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Proving Grounds

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Morpher01, May 20, 2012.

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  1. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    (rated PG-13)

    Well...looks like the time has come.

    For future reference, this is indeed a journey fic. Some people here may recognize the title, as something similar was attempted in the past. I eventually got bored with the plotline, so I rewrote it, and now it feels MUCH more worth reading. So, without further ado, I give you, the new and improved...


    Proving Grounds


    Chapter 1: Beginnings
    Chapter 2: Departure
    Chapter 3: Rage
    Chapter 4: Viridian Forest
    Chapter 5: First Capture
    Chapter 6: Rematch
    Chapter 7: Pewter City Pokemon Contest
    Chapter 8: Blazing Terror
    Chapter 9: Cerulean Gym
    Chapter 10: The Hidden Village
    Chapter 11: Bitter Reunions
    Chapter 12: Lavender Town
    Chapter 13: Pokemon Tower
    Chapter 14: Links to the Past
    Chapter 15: Rock Tunnel
    Chapter 16: Training Day
    Chapter 17: Celadon Gym
    Chapter 18: Celadon Mansion
    Chapter 19: Safari Zone
    Chapter 20: Strike
    Chapter 21: P1 Grand Prix
    Chapter 22: Shades of Black and White
    Chapter 23: The Voices of Pokemon
    Chapter 24: Trials
    Chapter 25: Saffron City Pokemon Contest
    Chapter 26: Looking for the Past
    Chapter 27: Return to Saffron Gym




    Chapter 1: Beginnings




    Lone footsteps traversed the deserts of the Orre region. No care was given for the vast expanse of the desert, nor for how treacherous the territory could be. The owner of the footsteps simply walked on, ignoring the dusty winds that blew about his red hooded cloak, which bore golden lining fitting of royalty. The six red-and-white spheres mounted on his worn leather belt wobbled at the touch of the gusts.

    The man pulled a dirty old canteen out of his pocket, swallowing a massive gulp of the liquid within. He grimaced as he removed the canteen from his surprisingly dry lips. With a ragged sigh, the grizzled figure continued on his way.

    ****

    Elsewhere in Orre, where the winds blew more softly, a young boy of ten years stood outside the sandy brick walls of his native Phenac City, his sapphire eyes radiating a soft but noticeable coldness. His raven-colored hair was smooth and slick, stretching down to the top of his neck and drifting lower in miniscule dreadlocks, coated across the top with three streaks of green, orange and blue. His clothes were colorful for such a seemingly distant individual, consisting of an orange torso, a short blue right sleeve, a short green left sleeve, a mud-like coloration on the left pant leg, and a yellow right pant leg. All had rather rough stitching attaching each part together.

    The rest of Phenac was as jubilant as possible: children frolicking in the city’s central fountain, elderly folk gazing happily at their city’s splendor, and adolescents throwing red-and-white spheres forward and releasing majestic creatures that would do battle for them.

    Pokemon.

    The world was filled with such strange and wonderful creatures, appearing in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and forms. Humans had discovered the ability to capture Pokemon in those red-and-white spheres, dubbed “Pokeballs” due to their purpose, and battle them against one another. Although such sport seemed barbaric on the surface, a deeper look would reveal much more. Pokemon were generally befriended by the individual controlling them—widely called a “Pokemon trainer”—and with that friendship formed a bond of trust and loyalty. Battles were seen as an expression of that trust and loyalty, as well as a way of amplifying it through intense situations.

    That was what this young boy wanted. At ten years of age, a child was eligible to become a Pokemon trainer, despite a general lack of knowledge regarding the reason that was so. Once that milestone was reached, the child could receive their first Pokemon from a person who studied them, namely a Pokemon professor. Many parents looked on proudly as their child became a Pokemon trainer, knowing that their family name would be forever engraved in the history of the world.

    “POLICE! WHERE ARE THE FREAKING POLICE?!”

    The father of this child was not such an individual.

    Guess that’s my cue, the young boy thought, hoisting his burlap sack atop his shoulder and departing Phenac City. More thoughts strayed into his mind, all of them unusually bitter and resentful for someone of his age. ‘You can’t have a Pokemon,’ he said. ‘They’re inferior creatures’, he said. ‘You should focus on more important things, like my business,’ he said. Memorize this, calculate that. Manage your own business, jerkwad. I think I’d rather live life in MY shoes, not yours.

    As his father’s bellows for the police continued, the boy began his trek to the professor’s laboratory, where a Pokemon would surely be waiting for him. A distance away, however, the cloaked figure stood silently, eyeing the boy with rage.

    ****

    The HQ Lab, as it was often called, was most identified by the large Pokeball-like structure above the main entrance. As a somewhat grimy bus that pulled up alongside the lab, the eyes that peered out from within could see that the lab’s white marble walls and large glass windows only served as secondary identifiers, as did the metallic and glass sliding doors on various points on the front of the building. The boy with the burlap sack disembarked, he heaved a sigh. A four-hour trip across the region by bus was not to be recommended.

    As the boy approached the lab, the glass doors opened. A man stepped out, sporting spectacles, a white lab coat matched with a green shirt and dark tan pants, and slightly messy brown hair.

    “Hello, there,” the man said. “My name is Professor Krane. Judging by the look of you, I’d say you’re here to receive a starter Pokemon.”

    “That’d be it,” the boy replied, barely acknowledging the professor.

    “Ah, I see,” Krane said. “Forgive my lack of preparation. You see, most would-be trainers have their parents call ahead and schedule a meeting. A trainer’s journey, after all, is usually done with his or her parents’ permission.”

    “It’s all right,” the boy shrugged.

    “May I ask your name?” Krane asked.

    “Derak,” the boy said simply.

    “Derak?” Krane repeated with a slightly surprised expression. “As in Derak Kadir, son of wealthy businessman Anoch Kadir?”

    “Don’t remind me,” Derak said bitterly. “Listen, I’m kinda in a rush, so could you just give me a starter and get it done with?”

    “Oh, of course,” Krane said. “Please, follow me.”

    Krane took Derak inside, where the professor led the aspiring young trainer into a cylindrical elevator. The elevator began a slow descent into the lower levels of the HQ Lab, where much of the more technical aspects of Pokemon were kept.

    “I’m surprised you’re here at all, Derak,” Krane said as the elevator descended. “Your father’s dislike of Pokemon is quite infamous. How did you obtain his permission to start a Pokemon journey?”

    “Let’s just say ‘I didn’t’ and leave it at that,” Derak replied.

    “But that can only mean...did you run away?” Krane asked.

    “I got sick of doing business ethics, okay?” Derak sighed. “All my so-called ‘dad’ cares about is his business. I wanted to take my life in my own hands, so that’s what I’m doing. Is that a problem?”

    “I see,” Krane said, remaining civil despite Derak’s rudeness. “Not that I’m condemning you for it, considering your father’s also-infamous temper, but you seem to have chosen the path that he would despise the most.”

    “Nice of you to notice,” Derak said. “That’s kinda the idea.”

    The elevator stopped and opened up its glass doors.

    “Here we are,” Krane said. “This is where you will choose your first Pokemon, Derak.”

    “What do I have to choose from?” Derak asked.

    “I’ll show you,” Krane said.

    He led Derak to a metallic door, which split in half and separated at its master’s approach. Inside were five tables, lined horizontally, each with a sphere of a different color on it: one was green-and-white, another orange-and-white, and a third was blue-and-white. Krane stepped forward, indicating the leftmost table.

    “Because Orre has no starting Pokemon to call its own,” he began, “we use Pokemon from other regions. The table to the far left here has the three starters from the Kanto region, contained within color-coded Pokeballs: one for the Grass-type, one for the Fire-type, and one for the Water-type. The table to its right has starters from the Johto region, and so on until we reach Unova, the far right table and the most recently-discovered region. I will show you the Pokemon from each region, and you will choose one to take as your starter.”

    “Sounds good so far,” Derak said.

    Krane picked up the Grass-type Pokeball on the Kanto table.

    “This Pokemon is—” He began, but a rumbling above cut him off. “What in the world is happening up there? Derak, stay here. I need to investigate this.”

    Krane ran outside, attempting to catch the elevator up and investigate the strange occurrences above, but he found it gone.

    “That’s strange,” he remarked. “The elevator should be here.”

    The elevator soon returned, but it did so with an occupant. The hooded figure from the desert stepped out, sand spraying from the edges his cloak. One dusty black boot hit the floor after the other as the cloaked man approached Professor Krane, his waist-length reddish-brown hair spilling out from underneath the hood.

    “I recommend you get better guards for your facility,” the cloaked man said in a harsh, scratchy voice. “Although, the floor is much shinier thanks to their faces having mopped it.”

    “Who are you?” Krane demanded. “Why have you--?”

    “Sableye, rise from the ashes,” the mysterious man said, limply dropping a Pokeball from his hand.

    The Pokeball split open, and a white light burst from it. The light took a small, humanoid shape, and when the light evaporated, a strange creature was revealed. This creature possessed dark purple skin and a small torso decorated with red and blue gemstones. Indeed, this creature’s eyes themselves appeared to be large diamonds. A sharp-toothed Cheshire grin stretched across the creature’s face as it flexed its razor-sharp claws, anticipating a fight.

    “Saaay,” the creature rasped.

    “Use Shadow Ball, Sableye,” the Pokemon’s trainer ordered calmly.

    Sableye formed a sphere of pulsing dark energy between its hands, which it then threw straight toward Krane’s chest. The professor was knocked off his feet and sent sailing across the hallway, landing outside the room he left Derak in.

    “Professor, are you all--?” Derak began, but he stopped when he saw the cloaked man and his Sableye standing over Krane’s body. “Uh…dare I ask who the heck you are?”

    “Vengeance,” the cloaked man replied simply. “Sableye, Shadow Ball again!”

    Sableye again launched its attack, this time directly at Derak. The runaway trainer let out a cry of shock as he flattened himself on the ground, allowing the ball to sail over him and strike the table immediately next to the one Krane described as having Unova-born starter Pokemon. The Pokeballs on that nearby table shook, particularly the orange one.

    “What the heck is your problem?!” Derak cried.

    “I told you, I want vengeance,” the cloaked man said.

    “Vengeance for what?!” Derak cried. “What did I do, exactly?”

    “Not you,” the mysterious aggressor said. “Sableye, use Brick Break!”

    Sableye lunged forward, drawing back one small arm in preparation for a strike. Derak dove out of the way, causing Sableye’s arm to crash through the table its Shadow Ball had struck earlier. The table split in two, scattering its contents across the floor. One of the balls, specifically the orange-and-white one, began to shake violently as it rolled into a corner.

    “Use Will-o-Wisp!” the attacker commanded.

    This time, Sableye spread its arms out, creating a circle of eerily blue balls of fire. The small Pokemon grinned hungrily, fangs displayed in all their glory. It pushed its arms forward, sending its fireballs forth, but the orange-and-white Pokeball burst open, sending out a light that blocked the fireballs’ advance. Like the light from Sableye’s Pokeball, this light formed a shape, in this case small simian shape. When the light faded, it revealed an orange-skinned Pokemon with a pale yellow coloring on its hands, face, feet, and stomach. It had large eyes containing grey irises as well as a small point of hair atop its head, but by far its most noticeable feature was the burning flame on its backside.

    “Char-char!” the new Pokemon screeched. “Chimchar!”

    “Uh…what just happened?” Derak asked, looking at the small orange monkey. “And what is that?”

    “It is a Chimchar, you imbecile,” the cloaked figure spat. “It would appear that I will be having an actual battle with you, child…despite the short time it will take up. Take command of Chimchar, now that you have the chance to fight back.”

    “Uh…okay?” Derak said. “Chimchar, use…uh, what was it…Shadow Ball!”

    “Char?” Chimchar turned to Derak and looked at him inquisitively.

    “You…don’t know that move? Is that it?” Derak asked.

    “Chim-char,” the monkey nodded with an oddly listless tone in its voice.

    “Uh, okay…Brick Break!” Derak yelled.

    “Char,” Chimchar shook its head, indicating that it did not know that move, either.

    “Uh…do you know Will-o-Wisp?” Derak asked.

    “Chim-char,” Chimchar shook its head again.

    “Forget what I said earlier,” the cloaked man said with a ragged sigh. “This is going to be absolutely pathetic. Sableye, just finish this with Shadow Claw.”

    “Chimchar, don’t let him!” Derak yelled. “Use…I don’t know, something! Something that works!”

    Sableye wound back one arm again, this time forming an aura of darkness around it. Three long claws made from the shadows themselves grew from Sableye’s arm, much to the small purple Pokemon’s delight. Chimchar, however, had something to contribute in regards to the situation, and spat a storm of small flaming orbs—these of regular orange color—at Sableye. Taken off-guard at first, Sableye’s chest took several shots before the purple gremlin blocked the rest using its Shadow Claw-powered arm.

    “Fight as much as you want, boy,” the cloaked man rasped. “At this stage, Chimchar only knows two moves, and you just used up one of your only options.”

    “Guess I don’t have much choice, then, do I?” Derak said. “Chimchar, use your other move!”

    Chimchar leapt at Sableye, with speed that actually invoked surprise in the small purple gremlin. Chimchar drew back its hand and promptly raked its fingers across Sableye’s face. Although Derak celebrated the apparent success of the move, his joy soon turned to despair upon realizing that Sableye took no damage whatsoever.

    “Ember may have done a small amount of damage to Sableye,” the cloaked man admitted, “but a Normal-type attack like that Scratch will be completely useless against a Ghost-type. Finish this, Sableye.”

    “Chimchar, get out of there!” Derak yelled.

    His command came too late, however. Just as Chimchar was about to leap away, Sableye brought its Shadow Claw down upon the flaming-tailed monkey, pinning it to the ground. Chimchar screamed in agony as the Shadow Claw dug into its body, something that Sableye actually seemed to enjoy. The apparent Ghost-type Pokemon grinned darkly as it twisted its claws around, prompting more shrieks of pain from Chimchar.

    “Hey, stop it! You won already!” Derak cried, but his protests fell on deaf ears as Sableye continued to torture Chimchar, the cloaked man doing absolutely nothing about it. “I SAID STOP IT!”

    Derak charged forward, which caused even the cloaked man to raise an eyebrow. Derak then took hold of Chimchar and yanked the monkey out of Sableye’s grasp, clutching it protectively as he retreated. Sableye’s smile then flipped upside-down, and the vicious little Pokemon drew back another Shadow Claw.

    “Sableye, enough!” the cloaked man barked, and Sableye turned to its master, lowering its head in shame. “Return.”

    The man pointed a Pokeball at Sableye, and a red beam shot from the silver button in the ball’s center. The beam absorbed Sableye upon making contact with it, pulling back into the Pokeball and taking the aggressive little Pokemon with it.

    “So, that’s how it works?” Derak asked. “You just say ‘return’?”

    “Evidently,” the cloaked man replied sharply.

    “O…kay, then,” Derak said. “So, Chimchar, where did your Pokeball go?”

    Derak looked around for the small sphere until Chimchar wordlessly pointed at the corner. Derak saw the Pokeball there and picked it up. Before he could recall the monkey, however, a firm hand grasped his head, fingers digging into the boy’s skull.

    “Hey, what—” Derak began to object, but the cloaked man kneed the boy in the stomach, knocking the air out of Derak’s lungs.

    “Quiet,” the man barked. He lowered his hood, revealing an aged face with strangely golden eyes. “I need to check something.”

    The man looked into Derak’s eyes and saw something in them, something along the lines of resentment and coldness…but also the sort of kindness that prompted the boy to save Chimchar in the first place. Derak looked into his foe’s eyes, as well. He saw bitterness, hatred, and rage…but also some unknown sort of sadness. Chimchar blinked, unable to comprehend what was going on. A groaning behind the cloaked man signaled the rise of Professor Krane.

    “Ow…that was some Shadow Ball,” Krane moaned, rubbing his head. The cloaked man let go of Derak’s head, dropping the boy to the floor as he pulled his hood back up.

    “Professor Krane, was it?” the man asked in his scathing voice. “Is this boy starting a Pokemon journey?”

    “Y-yes, he is,” Krane replied. “We were about to go over the available Pokemon when you barged in and—”

    “Give him Chimchar,” the cloaked man ordered.

    “Wuh-what?” Krane stuttered. “Why Chimchar?”

    “It obviously wants to battle for him,” the cloaked man said in a dismissive tone. “Is that a problem?”

    “Well, no, but—” Krane began.

    “Then do as I say,” the cloaked man barked. “I assume you want to be rid of me. My business here is concluded, so I have no further reason to remain.”

    The cloaked man roughly brushed past Krane and took the elevator out. After a moment of staring after his attacker, Krane looked to Derak. The latter already knew what the former wanted to ask.

    “Chimchar kinda jumped out of his Pokeball to fight the guy’s Sableye,” Derak explained, holding the small starter in his arms. “Even though he lost, it doesn’t matter to me. I like Pokemon the way they are, strong or not.”

    The Chimchar looked up at Derak with a bewildered gaze.

    “Well…I’m not sure how to tell you this, Derak,” Krane said, “but Chimchar is…different…from the other starters.”

    “Seems just fine to me,” Derak said, looking down at the monkey.

    “Physically, yes,” Krane said. “But the problem is not in that nature. The starters hear many things about Pokemon trainers during their daily exercises. Chimchar heard that many trainers treat their Pokemon as fighting machines, and assumed it was true. Because of that viewpoint, it refused to socialize with the other Pokemon, and focuses solely on fighting. It truly believes that it is a fighting machine.”

    “Seriously?” Derak blinked. “Chimchar, you’re not a fighting machine. You’re a living being, so you have the right to act like one, right?”

    “Char?” Chimchar chirped, staring at Derak with the utmost confusion on its face.

    “Okay, I’ve been at this training thing for only a few minutes and I’m already sick of calling you ‘Chimchar’ over and over,” Derak said. “How about I give you a name?”

    “I think that’s an excellent idea,” Krane nodded with a smile. “Perhaps that is the first step to reopening Chimchar’s mind and heart.”

    Derak ignored Krane’s words as he gently set Chimchar on the floor and knelt down to its level.

    “Let’s see…Blaze? No, that’s lame…Burner? No, that still sucks,” Derak muttered. “Wait, I’ve got it! How about ‘Wildfire’? What do you think?”

    Chimchar only stared blankly at Derak.

    “I think it fits quite well,” Krane said. “Now, would you like me to show you how to recall a Pokemon?”

    “Saw the Sableye creep do it,” Derak said. “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

    He stood up and pointed the orange-and-white Pokeball at the newly-named Wildfire.

    “Wildfire, return,” Derak said, and the Chimchar was absorbed into its Pokeball.

    “Well done,” Krane said. “For someone so in the dark about Pokemon for so long, you seem to be quite a quick learner.”

    “I guess,” Derak shrugged. “Not something I’m proud of, really.”

    “Here,” Krane said, pulling a small orange device out of his pocket and handing it to Derak. “This is your Pokedex, the novel tool for any Pokemon trainer. It has an expansive database cataloging every Pokemon currently discovered.”

    “This little thing?” Derak asked skeptically, noting that the Pokedex more resembled a portable video gaming console than a Pokemon encyclopedia.

    “Indeed,” Krane nodded. “If I may, Derak, do you know what region you will be traveling to first?”

    “Doesn’t really matter,” Derak shrugged. “Probably Kanto, I suppose.”

    “A good idea,” Krane nodded. “As Orre lacks a true Pokemon League of its own, Kanto—where Pokemon were first discovered—is the best choice for beginning trainers. A ship will be leaving Gateon Port for Kanto in a few hours. Let us go and get your trainer card made, and you will be able to begin your journey.”

    Derak smirked, looking down at his new orange Pokeball.

    “Can’t wait to go,” the ten-year-old said happily.

    ****

    Outside, the cloaked man’s own journey was continuing as he departed the lab. He looked back for a moment, staring at the lab. The blood of his enemy was there, he could smell it. But perhaps…perhaps, if he went to Gateon Port, he could wait for his enemy to come to him.

    Yes…that would suffice.

    ****

    So...thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  2. Sid87

    Sid87 I love shiny pokemon

    I hope this doesn't interfere with Struggle for Power. :p
     
  3. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    I've already written up the vast majority of SfP, so don't worry, it won't. XD
     
  4. TheEliteEmpoleon

    TheEliteEmpoleon Surge Surfer

    Cool! I like how already this has a dark felling to it, which is a nice change. I've been wanting to read and keep up with a good story that is just starting out, and I guess I found one.
     
  5. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    TheEliteEmpoleon: So you did. Glad you like it so far!


    Anyway, we now continue on with our story by means of the second chapter.




    Chapter 2: Departure



    An hour later, Derak stepped into Gateon Port, feeling like a new person. On his belt was one orange Pokeball, containing his starting Pokemon. In one pocket was an identifying card with his image on it. In the other pocket was a Pokedex, the portable guide to the Pokemon of the world. He could not remove the wide smile from his face.

    He was finally a Pokemon trainer.

    But then his smile faded as more serious thoughts entered his mind. His father would most likely be looking for him, given the sudden absence of his son. The authorities would also be hunting, particularly if Mr. Kadir offered them money as incentive. Derak would have to keep a low profile, at least until he left Orre. But there was one last thing he had to do before he left.

    Derak approached the railing, looking out at the sea. He clicked open his Pokeball, allowing Wildfire to appear in a burst of light. The Chimchar immediately adopted an aggressive posture, expecting a fight.

    “Slow down, Wildfire,” Derak said. “We’re not in a battle.”

    “Ch-char?” Wildfire sputtered, looking up at its trainer with wide eyes. Why would it be outside of its Pokeball at all if it were not in a battle? Its confusion furthered when Derak gently lifted the Pokemon and held it in his arms.

    “Just look at that ocean,” he said. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

    Wildfire felt its eyes glistening, as if the sea itself was touching them. Something tugged at the corners of its mouth, but the Chimchar quickly shook its head, relieving itself of the sensation.

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire said flatly, trying its best to maintain its emotionless façade.

    “Getting through to you might be harder than I thought,” Derak said. “Okay, let’s try something else: honesty.”

    “Char?” Wildfire squeaked curiously.

    “I like honesty,” Derak continued with a smile. “I like to hit people on the head with their flaws. Something about it just…I don’t know, it just makes me feel good. But…there are some times where blunt honesty gets a little awkward. This is probably one of those times.”

    He sighed, the smile vanishing from his face.

    “Wildfire, I have a confession to make,” he said. “Even though I know almost nothing about Pokemon, I did have a specific starter in mind when I went to the HQ Lab. And…just for the record…it, uh…wasn’t really you.”

    “Char,” Wildfire droned, still blankly staring out at the sea.

    “Wait, what?” Derak sputtered. “You don’t care in the least that I didn’t plan on choosing you, even though you…I guess, chose me?”

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire muttered.

    “Oh, boy…I REALLY need to do some work with you,” Derak shook his head.

    A raspy (and somewhat exaggerated) cough drew Derak’s attention to the same cloaked figure who attacked him in the HQ Lab. The man was also leaning on the railing, which he pushed himself off of upon Derak’s noticing him.

    “Not you again,” Derak groaned. Wildfire growled at the man, ready for a rematch despite the sound thrashing it received at the hands of his Sableye. “What exactly is it that you want from me?”

    “I may have been a bit…hasty…at first,” the man said. “I want to know one thing.”

    “What’s that?” Derak asked.

    “How far back does your family tree go?” the man asked.

    “No idea,” Derak shrugged. “Why?”

    “That is none of your concern,” the man spat.

    “Oh, that’s nice,” Derak said with a raised eyebrow, voice dripping with sarcasm. “I really feel like answering every last question you have, now that you’ve cleared that up for me.”

    The man’s hand suddenly latched onto Derak’s shirt, pulling the boy up with one hand. He brought Derak up to eye level, somehow managing to hold the boy a foot off of the ground with little—if any—difficulty.

    “I lack the time for your charming witticisms, boy,” the man snarled, fighting sarcasm with sarcasm. “I have no way of knowing for certain whether or not you tell the truth, so I—”

    “THERE YOU ARE!” a voice roared, much to Derak’s dismay. “You’ve caused me a lot of trouble today, you ungrateful brat!”

    A dark-haired man in a grey business suit stormed into Gateon Port, livid with rage. Derak silently cursed his luck at the sight of this man. The cloaked man let go of Derak’s shirt, roughly dropping the boy to the ground, as he stared at the newcomer

    “Is this man your father?” the cloaked figure asked Derak.

    “Yep,” Derak sighed, dusting himself off as he rose.

    “My condolences,” said the figure with a vague hint of sincerity.

    “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care!” Derak’s father boomed, pointing an accusing finger at the cloaked man. “You are going to hand my disobedient son over to me!”

    The cloaked man replied by silently opening a Pokeball. The Pokemon of choice was not Sableye, however. Instead, it was an orange-skinned turtle with a black shell on its back and grayish rings around all of its ankles as well as its long neck. The shell had a small hole on the top, as well as a circle of crimson hexagons around it. The Pokemon’s eyes appeared to be completely closed, which evidently served a good purpose given the black smoke the Pokemon shot out of its nostrils.

    “Torr-koooaall!” the Pokemon yelled, its nostrils making a sound similar to a locomotive horn.

    “Whoa, what’s that?” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex and pointing it at the Pokemon. The Pokedex opened up, revealing an image of the Pokemon on the screen, and began to speak.

    “Torkoal,” the Pokedex said in a mechanical, feminine voice, “the Coal Pokemon. Type is Fire. Torkoal burns coal inside its body for energy. It blows out black soot if it is endangered.”

    “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?!” Derak’s father roared upon seeing his son’s Pokedex, his eyes widening further upon seeing Wildfire in his arms. “AND WHAT IS THAT THING DOING IN YOUR ARMS?! Throw them away right now, or so help me, I’ll—”

    “I have had more than enough of you,” the cloaked man snarled. “Torkoal, use Smokescreen!”

    “Koooaaall!” Torkoal yelled, this time spraying thick black smoke out of its mouth rather than its nostrils. The smoke billowed up into a massive cough-inducing cloud, and by the time it vanished, Derak and the cloaked man were nowhere to be seen.

    “Blasted fool!” Derak’s father cried, stamping his foot. “Why can’t he understand that this is for his own good?!”

    ****

    Derak and the cloaked man now stood aboard one of the ships docked in Gateon Port, Torkoal stored back in its Pokeball. Derak coughed out the last bits of inhaled Smokescreen as the cloaked man looked around. Trainers of various ages and experiences gathered aboard this ship, all presumably headed for the Kanto League.

    “Okay, now I’m REALLY confused,” Derak choked, still coughing out smoke alongside a shoulder-mounted Wildfire. “First you attack me, then you help me? Not that I’m not ungrateful or anything, but—”

    “I know,” the old man interrupted. “Your name is Derak Kadir, correct?”

    “Yeah, why?” Derak said.

    “Look up your family tree,” the cloaked man ordered. “There should be a computer or two here aboard this ship.”

    “And…why am I doing this, exactly?” Derak asked.

    “I need my question to be answered,” the man said.

    “I repeat…why?” Derak sighed. The cloaked man did so as well.

    “Someone I suspect to be in your family line caused me a lot of trouble,” the man reluctantly said.

    “And how do you know he’s in my family?” Derak asked.

    “I saw it in your eyes,” the old man said. “Regardless of appearance, they look the same as the ones I looked into many years ago. You, like your relative, possess a single ambition. You wish to simply be a Pokemon trainer…your relative wanted to conquer his home region, and then the world.”

    “…we are DEFINITELY not talking about my dad here,” Derak remarked.

    “As much as I can see him causing problems for many people,” the cloaked man sighed, “your father is not my enemy.”

    “And somehow I am?” Derak asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “I admit, I jumped to conclusions,” the cloaked man said, waving Derak’s objection aside. “Now, if you are finished with your whining, then go and ask for use of a computer and the internet.”

    “Uh-huh,” Derak said as the man began to walk away. “And where exactly will I find you if I want to tell you the results?”

    “On the upper levels,” the cloaked man said flatly as he left. Derak now stood with only Wildfire to keep him company. He looked to the small monkey.

    “What in the world have we gotten ourselves into?” he asked.

    Wildfire blinked, but did not answer. This was all far over the young Pokemon’s head.

    ****

    The ship began to depart the port, sounding a loud horn as it advanced forward. Many adults waved to the ship, wishing their children well on their respective Pokemon journeys. Younger siblings jumped up and down, begging their elders to write them letters or call their houses. Even the occasional Pokemon said farewell in its own fashion, some breathing fire and others sparkling with electricity.

    All the excitement blinded the people to a dark, shapeless mass that bounded out of the forest, ricocheted off several buildings, and latched onto the very rear of the ship’s hull. Nobody who noticed the mass remain there said anything about it: they assumed that it was simply rust that no one ever got around to cleaning, or perhaps an aftereffect from a past Pokemon battle. Either way, no one noticed the mass slowly inch up the hull of the ship, getting closer and closer to the top level.

    ****

    Needing knowledge of where to find a computer, Derak approached a female receptionist. The blonde-haired woman smiled and gave Derak a friendly bow.

    “Hello, and welcome to the S.S. Wailord,” the receptionist said. “How can I help you?”

    “Hey, is there a place where I can find a computer with internet access?” Derak asked.

    The woman blinked for a moment, her smile fading.

    “We don’t have internet access on this ship,” she said. “We’re out of range of any sort of connection.”

    Derak made a mental note to himself stating that the cloaked man was a complete idiot for not only failing to prepare Derak adequately, but for making the young trainer feel like an idiot himself.

    “Although, I think I can make you feel a little better, sir,” the woman said, as if reading Derak’s mind. “Is that Chimchar yours?”

    “Uh, yeah, that’s kinda why he’s sitting on my shoulder,” Derak said somewhat rudely.

    “I see,” the woman said, regaining her smile and apparently ignoring Derak’s attitude. “Well, if you’re just starting out your journey—for which I congratulate you—then you may want to participate in the mini-tournament we’re holding.”

    “Any reason I should?” Derak asked.

    “The staff of the S.S. Wailord likes to make new trainers as comfortable with their chosen starter Pokemon as possible before they plunge into the unknown,” the woman explained. “Battling with that Pokemon is the best way to do that, and as such, a miniature tournament is held every voyage in order to strengthen the bond between you and your Pokemon.”

    “Huh,” Derak grunted, looking at Wildfire. “What do you think, Wildfire?”

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire said blankly without even looking at Derak. To the small fire monkey, the only opinion that mattered was that of its trainer.

    “I’ll take that as a yes,” Derak said. “Where do I sign up?”

    “Right here,” the woman said. “Once you’re done, just head up to the top level. I have several other new trainers registered already, but the mini-tournament doesn’t start for another twenty minutes, so don’t worry about being late.”

    She handed Derak a sheet of paperwork, which asked for his name, the Pokemon he would be using (along with whatever nickname he gave it), and his hometown. He began to write down various things, although Wildfire noticed that he was not exactly filling out the form exactly as instructed.

    “Okay, here,” he said, handing the form back to the receptionist. “I’ll be on the top level.”

    “All right, good luck!” the receptionist said. As Derak left, she looked over his paperwork, furrowing her brow. As she was to provide color commentary during the mini-tournament, the way Derak filled out his form may have made her job somewhat awkward.

    ****

    Derak trudged up the stairs, heading for the top level. The ascension felt like it lasted an eternity, but once he reached the top, he closed his eyes and let out a sigh of relief. He made it. He was safe.

    That was, until he saw a large red shape hurtling towards him.

    With a yelp, Derak flattened himself against the ground, allowing whatever the object was to sail over him and tumble down the stairs.

    “Crawdaunt, no!” a white-garbed sailor yelled, vaulting over Derak as he chased after his Pokemon.

    Derak looked up and saw the cloaked man and his Torkoal standing before a crowd of astonished spectators, all gathered about a large arena. With a sigh, Derak got up and approached his cloaked acquaintance, who was taking a large swig from his canteen.

    “I see you’ve been busy,” Derak said.

    “In a sense,” the cloaked man sighed, placing his canteen back on his belt. “What did you find out?”

    “That you’re an idiot,” Derak said bluntly. Upon receiving a baleful glare from the older man, Derak continued. “The receptionist told me that there isn’t any internet connection way out here. It was kinda something that people would be able to figure out without having to ask someone.”

    “I should have known that my unfamiliarity with technology would come back to haunt me,” the man sighed. “No matter, we will inevitably find a computer once we reach land.”

    “What makes you say that?” Derak asked.

    “I have been told that we will be arriving in Pallet Town, a small settlement in the Kanto region,” the man replied. “I know for a fact that a Pokemon Professor lives there, and undoubtedly has access to the internet.”

    “Makes sense,” Derak shrugged. “Me, I need to get ready.”

    “For what?” the old man asked.

    “Some mini-tournament I signed up for,” Derak replied. “I want to bond with my little friend here, and I’m told battling is the best way.”

    “You’re entering the mini-tournament?” said a female’s voice. A blonde-haired girl dressed in a camouflage-patterned military outfit approached Derak. She looked about his age, and had a green Pokeball on her belt. She straightened a lighter green headband on her forehead as she came closer.

    “Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

    “Just want to ask you something,” she said. “Do you really believe all that junk about how bonding with your Pokemon makes them strong?”

    Derak stared for a moment. Junk? The idea of being friends with your Pokemon was considered “junk” by this girl?

    “…yeah,” he said slowly. “So what?”

    “Yep, you’re going to lose,” the girl smirked confidently. “I’ve been drilling with my Pokemon since the moment I got it, and trust me, I have better chances of winning than someone like you.”

    “You mean someone with a brain?” Derak asked, looking at a light fixture he found infinitely more interesting.

    “What’s that supposed to mean?!” the girl suddenly exploded.

    “Probably what you think it means,” Derak responded casually, evidently being used to people yelling at him.

    Meanwhile, the cloaked man had gone to the side of the ship while Derak and the blonde girl were engaged in their somewhat one-sided argument. He looked over the side of the ship and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the dark mass that had latched onto the back. What he did not see, given the angle at which he was looking, was that it was slowly working its way up the ship’s white hull. The man narrowed his eyes, puzzling over what this mass could be.

    “How can you call me an idiot?” the girl continued, still seething while Derak stood calmly. “You probably don’t know the first thing about that Chimchar on your shoulder!”

    Without even looking at the girl, Derak wordlessly took out his Pokedex and pointed it Wildfire.

    “Chimchar,” the Pokedex said, “the Chimp Pokemon. Type is Fire. Chimchar is a highly agile Pokemon. When it goes to sleep, the fire on its tail goes out in order to prevent fires.”

    “Problem solved,” Derak said simply.

    “We’ll settle this when we battle,” the girl growled before storming away.

    “You are going to battle?” the cloaked man said skeptically. “This is something I have to see.”

    “It’ll be different than when I was battling you,” Derak said, “considering that I only just got my Pokemon and you’ve had that Sableye for who knows how long.”

    “True enough,” the man nodded. “I await the results of your battle.”

    “Attention, beginning trainers of Orre!” the receptionist from earlier cried. “It’s time for the S.S. Wailord mini-tournament! And now, for the first match! Hailing from none other than Pyrite Town, may we please have Melissa Armare come to the field!”

    The blonde girl with whom Derak had been “arguing” approached the field where the cloaked man had previously been battling at with his Torkoal. She crossed her arms and waited impatiently for her opponent.

    “And, now, for her opponent,” the receptionist continued. “Hailing from…uh, well, he put down ‘somewhere in Orre’ for his hometown, and he didn’t write his last name…will a ‘Derak’ please come to the field?”

    Recognizing his handiwork, Derak strolled over to his end of the field and was met with a disapproving glare from Melissa.

    “No regard for authority, huh?” Melissa sneered.

    “I’ve got more important things to do than suck up to people,” Derak said as he shrugged one shoulder, “especially brainless ones like you.”

    “Ooh, sounds like we’ve already got rivals on our hands!” the receptionist remarked as Melissa balled her hands into angrily-shaking fists. “If the trainers are ready, then send out your Pokemon!”

    “Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa yelled, throwing her green Pokeball.

    Her Pokemon of choice was another turtle, albeit much smaller than the cloaked man’s Torkoal. Its body was primarily a pale green, with yellow ends on each of its stubby feet. Its rather large head had a pale green upper half, which had a small sprout protruding from the top, and a yellow bottom half that matched the Pokemon’s big yellow eyes. With the exception of its head, everything on this turtle’s body was, fittingly enough, covered by a brown shell.

    “Turtwig,” Derak’s Pokedex stated, “the Tiny Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. Turtwig’s shell is made from soil, and on a very healthy Turtwig, the shell should feel moist.”

    “Guess you’re up, little guy,” Derak said, and Wildfire leapt off of his shoulder and into battle.

    “We have Melissa’s Turtwig up against Derak’s Chimchar, nicknamed ‘Wildfire’!” the receptionist commented. “Two starting Pokemon from the Sinnoh region are going at it, folks! Who do you think will win?”

    “Probably me,” Melissa snorted. “You actually NAMED your Pokemon? And you call me an idiot. Pokemon aren’t your pets, genius!”

    “He’s not my pet, GENIUS,” Derak said mockingly. “Wildfire’s my friend, which is probably a word that someone like you would have to look up in a dictionary every time you hear it.”

    “Char?” Wildfire uttered, staring at Derak as if he had just said that the world was ending in the next five minutes.

    “I’ll show you what that kind of thinking gets you!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, use Tackle!”

    Turtwig lowered its bulbous head and charged forward, barreling towards Wildfire. Just as the small turtle was about to ram Wildfire, however, Derak’s Pokemon somersaulted over Turtwig and leapt off of its shell.

    “Nice dodge!” Derak cried. “Now, shoot Turtwig with an Ember!”

    “Turtwig, counter with Razor Leaf!” Melissa cried.

    Wildfire planted its feet on the ground and spat a series of small fireballs at Turtwig. At the same time, however, Turtwig swung its head around, launching a group of boomerang-like leaves that soared through the air like a ninja’s throwing stars. The two attacks collided and disabled one another, Wildfire’s Ember having turned Turtwig’s Razor Leaf into little more than tiny piles of ashes.

    “Here’s what you can do when you actually TRAIN your Pokemon!” Melissa snapped. “Turtwig, use Bite!”

    The fact that Turtwig possessed a third move caught Derak off-guard. The Tiny Leaf Pokemon charged forth once more, but this time Turtwig opened its wide jaws and clamped them onto Wildfire’s head. The Fire-type stumbled onto its back, unable to support Turtwig’s weight as well as its own.

    “Now, throw it!” Melissa yelled.

    Turtwig obliged, lobbing Wildfire straight up into the air. The Chimchar screamed the entire distance, flailing around in a desperate attempt to reorient itself.

    “Wildfire, use Scratch!” Derak cried.

    Thanks to its trainer’s words, Wildfire was able to position itself in such a way that, when it fell, it was able to use the momentum from its descent to deliver a fierce scratch to the side of Turtwig’s head. The cloaked man watched the battle unfold, witnessing Turtwig attempt another Bite attack that Wildfire managed to dodge before countering with an Ember.

    “Interesting,” the cloaked man muttered. “Perhaps I judged the boy too quickly. Now that he is on a more equal footing, his true strength shines…unusual in someone so inexperienced. Perhaps his veins carry the only good part of my enemy’s blood.”

    As he spoke, however, he glanced down at the dark mass, which crept ever closer to the uppermost deck. Meanwhile, Derak and Melissa’s Pokemon stared each other down, each waiting for an order to strike.

    “Wildfire, Ember!” Derak cried.

    “Turtwig, show them how strong I made you!” Melissa cried. “Dodge and use Tackle!”

    Wildfire spat forth the stream of fireballs once more, but this time Turtwig bounded to the side and barreled towards Wildfire, slamming head-first into the monkey Pokemon’s stomach and carrying it along as Turtwig continued its charge.

    “Wildfire, throw it!” Derak yelled.

    Wildfire grabbed onto Turtwig’s head and threw the Grass-type aside, Turtwig skidding across the floor. Turtwig soon rose, glaring at Wildfire but clearly on its last legs.

    “Now, finish this with one more Ember!” Derak cried.

    Wildfire released another Ember, and this time Turtwig lacked the energy to dodge. The Grass-type was pummeled relentlessly by the Fire-type attack, leaving burns across its body. Once the Ember ceased, Turtwig collapsed upon the ground, having completely fainted.

    “Turtwig is unable to battle!” the receptionist announced. “Which means that the winner is Derak!”

    Derak blinked as reality set in, and then a smile spread across his face. He had just won his first Pokemon battle. Wildfire breathed a sigh of relief, believing itself to have proven its worth to its new trainer.

    “Hmph,” Melissa grunted as she recalled her Turtwig, “you only won because you had a type advantage.”

    “Says the girl who has no idea what Pokemon training is actually about,” Derak snorted.

    Melissa snarled and stomped off. Derak’s victory was met with a round of applause from most of the other trainers. Derak noticed that the cloaked man was one of those trainers, lightly pounding his palms together in a repeated fashion.

    “What an impressive way to start off this mini-tournament!” the receptionist cried. “Up next, we have—”

    No one ever got to see the next trainers battle, however. The dark mass that had latched on the ship gained a sudden burst of speed as it rocketed over the cloaked man, landing in the battlefield like a meteor striking the earth. Once this impact was established, the dark mass faded, revealing a Pokemon underneath.

    The Pokemon had a dominantly purple body, sprouting four brown paws and a brown head to match. A small purple tail grew from this Pokemon’s backside, but the most noticeable feature was on this Pokemon’s face. The facial features were tan, and had a large mustache that extended into two long protrusions that rested on either side of the Pokemon. A strange darkness was in this Pokemon’s eyes as it gnashed its teeth at the present trainers, drooling hungrily.

    “Whoa, what the heck?” Derak sputtered as the Pokemon snarled at him.

    “Stoutland,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Big-Hearted Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Herdier. Stoutland is an extremely wise Pokemon that rescues people stranded in the mountains, where its shaggy fur protects it from the cold.”

    “Doesn’t look so big-hearted to me,” Derak muttered as the Pokemon viciously glared at all humans present.

    “Oh, my!” the receptionist cried. “How did this Stoutland get on the ship? If this Stoutland is yours, please return it to its Pokeball!”

    The cloaked man, meanwhile, had gone pale upon seeing Stoutland. His hands began to shake, his eyes widened, his jaw hung loosely. A flood of memories rushed into his mind, none of them ones he felt like reliving.

    “It…it can’t be,” the man mumbled nervously.

    “Koal?” Torkoal said, pointing its seemingly blind eyes in its trainer’s direction. This was the first time it had ever seen him act in such a manner, and it was greatly worrying. What was even more worrying, however, was the intruding creature that was threatening the passengers.

    With one final glare, Stoutland opened its mouth wide. A ball of purple energy began to form, gathering particles of dark power from the air around it. Stoutland lurched its head downward, and the ball became destruction incarnate.

    The ball of darkness transformed into a colossal beam of destruction, tearing through each level of the ship like a bullet through glass. Everything caught in the blast, be it living or otherwise, was incinerated or torn to shreds in a matter of seconds. Once the beam had ruptured the ship, it dug into the ocean floor, stirring up a torrent of dirt that scattered whatever wild water Pokemon were not killed by the ensuing blast.

    With a gaping hole in the ship, Stoutland let out a bone-chilling howl of victory, energy gathering around it and transforming it into a shapeless dark mass once more. The dark mass catapulted itself through a group of trainers and into the ocean, where most aboard the ship hoped that it would remain for the rest of its days. All the while, the cloaked man stared blankly at where Stoutland went, lost in a sea of memories.

    Meanwhile, the ship began to groan and tilt as water flooded inside the lower levels. Every minute that the ship remained, more water overtook a level. A man in a blue suit and a white cap, evidently the captain, took command.

    “Everyone, return your Pokemon and gather around!” the captain cried. “This ship was named the S.S. Wailord for a reason!”

    Derak recalled Wildfire as the cloaked man, finally coming back to reality, returned his Torkoal. The captain threw down a Pokeball, and everyone hoped for the best.

    ****

    The ship slowly sank into oblivion, the ocean claiming it as its prize. Even so, there were many who had survived Stoutland’s beam of death and lived to tell about it. The crew, passengers, and various Pokemon all sat aboard a large blue whale-like Pokemon with a white underbelly and beady eyes.

    “Full speed ahead, Wailord,” the former ship’s captain commanded. “We’re almost to Kanto.”

    “Waaaaeeee,” Wailord groaned, revealing enormous flat teeth.

    Derak, having little else to do with his time, pulled out his Pokedex and analyzed the Pokemon he was riding.

    “Wailord,” the Pokedex said, “the Float Whale Pokemon. Type is Water. Evolved form of Wailmer. Wailord is said to be the biggest of all Pokemon, and can dive to a depth of almost ten thousand feet with only one breath.”

    Wailord’s Pokedex entry only answered minor queries, however. In the end, Derak had one question that no one could truly answer:

    “What in the world just happened?”

    ****
     
  6. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Okay, I'm sorry I've taken so long to get to this. I'm going to review Chapter 1 in this post, and get to Chapter 2 as quickly as possible.

    I really like this introduction. It clearly contains important elements, but is mysterious in tone also; this combination drew me in almost immediately. It helps that I like the setting.


    I wonder if this information couldn't be delivered in a less rigid fashion. It kind of feels like listing here, which certainly isn't horrible. I can just see better possibilities for it.

    Okay, this is an utterly brilliant way to incorporate the World of Pokemon thing from the movies. It fits in seamlessly with the rest of the story here, and is easily visualized to boot. Excellent work on this.

    And this is a bit of an unusual setup for a journeyfic. I like that you're playing with the tropes associated with beginning-of-the-quest settings like this. Usually, the beginning of the quest is a lot more positive than this.

    It strikes me that Krane doesn't seem terribly concerned about his safety, greeting visitors in person outside the lab like this. I would have thought that he would have learned after being kidnapped once.

    The last few sentences of this part reflect why I don't think identifying Anoch as a "wealthy businessman" explicitly is necessary. A reader would still know he's a businessman from Derak's last sentence, while Krane's knowledge of him would allow one to infer that he is well known.

    I notice Krane didn't take the bait that last time. He's certainly keeping an even head.

    Obviously, this is up to artistic liberty, but that aside, I think I disagree with this part. The Johto starters appear to be the ones most associated by far with Orre - Verde, Rosso and Bluno have Bayleef, Quilava and Croconaw in Colosseum, while Battlus will give you one of the Johto starter trio if you can make it up Mt. Battle from start to finish without leaving or changing your team. Those facts make me think that if Orre had starter Pokemon, they'd probably be Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile.

    But again, personal preference.

    Again, he's already had his lab attacked and been kidnapped once. I would think he would react more than this having seen a similar crisis before.

    You really are pretty good at having characters drop witty one-liners straight out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's playbook, you know that? XD;

    Great description of Sableye, and 'rapsed' is a good word to use to describe its voice.

    You know, it makes total sense that there are Wild West-esque badasses calling themselves 'Vengeance' running around in Orre, if you think about it.

    Clearly he was wronged by Derak's father, though exactly how is a question with countless possible answers.

    Two things strike me here. One, Vengeance (as I'll call him for now) seems to have a sense of honor to a degree by allowing Derak the chance to fight back, and two, this is an analogue to the rival battle after choosing your starter in the games. You're doing really well at delivering these themes from the games in subtle ways adapted to suit your story.

    This exchange is amazingly realistic, when you consider that Derak and Chimchar have been thrown together with no warning. It's understandable that they would have no synch with each other.

    Your battle scenes really flow well and show off an impressive degree of realism, I think.

    This is a good character-establishing moment for Derak, showing him having the decency to try and extract his Pokemon from a dangerous situation whatever the cost. That's something important to establish early.

    I don't think this is going to be the last we see of Sableye, either.

    The question raised here in my mind is, does this guy have some sort of power? The color of his eyes seems to be important, and often when a character has unusually-colored eyes they have some sort of power that their eyes reflect. In this case, he seems to be able to share consciousness with his target to some degree.

    My mind is working to piece together theories, which is good. I'm thinking right now that Vengeance wants to see Derak disobey his father's wishes for his own ends.

    I'm not sure what to think here. It is reminiscent of Paul's Chimchar in the anime, but also has hints of Shadow Pokemon, which given the setting aren't unexpected. I think I'm going to have to wait and see where this one goes.

    That actually made the nicknaming portion fit in very well. It wasn't abrupt at all.

    I'm surprised it's not a P*DA, given that they're in Orre and Krane has a track record of giving those away.

    Oh, so he's not staying in Orre. That makes a couple of things make more sense.

    And we end on a suitably mysterious note. Nice bookends for the chapter.

    I'm pretty impressed, from this first chapter. You're doing well avoiding a lot of the pitfalls that usually trap journeyfics, and your characters are pretty interesting. So far, the settings are solid as well. I don't think I can really think of any substantial criticism to give here, so you're definitely on the right track.
     
  7. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    The Great Butler:
    There probably are, but I wanted to convey the weirdness of Derak's outfit for a reason.

    He's generally too nice for his own good, I think. XD

    I think of Orre as more of an "all-in" sort of region, and thus I decided to give it all the available starters. But, hey, you have your preferences, and I have mine.

    Chapter 3 gives information that may require more speculation on that front...

    You'll see...XD

    In all honesty, Wildfire's issues are purely psychological and self-designed, primarily due to the fact that he's a young and fairly naive Chimchar who just wants to make sure he doesn't get abandoned.

    I'm more used to trainers using Pokedexes, honestly. P*DAs don't seem to give out informative entries like the Pokedex, though I suppose you have to trade off something to work in features like e-mail and a Snag List.

    I have to be honest here...I believe that chapters 1-3 are great, but the ones that follow it steadily decline quality-wise. I'm not entirely sure that the quality standard of the first few chapters is going to be met by every last one (and there are going to be plenty).

    I could be wrong, though. The way I see it, the quality of the chapter is decided half by the writer and half by the reader.

    Speaking of which...chapter 3 is nigh. Like I said before, this might be the last of the above-average quality chapters that I've written up till now, but we'll need to look at chapter 4 in order to decide that for certain.



    Chapter 3: Rage


    Wailord reached land roughly an half-hour later, and with a bit of difficulty, the remaining passengers departed. Derak was one of the first ones off, sliding off of the Float Whale Pokemon and planting his feet back on solid ground. The cloaked man followed, as did Melissa Armare.

    “Can someone explain to me what just happened?” Derak asked of no one in particular. “Because I’m pretty sure we almost just got killed by a crazy Stoutland.”

    “I’m pretty sure you just answered your own question,” Melissa sneered. “Stoutland was unusual, sure, but it probably drowned when it dove off the edge. No reason to worry about it anymore.”

    “Well, aren’t we fond of jumping to conclusions?” Derak said with his sardonic wit. “Hope you can keep those amazing logical skills when Stoutland is munching on your leg tomorrow morning.”

    Melissa glared at him and walked away. The cloaked man shook his head.

    “The girl is wrong,” he said. “Dead wrong. I can feel it…it will take much more than a little water to even harm, let alone kill, that Stoutland.”

    “How do you know that?” Derak asked.

    “I…that is none of your business!” the cloaked man snapped. “Besides, we have no time to wait around. We must reach Pallet Town and find a suitable internet connection.”

    “Why do you want that answer so badly?” Derak asked.

    “Because it will determine whether you live or die,” the cloaked man replied.

    Derak blinked.

    “Uh…oh…kay, then,” he said.

    ****

    While Derak and his cloak-wearing elder began their journey through the Kanto region, Orre had concerns of its own. High up in an undisclosed location, a man in a dark purple suit sat at his desk, brow furrowed and hands clasped together. He stroked his black goatee as his long, equally-black ponytail hung limply behind his head.

    “Run that by me once more,” the man sighed. “What exactly happened to the S.S. Wailord?”

    “Well…it’s difficult to describe, Governor,” a female secretary said nervously, eyes shifting uncomfortably. She knew how Orre’s governor could get if something went wrong, even if his campaign advertisements always said exactly what the people wanted to hear. “Eyewitnesses reported that a strange Stoutland somehow leapt onto the ship out of nowhere before using an unknown attack to destroy the ship from the inside-out. Most of the passengers survived thanks to the captain’s Wailord, but the ship itself is at the bottom of the ocean.”

    “I see,” said the governor, a glint of interest in his eyes. “Contact the recovery crew. Tell them that I want to see the results of their findings.”

    “Governor Draykus…?” the secretary said in bewilderment.

    “I wish to see for myself what this Stoutland was capable of,” Draykus said as he stood up, casting an intimidating shadow over his secretary. “And I wish to see it as soon as possible.”

    “Of…of course, Governor,” the secretary stammered.

    ****

    “So, this is Pallet Town?” Derak asked, glancing at the small houses in the suburban settlement. “I never thought towns could be this small, but that’s probably just me being a Phenac native.”

    “Do not get distracted,” the cloaked man admonished. “We are here for a computer, not to sightsee.”

    “Oh, of course. How selfish of me to not obsessively put your goals ahead of mine, especially since you tried to kill me back in Orre,” Derak snidely retorted, drawing a glare from his acquaintance. “There should be a computer somewhere in the Pokemon Lab, right?”

    “How do you know there is a Lab here?” the cloaked man asked.

    “Professor Krane told me while I was getting my trainer card,” Derak said. “He said I had to go talk to the guy in the Lab in Pallet Town to register for the Kanto League. We might as well both get what we want, even if I’d rather not help you.”

    “That does sound reasonable,” the cloaked man agreed. “Come, then. The Lab should be fairly easy to spot.”

    As it would turn out, the Lab was indeed quite visible, being a large house standing atop a large grassy hill. As Derak and the cloaked man ascended the hillside, the former took note of a slowly-spinning windmill beside the house. Derak knocked on the front door, and a man answered, wearing a white lab coat over a red shirt and tan pants. He gave a kind smile as he smoothed his graying hair.

    “Ah, hello there!” the professor greeted. “My name is Professor Oak. May I help you with anything?”

    “He needs to use the internet,” Derak said, nodding his head to the cloaked man. “I need to register for the Kanto League.”

    “You’ve both come to the right place,” Oak smiled. “Take a seat, young man. As for you,” he added, looking to the cloaked man, “if you’ll follow me, I’ll show you the computer I use for posting my research findings online.”

    “Good,” the cloaked man said.

    “By the way,” Oak said as he led the cloaked man into another room with a chair, a computer, and a window in it, “what might your name be?”

    The cloaked man wordlessly sat at the computer and activated an internet browser.

    “Er…sir?” Oak ventured.

    “I believe the child requires your attention,” the cloaked man said.

    “Oh, yes, quite right!” Oak nodded. “Although, I will expect an answer later. You can’t really have someone in your home if you don’t learn their name, after all!”

    “I hardly see this as a time for a hospitality lesson,” the cloaked man muttered as Oak left. “Let me see…Derak Kadir.”

    He typed the boy’s name into a search engine, adding on the words “family tree” on the end. Once a set of findings were brought up, the enigmatic wanderer set to work.

    As the cloaked man fiddled with websites, Professor Oak and Derak sat across from each other in a central room. Oak leaned forward, eager to dispense advice to a new trainer. Derak, meanwhile, lounged in his seat without a care in the world.

    “Now, then, young man—” Oak began.

    “Could you stop calling me that?” Derak interrupted. “It makes me feel uncomfortable. Just call me Derak.”

    “Heh! Well, then, Derak,” Oak chuckled, never losing his smile despite Derak’s interruption, “allow me to explain the basics of the Pokemon League.”

    Derak slowly sat up, attempting to take in the professor’s explanation.

    “There are facilities in many cities throughout Kanto,” Oak continued. “These facilities are called ‘Gyms’. Trainers aspiring to enter the Kanto League must defeat the leader of each Gym and be awarded a badge as proof of their victory. Once a trainer collects eight badges, he or she is eligible to enter the Kanto League.”

    “Okay, I’m with you so far,” Derak said.

    “Each Gym specializes in a certain type,” Oak said, “such as Fire, Water, or Grass. May I see your starter Pokemon? I can give you some tips about what to do for the first of the Gyms.”

    Derak simply shrugged.

    “Wildfire, come on out,” he said, clicking open his sole Pokeball. Wildfire appeared, still striking an aggressive posture. The Chimchar blinked as it realized it, once again, was not called into battle, and resumed a more peaceful pose.

    “Well, well!” Oak said, kneeling down to Wildfire’s level. “It’s been quite some time since I saw a trainer with a Chimchar! Although, the first Gym specializes in Rock-type Pokemon, which I’m afraid your Chimchar may be fairly ineffective against,” Oak added, smile finally fading somewhat.

    “We might be able to manage,” Derak said, “right, Wildfire?”

    “Chim-char,” Wildfier said blankly.

    “Even so,” Oak said, “you may want to catch another Pokemon before taking on the Pewter City Gym.”

    “…uh…how do I do that?” Derak asked, as this was one of the few things Krane had neglected to explain to him.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll explain the process,” Oak said.

    Meanwhile, the cloaked man’s ragged breaths became faster and angrier, his free hand curling into a fist on the desk. He had found what he was looking for, but the very sight of it was flooding his mind with horrible memories. The man bared his yellowing teeth in a vicious snarl, and with a yell of pure rage he threw the chair out the window, scattering several small bird Pokemon. He swiped his hand at the computer, bludgeoning the device so hard that it slid off the desk and clattered onto the floor.

    “My word, what is going on in here?!” Oak cried as he ran to the cloaked man, stopping in the doorway. “Please, tell me what’s wrong!”

    The cloaked man’s hood fell as he threw his head back in a rage, revealing a baleful pair of golden eyes. The man glared darkly at Oak as he picked a Pokeball off of his belt and dropped it, releasing a large Pokemon reminiscent of a yellow tiger-striped sasquatch with flat teeth, black fingers, and two long black tails.

    “Out of my way,” the man growled. “Electivire, Thunder!”

    Electricity began to spark between the two stubby antennae on the Pokemon’s wide head, and with a yell of rage so like that of its trainer, Electivire shot a powerful bolt of lightning directly into Professor Oak’s chest. The professor was sent sailing into a wall, electricity coursing through his body as his paralyzed form slid back down onto the ground.

    “Professor?!” Derak cried, soon seeing the cloaked man’s preparations to attack. “Oh, come on, not this again!”

    “Focus Blast!” the cloaked man ordered.

    This time, Electivire formed a ball of blue energy between its hands, which it then launched directly at Derak. The young trainer dove to the ground, Wildfire doing so as well. The attack sailed over the boy and burst through the wall, giving Derak an opportunity to scan the cloaked man’s latest Pokemon.

    “Electivire,” the Pokedex said, “the Thunderbolt Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Electabuzz. Electivire is a durable Pokemon that pays no heed to enemy attacks. Its favorite tactic consists of closing in on its foe, shoving its tails onto the foe, and discharging high voltage.”

    “And now, one wants to kill me,” Derak gulped.

    “Ice Punch, now!” the cloaked man roared.

    With speed fitting of its classification as the Thunderbolt Pokemon, Electivire was upon Derak and pulling back one fist. Derak and Wildfire rolled out of the way just in time to see Electivire’s fist, coated with frigid energy, slam into the floor. Electivire’s red eyes widened as it realized that its fist had become stuck in the floor, giving Derak a chance to recall Wildfire and try for an escape.

    “Stop him with Double Team!” the cloaked man bellowed.

    As Derak ran for the door, something shocking happened: another Electivire suddenly materialized between Derak and the door, grinning wickedly. Startled, Derak fell onto his rear as the second Electivire was soon joined by several others, all snickering mischievously.

    “What is your problem?!” Derak yelled at the cloaked man. “I thought we got over this!”

    “You thought wrong,” the cloaked man growled, glancing at the first Electivire’s continued attempts to remove its fist from the floor. “Electivire!”

    The voice of its trainer was apparently what Electivire needed, as the Thunderbolt Pokemon managed to retract its fist once it heard its species’ name. With the other Electivires all towering over Derak, the original began to advance on him, cracking its knuckles with a devious grin. Derak shut his eyes, waiting for the final blow…

    …and then he heard an oozing sound.

    Electivire evidently heard the sound as well, looking around for the source of it. Professor Oak, who was still unconscious and lying against the wall, was not that source. Even the once-hooded man was confused, also puzzling over the possible origins of the sound. Even more confusion entered the room once a horrendous stench entered the nostrils of the present trainers, causing them to clutch their noses in repulsion.

    And then a giant purple blob completely smothered Electivire, trapping the Thunderbolt Pokemon using its two slimy arms. The other Electivires disappeared once the original was underneath the blob, much to the pleasure of said blob’s two large eyes.

    “MUUUUUUKK!” the blob roared, opening its truly enormous mouth.

    “Muk,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Sludge Pokemon. Type is Poison. Evolved form of Grimer. A toxic fluid seeps from Muk’s body, which instantly kills plants and trees on contact.”

    “Muk, muk, muk!” Muk boomed, looking to Derak and pointing to the door with one arm as it continued to envelop Electivire.

    “What?” Derak said, looking at the door for a moment. And then the meaning of Muk’s exclamations hit him. “Wait, I’m not going to just leave you! You’ll get—”

    Muk was suddenly coursing with electrical energy, Electivire having used Thunder at point-blank range. The Electric-type then used its two tails to fling Muk off of its body, causing the amorphous Poison-type to land on Oak’s sofa. Oak’s television suddenly turned on, Muk having apparently made contact with the remote. The first thing to appear on the screen was a female newscaster with her hair tied in a bun.

    “We’re back with World News!” the newscaster said. “We have a breaking news bulletin! An Orre region passenger ship, the S.S. Wailord, spontaneously sank halfway through its trip to the Kanto region. Orre governor Nathaniel Draykus had this to say.”

    An image of Draykus appeared on the screen, standing before what appeared to be his office.

    “Thank you,” Draykus said. The moment he heard Draykus’ voice, the cloaked man’s eyes widened so much that they bulged out of his skull, and he wandered over to the television as if in a trance. “I want to let you all know that we are looking into the cause of the destruction, and we have identified it to be the work of some rogue Pokemon. I can assure you all that I, nor anyone in the Orre region under my command, will not rest until this Pokemon is brought to justice.”

    The cloaked man stared at Draykus, hand slowly closing into a fist once again. His lips parted into a snarl, and his eyes narrowed with loathing.

    “So…you live as well,” the man growled.

    “What do you mean?” Derak asked.

    “Nothing you need to concern yourself with,” the cloaked man said, making a surprising move by recalling his Electivire. “Not anymore.”

    “I wonder why I don’t believe that,” Derak said bitterly, crossing his arms.

    “Believe what you will,” the man said as he walked over to Professor Oak, roughly shaking the fallen scientist.

    “Whuh…wha?” Oak mumbled as he opened his eyes. “You…! Why would you do such a—”

    “My reasons are my own,” the cloaked man said bluntly. “You would do better with your time by giving the Muk medical attention rather than questioning me.”

    He began to leave, but before he did so, he looked to Derak.

    “I want to speak with you before you continue on your journey,” the man said before departing.

    “Great,” Derak muttered. “Another friendly conversation with the bipolar Pokemon trainer.”

    “He certainly is a strange one, isn’t he?” Oak agreed. “Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, here.”

    He pulled five shrunken Pokeballs out of his pocket and handed them to Derak.

    “These are some empty Pokeballs for you to catch Pokemon with,” Oak explained. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to give Muk some medicine. That odd man was right about one thing, and that would be Muk’s need of healing.”

    “He might be,” Derak said before looking over to the unconscious Muk. “Hey, say thanks to Muk for me when it wakes up, will you? It really saved my hide back there.”

    “I’ll be sure to do that,” Oak smiled. “That Muk belongs to a trainer who came from Pallet Town some time ago. It certainly loves humans, and believe me, I speak from experience.”

    “I…don’t think I want to know about that,” Derak said, greatly disturbed by the implications of a human-loving blob of purple slime. “Oh, almost forgot, can you register me for the Kanto League?”

    “Of course!” Oak said. “Just give me your trainer card.”

    Derak did so, and Oak scanned the card into one of the few remaining computers that the cloaked man had not destroyed in his berserk rampage.

    “There you go,” Oak said. “You’re all set. Good luck on your travels, Derak!”

    Derak gave Oak a simple, limp wave and left. Once he reached the bottom of the hill, he was met by the cloaked man.

    “So, what do you want this time, Mr. Bipolar?” Derak asked.

    “I want to accompany you on your journey,” the man said.

    “What?!” Derak cried, breaking his normally unflappable demeanor. “Forget it! Why would I want to hang around you for at least a whole year?!”

    “Let me begin by saying that I may have been wrong in my initial judgment,” the man sighed. “The man I thought to be your relative is my sworn enemy. I believed that, by slaying you, I would be able to avenge the wrongs he dealt me.”

    “So, what made you change your mind?” Derak asked, calming down somewhat.

    “You would not believe me if I told you,” the cloaked man sighed. “Trust me on that.”

    “Yeah, about that whole ‘trust’ thing…it’s not happening,” Derak said, folding his arms.

    “Think of me what you will,” the man said. “All I ask is that you let me accompany you, so that I may become worthy of a second chance.”

    Derak let out a heavy sigh. As much as he distrusted this odd man, the elder trainer had experience that Derak suspected he would need by his side, particularly if Stoutland reappeared.

    “All right,” he said reluctantly, “but I’m not giving you that second chance you want so badly.”

    “I never said I wanted that second chance to come from you,” the man said, turning to leave Pallet Town.

    “Whatever,” Derak said. “Oh, and by the way, what am I supposed to call you? Just ‘creepy old hooded guy’?”

    The man stopped.

    “Garth,” he stated flatly.

    “Huh?” Derak said.

    “Garth,” the cloaked man repeated. “My name is Garth Cesslon.”

    Garth then entered a nearby wood, a sign in front of it reading “VIRIDIAN FOREST”. Derak shrugged.

    “Garth it is,” he said, following the elder trainer into the apparent Viridian Forest.

    ****

    Back at Kanto’s shores, a dark shape prowled under the glistening water, slowly nearing land. As the shape reached the shoreline, one brown paw burst out of the water, followed by the rest of Stoutland’s body. The supposedly Big-Hearted Pokemon then transformed once again into a dark mass of energy, leaping across the roofs of Pallet Town and soaring deep into Viridian Forest.

    ****

    Anoch Kadir’s office starkly contrasted the rest of Phenac City’s clean splendor. The room was littered with the results of a childish tantrum, papers and books scattered across the floor. Derak’s father slammed his forehead into his desk, a clear indicator of his frustration.

    “Why does that boy not listen to me?!” Anoch grumbled. “I’ve done everything a single father can possibly do!”

    He then heard several knocks at the door.

    “What is it?!” he bellowed.

    “Sir?” a voice said. “I’m here as you requested.”

    “Oh, Spire,” Anoch said. “Come in.”

    A man in his early twenties with spiky black hair entered the room. Like Anoch, he wore a business suit, although his was a fiery red rather than a plain black, sporting a navy blue tie. He gave a respectful nod to Anoch upon entering the room.

    “Nice to see someone on my side right about now,” Anoch sighed.

    “Nice to be on your side,” Spire replied. “I’ve been your lawyer for almost ten years, now, and I don’t intend to stop now.”

    “Good to know,” Anoch said. “I’ve notified the Kanto police force about Derak, so all that remains is for you to put your miracle-working skills to work. I’ve never lost a case in which I’ve had you as my lawyer, all because of that hobby of yours…what was it again?”

    Spire smiled and pulled a leather wallet out of his pocket. The wallet fell open, revealing a golden eye-shaped badge with the word “PRIVATE” above it, and the identifying name of “NICK SPIRE” underneath the eye.

    “Part lawyer, part private investigator!” Spire declared. “That’s how I was able to gather materials for all your cases…by using my detective skills.”

    “And boy, have they helped me,” Anoch sighed. “Can those ‘detective skills’ bring back my son?”

    “Of course,” Spire nodded. “I haven’t failed a case yet, and I don’t plan to start now.”

    “Good,” Anoch nodded. “Since the S.S. Wailord was destroyed, you’ll need to find a new ship to take you to Kanto.”

    “I’ll get on that right away, sir,” Spire nodded.

    “Good luck, Spire,” Anoch sighed.

    Spire nodded and left the office. Once he left the building altogether, he sighed.

    “I’ve been your lawyer for years,” Spire said to himself. “That doesn’t mean I always agree with your methods…especially how you handled raising Derak.”

    He reached into his other pocket, pulling out four Pokeballs that he clipped onto his belt in short order.

    “Besides,” he said, “I don’t need a ship to reach Kanto. Braviary, close the case!”

    A large avian Pokemon emerged from Spire’s Pokeball. It spread its broad red wings, exposing its purple underside, as it flexed its yellow talons. Its shook its white head, snapping its yellowed beak in anticipation. Spire climbed aboard this Pokemon’s back, which the latter took to with a content look despite the fact that its trainer was a foot taller than it was.

    “Braviary, use Fly!” Spire ordered. “Next stop, Kanto!”

    Braviary squawked as it flapped its wings, taking both it and its trainer into the sky.

    *****
     
  8. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Orange Pokeball?

    Knowing the still generally lawless nature of Orre, it wouldn't surprise me if there's some not-so-authority types looking for him too.

    I really like how you're giving us a window into the mind of the Pokemon. Few authors really go into that; I know I tend to forget it.

    This is something else I like to see. It's not "go to the professor and get the starter you always wanted" but it's not "go to the professor and get stuck with the last Pokemon" either. It's a third option, and I like to see it be used.

    That's a pretty ... unique attitude Wildfire's taking on. It will be interesting to watch it develop.

    I see not much has changed with this guy. Not surprising.

    Awww hell. I should have known this was coming, but this quick?

    **** yeah! I want to love Torkoal a lot more than I do...

    Kind of surprised he doesn't know what a Torkoal is.

    You're just as surprised as I am, Derak. I wonder what exactly it is he's up to...

    Old man? I don't remember age being assigned to the cloaked guy before.

    It's Nobunaga. /runs

    I like where this is going, though.

    I would say I'm surprised that the cloaked guy isn't getting bothered for standing out, but then I remembered just how bizarre Orre's cast of characters is. He fits right in.

    I don't know why, but "this was all far over the young Pokemon's head" made me laugh.

    Now I wonder what THIS thing is.

    Oops.

    Though, I would think that an internet signal would be something universal in a world as advanced as this one.

    I don't see any possible way this can have a good outcome. He's in a foul mood, just met this Chimchar who has some mood problems himself... yeah.

    Interesting, he's broken and doesn't care about himself...

    Filling out the paperwork incorrectly is something completely expected for him, I think.

    Indeed he has. Beating a Crawdaunt with a Torkoal is impressive.

    Nice job using some rarely-seen 3rd Generation Pokemon, too.

    Not sure how I feel about Pallet Town being their first stop. It's a little stereotypical, but it could still work.

    Oh boy, this one sounds like a real winner. I can see where Derak's interaction with her is going to go right now.

    This most definitely is not a good sign.

    You probably should have mentioned the cloaked man walking back over to them at some point before he spoke again.

    She's from Pyrite Town? Big surprise that she's so combative then.

    Oh, we sure do have rivals on our hands already. That much is certain.

    This one's about to get very, very interesting when Derak sends his Pokemon out...

    Melissa is... actually standing out very well as a character. She actually might be more extreme than Silver was, and to see it coming from a female character makes her even more unique.

    Melissa is about to learn a really big lesson the hard way, I think.

    This is turning into quite a good battle, especially for just being a starter battle. Derak being thrown when Melissa had Turtwig use Bite was well done.

    Wow, he actually did it. For a minute there, I didn't think he'd be able to pull it off.

    This is going to be a wonderful rivalry, I can tell.

    "Lightly pounding" is strange wording, though.

    What the...?! Now I'm really curious as to how a Stoutland could be hidden in an amorphous blob like that.

    Oh, it's his enemy... I guess whoever the cloaked man's enemy is is not actually a normal trainer. He clearly possess some kind of dark power if his Stoutland can do these kinds of things.

    That was probably one of the most beautiful fits of description I've read in a long time. Not too short, not too long.

    I think that last sentence is a question we're all asking ourselves right now.

    Will get to the next chapter as soon as I can.
     
  9. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Someone really needs to open their minds to... weird possibilities.

    That's strange, he seemed awfully talkative before.

    Aw man, I guess Snattle never did accomplish his dream, did he?

    Anyway, I'm guessing Draykus might be a trainer himself, if he's so curious about the strange Stoutland's power.

    But Krane didn't tell you the name of the guy, Derak?

    Again, isn't the professor here being a little too nice? Especially with a shady-looking guy like this fellow around, shouldn't he be a little more cautious?

    I'll admit, the situation is straining my disbelief a little. Oak's being a little too lax with his security here. Granted, though, Oak isn't the most security-minded guy out there, so it's not that bad.

    I think it would have been nice here to throw in a mention of the Pre Gym, since it would be about the only way Derak would be familiar with Gyms.

    And this is precisely why Oak should have been more careful.

    I like Electivire's diverse movepool. It always is nice to see fics that take advantage of Pokemon who are able to learn many types of moves.

    Oh boy, not this again.

    Oh ****, now this wasn't what I expected.

    I wonder if this is Ash's Muk, since it's trying to save Oak.

    He wasn't kidding when he said he wanted vengeance, was he?

    I get the feeling all the people he wants vengeance against are connected...

    Seems a little odd to me that he'd leave right after saying he still wanted to talk to Derak.

    Well that came a little abruptly.

    Well, there's my answer. Nice use of continuity!

    What the...?!!

    I have no clue what this guy's loyalty truly is, and I suppose that's a good thing.

    Well that's a surprise. I was beginning to wonder if he'd ever actually get a name.

    Oh this can't be good.

    A single father, as in one father, or a single father as in one without a wife?

    Depending on which one it is, it could have some potential effects on Derak.

    Well it's not like anyone ever accused Orre of having clean law enforcement of any kind, right?

    Interesting that you're calling Spire's loyalty into question instead of just making him a mindless enforcer for Anoch.

    Braviary suits him, and I like his call-out phrase too.

    A lot of events happened in this chapter, so it might be hard for the future ones to live up to it. That doesn't mean that they're bad, though, so just stay confident. You're telling a great story so far.
     
  10. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    The Great Butler: Okay, let's see how much I can answer...

    Chapter 2:

    I'm relatively certain that, back in chapter 1, I described Wildfire's Pokeball as being orange-colored in order to symbolize his being the Fire-type starter (though I could be wrong).

    On a side note, Orre trainers with Water-type starters will have blue Pokeballs. Ones with Grass-type starters will have green Pokeballs. Just something to keep in mind for later chapters.

    Derak's been kept in the dark regarding Pokemon in general for pretty much his entire life. He does know about a couple of Pokemon, though, but that's not until much later.

    That was actually an error. The cloaked guy was originally going to be older, but I decided to make him younger for the purposes of the story. It seems I forgot to take out a dialogue tag or two...XD

    You'll see just where it goes in the future...you may or may not be right. XD

    You're probably right there.

    I thought about making Vermillion City the first stop, like in GSC/HGSS, but Derak's scheduled captures required that Pallet Town be the first stop.

    That's actually one of the reasons I made Melissa female. Every other trainer categorized as "tough on Pokemon/abusive/etc." is male. Why not make a female to spice things up?

    What I was trying to go for with our cloaked friend was that he really wasn't giving Derak the most enthusiastic standing ovation, and I wanted to reflect that in the way he was clapping. Doesn't appear that I succeeded.

    Dark powers. 'Nuff said.

    Stoutland is actually a "wild" Pokemon (there's a reason for the quotations), but it does have a pretty significant connection to our cloaked friend's mysterious past...


    Chapter 3:

    I kinda dropped the ball on that...eheheh.

    I never really saw Oak as having much in the way of common sense, in all honesty...might have went a little too far with that.

    Now that you mention it, that would have been a good idea...I completely forgot about the Pre Gym, actually. Maybe I can bring that up in a later chapter.

    Interesting theory...but will it play out the way you think it might? Only time will tell. XD

    He doesn't stick around after his business is concluded. That's just how he is.

    I couldn't call him "the cloaked man" forever, could I? XD

    The second one. And you're right, it will have some significant effects on Derak later on.

    Thanks for saying so, and for reviewing. Hope you enjoy the subsequent chapters!
     
  11. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    Okay, chapter four is now here.




    Chapter 4: Viridian Forest



    Following their altercation at Oak’s lab, Derak and Garth traversed Viridian Forest, surrounded by naught but trees and Pokemon. Various bug-like Pokemon crawled about, skittering across the forest floor or ascending the bark of the trees. Some even flew through the air, buzzing excitedly above the trainers’ heads.

    “Sure are a lot of Bug Pokemon here,” Derak observed.

    “Yes,” Garth nodded. “This forest is famous for them.”

    A small yellow worm with stubby pink legs inched into their path, prompting the trainers to stop. The worm looked up at them with its two tiny black eyes, both of which rested above a large pink nose. Above the eyes was a large white spike, which matched the spike on this Pokemon’s tail.

    “Hey, there,” Derak greeted in an unusually friendly tone. “What’s your name?”

    Without waiting for the Pokemon to answer, he drew out his Pokedex.

    “Weedle,” the Pokedex said, “the Hairy Pokemon. Type is Bug and Poison. Weedle eats its weight in leaves every day, and fends off attackers with the needle on its head.”

    “Don’t move!” a girl’s voice cried, and a ten-year-old girl with green hair tied into pigtails came running onto the scene. “All right, Weedle, I’ve got you this time!”

    She pulled a Pokeball from a pocket, which was somewhat difficult to spot on her faded orange dress, and promptly threw it at Weedle. The Pokeball struck Weedle in the head, but rather than simply leave a bruise there, the Pokeball floated into the air, hovering there as it split open. Weedle then transformed into a red energy that was sucked into the open Pokeball, trapped inside upon the Pokeball’s closing. The ball fell to the ground, shook three times, and made a “ping” sound.

    “Yes!” the girl cried, picking up her Pokeball and holding it up as high as she could. “I caught a Weedle!”

    She stood in that pose for a few moments, leading Derak and Garth to look at one another in confusion. Finally, Derak ventured a question.

    “Is there a point to posing like that?” he asked.

    “Yep,” the girl replied cheerfully. “It makes me look awesome.”

    “Looks kinda corny to me,” Derak shrugged.

    “Whatever works for you,” the girl shrugged. “Hey, you’re Derak, right? I saw you battle on the S.S. Wailord! Your Chimchar was really strong!”

    “Whatever,” Derak sighed. Garth simply leaned against a tree and watched as their conversation progressed.

    Just seconds ago, Derak was unusually outgoing towards that Weedle, Garth thought. The girl brought his normal demeanor back…because she is human. This could be worthy of note.

    “Oh, by the way, I’m Sarah Arachson from Gateon Port,” the girl said, holding out her hand. “I’m from Orre, too.”

    “That’s nice,” Deark said somewhat apathetically, notably not shaking the offered hand. “He’s Garth,” he added, gesturing to the cloaked man who gave Sarah a brief nod of acknowledgement. “So, you’re going through Viridian Forest, too?”

    “Sort of,” Sarah replied. “I’m mostly sticking around to catch some Bug-type Pokemon, like that Weedle you saw earlier. You see, I’m a really huge fan of Bug Pokemon.”

    “Really?” Derak said, this time with actual curiosity.

    “Yep!” Sarah nodded. “I want to prove that just because they aren’t the prettiest Pokemon doesn’t mean that people should be so afraid of them.”

    “So, what, you want to win the Kanto League with just Bug-types?” Derak asked.

    “Pretty much,” Sarah replied. “Except for my starter. Squirtle, come on out!”

    Sarah pulled out a blue Pokeball and opened it, releasing yet another turtle. This one, however, had blue skin and a significantly smaller head in addition to a larger, more club-like tail. Its shell had a tan underbelly matched with a brown back, and unlike Turtwig, this red-eyed Pokemon stood on its hind legs.

    “Squirtle, squirt!” the Pokemon grunted.

    “Squirtle,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Tiny Turtle Pokemon. Type is Water. Squirtle protects itself by using its shell, and strikes back with jets of water at every opportunity.”

    “I chose Squirtle as my starter because it’s commonly used by the firefighting community,” Sarah continued. “Seeing as the number one danger to Bug Pokemon is forest fires, I want to be able to protect Bug Pokemon wherever I go. Speaking of which, how about a battle?”

    “Seriously?” Derak sighed. “We JUST met…and you want to battle? Really?”

    “Battling is the best way to get to know someone,” Sarah said. “It’ll be my Squirtle against your Chimchar, okay?”

    “Fine,” Derak sighed, preparing Wildfire’s Pokeball. Before he could summon the Chimp Pokemon, however, a tremendous explosion of dark purple lightning burst from a nearby area of the forest. “What the heck was that?!”

    “I don’t know, but we should check it out,” Sarah said. “Pokemon might need our help!”

    “Sounds like a good reason to me!” Derak responded.

    The two young trainers dashed in the direction of the explosion, Garth following. He already had a hunch as to the cause of the explosion, but there was only one way to be sure. Once the group reached the explosion site, however, the two children gasped. Garth merely narrowed his eyes.

    Befitting the results of an explosion, debris was strewn everywhere. Various Pokemon of all forms had fallen to the ground, covered in burn marks. A large patch of scorched earth indicated where the lightning had struck.

    “Pee…peee,” whimpered a small green worm with a red ‘Y’ on its forehead, its yellow underbelly dotted with scars and its green nose badly bruised. Only one of its large yellow-and-black eyes was open, the other squeezed shut from the intense pain.

    “Oh, no!” Sarah cried, gently scooping the small green worm into her arms. “Are you okay?”

    “He’s got burns all over his body, what do you think?” Derak said sardonically despite the situation, opening his Pokedex. “Hang on, let me see if I can find something to help the little guy.”

    “Caterpie,” the Dex said, “the Worm Pokemon. Type is Bug. Caterpie releases a stench from its antennae to repel enemies. It grows by molting repeatedly.”

    “That…was not helpful,” Derak sighed. He knelt down to Caterpie’s level. “It’s okay, little guy. We’re going to get you some medical attention as soon as we can, all right?”

    “Peee,” Caterpie said weakly, looking at Derak and Sarah in turn.

    “We should move quickly,” Garth suggested. “Stoutland will not have gone far from this location.”

    “Stoutland?” Sarah asked. “You mean that scary Stoutland that destroyed the S.S. Wailord?”

    “The very same,” Garth nodded.

    “How do you know Stoutland did all this?” Derak asked.

    “Trust me, I just know,” Garth stated abruptly. “We need to move as soon as—”

    A beam of darkness blazed past the three, however, signifying the end of their time to flee. With a primal snarl, Stoutland burst out of the trees, knocking several of the wooden giants flat onto the forest floor with a simple bump. The strange Normal-type growled viciously at the trio, slaver leaking out of its fanged mouth.

    “Go,” Garth said. “I will keep Stoutland occupied.”

    “You sure you can beat—” Derak began, but Garth cut him off.

    “No, but you will not be capable of performing much better!” Garth snapped. “Now, go! Viridian City is not far, you can heal Caterpie there!”

    “Good luck!” Sarah said as she and Derak fled. Garth, meanwhile, stared down Stoutland. The feral canine barked angrily, its voice hoarse as if from constant yelling.

    “Believe me…I did not wish it to have to come to this,” Garth said. “But, you leave me with no other choice.”

    Stoutland continued to gnash its teeth, paying no heed to Garth’s words. Garth’s Electivire then took the field in a flash of light, flexing its muscles and whipping its tails in anticipation of battle.

    “Electivire, Focus Blast!” Garth ordered.

    Electivire fired the Focus Blast, but Stoutland had an attack of its own prepared. It formed a ball of darkness in front of its mouth, and then launched that ball like a missile aimed directly at Electivire. Stoutland’s attack obliterated Electivire’s Focus Blast, powering through and slamming into Electivire’s chest.

    Stoutland was not finished there, however. Purple electricity began to crackle around Stoutland’s body, and a bolt of dark lightning shot into the air. The bolt curved forward, bearing down on Electivire, but the Thunderbolt Pokemon simply stood in place, confident that it could take the blast. Instead of the expected electrical absorption, however, Electivire suddenly felt a rush of pain as the dark lightning coursed throughout its body, the Electric-type letting out an agonized scream.

    “That’s…impossible!” Garth gasped as Electivire fell to the ground, convulsing with dark electricity crackling through its body.

    Stoutland gave a ferocious snarl, charging its body with energy once more. The shaggy dog again transformed into a dark mass, rocketing into the air and bounding through the trees. Garth made as if to chase after it, but stopped, realizing that Stoutland was moving far too fast to be able to pursue. He looked back to his Electivire, recalling it with a sorrowful sigh.

    If only things had been different…

    ****

    “Nurse Joy!” Sarah cried as she burst into a small building with a large ‘P’ on the front, Caterpie still in her arms and Derak lagging behind. “Please, can you heal this Caterpie?”

    “Oh, my!” gasped a woman with her pink hair tied into two ring-like buns, dressed in a pink nurse’s dress matched with a white cap that bore a plus-shaped mark. “What happened?”

    “You heard about the Pokemon that wrecked the S.S. Wailord?” Derak asked.

    “A little bit,” Nurse Joy replied, remembering the recent call she had gotten from her sister.

    “It decided it wanted to do the same with Viridian Forest,” Derak continued. “We managed to get this Caterpie to safety, though.”

    “I’ll take care of it right away!” Nurse Joy declared. “Chansey, come quick!”

    In rushed a pink, egg-shaped Pokemon with stubby limbs and a pouch that carried an egg within. Like Nurse Joy, this Pokemon wore a medic’s cap, with the same type of cross marked on it. The Pokemon took Caterpie and rushed it into the back of the Pokemon Center, where it was laid upon an operating table.

    “Will Caterpie be okay?” Sarah asked.

    “Don’t worry,” Nurse Joy said, giving Sarah a reassuring smile. “Chanseys are experts with healing.”

    “That’s good to know,” Derak said, looking into his Pokedex. “Let me just check on that…”

    “Chansey,” said the Dex, showing an image of Nurse Joy’s Chansey without the cap, “the Egg Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Happiny. Chansey is a kindly Pokemon that lays highly nutritious eggs. It frequently shares these eggs with Pokemon and people.”

    “Wait a second,” Derak said, “Chansey gives its babies…to complete strangers?”

    “It’s not like that,” Nurse Joy said. “Chansey’s eggs don’t always contain young Pokemon. More often than not, they just have nutrients inside them.”

    “Oh,” Derak said. “Had me worried for a minute, there.”

    “I can see why, but don’t worry,” Nurse Joy said kindly. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

    Yeah…I think I’d rather be the judge of that, Derak thought as he looked past her, warily eyeing Chansey as it gave Caterpie miniature bites of its egg.

    “So, what happens now?” he asked Sarah, leaning against the wall while keeping one eye on Caterpie.

    “I’m going to stay here until Caterpie recovers,” Sarah decided. “You can go ahead and challenge the Pewter Gym, if you want. I can catch up later.”

    “Whatever,” Derak said with a shrug. He then left the Pokemon Center without another word, desiring to stay there no longer. He looked down at Wildfire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. “How does Chansey know which eggs have its kids and which don’t?”

    No answer, as Derak expected. He sighed and clipped Wildfire’s Pokeball back onto his belt. Garth soon came out of the forest, Electivire’s Pokeball back on his belt.

    “Stoutland got away?” Derak asked.

    “It fled, yes,” Garth nodded. “But I suspect we will see it again.”

    “So do I,” Derak said. “The first Gym was in Pewter City, right?”

    “So it would appear,” Garth said. The two then began to make for the exit of Viridian City. “This journey may be dangerous, Derak. Are you sure you want to go through with this? I cannot guarantee your survival should Stoutland gain the upper hand.”

    “No turning back now, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well see this through to the end.”

    Garth smirked. The boy had spirit.

    That was just what he needed in order to turn Derak against his relative.

    ****

    “Governor Draykus,” the secretary said, clutching a folder in her hand. “These are the images the recovery crew took of the S.S. Wailord’s wreckage.”

    “Excellent,” Draykus said, taking the folder. Flipping it open, he removed the pictures and scattered them across his desk. “Remarkable.”

    “Sir?” the secretary ventured.

    “Look at this,” Draykus said, gesturing to the photographs. “Look at that Stoutland’s sheer power! To be able to blow a hole in every last level of the ship with a single attack…and here we thought only Legendary or well-trained Pokemon could achieve such a feat.”

    A phone on his desk began to ring.

    “Hello?” Draykus said. “What? Where did you say Stoutland was? I see...thank you for letting me know.”

    “Where is Stoutland, sir?” the secretary asked.

    “In the Kanto region,” Draykus explained. He then stood up. “Tell the remaining staff members that I will be taking a temporary leave of absence.”

    “But, sir—” the secretary interjected, only for Draykus to suddenly clasp one hand around her throat.

    “Stoutland’s incredible power has rekindled an old flame of mine,” Draykus said with a sinister smirk, “and I intend to fan that flame with all my might.”

    He released the secretary, dropping her to the floor, and left the room. The secretary gasped for breath, trying to reclaim the life that she had so nearly lost.

    Had the governor gone insane? Or was this who he really was?

    *****
     
  12. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    New chapter time. Sorry this one's a little late, I got preoccupied with Pokemon Conquest.





    Chapter 5: First Capture




    With Viridian Forest behind them, Derak and Garth strode into Pewter City. Very little was remarkable about it, aside from a building that appeared to have been carved into a large stone. The word “GYM” was built above the door.

    “Well, looks like I’m going in,” Derak said. “You coming, Garth?”

    “No,” Garth said somewhat harshly. “I have no interest in winning trinkets, regardless of what they might mean to you. Besides, I need to heal my Electivire.”

    “Wait,” Derak said, turning to Garth, “why didn’t you just do that back in Viridian?”

    “Because the Nurse Joy was preoccupied with that Caterpie you and the girl brought in,” Garth explained. “Had I given her Electivire, neither Pokemon would have received the immediate medical attention they required.”

    Without a further word, Garth went into the Pokemon Center. Derak stood alone for a moment, trying to figure out the mysterious man, until he gave up with a shrug. He then looked to the Pewter Gym, the very sight of it filling him with a mixture of excitement and nerves.

    This was it. His first Gym battle. The first stepping stone on the way to the Pokemon League, waiting to be crossed. But what sort of Pokemon awaited within? And how strong would it be? Would it be stronger than Wildfire?

    Derak took a deep breath, and stepped inside the Gym. It was now or never.

    The Gym was quite simple: a sandy and rock-laden arena in the floor, two spaces at which the trainers could stand, and space at the sides for any spectators. Near the ceiling was a balcony where many young, tan-skinned children leaned over the edge, trying to get the best possible view of the coming battle. At the opposite side was another young man with tanned skin, wildly spiky brown hair, and eyes that appeared to be chronically squinting. Although he wore a green-and-white striped T-shirt matched with tan pants, he appeared to be just a few years older than Derak.

    “Hey,” called the spiky-haired boy. “Welcome to the Pewter Gym. My name’s Forrest, and I’m the Gym Leader.”

    “So, that means you’re the guy I have to beat to get the badge, right?” Derak asked.

    “You catch on pretty quick,” Forrest nodded. “Let’s get this underway.”

    A little girl, who appeared to be Forrest’s younger sister, came down from the balconies and stood at the side of the arena.

    “I’m the referee!” the little girl said. “Challenger, what’s your name and where are you from?”

    “Derak,” said the aforementioned challenger. “I’m from Orre.”

    “Okay!” the little girl cried enthusiastically. “This is gonna be a one-on-one Pokemon battle between the challenger, Derak from Orre, and the Pewter City Gym Leader, my big bro Forrest! If anyone switches out Pokemon, they lose! Everyone ready? Then start the match!”

    “Go, Geodude!” Forrest yelled as he threw his Pokeball.

    Forrest’s Pokeball released a very simple Pokemon, essentially a small boulder with a face. It had two muscular arms emerging from the sides, but had very little to speak of besides this. As usual, Derak went for his Pokedex.

    “Geodude,” the Dex said, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. When at rest, Geodude is identical to a normal rock. If it is carelessly stepped on, it will swing its arms around wildly.”

    “Note to self: watch where you step when you’re on a rocky path,” Derak said. “Anyway…Wildfire, let’s go!”

    Wildfire took the field with another aggressive posture. Forrest donned an expression of surprise at the sight of the Chimp Pokemon.

    “Uh, are you sure that’s what you’re going with?” Forrest asked.

    “Looks that way, doesn’t it?” Derak asked. “Can we get this over with?”

    “Suit yourself,” Forrest shrugged. “Geodude, use Rollout!”

    “Wildfire, dodge it!” Derak yelled.

    Geodude tucked its arms onto itself and began to spin, rolling itself towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, managed to leap aside, causing Geodude to stop. The Rock Pokemon glared at Wildfire, irritated at the failure of its attack.

    “Speed isn’t everything, you know!” Forrest cried. “Geodude, use Rock Throw!”

    A yellowish aura surrounded one of Geodude’s hands, and when it raised that hand, a rock began to levitate above the ground. With a thrust of its hand, Geodude flung the rock towards Wildfire, only for the Chimchar to agilely spring off of the rock and ascend higher into the air.

    “Counter with Ember!” Derak yelled.

    Still in the air, Wildfire spat its usual storm of fireballs at Geodude. The Rock Pokemon simply placed one hand in front of its face, allowing the Ember to strike there. Despite a direct hit, however, only the most miniscule of burn marks could be seen on Geodude’s hand.

    “Aw, great,” Derak muttered, noticing the failure of Wildfire’s main attack. “Follow up with Scratch!”

    Wildfire barreled down towards Geodude, preparing to slash its fingers across the Rock Pokemon’s face. A sudden pain in Wildfire’s hand, however, was the only result. The Chimchar clutched its hand, gritting its teeth and waving the agonized limb in an attempt to ease the pain.

    “Finish this up, Geodude!” Forrest cried. “Use Mega Punch!”

    Geodude simply pulled back its large fist and then thrust it forward, its knuckles making contact with Wildfire’s entire frontal area. The Chimchar was sent spiraling back at its trainer, colliding with Derak’s chest and sending him skidding head-first into the wall.

    ****

    “Derak? You okay?”

    “Are you sure we should move him to the Pokemon Center?”

    “Don’t be stupid! He’s not a Pokemon!”

    Derak awoke with a throbbing pain in his head, made worse by the sounds of argument. Wildfire was standing on top of him, trying its best to look neutral. Forrest and his numerous siblings all gathered around the unconscious challenger.

    “…ouch,” Derak muttered.

    “Sorry about that, I guess I got carried away,” Forrest apologized, offering the young challenger his hand.

    Derak, however, did not take the offered hand, instead pushing himself off of the floor. Wildfire clambered off of his body, avoiding the children as much as possible. While it had indeed been revived thanks to their medicine, their attentions were a bit frightening, to say the least.

    “You might want to catch another Pokemon before—” Forrest began.

    “I got that impression,” Derak said somewhat harshly. He looked down at Wildfire. “You made a great effort, pal. Take a rest.”

    He returned Wildfire to the safety of its Pokeball, and then looked to Forrest.

    “So, what’s the nearest spot where I can find wild Pokemon?” Derak asked.

    “Route three, just to the east of here,” Forrest said. “Good luck catching one, some of them can be pretty rough.”

    Derak gave Forrest a nod and left.

    “Guess he’s not much of a people person,” Forrest remarked.

    ****

    Evening set upon Pewter City as Derak left the Gym. The street lights began to burn their light, and most of the citizens had gone inside. Derak raised an eyebrow.

    Guess I was out for a while, Derak thought.

    He went inside the Pokemon Center, finding Garth already there. Other trainers milled about, comparing each other’s Pokemon, but Derak paid them no mind. He simply sat down at Garth’s table.

    “So,” Garth said with a slightly amused tinge in his voice, “how did your Gym battle go?”

    “I got knocked out, literally,” Derak said. “Does that answer your question?”

    “Not particularly,” Garth said. “I suspected as much, although not exactly in the literal sense.”

    “And you didn’t tell me because…?” Derak said, his voice gaining an irritated tone.

    “Because, despite the fact that we are traveling together,” Garth said, “I am not going to bail you out of situations that you insist on getting yourself into. I have nothing to do with your pathetic Gym battles, so how to win one is your problem alone.”

    “Wow, can’t see why anyone wouldn’t like you,” Derak sighed.

    “Hmph,” Garth grunted, turning away.

    “Sir, your Electivire is as good as new!” Nurse Joy said, bringing Garth a Pokeball. Derak, however, blinked at the sight of Nurse Joy.

    “Uh…weren’t you just at Viridian City?” Derak asked as Garth took the offered Pokeball.

    “Oh, you must mean my sister,” Nurse Joy said. She produced a photo showing a plethora of Nurse Joys, the only difference between them being the color of the cross on their caps. “Everyone says that we look alike. I can’t imagine why.”

    “I can,” Derak remarked. Garth brushed past him and headed for the door. “Where are you off to?”

    “To train my Pokemon for our next encounter with Stoutland,” Garth shot back as he left.

    “Then I guess I’ll go see what I can find on route three,” Derak shrugged to himself, also leaving.

    ****

    Even though a dusky shade was in the air, Derak nonetheless ventured out to route three. As he reached the city limits of Pewter City, he looked out at the path ahead of him, finding it significantly less dense than Viridian Forest. With a shrug, he took his first steps onto route three, but within moments, something made him stop. A sudden blast of wind blew a slew of wounded Pokemon at Derak’s feet, all of them bruised and beaten. Some had large purple patches on their body, as if struck there by a living poison.

    “What the--?!” Derak cried. “What just happened? What did this to you guys?!”

    “Chooooopp,” came Derak’s answer from the bushes. A pale blue-skinned Pokemon the size of a small child slowly approached Derak, hatred in its red eyes. The hands at the ends of its thin but well-toned arms were balled into fists, and its every enraged step left a deep footprint. The three grey fins atop the Pokemon’s head only added to its intimidating properties.

    “Machop,” Derak’s Pokedex identified, “the Superpower Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Though small in stature, Machop is powerful enough to easily throw several Geodude at once. It normally lives in mountainous areas, where it can do this regularly.”

    “So, what are you doing down here?” Derak asked Machop.

    “I’ve heard it was abandoned,” came a voice behind Derak, and Melissa Armare soon stood beside him.

    “And how do YOU know this?” Derak asked with an accusatory tone.

    “Heard Nurse Joy talking about with some other trainers,” Melissa answered. “She said that some trainer abandoned his Machop around here.”

    “Sounds like something you’d be just fine with doing,” Derak said.

    “Hey, I don’t just throw away good tools!” Melissa snapped.

    “No, you just overwork them until they break,” Derak replied.

    “Do you even KNOW how to train Pokemon?!”

    “I know that you don’t do it by abusing them.”

    “How is what I do abuse?!”

    “Try the fact that you called them ‘tools’ about five seconds ago.”

    Machop blinked, wondering why those two trainers were standing there arguing instead of trying to capture it.

    “Look, we can do this all night, or we can settle it,” Derak suggested.

    “First to capture Machop is the right one,” Melissa offered.

    “Whatever floats your boat,” Derak shrugged.

    Now recognizing a more typical situation, Machop prepared a practiced battle stance, with its body slightly to the side and one foot in front of the other.

    “Wildfire, let’s go!” Derak cried.

    “Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa yelled.

    Both the starter Pokemon appeared once more. Turtwig gave Wildfire a friendly nod, but the Chimchar barely seemed to notice.

    “Focus, Turtwig!” Melissa snapped. “Use Razor Leaf!”

    Turtwig swung its head about and sent out a series of leaves, much like it did during its battle with Wildfire. Machop, however, dug its heel into the ground and kicked up a pile of dirt, which blocked the vast majority of the leaves.

    “Mud-Slap?!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, forget ranged attacks…go in for a Tackle!”

    Turtwig obeyed, barreling towards Machop as fast as its tiny feet would allow. Unfortunately, Machop simply grabbed Turtwig’s head, spun around, and threw the Grass-type into a nearby tree.

    “Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried, Wildfire responding by releasing an illuminating volley of small fireballs. Machop, however, drew its hands back, forming a vortex of wind between them. It then thrust its hands forward, sending out a small whirlwind that obliterated Wildfire’s Ember.

    “Mud-Slap, Vital Throw, Vacuum Wave…this Machop was definitely trained well,” Melissa observed. “Why get rid of it if it’s so strong?”

    “Maybe they’re just stupid like you,” Derak shot at her, earning a baleful glare. “Wildfire, use Scratch!”

    “Turtwig, get up and use Bite!” Melissa commanded.

    Wildfire rushed towards Machop, sharp fingers at the ready, but Machop drew back a glowing purple fist that soon slammed into Wildfire’s stomach in a powerful uppercut, sending the monkey sprawling across the ground. Meanwhile, Turtwig leapt out of nowhere and clamped its jaws around Machop’s arm.

    “Ma? Machop, ma machop!” Machop cried, flailing its arm about in a desperate attempt to shake Turtwig off.

    “Now, turn the tables, Turtwig!” Melissa cried. “Throw it like it threw you!”

    Turtwig spun around, somehow strong enough to take Machop with it, and threw the Superpower Pokemon into a tree. Machop slid down the bark, dazed by the impact.

    “Okay!” Melissa said, pulling a spare Pokeball out of her pocket. “Pokeball, go!”

    Melissa’s ball made contact with Machop, absorbing it in a similar manner to Sarah’s Weedle. Tumbling out of the bushes, the ball began to shake, the button on the front flashing red. It shook twice, but then burst open. Machop gave its head a shake and cracked its knuckles, evidently ready to continue.

    “Not weakened enough? Fine!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, Tackle it again!”

    Despite the apparent futility of the move, Turtwig charged forth once more, only to be knocked aside by a swift sideways chop. Machop’s removal of Turtwig, however, left it open to be struck in the chest with a full Ember from Wildfire. Machop skidded backwards from the force of the attack, gritting its teeth as one of the burns left behind began to physically afflict it.

    “Okay, guess it’s my turn,” Derak said. “Go, Pokeball.”

    Melissa slapped herself in the forehead as Derak limply tossed a Pokeball forward. The ball lightly tapped Machop’s foot, and the Superpower Pokemon was once again absorbed inside. This time, the ball shook three times…

    …and clicked.

    “Hmph,” Melissa grunted. “You got lucky, that’s all. I can win my Gym battle just fine with Turtwig, so go ahead and keep that Machop.”

    Derak barely heard her, even as she stormed off. He slowly picked up Machop’s new Pokeball and held it in his hand. The weight felt incredible.

    “I…I did it,” he said, clearly stunned. “I caught a Pokemon.”

    ****

    As Derak began his return to the Pokemon Center, Garth stood on the other side of Pewter City, near a building identified by a banner reading “PEWTER CITY MUSEUM OF SCIENCE”. By Garth’s side were his Electivire and Sableye, the latter two facing one another. Each looked prepared to put massive effort into their training.

    “Sableye, use Shock Wave!” Garth yelled.

    Sableye crossed its arms in an “X” shape, building up electrical power, which it then released in a wave of pale blue lightning. The wave made contact with Electivire, but unlike when Stoutland’s dark lightning assaulted it, no visual harm was done to it. Instead, the electricity simply sparkled about the Thunderbolt Pokemon’s body, seemingly rejuvenating it.

    “I do not understand,” Garth sighed. “Electivire’s Motor Drive ability is obviously working perfectly, which means that all electrical attacks should boost its speed…why, then, did Stoutland’s lightning deal such damage?”

    He took a swig from his canteen, spitting a portion of its contents on the ground.

    “What IS that Stoutland?” Garth continued. “How did it become so powerful?”

    “Electih?” shrugged Electivire, looking just as puzzled as its trainer.

    Garth sighed. If what he suspected was true…then his past was yet again returning to haunt him. He had to find a way to deal with Stoutland, and soon.

    “Let us continue our training,” Garth said.

    “Vire,” nodded Electivire, tensing its muscles.

    “Saaay,” Sableye grinned sadistically.

    ****

    “Here you go,” Nurse Joy said a few moments later, handing Derak his two Pokeballs, “your Pokemon are good as new.”

    “Thanks,” Derak said simply. He clicked the two Pokeballs open, releasing Wildfire and his new Machop. Immediately after being summoned, however, Machop was in somewhat of a panic. It looked around wildly, fists clenched as if expecting a fight.

    “Ma?” Machop growled. “Machop chop, ma-machop!”

    “Machop, cool it,” Derak said dully. “Nobody’s going to hurt you.”

    “Chop?” Machop said inquisitively, looking up at Derak. Its new trainer gave it a kind smile, and surprisingly enough, Machop returned it. “Machop.”

    “So, you’re all right with having me as your trainer?” Derak asked, to which Machop nodded. “Okay, then…it’s my thing to name my Pokemon, so I’m going to give you one now, okay?”

    “Chop,” Machop nodded.

    “Okay…Muscle?” Derak tried. “No, that’s weak...uh, maybe since you kept beating up Pokemon…and you’re really strong…how about Brute? Do you like that?”

    Machop put a hand to its chin, looking off into the distance as it mentally rolled over its new name.

    “Chop…Machop!” Machop nodded.

    “Okay, Brute it is,” Derak said. “Let’s save introductions for tomorrow, I’m pretty sure we’re all wiped.”

    ****

    Nick Spire and his Braviary soared through the Kanto skies, Pallet Town being nothing but a blur to them. Spire easily saw the site of Garth’s brief battle with Stoutland in Viridian Forest, but as he did not know of the S.S. Wailord’s destruction by Stoutland’s power, he could only wonder what caused such a catastrophe. He soon saw Pewter City, where he and Braviary touched down.

    “Let’s take five, Braviary,” Spire said, dismounting his bird Pokemon. He then put a hand to his chin, leaning on a lamppost. “Derak only arrived in Kanto about a day ago…he can’t have gotten too far. He might even be here in Pewter City, resting up at the Pokemon Center.”

    Hearing this, Braviary prepared to take off once more.

    “No, Braviary!” Spire cried. “Not yet! If we jump Derak now, he won’t come back willingly. We have to at least make him try and see reason before attacking.”

    Braviary considered this for a moment before nodding.

    “Let’s head over to Cerulean City,” Spire suggested. “Once we’re there, we can head Derak off and be in a suitable position to try diplomacy. I know we’ve been flying a while, but are you ready to take off again?”

    Braviary nodded eagerly.

    “Maybe I shouldn’t have given you those energy drinks,” Spire shook his head. Nonetheless he climbed aboard Braviary once more. “Okay, Braviary, let’s fly to Cerulean City!”

    With a mighty flap of its wings, Braviary took off once more, soaring against the glistening stars of the night sky.

    *****
     
  13. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    I get the feeling there might be some Beedrill around nearby...

    Gee, I wonder if there's someone who could learn from this?

    Well, this totally isn't suspicious of him at all...

    Is she a reference to the early-game Bug Catchers? It sort of looks like she might be.

    That makes sense. Nice feel of thoroughness to it.

    Hah. Derak, you better get used to this. This is the way of the world.

    He should probably learn how to use the Pokedex properly...

    I don't think any of us really doubted that it was Stoutland.

    Well then, that came out of nowhere.

    I guess you can't say he has no sense of honor.

    Dare I say, Shadow Bolt? I would imagine that if Shadow Bolt existed in a game now, it would harm a Pokemon with Motor Drive.

    I can't wait to find out what those "things" actually are.

    I think it might be better if you said "the woman whose pink hair was tied into two ring-like buns" and so on. I think it sounds better.

    While I hate to open this can of worms, I think using "Chansey" as the plural sounds better.

    I don't know why but I found that one funny. I'm sure it was meant to illustrate his naivete about Pokemon, but it was still chuckle worthy.

    Is there a reason why he keeps wondering about this?

    You probably shouldn't end two consecutive sentences with "belt."

    That's a precious clue there. From that, I'm guessing whoever it is that Garth hates so much is still alive, so the question now becomes even more about who he is.

    I am absolutely not trusting this guy. His fascination with Stoutland deeply troubles me.

    Okay, this guy here is legitimately freaking me out. I'm beginning to get some very strange suspicions about him...

    Seriously, though, his suddenly attacking the secretary made me immediately realize just how evil this guy actually is.

    It's who he truly is. That's how people like this always are.

    I think this was mostly a transitional chapter. We're still establishing stuff here, but there was some action still. Sarah's probably going to be a recurring character, and some small but precious hints were given to Garth's purpose, but I think the part that had the most impact for me was Draykus's scene at the end. Seriously, this guy is ****ed up.

    Moving on to the next chapter in my next post.
     
  14. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Seems a little unusual to me that they just passed through Viridian Forest without incident, but then again, maybe that's why the last chapter existed?

    You do have other Pokemon, Garth.

    Derak, you don't know what you're in for...

    Ooh, nice little bit of continuity from the anime.

    One-on-one? That surprised me a little; it's not something you usually see in Gym battles.

    Derak, your lack of knowledge about Pokemon is about to be your downfall...

    This is probably not going to end well for Derak.

    Aaaaaand lesson learned.

    Now that's perfectly in-character for Derak. I'd expect nothing else.

    Boy is that an understatement.

    I bet he knew already, didn't he?

    I think it's telling that Derak can't tell how much that could apply to him too.

    Oh this can't be a good sign.

    That surprised me. I was expecting Stoutland.

    MelissaXDerak OTP.

    In all seriousness, though, these two have great interaction. I really enjoy when they're around each other.

    I think this one line might be a big hint about Machop's background.

    I just realized that Chimchar and Machop might be able to identify with each other.

    Well, that's that I guess, at least for her.

    I didn't think she'd catch it, so I can't say I'm surprised she failed.

    Again, I expected that he'd get it. That Machop fits rather well into Derak's existing team, I think, because it seems to have some similarities to Wildfire in terms of personality.

    Because maybe it wasn't electricity, Garth.

    You're in a world with creatures that can be stored in little balls and made to fight each other with magical powers, and you haven't thought of that yet?

    Maybe Machop will play a sort of mentor role to Wildfire then. I could see that happening.

    A stab at that in-game trade Machop named Muscle in GSC, perhaps?

    I suppose it makes sense that he doesn't want to broadside Derak right now, but I really don't think the eventual confrontation is going to be as straightforward as it sounds right now.

    I liked this chapter more than the previous one. While the events were not as grand in scope, they did feel more exciting to read, I think. Plus, a lot of meaningful things happened here, from Derak having his first Gym battle to him catching Machop to Melissa appearing to Spire arriving.

    Looking forward to next time.
     
  15. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    The Great Butler:
    Something like that...

    It does sound better, actually.

    Good point.

    Oh, you have no idea what you're in store for...

    Garth works in mysterious ways.

    I find Muscle to be a fairly stupid name for a Machop, but then again, there are worse names (like Doris the Dodrio, Maggie the Magneton, Volty the Pikachu...)

    You have no idea how right you are...


    Well, it's about that time again. Chapter 6 is now.



    Chapter 6: Rematch



    The following morning saw Derak stepping out of the Pokemon Center, looking down proudly at the new crimson Pokeball on his belt. He picked the new ball off of that belt, holding it in his hand.

    “I see you actually managed to capture a Pokemon,” Garth remarked as he, too, exited the Pokemon Center.

    “Looks like it,” Derak said. “Brute, come on out and meet Garth.”

    Brute appeared in a flash of light, arms folded and looking just as calm as its new trainer. Garth raised an eyebrow.

    “A Machop?” he said. “How did you catch a Machop in this vicinity?”

    “Some creep apparently abandoned him,” Derak said bitterly. “Brute here wasn’t too happy about it, so he started taking it out on the Pokemon around him.”

    “Chop,” Brute nodded sadly. Now that it had a new life, it did regret its earlier actions.

    “I see,” Garth nodded. “I admit, I am glad that we have one less rogue Pokemon to deal with. Just hurry up and finish your business here. We do not have all the time in the world.”

    “I know,” Derak said harshly as he recalled Brute. “Don’t think I haven’t thought ahead, Garth. I don’t plan on staying in one place long enough for the police to drag me back to Phenac City.”

    “And I do not plan on losing Stoutland’s trail,” Garth said. “But I do see your reasoning. Just make your time in the Gym quick.”

    “That’s not really up to me,” Derak said. “What about you?”

    “I will continue my training,” Garth said. “Stoutland’s power cannot be infinite. It must have its limits, and I intend to train my Pokemon until they exceed those limits.”

    “Whatever,” Derak said as he walked into the Gym. Garth, meanwhile, made for the museum once more.

    ****

    “Welcome back,” said Forrest upon seeing Derak re-enter. “Did you catch a new Pokemon?”

    “Yeah,” Derak said simply, taking his place once more. “Can we get started, now?”

    “Sure thing,” Forrest nodded.

    His sister repeated her opening statements, and threw her flags up once more. Geodude returned to the field, rocky body sharpened and ready. Derak held Brute’s Pokeball in his hand.

    “All up to you, pal,” Derak said. “Brute, let’s go!”

    “A Machop?” Forrest remarked upon seeing Brute. “Those are pretty hard to find around here. Nice capture.”

    “Whatever,” Derak said in some odd mix between modesty and sarcasm. “Let’s just get the ball rolling.”

    “Sounds good to me,” Forrest smirked. “And thanks for the suggestion. Geodude, use Rollout!”

    Geodude curled up once more and began rolling towards Brute, accelerating its spinning speed as it came closer and closer to the Machop. Brute, however, remained unconcerned, arms still folded and body staying put. Just as Geodude was about to hit Brute, the Superpower Pokemon casually stuck its foot out and allowed the Rock Pokemon to bump into it, blocking Geodude’s attack with ease.

    “Nice, Brute!” Derak cried. “Now, use Karate Chop!”

    Brute smirked as it looked down at Geodude. It lightly shoved the Rock Pokemon with its foot, then brought its arm down onto Geodude, slamming the blade of its hand onto the Rock-type’s forehead. Geodude clutched the spot where Brute had struck it, moaning unhappily.

    “This is definitely going to be harder than last time, I’ll give you that,” Forrest remarked. “But a Gym Leader has to step up his game in that case. Geodude, use Sandstorm!”

    “Geo…DUUUUUUDDEE!” bellowed the Rock Pokemon, spinning about on its bottom and scattering sand everywhere. Both Brute and Derak covered shielded themselves with one arm, the sand kicking up into a fierce dust devil.

    “Now, Geodude, follow up with Mega Punch!” Forrest cried.

    “Brute, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak yelled. “That might get rid of the Sandstorm!”

    Brute thrust its hands forward, releasing the tunnel of wind, but rather than destroy the dust devil as Derak predicted, the two forces merely collided. The Sandstorm spread across the battlefield, still proving a nuisance to the challenger. This was emphasized in particular when Geodude rocketed out of nowhere and struck Brute with the same attack that defeated Wildfire.

    “Brute!” Derak yelled, but his Machop only skidded back, significantly less harmed by the attack than Wildfire had been. “Okay, we’re good…for now.”

    “Geodude, Rollout again!” Forrest cried.

    This time, Brute had no way of stopping Geodude’s rolling strike. The Rock Pokemon barreled straight into Brute’s front, knocking the Superpower Pokemon off balance. Unfortunately, Geodude was not finished yet. Having passed by Brute, the Rock-type turned around and struck Brute again, this time knocking the Machop over with a stronger blow.

    “Here’s the thing,” Forrest began as Geodude continued its assault. “The more times Rollout hits, the stronger it becomes. Your Machop might be a lot tougher than your Chimchar, but Geodude was raised by my big brother. It’s seen a lot of action over the years, and that makes it one of the most experienced Gym Pokemon you’ll ever see!”

    “Brute!” Derak yelled, his Machop still under attack by the relentless rolling rock. “You’ve got to pull through this!”

    The Sandstorm soon dissipated, and Geodude was seen charging for one final Rollout strike.

    “Gotcha!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vital Throw!”

    Just before Geodude made contact with it, Brute snatched the Rock Pokemon in its hands. With a quick spin, it then threw Geodude back to Forrest’s side of the arena, causing it to unfold back into its regular form as it skidded across the ground.

    “Geodude, no!” Forrest cried. “Don’t give up!”

    “Geo,” Geodude growled, planting one large hand in the ground. “DUUUDE!”

    All of a sudden, Geodude’s body began to radiate a white light. This light became blinding, enveloping Geodude’s entire body. Streaks of green energy began to swirl around the Rock-type, creating a tornado of power.

    “Wait, what’s going on?” Derak asked.

    “Oh, wow!” Forrest cried. “Geodude’s finally evolving!”

    “Evolving?” Derak repeated with confusion.

    This time, the “evolving” Geodude gave an answer. Its body began to grow, sprouting two stubby legs. Geodude’s two large arms split into four smaller ones, the upper two being larger than the bottom two. Its central body virtually tripled in size, and once the glow faded, a more ragged surface could be seen on the Pokemon’s body.

    “Graveler!” snarled the Pokemon in a gruff voice.

    “Graveler,” Derak’s Pokedex stated, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. Evolved form of Geodude. In order to move, Graveler rolls down mountain paths. Once it builds momentum, no Pokemon can possibly stop it without some difficulty.”

    “All right!” Forrest exclaimed, pumping a fist into the air. “That’s great, Geodude! You evolved into Graveler!”

    “Uh…is anyone going to explain to me what this ‘evolution’ thing is?” Derak asked.

    “You don’t know?” Forrest blinked. “When some Pokemon reach a certain condition, they evolve into different Pokemon. They get stronger, and they’re even capable of learning new moves. Let’s show him, Graveler! Use Rock Polish and then Rollout!”

    Graveler’s body began to shine brightly, as if it had just been polished by a world-class professional. It then folded up into a ball once more, charging towards Brute with a significant speed boost. Moving too quickly for the Machop to react, Graveler slammed into the Superpower Pokemon, knocking it flat onto its back.

    “Brute!” Derak cried.

    “Looks like the tables have turned!” Forrest declared. “Graveler, keep going with Rollout!”

    “Brute, stop it with Vacuum Wave!” Derak yelled.

    Brute groaned as it got up, eyes widening as Graveler neared it with another Rollout strike. Before the Rock Pokemon could near it, however, Brute shoved its hands forward and released another Vacuum Wave. The vortex of wind erupting from Brute’s hands did prove to have sufficient force to stop Graveler, holding the rolling boulder at bay as it made continued attempts to advance. Brute gritted its teeth as it struggled to maintain its Vacuum Wave, the sheer force behind Graveler making the Rock Pokemon quite a chore to hold back.

    As the struggle for dominance continued, Graveler’s body began to sink into the ground. Brute began to wince from overexertion, but when its arms fell to its sides and halted the Vacuum Wave, Graveler did not attack. It, too, had a problem: half of its body was stuck in the ground.

    “Uh…okay, that works,” Derak shrugged, making it no secret that such an outcome was the farthest thing from what he intended. “Brute, pull it out with Vital Throw!”

    After taking a breath, Brute grabbed hold of one of Graveler’s outstretched arms and began to spin around, taking Graveler with it. Despite the tremendous weight of the evolved Rock Pokemon’s body, Brute held it with little difficulty, partially thanks to the centrifugal force generated from its spin. After roughly ten seconds of spinning, Brute threw Graveler with a mighty heave, sending the Rock-type sailing past Forrest and onto the floor by his side.

    “Graveler!” Forrest cried, seeing his brother’s Pokemon unconscious on the floor. “You did great, Graveler. Brock would be real proud of you.”

    Forrest recalled Graveler and looked to Derak, whose mind was long gone as he stared into space.

    “We…we won,” Derak breathed. “Brute, we won! You did it!”

    With a jubilant spring in his step, Derak leapt onto the field and exchanged a high-five with Brute. Due to the Superpower Pokemon’s strength, however, a cracking sound was heard once Derak’s hand made contact with Brute’s.

    “Aah!” Derak cried, clutching his injured hand.

    “Chop…?” Brute said, staring worriedly at Derak and reaching out with one hand. Its trainer, however, simply took its hand and smiled.

    “Thanks for your help, Brute,” Derak smiled, shaking his injured hand lightly in an effort to ease the pain. “Couldn’t have done it without you.”

    “Machop!” Brute nodded, lightly shaking hands with Derak.

    “Hey,” Forrest said, calling the victorious challenger’s attention to him as he approached. “You made a pretty good comeback, Derak. You deserve this.”

    He handed Derak a small chunk of metal shaped like a miniature grey boulder.

    “This is the Boulder Badge,” Forrest explained. “It’s your first step on the way to the Kanto League. Oh, and take this, too.”

    He handed Derak a flat orange container, big enough to hold at least eight badges.

    “That badge case will let you store your badges,” Forrest said. “Good luck with the rest of your journey.”

    “Thanks,” Derak said, quietly pinning the Boulder Badge to the inside of his badge case before recalling Brute. He then left without another word.

    “Huh,” Forrest said. “Yeah, he’s definitely not a people person.”

    ****

    Outside, Garth again stood with his Electivire and Sableye. As the former was his best battler and the latter could create the most accurate replications of Stoutland’s attacks, these were the prime choice for Garth’s training concept. At the moment, Electivire and Sableye faced each other in a sparring match, both knowing this fact but giving their all nonetheless.

    “Sableye, Shadow Ball!” Garth ordered. “Electivire, Iron Tail!”

    Sableye cast forth the ball of darkness it had injured Professor Krane with, this time with Electivire as its target. Unlike Krane, however, Electivire could fight back, and did so by swinging one tail—empowered with a silver energy—through the Shadow Ball, obliterating it.

    “Good,” Garth said. “Now, use Thunder while Sableye uses Detect.”

    Electivire released a bolt of lightning at its sparring partner, whose gemstone eyes radiated a bright gleam. As the bolt neared its target, Sableye nimbly leapt aside, landing safely on its feet.

    “Well done,” Garth praised his Pokemon. “But we can only judge if this training is sufficient if we encounter Stoutland again. If it is not, we will simply redouble our efforts. Am I making myself clear?”

    “Tivire,” Electivire nodded.

    “Sableye,” rasped the small gremlin.

    “Hey, Garth,” Derak called somewhat lifelessly as he approached. “How’s the training going?”

    “Well enough,” Garth replied. “Have you finally won yet?”

    Derak pulled his badge case out of his pocket.

    “Badge case,” he stated, allowing it to fall open and display his prize. “Badge. So, yeah, I won.”

    “It certainly took you long enough,” Garth sneered. “Electivire, Sableye, return.”

    Holding a Pokeball in each hand, Garth recalled his two Pokemon.

    “So, where next?” Derak asked.

    “If I remember correctly,” Garth said, putting a hand to his chin, “the next Gym is in Cerulean City. As it is a Water-type Gym, your Chimchar will be utterly useless there.”

    He ignored the heated glare Derak gave him and pointed over to route three.

    “If we leave Pewter City immediately and then cut through Mount Moon,” Garth continued, “we will reach Cerulean City within a matter of hours.”

    “How do you know all this?” Derak asked. “Have you been to Kanto before?”

    “I have been everywhere,” Garth said vaguely. “Now, are you coming or not?”

    “I’m coming, I’m coming,” Derak sighed. “Lead on, oh great wise one who has no time for things like breathing.”

    Garth scowled as he turned and obliged. As the two left, however, a boy of about twelve watched them depart. He wore a blue pinstripe suit, although it was in such poor condition—covered in dirt and tattered in some places—that it could have been mistaken for anything else. His long, greasy black hair fell to his shoulders, and a short white necktie hung loosely from around his neck. The boy looked at them with an intrigued gaze from his two eyes: one blue and one brown.

    “Most interesting,” the boy said, a sinister grin spreading across his face.

    *****
     
  16. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Why do I get the feeling that Machop's former trainer might appear? Maybe he/she already did, methinks...

    The museum? Maybe Stoutland has some ancient origins?

    Not wasting any time getting right to business, huh?

    Brute is amusing to me. I think I'm going to like him quite a bit.

    I assume you're taking a looser definition of how Rollout works, since you're using it non-consecutively?

    Oh wait, I just realized, the first one didn't hit. Nevermind.

    Ooh, it's Brock's Geodude? Neat bit of continuity.

    Wow, um... Derak's luck sucks, doesn't it? That thing was around for over a decade without evolving and finally decided to do it while fighting him.

    I actually started to forget about his upbringing, so thanks for keeping it consistent here.

    Okay, that's pretty creative. I like it.

    I have to say, I'm surprised he actually pulled it off. I thought he was going to lose again.

    Oops. XD;

    Okay, I found some humor in the dissonance there. First it's a happy scene, and then all of a sudden he just leaves and Forrest deadpans something about it. It made me laugh.

    Does Sableye know Recover? That would also make it a good training partner.

    Also, does Garth have any other Pokemon?

    Garth's pretty relentless in his training, but he doesn't come off as a jerk with it, so I think that tells me that you're writing him well.

    I love the attitude he has about all of this.

    A hint toward something?

    What? Now that came right out of nowhere. Obviously going to be a new rival, but maybe this kid has some connection to Stoutland? I get a pretty bad feeling from him.

    I liked this chapter, but I think it lacked focus a little. I guess the Gym battle was okay for being a single-Pokemon battle, but I think Garth's training could have used a little more focus than it received. Of course, Mt. Moon might change that.
     
  17. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    The Great Butler:
    Oh, you'll see in time...

    I can't say much regarding that, but I will say that you're on the right track.

    My intention is actually for Derak to have some pretty miserable luck, actually. For example, he'll be getting hit (directly or otherwise) by an attack in most of his Gym battles. XD

    I'm pretty sure that Sableye can't even learn Recover. I try to stick fairly closely to the in-game learnsets.

    Also, Garth does have a total of six Pokemon (he's mainly training Electivire due to it being his best one and thus his best shot against Stoutland). So far we've seen Electivire, Torkoal, and Sableye. A fourth will debut in chapter 8.

    You should.


    Now, then...I have no idea how well this chapter is going to go over, especially since it's been a long time since I saw the subject of this chapter, but I guess I'm going to find out. All I can say is that I hope it's enjoyable.





    Chapter 7: Pewter City Pokemon Contest



    As Derak and Garth trekked to Cerulean City, a large domed building came into their sight. The building appeared to be quite popular, as people of all sorts poured into it with excited faces.

    “What’s that?” Derak asked.

    “Something not worth our attention,” Garth snapped. “We should stay focused on the path ahead.”

    “Then watch it for me while I check this out,” Derak said, merging with the flood of people.

    “Derak, we do not have time for—” Garth tried, but Derak was already gone. “Damn it…this had better be worth the trouble.”

    With little other choice in the matter, Garth also entered the building. Once there, he had to shield his eyes, as bright and cheerful decorations positively covered the walls. Growling bitterly, he lowered his arm shield just enough to scan for Derak, whom he found reading a poster.

    “I told you, we have no time for trivial nonsense!” Garth spat.

    “Forgive me for wanting to know more about things I haven’t seen in my entire life,” Derak snidely replied. “Any idea what a ‘Pokemon Contest’ is?”

    “I have heard of those,” Garth said bitterly. “They are little more than cheap productions designed to flaunt Pokemon around like children’s toys.”

    “Can I quote you on that, all-knowing one?” Derak quipped, earning a scowl from Garth. “How about I ask someone who actually knows what he’s talking about?”

    “Perhaps one who has participated in Pokemon Contests would be more to your liking?” a polite voice asked.

    A man in a wide dark green hat approached the two, a golden harp in his hands. He was draped in a green cloak (albeit one that, unlike Garth’s, lacked a hood) over top of a blue-and-green dress shirt. His long black hair spilled out from underneath his hat, and his kind blue eyes looked as if they had seen much of the world.

    “And who are you?” Garth growled.

    “I am called Nando,” the harp-holding man said.

    “Name’s Derak,” the runaway trainer said flatly. “The jerkhole is Garth.”

    Despite Garth’s unending glares and Derak’s rudeness, Nando’s smile never faded even an inch.

    “It is an honor to make your acquaintance, Derak and Garth,” Nando said. “Now, then, how may I be of assistance?”

    “Can you explain this whole Contest idea to me?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda new to this whole Pokemon training thing.”

    “Worry not,” Nando smiled. “We were all beginners at one time, including myself.”

    A far-off look suddenly came to Garth’s eyes, as if some distant image came into his field of vision.

    “A Pokemon Contest is a competition in which one who partakes—called a Pokemon Coordinator—must direct a performance by their Pokemon,” Nando began, oblivious to Garth’s being in a sort of trance. “First is the appeal round, where a Pokemon must demonstrate their abilities in a captivating way. Should one pass the appeal round, he or she will then partake in the battle round, where Pokemon battle each other but still do so in a way that appeals to the audience.”

    “Okay, with you so far,” Derak said. “What do you get out of these Contests, anyway?”

    “An excellent question,” Nando remarked. “The victor of a Pokemon Contest receives a ribbon. Whoever receives five ribbons, achieved by winning five Contests, is eligible to enter the Grand Festival. The winner of the Grand Festival is proclaimed a Top Coordinator, and is granted the coveted Ribbon Cup as a reward for their troubles.”

    “Wow,” Derak said, head filling with images of himself bearing such an award in sight of a kinder, more loving version of his father. “You get a trophy from all that?”

    “Yes, indeed,” Nando nodded. “I managed to achieve a rank in the top four of the Sinnoh region’s Grand Festival, but I have recently decided to take my efforts here to Kanto. I am pleased to have already made a new friend.”

    Garth shut his eyes, trying to hide the emotions they radiated. The pain, the sorrow…they would lead to questions. He had no time to answer such irritating inquiries, now that he had found what he was looking for.

    “As for you, sir,” Nando said, turning to Garth, “I can see just by your appearance that you are quite experienced in the ways of the world, but perhaps you should give a chance to concepts you have yet to experience.”

    Garth’s eyes snapped open, and with a feral snarl he grabbed Nando’s shirt and slammed the minstrel into the wall. Nando’s harp clattered to the floor, its owner otherwise occupied.

    “The last time I gave something a chance,” Garth snarled, “it turned out to be the worst decision I ever made in my entire life! How dare you tell me to--!”

    “Garth, knock it off!” Derak yelled. “You’re not exactly being subtle, you know!”

    This was true. Many eyes now looked upon Garth and how he was threatening Nando, most glaring at the former with disapproval or anger. Some had even sent out their Pokemon, which now glared at the aggressive man and waited for the first order to attack. With a bitter grunt of defeat, Garth released Nando and wordlessly left the building.

    “You all right, Nando?” Derak asked.

    “I am quite well, thank you,” Nando said, gently brushing himself off. Shockingly, he was still perfectly calm and incredibly polite despite the experience he had just endured.

    “Just for the record,” Derak said, “you’re not the first person Garth’s gone bipolar on.”

    “It is quite all right,” Nando smiled, surprising even Derak with his forgiving nature. “I am concerned, however, that your companion has experienced some sort of past tragedy that has driven him to become the man he is today.”

    Derak paused, having never considered this fact before. Before Nando could explain further, however, another new face appeared on the scene. This one was a young man with short reddish-brown hair, dressed in a dark tuxedo bearing white gloves and a white dress shirt to match. He wore a yellow tie with jagged black designs etched across it, and his shoes were also black.

    “I heard the commotion,” the young man said. “Everything all right?”

    “Indeed,” Nando nodded. “I thank you for your concern.”

    The young man’s eyes fell on Derak and widened slightly.

    “Hey, you look sort of familiar,” the young man said. “What’s your name?”

    “Derak,” shrugged the runaway trainer.

    “Derak?” the young man repeated, eyes going wider. “Derak Kadir? Is that really you? It’s me, Timmy Grimm!”

    Derak blinked, squinting at Timmy, before a mental switch flipped.

    “Oh, yeah, I remember you,” Derak said. “Your mom brought you to Gateon Port on a business trip when I was, what, five?”

    “Great to see you again!” Timmy smiled, reaching out his hand. Derak reluctantly took it, though only because Timmy was a childhood friend.

    “Ah, a reunion of old friends,” Nando smiled. “Truly, there are no words to express such an encounter. I shall not hinder your discussions in any way, my friends. Until we meet again.”

    Nando bowed and headed deeper into the building. Timmy, meanwhile, remained with Derak.

    “So, your dad finally gave you permission to start a Pokemon journey?” Timmy asked.

    “Not really,” Derak said. “I had to take my life into my own hands, so I did.”

    “You ran away?” Timmy asked. “I guess some people just can’t be convinced, huh?”

    “My so-called dad in a nutshell,” Derak sighed. “Let me guess, you’re a Coordinator?”

    “Right,” Timmy nodded. “I used to go by the ‘Phantom Coordinator’ since my mom wouldn’t let me enter Contests at first. Now that she’s okay with it, I decided to become a traveling Coordinator, and my latest stop is the Kanto region.”

    “Cool,” Derak said, albeit somewhat dully. “Can I watch the Contest? I want to see what all this fuss is about.”

    “Absolutely!” Timmy nodded. “The seats are that way. Hope you enjoy the show!”

    ****

    Enjoyment was the last thing on Garth’s mind. He stood outside as he pounded his fist against the wall of the Contest Hall, growling in rage.

    “That damn bard…who does he think he is?” Garth snarled. Although his pain was deep, Nando’s words were able to draw up agonizing memories in spite of that. Garth clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut, as if it would somehow block out the one most haunting image in his mind.

    A small body of dust blowing out of his hands.

    A single tear rolled down Garth’s cheek, and with a wrathful roar, he slammed both his fists on the wall.

    ****

    “Welcome, all you Contest lovers!” a woman in a blue athetic-looking suit proclaimed, a microphone headpiece nestled in her curly orange hair. “My name is Lilian Meridian, and I’m here to bring you a smorgasbord of beautiful Pokemon performances!”

    Derak sat in the top row, the two seats to his left taken by Brute and Wildfire. Derak was lounging in his seat, quietly and methodically consuming a bag of popcorn he had acquired from the refreshment stand. Brute looked on with interest, as it—like its trainer—had never experienced a Contest before. Wildfire, however, was glancing nervously at the voluminous amount of spectators who had gathered to observe the Contest.

    “The appeals will be judged by these three lovely people!” Lilian continued, grandly gesturing to an aging man in a red suit, a shorter man in a blue suit, and the Nurse Joy from Pewter City’s Pokemon Center. “The Contest founder, Raoul Contesta…the president of the Pokemon Fan Club, Mr. Sukizo…and Pewter City’s very own Nurse Joy!”

    Each judge nodded as Lilian gestured to each one in turn.

    “And this is what all those Coordinators are competing for!” Lilian cried, displaying a ribbon tied up with a golden trinket. “This ribbon will put the winning coordinator on the road to the Grand Festival, so let’s help them give it their all!”

    The crowd, sans Derak and his Pokemon, let out a mighty cheer.

    “And now, without further ado, let’s begin the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!” Lilian declared, pumping her fist into the air and inciting another thunderous cheer from the audience. “First up is a coordinator from Verdanturf Town, Hoenn! Once known as the Phantom Coordinator, here is Timmy Grimm!”

    Timmy came on stage, gave a bow to the audience, and threw a Pokeball into the air.

    “Gastly, come on out!” Timmy cried.

    The Pokemon Timmy chose seemed rather simple: a dark orb surrounded by a purple vapor, the only identifying features being two large malevolent eyes and a wide fanged mouth.

    “Gaastly!” the Pokemon cackled, swirling its purple vapor around it.

    “Gastly,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Gas Pokemon. Type is Ghost and Poison. Gastly is said to be born from gases. Anyone who inhales the poisonous gases it creates will instantly faint.”

    “That’s…a little disturbing,” Derak commented.

    “Gastly, use Smog!” Timmy yelled.

    Gastly released a violet fume from its wide mouth, covering the floor in a foggy substance.

    “Now, Psychic!” Timmy cried.

    A blue glow shone from Gastly’s eyes as the Smog became outlined in the same color. The Smog then began to curl into twisting columns that swirled around Gastly, forming rings of fog around the Gas Pokemon.

    “Finish with Hex!” Timmy ordered.

    The rings shifted to Gastly’s front, and formed a single tunnel of smog with a hole at one end and Gastly at the other. Suddenly, the hole at the end opposite Gastly spawned a horizontal line of darkness, which quickly split open to reveal itself as a single, sinister eye. The eye’s red iris glanced about before vanishing in a shower of dark sparks, the tunnel doing the same.

    “Ooh, what a creepy appeal!” Lilian commented. “What do our judges have to say?”

    “Very interesting,” Contesta said. “Timmy has used his experiences as the Phantom Coordinator well, evidenced by how expertly he used Gastly’s naturally eerie presence.”

    “Yes!” agreed Sukizo. “It was remarkable!”

    “I liked how it looked as if Gastly was looking at the audience through a telescope!” Nurse Joy added.

    Timmy bowed and left the stage.

    “Our next Coordinator is another experienced contender!” Lilian announced. “He made it to the top four of the Sinnoh Grand Festival, and now he’s bringing his talents here to Kanto! Give it up for…Nando!”

    Nando entered the stage and, polite as ever, gave a brief bow to the audience.

    “Petilil, let us begin our performance!” Nando cried, throwing a Pokeball.

    Nando’s choice was a Pokemon just as simplistic as Timmy’s Gastly. It consisted of a white face sporting a light green bulb around it, rather reminiscent of hair aside from the trio of leaves bursting from the top. Underneath the face was what appeared to be a light green blob upon which the Pokemon stood.

    “Petilil,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Bulb Pokemon. Type is Grass. The leaves on its head are very bitter, and eating one is said to refresh a tired body. Because Petilils prefer environments with moist and nutrient-rich soil, areas where Petilils are abundant are excellent for growing plants.”

    “Petilil, use Double Team, please,” Nando said politely.

    Once the attack started, Derak rubbed his eyes to make sure they were working properly. Petilil had somehow replicated itself multiple times within the space of a few seconds, each of the Petilils standing side-by-side.

    “Uh…what?” Derak sputtered, utterly perplexed at this case of one becoming many.

    “Now, use Round, if you please,” Nando said. “Then kindly use Entrainment as we practiced, if you would.”

    One by one, Nando’s many Petilils began to sing a cheerful melody. Nando began to strum his fingers across the strings of his harp as his Petilils began to dance, swinging its oddly-formed lower body about in time with Nando’s music and its own song. Most of the Petilils eventually began to circle around a single Petilil, still performing their song-and-dance routine. Finally, when Nando’s song ended, the encircling Petilils vanished, revealing the center Bulb Pokemon as the true one.

    “What an enchanting appeal!” Lilian cried, Derak sighing at her poor attempt at a pun. “What do our judges think?”

    “Very well-executed!” Contesta remarked. “It was simple yet beautiful, and played to Nando’s strengths quite well.”

    “Yes!” agreed Sukizo. “It was remarkable!”

    “Petilil is so cute,” Nurse Joy commented, “so watching it dance just made my heart melt!”

    Nando bowed again and departed, leaving the stage to Lilian once more.

    “Our first two contestants might have been Contest veterans,” Lilian began, “but our next is a newcomer from the Orre region!”

    Derak blinked. A coordinator from Orre? Derak’s homeland had no Contests to speak of, meaning that whoever was going to participate had his work cut out for them.

    But as Lilian gave way to the next contender, “he” turned out to be a girl. She looked about eleven, with the bangs of her long purple hair hanging over her face. She wore a plain tan jacket paired with somewhat baggy pants, a pocket of which she slowly reached into in order to retrieve a Pokeball.

    The girl looked up and gulped at the sight of the audience looming over her. The grip on her Pokeball tightened, sweat running down her neck and what was visible of her eyes wide with sheer terror.

    “Miss?” Contesta said. “Don’t be afraid.”

    The girl nervously looked at the judges, lifting her hair out of her eyes just enough to reveal their green color.

    “Are…are you sure that…I won’t...I won’t mess this up?” the girl stuttered.

    “I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Nurse Joy said with a reassuring smile. “Please, tell us your name.”

    “…T-T-Te—Teresa,” the girl stammered. “M-my…my name is Teresa.”

    Should she really be doing this? Derak thought. She looks scared out of her wits.

    “Please, show us your appeal, Teresa,” Nurse Joy said. “I’m sure you’ll be wonderful.”

    “O-oh…okay,” Teresa nodded. With a deep breath, she finally threw her Pokeball. “Sh-Shinx, please come out!”

    Teresa’s Pokeball released a small cat-like Pokemon with cute yellow eyes and large, egg-shaped ears. The front half of its body was blue, save the black collar around its neck and the yellow rings around its ankles. By contrast, the rear half of Shinx’s body was black, with a tail that ended in a golden star.

    “Shinx,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Flash Pokemon. Type is Electric. The extension and contraction of a Shinx’s muscles generates electricity, which causes it to glow when it is in trouble. Shinx are mainly found in the Sinnoh region.”

    “Wait, what?” Derak blinked. “We’re in Kanto. How’d she get a Pokemon from the Sinnoh region?”

    “Chop machop?” Brute shrugged. Wildfire only maintained its blank expression.

    “Shinx, I…I need you to use Hidden Power,” Teresa stammered.

    Shinx nodded, making a seeming attempt to ease its trainer’s nerves, then shut its eyes in concentration. Orbs of pink light soon formed around the small cat’s body, and when Shinx’s eyes snapped open, the orbs swirled in a circle as they rose into the air.

    “Now, uh…could you use Thunder Wave?” Teresa ventured.

    Shinx nodded again, this time releasing a volley of small lightning bolts from its body. The lightning danced about the Hidden Power orbs, causing them to pulse with electrical energy.

    “I…I think it’s time for us to…to finish,” Teresa said. “Please, Shinx, I…I need you to use Double Kick.”

    Shinx leapt into the air, flipping about as its feet agilely struck the electrified Hidden Power. The orbs subsequently dove into the stage, exploding in a shower of light and sparks as each one made contact. Once all the orbs had been launched into the stage, Shinx landed with a confident smirk.

    “That was well done,” Contesta praised. “You may have had some nerves at the start, but you and your Shinx came through very well.”

    “I agree!” Sukizo cried. “Remarkable!”

    “…is that all he ever says?” Derak asked.

    Brute, despite being the only one of Derak’s Pokemon who had any form of emotional reaction to events, only shrugged.

    “Th-thank you…thank you all so much,” Teresa bowed, recalling Shinx and leaving the stage as quickly as possible.

    “She didn’t do too badly, did she?” Derak asked his Pokemon. Brute gave him a thumbs-up of approval, but Wildfire simply stared at the stage. “Uh…right. Look, I need to use the bathroom, so I’ll be right back. Hold my seat, okay?”

    Brute nodded, and as Derak pushed his way out of the seats, his Machop noticed a boy with blood red pants and a black leather jacket stroll onto the stage as if he owned it. A few seats away, a teenager with a long blue ponytail leaned forward, as if expecting something.

    “Machoooppp,” Brute growled. It had a bad feeling about these two.

    ****

    “Ugh, who would have thought the lines for the bathroom would be a dozen people long?” Derak complained as he returned to his seat. “So, guys, what did I miss?”

    “Welcome back to the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!” Lilian cried. “Now that the appeals have ended, it’s time to enter the battle round!”

    “…I guess that answers my question,” Derak sighed.

    “All the coordinators who passed the appeal round will now battle it out for the Pewter City Contest’s ribbon!” Lilian announced. “First up are Nando and Teresa!”

    The two participants returned to the stage, each bearing a different demeanor. While Nando’s expression was as cheerful and polite as ever, Teresa looked as if she would either pass out or flee the stage. Her hands were shaking, her stage fright having evidently returned.

    “Please, miss, you shouldn’t worry,” Nando said with a smile.

    “B-but…this is my first Contest battle,” Teresa stammered, eyes on the floor and fingers fidgeting. “I…I don’t know if we can…”

    She trailed off, but the audience got the gist of her sentence. Nando, did, as well.

    “Miss Teresa, please, do not doubt yourself,” Nando said, his tone remaining as civil and kind. “Whether you win or lose, the experience of battling itself remains an important aspect of Pokemon training.”

    A flash of light erupted out of Teresa’s belt, taking the shape of a pale green quadruped Pokemon. Its neck bore what looked similar to a necklace of green orbs, and above its red eyes was a large green leaf. Once on Teresa’s side of the field, the Pokemon—despite having never actually been called out by its trainer—took a fighting stance.

    “Chikorita,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. It uses the leaf on its head to determine temperature and humidity. It is a docile Pokemon that likes to sunbathe.”

    “Chik-o!” Teresa’s Chikorita cried fiercely. “Chiko, chiko!”

    “Er…Chikorita?” Teresa ventured. “I, uh…I didn’t really want you to battle just yet.”

    “Chiko!” Chikorita yelled, whirling on its trainer. “Chiko, chiko, chiko!”

    The small Grass-type dashed behind its trainer and began to shove her leg, as if urging her forward. When it realized that Teresa would not budge, however, Chikorita sighed and went back in front of her, this time yelling at Nando.

    “Chik, chiko!” Chikorita cried. “Chiko, chi-chiko!”

    So much for being docile, Derak thought. Nando, however, simply chuckled at Chikorita’s feistiness.

    “What an eager Pokemon,” Nando said. “Its wish seems to be for us to progress with our battle. I have no intention of disappointing such a good friend, so let me oblige.”

    Nando removed a Pokeball from his cloak and released a small deer-like Pokemon. Its face and lower body were a pale tan, whereas the rest of its body was pink. Yellow markings along its sides accentuated the pink, and a yellow flower on its head completed the look. The deer’s cute black eyes looked upon Chikorita in friendly manner, despite their owner’s knowledge of the coming battle.

    “Deerling,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Season Pokemon. Type is Normal and Grass. The color and scent of a Deerling’s fur changes to match the seasons. When it senses hostility, it hides in the grass.”

    “Are the trainers ready?” Lilian asked, mainly to prevent another conversation between them. Nando nodded, but Teresa merely gulped. “Then let’s GOOOO!”

    Teresa shrunk at the sound of Lilian’s booming voice, but she managed to recover in time to give her Pokemon an order.

    “Ch-Chikorita,” she stammered, “I need you to use…Tackle.”

    Chikorita rushed forward as fast as its four legs would allow, completely undaunted by Deerling’s greater size. Deerling, however, leapt into the air and avoided Chikorita’s charge, its black hooves clicking as it landed back on the stage.

    “Deerling, use Jump Kick, if you please,” Nando said.

    “Chikorita, cou…counter with Razor Leaf!” Teresa cried out in a panic.

    Chikorita needed only swing around its leaf to release the same sort of leaf barrage used by Melissa’s Turtwig, but even though it was aimed at the already-airborne Deerling, the Season Pokemon still avoided damage. Rather than dodge, however, Deerling simply kicked at each leaf, shattering them into pieces as it barreled down upon Chikorita. Before Teresa’s Pokemon could dodge, Deerling’s hooves slammed into its body, knocking it out instantly.

    “Chikorita!” Teresa cried, her nerves vanishing in an instant upon seeing her injured Pokemon. She ran out, brushing past Deerling, and took Chikorita in her arms. “Chikorita, I…I’m sorry. I wasn’t good enough.”

    “Teresa?” Nando said, approaching her. “Please, do not say such things about yourself. You did quite well for a beginner.”

    “R-reh…really?” Teresa sputtered. “I…thank you, Nando.”

    “And with that, Nando wins the first match of the battle round!” Lilian declared as Nando and Teresa left the stage. “Next up, it’s Timmy Grimm versus Contest newcomer Aiden Takeshi!”

    Timmy appeared on stage once more, this time alongside the leather-garbed boy whose appeal Derak missed. Both appeared confident, but Aiden’s face expressed much more arrogance than Timmy’s. The mysterious teen with the blue ponytail leaned forward with a grunt, eyeing Aiden darkly.

    “All right, Cyndaquil, win me that ribbon!” Aiden cried, throwing an orange Pokeball.

    From the Pokeball came a small Pokemon with a long nose and what appeared to be chronically-squinting eyes. While its stomach, limbs, and face were a tan shade, its back was blue, and had a number of red dots on its main body. With a simple flex, Aiden’s chosen Pokemon ignited a fire that burst from those dots, the intensity of the fire showing its readiness.

    “Okay, Dusknoir, you’re up!” Timmy cried.

    Timmy’s chosen Pokemon was significantly bigger than all others used previously in the battle round, being even bigger than its trainer. Its body was dominantly black with yellow stripes across its arms, and on its bulbous stomach was a pattern reminiscent of a sinister face. The Pokemon had no legs, instead a jagged tail, and its head appeared to be a pale grey mask housing a single red eye. The Pokemon’s large grey hands clenched into fists, spreading its arms wide in a frightening gesture.

    “Dussk-nooiiiirrr,” hissed Timmy’s Pokemon as it levitated above the stage.

    “Whuh-wha…?!” Aiden sputtered, taking a step back alongside his Cyndaquil. “What is that thing?!”

    “Good question,” Derak muttered as he reached for his Pokedex.

    “Dusknoir,” the Dex identified, “the Gripper Pokemon. Type is Ghost. Evolved form of Dusclops. Dusknoir is said to take lost spirits into its body and guide them home.”

    “Cyndaquil,” the Pokedex said upon being pointed in the direction of Aiden’s Pokemon, “the Fire Mouse Pokemon. Type is Fire. It has a timid nature. When it is startled, the flames on its back burn more vigorously”

    Aiden shivered at the sight of Dusknoir, and Cyndaquil’s flame flickered violently, its eagerness having been replaced by sheer terror. Aiden nervously glanced into the crowd, and saw the blue-haired teen sending him a warning glare. With a shake of his head, Aiden made the first move.

    “Cyndaquil, use Flame Wheel!” he cried.

    Despite its initial uneasiness regarding its opponent, Cyndaquil bravely charged forth, the flames on its back forming into a wheel of fire. This fiery wheel bounced into the air, preparing to slam down upon Timmy’s Pokemon.

    “Ready, Dusknoir?” Timmy asked, receiving a nod from his Ghost-type. “Okay, then use Thunderpunch!”

    One of Dusknoir’s fists began to crackle with electricity, and as Cyndaquil’s Flame Wheel drew near, the Gripper Pokemon drew back its electrical fist. With a mighty swing, Dusknoir’s electrified fist slammed directly into the flaming Cyndaquil snout, disintegrating the Flame Wheel and sending the small Fire Mouse Pokemon shooting into its trainer’s chest. Aiden was literally knocked off the stage by the sheer force of the impact, prompting an angry grimace from the blue-haired teen.

    “Whoa, what was that?!” Derak cried, but his voice became drowned out by Lilian’s imminent commentary.

    “And in one dynamic move, Timmy and his Dusknoir win the battle round!” Lilian cried. “Stay tuned, Contest fans! We’ll be right back with the finale!”

    ****

    With the Contest now in intermission, Derak and his Pokemon took this opportunity to stretch their legs. As such, the three were soon in the Contest lobby, Derak leaning against a wall.

    “I have to say,” Derak began, “this Contest thing looks pretty fun. What do you guys think?”

    Wildfire failed to respond, but Brute simply shrugged.

    “Ugh…Wildfire, why don’t you get it?” Derak sighed. “You’re not my pet machine, you’re my friend.”

    Now Wildfire was actively ignoring any social interaction from its trainer. Derak sighed, putting his head in one hand.

    “What am I going to do with you?” he groaned.

    “Out of the way, coming through!” Aiden yelled, barging out of the Contest stadium so fast that his brown pompadour bounced rather violently. He stopped just before the front gate, steadying himself via a hand on the wall as he caught his breath.

    “What are you running from?” Derak asked, but his question was soon answered when the blue-haired teen strode out of the doors, casting a deadly glare towards Aiden.

    “Uh, hey, man!” Aiden laughed nervously, one hand behind his head. “So, uh, you enjoy the show?”

    The blue-haired teen said nothing, but instead did something alarming: he took a deep breath, and then belched a stream of fire directly at Aiden. Had the coordinator not ducked, he would have received more than singed hair.

    “How in the…what just happened?!” Derak cried, but the blue-haired teen paid him no mind as he went over and picked up Aiden by the front of his jacket.

    “Okay, okay!” Aiden cried. “Look, I know I didn’t win, but I’ll win the next Contest! You’ll totally see, I’ll get you the Ribbon Cup, I promise!”

    The blue-haired teen seemed satisfied, releasing Aiden from his grip. After readjusting his jacket, Aiden left the building, his blue-haired attacker following.

    “Uh…was I hallucinating, or did that guy with the blue hair just literally breathe fire at Aiden?” Derak asked.

    “Chop,” Brute replied, shaking its head. Now it knew what was so disturbing about those two. The sounds of applause and cheers, however, interrupted further musings.

    “Looks like the Contest is starting back up,” Derak observed. “Better hunt down our seats again.”

    ****

    “Welcome back, all you Contest lovers!” Lilian cried, making one grand gesture after another as the audience’s excitement escalated. “It’s time for our final round! To my left, Timmy Grimm from Verdanturf Town, Hoenn! And to my right, Nando from Alamos Town, Sinnoh! With five minutes on the clock, it’s time for us…to BEGIN!”

    As if triggered by the emphasis in the last word of Lilian’s introduction, a timer placed upon a large scoreboard (which Derak only just noticed due to having been unusually focused on the actual battles) began to count down, second by second. Nando once again released Deerling, but once the small Normal-type beheld Timmy’s imposing Dusknoir, the small Season Pokemon’s eyes went wide with terror as the rest of its body began to shake.

    “Please, Deerling, let us do this together,” Nando said, and Deerling’s nerves calmed somewhat. “Use Shadow Ball, if you please.”

    Deerling formed a ball of crackling darkness in front of its mouth, which it then fired towards Dusknoir. The Ghost-type’s response, however, took the audience by surprise: the jagged line on its stomach split open and swallowed the Shadow Ball. Once the pseudo-mouth clamped shut, Dusknoir’s body began to pulse with dark energy. Of the two circular meters next to Timmy and Nando’s images on the board, Nando’s point amount depleted by roughly a third.

    “All right! Now, Dusknoir, use Focus Punch!” Timmy yelled.

    “Deerling, evade, please,” Nando said with his typical nonchalance.

    The newly-empowered Dusknoir shot into the air, leaving a hazy trail of darkness in its wake. Although it drew one fist back, transforming it into a swirling torrent of crimson energy, the actual punch only served to create a hole in the stage. Deerling gracefully landed as Timmy’s points fell by a quarter, but it had no need to press the attack. The sheer force behind Dusknoir’s punch had actually caused its fist to become stuck in the stage floor, something the now wide-eyed Gripper Pokemon realized as its dark power boost faded away.

    “Dusknoir, no!” Timmy cried.

    “And now, let us bring our performance to a close,” Nando said. “Deerling, please use Solarbeam.”

    Deerling’s body took on a bright shine as white particles of energy gathered around it. The trapped Dusknoir could only watch as Deerling absorbed these particles, the glow it radiated becoming stronger and brighter with each passing second. Timmy gritted his teeth, knowing that he had a limited time-frame to work with.

    And then an idea struck.

    “Dusknoir, use Psychic!” Timmy cried.

    Dusknoir’s lone red eye began to glow with a blue light as an aura of the same color surrounded Deerling. Startled out of its charging process, Deerling was suddenly yanked through the air by an invisible force, heading straight towards Dusknoir.

    “Now, finish this with Fire Punch!” Timmy yelled.

    As Deerling neared its Ghost-type foe, Dusknoir’s free fist became coated in flame. With a violent swing, Dusknoir’s flaming fist delivered a devastating backhand strike to the Season Pokemon, knocking Deerling aside as the small Grass-type fell unconscious. With that final blow, the remainder of Nando’s points vanished, followed by his portrait. Only Timmy’s face remained on the screen, with the word “WINNER” appearing in massive red letters.

    “And that’s it!” Lilian cried. “With one decisive move, Timmy Grimm and his Dusknoir have won the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!”

    The entire audience burst into a rousing applause, and even Derak followed suit with a methodical clap of his own. Contesta handed Timmy a small ribbon, which the latter held up for all to see.

    “Hey, guys,” Derak said to his Pokemon. “You think maybe I should enter a Contest some day? What do you think?”

    “Chop,” Brute nodded, having immensely enjoyed the show. As usual, however, Wildfire gave no response, much to Derak’s disappointment.

    “Come on, guys,” Derak said, recalling his two Pokemon. “Garth’s probably moved on to Cerulean by now.”

    ****

    Outside the Contest Hall, however, Garth stood with his Electivire, icy patches on several trees serving as evidence that they had been training.

    “Ice Punch, once more!” Garth yelled.

    Electivire’s fist thrust forward and pounded a tree, hitting it with enough force that the tree actually bent slightly at the impact. As with the others, a small patch of ice formed on the spot where Electivire had struck it.

    “Good,” Garth commented. “That will do for now.”

    “Vire,” Electivire nodded. The Thunderbolt Pokemon’s eyes then drifted over to the doors of the Contest Hall. “Elec, electivire?”

    “I have to wait for the boy,” Garth sighed. “As much as I train you and my other Pokemon, working with Derak may be my best chance for revenge…as ironic as it is.”

    Soon, the doors opened, and the crowd began to pile out. Somewhere within the flood of people, Garth knew, was the boy he was supposed to be traveling with. His golden eyes squinted, attempting to identify the boy. The cloaked trainer’s efforts were soon rewarded, as he found Derak in conversation with Timmy Grimm, the two having separated from the herd of spectators for a moment.

    “So, Derak, how did you like the Contest?” Timmy asked.

    “I’ve got to say, it was pretty something,” Derak admitted.

    “Glad to hear it,” Timmy smiled. “Try and stop by future Contests down the road, okay?”

    “I might,” Derak said. “Later.”

    The runaway turned his back on Timmy with a limp wave of his hand, heading towards Garth. The older man sighed, returning Electivire to its Pokeball as Derak approached.

    “Are you done wasting time yet?” Garth spat.

    “Pretty much,” Derak said. “Let’s hit the road.”

    “Finally,” Garth groaned, and the two set on their way.

    “Oh, by the way,” Derak said, “did you see a guy with blue hair come out here?”

    “I did,” Garth said. “Why?”

    “I saw him breathe fire at one of the coordinators,” Derak said. “Literally.”

    “Humans cannot breathe fire, you imbecile,” Garth snapped. “You were most likely blinded by one of those nonsensical ‘appeals’.”

    “Yeah, about those,” Derak said. “I saw one of the Pokemon use a move…I think he called it ‘Thunderpunch’.”

    “And?” Garth asked.

    “You think Wildfire might be able to…I don’t know, learn how to do it?” Derak asked. “Just so he’s not ‘useless’ in the Cerulean Gym.”

    “Hmm…you may be on to something,” Garth said, putting a hand to his chin. “Electric-type attacks like Thunderpunch are incredibly effective against Water-types. If you could get Chimchar to learn it, you could have an ironically effective ace-in-the-hole in your match against the Cerulean Gym Leader.”

    “Sounds good,” Derak said. “And his name’s ‘Wildfire’, not ‘Chimchar’.”

    “Whatever,” Garth grunted. “We have wasted enough time already, just follow me to Cerulean City…without getting distracted by the first shiny object you find this time.”

    “Whatever you say, oh fearless leader,” Derak quipped.

    A primal growl of rage escaped Garth’s lips. He was starting to wonder if putting up with this boy would be worth it in the end.

    *****
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  18. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Oh this ought to be interesting.

    Hmm... I wonder if this is just Garth focusing too strictly on his goals or something more. Maybe there's a reason why he dislikes Contests so violently?

    Definitely looking like he has a deeper motive for hating Contests, so if that's what you're going for, it's good. I hope I'm not interpreting this wrong.

    Oh boy, here we go. I don't believe you actually used him! I guess that makes two people who actually think he's worth writing about now, me and you.

    I really like the way you described him when he appeared. It flowed very naturally and described him well.

    Good job on two things here - maintaining Nando's character perfectly, and remembering his history. Both things are done exactly how they should be.

    There's a good way to surprise a reader - have some violence involving the most stoic, upbeat character ever.

    I wonder what the hell is up with Garth, though.

    Well, there's the confirmation. He's got something going on here.

    "Subtle?" I'm not really sure if that's the right word. I don't really understand what he's saying.

    You're not the only one, Nando, not the only one...

    Well now, there's a face I never expected to see. In fact, he's a face that I never thought I would ever see in any fic, so points for that.

    I also find it interesting that you've given him a history with Derak. That's a nice, original idea for a character like Timmy.

    Very good keeping Nando's speech patterns intact, too.

    Okay, something about that has me really intrigued now. There are a number of ways that that line could go, and all of them have great promise.

    This feels good to read. It's nice and familiar.

    I like the differing personalities here.

    I wouldn't begin two consecutive sentences with "Derak" though.

    Gastly isn't something you see every day. Thanks for deciding to use it.

    That was quite a creative appeal. I'm impressed you remembered that Hex was originally named Evil Eye and incorporates eyes into its design in the anime.

    I think Petilil probably was harder to write an appeal for than Lilligant would have been. That said, you did manage to pull it off pretty well. I'm really liking how creative your move usage is.

    I get the feeling Teresa is going to end up being important to the story, especially given what her home region is.

    I don't think I can blame Brute for doubting these two.

    That's one way to not have to cover all the appeals, I guess.

    Even if he's far above her skill level, I think Teresa got lucky by having to face Nando, because he's going to at least make sure she learns from the experience.

    I like this Chikorita. Hopefully we get to see plenty more of it.

    That... was a little abrupt. I guess it suits the situation, though.

    Good to know Timmy still has his familiar Dusclops, albeit evolved. Cyndaquil suits Aidan from what little we know of him so far, too.

    Okay, something is very wrong here. Aidan and this blue-haired kid are acting way too suspiciously.

    I'll be honest here, these battles are a little bit too short. I get that there's a vast difference in power, but still, there should be a little more substance to them.

    Well that sure ain't normal at all. What's going on?

    I'm gonna find it a little hard to follow the Contest now, after that little interruption.

    It's a little hard to picture a "wide-eyed" Dusknoir. Could you describe it more?

    Impressive combo there.

    Garth might need to become more involved than he thinks so Wildfire can learn Thunderpunch, methinks.

    Anyway, it was a good chapter, but it petered out a little at the end. I think that more focus on the battles could have helped fix that.
     
  19. Rotomknight

    Rotomknight THE GREATEST TRAINER

    This is well written. would you please make more. Maybe in cerulean they will find a pokemon masues and chimchar will get a rub. I pity the chimchar who thinks he's a figtnin machine. (In a mr. T accent.) Please put me on the pm list.
     
  20. Morpher01

    Morpher01 What'd you say?

    The Great Butler:
    I do actually think Nando is an interesting character, especially after reading your use of him, so I'm glad you appreciate his involvement.

    A better word would probably have been "inconspicuous" (or however you spell it). What I was trying to do (and apparently failing at doing) was have Derak point out the fact that Garth was drawing quite a bit of attention to himself.

    Personally, I don't really see what's so wrong with Timmy Grimm. I found his story fairly interesting, and (as you may be able to figure out) it even played a role in my inspiration for Derak (for trivia's sake, another part of said inspiration was reading Anabel's Dream: The Road to XD^3. XD).

    According to current plans, you'll get a slight hint as to the deal with Aiden and his blue-haired friend in a few chapters. The full reveal is, at the moment, set to occur around Cinnabar Island.

    The battles were a bit short, and you are probably right in how they petered out. Thanks for reading, though.

    Rotomknight: Thanks and done! You are now on the PM list, and should be getting one momentarily.


    Okay, chapter 8...not entirely sure how I feel about this one. The rest of Garth's Pokemon will be reavealed, for those interested.


    Chapter 8: Blazing Terror




    Mount Moon was reputed as a mysterious yet wonderful place. Many scientists came here, seeking to learn the secrets of a Pokemon called “Clefairy”. It was said on certain nights, Clefairies would dance at the summit of Mount Moon in a sort of prayer to the moon itself. No one knew the true nature of this dance, only that if an observer had the right timing, they could plunder a small stone that was capable of evolving a Clefairy into a stronger Pokemon called “Clefable”.

    Despite being in the middle of the day, a group of Clefairies gathered atop Mount Moon. Each one of the small, vaguely star-shaped Pokemon stood in a line, twitching their surprisingly bulbous tails and holding their claw-like fingers above their brown ears. As their pink bodies faced the sky, all the Clefairies raised their arms into the air. Their index claws began to waggle from side to side in a hypnotic rhythm, each Clefairy chanting their species name as they looked to the sky.

    Virtually anyone looking at this scene would have been calmed of all anxieties. Seeing these carefree Pokemon so devoutly worshipping something humans so frequently took for granted, something that was not even present at this time, would have to drag even the most begrudging of admiration from someone. This was a truly peaceful event.

    “FAAIIIRR!”

    One of the Clefairies was sent soaring into the air by a colossal beam of darkness that burst from under them. The remaining Clefairies scattered in an instant, somehow vanishing from sight as a Torkoal sailed out from the hole the beam had created, crashing down on the ground in an unconscious state.

    Several floors below, Stoutland snarled as it faced down Garth and Derak, having easily dispatched the former’s Torkoal. Garth stood in front of Derak, one arm out to the side and holding the boy back.

    “Accursed beast,” Garth muttered. “Electivire, rise from the ashes!”

    With a simple toss of a Pokeball, Electivire once more faced down Stoutland. The Thunderbolt Pokemon tensed its muscles, knowing of the untamed power its foe possessed.

    “What’s with this Stoutland?!” Derak cried. “Why does it keep destroying things?”

    “This monster knows only rage, and seeks only destruction,” Garth answered. “As much as I wish otherwise, it must fall here, no matter what. Electivire, let us put our training to use! Use Thunder!”

    Electivire launched a Thunder from its antennae just as Stoutland released a blast of its own dark lightning. The two bolts clashed fiercely, but almost immediately, one could tell that Garth’s Electivire was under strain. Sweat trickled down its head, and quick pants escaped through its gritted teeth. Stoutland’s fangs were bared in a ferocious snarl as its sinister Thunder fought Electivire’s, but then something happened. A red glint appeared in Stoutland’s eyes, and with a bone-chilling roar, the shadowy Thunder sliced through Electivire’s and devastated the Thunderbolt Pokemon in a single strike.

    “Electivire!” Derak cried.

    “Return!” Garth snarled as he withdrew Electivire’s convulsing body back into its Pokeball. “We cannot last much longer! We need to leave, now!”

    “But what about Torkoal?!” Derak cried. “We can’t just leave it!”

    Garth’s eyes widened as if a realization dawned on him. He clenched his jaw as his fist began to shake.

    “No…no, I cannot,” Garth muttered. “Not this time. Bronzong, get us out of here!”

    Garth threw a Pokeball that summoned a rather odd-looking Pokemon that resembled a large turquoise bell covered in various markings, some of which resembled a face with two round red eyes and a set of flat teeth. It lowered the vaguely arm-like extensions that emerged from its top, as if expecting the humans to get on. Garth did so, clinging to one of the “arms”.

    “Grab on, now!” Garth ordered.

    Derak latched onto the other pseudo-arm, and without a second’s hesitation, Bronzong levitated itself up through the hole in Mount Moon, carrying Garth and Derak with it. As they passed Torkoal, one of Garth’s arms released its grip on Bronzong, causing him to slightly slide down Bronzong’s false arm.

    “Garth, are you nuts?!” Derak cried.

    “You said we could not leave Torkoal behind,” Garth spat back as he used his newly-free arm to retrieve a Pokeball. “I agree. Torkoal, return!”

    Torkoal was recalled into its Pokeball, and once the sphere was replaced upon Garth’s belt, he regained his place on his Bronzong. The bell-like Pokemon continued to levitate, now descending Mount Moon at a rapid pace. Back on the mountain, Stoutland burst through the mountain’s summit, planting its four paws on the ground. Through a blood red haze of rage, it saw its quarry escape it. Stoutland threw its head back in a horrifying roar, vowing vengeance.

    Stoutland was unaware, however, that it, too, was being watched. Nathaniel Draykus stood at the foot of the mountain, eyeing his quarry through a pair of black binoculars. He smirked as he observed the Big-Hearted Pokemon’s rage.

    “Incredible,” Draykus said as he watched Stoutland transform itself into a ball of darkness once again, the less-than-Big-Hearted Pokemon fleeing the scene. “I have never seen such power, such darkness…not even during my past.”

    He lowered the binoculars, placing a hand to his chin as a plan began to take shape.

    “Soon,” Draykus said, an ambitious glint in his eye, “that power will be mine, and mine alone.”

    ****

    Bronzong glided down into a nearby settlement, identified by a sign saying “CERULEAN CITY—THE FLORAL LAGOON CITY”. Once the large bell drifted to a stop in front of the Pokemon Center, Garth and Derak dismounted it, and having no more need of its services, Garth prepared to return it to its Pokeball.

    “Hold on a sec,” Derak said. He pointed his Pokedex at Bronzong, prompting a rolling of Garth’s eyes.

    “Bronzong,” the Dex said, “the Bronze Bell Pokemon. Type is Steel and Psychic. Evolved form of Bronzor. Bronzong brought rains by opening portals to other worlds. It was revered by ancient people as the bringer of plentiful harvests.”

    “Are you quite finished?” Garth sighed.

    “Oh, I’m sorry,” Derak began with a sardonic tone already in his voice. “How inconsiderate of me to actually try and learn about Pokemon I haven’t seen before instead of making things as convenient as possible for you. How completely rude of me.”

    “Shut up, you little brat,” Garth growled as he recalled his Bronzong. “You should be thankful I have been aiding you on your precious journey.”

    “OBJECTION!”

    With that unusual battle cry, Nick Spire burst out of the Pokemon Center, dramatically pointing one finger at Derak.

    “The journey can’t be precious to him,” Spire said, “because it’s now coming to an end!”

    “Who in the world are you?” Garth blinked, taken off-guard by this unusual figure.

    “Uncle Nick?” Derak gasped. “What are you…wait, dear old dad sent you to drag me back kicking and screaming, didn’t he?”

    “More or less,” Spire answered. “Derak, you have to come back to Orre.”

    “Why should I?” Derak asked, narrowing his eyes. “There’s nothing for me there.”

    “That’s not true and you know it,” Spire countered. “As temperamental and controlling as he is, your father is a good man, Derak. He cares about you.”

    “That’s not true and YOU know it,” Derak retorted somewhat mockingly. “My self-proclaimed ‘dad’ doesn’t care specifically about ME, he cares about the fact that I could keep his business going. When it all comes down to it, Anoch Kadir only cares about money. Nothing more, nothing less.”

    “Derak, just think about it,” Spire said. “Why would your dad raise you if he only cared about his business and his money?”

    “Because he wanted an heir,” Derak snorted.

    “I think there’s more to it than that,” Spire said. “Derak, please, just listen. I’ll see if I can make it so that you can keep all the Pokemon you’ve captured. Just come back with me and—”

    “Forget it,” Derak spat. Garth, who had been entirely disinterested in this discussion up until now, turned his head upon hearing the determination in Derak’s words. “I made a promise to someone a few years ago...and I made a promise to myself, too. Like I said, there’s nothing for me in Orre. I’m journeying through Kanto, and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it, family friend or not.”

    Derak punctuated his declaration with a steely glare directed at Spire. Garth’s lips cracked into a small smirk. He had to admit, the boy had conviction. Spire, however, only sighed.

    “I was afraid you would say that,” he said. “Derak, I’m sorry, but if you won’t listen to reason…I’ll have to use force.”

    “Fine by me,” Derak growled. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

    Wildfire began glaring at Spire the second it appeared from its Pokeball, interpreting him as a threat to its master. Spire removed a Pokeball of his own from his belt, but just as he was about to throw it, Garth stepped between Spire and Derak.

    “You heard the boy,” Garth said. “If even a family friend like you cannot change his mind through words, I doubt you will do so through force.”

    “What are you doing?” Spire asked. “Derak’s a runaway, he has to be brought home! Why are you protecting him from what’s right?”

    “Right and wrong mean nothing to me,” Garth snarled.

    “So why are you helping me?” Derak asked.

    “Let us just say I still have need of you,” Garth replied before turning back to Spire. “Now get on with it.”

    “Suit yourself,” Spire said, taking a few steps back as he and Garth moved a distance away from each other, leaving Derak on the sidelines of the improvised battlefield. “Infernape, close the case!”

    A three-foot tall monkey was released from Spire’s latest Pokeball. Its body was dominantly a brownish orange color, with blue fingers and feet at the ends of its arms. These arms were connected to a furry white torso with two yellow swirling patterns on the front, which were also found on the Pokemon’s wrists, knees, and shoulders. Although it had a long, monkey-like tail, this Pokemon’s most noticeable feature was its furry white head, with red eyebrows and piercing red eyes underneath a massive crown of flame.

    “Hmm…Cradily, rise from the ashes!” Garth cried.

    In order to combat Spire’s Pokemon, Garth chose a rather odd-looking pale green creature with an egg-shaped head surrounded by short, pink, purple-tipped tentacles. The head itself had a horizontal black line in which two beady yellow eyes rested, and was connected to a stubby base via a long neck. On the Pokemon’s body were yellow markings, including swirls on its forehead and stripes at the base of its neck.

    “I’m going to be using this thing a lot, aren’t I?” Derak sighed as he pulled his Pokedex out of his pocket.

    “Cradily,” the Dex said upon being pointed at Garth’s Pokemon, “the Barnacle Pokemon. Type is Rock and Grass. Evolved form of Lileep. It lives in the shallows of warm seas. When the tide goes out, it digs up prey from beaches.”

    “Infernape,” observed the Pokedex upon acknowledging Spire’s Pokemon, “the Flame Pokemon. Type is Fire and Fighting. Evolved form of Monferno. Infernape is the final evolution of Chimchar. It uses a unique fighting style involving both its hands and feet, and is willing to take on any opponent.”

    “Whoa…just look at that thing,” Derak said, already impressed by Infernape. He knelt down to Wildfire’s level. “See that, little guy? You might evolve into a Pokemon like that one day.”

    “Chaar,” Wildfire sighed, also in awe of its final evolution. It could tell just by looking at its final evolution that it was quite powerful, and strength like that would inevitably please a trainer immensely.

    “Infernape, Flame Burst!” Spire yelled.

    Before Garth or his Cradily could react, Infernape opened its mouth and belched out a large fireball that struck Cradily’s head. Although Cradily reeled back, neck bending as far back as it could go, it soon lurched back forward with all the elasticity of a rubber band.

    “Tough guy, huh?” Spire growled. “Okay, Infernape, use Close Combat!”

    Infernape leapt at Cradily and clasped the Barnacle Pokemon’s neck in one hand. The Flame Pokemon pinned Cradily’s head to the ground, preventing further bounce-backs. With its target in place, Infernape began to viciously beat Cradily’s head with punches and kicks, each blow pounding its target into the pavement.

    Derak narrowed his eyes at this perceived mistreatment of Pokemon. Wildfire’s eyes widened at the sheer brutality unfolding before it. Was such behavior really necessary?

    “Now, Infernape, finish this with Blast Burn!” Spire yelled.

    With one last punch to Cradily’s head, Infernape shot up into the air, its body taking on a blood red aura. The Flame Pokemon then drew back its head and released another fiery attack from its mouth, this one a smaller variant of its earlier Flame Burst. Cradily stood its ground, pulling its head out of the ground and gazing straight into the incoming attack.

    When the fireball connected, chaos began.

    The fireball exploded into a massive blast of flame, a mushroom cloud rocketing into the air. The place where Cradily once stood was had been set completely ablaze, sparks dancing about and flames hungrily grasping at the air. There was no way anything, even a Pokemon as well-trained as one of Garth’s, could escape that alive.

    Wildfire began to whimper as its body began to shake. Infernape landed back at Spire’s side and cast a glare at its base evolutionary form.

    That was all that it took.

    Screams of terror erupted from Wildfire’s mouth as the Chimchar scuttled back as far as it could, eyes squeezing shut. Once its rear touched the Pokemon Center’s outside wall, Wildfire balled its body into a fetal position, shrieking at the top of its lungs as tears of fear flooded from its eyes.

    “W-Wildfire?” Derak stammered, the sudden change in his starter Pokemon’s demeanor taking him entirely off-guard. “H-hey, what’s wrong?”

    Derak’s Chimchar did not respond to his query, but only continued to scream and cry.

    “Hey…hey, easy, Wildfire!” Derak said, taking his starter in his arms and stroking its head. “It’s…it’s Infernape, isn’t it?”

    The Pokemon in question simply scoffed, looking back over to the destruction it had wreaked. Garth’s vision was directed Wildfire, eyes wide as something stirred within his chest. Clenching his fist, Garth shot his most heated glare yet towards Spire and his Infernape.

    “You miserable wretch,” Garth snarled. “Cradily, use Earth Power!”

    Infernape smirked, thinking that Cradily was already defeated. A surge of golden energy cracked through the ground, however, and released a series of eruptions that barreled towards the Flame Pokemon. Infernape’s eyes bulged as the final eruption blasted it into the air, the Flame Pokemon fainting long before it came back to the ground.

    “Wha—that’s…Infernape, return!” Spire cried, withdrawing his fallen Fire-type. “How…how did Cradily last through all that—”

    Spire was cut off when Garth snatched his throat in a vice-like grip.

    “Do you have any idea what you have done?!” Garth growled. “See for yourself!”

    He pointed Spire’s head at Derak, who was still attempting to comfort Wildfire. Derak was stroking his Chimchar’s head, having now reduced the screams to whimpers. The still-present tears, however, drove a stake of guilt into Spire’s heart.

    “I…I never—” Spire choked.

    “Shut up,” Derak growled. “I thought you were the closest thing I had to a friend back in Orre. But I guess I was wrong. I don’t know what Garth’s going to do to you, but I’m pretty sure that you deserve every bit of it.”

    “Indeed you do,” Garth rasped, his grip on Spire’s throat tightening.

    Spire’s hands latched onto Garth’s arm, his attempts to free himself failing miserably. He closed his eyes, awaiting the end. But it never came. Garth instead released his grip, allowing Spire to collapse onto the concrete. As the lawyer-detective regained his ability to breathe, Garth scowled down at him.

    “A selfish scumbag like you is not worth the effort,” Garth spat. “Get out of my sight, you filthy maggot.”

    Stumbling about in a panic, Spire clambered away from the scene, fleeing the city itself. Garth sighed and pointed a Pokeball at the now somewhat-diminished fire, dispersing the remaining flames as he silently recalled Cradily.

    “Is Chimchar all right?” Garth asked Derak.

    “I think he’ll be fine in a little while,” Derak said, still stroking Wildfire. “It’s going to be okay. You don’t have to evolve if you don’t want to, so you won’t be turning into a monster like that Infernape.”

    “Ch…char?” Wildfire choked, looking at Derak with confusion. He was a trainer, was he not? Why would he not force his Pokemon to evolve?

    “You’ll be safe in your Pokeball, Wildfire. Return,” Derak said, recalling his Chimchar. “Garth, I…I never thought I’d say this, but I guess I owe you one. Thanks, for...you know.”

    Garth merely grunted with a nod. He then strode inside the Pokemon Center, leaving Derak outside. The boy looked down at his orange Pokeball for a moment.

    Making Wildfire evolve would make him stronger, Derak thought, but if he goes completely insane…yeah, definitely not worth it.

    He clipped Wildfire’s Pokeball back onto his belt and entered the Pokemon Center.

    ****

    “Here you are, sir!” the Cerulean City Nurse Joy chirped as she handed Garth a single Pokeball. “Your Cradily is good as new!”

    Garth wordlessly took Cradily’s Pokeball and turned to Derak, who was currently slouching in a lobby chair. Evening had set while they had waited for Cradily to be healed, and the fading orange sunlight that poured through the Center’s windows exemplified this.

    “So, Cradily’s okay, then?” Derak asked. “Even after all the insanity Infernape pulled off?”

    “Yes, it is,” Garth replied. “A Cradily’s strength lies in its defensive capabilities and its stamina. Even an offensively-based Pokemon such as Infernape will not fell a Cradily so easily.”

    “Good to know,” Derak said, rising out of his seat and heading for the door. “Well, I’m off.”

    “Hold it,” Garth said. “Do you honestly think that your current team has any chance against a Water-type Gym?”

    “I was planning on using Brute for the most part,” Derak shrugged.

    “Your Machop is not so strong as to be able to defeat multiple Gym Leader-trained Pokemon,” Garth countered. “You wanted Chimchar to learn Thunderpunch, correct?”

    “Yeah, so?” Derak replied.

    “So follow me,” Garth said. “We are going to teach Chimchar how to use Thunderpunch.”

    “I thought you weren’t interested in my Gym battles,” Derak said as he followed Garth out into the streets of Cerulean City.

    “I am not,” Garth replied.

    “So…why are you helping me with one, exactly?” Derak asked.

    “My reasons are my own,” Garth grunted, preparing a Pokeball. “Now, let us begin. Electivire, come out!”

    “Wildfire, you too,” Derak said dully, opening his orange Pokeball rather than throwing it.

    Once both Pokemon appeared, Wildfire’s eyes trailed upward to find Electivire towering over it. The Chimchar bared its teeth, remembering its encounter with the Thunderbolt Pokemon back at Professor Oak’s lab. Electivire, however, gave a relatively-friendly grunt to the small Fire-type.

    “Chimchar,” Garth said to the small Pokemon.

    “His name’s Wildfire, he who hath no ears,” Derak snapped.

    “We are going to teach you how to use the move Thunderpunch,” Garth continued, blatantly ignoring Derak’s corrective sentence. “Electivire will demonstrate the move.”

    “On what?” Derak asked.

    “On our sparring partner,” Garth replied, holding up a second Pokeball. “Dewgong, rise from the ashes!”

    The final Pokemon in Garth’s party of six was a white, sea lion-like Pokemon with a somewhat banana-shaped body. It had two small fins on its sides as well as a larger fin at the end of its tail, and its face possessed friendly black eyes, small tusks protruding from its mouth, and a small horn emerging from the top of its head.

    “Dewgong,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Sea Lion Pokemon. Type is Water and Ice. Evolved form of Seel. In the winter, the pure white coat covering Dewgong’s body obscures it from predators.”

    “So, our sparring partner is a Water-type?” Derak asked. “Makes sense, I suppose.”

    “Then we will begin,” Garth began. “Electivire, Thunderpunch! Dewgong, use Protect!”

    Much like Timmy’s Dusknoir had done against Aiden’s Cyndaquil, Electivire drew back one fist, charging it with electrical power. Just as it was about to bring its Thunderpunch down on Dewgong, however, the Sea Lion Pokemon formed a green bubble around itself, which effectively blocked the Thunderpunch.

    “Good, both of you,” Garth said, and his Pokemon stood down. “Now, Chimchar, it is your turn.”

    “You know what? I’m not going to bother correcting someone who doesn’t bother to listen,” Derak sighed. “Anyway…Wildfire, try to do what Electivire did, okay? Try and use Thunderpunch.”

    “Char,” Wildfire nodded. It clenched its right hand into a fist and concentrated. Feeling something in its fist, it lunged for Dewgong and brought its fist forward…

    …only to have it lightly tap Dewgong’s stomach as absolutely nothing special happened.

    “Okay, so that could have gone better,” Derak remarked. “No big deal. Just try again.”

    “Cha…?” Wildfire blinked at its trainers nonchalant attitude towards its failure. It shook its thoughts out of its head, however, and strengthened its resolve. “Chim-char!”

    It turned back to Dewgong and swung its fist forward again, but as before, Wildfire’s tiny fist barely bruised Dewgong’s blubbery body.

    “Gong,” Dewgong said compassionately, giving Wildfire a light nudge of encouragement with its fin. It then used that same fin to gesture to its chest. “Dew, dewgong.”

    “Viirre,” Electivire sighed, rolling its eyes at this display of sentiment.

    “Dewgong!” Dewgong snapped at its comrade, then turned back to Wildfire. “Gong, gong.”

    “What are they doing?” Garth sighed. He made to intervene, but Derak cast an arm in his way.

    “Hold on, let them talk it out,” Derak said. “They might be on to something.”

    “Hmph,” Garth grunted, turning his gaze back to the Pokemon.

    “Dew, dew,” Dewgong said, again gesturing to its front.

    Wildfire took a breath and closed its eyes. It held up its fist, and soon, that fist began to emit sparks. Eventually, crackling electricity began to dance around Wildfire’s fist, and with a mighty swing, a Thunderpunch landed on Dewgong’s chest. The Sea Lion Pokemon recoiled somewhat, but soon recovered and gave Wildfire an encouraging smile.

    “Gong, dewgong!” Dewgong said.

    “Char?” Wildfire blinked. It looked down at its fist, which lost its remaining traces of electrical power. “Chim-char.”

    “Wildfire, that’s awesome!” Derak cried, grinning from ear to ear. “You just used Thunderpunch!”

    “Yes, it used the move,” Garth said, “but it still needs to master it.”

    “He just used it, didn’t he?” Derak asked. “Doesn’t that mean he’s mastered it?”

    “If Chimchar can execute a flawless Thunderpunch again, then yes,” Garth said. “Chimchar, use Thunderpunch again.”

    Despite not actually belonging to Garth, Wildfire nonetheless nodded and prepared to execute the order. It drew back its fist, poured its focus into that same fist, and then thrust it forward. This time, however, only a small sparkle of electricity emanated from its hand.

    “Char?” Wildfire blinked, confused at this development.

    “As I said, you have yet to master the attack until you can execute it multiple times without incident,” Garth said. “We will keep doing this until—”

    A beam of red light suddenly struck Wildfire, sucking the Chimp Pokemon back into its orange Pokeball. Derak stuck the ball back onto his belt and wordlessly made to enter the Pokemon Center.

    “What are you doing?!” Garth snapped, whirling on Derak. “We are not finished training!”

    Derak stopped just before he entered the Center.

    “In case you haven’t noticed, it’s kinda getting late,” Derak said. “Wildfire and I need some rest if we’re going to take on the Gym tomorrow.”

    “And just how are you going to succeed in the battle unless Chimchar knows Thunderpunch?” Garth sneered.

    “Eh, we’ll wing it,” Derak shrugged. “Night, Bipolar Man.”

    With that last nickname, Derak strode into the Pokemon Center. Dewgong tried its best to hide a chuckle, earning a heated glare from Electivire. Garth only growled to himself.

    “I hate stubborn children,” he muttered.

    *****
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
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