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The Superior Beings

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Valin, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Part One​

    Perspective: Richter

    The plains stretch out for miles, with a cool breeze sweeping through the summer heat. The sun is shining brightly, and the sky is blue. This place would be tranquil, if it weren't for the hundreds of creatures occupying the area, playing, fighting, and simply talking in their own language, which mankind will probably never understand, though experience seems to tell that the creatures understand human speech perfectly. It hardly seems fair.

    These creatures come in various shapes, sizes, varieties, powers, and temperaments, but they all share a collective title: Pokemon, or Pocket Monsters for short, but everyone strives to say 'creature,' or something nicer, because 'monster' seems to be a bit too derogatory a term to refer to the ones that have been the friends, protectors, and companions of humans, since time immemorial.

    The Pokemon are herded in enclosed areas spread across the plains, and it is my job to take care of them and make sure they are fed. This area is a Pokemon Ranch. Humans are only allowed to keep six Pokemon with them at a time, and any excess creatures they have caught are sent to here, or other Ranches across the world.

    I recall the day's schedule in my head, trying to remember what I am supposed to do next. I already brought some food to Fire Ranch #3, so... now I'm supposed to feed Flying Ranch #5.

    I head to the storage house, and I fill four large buckets with a special kind of birdseed that bird Pokemon are totally into eating. This ranch business is not bad, but about 20 years ago, I had other life ambitions.

    All people are required to have a Pokemon with them, so they can be protected by wild Pokemon, which can be quite vicious. Those who wander between towns without a creature to protect them are usually found bled to death, drowned, frozen solid, decapitated, or charred beyond recognition, if not eaten alive, so indeed having a Pokemon handy could very well make the difference between life and death.

    However, there are those who collect Pokemon and battle them against other creatures belonging to people who do the same. These people are called Pokemon Trainers. With the Pokemon they collect, they have them battle one another, until one side can not continue. It may sound cruel and inhumane thing to do, but all Pokemon are born fighters, constantly longing for worthy opponents, and becoming stronger. Besides, trainers are not allowed to have their Pokemon kill their opponents, only have them fight up to the point where their opponent loses the will to fight. A fatality results in the harsh penalty of losing one's Trainer's License.

    Until eight years ago, I was a trainer, aiming to challenge my region's Pokemon League, the overseers of all Pokemon Trainers and the competitions between their Pokemon, and also the organization where the most elite of all Trainers are gathered. To challenge them, and win, is the absolute proof of a Trainer's mastery in the art of Pokemon battles, and the immeasurable power of their Pokemon. Of course, there are rules: in every major city in a region, there is a Pokemon Gym, a place where powerful Trainers representing the Pokemon League, called Gym Leaders, reside. Defeating them earns an aspiring champion a badge, and collecting eight allows the Trainer to enter the Pokemon League HQ, where he or she then challenges that region's Elite Four, a small group of Trainers that are second only to the Champion in supremacy, and, after triumphing over them, the Champion is the final obstacle to becoming the best, and making a solid living as a Trainer.

    Every summer vacation, Trainers aspiring for the top travel the land, sometimes even the world, capturing Pokemon, challenging other trainers, making their Pokemon powerful, and battling Gym Leaders. It's a tough and slow process, which takes several years of dedication, and it's as much a test of a Trainer's patience, as it is his or her skill.

    However, I was patient. I took my time, gradually strengthened my handpicked team of six Pokemon, and over the years, won seven badges. I was confident about winning my eighth, battling the Elite Four, and becoming the Champion of my region of Sinnoh, but at that point, I was in for a rude awakening to the true power of the Pokemon League. Let's just leave it at that for the time being.

    I pick up the four large buckets filled to the brim with birdseed, and struggle to lift them. It's suggested I take two at a time, but I've accomplished this task the harder, but faster, way before. As I slowly endeavor my way to Flying Ranch #5, my mind wanders back to the moment my dream of becoming Champion was shattered.



    “Listen, kid. This is the ninth time in a row over the past three years you've lost to me. You're determined, and I can respect that, but you gotta know your limits. Hundreds of Trainers share your dream, but think about just how many members each region's Pokemon League has: Eight Gym Leaders, the Elite Four, and the Champion. That's just thirteen people, kid... out of hundreds of Trainers. Do you really think you have what it takes to count yourself among that? Besides, if you're having so much trouble defeating me, what chance do you think you'll have against the real pros? I understand how you feel, kid. The career of a Pokemon Trainer has a bright future, but where will you be in life if this is all you got? There comes a time when a Trainer must make an important decision: continue that path, or accept that he's done all he can, and move on.”



    That memory plays in my mind repeatedly as I continue to toil with the four buckets, feeling like they're about to rip my arms off.

    I finally make it to Flying Ranch #5: A large dome with several trees inside. I enter, closing the door behind me, not that I'm really all that worried any Pokemon dedicated to their Trainers will try to escape. I leave the buckets in the middle of the area, in a large clearing, and then hightail it out of there before I get caught up in the incoming flock, consisting of countless Pidgey, Spearow, Starly, and even a couple Fearow and a Staraptor.

    When I'm out of the dome, one of my coworkers calls over to me, “Hey, Richter! A Trainer somewhere just deposited a Pokemon, and now, he's requesting a withdrawal. Can you find #S212 and send it to him? He's on line 3!”

    “Understood!” I call back!

    #S212... 'S' is 'Steel,' so it's a Steel-type, and the '2' would mean Steel Ranch #2. It took me a while to understand the use of serial numbers, but I can't think of a more effective method of organization in an industry with countless variables.

    I head to Steel Ranch #2, where several Steel-type Pokemon are roaming about, with a Steelix towering over everyone else. Next to the entrance, there is a computer, encased in weather-proof plastic. I enter the number, 12, and the picture of the Pokemon appears on monitor. I smile upon seeing what it is: a Scizor. That brings back fond memories.

    I see the Scizor among the Pokemon rounded up, and check a series of small shelves next to the computer. Each one has a small ball on it. Most of them are red and white, but there are others that are colored differently. These are Pokeballs. They are capsules that Trainers use to capture Pokemon and keep them inside until they are needed, and each one is only programmed for the Pokemon it captured. I check the shelf with '12' labeled on it, and it has a yellow and white ball, namely an Ultra Ball: a high-grade form of the Pokeball. It makes sense to use one to capture such a powerful Pokemon.

    I grab the Ultra Ball, and call out to the Scizor, “Scizor!” It doesn't respond, “Scizor!” Still no acknowledgment. I remember a likely reason for the Pokemon's failure to respond to my calls. I check the monitor again. Under the picture, the name, 'Mr. Razorclaws' is shown. What a ridiculous nickname. This is the reason I never bothered with calling my Pokemon as anything other than what they are.

    I call out again, “'Mr. Razorclaws!'”

    “Scizor?” The Scizor instantly stands at attention.

    “Your Trainer needs you!” I tell it, “Let's go!”

    The Scizor nods in understanding. I throw the Ultra Ball at it. Upon hitting Scizor, the ball opens and there's a flash of light. When the light clears, the ball is closed, and an invisible force throws the now-occupied capsule back into my hand. Don't ask me what it's supposed to be like inside one of those. Pokemon aren't human.

    I enter the Ranch's main building, and head to the terminal marked '3,' where there is an indentation big enough for a Pokeball, and a speaker next to it. I place the Ultra Ball in the spot, and it vanishes.

    I hear a voice from the speaker, no doubt a Trainer at a computer in a Pokemon Center somewhere, “Thank you so much! Alright, Mr. Razorclaws! Let's go find someone to battle!

    … And hope that whatever laughter that nickname might cause is distracting enough for your rivaling Trainer, I think to myself.

    ---

    The sun starts to set, and my shift for the day ends. I get paid my 2,000 for the day, and I head out.

    The place I currently live in is a village located between Sinnoh cities, Hearthome and Veilstone, called Solacean Town. A fairly laid-back place, where Trainers pass through on their travels. My hometown is actually Oreburge City, but ever since my employment at the Solacean Pokemon Ranch, I've been living in a small house (more like a shack, really) near the woods in these parts. I visit home annually, but for the most part, I keep to myself.

    On my way home, I have to pass through the town square. On my way through, I am approached by a lanky teenage boy, probably around sixteen, with a mohawk and ratty clothes, definitely trying to look tougher than he really does, “Hey! Old guy!”

    “Yes?” I say, trying to hide my annoyance at being called 'old guy.' I'm 29 years old and I've never been married. I don't think I exactly qualify as 'old,' though I do understand that some younger people tend to classify anyone above the age of nineteen as being old. I suppose my ash-blonde hair might also be mistaken as being white.

    “I noticed ya have three Pokemon with you...” His eyes are trained on my right hip, where three Pokeballs are dangling from my belt. Little does he know, however, that one of those Pokeballs is empty. Knowing this, I look at his hips: Six Pokeballs, three dangling on each side. He must be a career Trainer, like I was once (for the record, Trainers that actively capture and battle Pokemon, and collect Gym badges are referred to as 'career Trainers,' and people who have just one or two Pokemon on them for protection are called 'casual Trainers') “... so I was thinkin' ya wouldn't mind a little match.”

    There's a reason he chose me out of everyone else present: it's because I have three Pokeballs with me, instead of just one, like most 'casuals.' People need Pokemon for protection, and if a rival Trainer knocks a person's single Pokemon out, the losing Trainer no longer has a Pokemon capable of protecting him or her, thus the winning Trainer is responsible to escorting that person to a Pokemon Center, where the incapacitated Pokemon can be healed. It's considered a nuisance by most people, so they usually challenge people with more than one Pokemon with them, so they'll have a spare to protect them.

    I think about the teenager's (and I'm going to nickname him 'Mohawk,' unless I know his true name) challenge for a second. I hardly ever have battles anymore; not since eight years ago, and I can't really be considered a career Trainer in the traditional sense of the term. The Pokemon I had in the past, I handed down to Trainers who needed them more, and as for the ones I had in a Ranch, I ordered them to be returned to the wild. No point in keeping them if they are only going to stay in a ranch forever. The three corresponding Pokeballs have the only Pokemon I have left, and they've been out of practice for a long time.

    Trainers can always decline a challenge, but in the case of careers, turning one down doesn't reflect well on their track record, so a battle request is usually mandatory as far as they're concerned. I'm a casual now, so no one would blame me for refusing... however, a part of me is constantly urging me to accept. Even though I quit my days of actively seeking battles, it's something my Pokemon enjoy very much. Since I still keep them with me, I feel I owe them a taste of the good old days.

    “Sure,” I respond, “but I had a hard day of work, and I am tired, so can we make this match a one-on-one?”

    “Deal!” says Mohawk, “Since yer a casual, I'll give ya a handicap! I'll send out mine first, and you can decide what you wanna use.”

    This annoys me a little. It's normal for a career to give a casual such a handicap (normally, Trainers send out their Pokemon at the same time, so how the matchup looks isn't clear until the battle actually starts), but I feel like I'm being underestimated. Still, I'm sure he'll find me strong for a casual.

    As Mohawk is thinking about which one is best to be sent out, passersby, who have no doubt overheard us, come to watch the battle that's about to unfold.

    My fingers probe the three Pokeballs at my hip. One is a regular red-and-white Pokeball with, in permanent marker, an 'E' that was scratched out, and replaced with a 'J.' The Pokemon it that I keep in this capsule used to have 'E' as an initial, but when it evolved into a new Pokemon, its name in that new form began with 'J,' hence the scratching out. This one is empty, as I keep the Pokemon this ball is meant for at home.

    My second Pokeball, also the standard red-and-white, has a scratched-out 'R,' a scratched-out 'K,' and a solid 'G.'

    My last Pokeball, a blue-and-white Great Ball, has just a solid 'S' on it. The Pokemon it contains did evolve from when I first got it, but its initial remained the same.

    Mohawk makes his decision, “Awright! Let's do this!” He pulls an Ultra Ball from his belt, “Go, Machamp!” He tosses it into the space between us. The ball opens, releasing a bright flash, and when the light clears, there is a large gray muscle-bound creature with four arms.

    The crowd lets out an impressed exclamation. Machamp, the Superpower Pokemon, and Fighting-type I fought a few times back in the day... It's a very strong creature, but fortunately, I do have one Pokemon that has a good chance against it!

    I pull the Pokeball with 'R,' 'K,' and 'G' on it from my belt and toss it, “Okay! Let us begin, Gallade!” A white humanoid Pokemon, standing at just a foot shorter than me, with long curved green blades extending from his elbows, appears. Gallade, the Blade Pokemon, a Fighting-type, like Machamp, but also a Psychic-type with a distinct advantage over 'Fighters' (a nickname people often give to Fighting-types), “This is our first battle in a while! Do your best!”

    Not only the onlooking crowd seems impressed to see a Gallade, but also Mohawk. Gallade is a very rare Pokemon, almost never seen in the wild, and is typically used in Pokemon League-level matches.

    "This is our first battle in a while," I say to my Pokemon, "Are you ready?"

    Gallade glances back at me and nods reassuringly, “Gallade.” With that, he assumes a fighting stance.

    “Nice,” says Mohawk, “You know some stuff!”

    You have no idea, I silently respond.

    “Get 'im, Machamp!” Machamp charges at Gallade. It's slow, but, considering its power precedes it, it's still easy to be intimidated... but not me and Gallade. We'd done this before...

    When Machamp gets going, it can be very hard to beat, so I decide to end it before it begins, “Gallade! Take it out with Psycho Cut!”

    “Gallade.” Gallade's blades start glowing with bright pink energy. He swings one of his blades, and releases a crescent-shaped blade of psychic energy, which flies at at Machamp. The Superpower Pokemon, however, sidesteps it in an unrefined, buts still successful maneuver. However, the momentum from that movement throws Machamp off balance. The opportunity is ours!

    Gallade swings his other arm, releasing another energy blade. In a desperate attempt to defend itself, however, Machamp raises two of its arms in the blade's path. It sinks halfway into the Superpower Pokemon's arm, and then vanishes. Blood trickles from its wound, but Machamp seems minimally fazed by it.

    “Shoot...” I mutter. This Machamp is something else if it can defend itself so effectively against Psycho Cut.

    The four-armed behemoth resumes its offensive. Gallade knows not to be discouraged, however. He dashes toward Machamp.

    “Close Combat!” I command. Gallade dashes in close to Machamp and delivers a flurry of swipes. Machamp blocks and dodges a fair amount of the attacks, but enough manage to connect.

    Machamp staggers back, but regains its stance faster than I was expecting. Still, the best tactic at this stage is to press my offensive, “Again, Gallade! Close Combat!” Gallade charges in to launch another series of powerful attacks.

    “He has to be weakened after using that attack once,” observes Mohawk with an astuteness I was not expecting from someone like him, “Counter with your own Close Combat attack!”

    Slashes and punches are exchanged between the two Pokemon. Even though Machamp has four arms to attack with, Gallade is fast and manages to defend himself reasonably well, but Mohawk was right: since Gallade already used Close Combat, he has wore himself down somewhat. Finally, Machamp delivers a low punch, which catches Gallade in the gut, causing an effective stun.

    Mohawk decides to take full advantage of that pause in the action, “Machamp! Focus Punch!” One of Machamp's fists glows bright red, and then it delivers a very powerful punch, which sends Gallade sailing through the air and landing on his back, spread-eagle.

    “Gallade!” I yell.

    “Ga...lade...” Gallade sits up, but blood is streaming from his lip, and those attacks no doubt inflicted a fracture somewhere in his body. I can even see some internal bleeding on Gallade's white torso. Most new Trainers would believe this is when their Pokemon is no longer able to battle, but they underestimate just what they can endure. Pokemon are only out when they are unconscious or weakened to the point where they lose the will to fight.

    “Finish him!” yells Mohawk, “Earthquake!”

    Machamp responds to Mohawk's command by leaping into the air, well above everyone's heads, and is poised to land on top of Gallade. I know this attack, Machamp will slam down on Gallade with a stomp powerful enough to cause an earthly tremor. However, it's an attack I've seen many times, and I know its weakness.

    “Quick, Gallade!” I yell, keeping in mind Machamp won't be able to defend itself as well in midair, “Psycho Cut!”

    Gallade sends a blade of psychic energy up at Machamp just as its on its way down. Machamp was completely undefended, and is knocked back and lands on its back. Smoke rises from the cut Gallade's attack inflicted, as sign of the type-advantage of the Blade Pokemon's attack over the Superpower Pokemon (or 'super effective,' as people put it.)

    Machamp and Gallade slowly rise to their feet, both of them obviously on their last legs. For both Mohawk and myself, victory or defeat will be determined by the next attack.

    “Machamp! Dynamic Punch!”

    “Gallade! Aerial Ace!”

    Both Pokemon charge straight at each other. One of Machamp's fists starts to glow with intense white energy, and it rears back, intending to throw all its weight into the attack.

    At the same time, Gallade jumps up from the ground, and rockets head-first in Machamp's direction.

    The crowd excitedly watches in anticipation on how the next few seconds will turn out.

    Machamp throws a high-powered punch, with every ounce of its immeasurable power behind it, but at the same time, Gallade twists in midair, avoiding it. The Blade Pokemon passes Machamp, and he delivers an aerial slash from the Superpower Pokemon's shoulder to its mid-back. Gallade lands and whirls around to face Machamp's back.

    Machamp stands stunned. I thought for sure that attack would end the battle, but this Machamp seems fairly exceptional. I'm prepared to give Gallade another Psycho Cut command if his opponent insists on continuing...

    … However, that doesn't happen. After a long pause, Machamp slumps to its knees, defeated.

    This battle's as over as it's going to be. With a slight grin, Mohawk says, “Nice try, Machamp. You deserve a rest.” He tosses his Pokeball, and Machamp vanishes.

    “Well fought, Gallade.” I send Gallade back to its Pokeball. I notice that I'm smiling and I have a good feeling that I hadn't felt in a long time.

    After a loud cheer for such a close and exciting battle, the crowd gradually disperses.

    “That was some battle,” says Mohawk, mystified, “I thought I was gonna make some easy cash by defeatin' a casual, but no casual could defeat my Machamp, or own a Gallade...”

    With a shrug, I say, “What can I say? 'Old guys' have stories to tell.”

    “Totally!” says Mohawk, “Hey, man! Instead of giving ya money, how 'bout we get some dinner at the Pokemon Center while our guys recover? It's on me!”

    A free dinner? Well, it's a welcome change from the canned food I usually eat, “Yes, certainly.”

    “Awright!” says Mohawk, “Let's go!”

    “Hold on,” I say, “This 'old guy,' may be behind the times, so is it safe to assume that people don't introduce themselves when they are about to eat together?”

    Mohawk responds, with a grin, “That was a good one, man! Yer funny!”

    “I try.”

    “Anyway, my name's Billy. Should I keep callin' ya old guy?”

    “Richter will suffice.”

    “Well, awright! Let's go, Richter!”

    ---​

    Billy and I head to one of Solacean Town's Pokemon Centers.

    Pokemon Centers are places where Trainers bring their Pokemon to be recovered from injuries they sustained in battle. While they are technically hospitals, they don't come off as such in a traditional sense, as they are also places where people go to eat, meet up, and generally have a good time.

    Billy and I hand in our Pokemon to be healed, and then we go to a small restaurant on one of the Center's upper floors. Billy orders a triple-deck hamburger, while I order my favorite: Caesar salad. We sit at a table and begin our meal.

    “So, Richter...” begins Billy, after taking a big bite out of his burger, “Ya said that 'old guys' have stories,' right?”

    “I'm fairly certain.” I say with good-natured sarcasm.

    “So... um... What's yer story? You can't just casually train Pokemon and become as strong as you are. You musta been a great Trainer.”

    I smile, “If you were to talk to me when I was your age, I would readily admit to such a boast, however, it turned out I wasn't as 'great' as I thought...”

    “What happened?”

    “Well... I won seven Gym badges...”

    “Ya did? Awesome!”

    “As I said, Billy, seven. I was confident of victory over the eighth Gym, but that was my first taste to how powerful the Pokemon League truly was, and I simply couldn't measure up, even over the course of three years. Eventually, I just felt defeated and quit. I just lost my will to continue being a serious Trainer...”

    “Wow, man! That's rough! So you were aimin' to be Champ, huh? Hardcore!”

    “I was. Back then, you could say I was a perfectionist. I just couldn't settle for becoming a Gym Leader or a member of a region's Elite Four. It was either all or nothing...”

    “Ya ever think of gettin' back in the game?”

    “I haven't thought much about it. Though, being a casual Trainer is nice, as you had shown me. Back then, I was so focused on becoming Champion, that I forgot how fun battling can be. If I do get serious again, I won't be fighting for badges. So, Billy, that's my tale. Do you have any exciting adventures of your own you'd like to share?”

    “Well, I was thinkin' of bein' Champ at first, but I set my sights lower when I knew how hard that would be, so I decided ta go for bein' a Gym Leader.”

    “Interesting,” I say, “You just might have the right idea, as opposed to my days as a Trainer. Which type are you going to specialize in? Fighting-types, perhaps, judging by your Machamp?” It wouldn't surprise me, seeing how much he knew about Close Combat's drawbacks during our battle.

    “That's right! I love Fighters, so I decided I'm gonna train them! Actually...” Billy tenses up, as if he's unsure about how he's going to proceed, “I... kinda want a Gallade, but... I could never find a Dawn Stone. I have a male Kirlia 'n stuff, but Dawn Stones are too hard to come by, so... um...”

    I take a guess at his intentions, “You want mine, is that correct?”

    “Y-yeah. I'll trade for it! How 'bout my Machamp for it? Is that fair?”

    Somehow, I have a feeling that's the real reason why Billy invited me to dinner, “Sorry...”

    “Not good enough? Um... my Infernape, then!”

    I shake my head, “Sorry, Billy. Gallade is important to me. He's not up for trade.”

    Billy looks disappointed, “Aw man! I hear ya, though... I wouldn't trade my Lucario for anything...”

    I give Billy the most reassuring smile I can muster, “Just stick with it. I'm sure you'll find a Dawn Stone eventually, and have a Gallade of your own.”

    “Yeah...”

    Billy and I continue eating. We talk about other things, like our starter Pokemon, our first captures, etc. We even exchange cell phone numbers so we can have a rematch someday.

    Finally, we finish our dinners and head back down to the front desk. We are told that Gallade and Machamp are fully recovered, but we release them from their Pokeballs, just to make absolutely sure.

    Sure enough, Gallade's internal bleeding is completely gone, as are the scars that were inflicted on Machamp. Pokemon Centers are amazing. No matter how bad the fractures, concussions, poisoning, paralysis, or hemorrhaging, Pokemon get so thoroughly healed, it's like those injuries weren't inflicted in the first place. I wish human medicine were as advanced.

    Billy leaves the Center saying, “Well, it's been fun, Richter! I'll give ya a call sometime! Next time we battle, I'm totally winning!”

    “Perhaps,” I say, “Take care, Billy.”

    An exciting battle, a free dinner, and a new friend... What a productive day it's been.

    At this point, the sun is very low in the sky. I'd best make it home before it gets dark...

    ---​

    My house is a small, unpainted wooden structure on the edge of the forest surrounding Solacean Town. I recently put bars over the windows as a way to thwart intruders in my absence, ever since a thief stole, and almost got away with, one of my most precious treasures, next to my own life and my Pokemon, of course. As an added measure, I keep one of my Pokemon at home to attack intruders.

    I pull my key out of my pocket and put it in the lock, but something is strange. The key is not turning the way it should. I pull it out of the hole, and turn the doorknob. The door easily opens. It was unlocked? Did I forget to lock it. No, after the incident that occurred a month past, I've always double... even triple-checked. I open the door, and see a small brown creature at my feet, with large dark eyes, looking like a long-eared fox.

    “...vee?”

    “Ah!” I jump back, startled. It's not like this adorable little creature, Eevee by name, actually scares me, I just wasn't expecting to see it. I actually did own a Pokemon like this before... at least before I evolved it with a Thunderstone. I was expecting another Pokemon to answer the door, the one I left to counter intruders, actually: a not-so-cuddly spiny yellow dog-like creature that's one of seven known evolved forms of what I see.

    I stare at the Eevee for several seconds... I notice a subtle lightness in the color of its fur, indicating its gender: female. I definitely never owned this Eevee, not that I'd forget something so important. The only explanation is that she belongs to someone in the house. Another thief, trying to steal my most valued possession?

    “Who's there?” I yell, “Show yourself!”

    From deeper inside the house, I hear the voice of a young girl, probably in her early teens, yell, “Uncle Richter!” A fair-haired young girl, wearing a headband, t-shirt, and shorts, usual summer clothes, comes into sight. Next to her is the Pokemon I left to defend the house, Jolteon, cuddling up next to the girl. By deduction, I would presume she's the owner of the Eevee.

    It takes me a few seconds to recognize the girl, though I had a good idea as soon as she called me 'Uncle Richter.' I had seen last seen her last year, but kids sure grow fast, hense the reason I had trouble recognizing her right away, “... Natalie?” What on earth is my niece doing here?




    I hope the first-person perspective was alright, and that my present-tense didn't bother you (it's just how I roll, plus some of my favorite books use present-tense.)

    If there's something that worries me, I'm wondering if Richter might come across as a little too ideal, as he's an accomplished Trainer right off the bat, who I intend to come off as being intelligent and calm. Not all the main characters will be like this, but I hope his character turned out okay.

    At any rate, if you have any suggestions to help me improve, please tell me.
     
    #1 Valin, Jul 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  2. Part 2​

    Perspective: Richter

    “What are you doing here?” I say, asking the obvious question.

    “Because mom sent me here,” answers my fourteen-year-old niece, “You saw Eevee, right?”

    “Do you need to ask?” I say, “It's the first thing I saw when I opened the door.”

    Natalie beams, and says, “Well, it's my Eevee! You know what that means, right? I got my trainer's license! That means I can now train and catch Pokemon, and I can now go anywhere I can without an adult! I am now officially a woman! Aren't you proud of me? I took the bus here, and I asked around for your address, since I forgot where this place is, and was led here. I found a spare key under the doormat, and waited inside. I thought you were more creative than that, Uncle Richter...”

    Kids... They grow up so quickly nowadays... “'A woman,' right... Anyway, you said my sister sent you. Just what is going on?”

    After some brief hesitation, Natalie says, “Mom's in the hospital...”

    My eyes widen, “What? Is she okay?”

    “The doctor said she's caught something. It won't... well, kill her, or something, but they said she'll be there for a while...”

    “Why didn't she just call me about something so important?”

    Natalie shrugs, “I dunno. She said she wanted me to surprise you...”

    “Well, she did,” I say, “Anyway, what does she want?”

    “She told me to take you back with me. There's something she wants to talk to you about.”

    I sigh, “Well, if she's doing something so elaborate, just to get me to see her, I suppose I don't have much of a choice...”

    “Alright!” says Natalie cheerfully, “Mission accomplished! Well, let's get going!” She grabs my arm and starts to tug.

    “Hold on,” I say, “It's almost dark out!”

    “If you're afraid of the dark, uncle, don't be. It never hurt anyone.”

    “Hey, there's a reason people stay home during the night,” I say, “First, it's the time most people got to bed after a hard day's work. Second, most services are closed, that includes the bus and magnet trains, so we wouldn't get very far anyway. Finally, that's when most wild Dark-type Pokemon come out, and they enjoy brutally attacking their victims, so it's best to stay home, where it's safe.”

    Natalie considers this for a moment, “I'm not worried about any stinkin' Dark Pokemon, since you're a great trainer and you'd be able to protect me, but yeah, we won't get far without a bus. Okay, uncle, you win...”

    “I'll fix you some dinner, and then we'll get some sleep. We'll leave early tomorrow.”

    “Okay...” We head inside.

    The interior of my house consists of just three rooms: a large living room, where the couch I sleep on is located, as well as the many, many books I read to keep myself occupied, a small kitchen, and a small bathroom.

    I go straight to the kitchen and heat up some microwavable soup for Natalie, and pour a large bowl of special Pokemon food for Natalie's Eevee, and three smaller bowls for my Gallade, Jolteon, and my last Pokemon, Sandslash, a yellow rodent-like Pokemon, with long, sharp claws, and brown quills covering its back. Fully evolved Pokemon, like mine, don't require as much food, and actually, they can go up to a week without eating, hence the reason why evolved Pokemon are not so commonly seen in the wild, hunting for food.

    I release my Pokemon from their Pokeballs, so they can eat, and I sit at the table, located right outside the kitchen, with Natalie.

    As my niece is slurping down her soup, she says, “You're not hungry?”

    “I already ate.”

    “Oh...”

    The house is silent for a full minute. I don't communicate with kids very well, but I am Natalie's uncle, and I hadn't seen her in months, so I know I should try to make some kind of small-talk with her, “So... well... You're a trainer, now? That... really something.”

    Natalie smiles, and says, “I know, right?”

    “Well, now you have quite a bit of freedom. Are you just going to keep Eevee, and maybe a few other Pokemon around for protection, or are you going to be a career trainer, fighting battles, winning badges, and all that?”

    Natalie pouts, “I thought you knew me better than that. I'm gonna be a career trainer, duh! Everybody in Oreburge knows you, y'know? How you won seven badges, and were well on your way to becoming Champion... They love you a lot and I'm gonna make them see me the same way!”

    “'Love me a lot?' Don't remind me,” I groan, “I moved here to get away from them, constantly telling me to get back to being a trainer, becoming the next Champion, and making Oreburge proud...”

    “Well, I can be proud to say I'm the niece of the man who almost became Champion. I'm going to become a better trainer than you, and succeed where you failed!”

    “That... quite a goal for someone your age,” I say, “but do yourself a favor and aim a little lower and see how far you go. I made the mistake of desiring to become Champion from the get-go, and I became an obsessed trainer, who was determined to win at any cost. I forgot what was really important, started to work my Pokemon into the ground, and when I finally reached an obstacle I simply couldn't overcome, I felt thoroughly defeated. I don't want that to happen to you, alright?”

    Natalie takes a slurp of her soup, and says, “Are you telling me to not try to be Champion, before I can even prove myself? You're mean!”

    “Didn't you hear me? I said to just aim lower. Just... try to be a skilled trainer among regular trainers, then, succeeding there, aim for reaching the level of a Gym Leader, then an Elite Four member, and so on. Don't aim too high too early, or else you'll become a victim to your own ambitions. That's all I'm saying. Learn from the mistakes of your previous generation.”

    “Alright, I think I get it... You want me to start by trying to just be a good trainer, nothing too special, at least not yet?”

    “You got it.”

    “... I think I can do that.”

    “Good.”

    Natalie glances around the room, no doubt noticing the most consistent feature around my living room: Bookshelves, and lots of books, “I... guess you do quite a bit of reading, huh?”

    I let out a snicker, “'Quite a bit?' That's a slight understatement...”

    Natalie stares at me with absolute amazement, “You can do all that reading and still be sane? You're amazing, Uncle Richter!”

    “I take it you're not much of a reader?”

    “Heck no! Unless a book has pictures, it's totally boring!”

    “Wow... I must look at one of your report cards one of these days. Anyway, I do usually read in my spare time... usually about various things, or simply general fiction. I also read to my Pokemon quite a bit. There are quite a few subjects that interest them.”

    “Like what?”

    “Jolteon likes books about how electricity has affected human civilization over the years, Sandslash likes mysteries, and Gallade likes books about war strategy.”

    Natalie looks around frantically, as if she's afraid our conversation about reading will end up becoming so boring for her, she would die (maybe she really is afraid of that). Finally, she pauses at something on one of my walls: a picture and a glass case nailed below it.

    “Um... Is that you?” Natalie asks, no doubt referencing the picture.

    “Yes, it is...”

    “Wow... you look so... un-old...”

    “Thank you...” I mutter under my breath. I explain what it's a picture of. It's me, in front of Violet Gym, located in the Johto region, far from Sinnoh, where I had won my seventh and, unbeknownst to me at the time, final badge. With me is my team of six Pokemon, the ones I relied on through numerous battles: Jolteon, Gallade, Roserade, Sandslash, Froslass, and Scizor. Since I quit as a serious trainer, I've kept Jolteon, Gallade, and Sandslash by my side, but gave Froslass, Roserade, and Scizor to three people close to me.

    Out of all the subjects my niece could draw from my explanation, she picks the aspect regarding the location of Violet Gym, “You've been to Johto? Isn't that really far away?”

    “That's not the only region I've been to,” I half-boast, “I've also visited Kanto and Hoenn.”

    “Really?”

    “Yes. The case below the picture is proof of that.”

    Inside the glass case are the seven badges I had won throughout my Pokemon training career, from various gyms in various regions. I tell Natalie what each badge is, which Gym its from, and which region the Gyms are in: The first badge I won was the Coal Badge, from the Gym located in our hometown of Oreburge, which, naturally, is in Sinnoh. The second badge is the Cascade Badge, from Cerulean Gym, located in Kanto. The third Badge is also a Kanto badge, the Soul Badge from Fuchsia Gym. The fourth was from a Gym back in Sinnoh, called Veilstone Gym, the Cobble Badge. The fifth was from Hoenn, Mossdeep Gym's Mind Badge. My sixth badge was from another Sinnoh Gym, Snowpoint Gym's Icicle Badge. Finally, my seventh badge was from Violet Gym in Johto, the Zephyr Badge.

    Not long ago, someone tried to steal the case, no doubt trying to get ahead as a trainer with the badges I had won. He was caught, but, next to my life and my Pokemon, of course, those badges are my most valued treasure, so I took steps to prevent another attempt at thievery, such as always making sure the door is locked, barring the windows, and keeping Jolteon home to drive intruders away. Of course, Jolteon had met Natalie a few times in the past, so naturally, he didn't consider her an intruder.

    Finally, Natalie finishes her soup. I tell her to sleep on the couch, while I'll tough it out and sleep on the floor.

    The Pokemon fall asleep, Jolteon and Sandslash curled up on the floor, Gallade leaning against a wall, arms crosses and eyes closed, and Eevee curled up on top of Natalie.

    I turn off the lights, and as I'm about to use a thick dictionary as a pillow, Natalie says, “Uncle Richter?”

    “What is it, Natalie?”

    “... Um... I haven't caught any Pokemon yet, so I was wondering, if we had time, you could help me...”

    “If we have time,” I say with my eyes closed, “The bus service begins at 10:00, and we should get an early start.”

    “Okay. Good night...”

    I don't know how long it takes me to pass into the surreal land of dreams and fantasy, but eventually I do.

    I suppose it was caused by Natalie making me recall the past, but I have a dream... or rather, a flashback, about my constant defeats at the eighth Gym I challenged, Sunyshore Gym, which is required if one is to battle the Sinnoh Pokemon League.

    Before that point, Gyms are required to hold back in accordance to a trainer's level of skill, say for instance, a trainer with no badges would find Violet Gym to just be a moderate challenge, while a trainer with six badges, like me at that time, would find the same gym to put up a very tough fight. Gyms exist to test a trainer's skills, knowledge, and limits, hence the reason they deliberately give a challenger a fair chance, but the Gyms located closest to a region's Pokemon League HQ, known as 'Final Gyms' by some, which all trainers are required to challenge after obtaining seven badges don't hold anything back, to let a trainer know just what they are getting into by challenging the Pokemon League. The only extent of their mercy is that they too specialize in a single Pokemon type.

    Sunyshore Gym, an Electric-type Gym, is Sinnoh's Final Gym, and seeing as I'm a Sinnoh native, I thought it was only right that I challenge the Sinnoh Pokemon League. However, I kept failing again and again to defeat Sunyshore's Gym Leader. My final attempt had an Electivire knocking out four of my Pokemon, one-by-one. In my dream, the Electivire, after knocking out my last Pokemon, turns into a giant demon, and proceeds to eat me, at which point, I awaken.

    I open my eyes to my house's ceiling, which is now lit up by daylight, and several faces looking down at me, my three Pokemon, Eevee, and Natalie.

    “Good morning, Uncle!” says Natalie with a bright smile.

    “... Morning...” With my entire body aching from sleeping on the floor, I turn my head in the direction of a wall with a clock hanging from it: 5:00, “... or not. Good night...” I turn my head to the other side, and close my eyes.

    “Oh no, you don't!” yells Natalie, “You said we were gonna go and catch some Pokemon! Get your butt in gear!”

    “Just one more hour, alright...”

    “No! I'm awake and you're awake! I already cooked breakfast, so eat up, and let's head out!”

    “You did...?” I take a whiff. Sure enough, I smell eggs. Well, I know Natalie will keep pestering me if I insist on sleeping, so I guess I'm as awake as I'm going to be, plus I'm not looking forward to seeing that demonic Electivire again. I find my glasses after blindly moving my hand across the floor, and tiredly rise to my feet.

    To my amazement, Natalie is a fairly good cook... at least when making some eggs. She also tried making sausages, but I'm amazed she didn't burn the house down in the process.

    After eating, I pack my things, not expecting to return to the house between heading into the wilderness to find Pokemon, and leaving Solacean Town. After feeding Jolteon, Gallade, and Sandslash, I put them inside their Pokeballs, as does Natalie with her Eevee. Next, I take the Gym Badges from their case and put them in a small bag, which I then put in my backpack. I don't want anyone stealing them in my absence. I also pack the picture of me and my old team, if only to feel nostalgic. I guess Natalie, being an enthusiastic new trainer, is reminding me of my own youth.

    Finally, I open a drawer on my desk, and pull out some disk-like objects labeled with numbers. They are my spare TM's, or Technical Machines, from the old days. Natalie asks me what they are, and I explain that they can give Pokemon abilities beyond their usual limits, depending on their genetic code. It's not like I have a whole lot of use for them, but Natalie should find them helpful. I also take a book, explaining what abilities each TM corresponds to, since that's about the only Pokemon-related detail I haven't committed to memory over the years...

    I pack some snacks for Natalie and myself, and some treats for our Pokemon, and we are on our way into the woods surrounding Solacean Town.

    ---

    As we walk along a forest trail, I ask Natalie, “You have some empty Pokeballs, handy, right? We're not going to make any progress to speak of in capturing Pokemon if you don't.”

    “You think I don't know how to capture Pokemon?” asks Natalie, “I saved my allowance, and bought five Pokeballs!”

    “Okay, good...”

    Suddenly, I see something in a patch of grass off the trail: a small black and white-colored bird. It's a Starly. A very common Pokemon, and a perfect opportunity for Natalie to learn the ins and outs of capturing Pokemon. It's back is turned and it doesn't seem to be aware of our presence.

    Keeping my voice down, I say, tilting my head in the unaware Starly's direction, “I see a wild Pokemon. It's Starly, the Starling Pokemon! It doesn't notice us. We have the perfect chance to capture it!”

    Natalie's face lights up, “Okay! I see it!” She pulls off her backpack, places it on the ground, and pulls out a Pokeball, “Time to capture it!” She throws the empty capsule at the Starly, and it's too late for me to tell my niece that she's missing an important step in the process of capturing Pokemon. Oh well, it's best she makes a mistake and learns from it.

    The Pokeball connects with the Starly. A bright flash of light comes from the ball, and the bird Pokemon disappears.

    “Yes!” yells Natalie, “My first capture!”

    “Don't get excited just yet,” I tell my niece.

    “Huh?”

    The Pokeball shakes and rolls around on the ground wildly. Finally, there is another flash of white light, and the Pokeball is split in two. The wild Starly has reappeared, and takes to the sky in retreat.

    “What happened?” yells Natalie.

    “You're supposed to weaken it,” I tell her, “if you just throw your Pokeball without wearing it down, it will be strong enough to break free!”

    “Dang!” exclaims Natalie, picking up a rock, “Get back here, you stupid bird!” She throws it at the Starly, but it has risen too far beyond her throwing range, and the rock misses.

    Natalie picks up another rock and throws it at a tree. This is typical of my niece. She tends to get frustrated easily...

    After about thirty seconds, she winds down, and takes a few deep breaths, “I won't mess up on this next one...”

    “Send out Eevee,” I instruct Natalie, “The best way to weaken a Pokemon is with your own Pokemon.”

    “Good idea!” says Natalie with a grin, “While Eevee has a Pokemon occupied, I'll go around to the back and bash it with a stick! That should weaken it enough so it can be captured, right?”

    I shake my head, “No, let Eevee do 100% of the fighting. All Pokemon, in one way or another, possess abilities exceeding those of a human, and they can be very dangerous if approached.”

    “What? Even that little bird?”

    “Yes, even something as docile as a Starly has the capacity to kill a human if provoked. They have sharp beaks, easily capable of piercing human flesh, and they can fly very fast and perform all kinds of aerial maneuvers, which no average human can keep up with. They may lack sheer power, but make no mistake, Natalie.”

    Some of the color drains from Natalie's face, “No way! But... I heard of some really weak ones, like... what's its name... Caterpie?”

    “Caterpie can use its String Shot attack to immobilize a human, and gradually eat away at him or her.”

    “Eek! How about... Weedle?”

    “Weedle is even more dangerous. It can use its Poison Sting attack to poison a human, and then prevent one's escape to aid with String Shot. If you want a Pokemon that is essentially harmless to humans, I'll give you exactly one: Magikarp, and even those evolve into the incredibly fearsome Gyarados.”

    Natalie is silent for several seconds, “... Wow! Pokemon are scary!”

    “That's why all people have Pokemon of their own to protect them. Trust me, Eevee is perfectly capable of protecting its trainer from harm.”

    “... Okay. You win... but if things get hairy, you'll use your own Pokemon to protect me, right?”

    “If it comes down to it, yes, but try to get Eevee to fight as much as it can, since only through combat will it become more skilled in protecting and fighting for you.”

    “Okay...” Natalie grabs Eevee's Pokeball from her belt and sends out her Pokemon.

    “Before we continue,” I say, “I just want to make sure that you know which techniques your Eevee is capable of.”

    “Hey, I may be a beginner,” says Natalie, “but I'm not completely clueless. I was given a Move Scanner.”

    I can't believe I'm actually in a position to ask Natalie a question, but, “... What's a Move Scanner?”

    Natalie smirks upon my asking. I guess she's happy to know there's something she can teach me about, “It's a new technology! All I need to do is point it at a Pokemon, and it will tell me what moves it can use!”

    She pulls a small purple rod-like device out of her pocket and points it at Eevee. With a scratchy mechanical voice, it lists off the moves Eevee can use at its current strength, “Tackle... Sand Attack... Quick Attack... Bite.”

    I cover my face with my hand, “You're lucky... In my generation, it took research, and some trial and error to know what moves our Pokemon can use...”

    “I guess I'm lucky, then!”

    “I guess you are. Actually, I might be able to help your Eevee out in that department. Let's take a snack break...”

    Natalie and Eevee snack on some treats we brought, while I look through the TM's I packed and constantly reference the book for what techniques they have and what Pokemon they will work on. Finally, my labors bear fruit: TM 30, Shadow Ball. I remember using one of these on Jolteon. It seems it will work for its pre-evolution, Eevee as well.

    “Natalie,” I call, “I have something that may come in handy for Eevee.”

    Eevee responds curiously, “Ee... vee...?”

    “What is it?” asks Natalie.

    I hold TM 30 in plain sight, “A new move, which should come in handy.”

    “Eeveeeeee!” Eevee responds excitedly. All Pokemon, big or small, adorable or hideous, are always cheerful at the chance to become more powerful.

    “You said those things will teach a Pokemon abilities that it wouldn't know any other way?” asks Natalie.

    “Yes,” I answer, “Pokemon are powerful, but they can reach even greater potential via human ingenuity.”

    “All right!” exclaims Natalie, “Use it!”

    “Okay!” I hold the TM close to Eevee. The machine starts to glow, and Eevee along with it. Finally, after several seconds, the glowing stops, and the TM crumbles to dust.

    Natalie stares, then says, “Did it work?”

    “Only one way to find out. Natalie, command Eevee to use Shadow Ball.”

    “Okay!” Natalie stands with her legs locked and her arm extended from a sideways stance, “Eevee! Use Shadow Ball on... something!”

    “Vee!” Eevee opens its mouth and fires a ball of black energy. It hits the side of a tree, and splinters of bark explode off it.”

    “Awesome!” exclaims Natalie enthusiastically, “Eevee, we are gonna kick so much butt with that move!”

    Eevee smiles and nods, “Eevee.”

    “Well,” I say, packing my other TM's and the book about them, “Let's continue looking for some wild Pokemon.”

    “Oh yeah!” says Natalie, “With Shadow Ball, no Pokemon's gonna get away from me!”

    ---

    We continue to head deeper into the forest. It is not long before we reach a clearing, where we happen across another wild Starly. This one is aware of our presence, but is watching us carefully, instead of instantly retreating.

    “All right! Another one,” says Natalie, dropping her backpack and pulling out a Pokeball, “This one is totally gonna be ours! Eevee! Shadow Ball, now!”

    Eevee fires a Shadow Ball at the Starly, but, much to my expectations and Natalie's complete dismay, the attack harmlessly passes through the Pokemon. Luckily, the Starly just seems confused by what just happened, instead of sensing danger and retreating.

    “What... the heck?” yells Natalie, “That Shadow Ball move is useless!”

    “No it's not,” I say, “You're just using it on the wrong Pokemon. Starly is a Normal/Flying-type. Shadow Ball is a Ghost-type attack, that works wonders on Psychic and Ghost-types, but is harmless to Normal-types.”

    Natalie puts her hand on her forehead, “That's so confusing. I guess I should start doing that thing called 'studying...'”

    “Just tell Eevee to use one of its other attacks.”

    “Okay... Eevee use... um... Quick Attack!”

    Eevee charges at the Starly, accelerating rapidly. Starly starts to fly, but Eevee is slamming into it and pinning it to the ground before it can even reach an altitude of one foot. Starly struggles to break free, but Eevee is clearly the stronger of the two.

    Natalie grins, “Oh yeah! I got this! Bite it, Eevee!”

    Eevee sinks its teeth into the base of Starly's left wing.

    “Starlyyyyyyy!” The Starling Pokemon cries in pain.

    “That should be good enough,” I say, “Now try capturing it!”

    “Oh yeah!” Natalie approaches the two Pokemon so she'll have a clear shot with her Pokeball.

    Starly starts to growl.. or rather, uses its Growl technique, which has some kind of psychological effect on Pokemon of all kinds, unnerving them and forcing them to ease up on their offensive power.

    With Eevee weakened, Starly has enough power to force the Evolution Pokemon off, and it again attempts to run away. However, with its injured wing, that proves to be a challenge.

    Natalie throws her Pokeball and Starly disappears inside it. The ball jumps and rolls, but not with the energetic intensity of the one that attempted to capture the other Starly. Finally, there is a click, and the ball stops moving.

    “Did I do it?” asks Natalie.

    “Yes, you did,” I answer, “Congratulations on your first capture.”

    “Awesome!” Natalie picks up the ball, and attaches it to her belt, “... and there will be many, many more!”

    “Awww!” From behind a tree, there is a voice. A boy, dressed in a cap, t-shirt, and shorts comes into view, “I was looking all over for a Starly, but so far, all of them have run away. I was all set to get that one, but then you went and captured it.” I notice a slight dialect in his voice. A... Kanto accent?

    “Well, tough luck, buddy,” says Natalie, “Better luck next Starly. Let's go, Uncle Richter.”

    “Hold on,” says the boy, “We're all trainers, aren't we? How does a match sound?”

    With no hesitation at all, Natalie answer, “Heck yeah!”

    “You fool!” … or so I feel like saying, but I can't exactly say that to my niece. Natalie has a weakened Eevee, and an even weaker Starly. She's not in very good shape for a Pokemon battle, plus the boy should be fully aware of what Pokemon Natalie has: the Starly he watched her capture, and Eevee, which is in plain sight. Does she have any idea what a disadvantage she's at?

    A glance at the boy's belt. Seeing as he also has two Pokeballs, I guess he's a beginner also. I guess Natalie might have a chance if she plays smart... though that's not exactly something I'm counting on...

    Natalie and the boy stand several feet apart from one another. I instruct Natalie, “Return Eevee to its Pokeball. If he knows you're using Eevee first, he may use something well suited to counter it.”

    “Okay!” Natalie listens to me without question, and recalls Eevee. I suppose it's because whatever reputation I had gained was through Pokemon battles, she knows to trust my judgment.

    Natalie, seemingly unaware of her major disadvantage, looks excited... giddy, even. I want to tell her the situation, but something doesn't seem right about doing something to ruin her enthusiasm about her first Pokemon battle. Oh well, it will be another learning experience.

    The boy says, “So... what are the rules for this match? We both have two Pokemon. Should we make this a one-on-one, so we'll have one Pokemon left to protect us?”

    “Nah!” exclaims Natalie haughtily, “When I totally beat you, my uncle here, Richter, will take you to a Pokemon Center. He's a tough trainer with really strong Pokemon!” Something annoys me about Natalie using me in such a way, but we were going to have to go to a Center anyway to heal Eevee and Starly, so I have no meaningful objections.

    “Alright,” says the boy, in a way indicating that he knows full well of his advantage over Natalie, “It's gonna be a two-on-two match!”

    “Okay!”

    “Match start!”

    Both trainers simultaneously toss their Pokeballs into the field.

    “Let's win this! Go Eevee!”

    “Go Spearow!”

    Natalie sends out Eevee, while the boy sends out an unkempt red and brown bird Pokemon with a curved beak and two short wings. Spearow, the Tiny Bird Pokemon, which is very rare in Sinnoh, but can be seen almost everywhere in Kanto. It lacks the aerial maneuverability of Starly, but makes up for it with sheer power.

    Natalie makes the opening attack, “Eevee! Take it out with Shadow Ball!” Eevee fires an orb of ghostly energy at Spearow, but it harmlessly passes through, “What? Why does this attack never work?”

    “Spearow has the same Pokemon type as Starly,” I explain.

    “Dang!”

    “Spearow! Peck attack!” commands the boy. Spearow flies toward Eevee and thrusts its beak, though Eevee manages to narrowly jump out of its range, “Press the assault! Fury Attack!” Spearow starts to rapidly advance on Eevee, delivering a constant chain of pecks and scratches with its talons, which Eevee, after a few successful dodges, gets caught up in.

    “Hang in there, Eevee!” Natalie encourages, “Endure it and fight back with Tackle!”

    Spearow rakes its talons across Eevee's face, but the Evolution Pokemon holds its ground, and slams into Spearow during the pause between its attacks. Spearow is sent reeling.

    Natalie, not giving Spearow a chance at recovery, commands, “Quick Attack!” Eevee zooms at Spearow, slamming it again. Spearow is knocked to the ground, and as it tries to get up, Natalie orders the finishing blow from the fight with Starly, “Bite!” Eevee sinks its teeth into Spearow's neck, and the Tiny Bird Pokemon collapses.

    The boy recalls Spearow, “Not bad, miss, but can you deal with this next one?” He tosses his Pokeball into the field, “Go Bulbasaur!” A bluish-green reptile-like Pokemon, with a large plant-like bulb on its back, appears. Bulbasaur, the Seed Pokemon, another one most commonly seen in Kanto. They are usually mass-bred and given to trainers as their starter Pokemon. This one is probably much stronger than the Spearow, and Eevee is breathing very fast. This doesn't look good for Natalie.

    My niece, however, still seems confident, no doubt over the fact that she still has two standing Pokemon, while the boy is on his last. The boy, however, seems equally confident.

    Still, I decide to give my niece a little advice, “Bulbasaur is a Grass/Poison-type. It lacks the Normal-type Starly and Spearow have. Shadow Ball will work on this one.”

    “Well, alright!” says Natalie with a smirk, “Eevee! Shadow Ball!”

    “Bulbasaur! Tackle!”

    Bulbasaur charges straight at Eevee, which the Evolution Pokemon counters by firing a Shadow Ball. The ball connects, and Bulbasaur is stopped briefly, only to quickly resume its charge.

    “Again!” commands Natalie.

    Eevee fires another ball, but Bulbasaur, wising up to Natalie's tactics, leaps to the side, dodging Eevee's attack. The Seed Pokemon then jumps straight at Eevee, slamming into it.

    “Eevee!” yells Natalie.

    “Leech Seed!” commands the boy.

    Bulbasaur does a handstand on its two front legs and fires a small seed from its bulb, which sinks into the weakened Eevee.

    Green energy surrounds both Eevee and Bulbasaur, though their reactions to the energy are completely opposite. Eevee starts to wear down even more, while the burn Bulbasaur received from Shadow Ball gradually disappears.

    Eevee falls unconscious.

    “Oh c'mon!” yells Natalie, “You're not gonna let a stupid seed beat you, are you, Eevee? Get up and kick its butt!”

    “It's down,” I tell Natalie, “Call it back and send out Starly.”

    Natalie pouts, “Fine...” She recalls Eevee and tosses Starly's Pokeball into the field, “Win this, Starly!”

    Starly appears, but it's breathing fast and its left wing is still drenched in blood. Even though Starly has a type advantage over Bulbasaur, if it can win in its current condition, I'll be very impressed.

    Natalie pulls out her Move Scanner, not getting the chance earlier and points it at Starly, “Tackle... Growl... Quick Attack... Wing Attack...”

    “Quick Attack!” commands Natalie.

    Starly tries to hover off the ground, but is flapping awkwardly with its injured wing. It flies toward Bulbasaur, though not nearly at the speed Eevee did earlier, and Bulbasaur dodges the attack so easily, it's pathetic. Starly keeps going, loses altitude, and crashes to the ground.

    The boy, probably taking consideration of Starly's condition, decides to end the battle with something light, “Bulbasaur, use Tackle.”

    Bulbasaur slams into Starly, and it gets knocked out.

    The battle is over, but Natalie refuses to accept it, “C'mon, Starly! Get up! This is our first battle! I'm not gonna let it end like this! Find some willpower and keep fighting!”

    I can't stand and listen to Natalie anymore, as she tries to force a severely injured Pokemon to do the impossible, “Natalie, stop acting like a fool. Starly has done all it can. Call it back and gracefully admit your defeat.”

    Natalie, whose frustration is running wild, snaps, “Don't gimme that! I saw how brutally you used to train your Pokemon! Don't act so high and mighty, you hypocrite!”

    I lightly slap Natalie, and she reacts wide-eyed.

    “I know what you're talking about, Natalie. I was like you once: obsessed with power and winning. However, I came to realize how wrong I was, and that's why I quit at trying to be Champion. However, if you simply look at Pokemon as just tools for achieving your goals, then do both your Pokemon and yourself a favor and quit being a trainer before you all become even more miserable!”

    Natalie is silent for almost a full minute. Finally, she says with a cracked voice, “Okay...” She recalls Starly.

    The boy, not knowing how to react to the scene that played out in front of him, recalls Bulbasaur.

    I tell Natalie, “Since you lost, you'll have to pay him.”

    Natalie, whose mind seems to be elsewhere, asks, “... How much?”

    “Since this was a fairly low-level match, I'd say 30 credits.”

    “Okay...” Natalie reaches into her pocket and gives the boy 30 credits.

    “Well,” I say, “We need to get to a Pokemon Center and heal everyone up...” I send out Jolteon, Gallade, and Sandslash.

    Natalie, the boy, and I make our way back through the forest. With my three fully-evolved and powerful Pokemon, no wild Pokemon try to approach us.

    ---

    Finally, we return to civilization.

    At a Solacean Town Pokemon Center, Natalie and I sit silently in the waiting room, while Eevee and Starly are being healed.

    After several minutes, Natalie says, “I'm sorry...”

    “Hm?”

    “I guess I was just frustrated. It's happened before, and I've said a lot of things without thinking...”

    “It's fine,” I say, “You were absolutely right about me. Back then, I did try to push my Pokemon a little too hard. It's true that they became stronger, but I didn't take how they may have felt into consideration. This was when I was obsessed with defeating my final Gym, and winning my eighth badge. Before then, I think I treated them fairly enough, but I forgot to do that in the pursuit of my own goals. I... didn't deserve to become Champion anyway.”

    “What made you change?”

    “I guess it's when I knew I would never overcome Sunyshore Gym. I knew at that point that I had done everything I can, and I suppose I felt... humbled. My obsession faded, and I started to notice how cruel I was to my Pokemon. I knew how horrible I was, so I gave them to people I knew would treat them better, and I've tried to treat Jolteon, Gallade, and Sandslash as well as I could over the years that followed...” I take a deep breath, “... If you want to become Champion, Natalie, don't be like I was...”

    “Yeah... okay... It's just that I remember seeing you train your guys back then, and I thought it was so cool how you took control...” Natalie starts mimicking my voice, “'Sandslash, use Crush Claw... Good! Now do 800 more repetitions!' 'Jolteon and Gallade, keep sparring until one of you is unconscious, paralyzed, or frozen.' Stuff like that.”

    I smile wryly, remember what Natalie is referring to, which is something I'd hated myself for.

    “I just thought that if I was tough like you were, my Pokemon would be strong too...”

    “Well, that's a lesson that took me years to learn. I'm just glad you got to learn it sooner in life than I had...”

    ---

    More time passes and Natalie's Pokemon are finally healed and returned to her. From there, we go to the lobby.

    “Well,” I say, “It's almost time for the bus services to start. Let's head to Oreburge.”

    “Okay.”

    Just as we are about to head through the door, however, a voice calls out to us, “Hey! Hold on!” It's the boy from Kanto that Natalie fought.

    “What's up?” asks Natalie.

    The boy says, “Um... I was wondering if you would be willing to make a trade...”

    “A trade?”

    “Yeah. I was wondering if I could have your Starly in exchange for my Spearow...”

    Natalie glances over at me with an expression asking for my opinion.

    I respond, “Spearow is a strong Pokemon, and hard to come across in Sinnoh. I'd say his offer has merit, but it's your choice, Natalie.”

    Natalie considers this for several second. Finally, she makes her decision, “Yeah. Okay.”

    “Are you sure?” I ask.

    “I know how horrible I was to Starly. It'd probably be happier with this kid, but...” she turns to the boy, “... are you sure you should leave Spearow with me? You saw how I was with Starly. Do you think it'll be okay under my care?”

    The boy thinks for a second, “Well... I think it will. I overheard your talk with your uncle, and I know you'll treat Spearow right.”

    “Okay.”

    The boy moves on to talk to his Spearow, letting it know of what is about to happen.

    I tell Natalie, “You should give some final words to Starly before giving it to the boy.”

    “What should I say? It's probably happy it's getting a new trainer.”

    “Just... thank it for trying. Tell it how much better it will be with the new trainer.”

    “I'll... I'll try...” Natalie sends out Starly, “Hey, um... Well, we lost our first match, but... um... thank you for trying...”

    “Starly.”

    “I'm gonna be giving you to a new trainer... but it will be alright. He's pretty good, so I'm sure you'll be happier and grow stronger with him, rather than me...”

    Natalie glances at me, with an expression asking if what she said is good enough. I shake my head.

    Natalie, seeming to understand what I'm trying to tell her, finally says, “And... I'm... really sorry for pushing you so hard... Haha! You probably hate me, don't you? I can't say I blame you...”

    Starly shakes its head, “Starly...”

    “I wish I knew what you were saying...”

    I give my analysis, “I think it's saying that it doesn't hate you. Maybe it's thanking you for believing in it...”

    Natalie's eyes start to well up, “Starly...” She swallows a lump in her throat, and says, “Well, I guess this is goodbye. I'm sure your new trainer will treat you better than I did...” With that, Natalie returns Starly to its Pokeball and exchanges it with the capsule containing the boy's Spearow.

    In a low voice, Natalie says to the Pokeball, “Welcome to the team, Spearow...”

    “Let's get going,” I say.

    Natalie and I leave the Pokemon Center, and we head to the nearest bus terminal en route to Oreburge City.
     
  3. Part Three​

    Perspective: Natalie

    I'll admit Uncle Richter is different than the guy I remember, though now that I am forced to think about it, maybe it is for the better. I know if I were a Pokemon, I wouldn't wanna be treated like a fighting machine and trained mercilessly. It's been five hours since, but it still feels like it's been just a few minutes ago.

    The feeling still hadn't left the cheek where I got slapped, and I still feel like my heart is being squeezed, like it was when I let Starly go with that other trainer. Did I do the right thing? Maybe it still could have worked between us. Starly seemed to have forgiven me, but I was so caught up in my self-pity at the time, that I felt like a complete monster, and felt is was better off with anyone, than me. Now, I'm starting to second-guess my choice, even though it's now too late to do something about it...

    Over the bus's speakers, an automated announcement is made, “Oreburge City... Two hours. Now stopping in... Hearthome City...”

    The bus makes its announced stop, and, all of a sudden, the somewhat empty bus, only occupied by me, Uncle Richter, who is sitting next to me, and just three other people spread about, suddenly gets filled to capacity. Dang... I hate crowded buses. This happened on my way to Solacean Town too, which is a stop along the way to Veilstone City, which was probably the destination for most people....

    Of course, the sudden increase of passengers doesn't seem to phase Richter at all. He's just staring out the window dreamily (we both wanted the window seat, so I challenged him to a coin flip, which he won), as if he's admiring a cute girl, or something. Seriously, though, he seems to be off in his own world, and I wonder what issues he has, exactly. Is it really possible to angst so much over not being able to beat a Gym Leader some-odd years ago? Is there something he's not telling me. Maybe he's worried about mom... but seeing how rarely he visits home, I doubt that's the case. Why did I admire him so much again? What a jerk... Still, I'm grateful he's going to help me start off as a trainer. I wouldn't have caught Starly without his help.

    As the bus starts to move again, I start to hear a catchy melody. Apparently, it's Richter's cell phone. He snaps out of his trip to Never Never Land and answers it, “Hello? … Oh, um, Billy, hi...” Billy? Is that a coworker of his, or something? “Huh? You don't say... I'm actually headed there too... Huh? Well, it's unlikely, but maybe... That's really great... Okay, bye...” He closes his phone and returns it to his pocket.

    “Who was that?” I ask.

    “Oh, just... some guy I fought in a Pokemon battle yesterday. He said he was headed to Oreburge too, probably on a different bus. Just a casual conversation, that's all.”

    “Okay...”

    Richter returns to his own world and stares out the window again. I suddenly remember something. I pull my backpack out from under the seat in front of me, open it, and pull out a small metal suitcase that is about the width of a DVD case, “Hey... Uncle Richter?”

    Richter glances over from the window, “What is it, Natalie?”

    I hold up the case, so that my uncle has a clear view of it, “Professor Rale gave me this, along with Eevee. He said the stones in here can evolve it, but to wait for the right time. What does he mean?”

    Instead of directly answering my question, Uncle Richter asks, “Professor Rale is still the patron professor for Oreburge's trainers? I thought his apprentice would have taken over by now... but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. He always did fancy Eevee, and mass-bred them for all new trainers. You're no exception, obviously...”

    I narrow my eyes slightly, “That's... real nice, and all, Uncle Richter, but could you please answer me?”

    “Sure,” says Richter, “I got something exactly like it back then. Care to open it?”

    “Yeah...” I unlatch the locks on the case and open it to reveal the seven stones inside it. Three are larger than the others, with one being green and see-through, with a yellow zigzag inside it, another being a deep blue color, and the last being as red, yellow, and orange. Two of the stones are very small, about half the size of my pinky finger, with one glowing bright yellow, and the other glowing a light purplish color. The last two are slightly bigger than the two small ones, but not as big as the three larger ones. One is dark-green and feels soft, while the other is light-blue and feels as cold as ice.

    Richter explains, “Eevee is known as the Evolution Pokemon. This is because it can evolve into a bunch of different things, and all you have to do is expose it to one of those rocks.”

    “Really?”

    “Really. You didn't know my Jolteon evolved from Eevee?”

    “No way! They look nothing alike!”

    Richter smiles wryly, “I don't know. I can sort of see the resemblance... Anyway...” He points at the large green stone in my case, “That's what I used to do it: the Thunder Stone.”

    “So if I used that, my Eevee would evolve into a Jolteon too?”

    “That's right.”

    I recall something, “Oh, mom evolved her Eevee about a month ago. She doesn't let it go around the house often, it was usually inside its Pokeball, and I hardly ever got to see it ever since it started a fire inside the house, but it's red, and stuff. I think it's called... Flareon-something-or-other...”

    Richter looks a little surprised, “She did? That's a surprise. She always said she would never evolve hers, because it would get ugly, or something. I never understood Rena that well, even if she is my sister. Any idea what brought on that change?”

    Even though I'm not often let in on mom's free time activities, I do know enough to answer, “Oh, she joined an all-women Pokemon battling club with her friends from work. She lost a lot, I guess, so she decided to do what her Eevee kept pestering her to do, and let it evolve. I didn't actually see her do it, and I thought that's what all Eevees evolved into. How did she do it?”

    Richter points at the large red stone, “This: the Fire Stone.”

    “I see...” With my curiosity soaring, I ask, “So... Jolteon is an... electric-type, and Flareon is a... um... fire-type?”

    “Correct.”

    “What are the other rocks, and what do they evolve Eevee into?”

    Richter points at the big blue stone, “... This is the Water Stone. It evolves Eevee into Vaporeon, a water-type...” he points at the middle-sized green rock, “... This is the Moss Stone, and it can evolve Eevee into Leafeon, a grass-type...” he points at the light-blue rock, “The Ice Stone. With this, Eevee becomes Glaceon, an ice-type...” his finger moves to the small yellow shard, “This Sun Shard helps Eevee evolve into Espeon, a psychic-type...” finally, he directs me to the glowing purple shard, “... and the Moon Shard helps it evolve into Umbreon, a dark-type.”

    “Cool!” I exclaim loudly enough to cause a few people to glance in our direction, “So I can evolve Eevee into any of those things? Which one's the best? What should I evolve her into? Wait, you evolved yours into Jolteon! In that case, I'll do the same. Since that's what you chose, that's gotta be the strongest one!”

    “I'm flattered,” says Richter, who, despite what he just said, isn't acting flattered at all, “but none of them are the 'best,' as you put it. All of them are good. I just evolved my Eevee into Jolteon...” he lowers his voice, “because it was the most convenient thing I could think of at the time...”

    “Huh? What do you mean?”

    “Let me tell you a story,” says Richter, “It's about my early days as a trainer...” He clears his throat, “During my second summer vacation since getting my license, I decide to train abroad in Kanto. There, I encountered my second Gym, Cerulean Gym, which specializes in water-types...”

    “You beat it, didn't you?” I ask, “You said you did when you told me about your badges.”

    “That is true,” answers Richter, “but it's how I beat it that is important. My Pokemon at the time were Eevee, the Kirlia that I later evolved into Gallade, and the Roselia that I later forced to evolve into Roserade, who I no longer own...” From his expression, I can tell there's another thing he isn't proud of doing, “... I knew grass-types were a fine choice against water-types, so I challenge the gym, confident of my victory. It was a two-on-two battle. At first, it went well, my first Pokemon was Kirlia against the Leader's Seadra, and he won, however, the Leader's second Pokemon was my greatest obstacle up to that point: Gyarados, the Atrocious Pokemon, a merciless engine of destruction. It took out Kirlia with little effort. Apparently, it has flying-type characteristics, which limited how effective Roselia was against it, and I lost. I looked up information about it, and found out that the single type of Pokemon that can effectively best Gyarados is an electric-type. I was about to set off to Viridian Forest to catch a Pikachu, when I realized I technically had an electric-type already. I used my Thunder Stone, evolved Eevee into Jolteon, and defeated the Gyarados with ease, thereby winning my second badge.”

    “I see...” I say, “I guess I should wait until I know what would be the best thing for Eevee to evolve into...”

    “That would be the way to do it,” says Richter, “but please ask your Eevee if she wants to evolve...”

    “Why?”

    “Because not all of them do. Most of them willingly evolve, because they are fighters, and desire to become more powerful, but some have a certain sense of self, that keep them from wanting such a thing...”

    “Did you force your Eevee?”

    “Sort of,” answers Richter, taking his backpack out from under the seat in front of him and pulling the picture of him and his old team out from it, “it was sudden, but Eevee was happy to evolve and become stronger. So was Kirlia, when he evolved into Gallade, as was Snorunt, when I evolved her into Froslass. Sandshrew evolved on her own to become Sandslash, as she was my only Pokemon that could evolve without human assistance, so she wanted it as well. It was Roselia and Scyther that were another story... After I evolved Scyther into Scizor, he became more indignant and didn't follow my instructions with good graces, but that was nothing compared to when I evolved Roselia into Roserade. I had to have my other Pokemon restrain her so she didn't run when I used my Shiny Stone on her. When she finally evolved, she lashed out, wounding several of my Pokemon and even tried to attack me, until I had Froslass freeze and pacify her. From then on, she was difficult to control, often disobeying my orders altogether. When I ended my career as a trainer, she was the first Pokemon I gave to someone else, because I knew she would just continue to hate me for what I had done to her...”

    “Uncle Richter...”

    Minutes pass with neither of us saying a word. It looks like Richter just touched on a hard personal topic of his. At that moment, I appreciate what he is trying to teach me. He doesn't want me to have any regrets as a trainer, so he is telling me not to make any of the mistakes he did.

    However, I am still curious. I stare at Richter's picture, and remember one of the Pokemon on there, and not from my arrival at his house. It's a it's a white Pokemon, kinda girlish-looking, that almost looks like she's wearing some kinda traditional formal clothes, and its arms are connected to its head, strangely enough. I point that Pokemon out, “Hey, Richter, which Pokemon is this?”

    “Oh, that's Froslass. She's a rare combination of ice-type and ghost-type.”

    “I didn't see her at your house. Did you give her to someone?”

    Richter raises an eyebrow, “What? Does my sister not show you her Pokemon very often? She's the one I gave Froslass to.”

    “I knew it,” I say, “Ever since she evolved Eevee, she had hired a daycare to feed and take care of her Pokemon for her, so I'm not exactly in that loop. However, I did run into her at one of her battle club meetings. When I entered the building, it was freezing. The fountain in the lobby was iced over and everything. That's when I caught a glimpse of it, just before a Pokeball flew in and made her vanish from sight. At that moment, the place became warm again.”

    Richter raises his eyebrow again, “You're saying Froslass froze a building. Well, whoever's Froslass that was, it wasn't mine. Froslass had always been the most polite and mild-mannered of my Pokemon. She wouldn't do something like that.”

    “Well, maybe...” I concede, “but the other women there told mom never to bring 'it' to one of their meetings again, so I just kinda assumed, after looking at your picture...”

    “Hmph. Weird. I guess I'll ask about it. So, Rena's a member of a Pokemon battle club, huh? How's that going for her?”

    I pause before I answer, “Well... That's kinda why she's in the hospital now...”

    This captures Richter's full interest, “What? You said she caught something!”

    “She did. Something from a Pokemon...”

    “How does that happen?”

    “One of her friends said that her Flareon was battling... oh, I forget its name. Some poisonous Pokemon, Bee-something...”

    “Beedrill?” guesses Richter.

    “Maybe. Anyway, it used some attack called 'Poison Sting,' which fired off a poisonous needle. It missed Flareon, and sunk into mom's leg, poisoning her.”

    “I see...” says Richter, “So she caught a Pokemon's brand of poisoning, huh? That will keep her under care for awhile...”

    “Would it... kill her?”

    “Poison Sting? I doubt it. If it were Sludge Bomb, then I'd worry, plus she took it to a non-vital area. She'll just be in the hospital for a while. Worst case: They'll amputate her leg and replace it with a mechanical limb.”

    I let out a shocked scream, which turns some heads in our direction.

    “Hey, calm down,” says Richter, trying to reassure me, “That's the worst case scenario. That hardly ever happens, and it won't, if her doctors are competent.”

    “You know, Uncle Richter, you could try to be more serious. Your sister is in the hospital!”

    “I am being serious. I'm just stating a fact.”

    “Hmph...”

    With our conversation over, Richter starts staring out the window again. Around the bus, some people are letting their Pokemon roam around. I decide to let Eevee and Spearow get a little air as well. A notice says that only Pokemon under two feet and twenty pounds are allowed to roam around, but I think both of them fit that criteria. I release Eevee and Spearow and they go to play with the other Pokemon.

    I suddenly remember what Richter instructed me earlier, and call Eevee over. I ask her if she would like it if she evolved someday. She wags her tail and eagerly nods in response. Richter glaces over at me and smiles slightly.

    Time passes, and there is another announcement, “Time until arrival in Oreburge City: thirty minutes. Well, we're almost there. From the bus stop, it will be a short walk to the hospital. Still, I wonder what mom wanted Richter for. If she wants him to travel all the way over from Solacean, I doubt it's to deliver a get-well card...

    About ten minutes pass. Looking to the front of the bus, through the windshield, I can see Oreburge's high-rises in the distance.

    My mind wanders back to the Starly I treated like crap. I can't get it out of my head! I can't take it any longer. I decide to share my thoughts with Richter, “Hey, Uncle Richter?”

    “Hm?”

    “Did I do the right thing? I mean, should I had just...” noticing my Spearow is nearby, I don't want to risk hurting his feelings, I lower my voice, “should I have kept it?”

    “There was no right or wrong answer, Natalie,” answers Richter, “I'm sure you could have patched things up with Starly. He seemed to not have hard feelings, though he might have been afraid of you before. The best you can do now is treat Spearow with the compassion you failed to show Starly, and hope Starly is happy with its new trainer.”

    “Yeah... okay...”

    There is another announcement, “Fifteen minutes until arrival at Oreburge City. If you have any Pokemon roaming about the bus, please recall them immediately.” All the trainers, myself included, follow those instructions. I attach the Pokeballs back to my belt and return the evolve-stone case to my backpack. However, Richter's framed photo is still in his lap. I decide to ask him more about it.

    “Hey... you said you gave... Froslass to mom, right? The others you gave away were...” I point at the green flower-covered Pokemon in the picture, “... this, and...” I move my finger to a red Pokemon that looks like a cross between an ant and a lobster, “... this, right?”

    “Roserade and Scizor, that's right.”

    “Who did you give them to?”

    Richter responds, “You know Alice, right?”

    The name is familiar, “Alice as in... Pokecop? That Alice?”

    Richter groans, “Yes... 'Pokecop.' Anyway, I had two rivals as a trainer. She was my friendlier rival of the two, and I knew she'd take better care of Roserade than I did. I gave Scizor to Professor Rale to be taken care of and researched.”

    “I see...”

    Oreburge City is now in clear sight. Besides its downtown area, it feels more like a mining village, as most of the ground is covered with dirt, instead of grass and trees, most of the houses are small and run-down, and there are several coal mines. I never liked this part of town; It's very un-city-like. However, the bus moves on to the much better looking downtown area, with paved roads, shops everywhere, skyscrapers, and all that good stuff. I'm happy I live just at the edge of downtown.

    I ask Richter one last question running through my mind, “Hey, Uncle Richter? You said your goal was to become Champion, and all, and that's why you worked your Pokemon so hard, and stuff, but is there any reason why you wanted to be Champion. You yourself said you were obsessed with that goal. Why was that so important?”

    Richter pauses, and answers, “Power. That is all.”

    “Power? Why would you want--”

    I'm suddenly cut off by the announcement of our arrival, “Now arriving at Oreburge Hospital Station. We hope you enjoy your stay in Oreburge City.”

    We step out of the bus to see a large white building across the street. Oreburge Hospital... where my mom is being taken care of...

    Richter walks ahead, saying, “Well, we've arrived. It's time to find out just why Rena wanted me here...”
     
  4. This is quite an interesting story. In this, you describe the ethics of training, the depth of training in the Pokemon world, and the effects of Pokemon on humans.
     
  5. That is one of the best Pokemon stories I have ever heard! Please make more, you rule! :D :D :D
     
    #5 Louie Forest, Aug 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  6. Part Four​

    Perspective: Richter

    I'm probably one of the few people who think this, but I like hospitals, though perhaps not for the right reasons. If it's not an accident or illness, it's a result of a human getting attacked and injured by a Pokémon that was still successfully driven off, but still got a lucky shot in past his or her protector.

    Ironically, during my time as a serious trainer, that never happened to me. Instead, such an event was caused by one of the Pokémon sworn to fight for me... and for a trainer, that is so much worse, though I know full well that the indignation that caused that event was very well justified.

    As Natalie and I sit in Oreburge Hospital's waiting room, awaiting an escort to bring us to Rena, I reflect on an event that sent me to this very hospital as a patient several years ago.

    As a trainer, I had more than one instance of good fortune. On two occasions, I had matches against traveling vendors, and won. Since making money is their profession, and they were struggling, and therefore, reluctant to part with their income, they instead had given me some valuable merchandise as payment. Th first time, when I used Kirlia and Snorunt in our battle, the vendor gave me two rare Dawn Stones, which were necessary to evolve them into Gallade and Froslass. The second time, I received a Shiny Stone, after I used Roselia in our battle, which I needed to evolve it into Roserade, and that's there the trouble began.

    Soon after the vendor left, I sent out Roselia, showed her the Shiny Stone, explaining what it would do, but instead of obediently let me use it on her, she ran instead. I sent out Jolteon, my fastest Pokémon, to chase and intercept her, and commanded him to use Thunder Wave, paralyzing her and preventing her escape.

    I approached Roselia, explaining that if we are to achieve our goal, her evolution is important. I was excited, as she was my last Pokémon to reach its full evolution, and that greatly clouded my judgment, along with the fact that next to becoming stronger, my Pokémon's personal feelings were minor to me.

    And thus, I used the stone, as Roselia made her final ear-splitting cry of, “Eliaaaaaaaaaa!” before that sound turned to “Raaaaade!”

    However, my joyousness was short-lived. Roserade, in her rage, used her Petal Dance attack, a technique utilizing a storm of petals with sharp edges, to wound Jolteon, and then turned them on me. I received countless scars, and bled heavily. With my energy draining fast, I sent out Froslass to freeze Roserade solid. I used my remaining stamina to recall Jolteon, Froslass, and Roserade, and called in an emergency transport request on my cell phone before I finally collaped.

    I spent the next three weeks in this very hospital, receiving no less than two surgeries to have the petals removed from my body, and the rest of the time having my wounds sutured shut. I was angry and considered releasing Roserade for her insubordination. However, she seemed regretful about it, or so I surmised, since, despite what happened, I did help in making her as powerful as she had become, something she never would have accomplished in the wild, plus I did take care of her, feeding her and rushing her to a Pokémon Center if the need arose, even if I was strict. That debt of honor kept her from flying off the handle again, but that was the extent of what she owed me.

    She did her own thing during most battles, refusing my orders, unless the opponent was exceptionally strong, in which case, she followed my commands with great reluctance.

    Finally, after being thoroughly defeated by the Leader of Sunyshore Gym, and resigning as a career trainer, I met with Alice, my childhood friend and one of my greatest rivals as a trainer, who made it about as far as I did, but quit sooner. I gave her Roserade, telling her to care for it better than I did, and unlike when Natalie parted ways with Starly, Roserade couldn't wait to leave me. In fact, that was the happiest I had ever seen her, and it hurt...

    “Richter, oh Richter... What kind of monster are you...?” I mutter to myself.

    “Huh?” What was that?” asks Natalie, sitting in the chair next to mine, “What was that about a monster?”

    “Oh... Just... something about Pokémon.”

    “You shouldn't call them 'monsters.' Even I know that.”

    “Yeah. I know...”

    A nurse calls for us, “Natalie and Richter, Rena is ready to see you.”

    “Okay.”

    The nurse leads us through the hospital complex. It has always amazed me how large these buildings are, and most of the rooms are occupied, no doubt mostly Pokémon-related incidents, like my sister. Good thing people have Pokémon to protect them, otherwise the fatality rate would be much higher than the injury rate...

    After riding an elevator up 22 floors, turning a few corners, and walking up a lengthy corridor, we reach a room marked 2237, with the name, “RENA,” under it.

    The nurse opens the door, saying, “Rena, your daughter and brother have arrived.” She steps aside to let us enter the room, which is pretty homey, actually, the floor made up of blue and white tiles, the wall painted light pink, and the bed set up parallel to the window, and that is where I see my sister, Rena, age thirty-seven, wearing a hospital nightgown, though most of her is under the sheets. She has the same shade of silver hair that I have, only long and wavy. She and Natalie share the same light-blue eyes.

    “I brought him, mom,” says Natalie, “How are you holding up?”

    “I'm doing okay,” Rena answers my niece, “My leg feels like it's on fire sometimes, but I'm managing. They are still trying to drain the venom, though. They said I should be out in a week.”

    “Hey, Rena,” I greet.

    “Glad you came to visit, Richter,” responds my sister.

    “Yeah, well, when your niece comes all that way to tell you to come home, you don't easily turn it down, speaking of which, why did you send her? Anyone who's a sister of mine should be aware that it would be much easier to call me, asking me to send a card or something...”

    Rena lets out a long sigh, “I'm happy to see you're so concerned about my well-being. What a thoughtful little brother you are.”

    “Well, I'd say you're doing pretty well, if you have enough energy to make a sarcastic remark,” I retort.

    Natalie asks, “Mom, why did you send me to bring back Uncle Richter? I mean, he has a point about phone calls and cards, and stuff.”

    Rena pauses, “I'll tell you later, Natalie, but for now, would you mind leaving us alone? There's something I'd like to speak with my brother about privately.”

    “C'mon,” says Natalie.

    “Later,” repeats Rena, “Could you just step out for a couple minutes, please?”

    “Fine,” says Natalie, leaving the room and closing the door behind her.

    As soon as I hear the door click shut, I say, “Alright, Rena, let's hear it. What was so important that you had to send Natalie out to the countryside, and have her drag me back home? Are you telling Natalie a white lie, by saying you're not in danger, when you want to entrust the much darker truth to me? A Beedrill's Poison Sting attack to the leg; I fear for your life.”

    “Knock off the bad sarcasm, you smartass,” says Rena, “It's embarrassing. I was planning on sending Natalie to bring you back, hospital, or not. I just thought you'd be more likely to listen under these circumstances.”

    “So opportunistic,” I say.

    “The truth is,” says Rena, “The reason I wanted you to come is more about you, than it is about me.”

    “Okay. Care to make sense, now?”

    Rena's tone turns solemn, “Richter... as your sister, do you think I like seeing you waste away on your broken dream?”

    “... Excuse me?”

    “I understand what life has been like for you, and I know why you worked so hard to become Champion, and I can guess how it must be for you, now that you feel powerless to fulfill that goal. However, no matter how much you're trying to deviate from it, you are a Pokémon trainer, a strong one, and I know you have a greater destiny than being a rancher...”

    “Like what?” I say.

    “I don't know,” says Rena, “but you'll never find out, if you continue to be so devoid of passion. Natalie is excited about becoming a trainer, and she is aspiring to become as strong as you. That is why I want you to be Natalie's mentor. I want you to teach her about Pokémon training and battling, and I hope you'll find your own answers through that.”

    I want to tell Rena that she's just wasting her and, more importantly, my time, but she actually gets me thinking. That battle with Billy, helping Natalie capture her first Pokémon... I'd felt the happiest I had been in a long time. Maybe Rena has a point. Pokémon battling does make me happy, and after all these years of accepting defeat, it feels new and refreshing to me again.

    However, I'll admit that I'm too stubborn to just give in to what Rena said, so I just respond nonchalantly, “Whatever. I'll help Natalie out...”

    “Good. We still have that guest room at our house, so you can sleep there while you're still here.”

    “Okay. Well, I'm leaving. At the risk of sounding cliché, get well soon, dear sister...”

    “Hold on,” calls out Rena, “There's one other thing...”

    “What?”

    “There's something I want to return to you.”

    “Hm?”

    Rena extends her arm from under her bedsheets and points at a table at the corner of the room. There are two Pokéballs on it, or rather, one standard Pokéball, and one yellow-and-white Ultra Ball, “I'm sure one of those is familiar to you...”

    I walk over to the table. The Pokéball has 'EEVEE' in decorative letters and permanent ink written on it. Rena's Pokémon is probably in there, though the name on the ball is not quite up to date, if Natalie was telling me the truth about Rena evolving her Eevee into Flareon.

    However, I instantly notice the Ultra Ball. In my handwriting, in plain capital letters, there is a scratched-out 'S' on it and a solid 'F.' This is Froslass's Pokéball. My Froslass, who I gave to Rena. In terms of behavior toward me, Froslass was the polar opposite of Roserade, always obedient and polite. She usually responded to my instructions with a bow, that silently screamed, “Yes, honored master.” However, that didn't keep me from working her into the ground, just like the rest of my team, but no matter what, she remained as loyal as ever, and, after being defeated and humbled, I felt so guilty about that, feeling I wasn't worthy of such a Pokémon, I gave her to Rena for protection, since at the time, I thought she'd never evolve her Eevee, and that she might need a stronger Pokémon to defend her, so I gave Froslass to her.

    I glance back at my sister, “You're talking about Froslass, aren't you?”

    “I know you gave her to me to be a protector,” says Rena, “but the fact is... she doesn't like me. In fact, she hates me. She always acts so defiant toward me.”

    “Impossible,” I say, “I told her to fight for you. She'd always obeyed my orders down to the letter. If I told her to protect you, she would.”

    “She protects me...” starts Rena slowly, “but she isn't a very good sport about it. It's like she'd much rather fight for someone else. I wonder who that might be...”

    I recall Natalie saying something about my Froslass possibly causing trouble, but doubting her, but now that Rena is practically branding my polite ice-type as troublemaker as well, I feel I should find out.

    “Prove it,” I say, handing Froslass's Pokéball to Rena.

    “It should be fairly easy to prove,” says my sister, “hide somwhere and watch.”

    I do what Rena instructs. The tablecloth on the table that Froslass and Flareon's Pokéballs were on when I entered the room extends down to the floor, so I can duck on the other side of that. I peek around the side, so I can see what Froslass does, if she thinks only Rena is around.

    With a flick of her wrist, Rena throws the Ultra Ball, and Froslass, the Snow Land Pokémon, an ice/ghost-type, appears, floating in midair, with a red sash around her waist, and almost looking like she's wearing a white and blue kimono, and a mask, which her arms extend from, with a pair of crystalline horns protruding from it.

    Froslass is initially facing away from Rena, but turns toward her, favoring her right side, therefore missing sight of me. The Snow Land Pokémon's eyes suddenly glow a cold blue, and the room's temperature drops thirty degrees instantly. Other than that, Froslass doesn't do anything, but lowering the temperature around her is her way of expressing discontent. I can tell right away that what I was told wasn't nonsense. It turns our Froslass really is unhappy with my sister.

    With Rena under care, I shouldn't let this decrease in heat last any longer. I step out from the corner, snapping, “Froslass!”

    Froslass glances in my direction, in the room quickly becomes thirty degrees warmer, as her eyes stop glowing. She lowers to the ground, bows at me respectfully, and says in a soft voice, “Froslass fros.”

    I kneel until my face is at the same height as Froslass's, and I'm looking her in the eye, ”What are you doing? I told you to watch out for my sister. Why are you being so rude?”

    With a somewhat guilty expression, Froslass responds in rapidfire 'Froslassese,' which, of course, I don't understand, but, from her posture and facial expression, it seems like she's practically pouring her heart out to me, and I have a good idea of what she's trying to say.

    “Do you hate my sister?” I ask.

    Froslass shakes her head, though her expression looks upset. She moves on to speak to me some more in her unique language, with a somber expression on her face.

    I get it... or at least I think I do, “You don't hate my sister... but you would rather continue fighting by my side, is that it?”

    “Froslass,” responds the ice/ghost-type, with a nod. Well, it looks like it's just as Rena said.

    I'm going to be Natalie's mentor, but I guess I should expect to be having a few battles of my own, especially now that I'm back in Oreburge, where my reputation as a trainer is well-known, and some people would probably jump at the chance to battle me. Another Pokémon will be helpful.

    I extend my hand for a handshake, “Alright, then. Welcome back aboard, Froslass.” We shake, but just once, before I quickly withdraw my hand. Damn, that's cold! I would have gotten a frostbite if that lasted!

    I grab Froslass's Pokéball, recall her, and attach it to my belt. I now have Gallade, Sandslash, Jolteon, and Froslass along with me.

    “That's all I need you for,” says Rena, “Like I said before, you can stay in our guest room at home. You remember where I live, don't you?”

    I look at Rena, narrow-eyed, “It's only the place I'd grown up as a kid. You only have it, because mom and dad moved to Hoenn, and left it in your hands.”

    “I'm glad you remember. Well, send Natalie back in. Talking to you depresses me, so I need someone who can make me smile...”

    “Glad to help,” I mumble as I head to the door.

    “Oh, one last thing, Richter.”

    “What?”

    “Don't think for a second you're gonna freeload off me. I'm expecting you to make some money, so be sure to win a Pokémon battle or two, and pay off your room and board, alright? 5,000 credits a month should do it.” Talk about a hard bargain. Even the rent on my cabin costs less...

    “Yeah, fine...” I leave the room. I can't believe there was once a time when I actually looked down on Rena, like a younger sibling...

    Outside the room, Natalie is sitting on a bench. “Natalie, Rena want you to--”

    “Come back in, right? Well, I look forward to you being my mentor. With you teaching me, there's no one who will beat me!”

    “You were eavesdropping? Well, when you get in there, tell Rena she should have raised you better. Well, see you at your home.”

    “Okay. Um... Uncle Richter? When will we start... y'know... training and all that?”

    “First thing tomorrow. Well, I'm going.”

    ---

    As I return to the hospital's entrance and leave, my mind wanders through my conversation with Rena. Become a trainer again, huh? Not a bad idea... After all, researching and training Pokémon is about the only thing I'd ever been good at. If I can find some direction in life, based on that, that would be just swell.

    My hand pats Froslass's Pokéball on my left hip. Even if she were obedient to my sister, Rena wouldn't have needed her anymore anyway, since she evolved her Eevee into Flareon, which is much better for protecting her from wild Pokémon than it would unevolved.

    I leave the hospital, and decide to ponder the events more when I get to Rena's house, like how I should start with Natalie's training tomorrow. I guess getting her ready for Oreburge Gym, but I'm not sure yet...

    It's now 5:00 in the afternoon, with the sun close to setting. With Natalie capturing Starly, her first battle, trading Starly for Spearow, that long talk we had on the bus, that big chat with Rena, and getting Froslass back, a lot has happened in one day, and I'm getting tired...

    Only a few minutes away from my old neighborhood, I pass through Oreburge City's town square, and there, off in a nearby park, I notice a large group of people are gathered, and I'm sure if the cheering happened to be any louder, it would cause some irreparable problems to one's hearing.

    With my curiosity getting the better of me, I decide to walk over to the crowd, and see just what is so special about the scene they are beholding. Looking though the tightly packed crowd, I see some lines on the concrete ground. This is a field designated for Pokémon battles. Overall, it's a quarter of a football field's length, and the ground shows some wear and tear from previous battles fought on it. That's right... As a child, I remember this place being where members of a region's Elite Four visit and demonstrate their Pokémon's abilities, trying to inspire up-and-coming trainers. I should know, because that's exactly what happened with me back then.

    Needless to say, there is a Pokémon battle going on. One of the Pokémon is a humanoid blue toad, and the other is a blue dog-like creature with fish-like attributes. They slowly sidestep and stare each other down.

    The crowd is dense, so my view of the battle area is limited, thus the Pokémon's trainers aren't within my sight, but I hear a familiar male voice commanding the blue toad, “Attack, Toxicroak! Poison Jab!” The Toxicroak, a poison/fighting-type, charges at its opponent, with its fists radiating purple mist. It throws a punch, but the blue dog-fish, Vaporeon by name, another evolution of Eevee, water-type, swiftly sidesteps it. It attacks with its other fist, but Vaporeon tilts its head to the side, causing that attack to miss as well.

    Vaporeon's trainer, obviously taking advantage of the fact that the Toxicroak is right in front of it, orders, “Vaporeon! Hydro Pump!” It takes me a few second to realize it, but I recognize the other trainer's feminine voice as well... and I should, since I can link that voice and the Vaporeon together.

    The Vaporeon swiftly dodges another poisonous punch from Toxicroak as its entire body starts to rumble. Finally, it opens its mouth and releases a powerful, highly pressurized, blast of water. Its hard to see what happens afterward, since the blast exploded on impact, and all I can see is water flying everywhere, splashing the onlookers.

    When the watery burst clears, Toxicroak is no longer in sight. Since it was hit with a point-blank Hydro Pump attack, one of the most powerful water-type techniques a Pokémon can perform, it was probably sent flying several feet, and would no doubt be hard-pressed to continue to battle after a hit like that.

    Out of sight, the Toxicroak makes a strained cry, and its trainer cries, “Aw man! Return, Toxicroak!”

    There is a loud cheer from the audience. The Vaporeon's trainer recalls the Bubble Jet Pokémon, and declares, “This victory is mine, but give Billy here a big hand! He, and his Toxicroak, totally fought well!”

    The cheering continues, and several people are chanting, “Pokécop! Pokécop!”

    'Pokécop?' Now I know for sure who the Vaporeon's trainer is...

    After the cheering dies down, the crowd disperses, and I can finally see the trainers. The trainer from the Toxicroak's side is Billy. It's surprising, but he did call me, saying that he was on his way to Oreburge City. I never thought I'd run into him, though...

    The Vaporeon's trainer, the victor of the match, is a tall young woman with short blonde hair, in a police officer's uniform. I know her too well: Alice, age twenty-seven, my childhood friend and a major rival of mine back from my days as a trainer. Back then, we had countless matches and she made it about as far as I did, winning seven badges, but failing to win her eighth, but instead of obsessively trying to overcome the final Gym, like I did, she decided to stop traveling as a trainer, and returned to Oreburge City to dedicate her talents to law-enforcement. Since she's well-known in Oreburge as a powerful trainer, and, through that reputation, a feared police officer, she had earned the nickname, Pokécop, though seeing as she's in her uniform, and therefore, on duty, but still battling for fun, she sure doesn't take her job too seriously. The reason she hadn't been fired is probably because her Pokémon are so powerful, as opposed to the government-trained Pokémon police usually use, which are usually mediocre.

    As Billy turns to walk away, his gaze passes me, and then he does a double-take, “Hey! Richter?”

    Alice, who no doubt heard Billy shouting out to me, turns in my direction, “Huh? Richter?”

    Great... With their respective acknowledgments of my presence, the remaining onlookers, remembering my own accomplishments as a trainer, start staring at me, as well.

    With me as the center of attention, I speechlessly say, “Um... Hi?”

    “Well, well,” says Alice with a grin, her surprise at my sudden appearance fading very quickly, “I was starting to think you'd never return. You really should get out more, Richter. If you keep being so reclusive, no one will ever wanna marry you. Your good looks are seriously going to waste.”

    “I'd say the same thing to someone who had never once acted like a woman since the day I met her,” I retort.

    “What?” says Billy, “Ya know each other?”

    “Oh yeah, we do,” says Alice, “Richter here is one of the few trainers to make me feel challenged... or at least he was. So, Richter, how long has it been since you last battled? Eight years? I remember you being a real crybaby about how you could beat your last Gym and that you'll never battle again. Thank you for your Roserade, by the way.”

    “You're welcome,” I mutter, “And I'm sure you'll be pleased to know I battled yesterday.”

    “Yeah!” yells Billy, “Against me!”

    “Is that so...” says Alice, straightening her police hat, “So, how badly did you lose?”

    “Oh, let me assure you, I won.”

    “Seriously?” responds Alice, who, despite her words, doesn't seem the least bit surprised.

    “His Gallade was totally strong!” says Billy, “I wanted it for myself!”

    Alice lets out a small chuckle, “Hmhm... I guess there's some thing you don't lose, even in your old age...”

    “Hey!” I yell, “I'm twenty-nine, and you're only two years younger than me! I don't think you're in any position to call me old.”

    Alice, who is no doubt enjoying this, ripostes, “At least I don't have gray hair. Oh, and I think my granddad wears the same frames for his glasses!” What? I thought the frames I chose were rather stylish!

    “You know what? I take it back. Maybe you are still a kid, Alice. After all, you still haven't matured enough to know my hair is silver.”

    Alice pulls a Pokéball from her belt, and even though the onlookers are silent, I can practically feel their excitement. A possible Pokémon battle between two of the finest trainers in Oreburge? Hard to beat... I wanted to just go home and rest, but I want to put Alice in her place for calling me old even more. She always knew how to push my buttons...

    “Okay, Richter, why are we even having this verbal argument. We should know each other well enough to know how we settle every argument. I challenge you, Richter! To a Pokémon battle!”

    The crowd's silence is broken by a thunderous cheer.

    “Very well,” I say, which results in another loud cheer, “I'll gladly show you how immature you are for thinking you can beat me.”

    Alice's grin widens to extend across her entire face, “Okay! Thank you so much for giving in to my taunts. Here are the rules: Singles, four-on-four, one switch permitted. How about it?”

    “'Four-on-four?'” I ask. A four-on-four battle means each trainer will send out four of their Pokémon, which happens to be the exact amount of occupied Pokéballs I have with me, “You know what you'll have to do if you knock out all my Pokémon... not that it will happen.”

    “I know,” says Alice, “and I don't mind. I'll happily be the brave knight that protects Princess Richter from the evil dark-types on her dangerous journey through Oreburge to the Pokémon Center.”

    “Okay. Deal,” I say, deciding the best retort for Alice's latest swipe at me is through battle.

    With the onlookers yelling wildly, I step into Billy's side of the field. Some people, choosing sides, are chanting “Pokécop,” while others are chanting, “Richter.” I wonder why I never got a catchy nickname. I suppose I'll think one over later and find a way to advertise it...

    “Hey, careful,” says Billy, “She's really tough.”

    “She used to be my rival,” I say, “I should know...”

    The crowd simmers and watches intently. Yesterday, Billy thought I was an amateur and let me send out my Pokémon after he sent out his, but this time, it's a match between two trainers, well aware of each others' power, so we'll send out our Pokémon at the exact same time, and we won't know who has the advantage until the battle actually starts. That means there is no strategy involved. It's all a matter of intuition and luck... at least under normal circumstances...

    Who will Alice send out? I can see she's still using her starter, the Eevee she evolved into Vaporeon. If her team hadn't changed since last year (she showed me her Pokémon... we didn't battle, though she did challenge me), I should know all six of the Pokémon she has with her... of course, she probably has the same advantage, at least in the case of my Jolteon, Sandslash, and Gallade. She's probably wondering which Pokémon is in my forth Pokéball, since she doesn't know Rena returned my Froslass to me.

    I decide to take advantage of that fact. She'll probably send out something that has an edge over the three she's expecting, but I'll catch her off-guard with Froslass!

    “Let's do this thing!” declares Alice, as she had made her own choice of who to send out first.

    We toss our Pokéballs into the field.

    “Let's show her we're still strong! Go Froslass!”

    “Let's have some fun! Go Altaria!”

    Froslass appears, and at the same time, a blue bird-like Pokémon with wings that look like fluffy clouds appears on Alice's side of the field. Altaria, the Humming Pokémon, a dragon/flying-type. Perfect! It's at a complete disadvantage against an ice-type like Froslass!

    Alice's grin fades as she realizes the position she's in, “Dude... I dunno about your skills and power, but I guess luck hasn't failed you...”

    “Froslass!” my Snow Land Pokémon yells at Altaria, and the Humming Pokémon looks worried.

    “Ice Beam!” I command. Froslass fires a beam of condensed cold air from her mouth at Altaria. The dragon/flying-type dodges to the side, the beam just grazing it. Altaria winces as a patch of ice forms on the side of its neck, and steam rises as if the ice were hot iron.

    “Again!” I command. Froslass fires another beam, but Alice's Altaria is surprisingly swift, and it dodges that one as well, “Press the attack!” Froslass keeps firing Ice Beams at Altaria, who keeps taking evasive action, dodging or being grazed, not that I'm worried, since it will be down when just one beam scores a direct hit.

    “It can't keep dodging it forever!” I taunt Alice.

    “Damn...” curses Alice, “Fight back, Altaria! Flamethrower!” Altaria attempts to obey while dodging, and one of its wings gets hit as a result, a small patch of ice forming on it.

    Altaria winces long enough for me to make a counter-command, “Hail!” Froslass raises her arms and suddenly, a tiny snowstorm forms inside the confines of the designated arena. It gets much cooler where I'm standing, but I can stand it. It's undoubtedly much colder toward the center of the arena.

    Altaria blows fire at Froslass, but the blizzard activates Froslass' ability, Snow Cloak, and she vanishes out of the attack's path, reappearing behind the Humming Pokémon. Our advantage is evident.

    With one of its wings frozen, Altaria is helpless to dodge Froslass's next beam. It's a direct hit, and Altaria becomes encased in ice. Good! It can't fight back now! It's time to deliver the final blow. Froslass and I are off to a very good start.

    Apparently, Alice realizes the same thing, “I have no choice... Return, Altaria!” She extends her Pokéball toward Altaria and it vanishes with a flash.

    The rules of this match permitted Alice and I a single switch each. That means that only once in the battle, we can recall our Pokémon without them being rendered unable to fight first, and send them out later. While Altaria is at a disadvantage against ice-types, it has very few weaknesses otherwise. I'm surprised Alice was forced to use her switch so early in the battle, but she is probably trying to save Altaria for a better matchup.

    However, Altaria was frozen, and it will still be when its sent out again... or not. Oh right, its ability, Natural Cure. Alice still knows her stuff...

    However, I'm still at an advantage, looking at the battle as a whole. One of Alice's Pokémon is weakened, and I still have my switch, while Alice just used her's.

    Alice sends out her second Pokémon, “Go, Blaziken!” On Alice's side, a red and yellow humanoid chicken with long feathers extending from its head, and a pair of powerful-looking legs, appears. Blaziken, the Blaze Pokémon... Alice spent one summer vacation of her training abroad in the region of Hoenn, where she caught the Pokémon that eventually evolved into her Blaziken and Altaria. Blaziken is a fire/fighting-type, perfect to counter an ice-type with.

    However, Froslass' blizzard is still in effect, so she can evade anything Blaziken can throw at her, disadvantage, or not.

    “That's not going to work!” I taunt Alice.

    “Oh yes it will!” taunts Alice back, “Blaziken! Sunny Day!” Blaziken extends one of its taloned arms to its side, and suddenly, an intense burst of heat extends from its body, which immediately makes me sweat. The wind and snow inside the arena disappears, and in its place, there is heat so strong, it distorts my sight of the battleground. Froslass looks discomforted by the change in condition, but she's still standing.

    Still, Froslass does know some techniques that can counter a Pokémon like Blaziken, “Froslass! Water Pulse!” The Snow Land Pokémon fires a blast of snow from her mouth, which instantly melts into a blast of water. However, Blaziken dodges it by jumping thirty feet into the air over it.

    “Blaziken! Blaze Kick!” commands Alice. Blaziken's legs ignite and it shifts into a flying kick position and rockets down toward Froslass.

    “Quick!” I yell, “Water Pulse! Counter it!” Froslass fires another Water Pulse up at Blaziken. The two attacks collide and struggle against each other. Finally, to my dismay, Blaziken's attack proves to be stronger, no doubt backed up by Sunny Day, and it breaks through Froslass's attack. Blaziken comes down like a missile and there's no way Froslass will dodge in time!

    The Blaze Kick attack connects and Froslass is sent reeling. However, the ice/ghost-type, after being knocked down and burned, manages to recover, albeit severely weakened. I guess the Water Pulse softened Blaziken's attack somewhat. However, there is still no way Froslass will beat Blaziken in her current condition.

    What to do...? Should I try to weaken Blaziken a little more before the Blaze Pokémon delivers the finishing blow, then take it out with my next Pokémon? It's not a bad tactic, but since Alice withdrew Altaria, she'll have to send it out again later. If Froslass is defeated, none of my other Pokémon will have a distinct advantage over Altaria. I guess I know what I should do...

    “Finish it, Blaziken! Fire Punch!” At Alice's command, one of Blaziken's talons ignites and it charges at Froslass.

    “Froslass, return!” I extend Froslass's Pokéball toward her, and she vanishes with a flash of light, just a split-second before Blaziken's attack can connect.

    Alice smiles, “So you decide to use your switch? That was a good move... Too bad you can only use it once.” That is true. Now that both of us have used the single switch we were permitted for this battle, our Pokémon will now have to battle until they faint.

    “Likewise,” I say, going for my next Pokéball, containing my best Pokémon to answer Blaziken with.

    “Go, Sandslash!” I send out Sandslash.

    Alice sighs, “Figures. Blaziken! Flamethrower!”

    Blaziken extends its arms and releases a stream of fire from its beak, which rapidly approaches Sandslash.

    “Sandslash! Defense Curl!” Sandslash curls herself up and she plows through the fire.

    “Slaaaaaash!” Sandslash lets out an anguished cry, but at least her body is intact from the fire. She makes it through the inferno, and rolls toward Blaziken as a flaming spiked ball.

    “Rollout attack!” Sandslash springs off the ground and flies toward Blaziken.

    Just as the Blaze Pokémon is about to sidestep Sandslash's technique, Alice calls out, “No, Blaziken! Hold your ground!” Blaziken, without glancing back at Alice, nods and does as commanded. Just what is she thinking?

    Blaziken extends its arms and Sandslash slams into it. Blaziken lets out a sharp cry as Sandslash's quills sink in. However, it endures, and throws Sandslash upward. The ground-type unrolls to see what had just happened, as what she felt is different than according to plan, but that turned out to be a mistake as she left herself open to Blaziken's next move.

    “Sky Uppercut!” commands Alice. Blaziken's talons curl into fists and it throws an upward punch, which catches the Mouse Pokémon in the gut, and sends it flying several feet straight into the air. The onlookers let out an excited gasp.

    Alice smirks, “Awesome work, Blaziken. Now let's end this one in style. Go after it!” Blaziken jumps up into the air, after the airborne Sandslash, “Now, Richter, let's see your ground-type win an aerial battle with my Blaziken.”

    I grit my teeth and let out a discontented sound, “Tch.”

    Several feet above the battlefield, Blaziken reaches Sandslash's level.

    “Fire Punch!” yells Alice up to her fire/fighting-type. One of Blaziken's talons ignites and it slashes my ground-type across the face.

    “Slaaaaash!” Sandslash lets out another pained cry.

    “End this, Blaziken, with another Fire Punch!” Fire erupts from Blaziken's other talon and it rears back to deliver a finishing blow.

    “Sandslash!” I call out.

    “Slash!” Suddenly, Sandslash recovers and it manages to duck its head under Blaziken's swipe. I hear Sandslash let out another cry. I imagine her head was singed, though I can't say for sure from the distance and angle I am standing relative to Sandslash and Blaziken's location.

    Still, Sandslash dodged the full force of Blaziken's attack, and the Blaze Pokémon is left wide open. Sandslash takes full advantage of the fire/fighting-type's lowered guard and, without a command from me, performs a forward spin, hitting Blaziken hard from above with a Crush Claw attack, spiking it downward.

    Blaziken is sent plummeting back to the surface very fast and hits the ground hard.

    “Blaziken!” yells Alice.

    “Blaze...” Not yet defeated, Blaziken is on its hands and knees, trying to get up. The air around it is starting to distort as its body heat rises ever higher in its desperation. Blaziken's ability, Blaze. If Blaziken is allowed to attack again, Sandslash has little chance. We have to end this now!

    “Finish it, Sandslash!” I yell up to my still-airborne Pokémon, “Earthquake!” I command, swinging my arm downward for emphasis.

    Sandslash rolls into a ball again and rockets down toward the vulnerable Blaziken. It slams into the Blaze Pokémon from above with such force, I can feel a tremor from the ground.

    “Blaaaze!” Blaziken lets out a sharp cry of pain, just before its body goes limp. Sandslash rolls off Blaziken, which is about as defeated as it can be.

    Alice sighs, “Good job, Blaziken. Take a rest. It looks like Richter's Pokémon aren't the only ones that are gonna be in need of a Pokémon Center...” She recalls her Pokémon. Just as I'm about to make a I-still-have-four-and-you're-down-to-three retort, I notice that she's actually right. Sandslash is in rough shape from the battle with Blaziken. She's breathing fast, and some of her quills are on fire, not to mention the nasty burns and cuts on her head. She's not in good shape for whoever Alice is gonna send out next. I want to recall Sandslash, but the current rules prohibit it. We'll just have to deal with what's coming. As long as she can still fight, there's a chance.

    After a few idle seconds, Alice grins and says, “Y'know, Richter, I think I'm gonna call in a special guest!”

    “What are you talking about.”

    Alice says with her next Pokéball prepared, “...I'm gonna send out a grass-type to battle your ground-type...” She sends out her third Pokémon.

    Well, it's a grass-type, alright... a grass/poison-type, to be exact. However, I wasn't predicting this one, and honestly, I should have. The grass-type I remember Alice using for a long time was Bellossom. However, this green Pokémon has bouquets of red roses growing on one of its hands, black roses on the other, and a large white rosebud on its head. I also notice a small black smudge on the white rose. It's Roserade, the Bouquet Pokémon... my Roserade! The one I used to train, forced to evolve, and gave to Alice when I quit!

    Alice smiles a little too innocently, “Feeling nostalgic yet, Richter?”

    “Um... Hello...” I say to my former Pokémon, “It's been a long time, hasn't it? Have you been well?”

    “Rade...” Roserade turns her head to the side as if to say, “Hmph!” Well, ever since evolving, she made her contempt toward me pretty obvious. I wasn't expecting that to change...

    “Hey, is there something goin' on here?” asks Billy, a few feet behind me.

    “It's not important,” I answer Billy.

    “You sure have a sense for the ironic, Alice...” I glance at Roserade, “It's too bad we had to meet again like this, but don't expect any mercy!”

    “Roser!” Between her tone and expression, I can almost tell Roserade's words are, “Good. I am a proud Pokémon fighter and I don't want your mercy, Richter.”

    “Sandslash! Crush Claw!” I command. Sandslash jumps toward Roserade and slashes downward. Roserade steps back, avoiding the full force of the blow, but still gets grazed.

    “Giga Drain!” commands Alice. Roserade leaps toward Sandslash with one of her hands extended and grabs hold. Suddenly, both Pokémon's bodies emit green light, although how it affects them are completely opposite. The wound Roserade received from Sanadslash disappears completely and Sandslash slumps to the ground, unable to battle any longer. The count is now three Pokémon remaining for each side. I call back Sandslash.

    “So, who are you gonna send out next?” asks Alice. There's something that bugs me about her tone, as if she's counting on me to send out a particular Pokémon. She now knows I have Froslass, and that I also have Jolteon and Gallade as my remaining Pokémon. Since Froslass's ice-type has a big advantage over Roserade's grass-type, and Gallade's psychic-type has an advantage over Roserade's poison-type, she's probably expecting me to send out either of them, so she can use her remaining open Pokémon slot, which she has three choices to fill, to send out a Pokémon to counter them if Roserade goes down. If she takes down Froslass, Altaria, who she has to send out again, having sent it out once before, will be unopposed, in terms of type advantages, and Gallade is my strongest Pokémon, so the sooner in this battle I send him out, the better a chance Alice has of defeating him.

    It's a risky move, but I will send out the Pokémon she is probably not expecting, “Go! Jolteon!”

    Jolteon takes the field. Alice's eyes widen, “Um... okay... That's really... creative of you, Richter...” At least I know I caught her off guard.

    “Are ya sure about this, man?” asks Billy, “Electric attacks aren't exactly strong against grass-types, ya know?”

    “I know,” I respond, “but this is my best chance, without playing into Alice's hand...”

    “Ah well...” says Alice, casually straightening her police cap, “Roserade! Petal Dance!” Roserade extends her arms and spins, releasing countless petals, of black, red, and white, from her flowers. Within second, she is completely surrounded by a storm of petals. Roserade's signature move, Petal Dance... The petals can be used to shield her from attacks, and also be used for offense, as each petal has an edge as sharp as a knife's. It's the move she used on me, out of anger, years ago.

    “Attack!” commands Alice. Roserade sends the storm of petals in Jolteon's direction. Jolteon starts to run, but even though he's my fastest Pokémon, he won't dodge the wave in time... at least at his current pace.

    “Agility!” I command Jolteon. My electric-type suddenly accelerates rapidly. The swarm manages to catch his rear, inflicting a few small cuts, but for the most part, Jolteon managed to avoid the attack. The petals chase after Jolteon, however, with the Petal Dance technique in offense mode, Roserade is left unprotected.

    “Attack Roserade!” I command, “Quick Attack!” Jolteon charges at Roserade and slams her hard with his flank. Roserade staggers, left open to a follow-up attack.

    “Hit her again!” I yell, “Quick Attack!” Jolteon delivers a second blow.

    “Quick, Roserade!” yells Alice, “Call back your petals! Defend yourself!” At that order, the swarm of dangerous petals start flying back to Roserade.

    “Quick! Get outta there!” I yell.

    Jolteon dashes away from Roserade as its petals return to swirling around it in defense mode and the two face off once again,

    Just as I'm about to give Jolteon a new command, however, I notice something is wrong. His legs are starting to wobble, he's beginning to sweat a lot, and he's breathing much faster than normal.

    “Jolteon?” I say, baffled, “What's the ma--” I suddenly cut myself off, realizing what's going on. In Jolteon's side, the side it used to slam Roserade with, there are two tiny thorns stuck in it, and a purplish liquid oozing from the wounds. I'm an idiot! How could I have forgotten my former Pokémon's ability, Poison Point? When Jolteon directly touched Roserade to attack her, her poisonous thorns pierced Jolteon. He's poisoned!

    This is bad! The more Jolteon fights, the worse the poison will get, until he loses consciousness, but if he doesn't fight, he will be at Roserade's mercy. This looks hopeless either way...

    “Heh...” Both Alice and Roserade smirk, knowing the advantage they gained.

    Well, there's no choice. I'd best have Jolteon damage Roserade as much as possible before the poison becomes too much.

    Electric attacks aren't effective against grass-types, but Jolteon's lightning is powerful enough to put a sizable dent in Roserade, regardless... at least I hope so.

    “Hang in there, Jolteon! Thunderbolt!” I command. Jolteon, doing his best to endure the toxins in his body, channels his electrical power, and fires a powerful bolt of lightning at Roserade. However, the petals absorb most of the bolt's power, and whatever gets through, Roserade just shrugs off.

    “Too bad!” taunts Alice, “It looks like this battle is now going in my favor. Nice effort, though. How saying that you surrender?”

    “Say it yourself,” I retort, “You should know me well enough to know I never give up when I still have a chance!”

    “I dunno,” says Alice, “You quit as a trainer, so I thought I had you figured out pretty well. Oh well. Let's keep fighting. It's more fun that way.”

    I have to break through Roserade's shield if Jolteon is to harm her in any significant way... I think I have an idea!

    “Jolteon! Pin Missile!” Jolteon's fur suddenly sticks out to sharp points and they angle themselves in Roserade's direction, “Fire!” Jolteon fires the sharpened hairs on his body into Roserade's shield. They tear through the petals, reducing the amount defending Roserade. With the Bouquet Pokémon rendered vulnerable, I command, “Now! Thunderbolt!” Jolteon, using what seems to be the last of his remaining energy, fires another powerful bolt of lightning at Roserade, who is too slow to dodge. It scores a direct hit.

    Unsurprisingly, Roserade endures the electric attack. However, she seems to be having trouble moving. She's paralyzed. She also looks exhausted, as her remaining petals flutter to the ground. That's the big disadvantage of Petal Dance: it wears out its user severely.

    At the same time, Jolteon reaches his limit, and faints. I recall the Lightning Pokémon, “Good job, Jolteon. Take a rest.”

    “Well, you sure improvised on that one,” says Alice, “however, I now have the advantage in this battle: I have three Pokémon still standing, and you have two.”

    “I know...”

    Well, Roserade, my former Pokémon, managed to defeat both Sandslash and Jolteon... I suppose I should be proud to know she's as strong as ever...

    Anyway, who should I use next? Only Gallade and Froslass are left. Either of them can finish Roserade off easily. It's who Alice will send out next that's the issue. She has to send out Altaria again, plus she has any one of her other three remaining Pokémon to fill in her empty slot.

    Froslass is badly injured from her battle with Blaziken, while I hadn't sent out Gallade, my strongest, at all in this battle, so he's at full strength. The choice is obvious...

    “Go, Froslass!” I toss my Pokéball, and Froslass takes the field again.

    Alice smirks, “Saving the best for last, Richter?”

    “Wouldn't you do the same?”

    “Roserade!” Alice calls out, “Approach Froslass and hit her with Sludge Bomb!” Roserade, attempting to obey, takes a step in Froslass's direction only to be stopped by paralysis and fall to the ground. “C'mon!” Alice yells out, “Resist it!”

    Roserade, with determination, gets back to her feet, stumbles toward Froslass a few feet, and then fires a large glob of poisonous goo before the paralysis seizes her again and she falls down. However, the distance between Alice's grass/poison-type and my ice/ghost-type is still very great and even weakened, Froslass dodges with little trouble. Roserade tries to get up again, but it keeps getting harder for her.

    With a shrug, I say, “Well, I said no mercy... Finish her, Froslass. Ice Beam!” As the Snow Land Pokémon is about to fire her beam, I say, “You've become so strong, Roserade. I know you'll never forgive me, but I really am proud of you.” Froslass fires her beam and within a second, Roserade is covered in frost, defeated. Now, Alice and I both have two Pokémon left to send out.

    Alice recalls Roserade, “Very touching, Richter. I guess you really have gone past your 'Pokétyrant' phase...”

    “We all have to grow up sometime...”

    “Totally...” Alice draws another Pokéball from her belt.

    Who will she send out next? She does have Vaporeon, which should stand a more than a good chance against Froslass in the condition she's in, but if replacing her Bellossom with Roserade was the only alteration she made to her old team, the best Pokémon she'll have to counter Froslass with is Weavile, an ice-type to match my Froslass's, but also a dark-type to overcome her ghost-type. Froslass would no doubt be beaten, but then I'd send out Gallade, who, as a fighting-type, should be able to defeat Weavile easily. The only Pokémon Alice would have left to send out, according to this match's rules, is Altaria, which has a type advantage over Gallade, but seeing as it was weakened by Froslass at the beginning of the battle, Gallade should stand a very good chance. Yes! If Alice will just send out her Weavile next, this battle should very well be mine!

    Of course, nothing goes according to plan, as Alice sends out her next Pokémon, “Come back out! Altaria!”

    As expected, Altaria used its Natural Cure ability, and is no longer encased in ice...

    “What are you thinking?” I demand of Alice, “Do you honestly believe you can win this round?”

    “Totally!” answers Alice, “C'mon, Richter. Look at Froslass, and then at Altaria, and tell me what you think. Don't be shy, now.”

    I do what Alice suggests, and I almost immediately see what she's getting at. Both Pokémon are weakened, but while Altaria is just enduring some freeze wounds, Froslass, on the other hand, is an absolute wreck. Even if she has the type advantage, Altaria can still win through sheer attrition.

    “Oh man...” mutters Billy, “She's really good. I never would have done that...”

    “She's not the victor yet,” I remind Billy.

    Alice extends her arm, “Altaria! Dragon Dance!” Altaria's body begins to glow bright yellow as it becomes more powerful then before. Shoot... If Froslass takes even one blow from the dragon/flying-type, she's down.

    Not good! If Altaria defeats Froslass, Gallade will have to fight it, as well as whatever Alice deems fit to send out next. If I'm to win this battle, Froslass and I need to take Altaria down this round! Under the circumstances, however, I know one move that should accomplish that if Altraia manages to defeat Froslass, “Froslass! Destiny Bond!”

    Alice's eyes widen, and she grits her teeth, “What?”

    Froslass's body pulses with gray energy, which then expands to cover the field. The energy reaches Altaria, and its body starts to pulse too. Altaria looks like a shiver just ran up its spine. Destiny Bond... if Froslass runs out of energy to keep fighting, that effect extends to Altaria. Win or lose, it will go down.

    No doubt knowing this, Alice clenches her fist tightly in frustration. She then takes a deep breath and sighs, “Okay... It looks like this battle will be decided in the very last round. I can live with that. Still, Altaria, let's make Froslass regret that move! Take to the sky!” With a resolved nod, Altaria starts flying above the battlefield.

    “Ice Beam!” I command, “Keep it coming!” Froslass fires several beams up at Altaria, but its Dragon Dance technique made it faster, as well as stronger, and it evades the attacks.

    Finally, high above us, the Humming Pokémon pauses and hovers. “End this!” commands Alice, Draco Meteor!” Altaria's body glows red as it is about to unleash its strongest attack.

    However, now that Altaria is hovering still, it's our perfect chance to counterattack, “Once more time, Froslass! Ice Beam!” Froslass's body glows bright blue as she is about to unleash an extra powerful beam.

    The two Pokémon unleash their powerful attacks at the same time, with Altaria releasing several large blasts of powerful dragon energy to rain on the battlefield, while Froslass fires her Ice Beam up at the Humming Pokémon.

    Froslass tries the best she can to dodge Alaria's attack, but there are too many blasts, and one finally hits her, delivering a finishing blow. At the same time, the Ice Beam scores a direct hit on Altaria and it plummets out of the sky and slams the ground, defeated by both the ice-type attack and Destiny Bond. Both Pokémon are down. Now the battle his reached its final stage, with both Alice and I with one remaining Pokémon to send out.

    We recall our respective Pokémon and face off. No witty banter, nor taunts, this time. Neither of us is certain of victory now. The crowd isn't making any noise either, as the tension and anticipation rises.

    With a Pokémon standing on neither side, the rules dictate that we send our next ones out at the same time, just like the start of the battle.

    Of course, I only have Gallade left, but since Alice has only sent out three of her Pokémon, she has a choice of which of her remaining three to send out.

    Will it be Weavile? I seriously doubt it. Alice should know full well that Gallade is my last Pokémon, and that an ice/dark-type would be at an enormous disadvantage.

    Vaporeon, then? Possibly. However, it's probably still resting from its battle against Billy. Would Alice really leave the most important stage of this match to a weakened Pokémon, even if it is still very much in fighting condition?

    Assuming no other alterations had been made to her old team, besides switching Bellossom with Roserade, Alice's team should consist of Vaporeon, Blaziken, Altaria, Roserade, Weavile, and...

    We toss the Pokéballs containing our final Pokémon into the field.

    “Gardevoir! Let's win this thing!”

    “Go! Gallade!”

    Gallade appears before me, and on Alice's side is a Pokémon with an appearance close to that of Gallade's, only much more... feminine, I suppose, with a slender frame and appearing to be wearing something that can only be looked at as a gown. Gardevoir, the Embrace Pokémon, a psychic-type, and Gallade's... counterpart, of sorts. I used a Dawn Stone to evolve my Kirlia into Gallade, but without that, a Kirlia would have otherwise evolved into Gardevoir.

    Gallade is a psychic/fighting-type, while Gardevoir is just a psychic-type, but with Gallade's fighting half, Gardevoir actually has the type advantage, but it's not so great that we have no hope of winning.

    Gallade and Gardevoir slowly sidestep, facing off...

    “Gallade!” Gallade looks more on guard.

    “Garde...” On the other hand, Gardevoir's pose is somewhat more relaxed, with a smile. The Embrace Pokémon looks every bit as haughty as her trainer...

    Finally, Alice's command breaks the tense silence, “Gardevoir! Use Shadow Ball, and keep 'em coming!”

    I issue my counter-command, “Gallade! Dispel it with Night Slash!”

    Gallade draws its blades and strikes a defensive pose as Gardevoir extends one of her dainty arms and a large black ball of ghostly energy grows in front of her.

    The Embrace Pokémon unleashes her attack, Shadow Ball, a ghost-type attack, which would harm Gallade considerably if it hits... which it won't, as Gallade responds to my command, and its blades start to emit a bright purple light, the dark-type energy he needs for his Night Slash attack. Gallade swings one of his elbow weapons downward, cutting through the Shadow Ball attack unharmed.

    “Advance!” I command Gallade.

    Gardevoir prepares another Shadow Ball attack and fires it at the charging Gallade, who defends himself with equal success, despite the reduced distance between them.

    “Gardevoir!” yells Alice, “Don't bother charging! Just fire!”

    Gardevoir stops taking the time to power up her Shadow Ball attacks, and starts firing off a number of smaller blasts in rapid succession. Despite their considerably reduced power, however, Gallade will no doubt have a harder time defending himself against a much more merciless onslaught.

    Gallade manages to defend himself against a couple blasts, before one finally gets through his guard, stunning him. He gets hit by several more Shadow Balls and gets knocked off his feet.

    Alice smirks, “Awesome work, Gardevoir. Let's finish this! One more Shadow Ball... Make it a big one and get him while he's down!”

    “Voir!” responds Gardevoir, as she pours her energy into making one last Shadow Ball attack, making it as strong as possible in little time.

    Gallade is on his hands and knees, slowly rising... no good. He won't be back on his feet by the time Gardevoir unleashes her devastating attack. No, it can't end like this...

    I brainstorm a number of possibilities over the brief amount of time Gallade has. Finally, a incomplete, but promising, thought pops up, “Earthquake! Now!”

    “Gall...” Gallade raises one of his arms and a blade extends from his elbow.

    “Finish it, Gardevoir!” orders Alice, “Attack now!”

    Gardevoir fires her Shadow Ball, but not before Gallade juts his blade into the earth, making the ground rumble violently. Gardevoir is thrown off-balance, as are me, Alice, and the onlookers, and her Shadow Ball is misfired skyward. Afterward, she's knocked off her feet as Gallade is back on his.

    I command again, “Advance! Reach Gardevoir and deliver the finishing blow!” Gallade dashes toward the downed Gardevoir.

    On her hands, Gardevoir fires a small Shadow Ball, which Gallade narrowly dodges.

    “Gardevoir!” yells Alice, “Don't bother fighting back just yet! Just focus on getting back to your feet!”

    Gardevoir is back to her feet, just as Gallade is two seconds away from reaching her.

    “End this!” I yell, “Night Slash!”

    “Reflect!” commands Alice quickly, “Defend yourself!”

    CLASH!

    Gallade's blades connect with a psychic shield that Gardevoir materialized in front of her at the last possible second. Gallade's blades and Gardevoir's shield are deadlocked as the two Pokémon struggle to overpower each other. However, in terms of physical power, Gallade has the clear advantage, and it isn't long before the Blade Pokémon pushes Gardevoir back, prepared for another attack.

    “Brick Break!” I command, “Shatter that shield, then attack!” One of Gallade's blades glows bright red, and he thrusts it into the psychic shield, which shatters almost instantly, leaving Gardevoir defenseless. Gallade swings his other blade at Gardevoir quickly, not taking the time to power up for Night Slash, but just delivering a quick Slash attack, which cuts Gardevoir across her upper torso.

    “Voooiiiirr!” cries Gardevoir in pain.

    “Gardevoir!” yells Alice.

    “Excellent work, Gallade,” I say, “Press your attack and finish her off!”

    Gallade's blades glow purple again, as he prepares to deliver the final blow with Night Slash. However, Gardevoir recovers surprisingly fast, and she manages to step back, just out of the range of Gallade's swing. Gallade steps in for another Night Slash attack, but this time, Gardevoir vanishes instantly. She used Teleport. She reappears behind Gallade, and extends her hand forward as she prepares another Shadow Ball attack at point-blank range.

    Luckily, Gallade instantly senses Gardevoir's presence behind him, and he whirls around, swinging his blade in a Night Slash attack, dispelling Gardevoir's Shadow Ball. Gallade attacks again with a high slash, which Gardevoir manages to duck under, though it manages to graze her head, and then tries to maneuver around the psychic/fighting-type, but Gallade easily keeps pace with the Embrace Pokémon's actions. It's over. As long as Gallade is close to Gardevoir, he has the advantage.

    Alice, no doubt aware of this, commands, “Gardevoir! Use Psychic attack! Get him away from you!”

    Gardevoir thrusts her arms forward and unleashes a blast of powerful psychic energy, which sends Gallade flying several feet away from her and landing on his back.

    Gallade gets up and the Blade Pokémon and Embrace Pokémon face off, both clearly weakened from their battle. Neither of them will be able to stand it if this battle drags on any longer. It's all going to come down to the next attack...

    (More next post...)
     
  7. (Continuing...)

    “Galla-- Huh?” Before I can give a command, Gallade, acting on his own, charges straight at Gardevoir. That's weird... He's usually so obedient...

    “Gardevoir.... Hey! Wait!” At the same time, Gardevoir disobeys Alice, and starts powering up one last Shadow Ball attack.

    “Huh? What's up?” Billy asks no one in particular.

    Why are they acting this way...? Suddenly, an idea occurs to me. Gallade and Gardevoir are counterparts to one another, and neither of them can stand the idea of being outdone and being proven inferior. This has become personal for them, and they are taking it upon themselves to take the other out.

    Alice and I silently nod at each other. This is out of our hands. It all comes down to what the Pokémon decide for themselves.

    As Gallade charges in, Gardevoir powers up her Shadow Ball, but is not releasing it.

    Finally, As Gallade is only a few steps away from reaching Gardevoir, the psychic-type finally fires her ghost-type attack at a range where Gallade can neither dodge, nor defend., and it slams into him.

    However, despite the force of the blow, Gallade maintains his footing, although his legs are wobbling beneath him. He desperately tries to keep standing, as if he falls down, he won't have the energy to get back up.

    “Ga... laaaaaaade!” With a loud battle cry, Gallade wills himself to resume his charge. Gardevoir attempts another attack, but the Blade Pokémon is on her before the attack can even take form. His blades turn purple one more time as he attempts one last Night Slash with the limited energy he can still muster. This one connects, slashing the exhausted Gardevoir across the chest. He steps past, using his other blade to slash her flank, leaving two wounds with smoke rising from them.

    Both Gallade and Gardevoir struggle to keep standing. Finally, Gardevoir can't take it anymore and she collapses, soon followed by Gallade. Both Pokémon are down, this battle ended in a draw.

    I recall Gallade and Alice recalls Gardevoir, the battle over.

    The crowd lets out one last cheer. Sure, there was no victor, but when a battle gets that exciting, who cares? Finally, the crowd disperses, leaving just me, Alice, and Billy.

    After several seconds of silence, Alice starts laughing, “Hahaha! You're as strong as ever, Richter, and I'm glad! That was the most fun I'd had in a long time!”

    I can't help but crack a smile of my own, “Same to you, Alice. I'm... actually happy to fight you again.”

    “So, what happened?” asks Alice, “You were so reluctant to fight me last year, but it looks like your passion didn't go anywhere...”

    “Let's just say I had a little help in figuring out who I am.”

    “Yeah, sure,” says Alice, dismissing my vague response, “Well, you may still be a strong trainer, Richter, but that's only the case if your Pokémon are standing. Let's get you to a Pokémon Center! I still have Vaporeon and Weavile to protect you with, if a Murkrow decides to come down and peck your eyes out, or something.”

    “Um... Can I come too?” asks Billy, “I gotta patch up Toxicroak!”

    “Sure,” I say, “It was just yesterday, but I'm glad I ran into you again too.”

    The sun is now starting to set. I guess I have running into Alice and Billy, and getting to battle my rival again to add to my growing list of events for today. How fruitful.

    ---

    Perspective: Natalie

    The hours fly by as I talked with mom. I really hope she'll get better soon.

    Before I knew it, though, visiting hours had ended. I leave the hospital to see the sun is starting to set. I like the sunset, with the sun's light on the clouds, and stuff. It's relaxing.

    Now that I know for sure that mom is gonna be alright, I feel lighter, plus Uncle Richter, a trainer I had admired for a long time, has agreed to be my teacher. I've always loved Pokémon for how strong they are, and trainers, because they are both the friends and companions of Pokémon. I still find it hard to believe that I'm one of them now... although I could have been one sooner, if I had just buckled down and studied...

    People have to pass something called a Training Exam, in order to earn their Pokémon Training License. Well... they are called “Exams,” but it's really just a twenty-question test, with multiple choice answers, about the basics of Pokémon training and the responsibilities that go with having a License. People start taking it at the age of eleven, and if they fail, they have to wait a whole year before they can try again. I failed three times, before turning fourteen, and finally, just barely passing with a D-. My classmate, Kaitlin, passed last year, and a long time ago, she said she'd be a better trainer than I would. Now, she's a year ahead of me, but I'll catch up quickly, now that I have Richter to help me out! Oh yeah, I'm totally gonna put that Kait in her place!

    I am about to take the bus through the city, before I find out that the last one of the day had just left. Oh well, I'm a trainer now! As long as I have Pokémon to fight for me, I can go wherever I want, alone. If any wild Pokémon decide to show up, they'll have to get through my Eevee and Spearow first! No problem!

    I head through the city, on my way home. Since my neighborhood is located at the edge of the downtown area of Oreburge, and since it's gradually getting dark out, the amount of people and cars grows smaller and smaller, until I'm alone.

    When the sun has completely sunk below the horizon, and I'm just a few blocks away from home, I notice two guys leaning against the wall of a building, one probably a couple years older than me, and the other being an older teenager. Both of them are wearing bright yellow shirts, with some symbol... looking kinda like a backward “3.” It's weird that they're wearing the same thing. Oh well, maybe they are going for some kinda twin routine (though I thought only girls did that), not that I really care.

    As I walk by, the younger yellow-shirt calls out, “Hey you!”

    I glance at him, “Yeah? What's up?”

    “I see you got a couple of Pokéballs with you. Are you a trainer?”

    “Yeah... well, just starting out, but yeah.” I notice he has four Pokéballs on his belt, while the bigger guy, who hadn't spoken yet, has a full team of six.

    “So am I,” says the boy, “You wanna have a quick match?”

    I have to think hard on this. It's common knowledge that if a trainer refuses a challenge, he or she would not look good for future challengers, but there's something I seriously don't like about these guys, and my better judgment tells me to just walk... or better yet, run, away.

    “Sorry,” I say, “I kinda gotta get home. Thanks for the offer.”

    As I pick up my pace, I hear the bigger guy talk, “See, Sam? I was right. I knew she'd bee too scared for a real match. All kids talk big about becoming great trainers, but in the end, they can't take a challenge. It's really sad.”

    The big guy's words tick me off enough that I change my mind instantly, “You know what? I have a couple minutes to spare. Bring it on!”

    The kid... Well, 'Sam,' as the bigger guy called him, smiles, “Okay, good! I hadn't had a match all day. I was getting bored. Well, how about a quick one? Seeing as you only have two Pokémon along with ya, how about two-on-two doubles?”

    I tilt my head to the side, “'Doubles?'”

    Sam laughs, “You don't know what doubles means? You really are a newbie, aren't you?” I'm getting upset that someone not much older than me feels that he's in a position to school me, “It just means two of our Pokémon'll fight at the same time.”

    The big guy adds, “If you lose, I'll escort you to a Pokémon Center, so no worries, okay?” I don't want to spend any more time around these two than I have to, so I must win.

    We stand several feet apart, with all four hands between us holding a Pokéball.

    We send out our two Pokémon.

    “Go! Eevee and Spearow!”

    “Let's totally do this thing, Abra and Poochyena!”

    Sam sends out a yellow humanoid Pokémon with shut eyes and a small gray puppy-like Pokémon.

    I make the opening orders, “Eevee, Bite attack! Spearow, Aerial Ace! Both of you attack... um... Abra!” At least I think that yellow Pokémon is Abra, as Sam said when he sent his creatures out. Somehow, I have a worse feeling about that one, and I want it taken out quickly.

    Luckily... and embarrassingly, Eevee and Spearow both seem to know what an Abra is, as opposed to my clueless self, but they are charging toward the yellow one, so I guess my hunch was right. Spearow flies ahead, with Eevee close behind.

    “Abra, use Confusion! Poochyena, intercept with Tackle!”

    Abra makes a small sweeping motion with its hand, and Spearow is sent jerking sideways, away from his target by some unseen force. Is that one of those psychic-types?

    The gray puppy, “Poochyena,” or whatever, charges at Eevee from the side, but my Pokémon, jumps up, narrowly avoiding the attack, and is onto Abra, just as it sent Spearow flying. She sinks her teeth into Abra's head, and steam rises from the bite mark. “Abraaaaah!” Abra screams in pain. Huh? Was it weak against that, or something?

    Spearow is on the ground, and Sam takes advantage of that, “Poochyena! Bite Spearow! Don't give it a chance!” At the same time, Abra, seeming to be under the weather, pushes Eevee away with an invisible force.

    Great, now two fights are going on at once! Why did I agree to this doubles thing?

    I frantically make my commands, “Um... er... Eevee, Quick Attack! Spearow, um... Peck!”

    Before Abra can use some more of its mental hocus-pocus, Eevee charges in and slams it, knocking it off its feet. At the same time, Poochyena is over Spearow, about to bite, but my bird Pokémon thrusts its beak into the puppy's mouth before it knew what hit it. Poochyena staggers back, coughing out blood, while Abra doesn't look like it's getting up. Eevee is ready for another command, while Spearow is back off the ground.

    “Finish Poochyena!” I yell, “Eevee! Tackle! Spearow! Aerial Ace!” Spearow flies down at Poochyena and makes several fly-by attacks.

    “Bite!” yells Sam.

    Poochyena manages to catch on to Spearow's movements and clamps my bird Pokémon with its teeth, but that's when Eevee slams into the puppy's side. Poochyena opens its mouth wide, releasing Spearow and letting out a howl as it collapses. It looks like it's not about to continue fighting. Did I win?

    Sam recalls both of his Pokémon, “Well, not bad...”

    I recall Eevee and Spearow. “Okay,” I say, “You owe me some cash, so pay up!” I'm actually happy! After losing my first battle this morning, I won my second battle in the same day. This really makes up for my frustration earlier!

    “Right...” says Sam, “... but first, my big bro, Keith, has something to say...”

    Keith, or whoever, pulls a Pokéball from his belt, “Go! Pinsir!” Before the big guy, the biggest insect I'd ever seen appears, with a body looking to be of hard brown armor, and a pair of lethal-looking pincers on its head.

    Still, why is he sending out a Pokémon? “Um... what's going on?”

    “Do it, Pinsir!” The big bug charges at me. I turn to run, but it's too fast. It grabs my waist with its two long arms, holds me up off the ground and over its head, like I weigh nothing, even though I'm a foot taller than it, and its pincers close until they are barely touching the sides of my neck. If they close much further, they'd break my neck easily.

    “Wh-wh-what a-are you d-d-doing?” I try to sound in control, but I know I'm caught up in something dangerous and that I could die at a command from Keith, and my fear overrides anything more courageous I want to say.

    “Relax,” says Sam, “We're not gonna kill you or anything, as long as you cooperate, and I hope you do, 'cause killing a pretty girl like you would be a huge waste.”

    “Our 'request' is simple,” says Keith, “We want you to make a donation to our organization, Team Epsilon. That donation would be your Pokémon, namely the Eevee and Spearow you command.”

    “T-Team E-Epsilon?” I gulp. I can't do it. I've heard of people who use Pokémon to do bad things and take them from other people. I never thought I'd run into any of them. I can't let them have Eevee and Spearow, but what can I do? If I try to resist, the giant bug holding me above its head will kill me!

    Sam shrugs, “I'd rather ya had a ghost, psychic, or dark to donate, as we kinda need 'em right now, but I guess we should have known better from a newbie. Still, your guys have potential, and they'd make great vessels. Plus, we can always evolve your Eevee into Espeon or Umbreon, so it's not a complete loss. Funny, ain't it? If you had just lost, this wouldn't be happening to ya.”

    They would evolve my Eevee? Damn... I can't let them do this... but what can I do? I try to be defiant, but once again, my fear of what the big insect holding me up will do to me keeps me from acting the way I intend, “”Y-y-you can't... you... can't... you can't just...”

    Keith snaps his fingers, “Pinsir!” Suddenly, the pincers close in more. I can feel the little spines on them dig into my neck and break the skin, though I don't think any major damage was caused. They stop just short of probably breaking my neck, and whatever blinding fear I have is renewed several times over. No! I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die!

    Keith says, “The thought of just stealing your Pokémon has certainly cross our minds, but we try to maintain an amount of... legality in our actions, and thus, we'd much rather you hand your Pokémon over to us. If you want to live, make the donation. It's that simple.”

    I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die! I DON'T WANT TO DIE! Those words repeating in my mind, my tears, and a pounding heartbeat I had never felt before are the only things I am consciously aware of.

    The next thing I notice, my hands are leaving my hips, carrying my two Pokéballs, which I drop in Sam's hands.

    “Good girl,” says Keith, “Alright, Pinsir, release her.”

    The Pokémon throws me, and I crash into the side of a nearby building, my breath leaving me. I hit the ground, gasping and wheezing for air. When I finally look, Sam and Keith are gone. I didn't even see the direction in which they left.

    Damn it... damn it... So that's the kind of person I am, huh? Someone who would sacrifice her Pokémon, just to save her own life?

    Eevee... Spearow... My tears start to flow all over again, and the pain in my chest is getting to be unbearable.

    “AAAARRGGGHHHHHHHHHH!”










    ... and we'll leave off for now on that little cliffhanger. Thank you for the comments, and I hope you're looking forward for what's to come. Sorry about any typos I might have missed.
     
  8. Lol, I love the way you displayed the Gardevoir/Gallade rivalry. I'm just disappointed there were no skirt jokes. XD

    Well, it looks like team Epsilon is here! Judging from their name, it sounds like they want to bring more old-fashioned training values back.
     
  9. Part Five​

    Perspective: Alice

    Richter, that guy Billy, and I head to one of Oreburge's Pokemon Centers. There, I hand in all six of my Pokemon for healing (while only Gardevoir, Blaziken, Roserade, and Altaria got hurt badly, I fought a few victorious battles before Richter showed up, so Vaporeon and Weavile could also use the rest and relief), Richter hands in all four of his Pokemon, and Billy, just his Toxicroak. Besides the Pokemon Center's attendants, only the three of us are there. I makes sense, since it's getting pretty late. Luckily, there's a fast food joint within sight of the Center's front counter, and it turns out none of us had gotten anything to eat.

    Billy orders an oversized hamburger, that gets me wonder how he can be so thin, Richter orders Caesar salad, a dish he still hadn't gotten tired of, even after eating it constantly throughout his twenty-nine long years, and I order some good old french fires and three glasses of milk. Hey, I'm a growing girl! Twenty-seven isn't over the hill just yet...

    The three of us sit at a nearby table and chow down.

    As we eat, I ask Richter a question that I can't believe I hadn't asked sooner, “So, what brings you back to Oreburge? Is living in a cabin and working back-breaking Pokemon Ranch labor finally taking its toll, or something?”

    Richter answers, “My niece just earned her Trainer's License. She wants me to mentor her.”

    “Really?” I ask, “But... isn't she fourteen? Wow... talk about starting late...”

    “Like you're one to talk,” states Richter, “Didn't you get your License at the age of fourteen, as well?”

    “I got it at the age of thirteen. There's a difference.”

    Billy, not really being a part of our little debate asks Richter, “Yer niece is fourteen? Um... Is she cute?”

    Richter looks at Billy strangely, “I'm her uncle. How the heck should I know? How old are you, anyway?”

    “Sixteen,” answers Billy.

    I find this surprising, “Sixteen? You look older...”

    Richter adds, “All the Pokemon I'd seen you use are fully evolved too! You seem pretty accomplished for someone so young.”

    Billy takes a small bite out of his burger, “Well, my old man is... er... was a Gym Leader.”

    “'Was?'” I ask.

    Billy stares at the table, “He... got sick and died. He specialized in fighting-types, and handed his Pokemon down to me. Most of the Fighters I use were his...”

    “I'm sorry,” I try to console Billy.

    “So that's why you want to be a Gym Leader?” asks Richter, “To carry on, where your dad left off?”

    “... Yeah,” answers Billy, “I'm on a journey right now, to prove that I'm worthy of becoming a Gym Leader. I plan to compete in the Sinnoh Championship Tournament, and place high enough to get that kinda honor.”

    The Sinnoh Championship Tournament: A competition, taking place every three years, where the regional Champion, the Elite Four, Gym Leaders, if they so choose, and all aspiring trainers that earned eight Gym Badges, compete in. Each region has their own Championship Tournament, like the Kanto Championship Tournament, or the Hoenn Championship Tournament, but, needless to say, the one I'm gonna talk about is for Sinnoh only. Various honors are given, depending on where someone placed. The one that wins the entire tournament is crowned the new Sinnoh Champion, unless the current Champion manages to maintain his title. Those that place second, third, forth, and fifth become Sinnoh Elite Four members, and those who place from sixth place to twelfth place have the right to become Gym Leaders, in Sinnoh, or elsewhere, or some other high-ranking trainer.

    Richter and I planned to compete, but were pretty much shut down when we failed to win our eighth badge before then, and it came and gone, with us left behind. The next one is two years away...

    “How many badges do you have?” asks Richter.

    “Five,” answers Billy, “A long time, dad lent me a few of his Pokemon, and we had a zero-badge-ranking Gym battle, and won. That's when I got my first badge. Then, when I traveled to Sinnoh, I beat Snowpoint, Eterna, Canalave, and Pastoria. I came here to take on Oreburge.”

    “Well, the big competition is two years away,” says Richter, “Train hard.”

    “I totally will,” says Billy, “... but are you sure you don't wanna get your eighth badge and compete in it yourself?” Billy turns toward me, “You too, Alice. You guys are too good to let your skills go to waste.”

    “Are you sure?” I ask, “You said you want to place high enough to earn the right to become a Gym Leader. Seeing as you lost to both me and Richter, are you sure you want us to be with you in the same tournament?”

    “Hey, I totally would've won if I sent my Heracross out against Gallade and my Breloom out against Vaporeon. Besides, I'll get stronger by then, and I'll be on yer levels! You'll see!”

    Richter raises an eyebrow, “From what you'd told me about your Pokemon, both yesterday and today, I take it your team consists of Machamp, Infernape, Lucario, Toxicroak, Breloom, and Heracross? That's quite a diverse team of fighting-types.”

    “That's right,” says Billy, “and I have a lot of guys in storage. Once I evolve Kirlia into Gallade, I'm sure my main team will change a bit...”

    “Anyway,” I say, “I dunno. I think I'm doing fine as 'Pokecop' for right now...”

    “Aren't you still on duty?” Richter asks me.

    “Am I still in uniform?” I ask back, “Yes, I'm still on duty.”

    Richter's eyes narrow, though he's kinda... smiling, “And you fought how many recreational Pokemon battles? I'm certain your career will last for years to come.”

    “Hey, the OPD knows full well I'm their strongest trainer. They can't afford to fire me! How about you, Richter?” I try to mimic Richter's voice, “'Boo hoo! I lost! I'm gonna give up on being Champion! There's nothing else for me as a trainer!' Real manly.”

    “I'll see to it that Natalie makes it to the Championship Tournament someday.”

    “I'm sure you will, Richter, but we're not talking about Natalie; We're talking about you! I saw how passionate you were when we fought, and how hard you tried. Are your sure part of you is at least considering resuming your career as a trainer?”

    “D-don't be ridiculous!”

    Billy cuts into the middle of our argument, and says to Richter, “Um... anyways, you said your niece is a brand new trainer, right? Well, um... I have something that could help her out...”

    “What is it?”

    “I... dabbled a bit in Pokemon breeding, and I have a few eggs, which I think are pretty close to hatching. Maybe yer niece would want one?”

    Richter considers Billy's proposal for a few seconds, “Maybe. What are in those eggs?”

    “I lost track,” says Billy, But... um... there will definitely be a Fighter. That's all I can say.”

    Richter smiles, “Well, a fighting-type may come in handy, when Natalie battles Oreburge Gym's rock-types. Okay, Billy. I'm sure Natalie would be happy to get a Pokemon egg.”

    “Well, awright! I'll be right back with it!” Billy gulps down the last of his hamburger, and rushes off to the nearest PC terminal.

    With me and Richter alone, I say, “So, Richter, are you at least tempted by the idea of picking up where you left off, or have you gotten over your big grudge against Raoul?”

    Richter's face darkens at the mention of the name, Raoul, “That has nothing to do with it, Alice. All I wanted was to be a great trainer, that is all.”

    I crack a small smile, “You're not a very good liar, dude. I can still tell that you resent Raoul very much. I can't blame you. I want to put him in his place too.”

    We hear a catchy five-note jingle, and the Pokemon Center's audio system announces, “Trainers Richter, Alice, and Billy... Your Pokemon are fully recovered. Please pick them up at the front counter.”

    Billy returns to the table. He now has five Pokeballs attached to his belt, and he's carrying an egg that is about a foot tall. Seeing as most fighting-types are humanoid, and that they are usually curled up inside an egg, at least from what I'd seen hatch, whatever is supposed to hatch from it is probably a little over two feet tall.

    “Here it is!” announces Billy.

    “Alright,” says Richter, “Let me take it, and I'll give it to Natalie.”

    “C'mon,” says Billy, “Can I come with you? I wanna see your niece! I bet she's a real cutie!”

    Richter gives Billy a kinda funny expression, “Um... whatever. Fine, Billy. You can come along, but it's getting late, and there are no more spare bedrooms for you.”

    “Then I'll sleep elsewhere. If the Pokemon Centers close, I can just sleep outside. If I have my Fighters protecting me, those dark-type won't dare to pull some cheap move on me.”

    “Hmph. Fair enough. What about you, Alice?”

    “Nah,” I respond, “I gotta get back to the station, call it a day, go back to my apartment, and get some sleep.”

    As we head to the Pokemon Center's entrance to pick up out Pokemon, then leave, two people come in. One of them is some bespectacled overweight guy with a camcorder, but the other is a tall man, with brown hair arranged in a fancy haircut, a trimmed beard and mustache, and wearing a long black coat. I instantly recognize him, and I bet Richter totally does too.

    Raoul, age thirty-one... a native of Oreburge City that Richter and I grew up with... though, he was far from being our friend. In all the time I'd known him, he was a bully that picked on whoever he didn't like, and little Richter was one of his favorite victims. With a rich family, and close connections to Rale, Oreburge's patron Pokemon researcher, Raoul no doubt had a great sense of entitlement, and he felt he was in a position to condescend to anyone. I'd stood up for poor Richter on a few occasions, but all Raoul had to say to that was that Richter was such a wuss that a little girl had to fight his battles for him. It made me mad, and I'm sure it made Richter feel worse. He also made it no secret that he was aspiring to become a great trainer, and I'm pretty sure that's where Richter got most of his motivation from, because that's where I got a lot of mine from too, as he wanted to put Raoul in his place, and so did I.

    However, even though he's our mutual rival, Richter nor I ever beat him in a Pokemon battle. Raoul won his eighth badge, and moved on to the Sinnoh Championship Tournament. Richter and I failed to do the same, and Richter kept struggling for years to come with no success, while Raoul came in twelfth place in the tournament, losing to the Champion, but not before defeating a number of other powerful trainers, including an Elite Four member in the first round! He could open a Pokemon Gym somewhere, but instead, he used his pedigree and money to become the host of a Pokemon battle TV show, which is apparently successful, hence the reason why he has a cameraman with him. Bottom line, I hate Raoul, Richter despises Raoul, he's an ass.

    At the counter, a Pokemon Center attendant says with reverence, “Oh, Raoul, sir! What brings you here?”

    Raoul reaches into his coat, and hands a Pokeball to the attendant, “This is a Pokemon Center, so why do you think I'm here? Could you make yourself useful and patch up my Gyarados, here? I had a battle earlier today, which you should know full well if you watched my show. Needless to say, I won by a lot, but my opponent's Venusaur got in a lucky shot, and hit 'im with a Stun Spore attack.”

    The attendant, all bright-eyed and starstruck, taking no offense to Raoul's rudeness, takes Raoul's Pokeball, “Right away. Anything for Raoul, the pride of Oreburge!”

    “Damn straight!” He glances over from the counter and spots us, “Well, well, if it isn't cute lil' Alice! Oh, and Richter too! It's been a long time.”

    “Not long enough...” mutters Richter.

    Raoul shakes his head, “Just the response I'd expect from someone like you, Richter. I can't say I'm happy to see you either. I take it you're still struggling through life, knowing your worthlessness as a Pokemon trainer? I know you gave up because you knew you could never defeat me.”

    Richter clenches one of his fists, but tries to keep himself from flipping out, “I wouldn't say I'm worthless, Raoul... There's someone who wants me to be her Pokemon teacher.”

    Raoul pauses, and then bursts out laughing, “Hahahahahaha! Wow! That 'someone' must be an idiot!”

    At that comment, Richter loses his composure, and growls, “Shut up...”

    Raoul steps backward with his arms in front of him, exaggerating how 'scared' he really is, “Hey, did Richter just stand up for himself? Man, time does some stuff to people, I guess, and I should know. All I'm saying is why is that little student of yours looking for your help, when he could just tune into my show and learn everything these is to know? I mean, I know my show is popular, and all, but why doesn't everyone tune in?”

    I step forward to talk down the jackass, “I dunno. Maybe because not everyone goes for your 'My way or the highway, so watch and learn,' routine, plus anyone who knows your track record would be aware that there are at least eleven trainers out there that are more skilled than you.”

    Raoul runs a hand through his inch of beard, “Yeah, you may have a point there, Alice, honey. That coming in twelfth in the Sinnoh Championships probably didn't look so good for me, huh? Good thing all that will change two years from now!”

    “You're going to compete again?” questions Richter.

    “Bright boy. Heck yeah, I'm gonna compete again, and next time, I'm gonna win. Y'see, I've kept training, and I'd based my routine around that loss to the Champion. I two years, I'm gonna have the Champ's team and tactics beat in every way, and then everyone'll know who the big man is!”

    “'Beat in every way?'” asks Richter, “You clearly don't know how powerful a Champion is.”

    Raoul gestures as if to fan away Richter's words, like they resonated in the air, “Yeah, yeah, just what I'd expect to hear from someone who hadn't even won eight badges.”

    “Enough trainers are tougher than you,” I say, “You're not as powerful as you make yourself out to be.”

    Instead of being insulted or angry, Raoul instead grins, “So you say... Well then, how 'bout a challenge?” I notice Raoul's cameraman's face lighting up at the word, 'challenge,' “So I'm not as strong as I think? Care to test that? How about we have ourselves a little match? No prize money, or anything. After all, putting down pretentious amateurs like you is better to me than any amount of money. Well, let's hear it...” Raoul gestures to his cameraman, “Louie, make sure you're recording this. I want the world to know how brave or feeble they are.”

    The cameraman points the camera in our direction, “Right away, Raoul, sir!”

    Damn it! I'd rather not have my Pokemon fight right after they had been healed, but I can't just run away when I could possibly be filmed before all of Sinnoh. Still, if a Pokemon is at full strength, it'll probably be willing to fight.

    “I accept...” says Richter, no doubt realizing the corner he'd been backed into.

    “Likewise,” I say.

    “How brave you are,” says Raoul, his tone different, since what footage his cameraman is gathering could eventually be on regional TV. “Then we'll have ourselves a tag battle...” He points at Billy, “Hey, kid...”

    Billy seems a little perplexed, “Me?”

    “Yeah, you. How would you like to be my partner?”

    “Um... I guess...”

    “Great! How many badges do you have?”

    “Five...”

    “... On second thought, I changed my mind. No offense, kid, but I don't like being slowed down...”

    Yeah, keep going, Raoul, I think to myself, The more enemies you make, the better.

    Richter, Billy, and I gather our recovered Pokemon, and we go with Raoul a few blocks to the nearest public battlefield: The same one where Richter and I fought over an hour ago. It's funny that Richter's now gonna be my ally for the next battle here.

    Raoul orders his cameraman to delete the footage of Richter and I accepting his challenge, saying he no longer needs it. It was all just a ruse to start a publicly aired battle with Richter and me, but now that we've accepted, we can't just turn it down now...

    The cameraman starts recording, and Raoul makes a statement, “Well, people just can't leave me alone, can they? These two strangers have come and challenged me to a battle. It's tough being famous, let me tell you! Well then, introduces yourselves. Names, ages, and occupations, if you will.” 'Strangers?'

    The camera turns toward me. I want to talk back to Raoul for pretending not to know us, but something tells me he's actually serious about filming this, and I want to save face before the region, so I just give the basic facts that Raoul asked for, “Alice. Twenty-seven. Cop.”

    The camera turns to Richter, and he follows my lead, “Richter. Twenty-nine. Rancher.”

    The camera swings back to Raoul, “Wow! Such enthusiasm! And in their late twenties too. What an age to still be training...” Hey! You're in your early thirties, you hypocrite! “... and they don't even make a living as trainers! What courage some people have! Well, since both of them had challenged me, and since there're no other trainers around to be my sidekick for this battle...” With the camera off me, I give Billy a 'let it go' gesture, so he doesn't end up making himself look like a fool in front of thousands of people, “... it looks like I gotta fend them off on my little lonesome. They sure are honorable, aren't they, folks? Oh well, I'm still the one making the rules: I will play to doubles rules, while my two opponents for this evening will play to tag rules...” Tag battles are like doubles, except there are two trainers commanding their respective Pokemon “That said, it will be two-on-one, with my opponents each using one of their Pokemon, and me using two of mine. Of course, no switch-outs are permitted under these conditions, but we all know that, don't we? Let's get started!”

    Richter and I stand on one side of the field, while Raoul stands on the other, lighting a cigar, probably to make himself look more badass for his 'audience.' The cameraman stands at a side of the field with Billy behind him.

    Dammit, we gotta beat this guy! However, unlike Richter, who I knew had Gallade, Jolteon, and Sandslash with him (though he surprised me with Froslass), I have absolutely no idea what Pokemon to expect from Raoul, since he rotates his team regularly, and has trained well over six Pokemon to devastating perfection. I just have to pick a Pokemon and hope it's good against whatever Raoul decides to use.

    “Awright!” says Raoul, reaching into his dark coat and pulling out two Pokeballs, “Pick your Pokemon, and let's start!”

    I make my choice, as does Richter, and all four Pokeballs fly into the field at the same time.

    “We gotta win! Go, Blaziken!”

    “Go! Gallade!”

    “Awright, Tyranitar and Scizor! Let's show 'em how it's done!”

    Richter's Gallade and my Blaziken take our side of the field, while on Raoul's side, Tyranitar, a large green reptile-like Pokemon, standing well over six feet tall, and has several spikes protruding out of its back, and Scizor, a red ant-like Pokemon with deadly-looking pincers for its hands appears.

    I notice Richter taking a long look at Raoul's Scizor, “No way...”

    “Richter?”

    “Hey! Raoul!” yells Richter across the battlefield, “Where did you get that Scizor?”

    “Oh, it was a present from Professor Rale. He was done researching it, so he gave it to me as a gift. Quite the fighter, that one. Why do you care?”

    Richter shakes his head, “Never mind...” Oh yeah, Richter used to own a Scizor, which he gave to the prof. Could it be the same one? Still, what luck! Both of our Pokemon are fighting-types, so that rock/dark-type Tyranitar will be cake! Blaziken, also being a fire-type, can also take down a bug/steel-type like Scizor real fast!

    Suddenly, the wind picks up, and sand whirls around the battlefield. Scizor isn't affected by it, and neither is Tyranitar, mostly because its ability is causing it. However, both Blaziken and Gallade are shielding themselves from it. Great...

    I mutter to Richter, about Blaziken's advantage over Scizor, so I'll concentrate on that one, while Gallade should focus on Tyranitar. Richter seems reluctant, probably because he wants to battle his former Pokemon, but he no doubt wants to beat Raoul as badly as I do, so he agrees that it's the best way.

    “Blaziken! Scizor is all yours! Fire Punch!”

    “Gallade! Tyranitar is your opponent! Close Combat!”

    Blaziken and Gallade charge at their respective opponents.

    “This will be easy...” taunts Raoul, “Tyranitar! Earthquake!”

    Scizor leaps several feet off the ground as Tyranitar stomps its foot hard into the earth. The ground shakes violently, throwing Gallade and Blaziken off balance.

    “Scizor! Wing Attack!” Scizor descends on Blaziken, and flies past, clipping him with its wing, while my fire-type is completely undefended. With smoke rising from where he was hit, Blaziken is sent flying backward and landing on his back. Scizor's ability ended up making its attack more powerful than usual...

    “Tyranitar! Shadow Claw!” Tyranitar charges toward Gallade. Richter's Pokemon counters with one of his blades, which hits, but, even though there is steam from the scar that was inflicted, Tyranitar doesn't seem too affected by it, and, with its hand radiating a gray energy, slashes Gallde across the torso, and unlike the hit Raoul's Pokemon took, Gallade no doubt felt that. He staggers back, wounded.

    “Scizor! Aerial Ace!” commands Raoul, as he gleefully smokes his cigar, smug bastard...

    Scizor leaps into the air, poised to ram one of its claws down hard on my downed Blaziken.

    “Flamethrower!” I yell. Blaziken blows flames up at Scizor, who pulls back, narrowly avoiding a devastating hit. With the attack still going, Blaziken sits upright, and finally stands, keeping Scizor at bay.

    At the same time, Tyranitar is advancing on Richter's downed Gallade. Damn! If Gallade is beaten, Blaziken will have to fight Tyranitar too, and if that happens, we're screwed!

    “Intercept Tyranitar!” I yell, “Quick Attack!”

    Blaziken disappears from in front of Scizor, and reappears between Tyranitar and Gallade, slamming his fist into the rock/dark-type's chest. Tyranitar doesn't even flinch, let alone show any signs of damage. In fact, Blaziken seems to have been hurt more, as he steps back, shaking the talon he attacked with.

    “Scizor, show Blaziken a real Quick Attack!” command Raoul. Suddenly, Scizor vanishes from where it was standing and reappears in between Blaziken, who is caught off-guard, and Tyranitar. He delivers a blow that sends Blaziken flying up and over Gallade, who, thanks to my diversion, is back to his feet.

    Since it's clear by now that Tyranitar is too dangerous to attack head-on, Richter decides to use a more indirect method of attack, “Gallade! Double Team!” Gallade splits into four images of himself, one being real.

    Meanwhile, Scizor hits Blaziken with another Quick Attack, sending my Pokemon flying upward.

    “Aerial Ace!” commands Raoul. Scizor jumps toward my airborne Blaziken, and delivers a quick slash with its claws, then instantly maneuvers around to the side, and delivers another strike. Steam rises, and Blaziken cries out in pain.

    While the battle between Blaziken and Scizor is going on in the air, the battle between Gallade and Tyranitar continues on the ground.

    “Close Combat!” commands Richter. Gallade and his three illusions dash toward Tyranitar.

    “Shadow Claw!” commands Raoul. Tyranitar's claws glows gray again, and it strikes one of the four Gallades, but it turns out being a fake. With Tyranitar off-guard, Gallade, the real one, steps in from the side and delivers a rapid succession of slashes. However, even though the mist rising from each cut Gallade inflicts on Tyranitar indicates its weakness, the most Raoul's Pokemon gives as a reaction is a wince. With a smirk, Raoul says to Tyranitar, “Well, there's the real one. Hyper Beam!”

    “Llade?” yells Gallade in surprise as Tyranitar opens its mouth and fires a powerful beam of energy, hitting Richter's Pokemon at point-blank and sending him flying.

    “Gallade!” yells Richter.

    Getting back to the Blaziken VS Scizor side of the battle, “Hang in there, Blaziken!” I try to encourage my fire/fighting-type, as he tries to fend off Scizor's aerial onslaught. I notice the airs around my Blaze Pokemon starting to distort: His ability, Blaze. Well, alright! “Strike back with Fire Punch!”

    Scizor slashes Blaziken again, but this time, my Pokemon grabs its arm, and his free hand ignites.

    “Zor?” screeches Scizor.

    Blaziken delivers a flaming punch to Scizor's gut, and sends it crashing back to the ground, with it on all fours. Huh? It's still not down, even after that? Well, it will be soon!

    Blaziken lands next to Scizor, and I command Blaziken to use Flamethrower to finish it. However, Raoul is still grinning, as he commands, “Reversal!” Scizor quickly rises, instantly swings its claw at Blaziken's chest, and delivers a blow so powerful, I almost feel the pain! Blaziken loses the will to keep fighting and faints.

    Severely weakened, Gallade struggles to get up, but, after Tyranitar recovers its strength, it advances on Richter's Pokemon, and stands before it.

    “Finish it!” commands Raoul, “Earthquake!” Tyranitar stomps its heavy foot onto Gallade's gut, and the ground tremors slightly. Gallade coughs up a mouthful of blood and goes limp.

    Damn... Blaziken's down, and I doubt Gallade can keep going, either...

    Richter and I recall our fallen Pokemon, while Raoul recalls his too.

    “... And cut!” Raoul yells over to his cameraman, “That's another victory for me... however, these two managed to harm my Pokemon more than I thought they would, so delete that footage, alright? I can't go showing any weakness to the viewers, y'know?”

    I don't know whether I should be happy that Richter and I exceeded his expectations, or insulted that Raoul isn't going to show it to Sinnoh.

    “Well,” begins Raoul, “That was exciting, I'll admit, but don't get big-headed, y'hear? Those Pokemon had been out of practice for months, and regardless, you lost, and so the point you tried to make about me not being as strong as I think has been rendered null and void.”

    Damn him!

    “Well, let's get back to the Center.”

    ---

    We return to the Pokemon Center, and Richter, Raoul, and I hand in our injured Pokemon to be healed... again.

    Since neither of Raoul's Pokemon were knocked out, his are recovered faster than mine or Richter's.

    Raoul retrieves his Pokemon, but instead of doing us all a favor and getting out of our sight already, he whispers something to his cameraman, and then he approaches Richter, Billy, and, most specifically, me.

    “What do you want?” I ask.

    “So, Alice,” says Raoul in a low purr, “Have you thought some more about my proposal?”

    Richter raises an eyebrow, “Proposal? For what?”

    “... Marriage...” I mutter below my breath, disgusted at the thought.

    Richter's face turns a shade of pink, “Wh-what? Really?”

    Typical Raoul, thinking he can get whatever he wants. Of course, since you should know full well what my opinion of the guy is, I won't go assuming that I'm leaving you in suspense to what my answer will be, “Oh, I totally did, Raoul, and the answer is hell no.”

    “Don't be that way, my dear Alice. You should know of my wealth, and you witnessed my power. I am one of the most eligible bachelors around.”

    “Right...” I say, “It's awesome how you mentioned your wealth in there. Real romantic and original, there. Oh, and I don't think I heard the word, 'love,' either. I'm real convinced that I'd be happy with a man like you in my life.”

    Raoul looks disappointed, but he decides to back off, “That's just the response I was expecting from you, and I enjoy a good challenge. I assure you I'll make you mine yet.” With a swish of his coat, he turns and heads to the entrance, followed by his cameraman, who asks, “Um... Should we keep this footage?”

    “What do you think, you idiot?” snaps Raoul, “I want that footage deleted within the next minute, otherwise I'm gonna get myself a new cameraman!”

    “R-right way!” With that, they're gone, good riddance.

    A few more minutes pass, until Blaziken and Gallade are healed.

    Billy is still with us, holding the egg, with an eager expression on his face. Is he really that excited to see what Natalie looks like...? But then again, Richter is kinda handsome, so maybe he's convinced a girl in his family, around his age, would be a real beauty... Heh.

    We finally leave the Pokemon Center. Richter asks me, “Are you still not coming with us?”

    “Nah,” I say, “I really should get today wrapped up.”

    “Yeah, okay.”

    Suddenly, my police communicator, fastened to my waist, along with my Pokeballs, squawks to life. It's probably some petty theft going on at the other side of the city, that I have no business with, being where I am at the moment. “... Attention all units. We got a call from 207 Merris Street, regarding the theft of two Pokemon. If anyone is in the area, please investigate. Over.”

    The color drains from Richter's face, “207 Merris Street? That's my sister's house! Natalie!” He starts to sprint.

    “Hey, hold up!” calls Billy, chasing after him.

    No rest, huh? Well, I guess I'd better be the one to learn just what is going on... It's my job, after all. I take off, following Richter and Billy.
     
    #9 Valin, Sep 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  10. Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!

    Now we have some conflict with the resident Team! I certainly liked your description of the tournament. Every three years makes more sense than the once a year I thought it was.
     
  11. This fic is mintage! Loving the battle scenes! I also love the way you've described the tournament, too. Looking forward to the next chapter!
     
  12. Part Six​

    Perspective: Alice

    It was a fifteen minute run to get from the Pokemon Center to Richter's sister's house. Richter and Billy are totally winded by the run, while I'm also tuckered, but not feeling under the weather. Police training. Gotta love it.

    The house is a pretty plain two-floor building with a white paint job and yellow shutters, a color scheme that would almost make me feel nauseous during the day time. 207 Merris Street is located in a suburb just beyond the downtown area of Oreburge, a few miles from the mining district.

    The sky is now a darker shade of yellow, and growing ever blacker as twilight comes to an end, and nightfall begins.

    Breathing fast and heavily, Richter staggers up a couple steps to the front door, and enters the house, with me and Billy behind him. The lights are off, and the warm glow of whatever's left of sunset fills the house.

    “Natalie...” chocks out Richter, before he has to wheeze a couple times, “... Natalie?”

    “Uncle Richter...?” A young girl's voice comes from another room. We enter a small living room, with a couch, a TV, some painting on the wall of a windmill, and little else. Laying on the couch, staring at the ceiling with a distant expression on her face is a blonde-haired girl. Richter's niece, I suppose...

    “Natalie,” says Richter, kneeling next to the couch, “I heard something about a couple Pokemon being stolen... Are Eevee and Spearow...?”

    Natalie chocks up and starts to sob, “Th-they were gonna kill me! I had no choice!”

    I step forward. Natalie called the police, so this is my responsibility, I guess, “Hey. Natalie? My name is Alice. I'm from the Oreburge Police Department, and am an old friend of your uncle's. I guess this will be kinda hard for ya, but could you tell me just what happened, like how your Pokemon were stolen, what the thief looked like, stuff like that?”

    Natalie stares at me for a couple seconds, “Pokecop? You're gonna look for them?”

    “Um, yeah, but I need to know what happened.”

    Natalie sits up in the couch, “Okay...” She goes on to tell Richter, Billy, and I about the events that led to the kidnapping of her Eevee and Spearow; How she was challenged to a battle, how she won, how she was made to surrender her Pokemon at gunpoint... or scissor-point, as her case was. She seems really saddened over the fact that she had to give her Pokemon to the thieves, as opposed to them just stealing them, like she betrayed them by doing so. Damn, I'm no good at condolences, but I can't just let Natalie go on with her self-loathing over something in which she had no control.

    “Hey, um... you don't need to beat yourself up over this, okay? I would have done the same thing. It makes sense that you gave in. I mean, we all have one life, right? We're all afraid to die, and if I were your Pokemon, I won't have blamed you for what you did.”

    Natalie stares at the floor, “I guess...”

    “Anyway, thanks for the info. There's just one more thing: what did they look like, and did you get any other information about them, like their names, or something?”

    “The guy I battled called himself Sam...” answers Natalie, “Keith was the name of the guy who sent out that huge bug. Both of them wore yellow shirts with a black backwards '3' on them... Oh, and they said that the name of their organization, or whatever was Team... Epsilon, I think...”

    I instantly recognize the name, Team Epsilon. “... Okay. Thank you, Natalie. I promise I will find them and get your Pokemon back. You can count on that.”

    “... Thank you.”

    As I turn to leave the house, preparing for a long night, Richter says, “I'm going to go with Alice, and help her find the crooks. Please keep the doors and windows locked, okay?”

    “Sure, Uncle Richter...”

    “Um... hey...” For the first time since we came into the house, Billy speaks. He kneels in front of Natalie, so their faces are even, and he says, “Hi, um... my name is Billy. I guess you could say I'm a pal of yer uncle's...” He holds out his egg to Natalie, “Um... I got this egg for ya when I heard you were a new trainer. It should be close to hatching... See? It's even moving a lot! Anyway, whatever Pokemon's in there is all yer's. It won't replace the ones you lost, or anything, but, um... don't worry! We'll get 'em back, and you'll have all three, so until then, could ya take care of whatever's in there for me?”

    Natalie takes the egg. For the first time since we got here, she smiles, “Oh, thank you... Billy. I promise I'll take care of it.”

    Billy rises, “Awesome. Well, I'm gonna go with these two, and give those Team Epsilon punks a good beatdown.” If Billy really did come off as a tough guy, as opposed to someone trying to be a tough guy, I would probably take him seriously.

    Regardless, Natalie take Billy at his word, nods and smiles, “Okay.”

    Richter, Billy, and I leave the house. Whatever's left of twilight is gone now, and it is now 100% nighttime, with the sky full of stars, and even a full moon. Out in the wild, the dark-types are probably having a blast. In fact, I think I hear a Mightyena howling in the distance.

    As soon as the door's shut, I mutter, “Team Epsilon, huh? Dammit...”

    “Do you know anything about them?” asks Richter.

    “Only reports,” I say, “They've been stealing Pokemon from trainers they lose to. In fact, how Natalie lost hers is a classic tactic of theirs. One loses, and the other sics a Pokemon on the trainer, demanding they hand over their Pokemon. Of course, Team Epsilon members travel in pairs. I think Natalie is the eighth case reported in Oreburge over the past four days. They've been working fast.”

    “So, like, did ya guys catch one of them. Press 'em for info, or something?” ask Billy, “Like, ya know if they have a hideout, or something?”

    “Well, police have caught up with some of them, but...”

    “But...?” inquires Richter.

    “Well, these are not run-in-the-mill crooks. Apparently, their Pokemon are pretty tough. The Pokemon trained by the Sinnoh government that police use were no match for them, and whatever Team Epsilon guys that were found always got away.”

    “Wait a minute,” says Richter, “Their Pokemon are tough? If so, why are they even taking other people's Pokemon? You should know full well, Alice, that the reason people even steal Pokemon is basically because the process of training is too slow for them, or they have no faith in their own Pokemon, and they just want to win battles and make money.”

    “I know that, Richter,” I say, “but I don't have all the answers.”

    “Maybe they're using the Pokemon they stole?” guesses Billy.

    “I doubt that's it,” says Richter, “Let's just say that morale makes all the difference in a Pokemon battle, and Pokemon that are used by their kidnappers usually don't have their heart into it. It's something a lot of thieves fail to grasp, but if they're winning battles with the police force, it probably the Pokemon they worked hard to train.”

    “This doesn't make sense,” says Billy.

    “At any rate,” I say, “regardless of why they're doing what they are, we have to find them. So far, I'd never fought any Team Epsilon members, but I'm way stronger than any of Oreburge's other cops, and when I find them, they'll answer to me.”

    “Do you have any idea how to find them?” asks Richter.

    “Well... I hear they're usually out and about from sunset and throughout the night, though I heard that they usually stop being around at midnight, so if we're gonna look, now is the time. I'd also heard they they tend to stay away from heavily populated areas, probably to avoid making a scene.”

    Richter offers us some advice, “Well, they could be anywhere. I say the three of us split up. I think that our Pokemon should be strong enough to win a battle with them. We should use our phones to keep in touch. I have both of your numbers, but the two of you should get each others contact information.”

    Billy and I take Richter at his word, and we exchange phone numbers.

    I say, “Well, I doubt Team Epsilon will actively challenge a uniformed cop, so I'll quickly swing by station and get changed.”

    “Okay.” With that, the three of us go our separate ways.

    ---

    One of the perks to being a cop is that I can freely call for transport, and within twenty minutes, I'm back at the station. I go to the locker room, and change out of my uniform and back into my white t-shirt and jeans. Ah... so much less stuffy.

    Before leaving, I decide to stop by the break room and grab a quick cup of coffee, since I can feel my eyelids starting to droop, and the caffeine will do me good.

    As I'm pouring the coffee, a hear a voice address me from behind, “Hey! Pokecop!” I quickly recognize the voice.

    “Oh, hey there, chief.” I turn to face a fifty-something man with a bushy mustache. Chief David, the head of the Oreburge Police Department.

    “Heading home?” asks the chief.

    I shake my head, “No. I'm going undercover to take on Team Epsilon. They took some Pokemon that belong to a relative of one of my closest friends. I'm gonna force some answers outta them, and rid Oreburge of them.”

    “Well, that's a cause you are quite committed to,” says David, “that's more than can be said for most other police matters.”

    “Um... what are you talking about?”

    “I heard that you were having a number of recreational Pokemon battles while you were on duty. Now, speaking of Team Epsilon, their eighth case took place near the area where you were battling for fun. We contacted all units, and told them what happened and where. It was a crime you could have prevented, if you were dedicated.”

    “Wh-what?”

    “I'm afraid you are setting a bad example for us, and we're starting to suffer because of it. I was going to fire you on the spot, Alice, but we just might need your strength to bring down Team Epsilon, so this will be your last case as a member of the Oreburge Police Department. Afterward, I am expecting you to turn in your badge.”

    I try to feign a laugh, “Ha... ha... this is a joke, right? I'm a far stronger trainer than anyone else here, who uses a government-raised Growlithe, thinking it's good enough to solve any crime that comes along. You need me!”

    David shakes his head, “I'm sure there are other strong trainers that would join us, who would be far more dedicated to enforcing the law. Besides, since I do respect your prowess as a trainer, perhaps some advice could suffice: your talents are wasted here. I suggest training your Pokemon hard and competing in the Pokemon League tournament two years from now. Who knows? I might be talking to our new Champion. Hahahaha!”

    “Yeah, thanks.”

    “Well, good luck. We are counting on you to find Team Epsilon's hideout. If you need backup, do call us.” With that, Chief David leaves. Fired? My last case? Crap. I thought I was indispensable, because of my power, but I guess I was fooling myself the whole time. Well, police business or not, I was going to crush Team Epsilon anyway, so I guess I'll just get this over with...

    ---

    Perspective: Richter

    While she was explaining what happened, Natalie told us about the place where she fought those Team Epsilon guys, like how far away, which direction from the house, and the general look of the area. There are no guarantees that they'll still be around there, but I can't think of a better place to start.

    The area is lit only by a few street lamps, but other than that, it's quiet, dark, and eerie, like anyone would jump out and rob you. This is a place I wouldn't go anywhere near, but, ironically, that's almost what I'm hoping for. I'd been wearing my worn out rancher clothes since yesterday, so I imagine that I might come off as a country bumpkin, who is unfamiliar with the big city, and ended up getting lost, and am now in a rough part of town. Also the fact that I have four occupied Pokeballs with me would probably tell a would-be assailant that I'm not a huge threat as a trainer. At least that was Billy's first impression of me, and if I came off that way in Solacean Town, I'll probably come off as that more-so in the city, provide whoever is concerned doesn't know about me.

    A passing glance shows me some spots of dried blood on the ground, and from how they're arranged, my guess would be that it was spewed out. Natalie mentioned in her description of the battle, that her Spearow countered a Poochyena's Bite attack by thrusting its sharp beak into its mouth, no doubt tearing through the delicate flesh inside, inflicting some serious pain. Not a bad tactic, actually. I can see her making it far as a trainer. Anyway, I guess this is the spot where it all happened.

    Deciding to wait here to see if anyone comes, my mind wanders to wonder why Billy is helping Alice and me. Well, I guess he really was attracted to Natalie, but he acted appropriately under the circumstances, which is good, but I doubt someone would go out of their way for that reason. If I had to guess, maybe its just because he ended up getting caught in the middle of it all, or maybe it's for the challenge. A tough gang of trainers... what better way to test an aspiring Gym Leader's skills?

    Suddenly, I hear two male voices echoing through the alleyway, and getting closer. My first impulse is to stand in plain sight, get challenged, beat up their Pokemon, and then, with a little help from Jolteon, force some answers out of them, but I start to second-guess this, and decide to had and see what happens first. They are obviously talking, so I might learn something new, provided they are who I'm looking for.

    I dash into a nearby alley and hide behind a dumpster. Their voices are drawing closer, though they are talking about things of no interest to me, like video games, TV shows, and the like. However, at one point in their conversation, one of the voices refers to the owner of the other by name: Sam. That's the name Natalie said one of those thieves went by.

    Suddenly, their chat comes to a sudden end, like something significant caught their eye. Did they find me? How could they? I should have been out of their sight entirely!

    Suddenly, one of the voices, the younger-sounding one, belonging to 'Sam,' starts to laugh, “Hahaha! It looks like Poochyena's blood is there to mark the place of one of our great triumphs!” They know about where the blood came from, so it probably is them. Should I show myself? A thought suddenly occurs to me that I shouldn't. It might be easier to get information from them if they are unaware of my presence.

    The older-sounding voice adds, “Yeah, this place has been a good place to get people alone. We've had three successful donations in the last two days.”

    “Haha! Yeah!”

    “Well, we should get to the meeting. Let's go.”

    The sounds of their footsteps quicken. They move past the alley I'm hiding in. I sneak out from behind the dumpster, and peek around the corner at their backs. Sure enough, they are wearing yellow shirts with black 'epsilon' symbols on them. They mentioned a 'meeting' also. Could they be headed to Team Epsilon's lair, or at least someplace where they all get together. I should follow them and find out just where that is, and then contact Alice and Billy.

    I tail the two of them, maintaining a safe distance. They are very caught up in their chat, and oblivious to to me following them, although I still regularly hide behind various objects along the way. Eventually, another teenager, a girl, meets up with them, and she too is wearing a yellow epsilon shirt. She also has a large bag with her.

    I try to listen to what they are talking about, but the distance between us is so great that I can only pick up bits and pieces. However, I swear one of them mentioned the name, 'Arceus.' That's strange. Arceus, as in the Alpha Pokemon, the great Pokemon of legend that is theorized to have created the universe? These teenage thugs, that go around and steal Pokemon from honest people, are talking about God? Well, whatever strikes up a conversation, I guess.

    Sigh... Look at me. Hiding, stalking, and eavesdropping. I don't feel right doing this, but I have to...

    I follow the teens through the mostly vacant part of the city, where Natalie fought them, to the suburb beyond it, just a few blocks away from Rena's house, actually. As soon as they enter that part of the city, the female Team Epsilon member reveals what's inside her bag: sweaters, like any that can be bought at a clothing store in the mall, or wherever. They put them on, hiding their yellow shirts. That makes sense, considering they are possibly headed to their hideout, and don't want any attention drawn to themselves.

    They casually walk through the neighborhood, like they aren't up to anything special, despite being a group of kids out late. Eventually, they cut across a yard, and reach a fence, which they climb over. Oh crap... I'm not athletic enough for this...

    As soon as the kids are a good enough distance ahead, I struggle to climb over the fence, tumble over the top, and plummet to the other side, landing on my arm. The fall wasn't bad enough that I broke anything, but damn, that hurt! Luckily, I manage to suppress a yell, and continue to stake out the teens undetected. We're now in one of Oreburge City's mining districts, and seeing as there are very few tools left lying around, it probably exhausted most of the minerals that can be gathered from it. If their hideout is here, it makes sense, as I can't image a lot of attention is paid to it by the authorities.

    Finally, the Team Epsilon kids enter one of the abandoned mines. Well, this looks like the end of the line. Their hideout is probably in there somewhere. Mission complete, or at least this phase of it.

    I call Alice and Billy, telling them I found the hideout, where I am, to bring a flashlight, and to get here pronto. I consider scouting ahead, but I can't afford to get caught. With just four Pokemon, albeit, well-trained ones, I'd be outnumbered. Actually, I'm not sure Alice and Billy will be enough, either, but at least I have someone to back me up, plus Alice has the Oreburge police force to call on. Yes, we can do this. I just hope they get here before whatever meeting Team Epsilon is holding adjourns...

    I take the time I have to gather my courage. I'd never done anything this dangerous before. Team Epsilon is a gang; they're not refined trainers like Alice and myself. Some of them might even pull a gun on us.

    I slump down next to the mine's entrance. Dammit, why the hell am I helping out with this? Oh, here I go again, asking myself questions I already know the answers to. Of course, it's for Natalie, and I guess I just proved I'm a better uncle than I thought. Besides that, I despise people who try to get rich off the hard work of honest trainers, and I'd be more than happy to play a part in making sure they get what's coming to them. And, while they may use guns, Pokemon are far more dangerous, and I know I have something just as deadly.

    Still, while my Pokemon, who still have a way of finding out what's going on, even in their slumber within Pokeballs, should know what's going on, I feel I should tell them directly. I release Gallade, Jolteon, Froslass, and Sandslash from their capsules, “Hey, you guys. We're... about to do something more dangerous than anything that we'd done before, but I want you to know that I am relying on you, so... um, fight hard, like always, alright?”

    My Pokemon nod in response, and I return them to their Pokeballs. Now, all that's left is to wait for Alice and Billy...

    Twenty minutes pass, when a bulky armored vehicle arrives, with the Oreburge Police Department insignia pained on it. Alice, Billy and three Oreburge cops hop out.

    “So, this is the place?” says Alice, “This is where Team Epsilon is hiding out? Classy...”

    “Alright!” says Billy, “Let's go kick some ass and get Natalie's Pokemon back!”

    Recalling my own reservation about picking a fight with Team Epsilon, I realize Billy is, in fact, in a similar position. “Hey Billy?”

    “Yeah, man?”

    “Are you sure about this? This is not going to be an organized Pokemon battle; this is going to be an all-out fight, where trainer lives are on the line. If you want to back out, now is the time.”

    “I know what I'm getting' into,” says Billy, “But to back outta a challenge is an insult to my Pokemon. I believe in my Fighters, and we're gonna make Team Epsilon pay for messing with Natalie and all those other trainers.”

    “Okay,” I say, “I just wanted to make sure.”

    One of Alice's cop friends says to me and Billy, “It's police duty to ensure Team Epsilon's arrest, but, to be honest, we're not sure if we can handle this on our own, so we'll be counting on your skills as practicing trainers in the likely battle that is to ensue; especially a trainer as distinguished in our city as you, Richter. The Oreburge Police Department is prepared to reward you for your cooperation.”

    “Hey, thanks!” says Billy, “Lookin' forward to that reward!”

    “Well, alright,” says Alice, “Let's head in there and show Team Epsilon that they made a mistake when they decided to screw with Natalie and the rest of the trainers.”

    The six of us enter the mine. I notice that the three cops that arrived with Alice have two Pokemon with them each... Probably an evolution of the Eevee they received from Professor Rale years ago, and a Pokemon they received when they joined the police, something that had received basic training from the Sinnoh government, but very little battle experience. At least I know that I have someone to rely on to compensate for the two Pokemon I don't have...

    One of Alice's cop friends takes the lead with a flashlight, leading us through the pitch black abandoned mine. A vacant underground place in the dead of night... I hate mines. I keep feeling like it's about to cave on on us, burying us alive. I've had nightmares about it, and I guess that's one of the reasons I moved to Solacean Town.

    Several Zubat fly overhead, and a passing glance shows a couple wild Machop sparring in the dark. Overall, the wild Pokemon that have made this place their home ignore us.

    Finally, we see light shining from someplace. We cautiously follow it, and we are led to a room... actually, a large underground cavern connected to the mine. It's lit by at least forty torches, and the ceiling covered in sharp, pointy stalactites is about fifty feet up. I guess we came down quite a ways...

    Hiding behind a group of large stalagmites by the entrance, we spy on six Team Epsilon members, all teenagers, including the three I followed here. They are lined up three by three, facing each other, with their Pokemon sparring. I guess they have a training session going on. I suggest that we wait until they finish, since most of their Pokemon will be worn out, giving us an advantage. I notice the older boy that I followed commanding a Pinsir. Maybe it's the same one he threatened Natalie with. They younger boy is barking orders to his Abra, repeatedly reminding it of their previous loss to push it forward with the rigorous training. My niece did say that the guy she fought used one. I wish I did battle them when I had the chance, but at least my patience led us here.

    In the back of the room, on an elevated surface, is a man, probably not much older than me, in an orange robe. He's sitting in a cushioned chair, watching the Pokemon training with a pleased expression on his face. At his back, there is a massive carving in the stone wall, taking up the width of the room of a four-legged Pokemon, with long mane, and a wheel of sorts circling its body. It's Arceus, the Alpha Pokemon. I remember the teens talking about it when I followed them. Is there some kind of connection between that and Team Epsilon? I have heard that some criminal organizations had made it their ultimate goal to capture Legendary Pokemon for their immeasurable power. Personally, I say that there's nothing as immeasurably powerful as a well-trained Pokemon of any kind.

    The sparring rages on for ten minutes, with several of Team Epsilon's Pokemon getting knocked out. Good. One of the cops asks if we should attack now, but I tell him to hold off. The cloaked man has risen from his chair, looking like he's about to speak, and I'm interested in finding out what Team Epsilon's deal is, exactly.

    The six trainers kneel before the man, who begins to talk, “Excellent work, my brothers and sisters. Our master, Arceus the Almighty, will be most pleased. The time is growing closer, and It will reward you for your efforts...”

    What? I was expecting their goal to catch Arceus, but the man is speaking like they view it as their deity...

    “Great...” mutters Alice, “So Team Epsilon is yet another cult that worships Arceus...”

    A cult? Why would they want other trainers' Pokemon, though?

    “... The universe began with Pokemon, and it shall end with Pokemon. What place do humans have in this world? Why do the Superior Beings serve those that are clearly inferior?”

    That's a question everyone asks. We don't like to associate Pokemon with terms like 'serve,' or 'servant,' but the truth is, any Pokemon that isn't wild does act as a human's follower, whether they like it or not. In fact, there have been less than fifteen cases of a Pokemon trying to escape a trainer after having been captured in all of history. Captured Pokemon just follow humans, and that's the way it's always been. Thousands of years ago, this fact was discovered by accident, and now, our whole culture is built around it. In fact, part of the reason why most humans don't worship Arceus, is because it's a Pokemon, which, as far as they're concerned, is something that can be captured and trained.

    “Regardless of who is and is not in control, however, there is no denying that Pokemon are clearly the superior forms of life, and history has proven that every great civilization that rises must also fall. The civilization that we humans built is no exception. One day, our Pokemon servants will rise up and end us all. Only we, those that have sworn obedience to the Almighty, shall live on. Even if all humans are killed, our research will see to it that our spirits live on. The Pokemon that reject our master, and lower themselves to the service of those that are inferior are acceptable sacrifices to our cause. The future belongs to us! Team Epsilon! The Knights of Arceus! My words come straight from our great Archbishop of Team Omega, and under his direction, our great plan will come to fruition!”

    The Team Epsilon members cheer wildly to the words of their... priest, I suppose. There is too much about what he said that I can't make sense of, but it's obvious that they are a cult of Arceists... mere fanatics that have been tricked into following some lunatic. I'd have pity for them if I didn't have an agenda against them.

    The priest says, “Our meeting is adjourned. Go out there and spread the word of our Archbishop.”

    It's obvious we've gotten all the information we're going to get. It's time to take action.

    “Now!” yells Alice.

    The six of us step into plain sight, intercepting the Team Epsilon members that were on their way out.

    “Alright!” declares Alice, “We're with the Oreburge Police Department, and you are all under arrest! Return the Pokemon you stole, and I'll consider not kicking your asses as hard!”She reaches for one of her Pokeballs, and the rest of us do the same.

    Needless to say, the priest and the Team Epsilon members are not about to go quietly. The priest glares at us, “My brethren! These heathens have come to interfere with Its great plan! Strike them down and send them to face their everlasting punishment!”

    The six Team Epsilon members send out their Pokemon to attack us. Rhydon, Pinsir, Luxio, Loudred, Beedrill... There are some tough ones.

    This is a brawl, not an organized Pokemon battle, so all of us send out more than one Pokemon to fight back. I send out Jolteon and Sandslash, Alice sends out Blaziken and Gardevoir, Billy sends out Breloom and Heracross, and the cops send out their Pokemon as well.

    Besides the nature of the two types of confrontations, a violent brawl has two other things that differs from a Pokemon battle: First, my Pokemon are acting on their own, and second, chaos. There is so much going on that I'm having trouble following.

    I notice a Luxio belonging to Team Epsilon using Thunderbolt on Alice's Gardevoir, but Sandslash jumping in its path and taking the blow, completely unaffected. Gardevoir then uses Psychic attack to send the Luxio flying and slamming into one of the Team Epsilon trainers. Team Epsilon's Rhydon knocking out a Growlithe belonging to one of the cops, but is soon taken out by Billy's Breloom.

    Overall, the cops' Pokemon are not very strong and they get knocked out pretty quick, but Team Epsilon's weary Pokemon get taken out easily by the Pokemon belonging to Alice, Billy, and myself.

    With Billy's Pokemon finishing off the remainder of Team Epsilon's creatures, Alice yells up to the priest, “I think it's obvious who's gonna win this thing. How about surrendering?”

    “I will not submit to a group of infidels,” growls the priest, “I am a proud Knight of Arceus! I will fight to the death if need be!”

    “Just how the hell do you know you're doing Arceus's bidding anyway?” asks Alice.

    “Our Archbishop conveys Its will!” answers the priest.

    “Right...” says Alice, “Well, I think that your 'Archbishop' is in greater need of a trip to an insane asylum than you.”

    “How dare you insult our great one!” roars the priest, “Even if I am to fall here, I shall see to it that you die!”

    “Sorry,” says Alice, “I'm about to get fired, and I'm looking forward to my vacation, so that 'dying' thing will have to wait.”

    The priest pulls a Pokeball out of his robe, “Go, Mightyena! Send that heathen to her unending suffering in Hell!”

    The priest sends out a dark dog-like Pokemon: Mightyena, the Bite Pokemon. It charges toward Alice, who flatly says, “Get over here, Blaziken. Quick Attack!” Blaziken instantly appears in front of Mightyena and delivers a quick knee strike, sending it staggering back.

    “Damn it!” curses the priest, “Mightyena! Tackle attack!”

    Mightyena leaps toward Blaziken, but Alice is quick to issue a counter-command, “Blaziken! Sky Uppercut!” Blaziken ducks under Mightyena's outstretched claws, and shoots up with a raised fist, sending Mightyena flying toward the ceiling.

    “Follow it and end this with Blaze Kick!” Blaziken jumps up after Mightyena. With its legs ignited, Blazkiken whirls, and delivers a flaming kick, which sends Mightyena rocketing toward the priest, who narrowly dodges.

    The priest sends out his next Pokemon, “Kill them, Crobat!”

    A purple bat-like Pokemon with four wings appears before the priest.

    “I'll handle this one!” I tell Alice, as I ready a Pokeball, “Go! Froslass!” I send out Froslass.

    “Giga Impact!” commands the priest. Crobat flies toward Froslass with great velocity, but its normal-type attack passes harmlessly through my ghost-type.

    With a smirk crossing my lips, I tell the priest, “Learn to battle.” I move on to issue my command to Froslass, “Froslass! Confuse Ray!” There's a bright flash, and Crobat flies around, attacking enemies that don't exist, and finally smashing its head against a wall, knocking itself out.

    I look to see how well the priest is taking this new development, but the sight that I behold fills me with dread. While Froslass and Crobat were busy fighting, the priest pulled a revolver out of his robe, and he has it pointed straight at Alice, whose attention is focused on Blaziken fending off one of Team Epsilon's few remaining Pokemon.

    “Alice!” I scream. With my body moving on its own, I dash toward my childhood friend, hoping to protect her in some way I hadn't figured out yet.

    “Die heathen!” screams the priest as he pulls the trigger.

    My body collides with Alice's and she's pushed to the ground as a loud sound fills the cavern. As soon as I hear that noise, I find my body sailing through the air by a force I cannot see. I slam the ground hard. On my shirt, around the abdominal area, I see a red stain spreading rapidly, and a split second later, a horrible pain fills my body, “Ah... Ah!” My whole body feels hot, and I find it hard to breath. This... is what it's like to get shot...?

    Froslass glances back at me, a furious expression fills her face, and she flies toward the priest, who backs up to the far end of the cavern, “No! Begone!” He fires a bullet up at Froslass, which passes harmlessly through her body. Despite seeing that it's futile, he fires another bullet, which Froslass snatches out of the air. Froslass fires her Ice Beam at the gun, turning it to ice, along with most of the priest's arm. The Team Epsilon leader screams in agony.

    “You bastard!” Billy rushes up to the priest and his fist smashes against the side of his head. Billy then slams the priest head-first into the wall of the cave, knocking him out cold.

    All the Team Epsilon members, and their Pokemon are down. The battle is over. My first real fight against a gang of trainers... So this is how it turned out... for me...

    My vision gradually begins to blur, and the world around me grows dark. The last things I hear are voices.

    “No! Richter! Please! Don't die on me!”

    “C'mon, old guy! Wake up!”

    “Fros... lass...”

    “Jolt!”

    “Slash...”

    ---

    Perspective: Alice

    Well, the battle is over. Soon after, my soon-to-be-former colleagues found a hidden compartment in the cave, filled with Pokeballs, no doubt stolen from other trainers, and we arrest the priest and the six Team Epsilon trainers. I guess that's the last Oreburge'll hear of them.

    However, the thing that I'm the most concerned about is Richter. It's funny... I don't know how many times I'd stood up for and protected him when we were children. I always thought I'd be the one to protect him, but now, here I am... and I can only say that because I'd otherwise be dead if not for him. Oh, Richter...

    The first thing I do is call for medical treatment. An ambulance arrives with a police transport. Richter's Pokemon assist us going through the mine, fending off Pokemon that are drawn to the smell of exposed blood.

    I tell Billy to stay with the police as they go through the stolen Pokemon and match them with their files, and to bring the Eevee and Spearow back to Natalie when they are found.

    As for me, I watch over Richter during his transit to the hospital. First his sister, and now him, huh?

    During the trip, Richter briefly comes to.

    “Al... ice...?” Richter groans.

    At a loss on what to say, I ask, “How are you feeling?”

    “I dunno... about... as good as... a guy who was... shot can feel...”

    “Yeah, stupid question, huh?”

    “Will... I die?”

    “Doesn't look like it. The field doctor said the bullet missed your vitals, plus it passed clean through, not hitting a bone or anything. You'll just be in the hospital for a while.”

    “Good...”

    “Hey... um... Thank you... for saving me... Geez, and here I always thought I'd be the one saving your life...”

    “I... guess I... had to repay you... for back... then...” Well, if he can make lighthearted comments like that, I'd say he'll be fine.

    “Hey, don't talk anymore, alright. Just get to sleep and I'll visit you tomorrow.”

    “O... kay...” Richter's consciousness drifts away. He looks so peaceful now...

    “Thank you...” I whisper. Don't ask me what's running through my mind next, because I don't even know. All of a sudden, I find myself leaning over Richter, kissing him on the lips.

    Wow, Alice... You really gotta know how to keep your sense of gratitude in check...

    ---

    Perspective: Richter

    The strange thing about being under care and constantly being dragged into the deepest depths of slumber is that your sense of time is one of the first things to confuse you. It feels like months have passed, but I was told it had just been one week.

    The doctors said that I'll be out of the hospital by the middle of next week, but that I should take it easy and let my wounds heal. Well, Pokemon battles are just thinking and shouting commands, nothing too physical about that, so I can help Natalie train as I am.

    I get various visitors as the days drag on. Rena is now out of the hospital, and she said she'll take care of my Pokemon while I'm recuperating. Natalie visits, thanking me for getting her Pokemon back, and blaming herself for me getting shot, which I try to reassure her of. She also said that Billy's egg hatched, and her new Pokemon is Tyrogue. Her Pokemon did forgive her for giving in to Team Epsilon's ultimatum. Billy stopped by, saying that he was glad to help Natalie smile again and that he had just defeated the Oreburge Gym Leader, earning his sixth badge, and is resuming his journey, hoping we'll meet again.

    Finally, Alice stops by.

    “Well...” she starts, “I'm no longer a police officer, so I have a lot of free time on my hands now."

    “... Really?”

    “Yup. Pokecop is officially dead. I should've known I wouldn't get away with abandoning my duty to fight some Pokemon battles...”

    “That's too bad.”

    “It's no big deal, Richter. By the way, I'm helping Natalie train while you're recovering, so you can rest easy, alright?”

    “Thank you.”

    “No prob. By the way, I have a present for you.”

    “What is it?”

    Alice holds out a Pokeball, “A parting gift from the Oreburge Police Department. They feel responsible for getting you involved in the whole Team Epsilon mess, which led to you getting shot, so they're paying your hospital bills, and they are also giving you a government-trained Pokemon to thank you for your troubles. Say hello, Houndour.”

    Alice releases the Pokemon from its capsule. A black puppy-like Pokemon, wearing a skull on its forehead, ribs around its back, and white bands on its four legs, appears. Houndour, the Dark Pokemon, a fire/dark-type. It's doesn't really look happy, but then again, Houndours never really look particularly jolly, so it's to be expected.

    “Hey...” I greet.

    “Dour.” barks Houndour.

    Natalie returns Houndour to its Pokeball, “I'll leave this on your table. You're gonna need to fill those two empty slots on your team. I know Roserade wouldn't want you as a master again, and I doubt Raoul will give back your Scizor, so you gotta start from scratch.”

    “Why?”

    “Because it's gonna be tough to win your eighth badge and compete in the Sinnoh Championship Tournament with just four Pokemon, that's why.”

    “Very funny, Alice.”

    “Who says I'm joking? Natalie's not gonna be the only one training. As soon as you're out of this hospital, you and I will as well.”

    “... Who the hell said I agreed to this?”

    “Um. You did. You just won't admit it to yourself. Look, Richter... Just how has life been for you after you quit? Honestly? Do you like being a rancher? Do you like the fact that Raoul had achieved more as a trainer than you did? I could tell from our battle earlier that you still have what it takes to be a trainer. I can say the same about myself. I'm glad I'm no longer a cop. That gives me more time to train. Face it, Richter. You and I are Pokemon trainers. Capturing, training, and battling is what we do, it's who we are, it's how we live, and denying that will only make us miserable. C'mon, vacation is over. It's now time to shoot for becoming Champion again!”

    “I abandoned my pursuit of the championship because I was too hard on my Pokemon...”

    “You don't have to be, y'know, and besides, have Gallade, Jolteon, or Sandslash harbored a grudge against you all these years? Hell, Froslass fought for you when you were shot. Isn't it obvious? They love you and respect you. They couldn't have become as strong as they are without you.”

    “I...”

    “If you're that opposed to the idea of becoming champion, then how about this: Instead of becoming champion, see to it that Raoul doesn't. How about that?”

    For the first time, I find myself smiling, “I actually like that idea. Fine then, Alice, I suppose I will give it another try.”

    “Good. We'll become stronger than ever and and two years, we'll totally rule the tournament.”

    “Okay... Wow, Alice... That was one of the most inspiring speeches I ever heard from you.”

    “Thanks! I spent all morning coming up with it.”

    “Right...”

    “Well, rest up. When you're out, you, me, and Natalie will start training like crazy.”
     
  13. *Luckii spazzes out in the glow of Valin's glory*
    KWAAAAAH! That chapter was fantastic! I want MOAR! MOAR I SAY! MOOOOOOAAAAR!!!

    Ahem. *Whipes t-shirt*

    I am very impressed with the work gone into this. It could be a real gem, If you keep this up! ;D
    I particualy like the idea of a brawl. Creative. I sense an 'Alice ♥ Richter' shipping pair!
     
  14. Mmm, a cult worshiping Arceus and wanting to eliminate trainers? That sounds awesome! I'm vaguely reminded of Jim Jones, for some reason. Maybe the leader is in for some sort of material gain, not religion...
     
  15. Nice. I posted in your original thread and I'm posting again. Very good story, and I can't wait to see more!
     
  16. Part Seven​

    Perspective: Natalie

    On a grassy plain, located on Oreburge's outskirts, another training session goes on...

    “Geodude! Rock Throw!”

    “You too, Geodude! Rock Throw!”

    The two rock heads, with arms where their ears should be, respond to Richter and Alice's commands, and extend their fists toward Spearow and Tyrogue, a short purple humanoid Pokemon, wearing shorts and bandages, which it wore straight out of Billy's egg, apparently...

    The arms disconnect from the Geodudes' bodies, and their rock fists rocket toward my two Pokemon. Spearow swiftly dodges, by Tyrogue isn't as swift, and the attack connects, though my new fighting-type doesn't seem too affected by it, and he just gets up like nothing happened. The arms return to the Geodudes and reconnect.

    Alice gives a follow-up command to her Geodude, “Now, hit Tyrogue with Tackle!” Her Geodude hoists itself forward with its arms and flies toward Tyrogue.

    I try to think of a good move Tyrogue can use on Geodude, now that it's getting into his range. Well, there is one move, judging by its name, which should come in handy, “Tyrogue! Rock Smash!”

    Tyrogue rears back to throw a punch, with his fist pulsing with red energy, which Uncle Richter once told me is called 'fighting-type energy.' As soon as Geodude is withing range, Tyrogue delivers its attack, connecting with the rock Pokemon's forehead, leaving a dent, which steam rises from. All right! We hits its weakness! I should keep that move in mind for Oreburge Gym! With that blow, Alice's Geodude falls backward and faints, leaving just Uncle Richter's.

    “Oh well...” Alice calls back her Geodude.

    “Rock Slide!” commands Richter, “Attack Spearow!” Richter's Geodude splits into five pieces, with both of its arms separating from the head, and the arms splitting into two pieces, which then fly from the ground up at Spearow. Luckily, Spearow manages to dodge the attack through the middle of the small rock storm, but one of his wings gets nicked by the attack. With steam rising from where he got hit, Spearow plummets to the ground.

    “Again, Geodude!” Richter calls out, “Rock Slide!” Geodude's five parts begin to descend toward Spearow. However, Tyrogue steps in the attack's path with his arms crossed in front of his face in an 'X' shape, defending Spearow, who gets back to the air.

    From previous training sessions, I know attacks Spearow can do, like Peck and Fury Attack won't do any good on a rock-type, but he did recently learn a move that at least gets by their defenses, “Spearow! Pursuit!” Spearow's body becomes enveloped with dark purple energy, or 'dark-type energy,' seeing as it's a dark-type attack.

    Spearow flies toward Geodude, who had just combined back into one piece and tears through it. Richter's Geodude let's out a loud cry.

    “Again!” I yell to Spearow, “Pursuit!” Spearow does a U-turn and flies back toward Geodude.

    “That's not going to work twice!” says Richter, “Rock Throw!”

    Geodude whirls toward Spearow and fires its stone fist, which collides with my bird Pokemon head-on, knocking it out. I recall Spearow.

    “Tyro!” Tyrogue glances back at me with a confident grin, as if to say, “Don't worry. I totally got this!”

    “Thanks,” I say, “But I'm gonna see if Eevee can get this one.”

    “Rouge...” Tyrogue looks disappointed, but obeys.

    “Go! Eevee!” I grab Eevee's Pokeball and send her out.

    “Tackle attack!” commands Richter.

    “Shadow Ball!” I counter-command.

    Eevee fires her Shadow Ball attack at Richter's charging Geodude. The ball of ghost-type energy connects, knocking the rock-type out.

    With a satisfied smile, Richter says, “Very good.” He recalls his fainted Geodude.

    With our practice battle over, I call back Eevee and Tyrogue.

    “It looks like you're getting better,” says Alice, “Well, I guess we should head to a Center and call it a day...”

    The three of us head to the nearest Pokemon Center, where I hand in all three of my Pokemon to have them recovered, while Uncle Richter and Alice hand in the Geodudes they caught in one of Oreburge's abandoned mines, specifically to prepare me for Oreburge Gym. As we wait, we order dinner.

    This is the way it's been ever since Richter and Alice got Eevee and Spearow back from those Team Epsilon guys. I still feel a bit guilty about my uncle getting shot, but he seems to be doing fine, although I still see him wince every now and then, holding his lower chest. I guess that pain doesn't go quickly...

    Richter gets Caesar salad, a meal I don't think a single days has gone by which he hadn't eaten, Alice, gets a hamburger, which shows that at least her preference in Pokemon Center meals is more varied, though she also orders three glasses of milk, and as for me, I get a plate full of french fries.

    “It seems you're improving,” says Richter.

    “Yeah,” adds Alice, “You knew how to improvise with Spearow, even though that's not a Pokemon you'd wanna use against rock-types, and you're getting to know which moves are good against them.”

    “So...” I begin, “Do you guys think I'm ready to take on Oreburge Gym yet?”

    Richter takes a few seconds to consider it, “Well, you have improved a little each day, and you'd even won a few battles with other beginning trainers. You might be ready...”

    I feel a smile spreading across my face, “All right!”

    These past weeks have been rigorous. Every single day, without even weekends off, it's been training, training, and more training, be it having my Pokemon train against each other, battling Pokemon Richter and Alice caught, battling with other trainers, or watching others battle and seeing what they do. I think I'd been doing pretty well, and hey, if two experts like Richter and Alice think so, I gotta be!

    Something I'd had to watch pretty regularly was a video recording Alice took of Billy's match against the Oreburge Gym Leader. I was pretty nervous, as that was such a high-level match, but Richter reassured me that was because Billy was fighting for his sixth Gym Badge, and I should expect the Leader to go easier on me, because I have no badges at all. That kinda ticks me off, because I don't want my opponents to hold back against me. I mean, I wanna be a powerful trainer, so where's the proof of being strong in that?

    ... But I don't think my Pokemon could beat the guys Billy's team fought... at least not yet...

    Anyway, that match was four-on-four, singles, with no switch-outs allowed. The video only showed the battlefield, and Billy, nor the Gym Leader were in view, though I could hear their voices. Billy's first Pokemon was Breloom, and the Leader's first was Rhyperior, a huge rhino Pokemon. I was afraid of that beast when I first saw it in that video; What a big scary creature that thing is! However, Breloom totally kicked its butt, taking it down with a single move. Alice said that Breloom is a fighting and grass-type, both of which are good for taking on rock-types. The Leader's second Pokemon was a big snail called Magcargo. It looked pretty weak, and I wasn't afraid of that one nearly as much as Rhyperior... at least until it beat Breloom with some fire-type attack. Billy's next guy was Poliwrath, which Richter said is a water-type, as well as a Fighter (and is called the 'Tadpole Pokemon' even though it doesn't look like a tadpole at all!), and that water-types are one of the best kinds of Pokemon to take on rock-types with. Fighting, grass, and water, all strong against rock-types; Suddenly, they don't looks as invincible as I thought. Anyway, Poliwrath took out Magcargo like it was nothing. Same with Pupitar. Things were looking great for Billy, only having lost one Pokemon. The Gym Leader sent out his last: Solrock, some Pokemon looking like a sun with a face, as if it were out of some cartoon drawing. That one looked the weakest out of all of them, but it used some psychic-type move that beat Poliwrath. Next, Billy sent out a beetle-like Pokemon called Heracross. It beat up Solrock pretty good, but lost too. Finally, Billy used Lucario to finish the Meteorite Pokemon, or whatever Uncle Richter says it was, off, and won the match.

    I head to bed that day, with my memories of what I had learned about how to fight rock-types well in my mind. Fighting, grass, and water. Well, I have no grass-types or water-types handy, at least not until I catch some, but I have nothing to worry about. I'd been training Tyrouge hard, so he'll totally be wrecking some rock-types tomorrow, plus I have Eevee and her Shadow Ball attack for backup, and if it comes down to having to use Spearow, I'll just have him use good old Pursuit. Oh yeah, that badge is as good as mine!

    Uncle Richter keeps telling me to still remain cautious, even though Gym Leaders only use a single Pokemon type, but c'mon, how hard can it be?

    Morning doesn't come along fast enough. I'm just excited that I'm gonna take my first big step toward the Sinnoh Championship Tournament, and possible become an Elite Four member, or maybe even the Champion! Of course, I wake up feeling like crap. Note to self: Keep eagerness in check. I wonder if Uncle Richter was like this when he was about to fight for his first Gym Badge...

    Despite feeling tired, however, the first thing of the day I do is send out all three of my Pokemon in my room. As they stand at attention, I try my best under my limited energy to deliver a motivational speech, “Um, yeah, so we've been training hard and stuff. Good work. Anyway, today is gonna be our first Gym battle, so, like, do your best, everyone, and let's go kick some butt, alright?”

    My Pokemon nod at the same time, though I was expecting more enthusiasm than that. Oh well. I recall all three of them and start getting changed, then realizing that I had delivered that speech while wearing my white pajamas dotted with pink hearts, in my room, which is decorated with dolls I used to play with all the time, though I had mostly outgrown them now, and even though my bedroom seems a little too girly nowadays, I'd just been too lazy to change it. Yeah, great setting to give the troops a little morale booster...

    I head downstairs to the kitchen-slash-dining room, where mom and Uncle Richter are already up.

    “Good morning, Natalie!” calls my mom, who, now being out of the hospital and cured of poison, is much livelier.

    “Sleep well?” asks Richter, whose attention is geared toward the sports section of the daily newspaper, no doubt checking out the 'Pokemon Battling' section, as well as his coffee and eggs.

    “What can I make for you this morning, dear?” asks mom.

    “Coffee,” I answer.

    Both Richter and mom stare at me, “Coffee?” I'm not surprised, as I made it totally clear in the past that I can't stand coffee. Mom says it's an 'acquired taste,' whatever that's supposed to mean. Still, I need energy, and I'm told coffee gives people just that.

    I devour a bowl of cereal so fast, I practically eat the bowl too, and then pour tons of cream and sugar into my cup of coffee, and down it in less than five gulps. Ick... Even with all I added, the stuff's still bitter...

    “Alright,” I say, running toward the door, “I'm gonna fight my first Gym battle!”

    “Hold on,” says Richter, “I'm coming too! I helped you train, so I want to see how it goes for you.”

    “Okay,” I say, “but you'd better hurry up and finish your breakfast.”

    “Sure...” Richter puts down the newspaper and plows into his eggs. Mom smiles and shakes her head, as if we're both acting like children, which I'm not... at all.

    ---

    Well, as bitter as it is, that coffee really did help! Maybe I should drink that stuff more often. I run halfway across the city to the Oreburge Gym, with Richter right behind me.

    I'm winded by the run, of course, but Richter looks almost dead.

    “You... need to... work out...” I say between breaths.

    “You... look... no better...”

    “Whatever...”

    We enter the Gym. Well, this is it...

    The inside of the Gym is decorated to reflect the Pokemon type it's based around. The floor is not tiled, wooden, or anything like that. Instead, it's a cold concrete floor, covered with stones and pebbles, and even some crags extending from the ground. Wow... whatever janitor this place has must not have to work very hard... The ceiling even has stalactites, though they may be fake, since it would suck if they were real one were to fall on a person. The walls are decorated with pictures of stone mountains.

    It looks like we got here pretty early, since there is no one in line. Usually, later in a day, there is a line of people extending outside the door, all wanting to challenge the Leader.

    Standing in front of a doorway across from the entrance is a big burly guy with a face covered with hair, the top of his head, not so much, standing there with his arms folded in front of him. He stares at me and Richter, his gaze set on our waists, or more specifically, our Pokeballs.

    “Welcome, trainers,” says the big tough-looking guy, “I take it the two of you are here to challenge the Leader?”

    “Just my niece, actually,” says Richter, gesturing toward me.

    The big doorguy nods a couple times, “I see. How many badges do you have, young lady?”

    “None,” I say, “This is my first Gym.”

    “Alright...” says the guy, “Come through the doorway, miss.” He glances at Richter, “Sir, use one of the doors to the side to go to the viewing area. You are welcome to watch your niece's battle, but may I assume that you've assisted in her training?”

    “I have,” says Richter.

    “I see. In that case, any training partners a challenger may have are allowed to cheer on and encourage them, but are forbidden from giving them advice, as that will result in your... niece's immediate disqualification. Am I understood.”

    “Perfectly,” says Richter, “Well, Natalie, it looks like you're on your own for this battle. Good luck.”

    “No prob!” I tell my uncle, “Fighting, grass, and water. I have a good idea of what to take rock-type on with.”

    “Good girl.” I'll be cheering you on. Good luck...” Richter heads to one of the side doors the doorman mentioned.

    The big doorman steps aside to allow me through the door he's guarding, “Miss, ahead is the arena, where your Gym battle will take place. Wait there for you challenge.”

    “'Kay!” I enter the doorway and walk straight along a designated pathway. In the area beyond, I see several trainers battling Pokemon. Well, I have heard that Gyms are also places where trainers gather to train, and learn about specific Pokemon types, as well as challenging Gym Leaders. The trainers and their Pokemon briefly glance at me, then get back to their business.

    Finally, I reach a third area, a wide open space, with several crags extending from the ground, but no one there. Well, I guess this is the arena where I will fight my battle. All I have to do now is wait.

    On both sides of the room, by the entrances, there are large boulders. I decide to sit on the one on my side of the room. Around the room, there is seating overlooking the place. Sure enough, I see Richter up there, soon joined by trainers I recognized from the previous room.

    I wait for, like, ten minutes until someone arrives on the opposite side of the room and jumps on top of a boulder like the one I'm on: a girl, probably not that much older than me. What's going on here. She can't be the Gym Leader! I may not have gotten a view in Billy's video, but the voice commanding the Gym Leader's Pokemon totally belonged to an older guy.

    I guess the best way to get answers is to ask, “Um... are you the Gym Leader?”

    “No!” answers the girl, “I am a follower of our great Leader. You are to battle me, and should you win, the Leader will then challenge you.”

    I roll my eyes, “Oh, c'mon! Is your Leader really one to hide behind his followers?”

    “Those are the rules,” snaps the girl, “If you do not accept, leave now!”

    “Yeah, fine, whatever. Let's just do this, so I can do what I came here for...”

    “Alright then,” says the girl, “All Pokemon are permitted and can be switched at will. The first trainer to lose a Pokemon loses the match. Let us begin.”

    I'm expecting the Gym Leader to use rock-types, but what about this girl? Well, all those trainers I saw used Pokemon that I assumed were rock-types, like Geodudes, which I know for a fact fall under that type, and other rock-ish creatures, so I guess I can assume this girl will use them too. If I lose even one Pokemon I use for this battle, it's over, so I'd better use something that's sure to win!”

    We send out our Pokemon.

    “Let's get this over with, Tyrogue!”

    “Come out! Geodude!”

    Of course, I send out Tyrogue, while the girl uses Geodude! Ha! No sweat! I know how to beat these things!

    “Tyrogue! Rock Smash!” Tyrogue charges at Geodude, with his fist glowing red.

    “Geodude! Tackle attack!” commands the girl. Yeah, I've seen Tyrouge counter that move plenty of times. This battle is totally mine!

    Geodude hoists itself at my fighting-type, who just sidesteps the attack, then sends his fist down on top of the rock-type, slamming it into the floor. This should be over.

    However, Geodude manages to get up. I guess I should expect this one to be better-trained than the ones Richter and Alice caught specifically to train my Pokemon with, but it still looks pretty worn out. One more attack should do it!

    “Low Kick!” I command.

    Tyrouge squats and delivers a quick sweep kick, which sends the Geodude tumbling across the arena and crashing into the boulder the girl is standing on. It doesn't look like it's getting up for more...

    The girl sighs, and holds out her Pokemon's Pokeball, “Return! Geodude!” Well, this is over, so I recall Tyrouge as well.

    “Very good,” says the girl as she hops off her rock, “The Gym Leader will challenge you soon.” With that, she leaves.

    I look up at Richter, expecting to see him smile or nod, but instead, he looks concerned. I just won that battle with ease. What is he so worried about?

    Five minutes pass when someone else arrives on the other end of the arena: A tall muscular man with long silvery hair. All right! Now that's more like my image of the Gym Leader!

    “Welcome,” says the guy flatly, his voice matching the one I remember from the footage of Billy's battle, “I am the Leader of Oreburge Gym. You have done well in besting my student...” I wonder if he's just supposed to say that, as I'm hardly convinced that girl was trying, “You are indeed a promising trainer. May I ask your name, young challenger?”

    “Natalie,” I say.

    “I see... Natalie... Well then, prepare for your first true challenge as a Pokemon trainer. This shall be a zero-badge Gym battle: A standard two-on-two match! Do you accept?”

    “You know it!”

    “Good!” says the Gym Leader, pulling a Pokeball from his belt, “Let the battle begin!”

    The onlookers (except Richter, probably) cheer wildly.

    Who should I send out first? Tyrouge is my first choice, but since I used him once already, I should let him rest for a little while. I decide to use my next best choice for taking on rock-types, “Go! Eevee!”

    “Rhyhorn! Go!”

    As I send out Eevee, the Gym Leader sends out a rhino-like Pokemon, though its smaller than the one I saw in the video of Billy's battle and on four legs, although it still looks kinda tough...

    The Gym Leader makes the first command, “Rhyhorn! Rock Blast!” Rhyhorn stomps its foot, and several of the larger rocks laying about the arena start levitating off the ground around it. One of the rocks rockets toward Eevee, who tries to dodge, though the kinda pointed rocks that was fired still manages to cut her side. She lets out a cry, but is still standing.

    Eevee starts dashing around Rhyhorn, narrowly dodging more of the stones. Dang... That move has us at bay! We need to make a stand and attack!

    “Go for it, Eevee!” I cry out, “Shadow Ball!” A ball of ghost-type energy floats in front of Eevee, as she dodges one more rock, and then charges headlong at Rhyhorn. Rhyhorn sends another rock flying, but Eevee uses the Shadow Ball as a shield, and the two attacks cancel each other out. With the path cleared, Eevee jumps on top of Rhyhorn, and then leaps of, whirling around to face its back.

    “Again!” I yell, “Shadow Ball!” Eevee sends a second Shadow Ball flying toward Rhyhorn's rear. One of the first things I learned when training against the Geodude is that Shadow Ball is the only move Eevee has right now that can damage a rock-type to a decent degree.

    The Shadow Ball hits, and Rhyhorn lets out a loud cry. However, it recovers quickly, and whirls around to face Eevee.

    “Take Down!” commands the Gym Leader. Rhyhorn charges at Eevee quickly.

    “Fire another Shadow Ball!” I yell. Eevee obeys and sends an orb at Rhyhorn's face. The attack connects, and Rhyhorn winces, but doesn't stop charging. Rhyhorn slams into Eevee and sends her sailing through the air and hitting the ground hard. Eevee slowly gets up, but then her strength gives out and she faints.

    Oh crap... I recall Eevee. This doesn't look good. Well, it's a no-brainer on who to send out next...

    “Go! Tyrouge!” Tyrouge appears.

    “Take Down!” commands the Gym Leader. Rhyhorn charges again.

    “Mach Punch!” I command. Tyrouge vanishes, and then reappears in front of a startled Rhyhorn, delivering a quick punch to its head, and creating a steamy dent. The rhino Pokemon staggers back.

    “Rock Smash!” Tyrogue delivers a second punch, and Rhyhorn goes down. Alright! One down! Sure, I may have been the first to have a Pokemon faint, but Tyrouge's got this, no prob!

    The Gym Leader recalls Rhyhorn, but he doesn't look worried. In fact, he's grinning. I wonder why... Oh well, he won't be cocky for long.

    “Go! Lunatone!” The Gym Leader sends out his second Pokemon: a hovering rock Pokemon that kinda reminds me of that Solrock creature from Billy's video in the sense that it looks like a sky-thing out of a cartoon drawing, only in this case, it's a crescent moon with a face instead of a sun. Is this thing somehow related to Solrock...? Oh no, I remember how Solrock gave Billy's team, made up entirely of fighting-types, trouble...

    “Hypnosis!” shouts the Gym Leader. Lunatone's red eyes begin to flash. I begin to feel woozy and turn my eyes away. When I look again, however, Tyrogue seems to be having a hard time standing, and is struggling to keep his eyes open.

    “Rou...” Tyrouge lets out a big yawn, like he's about to fall asleep. Oh crap, he doesn't looks like he's in good shape to battle.

    “Hey!” I yell to Tyrouge, “Snap out of it, already! Attack that thing with Mach Punch!”

    “Ty...” With another yawn, Tyrouge charges at Lunatone, but something is seriously wrong. When using Mach Punch, he's usually moving so fast, I can't see him, but right now, he's running just faster than I can...

    Lunatone floats to the side, avoiding the punch.

    The Gym Leader extends his arm, “Now! Confusion!”

    Tyrouge starts to levitate off the ground, and steam starts to rise from his entire body. I remember that attack when I fought that Team Epsilon guy's Abra! It's a psychic move, and I was told Fighters are weak to those. Not good! Tyrouge is now wide awake as he screams in pain. Lunatone then psychically slams Tyrogue into the concrete floor so hard, the impact creates a small dent.

    However, Tyrouge is not ready to give up, and he slowly rises, though he's breathing pretty fast.

    “Good, Tyrouge,” I say, “Hang in there! We can win!”

    “Rou...” Tyrouge nods his head.

    “Take that thing down! Rock Smash!” Tyrouge dives toward Lunatone, fists glowing.

    “Harden!” the Gym Leader counter-commands. Lunatone's entire form starts to glow as Tyrouge's fist smashes against the side of the moon-shaped rock Pokemon. To my surprise, Tyrouge staggers back, holding the hand he struck the rock-type with, as if that attack hurt him more than Lunatone.

    “End this!” the Gym Leader yells to his Pokemon, “Psywave!”

    Tyrouge lifts off the ground again, this time surrounded by a pink aura. Steam rises as he's once again held by a power he's weak against. His body starts to vibrate slowly, at least at first, before he starts shaking violently, and is finally thrown several feet, slamming into one of the crags around the arena. Tyrouge falls to the ground, and is not getting up.

    “Damn it...” I curse as I recall my fighting-type.

    The Gym Leader recalls Lunatone and declares, “Victory is mine! Your Pokemon require more training, challenger!”

    ---

    Richter and I leave the Gym, and rush my Eevee and Tyrouge to the Pokemon Center.

    We sit on one of the couches spread throughout the lobby as we wait for my Pokemon to recover.

    “Damn...” I mutter, “Just how the hell was he 'taking it easy on me?' He's just the first guy I gotta beat! I can't believe how tough his Pokemon were!”

    “Now you know what I went through,” says Richter, “Gym Leaders may only use single Pokemon types, but that means they're specialists. They know their type of choice inside and out, and especially know how to cover their weaknesses.”

    “Crap...”

    “... and...”

    “And...?”

    “He knew which Pokemon to counter you with before the battle even began...”

    “What? How?”

    “That girl you fought first. He was watching that battle and knew you had a fighting-type, Tyrouge, handy, and so he decided to use Lunatone, a rock/psychic-type for his battle.”

    “What? So that bastard cheated!”

    “You can view it however you want, Natalie, but that's one of several tactics Gym Leaders like to use: have a student battle first, learn about which Pokemon you have, and build his team accordingly. If you decide to have a rematch against that Gym Leader, you should keep it in mind.”

    “But... what am I supposed to do?”

    “That's easy,” says Richter, “Keep him in the dark. What you could have done was send Eevee, a Pokemon that says nothing about the strengths of your team over rock-types, out to battle the girl's Geodude, win, and the Gym Leader wouldn't know you had Tyrouge, so you could catch him off-guard.”

    “Oh... I get it...” I ask another question, “How do you know that? Did someone tell you?”

    “It's more of a theory, if anything,” says Richter, “I'd just noticed that some Leaders' teams were a little too convenient when I fought one of their students first, and that was my conclusion.”

    “Oh!”

    Richter leans forward, “Still... a little more preparation may be necessary. Fighting-types are good for battling rock-types, but they are best as backup. What you'll need is a water-type, grass-type, ground-type, or something else that's effective against rock-types...”

    “Really? No problem, then! I'll ask Eevee what she wants to become: Vaporeon or Leafeon!”

    “Let's not be so hasty,” says Richter.

    “Why not? Eevee's gotta evolve sooner or later.”

    Richter glances at me from the corner of his eye. What comes next is totally random, “Hey, Natalie... How would you like to take a trip to the beach?”

    “The... beach...?” I smile slightly, “I have no idea where that came from, but sure. Mom bought me a new swimsuit not too long ago, and...”

    “It's not for swimming,” interrupts Richter, “It used to be, until someone lost her leg in a Sharpedo attack.”

    I can feel the blood drain from my face as Richter's words put a grisly image into my head.

    “However,” continues Richter, “That beach is now one of Sinnoh's most ideal place to find and catch water-type Pokemon. How about we go there and see what we can find for you, instead of evolving Eevee right away?”

    Well, I guess a water-type could come in handy down the line, and maybe I am deciding too soon on what to evolve Eevee into. I say with a nod, “Yeah, okay, Uncle Richter. Where is this beach?”

    “Outside Sunyshore City,” answers Richter.

    “Um... isn't that on the other side of Sinnoh?”

    “It is, but you know we can take the magnet train to get there. On that, the trip should take us less than four hours.”

    “... Can we afford it?”

    “I managed to win enough money by defeating a pretty tough trainer, so yes, we can afford that trip.”

    “Well, alright! When are are we going?”

    “First thing tomorrow.”





    Yeah, sorry if things feel like they're winding down a bit here. I'm thinking of ways to get the action to pick up again in the next part, so forgive me if I take a little while with it.

    Something you may be wondering is: Why isn't the Gym Leader Roark, or really, why didn't the Gym Leader have a name, period? Well, I just rather not use characters from the games or anime, and y'know, not risk stepping on canon, or anything. Basically make it my own unique story.
     
  17. Ooh, I'm interested now. Personally I would just use Roark, but I'm lazy. Looking forward to mooore! ;D
     
  18. Yes, I was surprised that it wasn't Roark as well. Who is this mysterious Leader? :p
     
  19. I like this story! It's really good!
     
  20. Despite what I said, the ideas came pretty fast, and I was on a roll today, so here's the next installment. Enjoy!




    Part Eight​

    Perspective: Natalie

    Another sleepless night passes, followed by another coffee-empowered morning. I'd probably only been to Sunyshore City once in my life, and that was a layover during a flight to visit Hoenn when I was eight, so it's not like I got to see much of the city. This is also my first time riding the magnet train, which was added to Sinnoh's transportation system, after the success of the original one connecting Johto to Kanto.

    After an early morning, Uncle Richter and I took a short bus trip to Jubilife City, just west of Oreburge, where one end of the magnet train line is, and now, we're traveling across Sinnoh at an incredible speed, and so far, I'd spent the trip staring out the window.

    I can't believe I hadn't stopped to look, but Sinnoh really is a beautiful region. The grass is green, the plants are lush, the bright blue sky reflects off the surface of the lakes. The trees lining the sides of the tracks don't even get in the way, as they just blur by, barely visible... In the distance, I see the snow-covered mountains, and the small trace of buildings nestled between them. Snowpoint City... I wonder if I'll ever visit that place. All year around, be it summer or winter, it's always covered in snow, and I like snow. I really want to see that place someday...

    As usual, however, Richter is on an entirely different page, with his back to the window, and his attention focused on today's newspaper. Geez, how can a human stand to read so much? Every time I ever try to buckle down and read word after word, I get a headache. While I'd just let Richter do whatever boring stuff he's into, there's something weird about the way he's looking at whatever he's reading, like it worries him.

    “Um... Hey, Uncle Richter? What's up? Whatcha reading about?”

    Richter lets out a sigh, and says, “This article is about those Team Epsilon guys that stole your Pokemon, and Alice and I had to fight...” He clutches the place where he was shot, as if the memory reminded him of the pain.

    “Um... Yeah. But they're rotting in jail now, right? No problem!”

    “... Apparently, another group of trainers infiltrated the prison, and broke them out...”

    “What?”

    Richter folds the newspaper and sets it aside, “It looks like they are not done causing problems...”

    “Did you ever find out why they stole my Pokemon, and other people's?”

    “Before the attack, Alice, other police officers, and I overheard them talking, saying something about them being subjects of some kind of research, but they never specified what.”

    I add, “When they stole Eevee and Spearow, they said something about them being 'vessels,' or something. They were also particular about psychics, darks, and ghosts...”

    “Why didn't you mention that before?”

    “It slipped my mind. It didn't really have anything to do with helping you guys find them, anyway. Still, do you have any idea, Uncle Richter?”

    “I'm not sure. They say that psychic-types, dark-types, and ghost-types have a closer connection to the spiritual realm than other Pokemon, however. I guess I could make a vague connection, seeing as they worship the Alpha Pokemon, Arceus, as their God, though that still doesn't explain why their goal was with other people's Pokemon...”

    “Wow... What a bunch of freaks. Oh well, I'm sure the Pokemon League will take care of them soon...”

    “Hopefully. The Pokemon League is mainly affiliated with official Pokemon battling. They only get involved with matters like these when it's obvious the authorities can't handle it...”

    “You know, Uncle Richter, you could always go and kick their butts yourself.”

    Richter leans back, “Very funny, Natalie. Like it turned out all dandy when I fought them...” Again, his hand is where he got took a bullet.

    “Yeah...”

    Suddenly, through the windows on the other side of the train, a large bird Pokemon flies alongside us. This catches the attention of several other passengers too. It's light brown with long pink and yellow feathers extending from its head. For a few seconds, it flies at the same speed as the magnet train, but soon accelerates and leaves our sight.

    “What was that?” I ask.

    “Pidgeot,” answers Richter, “It must belong to a trainer, since Pidgeots are not indigenous to Sinnoh, and it's extremely rare to see one in the wild anyway. It's probably racing the train to test its speed...”

    “Why is it rare? Why aren't there more?”

    “It's the final form of a bird Pokemon called Pidgey. Most Pokemon can evolve on their own when they become strong enough, but that level of power is seldom reached by Pokemon in the wild. Pokemon training under humans usually do become strong enough, though. It's a good thing this happens as well, since if there were so many Pokemon that became that strong on their own, humans probably wouldn't last long.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah. There's one Pokemon called Alakazam, the Psi Pokemon, with immeasurable psychic power, blessed with far more intelligence than any human, and can even telepathically communicate with humans that are not psychically gifted. If they had their way, they could overthrow humans with ease. However, they cannot reach that form in the wild, and must be trained by a human. As a result, they are exclusively under the care of humans; There is no such thing as a wild Alakazam. They aren't even allowed to be released.”

    “Wow... that's crazy!”

    “I'm sure there are some Legendary Pokemon with stronger powers... Good thing human-trained Pokemon greatly outnumber them.”

    “Yeah...” It's pretty weird how this world works. Humans live under the constant threat of Pokemon attacking them, and on their own, there is little they can do. What protects humans from Pokemon? Other Pokemon, of course! The thing that threatens humanity is the same thing that protects them. Humans could be killed by Pokemon, and yet they exist because of Pokemon. Wow... Suddenly, as a human, I feel a tad insignificant compared to the very things I'm trying to toughen up...

    In light of the news about Team Epsilon's escape from jail and some of the more disturbing aspects regarding our Pokemon-centric world, I find it a little harder to enjoy the sights of Sinnoh.

    ---

    Finally, we arrive in Sunyshore City... and wow! Now this is what I call a city! Not someplace like Oreburge, which just has a few highrises, and feels it can get away with calling itself a city. Some people say that cities represent the highest points of design and culture, and at a glance, Sunyshore doesn't disappoint. There are nothing but skyscrapers as far as I can see, people everywhere, and even walkways above the traffic far below.

    As soon as Richter and I leave the station, Richter stares off in the direction of a large building with a dome roof. A picture of a Pokeball is painted over the entrance, meaning, “... Isn't that Sunyshore Gym?”

    “It sure is,” says Richter, “That was my big dead end that led to the end of my career as a kid. Even after nine tries in a row, I just couldn't win...”

    “But... isn't it just a Pokemon Gym like the others, using a single type?”

    “Yes. It's an electric-type Gym.”

    “Um... I think you told me that ground-types kick butt against electric-types. You should been able to rock that place with your Sandslash!”

    Richter forces a small laugh, “Believe me, Natalie, I tried. However, a particularly powerful electric-type, called Electivire, which is a favorite of the Gym Leader, by the way, can perform Ice Punch, foiling the whole ground-type idea...”

    “Darn. I guess Oreburge Gym can wait. If it's really that tough, I should get this one outta the way!”

    “You can't,” says Richter, “This is the Pokemon Gym closest to Pokemon League HQ. This place is exclusively meant to be the last place trainers aspiring to compete in the Sinnoh Championship Tournament should challenge. You can only take on the Gym Leader here by gathering seven Gym Badges.”

    “Oh... Well, aren't you gonna try taking this place on?” I ask Richter.

    “Not now, Natalie. I've been out of practice, so I'm no longer ready. I plan to challenge it sometime before the Championship Tourament, though...”

    “When would that be?”

    Richter smiles, “Probably when you're ready to challenge it.”

    “Oh!”

    Richter starts walking away from me, “C'mon, Natalie. We'll be back to challenge this place in a couple years, assuming all goes well, but that's not the reason we're here now. Let's go to the beach and capture a water-type for you.”

    “Okay!”

    ---

    We head to Route 222, a beach area on the border of Sunyshore City. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, the spray of salt water fills the air, making it an ideal day for a paradise like this to be packed, but, of course, that mental image of a Sharpedo and a severed limb keeps coming back to haunt my mind. Thanks to that event, there are signs every eighth of a mile along the shoreline telling people that swimming here is forbidden by Sinnoh law, and violators will be fined heavily (assuming they don't get eaten or torn apart by some waterborne terror). Of course, because of all that, this place is practically devoid of life, and I find myself depressed by it. Why can't those stupid water-types leave fun-loving humans alone?

    Before coming here, Richter bought a fishing rod and some special bait. He attaches some bait to the hook and casts his line to the ocean.

    I take off and open my backpack to check what's inside: Three Pokeballs. That should be enough...

    We wait for fifteen minutes, and there's nothing to indicate that Richter got a bite.

    Getting impatient, I ask, “What's going on? You said this place was ideal for catching water-types. Why didn't you get a bite yet?”

    “I'm no fishing expert,” says Richter, “We might have better luck if we took a boat. Unfortunately, I only had enough money for a round-trip on the magnet train and this fishing pole, plus a lot of Pokemon are smart enough to know what we're up to. We're just gonna have to patient, alright?”

    “Yeah, fine...”

    Five more minutes pass with nothing happening. I see someone with a fishing rod riding on the back of his Pokemon, a scary-looking blue tentacled Pokemon, looking kinda like a jellyfish, or something... That looks like the way to do it, but neither of us have a Pokemon that can ride us across the water, I guess...

    I glance at Richter's belt: Five Pokeballs.

    “Hey, Uncle Richter? Are the five Pokemon you have right now Jolteon, Gallade, Sandslash, Froslass, and Houndour? What about the Geodude you caught?”

    “I released it,” my uncle answers.

    “Huh? Why?”

    “It's just not the kind of Pokemon I like to train, that's all.”

    “Why not keep it?” I ask, “It could come in handy...”

    “One thing a lot of trainers fail to grasp is that if they don't plan to use a Pokemon for battling, protection, or companionship, all the Pokemon is, in that case, is something that had its freedom stolen from it. If you have no use for a Pokemon, don't catch it; If you only have a limited amount of use for a Pokemon, release it. Besides, that Geodude did become somewhat stronger when I used to to help train your Pokemon. It's probably happy to know that it can return to its home, stronger than before.”

    “Oh... That makes sense. I'll keep it in mind...”

    “Good.”

    Suddenly, something happens. No, Richter didn't get a bite; It's something much more interesting: The water starts to rock violently. The trainer riding the big jellyfish tightly grips onto his Pokemon and rides away quickly. Suddenly, some kinda... energy bullet, I guess, shoots from out of the water. It misses Richter and me, but severs the fishing line. Way out, the water starts to rise up, as if it's forming a hill, and it starts rolling toward us in the form of a big wave. Something purple bursts out of the water and starts riding the wave: It's shaped like a star, and it doesn't have a face, or anything. Instead, it has some red jewel on it center. There's another star shape on its back, which constantly rotates.

    “A Starmie?” questions Richter, “Run, Natalie!”

    “Um... Yeah!” Richter and I run away from the wave. That star-thing created it! If it has that much control over the water, that's a water-type I want!

    Unfortunately, Richter and I aren't fast enough, and the wave crashes on top of us. No injury, or anything, but we are now completely drenched!

    Well, now that I no longer have the wave to worry about, it's go time! I grab a Pokeball from my belt and declare to the Starmie, or whatever Richter just called it, “Yes! You're perfect! You are gonna be mine, so get ready!” I send out a Pokemon to weaken the water-type, “Go! Spearow!”

    Spearow appears and faces off against Starmie, which is standing on the surface of the water, as if it's solid ground. Eevee and Tyrouge won't have an easy time going toe-to-toe with something that can stand on the water's surface, so Spearow's my best bet!

    “Peck attack!” I command. Spearow starts to dive bomb Starmie. However, Starmie counterattacks by firing several energy bullets from its jewel core at Spearow.

    “It's using its Swift attack!” comments Richter.

    Spearow manages to dodge a few of the bullets, but one finally connects, knocking him back.

    “Hang in there!” I encourage Spearow.

    “Spear!” Spearow resumes his charge. Starmie counters with another Swift attack, but my bird Pokemon maneuvers sideways, avoiding the attack and goes around to Starmie's rear, blindsiding it. The water-type staggers forward, but quickly recovers and whirls around to face Spearow.

    “Now! Pursuit!” I yell. Spearow backs up, engulfing itself in dark-type energy, and then charges at Starmie, but something strange happens: Spearow stops moving, and I don't mean it like Spearow changing his mind about the attack, but rather, he comes to a full stop and is levitating in midair. Looking closely, Spearow is surrounded by a pink aura. A psychic move? Dammit! Haven't I seen enough of this mind-crap already?

    “It's a psychic-type, as well as a water-type,” says Richter.

    So it's a psychic-type too, huh? Alright, I could use one of those as well! Still, this Pokemon seems pretty tough. Well, it'll be worth it when it's captured!

    However, my whatever good feelings I'm having right now are cut short when Starmie lowers Spearow beneath the water. Several second pass, but it's not lifting Spearow out.

    “Starmie is using its Psychic attack to try to drown Spearow!” Richter yells, “Have another one of your Pokemon disrupt its concentration!”

    “Um, yeah!” I grab a second Pokeball and send out Eevee. I extend my arm in Starmie's direction, and command, “Eevee! Shadow Ball!” Eevee fires her Shadow Ball attack at Starmie, who dodges to the side, though the move still nicks it, leaving a small burn.

    “Mieee!” a shrill noise emanates from Starmie, and that that moment, Spearow rises out of the water, coughing a couple times.

    “You're alright!” I say relieved, “Alright, Spearow! Let's try that again! Pursuit!” Spearow surrounds itself with dark energy again, and dives at Starmie. The attack connects, and Starmie is knocked back, and under the waves.

    Suddenly, something strange happens: Spearow's entire body is giving off a faint white glow.

    “Huh? What's going on?” I ask.

    “Vee?” questions Eevee.

    “It's evolving!” marvels Richter.

    Spearow's size expands, and where he used to be one foot long, head to tail, he is now almost four feet, his red and black form turns mostly light brown, his neck extends, his beak becomes longer, its stubby wingspan widens several times over, his head narrows, and red plumage sprouts from it. The glow fades, and Spearow is now something completely different than what it used to be!

    “Fearowwwww!” my newly evolved Pokemon screeches.

    “All right!” says Richter, “Your Spearow evolved into Fearow!”

    “Fearow...” I echo, “Alright, Fearow! Let's beat and capture that Starmie!”

    “Fear.” Fearow glances back at me, and nods.

    Starmie bursts out of the water, and stands on its surface again. It sends another Swift attack in Fearow's direction. This time, however, Fearow soars above the flurry of bullets with a single flap of his wings. It's amazing how much easier it's become for Fearow to fly. As Spearow, he had to flap his wings constantly, but now, he's flying like it's nothing.

    “Aerial Ace!” I command. Fearow quickly flies around to Starmie's rear, and before it can follow, Fearow delivers a fast peck, and then slams it with one of his wings. Starmie is sent crashing underwater again, but it is still ready for more, and it emerges. Starmie creates another wave, trying to submerge Fearow, but my bird Pokemon flies above it with no trouble, and pecks it a bunch of times with Fury Attack, followed by Pursuit, sending it flying, and crashing into the sand just a few feet away from me. The light shining from its jewel is starting to pulse a little.

    “It's weakening!” says Richter, “Now try capturing it!”

    “Yeah!” I reach for my backpack to pull out a Pokeball, only to realize it's not there. Oh yeah, it was off when Starmie attacked us with that wave, and... Oh crap!

    I glance around for my backpack. Damn! It's gone, probably washed out to sea! I catch a glimpse of something half-buried in the sand: a Pokeball. Okay, good! At least I still have that!

    I dive toward the ball, and throw it at Starmie. There's a bright flash, and Starmie, now inside the Pokeball rolls and bounces wildly. C'mon... Click already! Don't escape! Don't escape! Don't...

    There's another bright flash, and the Pokeball is broken in two. Starmie escaped! No! That was the only Pokeball I have left!

    I slump to my hands and knees. Damn, all that effort ended up being a waste! Oh well, we can still finish off Starmie for sport!

    “Eevee! Shadow Ball!” Eevee fires her Shadow Ball, but this time, Starmie dodges completely, and counters with another Psychic attack, sending Eevee flying and slamming into a tree at the back of the beach. She struggles to get back up, but collapses. I recall Eevee, and then notice that Starmie had taken back to the ocean, and it looks like it's running. Oh no, you don't!

    “Fearow!” I yell, “Don't let it get away!”

    Fearow dives toward Starmie, but then, something unexpected happens. Starmie's body crackles with electricity, and it releases a wave of lightning, which catches my bird Pokemon.

    “It used Thunderbolt?” yells Richter, “Impossible!”

    With steam rising from his damaged body, Fearow falls into the ocean. I recall Fearow, and see Starmie get further and further away. Dammit...

    ---

    Perspective: Richter

    There is something very strange about the Starmie Natalie tried to capture. First of all, is the fact that it's a Starmie, and not a Staryu, as it evolves with a Water Stone, and wild Pokemon hardly ever evolve that way. It's still possible, but very rare. Secondly was the fact that Starmie attacked us, and not the other way around. It's a strong Pokemon, but it has no natural animosity toward humans, nor do they see them as food. It should have just left us alone. Finally, it performed the attacks, Surf, Psychic, and, most significantly, Thunderbolt, all moves it couldn't have learned without human assistance. It even knew to use Thunderbolt on Fearow, so it knows some degree of battle strategy, something else it should have gained under a human's care. However, despite its power, Starmie still fought just a little better than most wild Pokemon can, so it's obvious it's not following a human's directions, even remotely. This Starmie is undoubtedly wild, but there is definitely a history behind it.

    A hypothesis forms in my mind, based on what I had gathered: It used to have a trainer, and the reason we're fighting it as a wild Pokemon is because it was released. Still, it seems too good to release... but that might not have been the trainer's fault. I have no way of knowing, but maybe the trainer met an early death, and without a word on who will inherit his Pokemon, should he die, his Pokemon were simply released. Perhaps the Starmie desires a new trainer, and it attacked us to test us. Since it seems Natalie now lacks the means of capturing it, Starmie sees no reason to stay.

    I feel the one empty space on my belt. I need strong Pokemon if I am to win my final badge and compete in the Sinnoh Championship Tournament, and since I no longer have Scizor and Roserade at my side, I need something to take over...

    All right, Starmie, I accept your challenge!

    “Go! Jolteon!” I send out Jolteon. Starmie is almost out of sight. I won't let it get away!

    Natalie glances at me, “Uncle Richter?”

    “Agility!” I command Jolteon, “Chase after Starmie! Don't let it escape!”

    “Jolt!” Jolteon dashes, accelerating rapidly to an amazing speed, and finally runs on the surface of the water as it it were still the ground.

    “Whoa!” exclaims Natalie.

    It doesn't take long for Jolteon to intercept Starmie.

    “Mie?” screeches Starmie.

    “Quick Attack!” I yell. Jolteon bolts toward the Mysterious Pokemon and body slams it, sending it flying closer to the shore. We have to get it close enough to be captured. With Starmie still in midair, I give Jolteon a follow-up command, “Shadow Ball!”

    Jolteon fires a Shadow Ball at the airborne Starmie, knocking it the rest of the way to shore. I take off my backpack, and look inside. Alright, I have a single Ultra Ball handy. I'd better make this one count...

    Starmie's core is pulsing wildly. It probably won't be able to take much more.

    I give Jolteon one more command as he returns to shore, “Thunder Wave! Paralyze it!”

    A barrier of electrical energy expands from around Jolteon, which Starmie gets caught in. The Mysterious Pokemon twitches, barely able to move.

    Now is the time! I throw the Ultra Ball, and Starmie vanishes with a flash of light. The capsule bounces and rolls a few times, but it's obvious that Starmie is very low on stamina. Finally, there is a click.

    “Alright, Richter!” cheers Natalie, as I recall Jolteon and pick up Starmie's capsule, “Thank you so much for capturing it for me!”

    I attach Jolteon and Starmie's Pokeballs to my belt, “You misunderstood my intentions, Natalie. I didn't catch Starmie for you. I caught it for me.”

    “Hey!” exclaims Natalie angrily, “Don't go stealing my captures!”

    “Strange,” I say, “You no longer had any ways of capturing it, so I figured I had a right to it...”

    “I did...” says Natalie, “I just found another one of my Pokeballs in the sand...” She holds out a Pokeball to illustrate her point, “I was gonna use it, before you used yours.”
    '
    “Regardless,” I say, “Starmie is mine, now. Don't worry. We'll buy some more Pokeballs for you, and come back. We'll get you a water-type.”

    “Yeah, fine... huh?” Suddenly, a terrified expression crosses Natalie's face, and she begins to sweat, “Oh crap...”

    “What's wrong?”

    “When I lost my backpack... my case of evolution stones was in it! We gotta find it!”

    “If it was washed out to sea,” I say, “There's no way we're gonna find it. Starmie may be suitable, but it's in no condition to do that right now. I'm sorry, Natalie.”

    “Damn it...”

    “Don't worry,” I say, “I still have some leftover stones at my cabin in Solacean Town. The next time I go there, I'll bring what I have back for you, alright?”

    “You'd do that?”

    “Yeah. I don't need them.”

    “Thank you...”

    “Let's go, Natalie. Let's head to the Pokemon Center, patch our teams up, get you some more Pokeballs, and we'll try again.”

    “Alright...”

    As we're about to leave the beach, however, something catches Natalie's eye, “Huh? What's that?”

    We walk over to what Natalie saw: a rock slab with some crescent shape protruding from it. It was probably uncovered when Starmie used its Surf attack.

    I quizzically examine it, and am shocked by what it may very well be, “Unbelievable!”

    “What is it?”

    “Natalie, we just may have found you a Pokemon after all!”

    Natalie looks around, side to side, “Where?”

    “Right here,” I point at the slab.

    “... I don't get it.”

    “It's a fossil,” I explain, “It's what's left of a Pokemon that existed millions of years ago.”

    “So you found me a dead Pokemon? Good job.”

    “Well, it's true that whatever this was is extinct... or at least it used to be.”

    “'Used to be?'” asks Natalie, “Um... How can something that's been extinct suddenly not be?”

    “Technology,” I answer, “Humans can clone the DNA contained in this fossil, and create a flesh and blood replica of it. Pokemon like this used to be extinct, but in today's world, they are coming back, under the care of trainers lucky enough to find their fossils... and you might be one of them, Natalie.”

    “Cool!” exclaims Natalie, “So, um... what Pokemon is this?”

    “I don't know. I'm no archeologist...”

    “I guess you don't know everything, after all...”

    I kneel down and drag the fossil out of the sand. It's pretty big, and heavy too, but we can carry it.

    ---

    The first stop Natalie and I make is to one of Sunyshore's Pokemon Centers. While Starmie, Eevee, and Fearow are recovering, we ask around, asking if there are any Cloning Centers around: places that have existed in every region's major cities, ever since Pokemon fossils have been repeatedly discovered. At the very least, Sunyshore is one of Sinnoh's biggest cities, so it's possible...

    After a few setbacks, we are finally given directions to Sunyshore's Cloning Center.

    We hand in the fossil, and well as the Pokeball Natalie found in the sand, as if whatever Prehistoric Pokemon that fossil is will need a Pokeball programmed for Natalie's use if it's to recognize her as its master.

    Around the building, there are pictures of various Prehistoric Pokemon that fossil could be: Omastar, Rampardos, Kabuto, Aerodactyl... Some of them are water-types, so maybe we'll get lucky...

    Since the whole process of reviving a fossil is not instantaneous, Natalie and I spend the night at the Pokemon Center. As instructed, we head back to the Cloning Center in the morning and are given a Pokeball with Natalie's Prehistoric Pokemon inside.

    Outside the building, I say, “Well, let's see what you got, Natalie.”

    “Sure,” says Natalie, “Go!” She throws her Pokeball, and there is a flash. What materializes is a four-foot-tall near-humanoid Pokemon, with scythe-like claws, a nearly flat head shaped like a semicircle, and is covered with brown exoskeleton armor.

    “Kabutops!” Natalie's new Pokemon greets.

    “This is my new Pokemon?” asks Natalie, “Awesome! It looks so powerful!”

    “It's called Kabutops,” I explain to Natalie, “The Shellfish Pokemon. You'll probably be happy to know that it's a water-type, as well as a rock-type.”

    Natalie's face lights up, “All right! Kabutops, you and I will be an awesome team!”

    “Kabu...” Kabutops nods obediently. Natalie recalls the Prehistoric Pokemon.

    “Let's head back to Oreburge,” I say, “We'll train a little more, and this time, you'll defeat the Gym Leader!”

    Natalie grins, “You got it, Uncle!”




    Thank you for the comments, and sorry about any typos.
     
  21. Wow! Your work is outstanding! I wish I could write good stories like that, but I'm only 11! Good job!
     
  22. Another great chapter!! You are a great writer!
     
  23. I love Kabutops, they are one of the most adorable fossil Pokemon ever.

    As for Spearow evolving, I like the inbattle moment, but maybe at some time, there could be a bit more description than 'light.'
     
  24. Part Nine

    Perspective: Natalie

    The next week goes by with me training my Pokemon with Alice and Uncle Richter, and with Kabutops's addition, as well as Fearow, I can say for sure that my team has gotten much stronger. Richter and Alice have even used some of their regular Pokemon to help train, instead of Pokemon they just capture for a little while, and then release back into the wild.

    Unfortunately, my Pokemon are nowhere strong enough to even put a dent in the Pokemon of either my uncle, nor Pokecop, but if my Pokemon can put them on the defensive, even if for only a few seconds, then it's considered an accomplishment.

    Finally, the big day arrives.

    Richter, Alice, and I stand in front of Oreburge Gym.

    “Well, are you ready?” asks Richter.

    “Of course she is,” laughs Alice, “The way her Pokemon have been fighting? I bet she could fight the Gym Leader here, and fight another right after.”

    Richter sighs, “Don't exaggerate so much. You'll make her overconfident...”

    “Oh, I'm fine,” I say, “Last time, I was just cocky because I had a fighting-type, but this time, I know what I'm up against.”

    “Good,” says my uncle, “Well, let's do this, shall we?”

    The three of us enter the Gym.

    This time, there are two people who arrived before us, so we have to wait for, like, forty-five minutes. How the people towards the back of those long lines that form later in the day stand it is anyone's guess.

    I really wanted to watch those challengers' matches, but doing so means leaving the line. Would it kill the Gym Leader to get a camera to view the arena and for the battles to be shown on a TV in his lobby? Geez!

    The first challenger leaves, looking frustrated. Yet another victim of the Gym Leader's underhanded tactics, I guess. However, challenger #2 leaves with a satisfied expression on her face, and staring at something in her hand as she walks. A badge, if I had to guess. It's time to win one for myself...

    What goes on next is like the first time. Richter and Alice get directed to the viewer area, like they had never been here before, and I'm told to go straight ahead to the battle area.

    On my way, there are no practicing trainers. I guess they're already in the viewer seats to watch the Leader's series of battles.

    Finally, I arrive at the arena, and sit on the rock on my side of the field. I guess what comes next is one of the Gym Leader's lackeys trying to make me uncover my team for the Leader. Well, that's not gonna work this time!

    However, the person that comes first is the only person to come: the Gym Leader.

    “Welcome back,” says the Gym Leader, “I trust you trained hard?”

    “You know it!” I respond, “and you'd better believe that I won't lose this time!”

    The Gym Leader chuckles, “That's the spirit. I hope your words don't ring hollow... but unfortunately for you, it's part of my job to make sure they do!”

    “Whatever. Bring it on!”

    “I shall,” says the Gym Leader, “Here are the rules for this match: Three-on-one, no switch-outs.”

    “... Um, what?”

    “Three-on-one,” repeats the Gym Leader, “You shall use up to three Pokemon and I shall use only one.”

    “Right...” I say, “You just talked a pretty mean game, and all, but don't you think you're making yourself pretty easy to beat?”

    The Gym Leader laughs, “You don't know how many challengers have said that. However, I shall warn you that my Pokemon is usually used for three-badge Gym Battles. A zero-badge trainer like you will no doubt need the combined strength of her team to defeat this one!”

    Damn... I don't like the sound of that. Still, I guess that makes it even, “Alright, let's do this!”

    The Gym Leader grabs a Pokeball from his belt while I consider which one to pull from mine. Well, Kabutops comes to mind, but since the Gym Leader is gonna use an extra strong one, I'd better save my best hope of winning for later in the battle. So, then, who should I send out? Next to Kabutops, Fearow is my second-strongest Pokemon, but it's a flying-type, so should I use it against something it's sure to be at a disadvantage against?

    “... Have you decided on your Pokemon yet?” asks the Gym Leader.

    “Just... hold on!” I say, “I'm thinking!”

    Damn, the Leader's getting impatient! There's not much I can decide on, until I know exactly what I'm fighting, so I'll just lead with Tyrouge, and see where that takes me...

    I grab Tyrouge's Pokeball, and the Gym Leader takes that as the cue to start the battle. We send out our Pokemon.

    “Go! Tyrouge!”

    “Aerodactyl! Prepare for combat!”

    As I send out Tyrouge, the Gym Leader's Pokemon appears: A gray dragon-like Pokemon, almost six feet long, from head to tail, with wings and some of the sharpest-looking teeth I have ever seen! Actually, I remember seeing this Pokemon before... as a picture from Sunyshore's Cloning Center. Richter pointed it out to me as one of the things my fossil might turn out being, and I was kinda hoping for that one, but Kabutops looked pretty badass too, not to mention being a water-type, so I was satisfied. Anyway, the Gym Leader is using a Prehistoric Pokemon too?

    “Be careful!” calls out Richter, “Aerodactyl is a very powerful Pokemon!”

    The Gym Leader momentarily glares at Richter, but seems to let it go, as what he gave me was a warning, and not battle advice. Well, no crap... Aerodactyl even looks tough...

    “Aerodactyl!” yells the Gym Leader, “Wing Attack!”

    Aerodactyl flies toward Tyrouge with its wings outstretched. Holy, that thing's fast!

    “Tyrouge! Rock Smash!” I command. Tyrouge charges at Aerodactyl with his fist glowing, but the million-year-old creature angles out of the way of my fighting-type's punch, performs a fast U-turn, and tears through Tyrouge with one of its wings.

    Tyrouge is sent sailing across the arena, mist pouring from the wound that was inflicted, and slams back-first into one of the crags extending from the floor.

    “Good work!” the Gym Leader compliments Aerodactyl, “Finish it with Hyper Beam!”

    'Hyper Beam?' That doesn't sound good...

    Tyrouge gets back to his feet, but he definitely looks like he can't take much more...

    “Hang in there!” I encourage Tyrouge, “Fight back with Mach Punch!”

    Aerodactyl lands several feet away from Tyrouge and opens its mouth, the inside of which is starting to glow. However, at that moment, Tyrouge vanishes from where he was, and a split second later, reappears in front of Aerodactyl, which looks taken off-guard. Tyrouge delivers a devastating punch, stunning the Prehistoric Pokemon.

    “Alright! Now hit it with Rock Smash!” Tyrouge leaps at Aerodactyl's head and delivers a second powerful punch.

    “Wing Attack!” shouts the Gym Leader. Aerodactyl responds by delivering a powerful swipe with one of its wings, knocking Tyrouge back... and knocking him out too.

    I recall Tyrouge. Now, who to use next? Tyrouge managed to damage Aerodactyl a little, but it doesn't look anywhere near ready to collapse. Still, I have two Pokemon left to send out. Kabutops should be one, for sure, but he probably has the best chance of beating Aerodactyl, so I should probably save him for last, when Aerodactyl is under the pressure of two rounds, should it come down to it. That leaves Eevee and Fearow. Richter told me that there aren't any major type advantages rock-types would have over an Eevee that can use Shadow Ball, but Aerodactyl is really fast, and I don't think Eevee can match that. It's probably a risk, but I'll send a Pokemon that can better match Aerodactyl's speed, and fly to boot.

    “Go! Fearow!” Fearow appears. The two flying Pokemon hover and stare each other down.

    The Gym Leader raises an eyebrow, “You're using a flying-type against a rock-type? Interesting. I wonder what your strategy is...” 'Strategy?' It's more like a gamble. Still, I know Fearow is strong, and I believe he can at least give Kabutops an easier time of fighting Aerodactyl.

    “Fearow! Pursuit!”

    “Aerodactyl! Wing Attack!”

    Fearow envelopes himself with a field of dark-type energy and charges at Aerodactyl. However, the Prehistoric Pokemon maneuvers to the side, and slams my bird Pokemon hard with its wing. Fearow plummets a few feet before recovering and resuming flight.

    Damn! Aerodactyl is still too fast for Fearow... or any of my Pokemon. Time to even it, “Fearow! Agility!” As Fearow and Aerodactyl fly around above the arena, Fearow starts moving faster and matching Aerodactyl's pace more evenly.

    “Rock Slide!” commands the Gym Leader. Aerodactyl lowers altitude and rakes its wing across the rough ground, flinging several rocks and stones up at Fearow. However, my bird Pokemon is now quick enough dodge that attack.

    “Let's try it again!” I say, “Pursuit!” Again, dark purple energy surrounds Fearow, and he dives down at Aerodactyl. This time, the attacks hits and Fearow tears through the ancient Pokemon.

    “Again!” I yell, “Pursuit!” Fearow performs a U-turn and charges at Aerodactyl again.

    “Don't think you've won yet!” the Gym Leader warns me, “Aerodactyl! Thunder Fang!”

    Aerodactyl sways its head out of the path of Fearow's beak, and, with its teeth glowing a bright yellow color, bites my Pokemon's wing.

    “Fe-Feaaaaaaaaar!” Fearow lets out a cry of pain, as Aerodactyl continues to bite down, steams seeping out from underneath its lip. After seeing how sharp Aerodactyl's teeth look, plus Fearow's cries, I can almost feel the pain myself. Also, the Gym Leader told Aerodactyl to use 'Thunder Fang?' Is that an electric-type attack? Well duh! What other kinda attack would Thunder Fang be? I recall Richter telling me that flying-types are weak to electric attacks, not to mention the move that Starmie knocked out Fearow with on that beach.

    Suddenly, my mind wanders back to a couple days ago. After yet another training session with Richter and Alice, I used my Move Scanner to find out what techniques Fearow is capable of.

    Richter explained one of those moves as if he were quoting an encyclopedia (maybe he was), saying that some flying-types, Fearow included, have a technique where after they take an attack, they can actually channel the energy from it during the limited time it's in their body and turn it back against their foe. He said that it's a valuable technique if a Pokemon used an attack they would be weak against if they were the one taking it.

    An idea pop into my mind. If Aerodactyl is a flying-type, it probably wouldn't like it if it were the one taking a Thunder Fang attack instead.

    “Hang in there, Fearow!” I cry out, “Fight back with Mirror Move!”

    Fearow wills himself to continue fighting, even in as much pain as he is. His beak begins to crackle with electricity, and rams it into Aerodactyl's back.

    “Aeroooooooooo!” Aerodactyl roars in pain as steam rises from the wound Fearow inflicted.

    The struggle of pain between the two Pokemon continues with Aerodactyl's fangs sinking into Fearow's wing, and Fearow's beak jabbing into Aerodactyl's back, and electricity crackling between them, as they try to endure the pain longer than the other. However, after several seconds, Fearow is the one to pass out first. As for Aerodactyl, it's in tough shape, but still standing.

    I recall Fearow, “Awesome work, Fearow. You can take it easy now...” I return Fearow's Pokeball to my belt, and I don't take a second to consider who to send out next, as I planned this ahead of time.

    “You're down to the last Pokemon you are permitted to use for this match,” says the Gym Leader, “You should hope it's enough.”

    “Oh, I don't have to hope! Go! Kabutops!” I send out Kabutops.

    “Oh!” exclaims the Gym Leader, “You are very lucky to have found a Pokemon like that!”

    “I'd say the same to you,” I mutter.

    The two Prehistoric Pokemon face off.

    “Hyper Beam!” Aerodactyl opens its mouth, and fires a large beam of energy while Kabutops charges at it. My Pokemon manages to sidestep just enough to avoid taking the full force of the blast, but still gets nicked. However, after firing the beam, Aerodactyl isn't moving at all. I guess that took a lot of out it. Well good. It's the perfect time to attack!

    “BubbleBeam!” I order Kabutops. Kabutops fires a constant stream of bubbles, which splash against Aerodactyl, creating strong bursts of water. Steam rises from Aerodactyl's body in every place it got splashed, as if it were acid instead of water. Aerodactyl lets out another loud cry.

    “Now! Aqua Jet!” Powerful blasts of water bursts from the backs of Kabutops's knees, blasting him forward at an amazing speed. At the same time, his claws glow with a light blue color. My rock/water type is on the Gym Leader's Pokemon in seconds, slashing it, leaving a large scar across its body.

    “This isn't over, Aerodactyl!” calls the Gym Leader, “Attack it with Thunder Fang!”

    Areodactyl snaps its jaws on Kabutops's shoulder, and electricity crackles from that spot.

    “Kabuuuuu!” Kabutops cries out.

    “C'mon! Hang in there!” I try to encourage my Pokemon, “We're close to winning!”

    Kabutops gives me a slow nod as he endures the pain.

    “Break free with Absorb!” Kabutops's claws glow bright green, and he sinks the one on his free arm into one of Aerodactyl's wings. The flying rock type lets out a grunt and backs off. At the same time, a faint green glow surround Kabutops, and its wounds heal... or at least the Hyper Beam burn. I guess it would take more to heal the Thunder Fang wound...

    “Now end this, Kabutops! Waterfall!” Kabutops surrounds himself in a bubble... or something like that, as the water is on the inside of it. Kabutops bolts toward Aerodactyl and body slams it. Suddenly, a pillar of water surrounds them. After a few seconds, Aerodactyl erupts out the top of it and crashes to the ground, steam rising from its entire body.

    “Ae... ro...” Aerodactyl tries to get up, but the faints. The pillar dissipates and Kabutops is standing, one arm over his injured shoulder.

    The Gym Leader recalls Aerodactyl, “It would seem that I have lost. Good battle.”

    I recall Aerodactyl, “I... won?”

    The Gym Leader hops down from his boulder and walks over to me, “That you did...” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a tiny silvery-gray object. He extends it toward me, “This is yours: The Coal Badge...” Well, he calls it a badge, but it looks more like a pin... Ah, whatever, “This is your first big step toward being allowed to participate in the Sinnoh Championship Tournament.”

    I take the badge, “Oh. Well, thank you.”

    “I wish you luck with your future battles. The Gym Battles you'll have from here will be more difficult, so I would advise you to train very hard if you are to win all eight badges you need before the next tournament.”

    Harder than the battle I just had? That's hard to believe...

    ---

    Richter, Alice, and I walk out of the Gym. I don't think I'd taken my eyes off the badge in my hand since I was given it.

    “Well, it's off to the Pokemon Center,” says Alice, “Good job on winning your first badge, Natalie.”

    “Thanks. I still can't believe it!”

    “Still...” says Richter, “The Gym Leader brought up a good point: you do need to train hard. We have the rest of this summer vacation, all of next summer vacation, and what time we have of the vacation after that before it's time for the tournament, and you have to win the next seven badges before then. Most trainers don't even win three badges on their first break, before school begins.”

    “Well...” I begin, “I have my first badge... How do things look?”

    “So far,” says Richter, “You're starting out like most trainers. I read somewhere that 75% of beginning trainers lose their first Gym Battle. There is only one month remaining of this summer break, before you have to focus on school again.”

    “Damn...” I mutter, “Stupid school...”

    “I say we gotta make the most of the amount of time we have left,” says Alice, “I'd say there is a possibility of winning three badges, but we gotta really work your Pokemon into the ground for it.”

    “Well, I'm sure my Pokemon weren't planning to train easy...”

    “Considering our time restraints,” says Richter, “I say it's best that we work on strengthening Eevee, Kabutops, Fearow, and Tyrouge as much as possible instead of catching more Pokemon and training them as well...”

    “Makes sense,” I say, “So, what Gym should we go after next?”

    Richter pushes his glasses to his face, “Normally, I'd say that's your call to make, Natalie, but since we need to go to Solacean Town to gather the evolution stones I have to replace the ones you lost at the beach, I say we should challenge Hearthome Gym or Veilstone Gym next.”

    “What kinda Gyms are those?” I ask.

    “Fighting-type and ghost-type,” says Alice, “You could be taking on someone like Billy. Pretty fun, huh?”

    “Actually,” says Richter, “Veilstone Gym, the fighting-type one, is probably the better choice on which to battle next, as Natalie has Fearow, which has a very good advantage over Fighters, and Tyrouge, being a fighting-type itself, should stand an even chance...”

    “Whatever you say,” I agree, “I don't know anything, so I'll just have to take your word for it, Richter...”

    Richter sighs, “It would be better if you didn't take my word for it. You need to make some decisions of your own if you want to make it as a trainer...”

    I'm happy bout winning my first badge, but if this conversation keeps going the way it is, I'll probably get a mood-spoiling lecture, so I struggle to change the subject, “So, uh... When are we leaving?”

    “Do you need to ask?” says Richter, “We have quite a bit to do, and barely any time to do it, so I'd advise you to pack up tonight.”

    ---

    Sure enough, bright and early the next day, I'm woken up, and after a fast breakfast, we're on the bus going the opposite direction of the bus I took to bring Richter to Oreburge, leaving Oreburge, going through Hearthome, going through Solacean, and to Veilstone. However, we're planning to get off at Solacean this time, so we can get those evolution rocks my Eevee needs.

    Richter and I are toward the back of the bus this time, the best place on a bus to be. As expected, as we pass through Hearthome, the place gets packed.

    On our way to Solacean Town, I ask Richter, pointing a couple seats ahead of us across the row at Alice, “Is there any reason she's coming with us?”

    “Of course there is,” says Richter, “She's also planning to win her eighth badge and compete in the tournament, and training always goes faster when you do it in groups, something I didn't have much of when I was training at your age. We're each other's training partners, and so will you, once your Pokemon become stronger.”

    Wow... I keep forgetting that Richter was once my age, and was like me. Suddenly, I realize something: While I do look up to Uncle Richter as a trainer, even though I know for a fact he was far from perfect, and becoming as strong as him is the reason I wanted to be a trainer, I never asked him why he became a trainer. I mean, I think most people do it for the sport, but...

    “Um... Uncle Richter?”

    “What is it?”

    “... Why did you wanna be a trainer?”

    “Three reasons,” says Alice, as she takes a seat next to us, as who used to be in it just got off for a village we're passing through, “Raoul, Raoul, and Raoul.”

    “Who the heck is Raoul?”

    “What?” says Alice, “You don't watch TV?”

    Richter sighs, “I suppose you could call Raoul my archenemy...”

    “Enemy...” I echo.

    “Yeah,” says Alice, “In a Sinnoh Championship Tournament a few years back, he came in twelfth place, just barely claiming the high honors.”

    “Really?” I say.

    “Yup. Really,” says Alice, “I think a lot of people would worship the ground he walks on, but Richter and I on the other hand have always hated that guy.”

    “What did he do to you?” I ask.

    Richter smiles wryly, “Have you ever been bullied growing up?”

    “Well... yeah.”

    Richter leans forward in his seat and cups his head with his hands, “It's not uncommon, I know, and really, no one liked Raoul that much, as he acted like he's better than everyone, but he liked picking on me in particular...”

    “Why?” I ask.

    “I dunno...” says Alice, “If I had to guess, Richter here has grown up being pretty frail. I know he tries to hide it, but you can't deny that this guy is about ready to faint if you make him run.”

    “That's enough, Alice,” says Richter, “but I won't deny that my physical condition might have something to do with it. After all, those people consider to be weak are the easiest to pick on. Anyway, Raoul was not just some dumb bully, either. He actually also got top marks in school, all to fuel his sense of entitlement, and his favorite subject by far was Pokemon Training 101. You see, we live in a world that thrives on the strength of the Pokemon we capture; It's the reason the human race wasn't killed off long ago. As a result, Pokemon are seen as a symbol of personal power, and the Pokemon League Champion is viewed as the single most powerful person in a region. Every twenty years, there's even a tournament between all Champions, both current and former, to find out who is the strongest trainer in the world. Pokemon battling is more than a sport; It's a chance to show where individuals stand as people of power, and Raoul wanted to achieve a high position on that as well, not just among the students in our school...”

    “Wow... talk about ambitious...”

    “Right... Anyway, that's the reason I, and a lot of other people from our school, became a trainer: to defeat Raoul. Besides that, however, I wanted the power to prove to him and everyone else that even someone as physically challenged as me could stand among the most powerful people on this planet. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be...”

    “Richter...”

    “We saw Raoul again recently,” says Alice, “and he's just as big a jerk as ever, and he hasn't given up on becoming Champion, either. We don't want him becoming Sinnoh's Champion, so we're gonna try beating him at his game once again.”

    “I see,” I say, “Well, there is a classmate I wanna beat. I wouldn't call her a bully... She just said that she'll be a better trainer than me, and I just want to prove her wrong...”

    “Rivalry is a good way to keep someone going,” says Richter, “It's gives you something to work hard for...”

    ---

    An hour later, we arrive in Solacean Town, were we're gonna crash until I'm ready to take on Veilstone Gym.

    As the three of us are about to train for the day, Richter brings out a case, the same size as the one I had my evolution rocks in. He opens it, and inside are just three stones: the Fire Stone, the Moss Stone, and the Ice Stone.

    Flareon, Leafeon, or Glaceon... I guess my choices on what to evolve Eevee into has become kinda limited...

    Richter says, “There is only so much that Eevee and Tyrouge can accomplish as they are now. Tyrouge can evolve into one of three forms once he becomes strong enough to do so, depending on how his training goes, and as for Eevee, now might be a good time to make the choice.”

    “Um... Uncle Richter? Didn't you say that you evolved your Eevee into Jolteon when you were at your second Gym, and that you made a hasty decision, even though it did turn out well in the end?”

    Richter blushes slightly, “Well... I didn't have as many Pokemon at the time as you do now, and back then, it was specifically to defeat Cerulean Gym. Your team is starting to take shape, and any of those three stones will work out, considering your current type balance. Still, it's your choice...”

    “I see... Richter... could you place the three stone on the ground, please?”

    Richter takes the Fire Stone, Moss Stone, and Ice Stone out of the case and places them on the ground in front of him.

    I send out Eevee.

    “Vee?” Eevee glances back at me. This might be the last time I hear her make that sound.

    “Eevee...” I say, “If you want to evolve and become stronger, now is the time. However, I'll let you choose...”

    Richter looks perplexed, “Natalie?”

    “The orange rock will make you a fire-type, the green rock will make you a grass-type, and the blue rock will make you an ice-type. I know you'll be a great help to us in achieving our goal, no matter what form you choose, but I'm leaving that choice in your hands.”

    “Eevee,” Eevee nods and slowly approaches the stones...




    Now, I'm gonna try a little experiment:

    The question: What will Natalie's Eevee evolve into? The answer... well, that's for you guys to help determine.
    That's right, just tell me which you, the readers, prefer, and that just might help in influencing the outcome.
    Will it be Flareon (thereby giving each of the three main characters the original Eeveelutions), Leafeon, or Glaceon? Please let me know.
    I'm not sure how well this will go, but I think it might be fun and interesting to let the audience participate a little in the story's events.
     
    #24 Valin, Sep 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  25. I want Eevee to evolve into Flareon. One: I want all three to have the original eeveelutions. Two: I want Natalie to get a fire type. I don't want her to get an ice type, she already has an ice type. My second type would be Grass. Your stories rule!
     
  26. Besides Eevee, she has Fearow, a normal/flying-type, Kabutops, a rock/water-type, and Tyrouge, a fighting-type. She doesn't have any ice-types.

    Anyway: Flareon: 1 Glaceon: 0 Leafeon: 0
     
  27. She needs that grass type. Leafeon has decent attack, and Leaf Blade can be very handy.
     
  28. Flareon. It's the cutest and my favorite.
     
    #28 Stam~ Susie Salmon, Oct 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  29. All right, then!

    So far, it's:

    Flareon: 2
    Leafeon: 1
    Glaceon: 0

    I was also thinking of asking which "Hitmon" you wanted Tyrouge to evolve into, but I'd already made that decision.
     
  30. Glaceon! I like Glaceon, as she is my favourite Eeveelution aside from Vaporeon. But seeing as there is no water stone left, go for Glace!
     
  31. I think Eevee should evolve into Leafeon. That is mainly due to the fact that, if Natalie only has gym badges in Sinnoh, Leafeon could come in handy later on. It is helpful against Electric and Water.
     
  32. I think she would suit a Leafeon. Dunno why. As for Hitmons, Hitmontop, cos i like it!
     
  33. Thank you to everyone who decided to help on what Eevee should evolve into. Ultimately, Leafeon got the most votes, but I actually started this installment when Flareon was ahead, and I decided to stick with it. I should have made a deadline. Oh well, live and learn, I guess.

    Still, I'd like to thank everyone who responded. It makes me happy to know that people care enough about this story to offer what they think would benefit it best. Also, for those who made their eeveelution votes based on tactics for future gym battles, don't forget that Natalie still has more Pokemon to catch, and I'll tell you right now that I don't plan for all her badges to be from Sinnoh, which I will get into after this installment. Enjoy!





    Part Ten​

    Perspective: Alice

    Richter and I spend the better part of the month in Solacean Town, training Natalie's Pokemon for their big upcoming Gym battles. Besides her Spearow evolving into Fearow, and her Kabutops being evolved to begin with, Natalie's Eevee made the choice to evolve into Flareon, and Tyrouge evolved into Hitmonchan during a practice battle, so there is some major progress going on there. I'd say Natalie should be about ready for Veilstone Gym, and as for Hearthome... well, I guess we'll see... At least she can win two badges before it's time to hit the books and homework again...

    Besides helping Natalie train, Richter occasionally goes to work at the Pokemon ranch here, if only to make a little extra money and let his coworkers know that he's still alive. As for me, I'm unemployed, not that it matters if you're a decent trainer, because you can just make ends meet off your winnings. Richter sometimes says our society is kinda corrupt like that, but hey, if I can make a living by doing something fun, who's complaining?

    Another day of hard training goes by. After taking our Pokemon to the Pokemon Center, and grabbing dinner, with my girlhood friend devouring another bowlful of Caesar salad for the umpteenth time. Afterward, we take turns using the shower in Richter's cabin, and then it's off to bed, and because Richter has one couch to sleep on, he wasn't open-minded enough for guests. Before, we slept in sleeping bags on the floor, but that didn't work out, because Richter snores like a Rhyperior, so now we share a tent outside the cabin , placing our Pokemon on guard duty, so we don't get any late night surprises by a pack of hungry Poochyena.

    However, the whole tent idea only opens a whole new, excuse the cliché, can of worms, because Sinnoh gets freaking humid during the summer, and even at night, the place can get real hot, and it's hard to sleep when you're sweating like... well, something disgusting...

    I toss and turn, fighting the futile battle to get myself to sleep while totally uncomfortable. Dammit, Richter! Would it kill you to share the stupid couch?

    “Alice...” groans Natalie, “Are you asleep?”

    “Yes,” I answer, basically saying, 'I just answered you! Guess what the real answer is!'

    Natalie forces a laughs at my bad attempt at humor, “Yeah... I am too...”

    “What's up... besides not being able to sleep?”

    “Um... Alice... Remember that talk we had on the bus...? Y'know, about why we're trainers, and stuff?”

    “Yeah...”

    “Um... I don't think you ever told us why you became a trainer. I mean, I wanna become as strong as Richter, and Richter wanted to prove that he could become Champion... well... what about you?”

    I roll over and stare at the pitch blackness of night, “Well... when Richter said he was gonna become a powerful trainer, I... well, I don't really know. I just wanted to be a stronger Pokemon trainer than Richter.”

    “Why him?”

    “Because Richter was this frail kid that Raoul, and every other guy who felt like a badass for putting weaker people down, liked picking on a lot. The reason he held it together all that time: me. The great Alice always came to the aid of her cherished childhood friend. You don't know how many fights I got into in grade school...”

    “I can't picture Richter like that,” says Natalie, “My big image of him was being in control of his Pokemon, working them really hard and looking so cool while doing it. That's... the kinda person I wanted to be... at least before Richter told me that I was wrong to be that way. I dunno what to look at him as now... but I still can't imagine him as this helpless kid...”

    “I know, right? Well, we all start somewhere, right? Anyway, moving on, Richter passed his trainers exam on his first try, and got his License. I failed my first and had to wait a whole year before I finally got mine...”

    “Really?” says Natalie, “But you're really tough!”

    “Believe me, I started out like you. It was Richter and Raoul that hit the books hard and got a strong start as trainers. As for me, all that I ever got to know as a trainer was through a whole bunch of trial, error, and field experience. You could say I started off like you did. Anyway, during that one-year gap, Richter became a strong enough trainer, and I was jealous... not really of Richter, but what he had become. All those years, I had gotten so used to protecting him, and, after just one summer vacation, he gained the respect of everyone who looked down on him before, except for Raoul. He had become stronger than me, and I didn't like it at all! I worked hard as a trainer so I'd be in a position to protect Richter again... However, every time I beat him in a battle, he got stronger and beat me the next time, and it went back and forth. It's strange... I want Richter to become stronger, but I don't want to be outdone...”

    “Isn't that the way it should be between rivals?” asks Natalie.

    “Yeah... and anyway, I just want Raoul to be be put in his place, and I don't care if it's me or Richter that is the one to do it...”

    “I wonder what that Raoul guy is like, for you and Richter to hate him that much...”

    “Well, he has a TV show, and if a certain someone had actually gotten a set instead of a bunch of boring books, you might have found out! Anyway, if you do watch his show, his 'better than everyone' attitude would probably be the first thing you'd notice...”

    “Doesn't sound like that kind of person I'd like.”

    “A lot of people would agree...” I let out a yawn, “Anyway, let's try to get to sleep. I've got a big training challenge planned for you, and if you can clear that, I'd say you're in good shape for Veilstone Gym...”

    “Okay... My Pokemon have trained hard, so you can consider your challenge cleared.”

    “That's my girl. Good night.”

    ---

    After hours of tossing, turning, and wishing I were a Snorlax, minus a thousand pounds, I finally find my way to slumberland, and I stay there for a good while, because when I wake up, it's to a catchy ringtone from my cell phone. Oh yeah, it's that time of the month, where Mom gives me a call, while she's off on business in Isshu, as usual...

    I glance around, squinting through the light, seeing that Natalie is already awake and out of the tent. I lazily feel around the ground for my phone, and finally find it. I put it to my ear, and say, “Yeah...?”

    On the other end, Mom says, “Hello, my little Ali!” I hate that nickname, “You don't sound too good. Did I wake you?”

    “No,” I say, “You couldn't have caught me at a better time.”

    “Well, that's good,” says Mom, not picking up on my sarcasm at all, “How is being an officer going?”

    I almost got killed, and I was fired, I answer in my head, but I'm probably going to get a nasty lecture if I tell her... y'know, the truth, so I respond, “Oh, it's going swell! There's hardly any trouble in Oreburge, since I'm around...”

    “That's good. I'm proud of you... by the way...” and here it comes, “... have you found yourself a husband yet?”

    By now, I know how mom will express how much she wants to be a grandmother if I say no, so I decide to give an alternate answer, “Well, there's this guy that has proposed to me... a lot.”

    “Really. Good for you, Ali!”

    “Not really. He's the kind of guy I'd be better off with not in my life...”

    “So... there's no one?”

    “Nope.”

    “Ali, you are my only daughter. I'm counting on you to get married and give birth to someone to carry our family into the next generation.”

    “Yeah, yeah, yeah...”

    “I've been thinking... how about your friend, Richter. He's a handsome and kind man.”

    I burst out laughing, “Hahaha! Mom! I'd known him since I was a little girl, and nothing has happened between us! You'd might as well ask me to hook up with another girl!” I think back to that kiss on the ambulance, but I was just happy that my life was saved, so my gratitude kinda took hold, and I did something a little weird. That's all it was, no more, no less. There was nothing romantic about it... at all... … … I think.

    “Well, I'd like to see a grandchild before I pass on. I love you, Ali.”

    “Yeah, sure. Love ya back, Mom...” I close my phone. And that's it for this month's moment of annoyance...

    I crawl out of the tent, feeling dazed, no doubt because I probably sweat buckets while I was asleep. Last night's shower was a waste of time, if I was only going to wake up smelling like sweat...

    I enter the cabin. Neither outside, nor in, Richter or Natalie are anywhere to be found. Come to think of it, I had a nightmare where I was being attacked by a bunch of Pokemon, which appeared and did attacks according to what two voices said. I hear, “Flareon! Ember!” and I end up getting fried by a giant Flareon, then I hear, “Jolteon! Thundershock!” and I get zapped by a giant Jolteon's electric attack. Could those two had gone someplace where they wouldn't give me nightmares? Geez!

    Anyway, I guess that means Richter and Natalie did some early morning training, and now they're at a Pokemon Center. Looking at a wall clock in the cabin, it's almost eleven. Wow... I sure slept heavily... I grab a quick breakfast, eating what I eat every morning: oatmeal, as well as about five glasses of water to hydrate myself with, and then take a shower to make sure I at least smell better than sweat.

    When I step out of the shower and dry myself off, I realize I goofed up: I didn't bring some clean clothes with me to the bathroom. Hopefully Richter is still out, so I'll quickly rush out to grab them!

    Wrapping myself in a towel, I step out of the bathroom, but I don't even take two steps before the entrance swings open, and Richter and Natalie step in. There's a long pause, before I run back into the bathroom and yell, “What the hell are you guys doing? Get me my clothes, dammit!”

    “R-r-right away!” stammers Richter, whose expression I saw would have been hilarious if it weren't at the expense of my dignity. Nightmares, annoying phone calls, and embarrassment... Today's turning out to be just awesome...

    Natalie delivers my clothes, and on the other side of the door, she asks, “Um... you are a girl, right?”

    “What the hell are you basing that on?”

    “There are things that are miss-- er... um... forget it!”

    Well, once all that awkwardness is over, I step out, and say, “All right, Natalie. Are you ready for some training?”

    “Sure,” says Natalie.

    “How about you, Richter?”

    Richter, whose mind seems to be elsewhere, and I'd rather not try to think where, says, “Huh? What was that?”

    I sigh, “Nothing...” I think I'll just leaving him to get over this latest blow to his supposed gentlemanly self-proclamation, or whatever the heck's bugging him...

    ---

    Natalie and I step outside into a clearing where we usually do our training.

    “So, what's the big training plan?” asks Natalie, “Did you catch another Pokemon to train me with, which you won't keep?”

    “No,” I say, pulling a Pokeball from my belt. “Today, you're gonna battle an Alice regular.” I send out the Pokemon in the ball, “Go! Weavile!” A black, two-legged cat-ish Pokemon, a little over three feet tall, with a head and neck full of red feather-like growths, and long threatening claws extending from her arms appears in front of me.

    “Meet Weavile, Natalie,” I say, “It's an ice/dark-type. You know what types are good against those types, don't you?”

    Natalie takes a few seconds to think, “Um... Of course fire's good on ice, of course, but dark... Dammit, what did I use against Uncle Richter's Houndour... Oh yeah! Fighters!”

    “Good enough. You have Pokemon with a pretty good advantage over Weavile here. Oh no, what's poor Weavile to do?”

    Weavile glares at me over her shoulder as if to say, “Don't even start.”

    “Yeah, sorry,” I apologize to Weavile, “Anyway, we're gonna have a battle. I'll just use Weavile, and you'll have your Pokemon tag team it.”

    “What?” says Natalie, “Aren't you making this battle easy?”

    “Weavile has far more experience than any of your Pokemon,” I say, “And she's my fastest Pokemon. We'll hold back, but expect a helluva fight, alright?”

    “Okay...”

    “Let's start!”

    Natalie draws two Pokeballs, “Go! Fearow and Chan!”

    Natalie sends out her Fearow and Hitmonchan, a humanoid Pokemon, over four feet tall, wearing a purple tunic and red boxing gloves (seriously, I don't think any Pokemon professor has ever figured out why some Pokemon are born or evolve into wearing clothes) which she nicknamed, “Chan.” Well, it's better than most nicknames I hear trainers use, and hey, it lets her issue orders faster, so it's all good! Hitmonchan evolved from Tyrouge, and is a master of punching attacks.

    It looks like Natalie didn't send out Flareon right away, despite knowing its advantage over Weavile. Good, that means she's planning a couple steps ahead.

    I instruct Weavile, “This is training, so lighten up about twenty levels, alright?” 'Levels' is a word people use to numerically describe how strong a Pokemon is. Weavile is estimated to be about level 48, according to some expert on the concept.

    “Wea!” Weavile responds with a quick nod.

    “Fearow! Fury Attack!” commands Natalie.

    Fearow dives toward Weavile and delivers a flurry of pecks. However, Weavile manages to dodge all of them through subtle movements.

    “Scratch attack!” I command. Weavile, in a lightning-quick motion, circles around to Fearow's back before the flying-type can even figure out what happened, and delivers a fierce slash to its back.

    “Chan! Mach Punch! Quick!” Chan jets toward Weavile, and delivers a fast punch, leaving a steaming patch on Weavile's forehead and sending her flying.

    “Try again, Fearow! Fury Attack!” Frearow rises off the ground, and charges toward the reeling Weavile.

    “Counterattack with Ice Punch!” I command. Weavile manages to recover just as Fearow is onto her. My ice-type dodges Fearow's pecks as she rears back, he claws glowing a bright blue color, and delivers a powerful slash with ice-type energy behind it. Fearow staggers back, and faints. Natalie recalls the bird Pokemon.

    “Fire Punch!” Natalie instructs Chan as she readies another Pokeball, “Go! Flareon!”

    As Natalie sends out Flareon, Chan dashes toward Weavile with his gloves engulfed in fire. The fighting-type delivers a flaming punch, but Weavile jumps over him, narrowly dodging the attack.

    “Hit Chan with a Slash!” Weavile lands behind Chan and rakes her long sharps claws across his back.

    “Flareon! Ember!” Flareon opens its mouth and sends a flurry of small flames at Weavile.

    “Watch out!” I yell, but it's too late. Weavile was caught off guard by Flareon's attack, smoke rises from her back as the embers hit. Some of the embers also hit the grass, igniting it.

    “Good work, Flareon! Now, Chan! Hit it with Mega Punch!” While Weavile is clawing at her back, trying to pick off the flames, Chan charges in and puts all his weight into a punch that sends Weavile clean off her feet and into a tree. Weavile gets up and takes a few steps forward before giving in and fainting. I guess that's that.

    I recall Weavile while Natalie recalls Flareon and Chan. I send out Vaporeon and instruct him to put out the flames on the ground before they can spread and cause a forest fire, which would result in Natalie's license as a trainer getting suspended. Vaporeon uses Water Gun and extinguishes the flames. I call him back afterward.

    “Well,” I say, “It looks like you didn't even need to send out Kabutops. I think you're ready to take on Veilstone. Starting tomorrow, it's gonna be one week until school starts, so we'd better make the most of this remaining time.”

    “Less than that,” says Natalie, “Class selection begins in five days. I need to be back before then...” Natalie gives me puppy dog eyes, “Unless we spend the school year as we are.”

    “No can do, Natalie.”

    “Dammit...”

    “Don't worry! We'll head to Veilstone today and take on the Gym tomorrow, and if you win that, we'll go straight to Hearthome, train for a day or two, and we'll try our luck for your third badge. That should take four and a half days, and we'll use the other half of day five to get you back to Oreburge. Is that a good plan, or what?”

    “Yeah, fine.”







    Yeah, sorry for the short installment. I'm aware that the story has been leaning a bit toward training and Gym battles lately, and that Richter and Alice hadn't seen a lot of action. Trust me, I'm looking for a good time to bring Team Epsilon back into the mix.
    Now, it's voting time again. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but I'm planning for future parts of the story to take place in another region. Which region? That's for you to vote: Kanto or Johto (I'm not a huge fan of Hoenn, and not enough is known about Isshu yet).
    Anyway, I'm sort of going through a case of writers block right now, so I'm going to take a break from this, and it will be a while before the move to another region happens anyway, so there will be a lot of time to vote on that.
    Take it easy, and thank you for all your support thus far.
     
    #33 Valin, Oct 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  34. I want them to head to Johto! Johto is my favourite region and I want to see Natalie have a shiny Pokemon or a Jumpluff! Keep writing!
     
  35. Make them go to Johto! It has to be done 8). WHY NOT HOENN?! It's the best one! :(
     
  36. Part Eleven​

    Perspective: Richter

    Natalie, Alice, and I arrive in Veilstone City after a two-hour bus ride from Solacean. This is actually a trip I make often, if I just want to get away from the backwater Solacean Town for a few hours, and take in this much more culture-filled city. Looking at it, I immediately get the impression that it's the largest city in Sinnoh, until I remind myself that Jubilife and Sunyshore are both bigger.

    So, we're here to take on Veilstone Gym, a fighting-type establishment. That's the gym where I won my forth badge, and, if I recall correctly, Alice won her sixth badge... and now, this is where Natalie will hopefully win her second badge.

    As we step off the bus, Natalie runs out saying, “Wow! This is Veilstone City? It's amazing! This has gotta be the biggest city in Sinnoh!” I let out a quiet chuckle. Natalie must really be behind on her studies... At least she seems to be getting Pokemon strategy down, but if that's all she knows, life will not be kind to her down the line...

    With the limited amount of time Natalie has until we need to put her training on hold for school, we decide to take on the gym, first thing after we arrive, and then look for a place to stay.

    We walk out to a large park, and with several open spaces and fields designated for Pokemon battles, as well as trainers having their Pokemon spar, this is definitely a training park, a place where people hang out to help each other strengthen their Pokemon.

    “Hey! Natalie!” a high-pitched female voice yells from deeper into the park. A girl with shiny brown hair and wire-framed glasses runs up to us. Following her, hovering a few feet off the ground is a bird-like Pokemon completely covered in metal, with its feathers looking like blades from a curved sword. I recognize it as a Skarmory, the Armor Bird Pokemon, a steel/flying-type.

    Natalie matches a name to the girl, “Maria?”

    “Hey!” greets 'Maria,' “It's weird running into you here, out of everyplace in Sinnoh.”

    Natalie nods, “Yeah...”

    “Who's this?” I ask my niece.

    “Oh, this is Maria, one of my friends from school,” Natalie introduces, “Maria, meet my uncle, Richter, and his friend, Alice. They have been helping me train. I won my first badge, and now I'm here to get my second.”

    “Wow!” says Maria, “So, you got your first badge too? From where?”

    “Oreburge,” answers Natalie, “I lost my first battle, but then I got a water-type and won.”

    Maria sighs, “I lost to Oreburge... Y'see, I'm trying to specialize in flying-types, but it gets hard when you have gyms like Oreburge, which use the things they have a tough time against...”

    “You're specializing in flying-types?” asks Alice, “Are you shooting to be a Gym Leader?”

    Maria shakes her head, “No. I just really like Fliers (she almost sounds like Billy on Fighters), but everyone seems to underrate them, so I wanna prove that they have what it takes to be Elite Four or Champion material...” Maria gestures toward her Skarmory, “I recently caught Skarmory, here. He's part steel-type, so hopefully I can beat Oreburge with him by my side. I just beat Veilstone Gym. I thought it would be a good place to start by beating fighting-types, because they're weak to Fliers.” Wow... She's really talkative...

    Natalie says, probably trying to encourage her friend, “I have a flying-type, and if not for him, I probably wouldn't have beaten Oreburge Gym...” She explains how she used her Fearow's Mirror Move ability to replicate the Aerodactyl's Thunder Fang, which then crippled the Prehistoric Pokemon.

    Maria's eyes widen, “Wow! That sounds awesome! Where'd you get a Fearow? I hear they're all over the place in Kanto, but they're rare here...”

    Natalie explains how she caught Starly, but over guilt of how she mistreated it, she traded it with the Kantonian trainer for Spearow.

    Maria smiles, “Wow! My first capture was a Starly too. It recently evolved into Staravia! It's too bad you didn't keep yours. It's a big help.”

    “Oh, I'm sure I'll be just fine with Fearow,” says Natalie.

    Just to be nice, I guess, I give Maria some pointers, “When Staravia evolves into Staraptor, it becomes capable of performing Close Combat, a fighting-type technique. That should come in handy if for Oreburge Gym, or an ice-type gym, where flying-types are also at a disadvantage.”

    Maria's face lights up, “Really? Awesome! Maybe I'll hold off on Oreburge for a little while until Staravia evolves! Thanks, Natalie's uncle! You're awesome!”

    “Yeah, I guess...”

    “Well,” says Maria, “I think I'm gonna try taking on Hearthome Gym next...”

    “How about Eterna?” suggests Alice, “It's a grass-type gym. Your flying-types should kick butt in that place.”

    Maria considers it for a few seconds, and says, “No, if I only start with places where my flying-types are good, that will only make the places where they'll have a hard time even harder.”

    Alice smiles, “Good plan. Well, good luck!”

    “Thanks!” says Maria as she climbs on the back of her Skarmory, “Alright, Skarmory! Let's Fly. We're going south!”

    “Skaaaaaa!” Skarmory caws. With Maria in tow, Skarmory takes to the sky, joining a bunch of other trainers riding their bird Pokemon above us, or being carried by them with their talons hooked around their arms if they are too small to ride. Even with the weight it's carrying, it doesn't seem to affect it at all, and it flies as if nothing is on its back. Pokemon strength always manages to impress me.

    “Can I do that with Fearow?” Natalie asks, “That looks way better than riding the bus.”

    “An HM gives flying-types the burst of strength needed to transport their trainers around,” says Alice, “Though, if we did that, we'd have to leave your uncle behind, because he has no flying-type, and even if he did, he wouldn't wanna do it, because he's so afraid of heights.”

    “Sh-shut up,” I say, with my cheeks feeling hot, “We all have to be afraid of something, and besides, the last time I tried that, I fell off my Staraptor and almost plummeted to my death! If there are any flying-types I'm riding, it's Dodrio, and that's because it doesn't fly at all! It just jumps and stays in the air for a while, and the rest of the time, it's running very fast. That's far better than flying.”

    “Whatever,” says Alice with a shrug, “I just think it would save us some time if you'd just catch a flying-type, and take to the sky. Besides...” Alice points skyward at the trainers above us riding their Flyers, “You got a bunch of kids up there, half your age, Richter, and they aren't pissing themselves at the thought of being more than four feet off the ground.”

    “I-I can stand being higher than that!” I protest. Alice is telling the truth, as I do have a fear of heights, but she's annoying me so much that I want to try to convince her she's wrong.

    Alice gives me a deceptively sweet smile, “Alright, Richter. How about you ride a flying-type around and prove me wrong.”

    “Wh-what?”

    Alice pulls a Pokeball from her belt and sends out her Flyer, “Go! Altaria!” Alice instructs her Humming Pokemon, “Could you give Richter a ride?”

    “Alt!” Altaria responds with a nod.

    “Well, hop aboard, Richter.”

    Damn you, Alice! Still, I'd gone this far... No turning back...

    I walk toward Altaria, but find myself taking baby steps as I get closer. Damn, not good. My heartbeat is rising...

    I'd probably stop right then, if Alice's cocky grin didn't make me so angry. Finally, I climb on Altaria's back. It's a little over three feet tall, about half my height, but even as I put my weight on it, it doesn't buckle at all, despite me being 155 pounds and Altaria generally being 46 pounds, and it will fly just as easily...

    “Alright, Altaria!” says Alice, “Take off!”

    Altaria starts flapping its wings, and I start to break out in a cold sweat. Finally, Altaria begins to lift off the ground, and I begin to shiver. Damn it! I can't take it anymore!

    “Ahh! Let me off!” I yell.

    “Well, that's that,” says Alice, “Land, Altaria.”

    Altaria lands and I roll off it. All around and above me, kids laugh at my cowardly display. Even Altaria is laughing at me...

    “Well,” says Alice, “Altaria was about four feet off the ground when you started bawling. Who was right?”

    Natalie slowly shakes her head, “Uncle Richter, you suck.”

    Someone shoot me... and unlike the incident at Team Epsilon's lair, make it count...

    Back in the day, I used to train a Staraptor. I'd always been nervous about the idea of flying on a Pokemon, but it's such a common practice that I felt I needed to try it. Finally, I took to the sky, but I was shaking so much, due to it being my first time, that my grip on my Pokemon loosened and I fell off plummeting to the ground several feet below. I thought that was it and my life flashed before me. I felt a deep surge of regret and despair at my future that was about to be cut short.

    Of course, Staraptor swooped down and caught me, and I wasted no time in commanding it to land. That Staraptor was among several of the Pokemon I released when I failed to defeat Sunyshore Gym.

    After the terror of that near-death experience, I refused to fly, making it a personal rule to travel to different regions by sea.

    ---

    We make our way to the Veilstone City Gym. After two hours of waiting, it's finally Natalie's turn.

    The gym is designed like... well, a gym, which is to say, treadmills, punching bags, weight machines, and all that, and there are as many humans here training their own bodies as there are people training their Pokemon.

    The arena area, where the battle takes place is much more subtly designed, unlike Oreburge Gym, which had a large arena, overlooked by rows of seating. Here, it's set up differently than the rest of the gym, in a grassy backyard. Onlookers watch from the gym's porch, getting a much closer view of the battle. Alice complains because there are no designated seats, but I personally enjoy this simpler scenario.

    Me, Alice, and a handful of the gym's students sit on the porch while Natalie stands in the yard, waiting for the gym leader to arrive. As expected, she's getting impatient about the wait, but at least she's not making a scene of it.

    After ten minutes of idleness, a boy arrives and challenges my niece. When Natalie asks if he's the Gym Leader, he answers no. I guess we know what this means...

    Prior to coming here, I explained to Natalie about how her Pokemon match up against the average fighting-type: Fearow has the advantage, Flareon and Chan ore on neutral ground, and Kabutops, being part rock-type, is not a wise choice.

    Natalie and the boy have a quick one-on-one battle. The boy sends out Machop, a gray humanoid Pokemon, and a run-in-the-mill fighting-type. While it doesn't look very tough, being skinny and just moderately built, it has amazing strength behind all that.

    Natalie surprises all of us by sending out Kabutops. Not something I would do, personally, but at least it shows she's learning. She didn't send out any Pokemon revealing her strengths over Fighters, and leave the Leader, who's probably watching from an unseen location, utterly clueless. Still, if Kabutops loses, this challenge will be over before it begins, but Natalie just might have a chance, as Kabutops is an evolved Pokemon, while Machop is not, and despite being at a type disadvantage, it still can win through sheer power.

    Kabutops starts the battle with Aerial Ace, a flying-type attack, which probably caught the Leader's follower by surprise. Machop fights back with Karate Chop, which leaves a dent in the Prehistoric Pokemon, but it's still standing. Kabutops then uses Aqua Jet to catch Machop off guard, and follows it with a powerful Slash attack, ending the battle.

    I just noticed something, based on this battle and the one before it: Natalie seems to really favor moves like Quick Attack, Mach Punch, and Aqua Jet, techniques where a Pokemon moves instantly, hits an unsuspecting opponent, and follows it up with a powerful attack. It's not a bad strategy, especially for Kabutops, which isn't very fast.

    The boy leaves, and I can't imagine the Gym Leader has to think over his or her team too much, since Kabutops is at a disadvantage against fighting-types, which the Leader would have used anyway.

    As expected, it doesn't take long for the Gym Leader, a teenage girl with blonde hair tied in a ponytail and wearing a black karate gi, to arrive. The rules for this battle: Three-on-three, no switch outs.

    The battle begins. Natalie sends out Fearow, which I really would have waited on if I were her, but it turned out being a perfect choice when the Leader's Pokemon is revealed: Breloom, the Mushroom Pokemon: a four-foot-tall green human-shaped Pokemon with a mushroom 'cap.' It's a grass/fighting-type, which is at an utter disadvantage against flying-types. I guess the Gym Leader chose this, taking a cue from Natalie's use of Kabutops.

    Breloom attempts a Sky Uppercut, but Fearow dodges, and counterattacks with Drill Peck, knocking it out with a single blow. However, it turns out the Gym Leader wasn't entirely unprepared for the possibility of a flying-type being used against her, when she sends out her second Pokemon: a Hitmonchan, which is capable of performing various punches, including ones that channel elemental energy.

    Fearow performs Aerial Ace, but Hitmonchan manages to defend against it, for the most part, and counters by throwing an Ice Punch with his left, and then a Thunder Punch with his right, which defeats Fearow.

    I guess Natalie decided to make things interesting, rather than rely on any real logic, because her next Pokemon is her own Hitmonchan.

    The two Punching Pokemon circle, face off. Finally, Chan, following Natalie's favorite strategy, hits the Gym Leader's Hitmonchan several times, before it could even raises its guard, with Bullet Punch, and completes the combo with an equally unpredictable Mach Punch, sending the Leader's Hitmonchan staggering.

    The opposing Hitmonchan fights back with its own Mach Punch, but Chan counters with Sky Uppercut, sending it flying, and, while it's defensive abilities are limited in midair, finishes it with Mega Punch, defeating the Leader's second Pokemon. I guess Natalie's thrilled to know her Hitmonchan proved to be stronger.

    The Leader's final Pokemon is Hitmonlee, the Kicking Pokemon, and another form Tyrouge can evolve into.

    Hitmonlee starts with Rolling Kick, which Chan evades, and uses the ensuing opening in its defenses to perform a quick Mach Punch, followed by Mega Punch, which sends Hitmonlee flying. However, the Kicking Pokemon then attacks with Hi Jump Kick, which catches Chan by surprise when its leg stretches several feet, and hits him from a distance. Hitmonlee then plants its extended foot firmly on the ground, causing it to quickly close the gap between them, and uses its free leg to perform Blaze Kick, defeating Chan.

    Lastly, and predictably, Natalie sends out Flareon. Hitmonlee launches another Hi Jump Kick, but Flareon dodges and fries its foot with Ember. With Hitmonlee stunned, Flareon delivers a Quick Attack to Hitmonlee's body, bites into it with Fire Fang, and completes the combo attack with Flamethrower, finishing the Kicking Pokemon off.

    “All right!” cheers Natalie, “I won!”

    The Gym Leader seems irritated by her loss, and I have to wonder why, since Gym Leaders lose to challengers as frequently as they win. Still, she tries to maintain her composure, “Hmph. That you did. Well-played, challenger...” The Leader walks over to Natalie and hands her an orange diamond-shaped badge, “For your victory, I present you with the Cobble Badge.”

    “All right!” says Natalie, taking the badge.

    Natalie rushes up to me and Alice, “I won my second badge! All that training totally payed off!”

    “Congratulations,” says Alice.

    “Yes...” Trying to be a 'fun' uncle, I then say, “How about we go to a nice restaurant to celebr--”

    My words are cut off by one of the gym's students rushing to the backyard, yelling, “Leader! Leader!”

    “What is it?” asks the Gym Leader.

    “A cop is here, asking you go go to the town square!” says the student, “He said something's going on there, and the police Pokemon are no good! He wants the help of a powerful trainer, and, well... he's asking for you.”

    “No rest, huh?” grumbles the Leader. She directs her gaze toward another one of the students, “Harold! Assemble my main team immediately!”

    “Y-yes, ma'am!” responds the student rushing into the gym, soon followed by the Leader and several other students.

    “I wonder what's up...” says Alice.

    I fold my arms in front of me, “It's probably nothing to worry about. What she probably meant by her 'main team,' is the Pokemon she used when she competed in the Sinnoh Championship Tournament. They are probably very powerful Pokemon, and it should solve whatever problem is occurring. We should head to the Pokemon Center, heal Natalie's Pokemon, and go someplace to celebrate this victory.”

    “Yeah,” says Natalie, “Good plan!”

    “Sure...” says Alice, not seeming as festive.

    ---

    We walk out of the gym, but as soon as we reach the sidewalk, we hear three loud noises... Were those... gunshots? The next thing we hear are several screams, and one louder than the others, accompanied by anguished cursing, and the voice sounds familiar: the Gym Leader. Something like this can only be no good, and we should avoid getting involved.

    However, before I can suggest anything, Alice runs in the direction of the sounds. Dammit, Alice!

    I quickly say to Natalie, “Natalie, head to the Pokemon Center we saw on our way to the gym. We'll be with you shortly.” I then run after Alice as fast as I can and as far as my limited stamina can take me.

    “Wait! Richter!” calls Natalie behind me.

    ---

    In seconds, Alice and I reach the square, where several people are gathered in front of a long series of stone steps leading up to a large building. They are arranged in a circle around something. Alice and I push into the crowd to see what it is.

    I was expecting this, but it's still a horrible sight: It's the Gym Leader, laying in a puddle of her own blood. She has a gunshot wound on her abdomen, much like the one I received, her left leg and right shoulder. She's curled up, trying to endure the pain.

    Partway up the stairs, there is a group of figures, six in all. I instantly recognize one of them as the Team Epsilon priest from Oreburge, now with his arm in a heavy cast, no doubt Froslass's handiwork. Two of the others are kids in regular Team Epsilon uniforms. Probably just grunts.

    However, the one seeming to be at the head of the group stands out the most: a woman, probably in her thirties somewhere, with flowing orange hair, and wearing a crimson cloak with a 'sigma' symbol on it. She is armed with a handgun pointed down at the crowd. There is smoke rising from it, indicating that it was recently fired. There is also a sniper rifle strapped to her back.

    In front of the woman, there are two bulky Pokemon. Both of them are the same Pokemon species, and both of them have one of their arms in the form of a cannon, while the other is a clawed hand. Magmorter, the Blast Pokemon. One of them is red and yellow, the colors of a typical Magmorter, while the other is red and pink, which are not standard colors. This is what people call a 'Shiny Pokemon,' rare Pokemon born with an appearance different from the others of their species. They are considered very valuable, though for all people crack them up to be, the only thing unique about them are their appearance. Both Magmorters have their cannons aimed at the crowd, along with the woman's gun.

    The woman yells to the crowd, “I am Cardinal Anne of Kanto's Team Sigma! People of Veilstone! As you can see, even the strongest among you cannot stand up to us! You have all lived free of faith, not knowing your true master: Arceus the Creator! The Almighty! You should rightfully be purged from this planet, but our Lord is a merciful God! Submit to us, the Knights or Arceus, and you shall be spared, otherwise, you will all be acceptable sacrifices!”
     
  37. Wow, this story is really good! I like the thought of Team Epsilon showing up again. Can't wait for the next chapter! Johto, Johto, Johto!
     
  38. Ah, now a head shows up. I would love to see exactly how they plan to summon Arceus.
     
  39. Latest chapter is really good! Keep it up!
     
  40. Part Twelve​

    Perspective: Alice

    'Cardinal Anne of Team Sigma,' or whatever that crazed zealot just called herself, continues preaching to the crowd at gunpoint, “Be warned that if I see any of you go for your Pokeballs, you will be shot immediately. We will not tolerate any signs of opposition!” Well, so much for my big plan of fighting back. Luckily, it seems the Team Epsilon priest from Oreburge hadn't noticed Richter and I from among the hundred some-odd faces in the crowd.

    Anne passionately yells, “Humans! You have all drifted through your lives, ignoring all religious obligations you have! This has to stop! You are worst kind of heathens. Rather than ignore your God, you condescend It! To you, the Almighty Arceus is just another Pokemon to be captured and trained! Your arrogance knows no bounds!”

    A long-haired teenage boy in the crowd decides he's going to try to be a hero. As Anne continues her sermon, he decides to take her supposed distraction as his chance to attack, and he quickly grabs a Pokeball from his belt. Unfortunately for him, he totally underestimated the cardinal, and Anne's draw is much faster, and he gets a bullet through his elbow joint as he rears back to throw his capsule. He goes down, like the Gym Leader did, and the crowd gasps in unison.

    Dammit... This is not good. We gotta think of something! “Richter...” I whisper, glancing at my friend. Unfortunately, Richter looks as cold as ice, shivering, with all the color drained from his skin. Oh yeah, he was shot before. To almost die... that must have been traumatic for him...

    Anne sighs, “What did I just tell all of you? Burn the sight of that boy and the Gym Leader into your mind, unbelievers! This is the least of what will happen to any unbeliever who dares to cross us! Now, all of you submit to the power of Arceus! If you do, you will be spared!”

    Before anyone can respond, however, a voice from behind us yells... or rather, stutters, “F-Flareon! Quick Attack!” Suddenly, there is a red streak above us, which then slams into Anne, knocking her back. Without even looking, I know who is trying to come to our rescue... and I dunno if this is gonna turn out well...

    We all look behind us to see Natalie... or at least part of her, as she's ducking behind her Kabutops. Not bad! Rock-types are bulletproof, so Anne can't shoot her. I guess that's one being that's cool with being a meat shield...

    It was a brave move on Natalie's part, but there's no way she can beat these Team Epsilon guys with just Flareon and Kabutops. While Anne's down, I take the initiative, and send out Weavile and Blaziken, just as the other trainers, both among the crowd and from Team Epsilon, send out their own Pokemon. It takes time for Richter to recover from the shock of being threatened with a gun, but eventually, he sends out Gallade and Starmie.

    A big brawl ensues, but the trainers among the crowd far outnumber the Team Epsilon members, and even though the 'good' trainers' Pokemon are not all that strong, it's not long before they gain the upper hand, and finally rendering the enemy trainers helpless. As for Anne, she recalls her two Magmorter, and in the middle of the chaos, sends out a Rapidash, a flaming horse Pokemon, and rides it, trying to escape. I try to send Weavile to chase them, but a Fire Spin attack keeps that from happening, and they get away. Oh well, at least the other bad guys weren't as lucky.

    The police come to arrest the Team Epsilon members, the ambulances take the Gym Leader, and whoever else was injured in the stuggle, away, and the rest of us just got a bad memory to recall for the rest of our lives, to tell our grandchildren, or something a little less melodramatic...

    However, out of Richter, Natalie, and myself, I'm the only one not too shaken up by what just went on. We sit down at a bench next to a fountain at the center of the town square to let our heartbeats return to normal.

    “Don't ever do that again,” Richter mutters to Natalie. Even though he's saying it, he was probably just as concerned about his own safety, plus trying to be a responsible older relative is obviously not something he's used to.

    “Sorry,” says Natalie, “but... but you almost got killed before, and... I... I wanted to protect you...”

    “Well, it turned out well in the end,” I say, “but if no one took advantage of your diversion, you would have been in trouble. You're becoming a strong trainer, Natalie, but there's no way your guys can beat their Pokemon, at least not yet...”

    “I... guess,” says Natalie, “but there wasn't anyone else around, and... well... I was scared, but... but I wanted to help...”

    “You did a brave thing,” says Richter, “but it was reckless, and if something ended up happening to you... ...”

    “I know!” exclaims Natalie, “But I didn't want to just stand there and watch when I could do something.”

    “Still, I'd say that was pretty smart, how you decided to use Kabutops for protection,” I say.

    “And I'm glad you chose it as the Pokemon to do it,” adds Richter, “While guns can only inflict minor harm on most Pokemon, it is considered very abusive to use the body of any under-trained organic Pokemon to protect your own, and a trainer could lose his or her license if anything other than a rock-type or steel-type is used to do it.”

    “Did you really need to tell me that?” asks Natalie, “I thought it was common sense. I knew Kabutops had a rock-hard body, so I thought he'd be the best choice if I needed a Pokemon to shield me from the gun.”

    “How about you, Richter?” I say, “You have no rock-type, and the steel-type you used to own belongs to Raoul now. If you were in Natalie's situation, which Pokemon would you use to protect yourself?”

    Richter considers this for a moment, “Gallade. He's my strongest and most well-trained Pokemon, and he can use his blades to deflect bullets... or really, any psychic-type, which can use psychokinesis to stop gunshots.”

    “Well, you did say 'under-trained organic Pokemon,' shouldn't be used to protect a trainer's body,” I note, “I guess I'd have Blaziken protect me.”

    “Can we just drop this?” asks Natalie, “That was scary, and I want to forget it ever happened.”

    “I doubt you'll ever forget,” says Richter, “It's... just something you can't.”

    “Yeah...” Natalie reluctantly agrees.

    “Team Epsilon and Team Sigma,” I say, “That Anne said that Team Sigma is from Kanto. It looks like there is something bigger going on here... I guess other regions have their own groups...”

    “It doesn't matter,” says Richter, “In the end, they are all nothing more than fanatics.”

    “I heard what Anne was saying,” says Natalie, “She said that we look down on our own God...”

    “There is no denying that,” says Richter, “She's absolutely right. When you get right down to it, despite Arceus's reputation for creating the universe, It is still a Pokemon, and very few humans really appreciate what Pokemon are. All most people see them as are companions or pets, despite the fact that they are indeed stronger, and sometimes smarter, than most humans, not to mention that even the lower Pokemon can still live hundreds of years longer than any human. It's unknown why humans have the place in the world they do, as the fact that we have Pokemon is the only reason our race still exists. For some reason, Pokemon that get captured accept the human that accomplished the deed as their master.”

    “Isn't it because of Pokeballs?” asks Natalie, “I thought it's because it alters their mind or something.”

    Richter shakes his head, “No, Pokemon obey humans by their own free will. It's unknown why, however. There have been countless experts who have devoted their lives to researching Pokemon, and it's still a mystery why Pokemon, who were so opposed to a human before, suddenly become so loyal after being captured. Even if a trainer is unreasonably rough or abusive, a Pokemon doesn't try to escape, though it might rebel.”

    I have to admit, for all he's afraid of, I'm pretty impressed by Richter's knowledge. He sure made the most of his downtime since quitting as a trainer.

    “What about Kabutops?” asks Natalie, “I... didn't exactly capture him... and he existed before humans did...”

    “I've only read about this,” says Richter, leaning forward in the bench, “but your Kabutops is not the Kabutops that existed millions of years ago; It's a clone of that Pokemon. As far as he's concerned, he was resurrected, and, as Pokeballs are specifically programmed for the trainers that bought them, Kabutops saw you as a key reason for that, and therefore, swore loyalty. It guess you could call it a form of psychological manipulation, but in the end, it was Kabutops's choice to be your Pokemon...”

    “I see,” says Natalie.

    “This is only speculation,” says Richter, now leaning back and looking at the sky, “but it's believed that Arceus influences all the other Pokemon, so therefore, it's the will of Arceus that Pokemon follow humans. Still, someone in Team Epsilon, or something related, should be aware of this, so I don't know why they are doing what they are.”

    I take a guess, “Maybe they feel thankful for what Arceus has done for mankind, and feel that humans are disrespecting It for taking that privilege for granted...”

    “We may never know,” says Richter, rising from the bench, “It's getting late, and Natalie's Pokemon still haven't gone to the Center.”

    Natalie and I get up, “Alright, let's go.”

    ---

    We head to the nearest Pokemon Center. Despite our plans for a big festive meal before, the whole thing with Team Epsilon has pretty much lessened our appetites, so we just pick out the usual for dinner as we wait for Natalie's Pokemon to recover.

    “Alright,” begins Richter as he picks away at his Caesar salad, “Tomorrow, we head to Hearthome City, and its gym.”

    “Alright,” says Natalie with a grin.

    “A ghost-type gym...” I say, “Um... how about something a bit more practical, considering Natalie's current team?”

    Natalie stares at me, “'Practical?'”

    “Yeah,” I say, “Like, seeing how Natalie has Flareon and Hitmonchan, why not take on Canaclave, a steel-type gym? Also, let's not forget about Fearow. Eterna's a grass-type gym, so why not that one? Fearow and Flareon should take that place with ease! Also, let's consider Kabutops. It, along with Flareon and Hitmonchan, all have an advantage at Snowpoint Gym, which uses ice-types.”

    “Have you forgotten our time restraints?” asks Richter, “We only have a few days left, and it will take too long to get to those places.”

    “This is getting real freaking ridiculous!” I snap, “How about growing up a little, capturing a Staravia somewhere, and Fly with us to those places? It's pathetic that you're the one and only Pokemon trainer on this planet that's too afraid to go anywhere by air!”

    Richter tries to defend himself, “Fearow doesn't even know how to Fly!”

    “Um, yes he does,” says Natalie.

    Richter shakes his head, “Not fly, as in just flying. I mean, Fly, with a capital 'F,' the technique flying-types use to transport their trainers by air.”

    “Oh!” exclaims Natalie, getting it.

    “Nice try, Richter! I have enough money to afford an HM02, which gives Fearow the power to use that move!”

    Richter struggles to reinforce his side of the argument, “Um... uh... well... you... can't just expect people to get over a fear of heights, just like that.” Like he's totally making himself look manlier...

    “Okay, fine,” I say flatly, “Hey Natalie, how about we ditch Richter here and take a little flight to Snowpoint?” Of course, Richter glares at me in response. Tough.

    Natalie shakes her head, “No, Uncle Richter has really helped me out, and I'm not just gonna leave him behind. Sorry, Alice.”

    Richter gives me a victorious smile, “There's your answer. Satisfied?”

    “Yeah, whatever,” I sigh, admitting defeat, “Hearthome it is. None of Natalie's Pokemon have a distinct advantage over ghost-types, but sure, we'll take on Hearthome next...” I can't believe we're going this route, just because of some stupid phobia Richter has...
     
    #40 Valin, Oct 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013

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