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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 49: The Power of Love

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey After a gauntlet of intense battles, Brian and Chane hit the town to find happiness. Could this be... a date!?

Also featured are two more cameos of Pokécharms members. These two were among my first friends here when I first joined many years ago.
Chapter 49: The Power of Love

I stood in the shower washing all of the blood off. For being the final battle, there wasn’t as much on me as there was after a few previous missions. I went in thinking I’d be painted red by the end, but nope. Guess there just weren’t enough Rockets left for that. I opened the curtain to see Axel sitting on the toilet. He wasn’t using it, the lid was down, he was just waiting for me to finish bathing.

“Anything in my hair?” I asked him. He got up, grabbed my skull, and pulled me down to his eye level. Like the primate he was, he carefully moved my wet hair around as if grooming me.

You’re clean.” he said pushing my head back. That was a relief. Getting the dried blood out of my hair after the incident on Mt. Ember was not fun, especially since it stung getting water in my wounds after that. At least today the hardest part was getting the blood out from under my fingernails. Still no picnic. It was something I was glad I wouldn’t have to do for a while now that the killing was over. I turned off the water and held my arm out. Axel handed me my towel which had a few gold hairs on it from him using it as a cushion. I just shook my head as I started drying myself off.

Last August when we got booted from Johto to Kanto, Raiden got us a penthouse in Celadon City that we frequently stayed in between missions so it was a convenient place to retreat to after last night’s battle. I still think this place is freaking sweet! Five bedrooms, all with personal bathrooms, a full kitchen that included a fully stocked bar, a living room, and an outdoor pool on the roof. Once I was dressed, Axel and I went out to the roof but not for the pool.

When we arrived back here it was already dawn. Now the summer morning sun was already casting its peaceful glow across the city. In the streets below people were already beginning their day. Soon I would be ending my day by going to bed after a long night, but there was one more thing I had to do before I went to sleep. I took the five Pokéballs from my belt and sent out my Pokémon. Aerodactyl. Snorlax. Piloswine. Metang. Riolu. Axel took his place beside the others so that all six stood in line together. I took a deep breath trying to figure out what I wanted to say. Might as well wing it like I always do.

“Thank you. All of you. The seven of us were together on that day when Team Rocket cruelly and brutally took a precious life from this world. It is because you all were with me on that day that I have kept you all by my side through all of our battles with Team Rocket. You understand the loss. You understand the grief, the sorrow, and the rage. Today Team Rocket has fallen and we made it happen! We have brought justice to all of Team Rocket’s victims and I could not have done it without you guys. This is as much your victory as it is mine. This is as much our victory as it is Team Neos’s. You guys are the best! Thank you for staying with me through all of this!”

My speech got happy cheers from all of my Pokémon. All six of them looked proud of their accomplishment. They looked relieved that it was all finally over. As they started to settle down, Riolu barked at me to get my attention.

“What’s up Riolu?” I asked the little pup. He started standing on his tippy toes and stretched his body as if trying to look taller while making stained grunts. I tilted my head in confusion trying to figure out what he was telling me. He must have realized my cluelessness because he then pointed to Metang, started barking again, and then stretched himself some more. “Right! Let us all congratulate Metang on its evolution!” I said getting more cheers from my Pokémon as I joined them in clapping. Riolu rolled his eyes and gave a frustrated howl. “What? Are you saying you want to evolve too?” I asked him. Riolu barked affirmatively.

With all of the battles he’s been in, surely he’s close.” Axel pointed out.

“Maybe not.” I said shaking my head. “For Riolu to evolve into Lucario they need to be really happy and then have a battle when the sun is out, just like when Munchlax became Snorlax and Eevee became Espeon.” I recalled.

So what do we do?” questioned the monkey. I returned all of my Pokémon except for Riolu and turned to Axel with a smile.

“We consult the expert!” I declared.

“Chane? Are you in there? It’s me, Brian.” I asked knocking on her bedroom door. Out of everyone I knew, she was the most empathetic towards Pokémon. If anyone could help Riolu evolve it would be her. I hesitated before knocking again. Considering the night she had… Yeah, probably better to try again later. As I went to turn around, Riolu grabbed my leg. No sooner than he did, Chane opened the door. Her hair looked wet so she probably just got out of the shower too.

“Morning!” I greeted cheerfully. She returned my greeting by throwing herself into me and hugging me tightly. I stood there very confused for a few seconds before returning the embrace. I felt so guilty that she had to face Team Rocket alone. I know she’s a powerful Trainer, probably even better than me, but the things we have to do as Neos go completely against her nature. Sometimes I wonder about her. “I can come back later if now is a bad time.” I said apologetically.

“No. I’m actually glad you’re here. I just really needed that.” she said letting me go and wiping her eyes. “Um… S-so, w-what did you want me f-for.” she asked nervously.

“Well,” I stepped aside and pointed down to Riolu. “Riolu wants to evolve which requires happiness. You’re awesome when it comes to Pokémon so I figured you could help.” I explained. Chane crouched down and started petting Riolu’s head causing the puppy to start wagging his tail.

Someone’s enjoying himself.” Axel commented.

“I can help, but it’s going to be a lot of work.” she said now starting to scratch his chin.

“No problem! We’re used to hard work.” I reassured giving a thumbs-up.

“Then let me get ready first. I can’t really go out dressed in my jammies.” Chane said standing back up. “Leave Riolu out of his Pokéball. We’re going to take him for a walk around Celadon.”

“You got it!” I said before she retreated back to her room to get changed.

I can’t wait for you to evolve Rio! You’ll finally be tall enough for us to have a more evenly matched sparring match!” Axel said excitedly as he balled his fists and gave Riolu some light jabs. The Emanation Pokémon responded in kind by throwing his own punches at Axel.

“Save it for later you two.” I teased.

While we waited for Chane to get herself ready, I thought back to how my other Pokémon evolved by Happiness. Munchlax was the easy one. All I had to do was give him plenty of food and I had a Snorlax within the week. Eevee evolving to Espeon was a completely different case. Not to mention it happened so long ago I don’t even remember what I did.

When Chane came out of her room she was wearing black pants and a dark pink T-shirt with a black Pokéball emblem on the chest. I was happy to see that she looked a lot more relaxed and composed than she did earlier. I won’t make the assumption that she had put what happened last night behind her already but I also don’t think she’s putting on a mask just for my sake. I think Chane was relieved to be going out for something fun instead of on a mission. Walking out of her room behind her came Lucy.

“Are you planning to evolve Lucy too?” I asked. She gave me a smile and nodded affirmatively.

“She and I talked it over and we both agreed that it’s time.” she responded. “Now, there are two places we need to go on our walk. The first is the Celadon Department Store. There are a few important things we need to pick up. After that, there is a horticulture shop down the street from the Gym that would be worth going too.” she explained.

“Sounds like you’ve got things all figured out.” I complemented feeling impressed by how far ahead she planned while getting changed. Not to mention she and Lucy discussed evolution at the same time. Chane is one amazing girl!

Before the five of us headed out, I left a note for Raiden on the table letting him know where we were. I may have no longer been on probation, but I didn’t want him wondering where Chane and I ran off to in case we were needed for something.

From standing on the roof I already knew today was a beautiful day so I was glad we’d be using the day to its fullest. Nothing beats walking around on a warm sunny day! I hoped the weather was making Riolu as happy as it was making me. As planned, we went to the Department Store though Chane still wouldn’t tell me what we were getting. She said it was a surprise.

“Let’s see… The Trainer’s Market is on the second floor.” she said reading the sign on the first floor that listed where everything was.

“Lead the way then. Riolu and I are entirely in your care.” I offered.

We took the stairs because they were not only quicker than waiting for the elevator, they would give our Pokémon good exercise. While we checked the isles on the second floor for whatever it was we were getting, I noticed a clothing isle with a large selection of capes. There I saw a man with spiky red hair trying on a cape and doing dramatic poses in front of a mirror to see how it looked on him. I feel like I’ve seen that man somewhere before but I couldn’t figure out why I recognized him.

“Brian.” Chane’s voice called to me. I turned to see her holding up two silver bells attached to red strings. “These are Soothe Bells. They emit a relaxing ring every time your Pokémon moves which helps make them happy.” she explained, no doubt to my confused expression.

“Nice!” I cheered. Chane gave me one of the Soothe Bells so I could tie it around Riolu’s neck like a collar. He gave a cheerful bark and started wagging his tail. At the same time, she fastened hers to Lucy’s tail.

He looks happier already.” Axel said.

“He does.” I concurred. “So what’s next Chane?”

“Well… Pokémon like it when you give them vitamins which we can get from the Drug Store on the fifth floor, but they’re kind of expensive.” she said somewhat reluctantly.

“And? You can’t put a price on happiness.” I pointed out. “Plus we made tons of money with our line of work. I’m sure we can afford them.” I reassured.

“Each bottle costs 9,800 credits.” said Chane bluntly.

“Goodbye paychecks!” I shouted dramatically. Chane only giggled at my reckless proclamation.

“We still need to actually purchase the Soothe Bells and go to the horticulturist.” she reminded.

“Alright, how about you buy the cheap stuff and I’ll blow my bank account on vitamins.” I declared.

Hey what about my food budget!? Don’t just go deciding these things on your own idiot!” yelled Axel frantically.

“You wanna fight?” I challenged holding up my fists.

Bring it!” he dared bring his fist up too.

“Not here!” Chane scolded. We both dropped our arms and straightened up. There was something really awesome yet really scary getting reprimanded by our quietest teammate.

As it turned out, we got worked up for nothing. They were having a special summer sale on the vitamins so all six varieties were 50% off. Combined with only needing one of each kind meant our total came out to be 29,400 credits. We weren’t going to the poorhouse after all! The vitamins automatically came in Item Balls but I bought an extra ball to store the bag we put the vitamins in. Like an idiot, I completely forgot my backpack in my room so this was the easiest way to carry the purchases our Pokémon weren’t already wearing.

“Alright Chane. The horticulture shop is next on our list?” I asked.

“Yup. There are a few specific types of Berries that Pokémon really find tasty.” explained Chane.

We left the Department Store and headed south. On our way to the horticulturist I noticed an entire block roped off with caution tape and traffic cones. If I wasn’t mistaken, that road led to the Game Corner. Police seemed to be guarding the area so I continued to act casual. As far as I knew, the more fidgety someone acted around cops the more likely they would suspect them of wrongdoing. I made sure to position myself between their view and Axel so they wouldn’t see him. No matter how natural I acted, it would be meaningless if they were aware of our reputation. The five of us continued on our way without any trouble leaving the blockade behind us. I’ll have to find out if this is the only road back to the penthouse or if we can take a more scenic route. I would like to avoid police, especially when they’re actively patrolling for Team Neos, if only to prevent a confrontation that could end with them getting hurt.

I soon recognized the area we were in from coming this way to challenge the Gym many years ago. I actually surprised myself considering how directionally impaired I can be sometimes. Chane did say the horticulture shop was near the Gym after all. The terrain also changed from concrete and asphalt to dirt and grass with a large number of trees compared to the rest of the city. Soon we came across a building covered in green ivy with trees framing the building and flower pots lining the entrance.

“We’re here.” Chane pointed out obviously. We walked through a dark brown wooden door with a window on top causing a bell to chime announcing our entrance. The interior was like an indoor botanical garden. There were pots of flowers everywhere, even hanging off of the ceiling! There were even edible fruits and vegetables being sold. It looked like they sold medicinal herbs too. They also had seeds, fertilizers, mulch, and watering cans to grow your own. It was very colorful in here like a rainbow put into a blender. But the first thing I noticed when I walked in before taking in any of the visuals was the scents of all of that mixed together is one big assault on my nose. I’m sure individually they smelled fine, but in such quantity all at once hurt! I felt my nose curl just on instinct from sensory overload.

“Welcome to our store! How may we help you today?” asked a middle aged woman wearing a red apron and a white scarf tied around her head to hold her hair.

“W-we would l-like to purchase s-some Pomeg, Kelpsy, Qualot, Hondew, Grepa, and Tomato Berries.” Chane requested with a slight stutter.

“Excellent! Those kinds of Berries can be found in the back there.” the horticulturist informed us pointing to the back of the store. “We’ve got plenty so take as many as you need.”

Chane and I walked to where we were told with our Pokémon following closely behind. I’m actually surprised we didn’t get bitched at for having Axel coming along. A Pokémon with an open flame on his body in a building full of plants couldn’t have been safe. But hey, if the expert won’t say anything then I’ve got no reason to worry about it.

We came to a wall lined with shelves and each shelf was filled to capacity with straw baskets filled to the brim with different kinds of Berries. Chane investigated each basket until finding the six she was looking for which were on the third shelf.

“Hold these for me.” she told me handing me two round red Berries.

“No problem.” I agreed taking them. Chane moved on to the next basket and handed me two long, segmented blue Berries. This trend continued with two round yellow Berries with a large pink blotch-like stripe going around the middle, two green Berries with yellow seeds on the outside, two small, round, yellow Berries, and two prickly red Berries. My hands had gotten so full I had to hold my left arm close to my body and stuff the Berries in the crease made by my elbow to hold them all while I accepted the new ones with my right hand.

“That should be all of them.” Chane said turning back to me. “Oh no! I’m so sorry!” she apologized after taking one look at me.

“Don’t worry about them. I’ve got ‘em!” I reassured. With both arms available to me now, I pulled my right arm in and shifted the Berries into a more comfortable distribution.

You could have given some of them to me ya know.” Axel pointed out.

“You’d eat them.” I retorted.

Would not! I’m more trustworthy with food than Snorlax is!” he said defensively.

“That is a horrible comparison!” I mocked.

It’s still true!” he scoffed.

“You’re lucky I’m holding Berries, otherwise I’d smack you around!” I warned.

That’s just your excuse!” he shot back.

“No fighting.” Chane warned stepping between us. She shifted her eyes to both of us to make sure we understood. We both nodded. “I’ll take some of those from you.” she offered taking half the Berries out of my arms before heading to the register. Axel and I just exchanged a glance and nodded. That was the second time today she put us in our place. Without a word we followed her to purchase the Berries.

“Thank you, come again!” said the horticulturist as we headed out. Once outside I took a deep breath of fresh air to clean out my lungs and nostrils.

“So what do we do next Chane?” I inquired.

“Well…” she paused to think. “We have the Soothe Bells, we have the vitamins, we have the Berries… Now we just need to find a quiet place to relax.” she determined.

“Do you know of any place we could go?” I asked being a bit clueless myself. Chane just shook her head no.

“Sorry.” she apologized.

“No need. You’ve had all the answers so far so it’s fine if there’s one step you don’t know.” I reassured. “It just means I get to be useful in helping you!” I declared. That earned a smile and a giggle from Chane.

“So what are your thoughts?” she asked me.

“Totally clueless!” I proudly admit. “So why don’t we just walk around until we find someplace secluded and relaxing?” I suggested.

“Ok. Lucy and I will follow your lead this time.” she accepted.

I wandered around Celadon aimlessly with my charges in tow. At any rate walking was good for you and besides, Riolu and Lucy seemed to be enjoying the stroll. Eventually we found ourselves in a local park. Despite it being such a nice day, there were very few people here today.

“What do you think?” I consulted the expert.

“It’s perfect. Let’s go sit under that tree.” Chane said pointing to a large tree with plenty of green leaves casting its shadow over a wide area. As it turned out all five of us could sit in the cool shade comfortably.

“So what now?” I inquired excitedly.

“Massages help relax Pokémon and make them friendlier. Um… is it alright with you if I give Lucy a massage first? While I do that, you can feed Riolu his portion of vitamins and Berries.” suggested Chane.

“Sure thing!” I agreed. I took out the Item Balls containing our purchases and laid them all out in the grass. I divided the Berries evenly so that Riolu and Lucy would have one of each kind. I then opened the vitamin jars but only took a few out of each. We didn’t need to give our Pokémon all of them and we probably wouldn’t need to even empty them with how much stuff we were already giving them.

“Alright Rio, open wide.” I told him giving him the Qualot Berry first. He took it from me and ate it with delight. The Emanation Pokémon even wagged his tail from how tasty it was to him. I gave him the Kelpsy Berry next followed by the rest. Qualot, Grepa, and Pomeg seemed to be his favorites of the bunch, but especially Qualot. He leaned back with an elated sigh.

“Don’t get lazy just yet. You still need to take your vitamins!” I told him. He gave an excited bark as he sat back up in anticipation. I poured out a few Carbos tablets which he gobbled up, then some Zinc. The little puppy soon finished off his vitamins as well.

Meanwhile, Chane continued giving her Chansey a full body massage which really seemed to perk her up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lucy so content before. As soon as she finished, Chane looked over to me and Riolu.

“Is he ready?” she asked.

“He’s all yours.” I consented. Lucy got up and walked to the side allowing Riolu to sit down on Chane’s lap.

“Too close Riolu.” she told him. Like the good boy that he is, he got up and sat down in front of her instead. “There you go.” she complemented. Chane then proceeded to rub his shoulders and back in ways they’ve never been rubbed before. At first Riolu’s eyes got big with surprise from the new sensation but he soon closed them as he became more relaxed. Chane didn’t just rub his back and shoulders, but massaged his arms, legs, tail, ears, and scalp too. His tail started wagging vigorously and every now and then he’d give euphoric howls.

Is it that awesome?” Axel inquired in a mix of curiosity and envy. The Emanation Pokémon barked affirmatively. My Infernape started to shift around anxiously. You’re so transparent Axel.

“Hey Chane, Axel wants to know if he can go next.” I asked her for him.

I do not! …Well ok, maybe a little.” he confessed sheepishly. “Rio’s just enjoying it so much!

“Ok, I guess I can do you next.” Chane agreed without hesitation.

“Thanks Chane. I’ll figure out a way to make it up to you. Axel, you thank her too.” I instructed.

Thanks Chane! You’re an awesome human.” he thanked as well.

“You don’t need to thank me. Seeing our Pokémon happy is reward enough.” she said modestly. As soon as she was done with Riolu, he reluctantly stood up and walked back to me. He looked so pleased yet disappointed it was over. Axel then took his seat in front of Chane and let her work her magic on him.

Holy shit this is amazing!” he cheered in delight. “Brian you need to get her to massage you too! She is a goddess with her hands! You don’t even know!” I raised an eyebrow at his praises. Was she really that good? As curious as I was to find out, I think I’ll wait until a more opportune time. She’s already stuck doing that monkey, I don’t want her to have to deal with me too.

“You look tense Brian. Let me give you a massage too.” offered Chane completely on her own accord.

“Me? Oh no. I couldn’t ask you to do that.” I turned down humbly.

“Are you sure?” she asked sounding somewhat concerned.

“You’ve already done three in a row. I think when you finish with Axel you should give yourself a well-deserved rest. I’ll definitely accept your offer next time! Today is devoted to our Pokémon.” I said straightforwardly.

“Ok, I understand.” she agreed with a smile. She continued to give Axel the same treatment as Riolu, just with more caution around his head. By the time she was finished, the Flame Pokémon looked like he had been to his own personal paradise.

So good!” he complemented walking towards me as if he was drunk. That was how loose his body was now. I almost regret turning down Chane’s offer, but I still thought she deserved a break after already doing so much for my Pokémon.

With all of the massages finished, Chane then started to feed Lucy her share of the Berries and vitamins. While she did that, I leaned back to look up at the sunbeams coming between the tree leaves. Axel and Riolu laid down on either side of me looking to the sky as well.

I suddenly found myself waking up feeling pretty refreshed. Before I knew it, I must have fallen asleep. Wait, I was asleep! I sprang up into a sitting position and looked around. It was still daylight outside which was good for us because it meant there was still time for Riolu to evolve. Speaking of the pup, he was sleeping next to me, as was Axel, exactly where I left them. Lucy was sitting up but leaning forward fast asleep. Chane had also dozed off and was laying close to Lucy. While we napped the sun had shifted in the sky putting us more in the shade. At least we weren’t going to get sunburned from our random late morning nap. Considering none of us had slept since before our battle last night, I guess this was a well-deserved rest.

“Morning sleepyhead.” greeted Chane opening one eye.

“Morning yourself. Either you fell asleep too or you decided to lay like that to tease me which doesn’t seem like something you’d do.” I said.

“I took a nap too. I saw you sleeping and I didn’t want to disturb you so I decided to join you.” she explained.

“Yeah, my bad.” I said with a giggle. Looks like I was the first one out then. “So should we wake up the Pokémon or let them sleep a bit longer?” Chane sat up and stretched.

“Give them about 10 more minutes.” she said. “If it wasn’t almost lunch time, I’d say let’s give them more time.” As soon as she said that I noticed my own hunger. In fact, I was starving! I checked the time to find it was 4:37pm! We were out a solid part of the day! I was actually glad we had found ourselves a secluded area in the park.

“Actually, I think we’ll be having dinner instead.” I pointed out dryly as I showed Chane my phone. Her eyes grew wide as she too realized how long we slept.

“I guess we really needed that, huh?” she said blushing a bit.

“I guess so.” I then got a mischievous smirk after realizing what we just did. “First time you’ve slept with a boy?” I teased.

“Yes. I-I mean n-no… but… Not like that!” she cried getting really flustered and blushing even harder.

“I’m kidding! You know how I like to mess around with people.” I laughed. Chane gave me a pouty face and crossed her arms.

“You’re just like my brother, always teasing me.” she said grumpily.

What’s with all the noise?” Axel groaned groggily.

“Just messing with Chane.” I confessed.

You’re not getting a massage now.” he said straightforwardly.

“You be quiet.” I warned.

Or what? Chane won’t let us fight.” reminded Axel.

“What’s wrong? Are you scared?” I taunted.

Nope. Just trying to stay on her good side so I get massages. Unlike you!” he teased.

“Well anyway, we slept too long. Wake up Riolu so we can get dinner.” I told him.

Hey Rio. Time to wake up.” he said tapping the puppy with his foot. Riolu quickly got up and karate chopped Axel in the knee causing the monkey to scream in pain. “You damn little-- Gaaaah that hurt! Son of a bitch!” he yelled hopping around on one foot while holding his injury.

“Did you have a good nap Lucy? It’s time to get up.” Chane said gently patting her Chansey on the back. Lucy woke up with a refreshed chirp.

See? Why couldn’t you have been more like that?” questioned Axel irritably. Riolu bowed to him in apology. “Well I guess you won’t be caught off guard while sleeping.

“Alright! Let’s find food! Time to feed!” I declared adamantly.

By whatever luck this world runs on, the first restaurant we found just so happened to be running an all-you-can-eat buffet so I ordered that. It was primarily to ensure Snorlax got enough to eat, but I was also understandably hungry as were Axel and apparently Riolu. After the Berries earlier, I didn’t expect him to eat as much as he usually did and yet he ate more! That fact alone made me very excited as it was a sure sign he was preparing for evolution. I’ve noticed that when my Pokémon gorge themselves like that it is either after rigorous training, right before evolution, or immediately after.

When we were finished diner, Chane and I returned our Pokémon besides Riolu and Lucy then found a place to sit back and relax. We chose a large fountain in the center of town as our resting place. Riolu sat on the edge kicking his feet in the water while staring up in wonder at the veil of water shooting up and flowing back down. Lucy stood nearby rocking back and forth as if dancing. Meanwhile Axel stood a few feet back out of his dislike for water.

“Those two are practically beaming.” Chane pointed out noticing how happy our two Pokémon seemed to be.

“Yup. It’s only a matter of time now. I think we should seek a battle.” I suggested with a wide grin. I noticed Riolu’s ears twitch at the sound of the word.

“A battle? With you?” questioned Chane.

“No, you and I battle together against other Trainers. That way both our Pokémon get to enjoy the thrill of the challenge and will hopefully evolve when they win. Besides, Riolu loves it. He is a Fighting-type after all. Nothing gets him going like a good fight.” I explained. The Emanation Pokémon looked up at me excitedly practically proving my statement.

You got that right!” confirmed Axel pounding his fists together.

“If not a battle, what other ideas do you have for Lucy?” I asked. Chane looked at her Chansey who looked back at her.

“W-well… if… if it’s a friendly battle with nice Trainers, then I’m sure Lucy would enjoy the exercise.” she rationalized. Lucy gave her a reassuring nod as if saying she wouldn’t mind trying a battle too. That settled it then!

“Tell me when you’re ready, and I’ll find us some opponents.” I offered excitedly. Riolu hopped out of the water wagging his tail and barking excitedly. “Patience Rio.” I told him as I pet his head.

“Lucy?” Chane asked her. The Egg Pokémon nodded. “Go for it.” she consented. I hopped up on the fountain’s ledge and dramatically threw my right arm into the air.

“Attention Trainers of Celadon City!” I announced to everyone within earshot. I then threw my arm down to point to Chane while slapping my chest with my left hand. “My friend and I seek two Trainers who work well together to have a Multi Battle with. We will use only one Pokémon each! Do I have any takers?” I challenged. I got a few stares from people who immediately stopped what they were doing in anticipation for the public spectacle about to begin. Of course the event won’t take place if no one accepts my offer. I scanned the crowd waiting for a pair to come forward.

“‘Scuse me, coming through, move it tall people!” I heard a female voice shout from the crowd.

“Don’t be rude Chibi. Sorry, pardon us.” said a much calmer male voice. Pushing their way through the crowd came a short girl with long flaming red hair and jade green eyes wearing an orange shirt, jean shorts, and a green vest followed closely by a boy about my height with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a white shirt, jeans, and a blue jacket. On the boy’s shoulder was an Aipom while the girl carried a Vulpix in her arms. “Hi, yes, are you still looking for a battle?” he asked me.

“Yes we are!” I answered enthusiastically as I jumped off the fountain. “I’m Brian, this is my heterosexual life partner Axel,” I introduced pointing to the monkey who struck a dramatic pose, “and that is my platonic life partner Chane.” I introduced pointing to her next.

“Wha!? Afghjkafgjdfgfgk” Chane babbled incoherently turning bright red.

“Relax. It just means you’re my human best friend. No need to get so frazzled.” I clarified with a laugh. Riolu barked at me indignantly while tugging my pants leg. “No, I didn’t forget you.” I said petting his head. “And this little guy is Riolu. He’ll be my chosen Pokémon for this battle.” I told the Trainers.

“Oh I can tell you guys will be an interesting pair to battle.” said the boy. “I’m Cody by the way.” he introduced before scratching his Aipom’s chin. “This is my partner and best friend Silver. I’ll be battling with him.” Silver clapped his hands while grinning widely.

“The name’s Chibi. This is my Vulpix, Vyala.” she introduced straightforwardly while emphasizing her Pokémon when saying her name.

“R-right. A-as Brian already said, I-I’m Chane, and I-I’ll b-be using Lucy.” Chane stuttered. I wasn’t sure if it was from her usual shyness around new people or if was a side-effect of my teasing. I guess I should probably behave myself more. Nah!

Alright, best of luck you two!” Axel encouraged walking off to the side to be out of the way of the battle. Chibi set Vyala on the ground while Silver jumped off of Cody’s shoulder before doing a quick breakdance. At the same time Riolu and Lucy stepped onto the field as well.

“I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed you aren’t using your Infernape. He looks really strong.” lamented Cody. “Still, Riolu looks pretty tough too!” he complemented.

“You have no idea!” I hinted. “Start off with a Quick Attack to Silver, Riolu!” I called. The canine darted towards the purple monkey turning himself into a blue and black blur.

“Fake him Out Silver!” Cody countered. Silver spun himself around slapping Riolu with his tail causing him to stagger and flinch. I quietly smirked because I knew every time Riolu flinched he would only get faster.

“Use Confuse Ray on Lucy, Vyala!” commanded Chibi at the same time. The Fox Pokémon’s eyes turned a ghostly white as she sent a pale ray of the same color at Lucy.

“Lucy! Safeguard quickly please!” Chane hastily called. Lucy twirled her arms creating a protective halo around not only herself, but Riolu as well.

“Thanks Chane!” I told her appreciatively.

“Yeah, I’m not letting you use that move again. Vyala! Seal her moves with Imprison!” Chibi counteracted. Vyala once again got ghostly white eyes only this time it was to mentally seal any moves the Chansey might have shared with her for the remainder of the battle. While our Safeguard would stay up for now, once it faded we would be subject to any and all status ailments they could throw at us.

“Use Screech on Vyala then use Force Palm!” I commanded. Riolu gave an ear piercing shriek that caused everyone to cover their ears but it was even worse for the Vulpix who the attack was directed at. She whimpered while lowering her head to try to evade the sound. While she was off guard, Riolu ran towards her with his paws surrounded by a blue aura. He then slammed his palms into Vyala causing her to howl.

“While Riolu is distracted, use Nasty Plot followed by Swift!” called Cody. Silver rubbed his tiny hands together as he devised devious machinations. He then whipped his handed tail side to side letting loose a barrage of white energy stars that would home in on Riolu no matter where he ran.

“Detect them all Rio!” I commanded.

“Detect this! Trap Riolu with Fire Spin Vyala!” Chibi called heatedly. Vyala got a cunning look on her face before spitting a tornado of fire at my Emanation Pokémon. Riolu was able to jump out of the way of the flames, but in midair he had no way to avoid the incoming Swift.

“Protect Riolu with Light Screen!” called Chane right on time. A protective shield surrounded both of our Pokémon just as the energy stars crashed into Riolu dealing less damage than they would have. He landed back on his feet ready for more.

“You really like to play defensively, don’t you Chane?” inquired Cody.

“I-I don’t like to see Pokémon get n-needlessly hurt.” she responded.

“Then please don’t think badly of me for this.” Cody said apologetically. “Silver, my friend! Taunt Lucy!” The Long Tail Pokémon did a handstand, bounced from one hand to the next while making sarcastic squeaks, then waved at the Chansey with his tail. Whatever he was saying was certainly enough to anger Lucy. I don’t think I’d ever seen her so agitated other than times Chane was in immediate danger.

“Nice one Cody!” complimented Chibi with a satisfied smirk.

“Don’t worry Chane, we’ve got this! You’re more of a badass a Trainer than I am so anything I can do, you can do better!” I reassured.

“I wouldn’t go that far, b-but thanks.” she said gratefully. “N-now Lucy. Use Return on Silver!” she called. The Egg Pokémon mustered up all the love she had for Chane into her fist until it took on a white glow. She then charged at the Aipom to deliver a powerful punch causing him to stagger for a moment.

“Counter with Tickle!” commanded Cody. Silver’s grin grew even wider as he jumped up on Lucy and started tickling her with his hands and tail. The Chansey started laughing uncontrollably at the assault.

“Riolu! Help Lucy by Cross Chopping Silver off!” I responded.

“Don’t forget about me Sweet-cheeks! Use Extrasensory on Riolu, Vyala!” Chibi countered. The Fox Pokémon’s eyes once again changed color, this time a dark pink. The same pink glow surrounded Riolu causing him to fall to the ground writhing in pain as his mind was assaulted.

“Lucy! P-please use Thunderbolt!” called Chane. Even though she was practically hyperventilating from laughter, I saw the Chansey’s body start to swell before she released a barrage of electricity on Silver who fell to the ground with a cry.

“Get up Silver! Hit Lucy with Brick Break!” Cody called energetically. The Aipom hopped up doing a little jig before rushing at Lucy.

“Not so fast! Hit Silver with Quick Attack!” I commanded. My Emanation Pokémon shook off the dizziness from Extrasensory before disappearing in a blur that struck Silver before he could land his attack.

“Get back Silver! Vyala! Blast Riolu with Flamethrower!” Chibi ordered aggressively. Silver did as instructed just as the Vulpix spit a long tongue of fire at Riolu. The puppy crossed his arms to brace for the attack. At the same time, I heard Light Screen shatter which meant Safeguard had also faded. This could be troublesome.

“U-use Shadow Ball on Vyala please.” Chane requested Lucy. Lucy did as told by gathering the shadows cast by our audience into a large sphere which she then threw at the Fox Pokémon leaving her winded but not beaten. By the looks of things, all four Pokémon were looking pretty worn out.

“Alright Silver! Bounce up and land on Riolu!” Cody commanded decisively. The Long Tail Pokémon stood up on his tail, then used it as a spring to shoot up into the sky.

“Get ready Rio. Sense where he’ll land, then catch him for a Counter attack.” I advised. The puppy turned his head to the sky with his eyes closed trying to sense where Silver would be coming down.

“Riolu can’t counter two attacks at once Vyala! Hit him with Fire Blast!” ordered Chibi strategically. Vyala opened her mouth to fire a large star shaped flame at Riolu. I quickly shifted my eyes to Chane who answered my silent plea with a nod.

“Lucy! Help Riolu by using Psychic on the water fountain!” she beseeched. The Chansey spun her arms towards the fountain before taking on a pink glow. With a loud rumble, all the water in the fountain erupted out. Lucy pointed the deluge at the incoming Fire Blast completely dousing it then directed the snake-like torrent towards Vyala.

“Shit!” Chibi yelled in surprise as her Vulpix was washed away by gallons of water. I could hear the vengeful cries of the Fox Pokémon before she fell to the attack. At the same time, Silver came plummeting back to the field right above Riolu!

“Now!” I called. Riolu’s eyes shot open as he held his arms up to catch Silver. The monkey’s feet landed evenly in the canine’s paws with enough force that Riolu had to buckle his knees to absorb the impact. The Emanation Pokémon then clamped his hands around Silver’s feet before spinning him around and slamming him to the ground with all his might.

“Silver!” Cody shouted at his partner. He was answered by a weak giggle before the Aipom closed his eyes, falling unconscious.

“Dammit! We lost Cody!” spat Chibi stomping her foot in frustration.

“We sure did.” Cody concurred lightheartedly rubbing the back of his head.

“Well done Riolu and Lucy!” I congratulated proudly. Before I could properly thank Chibi and Cody for the battle I noticed Riolu’s and Lucy’s heavy panting. They may have had a tough battle but it shouldn’t have worn them out that badly. It meant only one thing! All of our efforts today were about to pay off!

Riolu threw his arms to the side and turned his head to the sky giving a mighty howl. His body began to grow taller. The metal plates on the back of his hands protruded out into spikes. Shaggy tan fur began to sprout from his torso followed by another spike growing from his chest. The feelers at the side of his head split into two and moved to the back of his head with his snout and ears grew longer and more defined. All the while, the high-pitched howl he had given at the start of his evolution grew deeper.

At the same time, Lucy’s body also grew and changed. The hair hanging at the sides of her head curled inward. Her light pink fur became a deeper shade of pink on her upper body and turned white on her lower body. Once our Pokémon finished evolving, the crowd that had gathered to watch the battle erupted into thunderous applause.

“Congratulations Lucario!” I shouted elatedly running over to give him a hug. He returned the gesture of affection by tightly embracing me. I winced in pain, not because of his new found strength, but because his metal chest spike was digging into me.

Alright Rio! Hey the nickname still fits kinda!” Axel also congratulated throwing his arm over his pupil’s shoulder.

“You did it Lucy!” Chane cried happily giving her new Blissey a hug as well. I imagine she’s much softer than the steel frame of Lucario.

“Well that was unexpected. Pretty cool though.” Cody congratulated.

“Thanks!” I responded still grinning. “I need to be honest with you guys though. This was planned. Chane and I knew our Pokémon were going to evolve soon so we wanted a good battle to make it happen.” I revealed.

“I figured as much. No way a double evolution was a coincidence when you guys are the ones who challenged us.” Chibi pointed out.

“Yeah, sorry for the deception. I just didn’t want you to refuse the battle or go easy on us if you knew the conditions we were working towards.” I explained.

“No worries. We had a fun battle so it’s all good.” said Cody cheerfully.

“Speak for yourself. It’s more fun to win.” Chibi said grumpily with her arms crossed.

“Don’t be like that Chibi. You know you had fun!” Cody told her nudging her playfully with his elbow until she finally smiled.

“Alright, alright! Yes, it was a great battle!” she admitted pushing his arm away. “But I demand a rematch one day! Just you and me, full six-on-six!” she challenged pointing her finger right in my face. “You too Chane!” she added shifting the finger to her next.

“M-me?” Chane stammered in bewilderment.

“I want to see what you’re really capable of. I have a feeling there’s more to you than it seems.” Chibi analyzed.

“If it’s fine with you, I’d also like to have a full six-on-six with you both too someday.” Cody also challenged.

“Deal!” I agreed to both of them.

“Excellent! Oh, and congratulations to all of you for Evolving.” Chibi said to us sincerely. With all the excitement over, the crowd dispersed back to their own business leaving just me, Chane, and our Pokémon.

“We did it Chane.” I said again.

“We… we did.” she verified with a nod. “S-so… best friend?” she questioned.

“Huh?” I asked in confusion.

“From the beginning of the battle.” reminded Chane.

“Oh yeah, right! Sorry about that. I’m so used to introducing myself and Axel in strange ways that it never occurred to me you’d get so freaked out over me doing the same to you too.” I apologized.

“No, I-I mean… you think of me as your best friend.” she further clarified.

“Well yeah, after Axel anyway.” I said straightforwardly.

I’m always number one!” the Infernape interjected.

“But as far as humans go, you’re one of the only ones I actually like to spend time with.” I continued.

“I… see…” she said distantly.

“Everything okay?” I asked her. I didn’t expect her to be this perplexed. It’s not like I asked her out or anything weird like that.

“W-well you did just say I was number two. You’re not supposed to say that to a girl.” she scolded playfully. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Come now. Surely I’m number two after your Pokémon.” I teased.

“Actually I love them and you equally. I-I mean… not love love, but…” stuttered Chane nervously.

“It’s fine. I know what you mean. I love my Pokémon too.” I laughed. “Speaking of loving our Pokémon, can I ask you why you joined Team Neos? You’re an amazing Trainer, no doubt about that, but our line of work goes completely against your nature.” I asked her seriously. Chane got an uncomfortable look on her face at the question. She took a seat on the fountain which once again had running water going through it. I followed her lead and sat next to her.

“W-well… m-my father… he’s a powerful business man in Hoenn. So powerful he has rivals that would want to see him hurt. Th-they wanted to come after me, but my brother handed himself over to them instead… and they put him in the hospital. I wanted to show them both that I didn’t need anyone’s protection, that I could take care of myself. I joined Team Neos because they seemed like they were using their strength for helping people at first. It was only after I joined that I found out what I had really gotten myself into and that there was no escape from this life…” she explained practically shaking as she recounted the turn of events that led her here. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her close.

“Even if the things we do are terrible, they’re a lesser evil to destroy the greater evil. You haven’t sold your conscience, you haven’t killed despite everything you’ve been through, and you joined for a noble reason. Unlike me you’ve remained pure and I know you’re strong enough to stay that way.” I consoled her. Lucy also patted her back reassuringly to vindicate what I said.

“Thanks. N-now it’s your turn.” she said to me while composing herself. I felt my heart sink at having to go back to that fateful day. Well, Chane told me her story so it would only be fair. Who knows? Maybe by sharing with someone besides Axel will help ease the burden off of my conscience. I took a deep breath as I prepared myself.

“I once travelled with a girl named Madison. She was an annoying weeaboo who you couldn’t help but like even when she was driving you crazy. She wouldn’t stop calling me ‘Onii-chan’ which over time caused me to think of her like a little sister.” I reminisced fondly. “Then last year we went to the Whirl Islands for vacation. While there we happened to stumble upon the Legendary Pokémon Lugia. It was magical. Then Team Rocket showed up trying to capture Lugia. Those bastards!” I started choking on my words. “Those bastards killed Madison! They burned her alive! I was mad with grief! The rage I felt then awoke my Dragon-Forme! I used the power to slaughter them! Every last one of them!” I roared as the fury once again took hold of me. I felt Chane put her hand on top of mine. I looked down to see my Dragon Claw digging into the edge of the fountain.

“It’s okay…” she consoled putting her other hand on my cheek to settle me down. Even though it was my tragedy, she was the one crying. I could only chuckle meekly as I forced myself to revert back to Human-Forme. She really was the best person to confess to.

“See? Just the thought of those events unconsciously triggered the transformation.” I said pulling her hand off of my face. “Killing the Rockets responsible for Madison’s death. It wasn’t enough. I wanted to make all of them pay for the crimes they committed against everyone. I joined Team Neos for revenge and to avenge.” I looked at my now human hands. “But now it’s over. Dragon-Forme was the physical representation of my vendetta. Now that Team Rocket is destroyed I doubt I’ll need to use it again.” I mused.

“I’m glad to hear it. You aren’t you when you use that power. I like you as you are right now Brian.” Chane told me gently. I grinned.

“Then I guess I’ll have to just not use it unless I desperately need to!” I declared. I looked up at the orange sky. The sun was slowly disappearing below the horizon. What an eventful day we had. “Well shall we head back now?” I inquired.

“Yeah. Let’s go home.” Chane agreed. I held out Lucario’s Pokéball.

“Ready to get back in Lucario or do you want to walk home with us too?” I asked him. He answered my question by walking ahead of us. “Fair enough.” I conceded putting his ball away.

I can’t wait for us to spar Lucario!” Axel cheered in anticipation. Lucario then barked something at him. “Get real! You may be taller now, but I’m still the stronger one. There’s no way you can beat me!” the monkey boasted. The Aura Pokémon looked like he realized something, said whatever it was on his mind to Axel who then froze mid-step with a look of dread on his face. “Say that again?” he demanded. Lucario repeated whatever it was. “I never promised that!” he denied.

“Axel. What did you do?” I questioned him knowing full well he was trying to get out of something.

Nothing!” he denied adamantly.

“Axel.” I said sternly.

Fine! Lucario says that I promised him I would teach him about mating when he evolved and now he wants to know!” confessed my Infernape. Then I stopped walking completely taken back by what I just heard.

“Say what now.” I questioned in confusion.

Back at the Rocket day spa, Lloyd was running his mouth about things a Pokémon Rio’s age shouldn’t be hearing and then he got curious!” explained Axel.

“Well then ‘Axel-senpai’, I think you best make good on your promise.” I teased with a laugh.

I agree, ‘Brian-sensei!’” Axel retorted.

“Don’t drag me into this mess! This is between you and Lucario!” I refused.

We’re a team! If one of us suffers, we both do!” Axel declared. Lucario then growled something. “Oh good! Lucario wants to learn from you too.” he translated gleefully. I quickly took out Lucario’s Pokéball and returned him.

“Not now! There’s a lady present!” I declined.

Wuss.” taunted Axel.

“Says you.” I shot back.

“What was that all about?” asked Chane in concern.

“Nothing!” Axel and I answered at once. “Let’s just keep walking home. Yup, just keep walking home.” I said innocently. Lucy shot me and Axel an unapproving look and shook her head. Go us! We managed to upset a Blissey! Soon Axel and I will have to figure out what to do with Lucario, but for now I’m content to watch the sunset on the way back to the penthouse and then spend the rest of the night relaxing.

So who here is actually upset that I sunk the BrianxChane ship? :p
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