1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Reinterpretation of Pokemon White

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Valin, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. I recently finished the main quest of Pokemon White, and I thought the storyline was actually pretty good. The more I thought about it, the more I felt inspired to write a self-styled retelling of it. This is a reinterpretation of Pokemon White, which is to say that it follows its events, but some things will be changed up a bit. Still, this will have spoilers, so if you are still on the main game of White/Black, or are planning on picking it up, I suggest pressing the "back" button. As for the rest of you, I hope you enjoy my story!

    Draped in a white cloak, the young man enters the chamber, followed closely by seven aging men. The room is dimly lit, and crowded inside, parted down the middle of the room, forming a path for the man and his followers, are several people, dressed in white armor. The armor doesn't serve for any real combative purposes, but rather, as a reminder of a time several millenia ago... a time that will return soon.

    While the chamber is silent, the feeling of joy can easily be sensed. Despite the happy time that he is at the center of, however, the young man feels at unease. Life had been simple for him. Unusual, perhaps, but simple, where it was just him and his friends. However, it is those same friends that drove him to accept where he is now. If not for his own sake, it's for theirs, and the millions of others like them. It's this reminder that allows him to stand firm before those that look upon him as their ruler, and as a visionary that will see the world returned to the way it should be.

    I must be strong, thinks the young man. All the eyes trained on him belong to good people who revere him, believe in him, share his dream, and would even lay down their lives for his sake. The least he can do in return is keep his head held high and let them believe that he is unflinching in carrying out the duty at hand.

    At the back of the room, there is a large chair, and he knows that starting here, it's something he is going to have to get used to sitting in.

    The walk across the chamber is slow, and feels longer with every thought running through his mind. This is what his life had been leading up to, and nothing will be the same. It's only natural to have doubts... but he cannot allow that to make him turn back. The world, since time immemorial, had been walking down a dark path. Its inhabitants are not bad people, not all of them anyway, but they have been horribly misguided, and it's his job to see that it put back on its correct path before the problem plaguing it becomes irreversible... If it hasn't already. He internally chastises himself for those thoughts. He mustn't be pessimistic. No one else can do this. For the millions that are suffering and being hurt, even as he ponders it, he must accept his destiny and put an end to it.

    After what feels close to an eternity, he reaches and stands before the chair, and turns to face his followers. His gaze lingers on two young women at the back of the room, who he has a particular fondness for, as they have been like sisters to him, and they probably understand him better than anyone else present. Just the sight of them eases him for what the next few seconds will bring.

    Six of the men following him step to the side, in two rows of three, while the remaining one walks up to the young man, holding a golden crown. He raises it up high and gently places it on the young man's head.

    Knowing that from here on, the only way is forward, the young man raises his arm. In response, all before him kneel before their new king.

    The dawn of a new era...

    ---

    I let out a deep yawn, and not for the first time today. Never, in my sixteen, now going on seventeen, years have I been awake for more than thirty hours. The thought of just collapsing on my desk and calling it a night has occurred to me, but I know I must stay awake, as I'm in the middle of something very important; something that could determine how the rest of my life is spent.

    I'm inside a simple room with a white ceiling, blue wallpaper, and a black and sky-blue tiled floor. Around me, there are mostly other desks, and some shelves filled with equipment with use I can only guess. Beyond the door outside, there is some light commotion. I'm in a small side room in what is a very active laboratory. There are three other people in the room. Six feet, to either side of me, are my two best friends in the world, and at a large desk across the room from us is a young woman who we had come to look at as our mentor over the last three years.

    At a desk to my left is a girl in a white and orange dress and green hat, with short blonde hair, and short figure. Her name is Bianca, and she had been my best friends since third grade.

    To my right, in a blue jacket over a white shirt, dark pants, and a pairs of spectacles, with dark hair and a tall figure contrasting Bianca's lacking height, is Cheren. He'd been friends with me and Bianca since the sixth grade, but after recent events, that status might... just might, be subject to change.

    Right now, Bianca, Cheren, and I are taking a test, and by test, I mean a written one, and it's probably the most important test of my life up to this point. At least it's multiple choice, so thank goodness for small mercies. As for what the test is about, let me start from the beginning: I live in a region called Unova, which is a small part of a world much different than yours. Now, I don't know what kinda place you come from, but I bet you'll be all kinds of jealous when you hear about what we humans share this world with.

    Normally, one of the worlds many researchers would be explaining this, but since I'm the narrator and all, I guess it's up to me. This world is widely inhabited by creatures called Pokemon (and I think I just said something a professor would say. Yikes). They come in many different shapes and sizes, with all kinds of abilities, but what sets them apart from other animals is their relationship with humans. Sure, a lot of them are kept as pets, but others catch, train, and battle them to become closer. These people are called Pokemon Trainers.

    Of course, when you're going to be in charge of creatures that can breathe fire, shoot lightning, and do all kinds of other crazy stuff, people need to know that you can use that power responsibly... and that brings me to where I am now, and the process of getting there is not easy: it requires buckling down, hitting the books very hard, and passing a one-hundred question written exam, and believe me, being someone who catches, trains, and battles Pokemon is a lot harder than it sounds, and to make it harder, in Unova, aspiring trainers have to study as a group of three. I know, that doesn't sound bad at all, but all three also have to pass the exam. Supposedly, this is supposed to promote the concept of unity, which I hear is essential between trainers and their Pokemon. If even one fails, all three fail, and have to wait a year to take the exam again... so yeah, no pressure there, especially when you're the lowest achiever of the trio.

    This isn't to say I get bad grades, at least not all the time. I'm a C-average, with a couple B's. The subject that I consistently get A's in is Unovian. What can I say? How hard can it be to speak your own language? But, overall, I'm an average achiever with a decent vocabulary.

    Cheren, on the other hand, is an honor student. Straight A's, all across the report card, and while Bianca doesn't really let it on much, she's a pretty good student too. Not honor student, or even top twenty material, but she does well enough, with mostly B's.

    Pokemon is a subject that is covered in school every now and then, but it's mostly something to be studied on one's own time, usually with the help of a professor, which brings me to the forth person in the room, wearing a long white lab coat over a white shirt and green skirt, with her brown hair done up in a somewhat out-of-fashion hairstyle, sitting at a desk at the far end of the room, eying Cheren, Bianca, and me with her seemingly permanent smile.

    Despite being in her early thirties, though she occasionally acts more like a teenager, probably to better relate to me and my friends, or something,  Professor Juniper had already made a name for herself as a world-class Pokemon researcher, a status I originally thought was only reserved for old dudes. Still, she took it upon herself to teach the three of us the ins and outs of Pokemon, and I actually remember some of what she taught. It's nice when you can have a teacher who is patient with you and doesn't expect you to remember everything the first time through. I like her, and had never fell asleep during one of her seminars, though the fact that they took place over the weekends did kinda rub me the wrong way, but whatever. With me and my friends at least attempting to make the cut as Pokemon trainers, Professor Juniper is the one who is making it all possible for us, so we a basically in her debt.

    I let out another yawn as I stare at my test paper. To prepare, Cheren made Bianca and I pull an all-nighter, hence the reason I hadn't slept for so long. Before the exam, Cheren, who long before now, made it no secret that he wants to be a great trainer, said that if Bianca or I fail the exam, and keep him from getting his trainer's license, he would strangle us. He meant that as a figure of speech... or so I try to remind myself, but he said that in such a cold and measured tone, I'm not exactly sure, not to mention, even though he said “Bianca and me,” he was eying just me. He knows I'm the weakest link, and now, I feel the stapled together packet of papers lying before me does not just determine whether or not I get my trainer's license, but also whether I live or die. Once again, no pressure.

    Across the room, Professor Juniper says to me, “Ria, are you doing okay?” I realize I hadn't touched my test for several minutes. Good thing this isn't timed.

    “Um... Yeah. I'm good,” I half-lie.

    I glance at Cheren. He's marking off answers without hesitation. I know I don't have to worry about how he's doing, even though I kinda hate him at the moment. I look over at Bianca. One of her hands is holding her pencil, while the other is scratching the back of her head. She's not going as fast as Cheren, but still at a good clip. I'm the only one who's stalling here.

    I try to reassure myself. Alright Ria, this is the moment you've spent the past three years preparing for. You were up all night getting ready. You did not go through all this, just to fail now. Just calm down and you'll do fine... but just in case, I should pray.

    Um... Arceus? Um... Could you... y'know, help me pass this test, so I can get my license, become a trainer, and so Cheren won't kill me? Please? Thanks!

    After making my life's first and only prayer, I stare back down at my test paper... Yeah, as if I were expecting all the right answers to magically appear. Thanks, Arceus, you've been a great pal... Sigh...

    Of course, this is all me. I look at the question I left off on:

    Question #39: Which of the following Pokemon types has the best advantage against a bug-type?
    A) Dark-types
    B) Flying-types
    C)Fighting-types
    D)Water-types
    E) None of the above

    Maybe this isn't so bad after all. This has got to be the easiest question yet! The answer is C, of course: Fighting-types! I've been watching Fighting Pokemon movies my whole life, and I know they are too hardcore to lose to some cricket!

    I glance at Bianca as she lets out a yawn of her own. She was awake through the night too, studying for this test. At least I'm not alone. I look at Cheren, and if he's tired, he isn't showing it. I guess it's understandable, though. He had been preparing for years, just for this moment. It's not that Bianca and I don't want to be trainers. We've admired them for years, but while Cheren has a goal, we're taking it one step at a time and maybe or maybe not find a goal.

    Every single person is required to own a Pokemon when they come of age, as wild Pokemon are very dangerous, and the best thing to protect them from Pokemon are Pokemon of their own. My mom owns a cute white critter called Minccino, which does a decent job of fending off wild Pokemon whenever we go for walks near the wilderness, but when I was vacationing in Sinnoh back when I was eleven years old, I saw one of its Elite Four (a small group of a region's top trainers) members, Flint, competing in an exhibition match. One of his Pokemon was a dragon-like fire thing called Charizard. Back then, and maybe even a little now, it scared me a lot, but what really caught my eye was how Flint could just stand there, completely unfazed by his own Pokemon. He wasn't afraid at all, and I wondered if I became a trainer, if I could command something so terrifying, yet so powerful. It made me realize just how amazing Pokemon trainers are.

    That flashback is enough to get me thinking more deeply about questions ahead. I mark off a few answers, fairly confident. I briefly give Cheren another glance, only to see he's no longer at his desk. Instead, he's walking up to Professor Juniper with his test packet, handing it to her, “I'm finished.”

    “Very good,” says the Professor, “Return to your seat and I will grade it right away.”

    Doing as instructed, Cheren returns to his desk. I'm not even halfway through my questions, so I guess he'll just have to sit there, bored stupid, while he waits for me and Bianca to finish. I guess I'll look at it as a small form of revenge for that all-nighter he forced us into.

    I look at my next question.

    Question #47: Which of the following is not a fighting-type?
    A) Ursaring
    B) Hitmonchan
    C)Throh
    D)Meditite

    Another fighting-type question? No prob! The one that isn't is A: Ursaring. I don't know what an Ursaring is, but I know all the others are Fighters, and that's good enough, I think. I let the confidence I'd gained from that question carry me past the test's halfway point. I'm almost to the sixtieth question when Bianca hands in her completed test to the Professor. I'm the only one left.

    By the time I'm at question seventy-three, Professor Juniper announced, “Cheren, I have finished grading your exam. You have gotten ninety-three of the one-hundred questions right. Congratulations! You've passed!”

    Cheren looks a little surprised, probably because he was expecting a higher score, but he ultimately decides to count his blessings, “Thank you, Professor.”

    With a smile, she says, “Now, on to Bianca's test. Ria, you're the only one who is not finished. How far are you?”

    “I'm getting there,” I say, “Just forty or so questions left.” I chance a quick glance at my friends. Both of them are staring at me. Bianca's expression says, “Good luck, Ria,” while Cheren's says, “Don't you dare screw this up!”

    The trial of my trainer-ship (and possibly even my life) continues. Just as I'm at question ninety-nine, Professor Juniper announces, “Bianca, I have finished grading your exam.”

    Nervously, Bianca responds, “Y-yes... um... How did I do, um, Professor?”

    Professor Juniper beams, “Eighty-one questions right. You've also passed.”

    Bianca lets out a relieved sigh, “Oh... good...” I can practically hear her heartbeat from where I'm sitting.

    The professor glances at me, “Ria? Are you just about--?”

    “Finished!” I announce loudly as I mark off the last question, get up so fast, I knock my chair over, and run my exam over to Professor Juniper.

    “Perfect timing!” says the Professor, “I will get started on grading yours. How did you think you did?”

    Instead of a straight answer, I let out a nervous laugh instead.

    I watch Professor Juniper as she looks over my test. The next few minutes are the epitome of tension. Every time the Professor marks the paper with her pen, presumably to mark something wrong, more sweat drips from my pores.

    Finally, the Professor looks up from my paper, and I'm so nervous, I wonder if what I'm feeling is what it's like to go into cardiac arrest. Here it is! The moment of truth! I glance at Bianca and Cheren. They seem almost as nervous as me, not that I blame them. I'm sure it would suck a lot to get good scores on the exam, only to fail anyway because of me. I feel a little less bitter toward Cheren. If I fail, I'd probably wanna kill me too.

    Professor Juniper looks at us sternly. Oh crap... … ... Suddenly, however, her facial expression eases into a smile. Is she toying with us? Just gimme the stupid score already! “Ria... Out of the one-hundred questions...” Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, “... you got exactly seventy correct! Congratulations! You pass! You all pass!”

    Bianca, Cheren, and I exchange silent glances with stunned euphoria. I passed the test... heck, with a decent score, no less! We're gonna become Pokemon trainers? This... pardon the cliché, feels too good to be true!

    The Professor claps her hands together as she rises from her seats, “Very well done! It's always such a joy to see my students succeed.”

    “We never could have done it without you, Professor,” says Bianca gratefully. Cheren nods in agreement, and I follow suit. It's times like this that remind me how important the Professor is to all of us.

    Professor Juniper says, “I'll hand in your scores and get started creating your licenses. By noon tomorrow, you'll have them, your first Pokemon, and whatever else you need to be certified Pokemon trainers.”

    “Thank you, Professor,” say me and my friends in unison.

    As we turn to leave the room, the Professor calls out, “Oh, Ria?”

    I glance back, “What is it, Professor?”

    Professor Juniper beams, “Tomorrow is your birthday, isn't it?”

    “It is.”

    “Wonderful! I'll have to find you the perfect present!”

    “Yeah, thanks...” There was some mischievous edge in the Professor's voice. She's probably up to something...

    ---

    Bianca, Cheren, and I leave the lab, and none of us are able to conceal our excitement, not that we want to. All those Saturday classes, all of Cheren's brutal study sessions, that test. In the end, it all payed off!

    Outside the lab, the sun had already set behind the distant hills, and nightfall isn't far off. Today was a hot day, but the temperature had lowered, and is now accompanied by a calm breeze. It's nice, and if weather had a way on conveying the feeling of victory, the feeling of joy and relief after extreme hardship, this is totally it!

    The lab is located in a place called Accumula Town, a village located toward Unova's southeastern area. My friends and I walk due south in the direction of Route 1, a pathway that leads to our homes in Nuvema Town, though that place is really a 'town' in name only. It's more like the residential district of Accumula Town. I slow my pace so that it matches that of Cheren and Bianca. I may not be the the biggest intellectual out of our trio, but I am the most athletic, having played sports for most of my life, and even though I'm tired, and could still easily outdistance them if I walk at my normal pace.

    “I was so nervous,” says Bianca, “I thought I was gonna fail for sure!”

    “You were nervous?” I ask, “You should have been me when the Professor was about to announce my score. I felt like I was about to have a heart attack.”

    “I had a lot of trouble on one question,” says Bianca, “I think it was the one which asked which of the Pokemon types is best against bug-types.”

    “You had trouble with that one?” I ask, “That was the easiest one! The answer was fighting-types, obviously! They're too hardcore to lose to some bug.”

    Cheren half-chuckles, half-sighs, “Honestly, Ria. Was it a miracle that allowed you to pass the test?”

    Or divine intervention? I think to myself, recalling my prayer.

    Cheren continues, “I will tell you for a fact that the answer to that question was flying-types. Bug-type exoskeletons are resistant to fighting-type energy, making their effectiveness limited. I know how much you adore Fighters, Ria, but they have weaknesses, just like all Pokemon.

    Good old Cheren, our walking, talking Pokemon encyclopedia. I want to argue, but he keeps such a calm and measured composure, it's hard to deny that he's right. Everyday, it gets harder to believe that there was once a time when he was nervous around Bianca and me, primarily because we're both girls. I knew him during most of my time going through school, but we didn't become friends, or really, even talk, until sixth grade. Before then, he was this quiet kid who always had his nose in a book. Bianca and I used to remark to each other how he could possibly stand reading 24/7, and that he's probably the weirdest kid in school. As time went on though, and we got a little more mature, our read on him changed from 'weird' to 'lonely,' as he never had anyone close by and we figured that maybe he could use a friend. So, we came up to him one day and asked if he wanted to hang out with us. Since I guess he thought he had to act a certain way around girls, he was pretty quiet and insecure around Bianca and I at first, but after a couple months, he got used to us, and we'd been friends since.

    Knowing I don't stand a chance of winning an argument about Pokemon know-how with Cheren, I decide to change the subject, “Um... anyway... What was with failing us if even one of us fails? I mean, I know we're grouped up, and all, but seriously, one fails and everyone fails? That isn't fair at all. That's gotta be the stupidest rule I'd ever heard.” Actually, it's Unovian law that requires this of would-be trainers, which is to say it's not some clever scheme Professor Juniper cooked up, if that's what you're thinking, because I would never say something to badmouth her after all she did to help us. Still, I don't get that law at all.

    As usual, Cheren has an answer, “It's a part of our preparation as trainers. Humans and Pokemon need to work hard together, and bring out perfection in one another. That law mirrors that concept, as we need to help each other achieve perfection. One weak link means failure.”

    “I still don't buy that,” I say, “But whatever. It's a law. Complaining about it won't help... though I am still kinda sore about you keeping Bianca and I up all night.”

    Cheren smiles wryly, “I might not yet be a trainer, but I have a philosophy, which I extended into our studying session: I believe that working rigorously hard and pushing the limits is the key to success... and seeing as you passed the test, Ria, if you have any leverage to prove my methods wrong, I fail to see where it's coming from.” Sigh... Typical Cheren. He's my best friend, next to Bianca, but he can be difficult sometimes...

    Not one to see anyone argue, especially her friends, Bianca sees this as the perfect moment to cut in, “Um... so... we passed! Yay! We should celebrate! Maybe we should have a we're-now-trainers party!”

    Still smiling, Cheren asks Bianca, “You do know that tonight is a school night, right?”

    Bianca's body jolts slightly, “Oh yeah! I can't believe I forgot!”

    “But it's only a part-day,” I add, “Last day of school before summer vacation, our last day as juniors, and senior graduation day.” I let out a yawn, “Besides, after being up for two straight days, I don't think I have the energy to party...”

    My yawn must be contagious, because soon after me, Bianca yawns too, “Oh yeah... Good point, Ria...”

    … and Cheren makes three, as he adds a note of his own to our chorus of fatigue. He blushes, like he always does when he loses his composure, even a little.

    It's dark by the time we reach Route 1. Standing before the gateway is a man with a trimmed beard. Around his waist is a belt, and attached to his belt are two red and white balls, which are small enough to comfortably fit into the palm of a person's hand: Pokeballs, capsules Pokemon trainers use to store their Pokemon whenever they aren't needed for something. Pokemon trainers can be hired for many different tasks. In this case, he's waiting for non-trainers who are planning to head down Route 1 from Accumula Town to Nuvema Town, so he can escort them there. Night has fallen, and that's when particularly dangerous wild Pokemon are known to come out, so to defend those who don't have Pokemon to defend them, Pokemon trainers are hired to play bodyguard.

    Cheren, Bianca, and I had walked with this trainer several times, but he always keeps to himself, so I don't even know his name. All I know is that the two Pokemon he always has with him are just awesome.

    He grabs the two capsules from his belt, and two flashes of light later, his Pokemon appear. One is human-shaped... we kinda, except that it has four arms instead of two. It's gray and has muscles rippling from every last corner of its body. The other is an eight-foot-long red bug-thing. Cheren once told me they are called Machamp and Scolipede. Both of these Pokemon look downright dangerous, and whatever's lurking in the woods would be crazy to pick a fight with them.

    Route 1 is a road with the ocean on one side, and dense wilderness on the other, and that's where wild Pokemon lurk. It's a short walk. Heck, during the day, you can even see Nuvema Town from Accumula Town across the way, but it's best not to take any chances making this trek alone. It occurs to me that this is the last day we'll actually need the trainer that's escorting us. Well, thanks for the help, whatever your name is...

    As soon as we reach Nuvema Town, Bianca, Cheren, and I go our separate ways and head to our respective houses.

    ---

    As soon as I enter my home, a two-floor white building with blue shutters around the windows, mom is there in the kitchen, hard at work making dinner. By her feet is a small Pokemon with round ears, large dark eyes, and a bushy tail: our pet, Minccino, a gift from dad, and mom's partner in housekeeping and battles in her free time.

    As soon as mom spots me, she says hopefully, “Welcome home, Ria! How did it go?”

    I try to answer, but another yawn cuts me off. Instead, I give a V for victory.

    Mom's face lights up, “Oh, congratulations, Ria! I knew you could do it, especially after all those hours you, Bianca, and Cheren put in last night...”

    I groan at the memory, not needing to be reminded of it again.

    Mom announces, “Well, I'm almost done preparing a victory feast for you. It will be ready in a half-hour!”

    Even if I failed the exam, I know the 'failure feast' would have been equally grand. That's because mom always cooks a massive dinner, mostly for herself, just so she'll be occupied. My dad works abroad in Kanto, another region of the world, far from Unova, as a Pokemon trainer, doing work as an escort, a lot like that man that walked Bianca, Cheren, and I back to Nuvema Town, though Kanto has longer Routes and much more dangerous wild Pokemon, thus, his work pays a lot of money; more than enough, in fact, that mom doesn't even have to work. Therefore, she keeps looking for ways to keep herself occupied, from cooking big meals, to doing over-the-top housekeeping projects. Whenever there's nothing to do, she usually takes Minccino out for some recreational battles with her friends.

    I want to object that I'm really not all that hungry, and that I just want to eat a light meal and go to bed, but after all the effort mom put into making dinner, I can't bring myself to just turn her down. Instead, I say, “Alright. Thank you,” and head upstairs.

    As I pass the bathroom, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and it's not a pretty sight. My brown hair, which I usually keep in a ponytail is all messy and tousled. I usually don't care much about the condition my hair is in, since, as a sports player (even being the only girl on Accumula High's football team once, as a freshman), I'm used to things like sweating a lot and my hair getting messed up, and the like, but it looks worse than normal. I wonder if I had been messing up my hair as a nervous reaction to the exam, without even noticing it. My eyes are half-open and I'm partially hunched over. Simply put, I'm a wreck.

    Since mom said dinner will be in a half-hour, I decide to take that chance to take a quick shower. I head to my room, removing the two pieces of clothing I wear everyday: a black vest and a white baseball cap with a pink visor. I head to my dresser and go through my clothes to decide what I will wear tomorrow. I decide on a sleeveless white shirt and a cut-off pair of jeans-shorts. Mom has occasionally said I should try to dress more lady-like, but I've never listened, although I do compare myself to Bianca every now and then, and feel a tad envious, since, compared to me, she's so pretty and feminine.

    The shower is nice and it manages to wake me up, even just a little. I change into the clothes I plan to wear tomorrow, and yes, I even wear them to bed, instead of wearing PJs. When it comes to clothes, I tend to be extremely lazy.

    I go downstairs, where dinner is waiting, and as usual, there's enough for a gathering. After dinner, I brush my teeth and head to my room.

    Needless to say, my body tells me that I should head straight to bed and sleep like a Snorlax, but I catch a glimpse of my DVD wallet next to the flat-screen TV across from my bed, and my mind wanders to one item inside it; something that had made me interested in Pokemon training in the first place, and with the fact that I'm becoming a trainer tomorrow, I just can't help myself. I open the wallet and find a DVD labeled, “Sawk's Revenge.” I slip it into my DVD player, dim the lights, and recline into my bed as the movie begins.

    Sawk's Revenge is a “Pokeflick,” a type of movie that stars Pokemon, and is a fine part of Unovian culture, filmed in Nimbasa City. They are all action films, with several Pokemon battles throughout. The Pokemon talk like they always do, saying their names over and over, but the subtitles translate what they are saying, or at least what they are supposedly saying as the story dictates. The film begins with the main character, Sawk, living in peace and training with his older brother, Throh, and their master, Mienshao. However, that lifestyle is brought to an abrupt change when the evil Emboar of the Hellfire Fist comes along and murders Throh and Mienshao (or really just KO's them, but the movie used special gore effects to suggest otherwise). Sawk was assumed to have been killed to, but he really is just left for dead. With some help, Sawk recovers and embarks on a journey to exact a bloody revenge.

    Okay, the story is pretty lame, I'll admit, but the fights are top class, and since they are Pokemon battles (the trainers' commands are edited out of the footage, though), the violence is 100% authentic, though some special effects may be used to make some injuries look more brutal than they really were. According to the credits, Sawk's trainer was Marshal of the Unova Elite Four and Emboar's trainer was Flint of the Sinnoh Elite Four, both of whom are pretty high on my idol list.

    The movie arrives at its climax, where Sawk and Emboar are about to have their final battle in front of a large temple. At this point, however, my eyelids have grown too heavy and it's beyond my limited power as a mere mortal to keep them lifted. I just let my eyes close and let the battle that's raging on the TV fuel my fantasy.

    I imagine myself as Emboar's trainer. Yeah, Sawk's the good guy in the movie, and of course, he wins the fight, but I think Emboar is way more cool. Fighting-types are my favorites, with fire-types as a close second, and Emboar is both. How badass is that? Is there any Pokemon more perfect?

    Instead of a temple, I picture myself at a huge grassy field, with many excited onlookers in the bleachers chanting my name, “Ri~a! Ri~a! Ri~a!” as they anticipate an exciting battle.

    It makes me wonder what lies ahead of me as a trainer.

    I'm about to walk a new road... and the destination is unknown, but finding out is part of the challenge. My life's next chapter begins!

    POKEMON!
    GENERATION V
    POKEMON WHITE: A Reinterpretation

    ... and that's the prologue. Sorry if there seemed to be anything off about the writing at the start, as I was still trying to adjust to this. At any rate, I hope you found it enjoyable. Actually, I have about thirty pages of this written as right now, but I'll space out the installments for your benefit. I hope you're looking forward to what's next! (sorry if there's any typos I'd missed)
     
  2. Now this is funny. It breathes life and more personality into the relatively blank characters of Cheren and Bianca. However, in the game, Bianca seems to be the below-average one, while the player character is the average one. Nevertheless, I am sure you will pull off your story well.
     
  3. Darn it, Secad beat me posting lol

    I must apologize for not commenting sooner on any of your works so far. You're definitely one of the best writer's on 'Charms and this only proves it further. I really liked the plot of Black and White so it was awesome to see it fleshed out like this. The descriptions and details were great and I really got a sense of the characters because I was able to get into Ria's head. Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that inspires me to be a better writer myself. It's so cool seeing your take on the Pokemon World (i.e. seeing the trainers actually take a test). I can't wait to see more of this and I'm continuing to work my way through The Superior Beings.
     
  4. Thank you for the comments everyone! It makes me happy knowing that people enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing it.

    The thing about anticipating something is that the closer the time you're waiting for gets, the slower time feels. Even though I feel asleep pretty quickly, I felt as if I had been sleeping for days when I woke up.

    Noontime is when Bianca, Cheren, and I are due to head to Professor Juniper's lab, but there is one thing we need to get through first: the last day of the semester at Accumula High School before summer vacation. Luckily, it's not a full school day, or even extending into the afternoon. It mostly consists of going around the school, reminiscing the past year, saying goodbye, taking some last-minute tests (none of which made me half of nervous as the Professor's), and all that jazz. The event concludes with the senior graduation ceremony. However, since I'm not required to watch that, I head home instead. Maybe watching it might have been a good idea, seeing as next year, Bianca, Cheren, and I will be seniors, and it would be us graduating, but it's not like missing it will keep that from happening, and besides, it's not like we have any friends in the senior graduating class... actually, there isn't much to say about friends, period. It's not like the three of us are unpopular, we all have a fair share of friends, just not good friends, no one we hang out with outside of school, or anything. For the most part, Bianca, me, and Cheren are one another's best pal.

    It's eleven o' clock when I arrive home, so I can unload my bag of books for the summer so I can load it with other things like Pokeballs and other stuff Pokemon trainers need. I pass the kitchen on the way to the stairs when mom calls out to me, “Ria! Professor Juniper came by earlier!”

    I stop in my tracks, “The Professor? What's up?”

    “Well, today is your seventeenth birthday...”

    “Yup... my birthday, last day of school, first day as a Pokemon trainer... the fortunes are just piling on today.”

    “Anyway, Miss Juniper delivered a large gift box. I brought it up to your room.”

    “Alright. Thanks. I'll check it out.”

    I head upstairs. Professor Juniper did mention my birthday yesterday, saying something about getting me the 'perfect present.' Whatever it is, I doubt it's that new pair of socks I so desperately need...

    I enter my bedroom, and, sure enough, there is a blue box, tied with a decorative red ribbon, waiting for me on top of my bed. It's about three feet tall and three feet wide, so it's a pretty big box. I notice a note on the side. I walk to the box to get a closer look. It says, “To: My dear students, Ria, Cheren, and Bianca, From: Your loving professor.”

    I let out a slight chuckle. When the professor said, “I'll have to find you the perfect present,” I thought she meant just me when she said “you.” Heh... Oh, that silly professor. Sigh...

    Since whatever's inside the box is meant for Bianca and Cheren, as well as me, I might as well call them over. I reach into my left back pocket and pull out small gray gadget, folded shut. I open it to see a large screen, or rather, three separate tiny screens bunched together on the top half, and number buttons on the lower part. It's a Xtransceiver, a fairly new communications tool, which allows people to contact up to three other people at once, allowing for four-way remote conversations.

    I punch in the frequencies of Bianca and Cheren's Xtransceivers, and wait for them to answer. We are hardly ever apart from our phones, and almost always answer a call, unless we're either asleep or in the shower.

    After three rings, Cheren picks up, immediately followed by Bianca, their faces illuminating two of the three small screens. “Hello?” say the two of them at the same time.

    I explain the situation, “Hey, guys. The Professor gave me a present, but your names are on it as well.”

    “That's... unexpected,” says Cheren, “I thought we were supposed to get all our Pokemon training equipment at the lab.”

    “I never said anything about Pokemon training equipment,” I say, “just that the Prof sent me a package meant for all of us.”

    Bianca says, “If... it's from the Professor, what else could it be?”

    “Whatever it is,” I say, “it's meant for the three of us, so could you come to my house so we can open it and find out what's inside? I'm dying to find out.”

    “Alright,” says Cheren, “I'll head over to your house right away.”

    “Me too,” says Bianca, and both of my friends end their communiques.

    Within the next fifteen minutes, Cheren arrives at my house. It's another five until Bianca arrives.

    “Sorry I'm late,” calls Bianca as she rushes up the stairs and into my room. She stares at the box for a few seconds, “It's... pretty big...”

    “Alright,” I say, “Let's see what's inside...” I tug on the ribbon, undoing the knot, and it slides off. I remove the box's lid. Inside is a tub of shipping styrofoam. I dig into it and it isn't long before I find something. I pull it out and see that it's a smaller box, the lid on this one fastened by three leather belts. The box-inside-a-box trick. How old is the Professor again? Bianca chuckles a little at Professor Juniper's attempt at humor, while Cheren remains with his usual composure.

    It doesn't take me long to notice that the belts have six small magnet things on them, three to either side of the buckle. It's the kind of belt Pokemon trainers wear, which they fasten their occupied Pokeballs to. All they need to do is reach down, grab a Pokeball from the belt, and they can send out their creature at a second's notice. It also lets people see how many Pokemon a trainer has with them (they can only have up to six with them at a time. Any excess are instantly teleported to Pokemon ranches across the world).

    I unlatch the three belts, obviously meant for each of us, keeping on for myself, and throwing the other two to Bianca and Cheren.

    “Alright!” says Bianca, admiring her gift dreamily, “A trainer's belt!” Wow, she's excited already, and we hadn't even opened the box yet. Still, we take this chance to fasten the belts around out waists, even though we don't have any Pokemon yet. It's something we're gonna have to get used to wearing.

    There is a large envelope taped to the top of the box. Cheren removes it, opens it, and pulls out a folded note. Inside the fold, there are three cards, each with our photos, names, ages, birth dates, and other stuff like that, all under the heading, reading: POKEMON TRAINER.

    These are our licenses! With these, we can be given the privileges Pokemon trainers get. Alright! This is what we've been waiting for! Bianca, Cheren, and I each take our respective licence cards, and put them in our pockets, each of us now officially sanctioned trainers. It's amazing what a little piece of plastic can do.

    With the note and the box's contents being the remaining mysteries, Cheren reads the note aloud,
    “Ria, Bianca, and Cheren,
    Congratulations of your acceptance as Pokemon trainers. It makes me happy to see three of my favorite students succeed.
    By now, I imagine you have gotten your Pokeball belts and your trainer cards. Never, ever lose the cards, as they are the things the allow you to legally capture Pokemon, compete in Pokemon League events, use most of a Pokemon Center's utilities, free of charge, and generally be given the recognition and privileges of being a trainer.
    Now for the last of my gift's contents: Inside the box are three Pokeballs, each containing Pokemon that have been bred specifically to be yours. They have already been given basic training, and can hold their own against lesser wild Pokemon, but there is still a lot of room for them to become stronger. They have also been trained to recognize whoever first releases them from their Pokeballs as their trainer, and will follow you faithfully.
    The three Pokemon are Snivy, the Grass Snake Pokemon, a grass-type, Tepig, the Fire Pig Pokemon, a fire-type, and Oshawott, the Sea Otter Pokemon, a water-type. Each of you may have only one of these Pokemon, so please come to an agreement as to who gets what before releasing them. You can tell which Pokemon is in which ball by the color on its center: green for Snivy, red for Tepig, and blue for Oshawott.
    Again, I am very proud of all three of you for making the cut as trainers, and I wish you luck in your future endeavors. Please come to my lab as soon as possible, so you may get the rest of your equipment.

    Professor Juniper

    PS: Happy seventeenth birthday, Ria!”

    Bianca opens the box. Sure enough, there are three Pokeballs inside, each with a different color on its center.

    My mind is also occupied on one part of the note: Tepig is the fire-type? No way! I may not be as much for research as Cheren is, but as a fan of Emboar in my movie, I made an exception, and found out that Emboar evolves, a process in which a Pokemon changes form and becomes more powerful as they get stronger, from Tepig, after a brief stint as a third Pokemon called Pignite. Oh man! The fortunes really are piling on today!

    Most new trainers are given a fire-type, a water-type, and a grass-type to choose from, and I've seen a lot of them self-debate on which they should choose. To me, it's always been a no-brainer. Fire-type, all the way! Even if I didn't idolize Flint, who is famous for being a region-class fire-type expert, that probably still wouldn't change my way of thinking. When I think of water-types, I think of a calm lake; when I think of grass-types (which manipulate plants, besides grass. Why they're called 'grass-types' instead of 'plant-types' is something I never got), I think of flowers; now, when I think of fire-types, I think of forest fires, the agony I felt when I touched an active stove as a little girl, an all-consuming force of destruction! What could be more appealing for Pokemon battles?

    As Bianca, Cheren, and I stare inside the box, I blurt out, “As the birthday girl, I claim Embo-- er, Tepig! The fire-type!”

    Cheren glances at me and says in a measured voice, “Ria, we need to come to a mutual agreement on which of us will get what Pokemon. I know you are partial to fire-types, but that may be a hindrance to you as a trainer. Good trainers recognize the potential in all Pokemon, regardless of type. To that end, it may be better for you to choose Snivy or Oshawott. I'm saying this for your own good.”

    “But... I'm the birthday girl...” As soon as those words leave my mouth, I realize how stupid I sound.

    “And you will get a present, no matter what. Plus, as you are a Pokemon trainer now, this will not be the last chance you'll have to obtain a fire-type. Count your blessings, Ria.”

    I glare at Cheren accusingly, “As if! You just want Tepig for yourself, don't you?”

    Cheren blushes and he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose, “I... won't deny that there is an element of truth in that claim...”

    Bianca hesitantly speaks up, “Um... I don't want to start an argument, but I was kinda hoping for the fire-type too...”

    A long silence passes between us, as we stare off. Oh gee, the “coming to an agreement” part of the Professor's letter is coming along just swimmingly...

    Finally, Cheren breaks the silence, “If we cannot come to a civil agreement, perhaps we can settle this with the element of chance...”

    “What the heck's that supposed to mean?” I ask.

    Cheren explains, “Here's my idea: We will all close our eyes, and take turns blindly taking a Pokeball out of the box. Then, with our eyes still shut, we will drop the Pokeballs and release the Pokemon inside. Once they are released, the decision will be irreversible. We will have chosen which Pokemon is ours.”

    With an edge in my voice, I say to Cheren, “And what guarantee is there that you won't pull some cheap trick to take Tepig for yourself?”

    Cheren answers, “If you really trust me that little, then I will be the last to take a Pokeball. Also, I'll tell you what, Ria: since it is your birthday, you can be the first to pick out a Pokemon. You will have an equal chance at any of the three. The advantage will be yours.”

    I nod, “Okay, I guess that's about as close to an agreement as we'll get. I accept.”

    “Me too,” says Bianca.

    “Very well,” says Cheren, “Let us begin...” Cheren lifts the box up high, and lightly shakes it, shifting the position of the Pokeballs around. “Close your eyes,” he instructs. We do so, though, I close mind a little later than the others, just to make sure Cheren is following his own rules. He is. “You're first, Ria. Make your pick.”

    With my vision blacked over, I reach down to the box, touching what I assume is the edge at first, and then into the box. I soon feel the smooth, half-plastic, half-metal surface of a Pokeball. It occurs to me to cheat and squint my eyes open to see what I'm touching, but Cheren put his preferences aside so we could have a fair selection, and even if it did get me Tepig in the end, I couldn't live with the shame of spitting on my friend's generosity. I will do this with honor.

    Is Tepig in the ball I'm touching? My intuition, whatever it's worth, says no. I feel around some more and it doesn't take long for me to find another Pokeball. Tepig, Snivy, or Oshawott... It could be any of them. Wondering isn't gonna do me any good. I decide to take this one, and hope for the best. I blindly step away from the box, saying, “Got one.”

    “Okay,” says Cheren, “Bianca, it's your turn.”

    “Okay...” A few seconds pass, and Bianca says, “I have one.”

    “Now it's my turn,” says Cheren. Presumably, he reaches into the box and feels around until he finds the last Pokeball, “I have mine,” he finally says, “Let us release them.”

    I hold my Pokeball out above my head, and drop it. Professor Juniper gave us at least three sessions on how to operate Pokeballs, because it's such a common part of a trainer's career. We learned that if an occupied Pokeball drops from a distance of four feet or more, it will open, and release the Pokemon inside. As I release my grip, I open my eyes. We're now past the threshold.

    However, as soon as I open my eyes, I'm blinded again, this time by three bright flashes of white light, which is what happens with a Pokemon is released.

    When my vision clears, I look at Cheren. At his feet, there is a small, slender, almost serpentine, green and yellow Pokemon with short legs and arms, and a couple leaves at the tip of its tail. I don't know what Oshawott and Snivy are supposed to look like, but seeing as it's definitely not Tepig, and seeing as it's plant-ish, I'm guessing it's Snivy, the grass-type. Well, at least Cheren didn't get Tepig... … … Instead, that honor went to Bianca. At her feet is a red and brown piglet with a curly tail. For some reason, this feels appropriate. Who said the least wins the dispute; It's like a classic western movie...

    I look down at my Pokemon: It's a white and blue Pokemon, standing a little under two feet tall, with a flat black tail, standing on its hind legs. It has large black eyes and on its chest, there is a little yellow scallop.

    “... Oshawott?” I guess. It sure looks water-type-ish.

    The Pokemon smiles cheerfully and energetically wags its tail, “Osha!”

    Oshawott is looking at me like I'm his (or at least I'm assuming it's a guy) best friend in the world, and in his eyes, I probably am. According to the letter, these three Pokemon were bred and trained to be ours, so I'm probably the one he's been waiting his whole life (which I'm guessing wasn't very long thus far) for.

    Oshawott leaps several feet off the ground and into my chest. I reflexively wrap my arms around him, and we share a sweet, but awkward, embrace. Meanwhile, Bianca, and even the normally straight-faced Cheren seem to be sharing similarly tender moments.

    Oshawott is so adorable... and it's... my Pokemon... my partner... my friend. A wave of shame crashes through me. I feel bad... no, actually, I feel like a devil. At first, I didn't even want him, but now, even during this first meeting, I feel like I can't be without him.

    I put Oshawott down, and say, “I'm Ria. I'm... your friend.”

    Oshawott smiles again, “Sha...”

    I can't help but smile, “No, it's Ria. Ree-ah...”

    “Sh-sha.”

    I notice both Bianca and Cheren staring at me, and I have a good idea why. I probably look like I'm playing with a baby doll! Still, I decide to feign ignorance, “... What?”

    Instead of an answer, Bianca starts laughing. Even Cheren smiles and suppresses a chuckle.

    “What was that about wanting Tepig, Ria?” asks Cheren.

    “Tepoink?” Tepig looks at Cheren quizzically.

    “Wott?” Oshawatt looks at me in confusion.

    “I have no clue what you're talking about,” I lie.

    Oshawott, Tepig, and Snivy separate away from us and meet each other in the middle of the room.

    “What are they doing?” I ask.

    “Their greeting each other!” says Bianca, “They look so adorable together, don't they?”

    For a few seconds, it looks like Bianca is right, with our Pokemon smiling and chatting it up in their own unique languages.

    “Wott oshawott.”

    Ssssnivy sni...”

    “Poink!”

    Suddenly, however, their expressions change from smiling to... something else. Something intense, but confident. Something that says, “Let's do this!”

    Suddenly, Snivy body checks Tepig so hard, it flies across the room and into the wall, denting it.

    “Wh-what?” exclaims Bianca.

    “Ah! Some greeting!” I say.

    Oshawott grabs Snivy by its tail and swings it around faster and faster until he finally releases Cheren's Pokemon, which flies upward across the room, into a wall, and crashing onto the top of my dresser. In retaliation, Snivy whirls around, with its tail extending by about twelve feet, which it then lashes in Oshawott's direction. It wraps around my Pokemon, lifts him, and slams him into my TV, cracking it.

    “Oh crap,” I mutter.

    Snivy is about slam Oshawott again, but this time, my Sea Otter Pokemon counters by spraying a stream of water at the Grass Snake. It slams into the grass-type, causing its grip on Oshawott to loosen enough so my Pokemon can break free. Snivy's tail quickly shrinks back to its normal length. Tepig spews a cloud of sparks out of its mouth and across the room toward Snivy, who dashes out of the way of them. They keep going and ignite the wallpaper.

    I'm usually not one to repeat myself, but that's exactly what I do, “Oh crap!”

    Snivy leaps from my dresser to my bed. Tepig spews more sparks. Again, Snivy dodges and the bedsheets catch fire.

    I jump onto the bed to stamp out the flames before they can spread, and then tear it off so I can use it to bat out the fire on the wall.

    “Bianca!” I yell, “Tell Tepig to knock it off before he burns the house down!”

    “Y-yes...” says Bianca, “Um... Tepig! Please stop!”

    Tepig doesn't listen and charges at Oshawott. The two of them grapple.

    Knowing that this is starting to get out of hand, Cheren yells, “That's enough, Snivy!” It's not often he raises his voice. I guess I'd better get used to it, with him being a trainer now. However, Snivy doesn't stop.

    I try to talk some sense back into Oshawott, but seeing how successful Bianca and Cheren were, I'm not optimistic, “Hey, Oshawott! Chill out, alright?”

    Our words fail, and the Pokemon free-for-all rages on.

    Snivy returns to its perch on my dresser, only for both Oshawott and Tepig, who had apparently decided to form a temporary alliance against the Grass Snake, to body slam it, and send it tumbling to the floor, along with a lamp, which shatters on impact.

    “No good,” says Cheren, “They're not listening. We need to intervene by force!”

    Oshawott stomps on top of the downed Snivy, and sends a spray of water toward Tepig, who narrowly evades. Oshawott is about to stomp Snivy again, but as it turns out, the grass-type can slither, as well as walk. It slides out from under Oshawott and rapidly approaches Tepig. The two Pokemon clash and try to overpower each other.

    I dash in around the back and pick up Oshawott. Bianca and Cheren pick up their respective Pokemon while they are struggling.

    “We need to get them outside!” yells Cheren, “Now!”

    The three of us dash our Pokemon through the house, to the front door. Along the way, mom approaches me, “Ria, what was that commotion upstairs?” She look at Oshawott, “What's this?”

    I quickly sum up the situation, “Mom, meet Oshawott, my Pokemon, isn't he cute? Our Pokemon got a little out of hand and they got into a fight. My room looks like a war zone. You'll love it.”

    Mom's face lights up at the idea that she has a new housekeeping project, “Really? I can't wait to see it!”

    “Have fun, I say, carrying Oshawott out the door.

    Needless to say, we spend the next several minutes in my front yard, restraining our Pokemon. Finally, they calm down. The next thing we do, of course, is give them our reprimands.

    “Oshawott!” I say firmly, “That was very bad! Bad, bad, bad! From now on, you don't fight unless I tell you to fight! Do you understand me?”

    “O... sha...” I thought I was pretty lenient, all things considered, but apparently, Oshawott doesn't think so. He looks like he's about to cry.

    Yeah, Oshawott is my Pokemon partner, and we need to keep getting along. I decide to deliver a follow-up statement to cheer him up and hopefully get us back on the right foot, “Hey, Oshawott... I'm not angry. Let's just... just try to be more careful from now on, alright?”

    “Sha!” This seems to do the trick. Oshawott dries his eyes, nods, and forces a smile. At the same time, Bianca and Cheren seem to get things back on track with Tepig and Snivy.

    We return our Pokemon to their Pokeballs (all that needs to be done is to direct a Pokeball toward its corresponding Pokemon and say, “Return,” “Come back,” or whatever else to that effect. Responding to that voice-activated command, a Pokemon vanishes with a flash of light.) On the back of each one, there is a small magnet which easily attaches to the ones on our belts, and the hold is very strong. It would take quite a bit of tumbling and shaking to force them loose.

    “Well, that was fun,” Cheren half-jests.

    I roll my eyes, “At least mom won't be bored anytime soon...”

    “That was pretty cool, though,” says Bianca, “Um... besides the house almost burning down, that is. They're so small, but so strong. I can't believe they actually belong to us.”

    Well, the girl has a point. Our unofficial Pokemon battle was a pretty fun sight. It makes me more excited about what awaits Oshawott and me.

    “We're not done yet,” says Cheren, “The letter told us to go to Professor Juniper's lab to get the rest of the equipment we need.”

    “Alright,” I say, “Let's go!”

    We head to Route 1. There is another trainer waiting there, but since he sees that the three of us are wearing trainer belts with a Pokeball attached to each, he lets us by without offering to escort us. Wow, I might have to get used to this...

    We walk up the short road. No wild Pokemon try to ambush us, which is not surprising, as the dark-types usually come out at night, though there have been some times when a dark-type Pokemon called Purrloin, or even its evolved form, Liepard, had appeared during the day, but it's rare.

    We enter Accumula Town for the second time today (first being to school) and go to Professor Juniper's lab. At the entryway, where she was waiting for us to arrive, we tell her the story about what happened with our Pokemon. She gets a good laugh out of it, and I point out that she's lucky it happened at my house and that mom would have considered it a blessing if it burned down, since any other parent might have sued.

    “Why did you send us our Pokemon and that other stuff in a gift box?” I ask, “We were expecting to get everything here.”

    “Because it's your birthday, and I just wanted to show you that I cared,” answers the Professor, with a smile like what a movie star would have.

    “Um... thanks?”

    “I imagine we'll be getting some empty Pokeballs here,” says Cheren, “Anything else?”

    “Follow me,” says Professor Juniper with a motion of her hand as she turns and walks deeper into the building. We follow her to the bustling main area, where other researchers are hard at work at Arceus-knows-what.

    Finally, we're brought to a small table in the back. Lined up on it are three red devices with white highlights, folded. On the middle of one of the halves, there is something resembling a camera lens that a cell phone with that function may have, albeit bigger.

    The Professor picks up one of the devices and opens it. Besides having a camera lens, it has two screens on each of its halves, kinda like one of those recent handheld video game consoles. To the left of the lower screen, there is a direction pad, and two buttons to its right, one red, one blue. The camera lens are on the other end of the upper screen. Interesting device, overall, though what this has to do with being a Pokemon trainer, I don't know.

    The Professor explains, “This is a Pokedex, and I guess you could think of these as a digital 'me.' As you can see, it has a camera function, and it takes perfect shots of whatever you see through it.”

    Bianca raises her hand, “How is a camera a... um... 'digital you?'”

    Cheren speaks up, “I've heard about the Pokedex, and I believe it offers information about Pokemon, but I never learned how one works.”

    “Very good, Cheren,” says Professor Juniper, “Yes, that is what it does, but it can't do much without knowing what you need information on, and that's where the camera part comes in. Whenever you see a Pokemon you don't recognize, or if you see one doing something out of the ordinary, take a picture. Its data will be transferred via satellite to our archives, and whatever you might need to know about it will be sent back to your Pokedex in seconds. You can read the information on the lower screen, and if there is more than one thing to be seen in a picture, you can select it with the directional pad. The red button takes pictures, and the blue one confirms selections. That's about all you need to know.” The Professor hands me the Pokedex, while Bianca and Cheren pick the other two off the table.

    “A Pokedex...” says Bianca, looking at her knew device, “This is good. I don't know much about Pokemon...”

    “Neither do I,” I admit, “I'm sure it'll come in handy.”

    Cheren says, “I don't think I'll need mine quite as much, but there is still much left to learn. You have my gratitude, Professor.”

    “Yeah, thanks!” says Bianca and I at the same time.

    “Now, for the last thing,” says Professor Juniper. She kneels down and pulls three shoebox-sized containers out from under the table. Since they are made of clear plastic, we can see what's inside them: Pokeballs. Most of them are the standard red-and-white variety, but among them, there are a few blue-and-white Great Balls, and yellow-and-white Ultra Balls, the latter two being more effective at capturing Pokemon than the standard.

    We each take a container and load their contents into our respective bags. Each container has five Pokeballs, three Great Balls, and one Ultra Ball.

    “This is so great!” says Bianca, “I'm gonna catch every new Pokemon I see!”

    Professor Juniper frowns, “I rather you didn't, Bianca.”

    Bianca looks surprised at that statement, “What? Why? We're Pokemon trainers! Catching Pokemon is what we do, isn't it?”

    “I gave a lecture on this,” says the Professor, “Weren't you here when I did?”

    Bianca takes several seconds to search her memory, “I... don't. Maybe I was sick that day?”

    The Professor's eyes widen slightly, “Oh wait! You were. Okay, Bianca, I want you to listen carefully. There are three things that humans need Pokemon for. It's the two C's and the R. Say it together, now!”

    Throughout our lectures with the professor over the last three years, the Professor constantly reminded us what humans need Pokemon for, and gave it to us, practically as a mantra, which we repeated so many times, we easily know it by heart. Bianca, Cheren, and I recite it in unison: “Companionship! Competition! Research!”

    Professor Juniper claps her hands together, “Exactly! Now, capturing several different Pokemon is considered a sign of a trainer's success, but let's look at this from a Pokemon's point-of-view. A Pokemon fights for its own freedom in the wild, but when you do capture one, it sees the potential you represent, and will follow you, as all Pokemon desire strength. However, if you're only capturing Pokemon as status symbols, one becomes nothing more than a creature you took from its home. That said, I want you only to capture Pokemon you need; Pokemon that you know you can't be without, whether it be for companionship or battle, or Pokemon I request for you to capture for my research. You're Pokemon trainers, not Pokemon catchers, and the Pokemon you catch expect you to bring out their power. Don't disappoint them. If you do, you'd best do it a favor and release it. Am I getting through to you, Bianca?”

    Bianca looks at the floor and nods, “Yes, Professor. I understand.”

    Professor Juniper smiles, “Good. This goes for all three of you. Also, don't be too hasty to start capturing Pokemon. Make sure Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott are well-trained before you add another Pokemon to train. Take everything a step at a time.”

    I nod, “Will do, Professor!”

    “Understood,” says Cheren.

    “Got it!” says Bianca.

    “Good!” says Professor Juniper, “The three of you are now certified Pokemon trainers! Make me proud!”


    TEAM UPDATE
    [​IMG]

    Okay, I'm sure the "Don't Catch 'em All" part might have been shocking to some, but just seems to make a tad more sense to me, realistically, at least. I mean, if you go for catching all the Pokemon, I'm sure in a lot of cases, that would mean just catching something for its Pokedex description, and then leaving it to rot in a PC box, though I think it's somewhat justified in the games' case, because all Pokemon are capture requests from Professor Oak/Elm/Birch/Rowan/Juniper. Maybe I'm just over-analyzing it. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this!
     
    #4 Valin, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  5. ...
    ......
    I... I am allowed to add this story to my stalking list? Because it is epic (not to mention Ria has Oshawott ♥). I really like your writing style and how you just make images pop up inside my head~ I can't wait for more~ Keep up the epicness~
     
  6. Now this was quite funny. Making it a chance selection made it more fair and realistic than the whole 'player character chooses first' thing. Oshawott in this was made cute instead of irritating, thank goodness. I hated its cry in the game.

    Now, I have to agree with the professor. Pokemon are shown to have emotions and intelligence like smarter animals, meaning it would hurt them if they spent a lot of time in digital form. This is quite unlike the games in which we just catch away.
     
  7. Ha! I think your opposition to the Gotta Catch 'em all is perfectly rational. Fan-fiction isn't exactly like the games after all: Pokemon are flesh and blood creatures and can't just be shoved into a PC box and forgotten about. I totally agree with you and Secad there. I must say that I'm a little sad that Ria didn't get Tepig as I'm very partial to Emboar, but Samurott is awesome too. Either way, another great chapter ♥
     
  8. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    This fic is amazing! You pull of present tense so well and I love the minor breaking of the fourth wall in the Prologue. Ria's personality is so amusing to read and I like how she accepted Oshawott right away even though he wasn't her fist choice. Honestly, I thought she was going to end up with Tepig, so that made for a good early twist. :)

    I agree with Secad and Carmen about the "Gotta Catch 'em all" bit on how it is unrealistic to have all 156 Pokemon (at least in Unova) because of how much maintenance even one is. I noticed some typos here and there such as missing quotations or "on" instead of "one" but those things happen to all of us writers and yours did nothing to detract from the over all story. I will definitely be back for future chapters.
     
    #8 Psycho Monkey, Apr 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  9. Two days pass.

    Since my room is trashed, I decided to put my new privileges as a Pokemon trainer to good use and sleep at Accumula Town's Pokemon Center. A Pokemon Center is a place where trainers take their Pokemon to be healed from battle. Thanks to the technology used by these places, a Pokemon can be completely relieved of whatever pain and wounds it sustained while inside its Pokeball, and come out as good as if there weren't any injuries to begin with. Besides medical treatment for Pokemon, there is some medical service provided for humans as well. Besides that, lodging is provided for trainers, which is what I'm taking advantage of, as well as food and supplies. In other words, it's a trainer's safe haven, and as long as someone has a trainer's card, all the services, except for purchasing supplies, are free. How's that for being spoiled...? Or so I'd say if not for the fact that the lodging is one room filled with small beds, and it's hard to sleep through other people's snoring.

    During the days, and well into the evenings, Cheren, Bianca, and I head to Route 1 and head a little ways into the wilderness. The deeper in we go, the more wild Pokemon seem to be willing to attack us, which is just fine, because battle is the best way for Pokemon to become stronger, and every time Oshawott, Tepig, or Snivy steps in to protect us, they seem to fight better and better. The rest of the time, we have our Pokemon spar. It's amazing how rapidly our Pokemon are improving such a short time.

    We leave the forest, and get back onto the road between Nuvema and Accumula, with the sun setting behind the horizon.

    “Another successful day of training,” I say, “I dunno about you guys, but I'd say Oshawott is just about ready for something real.”

    Looking off to the side, Bianca says, “If you think so, Ria, your chance may be on its way...”

    “Hm?” Headed down the from Accumula Town road is a person. It's a little hard to tell his or her features, due to the distance between us, but s/he is alone, on Route 1, without an escort, which is proof enough that whoever it is, s/he is a Pokemon trainer.

    I smile, “Maybe, Bianca.”

    The trainer finally comes into view: a fairly plain-looking brown haired boy, probably around our ages, in a blue shirt, orange vest, and gray jeans. Attached to his belt are six Pokeballs. Okay, I think, So he caught a lot of Pokemon. No big deal.

    I step forward with Cheren and Bianca looking on, “Hey. I recently became a trainer, and I'm looking for a battle. Care for a match?”

    The trainer pauses, and then answers with a shake of his head, “No.”

    “What's the matter?” I ask, “Are you afraid of you losing to me?”

    The guy grins, “No, I'm afraid of you losing to me!” He tosses one of his Pokeballs toward the water nearby, looking out at Unova proper, and a giant blue jellyfish-like Pokemon appears. He jumps on the Pokemon's head and rides it away.

    Cheren steps forward, “I imagine he was right, Ria. You probably would have lost.”

    I almost gasp. Shouldn't friends be supportive at times like there? “Just whose side are you on, Cheren?”

    “Did you look closely at his vest?” asks Cheren.

    “His vest?” I ask.

    “There were nine pins attached to it.”

    “Ah!” I stop short, since I have a pretty good idea of what Cheren is getting at. How could I make a mistake like that?

    “Gym Badges... and the Pokemon League badge.”

    “I know what Gym Badges are,” says Bianca, “But... the Pokemon League badge?” It makes sense that she hadn't studied too much into the structure of the Pokemon League, an organization which oversees all the Pokemon trainer-related activity in a region, as well as consisting of its strongest trainers. She never really discussed, at least with me, what she plans to do with her status as a trainer. As far as I could tell, she wanted to become a trainer to help Cheren and I become trainers, since a study group of three is required, and maybe use that benefit to capture some cute Pokemon.

    Cheren pauses, probably trying to decide where to begin his obligatory explanation to Bianca. Even among non-trainers, the fact that Pokemon trainers challenge Pokemon gyms and win badges to test their expertise is a well-known concept, but the path that lies beyond that gets a tad more complicated, and really, I don't fully understand it myself. I decided to take things a step at a time, and deal with it if the time comes, but I am still interested in what he has to say.

    Finally, Cheren begins his lecture, “Bianca, after a trainer wins at least eight badges, they can challenge the Pokemon League. However, the way in which it can be challenged differs in two different ways. The ultimate goal in either scenario is to defeat the Champion and claim the title for oneself. Now, there is the first way, which is considered the 'longer, but easier, way,” where a challenger battles a member of the Elite Four. Supposedly, the Elite Four member holds back for the challenger's sake, like the Gym Leaders, but still provides a very harsh challenge. However, if the challenger loses, he can just train, and challenge him or her again until winning. When that happens, the trainer is granted the Pokemon League badge, which makes him or her eligible to compete in the Unova Championship Tournament, which happens at the turn of a decade, where the Champion, the Elite Four, Gym Leaders, if they so choose, and all the eligible trainers, compete, and the winner is crowned the new Champion.”

    I roll my eyes, “It's hard to believe that guy who just came by managed to defeat Marshal...”

    Cheren pushes his glasses closer to his face, “Marshal isn't the only member of the Elite Four, Ria... but you may possibly be right.”

    “What's the other way?” asks Bianca.

    Cheren resumes his explanation, “That would be the 'shorter, but harsher, way.' In that scenario, a trainer challenges the entire upper echelon of the Pokemon League. He or she would have to challenge all the members of the Elite Four, none of whom will hold back for the trainer's benefit, and then challenge the Champion. If the challenger loses at any part of that process, he or she is forbidden from ever challenging the Pokemon League again until after the next Tournament. If the challenger wins, unlikely as it is, however, he or she will become the new Champion. The former Champion is still able to compete in the next Tournament to regain the title, however.”

    Judging by how much more bitter Cheren sounded when describing the 'shorter, but harsher, way,' I have a pretty good guess on which path he plans to take if he gets that far, and I can't really blame him. Compared to path A, path B sounds downright unfair, even if it is the faster way of claiming the title of Champion.

    “I see,” says Bianca.

    Cheren turns back to me, “That said, Ria, do you still think you would have won a battle with him?”

    I can't help but feel Cheren is rubbing that fact in my face, but he's right, as usual. I doubt I would've beaten a guy who managed to beat Marshal, or whoever, though it makes me wonder how many more trainers out there are like him...

    I say, “I guess I'd better pay more attention to how many badges people are wearing...”

    Cheren smiles slightly, “Good plan. However, if you happen to be looking for an opponent, Ria, how about me?”

    I stare at Cheren, “Cheren?”

    “Snivy has trained hard, and I think it's time to see if it has paid off, plus, I wish to test my wits against another human.”

    I offer a smile of my own, “Likewise, for me, replacing the 'Snivy' part with 'Oshawott.' Okay, Cheren. Let's do this!”

    To stay out of the way of passersby, Cheren, Bianca, and I head back into the now-dimly lit forest. We head to an area not far off from the road, where the trees aren't as dense.

    Cheren and I stand about thirty feet apart, while Bianca watches on. We release Oshawott and Snivy from their Pokeballs.”

    “Alright, Oshawott,” I say, “We've trained and trained, and now it's time to see if it's paid off. This is our first real battle!”

    “Osha!” responds the Sea Otter, glancing back at me.

    “This isn't a sparring match this time,” Cheren tells Snivy, “This is a battle, the first of many to come.”

    “Sssni.”

    “Remember, Snivy... Oshawott is a water-type, and grass-types have the advantage.”

    I flinch. Oh crap! Grass-types do have an advantage over water-types, don't they?

    Oshawott glances back at me, looking worried, “Sha...”

    I shut down my worries over the type disadvantage hard. This is our first real battle, and I can't let myself be pessimistic. I should also try to reassure Oshawott that everything will be fine, “Meh. Advantage, schmadvantage. That doesn't mean we're gonna lose this battle. It just means we gotta work harder to win, right?”

    Oshawott smiles, “Oshawott!”

    “If you two are ready,” says Cheren, “let us begin.”

    “Good luck!” calls out Bianca.

    Cheren extends his arm, “Snivy! Attack!”

    “Let's do this, Oshawott!” I shout.

    The Sea Otter and Grass Snake charge at one another. They then perform a series of dodges and attempts to body slam the other, though neither side gets a hit in. In a Pokemon battle, the Pokemon typically act on their own, unless their trainers want them to do otherwise. The trainers play the roles of adviser, strategist, and... well, cheerleader, as they give specific commands or simply try to encourage their Pokemon.

    After several seconds of Tackle attacks not getting anywhere, Cheren is the first who decides to up the ante, “End this quickly, Snivy! Vine Whip!”

    Like in the bedroom brawl, Snivy's tail extends by about fifteen feet, and it lashes it in Oshawott's direction. The water-type just barely ducks under a horizontal swing of the tail.

    Snivy is starting to use its power as a grass-type, and if that tail connects, Oshawott will get hurt badly. “Oshawott!” I call out, “Focus on defense! Watch the tail and dodge accordingly!”

    “Sha!” calls out Oshawott as it narrowly retreats out of the range of a vertical lash from Snivy.

    Snivy attacks two more times, with Oshawott acrobatically leaping over one attack and sidestepping the other.

    No good. If we don't fight back, it's only a matter of time until Snivy gets in a lucky shot.

    “Oshawott!” I call out, “Keep your eye on the tail, but counterattack with Water Gun when you can!”

    Snivy delivers another horizontal swing, which Oshawott dives under. As the Sea Otter gets up, he spits a mouthful of water at Snivy. The attack hits, but Snivy seems barely affected by it.

    “That won't do you much good,” says Cheren, “A weak weak water-type attack like that won't do much to a grass-type... Still... Snivy, keep your distance. Don't let Oshawott wear you down!”

    “Ssni!” Snivy leaps back several feet, outside of the range of Oshawott's Water Gun attack, which is about thirteen feet.

    With Oshawott no longer able to counterattack, we're on the defensive again. However, Oshawott seems to catch on to Snivy's pattern as it keeps the momentum going with its Vine Whip attacks by alternating between horizontal and vertical lashes. Oshawott leaps over a horizontal attack, and then sidesteps a vertical attack. Just as the tail hits the ground, however, Oshawott jumps on Snivy's tail, immobilizing it.

    “What?” exclaims Cheren.

    I grin, “All right, Oshawott! Keep the tail weighed down and use Tackle!”

    “Shaaaaaaa!” Oshawott, dashing along the bridge of Snivy's elongated tail, charges straight at the grass-type.

    “Snivy!” yells Cheren, “Disengage Vine Whip and counter with Tackle!”

    Snivy's tail begins to shorten back to its original length, slipping out from under Oshawott, though not slowing him down, and Snivy charges. However, the Sea Otter had gathered much more momentum, and his Tackle attack easily overpowers Snivy's when they clash. Snivy is sent reeling back against the trunk of a tree.

    “Awesome work, Oshawott!” I say, “Now, attack!”

    Oshawott does something I had never seen him do. He pulls the scallop from his chest, and holds it out. A blue aura envelops it, and he charges at Snivy, like he's poised to strike with the shell.

    I pull out my Pokedex and take a picture of Oshawott. A second later, the data from the picture gives two results on the lower screen: “Pokemon: Oshawott,” of course, because it's a picture of Oshawott, and “Technique: Razor Shell.” Razor Shell? That's the attack Oshawott is performing? I select “Technique: Razor Shell,” to get more info on it, and just read the first line of the explanation, saying it's a water-type attack. Well, we'll see how this goes, at least...

    With Snivy stunned, it's wide open when Oshawott delivers a slash with its shell.

    “Sniiii!” Snivy cries out. Well, it may have been a water-type attack, but it seemed powerful enough on Snivy. I tuck the name, Razor Shell, into my mind for future use, because it looks like a pretty good move.

    “Good, Oshawott!” I call out, “Slash it again!”

    “Snivy! Take evasive action!” commands Cheren.

    Snivy ducks under Oshawott's attack, coils its body around the tree, and rapidly spirals up it, finally stopping and taking a perch on a branch, about sixteen feet off the ground, which is out of the range anything I know Oshawott can perform, but also out of the range of Snivy's Vine Whip.

    “Don't worry,” I tell Oshawott, “It's too high up to get you with Vine Whip. We've got him trapped!”

    “Gr...” Cheren lets out a frustrated sound. I'm sure he didn't think the battle would come to this.

    However, Snivy suddenly does something I'd never seen it do in sparring. The leaves at the tip of its tail detach, more grow in their place instantly, and then detach too, and more and more until there are whirling around it like a miniature tornado. The leaves, one by one, shoot down in Oshawott's direction. They're just leaves, from what I'm seeing, but Snivy obviously means this as an attack, so I don't write it off as some dumb trick, “Watch out, Oshawott!”

    Oshawott retreats back several feet, narrowly dodging the leaves, which wedge themselves in the ground. I ready my Pokedex again, and take a shot of Snivy doing its attack, as is Cheren, who, needless to say, looks a lot more thrilled about this new move than I am.

    Two selections pop up: “Pokemon: Snivy,” obviously, and “Technique: Leaf Tornado.” I access “Technique: Leaf Tornado.” The brief description that appears says that it's a grass-type attack where a Pokemon attacks its opponent with a flurry of stiff leaves with acute edges, which can be used for both defensive and offensive purposes.

    Meanwhile, Oshawott is on the run, as the onslaught of leaves becomes more relentless. I can tell he can't just keep running before the attack gets him.

    “Oshawott!” I call out, “If you have to, defend yourself with Razor Shell!” Razor Shell is a weapon, separate from Oshawott's body, so hopefully it can be used for defense too.

    Oshawott manages to deflect a leaf with its shell, but there's no way he can guard against all of them. He manages to deflect a couple more, until one leaf finally cuts through him, and then a couple more.

    “Oshaaaaa!” cries Oshawott. Steam rises from the places where he was cut. I utilize my Pokedex, which comes up with the obvious results of Oshawott and Razor Shell, which is still drawn, but also “Misc.: Weakness.” It says that when a Pokemon takes damage from an attack which they are weak again, there is a burning effect.

    “Oshawott!” I call out.

    Ohsawott glances back at me, looking determined. He's still standing, but not looking too good...

    “Good work, Snivy,” says Cheren with a reassured smirk, “Finish it with another Leaf Tornado attack!”

    “Sssnivy!” Snivy starts up its attack again. At the same time, however, the blue aura around Oshawott's shell begins to take some sort of shape. It extends outward, and then takes on a solid, flat, crystalline, triangular shape, making it look like... a sword?

    I take a forth picture with my Pokedex, which comes up with Oshawott, Razor Shell, and “Ability: Torrent.” Apparently, Torrent is an ability some water-types have, where, after they are severely weakened, with sheer determination to win a battle, they use their willpower to bring their water-type techniques past their normal limits.

    The swords Oshawott is holding is almost four feet long, larger than its own wielder, and even though it being used by a cute little otter Pokemon, it still looks very dangerous. I have a feeling we still might be able to pull this one off!

    “Alright, Oshawott,” I say, “Get Snivy down here and finish this!”

    “End this now, Snivy!” commands Cheren, whose smirk had just disappeared.

    Snivy's leaves fly, but this time, instead of running away, Oshawott charges straight into the storm, cutting through the leaves with his blade, finally reaching the tree, and slicing through the trunk with a single slice. What else to say from there except 'Timber!'

    The tree goes down, with Snivy tumbling from its perch.

    Snivy gets back to its feet, and the two Pokemon face off. I can tell that it's come down to the finale.

    Oshawott prepares to charge, while Snivy encircles more leaves around it, probably to defend itself from whatever the Sea Otter will try.

    Since I'm a lot taller than Snivy, I manage to see an opening in its barrier, that something of Oshawott's height probably can't, “Oshawott! Get above it! The leaves are only protecting its sides!”

    Oshawott charges, but then leaps several feet into the air. Snivy attempts to counter by launching the leaves, which Oshawott manages to cut through. He comes down into the center of the tornado surrounding Snivy. From there, it's hard to tell what's going on, as the leaves converge on both of them. Oshawott probably got in a good hit, but so did Snivy.

    Finally, the leaves flutter to the ground, and speaking of the ground, both Oshawott and Snivy are down on it. Both attempt to get back to their feet, but their strength gives out, and they collapse.

    “Oshawott!” I yell. The Sea Otter is covered all over by steaming gashes.

    “Snivy!” exclaims Cheren. Snivy has a large cut, oozing water, across its back.

    “It's a draw?” says Bianca.

    “Sha...” groans Oshawott.

    “Don't worry,” I try to reassure Oshawott, “You knocked out Snivy, and that's 'win' enough for me.”

    Oshawott manages a weak smile in response.

    “Take a good rest, and I'll get you to the Center where you'll be back to 100% before you know it...” I hold out Oshawott's Pokeball, “Return.” With a flash of light, Oshawott vanishes, returning to his capsule.

    Cheren pauses for several seconds, seemingly in thought, before saying, “Excellent work, Snivy. I will get you fixed up soon. Return.” He holds out his Pokeball and Snivy vanishes.

    ---

    We take Oshawott and Snivy to the Pokemon Center, so they can be restored back to full health. It's actually a very quick process, but there are only so many machines, and trainers constantly come in after battles to get their Pokemon recovered, so its usually a long wait until it's our Pokemon's turn. We were given an estimation of one hour before Oshawott and Snivy are recovered, so all there is to do now is wait.

    Cheren tells me that he wants to talk to me about something, but wants to do it at Route 1, and also asks Bianca to come along as an escort, since she's the only one among us who has a Pokemon that is in fighting condition, in case some dark-types decide to come out.

    We head back to Route 1, and head to the waterside. Nighttime is in full swing right now, and its actually a really beautiful sight, as it looks out to the Unova mainland (Accumula Town, and the nearby places are located on a peninsula in a fairly remote corner of the region, separated from the rest by a mountain range to the north and a river to the west) where we have a great sight of Castelia City, a port city, which is the capital of Unova, as well as it's largest city. The city, as well as the bridge that connects the peninsula and mainland nearby, and some cruise ships on the water, are lit up by lights. The fact that it's a full moon night also helps.

    We aren't the only ones here, as there are some couples around us looking out at the big city too. I'll admit that it's pretty romantic. If I didn't know Cheren as well as I do, and if Bianca wasn't with us, I'd say he'd pick this location to confess his love, or something, but I know for a fact that is not his intention, because he's not that kinda guy, and even if he were, he'd probably pick someone more Bianca's type, since sporty girls like me aren't exactly Miss Unova material...

    “So, what do you wanna talk about?” I ask, then jokingly add, “Finally saw me as a stunningly beautiful young woman and wanted to tell me something?”

    “Of course not,” says Cheren, without even a laugh or stutter. Ouch. So much for my self-esteem as a woman, “Ria... now that you are a Pokemon trainer, what are your plans? Your ambitions?”

    I take a moment to think about that, “... I dunno. I want to at least become a decent trainer, so I was thinking of hanging out for the summer with you two, strengthening up Oshawott and maybe catching a couple Pokemon, train them too, and then, after we graduate, test how good I am by traveling and taking on Gyms, and stuff. Maybe get a job as an escort somewhere, making some extra cash with recreational battles.”

    “Have you ever thought of challenging the Pokemon League?” asks Cheren, looking out at Castelia City, “I have a feeling you may have a shot.”

    This brings me up short, “The... Pokemon League? Are you serious, Cheren? IIRC, that's your goal as a trainer.”

    “That doesn't mean you can't try too. Has the thought even crossed your mind, Ria?”

    I wonder about that. Has it? I don't think my ambitions have never gotten that high... or maybe, I never let them get that high. Cheren had been studying to be a powerful trainer ever since I'd known him, and I'd felt that if anyone deserved to be a Pokemon League-level trainer, it's him, so now that he's talking me up, I wonder if there's some truth in what he's saying...

    “Thanks for the thought,” I say humbly, “but unlike you, my nose hasn't been in a book my whole life.”

    Cheren glances back at me, “You're right, Ria. I have been studying to be a great trainer, but not all great trainers have been... 'bookworms,' you know? Some just have natural talent, and after our battle, I think you might too.”

    “I didn't win,” I say.

    “You didn't lose, either,” says Cheren, “To be honest, I thought I was going to win that battle by much more. I had the knowledge that Oshawott had a disadvantage against grass-types and I am well-versed in battle tactics, and yet, our battle ended in a draw. Why do you think that is?”

    I shrug, “You got me there. Are you saying I have that 'natural talent' thing? Is that where you're going with this? I just told Oshawott to do what I thought was best. Nothing special about that.”

    “I don't know,” responds Cheren, “but we won't know unless you test your skills.”

    “So, what are you thinking?” I ask.

    “I was intending to travel Unova over the summer, train Snivy, catch more Pokemon, challenge Gyms, and maybe even the Pokemon League. I think you should too. You didn't have any other plans, did you?”

    “Well, no...” I answer, “and if you're going, I guess I'm down a training partner, huh?”

    “Will you, then?” asks Cheren hopefully.

    I shrug, “Sure. What the heck? If you think I'm such a prodigy, or whatever, I guess there's only one way to find out.”

    “Good,” says Cheren, “but I'm far from calling you a prodigy, Ria. I just think you might have what it takes to make it reasonably far as a trainer.”

    “But are you sure?” I ask, “I mean, you wanna be Champion, right? If you think I have so much potential, wouldn't I kinda be an obstacle?”

    “That's what I'm hoping,” says Cheren, with a glint in his eye, “I can't rightly be a Champion, unless I can overcome the best. I was hoping to find a rival to keep me motivated to train as hard as possible... I just didn't think I'd find one so soon.”

    I roll my eyes, “So, I'm your motivational tool, then? Whatever. I'll make you my motivation tool in return, and beat you so bad, you'll cry. How does that sound?”

    “So you're leaving?” says Bianca for the first time since we got to the waterside, “I'll miss you.”

    “Nothing's keeping you from coming too,” says Cheren, “You've trained just as hard as us. Who knows? You may be great trainer material too.”

    “Don't know unless you try,” I add.

    Bianca pause, then says, “I... I'd like to, but... my dad...”

    I can see what Bianca is trying to say. Her dad's a good man, but he's really protective of her. He actually opposed Bianca from taking the trainer's test with Cheren and I, since trainers get exposed to the danger wild Pokemon present on a regular basis. He finally relented when Professor Juniper explained to him that no harm would automatically come of Bianca being a trainer, and having a Pokemon would be beneficial if a wild Pokemon were to attack he if there were no escort around (the fact that he has a bit of a weakness around beautiful women, or so I'd observed, might have also been a factor.) However, the wild Pokemon on Unova peninsula are very tame, aside from the occasional Purrloin or Liepard, but on Unova proper, it's a different story, and I know for a fact he wouldn't want Bianca going anywhere near there. How he can be talked out of that one, I dunno.

    “That could be a problem,” agrees Cheren, “Well, just talk to him, and try to reason with him. That's all I can say...”

    Bianca takes a sudden interest in the grass, “I guess...”

    Cheren explains, “I am going to gather supplies for my journey tomorrow, and set out the day after. Ria, you should do the same.”

    “Will do,” I respond.

    We return to the Pokemon Center, picking up the newly revitalized Oshawott and Snivy, and Bianca and Cheren leave for Nuvema Town, while I use the lodging at the Center, since my room is probably still uninhabitable.

    Well, I hope you found this to be as enjoyable as the previous installments. Yeah, in this story, trainers don't dictate their Pokemon's every last move (like with not capturing all Pokemon, it makes more sense to me, since I imagine the other side can also hear a trainer's commands, and I don't think anyone could possibly look cool saying, "Charmander! Leer at the opponent until he drops his guard a little!"). I also hope the explanation of the Pokemon League was also acceptable. At any rate, I hope you liked this.
     
    #9 Valin, Apr 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  10. Lol, Smugleaf.

    W00t, I get to post before everyone else again. I really liked reading the battle between Ria and Cheren. I thought it was the perfect balance with not having too much description (which slows the pace) and not having enough, so very well done. Your explanation of the Pokemon League was also great and now I'm curious as to how Ria will make her next decision. Another excellent chapter ♥

    And just because I'm curious, how long have you been writing?
     
  11. Ked

    Ked

    I love this! The way you imagine Pokemon is amazing, and the way you write about it is awesome!

    I really like the way you described the Pokemon League, I never thought of it that way. I agree with you on the capturing every Pokemon you see, they are living creatures after all.

    You are an amazing writer and I'm looking forward to reading more of this :)
     
  12. I have a quick confession. I thought you were writing Smugleaf on purpose before I realized the forums where changing every instance of Sniv.y into Smugleaf as a part of the April Fools joke. I thought Cheren had nicknamed his Sniv.y and wondered why no one in the story commented lol.
     
  13. Good question.
    I guess it would have to be a year or two after Pokemon was introduced to the US, which is to say, about 8 or 9 years. The reason I'm using that as a measurement for my time as a writer was because my first attempt at writing was a Pokemon story (though the term, "fanfiction" wasn't in my vocabulary at the time). It was about these three trainers, who each started with an Eevee, soon evolving them into each of their evolutions (when there were only three of them), and they went around collecting badges, later finding out they were estranged brothers, and so on. It was pretty terrible in hindsight. I eventually got bored of it and stopped.

    From there, I wrote a bunch of original fiction. Now, before I continue, I must say I wasn't much of a reader for most of my life, so the progress of my writing skills were mostly trial and error.

    For a long time, I wrote stuff in "play form," but when I took a creative writing class in college, that changed.

    Since my job allows me to listen to my MP3 player while I work, I listened to audiobooks, and got a better handle on writing.

    I got into fanfiction back when I was really big into the Touhou Project series of games, where I actually did a few plot reinterpretations for those (actually, you can find some of them here: http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Fiction_by_Valesta).

    Right now, I'm working on two stories: this, and an original story called Vampiric Crusade. Actually, first-person stories, told from a somewhat sarcastic and personal viewpoint have kinda been my trademark nowadays.
     
  14. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    You continue to amaze me Valin. I'm enjoying how your fanfic follows the game's story line, but so loosely and with your own original rules for the world that it still feels like a 100% original work. It's pretty obvious you've been at the writing hobby at a while because this flows so well. There is almost a professional feeling to it.

    I know, that threw me off too. I thought Smugleaf was intentional but contrary to Cheren's personality since he doesn't seem like the nicknaming type to me. Then when Smugleaf became so overused I figured it out.
     
  15. Yes! Finally, this stereotypical 'loves-to-clean' mother isn't the one to sort out the destruction. As for the lodging, I expected that. XD What's the cheapest, easiest way to give everyone a place to sleep that is easy to clean? Shove them all in one room!
     
  16. The next day, first thing in the morning, I head down to Nuvema. I need to talk to mom about my newly-crafted summer plans.

    I enter my house and, upon seeing that mom's not in the kitchen, or anywhere on the first floor, I head upstairs, and to my room. I enter it, expecting to see it look better than it was when I left it, and instead... it looks worse. Much worse. The bed, walls, and other furniture are scratched up, charred, and so on. I'm kicking myself over calling the place a war zone before, because after seeing this, I now know I had no idea what I was talking about. Mom and Minccino are hard at work dusting the place when I come in, as if the dust is the biggest concern at the moment.

    “What the heck happened?” I ask, aghast.

    Mom smiles sweetly, “Oh! Ria! The old mess was too easy to clean, so me and the girls had a little Pokemon battle in here, and now, it looks like a challenge. Minccino and I are having a lot of fun cleaning it, aren't we Minccino?”

    “Min!”

    I cover my face with my hand. Why didn't you just burn the place down while you were at it, mom?

    I finally manage to form words, “Um... well, it's a good thing I won't have to, y'know, sleep in here anytime soon. Tomorrow, I'm heading out for the summer on a Pokemon journey with Cheren, and maybe Bianca, so you can take your time, alright?”

    Mom puts down her feather duster and approaches me, “A Pokemon journey? I see. Going to see how far you and Oshawott can go?”

    I nod, “You know it.”

    “I 'm glad you're looking for something to do with your life,” says mom, “but remember that wild Pokemon on Unova proper are very dangerous. Please be very careful.”

    “No worries,” I reassure mom, “Oshawott is really tough, and we won't lose easily, plus we'll train hard everyday and I will catch more Pokemon to protect me. Nothing to worry about.”

    Mom nods, “Okay. I'm sure your father will be happy to know about this...” She pauses, “Speaking of your father, since he's been making a lot of money from his escort job in Kanto, I'd been saving up what we don't need for an emergency. I want you to have it.”

    “Really?” Sweet deal!

    We head downstairs, and mom goes to her work desk and pulls a red and white slip of paper from one of the drawers. It's marked with the words, “Region of Unova: 5,000 credits.”

    My eyes widen at the five and all those zeroes, “5,000 credits? Are you sure about this, mom?”

    Mom nods, “Yes. I'm sure it will last you for most of the summer. You need food and healing supplies for the road. It should help.”

    I take the slip, “Thank you, mom. Thank you so much.”

    Mom smiles, “Good luck out there, and remember that you always have a home here.”

    A home, maybe, but not a place to sleep, I think, but wisely keep it to myself. I give mom a hug, and say, “Thanks again, mom. Well, I'm heading out. Take care, alright?”

    “You too, Ria. You'll have your Xtransceiver with you, right? We'll keep in touch.”

    “Totally!” I say as I head to the door, probably not to go through it again for the next several months.

    ---

    As I head to Route 1, I see Cheren heading that way as well, “Hey! Cheren!”

    “Hello, Ria.”

    I explain to Cheren about the money I got from mom. I then tell him that I need supplies, but I'm not sure what to get.

    “I'm well aware of what we need,” says Cheren, “Let's go to the Pokemon Center and stock up.”

    We head up Route 1 to Accumula Town. As we approach the Pokemon Center, however, we notice a large group gathered in front of it. Something's going on.

    Curious to see what's up, Cheren and I maneuver our way around the crowd until we can see what everyone is focused on: a man, probably in his late fifties, with long green hair, and dressed in an ornate blue and gold robe and wearing a red-lensed monocle. Not ordinary attire, but it's nothing compared to the eight guys lined up in a row behind him. They, on the other hand, have clothes that makes me question my grip on reality. They are dressed up as... knights? Maybe crusaders (Templar? Paladins? I dunno): a warrior class that existed thousands and thousands, and even more thousands of years ago, when humans and Pokemon lived separately, humans had a whole bunch of wars over crap that didn't really matter, like invisible lines between regions, and the world was generally a big mess, or so I managed to summarize from history class. They are the whole package: chainmail, gauntlets, greaves, and white armor. Seeing as it's the summertime and almost 80 degrees out, aren't they sweating in that stuff? Two of the “knights,” the ones on the ends of the row behind the man, are holding blue and black banners with a zigzag pattern and the letter “P” on them. Just what the heck am I looking at?

    Apparently, Cheren agrees with me, “Strange choice of clothes, though I'll admit that it grabs a crowd's attention...”

    The old guy at the head of the squad of “knights” starts to speak, “Greetings everyone. My name is Ghetsis, and I am here representing Team Plasma,” He gestures to the armored fellas behind him. 'Team Plasma,' huh? At least I now know what the 'P' on those banners stands for... “Today, I am going to talk about the connection between human and Pokemon...”

    So, he's going to lecture us about the bond that humans and Pokemon have? Still, that doesn't really explain the armor getups, and no, I'm not gonna get over that!

    Ghetsis speaks, “Since time immemorial, humans and Pokemon have lived side-by-side. We believe Pokemon are our friends and partners; that we need one another, and cannot be without them. However, belief and truth are two vastly different concepts. We believe Pokemon are our special and important partners, but is that the truth? Is it true that we, as humans, need Pokemon?”

    Several people in the crowd gasp, or frantically chat amongst themselves, and it isn't hard to see why. From how this 'Ghetsis' dude started the speech, I thought it was going to be one of those things we've been told at least a hundred-million times about how Pokemon and humans need each other. This is shaping up to be the exact opposite.

    Ghetsis continues his speech, “We have grown up with Pokemon being subject to the desires of mankind, and we feel that is the way the world works, but Pokemon are intelligent creatures, who, like humans, have emotions, and have any of us wondered how they feel about the current order of things? We command them to do work for us; we have them battle for our sakes, whether it be for money or glory. Can any of you say with certainty that humans and Pokemon are equals? One cannot deny that many Pokemon are denied their personal rights, and live life under the whims of their human masters. Pokemon are creatures with potential, which they will never reach, having to rely on humans, and what about humans? Do you think we're living up to our own potential relying on Pokemon to do our work?”

    More commotion. I hate hearing this and I want to walk away and block it out, but at the same time, I can't.

    Ghetsis spreads his arms, “With civilization only becoming greater and greater, and a long-time absence of human conflict, we may believe this world is near perfection, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Only when there is equality among all creatures can such a belief even be considered. What I am proposing to all of you, and even the world as a whole, is Pokemon Liberation: the release of Pokemon and the return to the world's natural order. I know my words may be difficult to take. After all, the current order has been around for a long time, and is so monolithic, we believe it's the way things should be, but don't deceive yourselves any longer...”

    The commotion continues, and I don't know how much more of this I can stand. I have a feeling this is going to stick with me well past today.

    “Pokemon have potential and we humans can learn from them, but only when there is equality among us all...” Ghetsis gestures toward the knights behind him, and they assume a sideways position, away from the crowd and facing out toward the road beyond. He gives an expression that resembles a sad smile, which almost makes me feel bad, as if what we're doing with Pokemon somehow hurts him personally, “I will leave you to return to your daily lives, but I have a request for you all: consider my words, our relationship with the Pokemon, and what you believe what humanity's responsibility is toward them, as well as itself. I thank you all for your time.” With that, Ghetsis walks away, followed by the white knights. Well, that turned out different than what it seemed to be leading up to, and those guys had a lot of brass for preaching that in front of a Pokemon Center, where there are mostly trainers.

    What follows is almost eerie. Several trainers in the crowd take a Pokeball from their belt, and stare at them contemplatively, as if to say, “... Should I? I don't want to, but...”

    “Cheren?” I say, wondering what his take on the whole lecture was.

    Cheren responds after some pause, “I'll admit that what that man said may be troubling, and it may even be something worth thinking about, but it will change nothing. This 'Team Plasma' is challenging several millennia worth of tradition. Mere words will not change the world.”

    “... You may be right,” says a voice nearby with a touch of reservation. We turn to see its owner: a tall young man, probably about 19, with long green hair, and wearing clothes, such as a baseball cap, and a loose t-shirt over a tighter shirt. His attire's color scheme is completely monochrome, with the looser shirt being white, while the one underneath is black, the hat is black, with a gray visor, and his pants are also gray.

    Next to the guy is a cat-like Pokemon with purple fur with white highlights, and neon-green eyes. I don't need my Pokedex to know what it is, since I'd seen escorts fend them off for years: It's a Purrloin, a dark-type Pokemon, that usually comes out at night and tries to attack people who don't have Pokemon to protect them. Of course, since this one is with a trainer, it's pretty much harmless, at least until instructed otherwise... or so I think the green-haired guy's a trainer...

    The guy continues, “Pokemon have been used by humans for too long. Talking cannot change that.”

    “Whoa, slow down there,” I say, “You're talking a little too fast.”

    The stranger take a moment to collect himself. I guess he doesn't talk with people too often. I knew a few people like that from school, who get along well with Pokemon, but have a much harder time associating with other human beings. They can be a little weird sometimes, but they're not bad.

    “Sorry,” says the guy, “I haven't introduced myself. My name is N.”

    “N?” Oh yeah, like that's not a weird name, but with someone telling me and everyone else that the social order we'd grown up being corrupt and wrong, today is shaping up to be weird in general, so whatever.

    Cheren introduces himself, “My name is Cheren.”

    “Ria,” I say.

    “Cheren... Ria...” confirms N, “Are you two Pokemon trainers?”

    I pat Oshawott's Pokeball on my belt, “Do you have to ask?”

    “We'd recently became trainers,” explains Cheren.

    “I too have recently become a Pokemon trainer,” says N with a measured voice, “I am planning to win my first badge at Striaton Gym...”

    Cheren looks surprised, “There's a Pokemon Gym in Striaton City?”

    N nods, “Yes, it had just recently opened. As I was saying, however, even though I am a trainer, I wonder if Pokemon are truly happy with the way things are right now. Tell me, what are your goals as trainers.”

    “I'm aiming to become Champion,” says Cheren.

    “Likewise,” I say, “... or something like that. It seems as good a goal as any...”

    “I see,” says N, “so, you will take Pokemon from their homes in the wilderness, and keep them inside those tiny balls to that end?”

    “That's an ugly way of putting it,” I say, “But yeah. That's kinda what Pokemon trainers do. I mean, Pokemon willingly follow trainers after being captured, so I don't see what the problem is.”

    N pauses for a few seconds, “Ria, was it? If you don't mind, I would like to have a Pokemon battle with you.”

    “What?” I say, “Um... That came outta nowhere. Care to explain?”

    N smiles, and there's something about that smile I can't put my finger on. It's like there's something... missing. It feels... blank, for lack of a better term, “Pokemon trainers tend to test their Pokemon against one another, am I not correct? I thought it was something you would know full well.”

    I sigh. Yeah, he's right. Why the heck did I even bother to ask? “Alright, 'N,' or whatever your name is. You got yourself a battle!”

    N holds that weird smile of his, and I want it to stop, “Very good. However, I need to know if my friend is willing to accept the challenge. May I ask for a second of your time?” He kneels down to Purrloin's level, “Purrloin... I have a favor to ask of you. Would you mind having a quick struggle with whichever Pokemon this girl has?”

    Cheren whispers, “He's asking his Pokemon for permission to battle? There is something off about this guy...”

    I whisper back, “There was something off about him from the start.”

    “Pur!” responds Purrloin to N's question.

    N stands up, “Purrloin accepts.” Something else weird had happened: Humans don't understand Pokemon words, but they usually give some sort of body language to illustrate what they're saying. However, Purrloin didn't nod, or anything, and N seemed to understand it. Just what the heck is this guy?

    The crowd is starting to disperse. I grab Oshawott's Pokeball from my belt and walk a few paces away from N. The fact that I'm holding a Pokeball in a public place is a clear sign to most that as battle is about to start, so anyone nearby should keep their distance, or leave altogether if they don't want to watch.

    “Go! Oshawott!” Normally, trainers toss their Pokeballs in the field at the same time at the start of a battle, but in this case, I'm the only one tossing a Pokeball, while Purrloin steps into the area designated for the battle, with Cheren and a bunch of passersby watching on.

    Oshawott and Purrloin slowly circle each other, facing off. Finally, Oshawott is the one to launch the first move, leading with a Tackle attack. While Oshawott is pretty quick, however, Purrloin is a lot faster, and is onto the Sea Otter in less than a second and delivers a Scratch attack, then retreats before Oshawott can counterattack.

    That cat's speed can be a problem, but Oshawott doesn't seem to be hurting too much from that attack, and seems good to go for a few more rounds.

    “Razor Shell!” I command. Oshawott draws its scallop.

    Purrloin leaps toward Oshawott again, this time delivering a quick succession of scratches. My Pokedex tells me that attack is called Fury Swipes. However, Oshawott, whose reflexes had already gotten adjusted to Purrloin's agility, manages to swiftly evade most of the attacks, and delivers a powerful and direct counterattack with Razor Shell.

    Purrloin staggers back, and it must be pretty fragile, as it seems to be wearing down already.

    “Awesome work, Oshawott!” I say.

    “Wott osha oshawott!” exclaims Oshawott.

    N raises an quizzical eyebrow, “What? That cannot be right.” I realize it's the first time he'd spoken since the battle began.

    “Er... What's not right?” I ask.

    “You don't know?” asks N.

    “Um... Is there something I'm supposed to know?”

    “Can't you hear your Pokemon's words?”

    I shrug, “Yeah. I did. He said,” I mimic Oshawott's voice the best I can, “'Wott osha oshawott.'”

    N shakes his head, “I see. So you can't hear your Pokemon either. How unfortunate...”

    I stare at N, not knowing what to make of this guy, “Dude, 'wott,' er, what are you talking about?”

    N takes a deep breath, “I've seen enough for now. I forfeit this battle.”

    “What? We're not done yet.”

    “This duel is clearly yours,” says N in another one of his measured tones, “Any further battle will only cause undue harm to Purrloin. I do not with for that to happen.”

    I shrug, “Okay... if that's really what you want...” With that, the onlookers, who I imagine wanted a decisive finish to the battle walk away, some of them not looking content, not that I blame them. Most trainers keep a battle going until it's clear that one side cannot fight anymore. I'd seen many battles on TV where a Pokemon gets at a disadvantage, only to make a comeback. Heck, I'd even experienced it myself when I fought Cheren yesterday.

    N tosses me a 75 credit coin as my winnings, and pulls a bottle out of a pocket on his shirt. It's a purple spray bottle, and I know what it is right away: a potion, something trainers use on their Pokemon to heal them if a Pokemon Center isn't readily available... though in this case, one definitely is, as in right behind N.

    I point out the obvious, or at least what should be obvious, “Um... There's a Pokemon Center right behind you, y'know. Just return Purrloin to its Pokeball and...”

    N glances at me, and his normally calm demeanor turns somewhat... melancholy... angry, even, “I will not confine Purrloin to one of those... those prisons!” Geez, what the heck did I do? I was only trying to help...

    N sprays the cut that Razor Shell inflicted, and it instantly stops bleeding, “You're all better now. Thank you, Purrloin.”

    “Purr...” purrs Purrloin (try saying that seven times fast...)

    With a shrug, I direct my Pokeball toward Oshawott, “Awesome work, as always, Oshawott. Take a nice rest.”

    “Sha!”

    “Return!” Oshawott disappears into his Pokeball, and I return it to my belt.

    N stands there for several seconds afterward. I wonder what's going through this guy's head. Finally, he looks at me and forces a smile, “Thank you, Ria. That was very interesting.”

    “'Interesting?'” I say. We just had a Pokemon battle, and a short, anticlimactic one at that. 'Interesting' is not a word that comes to mind...

    “Yes,” says N, “Interesting. As we are both trainers, maybe our travels will cause us to cross paths again. Until then, good day.” With that, N walks away, muttering something under his breath. Something about changing and friends, as those were the only two words I could pick up.

    “Oh... kay,” I say, “Goodbye, N...” And hello, N, to my list of weirdest people I'd ever met, I think to myself...

    “Strange guy,” says Cheren.

    “Gee, you think?” I say sarcastically.

    Cheren adds, “He's a Pokemon trainer, but at the same time, he appears to detest a lot of the things trainers do. He didn't keep his Purrloin in a Pokeball, even when it would have been to its benefit, he didn't give it any orders at all during your battle, and he seemed to object to the idea of us capturing Pokemon.”

    “I wonder what's going on in his head,” I say.

    Cheren sighs, “No use thinking about it. Let's just gather the supplies we need so we can get ready to set out tomorrow.”

    Cheren and I head to the Pokemon Center. He walks me through the essentials like potions. According to him, the spots of civilization on the Unova peninsula are not a great distance apart, and can be walked to in less than a day, but Unova proper is much more spread out, and requires days of travel, hence the need for things like a tent and rations, for both human and Pokemon. There are bus and subways services that can take people from town to town, but that would mean skipping the potential places where wild Pokemon can be captured or fought against as training. I guess that means we have a lot of hiking ahead of us, and frankly, I'm surprised Cheren is so willing to do this, seeing as he's my polar opposite: scholastically accomplished, but sorely lacking in the athleticism department.

    However, more often than not, my mind is elsewhere. I can't stop thinking about the lecture that Ghetsis guy gave. It brought up a bunch of things I hadn't ever considered, and he was right about Pokemon training being such a monolithic concept that we never consider the alternatives. I feel like I'm getting a migraine each time it goes through my head, but I can't stop thinking about it, no matter how hard I try!

    Also, I can't get N out of my head. He's a strange guy who said strange stuff, but there was some sense to his actions, in some weird, twisted way. He was a trainer, but unlike all other trainers, he treated his Purrloin like... an equal. He didn't keep it inside a Pokeball, he asked its permission to battle... Other trainers, myself included, seem downright tyrannical by comparison... and I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me...

    ---

    Darkness...

    No matter where I look, there is nothing but blackness. From what I can feel, the ground isn't completely flat, and feeling around, whatever I'm in feels... spherical. However, I can't find a way out of wherever I am, and without both sight or escape, I'm starting to question my own sanity. Someone... help me...

    Suddenly, my eyes sting with a sudden explosion of light. When my vision clears, I find that I'm standing on asphalt. To my front, towering over me, is an orange reptilian thing, with blue wings, and a flame blazing on the tip of it tail. It's a Charizard!

    “Attack!” yells a voice behind me. I want to say no, but I feel that something bad will happen if I disobey the voice, but I don't want to anger the fearsome beast in front of me either.

    'I don't want to! I'm scared!' I try to say, but my voice comes out as, “Minccino min!”

    What? That wasn't right. I realize that I'm closer to the ground than what I'm used to. Fearfully, I look at my hands... and find that they're gray paws. I feel my body, and find that it's very soft... comfortably so... covered by fur. I feel an extra joint out of my back end... a tail? My hearing is also a lot more acute, my ears are much bigger and rounder. I'm... a Pokemon? A... Minccino?

    “Fight!” screams the voice behind me, angrily.

    'No!' “Min!”

    “Fight! Fight! Fight, damn you! Fight!”

    I look back at the owner of the voice: a girl with curly brown hair tied in a ponytail, wearing a white and pink hat, a black vest over a white shirt, and jeans-shorts. It's Ria, my trainer, though I wish she weren't...

    Wait! What am I saying? I'm Ria, but who am I looking at?

    Suddenly, two clawed hands wrap around my body. I look back at the Charizard. It seemed to have gotten bigger, and now, the thing had gone from being just over five feet tall to a giant!

    I look back at Ria, or whoever, 'Help...' “Mincci...”

    Ria scowls, “You're worthless! Maybe the pain you're about to feel will teach you to train harder and actually be useful! You brought this on yourself! Remember that!”

    The Charizard holds me up to its head. It opens its mouth wide and suddenly my world becomes a mix of orange, red, and yellow.

    FWOOOOOOSH!

    ---

    I jolt awake in the Pokemon Center's sleeping quarters.

    My heart is beating unbelievably fast, and so is the rate of my breathing. I am covered in a cold sweat... actually, make that a warm sweat, as I can still feel the heat of those dream-flames.

    I sit bolt upright in bed, waiting for my heartbeat and breathing to return to normal, all the while reminiscing over the nightmare I had. I was a Pokemon oppressed by a cruel trainer... that just happened to be me... but I wouldn't treat Oshawott, or any other Pokemon I come to own like that... would I?

    It doesn't take much to guess where such a horrible dream came from, and I go from scared to frustrated. The stuff those Ghetsis and N guys did and said are actually getting to me!

    After a nightmare like that, I'd rather not go back to sleep. I check a glowing digital clock on the nearby wall: 5:42AM. Well, now's as good a time to wake up as any...

    Still, if I really am starting to question the ethics of being a Pokemon trainer, I should talk to someone about it. The first idea I have is Professor Juniper. I mean, she helps people become Pokemon trainers, so maybe she can help me with my current crisis. I can't just pretend that I'm not conflicted right now, because there's no denying it. I am.

    I grab my pink supply bag (formerly my book bag) from the foot of the bed, put on my hat and vest, leave the sleeping quarters, and head to the Pokemon Center lobby, which is empty at that time, aside from some late-night personnel. I pull out my Xtransceiver and enter the Professor's frequency. It's almost six o' clock. She's probably still asleep right now, but in my current state of mind, I don't care. I am desperate to talk to her! I'll apologize later.

    Despite my expectations, however, the Professor picks up surprisingly fast, after just one ring. Her face appears on the screen. She looks weary, but not like someone who was just rudely awakened from her sleep. Also, he face is well lit, so wherever she is, it's not dark, “... Ria?”

    “Um... Good morning, Professor. Did I... wake you?”

    Professor Juniper shakes her head, “No. I got a bunch of data about Pokemon in Kanto that might also inhabit Unova, and I'd been up all night reading it. Still, if you're contacting me at this hour, I'm sure it's something important. What is it, Ria?”

    I look at what little background I can see on Professor Juniper's screen. It's not clear, but it's certainly not homey. Is she still at the lab?

    “You're at the lab right now?” I ask.

    “Yes...”

    I was expecting to just talk over the Xtranciever, but if the Professor is at the lab right now, just a few blocks away, I can probably just talk to her in person, “Actually, I'll talk to you at the lab.”

    “Okay...”

    “See you in a few minutes.”

    I end the transmission and leave the Pokemon Center.

    ---

    True to my word, it really only takes me minutes to reach the Professor's laboratory, like six or seven. When I get there, Professor Juniper is standing at the entrance in wait. I guess she decided to take this chance to get some fresh air.

    “Hey, Professor,” I greet wearily.

    “Hello, Ria,” says Professor Juniper with a slight smile, “How is Oshawott's training coming along?”

    “Pretty good,” I say, “At least a battle with Cheren's Snivy ended in a draw, so I guess that's progress...”

    The Professor smiles mischievously, and I know she's about to surprise me with something. She always does, “Did Oshawott perform Razor Shell during that battle, as well as its Torrent ability? Did Snivy perform Leaf Tornado? Did the battle take place in a forest?”

    Despite my conflicted state, I'm taken completely aback. This is typical Professor Juniper behavior, “What? How did you...?”

    The Professor's smile widens, “I'm everywhere, Ria. I have eyes where you can't see them.”

    I shrug, “Alright, I give up. Tell me your secret before I start believing you're Arceus in human form, or something.”

    The Professor laughs at my half-baked attempt at humor, “It's your Pokedex. Whatever pictures you take are sent to the lab's database. They come in handy for reports and as presentation material. You took good pictures, by the way. Very dynamic. Maybe a little off-center, but there's nothing a little cropping can't fix. If the whole trainer thing doesn't work out, you just might make the cut as a photographer.”

    I look at the ground, “Thanks, professor. That might end up being the case...”

    Professor Juniper stares at me disapprovingly, “What? Don't be like that, Ria. You wanted to be a trainer, right? I didn't give you all those lessons, just so you can give the whole thing up.”

    I sigh, “That's... actually what I wanted to talk to you about...”

    I explain everything to the Professor, about Ghetsis and N, and how they might have had a point all along.

    “I see your point...” says the Professor.

    “So, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Is this right? Pokemon training, I mean?”

    Professor Juniper considers what I told her for a moment, “There may not be a definite answer to that question, Ria, but it would seem that 'Ghetsis' man didn't point out the facts, and just said what would strengthen his case.”

    “'Facts?'”

    “Ria, humans need Pokemon trainers. While there are some docile wild Pokemon in this world, others are immensely vicious. A very long time ago, between powerful wild Pokemon and the wars humans fought, the entire human race almost became extinct. It was the advent of Pokemon training and catching that saved us. Human-trained Pokemon could protect us against wild Pokemon that human swords were useless against. Human differences were settled with competitions between trained Pokemon. They were our key to both survival and peace.”

    Those words make me feel better. At least, I don't feel so much like the tyrant that was me in my nightmare, but there is still a doubt in my mind, “Sure, Professor, but... what about the Pokemon? The human-trained ones, I mean.”

    “I don't think I'm the one you should be asking, Ria. Instead, ask the third person here.”

    'Third person?' What is she...? As I think it, I look at the direction the Professor's eyes are cast: toward my waist, and I get it. She means Oshawott.

    I have an idea of what I could do, but can I? Sure, I have a card that declares me as a Pokemon trainer, but the thing I really need to be one is a Pokemon. Still, if Oshawott and I are really the friends I believe we are, I need to do this...

    I release Oshawott from his Pokeball.

    “Osha!” says the Sea Otter, smiling at me as cheerily as ever.

    I kneel down, bringing myself as close to Oshawott's level as possible, “Hey, buddy,” I say, “In a few hours, we're gonna be heading out on what's called a Pokemon Journey. It's a big adventure across the region, where trainers, like me, test to see how skilled they and their Pokemon, like you, are...”

    “Wott osha,” says Oshawott with an attentive nod.

    I continue, “That means we're gonna be away from home for a while, out training like we've never trained before, and fighting many powerful opponents. It's going to be rough, but I think we've trained hard enough to give it a go...”

    Oshawott nods again in response, and I wonder if he's wondering where I'm going with this.

    I decide to get to the point, “But... I was thinking, Oshawott... How do you feel about it?”

    Oshawott tilts his head to the side, “Wott?”

    “Do you want to do this, Oshawott? I really, really wanna go on that journey, and just thinking about it makes me very excited, but I was wondering what you think. You're my Pokemon, but I also consider you my friend, and I don't want you to feel forced into something you don't want... so what do you want to do, Oshawott? Do you like this? Do you like me as your trainer? Do you like battling? Do you like training? Do you like any of this?”

    Oshawott stares at me quizzically, “Shawott...”

    I gulp, “I want you to make your own choice. I want to know how you really feel about all this. Please, don't feel pressured into giving an answer I'll like... And just to show you I mean it...” I toss Oshawott's Pokeball several feet away to the side.

    “Ria!” calls out Professor Juniper in surprise.

    With my hands shaking, I say, “If you want to go on that journey or if you want to stay, just give me a sign. If you don't like any of this, and want out, this is your chance. No hard feelings if you do, alright? I just... I just want to know how you feel...”

    “Osha...” Oshawott pauses, and then walks away... or so I think, until I notice he's not walking away, but rather, in the direction of the Pokeball. He picks it up and brings it back to me. Holding out the capsule, Oshawott gives me a determined expression.

    “Oshawott,” I say, suppressing a sob, “Thank you.” I take the Pokeball from my Pokemon, and stand up.

    “Wott oshawott!”

    I gulp hard and say, “Alright! Well, we'll be heading out in a few hours. I hope you're ready!”

    “Oshawott!”

    “Return!” I recall Oshawott and return its capsule to my belt.

    Professor Juniper smiles, “Satisfied?”

    I nod, “Yes. I see how Oshawott feels now, and I won't question being a trainer again. Thank you, Professor!”

    “So, you're leaving?” asks Professor Juniper, “Good luck out there... and keep taking many great pictures with your Pokedex, okay?”

    I smile back, “Will do!”

    ---

    The reassurance that Oshawott wants to travel and train with me, and that being a trainer is a justified course of action gives me a rush of euphoria, which gives me enough stamina to take on the day, even if I'd not gotten all that much sleep the night before.

    Oshawott and I head to the forest off Route 1 to get in some light early morning training against the wild Pokemon there, because I know that from here on, we are gonna need all we can get for the Gyms and rival trainers.

    When eight o' clock comes around, I head through Accumula town, past the places I'd frequented, like the school, Professor Juniper's lab, the Pokemon Center... I walk past a bus stop, and it's a weird feeling. If I want to go to the next town along the way of Unova peninsula, Striaton City, I usually wait there, and ride over. I'd never actually walked along the path connecting Accumula and Striaton, Route 2, but starting there, I will have to, and every Route beyond.

    I wait for about a half-hour, with Oshawott out of its Pokeball, on lookout. This is where Cheren and I, and Bianca, if her dad would let her, agreed to meet at 8:30AM. From there, we will take the first steps of our journey across Unova.

    I check my watch: 8:29, and I'm still the only one here. However, as if on cue, when the time changes to 8:30, I hear a voice, “So, I take it you're ready, Ria?” Cheren approaches with Snivy close by.

    “Yup, I sure am,” I say, deciding not to talk about my previous reservations from earlier this morning with Cheren.

    Cheren glances around, “I see Bianca isn't here yet. I suppose she couldn't convince her dad, after all.”

    “Let's not be too hasty,” I say, “I'll give her a call and find out.”

    I pull out my Xtransceiver. However, just as I'm halfway through punching in Bianca's frequency, I hear two voices, “Hey! Wait up! Don't leave yet!”

    “Tepoink!”

    Bianca and Tepig come running in our direction. They reach us, Bianca out of breath.

    “We weren't trying to leave you behind,” says Cheren flatly.

    “I know,” says Bianca, wheezing for air, “but I thought you'd figure dad would forbid me from going with you for sure, and leave without me...”

    “He let you?” I ask. I have to admit, I thought it would play out exactly as Bianca had described. Her dad's an absolute tyrant when it comes to her safety.

    Bianca pauses, “Um... Yes. Yes he did. It wasn't easy, but I managed to convince him that going on this trip would be a very beneficial experience for me.”

    I nod, “Well, if he's letting you, then welcome aboard.”

    “Thanks,” says Bianca, “Well, let's get going! This is gonna be a lot of fun!” Wow, she seems more eager than ever to do something. This isn't like her, but the enthusiasm is contagious.

    Cheren summarizes our first course of action, “That 'N' character from yesterday said that a Pokemon Gym had recently opened in Striaton City. Challenging that Gym should be our first objective.”

    “Sounds like a plan,” I say, “Let's do this!” With that, we take our first steps beyond the place we call home.

    EDITED!
    After being made aware of the flaws of the previous version of this installment, I went back and made some tweaks.
    What I was the most worried about was the scene with Ghetsis. Originally, he started his speech by mocking a little girl for her relationship with her pet Sandshrew. Now, my first impressions of Ghetsis in the game were rather biased. Thanks to some over-research I did, I knew from the start that he was evil, and he threw in some harsh words during the speech, so I didn't think the game was doing much to hide that fact. I didn't think there was anything wrong with making him out to be a jerk, but really, he's supposed to initially come off as a silver-tongued wise man, and I made him look more like a bully, and really, if he's going to push children around, who would listen to him? I felt like everyone's troubled reaction to his speech came off as forced in that case. I downplayed the scene, removing the girl entirely, and had his speech include more references from the game's speech. This was the main reason I wanted to do this revision, as I felt like I might have ruined Ghetsis for the rest of the story if I let things stand.
    The scene with N was left mostly alone, but expanded a bit, once again to include more things from the game.
    If I left the Oshawott scene alone, I doubt much bad would have come from it, but since I was editing the other stuff, I felt that I'd might as well do it for that too. While it's conceptually unchanged, I downplayed it a bit, so it wasn't as over-dramatic as it was before.
    I hope everyone likes the changes I made, and I'm sorry if the previous version of this installment wasn't up to everyone's standards. I'm going to get back to working on the newer parts, and I hope not to make such a mistake again.
     
    #16 Valin, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  17. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    Yes, Ria giving the stay or go choice to Oshawott was a bit over the top, but it still worked. With Ria questioning herself like she was, it didn't exactly come out of nowhere plus she has shown to be the act first, think later type of person. Over the top, but not over done.

    As for your portrayal of Ghetsis and N, I felt that they were a bit bland compared to their game counterparts. Their appearances didn't hurt the story, but there could have been more to the scene than you had. N, for example, could have shown a tiny bit more emotion such as anger at Ria and Cheren for being unable to hear their Pokemon's voices. I like how you had N ask Purrloin's permission to fight though. That was a nice touch.

    Overall, I liked this chapter. I have a sneaking suspicion though that Bianca's father didn't give her permission to leave and that she's really just running away from home. >;]
     
  18. Thank you, Psycho Monkey for the comment, and you're absolutely right. To tell you the truth, I was a tad hesitant about the recent installment, as I felt as if it needed a little tweaking, but I just figured I was nervous and that it would be fine. I now know that my first instinct was right all along.

    Right now, I'm giving the Ghetsis, N, and Oshawott scenes some serious rethinking, and plan to revise them, so when it's ready, I'll edit the old installment with the new and hopefully improved version.

    My apologies to everyone I let down, and I hope you'll allow me a second chance.
     
  19. Hey Valin. I've been stalking this thread ever since it started, and so far... you are probably one of the best writers on Pokecharms! I first started reading this story after you stopped writing The Superior Beings, as that was awesome! It seems I am the only person that likes the Osshawott releasing bit. It seems dramatic and gives off a really sad effect! (In a good way, of course.) Keep up the good work!
     
  20. Eh, I wasn't fond of the bushed Pokeball scene, but the intention was clear. Overall, the chapter was fine, but I liked the portrayals of Ghetsis and N. If N is a trainer who doesn't use Pokeballs, does he use his Pokemon-talking to convince Pokemon to join him? In addition, how is the number limit kept up? If he has caught a seventh, what would he do?
     
  21. Previous installment updated! Hope I did better :)
     
    #21 Valin, Apr 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  22. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    Improvement noted. The situations you fixed flowed much more naturally and more were much more believable. Hell, I dare say they even added to the story with the benefit of future character development for everyone to stem from it. Great job Valin!

    [me:psycho Monkey]thumbs up[/me]
     
  23. The trek from Accumula Town to Striaton City takes about four hours by foot. However, they are four hours well spent. There is nothing but forest on both sides of the road that is Route 2, and it seems a lot more Pokemon call this area home than Route 1; stronger ones too.

    The more common wild Pokemon around these parts are more aggressive than they were between Nuvama and Accumula. But the biggest surprises came in the form of a couple Purrloins that were not exactly nocturnal. They were the most dangerous out of the wild Pokemon around here, but still nothing compared to my Oshawott and Cheren's Snivy, which fended them off. As for Bianca and Tepig...

    “Tepig! Use Ember attack!” On Bianca's command, Tepig spits a small flurry of sparks at its opponent: a white and light-brown colored bird Pokemon, with a row of pink feathers extending from its head; Pidgeotto, the Bird Pokemon, as its trainer and my Pokedex identified it.

    Pidgeotto's trainer: a young dark-haired girl, with a red shirt, blue vest, and white knee-length skirt, who is probably about thirteen or fourteen year old, taunts in a haughty tone, “Hmph! Not good enough.” She has an accent which indicates that she's from the Johto region, which is just to the west of Kanto, that region where my dad works. Unova, with all its rich culture (or so I'm told. Having grown up in Unova, it's all the norm to me), tends to get a lot of tourists.

    Along the way up Route 2, we ran into this girl, who has two Pokeball attached to her belt, and she asked if one of us wanted to have a Pokemon battle. Bianca was hesitant, but Cheren and I urged her on, as she's the most untested among us, and a match might be good to see how much stronger Tepig had become. Since the girl has no Gym badges pinned to her vest, we figured it should be a pretty even match, but, as it turns out, Pidgeotto is the evolved form of a Pokemon called Pidgey, so things might not be as even as we thought...

    In response to Tepig's Ember attack, Pidgeotto swipes one of its wings hard at the air, creating a strong blast of wind. Cheren and I are watching on, with our Pokedexes at the ready, and the attack we're witnessing is called 'Gust.' The sparks fly back toward Tepig, stunning it, and then the wind sends it flying into the side of a tree.

    “Pooooink!” cries out Tepig.

    “Very good, Pidgeotto,” says the girl with a confident smirk (and I'm really starting to dislike her attitude. Are Johtonians usually this... snobbish?), “now, finish it with Tackle!”

    “Geotto!” Pidgeotto caws as it lifts off the ground and flies toward Tepig.

    “Don't give up, Tepig!” cries Bianca, “You can still win! I believe in you!”

    What Bianca said sounded pretty cheesy, but it seems to do the trick. “Tep... oink!” Tepig gets back to its feet, and charges at Pidgeotto. Along the way, it does something we've never seen it do yet, just like when Oshawott used Razor Shell and Snivy used Leaf Tornado when they fought. Tepig's entire body becomes enveloped in fire, to the point where it looks like a fireball with legs.

    Bianca uses her Pokedex to find out what Tepig's now move is, and so do I. I take the picture, and besides the obvious “Pokemon: Tepig,” two other results come up: “Technique: Flame Charge” and “Ability: Blaze.” Blaze is an ability like Oshawott's Torrent, where a weakened fire-type powers up its fire-based moves in desperation. I guess what we're seeing is a superpowered version of an attack called Flame Charge (though I'd never seen the normal Flame Charge before, but whatever).

    Even though Pidgeotto had more space to gather momentum for its Tackle attack, Tepig, in its powered-up state, accelerates more quickly. The Fire Pig Pokemon leaps in mid-charge and the two combatants collide. Pidgeotto is sent reeling and on top of that, the Bird Pokemon's feathers had also caught fire in a couple areas.

    “No! Pidgeotto!” cries its trainer.

    Pidgeotto is wincing, but still standing, amazingly enough. I can't say I'd been burned very often throughout my lifetime (in fact, the only time I can recall is that lesson all kids end up learning the hard way, about active stoves), but I remember it being the worst kind of pain. If I caught fire, I don't think I'd be fighting, as much as I'd be on the ground, screaming at the top of my lungs, but the Bird Pokemon, seems to have it together, somewhat, though definitely far from being at 100% after a hit like the one it just took. The physical fortitude Pokemon have is simply amazing.

    “Amazing, Tepig!” says Bianca, “Finish it with your Ember attack!”

    “Te... poink!” Tepig spits out another flurry of sparks... or so it would, normally, but the Blaze version of Ember is a small group of little fireballs.

    With a lot of her haughtiness gone (and I'm loving it), Bianca's opponent commands, “H-hang in there, Pidgeotto! Gust attack now!”

    Pidgeotto attempts to defend itself with another Gust attack, but it seems a lot weaker than before, and fails to reflect the fireballs. The bird Pokemon gets bombarded by the flames, and with a screech, it collapses.

    The girl recalls Pidgeotto, tosses a small money prize to Bianca, and leaves in a huff.

    “Tepoink!” Tepig grins at Bianca, who seems to be in a daze.

    A few seconds later, Bianca recovers, and says, “Oh! Um... You did a great job, Tepig!” She holds out Tepig's Pokeball, “Take a good rest. You've more than earned it.”

    “Tep!”

    “Come back,” Tepig vanishes back into its capsule.

    Bianca returns the Pokeball to her belt, and, seemingly drained of strength, leans against a nearby tree, “Whew...”

    “Way to go, Bianca!” I say, “That was awesome!”

    Cheren smiles, “I agree. Very well fought.”

    “Thanks,” says Bianca, “but I didn't really do anything. It was because of Tepig using that Flame Charge move at the right time that we won.”

    “But it was because of the training you gave Tepig that it was strong enough to use it when it did,” says Cheren, “Even if you didn't command it, you were part of the reason Tepig won that battle.”

    Bianca manages a weak smile, “Thank you, Cheren... but... that was... really scary. I didn't think I could possibly win...”

    I put a reassuring hand on Bianca's shoulder, “Don't get yourself down like that, Bianca. You're a really good trainer. You just need to remember that.”

    “I wish I were more like you, Ria...” says Bianca, “You're so... confident. How do you do it?”

    I think for a second. She's right. I do feel pretty self-assured as a trainer, but where did it come from?

    I decide it was my half-victory over Cheren. I mean, even before he'd even officially became one, I'd always seen Cheren as a great trainer, always studying, and stuff, and even though I wanted to become a good trainer too, I never thought I'd match up to whatever Cheren would become. When he challenged me, I was actually nervous, though I reassured myself that Snivy had gotten just as much training as Oshawott, and that they should be fairly even, and used that to put a on a brave face, but when I heard that Snivy had the type advantage, I was scared all over again. Sure, I managed to dismiss that fact for a little while, but it was more for Oshawott's benefit than mine. However, to have a battle with a trainer I thought of as superior and a Pokemon with the advantage, and for it to come out to a draw? That was more than I felt I had a right to expect. With those results on my mind, I believed it when Cheren said that I might be a natural, and I'd played that moment in my mind over and over ever since. I conclude that is what made me feel more confident as a trainer.

    Of course, saying that I owe my self-faith as a trainer to Cheren is a tad embarrassing to say, especially in front of Cheren, so I give an alternate explanation to help Bianca out, “Just remember your accomplishments, like this one, and just reflect on them whenever you have doubts.” Oh man... I just sounded like something out of a self-help book...

    However, my advice seems to lift Bianca's spirits a bit, “Um... I will! Thank you, Ria!”

    I manage a grin, “Anytime, Bianca.”

    Being ever business-like, Cheren says, “I see a sign up ahead. It says that we're just one mile away from Striaton City.”

    “Great!” says Bianca, “It feel like we've been walking forever. I'm tired...”

    Cheren smiles slightly, “The feeling is mutual, Bianca.”

    “Speak for yourselves,” I say, spreading my arms and hopping a couple times to flaunt my pool of remaining stamina, “I'm fine and dandy. I'd be jogging this, if not for you guys.”

    Cheren responds to my cheap shot with one of his own, “Just as I would expect from 'Little Miss Macho.'”

    I feign anger, playfully clench my fists, and turn things back around, “What? What did you just call me? You know what, Cheren? If you're not gonna run, I'm gonna make you run! I hope you're ready!” I charge at Cheren.

    Cheren runs away with whatever energy he can manage, “Okay! You win, Ria! Touche! Didn't you hear me? Touche!”

    Bianca runs after us, laughing.

    ---

    We ran the rest of the way up Route 2. By the time we reach Striaton City, Bianca and Cheren are practically hyperventilating, while I'm just breathing a little faster. It was just one mile. Can that really wear a person out so fast?

    Cheren, bent forward with his hands on his knees, wheezes, “How... on earth do... you do it... Ria?”

    “Do you have to ask?” I say, “You're the smart one, Cheren. You should know. It takes regular exercise. Play a sport. It'll toughen you up in no time.”

    “Well...” says Bianca between breaths, “If we're gonna be walking... long stretches like that... I'm sure... we'll get used to it... after a while...”

    “Very true,” I say to Bianca, “I look forward to seeing that day.”

    “Anyway,” says Cheren, his breathing returning to normal, bit by bit, “We've made it.”

    Even though Striaton City is called “city,” it's more like a town, really. There aren't any skyscrapers or heavy commerce. Rather, it's a fairly laid-back place, which is understandable, as its population is only so-so. Mostly rich people live here, and that fact is immediately apparent to the eye, as most of the passersby are dressed in high-end clothing, which make me feel a little insecure about the street clothes I always wear. Also befitting the high-end-ness of this city is the architecture. The building are either so well-maintained, they look new, or have a classic old-school look to them. Bushes seem to be the preferred style of decoration, as they are everywhere, and most of them are shaped like... well, stuff other than what bushes usually look like, mostly Pokemon that managed to catch on with people, like Pikachu and Psyduck (As for why, I dunno. They're cute, or something?) Fountains also seem to be a dominating aesthetic feature in this town. Overall, I have to say, “Gaudy, thy name is Striaton...”

    Naturally, the first thing we need to do is go to the Pokemon Center, and get Oshawott, Tepig, and Snivy fixed up. Even though we aren't really familiar with this city-town place, it isn't hard to find, as all spots of civilization have directions to the nearest Pokemon Center posted just about everywhere. As our Pokemon are in recovery, we ask the front desk regarding the whereabouts of the Gym that had supposedly just opened. The answer: right next door!

    Bianca, Cheren, and I step out of the Pokemon Center and head to the only building adjacent to it. However, if it's a Gym, it's not immediately obvious. Instead, we're looking up at...

    “... a restaurant?” asks Bianca. The building's sign says in large letters above the entrance, 'Striaton Cuisine.' Sure enough, there are some pleasant smells wafting from the place, and a bunch of nicely dressed couples coming to and from the place, probably willing to spend 500+ credits for a romantic candlelit meal, as opposed to paying a mere 100 credits for a pizza, and watching a cool movie together. It's a rather large three-floor brown building that looks like it's been around for awhile, as opposed to the brand new establishment N claimed it was.

    “Wow...” I say, “That Pokemon Center attendant sure has a weird sense of humor. At least she didn't direct us to the other side of town...”

    Cheren spots something, “Look lower.”

    Bianca and I do as instructed, and we see a small white sign, with no distinguishing features, jutting out of a grassy area lining the restaurant's entryway. It says: “Now open! Striaton Gym! Leader: … Triple Trouble! If you are here for a battle, please enter with your starting Pokemon out of its Pokeball.”

    There is silence between us. For all of Striaton City's gaudiness, its Gym is pretty understated.

    “What is this?” Cheren demands of no one in particular.

    “It's a sign,” I say, laying on the sarcasm, “People put them in the ground. They're supposed to be read, and stuff.”

    “No,” says Cheren, probably louder than he meant to, as he catches some passerby attention, “I mean, this Gym. This is completely unlike any Gym I'd heard of.”

    “How so?” asks Bianca, “We hadn't even gone inside yet...”

    Cheren sighs, “Bianca, you know what a Gym Leader is, right?”

    “Of course,” says Bianca, seemingly hurt by being asked such a basic question. She answers the question as if reciting its dictionary definition, “A Gym Leader is a trainer in charge of a Gym, that challengers must beat in order to win a badge. They specialize in a single Pokemon type.”

    “That's right,” says Cheren, “but each Gym is labeled with the name of a Gym Leader, and a title they go by, usually pertaining the type of Pokemon they specialize in. All this sign says is 'Triple Trouble,' and something about us having to bring in our starting Pokemon. What kind of Gym is this?”

    I shrug, “Well, it's new. Maybe it's starting a trend in Pokemon Gyms?”

    Cheren shakes his head in frustration, “Possibly, Ria. Possibly.” Wow, he's really getting into this... though definitely more than I want him to. This little stuff is really getting to him, for some reason...

    Bianca manages the best smile she can, “Well, what will come, will come, right? Let's just wait for our Pokemon to recover, and go from there, alright?”

    “Fine,” says Cheren, power-walking back to the Pokemon Center.

    “What crawled up his butt?” I ask Bianca.

    Bianca manages a guess, “Well... this'll be his first Pokemon Gym, so... I guess he's just nervous, and wants to know what to expect. The sign is pretty vague about what kind of Gym this is...”

    “I guess so,” I say.

    ---

    It's about 3PM when our Pokemon are completely recovered and we're headed toward Striaton Gym/restaurant for our first Gym battle. I wonder if we're jumping the gun here, but Cheren brings up something about sixty percent of all trainers winning their first Gym battle. With that interesting statistic in mind, I decide that it's probably not too big a deal.

    Doing as the sign instructs, we follow that weird rule about having to have our Pokemon walk with us inside. With Oshawott, Tepig, and Snivy at our respective heels, people on their way to a late lunch or early dinner smile at us as they pass. I'd be flattered... if they were actually smiling. They actually look more like they're grinning or smirking. What? Are they amused by the fact that we're not dressed up like we're attending someone's wedding, or something? While I'm annoyed by the people giving us looks, Bianca seems more nervous, which is not surprising, but Cheren isn't paying them any mind at all, or so it seems, anyway. He looks like he's off in his own little world. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Bianca's guess about him was close to the mark. After all, Cheren had been studying hard for his dream of becoming Champion, and this is his next big step.

    We enter the restaurant and stand in line with the rich couples. It isn't until we enter the restaurant that I notice that the building's windows are tinted. There is very little natural light in the place, and it's primarily illuminated by dim lights and... surprise, surprise... candles at the centers of the round tables beyond. Even though it's the mid-afternoon, it feels like it's eight o' clock at night in here. Still, if this place is geared toward young romantic couples, I'm sure feeling it, and I have to fight off a small impulse to ask Cheren or any other guy nearby to act as my date, just so I can feel like I belong.

    Finally, Bianca, Cheren, and I reach the reception counter, where there are two guys waiting in formal waiter outfits. One has combed down blue hair, covering most of his face, and the other has slicked back green hair. However, their faces look very similar, so I wonder if they're related, or something. They look about our age, or maybe younger, at sixteen, give or take.

    With a cultured accent that is obviously fake, probably used to make him look more sophisticated, the blue-haired waiter greets, “Why, greetings sir and madams!”

    I'm taken aback. 'Madam?' I'm impressed! That's a new one for me, and I thought I'd been called everything when some wise guy from the football team I used to play on jokingly referred to me as 'Milady.'

    The green-haired waiter speaks up, “As you have your Pokemon with you, I take it you are here to challenge the Gym?”

    “Yes, we are,” says Cheren in a measured voice, “We would like to meet with the Gym Leader.”

    With a movie star-ish smile, the blue-haired waiter puts his hand on his chest, and says, keeping up his paper-thin act, “Why sir, you are looking at him.”

    “Or rather, them,” says the green-hair, “I am Cilan, a Gym Leader of Striaton Gym, and this is my brother, Cress, also a Leader.”

    “What?” says Cheren, “Gyms have only one Leader!”

    Cress spreads his arms, “Sir, if you are aware this is a Pokemon Gym, then surely you have read the sign out front. We call ourselves 'Triple Trouble.' The two of us, plus our brother, Chili, are all certified Leaders here.”

    Cilan pulls out a Pokedex and gives Oshawott, Tepig, and Snivy a once-over with it, and then says with a smile (and I notice this is the first time he'd given us any facial expression. I guess he's more of a straight-faced kinda guy), “You may return your Pokemon to the Pokeballs now.”

    Doing as instructed, we hold out our Pokeball to our respective Pokemon and recall them, “Return, Oshawott!”

    “Come back, Tepig!”

    Return, Snivy!”

    “At any rate,” says Cress, “We'd been talking long enough, and the guests behind you are becoming impatient, I'm sure. Please follow us.” He walks away, motioning for us to follow, while Cilan gestures for a nearby waitress to take over at the reception counter.

    As we follow the two waiters, Cheren says, “I am very suspicious of this Gym's credibility. How do I know this is an official Gym?”

    Cress says, “A very common inquiry, sir. You are exactly the thirty-eighth guest to ask that since we'd opened. As such, we are prepared to prove it to you...” He reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a small piece of paper, “This is the official letter of certification. You may read it if you wish.”

    Cheren takes the paper, looks over it intently, and hands it back, “I suppose I have no more questions.” He hands it back to Cress.

    Cress smiles like Cheren is his best friend in the world, “Very good, sir.”

    Cilan asks, “Do any of you have badge cases?” There are only two places where trainers are allowed to keep their Gym badges: in a case or on their clothes. The number of badges shows how much skill a trainer has, which is important when challenging other trainers (something I forgot when I tried to challenge that Pokemon League-level trainer on Route 1), and especially Pokemon Gyms, as the number of badges (or lack thereof) measures how much a Leader will hold back when selecting Pokemon.

    We shake our heads in response, and since we're not wearing anything on our clothing, it's obvious we have no badges at all.

    Cilan nods in understanding, “So, this will be a zero-badge match. Very well, then.”

    “Chili!” Cress calls out to a waiter at a nearby table with spiky red hair, trying desperately to light a candle, but not being able to get the lighter to work.

    “What?” snaps the red-head, Chili. I can tell already that he isn't as poised as Cress and Cilan.

    “We have challengers,” says Cilan, “Three, and you are needed.”

    “Don't I already have enough work to--” Chili turns to face us, but his frustrated face suddenly changes to a grin when he sees us, “Oh! Two girls? Why didn't you guys say so? My luck must be turning around!”

    “I'm a challenger too,” says Cheren flatly.

    “Whatever,” says Chili. Having been around the jocks at school, I know the type of guy Chili is all too well: The kinda guy who's nice to girls, but either a jerk to, or dismissive of, other guys.

    Chili walks over to Bianca and kisses her hand, making her skin turn a dark shade of pink, “Welcome to Striaton Cuisine and Gym, Madam...”

    “Um... er... Th-thank you...” stammers Bianca.

    Chili walks over to introduce my hand to his lips as well, but I pull it away. I know the guy's trying to be a gentleman, but I despise people who judge the worth of others by gender. He just gives an “Eh. Can't win 'em all” shrug, and walks over to Cress and Cilan.

    “This is our brother, Chili,” says Cilan, “He is the third member of our 'Triple Trouble.'”

    “Come with us,” says Cress.

    We're led deeper into the restaurant. It isn't long until we see a large rectangular glass cage with a door. We're led into it, and as soon as we enter, the people sitting at the tables surrounding it turn all their attentions toward us. Other people at further away tables also rise from their seats to watch us. I look to the side as we pass into the cage, and see that there are at least three or four layers of glass. The entire cage is huge, being at least thirty by twenty feet. The ceiling has a few holes in it, probably to let some air in. It doesn't take much to figure out that this is the arena where the battles take place, and the thick glass keep attacks from getting out, causing any harm to the viewers or restaurant. I can even see some remnants of burns on the glass, though it seems cleaned up pretty well for the most part. There's a camera on one of the upper corners of the cage, and I guess that's for the benefit of the people dining on the second and third floors.

    The three waiters-slash-Leaders head to three containers at the far end of the arena, each marked with the letter 'C', though the letters are all different colors: Blue, green, and red.

    Bianca glances around nervously at the spectators, “Um... They're watching us... I don't think I can do this, Ria...”

    I feel a tad nervous to, but I summon all the willpower I can to not show it, “Just keep a straight face, Bianca... Maybe smile?”

    Using keys, Cress, Cilan, and Chili open the containers, and there are a bunch of Pokeballs inside. They each take one, but any attempts to look at the colors of their centers and get a hint of what type of Pokemon are inside them are thwarted, as the ones in the containers are face-down, and the ones the waiters took are held behind their backs. The nature of this Gym is a secret up until the end, huh?

    Cress grabs another thing from his container: a microphone. He speaks, and while his voice isn't too loud inside the cage, I can hear bits of it come in through the holes in the cage's ceiling. He must be speaking to the spectators outside, “Ladies and Gentlemen! The newly-opened Striaton Gym has three new challengers, and that means entertainment for all of you! Now, I will introduce them!” He slips his Pokeball into his pocket. I see it briefly, but not long enough to get a good look at the center. Crap! He walks in our direction and holds the mic up to me, “What is your name, young lady?”

    “Ria,” I answer with a shrug, not knowing what to make of the situation so far. I was expecting a Pokemon battle, plain and simple; not to be an accessory of a show for a bunch of rich people.

    Cress gets Bianca and Cheren's introductions as well, neither of whom radiating undying joy.

    As Cress walks back to his brothers, he says, “As these trainers are clearly new to the world of Pokemon training, they each have no badges, and one Pokemon each...” I notice grins on the faces of everyone watching. This means something, but what? “Therefore, we will have a series of one-on-one zero-badge battles, with each of us against each of the challengers...” So, they're gonna take turns fighting us? Who will be my opponent: The poser, the stiff, or the guy who thinks he's Arceus's gift to women? Cress announces each of the battles, gesturing at each person he mentions, “Round one: Bianca VS Yours Truly. Round two: Ria VS Cilan. Round three: Cheren VS Chili!”

    “I-I'm first?” Bianca stammers, her stage-fright ever growing.

    Chili snaps his fingers, “Damn! I'm the one who has to fight the guy? My luck stinks today!”

    Cress steps up to the far center part of the arena, and reaches into the pocket where he put his Pokeball, “Bianca, are you ready?”

    “Y-y-yes!” Bianca rushes up to her end of the arena.

    “Round one start!” Cress announces as he and Bianca toss their Pokeballs into the field.

    Tepig appears on Bianca's end, while the Pokemon Cress sends out is... a blue monkey... thing.

    All three of us get out our Pokedexes and snap a shot of Cress's Pokemon. The result that appears is, “Pokemon: Panpour.” Looking for more information, the first line says that its a water-type, and I can tell right away that this is not a good matchup for Bianca. Even before taking the trainers' test, I knew fire-types are weak against water-types.

    “Don't worry, Bianca!” I call out, “You can do this! Just remember when my Oshawott beat Cheren's Snivy! Just because you're at a disadvantage doesn't mean you've lost!”

    Cheren whispers to me, “Oshawott didn't beat my Snivy, Ria. That battle was a draw.”

    I blush a little, “Oh... Well, um, good luck anyway, Bianca!”

    Cress extends his hand, “Panpour! Attack with Water Gun!”

    “Pour!” Panpour responds, as it positions its tail atound its body, and its tip at an upward angle. Water sprays from its tail, arcing toward Tepig, who manages to dodge.

    “Have Tepig keep its distance!” Cheren advises Bianca, “Make it a tougher target!”

    “R-right!” stammers Bianca, “Keep your distance, Tepig, and attack with Ember!”

    “Poink!” Tepig dodges another Water Gun attack from Panpour, and spits out sparks. The attack hits, but Panpour barely seems fazed by it.

    “Are you still sure about your advice, Cheren?” I ask flatly.

    Cheren gives his usual composure-losing blush, “W-well...”

    Bianca, seeming to know that things will only drag if the battle continues at its current pace, with Panpour more likely to gain the upper hand, commands, “Tepig! Flame Charge!” Tepig covers its body with flames, though in this case, they aren't as thick as the Blaze variation. It charges at Panpour.

    Cress smiles, “Here's your chance, Panpour. Another Water Gun attack! Now!”

    Panpour fires another stream of water from its tail, but with the gap between it and its opponent much narrower, the attack scores a direct hit. Tepig's flames are doused, and there is a loud hissing sound as if Tepig got splashed with acid, instead of water.

    “Poooooink!” Tepig cries out.

    “Finish it!” commands Cress. Panpour charges at Tepig.

    Bianca stammers, “Um... Ember attack!”

    Tepig, under the effects of Blaze again, spits out fireballs, instead of sparks, but with Panpour jumping high over them, this isn't looking good. The water-type then comes down hard with its claws, slashing the Fire Pig Pokemon, which collapses.

    “No! Tepig!” yells Bianca. It's pretty obvious that it's not gonna get up for more.

    Cress announces into his microphone, after he recalls Panpour, “Round one has been decided, with my victory!”

    Bianca holds out her Pokeball, “Nice try, Tepig... Return.” Tepig vanishes. Bianca walks over to me, “You're up next, Ria. It looks like this is a water-type Gym. Oshawott should have an even chance here.”

    “Alright. Good to know,” I say, taking my position.

    “Round two!” announces Cress as Cilan takes his position across from me, “Cilan VS Ria!”

    We send out our Pokemon.

    “Let's do this, Oshawott!”

    “Go! Pansage!”

    Oshawott appears. At the same time, so does Cilan's Pokemon, and... it looks almost exactly like Panpour, except it's green, and looks like it has broccoli growing out of its head. I take out my Pokedex and analyze it. The result: “Pokemon: Pansage.” The description says it's a grass-type. So much for being a water-type Gym...

    “It's a grass-type,” I tell Oshawott, “Don't worry! We've beaten grass-types before... well, kinda...”

    “Attack with Vine Whip!” commands Cilan. Just like Snivy's version of the attack, Pansage's tail extends by several feet.

    “Remember the battle with Snivy,” I remind Oshawott, “Just watch the tail.”

    “Osha.”

    However, unlike Snivy, Pansage whips its tail around wildly, and Oshawott is forced to dodge like crazy. It gets grazed a few times, leaving searing marks on its body. I can't even track the tail's movement with my eyes, as its moving so fast, it's leaving after-images!

    I know from the Snivy battle that Water Gun won't do much good, especially since Pansage seems a lot tougher than Snivy was at the time. However, if we're kept on the defensive, it's only a matter of time until Oshawott gives in. Still, I can't think of a very good good tactic. Pansage has us completely at bay with its 'lash-storm.' Shaking my head in frustration, I command, “Oshawott! Get in there... somehow, and attack with Razor Shell!”

    Oshawott draws its scallop and tries to advance on Pansage. At first, things look okay, as Oshawott manages to block or deflect attacks with its scallop, but it's obvious that the more he has to endure it, the harder it will be to guard against the relentless onslaught. Finally, an attack gets through Oshawott's guard and he gets caught and showered with lashes. Pansage finishes its combo by wrapping its tail around the Sea Otter, lifting him high, and slamming him into the ground in front of me.

    “O... sha...” Oshawott tries to recover, but ultimately gives in and collapses.

    Cress announces, “Winner of round two: Cilan.”

    Cilan recalls Pansage, and says, “Good match.”

    “Nice try, Oshawott,” I sigh, trying to maintain my poise for the Sea Otter's sake, despite losing my first Gym battle, “Take it easy for now. Return.” I return Oshawott to his capsule. When I turn, I see Cheren had already released Snivy, probably so it can take a few Vine Whip lessons by watching Pansage.

    Cress says into his microphone, “Final Round! Chili VS Cheren!”

    Chili steps up to his end of the arena, still looking surly, probably over the fact that his opponent is the sole male in our trio. Cheren and Snivy take their positions.

    “Start!” announces Cress.

    Chili sighs, “Let's get this over with, Pansear.” He sends out his Pokemon: It looks like Panpour and Pansage, but it's red. My Pokedex tells me that it's a fire-type, and I already know things aren't looking up for Snivy.

    Cheren, who had also analyzed Pansear, returns his Pokedex to his pocket. “I see what kind of Gym this is!” he says accusingly, “You specialize in grass, fire, and water Pokemon: the same kinds of Pokemon most trainers start out with. You have challengers bring their Pokemon in with them, so you'll know what to counter them with: fire against grass, grass against water, and water against fire. That's your theme, isn't it?”

    Chili mockingly claps his hands, “Give the man a prize. Yeah, that's the idea, not that knowing it will make you win this battle. What are you gonna say next? 'It's just not fair?' This is why I hate guys. They always complain about our strategies.”

    Cilan adds, “It certainly wasn't easy to get the Pokemon League to approve our idea for a Gym, but after we explained what it might mean for up-and-coming trainers, they were all-too-eager.”

    “And so here we are,” concludes Cress, with a dramatic pose, “Striaton Gym, the water-fire-grass Gym. Triple Trouble!”

    Cheren growls, “Snivy, the odds are against us, but we cannot afford to lose this battle!” Whoa... Cheren seems... almost frustrated. He doesn't have his normal composure at all, nor does he seem to realize it. I know this is an important battle for him, but man...

    Snivy glances back at Cheren, looking very worried, “S-ssni...”

    Cheren extends his hand, “Use what you got from watching Pansage fight! Vine Whip!” Snivy's tail extends, and like Pansage, it unleashes a relentless flurry of lashes. Geez, if Oshawott fights it again, I doubt it'll end in another draw...

    Unlike me when Pansage used the same move, however, Chili looks almost bored, “That's nothing. Advance, Pansear.”

    “Pan!” Pansear walks toward Snivy. From there, it gets bombarded by lashes, but the fire monkey seems hardly affected. It's just shrugging them off.

    When Pansear gets halfway into the lash-storm, Cheren commands, “Change of tactic! Focus on defense! Leaf Tornado!” Snivy's tail returns to its normal length and it surrounds itself with a thick shield of sharp-edged leaves.

    Chili nonchalantly says, “Is that all? Pansear! Incinerate attack!”

    Pansear opens its mouth and blows a thin stream of fire into Snivy's barrier. The leaves get turned to ash almost instantly, and the flames slam into Snivy, whose skin catches fire.

    “Snivy!” yells Cheren.

    “Alright,” says Chili, “Time for another newbie to bite the dust. Finish it, Pansear!”

    “Pan!” Pansear blows another stream of fire into the now-unprotected Snivy.

    "S... ss... sni..." With its body covered with horrible burns, Snivy tries to keep standing. I have to admit, it's a real trooper, but it ultimately reaches its limit and faints.

    “Snivy!” yells Cheren, seeming almost despaired.

    “End battle!” declares Cress, “It's a complete victory for Striaton Gym!”

    … And the crowd, as they say, goes wild, which, needless to say, is more than how I, and I imagine Bianca, and especially Cheren, feel right now...

    Alright, I'm sure anyone who's played the games probably predicted ahead of time how the battle would end, seeing as Ria, Cheren, and Bianca currently have no Pokemon outside of their starters. As such, I tried to keep the battles as short as possible. I originally planned on it being a triple battle, but I'm going to avoid those for this story, as a field with six active Pokemon is just too chaotic for me to write. As for the Route 2 trip, I thought of just summarizing it briefly, and going straight to Striaton City from there, but I figured the pacing would be a little too quick in that case, and decided to use it to expand on Bianca's character a bit.
    As usual, I hope you found this enjoyable (and acceptable, as I'm still kinda reeling from the last installment)!
     
    #23 Valin, Apr 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  24. Hm. I love that someone actually catches on fire when using Fire type attacks. It makes the game more realistic, though I wonder how badly and how often disfiguring scarring occurs. What would a burn be like in your universe?
     
  25. What comes after losing to Cilan, Cress, and Chili is just bizarre. They make us pay about 2,000 credits each as prize money for the battle. However, they claimed that the battle expenses were just 1,500 credits, with the other 500 credits to pay for a light dinner afterward (way overpriced). I guess it was meant to be a consolation prize, or whatever. Either way, so much for most of that money mom gave me...

    Afterward, we take our Pokemon back to the Center, and wait in the lobby.

    Bianca and I are frustrated that we lost, of course, but Cheren hadn't said a single word since losing to Chili. He had just been lost in his own little world, and had acted like a zombie ever since.

    In an effort to cheer him up, I go to one of the Pokemon Center's food stands, and bring back three vanilla frozen yogurts. Each is in a little plastic dish, and is decorated with two blue candies as eyes, and a slice of strawberry as a mouth. I bring them back to the lobby, and give two of them to Bianca and Cheren. Then, in an attempt to get some sort of rise outta Cheren, I share some trivia I got from the guy at the stand, “Hey, Cheren. This is called a 'Vanillite Special.' You know about Vanillite, right? It's an ice-type Pokemon, which people always muse about looking like ice cream. Well, did you know that it was actually ice cream that was based off that Pokemon, and its evolutions? It's even how vanilla got its name! Vanillite, vanilla... get it?”

    Cheren stays silent for a few seconds, staring at his Vanillite Special. Finally, he says, “Did you think I was oblivious to that fact, Ria?”

    “Wow!” I exclaim, “He speaks? C'mon, man. What's wrong? Was it because you lost to Striaton Gym? Bianca and I lost too. It sucks, but we're not all mopy.”

    Cheren leans forward in his seat and stares at the floor, “I've studied to be a trainer ever since I was eight years old. I'd dedicated every single day over the past nine years to the pursuit of becoming Unova's Champion. I should be stronger than this!”

    I take a scoop out of my Vanillite Special, “Dude, you're a skilled trainer! Don't get yourself down like that.”

    Bianca takes a bit out of her frozen yogurt as well, “Yeah.”

    Cheren pauses, and then indulges himself in the heavenly taste that is the Vanillite Special, “So you say, but even after all I did to be a powerful trainer, I haven't won a single Pokemon battle. One draw and one loss... even you two have a victories to admit pride in.”

    I'm taken aback. I hadn't even thought about it. Cheren had only fought twice, hadn't he, and he hadn't won either of those battles. I feel like I'm starting to understand his position. If I'd been studying the ins and outs of Pokemon battle for the past nine years, I'm sure I would expect a stronger start too...

    In an effort to talk up Cheren a bit, I say, “Well, about that battle with N... He forfeited the match. I wouldn't call that a 'victory,' per se. Also, I was surprised to have that battle with you end in a draw. I was pretty impressed by that new version of Vine Whip Snivy used against Pansear, by the way. If we battle again, I'm not sure it will end the same way as before. I'd say you just got unlucky in your first couple battles...”

    Cheren, without a word, takes a scoop out of his frozen yogurt.

    “Ria's right,” says Bianca, “Also, none of us beat those Gym Leader waiters. We were completely unprepared. You shouldn't feel bad about that. Now that we know what their strategy is, we can totally do better next time, right?”

    Cheren sighs, “The two of you are absolutely right. I'm just disheartened over the fact that I lost my very first Gym battle. After all, sixty percent of all trainers win their first Gym battle.”

    “Well, sixty percent of all trainers probably didn't take on Striaton Gym...” I respond. This manages to get a slight smile out of Cheren. Progressive.

    Bianca says, “I think it might have gone better if we had the type advantage, or maybe even no advantage or disadvantage at all. I think you were right, Cheren, when you said that we'd trained our Pokemon enough. Maybe it's time to take that next step and capture new Pokemon...” Bianca pauses, “That waiter that fought Ria... Cilan, was it? Anyway, he said something about the Pokemon League accepting their Gym because of what it would mean to new trainers. They showed us that fire-types are good against grass-types, but weak against water-types. Well, if we had more Pokemon? You know, Pokemon that could turn it back around, and exploit the weaknesses of the Pokemon they used to counter our starters? Maybe we can win that way?”

    I grin, “I'm impressed, Bianca. That was an astute observation if I'd ever heard one.”

    “Heh...” Bianca blushes.

    I take a couple scoops out of my yogurt, “Well, I guess I'd better capture a fire-type somewhere. That'll show Cilan's grass-types who's honcho.”

    Cheren sits up stright in his seat, “You don't need a fire-type a fire-type to beat a grass-type, Ria. You can make due with flying-types, bug-types, or ice-types too...” Good old Cheren, “Also... Have either of you considered using the TM lab?”

    “The... TM lab?” asks Bianca. I remember Professor Juniper giving us a lecture on TMs (Technical Machines), but it ended up getting so complicated, and... well, technical... that it got confusing. I didn't sleep during any of the Professor's classes, but I did trance out during that particular one...

    Luckily, Cheren gives us a simplified explanation, “Just like Pokemon have types, so do the techniques they use, and they don't always have to be the same type as the Pokemon using them. For example, sometimes water-types can learn ice-type techniques as a way to catch grass-types off-guard.”

    When we were still learning, I wouldn't have given it too much mind, but now that I'm a trainer that owns a water-type, I find that explanation very intriguing.

    Cheren continues, “TMs slightly alter the physiology of a Pokemon so they can become capable of techniques they are otherwise incapable of learning on their own. The drawback: they are very expensive.”

    I grin, “Y'know, Cheren... that was so much easier to understand than the lecture Professor Juniper gave. Are you sure you wanna be Champion? How about you become a researcher, and I'll be Champion in your place?”

    Cheren says, “Thank you for the thought, Ria, but I'm not going to abandon my goal now...”

    Bianca says, “Well, now that we know how to beat Striaton Gym, how about we head out to capture new Pokemon after Tepig and the others recover?”

    “You two can,” says Cheren, “as for me, I'm going to move on; Go off on my own for a bit...”

    “Why?” I ask.

    “I would just like to travel alone for a little while,” says Cheren, “Wild Pokemon are more likely to attack lone travelers, which would mean more training for Snivy. Besides... There's something I'd like to be alone to think about for a little while.”

    “'Think about?'” I inquire, “What would that be?”

    “I'll tell you later.”

    “Where do you plan on going?” Bianca asks.

    “Probably to Route 3,” Cheren answers, “and then to Nacrene City, the next town over, from there. Maybe I will challenge the Gym there, which I imagine is a more traditional Pokemon Gym than the one here, and return to Striaton City afterward, stronger than ever.”

    “Well, if that what you wanna do...” I say, “We can still keep in touch via our Xtransceivers, right?”

    “Of course,” says Cheren.

    “Bing bing bing-bing-bing~” Suddenly, there is is catchy five-note jingle over the Pokemon Center's intercom, which always precedes a message telling someone that their Pokemon are ready for action again, waiting to be picked up... and sure enough, “Cheren from Accumula Town... Your Pokemon has been completely healed. Please retrieve it at the front desk. I repeat, Cheren from Accumula Town...”

    Cheren rises from his seat, “Perfect timing. Well, Ria... Bianca... This is goodbye for now...”

    “Will you be okay?” asks Bianca, “Alone, I mean?”

    “Snivy is strong enough,” says Cheren, “He should handle anything that comes out, plus I have a good supply of potions if he needs them.”

    “Well, good luck out there,” I say.

    “Thank you,” says Cheren, “I take it the two of you will challenge Striaton Gym again? I wish you luck with that as well.”

    “Thanks!”

    “Please be careful, Cheren,” says Bianca.

    “No worries.” With that, Cheren walks away, finishing his Vanillite Special, tossing the leftover plastic dish into a nearby wastebasket, and heads to the front desk. He takes back Snivy's Pokeball from the attendant, and heads out the door.

    I finish my own frozen yogurt, and say, “Well, Bianca... It's almost five o' clock, and still light out. I say we head out and try to find some Pokemon that will make those Striaton Gym guys sweat.”

    “Sure,” says Bianca, “... but where should we start? All we've seen when traveling were Patrat , Lillipup, and Purrloin...”

    “How about the Dreamyard?” says someone nearby. We turn to see a girl with six badges attached to her sweater. Definitely an accomplished trainer, based on that, “I couldn't help but overhear what you said about losing to Striaton Gym. That's nothing new. Almost all new trainers lose to that place. However, if you're looking for Pokemon outside of the norm around these parts, I suggest checking out the Dreamyard. You can find some rare ones there.”

    “Um, thanks for the tip,” I say, “Where is this 'Dreamyard' place?”

    “Not far,” answers the six-badge trainer, “just head west along the road the Center and Gym are on, and you'll eventually reach the outskirts. You'll head straight into the Dreamyard from there.”

    “Sounds easy enough to find,” says Bianca, “Thanks!”

    “No prob,” says the trainer, “Good luck with Striaton Gym. Believe me, you'll prove to be more effective trainers if you can beat that place.” She walks away, probably elated for doing her good deed of the day.

    Bianca and I glance at each other, and grin. It's decided: Dreamyard, here we come!

    ---

    As soon as Oshawott and Tepig are recovered, Bianca and I are out the door. The walk to the Dreamyard is shorter than I thought it would be, which is to say it's about fifteen minutes away from the Pokemon Center. The whole while, I'm excited to see what this Dreamyard place will look like. I mean, the name implies that it would look like something out of a dream, so I'm expecting emerald-green grass, beautiful flowers of all types, and just a vision of what Heaven may look like in general.

    We reach a sign marked 'Dreamyard,' and the sight beyond it is... ironic.

    “This is the Dreamyard?” says Bianca, more as a statement than a question.

    “This is a pit...” I grumble.

    What lies before us is a dilapidated building, only one story tall, but covering a lot of horizontal area, surrounded by half-dead trees and tall yellow grass; Certainly a far cry from the slice of paradise I was expecting.

    “I was expecting a place with a name like 'Dreamyard to be like someplace out of... well, a dream,” says Bianca. Looks like she had the same idea as me...

    I spot a panel nearby, like the ones used to point out places of interest at national parks. I walk over to it and skim it over. It explains how the Dreamyard got its name. Apparently, it's one of the few places on earth where a Pokemon called Munna, and its evolved form, Musharna, reside. They release some kinda fog-stuff called Dream Mist. It's said that anyone who manages to get some of the stuff can use it to manipulate the dreams other people have. Since this place has Munna, and Munna releases Dream Mist, someone decided to call it the Dreamyard. Makes some sense.

    The panel has a couple cartoon drawings of Munna and Musharna. With a shrug, I take out my Pokedex and snap a shot of the whole panel. It takes longer than normal for the results to load, but, amazingly, even though I'm not taking a picture of actual Pokemon, two results come up anyway (way to cheat the system, Ria!): “Pokemon: Munna” and “Pokemon: Musharna.”

    I check for more info on Munna. It's called the Dream Eater Pokemon, and it's a psychic-type. While psychic-types didn't really appeal to me as much as fighting-types and fire-types had, I actually found them to be pretty interesting, nonetheless. They can do all kinds of stuff with their minds, and I was hoping to maybe obtain one at some point. Maybe I'll find a Munna or Musharna around here and capture it. Sure, it wasn't one of the types that Cheren said works wonders on grass-types, but Bianca also said that finding something that has no type advantages or disadvantages might work too.

    I check the sky, which is showing the early signs of sunset. Bianca and I probably have about an hour and a half to look around, before we gotta head back to Striaton City and call it a night.

    “Well, Bianca,” I say, “We don't have a lot of time until nightfall. Let's start hunting.”

    I walk ahead, but Bianca doesn't. I glance back, and Bianca says with some hesitation, “Ria...”

    “Yeah, what's up?”

    “There's... something I need to talk to you about. I can't keep hiding it...”

    I walk back to Bianca, “What is it?”

    Bianca looks at the ground, like she's guilty about something, “I'm sorry, Ria... I lied to you this morning.”

    “You lied? About what?”

    Bianca stares at the ground, “I never got daddy's permission to go with you and Cheren... In fact, he forbid it.”

    I'm at a loss for words, “So... basically, you're telling me that you're running away from home?”

    Bianca pauses, “Something like that, yeah. If I told the truth, I was afraid you wouldn't let me come along...”

    I take a few seconds to let this sink in. Bianca actually disobeyed her dad? She's practically terrified of the man. “Well... I dunno what to say. He's probably worried sick about you right now...”

    “It wouldn't surprise me,” says Bianca.

    “No offense, Bianca, but this is probably the most reckless thing you'd ever done. Is journeying across Unova with me and Cheren... well, just me now... really that important?”

    “Yes!” answers Bianca with an intensity I wasn't expecting, “Yes it is! Daddy had always tried to make sure I'm always safe, but... I felt so helpless... powerless... At first, I tried to become a trainer, so you and Cheren could, but as time went on, I realized that it may be the thing I need... the thing to prove that I'm not weak and defenseless. I want to show daddy that I can be strong and that he doesn't always need to protect me, and I think I can prove that through whatever accomplishments I make as a Pokemon trainer.”

    I think about Bianca's answer for a second, “You really thought about this, huh?”

    Bianca nods, “I have.”

    I shrug, “Oh well, even if I told you to go back home, I guess I couldn't stop you. Since you've already made it this far, you'd might as well keep going.”

    Bianca's face lights up, “You're... okay with this?”

    I smile, “I was hoping all three of us could travel as trainers anyway. Also, it's a good thing you didn't wait any longer to tell me this, Bianca.”

    “Why?”

    “I said before that your dad's probably worried sick about you. What do you think he'll do when he sees that you didn't come back home?”

    Bianca's body jolts at my revelation. Well, she is determined, but I guess she didn't think this all the way through, “He'll... have the cops look for me... or something?”

    I nod, “Yup. Since it's starting to get late, and you still hadn't come back, I'd guess he'll call the authorities soon, if he hadn't already...”

    Bianca looks like she's about to freak, “Oh no! What do I do now?”

    “You can start by relaxing,” I say, “They'll probably search Acculuma Town first, and then expand when there's no sign of you there. I'd estimate that they'll look around here by roughly noon tomorrow.”

    “Okay... so... maybe I should call Cheren? Have him wait up, so I can get away from Striaton City and move on to Nacrene City?”

    “You could,” I say, “but I have an idea...” I inhale deeply, as I'm about to advise Bianca how to do something illegal, “Disguise yourself. Wig, clothes, makeup, colored contact lenses, and all that good stuff. Make yourself as unrecognizable as possible. I doubt the cops'll do a thorough examination of everyone they see, and just look for people that match your physical description, so if you don't match it, more power to you. Also, you have your money in cash, right? Not in the bank?”

    “Most of it,” says Bianca.

    “Then keep it that way. If you use a card, it'll leave a signal that can be tracked. Also, your Xtransceiver is off, right?”

    “Yes,” answers Bianca, “Daddy would've probably tried calling me...”

    “Keep it that way too, and only turn it on if you need to contact me or Cheren about something, and then turn it off again. Also, I guess it's a good thing that Cheren went off on his own, as we may need to separate for awhile...”

    “Why?” asks Bianca.

    “Because we're your friends, your dad knows it, and he's probably suspects that you're with us right now. Even if you're in disguise, I think it would look somewhat suspicious if you're traveling with us.”

    “I see your point,” says Bianca, “Wow, Ria, you seem to know a lot about this... Um... are you... a secret agent, or something?”

    I grin, “No... but I'd seen enough movies to know how these things work.”

    Bianca laughs, “Okay. First thing tomorrow, I'm gonna disguise myself. I guess I'd better enjoy my time with you while I still can...”

    I say, “Well, you want to prove your power to dear old dad through your accomplishments as a trainer, so you can start by beating Striaton Gym. Let's catch us some Pokemon!”

    Bianca and I send out Oshawott and Tepig and we start to search the area.

    Along the way, Bianca remarks, “Since the Gym Leader you have to fight uses grass-types, I bet you're wishing you got Tepig instead.”

    “Osha?”

    “Poink?”

    Oshawott and Tepig glance back at us.

    “Old news,” I try to reassure them, “You're my Pokemon, Oshawott, and I couldn't be happier about that.”

    Oshawott smiles cheerily, and the Sea Otter and Fire Pig get back to looking out for any wild Pokemon that might show up.

    “It wouldn't make a difference,” I say, “If I started with Tepig, I'd be fighting Mr. Water Waiter instead, and be in the same boat you're in right now...”

    “Good point,” says Bianca. She then lowers her voice, probably so Oshawott and Tepig can't hear what's next, “You may have gotten it pretty good, though. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have Tepig as my Pokemon, but I've heard water-types don't have a lot of weaknesses. The only two I know of are grass-types and electric-types.”

    I smile at that information, “Good to know, though I'm sure you have your work cut out for you, Bianca.”

    Bianca sigh, “Yes... I might end up having to settle for a Pokemon that has no advantages or disadvantages against water-types. In that case, though, it might be worth looking into the TM labs for an attack that could give me an edge. Don't forget about that...”

    “Poi-poink!” Tepig calls out. We look, and it motions its head to something ahead of us: a Pokemon; Something bird-like... a little under two feet tall, with white feathers on its head, along with a large white and red feather extending from its forehead, and blue feathers on its lower body. It looks kinda cuddly, though it has a pair of mean-looking talons, which kinda offset that.

    I get out my Pokedex and take a picture of this Pokemon. The result: “Pokemon: Rufflet.” I check for more info. It's called the Eaglet Pokemon, and it has two types: flying and normal. I think back to what Cheren told me about grass-type weaknesses. One of the types he mentioned were flying-types, and it seems Rufflet fits that bill. Alright! It may not be Munna, but it looks like I found what I just might have been looking for.

    “It's mine,” I tell Bianca, “Leave this to Oshawott and me!”

    “Alright,” says Bianca, “Good luck!”

    I nod, “Thanks!” I turn my attention to Oshawott, “Oshawott! We are going to try to capture that Pokemon...” I recall what Professor Juniper taught us about Pokemon capturing, “We need to weaken it first.”

    “Osha,” Oshawott nods in understanding.

    “Attack!” I command. Oshawott charges at the Rufflet, which catches the Eaglet Pokemon's attention.

    Oshawott tries to hit it with a Tackle attack, but Rufflet dodges, and counters with a powerful thrust of its beak. Oshawott is sent tumbling several feet, showing that it has more power than I'd expect from a Pokemon of its size. Strong and a decent fighter, even in the wild. Good! This Pokemon looks better and better!

    From previous wild Pokemon encounters, two things usually happens at this point: the wild Pokemon gets angry and fights back, or it runs away. In this case, it's the former scenario. Rufflet tries to press its attack, but Oshawott surprises it with a blast from its Water Gun, the force of the attack knocking the Eaglet Pokemon away and thoroughly drenching it..

    I recall a question on the trainer's test, asking which Pokemon type out of the choices is the hardest to capture. I wasn't exactly confident in my answer, but I figured flying-types, as they can fly, and therefore, have an easier time getting away. However, with Rufflet's feathers all wet, I have a feeling it's going to have a harder time flying if things get rough.

    The Water Gun attack stuns Rufflet long enough for Oshawott to get up and attempt another Tackle attack. Oshawott slams Rufflet, and the flying-type is knocked off its feet. I decide it might be weakened enough to try capturing it now, so I pull a Pokeball from my supply bag, and hurl it at Rufflet. A split second before the capsule hits Rufflet, it responds to the nearby Pokemon, and there is a bright flash. Rufflet is gone, and just the Pokeball remains. However, I know it's not over yet. The Pokemon still has a chance to break free if it has enough strength left to do so.

    The Pokeball rolls and jumps through the grass. I recall a time when the Professor actually took us out into the wild to demonstrate how Pokemon are captured. She used a wild Patrat as an example. When the Professor used a Pokeball, the Patrat tried to resist, with the capsule rolling and jumping like it is now, but when there was a click, it stopped resisting, and the Pokemon was officially captured. That's what I'm waiting for with Rufflet.

    There is more jumping and rolling, but then there is a flash. When the light clears, Rufflet reappears, and the Pokeball had been broken into two halves. Dang! Not enough...

    “It's not over!” I tell Oshawott, “Keep fighting!”

    Rufflet uses a new technique on Oshawott. Oshawott tries Tackling it again, but Rufflet jumps up, avoiding the attack, and then comes down hard with its talons, knocking the Sea Otter to the ground. My Pokedex tells me this move is called Aerial Ace.

    Just as Rufflet is about to attack the my water-type while it's down, however, Oshawott delivers a surprise swipe with its Razor Shell attack, getting it across the lower chest.

    “Rufffl!” Rufflet cries out, staggering back. This may be our chance!

    This time I pull a Great Ball, and middle-grade Pokeball, with a greater chance of success than the standard Pokeball from my bag. I toss it at Rufflet, and once again, it vanishes.

    Like before, the capsule tumbles and rolls, though not with as much intensity as before, which is a good sign. Finally, after a few tense second, there is a clicking sound, the center of the Great Ball turns sky-blue, the color that represents flying-types, and there is no more resistance. Rufflet has been captured!

    “Way to go, Ria!” cheers Bianca.

    Oshawott takes a few deep breaths, “Sha... sha...”

    “Awesome work, Oshawott,” I say, holding out the Sea Otter's Pokeball. Take a good rest. Return!” Oshawott vanishes. I kneel down and pick up Rufflet's Pokeball. I say, though I'm not sure if Rufflet can hear me in there, “Hey there, Rufflet. I'm Ria. Welcome to the team.” I attach both Pokeballs to my belt.

    “A flying-type...” says Bianca with a smile, “That should come in handy against those grass-types.”

    “It probably will,” I say, unable to conceal my grin over the fact that I'd just made my first capture, “Now, we just need to find something that'll give you a fighting chance against water-types.”

    Bianca and I explore the Dreamyard a bit more. Some unfamiliar Pokemon show up, but nothing the Pokedex identifies as the grass-type or electric-type Bianca needs to beat Cress. Ten minutes pass. I check my watch. Almost six o' clock.

    Suddenly, there is a beeping sound from my pocket: my Xtransceiver. Someone is trying to get a hold of me. I check it for the ID of whoever is sending the transmission, and it's an unknown.

    I open my Xtransceiver, and the face that appears on the screen almost makes my heart jump into my sinuses. It's a man with sandy-brown hair and piercing blue eyes. Oh crap! It's Bianca's dad!

    Bianca sees the screen, though hopefully outside of the range of my camera, and runs to get out of view.

    “Um, hi...” I say, unsure of how to respond.

    “Hello, Ria,” says Bianca's dad in a level voice.

    “What can I do for you?” I ask, though I already have a pretty good idea.

    Bianca's dad sighs, “It's almost six o' clock, and my daughter still hasn't come home. Maybe I'm getting paranoid, but she had been expressing an interest in accompanying you and Cheren on your... Pokemon journey. I forbid it, of course, but seeing as she still hadn't come home, I was wondering if you might know of her whereabouts.”

    I glance out the corner of my eye, and see Bianca looking at me pleadingly, hands clasped together.

    “I have no idea,” I lie, trying to keep it together. I wonder how many more time I have to do this for my friend's sake...

    “I see,” says Bianca's dad, “I am thinking of contacting the authorities, but I just want to make sure I'm not jumping the gun by doing so. Thank you, Ria. Is Cheren with you right now?”

    “No,” I say, actually telling the truth this time.

    “I see. Well, I will try to see what I can do about contacting Cheren, to see if he might have some clues. I'm sorry for cutting into your time.”

    “No problem,” I say, and I can feel the sweat coming on, “Good luck finding her.” The transmission ends.

    Oh crap! Cheren doesn't know that Bianca ran away, does he? Still, from how Bianca's dad spoke, it seems he doesn't know Cheren's frequency... yet. He might try calling Cheren's parents about that, so maybe I can beat him to the punch.

    I waste no time in entering Cheren's frequency, and wait for him to answer. One ring... two rings... Damn it, Cheren! Pick up!

    Finally, Cheren's face appear on the screen. Judging by the background, he's in a forest somewhere, “... Ria?”

    “Hey Cheren,” I say frantically, “There's something important you need to know! Bianca ran away with us! Her dad's looking for her! He'll call! Lie for her! Please!”

    “Slow down,” says Cheren, “You said Bianca ran away? She didn't actually get her father's permission to travel with us?”

    “Yes,” I say, “Look! I don't have a lot of time. I'll explain everything later, but for now, if Bianca's dad calls, just say you don't know anything about her whereabouts, okay?”

    Cheren pauses, “Okay. If Bianca's dad calls me, I will try to cover for her, but I expect a full explanation later, understood? Depending on what I hear from you, I may or may not tell him the truth later.”

    “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I exclaim, “You're the best, Cheren!”

    Something catches Cheren's attention, “... I have an incoming transmission.”

    “It's probably him,” I say, “Bianca's dad.”

    “I see,” says Cheren, “As I said, I'll lie for her, at least for now, but I expect to hear everything later. Are we clear?”

    “Sure thing,” I say, “Thanks again!” We end our transmission, so Cheren can begin his with Bianca's dad.

    Bianca jumps over and hugs me in gratitude, “Oh, thank you so much, Ria!”

    “I wouldn't get too excited...” I say, hoping my heartbeat will slow down soon, “Things are starting to get complicated. The suggestions I gave before will buy you some time, but eventually, there will probably be an angle I hadn't thought of, and you will be found, Bianca. It's only a matter of time. I'm sorry, but, despite what I said earlier, maybe you should come clean and tell your dad what you're doing...”

    Bianca pulls away, “I... can't... Not yet. ”

    “I know it's scary, but you're gonna have to face him sooner or later,” I say, “and I can't keep covering for you. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to flat-out lie to your dad, who is really worried about you?”

    “I know, and I'm sorry,” says Bianca, “But I can't tell him yet! Not until I can prove myself. If I get sent home, he'll never let me try!”

    I shrug, “Alright, Bianca. I'm not sure how long you can keep this up, but if you are so determined, what you can do with whatever time you have is win as many badges as possible. The more you win, the stronger a trainer you prove you are.”

    “Okay,” says Bianca, “I guess I better start by finding a Pokemon that can beat Cress's water-types, then...”

    “Good plan,” I say, walking ahead, “Well, we have about an hour or so left until we should head back to the Center, and call it a--”

    “Muuuuuuun...!” I hear a half-moan, half-scream from somewhere.

    “Did you hear that?” I say.

    “Yeah,” says Bianca, “It didn't sound human... A Pokemon, maybe?”

    We become as quiet as possible, and with no noise, the Dreamyard becomes eerie... Well, eerier, anyway.

    Just as we're convinced we were just hearing things before, there is another cry, this one louder, “Muuuuuuuuun!” followed by a voice. I can't make out the words from where we are, but it sounds human, and sounds angry.

    “That can't be good,” says Bianca, “I'm gonna look!” She runs in the direction of the cries: The ruined building in the middle of the Dreamyard.

    Pained Pokemon cries, and angry human yelling. Putting two and two together, I'd say someone's abusing his Pokemon, and the idea makes me mad. It's those kinds of people that justify Ghetsis's accusations against humanity on how they use their Pokemon, and thereby, make me ashamed to be a trainer, or even a human being. If we can put a stop to it, it would make me very happy. I run after Bianca.

    We enter the ruins through a large hole in its outer wall. Needless to say, there are no working lights inside, but there are several cracks and holes in the ceiling, letting in the sunset light, dimly illuminating the place. I dunno how old this place is, but it was obviously abandoned for a while, as there are plants sprouting up through the floor and mold on the walls. I see something fly by: a small blue thing with wings, large ears, and no eyes. A Zubat, a bat-like Pokemon that lives in dark places, so it looks like some wild Pokemon had made this place their home...

    We hear a loud smack, and other anguished Pokemon cry. This time, however, the yelling is much clearer, “You're a Pokemon that still has its freedom! Don't you care about the countless others that live under their greedy and selfish trainers? If you do, release the mist, and help us with our mission! Now!”

    Bianca and I glance at each other, and dash up a short corridor. We eventually come to a room: a large, wide-open space, with a few abandoned desks and chairs, and a hole to the outside on the other end. In the middle of the room, we see two people, and a Pokemon on the floor in front of them.

    The Pokemon is small, round, and pink, with four short legs, and flower-like marks on it. I recognize it instantly from the panel I looked at: It's a Munna! One of those psychic-type Pokemon the Dreamyard got its name from. Besides the flower marks on its body, however, it's also covered by another kind of mark: bruises, and even a few bleeding spots.

    The two people are a man and a woman, both red-headed, and dressed in a way I will never forget for the rest of my days. The chainmail, the armor... they're dressed the same way as those guys that were with Ghetsis in Accumula Town yesterday: Team Plasma members?

    This time, however, despite how the man and woman are dressed, there is absolutely nothing amusing about what I'm looking at. The man slams its steel-toed boot into the little Munna lying it his feet, at it lets out another cry.

    The sight instantly makes me angry. Even though I ended up not entirely agreeing with Ghetsis yesterday, I could still respect Team Plasma's ideals. I thought of them as people who cared about Pokemon, and felt that they weren't in good hands with humans... but now, this? Kicking a poor Pokemon while it's down? Is this what Team Plasma is really like?

    Before I can dash into the room, however, Bianca does, which shocks me. I never thought she'd show this much initiative, especially in a situation like this. Still, I follow her in as her backup.

    “What are you doing?” demands Bianca, catching the attention of the two Team Plasma knights.

    “Who the heck are you?” yells the woman.

    “Answer her question,” I say, my rage fueling me, “You're from Team Plasma, right? Those guys who want to free Pokemon from trainers?” Bianca glances back at me, questioningly. Oh yeah, I guess I didn't tell her about yesterday yet...

    “So, you know about us?” asks the man.

    “More or less,” I say, “Or at least I thought I did. Based on what your group is trying to do, I thought you loved Pokemon, so why are you beating up that Pokemon?”

    “We are using drastic measures to carry out Team Plasma's noble duty,” explains the woman, “Munna creates Dream Mist. If a human can utilize its power, one can decide what dreams a person will have. We intend to make Pokemon trainers realize their folly by creating nightmares in which they see what they are putting their Pokemon through. In their guilt, they shall return their Pokemon to their rightful place in the world, and their suffering will end!”

    The man says, “If this Munna cares even the least bit about its captive kin, it will perform its rightful duty and provide us with the Dream Mist! Refusal makes it a traitor to all Pokemon!” He gives it another kick.

    “Muuuuunna...” I can see the Munna's eyes trained on me and Bianca, and it's looking at us pleadingly. It wants us to help it.

    With her body trembling, Bianca stutters, “Kn... kno...”

    The Team Plasma man gives it another kick, “Release the Dream Mist! Now!”

    “Knock it off!” yells Bianca with so much intensity, it even makes me flinch.

    “Yeah... stop it now!” I say, still recovering from witnessing behavior I didn't even think Bianca was capable of, “You think Pokemon suffer under their trainers? What about Munna? At least we don't abuse Pokemon like you are! You two have gotta be the biggest hypocrites I'd ever seen!”

    The Team Plasma woman sneers at us, and says to the man, “I just noticed something... They have Pokeballs attached to their belts. It would appear we are dealing with a couple of Pokemon trainers. If we can free their Pokemon and retrieve the Dream Mist, our lord will surely be most overjoyed.”

    The man smirks, “You are correct. It would appear good fortune is smiling on us.”

    “'Free our Pokemon?'” asks Bianca, “What do you mean? Only a trainer can do that!”

    Still giving us a sly smile, the man says, “Not if we take them from you. How about doing things the easy way, and handing them over. Otherwise...” Both Team Plasma members reach under their armored plating and pull out Pokeballs, “... we will have to forcibly remove them from you!”

    Bianca immediately goes for Tepig's Pokeball, but I take a second to consider which Pokemon I will use if I need to defend myself. Rufflet? No, he hasn't been trained yet, plus he's still probably hurting from its fight with Oshawott. However, Oshawott took a bit of a beating when weakening Rufflet, but overall, he's in better shape. I grab Oshawott's Pokeball from my belt.

    Bianca says, “You say Pokemon are suffering because of trainers, but you'll fight us with Pokemon? You're trainers too! Ri... er, my partner is right! You are hypocrites!”

    “'Trainers?'” scoffs the woman, “We do not go by such a disgraceful title. Like us, our Pokemon fight for equality! After all, we must work together to start the new era!”

    I roll my eyes, “Whatever. You're just afraid of fighting your own battles.”

    “Be silent, defiler of the world's order!” shouts the man, and I need to process what he said. 'Madam,' 'defiler...' I'm getting called all kinds of new stuff today (yes, I know it's supposed to be derogatory, but still...), “We are justice! We will show you that we will not be stopped from carrying out our sacred duty!” 'We are justice?' Are these guys for real?

    I take a quick glance at the Pokeballs the Team Plasma guys are holding, and my heart sinks a little. Both of their centers are yellow: the color that represents electric-types. Not good for Oshawott, but I won't just let them take my Pokemon away from me!

    Bianca and I send out Oshawott and Tepig. The Team Plasma man sends out a blue and yellow sheep-like Pokemon, and the woman sends out a Pokemon that looks like a tiny zebra with zigzag stripes and a small horn extending from its forehead, also zigzag-shaped. My Pokedex identifies them as Mareep and Blitzle.

    The Team Plasma woman gives us another mean look, “You would have your Pokemon fight to prevent their own freedom... Pokemon trainers are truly deplorable.”

    Blitzle charges at Tepig, while Mareep is focused on Oshawott.

    “Water Gun!” I command. Oshawott fires a stream of water from his mouth at Mareep.

    “Thundershock!” commands the Team Plasma man.

    Electricity channels through Mareep's wool when the Water Gun attack hits, causing it to surge through the stream of water, and zap Oshawott.

    “O-o-o-osha!” Oshawott yelps as he takes the electric attack with steam rising from his body.

    “Pathetic!” taunts the man.

    “Hang in there, Oshawott!” I yell. We can't lose here! If we do, Bianca and I will have our Pokemon taken from us, plus, we would have failed Munna, which is still laying on the ground next to the Team Plasma members, battered badly.

    Fortunately, Oshawott manages to endure the attack. It removes its scallop from it chest, and, like in the battle with Snivy, the Razor Shell's blue aura extends outward, and solidifies, forming a sword. Torrent has activated!

    “Charge Beam!” yells the woman. As Tepig charges toward Blitzle, the electric-type zebra fires a focused beam of electricity from its horn at it, which scores a direct it.

    “Poink!” Tepig screams out as the force of the beam knocks it back several feet and to the ground.

    “No! Tepig!” yells Bianca.

    The woman smirks, “Now! Finish it, Blitzle, with another Charge Beam!”

    Blitzle charges up for another beam, and with Tepig on the ground, I doubt it'll dodge in time.

    “Attack Blitzle!” I command Oshawott, my pulse racing ever faster, “Save Tepig!”

    “Oshaaaaaa!” Oshawott slides over and blindsides Blitzle, slashing it with its powered-up Razor Shell.

    “Bliiiii!” Blitzle cries out.

    “Thanks,” says Bianca, “Tepig! Ember attack!”

    Tepig spits sparks at Blitzle, searing it. Unable to keep battling, the electric-type zebra falls over.

    “Curses!” yells the Team Plasma woman as she recalls Blitzle.

    “It's now two against one!” I tell the man, “Give up!”

    “Never!” shouts the man, “Team Plasma's resolve shall prevail! Mareep! Thundershock!”

    Both Oshawott and Tepig charge at Mareep. Oshawott leaps into the air, poised to strike with Razor Shell, while Tepig covers its body with flames, about to attack with Flame Charge. At the same time, the electric-type releases a thin bolt of electricity, which hits Oshawott in midair.

    “Shaaaaa!” Oshawott falls to the ground, writhing again. I doubt he can take much more... I'd better call him back. I hold out Oshawott's Pokeball, “Return!” I glance at the Team Plasma woman. If she has another Pokemon, then we are in trouble. Instead, she's standing there, looking frustrated as she watches Tepig and Mareep. Good! I guess they didn't expect to get caught by a couple trainers.

    Tepig's Flame Charge attack slams into Mareep before it can counterattack. With its wool flaming in several places, the electric-type is sent staggering.

    “Nice work, Tepig!” says Bianca, “Now, finish it with Tackle!” Tepig charges again, and slams into the stunned Mareep. The electric sheep Pokemon goes down, and the Team Plasma man recalls it. I watch him closely, with my hand on Rufflet's Pokeball in case he sends out another Pokemon, but like the woman, it looks like he has just one Pokemon.

    “We... lost?” says the man, seemingly at a loss for words.

    “You need to ask?” I say.

    “Yes, you lost,” says Bianca in a measured voice, “Now, please go, and leave Munna alone!”

    The Team Plasma guys waste no time in doing what Bianca says. They turn and flee, the woman dashing clean through to hole at the other end of the room, while the man stops at the hole, glances back at us, and declares, “You may have won here, but remember, the sword of justice may be parried, but never broken! One day, Team Plasma will prevail!”

    “Thanks for that lame analogy,” I tell the pretentious Team Plasma guy, “Now, get outta my sight!” The male Team Plasma member leaves.

    There is a brief silence that fills the room after the Team Plasma members leave. Bianca and I glance at each other, and then we both crack smiles and start laughing hysterically! Oh man! That was scary, and it looked for a minute like our Pokemon would be stolen, but even so, in hindsight at least, it was fun, in some strange way!

    Our laughing fits last for a few seconds. Bianca walks over to Munna and keels down next to it. She reaches into her supply bag and pulls out a potion bottle. “It's okay now...” says Bianca to Munna, “Those bad people are gone now. I'll help you get better. Just hold still...” Bianca sprays Munna's bruises, and it isn't long until they fade, and Munna is back upright. Feeling better, the psychic-type hovers a few inches off the ground. Bianca smiles, “You look much better now! Please watch out for people like them from now on. They're bad news.”

    “Muuuunn!”

    Bianca glances back at me, “Um... Ria, you may want to call the police about those Team Plasma people. Just give them an anonymous tip, or something, and say what they did.”

    I grin, “You got it!”

    I dial 211 on my Xtransceiver, and explain to the police, without revealing my name or Bianca's, that we saw those two Team Plasma guys beating on a Munna, that they tried to steal our Pokemon too, and that we drove them away, but they are still out there, somewhere.

    After I'm done explaining everything, I snap my Xtransceiver shut, and say with a sly grin, “Done!”

    “Okay,” says Bianca, “Like you said, Ria, we'd better get back to the city before dark. She looks down at Munna, “Take care, Munna.”

    Bianca and I recall Rufflet and Tepig and walk toward the hole to the outside. As we reach it, however, we hear an almost sad voice behind us, “Muuuunn...” We look back. Munna is following us, or rather, Bianca, as it's on her heels.

    “It seems you have a fan,” I say.

    “What should I do?” asks Bianca.

    “Maybe it wants to come along?” I guess, “You helped save it and you healed it. Maybe it wants to tag along as a form of gratitude?”

    Bianca kneels down to Munna's level, “Munna... Do you want to come with me?”

    Munna floats up and down, which I take as a nod.

    “Um... There's something you should know about me,” says Bianca, “I'm a Pokemon trainer. I capture and train Pokemon for battle. If you come with me, I'll have to train you for battle too. Are you sure you want that?”

    Munna pauses, but then floats up and down again, “Munn!”

    Bianca smiles, “Okay...” She takes a standard Pokeball out of her bag, “Welcome to the team, Munna.” She gently tosses it at Munna, and it disappears inside the capsule. Unlike Rufflet, there is no resistance, and the ball stays in place until it clicks, with its center turning pink: the color for psychic-types.

    I smile at Bianca, “Congratulations, Bianca!”

    Bianca smiles back, as she attaches Munna's Pokeball to her belt, “Thank you.”

    “Well, let's head back to the Center,” I say.

    With Rufflet and Munna now in tow, Bianca and I start back to Striaton City.

    As we exit the Dreamyard, I say to Bianca, “Y'know something, Bianca? You were totally awesome back there, with the way you dealt with those Team Plasma guys. When did you become such a badass?”

    Bianca blushes, and I can tell that she's about as used to being called a badass as I am to being called madam or a defiler. “I-it was just weird what came over me,” says Bianca, “I'm not 100% sure... Maybe I was frustrated over the thought of having to be on the run from daddy, and I was letting it all out... but there was something else that might have had something to do with it...”

    “What would that be?” I ask.

    Bianca smiles slightly, “I keep thinking of something Professor Juniper said the other day. It's when we got our Pokeballs, and I said I was going to catch many different Pokemon. She said that any Pokemon we didn't train are just Pokemon we took from their homes. I'd been thinking about what it meant for a Pokemon to be captured and taken from the wild to follow a trainer... and the least humans can do in return is treat them well. It just made me angry to see those people abusing Munna the way they did. I wondered who they thought they were to treat it that way after all Pokemon have done for humans. It makes us... and me... look like the bad guys...”

    “I see,” I say, “Makes sense.”

    “Oh yeah! Ria, you told them you knew who they were... Team Plasma, I mean. When was that?”

    I blush slightly. It was probably really freaky for Bianca, who I'd been friends with since elementary school, and had shared many secrets with, to see me suddenly so well-informed about those weirdly-dressed people who were abusing that Munna. “Sorry, Bianca,” I say, “It was just yesterday. I meant to tell you at some point. I guess it just slipped my mind...” I lightly tap my head with my knuckles for emphasis. I tell Bianca about yesterday (though it feels like it had been weeks ago, with all that had happened today), when Cheren and I watched Ghetsis make his speech, proposing Pokemon Liberation to everyone. I explain how to got to me, and how it almost led to me releasing Oshawott.

    “Wow...” says Bianca in bewilderment, “After all you did to become a trainer, that Ghetsis guy almost convinced you to give up as one? He must have been very persuasive...”

    I smile, “Well, once I know how Oshawott felt about the whole thing, I decided to keep being a trainer... and besides, I'd just seen how Team Plasma is enforcing its ideals, so if it means stealing people's Pokemon to free them, then you know what? Screw 'em.”

    “If you'd encountered them both yesterday and today,” says Bianca, “They must be a pretty big group. We might have to watch out for them.”

    “All the more reason to train,” I say, “Maybe Gyms and the Pokemon League are not the only things we need to prepare for. Speaking of which, we have a full day of hard training ahead of us tomorrow. As soon as we get back to the Center, let's get cleaned up and call it a night.”


    TEAM UPDATE
    [​IMG]

    Whew... Big one this time. Yeah, there are things that happened here that differ from the same events in the game. In the game, after beating the two Team Plasma guys who were kicking that Munna, Musharna shows up and scares them away with a bunch of illusory Ghetsises, and then Munna leaves with it. Bianca catches a Munna later, though whether it was the same one or a different one is unknown and irrelevant.
    As I said before, this is a reinterpretation, so this story isn't going to follow the game's events to a fault. Also, I'm well aware that in the game, Rufflet can't even be captured until toward the end of the game. At any rate, I hope you found this update to be an entertaining read.
    Sometimes, I think I might be losing my touch from earlier in the story. I hope it's just my imagination, but if it looks that way to you, please tell me. Most of my free time nowadays has been devoted to writing this story. I enjoy writing it, but I also hope you're finding it enjoyable as well, and I want to keep everyone happy, so if there is anything, please let me know.
     
  26. Wow, when Rufflet evolves, Braviary will be kicking butt! He's a pretty cool Pokemon. As for the story itself, I thought this is what occurred with the Munna incident.
     
  27. When we get back to the Pokemon Center, Bianca and I hand in the four Pokemon between us to be healed, and then head to the showers to get cleaned up. Now, unlike the devoid-of-privacy sleeping quarters, the Pokemon Center showers are are individual-based, which is good, because I'm uncomfortable about the idea of showering around other people, plus, besides the Center providing soap, shampoo, and towels, each unit also has a slide-open compartment, where we can put our clothes, so we can shower, dry off, and get dressed, all in the privacy of a shower unit. At least the Pokemon Centers are considerate about that much.

    After retrieving our Pokemon, Bianca and I head straight to the sleeping quarters. We find an unoccupied bunk bed, and Bianca insists on getting the top. I don't fight her for it, because I'd never known why people like the top bunk so much. It's much more work to get up and down from there when you're tired after a hard day or woozy after waking up.

    With all that had happened throughout the day: leaving Accumula Town, battling Striaton Gym and losing, Cheren's demoralization, Bianca's running away from home, catching Rufflet, and taking on Team Plasma, I'm way past exhausted, and I go out like a light.

    Like the night before, I have another Charizard-related dream, but unlike last time, where I had to fight a giant one as a Minccino under the tyrannical control of Nega Ria: Evil Queen of the Inhumane, I send one out against those Team Plasma guys, and the go running... and speaking of Nega Ria, she shows up again, out of nowhere, yelling every angry cuss word in the book (and maybe a few not in the book) at her poor Minccino. Just as I'm in the middle of charging at my Dreamland nemesis with a samurai sword I conveniently had with me, however, I'm awakened by a beeping sound.

    I don't know how long I'd been asleep, but it seems most of the trainers in the sleeping quarters are gone now, so it must've been awhile. The beeping sound is my Xtransceiver. Before going to bed, I put it into my supply bag, which is next to my head, inside a lockable compartment all overnight trainers are given keys to, so any stuff they have with them won't be stolen. I lazily reach in my pocket, pull out the key, unlock and open the compartment, grope inside my bag until I find the Xtransceiver, and take it out, hoping it's not Bianca's dad again. The last thing I need to start a new day is to tell another lie.

    Fortunately, the caller is a contact this time: Professor Juniper.

    I position my Xtransceiver in front of me and respond to the call. “Professor?” I say in a half-awake tone of voice. My hair is probably also a mess.

    On her little screen, Professor Juniper is smiling cheerily, “Oh! Did I wake you, Ria? Sorry about that. Seeing as it's almost 10:00, I thought you'd be up by now.”

    “Yesterday was really busy,” I say.

    “I'm sure you'll have plenty of those as a trainer,” says the Professor, “Anyway, the police came by a couple minutes ago, asking about Bianca's whereabouts. I'd call Bianca about this, but it seems her communicator isn't on, so I thought I'd ask if you knew anything.”

    My mind is racing. I don't want to lie to the Professor, but...

    However, as if she read my mind, the Professor adds, “Now, before you tell me a fictional story to cover for your friend, Ria, there is something interesting I found.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I have eyes through Bianca's Pokedex too, Ria. I looked through some of the recent pictures she took of Panpour, Pansage, and Pansear, and the background details tell me something. The surroundings are much more lavish than anything in Accumula Town, with everyone so well-dressed, plus, seeing as I'm in charge of preparing new trainers, I have records on Pokemon League personnel, and I'd swear to seeing Cress, Cilan, and Chili, the Leaders of Striaton Gym, in those shots.”

    I jolt at that. Oh crap! Something else I hadn't thought of! No use hiding it. I tell Professor Juniper the truth, “Yeah, Bianca's with me. Nothing gets past you. Did you share those pictures with the police?”

    The Professor shakes her head, “No. Not yet. However, might you know why Bianca ran off?”

    I explain to the Professor about Bianca wanting to prove herself as a trainer in order to show her father she doesn't need to be feel overprotected; To prove her independence.

    Professor Juniper nods in understanding, “I see. Well, in today's society, making the cut as a Pokemon trainer is the way to do it. Okay, Ria, I'm on your side, but remember, Bianca can't keep hiding. She will have to present her license at every Pokemon Center she goes to. For a little while, she'll be safe, as Pokemon Centers keep their clientele confidential, but as the search escalates, they will feel pressured and have to show the police, and when that happens, her trail will become very easy to track.”

    “I see,” I say, “Well, I gave Bianca some pointers in how to avoid the police, but I also said she won't be able to dodge them forever. I suggested that she try to win as many badges as possible in the time she has.”

    Professor Juniper smiles, “Good plan. By the way, seeing as all three of you have photos with Striaton Gym's Leaders in it, I take it you fought them? How did it go?”

    I answer, “They used Pokemon that exploited Oshawott, Tepig, and Snivy's weaknesses. It was a disaster and a half...”

    “Yes, very few novice trainers beat that Gym, so it's no surprise...”

    I give a smile of my own, “However, we have a pretty good idea on how to beat that Gym now. Capture Pokemon that can cover the weaknesses of our starters. Also, Bianca and I will take a trip to the TM lab and see if there are any techniques we can use.”

    “Oh really?” says Professor Juniper, “In that case, it's a good thing you're in Striaton City right now. I have a friend from college who runs the TM lab there. Just tell her you're my students, and you just might get a discount, okay?”

    “Good to know,” I say, “We'll do that.”

    “Also, congratulations on capturing Rufflet, Ria. It's quite a find in this part of the region.”

    “You knew?”

    “Of course. Any Pokeball registered to you sends information to me after they are used, after all. It seems all three of you made your first captures.”

    “Well, I know Bianca caught Munna,” I say, “I watched her... but you said 'all three of us?' Does that mean Cheren caught a Pokemon too? He's not with us right now, so I'm kinda clueless on that...”

    “He sure did,” says the Professor, “and it was quite a catch too! He used two standard Pokeballs and a Great Ball before finally catching it with his Ultra Ball...”

    “Holy Arceus!” I exclaim in amazement, “The thing must've been badass!” And here I thought Rufflet was a hard catch... “Which Pokemon was it?”

    The Professor winks at me playfully, “Sorry, Ria, but it's a S-E-C-R-E-T! I'm not allowed to tell people what other trainers caught, and besides, I already did one not-entirely-legal thing by refusing to divulge information on Bianca's whereabouts.”

    “Whatever,” I say with a shrug, “I'll just ask Cheren when I see him again. Anyway, Professor, are you sure about keeping Bianca a secret? I mean, what if the police find out? Couldn't you be arrested?”

    Professor Juniper's smile disappears, “As I said, I'll keep it a secret... for now. I'll hold out and buy Bianca some time, but like with the case of the Pokemon Centers, I will have to reveal what I know when things escalate. If I do it late, instead of never, then I will probably just get reprimanded. Luckily, Bianca is a certified Pokemon trainer, so the law won't be as hard on her, and everyone else, for running away without consent, as it would've been if she weren't. Since she has Pokemon to protect her, her life isn't in as much danger.”

    I let out a deep sigh, “Good to hear. Cheren and I helped play a part in making sure she wasn't caught, so if I get questioned and reveal something, it's good to know the blow will hurt a little less...”

    “So, besides the TM lab, what other plans do you have, Ria?”

    “Train, train, train,” I answer, “I will make sure that Rufflet becomes as strong as Oshawott, and then probably take on the Gym again tomorrow morning. If I win, I move on to the next town. If I lose, I train a little more.”

    “Good plan,” says the Professor, “Well, I'll let you get to training. Tell Bianca I'm on her side and I wish luck to all of you.”

    “I will. Thank you, Professor!” With that, our transmission ends.

    I get out of bed, slip on my vest and hat, finger-comb my hair, and grab my supply bag. Time to begin a new day... but where's Bianca? Besides me, the sleeping quarters are completely empty... or it was, until a girl with tanned skin, reddish-brown eyes, and flowing black hair, comes in, wearing a baseball cap, a knee-length red skirt, and a white blouse.

    “Good morning, Ria!” greets the girl I never met before.

    Baffled, I ask, “Who the heck are...?” I stop short. I don't recognize the girl, but I do recognize her voice. I also notice that she's wearing her Pokeball belt over one shoulder, rather than around her waist, but the centers of the two Pokeballs on it: one red (fire-type) and one pink (psychic-type), also clues me in: “... Bianca?”

    The girl takes off her hat... and her hair along with it, showing it to be one of those weird caps which have that fake hair attached to it, revealing the short blonde hair underneath. Bianca smiles, “Did I surprise you, Ria?”

    “Heck yeah, you did!” I exclaim in astonishment, “If I didn't know your voice so well, you would've totally fooled me!”

    Bianca smiles, “Well, if I almost had you fooled, then I can probably fool everyone else.”

    “No doubt!” I say, still trying to recover from just how thoroughly Bianca disguised herself, “You barely even look Unovian!”

    “You mentioned makeup,” says Bianca, “I used a little to change my skin color a little. I think I now look more like I'm from Hoenn now, don't you think so?” Hoenn is an island region, located to the far south. The people from there tend to have fairly dark tans, due to the sun being very strong down there.

    “Well, the point is,” I say, “No cops looking for you will tell who you are by looking at a picture your dad gave them. It should buy you some time, anyway. Oh yeah, I was talking to the Professor just before you arrived...” I explain to Bianca what Professor Juniper said to me.

    “So, she's not gonna share my Pokedex pictures?” asks Bianca, “That's a relief...”

    “Not yet, anyway...”

    “... Hey, Ria?” says Bianca after some hesitation, “I'm sorry for dragging you into this. I really appreciate that you're on my side, though.”

    “Just so we're clear,” I say, “I can't say I entirely approve of you doing this, making your poor dad worry about you, but if you really feel that he's being overprotective and you want to show that you can handle yourself, then I will help you in whatever way I can, just as long as no one gets sent to jail over this.”

    “Thanks again, Ria. I'm gonna try going for three badges before I tell daddy. That should be enough to prove that I can handle myself as a trainer... and with luck, he'll see how strong I am and let me continue journeying with you and Cheren...”

    “Sounds like a plan,” I say, “Well, let's grab some grub, and get started with today's training. The Professor said that a college friend of her's runs the TM lab here in Striaton City, and that we might be able to get a discount.”

    ---

    Bianca, Mistress of Disguise, and I grab a quick breakfast from the Pokemon Center's food stands, and then get directions from the front desk to the TM lab. As long as something is even remotely related to Pokemon training, it's possible to learn anything from a Pokemon Center's staff.

    The TM lab is located in the southern area of Striaton City, and once again, for all of this city's extravagance, anyplace with relevance to Pokemon trainers, sans the Pokemon Center, does not stand out much, and the TM lab is no exception. What we're led to is a small apartment building, with a notice on the door saying the lab is on the third floor in room 317.

    Bianca head up to the third floor of the building which is lavish on the outside, but old and simple on the inside. Finally, we find room 317, which has a sign saying, “TM LAB,” written on it.

    I knock on the door, and we are soon answered by a short young woman, probably in her late twenties, with long dark hair, and wearing a pair of spectacles, a white lab coat, and a flower-shaped hair ornament. Well, she looks like a Pokemon researcher, so it's not hard to imagine her being the Professor's friend, though she seems a great deal less outgoing at first glance.

    “... May I help you?” asks the young woman.

    “We're here to use the TM lab,” I say, “Are you familiar with the name, Juniper?”

    The young woman's eyes widen, “Oh! Are you friends of Aurea's?”

    It takes me a couple seconds to figure out who 'Aurea' is, before realizing that's Professor Juniper's first name. Since we have a student-teacher relationship with the Professor, 'Aurea' is not something we're used to referring to her as.

    “We're her students,” I say, “We recently became Pokemon trainers under her. I'm Ria, and this is Bianca.”

    “Hello,” greets Bianca.

    “My name is Fennel,” says the young woman, “I was Aurea's friend and roommate from college.”

    “What was the Professor like in college?” asks Bianca.

    Fennel smiles, “She was a major party animal, a heavy drinker, and the biggest flirt, but she always scored the highest in our class. I guess it's to be expected from the daughter of Cedric Juniper. However, she always helped those who had trouble in their studies...”

    Bianca and I chuckle a little. Sure, we'd never seen the sides to the Professor that Fennel mentioned, but at the same time, it's really easy to picture.

    Fennel continues, “I would have failed my classes if it weren't for her, and I'm extremely grateful. If you're her students, I'll help you in whichever way I can.”

    “Thanks,” I say, “Actually, the Professor mentioned you to us. She said something about a discount...”

    “I can do that,” says Fennel, stepping aside, making room for Bianca and I to come through the door, “Please, come in.”

    We enter the room. Inside, there is a large machine with a glass cylinder shooting up out the middle of it, and several thick cables extending out from under it, like tentacles, plugging into several outlets throughout the room. That thing must be murder on the electric bills, plus I feel like we just stepped onto the set of an alien movie, aboard a UFO.

    The walls are lined with bookshelves, with a number of CD cases on each. The shelves are labeled with the numbers '1' through '95.'

    “What a machine!” marvels Bianca.

    “This is a Technical Machine,” explains Fennel, “If you put a Pokemon through this, they will learn techniques they would otherwise be incapable of learning on their own.”

    Despite the favorable explanation, though, it looks more like the machine will do something like transport my Pokemon to another planet, or something else movie-like...

    Fennel takes two electronic pads, made up mostly of their screens, out of her desk, and puts one down, “Ria, was it? Which Pokemon do you own?”

    “Oshawott and Rufflet,” I answer, “bit I'm geared more toward what moves Oshawott can learn here. Hopefully, Oshawott can learn some techniques to cover his weakness against grass-types.”

    “I see...” With a stylus, Fennel writes something on one of the pads, and sets it aside.

    As she picks up the other pad, Fennel asks Bianca, “Which Pokemon do you have?”

    “Tepig and Munna,” answers Bianca, “I don't have a lot of money, right now, though, so I'll look at what... Munna can learn.”

    “Okay...” Fennel writes something on the other pad and hands it to Bianca, and then picks up the first one, and hands it to me. “Your pads have all the techniques available here that can be learned by the Pokemon you'd chosen, along with the types of techniques they are and how much it will cost for them to be taught, discount noted. Choose well.”

    I use my finger to scroll through the list of techniques, keeping the types: Fire, Ice, Bug, and Flying, in mind. There are no fire-type techniques that Oshawott can learn, which is no surprise for a water-type, but I do find an ice-type move:

    Technique: Ice Beam, Type: Ice, Cost: 3,739 credits
    A technique where a Pokemon fires a beam of condensed cold air. Long range and very powerful.

    Looks like a good move... but, since I only have about 2,400 credits, thanks to buying supplies and my losing expenses for Striaton Gym, I'm nowhere near able to afford it, even with the discount...

    I continue scrolling through the list. I find another ice-type move called Blizzard, but that's even more expensive than Ice Beam. Eventually, however, I find something that's favorable, affordable, and familiar, all at once:

    Technique: Aerial Ace, Type: Flying, Cost: 687 credits
    A Pokemon attacks an opponent from off the ground with blades, claws, or talons. Complex movements associated with this technique makes it hard to dodge and can be used for both offense and defense. Can be learned by several Pokemon with at least marginal acrobatic ability.

    I'd seen Rufflet use that move when he was trying to fend off Oshawott, but... doesn't Oshawott already know that move? He attempted a technique that matches that description when he tried attacking that Team Plasma guy's Mareep alongside Tepig. I thought it was a Razor Shell attack, but...

    I explain my confusion to Fennel, though I leave out the 'Team Plasma' part, and talk about it as if it were an everyday Pokemon battle.

    Fennel smiles at the opportunity to flex her knowledge, “It was a Razor Shell attack, Ria. Without learning Aerial Ace here, it is only capable of an aerial Razor Shell attack. Your Pokemon currently lacks the flying-type energy it need to perform the flying-type attack, Aerial Ace...” Fennel only gets more technical from there.

    I feel like I have a migraine coming on. This is why I spaced out during Professor Juniper's lecture about TM labs: Too much techno-babble!

    At least I get that Oshawott can learn a flying-type move, though, which is good. I scroll through the list some more, and find another move that catches my fancy:

    Technique: X-Scissor, Type: Bug, Cost: 1,422 credits
    With blades or claws, a Pokemon attacks with both arms in an X-shaped slash, or attempts two quick slashes.

    Pricy, but I still have enough. Besides, couldn't a flying-type and bug-type technique exploit weaknesses besides those of a grass-type? They should come in handy for the long run, so it'll probably be worth it.

    “I've decided!” I announce, “I want Oshawott to learn Aerial Ace and X-Scissor!”

    “Okay,” says Fennel, “This is a painless process for your Pokemon, and the entire time, it will feel the same as if it were inside its Pokeball, but it will probably be confused by the sudden change in its powers, so you may want to make it aware of the change that will occur.”

    “Alright,” I say, taking Oshawott's Pokeball from my belt.

    I send out the Sea Otter and say it will learn some new moves to give him an edge over grass-types, and then essentially explain the rest by reciting what Fennel just told me. Meanwhile, Bianca is still looking over her pad and Fennel gets two CD cases from the bookshelves around the room, from the shelves labeled '40' and '81.'

    I recall Oshawott. “Let's get started,” says Fennel. She motions to a tray on the machine, at the base of the cylinder, “Put Oshawott's Pokeball here, Ria.”

    Doing as instructed, I place Oshawott's Pokeball on the tray. Fennel presses a button on a panel elsewhere at the cylinder's base, and Oshawott's Pokeball sinks inside the machine. I few seconds later, the capsule reappears at the bottom of the cylinder. Bianca and I watch intently.

    Fennel explains, “I will release Oshawott from its Pokeball now. The inside of the cylinder has the same environment Pokeballs have, so it will appear in a different form...” She presses a button, and the Pokeball pops open. However, instead of a bright flash, blue mist rises from the capsule.

    For the second time this week, the first being when Professor Juniper delayed telling me the results of my test, I feel like my heart's about to stop. What's with attractive young Pokemon researchers and their ability to mess with how my heart works?

    “What did you do to Oshawott?” I wheeze.

    Fennel glances at me with an understanding expression, “Your reaction is perfectly normal, Ria. All trainers are surprised when seeing this for the first time, but I meant it when I said this process is harmless. What you are looking at is Oshawott's other... form, I guess you could say.”

    “This'll probably give me a headache... Well, a bigger headache,” I say, “but could you try to explain?”

    Fennel smiles wryly, “I suppose you could call this your Pokemon's... essence. It's unknown why humans don't have something similar, but this is the basic summation of Oshawott's powers. As you can see, the mist is blue, which shows it's the essence of a water-type, but if you look closely, you'll see some white whips, indicating its normal-type capabilities, and... there's also a small reddish-brown wisp too, so it has a fighting-type ability, as well.”

    “He does?” I ask, “I'd never seen him use it...”

    “It takes time,” says Fennel, “As Pokemon grow stronger, they develop new abilities, or 'colors' as you'd see in this case. What we are going to do, Ria, is artificially add some new 'colors,' thereby giving Oshawott new capabilities.”

    “Um... sounds... kinda good,” I say, totally perplexed by the whole experience, “But first, I'll ask one last time: This is safe, isn't it?”

    Fennel smiles, “Your concerns are understandable, Ria, but this is really a common practice among trainers. It was subject to controversy for a while, but since no harm had come to Pokemon during this process, it's considered safe. Don't worry about a thing.”

    “Easy for you to say...”

    “Trust Fennel, Ria,” encourages Bianca, “I mean, Professor Juniper trusts her.”

    “I trust her,” I say, “I really do! It's just a little hard to stay calm when my Pokemon's been turned into a cloud...”

    Fennel opens the two CD cases and removes two flat round... things from them, one being sky-blue, and the other being light-green. “Now, I will infuse Oshawott with its new powers...” She slides the two disk-things into a couple slots. There is a low hum from the machine, and finally, two wisps rise from the bottom of the cylinder and combine with Oshawott's 'essence,' or whatever. Like the disks that preceded them, one of the wisps is sky-blue, the color for flying-types, and the other is light-green, the color for bug-types.

    Finally, Fennel presses another button. The blue cloud and its wisps sink and gather into the Pokeball, which snaps shut. The capsule sinks into the bottom of the cylinder, and reappears in the tray I originally put it on.

    Fennel says, “We're done. Now, Oshawott is capable of performing Aerial Ace and X-Scissor.”

    I send out Oshawott, just to ascertain that he's no longer a cloud of blue smoke. Sure enough, he looks the same as he always has.

    “Hey, Oshawott,” I say.

    Instead of responding to me, however, Oshawott stands there, looking baffled. Finally, he takes his scallop from his chest and holds it out. First, it radiates a blue aura, like it always had whenever Oshawott performed Razor Shell. Next, it radiates a sky-blue aura, and finally a light-green aura.

    “It's channeling its new flying-type and bug-type energies,” says Fennel, “Ria, command it to perform its new attacks.”

    I nod, “Okay! Oshawott! Perform X-Scissor!”

    “Wott!” Oshawott's scallop radiates a light-green aura, and he uses it to take two quick swipes at the air in front of him.

    “Amazing!” marvels Bianca.

    “Good,” I say, “Now! Aerial Ace!”

    “Osha!” Oshawott jumps several feet into the air, his scallop radiating a sky-blue aura. He slashes upward, performs two quick cuts at the height of his jump, and then comes down with a downward lunge.

    “Awesome!” I exclaim, “With a little more practice, those grass-types won't stand a chance, and neither will anything else that's weak against moves like that!”

    “Sha!” Oshawott grins confidently.

    “Today, you and Rufflet are going to spar, spar, and spar some more. Tomorrow, we'll have our rematch against Striaton Gym, and we'll win for sure! Sound like a plan?”

    “Wott!” Oshawott nods approval.

    “Alright,” I say, holding out Oshawott's Pokeball, “Return!” I recall Oshawott. I smile and nod, “Well, it looks like no harm was done. Thank you for all your help, Fennel.”

    “If it's to help Aurea's students, I'm always willing to lend a hand,” says Fennel, who turns her attention to Bianca, “By the way, Bianca, have you decided on which technique you want Munna to learn?”

    Bianca is still looking over her pad, “I'm just looking at all the moves, and deciding what's best. As I said, I don't have much money left, so I must choose wisely.” She looks up from the pad, “I'll probably be here a bit longer, Ria, you should start training and prepare for your Gym battle.”

    ---

    I take Bianca up on her suggestion, and leave the TM lab, saying goodbye to Fennel and thanking her again.

    The rest of the day is as I told Oshawott it would be, having him and Rufflet constantly spar for the purposes of having Oshawott become more familiar with his new techniques, and for Rufflet to match Oshawott in terms of training. We head to Route 2 for that purpose.

    I had wondered it for a while, but after seeing the progress my Pokemon have made, I come to a realization. That Pokemon League-level trainer from Route 1 didn't look that much older than me, and yet he managed to defeat Marshal or some other member of the Elite Four. What got to me about that was because I imagine his time as a trainer hadn't nearly matched that of an Elite Four member, who had been a trainer for years and years, but he could somehow manage to hold his own and win.

    It's only been about a week since I got Oshawott, but, after all the training he got, he seems a far cry from the Pokemon that got into that little scuffle with Tepig and Snivy in my bedroom; now, he seems a great deal stronger. Also, with each new sparring match Rufflet and Oshawott have, Rufflet seems to get the hang of battling more and more. I come to see that a Pokemon gains strength rapidly when starting out, but after a certain point, it must become a slower process. That's the only thing I can make sense of, considering that newer trainers can match more experienced trainers. Also, seeing as it took almost a week to get Oshawott to where he is, power-wise, Rufflet gradually becomes close to matching him within a day's time. Could it be that a Pokemon becomes even stronger more quickly by fighting stronger opponents? Wow... With each new thing I learn, Pokemon look more and more incredible! And to think this is just the beginning! Still, just like learning new techniques, a Pokemon evolves once they become strong enough to do so, and that hadn't happened yet. I wonder how much longer it will be for Oshawott and Rufflet...

    Still, it hasn't entirely been a day of powering-up, discovery, and learning. Rufflet follows my commands, but it doesn't seem to like me much. It usually refuses to look straight at me, and doesn't follow my commands with good graces. What did I do wrong? I treat it as well as I treat Oshawott... I think...

    For the second time during the day, I talk with Professor Juniper, and ask her about what I did to make Rufflet hate me. The Prof explains that most captured Pokemon take time to warm up to and size up their new trainers, but for Rufflet to act outright rebellious is not normal. Instead of giving me speculation, though, she tells me to use the Pokedex to learn about Rufflet.

    I analyze Rufflet, and for the first time, I look at what the 'dex has to say, other than what a Pokemon is called, its species, and what type it is. It turns out there's a lot of info, which I usually reluctant about looking into, because I'm not big into reading at all, but for Rufflet's sake, I try to focus the best I can.

    One of the first things I learn is that all Rufflet are male, so I guess that officially turns Rufflet from an 'it' to a 'he.'

    I read a little more about the Eaglet Pokemon, and finally, I come to a breakthrough. It turns out that Rufflet and its evolution, Braviary, pride themselves on the scars inflicted on them, as they are seen as signs of hard work by all the other Rufflets and Braviaries, and therefore, gain more respect. I kinda get that, actually. Throughout the various sports teams I'd been a part of growing up, the more violent sports cause people to get bruises as a result of practice, and everyone likes to show them off. I guess Rufflet and I have a bit in common in that regard.

    I try to win Rufflet's respect by commanding Oshawott to use techniques in sparring, which involve his scallop, thereby inflicting scars on Rufflet, but instead of taking him to the Pokemon Center, which would heal him so thoroughly, the scars would vanish, I use potions instead, which stop the bleeding and relieve the pain, but don't make the scars vanish entirely. This succeeds in getting me into the Eaglet Pokemon's good graces, though I make it clear that this is a temporary arrangement, and when we're more used to each other, he'll have to start going through the Pokemon Center like Oshawott, and whatever other Pokemon I get. Rufflet gets a little pouty, but he seems to get it. After all, I only have so much money to purchase potions with.

    I also buy a notebook. Sure, some of the things I'd learned from Professor Juniper stuck with me, but there's a lot of other things that didn't, and actual field experience seems to teach a stronger lesson than a lecture. I jot down what techniques Oshawott and Rufflet are capable of and what types of techniques they are. I always have my Pokedex at the ready in case my Pokemon try something brand-new. It turns out the fighting-type technique Fennel mentioned Oshawott having is called 'Revenge,' which is a move where the Sea Otter Pokemon awaits his opponent's move, and then strikes back with a powerful slash.

    I also take note of what attack types are powerful against what Pokemon types, and what aren't. Mostly, it's just searching my memory from what little I remember Professor Juniper teaching us and what I got from the battles I'd had so far, but it seems Oshawott's X-Scissor isn't very strong against Rufflet, so I make a note of that, plus, Oshawott's Revenge attack is only mildly powerful on the Eaglet Pokemon, despite it being half-normal-type. I recall the Professor saying once that if a Pokemon has two types, and one of those types is strong against a certain attack and the other is weak, the effects become neutralized. I guess that's what I'm seeing. I already knew normal-types are weak to fighting-types, but I guess that means flying-types are strong against them. Good to know.

    Overall, it's been a very educational day... not to mention that Ria is actually studying? Who woulda thunk it? I feel like a much more accomplished trainer already... and tomorrow, I'll find out if that's really the case!

    ---

    Despite how slow yesterday felt, with all that happened, today, one of the most productive in my entire life, felt like it went by really fast.

    After such a hard day of training, I figured it might be high time to give my Pokemon a reward for their hard work, outside winning battles, that is. Occasionally, whenever a sports team I'd been on had a hard day's practice, we get taken out for a special dinner. I decide to do the same thing for my Pokemon.

    Normally, I feed my Pokemon special treats that can be bought for dirt cheap at the Pokemon Center, and it seems to tide them over, at least, but I'd heard that Pokemon can eat a lot of the same stuff humans do. I decide to get them the most popular of post-training treats: pizza!

    When I became a trainer, I figured a lot of unexpected stuff would happen, but having a little pizza party with an otter and an eagle was especially out there. It wasn't bad, though, and by the time Rufflet got through three slices, he's been looking at me like I'm the female equivalent to the guy he wants to be his best man for a wedding, despite his rebellious attitude later. Note to self: get Rufflet more pizza if he ever gets mad at you again. Afterward, I get us some Vanillite Specials, which Oshawott seems to love. Another note: Oshawott likes frozen yogurt.

    After sharing a dinner with my Pokemon, I get cleaned up, and head to bed. However, I don't go straight to sleep. Prior to midnight, the sleeping quarters is illuminated by a dim light, which allows me to look at my notebook and everything I recorded today. I must have filled in about four and a half pages, and I have to think to myself, 'I wrote all this? Wow...'

    I'm still looking through my notes when Bianca comes in. As she's about to climb up to the bunk above me, she looks at me and jests, “Is that a female Cheren I'm looking at?”

    “Very funny, Bianca,” I say, closing my notebook, “I'm just learning lots from this whole experience, and my tiny brain can't possibly hold it all, so I thought I'd write some stuff down. It really helps. What about you, Bianca? I hadn't seen you since the TM lab. Did you decide on a move for Munna?”

    “I sure did,” says Bianca, “It should really come in handy against Cress's water-types.”

    “Good to hear.”

    “After the lab, I went back to the Dreamyard to train Tepig and Munna some more. Actually, I'd been learning some things too, using my Pokedex. Did you know Munna needs something called a 'Moon Stone' to evolve?”

    I put my notebook into my bunk's compartment, “I do remember the Professor saying once that sometimes, becoming strong enough is sometimes not what's needed for Pokemon to evolve. I guess that's an example...”

    “I guess...” says Bianca, climbing to the upper bunk. She gets settled, and then asks, “So, you're gonna take on the Gym again tomorrow?”

    “First thing after breakfast,” I say, “What about you?”

    “I'll probably do it later in the day,” answers Bianca, “I still want to train a bit more...”

    “Good plan.”

    “If you win, Ria, you're gonna move on to the next place?”

    “I can wait for you if you want.”

    “No...” says Bianca, after some hesitation. She lowers her voice, “It might look suspicious if we travel together. I think it would probably be best if we go our separate ways... at least for a little while...”

    I lower my voice as well, “You catch on quick. Are you sure you'll be alright on your own, though?”

    “I'm trying to show daddy that I can take care of myself. If I keep relying on you to protect me, I won't prove anything to him.”

    “True that.” I sprawl out underneath my covers, “Well, I'm gonna call it a night. We have a big day ahead of us, after all.”

    “Okay,” says Bianca, “Nighty-night, Ria.”

    “Sleep well, Bianca.”

    Sorry for the lack of updates in a while. I'd actually been busy on the story the entire time, but I just wanted to get a greater portion done before I started posting again. Now, for a time, updates should come more regularly, until I'm up to speed with my current progress.
    I know a good chunk of this installment is basically a summary of Ria's training, but I couldn't really think of any good places to put in a specific scene, so I hope this was acceptable.
    As always, I hope you found this update to be enjoyable.
     
    #27 Valin, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  28. I'm at Striaton Gym first thing after breakfast the next day.

    With Oshawott at my heels, and Bianca close by, though this time, she doesn't have Tepig outside its Pokeball, as she doesn't intend to challenge the Gym yet, we walk up to the restaurant, standing in line with a number of guests who are there for breakfast.

    At the front counter this time are Cilan and Chili, with Cress being the one nowhere nearby. When it's finally our turn, Chili says, sporting a grin, “Well, well! I remember you! Seeing as you have your Pokemon with you, I take it you're here for a rematch?”

    “You know it!” answer.

    Chili glances at Bianca, who is in her disguise. Since I now know the police are actively looking for her, that's a good call, “Why, hello there! Are you a friend of the challenger's? She had a couple other friends with her the other day, but I don't remember you...” Chili grins, “... and I'm sure I would have too! Are you also a challenger?”

    Bianca stammers, “Um... well...”

    I intervene, “No, she isn't. Do you see a Pokemon with her right now?”

    Chili frowns, “Well, no... but she has a Pokeball belt, so I know she's a trainer...”

    “I'm just here as a spectator,” says Bianca.

    Cilan gives me a once-over, and then turns and gestures for me to follow, “Come with me, so we can have our rematch. Your friend can follow too, but, as she's not a challenger, she must witness our battle from outside the cage.”

    “Got it,” I recall Oshawott and we follow Cilan. Chili signals for a nearby waiter to take over at the counter, and then comes along with us.

    I whisper to Bianca, “When you come to have your rematch, you'll probably wanna lose the disguise. It might come off as suspicious if you send out the same Pokemon as 'that other girl.'”

    Bianca's eyes widen, “Oh! Right! Thanks for the save, Ria!”

    I sigh, “Really, Bianca... Are you sure you'll be alright on your own?”

    “Every save you make is something new for me to be aware of,” says Bianca.

    We arrive at the cage. I follow Cilan and Chili inside, while Bianca stays outside, and looks in alongside another gathering crowd.

    Before Cilan goes to his container at the other end of the arena, he says, “At the counter, I noticed you have another Pokemon... a flying-type by its color. I see you're learning the lesson we began this gym to teach.”

    “'Lesson?'” I inquire.

    Cilan explains, “We started this gym for the sake of novice trainers. The problem a lot of them have is that they rely too heavily on their starter. It makes sense. After all, they receive the most training out of all of their Pokemon, but they still have weaknesses, and are not unbeatable. The sooner a trainer realizes that and tries to cover those weaknesses, the better.”

    “Thanks for the tip,” I say, with a shrug.

    “Seeing as you have two Pokemon,” says Cilan, “This will be a two-on-two battle, meaning we'll use two Pokemon each. Now that you know which type of Pokemon I specialize in, I will see to it that this will be harder than your last battle with me. I hope you're prepared.”

    I grin, “No problem, because this will be harder than your last battle with me as well, and I hope you're prepared!”

    Cilan smiles, “It's nice to have spirited challengers. I imagine this will be a fun battle.” He walks over to his container, and looks through the Pokeballs inside.

    Chili takes a microphone from his container. Well, seeing as Cress isn't here this time, it looks like he will play the role of announcer. He raises the mic to his mouth and announces to the viewers, “Lovely ladies... and the gentlemen too! Welcome to Striaton Cuisine!” He gestures toward me, “We have a challenger! This sporty young lady, here! She had challenged us before, but it was our victory. Let's see if she'll have better luck today!” Chili approaches me, “What was your name again, madam?” He thrusts his microphone toward me.

    “Ria,” I answer.

    Chili pulls back his microphone and says, “Ria... a lovely name for a lovely young lady...” Does he always do this when there's a female challenger? “... Well, let's see how Ria does today again my good brother, Cilan!”

    Cilan chooses two Pokeballs from his container. This time, there's no secret about which type he specializes in and the centers of both Pokeballs in his hands are in plain sight: green, the color that represents grass-types.

    I think of which Pokemon I should send out first. Rufflet is the one with the type advantage, so he should be the natural choice, but should send him out first, or should I use Oshawott first, see how far he can get, and have Rufflet take care of the rest if the Sea Otter gets knocked out? I decide to go with the latter plan, and grab Oshawott's Pokeball from my belt.

    With Cilan and I facing off, just raring to get this battle started, Chili stands off to the side of the arena and announces, “Alrighty then! Cilan VS Ria! Two-on-two! Zero-badge Gym battle! Let's get this thing rolling!”

    Cilan and I toss our Pokeballs into the arena. Oshawott appears on my end, while on Cilan's end, he's using Pansage again. Perfect! It's time to see if Oshawott's improved enough since last time.

    Cilan raises an eyebrow, “You're leading with your water-type? That's an interesting choice, considering last time...”

    “This time, you'll see how far a little preparation goes!” I retort. Man, I'm on fire today!

    “We'll see,” says Cilan calmly, “Pansage! Take it down with Vine Whip!”

    “Pan!” Once again, Pansage's tail extends by several feet, and it approaches Oshawott, whipping its tail wildly in front of him.

    Oshawott dodges a couple lashes, and then retreats out of the attack's range. He glances back at me, “Shawott!”

    “Let's do this!” I tell Oshawott, “Advance using Aerial Ace!”

    “Shaaaaaaaa!” Oshawott draws his scallop, which radiates a sky-blue aura, and leaps headlong into Pansage's onslaught.

    Oshawott blocks a couple lashes in midair, but then delivers a fast swipe, severing Pansage's tail, and lands just short of the grass-type monkey.

    “Saaaaaage!” Pansage cries out in pain.

    “Pansage!” Cilan yells. I'm pretty surprised too. Just as I'm about to reprimand Oshawott for using excessive force, however, I notice what's left of Pansage's tail returns to its normal length, and takes shape to form what the tail looked like before. I vaguely recall Professor Juniper mentioning once that grass-types can regenerate body parts.

    However, Pansage is not done yet. It fights back, swinging its claws wildly. Oshawott takes a couple scratches, but then dodges a swipe and ripostes with a quick body check, throwing the grass-type monkey off-balance.

    “Now's our chance!” I tell Oshawott, “Take it down with X-Scissor!”

    “Sha!” Oshawott charges at Pansage, his scallop now radiating a light-green aura. Oshawott delivers two fast slashes, creating steaming scars on the grass-type's body.

    “Pan... sage...” Pansage tries to maintain its footing, but finally gives in and falls to the ground, defeated.

    “Well, how 'bout that?” says Chili into his microphone, “Pansage is down! Cilan has one Pokemon remaining, while both of the challenger's are still standing! Can my brother make a comeback?”

    Cilan holds out Pansage's Pokeball, “Return!” Pansage vanishes with a flash. With a composed posture, the waiter-slash-Gym Leader says, “So, your Oshawott learned some techniques to cover its weaknesses against grass-types. A fine strategy, as well as an advanced one I see from very few novice trainers. Whoever gave you the advice to do that must have known a lot.”

    “Well, yeah...” I say, mentally singing Cheren's praises.

    Cilan holds out his other Pokeball, “However, I still have one more Pokemon. This is still anyone's match!” Cilan tosses the capsule into the field, “Go! Roselia!” On Cilan's side, a green Pokemon, with a semi-humanoid shape, appears. Its head is covered with thorns, it has leaves extending down from its waist, resembling a skirt, and on its arms are two roses: a red rose on its right arm and a black rose on its left. This Pokemon is also tiny at a height of no more than one foot tall. It's even shorter than Oshawott! Still, Pansage didn't look very tough either, but if it's good enough for a Gym Leader, I probably need to be careful about this one.

    I know this new Pokemon is a grass-type, as it's being used by a Gym Leader that specializes in grass-types, not to mention it has those plant-like qualities, and I know it's called a 'Roselia,' as Cilan called out its name went sending it out, but still, I get out my Pokedex and snap a picture of it, mostly on reflex, as it seems my body puts itself on auto-pilot whenever I see a new Pokemon or technique. Still, it's a good thing I did, because apparently, Roselia is not just a grass-type, but a poison-type too.

    “It's a grass/poison-type,” I warn Oshawott, “Be careful!” Honestly, I don't know much about poison-types, but still, the word, 'poison' definitely is a bad sign...

    Cilan extends his arm, “Roselia! Detain it with Grass Knot!”

    “Liaaa!” Roselia's eyes glow bright green, and suddenly, the ground just behind Oshawott starts to bulge up, and then a cracks open. A thick vine snakes out of the crack and wraps itself around Oshawott's ankle.

    “Osha!” Oshawott tries to break the vine's hold on him, but doesn't seem to be having much luck.

    As for me, I'm baffled by what I just saw. We're inside, and the arena floor is made of asphalt! Roselia doesn't have any visible roots planted in the floor, either! How did a plant just suddenly grow out of the floor?

    My confusion must show on my face, because Cilan decides to satisfy my curiosity, “Grass Knot as an ability Pokemon use to manipulate nearby plants and use them to restrain an opponent.”

    “What are you talking about?” I demand, “There are no nearby plants!”

    Cilan smiles slightly, “Underneath this floor is fertile soil. Prior to the construction of this arena, I planted hundreds of grass seeds down there whenever my Pokemon should require the Grass Knot technique.”

    I let out a deep sigh. Well, this Gym Leader sure knows how to plan ahead, I'll give him that, at least. Still, this doesn't help things on my end...

    Meanwhile, Oshawott had given up trying to break the vine's grip, and is now hacking away at it with his scallop, but not making much progress. It's a strong plant, and it just suddenly grew from a mere grass seed? Yet another stunning example of what makes Pokemon so amazing, I guess...

    “Roselia! Take it down with Magical Leaf!” commands Cilan. Roselia extends its arms outward, and several small glowing petals fly from is roses and toward Oshawott.

    “Oshawott! Look out!” I yell.

    “Wott!” Oshawott attempts a desperate dodge, though the vine is still wrapped around his ankle. Luckily, he hacked through it enough to break it with his momentum, but the petals close in quickly and a few of them cut through him, leaving small steaming cuts.

    “Oshaaaa!” Oshawott cries out. However, that's not the end of Roselia's attack. The petals that Oshawott managed to dodge make a U-turn in midair and home in on the Sea Otter.

    Crap! Not good... “Counter with Aerial Ace!” I command hopefully. Oshawott won't be able to keep dodging those petals. We'd best counter them now!

    Oshawott jumps toward what's left of the petal storm, with his scallop radiating a sky-blue aura. He wildly cuts away at the petals, slicing through a few, but not all, the remaining of which also cut through the water-type.

    Oshawott hits the ground, but still tries to get up. It seems he still has some fight left in him, but not much.

    “That's it, Oshawott!” I say, “Hang in there!”

    “Sha...”

    “It's almost down,” says Cilan, “Roselia! Finish it with Poison Sting!”

    “Roseli!” Roselia bends forward, directs its thorny head in Oshawott's direction, and fires a barb from it. The thorn flies and sinks into Oshawott's chest right when he's upright. The Sea Otter stands there for a moment, stunned, and then falls to the ground, and it doesn't look like he's up for more.

    “Sha...”

    I hold out Oshawott's Pokeball, “Nice try, Oshawott. You did great. Rufflet will take care of the rest, so rest easy, alright? Return!” Oshawott returns to his Pokeball.

    “... And Oshawott is down!” Chili announces to the audience, “But it put on a good show! Let's see if Ria's next Pokemon will be enough to overcome Roselia!”

    “Your water-type did an impressive job, considering the odds,” says Cilan, “But grass-types still always have the advantage over water-types. Remember that.”

    I grab Rufflet's Pokeball, and toss it into the field, “Go! Rufflet!” Rufflet appears on my end of the arena.

    “The challenger sent out Rufflet, a flying-type!” announces Chili, “Roselia may be at a type disadvantage, but both Pokemon are at full strength. We've reached the final round, and this is still anyone's battle!”

    “It may be a flying-type, but it's still nothing we can't handle,” Cilan reassures Roselia, “Again! Use Grass Knot!” Roselia's eyes glow again.

    “Get off the ground, Rufflet!” I command.

    Rufflet does as instructed, flaps his wings, and lifts off the ground, but not fast enough to avoid the vine that shoots out of the asphalt and wraps around Rufflet's ankle. Not good! As long as the vine has Rufflet, he's a sitting duck... eagle... thing to whatever Roselia will do next. Like Oshawott tried hacking away at his vine with the scallop, Rufflet rakes his with his free talon, and is making as much progress...

    I rack my brain for a quick way out of Rufflet's current situation, and seeing as the Eaglet Pokemon is glancing at me pleadingly, the pressure's on. C'mon, Ria! Think! You're the trainer! You're the one that supposed to think of ways out of situations like these!

    Cilan extends his arm toward Rufflet, “Roselia! Poison Sting attack!” Roselia levels its head in Rufflet's direction, and I know it's about to shoot another thorn.

    Suddenly, an idea comes to mind: I remember that Oshawott managed to cut through Pansage's Vine Whip attack with Aerial Ace with very little difficulty. It was the result of using a flying-type attack to counter a grass-type attack! Techniques have types, just like Pokemon have types, and Pokemon have weaknesses too, as do techniques!

    “Rufflet!” I yell, “Break free with Wing Attack! Now!”

    “Flet!” One of Rufflet's wings glows with sky-blue energy, and he uses that wing to hack through the vine, as if he were swinging a machete. With one swing, Rufflet severs the Grass Knot. I mentally chastise myself for not thinking of it sooner when Oshawott was in the same situation. If I did, he could've freed himself with X-Scissor, and might have still been standing. Oh well, live and learn. At least I know what to do if Cilan orders Roselia to use Grass Knot again...

    At the same time Rufflet freed himself from the Grass Knot, however, Roselia fired its thorn. Rufflet maneuvers to the side, though the barb still manages to graze him.

    “Awesome work, Rufflet,” I say, “Now...” I'm suddenly cut short by the sight of Rufflet slowing the rate at which he's flapping his wings, and loses altitude, “Rufflet? What's wrong?”

    “Ruff... let...” Rufflet lets out a pained groan. I look at the wound that was inflicted on the Eaglet Pokemon, and I see something... unpleasant. A purple liquid is mixed in with the blood oozing from the small cut. Rufflet is breathing a little faster, and he's starting to sweat heavily.

    I fumble for my Pokedex and analyze the situation. Besides “Pokemon: Rufflet,” “Poison” also comes up. I read the heading of the description, which says that when poisoned, a Pokemon will gradually lose its strength until it can no longer battle.

    “Rufflet!” I cry out, “Are you alri--?” I stop short. That's a stupid question. Of course he's not alright. He's been poisoned, for Arceus's sake! I think of calling back Rufflet, and rushing him to the Pokemon Center, but I think of the other times when I'd seen Pokemon get burned and still manage to fight. Rufflet isn't giving me a pleading look either. He still seems determined to battle. “Can you still fight?” I ask.

    “Ruff!” Rufflet glances back at me with a strained, but determined look, and nods. What a trooper!

    “Rufflet's life isn't in any immediate danger,” says Cilan, “Your Pokemon will give in long before the poison gets that bad. However, Rufflet won't be able to fight for too much longer in its condition.”

    “Alright, Rufflet,” I say, “Things may have turned against us, but they haven't beaten us! Let's end this quickly!”

    “Ruff rufflet!”

    “Attack!” I command.

    With a loud grunt, Rufflet takes to the air and flies toward Roselia.

    “Keep it at bay,” Cilan instructs Roselia, “Defend yourself until it gives in to the poison!”

    “Liaaaa!” Roselia aims its head in Rufflet's direction, firing off a few more thorns. Rufflet backs up a bit to put more distance between himself and Roselia, and manages to dodge the thorns.

    “Wear it down!” commands Cilan, “Razor Leaf!” Roselia directs both of its roses in Rufflet's direction and fires off a storm of petals from both, which quickly close in on the Eaglet Pokemon.

    I can see what Cilan's strategy is. He's trying to keep Rufflet away from Roselia, and letting the poison do most of the damage... and it will work if Rufflet can't get a hit in. However, Roselia doesn't look very strongly built, at least compared to Rufflet, and if he can get to the grass/poison-type, it shouldn't take much to deliver a decisive blow... or so I think, anyway.

    Razor Leaf resembles that Magical Leaf attack Roselia used on Oshawott, but the petals aren't glowing, nor do they seem to be homing in on my Pokemon, but there seem to be a lot more. Still, Oshawott managed to do a reasonable job defending himself with a flying-type attack, and Rufflet, being a flying-type, can probably do a better job with the same technique.

    “Break through with Aerial Ace!” I command.

    Rufflet dives headlong into the storm of petals, his wings and talons radiating sky-blue light. He wildly thrashes at them, making it through the storm, though he seems to be wearing down fast.

    Now is the time! “Rufflet!” I yell, “Close in on Roselia and take it down! Now!”

    “Ruffleeeeeeeeeeet!” Rufflet dives toward Roselia.

    “Poison Sting!” commands Cilan.

    “Liaaaa!” Roselia fires off some more thorns at Rufflet. The flying-type dodges a couple, but then takes another one head-on. Still, he perseveres and rams the grass-type beak-first, with a diving Peck attack. Roselia staggers back, a steaming puncture in the middle of its body, “Roooooose... lia...”

    “Roselia!” yells Cilan.

    “End this!” I yell, “Wing Attack!”

    “Ruff...” Rufflet's right wing glows sky-blue. He jumps toward Roselia before it can recover, and uses that wing to slam it hard.

    Roselia falls to the ground, while Rufflet is now struggling to stand. The grass-type tries to get up, but its strength gives out and collapses.

    “End battle!” announces Chili, “The challenger, Ria, and her Pokemon, Rufflet, win the match!” At that announcement, Rufflet takes this time to fall on his side in relief.

    Cilan sighs, “Good match...” He holds his Pokeball out toward Roselia, “Return.” Roselia vanishes.

    I stand in astonishment. I... won? I won! I actually won my first Gym battle!

    “You were awesome!” I call out to Rufflet, “I'm so glad to have you as a Pokemon!”

    “Ruff...” Rufflet gives me a weak grin.

    I hold out Rufflet's Pokeball, “Great job, Rufflet. Take a rest. You'll be as good as new in no time. Return.” Rufflet vanishes.

    Even from inside the cage, I can hear everyone's wild cheering... for me... to the sight of someone who had taken her first big step to the mastery of Pokemon training. I gotta admit, it's quite a feeling...

    Cilan walks over to me, “That was quite a battle. It's rare that they come as close as ours did, but it's exciting moments like that which make the career of Pokemon training so worthwhile...”

    “You can say that again...” I say, “My heart's still pounding... Man, what a rush...”

    Cilan smiles, “You've also learned the lesson our Gym has been trying to teach, but not only have you captured a Pokemon to cover your Oshawott's weakness, but also taught your water-type some moves to cover it as well. It's only right that you won our battle...” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small pin, and I don't need two guesses to know what it is: a Gym badge! In three diamond shapes, it has the colors red, green, and blue, and the rest of the badge has golden lining, “For all your hard work, I am pleased to award you with the Trio Badge, your first step to the Pokemon League. Congratulations!”

    I take the badge and waste no time pinning it to my vest. My first badge... Wow... That's all I gotta say... just wow!

    ---

    Besides the badge, I'm also given 3,000 credits for winning the match, so I'm now officially out of the financial hole I was in.

    After leaving the Gym, I return to the Pokemon Center, and hand in Oshawott's Pokeball. At the Center's store, I buy a small brown bottle, labeled 'Antidote,' which the shopkeeper explains is used to cure a Pokemon of poisons of all kinds, just as long as they're Pokemon-made. I have Rufflet gulp down the bottles contents, and he practically gags, not that I blame him; The stuff almost looks like bodily fluids that were never meant to see the light of day. Still, the signs of poison disappear as soon as he swallows it. I tell the Eaglet Pokemon that he won't have to drink that stuff ever again, just as long as he's cool with receiving proper Pokemon Center treatment. He wearily nods in response. Progress!

    I take a trip to the bathroom, and as I'm washing my hands, I can't stop looking at myself in the mirror, with the Trio Badge pinned to my vest. A badge... the undeniable proof that I am worth something as a trainer... and hopefully this isn't the last one. Looking good and feeling good!

    All the while, Bianca is with me. She congratulates me on my victory and gives me friendly smiles, but for the most part, she's unusually quiet. I don't really pry, however. Maybe she's just nervous about her own rematch with Cress after seeing my battle, and worried she won't be able to match up. It's understandable. That battle was pretty intense.

    Bianca comes with me to a long blue building, with a wide entryway, surrounded by thick forest, that stands at the northwest end of Striation City. These kinds of buildings stand between several locations across Unova. At these places, people can wait for transports (transports being buses in the case of the Unova peninsula, or subways, in the case of Unova proper), get assigned escorts if travelers don't want to, or can't, pay for transportation, or just walk through if said traveler happens to be a Pokemon trainer. These places are referred to as 'checkpoints,' and the one we're at separates Striaton City from Route 3, which leads to the next town along the Unova Peninsula, not to mention the last town before reaching Castelia City and Unova proper: Nacrene City.

    In front of the checkpoint building, Bianca says, “So, you're headed to Nacrene City?”

    “Yeah,” I say, “That's the place where the next Gym is. It's also where Cheren was headed, so maybe I'll meet up with him there.”

    “I see.”

    “Are you sure you'll be alright on your own, Bianca?”

    Bianca pauses, “I... think so...” She shakes her head, “No... I know so. I must be able to stand on my own.”

    “Well, good luck,” I say, “We'll meet up again somewhere down the road. Take care, Bianca.”

    I turn to enter the checkpoint building when Bianca shouts out, “Ria! Wait!”

    I glance back, “What's up, Bianca?”

    Bianca pauses again, and then says, “I want to have a battle with you, against your Oshawott. I want to see if I am strong enough to defeat your water-type... to prepare for my Gym battle.”

    I turn around, “Sure thing, Bianca. I'll do whatever I can to help you out. I'll warn you, though, Oshawott and I aren't gonna hold back.”

    Bianca grabs Munna's Pokeball from her belt, “Okay!”

    Bianca and I stand several feet apart. A battle with Bianca... She seems nervous, probably because I'd already proven myself to be a powerful enough trainer to win a badge, but she seems determined to prove she's strong herself. I gotta admit, I'm pretty proud of her.

    We send out our Pokemon.

    “Let's do this Oshawott!”

    “Go! Munna!”

    Oshawott appears on my end of the field, while Munna appears on Bianca's, hovering about a foot and a half above the ground.

    Oshawott draws its scallop and charges, while Bianca commands, “Munna! Charge Beam!”

    “Muuuun!” Munna fires a beam of electricity from a circle at the center of its head, which slams into Oshawott head-on. Considering Bianca's current circumstances, I'm guessing this is the technique Bianca asked Fennel to give Munna at the TM lab. The force of the blast sends the Sea Otter tumbling.

    “Oshawott!” I yell. Meanwhile, Bianca looks both surprised and elated.

    Luckily, Oshawott still has enough strength left to keep fighting.

    “One more should do it, Munna!” says Bianca, “Charge Beam!”

    “Oshawott!” I say quickly, “Watch the spot on Munna's head and dodge accordingly!”

    “Osha!” Oshawott charges at Munna again.

    The Dream Eater Pokemon fires another beam, but the Sea Otter manages to narrowly dodge it. Oshawott then counterattacks with his Water Gun attack, firing a highly pressurized blast of water, which slams into Munna, stunning it. Oshawott quickly closes in.

    I'm not sure if any of Oshawott's attacks are effective against Munna. It seemed just mildly affected by the Water Gun attack, so I guess that means water-type attacks just do normal damage on psychic-types. Other than that, Oshawott is capable of normal, fighting, bug, and flying-type attacks. I decide to test out Oshawott's other techniques to see if they are any good against psychic-types.

    “Aerial Ace!” I command. In response, Oshawott jumps into the air, his scallop glowing sky-blue, and he passes Munna slashing it.

    “Muuun...”

    Nervously, Bianca commands, “Um... Munna! Use Psybeam!”

    I counter-command, “Oshawott! X-Scissor!”

    “Sha!” Oshawott's scallop glows light-green, and he charges at Munna, who whirls around and fires a rainbow-colored beam from the circle on its head. Oshawott defensively raises his scallop, and the beam slams into it. However, the move is dispelled as soon as that happens.

    Baffled, Bianca cries, “Wh-what just happened?”

    The edges of my mouth tilt upward. I have a pretty good idea. “Again!” I shout, “X-Scissor!”

    Oshawott's scallop glows light-green again, and he delivers two fast cuts to Munna, both of which leave steaming scars in their wake. Well, well... It looks like I right. I make a mental note to add 'Bug attack > Psychic Pokemon' to my notebook later.

    “Muuunn...” Munna groans as it stops hovering and falls to the ground.

    “Munna!” yells Bianca.

    Munna tries to recover, hovering a few inches off the ground before its strength gives out and it falls back down.

    Bianca holds out Munna's Pokeball, “Nice try, Munna. Take a good rest for now. Come back.” Munna vanishes. Bianca returns the capsule to her belt and sighs, “It looks like you win, Ria... not that I'm surprised...”

    As I'm kneeling down, spraying Oshawott with a potion, I say, “Whoa! Don't get yourself down like that, Bianca. You did great. I was actually worried for a moment when I saw your Munna use that electric-type attack. That X-Scissor attack that was strong against it was really just a lucky discovery. Honest.”

    “Thank you,” says Bianca, “... but I want to prove that I'm a strong trainer. It's just... compared to you and Cheren, I feel so... insignificant. When I saw you defeat that Gym Leader, I wondered how on earth I'd be able to match that. I was hoping that these doubts were just my imagination... but I was right.”

    “Don't say that,” I say, “I think you're a really good trainer. Actually, before I won my badge, were you aware that you were ahead of Cheren and me as a trainer?”

    Bianca looks baffled by what I just said, “I was?”

    “Yeah. I mean, Cheren and I tied against each other, and all three of us lost to Striaton Gym's Leaders, the first time, at least, but the victory I had over the N guy we mentioned was because he forfeited. You, on the other hand, had a totally legit victory over that Johtonian trainer on Route 2. When you won that battle, you were actually ahead of Cheren and me.”

    Bianca's eyes widen, “I... never thought of it that way.”

    “You're not a bad trainer,” I reassure Bianca again, “Actually, would you like to be my rival?”

    Bianca looks startled, “'R-rival?'”

    “Yeah,” I say, “Just train your Pokemon hard, so that when we battle again, you'll win. I'm sure my Pokemon are looking forward to strong opponents like you...” I give Oshawott a light pat on the shoulder, “Right, Oshawott?”

    With a surprising amount of intensity, Oshawott yells, “Osha! Oshaaaaaaaa!”

    “Whoa!” I exclaim, “What's wrong?”

    Suddenly, Oshawott's body glows a bright blue color.

    “Huh? Oshawott?”

    “What's it doing?” asks Bianca.

    I quickly grab my Pokedex and snap a picture. The results: … Well, I was expecting “Pokemon: Oshawott” to appear, but that's still loading. What does load right away, however is, “Evolution.”

    Feeling myself grinning, I say, “He's evolving?”

    Oshawott's scallop floats off his chest, grows bigger and changes shape to resemble something like a fan, and then those 'fans' split in two, and fasten themselves to the Sea Otter's waist. His tail grows a little longer, and he becomes a little taller, to a height of about two and a half feet. His white head turns blue, as do his arms, a couple long whiskers extend from his cheeks, and a crest points up from the back of his head. Finally, the light enveloping Oshawott grows brighter, and then the light clears clears, revealing a Pokemon that has just a few of Oshawott's old features.

    I snap another picture with my Pokedex, and a result comes up: “Pokemon: Dewott.” Oshawott has just evolved into Dewott. Looking up more information, I find out Dewott is called the Discipline Pokemon.

    “Dew... wott!” the newly evolved Pokemon exclaims.

    “Man, this is so awesome!” I say, “Congratulations, Oshawott... or I guess I should call you Dewott now, huh?”

    Dewott grins back, “Dew!”

    “Well, let's keep on trying to become even stronger from here, alright?”

    “Dewott!”

    I hold out Dewott's Pokeball, “Return!” With a flash, Dewott vanishes.

    Dewott... Calling Oshawott by that new name is gonna take some getting used to...

    “So, Oshawott evolved...” says Bianca. She takes Tepig's Pokeball from her belt and stares at it, “I wonder how much longer it will take for Tepig to do the same...”

    “Probably not that long,” I try to reassure Bianca, “I mean, Tepig had trained just about as hard as Oshawott. It will probably just take a little more work.”

    “I hope you're right,” says Bianca, “If Tepig evolves, becoming stronger, that could greatly help in beating Striaton Gym.”

    “Just keep at it,” I say, “and don't worry. Regardless of what you might think, I believe you're a really great trainer. I'm sure the next match we have will be a real toughie.”

    Bianca smiles, “I'll work hard to make that the case, Ria...”

    I turn and walk toward the checkpoint, “Well, take care, Bianca. We'll meet again down the road for sure.”

    “Hey, Ria,” Bianca calls out.

    I glance back, “Hm? What's up this time?”

    “Thank you... for being my friend and supporting me... even though I did run away.”

    “That's what friends are for,” I say. I walk a few steps, but then pause when a realization dawns on me, “Oh yeah... Um... Bianca, you might want to give your dad a quick call... just to let him know that you hadn't been kidnapped, or anything, and that you're safe. You don't need to tell him where you are... just... make it so he's not as worried, alright?”

    “Okay,” says Bianca, “I'm... sure he'll be really mad... but I guess I could at least do that. Thanks again, Ria. I'll see you again.”

    “See you around!” With that, I enter the checkpoint and go through to Route 3, en route to Nacrene City.

    I'm sure the results of the Gym battle were no surprise. I know that "lose, train, come back, and win" is nothing new, but at the same time, losing again would have been redundant. Anyway, I hope the battle was exciting enough to make up for predictability. I guess therein lies a disadvantage about story reinterpretations: you generally have a basic idea of what will happen. Anyway, that's it for the Striaton City arc, and I hope you're looking forward to what's next.
     
    #28 Valin, Apr 29, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  29. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    Wow, I can't believe I haven't commented at all on the Striation Arc! So behind! @_@

    First of all, I totally called Bianca running away! It was pretty obvious, but still. All the chapters between losing at Striation and winning at Striation were incredibly well written. I was surprised at Ria finding a Rufflet so early in her journey, but I love Rufflet so it's all good. I also like how you made him a bit rebellious as opposed to the "I belong to you, I like you" scenario as most early captures. With the way Prof. Juniper described it, I wonder if the same situation will arise with other captures.

    As for the Gym Battles, I loved the triplets' personalities. As predictable as the battles went, they were still exciting to read. The rematch verses Cilan was actually close enough that I started wondering if Ria would end up 0/2. I wasn't expecting a battle with Bianca at the end and Oshawott's evolution to Dewott was a complete surprise.

    Overall, I like how you took the original BW story and made it your own. It gives the reader a sense of knowing what will happen but still feeling new and original. For that I commend you. I'll have to comment more often from now on as it's really hard to summarize the best parts of three or four chapters in one post.
     
  30. Route 3 is generally a wide open area, and wild Pokemon really hadn't shown up as often as I was hoping, though occasionally, gray bird-like Pokemon, called Pidoves show up. Like Rufflet, they are normal/flying-types, though they aren't nearly as gung-ho as the Eaglet Pokemon was when I first encountered him, and run away at the first sign of one of my Pokemon. However, I have Dewott and Rufflet chase them around, as it seems to help them with their speed and reflexes. It's through this that I learn that Dewott had learned a new technique when he evolved from Oshawott, where his agility suddenly shoots up to eleven, and chases down Pokemon as a blue streak. My Pokedex tells me this technique is called Aqua Jet. It seems to allow him to almost instantly close the gap between him and an opponent, and get up close and personal, which is good, because all his best attacks are a close range.

    However, even though wild Pokemon are in short supply, there had been enough trainers willing to have a quick match. During the three hours I'd been walking, I encountered two trainers, and had a couple one-on-one matches. I managed to win both, though nether were easy, and got 1,100 credits as my winnings. The training has really been paying off, it seems.

    Still, it's weird traveling alone. I know that's how a lot of trainers travel, but seeing as I'd been alongside Cheren and/or Bianca up to this point, it's strange for it to be just me and my Pokemon now...

    Eventually, I come to a fork in the road, marked with a sign. Straight ahead take me to Nacrene City, while a path off to the right would take me to a place called “Pokemon Daycare.” I've heard of Pokemon daycare centers. They are places where trainers leave their Pokemon to be taken care of. The Pokemon play and battle with the other Pokemon, and as a result, get in some light training, despite the absence of their trainer.

    It's a good place to know about, but I doubt I'll be back this way for a long time, and besides, as I have two Pokemon, it's not like training has been so tough that I need an extra hand. However, just as I'm about move on to Nacrene City, I notice a piece of paper stapled to the daycare sign. On it, it says, “Pokemon Sale! Newborn Pokemon awaiting caring and talented trainers! Please stop by!”

    I consider this. A Pokemon sale. It makes me remember something Professor Juniper taught Bianca, Cheren, and me about Pokemon daycare centers. Whenever the Pokemon being kept at a daycare are not under even the slightest supervision of a human daycare keeper, eggs, which hatch new Pokemon, appear. One of the biggest mysteries to Pokemon researchers is where the eggs come from. Also, if you're thinking something like, “Oh, I know where Pokemon babies come from! Winky-wink. Grinny-grin,” then there's something you need to know: you don't know! As far as researchers can tell, Pokemon don't operate 'that way,' and as for the eggs, when I said they appear, I mean, as far as humans can tell, they literally appear, like poof! Outta nowhere, like magic, and it's never happened if humans are looking, even via surveillance. All that's know is that Pokemon hold the eggs when they appear, and what hatches is the unevolved form of that same Pokemon that's holding it, so it's obviously reproduction of some kind. Pokemon eggs and where they come from are one of the biggest mysteries in Pokemon research today, and it's such a mysterious subject that I found myself getting interested in the Professor's lecture about it and remembered quite a lot. Whenever a question about daycares or eggs appeared on the trainer's test, I'm certain I chose the correct answers to those.

    Anyway, while Pokemon being kept at a daycare hold the eggs, their trainers are not always interested in taking them. After all, it means another Pokemon to train, and too many can get stressful, or so I've heard. The eggs left behind hatch eventually, and the resulting Pokemon grow up under the care of humans, but don't have trainers, which is where a Pokemon Sale comes up. They are put on sale for trainers who will take them, and trained to faithfully follow their buyers.

    With a 'what the heck? I have time' shrug, I follow the road that leads to the daycare. I have quite a bit of money right now, and there might be a Pokemon there that I'd want with me.

    ---

    The daycare is a wide, two story building, painted white, with pink highlights. There is a cartoon Pichu, the pre-evolution to the famed electric-type Pokemon, Pikachu, painted above the entryway to the building, seeming to imply that this daycare thematic framework is centered around unevolved Pokemon, which are generally considered as 'children,' even though all Pokemon are essentially ageless, and their growth is primary summarized through evolution, rather than time, like in the case with humans. Even when it's fresh out of its egg, a Pokemon is already battle-ready, so there's technically no such thing as a 'baby' Pokemon.

    All around the building, there are several small pens set up, with the Pokemon set up for sale inside of them. The Pokemon are actually capable of jumping over a pen's fence and fleeing, but they had been trained to await a buyer. I arrive as the sale is in full swing, with trainers everywhere, looking for a Pokemon to train and take care of, and daycare staff, talking up the Pokemon to potential buyers.

    Most of the trainers have their Pokedexes at the ready, analyzing the Pokemon that are on sale. Seeing that to be the way to do it, I get out my own. I snap a picture of a blue bird-like Pokemon, among others in a nearby pen. It's called Taillow, and it's a normal/flying-type. Since I already have Rufflet, I don't see any need in buying one.

    I snap another picture into a pen filled with insect-like Pokemon with a couple of red mushrooms growing out of their backs. It's called Paras, and it's a bug/grass-type. With the trouble I had with grass-types earlier, owning one does sound tempting, but I reconsider after seeing their cost written across one side of their pen on a long sheet of paper: 900 credits. Geez, Pokemon are expensive. I'm not poor anymore, but I realize I can't just casually buy Pokemon either...

    I wander around the area a little more, looking for potential Pokemon to buy, but none really catching my interest. Eventually, I hear a familiar voice calling my name, “Ria?”

    Not expecting to run into anyone here that I'd know, I make a sudden startled turn toward the voice, and see its owner: Cheren.

    Approaching my friend, I shout out, “Hey! Cheren! I was hoping to run into you when I reached Nacrene City!”

    Cheren is smiling brightly, and I can tell some good stuff has happened to him in his absence, “You might have, Ria, but I no longer have any business there...” Cheren directs my gaze to something on his shirt: a narrow vertical purple pin, with a few small yellow lines across it.

    I venture a guess, “I take it you managed to beat Nacrene Gym?”

    “Early this morning,” answers Cheren, “I see you have a badge of your own, Ria. Did you defeat Striaton Gym?”

    “Totally!” I answer, “Just a few hours ago. I'm on my way to Nacrene City, but I noticed the sign announcing this Pokemon Sale, so I thought I'd check it out, and see if there are any Pokemon I'd want here.”

    “I'm on my way back to Striaton City to challenge the Gym again, but like you, I noticed the advertisement for this event along the way, and thought I'd see if there are any Pokemon that strike my fancy. By the way, Ria, I notice that Bianca's not with you.”

    “She's back in Striaton City,” I say, “She's yet to beat the Gym there. She says she'll try later today. Maybe your paths'll cross when you get there, but I doubt you'll recognize her. So she won't be caught by the authorities, she's playing dress-up, and she plays a pretty dang good game of it too...”

    Cheren's express turns serious, “Speaking of which, Ria... As you requested, I lied to Bianca's father regarding her whereabouts, but now, I think it's about time I heard the whole story.”

    “Yeah,” I sigh, “You have a right to know...”

    Keeping my voice low, so no one nearby will hear it over the din of the crowd, I tell Cheren what Bianca did and what reasons she had for disobeying her dad.

    When I finish, Cheren says, “So, let me get this straight... Bianca feels overprotected by her dad, and therefore, helpless, and she wants to prove that she can stand on her own in this world. Is that the long and short of it?”

    “Basically,” I say, “I kinda get her. I mean, I think I wouldn't be too thrilled to be cooped up and underestimated my whole life, either.”

    Cheren pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose, “Since she's a Pokemon trainer now, she certainly has the chance to prove herself. She needs to explain things to her father sooner or later, but she's doing a brave thing.”

    “I'm glad you understand,” I say. I gave Cheren a serious expression of my own and lean forward so that I'm inches away from his face, “Now then, Cheren, I think you have some explaining to do of your own.”

    “What do you mean?” asks Cheren, looking confused.

    “When you left us, you said you had something you 'had to be alone to think about.' Well, care to share what's eating you? What did you need to think about so badly that you didn't want Bianca or me around?”

    “It has nothing to do with you two,” responds Cheren defensively, “I... just wanted to focus my thoughts, at least for a little while, on a couple things...”

    “So what was up? What are these 'couple things?'”

    “There were two issues that were plaguing me,” says Cheren, “One came up when that man from Team Plasma, Ghetsis, gave his speech.”

    I let out a small laugh, “He got to you too, huh?”

    “Somewhat,” answers Cheren, “Did you have some issues of your own after you heard him talk?”

    “Oh yeah, I did...” I explain the event outside of Professor Juniper's lab, where I offered to release Oshawott.

    Cheren reacts wide-eyed, “He... really bothered you, didn't he? Well, I won't admit to going that far, but it did raise all kinds of questions in my mind, and I wanted some peace to try to come to some answers. After all, a lot of what Ghetsis said does ring true. I don't like to think of Pokemon as our 'servants,' or anything, but it's true that they follow their trainers commands, and generally have the disadvantage in a society completely dominated by humans. I was thinking of how such a thing can be considered justified.”

    “Interesting,” I say, “I'd like to hear what you came up with.”

    Cheren begins, “Well, the ethics to what trainers, and humanity as a whole, are doing may be thought of as... questionable, but we have to consider that Pokemon are different from humans. Yes, we take Pokemon from the wild, while others, like the Pokemon on sale here, never even experienced freedom, but then again, while humans hold the concept of 'freedom' in high esteem, do Pokemon feel the same way? Also, have Pokemon ever shown that they resent society as it is? Pokemon are vastly more powerful than humans, and if they wanted to turn on us, they easily could, and yet, they don't. I have a feeling that the way things are now is as nature dictates, or so I've theorized.”

    I give an approving nod, “Wow, Cheren. You sure made the most of your alone time. I'm impressed.”

    “I didn't want to abandon my goal of becoming Champion, but I also wanted to feel justified in what I'm doing. That's how I decided to look at things.”

    “Anyway,” I say, “You said there were two things on your mind. What's the other?”

    “I think you'd already caught wind of it,” says Cheren.

    Laying on the sarcasm, I drone, “Vague responses, I just love 'em. You totally made my day, Cheren. Seriously, though. What else was there to think about?”

    “My competence as a trainer,” answers Cheren, “As I said the other day, I'd studied Pokemon for most of my life, I'd listened to all of Professor Juniper's lectures faithfully. Right from the time I got my license, I had the makings to be a powerful force in the world of Pokemon training... or so I thought. I have something to confess, Ria. When our match ended in a draw, and I told you that you were a natural... I'm actually not sure how much of that I meant. It was more for my own benefit than yours...”

    I suddenly back up one pace away from Cheren, “Say what? If that's the case, then why did you even bother telling me? Do you have any idea how much your words touched me that night? Even now, I hang on to them, and now you tell me you weren't sure of it? What the heck, man?”

    Cheren smiles wryly, “I knew you wouldn't be thrilled to hear it, and I feel very bad about it. To be honest, Ria, I looked down on you as a trainer...”

    I give Cheren the dirtiest look I can manage. I can't believe this guy!

    Defensively, Cheren says, “Please calm down. At least I thought that way at first. I didn't think of you as a bad trainer, per se, but I thought that I stood above you and Bianca. When I tied against you, in a match where my Pokemon had the type advantage and I thought of myself as the better trainer, I was shocked. I could not comprehend why that happened. That's why I told you what I did. I felt I had to justify the results of that battle, and I therefore believed you to be a natural, because I couldn't handle the idea of being outdone by a trainer with much less knowledge in Pokemon battling. The bigger shock came when I lost to Chili, in a zero-badge Gym battle. For all I'd done to prepare for being a trainer, and all the training Snivy received, I could not accept the fact that I could lose...”

    “So, you had to deal with the fact that you're not invincible?” I guess.

    “Essentially,” sighs Cheren, “I'm sorry, Ria. I should have known that preparation didn't make me an unstoppable trainer. My pride got the better of me. But, Ria, you managed to win your first badge, and, regardless of how I tried to justify it, you did tie in your first battle, despite the disadvantage your Pokemon was at. That's something. I don't know if it means you're talented, but you really are a skilled trainer. Don't forget that.”

    I pause for several seconds, “You know, Cheren, I'm still pretty steamed that you got my hopes up, just so you could make yourself feel better.”

    “How many times must I apologize?” asks Cheren.

    I smile widely, “No amount of apologies will cut it. Instead, I'm gonna steal your dream of becoming Champion... by becoming Champion myself. How does that sound? I'll prove to you that I'm the better trainer and that you were right all along in saying I have talent.”

    Cheren smiles back, “Even though I feel guilty about my actions, I cannot let you do that, Ria. If you plan to do as you say, don't expect me to just let it happen.”

    We both start laughing. Getting back at Cheren by beating him at his own game. Yeah, I can live with that. Ah, rivalry...

    Even though what Cheren admitted did upset me a little, I can't remain angry at him. I mean, if I had as much knowledge as him (and seeing as I'm always watching out for new stuff to add to my notebook, while Cheren probably already knows the stuff I'd learned, and much, much more, I'd trade my brain for his in a Castelia City minute), I'd probably get a little arrogant myself. Still, he apologized, and despite the reasons he had for talking me up that night, I still believe him. I'm kinda stubborn like that...

    I notice the two Pokeballs on Cheren's belt. One is a standard Pokeball, which has to be Snivy's, while the other is an Ultra Ball. I remember Professor Juniper mentioning that Cheren caught a Pokemon so tough, he went through two standards and a Great Ball before finally capturing it. Before I can ask, though, Cheren beats me to it, “Which Pokemon did you capture, Ria? I notice you have two Pokeballs on your belt now.”

    “Rufflet,” I answer, “It's a flying-type. He really helped out in beating Cilan's grass-types. What Pokemon did you get? I talked to Professor Juniper the other day. She said you caught something, though took a bunch of failed attempts.”

    “Yes, it was quite the fighter,” says Cheren.

    I notice the color at the center of the Ultra Ball: reddish-brown. I realize that Cheren's statement actually had a punchline. Reddish-brown is the color for fighting-types, or 'Fighters' as they are sometimes called.

    I'm suddenly envying the crap out of Cheren. He has a fighting-type, and I don't? That's the kind of Pokemon I wanted the most! “You caught a fighting-type! Which one was it?”

    “See for yourself.” Cheren releases the Pokemon he caught. What appears is a four and a half foot tall blue humanoid Pokemon, in a white martial arts outfit. I don't need my Pokedex to know what it is, as it starred in the Pokeflick I watched on the night before I got my license and Oshawott: It's called Sawk, the Karate Pokemon.

    “Sawwwwwwwk!”

    Cheren explains, “He was very hard to catch, and I had to use most of my potions to keep Snivy in fighting shape against him, but he's a very powerful Pokemon, who really helped during my battle at Nacrene Gym.”

    Amazed, I exclaim, “Wow! You caught a Sawk... That's really awesome!”

    Smiling, Cheren recalls Sawk, “I went to a TM lab, where he learned Bulldoze, a ground-type attack, which should give me an edge against Chili's fire-types.”

    “Good luck with that,” I say, “Besides capturing Rufflet, Oshawott, who's Dewott now, by the way, learned Aerial Ace and X-Scissor, flying and bug-type attacks to cover for his disadvantage against grass-types. They helped, but it was still a heckuva battle.”

    “So, Oshawott... or rather, Dewott has a flying-type attack?” asks Cheren, “I was thinking of challenging you to another battle, but that, coupled with the fact that Rufflet is a flying-type places both Servine and Sawk at a disadvantage.”

    “'Servine?'” I ask.

    “Oh!” exclaims Cheren, “Snivy had recently evolved as well. Servine is his evolved form.”

    I pull my notebook and a mechanical pencil out of my bag, “You said that both of your Pokemon are weak to flying-types? That means fighting-types, like Sawk, are at a disadvantage against flying-types, like Rufflet?”

    “That is correct,” says Cheren.

    “Good to know,” I say, quickly jotting down 'Flying ATT > Fighting POK' in my notebook, also remembering that Cheren said he had Sawk learn a ground-type attack so he'd have an edge against fire-types, so I put down 'Ground ATT > Fire POK' as well. How very educational this talk has been.

    “What are you doing, Ria?” asks Cheren.

    “Taking notes,” I say, “I've been learning lots, and I want to remember all of it, so I'm getting it all written down.”

    Cheren nods a couple times with a grin spread across his face, and I just know he's gonna tease me for my little change in routine, “So, Ria has learned the value of studying. You leave your friends for a couple days and the whole world goes haywire...”

    I blush, “Quiet, you.”

    “So, I take it you're aware that all I need is an electric-type to defeat both of your Pokemon?”

    I pause, “Um... I knew water-types are weak to electric attacks, but flying-types are too?”

    Cheren nods, “They are. I see you still have a lot to learn.”

    “Dang...” I make a note of the disadvantage flying-types have to electric-types, and return the notebook to my bag.

    “I suppose I should capture an electric-type eventually,” says Cheren, “Unfortunately, I haven't seen any for sale here...”

    “Well, let's look around,” I say, “There are a lot of Pokemon here. I'm sure we'll both find something that we'll like.”

    Cheren and I go around, checking all the pens. While there are several different Pokemon, their types aren't quite as varied. As a result, none of the Pokemon we see are the fire or fighting-types I'm looking for, nor the electric-type Cheren's seeking out. Still, it's nice to see all the different Pokemon.

    As we look, I mention the encounter Bianca and I had with Team Plasma in the Dreamyard. Cheren admits to feeling better upon hearing that, as our first encounter had us questioning our ethics as trainers, so for Team Plasma itself to just go and prove that they themselves are rotten kinda evens the whole thing out.

    After discussing the Team Plasma incident, I ask Cheren, “So... what kinda Gym is Nacrene Gym? I mean, you said Sawk really helped, so is it a rock-type Gym, or steel-type, or...?”

    Cheren answers, “It's a normal-type Gym.”

    I let out a laugh, “A normal-type Gym? Seriously? There's actually a Gym that specializes in those Pokemon?”

    Cheren gives me a sideways glance, “Why are you so surprised? Normal is a Pokemon type, just like fighting-types and fire-types.”

    “Yeah, but they have a type advantage over... basically nothing, right?”

    “They are immune to ghost-type attacks, but as for normal-type attacks, yes, there aren't any Pokemon they are powerful against.”

    “So, why specialize in them?” I ask.

    Cheren's eyes narrow, “Ria, with all due respect, I don't think you're in a position to criticize trainers that use normal-types. After all, Rufflet is a normal-type.”

    “Yeah,” I say, “but Rufflet is also a flying-type, so he has actual advantages.”

    “I'd advise you not to underestimate them,” says Cheren, “The only type of attack normal-types are weak against are fighting-type attacks. That's all; nothing else.”

    “But for the most part, they have no outright advantage or disadvantage against most Pokemon, right?”

    “Basically.”

    “Alright,” I say, “Dewott has a fighting-type attack, so I just might have the edge against this next Gym!”

    Cheren smiles, “You already have one badge, Ria, so your battle against that Gym will not be as easy as mine.”

    “No problem,” I say, “Dewott is an evolved Pokemon, and Rufflet's pretty tough too. As long as the Pokemon we're fighting don't have a type advantage, we can win!”

    “I wish you luck...” says Cheren, “but each Gym battle will be harder than the last. Keep that in mind.”

    Cheren and I keep looking around, but don't have much luck in finding the types of Pokemon we're looking for. Just as we're about to leave and go our separate ways, we see one last pen, labeled, “ULTRA RARE POKEMON! ONLY 3,000 CREDITS!”

    'Only' 3,000 credits? Someone must be rolling in dough if he thinks that amount is cheap. Still, it's the only pen Cheren and I hadn't checked out yet, and the 'ultra rare' part does sound interesting.

    We walk up to the pen to see the rare Pokemon inside. There are just two left, and they immediately walk up to Cheren and me. They are short and mostly white, being just over a foot tall, with a green 'helmet' thing making up the tops of their heads and flat red horns extending out of them. They also look like they're wearing gowns, or something. Their 'helmets' mostly cover their eyes, but I see them when they look up at us, large, bright, and brown. How adorable!

    I snap a picture with my Pokedex, and the result: “Pokemon: Ralts.” It's called the Feeling Pokemon, and it's a psychic-type. Well, I was hoping to find some Fighters or fire-types at this sale, but a psychic-type was my third choice. Excellent. Even though they're expensive, I can afford one.

    An aging man in a daycare staff uniform walks by, “Ah, you two seem to be in high spirits.”

    “Do you always greet people that way?” I ask.

    The old man laughs, “It's just an observation. Ralts are drawn to positive emotions, and seeing as they clearly took a liking to the two of you, you must be in pretty good moods right now.”

    “We've had some good luck lately,” says Cheren, “So, yes, we are in a good mood.”

    The old man smiles, “These two are the last Ralts we have left. They are hard to find and even harder to catch. Trainers generally jump at chances to receive them like this. We originally had about eleven or twelve Ralts, but they'd been selling like crazy, and now, just these two are left. If you want them, I suggest you buy them, otherwise, someone else no doubt will.”

    I take a moment to think. It appears that Ralts is a very rare Pokemon, so it's unlikely I'll be able to get one in the wild, but should I buy one? The Professor did warn us only to take whichever Pokemon we'll need, but on the other hand, I'd wanted a psychic-type from the very beginning, and I was disappointed I couldn't catch a Munna at the Dreamyard. This may be my chance!

    I reach into my pocket and pull out 3,000 credits, “Sure thing! I'll take one!”

    Cheren arrives at a conclusion himself and holds out some cash of his own to the man, “A psychic-type should prove to be very useful. I will become the trainer for one of these Ralts as well.”

    The old man takes the 6,000 credits between Cheren and I, “Wonderful! They are all yours. Do take very good care of them. Ralts strive to make their trainers happy, and so, they are very loyal Pokemon, and if you can successfully train them to their evolutions, they can become immensely powerful. You two have made fine choices!” The old man opens the pen's gate, and the two Ralts walk out to Cheren and me.

    I kneel down to the Ralts that walked up to me. Seeing as it looks like it's wearing a dress, and stuff, I decide to call it a 'her,' “Hey there! I'm Ria, your new trainer. Welcome to the team.”

    Ralts, like Oshawott when we first became acquainted, leaps over to me to give an embrace with whatever she can with her small body. I return the embrace, trying not to hug too hard. Wow... a psychic-type... This is so awesome! Well, that's one of the three Pokemon types I wanted to get on my journey. Now, hopefully, I'll find a fighting-type and a fire-type somewhere...

    When Ralts lets go of me, I toss a standard Pokeball at her. She disappears with a flash, but doesn't try to break free. Finally, there's the click, and the center turns pink. I add the third Pokeball to my belt. Cheren does the same. We look at each other and smile. Psychic-types, and rare ones at that. It looks like coming here had paid off!


    TEAM UPDATE
    [​IMG]
     
    #30 Valin, May 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  31. I'll take this opportunity to say that I've been reading your story for a while now, and it's brilliant! It's really written well, and even though I've played the games, you really make the story and characters your own. (Plus, Ralts =D)

    I look forward to the next installment! :)
     
    #31 Cycloneblaze, May 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  32. Wow. I really love what you did to the main storyline! Adding the Pokemon sales, non-Unova Pokemon, Bianca's disguise, TM Labs.... It's really clever! And fun to read as well~
    The few particular things that made me wonder: in game, Bianca gets Lilipup before she gets Munna, and Cheren is never shown with Sawk. But this makes your story unique and awesome. Also, I like what you did: making Cheren earn Basic Badge and then get Trio Badge after that. And giving him Ralts as well makes me think that he'll get Gallade :p I'm kinda disappointed that Ria's Ralts seems to be female, as you referred to it as 'she'. So that makes me kinda sad, but oh well... It would have been fun to see Ria shocked once her Kirlia evolves into Gallade, a Psychic and Fighting type.
    Either way... I love and can't wait to see more!
     
  33. *Blazi Irons his fingers for not posting here

    I've actually been stalking this for quite a while, and I love every bit of it!

    That's all I can come up with at the moment, but I love how you got two of my most favourite Gen Vers, Oshawott and Rufflett. Get a Scraggy for Ria and I'll love you forever~
     
  34. Stalking is fun ^^

    And the reason I've been stalking for so long is because this is just waay to epic, so epic in fact that whenever I try to write up a reply, I just sit there and stare at the screen for a while, trying to think of the best way to say how awesome this is, then I give up and hit the back button, while trying to unscramble my brain. No jokes.

    Anyway, I think I'll leave it at saying it's amazing, lest my brain will go all like ghaljfdjaphfpinfafnasdf.d..j...f... ... *implodes*. And if you want to know why, I'm pretty sure PokegirlPraure got it right... and almost everyone else who's posted here.

    Anyway, I shall continue stalking this thread, whether you hear from me or not.
     
  35. It is certainly logical that if one can catch and breed Pokemon, they can be sold as well. It seems that the Daycare is simply getting rid of Pokemon from left-behind eggs. Ralts is a good choice, and I am curious on the gender.
     
  36. Psycho Monkey

    Psycho Monkey Member of the Literary Elite Four

    Yay Ralts! ;D

    It was fun seeing Cheren again and how he's progressed. The Pokemon Sale at the Daycare was also a nice touch. It was a good way to legitimately get a rare Pokemon non-native to Unova. I wonder if Ria will ever get a Fighting-type or if Ralts is really a 'he' and will become Gallade with exposure to a Dawn Stone. Keep up the good work!
     
  37. With our new Ralts in tow, Cheren and I leave the daycare grounds, and go our separate ways to Striaton and Nacrene respectively.

    While the first half of Route 3 is wide-open and grassy, the second half, not far past the fork in the road, is heavily forested on both sides of the road. I remember when I contacted Cheren's Xtransceiver, and I saw some trees in the background. I guess this is where he was at the time.

    The dense forest area feels like an ideal place for wild Pokemon to come out and attack, which will be perfect for training. Oshawott had recently evolved into Dewott, so he can stand to take a little break from training. However, having just gotten Ralts, she probably needs some toughening up, and Rufflet is somewhere in the middle, in terms of training, so I send out the Eaglet and Feeling Pokemon, with Ralts walking a half-pace ahead of me, while Rufflet tags along overhead, flying from branch to branch.

    Eventually, I see something crawl out of the woodland: a Purrloin. Geez, it seems to further from home I go, the less nocturnal these dark-types get. Still, this'll be a good opportunity for Ralts to show her stuff.

    Extending my arm, I yell, “Alright, this one's all yours, Ralts! Attack!”

    In response, Ralts slowly approaches the Purrloin. I say to Rufflet overhead, “If Ralts gets in trouble, help her out, okay?”

    “Rufflet ruff!”

    “R... ralts...” Ralts extends her head forward and releases a small bolt of pinkish energy from her horn toward Purrloin. The Pokedex tells me this move is called “Confusion.” However, when the attack hits, Purrloin doesn't flinch, wince, or even slightly react. What does happen is that Purrloin's body radiates some sort of gray energy, which cancels out Ralts's attack, like it didn't even happen! Do psychic-type attacks not work on dark-types? Good stuff to keep in mind...

    In response to Ralts's attempt to inflict harm on it, the Purrloin lets out a low growl, “Purr...”

    “R... ral...” Ralts starts to back away, sounding very nervous.

    “Hey, it's okay,” I try to reassure Ralts, “Hold your ground! You can do this!”

    Purrloin then lets out a roar, “Purrrrrrrloin!”

    “Raaaaaaaaal!” Ralts turns back toward me and starts running away. There's a bright pink flash, and Ralts vanishes from where she was. She teleported?

    When I look at Purrloin again, it's eying me now, not looking happy.

    Oh damn! Panicked, I call out to Rufflet, “Rufflet! Change of plans! Get down here and kick its butt! Please!”

    Purrloin leaps toward me, claws bared. As I raise my arms to brace myself, Rufflet comes down from above and his foot connects with the dark-type's head, slamming it into the ground. Rufflet lands as Purrloin gets up, looking furious. The dark-type raises one of its paws to attack, but Rufflet is quicker to the punch and lunges forward thrusting his beak into the Purrloin's right eye. Yowch!

    With its eye now a red patch with blood oozing out, Purrloin turns and flees back into the woods.

    Looking toward my feet, Rufflet yells angrily, “Ruff! Rufflet ruff rufflet! Let flet!”

    At first, I think Rufflet is yelling at me for reasons I have no idea about, until I hear a noise by my feet, “Ral...” I notice that Ralts is hiding behind my left leg. It looks like Rufflet is giving Ralts a piece of his mind over running away, and leaving me to the Purrloin, and seeing as she used me as her hiding place, she probably thought I could protect her. Honestly, the retreat did upset me, as that action could have gotten me badly hurt... or worse.

    Ralts backs away from us, head facing the ground. She looks pretty ashamed. Rufflet approaches Ralts, still squawking at the top of his lungs. I take a couple deep breaths, and say, “Hey now, Rufflet. Chill. Let me handle this...” Rufflet settles down and backs away.

    Well, I said I'll handle it... but what can I say? When Oshawott had his first fight with a wild Pokemon, he didn't back down at all, and Rufflet seems to love fighting. However, not all Pokemon are the same...

    I kneel down as close to Ralts's level as I can, “Um... Are you doing alright?”

    Ralts stares at me, looking ashamed. The old man at the daycare said Ralts can read people's emotions, and despite my words, I still feel a bit disappointed in the Feeling Pokemon. I take a few more deep breathes, trying to calm myself down, so Ralts won't feel so bad. Eventually, Ralts doesn't look as scared.

    I try again, “Um... I guess that was kinda scary, huh?”

    “Ral...” Ralts nods her head.

    “Do you like battling?” I ask, “Or rather, do you want to battle? Do you want me as a trainer?” I feel a sense of deja vu. This almost feels like Oshawott at the lab all over again...

    Ralts hesitates for a few seconds, and then nods her head repeatedly. With what had previously happened, I find this to be a shocking response. She was so scared before. I thought I'd forced her into something she was completely unwilling to do, but she tells me she wants to battle? A thought occurs to me that she just might be giving me the responses that would make me happy, as she wants to make me happy, due to her nature as a Pokemon.

    “Are you being honest?” I ask, “I mean, I won't get angry if you don't. I'm sure battling can be scary and all. If we're gonna work together, we need to know how we really feel, right?”

    Ralts pauses, and then constantly nods her head. Well, I guess that's that. Ralts desires to battle, but she still got scared. Hm...

    I think of calling Professor Juniper, but then hesitate. I asked her a question before over why Rufflet didn't like me very much at first, and she told me to consult my Pokedex. I have a feeling I'll get the same response if I ask about Ralts...

    I use my Pokedex to get more information on Ralts. It's a rare Pokemon, able to use the red horn on its head to read a person's emotions, and is happy if someone or something else is happy. They are known for being very loyal to trainers, but also very hard to train (wonderful...). However, they are timid creatures, which get scared if they sense hostility, and teleport away. Well, that explains something. I can also see why they're so hard to catch. Wild Ralts probably make a dash for it the second a trainer sics their Pokemon on one. It's a good thing I got mine at a Pokemon Sale. I doubt I'd have caught one otherwise...

    Meanwhile, Ralts still looks troubled, maybe over its retreat. Well, the 'dex did say they are loyal to their trainers, so maybe she feels she shamed herself by letting her fear get the better of her and leaving me to the Purrloin, if Rufflet didn't intervene.

    Trying to make myself upbeat, I raise my cheek bones to form a smile, and say, “Hey... chin up, Ralts. I know that you made a mistake back there... Well, I know you can be a really tough Pokemon, and I, along with Rufflet and Dewott, will help you become just that. How does that sound?”

    Ralts seems to cheer up a little, “Ral ralts!”

    “Now,” I say, “You can sense hostility, and that can be scary, but we'll help you overcome that fear!”

    The training begins. My strategy is to make Ralts accustomed to hostility. After all, I don't think it's a stretch to think that there is a lot of hostile emotions in a Pokemon battle, even if it is friendly competition. I have Ralts attack Rufflet a few times, with Rufflet on the defensive, and then tell Rufflet to attack. The first couple times we attempt this, the same thing happens like it did with the Purrloin, but by the third time, Ralts manages to not run, and hold her ground, though she still seems scared witless. Well, that's progress, I guess...

    Our journey along Route 3 continues. Assuming the daycare was the halfway point, the rest of the walk to Nacrene should only be about three or so hours, but we walk for about twenty or thirty minutes, train for an hour or two, walk some more and train some more, well into the afternoon. As we keep trying, Ralts manages to be a bit more aggressive with her offensives, and I end up going through my potions like crazy to keep my Pokemon in fighting shape after each training session, so they'll be ready in case a wild Pokemon attacks. I keep hoping a Sawk, or some other fighting-type will show up. After all, Cheren came this way, and he found a Sawk at one point. Sadly, my luck does not match his. Still, though getting a fighting-type would please me greatly, I'm already in the middle of trying to get Ralts up to speed with my other Pokemon and adding a second Pokemon in need of the same training would probably get very stressful...

    With each sparring session, Ralts gets a little stronger, but she never gets on equal ground with Dewott, or even Rufflet. Compared to my other two Pokemon, Ralts's powers seem pretty subpar, though I never let the Feeling Pokemon know that, as the Professor did repeatedly tell us never to call a Pokemon the “'W' word” (weak), or anything synonymous with it, as no term in the Unovian language is more demoralizing to a Pokemon. However, I do remember another lesson the Professor taught, which reassures me. During that lecture, she used a fish-like Pokemon called Magikarp as an example. Now, as Magikarp go, they are extremely unremarkable. Slow, not very strong, lack decent abilities, purely water-borne, etc. However, all that changes once they get strong enough (as arduous a task as it is for a trainer) to evolve. When that happens, it becomes Gyarados, a constantly PO'd terror of the sea and engine of annihilation. She said a few other Pokemon start off with very little power, but with a lot of training, and patience on the trainer's part, they can evolve, and their true power becomes realized. The old man at the daycare did say that once they are trained to evolution, Ralts can become immensely powerful. No problemo, I think, I'll just keep training Ralts as hard as she can stand, and she'll evolve in no time. Many more hours fly by as my Pokemon spar.

    I pass a sign saying that Nacrene City is only a few miles away, which is a good thing, seeing as the sun is starting to set, orange light shining through the overhead branches, as what should have been a few-hour-long trek had been extended by all the training I put Ralts through. Well, that should be it for training today. I guess we should have a 'good training feast' when we get to Nacrene City. It's the least I can do to thank my Pokemon for their hard work on this trip.

    Roughly one mile after the sign later, I have all three of my Pokemon escorting me, and something new comes out of the woods: a small Pokemon with light-brown fur and a pair of crazy-looking eyes. It's a Patrat, a Pokemon I'd seen all over the place going between cities, and had been a regular target for my Pokemon for training purposes. Just as Dewott and Rufflet are about to gang up on it, however, I extend an arm at my side, saying, “Wait. Let Ralts handle this...”

    Ralts approaches the Patrat. She glances back at me, “Ral.”

    “Don't worry,” I say, “You can do this! Just remember your training and apply it here, alright?”

    “Ral!” Ralts faces off against the Patrat, which looks eager for some action.

    Patrat begins things by charging, but Ralts, now unflinching, counters with her Confusion attack, firing a psychic bolt at Patrat, connecting with the center of its head. Patrat staggers back, but then resumes its charge. However, instead of slamming into Ralts, it runs past her, and slams head-first into a nearby tree instead. From previous training sessions, I'd seen Dewott and Rufflet behave in similar ways after they took a Confusion attack to the head. It means a Pokemon becomes confused, and mistakes other things for its opponent.

    While Patrat is stunned, Ralts turns and fires another bolt, this one knocking the wild Pokemon unconscious.

    Ralts looks back at me, Dewott, and Rufflet, smiling.

    “That was awesome!” I say, “Way to go!”

    “Ral!” exclaims Ralts excitedly.

    Dewott and Rufflet, who had gradually gotten cooler with Ralts as they trained with her, offer some congratulatory words of their own, “Wott! Dewott!”

    “Flet rufflet!”

    I take a few steps forward, “Well, let's press on, you guys! We gotta get to Nacrene City before dark!”

    Our trek continues. However, the orange light shining down gradually darkens a lot quicker than I thought it would, and soon, there is no light shining down at all. Dang! So much for making it before dark...

    I try to consider what to do next. The rational thing would be to set up a tent I bought back in Accumula Town, and sleep, while I have Dewott and Rufflet, the two Pokemon that can handle dark-types, stand guard until morning. However, we are so close to Nacrene City that it seems silly to camp out. Should I take my chances, and try to get there in the dark?

    Luckily, Ralts helps answer my question. Her body starts to glow a little, and finally radiate white bright light, which illuminates everything within a twelve-foot radius around her.. My Pokedex tells me this technique is called Flash, where a Pokemon gives off light in order to navigate dark places. Awesome! We keep moving, with Ralts walking a foot behind me, as it stings my eyes to look at her directly up close, while Flash is activated.

    Now, I'll say this about the woods at night: It's freaking scary! All around, there is the sound of footsteps and the ominous sounds of Pokemon in the surrounding woodland.

    “... oin...”

    “Purr... loin!

    “Pard! Liepard!”

    The dark-types are now out in force. Glancing to the sides, I can see the glowing neon-green eyes of several Purrloins peering at us from the darkness of the surrounding forest.

    I have Ralts stay with me to light the way, like a living lantern, while Dewott and Rufflet stand on guard to fend off any Purrloin that come near... and fend them off they do!

    The Purrloins in the woods jump out and attack us in small groups, usually of three or four, at a time. However, after taking out one group, we don't make it far along the path before another pack shows up! A Liepard, the Pokemon Purrloin evolves into, shows up at one point, leading one of those packs, but Dewott and Rufflet team up and manage to take it out!

    Maybe I should have just laid low for the night after all, but hey, they're just Purrloins! They're nothing my Pokemon hadn't dealt with before! Still, there are a lot of them, and the only thing we can do is fend off the dark-types and hope Nacrene City is right around the corner!

    Rufflet does a pretty good job fending off the Purrloins, but Dewott is the champ here. Having an evolutionary advantage makes him far stronger than the dark-types. His Revenge attack, being a fighting-type move, which is strong against dark-types, is very powerful, and even when we get surrounded, he can instantly go around from point to point with his Water Jet technique, quickly taking them out one-by-one. However, for every Purrloin my Pokemon take out, another takes its place, and I'm not so confident that we can just overpower all of them anymore...

    Still, we're running, trying to make as much distance as we can before more Purrloins show up. I keep Ralts close at all times, seeing as she has a major type disadvantage against the dark-types, and if they succeed in knocking her out, we'll lose our light source. I do have a flashlight in my supply bag, which I bought before the journey, among other supplies, but it doesn't provide nearly as much illumination as Ralts's Flash technique, and if I lose her, we'll be near helpless in the dark. The part that makes me mad is that upon journeying along a Route, there is a sign telling people to journey it at their own risk if going by foot. Well, I sure am! I don't think I ever understood the importance of those words until now!

    Even though Dewott and Rufflet are stronger than any Purrloin that show up, they are outnumbered, and the dark-types get in a number of lucky scratches. I quickly go through my potions, trying to keep them in good enough shape to keep defending me and Ralts. I guess I know where the rest of my money is going. At least Rufflet's getting plenty of scars to show off, so that's a plus. Hey, gotta think positive, right?

    However, a glance tells me that Ralts is quivering from all that's going on around us. Not hard to understand, as there's no shortage of hostile intent here. As for me, I'm hoping the checkpoint between Route 3 and Nacrene City will show up soon. Very soon... or for the dark-types to give up and get lost. That would be just as swell.

    Dewott and Rufflet manage to take out the latest pack of Purrloins when things start to go downhill. Ahead of us, three Liepards show up. They are purple, covered with circular yellow spots that glow in the dark and have yellow eyes, which also glow. This could be bad...

    Still, my Pokemon do what they always do in this situation. Dewott Aqua Jets over to one of the Liepards, moving as a blur, with a splash of water with each step he takes, catching it off guard, and delivers a X-shaped slash with his two scallops with his X-Scissor attack, leaving a pair of steaming scars. 'Bug ATT > Dark POK.' Good to know. I'd better make a note of it when things are less hectic. However, despite the super-effective hit, the Liepard is still standing.

    Meanwhile, the other two Liepard spring forward toward Ralts and me. Rufflet intercepts one in midair with an Aerial Ace attack, while Dewott, prioritizing things, breaks things off with his original opponent and slides in front of Liepard #3 with Aqua Jet.

    While Dewott and Rufflet are busy with their opponents, the Liepard in the back, the one that Dewott originally engaged, eyes Ralts and me with a sinister look on its face. Yeah, things don't look good right now... At the same time, Dewott takes an attack from his opponent, but then, with his scallops radiating a reddish-brown light, delivers a powerful Revenge attack, knocking the Liepard into the air and against a tree, where it falls to the ground, unconscious. However, things don't end up as good on Rufflet's end, as his Liepard adversary dodges a Wing Attack, and then counterattacks with its claws, causing Rufflet to stagger back. Dewott, looking exhausted, turns to engage the Liepard that just attacked Rufflet, but that's when the Liepard he originally fought blindsides him, delivering a powerful slash.

    “Dew...”

    “... Flet...”

    Dewott and Rufflet are worn out, and now, with my defensive line breached, the two remaining Liepard turn their attention toward Ralts and me.

    “Ral...” Ralts lightly whispers.

    I want to reassure Ralts that everything will be alright, but seeing as the Feeling Pokemon can read emotions, I know it's pointless, because I'm feeling scared myself; more like petrified, actually. I knew that being a trainer would be dangerous at times, but... this? Am I gonna... die here? This doesn't feel real... Is this just a bad dream? Mom... Dad... Bianca... Cheren...

    “Dewott... Rufflet...” I whisper, unable to mask the fear I'm experiencing. I'm asking for help, but there is only so much they can do. I just don't know what else can protect me. I'm helpless against those Liepards!

    Just as the two Liepards are preparing to pounce, however, something suddenly appears between them and me: A moth-like Pokemon, about two and a half feet long, with a golden head, which almost looks like a mask, a yellow and black body, wings flapping so fast, I can barely see them, and a pair of sharp claws. It appears so suddenly, the Liepards flinch in surprise. Just as soon as the Pokemon appears, however, it turns toward the Liepards and vanishes again. The next time I see it, it's behind the Liepards. At the same time, however, an X-shaped pair of steaming scars appears on one of the two dark-types, and it goes down in a heap. Wow! Whatever that Pokemon is, it's ultra-fast!

    The last Liepard turns its attention to our mysterious savior. At that moment however, a second Pokemon drops down from above, delivering a powerful slash with its claws, knocking the dark-type out cold. The second Pokemon is a red semi-humanoid ant-like Pokemon with lobster-like claws and moth-like wings, standing at a height of almost six feet!

    Even though I'm not familiar with the two Pokemon that had just saved us, I don't go for my Pokedex. Instead, with my breath still fast and heavy and my heart racing, I fumble inside my supply bag, the best my shaking hands can, and get one of the few potions I have left. I quickly tend to Dewott and Rufflet, and a few sprays later, their wounds are healed and they are back on their feet.

    Gradually approaching us from ahead is the sound of hands clapping and a high, almost squeaky voice that I thought was only reserved for cartoon characters, “Marvelous! Wonderful! Very nice! Well done, Scizor! Ninjask!”

    The two Pokemon, identified as 'Scizor' and 'Ninjask,' obediently respond, “Niiiin!”

    “Scizor!”

    A man walks into Ralts's light. He has curly brown hair, and wears a red scarf, a green shirt, and magenta pants with green and black stripes. He has a lanky build, but towers at a freakish height of almost seven feet! Holy...

    The tall man speaks, “Well, that was a close call if there ever was a close call. Are you holding up alright, miss?”

    Still having not fully recovered from that near-death experience, I stutter, “Y-yeah... ki-kinda...”

    The Scizor and Ninjask go to the man's side. I notice the six Pokeballs on his belt, all light-green in their centers, the color for bug-types. He nods, “That's good to hear. Are you headed to Nacrene City? You never know when those dark-types will gang up on you again, so I'll go with you. Sound like a plan? I think it's a great plan, personally.”

    As much as I wanna say that I'm fine, I remind myself that I thought I was fine when all those Purrloin attacked, and look how that turned out. I nod, “Su-sure...”

    The man nods his head a few times, “Still frightened, I see. Well, it's no surprise. These things happen to trainers from time to time. Those Liepards, and Purrloins too, I see from the ones laying around, were probably after your Ralts.”

    Ralts tilts her head, “Ral?”

    The man smiles, “Psychic-types taste like candy to wild dark-types. That Flash technique probably made you stand out to every dark-type in the nearby area. Even though you had those other two Pokemon protecting you, they probably thought that if they ganged up, they could take them. If you kept Ralts inside its Pokeball, and used a good old-fashioned flashlight to light your way, they probably would've ignored you and moved on. Just a thought for the future.”

    “Thanks...” I say. More stuff for the notebook. I guess I should add a “How to save your own life” section...

    The man looks around at all the unconscious Purrloin and Liepards, their blood staining the road and grass, “You're very lucky I came when I did. Fortune smiled on you, but certainly not on all these poor Pokemon that will have to go hungry. My photographic memory will not forget this sight, and so, I will paint a picture of it. I shall call it...” The man gives a dramatic pause, and I can just tell he had totally scripted it in his head, “... 'The Dark Side of Fortune.' Not a bad name, if I say so myself.”

    'Paint a picture?' Who is this weird guy? Before I can ask, however, the man introduces himself, “Anyway, my name is Burgh: Artist extraordinaire, Gym Leader extraordinaire, bug lover extraordinaire, all other things extraordinaire!”

    I manage to settle down a bit, and ask, “'Gym Leader?'”

    Burgh grins, “That I am! Castelia Gym's Leader, to be exact.”

    Puzzled, I ask, “Castelia? What are you doing all the way out here?”

    Burgh tilts his head to the side, “'All the way?' I didn't travel far. I just had to go across the river and through the woods, and bam! I arrived in Nacrene City. The Pokemon League pays Gym Leaders very well, and the benefits are something else, but it's a depressing, depressing job, especially for me...” Burgh starts feigning sorrow, and doesn't do a very good acting job of it, “All the new trainers from Castelia City love their fire-type starting Pokemon, and of course, decide to pick on my Gym first, what with all my beautiful little bug-types burning so easily. Being a Gym Leader is a tough job, as we are supposed to hold back and... possibly lose Gym battles, and it's happened all too often to me. Seventeen straight losses, probably more, is probably one of the most demoralizing experiences a man can have, so I decided to take a break from all the losing, take a break from my urban surrounding, visit one of my closest friends in Nacrene City, and come out to the wilderness to find some new bug-types, as my zero-badgers had recently graduated to one-badgers. Such is the cruel cycle of a Gym Leader's duty to have Pokemon to battle both novices and experts alike, and that brings us to the present...” Burgh gestures to the small black and yellow Pokemon hovering next to him, “Ninjask here sensed trouble up ahead, so we came to check it out, and your life was subsequently saved!”

    As glamorous a job as I thought being a Gym Leader might be, Burgh did bring up an interesting point. Hundreds of trainers challenge Gyms, and a lot of them win. It must be tough for a Gym Leader to lose so often.

    “Anyway,” I say, “Thank you for saving me... and for the advice.”

    “Well, once you catch more Pokemon, and you can have more around to protect you, very few of those dark-type'll bother with you. Seeing as we have Scizor and Ninjask with us now, I doubt more'll come. They're probably shaking in the bushes as we speak...” Burgh raises his voice, “Isn't that right, dark-types? Not so tough now, are ya?” Around us, there are some low disgruntled growls, but nothing comes out of the woods. “Anyway, since I gave you my name, care to share yours? You don't have to, though, as I think Little Miss Pokemon Trainer has a very good ring to it.”

    “My name is Ria,” I say flatly.

    Burgh smiles, “Well then, Ria. You've had a rough 'n tough night. As such, you'll be happy to know that all there is left of this Route is a couple turns, then go up a slope, and there's the checkpoint. The walk is just a couple minutes.”

    “Seriously?” I ask. A wave of frustration washes over me. If I knew that's all that remained of this area, I would've made a run for it, rather than stand and have my Pokemon fight... though, despite being a middle-tier track student in middle school, I'm not sure if I could have outrun them...

    “Serious as serious can be,” answers Burgh, “Since it's not far to the checkpoint, I'll tag along, as it seems your Pokemon need some rest. Besides your little scuffle with those dark-types, what else did you Pokemon do today?”

    “Well...” I explain the Gym battle in Striaton City and the multiple training sessions we had along the way to toughen Ralts up.

    Burgh nods and says, “You've had quite the eventful day, haven't you?”

    “Well, yeah,” I say.

    Burgh walks ahead of me, motioning for me to follow, “I'm sure it's been a productive day for your Pokemon, but for now, it would be best if they rested now.”

    Taking a hint, I recall all three of my Pokemon, get out my flashlight, and follow Burgh and his two bug Pokemon. Before, it occurred to me to challenge Burgh to a battle, him being a Gym Leader and all, but that doesn't feel right, seeing as my Pokemon had obviously had more than their fair share of action for the day. So much for grabbing at life's opportunities, though something tells me Burgh would've declined my challenge anyway, since he did say he's trying to get away from Gym battling for a little while...

    Along the way, Burgh says, “You seem to be dedicated to your Pokemon's training. That's a good trait in a trainer...”

    “Well, Pokemon trainers are called 'trainers' for a reason,” I respond, “I'm aiming to become Champion, so...”

    From the way Burgh is talking, I know he's going to give some follow-up statement, and sure enough, he does, “However, don't you think you're pushing your Pokemon a little hard? Especially little Ralts, seeing as you said you got it at a Pokemon Sale earlier today, and is still a newborn.”

    “I didn't think she minded,” I say, “I mean, she overcame her fear of fighting opponents, despite their hostility directed at her, and she became stronger...”

    “Well, very few Pokemon would object,” says Burgh, “but even so, they could stand to take a break from all the battling and training every now and then. Good trainers don't push their Pokemon too hard, and if they do, they reward them for their hard work. Instead of focusing on having them win battles all the time, how about taking part of a day off from training, and do something fun with them?”

    “Like what?” I ask, “What would a Pokemon find fun?”

    “Treat them,” says Burgh, “Take them to do something humans find fun, like watching a movie, or hey, Nacrene City has a great museum, so why not take them there?”

    “Sorry, but I don't find museums 'fun,'” I respond flatly.

    “Well, an educational experience for your Pokemon could make them happy,” says Burgh, looking back at me with a grin, “Think about it, at least. By the way, Nacrene City's museum is also its Gym, and its director is also its Gym Leader, and a good friend of mine. Just mention me at the front desk, and I'm sure you can have a fulfilling trip of discovery and learning for you and your Pokemon, for a discount!”

    I nod, “Sure, I'll think about it.” First mentioning the Professor at Fennel's lab, and now mentioning Burgh at the museum-slash-Gym. I'm establishing connections left and right...

    True to what Burgh said before, the trail ahead has just a few turns, and then a fairly steep slope. At the top of said slope, there's the checkpoint building. The whole walk took about two minutes...

    “And here we are!” announces Burgh, “Through this checkpoint is Nacrene City! Before heading to the Pokemon Center, I would suggest taking in the view you'll see at the other end of this building. Since it's a clear night, you should even see Castelia City in the distance.”

    “Well, thanks again,” I say, “Maybe we'll meet again when I get to Castelia City.”

    “Most likely,” says Burgh, “Of course, you plan on that meeting being a Gym battle, right?”

    “You know it.”

    With some hesitation, Burgh asks, “Could you... plan on losing, maybe?”

    I glance at him slyly, “Not gonna happen.”

    “Oh well,” Burgh sighs, “I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up... I'll see you again.” With that, he walks back into the forest.

    I walk through the checkpoint and come out at the other end. I come out to the other side of the slope, looking out at Nacrene City. Since it's dark, however, there isn't much to see, other than the lit up buildings, but true to Burgh's words, in the distance, just beyond Nacrene, I see some lights from Castelia's distant skyscrapers. Not a bad sight.

    I make my way down the slope and enter the city. Up close and in the illumination of streetlamps, I can tell that Nacrene sure isn't as lavish as Striaton City, but I actually prefer it more. Nothing about it tries to stand out. The building are simple, being made of either brick or wood, and there always seems to be room for trees, making this come off as a place that tries to be one with nature, more or less. Like Striaton, however, it's a city in name only, with no particularly large buildings, and a size like that of a town; In fact, I think it's even smaller than Striaton, if the amount of amount of lights I saw from the buildings when I looked from the slope was any indication. Besides, with Castelia City, a real, honest-to-Arceus, city, right next door, having another real city nearby would be a tad redundant, so it's a good thing this place technically doesn't qualify as a city.

    Again, I follow the street markers, and it doesn't take long for me to reach the Pokemon Center. I hand in Dewott and Ralts to be healed, while I use half of the contents of my last potion bottle to patch up Rufflet. I then use a good portion of the money I have left to replenish my potion supply.

    The Nacrene City Pokemon Center is a two-floored wooden building, lit by some electric light fixtures that really show their age, and there's even a stone fireplace, though there isn't a fire, what with it being the summertime and stuff, making this place come off as a ski lodge, minus the snow and the skiing. I can tell that it's a lot older than the relatively new-age one in Striaton City. There are only a few other trainers in the lobby, either talking about whatever, or playing with their Pokemon. I remember that I owe my Pokemon some special treats as payback for today's training.

    Looking at some town maps on one wall of the Center, which point out some key locations in Nacrene, I learn that a couple blocks away is a fancy pizzeria. I also learn that right up the road from the Center, at the northernmost edge of the town, is the Gym.

    ---

    After getting Dewott and Ralts back, I head to the pizzeria and buy us a high-end pizza as a reward for today's hard work. My three Pokemon and I sit around a circular table in the restaurant's patio, with a large parasol extending from the center, sharing our large deep-dish pizza, while accordion music plays in the background. Around us, there are either couples at other tables or friends hanging out. A girl sharing a table with an otter, eagle, and small humanoid probably looks unusual, but I don't care.

    Rufflet looks psyched about the fact that we're having a pizza dinner two nights in a row, though I tell him there won't be a third, what with my cash-flow situation, which warrants a sad caw. The pizza cost a little more than what pizza's usually worth, but not by much. Still, all I'm left with after purchasing Ralts, a bunch of potions, and the pizza, is a few hundred credits. Mom seriously underestimated the cost of the journey, as most of the 5,000 credits she gave me didn't even last through Striaton City...

    I'd been thinking about what Burgh said, and I can't help but feel he's right. Yesterday, it was a full day of training with Oshawott and Rufflet, and today, there was a Gym battle, followed by even more hard training, primarily for the inexperienced Ralts. Thinking back on it, it seems I had been pushing them a little bit, and I could stand to cut back.

    As we eat, I address the issue, trying to sound authoritative, “Um... Alright guys. It's... come to my attention that I might have been training you guys a tad too hard...” Real smooth, Ria...

    Dewott and Ralts look at me with neutral expressions, while Rufflet, ever the little warrior, gives me a look implying that, if anything, I hadn't been training him hard enough. Well, Burgh did say my Pokemon wouldn't object...

    Still, I continue, “Well anyway, with all the practice you guys had been getting lately, plus with today's Gym battle, and that dark-type attack, I think you could use a little break. Tomorrow morning, we'll get in a little training; we gotta train everyday, after all, but in the afternoon, how about we do something else for a change of pace, like say... a trip to the museum here?” And hopefully, admission won't cost too much, I think to myself.

    Dewott and Rufflet give me questioning looks. I guess they don't know what a museum is. I try to explain, “Um... a museum is a place where people put stuff on display, like... ancient artifacts, and groovy stuff like that. We learn about them. It'll be an educational experience. What do you say?” Museums don't really interest me that much, and they never have, but seeing as Burgh said I might get a discount there if I mention him, I might as well use the opportunity I'd been given.

    Each of my Pokemon react uniquely. Ralts is jumping for joy in her seat, Dewott is nodding, and Rufflet just shrugs, like, “Yeah, whatever.”

    “Alright,” I say, “It's settled then! Tomorrow, we'll head to the museum!”

    The four of us eat away at our pizza, and it doesn't take long for it to be completely gone.

    ---

    After the pizza dinner, I head back to the Pokemon Center, take a shower, and head straight to bed. However, despite my fatigue, it's hard to drift into Dreamland. I keep reflecting on the Purrloin-Liepard ambush, and how my Pokemon and I might have been their dinner if Burgh didn't show up. Still, Burgh did tell me how to avoid a scenario like that in the future, as in don't have Ralts use Flash, thereby making my Pokemon and me a target, as well as the basic info of pitching a tent, having Pokemon stand guard, and just generally laying low until morning.

    Yeah, I totally learned my lesson on how to avoid another turn-out like that, but it takes some doing to settle down when your life hung in the balance. However, it wasn't the first time I'd ever been in life-threatening danger because of a wild Pokemon attack...

    When I was twelve, not long after after my birthday and a vacation trip to Sinnoh, where I was inspired to become a trainer after watching Flint battle, I stayed late after school one day, because my math grades were suffering, and I had to study hard for a big test, which was my best chance to save it. Anyway, it was dark when I was finally done. As usual, there was an escort to accompany me down Route 1. During the night, escorts typically anticipate dark-types to attack, so they send out fighting-types, the type which has the best possible advantage over the night-crawlers. I didn't have a Pokedex handy at the time, but I could always tell fighting-types by the fact that the vast majority of them are humanoid, standing on two legs, and having arms.

    The escort, who I hadn't seen again since that night, sent out what I assumed were two Fighters, judging by their shapes, and we headed down Route 1. Since the Route is such a short stretch of road, most people don't expect anything to happen, even during the night. I totally didn't... and neither did the escort, apparently. That's why we were so surprised when I was suddenly tackled from behind by an unseen Pokemon.

    From there, my memory of the incident became hazy, which I was later told was most likely due to the terror I was feeling at the time. I recall pain, like scratching and bites, and I still have traces of long scars on my back and punctures on my left shoulder. Having been attacked from behind, I don't know what Pokemon it was, exactly. It might have been a Liepard, but I think I heard deeper sounds than the noises the ones from today made, though whether that was really the case, or just my young memory making things scarier is up in the air; I heard the dark-type was warded off before the escort could get a good look at it.

    I spent almost a week in the hospital to have my wounds healed, but the psychological injury was much worse. Panic attacks kicked in whenever I set foot on Route 1, and whenever I was outside during the night. I was afraid to go anywhere without Bianca or someone. However, with counseling and some meds, I gradually got better, plus, with the Professor's lectures about Pokemon trainers, I was more eager than ever to be a trainer, as I, myself, could have the power to ward off any Pokemon that dared to attack me... though tonight, I may have overestimated my power a bit...

    I was young and defenseless when the attack happened, so the blow hurt a lot more back then, than it did tonight, where I'm just shaken up, and things could have gone better if I were a little wiser and less overconfident, which I hope I am now. Still, thinking back on it, my fascination with fighting-types started around that time, and a Fighter did save me from that dark-type, so... I guess that's how I started liking Fighters so much. Also, now that I think about it, the Professor said once that dark-types are the best possible Pokemon to counter psychic-types with, but it never occurred to me to capture one of those many Purrloins or Liepards; not even once, so I guess I have some lasting... well, I wouldn't call it a fear; it's not like I tremble whenever I see a dark Pokemon, but rather, I don't care much for them.

    Thinking back on it, that incident from five years ago may have been the reason I'd been so dead-set on my Pokemon's training, as the stronger they are, the better they can protect me.

    I toss and turn a little in bed, trying to find a comfortable position in which to drift off to sleep, but my thoughts make it hard.

    My Pokemon had worked hard for me, and it's time to starting thinking about them, rather than myself. Besides, maybe a learning experience at the museum can get my mind off things.
     
  38. Ria's going to have a Gardevoir one day from the sound of it.

    As for her Dark type fear, I believe it makes sense. In a way, that incident has driven nearly the entire story. However, if she is using the Pokemon for protection, isn't Ghetsis right in a way?
     
  39. I just registered tonight and started reading this. Great story, I love how you're making slight changes from the game's version and adding non-isshu pokemon. The Bianca with the disguise was a nice touch and makes total sense, btw the Professor was totally in on her running away in the game, as were the mothers. Can't wait for the next chapter!
     
  40. Eventually, I got to sleep. It took a short midnight stroll, a glass of warm milk, and finally, reading my notes until my eyelids got heavy and I drifted off.

    When I wake up, I feel mentally revitalized, like last night's incident was a thing from a few weeks ago, though not so much, physically. I check the time: 8AM, which means I got about six hours of sleep. Could be worse, I guess.

    Putting my resources to good use, I get a free breakfast from one of the Pokemon Center's food stands. Pokemon Center food is generally of much poorer quality than food that can be bought, but I'm not really in a position to be picky. I get a couple bagels, which are near-stale, and something I hardly ever order: coffee. I never acquired a taste for the bitter stuff, but I drink it for medicinal purposes whenever I need it, like now, when I need the caffeine rush to jolt me wide awake. Sure enough, it does. Alright! It's time for a new day!

    I decided to save the museum for later in the day, and spend the morning training. Looking at the Unova maps on the Center wall again, I learn of a patch of wilderness, called the Pinwheel Forest which lies between Nacrene City and the Skyarrow Bridge, which extends over the river that separates the Unova peninsula and Castelia City. Hopefully, the wild Pokemon there will be strong enough that my guys will get a good workout out of it.

    ---

    The Pinwheel Forest is much more lush than any of the forest Routes I'd traveled through thus far. There are fewer trees, but the flora is made up more of large bushes and grass. However, it's not a very big forest, seeing as the road that goes from Nacrene into the woods is about one mile long until it reaches the checkpoint that leads to the Skyarrow Bridge, and enough woodland area around said road had been cleared that hardly any Pokemon show up. However, there are distinct hiking trails that cut through the dense greenery, and that seems to be where all the action is.

    A lot of wild Pokemon show up, most of which are bug-types, which are no match for Dewott's Aerial Ace attack or Rufflet in general, but whenever Ralts tries to try her luck against these Pokemon, she usually ends up in a tight spot, and my other Pokemon have to come to her rescue.

    The Feeling Pokemon doesn't seem to be taking it very well, as with each battle that doesn't exactly go well, she seems less cheerful or energetic. I try to reassure her, which worked after the first few battles, but as time went on, she became more and more inconsolable, no matter what words of encouragement I can think of or what promises I make. Well, at least she's not running from battles anymore, but I have a feeling she's easily demoralized by losing. Unfortunately, now that words are failing me, the only remedy I can think of is winning a battle or two, but that doesn't seem to be happening, no matter how hard the poor little Pokemon tries.

    Still, it could be worse for Ralts. We could be fighting Purrloins and Liepards again, but none of those had showed up, which is good, as I'd seen enough of those things to last a lifetime...

    I haven't seen other people around in the forest... or at least not until I come to a pond, located fairly deep in the woods, after about a half-hour trek along the trail. There, I see someone looking out at the water, surrounded by three Pokemon: one being a Liepard (great... I guess I spoke too soon...); the second being a two-foot-tall tan-colored humanoid Pokemon with pink veins showing on various parts of its body, and a round purple nose, holding a hefty piece of wood; the third Pokemon is a light-brown bird-like creature with a long lethal-looking beak and very wide wingspan.

    My Pokedex tells me the bird-like Pokemon is called Fearow, a normal/flying-type, and I recognize the Pokemon with the piece of wood as a fighting-type called Timburr... and even though he's facing away from me, I even recognize enough of the human: The long green hair, the white, black, and gray clothes... Aw, terrific! It's that weirdo, N!

    I was planning on journeying deeper into the forest, but now for a change of plans. To avoid being seen, I will just turn around and...

    “Liiiieeeee!”

    … not go anywhere. We caught the Liepard's attention, which, in turn, catches N's attention, “Hm?”

    N and I stare at each other for several seconds.

    Finally, recognition dawns on N's face, “Ah! I remember you! We had a battle in Accumula Town... What was your name again? I'm sorry, I have trouble remembering the names of humans...”

    “... Ria,” I answer unenthusiastically.

    N smiles his creepy smile, “Ria! I remember now! I should commit it to memory from now on.”

    “That would be nice,” I say, “Um, well, it's been nice seeing you again, N, but I'm gonna head back to Nacrene City now...”

    Still smiling, N says, “Ah, I see you haven't forgotten my name.”

    “... Don't take this the wrong way, but you're kinda hard to forget...”

    “Would you mind staying here for a little while?” asks N, “I feel I may have made an odd impression during our first meeting, and I was hoping you wouldn't mind if we talked.”

    You can say that again, pal. My first impulse is to make an excuse to leave, but at the same time, I'm kinda curious about him, and he did say some stuff that I more or less wanna ask about, so I decide to stick around, “No, I don't mind...”

    “Good...” N pats the ground next to where he's sitting, and his Pokemon clear the spot for me, “Please, sit down.”

    I walk over to N, followed by my three Pokemon. I notice N's Liepard watching me with a venomous gaze, until I notice that it's not looking right at me, but rather, it's looking at Rufflet, perched on my shoulder. I notice it has a black eye.

    I take a seat next to N. Rufflet and Liepard exchange some banter.

    “Pard! Liepard lie!”

    “Ruff! Rufflet flet!”

    N smiles, “Liepard is saying to Rufflet, 'I remember that face, and I owe it some scratches.' She did tell me that a bird Pokemon had given her the black eye. I take it, it was your Rufflet?”

    “Maybe,” I say, “A Purrloin attacked me yesterday, and Rufflet drove it off by pecking it in the eye.”

    “I see...”

    “Liepard! Liepard!”

    N says, “It would seem Liepard desires a battle against your Rufflet to even the score. I was just hoping we could talk, but would you mind a battle against me at some point?”

    “Sure,” I say, “but before we do any of that, can I ask how you know exactly what your Pokemon are saying? I mean, until I met you, I thought that was impossible!”

    “A very good question,” says N, “The fact is, I'd spent more time around Pokemon than I had around humans, and in time, I came to understand their words.”

    “Seriously?” I ask, “That... sounds...” I want to say 'weird,' but as strange a guy as N is, it's not like he'd ever done anything to me to deserve being treated like a freak, so I come up with the least-offensive word I can: “... unique.”

    N stares out at the pond, “I suppose it is. Let's just say that growing up, my playmates primarily consisted of Pokemon. I've had many conversations with them. It's very sad that humans don't have such a gift...”

    “Hey, I think it's cool you'd spent so much time around Pokemon,” I say, “My mom owns a Minccino, which is pretty good company. However, I got attacked by a dark-type once, so my relationship with Pokemon growing up had become a tad... complicated ever since...”

    “That's unfortunate,” says N, “Considering that, what reason did you have to become a trainer?”

    “Well, Pokemon look out for their trainers. With Pokemon to protect me, I wouldn't have anything to fear anymore...”

    N pauses for a few seconds and then nods, “I see... Ria?”

    “Yes?”

    “As a trainer, have there ever been things you'd questioned?”

    “Such as...?”

    “Have you ever wondered what ideals Pokemon under trainers hold?”

    “Not really,” I answer, “I mean, I had thought before about whether or not it's right for humans to catch Pokemon, but... well, without being able to have a direct conversation with them like you can, how can we really know?”

    N raises an eyebrow, “Interesting...” He gets to his feet, “Well, if you don't mind, I would like to have our battle now...” He looks at Liepard, “I know you want to fight Rufflet, so I know better than to ask...” N turns his attention to Timburr, “... and you're always willing to fight any opponent, so I doubt I need your permission.”

    Timburr grins, “Burr! Tim! Tim!”

    N glances at Fearow, and nods without a word, but I have no idea what's going on. Does Fearow not want to battle, or something?

    I rise to my feet as well, and stand several feet away from N.

    N calmly says, “You're up first, Liepard.

    “Lie!” Liepard takes N's side of the field.

    Without even my instructions, Rufflet steps forward to my side. With that, the battle begins!

    “Alright!” I say, “Let's do this, Rufflet!”

    Rufflet flies toward Liepard, which responds by charging at Rufflet.

    Liepard strides forward, but then veers off it its left. Rufflet turns in the direction Liepard went and thrusts his beak, but at the same time, the dark-type feints to the right, circling around the Eaglet Pokemon with impressive speed, and delivers a slash to his back. With a grunt, Rufflet retreats, putting some distance between Liepard and himself.

    “We can still do this!” I encourage Rufflet, “Fight back with Aerial Ace!”

    “Ruff!” Rufflet lifts off the ground, and flies toward Liepard, which leaps into the air to deliver another swipe with its claws, but Rufflet twists in midair, narrowly dodging the attack, and delivers a slash with his talons, which slams Liepard down to the ground.

    Liepard gets back to its feet, jumps over to a nearby tree, kicks off it, and is airborne again, flying toward Rufflet from above. Rufflet counters with an Aerial Ace attack, where he performs a forward midair flip, raking Liepard's underbelly with his talons. However, the dark-type stays on-course, pouncing on Rufflet, forcing him back to the ground and pinning him.

    Liepard rakes its claws against Rufflet's head repeatedly. However, the Eaglet Pokemon, being stronger than he looks, presses his feet against the dark-type's underbelly, launches it off him, and then charges. Liepard delivers a horizontal swipe, which Rufflet ducks under as he approaches, getting inside the dark-type's defenses, and then thrusts his beak into Liepard's eye; the same eye he attacked yesterday.

    “Liiieeee!” Liepard staggers back, with one paw over its eye.

    “Finish it with Wing Attack!” I command.

    Ruffelt leaps toward Liepard, and slams his wing down on the dark-type hard. Liepard collapses.

    “Liepard!” N rushes over to the dark-type, kneels down, and sprays its wounds with a potion. He gently strokes Liepard, resulting in a purr out of it, “You fought very well. You have my thanks.”

    I offer some encouragement of my own, “Good going, Rufflet! I knew you could do it!”

    “Rufflet!” Rufflet grins back at me.

    I'm expecting N to call his next Pokemon to the field, but instead, he says, “Rufflet. What do you think of... Ria? Do be honest. After all, she cannot hear your words.”

    Rufflet glances back at me quizzically. It's not everyday a rival trainer tries to talk to his opponent's Pokemon, after all. I respond with a 'I dunno. Just tell him' shrug.

    Rufflet speaks to N, “Flet. Ruff rufflet let ruff rufflet...”

    N raises an eyebrow, “Interesting. Tell me more.” Suddenly, I start to feel bad for not being able to really communicate with my Pokemon. I mean, they are very expressive, so they're pretty easy to figure out, but I can't actually 'talk' to the the way N can. It feels... unequal.

    Rufflet continues, “Ruff rufflet flet. Ruff ruff rufflet let let. Flet ruff.”

    N nods, “I see. Thank you, Rufflet.”

    Rufflet strikes a battle stance, “Rufflet rufflet!”

    N smiles, “As you wish...” He extends his arm, “It's your turn, Timburr.”

    “Burr!” Timburr steps out from behind N, a cocky grin on its face.

    Recalling one of my notes, I say, “No worries, Rufflet! It's a fighting-type! You got this!”

    In a composed tone, N says, “Timburr, I'd advise you to use your Rock Throw attack.”

    “Tim!” Timburr rears back, with his piece of lumber starting to radiate a dull-gray aura. He then throws it straight at Rufflet, who tries to take to the air, but not fast enough to dodge the timber, which slams into the Eaglet Pokemon. Rufflet is sent staggering, with a wisp of weakness-steam rising from the bruise he just received, and finally, he falls on his back. My Pokedex said that move, Rock Throw, was, naturally, a rock-type attack. Good knowledge to add to the notebook later on, but for right now, Rufflet is hurting, and he doesn't seem up for more.

    I kneel next to Rufflet and spray his scars and bruise with a potion. As I'm doing that, I say to N, half-tauntingly, “Wow! N actually gives his Pokemon orders?”

    N responds, “I prefer the term, 'suggestion.' I also object to you calling Timburr 'my' Pokemon.”

    “Well, isn't it?” I ask, perplexed.

    “I may be a trainer,” explains N, “but I don't actually own any of my Pokemon. I don't capture them. I merely reason with them, and enlist their aid for a time. Actually, we were about to part ways when you showed up.”

    “What?”

    “Pokemon are my friends, not my property. I don't order them around. I simply require their help.”

    “Whatever,” I say, not wanting to hear another word out of N, as I can't help but feel like he's taking a superior tone with me, “Let's just continue this battle...”

    Okay, I wasn't expecting Timburr to cover its weakness to flying-types with a rock-type attack. I should have known I wouldn't be the only trainer to pull a trick like that, like during my battle with Cilan. Luckily, Timburr is a fighting-type, and I know more about that type than most others. Still, I didn't look into their weaknesses as much as their strengths, but I am at least aware of their greatest disadvantage of all: psychic-types... and I happen to have one!

    Ralts is looking at the grass, still taking her losses to the forest's bug-types pretty hard, it seems. However, this could be the big break she needs!

    “You're up, Ralts!” I say, grabbing her attention, “Timburr is a Fighter. That means you have the type advantage here! Go get 'im!”

    Ralts seems to be cheered up a tad by my reassurances, and takes my side of the field. While I was healing Rufflet and exchanging some words with N, Timburr had taken that chance to pick up its weapon, and is now armed again, waiting on N's side.

    Thrusting my hand in Timburr's general direction, I command, “Ralts! Confusion attack!”

    “Ral!” Ralts bends forward and fires a pink bolt from her horn. However, Timburr positions its timber to block the bolt. Ralts fires a couple more bolts, but Timburr manages to block those too as it dashes toward the Feeling Pokemon. It isn't very fast, but seeing as it has a means to defend himself, that fact doesn't help much. Timburr leaps several feet off the ground, poised to come down hard with its weapon.

    “Ralts! Watch out!” I yell.

    Ralts dives out of the way of Timburr's attack, landing several feet away, and quickly gets back to her feet. Ralts extends her arms outward, and several glowing leaf-like objects suddenly appear in the air around her. I'd never seen Ralts use this move before, but my Pokedex tells me this technique is called 'Magical Leaf.' Actually, I remember Cilan's Roselia using that move. Nice!

    Ralts thrusts her arms toward Timburr, and the leaves, presumable razor-sharp, fly toward the fighting-type. In response, however, Timburr quickly twirls its timber around in front of it, as if it were wielding a bo staff instead of a hefty piece of lumber. Timburr either deflects the leaves or they lodge themselves in the timber.

    “Don't worry!” I try to reassure Ralts, “Just keep your distance, and you'll be fine.”

    “Ral!” Ralts nods.

    “Don't forget you still have Rock Throw,” says N calmly.

    Timburr nods, and rears back to throw its timber again. The piece of wood emits another dull-gray aura, and once again, Timburr launches it. Ralts tries to dodge, but the attack is too fast. The timber connects with the middle of Ralts's body, and she's sent sailing through the air and slamming hard against a nearby tree. The Feeling Pokemon lets out a sharp exhalation of breath as she gets sandwiched between the timber and the tree.

    “Raaal...” With a pained groan, Ralts slumps to the ground, onto her arms and knees.

    “Ralts!” I yell.

    Timburr rushes over to Ralts, picks up its timber, and stands over the Feeling Pokemon, looking as if its waiting to see if Ralts can still fight or if she had given up.

    “Ralt...” Ralts moans.

    N raises an eyebrow, “Hm? Ralts is calling your name.”

    “What is it, Ralts?” I ask, though I know I won't be able to know what Ralts will tell me.

    “Ral... Ralts ral...”

    N pauses, and then says, “I'll translate. Ralts is saying that he's sorry.”

    “Sorry?” I ask, “What for?”

    Ralts says something, which N translates, “'I wish I were stronger. I was so ashamed I couldn't help protect you last night alongside Dewott and Rufflet.'”

    “Hey, don't sweat it,” I say, “I mean, they were dark-types. There wasn't a whole lot you could've done against them. I'm not holding that fact against you!”

    “'I know...'” says Ralts through N, “'... but you're counting on us to protect you. Things may have been different if I weren't so weak. You'd be happier if I were strong.'”

    I look at the ground, “Whoa! You're not weak, Ralts! I mean, sure, training has been sort of an uphill thing, but I'm not disappointed in you, or anything. Strong or not, I'm happy that you're with us, and don't worry! I'll never give up on you. We'll keep training, and you'll keep getting stronger! I mean, even though a Pokemon is trying to attack you, you're not running anymore. I call that progress. Besides...” I let out a sigh, “Last night's incident should never have happened. If I hadn't been so concerned with making you stronger, we would have made it to Nacrene before nightfall, and even then, I should have just laid low. Thanks to me, we almost got killed. It was all my fault that trouble happened. I'm sorry.”

    “'Ria...'” Ralts gets back to her feet, “'Don't worry. You didn't know things would have gotten as bad as they did, but we're still alive, and if it happens again, I promise I'll become powerful enough to fight for you! I can still battle! I'll try not to let you down!'”

    I nod, “Okay! Don't push yourself, though.”

    A strange expression registers on N's face. It looks like a mix of anger and confusion. After a few seconds, he regains his composure, and says, “I'd hate to see more harm befall Ralts, but if he insists on continuing to fight... Please, end this, Timburr.”

    Wait a minute... did N just call Ralts a 'he?' However, now's not the time to dwell on that. Timburr is about to attack again!

    The fighting-type rears back to swing its timber down at Ralts like a baseball bat. It swings, but Ralts just barely manages to jump over the attack and away from Timburr. In midair, Ralts fires a Confusion bolt from her/his horn, which blindsides Timburr, connecting with its head, leaving a steaming patch where it hit.

    Timburr staggers, with its free hand on its forehead, looking like it's trying to fend off a blinding headache. Timburr turns toward Ralts, squints its eyes, and performs yet another Rock Throw attack, though this time, the timber gets thrown several feet to Ralts's right, missing him/her completely.

    Seeing that Timburr is no longer armed, I say, “Here's your chance, Ralts! It can't defend itself now! Attack it with everything you got!”

    “Ral!” Ralts leans toward Timburr, and fires a volley of Confusion attacks from his/her horn. Each bolt hits, and Timburr staggers backward and falls on its back. Timburr grits its teeth and gets back to its feet, slowly takes a couple steps forward, but then falls on its front, and this time, it doesn't get back up.

    I give Ralts a big thumbs-up, “Awesome job, Ralts! You rule!”

    “Ral ralts!” Ralts responds, energetically jumping up and down. Well, I'd say that helped with his/her demoralization issues from earlier.

    Dewott and Rufflet offer some enthused words of their own, “Wott dewott!”

    “”Flet! Ruff rufflet!”

    N kneels next to Timburr and sprays its wounds with a potion. As he's tending to his Pokemon, he looks up and says, “It's your turn, Fearow!”

    “Feeeear!” Fearow flies toward Ralts.

    “You've done enough,” I tell Ralts, “Pull back! Dewott will take it from here!”

    “Ral!” Ralts turns to run back to me, but Fearow flies over the Feeling Pokemon, lands in his/her path, and rears back its head to deliver a peck with its long beak.

    “Dewott!” I yell.

    “Dew!” In response, Dewott Aqua Jets behind Ralts and pulls the psychic-type back with one arm while blocking Fearow's attack with a scallop in the other. The scallop radiates a reddish-brown aura and Dewott lunges forward with a Revenge attack, but Fearow leaps back out of its range.

    “What the heck do you think you're doing?” I demand of N, “I called Ralts back! Why are you letting Fearow attack?”

    N answers my question with nothing but silence. Geez, what gives?

    Dewott's scallop radiates a blue light and he rears back to perform a Razor Shell attack, but Fearow's much faster on the draw, thrusting its beak and sending the Discipline Pokemon staggering. As Dewott is stunned, Fearow advances on Ralts, cawing loudly, “Feeeeearow! Feeeeeearow!”

    “Raaal...” Ralts whimpers.

    “Ralts!” I yell.

    N rises from Timburr's side as the fighting-type gets back to its feet, and calmly says, “That's enough, Fearow. Withdraw.”

    “Fear...” Fearow flies back to N's side.

    “What the heck was that all about?” I demand.

    “I just wanted to see how you would react,” explains N, “As a trainer, do you not have a responsibility to protect your Pokemon from harm?”

    I'm taken aback, “W-well... Um... We were having a Pokemon battle, and... humans usually don't step into them...”

    “However, seeing as you had called Ralts back, he, not 'she,' Ria, no longer had an obligation to battle. You had every right to step in and protect your Ralts from harm, be it calling him back to his Pokeball, or simply pulling him out of Fearow's reach, and yet, you did neither of those things. I wonder why that is.”

    “I... I...” I try to think of a reason, but I can't. N was absolutely right. I should've done something, but I didn't. Well, I guess I could have just recalled Ralts to her... or rather, his, Pokeball, but Fearow's body was blocking me at the time, so I couldn't. However, what I could have done was either step in and scoop Ralts away, or try to restrain Fearow, but I just stood there. It didn't even cross my mind to intervene.

    My silence is answer enough for N. He says, “Dewott... Ralts... Rufflet... Is this really who you want for a trainer? Someone who would stand there and watch as you are about to get hurt? Someone who uses you for personal protection? Can you honestly feel proud to follow such a selfish person?”

    What I want to do is scream at N with every single cuss word I can either think of or invent for trying to make an example out of me to my Pokemon, but... is he right? I mean, I wasn't consciously like that, but... am I really as horrible as he says? Am I really that cowardly? I feel I should say something, but what can I say to that?

    Speechless, I stare at the ground, letting everything N accused me of sink in. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice Dewott and Ralts giving me sympathetic looks, while Rufflet is looking off in N's direction.

    Dewott speaks up, “Dew dew dewott wott.”

    Ralts adds something, “Alt... Ralts ral ral.”

    “Do you really mean that?” asks N, “Don't forget, Ria can't understand your words. You can be completely honest with me.”

    My Pokemon continue talking with their words that only N can understand, and he starts looking a tad perplexed and... I dunno... contemplative, I guess.

    Finally, N pulls his cap's visor down and says, “Very well, then. I find it hard to believe, but I won't pursue the issue further... at least for now...”

    I manage to get out some words, “... What did they say?”

    N pauses, and then explains with rapid-fire speech, “They said that they are fully aware of your imperfections as a person; That as they are not yet perfect as Pokemon, neither are you as a human being, and just like you are looking forward to watching them grow, they look forward to watching you grow as well.
    Dewott notices you have a fear of approaching aggressive Pokemon, but is thankful that you believed enough in their strength to count on them to fight for you, as that's the highest compliment he feels a Pokemon can receive.
    Rufflet says that traveling with you is the most fun he's ever had, as he had plenty of chances to fight strong opponents, that you respected his desire to keep his scars... and that you fed him pizza; essentially that with you, every day is like a party, and he never wants it to end. He feels his dream of becoming a Braviary one day is not far off.
    Finally, Ralts says that in the short time he's known you, he believes you to be a kind trainer, and is thankful for your patience with him, and that even though you were scared, you still were conscientious enough not to have him assist in a battle in which he had no chance. He is happy that you're happy that he's with you... and that he's also thankful to me for revealing his true gender to you, though personally, I think it's kind of sad you couldn't recognize that basic fact.”

    I stand stunned. Feeling myself starting to get chocked up, I ask my Pokemon, “You guys... really said that?”

    “Dew.”

    “Ruff.”

    “Ral.” All three of my Pokemon nod.

    “Thank you...” My tears start to run as the four of us share a group hug.

    N stares at us, sighs, and says to his three Pokemon, “Thank you for your assistance. I'm afraid I'm going to have to move on, but remember that you had done a great service for all of the world's Pokemon, and that I will never forget you. Please keep clear of any humans from now on.” 'A great service?' What does that mean? Great, another piece to the puzzle that is N...

    My Pokemon and I separate while N and his guys part company. Fearow takes to the sky, while Timburr runs deeper into the forest. Liepard walks away, glances back at Rufflet, hisses, and then leaves.

    As I'm about to say something to N, he says, in his usual measured voice, “Your Pokemon seem to really like you, Ria. However, if they are wrong about you, I think you are an ideal justification for why I believe humans and Pokemon should separate.”

    “If that's really what you think...” I say, “... then why are you even a trainer? I mean, sure, you don't really catch Pokemon, but you had a battle with me, and...” For the first time, I notice something on N's shirt: Gym Badges, two in total. One is the Trio Badge, and the other is the badge Cheren won from Nacrene Gym, “... those badges. You're obviously interested in rising through the ranks as a Pokemon trainer, just like me. Sorry, but something about you seriously doesn't add up.”

    After a brief pause, N gives me an answer, and it sounds like something out of a bad action-drama: “I have my reasons.”

    I mockingly nod, “Riiiight...”

    N walks away and says, “Perhaps our paths will cross again. For now, I hope for your Pokemon's sake that they are right about you. In the end, however, it changes nothing...” He walks further away, and like last time, he's muttering stuff. Once again, I catch two words: one is 'hero,' which is strange enough, but I'm completely unfamiliar with his other word, which is weird since, as you've probably noticed, I know plenty of words. At any rate, it sounds like, 'Reh-she-rum.' What is that? Some kinda drink?

    My Pokemon and I watch as N completely disappears from our sight. There is a long pause as I soak in everything I'd heard from N. Finally, I kneel down and use a potion to patch up Dewott and Ralts, and say to my Pokemon, “C'mon, let's head back to the Pokemon Center, get you guys fixed up, and then we'll head to the museum.”

    ---

    We head back through the woods the way we came and arrive back at the road between Nacrene City and the Skyarrow Bridge. I recall my Pokemon back to their Pokeballs, and then get out my Xtransceiver. While my Pokemon's reassurances helped cheer me up after N's accusation quite a bit, there is still something he said that still nags at me. It was really just a passing comment, but no matter how hard I try, I can't block it out. Still, I think it's important enough to talk to someone about, and I wonder if Professor Juniper is that 'someone.'

    I punch in the Professor's frequency and she appears on my screen.

    “Why, hello Ria,” greets the Professor with a smile, “How may I help you?”

    “Well...” I explain what happened last night and with N. I just give the basics, like how I was attacked by those Purrloins and Liepards, and how I was miraculously saved by Castelia Gym Leader, Burgh. How I met N again, giving the Professor a brief reminder that he was that strange guy I had a battle with in Accumula Town the day before I left, and what just transpired with him in Pinwheel Forest, with him pointing out my apparent weaknesses, but how my Pokemon were pretty chill with that fact, regardless.

    The normally cheerful, happy-go-lucky Professor Juniper's welcoming smile changes to a deadly serious look, and I can tell right off that I mentioned something I probably would have been better off keeping mum about, “Ria... don't you recall all those times I stressed what you should do if you're out in the wilderness during the night?”

    “I hadn't forgotten,” I say quickly, “I... I just thought I was close enough to Nacrene City that it didn't matter... Big mistake, obviously...”

    “No kidding,” says Professor Juniper in a firm tone, “You're very, very, very lucky a Gym Leader, of all people, was there to help you out. Such carelessness put both you and your Pokemon in grave danger! This would be grounds for suspending your license!”

    “Erk!” I pause as my heart momentarily stops, and then speeds up to eleven. Dang, she has a talent for doing that...

    The Professor sighs, “However, I'd say the incident more than hammered that valuable lesson into your head, so I suppose a warning will suffice. The paperwork would have been a pain anyway...”

    “Oh! Thank you! Thank you so much!” I exclaim, relieved.

    “At any rate,” says the Professor, returning to her regular demeanor, “do you have any other sins you would like to confess to Mother Juniper?”

    “Yeah...” I get to the reason I called, “N... well, he mentioned something that kinda bothered me.”

    “Speak, child,” says the Professor, playing up her role as a pretend nun.

    “You remember when I told you about five years ago, when I was attacked by a dark-type? The thought of just being a Pokemon trainer, raising powerful Pokemon, did appeal to me... I thought I got over the incident, but after last night, I was reminded of it, and... well, N said that I use Pokemon as a means of protecting myself. The problem is, while I didn't really mean any harm by that to my Pokemon, I don't think N is totally wrong...”

    Professor Juniper slowly nods, “Yes, I do recall you telling me about that incident five years ago. However, I believe you're over-thinking things.”

    “How so?” I ask.

    “Ria, it's not unusual for people to have some sort of personal reason for becoming a Pokemon trainer. Just like you became a trainer to feel safe, Cheren became a trainer to try to become a future Champion and Bianca became one to prove her independence to her father. Other people generally see it as opportunities for adventure, glory, or fortune. We are only human, after all.”

    “Well, yeah,” I say, “but is that right? I mean, when I think about it, we're capturing Pokemon and using them toward our own ends... It just doesn't seem fair to them...” I think back to Ghetsis's speech in Accumula Town, and how, while I chose to disregard most of what he said, he may have still been very much right about trainers, like me. There are just some things about Pokemon trainers, which, no matter how you try to justify them, still don't feel right. I knew that speech would stay with me long after hearing it...

    Professor Juniper pauses, and for a brief moment, I fear I might have gotten her on something, but finally, she speaks up, “You may have a point, Ria, but then again... does it really matter?”

    “What?”

    “As I said, all people have personal, maybe even selfish, reasons to become trainers, but they generally aren't viewed as terrible people who take advantage of their Pokemon toward their own ends. Have you ever wondered why that is?”

    “Well...”

    “Why do you think your Pokemon defended you against N's accusations? You may have your own reasons to be a trainer, just like anyone, but I never doubted the fact that you think nothing but the best of your Pokemon. I personally saw you allow Oshawott that chance to make its own choice, and what's more, it chose to stay with you, because it loved and respected you. Most trainers wouldn't even think of doing something like that. Your Pokemon also had that chance to tell that N boy what they thought of you, without you knowing, and they defended you. Obviously, your Pokemon care about you a lot, and you care about them, despite your reasons to become a trainer. That's what's matters, Ria: you're like a friend to them, and with you, they grow stronger, have fun, and are generally happy. As long as that's the case, does anything else matter?”

    I take a moment to let that sink in and try to look at it from my Pokemon's point-of-view: If I had a trainer who was kind to me and I was happy with, would I really care about why she's a trainer? No, I guess not. “Not really...”

    The Professor grins, “Did that help with your latest ethical dilemma? Keep it up, and I might have what it takes to change professions and become a personal councilor...”

    “I'm sure you'd make the cut if you get bored of being a Pokemon researcher,” I say, “But anyway, yeah, that did kinda help. Thanks Professor.”

    The Professor sighs, “Honestly, Ria. It's not everyday a trainer asks questions like these. It seems you come to me with a problem every time you meet this N boy...”

    “We only met twice,” I say flatly.

    “True,” says the Professor, “but it sure seems like he's a bad influence on you.”

    I smile and shrug, “No arguments here...”

    “Still,” says the Professor, “He's someone who can actually understand the words of Pokemon? This N sounds like quite the character...”

    I smile and respond, “That's one way to describe him...” I decide to wrap up the transmission, “Anyway, thanks again, Professor. Sorry for bothering you...”

    “It is part of a Professor's job to aid the trainers under them,” says Professor Juniper, “but you're sure not making it very easy for me...”

    “I'll try to do better,” I say.

    Professor Juniper laughs, “Well, good luck with your training. Maybe I'll visit you in person one of these days. Your Pokedex is giving off a signal which reveals you to be somewhere around the outskirts of Nacrene City.”

    “I'm glad you're honoring my privacy,” I say sarcastically.

    The Professor laughs again, “Alright. Well, take care, Ria.” With that, the transmission ends.

    As I walk back into the city, I think some more about what N told me, about how my Pokemon are looking forward to watching me grow as a trainer. Despite my flaws, they still diligently stand by me. It's only right I don't let them down either.

    I look down at the three Pokeballs on my belt and whisper, “I will become a better trainer for you guys. I promise.”


    Special thanks to Secad for her previous comment. I'd given it some thought, and with it, I managed to expand on this installment far more than I originally planned.

    Anyways, N returns. I'd recently bought a copy of Pokemon Black for story purposes, and playing through that, I noticed that N has this gimmick where he brings up the concept of formulas (for some reason, I failed to notice that the first time through). However, as you probably noticed, that's absent from this story, as I honestly don't really know how to incorporate that into something where he obviously speaks more at length than in the game.

    I hope the recent additional characterization for Ria was believable and acceptable.
     
    #40 Valin, May 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013

Share This Page