I spun around to see a branch falling from a tree. Hudson was nowhere to be seen, but in my mind every tiny rustle or crack was him coming to finish me off. The poison wasn’t helping matters either; my head felt like it was in a blender, and I had only just managed to shake off the double vision.
“Okay... Just calm down...” I told myself, closing my eyes to take a deep breath in... and slowly letting it out. I checked my surroundings again. “Why would he do that to me?” As much as I wanted to find out the answer, I knew I had to focus on surviving first. If he really did this, then I needed to get out of here. Fighting to keep my balance, I stumbled over to the plants and entered the path towards the town. Getting back in this state would be a challenge, but I didn’t have a choice.
The river came into view sooner than I expected; had he been leading me in circles the whole time? The log, however, was nowhere to be seen. I began walking alongside the river, hoping I was heading in the right direction. If not, I’d still be getting farther from Hudson. Before long, something in a bush up ahead caught my eye. It was pink, and didn’t look unlike a Pecha Berry...
“Ohhh, no! Ya just hold up a sec!” Hudson dove through a bush between me and the Pecha Berries, stumbling and landing on his face. “I didn’t drag ya out here just so ya could scamper off back to town!” He yelled as though he was reprimanding a child. I instinctively stepped back. It took all my willpower to keep from running away.
“I thought we were friends; you poisoned me, didn’t you!?” I knew the answer but wanted to hear it from his own mouth to be sure.
“And it looks like it’s comin’ along darn well, too.” He replied proudly, noting how pale I had become. His eyes moved down to the money I was keeping safe.
“Is that what this is about? My money?”
“I’ve gotta make a livin’ somehow. Course, I wasn’t planning on draggin’ ya out here, but, ya know, one thing lead to another. Yer bag was useless, but the Poké yer carryin’ was just too good to pass up. Speakin’ of which...” He held out his arm for the money.
“So, it was you? You have my bag?” I asked, trying to stall while I thought of a plan. “Where is it?
He patted the oversized explorer’s bag sitting at his side. I knew I was at a disadvantage; the poison put battling out of the question. However, I still had some leverage over him. If I was careful, I might be able to get my items back.
“A stick was in my bag. Do you still have it?”
There was a confused grumble from Hudson as he undid the buckle on his bag and pulled out the sharp stick without taking his eyes off me. “I haven’t got around to throwin’ it away yet,” he taunted, holding it as though it were a piece of rubbish.
“I’ll make a deal with you. Hand over the stick, and I’ll give you the money.”
“Ha! Yer really not in any position to-“
He halted mid-sentence as I held the money over the river, ready to drop it at a moment’s notice. Scowling, he tossed the stick at my feet.
“And my bag,” I added hastily.
“The money first. Yer already pushin’ yer luck, kid.”
Even with my stick as a weapon, I was still too weak from the poison to attack him. Seeing no other option, I tossed Hudson the money.
“And I was beginnin’ to think ya were smart.” He greedily scooped it into his bag, still watching me.
“My stuff, then?”
“Now I know I said yer bag was useless, but there’s always someone out there willin’ to buy,” Hudson explained, taking a seed out of his bag then buckling it closed. By the time I realized what he was doing it was already too late. The moment Hudson bit the seed, he vanished.