Hello, everyone. First, I'd like to apologize for not posting a new chapter since Christmas. I've been completely overwhelmed with schoolwork. For that same reason, I regret to inform you that The Nova Travels will no longer be updated.
I've been unable to finish the next chapter due to a combination of schoolwork, writers block, and a general loss of interest in the story. I liked it when I first started it, but now we're almost forty chapters in, and the story isn't going anywhere. I've stopped caring about the characters, the plot and everything else in the story. The story just stopped mattering to me for a while now, and even though I want to keep writing, I've just lost interest.
Also, I've had a ton of schoolwork. As my first year of high school is coming to an end, I haven't had time to write. If I'm having trouble in freshman year, I can only imagine how much harder it's going to get. I used to write during my free periods, but now I have to use that time to study. I'm at a college prep school, and I've literally had about seven pages of work per night. I often don't even get that done, and when I do, all I want to do is rest. On the weekends, I spend time with my family, so I still don't have much time to write.
Even on those rare occasions where I do have time to write, though, I can't. I look at the screen and try to write, but nothing happens. I've got a bad case of writers block that doesn't appear to be going anywhere. I've looked over the entire thread in the author's cafe on how to get rid of writers block, but nothing thing works. I just can't find the inspiration to keep going
So, I'm sorry everyone. Just know that nobody is going to miss this story more than me.
APRIL FOOLS! I really had you there, didn't I? No, I assure you that this fic is still alive, and just to prove it, I have the next chapter right here! At fifteen pages, it's the longest in Nova Travels history, so bear with me! I hope you like it, so here it is!
Chapter Thirty Nine: Ores, Mine and Ours
“Christy!” Christy heard as she attempted to return to sleep.
“Jake, exactly how stupid are you?” she said in response. “Have you forgotten the hammers?” Christy heard a shuffling of feet, followed by Jake’s voice again from farther away.
“Jake, it’s the day after Christmas, and I’m tired. I’m going to take any more attempts to wake me up as permission to hurt you.”
Silence at last. Christy yawned and rolled over. “We were going to challenge the gym today,” Jake said.
Christy yawned again. She pulled one of her mallets from the dimensional void and hurled it at Jake, smiling as she heard the familiar sound of his face being pounded in. “Ow!” he said, picking himself up off the floor. “How do you even aim with your eyes closed like that?”
“Very carefully,” she said. “Now, give me five minutes. I’ll be up.”
“That’s a lie,” Jake said before being struck by another hammer. “You know, I’m fairly sure that there’s a law against that!”
“You know Jake,” Christy said, “I’d shut up now if I were you.”
Jake sighed. “Okay.”
White yawned. She was sitting on a pile of rubble at the top of Dragonspiral Tower, waiting for Alder. He was eighty years old, but his volcarona was perfectly capable of carrying him there. Her own volcarona, along with the rest of her party, sat next to her. “When do you think the old coot’s gonna show up?” asked Kate.
It was Marvin who answered the zoroark. “I have insufficient data to answer this question. Is his volcarona African or European?”
“Hilarious, Marvin,” said Angel. “You know, some volcarona would take offense to that.”
“Ya’ know,” Bernie said, “If ya’ guys stop talking about it for about twelve seconds, ya’ might see that he’s flying in right now.”
“You’re right,” Dianne said, nodding her head. “It seems he’s just running late.”
Oscar blinked as he lifted his head. “Huh? What happened?”
“Well,” White said, “If you were awake, you would have noticed Alder flying in on his Volcarona. Did you forget about the meeting?”
“Of course not!” Oscar said. “We were supposed to…talk about the P.C. system?”
White laughed quietly at her starter’s forgetfulness. “You’ll catch on pretty fast. Just listen in.” She then turned to the enormous bug type coming in for a landing nearby. “Hey, Alder!”
As the volcarona landed on the tower’s top, an old man with graying orange hair tied up into an enormous ponytail hopped off of it. “Hello, White!” he said in a deep jolly voice. “I’ve got the results, and you were right. It all leads back to the Entralink.”
“I thought so.” White nodded. “The problem is, there’s no way to get to the place since it got shut down. It’s not possible for anything to get in or out. After the incident we had with the test run, I’m not surprised they closed it up.”
Alder nodded as well. “True, but if you’ll remember, inter-dimensional travel wasn’t the only innovation they created. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten about Fennel’s work with the dream mist. The DNA tests seem to show traces of it.”
White’s eyes widened momentarily before snapping back to their original size. “So, they didn’t come from the portal...” She stared into space for a moment. “…meaning that somebody’s been playing around in Entree Forest.”
Alder nodded again. “How they got there is beyond me, though. With the defenses they set up, even we couldn’t get within a mile of the site.” He waited for White to make a comment, but she never made one. “We’re going to have to, though.” White stayed silent. “Okay, since you aren’t going to offer, I’ll just ask you. Can you please have a talk with Juniper?”
“Alder, I’ve told you before. The woman’s too damn stubborn to listen to either of us.”
“Oh, come on, White!” Alder said. “You’re like a daughter to her. Ever since you started your journey, you’ve been the only one who could get through to her!”
“Bianca’s done pretty well,” White said. “She’s been her head assistant since I became Champion.”
“Dammit, White, you and I both know that Bianca’s never going to be her favorite! When Bianca applied as an aide, she acted excited, but she always wished it was you!”
White looked as if she was about to argue more, but she stopped. “Alder, you know about Juniper’s…issues. Even if she remembers how to get past the defenses she set up, there’s a good chance that asking about it could set her off. Besides, opening that place up again is dangerous. You remember what happened last time.”
“But last time we opened the portal. It’s been closed for…what, fifteen years now? This time we’re just going to Entree Forest.”
“That wasn’t much better, Alder.”
Alder sighed. “White, this could be our only chance to-”
“Our only chance to do what, Alder? Piss off the labs in Hoenn again? Create a monster we can’t stop this time? Lose another life?”
“To find him.”
“Alder, he’s dead. There’s no way we can find him.”
“You don’t know that he’s dead. He had his pack when he went through. He had his pokémon with him.”
“Alder, it doesn’t matter. Nobody could survive a minute in that place alone, let alone fifteen years. It doesn’t matter how much we want to find him!”
“It does. If you won’t do it for him, do it for Bianca. She was devastated. She’d go in an instant.”
“Which is exactly why we can’t tell her.”
Alder looked down and shook his head. “White, what happened to you? Fifteen years ago, you would have gone in a minute, even if you had no chance and no reason. And you would have made it too.”
White returned all of her pokémon except Angel. “Fifteen years ago, he was alive.” She hopped onto the volcarona and soared off into the sky, leaving Alder alone on the tower’s top.
Having given Christy an extra hour of sleep, Jake now stood with her in front of a huge building with two glass walls making up its front. Besides this, the building didn’t differ very much from your average coal mine. “Why is it we always end up standing outside of a gym and staring at it just before we challenge it?” Jake asked.
“Just go with it,” Christy said. “Let’s go get another badge!” She walked into the building with Jake following close behind.
As they entered the building, they saw that it was even more mine-like on the inside. The walls (except, of course, for the glass ones) were made of dark stone, with odd, luminescent green crystals emerging from several large cracks. A small tile floor stood at the entrance, leading into a series of metal catwalks and elevators. One particularly large elevator was placed at the end of a narrow catwalk blocked by an orange traffic cone.
“Hey!” called a previously unnoticed man standing on one of the catwalks. “Good luck getting down to challenge Clay!”
“Why?” Jake called back. “Is the arena closed or something?”
The man laughed in a condescending manor. “No, you’ve got to go through this huge maze of lifts and platforms! The biggest one leads down to Clay, but it’s blocked off!”
Christy walked over to the traffic cone, looking at the man in confusion. “What if I do this?” She proceeded to kick the cone over the edge of the catwalk, opening the path to the elevator.
The man gazed at her in terror for a moment before speaking. “Cheater! Cheater! You’re a cheater, you cheating cheater who cheats!”
“Oh god,” Jake said, making his way past the spot where the traffic cone was. “Christy, let’s go. Quickly.”
“Right behind you,” she said, placing her hands over her ears.
“You cheaters!” the man said as the two trainers pressed the ‘down’ button on the lift. “You cheated! That was cheating! Cheaters!”
The lift moved down, finally putting the whining miner out of hearing range after a few minutes, much to the relief of the trainers. As they moved downwards, the florescent glow from above disappeared as well. The only light visible was that coming from the green crystals. These crystals illuminated various fossils sitting in the wall, causing both Jake and Christy to wonder why they hadn’t been excavated and sent to the Nacrene Museum.
Gradually, light began appearing again, from below this time. As the glow intensified, it brought into focus a floor of packed dirt. The lift landed on the ground with a loud crash and a cloud of dust. A deep voice with a strong western accent could be heard complaining loudly from up ahead. As the dust cleared, the doors swung open and the two challengers stepped out.
“’Ey!” shouted the voice, which now appeared to be coming from an old man dressed as a cowboy. The man was holding a traffic cone and rubbing his head. “Do you young’uns know who dropped this here cone on my head?”
Christy briefly glanced upwards. “Yeah. That guy up there dressed as a miner said something about you being fat and threw it down at you. He also seems to be a compulsive liar.”
The old man, who Jake and Christy now assumed to be the gym leader, started to grumble. “Why that no good varmint! Why, I oughta’…”
Jake coughed loudly. “Hello. We’re here to challenge you to a battle.”
“Oh. My apologies, young’uns,” Clay chuckled. “I suppose this is gonna be a double battle?”
Christy nodded. “Yep. Six on six, three for each of us, and six for you?”
Clay laughed again. “You’uns ain’t new to this are ya’?”
“Nope,” Jake answered. “This is our fifth challenge. Let’s get started. Go, Tails!” As he threw the luxury ball, it released the grovyle onto the floor.
“Leaf, let’s do this!” Christy called. Joining Tails on the battleground, Leaf appeared from her pokéball.
Clay chuckled. “Grass types, huh? I know how to take care o’ them. Excadrill, camerupt, take ‘em down!” From the two pokéballs the man threw emerged a huge, red cow-like pokémon with two stone humps, and a black mole with red war paint on its face and a steel drill jutting out from his forehead.
“Leaf, Use leaf tornado on the camerupt!”
“Tails, dig on the excadrill!”
“Camerupt, protect yerself, an’ excadrill, just wait fer it!”
Leaf started up a storm of razor sharp leaves while Tails burrowed his way underground, making a pun about ‘digging it’. When Leaf’s attack was about to hit the camerupt, however, it created a force field of green energy that stopped the attack from damaging it.
“I don’t know what you’re trying to do,” Christy said to the gym leader. “Protect won’t work again, and we’ve got more than enough energy to keep fighting.”
Clay merely smirked. “Now, excadrill, earthquake!”
“No!” Jake yelled. “Tails, get out of there!”
The grovyle, however, was unable to hear him. The mole began stomping on the ground, causing it to shake wildly. Fountains of earth shot up around the camerupt, Leaf and where Tails had entered the earth. While the camerupt blocked the attack with protect, and Leaf took only superficial damage, Tails flew out of the ground along with the sediment, shouting and flailing his arms around. When he hit the ground, he was knocked out cold.
Jake returned Tails to his luxury ball and pulled another pokéball off of his belt. “Go, Munchy!” he said as he released the vibrava onto the field. “Show these guys what a real earthquake looks like!”
“Leaf, try leaf tornado again!” Christy said.
“Camerupt,” Clay said, “use sunny day! Excadrill, take down that there vibrava with yer metal claw!”
As the humps on the camerupt’s back started to glow, a bright orb of light appeared over the battlefield, causing its occupants to squint. Leaf hurled a vortex of leaves at the fire type, doing a small amount of damage, before Munchy swooped to the ground, stomping on it wildly. The mole opposite him lunged at him with glowing claws, but missed.
“This is fun!” the vibrava said, earth starting to fly up around the battlers. The camerupt, Leaf, and the excadrill were all hit with geysers of earth, causing severe damage to the ground types, but leaving the servine only slightly damaged. Both opposing pokémon fell to the ground, but the excadrill got back up fairly quickly, while the camerupt struggled.
“C’mon, camerupt!” Clay said. “You can do it!”
The camel snorted, and pulled itself up off the ground. “I’m not down yet!” he said with a huff.
“Great job!” Clay said to his pokémon. “Get the servine with yer flamethrower! An’ excadrill, give that there vibrava another taste o’ yer metal claw!”
“Leaf, try vine whip on the camerupt!” Christy called out.
“Munchy, use fly on the excadrill!” Jake said.
As vines emerged from Leaf’s shoulders to grab at the fire type across from her, the excadrill hurled himself at Munchy with his claws glowing silver. Munchy began flying upwards to avoid the attack, but couldn’t escape the mole’s claw.
“Hah!” the mole said. “Take that, you stupid bug!”
“Shut up, jerk! He’s just a kid!” Leaf said as she finally grabbed ahold of her opponent. Before she could squeeze, however, the fire type opened his mouth to release a blast of fire.
“No! Leaf!” Christy said as the servine was engulfed in the flames. When the blaze died down, Leaf fell to the floor, clearly unconscious. “Crap,” Christy said, pulling another ball of her belt as she returned Leaf. “Let’s do this, Ringo!” she said as she threw the pokéball on the floor, releasing the ball of pink goo.
“Awesome, my first battle!” the ditto said. “I’m gonna – wait, what’s that over there? Why are we underground?”
“Focus, Ringo!” Christy said to the pokémon. “Transform into camerupt!”
“Camerupt, don’t let ‘im!” Clay said in response. “Use rock smash before ‘e can transform! Excadrill, use yer hone claws before the vibrava can come down!”
“Okay, let’s do this!” Ringo said as he began to change shape. He extended the length of his body, and four growths began to appear underneath him. Two more began to grow on his back, and the face of his opponent began to appear on his own body.
As he was transforming, his target was charging towards him. Just as the camerupt reached him, his gelatinous skin changed to red fur, and the transformation was complete. “I did it!” he said excitedly.
His celebration was short lived, however, as the camerupt lifted up his legs and slammed them down on his duplicate. “Take that, you annoying blob!” he said as Ringo leapt back in surprise.
Meanwhile, the excadrill was still feigning attacks on the air, seeming to get stronger with each swipe. He was so engrossed in this task, however, that he failed to notice the vibrava approaching him from above.
“Hi! I’m sowwy about this!” Munchy said as he slammed into the mole at full force. The impact sent the excadrill flying across the battlefield into a wall.
“No!” Clay yelled as he saw the pokémon fall to the floor. “Excadrill, get back up!”
The mole pokémon grunted before rising weakly to his feet. “I’ll get you for that, you stupid bug!”
“Excadrill, metal claw on the vibrava again!” Clay said. “Camerupt, stomp on the ditto!”
Jake smiled before calling out another attack to Munchy. “Munchy, switch targets! Sand Tomb on the camerupt!”
“Ringo!” Christy said, “Flamethrower on the excadrill!”
As Munchy focused on a point above the charging camerupt’s head, a hole seemed to appear in the air, releasing mounds of sand onto the target. At the same time, Ringo opened his mouth to release a stream of fire onto the mole charging at his ally. Both pokémon fell to the floor, but it was unclear to the trainers and pokémon whether or not they had been knocked out.
“Why hello there, puny mortals!” I said, sitting behind my desk, next to my henchman. “You know what time it is!”
“Lunch times?” asked John.
“No, foolish minion! It’s time for Super Ultra Mega Buzz Talk!”
“With some John!” he added.
I sighed. “Yes, yes, with some John. Now, today we’ll be discussing evil lairs, the must-have hideouts for any respectable villain.”
“But Buzz,” my minion said, “You doesn’t has a lair.”
I chuckled at my lackey’s stupidity. “Of course I do, minion. Why, I have spent my entire three and one third months with the humans turning my pokéball into the most evil lair of all time!”
“But we has been with Jake and Christy for six months,” John said.
I shook my head at the idiotic pelipper. “No, John, you’re thinking about the wrong side of the fourth wall. Regardless, I have filled my lair with torture devices, booby traps, and lasers. All the necessities. Within the next few months, I’ll be able to use my own pokéball to take over the world! Now, foolish mortals, we’ll be taking your calls to tell us about your own evil lairs! The phone lines are now open!”
As I said this, a phone that was sitting on the desk began to ring. “Ah, we have our first caller!” I said as I picked up the phone. “Hello? Would you like to inform us of the details of your lair?”
“BUZZ!” said an all too familiar voice.
“Oh, not this loser again,” I said. “For those of you watching at home, this is my arch nemesis the heracross. He is forever stuck in caps lock, and has numerous times attempted to thwart my plans.”
“YOU WON’T GET AWAY WITH WHAT YOU’VE DONE, YOU MONSTER!”
“Oh!” said John. “I knows you! You is that beetle man with shouty voice!”
“YES, I AM! YOU WILL PAY FOR SERVING THIS FIEND AS WELL! I WILL NOT REST UNTILL–”
“Well,” I said, cutting off the phone line. “That’s all we have time for today. Until next time, puny mortals!”
All three humans on the battlefield, as well as Ringo and Munchy, looked at the two pokémon lying on the floor. The camerupt was buried in sand up to his neck, while the excadrill was lying next to him, badly burned. Despite calls of encouragement from Clay, neither of the pokémon got up, and their trainer was forced to admit defeat.
“All right,” he said as he returned them to their pokéballs. “You two win this round, but that just means we’re all tied up. I’ve got four pokémon left, and so do you, but mine are all rested up, but two o’ yers are just barely standin’. Let’s take ‘em down, krokorok an’ mamoswine!”
As he threw two new pokéballs onto the ground, a bipedal crocodile and an enormous mammoth materialized.
“For the last time,” the krokorok said, “I don’t know anything about the wallets!” He took a look around him. “Oh, it’s a battle. Never mind.”
“Krokorok, hit ‘em all with bulldoze! Mamoswine, get the vibrava with blizzard!”
“Damn,” Jake said. “Vibrava, try to stop him with dragonbreath!”
“Ringo, help Munchy and use flamethrower on mamoswine!” Christy called.
The mamoswine reared up on its hind legs. “Imma give you freezing!” it said. Meanwhile, both of its opponents inhaled deeply in preparation for their attacks.
“Oh, no ya don’t!” said the krokorok as it stomped on the ground, sending waves of earth towards all the pokémon on the field. Munchy, flying in the air, wasn’t hit by the attack, but both Ringo and the mamoswine stumbled. Ringo, however, having already been weakened by the battle, was unable to regain his balance, and fell to the floor. His temporary body compacted back into its previous pink form.
Munchy took the opportunity provided by the mamoswine’s stumbling from the attack to exhale a blast of purple fire. The attack struck the mammoth head on, causing him to stagger backwards again. As he caught himself, he fired off a blast of snow and ice from his mouth, hammering Munchy directly. As Munchy fell to the ground, however, sparks of electricity began to leap across the mamoswine’s skin.
The mamoswine giggled deeply. “Hurr, Hurr! It tickles!”
“Dag nabbit!” said Clay. “I didn’t count on ya’ usin’ paralysis! But it looks like yer Vibrava’s had it!”
Hearing this, Jake looked at Munchy, only to see that he lay unconscious on the floor, leaving both Christy and himself with one pokémon each. Cursing under his breath, he returned the dragon type as Christy did the same to her ditto. “Let’s do this, Stinger!” he said as the aforementioned gliscor appeared from her pokéball.
“It’s go time, Paul!” Christy said. The palpitoad emerged from his own ball and landed on the field. Clay raised an eyebrow when he saw Paul, but snapped back to the battle almost immediately.
“Hi, friends!” Stinger said as she waved. “I’m sorry I’m gonna have to beat you!”
“Fightin’ ground with ground, are ya?” Clay asked. “Yer fightin’ with the master. Mamoswine, try an ice beam on the gliscor! Krokorok, Join ‘im with thief!”
Jake smirked. “Two against one hardly seems fair. Gliscor, double team!”
“Paul, muddy water!”
After training for five days between their arrival in Driftveil and Christmas Eve, Stinger had mastered the evasion move fairly quickly. Around the room, copies of the scorpion bat began to appear and dance around. They were soon indistinguishable from one another, leaving the two attackers confused.
While the krokorok looked around, trying to decide which target to hit the mamoswine stood still as its fur generated static electricity. Meanwhile, Paul was launching a wave of dirty water at the two opposing pokémon. It crashed down on both of them, but failed to knock either out. What it did do, however, was splash the gliscor clones flying around the room. The water went straight through all but one.
“I’ve got you now!” the krokorok said. He launched himself at the only gliscor that had gotten wet from the wave. As he smashed into her, a jagged tooth fell from her claw, and he snatched it up. “Trying to get us with critical hits?” the thief asked. “Looks like your strategy failed.”
Stinger was temporarily stunned by the attack, and the clones around her vanished. “Hey!” she said as she noticed that her attacker had taken her razor fang. “That’s mine!”
“Stinger, focus!” Jake said. “Try to hit the krokorok with a poison sting!”
“Paul, muddy water again!” Christy said.
“Mamoswine, try ice beam on the gliscor again! Krokorok, use crunch on the palpitoad!”
The mammoth pokémon was struggling to move, but didn’t seem to be incapable of it. As he was starting to fire the beam of freezing air, however, he and his teammate were hit by another wave of dirty water. The krokorok shook it off once again, but the mamoswine stumbled. “That water hurts!” he said before falling to the ground. Clay grumbled and returned him to his pokéball.
As his partner fainted, the krokorok launched himself at the source of the attack. A black aura appeared in front of his mouth, forming into the shape of jaws and clamping down on the water type.
“Ow!” Paul said, trying to shake free of his assailant. “Get off of me, dammit!”
“I’ll help you, Paul!” Stinger said as she hurled herself at the crocodile pokémon directing the attack. She wedged her stinger into his back, causing him to yelp and leap backwards. While he was distracted, Paul leapt free from his grasp.
“Thanks, Stinger,” he said.
Clay pulled another pokéball from his belt as his krokorok growled at the opposing pokémon. “Go, nidoking!” he said as he released an enormous rabbit pokémon onto the field. “Use poison jab to bring down the gliscor! Krokorok, try crunch on the palpitoad again!”
“Paul, block him with hyper voice!”
“Stinger, hit the nidoking with sand tomb!”
As the krokorok charged at Paul once again, Paul opened his mouth and began to shriek with enough volume to physically push his attacker backwards. The krokorok kept pushing forwards, however, and neither could overcome the other, locking them in a stalemate.
Meanwhile, the two poison types were having a battle of their own. The nidoking charged forwards towards Stinger, extended fist glowing purple. At the same time, Stinger was concentrating at a point over the pokémon's head. A portal opened there, releasing a mountain of sand onto the nidoking before closing again. The nidoking simply plowed through the sand, however, and jabbed his fist into the gliscor.
“Stinger!” Jake shouted as the scorpion bat began to glow purple. The nidoking looked with priup at the scorpion bat. His smug expression quickly changed to one of confusion, however, as the gliscor appeared to be unaffected by the poison. If anything, the pokémon seemed to be getting stronger.
“Huh?” Jake said as he watched Stinger recover from the attack and continue to hover just off the ground. Even Paul and the krokorok turned to watch this spectacle for a moment. Before the krokorok returned his attention to the battle, however, Paul resumed his hyper voice attack and slammed the already weakened krokorok into a wall, recommencing the battle.
“Krokorok, get back up and hit ‘im with one more crunch! Nidoking, try double edge on the gliscor!”
“Paul, finish them off with muddy water!”
“Stinger, sand tomb on the Nidoking again!”
As the nidoking began to charge once again at its target, followed by a portal spewing sand, a murky wave flew from Paul towards both him and the lunging krokorok. The sand covering the nidoking held him still while he and his partner were hit by the wave. As the water drained from the battlefield, both pokémon lay unconscious. Christy guessed that the attack on the nidoking was a critical hit, as it had hardly been weakened.
“Dag nabbit!” Clay said, returning the two pokémon. “You‘uns might’ve knocked out those two, but I’ve still got one pokémon left, and yer two are barely standin’!” He smirked as he plucked a final pokéball from his belt. “Take ‘em down, palpitoad!”
As he tossed the ball onto the field, releasing the tadpole pokémon, Christy, Jake, Paul, and Stinger were all taken aback at how much he resembled Paul. Although palpitoad were not known for their diversity in appearance, the trainers and gliscor might have had trouble telling the two apart were it not for an obvious age difference. The older opposing pokémon looked just as surprised as they did.
It was Clay who spoke first. “I was mighty surprised when I saw that palpitoad of yers. He looks quite a bit like the one yer about to battle now, as ya can see. I reckon they’re kin.”
“Big brother?” Paul asked as he looked at the opposing clone. “So you ended up with a gym leader?”
“Name’s Muddy now,” answered the pokémon, his voice calm despite his surprise at the situation. “Clay doesn’t use it in battles though. And you?”
“Paul. My name’s Paul now.”
“Paul,” Muddy said. “Pretty good name. Congratulations on evolving, too.”
“Yeah,” Paul said. “It’s pretty great. I can see why you left to be with a trainer, although I’m surprised you haven’t evolved again.”
“Oh, that,” Muddy said. “Gym pokémon can’t train that way in gym battles thanks to a little chip in our pokéballs. Wouldn’t be fair if we kept getting stronger that fast. If we want to train, we do it outside of the gym, but we don’t have much time for that. Anyway, the chat’s been nice, but I’m not gonna go easy on you.”
“Wouldn’t expect any different,” Paul said with a smile.
“If you two are done with your family reunion,” Christy said, “We should get on with the battle. Paul, try a muddy water!”
“Stinger, use poison sting!”
“Palpitoad, use yer own muddy water!”
As both tadpole pokémon began to summon a wave of brown liquid, stinger flew towards Muddy with her tail extended. Before she could sting the palpitoad, however, she was hit by the wave coming from the opposing palpitoad. Stunned from the attack, she fell straight into the path of her teammate’s move. The wave kept moving and slammed into Paul, causing him to let the wave go before it was fully charged.
“Stinger, get out of the way!” Paul said. He had no way of stopping the wave before it hit the scorpion bat. Even in its weakened state, it caused severe damage to the already injured flying type. Muddy jumped out of the way of the attack and laughed.
“Looks like you haven’t gotten much better. I think your friend there is out of commission, so it’s just you and me.”
Jake looked at Stinger and saw that she had been knocked out. He cursed under his breath and returned her to her pokéball before focusing his attention back on the two palpitoads.
“Paul, use hyper voice!” Christy said.
Clay chuckled. “Palpitoad, hit ‘im with a hyper voice too!”
Both pokémon opened their mouths and began to shriek. Visible waves of sound began blasting from their mouths. The waves of sound met halfway in between the two palpitoads, and the resulting explosion caused the humans on both sides of the battlefield to dig their heels into the ground so as not to be thrown off balance. Paul was straining himself to keep up the attack, but his brother showed no sign of fatigue. Eventually, Paul stopped screaming and took in a breath of air, but was sent flying by his opponent’s attack.
“Paul, no!” Christy said as the pokémon fell to the ground.
“Palpitoad, finish ‘im off with a hydro pump!” Clay said.
Muddy walked over to his brother, who was struggling to lift himself off the floor. “Sorry about this, but you fought a good match.” As Muddy opened his mouth and prepared to blast Paul with water, the pokémon on the floor began to glow. “Huh?” Muddy asked. “What’s going on?”
As Paul’s form was completely engulfed in a white light, his tail retracted into his body and left only a bump. The bump, along with the three on his head, separated until his back and head were nearly covered with the enormous warts. The stubs on the side of his body grew into arms, onto which several of the warts moved. The toes on his small feet spread apart as thick legs grew between them and his torso. His head began to change shape, rounding off on the bottom and moving forward on his shoulder. All the while, he had been growing in size, now almost as tall as his trainer.
The glow faded from Paul’s body. With renewed strength, he lifted himself off the ground and looked down at his stunned older brother. “So, it looks like I’ve passed up my brother. Who would’ve thought that I would evolve before you?”
“Don’t act like you’ve won already,” Muddy said, trying to look dignified while craning his neck to see his younger brother’s face. “Even if you just evolved, you’re almost knocked out, and I haven’t been hit once. Plus, Clay’s spent years finding TMs to teach me. Your moves can never compete.”
“Paul,” Christy said after getting over the surprise of the evolution. “Use muddy water again!”
“Palpitoad, hurry up with yer hydro pump!” Clay said.
Both pokémon prepared to attack. As Paul pulled dirty water from the ground, Muddy opened his mouth. With the increased power his recent evolution had given him, Paul Hurled his attack forward first. The wave flew at the Palpitoad, and hit him just as he released a stream of pressurized water from his mouth. Both attacks hit their mark and a spray of water filled the air. As the mist settled, both Pokémon could be seen still standing. Christy and Clay were both about to shout for their pokémon to perform another attack, but they stopped as they saw that the two pokémon were straining themselves just to stand up. Neither one had the strength left to launch an attack, let alone be hit by one.
“So, it’s a stare down, then,” Paul said weakly.
Muddy nodded. “One of us is gonna fall eventually. We’ll see who.”
Neither pokémon budged. Neither trainer risked calling out an attack. The opponents merely stared at each other in silence.
The minutes that passed felt like hours, and still no one moved. Then, Muddy coughed and fell to the floor, the exertion of standing up too much for him. Once it was clear that he had been knocked out, the tension in the room disappeared. Paul sighed and dropped to the floor himself, although he laughed instead of passing out. Jake and Christy cheered, and Christy ran over to help her newly evolved seismitoad up before giving him a pat on the back and returning him to his pokéball. Clay sighed and did the same for his palpitoad.
“Well,” Clay said, “You’uns beat me. That means you get the Quake Badge. He pulled two pieces of brown metal from his pocket. They looked like sticks split through the middle and hastily glued back together so that the edges didn’t line up. “Also, yer prize money.” Each trainer grinned as they took the badges and cash.
“Thanks, Clay!” Christy said as she and Jake walked back towards the elevator.
“No problem, missy,” Clay said. “You’uns gave me a great battle. Plus ya’ told me about that little varmint upstairs. I’ll show ‘im fat!”
“Do you think we should warn him before we go?” asked Jake.
Christy looked back at Clay, who was once again grumbling. “No.”