It had been a tough week for Rick these past few days since his dead beat brother had turned up beaten and dead. Not to mention hearing about how, just a few days after he had left to get over to Proffessor Birch, that the entirety of Rustboro had been demolished and turned to dust. This was hardly a recreational visit, considering the circumstances and the ruby gemstone sitting on the table between Rick and Birch. After what he has been through Rick could clearly say that his life was not ready to deal with anything else that was out of the ordinary. Not to say that that was going to happen though, as his home was gone, his brother dead, and the only thing connecting the two were a Terrorist Organization and a simple gemstone.
Needless to say, this wasn't Ricks best week and he was desperately hoping that he could just lie asleep and wake up to find out he has a test the next day. Thankfully he had been given the Slugma by Birch before he had left, as its fire-type attacks served a great help in destroying any of those pesky bug pokemon of Petalburg woods. There weren't that many trainers out in the woods when Rick was moving through this time, which served him greatly, since he didn't have any potions and/or antidotes on him either. He did happen to see a few shady-looking members of Team Gaia, but luckily for Rick, he was able to avoid them with proper stealth and misdirection. He was hoping to know if Norman, the gym leader of Petalburg could help him out, but the guy was out at the time and he needed to make haste or else he would risk getting to Birch too late.
"Please tell me that you have some inkling as to what this thing is and why my brother saw fit as to die to give me it."
"That's a Burst Heart — much more than a simple thing, but it looks empty. Similarly to a Pokéball, a Burst Heart is used to contain a Pokémon. Once they're out it's a different story, since if a Burst Heart breaks, the Pokémon is released. It requires perfect synchronization with a Pokémon to fuse with them and gain their abilities through a process known as Burst, and many people have been found dead trying. I can hardly recommend using it, as attempting Burst would almost undoubtedly be fatal without months, or even years of back-breaking training."
Hiei's back stiffened as he heard about how the gem could cause death to an unskilled user and he wondered just why his brother would give him something like this.
"Instead, I'd like you to keep Slugma, if not for your own protection. He seems to have taken a liking to you, too."
Rick pulled himself out of the chair and turned to leave, grabbing the Burst heart with him as he turned around, wanting to investigate more on why his brother would give him such a strange, valuable, and dangerous object. It was empty, so he wasn't even sure if he could do anything about it, much less see if there was anything worth investigating from this, but Rick was a man of thought rather than action, so he was going to need time to solve this mystery.
"You're taking it with you? I can't endorse this if you are planning on going through with it."
"Team Gaia went and killed my brother over this. I can't very well get you caught up in this on a clear conscience. I'll look further into this on my own time. If you find anything else, give me a call." Pausing a bit as he made his way, "By the way, You wouldn't happen to have a few empty Pokeballs on you, eh? Something tells me having just Slugma isn't going to keep me safe for long, especially in the wild."
Oak gestured his hand over to the top drawer of the the filing cabinet next to Rick. Opening it he found a set of ten Pokeballs inside, each unused and ready for capture. "You sure do keep yourself prepared for new Trainers, don't you?" Taking the ten balls, Rick waved goodbye to the gentle soul and made his way out, heading north to do combat with the dangers of the winter that laid between here and the two town ahead. It wasn't a straight journey from here to Petalburg, so it would take some time, but the adventure certainly would be good to help increase his experience. Birch did say that one would need plenty of experience if they were going to even attempt to use Burst, which meant he was going to be spending a while out here.
Making his way through the tall grass, Rick released his Slugma and prepared for whatever battles lied in wait for him. It didn't last long, as before he knew it, a Vanillite flew at him. Ducking from the charge, the Vanillite turned and began firing an Icicle Spear at them. "Slugma! use Ember on the Ice, melt it and then follow up with a second strike!" The first spit of fire went through, melting each barrage of ice, its heat being hotter than the cold of the Ice. The Vanillite as only fast enough to shoot two volleys, both of which were taken out by the first ember. The second ember, hidden behind the first, struck the Vanillite hard. Pokemon in this area were definitely of the weaker variety. With higher leveled Pokemon, even moves with a type advantage won't make a one-hit wonder, but being as weak as it was, its pure Ice type body couldn't handle the Fire.
There were quite a few more Vanillite to grace them with their presence after that. The second Vanillite wasn't smart and tried the same move as the one before it did. It did manage to hit a volley of five this time though and the fifth one, having no shield went right through Slugma. Luckily for both of them, Slugma's body was heated and made mostly out of Magma. The collective heat being leached off of the Slugma was far superior than the -50 degrees that a Vanillite could muster. But its level was high enough that they did have to use two Embers to make it melt away.
The third and the forth of these guys were smarter, hoping to double team them, but neither was very smart. With Rick's superior brain power, he was able to corner both of them and get them in a line together, ready for Slugma to use Flame charge on them. His Magma body, coupled with the fire covering it completely to increase his speed was an edge. Its sudden burst of speed took them by surprise and neither was prepared for what happens when you get a face first of Magma.
Luckily, they were able to get out of the first set of woods and make it to Oldale Town and heal up. As they packed up and made their way through to route 102, they came across a much more dangerous threat: A Sneasel. The Sneasel was of a pretty rough caliber and was a lot faster than anything in here. Its speed was more than twice as fast as a normal Vanillite and five times as fast as Rick's Slugma. So they needed to strategize.
Unfortunately for the Sneasel, it wasn't experienced in fighting a Slugma, as most fire types weren't made entirely out of Magma. It lunged at them with its superior speed and tried to used Quick attack to catch them by surprise before using Scratch to deal the blow. Its claw went through the magma, a little blood dripped from its thin physical body, but there was hardly enough to call one anyway, and his blood was Magma as well, burning the Sneasel as its hand went right in. As it cringed in pain from the burn, Rick commanded the Slugma to se Smog to blind it before shooting it with Ember.
While the smog did catch its eyes, it wasn't slowed down enough to be taken by the hit. It leaped back and tried to gain some ground. Rick and Slugma pursued, trying to keep the momentum on their side. The Sneasel dropped to one knee, feigning weakness. Taking the chance, Rick commanded a Flame Charge. Leaping towards the Sneasel with his flame covered body, the Slugma was prepared to win, but the Sneasel was preparing a Faint Attack, leaping right at the Slugma. It prpared its fist to land right into whatever organs it thought it had, but it couldn't make it. The pain of the Burn and the Smog, plus the fire blcoking its way to Slugma's body, plus the very magma its body was made of, when the Sneasel finally struck the body, its body was hit with an Ember and was done for.
Rick, taking the chance, and knowing that he was going to need a striker on his team as well as a Tank, threw a Pokeball at the grounded Sneasel, hoping that the Pokeball would work.