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Travels of the Trifecta! (PG-13)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Shinneth, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    Following DP100 (Aiding The Enemy! in the dub), Paul and Reggie are issued a challenge by their father, but only after they meet a specific criteria. After all these years, will they finally earn his respect?

    For people exclusively following the dub, there will be spoilers. For the record, I am using the English names. This is heavily based on canon but can easily veer off into AU territory. Mostly genfic; not shipping-centric, but has implications of one-sided HeatTagshipping, one-sided Curtainshipping, past references to Brandon and a dead OC, and if you stretch it, maybe strained Veilstoneshipping (mainly in a platonic sense, though). Future ships may be imminent. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

    Characters Featured (statuses subject to change):
    (Primary) Paul, Reggie, Brandon, Conway, Maylene, Barry
    (Secondary) Byron, Samuel, Saturn/Sloan, Mars, Charon, Ash, Dawn, Brock
    (Minor) Professor Oak, Misty, Tracey, Daisy, Nurse Joy (several), Roark, Connally, Maria, Rhonda, Zoey, Candice, Gardenia, Cyrus, Jupiter, Fantina, Pokemon Hunter J, Jessie, James, Meowth, Olivier, Marian, Mr. Sukizo, Raoul Contesta, Scott, Anabel, Noland, Tucker, Spenser, Lucy, Greta, Provo, Taylor, Dr. Dalton (OC), Franny (OC), Harold (OC), Irma (OC), Janelle (OC), Mina (OC)
    (Mentioned) Andrea (OC), Volkner, Crasher Wake, Cynthia, Wallace, May, Max, Jasmine, Whitney, Palmer, Professor Elm, Professor Birch, Professor Rowan, Holly, Ursula, Kenny, Steveland, Officer Jenny, Argenta, Darach, Caitlin, Dahlia, Thorton, Uncle Damon (OC), Aunt Janet (OC), Amber (OC), Mako (OC), Hale (OC), Shakira (OC)
    (To appear/be mentioned) Flint, Nando, Gary, Detective Looker, Tobias, Silver, Alanis (OC), George (OC), Merle (OC)

    Paul: ;389; ;430; ;125; ;461; ;467; ;034;
    Reggie: ;392; ;398; ;181; ;105; ;400; ;317;
    Brandon: ;291; ;338; ;477;
    Conway: ;199; ;306; ;214; ;213; ;238; ;463;
    Maylene: ;448; ;067; ;307; ;057; ;237; ;286;
    Barry: ;395; ;398; ;407; ;214; ;227;

    Official Travels of the Trifecta! Timeline (contains SPOILERS)
    Chapters 1 - 15
    Chapters 16 - 30
    Chapters 31 - 37

    Yonowaru in Chaos

    Chapter List:

    Chapter 01: Brotherly Snubs! (it's all this post)
    Chapter 02: Come Help or High Water! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ]
    Chapter 03: My Way or the Conway! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ]
    Chapter 04: Over the Borderline! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ]
    Chapter 05: It's On Like Bastiodon! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ]
    Chapter 06: The Checking Order!
    Chapter 07: Lucky There's A Family Guy! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ]
    Chapter 08: Super Smash-Brawlin' Maylene! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ] - [ Section 5 ]
    Chapter 09: Disco Monferno! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ]
    Chapter 10: Mars Attacks! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ]
    Chapter 11: Flying-type Solo! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ]
    Chapter 12: Yippee Kiai-Yay! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ]
    Chapter 13: Conway to the Danger Zone! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ]
    Chapter 14: But It Feels So Lonely Without Barry! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ]
    Chapter 15: The Pyramid Prince's Perished Pride! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ] - [ Section 5 ]
    Chapter 16: ¡Viva la Regi-lution! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ]
    Chapter 17: We're Gonna Need a Montage! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ] - [ Section 5 ] - [ Section 6 ]
    Chapter 18: The Worst of Messes Become Successes! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ] - [ Section 5 ] - [ Section 6 ] - [ Section 7 ]
    Chapter 19: Black Ice Battle! [ Section 1 ] - [ Section 2 ] - [ Section 3 ] - [ Section 4 ] -[ Section 5 ] - [ Section 6 ]
    Travels of the Trifecta!

    “Oh, Paul! I didn’t expect a call from you so soon, bro.”

    Paul averted his gaze, giving no prompt response.

    “It’s not like you to call more than once a month,” remarked the young man on the video-enhanced phone system; obviously the elder brother, Reggie.

    He’d come to expect these avoidant gestures from Paul, so he simply continued to extend his salutation. After all, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to speak with him not long after the previous call. “But three times?” Reggie smirked. “Are you trying to break a record or what?”

    Paul huffed at the idea of such an endeavor. It couldn’t be helped, in his mind. Originally, having recently won a Relic Badge from Fantina of Hearthome City, Paul was en route to Canalave City, where he planned to cross back into Eterna City first (traveling to Canalave required quite a bit of backtracking) and finally face its Gym Leader, Gardenia, whom he passed over when he originally traversed through the town. Ash and his friends happened to be right there in the same place with the same intent as he, and after an insufferable encounter with them from the then-recent visit to Oreburgh City, Paul wished to spare himself the agony and save the gym battle for a later time. Being native to Sinnoh, Paul knew he would eventually return to Eterna City. If it meant sparing him from Ash’s insufferable nature, Paul figured it was worth it to put his plans on hold.

    “Spare me,” Paul spat. “I only called you again that time because I changed my mind about my team formation just before my gym battle was scheduled. I was going to give Electabuzz a workout in a Gym where the typing was not to his advantage, but after actually meeting that psycho they call a Gym Leader, I decided to wipe the floor with her. That’s why I asked you to send Magmar to me instead.”

    Reggie gave his younger brother a tired smile. “What, did she look at you the wrong way? You really should find better ways to vent your frustrations, bro.”

    Paul’s eyebrow twitched, remembering his recent encounter with Eterna City’s Gym Leader. “She’s a complete nutjob. I’m not exaggerating. The second she laid eyes on Torterra, she wouldn’t let go. She was borderline enamored, Reggie. Apparently she acts like this around all Grass-type Pokémon.”

    “Heh, yeah,” Reggie chuckled. “That’s what they say about her. She’s really got a strong devotion to Grass Pokémon.”

    “It would’ve been nice if you warned me about that before I decided to bring Torterra out,” Paul said; his tone scathing. “That’s not the kind of behavior I want to expose my Starter to. Anyway, like I said, she needed to be taught a lesson. And there’s no better way to teach that lesson than to bring about fire to her precious grass.”

    The way Paul worded that last sentence concerned Reggie a bit, but he put it aside for the moment. “So, how did you do?”

    Paul responded by holding up the Forest Badge for his brother to see. “Need you ask?”

    Reggie simply smiled and shook his head. “You weren’t too brutal on her, were you?”

    “You know I don’t concern myself with holding back,” Paul answered with a shrug. “After the battle, I only ended up burning maybe a quarter of her gym field. Maybe I would have burned the rest of it, but I was eager to get out of that city as soon as possible, if only to get her out of my hair.”

    “Still undisciplined as always,” Reggie said with a sigh. “You really need to stop abusing the power you have in your reputation. If Dad were here, he’d—”

    “He’s not here,” Paul interrupted. “Don’t waste my time with your What-Ifs, Reggie. Deal with your anguish over him on your own time; I’m calling you now because I’m on my way to Canalave City; the one with the Steel-typed Gym. I want Electabuzz back, and I’m sending you Magmar in exchange again.”

    Reggie frowned briefly at being cut off, but nodded. “No problem. So you’re using Electabuzz against Byron, huh?”

    “Doubtful,” replied Paul. “There isn’t much of a challenge to be had in a Steel-type Gym for Electabuzz. But I’ll likely use him by the time I reach Snowpoint City, and that Gym would be far too simple for Magmar, and the same goes for Canalave. Might as well get this exchange over with; then I can make up for the high volume of calls this month by not contacting you at all for the next three months.” A wicked smirk formed on his face briefly as he said that.

    “Not funny,” Reggie said, looking serious. “You know how dangerous the route to Snowpoint can be. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll start worrying.”

    Paul rolled his eyes as he took out his Pokéball containing Magmar, and began the transfer process; his brother had done the same for Electabuzz. “If I had known her at all before she died, I’d say you’re an exact duplicate of mother, Reggie. At least… you’re acting like one, I guess. Point is, stop your worrying and nagging. I have three regions’ worth of experience under my belt; I’ll be fine.”

    Reggie smiled sadly, looking down. “Dad did say that to me once…”

    “I don’t care what he has to say,” Paul snapped. “Drop it.”

    The elder brother blinked, looking confused. “You were the one who brought it up… anyway, it’s not because I’m like Mom that I worry, Paul. It’s because you’re my little brother, like it or not. And you’ll never admit it, but you’ve got a lot of growing up to do, and with Dad not being around, it’s my job to look out for you. Even if it’s only through monthly telephone calls,” he said with a small laugh.

    Paul merely grunted in response as they waited for the transfer to complete. After a period of awkward silence, the young trainer decided to change the subject. “Just to be safe, Byron isn’t a Steel-obsessed freak, is he?”

    “Nah, he’s pretty level-headed,” Reggie assured him. “He’s Roark’s father, after all. Even so, you don’t have any Steel-type Pokémon for him to obsess over anyway, right?”

    “Good point,” Paul conceded. “Gardenia may or may not have left mental scars from our encounter, so don’t be surprised if I ask you about the rest of the Gym Leaders I’ve yet to face.”

    “Poor guy,” Reggie chided. “All of that exposure to love might’ve been good for you, Paul.”

    Paul glared at the screen. “Don’t make me nauseous.” A Pokéball popped out of the transfer slot just in with a chime, confirming the exchange had been completed. “Finally,” Paul growled, snatching the ball and putting it in his bag with the others.

    “So, just out of curiosity, which Pokémon are you planning to use against Byron?” Reggie asked. “If I’m not going to hear from you again in a while, at least let me imagine how your future battles are going to play out.”

    “You must be bored out of your mind in that little petting zoo of yours,” Paul said, purely in a tone of mockery. “If you must know, I’m planning to use Ursaring, Weavile, and Honchkrow.”

    Reggie’s eyes widened. “You’re really serious about this intensive training. All of them have type disadvantages!”

    “Oh, really? I had no idea,” Paul said sarcastically. “The true path to strength has no easy twists and turns. But this has carried on long enough. I need to get going. I’ll call again… when I feel like it; understood?”

    “That’s how it’s always been with you,” Reggie said with a sigh, looking conflicted as Paul was loading on his gear and getting ready to set out.

    “… Wait.”

    This phone call was already way too long and drawn-out for Paul’s liking; the added delays were beginning to aggravate him. “What is it? Make it quick.”

    Reggie looked worried; unsure that he should be telling his brother this. But he didn’t have much time to debate the best course of action in his head, for he knew how impatient Paul tended to be. “I’ve… been bringing up Dad for a reason, Paul.”

    “Should I care?” Paul asked, cold as stone.

    “Yes, you should,” Reggie sternly responded. “He sent a letter to me and it arrived just the other day ago. I’m sending you a copy right now.” And just as he said it, lights were blinking all about the machine as another transfer began.

    Paul was taken aback by this, truth be told. It had been ages since Paul’s father last made contact with his sons, but Paul was quick to replace the shock with anger. “What do you think you’re doing?! I have no interest in what the old man has to say!”

    “He mentions you,” Reggie said with a smile. “I think you should read it. He’s on the hunt for another Legendary Pokémon; one much stronger than the last few he acquired. He says he’s getting close, and… when he captures it, he’s inviting me to come over and battle with him.”

    The words struck Paul like a bolt of lightning. “You mean an…”

    “… official battle?” Reggie finished for him. “Yes. He’s giving me another chance to earn the last piece to my puzzle. Though it won’t be the final piece for long,” he said with a laugh.

    Paul blinked a few times, looking very disgruntled. “What are you talking about?”

    “According to him, a new Battle Frontier is due to open up soon. So whether or not you win the Sinnoh League, you should consider giving the Battle Frontier a shot afterwards. Dad says if you earn all of the Medals there, he just might consider giving you a shot at his Symbol.” Reggie smirked. “Now think about that, if you will. What if we could both finally defeat our old man, bro?”

    Paul’s face was blank for a moment, as if he was seriously thinking about that hypothetical outcome. But soon after, he frowned. “And you think you actually have a shot at beating him this time?”

    “Not really,” Reggie said, feeling humbled when he thought realistically about his chances. “The Pokémon he’s after will be anything but a pushover. I’ll have to bring my A-Game on when I see him, so… I’ll have to dedicate some of my time to train, meaning I might not be available the next time you call me.”

    “Because… by that time, you’ll probably be in Kanto, right?”

    Reggie nodded. “Right. I’ll have to leave the Pokémon under the care of someone trustworthy while I’m gone… probably Maylene.”

    Maylene?” Paul echoed, raising an eyebrow. “Honestly, she barely qualifies as a Gym Leader, let alone a—”

    “I’m sure she’ll do a good job,” Reggie assured. “And as you know, Dad is never in the same place twice, so…”

    “… I’ll have to await your calls, then,” Paul finished. “Since there’s no way of knowing where you’ll be. At the very least, you’ll know I’ll primarily be at Canalave, Snowpoint, Pastoria, or Sunyshore City.”

    Reggie pondered for a moment. “Think we should invest in a set of PokéGears?“

    “I’m not that desperate for your calls,” Paul grumbled. “I’ll stick close by the Pokémon Centers, then, but really, don’t feel obligated to call me. I’m not as fond of these conversations as you seem to believe. I can well live without them.”

    “Well, I could use that extra time to train,” Reggie said, letting out a chuckle. “We’ll see how it all turns out. Now, you’re taking that letter, right?” By this point, the copy of the letter had fully transferred over to Paul’s end.

    “Fine,” Paul conceded, roughly grabbing the paper, crunching it up, and tossing it in his bag. “I’ll read it when I find a place to settle down for tonight. Happy?”

    “Very,” Reggie replied cheerfully, as if he meant to sound annoying to his little brother. “But… in all seriousness, best of luck in the League, Paul. I’ll do everything I can to be there to support you when the Conference commences.”

    Paul looked away again, feeling uncomfortable for reasons unknown to him. “The next time you call, I’d better see a Brave Symbol in your hand. I don’t care if that means you have to miss seeing me in the Conference; you need intensive training more than I need moral support.”

    “Gee, bro. That almost sounded like a threat,” Reggie commented, smiling uncomfortably.

    “I meant it,” Paul clarified. “If you lose to him again, it’ll be a lose-lose situation for me no matter what happens when I face the old man. Because even if I win and get his Symbol, I’ll still have to be related to you – a loser – after the fact. That’s too embarrassing to stomach, frankly. I’ll even bite the bullet and talk with him myself to get you disowned if it comes to that. That’s something that would benefit everyone.”

    “You really need to think about what you’re saying before you actually say it sometimes,” Reggie scolded. He tried not to look offended (as it wasn’t the first time he’s heard this sentiment from Paul), but Paul’s cocky expression on the other end was telling enough that Reggie didn’t hold back on his emotions very well, either. “Mm… whatever. I’d better sign off. I’m going to start my training tonight if I can finish up my tasks quickly enough. Promise me you’ll be careful, Paul.”

    For Paul, it was a victory to him when his words were scathing enough to affect his own older brother. Especially when it led to him actually working to strengthen his team as a result.

    “I’ll be fine. You just worry yourself with trying to make up for seven years’ worth of failure to the old man,” Paul instructed, acting as if he were the elder brother for a moment. “And if you don’t win his Symbol, don’t bother trying to contact me again. Alright? If I don’t see a Brave Symbol in your hand the next time you call me, I’m hanging up. Goodnight.”

    It was hard for Reggie to keep a smile up at this point. “Goodni—”

    Paul switched off the video phone before Reggie finished his farewell. He turned around, reloaded his gear, and began to set off again. “What a waste of time,” Paul growled under his breath to himself. “I could’ve reached Jubilife City by now.”

    He exited Floaroma Town’s Pokémon Center and looked to the skies, seeing that the sun had not yet begun to set… but it was getting close to that time. Traversing through the caves at this hour that would eventually lead him to Jubilife City would be difficult and time-consuming, and Paul felt he had wasted too much time on the video phone with his brother as it was. Paul sighed, deciding for once to opt for convenience in order to stay on schedule. He dug into his bag and brought out a Pokéball, pressed the button and tossed it out.

    “Honchkrow, standby!”

    Out of the Pokéball came Paul’s Honchkrow, instinctively posing for battle, but seeming surprised when it saw there was no battle for it to participate in. “Honch?” it squawked questioningly at its trainer.

    “No, I didn’t call you out for battle,” Paul confirmed, sharp in tone. “You should know by now that I don’t do this unless there’s a serious emergency or we’re running behind schedule; in this case, it’s the latter. I planned to reach Jubilife City by sundown, but unforeseen circumstances now make this impossible to accomplish on foot. So you know what you need to do, right?”

    Honchkrow nodded. “Krow, krow.”

    Paul nodded back to his Pokémon. “Since you’ve evolved, you should be able to handle my weight now. There’s no excuse for you if you screw up. So, Honchkrow… use Fly!”

    “Krooooowww!” Honchkrow called out as it indeed began to fly, and after getting adjusted to it, hovered at a level where Paul could reach his Pokémon, in order to hitch a ride by clinging to its leg.

    After Paul securely latched on to Honchkrow’s leg, he sternly looked at his hovering Pokémon. “We’re set. Fly, Honchkrow! To Jubilife City!”

    Honchkrow willingly obeyed its trainer, and despite having initial difficulty in managing Paul’s added weight, it was able to take flight and stabilize at a reasonable altitude. Eventually, both Pokémon and trainer made it to Jubilife City just before the sun had fully set.

    Instead of a compliment or a thank-you, Paul merely looked at Honchkrow with a studious expression before huffing out a “Return!”… Bringing Honchkrow back into its Pokéball.

    After revitalizing his team at Jubilife’s Pokémon Center, Paul took up shelter in a nearby hotel for the night. He took a ground-level room and settled in his bed. Before going to sleep, Paul left the side-table lamp on amidst the darkness throughout the rest of the room. Paul dug into his bag and pulled out two things; a Pokéball and the crumpled-up letter Reggie sent to him.

    Quiet and subtly, Paul released the Pokémon inside. “Torterra, standby.”

    This was the reason for getting a ground-level hotel room. At nearly seven-hundred pounds, Torterra would be hazardous on upper floors. Noticing the atmosphere, Torterra was quick to realize he was not called out for battle. It stared at Paul, wondering why he was called out at this time of night in such a peaceful atmosphere. “Torr…”

    “Correct,” said Paul. “We aren’t training or battling. But since you’re my Starter, Torterra, it’s important you listen to what I’m about to say. I know you’re concerned about Ash Ketchum’s Grotle at present, but you have bigger things to worry about; believe me.”

    “Tor, Tor…” Torterra muttered as it inched closer towards Paul.

    Paul showed Torterra the crumpled letter that he attempted to smoothen out a little. “Remember a long time ago, when I said I you were going to be part of a significant turning point in my life one day? This is it, Torterra. It’s a letter from the old man himself.”

    “Terraaaah…” Torterra growled, apparently not fond of Paul’s father itself. “Torterra!”

    Paul glared at the letter, just imagining the scathing words he was about to read. “Normally I wouldn’t care to read what he has to say, but Reggie said this is a special occasion.” He looked up sharply at Torterra. “Don’t interrupt me.”

    Torterra silently nodded, understanding the order.

    “Let’s see,” Paul murmured, gazing at the letter and letting out a deep breath before reciting what was written before him:

    Salutations, boys. Both of you.

    It’s been a while since I’ve last written to you, mainly because I finally accomplished my latest task: collecting the Regi trio – Regirock, Registeel, and Regice. At least, I thought I had accomplished the mission until I learned of a legend of the leader of the Regis, rumored to go by the name of “Regigigas”. Upon my capture of this Pokémon, I would like the elder boy to join me at the Battle Pyramid for another chance to win my Brave Symbol. However, I have only a few clues as to where to find this Pokémon. Rest assured, I will contact you when the time comes. Consider this a generous offer, as I doubt my first kid has gotten any stronger since the last time we crossed paths. Nonetheless, a celebration will commence when I capture Regigigas, and there’s no better celebration than to test the skills of my own flesh and blood. I wish for both of you to one day earn the right to be my sons, but that does not mean I will go easy on either of you.

    As for the little boy, I’m wishing you the best of luck in your pursuit of your own native region’s championship. Show them no mercy; show them no trace of the weakling that I saw in you the last time we battled. You should know that I have been battling many trainers as of late in order to recruit new Frontier Brains for the nearly-completed Battle Frontier, Mk. II. Whether or not you win the League, boy, I urge you to conquer this new Battle Frontier and earn all five Medals after you are finished with your League competition. Should you succeed in conquering the new Frontier, I will grant you permission to battle me for your own Brave Symbol to have. But like your brother, you will have to defeat me cleanly in battle in order to earn the Symbol and my respect. Continue to show no mercy in every battle you have, but never forget about the importance of bonding with your Pokémon. Based on what the older boy’s told me, you’ve been more than a little cruel in your tactics with raising Pokémon. Perhaps defeating you again will prove you wrong; we’ll see. Irregardless, I look forward to battling with you again, boy. I want to see how you’ve progressed in your training, and hopefully I’ll see that you’ve been doing it right.

    Should either of you stumble upon information regarding Regigigas, send it to me immediately. The sooner I capture this Pokémon, the sooner the two of you shall have the battle of your lives. Boys, continue working your way to victory. Make our inevitable reunion count this time.


    Pyramid King Brandon

    “Nothing out of the ordinary,” Paul commented, glaring. “Just an extended version of what Reggie told me. I see he still has trouble with using our names… big surprise.”

    “Torrr,” Torterra grumbled, sharing the same sentiments as its trainer.

    Paul crumpled the paper up into a ball and attempted to carelessly toss it aside as pure rubbish, only it rebounded off the table and back into his bag. This led to further agitated grumbling by the scorned trainer. “It would be satisfactory to stick a fork in the old man and claim his Symbol.” Both he and Torterra realized something at the same time: Paul was as bad about referring to Brandon as his father as Brandon was to referring to Paul and Reggie as his sons, or even by their given names.

    “Terra, tor…” Torterra mumbled, looking concerned. It was a pity that he was so big that he couldn’t get any closer to Paul, and would definitely break the bed should he try to climb upon it.

    “You understand why I brought you out to hear this, right?” Paul asked his Starter Pokémon. Said Pokémon nodded quickly. “Right. You’re going to be part of this battle when the time comes. You’re the only one who knows just how insufferable the old man is. You’re going to remember this letter, and you will play a part in earning me the victory I deserve. I won’t accept failure from you. Is that clear?”

    Torterra nodded again, this time looking somewhat fearful.

    Paul seemed disgusted that his own Starter, the one he considered the most ruthless on his team, has been oddly sentimental as of late. First for Grotle, now this… it was beginning to disturb him. “Even if you are my first Pokémon, you aren’t getting special treatment, Torterra. Fail me this time, and you just might wind up like Chimchar in the near future.”

    Torterra’s eyes widened at the thought of such a thing. It hadn’t occurred to it that even it was as disposable as its comrades. “T-Tor…!”

    “And since Ash already has a Grotle, I doubt he’s going to get you on the rebound like he did for Chimchar,” Paul reminded him. “Keep that in mind when we’re able to fight the old man. And don’t forget you’re going to be participating in Snowpoint City’s Gym Battle. You know what type that Gym will be, and you have your work cut out for you. Work hard and prove to me that you’re going to take these future battles seriously so I know I can count on you when we face the old man.”

    Torterra resumed his ‘business’ look. “Torterra!”

    Paul nodded. “That’s the attitude you need. So stop worrying about everyone else’s problems from now on and focus on our goal. You’re my strongest Pokémon, Torterra. Set a positive example for the rest of the team.”

    Though doubtful, Torterra refused to show that in his gestures. “Terra!”

    Paul looked down and closed his eyes. “So we’re understood.” Holding up the Pokéball, Paul proceeded to call his Pokémon back. “Torterra, return.”

    After putting Torterra away, Paul settled under the sheets of his bed and turned off the light. Though he lay still in the bed, his eyes were wide open. What was coming to him in the future was so overwhelming that he couldn’t sleep… not that he would admit it.

    He almost wanted to skip the Conference entirely and move straight on to the Battle Frontier, so he would be ready when his father was ready. … Almost. Paul knew not to leave any business unfinished, and he had spent years preparing for a return to his native region to take the championship after failing to do so in Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn. And in a way, he wanted to break Ash Ketchum’s spirit as well. He wanted to outdo his older brother, and he wanted to completely emasculate his father.

    Imagining the success did well enough to eventually lull Paul to sleep. But even in his sleep, real life continued to dominate his mind.

    For all that Paul had to look forward to, he almost completely forgot about the Mine Badge; his next short-term goal. How this would affect Paul the next day… only time will tell.

    ( TBC )
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  2. Musapion

    Musapion Boulder Trainer

    Ooh, I do like the "voice" you've given to Paul, even outside of dialogue.

    Though, I must point out that you probably meant an insufferable encounter rather than a sufferable one.

    Aww, poor Reggie. I really like their interactions as you've written them. Very in-character. And Paul's description is pretty hilarious.

    Ouch. He certainly doesn't hold back when speaking neither!

    I did like his question about Byron. Amusing. Guess he thought he'd better be careful after Gardenia...

    You may have made him a littler overly-aggressive with the Pokeball-snatching, but it's almost understandable.

    I also liked the petting zoo comment. It shows his distaste for his brother's prefession quite clearly.

    Though, I'm pretty sure Fly doesn't count as a move in the anime. It's just something Flying Type Pokemon do naturally. Imagine how silly it would be if a Flying Type learned another move and had to replace flight with it. It would no longer be able to fly. That would be very silly indeed, so he shouldn't really be calling for it like an attack. Just commanding it to fly him somewhere should suffice. ^^

    I definitely like that you've had him only refer to them as boys and kids, because that's perfectly in-character (at least, for the Japanese version). He's a pretty stand-offish guy.
    Earn the right to be his sons, huh?

    I liked this part, though it seems a little clumsily-worded near the end.


    Very nice.
  3. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    Aww, thanks~. I rarely get detailed reviews like these, and though this is hardly my first fanfic, this is the first time I've written for Pokemon, so I'm happy it turned out this well!

    Oh yeah. Once I got the idea of Paul actually meeting Gardenia (and remembering he apparently lacks a Forest Badge in the anime), it seemed like it would be classic. The fact that he had Torterra just guaranteed that Gardenia would be scrambling all over him while Paul looks on, terrified and mentally scarred for life. ♥ I'm planning on having all of the Gym Leaders annoy Paul in some way, even if they aren't as trauma-inducing as Gardenia was!

    Phew, thanks. I was a little concerned about how accurate I was in portraying Paul's relationship with Reggie, but "petting zoo" seemed like a perfect analogy of mockery to Reggie's profession of being a Breeder. That's definitely a huge reason why Paul (and Brandon) don't have much respect for him.

    Yeah, I could have worded that better. I was going to have a running gag with the HM moves where Paul absolutely hates using them but finds himself in situations where it's necessary to have them because he finds them to be worthless moves in battle. Probably connected to the game a little too much, so I'll try it again in a more natural, flowing way in the next chapter where I believe Weavile will be forced to use Surf in order to make it to Canalave City. Convenient thing is, Canalave's got a Move Forgetter in the games... dunno how that could work in the anime, but I think it's amusing.

    Oh yeah. I should have mentioned it up front in my author notes but didn't want to come forward with the father's identity right out of the bat. But yes, I want to write Brandon with his much rougher Japanese persona. A lot of these changes are totally going to make this story AU, but whatever. It works a lot better for this story to have him standoffish and disrespectful. I'm definitely gonna keep his NO routine, though!

    And yes, Brandon himself is riddled with issues stemming from the fact that I killed off his unnamed wife in this story years ago. And the fact that Reggie acts so much like his mother probably makes Brandon very uncomfortable. But at the same time he's capturing all these Legendaries that just so happen to have name similar to his own first son's, so in some awkward way it seems like he's showing his love... but in all seriousness he's just a faildad, blocking off his sorrows by immersing himself in his work and scorning his children. I almost wonder if, after capturing Regigigas, Brandon sets his sights on Palkia so he can get a Pokemon with a name similar to Paul's as well. But that's a long shot that won't be brushed upon until... probably several chapters from now.

    But man, this is awesome. If people like this, I feel totally amped to continue it! Thanks!
  4. Shadow-saur

    Shadow-saur Monkeyshipping, ftw!

    this is really good! i like how you really nailed pual's character. (i had a nice long review written but somehow i got logged out and it all went byebye...) anyways i really didn't find many mistakes at all. the story was good, and the plot really convincing. poor torterra... it just wants to be a normal pokemon and have some emotions...

    can't wait for the next chapter!
  5. dash142

    dash142 Beginning Trainer

    This story is awesome, and all the characters are totally in-character. Though I kind of think Byron will be just like Paul, so I guess the annoyance he gets from him will be like Ash and Misty's relationship? Of course, Paul will totally own him.

    The part about Gardenia was hilarious, and what you said he did to her gym was totally what I'd imagine he'd do.

    I hope Reggie wins, though it seems doubtful... I know he has a Staraptor, but that isn't good against any of the regi's... So what else does he have? A sinnoh starter at least I guess? He bonded with Ash pretty well, maybe he started with Chimchar? So I would expect an Infernape/Regigigas showdown at least.
  6. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    That's a possibility. He always came off as being a tough dad on Roark, so there's a good chance he's got a gruff exterior that would freak the likes of Ash out, but would be eerily familiar to Paul. I feel like I'll have to wait until Christmas when Byron actually appears in the anime (unless he appears earlier; I'm mildly confused about the order in which these future events happen) to confirm that, though. Like I said, I want this to be relatively close to canon even though it's already got a lot of AU elements to it.

    Yeah, I'll need to make up the other half of his party. Thankfully, with his profession, he could virtually have anything, so that allows for some creative freedom. I agree his starter was likely a Chimchar, though. Definitely an Infernape by now. It would have a nice connection to the present storyline where Paul was especially harsh on Chimchar when he owned it. So I totally agree with this and will go with this route; thanks for bringing it up! For the rest of his team (because I plan for this to be a full 6-on-6 battle), I'll need more time to think about. Lots of possibilities out there.

    Thanks for the wonderful reviews and suggestions, everyone! I'll have a second chapter out eventually! Most likely a filler focusing on Brandon or Reggie, until I know all the specifics on our anime adaption of Canalave's Gym leader (and the likelihood of him running into Ash or Jun, of course).
  7. Araleon

    Araleon Chill

    Hmm, a Paul fic. I like it so far, especially using Brandon as the father. It fits in my opinion.

    And that bit about Infernape and Reggie, that would make sense as to why Paul had a Turtwig nad Chimchar, and why Reggie bonded with him so quickly if it was bred form Reggie's Infernape.
  8. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    It's been a lengthy delay (though by my standards, this is nothing, really), so without further ado, Chapter 2! It seems I'm having problems getting the entire chapter in one post, so I'm going to try and edit it bit-by-bit or do separate posts if that's kosher with the staff here. I've just tried numerous times to post this chapter in its entirety at different times of the day and keep getting Internal Server Errors. It's only letting me post in smaller chunks right now. Hopefully that's an understandable thing.

    Paul was wise to take shelter before nightfall. After he finally dozed off in his hotel room, a system of severe thunderstorms loomed over Jubilife City. Major areas of business, including the Pokémon Center, readied their back-up generators once Sinnoh Now’s weather channel issued a warning for the strong storms soon to come. Lightning crackled over the city menacingly as those who were still outside quickly took refuge. Many cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were reported, making the outdoors a hazardous place to be.

    It was a rough night for many, but Paul managed to sleep through every second of it; he was never once startled by the flash of lightning and the rumbling, ground-shaking thunder that followed soon after. However, unbeknownst to Paul, one strike of lightning around the crack of dawn was fierce enough to cut off the power to Paul’s hotel and the residential block nearby. Thankfully, the hotel had a back-up generator that would serve as a substitute while the worst of the storm passed by.

    However, due to the power being off for even a short moment, Paul’s alarm clock was reset when the backup generator activated. The time was no longer accurate, and the alarm’s defaults were set back to midnight, rather than what Paul had programmed before going to bed: 9:30 AM. This would allow him enough time to have breakfast and walk leisurely towards Jubilife’s port to catch the ship departing for Canalave City at 10:45 AM.

    The sun could not shine its rays down upon Paul to tell him it was morning, as the rainy weather remained long after the thunderstorms had passed. Now it was simply raining; a massive downpour of rain, but the citizens of Jubilife gladly took it over the thunder and lightning.

    On his own, Paul eventually woke up, yawned, and stretched himself out a bit. He had realized that he did not wake up to the sound of his alarm and looked to his clock.

    After staring at it for a moment, he rubbed his eyes, grabbed the clock and took a closer look at it. “What the… 3:13 AM?” Paul said out loud. He looked out the window to check. “That can’t be right.”

    Paul walked over to the window and looked at his surroundings. The severe storm had left behind a mass of clouds in its wake, making things relatively dark outside for a morning. “I see… there must have been a storm last night that caused a power outage.” He began to back his things in preparation for leaving the hotel after a quick breakfast. “That must have been what woke me up. It still looks pretty early out. The rain’s bound to slow me down a bit, so it’s best I leave earlier than I planned. Hopefully they haven’t cancelled the trip to Canalave…”

    Once he was ready, he left his room and approached the restaurant on the other side of the building. Paul was pleased to find no line as he went to the entrance and waited for a hostess to seat him. Once he was at a table and ordered his Oran Juice, Paul looked through the menu and quickly decided on what he wanted. The waitress returned to his table, ready with a pad of paper and a pen.

    “Are you ready to order now, sir?” she sweetly asked.

    “I am,” Paul affirmed. “Some scrambled eggs and biscuits with gravy should suffice.”

    “Oh, ah…” The waitress looked uneasy. “My apologies, sir, but we stop serving breakfast after 10:30.”

    That was a cause for concern. “Wh… what? But that can’t…” Paul looked to the window outside briefly before glaring at the waitress. “What time is it?!”

    The waitress looked down at her Pokétch . “10:35, sir. I’m sorry, but you just narrowly missed breakfast, so…”

    “Nevermind that!” Paul shouted abruptly, standing up and throwing down five PokéDollars on the table and grabbing his bag. “I have a boat to catch; this should cover the juice and the tip. Now, get out of my way!”

    Paul was true to his word, as he would have trampled over the confused waitress had she not moved to the side just in time. In a blink of an eye, Paul was out of the restaurant and dashing outside while it continued to rain heavily. The waitress looked on, having no clue why it was so necessary for him to behave in such a manner, but collected the pay and tip, as well as the half-finished glass of juice and continued about her duties.

    Meanwhile, outside in Jubilife City, Paul was running as fast as his legs could carry him to the port station on the other side of the city. It was fortunate that he always wore a coat, as it came in handy for the downpour he was racing out in; something very few others in the city dared to do.

    “Only ten minutes until they disembark…” Paul muttered to himself as he kept running. “I have to make it. It would be easy to use Honchkrow right now, but that’s not a good idea in a thunderstorm… they’d better have a delay, or I’m not going to make it…!”

    Despite the odds, Paul would not let himself be discouraged and continued to dash across Jubilife City to the port. He was soaked from head to toe by the time he finally reached the port, but that was the last thing on his mind at that point. Upon arriving at the station, he was able to see a ship sail away. In a panic, he ran to the checkpoint with his now-soggy ticket in hand.

    “I’m here for the 10:45 departure to Canalave City!” Paul stated sharply. “Has it left yet?”

    “Son, that ticket is all washed up,” the ticket manager noted. “And the ship to Canalave left port five minutes ago. Sorry, but you’re too late.”

    “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Paul complained, glaring out at the water. “In these conditions, there wasn’t even a delay?!”

    The manager shook his head. “The thunderstorm portion of the system passed over Jubilife quite a while ago. It’s safe to voyage out now. Sorry you didn’t make it. But since you had a ticket and went all this way, how about you stay the night at the station and we’ll get you on the next ship to Canalave tomorrow morning. You’re gonna catch a cold staying outside as wet as you are, kid.”

    “I’m not waiting until tomorrow to get to Canalave,” Paul growled lowly. “I did not come all this way just to be even further behind schedule than I already am. If there isn’t another ship that will take me there, I’ll just catch the boat myself.”

    “W-wait, what are you talking about?” the manager asked, looking appalled at the idea. “You need to stay right where you are! You’re talking nonsense!”

    “The only nonsense I hear is coming from you, old man,” Paul replied in a scathing tone. “Now, get out of my way!”

    With that, Paul burst through the checkpoint area and dashed towards the dock area. The sudden intrusion caught the attention of quite a few sailors as well as the ticket manager, but Paul acted fast before anyone could catch him. He opened up his bag and put the soaked ticket inside and took out a Pokéball. Without hesitation, he pressed the button and threw it.

    “Weavile, standby!”

    The Sharp Claw Pokémon came out of its ball, and like Paul’s other Pokémon, was in a battle stance as it was usually only called for battling. Seeing no battle taking place, Weavile looked questioningly to Paul. “Weavile?”

    Paul shook his head. “You aren’t battling. This is an emergency. We need to reach Canalave City and we’ve missed our boat. It just left, however, so I believe you’re fast enough to catch it.” With his bag still open, Paul brought out some rope and quickly tied himself to his Pokémon. “You need to Surf along the water while using Ice Beam simultaneously for me to travel along conveniently behind you. Are we understood?”

    While the order was complex, Weavile had been with Paul long enough to know his routine and had been through more difficult trials in the past. “Weav!” it affirmed, nodding to Paul.

    “Good, then hurry up and use Surf! They’re about to capture us!” Paul shouted out, noticing the group of people coming his way very quickly. He clung on tightly to the rope as Weavile started to venture over the water in the form of a large tidal wave. Inwardly, Weavile hoped the journey to the boat would not be a long one, knowing it had its limitations, especially while doing two things at once. A continuous Ice Beam was quick to follow to allow Paul to stand while Weavile essentially water-skied its partner across the water. By the time the sailors reached the edge of the port, Paul and Weavile were long gone, leaving only a quickly-melting trail of ice behind them that no sailor was brave enough to take on alone.

    Paul looked back briefly and smiled slightly in acknowledgment of his plan’s success. “We’ve lost them, Weavile. Keep it up; that boat can’t be too far ahead of us.”

    As Paul’s journey took a wild and exciting turn, the elder brother Reggie had a relatively mundane start to his morning. He was able to spend some time training with his original Pokémon team the previous night, but not as much as he would have liked. After taking care of his usual duties as a breeder, Reggie sighed and looked out the window, as he was not fond of dreary days like these.

    He was thankful that the storm had bypassed Veilstone City completely, at least, which made it much safer for him to train with his Pokémon, even if the conditions were not to his liking. He had expected Maylene to come by at some point today, as she agreed to look over Reggie’s breeding center while he was away doing the advanced training (as well as his father’s challenge). It surprised Reggie that the Gym Leader would so readily agree to take on such a responsibility when she had other duties to fulfill, but began to doubt that she would be coming by today after all. Not that Reggie blamed Maylene; it was a long walk from the Veilstone Gym to the breeding center, and in the rain, it would not be a pleasant journey at all.

    Reggie was taken by surprise when he heard a knock on the door and found none other than Maylene herself at the door with an umbrella in tow.

    “Maylene!” Reggie exclaimed, looking overjoyed. “I was about to think you weren’t coming due to the rain! Oh, you didn’t have to force yourself. If it’s going to be like this all day, I doubt I’ll be leaving today.”

    Maylene smiled and shrugged. She was also joined by her close training partner, Lucario. “Actually, Reggie, your request couldn’t have come at a better time!”

    “Really?” he said, amused. “What do you mean?”

    “Let’s discuss it in the kitchen,” Maylene suggested. “Lucario gets cranky if he gets too soggy,” she said with a laugh, prompting her partner to grumble in annoyance.

    Reggie smiled and stood aside to let his guests in. “By all means, then! Tell me what’s been going on with you; it’s been a while.”

    After being settled at the kitchen table with cups of tea (and some berries for Lucario), Reggie and Maylene resumed their discussion.

    “So, what makes this so timely and all?” Reggie inquired. “Aren’t you normally tied up with your duties as the Gym Leader?”

    “That’s the thing,” said Maylene. “They’ve temporarily shut down the gym for renovations. Apparently they’re revamping it and giving it a whole new look. And it’s not just my Gym that’s getting re-imaged; Gardenia and Fantina are getting theirs renovated as well. It was a decision made by the Pokémon League, and if it’s working to improve my Gym, I really can’t turn down such a generous offer.”

    Reggie nodded, understanding. “So that’s why you’re able to look over the breeding center… well, you ought to be able to take on challenges from trainers even with the Gym unavailable, Maylene. I have a wide, open field for a backyard that’s perfectly suitable for a battleground should you need it.”

    “Really? I didn’t think about the possibility of getting challenges while the Gym’s under construction…” Maylene pondered out loud. “You think I can legally do that here?”

    “Sure, why not? Fantina travels often and takes on challenges outside her Gym whenever one is issued to her,” Reggie pointed out. “And I’m not sure if you’re familiar with her, but there’s a Gym Leader from Johto named Whitney who’s also been known to take on official Gym battles outside her Gym. I don’t think any trainer will have a problem with trying to earn a Cobble Badge here. You may want to post up a notice at your Gym letting the trainers know where you are now, though.”

    Maylene nodded. “Thanks for telling me that… I feel a lot better about this now. Looks like this’ll help both you and me. I’ll give Connally a call; he’s helping out with the Gym’s renovations, so he can put up the notice about where I’ll be until the Gym’s finished.”

    Reggie smiled. “Looks like we have everything set, then. I was feeling guilty myself about dragging you away from your Gym, but this should work out perfectly. Just remember: don’t hesitate to give me a call if you’ve having trouble caring for any of the Pokémon here,” he said, holding up a PokéGear. “I offered to share one of these with my brother, but he declined. Since I’d hate to let them go to waste, I’ll let you have this one. There’s no telling where I’ll be while I’m training and when I meet my dad, so this’ll come in handy should you need anything. If I stop by a Pokémon Center, I’ll be sure to give you a call and check up on how things are going.”

    “Wow… thanks,” Maylene uttered, shyly accepting the PokéGear. “How’s Paul doing, anyway?”

    “Ah, well…” Reggie looked up and sighed, yet did so with a smile. “He’s the same as always, so don’t worry; according to him, he treated Gardenia way worse than he did you. I just exchanged Pokémon with him yesterday; said he was on his way to Canalave City. Looks like Byron’s his next target.”

    Maylene nodded. “No offense, but I hope Byron can knock him down a peg or two. If he hasn’t changed a bit, someone needs to knock some sense into him.”

    “I wouldn’t waste my time hoping for that,” Reggie warned. “Even if Byron does beat him, Paul will win eventually. He’s gotten extra incentive to get eight Sinnoh badges and get through the League now, so he’ll be working overtime to make sure he’s ready.”

    “Ready for the League?” Maylene asked.

    “Ready for dad,” Reggie corrected. “He sent me a letter recently issuing a challenge to both of us…”

    Maylene’s eyes widened at the revelation; being familiar with Reggie, she of course knew much of Pyramid King Brandon. “So that’s why you’re going out to train… I thought something was weird about you doing that after you chose to be a breeder…”

    Reggie sighed and looked to his mantle, where he kept frames of all the badges he won in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Kanto’s Battle Frontier symbols. It was a complete set… all except for the final Symbol in the Battle Frontier; the Brave Symbol. “A lot of people weren’t supportive of my decision considering my accomplishments in battle… and don’t get me wrong, Maylene; I’m not considering a career change. I still have my heart set on being the best breeder in the Sinnoh region.”

    “So why are you taking up the challenge?” Maylene asked out of honest curiosity. “You’ve shown us all that you have amazing battling prowess when necessary… it just simply isn’t you. I’ve accepted that… and several others have, too. It’s just your dad and brother…”

    “I’m doing this for closure,” Reggie assured. “To me, the Brave Symbol means so much more than just… completing my collection. If I cared about that, I never would have stopped trying to win it. But my dad… well, you’ve seen how he can be. I’m fighting for this symbol because to him, it says that I truly am his son. I can win all of the badges and Leagues in the Pokémon world… but none of it means a thing if I can’t defeat my old man in battle. I don’t expect you to understand it completely, but ever since our family was broken up, I’ve been determined to mend it back together the best way I knew how…”

    Maylene, paying close attention to Reggie’s words, blinked at the last part. “The best way you knew how? Surely you don’t mean this…?”

    “It was wishful thinking on my part that I could show my father that breeders have a place in the Pokémon world just as much as trainers. But he sees this profession as an insult to his own… and Paul shares the same opinion. The only way I can make amends with my father is to defeat him in battle and earn his Brave Symbol. I’ve tried it before many times and failed. Because of the path I’ve chosen, I honestly haven’t gotten much stronger since the last time I faced him. That’s why I need intensive training as soon as possible. I’m afraid I might not get another chance to battle him after this time, and if that happens… this family will never come together again.” Reggie slumped, with his eyes failing to make contact with Maylene’s. “That’s not what mom would want…”

    “She’d want you three to be happy and unified, like you were before she…” Maylene paused when she noticed Reggie’s expression. “O-oh, geez… sorry; I didn’t mean to bring that up…”

    Reggie faced her again, shaking his head and resuming his usual smiling expression. “I was the one who brought it up first. Besides that… it’s nice to reminisce about mom now and then. Paul was young when she died, so he honestly doesn’t know enough about her… and dad’s been evasive about the topic since she passed away.”

    That detail made Maylene concerned. “That’s a long time to shove a loved one out of your memory. I don’t know much of her myself, but… judging from what others have said, she used to be a breeder too, right?”

    “That’s right,” Reggie affirmed. “So you think it’d be weird for dad to shun me when I’m following in mom’s footsteps… but the fact of the matter is that Paul and I were both young when mom passed on. We relied on him for strength to move past it… but there was no one to help dad through his loss. He changed after she died…”

    “Does he… see her in you?” Maylene asked meekly. “Maybe that’s why…”

    Reggie sighed; this time no smile could cover up what he honestly felt inside. “The thought had crossed my mind. And that’s even more reason why I feel I need to win this Brave Symbol from dad. It feels like I’m a living reminder of what he’s lost, and since he never properly got over that… it disturbs him. So he shuns me… but if I can defeat him in battle, I can show him proof that I am my own person. I can show him that I can be as skilled as him in battle if I wanted to be. And maybe he’ll even see that he’s been ridiculous to cast me away just because I remind him of mom. So yes, Maylene… there are many reasons why I took up this challenge, and that’s why I want to take my training seriously without any distractions. I have to bring everything I have to the table when I face him, and… I don’t think I’m at the point where I can do that yet.”

    “Then don’t worry about this place at all!” Maylene said with confidence. “I wanna see you stick it to your dad and bring you guys together again! I think all of the Pokémon here would agree with me, too. You’re a great breeder, Reggie, but what would really put them at ease is to have a real family living here again.”

    Reggie nodded, but remained firm. “I’m not letting myself get too idealistic about this. The odds are well against me, and even if I win, that won’t make dad quit being a Frontier Brain. It’s my fault that dad’s stuck in Kanto as a Frontier Brain to begin with… he has a major responsibility to uphold in his position.”

    “That’s true,” Maylene concurred. “Frontier Brains are a pretty big deal… I’d ask why it’s your ‘fault’, but I think I’ve dug deep enough into your personal business as it is…” She blushed in embarrassment after saying that.

    “Like I said, it’s nice to have someone to talk to about these matters for once,” said Reggie. “It’s best you get it out of your system before I leave; after that, I’ll be too busy to answer many questions, you know.”

    Maylene looked conflicted. “You’ve got a point there… but there’s another thing that’s got me curious. You said your dad issued a challenge to Paul too, right? Why is that, since he hasn’t even challenged Kanto’s Battle Frontier yet? Don’t you need the other six Symbols in order to find Brandon and challenge him?”

    “Correct,” affirmed Reggie. “Paul’s a special case. He’s more similar to dad, if you haven’t noticed. He wants to go a similar route to dad, only achieve what dad failed to do in the past. I think dad admires Paul’s initiative, even though he’s still just as cold and distant to him as he is to me. According to dad, a new Battle Frontier is opening up soon. He wants Paul to earn all of the Medals in this new Frontier, and when he does, dad will consider it a special case and allow my brother to fight him for a Brave Symbol. “

    “Interesting,” Maylene remarked. “I had no idea a new Battle Frontier was opening up. I guess he’s not making you do it since you conquered Kanto’s, right?”

    “I assume,” Reggie figured. “So I don’t need to earn anything to battle father; he’s on the hunt for another legendary Pokémon. He says this one’s the alleged leader of the Regi trio that he just captured a while back. He’s still searching for clues, but he says it goes by the name of ‘Regigigas’. When he captures Regigigas, I’ll be invited to battle. So it’s impossible to determine how much time I have before the time comes, which is why I need to start as soon as possible. I’m counting on you to give me a call if dad contacts this place so I’ll know when to head to Kanto.”

    Maylene nodded, understanding fully what she needed to do. “If that’s the case, Reggie, you should start training right now! Just leave the Pokémon to me; you can’t afford to waste precious time on what’s gonna be an important milestone in your life!”

    “Are you sure you can run things here without me telling you the specifics?” Reggie asked, feeling unsure. “It’s not like this is good weather to be training out in, anyway…”

    After hearing that, Maylene’s Lucario grumbled and glared at Reggie. Maylene nodded her head in agreement with her partner. “Unless the conditions are severe, Lucario and I train day and night, rain or shine. If you’re really committed to your training, you’d better start packing right now!”

    Reggie was happy to see the burning spirit in the young Gym Leader; he had last heard that she was having issues with her confidence because of Paul, but was sure a certain boy with his Pikachu helped greatly in reviving Maylene’s enthusiasm. “I’m already packed up for a long journey,” he assured her. “I just need to double-check which Pokémon I’m taking with me. No doubt I’ll be taking my starter…”

    Soon after saying that, Reggie brought out a Pokéball, pressed the button and tossed it out, revealing the Pokémon he was given by Professor Rowan many years ago.


    “An Infernape, huh?” Maylene mused with a grin. “Look, Lucario: a fellow Fighting-type!”

    Lucario looked to Reggie’s Infernape briefly with a stiff nod before looking back off into the distance.

    “Aww, come here, you,” Reggie cooed as he hugged his Infernape. Like many of his Pokémon, his Infernape was a friendly, almost overly-affectionate partner. Reggie looked back up to Maylene. “Yeah, in addition to being one of my strongest partners, his type combination can work with Regirock, Registeel, and Regice with ease, so he’s basically my trump card in the grand scheme of things.” He grabbed a few other Pokéballs, but did not release the Pokémon inside. “Aside from Infernape, I’m also taking my other longtime companions: Staraptor, Bibarel, and Swalot.”

    Maylene nodded. “So that makes four. You guys are doing a full six-on-six battle, aren’t you?”

    “That’s right,” said Reggie. “So that would leave Marowak and Ampharos. Really, from raising so many Pokémon, the possibilities are endless for me… but my dad’s selection outside of the Regis is going to be pretty unpredictable. I have to be very careful about who I choose. Thankfully, I’ve worked with these six for a very long time… I trust they’ll do their best, and they understand what this battle means to me.”

    “Infer, infer!” Infernape chattered, as if it were agreeing with Reggie.

    Reggie smiled, giving Infernape a pat on the head and feeding his starter a treat. “Much as I regret to do so… I may have to be a bit tougher on them than I’m used to being.”

    “They’ll understand,” Maylene assured him. “You can take solace in the fact that you can’t out-do your brother in cruelty, so there won’t be any worry of you making the wrong decision. This is the path you’ve chosen, Reggie. You’re very good at it. Now’s not the time to be having self-doubts.”

    Returning Infernape to its Pokéball, Reggie chuckled under his breath a bit before facing Maylene. “You’re absolutely right. You’ve gotten a lot more confident over a short period of time, you know?”

    “Well, uh…” Maylene blushed in embarrassment again. “I can’t take all the credit for myself, but… I’m supposed to be like this all the time anyway! I’m a professional trainer, just like you. And you know what they say: every path of life in Pokémon starts with training, no matter which route you take. You aren’t betraying your dreams, Reggie; you’re just going back to your roots to prove a point to your dad that he should’ve gotten on his own a long time ago!”

    “In that case, I think you’ve proven to me that you can handle things here as well as keep up the good work in being Veilstone’s Gym Leader,” said Reggie, winking to Maylene as he grabbed his belongings. “I’d better head out, then, while it’s still… relatively light outside. Remember to give me a call on the PokéGear if you have any questions or problems, alright?”

    Maylene nodded with enthusiasm. “And if Paul calls, I’ll let you know about that too if you want!”

    “Of course,” said Reggie. “I can’t help but worry about that kid, no matter how many times he tells me not to. Anything else you need me to cover, Maylene?”

    After looking around briefly, Maylene shrugged. “Nothing I can think of, really! Just make sure you take care of yourself, Reggie! Do your best, but don’t overdo it, okay?”
  9. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    Alright, even editing it in won't slide with the servers. Sorry, I have to cut this chapter up into two posts. Please understand the frustrations of Internal Server Errors!

    Reggie shook Maylene’s hand before turning around to exit from the front door. “It’s a promise. Until we meet again, then…”

    “Hopefully that’ll be sooner than later!” Maylene called out as Reggie left his home and out to parts unknown to train for the battle of his life. After a while, Maylene’s enthusiasm faded into curiosity as she looked up, as if trying to recall something.

    “Regigigas…” she muttered. “Something about that name sounds familiar… maybe I should look into that…”

    As Reggie left to begin his rigorous training session in solitude, Paul was still water-skiing with Weavile in hot pursuit of the boat en route to Canalave City that he was supposed to board. By this point, the boat was within sight, which made Paul grin.

    “Weavile, keep up what you’re doing and don’t slow down! We’re getting close!” Paul ordered. At this point, Weavile was well on its way to becoming fatigued due to the constant use of Surf and Ice Beam. The heavy rain pouring down on both of them did nothing to help matters, either.

    Instances like these were where Paul’s intense training paid off, as Weavile’s speed was likely the sole deciding factor in whether or not Weavile and Paul could reach the ship in time before Weavile’s energy gave out. Weavile dug its claw into the steel of the ship just enough to maintain a grip on it without having to continue the Surf/Ice Beam combination. Energy-wise, Weavile was now spent and barely had the strength to maintain its grip on the ship. By stopping Ice Beam, Paul no longer had a solid surface to slide upon and was now dragged in the water, rendering him helpless as he had no choice but to cling onto the rope of which the knots were quickly loosening.

    “Weavile…!” Paul spat, trying to keep himself above the water. “D-don’t you dare quit now! All you need to do is climb the ship and we’ll both be safe! I trained you to be stronger than this, didn’t I?!”

    Unfortunately, after all of his years of Pokémon training, Paul still lacked insight on just how far a Pokémon can go before completely giving out, and Weavile was putting all its remaining energy into hanging onto the ship.

    “Weavile, what are you doing?!” Paul shouted impatiently. “Climb, already!!”

    But Weavile had no means of recovering when it had to focus not only on sticking to the ship, but also maintain a grip on its trainer as the ship moved swiftly across the lake.

    “This is not a choice you have in the matter!” Paul coldly reminded his Pokémon. “Climb up this ship right now or we’re both going to die!”

    No amount of threatening could change their situation. Paul himself could no longer find himself able to shout orders at Weavile as he found it harder and harder to keep his head above water. But in what seemed like a miracle, Paul was suddenly consumed with a light and was lifted up above the water on his own. Slowly, his body seemingly defied gravity as it hovered higher and higher into the air, and since they were connected by a rope, Weavile was eventually dragged along with this mysterious phenomenon, though it was not consumed in the mysterious light that Paul was.

    All too conveniently, Paul was raised high enough to be landed onto the deck of the ship along with Weavile. After taking a few moments coughing out the water he had inadvertently swallowed, Paul realized that he had indeed succeeded in boarding the ship to Canalave City. Weavile too was with him, but borderline passed-out. Freezing cold and soaking wet, Paul reluctantly hugged himself to retain what little body heat he had left as he look up at his apparent saviors: in Paul’s case, said saviors were actually quite familiar.

    The answer to Paul’s ability to float on his own was answered when a tall, pink Pokémon made its presence known: Slowking. It had used Psychic to manipulate Paul’s body to its will; in this case, raise Paul’s body from the water to the ship. Since Weavile was partially a Dark-typed Pokémon, Psychic would not work on Weavile; it was simply lucky enough to be attached to Paul with a rope in order to be pulled along with him.

    Standing next to Slowking was the trainer whom noticed the incident and ordered Slowking to save them: the green-haired bespectacled human PokéDex himself… Conway.

    “And here I thought I was simply imagining things when I heard a familiar, cold-hearted and militant voice asking a Pokémon to do unreasonable things,” Conway said in his standard analytical tone, complete with amusement.

    You’re welcome, by the way.”

  10. Yonowaru in Chaos

    Yonowaru in Chaos gaspard de la nuit

    Am I glad this is back. I read the first chapter when it was first posted and my was it good. Usually I'd give grammatical notes and corrections but eh, I'm sleepy. I usually don't read fics of considerable length, but this is just far too interesting not to read. I really don't know what it is that makes it so absorbing. Usually I skip lines and make assumptions when reading fics that take tediousness to a whole new level (eh even my own fic gets tedious to read sometimes [sometimes!]), but I did none of this when reading this.

    Beware, this might be 'mindless' praise, but heck, you deserve it. At first, I don't think you seemed to grasp Paul's character very well, and still now, I get a tad bit sceptical, but eh, I either got used to it, or it was just me who grasped Paul's character insufficiently. You handle humour lightly, but sufficiently and effectively (as was the case with Gardenia and Conway :D), you handle descriptions extensively but not over the top...in short, you have a good sense of moderation.

    In fact, I'm pretty sure you're a professional writer.
  11. dash142

    dash142 Beginning Trainer

    That new chapter was awesome, and props for putting Conway in there. He's awesome too.

    You made all the characters seem very... in-character. So yeah, good job again. Let's hope the next chapter doesn't take you as long. ;-)
  12. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    Okay, this is weird for me to be updating so quickly. Anyway, hope you enjoy the inclusion of Conway into the story and hopefully make sense out of how Reggie suddenly turns OOC in his training methods near the end of this chapter. Hopefully I did it... relatively well? It means a lot to me how much you guys are digging this story, though. ♥ I hope you continue to enjoy it! This chapter turned out to be even longer than the last, and the Server apparently does not like that, so I'll have to cut this chapter in half... again.

    For this sight, there were no words; nothing Paul could retort back that would make him feel better after realizing who just saved him and his Weavile from certain death.

    “I’m still waiting,” Conway sung out tauntingly, as he had not forgotten how ruthless and uncouth Paul was during the Tag Battle tournament at Hearthome City. Still getting no response, Conway’s amusement faded with a tired sigh. “Fine, take your time on that if you want to. But we should really get you two inside now. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s raining rather heavily outside and you’re soaking wet as it is.”

    With that, Paul angrily pointed towards the slightly older trainer. “Don’t you dare come off as condescending to me! I didn’t ask for your help! Don’t expect me to-” Paul was then cut off by a sneeze. On its own, Slowking took that as a cue to pick up the now-unconscious Weavile and take it inside. Already undaunted by Paul’s rage, Conway offered a hand to help Paul up.

    “I had no intent on talking to you like I would a toddler,” Conway pointed out. “I’m simply stating a fact. You’re going to catch a cold at this rate, so it’s just common sense to go inside and warm up.”

    Paul smacked his hand away, and with a slight amount of difficulty, managed to stand up on his own. “I know that!! That doesn’t mean I have to accept your help!” He could be heard growling as he went inside on his own, following Slowking.

    Analyzing his behavior as he’s done to many people in the past, Conway smirked as he rested his chin against his hand. “Oh my. This trip suddenly got a lot more interesting…” After giving Paul some personal space, Conway went inside as well.

    Conway couldn’t help but find it mildly humorous that Paul walked inside the fancy hallway, practically looking like a drowned Raticate in doing so in his condition. Others aboard the ship took notice to the drenched boy, but his intense expressions were more than enough to keep them quiet. The small group continued to walk until Slowking stopped at a certain room and went inside, still carrying Weavile. Paul went in afterwards, eventually followed by Conway, who closed the door.

    The elder trainer looked closely at Weavile and shook his head. “Out like a light. And there aren’t any areas on this ship that could help your Weavile. We should be reaching Canalave City soon, though. They have a Pokémon Center that’ll patch your little guy up for you.” Conway looked to Paul with a mildly serious look on his face. “Until then, it would be best if you recalled your Pokémon to its ball.”

    “Hmph,” Paul grunted, refusing to even look at Conway. He was lucky to still have his duffle bag with him, and thusly opened it up to take out Weavile’s Pokéball. “Return,” he mumbled, and a red beam of light later, Weavile was returned to its ball.

    Once Weavile was secured, Paul glared at the ball and tossed it back into his bag. “I have half a mind to release the little cretin after that pathetic stunt back there. That moron could’ve gotten us both killed.”

    Conway pretended not to be interested in conversing with Paul by wiping the lenses of his glasses just then, but responded nonetheless. “Still as harsh as always, of course… what exactly did Weavile do to endanger both your lives, if you don’t mind my asking? Why are you hijacking a ship, anyway?”

    “Look!” Paul shouted, bringing out the soaked ticket from his bag. “I booked this trip ahead of time; I wasn’t hijacking anything! The thunderstorm knocked out the power in Jubilife City and caused me to be late for the ship! … But only narrowly,” he added. “Five minutes at best. Those idiots should have delayed the trip in conditions like these.”

    “Bet you wish you had a Pokétch now, huh?” Conway commented, and simply could not resist adding some of that sadistic amusement in this tone. “Never would’ve had to get into this mess in the first place if you did.”

    “Shut up!” Paul demanded. “Like you’re one to talk!”

    Conway wagged his finger at Paul. “It’s on my To-Do List, I’ll have you know. I’ve just been busy.” He couldn’t wait to return to the original subject, however. “So anyway, that’s making a little more sense why you’re here like this. There was no delay because the severe parts of the system moved past Jubilife well before this ship was set to sail,” he explained. Not that Paul didn’t already know this, thanks to the ticket manager he briefly had that exchange with, but it didn’t anger him any less to hear it again.

    “Since you were only narrowly late, you thought you could catch up with the ship since you happen to have a Weavile, which is notorious for being one of the fastest Pokémon around,” Conway figured; correctly, at that. “So I assume by the rope and whatnot that you and Weavile Surfed your way here on your own?”

    “Surf and Ice Beam,” Paul added. “I wanted to avoid getting even more wet than I already was, but it turns out my Weavile is a major disappointment, because it can’t even pull off two moves at once without nearly killing itself and me.”

    That earned a shake of the head from Conway. “Even if Weavile’s experienced, you’re asking for a little much there. You can’t sell it short, Paul. You did make it here, did you not?”

    “Only because your Slowking interfered,” Paul pointed out, referring to Conway’s large Pokémon, who simply huffed back at him. “Which, if I may remind you, I don’t recall asking you to do that for me.”

    Conway raised an eyebrow at that statement. “What, and let you two drown? You’re lucky I was close enough to the back of the ship to hear your cries for help. Weavile’s especially lucky to have been tied to you by a rope. Psychic moves don’t work on Dark-type Pokémon, so Weavile would’ve been a sitting duck if it weren’t tied to you and Slowking wouldn’t have been able to do a thing…”

    “I did not ask for help,” Paul said, adamant about this detail. “I was shouting at Weavile to stop being such a weakling. It managed to reach the ship, but it was too weak to climb it.”

    “Try using Surf and Ice Beam simultaneously yourself and see how long your stamina holds out,” Conway retorted, with a light pause. “Oh wait, you can’t.”

    Paul rolled his eyes. “Because I’m not a Pokémon, ha-ha-ha. You’re not one either, so it’s really not as right for you to judge how long my Weavile can keep up a combination.”

    Conway laughed at that. “What, because I’m not a Nurse Joy? I don’t need to be a Pokémon or someone in the medical field to know its limitations, Paul. Slowking can establish a telepathic connection with me. We telecommunicate in the same language, so I know full well of its capabilities and limitations. It’s something of a perk to having a Psychic Pokémon, you might say.”

    “Rub it in, why don’t you?” Paul grumbled, looking down towards his feet.

    “Why, I’d love to,” Conway responded, as if Paul were actually requesting that he should. “Slowking can sense the needs and limitations of other Pokémon as well. By carrying your Weavile, even if it is partially a Dark-type, Slowking can tell why it passed out. He relays that information to me with telecommunication, and voila, I know what’s wrong with your Weavile.” Conway suddenly gave a stern look to Paul, with his signature gleaming glasses gesture. “So that’s something you won’t need to discuss with Nurse Joy when we reach Canalave, which is a good thing… because as I recall back in Hearthome City, you and the Nurse Joys don’t mesh particularly well. They care too much, and you care too little.”

    Please shut up,” Paul requested through gritted teeth. It truly grated him to be lectured by a trainer… not only one who annoyed him, but one he defeated in battle before. Thinking about it, Paul found this almost as aggravating as being lectured by Ash.

    Conway nodded, digging through his own bag for some reason. “On one condition, then.”

    Paul looked up with a confused look on his face. “And that is…?”

    “Strip ‘em.” Paul found Conway tossing him a fresh, clean, and dry shirt. It was obvious why Conway did this, but it didn’t stop Paul from glaring at him and going on the defensive.

    “I already knew you were a creep, but this is too much!” Paul shouted back, tossing the shirt to the bed.

    Conway was taken aback by that at first, but then he greatly struggled not to bust out laughing at Paul’s shame. “You’re drenched, remember? You need to hang your shirt out to dry before we reach Canalave City, and I can assure you it won’t be any less rainy there than it’s been in Jubilife. You’re pretty much doomed to catch a cold as it is, Paul. Let’s not have it turn into pneumonia before you can get Weavile to the Pokémon Center.”

    As if on cue, Paul sneezed, but his angry expressions wouldn’t fade. “You said it wouldn’t be long until we reached Canalave. What’s the point of hanging out my shirt to dry if we’ll be making landfall shortly anyway?”

    “Under normal circumstances, yes, you would be correct,” Conway agreed. “But thankfully you crossed paths with me, and your shirt will be as good as new before we ever reach Canalave City. Hm, come to think of it… change out of your pants, too,” he suggested, tossing Paul a pair of sweatpants which ultimately ended up in the same place as the shirt: the bed.

    “Not with you in this room,” Paul said, coldly and sternly. “Save my life a million times, and it still won’t make me think of you as any less of a creep. I’m only changing if you get out of here.”

    Conway shrugged and turned around. “I was about to say, we’re all guys here, but if you’re that sensitive, then consider your wish granted. Just let me know when you’re dressed and I’ll come in to dry your clothes. Come along, Slowking.”

    Slowking calmly conceded with its usual “Slooow,” and followed Conway outside to the hall. After Slowking shut the door behind the two of them, Paul glared at the dry clothing he was offered for a moment before sneezing once more. He sighed, remembering how cold he was, and on that merit decided to take up Conway’s offer.

    Waiting outside the door, Conway sighed, but it was somewhat of a contented one. “He’s certainly a tough nut to crack, isn’t he, Slowking?”

    “Slowking, slow,” it responded, calmly shaking its head as if to say “not at all”.

    “You don’t think so, huh?” Conway asked, finding this interesting. “Perhaps it might be worth our while to stick around him for the time being, then.” He adjusted his glasses, with the lenses flashing once again. “Might be fun, right?”

    “Slo-slo-slooo!” Slowking bellowed, most likely its way of laughing in agreement.

    The moments passed. Seconds turned into minutes. The minutes quickly accumulated to half an hour.

    Conway was calmly leaning against the wall with his mind elsewhere at the time; it was Slowking who realized Paul was taking way too long to change clothes. It edged closer to its trainer and poked his shoulder, whispering “Kingslow, king,” into his ear.

    “Ah-whuh…?!” Conway spat, who had immersed himself into a daydream while waiting for Paul. He looked around confusedly for a moment. “D-Dawn…? Where did you…?”

    His thoughts were cut off when he heard Slowking snickering at the sight. Hating to have his weakness exposed in such a manner, Conway frowned at hi s partner, but couldn’t hide his blushing. “Not funny, Slowking. What is it?”

    Slowking merely pointed to the door of Conway’s room they had been standing outside of for quite some time now.

    “O-oh!” Conway exclaimed, remembering where he was and what he was doing. “Why didn’t he call for us? He’s surely had enough time now…” His expressions turned grim, hoping Paul hadn’t gone crazy and escaped through the window or anything. “Time to check on him,” he concluded, and opened the door to his room to find Paul leisurely lying on Conway’s bed with the dry clothes on. He had already hung his wet clothes out to be dried and it seemed he had completed all this quite some time ago.

    Conway inwardly sighed a breath of relief, but couldn’t pretend not to be angry at Paul for this. “Forgot to call us back in, I see.”

    “I didn’t forget,” Paul said. “I needed some alone-time. You’re the one stupid enough to think I needed half an hour to change clothes. All the same, it relieves me to know you’re only a creepy pervert around the women.”

    “Harsh,” Conway replied. “Very harsh, Paul. I am a perfect gentleman with the ladies, I’ll have you know.”

    Paul scoffed at the claim. “It’s been how long since that Tag Battle tournament…? And here you are, still harping on about that girl that travels with Ash. Pathetic.”

    That took Conway off-guard. He didn’t expect Paul would have heard him through the walls. Apparently, he underestimated their thickness, or perhaps the door was not as secure as it looked… nonetheless, Conway was helpless to control the redness that spread over his face as he huffed in frustration and grabbed one of his Pokéballs. He gave a sharp glare to Slowking as it came in, who was again chuckling at Conway’s not-so-subtle dream girl.

    “Need I remind you I am helping you out of the goodness of my heart?” Conway said sternly. “Gutsy of you to make fun of me after not only saving your life, but sparing you from pneumonia.”

    Finding Conway’s weakness was too easy, Paul thought. All the same, he smiled at finally having something to combat Conway’s lecturing. “Yes, yes, I’m forever in your debt or whatever. Now how exactly are you planning to dry my clothes?”

    “This way,” Conway said simply as he pressed his Pokéball’s button and tossed it a short distance. “Castform, come on down!”

    The small, light Weather Pokémon appeared from its ball and sweetly greeted its guests with a bow. “Castform!”
  13. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    “A Castform?” Paul said out loud, somewhat in disbelief. “You’re going to dry my clothes with that thing?”

    Being called a thing in a derogatory tone, Castform looked down, as its cheeriness was quickly replaced by depression. “Cast…”

    “Take it easy, Paul,” Conway requested. “Castform’s a little sensitive. I just caught the poor creature not too long ago. It’s no veteran, but it’ll get the job done; trust me, and trust Castform. Do that, and you can leave this ship without looking like you just got out of bed.”

    “I’ll hold you to it, then,” Paul conceded, crossing his arms and not moving from his position on the bed. He then sneezed, much to his aggravation.

    Conway nodded, heading for the window. “You may want to get yourself taken care of when you reach the Pokémon Center. I’d hate for my efforts to go to waste simply because you’re too proud to admit you’re sick.”

    Paul cleared his throat, suddenly finding that harder to do now that he had indeed been ridden with a cold. “Don’t worry your little head about that. Dry my clothes, already.”

    “Hm, yeah…” Conway muttered as he opened the window and looked out briefly. “We’re getting close, so we’ll need to boost the heat a bit to dry your clothes out in time. Castform, go out there for a second and use Sunny Day.”

    “Castcast!” It cheered, floating itself out the window to do just that. Paul just gaped at the sight of the downpour disappearing (which confused the others on the ship) and the sun shining through the deep, dark clouds. As this happened, Castform shifted into Sunny Castform, now Fire-typed and complete with a translucent orange sun ornament to its head.

    “You could have done that all along?!” Paul shouted. “What is wrong with you?!”

    Conway gestured to Castform to come back inside now that the deed was done, and looked sharply to Paul before giving the next order. “As I said, Castform is a recent capture of mine. Its power and true potential is not yet realized, and as such, Sunny Day will not last for long. By the time we reach Canalave City, the sun will recede back into the clouds and the rain will resume. You should be aware that only a choice few Pokémon can make Sunny Day last for a long time, and only one can make it that way forever if it wanted to.”

    “It’s always technicalities with you,” Paul complained. “I already know this, yes, so drop it. I assume you made Castform use Sunny Day because it will make Castform’s fire attacks stronger and will dry my clothes more quickly.”

    “Excellent deduction,” Conway affirmed. “We’ll have your clothes dried in no time. Castform, go under Paul’s wet clothing and hold a continuous Ember underneath them for a while. Keep that up until his clothes are dried out.”

    “And don’t burn my clothes,” Paul added.

    Conway simply nodded. “Yes, yes. Make sure you don’t burn his clothes, Castform.”

    “Foooorm!” It shouted in a diminutive, somewhat-quiet voice as it did what its trainer commanded.

    “And there you have it,” said Conway. “With Sunny Day in play, Ember’s power is boosted by fifty percent, and now that Castform is a Fire-type, it has a same-type attack bonus which boosts Ember another fifty percent. In short, it’s twice as powerful as it normally is, and will dry your clothes in half the time as a result.”

    “You and your calculations…” Paul muttered. “At least they’re factoring into something useful this time.”

    “Math and science are truly underdogs in this world,” Conway said woefully. “That’s why I dedicate myself to living by them to prove that they are underutilized tactics.”

    To that statement, Paul raised an eyebrow. “What exactly are you, anyway? You battle, you have breeder-level knowledge of caring for Pokémon, and you’re full of useless Pokémon trivia. You don’t seem to commit to anything.”

    “Exactly,” Conway pointed out. “Think of me as a Pokémon Freelancer. I dabble in a bit of this, in a bit of that… in a bit of everything. All aspects of Pokémon interest me, and I was to experience every road one can take.”

    “A Freelancer,” Paul echoed. “That’s the nice way of saying you’re a Jack of all Trades, but a Master of none.”

    Conway narrowed his eyes at that remark. “Yes, I suppose that would be the pessimist’s definition. Still, I like to think of it as getting a taste of every little slice of life a trainer takes. I love to research how a Pokémon ticks, I enjoy the thrill of battle, I enjoy bonding and taking care of them… and after watching the Wallace Cup, shoot, I might even give Contests a try one day.”

    Paul shook his head and sighed. “What a waste of potential-… wait. You watched that?”

    “After I learned Dawn was a Coordinator, I’ve been watching every Contest on TV ever since,” Conway announced eagerly. “I would have loved to be in the audience at the Wallace Cup, because I do hold quite a bit of respect for Wallace himself, but I figured perhaps my presence would distract Dawn and dent her performance. And seeing her win…” Conway paused when he realized his Dawn fascination was taking over the conversation, and only giving Paul more ammunition to use against him in the future. He coughed, trying to divert attention way from that subject.

    “The point is, I look up to Wallace, because by definition, Wallace himself is what you just described me.”

    Paul blinked. “What, the Jack of all Trades?”

    “Essentially,” Paul replied. “He was once the Gym Leader of Sootopolis City in Hoenn. He later became Hoenn’s Champion of the Elite Four. And now he is a Contest Master… ah, obviously meaning he has won a Grand Festival at some point,” he clarified. “He is intuitive to boot. Wallace is the entire package and never needed to commit to just one route. If he can do it, it’s true that anyone with their heart and mind in the right place can achieve the fame and success Wallace has.”

    Conway’s mind went directly to fantasy, imagining himself in Wallace’s outfit and posing in the middle of a stadium with all of his glorious Pokémon surrounding him, as fans in the arena chanted his name. He envisioned Dawn pushing her way through the fans to reach him, and then…

    “You’re delusional,” Paul deducted. “Wallace was successful because he focuses on his work, unlike you. You’ll never be like him.”
    Conway’s fantasy dissipated as Paul said those scathing words. “Wh-what do you mean by that?”

    Paul shook his head. “You’re thinking about that girl again. It’s written all over your face. As long as you’re fixated on something so trivial, you’ll never be successful at anything, ever.”

    Indeed, Conway was blushing uncontrollably while he was fantasizing about his success and Dawn. If Paul could already tell, Conway saw no point in denying it. “There is such a thing as love beyond Pokémon, Paul. Everyone experiences it. Otherwise, the human race would have died out years ago,” he added in a jokingly tone. “Right?”

    “Do you ever see a woman attached to Wallace?” Paul asked, purely in a serious tone. “Undeniably, he has fangirls, but there could be no room for love in his life when he’s this successful. That’s exactly why Wallace is a diamond in the rough. People who strive to be like him are weakened by their hormones. There is no love. Only a desire to procreate.”
    Conway sighed. “That’s a really weak theory, Paul. We can all have more than one reason to succeed in our goals. Plenty of people have had success and found love and made a family. I’m surprised you would even say that, considering your father and his status.”

    Paul froze for a moment; Conway knew that Brandon was his father. His expressions quickly reverted to annoyance. “So you know who my father is. I suppose that’s not a surprise, considering what a snoop you are.”

    “No snooping was necessary to know that,” Conway retorted. “It’s common knowledge in the Sinnoh region. Pyramid King Brandon is notorious for being the toughest Frontier Brain in all of Kanto. Someone who hailed from our region who reaches that prestige is practically a celebrity, so of course we know of him and his two sons.” He grinned, loving it when his limitless abundance of knowledge aided him like this. “It also helps that you look just like him.”

    It pained Paul in many ways to talk about his father, especially to people like Conway. However, even though his own knowledge of his family history was foggy, Paul felt he needed to make a point to prove his opinion was the truth, and not Conway’s.

    “Love had nothing to do with the old man’s success,” Paul stated; sharp in tone. “He never achieved any kind of status until after my mother died. After that, he wrote me off, he wrote my older brother off, and through that, he has become the nigh-unbeatable Frontier Brain he is today. By throwing out the idea of love and family, the old man is more powerful than ever.”

    (oookay, now it's not letting me post the rest of it at all. this could be a problem.)
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  14. Yonowaru in Chaos

    Yonowaru in Chaos gaspard de la nuit

    You make me love Conway.

    Actually, 40 x 1.5 x 1.5 = 90 = 225% x 40 = a bit more than double

    Yuss, a correction, finally! x3

    I love the interaction between Conway and Paul here. You seem to capture their personalities from the anime impeccably and utilise it in this fic very effectively.

    Good work. If only I nominated you for the Contest...
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  15. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    Well, I'm practically retarded in the mathematics department, so it's easy to snag me there. XD I'm totally glad you're enjoying this (and yeah, I had a feeling Paul and Conway would bounce off each other in a fun way); I just wish I could post the rest of the chapter. The Server's mega-hating on me right now and won't even let me post little tiny bits at this point.

    (Yet it would let me reply... huh...)
  16. dash142

    dash142 Beginning Trainer

    You portrayed Conway perfectly, and his interaction with Paul was awesome. I like that you gave him a Castform since I've wanted to see someone with that Pokemon for a long time.

    I can't wait for the next part of the chapter so I can see what Reggie's up to.

    As for fixing the post thing, try putting it in a quick reply and posting it, if it goes to "cannot display" just press the back button and it should show up. It did that to me today too.
  17. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    Hm... tried that. The precise message I get is the same as always:

    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@serebiiforums.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
    Apache/2.2.10 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.10 OpenSSL/0.9.7a mod_bwlimited/1.4 PHP/5.2.6 Server at www.serebiiforums.com Port 80

    I'm thinking this is some wayward thing with Serebii's servers, since I was able to post the entire chapter on Bulbagarden's forum all in just one post without any problems (same as the last chapter). It's also on FFN as well if you want to read the whole thing until I figure this out.
  18. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    (Alright, awesome. Figured out what the problem was: apparently some words trigger a glitch... very random words, but nonetheless, here's the rest of Chapter 3! Sorry for all the waiting and trouble! ... man, I already want to start up on Chapter 4.)

    “He isn’t invincible,” Conway pointed out. “I would never sell him short, but the Pyramid King can and has been beaten before. Your theory proves nothing. If he’s written you off, how would you even know what he has on his mind, Paul? Perhaps, in some strange way, he still loves his sons dearly, but shows it differently from the others. My hypothesis is that your father became hardened with the loss of his wife and had doubts about being able to take care of you, so instead of wasting his time in struggling with something he is weak at, he focuses on his natural strengths to pull himself through his depression and hoped to inspire you and your brother to pull through it as well. Even if your mother’s gone, she remains in your hearts.”

    Paul was quickly becoming enraged the more Conway speculated about his complicated family life. Conway was simply a Sinnoh resident who was raised on rumors. Paul wasn’t about to take Conway’s words sitting down.

    “She isn’t in my heart,” Paul claimed. “I was too young to really know her when she passed away. I have no idea what she was like. All I know is that she was a breeder. I never harp on endlessly about her or the old man. You’re confusing me with Reggie.”

    “Oh, you never really know,” Conway said mysteriously. “You don’t know her well enough to remember what she was like… but she can subconsciously put herself in your heart. Perhaps Reggie had a role in that as well. Since he’s the elder brother, then he would obviously remember her…”

    “And follow in her footsteps…” Paul noted, but paused. He was feeling very uncomfortable with this conversation all along, but he had about reached his breaking point by now. “Okay, look, we’re getting nowhere on this. Talk about Castform not drying my clothes fast enough, why don’t you?”

    Conway looked over to where Castform was tending to the clothes. “That won’t be necessary, Paul,” he said with a smile. Conway reached over and felt them to determine how dry they actually were. He nodded approvingly at his Pokémon. “It seems we’re nearly done in that department. Now you can comfortably walk to the Pokémon Center and get Weavile taken care of. Good job, Castform.”

    “Fooooorm! Cast, cast!” cheered the tiny Weather Pokémon, ceasing its Ember and floating over to its trainer. Conway patted Castform on the head approvingly, and then dug a pink Poffin out of his bag.

    “You earned a treat, little guy,” Conway said sweetly to his Pokémon. Castform happily accepted the meal and murmured noises of contentment as it ate the sweet bread.

    “Good grief…” Paul muttered. “You really are going to try for a Contest eventually.”

    Conway grinned at Paul. “Oops, caught me red-handed. Yes, I think Castform will make for an exciting show. With its numerous abilities with the elements, I can learn about appreciating the true beauty of Pokémon live on the stage. I imagine it’s quite different from seeing it on TV or from the crowd stands.”

    Paul crossed his arms again, frowning disapprovingly. “You’re just hoping to meet that girl again. Don’t try to hide it. Really, for meeting her just once…”

    “Twice,” Conway corrected. “I ran into Dawn and the others at the Summer School event just recently. We were on opposing teams, but that did not stop myself and Dawn from indulging in our enjoyment of being reunited… I even impressed her when I wiped the floor with Jesselinda that one time…”

    “Summer School…?” Paul quietly wondered to himself, before shrugging Conway off. “Fine, so you met her twice. That’s still a stretch. And please, spare me the details. I honestly don’t care what happened in a Summer School.”

    “Love and friendship: that’s the key,” Conway said. “The key to success with your Pokémon, your aspirations, and your life. Unless I’m mistaken, Wallace himself believes in this philosophy. I would be overjoyed to see Dawn once more, but I honestly would be interested in taking part in a Contest soon, even if she isn’t there.” He patted Castform on the head once more before bringing out its Pokéball. “That must’ve worn you out. Have a nice, long rest.” And with that, Castform returned to its ball.

    Paul shook his head and sighed. “I feel even less at ease than I did before, thanks to you.”

    Conway just shrugged and smirked. “Just remember that I saved your life and prevented your imminent pneumonia. Your clothes are dry now, so go ahead and change back into them.”

    “Again,” Paul said drolly. “Get out of here and I will.”

    Conway leaned away and chuckled. “Same old, same old with the Pyramid King’s son…”

    Suddenly, a voice boomed from an intercom linked to all areas of the ship. “Attention, passengers. We are now arriving at Canalave City’s port. All passengers must gather their belongings and leave their quarters and prepare to disembark. Passengers will depart from the ship in approximately five minutes. Please remember to bring your umbrellas, as the conditions have worsened and the heavy rain has resumed. That is all. Thank you for choosing Canalife Cruising.”

    “So we’re here,” Conway noted. “You have an umbrella?”

    Paul gathered his clothing and grumbled at Conway’s question. Truthfully, he didn’t have one, but didn’t want to admit this out loud… unfortunately for him, Conway was an expert in reading expressions.

    “I see,” Conway said, taking Paul’s silence as a “no”. “Well, it’s your lucky day. I have one. I’ll accompany you to the Pokémon Center. You’d better hurry up and get dressed, now. Come along, Slowking.”

    Conway gathered his belongings and exited the room, with Slowking following him.

    Paul let out a heavy sigh after Conway left, and proceeded to change back into his original outfit. “At this rate, I’m never going to get rid of that freak…”

    A few minutes later, Paul was fully dressed and prepared to leave. With the replacement clothes in his other hand, he exited the room and headed towards the boarding area. Much as he loathed admitting it, it felt nice to have warm, dry clothes on again after spending almost the entire morning soaking wet and cold. He was tired of that, and much as Paul wanted to get rid of Conway… the fact that he had an umbrella while Paul himself did not made him desperate to stay warm and dry again. Even though his clothes were restored, Paul still found himself sneezing at random intervals. The clothes gradually felt warmer and warmer as he continued to walk his way out of the ship.

    He was feeling feverish.

    Eventually, Paul found the line on the way out of the ship and Conway was right there waiting for him, but Slowking was absent.

    “Oh good, you made it,” Conway said with a grin. “The Pokémon Center is just a short walk from the port. I assume we both know the way. I’ll keep the both of us dry.” Having said that, Conway thrust out his umbrella (not set up yet, obviously) for Paul to see.

    “Lovely,” Paul said, flatly. He offered Conway the clothes he loaned him. “Here’s your stuff back.”

    “Well, thank you,” Conway said, in an exaggerated flattered and grateful tone. “It’s nice to know my backup clothes came in handy.” He accepted them from Paul and stuffed them in his own bag.

    Paul looked around, slightly confused. “Uh… where is Slowking?”

    Conway sighed. “With a line like this, Slowking’s size tends to disturb groups of people in small, closed spaces like this, so I had to return him to his Pokéball. “He’ll be alright, though.”

    Paul just murmured an “Mmhm” and looked around the ship as he quickly became bored from the slow-moving line. Finally, Paul and Conway were disembarking. Conway opened up his umbrella, which was conveniently large enough to cover both him and Paul sufficiently.

    “Just stay close,” Conway advised. “You’re at ease now because you know for sure I greatly prefer the women, correct?”

    Don’t talk like we’re friends,” Paul insisted. He intended to sound as harsh as he possibly could. “Let’s just get to the Pokémon Center so we can get this over with. I’ve got business here. Urgent business.”

    “The Canalave City Gym, right?” Conway assumed. “Gonna fight Byron?”

    Paul looked at Conway strangely. His accurate assumptions were getting disturbing now. “So you know I’m collecting badges here…”

    Conway merely shrugged as the pair walked through Canalave City. “Just an educated guess. You’re clearly an adversary of Ash Ketchum, and I know for a fact he’s collecting badges. That’s leaving out the fact that most trainers that do come here do so to fight for the Mine Badge. For the average trainer, Canalave’s a rather dull city to hang around in.”

    That brought up a detail in the back of Paul’s mind that just then came to the fore. “So why exactly are you traveling here?” he asked.

    “For the library, of course,” Conway said happily. “I often go to Canalave whenever I hear the Library’s acquired some interesting new books. That’s the main reason why I’m here now. They’ve always got some great, informative books about the legendary Pokémon in this region, as well as others.”

    Paul slumped his head down slightly. “Of course. That should have been obvious…”

    “I’d love to watch your Gym Battle, though,” Conway mentioned. He sounded rather honest.

    “Uh…” Hearing that made Paul uncomfortable again. “Why?”

    “I want to see what it’s like,” Conway explained. “You know, in case I want to do one myself someday.”

    The Freelancer talk again. It was giving Paul a headache… or was it that nagging fever of his?

    “I don’t suppose there’s a way I can force you to not go,” Paul grumbled. “Free will and all that. Do whatever you want, but back off, alright? I don’t need a sidekick. This is my journey. You need to find your own path and stick with it, because I can guarantee you’ll never be the second coming of Wallace.”

    Conway scoffed at the idea of being considered a sidekick. “I agree, sidekick definitely isn’t me. How about co-star, then? We’ll split it evenly, fifty-fifty. Sound good?”

    In your dreams,” Paul stated stiffly and loudly. “Now where in the world is that Pokémon Center?”

    Conway pointed straight ahead of them. “We’re here now. Go inside and get Weavile healed up. I should probably give poor Castform a boost after what it did to dry your clothes…”

    Paul glared at Conway. “You always find the perfect excuse to stick to me like glue now. What is with you?!”

    “I have my reasons, Paul,” Conway simply replied. “I have my reasons. Shall we go in, now?”

    Paul had nothing to say to that. They both entered the Pokémon Center. It was a messy and annoying ordeal for Paul, but it wasn’t a total loss, as he managed to get to his desired location right on time, just as he originally wanted.

    After giving Weavile’s Pokéball to Nurse Joy, Paul went to look out at the window. For just a brief moment, he wondered if Reggie would actually fulfill his end of the bargain on this challenge the two of them were issued by their father.

    He wondered if Reggie really, truly abandoned his breeding center to train for the inevitable fight ahead. Paul at least had sufficient time to prepare for his battle with Brandon. Reggie, on the other hand… he had no way of knowing. He would have to fight as soon as Brandon captured Regigigas. The lack of communication between father and sons prevented Reggie from even having an idea of when his time would come.

    If he lost, Paul swore to write Reggie off forever. In hindsight, this was a very unfair disadvantage for Reggie. Paul knew that. A small part of him felt guilty for only adding on to the pressure Reggie was undeniably suffering from… but the rest of Paul disregarded that brotherly sentiment in favor of success and progress… and most importantly, defeating his emotionally-stunted father.

    Paul wasn’t exactly sure what he would gain after getting a Brave Symbol… if anything would truly be resolved should he earn one. But for Paul… that day would not come to him for a long time. Reggie was the one on borrowed time.

    And it was true. Reggie had to make the most of the limited time he had. Reggie was no fool; he knew his father was an expert in the art of finding rare or legendary Pokémon. It would only be a matter of time before Regigigas would be captured. Maylene’s pep talk lifted all of his guilt for abandoning his breeding center for an indeterminate period of time.

    Now, there was no turning back. Reggie stood solidly in a broad, grassy field. The rain was pouring there as well, but not as heavily as it was in Jubilife and Canalave City. Mt. Coronet stood mightily nearby Reggie’s training area.

    All of his Pokémon were out and ready for the intense training they never truly had. Staraptor and Marowak stood strong and sturdy as they awaited orders from their trainer. Ampharos seemed a mite bit confused about the ordeal, and Swalot stared blankly at its trainer, wondering what was going on in his mind. Bibarel seemed to be the only one not paying attention, preferring to look up at the rain instead, gaping.

    Infernape was right next to Reggie. It seemed somewhat wary of Reggie’s hardened expressions.

    After a long period of silence, Reggie spoke. “What you’re all about to go through may be the hardest training you’ve ever endured. I know it’s been… several years since I’ve been a trainer. But father issued a challenge to me that I cannot refuse. It’s all on his terms, so I have no idea when he will be calling for me. We must make the most of the precious little time we have before father captures Regigigas. I’m very sorry that I have to do this to you all… but it’s the only way we’ll be strong enough to face father. Please… please forgive me, everyone.”

    He hadn’t even done anything yet, and Reggie was already apologizing to his Pokémon. They looked to him, confused, mumbling a bit. Reggie knew that in a time constraint, his usual methods of training would be inefficient. If he failed this time, he may never again get another chance of achieving the closure he desired for so long… as well as the respect of his father. The acknowledgement… Reggie hungered for it for several years since his mother died.

    It pained him so greatly to do things this way. In his heart, he felt it wasn’t right to go about it this way. But in order to make progress, Reggie had to leave his doubts behind him and focus solely on the future… and solely on gaining more power.

    He was going to have to take a page out of Paul’s book this time.

    Reggie had his eyes closed all the while this processed through his mind, after asking for forgiveness. The rain had already drenched him and his Pokémon, and the wind was picking up. Inwardly, the true Reggie screamed to turn back, but was silenced by the raw desire for a prize he sought for several years ago. And this wasn’t materialistic… this was for the sake of his family. He only hoped his success would make up for what he would do today.

    Finally, Reggie opened his eyes and faced his Pokémon. All of them looked effectively startled as they noticed Reggie’s gentle, loving eyes turn into hardened, borderline-soulless ones. One could see a much clearer resemblance to his younger brother, as well as his father at this moment. He forced his transformation upon himself, and his Pokémon were at a loss as to what to do about it.

    They were his long-time companions… all they could do was simply trust him.

    “Ampharos,” Reggie stated in a sharp, emotionless tone. “You, Bibarel, and Marowak will have a free-for-all battle. Show no mercy to each other, even if you injure one another. Keep going until you can no longer move.” He looked to Staraptor and Swalot. “I want you two to do the same. Don’t hold back and regard each other as mortal enemies. Put all of your strength into your moves.”

    He finally looked to Infernape, his Starter Pokémon… the one that had been with him longer than any of the others.

    “Infernape,” he said, still lacking emotion, yet spoke more quietly. “You will fight me. You will do so like the others. Hold back, and I’ll personally make sure you regret it. Our methods of practice in the past never included direct combat. I believe this is what we’re lacking; the missing link. Don’t worry yourself with hurting me, Infernape… because I won’t shed a tear when I defeat you.”

    Infernape was paralyzed with such scathing words, but it wasn’t standing there for long, as Reggie immediately dove in to punch Infernape across the face. Infernape was sent reeling back a few feet. A mark was already on its face.

    “You’re part Fighting-type, aren’t you?!” Reggie shouted out. “Fight me, then!!”

    That strike across the face hurt. Infernape still wasn’t certain what was going on, but it knew this was not the Reggie who loved and cared for it throughout their adventures in Sinnoh, Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn. All of those years… and it amounted to this: his pacifistic trainer was now as stiff and angry as the rest of his family. Infernape knew this had to be some sort of rouse, but it had no more time to ponder that, as Reggie rushed over and kneed Infernape hard in the stomach area. Infernape cried out and was sent reeling even further than last time.

    It whimpered slightly, covering its injured stomach in a fetal position. Reggie was allowing no time for it to recover; he was running at his Starter Pokémon again for another attack. Infernape briefly looked to the others, who had already started engaging in grudge matches as Reggie ordered. Perhaps not as vicious as Reggie intended, but they were still following his orders. Infernape hated the thought of hurting its own trainer, who loved and nurtured it the day Professor Rowan gave it to him.

    The hatred in Reggie’s eyes didn’t seem genuine. They seemed forced. Infernape could have sworn it saw tears spilling from Reggie’s ruthless, vigilant eyes, but had no time to confirm it, as Reggie rushed his Starter again and kicked it against a boulder.

    All of this, coming from Reggie… Infernape was still in disbelief. The other Pokémon paused to see this uncharacteristic carnage, but Reggie noticed the others before he began another attack on Infernape.

    “Don’t just stand there!!” Reggie screamed at the top of his lungs. “FIGHT!! Fight like your lives depend on it!!”

    Just then, a flash of lightning and a loud rumble of thunder followed somewhere nearby in the sky. The Pokémon were about to resume their brawl until that startled them.

    Reggie had previously promised not to train under serious conditions… but Reggie was no longer Reggie anymore. He glared viciously at his team. “What did I just tell you?! KEEP FIGHTING!!”

    The five Pokémon were startled well enough to resume what they were doing before. Infernape managed to get back to its feet, looking at Reggie like it didn’t even know him anymore.

    “You!” Reggie shouted, specifically at Infernape. “Stop disobeying orders… or I’ll… I’ll…!”

    He struggled inwardly not to say it, because he honestly did not want to mean it. Something inside of Reggie snapped… he had taken on a persona that was a mix of his father’s and Paul’s. He could no longer think straightly on anything but fighting and gaining power.

    “I’ll… release you!!

    Infernape gasped. The other five Pokémon heard it and cried out in unison.


    The thunderous, booming “no” that normally came from Brandon just came out of his son’s mouth with the same level of intensity and volume.

    “I’ll… I’ll release all of you!! I swear I’ll do it if you don’t get back to work! Draw blood if you have to! Anything to get stronger!” He loomed over Infernape, with a frightening look on his face.

    “Understand?!” He grunted, in a considerably quieter voice to refer specifically to Infernape. After another strike of lightning, Reggie prepared for another devastating punch to his Starter Pokémon. But this time… Infernape finally understood. It dodged Reggie’s attack, bounced on his head to reach the other side, and flared up its natural flames to prepare itself for battle.

    Reggie turned around and smirked. His fist went straight into the boulder once Infernape dodged his attack, and as a result… Reggie’s hand was dripping with blood and likely fractured in a few areas.

    “That’s more like it,” Reggie said with approval, ignoring the nigh-unbearable pain coming from his hand. “Now, come at me with all you’ve got, Infernape! Hit me with Close Combat, if you’ve got the guts.”

    The wicked grin on Reggie’s face seemed so unnatural. But there was no longer time to deliberate on the matter. With all the strength Infernape had, charged Reggie into a fury of powerful punching attacks, now backing him against the boulder.

    After Infernape worn itself down from the attack, Reggie merely grinned, lying helplessly against the boulder. He wiped the blood coming from his mouth.

    This was wrong. All of Reggie’s Pokémon knew this was wrong. Reggie himself… deep down somewhere inside, knew this was wrong too. But another side of him… a side that had never been seen before, relished in the power and the violence.

    The lust was overpowering Reggie’s morality and logic. He stood up, approving of Infernape’s attack even thought it clearly felt guilty for what it did.

    “There’s no turning back,” Reggie reminded between his heaving. Infernape could not look to its partner in the face, but nodded nonetheless.

    “Again. Let’s go again,” Reggie ordered. “Last man… or Pokémon… standing.”

    The lightning struck again.

    A long, brutal night was ahead for all parties involved.

    Paul, safe and sound, and relatively calm in the Pokémon Center in Canalave City, could never possibly imagine what was happening with his gentle, peaceful older brother hundreds of miles away from him that very moment.

    ( TBC )
  19. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!

    (Aaaaaand here's Chapter 4 as I continue to stir up some madness! Dude, why am I updating this so quickly? It's kind of scary, honestly. Also, this one is definitely too big to fit in one post: well over the 50000 character limit. Hopefully this time we can get through it without a problem!)

    While rain plagued many parts of the Sinnoh region, Kanto was experiencing much nicer weather. Sunny weather is what Brandon preferred, as it was the best weather condition for exploration and excavating as he continued his quest to learn about and obtain rare Pokémon.

    However nice the weather was, Brandon was no less displeased today. It had taken him months now, trying to find Regigigas. He had visited many cities in Kanto while battling trainers (with only victories on Brandon’s end) for his coveted Brave Symbol. Samuel, Brandon’s assistant, knew by now how fierce Brandon could be in battle, especially if he was doing so while he was on the hunt for something important. He’d yet to see a trainer defeat him when Brandon wasn’t satisfied in his own affairs. Even in the case of Ash Ketchum, the one who defeated Brandon and declined the offer to be a Frontier Brain, he only won against Brandon after he finally finished discovering the final member of the Regi trio: Regice.

    Samuel wondered if the legends were indeed true if it was taking Brandon this long to find Regigigas. After all, if it was related to the other Regis he captured, Samuel assumed it would be relatively easy to figure out its location, at least. That turned out not to be the case… as there was no sign of Regigigas anywhere in the Kanto region. Most residents didn’t even seem to know what such a Pokémon was to begin with.

    The flying Battle Pyramid was quickly coming up upon its next destination. Brandon stood distantly from his assistant, looking down at the region below him with full intent of extracting information out of someone soon. He was quickly growing impatient… for various reasons outside of simply wanting Regigigas to finally complete the Regi collection. Brandon was aware of his own ulterior motives, but pushed them to the back of his mind in order to focus on the mission. He was certain by now that his letter had reached his sons, and they were hopefully doing as he instructed. Not that the Pyramid King was going to make sure of that… he only assumed, because he knew his actions in the past would inspire his sons to work harder in order to defeat him one day.

    Even in the middle of his work, he often thought of Reggie and Paul… but the thoughts were suddenly cut off.

    “Brandon, sir… we’ve reached Cerulean City,” Samuel informed. “Where exactly should we land?”

    “Don’t spend too much time deliberating on such a detail,” Brandon sharply ordered. “A clearance in the forest just outside the city will do fine. We will make this inquiry a quick one.”

    Samuel looked nervous, as it was never a good sign when Brandon was already uppity and impatient so early on in the day. “Y-yes, of course… do you really think we’ll find information on Regigigas here, though?”

    Brandon continued to look forlornly at the scenery below him. “We must leave no stone unturned. At this rate, Regigigas might not even be in this region… and if that is the case, then there will be a problem. We will deal with that problem if and when it comes to us. Until then, do not question me. Sometimes the most important clues are right under your nose… only rarely does the searcher realize that in time.”

    “You’re right…” Samuel said with a sigh. “We should be making landfall within a couple of minutes, then. Out of curiosity… where do you intend to go first?”

    “Where I always go in major cities of Kanto,” Brandon responded, as if his assistant should have already caught on by now. “The Gym.”

    After landing, that’s exactly where Brandon headed: the Cerulean Gym.

    “Cerulean City,” Brandon muttered as he walked across the town. “They say a mysterious, blue aura surrounds it… yet I see nothing. Pointless flowery language…” He soon came upon a brightly-colored dome-shaped building complete with a depiction of a Dewgong. It almost resembled a circus tent or a carousel by shape and color, but Brandon was overcome with pessimism when he noticed the building was in fact the Cerulean Gym. “This really does feel like a waste of time,” Brandon admitted to himself. “But I cannot underestimate any potential source. This is a direly important matter.”

    The Pyramid King took a deep breath before entering the gym to find a giant pool before him. Decorations of Starmie and Poliwag were on the wall and there were crowd stands on each side of the pool, making the Gym seem to double as a stage for water shows. The atmosphere made Brandon flinch, but snapped out of it when he realized no one seemed to be present.

    With a loud, booming voice, he decided to draw attention to himself… though he honestly thought it was highly irresponsible of a Gym Leader to not be at his or her post. “I am here to challenge the Gym Leader of Cerulean City! Show yourself now!!”

    His voice echoed throughout the building. The design was convenient, as it allowed anyone not in the immediate area to hear him. Quickly, a young woman with blonde hair decorated with a single flower came walking briskly to the direction of the voice.

    “Oh, hi there!” she greeted. “So, you like need something, mister?”

    “Get over here immediately!” Brandon hollered. “I have no interest in carrying on a conversation across the Gym! Hurry up!” He honestly hoped this was not actually the Gym Leader…

    “Okay, okay! Geez, take a pill…” she muttered as she hurried over to greet Brandon. “Here I am!” she announced cheerfully. “Can I like, do something for you, mister?”


    Brandon’s… ‘catchphrase’, so to speak, had quite an enhanced effect within the Gym. The loudness of his voice bounced across every angle of the dome and made the poor young lady’s ears ring. She covered them, looking highly disturbed until the ringing stopped.

    “Okay… I’m so confused right now,” she admitted. “You came over here but you really don’t need anything, mister? Why’d you rush me, then?!”

    “First of all, do not address me as ‘mister’!” Brandon commanded. “I am Brandon. That is all you need to know. Please tell me you are not the Gym Leader of this place.”

    “Well gee, I’m standing right here,” she grumbled. “A little tact never killed a guy. Anyway, I used to be the Gym Leader, but now I just kinda look after the place from time to time, you know? My sisters and I are totally famous and popular, so we-”

    Brandon glared. “Get to the point. Who are you?”

    “The Gym Leader’s big sis, no duh!” she announced in a bubbly tone. “Daisy! If you want the Gym Leader, you’ll wanna talk to Misty. You want me to go get her or something?”

    “Yes,” Brandon gruffly affirmed. “Immediately if she is available.” He inwardly prayed Misty was not like this…

    “No prob, brah-”


    “… Brandon. Right. Whatever,” Daisy murmured. She then looked away and called for her sister. “Hey, Misty!! This Brandon guy wants to like, challenge you or some junk! You’d better get over here fast, ‘cause he’s a total ticking time bomb!”

    The much older man found that incredibly rude. “What was it you were saying about tact, woman?”

    “Daisy!” she adamantly amended. “I totally already told you my name!”

    “Names are bothersome to remember,” Brandon said. “Only those who defeat me earn my respect and my will to remember their names.”

    “Shut up, no way!” Daisy cried, aghast. “You’re a Gym Leader?! Like who knew?!”

    “A Frontier Brain,” Brandon corrected. “Those who earn my Brave Symbol earn the right to be acknowledged by me by your given name.”

    Daisy looked intrigued. “No kidding, huh? Alright, then, how much for one of those thingies?”

    You earn them in battle,” Brandon emphasized. He almost wished he never came into this Gym if this was what he had to deal with. “Don’t waste your time and fetch me your sister.”

    “I’m here!” another voice cried out. Skidding to a halt was a younger, redheaded girl with a side ponytail. She looked up to see her visitor and was immediately a bit intimidated. “Sorry for the wait, sir. There was some outside business I had to tend to, and-”

    NO. How many times must I say this? Bran. Don,” he enunciated, now completely irritated. “Not sir, not mister. Never anything like that. Now… I take it you are the Cerulean Gym Leader.”

    “Y-yes, s-… Brandon,” Misty confirmed, looking nervous that she almost slipped up again. “Hey, can you kind of… keep it down? Your loudness is disturbing our Gym’s Pokémon.”

    Almost on cue, Misty’s Psyduck came running out into the main room, flailing and holding its head in either pain or frustration. Misty’s good friend Tracey Sketchit was also over visiting and much more slowly walking his way towards the group, but was also disturbed by the loudness of Brandon’s voice and soon felt the full brunt of its repercussions as Psyduck crashed into Tracey and knocked him into the pool. The Duck Pokémon was quick to follow. The others looked awkwardly at the accident before Misty rushed over to the incident.

    Daisy just sighed and shook her head. “Like, bummer. We just got those floors wiped clean…”

    “Tracey!! Psyduck!” Misty cried out as she helped them both out of the pool. There was little she could do about Psyduck continuing to freak out, but Tracey was considerably calmer.

    “N-no worries, I’m fine… that was just quite a shock,” Tracey admitted. He looked over to the newcomer. “So this is our disruptor, huh?”

    “His name is Brandon,” Misty told him. “Don’t worry; I’ll take care of this.” Suddenly taking a mature approach, she walked over to Brandon again and made direct eye contact with him. “As I was saying, Brandon, yes. I am Misty, Gym Leader of Cerulean City. Are you here to challenge me for a Cascade Badge?”

    Brandon stiffly shook his head. “I am here for no such thing. I am a Frontier Brain; the Pyramid King, specifically. I have defeated your Gym and earned your badge well before any of you were even born.”

    This seemed to shock the others; they at least knew meeting a Frontier Brain was a big deal.

    “Good point, I guess,” Tracey figured. “He looks a lot older than us…”

    Misty nodded. “You certainly look like a strong trainer. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Brandon…” She looked to the side and murmured an uncertain “I guess…” before facing him again. “So you’re not here for a Gym Battle. How can I help you today?”

    Brandon was thankful that the Gym Leader, while young, was considerably more mature than her older sister. It almost felt like déjà vu in a way… “I have been travelling across the Kanto region in search of information regarding a specific legendary Pokémon. I wish to know if any of you know of what I am looking for, or at least a hint as to where to find it.”

    “Well, uh…” Misty was uncertain again. “I’ve done my fair share of traveling, Brandon, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to answer your question. Do you know the name of the Pokémon?”

    “According to what few records I’ve acquired, the name is Regigigas,” Brandon said. “It is the leader of the trio that go by similar names, all of which I have captured already: Regirock, Registeel, and Regice.”

    “No Regiwater, huh?” Daisy wondered out of the blue. “Bummer…”

    Brandon wanted this girl gone already, but heeded the Gym Leader’s words to not be too loud. He saw how unstable that Psyduck looked. “If you don’t know anything, just say so. Don’t waste my time with nonsense.”

    Misty sighed and shrugged. “I can’t help you there, then. This is the first time I’ve even heard of such a Pokémon. What about you, Tracey?”

    “Hm…” Tracey looked up and pondered for a moment. “I do remember reading about the Regis somewhere, but I forget exactly what source it came from…”

    Brandon seemed intrigued. “And who exactly are you, boy?”

    “O-oh, I forgot to introduce myself!” Tracey realized, flailing. Misty chuckled and calmed him down.

    “It’s fine,” she said. “You’re the one who got knocked into the pool, remember? Ah, Daisy, maybe you’d better get a dry outfit for him…”

    Daisy snapped her fingers. “Leave it to me, sis! Clothes are definitely where I shine!” With that, she ran out of the main room, allowing Brandon to sigh a breath of relief.

    “Ah, thanks, you two,” Tracey said, looking mildly embarrassed. Then he looked to Brandon. “I’m Tracey Sketchit. I’m a longtime friend of Misty’s and currently an assistant of Professor Oak at Pallet Town. We do a lot of researching, so we’ve been studying about various legendaries for a while now.”

    “You don’t say,” Brandon mused, now intrigued that he had inadvertently stumbled upon a colleague of a Pokémon Professor. “Professor Oak… if anyone in Kanto could give me details on Regigigas, surely it would be him. He’s a student of Rowan’s, after all.”

    Tracey nodded. “I think he could definitely give you a lead. I’ve even read up a bit on the Regi trio before, but I had no idea there was a fourth. And it’s the leader, you say?”

    “That is what has been said,” Brandon affirmed. He was officially relieved that for once, a visit to the city was not a complete waste of his time. He was finally on a path rather than desperately digging up whatever clue he could find. “Would the Professor mind terribly if I were to stop by and discuss this matter with him?”

    “I don’t see why not,” Tracey responded. “He loves having visitors over. Right, Misty?”

    Misty smiled at him. “He certainly does! I’d like to visit him, myself. It’s been way too long.”

    It was Brandon’s turn to smile. “How soon could you bring me to him, boy? I am eager to speak with him as soon as possible.”

    “Ah-ah, I’m Tracey, remember?” Tracey pointed out, apparently missing Brandon’s policy earlier on. “Tracey Sketchit, okay?”

    Brandon held out a Brave Symbol before him. “Battle me, win, and I’ll give you the distinct honor of calling you by your name. Are you gutsy enough to waste my time on such a matter when I have urgent business calling?”

    That sufficiently snuffed out Tracey’s bravado. “O-on second thought, there’s always more derogatory terms out there than ‘boy’! Guess I should be thankful, r-right…?”

    “Indeed,” Brandon agreed. “Now, how soon can you take me to the Professor?”

    “Just as soon as I get some dry clothes on, probably!” Tracey nervously uttered. “Geez, I hope Daisy didn’t forget where I put my things again…”

    Misty rolled her eyes. Brandon scowled once again. Even when she wasn’t present, Daisy was aggravating him. For once, he was glad he never had any daughters.

    Not that Brandon’s sons never gave him grief. Thousands of miles away in Canalave City, Paul continued to stare out the window thoughtfully as the rain continued to pour heavily.


    His mind was still on Reggie. He still wondered where he was right now, and what he was doing. If he was still at home, taking care of all those Pokémon… or if he was in some unknown location, training with the team he originally assembled for epic battles over the years. It annoyed Paul to suddenly start thinking about him, as he often didn’t… but he knew this was a unique situation. He simply couldn’t help but wonder about his older brother, who would soon have to face their father and surely lose again. Paul wasn’t sure if he was ready to do what he threatened to do to Reggie should he lose the battle.


    Reggie was out of practice; Paul knew that much. He was so out of practice that it would take quite a bit of time for him to adapt to a trainer’s mindset alone. To get himself strong enough to be on his father’s level… it seemed virtually impossible, now that Paul thought about it. Even Reggie knew the odds were against him, yet he allowed Paul to threaten him the way he did… and Paul wasn’t quite sure why. Reggie was the only one in the family still trying to make vain attempts to keep said family together. His loss would result in Paul making Reggie’s dreams of having a full family again impossible… but then again, Paul remembered that it was already impossible. There was no way to bring his mother back from the dead. Paul was too young to remember her to still mourn her today, so it didn’t bother him nearly as much as it did Reggie. No matter how Paul looked at it, Reggie had unfair advantages… everywhere.

    “Excuse me, Paul…?”

    Paul snapped back to reality as he felt someone tapping his shoulder. He whirled around to find Nurse Joy standing right behind him with a Pokéball in her hand.

    “Oh…! Uh…” Paul immediately felt awkward. He looked away from the kindly nurse. “Sorry.”

    “It’s quite alright,” Nurse Joy assured, offering him the Pokéball. “I just wanted to let you know that your Weavile is fully restored.”

    “Ah, yes…” Paul should have figured as much. He accepted the Pokéball and nodded to Nurse Joy. “Thank you.”

    Nurse Joy bowed to him. “It was my pleasure. You’re welcome to rest here as long as you need to, Paul. You don’t look very well…”

    “That’s all in your head,” Paul said, brushing her off. He went to gather his things before leaving the Center. Conway, meanwhile, was watching TV. “I’m far too busy to rest at the moment.”

    “Don’t be stealing my umbrella, now…” Conway said almost threateningly, smiling as he said so. Paul could not see his expressions due to Conway being faced the other way. “I know where you live.”

    “A lot of good that’ll do you,” Paul grumbled as he walked over to where Conway was. “You said you wanted to see my Gym Battle, right? Well, I’m going on without you since you’re obviously not intent on leaving anytime soon.”

    Conway raised a finger and waggled it. “Not so hasty, my friend-”

    I am not your friend!!

    “Touchy,” Conway remarked with a smirk. “Anyway, you can spare a few minutes to watch the weather report. It’ll be useful to know about the conditions ahead of time so you won’t end up with another incident like earlier. By the way, you still have a cold. You’re going to fight Byron while you’re sick?”

    The focus on Paul’s apparent illness was aggravating him to no end. “I’m not sick, either! All things considered, I feel completely fine!”

    “Your face is all flushed,” Conway pointed out. “Very feverish. You’ve been sneezing all day. Shall I go on?”

    “No, you shall not,” Paul said with great emphasis on the latter part of his sentence. “I’ll watch the stupid weather report if you insist, since I’ll be aiming for Snowpoint City after this.”

    Conway nodded. “That’s the harshest area of Sinnoh climate-wise. It’s very important to keep up-to-date on the weather of that area. Then there are preparations to consider, but we’ll wait until you get your Mine Badge before going into detail on that.”

    Paul looked horrified. “You are not following me to Snowpoint City.”

    “Free will says I can and shall do so,” Conway claimed. “That’s what you just said to me earlier today, remember?”

    Paul grumbled, now wishing he hadn’t said it. “Whatever. We’ll deal with that obstacle as it comes. Oh, and before we leave, I need to give Weavile a little… ‘pep talk’ before the Gym Battle.”

    “Is that so?” Conway asked, amused. “Didn’t you say you were going to release it?”

    “I brought Weavile with me for a reason,” Paul explained. “I’m testing its endurance in a Gym where it has a type disadvantage. Its performance there will tell me whether or not it deserves to stay with me.”

    Conway shook his head. “That’s hardly fair. You know Weaviles by nature are typically glass cannons. They come in quickly, they attack quickly, but they also fall just as quickly… especially to a Pokémon that gives it a distinct disadvantage.”

    Paul cross his arms and looked away. “You may see it as unfair, but Weavile’s been with me for a long time… since I traveled Johto. I caught it as a Sneasel and brought it up to be the powerhouse it is today. But regardless of the time I invested into it, I can always find a stronger Ice-type or a stronger Dark-type to replace it if I wanted to. So if it wants to make amateur mistakes and almost kill me and itself in the process, it can do so without me.”

    “Hm…” Conway considered this, but then shrugged. “Nope, sorry. It’s still unfair in my eyes.”

    “Then it’s a good thing your eyes don’t matter,” Paul said snidely. “Must be why you wear glasses.”

    “Low blow, Paul,” Conway said with a sigh. “Low blow. –Ah! It’s on, now. Come sit down.”

    Paul rolled his eyes and sat down on the couch with Conway. He sneezed in a rather untimely fashion, as it allowed Conway to smirk and continue to believe he was in the right about Paul being sick. Paul simply grumbled and focused on the TV. “This had better be quick…”

    “Welcome back to Sinnoh Now! Your one-stop place for all topics hot and current happening in the Sinnoh region!” After the Sinnoh Now logo appeared, it faded to Rhonda sitting cheerfully at the news desk. “It’s eight minutes past the hour, so it’s time to cover what’s going on in the world of weather! Or in Sinnoh’s world, at least!” Rhonda added with a giggle.

    The screen switched to a radar map of the Sinnoh region with all present systems displayed in their designated and current areas. Rhonda was at the side to go into detail of what was going on.

    “As many of you already know, Jubilife City was slammed by a brief but powerful thunderstorm last night! Many had lost power, but as of now, it has since been restored. In its wake, the thunderstorm has left us a seemingly endless mass of heavy rain that covers Oreburgh City, Jubilife City, Canalave City, and the southern parts of Floaroma Town! Well, Floaroma Town certainly never complains when its beautiful flowers get a nice drink from the heavens, and they’ll be getting their wish as the system continues to push up north. By the evening, the showers in the Jubilife and Canalave areas should move out completely. It’ll still be cloudy, but at least it won’t be such a nightmare to walk outside, right? Am I right?!”

    “This woman is so irritating,” Paul muttered. “No meteorologist should be this peppy.”

    Conway simply chuckled to himself. “I seriously doubt she has the qualifications of a meteorologist. She’s just a weather girl who loves her job, apparently.”

    “As I said, this system is pushing north, so by nightfall, Iron Island and the Snowpoint area should start getting pounded. And as conditions in Snowpoint City have been worsening as of late with record-breaking low temperatures this week, a storm like this will only further dent that beautiful but frigid city! But you Snowpoint citizens are tough! You’ll fight strongly to the end! … on that note, any Pokémon trainers aiming for Snowpoint City should use extreme caution when heading up to challenge Candice, or better yet, wait until this system passes through completely. But be wary, trainers! You’ll only have a short time to get to Snowpoint City after that system passes, because another one is coming up behind it!” Rhonda’s announcing never ceased to be energetic, but then she suddenly looked surprised. “Oh! And we have news on another system that has branched off and is over Veilstone City as we speak!”

    At the mention of his hometown, Paul’s expressions hardened. Conway took notice to this as the report continued.

    “Yes, it seems Veilstone City is dodging a bullet, as it will be missing the majority of the heavily severe thunderstorms that are raging through Mt. Coronet. Trainers near Mt. Coronet should beware, however! There have been several reports of cloud-to-ground lightning in the area,” Rhonda spoke in an ominous voice. “And some have even reported cyclone formations! Valley-effect weather is no laughing matter, trainers! So take caution and stay indoors if you’re in that area. Thankfully, the worst parts of the storm should quickly dissipate. It’ll be much safer to train tomorrow, trust me!”

    Paul thought he should be relieved, knowing the worst parts of the storm were missing Veilstone City entirely, but for some reason still felt as if something were wrong… or had gone wrong… or was about to go wrong. Was it intuition, or was Paul simply paranoid? Paul himself had no idea. He personally didn’t believe in brotherly intuition.

    “No need to worry, Paul,” Conway sung out. “If the severe storms missed Veilstone City, that means your brother is fine, correct?”

    It was hard for Paul not to growl at Conway in annoyance. “Stealing that girl’s stupid catchphrase… ah, but yes. If he chickened out on the training and stayed home, he should be fine.”

    Conway only smiled at the mention of Dawn. In a negative or positive light, it always brightened up his mood. “You’re certain he stayed home?”

    “Almost positive,” Paul said, completely sure of himself. “He hasn’t taken his training seriously in years. He may be too nice and ridiculously naïve, but even if he were training, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to train out in areas where lightning’s striking and cyclones are about.”

    “Why don’t you give him a call so you’re undeniably positive?” Conway innocently suggested.

    Paul looked away abruptly. “That won’t be happening. Alright, we’ve got our weather news.” He stood up from the couch and turned the TV off. “Satisfied? Can we go now?”

    Conway stood up as well, yawning and stretching himself out. “Yeah, that should do for now. Weren’t you going to give Weavile that little talk, though?”

    “Ah, right,” Paul said, nearly forgetting about it due to his impatience. He brought out Weavile’s Pokéball and glared at it. He then glanced at Conway from the corner of his eye. “I’d prefer to accomplish that without your company. Make yourself useful and assemble our belongings so we can get out of here immediately after this.”

    “As you wish,” Conway conceded, distancing himself from Paul and gathering up everything that belonged to them.

    Meanwhile, Paul went to a quiet corner, all the while glaring at the Pokéball. He thought back to the earlier events that morning… and then sneezed. He truly was beginning to not feel very well… but he shook it off, because he knew he had to be firm with Weavile in order to get his point across.

    In a low, quiet voice, Paul muttered “Weavile, standby.” He pressed the button and half-heartedly tossed the ball a very short distance. Out came a fully-healed Weavile, ready for battle.

    “Weav…!” It shouted out with enthusiasm before seeing the dark, indignant look on its trainer’s face. It quickly stood at attention, finishing its introduction with a much quieter and humbled “… Vile.”

    “We’re at Canalave City now,” Paul informed. “We’ll be having our Gym Battle soon. I relied on you to get us here, Weavile, and you failed miserably. Your shortcomings almost killed both of us.”

    Weavile recoiled from Paul’s scathing tone as it began to remember the events earlier that day. Weavile had put every ounce of energy it had into that Surf and Ice Beam combination… and even beforehand, Weavile knew the mission was a risky one. It looked down to its feet in shame, being told that it did in fact fail to fully carry out Paul’s orders.

    Paul felt no remorse for what he was saying, however. He found every bit of it justified and refused to take any blame for the incident. “Look at me when I’m talking to you, Weavile!”

    Slightly stumbling from the shock of the power in its trainer’s voice, Weavile obeyed Paul and reluctantly faced Paul, now able to see the full extent of his true anger and disappointment.

    “The only reason we’re here now is because we had help from some outsiders,” Paul explained, glaring at Conway from a distance from the corner of his eye. “What you’ve done is normally unforgivable. I had considered releasing you here and now.”

    “W-Weav…!” However tough it liked to act, Weavile always broke down if it heard this kind of threat, and it hadn’t been the first time Paul threatened to release it. Distinctly, it remembered having this kind of talk shortly after Paul was completely humiliated by Cynthia in battle. However, as most of Paul’s Pokémon proved to be just as useless against the Sinnoh Champion, he let it slide, knowing it was unwise to release the majority of his team all at once simply because he lost a battle that had a forgone conclusion from the beginning.

    Annoyed that he was about to say something relatively nicer soon, Paul closed his eyes and refused to face his Pokémon. “However, I brought you here to fight against Byron. This was to test your endurance. Apparently, your endurance is lacking, Weavile. Real-life experiences have shown me that. Now I want to see if the same is true for Pokémon battles. Since I’m feeling generous today, I’ll give you another chance and keep you on with me if you help me win this Gym Battle.”

    Hearing this filled Weavile with hope. It almost couldn’t believe it was being given a second chance, and gratefully cheered “Wea-Wea!” to its trainer. However, Paul held out his hand and made a gesture to stop the victory celebration.

    “This isn’t the time to get lazy,” Paul warned. “Because you didn’t let me finish. I will stay true to my word: win the Mine Badge for me, and you can stay. But if you are knocked out and unable to battle at any time against Byron, I will release you immediately after this Gym Battle.”

    “W-Weav…” This rained on Weavile’s parade. It knew it was coming up against a primarily Steel-typed Gym: a type that was resistant to Ice as well as being super-effective against Ice. The way it had been trained was to end battles quickly against Pokémon it had advantages against before its own weaknesses could be exploited. While Weavile was an expert dodger, its endurance against super-effective attacks was pitiful. This was not just as a result of Paul’s method of training, but by the nature of the Weavile species itself.

    However, Weavile knew what was on the line now. It made some flashy poses by jabbing at the air at lightning-quick speed with its claws, telling Paul it fully understood what must be done. “Weeeeavile!”

    Paul nodded. “We’re understood, then. It seems you still know when to keep your emotions in check in a tight situations; this is a good thing. I’ll expect nothing but your best performance, Weavile.” He held up its Pokéball. “Return.”

    Having finished the so-called “pep talk”, Paul sighed and turned around and walked towards Conway, who was true to his word and gathered both of their belongings so that they could leave the Pokémon Center immediately.

    Conway still looked skeptical about Paul’s decision. “Well, this is the last call,” he said. “You’re absolutely certain you’re going through with this before taking care of your cold?”

    “Will you shut up about that already?” Paul complained, grabbing his things. “I’m not sick in the least. I…” He was suddenly cut off by coughing, and Conway raised an eyebrow at him. Paul only glared back in return. “It’s this stupid weather! Probably allergies. Let’s just get out of here, already. Before I have an even greater urge to ditch you.”

    “Umbrella-less?” Conway reminded, opening up his own large umbrella. “Hah, nice try.”

    Paul rolled his eyes as they both exited the Pokémon Center en route to the Canalave Gym. Along the way, they passed the library, which Conway couldn’t help but gaze at as they continued to walk by it.

    “Hm, since I’m doing all of these favors for you, Paul… may I make a request?” Conway asked straightforwardly.

    “Huh?” Paul looked up and realized the building they were passing by. “Oh, right. The library. Well… I’ve had enough of traveling from city to city today. Spending the night here should be fine.”

    Conway smiled. Cruel as Paul was, at least he knew how to hold up his end of a bargain. “Would you like to join me after your battle, Paul? It might be worth your while.”

    Paul huffed at such an idea. “Why would I want to do that?”

    “Because, Canalave’s Library is notorious for holding several informative books on rare and powerful Pokémon, like I told you before,” Conway reminded. “You’re certainly one who’s interested in maximizing your team’s power. There may be something of relevance to you; you never know. It’s worth a look.”

    Then, it hit Paul. Conway had said the library contained information about legendary Pokémon. His father was on the hunt for a legendary Pokémon, and Reggie was on borrowed time. Paul wondered if perhaps there was information on Regigigas within the library that would be unavailable to Brandon, who was stuck far away in Kanto. If he were to obtain the crucial information first, Paul would be the one in control of both his father and his older brother if he withheld the information. Perhaps out of mercy, he would let Reggie know about the information but withhold it from Brandon until Reggie was ready to battle him. He would find it pathetic of Reggie to be so reliant on him, but Paul wondered if he would be as thankful for such a merciful act if he and his brother switched positions. While Paul held no respect for his brother, he borderline despised his father. He would always side with Reggie before siding with Brandon.

    “Goodness,” Conway remarked. “Your mind flies off to the moon even quicker than mine does.”

    “Hm…?” Paul blinked as his thoughts were disturbed. Instead of taking offense to Conway’s teasing, he looked to his acquaintance very seriously. “Well, for once… you have a point,” Paul admitted. “I’ll go to the library with you after my Gym Battle.”

    “Oh, delightful!” Conway exclaimed, possibly overjoyed. “It’ll be so much more fun to have a reading partner.”

    Paul shook his head. “I’d rather do the research on my own. I have reasons to go there rather than filling my head with even more useless Pokémon trivia.”

    “Is that so?” Conway asked, looking interested. “I’ll have to ask you about that after your battle, because look where we are already…”

    Paul looked up and found himself facing the Canalave Gym. Holding down another cough, he grinned and looked upwards. “Excellent. Everything is going according to plan. Get ready, Byron. I’m going to wipe the floor with you.”

    “Ooh, ominous,” Conway tauntingly commented.

    Paul grumbled and made his way inside. “Shut it, Conway.” Conway himself had nothing to say to that; he simply followed the younger trainer into the Gym to witness the showdown that was about to take place.

    Elsewhere, near Mt. Coronet, the severe thunderstorms still raged on. The wind gusts were strong enough to be almost deafening and Reggie’s Pokémon were having a hard time being able to stay on the ground, let alone fight as viciously as he ordered them to.

    As they threw their attacks at each other, Reggie’s Pokémon still couldn’t quite comprehend why they had to train this way. This went against everything Reggie had ever taught them in the past, and even if it was for a special occasion… never before had they seen their trainer mentally snap.

    By this point, Infernape was severely injured. It was craving for a Potion or a Sitrus Berry, or anything… even a break from the fighting. It found itself backed up against a tree. Infernape found the will to fight its trainer and caretaker, but still could not immerse itself in the rage of battle the way Reggie forced himself to. However, all reservations had left Reggie at this point, and he was clearly no longer himself. Infernape never thought him to possibly look so fierce, but with every strike of lightning that shot across the sky, the kind breeder seemed every bit as dark as his younger brother.

    Reggie himself was battered, bruised, bloody (and still rendered with a fractured hand that he insisted on fighting with, no matter how much it hurt him), and was finally looking exhausted. He still intended to follow through on his promise: to fight Infernape until only one was left standing. He grinned to Infernape, having it cornered, as he prepared his next attack.

    “So, this is how it goes down…” Reggie uttered between breaths. “Seems like I’m the winner. That reflects horribly on you and the rest. You’ll never be successful if you can’t beat m-” He suddenly paused. Infernape looked up, feeling as if something wrong was about to happen.

    Ampharos abruptly ceased the fighting with Bibarel and Marowak to look towards the Reggie/Infernape battle scene. It could also sense disaster approaching. “Ampha!!” It screeched, putting all battling to a halt. Even Reggie slightly heard its Pokémon’s cries over the howling winds, but then came the biggest warning sign of all.

    Reggie could feel his hair standing on end.

    He whirled around quickly to see his Starter Pokémon lying against the tree. It was clear what was going to happen. But Reggie was born from a man who didn’t know the meaning of the word “quit”. If there was anything he truly inherited from his father, it was that. Instinctively, he leaped towards the tree to shove Infernape out of the immediate area, the latter of which was in too much pain to escape on its own.

    Reggie succeeded, pushing Infernape away from the tree and ended up rolling it down a hill on accident. However, it was a convenient accident, as the next thing that happened was a flash of light and a sound reminiscent of an exploding bomb.

    The shockwave of a lightning bolt striking the tree was strong enough to knock all Pokémon off their feet as they watched in horror of what they were witnessing. It was instantaneous, but to Reggie’s Pokémon, time felt as if it slowed down for them all. But eventually, the blinding light receded. Residents of the more distant areas of Sinnoh heard the ominous thunder, and those closer were witness to the bolt of lightning, though did not see it strike anything. Even in Veilstone City, the lightning was strong enough to send out a brief flash across the sky, disturbing citizens who happened to be outdoors at that time.

    Maylene was one of those people; she was in the backyard feeding the breeding center’s Pokémon. Knowing Reggie was out there somewhere, though not sure where specifically, she became concerned.

    “He’d know better than to be out in this,” Maylene acknowledged. “But it wouldn’t hurt to call him, just to make sure he’s alright…”

    It was a very good decision on the Veilstone Gym Leader’s part, because the trainer who usually knew better was now lifelessly on the ground in front of a tree that was almost completely split in half due to the lightning strike. Reggie was effectively fried; potentially fatally fried.

    His Pokémon were quick to rush over to him, and Infernape quickly climbed the hill to see what had happened. They all cried out to Reggie, hoping he would hear them, but much to their horror, he did not respond in any way. Staraptor nudged its beak against Reggie’s face in hopes of getting some kind of reaction, but its trainer remained silent and still.

    While Bibarel tried to assist Staraptor in reviving their trainer, Infernape could faintly hear a ringing sound in the distance coming from the direction of where Reggie left his belongings prior to the beginning of the training session. Knowing the Pokémon could not help their trainer alone in this desolate area, Infernape rushed over to find that Reggie’s PokéGear was indeed ringing.

    Being a Pokémon, Infernape did not exactly know how human technology worked, but had watched Reggie use such gadgets several times over the years. There was only one button to press, so Infernape went ahead and pressed it. It looked excited when it could hear Maylene’s voice from the other end.

    “Reggie? Are you there…? It’s… it’s Maylene… w-wait, what is that noise?” What she was hearing was the fierce wind still blowing about the place. It didn’t take her long to figure that out.

    “I can’t believe this! Reggie, do you have any idea how dangerous it probably is over there?!” Maylene shouted in frustration. “You know better than to do this!” Suddenly, she realized she should have heard Reggie reply by now. She grew worried. “R-Reggie…? Say something…”

    Infernape easily recognized Maylene’s voice, but knew Reggie was unable to come to answer the call in his condition. Not able to speak the human language, Infernape hoped its panicked cries across the PokéGear would get through to Maylene and tell her that something has indeed gone wrong.

    “Huh?” Maylene was confused. “Infernape, what’re you doing with Reggie’s PokéGear?” She was more surprised that a Pokémon would know how to even use one, but as she continued to listen to Infernape’s cries, she gasped. “Y-you sound… really freaked out, Infernape! Did something happen to Reggie?!”

    “Infernape, nape!” Infernape yelped, trying to make it sound like an affirmative sound. Regardless of that, its worry was well-reflected in its voice, and Maylene could tell that something had gone wrong. Immediately, she went over to a computer while continuing to talk to Infernape on the PokéGear.

    “Listen to me, Infernape, you have to stay on the line with me until I can trace where your call is coming from!” Maylene instructed. “If Reggie really is in trouble, I have to find out where you are so we can help him!”

    She was handy enough with the computer to work with it while under pressure, at least, which was a good thing. Not able to find out what happened to Reggie through Infernape worried her sick over what became of him. If he were lost, if he were already dead… but just as that morbid thought crossed her mind, she got a lock on the signal. “Got it! Thanks for staying on with me, Infernape. I’m gonna hang up now so I can call for back-up, and we’ll be right over! If Reggie’s there with you, do whatever you can to keep him safe! I’ll see you soon!”

    Maylene bit her lip nervously as she hung up and started calling for reinforcements. “Near the base of Mt. Coronet… that’s exactly where the worst part of the storm is. Sounded like Infernape was right in the thick of it, too. Oh… I just hope I’m not too late!”
  20. Shinneth

    Shinneth Fail-Leader!


    His eyes were still closed, but he was oddly conscious. At least, he was conscious enough to hear and recognize the ethereal voice calling out to him.



    “… Is that…?” He whispered out in vain. Try as he might, Reggie was unable to open his eyes, but smiled when a warm light enveloped him.

    “Open your eyes.”

    “No… way…” Reggie mumbled out of disbelief rather than denying the request. “You couldn’t be… but if you’re… talking to me, then I…”

    “Open your eyes and you will be able to see me for as long as you like,” the distinctively female voice gently told him. Already warm and comfortable, Reggie felt even better when a familiar pair of arms wrapped around his body. He remembered being held like this before. “My sweet Reggie…”

    That cinched it for him. “M-Mom…”

    He still couldn’t see her, but the arms holding him felt distinctly like hers. The soft and gentle voice perfectly matched hers. Reggie swore he could feel her long, dark violet hair against his chin once more. Though his eyes were closed, Reggie’s face could not possibly express more joy than they were now. “Y-you’re really… you came back…”

    “I am afraid that is not so,” the voice, presumably his mother’s, regretfully informed. “It was not I who came back, but you who left.”

    The smile faded away from Reggie’s face. “I… I died… trying to save Infernape…”

    Those soft, familiar hands stroked Reggie’s back comfortingly as he let it all sink in. “I’ve been lonely for many years without you and the others, Reggie… things have not turned out as I wished, did they?”

    Reggie reflected on what he had inadvertently left behind him: an emotionally-distant father who refused to acknowledge his own sons as anything more than opponents, and a younger brother who forgot his mother’s love entirely to the point where he threw the very idea of love out in favor of power. All three were far away from each other… nothing like the family their mother wished for them to continue being after her death. “I… I’m so sorry, mom…” Reggie apologized as a tear fell down his still-closed eye. “I did everything I could to keep us together, but…”

    “Sometimes, the things we wish for are unreasonable things,” his mother explained. “Before I lost my life, I constantly wished for a stronger body… one not so susceptible to the illnesses that put an end to me. But I could not change that any more than I could stop the sun from rising and setting, Reggie.”

    “Sometimes, life isn’t fair… I learned that the hard way,” Reggie admitted. “But still… I was powerless to stop our family from shattering. You were the glue who held us together, mom. I wished with all my strength to become that glue in your place… a-and I failed you. I failed you, and I failed dad… I’m even a failure in the eyes of Paul.”

    There was a brief period of silence before his mother responded. “You’ve grown so much, my dear… but even now, you say the most childish things sometimes.”

    “That’s… that’s because…” Reggie attempted to cry out. “I had to grow up so soon!”

    “You honestly wanted to become a breeder, just like me?”

    “I didn’t realize it after I lost to father,” Reggie admitted. “I wanted to continue where you left off… accomplish what you couldn’t because you died too soon…”

    “Yet you lost your life attempting to do what your father and brother do,” his mother pointed out. “Because you were so desperate to prove your point, to honor me… how can you imagine a mother would feel, knowing she lost her son like that?”

    “I-I’m sorry,” Reggie said, ashamed of himself. “I guess… I deserve to die after what I did. I threw away all of my years of breeder experience to essentially torture my Pokémon, because I knew my usual methods weren’t going to get me anywhere… but that’s no excuse for what I’ve done.”

    “I see you have yet to open your eyes,” his mother noted, without even having to look at her son’s face. “You regret going out this way.”

    “Of course I do!” Reggie exclaimed. “Now I’ll never be able to carry out your work, and Paul and dad… they’ll only get worse from here. All the same… I’ve been dying to see you again, mom…”

    “You should not be content with your position if you feel you have unfinished business in your life,” his mother noted. “Of course, I do not feel content in the least… but I was powerless to fight the toxins in my weak body. But, Reggie… you were born healthy and strong like your father. You aren’t held back with physical limitations.”

    “I’m not…?” Reggie was confused. “But… but you said I died…”

    “You’re within the light, but weigh yourself down with your regrets, your unfinished business… and never open your eyes. Because you have a strong body, you can survive this. But you mustn’t give into temptation, Reggie. Do not give up your chance to return to your life just to look at your mother,” she warned him. “In my arms… this should be enough…”

    Reggie sighed. “You think I actually serve a purpose? I single-handedly erased every good deed I’ve ever done in my life by pulling the stunt I did today! Who would even want me back now?”

    “You only believe so, but your Pokémon forgive you… your friends and family will all forgive you. They know what you are going through, and you are greatly admired for persevering,” his mother told him. “I will have a hard time forgiving you if you give in to temptation now, Reggie. No matter what you’ve done, you did so with your heart in the right place. Keep trying to succeed… because your loss now will inevitably bring the rest of the family into the afterlife sooner than you think. I can feel it…”

    “W-wait, what?” Reggie was confused, but did as his mother instructed and did not open his eyes, though he could not deny the temptation was great. “What are you talking about?”

    Reggie’s spiritual mother released her hold on her son and set her hands on his shoulders, leaning over to kiss his forehead. “You must focus on bringing your spiritual being back into your body before it is too late. I fear your brother was not born to be as fortunate as you are. You must remain alive to guide him… save him.” She began to send him down. Where, exactly, was not apparent, but in some metaphorical way, it seemed Reggie was being pulled back into the tangible world.

    “Remember that I love all of you… and I still remain alive in your hearts…”

    “MOM!!” Reggie cried out, reaching out to his mother but no longer able to feel her. In his desperation, he tried to get a glimpse of his mother before they were separated again, but all Reggie saw before him was a hospital bed with him in it in a hospital room. “Huh…?”

    He heard some joyous gasps of relief nearby. Reggie looked to his side to see all of his Pokémon and Maylene sitting next to his bed, finding it a miracle that their dear friend had come back to life against the odds.

    “Maylene…?” He asked out loud, just to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. Fighting back the tears, Maylene nodded to confirm this was reality. Reggie looked to his Pokémon. “Infernape… all of you…”

    They were battled and bruised, all worse for wear due to the training regimen (especially Infernape). The bad parts of reality flew at Reggie like bullets as he began to look depressed. Though he managed to sit up in bed all on his own, Reggie noticed the various amounts of bandages wrapped around his body. His entire right hand was bandaged up; the one he had fractured during his fight with Infernape. His other Pokémon were bandaged up appropriately.

    Just to be sure, Reggie did a full scan of the room once more. “Mom…? Where’s…”

    This worried Maylene. “Reggie… don’t you remember?” she asked quietly. “She’s…”

    “Dead…” Reggie finished for her. He could have sworn he was just talking to her, but now he knew what happened. He remembered what he did for the sake of strength and power. It was disturbing for the Pokémon and Maylene to see the usually-calm and collected Reggie shaking as he brought his hands to his face. He looked as if he were about to sob.

    “She’s… sh-she’s dead, and I… that was just a…”

    Maylene shook her head, now unable to fight back her tears now that she was seeing Reggie’s. “It must have been an awful nightmare… I’m sorry, Reggie…”

    Reggie vehemently shook his head. “N-no! It was good! She was talking to me…! She held me and kissed me… a-and she told me to keep going!”

    Now hi s Pokémon were officially worried again. Maylene was determined to keep him back in reality where he belonged, however. “Reggie, they said you were struck by lightning… you must have suffered one of those near-death experiences. Your life flashing before your very eyes, your…”

    “No!!” Reggie cried out in defiance. “I wasn’t reliving the past! She was telling me not to let myself die! None of you believe me, do you?!”

    Maylene inched back a bit; she was officially afraid, as she never saw this side of Reggie before. By now, it was a wonder if anyone had ever seen this side of Reggie, as his Pokémon certainly hadn’t. “Reggie, please…” she pleaded. “Calm down. We’re all so happy to have you back…”

    “Stop lying!” he spat. Reggie’s eyes hardened; he was looking similar to the psychotic state he was in before he was struck by lightning once more. Maylene could now see a true resemblance of Brandon and Paul within him… both inside and out. “You’re not ‘all’ happy to have me back! Where’s my dad, huh?! Where’s my brother?! Absolutely nowhere!!

    Just to show his anger and frustration, Reggie’s non-broken hand slid behind the side table and proceeded to knock everything off to crash onto the hard hospital floor. Maylene flinched as she heard something break. Under her breath, she weakly begged, “Reggie… please stop…”

    “You know why they’re not here! You know exactly why!” Reggie shouted, pointing at Maylene. “Neither of them couldn’t care less about me! I’m the embarrassment of their family! And being the weak link of this family will never give me the victory I need! I’ll make them both regret the-”

    “What’s going on here?!” shouted a Nurse Joy approaching the scene. She noticed the mess Reggie had made and the furious state he was in. “Oh, thank goodness, you survived!”

    Maylene rushed over to Nurse Joy. “He’s alive, but he’s snapped! I-I don’t know what triggered it! What’s wrong with him?!”

    Nurse Joy looked shocked at this, but regained her calmness quickly. “Perhaps that’s the anesthetic wearing off…”

    Maylene flinched as she watched Reggie continue to destroy whatever he could get his hands on. “With all due respect, Nurse Joy, I don’t think pain’s the only reason! This isn’t like him at all…”

    “Perhaps you’re right,” Nurse Joy admitted, taking out a syringe full of powerful anesthesia. “Regardless, we’ll need to calm him down before we can do a proper diagnosis. Can you help restrain him for me, Maylene?”

    Initially, the thought frightened her, but her Lucario also happened to be present at the time, and he glared at her. That was enough to straighten her out.

    “Lucario and I can both do it; no problem. Do what you have to, Nurse Joy. Let’s go, Lucario!”

    Both Gym Leader and Pokémon restrained Reggie from both sides, but were surprised at the hidden physical strength Reggie possessed. He was harder to hold back that it looked. “P-please hurry!” Maylene begged as she struggled. “I didn’t think he had this kind of strength within him…!”

    “Of course,” Nurse Joy replied, going over to inject the syringe into Reggie’s arm. Within moments, Reggie’s resistance stopped and slouched, looking and feeling limp. “There. That should keep him sedated long enough for us to figure out what’s ailing him.”

    Maylene stepped back, now looking upset. “In all of the years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him fly into a fit of rage before… his dad and brother covered that area well enough. But Reggie… huh?”

    Infernape tapped Maylene to get her attention. “What is it, Infernape?”

    “Innnnfer,” it mumbled, gesturing to its own wounds before pointing to Reggie’s.

    While examining Reggie, Nurse Joy paused. “I believe Infernape is trying to remind you about the wounds Reggie sustained prior to getting struck by lightning. The patterns matched Infernape’s perfectly.”

    Maylene gasped and glared at Infernape. “What?! How could you do that to your own trainer when he’s-”

    “You didn’t let me finish,” Nurse Joy interrupted. “Reggie was undoubtedly attacked by Infernape several times. But at the same time… the nature of his fractured hand seems to be self-inflicted.”

    Infernape nodded.

    “On the other hand, Infernape was also injured although it was not struck by lightning. While you were in the waiting room, we analyzed the wounds of all the Pokémon, and…”

    “And? What?” Maylene asked, not sure if she wanted to know.

    “All of the Pokémon aside from Infernape were fighting each other. If Reggie was out training like you said, that isn’t out of the ordinary. But the beating that Infernape suffered… all of that came from Reggie himself.”

    Maylene could almost feel herself going faint. “What…? So then… then you two were fighting each other…?” She looked down with a pained look to Infernape. With a solemn nod, Infernape answered her question without a word.

    “Reggie must have requested it himself,” Nurse Joy speculated. “Especially after seeing that fiery attitude before we sedated him… he’s hit a sudden violent streak contrary to his nature.”

    “You… mean to say that…” Maylene uttered before sitting down, but her eyes were wide open. “Reggie was like this before the lightning struck him?”

    Nurse Joy nodded. “I’m afraid so. He didn’t act strangely around you before leaving his breeding center in your care, did he?”

    “Not at all!” Maylene exclaimed. “He was the perfectly happy, casual, normal Reggie we all knew and loved… from the moment I arrived at this place and well after he left it to me. Thing is, it hasn’t even been a full day since he left to train…”

    “Would you say he’s had a stressful life?” Nurse Joy asked her as she continued to examine her sedated patient. “I’m aware his mother died a few years ago… his father is that famous Frontier Brain…”

    Maylene sighed. “He’s handled his life better than I would’ve if it were me in his shoes. The family’s split apart and hated each other ever since she died. I can’t imagine the responsibility Reggie had to undertake with Paul and the other Pokémon once his father left for Kanto. And after all that, Paul just totally disrespects him, and their dad hardly tries to interact with them anymore… all because neither of them can defeat him in battle. It sounds like overwhelming stress to me. I don’t know how Reggie pulled through that kind of thing all his life with a smile… and that sweet personality.” She looked to Nurse Joy. “Why, do you… do you think all of that was just a lie? That Reggie never was that nice guy?”

    “Never!” Nurse Joy insisted. “However, enduring immeasurable amounts of stress and holding it all in can be… very unhealthy, both for the body and mind. Everyone has a breaking point. And if this kind of personality is in his genes combined with a hard family life, then… we could be looking at something far more serious than an innocent young man who just seriously needs to vent.”

    “Wh-what… are you saying, Nurse Joy?” Maylene nervously asked. Again, she feared the answer.

    Nurse Joy looked to the young Gym Leader sternly. “We’ll need to run more tests, but I’ll give you a preliminary diagnosis now, since the evidence is pointing in this direction: Reggie… most likely has borderline personality disorder. There may or may not be a link to bipolarity or dissociative personality disorder. We may need him to be fully conscious before we know all of the details… but signs are pointing in that general direction.”

    “All this time…?” Maylene looked down and suddenly felt guilty, as if she should have caught onto this before even though she’d never seen Reggie act like anything other than ordinary Reggie.

    Nurse Joy looked to the sedated young man with pity. “For now, all I can say is that it will be a long road to recovery for Reggie if he wants to overcome this… and he won’t be able to do it alone.”

    ( TBC )

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