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If you want a character added to one of the next installments, post it with your review. Make sure to add a sufficient description of your trainer (appearance, mannerisms, Pokémon, etc.) Or, if you'd prefer it to be a surprise to the readers, feel free to PM me your ideas.
Dante leaned both of his tanned, thin arms against the deck railing as he gazed outward to the cyanic waters. The large, off-white ship was steadily sailing northbound over placid seas, the bright yellow sun just beginning to set upon her port side. When Dante checked his worn-out Pokédex, the timer indicated 5:30; it appeared that he would arrive just a few minutes behind schedule as the imposing Castelia skyscrapers peeked above the horizon. A brief horn promptly sounded from the loudspeaker before a soothing, feminine voice rang through.
“We will arrive at Castelia Harbor in a few minutes. Please insure that you do not leave belongings behind as you disembark. Thank you for choosing the S.S. Wildflower.”
Patting the belt wrapped around the waist of his urban-camouflage shorts, Dante double-checked that his six minimized Poké Balls remained in their clip before slinging his arm and head through the strap of his black and white backpack. There was a look of excitement on his face that he was unable to contain; he had much to accomplish upon his return to Unova.
As the Wildflower approached the short, unnamed pier, Dante gazed in awe at the Skyarrow Bridge, a connection between Castelia City and the southeast peninsula of Unova . He stepped towards the bow, examining a few Tympole and Palpitoad congregating in the shadow that the suspension bridge cast upon the shore’s water. The gangplank mechanically extended from the port side of the ship as she slowly cruised parallel to the dock; Dante was among the first passengers to walk across it.
Dante paced up the concrete pier to its center, stopping and checking his C-Gear for any new messages. There was one from Professor Willow, as expected, but he did not have a chance to read it before he felt a tap on his shoulder.
“Dante!” a beaming, dark-blue haired girl wrapped her arms around him as he turned around, pulling back a bit to question him. “What’re you doing here?”
“Heyyyy! I just sailed back in… Willow said that she just finished her new invention’s beta period; she wants me to test it out, apparently. What about you, Kara? Last I heard you were training out in Johto.”
“Oh? Good to see you’re keeping tabs on me, Dante…” she joked. “Who told you that?”
“Don’t flatter yourself, my mom called me to tell me she saw you come through Goldenrod,” he explained.
“I flew back in for my Insect Badge last week, but now I’m on my way back to Johto, actually. I heard a few things about you too… training hard, eh?” Kara giggled a bit. “I certainly hope so… after what happened in Nimbasa.”
Dante grimaced at his friend with a furrowed brow; well, it was more like a half-grimace, half-grin.
“A lot of talk for someone who’s never even tried for her fourth badge,” he replied as he picked under a fingernail.
Kara looked like she was going to retort, but hesitated before reaching into her tan pouch and retrieving a Poké Ball. She pressed the center and enlarged it, tossing it up and down in her hand as she backed away a few steps.
“I assume that’s a challenge!” Kara exclaimed, tossing the ball onto the ground.
Dante chuckled, wordlessly retrieving a Pokémon from his belt and tossing it in front of him. “Go, Croconaw!”
“Go, Venusaur!” Kara shouted as the two balls opened up.
The two creatures immediately materialized from the released energy.
Bystanders edged away, slowly forming a ring around the two trainers. Dante was taken aback.
“How does she have a fully evolved Pokémon already? Last I saw that thing, it was a Bulbasaur… maybe she focused too much on him in Johto… she must’ve,” he thought to himself.
“Venusaur, Razor Leaf!” Kara commanded. Gleaming leaves flew from the tree positioned on the Seed Pokémon’s back, dancing in the air momentarily.
“Use Tackle!” Dante told his Pokémon, inciting Croconaw to quickly sprint towards his larger opponent.
However, the leaves proved to act too quickly, striking Croconaw and slicing him with their pointed edges as they flew by. Their curved blades slashed into him before bouncing off. Croconaw tumbled, rolling on the ground with momentum before recovering, gathering himself on one blue knee.
Kara pulled Venusaur’s Ball from her pouch, swapping her out for a new battle partner. “Go, Pupitar!”
A sparkling Pupitar emerged from the new Ball, accenting her strange purple coloration. She stared Croconaw down with her dramatically shaded red eyes. There was an audible gasp in the crowd, as sighting a shiny Pokémon is not an everyday occurance for most.
“Now, Croconaw! Ice Fang!”
Croconaw opened its mouth, revealing his two brightly glowing canines, giving his entire mouth a light blue tint. He stamped his foot into the ground behind him, propelling him into the levitating Pupitar. The Pokémon slammed into the ground, Croconaw using his stocky arms to hold her down. Two jagged ice shards shot out of his teeth and into her shell, freezing her solid. Pupitar was out cold.
Croconaw jumped off, panting from his extensive injuries. Open cuts covered nearly his entire body from the neck down. Dante knew that his Pokémon was lucky to survive such a direct Grass-type hit.
Kara replaced her fallen battle choice, pulling another Ball from her bag. “Go, Marshtomp! Use Mud Bomb!”
The Marshtomp popped out, already inhaling deeply. It then lunged its gaped mouth forward with a scream, shooting a ball of brown mud at Croconaw. Dante’s Pokémon braced himself, then jumped on top of the muddy boulder, using it as a springboard to launch a Tackle attack towards Marshtomp. However, Marshtomp was even quicker and leapt backwards, shooting yet another Mud Bomb at close range.
This one blast Croconaw in the face, breaking into several pieces before both it and Croconaw crashed hard to the ground. Dante held out his Ball, transforming him to energy and sucking him back inside. He then threw out his next Pokémon.
“Go, Eevee!” Dante yelled. “Quick Attack!”
“Dodge it, Marshtomp! Mud Bomb, again.”
A white aura surrounded Eevee before it sprinted forward with blinding speed, a white trail left shortly behind her as she smacked into Kara’s Pokémon. Marshtomp, undeterred, stumbled back up and turned, hitting Eevee with a full-force ball of mud. However, she too was able to recover quickly enough.
Eevee once again ran towards Marshtomp, snapping its sharp, white teeth at the Mud Fish. Marshtomp dodged the inaccurate attack, leaving the brown fox disoriented for a slight moment in time. Apparently, it was just long enough for Kara to act.
“Water Gun, Marshtomp!”
A jet of water blasted from Marshtomp’s mouth, sending Eevee flying through their audience with a cry. She landed just short of the edge of the pier. Dante retrieved her with the corresponding Ball before she fell over the ledge and into the sea.
“Damnit. Alright… you got this, Gabite!” Gabite appeared from Dante’s next Ball, obviously ready for a fierce battle.
He was a purple hue of sorts, the orange on its belly more brilliant than usual. However, all in all it was the type of alternate coloration that would only be noticed by the most dedicated of Dragon-type aficionado; that is, if it weren’t for the brief sparkle that accented him.
Once again, whispers of a shiny Pokémon traveled through the crowd like flames through dry grass, and Kara’s eyes narrowed in determination. Dante could not help but laugh at her sudden change of expression.
“Ohh, what? Did you forget you’re not the only one with a shiny Pokémon?” He asked her before returning his attention to the battle. “Gabite, Dual Chop!”
The claws at the end of Gabite’s arms began to glow an intense purple as Gabite ran for Pupitar. He threw an arm back behind his head, lunging it forward with a powerful roar. Pupitar released pressurized gas from the side of his shell, jetting him out of the way just in time. Using his other arm, Gabite slashed horizontally, spinning his entire body as he made contact with Pupitar’s harder than rock coating.
Pupitar quickly recovered and awaited Kara’s next command. She made sure not to waste any time.
“Now, use Payback!” she shouted.
Pupitar fumed with a shadowy rage, bashing Gabite in the face with its forehead. Gabite flew backwards, slamming into the ground so roughly that it scuffed the concrete.
“Gabite!” Dante pointed the center of his Ball at Gabite, the red energy beam zig-zagging towards the fainted Dragon and enveloping him. “Hmph. Go… Axew! Hit ‘em with Dragon Claw!”
A beige-colored, tiny Dragon emerged from the scarlet light, running at the Pupitar with his brown head protrusion lowered, the fingertips of his right hand glowed a light green. As he got near his opponent, Axew leapt in the air with a leaping uppercut, his arm leaving a trail of greenish energy behind as it struck the Pupitar solidly. Kara’s Pokémon crashed to the ground soundlessly with its eyes shut tight; she was done before she even landed.
Kara looked shocked, but allowed Pupitar back in her Ball. Reaching back into her pouch, she knew who needed to return to battle. “Go, Venusaur! Sleep Powder, now!”
A beam of light shot from Kara’s Ball, it stopped a few feet from Axew before taking the shape of the powerful Grass-type Pokémon. Letting out a groaning battle cry, the flower on Venusaur’s back scrunched up and condensed before it recoiled back into regular shape, spurting out a glittery blue powder. The sea breeze pulled it towards Axew, whose eyes seemed to lose focus, followed by his motor skills. He tumbled to the ground, out cold and even snoring a bit.
Dante growled, frustrated at the helpless feeling that is brought upon by a sleeping Pokémon. Kara was sure not to let up while she had the chance.
“Now, use PoisonPowder!” Kara roared in excitement, anxious to finish off Dante’s final Dragon-type.
Venusaur open its mouth with a monotonous cry then closed it abruptly. She exhaled sharply through the two small nostrils just above her upper lip, spewing dark smog loaded with purple and green sparkling particles towards Dante’s Pokémon.
Axew coughed as the toxic, smoky vapor passed through his area, rolling over to his other side without waking up. Now facing Dante, his face took a purple tone to it, and he broke out into a heavy sweat almost immediately. Scariest of all, the snoring stopped, and his remaining breath was shallow and raspy.
“Now, finish him off with Venoshock,” Kara uttered grimly, her eyes fixed on the wounded Axew.
“C’mon, Axew, you gotta wake up now!” Dante shouted, but it was to no avail.
Venusaur growled and opened its mouth, firing globs of slime green ooze from the back of its throat. The globs splashed on top of the brown Dragon, who groaned in pain before rolling onto his back, defeated.
Axew may have fallen, but Dante knew he could not let up. This time, the type advantage could be on his side.
“Go, Charmeleon! Ember!” he commanded, casting out yet another Ball.
Charmeleon inhaled deeply as soon as it appeared, lunging forward as she made an ‘O’ with her mouth and shot searing flames at Venusaur. However, it was an indirect hit; only the tail end of the trail of fire made contact with the target, the beginning portion falling to ground in front of her.
“Again, Venusaur, use Sleep Powder!”
Once more, luminescent blue dust blasted from her spotted pink flower, the first whiff of which made Charmeleon fall flat on her face.
“Good, now follow it up with Double-Edge!” Kara shouted.
As Venusaur began to take on a golden glow, she got up on her hind legs, a position she could only hold for a moment before slamming her front feet back to the ground. She sprinted towards the slumbering Charmeleon with uncharacteristic speed, lowering her head just in time for it to make contact with the red lizard. Charmeleon bellowed in pain as she rolled, stopping at the feet of Dante. Remarkably, after only one turn, she twitched awake, slowly propping herself up on a knee and fist.
Dante cracked a knowing smile at his Pokémon, who groaned ‘Char…’ from the ground. “Charmeleon… use Flame Charge, now! Finish her off!”
Dust began to kick up around Charmeleon, who became engulfed in a red glow that ignited into burning flames. With breakneck speed, Charmeleon rushed towards Venusaur, leaving a path of fire behind her. She smashed into her target with her shoulder, tackling Venusaur to the ground while simultaneously burning her. Charmeleon transitioned seamlessly into a roll over her shoulder, sliding off of the fainted Pokémon.
Kara returned Venusaur to her Ball, kissing it before swapping it for her final Pokémon. “Go, Monferno! Knock her out with Mach Punch!”
The fiery monkey leapt from the Ball and threw his fist backward. It began to glow light blue as he ran, throwing his hand forward into Charmeleon’s chest. Char was knocked backward, finished off with the powerful Fighting move.
“So then… we’re both down to the final Pokémon…” Dante retrieved the third from the left Ball from his belt, tossing it onto the battlefield. “Go, Servine! Leaf Tornado!”
Servine escaped from the Ball, already on her head as she emerged. She began to spin around, a twister of light and dark green swirls surrounding her as she began to drift toward Monferno. He turned and ran in an effort of avoidance, but Servine’s surperior speed caught up to him. As he became entrapped within the tornado, it lifted from the air without Servine before slamming back to ground. Monferno shook his head, obviously a bit disoriented, but otherwise fine.
“Flame Wheel, Monferno!” Kara called out.
To give himself some more room, Monferno backed up before somersaulting continuously towards Servine. His flaming tail ignited the air around him, creating a wheel of fire as he rolled into Servine. Her intensely charred skin showed that she could no longer put up a fight.
Kara threw her fist up into the air in triumphant celebration. “Alright! I finally beat you!”
Dante looked at his fainted Pokémon with despair, but broke his expression to pull Servine back into her Ball. The two rivals walked across what was their battlefield as the crowd dissipated.
“Good battle, Kara… I guess I must’ve been slacking Kanto,” he said weakly, trying his best to be a good sport about it. However, she quickly saw through to his true feelings.
“Awww c’mon now, Dante, don’t be such a sore loser…” Kara teased with a squinty grin.
“Hey now,” Dante began as he scratched the back of his head, “I’ve never wanted to be good at losing.”
“You’re gonna have to get used to it,” she retorted with a playful punch to his arm.
“Yeah, yeah… just don’t let up for the time being. Things are gonna be a lot different next time we meet,” he promised.
“I guess we’ll see,” Kara said as she walked back towards the shore. “I’m gonna miss my ship, go see what Willow wanted.” With that, she turned and walked back to the dock.
Dante waved to her before remembering Willow’s message. He opened his C-Gear and navigated back to the message screen.
Prof. Willow: Dante, my new lab is on the top floor of the PokéEdge Industries building. It’s the big pink one near the Central Plaza. Come in as soon as you get to Castelia, please!
Dante messaged her that he was in the city as he walked northeast along the city wharf. He buried his fists in his shorts’ pockets, staring at the ground, deep in thought. Although he tried his hardest not to think about it, Dante could not help but reflect on his past two battles; the first an embarrassing defeat in a city Gym battle, and the second a crushingly close loss against his most heated rival.
As he was considering the next direction in which to take his battle strategy, he nearly passed the Pokémon Center. Dante stopped at the two story building with a curved red roof. A large, red and white ‘P’ protruded from above the front doors. He walked through the sliding glass entrance, noticing Nurse Joy along with a few trainers waiting for their Pokémon to heal.
He approached the front counter, looking down to see the same red and white ‘P’ embossed into it. The nurse turned from the Regeneration Machine in the center of the room and faced Dante from across the counter.
“Welcome to the Castelia City Pokémon Center. Can I help you?” asked Nurse Joy, flashing a warm and inviting smile at Dante.
“You can,” said Dante, unclipping his belt and pulling each minimized Poké Ball out of its rounded slot. “They’ve all fainted, I’m afraid.”
“Well we should have your Pokémon in full health in a few hours,” she replied, maximizing each ball and placing them in a round, hard plastic tray.
Joy returned to the machine and pressed a button, opening one of the drives to place the tray in. Dante turned around and leaned against the counter, scanning the waiting area for any familiar faces. Nothing. Pokémon Centers always depressed him; pathetic-looking trainers, wounded Pokémon, the over sized leather couches and dramatized Pokémon trainer shows on the TV. Needless to say, Dante didn’t spend much time in waiting areas.
This time would be no different, he walked out of the Center and back down the wharf, turning at a corner of one of the main streets leading to the central area. It was a long but straightforward walk, passing massive skyscrapers, high-end restaurants, and shady alleyways. Streams of cars, buses, and trucks filled the streets, bustling about in both directions.
By the time Dante was finally within eyeshot of the lush green trees of Central Plaza, it was nearly dark. He walked around the center, following the sidewalk around until he came upon a giant, pink building with the words PokéEdge Industries glowing in white across the front side. He stepped through the automatic sliding doors and into the lobby, eyeing the cute receptionist sitting at the front desk.
“Hi, I need to get to the top floor… Professor Willow’s lab?” asked Dante, catching the secretary’s attention.
“Of course, sir. You must be Dante?” she asked, to which he nodded. “The Professor’s been expecting you, elavators are to the right.”
“Thanks,” Dante replied, smiling at her as he walked over to the elevator door.
Once inside, Dante pressed the button for the top floor and the doors closed in front of him. His thoughts raced as to what this mystery invention could be. After what felt like forever, the cab reached the fourteenth floor and opened its doors.
Dante stepped out into a very small room, with only a few house plants and a security camera inside. The camera turned and focused on him. After waiting for a few moments, the heavy metal door slid open from the top, allowing access to a spacious, state-of-the-art laboratory. The lab had a glass ceiling and was adourned with numerous appartuses, the vast majority of which Dante could not readily identify.
Professor Willow was at the far end of the lab, sitting at a wide wooden desk with her back turned to him. She turned her head and got up from the chair, walking to the center of the room to meet Dante halfway. She was a tall, slender woman with wavy green hair that flowed past her shoudlers. The two shooks hands and the professor motioned him back to the desk.
“You’re rather late,” she remarked as she walked in front of him, “I was just about to shut down for the night and head home.”
“Yeah… sorry about that, I got caught up with Kara at the pier,” explained Dante.
“Ohh I see. How’d that go?” Willow inquired.
“Not well,” he replied bluntly, leaving it at that.
“That’s too bad…” she replied offhandedly, “maybe this will cheer you up.” She grabbed a thin, white metallic device off of the desk, similar to a Nintendo DS in size and structure. The outer casing had a red Poké Ball design on the center of it.
“Introducing the Pokédex 2.0… the only device that fills every need of the trainer on the move, all in one place. Navigation, communication, information; and of course, it doubles as a fully functioning Pokédex!” Willow demonstrated, reaching out and handing it to him.
Dante flipped the device open, causing the five inch screen to flash on, the menu screen displaying the various use options. “Wow… Professor, this is amazing!”
“It even has a removable tracking device built into the side… you never know when that may come in handy,” she remarked. “In any case, as stated previously, I just finished the beta phase. Now I need this to be truly field tested by a real trainer. Would you be interested?”
“Of course! This frees up so much carrying space for me… it replaces my Pokédex and my C-Gear!” Dante exclaimed excitedly.
“That reminds me… hand those over, I can transfer the existing data onto your new Dex,” explained Prof. Willow, taking all three devices from him and connecting them through link cables to her computer.
“So what else have you been researching, professor?” Dante queried.
“Well, aside from the software designs for Pokédex 2.0, I’ve been studying how to evolve Pokémon through artificial means,” Willow replied, glancing back to the computer screen to check the progress of the data transfer.
“You mean like with evolution stones?”
“In a way… we’re actually studying ways to potenially modify these stones at a molecular level, in order to change what Pokémon they can be used on. So far, however, the results have been rather… inconclusive.”
“Say… you wouldn’t happen to have any spare Thunderstones laying around, would you?” asked Dante.
“Hmm…” Willow rubbed her chin in thought, “let me check.”
She got up and walked around a bookshelf, out of Dante’s sight for a moment. He could hear drawers opening and closing, and then the lid of a sealed jar popping open. Willow returned quickly with a glowing yellow crystal, a darker yellow lightning bolt on the middle of it.
“Thanks,” said Dante. “I owe you one.”
“Actually…” the professor began, returning to the computer, “you owe me two,” she reminded him, handing over his new Pokédex.
“Right,” he said with a cheeky smile, scratching the back of his head.
She smiled back. “I’m kidding, you’re actually helping me with my research. Just make sure to check in every once and awhile. I’ll either be here or in the old lab in Kanto.”
“Will do,” he assured Willow on his way out.
As he loaded back into the elevator, pressing the button for the ground floor, Dante wondered if his Pokémon would be ready upon his return to the Center. The sandy Route 4 was calling his name, and he lusted for redemption in Nimbasa.