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Chapter 31: Sparks and Flames
Ally took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. She stared at the gym leader opposite of her and wondered which Pokemon he was going to use. There were lots of choices, but Ally really hoped that it would be something like a Magnemite. A half steel-type would definitely make things easier.
“Go, Amber!” she called out, making the first move. The Pokeball flew in the air and released Ally’s loyal Pokemon.
Looking around, Amber wagged his two (nearly four) tails. He sniffed the ground, getting the feel for the terrain before looking up, his small growl betraying his anticipation for the battle ahead.
“Vulpix, eh?” Surge said to himself, bringing out a Pokeball of his own. “Alright then. Go!”
The Pokeball flew in the air and snapped open, releasing the Pokemon in a display of white light. The creature released was certainly odd looking; it was completely spherical, not a single limb in sight, and was split between two colors, red on the top and white on the bottom. In fact, it looked quite like a mega-sized Pokeball except for its tiny slit-like eyes, which hardly glanced around before focusing on its opponent.
“… A Voltorb?” Ally asked herself, hardly daring to breathe. The only Pokemon that would be just as good as a Magnemite would be a Voltorb, because if there was one Pokemon she knew, it was a Voltorb.
The referee raised his flags and spoke loudly and clearly, “This is a battle between Lt. Surge of Vermillion City and Ally Anderson of Cerulean City. It will be a one-on-one battle, no time limit!” He lowered his flags.
“Let the battle begin!”
Obviously well-trained, Voltorb didn’t hesitate. It just spun and took off, leaving a trail of upturned dust behind it. Amber watched the Pokemon coming closer in every passing moment and finally realized that it might hurt to stand in its way, so the Vulpix quickly leapt the side. Just in time, as Voltorb passed him without connecting.
“Keep it up, Amber!” Ally encouraged. “Wait until it comes to you, then Ember!”
Amber prepared himself and when Voltorb turned around and came back towards it, the fire-type was ready. Inhaling a fair amount, the Vulpix let it out in a single attack, the fireball bright and strong. It scorched the ground as it flew directly at the other Pokemon, but at the last minute, Voltorb swerved out of the way and immediately went back on track.
This time, the attack connected, sending Amber flying. The fire-type landed on the ground, but got back up quickly, a bit dazed. He shook his head, eyeing the gym leader’s Pokemon with a bit more caution.
Back at the sidelines, Ally was in awe. She wouldn’t normally be, but since she owned a Voltorb, she could understand how well trained the Pokemon was. To be so trained that it didn’t act erratically like hers did- it made her feel weird and wonder why her Voltorb couldn’t be like that. Sparks did listen, but only sometimes and he still wouldn’t spend time with her. He would participate in battles, but only in the barest requirements.
Ally was so wrapped up in her thoughts, she had almost completely forgotten about the battle before her. It was only when Amber let out a cry, did the girl remember and looked up, just in time to see Amber get rushed again and thrown backwards by Voltorb’s Rollout.
“Amber!” Ally shouted, kicking herself for not paying attention. Because she wasn’t focused, Amber was getting hurt!
She couldn’t let it happen again.
Thankfully, Amber seemed okay, getting back on his feet with a low growl, his attitude going beyond caution to outright annoyance. The Vulpix was small, so he usually got thrown around in fights, but not so violently and twice in a row.
“Um,” Ally hesitated, a list of her Vulpix’s moves present in her mind. The Voltorb seemed too well trained to get hit by a direct attack, so something indirect would have to do.
It was an attack that Ally had never used in an official battle before, but not because Amber couldn’t use it right. It was more because it was a technique that was rarely needed where an Ember or Quick Attack could do better. Attacking indirectly wasn’t something that Ally often did, but this battle required special circumstances.
Slowly, at the end of each of Amber’s tails (including the half-formed ones), a blue-white fire ignited. They glowed dimly, and looked more ghostly than something hot. Amber pointed all of his tails at his opponent, who was still rolling around and not staying still.
Ally found it frustrating, and wondered if that was what Surge felt when Ed used Double Team combined with Quick Attack. But since she wasn’t on a time limit, she could wait until Voltorb came to her. Will-o-Wisp wasn’t like Ember; it wasn’t that straightforward.
Finally, Surge commanded, “Voltorb, attack Vulpix! Move carefully.”
Instantly, Voltorb made a U-turn from where he was and headed towards Amber. The electric-type, however, was taking its trainer’s advice to heart and was moving slower than before. A zigzag pattern was also developing, Voltorb making sure that it wouldn’t be hit easily.
It can zigzag without its trainer telling it too? Ally thought to herself, frowning. Why couldn’t Sparks do that?
But she didn’t let those thoughts distract her for long, as the incident just a few minutes before was still on her mind. She waited for a few more moments, and when Voltorb rolled close enough, she shouted, “Go!”
Amber took a step back and whipped his tails forwards, releasing the small flames into the air. They didn’t move in a straight line, but moved about as if centering on a target, following the electric type’s movements with ease.
Voltorb dodged one, letting it hit the ground and burn itself out, but three more were still behind it. Swerving, the gym leader’s Pokemon made another U-turn, taking out another flame that was just behind it. Now there were two that were slowly gaining speed, not falling for Voltorb previous tricks. They stayed faithfully on the opponent’s tail, not letting up.
Even so, Ally didn’t have much faith that the flames would hit, remembering how Voltorb had moved before. So, she decided to help out.
Suddenly, Voltorb had another factor to deal with as the electric-type swerved to avoid the fireball that hit the ground in front of it. Unfortunately, that action put it in line of a different type of fire, and it was no longer one that it could dodge. The two blue flames hit Voltorb at once and then burst, setting the Pokemon alight with an eerily blue-white flame that rolled with the Pokemon as the electric-type tried to put out the fire.
Ally was about to call out, worried about the Pokemon’s safety, but the flames died down on its own, revealing Voltorb to be okay. Well, okay as it could have been with such a nasty-looking burn on the top of its round body. It was black and shriveled, looking rather disgusting.
Glaring, the Pokemon showed its opponent its annoyance by lighting up, this time with its own energy. The blue current of electricity snaked over the electric-type’s body before darting forward, too fast to track, and biting Amber with an electric shock.
“Vul!” Amber cried out, backing away and trying to shake the current off. His fur frizzled up, standing on end, and the fire-type eyed its surrounding warily, hoping that there wouldn’t be another shock like that.
Not letting up, Voltorb spun again and set off, apparently not in pain by the black mark on its flesh.
“Get out of the way!” Ally yelled, and much to her relief, Amber jumped out of the way, Voltorb whizzing by him.
The Will-o-Wisp attack, Ally noticed, didn’t seem to have done any good except make Voltorb angry. Attacking directly still probably wouldn’t work, but luckily, Amber had one more attack that could do the job Will-O-Wisp couldn’t.
Another attack that Amber didn’t use, but the Vulpix didn’t show it. Instead, the fire-type closed his eyes and when he opened them again, they were glowing a bright purple. Like Will-o-Wisp, flames grew on Amber’s tails, but the fire engulfed them all, not just the tips. The fire-type fanned his tails and swept them around, unleashing the purple fire at Voltorb. But fire wouldn’t have been the best world, as they seemed more like a dense light and they slowly floated towards Voltorb like an impassible wave.
“Roll, Voltorb!” Surge yelled.
However, the Pokemon was cornered and not even its speed could get it away. The cloud of flames calmly took the gym leader’s Pokemon in its grasp as it swept forward, not pausing until it faded away on its own, just a few meters over the white chalk boundary lines.
“Got it,” Ally said to herself with a slight smile. Now, with Voltorb both burned and confused, she could go on the offensive again! This time, the electric-type wouldn’t be able to roll away.
“Amber, don’t let up! Ember!”
Surge was positioned half-way out of the trainer’s box, having moved due to the Confuse Ray brushing his boots, but that didn’t stop him from giving his Pokemon a few commands of his own.
“Dodge, then Charge! This had gone on long enough!”
Voltorb’s eyes were tinged purple and the Pokemon wobbled slightly, as if swaying. Unfortunately for Ally, the electric-type proved it was still functional by rolling out of the way, the Ember barely scorching its surface.
Then stopping, Voltorb concentrated, glowing a faint yellow as electricity was gathered.
Now that was a problem. Charge was an attack that Ally was cautious with. It made electric attacks overpowered and it was very easy for it to quite literally blow up in anyone’s faces. Now, she had to be careful. If she didn’t, Amber could seriously be hurt. Like Surge said, the battle had gone on long enough.
“Be careful,” Ally warned Amber, who was wisely keeping his distance, recognizing the technique as one that Sparks had used before.
Much quicker than she would of thought, Voltorb had fully charged and seemed to have an aura of electrical power. However, its eyes were wide and glazed over, like it wasn’t quite aware of what it was doing.
The Pokemon rolled forward slowly, and Ally felt herself sweating. It was like a ticking time bomb; it could go off at any moment. Especially since she wasn’t sure that the Pokemon knew Selfdestruct or not. Voltorb learned that attack just before level three, and it was possible that the gym leader’s Pokemon knew it already. Either way, she had to be very, very careful. Even a Spark could knock Amber out at that point.
Suddenly, Voltorb jerked forward and Ally reacted.
As soon the word left Ally’s lips, she wanted to take it back. She couldn’t help saying it, though. Charge really made attacks dangerous and she didn’t want Amber to get hurt by an overpowered Spark. But still, Ally couldn’t help but see it as a really reckless move; one she wished she had never said.
However, it was too late to take it back as the fireball rocketed towards the electric-type. It was a direct hit, the fire cascading over the Pokemon and pushing it back. Luckily, that saved the electric-type as Voltorb rolled out of the flames and slowly came to a stop a few feet away from the disappearing fire. Though, that didn’t mean that the electric-type wasn’t damaged. Its black burn at the top of its body had spread, now encompassing almost half of its red skin and just a bit of its white.
One of Voltorb’s eyes, the one in the black area, was screwed shut and the other narrowed, not allowing its tiny pupil to be seen. It shuddered weakly, the burn finally taking a toll on its body.
Ally felt a well of guilt bubble up inside her. The poor Voltorb… even if it was a battle and making the opponent faint was what she was supposed to do, it didn’t mean she had to like it. She would hate it if one of her Pokemon was injured like that.
Glancing over at Surge, Ally saw him staring at his Pokemon with a frown, arms held stiffly at his sides.
He’s probably waiting for the confusion to wear off, Ally thought to herself. That also meant that she’d better get a move on. Confusion wouldn’t last forever and if Voltorb hadn’t fainted, that meant the battle still wasn’t over.
One more attack should do it.
“One more Ember,” Ally told Amber, who was waiting patiently for her command. The fire-type perked up, staring at his opponent as he gathered flames in his mouth.
Surge spoke up, “Move, Voltorb.”
Voltorb stayed still, not hearing its trainer or seeing the signs that it was about to be attacked.
“Voltorb,” Surge said again, emphasizing the name. “Rollout.”
“Go!” Ally called out, not wanting to take the chance of Voltorb snapping out of it. “Ember!”
Amber moved first, unleashing the fireball. The flames raced across the ground, burning everything in its path. At the last moment, Voltorb finally got the hint, but by then, it was too late. The fireball hit it and pushed the electric-type back much strongly than the last time, thrusting it nearly five feet and past the white boundary lines, the Pokemon’s ball-shaped body doing the rest.
Voltorb kept rolling until it smacked the wall, bouncing off of it until it rolled to a stop.
The referee approached, but kept his distance. He waited it for a few moments, but he finally said, “Voltorb is out of b-”
Then he stopped. Everyone’s attentions were on Voltorb, who started to glow with an intense bright light.
Ally felt words form in her mouth, but couldn’t speak them. She froze, only able to watch as the referee backed away, everything else forgotten. Distantly, she could hear Surge shout:
“Damn it- Everyone, back away and get down!”
The words circled in her mind, but no matter how many times they did, she couldn’t get a grasp on them.
There was a rushing sound and a loud roar as Ally finally got her mind into gear. She dropped to the floor, her hands covering her ears and her eyes squeezed shut as the world seemed to end around her.
But as soon as it started, it was over.
Even so, she remained on the ground, her hands over her ears, until she felt hands grasping her wrists and Ed’s voice in her ear.
“Are you alright!?”
Slowly, she opened her eyes and, with Ed’s help, pried her hands from her ears. She leaned on Ed as she took a deep breath and shakily got to her feet.
“Y- Yeah,” she replied, looking to where the Voltorb was. Black streaks surrounded the area of the blast, leaving its mark on the ground and wall. A few lone blocks of plaster laid on the floor next the indent in the wall, and a thin layer of dust floated freely in the air. However, the spot where Voltorb sat was empty, only leaving a light-colored imprint behind.
Ally gasped, hands going to her mouth. Where did the Voltorb-
But then she heard the click of a Pokeball and turned to Surge, who was putting the Pokeball back in his pocket. He approached both Ed and Ally with a bit of grimace.
“Are you alright?” he asked, the referee coming up behind him with a face of concern.
Swallowing, the girl nodded, her heard finally starting to let go of such a rapid pace. “I- I’m fine.”
“Voltorb tend to explode when really surprised,” Surge explained without prompting.
She nodded, having already been vaguely aware of that information.
“For beating me,” Surge continued, making Ally look up. “You get the Thunder Badge.” He held out his hand, revealing the sun-shaped orange badge.
After a moment of hesitation, she took it, her fingers feeling the edges of the cool metal.
She had won her third badge. Three down, five to go.
“… Oh!” Ally’s head jerked up as she looked around. “Where’s Amber?!”
Back at the site of Voltorb’s Selfdestruct, Amber lightly sniffed the ground, examining the destruction left by the blast. His tails wagged as he nosed a piece of plaster, turning it over with his muzzle. Unfortunately for him, his examination was forcibly put on hold when a pair of hand came around his middle and lifted him in the air.
“Vul,” Amber whined, Ally holding him in her arms and close to her chest.
“You did a really good job!” she said to him, beaming. “You deserve a treat!”
Suddenly, the Vulpix’s examination being put on hold didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.
Danny got up, stretching and seeming not at all unnerved by the explosion. “That was a good battle!” he cheered. “Fire-types are always fun to watch.”
“Y- Yeah, I guess,” Leah said, frowning. She also got up, but wobbled a bit, still on edge from Voltorb’s Selfdestruct.
Her unease apparently showed since Danny asked, “Never seen a Voltorb blow up before?”
“Not really. I thought it’d make a bit more destruction though.”
She turned to look at the burned wall, a bit amazed since Voltorb sat right against it only a few minutes ago. She would have sworn the Pokemon would have blown right through the wall; it certainly looked like the Pokemon had enough power to do so.
“Nah, that’s Explosion,” Danny explained. “Selfdestruct is more about noise and a big bang than actual fire power.”
“It could have fooled me,” Leah muttered, but then brightened up. She turned to Danny with a smirk. “Hey, I told you so didn’t I? Both Ed and Ally won their battles.”
Danny waved if off, “Yeah, but only because it wasn’t a fair fight. Surge went easy on both of them.”
“They still won.” Leah shrugged with a pleased look on her face.
“Yeah, yeah,” Danny grumbled, letting it go. To protect his pride, he changed the topic “So, what did you think of the battle?”
“Pretty good. Ally works well with Amber. More than Sparks, anyways.”
Understanding lit on Danny’s face and he nodded to himself.
“What is it?” Leah asked dully, noticing the way that Danny’s eyes darted to her meant that he probably wanted her to ask.
“I wondered why she was so careful,” Danny explained, grinning. “She seemed a bit paranoid when Voltorb used Charge. Since she has a Voltorb, it explains a lot.”
Leah shrugged, not really caring at the line of conversation. “I guess.”
“Hey, I have an idea.”
Looking over at Danny, Leah said, “What?”
“You should battle Surge next!”
Leah was taken aback at that, but quickly recovered.
“Why not?” he asked. “It’d be pretty interesting, don’t you think?”
“No, I don’t.”
He persisted. “Aw, come on!” He paused, apparently trying to form an argument that would collapse her stubborn defenses. “You’re going to go back home soon, right? This is their third badge and the next one will be with Sabrina…?”
“Misty,” Leah corrected. “She’s easier.”
“Alright then, Misty. This is the perfect time for you to have a gym battle! You can’t go back home without exposing yourself to the whole journey experience and that means you have to battle a gym leader. And isn’t it convenient that Surge is an electric-type trainer and you have a Sandshrew! Perfect match; you even get a type advantage out of it!”
“I don’t care,” Leah replied, crossing her arms. “Badges are useless since I’m not competing in the Indigo Tournament. If I’m not doing that, then what’s the difference between a gym leader and a normal trainer?”
Danny sighed. “It’s a gym battle! When you think ‘Pokemon journey’, the first thing that comes to mind is gyms! You can’t go back home without doing it at least once.”
“Yes, I can.”
“Aren’t you the least bit curious at what it would be like?” Danny persisted.
“… No,” Leah said, and then added, “It’s just a trainer battle in a big fancy gym. There’s no difference.”
Mentally though, Leah could admit to herself that she was a bit curious. Of course she would never say that out loud; Danny would just take that as an initiative to keep going with his pleas. It was true what he said, though; Pokemon journeys went hand-in-hand with gym battles most of the time. When she was little, she always dreamed about having her first gym battle against Giovanni of Viridian City, and winning with no problem. Then, her younger self dreamed, she would beat all the others and win the Indigo Tournament and she’d be the best Pokemon Master in the world.
Honestly, did kids wish for anything other than that? Now that she was older, she didn’t see the point anymore. Gym leaders, trainers… there was no difference except how ‘official’ the battle was. Sure, gym leaders were way more experienced, but could anyone honestly feel proud defeating a gym leader when it was pretty much a fact that they were going easy on you? She didn’t need to beat a gym leader; she could just go against some random trainer.
There was no difference.
… Except, there was just something about a gym battle that made it so appealing. She didn’t know what it was. Maybe it was just something society engraved in her, that gym battles would always be superior. What ever it was, it made her want to battle a gym leader, just to see what it was like. To see why people kept doing it other than to get into the Indigo Tournament. There had to be something that made fighting against them so appealing.
“Sure there is,” Danny was saying when Leah’s mind reentered the conversation. “You just haven’t experienced one before so you don’t understand what I’m talking about.”
That was true. If she really was going to quit being a trainer after Cerulean, then this one moment was her only chance of experiencing a gym battle. She just couldn’t turn around years in the future and challenge a gym leader when her curiosity overtook her. No, she wanted this gym battle stuff out of the way so it wouldn’t bother her later in life. After getting that out of the way, there would be nothing holding her back once she moved on.
Well, not including for Sands, of course.
“Fine,” Leah said, interrupting Danny in the middle of whatever he was saying.
Danny blinked. “What?”
“I’ll do it.” Leah turned away so that she didn’t see Danny’s face erupting into a grin.
Last chance, Leah told herself. You can take back the words now and deny that you had ever said them. You don’t have to battle a gym leader. You don’t have too.
But she wanted too.
Just this once.
“I’ll challenge Surge.”
A/N: What’s this… A short chapter? It’s a miracle! :D
Well, yeah, I suppose you can say this is the second part of chapter 30 since I wanted to end it right here last chapter, but couldn’t finish it. So, I hope you enjoyed it.
Last edited by Dagzar; November 24th, 2009 at 04:10 AM.
OHMYGAWD! SHE'S ACTUALLY GONNA DO IT!
awesome :D XD
I didn't notice any mistakes, but I'm not that good at Identifying them.
still, that was good.
Thanks for reviewing, pikakip! Yup, Leah’s going to do something that she’d never suspect she’d ever do. Let’s all hope it goes well.
WOW, lol I always figured she would challenge one of them, just needed Danny to coax her into it. I think there was a couple errors like when danny said "Fire-type are always fun to watch, I think Fire-types would b more appropriate, but im not a grammatical genious so idk. Great chapters though
Its sad when you sell all your pokemon games and then realize you still like it
Want to create your own gym that people will actually challenge? Come join the Creating A Pokemon League Project, where you can create a gym that may be put into a hack!
Yeah, I decided early on that I wanted Leah to battle a gym leader and Surge seemed like the right choice (that, and the chapters around pretty much every other gym leader are already a bit… busy, so it works out just fine).
And thanks for pointing out that mistake! I’ve purged it from the story. :D
Thank you for reviewing, Seth!
There is one word:
Come on, Leah, kick some American Gym Leader tail! IN KANTO! seriously you had thirty chapters and you're just now fighting a leader? Ahem, anyway. Once again I found no errors in the chapter, so there's not much else to say than 'Keep writing!' and 'Don't you dare let this fall onto the second page again!'
Haha, yeah, let’s all cheer Leah on! Yay, no errors! Wow, you know, in my first few chapters, I had tons of errors everywhere and recently, they’ve all ditched me for some reason. O.o They better not come back as it’s a pain to kick them all out again. And don’t worry, I’ll be updating this week so the story will hopefully stay on the first page.
The errors clearly know you've grown far too awesome to be plagued by them and walk away at all lessened in your awesomeness. That's why they aren't showing up as much, *duh*. ;D
Haha, maybe. Though, I admit, I’d have tons more errors if I don’t check over my story before I post it. The gender errors alone would make a sizable amount (I tend to automatically refer to all Pokemon in my story as ‘its’, no matter what gender they are. It’s always very annoying to check over my story to see that I’ve labeled Sands as an it for an entire battle).
I hear ya! I sometimes keep alternating between genders and 'it', so I'm constantly thinking 'And it- He! No! And he aimed a Steel Wing at the opposing Pokémon, who batted it back at it- NONONO! Him! Murkrow is a guy!' during most Pokémon scenes. Truthfully, if they're opponent Pokémon I just use 'it'. Only Pokémon on the characters' team/main characters who are Pokémon really get genders.
Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of using ‘he’ automatically sometimes too, but that doesn’t help much since I’ve finally added a female Pokemon to the cast (Zee). <_< Though, I suppose it isn’t that bad since Ed doesn’t care about his Pokemon’s genders, and therefore, I can just use ‘it’ for Paras and Coralie. Yeah, I also tend to use ‘it’ for one-shot Pokemon opponents except those who are only one gender (like those Nidorina/Nidorino).
Chapter 32: Sand and Steel
“You want to what?! Ed asked loudly, gaping. To his side, Ally was also looking on with wide eyes, her arms clamped around Amber.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Leah repeated, looking at Surge and ignoring Ed. “I want to battle you after all.”
Surge rubbed his chin in mock-thought. “Well, I can’t see why not. I do have one Pokemon left, after all. Are you going to use a Pokemon at the same level as your friends’?”
“Not my friends,” Leah muttered under her breath, grimacing. She raised her voice. “Yeah, my Pokemon’s about the same level.”
Ed interrupted, “Leah, what’s going on?”
“Oh, go sit down and watch the show,” Leah replied, finally paying attention to him only to wave him off. “I want to get this started already.”
“Just what I was thinking,” Surge said, grinning.
“I thought she hated battling,” Ed commented to Ally as they took a seat in the stands.
Ally petted Amber, who was sitting on her lap and looking quite content. “Maybe she wants to try it out?” she guessed after a moment of thought.
There was no one more surprised than they when Leah came up to them all and announced her intentions of battling Surge. For someone like Leah, who hated being a trainer, to willingly participate in something that pretty much defined Pokemon training was a huge shock.
Danny turned to the brats with a fake surprised expression. “Leah hates battling?” he asked, with a questioning tone of voice. “Since when? She’s always likes battling me.”
Ed frowned. “But she always makes a big deal out of helping us train!”
“Well, yeah,” Danny said. “You guys are probably really boring to battle. Unlike you, I throw strategies in, making things interesting.”
“We have strategies,” Ed argued.
“Maybe her,” Danny conceding, motioning at the silent Ally, “but definitely not you. Making your Pokemon fight until they faint isn’t what people would call a strategy.” He sneered at the last word.
Falling silent at that, Ed pouted, crossing his arms. “I won the battle,” he finally muttered.
Danny frowned slightly and questioned, “Was a little metal badge worth your Pokemon passing out?”
Before Ed could reply, Ally spoke up.
“The battle’s starting...”
Why was she doing this again?
It was a very good question. Never in her life had she challenged a gym leader, but she supposed that was no longer true. She wasn’t interested in gym battles, so why was she even trying? It wasn’t like she would get any reward. Oh, sure, she’d get a badge, but what was she supposed to do with that? If she wasn’t going to participate in the Indigo Tournament, there was absolutely no point in battling gym leaders.
But as Leah stepped in the trainer’s box, she felt some excitement. She stared at her opponent across from her and wondered if this was the way trainers felt before gym battles… Not that it mattered, of course. She always felt anticipation for battle, no matter how stupid. This was no different than those times.
Taking out a Pokeball, Leah dropped it to the ground, releasing Sands.
Honestly, it was rather obvious what Pokemon she would choose. Not only did Sands have a type advantage, but he was rather well-trained in her opinion. He knew many attacks and she was proud to say he was a good fighter. Besides, she had never used Zee in a battle before, even if a psychic-type might be a good choice too.
Sands seemed to feel his trainer’s restrained excitement as he paced back and forth, mirroring Leah’s mood and waiting for a challenger to appear.
One that came soon enough.
“A Sandshrew, eh?” Surge said out loud, taking out his own Pokeball. “Lucky for me, then.”
Leah tensed at the words and a suspicion formed in her mind. There was one species of common electric-type Pokemon that Surge hadn’t used yet…
With white light, the opponent Pokemon manifested in thin air, but instead of dropping to the ground, it hung there, floating. Like Voltorb, its body was round, but it was made of a shiny steel that shone in the lights overhead. It had three screws attached to its body, one on its head and one on each side. It had only one eye that was unblinking, its pinpoint pupil looking straight in front of it. On either side of its eye were two magnets, each having a red and blue point.
Leah mentally groaned. A steel-type would have made things easier, usually, but not one that floated! … Well, actually, maybe it didn’t matter too much. It wasn’t like Sands knew any real ground attacks anyways. Besides, her Sandshrew knew some projectile techniques, so a floating Pokemon wasn’t that much of a problem.
Over at the sidelines, the referee raised his flags.
“This is a battle between Lt. Surge of Vermillion City and Leah Gordon of Pallet Town! There is no time limit! Let the battle begin!”
And then there was silence.
Both trainers stared at each, both waiting for the other to make the first move. Magnemite floated lazily in the air, and Sands watched the steel-type curiously, like it was a big red balloon.
What move should I make? Leah thought to herself, her mind going through plans. Magnemite was a Pokemon she usually overlooked, so, because of that, she only knew its most basic moves. The only attack she supposed would be considered dangerous was Supersonic, a technique that could change the tide of battle in a single instant.
It was definitely something to avoid.
Finally, Surge realized that Leah was waiting for him, so he made the first move.
Leah’s eyes narrowed. Thundershock? Now why would he command something as useless as that–
A blue current of electricity sparked on both of the electric-type’s magnets, making them glow with power. Surprisingly, the magnets moved to point at its opponent on the ground, the electricity still sparking dangerously. A moment hardly passed before the charge was ignited, sending blue bolts of energy down at the Sandshrew, making the ground-type wince at the small flashes of light that danced right in front of it.
“Sands!” Leah said, trying to gain her Pokemon’s attention. She could see now at what Surge was doing. Due to her Pokemon being a ground-type, the electricity was only harmlessly bouncing off of Sands’ thick tile-like hide, but not all of her Pokemon was covered in that light yellow coat.
Luckily, Sands heard her and immediately curled up on the ground, protecting its face and front from the electrical storm around it.
But that was just what Surge had been waiting for.
With Sands trapped in the middle of an electrical discharge and curled tightly in a ball, speed wasn’t something the Pokemon had on his side.
Magnemite held out its magnets straight at its sides and they started to vibrate, and did so at a faster rate at seconds past by. When they were only a blur, a piecing ringing sound developed, making nearly everyone in the room hold their ears, all except Surge and the referee, who barely flinched.
But as soon as it started, it ended, and Leah took her hands from her ears. She looked up at her Pokemon to see the damage the attack did and was not disappointed. The Pokemon was uncurling itself and getting up, brushing off any excess sparks. He looked around with wide eyes, apparently not knowing what to do with himself.
“Sands!” Leah called out, but the Pokemon ignored her.
She tried again.
But her Sandshrew didn’t seem to feel like it. Though, after a moment, he looked back at his trainer with a confused glance, one of his paws brushing his tiny triangular ears.
Did the Supersonic make him deaf? Leah asked herself as a cold chill went down her spine. If so, that caused a lot of problems. She supposed that she could let Sands battle by himself, without her, but most Pokemon relied on their hearing. Without his hearing, he was rather handicapped.
Leah looked up to glance at Surge. The way the gym leader waited until Sands was curled into a ball before issuing a Supersonic… he didn’t use tactics like that with the brats. It was like he was taking her seriously, or as much as he could with a low-leveled Pokemon. But why was he using layered strategies on her? What was different between her and the brats?
The answer wasn’t that hard to come by, and with a sinking feeling, Leah thought, I’m fifteen; he probably think I’m an experienced trainer with five years under my belt.
If true, that notion changed a lot. It also meant that she couldn’t just keep thinking about it. If Surge thought she was a good trainer, he wouldn’t waste any time… And neither would she.
“Swift,” Leah called out to her Sandshrew, but then mentally slapped herself. She had completely forgotten that Sands couldn’t hear her commands!
Surge took advantage of her mental cursing.
It was impossible for Leah to warn her Pokemon about the incoming attack unless he turned to her, and since he couldn’t hear the high-pitched wail the sound the technique made, Sands was hit directly. He was thrown off his feet and landing a meter back, doing a full roll before halting.
Fortunately, her Sandshrew was now facing Leah’s direction. She waited until Sands looked up to her before she put her finger to her mouth and tried to mimic something coming out of it. In a lucky break, Sands’ eyes lit up in what the trainer hoped was understanding, and he got back to his feet, throwing a growl at his opponent.
Leah made a small sigh of relief. Her Pokemon had got the ‘Swift!’ message, so after that attack was complete (she didn’t really know how effective it would be), she would have the think of a way to take out those magnets. Those magnets or Magnemite’s eye were probably the electric-types weak point-
However, her mental musings were cut when she took a look on how the battle was going and was forced to double-take.
Sands was doing exactly what she motioned him to do: use a projectile attack. The only thing was that he had two of such techniques and he seemingly decided to go with the one which he knew best.
Which wasn’t Swift.
Magnemite was forced to move, quickly dodging the hail of purple needles. Its one eye closed as it was smart enough to protect the biggest target. The few Poison Stings that hit its steel body only rickshaw off, making Sands to be quick on its feet unless he wanted to get hit by his own attack. And while the needles wouldn’t hurt him much, Sands needed all the strength he could get.
A purple needle was shot near Leah’s foot and it stood upright on the ground, vibrating slightly. She moved away with a distasteful glance at the sliver of poison.
“Damn it, Sands,” Leah muttered to herself. If only her Pokemon wasn’t deaf! The only hope she could hold onto was that Supersonic would ware off soon. She just had to be patient…
Unfortunately, she could be patient, but Magnemite could not. The Poison Sting didn’t even scratch it, but it was hard to tell by the way the electric-type was acting. The Pokemon seemed to take the attack as an insult, and its one eye glared down at its opponent as its magnets sparked.
“Out of the way!” Leah hissed at her Pokemon, even if he couldn’t hear her.
Although, Sands looked in her direction at the words, his ears twitching, but still not looking like he understood.
As the ground-type’s head was turned, Magnemite struck, hitting him with another Thundershock. The blue lightning made the Pokemon yelp as the force pushed him to the ground. The electricity leapt around his body, but remembering the last time, Sands didn’t stay put, instead jumping out of the current with only slight injuries to its white underbelly.
Surge reentered the battle.
For a moment, Magnemite floated silently, but then bright yellow sparks danced around the Pokemon’s body, illuminating it and making the steel-type glow. For the first time during the battle, Magnemite came down from its safety in the sky and dived towards the ground. Sands tried to jump back, but the electricity clipped his foot as Magnemite went by, making him trip and sprawl to the ground. Faster than what the Pokemon looked like it could do, the electric-type came down for a second assault, tackling the Sandshrew with its steel body and the sparks surrounding it.
“Sands!” Leah shouted, concerned, as her Sandshrew was thrown back and landed near her, just in front of the white boundary line.
The trainer knelt down so she could take a closer look at her Pokemon and she had to admit, he looked pretty bad. The last attack must have done a number on him since Leah couldn’t remember her Pokemon that hurt during the battle. Some of his hide was colored with pale red electrical burns and he looked beat up and tired, his chest taking quick and shallow breaths.
His eyes partly opened, looking as black and dark as usual, but seemed to hold an undertone of what could have been pain.
I’m not going to win this battle, Leah thought to herself, the realization making her feel cold. She hadn’t gotten a scratch on the Magnemite and her Pokemon was handicapped, beat up, and didn’t look like he could fight anymore.
There was no way she could win, and honestly, with Sands in front of her, she didn’t feel like trying to beat the odds.
Leah stood back up and raised her hand, looking at the referee.
“I give up.”
From where she was standing, she could hear Ed yell, “What?!”
But the referee nodded at her decision and raised his flag in Surge’s direction.
“The challenger has surrendered! The winner is Lt. Surge!”
Leah ignored everything else as she gently felt her way around her Pokemon’s body, taking note of where he flinched. His side was bruised rather badly, and she didn’t want to risk injuring it further if she picked her Pokemon up.
Since she couldn’t carry him, Leah returned Sands to his Pokeball, silently promising that she’d get him to a Pokemon Center as soon as possible.
When she stood, Surge was in front of her, his arms crossed.
“Not bad,” Surge started, “Your Sandshrew was able to put up a fight, despite the odds.”
Fight? Leah snorted. Sands hadn’t even laid a scratch on the steel-type. The only thing that could possibly be said as a good thing was that Sands did last for more than five minutes. Though, that wasn’t much of a victory.
The gym leader continued, “I suggest waiting until your Sandshrew evolves into Sandslash before challenging me again.”
“… Sure,” Leah said, shrugging. She didn’t feel like disagreeing with the gym leader at the moment. She had absolutely no plans to challenge him again. Once was enough, thanks.
Besides, she didn’t want to stay and chat; she just wanted to leave and get to a Pokemon Center.
“Why’d you give up?” Ed demanded, coming over to her with Ally and Danny.
Leah gave him a narrowed-eyed glance. “There was no way I was going to win,” she explained shortly.
“You could have tried! How would you know if you just gave up?”
“I would know,” Leah said, mentally telling Ed to shut up.
Danny came up to her to offer his own words. “Bad luck that it was a Magnemite,” he said, apparently not knowing what to say since she had lost.
“I’m going to the Pokemon Center,” Leah announced, brushing aside all other attempts of conversation as she walked out the door. After a moment, Danny followed her.
Ed and Ally were also about to, but Surge stopped them. Or rather, Ed.
“I want to talk to you for a minute,” the gym leader said, looking grave.
Leah arrived at the Pokemon Center alone. Danny had been following her, but he had gone off to do… something. She hadn’t asked and he hadn’t told her. Well, actually, she had a suspicion that she had pissed him off with her attitude, since his attempts to cheer her up were rudely rebuffed, even in her eyes. So, he had stormed off in a huff and left her all alone.
But at that moment, she didn’t care one bit. She just wanted to be by herself for a while; was that too much to ask?
It had hardly taken two minutes to drop Sands off at the nurse in the front. The whole thing was a bit of a blur and the next thing she coherently knew, she was laying on her bed in the room she shared with Ed and Ally.
The girl sighed, kicking her shoes off and throwing her jacket to the floor. Still laying down, she untied her ponytail and put the elastic on the sheets next to her. No matter how upset she was, she didn’t want to loose another elastic; she went through enough of those already.
When she was finally comfy, she closed her eyes and wished she would fall asleep. She didn’t feel like thinking, but it seemed her thoughts had other ideas as they poured into her mind from an unknown waterfall of emotion.
How could she think that going up against a gym leader would be a good idea? What, did she think she would win or something? And then go on to become a Pokemon Master? The whole idea was laughable. She, win against an experienced gym leader with nothing more than an inexperienced Sandshrew? Who did she think she was? Mary Sue?
It was bad luck that Surge had used a Magnemite. Any other Pokemon and Leah could see herself winning, even if there was a tight margin separating her victory from defeat. But no, it had to be a Magnemite, a half-steel and half-electric-type. A Pokemon that floated, a concept that was enemy of a ground-type. She had lost the battle before it even started.
How do they do it? Leah asked herself, thinking of Ed and Ally. How do they beat gym leader so easily? Ed had only lost once, and he still got a badge because Ally won her battle. Ally hadn’t lost yet, though she had only won her battle with Blaine because of mere luck. They were ten, five years younger than Leah and they did better than her.
Leah was smart; she could think up strategies that would go over the mind of a ten-year-old. So why had she lost and they won? Well, she knew why she had lost, if that made any sense, but why did they win?
Gym leaders go easy on kids, Leah concluded. It wasn’t just giving them a fair chance. Beating up a ten-year-old’s Pokemon would probably make anyone feel guilty. So, younger kids won, whether the gym leader was being nice or holding back, most likely both. And if kids won, they would continue being trainers, because hey, who didn’t like doing something they always won?
Leah sighed, not knowing where she was going with her train of thought.
There was no getting around it; she had to get it in her head: she lost, badly.
So, what was she going to do about it?
Going back home would be a start, once she could ditch the brats someplace. Cerulean City was Ally hometown, if she remembered right, so that meant she could just ditch the two at Ally’s house and stay at the Pokemon Center. Since the brats wouldn’t beg her to stay with them (like Ed had done in Fuchsia City), she would only have to check up on them now and again. Once they got the Cascade Badge, she was home free.
Then what? So, if her goal was completed and she was back home, then what would she do? Listen to Jason Dare, go to school, watch TV, lay on her bed in her room, doing nothing… what she used to do, before this whole Mentor mess started. People would say her activities were boring, but Leah didn’t see a problem with them. She liked doing those things. Unlike the average kid, she didn’t really have any hobbies to talk about. Her lifestyle could even be called unhealthy since her lack of close figures in her life made her quite a loner. The only family she had left was her grandmother and a few other people she rarely saw or didn’t even life in Kanto. And even then, her grandmother was never home.
Not that she really cared.
It would even be nice to go back to school, even if she didn’t like to admit it. School gave her something to do, even if she didn’t have any close classmates. Of course, she had already missed a week of school, but that wasn’t too bad.
Going home, after all this time would be… nice.
Leah’s eyes drooped, and for the first time in years, she took a nap.
“I think you did good,” Ally said, sitting across the booth from Leah. Amber sat at the girl’s side, gnawing on a bone-shaped treat.
Leah scowled at the window, watching her reflection’s mouth turn into a sneer.
“Not good enough.”
The younger girl wasn’t off put by her Mentor’s attitude and carried on.
“You did do good, though! Magnemite have an advantage over ground-types. Sands wouldn’t have been able to win, no matter what you did-”
“Sands did his best,” Leah interrupted, her voice practically a growl. “It’s not his fault he wasn’t able to win.”
Ally swallowed and went silent.
The two brats had interrupted her much needed rest half-an-hour ago and proceeded to annoy her like never before. Oh, they weren’t doing it on purpose, but it was the little things that were catching her eye. Ally had yet to put Amber away and was treating the fire-type with more love and affection than Leah thought possible. The girl was also in a talkative mood, her cheerful mood betrayed by the bright smile on her face.
Ed, on the other hand, wasn’t acting as expected but he was still irritating. His victory glow was more on the thoughtful side as he kept staring at the damn Thunder Badge, turning it over in his hands and playing with the pin side of it.
“You can stop it now,” Leah told Ed, who had the pleasure of sitting beside her. Scowling, Ed put the badge on the table, pulling his soda towards him and sipping at the straw.
“Hey, Leah,” Ed said after taking a long sip of his drink. He seemed a tad nervous, eyes looking down at the table. “Uh… Do you think I pushed Coralie too much?”
“I dunno,” the older girl replied, rolling her eyes, not caring for any question that came in her direction. “Why ask me? Go call William or something.”
Ed apparently didn’t agree with the idea by the way he pulled back.
“I can’t ask Will!” he complained, aghast. “Then he’ll know that I haven’t been treating my Pokemon right! He’ll be angry.”
Suddenly, Leah put her hands on the table and rose to her feet.
“I’m going to go look for Danny,” she declared to the brats, not waiting for a reply before turning with a swing of her ponytail.
She really wasn’t in the mood for answering questions and giving advice. It wasn’t her problem if Ed mistreated his Pokemon. She wasn’t going to be around for much longer so why should she care?
Before leaving the Pokemon Center, however, Leah stopped by the front desk.
“Hey,” she said, gaining the secretary’s attention. “I brought my Sandshrew in about an hour ago… His name’s Sands. Uh, do you know how he’s doing?”
“Not sure, let me check,” the secretary replied, looking at her computer and clicked a few times with her mouse. After a few more clicks: “It’s only been an hour, so there’s still healing to be done. Come back in a few more hours and he should be feeling better then.”
Leah thanked the woman and left the Pokemon Center, walking outside into the cool autumn air. She looked both ways, her eyes scanning people’s faces. When she saw Danny’s was not among them, she started walking.
Honestly, she didn’t know where Danny was, but he probably didn’t go too far. Maybe he was checking out the Poke-Mart or some other such place; Leah couldn’t really see him going somewhere that wasn’t related to Pokemon.
After only a few minutes of walking, she got a lucky break and saw Danny a ways away, walking out of the doors of the Pokemon Fanclub.
Leah raised her hand, and Danny spotted it, coming over to her with a smile.
“Hey,” he greeted. “Got bored?”
“A bit,” she replied. Truthfully, she just wanted to get away from the brats. They were way more annoying than usual when hyped up after a win and it wasn’t something she wanted to be around.
“Did you know they’re selling Pokemon Eggs in there?” Danny asked, pointing to the fan club.
She shrugged. “Yeah. The brats wanted one, but I said no. What, you interested in one?”
“Nah, baby Pokemon can be pretty annoying.”
Nodding, Leah smiled slightly. That was what she thought at the time.
“Though,” he continued, “they were Cleffa eggs and those are pretty rare. The only place you can really find them in Kanto is Mount Moon.” He scratched his head. “The only thing I’m really wondering is why they aren’t just auctioned off. That’d be way easier than just to sell them individually.”
“Maybe she didn’t want them to go to bad owners?”
Danny shrugged. “Yeah, maybe. He paused. “Wait, ‘she’? The person who was selling the eggs was a man.”
“Really?” Leah said, frowning. She was pretty sure the seller had been a woman, though, now that she thought about it, she couldn’t actually remember what she looked like. Pushing the thought aside, she said, “Must be more than one seller, then.”
The older teen shrugged and changed the subject. “Have you had lunch yet?” he asked. “Cause there’s a really good restaurant by the gym-”
“Already ate,” Leah replied, her mood going sour as the gym was brought up. Her battle had hardly been two hours ago and she was still steaming over it.
Danny sighed heavily. “That’s too bad. Well, if not that, how about a battle? You still owe me one, remember.”
“Sands is too injured right now,” Leah said, frowning.
“You have another Pokemon besides your Sandshrew, right?” He explained further after seeing Leah’s odd look. “I got the information out of your little friends while you were battling. They said you had a Drowzee.”
Promising herself to smack the brats when she saw them again, Leah said, “She won’t be my Pokemon for long, I’m getting rid of her once I quit this whole trainer stuff.”
“Really? That’s a shame. How long have you had her?”
Leah thought back. “Almost two weeks, I think. Though it feels a lot longer.”
“So, why don’t you use her, then?” He persisted. “I’ll use Teddy and it can be a psychic battle. Haven’t you ever seen psychic battles on TV before?”
Leah had several times. Those types of battles were very fast-paced, the psychic Pokemon teleporting all over the place and only fighting with their mind. It was definitely a sight to see.
Still, she hesitated. “I don’t know… I’ve never used Zee in a battle before.”
“Come on, it’ll be fun!”
It could be a good idea, she thought, Danny’s pleading words getting to her. She needed something to get her out of the slump she found herself in. True, maybe battling so soon after her defeat would be a bad idea, but it would be Danny she would be battling. He never won against her…
“Fine,” Leah said, rolling her eyes. “Just one battle.”
Danny grinned and pointed down the street. “I know just the spot where we can battle. Come on!”
The spot he chose wasn’t exactly what Leah would call perfect. It was off the street, true, but there were still people around the little grassy area and she hoped the people wouldn’t mind if they got in their way.
But apparently, trainers randomly battling were common because a crowd was already starting to form around then. They hadn’t even sent out their Pokemon and were already attracting viewers. The people were mostly younger kids with a few older folk (some were probably parents) thrown into the mix, and they were looking on in anticipation.
She had never battled in front of a crowd before (the brats and Danny didn’t count as a crowd), and she gripped her Pokeball tighter, hoping they’d lose interest.
Danny, however, seemed right at home, not minding the onlookers, but instead greeting them with a grin.
“You nervous?” he asked her.
“Of course not,” she replied coolly, being the first to release her Pokemon.
The crowd ooh-ed at the white light, but seemed to be disappointed in her choice of Pokemon, their voices lowering to whispers and chuckles.
Zee, like her trainer, seemed a bit uncomfortable with all the stares and whispering. She ducked her head as a particularly loud laugh came from the crowd and grabbed onto Leah’s pant leg, like a scared child.
Ignore them, Leah sent, after putting a hand on the Pokemon’s head. We’re going to be battling now, so be ready.
The trainer wasn’t sure if her Pokemon understood her message, but before she could confirm, Danny distracted her by releasing his own Pokemon.
Teddy brushed green hair from his bright red eyes, his appearance gaining much more appreciation from the crowd.
“Ooh, what Pokemon’s that?”
“A Kirlia!? Those are rare!”
“It’s so pretty! Where can I get one of those?”
Danny grinned at the comments, and looked up at Leah with pride on his face.
“Ready to battle?”
Pushing her Pokemon away, Leah waited until Zee had taken a few steps forward before saying, “Yeah, I’m ready.”
And the battle began.
“Teddy,” Danny started, “Magical Leaf!”
The two hairpins on the Kirlia’s head started to glow a luminescent green, and his eyes took a faint emerald glow. The Pokemon raised his arms and ghostly crescents detached themselves from his horns and hovered in mid-air. With hardly a pause, Teddy pointed at his opponent and the crescents of green light shot off.
The psychic-type shot her trainer a panicked look, not understanding. She turned back and raised one of her hands, mentally stopping a few of the closer leaves in mid-flight. The rest of the leaves, however, followed their original path, slicing into Zee and instantly dissolving on contact.
Leah kept a gasp to herself and walked a few paces to the right, getting a better view of her Pokemon’s injuries. Her short-lived fright a few seconds before was unfounded, thankfully, as the Magical Leaf only left shallow cuts; nothing too harmful.
But that brought up another problem. Zee didn’t get out of the way when she told her too. The explanation on why the Pokemon didn’t was rather stupid, but Leah could forgive herself for it. Really! Other than Sands, who she got five years ago, she had never owned another Pokemon before. How was she to remember that not all Pokemon came with a full understanding of the English language? In the first few days of becoming trainers, Leah could remember quite vividly that Ed and Ally used much of their time just teaching their Pokemon basic attack names and commands. A process that was later followed when they caught new Pokemon (well, not Coralie, since she was already trained).
Zee, however, didn’t know the names of her own techniques. That meant that Leah couldn’t get involved with the battle and help the Pokemon through it. Like her gym battle a few hours before, it looked like her Pokemon was going to have to battle alone.
In a snap decision, Leah decided to continue the battle. Sure, Danny had a big advantage since his psychic-type was well-trained, but that didn’t mean she was going to automatically lose. Zee was tough; she beat up hers and the brat’s Pokemon that one night and it was only because Leah accidently caught her was Zee ‘defeated’.
Besides, Leah didn’t want to make a fool of herself in front of a crowd. One attack and she recalls her Pokemon? That’d be humiliating and she had already lost one battle that day by surrendering.
She refused to do it again, no matter the circumstances.
“Lucky Chant,” Danny called out, making Leah refocus on the battle.
Teddy started to sway to music only he could hear, and started to hum an odd tune, his white skirt dancing with him. His red eyes glazed over as the humming got louder-
Suddenly, Teddy was pushed back, his dance broken and when the Pokemon looked up, he caught sight of Zee. The psychic-type was pointing at him with a single claw, her eyes narrowed, and not looking beaten, despite the small trails of blood that oozed out of her cuts.
“Hmm, nice one,” Danny said to Leah, an eyebrow raised. “Just to warn you, psychic battles are way different from regular ones. You’re not going to be able to win with a single Force Push.”
For only a moment, Leah paused, but then an idea came upon her. With a slight chuckle, she grinned at him and said, “Oh, I know.”
Danny paused at her odd answer, but recovered nicely. “Really?” Danny replied. “Then you better start getting serious.”
Leah made a show of shrugging and shooting her Pokemon with a calculating look before turning back to Danny. “I already am. You just haven’t noticed.”
Frowning, Danny’s eyes narrowed as he probably tried to decipher what Leah meant behind her words.
Making Danny overestimate Zee could backfire very easily. Leah didn’t know how much the brats told him about Zee, but he didn’t have to know that Zee wasn’t trained in the slightest. All abilities and reactions she had were strictly natural. So, while Danny thought and over planned, she could take the advantage. Or rather, Zee could.
“Zee,” Leah said, smiling. “You know what to do.”
Leah might as well have not spoken, as Zee only understood her nickname and nothing else. But it wasn’t really the psychic-type the trainer was talking too.
Zee lowered her paw and concentrated, eyes narrowing, as she stared into her opponent’s red eyes. Slowly, Teddy started to unconsciously sway on his thin green legs.
Danny scowled and instructed, “Teddy, look away, Drowzee’s using Hypnosis.”
The Kirlia wretched his gaze from Zee’s and put one hand to his head, the other pointing at the Drowzee. His eyes glowed a faint blue and pebbles that littered the ground were picked up by invisible hands. The little rocks were thrust forward, all zooming in at the Drowzee.
But this time, Zee wasn’t going to settle for a partial block. Instead, she brushed all of them out of the air, the pebbles flying at the feet of the crowd.
“Teleport,” Danny said.
Leah merely smiled at the command and said nothing.
As soon as Teddy disappeared, Zee froze, eyes darting around the small area. Though, since the crowd around them wasn’t giving the battle space that it could have had, teleporting was a rather useless maneuver.
With a flash of light, Teddy reappeared a few feet to Zee’s left, his hairpins already awash in a green glow. Several crescent blades materialized, flying through the air and since the space between the two Pokemon was so small, the Drowzee could only brace herself.
Between the flurry of green blades, Zee raised her paw, her own eyes turning a startling blue. But instead of the blades being stopped, the Kirlia was the target instead.
The opponent Pokemon seized up for a moment, arms held at his sides and head turning downwards, his eyes squeezing shut. Then, after a moment, the psychic Pokemon dropped like a marionette with its strings cut.
There were gasps in the crowd, but they turned into sighs of reliefs when Teddy got back to its feet, panting.
“What’d you do?” Danny asked out loud, visually searching his Pokemon for an answer that didn’t come.
Leah grinned, staying silent and hiding her own confusion at which attack her Pokemon had used.
“Magical Leaf!” Danny called out, setting his hesitance aside. “Again!”
The Kirlia’s horns glowed, but then abruptly went dark as Teddy held its head in pain, knees buckling, though it did not fall.
“Hey, Zee,” Leah said, waiting until the Pokemon looked at her before the trainer put one of her fists into her hand, grinning.
Words were something the psychic-type couldn’t understand but motions or symbols were another thing entirely.
Danny also saw Leah do the motion, and saw what was going to happen.
Looking up, the Kirlia only had time to see the fist coming at his face before his vision cut to black.
Leah gazed at the fallen Pokemon, and grinned. “I win.”
“Not again,” Danny groaned, looking at Teddy for a moment before returning it. “I thought for sure I would win this time.”
Leah shrugged, still grinning, and patted her Drowzee on the head for a job well done.
“You can’t win them all,” she quipped to him, even though she was sure that she would lose too.
Danny rolled his eyes. “I never win with you around.”
Seeing the battle was over, the crowd slowly started to. Leah was a bit disturbed that some random strangers came up to her to personally congratulate her on the win, but she brushed them aside quickly.
After everyone had left, Danny said, “You had no idea what you were doing.”
It was more of a statement than a question, and Leah just nodded. “Yeah, what gave it away?”
“You exaggerated your intimidation too much,” he answered and grinned at Leah’s surprised expression. “Hey, don’t underestimate me. I notice these things.”
“Well, I still won.”
Danny waved it off. “I was going easy on you. All you did was get in a lucky punch. I’ll totally win the next battle, though.”
“Yeah right,” Leah scoffed, smiling. “If my untrained Drowzee can beat you, you think you’ll stand a chance against her when she’s trained?”
The older teen opened his mouth, a reply on his lips, but closed it again, frowning. “Cerulean’s not that far; will you even have enough time to train her before ditching the journey thing?”
Leah shrugged. “I’m going to see what I can do. It’s been years since I’ve trained a Pokemon from scratch. Then, I’ll just give Zee to Ally. I know she’ll look after her.”
The happy mood vanished and all that was left was silence.
“I’m not going to Cerulean next,” Danny said quietly. “I’m staying here for a while before heading to Saffron. I don’t think we’ll have time for another battle.”
Leah deflated, her enthusiasm gone. “We’re leaving for Cerulean tomorrow,” she replied, just as quiet. “The brats want their next badge…” She trailed off, because it was really she who told the brats that they were leaving tomorrow, though she wouldn’t tell Danny that.
What was done was done. Soon, her journey would be over and she would go back home. She hated almost every minute of her journey, there was no denying that. But maybe, there would be some things she would miss.
“Visit me in Pallet Town?” Leah asked with a forced smile. “When you find the time?”
Danny’s reply was instantaneous. “Of course!” His voice was loud, like he was daring Leah to deny the fact. “Give me your address and I’ll come see you once I’m done in Saffron. Then, we’ll have another battle and I’ll win.”
“You wish,” Leah teased.
The tension was broken and Danny continued, “Hey, are you sure you’re not hungry? Cause that battle made me really want something to eat…”
Leah made a show of sighing. “Maybe a little.”
“Then I’ll escort you to that restaurant I found,” Danny said, holding out a hand. “Trust me, it’s a good place.”
Leah stared at the hand for a moment, like she didn’t know what to do with it.
“I believe you,” Leah said, rolling her eyes and putting her hand in his. Danny’s grip tightened and Leah tried to keep her blush to herself.
“Alright then,” Danny started with a grin, pulling Leah down the street.
AN: And thus ends the Vermillion Arc! *faints of exhaustion* Sorry for the extra long wait! This chapter gave me some trouble, especially the gym battle, but I think it came out rather well, even if it shows signs of being rather rushed. And guys, I suggest you say goodbye to Danny, because he won’t be appearing again for a long while (and I am not exaggerating).
Wow. WOW. That was one good chapter. I didn't notice anything that was a grammatical error, but this made me laugh:
Here I am. December review!
Look, Dagzar, you have done quite a good job and have kept me going around, reading this thing three times or four. And your characters are interesting. Plus there's a Sandshrew. Things like these make spending my time here worth it.
This particular chapter had some more easily detectable error though. That, or I'm getting better at grammar. They were not big mistakes, mostly tense typos. The writing seemed a bit rushed at times because of some choices of paragraph breaking that I found strange, but the plot and the pace themselves ran again at a respectable and natural 1x speed and without problem.
Also, Mary Sue... :D
Let me see if I can find some minor things to help...
The other errors were like this: mostly apparent typos and easier to detect. They also appeared far more sparingly (in particular during the last battles).
Now, as for plot, you know I like the direction you are turning this story. The whole concept of the Mentors sounds nice and I feel like borrowing the idea and dandy, and quite occlusive to what would have to be the eyes of the 15-year-olds assigned with such tasks. This made interesting the whole free-thinking Leah did after she lost. I think she knew where her thoughts were heading into when she took note that Gym Leaders would take easy on kids, considering what she saw from Lorelei and (possibly) what strange occurrences have been chained together, with strange implications, since the battle against Koga. I'm still thinking about the forms and also the fact that the Gym Leaders used their Pokémon the way they did. Even against Leah.
And you gave some nifty battle screen time to Sands!!!!!!! *hearts*. Now, I expected her to lose if she sent out Sands to battle, since Surge would have had, what, Magnemite or worse, Raichu? But I didn't expect the battle to be carried out by having Leah doing what essentially amounted to mentally agotating herself. She commanded Sands in a slightly rash and reckless manner, not in terms of not giving him good commands (she did instruct him to use Swift after all), but rather in that Leah seemed to abandon herself to the illusion that Sands would have been better trained. I mean, it looked like she practically sent him to do scratch damage and see if Sands could annoy his opponent to surrender.
And that reminded me of a fact that I had pretty much forgotten about this story. For too long to count, Leah hasn't been a Trainer. Sands hasn't been in situations where he had to do as he did here since what, Danny's first battle? All his other battles were technically easier. Despite being 15 years old, Leah seemed to expect the world to see her in the same wey they did see her charges. She lacks in battle judgment, and that cost Sands dearly.
I flinched with the image of Leah having to feel her way around Sands' body because of his pain to the point she finally opted to simply return him to the Poké Ball, by the way. It seemed to me that Sands was more in pain out of the consequences of the confusion itself rather than the electric attacks.
I can see, however, that this defeat sparked two very important behaviours in Leah that could signify a big development for her. For once, even though her battle judgment was lacking, her ability to stand aside and measure the situation seems to have improved. Since the time Leah and Sands intervened in Lorelei's battle, one of the most imnportant factors that contributed to Danny's defeats (even in this last battle with Zee at her side) was that she was looking at the things happening with a vision broad enough that she left herself have the last word. Here she recalled Sands and forfeited the battle when she had to; not a moment later, not a moment earlier. Her encounter with Blue at the S.S. Anne evolved in the same manner in the way how and when she sent out her Pokémon. More recently against Danny, she knew to take advantage of Zee fighting her way for herself. That Danny saw through it is another matter. I think Leah has pretty good life judgment, on par or maybe better than other trainers her age (seeing that she almost acted the Giovanni way at S.S.Anne); what she lacks is simply battle experience.
The second thing was that with Sands's defeat she showed not only genuine concern for him but also a genuine concern for the battle. Maybe too much, as she let herself be betrayed by what I trhink was excess thought. This was expressed in tenacious and beautiful terms as well, with the whole point of Leah trying to have him imitate her, not being able to backpedal on Swift (and not remembering key information about Sands as to realize what would happen if the commanded him to "throw out something") or finally herself taking a nap, and evaluating her future after-Mentor with a glint of, i think, shame. Cute as he is, I think it was a good think to have Sands beaten up as he ended to finally connect the things Leah has been doing this time. Don't let that happen again.
In summation, this chapter has provided for an important amount of character development for Leah, and also some for Sands and Zee (and we finally get do discover her battle style). Ed got some chdev as well, and I can only think of the true consequences of Surge calling him out on whatever he did. Also, DannyLeahShipping. Although I don't like the idea, I have to admit they enjoy each other in a very... particular and not exactly platonic way.
Which reminds me... where is the Fire Stone?
Kudos for Sands taking his paws to his ears as if trying to say "Wait, what?".
Well, I think I finish the review here. This may be the last this year, unless the next chapter comes next week, since I won't be here during the last week of the year (family celebrations). Compliments to you then for this work and I hope you continue to exhaust yourself for a loooooong time.
Chapter 33: Changes
It was cold that morning, the sun nowhere in sight as clouds had taken over the sky. Autumn had overcome summer, displaying its power with its chilled winds and yellow leaves amongst the green of the forest. Any usual kid would be sleeping in their warm beds at such an early hour, or even in a sleeping bag, which certainly couldn’t replace a bed.
But he wasn’t an ordinary kid. Sitting away from his sleeping bag, he leaned against the broad trunk of a tree, his breath coming out as pale mist.
“Evolve?” Ed blurted out, trying to stay quiet, holding the cell phone tightly to his ear. “Already?”
“The symptoms you’ve told me suggest that,” William replied, sounding amused at his brother’s outburst. “It’s not that unbelievable. Paras evolves into Parasect around the middle of level two and I’d be surprised if your Pokemon weren’t there by now.”
Glancing down, Ed took in the image of his wayward Pokemon that sat silently on the grass, hardly able to believe it.
The idea of evolution was one that Ed didn’t think of much. He knew that Paras would eventually evolve, but not so soon. It hardly seemed so long ago that he got Paras at Professor Oak’s lab. The prospect of his first Pokemon evolving was one that he struggled to wrap his mind around, despite much evidence pointing towards that conclusion.
Ever since he, Ally and Leah had left Vermillion City, Paras had been acting weird whenever he came out of his Pokeball. Even without Ed commanding it too, Paras would randomly use Stun Spore or Poison Powder for no reason at all. The displays always seemed accidental, like Paras couldn’t help it.
At the time, Ed didn’t care that much, thinking that his Pokemon was just playing around, but now, physical symptoms were starting to develop. Ever since he got Paras, the bug-type had two mushrooms on its back, both about the size of a fist. But that had changed recently as a third was developing at the base of one of the old ones and the beginning two had grown rapidly in the past couple of days, swelling to twice their size.
“But I haven’t even been training him that much,” Ed said, thinking. He had mostly stuck to training Coralie, since the transforming Pokemon was more fun to train. With it, he didn’t need to stick to boring attacks like Scratch and Leech Life. He could get his Ditto to transform into any Pokemon that was around!
“It’s just Paras’ time,” his brother said. “Pokemon don’t need to be in the thick of battle to evolve. Actually, until Paras evolves, you should stop using him to battle. Evolution is a stressful time and battling would just add to that and might cause complications.”
“I thought battling would help evolution along?” Ed asked, his ears picking up the quiet sounds of the forest, of the small chirps and sounds of Pokemon.
He had left Ally and Leah about ten minutes ago to talk to William in privacy. Well, he didn’t really need to find some place quiet because both of his travelling companions were still asleep and probably wouldn’t wake up if he talked loudly. Still, Leah would definitely be angry if he woke her up, especially if she caught him using her cell phone. The previous evening, Leah had banned him from using it since he was really wasting its power with his constant talks to William.
Which totally wasn’t fair! He hardly ever got to talk to his brother anymore because he was always so busy and tended to forget when he had free time. Leah probably only said that so she could make him miserable, like she always did. Because of her ban, he had to wake up early just so he could steal her phone.
“Only for some Pokemon,” William was saying when Ed zoned back in. “And that’s still not healthy for them. Pokemon who evolve in the midst of battle tend to have personality changes.”
“What’s so bad about that? It could be good.”
“Not really. Pokemon like that become aggressive and defiant. Most of them are usually released since they become too wild for a trainer to handle.”
Ed smiled slightly, running his finger along one of Paras’s mushrooms, feeling the slight fuzz. Paras shot him a glare, not liking the sensation, and wiggled until Ed pulled his hand back.
“I can’t see Paras being wild,” Ed admitted. “He’s too… lazy for that.”
“You’d be surprised,” William said, and Ed could imagine his brother smirking as he delivered a fun fact. “It’s not very well known, but Parasect can be very territorial and dangerous. Their Spore is a very potent sleeping powder that’ll put all humans and most Pokemon to sleep.”
“Alright.” Ed rolled his eyes, giving in. “I won’t battle with Paras until he evolves.”
“Good. Also, since Paras is really close to evolving, I’d advise that you keep Paras out of his Pokeball. Pokeballs keep Pokemon from evolving and it can be really uncomfortable if a Pokemon had to hold its evolution in.”
“I didn’t know there were so many rules to evolving,” Ed admitted. At least there weren’t many of them…
William chuckled. “Yeah, but you’ll get used to it. Actually, I don’t think you have to worry that much. From what you’ve told me, the evolution won’t take much longer. Paras will probably evolve today, even.”
“That’d be cool!”
“Yeah, evolution is definitely something to behold.” William paused. “By the way, how did your gym battle with Surge go other than ‘great’? You hung up pretty quickly the last time we talked.”
Ed’s heart sunk and wished the question never came up. He didn’t really want to talk about the gym battle with Surge. He had won, but he knew that Will wouldn’t like the way he won.
“It was different,” Ed said at last, wondering if he should leave out any details. He really didn’t want Will mad at him…
“There was a five-minute time-limit, so I really had to hurry. Coralie was great, though! It transformed into Pikachu and I could hardly keep up with the battle! They were moving so quickly!”
William laughed. “Pikachu are really fast. How’d you win the battle overall?”
“… Coralie used Double-Team and confused the other Pikachu,” Ed said and then continued quickly, “Then Coralie used Slam a few times and it was all over!”
“Interesting strategy,” William said. “Well, I’m glad you won. That’s three badges down and five more to go. You’re almost halfway to the Indigo Tournament!”
Ed grinned. “I can’t wait! I remember when you battled in it. Your battles were amazing!”
“I’m surprised you can still remember them, you were only five at the time.”
“I remember when you totally squashed that Pidgeotto with Martini. You shot it right out of the sky!”
“Only after a lot of hard work; that Pidgeotto was pretty fast and it took a bit of mind reading to catch it,” William said. “Too bad I lost in the next match, though. No matter how strong Martini’s psychic abilities were, there was no way he could win against an Alakazam.”
“There’s a reason why people choose the Abra line as their psychic-type,” William explained. “Alakazam are a class above psychics; any other psychic-type just pales in comparison.”
Before the conversation went too off track, William asked. “How’d Ally’s battle go? Did she do all right?”
Ed nodded, feeling a bit of relief from getting away from his own battle. “Yeah! Her Vulpix was great and really had that Voltorb on the run. And, guess what? After the battle, the Voltorb Selfdestruct-ed! I’ve never seen one do that before!”
“I hope no one was hurt.”
“Nah, though the wall had a hole in it. Oh, and guess what happened next? C’mon, guess!”
“I have no idea,” William said, sounding amused. “Tell me.”
“Leah battled Surge! She actually challenged him!”
William took a moment to reply. “… Seriously? I though she didn’t like being a trainer.”
“That’s what I thought too!” Ed nodded along. “But she did! She used Sands and Surge used a Magnemite.”
There was sympathy in William’s voice. “That’s a pretty bad match up. She lost, right?”
Ed leaned back into the tree. “Yeah, and now she’s in a bad mood.”
Though, bad mood wasn’t that appropriate of a phrase. Leah’s bad moods were sneering, yelling and insulting anyone who was around her. True, that was what she was doing lately, but it was really quiet. She didn’t go out of her way to talk to anyone and only really spent time with her Pokemon.
“That’s too bad,” William said dryly. “Just don’t let her get to you, okay? I don’t think she realizes half the things she says.”
“She’s not been that bad,” Ed replied, thinking. “She’s just really quiet and depressed.”
“Oh.” William apparently didn’t have much to say about that as he changed the topic. “She’ll be leaving once you get the fourth badge, correct?”
Their Mentor had talked to him and Ally yesterday about what was to happen when they reached Cerulean City. Leah was going to stay at the Pokemon Center, and since Ally’s house didn’t have enough room, Ed would be too. But, Leah said, she was going to test them to see how well they did on their own, so she was going to totally stay out of their way and let them do what they want.
Ed, however, didn’t think for a second that it was a test and he wondered if Leah was just going to leave them behind without a second glance. Sure, he knew that she didn’t like them, but he hoped she would at least say goodbye. Even if Ed himself didn’t hold many fond feeling for Leah, it would be nice if she stayed with them just a while longer.
Somehow, without Leah, Ed could see the rest of his journey becoming quieter.
And what a journey it had been so far! He could have never dreamed of the adventures he had gone through in only around three months. A few of them had been kind of unpleasant, like falling off a ship, and being in the hospital for a couple days, but overall, Ed couldn’t have wished for a better journey. It was a fantasy come true, one that he hoped would never end.
“Oh!” Ed said, remembering something. “Hey, Will, when I was on the cruise ship, I saw something really cool in the museum.”
“Really? What was it?”
“I’m not sure. I asked Leah and she said she didn’t know and the caption box on it said it was only from Sinnoh, but nothing else.”
“Maybe I can help your little mystery, then,” William said. “Was it a tablet?”
“What’s a tablet?”
“It’s a thin stone that has engravings on it.”
Ed thought for a moment, bring the image to mind. “Yeah, it had writing on it, but I couldn’t read it. And the tablet was brown and it was shaped into a rectangle with pointed edges.”
“I’ll go research it for you,” William said. “It probably came from the Pewter City museum, so it shouldn’t be that hard to look up.”
“Thanks Will!” Ed grinned.
“Before I forget, Eddy, Mom and Dad want to talk to you.”
“… Are they there right now?” Ed asked, holding his breath.
“No, Dad went to work and Mom’s still in bed.”
“What do they want to talk to me about?”
“Your journey, I’m guessing.” William said, annoyance in his voice. “Honestly, other than that, I don’t know what they want. They’ve been quite cautious not to talk around me.”
“Really?” Ed asked, surprised. “D- Do you think it’s bad?”
Slowly, William said, “I don’t know, but really, I don’t think it matters too much. You’re almost at Cerulean and that’s a long ways a way. They can’t exactly order you to come home and I don’t think they’ll try to send anyone after you.”
“T- That’s good then.” Ed hesitated. “How are Mom and Dad doing?”
William took his time to reply and when he did, he spoke carefully. “They’re fine, but they are pretty worried. The whole S. S. Anne fiasco was on the news and I did tell them a while ago that you’d be going there. I told them you were alright, but they’re still… really worried.”
Ed could already imagine his parents’ worried faces, the kind they used to get when William was on his journey. But unlike his older brother, Ed was younger and… even if he hated to admit it, his Pokemon weren’t that strong. Not like how William’s had been. Against a predator, a Paras and a Ditto weren’t really a threat, even if Coralie could Transform.
A bit of guilt welled inside of him. To him, going on adventures were really fun, but to his parents, he guessed that they were kind of scary, especially if it was him in the middle of it.
Suddenly, Ed shook his head. Yeah, his parents were worried, but that didn’t mean he was going to give up his journey, no matter what they said. He loved what he did, and if he had a choice, which he did, he would never give it up.
Ed leaned back against the tree and tried to get off such a subject.
“So, um, how’s Carla doing?”
Leah felt hands shaking her shoulders, trying to force her out of a world of endless dark corridors. She groaned and buried herself deeper in her sleeping bag, trying to ward off both the hands and the early morning chill.
“Leah!” a voice whispered. “I’m going to go train Paras, okay? I’ll be back later.”
“Alright,” Leah replied, her voice clear even thought she hardly had a clue at what she was saying. “Hurry back…”
And then she drifted back off to sleep.
“Where is he?” Ally asked, frowning and looking at Ed’s rolled up sleeping bag.
Leah yawned as she tied up her shoelaces. Blearily, she looked around the camp with half-shut eyes, looking for a sign of orange hair, but finding none. “Dunno. Bathroom?”
“Ed!” Ally called out instead, looking between the trunks of the trees.
“Why are you so worried?” Leah asked, yawning again. In her tired mood, she didn’t feel concerned in the least. Even if Ed had disappeared, the teen was sure he would show up soon enough.
Ally bit her lip. “He never goes off in the morning… not without me.” She paused. “I- I’m going to go look for him.”
“That’s stupid,” Leah said. “You don’t know where he is; you’ll just get lost.”
Shaking her head, Ally took out a Pokeball and released her Vulpix. “Amber will show me the way back,” the girl said.
Opening her mouth, Leah closed it again after further thought and just rolled her eyes. “Fine, whatever. Don’t come crying to me if you get lost.”
“I won’t get lost,” Ally muttered to herself as she left camp, holding Amber against her chest as she disappeared between the trees.
“Don’t take more than ten minutes!” Leah yelled after her. “I want to get to Cerulean before lunch time!”
There could have been a reply, but Leah had already turned her attention away from the brats and to Sands, who had gratefully joined her for the morning.
The ground-type was shivering and huddled around the Fire Stone, sucking up as much warmth from the rock as he could.
“Come on, Sands.” Leah said. “It’s not that cold out.”
From behind the rock, the Sandshrew gave her a glare and went back ward off the early morning chill.
Leah sighed and looked at the trees, hoping that the brats would come back soon. They didn’t have time for this! She wanted to get to Cerulean as fast as she could. If she balanced her time right, she could probably make it to the city by the afternoon.
Crossing her arms, Leah scowled. If they didn’t come back soon, there would be hell to pay.
Still, even if she would never admit, she felt a bit worried.
“Ow,” Ed muttered to himself, looking at the bare skin of legs and arms. Red cuts highlighted his flesh, all due to the prickly bushes and sharp, thorny branches that were prevalent all around him.
Making sure he didn’t bump into an annoying bush, he kneeled down in front of his Pokemon.
“Come on, Paras, it’s evolution time!”
Paras looked up at its trainer with an annoyed look, tensing when Ed ran his finger down the newly sprouted mushroom.
“It’s really fuzzy.” The boy smiled and looked around, spotting a solitary Pidgey resting in the trees, its head hidden under it brown-feathered wing.
“Leah’s going to mad,” he said to his Paras. “She wants to get to Cerulean fast, but I’m going to wait for you to evolve first. So you better do it soon if you don’t want me to get yelled at.”
But it was okay since Ed had made sure to tell Leah that he was leaving and he even made sure she was awake first. That meant that he’d probably be let off easy. Even if Leah was annoyed at him for wasting so much time over a Pokemon, he could just say he lost track of time.
Paras looked around the area it was brought to, and made a clicking noise of annoyance. The long grass blocked its view and movement space, but when Ed flatted the grass in front of it, the Pokemon only gave him a dull glance.
“There,” Ed said proudly, smoothing the grass over again as it was determined to stay upright. “Now you can move.”
The bug-type wasn’t impressed with its trainer’s achievement and showed it by staying right where it was.
Ed waited for something to happen, and when nothing did as the minutes ticked by, he said, “So… When are you going to evolve?”
A reply wasn’t returned, and Ed could only stare unhappily at his Pokemon. He said that he would stay with it until it evolved, but now that he was doing it, he was already running out of patience.
Luckily, he had something, or someone, else to play with.
“Go, Coralie!” Ed said, opening his other Pokeball and letting his Ditto take center stage.
The pink, gooey Pokemon jiggled silently on the ground, struck by a bout of silence that was similarly affecting Paras. Its two little arms weren’t present that day, being held against the Ditto’s body close enough that they only looked like oddly shaped bumps. Overall, Coralie never looked like an impressive Pokemon, more like a goop of watery play-doh. It didn’t help that the Pokemon didn’t have a face unless it was transformed.
Actually, that gave him an idea.
Ed sat forward, poking Coralie and watching her flesh jiggle. “Hey, Coralie,” he said. “Can you make a face?”
For a moment, the words didn’t seem to mean anything to the transforming Pokemon, but then the Ditto got the meaning. Kind of. Just as an orange hue started to take over Coralie’s body, Ed held up his hands and said, “Wait, stop! Not what I meant.”
Coralie stopped in mid-transformation, puzzled with the request.
“Like, a smiley face,” Ed said, trying to explain further. Raising a hand, he poked two fingers into the flat surface of where the Ditto’s eyes could have been. Then, he pointed to his own. “See, eyes.”
His eyes were brown, as he knew well enough, but he didn’t like the reminder when the same color blossomed on Coralie where he poked it, slowly copying his own eyes. Just as a pupil was developing and the white part of the eyes came into being, Ed shook his head, frowning slightly at the weird image his Pokemon created.
He looked around for something he could use. Luckily, what he was looking for was on the ground just a ways from him and he stretched out his hand to grab it. Slowly, trying to make his Pokemon understand, he put the small black pebble to his eye.
Slowly, the Pokemon understood.
A while later, Ed looked up at the sound of the ground crunching and caught sight of Ally steadily making her way towards him.
“Hi,” Ed said, smiling, surprised to see her. “What are you doing here?”
“L- Looking for you,” she replied, holding her arms. Small red lines stood out on her skin, her arms, having apparently been attacked by the thorny branches that were part of most of the forest. “You were missing.”
On the ground, Amber trotted over to Ed, sniffing his sneaker, but staying away from both his Pokemon.
Ally sat down beside him before looking at the scene before her. “What are you doing?”
Grinning, Ed pointing his Ditto. “I finally got it to make a face.”
And indeed he had. Coralie looked quite the same as before, but obviously, now had a face. It was a simple one, with two black pebble eyes and a small line of black made into what resembled a smile. Every so often, pink goo fell either over the pebble eyes or the mouth, but that didn’t seem to bother the Pokemon as the smile never faltered.
“She looks… weird,” Ally said slowly, the face giving her the chills. It looked like that one doll back at home, that her mother insisted keeping in her room. That doll still gave her nightmares.
“I think Coralie looks way better then before,” he defended. “It looked weird without one. Everyone should be able to smile.”
Looking over, Ally caught sight of Ed’s other Pokemon, sitting quietly on the grass.
“What’s wrong with Paras?”
“Oh, right, guess what I heard from William!” Ed said with a wide grin, forgetting that she didn’t know. “He’s going to evolve soon!”
Ed’s face fell. “Uh, I don’t actually know. But, I’m going to wait here until he does. William said that he should evolve soon, though. Like, today soon.”
“Leah’s waiting for us,” Ally said nervously, looking into the bushes like their Mentor would pop out at any minute. “She’s going to be mad if we take up too much time.”
“Don’t worry, I told her before I left.”
“She didn’t say anything.”
Ed huffed and crossed his arms. “That’s because she’s being mean and wants me to be in trouble.”
“Oh.” That theory didn’t sound very farfetched; Ally could believe it.
“Hey,” Ed said, grabbing Paras around the middle and dragging it over to Ally. “Feel his mushrooms! Don’t they feel cool?”
Hesitating slightly, Ally still did what she was told, running her finger along the biggest mushroom. She grimaced at the feeling and wiped the offending finger on her overalls. They did feel fuzzy, but they were mushrooms. Mushrooms shouldn’t feel fuzzy.
Out of paranoia, Ally glanced out into the trees again, and Ed caught her staring.
“She’s not going to care,” he told her. “She’s the one who’s always slow when we walk, so this time, we can hold her up. Besides, we don’t need to get to Cerulean fast.”
“I thought you wanted to get the next badge.”
Ed paused, frowning. “I do, but… it’s going to be our fourth, you know?”
Understanding dawned in Ally. Right, when they got their fourth badge, Leah would be able to leave them, having completed her part in the Mentor Program. It was an easily forgettable fact. The older girl was just always with them, Ally couldn’t imagine her journey without her.
But… it didn’t mean that she really liked Leah. It wasn’t actually Leah herself who Ally minded missing, but an authority figure that could solve their problems. Once Leah was gone, all there would be was a big world and two new trainers in it. It was a scary concept, not at all helped by the stories she had told her before she left on her journey. Anything could happen to wandering children…
“Do you want Leah to go?” Ally asked.
Ed was silent for a few moments. “I dunno,” he finally answered. “She’s mean, but it’d be really different, you know?”
Ally smiled, understanding perfectly. “Yes.”
An hour later and nothing had changed.
“C’mon Paras!” Ed said, poking his starter Pokemon with a twig. “Evolve!”
“W- We can’t wait around much longer,” Ally said, Leah being a looming shadow on her mind.
Ed frowned. “I don’t want to leave until Paras evolves! If he evolves, I know I can win my fourth badge easily.”
“Why can’t you use Coralie? I don’t think a bug-type would be very good against a water-type…”
“But Paras is also a grass-type, which gives me a type advantage,” Ed argued, glancing at his Ditto. “Coralie is still too slow at transforming.”
“Maybe you can train Coralie to Transform faster?” she suggested.
The boy shook his head. “I’ve tried that! But Coralie is just always slow. She battles really good once she’s transformed, but is takes a while for her to get like that.” Looking up, Ed asked, “How ‘bout you? What Pokemon are you going to use?”
Ally hesitated. “I- I can’t use Amber,” she said sadly. “So I guess I have to use Sparks, but he’s still… hard to work with. I don’t really know what to do.”
“Don’t worry, Ally,” Ed said, giving her a grin. “Sparks will listen to you once he figures out what a great trainer you are! Then, you can use him against Misty and you’ll totally win!”
“… I hope so,” the girl said, frowning slightly, Ed’s words not having much of an impact. She had Sparks for three months and he still didn’t really like her. It was really discouraging…
Suddenly, Ed said, “Paras? What’s wrong?”
Ally looked towards the bug-type and an odd change was starting to come upon it. Paras was shaking his head and digging the points of its legs into the dirt. His eyes, previously black, were clouded over with a white film.
Then, it happened.
It was definitely something to be seen to believed. Almost like it was in fast-forward, the mushrooms on Paras’ back grew, eating at the space surrounding it. The mushrooms merged into each other until it was the solitary plant on the bug-type’s back, forming into a dome shape. Paras’ pinchers grew in size, old orange skin peeling away, making way for the new skin underneath.
The whole process only took seconds long, and by that time, Paras had doubled in size, the large mushroom on its back helping quite a bit. It almost looked like an odd-shelled, insect-like turtle.
Ed was lost for words. He could only stare at his Pokemon until he pulled himself together and reached out, feeling the smooth surface of his Pokemon’s back.
“You evolved!” Ed exclaimed, his grin stretching from ear to ear. “You did it!”
“I- I’ve never seen an evolution in real life,” Ally said, the past minute still spinning in her mind.
Parasect looked up at its trainer with clouded eyes, but with still a recognizable annoyed look. It got to his feet, its four legs testing the weight of its mushroom before taking a few steps forwards. And then a few more.
“Hey,” Ed said, watching his Parasect walk past. “Where are you going?”
Ally hid a smile behind her hand. “I think he’s trying to escape.”
At those words, Ed leapt to his feet, easily getting in front of his Pokemon and putting a hand on its mushroom, blocking its route.
“We’re so going to make an awesome team,” Ed said cheerfully. “How about it, Parasect?”
Parasect wasn’t amused.
“I hope she’s not too angry,” Ally moaned, pulling Ed along, who was content to walk at his own pace.
Ed obviously didn’t think so. “Paras was evolving! It was really important. She can’t be mad at that.”
Unfortunately for them, Leah decided to prove them wrong.
As soon as they walked back into camp, her words jumped on them.
“Oh, and where have you been?” Leah asked with a dark tone, making the kids whirl around to spot her sitting to the side, back against a tree. On either side of her were Sands and Zee, the two Pokemon somehow looking more dangerous due to the shadows that covered theirs and their trainer’s expressions. Though, the effect was lessened slightly when Ally spotted Sands playing with his Fire Stone and not paying attention at all.
“Guess what, Leah?” Ed said cheerfully, not seeing the storm on the horizon. “Paras evolved!”
Leah got up, slow enough that Ally could see every motion she made. Her Pokemon stayed in the shadows as she stepping into the sunlight, her expression thunderous.
“Well, good for you then.” She sneered. “And you didn’t think to tell me of this awe-spiring event?”
Now Ed was starting to see what danger he was in. “I told you I was leaving,” he said. “I remember you replying!”
Leah scowled. “I never remember things when you wake me up like that. You should know by now that I go to sleep and forget all about it! Why couldn’t you have just evolved it here instead of... wherever you were!”
“It was supposed to just be me and Paras,” Ed defended. “But Ally found us and so she stayed.”
Now it was Ally’s turn to be put under the gaze of the gray-eyed beast.
“And why didn’t you come back to tell me you found him, huh? That was really stupid.”
“No it wasn’t!” Ed said, jumping to the rescue. “I told Ally not to go get you. I didn’t want her to miss Paras evolving!”
Leah crossed her arms. “Then why didn’t you just wake her up when you did me? If you really didn’t want her to miss it, surely that would be the logical thing to do.”
Looking down at his feet, Ed muttered, “I didn’t… really think of it.”
“Oh, didn’t think of it, he says,” Leah said, rolling her eyes. “Now, I understand.”
“I- It’s not his fault,” Ally spoke up, but didn’t regret it when Leah turned her attention towards her. “Y- You would…” She tried not to swallow her words. “Y- You would have made us leave if you knew. It’s bad for a Pokemon to be in a Pokeball when evolving...”
Now, Leah’s scowl was at full force. “So, no one came to get me because I would have apparently forced you guys to pack up, huh? That’s so ****ing stupid, I can hardly believe it.”
Since Leah was saying those words to Ally’s face, Ed had to defend her.
“We can’t help but believe it!” he said, voice loud. “You’ve never cared what we think! You’re never nice to us! You’re such a… such a real mean and nasty person! We don’t want you as our Mentor, we never have!”
Those words, surprisingly, had an effect on the teen. Leah looked as if she had been slapped, her face turning stark white and then reddening into rage.
“Who the **** do you think you’re talking too?!” Leah spat. “You have no clue what I’ve had to put up with-” She cut herself off, looking almost as if she were biting her tongue. Her fists clenched and she raised one of her hands.
For a second, Ally thought she was going to hit Ed, but then the moment passed and Leah threw the hand down.
“Get going!” she said sharply, glaring at both of the trainers. “Pack up your stuff, we’re leaving right now. Don’t talk, don’t argue, just get going.”
They did what they were told, rushing to their stuff, but as they did so, Ally looked up and saw Leah return her Pokemon and then sigh heavily. She rubbed one of her arms and, in the sunlight, Ally could see small rip marks on her jacket sleeves, ones that she was sure that had not been there this morning.
It was hardly evidence of anything, but as Ally gathered her things, she couldn’t help but think: ‘Did Leah try to look for us?’
It only took a few minutes to pack away the rest of their supplies and once they were done, Ally and Ed followed Leah out of the clearing and back onto the trail.
The two kids didn’t say a thing to each other, neither wanting to break the fragile quiet that had fallen over the group. In front of them, Leah walked stiffly, a large gap between her and them.
The rest of the walk to Cerulean City was done in silence.
A/N: Happy New Years everyone! Hope everyone had a good night. Anyways, about this chapter, it gave me a rough time and it didn’t come out as smooth as I would have liked it, too. But still, I hope you liked it!
Last edited by Dagzar; January 3rd, 2010 at 04:24 AM.
Anyway, I quite like your take on Evolution. It makes more sense than the canonical version of events, where one Pokémon can evolve when it's only a baby and another evolves when it's very old. I also quite enjoyed Leah's outburst, primarily because it was some pretty good, entertaining character interaction to have her absolutely explode on them like that. Haven't seen too much Pallet Rage from any of them yet, and arguments are just as important in travel groups as agreements are. c:
I’ve been planning for a big argument to happen for a while now, but I just couldn’t decide whether to have it in this chapter or the next one. Though, as things have progressed, it came out in this one, which is a good thing as the next chapter is getting a bit longer than I expected. And yeah, arguments are way better than agreements because it gives excitement and it means I don’t have to think of conversation topics to use for filler! :D
Chapter 34: Cerulean City
“But, Ally!” Ed whined, not liking the way the conversation was going. “I wanted to see your house.”
Ally averted her eyes from his, looking over to the prone form of their Mentor for help.
“Oh, just leave it,” Leah said to Ed from her position on the seat. “If she wants to go home by herself, then just let her. You’re not going to die by staying here.”
Frowning, Ed only crossed his arms, looking quite like he was going to die if he stayed with Leah at the Pokemon Center.
“I- I just want to see my parents by myself first,” Ally said, trying to explain. “It’s been a long trip and my house doesn’t have a yard, so we can’t really train there.” She hesitated. “M- Maybe you can come over after we win our gym battle?”
For a moment, Ed retained his stubborn defiance, but he let a smile slip on his face, breaking his composure. “Okay, but we’re going to battle Misty tomorrow, alright? Then, we’ll have our fourth badge!”
“You really think you’re ready to take on Misty?” Leah asked, reluctantly tearing her eyes away from her magazine. “We’ve hardly been here for an hour, and I know your Pokemon aren’t ready.”
Ed was aghast. “My Pokemon are so ready!”
“Are not!” Before Ed could respond, Leah continued, “Let me remind you that you probably know not a thing about water-types for Coralie and you Paras only evolved this morning. You’re so not ready.”
“Does that mean Ally’s ready?” Ed asked, huffing.
“She has a type advantage,” Leah said, dismissing her. “She doesn’t need to be ready.”
Ally interrupted the impending argument. “Um, I’m taking the bus and it’s going to be a bit of a walk to get there, so I wouldn’t mind some company…”
“I’ll come!” Ed said, volunteering himself. He got up and turned to Leah expectedly. “Come on, Leah!”
“Why not?” Ed asked, peering past Leah’s shoulder, trying to see what she was reading.
Leah swatted him away, shielding her magazine from prying eyes. “Look,” she started shortly, “I’m tired, we’ve been walking all morning. I don’t want to get up anymore today.”
“…I- It’d be nice if you came,” Ally said quietly, looking away when Leah stared at her.
“I’ll stay here,” the older teen repeated, looking back at her magazine and dismissing them. “Go do what you want.”
Ed met Ally’s eyes for a moment and shrugged helplessly. “I guess we’re on our own.”
“Y- Yeah,” Ally replied, looking sad as Ed lead the way to the exit of the Pokemon Center.
The last thing Leah heard before the brats went out the door was Ally saying, “I know where the closest bus terminal is, follow me-”
Then the Pokemon Center’s doors closed, cutting off the line of conversation.
“Finally,” Leah said to Sands. “I thought they’d never leave.”
Sands made no reply, too wrapped up in his Fire Stone to care. Rolling her eyes, Leah snatched the Fire Stone from under her Pokemon’s nose, holding it in the air like a treat.
Using only his eyes to plead, Sands climbed on Leah’s lap, startling her with his pinprick claws.
“Not the magazine,” Leah said with a bit of panic, pulling the magazine out from under Sands’ feet, and winced when a ripping sound resulted. Knocking Sands off, she groaned at the claw marks that tore right through the paper, especially the ones that went right through Jason Dare’s pretty face.
Leah sighed. “I liked this picture, too.”
Putting the Fire Stone in her pocket as punishment, Leah put the magazine back on the table, grabbed Sands by the middle and casually made her escape before someone noticed she ruined a magazine.
Ever since arriving in Cerulean City, Leah felt better than she had for the past few days. Even the memory of the trouble that morning with the brats running off couldn’t have dimmed her cheery mood. Her schedule into the far future was finally cleared and her job as a Mentor was pretty much done. With Ed and Ally out of her way, she found that she suddenly had lots of free time on her hands.
And, even if she hated to admit it, that posed a bit of a problem.
What should she do now?
As she passed through the lounge of the Pokemon Center, Leah stopped when she noticed the large crowd that was growing by the television.
“Oh, poor Jade,” one girl said, staring at the TV as she put a hand to her mouth.
Another guy in the crowd only looked away, muttering, “Not another one.”
This piped Leah’s curiosity and since it looked interesting, she went over, standing off to the side so that she could get a pretty good view of the TV.
“-died in hospital this morning after he was found brutally mauled outside Celadon City yesterday night,” the reporter was saying, an image appearing right of the reporter showing your average school photo, one of a blond boy. “A trainer had heard odd sounds coming from the nearby woods and investigated to find Ryan Rogue, age ten, lying face down on the grass. His Pokemon, a Raticate, was also in the same condition and neither responded to medical personal. It is still unknown what Pokemon did it, though evidence points to one under a trainer. This marks just another recent death in Celadon City, a city that is getting a growing reputation for violent crimes. Jade Rogue, Pokemon Master and Ryan Rogue’s older sister, has not made any comment at this time-”
“Huh,” Leah said under her breath, honestly not that interested. The only thing that could possibly be noteworthy was the kid was related to someone famous. Because of that, Leah was already expecting that the next couple of weeks of the news to be filled with angst ridden speeches about this ‘overwhelming tragedy’ and how Jade Rouge was coping with the loss of her only remaining family.
But really, Pokemon related deaths were common, especially by such places like Celadon City. Not that Leah had ever been there, but unlike pretty much everywhere else in Kanto, Celadon had a reputation of being dark and composed of only the bad sides of a town. Most of it was probably only rumors, but there was no denying that Celadon had the highest crime rate in Kanto.
Leah might’ve been worried since the journey to Indigo Plateau included Celadon, but of course, she wasn’t a trainer, and definitely wouldn’t be going beyond Cerulean. The brats, however, better hope to have luck on their side, because there was hardly any good in Celadon.
An image of Ed and Ally’s still and motionless bodies popped into Leah’s head, but she pushed it away, feeling a bit uncomfortable. Death came hand in hand with being a trainer and if the brats came across it, they were just going to have to live with it.
Not that she cared…
Shoving such thoughts away, Leah exited the Pokemon and looked down the street, thinking.
“Let’s go visit an aquarium, Sands,” she said, putting the Pokemon on the ground and forcing him to follow. She smirked. “Who knows, maybe your Fire Stone can go on a little trip.”
Sands little cry of, “Shrew!” just made her smirk a little wider.
“Weird little things,” Leah said to herself, watching the jellyfish push itself forward with its frail tissue-like body, its thin tentacles trailing behind it.
Sands only made an unidentifiable sound from down at Leah’s feet, still in the same sulking mood as he had been in for the past ten minutes. Apparently, having his Fire Stone taken away also ripped away any fun-loving part of his body, and as such, didn’t care about the cute little fish-like things swimming in the tanks.
“What? Do you want to see the sharks or something?” Leah asked, wondering if they even had sharks at the small aquarium. She knew there were no mammals like dolphins and otters (it was the first thing she checked), but maybe there were small sharks somewhere?
Suddenly, there was a ringing noise from her pocket, and Leah paused, pulling out her cell phone. The screen only showed a random number, one that she was only a bit familiar.
“We’ll see the sharks in a minute,” she told Sands before putting the cell phone to her ear. “Hello?”
Leah grimaced, recognizing the voice. “Oh, it’s you.”
“Is Ed there?” William asked, seemingly ignoring that Leah wasn’t that happy to hear from him.
“No, so if that’s all you want-”
“Wait!” William said, interrupting her. “Since you’re here, I have some stuff to talk to you about.”
“Really? What a coincidence.” She had an urge to hang up and then turn off her cell phone, but curiosity held her back. “Make it quick, what do you want?”
The utter distain in her voice must have finally tipped him off because he asked, “… Are you mad at me?”
“What gave you that idea?” Leah replied, rolling her eyes. “I’m in the middle of something, so hurry up.”
There was silence on William’s end for a moment. “I heard from Ed this morning,” he started, letting the issue go, “that you battled Surge.”
“… What of it?”
“Nothing really, I’m just curious to know at why you did it.”
“Is that all you want?” she asked coldly, eyes watching the jellyfish swim in circles through the thick glass. “I was only trying something new, nothing more than that. Now, I have to go-”
For the second time William interrupted. “Fine,” he said, annoyed, but getting to the point. “I need to know, how did Ed win his battle? He acted weird when I talked to him.”
Since she was always looking for a way to get the brats in trouble and wanted revenge for that morning, Leah smirked and told him, “Oh, just a lot of Quick Attack and Slams. Won him the battle, but Coralie fainted right afterwards and had to stay at the Pokemon Center for the night.”
“… Oh,” William finally said. He sounded like it didn’t really know what to say. “If he won like that, I guess Surge wasn’t really impressed.”
“Surge talked to him after the battle.”
“Do you know what he said?”
“No,” Leah said, thinking of the couple times Ed tried to talk to her of all people about it. But after she brushed him off, he eventually gave up and left her alone. She already had enough to deal with without the brats throwing things onto her workload. She was so close at going home; she didn’t care about the brats’ problems. Besides, what was she supposed to say to him?
That didn’t seem like the answer William wanted, but he went with anyways. “So, one more badge and you’re leaving, right?”
If there was one thing Leah didn’t want, it was to participate in small talk with William.
“If that’s all…”
“Look,” William said, sighing. “If this is about the S. S. Anne thing…”
Since William was the one who brought up the topic, Leah had no qualms about laying it on him.
“You totally lied to me,” she hissed, but lowered her voice when she saw the looks passers-bys were giving her. “The only reason I went on that stupid cruise was to see Jason Dare and he wasn’t there!”
“I didn’t lie to you,” William said. “A friend told me he was going to be there, and I can’t help it if he was wrong, can I?” He continued. “And you didn’t have to believe me. You’re the one who took my info at face value.”
Leah scowled, free hand clenching into a fist. “Oh, don’t go blaming me. Because of you, I nearly got- got-” She struggled to say the word. “-killed!” she spat. “I ran into a murderer and it was only because of G- Agatha that I didn’t get a Thunderbolt to the face!”
Her meeting with Blue was one that Leah didn’t like to think about. It wasn’t every day that she came that close to dying. Back there, she had stood at the tip of a knife, and that was something you couldn’t forget easily. Every word and every action of those moments were practically cemented into her head, enough that they invaded her dreams. Just when she thought she had put the nightmares of a stone Kadabra and an endless white beach behind her, new ones were created, ones of dark corridors and dead bodies.
William was silent at that, and just when Leah thought he had hung up, he said, “The reason I called was because I think I’ve found some stuff on the Plates.”
That instantly caught Leah’s attention and she tried roped in her anger so she could give William all ears. Even if Agatha said not to get involved, Leah wasn’t going to say no to new information.
“What is it?”
“I’ve been looking in old textbooks in my university library,” William started. “It took me a long time to find anything. There’s almost nothing about the Plates, but I lucked out.”
“Get on with it.”
“Don’t interrupt,” he scolded before continuing. “The Plates are referenced in an old legend I found that related to Arceus.”
“Arceus?” The name was familiar to Leah, and really, who wasn’t familiar to it? It was said that Arceus created the world and all Pokemon in it. In olden times, some people worshipped it as a god. Though, not that Arceus was special since almost every legendary under the sun got the same treatment and even then, Mew was more famous in that regard than Arceus would ever be.
“Yes. It’s said, for whatever reason, that not long after creation, Arceus was sealed away in a heavenly prison. Its one thousand arms it used to shape the world were cut off and fashioned into Plates, which were then scattered into the wind.”
Leah waited in silence and when she figured out that no more information was coming, she said, “That’s it? That’s how much stuff you could find in a month?”
“It’s not like I could Google it,” William said, annoyed again. He paused, deep in thought. “Actually, I’m a bit surprised that there’s hardly any information. If the Plates are related to Arceus, I’m sure there would be much more since there’s so many books on him. The information I found was in a small, old text and it was practically a footnote!”
“Maybe they have a different name?” Leah wondered out loud. Now that she thought about, it was kind of weird that there was so little information. Well, the Plates were a big secret and the Elite Four were pretty protective of them, but…
“Leah?” William questioned. “I have to ask… On the S. S. Anne, was there another Plate there?”
Leah snapped back to attention and her mind raced. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to share information with William… Oh, wait, that was exactly the reason. She didn’t like William, even more so after he tricked her on the S. S. Anne (she didn’t believe him for a second that he didn’t know that Jason Dare wasn’t onboard). That, and she didn’t like talking to him.
Besides, if he could only turn up so little information in such a long time, she doubted that he would find any more. There was no point in still keeping him in the loop.
“What gave you that idea?” Leah asked, but then mentally slapped herself. That was basically saying the same thing as ‘Yes’. She should have just said that she didn’t know! Damn it!
“Ed saw it and told me about it,” he explained. “He said it came from Sinnoh, but I looked all over and couldn’t find a single reference about it.”
‘And you immediately jumped to the conclusion it was a Plate?’ Leah thought to herself, trying to keep the words in her mouth. She didn’t want to start another argument. She simply wanted to hang up and end the conversation.
Actually… Why didn’t she do that?
“Oh!” Leah said, hoping her voice sounded surprise. She didn’t need to act the part, but why not? “Sorry, something just came up. Got to go, thanks, bye.”
Before William could even voice his disproval, Leah hung up on him and then turned off her cell phone to prevent further calls.
She stared at her cell phone for a moment before putting it away.
“So, Sands,” Leah said brightly, looking down at her loyal Pokemon who was still sulking. “Wanna go find some sharks?”
Ally knocked on the front door of her home, standing quietly on the porch as she waited for an answer. For good measure, she rang the doorbell and listened to the shrill ringing sound that no one could ignore.
But when no one answered the door, Ally sighed, expecting it, but hoping not.
Her parents were still at work and wouldn’t get off until late. It was a fact Ally had forgotten until she actually took a step onto her front porch. The bus stop was long behind her and having memorized the bus schedule, there would be no point going back to Ed and Leah to tell them she was locked out of her own house. Leah would probably just laugh at her.
She sat down on the front step, folding her hands on her lap and taking in the familiar environment. She had been away from home for three months and now here she was, back at the beginning. Everything was still the same as when she left. The same pink house, the same yellowing lawn, the same cobblestone driveway…
The same parents who she rarely saw…
To pass the time, Ally let out both Amber and Sparks while praying that her Voltorb wouldn’t misbehave. It would be so embarrassing if her parents came home to find her Pokemon making a mess of everything. They would be so disappointed in her.
“Vul,” Amber said, letting Ally pet his head and play with his ears. The fire-type padded up the steps so his trainer could pat him better.
On the other hand, Sparks kept his distance, not acting out, but also not being as loving as Amber was. Ally let him be, knowing not to push him into anything.
After a while of mindless patting and waiting, Ally heard a voice calling.
“Hey, is that Ally? Hey, Ally, over here!”
The voice was familiar to her and a small smile made a way onto Ally’s face as she watched her two old friends make their way up her driveway.
“Ally,” Sam repeated with a smile, her eyes wide in excitement. Her brown hair was tied tightly into a braid and bobbed up and down behind her. “Wow, you’re back from your journey!”
“Did you have a good time?” Maylin asked quickly, instantly focusing on Amber. “Oh, wow, a Vulpix!”
Ally giggled at their expressions and said, “Hello! It’s nice to see you again!”
As Maylin started to give all her love to Amber, Sam teased, “You’re still so formal! I thought for sure going on a journey would turn you into a wild girl!”
“Yeah,” Maylin added between smoothing the fire-type. “And you’ve been gone the longest, too! George and Harvey got back from their journey almost a month ago.”
George and Harvey, like the girls in front of her, were Ally’s classmates. Having been together in the same classroom since kindergarten, they were very familiar to her, even if Ally hardly ever spoke to them. George and Harvey, like her, had the jealousy of all their classmates at being able to start their journeys in Pallet Town, where, supposedly, all the good trainers started off. Unfortunately, they didn’t get in the same group for Mentors, so that was the last time Ally saw of them.
“How did theirs go?”
Sam rolled her eyes. “You remember how they kept boasting about how awesome their journey would be back in June, right? You wouldn’t believe it, but they actually quit after they lost to Brock. They faced him three times, but kept loosing!”
“Didn’t their Mentor help them?” Ally asked, honestly curious. What would it be like to have a Mentor that wasn’t Leah?
“No, that’s the funny part,” Maylin said with a grin at her classmates’ plight. “Their Mentor disappeared in Viridian City, so they were pretty much on their own for the whole time! You wouldn’t believe the stories they told us.”
Ally didn’t reply, only frowning. Their Mentor… left them?
“Anyways,” Sam said loudly as she took a seat next to Ally. “How has your journey gone?” She grinned at Ally. “Have you had any adventures?”
Ally thought of the adventures she had and grimaced slightly. “Y- Yes.”
Maylin glanced at her classmate with a puzzled look. “You don’t look very happy.”
“T-The adventures were really scary,” Ally admitted, shaking her head.
“W- Well, one time, me and my friends fell overboard when we going to Fuchsia and got stranded on island. It was all icy.”
Sam grinned at her, her eyes sparkling. “Really? Wow, did you catch any Pokemon?”
Shaking her head, Ally said, “No, I was too scared. My friend got lost so me and my Mentor had to go look for him.”
“How’d you get off the island?” Maylin asked, urging her on.
Ally smiled. “You wouldn’t believe who rescued us.” The girl left her friends hanging for a few minutes before elaborating, “It was Lorelei!”
Both of her friends gasped in union and Ally felt pleased at having such a devoted audience.
“Wow! That’s way better than what George and Harvey went through!”
“Yeah! Please tell me you got her autograph-”
Ally shook her head, smiling slightly as Maylin groaned.
“You should feel ashamed,” Sam advised Ally, wagging a finger in her face. “You’ll never get a chance like that again!”
“I know,” Ally admitted, regretting not doing it. There was just so much going on back then and she was just too worried about Ed to really think about Lorelei.
“Hey, what’s wrong with your Voltorb?” Sam asked, pointing at the motionless Pokemon.
“He’s always like that,” Ally replied, but then started to panic when Sam got up, intending to approach Sparks. She grabbed her friend’s arm and said, “Don’t!”
“… Geeze, Ally,” Sam said, frowning as she sat down, rubbing her arm. “You could have just said so.”
Maylin looked up from Amber. “Aw, don’t worry Sam. Who wants to play with a Voltorb anyways? Vulpix are way cuter and fluffier.” She said that as she rubbed Amber behind the ears.
Brightening up, Sam reached over Ally to stroke Amber’s back. “Yeah, you’re right.” She turned to Ally. “What’s her name?
“He,” Ally corrected. “His name’s Amber.”
Maylin’s stroking stopped. “Really?” she said, wrinkling her nose. “For a boy? Couldn’t you have thought of something better?”
“I didn’t know until later,” Ally explained, blushing. “And I liked the name so it I kept it.”
“You should have called him Allen,” Sam said, groaning at the opportunity loss. “It’s not that different and it’s way cooler.” Her voice turned high-pitched as she addressed the Vulpix. “Isn’t that right, Allen?”
Ally shoved Sam’s arms away from her Vulpix and glared at the other girl. “His name,” she started coldly, “is Amber.”
The other girl looked at her for a moment before shaking her head. “Sorry, Ally,” she said quietly. “It was just a joke.”
Amber, somehow getting fed up with all the attention, shrugged off Maylin’s hands and padded onto Ally’s lap before settling down. Ally stroked his soft, short fur, smiling slightly when her Pokemon’s tails brushed her skin.
“Where’s your Pokemon?” Ally asked Sam. “Wasn’t your dad going to give you one?”
“Sore topic,” Maylin said lowly from the other side of Ally, pretending that Sam couldn’t hear.
Sam huffed. “I can hear you.” But as fast as the attitude came, it went away, and Sam sighed, casting her gaze downwards. “Dad didn’t catch the Pokemon I wanted.”
“Oh.” Ally had expected worse. “What Pokemon?” Even as she asked the question, she had a suspicion of the answer.
“An Eevee,” Sam said, crossing her arms. “I had names picked out and everything, but Dad couldn’t find one. I even knew what I wanted it to evolve into. It was going to be a Jolteon if a boy, and an Espeon if a girl.”
“You didn’t get a Pokemon?” Ally asked with a bit of disbelief. “At all?”
“Tell her,” Maylin said to Sam.
“Instead of an Eevee,” she continued at Maylin’s urgings. “I got this weird little thing from Hoenn. It’s called a Zigzagoon and boy, isn’t it ugly!” she sighed. “Not like a cute little Eevee.”
“Really? Send it out!”
Sam shook her head. “I left it at home in its Pokeball.” Her expression grew dark. “It’s a thief. Anytime I take my eyes off it, it goes wandering around and brings me back junk. It even stole a piece of my jewelry once!”
“Have you tried training it?”
“Oh, I’ve tried. It’s really weak and can’t even fight a Spearow properly. I’ve had it for two months and if it’s not a good battler now then it will never be.”
Not wanting to hear more about Sam’s Zigzagoon, Ally turned to Maylin. “What about you?”
Unlike Sam, Maylin puffed up proudly. “Definitely not the Pokemon I was expecting,” she started, “but I got a Machop from my cousin. He’s not cute, but I like him. I call him Judo and he’s really strong. He can beat up Pokemon twice his size.”
“You’re lucky,” Sam said bitterly. “My Pokemon can’t do anything, but yours carries your backpack and books for you.” She turned to Ally. “And you have a Vulpix! And since you’ve been gone so long, you must be strong, right?”
Averting her eyes, Ally said, “I’m here to get my fourth badge.”
“Really?” Maylin asked eagerly. “That’s so cool! Can we see your badges?”
With a faint red in her cheeks, Ally showed them her badges.
When Sam and Maylin finally left, the sun was starting to descend and the sky was getting dark.
Ally didn’t know how long she had been waiting at her own doorstep, but she was sure a long time had passed. Her classmates had helped it along and like the saying went, the time flew by when you were having fun.
It was just so nice to see Sam and Maylin again. During her journey, it was like her life back home didn’t exist. There, she only had Ed and Leah to rely on and talk to, no one else. But now that she had talked to her classmates it again, it made her wonder how the rest of her class was doing. All of them probably had Pokemon by now, except for the few people whose birthdays were later in the year.
It was in the middle of September and it was only now that Ally realized that she should be going to school. Technically, she was now a fifth grader even if she had yet to take a step into the classroom.
Once she got her fourth badge she would have to leave Cerulean. Ally felt a pang in her chest at the thought. Now that she had seen her classmates again, she didn’t want to leave them behind. She wondered what they were doing in class. Fifth graders were taught by Ms. Lewis and she was supposed to be really fun. Before she became a trainer, Ally remembered looking forward to having her as a teacher.
Sometimes, Ally wished she didn’t go on her journey.
A rumbling made her look up to see a silver car drive down the road and as it approached her house, it slowed until it turned into her driveway. The garage door didn’t open, but instead, the car’s headlights were turned off as the rumbling stopped.
The car door opened and her mother stepped out.
“Hi, Mum,” Ally greeted quietly, standing up.
Some said that Ally and her mother shared a great resemblance. The same hair, face and small figure… but while Ally was still young, her mother had hardened lines around her face and her expression was cold and distant.
“You finally back?” her mother asked, locking the car as she went past her daughter and up the steps. “It took ya’ long enough.”
“I’m only here for my badge,” Ally replied, shouldering her backpack and following her mother.
Her mother lips thinned, but she said nothing, turning the front door lock with her key.
Ally turned around. “Come on, Sparks,” she said to her motionless Pokemon.
“Voltorb can’t climb steps,” her mother told her, shooting her a look.
Ally’s face reddened in embarrassment and she simply returned the electric-type without another word.
“Wait,” her mother said, halting her before she could enter the house. The woman pointed at Amber, “Nuh-uh, that’s not coming inside. It’ll get hair on the carpet. Return it.”
Grimacing, Ally did what she was told, subconsciously expecting it. Her mother wasn’t fond of Pokemon, though it didn’t mean she hated them. It was just that her mother viewed them as annoying pests, but other than that, she didn’t pay any attention to them.
“I’ve been waiting for you to get home,” Ally said, wanting to initiate conversation.
“You know my work hours,” her mother replied simply, but Ally heard the unsaid words. ‘It’s your own damn fault if you forgot. Don’t blame me.’
With a final glance outside, Ally stepped into her home and closed the door behind her.
A/N: This chapter has reminded me that Leah / William conversations are really hard to write and why I try to avoid them. Anyways, I hope you liked the chapter!
This is probably my favorite fan fic,good job!
Thanks! I'm glad you're liking it so far! :D
Chapter 35: Mornings
The first thing she was aware of was that a hand was shaking her shoulder. Slowly, Ally opened her eyes to find her mother standing over her bed.
“You’re friends are at the door,” her mother said, making sure her daughter was still awake before leaving as quickly as she came.
Ally could only stare at her open bedroom door blearily as she sat up, yawning. A glance at her curtained window told her it was early in the morning since the sky was still dark. Her clock further informed her that it was only eight, a time that Ally thought she would never see again.
Then, her mother’s words settled into her brain and the girl got out of bed, trudging downstairs, wondering who could be at the door. It couldn’t be Ed or Leah because they didn’t know where she lived, so it could only be-
“Ally!” Sam greeted as Ally opened the door.
Ally shivered at the morning air that flooded into the hallway and looked at the two girls with drooping eyes.
“Good morning!” Maylin added loudly, having the rare ability to be cheerful in the early morning.
Both of Ally’s classmates were standing in uniforms, identical white blouses and dark blue skirts, the same navy color present on their buttoned up sweaters. Though, the similarities ended there. While Sam was carrying a book in her arms and a backpack on her back, Maylin had neither of those, both being carried by the blue human-like Pokemon at her side.
“Chop,” the Machop said, giving Ally a curious look.
“Hi,” Ally replied, feeling like she was in a dream. There was just suddenly so much going on. “What are you doing here?”
The two girls exchanged a glance and Sam grinned. “Well,” she said. “We decided that you should come to school with us!”
The cool air was making Ally more awake by the second, but she still couldn’t get it out of her head that this was only a strange sort of dream.
“It’d be fun,” Maylin said, shuddering as a particularly cool wind blew past, making her bring rebellious black strands of hair under control. “So, go get dressed, okay? And bring your Pokemon! We got Sam’s mom to drive us all the way out here to pick you up, so you’d better come,” she warned.
Now that she said that, Ally could see the blue car on the side of the road, smoke coming out its exhaust pipe and headlights beaming through the gloom of the morning.
“Alright,” she said, rubbing her eyes. The proposal was so sudden that she couldn’t think of any idea of why she shouldn’t say no. “Be right back.”
Leaving her friends at the front door, it only took a few minutes for her to go upstairs and get changed. Her school uniform from last year was too small, she found out, so she was forced to dress in her overalls and favorite pink shirt. She finally grabbed her Pokeballs and went back downstairs, but before she went back to the door, she entered the kitchen.
There, she found her mother about to go to work, but just having the last sip of coffee.
“I- I’m going to school with my friends,” Ally told her.
“You’re getting your own ride back,” her mother told her and Ally nodded.
“I- I know.”
Then, Ally was out the door and into the chilly air, flanked by Sam and Maylin as they walked down the driveway.
“Did you talk to your mom?” Sam asked, grimacing when Ally nodded. “I don’t like her. She’s mean.”
Maylin nodded in agreement and Ally could only think about how fast everything was going before she and her friends packed into the car and sped away.
When they got to school, the sky was finally brightening up, looking more like day than night.
By that time, Ally had fully woken up and realized what she was doing. She was going to school. She was going to school when she didn’t have to. It felt bizarre…
The three girls climbed out of the car and Sam waved goodbye to her mother as she drove away with a honk. Instead of being dropped off in the parking lot, they instead found themselves at the side of the school, Ally’s two classmates wanting to surprise everyone by her appearance.
“I can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when they see you!” Sam said, giggling at the idea.
“We’re going to have so much fun!” Maylin said, grinning. “you’ll make the day way better than before! Today, we have a spelling test.” Her face grimaced at the word.
“Okay,” Sam said, bringing the girls to attention and taking the role of leader of the group. She had her back pressed to the concrete wall and checked her watch. “School’s starting soon. We’ll go in once the second bell’s rung.”
“Are you sure?” Ally asked, remembering how being late was frowned upon.
“Don’t worry,” Maylin said, sitting next to her Machop on the grass. “We’re good girls! Our attendance is perfect. Besides, we’re doing this for a good cause.”
“Yeah!” Sam said, nodding as she settled the matter.
Suddenly, there was shrill ring from the school before everything went silent.
“There’s the warning bell,” Sam said, grinning.
“How’s everyone else doing?” Ally asked. “Did they get Pokemon, too?”
“Yup,” Sam nodded as she bowed her head in thought. “Um, let’s see, a lot of people just got common Pokemon, you know? Bellsprout, Oddish, Pidgey, Spearow and a couple Sandshrew. Holly got lucky since her brother caught her an Abra-”
“George got a Geodude and Harvey got an Oddish,” Maylin threw in. “But Nellie got the rarest Pokemon of all.”
Sam groaned. “Oh, don’t remind me! I’m so jealous.” At Ally’s confused look, Sam filled her in. “Nellie’s rich parents got her a Cyndaquil.”
“The fire starter from Johto?” Ally asked, making sure. Starters, no matter which country they came from, were really rare and you had to go out your way to a breeder to get one.
“Yeah!” Sam said, sighing. “I almost want a Cyndaquil as much as an Eevee!”
Another shrill ring sounded, snapping the girls back into attention.
Maylin got up, helping her Machop back into her backpack. “We’re ready,” she said firmly, holding her book like she would a weapon.
“Good!” Sam said as she motioned for Ally and Maylin to follow her. “Let’s go!”
Together the three followed Sam, who acted like she was in a spy movie. Instead of using the walkway, she zigzagged along the grass and in the gardens, ducking her head whenever she went past a window. The other two girls followed her lead, Maylin and her Machop taking the rear while Ally was in the middle. When they got to the front door, Sam turned to them and raised a finger to her lips, as if she was trying to hide her huge smile. Then, she opened the door and ushered the two girls in. Once inside the warm entrance way, Sam once against took the lead.
There were few students mingling about in the hallways and most of the students gave Ally a second glance as she stood out like a sore thumb in casual clothing.
For Ally, it was just so surreal. Everything was so familiar and even if she hadn’t been to school in a long time, she could recognize and place several objects before she saw them, like the silver water fountain next to the bathroom.
Finally, after a few twists and turns, they made it to their classroom. Well, Sam and Maylin’s classroom as it wasn’t a room Ally had ever been in. The door was closed and from her position, Ally could see students already bent over their desks from the small window next to the door.
“I think they’re doing the spelling test,” Maylin whispered.
Sam grimaced. “Oh, change of plans, then. Let’s go hide in the bathroom until it’s over. I didn’t study for it.”
Unfortunately, their talking had gotten noticed or maybe it was because they were spotted through the window. Either way, the door opened, making Maylin and Judo jump back.
“Oh,” the blond teacher said in surprise, surveying Sam and Maylin, who ducked their heads. “I thought you two were sick. I’m glad you could join us.”
Then, the teacher turned to Ally. “And you’re… Ally, aren’t you? What are you doing here?”
It was very different to be caught by a teacher who you knew and one only vaguely. Ally felt herself pale and her heart started pounding. She wasn’t supposed to be at school and she was interrupting a class… it was suddenly so embarrassing. It was one thing to sneak into school and another to actually do it. The only thing that could possibly make it better was that she had two friends by her side, so she wasn’t alone.
Another head came up from behind the teacher and thankfully, it was one Ally recognized.
“Hey-” he started, but then took in the sight of Ally. His face brightened and he grinned really big, turning back to the class. “Hey, it’s Ally! She’s come back from her journey!”
There were sounds of the scraping of chairs and pounding feet as more people came to welcome her back.
“Wow, you’re back!”
“What Pokemon did you get?”
“Did you get any badges?”
The teacher laughed quietly and opened the door wider, allowing more faces to be seen. “Alright, settle down, class. Back to your seats.” And since she was smarter than to try to make kids work when so much was going on, she said, “You may put down your pencils since it seems we have a special guest, today.”
Sam and Maylin had to practically push Ally into the unfamiliar classroom as she had froze up at all the attention. But when people finally started to back away, she calmed down and smiled.
“We bring you,” Sam started, raising her hands to Ally, “Ally!”
“Hello,” Ally said, taking in the familiar faces and seeing a couple new ones among the crowd.
Students weren’t the only people there, however. There were a few Pokemon as well, like the Oddish that was sitting under someone’s chair. All of them were recognizable except for one. Sitting on a perch next to the teacher’s desk was a small green bird Pokemon with a yellow beak and wings, and a red feather on its head. The bird Pokemon only tilted its head and watched her quietly.
The teacher caught her staring and as Sam and Maylin were talking to their fellow classmates, said, “That’s Ruby, my Natu. She’s from Johto.”
“She’s very pretty,” Ally said.
Over all the chaos, Sam got Ally’s attention and waved a boy over to them. “George! Come show Ally your neat rock!”
“It’s a Moon Stone,” the boy huffed, pushing up his glasses. “It’s not just a pretty rock!” Despite that, he did what he was told, going into his backpack and coming back over.
He held out a rectangular rock that had jagged edges and on its surface were strange holes and indents, like it lived a very hard life. “Me and Harvey found this in Mount Moon,” he said. “It’s worth a lot of money!”
Ally peered at it and admired its glossy black look. “My Mentor has a Fire Stone,” she told him. “But I think this stone’s prettier.”
“Alright!” the teacher called out, raising her hands to stop everyone from talking at once. “Seriously, now! Back to your seats. It’ll be much easier to talk without everyone crowding.”
With a few groans, the crowd dispersed, everyone going to their seats. Maylin gave Ally a pitying look for being left behind at the front of the class while Sam casually looked over people’s desks as she passed them, twisting her head to look at the tests.
Now Ally was alone up at the front with the teacher with everyone staring at her. She shifted her feet and looked away from all the gazes with a red face.
“Holly?” the teacher asked one of the girls. “Can you please go down to the office and tell them that Ally’s here?”
“Sure!” the girl replied and even if she looked a bit disappointed at leaving the room, she zipped out the door.
Then, the teacher motioned to the few empty desks, “Take a seat, Ally. You can join the class for the morning.”
Sam raised her hand and only when the teacher pointed at her did she ask, “Ms. Lewis, since Ally’s here, does that mean we don’t have to do our spelling test?”
The teacher smiled. “Don’t worry Sam. I’ll make sure we’ll get to it this afternoon.”
No matter how many lazy days passed, Leah could admit that sleeping in was simply the best.
Especially when you weren’t allowed to.
“Leah!” a muffled voice called out from behind her room door, accompanied by loud knocking. “Open up!”
Pulling the covers over her ears, Leah decided to put hope in the notion that if she ignored the sounds, the person would go away and leave her to her rest.
But as the knocking intensified, she supposed that it just couldn’t be.
Her movements fueled by only irritation, she threw the covers off her body and threw her legs to the floor, standing up. The large movement for her tired body was dizzying and she had to stay still to catch her bearings for a few moments before she walked all the way to the other side of her room and opened the door.
“What?” she snarled.
“Ally hasn’t come yet,” Ed told her right off the bat, not affected by her bad mood. “She said she’d be here by ten for our training. It’s ten-thirty and she still hasn’t shown up!”
Leah rubbed her eyes. She got out of bed for this? “Remember,” she said. “This is supposed to be a test to see if you’re ready to face the world without me. You need to solve this on your own.”
“But…” Ed frowned before looking up with a determined expression. “Adults don’t always rely on themselves. They get help when they need it! And I need help and you’re here, so I’m asking you to help me!”
“Ooh, nice logic,” Leah said without an ounce of enthusiasm. If Ed had told her that any other time other than that morning, she’d probably be subtly impressed and give him a raised eyebrow. But since it was morning, it was impossible for her to be even the slightest awed. He could have waved an Entei at her and she’d only blink before going back to bed.
“So,” Ed continued, crossing his arms. “Help me find her!”
Rolling her eyes, Leah said, “I dunno where she is. She’s probably sleeping in. You can wait a couple of hours.” Apparently, the response wasn’t good enough because when Leah tried to close the door, Ed stuck his foot into the gap, halting it.
Ed glared back.
“This is so stupid,” Leah grumbled as she followed Ed towards the Cerulean City Gym.
So, the facts for her bad mood: since Ally never showed up, Ed dragged her out of bed to search for her and when Leah finally drove it into his head that unless Ally showed up by herself, she might as well not exist, Ed got an even better idea! Since he didn’t want to train alone, he could just get Leah to come along, who was conveniently with him! And he did it all without any regard at what she wanted to do, which was sleep, a perfectly acceptable activity in the morning.
The only thing that could possibly uplift Leah’s mood was that, no later than a week, she’d never have to accompany brats to a gym again. Ever.
Though, even she had to admit that unlike the other gyms, Cerulean’s had a certain sense of style.
People hustled and bustled in the lobby of the gym, most wearing skimpy bathing suits or at least outfits more designed for summer than autumn. All of this was illuminated, not by the lights above, but by the large windows which let the sunlight in. Most everything was a pure white, including the tables and walls, and in-between all that was the lobby’s apparent love of fish tanks, which they had so much of.
“It’s so cool,” Ed said, his eyes straying towards the brightly colored fish.
“What are we doing here again?” Leah asked, yawning. No matter how cool the gym looked, it didn’t mean she would rather not be back in bed.
Ed frowned. “This is going to be my forth badge! I want to win this battle, but I want to do it without hurting Coralie.”
“So you’re going to train? Here?”
“Yeah.” He nodded as he made his way to the front desk. “This battle is going to be different. The Pokemon here are water-types, right? So, it’s going to be extra hard for Transforming.”
Despite his crude words, Leah got what he was saying. Coralie had trouble Transforming enough into land Pokemon, but fish Pokemon would be even tougher. There was a large difference between a Pikachu and a Goldeen, especially since one could only breathe underwater.
“William tell you that?” Leah asked, checking her pocket to make sure her cell phone was in its right place. If Ed stole it again…
Strangely, Ed got quiet. “No,” he said. “I haven’t called him since before Parasect evolved.”
“So that’s why he called yesterday, asking for you,” Leah mused.
“Did he?” Ed looked startled. “Oh, I guess I should call him back…”
It was fairly obvious by now that Ed had some sort of problem, so Leah, not wanting to care, completely ignored it.
“Hi,” Ed said, talking to the lady at the front desk. “You can train Pokemon here, right? Where do we do that?”
Leah tried to pay attention to the conversation, but her eyes and focus kept straying the bright yellow fish under the front counter. It didn’t help that Ed was pretty much talking to a woman who was conducting service behind a fish tank, no matter how much it could double as a table.
The lady smiled at him. “You have to pay to get in. Two-fifty for nine and under and five dollars up.”
Leah frowned, her eyes twitching at the mention of ‘paying’. Five bucks? That seemed kind of steep… Wait. Why did she care? She wasn’t going in!
After digging through his pockets, Ed put the required coins on the table, slamming the two-dollar coin down after it tried to roll away.
Then, he looked at Leah.
Leah looked back with a defiant expression.
The battle of will could have gone on forever, but Leah had the fatal flaw of folding when put under pressure. That and she wouldn’t have to put up with Ed again, so she might as well be nice.
“… Just this once,” she grumbled after a few more moments of staring, reluctantly giving away her money to go into a training faculty she wouldn’t be using.
Once the money was counted, the lady took out two paper bands and wrapped them around each of the trainers’ wrists.
“To show that you paid,” the lady said, answering the unasked question, and turned to her computer. “What Pokemon will you be training, young man?”
“Uh…” Ed’s face contorted as he thought hard and fast. “Mid-level two, I guess.”
The lady nodded and typed some things on her computer before giving them directions to the training room.
Ed thanked her and immediately went off, Leah following him after a momentary pause, where she was forced to weigh the benefits of running off.
Since Ed was sticking with her for a little bit longer, she decided it wasn’t quite worth it.
The halls were long and numerous, Leah having to correct Ed twice on which direction to turn before they made it to the door.
The door opened and a draft of air pushed past them, bring with it the strong smell of chlorine. Voices that were once muffled behind the door became a wall of sound, the shouts and splashes blending together.
“Oh, wow!” Ed gasped, his voice echoing slightly. “This’ll be perfect!”
Really, Leah couldn’t help but agree.
The room was very large and contained several pools of water, all of different sizes. Each one was teaming with life, all containing Pokemon of different sorts, the only similarity were that they were all small in size, none larger than a Cloyster. Most of the pools had white discs floating on the surfaces, which somehow kept in place despite all the waves. Trainers stood at the side of the pools, their voices echoing as they commanded their Pokemon in the water.
There were so many pools that Ed couldn’t decide, his head looking in every directions. “Where should we go?”
Obviously, Leah thought, not to the ones with so many Pokemon in it.
Luckily, Ed didn’t put up a fight when Leah led him to one of the smaller pools where only three Pokemon inhabited it. They got close enough in time to see a Goldeen do a flip out of the water, its white tail flinging liquid drops before diving back in, horn first. Right after the Goldeen’s stunt, a Pokemon shot out of the water, spinning wildly and flinging water everywhere. It stopped momentarily to shoot small golden stars out of its small red gem and then spun back into the water, where it repeated its attack another time.
Leah grimaced at the Staryu and looked towards the only passive Pokemon. It floated on the water’s surface, its small fins paddling its small blue body with no direction in mind, the yellow bulbs on the end of its antenna bobbing up and down with the waves.
“I wonder what Pokemon that is?” Ed asked out loud, but no one answered.
There were only two trainers at the side of the pool and Leah assumed the strange Pokemon’s trainer went to the bathroom or something.
Ed kept staring at the Pokemon, but Leah helpfully snapped him out of it by waving a hand in front of his face.
“You’re here to train, right?” she snapped. “Well, get to it!”
“I was only staring,” Ed muttered, releasing his Ditto. “You don’t have to be mean.”
Leah took in a deep breath, trying not to smack him. She wasn’t supposed to be here! She was supposed to be back in bed, but nooooo. She had to be dragged to the gym and pay entry into a training ground she couldn’t even use! It’s not like she could teach Sands to swim and even if she could, she wouldn’t spend money on it when she could just find a river.
Walking over the nearest wall, she intended to sit down, but when she saw the puddles on the tiles, she thought better of it. Luckily, the people who created the training ground must have kept the poor people like her in mind and put plastic chairs a little ways a way.
“Where you going?” Ed asked as Leah began to walk away.
“Sitting down,” she replied, pointing to the chairs.
Ed pouted. “Aw, do you have to sit all the way over there?”
Not wanting to get into any argument, Leah scowled and stomped off, only to come back carrying one of the plastic chairs, which was quite light. She practically threw it on the puddles, getting water on her shoes and finally sat down… Only to find that the chair was wet.
She shuddered, but didn’t get up. Instead, she pulled her hair over her shoulder and leaned back, feeling the water melting into her pants and jacket.
Not much longer, Leah thought to herself, using it as a mantra to curb her annoyance. At maximum, there was only one more week until she could go home. Just one more week! If she could survive three months, she could survive a single week.
“Alright, Coralie!” Ed was saying, gesturing to the water. “I’m going to teach you how to swim!” He pointed at the foreign Pokemon, who was still surfing on the surface of the water. “Transform into that, okay?”
Coralie looked nervous, jiggling more of its own violation as it kept lifting parts of its body off the wet tiles. Its permanent black tipped smile looked more forced than ever as is obviously didn’t want to Transform into something in the water. Still, it did so, its purple body turning indigo, then blue, small feet appearing under it and its eyes turning into yellow crosses. The last thing that changed were the large yellow bulbs at the end of each of its two antenna.
“Good job, Coralie,” Ed cheered. “Now, into the water!”
“You know,” Leah spoke up, giving Coralie a few moments of hope, “Transforming into a Pokemon you don’t know is pretty stupid. You should have gone with the Goldeen.”
Ed shook his head, frowning. “But Goldeen are girl-y!” he said in protest. “And Staryu are weird!”
The Goldeen and Staryu’s trainers, both male, gave a glance at Ed, their expressions blank. Just when Leah started to think she was going to get a fight, they turned back to their Pokemon without a word.
Slowly, Coralie inched its way to the edge of the pool and, at its trainer’s urging, dipped a flipper into the pool. The water was cold.
“Come on, Coralie!” Ed said, kneeling down next to his Pokemon. He put his hand on Coralie’s back and lightly pushed it to the very edge; enough that the morphing Pokemon was struggling to stay on land.
Finally, the battle against the hand was lost and Coralie fell into the water, splashing Ed’s shirt. The Pokemon surfaced, flapping its flippers wildly, looking much more energetic than the lazy Pokemon it copied, who was looking over at its clone with interest.
It took a few minutes for Coralie to stop freaking out and when it happened, the Pokemon floated still in the water, using its flippers to keep itself afloat whenever a wave sent from the Goldeen or Staryu’s maneuvers came near it.
Ed turned to Leah. “Hey, look at Coralie! She’s finally swimming!”
“Good job!” Leah said sarcastically. “Now you can impress Misty with its fabulous swimming skills!”
“I can get Coralie to battle!” Ed humped and turned to his floating Pokemon. “Coralie, use… um…”
Apparently, he had just figured out that he didn’t know what moves his Pokemon could use.
In a surprising move, though, Ed brought out a potential solution for his problem in a form of a red device. Leah thought that Ed lost his Pokedex ages ago, but apparently not.
He pointed it at the Pokemon and the device only said in a monotone voice, “Unknown.”
“Your Pokedex doesn’t register Pokemon that aren’t from Kanto,” Leah informed him dryly as the boy’s shoulders slumped.
“… Okay, Coralie,” he said, putting the Pokedex back in his pocket. “Keep… swimming, okay? Practice!”
With that order done, Ed walked off.
Leah watched him go, wondering, ‘Where’s he going?’
Then, it became obvious as he brought over another plastic chair. Ed sat it down beside Leah’s and plopped into it. Apparently, he didn’t care if it was wet or not as his expression didn’t change.
They sat in silence for a couple minutes, both watching the water Pokemon swim around.
Leah glanced over and met Ed’s eyes. The boy looked away quickly.
After a few more times of this occurring, she finally got fed up with it and asked, “What?”
“… What are you going to do when you go home?” he asked quietly, the question apparently having been on his mind.
“I’m going back to school.”
“Is that it?” He expanded at Leah’s glare, “I mean, you’ve always wanted to go home, right? What’s so great about going to school?”
Leah sighed. “You’re a kid, you wouldn’t get it. It’s way better than being out here.”
“What’s so bad about here?” he asked, apparently full of questions. “You were a trainer once.”
“Yeah, once. It was terrible and it still is.” Leah looked over to him. “What brought all this on?”
The boy shrugged and looked away. “You’re leaving really soon. You’re always mean to us, but I really want to know why. Being a trainer has been great for me.”
“Yeah, well, you’re you,” Leah replied. “To me, it’s not worth it.”
“But you must’ve had fun right? You like that boy you were with in Vermillion and you have Sands and Zee!”
Leah would have liked to tell him that while yes, she had lots of fun on rare occasions, it didn’t change the fact that nothing she did was worth it. It didn’t balance out the things she had gone through. The storms, the danger, that guy who tried to kill her – she didn’t like to come that close to dying. Besides, she would see Danny in Pallet Town, Sands would still be with her and Zee would be given to Ally since she sure didn’t trust Ed with a psychic-type.
Really, going back home would leave everything she didn’t like about journeying behind. It had no down sides, despite what Ed wanted to think.
“It’s not worth it,” Leah repeated, not knowing any way to make Ed understand.
“… It just seems really boring,” he said in reply, “going back home to go to school. It’s just not fun.”
Leah waved it off. “It’s fun for me.” And, to get rid of Ed and his talks, she said, “Your Pokemon is still floating. You’re here to train. Go train it.”
Sighing, Ed got up, frowning at his wet shorts before going off to see Coralie.
Leah watched him go.
“Really?” George asked, eyes lighting up. “You really went on the S. S. Anne?”
Ally laughed and nodded. “Yes! It was really fun.” Her expression grew sober. “I just wish it didn’t have to end like that.”
Most of the kids surrounding her didn’t know about the murder and pestered her for details.
They were on the playground at the side of the school, having practically ran there once the bell for recess rang. By the time Ally got there, the swings were already claimed by the fastest kids in school, so she chose a place on the monkey bars as a minor victory. It was almost second nature for her to climb up at the top of the bars. She had been perched there all recess, five other kids joining and surrounding her. The kids who couldn’t climb or fit sat on the sawdust ground or the wooden stairs that lead up to the slide.
Ally was a hot topic on the playground because it wasn’t everyday a kid came back from their journey. Even the older years, who weren’t allowed in the playground, listened in from behind the chain link fence.
“Someone died?!” Maylin asked, shocked, once she was given the details. “Wow! Who did it?”
“I don’t know,” Ally replied, trying to think about all the information about the murder. The kids surrounding her leaned in as she lowered her voice. “But I think my Mentor does,” she said, looking at the kids on the ground. “She was really upset for days after we got back to Vermillion City. I think she saw the murderer!”
There were a few gasps at her pronouncement and Sam, unfortunately on the ground instead of the monkey bars, said, “Did you ask her?”
“No,” she replied. “My Mentor can be mean and I didn’t want to upset her.”
Sam frowned. “Is she as mean as your mom?”
Taking some time to think about that, Ally replied, “No, she can be nice sometimes.”
“Ally!” a voice called out and the girl looked over with everyone else to see Ms. Lewis, waving to her from behind the fence. “Can you come here for a moment?”
Ally hesitantly nodded back, asking her friends, “Do you know what she wants?”
No one had an answer to that and, while frowning, Ally slipped her body through the bars and dropped to the ground. Her balance wavered at the impact, but she quickly got back her footing and walked over to the teacher.
“Sorry for bringing you away from your friends,” Ms. Lewis said apologetically. “But I wanted to talk to you about your gym battle.”
“Um, what about it?”
“Do you know when it is?”
“In a few days, I guess,” Ally said. She didn’t know when she and Ed was going to be battling, but-
She gasped and put her hands to her mouth. “Oh no!”
The teacher looked concerned. “What’s wrong?”
“I completely forgot!” Ally wailed. “Me and Ed were supposed to be training at Misty’s gym this morning!”
She was just having so much fun at school that morning that it had slipped her mind at what she was supposed to be doing.
“I’m sure he understands,” Ms. Lewis said, trying to soothe her guilt.
It didn’t work.
“I need to get to the Pokemon Center,” Ally said, thinking out lout, looking around for available transportation.
The Pokemon Center Ed and Leah were staying at was a long way from the school, so she couldn’t walk. She’d take the bus, but she didn’t bring any money with her!
This was all a disaster…
“Can’t you get a ride after school?” Ms. Lewis said.
She could, but the Pokemon Center was further away than her house and she didn’t want to bother Sam’s mom.
Still, she nodded since she supposed she could go home and get money for a bus. That would work.
“Ally,” the teacher said and the girl was reminded that she wanted something. “Could you get me your gym battle date as soon as possible?”
“Y-Yes,” Ally replied, only half paying attention to the conversation. “Why?”
Ms. Lewis smiled, a bit embarrassed. “Well, I’ve been waiting for something special to pop up to go on a field trip to. Gym battles are nice to go to, but it’d be even better if the person who was battling was a student.”
“Oh, um, well-” Ally would be lying if she said that having the whole class watch her battle didn’t terrify her. What if she lost and made a fool of herself? It would be horrible!
“You don’t have to say yes,” Ms. Lewis said quickly, seeing her hesitation. “It’s just an idea.”
Ally could win, though, right? She hadn’t lost a gym battle yet and it would be nice to hear all her friends cheering for her…
“… S- Sure, it’s alright,” Ally said, even if she wanted to take back her words. She had only known the teacher for a couple hours and already she didn’t want to see the disappointment on her face. It would be fine, she knew her Pokemon well; she wouldn’t mess up.
The teacher smiled, her whole face lighting up. “Are you coming back to school tomorrow?”
“I don’t know,” Ally replied honestly.
“Then get word to me as soon as you can about the date and time. The sooner the better.” The teacher’s voice lowered. “Don’t worry; I think you’ll do just fine. Misty’s very nice and I’m sure everyone will have a good time.”
Ally said nothing as she was shooed back to her friends, feeling shaky and like she had just made a bad choice.
“What she’d want?” Sam asked and then peered at the other girl. “Hey, are you alright? You look pretty pale.”
“I- I’m fine,” Ally replied, looking at the faces of her friends. “Um, how do you feel about watching me battle?”
A/N: Ah, spelling tests. How I did not miss you.
Anyway, I was going to post this chapter next week, but I got guilty at leaving you guys out in the cold again, so here’s a special treat, just for you. Though, don’t feel surprised if I don’t update next week as I have two finals that day (Biology, why must you torture me so?)
Also, please ignore my terrible chapter title. I really couldn’t think up anything better.
These chapters are great! I'm so glad this ain't dying. I saw some spelling errors but i don't wanna review sorry...I bet someone else will lol. Seriously awesome story though, keep writing
Its sad when you sell all your pokemon games and then realize you still like it
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