His first Pokémon journey came to an end as he realized that he wanted to devote his time to actually knowing and really understanding Pokémon rather than battling with them and doing the Gym Badge routine. He returned home. When he decided to release his captured Pokémon, something struck him that hadn't before-- he and his Pokémon were friends. In the short time he had been on his adventure, they had gone from servants, to companions, to very good friends. At that point he chose not to release them, but to stay with and love his Pokémon forever.

     In the years that followed, he had seen many battles, learned many lessons, caught many Pokémon, and gained many friends. His journeys had led him all over Kanto and half of Johto now.

     Vulpix nudged his leg, shaking him from his memories. It was indeed time to move on, and so they did. The night before they had stopped and set up camp because it was getting dark and the next part of their journey would lead them through the Ice Cave. Now its opening loomed before them.

     The thin dusting of snow quickly became a thin layer of ice almost the instant they set foot into the cave. With each of Tamaro's steps came a crackle as tiny cracks spread around his feet in all directions. Before long the ice began to get much thicker. Vulpix was doing all right, but Tamaro had to take it slow in the slick darkness, grasping the ice covered rocks in the walls as he made his way.

     After a time his hands could not stand the cold any longer. He tucked them under his arms and promptly slipped flat on his back. Fortunately the thickness of his back pack was enough to save his head from smacking against the ground. Vulpix jumped onto his chest, giving a concerned look.

     "I'm all right, but it's really gonna be rough going in here." He laughed to his friend.

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