>>> ROUTE 30
Specks of sunlight filtered through the dense brush of the forest as it bathed the luscious greens in a golden warmth. The fresh dew of morning slid deftly off the tall spines of grass and soaked the well trodden path of Route 30. It was a quiet day, save for the squishing sound of boots as their owner walked along with a lighthearted gait. At a glance, she looked to be another young trainer out for a battle. However, this one was different. She had a purpose. One particular purpose that involved an Egg and the promise of an older woman's appreciative smile. Mickie had left the comfort of Cherrygrove City just before dawn. Her mission was crucial. Well, only as crucial as she made it out to be, really. The mission was just something to do to get her back on her feet. Anyone could go fetch an Egg, but she accepted with no hesitation. This quest was something to do. A process to kick start her journey. Before, she was moping around the town. Playing it safe. It was Bishop who nudged her towards getting out there and take charge of her fate. Literally.
Mickie's first week in Johto was one of absolute awe and excitement, followed quickly by panic and fear. She was just at the end of Route 29 when the Lockdown happened. They were trapped. All of them. In a virtual world where reality was around every corner, inside every Pokéball, where your demise could be found. You die in the game and you body outside of it shuts down too. To say there was hysteria was only the half of it. She was practically stampeded by other players as they rushed into Cherrygrove to find sanctuary. She too went a little crazy as she bundled her new Houndour in her arms and huddled in a small corner in the Pokémon Center. It wasn't until the hype died down a little that she actually moved from her cozy little spot. By then, it was four days later.
Bishop, as she named the Houndour, was restless. He needed constant stimulation and he just couldn't take the waiting any longer. So, with a rather ungraceful running start, he slammed his trainer through the open doors of the Center and out into the (virtual) daylight. That push was all she needed. Mickie was back on her feet and decided to look on the bright side of this unusual predicament. This was a challenge. She was going to become the Champion and return home to her real body. As she was enlightened by this realization, a woman came up to her, the Mayor of Cherrygrove, and asked if she would deliver an Egg to her out on Route 30. Unable to refuse that kind face, she set off to find Mr. Pokémon.
That was exactly how Mickie found herself here trekking through the wet growth of the forest.
Bishop padded happily beside her. She had found that her friend was a rather curious little fellow. He would sniff every colorful bush and explore each mysterious hole in the ground. He even stared at a perfectly normal rock for ten minutes before Mickie put herself together enough to stop laughing at the faces he was making. The Houndour kept pace with her long strides as she rushed to find this Egg.
"I wish it wasn't so wet," Mickie said with a scrunched up nose. The bottom half of her skirt was soaked to the point of being a different color entirely. Though she walked on the dirt path the grass was just too thick and hung over the sides of the walkway. She would never encounter a problem like this in one of her other games. Heck, it wouldn't ever be her walking if it was anything else. She didn't mind much though. A little water never hurt. Mickie spared a glance down at her Pokémon. He was the average looking Houndour with jet black fur with a brown underbelly and muzzle. She particularly fancied the silver armor-like pieces that clung to his forehead and back, along with the ringlets on his paws made out of the same material. He wasn't as well kempt as most though. He had a habit of running through the mud. Still, he felt a little like family to her, despite how little she knew about him.
"I wonder what moves you know already."
In her other games, she never really played with a Houndour on her team. Sure she knew a little about his stats and his evolution process, but when it came to moves she was at a small disadvantage. Might as well use deduction to figure it out.
"Most fire types start out with Ember for their first type-advantage move, especially in the first few generations. You are also a dark type so the lowest level move I can come up with is Bite." She stopped walking and knelt down. "Maybe you could show me a few?"
She scratched behind his ear and smiled encouragingly. Bishop gave off a few barks in acknowledgement and backed away from his trainer. A deep grumbling sound came from his throat, and Mickie leaped toward the left as a stream of flames erupted from the Pokémon's mouth. "Guess I was right on that one," the girl laughed as she brushed herself off.
Yet the laughter quickly died as the bushes to her side began shaking, and she knew exactly what that meant. With a loud clicking sound a wild Spinarak crawled out onto the path. Mickie will deny that she ever screamed in such a girly fashion. The flames must've attracted it here. Before either the Trainer or her Pokémon could react the Spinarak had shot a line of string at Bishop, entangling his feet and tripping the Houndour. He gave off a surprised yip that shook Mickie from her moment of terror.
The Spinarak began circling its prey, clicking furiously, and the Houndour wiggled its way out of the sticky strings. "Time to test out how well those tricks of yours work," she said uneasily. "Bishop, use Ember!"
With the same grumbling sound from earlier, fire shot from his mouth toward the Spinarak, but it was too quick. It used its String Shot attack on the ground nearby to slingshot itself to safety. It spun around like the speed of light and its long tentacles shot out towards Bishop. The tentacles wrapped around his small figure and began to squeeze, constricting the Pokémon. Mickie cried out in fright as Bishop's health bar dropped, but it only made a small dent in the green.
"Bite it!" Mickie called. Bishop growled and clamped hard with his teeth onto the tentacles. This time it was the Spinarak who wailed. Its bar too dropped a few good points.
"Now use, uh, Smog!" That's right. If her memory served her right, Houndour should know enough for that attack. Bishop discharged a plume of purple gas that enveloped the enemy, making it harder to breath. The Spinarak clicked in frustration and Mickie could make out its health bar depleting into the yellow area. Good. Now they had the upper hand in this battle. That is, if she was paying enough attention. Smog was a poison type move, and the enemy also shared that type. The Spinarak was quick to adjust itself to the new polluted air, and with another String Shot attack it pulled Bishop into the fray.
Neither she or her Pokémon could see through the growing Smog. Mickie could only make out the faint glow of their health bars, with one rapidly depleting. Terrified growls could be heard as the Houndour was at a loss of what to do. Everywhere he turned the Spinarak would shoot out from the purple thickness and use Constrict. She knew she had to do something quick. It was either win or lose. No in between. Losing meant whiting out, so that was definitely not an option.
"First real battle and already you are screwing it up," Mickie scolded herself. "You know better than this! You're a professional!"
Taking another look at the battlefield an idea began to bloom. Of course. Why didn't she think of it before? Mickie cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted into the Smog. "Bishop, I need you walk toward my voice." A whimper came in response. It just about broke her heart. "I know you're scared, but trust me. When I say the word I need you to take a big leap towards me and use that attack you showed me earlier. Aim at the Smog, okay?" This time the reply came in a health bar inching toward the red.
"Just follow my voice."
And so he did. Bishop slowly backed up to where her voice soothed him softly. She dropped into her 'mother' voice as she would call it. Soon the faint glow grew brighter and the Houndour was almost to the edge of the Smog. If there was ever a time she wished she was right, it was now. Just a few more steps... "Now!" With a mighty push on his back paws Bishop jumped backwards through the air and gave off a bright stream of flames as his Ember attack took effect. The moment the fire hit the billowing gasses it light up like a Christmas tree. Just like in her good old chemistry class. The Spinarak gave off a wailing clicking sound as it was caught in the raging fire. It didn't take long for its health bar to hit its end, and soon it glowed in raw data before whiting out completely. Wiped from existence.
Mickie couldn't help but feel instantly guilty, but that didn't stop her from pumping her fist in the air in triumph. "We did it!" She scooped up Bishop in her arms and nuzzled his furry neck. The dog barked happily and licked her cheek. The trainer giggled as she swung both herself and the Pokémon in circles. She wasn't even going to dwell on the fact that she had almost lost him and her life. That came later. For now, she was just so dang happy that they won. "Our first victory," Mickie said as she fought off the dog's assault of his wet tongue. "Good job, boy."
She set him down lightly. He was panting from the exertion of the battle and it occurred to her that he might be hungry. Pokémon probably burn a lot of calories when they use their moves. Or did they? She had to constantly remind herself that this was just a game. It all feels so real. Nonetheless, she would feed him and have a bite for herself as well. Mickie brushed a few stray stands of hair from her face before digging into her bag, retrieving a half-eaten granola bar. She pulled the oats a part and have half of the meal to Bishop while nibbling on her own.
"Now to get back to what we are really doing out here," she sighed. There was still an egg to find.