“I thought you were just going to the Pokémon Center with me.”
“Well, we’re both going to the gym, right? Why not go together?”
“You’re stalking me.”
“I’m not stalking you.”
“Waiting by my sleeping bag for me to wake up? Stalking!”
Belle stomped her feet slightly as she made her way towards the Pewter City Gym, Derrick following close behind. She hadn’t been able to shake him off. He was like a lost little Poochyena or something.
“How are your stitches feeling?”
And it didn’t help that he kept asking her that. “Fine,” she replied. “Absolutely fine. And for the next time you ask? FINE!”
“You don’t have to yell.”
Belle turned off toward the PokéMart, making Derrick turn sharply. “Hey, hey, where are you going?”
“The PokéMart. You’re going to the gym, right? Just go on ahead!”
“Nope. I’m coming with you.”
He sighed and refused to reply to anything else she said. He simply followed her around the PokéMart, ignoring her complaints even when she began ordering him to stop following her and go away. Finally they arrived at the Pewter City Gym together. Derrick opened the door for her and gestured for her to go in before he did.
The gym was dark. The only illumination was the small beam of sunlight slashing in through the open door, but this disappeared as Derrick stepped in and allowed the large door to shut behind him, throwing both of them into total darkness.
“Hello?” Belle called uncertainly, her voice more high-pitched than usual. It floated back to her on an echo, squeaky and hardly sounding as if it were hers. Hello? Hello? Hello?
“Who comes to challenge Flint, the Pewter City Gym Leader?”
Several stadium lights flashed on, momentarily dazzling Belle so that she had to lift up her hand to shade her eyes. The gym floor was the color of dirt, and rocks jutted up from it in random locations. Across the floor on a small platform stood Flint, his arms crossed as he glowered out at them both.
“My name is Belle,” Belle said, trying to sound braver than she felt. “I came to fight for my Boulder Badge.”
Flint gestured toward the platform on Belle’s side of the gym. “Step up.”
She did so, feeling incredibly nervous. Derrick went around the floor and sat himself on the bleachers to watch. “Good luck,” he whispered to her as he passed. Suddenly Belle was extremely grateful that he had insisted on following her.
A referee seemed to appear out of nowhere, holding a red flag in one hand and a green flag in the other. “This will be a two-Pokémon match,” he said, his voice booming. “Switching out is permitted between battles only. Gym Leader ready?”
“Yes,” Flint said confidently, pulling a Poké Ball out of his pocket.
“Yes,” Belle replied. She clutched Mankey’s Poké Ball in both hands.
“Go, Geodude!” Flint cried, throwing his Ball. Geodude popped out of it, hands balled into tight fists.
“Let’s go, Mankey!” Belle threw the Ball. Mankey leapt out.
“Geodude versus Mankey! Let the battle begin!”
Using a few Fighting-type moves, Mankey defeated Geodude easily. Belle found herself wondering, however, how the Pokémon levitated above the ground. She also realized, as the referee proclaimed Geodude “unable to battle” and Flint withdrew it, that this was the first time she had been in an actual Trainer battle. The thought made her hands tremble.
“Onix versus Mankey! Let the battle begin!”
“Onix, use Iron Tail!”
Belle came to her senses in enough time to yell, “Dodge it, Mankey! Use Karate Chop!” Mankey leapt onto a nearby rock as the giant rock-snake’s tail came crashing down on the spot in which he had been just moments before. The Pokémon powered itself from the rock and onto Onix’s head, chopping it right between the eyes. “Hang onto its…I dunno…head-spike thingy!” Belle cried. Mankey did as it was told, swinging itself up to stand on it.
“Shake it off, Onix!” Flint yelled.
“Hang on, Mankey! Karate Chop! Again!” Belle balled her hands into fists. She was feeling more confident, and she had worked out a strategy. That Onix was way too big for Mankey to handle on the ground, but if they just concentrated on Onix’s face and head…well, they just might win this. And anyway, Onix was making itself dizzy. This made it that much easier for Mankey to
Onix shook its head as Mankey repeatedly Karate Chopped it, disorienting itself as Mankey rained blows down. Flint seemed to catch on to what was happening. “Onix, stop shaking!”
“Bend your knees and hold on, Mankey! Brace yourself on the spike!” Belle shouted out. “Don’t stop Chopping!” She smirked across at Flint, who looked furious. Mankey had kept is balance on Onix’s head; she knew that Flint had hoped that when the shaking stopped abruptly, Mankey would be dislodged.
Onix was drooping visibly. Belle rubbed her hands together. “Let’s finish it off, Mankey! Seismic Toss!”
“Onix—!” But before Flint could shout a command, Mankey had grabbed Onix’s aptly named “head-spike thingy” and leapt off its head, swinging Onix up above him and in a huge arc before letting go, sending the Pokémon to the ground. Its head crashed into one of the giant rocks jutting up from the craggy gym floor. The rock shattered magnificently and Onix’s body lay crumpled on the ground. Mankey landed heavily nearby, shrieking and waving its arms in the air victoriously.
“Onix is unable to battle!” the referee yelled. “Challenger wins!” He swung the hand holding the red flag up in the air.
Flint returned Onix to its Poké Ball. Belle held her arms out to Mankey, who jumped up onto her platform and allowed her to hug him. Flint walked the distance of the gym floor to Belle. She leapt off the platform and stood before him, holding Mankey still.
“Belle, is it?” he asked her.
“I’d like to present you with this Boulder Badge. You fought well. Is this your first gym challenge?”
“Actually, sir, it’s my first Trainer Battle.” Belle set Mankey down and took the badge from Flint, admiring it.
“Your first…wow. Belle, I think you really are cut out to be a Trainer.”
Belle looked up at him, eyes wide. “Really?”
“Yes. You fought magnificently, especially for your first Trainer Battle. Keep going with your instincts…they’ll serve you well.”
Belle floated back to the Pokémon Center on a cloud.
To: [email protected][email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: My Gym Battle…
Hey, you two.
Yeah, my Gym Battle didn’t go so great…
It went AWESOME!!! I totally got the Boulder Baaaaaadge!! w00t!! And, Flint, the Gym Leader, said that I fought magnificently and that I’m really cut out to be a Trainer. I am SO HAPPY!!
Oh, Cassandra. *ahem* My Pokémon: Charmander (Charmy), Pidgey (Swifter), and Mankey (…Mankey. 0.o). I’m not so great at nicknaming, but whatever!!
Woo, you guys! I cannot wait till I land my mother’s Skarmory in Chicole Village, Almia! THERE’S LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LEFT!!!
Your extremely excited Trainer friend,