Notes: I know I'm taking a pretty big risk by posting another story, but... yeah...
This is the offical third story in my series of works involving my original trainer, Lisa Northwood, and follows the events in my story, A Coordinated Investigation.
A few of you may recognize the prologue to this as an unpublished one shot from last year. However, I've made changes to it and expanded it into a short chaptered work that further explores the issues involved.
Thanks to Haruka of Hoenn for reading over drafts and suggesting changes.
This is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and numerous references to drugs and criminal activity. It is also advised that fans of Red (from the games) use discretion due to the story line and how he is portrayed.
Once, I had it all. Fame, glory, riches beyond compare.
Then, it was all gone. Well, except for my riches. That, they couldn’t take away. But everything else was gone. I, a former Pokemon League Champion, had been cast aside like yesterday’s trash. But, you know? Revenge is a dish best served cold. In this case, on the frozen peak atop Mount Silver. Today, in this harsh setting, this girl’s gotta do what this girl’s gotta do. And someone’s gonna get what’s coming to him.
Mine is a tale of a fall from grace that happened so quickly and was so unusual that I wouldn't believe such a thing could ever happen if I didn't experience it firsthand. Something like this never, never fades from your memory. It's still as clear as if it had happened yesterday.
Five years ago, I was on top of the world. I, a young ten year old girl from Pallet Town, had risen to the occasion. Against all odds, I had made it. Becoming champion in the male-dominated world of Pokemon training. And of course I picked the wrong time to begin my journey, right when the sinister Team Rocket was beginning to put its plans for world domination into motion. But hey, I wasn’t gonna let them ruin everything I was working toward. And since the police in Kanto were, and probably still are, woefully inadequate, I took it upon myself to take care of the Rockets. And took care of them I did, breaking apart their Pokémon smuggling operation at Celadon’s Game Corner as well as freeing the Silph conglomerate’s headquarters from their clutches. And yes, that did require me to stand up to their leader. Giovanni seemed like a daunting adversary, but my Pokémon and I were able to overcome even his powerful team and break up the organization for good.
Then there was defeating the eight Gym Leaders, each with their own personality and approach to battle, forcing me to adapt to each of them in order to prevail. And though some were fairly straightforward, others - especially toward the end - proved to be quite the challenge. Sabrina and Blaine employed cunning tactics and it was difficult to match wits with them, while my old nemesis Giovanni went at me with raw, overwhelming power. But my Pokémon always managed to seize victory with their skill and power.
Once I had all eight badges in hand, there was the matter of the Elite Four. From the wily and calculating Lorelei, a trainer that I've always held in high regard, to the enigmatic caped dragon master Lance, the four of them put me and my Pokémon to a test unlike any we had experienced before. But again it was our combined determination and capability that pulled us through, and we finally surpassed the Elites and took down my long-time rival to claim the title. I've never forgotten the Pokémon that helped me reach that goal. Blastoise. Nidoking. Persian. Electrode. Exeggutor. Dragonite. Together we had conquered every hurdle thrown in front of us in Kanto.
And that was it. I was Champion. For close to two years, I successfully defended my title against all comers. So, I thought I was doing pretty well for myself. Evidently, the Pokémon League thought I was doing a bit too well.
They called me into a meeting in their administrative building. There, in that ornate conference room, they flat-out told me. After Agatha had passed away and Lorelei had resigned her position, the League had held interviews to fill the vacancies. They had three highly qualified applicants: Fuschia’s Koga, as well as two people I had only heard about in the news, Karen and Will. So, to fit three people into two slots, they wanted to promote Lance to Champion and bump me out of the League. But they had a deal, which they tried to make sound so amazing. I could live and train in this cold, isolated mountain called Mount Silver, becoming this sort of enigmatic “legendary trainer” that only a few select trainers could ever face. The truth, of course, is that they just wanted to stick me in that barren mountain and out of their way. Apparently Lance was more fitting of the image they wanted than I was, and since Lance couldn’t ever beat me, this was their way of trying to get rid of me. I bluntly told them there was no deal. Why would I give up my comfortable life and title as Champion to live essentially as a homeless person?
I stormed out of the headquarters, but little did I know the League was waiting for me to make one stupid mistake in order to put their plans into motion. And that mistake was taking a vacation to visit my good friend Lisa, herself a trainer from another region. During those two weeks that I was in America, exploring their malls, indulging in their restaurants, and relaxing in their hotels with my friend, I was completely unaware that all hell was breaking loose back in Kanto.
I returned to find that my trainer ID card no longer let me into the Pokémon League headquarters, so I couldn’t take up my usual post in the Champion’s chambers. I demanded an explanation. The League denied even knowing of my existence. And sure enough, I log onto a computer and go to the League’s web site only to find out two things. First, I wasn’t even registered as a trainer anymore! Then I looked up an article on Team Rocket and it said that, “A boy named Red was responsible for the group’s disbanding after defeating Giovanni. He later went on to become Champion.”
What?! I was the one who took down Team Rocket! And last I checked I wasn’t a boy named Red. Granted, my skirt’s red, but still…
Once again I contacted the League demanding an explanation. And once again, I was denied. I flew to Celadon City and started talking to people, and sure enough, everyone I spoke to was convinced that it was this mystery boy named Red who defeated Team Rocket. Nobody even had any recollection of the younger me, the girl from Pallet Town who did everything that was accredited to this “Red” character. Not even the local Gym Leader, Erika. Not even my old rival from all those years ago. Despite our many battles we had against each other back then, he doesn't even recognize me anymore! In fact, when I tried to talk to him outside the Department Store, all he could talk about was getting revenge on this “Red” for usurping the championship from him. But that was me who beat him for the title! What the hell was going on?!
I finally got my hands on a picture of the mystery guy and I was in for another shocker. He was the young kid from Pallet Town that I remember battling against over four years ago! Back then I wondered how he even got that far with a team as weak as his was. This idiot was even dumb enough to try and use a pathetic little Pikachu against me! I don't know of anyone with a shred of common sense who would try something so obviously doomed to failure. And then it turned out he didn’t even have any badges. Why the League even let him in to battle me was beyond my realm of understanding.
And yet despite his incompetence, the Pokémon League felt the need to drag him out of whatever drainage ditch or dark alley he was living in, and basically elevate him to elite status by attributing all of my accomplishments to him instead! Needless to say, I was livid. But I think I have an idea of how they pulled it off. The League controls all the media in the region. Pokémon like Alakazam have the ability to send their psychic waves through things like radio towers and TV antennas. I suspect that the League used some powerful Psychic-type Pokémon to mess with the minds of the citizens, and used the media to spread these waves throughout the entire region. As intelligent as Alakazam is, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it had the ability to erase and replace specific parts of a person’s memory – in this case, replacing me with Red.
And that’s how the Pokémon League cast me aside.
But, I’m a determined girl, and I certainly wasn’t going to sit back and let things end this way. I visited other regions, adding new and powerful Pokémon to my team that you could never find in Kanto. I visited old haunts and new areas alike to train and strengthen both me and my Pokémon – I even took self-defense and martial arts classes. And over time I learned that Red eventually accepted the offer that had been made to me – now he was rumored to be based on Mount Silver while Lance was appointed the official Champion.
I had done all of this extensive training, and I was now even stronger than I was during my reign as Champion. But at the time I didn’t know for what reason. I couldn’t just walk in and re-challenge the Elite Four – I had been erased from their database. I wasn’t even a trainer in their eyes. And to re-register would mean having to start anew, which was out of the question as well. I wasn't gonna spend another year training and going through all the gyms again with brand-new Pokémon when I had powerful Pokémon at the ready right here, right now. I was trying to weigh all my options, but kept coming up with nothing. It wasn’t until I had a girl chat that a plan came into being. I needed to get away from the place where it all happened and have a talk with someone who I'd knew I could trust. And I knew exactly who would hear me out.
There I was, back in America, sitting in one of those nice fancy American hotels… this one was called a “Quality Suites,” I think. My old friend Lisa arrives – and in that big old station wagon of hers, you know when she arrives. She comes up with the suggestion that I go up there, bring a camera, and challenge Red myself. Afterward, I could make him confess as to what happened and broadcast it all over the news. Well, though the prospect of taking a hike up that imposing mountain didn’t appeal to me, at that point I was willing to go to major extremes to expose the truth. But how to get past the gate to Mount Silver, which you need special permission to bypass? I couldn't use the Fly technique with any of my Pokémon since I had never been to this place before and they wouldn't know the way there.
Lisa, always the resourceful one, had an idea. She has even more money at her disposal than I do, and unlike me, she had easy access to a private jet, complete with an expert pilot. After looking at topographical maps on Lisa’s laptop, we found a stretch of grassy area where the aircraft could safely land. Well, actually, she did. She's such a whiz at the numbers, she was able to precisely calculate the angle, speed, and altitude that was needed for a safe approach and landing. Now that I had a plan, and the means to pull it off, it was time to put my plan into motion. I thanked my friend and told her I’d be contacting her again soon.
As soon as I got back to Kanto, I got myself ready. I bought a bulky winter coat to put on and thick black tights to wear under my skirt. After all, my usual outfit wasn't suited at all for the task at hand… I'd freeze to death before making it halfway up the summit! I gathered up my strongest Pokémon, making sure I had all my bases covered as far as type advantages. I was up against an unknown foe, and I needed to be prepared for whatever he may or may not throw at me.
Then it was go time. Contacting Lisa one more time, we made the final preparations to put the plan into motion. At our pre-arranged meeting spot just outside Celadon, I boarded the plane that was to take me to my destination. After landing in the grassy field right outside Mount Silver, I entered and began my long, arduous trek. The unforgiving environment made me think – even if I had accepted the League’s offer they made way back when, I still would have been cast aside, albeit with my reputation still intact. I don’t imagine I’d be receiving many visitors at this place, and this kid I’m about to face probably hasn’t seen many, either.
So here I am, at the peak of this annoying mountain, facing down this Red character. My video camera is set up behind me on a rock, ready to capture this battle on film. The heavy snowfall and strong wind seem especially harsh up here at the peak. I glare at him angrily, ready to put this wannabe in his place. He looks silently at me, his eyes concealed by that same ugly ball cap he wore over four years ago. My hand goes for my Pokeball, and he instinctively grabs hold of his. It’s on! This time, losing is not an option!
So, he sends out his first Pokémon… and I was taken by complete surprise. It turns out he still hasn't evolved that idiot Pikachu! As tempting as it was to just crush the thing under my foot, I sent out my strongest Pokémon and blasted the little nuisance to kingdom come. Now, the rest of his team was fully evolved, but I have the feeling he took the easy way out as far as training them. My Pokémon easily dispatched the rest of his team without breaking a sweat.
Well, that was certainly a disappointing battle. Seriously, I have no idea where the hell they got this loser from. Having beaten his entire team in less than five minutes, I confronted him. “Tell me everything. How you took credit for taking down Team Rocket. And why everyone has completely forgotten about me. Tell me now!”
But he just stands there, completely silent. He doesn't utter a grunt. I ask again, “Explain yourself! What happened four years ago when I was replaced by you?!” Still he doesn't move or make a sound. This is going nowhere! So I pack up my camera and make my way back down the mountain, but not before giving him a nasty right hook to the face. He doesn't even respond to that! Right now, I'm completely frustrated that I couldn't get a confession out of him. All I could walk away with was the satisfaction that I beat the trainer that the whole of Kanto and Johto regarded as the “strongest.” I'm still an unknown castaway, and I have no proof.
So, suffice to say, I was pissed. I went through all that trouble, all that effort, and spent all that time. I ventured up a brutal and unforgiving mountain when I could've been relaxing comfortably at home. And I did all this for what? A meaningless victory against someone who was picked off the street and given a title he didn't deserve? What was the point in doing all that?
But being alone and hiking down a cold mountain sometimes gets you thinking. I thought back to my training days and everything I had overcome to reach the top. Thoughts of the corruption of the Pokémon League also came to mind. Questions began swirling in my mind. Was all this really worth it? Am I holding on to the past? How would the public react if I did drop this bombshell that their champion was a fraud? What's to keep the Pokémon League from doing this to me again down the road? And do I really want my good name to be associated with a League that brainwashes citizens?
I considered all the consequences, and figured it's better to just bow out gracefully and let the League continue its charade. After all I've been through, maybe that's for the best. I know the truth myself, and I can take pride in the fact that I was the one who brought down a criminal organization and rose to the position of Champion. I got there through effort and determination, not by being handed the title like Red was. He will never be half the trainer I am. But the public is convinced that he's their champion, and perhaps I should just leave it at that.
Sure, I'll be a castaway for the rest of my life, but maybe that's a good thing. I have enough money from my training days to retire with. I can live out the rest of my life comfortably, and I can pamper my Pokémon as pets and loved ones instead of forcing them to battle. Maybe I'll retire to America. My friend Lisa told me of all the great beachside communities they have near her - Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head... I can fade into obscurity and spend the rest of my days in a luxury condo overlooking the beach. That sure beats living in a cold, icy cave for the rest of my days, just to hang on to my past glory. Yeah, I'm still cast aside, but I can be comfortably and luxuriously cast aside. And that doesn't sound like too bad of a deal, now does it?
Or so I thought… until I got about halfway down the cave. I just happened to notice some crackling and squealing noises from a cave just a bit off the beaten path. Camera in hand, I went in to investigate, maneuvering over rough, rocky terrain and debris, being careful not to step on and anger the Geodude that are commonplace in these sorts of places. I took one look inside and suddenly the whole game changed. It was no longer an issue of personal pride. Now it was a matter of justice.