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Contents‘Um… Now, a speech from the guest of honor,’ A young female spoke into a microphone to a room filled with the top trainers of Sinnoh. She had long blonde hair, and was dressed in a complete black outfit. And although she tried to, she couldn’t hide the nervousness in her voice. ‘Um… Let us clap for him.’
§1: A Father Figure
§2: Childhood Friends
§3: Who's That Chick?
§4: Where She Belongs
§5: Start Swimming
§6: We're Standing Firm!
§8: Control The Storm
§9: The Gathering
§11: A Long Time Ago
§12: Leading Sinnoh
§15: The Battles Ahead
§16: Are We Friends?
§17: Feel The Heart Beat
§18: What Power Means
§19: I’m Not The Reason
§20: Broken, Like Me
§21: Unneeded Powers
§22: I Cannot See
§23: Blind Again
Gym Leaders Arc
§24: I Can Breathe Now
§25: A New Spirit
§26: For The Memories
§27: The Warm Welcome
§29: A Temporary Hue
§30: To The Shade
§31: The Lessons
§32: A True Test
§33: The Softer Side
§34: You’re Late
§35: Here’s To You
§36: Not A Solution
§38: What You’ve Learnt
§40: For Now
§42: I Wish They’d Stop
§43: Torturous Aspiration
§44: A Simpler Time
§45: How You’ve Changed
§46: Your Fault
§47: Discovering Willpower
§48: Up To You
§49: My Turn To Win
Her face became burning red as she heard her latest statement through the speakers, and a few chuckles were released. But she soon returned to her seat, and gave the stand to a large muscular man wearing only a pair of blue pants, orange shoes, and what seemed like a ripped mask.
‘Thank you,’ He said with a hint of accent in his voice. ‘But I think the real guest of honor is you, Cynthia! You’ve been the Champion for less than a month and you’re still handling things amazingly! You’re even younger than me, and stronger!’
Cynthia blushed again when everyone clapped for her. ‘But to all of Sinnoh,’ The man spoke once more. ‘No human or Pokémon can survive without water, yet water can sometimes cause great suffering,’ Everybody in the room became confused, and looked at each other to see if anyone had understood what the man was trying to say. ‘This is where it gets exciting!’
Everybody leaned forward, to hear what the man had to say, even though they still could not comprehend his random thoughts. ‘Thank you for accepting me in your ranks!’ He shouted into the microphone, causing everyone to jump out of shock in their seats. ‘I am flattered that you would consider me good enough to become a Sinnoh Gym Leader! Even though I’m from another region, I have seen Sinnoh as where my home really is! I, Crasher Wake, The Torrential Masked Master! I will become a great Gym Leader worthy of the Sinnoh region!’
The room was silent, and Crasher Wake showed disappointment; he had expected the crowd to cheer as in all of his wrestling matches. ‘Well… Um…’ Cynthia stuttered as she took the microphone back. ‘It’s time to present the guest with his gift…’ She reached into the empty area underneath the microphone stand while Crasher Wake tried to sneak a look.
After some seconds of rummaging, elbowing Crasher Wake’s knee, bumping her head against the wood of the stand, and a very childish scream, Cynthia produced a Pokémon egg. It was a normal-looking Pokémon egg, the same as all the others obtained from the Day Care. She handed it to Crasher Wake and stuttered her way out of the scene and back into her chair.
Everyone congratulated Crasher Wake and shook his hand. The trainers formed a line in no specific order, and none of them took more than thirty seconds talking to the new Gym Leader. But he wasn’t prepared for a punch to be delivered to him by a young girl.
The four-year-old girl had short pink hair and glowing eyes of the same color. She gave a very arrogant grin and slowly prepared to punch again. ‘Excuse my daughter,’ An average-looking man said as he held his daughter from delivering another punch. ‘This is Maylene; she’s quite the troublemaker. I’m the Veilstone Gym Leader. Nice too meet you.’ He offered his free hand to shake, and Crasher Wake accepted it.
‘I will beat you! And be Gym Leader!’ The little Maylene said and punched again with her free hand. ‘I am strongest than you!’
‘I’m sure you are!’ Crasher Wake laughed and brought his whole body in level with Maylene’s. His eyes met her eyes, and the determination in them almost disturbed Crasher Wake’s balance. ‘I can tell that you’ll be the strongest. Strongest than all of us!’ He reached for his egg and handed it to Maylene. ‘This is yours. An early gift from me to you for becoming a Gym Leader in the future.’
It was another rainy day in Route 212. The water smashed against the mud and caused everything in close proximity to be covered in it; Riolu and Floatzel were no exception.
The orange Pokémon with the two tails, an inflation device around his body, and fins attached to his hands covered his body with a great mass of water and jumped seemingly an impossible distance for such a Pokémon. His tails began spinning as he descended, causing the water covering him to spin as well, and he launched himself at an unmatched speed before he hit the ground. His tails were spinning more rapidly with every second and increasing his speed, and the water around him left a straight trail behind him that collided with the ground as he went forward.
The Floatzel smashed against a small blue and black Pokémon. The Riolu had red eyes, long arms compared to his size, swift black feet and a singly blue tail. The small Pokémon tried to hold Floatzel from connecting with his body, but his attempts failed. As soon as Floatzel’s Aqua Jet connected, the water exploded forwards and covered Riolu. Floatzel’s head pushed Riolu back a few paces and eventually flew him away towards his trainer, who jumped forward to catch her Pokémon.
A slightly older Maylene with a band-aid on her nose held her Pokémon in her arms and rubbed his bruised belly. ‘We didn’t lose,’ she said after Riolu looked at her with obvious concern in his eyes. ‘There’s no win or loss in training.’ Riolu smiled and she smiled back. Her head rose up to see her opponent.
Floatzel was looking with a different kind of concern in his eyes when his trainer, Crasher Wake, approached him and petted him. ‘We didn’t go too hard on you guys, did we?’ He said. Crasher Wake had lived enough time in Sinnoh for his accent to become faint, but it was still clear at some points.
‘We’re as strong as before!’ Maylene said excitedly. ‘We will even become strongest than this!’
Crasher Wake laughed and returned Floatzel to his Poké Ball, while Maylene carried Riolu in her arms. She followed her mentor through the rain as he talked. ‘You’re old enough now to know the difference between Strongest and Stronger!’ He laughed. ‘About time to say it the correct way, eh?’
‘Strongest is my catch phrase!’ Maylene shouted over the rain, even though it wasn’t necessary.
‘It’s a word, not a phrase,’ he laughed again, only harder this time, which also seemed unnecessary. ‘You’re a real fighter!’
Maylene grinned and let out an excited ‘Yeah!’ that Riolu helped her with as they both raised their right fists. By then, the group had reached Pastoria City, a city full of trees and fresh grass due to the close proximity it had with the rain. Crasher Wake opened the door of his Gym for Maylene and they walked to his room at the far end of the Gym. Crasher Wake had to press a few buttons to reach the Gym Leader spot, and a few secret buttons to open a door in the wall behind him that led to his room.
Maylene sat on one chair and let go of Riolu, who sat down on the floor quietly awaiting food. Crasher Wake noticed him and grabbed a small bag of berries; he handed it to Riolu. ‘Don’t eat too fast,’ he laughed again. ‘And don’t finish it. Keep some for your trip back to Veilstone City.’
He then grabbed his own chair and dragged it to sit in front of Maylene, who was rubbing mud off of her bare feet. ‘How are your parents?’
Maylene kept rubbing at her feet as she answered. ‘They’re fighting again,’ she sighed. ‘I don’t know why. They always go to their room and fight and think I can’t hear them. But I do and I sometimes hear ‘Money’ and they get too loud and I go outside and train and…’ She paused to catch her breath before continuing again. ‘And then I go outside and train and then come here when and train with you. Dad knows I come here to you sometimes, but mom always worry about me being alone outside. Do you have food?’
Crasher Wake got up and grabbed a microwaveable berry pie from his fridge. He stuck it in the microwave after removing the wrapping and setting it on a plate. ‘Just remember that you can always come here whenever you want to,’ he said. ‘You know that, right?’
‘I got mud on the floor,’ Maylene said even though the mud was visible ever since they had entered the Gym and she was just stating the obvious. ‘Do you clean?’
‘I just clean this room with Floatzel, but the rest of the Gym I just flood to clean!’ He laughed again and produced a fresh-looking pie from the microwave. The smell of berries overwhelmed the room and Riolu almost abandoned his food for this new meal. The purple pie appeared to shine as Crasher Wake carried it underneath the white lights of the room. He handed it to Maylene who almost jumped into it. ‘Your hands are muddy!’
She let out a sigh of frustration and got up to wash them. Crasher Wake dragged a table and set it between their chairs, put the pie on top of it, produced some utensils from a nearby drawer, and pushed it all to Maylene as she returned to her seat.
The utensils proved useless as Maylene dug into the pie with her hands and shoved large quantities into her mouth. Crasher Wake laughed while Riolu looked on in regret; Maylene destroyed a perfect pie! The Pokémon returned to his own food before the back of his head received what seemed like a ball of pie that pushed his forward and onto the floor. Maylene laughed as Riolu got up and threw some berries back, and soon enough the pair had ended up with one quarter of the pie on the floor, half the berries smashed against the walls, and the remaining divided between their stomachs.
Crasher Wake was worried at first when he saw Maylene eating berries as they were usually only eaten by humans, but throughout his time with her, he learned that she was no ordinary girl. There was no female in all of Sinnoh that was even slightly similar to her, not in the entire world either.
‘Are you ready to go back home?’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I want to visit Veilstone again, so I’ll come with you.’
‘We can train on our way back!’ Maylene jumped up in excitement and Riolu copied. ‘Come on! Let’s go! Run run run run run!’
Maylene punched the door open and jumped head first in to the waters of the Gym while Riolu jumped from one platform to the other. She eventually reemerged from the water and walked out of the door. She shook her entire body and splashed water all over Riolu. Crasher Wake appeared through the door behind them and grabbed them both. He put Maylene on his left shoulder while Riolu sat on his right. ‘We’re not training! We’re running! Are you ready?!’ He shouted.
‘Yes!’ Maylene shouted in happiness as Crasher Wake ran forward through the city aiming to reach Veilstone City quicker than ever. The wind caused Maylene’s pink hair to fly behind her in the same manner as Riolu’s ears.
For a few moments, Maylene forgot about her worries. She forgot about her parents, about becoming the strongest, about taking her father’s position as a Gym Leader, about one day defeating Crasher Wake, and every other bit of information that ever crossed her mind throughout her life. Her entire concentration was on the wind. At that moment, she became carefree again, just like the time where she received Riolu as an egg from Crasher Wake.
She didn’t know what the future held for her nor cared. It was all about her having fun with her life. She wrapped her arms around Crasher Wake’s neck as he began to pick up more speed. The receptionist at the Hotel Grand Lake shouted at them as they ran past; Crasher Wake had apparently knocked a few items and people down, which made Maylene give out her childish laughter. They ran through Route 214 and stopped as soon as they reached Veilstone City.
Crasher Wake panted heavily as he put the pair down. ‘I shouldn’t be this tired!’ He said and stood up straight. ‘I am strong!’
‘But I am Strongest!’ Maylene grinned and punched Crasher Wake, and he acted as if she threw him back a few paces. ‘Let’s go! Mom has dinner for sure!’ She grinned again and ran towards the Gym. Riolu ran after her and Crasher Wake followed. She burst through the door of the Gym, jumped over a few obstacles, evaded a few punches, and finally reached the Gym Leader spot, where she began to hit a few secret buttons.
‘Why did they try to punch you?’ Crasher Wake asked and looked at the other Trainers in the Gym. ‘Do you want me to punish them?’
‘I told them to do that!’ Maylene laughed. ‘I told them to help me become the Strongest! They said yes, and now I have to not get hit by them!’
‘What if one of them actually hits you?’
‘Then I hit back!’ Maylene grinned and punched Crasher Wake, something she got used to doing. ‘Just like you let me punch you to train! I let them punch me to train!’
‘Maylene, is that you?’ A delicate female voice came from the other side of the door and it slowly opened up to reveal her mother. ‘Crasher Wake, what a nice surprise. Please, do come in.’ She held the door open for the pair, and picked Riolu up as if he was am infant.
‘What’s for dinner, mom?’
‘Honey, I can smell the berry pie. You also have stains; so don’t deny it, you already ate’
Maylene and Crasher Wake exchanged laughs. ‘I’ll go catch up with your father!’ He said and walked away to her parents’ room, while Maylene followed her mother to the kitchen, where she was cooking, as far as Maylene was concerned, food.
‘How was your training today, Maylene?’ She said as she stirred something that was cooking on the oven.
‘Very good,’ Maylene smiled. ‘I’m sure I’ll become the next Gym Leader! You will give me food, right?’
‘I’m sure you will,’ she said. ‘You’re a very strong young lady, you can become the next Gym Leader. But honey, why don’t you aim higher? I’m sure you’re strong enough to become the Champion. Cynthia is young, and she managed to do it. You can do it as well. You can defeat her.’
‘Cynthia is a cool person,’ Maylene responded. ‘I liked watching her battle. I really like her hair.’ Maylene’s mother almost burs into laughter at the last statement, as Maylene was never the type of girl who took an interest in these issues, and hearing it just seemed odd. ‘I can defeat her,’ Maylene continued. ‘But I don’t want to! I want to make daddy proud by taking his position!’
Maylene held her fists up and crossed her arms to shape an X in front of her chest. ‘I will also become an Aura Master!’ She shouted and stretched her arms out, as if she was firing some sort of an aura attack. She then stood normally again and smiled at her mother. ‘You are giving me food, right?’
‘Sure thing, honey,’ her mother laughed and walked towards her. ‘I will feed you until you become the Strongest and even after you become all grown up.’ She flicked at Maylene’s forehead and smiled. ‘Because even when you grow up and become the Strongest, you will still be my child.’
Crasher Wake left back to Pastoria the next day after spending the night telling stories of his wresting matches to Maylene. It took her some time, but she eventually fell asleep. Her mother insisted on Crasher Wake spending the night in the guest room, as it was too dark outside, which seemed absurd considering that Crasher Wake could take care of himself.
‘Good morning, sleepy girl.’
‘I dreamed that I kicked Crasher Wake all across Sinnoh,’ Maylene said while rubbing her eyes. Her mother let out a fragile giggle and shifted her attention back to making breakfast. ‘I also became very strong and made a new city called MayleneWorld. I became Gym Leader and very strong. Everyone loved me because I was strong.’
‘That’s sweet,’ her mother said. ‘Come here and have breakfast.’ Maylene walked up to a small chair and pulled it to the kitchen, where her mother had made something edible. She began munching away at it while her mother talked. ‘I also got a call from dad’s friend in Snowpoint, Candice is going to come to Veilstone. Isn’t that exciting? You haven’t seen her in a long time!’
‘Yeah!’ Maylene exclaimed. ‘But what do I do? She likes clothes and hair and makeup and looks and beauty and I don’t.’
‘But you’re still friends.’
That was partially true. Maylene and Candice weren’t close friends at all; everything that happened between was awkward and their conversations were shallow. Maylene didn’t like hanging out with Candice, but she has proved to be a good battler who was always willing to learn from Maylene, as well as teach her some skills.
‘I guess I can go play with her,’ Maylene said as she took the last bite of what she finally recognized as a sandwich, though the ingredients were still unknown. ‘When will she be here?’
‘In a few hours,’ her mother answered. ‘But I don’t want you to just spend your time battling; get to know each other.’
‘I will, mom,’ Maylene said, got up and ran to hug her mother. ‘Thanks for the food. I will go outside now!’
Maylene ran off before her mother could finish her generic ‘Be careful!’ sentences. She flung the door wide open and ran through the Gym. She jumped over obstacles, avoided a few kicks and punches, and got out of the Gym.
It was as sunny as ever. Maylene looked at her hometown and couldn’t help but feel proud. The future for Sinnoh was looking bright. Many greeted her as she walked around the town. After years of walking barefoot, she learned to ignore the pain, and slowly her body became accustomed to it.
She walked towards the meteorites that rested on the eastern side of the city. The four shiny rocks glittered under the sunlight, the gray reflecting on the small craters surrounding them, and the wind moving some of their dust around. Maylene was mesmerized by the sight, and reconsidered the differences between her and Candice; she obviously cared for beautiful things.
‘Maylene,’ a male voice called out to her, but the meteorites captivated her too much for her to notice it. ‘Maylene!’ He said again and she immediately recognized the voice.
‘Daddy!’ she jumped up and turned to see her father standing with a Poké Ball in his hand. ‘Good morning!’ She ran up to her father, and in a swift movement jumped up to kick him. Her foot connected with his chest, and the pair fell to the ground.
‘I just wanted to bring Riolu to you,’ he laughed. ‘You should really stop kicking me whenever you see me. I was young when I told you to start, but I’m not anymore.’
‘You’re still young,’ Maylene said. ‘Your hair is not white yet.’
‘Here’s Riolu,’ he rolled the Poké Ball over to Maylene and got up to dust himself off. ‘Have fun with Candice, and be careful.’
‘Sure thing daddy.’ Maylene wanted to talk more, but her father had already turned his body away from her and walked off. She sighed and looked down at the Poké Ball that was sitting in front of her.
She grabbed it and got up, dusted herself off in the same manner as her father, and sent out her Riolu. The Pokémon formed and yawned for what seemed like aged. ‘Are you ready, Riolu?’ Maylene asked excitedly and Riolu looked at her with a confused look. ‘Candice is coming!’
Riolu smiled and let out a cry of excitement as well. Maylene began running and he ran behind her. The pair seemed to just want to run around the city in circles, which was another form of training they would do. He feet made light sounds against the ground beneath her, her hair started flying farther behind her as she increased her speed, and a smile spread across her face as she saw Riolu beating her.
‘You’re getting faster!’ she shouted. ‘But I am getting faster too!’ She increased the speed in which he legs moved, and took even longer steps. She looked as if she was jumping from one point to the other. Her feet made louder sounds whenever she hit the gravel, her body started tiring, but she managed to run past Riolu.
The Pokémon copied her actions, and slowly started catching up to her again. Maylene looked back at the Pokémon with another wide smile, unaware of the Department Store in front her. She began laughing and closed her eyes, which made Riolu’s frantic arm waving for her to look forward useless. She opened her eyes after a few seconds to see that her surroundings has changed. The horizon lost the trees and adapted walls, the ground felt softer, and a faint sound of music surrounded her. She realized that she had gone through the automatic doors, which meant that she was heading for the counter.
But he realization came too late. Before Maylene could even think of slowing down, her legs hit a hard surface and her body flipped upside down. She could see the other end of the counter attached to the roof and everything else hanging upside down. Her back smashed against the opposite side of the counter, and she let out a scream of pain before falling to the ground.
A few people ran up to her and gasped as they realized that she was Maylene, the Gym Leader’s daughter. Riolu ran up to her and pulled her head, which seemed odd at first, but her body slowly moved after the Riolu. Her legs fell to the ground, her body straightened, and after Riolu jumped onto the side Maylene crashed into, her body became in a sitting position.
A few seconds later, she opened her eyes to hear gasps of relief. ‘I’m not that hurt,’ she said. ‘Just a scratch, it’ll go away.’ More gasps of relief, followed by a few people leaving the scene. ‘Sorry about that,’ she chuckled nervously. ‘Didn’t want to make problems. Riolu, let’s continue training!’
She jumped up and over the counter. Riolu followed her through the door and back outside. ‘How long have we been running for?’ She asked, even though she knew that Riolu wasn’t able to answer. The light of the day changed since she last remembered it; she never gave attention to her surroundings while running. ‘Candice should be here soon, I think.’ Riolu nodded and the pair walked back to the Gym, where, as expected, Candice was waiting.
She was as tall as Maylene. Candice had black hair tied into two braids the extended out, which matched her brown eyes. She wore a white shirt and a short orange skirt that was the same colour as her shoes. She had a blue sweater tied around her waist and a blue bowtie that matched her striped socks.
Beside her was a round black Pokémon covered in a yellow and orange triangular cape. She had small blue eyes and round feet and hands. The Snorunt noticed Maylene and pulled at Candice’s socks slightly, which cause her to turn her head a little and shift her attention from Maylene’s mother to Maylene.
‘Maylene!’ the smile on her face broadened. ‘I just got here! How are you?’
Maylene’s mother walked out of the scene after finishing her talk with Candice and went to watch a show about berries. Candice walked up to Maylene and shook a little, confused as to whether or not to hug her.
‘I’m good,’ Maylene responded. ‘How are you?’
‘Just feeling a little hot,’ she laughed. ‘You don’t have the snow that we have in Snowpoint.’
‘Yeah, we don’t,’ Maylene laughed as well. ‘What made you come here?’
‘I was going to Hearthome to see a Pokémon Super Contest! Why don’t you come with me?’
‘I’m fine with you going,’ her mother added. ‘I talked with Candice about it before you came here. You can go if you want, just be careful while on the road.’
Candice reached out and grabbed Maylene’s hand. ‘We will have fun!’ she said and dragged Maylene behind her. ‘Let’s go, Snorunt!’
Snorunt followed them, and Riolu was the last to leave the house. Candice let go of Maylene’s hand, and the pair began running through Veilstone, towards Hearthome. She couldn’t understand why she was going with Candice. Maylene has never been interested in these types of contests; she preferred battling. But having no friend but a foreign wrestler who is old enough to be her dad didn’t seem enough.
Candice was always warm and friendly to Maylene, who she didn’t object to that. Even though it was awkward and weird, she still appreciated their shallow friendships, and hoped that the contest would strengthen it.
Before realising it, she was already in Hearthome City. ‘We really ran fast,’ she said. ‘Is that even possible?’
She turned around to see that Candice wasn’t there, but Riolu was. ‘Were we too fast for them?’ Maylene laughed. ‘Let’s go back to join them again.’ Riolu nodded and turned around, ready to run back towards wherever they left Candice and Snorunt.
A beam of ice suddenly drew itself from the horizon and towards Maylene’s feet. A small dot began approaching them, and it was soon evident that it was Candice and Snorunt. The Pokémon skidded across the ice, with Candice right behind him. She looked as happy as Maylene was when Crasher Wake ran with her on his shoulder. Her hair blew back the way she came, and her smile was wide.
Maylene remembered the time when she was careless for a few moments in time, and relived it. She smiled and jumped onto the ice. The force made her skid across it towards the approaching Candice. Snorunt jumped off of the trail to avoid being crushed by the two girls.
‘I won’t get off!’ Candice shouted. ‘You should give up!’
‘I never give up!’ Maylene shouted back. ‘You’re the one who should get off of the ice.’
‘We’ll crash into each other!’
Candice bent her knees a little, which seemed to increase her speed. Maylene struggled to stay on the ice, but she didn’t want to fall off and allow Candice to win this. The girls approached each other. Candice flowing elegantly across the ice, one leg in front of her and the other bent awkwardly behind her.
‘If you don’t get off I might knock you over!’
The distance became shorter. Candice’s right foot was mere meters away from Maylene’s. Panic overtook the latter, and before she knew it, she was on the grass again. Candice passed her, laughing childishly as she waved for Snorunt to jump back onto the ice.
It was at that moment that Maylene realised something; she can’t be the Strongest without learning from Candice.
Their friendship was just starting.
Maylene has been to Hearthome City before, but she had forgotten how beautiful it is. She didn’t expect it to be this entertaining for someone who is more interested in battling, but the display of beauty and coordination in the contest excited her; it showed a whole new side of Pokémon to her.
She sat between Candice and some loud girl who booed Fantina, the Hearthome City Gym Leader, when she won with Loony the Drifblim. Candice walked out with the crowd and Maylene followed. She struggled to keep up with her, as it was very crowded, and no one seemed to notice a small girl amongst them as they bushed her around. Riolu clang on to Maylene’s right foot until they managed to get out, where Candice and Snorunt were waiting.
‘Did you like the contest?’ Candice started. ‘I loved it! It was so exciting. Did you see Fantina? I want to be like her one day! Strong and elegant!’
‘It was very good,’ Maylene said. ‘And fun. We should do this more often.’
Suddenly, an arm wrapped itself around Maylene’s neck. It was covered with a black sleeve and a green cloak; Maylene recognized it as the loud girl’s arm.
‘Some contest, right?!’ she shouted. ‘Though I didn’t like that Ghost Pokémon, even if it was Fantina’s.’
‘Who are you?’ Maylene said as soon as she broke out of her grasp.
‘I’m Gardenia,’ she said. ‘And I know that you’re Maylene; I saw you at the party a few years back. Wanted to meet you ever since. Punching a large body like that; you must be rebellious.’
Maylene had turned around and managed to attach a more accurate look to the name. Gardenia had short orange and black hair, and her clothing seemed to be a wild mixture of green, black and orange, with most of her midsection showing.
‘I’m Candice,’ Candice said. ‘A friend of Maylene’s. Nice to meet you.’
‘Where are you girls going?’ Gardenia asked. ‘If you have nothing important to do, we could have out little adventure together.’
Maylene glanced over at Candice who seemed to have surrendered the decision away. She thought it over for a few seconds. Her mother wouldn’t want her getting into any kinds of trouble, but she trusted Maylene, and knows that she can take care of herself. Crasher Wake on the other hand, would approve in a heartbeat.
‘Alright,’ Maylene said. ‘What kind of adventure?’
‘I’ll call it ‘The Quest to Find a Cute Boy’, and I know just the one. You guys just follow me.’
‘Where to?’ Candice asked, but Gardenia had already run off, and Maylene followed her. She sprinted after the pair, all the while questioning why they should trust this complete stranger.
Gardenia led them out of Hearthome City and into a cave that everyone in Sinnoh knew as Mt. Coronet. Maylene jumped over obstacles and looked as if she was a free running expert; why didn’t Crasher Wake train her here before?
‘Where are we going?’ Maylene shouted after the speeding Gardenia.
‘To Oreburgh City!’ Gardenia responded. ‘To the Gym Leader’s son!’
The group went through an exit, and ran across a long path, then down a slope, where Oreburgh City awaited them. Gardenia seemed to know her way around, while Maylene looked around in surprise; all the buildings, roads, people, they were all different from Veilstone, Hearthome, and Pastoria City.
‘What do you think of this city?’ Candice asked, breaking Maylene’s trance of awe. ‘I’ve passed it before, but never visited it fully. Now, it makes me happy to know that where we live has so many different cities.’
‘I like it,’ Maylene responded simply. ‘It’s different.’
The pair followed Gardenia to the Gym, where they met the famous Byron. He was a large man with scruffy purple hair and worn-out clothes. But his son, Roark, was who they came to meet. He had a different shade of his father’s hair, though it was obviously more taken care of. His eyes matched his hair, and his clothes seemed to be those of a worker. The final touch was a helmet with a flashlight.
Gardenia seemed to know them both before hand, and it didn’t take long for Roark to leave his father’s side and follow them outside. ‘This is Roark,’ Gardenia started the typical line. ‘These are Maylene and Candice, from somewhere and somewhere.’
‘Nice to meet you two,’ Roark said and tipped his helmet a little bit. ‘Are you friends of Gardenia?’
‘You could say that,’ Maylene laughed. ‘We’re recent friends.’
‘Let’s train!’ Gardenia exclaimed. ‘I know you want to become a Gym Leader, Maylene; I also heard that at the party. Roark wants to become a Gym Leader as well, so do I! What about you Candice?’
‘I haven’t given it much thought…’ Candice said. ‘I’m not very good at battling.’
‘Then you’ll train with us!’ Gardenia shouted.
One Year Later
‘Hello, Maylene!’ Crasher Wake kicked down Maylene’s door, much to everyone’s surprise. But Maylene didn’t care about the door; Crasher Wake was here!
He had left for some business in Johto a few months ago, and seeing her mentor for the first time in years brought more joy to Maylene then she could have imagined.
‘Huge man!’ she shouted and jumped towards him to hug him. As soon as her body collided with his, they were both sent tumbling back towards the wall, which suffered an obvious dent as Crasher Wake smashed against it. ‘I missed you, stupid person!’
‘I leave for a few months and Gardenia affects your speech this much?’ he laughed, and Maylene followed. By now, his accent has transformed completely and became undistinguishable from Maylene’s, and his trip to Johto wasn’t long enough to change it.
Maylene had also changed with time. She had grown a little taller, her speech began resembling Gardenia’s, who had become a close friend along with Candice and Roark, and her free spirit grew to become wilder than it was before.
‘What did you do in Johto?’ Maylene said. ‘Tell me all about it, person!’
‘The details don’t matter,’ Crasher Wake said. The pair had got off of the floor and sat of the bed. ‘I came back for a short time, I will go back to Johto in a few hours.’
‘You came just to visit me?’
‘That and something else,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I have talked to a friend of mine. His name is Chuck, he’s a Gym Leader there and is currently training some boy named Brawly to become a Gym Leader as well. He accepted to train you.’
‘But I was happy training with you and my friends,’ Maylene’s tone dropped to one that resembled her former speech. ‘I didn’t even have much time to grow Strongest.’
‘You will meet them again,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘And you will make new friends as well. This will help you, Maylene. Your parents had already agreed on you going. Besides, I’ll be there as well.’
Maylene lowered her head and faced the sheets of her bed. She thought it over for a few seconds. Was she really willing to abandon her friends without a goodbye? What will Candice, her most trusted friend, thin of her? What about Gardenia, the one who taught her the tough attitude she built upon? What will she do when she realises that Maylene had left? And Roark, the cute boy she had a crush on. Would she have to forget him as well?
‘You can always come back at anytime you want,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘It’s just a short boat trip away. So, are you coming?’
Maylene sighed and looked up. Her eyes met Crasher Wake’s, her body filled with determination, and her hand reached for Riolu’s Poké Ball. She jumped onto the floor and ran out of the room.
‘I’ll race you there!’ she yelled back, even though she didn’t know which way to go. But it was a new adventure, and a new quest to make her the Strongest. Who knows, maybe this Brawly boy is cute enough to replace Roark.
Crasher Wake and Maylene arrived in Cianwood City by boat. At first, Maylene regarded the city as still being developed, but the discovery that it was how they set out to build it made her think of Johto as primitive people. If the city housed Chuck, one of the greatest Gym Leaders, then why isn’t it as developed as Sunyshore City? Which, even though she never visited, is near the sea as well and far more advanced than this city.
Maylene began to doubt that Chuck was great. He could be amazing to the Johto people, but if that was their standard of a great city, then he can’t possibly live up to the great trainer standard they had back in Sinnoh. Crasher Wake led her to the Gym, where a young boy, slightly older than Maylene greeted them.
His hair and eyes were blue. He wore an orange shirt, blue pants, and shows that were primarily black. ‘Welcome, Maylene,’ he addressed her. ‘I’m Brawly, and I’m training under Chuck at the moment. I’m very glad that you’ve accepted the offer to train with us.’
‘It’s nice to meet you,’ Maylene said, and a rush of Gardenia-like insults climbed up her vocal cords, but she managed to hold them back. ‘Are you from Cianwood City?’
‘No, I’m from Hoenn,’ Brawly said, much to Maylene’s surprise. ‘But I came here just to train in order to become a Gym Leader.’
Maylene knew that trainers from Hoenn were very strong, and if a trainer from there believed that Chuck is good enough to train him, then he must be strong. The fact that he, like her, wanted to become a Gym Leader made him appeal to her. Maylene found herself suddenly taking a liking to Brawly.
Beside him was a Pokémon that Maylene had never seen before. Brawly noticed her glancing at him occasionally, and decided to introduce him. ‘This is Makuhita,’ he said. ‘He’s my Pokémon. Chuck will help you catch one soon, so don’t worry.’
Maylene alternated her head between Brawly and Crasher Wake in confusion. ‘In Johto, trainers like to keep one of their Pokémon out of their Poké Ball all the time,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘You should send out Riolu.’
‘Why don’t you send out one of your Pokémon?’ she asked as she grabbed Riolu’s Poké Ball and sent him out. He studied the bulky yellow Pokémon and his surroundings. Everything was different. Unlike Maylene, he didn’t get to experience the transition from the cold weather in Sinnoh to the warm breeze of Johto slowly.
‘I already did,’ Crasher Wake laughed loudly. ‘They’re all in the sea waiting for me.’
‘You’re not staying here with me?’
‘I have some business to take care of,’ Crasher Wake said. ‘I will visit you often though. I’ll be in Johto as well, so just ask Chuck to contact me anytime you need me.’
Maylene said her goodbyes to Crasher Wake again. Her mentor was leaving again, but at least he wasn’t going to be away this time. Crasher Wake jumped into the water, and swam alongside his Pokémon away from Cianwood City, and towards whatever his business was.
Brawly led Maylene into the Gym, and to her surprise, it was larger than expected. Many were training with their Pokémon, but one person stood out, and she guessed that it was Chuck. The man, who was as large and bulky as Crasher Wake, was meditating underneath a waterfall, seemingly unaware of any other’s presence in the Gym.
‘He’s just meditating,’ Brawly said. ‘The only way to get his attention is to shut down the water. I’ll take the one on the right, you take the one on the left.’
Maylene didn’t understand what he meant by ‘the one on the left’, but when Brawly began climbing the ledges on their right, she understood. She looked up at the place where he instructed her to go, and managed to spot a large winch, it must be what he meant by ‘the one on the left’.
She began to climb towards it, but was stopped by a man who shouted at her, causing Riolu to jump in front of her. ‘Words are useless,’ he said, which caused Maylene’s protests to fade away before she produced them. ‘ Let your fists do the talking!’
Before Maylene could respond, the trainer sent out a small gray human-shaped Pokémon with a tail, which Maylene recognized as Machop. She might as well train while she’s here.
‘Riolu, use Force Palm!’ Maylene ordered.
‘Seismic Toss!’ the trainer responded.
The two small Pokémon ran towards each other, each one swinging back one arm. Machop proved faster, and managed to grab Riolu with his entire arm. He made a quick turn, and ran in circles with amazing speed, while Riolu stayed almost attached to Machop’s arm.
‘Come on, Riolu!’ Maylene encouraged her Pokémon, who nodded back in response. He struggled against the air current that occurred due to Machop’s increasingly fast running. He put his palm against Machop’s face and yelled out as he released a small beam of aura that sent Machop flying back. But he had been running for so long, and Riolu’s attacked caused him to fly back as well.
The two Pokémon smashed against a rock, but Machop seemed to be the least harmed from the collision of attacks. ‘Revenge!’ his trainer order, and Machop grinned.
‘Force Palm again, Riolu!’ Maylene shouted. ‘You can do it!’
The Pokémon nodded confidently and ran forward towards the Machop that just prepared his body for another collision. His palm glowed with a faint light that shaped to a circle, and he pressed it against Machop as soon as he reached the opposing Pokémon. The beam fired once again, but it only caused Machop to take a few steps back that he made up for by taking more steps forwards.
‘Riolu, get out of there!’
Machop grinned as Riolu looked back at his trainer. His right hand shaped into a fist, and he dug it deep into Riolu’s body. The blue Pokémon gasped at the fist that twisted against his belly. Machop took a few steps forward. His entire body was behind Riolu, and they were back to back, except for Machop’s right fist. He pushed Riolu’s body in the direction he was facing, and his arm worked as a spring, causing Riolu to roll back towards Maylene before fainting.
‘That was a good battle,’ Brawly said, but Maylene was too concerned about Riolu to notice him. ‘I hope Nob didn’t go too tough on you.’
‘Will you be okay, Riolu?’ she asked her Pokémon, still unaware of Brawly’s presence. Riolu nodded at Maylene, who was hunched over her Pokémon, and slowly got up to his feet, causing Maylene to do the same.
Brawly coughed to draw Maylene’s attention to him. ‘Chuck asked me to make you go this way and battle Nob,’ he said. ‘There isn’t a winch on the other side, so I guess we kind of tricked you.’
Maylene did an amazing job of holding back her insults, and simple said ‘Oh.’
‘I turned the water off though,’ Brawly said. ‘Chuck should be waiting for us. Let’s go.’
Maylene began to miss her friends; they didn’t trick her into battling, they just asked. Sure, Gardenia was the prankster that always got her into trouble, but it was still a direct question when it came to battling. Brawly led her to Chuck, who stood tall waiting for them with his arms crossed.
‘There’s no greetings,’ he said. ‘You’s turn to battle her.’
‘Don’t worry,’ Brawly said to Maylene. ‘He actually can talk well, he’s probably just messing with you.’
Great. Another trick. At that moment, Maylene grew furious. Her homesickness overcame her, and it mixed with her anger. She did what she could do best. A few steps forwards, some body movement, and her fist ended up against Chuck’s face.
To everyone’s surprise, Chuck fell backwards. At first he tried to keep his balance, but the water beneath him didn’t help. His whole body created a loud thud as it smashed against the floor behind him, causing some water to splash.
‘I like you, girl!’ he shouted while still on the ground, which reminded her of Gardenia’s way of addressing people based on their gender. ‘Crasher Wake was right, but he didn’t tell me about your strength.’ He started to get up. ‘Was trying to break the ice, but I guess you do a better job at that than me.’ He began to laugh in a manner that, even though it was different than Crasher Wake’s, reminded her of her mentor. She felt an urge to punch again, but realised that everyone in the Gym was already looking at her like a villain, and more attention was not needed, even though Chuck didn’t express any disapproval.
‘Let’s go outside,’ Brawly said. ‘Chuck wants to see you battling me.’
‘Can’t Chuck say so himself?’ Maylene responded; she must get rid of Gardenia’s influence if she wanted to fit in. ‘I have to get Riolu healed first.’
Her Pokémon nodded, causing Brawly to nod back. He led her to the Pokémon Center, where the nurse was similar to the ones in Sinnoh, but not the same. Riolu got the treatment he needed, which wasn’t intensive, and followed Brawly alongside Maylene to the beach, where Chuck was waiting with another Pokémon she didn’t recognise.
It was another bulk Pokémon, but it was blue with a swirl in the center of his body. ‘Poliwrath,’ Chuck said his name to introduce him. ‘This is Maylene.’
A hint of anger returned to her; how is introducing her to the Pokémon, who should be aware that she was coming, more important than introducing the Pokémon to someone who has never seen the species before.
‘Is this the one I get to beat?’ Maylene said, mixing Gardenia with herself again, even though she was trying hard to stop it.
‘You’ll battle me actually,’ Brawly laughed. ‘Makuhita, are you ready?’
Riolu could sense that Maylene wanted to release all of her anger, and that he was the medium for her. Makuhita prepared to battle by punching the air. ‘Give your all, Maylene,’ Chuck said. ‘I want to see a real battle!’
‘Force Palm!’ Maylene commanded, catching Makuhita by surprise, and causing Brawly to react desperately.
Riolu ran forward, preparing his palm for another attack, but Makuhita managed to avoid the attack by stepping slight to the right. He brought one palm forwards, hitting it against Riolu, and the second palm followed, causing Riolu to fall back a few paces to his right.
‘Try it again!’ Maylene ordered swiftly, catching the opponents by surprise again.
This time, Riolu managed to hit. Makuhita’s body withstood the hit at first, but Riolu pushed his palm forwards, causing the attack to intense for a few more second before Makuhita was sent back a few paces as well.
‘Quick Attack, Riolu!’
The blue Pokémon used the experience he got from the running he did with Maylene as a tool to smash his body against Makuhita’s. The yellow Pokémon retaliated, and quickly punched Riolu’s head to cause him to fall to the ground, before punching his back again, causing Riolu to slam harder to the sand.
‘Arm Thrust again!’
Maylene knew that it was dangerous, but she had to risk it to win. ‘Reversal!’ she ordered, and Riolu prepared his body through breathing heavily. Makuhita’s attack hurt Riolu greatly, who accepted the attack. The spots that Makuhita had attacked flowed a white colour. The energy moved towards Riolu’s fist, which began glowing brighter than any of his other attacks.
He jumped forward and dug his fist into Makuhita’s body, whose mouth flew open to emit a painful sound, but failed. His heavy body fell to the ground, causing a loud thud and a cloud of sand to rise up before settling down. Riolu panted and smiled before looking at Maylene, who opened her arms to welcome Riolu. He ran forward and hugged his trainer.
‘I didn’t know you could make it through that one attack, but you did,’ she said. ‘I will never doubt you again.’
‘That was an excellent battle,’ Chuck stepped forward. His voice abandoned the tone it had, and was taken over by a more serious one. ‘I look forward to training you. You will fit in nicely with us.’
Maylene grinned at Chuck as she sat on the ground with Riolu in her arms. ‘I’ll be Strongest than you when I leave.’