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Rocoso Diaries: Talika Raven Woods: Rocoso Diaries III

by Carmen Lopez

Carmen Lopez A.k.a. The time Tristan Marshall got challenged by a...well, you'll see.

This fic has been rotting in my Dropbox since the Gen IV days. As a writing exercise, I decided to finish it to get back to what I like to do. I may write a little Recap about what kind of school Rocoso is later on, but you shouldn't need prior knowledge for this.
With one last direct hit from my Roserade's Magical Leaf, Melanie's Buizel fell to the ground in defeat. The battle was fairly easy and was wrapped up very quickly. We weren’t in the big stadium attached to our school because there was already a battle going on their between one of the seniors and a travelling trainer who had chose to drop in. As a result of most of the students watching that battle, the crowd here was pretty sparse and filled with mostly freshman. I thought that was a good thing. Melanie wasn’t the strongest trainer and a crowd probably would’ve scared her anyway.

Her face registered shock and dismay. She rushed over to her fallen Pokémon and gasped. “Oh no!” she moaned, “We still didn't beat you, Raven! Your Roserade is too powerful...”

“Don't be discouraged,” I said bracingly, “just keep practicing and one day you will get better. Still, this battle was fun and interesting!”

“Were we watching the same battle?” came a snide male voice.

Two boys and three girls from the same clique had just walked up. Chase, Callum, Lucy, Laura, and Rosephanie. Not them again! I didn’t see them during the battle so where did they even come from? I wanted to roll my eyes and groan, but I didn't want show how flustered they made me. I was known for being cool and collected after all. Granted Rosephanie wasn't that bad, but the others were really annoying. Chase was the one who had spoken. His hair and sneakers were the same electric blue.

“Yeah, right interesting,” he continued, “it was easily one of the most boring battles I've seen in a while. 'Leanne use Mega Drain! Buizel, dodge it and use Water Gun! Leanne, dodge it and use Magical Leaf!'” He said in a high-pitched voice to imitate us.You wasted five minutes of my life.”

Melanie and I immediately blushed as giggles rose up from the crowd. Even Rosephanie who was normally nice and polite smiled at the comment. I stiffened. This clique always had something to say.

“I'm not sure what you mean,” I told the. I made sure to keep a smile on my face and a pleasant tone. “We both fought our hardest and did the best we could--”

Lucy rolled her eyes. Her naturally kinky hair was straightened and it made her almost unrecognizable. “You can save the patronizing tone for someone else. You go up against the weakest trainers and think you’re the best thing ever. I pity the kids who actually think you’re good.”

A series of ooooooooh's went up from the crowd. My facade dropped and my face contorted into anger. “Excuse me? I know I’m a good trainer. I’ve won plenty of battles and I train with Leanne every day to get better! You have no basis for saying that at all. Besides, you're one to talk—I never see you battling anyone!”

“First off, I don't put myself out there as a serious battler like you do,” said Lucy as she brushed her straightened hair out of her face. “But that doesn't mean I can't judge what's good and what's bad. Second off, I do have basis to my accusation.”

“I'm listening.” I said.

“Well, anytime someone at least halfway decent asks you to battle you find some excuse not to do it,” Lucy said with relish. “People are talking, you know. You think you’re so awesome but you even suck against your battles with newbies."

I brushed my long brown hair off my shoulder. “Whatever. I don’t need input from someone like you.” I glared at Lucy while the crowd laughed over the spectacle. “Win a battle and then come back.”

“Oooh, she’s feisty,” Laura Madison said and she giggled. She was probably the most irritating of the bunch with the stupid girlish voice and the fact that she looked like a reject from a Sweet Lolita convention. Today she was wearing white knee socks with lace at the top that matched the petticoat that she had sewn under her uniform skirt. She had also added the lace to her uniform jacket. Her strawberry blonde ringlets hung passed her shoulders. I found the whole effect as nauseating as her personality.

“Well, I’ve won battles, so maybe my words have weight,” Rosephanie spoke up to my surprise. I saw her expression hardened at the insult I aimed at her friend. Hmph, she was supposed to be the nice one, but I see she was just as awful as her friends. “Lucy’s right. You really need to work on your craft a lot more.”

Okay, this was getting ridiculous. I could pull up my Battle Link records and show them I had a lot of wins and what losses I had were flukes. That’s not counting the battles against my friends from middle school and I know I was the best out of them all. “Oh please, now you’re just jealous sweetheart,” I told her. “I know exactly what I’m doing.”

“Then prove it,” said Callum, another member of the clique. Some people said he was the strong, but silent type. Most of the time I wondered if he was silent because he was too stupid to form words. “Prove it by going up again real opponents and not thirteen year olds who just started battling. I think you'll see that you're nowhere good as you think you are.”

I glared at Callum. “I will. Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you that I can hang with the best trainers.”

Everybody laughed as if I’d just said the funniest thing ever and my faced burned in anger again.

“We’re looking forward to it!” Laura said.

Chase scoffed. “Yeah, we’ll get to see you exposed in epic fashion. Oh, and one more thing,” he added as he turned to address Melanie. “I saw you practicing earlier and you actually looked decent. Don’t let her influence how you battle.”

To my disgust, Melanie actually looked pleased with the assessment and I rolled my eyes again. I steamrolled her and she looks decent? Ugh… With one last wave from Lucy, the clique turned and left the stadium. It set off a flurry of chatter among the students who were left. I couldn’t hear what they were saying specifically, but I could hear the eagerness in their voices. Melanie attempted to tell me something but my scowl made her stop in her tracks.

“I can’t believe you just stood there and let them insult me! How many times have you battled me again? You could’ve said something!”

Melanie cowered. “I-I’m sorry. I just…”

I know we weren’t exactly friends, but she could’ve been just a little loyal. We’d battled about five times before this with the exact same result. Leanne was just too powerful. I tried to hide the disgust on my face. “I’ll see you later then,” I said stiffly. Melanie’s face was red as she too left me. I took a deep breath to try to calm myself down. After the stadium was mostly empty, I finally left and began to walk down the hall to the front of the school.

If I wanted to find someone to battle, my first instinct would’ve been to go down to the old park by the middle school, but I knew that wouldn’t be good enough to shut up that clique because it was a younger crowd. I sighed. I thought about looking at the Battle Link to see who was looking for a battle when I saw a guy and a girl talking up ahead.

“Have you ever watched a Pokémon Contest?” I heard a guy ask. He was black and dressed in brightly colored jeans that coordinated perfectly with the rest of his outfit. It looked like he had a nice hair cut too. But to my surprise the black girl he was talking to was wearing a Veilstone High uniform. That was odd. I always thought the students there believed they were too good for us. Hmph.

“I haven’t,” she said. “We really don’t have those back in Johto. I’d love to see one though.”

“You’re in luck,” he said in a gentle voice. “Charisse and I will be entering one in Hearthome City this weekend if you want to come.”

“Of course I want to!” the girl said. Then she looked up and saw me staring. “Can we help you with something?”

The boy she was talking to turned around to face me. He was quite handsome with those hazel eyes. “Oh, hey. Do I know you?”

“N-no,” I said, slightly disarmed by his demeanor. “I just heard you talking about contests, and…”

“You’re interested?” he asked. “They really are a nice way to show off your Pokémon’s and your own style.”

Oh, I see where this is going. Contests were an absolute joke and only for prissy girls and pretty-boys. This guy clearly only cared about looks the way he was going on about style. I decided to keep that to myself. “No, not interested. I was just looking for someone to battle for tomorrow. I have something to prove.”

He smiled. “Sounds intense. If you’d like we could battle tomorrow. I’m sure Charisse would love the practice.”

“Are you any good?”

“I’d like to think so, yes,” he said. “My name is Marshall and this is my girlfriend Amaranth. Look me up on the Battle Link if you want.”

“I’m Raven Woods and that sounds good. Can we meet in the stadium tomorrow right after school?”

~ ~ ~

I spent the entirety of the next day on pins and needles. I could barely concentrate on any of my classes as I thought about my upcoming battle. The thought of the looks on the clique’s faces when I shut them up was a prize in and of itself. The guy I was battling had a winning percentage according to the Battle Link, but so did I. In fact, my overall percentage was higher than his. He’d uploaded several of his latest battles but I didn’t bother watching those. I was confident that Leanne could handle whatever he had just by muscling through. Her Magical Leaf was especially potent and could take out a Pokémon in one hit.

When the final bell rang, I raced out of the classroom and ran to the stadium. Just like I’d hoped, it was still mostly empty as students slowly trickled in, but Marshall was there, but he wasn’t alone. There was a guy with black hair and green eyes with an Infernape on his back. Like Marshall he was also color coordinated—purple in his case. He was wearing a paint-splattered patterned shirt, black pants, and purple sneakers. He also wore an elaborate key around his neck. Meanwhile Marshall looked like he was about to go model for someone with his blue shirt, brown vest, dark jeans, and fancy shoes. I decided then and there that Marshall probably wasn’t that great after all. I kept that to myself as well.

“You got here quickly.” Marshall said.

I was beside myself in excitement. “Yes, because I’m ready to go!”

“Nice!” said the guy with the Infernape. “It’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Mateo and this is Mimi,” he added indicating the Pokémon.

“Wait, you know me?”

“I’m familiar with just about everybody who posts enough videos on Battle Link,” he said. “We’re always on the lookout for new trainers to battle.”

I nodded politely. Something about this exchange was…off. I didn’t know who Mateo was but I didn’t like he seemed to be analyzing me. Did he think I wasn’t good enough or something? I felt my annoyance rise just like it did when I interacted with the clique. Speaking of…

“I thought you were going to chicken out!”

And they’d arrived. Of course it was Lucy’s loudmouth that had spoken.

“Why would I chicken out?” I shot back. “I already told you. I’m just as good as everyone else around here.”

“No, you’re not,” Chase said firmly. “Honestly, I wish me or Sephy had challenged you instead, but we’ll have fun letting Marshall prove you’re a freaking poser.”

“I’d never battle the two of you anyway,” I said. Chase looked unbothered, but Sephy actually looked miffed. I ignored her and turned back to Marshall.

“Shall we begin?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said. I couldn’t help but noticed that both he and Mateo looked highly amused at the exchange.

The clique went over to sit on the bench. Mateo and Mimi joined them and started cracking jokes and that’s when I realized they all knew each other. Ugh… Had I known Marshall had any connection with those losers, I never would’ve challenged him. I wanted to wipe the floor with him and be done with this mess. We took our places on opposite sides of the field.

“Let's go Charisse!” said Marshall. In a flurry of flower petals and sparkles came the most amazingly beautiful Pokémon I had ever seen. He didn't just have an ordinary Milotic, who were already plenty gorgeous already—his was shiny. I was amazed; I had never seen a shiny Pokémon up close before. But it didn't change the fact that he was only focused on looks.

“Well, if you're going to use a water type, I'm going to use my Roserade.” I detached Leanne's Luxury Ball from the end of my necklace and released her. “Now I have a type advantage. Are you sure you don't want to change Pokémon?” I asked in case he didn't know any better.

He raised an eyebrow while my audience giggled. “No, I think Charisse will be quite all right.”

“Suit yourself,” I said cheerfully.

“Well, Charisse let's start this off! Use Aqua Ring!”

“A non-offensive attack? That's an odd choice, but it won't do you any good! Use Magical Leaf, Leanne!”

My Roserade pointed her arms at Charisse and flurry of rainbow colored leaves. Leanne was much faster than Milotic, but even then I expected her to dodge and then fail. Instead, Marshall never commanded her to evade. I scored a direct hit...but nothing happened. Leanne may as well have poked her for all the good it did.

“Why didn't that work?” I said with a demanding tone. “I have the advantage here!” I turned to the crowd and saw Chase, Laura, and Lucy laughing, Callum facepalming, and Rosephanie simply looking stunned as though it was obvious what was going on.

“Yeah, wow...” Mateo said as he scratched his head. “Clearly she's never heard of hitting on the weaker defense...Or using attacks that don’t suck for that matter.” The crowd laughed.

I felt my eye twitch.

“Then we’ll just keep going!” I said after I’d regained my composure. “Use Magical Leaf again!”

But to my horror, the same thing was happening. The Magical Leaf did nothing and neither did Mega Drain nor Extrasensory. Milotic just sat there looking pretty and healing off damage. What was going on? Now the crowd was just yelling insults and boos and I knew they were all aimed at me. Marshall just looked confused at what I was doing.

Then it hit me. That’s it! I usually thought non-offensive attacks were a silly option, but his Milotic wasn’t going to enjoy this.

“Leanne, use Poison Powder!” My Roserade looked back at me in confusion; we hadn’t used that attack since she was a Budew, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Leanne pointed her bouquets at Charisse and expelled sparkling purple powder from within. Once again, I scored a direct hit—perhaps Marshall was too arrogant this time. I smiled as I watched the powder settle around Charisse.

“Welp, this battle is over,” said Mateo, “wanna get something to eat after this, Mimi?”

I turned to him in shock. “Wait, what do you mean?”

Winking, Mateo said, “Take a look.”

I looked back to Milotic and was in for the shock of my life. Instead of writhing in pain from the poison, she started to glow in a beautiful blue color. Her scales illuminated in waves from her head to her tail fin. It was most gorgeous thing I had ever seen, but I also knew that something very dangerous had just happened.

“Well, you just activated Marvel Scale,” said Marshall gently. When I continued to look blank, he chuckled and explained. “It's Milotic's ability. Whenever she's hit with a status condition such as poison or paralysis, her physical defense is boosted. Surely you’ve seen Cynthia battle before…”

I wanted to sink down to my knees now. Charisse was already shrugging off all of Leanne's attacks. And here I was thinking I had just scored a lucky break by poisoning it. In fact, I had only made it harder to defeat. I heard Chase's clique laugh in the background. Against my will, I turned to look at them. To my utter shock and humiliation Laura Madison was recording the whole thing and would no doubt upload it to the Battle Link later.

To add insult to injury, Mateo added “And from the looks of it, Aqua Ring is neutralizing the poison damage.”

“Yeah, I think we’re done here,” Marshall said as though he were getting up from a meal he’d just finished. “Charisse use Blizzard.”

A cold wind whipped around Charisse that dropped the temperature in the stadium. The Milotic opened her mouth and fired out an intense jet of ice and snow. There was nothing we could do to block that so I watched helplessly as Leanne was pummeled by the assault. In reality, the attack lasted a few seconds but it felt much longer. By the time I could form the word, STOP, the attack was over. Leanne was frozen solid and had fainted.

“Epic fail! That battle just made me feel more alive just because it didn't happen to me.”

“All that talk and it turns out she’s the biggest n00b it ever was.”

The world could’ve ended at that moment and I wouldn’t have noticed. I just stood their in shock.

“Hey,” said Marshall in the same serene voice. “Are you all right?”

I just hung my head in shame. There was losing and then there was losing. Plenty of people lost battles here, but I’d one upped them all by not having a clue what I was doing. I’d been exposed as a fraud.

“You don’t have anything to say now?”

“Shut UP!” I finally snapped. I could feel the anger and frustration take over. “I can’t believe I lost to someone like you!”

He looked quizzical and somewhat amused which only made me madder. “Someone like me?”

“Yes,” I said nearly shaking with anger. I was reckless with my words “All I saw you did was talk about about your Pokémon’s style.”

“Oh, I completely understand now,” Marshall said. Though it wasn’t a huge difference, I could hear an edge to his voice. “You challenged me because you assumed I only cared about contest battling and that I wouldn’t put up a real challenge. I’ve seen trainers like you before. You never actually do things to actually hone your craft—”

“Shut UP!” I finally snapped. “It’s not like I’m taking the gym challenge or anything. I do everything I can to get better!”

“Somehow I doubt that.” Mateo had joined us now. “We know the trainers around here who practice and get better even if they don’t take the gym challenge. I bet you never watch videos or challenge trainers stronger than yourself, do you?”

Burning with shame, I fell silent. To be honest, all that stuff was so far over my head. The subtle nuances in fighting styles, battle strategies, even the art of raising Pokémon. It was all too much for me. I liked battling and I enjoyed the prestige that came with it, but Mateo and Marshall was correct, I didn’t put in the work that others did in order to make it to the top.

“No, I’m actually too stupid to get it…” I said without thinking.

The others looked on in surprise at my statement although to my surprise, Rosephanie seemed suspicious. I sighed.

“It’s true,” I said in a hollow voice. “Every time I attempt to watch a battling video, I feel dumber for having done so because I can never do what they do.”

“But you still like battling though, right?” Marshall asked me.

“Yeah, it’s fun but…I can’t get better. You saw what happened.”

Mateo turned and looked me in the eye. “That’s a lie. If you want something bad enough, you’ll put in the work and you will get better.”

“Sure, you’ll have your own pace at learning, but you can learn. That’s the important part,” Marshall said.

“But I’ll never be the best!” I exclaimed. Mateo and Marshall laughed.

“Mateo and I will disagree here, but I think being the best is overrated,” Marshall said. “Just do your best and continue to improve and you’ll get to where you want to be.”

“You’re right we disagree,” Mateo said. “I have a passion for fighting types and I want to be the best in the world at it. I chase excellence.”

“And I just train to improve myself because there’s always someone out there better,” Marshall said. “Constantly chasing after people seems exhausting.”

Mateo shook his head. “We’ll agree to disagree then. My blood boils when I sense someone better than me and I will work hard to surpass him or her. That’s what keeps me going.”

“You two have different views but you’re still equal in strength,” Rosephanie said. “It’s really interesting.”

“Nice observation,” Marshall said. Then, he turned and looked at me. “Find a pace that makes you happy and go from there.”

“I don’t even know where to start,” I admitted. “Leanne’s attacks did absolutely nothing to your Milotic and I don’t know why.”

“Humility goes a long way,” Mateo said. “Ask for help when you need it.”

“Well, I could use a bit of help,” I said. “How do I train Leanne so that her attacks are more effective?”

“Let’s start with the basics, shall we?” Marshall said. “Pokémon are unique creatures and they all have their strengths and weaknesses beyond their type. Take advantage of the encyclopedias to gain a better understand of different species. For example, my Milotic shrugged off all your attacks because while she’s weak to grass, she’s very resistant to special attacks. You’re much better hitting her with stronger, physical moves to compensate for that.”

“And your idea to poison it was almost a good idea,” Mateo said. “You just should’ve gone with a more potent attack such as Toxic so that Aqua Ring won’t cancel out the damage. However, Milotic’s Marvel Scale should make you think twice about paralyzing or poisoning it because the defense boost is intense.”

“Tell me about it,” I mumbled.

“There’s a lot to learn, but please don’t give up,” Marshall said. “Live on the Battle Link. Watch other trainers battle. Learn about all types of Pokémon. I promise you’ll get better if you try.”

I looked into his eyes and saw he was sincere. He wasn’t even mad that I insulted him earlier. I gave a small smile.

“Okay, but I want to battle you again in the future,” I said. “I might not win but I want to do better than this!”

“Challenge accepted,” Marshall said. “Call me and I’ll make sure to stop back by Veilstone City.”

“Whooooooa. I never thought I’d see the day,” Lucy said. “You’re actually battling someone you know is good. Dang Marshall and Mateo, you guys are good.”

“That’s right. And I’m going to challenge you two as well,” I added as I looked at Chase and Rosephanie. She smiled back and he looked fired up. Looks like they’d forgiven me for that slight earlier.

“It would be an honor. Anna and I look forward to this battle as well,” Rosephanie said.

“We all are!” Laura Madison said in her girlish voice. Shoot, even she didn’t seem as annoying as usual. “And just so you know, I didn’t upload the battle to the Battle Link. It’ll be in everyone’s memory and that’s it.”

Wow…I didn’t think she had it in her. “Thank you,” I said, “but could you please send it to me. I want to use it as motivation.”

“I think you really have changed!” Chase said. “Wanna hang out with us sometimes? We always meet in quad after school.”

I was stunned. I look around at the whole group and to my surprise, no one, not even Lucy, was sneering. In fact, they looked expectantly for my answer.

“Why are you guys being nice to me now?” I asked.

“Because you seem eager to learn,” Callum said. “You actually seem pretty cool when you’re not acting like you’re better than everyone.”

The others nodded in agreement and I blushed. Maybe this clique was a little more…. brash than I was used to, but they actually seemed kind.

“Well?” Lucy said.

“Uh, yeah, sure!” I said. “I’ll come over after school tomorrow.”

“Excellent,” Mateo said. “Marshall and I will be there as well.”

I smiled for real this time. “Thanks for the invitation.”

This truly was an unexpected event. If you’d told me I would ever willingly share space with this clique, I’d have laughed at you. Turns out, the most humiliating day of my life might just be the start of something good. I made a vow to become the type of trainer that other looked up to for the right reasons. Not because I could just bulldoze them with a stronger Pokémon, but because I actually took the time to learn. Maybe I wouldn’t ever be the best, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t try, right?
Teapot and Psycho Monkey like this.
  1. Psycho Monkey
    Psycho Monkey
    Glad to see you back and with new material no less Carmen! It was quite the enjoyable read! ^^
    Feb 18, 2016