It was an average afternoon as I plugged the old cartridge into my GBA SP, wishing I could find my old Gameboy Color so I didn't have the cart awkwardly sticking out. Firing up the game, everything went normally. I chose Cyndaquil as my starter, and played for an hour or two, pausing at the Pokémon center south of Violet City, near the cave that leads to Azalea Town. There I saved, and turned off the game for a bit.
The next day, I turned on the game to play some more but I noticed something odd. The time was the same as it was when I had turned off the game before, as though the game simply stopped keeping track of time while it was shut off. Deciding it wasn't something I needed to worry about, I kept going to Azalea Town. I got to the gym and saved before going to fight Bugsy, but had to take care of something else so I turned the game off again. When I came back to it, I went ahead and fought Bugsy. But something else happened, and this time it grabbed my attention.
Somehow, in the hour or so while I was gone helping my brother, my Cyndaquil had gone from level 12 to level 15, having evolved into Quilava. And when Bugsy sent out his Metapod, its health was already half gone and it had the burn status. The same thing with Kakuna. Scyther had a little damage, but no burn status. Either way, this didn't seem right.
After the battle, I went to the Pokémon center like normal and healed up, before going to the west end of town. Saving before going too far so I didn't trigger the rival battle. I shut off the game then and and went to Google. Wondering if anyone else had such a weird event happen. All I could find was that older carts of the game can have the internal battery die which could explain the game clock error, but nothing on the odd level up and weakened gym leader.
Turning the game back on, I was greeted to an odd sight. I know I hadn't triggered the rival battle, but when I loaded the save my rival was standing in front of me. I talked to him, but all he said was "Keep that crazy thing away from me!" before turning and running off like he normally does after the battle. Checking my Pokémon, I saw that Quilava had gone up to level 19. I didn't know what was causing this, but I decided to keep playing. I continued on through the forest to Goldenrod city, where the weird got even weirder.
I approached the gym after healing up and saving outside it, by now Quilava had hit 21 and learned Quick Attack. Wanting to level up my other Pokémon, like Pidgeotto and Geodude, I put them ahead of Quilava in the team. But when I started the first trainer battle, I saw this message "Quilava wants to battle! Go, Quilava" and Quilava popped out instead. I tried switching him out for Geodude, but each time I got the message "Quilava wants to battle!" I kept going, until I got to Whitney. I turned to head out of the gym to try and heal up, but each time I got to the door I was stopped and saw the message "Quilava doesn't want to stop" and was turned around.
Thinking I could always go back to the save outside the gym if I got KO'd, I walked over to Whitney. Once again, the message appeared and Quilava popped out. The battles with the Clefairy started off badly, with the first using Water Gun through Metronome. At this point Quilava had already taken quite a few hits, so the super effective attack brought Quilava's HP to 0. But, he didn't faint. Instead, I saw a message saying "Quilava endured the hit!" as though I'd used Endure. The rest of the battle went that way, every time Quilava got hit, the message showed up and it somehow avoided fainting.
After the battle I went to heal and save at the Pokémon center. By now it was getting late, so I turned the game off. The next day, when I turned it back on, Quilava's level was the same as before, but this time it had mail. Portrait Mail, with a picture of itself and the circles replaced with the little flame that shows up for the Ember attack. The text written said "Ilovebattlingforyou Letmeburnmore". I stared at the screen for another few moments, utterly stunned. This Pokémon was talking directly to me. As much as it scared me, I decided to continue playing, thinking I should see this through to the end.
Heading north I continued through the usual path to Ecruteak City, Quilava still refusing to let anyone else battle and repeatedly Enduring whenever his health was gone. Healing up at the Pokémon Center I decided to go to the Kimono Dance Theater first, since I was going to need Surf. I wasn't sure how I'd use it since any water Pokémon I'd try to capture would get annihilated. I managed to beat all the trainers, and get the HM before healing up and heading to the Gym.
It didn't take long to get through the trainers there, they were Ghost type so I had to rely entirely on Ember to get me through. It wasn't super effective, but it seemed to inflict the burn status more frequently than I remembered. After beating Morty I headed to the Pokémon Center to heal and save, turning off the game to go get something to eat.
When I turned the game back on, there was another mail attached to Quilava. This time it read "Burning is fun! Do you like?" At first I wondered if the game was asking me a question, before a Yes/No prompt showed up. I tried to pick No, but the game wouldn't let me. So I hit Yes, and I was rewarded with Quilava's cry. I didn't like these messages, or what was happening, but I had to keep going.
Heading west I kept fighting more and more trainers, and this time because the game forced me. Like before in Whitney's gym, whenever I managed to sneak around a trainer, I didn't get far before I was halted and saw the message "Quilava wants to battle!" before I was turned and moved right into the trainer's line of sight. By now Quilava had learned Flame Wheel, and I was also noticing that his Fire attacks were still doing a lot of damage even to Pokémon that should be resistant to them. Not super effective, but doing normal damage. It also seemed like the sprites for the Fire attack animations were brighter somehow.
Soon enough I reached Olivine City, and I began wondering how I was going to get any further. I remembered you have to have Surf and get some medicine to get the badge here, so I obtained the Good Rod and tried to fish. At first everything I tried to catch was just instantly destroyed by Quilava, before finally I fished up a level 20 Krabby. It survived with a little health left, so I threw a Poke Ball and caught it. Teaching it Surf, I healed up at the Pokémon Center before going to the Lighthouse.
I made my way to the top fairly easily, Quilava curb-stomping just about everything we ran into. Since their levels were much lower than him, he didn't get much exp but he did reach 34 by the time we hit the top. I talked to Jasmine like normal, and she said I needed to get the medicine. So I left, healed at the center, and proceeded south west across the ocean.
Through the battles with trainers, by the time I reached Cianwood City, Quilava had evolved into Typhlosion. His power seemed to have gone up exponentially, since Flame Wheel almost OHKO'd everything we fought. I got the medicine and decided I might as well beat the Gym here. It'd give me the HM for Fly, which I could teach Pidgeotto. I headed into the gym, and things took another turn for the worse.
The first trainer battle went normally, but after defeating him, I saw Typhlosion's sprite (like the one it has in the Pokémon menu screen) standing between me and the trainer. There was a flash, and the message "Black Belt Yoshi was burned!" showed up. Typhlosion's sprite vanished, and I checked to see he was still there at the head of my team. When I tried talking to the trainer he just said "Please keep that thing under control!" None of the other trainers in the Gym would battle me, except the leader Chuck. Instead of his usual message he said "That Pokémon of yours isn't normal, it burns with a flame I've never seen before. If you do not control it, it will destroy you. Take this Badge, for I don't wish to risk my Pokémon against yours"
I then saw the screen for obtaining a badge, and I left the Gym. Chuck's wife still gave me the HM for Fly, so after healing up I taught it to Pidgeotto and headed back to Olivine. Running back up the Lighthouse I gave the medicine to Jasmine. Everything proceeded normally again, letting me breath easy for a bit. Until I walked into her gym to face her. The battles went normally, until after I used Flame Wheel.
Naturally it destroyed the Magnemites she had in one hit, but instead of the usual "Magnemite has fainted!" message, it read "Magnemite has melted!" I stared horrified at that message...my Pokémon had actually melted that poor Magnemite...I wanted to stop right there, but I knew I couldn't. I needed to see this through. The same thing happened when I faced her second Magnemite, and again with her Steelix.
After the battle, Jasmine's normal message was replaced with "I can't believe you did that...your Pokémon is truly a monster...take this badge and leave" No TM or anything after that message. Talking to her again prompted her to demand I leave. I flew back to Ecruteak City to make my way east to the next town. As I Surfed along the path, the trainers there refused to battle me. When I talked to them, they'd simply say "I heard about you, and I'm not endangering my Pokémon in a battle with you!"
As soon as I got to Mahogany Town, the usual stuff with Team Rocket was going on, so I headed north. Even the Rockets displayed messages of fear about my Pokémon, refusing to battle. I got to Rage Lake and Surfed up to battle the Red Gyarados. Normally I try to capture it since it's so rare, but it wasn't an option. Somehow, Typhlosion's Flame Wheel was now super effective against water types. The flames in the animation were a brighter yellow-orange now, and the first hit brought Gyarados' health down to half and I saw the message "Gyarados was seriously burned!"
The damage from the burn after the round ended had brighter flames in the animation as well, and did more damage than burns usually do. I tried to use Quick Attack to try and simply weaken Gyarados, but I couldn't I was instead greeted with the message "Typhlosion wants to burn!" Going with Ember instead, hoping the weaker attack wouldn't kill it, I saw its health drop down to 1/4th. But then when the burn damage came it finished it off. Flying back to Mahogany Town, I headed into the Rocket HQ.
The usual encounter with a Rocket member there and Lance played out normally, but when I started making my way through the Rocket members refused to battle me. Even the guards that normally do automatically, simply ran over to me then backed away. The only ones willing to fight were the Executives, and when their Pokémon were KO'd, the usual message was replaced with "(Pokémon) was burned up!" and ended with horrified messages from the owners afterward. When we finally shut down the operation there, Lance said his usual message, but with something extra at the end.
"That creature in your team isn't a Pokémon. I don't know what it is, but it's not normal. Go to the Seer in Cianwood, she can help you" This didn't make any sense though, I was playing Silver. The Seer is only in Crystal. But, when I flew over there, sure enough the Seer was there. I went to talk to her, and the following dialogue played out.
"Chuck told me about you. I knew you would come back, someone would point you to me. Your Typhlosion is not of this world...its flame burns unnaturally hot. And it's far too aggressive. You must control it, or it will destroy everything. Take this" followed by the message "Seer gave you SPECIAL TEA". Then more dialogue "Give that to your Pokémon, and make it drink. It must drink, and calm its flames. Or the world will burn..." Talking to her again only prompted the last two sentences to repeat. I saved my game one last time, and opened the Item menu.
Selecting the Special Tea from the Key Items section, it asked "Use on Pokémon? Y/N" and after hitting Yes "Which?" I chose Typhlosion, and heard its cry again "Typhlosion refused to drink!" I kept trying, but each time the cry got a little louder and the same message popped up. I also began to notice an odd heat coming from my GBA. No, it was from the cartridge. Every time I tried to use the Tea on Typhlosion, it got a little warmer. Thankfully nobody was home, so I got up and headed to the kitchen where we keep a little fire extinguisher.
I continued to try and use the Tea, each time the cartridge getting hotter and hotter forcing me to hold the GBA awkwardly. After I don't know how many tries, this time I didn't hear the cry. The message came up "Typhlosion drank the SPECIAL TEA! Something's happening..." The heat coming from the cartridge grew so fast I barely had time to drop the GBA, as it and the cartridge burst into flames. I grabbed for the fire extinguisher, but just as I was aiming it I heard Typhlosion's cry one last time, much louder, before the flames vanished.
For a few minutes I stood still, staring stunned at the GBA on the floor. No smoke, nothing. And it was still turned on. Putting the fire extinguisher back, I carefully picked up my GBA and saw the message "Typhlosion returned to normal!" I talked to the Seer and she said "This evil has been defeated, for now. But be warned, it is an evil that lurks in the hearts of us all. And it may resurface again..." The screen flashed white, and when it returned to normal I was standing outside the Cianwood Pokémon Center. Running back up, I found the Seer was no longer there.
Walking over to the ocean, I fished up Pokémon to test Typhlosion. He let me use other attacks now, and the animations for Ember and Flame Wheel were back to normal. And they weren't super effective anymore. I could also use my other Pokémon now, and switch during battle. I'm not sure what was with that Pokémon, why it acted this way. All I know is it was back to normal, for now at least. I talked to Chuck again, and Jasmine, but they both just acted like I'd beaten them normally.
Over the next few days I beat the rest of the game, gathering and training a team, beating the Elite Four, etc. Everything worked normally. Afterward I put the cartridge back in the bag with the other old Gameboy games I owned, moving on to other games. But every now and then, out of the corner of my eye I swore I saw a puff of smoke and I'd swear I could hear, very faintly, Typhlosion's cry...