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The Corei Quest...rewritten!

Which Corei Starter would you choose?

  • Mongle

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • Fryger

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • Aquari

    Votes: 10 33.3%

  • Total voters
    30
  • Poll closed .

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Finally! Happy TCQ DAY!

Felicitations, we turning three today.... today, today
So all gather around let us say ... hooray, hooray!

Before we get on with the show... let's get the replies to fan post outta the way...

@Diddy:
Except Zen's poor infiltration skills. tsk tsk. Poor show my fighting type friend, poor show. As a fan of those type of games, stealth based (Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell etc.) RPG's with stealth options (Oblivion, Fallout 3) I think I've infiltrated enough virtual houses to know that it could have been a lot less messy.

Yeah, well, I never got the hang of such games. Plus he wasn't there for an assassination. no matter how much the world would hero worship him for nixing Reg. either way, they had an easier time escaping with no one in any fit state to give chase.

But at least we got to see Lunar Beam, I want that move for my Umbreon.
LOL... I'm not surprised... the dark form of Solarbeam, Lunar beam becomes more powerful the closer the user is to nighttime, and if it could blow up a quarter of a house at ten in the morning, then you have the ultimate dark type attack.

COREI QUEST RULES!!!
Thank you, thank you all!

And cheers for the seconding, Lecan!

@DarkPersian479:

Obviously Reg is not to be trusted. And that entire family save Nora and Rosa are insane. Although... I'm sure there has to be some record of Sapph owning those Pokemon. After all, what would happen if he got his Pokemon stolen? A bit of a plot hole there, but by the time anyone figured it out, he would have been long gone.
In other words, it all went according to plan.

I still can't wrap my mind about how cruel and closed minded the Saunders clan is. I mean, I'm all for evil, but not at the cost of a girl who only wanted to chase her dream. That's not just low - that's damn low.
Too true... now Leopold and Isabelle may have just as well have lost their daughter for good.

If I trade you a Pokemon, can you give it Lunar Beam? I need that move now XD
If wishes were horses... your Umbreons would pwn all.

@asperger1981:

Maybe Rosa made Leonard wash a lot of floors or something like that when he was little; and adding that to a complex of 'must-have-women-barefoot-and -pregnant' meant a lot of trouble for Nora.

That, or he must've had one major fight with his wife or something and he is taking it with the entire gender? don't you think?
Nah, Nora and Reg's mom isn't much of a fighter. Never has been. Rosa was champion for a very long time and was subsequently rarely home. Leopold was sickened by what it did to his father and swore to never let women one up him in his lifetime.

Too bad Sky, Nora and 'G' showed him otherwise... XD

On a final note, has anybody mentioned anything about Nora's mother; if she is alive, I'd like to see her reaction towards the treatment of her daughter; that would be a good excuse for ending the Saunders masculine line once and for all, if you know what I mean. If not, a good plot filler could be done from that, or not?
Nora's mom, Isabelle, is very much alive. She's just no help in a confrontation, least of all against her husband.

and thier backstory really could be a good plot hole fill, couldn't it? it'll help me express my opinions on future projects at the end of this post.

@Divnity_123:

Who are you, EM1, fgs? xD

You should be ashamed of yourself P:
Maybe... ;) But I shall never be ashamed!

Man, did a lot of things happen in this chapter, I had to read it over twice to fully take in some of the scenes. The Arlene/Sapph was rematch was pretty entertaining as was the quest to save Nora, but honestly, this quote killed it:


Quote:
And without a backwards glance, Rosa Saunders moved off twards the corner amidst a shower of sapphire rose petals, muttering, "Let that be a lesson to you punks. Nobody messes with G."
XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD *breathes* XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

You would've had a lock for best fic quote if this chapter had been posted before the noms
ah, well... there's always next year...

And damn you for teasing us with ships! >D
Who, me? :D

Now that you've posted a gigantic chapter like EM1, I think it'd be fair to the readers if you came out with a chapter as quick as EM1 ;P
If only... I really hate March. not to mention April and June...

@Lecan:

Edit: This is my first post, so I'm wondering why the Celebi by my name is green. :O
Maybe it's because i'm green to this forum? XD

Or, perhaps, everyone's own Celebi is green so they can tell themselves apart from others without reading the name.
Estoy confuso!
Hey, there, new guy! Welcome to Serebii! There's a whole plethora of awesome fanfics out here, this one being one of the best of the best:

http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=207042

so lemme say I'm honoured you picked mine to put your first ever post.

I was going to explain, but Diddy got there first. Hope you're good on that. On the flip side, thanks for the comments and input.

Stay tuned cause after the chapter there are some latest news reports. So now, the feature.

Rated T for some suggestive themes.

Chapter Thirty Five – Little Dude​

“How much further does the PokéNav say we are from… ‘White Cliffs’, is it?” A young boy’s voice asked curiously.

“We’re nearly there,” a female voice replied, almost as though fed up with the question, which was all its owner had asked for the past two hours.

Sapphire ‘Sapph’ Manson and Haley Kent were walking along the rock-strewn forested Route 318 towards White Cliffs, a beach town where the duo planned to get a ferry to Utopia Island and the next gym challenge.

Sapph, itching for some action, was impatient as ever, and Haley, tired of his incessant questions, was rebuffing them with words of lip comfort. A high cliff face before them brought a smile to her lips as she announced proudly, “Here we are!”

“Oh, come off it, Haley,” Sapph groaned, now some what tetchily, pushing past her and walking through a hole in the cliff side that resembled the mouth of a cave. “There’s nothing here but another… crummy…” Sapph was lost for words as bright sunlight and an amazing sight hit his eyes.

“...’Cave’?” Haley asked as she followed Sapph through the tunnel and stood beside him on the wooden platform that overlooked the city before and around them. “Ha, ha… no. Welcome to White Cliffs.”

Whoa, Sapph thought, his eyes roving over the innumerable ridges and platforms that ran around the alabaster circular cliffs, houses that seemed to be partly modeled after the ones in Dinocanyon, others more so, set in the cliff side. The expanse of white sand that sat fifty feet or so below them looked like a flower garden of parasols was littered with beach combers and holidaymakers and breathed with activity.

“Talk about a training field!” Sapph exclaimed happily. “Come on, Haley! Let’s g… Haley?” The space that held Haley’s body mysteriously vacant. Wondering where she went, Sapph scratched his head and shrugging, turned and asked a local for directions to the Pokémon Center.

After a twenty minute walk from the Upper Pier, Sapph closed the door to his room at the Pokémon Center and unhooking five red and white spheres and one pure white one released his Pokémon in a collective flash of white and green light.

<Mmm, smells salty, Sapph,> Lavender said in her chipper voice, directing her small black nose towards the open window which gave them a view of the ocean. <Where are we?>

“White Cliffs,” Sapph said, scratching the back of his dark brown hair around the nape as he fished around for a pair of swimming trunks. “A beach town.”

Arcana and Zen’s ears perked at the sound of the town’s name and whilst the Fighting type looked excited, the firebrand almost looked fearful.

Finding his trunks, Sapph told his Pokémon to sit tight as he stepped into the shower to change.

As the cool water ran over his face and down his body, Sapph wondered where Haley had vanished to. Admittedly, he didn’t really care, but as he pulled up his black and gold trim swimming trunks which the girl insisted he bought before leaving Nightspark their first time there, he thought he could be concerned, right?

Shrugging to himself, he studied himself in the mirror, something he didn’t do often due to time and unavailability of mirrors for most of his journey, Sapph noticed he’d been hollowing out slightly, definitely looking much more athletic than he did when he left home a few months ago. His hair fell into his bright blue irises and decided to get it trimmed at the next chance he got. He kind of liked it long, though not too long… it made him look that much more of a girl.

Stepping out of the bathroom with a large blue and white beach towel hung around his neck and his clothes draped over his right arm, the first thing he noticed was a lack of persons in the room. Three, to be exact.

Dropping his clothes, Sapph gasped and inquired of the Pokémon left, “Where the heck did the guys go?”

Lavender and Arcana looked up (the former doing as close to it as she could) and Ace said, <Out, Sir.>

“’Out’?!” Sapph repeated incredulously. “Out where?”

<They didn’t say,> Lavender said calmly. <But if Anii’s with them, they’ll be fine, right, Sapph?>

“That’s beside the point!” Sapph said in a state of mild hysteria. Running to the door, Sapph turned back to the others and said, “Well? Come on! We gotta find them!”

But Arcana looked back fearfully and said, <No way, homey. I’m stayin’ here. No offence, but beaches and me really don’t like to talk civil-like.>

Lavender felt Arcana shiver and made her decision. <Me neither, Sapph. Arcana and I can watch the room for you. Ace, too… if she’s staying.>

<No, I’ll enlist,> Ace said dutifully. <You’ll need help finding the deserters after all, Sir.>

Sapph looked at Lavender and Arcana searchingly and decided that on balance it’d be better for some members to stay in case Haley came to call.

“OK,” he agreed. Beckoning to Ace, who flapped off the bed and soared out the open window. “Anything you guys want?”

<No. We’re good, Sapph,> Lavender assured her trainer.

<Thanks, homey,> the Arcanine said gratefully, though in a small and abashed voice.

Sapph nodded warmly and closed the door with a snap.

***​

Haley walked along the beach, keen to put some distance between herself and Sapph’s endless blabber about training.

Honestly, she thought desperately as she moved along the shore to a rocky part of the beach. Is that all he thinks about? We’re on the bloody beach, for Arceus’ sake!

Stopping for a few minutes, she said to herself, “This should be far enough. Come on out, Vapor!”

And in a single burst of light, her Eevee stood before her, shaking his ruff briskly and fixing an ****** off look on his face.

<About time!> He said, annoyed. <D’you know how cramped it gets in there?>

“Sorry, Vapor,” Haley apologized. “I had… preoccupations.”

<I’ll bet,> Vapor drawled, rolling his eyes. <So, are we out here to train or something?>

Ignoring the pulsing vein near her temple, Haley said, “No, we are not going to train. Keep an eye out while I change.”

<Here?!> Vapor gasped as Haley blanketed him with her hat and proceeded to unbutton her shirt. <Oi, Haley! That’s not coo… oh,> Vapor stopped yelling, blushing at his moment of uncool. <Of course she was wearing her bathing suit under her clothes. Talk about duh,> he thought as Haley turned to look at her Eevee curiously.

“What’s wrong, Vapor?” Haley asked nonplussed, as though the fact that this was her intent all along should be obvious.

<Nothing,> Vapor muttered, re-employing his aloof and cool manner. <Ready yet?>

“Don’t you know better than to rush a lady?” Haley asked, eliciting another eye-rolling from the Evolution Pokémon. “Very well, let’s go.”

<So why are we here, Haley?> Vapor said calmly walking at his mistress’s heel obediently.

“At this part of the beach, the ocean is said to react with the rocks in very special ways,” Haley explained. “The area’s called Stony Shore as the stones here are said to react with the sea to produce Water Stones.”

<OK, so a lot of people know about it?>

They rounded a corner and saw beach combers and their Pokémon covering nearly every square inch of the beach, digging and prodding around in search of the mystical stones.

“Question answered?”

<Aw, man,> Vapor groaned, his ears drooping as he beheld the sheer number of competition. <So not cool.>

“Let’s split up,” Haley suggested. “We’ll cover more ground that way.”

<OK,> Vapor said slinking off further inland than Haley, who took the hint and proceeded to the water’s edge.

Vapor hadn’t been looking long when something long and blue caught his eye. Moving closer, he saw a dark turquoise squiggle embedded within and said, <Cool.>

As he reached towards it, a powerful jet of water caught him unawares and sent him sprawling a few feet away. Hitting all fours, he shook himself and saw what looked like the ugliest baby he’d ever seen making a dive for the stone, red fingers twitching with anticipation.

<Not cool, Slowpoke,> Vapor thought, inhaling quickly. <You ought to chill for a while.>

One split second later, a Lombre-shaped ice sculpture stood gleaming in the sun a few inches from the larger than average Water Stone from the combined effort of two Ice Beam attacks. Surprised, Vapor looked around and saw another fox like creature identical to him except with a swishier tail and brighter, more enthusiastic eyes. A flower near its ear told Vapor that it was a girl.

<Back off, scrub,> she said in a challenging tone. <That Stone’s mine.>

<Chill, chick,> Vapor said coolly. <Don’t you think you’re overreacting?>

<Not really, scrub,> the female Eevee said dismissively, taking a challenging step forwards. <Now back away, or you’ll get what he got.> She jerked her head at the Lombre for emphasis.

<I don’t fight girls,> Vapor drawled. <They’re too whiney…>

<What was that, scrub?> the girl Eevee demanded.

<Plus it’s no fun losing to a girl,> Vapor went on regardless. <Why take the chance?>

This somehow cooled the girl down a bit as she said, <at least you’re smart, scrub. Now, move.>

<You could learn my name, you know,> Vapor said amusement highlighting his bored voice now.

<You could learn mine,> she shot back.

Vapor was definitely amused now. <Fine, the name’s Vapor. And you are…?>

<Meria.>

<Cute,> Vapor said sincerely. <Well, this hunk of rock’s too big and too well wedged up there to move. Why not just touch it together?>

Shooting a suspicious glare, Meria said, <Are you sure you gonna play fair?>

<Hey, I’m in no hurry to evolve. If it’ll happen, it’ll happen. If one of us doesn’t evolve and it looks like it’ll be you, I’ll just let go, OK?>

Studyinng his cool face for a few moments, Meria sighed and smiled, <Whatever. Let’s do this.>

Vapor and Meria walked up to the giant Water Stone and looking at each other, Meria said, <On three, alright?>

Vapor nodded calmly.

<OK,> Meria said, her voice dry at the prospect of achieving a lifelong aspiration, <One… two… three… NOW!>

Both placed a paw to the Stone and both began to glow in unison.

A minute later, two Bubble Jet Pokémon looked at each other, long blue tails waving in the wind and bright yellow ruffs rippling in the sun.

<Finally!> Meria cried out ecstatically.

<Congratulations,> Vapor smiled, looking his regular cool self. <You look really cool.>

<D’you know how long I’ve waited to be a Vaporeon?> Meria asked excitedly.

<Nope,> Vapor replied coolly. <But we have some time. Let’s take it slow, OK?>

<You and your cool attitude,> Meria laughed, still giddy at their shared evolution.

<You like it and we both know it,> Vapor shot back calmly, the two Vaporeon walking away side by side, leaving the utterly defeated Lombre to thaw slowly.

***​

Zen, with Anuvi and Crimson in tow, strolled amongst the beach, watching the multitudes of humans surf, play with Frisbees or simply kick back and soak up some sun.

<Zen,> Crimson asked for the fifth time since they snuck out of the room. <Where are we going?>

<You said something about training,> Anuvi thought silently, his violet eyes narrowed in suspicion as their ‘leader’ looked around, evidently searching for something. <So we’d better be out here to train.> Aloud, he told his Fighting type team mate, <My energy cycling needs work, so this better not be a waste of time.>

Crimson stared at his best friend and asked incredulously, <Is training all you’re interested in?>

Anuvi turned to look at his long-time companion and nodded, saying, <After Dopeak City, it makes sense to become stronger. We’re outta options. We need to win the last two badges to qualify for the League this year. We haven’t got the time to fool around, Crimson. And you know I’m right,> he added, staving off a stuttered reply.

<Yeah, you’re right, Green Bean,> Zen said calmly. <But no one said we can’t have fun while we train… ah, there it is! Come on, you two!> He added bossily, causing the two Flying types to pick up the pace to keep up with the Combatant Pokémon.

After a minute of dodging through a crowd of excited spectators, Anuvi, Crimson and Zen stood on the edge of a rectangular area marked out with ground charcoal. The shape was roughly ten metres wide and twice as long, its long side divided in half, creating two ten by ten metre squares.

A large crowd of humans and Pokémon were around, seemingly prepping up for some major event. As Crimson and Anuvi stared at the sheer volume of Pokémon around (all seemed to be insanely high leveled – Golem, Feraligatr, Alakazam, Typhlosion, Scizor… the list went on and on) and whilst Anuvi’s quiet smile betrayed his excitement at the endless training possibilities, Crimson’s shaking hands openly revealed his nervousness.

Sensing their spiked tension, Zen smiled mysteriously and said, <Green Bean, calm down. We’re not here to ‘fight’, exactly. So stop shivering, Bugsy Wugsy, OK? You’ll make me nervous.>

Beckoning to the two of them to follow him, Zen led the way through the throng whilst an announcement blared, “Will all entrants for the Northern Sector Poké-Volley Nationals please move to the desk for registration? Pokémon are to be entered with their trainers. This is the last call. Thank you.

Questions exploded like happy Electrode in Anuvi and Crimson’s minds. Crimson, being the more articulate, spoke up first, <What the…? What’s Poké-Volley? It’s not dangerous, is it? We’re not entering, are we?>

<For the last time… relax, Bugsy,> Zen said exasperatedly as they approached a desk at which a mid-teenaged girl with bubblegum pink hair wearing a bright white T-shirt over a two piece bathing suit was collecting entry information, chunky blue bangles glinting in the bright sunlight. <You’ll find out what it’s all about real soon.>

Anuvi, however, had seen another problem as the trio stepped up to the young woman after a particularly large Aggron, Machamp and Exploud moved away with their beefy, thickset trainer, who’d been forced to cut his one-sided flirting with the entry officer short by her gesturing a slim yet well-built youth in blue swimming trunks and wild black hair, who stood at the sidelines of the pitch and noticing the girl, waved enthusiastically, causing the large hairy man to scowl heavily.

<Sapph isn’t here, Zen,> he said quietly as the lady called out, “Next!” <How do you plan to enter us?>

<With this,> Zen whispered back conspiratorially, pulling a small white rectangle of plastic out of nowhere and handing it over to the girl to confirm the validity of the identity card.

<Wha… you STOLE Sapph’s TRAINER CARD?!?> Crimson screeched in appalled shock.

Looking shocked at the weight of Crimson’s accusation, Zen gave a theatrical gasp and breathed, <Stole?> Making a soft tutting noise, Zen smiled and said, <No, no, no, no… ‘stole’ is such a naughty word. I just… ‘borrowed’ it on a whim!>

<’Borrowed’, hunh?> Crimson muttered as the girl handed the card back together with a scrap of paper on which the number ‘2’ was printed. <Boy, are you in debt… Sapph’s been looking for that thing for weeks.>

Before Zen could laugh out loud at Crimson’s shot at humour, the voice, which was revealed to belong to the attendant blared out through a megaphone, “Entries for the Poké-Volley national contest are closed! Will entrants fourteen and two please make their way to the pitch, please?

<That’s us,> Zen said looking at the scrap of paper and pushing his team mates gently forward onto the field while the burly trainer from before stepped up to the edge of the field, his three VERY large Pokémon passing him as they stepped into the opposite square and formed a triangle.

<Zen, whadda we dooo?!> Crimson trilled anxiously. <I’ve never played Poké-Volley before!>

<Have you played before, Zen?> Anuvi asked quietly, locking eyes with the largest opponent, the Machamp and remembering their previous loss at the Dopeak City Gym.

<Not really, but I understand the theory. Listen,> Zen told his team mates as they went into a pre-match huddle. <One thing you need to know: don’t touch the ball if it has been hit with an attack you’re weak to, unless you can counter the attack. Leave this first round to me, I’ll show you how it works.>

“First set: Team Grader vs. Team Sapph!” A young man in trunks, a large, crane-like bird with a red head crest, sharp yellow beak and cream and brown plumage beside him, announced to the buzzing crowd. Turning to the Jutunkick, he asked, “Erm… you wouldn’t be Sapph, would you, dude?”

<No, but don’t worry,> Zen muttered back. <We’ll be fine.>

<No, we won’t,> Crimson said, quailing under the mean leer of the Exploud and the smell of its breath coming from its gaping mouth.

The referee shrugged as Fearow took flight and began to circle the pitch from ten feet up and announced, “Both sides ready? Set One… begin!”

A large royal blue ball with rounded black bumps dotting its surface was dropped from the sky by the referee’s Fearow and Zen muttered, <Don’t blink,> to both his allies and adversaries before leaping upwards, a ball of aura glowing in his right hand.

Taken aback by his speed, Grader and his Pokémon could only watch as Zen roundhouse kicked the ball straight towards Aggron, unleashing the Aura Sphere a split second later.

“Aggron, watch it!” the beefy beach man said desperately, but it was too late. The ball, charged with the Rolling Kick’s Fighting type attributes, slammed into the side of the Iron Armor Pokémon’s head, sending it reeling out of the playing field. The Aura Sphere hit the ball a second later at an angle that sent it skimming across the field towards Exploud, striking it in the… ah, nether regions.

The purple and yellow Normal type’s eyes bugged out on contact as high pitched whistling erupted from its facial pipes. Clutching its marbles in pain (a major understatement), it hobbled about for a few seconds, before falling over, completely spent.

<Ouch,> Anuvi and Crimson echoed in unison, wincing empathically. <That will sting.>

And just like that, two of Grader’s Pokémon are out of the match!” The commentator announced, sounding pleased that Grader was getting punished so soundly. “Score is 7-3 to Team Sapph and only Machamp remains!

Landing on his feet, Zen explained quickly, <Both sides start with five points. Either knocking the ball into your opponents to score damage for clean hits or so they can’t return it takes one point from the opponents’ score and adds it to ours, and vice versa. First to render the other team unable to play or devoid of points wins the set. Got it?>

Anuvi nodded as Crimson shrieked, <Watch out! That thing used Focus Blast on the ball!>

Zen turned sharply to see the ball hurtling towards him, vengeance etched deep in the Superpower Pokémon’s red eyes. Raising a palm calmly, he brought the ball to a dead stop, a bright blue aura surrounding it.

<Oops, sorry about that,> Zen laughed, as Grader and Machamp blanched in horror. <Here, is this yours?> and with a flick of his wrist, sent the ball flying straight back into the Machamp’s kisser, sending it cart wheeling straight out of the pitch to join its unconscious comrades, its fat yellow lips swelling up horrifically.

Game!” the girl announced as the crowd went crazy. “Team Sapph win their first match with an 8-2 shut-out!

<So,> Zen smiled, turning to his now grinning team mates, <ready to play ball?>

Both grinning, Anuvi and Crimson nodded.

***​

The white sands of the beach area burned with the sun’s unrelenting heat as Sapph trudged over the loose soil carefully, giving the multitude of couples, playful kids and their Pokémon a wide berth.

“Looks like a pretty peaceful place,” Sapph said to himself, watching a couple of surfers ride a long, roaring curl. “Beautiful beaches… plenty of sun… maybe the guys were right. Maybe we should just chill for a day…”

As he meandered through the large, Technicolor medley of parasols and thinking wistfully of the lack of foresight that prevented him from getting himself one of the large sun shields, a loud chorus of young voices called out, “Hey, Oh-neh! Watch out!”

Sapph wasn’t aware of the warning’s recipient until something slim and hard slammed into the back of his neck and sent him lurching forwards into the sands and right on top of something small that let out a frightened squeak and squirmed desperately as Sapph’s fall kicked up a cloud dust.

“TOGI!” A worried voice cried out as Sapph groaned and rubbed the back of his neck, spitting out fine grit as a large red Frisbee landing with a loud plop in the sands besides him. A young girl rushed up to him and shoving him into a roll scooped up what looked like a tearing eggshell which had red and blue triangles dotting it all over. Sapph groaned as he sat up and massaged the part of his ribs that came into contact with the hard item he’d hit before a shadow fell over him.

“Look what you did to my poor Togi!” the same girl half-yelled, glowering down at the winded boy trainer, shoving the egg into his face “Now apologize!” Sapph looked horrified as he saw the cracked top half and thought he’d broken it (and the girl’s sanity) until it chirped tremulously.

Sapph blinked in confusion and rubbing his eyes (mentally swearing as he got sand in them again) he squinted at the ‘egg’ again only to see the crown-shaped head of what was inside it. A pair of beady black eyes peered nervously over the cracked ridge of its shell as it shielded itself with pointed, stumpy little arms.

Sapph, realizing he hadn’t broken the Togepi’s shell, looked up still clutching his ribs into the girl’s face and met a pair of dazzling green eyes which were presently narrowed in anger at Sapph’s apparent inconsideration. A few stray strands of pink hair so dark it looked red fell into her pretty, freckled face and partly covered her ears which were studded with small pearl earrings.

“Well? I’m waiting!” the girl demanded angrily, sitting heavily on Sapph’s tummy and keeping up her scary pout. The Frisbee lay forgotten besides him, its owners’ no doubt terrified by the awful wrath their misaimed throw had incurred and in no hurry to fess up to their blunder.

“OK, OK, I’m sorry!” Sapph groaned heavily, his stomach adding to the other parts of his aching body. This girl was, though dainty, no Chairy princess.

“Like you mean it!”

“I’m sorry,” Sapph said as sincerely as one could with a girl on your stomach and sand in your eyes. “Could you please get off me now?” Sapph asked piteously, his eyes seeming like they were on fire. “I kinda got sand in my eyes and they hurt like all hell.”

The girl studied him for a few seconds before standing up and hoisting Sapph to his feet, dragging him towards her parasol. Sapph could only half see what was happening when a trickle of cool water splashed in his face, washing away the abrasive sand. A towel followed quickly, rubbing away most of the sand vigorously, and almost poking his eyes out in the process.

“Ow, my eyes! Ow, my eyes!” Sapph groaned, his arms flapping about madly and causing the Spike Shell Pokémon to break out into tinkling laughter.

“Oh, sorry,” the girl said in a more docile voice, dropping her towel and seizing Sapph’s face around the eyes, blowing gently to cure the irritation. Slowly, Sapph’s vision sharpened once again and the girl’s slightly puckered lips came into view barely an inch away.

“Tha-that’s better, th-thanks,” Sapph mumbled, his voice trembling slightly as the girl studied his sapphire irises with her own emerald ones searchingly, a moderate amount of blood flushing the young male’s cheeks.

Seemingly satisfied with her work, she pulled away her freckled cheeks slightly pink. “You’re welcome. Sorry I was a bit short with you earlier. But nobody hurts my Togi and gets let off lightly.”

Togi chirped cheerfully and waddled over to her trainer on stubby yet springy yellow feet. Sapph watched the girl picked up her adorable Pokémon and coo gently to it, all smiles and smiled a little himself in an oddly vacant manner until her voice came over loud and brash, “Hello, Earth to Kid? OY!”

Snapping out of his trance, he snapped back to attention and said, “Sorry. You just reminded me of … someone.”

“Girlfriend?”

Sapph reddened, astounded at how quickly she had caught on. Looking away, he muttered, “Yeah. Sort of…”

“Well, you’re not half bad-looking… for a kid,” the girl said in an appraising tone of voice. “My name’s Zeta. What’s yours, Blue Eyes?”

“Sapphire,” Sapph said with a smile. “Listen. I’m really sorry about Togi, even if it wasn’t entirely my fault. Let me make it up with an ice cream on me.”

Zeta glared at Sapph for a few seconds before turning to her excited Togepi and said loftily, “As funny as seeing you covered in ice cream would be, Togepi and I accept your apology.”

“Oh, OK,” Sapph said calmly standing up slowly. “Well… guess I’ll see you…”

“OK, Blue Eyes,” Zeta groaned, standing up abruptly and stretching, showing off her curves which were a little on the generous side for a twelve year old. “Wake up already. I said we accept your apology. I didn’t say we refused your invitation for ice cream. Geez,” she pouted playfully, tossing her long ponytail over her shoulder, scooping up Togi and hooking herself to Sapph’s arm, “you can’t have done this often, have you?”

Sapph, blushing furiously, decided not to answer and defend his still-growing male pride.

“By the way,” Zeta said as they walked towards an ice cream cart a few feet away. “Just how old are you, Blue Eyes?”

This was a question Sapph felt he could answer. “I’ll turn twelve in about two weeks.”

“Ha! Knew you were only a kid,” Zeta crowed triumphantly. “I’m roughly five whole months older than you!”

“W-what does that matter?” Sapph spluttered, obviously incensed by her challenging tone.

“Well, it won’t matter in a couple of weeks,” Zeta admitted brightly. “But I’m still older than you, Blue Eyes.”

“Apparently,” Sapph said in a grouchy voice. “You can’t even get my name right. It’s not ‘Blue Eyes’, alright? It’s Sapphire, although I guess you can call me Sapph.”

“Well, Sapph,” Zeta said in mock surprise as they reached the open air ice cream parlor. “Are you perchance hitting on me?”

“Urgh, no!” Sapph blanched as he paid for the ices. “All my friends call me that. Girl, get a clue already!”

Zeta laughed as she loaded her scoop with strawberry and chocolate ice cream and pausing bare inches from her Togepi’s face, looked over at Sapph with a vivacious smile and teased, “Are you sure you’re lying, Sapph?”

“Yes… I mean no! I mean,” Sapph blundered as the girl let out an open peal of laughter. “Just eat your ice cream,” Sapph grumbled, looking away and focusing on his frozen treat after catching a glimpse of the girl’s charming smile.

Looking back as he watched the girl called Zeta spoon-feed her Pokémon, Sapph began to think, a smile forming on his lips again as he watched the girl laugh animatedly at Togi’s antics.

The girl had spunk. Not to mention intuition and a sense of fun. Plus despite the differences in hairstyle, mood swings (and weight, Sapph thought furtively) she was every bit Joy Jr.’s twin.

Next time they met, Sapph thought meditatively, licking his ice cream some more, he and Joy would need a serious chat.

<General!> A loud caw called out from above.

Looking up and shielding his eyes from the sun, Sapph saw Ace swoop in and flare out, wings beating to keep altitude.

“Hey, Ace,” Sapph said cheerfully. Offering his ice cream, he asked, “Fancy a bite?”

<No, thank you, Sir,> Ace declined respectfully, wings still beating.

Watching Zeta and Togi struggle to stay steady, Sapph turned to Ace and said, “You know, you can land if you like.”

Thanking her trainer and flapping to the ground, Ace, saluted with one wing (sending Togi into a fit of giggles) and unabashedly announced, <Report.>


***​

“Well, now we found what we were looking for,” Haley announced, stepping out of the Pokémon Center, clad in her one-piece white and red floral-print bathing suit and a wide brimmed straw hat this time. “We can kick back and relax, eh, Vapor?”

<I suppose so,> Vapor yawned from her heels, blinking in the bright sun.

“You better get back in, Vapor,” Haley said thoughtfully. “I want to surprise Sapph when he sees you.”

<Sure, but just wait a minute,> Vapor yawned again. <This is the first time in almost a week you’ve let me out. Just chill... besides,> he went on, looking sideways at Haley through droopy eyes; not sleepy, merely bored. <Isn’t the packed lunch a big enough surprise?>

“Oh, quiet, you,” Haley said with a smile as girl and Pokémon walked down catwalks and strengthened cliff sides to the beach below.

As the reached the beach, Haley heard loud cheers coming from a crowd of people surrounding a wide area in the centre of the sandy cove, leaving the beach area uncommonly free. A female voice was announcing, “And Team Sapph does it again! This rookie trio seems to be unable to do wrong as they defeat Team Salvo after a grueling set, pitting them in the finals against last year’s champs… Teeam… Ryley!

“Did she say ‘Team Sapph’?” Haley asked in surprise. Shaking her head, she laughed, “Typical Sapph… forever chasing the challenge.”

<One question, then,> Vapor said calmly. <If Sapph’s meant to be over there… why’s he sitting over there,> he said, jerking his head towards the ice cream parlour, <chatting up that cute redhead?>

Haley’s smile slid off her face as she saw what indeed seemed to be Sapph, seemingly startled by what his Swoop Pokemon had announced and after footing the bill, stood up abruptly, and saying something to a very attractive girl who wore a green and white bikini and dark pink hair in a long ponytail, before running off, totally oblivious to the fact that Haley had seen him.

Watching the young girl smirk fondly at Sapph’s retreating back and talk to her Togepi who was seated before a large chocolate and chopped nut Iced Dream, Haley went from happy to jealous faster than a set of traffic lights.

<You were right about Sapph,> Vapor chuckled softly, <’Forever chasing the challenge’, hunh? And what a challenge he chases today!>

“Shut it,” Haley snarled, returning Vapor abruptly.

Some confrontation was in order, and Haley was all fired up.

***​

“There you guys are!” Sapph exclaimed a little out of breath as he ran up to the Poké-Volley pitch and saw his triumphant team mates comparing their medals and basking in the attention. “What have you been up to? I was worried!”

<Hello! Look what we won!> Crimson said brightly, showing off his golden octagonal medal and the game ball, roughly the size on a large Electrode proudly.

“Yeah, yeah, very nice,” Sapph said snappily. “But what did you win them for?”

<Annual Poké-Volley Champs, Northern Corei Sector,> Zen informed their trainer with a grin. <Looks like we actually did get some training done after all…>

“But without me?” Sapph said with a groan. “Sure, I know you’re hardcore on the beach, but it couldn’t hurt to have some more help, you know!”

<We’re sorry, Sapph,> Crimson said apologetically, glancing at a happy Zen. <We were sort of dragged into it at the last minute, and…>

“It’s OK, Crim,” Sapph said tiredly. “But you guys did a good job. I’m proud of you guys.”

<Thanks, Sapph,> Crimson said happily as Anuvi nodded in warm acknowledgement.

“Come on, let’s go find Haley and the others and tell them the news,” Sapph said turning to each Pokémon in turn. Pausing, he looked quizzically at each in turn and asked, “By the way, other than the medals, what did you guys win?”

<Hmm,> Crimson muttered, studying the prize envelope, <Fifty thousand Pokédollars cash…>

Sapph whistled in appreciation.

<…and a complimentary ticket for the SS Royal Corsola,> Crimson finished, looking up at Sapph.

Sapph blanched and said quickly, “You know what? Let’s not tell Haley you won a free ticket until we reach Utopia Island...”

Anuvi suddenly tensed and muttered, <Looks like we have company…>

<Hey, Kid,> the Jutunkick nodded, jerking his head to his trainer’s right. <Surfer Boy over there wants a word…>

Sapph wheeled about as he heard a late pair of suntanned hands applauding him and turned to see a stocky yet somewhat slim surfer standing on the edge of the pitch.

“Yo, Little Dude! Nice match!” The man called out cheerfully. “Your team has the makings of a pro Poké-Volley team!”

Little Dude? Sapph thought shocked. He wasn’t expecting that…

“Though, I’d keep my skills on the low-down if I were you, Little Dude,” the surfer dude went on, brushing his long, bushy brown hair out of his bright blue eyes. “Tough competition is drawn to this beach like Limoth to a flame, little man… real tough competition… don’t want ya little crew getting’ hurt now do we?”

The slight on Sapph’s team was the thin line between Sapph’s euphoria and rage that the upstart had blatantly crossed… and Sapph was going to let him know it… no quarter given…

“Yeah? Maybe I can show you a thing or two about skills, little man,” Sapph shot back, evidently incensed. “Maybe your little crew would like to see what my team can do…”

“I’ve seen plenty, Little Dude,” the surfer retaliated nonchalantly. “But at your level, your skills are like a splash, compared to the big wave which is moi.”

“Yeah? Well, why don’tcha put ya skills where your mouth is, Little Dude,” Sapph retorted, the flame of anticipation only a good battle could bring lighting up in his eyes.

The surfer grinned as he unhooked a pokéball off the top of his trunks. “Gladly, Little Dude.”

***​

“Hey, you!” Haley called after Zeta. “Hold it!”

Zeta complied, amused by the younger girl’s rudeness. Turning around in a manner that showed off a slim yet curvy body and said, “May I help you, little miss?”

Ignoring the slight, Haley proceeded to go on the very heavy offensive, “Just what did you think you were doing with Sapph a few minutes ago? Trying to- to make him lose focus?”

Zeta grinned and asked slyly, “What’s it to you, little miss? You Blue-Eyes mother?”

“No!”

“Girlfriend?” Zeta persisted, enjoying the taunting game.

Haley went incandescent with embarrassment and yelled, “Hell no!”

“Didn’t think so,” Zeta said coolly. “So why do you care?”

“I’m his travel buddy!” Haley declared defiantly. “And I’ll thank you to refrain form getting near him!”

“Aren’t you a jealous bird?” Zeta cooed gently, her green eyes boring into Haley’s pewter irises. “Blue-Eyes is a big boy, he can handle himself. He doesn’t need you to mother him, if you haven’t noticed, mummy,” she remarked, a coy emphasis on the last word.

“You want to make something out of this?” Haley yelled, plucking a pokéball out of her net bag and enlarging it.

“Heavens no,” Zeta laughed. “Please don’t hurt me, mummy! I’ll behave!”

Haley was seriously beginning to hate this girl.

“DON’T CALL ME MUMMY!” She roared, causing a few stares as she threw down the pokéball, causing light to explode from within its otherwise hollow interior as it opened. A smallish, slender quadruped hit the beach on all fours, its sea green skin seemingly rippling under the bright noon day sun. The creature fanned out its white, web-like ruff as it opened its small fanged mouth and yawned.

Its long, yellow and dark blue fringed ears resembled fins as they wiggled slightly, it’s long, Orchorn-like tail swishing from side to side, looking everything but eager to battle.

“So!” Haley demanded, a proud glint in her eye, Vapor the Vaporeon standing before her. “Are you gonna battle?”

“OK, mummy… two things,” Zeta said coolly. “I wouldn’t battle you even if I could. You’re not really worth that and I wouldn’t want to accidentally kill your Vaporeon the day it evolved.”

Haley and Vapor were too taken aback by the amount of knowledge the girl had about them or the cold, yet calm way she made her statement to retort.

“Secondly,” Zeta continued holding up two fingers to emphasize the point. “Who Sapph wants to date isn’t really any of mine, and even less your, business. If you don’t like it,” she said turning to go, a smile on her lips, “I suggest you do something about it.”

With that Zeta walked through the crowd and was soon lost amongst the throng of stunned onlookers.

Haley grit her teeth and swore loudly. What did she mean, ‘do something about it’? She wasn’t interested in Sapph. The tart (she wasn’t sure what that meant, but she heard her mother use it either when she was very angry or when talking about her sister Marjorie) could have him, she didn’t care…

A loud cheer went up about thirty yards away from a gaggle of people who’d formed a wide circle around the Poké-Volley pitch obviously watching a post tournament match (she’d heard there was an event going on but was preoccupied with her research to watch). Feeling aggravated, Haley stalked off to the docks to cool off and wait for the ferry to arrive.

*continued next post*​
 
Last edited:

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
TCQ ch 36~2

*continued from last post*

***​

“QUICK ATTACK!”

Like two hot-rodders playing chicken, Anuvi and a sandy brown Pokémon pelted across the sand and pounded their forearms into each other’s, straining against each other as dust was thrown every where from the force of the collision.

<Gngngngngh...> Anuvi grunted, looking into the impassive eyes of the large bipedal raccoon who outsized him by half a foot and had roughly twenty pounds over on him, yet had kept up with every high speed manoeuvre Anuvi had performed.

“Yo, Little Dude!” The surfer said comfortably, watching the battle calmly, “Looks like your Squirrage’s a little slower that usual. Sure he should be battling?”

“You should worry more about your own Pokémon,” Sapph bit back, the indescribable pressure that had settled on him since the Large Claws Pokémon had been released increasing substantially. “Anuvi! Sock it to that thing!”

<Hope you’re ready,> Anuvi muttered to the larger Pokémon, his short claws glowing red as he began slashing repeatedly at every inch of the Terrotor’s slightly pot-bellied frame with a high speed Fury Cutter chain combination.

Not batting an eyelid, the Terrotor moved its abnormally large forepaw nails at the same speed, blocking Anuvi’s every strike with minimal effort.

“That- that just ain’t possible!” Sapph gasped, watching the two Pokémon trade blows at the middle of the makeshift field. “Nothing could keep up with Anuvi before!”

“Little Dude,” the man said calmly amidst a tirade of feral yells from both Pokémon sped up their attack tempo, not missing a beat, “you have no idea how messed up your battling is right now...”

The two cut their tango short with a collision of claws that forced the duo apart several feet, Anuvi panting slightly with the effort of keeping the speed up.

<Odd,> he thought, his chest heaving with near exhaustion. <I know I received a bit of a downgrade after Zula’s attacks, but this is mad! Is he speeding up, or am I slowing down?>

<Amiho,> the Terrotor said in a voice just like his trainer albeit with a hint of a Hispanic voice, addressing his oppoonent with the Dunede word for friend, <You ain’t slowing down. I ain’t speeding up. You just couldn’t match me from the start. I’m too big a wave for you to top, dude.>

Anuvi and Sapph’s eyes widened in shock.

Anuvi’s eyes relaxed a second later and raising his right palm to shoulder height, said calmly, <OK. Try this one on for size.>

The Ground type raccoon Pokémon readied its claws for whatever attack it thought the Squirrage would have coming next.

But he wasn’t ready for what did come next as a sudden, invisible shockwave of air struck the ground at his feet and threw up an explosion of sand right in its face.

“What was that?” Sapph exclaimed, his arm shielding his eyes from the hot sand.

<I call it “Kamikaze”,> Anuvi replied quietly, the dust seeming to not affect him as all. <Basically a hyped up Wind Attack.>

“When the heck did you learn that?” Sapph gasped in awe. “And from whom?”

Anuvi didn’t answer; he just looked on. He couldn’t trust himself to speak just then. He’d betray his weakness, his sorrow to his opponent and team mate, one thing he’d vowed never to do again since that day.

The crowd screamed and threw up their hands or brought down their tinted shades in desperate attempts to keep the sand out of their faces. The surfer however, merely narrowed his eyes a little and said to himself, “Interesting move, Little Dude. Real interesting...”

Raising its forearm higher, he was desperately trying to see two paces ahead of him, despite his affiliation to the sand based on his type.

“Stay cool, Terrotor!” the surfer ordered with a steely note in his voice. “Ride the dust cloud out!”

“Now’s our chance, Anuvi!” Sapph exclaimed. “Get ‘im!”

Anuvi, crouched low, building up power like a cyclone within himself and silently took off like a bullet straight into the dust cloud, a flash of green fur and power.

No one could see just what was going on inside the dusty nimbus as battle cries rang out from both Pokémon and smaller explosions could be heard and felt through the sand. Suddenly a large form leapt up and backwards out of the cloud just as it began to settle, revealing the Squirrage crouched low to the sandy ground.

<He’s good, Sapph,> Anuvi said succinctly. <Real good. Even under all that cover...>

“You couldn’t land a single hit?!” Sapph finished for his Pokémon in a dumbfounded voice, his throat dry from all the yelling and the sand.

Anuvi nodded wordlessly thinking, <You’re real good at this, Terrotor. Sorry it had to come to this...>

With his hands clasped tightly together and on one knee, Anuvi gave the spectators the impression that he was praying. Sapph and the surfer’s attention however, was on the Warrior Pokémon’s back as the cowl of leaves began to ripple and shift as though in a high wind.

So he plans to end it here, hunh? The man thought to himself as his Terrotor began to fall back to earth. OK, Little Dude. We’ll get serious too...

“Anuvi... LEAF STORM!” Sapph yelled pointing at the falling Large Claws Pokémon vindictively for emphasis.

<HAH!> Anuvi yelled, his focus sharpening greatly as a rush of foliage erupted from his back and rising like a great wave, fully intending to swamp the Ground type and end the battle.

“We got him now!” Sapph said, pumping his fist in anticipation of a tremendous hit. No Ground type could take a Grass attack of this magnitude, no matter how strong they were...

The surfer seemed to think so too. Not missing a beat, he ordered, “OK, Terrotor, no more messing around. X-Scissor, now! And follow it up with Magnitude, cranked up to eight!”

The Terrotor’s claws gleamed gold as it brought them down in an X-shaped pattern, creating a large X-shape that turned the tide of leaves into compost.

Sapph and Anuvi barely had time to register their shock as Terrotor’s whole body glowed with a dull grey halo and hit the sandy ground hard, ripples spreading out and shaking everybody up.

“You fought well, Little Dude,” the man said quietly, “but it’s over. One more X-Scissor, Terrotor.”

Sapph and Anuvi were still jittery from the last attack and were one step too late to stop the advancing Terrotor. Though in hindsight, Sapph thought later that day, they wouldn’t have been able to follow its movements anyway.

One second the Terrotor was right in Anuvi’s face, the next (the two instances separated by a pair of blinding gold flashes and a pair of loud slicing noises) the Large Claws Pokémon was behind him, a small cloud of dust rising from his feet.

<Sorry, amiho,> the Terrotor spoke, <but it’s just as I said... you just couldn’t top the wave that is me.>

Glaring behind him at Terrotor’s back, his began to sink to the floor, thinking, <Im-impossible... I... lost?!>

With a muffled thump, Anuvi hit the sands in a dead faint, his look of disbelief, which mirrored Sapph’s perfectly, still etched on his pointed face.

“No... no way,” Sapph said in shock, dropping Anuvi’s pokéball and falling to his knees as Terrotor straightened up and returned to his master’s pokéball with the slightest of glances. “We... lost? How?

“I’ll tell you, Little Dude,” the man said, walking towards him and kneeling next to him. Up close, his face looked like a youth a year or two older than T.J. as it was as boyish as it was rugged. “You tried to fight the flow.”

“What flow?!” Sapph asked angrily. “The flow of what?”

“Whoa, Little Dude. Mellow out,” the man said sympathetically as he picked up the white pokéball and returned the felled Warrior Pokémon to his sphere. “I mean the flow of the battle. Battling’s like riding a gnarly curl, Little Dude, you try too hard to take control; you wipe out. But if you make yourself flexible and go with that flow, wait for the right opportunity to turn it around and take it, then every battle becomes a totally tubular experience. I’m not so great at the deep stuff, man... Old Man Herb’s the real big wave at that stuff.”

Clapping Sapph on the shoulder in brotherly fashion, the man smiled and added, “What I do know, Little Dude, is that next time we do this, it’ll be a wave to remember.”

And walking away towards the sea, picking up a bright blue and banana yellow surfboard, he thought, After all... Little Dudes don’t exactly match up well against Elite Four members...

***​

“What do you mean, you can’t help me?!” Sapph asked the nurse tetchily as she filed her nails.

“I mean, I can’t help you,” the nurse explained kindly. “Not if you want to make the ferry for Utopia Island today. It won’t leave for another four days after today.”

Sapph’s shoulders sagged in defeat. This wasn’t good. Anuvi needed help and if he got it, he’d be stuck in town for four days. Steeling his resolve, he opened his mouth to tell the nurse he’d stay anyway when she said, “However-“

Taken aback by the presence of a third option, Sapph fell silent and listened.

“There is a Pokémon Center facility on the ferry,” the nurse went on with a smile. “If you hurry, you can get treatment for him there. I’ll give them a call for you,” she offered, reaching for the phone on the reception desk.

“Thank you so much!” Sapph said, almost a little faint with gratitude, turning to bolt out of the Center and to the wharf, still in his trunks.

“Wait, Sapph!” Nurse Joy called, covering the earpiece of the phone with one slender hand. “Aren’t you forgetting your things?”

Skidding to a halt, inches from the doors, Sapph mentally struck himself on the head and dashed in the opposite direction towards the sleeping quarters set up for the nurse and travellers.

Sapph was still cursing himself for his grievous lapse in memory as he pelted into the corridor that led to his room and found a surprise waiting outside his door.

“Z-zeta?!” Sapph gasped, stumbling as he watched the attractive girl start and whirl around looking to see who had called out to her.

“B-Blue-Eyes!” she called out, smiling a charming smile while thinking, Oh, crap! Wasn’t Gawain supposed to keep a lookout? Stupid brother...

“So what brings you all the way here?” Sapph asked curiously. “Did I take Togi by mistake? Or did he get lost and wander around my room?” Sapph had a look of playful annoyance on his face.

“Well, erm...” Zeta stammered, trying to pick a good cover story and finding none would suit the bill.

“Wait a minute,” Sapph said slowly, thinking hard (Zeta’s heart missed a couple of beats at the serious tone of his voice), “I know what’s going on...”

Zeta began to sweat bullets as her mind was in complete and utterly panicked disarray.

Damnit... I didn’t think I’d need to fight my way out of trouble here, Zeta thought frantically. What do I do? What do I do?!

Cupping a balled fist in his palm, he said with the air of a master detective coming to a logical conclusion, he blurted out, “You like me, don’tcha?”

“Bwuh?!” Zeta mumbled, totally thrown by the absurdity of the boy’s far-fetched conclusion. Seriously? He's this clueless?! She thought in shock.

Sapph regarded her dumbfounded expression much like a Slowpoke would contemplate higher calculus and asked, “Am I wrong?”

Zeta’s mind after realising her mistake, was working furiously to find a way to cover up for its folly. Think fast, Zeta... think fast! Think fast, act fast, move fast!

And without conscious thought, Zeta did the only thing available: cupping Sapph’s face in both soft hands, she pulled his face right up to hers and lip locked him.

That’s right, folks. Lip locked him... as in kiss. Snog. Full-out, full-blown kiss him.

Sapph’s eyes went wide in shock as the next twenty or so seconds passed in silence. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable; Zeta, for one, seemed to enjoy the kiss immensely which went from forceful to soft, tender and if they were any older, slightly sensual... it was the fact that (Sapph went Spelon red in the face as he thought it) it was his first kiss.

Another ten seconds later, Sapph began to feel a little faint for lack of air and Zeta finally released him, her green eyes closed, and a slight sigh escaping her lips.

Opening her eyes, a smile crept up her cheeks and blushed slightly as to how taken Sapph seemed to have taken the kiss. Gibbering faintly like an electrocuted Aipom and looking as red-faced as a sunburned Electrode, all Sapph could mutter was, “Woo-er?”

“Something to remember me by,” she said playfully, licking her lips slightly, looking cuter by the second. “You like?”

“Woo-er?”

Giggling, she slid away form the door and sauntered down the corridor, saying, “See you around, Blue-Eyes.”

All Sapph said as he raised a hand in vacant farewell was, “Woo-er.”

Zeta hurried down the corridor, around the corner and out of sight, lightly touching her lips as she went.

“You enjoyed that a little too much, don’t you think?” A taunting voice sounded out from the janitor’s closet as she walked past.

Stopping in her tracks, she turned her head around slightly and muttered, “Gawain. You butt munch... what happened to keeping a look-out? And what do you mean, ‘a bit too much’?”

“Sorry,” a boy laughed, stepping out of the closet to face her. His sun-bleached blond bangs spiked up, Gawain seemed rather tall, and unless he was faking it, rather cowed by the angry preteen girl standing before him.

“D’you know how long you snogged him for?” Gawain asked, a mean smile creeping up his lips.

Shrugging, Zeta decided to humour him, “I dunno... ten seconds?”

“Try forty five, little sister,” Gawain said, laughing a cold laugh that didn’t reach his ruby red irises. “I think he’s right; you do like him!”

“Shut up,” Zeta snapped. “Nothing would have happened if... hey!” she interjected loudly as Gawain suddenly grabbed her and pulled her back into the closet quickly, and not a moment too soon. Sapph came around the corner a second after the door clicked shut, jogging in a slow yet vacant manner towards the front door and the docks.

“That was close,” Zeta said, listening to his footfalls disappear into the distance.

“Aww,” Gawain cooed with a laugh. “Who’d have guessed you were this shy?”

“Buuuh- WUH?!” Zeta said in startled preoccupation, her mind a million miles and three minutes back in time away.

“Ah-hah!” Gawain crowed in triumph. “Zeta’s got a boyfriend, Zeta’s got a boy-friend!”

At this, Zeta’s green eyes narrowed, and...

SMACK!

Zeta flounced out of the closet her cheeks bright pink, leaving Gawain sprawled amongst a mess of mop heads and buckets and a bright red, stinging palm print upon his cheek.

Chuckling to himself, Gawain pulled himself to his feet and slouched out after her, laughing “Wait until the other lieutenants hear this!”

***​

To round things up, we’ll start by explaining the sport Poké-Volley:

Played by: Pokémon
Number of players: Three a side, though sometimes played with more players
Field dimensions: 20x20 m divided into two 10x10m squares
Equipment: One regulation sized Poké-Volley ball, occasionally a net, ten metres long and one and a half metres high

How to play: The ball is passed from one side to the other. Each player is allowed to touch the ball once before it is passed to the other side, although the ball can be passed after fewer touches. Players can use ‘Shots’ to knock out opponents of the opposite side.

Types of Shots: Shots are touches of the ball when a Pokémon can use an attack to infuse the ball with the power, accuracy and type attribute of the attack used to hit the ball. Five types of shots exist:

Serve Shots: A Shot used to start a game or resume after a point is lost.

Power Shots: Shots used during game play. Players who are weak to a Shot’s nature are dealt severe damage whilst those with type resistance suffer markedly less damage. The ball can only take one attribute at a time and when hit with an attack of another type, the ball changes accordingly. The ball can only take two attributes if two attacks hit it simultaneously.

Death Shots: Attacks intended to mortally wound or kill the intended target. Forbidden in the sport, though very few Pokémon who receive these attacks died from playing the game.

Nether Shots: Attacks directed to the nether regions of a Pokémon’s anatomy. Not allowed as a Serve Shot.

Head Shots: Shots directed at the head. Though allowed as a Serve Shot, the opponent should be made fully aware of such an attack by the shout “HEAD!” before using it as such.

Scoring: In regulation games, each side starts with five points. A point is taken from a side’s team and added to the opponents’ score when either:
1. A Pokémon faints from a Power Shot.
2. The ball hits the ground on their side of the field.
3. The ball goes out-of-bounds form a touch or Shot.

The game ends when a team has lost all their points or all their playable team mates.

Restrictions:
1. Pokémon should not exceed ten feet in length unless capable of hovering or flight.
2. No Death Shots (i.e. attacks intending to mortally wound opponents)
3. Nether Shots are only allowed as rebound shots off another Pokémon.

CHARACTER PROFILE OF THE WEEK

Name: Unknown, goes by the nickname ‘Zeta’
Date of Birth: February 14, PA 2003
Gender: Female
Hair colour: Deep pink with few blonde dyed streaks
Eye colour: Green

Pokémon
On Hand: Togi (Togepi), others unknown
In Storage: Not known

Background: Little is known about this enigma of a beauty whose spunky attitude and honesty makes her an agreeable character. However, like many people around her, she has a fair few skeletons in her closet, including her uncanny resemblance to Joy, which adds to the thrill-seeking Sapphire’s curiosity and her mystique.

And now... the Corei-Dex entries for the week!

068 Terrotor

Type: Ground
Species: Large Claws
Pronunciation: teh-ROW-TORR
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 390kgs
Habitat: Rough-terrain
Evolution Line:
Geosel -(22)-> Badgune-(39)->TERROTOR
Name Derivation: TERRa (Spanish (?) for Earth) + lOTOR (specific epithet for Raccoon, Procyon lotor)
Notes: It has huge claws that can enable a TERROTOR to hew an Olympic-size swimming pool-sized hole in a space of mere seconds. It is active at night where its bushy tail keeps it warm as it naps.

118 Lobauw
Type: Water
Species: Lobster
Pronunciation: LOW-BAW
Height: 3'04"
Weight: 58kgs
Habitat: Sea
Evolution Line: Does not evolve
Name Derivation: LOBster + AUW (variative of the ending sound of CLAW)
Notes: The jelly surrounding its upper body made be soft, but it's so slippery, few attacks can penetrate it to the body underneath. It is said to be an evolutionary descendant of ANORITH.

121 Narpin
Type: Water
Species: Narwhal
Pronunciation: NAW-pin
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 95kgs
Habitat: Sea
Evolution Line:
Piscos-(Water Stone)-> Orchorn
Piscos-(Dragon Scale)->NARPIN
Name Derivation: NARwhal + PIN
Notes: NARPIN's sleek body enables it to sneak up unsuspectingly upon prey like Remoraid and skewer them on their horns.

***​

Now to the breaking headlines:
1. Despite how much I'd've loved to go all out this march, life's being a bi- i mean, a major pain and so I can not fulfil this year's TCQ month obligations. however, if all goes according to plan (not that things have recently) TCQ will meet it's deadline

Which brings us to number 2: asperger raised an interesting idea for a spin-off series: the back stories of your favourite TCQ characters retold in extra detail. It will take effort and time and will probably not take off until spring 2010, but it's an idea.

3. Finally, I'd like to throw an open gate invite to the Corei League finals to all! a lot of top-notch trainers will be there and you have the chance to join them! i have the thread bare results for the tourney open, but if you'd like to see your OT characters/ self inserts duke it out with Corei's finest, send me a pm with their info (aappearance, pokes, battle styles, etc) and make this year's Corei League finale one to remember!

With that... I gotta go!

‘Til next time, peeps!

L@er!
 
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Lecan

Member
Excellent chapter. :D
The Haley-Sapph-Zeta love triangle is hilarious...although Zeta is the suspicious now!

air dragon said:
At this, Zeta’s green eyes narrowed, and...


SMACK!

Zeta flounced out of the closet her cheeks bright pink, leaving Gawain sprawled amongst a mess of mop heads and buckets and a bright red, stinging palm print upon his cheek.
...
...
...ouch.

Poké-Volley seems pretty awesome so far. MOAR!

Air Dragon said:
Hey, there, new guy! Welcome to Serebii! There's a whole plethora of awesome fanfics out here, this one being one of the best of the best:

http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=207042
Funny you should mention that fanfic...I'm actually reading the prequel to it. XD
Peace.

;387;
 
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Diddy

Renegade
play with Frisbees or simple kick back and soak up some sun.
Simply.

It's kinda near the start, before the Poke-volley bit.

Only mistake I saw though.

=]


Although there was a distinct lack of Lunar Beam, it was a great chapter. I especially enjoyed reading the Poke-volley match, because it sounds like a great pokemon based sport that isn't just racing or something. And the fact you had an entire rule set for it despite them not featured heavily in the chapter. Well done you.

And the random Water Stone finding section, with Vapor and the girl Eevee who was a bit of a beyatch but then turned all giggly and so totally like into him after she evolved. Was kinda weird, but I suppose you had to invent a better plot device than "OH EM GEE! I bOUghtz a WatER StoNE!!! Lolz!" *mercilessly hurls sharp pointy rock at small fragile fox pokemon*

Which I semi-applaud you for.

That and Sapph getting murked by surfer dude. *is wondering whether his most probably drug addled words will affect Sapph in any way*

Enjoyable!

Although, weird thing is, I remember opening the page and looking that you posted the chapter but don't remember reading it at all.
 

Kindrindra

大事なのは自分らしいくある事
...How come me no get PM?
Anyway... Uber pawns chapter.
I spazzed when I found out surfer dude was an elite four member... Poke-Volley officialy pawns. I already play volley ball... so... Me wanna play Poke-Volley!
Anyway... Zeta makes me lol.... SMACK! Amazing...

As always, my review sucks... Corei ligue finals entryable?!?! Oh, Ya! Just point me to your fan art thread. I need to see it again.


See Ya Later!
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Status report

@Lecan: You have no idea *evil laugh*
Glad you guys liked Poke-Volley. You might see more of it!

And Long Live the Revolution!

@Diddy: Weird...

Sorry for the lack of Lunar Beam... but we'll see it again soon. For a move that may not be around too long, it has quite a following... ^_^

On teh Water Stonez... yah, my idea sounded way better than the scenario you pointed out, hunh? Good thing i thought of it, cuz that was my original idea.

Thank God for muses...

@Kindrindra: a thousand apologies for my oversight! Will put you on the PM List for future reference!

Unfortunately, I looked all over but failed to find the thread. I suppose it's been banished to the nether regions of the net abyss.

This means one thing: RE-UP!

ON status: The net's been out for almost a week here so I'm at a cafe slaving to put this message up before i run outta time. For the record, TCQ is officially discontinued on PE2K forums... and started up on ff.net! Go here to check out the story:

Link coming soon: HERE!

Chapter 37's slow, but what else is new?

L@er!
 
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
OK, I added the PM list to the first post. Please check and see if it's all there.

And #37 still isn't ready. Damn, I feel so lazy and busy and sorry all at once... :(

EDIT: And the chapter's still nowhere near done... :( :(

This is an addendum to the last announcement at the end of the last chapter: Corei League final entrants will be allowed to bring their characters and lineups into the fray! It won't change the result or the story line, I just want you guys to feel more a part of it.

There are a fair few slots open, so I'll just run you through the format:

Name (the character's name of course)
Region (His home region. Home town would be nice too)
Description (again, for the character. his physical, behavorial quirks and quips go here)
Battle style (there are a few here: dark horse, unpredictable, diverse (uses more than one style), gun-slinger (pulls a powerful move when least expected. e.g. Travis dePaul III), power-hitter (favours powerful moves that miss often), defensive, annoyer-type user/tactical, give and take (either avoid opponents attacks or takes them head on and retaliates) Your own battle style is also allowed, although a brief description would be required.
Lineup (six pokes or more here please. a move pool would be cool too, but i may not follow it especially if you give a battle style. I'll reup the corei list soon so you can pick from that if you like.)
Achievements (Previous laurels for your character go here. keep them realistic please!)

*claps hands together* OK, that ought to be it! Deadline is the 20th of June, so get sending! Although i'd prefer a thread reply, a pm or userpage post is welcome as well.

L@er!
 
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YamiRubi

Be awed of Fire!
Grettings fellow humans or unknown creature!

Yea! I finally caught up!
Took me like three months but now I have to wait for awhile for the next chapter.
Anyways I really enjoyed your fanfic and the best one yet (the only one I've read so far in Serebii)!
Also can you add me to the pm list ,please with a cherry on top and thank you?
And last I'll add my fc to the tournament thingy if you don't mind.

~YamiRubi~
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Warning, you are now approaching double chapter season...

Hey' y'all. AD's at it again! The silence is over, the wait is done! Presenting the first of April's TCQ's quota: TCQ, chapter 36!

Chapter Thirty Six: Wild about Safari​

Anuvi felt his body rise and fall gently as he awoke the day after his crushing defeat on the blazing sands of White Cliffs. Lying prostrate upon the white sheets, he began to feel the bruises act up again under the stiff bandaging administered to him whilst he was still out cold. Though he’d been in Pokémon Centres before, there was something- nostalgic- about the way he rested in this one. Like he felt truly peaceful (a feeling he had not felt since Dopeak City). This was the first one that seemed to rise and fall on its own. Maybe his head (the crown of which was also bound tightly in bandages) was still spinning.

<I’ve gotta stop winding up here,> he thought furtively, cursing the Terrotor that landed him there as he turned his head sideways to see who or what was in the room beside himself.

A tan-shaded cabinet stood beside his bed head, a glass vase filled with dainty purple flowers standing atop it. It, together with a brown bottle Anuvi guessed was full of ointment or medicine that stood beside it, glinted in the sunlight coming through the circular window set in the pastel blue wall. All the Grass type could see was the blue sky scudded with wispy cirrus clouds from his point of view and the random Wingull gliding by. A smooth hand lay of the bed inches away from his own viridian forelimb and sitting up a little, followed it to its owner’s body saw a young boy asleep in the chair besides him, his messy dark hair falling into his face. He had apparently sat up with the Squirrage until sleep had taken him prisoner.

With a rush of understanding, Anuvi knew where the feeling of contentment and security had arisen from. After all, his trainer had only once spent the night in such a position before. Back at the beginning of the duo.

<The beginning, hunh?> Anuvi thought with a smile as his thoughts drifted back to that day that seemed like yesterday, yet felt so far away all at once:

-Flashback-

Olville Town, Pokémon Center, roughly three months ago


“I dunno,” Sapph whispered. “I just snapped. Some Pokémon master I turn out to make…I beat up my own Pokémon the day I get them! I mean, what will he think of me?”

“I guessing he needs you, which is why I haven’t thrown you out yet,” Nurse Joy went on patiently.

<You better believe it, buster!> Chansey chirped happily.

“How can you say that? He clear can’t trust me now,” Sapph said hoarsely. “I mean which Pokémon would?”

“See for yourself,” Nurse Joy said with a small smile nodding towards the bed.

Sapph turned to see Mongle crying out feebly in discomfort gesturing towards Sapph with his now dull red eyes pleading with Sapph’s blue ones. Sapph quickly wetted the other sponge and used it to cool his Pokémon down and soothe its wounds. Mongle snuffled softly and stop its feverish stirring.

“I have to see the other Pokémon, Sapph,” Nurse Joy said, turning to leave. “Keep him cooled down, alright?”

“Sure thing, Nurse Joy,” Sapph said with a smile.

As the door closed gently behind the two nurses, Sapph felt something push its way into his hand. Looking down he noticed that Mongle had snuggled up to his hand. Sapph’s smile faltered.

Mongle, Sapph thought sadly. Could you really need me? Like I need a Pokémon like you…

***​

Mongle awoke feebly two hours later to see the young boy still there. Mongle tried to hastily get away but couldn’t stray far enough and flinched, ready for the blows he was sure would follow.

“Still can’t trust me hunh?” Sapph said sadly, trying to smile. A cracked sob issued from his mouth instead and he started crying again.

<What’s with this guy? > Mongle thought. <Wasn’t he gonna hit me again? >

“Are-are you OK?” Sapph asked, taking his hand out of the water that he had used to sponge his Pokémon through the night.

<Why is he here, though? Did he tend to my wounds all night? I thought it was the nurse! Does he really care now? > Mongle wondered.

“I’m… so …sorry! I’m sorry… I promise I’ll… I’ll never abandon you again, if you take me as your trainer… after… after all, it’s what you think that counts. D’you… d’you reckon you could forgive me? After all I did?” he ended, a pleading look in his watery eyes, tears dripping down his scratched and burnt face.

Mongle looked deeply into the boy’s eyes and saw nothing of the cold stare he received hours earlier. He saw in his earnest eyes a fervent desire to keep his promise and leave what had happened today behind. Mongle’s face relaxed into a smile.

The boy trainer’s joy was beyond words. He hugged his Pokémon, whispering words of profound thanks. <Guess those two were wrong after all,> Mongle thought.

***​

A couple of hours later on their night time rounds, Nurse Joy and Chansey looked in to see Sapph asleep in the chair, leaning over onto the bed hugging his Mongle. Both trainer and Pokémon had looks of content upon their faces. Nurse Joy smiled down at Chansey, who smiled back and gently closed the door.

-End Flashback-

As Anuvi’s reminiscing came to an end, the boy began to stir and opening one eye in a frowsy manner, looked up at his first Pokémon and smiled.

“Hey, buddy,” Sapph said blearily, rubbing the gum out of his eyes. “Sleep well?”

Anuvi’s smile lingered a little longer as he watched the boy stifle a long, open yawn.

<I guess you could say that,> he replied passively, his pointed face returning to its presently original look. <You didn’t have to spend the night babysitting me...>

“That’s what this is now, is it? Babysitting?” Sapph asked, the incredulity of his reply dimmed by his exhaustion.

Anuvi gave neither a negatory nor affirmative reply as he closed his eyes and faced the opposite wall.

Sapph glared at the emotionless face a few moments longer and deciding on balance it would be best to let Anuvi deal with whatever was bothering him however he wanted, Sapph rose to his feet and walked to the door. Pausing at the threshold, he turned back to his Pokémon who seemed to have fallen asleep and said, “I’m here if you need to talk, OK? We’re all here if you need to talk.”

Nothing.

“I’ll leave you to it, then,” Sapph said unsurely, walking out of the room and closing it with a snap.

Leaning against the other side of the door, Sapph slumped to a sitting position and lightly banging the back of his head against the vertical surface, muttered, “I just wish we could help you. That’s all we want, Anuvi.”

At the same time, Anuvi opened his violet eyes and thought despondently, <I know you guys wanna help, but I gotta deal with this on my own.>

***​

Along the golden shores of Utopia Island City, couples littered the beach almost like a convention. Many seaside shops with open air patios were fully open for business and many more people sat in the open breeze and warm afternoon sun, slurping down ice creams, scarfing down pizza or generally enjoying each other’s company over cold drinks.

Among the people who patronised one of these restaurants, a tall youth with shoulder-length, burning reddish-blond hair looked out over the sea, the peaceful atmosphere not on his mind as he sat with his eyes closed in contemplation, his fingers drumming away at the terrazzo table top as the patrons around him buzzed cheerfully.

Kamren blew a strand of hair out of his silver grey eyes and glanced around, not truly seeing his surroundings. Two things presently weighed on his troubled mind: the Dragon Cove, which served as a natural reserve for Dragon type Pokémon just to the south of Utopia Island and the whereabouts of his friends Carla, Calvin and Dex, whom he hadn’t seen since they parted ways in the Grand Corei Desert. While he was able to carry out his investigations more freely, he was faintly concerned for their well-being, especially...

“Your iced tea, sir,” a jarringly familiar voice rang out close to his ear, causing him to look up into the attendant’s green eyes and stare. Speak of the devil, he thought in surprise. Well, one of them...

Aloud, however, Kamren said in a cool voice, “Thanks, Carla.”

The waitress blinked in shock as she gasped and dropped her large, circular plastic tray and gasp, “Kamren?! Is it you?”

“Yeah,” Kamren said calmly as Carla regained her wits and scuttled into the seat opposite him.

“Your hair’s a mess,” was all Carla could get out after looking her friend over.

“You like it?”

A moment’s pause. “Actually, yes,” Carla said in surprised admittance. “But what are you...”

Kamren wordlessly reached into his pocket and pulled out a royal blue badge case and opened it, showing seven League badges, the last one resembling a sprig of leaves, green in the foreground and black in the back.

Carla looked embarrassed at her need to ask such a question and muttered, “Oh. Congratulations.”

“What about you?” Kamren said calmly, returning the case to his pocket. “How are you doing? And where’s Rubin? I thought you were travelling with him...”

Carla muttered something indistinctly and Kamren raised an eyebrow.

“Fine,” Kamren said distantly. “You don’t have to tell me. It was a stupid question. Just answer me this: what’s a twelve year old Coordinator doing serving iced tea at a Utopia Island café? Dressed like a senior high school waitress?” he added, taking in her rather-revealing outfit, which comprised of a simple white T-shirt with the name ‘Louie’s’ stamped across it and her short and tight blue denim shorts.

“Paying off a debt,” Carla whispered.

Kamren took a sip of his tea and gave Carla a look that plainly said he was listening.

Carla sighed and told her tale:

“Rubin and I arrived here about a week ago. He was being distant, but then again, he’d always been that way since the White Cliffs contest convention. I won my third ribbon there whilst Rubin failed to win his fourth by losing in the semi-final heat to the one I beat in the final.”

Kamren took another sip of tea and sighed noncommittally; inviting her to continue.

“We got to the island and prepared to train for the Northern Isle Convention. Rubin told me to train on my own while he went to secure our ride to the first Trigello Contest. I spent the day brushing up on our appeals and at lunchtime came to this café, where we agreed to meet. I waited for him all afternoon. He never came.”

Kamren’s eyes narrowed slightly, but otherwise gave no sign of change.

“When I decided to go to the harbour to get on the boat, the proprietor and a couple of thugs came out and asked me if I knew Rubin Manson. Next thing I knew, I was being forced to work here!”

Carla buried her face in her palms to stem the flow of tears and said in a hollow voice, “I thought it was just a misunderstanding. That Rubin would come back for me and straighten it out.” Carla sniffled miserably and repeated, “He never came.”

Kamren had barely opened his mouth to ask a question that tugged on his mind as Carla’s tale came to an end, but before he could open his mouth a rough voice from inside what seemed to be the kitchen hollered, “OI, BLONDIE! BACK TO WORK!”

Wiping her eyes noisily, she looked at Kamren, flashed a watery smile and said, “Guess this is my just desserts. Enjoy your iced tea, sir.”

Kamren watched her leave slowly, her tray clutched to her chest as her head was bowed. Wolf whistles erupted from the guys at the tables which she passed, causing her head to droop even lower in shame. Exhaling heavily, the boy got up and followed.

“Hey, Blondie,” the head chef, a wiry, bucktoothed young man who looked no older than nineteen said coldly, as Carla walked back in slowly, “we don’t have all day! Table Nineteen needs two pizzas out there three minutes ago! So hop to it!”

“Yes, sir,” Carla replied despondently, moving towards the steaming pizza pies that stood at the end of the counter, her long ponytail swinging from side to side in the salty breeze.

“Sounds like you’re quite the hit out there,” the boy went on slyly. “Particularly with the WTU students on summer vac. Business has never been so good!”

A lewd smirk crossed the pimply teen’s face as Carla shot him a look that carried a trace of defiance and anger. As she scooped the pizzas onto her tray and made to leave, he reached out and slapped her on the butt, causing her to gasp in shock and anger.

Losing the little control she’d exercised since returning to the boy’s presence, Carla swung around and using the broad side of the tray, slapped him heavily in the face and sending him reeling into the counter.

“Did you just slap me?” the boy said coldly, back on his feet and looking scandalized. Carla, realizing her mistake, shrank away in terror as the teen stomp towards her menacingly.

“Have you forgotten,” the boy whispered in soft, vicious tones. “That your pal Rubin owes me? That you have no power over me as long as I have your Pokémon? Or that with one phone call,” he snatched a phone up and began to dial slowly, “you can kiss your career as a Coordinator goodbye?!”

Carla dropped to her knees piteously as the boy mercilessly continued to dial, stopped only as a small bolt of electricity hit the phone and shorted it out.

“So that’s what’s going on,” a voice said from the doorway calmly as the boy and Carla looked at the doorway to see a boy in his early teens stand there, a small yellow creature at his heels, sparkling with electricity and its beady black eyes fixed on the pimply youth in clear dislike. “Louie, is it?”

“Who the hell are you?” Louie yelled angrily as Kamren stepped into the room, twirling another pokéball on his finger.

“Someone’s who’s going to trash this place and turn you in to the authorities in five seconds flat,” Kamren said calmly as Saffron’s ears stiffened, his hair on end.

Louie gaped in shocked anger as Kamren looked into his milky pale, terrified face without blinking. “Are you a Junior Ranger?” he asked in hushed, terrified tones.

“Nope,” Kamren said calmly. “But I make those guys seem like small fry by the time I’m through with you.”

“OK, easy buddy,” Louie said quickly, his oily voice developing an unctuous note. “Let’s not get too hasty...”

“You’re right,” Kamren said conversationally. “It’ll be so much trouble dialling the authorities when we could just strike a deal here.”

Louie nodded feverishly, his face a cascade of icy cold sweat.

“You let Carla and her Pokémon go, and we have no problem. You can continue to run your...” here, Kamren looked around disdainfully as he uttered the next word in a disgusted tone, “establishment, and the cops need not know anything about your illegal practices. Deal?”

Thirty minutes later, Kamren walked out of the café with a newly freed Carla, who couldn’t stop stammering her thanks to her rescuer.

“Don’t mention it,” Kamren said coldly. “Ever,” he added emphatically as Carla opened her mouth again. “Hopefully this will teach you a lesson about picking whom you travel with...”

“Kamren?”

“Yeah, what?”

“I’m sorry I...,” the blonde Coordinator began faltering as Kamren raised his hand firmly.

“Just as long as you understand,” Kamren muttered, pulling out his PokéNav and dialling a number.

“Who are you calling?” Carla asked curiously as she walked next to Kamren along the beautiful beach.

“The authorities,” Kamren replied, placing the phone to his ear as it began to ring.

“But,” Carla said in confused tones. “Didn’t you tell Louie that you wouldn’t call the authorities if he let me go?”

“I did.”

Carla only got more confused at the boy’s answers. “But... that means...”

Kamren nodded and said, “Yep. I lied.”

***​

The tropical paradise of the Corei region, Utopia Island was filled with lush jungle life, and many houses similar to the ones one might see in Pacifidlog Town or Fortree City in the Hoenn region. The many homesteads that made up the downtown here, however, were mounted on powerful bamboo stilts and platforms, interlinked with well-veneered bamboo planks as opposed to the stone platforms that the pier was constructed on. Sapph and Haley walked along the bamboo walkways that served as the streets of the island city, having the usual argument the pair were prone to the moment they landed in a city with a gym.

“For the last time, Haley, I’m not going to the Safari Zone!” Sapph argued hotly.

“For the last time, Sapph, you are!” Haley countered.

“Do you have to be this annoying?” Sapph said rolling his blue eyes in exasperation.

“Do you have to be this selfish?” Haley countered furiously. “It’s the same with you wherever we go! ‘Where’s the gym?’! ‘Any idea where the gym is?’! ‘Take me to you gym leader!’! It pisses me off that you can only think about yourself all the time!”

“Yeah?” Sapph countered, flaring up. “Well, you’re one to talk, Prissy Miss ‘Oh no, a white hair!’!”

“I’m not arguing this any further with you!” Haley snapped.

“Good!” Sapph snapped back.

“We’re going to the Safari Zone, and that’s final!”

“No, it’s not!”

“Yes, it is!”

“Nope, no sale, Haley!” Sapph said angrily.

“There’s only one way to settle this!” Haley growled, rolling up her sleeve and clenching her right fist in her left palm.

“Oh, is that how this is gonna be, hunh?” Sapph countered, mimicking her actions and standing his ground, his blue eyes seemingly on fire. “Well, bring it on!”

The two pre-teens glared at each other for a couple of tense minutes, the wind whistling as Haley’s ponytail danced in the wind. Then, in one fluid motion both stomped forward and yelled, “Rock! Paper! SCISSORS!”

On ‘scissors’, both boy and girl swung their fists forwards, showing each other clenched fists.

“It’s a draw!” they yelled in unison, raising their fists again and bringing them down again, both showing open palms. Again, they yelled, “it’s a draw!”

A third flash of fists. Both scissors.

“It’s a draw!”

The duel of luck raged on, drawing a couple of curious and frightened stares as the yokels around them gave the duo a wide berth as they walked up and down the street.

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

Then, suddenly:

“Yes!”
“Damn it!”​

Haley turned her scissors into a victory sign and grinned as Sapph clenched his open hand in frustration at his loss.

“Best two out of three!”

Seven rounds later, Haley and Sapph walked to a large, log-fenced area with the words, ‘UTOPIA ISLAND NATIONAL PARK’ stamped in stencil lettering on a neat sign board.

“I can’t believe I lost seven out of seven rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors!” Sapph grumbled darkly, weighed down with nearly all of Haley’s surveillance and recording equipment.

“Stop whining,” Haley beamed, sticking her tongue out cheekily. “You lost fair and square!”

Sapph and Haley stepped into the foyer of the Safari Zone, a fairly short corridor of sorts lined on either side with long desks, behind each sat an identical female attendant decked out in a tan safari suit and bright red neckerchiefs. Both had long, emerald green hair and broad smiles on their freckled faces as they chatted with a tall, elegant teenager several years younger than the twins. This girl’s soft brown hair framed her thin face rather nicely as she wore a rich green kimono, her equally green eyes were alight with animated cheer as she laughed at the attendant on the right’s last statement, which Sapph didn’t catch. Despite her regal airs, Sapph noticed that she had a bit of a tomboyish personality as she sat cross-legged atop the counter, all vestiges of blue blood masked by her informal interaction with the twins.

Sapph grumbled as he walked past Haley and dropping her equipment heavily, stepped up to the attendant at the left.

“Hi! Welcome to the Safari Zone!” she said in a sunny voice. “Will you be participating in a Safari Game?”

“Obviously,” Sapph said grumpily, brightening slightly at the continuous smile the cheerful attendant, whose name seemed to be Debbie, according to the brass name tag clipped to her lapel.

“Then we’ll take your Pokémon and five hundred pokédollars from your account, please,” she went on calmly.

“Hey, Haley, fork over five hundred will you...” Sapph started without looking back until a loud voice thundered through the narrow room.

“TAKE THAT BACK, YOU HUSSY! SAY YOU LOVE WATER TYPES!”

“NEVER, YOU UNCOUTH VAGABOND! AND HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A HUSSY, YOU BARBARIAN!”

“Oh, not again!” Sapph said weakly as he turned to see Haley in heated debate with the young lady who was until a moment ago, chatting with the other attendant, who was desperately trying to keep the peace.

“Oh, dear,” the attendant chuckled nervously; sweat dropping as she too looked over at the squabbling girls. “Nicola’s at it again. Anyone who knows Nicola knows better than to recount Grass types in her presence.”

“Shame Haley doesn’t know either,” Sapph muttered exasperatedly, turning away and pulling out his own wallet. Pulling out five pastel blue bills with a ‘100’ stamped on the corners of each paper note, he handed them over to Debbie, reaching down to unclip his pokéballs off his belt and passing them to the attendant as the argument behind him began to escalate.

Debbie placed the six pokéballs into a basket and handed him a tag with the number ‘37’ printed on it and thirty odd-looking green and white pokéballs, the upper green half possessing a yellow-petaled flower tattoo near the centre of the balls.

“Here are your Safari Balls,” Debbie explained with a bit of a shout (Haley and Nicola’s shouting match had reached colossal volumes and it was hard to hear anything else for miles around) “Your game ends after three hours, or when you run out of Safari Balls. I hope you enjoy your time in the Safari Zone.”

“Thanks!” Sapph half-shouted back, keen to get away from Haley, even if it meant going into the Safari Zone.

Hefting the equipment back over his shoulder, Sapph hurried into the Zone as a tall, elderly man ambled in, his receding, snow-white hair framing a prominent forehead. The two attendants noticed his arrival and said formally, “Leader Herbert! Good afternoon!”

The man acknowledged the greeting with a genial wave of his hand as Nicola looked up and suddenly stopped shouting, bowing low in an attempt to hide her scarlet face as formally as possible.

“Honourable Grandfather!” she said abashedly. “Forgive my attitude!”

Crossing her arms rudely, Haley muttered, “Who’s this geezer?”

A vein pulsed angrily at Nicola’s temple, but in the presence of this venerable stranger dared not speak out of turn.

Chuckling mildly, the man said to his granddaughter, “Oh, do relax, Nicola. I know you’re trying your hardest to follow in your idol Erika’s footsteps, but like a Torterra, you must first be a Turtwig and then a Grotle. And it seems we have a new face,” he added, looking intently at Haley with a steady, unwavering curiosity. “And who might you be, my dear?”

Haley had been taken aback somewhat by the man’s polite and jovial manner of speech. After a moment, she unfolded her arms and said a little sourly, “Haley Kent,” and as a mere afterthought, figured she’d do the thing properly and added, “Sir.”

“Well then, Ms. Haley Kent,” the man said with a hearty laugh. “My name is Herbert Brambles the First, and I am the resident Gym Leader of Utopia Island.”

“Well, my friend’s all eager to meet you, sir,” Haley said brightly. Turning to where Sapph stood five minutes ago, all she saw was air. “Hey! Where’d Sapph go?”

“He left whilst you were arguing,” Debbie supplied cautiously.

“I’m sorry,” Herbert said calmly. “But did you say his name is Sapph?”

Wheeling around in surprise, Haley said, “Yes. Do you know him?”

“Not personally,” Herbert said with a chuckle, “but he’s made quite an impact amongst my colleagues, the Coreian Gym Leaders. I certainly hear no end of complaint about him from Clyff Endlethorn and Fuego delMorro...”

Haley chuckled drily as the memory of Sapph’s two least favourite Gym Leader opponents came to mind.

“So it’s my turn to face the mysterious Sapph Manson,” Herbert went on to himself, laughing softly. Beckoning to his granddaughter, he turned to leave saying, “I’d like to meet this Mr. Manson, if that can be arranged. I’ll be waiting in the Pokémon Centre, is that alright?”

Haley, Debbie and her twin nodded in unison.

“Excellent! Come, Nicola,” he said to his granddaughter. “It’s time for afternoon tea.”

“I’m coming, honourable Grandfather,” Nicola said calmly, walking out coolly shooting Haley a contemptuous glare.

Urchin, I’ll show you Grass types are the strongest in the world if it’s the last thing I do! She thought furiously.

Waving farewell to the formal Brambles family, Haley smiled a huge artificial smile and thought back, Arrogant hussy! I hope we meet in battle soon and when we do, I swear I’ll beat the truth that Water types reign supreme into your very soul!

***​

Ten minutes of tramping about the jungle landscape brought Sapph deep into the heart of the Safari Zone. A Technicolor shower of vivid plant life burst from every bush as flowers as wide as Sapph’s face was long spilled from every hedge, filling the path with a million scents, some alluring, others deceptively poisonous. Large Mimifly and black Darupa flitted about, the high-pitched whine of the latter’s wings filled the air where ever Sapph turned, their beetle black eyes and stubby yet pointed proboscis turning towards anything that moved.

The dangerous bloodsuckers steered clear of Sapph however as a Pokémon Repellent Sapph had applied to himself after his first close run-in with the species did its work. Hoping it stayed effective until he left the park grounds, Sapph nevertheless kept his eyes on the insects as he ploughed onwards, Haley’s ‘request’ still ringing in his ears.

“I wonder if there’s such a thing as trainer life insurance,” Sapph thought glumly as he stumbled around tropical undergrowth, the blazing sun and moist air making him feel uncomfortable under his anorak. Unzipping it completely, Sapph looked up and saw a couple of sleepy-looking Pokémon sunning themselves as they draped themselves over tree branched several feet off the ground. The sun glinted off their tough looking golden-brown armour as they snoozed, evidently without a worry in the world.

Swatting away a bothersome Darupa, Sapph rounded a clump of trees and came face to face with a large lake, off which the sunlight shone with almost criminal brightness. Shielding his eyes, Sapph took a look behind him and wondering where Haley got to, decided to try his hand at some angling and settled himself in the shade of a tan brown Cliffside and pulled out a fishing pole he had acquired at the Entover City Port whilst looking for the ferry that played the stage for his first face-off with Team Shadow.

Scowling at the memory of what the terrorist group had attempted to do to his Pokémon, his friends and himself, Sapph cast his line in a semi-expert fashion and flapped his collar in a vain attempt to keep cool.

The gravel underneath him felt warm through his denim shorts and after a while the beauty of the island begun to do its work and captivate its visitor.

Finally smiling, Sapph leaned back and exhaled heavily, his worries concerning the Light, Team Shadow, his dangerous travel mate and even the league finals all shrinking away almost as if he were surrounded by a litter of Mogshex. Clasping his hands together, Sapph leaned back against the cliff face and began to drift towards blissful sub consciousness when something small and hard landed smack in the centre of his head.

Gasping in pain, Sapph clutched the crown of his head as whatever hit him landed with a clunk beside the bag that held all of Haley’s research equipment. Turning to look at the item that had assaulted his head, Sapph’s glare turned into a stare as he beheld a green and white sphere glinting in the early afternoon sun.

Sapph looked straight up towards the lip of the cliff to see if he could find anyone to claim responsibility for the lost pokéball but saw no one. A loud rustling, however, told another story. It almost seemed the pokéball and its occupant (whatever it was) was being abandoned.

Scrambling to his feet, Sapph grabbed the pokéball tightly in his hand. “Oi! Anybody there?” Sapph called up the cliff before a bright red flash erupted from his hand. “You dropped your... what the?!”

By the time Sapph had registered the flash of light coming from the odd pokéball, it vanished leaving his hand clenched around nothing.

“What the heck is going on here?” Sapph gasped, stunned at what had happened. Pokéballs usually vanished like that when the trainer had more than six Pokémon on his person. But something didn’t ring true about this. He didn’t catch whatever was in the orb, and yet the ball had acted as though he had.

Shaking his head, Sapph decided to get out of the park as quickly as he could and make some inquiries.

Packing his fishing gear and Haley’s equipment, Sapph gave the cliff one last sweeping glance before turning around and walking away, back through the overgrowth to the entrance... and he hoped, some answers.

***​

“So you’re saying you’ve never seen that type of pokéball before?”

Sapph walked back to the Pokémon Centre, his mind buzzing. He had hardly left the Safari Zone when a seething Haley had told him that the local Gym Leader had wanted to see him at the Pokémon Centre before snatching the equipment away and huffing off into the national park. Given his past experience with gym leaders and his violent travel mate, Sapph decided to leave Haley to vent and fume about someone whom he’d heard her call a ‘Grass-loving Daddy’s-Little-Snotbag’ and phone Professor Yew’s Observatory on his PokéGear about the mysterious pokéball and its occupant.

No idea, whatsoever,” the professor’s young assistant Kyle repeated, poring over some data that had returned from the pokéball’s primary analysis. “It’s a pokéball Steven- that’s the other assistant who runs maintenance on the machines here- and I have never seen before.” He scratched the back of his coal-black hair and rubbing his slight stubble, added,” the only thing I can propose from the ball’s design and the way you got it is that the Tentacruel inside was abandoned.

Sapph ground his teeth in anger at the thought of inconsiderate, selfish trainers who, for any reason, threw away loyal Pokémon and asked Kyle, “Any record on who the owner was?”

None,” Kyle said in nonplussed tones. Regarding Sapph with his blood red eyes, he went on,” the pokéball ensured that. Well, according to Steven, anyways.

“How?” Sapph asked, now confused himself.

Kyle looked to a man who stepped into the frame of the Pokégear’s tiny screen and fixed his thin slanting eyes upon Sapph’s somewhat hard blue irises and Sapph guessed that this was Steven. Steven cleared his throat and to answer Sapph’s question, said in a booming voice, “The ball is designed to register the first person to touch it as its contents- in this case, the Tentacruel’s- original trainer.”

His greasy brown hair which was tied in a ponytail shook from side to side as his eyes skated over an ever-lengthening printout. Looking up, he said seriously, “Whoever wanted to lose... sorry, what are you calling it?

“Tentis,” Sapph answered, after dodging a couple of excited children that ran up the street.

Brilliant,” Steven replied calmly although sounding slightly insincere. “Anyways, whoever wanted to lose Tentis... did a pretty good job of not getting caught.

Scratching the back of his head, Sapph queried, “Does the professor have any ideas?”

He’s not home right now,” Kyle said in a harried tone, moving back into frame, keeping a squealing Buneary away from a besotted and aggressive Floatzel.

Sapph reached the Pokémon Centre and crossed the threshold as Steven continued from somewhere out of sight, “He left by helicopter with your Pokémon this morning for Utopia Island... hang on,” he said as Sapph fell silent, waiting as the glass doors slid shut behind him, Steven’s PokéNav’s message tone going off. “It’s from the Prof. He says here his chopper let down in Entover to wait for a sudden summer storm to blow over!

“’Summer storm?’ There’s no...” Sapph echoed in a mystified voice, turning to the glass doors, through which one could see the sea and gaped as he saw a torrential downpour raging in full force. It had apparently started the moment Sapph had entered the building.

Sapph smiled ruefully, as he thought, Whoa, Haley is not going to be happy!

“Sorry?” Kyle said loudly. “Sapph, you’re breaking up... llo?” he called as the stormy weather interfered with the reception. “Sending... is... ntover... Prof... bring it... you...” and with a loud crackling noise, the screen went cloudy and the connection was lost.

So, looks like I have a Tentacruel now, Sapph thought, staring at the fuzzy screen as he ended the call.

“So you’re Sapphire Manson!” A jovial voice said, bringing Sapph back from out of his reverie. Blinking, he turned around and saw a couple of people dressed in traditional central Johto garb; a young girl with shoulder length hair who looked to be a few years older than Sapph himself and an old man in a similar yet markedly more masculine outfit whose snowy white beard made him look nearly old enough to be his great-grandfather.

“Depends,” Sapph said warily. “Who’s asking?”

“Herbert Brambles the First, Utopia Island Gym Leader,” the elderly man introduced himself, and turning to the young girl, added, “And this is my granddaughter, Nicola.”

Looking out the window at the storm, Herbert chuckled good-naturedly and said, “You lucked out, Sapphire. Summer storms here are as fierce as they are unpredictable.”

“I noticed,” Sapph said drily, knowing Haley was not as lucky.

“I heard you wished to battle honourable Grandfather for his Herb badge,” Nicola said in a slightly austere voice.

Sapph looked up at her (for a girl of sixteen, Nicola was rather tall) and nodded determinedly.

“Well, due to bad weather, I’d say we’ll need to take a rain check on that challenge,” Herbert said brightly, tipping the youths a heavy wink. “How does tomorrow at ten sound?”

“Sounds good,” Sapph said cheerfully, liking the charismatic gym leader more and more.

“Then it’s settled! Ah, look! The sun’s out again!” Herbert chortled, causing Sapph to wheel about; stunned to see that the storm had vanished as quickly as it had hit and the island back to its former paradisiacal self, albeit looking a little storm-swept.

“Don’t be late,” Nicola warned him darkly, as she turned to leave after her grandfather, giving Sapph a scary look. “I’ll be most displeased if you are. The consequences could be... dire.”

“Uh, sure,” Sapph said weakly, turning to the counter and handing in his Pokémon for a pre-match check up. At the door, Herbert turned back and called, “Ah, and one more thing, Sapphire!”

“Yes?” Sapph replied, still a little jumpy after Nicola’s warning.

“Just thought you should know,” Herbert went on calmly. “I use only Grass types to battle. So do your best to give me a good match, alright?”

Smiling in a mysterious way, and with another wink, he turned to go leaving Sapph rattled, flabbergasted and thinking hard.

No gym leader had ever flat-out told him what to expect in their upcoming battles. Most gym leaders wouldn’t even give him a hint unless they were forced to reveal their hand before the match. Just what was this old man thinking?

The doors whirred open once more and a drenched Haley Kent lumbered in, lugging her now-useless Pokémon surveillance equipment behind her, leaving a wet trail behind her. As they hissed shut behind her, her narrowed eyes spelled trouble as an awful billowing silence began to grow.

What’s her deal? Sapph thought worriedly. She can’t blame me for the bad weather? Or will she?!

Haley dropped the bag of gear heavily (Sapph winced as they clattered loudly) stalked past Sapph to the counter (Sapph flinched, ready for the hurricane of rage to break) and stopped beside him, the sound water dripping from her clothes ominous.

In a constricted voice, Haley bade Sapph good night despite it being only seven o’ clock in the evening, and collecting her card key from the front desk, walked off to the bedroom for the night, her boots squeaking comically all the way down the hall.

Sapph didn’t move. He was just grateful to Celebi he wasn’t toe jam.

***​

The next day, the Pokémon Center ward where Sapph’s team rested after their check up was in utter disarray when Crimson, as per usual the first to rise noticed something distinctly different (and wrong) with the picture that hit his tinted eyes.

<Uh, oh,> Crimson swallowed, gazing at the bed nearest the window and at the open window. Raising his voice to an urgent shout he roused the others, his voice full of panic. <Guys! Wake up, we have a big problem!>

Within minutes, Ace, Zen, Lavender, Arcana and Crimson were crowded around the window, their heads sticking out and looking in all directions for where their ‘fearless leader’ had vanished to.

<Damn it,> Zen growled, looking around, his head jammed between Ace’s and Crimson’s. <Where the hell did he go today of all days? We have a gym match today!>

<Dunno, homie,> Arcana said, sniffing the air around the window for a scent. <He definitely didn’t leave too long ago...>

<Do you think Anii overheard the nurse tell Sapph that he shouldn’t fight today?> Lavender asked, the reason she was staring around a mystery to all the others.

<We all heard her, Lavender!> Crimson said worriedly. <I really hope Anuvi doesn’t do what I think he’s going to do...>

<Which would be what exactly, Lieutenant?> Ace asked in a snippy voice. <The corporal wouldn’t think of ritual suicide no matter what!>

<R-r-ritual suicide?> Lavender squeaked in alarm. <He can’t!>

Arcana managed to work one large paw out of the window and clocked Ace over her helmeted head, saying, <Can it, Sergeant Dumb! Can’t ya see Lavender’s worried enough?>

<I was going to say he went to gym early to be sure of a spot in the line up for today, which probably might happen if Sapph finds him before we do!>

<Well, we’re lucky in one way,> Crimson said grimly as the group pulled their heads back in. <Sapph is usually much earlier than this whenever he has a gym battle...>

<I wouldn’t worry about Sapph,> Zen said mounting the windowsill, a mischievous grin on his face. <He’s taking an, uh... extended potty break at the moment. Tell Sapph to go on ahead without us. Good luck!>

<Oi! What did you mean ‘extended...’,> Lavender interjected starting forwards.

<Save it, Lav,> Arcana said with a slight groan. <He’s gone.>

<I wonder what Zen meant by an extended...> Crimson began before the door to the ward banged open and Sapph hurried in, looking frantic.

“Oh, crap, oh crap... we are so totally late!” Sapph muttered to himself, raising six pokéballs in his hands and returning all his Pokémon in a collective flash of light. “When I find the guy who decided to lock me in the toilet, he’s so gonna get it!”The boy trainer was so focused on getting out and to the gym on time that he hardly noticed Anuvi and Zen hadn’t been recalled.

***​

Half an hour later, as the sun begun to reach its peak, Sapph stood before the oldest and wisest of the Coreian gym leaders, prepared to put his skills to the test. Although the focus was different, and the screens of different tincture, all who would bear witness to the battle to come had their minds fixed solely on the encounter.

“A lot is riding on this battle,” Haley muttered to her Pokémon, whom she had decided to let out to spectate from the large yet cramped battlefield’s sidelines. “I just hope Sapph doesn’t freak out and lose focus.”

<Sapph, lose focus?> Mace barked raucously. <Not a chance! Look at ‘im... the limey’s totally psyched!>

<It would be a totally uncool turn of events,> Vapor conceded in his languid voice, shaking his head and ruff as he assumed a more comfortable position near Haley’s heel.

<Like, totally,> Bubbles agreed, settling on the bench between Haley and Bltzkrieg, who looked around excitedly.

“OK, we all know why we’re here, so let’s get to it!” Nicola announced, brandishing a pair of referee flags as she stepped up to the side line opposite Haley. The teenager had pulled her chestnut hair back into a bun and donned a green and white hakama identical to her grandfather’s. “This’ll be a four on four with no time limit! Are both trainers prepared?”

“I believe I’m ready for some fun,” Herbert said with a smile.

“Ready,” Sapph replied tersely, his mind fixed on following the strategy he’d rehearsed a hundred times since he’d left the Safari Zone. Yet some concerns still clouded his otherwise determined mental poise.

For a gym leader, Herbert sure is lax, Sapph thought worriedly. He’s the first one to actually come out and tell me his speciality! What could have been on his mind?

“Then,” Nicola said with a flourish of her flags. “GO!”

“I’ll take point, shall I, Sapph?” Herbert called out; enlarging a pokéball and cocking it back in one fluid motion. “Come on out... Jumpluff!”

Out of the pokéball and into the warm air came a flash of light which materialized into what looked like a giant clump of dandelions. It was hard for Sapph to tell if the majority of its body was the bulbous blue central part of its body, which was dotted with two sparkling red eyes and a smiley mouth or the three balls of feather-light spores that adorned the tips of its three slender appendages. It rose a few feet as it released a cheery, piping cry and hovered gently back to earth.

Sapph smirked at his opponent’s choice of Pokémon.

This match is in the bag.

***​

Name: Nicola Christina Brambles
Date of Birth: May 27, PA 1998
Hometown: Celadon City, Kanto
Pokémon
On Hand: Bellossom, Victreebel
In Storage: Not known
Likes: Grass Pokémon, her grandfather
Dislikes: People who don’t like Grass types
Contemporaries: Haley
About Nicola: The granddaughter of the Utopia City Gym Leader Herbert Brambles, Nicola has a great affinity to nature and spent much of her childhood looking up to him and her role model Erica, the elegant, refined master of the Grass type.

Taking a platonic shine to Sapph (because of Anuvi), she rubs off the wrong way with Haley, resulting is several furious spats, which they agree to resolve at the Trigello Tournament.

AND NOW, THE COREI DEX:

108 Mimifly
[/IMG]
Type: Bug/Flying
Species: Mimicking
Pronunciation: me-me-fly
Height: 6'10"
Weight: 44kgs
Habitat: Forest
Evolution Line: Does not evolve
Name Derivation: MIMIc + butterFLY
Notes: MIMIFLY are known to be capable of repelling any special attack aimed at it using its strong wings. It however is terribly weak to physical assaults.

[URL= “http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa176/williamboham/119Lazillo.jpg”] 122 Lazillo

Type: Normal
Species: Lazy
Pronunciation: lay-zill-OH
Height: 2’03”
Weight: 80kg
Habitat: Forest
Evolution Line: LAZILLO –(20)-> SLUMBOLIN
Name Derivation: LAZy + armadILLO
Notes: Lazillo spend their summer days basking in the warmth that filters down through the forest foliage to their tree root habitat. Hardly adept at moving at all, Lazillo depends on its tough hide for protection.

***​

Yeah I know. It was one of those boring, fillerish chapters, or as Breezy would call 'em "A Point B chapter that helps the plot go from Point A to C". Don't worry, all this will play a role in upcoming TCQ chapters.

P.S.: Wotta way to RANK UP!
 
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Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
And the story continues...

The second half of the first of several to come double chapters approaches, the battle is on in TCQ, Chapter 37.

A/N:
1. Josephine Harris, Rachel Savina and Paul Johnson are not mine. They are (c) of Kanto Lover @ PC Forums.

2. This chapter is rated T for swearing and highly graphic violence.

Chapter Thirty Seven: Jungle Gym​

"OK, we all know why we’re here, so let’s get to it!” Nicola announced, brandishing a pair of referee flags as she stepped up to the side line opposite Haley. The teenager had pulled her chestnut hair back into a bun and donned a green and white hakama identical to her grandfather’s. “This’ll be a four on four with no time limit! Are both trainers prepared?”

“I believe I’m ready for some fun,” Herbert said with a smile.

“Ready,” Sapph replied tersely, his mind fixed on following the strategy he’d rehearsed a hundred times since he’d left the Safari Zone. Yet some concerns still clouded his otherwise determined mental poise.

For a gym leader, Herbert sure is lax, Sapph thought worriedly. He’s the first one to actually come out and tell me his speciality! What could have been on his mind?

“Then,” Nicola said with a flourish of her flags. “GO!”

“I’ll take point, shall I, Sapph?” Herbert called out; enlarging a pokéball and cocking it back in one fluid motion. “Come on out... Jumpluff!”

Out of the pokéball and into the warm air came a flash of light which materialized into what looked like a giant clump of dandelions. It was hard for Sapph to tell if the majority of its body was the bulbous blue central part of its body, which was dotted with two sparkling red eyes and a smiley mouth or the three balls of feather-light spores that adorned the tips of its three slender appendages. It rose a few feet as it released a cheery, piping cry and hovered gently back to earth.

Sapph smirked at his opponent’s choice of Pokémon.

This match is in the bag.


“Time to win, Arcana!” Sapph called, tossing an identical red and white sphere into the air. This pokéball also broke open around its grey ‘equator’, releasing a tiger-size hound which when the light died down revealed a reddish orange pelt splashed with broad black stripes.

Arcana looked up and stretched her stout yet lithe limbs as she shook her golden yellow, shaggy mane which fell elegantly into the firebrand’s face, masking one violet eye and adding a touch of feminism to her intimidating demeanour.

<’sup, home dawg?> Arcana greeted cheerfully, the bright sunlight filling her with more power than she’d felt in a long time.

“Looks like you slept well,” Sapph commented with a grin. “We got a lot riding on this match, so I...”

<”Need a one hundred and twenty percent victory,” right?> Arcana completed, with a teasing imitation of her trainer, <No problem.>

Long golden fur sprouted from its ankles and formed its bushy tail as she stared down her Grass type opponent which began to tremble under his opponent’s fierce glare.

“Don’t worry so much, Jumpluff,” Herbert said calmly. “Just do your best, OK?”

<But it’s so scary,> the Jumpluff squeaked tremulously. <Scary!>

<I’m sorry... what?!> Arcana said indignantly. <’It’? Are you kiddin’ me? Why I oughta...>

“It’s just her Intimidate,” Herbert reassured his Pokémon. “It’ll be OK in a minute...”

“Nope,” Sapph corrected his opponent smugly. “In a minute, your Jumpluff’ll be toast. Arcana, Flamethrower!”

<One living briquette, coming right up!> Arcana growled as she puffed up her chest, her eyes flashed golden yellow for a split moment. The next a large stream of bluish white flames erupted from her fanged maw and shot towards the terrified Jumpluff like a comet.

“Jumpluff! Jump up and ride the currents!” Herbert replied without the slightest bit of worry in his voice at all.

Following orders, the Jumpluff used its stubby feet to waddle away as fast as it could whilst the fiery attack raced closer. With a hop and a skip, Jumpluff pressed the balls of his feet into the ground and sprang up with the prowess of a high jumper and cleared the fire without difficulty.

“After it, Arcana!” Sapph ordered through clenched teeth. “Give it another one!”

Arcana, also scowling, released a second stream of fire right at the squirming Jumpluff who saw it coming and began kicking frantically, its stubby feet working furiously almost as though struggling to run straight up in the air.

As the flames neared his Pokémon, the wizened gym leader looked up, his face aglow with the bluish white light of the flames and (for some reason Sapph couldn’t figure out) amusement.

A second after he saw this inexplicable emotion in his opponent’s face, Arcana’s cry brought Sapph’s attention back to a more pressing (and even more incredible) turn of events. It would have been amazing if it weren’t so impossible: Jumpluff had somehow managed to climb higher and was currently rising above the second pillar of flame, completely unscathed.

<Wow! I’m so up high!> The Jumpluff said in its squeaky voice. <High!>

“That’s unreal,” Sapph muttered in a faraway voice. “But- but, how?”

“You should have paid more attention in science class, Sapph,” Herbert said calmly. “What’s the difference between hot air and cold air?”

<Like, what’s he talking about, Haley?> Bubbles asked as her trainer and her Subbug team mate let out gasps of understanding.

“That’s it!” Haley cried out. “Hot air rises! That’s how Jumpluff was able to clear the second Flamethrower so effortlessly!”

<Still don’t follow,> Pyrrhus said laconically.

<It’s like this,> Ento explained. <Flying Pokémon basically use pockets of warm air called ‘thermals’ to rise when they’re gliding. Fearow are well-known for it. Also the hotter the thermal, the higher you rise. Basically, all Arcana did was increase the air’s temperature, giving Jumpluff one great big thermal to rise higher that she would have been a second before!>

“Well, Sapph,” Herbert said briskly. “Ready to try something new?”

Sapph’s look of shock at how much thought his opponent put into every move turned slowly into a smirk which widened as he said, “As you like it, Herbert Sr. It would have been way too easy otherwise!”

***​

“Finally!” A loud, impatient, and markedly female voice said loudly. “Utopia Island, here we are!”

“Great,” a boy replied arrogantly. “Now we can do without your insufferable whining and ‘Are we there yet?’!”

“Can it, Paul!” the first voice said angrily.

“Will you guys cool it?” a second female voice said sternly. “We’re here to have some fun after all, aren’t we?”

“Yeah, because a boat ride with Little Miss Sunshine is so much fun,” the boy’s voice said again as he stepped off the gangplank, his spiky auburn hair played with by the brisk ocean breeze.

“Yeah, well, you’re no ray of sunshine yourself, Paul Johnson!” the first girl to speak piped up crossly, her bright red jumper which was usually zipped up tight was now worn loosely over a tight white vee neck shirt , her hands buried deep in the pockets of her navy blue shorts. “Why don’t you just get lost and stay lost?”

“Whatever,” Paul said acidly, stalking off, his black shirt rippling in the wind as he hoisted his knapsack over his shoulder one-handed, his other hand tucked in his baggy purple trousers pocket.

“I can’t stand that kid, Jo!” the girl said to the third trainer who had stepped off the boat with the squabbling duo, her long purple hair whipping around her face as she turned away from seeing the boy’s retreating back forcefully. “Honestly, why did we ever come with him in the first place?”

Sighing heavily, Josephine Harris scratched the back of her red-haired head and said calmly, “We didn’t, Rachel. Remember?” she said in a reminding tone. “You did. I just met you two on the boat.” Josephine may have been Rachel Savina’s best friend, but the hot-headed, somewhat bratty girl had a way of pushing her tolerance limits. Placing one hand on her hip as her red miniskirt flapped in the breeze, she turned to Rachel and said, “I’m frankly surprised you haven’t killed each other yet after travelling together for a while.”

“You and me both,” Rachel muttered darkly. “He’s so stuck-up! Do you know how annoying it is to deal with someone that arrogant and pushy?”

“I can imagine,” Josephine said drily, throwing her friend an askance look with her startling hazel eyes that the latter had clearly missed.

“Oh, well,” Rachel sighed heavily, turning to look at Josephine gratefully. “At least I have you to talk to. Being on holiday with Paul around sounds about as much fun as hugging a Cacturne!”

So is listening to you gripe, Josephine thought with a mental rolling of the eyes. Glancing at a large, marked-out portion of the beach where a group of Pokémon seemed to be battling with a large odd-looking ball, Josephine looked to her friend and said, “I wonder what they’re doing.”

“Well, then,” Rachel said excitedly. “Let’s go see!”

And leaving Josephine to dispense with her heavy climbing boots, Rachel dashed across the blazing sands to see if she could get in on the fun at the Poké-Volley court.

Same old Rachel, Josephine said with a smile as she watched her friend ask all those around what was going on with an air of feverish excitement. Impatient as ever...

***​

“Man, for a Grass type, that thing sure is flexible!” Sapph groaned as the battle wore on. Many of the trees, although whole, had portions of their barks blackened by the onslaught of Flamethrowers that had rocketed around the stadium.

<Ya knaemean?> Arcana grimaced as she skidded into a sharp U-turn, after another charging Flame Wheel met with nothing. <Jumpluff wasn’t so tough once we figured using Extreme Speed would give us an edge, but this is impossible!>

“Ha, ha, ha! This is so much fun, isn’t it, Sapph?” Herbert Sr. bellowed with a laugh. “Bet you didn’t know Grass types could be so tough to beat, did you?”

I know how tough Grass types are, thank you very much! Sapph snapped in his head, his expression akin to one brushing away an irksome Duskito. But this guy’s making sport of us too easily! How is he doing it?!

“Sunflora, let ‘im have it! Solarbeam!” Herbert said with a sudden show of determination.

<Dis won’t end well,> Mace said conversationally as Herbert Sr.’s second Pokémon, a large living sunflower with a bloated stalk for a body and broad leaves for arms after dancing away from Arcana’s line of attack straightened up again, its smiley face aglow with solar energy.

“With the sun as bright as it is now, that attack won’t take long to prepare!” Haley gasped to herself. Raising her voice to a shout, she called to the boy trainer, “Sapph! Get Arcana out of there!”

“Wha?” Sapph said distracted by his travel mate’s yell to miss the next two seconds of the battle, during which time Sunflora fired an unbelievably large beam of power from its perpetually happy face striking Arcana square in the jaw. Sunflora supple ‘neck’ snapped back with the force of the recoil as Arcana went spinning backwards landing flat on her back, smoking black patches adding to the Fire type’s stripes of the same hue.

The Legendary Pokémon seemed to shake off the attack rather quickly as she rolled back to her feet the moment she hit the dirt a ball of blue and white flames formed in her mouth, ready for a retaliatory strike. Without an order, the Arcanine shot out another Flamethrower straight for the Sun Pokémon’s head.

Without missing a beat, the Sunflora leaned backwards until the back of its head touched the grassy field and calmly watched the lethal fire attack streak past until it ran out of juice and rose once more, resuming its unpredictable weaving stance almost as if drunk.

<Aw, man! Now that ain’t right!> Arcana coughed staring in disbelief at how the Grass type effortless avoided yet another attack.

“It moves too erratically for Sapph and Arcana to get a direct hit on it,” Haley guessed thoughtfully, “but if that’s the case...”

“...one attack’s all we need to win!” Sapph completed, clenching his fist. “Right, Herbert Sr.?”

“Aha! Nice deduction, Sapph!” Herbert laughed. “But you’re going to need either pinpoint precision or Sunflora to hold still long enough to land that hit! Can you do it with such a large Pokémon or such widespread attacks? Here’s a little something to help you think... Solarbeam again, Sunflora!”

<Not this time, man!> Arcana growled as Sunflora fired a second rapid blast of solar energy. Crouching low, Arcana pushed off the ground and high into the air clearing the attack’s pathway. Landing heavily on all fours, Arcana’s limbs began to tremble violently. Looking down, she scowled mentally, thinking, <Tch... Jumpluff’s Stun Spore is starting to take effect... great!>

“You OK, Arcana?” Sapph called out nervously.

<Feel like a million smackers,> Arcana said with a mere trace of sarcasm. <I always tremble with the onset of possible paralysis when I feel happy.>

“Great,” Sapph said with a sigh. “Now’s not really the time to get an attitude, Arcana.”

“Razor Leaf!” Herbert Sr. called out.

“Crap!” Sapph yelled. “Arcana, get moving! Extreme Speed!”

<Aaargh!> Arcana screamed with the extra exertion her muscles needed to flash out of sight as an unpredictable strafe of sharp leaves blew through the meadow.

Gotta strike back now! Sapph thought desperately, a feeling that found its way into his throat as he ordered, “Arcana, keep it up and use Flame Wheel!”

And as Arcana built up heat for yet another flaming tackle, something miraculous happened. Arcana’s body became more than a barrelling mass of flames as she charged an unsuspecting Sunflora but her body became consumed with a power greater than fire; it was as though she had become heat itself.

The Legendary Pokémon had never felt as light or as powerful as she did in those few milliseconds in which the forty feet between herself and the Sunflora became four inches. It was almost as if she had unlocked a side of herself she knew was within her all along but needed a push to manifest itself, almost like the day she had evolved.

Arcana felt her paws hit the ground as time began to slow down for the battling Pokémon in the split second before Arcana made contact with the clueless Sunflower Pokémon. And in that infinitesimal yet smallest period of time, the Sunflora became conscious of Arcana’s presence, but as it turned to face the speeding Arcanine, knew there was no escape possible, yet never did its smile fade as the mass of energy seemed to shoot straight through it, filling its every nerve with the sensation similar to being on fire.

When Arcana reappeared before Sapph, the boy trainer wasn’t alone in shielding his eyes from the otherworldly being she had become. Light seemed to radiate from her body which still retained its regular form yet seemed to be more than just flesh, fur and blood. All the markings of her body had vanished, her whole being now a glowing golden yellow highlighted with burning red, the two hues blurring and blending where they met.

“What... what’s going on?!” Nicola gasped, her flags slipping out of her slackened hands.

<It’s not Flare Blitz,> Pyrrhus said as Ento nodded. <The energy output was far greater. And there were no sparks, no flames, nothing!>

“If it’s not Flare Blitz,” Haley said slowly, her grey eyes as wide as dinner plates. “What in Arceus’ name was it?”

<Whatever it was,> Vapor said coolly, trying his best to maintain an unimpressed poise. <It was really cool.>

<Like, totally,> Bubbles said in a faraway voice. <Am I glad I’m not Herbert Sr. right now...>

“Arcana,” Sapph said uncertainly as the strange apparition drew closer. “Are you OK?”

The light began to diminish and Arcana reappeared before them all as she replied, <Dunno, homey. My head still feels light and the Stun Spore ain’t helping. All I know was that one second I’m fine; the next, I feel like I don’t have a body anymore, but I still did. If you ask me, I think it’s the combination of Flame Wheel and Extreme Speed.>

“We’ll ask Zen later, then,” Sapph said weakly, stunned with happiness. “I guess we gotta give your newest technique a name,” Sapph closed his eyes meditatively as Herbert pulled out his Sunflora’s pokéball and returned it calmly, his eyes shrewd. “How’s ‘Speed of Heat’?”

<Sweet,> Arcana said calmly, almost dizzily.

“Can you go on a third round?”

<No worries.>

“Well, aren’t you full of surprises, young man?” Herbert said cheerfully, bringing Sapph and Arcana’s attention back to the old trainer, who had a new pokéball enlarged and ready in his hand. “We’re ready to begin anytime you are!”

“Bring it!” Sapph replied confidently as Arcana nodded and got back into a battle-ready stance.

“OK, I hope this battle’s been as fun for you as it it’s been for me! Go, Pentabloom!” Herbert called to Sapph as he threw his third pokéball up high. The ball broke open and white light spilt once more onto the field revealing a familiar form as it took shape.

Slender green limbs sprouted from its ovoid body, and its translucent wings fluttered gently as it floated back to earth, her crown of petals a pure white as her rounded face had a look of serene calm about itself.

<Well, that’s gonna dredge up some bad memories,> Mace chuckled. <Didn’t ya get the snot smacked outta ya by a Pentabloom, Pyrrhus?>

The Ninetales didn’t respond but kept his eyes locked on the Forest Fairy Pokémon and the corners of his mouth drawn into a snarl.

<Pyrrhus?> Ento said quizzically, not sure he wanted to say anything that might upset his teammate further. <Are you OK?>

An ominous cracking sound and a crumpling sound caused Vapor and Bubbles to whip around and see their trainer huddled on the ground, her hands clawing at her chest and throat, her camcorder totally ignored.

<HALEY!> Bubbles screamed, catching the redhead before she collapsed. Placing a cerulean paw to her trainers head, she recoiled in shock, and cried out, <Like, Sapph! Haley’s totally burning up!>

“Wha-? HALEY!” Sapph yelled running towards them with a hurried shout of, “Pause the match!” to Nicola and Herbert, who needed no second telling as they rushed over to her side as quickly as possible, the Pentabloom on their heels.

“It hurts,” Haley croaked in a pained voice. “It... it burns. Wa...ter...”

Vapor yelled, <Haley! Hang in there, girl!> Looking to Bubbles, he gasped, <This is so... not... cool, Bubbles! This is the total height of uncool! Whadda we do?>

<I don’t know!> Bubbles snapped back, her increasing worry making her voice edgier.

“What’s happening? Sapph?” Nicola demanded of the boy trainer who had taken one look at the Water type expert and a startlingly vivid recollection hit him.

-Flashback-

Time, a few centuries after the beginning of Time; Location unknown


“The Mages soon commanded vast armies of Pokémon that bore a resonance to their element. However, a frightening effect was observed amongst Mages that attempted to control elements other than their specialty.”

“To cut a grisly matter short,” Hiyori went on. “The women suffered often lethal illnesses when the vagabond Pokémon went berserk with fury, envy or hate. The men reflected the Pokémon’s emotions, leading them to kill their fellow clansmen, beginning with those who had dared to help bring forth and father the Elemens.”

“So that’s…that’s…” Sapph rambled helplessly.

“What’s happening to Haley? Yes,” Hiyori answered succinctly. “Her non-Water type must be feeling particularly vengeful emotions right now, and they affected its master.”

-End Flashback-

Oh, no…
Sapph said in his mind worriedly. Pyrrhus! Aloud he ordered Haley’s Pokémon, <Bubbles, Vapor, get Haley out of here! Blitzkrieg, knock Pyrrhus out cold!>

<What?!> All of Haley’s Pokémon minus the vengeful firebrand yelped.

“DO IT!” Sapph bellowed, “Or I swear to Celebi, I’ll do it myself!”

<You’ve flipped, cobber,> Mace whispered in shock as Pyrrhus’ hackles began to rise. <Stony, cold crackers, you have…>

“Will you stop arguing with me and…” Sapph began before Blitzkrieg, who’d been staring vacantly into space, raised one webbed hand and hammered down hard on the Fire type’s head, blurting out, <Bad Pixy!>

Everybody sweat dropped as the Ninetales slumped instantly, out cold and Haley’s breathing began to relax. Breathing a sigh of relief, Sapph said, “Thanks, Blitzie.”

<I’m toast,> Blitzkrieg replied modestly.

The Electric Frog Pokémon’s teammates who were conscious all sweat dropped again as Haley stirred and said, “Sapph? What happened?”

“Just a little relapse,” Sapph said airily, yet not quite meeting her inquiring grey irises, lest he broke down and confessed the truth about her ‘ailment’. “You’ll be fine if you get some rest and make sure Pyrrhus gets some as well…”

<Yeah!> Blitzkrieg exclaimed in a serious voice. <Doggy was a bad doggy!>

“You know,” Herbert said calmly, “we could postpone the match till Haley’s totally recovered from her condition…”

“No,” Haley said firmly, surprising all present. “I’m staying to see this match to the end.”

Picking up her video camera, she shot Sapph a determined glare that the Johton local knew the meaning of too well: it would be a waste of everybody’s time to argue.

Nodding, Sapph turned to the venerable trainer and said, “I’m ready to go, only in you are!”

“Excellent!” Herbert said with a laugh. “Nicola? Everyone involved? Back to positions then!”

And within three minutes, the Pentabloom and Arcanine squared off again, ready to get back to business.

“Both sides ready?” Nicola called out, her flags in the air once more. Both man and boy trainers nodded, a smile on the former’s lips and sweat pouring down the latter’s face. Dropping her flags sharply, the brunette yelled, “Begin!”

Pentabloom can use a wide variety of attacks, Sapph thought quickly as he studied the Forest Fairy Pokémon, vividly remembering the pounding Pyrrhus had received at the hands of one earlier on in his journey. And its Dragon type and healing attacks make small attacks useless… unless I was a status afflicting type battler, which I’m not…

Sapph’s thinking too hard, Herbert thought with a chuckle. I wonder if he met Dwayne at White Cliffs…

I have to end this in one shot! “Arcana! Use Speed of…” Sapph began only to be cut off by his adversary.

“Pentabloom, Mega Punch!”

The Pentabloom’s flower glowed red momentarily and shot forwards with speed Flora, Nora’s Pentabloom, could not have hoped to match back when they travelled to Olde Teake together, its dainty fist aglow with Megacite power.

Arcana was either too tired or too shocked at the change in speed to retaliate. Or maybe it was the Stun Spore fully locking her limbs. Sapph didn’t know or care. One second too late for the firebrand to evade or pre-empt the Pentabloom’s charge, Pentabloom met Megacite fist with Arcanine jaw and Arcanine jaw did crap. Arcana was blown back by the force of the blow, a trail of crimson fluid trailing from her slackened mouth. A second unpre-empted Mega Punch caught Arcana in the side of her head, creating a burst of brilliant white light to explode before her eyes, the second blow forcing her back on her feet roughly, her legs very much like Ditto as she teetered drunkenly, finally passing out.

“Arcanine is unable to battle,” Nicola announced in a formal tone. “Pentabloom wins!”

Sapph was struck dumb with the shock the situation had wrought. Arcana had been felled, and Pentabloom had made it look so easy. Sapph struggled to accept the reality that had happened. He had been so certain Arcana would sweep the floor with any Grass type Herbert could use, but had fallen after two longwinded, hard-fought-and-won battles.

“You’re taking this battle too seriously,” Herbert said genially. “Why not relax into its pace and have a good time?”

“Again with the whole ‘pace’ crap,” Sapph growled with his eyes clenched shut. “When will the world get it? I can’t afford to lose! Not again! Get ‘em, Ace!” He yelled, throwing down his second pokéball and returning Arcana all in one deft motion. Ace burst out of her pokéball and swooped into the air before with a comical THUNK hit the glass rooftop of the green house and flared out of the fall dizzily but with enough time and room to flap hard, staring down the Gym’s Pokémon.

<Interesting,> Ace said calmly. <Very interesting...>

“Ace,” Sapph said firmly. “Focus. We still have to beat the Pokémon after this one, so let’s end this one quickly!”

<Sir! Yes, sir!> Ace announced determinedly.

Herbert exhaled exasperatedly and said, “Well, let’s go, Pentabloom.”

And with a musical cry, the Forest Fairy Pokémon shot towards the new opponent, fists ablaze with light.

***​

A lone Squirrage stood in the middle of the Safari Zone’s jungle vegetation, his eyes closed as the humid air made his green fur puff up. Raising his forepaws to his chest level, his face was consumed by a look that told of a great exertion of effort as a ball of neon green light began to form at his fingertips.

<You know tensing up like that’s only going to get you hurt,> a know-it-all voice sounded off to his right, breaking his focus.

Anuvi looked up, annoyed to see Zen the Jutunkick strolling from around a large tree towards him, a wide grin plastered across his slate grey face.

<What are you doing here?> the Grass type said sourly, turning back to his previous task of making his fingers glow in the dark.

<Looking for you,> Zen said flippantly, leaning against the tree and looking totally at ease. <Making sure you didn’t do anything stupid. Oh, and for Arceus’ sake, relax!> he added as the Squirrage let out a frustrated yell as the ball of light flickered and died yet again.

<How many times must I say this?> He blurted out angrily. <I DO NOT NEED A BABYSITTER!>

<Temper,> Zen tutted him with a smirk. <And as far as I know, this is the first time you’re telling me...>

Anuvi swore at his team mate and resolutely turned his back on him.

<Language, Tough Guy,> Zen said dangerously. <I know losing your only family hurts, but that’s no way to act. Everybody’s worried about you... well, nearly everybody,> Zen amended thoughtfully. <I know Sapph, Crimson and Lavender are... Ace, Arcana and myself? Not so much.>

<I don’t care,> Anuvi said after a pregnant pause.

<You don’t care?> Zen repeated sceptically. <Or you can’t afford to let yourself?>

Anuvi turned sharply, a look of stunned anger on his face.

<Bingo,> Zen thought grimly, straightening up and facing the incensed Grass type, his arms crossed and a serious expression now occupying his face.

<You think you know me?> Anuvi said coldly. <You’re not so hard to figure out either... even when you say you’re helping, you still hold back!>

Zen didn’t flinch; didn’t blink. He merely let his team mate’s rant wash over him without the slightest change in expression.

<Now, for the last time,> Anuvi said coldly, making to turn away. <GO away and let me train!>

<OK, that’s enough,> Zen said calmly, unfolding his arms and clenching his rubbery-looking left fist.

Anuvi had crouched, ready to spring and suddenly sank a few inches into the ground, the earth beneath him swallowing his feet whole.

With a flick of his wrist, Zen caused the ground around Anuvi to spin sharply so the irate Squirrage faced him once again.

<What are you doing?> Anuvi spat, definitely more than peeved. <Let me go now!>

<Shut... UP!> Zen roared, causing Anuvi to flinch at the shocking change in temperament.

<So I hold back, do I?> Zen whispered dangerously. <Fine... you’re conversant enough with Aura Cycling. Time...> Zen said calmly, lowering his left fist and raising his right, opening it palm facing the stunned Squirrage, <for Aura Gathering.>

<’Aura gathering’?> Anuvi said in a bemused voice, struggling to get his feet free. <What’s that?>

<You’re already able to spin your aura at high speeds consciously,> Zen said calmly. <Now it’s time to learn how to sense the spin in other living things around you... and draw their aura to yourself.>

Zen’s right palm began to gather sky blue Megacite energy and condense it into a ball, the light of the Aura Sphere lighting up his face even in the midday sun.

Anuvi stopped struggling and repeated, this time in a constricted voice, <What are you doing?>

<Not taking it easy on you,> Zen replied calmly. And without warning, fired the Aura Sphere straight at Anuvi, nailing him in the chest.

<AAAAARGH!> Anuvi bellowed in pain, unable to fall backwards due to the restraints Zen had locked his feet in. Glaring at Zen, he yelled, <What’s the big idea?!>

<Here’s how this works,> Zen said calmly. <It takes me five seconds to charge up an Aura Sphere. It takes the Aura Sphere three seconds to hit you in the chest from here. Ergo, you have eight seconds to absorb as much Aura Sphere into your body before it gets blasted into next Tuesday. Got all that?>

<WHAT?! Are you insane?!> Anuvi screeched as Zen charged up another Aura Sphere.

Nonchalantly firing the second shot, Anuvi struggled to escape but failed, the second Fighting type attack scoring a clean hit on his arm.

Anuvi screamed in pain again as Zen bellowed, <You were b*tching about me taking it easy on you, and now your complaining? Make up your mind you idiot!>

Anuvi froze as the reality of the situation hit him. Zen had his third Aura Sphere ready and waiting.

<Are you gonna cry all day or are you gonna stop my Aura Sphere already?>

Anuvi found himself mirroring Zen’s smile as he straightened up and prepared to absorb the incoming Megacite bullet.

<And for the last time... relax!> Zen said in mild exasperation, firing the third Aura Sphere with a bit of added vindication.

***​

“Pentabloom! Dragon Claw!” Herbert said firmly.

“Ace, use Cyclone!” Sapph roared with determination.

The Pentabloom’s claws became wreathed in purplish flames as it raced up towards a battered Ace who had begun her vicious spinning attack once more, becoming a giant, blind-ended worm of powerful circling air.

Sapph clenched his fists and teeth in anxiety as the two Pokémon closed in on each other, not unlike a pair of hot rodders playing chicken on the interstate. Haley did her best to keep the battle coverage going, despite her sweaty palms and shaking hands.

A couple of feet apart, Pentabloom swerved to its right and slashing down hard with its right paw used the winds circling Ace to accelerate its attack and cut straight through the winds surrounding Ace, leaving a deep gash in its long wing, causing Ace to break the spin and plummet with her prior velocity straight into the sparse foliage that dotted the gym floor. Sapph winced as snap after sickening snap rang out as Ace fell though the trees’ dense foliage before slamming into the ground, a cascade of bark, wood and leaves half burying the spent Swoop Pokémon.

<Like, I can’t believe that thing!> Bubbles declared in shock. <It beat Arcana and Ace?>

<It would be deigned impossible if I hadn’t seen it myself,> Ento concurred, sounding nervous.

<Waffles,> Blitzkrieg murmured dreamily, causing Mace to sweat dropped.

“Ace, return,” Sapph said in resigned shock, his mind barely registering or coordinating his actions and speech as Ace got sucked back into her pokéball as a flash of red light. This wasn’t happening... it couldn’t be...

“Well, in all fairness, Arcana was fairly wasted when she got beaten,” Haley said in a faraway voice, evidently stunned at the turn the battle had taken. Sapph had gone from two up to neck and neck all in the space of minutes. Was Herbert Sr. honestly making an effort of pounding on Sapph, or was he enjoying the battle immensely?

“Pentabloom, Dragon Claw!” Herbert said with a laugh.

“Crimson, Swift!” Sapph countered swiftly.

Pentabloom’s claws kicked up another wreath of fire and charged on the Ledian who fired of a spray of large stars that the Pentabloom struck down as they bore down on it. Raising its flaming claws, Pentabloom brought them flashing down at Crimson’s face, Crimson ducking away at the last second to avoid having his head slashed open from the side.

“Crimson,” Sapph said firmly, “Comet Punch, Ice Style!”

Putting his small white fists up to his face, Crimson conjured cosmic energy to his hands and punched out with a swift one-two punch as the energy chilled itself to an icy blue hue.

Pentabloom roared in discomfort as the icy assault proved to be highly effective against its draconian hide. The fact that it was a Grass/Flying hybrid did nothing to lessen the attack’s effect.

Herbert rallied for a counterattack almost instantly. “Pentabloom, Heat Wave!”

Pentabloom rose ten feet up as he puffed out his chest and expelled a diverging air current that withered the trees down to the branches as it rushed in on Crimson, leaving him no escape route in sight.

The nervous Ledian looked to his trainer for instruction and asked, a not-unusual note of panic in his voice, <Sapph! Protect?>

“No,” Sapph said swiftly, his eyes alight with the glint that foretold of a plan. “Use Comet Punch, Fire Style to block!”

<Right!> Crimson agreed, outputting more cosmic energy from his fists, the silvery masses at his fist glowing incandescent red as miniature suns. With a loud yell, Crimson raised his fists as the fiery globes surrounding his fists increased in diameter and took in the heat from the fiery assault the Forest Fairy Pokémon had created.

“Now, get in there and let ‘im have it!” Sapph cheered, jubilant that his plan had worked.

Crimson complied, sweating with the effort of maintaining the pseudo-fire attack and shot up to counterattack the hovering Pentabloom and aimed a swift jab at the Grass type’s head.

Pentabloom, seeing the attack coming a mile away, ducked sharply to avoid having his head ripped off by the highly dangerous attack, its claws awash with purple flames.

“Counterattack, Pentabloom!” Herbert called out excitedly.

“Crimson, lean back!” Sapph commanded in tandem with the veteran trainer.

Pentabloom slashed upwards, his crown of petals an angry red colour just as Crimson leaned back in one fluid motion, adroitly dodging the cutting uppercut. Haley and Nicola could only stare in stunned fascination at the duo’s synchronisation: the aerial dance was so elegant as each Pokémon dodged and weaved out of each other’s attacks that the battle looked planned.

Herbert Sr. had a broad grin on his face as he beheld the boy trainer before him, whose face had relaxed and was gradually getting into the battle.

Looks like he’s finally getting the hang of fitting his battle tempo to the fight around him, he thought, a smile lifting the corners of his bushy moustache. Let’s see what happens if I take it up a notch...

***​

<OK, Leaf Head, one more time,> Zen said relentlessly, a fresh Aura Sphere glowing in his outstretched palm, pulsing gently.

Anuvi was smoking all over, blackened bruised patches glaring out from under his singed green fur, a determined and somewhat shocked look in his violet eyes as the ground around his stuck-fast feet smoked and smouldered.

<No way!> Anuvi croaked defiantly, raising his palms in anticipation, focusing on the attack that was sure to come. <I can keep going!>

Zen raised an eyebrow and wordlessly fired his last shot.

Anuvi eyes narrowed as the attack came closer. He had two seconds to stop it... Anuvi felt into the seam of the attack, fumbling as the ball of aura came nearer.

One second to impact... he had it. He began to pull the attack apart, his inner aura churning madly as the energy from the attack began to slip away from the sphere and into his own body...

The Aura Sphere hit him square in the chest with a resounding BLAM and Anuvi gasped in shock, the world around him shaking out of focus.

Shuddering and wobbling dangerously, Anuvi looked up and with a shadow of his long-lost smirk, said, <Is that ... all... you g-got...?>

A split second later he began to topple forwards, his smile turning into a slight grimace... straight into Zen’s furry shoulder.

<Yep,> Zen said with a smile. <And apparently, it looks like that for you too, Fearless Leader.>

Pointing his hand to the ground and clenching his fist slightly before releasing it, Anuvi’s feet were freed of their earthy restraints. Lifting the Warrior Pokémon onto his shoulder, Zen began to walk back to the Centre, he muttered, <We’d better get you looked at before Sapph finishes his match...>

<Sapph... had... a match... today?> Anuvi groaned in surprise, startling Zen slightly, but not by much.

<Yup,> Zen said matter-of-factly. <I’d leave it to the others if I were you. Next time, you may be more grateful that we take it easy on you, F.L...>

<Are you... kidding me?> Anuvi croaked in laughter. <N...next time, you... don’t have to hold... me down. I’m... starting... to get... the hang of... this Aura Control... thing...>

<Well, if you say so,> Zen said calmly, his mind privately agreeing with him, taking note that in the second before his last attack had hit, it’s power was cut down by at least half.

<Looks like he’s getting the hang of it after all,> Zen thought proudly. <That’s our Leader...>

*continued next post*​
 
Last edited:

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Tcq #37~2

*continued from last post*

***​

“Well, well, Sapph my boy!” Herbert exclaimed happily, returning the exhausted Pentabloom with a cheerful whoop of laughter. “That was certainly an improvement!”

Sapph actually smiled in spite of his predicament as he returned a burned out Crimson and switched pokéballs. He was finally beginning to understand how the battle was flowing. The trick was turning the tide of the battle in his favour.

“Well, it’s come down to a last stand off,” Haley said grimly. “Whoever wins this one wins it all. And for Sapph...”

<...losing, like, isn’t an option,> Bubbles finished bleakly. <If Sapph loses this match, he’s totally out of the running for the League Finals!>

<But why is Sapph smiling?> Ento asked in puzzled tones. <Is he going to use Anuvi? Or Zen?>

<Whatever it is, Lavender’s a not-cool decision,> Vapor said calmly. <Without any Fire type Pokémon or moves to switch her to Flareon, she should keep outta this one.>

<Strewth,> Mace agreed, watching Sapph’s smile widen.

“Ready, Sapph?” Nicola asked the younger male trainer.

“You know it.”

“Grandpa?”

“Call it, Nicola.”

“Final battle, begin!”

“Come on out, Grover!” Herbert called, releasing his last choice, and first ever Pokémon.

‘Grover’ stood at roughly three and a quarter feet tall and was essentially a green and gangly bipedal lizard. Darker fronds sprouted from its clawed fore arms and the crown of its pointed head as he let out a piping cry from deep in its long slender neck.

Grovyle, the Wood Gecko Pokémon, Sapph’s Pokédex announced dully. It uses its adroitness and speed to traverse the treetops of its arboreal abode, making the treetops its fortress.

“Now, Lavender!” Sapph called out. “Let’s do it!”

<LAVENDER?!> All of Haley’s Pokémon squawked in disbelief.

<Does he want to lose?> Bubbles shrieked, almost besides herself.

Herbert Sr. let out a voluminous bellow of laughter and called out to his Pokémon, “Grover, let’s have ourselves a good time! Quick Attack!”

Lavender had barely warmed up when she got hit by a green and pink blur. The small Normal type went flying back into a clump of bamboo shoots and slammed its back hard. A shower of green leaves cascaded around her as the Eevee rose to her feet shakily and the Grovyle looked up with a smirk.

<Lavender!> Vapor and Bubbles screamed in horror.

“Are you OK?” Sapph asked worriedly. His plan to shock Herbert was backfiring fast.

<I’m OK, Sapph,> Lavender reassured her trainer. <Just a little winded. Whoo, didn’t see that one coming!>

Sapph laughed at Lavender’s pun on her sight despite the bleak situation he was in. “Got a lock on him?”

Lavender nodded. <Uh, hunh,> she said softly.

“Grover, use Quick Attack again!” Herbert said in a clear voice as Lavender nodded her assent.

Lavender ears twitched and hugged the grassy ground as Grover rushed over a second time in a faster than blinking shoulder rush waiting for the right moment. A nanosecond away from being rammed into and through the tree, Lavender weaved in sync with Grovyle’s attack and leapt on to the tree to her right, her legs coiling up with power.

Gotcha! Sapph thought triumphantly. “Quick Attack now!”

Grover’s eyes were bugging out even more than usual when the Eevee miraculously evaded his speedy assault and was too stunned to guard against her counter as Lavender shot off the tree trunk and nailed the Grovyle in the back from point blank range sending the Wood Gecko Pokémon in the same direction it had planned to send Lavender: straight through the tree.

Lavender bounded back from the mild recoil as Sapph cheered, “Nice work, Lavender! Now back away to get some room!”

“Not happening, Sapphire!” Herbert said with a whoop and a grin. “Grover, Pursuit!”

The Grovyle was back on its feet in milliseconds and lunged forward with dark conviction; <This Eevee will not escape,> he thought with determination as he placed a vicious jab right into the airborne Eevee, causing spittle to fly as she was forced backwards into a rolling belly flop into the shadow of a particularly large tree.

What a strategy! Haley thought in shock. He used Pursuit to prevent Lavender escaping and hit her with twice the power as she was attempting to fall back!

“Lavender!” Sapph gasped in shock, stunned at Grover’s power. “Snap out of it! Use Quick Attack!”

Black energy seemed to seep from Lavender’s body and enshroud her as she got back to her feet and somehow grew another foot and a half. Her eyes reddened and her pupils became vertical and her fur darkened to blackest black.

“Grover! Get in there and use Leaf Blade!” Herbert said, thoroughly enjoying himself.

<That’s it,> Lavender thought as the rings on her limbs, legs and forehead glowed ominously. <Come to Momma...>

Grover’s dark green wrist leaves fused together and began to glow neon green as it let loose a powerful growl and sped in, Sapph being reminded forcefully of Anuvi’s Yaiba no Hayashi and knowing how much trouble Lavender would be in if she didn’t escape.

Panicked, Sapph hollered, “Change of plans, Lavender! Run away! Get outta there!”

<No dice,> Lavender said with a malicious voice. <I’m going solo.> And without another word, released a vile cloud of dark grey fumes from her pores engulfing the charging Grovyle.

“Oh, no! Smog! Grover!” Herbert said, the pressure causing him to break into a cold sweat.

Grover had walked straight into Lavender’s trap and as the copious amounts of poison assailed his system, the Leaf Blade attack flickered and died out as he clutched his throat and gasped desperately.

Lavender’s evil smile widened as a ball of pale whitish light began to form in her mouth, the light shining from within the only thing visible from outside the poisonous cloud. <From me to you,> she said with a malicious laugh as the ball increased in size, the Umbreon unleashing her powerful Lunar Beam attack again from point blank range.

The beam of energy streaked high up into the air, shattering the glass panes overhead as it rose fifteen feet straight up before dissipating in the noon day sun. Grover fell bodily back to earth, blood splattering its entire left side as Haley, Sapph, Herbert and Nicola blanched at the state he was in.

“His arm...” Haley said in faltering tones.

“...and his leg,” Sapph said tremulously, staring at the pseudo-Umbreon as she stepped out of the shadow in her Dark-type forme, her eyes narrowed in disappointment. “They’ve been totally torn off!”

Nicola retched and threw up her lunch heavily as Herbert Sr. could only stare.

<Shoot,> Lavender laughed sardonically. <Missed by this much,> she added with a taut, chilling laugh.

“Grover,” Herbert said calmly. “Use Synthesis.”

Grover let out a feral growl as his body became bathed in golden yellow light. Out of the blood stained side of his body, his limbs began to sprout, growing until they matched the ones that remained intact. When his limbs were finally restored, they stopped glowing and returned to their original emerald hue.

<Cool,> Lavender said wickedly. <Now I get to have the fun of blowing you limbs off repeatedly!>

Grover wheezed and shot a loathing stare at his smaller opponent as she stepped forwards again, another ball of whitish light charging up.

“Sapph! Stop that thing!” Nicola said in a panicky voice.

“Can you escape, Grover?” Herbert asked in a considerably calmer voice as the Umbreon stepped forwards with the air of an executioner.

The Grovyle tried to move, but it grimaced and went back on one knee, his new limbs aching with the effort he took to regrow them.

Sapph was seriously beginning to doubt if an Umbreon would be a preferable permanent form for his Evolution Pokémon. Raising his voice, he called out to the Moonlight Pokémon, “Lavender? Lavender, that’s enough.”

<Damn, he irritates me when he tries to take charge,> Lavender thought coldly. Looking back at Sapph without turning around, she asked Sapph icily, <You want to win, don’t you? Don’t you?>

“That’s beside the point, Lavender! Darn it, what’s happening to you?”

<You do, don’t you?> Lavender asked relentlessly. Watching her trainer fail to give a sign that he disagreed, she smirked and said, <Good. Now here’s what we’re gonna do. I’ll turn this lizard into fertilizer and you just sit back and.... AAARGH!>

Lavender screamed an otherworldly scream as Grover suddenly came up out of nowhere and slashed the Moonlight Pokémon across the maw with a successful Leaf Blade, knocking the beam awry and blasting another ten foot hole in the Pokémon Gym’s glass roof.

Blood began to trickle from the thin fresh cut Lavender had sustained under her chin as she stared at the Grovyle malevolently. Before she could counterattack however, she glowed black once more and shrank back to her regular Eevee form.

<Ugh,> Lavender groaned, watching the Grovyle leap backwards in case she somehow evolved again. <I really don’t like me in that form...>

“Lavender?” Sapph asked uncertainly. “Are you... OK?”

<Somehow,> the small Pokémon replied, cricking her neck and wincing as she unwittingly stretched her neck wounds further. <I definitely do not want to be an Umbreon when I grow up.>

“Good to have you back, then,” Sapph said wearily. “We still have a situation on our hands...”

<Cool,> Lavender said sarcastically, her attention returning to Grover and the match which still wasn’t over.

“Then let’s go,” Sapph said, Lavender’s pep filling him with fresh determination. Pointing at Grover for emphasis, he commanded, “Lavender, use Quick Attack!”

“Grover, use Leer!” Herbert said calmly, an intrigued look on his face as he watched the Eevee build up speed.

Grover stared down the charging Eevee, a terrifying glint in his jaded eyes which grew wider as Lavender gave no sign of being intimidated at all. Seeing her switch to blinding speed, Grover took a deep breath to calm himself and began to relax his muscles as Lavender lunged at him at a speed that was hard for the trainers to follow.

Lavender skidded to a screeching halt as Grover switched to the defensive and eased into an Agility manoeuvre that barely got away from the Eevee’s warpath.

“Missed!” Sapph growled in frustration.

<Not really,> Lavender said happily as she closed her eyes and was suffused by a bright pink light. <I just nicked him as he used Agility... and I couldn’t be happier!>

"Again?" Nicola thought in open surprise as she watched Lavender shoot up a couple of feet and her tail become slinkier as it split about three inches from the tip.

“No,” Herbert corrected her. “This one’s different. So that’s your Eevee’s ability, Sapphire. Ho, hoh... very interesting,” he added as Lavender stepped forwards on dainty lilac paws, the fine velvety hair of her body framing her crystalline blue eyes and round red gem that lay nestled between them on her forehead.

Shaking her head briskly, Lavender looked herself over and said, <Now we’re talking!>

And as Grover reappeared in front of the blinded Espeon, Lavender closed her eyes and exhaled calmly, the sunbeams filtering through the glass roof and holes in it converged on Lavender, bathing her in unnaturally refreshing sunlight. Golden yellow pinpricks of light rose from her battered body as cuts and wounds closed up, restoring her to full health.

“What’s happening?” Sapph asked in shock at the turn of events. Lavender had only ever transformed into an Espeon once before and had stayed in the form long enough to use a weak Confusion attack. So whatever was happening now was, anyone would be safe to say, new to him.

“It’s Morning Sun! Espeon’s most powerful technique!” Haley exclaimed excitedly. Consulting her watch, she added, “and considering the time, Lavender recovering all her health!”

“Hmm, that’s slightly bothersome,” Herbert said calmly. “Grover! Use Pursuit!”

<Not this time, Sunshine!> Lavender sang, her rounded cranial ruby glowing with power as a cyan hue surrounded the Grovyle, stopping it dead in its tracks.

“Psychic, too?!” Nicola gaped. “Just how strong is your Eevee, Sapph?”

“No idea,” Sapph said uncertainly, his mind wandering through the Evolution Pokémon’s time with him to their first meeting...

-Flashback-

Green Hill Pokémon Center, two and a half months ago


Saffron’s eyes widened as Sapph’s hand drew nearer and the next thing anyone knew, Saffron had sent a bolt of lightning straight at it.

“YOW!” Sapph yelled, staring at the Lightning Pokémon that was presently baring its teeth at the trainer and growling viciously, its eyes locked on Sapph, daring him to try that again.

“Easy, Saffron! You OK, Sapph?” Tony asked Sapph as he bent down to scratch behind the Jolteon’s ear. It stopped growling, although its beady eyes never left Sapph’s for a second.

“What’s wrong with him?!” Sapph asked in shocked surprise.

“Trauma,” Tony replied grimly. “Team Cipher aren’t exactly known to be benevolent to their test subjects. You should have seen the mess he made of the first Pokémon Centre we were at. I’m the only human he’s allowed near him since he was rescued from the lab. So how about it?”

Staring at the bespectacled boy, Sapph asked “So… how about what?”

“Will you adopt a Pokémon? Don’t let Saffron throw you, the rest of them are really sweet,” Tony reassured him with a smile.

“Oh… right,” Sapph said, drawing his eyes away from the crackling yellow Pokémon and turning to look at Tony who’d brought three pokéballs out of his bag.

“They’re all Eevee,” Tony explained, setting the capsules before Sapph. “Seems Cipher wanted to delve more into the evolution of Pokémon… possibly a joint venture with Galactic of Sinnoh…”

“You’re joking, right?” Sapph said feebly. “Eevee?! They’re like one of the rarest Pokémon… ever!”

“That’s true,” Tony agreed.

“So why don’t you raise them all?” Sapph asked incredulously.

“My… erm, supervisor didn’t want them all together,” Tony said in his evasive mutter. He went on in a loud voice, “Besides, I’ve already got Saffron! What more could I need? Right, boy?”

His other Pokémon let out various noises of indignation at this remark.

“Oops! Sorry, Roley… Verdant… Epona… Oni… Genghis,” Tony apologized, a sweat drop forming on the back of his head.

“Well, only if you insist,” Sapph grinned, a sweat drop also somewhere near his temple. He reached over a picked a pokéball off the bench. Releasing its contents in a blast of white light, a small brown Pokémon took form on Sapph’s lap, curled up asleep. Predominantly brown in colour, it bore a ruff of white fur around its neck and similarly coloured fur near the tip of its paintbrush tail. Yawning slightly, it blearily opened its coffee brown eyes and rubbed them with its small fore paw.

“Hey there… uhhh,” Sapph’s smile faltered as he couldn’t think of a nickname for his newest team mate.

He looked around at Tony, who shrugged and said “Hey, she’s yours now. Remember?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Sapph mumbled. Looking down at the Evolution Pokémon, he frowned as he thought up a nickname.

<Uhm… mister?> The Eevee said uncertainly, unsure how Sapph’d react to her speaking out of turn.

Opening one of his eyes, Sapph looked down at the Eevee and said, “Sorry, girl. What’s up?”

<I-I… ummm…> the Eevee stuttered.

<Get on with it,> Zen snapped.

“Zen!” Sapph said in his best scolding voice. “Knock it off!”

The Taebrawl grunted and said, <Whatever.>

Fixing the Eevee with a kindly eye, Sapph addressed the Eevee and prompted “Well?”

<I- uhm, wanted to be a-an… an Espeon… when I evolved, you know,> she finally got out. Blushing faintly, she looked away and said, <But I bet you would want an Umbreon… or Leafeon… or…>

“Deal,” Sapph said.

<H-hunh?> the little Pokémon gasped, unsure she heard right.

“You want to be an Espeon?” Sapph mused, mulling the thought over. “That’s fine! In fact, it makes giving you a nickname easier! How about… hmmm, Lavender?” He grinned.

The Eevee’s dull eyes seemed to sparkle as her ears stuck up. She happily nodded her assent at the choice of the name.

Zen cast the pair an askance stare before muttering <Revolting.>

“Great! Then it’s settled!” Tony smiled.

-End Flashback-

Guess her emotions are tied with her evolution’s strengths, Sapph reflected thoughtfully. Raising his voice, he called out, “Lavender! Time to end this!”

<Hear, hear!> Lavender nodded, digging her paws deep as she focused her thoughts on the happiness welling within her. For a moment; for the briefest of moments she was at her strongest and felt that she could take on the world, which suddenly felt like a colourful picture book opened to all her heightened Sun Pokémon senses.

As warmth filled her, her thought travelled to her friends and flashing white for the briefest of moments, opened her mouth and expelled a torrent of fire from her mouth that caught the struggling Grovyle full in the face, bathing him in an explosion of intense flames. The flames, rather than spreading and consuming all plant life in the greenhouse, localised and focused on scorching every square inch of the misfortunate Wood Gecko Pokémon’s body, from its dark green tails to its lime green snout and pink underbelly and throat.

Sapph’s jaw wasn’t the only one to scrape the battle field at this development. Somehow, incredibly, Lavender had used Blast Burn.

“Lavender...” Sapph said weakly. “What the heck was that?”

<My true Ultimate Finish,> Lavender replied as she released her psychic bonds on the charred Grovyle and reverted once more to Eevee form, a little disappointedly this time. <Team Spirit. Guess you could say it let’s me mirror any teammate’s element’s ultimate attack perfectly. It’s really exacting, though. Not to mention slightly imperfect,> she added in a winded voice as she and her trainer watched the Grovyle slumped in total defeat.

***​

“Well, well!” Herbert said, sounding a little winded after the excitement of the match. “That was a battle well fought, young Sapph! Truly inspirational, that Eevee of yours!”

“Thanks, Herbert,” Sapph said gratefully, looking back at the oldest gym leader of Corei and grinning ear to ear, his new Herb Badge tucked securely into his badge case along with the other four he had secured during his travels.

“I still say he lucked out,” Nicola said in a slightly disgruntled voice, flopping onto a bright yellow pouffe as Haley went up to the counter to hand in Pyrrhus’s pokéball, haughtily ignoring the Grass type loving girl as she said acidly, “That is probably the smartest observation you’ve made since we got here, isn’t it?”

“Now, now, girls, that’s enough,” Herbert said with only a bite of impatience as Nicola made to retort fiercely. “Remember, Nicola: A lady mustn’t react to one’s ignorant outburst.”

“You’re right, Grandfather,” Nicola said calmly, sweeping her shoulder length chestnut hair back. “Forgive my uncouth behaviour.”

As Sapph rolled his eyes and steeped up to the counter as Haley moved away, Nurse Joy looked up and said, “Ah, Mr. Manson! I was wondering when you’d be back! Your Jutunkick and Squirrage are all patched up now!”

“My what?” Sapph said in a faltering voice as his other pokéballs clattered on the counter top. “But they’re right... over there,” he finished in a faraway voice as he watched Zen and Anuvi stroll out of the recovery ward and p to their trainers.

<Hi, kid!> Zen greeted cheerfully. <How was your match?>

“Fi- wait a minute!” Sapph interjected angrily. “What are you asking me for? Why weren’t you there?!”

<We were a little, ah, tied up,> Anuvi said unhelpfully as he exchanged a small smile with Zen, who grinned back broadly.

Sapph was about to lose his temper when a loud beeping filled the lounge. All eyes landed on Nicola as she unstrapped her PokéNav from her obi and read aloud, “Grandfather, it’s a message from the Ranger post at Dragon Cove! Seems like there’s trouble... they mention a horde of trespassers who have locked them out!”

“What is the Dragon Cove?” Sapph asked nonplussed.

“It’s a Dragon type sanctuary,” Haley replied instantly. “A small island between here and Northern Isle.”

Sapph’s stomach turned over as a scene he’d witnessed a while back came to mind, a scene that involved a rare Dragon type Pokémon. They surely couldn’t be here... not now...

“Did they describe them?” Herbert said quickly, rushing over to read the message

Nicola shook her head to the negatory.

“Darn it!” Herbert whispered in frustration for the first time. “What’s the status at the Northern Isle Post?”

“Extreme fog and stormy seas,” Nicola replied, consulting her PokéNav’s weather report function. “They’re stuck there at least for the next three hours!”

“Just when I’m unable to help!” Herbert said worriedly, beginning to pace the room.

“Don’t fret, Grandfather!” Nicola said nobly. “I’ll go and see to this myself!”

“I’ll go with you,” Sapph said quickly. Staving off a refusal in the making, Sapph added, “I have a fair idea of who’s there, and you won’t be a match for them on your own.”

“If you’re going,” Haley started, but Sapph cut her off.

“No,” he said seriously. “You stay and get some rest. Professor Yew’s due to arrive this evening and you’ll need your Pokémon checked out before you get to Northern Isle to register for the Trigello Tournament. And you’ll need your rest too,” he added, as the redheaded girl began to argue some more.

Closing her mouth in defeat, Haley nodded mutely.

Returning Anuvi and Zen to their pokéballs, Sapph turned to Nicola and said calmly, “Lead the way.”

Nodding back in determination, Nicola turned to her grandfather who simply said, “Be careful,” and rushed out of the Pokémon Center with Sapph, their destination the Dragon Cove.

***​

CHARACTER PROFILE OF THE WEEK

Name: Kaede Melanie Bolton
Date of Birth: April 21, PA 2011
Hometown: Utopia Island, Corei
Pokémon
On Hand: Shelgon (received from her father)
In Storage: None
Likes: Ice cream, her father (both adopted and biological)
Dislikes: Remembering her father’s death
Contemporaries: Ricon, Kamren, Trey Bolton (father, deceased)
About Kaede: Kaede is the young daughter of Trey and Alice Bolton, the latter dying after giving birth to her on native Utopia Island. Her father, desperate for funds for raising his only daughter, turned to The Shadow for employment. One day Kaede’s father Trey came home and without a word rushed them off Utopia Island to the antipodal Chinooka City in an attempt to keep her safe and start over anew. This wasn’t much of a success as the Light caught up with them a couple of years later and silenced her father – permanently. Kaede was spared the same fate by the timely arrival of the local gym leader Ricon Wingams, who took her into his custody as an adopted daughter after her father’s death.


110 Barbozore

Type: Grass
Species: Thorny
Pronunciation: bar-boe-zaur
Height: 3'11"
Weight: 280kgs
Habitat: Rare
Evolution Line: Does not evolve
Name Derivation: BARB + O + ZORE (variative of saur)
Notes: Evidence showed that long ago, Barbozore's spines were made of bone. As its diet became herbivorous, the spines softened for their use. It is said to be closely related to Razodon.

***​

And there you go. The first of several double chapters in the "AD is a lazy bum and must sweat to apologize to his fans for slacking off" season of TCQ. The deadline for willing entrants for the Corei League finals (next Saturday) is closing in, so if you want to be in it, best step up!

now excuse, me, I still have a month's backlog of chapters to finish... :(

L@er!
 
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Diddy

Renegade
Wait!

TWO CHAPTERS!?

boy are you spoiling us. But hey... I'm not complaining.


Just gonna make a few observations here.

-I noticed a few spelling errors, nothing major though.

-Lavender is amazing as an Umbreon. Like scary amazing. No nonsense win.

-I reckon Rapid Fire would have been a much cooler name for Arcana's uber move she used. Not to impose or anything. *whistles*

-Zen just keeps getting cooler and cooler. I never knew such coolification existed

-Herbert rules nuf sed.

And that's all i wanted to point out. Very nice chapters, I can't wait to find out what happens at the Cove.
 
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Araleon

Chill
O.O at Lavender as an Umbreon, and an Espeon. Remind me to never get on her bad side...

Sorry I haven't reviewed in a while, I'm pretty bad at it, I am caught up on chapters, though.

I agree with Diddy, Herbert is my favorite Gym Leader.

Wait, you're accepting OCs for the League? Interesting... I must've missed that post, sorry... I may just hafta PM you an OC.

Lavender is one of my favorite characters in this fic, I'm wondering what she'll evolve into... That is, if she evolves. I started to think maybe she'll stay the same because of her ability.
 

asperger1981

good reader
I really liked the scene between Carla and Kamren at chapter 37.
It really was a great change from the guy who if memory serves me right was at the verge of killing Saph in earlier chapters, and who at least managed to rig his alarm clock in order to get the fire starter.

P.D: It is me, or are planning to turn a certain pair into an item later in the story?
If you know what I mean.

;475;
 

Oathblivion

Dragonite says "Hi."
*comes out of the closet*

So yeah, hm... Pretty nice place you've got here and- okay let's face it: I was lazy. But hey, I'm here now, right?

I noticed a few typos in places, mainly unfinished words and such, but nothing too terribly damaging. What's more awesome is that gym battle. More specifically in that battle, Lavender. I don't care if she was inspired by Red's Eevee or not in the PokeSpecial manga; she's probably the most unique Eevee I've ever read about. Really like the character more than what is healthy, probably.

In fact, let me start a rant about how I adore your creativity. What really sets your work apart from all the other good fics out there is your ability to make quality material all from your head. It's like Tolkien or something. I enjoy reading TCQ mostly because of the variety of new fakemon, attacks, and places you can throw out there. What's more, the vast majority of them are indescribably awesome, or otherwise hilarious to imagine (vegetable pokes for the win).

Because I can't say much about plotting having not tried a full length story before, and characterization is A-okay in my book, the potential helpfulness of this "review" has come to an end. So yeah, um, don't disappear off the face of the earth, or something. =P *glares pointedly at zombie-Saber*

Until next time!
 
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Divinity_123

shove 'er in! ;O
AD comes out with a doubleheader! It's about freakin' time!

Anyway, I've got to start off this review with this scene made of win;

The two pre-teens glared at each other for a couple of tense minutes, the wind whistling as Haley’s ponytail danced in the wind. Then, in one fluid motion both stomped forward and yelled, “Rock! Paper! SCISSORS!”

On ‘scissors’, both boy and girl swung their fists forwards, showing each other clenched fists.

“It’s a draw!” they yelled in unison, raising their fists again and bringing them down again, both showing open palms. Again, they yelled, “it’s a draw!”

A third flash of fists. Both scissors.

“It’s a draw!”

The duel of luck raged on, drawing a couple of curious and frightened stares as the yokels around them gave the duo a wide berth as they walked up and down the street.

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

“It’s a draw!”

Then, suddenly:

“Yes!”
“Damn it!”

Haley turned her scissors into a victory sign and grinned as Sapph clenched his open hand in frustration at his loss.

“Best two out of three!”

Seven rounds later, Haley and Sapph walked to a large, log-fenced area with the words, ‘UTOPIA ISLAND NATIONAL PARK’ stamped in stencil lettering on a neat sign board.
Epic.

Rock Paper Scissors is freakin' serious.


So Kamren (who seems to have had a huge character overhaul) and Carla are reunited. Haley has another rival (how many does she have now? xP) in Nicola, which you set up nicely with the concluding sentence of Chapter 38.

One thing I didn't get was why Herbert, when introducing himself, called himself the "First". Maybe he were the Second or the Third Herbert, but not the First P: Although, the battle between him and Sapph was pretty nice. I agree with the majority in stating that Lavender is amazing;)

WHO ARE THOSE TRESSPASSERS? TEAM SHADOW??? >D

UPDATE FASTER FFS;)
 

Air Dragon

Ha, ha... not.
Time to celebrate and appreciate!

Diddy

Wait!

TWO CHAPTERS!?

boy are you spoiling us. But hey... I'm not complaining.
Good. I’m not good at fielding complaints… :)

Just gonna make a few observations here.

-I noticed a few spelling errors, nothing major though.
What else is new? ;) For a grammar Naz of sorts, I certainly phail at doing a good job every now and then.

-Lavender is amazing as an Umbreon. Like scary amazing. No nonsense win.
Dark types are also known as the evil type for a reason you know…

-I reckon Rapid Fire would have been a much cooler name for Arcana's uber move she used. Not to impose or anything. *whistles*
You know what? I could use that… all props to you, of course.

-Zen just keeps getting cooler and cooler. I never knew such coolification existed
Zen thanks ya… :)

-Herbert rules nuf sed.
Herbert is a happy Gym Leader because of your fan mail…

And that's all i wanted to point out. Very nice chapters, I can't wait to find out what happens at the Cove.
Believe you me, I can’t wait to show you.

Araleon

O.O at Lavender as an Umbreon, and an Espeon. Remind me to never get on her bad side...
LOL, Lavender as an Espeon is Lavender on her good side…

Lavender as an Umbreon is your worst nightmare. Don’t get the cute Pokémon mad…

Sorry I haven't reviewed in a while, I'm pretty bad at it, I am caught up on chapters, though.
‘S alright… You’re reviewing now.

I agree with Diddy, Herbert is my favorite Gym Leader.
More Herbert Sr. fanmail! SQUEEEE!

Wait, you're accepting OCs for the League? Interesting... I must've missed that post, sorry... I may just hafta PM you an OC.
Cool, just do it fast. An announcement concerning it lies at the end of these messages.

Lavender is one of my favorite characters in this fic, I'm wondering what she'll evolve into... That is, if she evolves. I started to think maybe she'll stay the same because of her ability.
For the sake of being an evil writer, I’m gonna leave you guessing. :D

asperger1981

I really liked the scene between Carla and Kamren at chapter 37.
It really was a great change from the guy who if memory serves me right was at the verge of killing Saph in earlier chapters, and who at least managed to rig his alarm clock in order to get the fire starter.
Yh, lots of character development for the guy, and more to come! I think I do a better job with Kamren than any other character, most of which are sorta anime stereotypes.

P.D: It is me, or are planning to turn a certain pair into an item later in the story?
If you know what I mean.
I do, but like with Araleon, I’m gonna leave you guessing.

Oathblivion

*comes out of the closet*

So yeah, hm... Pretty nice place you've got here and- okay let's face it: I was lazy. But hey, I'm here now, right?
****** shotgun, not amused*

j/k XD

I noticed a few typos in places, mainly unfinished words and such, but nothing too terribly damaging. What's more awesome is that gym battle. More specifically in that battle, Lavender. I don't care if she was inspired by Red's Eevee or not in the PokeSpecial manga; she's probably the most unique Eevee I've ever read about. Really like the character more than what is healthy, probably.
Another Lavender fan… wonder what would happen if I evolved her… well, we’ll see… And though the idea was inspired by Red’s Eevee, I had to think of an alternative to Sapph carrying evo stones around with him.

In fact, let me start a rant about how I adore your creativity. What really sets your work apart from all the other good fics out there is your ability to make quality material all from your head. It's like Tolkien or something. I enjoy reading TCQ mostly because of the variety of new fakemon, attacks, and places you can throw out there. What's more, the vast majority of them are indescribably awesome, or otherwise hilarious to imagine (vegetable pokes for the win).
LOL, the continent’s agricultural populace is coming for youuuuu… XD

Because I can't say much about plotting having not tried a full length story before, and characterization is A-okay in my book, the potential helpfulness of this "review" has come to an end. So yeah, um, don't disappear off the face of the earth, or something. =P *glares pointedly at zombie-Saber*

Until next time!
Don’t worry, I plan to stick around a while. I’m only 22 (23 soon) so other than keeping my inner child alive, I think I’ll work this for what it’s worth.

Divinity_123

Epic.

Rock Paper Scissors is freakin' serious.
The battle of good vs evil continues next time… on Rock Paper Scissors Z… XD

So Kamren (who seems to have had a huge character overhaul) and Carla are reunited. Haley has another rival (how many does she have now? xP) in Nicola, which you set up nicely with the concluding sentence of Chapter 38.
Let’s not forget the Kent’s ultimate purpose of their journey. I’ll refresh your memory soon. ;)

One thing I didn't get was why Herbert, when introducing himself, called himself the "First". Maybe he were the Second or the Third Herbert, but not the First P: Although, the battle between him and Sapph was pretty nice. I agree with the majority in stating that Lavender is amazing
Good point with the Herbert muddle up. He’s Herbert Sr, but without introducing Herbert Jr, it’d be rather out of place.

And yh, Lavender is amazing.

WHO ARE THOSE TRESSPASSERS? TEAM SHADOW??? >D
… maybe. *evil grin*

MerlockVonBaron

not bad both chapters were great air dragon keep it up
As always, you’re one-liners say it all, Merlock. Welcome back.

Now my appreciation’s all done, I have a couple of announcements:

1. The OC entry thing. The deadline’s past and gone, and only three of you submitted anything. For the sake of incoming entries, I’m extending the entry period to the end of June. Thiss is the last extension.

2. The characters of TCQ are mostly mature for the ages of eleven and twelve and as such, with the exception of Calvin, Dex, Tony, Sky, Slate, Nicole, T.J, Zuzana, Kaede and the gym leaders, everybody is a year older than I initially mentioned. In other words: Sapph, Haley and Rubin are 12 and Kamren and Zeta are 13.

3. Last detail… the TCQ story is set in the year PA 2015 (props to EM1 for the calendar format)

Well, got an update to prepare, so L@er!
 
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