July 15th, 2012 (5:47 AM). Edited July 16th, 2012 by Scaldaver.
So, without further ado:
Every story has an ending. Nothing lasts forever. Not any more.
Hey, this is my Fanfic. Please post if you like it so I can get more motivated to write more chapters. Chapters may be uploaded with slight few days delay, more if I have too much work. Please know that, as my first attempt, it is a bit short for a first chapter, but I hope for there to be many, many chapters, that will get progressively longer. Consider this a first taste. Feel free to point out mistakes and speculate. Enjoy.
Note: This fanfiction takes place in a separate Pokemon universe. In this, all legendary Pokemon are unique, they are all genderless (with the exception of Lati@s) and all events from the Pokemon games and Anime including legendary Pokemon did not happen. As well as this, I am not giving main character description - feel free to come up with those yourself. Model them after your imagination. Furthermore, at the beggining of each chapter I will give the age rating, as there is different content in each chapter. This one is suitable for all viewers.
The gargantuan creature opened its eyes, a hollow ring of molten gold glowing in the darkness of its home. It knew it was close. It knew its breaths were numbered.
“Show yourself” the monster growled, shaking the stalactites precariously with its deep, ancient voice.
A figure fell from the ceiling of the cavern, gracefully, and came to rest a few feet from the warm stone floor. It surveyed its prey with indifferent eyes, as though impatient for its job to be completed. The recently awakened behemoth closed its eyes and sagged its head.
“I have known... of your coming.” The monster spoke slowly but fiercely, enjoying its final moments of life. “I know... of your goal. I know... I cannot beat you.” The creature shot opened his eyes, snapped its head back and roared, a blast so powerful that dust and stalactites fell from the ceiling. The assailant didn't even blink.
“But I'm not going down without a fight! I will bide the others time. And together,” it roared again, splitting the rock and causing earthquakes for miles around its subterranean cove, strange marking in the chinks of it's armour illuminating the area a bright blue, “they will avenge me!”
With that the chamber began to collapse, rocks and dust removing all visibility. The battle began.
Three pokemon looked up at the boy expectantly in the forest clearing. The one to his left resembled some sort of tiny dinosaur, light green skin with very rounded limbs. Around the base of the neck-less head were small green beads, that went all the way around the flesh that formed the base of the head. Upon its head a large leaf on a stalk stuck out, just above the large red eyes. Below its featureless body were four featureless legs, each ending with a small white claw. A small tail protruded from its hind, waving gently from side to side. This was a Chikorita, the leaf pokemon. Standly calmly, its leaf waving gently in the cool breeze and, to all intents and purposes, looking pretty bored with the whole ordeal.
Beside it was a small bird that resembled an orange chicken. Its bulbous head which rested on its small round body contained few features, most predominately a small cream beak, two blue shining eyes, and three yellow tipped feathers sticking up on top. Below its head, small wing-like limbs protruded from the top of its body. Below two cream sticks connected to scrawny chicken feet stuck out. It carried most of its weight on only one, the other slightly bent backward in the air. This was Torchic, the chick pokemon.
To the right of the boy stood a blue dog-like pokemon. Instead of a tail, however, there was a large pale blue fin that stood vertical against its backside. Its body was light marine blue, but a pale blue underbelly beneath. It had four short legs, each with three undefined toes at the end. Upon its large head stood another vertical fin, the same colour as the blue had. Each cheek had a strange orange star shaped gill that slowly inflated and deflated. The boy was surprised when he didn't see any eyes, but they were prised shut. The creature was also quietly murmuring to itself -
“Mud, mud, kip, kip,” which translated as, if the boy's lessons in Pokemon communication were anything to go by, “Please pick me, please pick me.”
The boy smiled. Anticipation glowed within him.
Behind him the girl yawned loudly.
“You picked yet Edward?" She called over. "Some of us are growing old you know."
Edward grinned. She knew that Nuria was only kidding, but he did realise he'd been staring at them for quite a while. And he'd made his decision. He turned his back on the starter pokemon and faced the professor and Nuria. Nuria sighed with relief.
“Finally.” She checked her watch, and raised her eyebrows. Edward ignored her.
“Have you made your selection?” Professor Birch asked. Edward nodded, grinning uncontrollably. “And you Nuria?”
“Aaaages ago.” Nuria yawned, caught Edward's eye and winked.
“Once again, I'm sorry we didn't have a spare Treecko, we just ran out and it was lucky Elm could give us the Chikorita. If either of you wanted Treecko, we could wait a few more days. Are you sure you don't want one?”
“I'm sure,” they both replied at the same time. Nuria just looked more bored with the question. They'd always talked about their starter pokemon, which one they'd get. Most of these conversations lead to Nuria basically belittling and ranting about how ugly Treecko was. Edward didn't like them much either, but wasn't as prejudiced.
“OK,” Birch continued, seeming happier now, “So, Nuria, you chose first, so which do you want to be your companion?”
“Chikorita,” she said almost immediately, determined. Her eyes burned, as though threatening the professor to argue with her. Birch nodded.
“I thought as much.” He turned to Edward. “And you?”
Edward cast his eyes over to the Mudkip. Its eyes were even more screwed up. He laughed again. The past thirteen years had been building up to this. He didn't know if he could talk with all the excitement.
“I'd like the Mudkip, please,” he said, loudly so the Mudkip could overhear. Immediately the mud fish pokemon leapt up and ran straight for Edward. Before Edward could dodge or jump out of the way the Mudkip was upon his feet, nearly sobbing and crying out, in his own speech- “Thank you! Thank you so much! You won't regret this! Thank-”
As Mudkip expressed his gratitude, Edward's facelit up. As excitement and joy filled him entirely, Birch leaned over and handed him a small red and white sphere while Nuria giggled behind him. Mudkip's pokeball. Edward took the ball and held it toward Mudkip, the blue dog-fish turned into red plasma and withdrew into the ball. Birch grinned apologetically.
“You've got to be good to him. He's been waiting his whole life to be selected. It means a lot to him.” He then turned back to Nuria. “And here's Chikorita's ball.”
With a brief mutter of thanks, Nuria took the ball and held it toward her new Chikorita. It too turned into a hazy red plasma and flew into the ball. All that was left was the Torchic, looking a bit downtrodden. Birch held up its pokeball and withdrew it. Looking at the ball, he muttered - “Don't worry. Your time will come. Now, without further ado,” he reached into his pocket and brought out two small metallic rectangles, one pink, one blue. Nuria immediately snatched the blue one before Birch could offer it to Edward.
“Sorry Eddy. Better luck next time.”
Edward sighed and took the pink Pokedex. It wasn't the colour that exasperated him, but the pet name Nuria had for him. Ever since he was little Nuria had called him Eddy. It was just so demeaning. He looked up so see Nuria sticking her tongue out at him. He raised his eyebrows, grinning. A challenge.
“Erm,” interjected professor Birch, breaking the playful atmosphere, “I guess you know what these are. These are Type 19 Hoenn Pokedexes. It has Pokemon info, a map, and even tells you the level and condition of your team. Oh, and here are five empty pokeballs each. Are you both ready to go?”
The two thirteen year olds nodded.
“And I assume you've both said goodbye to your families?”
They nodded again. Edward caught Nuria's eye. They were as tough as steel, cold as ice.
“Well then, I guess there's nothing more for it. Odale Town is through this small forest, I'm sure you'll have no trouble. If you leave now you might get there by sundown. Keep your pokemon in good health and … Well, goodbye I guess.”
Nuria began walking off towards the forest. Edward chuckled and turned to Birch, face alight.
“Thank you so much professor. We'll try keep good care of them.” He then turned back towards Nuria, running to catching up with her just before they entered the forest, unaware of the true magnitude off the journey he was about to undertake.
July 15th, 2012 (5:57 AM).
This chapter is rated PG-13 for violence only - no profanities, etc. Enjoy.
The cavern fell silent as the last seconds of life escaped the monster. It surveyed its home, nothing more than rubble and dust. The intruder was still there, staring at the once worshipped titan. There were once shrines dedicated to the monster, an entire religion devoted to it. And now all it was was a blood-soaked, crippled, pitiful creature, mere seconds from death. It exhaled one final time. Closed its eyes. And died.
“You could have at least said thank you.”
“Just stop babying me already! Look, we've got Pokemon for Pete's sake! We're basically adults. I can look after myself.”
Edward sighed. How come, even though he'd been brought up with Nuria, could he find himself so infuriated by her constant rudeness?
“And what's with you anyway?” she continued, “Ever since you saw that Mudkip you've had that stupid look on your face.”
“What? You said it yourself – we just got pokemon. Why shouldn't I be excited? More to the point, why aren't you?”
Nuria sighed. “I think it'll hit me soon.”
They continued walking for a few more meters, and as they broke into a small clearing, Edward had an idea. He was surprised he hadn't thought of it before.
“Hey, how about we let out our pokemon? To, you know, talk to them.”
Nuria took a minimized ball out of her pocket and pushed the button. As it expanded she threw it high into the air, and at the highest point of its arc the ball capsule opened up, releasing a white jet of plasma. The shape of a Chikorita began to form, and then the white glow was expelled, leaving the dinosaur creature its light green colour. Its leaf began bobbing up and down in the wind. Mesmerising.
Chikorita looked up at its master as Nuria took out her pokedex. Her face broke out into a grin.
“Oh, it says your a girl. Well, hello Chikorita. My name is Nuria, and I'm your new master. I'm sure we will get very strong together and stuff. Hey Eddy!” She called out his dreaded pet name excitedly. “It says on here she already knows Razor Leaf! That means she's already level six. Must be my lucky day.” She looked at Chikorita, a light in her eyes. A possessive, greedy sort of look. The Chikorita sighed.
“I'm not going to travel with you if I'm just some prize.” It spoke resigned and bored, lazily in her own language. Nuria's face crumbled, shocked. “I've already been through that before. I had a trainer who only spoke about me being a thing, a trophy. He didn't care for me at all. In the end I stopped battling for him. He took me back to Professor Elm and returned me like I was some sort of collectable. He only ever raised me one level. So if that's how your going to treat me, we may as well just go our separate ways. All you trainers are the same.” She then went mute, and turned her back on the two humans.
Edward saw Nuria's face, chalk white. She caught Edward's eye, and he motioned toward Chikorita with his head. She nodded, and took an awkward step toward Chikorita.
Edward then became aware that this seemed to be more of a private thing, and walked across to the end of the clearing. He took his own Pokeball from his pocket and released his water type. As soon as the Mudkip materialized, it jumped again to Edward's feet and whispering,
“Thank you, thank you...”
Edwad knelt down to his pokemon and sat down, so they were both at eye level.
“So,” Edward began, then became unsure of what exactly he was going to say. He grinned. “So, uh, are you ready to get stronger, and stuff?” Edward blushed. How cheesy that sounded. Just like Nuria. Oh dear. The Mudkip stood up proud and fearless, determined to prove his worth.
“Of course! I'll never let you down. I'll become stronger and stronger, and we'll beat anybody we battle! They say Mudkips are great, 'cause when we evolve we only have one weakness, and with an ice move we're basically indestructible!” He barked enthusiastically as he said this, and again Edward found that glow of anticipation, and excitement in his chest that rose and sent him into a moment of ecstasy.
“So, you really want to evolve?” Edward enquired. The Mudkip nodded enthusiastically.
“Yep! Some pokemon hate evolving, but I just want to get stronger and stronger and stronger!” as he finished the sentence he started bouncing up and down in excitement. Edward was reminded of an excited six year old. He laughed again.
“Well, my name is Edward Lance, and that over there is Nuria Heliol. Don't ever mention her last name or she will hit you. Trust me. Anyway, we both started our adventure today, a week after my thirteenth birthday. Nuria turned thirteen last month, but she decided to wait for me. We're travelling together. And we're both aiming for the Hoenn league. I think that's all.” Edward looked back at Nuria, who was talking to Chikorita, who seemed a not a bit more cheerful. He then reached into his pocket and brought out his bright pink Pokedex. After a second of silent internal fuming, he flipped it open and pointed it Mudkip. While he did so Mudkip spoke up.
“But I thought trainers started when they were ten. Why did you two wait?”
“My parents needed a lot of convincing.” And I'm not entirely sure if Nuria's parents even know she left, he finished in his mind. He then checked his Pokedex. “So, you're a boy, and you only know Growl and Tackle.”
Mudkip looked sagged and Edward felt like slapping himself up the face. What did I have to say only for. Edward decided his Pokemon obviously needed some cheering up.
“Hey Mudkip, don't be down. This forest is probably crawling with pokemon. Want to find a battle?” The effect was almost immediate. Mudkip jumped up, almost squeaking as he jumped up and down. Edward laughed again (something about this Mudkip just amused him) and stood up.
“Nuria,” he called over his shoulder, “Mudkip and I are going to find a battle. Catch up with us when you're both finished. Nuria turned and nodded, eyes hollow of any emotion.
He turned back towards Mudkip, and motioned him to follow. Obviously he wasn't going fast enough, as Mudkip began to run circles around him. They soon broke out of the clearing into a shaded area with a few trees. The forest between Little Root Town and Odale was not as dense as, say, Petalburg Forest, but Edward still knew how easy it was to get lost. As he had so many times before.
They soon came across another small clearing, and within were two sleeping dog-like creatures sleeping under a tree, each with spiky, thick, brown and white zigzagging fur that stuck up on end. They had small, spiky brown and cream tails, and on each of their eyes were what resembled a black mask . Zigzagoon. A good start, thought Edward. Edward thought what to do. I could attack them now, and have an advantage, but then they might be mad and tag team against me and Mudkip. Edward shuddered. That was not an option.
He had barely taken a calm, steadied step towards them when both the dogs bolted up suddenly and bared their teeth, growling.
“Leave this place human” the smaller one threatened. It sounded high-pitched and desperate. They must be young, Edward thought, maybe even my age?.
“Excuse me,” Edward began, trying to be polite as possible whilst trying to ignore the danger posed by two angry dogs, “but would one of you like to battle my Mudkip? We're, um, new.”
The Zigzagoons looked at each other, and mumbled quietly to each other. The bigger one stepped forward.
“I accept your challenge. We are sorry for our suspicion. Since the Shift we have not known who to trust.”
Edward nodded, relieved. Of course, about five years ago, most of the pokemon migration patters in the world suddenly shifted, meaning lots of pokemon appeared in regions they weren't normally indigenous to. Some of the local pokemon had become upset as their food chains were messed up. Nobody knew why it had happened. Investigations were still going on.
Edward cleared his head and readied himself.
“Go!” he commanded his Mudkip. “Use Tackle!” The Mudkip started running, faster that Edward expected, and ran straight into the Zigzagoon, which just managed to jump to the side. Mudkip skidded to a halt and glared at the Zigzagoon, who had retreated to a safe distance.
“Now use Growl!” Edward grinned. Growl somehow made enemy Pokemon weaker, and as he expected a counter attack any time soon, it would be best to maximise Mudkip's chance of survivability. True to his thoughts, the raccoon Pokemon launched itself toward Mudkip as Mudkip let loose a threatening bark. The Zigzagoon winced and slowed slightly.
“Dodge, Mudkip!” his trainer called, and an instant before Zigzagoon collided with Mudkip it jumped to the right, the wild Pokemon sailing harmlessly into the floor.
“Now Tackle again!” The Mudkip ran again and caught the Zigzagoon in the ribs. It was sent flying. It landed painfully in a heap in the middle of the clearing. The observing Zigzagoon on the sidelines winced. Edward prepared himself for the normal type's counter, but then noticed with heart-stopping shock that the pokemon wasn't breathing. Fainted Pokemon still breathed, he knew.Does this mean it's-
His thought were shattered as the brown and cream dog jumped up and ran straight into Mudkip, who was sent hurtling. Edward bit his lip. A trick.
“Are you okay Mudkip?” He called over. The Mudkip jumped right up, looking proud and determined but bleeding through a slight cut on its side. He nodded.
“Well then, used Growl and stay away!” He couldn't risk his only Pokemon to sustain another direct hit like that. Mudkip barked threateningly again toward the Zigzagoon, and this time when it winced Edward noticed the steady flow of blood seeping out slowly from a wound on its back. Revulsion overcame Edward for a second, and he almost commanded Mudkip to return when he remembered a little titbit of knowledge from school. Pokemon heal far quicker than humans, that's why they can fight so long and hard, and don't mind doing so. Edward exhaled, getting over his split second of indecisiveness.
“Use Tackle to finish it off!” commanded Edward, and the mud fish launched itself at the dog once more. Something cracked, the raccoon was thrown sideways. It didn't get up, but at least this time it remained breathing. The Zigzagoon's companion ran over from the edge of the clearing over to it, and began gently licking its wounds.
The next moment Edward was on his back – Mudkip had literally flown into his chest. He stood on his stomach, jumping up and down.
“Did you see that? Did you see that?” It gibbered quickly, wide smile on its blue face, “I- we won! Wewonwewonwewon! Did you see me, I was like 'Take this' and he was all 'Nooooooooo...'. Did you see? Didyoudidyoudidyou?”
“Yes,” Edward wheezed, the breath knocked out of him, but grinning maniacally nonetheless.“I'm proud of you. Did you just Tackle me?”
After returning the ecstatic Mudkip to its Pokeball, Edward wandered, still glowing with pride, through the forest, until he reached the clearing where Nuria was sitting cross legged, looking vacantly at the Pokeball in front of her. As he drew near she patted the ground next to her.
“So, how did it go?” Edward asked tentatively.
“She still doesn't trust me,” she moaned, placing her head in her hands. “Turns out she takes first impressions too seriously. I tried to explain to her. She just about decided to give me a second chance.”
“Good.” Edward didn't know what else to say. “Maybe you should catch another pokemon. To have someone else to train whilst you earn Chikorita's trust.”
“Yeah. Maybe.” She spoke vacantly. "How is it possible that I could have gone so wrong so soon?” she murmered resting her head on Edward's side. Edward placed his arm over her shoulder. He completely understood what she meant: the excitement of the day you get your Pokemon, the plans you make to make sure everything goes smoothly... and then to mess up in the first ten minutes? That would hurt anyone's pride. “How did it go with you and Mudkip?”
“Oh yeah.” He grinned, elated once again. “We won against a Zigzagoon.” All Nuria did was grin in acceptance. After a few seconds she rose her head from Edward's side, untangling his arm from around her.
“You're right. Maybe I'll -” She was cut short by a comparatively deafening rustle in the otherwise silent undergrowth. Nuria leapt to her feet and threw her Pokeball high into the air. Chikorita materialized in a flash of white. She shot a reproachful glance at Nuria, then too heard the rustling and adopted a battle position. “Razor Leaf!” Nuria commanded. Chikorita stood stock still. Seconds ticked by. “Please,” Nuria intoned. The leaf pokemon then flicked her leaf toward the rustling area of the bush, and somehow from under its own leaf a barrage of the green, serrated leaves flew toward the rustling. Something screeched, and part of the bush was cut away, revealing what could have been a young boy. Except instead of a head was a green helmet with two flat blunt red horns at either side. And instead of wearing clothes there was what resembled a white nightgown, with the legs ending in ruffles of what appeared to be fabric. Its small white arms were waving frantically as it tried to detach itself from the thorny bush. Across its body where small cuts, either from the thorns or the Razor Leaf. Edward took out is bright pink (ugh!) Pokedex, flipped it open and pointed it at the flailing pokemon. It spoke in a high, robotic female voice.
“Ralts, the Feeling Pokemon. This Pokemon is said to appear to happy trainers, but when it senses hostility it flees. It senses the emotions of those around it using the two horns in its head. Its eyes are concealed under its helmet.”
Edward nodded, thoughtful. The bit about appearing to happy trainers made sense. He had been so happy a few moments ago. And it must have tried to flee when it sensed Nuria's hostility, of trying to get worked up to catch a wild pokemon.
All of a sudden the Pokemon broke loose from the branches and thorns, and jumped forward to face Chikorita.
“Raa-AAA-aaalts!” it Growled at the grass type. Chikorita flinched slightly, but held its position. Nuria grinned.
“Now Chikorita, would you be so kind as to use Tackle?” The Chikorita grinned and jumped forward, knocking the small pokemon off balance. It fell to the ground, its breaths came out in short rasps. Nuria took out a minimized Pokeball from her pocket and threw it at the psychic type. The ball was moving on target, but just a moment before it should have collided with the Ralts, Chikorita jumped in the way and reflected it with her leaf.
“Chikorita, what the hell are you doing?” Nuria gasped incredulously, her voice teetering dangerously on the edge of rage. Chikorita glared at her trainer.
“Look at it, this Pokemon came to experience joy and happiness, but we bloody and bruise it and then try to take away its free will. Fighting is bad enough - at least we become stronger in the process - but forced imprisonment? If it wants to be caught, that's fine, but we should ask it before we catch it. It should at least know what it's getting into.”
Nuria fumed silently for a few moments, glaring back at her starter with a look of hatred, then looked at the Ralts, crumpled in a heap. Suddenly her eyes softened as she understood.
“Would you like me to catch you? Together we could become stronger, and when my training for champion ends I promise I will return you here. Is that acceptable?”
Slowly, shaking slightly, the Ralts nodded its large green head. Nuria grinned, took another empty Pokeball from her pocket and threw it at the wild Pokemon. It popped open on contact with it, and the Ralts dissolved in glowing red plasma and shot into the ball. It closed, fell to the ground, and clicked.
July 15th, 2012 (6:03 AM).
This chapter is rated pg-13. There is no violence, sexual references or profanities, but a horrible bit with mutilation.
Chapter 3 - Storm
The murderer looked down toward its recently dead quarry. A tear rolled down its cheek.
“I am so sorry,” it said, nothing other than sincerity in its voice.
It turned once. And vanished.
Seconds later, the walls of the cavern began to crack. They glowed bright orange as the magma began to seep through. Soon the titan was engulfed in the pryoclastic flow as the earth began to rumble. High above, in the open air, the rain began to fall.
The silence was deafening. And then-
“I'm sorry for that, Chikorita.”
The leaf Pokemon replied after a few seconds. “At least you listened to me. It was more than what he did.” Even without asking, the two humans knew who he was.
“Thank you. I'll be more careful next time.” Nuria held up Chikorita's Pokeball, and Chikorita melted away in a flash of red and shot back into the ball. “So,” she reasserted herself standing upright, “looks like I caught my first Pokemon.” Her face lit up in a grin. Edward smiled too. “And I may have made things better with my Chikorita.” She looked down to her watch. “Well, that's what I call a good first hour of Pokemon training.”
“Speaking of which,” Edward remembered, “shouldn't we be on our way? Birch said we should make it by sundown.”
“Yeah.” Nuria nodded. She looked up. “And the sun's already setting. Come on.” She took off forward. He caught up with her soon enough. The atmosphere was tense.
Something was off. He decided to break the silence.
“So, a Ralts. Good start. Aren't they really rare around here? I thought they were native to Sinnoh or somewhere.” Nuria grinned.
“Yeah, they are. I think they're a bit rarer now a few more have been killed off by the Luxio packs since the Shift. So,” she looked at Edward, “what Pokemon are you going to catch first? Are you going to think up a strategy or what?” Edward pondered for a moment as they walked.
“Well, something Mudkip said earlier got me thinking. He said that with an ice attack a Swampert is almost invincible. What do you reckon he means by that?”
“Isn't it obvious?” Nuria chuckled, “You should have paid more attention in school.
When it evolves, it becomes part ground type. This means electric type moves do no damage at all, but it is left with a solitary crushing weakness.” Edward concentrated for a moment. Then it hit him.
“Of course. It has a four times weakness against grass attacks. And ice type moves are good against grass!” Edward beamed. An invincible Pokemon...
“Well,” Nuria intervened, bursting his bubble, “Swamperts are quite slow actually. And you have to remember, every other trainer in this region got a choice of Torchic, Mudkip or...” Edward's heart sank. Of course, Treecko. The blinding fast wood gecko Pokemon. If a Swampert was to battle one of Treeko's evolutions, even a Swampert as fast as Mudkip's evolution was bound to be... Well, it wouldn't be pretty.
“So,” Nuria continued, “What you need is a Pokemon that covers Swampert's weakness. Which is grass. Grass types are weak against fire, ice, poison, flying... and bug! Which one do you want?”
Edward furrowed his brow in thoughtfulness. He decided to change the subject.
“So, it looks like you and Chikorita are getting along slightly better.” Nuria was silent for a moment.
“I should have remembered.” She muttered, “Back when we were talking, she was going on about how unfair the whole trainer-catch-Pokemon thing is. She thought it took away their free will. I mean, I know the Capture Rules and all that. I would have asked the Ralts, but just after I had caught it.”
Edward nodded. He remembered being taught the Capture Rules when he was really young. Some were basic, like 'Don't catch another trainer's Pokemon', whilst others were more loose and specific at the same time. For a trainer to begin training a Pokemon, the trainer must have the Pokemon's consent. The consent could be asked for before or after capture, but if it was asked after capture and the Pokemon refused, by law the trainer must release it.
They walked on in silence a little longer whilst Edward thought. He looked up to the sky to see how dark it was getting. He was surprised to see the dark, swirling mass of the rain clouds obscuring the sun.
The rain began to fall.
Instinctively both Edward and Nuria started to quicken their step. Their clothes were more summer wear than waterproof. Funny, Edward thought, the weather forecast said nothing about rain...
As the rain became thicker and heavier the two started to run. Edward was already wet through, and Nuria was faring no better.
After a few minutes of running in silence, Nuria outpacing Edward by a few metres, they saw the dim lights of Odale Town. Without stopping to admire the view, the two ran through the downpour as lighting forked the sky, until they spotted a building with a red roof. A Pokemon Centre.
The automatic doors whirled open to give them admittance. They stood, shivering and dripping, until the warmth of the building started to work its wonders. Edward looked down at himself. Soaked. Nuria too. Nuria took a fistful of her hair and held it in front of her eyes. She scowled.
After a few seconds of enjoying the pleasant warmth, Edward noticed a group of young children positioned in a huddle around a wall television. Edward couldn't make out the sound, or too much of the picture.
“Nuria,” he began, but she followed his gaze and nodded. They walked off toward the screen, leaving a trail of water behind.
“...and after such an eruption both Larvaridge and Fallarbor Town are now encased in lava. Luckily the towns had been evacuated of people and Pokemon due to the recent earthquakes that have plagued the towns these past days.”
The tension in their air could have been cut with a knife. Edward gazed at the screen in shock. An archorman sat at a desk with camera footage of the carnage behind him. The camera zoomed to survey the damage whilst he reported the statistics. Bright orange molten rock was streaming down from Mount Chimney, grey and white ash filling the air above as a torrential downpour fell from the swirling clouds above. At the base of the mountain the lava had pooled and filled up most of the valleys around. As the rain lashed the pyroclastic flow it vaporised, rising as steam, creating a fog. In one area the lava was being buffeted by sandstorm as the slow flowing liquid's heat formed glass crystals in the sand dunes. The shot changed to the lava rolling gradually into the water near Fallarbor Town, vaporising the liquid on contact. The shot changed again, to the sight of a hundred far-off flying types soaring into the distance. The reporter raised his voice, knocking Edward out of his stupor.
“We appear to be getting information that a large shape has risen out of the volcano mouth. It's fifteen, no, twenty metres long! It's a large boulder, and-” The reporter froze in mid speech. His face turned a ghostly shade of white as news reeled into his earphone. He stared at the camera in shock.
The camera changed shot again. In absolute silence, it showed a shape flowing down the volcano atop the lava. Every being in the room gasped in absolute horror.
Flecked in cooling rock and dripping wet at the same time was a massive creature on its stomach, dinosaur like with blood red plating. Between the chinks formed a black pattern, but lava had flown up so many of the seams that the pattern had become almost indiscernible. Massive jutting spikes shot out from the sides of its neck, lower chest and tail. At the end of the tail, which was stuck in position high above the creature were blood red razors, each sharper than the next. Upon its head were similar red razors, and one of the creature's gargantuan arms with cleaver-like claws hung suspended at its side. The other was submerged in the molten stew, as was its face.
“My God.” The reporter gasped, unable to come up with any other sufficient words to describe the impossibility that was so plainly there.
As it drew closer, moving gradually down the slope more monstrosities revealed themselves. Deep, long lacerations on its back, several gouge marks missing from its sides. Darker sections of red became visible in and around the cuts. Its armour was cracked in numerous places.
“B-b-but,” the anchorman appeared to be struggling for breath, like all the others in the room, “i-it's... It's Groudon!”
As soon as he said the name every trainer started out of their collective daze. Associating such a revered name, and connecting it to this madness... too much.
“It can't be...”
Were just some of the shocked mutterings born of pure astonishment. The anchorman was gibbering wildly as an overload of information came from his earpiece. But nobody was listening, each too incredulous for regular function.
Edward fell backwards on the floor as his knees turned to jelly. 'Impossible' was written on his mind. All his life he'd heard stories, legends of an immense creature that had raised all the land on Earth. Such a creature which had been so vital to life as we know it, of such sheer strength...
He'd only ever seen pictures, artist's impressions, but somehow he knew this was the real thing. There could be no doubt that this was the ancient Continent Pokemon. Yet it was lunacy, impossible to believe. What sort of creature could have possibly does this?
The bellow of lighting outside startled Edward. He looked around. Nuria was on the floor too, gazing accusingly at the screen, whilst the other trainers took the news in their own ways. One young boy ran away, crying.
Edward looked outside again, in want of any other fitting action. The deluge. Of course. Ancient tales dictated that Groudon had a nemesis. An equal. A titan of the sea, that made the oceans of the world by causing continuous and unending rain that could flood the world. But, the tale dictated, Groudon balanced this by intensifying the sun's rays, causing drought. Together they kept the world's weather in balance.
And now Groudon was... was... gone....He couldn't bear to think about it.
The creature ignored the tumultuous cloudburst as it observed the great expanse of ocean below it. Somewhere, it knew, its prey was in hiding. Stationary at the bottom of the sea for thousands of years. The creature prepared itself. It dived.
July 15th, 2012 (6:10 AM).
The murderer dived deeper and deeper through the murky water. Somewhere, it knew, was the second.
It paused, sensing a massive power above it. Then it was gone. The creature considered giving chase, but stayed where it was, turning its attention back to the eternal expanse of the icy depths.
It dived, deeper and deeper.
Edward didn't know how he wound up in the Pokemon Centre bedroom. He spent a few moments trying to remember as the rain lashed the windows of the small room.
Then it came back to him.
He hoped it to have been a dream, but knew that it was all too real. Something had killed the very same pokemon that had once created the land. It was impossible to conceive anything which could have even damaged such a behemoth.
Could they still go on? With such rainfall, floods were bound to follow. Would it be
safe to continue?
Edward sat up and shook his head, attempting to expel the thoughts from his head. No use thinking about all that now. It was his second day of trainerdom. He grinned at the thought, but wasn't as enthusiastic as the previous day.
Edward glanced out of the window at his side. The concrete on the roads was covered in about an inch of rain, and the downpour seemed harder than ever. Not a soul was in sight, and the occasional thunderbolt streaked across the sky. He jumped out of bed, and was unsurprised to find himself fully clothed. His clothes were slightly damp, but wearable. He slung his rucksack over his shoulders. He checked his pockets. Yep, the Pokeballs and Pokedex were still there. He left the room and quickly made his way back to the great entrance of the Pokemon Centre. It was much emptier since he had last been, and the bright orange and yellow tiles seemed less cheerful than they had originally been destined to be. Near the screen television, watching a news broadcast, was Nuria, fully dressed, a bowl of cereal in her hands. He walked over; she looked up.
“Hello, sleepyhead,” she muttered as she shovelled some chocolate-covered cereal into her mouth. She nodded her head towards the screen. “It's raining everywhere on Earth. Hoenn, Sinnoh, and even Unova are issuing flood warnings.” She took another mouthful and swallowed. “Are you hungry?”
Edward shook his head. He couldn't really stomach anything after last night. Nuria shrugged.
“Anything else?” Edward enquired.
“Yeah, something really strange. Some bright sparks from Kanto tried to get their fire types to use Sunny Day so their Pokemon's fire moves wouldn't be half as powerful. But it doesn't work. Neither does Abomasnow's ability or the move Hail. They reckon that without Groudon keeping the weather in balance, nothing else is powerful enough to.”
Edward nodded. It made sense, in a twisted kind of way.
“So,” she said, “when do you want to leave? Petalburg's on the other side of another forest, but the Centre's giving out anoraks, so we won't get as wet.” She finished her cereal, placed the bowl on the coffee table and stood up, making for the door. Edward suddenly remembered something.
“Just a second, I've got to heal my Mudkip. Where's the nurse?”
Nuria pointed to a large, bulky silver machine in the corner of the room. “Place your Pokedex and Pokeballs in there, and it should heal minor wounds. The nurse had to leave to help take care of some of the Pokemon which had evacuated the towns encased in rock.”
Edward approached the restoration machine - a large, bulky piece of equipment with a small screen, a green button and seven slots. As he did, he drew out his Pokedex and single full Pokeball. There was a rectangular grove he managed to fit the Pokedex into. A boy walked past, and caught a glance of the Pokemon encyclopedia.
“Pretty 'dex. Suits your eyes,” the stranger laughed as he walked past, causing Edward to grit his teeth. He cursed Nuria in his head, and then placed the minimized Pokeball into a hemispherical slot in the machine. He then pushed the large green button. The machine screen glowed yellow for a second, beeped, and ejected the Pokeball and Pokedex. He walked back to Nuria at the entrance to the Centre. There was a large tub of transparent anoraks by the door. They fitted one on each and walked out into the town.
Vicious gales matched by cruel cloudburst started to tear at the trainers as they sloshed through the ground-water. Edward cursed under his breath, but it was lost in the wind. His feet were already soaked. He looked up to view the surroundings he had not taken in during his previous detour. The thinly spread out wooden buildings rattled in the wind, natural spaces of grassland becoming marshes under the deluge. More lightning forked the sky, blinding him momentarily.
“Why are we travelling in this weather?” Edward shouted over the wind to Nuria, his voice just carrying over the gust.
“What would we gain by staying?” Nuria shrieked back. Edward had no answer. Instead, something occurred to him.
“Hey! You know Petalburg Forest?” Edward roared.
“Yeah...” called Nuria.
“It's a denser forest than yesterday's!” His voice began to get hoarse. “Maybe the wind and rain aren't as bad!”
“What?” Nuria bellowed back. Edward just shut up, and they continued to struggle upwind toward the distant forest.
As they neared, Edward spotted an old man blocking their direct path a few metres ahead. He stood in front of a natural opening to the woods, hunched, supported by a walking stick. His wrinkled face was mainly obscured by a long grey beard which whirled in the wind. He was encased in a large warm looking coat. Beside him a small child was sitting against a tree. No, not a small child, Edward corrected himself as he drew closer and the creature became clearer. Edward had spent enough time studying Pokedexes to know an Abra when he saw one. As they drew close to the man, who had a slight hunchback, he drew himself up and addressed them.
“Halt!” The old man wheezed. Nuria ignored him and tried to step past. The old man moved into her way, causing her to jump back. Under her hood she glared at the elderly man, who for all the world seemed not to care.
“I'm an official Pokemon league representative,” the man grunted over the wind. “I'm here to warn people against the vicious Luxio packs and marshes caused by the rain. I offer Teleportation to the other side with Poof here.”
Nuria glanced at Edward, unsure. Sure, they had heard the horrible abduction stories of children stolen with Teleporting Pokemon. But, if it was their only way...
“Obviously we can't trust him,” Nuria began, leaning in towards Edward to avoid being overheard, “he's obviously senile. He named an Abra 'Poof' for Pete's sake!”
Edward nodded, appraising the old man with a scrutinizing eye. There was nothing too off about him, but still... There was no way to tell what was going on in his mind.
Or was there...
After a brief mutter to Nuria she had released her newly caught Ralts onto the wet ground in front of her, where it immediately started shivering. Nuria leaned in.
“Sorry about this. I promise to talk to you and introduce you to myself later, but could you just check that this guy's... authentic?”
Ralts got the hint and turned its green head to the old human. After a second of appraisal, it mumbled something quietly to Nuria so that Edward could not hear over the din of the wind and rain. Nuria nodded and recalled the Ralts. She leaned in to Edward.
“He checks out,” she muttered. “Apparently his Abra put in a good word for him, and he's not showing any emotion that would lead us to be suspicious.” She then raised her voice so the decrepit could hear them. “Fine, you can take us.”
The man nodded and turned to his psychic type. It rose from where it was apparently sleeping and hobbled over to the humans. It reached up and gripped Edward's hand tightly with its own. It offered a hand to Nuria. She glared at it for a second, then took it firmly.
Suddenly they were in a heavily concreted city. Huge structures jutted out of the pavement, bright grey in contrast to the black sky. The road had filled with running water; a nearby car seemed in trouble of being carried off. Edward turned and saw he was up against a large building with a red roof. Upon the door was a laminated sign, dampened and just about readable - 'To all trainers, there has been damage to the centre's roof. This has caused flooding. Nurse out. If healing or beds are needed, come to Petalburg Forest, Petalburg entrance.'
Edward turned back to the Abra, whose hand he was still holding tightly.
“Could we please have a lift to the entrance of Petalburg Forest?” Edward enquired, voice raised. The bipedal fox nodded, and suddenly the buildings and pavement were replaced by trees and saturated soil. In front of them the forest seemed extremely densely packed. The Abra detached itself as Nuria started forward. Edward turned to the Abra to thank it, but it had already Teleported away.
He pulled his hood more over his face, for it had begun to get wet, and pursued Nuria into the dense woods.
The further in they travelled the less the rain fell on them. As well as this, the dense canopy prevented the harsh winds from freezing them. Shortly after entering, the two felt comfortable enough to remove their hoods.
“So we've just missed out Petalburg altogether?” Nuria asked.
“Well, the Gym there is the fifth in the region, so its Pokemon will be far stronger than ours,” Edward explained. Nuria nodded in acceptance.
After several minutes of walking they stumbled upon a large clearing. In this clearing were multiple emergency tents, several Pokemon trainers, a mini restoration machine and a woman with a white apron and long pink hair, nervously pacing back and forth. Nurse Joy. She approached them, and as she neared Edward he could see the bags under her eyes.
“Are you two trainers?”
Nuria said they were.
“Then you see that tent over there?” she asked, pointing over to one of the smaller, red tents at the side of the clearing, packed against a bush. “I'm afraid that's the only one we have to spare at the moment. You don't mind sharing, do you?” Edward reddened slightly, but before he could answer Nuria did.
“That's fine.” She caught sight of Edward's face. “Oh, come on, Eddy! We've had sleep-overs before. What's the difference now?” And she went off toward the small tent. He could have pointed out that they had been seven, or that they had had a whole room to sleep in, not a small tent. Instead, knowing that he couldn't win this argument, he turned to the nurse and thanked her. She smiled slightly but appeared to be too fatigued to show more emotion.
When Edward appeared at the mouth of the tent, Nuria was already in, unpacking a sleeping bag from her rucksack. She alone took up about three quarters of the room. Edward sighed, then grinned as he had an idea.
“Nuria, I'm going to go off and train Mudkip for a while. I've had him for twelve hours and haven't raised him a level yet.”
Nuria nodded and replied, “You probably won't find anything this deep into the woods. But yeah, I think after this I'll raise my Ralts some levels; it's only level four. It'll be damned hard to train, with it only knowing Growl and all.” Edward grinned, stood up and made his way into the dense foliage. Suddenly Nuria called to him. “And remember to try and catch a second Pokemon before a Treecko trainer finds you!”
Edward sighed and continued walking. He really hadn't given it much thought.
After wondering around in search for a minute, Edward came across another Zigzagoon, stuffing its face in a berry bush. Oh well, he thought, beggars can't be choosers. As he approached he threw Mudkip's Pokeball into the air, and the mud fish flew out in a discharge of white energy. The ball fell nearby on the floor, and Edward hurriedly picked it up. The Zigzagoon turned to face the water type and crouched into a fighting position. It looked bigger and stronger than the last one he had fought, but Edward was still all confidence.
“Mudkip,” he called, “use Tackle!” Mudkip ran at the raccoon, but with blinding fast speed it dodged out of the way.
“Growl!” he shouted again, determined to use the same tactics as last time. But instead of ramming the mud fish, the dog stood, wagging its short spiky tail at Mudkip. As it did so, Mudkip Growled at the Zigzagoon. The Zigzagoon flinched as the Mudkip stood up slightly straighter, distracted by the tail. Edward saw the danger, and, as the raccoon's back was turned, ordered another Tackle. It hit this time, and the Zigzagoon fell forward, motionless to the floor, not breathing. Not to be taken in by this ruse again, another Tackle was ordered, cracking something within the raccoon. It whimpered through its teeth. Taking it for knocked out, Edward nearly recalled the Mudkip, but the Zigzagoon had jumped up and rammed him with a Headbutt. Mudkip went flying.
“Mudkip, get up!” Edward called in anxiety. He couldn't risk his only Pokemon being taken out. Mudkip stood slowly, quivering on its four legs. Something in Edward's pocket beeped, and from it he withdrew the bright pink Pokemon encyclopedia. It was flashing yellow on the small screen. On it was written-
“MUDKIP levelled up. MUDKIP is now level SIX. MUDKIP learned MUD-SLAP!”
Edward gasped in astonishment. Mudkip levelled up? He must be trying hard, Edward thought. He decided to try an experiment.
“Use Mud-slap, Mudkip!” Edward commanded. Mudkip paused for a second, then turned and with slapped the ground with its fin. The earth flew at the Zigzagoon, becoming wetter as it did. The mud struck the Zigzagoon in the face and the raccooon starting to panic as its vision became obscured.
“Tackle!” Edward called. The blind raccoon was caught between Mudkip and a group of trees. Mudkip closed the distance in seconds. The Zigzagoon was sent flying again, ramming the nearby tree. It did not get up again.
Edward sighed in relief, then shouted over to his Pokemon.
“Good one!” he called, expecting Mudkip to return the enthusiasm. But instead he stood stock-still, still in his combat position. It was glaring at the tree, growling quietly. Edward could hear a feint buzzing noise.
“Mud-” Edward began, but something shot from the lower branches of the tree. A small object zoomed around the air, gaining speed, moving far too quickly for Edward's eyes to keep track of. It dashed into Mudkip, and he was thrown to the floor, blood flowing from a gash on its side. Edward's heart stopped momentarily, then he reasserted himself.
“Mudslap... whatever it is, Mudkip,” he shrieked as the object whirled round and round and round. Mudkip slapped the ground with his fin-tail again, and thin waves of mud flew from the ground at the object. Every single bit missed as the creature appeared to speed up further, dodging the mud with ease.
“Keep on Mud-slapping!” Edward cried, no other plan in his head. He knew they should run, but would it let them?
Mud flew into all directions, but still the object seemed unstoppable. With a roar of “Mud!” Mudkip slapped the earth again, and a massive glob of sticky mud was sent flying towards the creature, at a speed much higher than the previous attacks. The object whirled away to dodge, but a small globule of stray mud caught it in mid air, causing it to fall to the ground.
The creature resembled the Nincada it had once been, but with gold plating on its back and a grey underbelly. Its feeler-like appendages had kept their shape upon evolution, and the small green wings had transformed into larger, translucent wings.
The two wings stood erect, bound together by mud. It was wiggling them frantically, but to no avail. Edward recognised it, but panic clouded his mind.
“Tackle it! Quick!” Edward shouted, trying to make up for lost time. As Mudkip rammed it repeatedly, Edward took out his Pokedex and pointed it at the creature. It spoke in the feminine robotic voice -
“Ninjask, the ninja Pokemon. Evolves from Nincada at level twenty. Ninjask are rumoured to be so fast that they can dodge any attack. It can also become seemingly invisible from this speed. Ninjask is the fastest Pokemon currently on Earth.”
Edward narrowed his eyes. Fastest Pokemon? Faster than Grovyle and Sceptile?
Edward's stomach leapt even before he read the writing on the top left hand side of the small screen.
“Type – Bug/Flying.”
Edward gasped. The perfect combo to take down any grass type. Edward grinned as he reached his decision. This was the Pokemon for him.
As Mudkip rammed the bug for the umpteenth time, the ninja became unstuck and flew up into the air again, just as Edward reached into his pocket for an empty Pokeball. He cursed.
“Mudslap it again before it can escape!” Edward screamed in excitement. The Ninjask hadn't had time to reach top speed yet, and was again covered in mud. This time, though, its wings didn't glue up. It darted to the trees.
“No you don't!” Edward gasped before throwing the Pokeball up towards the tree the Ninjask had flown towards. Ninjask sped into the thickly-leaved tree, the Pokeball sailing in less than a second after. There was an inhuman shriek within the tree,a flash of red, and the Pokeball fell to the ground. It wobbled once. Twice. Three times.
July 15th, 2012 (6:18 AM).
It faced the great horizontal wall of sedimentary rock. It could feel the ancient power pulsing through the molecules. So close. Its prey was so very close.
The creature focused and started creating the chasm. Somewhere, it detected resistance. Not enough to be a nuisance, but enough for confirmation.
Whatever was down there did not want to be found.
With good reason.
Edward's heart almost leapt into his mouth. The perfectly smooth sphere had never seemed more beautiful. Edward staggered over to the ball and picked it up gently, admiring the complete roundness of the object.
And within, of course, his key to battling invincibility.
Euphoria and excitement suddenly built up, and Edward found himself whooping and
punching the air.
“Yes!” he yelled. “Did you see that, Mudkip? You were brilliant! You were really-” Edward's cry was cut short as he saw the mud fish.
He was quaking, his small legs wobbling, struggling under the weight of his body. The laceration on his side was still seeping dark blood. His large eyes were losing their focus. He started to fall.
“No! Mudkip!” Edward roared in horror as his starter Pokemon collapsed to the ground. Shakily, he gripped Mudkip's Pokeball out of his pocket, and recalled it.
He stared at the balls in his two hands. One brought him so much joy, whilst the other terrified him completely. After a second he snapped out of his daze. Mudkip would be fine. Pokeballs acted as a life-support machine. Pokemon trapped inside were basically frozen in time. They felt, they thought and they experienced nothing, unless they were poisoned, of course.
Now comfortable that his water type was fine, Edward grinned triumphantly at the other ball. A Ninjask. His first capture. Then another part of him – Wait until Nuria sees this.
Suddenly Edward found himself running full-pelt back toward the camp-site.
Anticipation kept him from getting tired, as well as helping him to manoeuvre around the many trees. Soon he saw the feint outlines of the tents against the bushes and other foliage, and slowed his pace. As he entered the clearing he made for the little red tent. Looking inside, he couldn't see anything, bar Nuria's unloaded sleeping bag.
“Because I was here first! Got a problem with that?” Came the scathing growl from the other side of the clearing. Nuria.
He hurried over to the other side, to see Nuria confronting a short, bristling boy in front of the regeneration machine, obviously fighting over who was to use it next. His face was angry, but Nuria's was already beyond livid.
“Says who?” demanded the boy. He had to stand up on his tip-toes to get his face to reach hers. Both had limbs shaking in anger. Edward knew it was time to step in, as he had so many times before. He managed to worm his way betwixt the two, pushing Nuria away, and facing the boy.
“I'm ever so sorry,” he began, as though reciting a well rehearsed script, “for everything she has said and done, she does not mean it, and when she has cooled off she too will apologise.” Nuria hissed behind him, but stopped resisting. The boy too looked significantly less angry. Edward spread his arms out in front of him in a calming gesture.
“Now, use the machine, you'll both apologise, and we will go our separate ways.” Edward felt the tension in the air diffuse as the boy nodded stiffly. He turned to the machine, inserted two Pokeballs and a lime green Pokedex, waited a second then removed them. He caught Edward's eye, then turned to the seething female.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, eyes now on the floor. Edward brought up his leg back and caught Nuria's shin. She hissed again, but too mumbled an apology. The boy walked away, toward the group of tents. Instantly, Nuria turned on him.
“I said it once, I'll say it again – stop babying me!”
Edward could only grin. She'd calm down soon enough. As she walked off to use the machine, a tentative Nurse Joy walked over to him.
“I'm sorry I couldn't be any help. I haven't -” she yawned loudly, “-had any sleep since last night. Anyway, I think I'd better man the restoration machine from now on.” She hobbled over to the side of the bulky machine. Edward could only wonder how she had managed to get the bulky thing there.
Edward saw Nuria walk over to him. She looked sufficiently calmed down.
“Little brat,” she muttered. “Tried to push in.” Edward couldn't help being sceptical. The day Nuria got in a fight she didn't start, the world was sure to implode.
Edward grinned and reached into his pocket. He maximised it and held it out proudly in front of him. Nuria raised her eyebrows.
“Finally,” she said. “So, what is it?”
Edward intensified his grin of superiority.
“You'll see. I've just got to heal it.” He turned toward the Nurse and passed her two Pokeballs.
“It gave Mudkip a nasty slash,” he explained to Nuria. Nurse Joy took the balls, and turned to the machine, blocking his view of the small screen.
“What do you think of my first caught Pokemon, Nurse Joy?” Edward enquired, a note of strained innocence in his voice.
“Well,” Nurse Joy said in sluggish surprise, “this is a very unusual first capture.” Edward grinned as Nuria raised her eyebrows. “Very fast too. Covers Mudkip's weaknesses nicely.” Edward's grin only grew larger and larger. “It's nice to see a trainer who actually trains a Zubat nowadays.”
“Ninjask.” Edward corrected.
“No...” Nurse Joy answered, “It's definitely a Zubat. Ninjask are impossible to catch; they're too fast for Pokeballs.”
“B-but,” stuttered Edward, his chest hollowing, “but, I saw-” Suddenly it all fell into place. He turned cold as realisation coursed through him. Nuria laughed at his gaping mouth.
He hadn't seen Ninjask get caught. Edward played through the scene in his head. Ninjask flew into the tree. The Pokeball followed it into the tree. A screech, a flash of red...
But he hadn't actually seen the process of capturing take place. Shakily, Edward received the Pokeballs and Pokedex the nurse handed to him, and, in autopilot, walked over to the tent. He sat down on the damp grass in front of it, resting the Pokeball on his lap. Nuria came and sat next to him, an ill-concealed grin just trying to infect her entire face.
“Why you so glum?” She asked, nearly breaking into giggles. “What's so bad about Zubats anyway?”
“You know!” Edward shot back, thoroughly irritated.
“Know what?” She asked, her grin slowly growing in size.
“Because...” Edward flailed, lost for words. “Because...Because everybody has a Zubat.”
“Now, that's not true,” Nuria continued, managing to stifle a bark of laughter.
“No!” Edward amended. “It's that everybody everywhere can catch a Zubat, but they don't, because they're so common and they believe that everyone else will catch one!”
“Yeah...Sucks to be you!” and as though waiting for the best opportunity, the laughter came, causing Nuria to roll onto the back, eyes watering, rocking back and forth.
“Thanks a load,” Edward muttered vengefully.
“You – you should have -” She burst into a new fit of giggles, rolling onto her front, kicking the floor. “You should have seen your face,” she giggled, “when she said Zu-Zubat!”
Edward ground his teeth. He rose, leaving Nuria to her maniacal hysterics.
Stomping into the forest, he drew his Pokedex from his pocket. Clicking the Pokeball icon on the top-right hand of the screen, two small Pokemon avatars appeared. The small blue creature resembled Mudkip, whilst the other was such a dark blue and purple that its outline was very hard to make out. He pressed the creature the touch screen.
Suddenly the picture blew up, and Edward saw the dark blue ovoid of a body, the inner of dark purple wings and two tail-like appendages that shot out like spikes at the end. Instead of eyes upon its head were two large, almost conical ears above a gaping, four-fanged mouth. Frustration coursing through his body, he selected it again, and read the information on the screen:
Edward almost choked on his gasp.
Edward stared confoundedly at the screen. So, not only did he miss out on capturing the fastest Pokemon on Earth, he also missed out catching a level twenty-plus Pokemon and instead had attained a level seven.
“Moves:Leech Life, Supersonic.”
Edward cursed inwardly. Not even a strong move in sight.
He drew the bat's Pokeball from his pocket, mulling over what to do. Release it? The suggestion sounded absurd. What kind of trainer released his second ever Pokemon?
He threw the ball gently in his hand, thinking it over.
Zubat were fast, that much he knew. And Nurse Joy was right; it did cover Mudkip's weaknesses quite nicely.
But still, the other part of him groaned, to have such unrivalled speed... And it seemed like fate that he should have caught the Ninjask...
On the other hand, he reasoned, he knew Golbat and Crobat were more hardy than Ninjask. Only a Mud-slap managed to disable the ninja momentarily.
Confidence slowly started to well within him. Sure, Zubat weren't the most unique Pokemon in the world, but unique typing might come in handy... And, according to the nurse, Ninjask were impossible to catch. Edward began to grin. Maybe Zubat wasn't so bad...
Edward threw his new Pokemon's ball into the air, and caught it as it fell. From the ball appeared the Zubat in a glow of white. He flapped quickly and desperately to keep himself airborne. It made a screeching sound, and turned to face Edward. There was a moment of silence, which was then broken like the bat, screeching in its own, high pitched language;
“Bravest and most noble of trainers, pray tell, was it by thine hand I was captured?”
The human was a too startled to reply. Was his Pokemon communication off?
“Noble sir, I beseech thee, didst thou capture me with thine fine hand during my rest?”
Edward nodded shakily. Since when did Zubats appear to speak old-English?
“Jolly good! I commend you, good sir, on thine great intelligence, thine great cunning and nobility! I must apologise most graciously for my poor speech, for we Zubats have rarely chance to communicate with humans as deserving as thineself.”
Edward was lost for words. Sure, talking to Pokemon was a two-way thing. The Pokemon had to have a basic grasp of civilised communication of the listener for humans to be on speaking terms with them. But still, surely Pokemon could be understood without such... specific speech character? Perhaps Zubats don't usually communicate by normal means. Of course, Edward thought, Zubats use echolocation for communication, therefore their normal talk must be... out-dated, especially if they rarely met humans. Edward pondered on how to address it.
“Erm,” he began, “so, it's okay that I caught you while you were sleeping?”
“Why, kind sir, hadst thou caught me any other way I wouldst take you for a simpleton! The element of surprise is one's most advantageous... advantage. Obviously you viewed my magnificent frame from the ground and felt thine desire overtake thee. To demonstrate my humble affection for thee I shalt train with thee.”
“Good.” Edward said, at a loss for any other words. Then he realised the full meaning. “I mean, brilliant! Yeah, I can't wait to train with thee – you – too!” He grinned
widely. Somewhere in the back of his mind, however, he jotted down a mental note never to mention the Ninjask to the bat.
“Jolly good, jolly good,” the Zubat muttered. “Now, shall we make battle now or later?”
“Later,” Edward decided. He held up the ball and returned the Zubat. Hands in pockets, he walked back into the clearing. Nuria was in the same place, looking extremely thrilled, but more calmed down. She raised her eyebrows as he approached.
“You look happy. Have you released the Zubat?” She asked.
“Nope.” Edward replied. “I think I'll keep it with me.”
Nuria raised her eyebrows further.
“Seriously? Oh, God, you're serious.” She thought for a second. “Want a Pokemon battle?” She asked.
Edward grinned and shook his head. Did she really take him for an idiot?
“Yeah, that'd be fun. Your Chikorita could Razor Leaf Mudkip to death, and Ralts could-” He broke off. “How's Ralts coming along, actually?”
“Proving dead hard to train. The best that I've done is made it use Growl against a group of Wurmple while they pounded it with Tackle. It finally learned Confusion, but was too shaken up to use it.” She spat on the floor. “Honestly, what's the point of getting Ralts to level six if it's just gonna fail on me?”
Edward said nothing. She was wound up. He'd forgive her for this lapse in Pokemon respectability for now.
“How about Mudkip versus Ralts? That sounds more fair.”
Nuria grinned, rising.
“Sure.” She narrowed her eyebrows. “What's he doing?”
Edward followed he gaze, and saw the boy from earlier approaching them. When he reached them, he stood straight, rolling his eyes.
“Nurse Joy told me to tell you that the Rustburo Gym Leader is coming here tonight because the north part of the Route 104 has flooded.” He started to walk away.
“Thank you!” Edward called behind him. He nodded, but didn't stop walking away. Edward turned his head back towards Nuria.
“You could have said-”
“Shut your face,” she growled. She thought for a while. “Maybe we should train separately. For the Gym Leader.”
Edward shrugged. Extra training might be useful.
“Yeah,” he said, “It's a rock type gym, isn't it?”
Nuria nodded. Edward smiled. Sure, Zubat would have a problem with that, but Mudkip would take down any rock type thrown at him.
“See you later,” Nuria said, and walked off out of the clearing. Edward rose too, and made off in the other direction out of the clearing. Knowing that Mudkip was a level lower than Zubat, he released the mud fish. After the white glow dispelled, Mudkip stood, eyes drooped, tearful.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, bowing his blue head. Edward raised his eyebrows.
“Sorry? Why are you sorry?”
“Because,” he closed his eyes, a tear rolling down his orange cheek, “I got knocked out by a measly Scratch from a Ninjask. I'm sorry. I don't deserve you.” He collapsed on the floor, sobbing. Edward gaped.
“Don't cry!” Edward demanded, at a loss for anything else to say. After hanging around made-of-bricks Nuria all his life, he hadn't any real experience with crying. He kneeled into sitting down in front of Mudkip, and placed a reassuring hand on his head, next to his fin. He tensed under Edward's touch, but continued to cry. Edward sat down. Mudkip buried his head in Edward's lap.
“I'm – I'm too weak!” Mudkip cried. Edward sighed.
“You realise that was a level twenty-plus Ninjask, and you're, at the moment, only level six?”
The Mudkip nodded shakily, taking shallow, ragged breaths.
“Would you like to train some more?” Edward asked.
Mudkip gasped and shot his head up.
“You'll still have me? You, you won't replace me with Ninjask?”
“Of course not. By the way,” he added, “turns out we didn't capture Ninjask. Turns out a Zubat was sleeping in the tree, and...”
Mudkip nodded, visibly more cheerful.
“So, shall we find another battle?”
Mudkip nodded excitedly, together they stood up, and made their way deeper into the forest.
Pokemon Language Explanation Time
There are two main ways in which Pokemon communicate; by their movements and expressions, and by tension on syllables they say out loud (E.g, Pi-KA-chu, ROOaaRRRR!).
Zubats, as a rule, speak to each other in high pitch screeches, too high for humans to hear. So, when they deign to speak our language, they have to revert to using traditional Pokemon-style communication. As Zubats rarely communicate with other species, they very rarely have to talk this way, meaning their speech has not evolved at the same pace others have.
Now, if you can speak a language very well, the only way there can be miscommunication is if the other person speaks in an outdated way. Hence why Zubat appears to speak old English: it is the closest translation to english that it is saying in Pokemon. On top of that, it speaks old English badly, to emphasize it doesn't speak that way often.
July 16th, 2012 (12:55 AM).
The murderer descended the chasm. Light was non-existent in this part of the ocean, yet it could still see. There pressure was enough to fold any lesser creature.
Time was immaterial. Sooner or later, its goal would be completed.
More Time elapsed. The creature narrowed its eyes.
Infinite miles down, a faint glow of red...
The rest of the morning, and most of the afternoon, was spent training Mudkip and Zubat. Mudkip had managed to take down a Slakoth, three Wurmple and a small group of Poochyena (not at the same time, they agreed to wait whilst Edward healed Mudkip), and thus by the end of the session had reached level eleven, and learned Water Gun. After a brief lunch of soup, Edward started training Zubat.
Zubat was proving slightly more difficult to level up. It wasn't that it couldn't beat any wild Pokemon, on the contrary, it managed to take down more than Mudkip. No, instead it was simply as though the bat needed to take more down to get stronger. So, even though it knocked-out twice as many than Mudkip, it was only raised to level twelve. On top of this, it had learned Astonish, though by the time he had learned the move, Zubat had no enemies which it would be effective on. At the end of the session, Edward met up in the clearing with a rather irate Nuria next to the regeneration machine.
“Stupid Ralts can barely do anything,” she vented. “She starts quaking the second I send her out.”
“What level's she?” Edward enquired. Nuria stuck her tongue out.
“Only level eleven. Not as good as Chikorita, but they're both fairly abysmal.”
Edward's grin froze. “What level's Chikorita?” he asked. Nuria winced.
“Promise not to laugh?” She paused for a moment. “Level fifteen.”
Edward's eyebrows shot up. Fifteen? Nuria grimaced.
“Don't look so high and mighty! What levels are your Pokemon?”
Edward mumbled in reply.
“Sorry?” Nuria asked.
“Eleven and twelve,” he mumbled again. Now it was her turn to raise her eyebrows.
“Seriously? Wow, someone's been slacking off.”
Edward flashed her a look of annoyance.
“It's not my fault!” He defended. “Zubat's really hard to train. It takes him forever to level up.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Nuria grinned. “The nurse said that the Gym Leader will arrive soon. We've all drawn up a list to see who goes first.” She paused for a moment. “It's first me, then you.” Edward briefly considered how much violence she had to threaten to get her way. He decided not to think about it. Suddenly he realized; he was about to take on his first Gym Leader before he had had a proper battle. He looked over at Nuria. Amazing Nuria with her level fifteen Chikorita. There'd be no way he could beat her at the moment. He looked around the clearing, and was surprised not to see any trainers. They must be training, he thought. Smart them.
“Hey, Nuria, I think I might go out and find some more battles. To train Mudkip,” he explained. Nuria shrugged and walked off out of the clearing.
After quickly healing his Pokemon, Edward hurried out of the clearing into the densely packed forest. He felt his heart beat starting to pop out of his chest as he thought about the battle he was soon to have.
Okay, he thought, what do I know about Gym Leaders? They are themed, this one has rock types. They normally have about three Pokemon each. Edward's heart skipped a beat. How was he going to take on three rock types with only an under-levelled Mudkip and a Zubat? Sure, Zubat's Supersonic was really handy, but still... And even with just Mudkip, there was only so much it could do against three Pokemon...
Edward took the bright pink Pokedex from his pocket. Clicking on a little book icon on the top left hand of the screen. Suddenly a list of all the Pokemon of Hoenn popped up. Edward bit his lip as he slowly scrolled through. What he really needed was a Pokemon which could take out rock types. Lotad? No – he already had a water type. Seedot? That might work. He pressed the Seedot avatar on the screen. It blew up to the acorn shaped Pokemon with two little egg shape feet. He pressed the 'Area' button. Johto. Damn, it must have migrated away in the Shift. He pressed the back button twice. What else?
Wingull? No, he still already had a water type. Surskit? Damn, what's with all the water types? He thought. He continued scrolling. He stopped. Shroomish. Grass type, great against rock types. He clicked it, enlarging the pixelated image to show the light brown mushroom – shaped Pokemon, which had pale green dots on its head and a small brownish skirt of semicircles. Edward grinned. It looked stern, but cool in its own way. He pressed the image; Location: Petalburg Forest. Edward's heart leapt. He could catch Shroomish, raise it a few levels, then easily take out the rock Gym.
He grinned, and was about the slide the Pokedex back into his pocket before he saw something. The small pixelated image of Ninjask at the very bottom. And above it, a smaller, greyer image. Edward maximised the Nincada, enlarging the pale grey body, thin, spindly antennae, large brown claws and small green wings. A bug and ground type.
Edward was torn. On one hand, he could catch Shroomish and almost definitely beat the rock Gym. On the other hand, he could catch a part ground type... which could perhaps know a single ground type move... when he put it like that, the comparison seemed so unfair, but when Nincada evolved...
Edward had an idea. Whichever he saw first, he would catch. Yeah, he'd let fate decide.
Caught up in his thoughts, Edward realised all of a sudden that he was completely lost. Looking around, panicked, he found that he did not recognise where he had come from, or where he was now. He heard a cough behind him. Edward whirled around, and saw the boy from earlier, the boy who had had the blazing argument with Nuria.
“Are you lost?” he asked. Edward nodded. The boy took a few steps forward, grinning. “The camp's over there,” he said, pointing to the right of where he stood, to Edward's left.
“Thanks,” Edward replied. He made to start, and then thought of something.
“I'm sorry, what's your name again?” Edward asked.
The boy smiled.
“James,” he replied. “And yours?”
“Edward,” he said. The two shook hands.
“So, James,” Edward continued, “how well do you know Petalburg Forest?”
“Pretty well,” James replied. “Why?”
“It's just that, well, do you know where there is either a group of Nincada or Shroomish around here?”
James scratched his chin.
“You'll be hard done by to find any wild Shroomish around here,” he said, “because they've been hunted by the recent Murkrow and Honchcrow in the forest. Nincada, on the other hand, are much more common. I know where one of their burrows is. It's not too far from here. I can lead you to it if you want.” The boy started to walk away, motioning Edward to follow.
Edward smiled and followed. Soon they arrived at a small clearing, a small chasm in the middle of the tall grass. Dark grey earth brimmed the chasm, making it resemble a giant mole-hill. Edward could make out the grass faintly rustling. As he started forward, James held an arm out to stop him. Edward looked at him questioningly, and James pointed to the trees.
“Ninjask sentries,” James explained. “They'll attack if you step onto their boundary. Try and tempt one over here if you want to catch one.” He began to walk away, his job now complete. Edward would have thanked him, but his attention was completely focused on the shifting patches of grass. How was he going to attract a Nincada?
“Um,” he called. In front of him the grass became motionless. “I'm a trainer. I'd like to train a Nincada. Any volunteers?”
After a few tentative seconds the grass began to rustle again. The rustling approached him, then, from the grass, popped the grey head of a Nincada. Then another. And another. Edward grinned.
“You are a trainer, yes?” asked the middle Nincada. Edward nodded. “Then I shall join you,” said the Nincada.
“No, I shall become stronger,” said another.
“No, it shall be I,” said the third. Edward raised his eyebrows. Were the Nincadas fighting over him? In front of his very eyes the petty squabble turned into a full-blown argument. The Nincadas began insulting each other, threatening violence. Edward decided it was time to step in.
“Please stop arguing,” Edward moaned. All three of the insects turned to look at him. He half blushed, and continued. “Who here is the strongest. Be honest.”
The Nincadas looked at each other, and one stepped forward. Edward pointed his Pokedex at it. Level 10.
“I am strongest of us three.” The Nincada said, bowing slightly. “I prayed at the alter just yesterday. These two have yet to pray.”
Edward's smile faltered.
“Us Nincada, we pray at our sacred alter. Once we do this, we can Dig, and expand the colony.”
Edward thought for a while.
“This alter, what does it look like?” Edward asked. The Nincada bowed its head.
“Our most sacred artefact, a disk stolen from humans by our ancestors, rest upon this mound. Once we pray and kiss the disk, we gain our digging ability.”
Edward raised his eyebrows. A TM stolen from humans? A reusable one? Must be from Unova, Edward thought. Until recently, Edward knew, TMs had been of one use only, but since Unova released their TM making secrets to the world, everybody had caught on.
“So, you're level ten and you know Dig. You're perfect.” Edward pulled an empty Pokeball from his pocket, and held it in front of the Nincada. It tapped it with a feeler, turned into red plasma and got absorbed into the ball. It didn't even shake once.
Edward found himself quickly back at the camp. Nuria had beat him there, and glared at him with crossed arms.
“Rocky, the Gym Leader just got here, and I'm about to battle him. You were nearly late.” And with that she walked away. Edward followed, laughing.
"Wait, the Gym Leader's called Rocky? And he has rock type Pokemon? Wow, that's awefully coincidental."
"Shut up, Eddy." Nuria said, "Surely you knew that already? You've lived your whole life in Hoenn. The Gym Leader's children are named after the type of the Pokemon they will raise; it's a tradition of sorts. A stupid tradition, but still tradition."
Edward would have persued the argument, but they had arrived at another clearing, although this one had a chalk square drawn crudely on the floor. A small crowd had formed around the arena. At the opposite of the clearing was a tall, muscular man, wearing a tight sleeveless, brown shirt. He wore ripped brown trousers that showed off his muscular calves. Obscuring his face was a small sheet of paper. He removed it, revealing his round, shaven face. His bald head resembled a smooth pebble.
“Are you Nuria?” The man bellowed across the square. Nuria nodded, reaching into her pocket and drawing out a Pokeball.
“I only have two Pokemon,” Nuria called. “Is that a problem?”
“'Course not,” he bellowed back. “Three versus two it is then!” And before Nuria could respond he threw his Pokeball into the air. From the white glow a near-spherical dark blue ball of rock appeared, a yellow depression in the centre with a black dot in the middle that resembled an eye. Two brown segments of rock resembled feet at the bottom, and a similar rock jutted from the top. Edward raised his eyebrows. What the hell was that? In a flash he had his Pokedex pointed at whatever it was.
“Roggenrola, the mantle Pokemon. These Pokemon have very sensitive hearing. Although their bodies are as tough as steel, and energy core resides within them.”
Edward checked the typing. Just rock type. Nuria looked hesitant as she held her Pokeball.
“It's just a rock type!” Edward called over. Nuria nodded and threw out her Pokemon. In a flash of white Ralts materialized. It looked at the rock pokemon, and instantly started quaking. Not missing a beat, Nuria ordered the first move.
“Double Team!” Nuria shouted. Instantly multiple copies appeared, each flashing faintly. The Roggenrola looked around, confused.
“Headbutt them all!” Rocky shouted. Instantly the Roggenrola started running into each one, making the images disappear as it did.
“Confusion!” Nuria responded. All of the remaining Ralts lifted their hands, and Roggenrola was thrown backward as though hit by an invisible force. It didn't stay down for long, though, and jumped up and continued Headbutting them all. With a scream the real Ralts was thrown back, skidding to a halt. The apparitions disappeared.
“Double Team again, then Confusion!” Nuria shouted. Once again the Ralts split into many more copies. Again the Roggenrola was thrown back.
“Rock Blast!” Rocky roared. The earth in front of the rock splintered, and four medium sized rocks, each about the size of Roggenrola's body, flew at various images of the Ralts. They all flew through, causing the images to faze out of existence.
“One more Confusion!” Nuria shouted. The Roggenrola flew back again, but this time, didn't get back up. Rocky recalled the Roggenrola in a flash of red. He threw out another ball, and this time a green/grey boulder with strong arms materialized. Its large eyes glared maliciously at Ralts.
“Rock Polish!” Rocky shouted. The rock Pokemon glowed silvery white, and then dimmed.
“Confusion again!” Nuria roared.
“Tackle!” Rocky shouted in return. Ralts raised its arms to summon psychic energy, but as it saw the Geodude advancing rapidly, far faster than it should have, it lost its focus, and turned to run away. It was struck in the back, and fell. It didn't get up. Nuria gritted her teeth, and recalled the Ralts. She took another ball from her pocket, and threw out Chikorita. The leaf Pokemon stood up straight, and glared at the Geodude.
“Please Razor Leaf!” Nuria commanded – no – asked. Chikorita flicked her leaf towards the Geodude. Tens of leaves flew towards the rock – it tried to dodge but was still too slow. It screamed as its rock body was lacerated, but it still hung on.
“Rock Throw!” Rocky roared. The Geodude, taking short, shallow breaths, darted over to the fissure the Roggenrola had made, picked up a rock and hurled it at the Chikorita. She screamed. Nuria stomped her foot.
“Razor Leaf again...Please,” she called. There was another flurry of leaves. The Geodude fell, and did not rise again. Gritting his teeth, Rocky withdrew Geodude, and threw his final Pokeball. In a flash of white a multicoloured bird materialized. It had a red, rocky beak with a small blue head. Its feathery red and yellow feathered body had two yellow and blue feathered wings. Two clawed red feet tapped the ground as it surveyed its enemy. Archen. Edward's eyes widened. He and Nuria had read books on fossil Pokemon. They knew that this was the resurrected ancestor of bird Pokemon. A rock and flying type. Not good for Chikorita.
“Synthesis! Quick!” Nuria shouted. Chikorita stood still, turning her head slightly to glare at Nuria. “Just do it!” Nuria cried.
“No,” Chikorita growled.
“Archen, Wing Attack.”
“Please, Chikorita, use PoisonPowder!” Nuria begged. Chikorita paused for a moment, and then released a cloud of purple. As the Archen advanced, wings glowing, it became enveloped in the gas and began to slow, breathing labouringly. It came to a complete stop, and crumpled onto the ground, choking. Edward looked around. Why wasn't anyone doing anything? Suddenly Edward caught a glance of a sudden movement, Rocky threw something onto the field. Edward looked at the Archen, now chewing something. As it chewed it began to get back up, breathing properly. Nuria glared at the Gym Leader.
“That's unfair!” She yelled. Rocky just snorted:
“Berried are allowed in competition. League rules.”
Nuria growled. The Archen on the other hand, turned its back on Chikorita, and looked up to its trainer.
“Thank you master,” it muttered, bowing. Nuria clenched her teeth.
“Chikorita, use-” but before Nuria could issue a command, Chikorita shot leaves at back of the defenceless Archen. And more leaves. And more. An unending surge of green shot from the leaf Pokemon toward the bird. In the maelstrom, the bird collapsed. But the leaves kept coming, relentless, brutal. Feathers were cut off. Flesh became torn.
“Stop Chikorita!” Nuria called. Chikorita ignored her, sending more serrated leaves towards the bird, slashing through feathers and skin.
“Hey! Stop that!” Rocky bellowed from the other end of the ring. He held up his Pokeball to reclaim the bird, but the leaves deflected the red plasma. The Archen had lost most of its feathers, revealing the pink, blood-stained naked body. Some of the spectators were panicking.
“Chikorita, for God's sake, stop now! I command you!” Nuria bellowed at the top of her voice. The leaves stopped. Chikorita turned her face back towards Nuria, anger and rage contorting its otherwise featureless face. She Growled at Nuria, then became enveloped in a brilliant white light. Its form began to change, becoming taller, and-
Suddenly it took on a red glow as the Pokemon was withdrawn; Chikorita's Pokeball in Nuria's hand. The silence in the clearing was deafening. Rocky threw something at Nuria's feet in silence. Shaking, she stooped and picked up the badge. She stood up, and walked away into the forest in silence, face white. Edward went to follow, but Nuria whirled and gave him such a murderous glare that he found himself rooted in place.
“Edward Lance?” Rocky bellowed, the list in his hand again. Edward turned and raised his hand. Rocky looked at the Nurse Joy, who was standing at the sidelines, miniature regeneration machine beside her, and asked her something in a voice too quiet for Edward to hear. He turned back to Edward and shrugged.
“Archen can't participate in this battle. How's two on two?” The Gym Leader asked.
“But I have three Pokemon,” Edward argued.
“Two on two it is then,” and without further ado the rock Gym Leader threw a Pokeball out. The Roggenrola appeared in a white glow. Edward grinned and threw out his Nincada.
“Dig, Nincada!” Edward shouted. Instantly the Nincada began to Dig, feelers a blur as it disappeared underground.
“Harden!” Rocky yelled. The Roggenrola took on a silver sheen as the Nincada erupted from underneath, sending the rock Pokemon flying. It landed awkwardly on its head, but managed to roll right-way-up.
“Dig again!” Edward yelled, triumphantly. He knew there was nothing the Roggenrola could do. The Nincada started to burrow again, and soon became lost underground. Rocky did nothing to counter this, he just waited for the ground under Roggenrola to crack and let the bug type smash into the rock. Rocky recalled his fainted Pokemon, and threw out his last ball. Geodude. Edward grinned.
“Dig!” Edward shouted. This time, though, the Gym Leader retaliated.
“Magnitude!” He shouted as Nincada disappeared below ground. Geodude pounded the floor with a fist. Edward saw the ground shake, but at the same time a screech from below ground. The Nincada dug out of the floor, but sluggish and weakly. Geodude punched the floor again, and the Nincada crumpled. Edward couldn't help but wonder how Nincada was so hurt from such mild shaking. Anyway, he withdrew the insect into his Pokeball.
Suddenly, he realised just how close he was. He was halfway there, and his next Pokemon was Mudkip. He grinned.
“Go, Mudkip!” He shouted. Rocky's shoulders appeared to droop slightly. “Water Gun!” Edward shouted.
“Rock Throw!” Rocky commanded, but it was too late. The high-pressure water blast hit the Geodude head on, sending it flying backwards. Rocky was about to reclaim it when he noticed it getting up. Obviously surprised, Rocky shouted another command for Rock Throw, at the same time Edward ordered another Water Gun. Geodude was quicker this time, and a small boulder connected with Mudkip's face. A second later a second blast of water hit the Geodude. It fell, and didn't get back up.
Edward felt electricity surging through him. His first Gym Battle – a complete success! Rocky must have seen him grinning, because he did too as he walked over to Edward. The man offered Edward his hand, revealing a small, golden/bronze badge, with the design of two arrows facing away from each other, connected by the outside of a rectangle.
“You did well, kid,” the Gym Leader begrudged. “Try and talk to your friend though. I think she seemed pretty unhappy. Tell her I forgive her.” And with a toothy grin he walked away, scrabbling in his pocket for the piece of paper.
Inside, Edward's euphoria melted away as he remembered Nuria. He turned, looking in the direction she had travelled in. He had to find; she'd probably distraught, he though. Then again, he remembered, that murderous glare...
Edward shook his head. He'd find and comfort his friend, like friends should. He set
off to find her, just as the next name was announced for battle.
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