Pokémon Greener Pastures

Started by Nemrut July 31st, 2022 6:44 AM
  • 5 replies
Seen May 29th, 2023
Posted May 25th, 2023
15 posts
5.8 Years
Summary: Green and her new starter Squirtle are starting their pokemon journey and they have nine months to qualify for the Indigo Plateau Conference and then win it. To do so, they need to build a team and win all eight badges first. Red and Blue have the same goal and plan, which is going to make things all the more difficult.

I have been working on this for a bit, and the excellent "Pokemon Trainer Vicky" story really gave me another push to post what I had already written.

This has been rather fun to write and I have plans to write quite a few chapters for this, although I cannot guarantee the speed with which I will release them. Gonna be a more traditional journey fic, with more focus on capturing, training, and battling, rather than criminal groups or world-ending plots, although I do want to explore the world, or rather Kanto and maybe later Johto more.

I'm going to be boring in that regard because I only really played and experienced the first two gens in anime and game form and are thus the ones I know more about. Doesn't mean that there won't be any pokemon or characters from later gens, but the focus will be on the earlier gens.



Chapter 1

It was almost surreal, to hold my first pokeball in my hand. What made it especially weird was that I knew for a fact that there was a creature inside that was over 10kg, but the pokeball was still lighter than an apple, something I was told would still be true even if the pokemon inside weighed tens of tons.

It was an incredible thing and something that I hoped I would never stop appreciating.

Unfortunately, my fellow two starting trainers seemed less inclined to behold the marvel of technology in our hands, as apparently, Blue had already challenged Red to a match.

On one hand, staying and watching their first, official battle would offer some insight into their battle strategies and the personalities and aptitudes of their pokemon, but since we had all been born in Pallet Town and had more or less grown up together, took classes together and had many mock battles, it wouldn’t be information that I didn’t already possess.

Sure, none of us had ever gone all out but that wouldn’t be the case here anyway, with each of them wielding one, mostly untrained pokemon that they were using the first time.

No, a head-start without either one of them bugging or following me was infinitely more valuable, especially since I had a plan that I had managed to conceal from both of them.

“Well, good luck to you two,” I said, before turning to Professor Oak, “thank you, Professor. Squirtle and I will be in contact.” I patted the pocket in my shorts which was housing my new Pokedex.

Red and Blue left the room while the Professor gave me a warm smile. “Of course, I am expecting greatness from all three of you, although I am surprised you do not want to battle now.”

“Those two hotheads were aching for a fight with each other, so no matter who I faced afterward, that pokemon would be tired and I’d rather face them when they are fresh.”

While Red wasn’t what I would call a graceful loser, he at least had the dignity to not make as many excuses as Blue. Besides, I wanted to crush them at their best, only that would be satisfying. Taking out an exhausted enemy was a valid strategy and something to exploit for sure, but this was not the time or place for something like that. When I beat them, I wanted nothing to taint that.

Oak chuckled, “Well, good luck on your journey, young lady. I’m expecting great things from all three of you.”

“You’re right to do so,” I said, grinning, before giving him a wave and walking out the door of his office and then the laboratory building itself not twenty seconds later. I passed by Red and Blue, who had started their duel like ten meters away from the entrance, with Blue’s Charmander fighting Red’s Bulbasaur. I couldn’t tell much with only a glance, but the Charmander seemed to have an advantage, which wasn’t surprising, given the type advantage itself but knowing Red, that was hardly a defining factor. Not to mention that with our pokemon being so inexperienced, none of them would have the attacks to meaningfully exploit the type advantages beyond one basic attack. Then again, they weren’t durable or experienced enough to deal with said damage, so it all worked out in that regard.

Putting them out of my mind, I pulled my collapsible bike out of my backpack, enlarged it, mounted it, and cycled away, rather happy that they had been too occupied with their duel to notice me. Their actual duel wouldn’t take too long, but afterward, they would want to have their pokemon healed before setting out. Not doing so would be risky, and while both were risk-takers as well, this was an unnecessary one that didn’t really offer them anything worth doing so. That meant I would have at least an hour or two before they would follow me.

Now, the direction I was going was hardly a secret. There were only two paths for anyone starting from Pallet Town. You either go north, following Route 1 to Viridian City or you go south, heading out to sea, following Route 21 to Cinnebar Island and the cluster of tiny islands a bit to the east of it.

Well, technically speaking, if you owned some kind of boat or sea vessel or a pokemon you could ride, you didn’t have to follow Route 21, and you could try to make it to Fuchsia City, Vermillion City, and Celadon City, since they all were port cities in different positions around the same body of water, but that wasn’t really feasible for any of us at this moment.

And while they could just book a passage on one of the ferries that traveled Route 21, the variety of pokemon was actually a lot more limited in that region, not to mention that once one left Cinnebar Island, the pokemon and waters became a lot more dangerous. It was not something to be braved without a few strong pokemon or under the protection of those who made it their life to travel those waters.

So, since we weren’t insane, Route 1 was the only real option. Well, kinda. I would be following Route 1 for a while, until I would leave the path halfway before arriving at Viridian City, to head to the Xanadu Nursery, the place where I would hopefully be able to get an Eevee. Professor Oak had allowed us to participate in pokemon courses in his laboratory, but after a while, first Blue and later on Red had stopped showing up. Blue, because he felt like the course was a huge waste of time, teaching nothing he didn’t already know or couldn’t learn faster by himself, and Red because he wanted to use his time differently.

Both hadn’t been wrong, in a lot of ways, the course had been a bit of a waste of time. The guy teaching it hadn’t been particularly interesting and the information he had been trying to convey had been rather basic and something we all had learned before, but I had kept going, mainly because the course didn’t take that long and I wouldn’t have been able to use my time that much better without it, not to mention that I very well might have been able to learn something that I hadn’t known before.

And while that hadn’t happened, I still had been lucky, as when the course was about to end, the teacher had handed out flyers about the Xanadu Nursery and their Eevee Adaption Program, and how one could apply for it.

That had made all the boring lessons and hours wasted worth it. Eevee was rare, valuable, and rather strong. You wouldn’t find many wandering the wilds and buying them cost a fortune, a fortune I didn’t have. People rarely traded them and those who did wanted equally rare pokemon for them, something I couldn’t exactly blame them for.

That left winning them in competitions or adopting them by applying for the license, a license which took around a year to acquire. It wasn’t exactly hard, since one only needed to prove one had the skills, knowledge, and patience, so one had to write a few essays on taking care of Eevees and its various evolutionary paths. That hadn’t been particularly difficult. The hard aspect was that since there weren’t that many Eevees out there, the license tests were designed to be as tedious and long-lasting as possible. The officials wanted to avoid some clever profiteers from breezing through the tests, adopting an Eevee, selling it for a lot of money, and then going through the process again or making a friend do it.

The way the tests and essays were all spaced out, one would need to devote a significant amount of time and effort into it, something that very few people had the patience to go through, not to mention that this didn’t guarantee and Eevee at the end. It merely offered the option to meet a few Eevee in the nearest location that was looking after them and if one of them wanted to go with you, you could take them. If all of them disliked you, well, you were muk out of luck.

It was a rather clever system since that also screened out those who only saw Eevee as a means for profit since Eevees were rather good at sensing and feeling the emotions of others.

So, while those two were busy, if I made good time, I would be able to reach the part of the path that would lead me to the Xanadu Nursery.

It wouldn’t make that big of a difference if they followed me there, I suppose. It was a mixture of a gigantic greenhouse and a pokemon sanctuary, so there were other pokemon there, and most of them didn’t require a license or anything of the sort, although a lot of fire and poison pokemon did.

But we all had qualifications for most pokemon, since passing those tests was what was required to be able to start the trainer journey.

It was just that most people wanted to catch their first few pokemon, but I had always wanted an Eevee, so stumbling on one of the few ways of getting one this early into my trainer journey was a very happy boon. And if that gave me a bit of an advantage over the other two who had stopped coming and thus never got the flyer, well, that’s hardly my fault, is it?

With that, I left Pallet Town and entered Route 1 with a smile on my face. The path itself was relatively secure. Pallet Town and Viridian City had a long history of travel, being the mainland city connection Pallet had. As such, Rangers were doing an excellent job of keeping the more dangerous pokemon at bay, who had long since been accustomed to staying away from the main road itself and remained away in the forests and more wild sections. Not to mention, that the area didn’t have the biggest diversity of pokemon and many of them were not particularly aggressive.

Of those, one should avoid angering Spearow flocks, which was just common sense and usually easy to do. More dangerous in terms of unintentionally provoking one was the smaller pokemon one could step on by mistake. Raticates were common and they tended to try and take a bite out of anything that scared or angered them, which was most things they saw and everything that stepped on them. There was also the occasional Oddish, who just loved spraying poison on people, and they could be very easily missed in the grass, especially since some liked to burrow a bit into the ground.

Watching where one went was one of the most important lessons every aspiring pokemon trainer had to learn.

Alongside Squirrel’s pokeball, I also had five empty ones, all of them the basic model, unfortunately, but replacing them with higher quality versions was a long-term project. And while I would hate to waste even one of the basic ones on something like a Raticate or Spearow, an Oddish would be a solid choice.

There were also some bug pokemon living in the trees, like Spinarak or Ledyba, and of course, pokemon migrated all the time, so from all I had read, you could always encounter something unusual that wasn’t really native to the region. You couldn't count on it, but it was technically possible.

This general safety made Pallet Town a bit subpar in terms of the pokemon catching experience for those aiming for the top in pokemon trainer and coordinator circles since there weren’t a lot of particularly unique pokemon. Mt. Hideaway was the one hot spot, but only for high-level trainers as that region was forbidden for anyone who was either not a Ranger, an ACE, or someone with at least six badges or its equivalent in qualifications. Mt. Hideaway was the home of particularly big specimens of Onix, which made traversing those mountains particularly dangerous, as any of the numerous, gigantic Onix could cause an avalanche of rocks or attack directly.

There were other pokemon, that one could naturally find in mountains and caves, and since they had to share a space with those Onix, they also tended to be a bit stronger, but it was mainly the place to go for those few who had the inclination and aptitude to go for the big rock serpents.

Mt. Hideaway was also said to be the training grounds of choice for Elite Four-member Bruno, who would go there for weeks at a time, training his pokemon and body. It made for good speculation on what exactly it was he was doing on message boards, and definitely something to consider, but for now, that place was unfortunately off-limits for me. An Onix was a cool choice, but even if I had been secure in myself that I could avoid the rangers patrolling and make it in there, I didn’t think one low-level pokemon or two would cut it. Sure, I could be lucky, but that was less of a calculated gamble and more just a fool’s way of lying to herself.

I didn’t intend to throw away my trainer career right at the beginning, chasing a pokemon I wasn’t particularly keen on. No, I had a different path in mind. One that would ensure that I would make it to the top, conquering the League, rather than a cautionary tale for other young trainers.

I had been tempted, of course, you couldn’t feel that strongly if you hadn’t at least considered doing that stupid thing, but while a strong Onix would be really, really cool, there was a reason that not many people were using one in the higher echelons of poke-battling.

The well-trodden path allowed me to cover quite a bit of ground. I was tempted to stop and have Squirtle fight a few of the Pidgey and Raticates I was seeing on the sides but I wanted to have a real conversation with him first. Occasionally I would brush my right hand against my belt where the pokeball was resting. It still felt a bit surreal, almost two hours in.

That said, with the sun being so high, I had started to get a bit sweaty and tired, and I should probably take a break and hydrate. It would also be the perfect opportunity to let Squirtle out for the first time as his trainer. I had planned this initial leg of my journey rather well, so I knew where I was going to stop and take a break.

A few minutes later, I arrived at the point I had in mind, right next to the first and smaller of the many lakes in the region, right below the shade of a big tree, where I could lean my bike and have enough space to sit without being bothered by the sun. Sitting down, I took off my hat and wiped the sweat from my brow, and then pulled out one of my three water bottles. After taking a few refreshing gulps, I leaned back against the tree, closing my eyes and enjoying the slight breeze. I had them closed for nearly a minute before I decided that was enough rest, and it was finally time to meet Squirtle again.

I grabbed the pokeball he was in, enlarged it with a click, and by clicking the button on its front, the ball opened and out of the white energy beam, Squirtle took shape in front of me, his large, purple eyes looking at me, before breaking into a wide smile, with his round head bobbing happily as it squeaked at me.

I knelt down and enveloped Squirtle in a hug, which he happily returned. “I’m so happy that we are finally a team, buddy.”

Since we all grew up in Pallet Town, practically in the lab, where the starters were assigned to the pokemon trainers beginning their journey there, and the fact that Blue was the grandson of Professor Oak, we had a few advantages that many other starting trainers didn’t have and one of them was premature access to our starters. It hadn’t been for a long time, mind you, but starter pokemon received a bit of training until they were deemed ready to be entrusted to a novice trainer as their first official pokemon with which they were expected to battle and catch wild pokemon.

Since the three of us had talked things over and had found out that all of us had been interested in different starters, it had been uncomplicated to get acquainted prematurely with our chosen starters.

I know that Charmander is supposed to be the smartest choice, as its final evolution tended to be the biggest and most versatile powerhouse of the three, but there wasn’t really a bad choice to pick there. They all had different strengths and weaknesses which had to be leveraged correctly during battles, and I was more than happy with Squirtle.

“We’re on our way to the Xanadu Nursery, and I’m just taking a bit of a break. We’re not exactly hurting for time, but I do want to get there as soon as possible, but we will stay here for an hour or so. How about you take a bit of a swim?”

He would get more options to do so on the route I had planned, but water pokemon wanted as much swimming time as possible.

He squeaked in agreement and dove into the lake. I pulled out my Pokedex and scanned him. With roughly 60 cm in height, he was a bit taller than regular Squirtles and weighed a bit more too, which was always an advantage but Professor Oak was famous for handing out excellent starters, so I was sure that the starters of the others were equally well-bred. It had the ability Torrent, making his water attacks stronger once he was close to passing out, and the hidden ability Rain Dish, which actually made him constantly recover his health when it rained, albeit slowly and not that much. Enough to give him an edge in extended battles and keep him in the fight for longer, but not to mean that he was invincible during rain or anything.

Those two abilities had excellent synergy with each other and honestly, it was what I would expect from a man with the resources and know-how of Professor Oak, to provide us with such an excellent specimen.

The attacks he knew were Tackle, Tail Whip, Aqua Gun, and Withdraw. It should be able to learn Bubbles, Rapid Spin and Bite soon enough, at least that, and practicing those would be the priority for now. I also took out my small journal and a pen and started writing down the attacks.

I wasn’t planning on challenging gyms right away, the way I knew Red and Blue were wanting to do. I know Squirtle is a good choice to challenge Brock early on, what with the type advantage but I wasn’t in a hurry to do so. Going to Pewter City right now would mean crossing the Viridian Forest and going to Viridian at all, and I didn’t want to do either of these things. For one, there wasn’t really a pokemon I was interested in, in that region. Sure, there are a few decent ones, strong ones, even. Scythers were occasionally traveling through, but they were very rare.

But it felt a bit cheap to rush through with a type advantage. We had roughly nine months if we wanted to participate in the Indigo Plateau Conference, and the way I was seeing it, I could tackle Brock just as well when I was on the last leg of my journey rather than him being my first target.

To me, it was more important to build a strong team first. No one was guaranteed any particular pokemon they wanted, so one had to travel and hope for the best and it would maximize my chances since I knew which pokemon I wanted and I had researched where I had to go to have the best odds of catching one.

So, first Eevee, and then we would see.

I closed the journal, with one finger sticking between the pages where I had last been writing to not lose the spot, and I watched Squirtle swimming for a few minutes. The little guy was enjoying himself, chasing the occasional Goldeen and Magikarp. While I had little interest in Goldeen, a Magikarp was actually a promising prospect, since once evolved, Gyrados was a powerhouse. Very hard to control but if you managed to earn the respect and obedience of a Gyrados, that was the sign of a great trainer.

It was also a huge gamble because Magikarps themselves were very, very lackluster as far as pokemon went. They could barely learn any attacks, they needed to be in the water at all times and couldn’t be used on land at all, and even in the water, they were among the slowest water pokemon. The few attacks they could learn were Splash which did nothing but allow it to jump out of the water, sometimes very high, which looked cool but had limited applications, Tackle, which was the most basic attack, and Flail, which, while better, also wasn’t super great.

It was a slow, water-bound pokemon with no real water attacks, that was only good in close combat, which it was also rather terrible at.

So, trainers had to go through a lot of trouble, training a pokemon that was really bad at battling until it evolved into a Gyrados that was terrific at battling but might not listen to you and in worst cases, attacked you or people around you.

It would take a lot of time and effort and it wasn’t guaranteed I could do it in time for the Conference, but if I did, it would be one hell of a heavy hitter. I felt the smile on my face widen. It wasn’t without merit. I hadn’t really considered a Magikarp before, mostly brushing it off as a dud pokemon, but with Squirtle I had the optimal partner for training it, being a fellow water pokemon who would also benefit from training with it and was able to do so underwater.

I opened my map, checking the route I had planned. After this, there was a small lake close to the Xanadu Nursery, and afterward, I had planned to go to Hop Hop Hop Town, and while I originally had wanted to take the road for as long as possible, it was equally possible, if a bit slower since I would be walking a lot instead of riding the bike, to follow the coast and use that as an opportunity to train Magikarp. I could keep following the coast for a long while, or at least travel in such a way that I could always head back every few days, to keep a regular training schedule going.

It was very feasible, and while not a guaranteed success, that was a gamble worth taking. This time, I was focusing on the Magikarp my Squirtle was playing with. Not all pokemon were equal, and not any member of any species would do. Ideally, it would be a motivated and intelligent specimen, who would put in the effort and be able to think on their feet. Or fins, in this case. So, while Squirtle was chasing a few around, splashing and squealing in joy, there was one Magikarp among the five that were playing with him that stood out to me. I pointed my Pokedex at it, and it revealed to me, that it was roughly average in size, with nearly 1 meter in height, a tiny bit shorter than usual, and weighing close to ten kg. It was also a she and seemed to be in good health otherwise.

But there was no sense in being hasty, so I leaned back and was content to watch the pokemon continue playing for another half an hour, swimming around. And one by one, the other pokemon left, until it was only Squirtle and Magikarp, who were still at it. By now, they were playing some sort of tag, and Squirtle seemed to be winning most of the time, something that seemed to frustrate the Magikarp.

I put the journal down, grabbed some pokefood, and walked to the edge of the lake stopping at the edge. For a second, I considered getting in, but I decided against it. I still wanted to reach the big lake today.

“Hey guys,” I started, drawing the attention of both of them, with my Squirtle squeaking in response. “I saw you two having fun, and I bet you guys are pretty hungry by now, aren’t you?” I pulled out the container with pokefood that I had brought with me, poured one small pile right on the earth, in front of Squirtle and then I sprinkled a roughly equal amount into the water, which Magikarp immediately started eating. “Seeing you two get along so well makes me hate the idea to pull the two of you apart. So, what do you say, Magikarp, do you want to join us? Let me warn you, though, while it will be fun and you will see exciting new places, there will also be a lot of hard work and training in your future and when we get you to evolve, a lot of hard battles. And evolving will be your personal number one priority in my team. Are you in?”

Magikarp stopped eating for a second and jumped out of the water, with a lot of excitement, somersaulting over me and landing on my other side, on the green grass, and started flopping while yelling its own name with each flop.

“That’s the biggest yes anyone has ever given me,” I said, pulling out an empty pokeball and throwing it at her. It sailed through the air, hitting the fish pokemon while it had just flopped upwards and it dissolved into red energy and was consequently pulled into the ball. It landed on the ground with a soft, almost inaudible thumb, twitched three times, and stood still.

I pumped my fist in excitement. “Yes!” It was perhaps a bit too much excitement since Magikarp had been pretty psyched to join us, but still, it was my first self-captured pokemon and I didn’t have to browbeat it into joining.

I immediately released her into the lake again and poured some more pokefood over her head and watched her happily continue eating. “Welcome to the team, Magikarp. I can’t promise that you will see combat any time soon, but you will definitely train and work harder than you ever have before, so enjoy this meal.”

I looked at Squirtle, who had finished eating, and gave him a nod. “As to you, how are you feeling about some training, now that you had your fun for a bit? Still have some energy left?”

Squirtle punched the air and gave me an energetic cry. “That’s good to hear.” I checked the watch on my Pokedex and saw that it was close to 4. I still had several hours of sunlight, but I honestly didn’t want to travel after 19 o’clock. “Then we are going to do an hour of training and that still leaves me enough time to get to the camping spot I had in mind.”

I pointed at the tree that was roughly five meters away from us. “Okay, buddy, gimme your best Water Gun.”

Immediately, a torrent of water left his mouth and hit the tree. I watched him for ten seconds blasting the tree with water before the volume of water lessened and it ultimately fizzled out. “Not bad. Now dash to the tree, touch it and dash back. Three times please.”

He bolted, and I watched him do so. Squirtle weren’t necessarily the fastest pokemon out there, but their speed could surprise you if you weren’t prepared for it. A Squirtle would never be a long-distance runner, nor would he ever be a speedster but I still wanted the option to blitz pokemon who weren’t expecting him to do so to be on the table. But that was only the secondary aim of this.

The main goal was to exhaust him. He needed stamina. Squirtle had good stamina from the beginning, but I needed him to have as much as possible.

When he finished his three dashes, I could see him slightly panting. “Well done, and now Water Gun again, aim at the same tree.”

It took half a second of hesitation before Squirtle took a deep breath and fired his Water Gun again. He also hit the tree, but this time the water beam was less forceful but still acceptable. He only could hold it for eight seconds though. Still, it was more than expected, especially since the little guy had tuckered himself out by playing around in the lake with the Magikarp and Goldeen.

“And three dashes again.” He didn’t complain and instead bolted forwards on all fours.

After repeating it two more times he was lying on the ground, panting. I had opened my journal and was recording his times. By the last dash, his speed had dropped considerably and his Water Gun had barely hit the tree and the beam had lasted for maybe three seconds before it petered off.

All in all, it was a good showing but there was a lot of room to improve. By the time we reached our first gym, I needed Squirtle to be able to dash around the battlefield and fire off his Water Gun at full force.

Putting away the journal, I bend down and picked Squirtle up, carrying him to the lake, and promptly dropped him into the water. The cold lake revived him and he let out a satisfying squeal before floating contently on his back, with his face above the surface.

“That was a good start. Your Water Gun will be your primary mode of attack for quite some time, and while this blitz I want you to learn will not necessarily last into your Blastoise evolution, it will be part of your arsenal in your current form and as Wartortle. While you have the means to fight at any range, there is value in being able to choose the range for yourself, rather than letting our opponents determine it for us. If your long-rage options prove ineffective, you will need to get close to use your close-range attacks, and for that, you will need to dash towards them.”

I gave him a smile, which he returned. “But good work, rest for five minutes, then give me three sets of the dash and Water Gun again. For now, we need to build up your muscles and stamina.”

He nodded and closed his eyes to enjoy the rest of his break. Satisfied, I turned to my second pokemon and was pleased to see that Magikarp had watched us with interest. “You will be doing something similar, for now, at least. Until you evolve, or until we can buy the TM for Hydro Pump, which won’t be any time soon, I’m afraid, you will only have close combat options. So, if you have listened, the same thing applies to you, but even more so since you lack any and all mid-and long-range options. You will have to swim really fast at your opponent and then hit him with that momentum because odds are that they will be able to hit harder than you and take more damage than you. Your only option is to be faster and hit harder than they can expect and make them pay for underestimating you. Later on, when you are training with Squirtle, I will also need you to be able to take damage and work through the pain or dodge ranged attacks.”

At least Magikarp looked enthusiastic if her nod was anything to go by, but I wasn’t sure how much of what I had said she understood. But pokemon were smarter than one would think, so I had always pretty much just shared my thoughts with them. I did so with my parents' pokemon and I did so with the pokemon I interacted with at Professor Oak’s lab, and it had worked out so far.

“Okay, I need you to swim as fast as you can, for as long as you can, and then I need you to swim for even longer and faster after that. Follow the shore of the lake until you are back here. Go!”

And with that, Magikarp started swimming. I watched her swim pretty fast for twenty seconds before she started to slowly lose more and more speed. When she finally made it back to her starting position, having circled the small lake in two minutes, she was not even at half the speed that she had started out at.

“Good effort, Magikarp. Relax for five minutes and then give me another lap at full speed. I need you to do that three more times.”

She gave a tired nod, and while I wasn’t sure she could do it, I needed her to at least try and see if her motivation was strong enough to power through exhaustion and pain.

Tomorrow, in the big lake, I would be joining her with the laps. Right now, I still needed to cover too much ground to exhaust myself by swimming, but I also didn’t want to be lazily sitting around while my pokemon were giving it their all, so I pulled out my journal again and began to make more notes, writing down everything my pokemon were doing.

Weeks from now, I wanted to be able to read them the numbers they had now and how far they’d have come then.

I felt my heart pounding faster, as I was finally feeling like a genuine pokemon trainer.
Seen May 29th, 2023
Posted May 25th, 2023
15 posts
5.8 Years
Chapter 2

It had taken me the rest of yesterday's daylight to reach the biggest lake in the region, where I had camped the night. It was a popular spot for families who wanted to enjoy the lake, swim, barbeque, and wander since it was safe enough that families were comfortable bringing their children. At the same time, it was also popular with trainers because it housed most of the regional water pokemon, and of course, the water also lured land pokemon for a drink and some playing in the water. The bugs and fish inside naturally were also a ready food source for all pokemon.

There were also a lot of already prepared spots for camping, so it wasn’t too much of a hassle to set up there, you just had to leave the place as you found it once you were done, which was fair enough.

Setting up my tent had been relatively quick since it was the same technology that shrunk my bike when I wasn't using it. I had seen videos about tents before that technology had become widely available and I was super glad to have dodged that business. Stowing it away after our breakfast had been similarly fast, so now, I was once again on the road, continuing my journey to the Xanadu Nursery, and we arrived at around nine in the morning.

The Xanadu Nursery consists of several main parts, but the most eye-catching part was no doubt the huge glass dome that stretched dozens of meters into the sky, and I knew covered a radius of 500 meters. It was basically a huge greenhouse, offering a wide selection of vegetation, plants, and trees that were not necessarily native to Kanto, and with that, it housed a lot of pokemon.

Since it was a Nursery, one couldn’t just waltz in and capture pokemon, though. The primary function of the Xanadu Nursery still remained to be the nursery part in its name, and it was the home of a lot of young pokemon who could not handle life on the outside alone. Of course, plenty of pokemon who had grown up here, decided to stay here, which is why there is also a surprising amount of mature and evolved pokemon, who act as protectors alongside the few Rangers who are stationed here and who patrol the area.

Once I reached the parameter, I was greeted by a bored-looking guard who was sitting in a chair, with a Growlithe dozing next to him on the ground. After presenting my credentials with the Pokedex, he winked me through, instructing me to actually go to the glass dome. Upon arriving at the entrance I was directed to, I was surprised to actually see a lady with long, straight purple hair going down to her hips, who was reading the tablet she was holding intently. There was no mistaking it, this was actually Florinda Showers, the owner of the Xanadu Nursery. Famous for her numerous pokemon of the Oddish line, and her dedication to and protection of pokemon. It was especially impressive if you knew that she was in her 30s and had become a very respected figure in the pokemon world in a relatively short time. The Xanadu Nursery had been founded when I was five or so, just a bit over ten years ago.

Hearing my footsteps, she looked up and her intense expression changed to a warm smile. She folded her tablet and stepped towards me, extending her empty right hand. “Hi, you must be Green, it’s so nice to meet you.”

I shook her hand firmly, responding with a smile of my own. “Miss Showers, thank you so much for your time.”

“Oh, don’t be so formal. We’re not big on that around these parts, isn’t that right, Gus?” she said that part louder, while looking over her shoulder, up a tree. I looked up, only to see a man with graying hair, sitting on the branch of the tree, and he was doing something with what seemed to be an electronic device attached to the tree itself.

“Very disrespectful, one could say,” he growled, although given Miss Showers' laugh, it was probably not meant too seriously.

“Well, come with me.” She opened the door we were standing in front of and motioned for me to go in first, so I did. Once we were inside, she closed the door behind her. “So, currently, there is a family of seven Eevees in the Nursery. The mother and father are off-limits, of course, but you will meet all five of the children and if one decides to go with you, you’re free to take them with you.”

“The parents are also Eevees?” I asked, actually surprised. I would have expected them to be evolved.

She nodded, “Eevees are one of the pokemon species that benefit from the bond with humans the most, as they evolve very rarely on their own. Most of their evolutions require exposure to elemental stones, and while it is of course possible for an Eevee to stumble upon them in the wild, it's harder to do so nowadays, as humans are generally collecting those as much as they can. Not to mention water stones and fire stones are generally found in locations where Eevee loathe to go before they evolve, so thunder stones which are created by big thunderstorms if the conditions are right, are the most common of those, but even they are relatively rare.” She shook her head, “There's still a lot to learn about pokemon in general and about Eevee in particular. This is why part of this whole system is that you will have to periodically write us reports about your Eevee and tell us everything, no matter how insignificant it may be. We need as much data and as many different experiences as possible.”

I had known that this would be part of the bargain, so it was easy to agree. “I will, but I cannot say I'll bring any new insights.”

She shrugged, “even confirmation of what we already know is huge. I’m not a researcher by profession, but I’m rather involved in the process and will of course make sure the academic community will have access to your reports. Don’t worry too much about grammar or structure, by the way, but it should of course still be readable."

"Is there still so much left to learn about Eevee? I was given the impression that it was one of the better-understood species out there."

She wiggled her hand. "We know a lot about Eevee, that's true, but we also know that we don't know everything. For one, everyone who is seriously researching Eevee agrees that we have not yet found all its eevolutions. It does seem unlikely that Eevee can only evolve in roughly half the types out there. It's possible, mind you, but general consensus is that there are still discoveries to be made. And who knows, maybe it's you who stumbles upon the dragon or poison type evolution? And in which case it's critical to know what you did and what your Eevee has experienced, so the knowledge is not lost."

She met my eyes and had a slight smile on her face.

“It's not all note-taking and ideally, it won't take up too much of your time. It'll be a good habit anyway since it will improve your general training results if you know exactly how Eevee and any pokemon for that matter are developing. And in a few years, after you have battled with your Eevee for a while, and you have been a good caretaker and trainer, you may be approached to take in a second Eevee if you have not done so by yourself already.”

“Oh, that’s cool. Will I come back here then?”

She grinned, “It will be one of a different gender from a different place, so your Eevee can reproduce. There are still too few Eevee out there, and we want responsible trainers to help bring the population levels back up.” Miss Showers scowled, “This is a slow process, Green. Eevee have been hunted to almost extinction levels a few years ago, and while this method will take decades to restore the Eevee population where it can subsist on its own without requiring our protection, it's the method that still allows the Eevee as much freedom as possible.”

I suppose by doing it this way, the trainer benefited as well, which made their participation more likely.

Thinking about it, it was a slow method but still one that would work.

“Once the trainer has a few Eevees, most trainers will probably sell or gift them to friends, which will, over a long enough time frame, sustainably increase their numbers while still protecting them," I said.

Miss Showers nodded. “It was tried with having trainers bring their Eevees, or whatever they evolved into, to places where preservers were keeping their Eevees but not many trainers did so. We’ll see how successful this initiative is, and it's just one of many, but thousands of people, in four regions, are collaborating to ensure that the Eevee line is protected and able to flourish again.”

She then stopped, to whirl around, and gave me a sharp smile. “That is, of course, only really applicable to you, once you pass the last test.” My heart started pumping as she said that and I felt my blood flow faster, giving me goosebumps as I started to grin. “Essays and research are all fine, but you want to become a pokemon trainer, and there is really only one way to determine if one is a good pokemon trainer. You may have only started your journey yesterday, but I’m sure you already know what that is.”

I plucked the pokeball my Squirtle was in from my belt and enlarged it. “You know, there was something about the whole process that had been rubbing me the wrong way and I’m so glad this is happening.”

Where we had stopped, it was a small grass clearing, surrounded by a few trees and bushes, where a few Oddish and Gloom were watching us.

Miss Showers threw a pokeball and the white energy leaving the ball, coalesced into the form of a Meowth. Cream-colored fur, four long whiskers, and a tail with a brown tip, it looked like a rather healthy specimen.

It was odd, pun not intended, since I expected an Oddish or Gloom or even a Vileplume or Bellossom from her, but I guess it wouldn’t really prove anything if she rolled a beginner with her best pokemon.

I burrowed in the pockets of my shorts until I found a packet of gum. I offered Miss Showers one, which she declined and I put one in my mouth. Immediately, the sweetness of the gum filled my mouth and I began chewing. I then released Squirtle, and he was immediately sizing the enemy up.

When I fed him this morning, I had been happy to see that he seemed to have recovered from yesterday’s training session. Just one session was too soon to improve his physical abilities, but I hoped he would be able to implement the strategic elements into this fight.

Meowth was a close-combat fighter, and usually not a very strong one. Squirtle could attack at range and even if Meowth came close, using its superior speed, Squirtle could use his shell to block the worst of the attacks. On paper, it seemed I had the advantage. If Miss Showers had used an Oddish, that would not be the case.

“Be ready to keep the Meowth at range, buddy,” I told him and he nodded.

“Okay, this is a one vs one match between Green from Pallet Town and Florinda from the Xanadu Nursery,” Miss Showers said, “show me what you got, Green!” and with that, she pointed at Squirtle and yelled “Meowth, use Fake Out!”

At the same time, I also gave orders to my Squirtle. “Water Gun, don’t let it come close!”

The water torrent left Squirtle’s mouth, which the Meowth avoided by jumping to the side. It did so again with the next Water Gun but the third blast actually hit it and the pressure of the water hitting it right in the head pushed it a few centimeters backward before it managed to get away. Three full-powered blasts in succession were quite taxing, however, and Squirtle was breathing harder already while Meowth looked a bit dizzy. It shook its head, collecting itself, and dashed forwards on all fours, before leaping towards Squirtle, its paws glowing ominously with white light.

Fake Out didn’t hit that hard but it was dangerous because it could make the pokemon on the receiving end flinch and leave it open to whatever next attack was coming afterward. It went without saying, that that was rarely good.

Squirtle tried to fire off another shot, but unfortunately missed the jumping Meowth as it moved its head right in time, and it landed right in front of Squirtle and clapped its glowing paws together right in front of Squirtle’s face as it just had stopped its water attack. A shockwave of air hit Squirtle and I felt him flinch, taking a step back.

“Withdraw!” I ordered him, while Meowth was making its claws glow to what I assumed would be a Scratch attack. Flinch made a pokemon unable to bend their limbs or do most things, however, retreating back to his shell was something that was still possible since it was the most instinctive action a Squirtle could do. That had been my hope, anyway, but it seemed that the Flinch was stronger than expected and it was the first time Squirtle had been hit by it. As such, he was unable to do anything as the Meowth landed a few hits with its claws raking over his face and stomach.

He squeaked in pain, as red lines appeared on his face as the skin was torn. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to be too deep and the shock of the pain had disrupted the flinch. “Water Gun again!” I yelled because the Meowth was still close and winding down from its Scratch attack. Even its considerable reflexes were not able to dodge the point-blank Water Gun and the torrent of water pushed the Meowth a few meters back. When the water stopped Meowth was dripping wet and it was slightly wonky on its feed.

Oddly enough, I could hear the blood rushing through my body and I was tensing up, but not in a bad way. The chewing was also helping to stay grounded.

This was fun!

“Use Tail Whip,” I ordered Squirtle and he obeyed, waging his tail. It was one of the more esoteric abilities, despite most pokemon learning them very early and scientists were not one hundred percent sure why it did what it did, but somehow, this attack was able to lower the defensive capabilities of enemy pokemon temporarily. Whether it was because it was psychological or some sort of weird energy thing, no one knew, but it was a recorded fact.

I could see the Meowth wince as it was affected by the move, and now it seemed anxious. I looked at Miss Showers and she was not quite worried but seemed to be thinking about her next move. It was clear by now that I had an advantage. After being hit twice and having its defenses lowered, one more hit would put Meowth out of the match for good. Well, or so I hoped. While both pokemon were tired, Meowth was the one who would need to move more in order to close the distance between them.

That said, I also didn’t believe that spamming even more Water Guns would be productive at this point. Sure, one more hit would be great, but I didn’t have the feeling that the Meowth would be unable to dodge at this point, and it would be dangerous to have Squirtle waste his stamina. I also shouldn’t wait too long, because every second they weren’t fighting, Miss Showers’ Meowth benefited from the rest more.

While I didn’t like it, I still didn’t want Squirtle to come into scratching range again.

“Shoot several small Water Guns, not more than one second per blast.”

Squirtle obeyed and started firing what were essentially water bullets from its mouth. By now, they weren’t particularly fast or strong, but it was enough to keep the Meowth on its tows and most importantly, kept it from further recovering from the damage. It was still able to dodge them and with each dodged bullet, Meowth was able to come a bit closer.

“Be patient, Meowth, that Squirtle is going to run out of energy soon. Be ready to dash.”

It is unfortunate that we were still so early in our training because I did want Squirtle to be able to fake being out of energy in order to tempt the enemy into attacking early, thinking Squirtle would be weak at this point only to be hit with full force at close range. We weren’t there yet, so the weaker attacks were just weaker.

There was something I could do about this though.

“Soak the grass between yourself and the Meowth.” Squirtle aimed his water on the ground and quickly covered the whole ground.

Miss Showers raised an eyebrow. “Meowth won’t slip on slightly wet grass.”

“In which case, it shouldn’t be a problem for you, right?” I said in response, meeting her gaze to which she just smiled wryly, shaking her head. I wonder if she could tell how fast my heart was pounding in my chest right now. I blew a small bubble with my gum and immediately popped it to continue chewing.

“You’re confident, I’ll give you that. We’ll see if it’s warranted.”

She was right though; the wet grass wouldn’t be enough to do anything to the Meowth at this point. Meowth was too good on its feet, especially with its claws, to simply slip and fall. Nor did Squirtle know any ice moves yet to take advantage of it in a different way.

However, the wet grass was not for Meowth. Who had now started to dash towards Squirtle, and I could see in the tense way it was holding itself, that it was ready to jump to avoid a Water Gun. With more training, I also would want Squirtle to shoot a short Water Gun to make the enemy commit to a jump and then fire off another blast immediately after to hit the enemy in the air. That would take a lot of practice and wasn’t something I could communicate to Squirtle right now.

That was fine, though, because the next part of my plan would not depend too much on Water Gun. I felt a wide grin forming on my lips. “Blitz forward, Squirtle and be ready to use Withdraw on my command.” So far, Squirtle had been standing on two legs, but now he went down on all fours and started running towards Meowth. That took both of them by surprise and before Miss Showers could react, I yelled “Now!”

After gaining speed with his dash and then retreating back into his shell, he was now gliding towards Meowth on the wet grass at a speed neither Meowth nor its trainer were expecting, and Meowth did not dodge in time, as the shell slammed into him just as he was trying to jump to the side. The Meowth howled in pain and flew for a bit before landing on the ground with a soft thud, not moving.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Miss Showers said, letting out a low whistle. “I didn't see that coming.” With that, she returned the Meowth to its pokeball. “You did great, little guy, have some rest.”

She walked toward me, with a bright smile on her face. “Well, I’m more than convinced that you will take good care of her. I’ll be honest, at the beginning I wasn’t sure if it was just good tactics to use Water Gun over and over again or just a lack of creativity but I’m impressed. That was one hell of a move for such a new trainer.”

“Thank you,” I told her, quite happy at hearing her compliments. I knelt down and patted Squirtle on the head. “That was amazing, buddy. Our first win. You were so good but there is still a lot of training we have to do. This fight has shown us where we needed to improve as fast as possible.”

He nodded, letting out a happy squeak. I gave him a bit of pokefood which he immediately gobbled down and I returned him back to his ball. Our first victory and it felt amazing. My heart was still pounding, and this couldn’t compare to the training matches I had with the pokemon the professor had lent to us.

This was my pokemon against someone else. We needed to get better, in order to have more options and with that, a lot more fun in battles.

“You're good with your Squirtle. Really makes me look forward to what you will accomplish with an Eevee.” She ran a hand through her hair. “Well, we’ve put this off enough. Oh, wait, this first.” She pulled out a poke-com, and pressed a few buttons before pointing it at me. My own device started beeping and when I checked it, I saw that she had transferred 500 pokedollars to my account. “While it was a test, it was still an official battle between trainers. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have made you pay, since you're still a newbie, but this early on, every pokedollar helps.”

“Thank you,” I said, and I was grateful. It could have pricked my pride but honestly, I was just happy for the money. My parents weren’t particularly wealthy, and while I had tried to save up as much as possible, I would still need to do odd jobs on my travels or just never lose.

And that was much easier said than done, so the odd jobs here and there seemed a lot more realistic.

We then walked a bit deeper into what was basically the sanctuary until we finally arrived next to a small, artificial pond, and right there in the shadow of the tree beside it, was the small family of Eevees.

Two parents, and their small litter of kids. I could tell that two of the little ones were girls, based on the flower-shaped, cream-colored pattern on its tail, the same color as its little mane. The rest of their fur was brown, albeit their shades were a bit different from each other. Walking on all fours, and jumping around their parents, they certainly seemed like a rambunctious and energetic crowd.

“There they are,” Miss Showers said, “I already talked things over with them, so all you have to do is slowly walk up there, kneel down and extend your hand, with your palm up.”

I listened, feeling the cool grass touching my knees, and I was now kneeling a bit more than a meter away from the family, with my hand out. The parents were watching me, judging me.

“Hi guys,” I said, “it’s great to meet you and I’m hoping one of you will want to come with me.”

Of the five kids, two of them hid behind their parents, while three tentatively approached me and started to sniff my hand. After a few seconds, one turned around, returning to his family.

This left two, one male and one female, judging by their tails, with them being almost the exact shade of brown, with the girl being a bit darker than the boy.

“We will travel a lot, but I’m going to be a trainer who will have a lot of battles. My goal is to be the best and my pokemon should have a similar ambition. I’m going to warn you guys now, that there will be a lot of hard training in the future. I will run you ragged and I will give it my all right beside you. There will also be difficult battles against monsters ahead of us until we snatch the crown of champions from their beaten bodies. So, decide if you want to excel alongside me, or if you’d rather remain in this cozy and safe life. It will be exciting, but also a bit like hell from the training. So think hard if you want that.”

It wasn’t the most welcoming pitch, but I didn’t want to mislead anyone. Besides, I wanted a motivated partner who was all in, not someone who I had tricked and who went along half-heartedly.

I could tell both were thinking about it until the boy Eevee shook his head and walked off. The girl Eevee, though, I could see a sharp, fanged grin on her face, one I soon matched.

“Welcome aboard, then. I hope you're ready. The training from hell will begin the second we are leaving the Nursery.”

She yipped and jumped on my shoulder, licking my face. I laughed and ran my hand through her fur, scratching her tenderly. Her fur was so soft and warm.

“Aww,” I heard Miss Showers say and also heard a click, and when I turned around, I saw that she had taken a picture. “I always love scenes like this. Here, let me send it to you.”

Well, that was unexpected. But now I had an Eevee.
Seen May 29th, 2023
Posted May 25th, 2023
15 posts
5.8 Years
Chapter 3

The next hour was spent in the administrative part of the complex, where the ownership of Eevee was officially transferred to me, had her registered to my license, received her pokeball, got a brush that was specifically designed for Eevee’s fur, some food, and where I got the means to contact Miss Showers or someone else who was working here in case I had any urgent questions. She also reiterated that they were expecting monthly reports, which didn’t need to be 20-page essays but rather a collection of notes about the developments and experiences I would make with her.

She also promised that if I did so diligently, she would contact me for some higher-level odd jobs if I was in a suitable location where she needed something done. Similar to the deal I had with Professor Oak, basically. Red, Blue, and I were free to capture as many pokemon as we like, and the Professor would take care of them on his premises, which were large enough to house them, alongside dedicated supporting staff he was already retaining for his other countless pokemon. In return, he might also contact us from time to time, to run a few errands.

Agreeing was a no-brainer. It would be beneficial to maintain good ties with both of them, not to mention they had helped me, so paying them back was just basic decency. Miss Showers had even offered to let my pokemon make use of their in-house healing facility, which had refreshed Magikarp and Squirtle in a few minutes.

After Eevee had said goodbye to her family, and after I had briefly introduced them all to Squirtle and Magikarp at the pond, I was now leaving the Nursery, with Eevee sitting on my shoulder. Once I had taken my bike out, I placed her in the small basket that was attached to my bike and started to cycle away. Neither Squirtle nor Magikarp were well suited to sit there, but it was perfect for Eevee, and given her sounds of joy, she was having a good time.

My destination was clear now. I would go East-North-East as much as was possible with my bike, following the needle on my compass that was attached to the handlebar, before continuing on foot once the forest became impassable by bike, until I hit the ocean, in which case I would be traveling directly north, following the coast until I reached Hop Hop Hop Town. There was supposed to be a village somewhere on the way, so I might stop there for supplies, but otherwise, it would be a slow and leisurely trip, with plenty of time for training. Now that I had three pokemon, it was time to take the whole training thing seriously. I had talked big to my pokemon and now it was time to step up.

My original plan had been to stay by the lake for a bit, but the ocean called to me more. Not to mention, that it would make sense to move to a place where a Pokemon Center was nearby and I didn't want to overstay my welcome at the Nursery by using its facilities. After all, for the many things they did, they didn't serve as a training outpost for trainers.

For over an hour, I was riding the bike along the small dirt path leading into and through the forest, enjoying the fresh air and the sun, while seeing the occasional pokemon scurry away. Eevee was meanwhile taking everything in. There were a lot of pokemon one would expect to find in forests and a few from grasslands who would occasionally wander in.

Some Caterpies, Metapods, Weedles, Kakunas, Ledybas, and Spinaraks in the trees, Paras, and Bellsprouts in the underwood, and a few Pidgeys screeching from the branches. I was surprised to see so many, and it made me wonder how many there were in Viridian Forest since that one was famous for its bug pokemon. But it also had rarer specimens, like Scyther, Pinsir and since some had immigrated a few years back, even a few Heracross, which were absent in other forests.

None of the pokemon I saw really tempted me as of now, maybe that would change if I interacted with a particularly impressive specimen, or my circumstances changed, but right now, I was more focused on covering as much ground as possible.

After I started to feel my legs getting heavier, I decided for a break. Next to a big tree, I had a small bowl that was divided in two, so I could pour both, some food and water in it without those two mixing, and Eevee started eating and drinking immediately. I also drank some water and ate a cereal bar and closed my eyes for a bit, resting without sleeping. Eevee, after she was done, leaped on my lap and snuggled into me, and I started to slowly brush through her fur with my fingers. It was relaxing, pure happiness but after thirty minutes of excessive leisure, I decided that we needed to actually do something.

I also released Squirtle and looked at those two, who were watching me rather intently.
Checking the time, It was noon, and I felt we could get two hours of training in before I would travel for a few more hours.

“Okay, gang, we're going to do an hour of individual training first. Squirtle, the same as yesterday. You saw how useful both, your dash and your Water Gun were. I need you to improve both of them, and your stamina, before we try any other fancy tricks. You will do three sets, take a break afterward and then do three more.” He nodded and started to do so with a tree a bit further away.

Turning to Eevee, I paused to think a bit. I had checked her with my Pokedex after I got her, and while still young, same as Squirtle, she was also ready for battle. She even knew Quick Attack already, which I was happy with since that would be her main bread and butter for the foreseeable future.

Eevee were all-rounders, in their general capabilities, although they were mostly geared for close combat. You could teach them a few ranged attacks with TMs, but that’s not really something I can do at this point in time. They weren’t super-fast, super-strong, or super-sturdy, mainly good enough to get the job done, average even. They had a lot of potential with their evolutions though, and it was tricky to manage that. You needed to expose them to the stone of your choice, which meant owning a stone, which could be expensive, but you also shouldn’t evolve them too quickly. If I had a water stone right now, I wouldn’t evolve her since they needed to build up a solid foundation as Eevee first before an evolution improved upon that.

That meant, since she was small, I wanted her to be quick and agile. Eevee would never be a tank, so her strategy could not involve getting hit too many times. She lacked the sturdy shell Squirtle had. She could run faster and leap higher than Squirtle though, so it would mean to exploit her speed and small size to avoid being hit, hit the enemy in turn with Sand Attack in order to blind them and reduce their accuracy and reaction speed and use that time to reduce their attack power and defense with her status moves.

I wanted Eevee to be able to counter and all times, to dance around the enemy and bring it down that way, and to do that, I needed her fast and nimble.

So, when I explained that to her, she seemed pretty psyched, so I had her start by running a few laps around our small clearing. It wouldn’t take her long, just get warmed up, really, but I took that time to collect a few small pieces of wood and ram them into the ground in a line with roughly 15 cm between them. I did so with ten, and once I was done, Eevee was awaiting me.

“Okay, you will run through this, without touching the small wood sticks, and at the end, I want you to use Sand Attack and hit the tree. You need to be able to dodge, and maintain your speed while dodging and executing your main attack. You will do that three times in a row as well.”

That was how we spent the first part of the training session. I watched over both pokemon, since I couldn’t release Magikarp in this environment, corrected them when needed, and was overall rather satisfied. I also wrote down their times and feats in my journal, alongside some commentary that caught my eye, like how Eevee tended to take left curves better than right ones, or that Squirtle’s accuracy dropped more than expected once he was tired, which needed to be corrected since that could spell defeat against a serious enemy.

After that was done, and I had provided them both with water, a very light snack, and a fifteen-minute break, I started the part where they trained together.

“Okay, so I know you guys are a bit tired by now, but that’s when things get tough in battles and you need to power through and still show consistency. Still, this is the first time, and you two are my only pokemon that can fight in the forest, so we won’t be going too hard just yet. For now, we will start with a bit of a mock battle, but it will be done by taking turns, so each of you can try out what you were practicing the last hour against an actual opponent.

“So, first off, Squirtle will shoot Eevee with Water Gun and Eevee will try to get closer by dodging, until she is in range to hit Squirtle with Sand Attack. Everybody clear?”

Both nodded and made themselves ready. They were standing ten meters apart and the training so far had shown that Eevee’s range was at most two meters. If she were to launch her attack from further than that, her accuracy suffered or, as I suspected, the sand would just be too spread out and not do its intended effect.

At my signal, they began. Eevee started dodging the second the water left Squirtle’s mouth. Both were equally tired, although Squirtle did have that one match of experience more, so, I was curious to see if that would be enough to overcome an enemy that was even more agile than the one he had struggled with this morning.

So far, Squirtle hadn’t landed one hit and Eevee was dodging and weaving her way through the short water bursts until she reached the point she decided she wanted to go for, a bit to the right of Squirtle, just after he had shot his 7th small Water Gun and slammed her tiny glowing paw against the ground, which in turn shot forwards a cloud of sand. Faster than Squirtle could react, he was hit in the face with sand, making him let out a cry of distress.

“Well done, Eevee, and good effort Squirtle. Now, stay calm, lift your head up so that you are looking at the sky, and let out a small burst of water, but not with much force. I want the water to fall back on your face and wash it clean.”

Squirtle did, and it took a few tries to fully get the sand off his face. “A lot of pokemon can use Sand Attack or similar attacks and as a water pokemon, you do have the option to clean yourself this way, although be careful. It does leave you open, so we can’t do this carelessly. I still want you to practice this since it can be useful.”

He gave me a serious nod, and we continued our training.

We did several runs, and by the third run, Squirtle actually started hitting Eevee. We then switched things around, this time Squirtle trying to rush Eevee, and Eevee trying to dodge in close combat.

While his legs weren’t the fastest, Squirtle still was able to hit Eevee with his arms a few times, which in turn spurned Eevee on to dodge more or even try to parry with her own Tackle.

The timer I had set rang, and I stopped the training for today. I praised them and provided them with food and water once more. While they were eating and drinking, I packed everything up again, since now it was time for me to put in the physical effort again. Fifteen minutes later, after I also had eaten another cereal bar, with Squirtle back in his pokeball and Eevee resting in the bike casket, I started to ride on. Within minutes, I heard soft snores coming from Eevee.


I kept to the pace of two hours of biking and half an hour of resting, in order to power through the rest of the forest. I had decided to take the faster way out of the forest by heading straight east, rather than the longer but ultimately faster path of north-east to Hop Hop Hop Town.

By the time it was starting to get dark, I had actually arrived at the ocean, and I was looking at the large body of water, leaning on the handles of my bike, and Eevee was doing so as well.

She was happy because she got to fight a few times, mostly against a few wild Weedles, who had been too slow to hit her and had been scared away after one hit each. One did manage to poison her, but an anti-dote had taken care of that, and she had gotten plenty of rest. Still, there would be no more training tonight. Instead, I released Squirtle, since I was still too high, on what was basically a cliff, with the water being at least 50 meters down. I then built my camp for tonight and enjoyed the now star-filled night sky with my pokemon and some decent curry and rice, which was simmering in my small pot over a crackling fire.


The next day, after an early start, I started biking north, but this time, Eevee was no longer sitting in the saddle but instead was running alongside me. It wouldn’t be for long, but I wanted her to get used to this since I wanted her to increase her stamina and leg strength. The explosive speed she needed to pull off in order to dodge enemy attacks and close the distance between them would only benefit from this.

I was going slower though since I didn’t want to leave Eevee behind. After twenty minutes, I stopped and she jumped into her basket, before continuing with my usual speed. Roughly 40 minutes later, I finally made it to the beach, and this time, I released all my pokemon.

After feeding and some fur brushing, while Squirtle and Magikarp were playing in the ocean, I got up, pulled out some rope from my backpack, and started to look around the beach for things I could use in training. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything suitable and decided I would buy something like an empty barrel from the first village I saw.

I changed into my swimsuit and instructed Eevee to wait with my backpack and other things, so she could keep watch. I put on my swimming goggles, looped the rope around my arm, and dove into the waves. The cool water was almost a shock, but after a few seconds of swimming, I got used to it. Summer had just started, but the oceans hadn't become as warm as they could be yet.

I also checked the pokeballs that were attached to the belt over my swimsuit, since I needed to bring them with me. Also attached was a repel and anti-dote, just to be safe. You could never know, after all. I had checked previously, and as long as one didn’t swim too far out, there weren’t any dangerous currents. Still, having two water pokemon with me was as good of a safety net as I was going to get.

“Okay, gang,” I said, unraveling the rope until I was holding both ends, “we’ll be doing some strength training first. Magikarp will pull me, and Squirtle, you will swim around us, providing protection. Do warn me if you see pokemon who are out for trouble.”

They both nodded, and the training started. The fact was, there weren’t that many options to train a Magikarp, which is why not that many people bothered, ultimately. Still, this was oddly fun. I had to make sure to turn my head right so I could breathe without swallowing salt water. Squirtle seemed to be having fun, and thanks to my goggles, I could see a few Goldeen and Magikarp swimming around, alongside a Krabby scurrying on the ocean floor, which right here wasn’t particularly deep down, only three meters or so, and if I wanted I could dive down and touch it.

Which was ill-advised, mind you, their scissors were rather strong. It was a neat pokemon, but one I didn’t particularly want right now either.

We continued this training with frequent breaks for an hour, before I called it, and we swam back to shore. I got out, feeling the burning sun on this hot day, and it made me glad I was here. I fed my pokemon and ate the leftover curry and rice from yesterday evening.

Enjoying the sun, with my hat on, of course, I pulled out my pokecom and wrote a quick message into the group chat I had with my parents, giving them a quick overview of where I was and what I had done. I wouldn’t be getting a reply any time soon, since both were Rangers on duty, and their job made it hard for them to immediately answer. Unfortunately, both were stationed around Mt. Hideaway at the moment, so I wouldn’t be able to meet them.

I also did the same for Professor Oak. I doubted the professor needed something done here since this was still relatively close to his lab, only a few days out and he had a lot of assistants who were ready to go here and then also back.

From him, I surprisingly got a quick answer, congratulating me on my Eevee and Magikarp. He didn’t have a job for me at the moment though, so I put it away again and after twenty minutes of rest, I packed things up and started walking, wearing my backpack, and my bike shrunken and packed away. I even took off my swimsuit and attached it outside of my backpack, so it would dry off during my walk and I could put it away later.

Eevee was walking alongside me, while Magikarp and Squirtle were swimming. Not much happened in the two hours I was walking. An hour in, I had recalled my pokemon, except for Eevee, who had jumped on my shoulder to take her rest there. It took a bit to get used to her weight, and despite the heat, I quite liked her presence there and endured it. I occasionally stopped to sit down for a few minutes on a convenient rock and to take a few sips of water, but otherwise, made some decent headway, but of course less than what I would have made on my bike.

Wiping the sweat on my brow, before putting my hat, which I had just splashed with some water for added coolness, back on, I let out a long sigh. It was still fun, but tiring.


Over the rest of the day, I didn’t encounter many humans. I saw a few boats passing by on the sea, and one trainer riding her Lapras. Once Squirtle evolved, that would be me, relaxing on my Blastoise, clearing through the waves.

I wondered how Red and Blue were doing. They might have reached Viridian, by now, depending on how fast they were. They both had bikes, although I knew Red often preferred to walk. Blue also liked the bike, same as me, but he had boasted that he had plans to go to Terracotta Town first because there was something of interest for him there. He probably arrived there by now or should be arriving at least. It is roughly the same path I took, only instead of east, he went west, to the other coast, with Red going through the middle.

Funny, how things worked out that way.


I made it to the small village at around half-past seven in the evening. It wasn’t very big, only a dozen or so houses, but it had a small outpost that served as the HQ for the local Rangers who were currently posted here and also as the makeshift Pokemon Center since it had a regeneration station, a Nurse Joy and a Chansey. It was smart, to combine the two buildings for a village this tiny, with not even a hundred people living there.

I had my pokemon treated, and thankfully there hadn’t been anything serious, since they only had a few battles that couldn’t even be called that since they mostly just scared away local, wild pokemon on occasion and the rest was just training.

Still, it was important to make sure no one pulled anything or took it too far. It was also very nice to be able to sleep in a real bed and take a real shower. The breakfast next morning, with pancakes and honey, was rather enjoyable as well.

I also visited the local Pokemon Mart, which was also a convenience store and bakery, oddly enough. I bought a few more pokeballs, stocked up on food, for myself and my pokemon, got a few more anti-dots and potions, and even managed to talk the employee into selling me an old, small barrel they weren’t really using anymore for chump change.

Alongside the three balls, I had left that Professor Oak had initially handed out, I had three more now. That seemed like it should be enough for a while.

After everything had been done, I left the village, this time on my bike as there was actually a well-made cycling road along the coast. It wasn’t asphalt but at least the ground was even and solid, without any roots or big holes.

Eevee was running alongside me again, and Magikarp and Squirtle were once again swimming but this time, I had filled the small barrel, roughly the same size as Squirtle was, about a third with sand and tied it to Magikarp and had her pull it. Squirtle, once again, was on lookout duty and supposed to periodically accelerate, fire a Water Gun in the air, fall behind Magikarp and fire another Water Gun into the air.

Solid training for both of them, just improving their bodies and attacks by constantly using them.

Once in Hop Hop Hop Town, I would be staying there for a few days and plan my next steps. Until then, I was satisfied with the pace we were going and how much training we were doing.

I looked down next to me, to see Eevee running along, a determined expression on her face.

I felt myself smile as I accelerated a bit.


It took us two more days to crawl along the coast, crossing a river later on, and tracking half a day through another forest, before we finally made it into Hop Hop Hop Town. It was a weird city because, despite its stupid name, it was actually a city rather than a town. With hundreds of modern apartments, houses, and skyscrapers, with a population of nearly a hundred thousand souls, plus a lot more pokemon, it was an active, crowded place.

I didn’t have a Gym though. Not an official one, anyway. I think there had been one before either Surge or Koga snatched the title away. Despite its size and activity, it wasn’t particularly interesting for pokemon trainers who focused on battle, or even researchers and academics. There were a few opportunities, but this was mainly a city all about trade and commerce.

The one unusual aspect of Hop Hop Hop Town was that while Drowzees and Hypnos were found in all major cities, this town was said to have a higher number of them than most. That was an interesting tidbit, but also not something that interested me too much since it wasn’t a pokemon I particularly cared about, although its psychic powers were supposed to be formidable.

Making my way to the Pokemon Center had actually been a bit annoying, given how many people were wandering around. I had even returned Eevee to her pokeball, simply because I feared the noise would be a bit too much for her. She should probably get used to it, but there is time for that later on.


Later that evening, after taking a long shower, and having all my clothes run through the washing machines in the Pokemon Center, I was lying on my bed, with Eevee curled up on my pillow, while Squirtle was snorting in the middle of the bed, leaving me effectively no space.

I didn’t mind though, as I was sitting on the window sill, with my journal open, looking out. I was chewing gum again, and playing with the pencil between my fingers, thinking.

In front of me, was my pokecom, with the map of the region open. My initial plan had been to head to Celadon City as fast as possible, but by now I was thinking that it would be better if I took my time a bit more, and got some training in, maybe even catch another pokemon. Magikarp was just not ready to fight yet and wouldn’t be for some time, and challenging a Gym Leader with only two pokemon would be…bold. Not to mention I would be going for the Rainbow Badge, and Erica, the Gym Leader, was a grass-type specialist, so Squirtle would be facing quite the uphill battle. Hell, even if Magikarp could battle, he would be facing the same disadvantage.

Now, I didn’t want to build my team solely based on countering Gym types, but I did need some variety because while I love my Eevee, and I have a lot of faith in her, I don’t think she is at the level yet where she could solo a Gym Leader, even if Erika were to use two low-level pokemon.

Of the local pokemon I had seen so far, there hadn’t been anyone I had considered a must-have, or one that would be particularly useful for Erika in particular. This is where my unusual route was biting me in the ass. If I had gone for Brock and Misty first, well, Squirtle would have gotten in quite the battle experience and would be better equipped to face grass pokemon. I would probably also have more pokemon.

I let out a sigh, no use in crying over spilled milk. I still believed this route was the correct one, so what if this made Gym battles a bit harder?

I checked the calendar again, and yeah, I had almost nine months until the Conference. More than enough time that I didn’t need to rush. And not reaching the Conference this year wasn’t the end of the world either, since the badges were good for two years, as far as using them to qualify for the Conference went, so I could still participate in the one next year.

Only it would actually kill me if Red and Blue participated, and swept the whole thing, without me present. I don’t think Blue would ever let me live it down.

So, no, I had to make it this year, but that didn’t mean I had to stupidly rush things. So I will stay for a while, to really train my team. Then, I would travel through the Sunny Forest, without stopping in Sunny Town, and head directly to Celadon.

There were other notable locations in the range, I could go to in the same amount of time. Gardenia City was mainly a hub for coordinators, so I didn’t really have a reason to go there. Carmini Town was mainly known for its Battle Tower, and that was something one needed quite a few badges to be allowed entrance in, so while technically interesting, it was also something not really accessible to me for now. Lastly, there was Commerce Town but that was basically another Hop Hop Hop Town, so unless I had a lot of money to make use of its trade facilities, which I did not, it wasn’t really useful to travel there.

So Celadon it was. I guess I could head to the marshes first, to capture pokemon there. That said, I could also try to capture pokemon that were known to wander in urban settings. Abra was a famous one, and those who were able to train their Abra until it evolved ended up with a psychic powerhouse. Unfortunately, at this point, I didn’t want to add another member to my team who would be almost entirely useless now and would remain so for quite some time. Abra, very famously, also barely fought and instead preferred to either sleep, eat, or teleport away. None of which made for great use in combat.

It would be irresponsible if half of my team was unable to fight for weeks, if not months.

There were other pokemon though. Grimer and Koffing were known to be easily found in certain sections of cities, but they were hard to raise and often didn’t quite mesh well with teams. Not to mention that in short term, they would also not be super useful against Erika, whose pokemon utilized poison a lot as well.

Ralts could be found, very, very rarely, since they were native to Hoenn, and while it was not impossible to stumble upon one, looking for one in the wild, in Kanto, was foolhardy at best.

Mr. Mime was found a bit more often than that, but it was also notoriously difficult to find a cooperative one, and I had read many reports, where Mr. Mime just made the lives of their owners unnecessarily hard.

So, probably stick with pokemon outside of cities. Ideally, I would still love either a Vulpix or a Growlithe. Both were useful in similar, but distinctly different ways. Growlithe, especially later as Arcanine, offered a lot more direct combat potential, as it was quick, ferocious, deeply loyal, and had an impressive ability to burn things with its powerful fire. You could also ride on them, as a mount, and that appealed to me greatly.

Vulpix, on the other hand, was just as strong, but it could be used a lot more cleverly. It had access to psychic and ghost moves, alongside fire moves, and once it was a Ninetails, it got a lot stronger and a lot more mobility as it could make long leaps quite easily. They got more prideful, though, and plenty of trainers had come to regret not showing their Ninetails enough respect. While I didn’t think I would intentionally offend one, they didn’t necessarily share the same sensitives as humans, so a trainer might offend their Ninetails despite trying not to do so.

That said, Ponyta was also a solid choice. There was something to be said about having a fire steed who could reach very high speeds and had some powerful fire attacks. They weren't super common either, but there should be some on the steppes and grasslands.

Naturally, Flareon was a tempting option, since all the eevolutions were winners, but I had only one Eevee and no firestones, so that would have to wait.

I closed my journal, turned off my pokecom, and got up, stretching. I would be training and exploring the surrounding area. Maybe I would find something, maybe I wouldn’t, but right now, we were past the planning phase and I needed to act. Being paralyzed by choice and indecision wasn’t particularly helpful.

It took a few minutes to move my sleeping pokemon around so I could fit into the bed without waking them, but soon enough, I was out like a light.
Seen May 29th, 2023
Posted May 25th, 2023
15 posts
5.8 Years
Chapter 4

For two days, we relaxed. As important as training was, we also had to get some rest and take in life. Those two days had been great for my pokemon, who had greatly enjoyed the leisurely life in the Pokemon Center. Magikarp and Squirtle had relaxed in the pool in the basement, playing with the floating toys that were spread around, while Eevee spent most of her time either on my lap or dozing on my bed.

I myself also slept in and didn’t really do any studying, training, or work. I cleaned and checked my gear, making sure nothing was damaged and if it was, made a note to replace it soon. I also folded my washed and dried clothes back into my backpack, doing everything while listening to music or a podcast.

I also had taken a lot of slow walks through the city, ate delicious meals in small, local restaurants, and tasted the famous curries of Hop Hop Hop Town, of which there were roughly a million variations in various restaurants or food stalls. Eevee had been the only one joining me on those walks, as Magikarp and Squirtle had chosen to remain in the pool and mingle with the pokemon there, enjoying the water.

Apparently, the pools in the Pokemon Center had some special water that was carefully enhanced to boost the health of water pokemon and was more pleasant to them somehow? I wasn’t totally sure how that worked, but Nurse Joy had assured me that it was no problem for those two to remain there.

I didn’t have any problems with that either. Why should they be essentially trapped in their pokeballs while Eevee and I got to walk around, enjoying the sun and sights? While I could have technically let Squirtle out, the Squirtle line vastly preferred swimming to walking, which I couldn’t blame them for.
I also wouldn’t want to carry a heavy shell around.

As such, it was Eevee and I. Eevee had made it clear that she preferred to be outside of the ball, although she could stomach being inside it.

I didn’t mind, I honestly preferred letting Eevee out as well. It was great to be able to cuddle and pet her whenever I wanted.

She was also fun to talk to, and I wanted to have a good bond with all of my pokemon. I knew I had to improve on that. I hadn’t quite bonded as much as I wanted with my water pokemon, especially Magikarp, but I hoped to be able to improve there.

No such problems with Eevee, though. She was pretty pumped for training and enjoyed being around me so far, and that made me really happy. She also seemed to have acclimated to the sounds of the city. Lots of people waking around, with even traffic in the form of some cars and the occasional bus.

While there weren’t any real highways in Kanto, which connected the cities, there were roads for trucks and cars, but most of the cars were used within the cities.

There were bus services between the cities though, which usually had, next to the driver, an experienced pokemon trainer as one of the two or three people manning the bus, someone who had at least four badges and a few years of experience who was there to deal with any wild pokemon who might try to fight or play with the bus and its passengers. Also, to hand out water and snacks, apparently.

One of Professor Oak’s ACE trainers, Kaylee, had told us that it was one of the better-paying jobs since that industry was always desperately looking for trainers as there was a huge demand for bus travel. Kanto didn’t really do trains, outside the magnet train connecting to Johto, cars were rather expensive and not everyone who had the money for cars also had high-level pokemon who could deal with everything.

Not to mention, even if you had good pokemon, an angry, scared, confused or even just giddy pokemon could easily wreck a car and how many people could afford to buy another one right after? Especially if you could end up being stranded gods know where.

So, busses were where the main option for travel between cities for the elderly, the sick, families with young children, or just those who did not want to walk or ride a bike. While there were apparently enough bus drivers, not many trainers at that level liked that job.

Understandable, since it mostly involved just sitting in a bus with people for hours on end, with the occasional fight with a wild pokemon. The money was good, and you got to travel rather fast between cities, but it was also boring. “Piss boring” were Kaylee’s words, and I didn’t doubt her.

Still, something to consider once I was at that level. Right now, I didn’t want to look for jobs though. I would have to, I knew, but that would wait until my two-day break was over.

I would first do a few things for the Pokemon Center itself though, not just the jobs it facilitated. The centers healed the pokemon and trainers for free, you could sleep and eat for free as well, and were in general very generous and forthcoming with their help. In turn, while there wasn’t any hard rule or regulation like that in place, unofficially, trainers were supposed to do odd jobs and help out Pokemon-Centers in turn.

Which was more than fair enough, in my opinion. I had read how there were some trainers who refused to do anything, and while they weren’t barred from any Pokemon-Centers themselves, they did receive some roadblocks in their careers.

Red, Blue, and I, probably every school kid in Kanto, for that matter, had heard the cautionary tale of the infamous trainer of the Elba family, who had done just that, about five or six times. Apparently, the guy had been stuck at two badges for a long time until he went on this pilgrimage of redemption where he traveled from Pokemon-Center to Pokemon-Center to make things right.

We hadn’t been sure how real that was, but even if it was completely fake, it was just common sense to help out at Pokemon-Centers. It was incredible how much I appreciated them after a few days on the road. Traveling was fun and amazing and very rewarding, but something it absolutely lacked was comfortable toilets on the road. There were other comforts missing as well, but that and showers were honestly the main things.

And after experiencing them again in the Pokemon Center, I was filled with enough gratitude to not complain and spend a few days helping out.

Eevee gave out a small cry, getting my attention. “What’s up, bud?” I asked her.

She nudged my leg with her head, walked backward a few steps, and began pointing her head to the left.

“What’s over there?” I asked, but started to walk in that direction. My question was answered relatively quickly as we found ourselves standing in front of a stall selling BBQ on a stick. Rolling my eyes, I got us two sticks for about 3 bucks each, and I put down one of them and I watched in amusement as Eevee started tearing into it with gusto.

“You greedy furball,” I said, ignoring the offended look she gave me. “We ate not even two hours ago. There’s no way you were already hungry.”

She gave me a shrug and finished her meal without shame.

It didn’t take me much longer than her though and it had been delicious, to be fair. “That better hold you for a while,” I said to her, knowing I had been spoiling her a bit. “just because we are taking a break doesn’t mean you can spend every minute of it eating.”

She gave me a cheeky grin and I relented, taking her in my arms and letting her rest on my shoulders even though she totally didn’t deserve it, the jerk.

“You better know you will be working really hard once we are back at it,” I told her and she just nuzzled my cheek in answer.

Bah, what an insufferable, yet very soft pest.


Those two days had passed relatively quickly. Eevee and I had explored a good chunk of the city, partly by walking, partly by bike. I was planning to do some courier jobs within the city, which my bike would be helpful for, so knowing the rough layout of the city and what was where would be convenient for that.

I also bought a few things. For one, I had stocked up on food and replaced the few things that had broken down over the last week, like the dynamo for my bike, and a new pair of shorts which had apparently been torn at some point, which I had missed.

More importantly, I bought a few things for training. I had found a pair of punching mittens, the same that martial artists used. I had spent a bit more money to get those with the heaviest padding because while I wasn’t particularly weak, I still wasn’t the strongest person alive and I was going to use them with pokemon, even if they were rather small. 1500 Pokedollars wasn’t cheap, the price of nearly seven pokeballs, but I felt it was worth it, and I hoped it would prove true.

I also bought a small box of cheap hacky sacks, which had been all the rage five years or so ago, but had since died an ignoble death, and the one store that I had found them in sold for basically nothing. I’m not sure I will carry them with me, since it was like 20 of them, and while they weren’t heavy, they still took up space, even if I had one of the better backpacks, which had more space inside than one would assume.

And finally, I also got a bunch of small, rubber frisbees, roughly the size of my palm and which were very flabby but you could throw them and through the momentum, they would be stable and fly a good distance. I had made sure to get bright pink ones so that they would be visible.

I also found a small harness that I was reasonably sure I could attach to Magikarp, although it had been intended for pokemon like Growlithe.

So, with all the materials, I was now standing in front of my three pokemon, at the beach of Hop Hop Hop Town, a bit further away from where most of the people of the city were going to enjoy the beach. It wasn’t very far, not even five minutes by bike, but it was relatively secluded and perfect for our purposes.

“Okay gang,” I addressed my team, as we were basically standing in a huddle, with Magikarp in the shallow water of the shore, Squirtle next to her, and Eevee next to me on land. “When you guys joined me, I talked a big game, and today will be the official start of the training from hell. But I will explain to you guys what that actually means and what our goals will be first, so you know what you will be working towards.”

They nodded and Magikarp made a splash out of excitement that thankfully avoided me, but nearly hit Eevee who managed to dodge it at the last second, before shooting Magikarp a glare.

“There are three foundations of our training. First, there is the physical aspect. That’s just your bodies. Strength, speed, endurance, and stamina. No matter who you are, those things matter in a fight and the better your parameters in those aspects are, the more dangerous you will be. They are, of course not the be-all, end-all, and there are certainly pokemon that can ignore this, but it still counts. Second are your skills and attacks, special and otherwise. Your Water Guns, your Swift later on, Eevee, and so on. The better your power and control over your attacks, the more dangerous you are. And I don’t just mean to shoot them as hard as you can, but to also wield them skillfully. Also how often you can use them, of course. Lastly, the third aspect is the actual strategies and tactics we will be employing. Physical strength and mighty attacks are all well and good, but they are nothing without the knowledge of how to properly wield them in a fight. Also, the orders of trainers cannot be too long during a battle. They have to be fast and to the point, and I have seen plenty of times where longer explanations were necessary but the trainers were unable to convey it and the pokemon unable to understand.”

I looked each pokemon in the eyes, one by one, and got a fierce nod from all of them, showing that they understood.

“Also, there is always the danger of shouting your battle plan so that both the enemy pokemon and trainer can hear and adapt to it. At times, even a second of warning will be too much and we might lose a critical opportunity and our attack that might have otherwise won us the match now leaves us open to being countered. So, what I want to do, is for us to train a few strategies or sets of movements. This will be a never-ending process, and ideally, we will keep learning new things for years and decades to come, but we will start off with three sets of movements bound to one-word commands and also some general strategies based on the size and type of the enemy."

I paused for a second, to let that sink in. "So I give a command like Blitz and in which case I expect you to do the practiced moves, which will surprise the enemy and give us fast options."

They nodded, and I continued.

"Magikarp, for now, your move set and strategies available to you are rather limited and will remain so for quite some time, so your focus will be on your physical parameters as well as one or two strategies to best take advantage of them. Eevee, you will learn to combine your quickness and status debuffs and Squirtle, you will of course have to learn to both, get close to using your Rapid Spin and hit the enemy while also getting the best leverage out of your ranged water attacks. For each of you, how you do that will always change from enemy to enemy, so next to the three foundations we will build, there is also the necessary experience. For two weeks, we will focus purely on training, and afterward, we will look to fight as many trainers on our level as possible.”

Eevee and Magikarp were practically shaking with excitement, and Magikarp used an impressively high splash, which made me lunge forward and catch her before she hit the water. It hurt my arms a bit but I felt another splash in the direction of Eevee might result in a fight and it’s not like I wanted to get wet right now either, seeing as I was still wearing shorts and shirt, rather than my swimsuit.

“Careful there, girl,” I chided Magikarp who floundered happily in my arms and I threw her back into the sea. “Well, one last thing about the battles in two weeks. Now, I’m not going to enter them with the mindset that I want to lose them, because I don’t. I want for us to win them and win in general every time. It would be meaningless to have a battle where you don’t believe you can win, at that point, you might as well give up. However, those trainer battles won’t have any important stakes, just a bit of money. The money we will earn with odd jobs and won battles and later on, through the gym circuit. The most important thing to gain from those battles will be experience. We have two water types and one normal type, and I want to add one more pokemon before too long to our team, since then we can have two pairs of two, which will be convenient, but that’s not the point. The point is, there are so many types, attacks, and pokemon out there who we have never fought."

I paused again, and I could see all of them thinking about my words.

"I could give all of you lectures on most of these pokemon, but not only would it be boring to you, but it also wouldn’t be that useful. I know a lot, but just like you guys, I’m inexperienced and when it comes to battle, I know for a fact already that it is one thing to know something theoretically and another to have it experienced firsthand, and guys, we need that experience. So, in those fights, I want you to win by wringing every bit of experience that you can out of those opponents so that when we have matches that matter, where defeat means disgrace, we just win and win hard.”

I paused for a second, feeling my lips being dry from all that talking. “Sorry for the monologue there, but I just wanted to lay out our plans and goals there for the next few weeks. As you can tell, we will be staying here in Hop Hop Hop Town for nearly a month, and we will begin our training now. First off, Magikarp. Your training is the simplest for now, and it is to continue what you have been doing.”

I squatted down, careful that my shorts weren’t getting wet and I attached the small harness I had bought to her body. “The little barrel is filled to the rim with sand now, and you will swim around with it as fast as you can for as long as you can, for ten minutes. Then, take a five-minute break. Repeat that for an hour. Before anything, you will need to become as fast and strong as possible. You will become strong, never doubt that, but it will take a lot of time and effort.”

Magikarp let out a determined cry, her whiskers wobbling, and she turned around and started swimming, pulling the small barrel after her. It took her visibly a lot of effort since the barrel might still be floating, it was heavier than she was.

“Okay, now to you two.” I stood and walked away from the water to my pile of stuff, knowing they were following me. “You guys will have more complex routines. Before Magikarp can join us on the battlefield, you two will be our main fighters, and there is a lot to do. First off, most of the time, I will be directly training with one of you, doing specialized training, while the other will either be on break or doing their own physical training. For now, I will be starting with Squirtle, so Eevee, I will reconstruct the very basic agility training course for you.”

I had already collected a bunch of branches on the way here and had used my pocket knife to cut them to the sizes I needed. Walking a few meters away from our main spot, I once again stabbed the sticks into the ground, with only short distances between them. Ten sticks spaced over ten meters, which was the usual size for a battlefield. There will be bigger ones later on, but we will work our way up there.

“First off, I need you to sprint a few times in a straight line, as fast as you can. Do this four times back and forth, and take a break afterward. Then, run the course, dodging around the sticks without touching them. Break again and then straight running and so forth. Do this for an hour, but take as many breaks as you need. For now, I need your legs to get used to this speed and to become as fast as possible, since your speed and small size will be your greatest advantage. You cannot allow yourself to get hit, Eevee, so for now, our training will focus on making sure it will only happen very rarely. Doing this on sand will of course also be harder and more taxing, but it is important for you to get used to all kinds of surfaces, and it will be excellent training.”

She squeaked in agreement and started with an impressive dash. While she was doing that, I put a bowl down a few feet away from the course and filled it with water, so she could drink it when necessary. No food for now, though. They had eaten a hearty breakfast at the Pokemon Center.

I turned to Squirtle who was looking a bit resigned. “Okay buddy, it’s just us now. Don’t worry, we won’t start off crazy, so it’s going to be Water Gun accuracy for now.”

He looked a bit puzzled but shrugged, and waddled after me. I got the ten or so pink rubber frisbees and showed them to him.

“Okay, so I’ll be throwing these one by one and you have to hit them while they are in the air. Over time, I will be throwing a few at the same time or at least a few in a row, and we might also play around with the timing. But for now, it’s pretty simple. Hit a moving target. Of course, flying pokemon can also alter their course with considerable speed, so this won’t be perfect, but it should be a good starting point. I’ll throw all of them, and you can relax while I collect them. We will be doing this until you can hit all ten of them three times in a row. Clear?”

He nodded, and we began. I hurled the first one and watched it sail through the air and Squirtle’s first few shots missed it repeatedly. Not by much, but he was clearly aiming where the disc was instead of where it would be. I decided to not say anything yet since that was his first try. He looked a bit disgruntled, but he kept trying. After the disc landed unmolested in the sand, I threw the next one, and it was a repeat performance. Four more discs joined the first two, and by now, Squirtle was quite frustrated, giving cute stomps after each missed disc, before Squirtle finally got a hit in, strafing the disc at its edge, making it wobble out of its flying path and land apart from the others.

“Well done, buddy, your first hit.”

Squirtle wasn’t cheering though, still looking a bit sour. “Well, if you think this was a lucky hit, let’s keep going.”

And we did. I three the set of ten discs five more times over the next thirty minutes and overall, his accuracy hadn’t been outstanding but it wasn’t hopeless either.

“This is okay, Squirtle. We are training to improve. Imagine how good it will feel once you can knock out the whole batch.”

He gave me a determined nod, and the next hour was spent continuing this exercise, until he dropped flat on the sand, panting. His accuracy had somewhat improved, but not by much, while we wanted to increase his accuracy, it was also important to train his Water Gun and it was there, that he had improved the most. The water stream had gotten smaller and a bit faster, and towards the end, he had hit more discs despite being tired.

I gave him an encouraging pat on the back of the hand, for which he let out a tired sound of protest.

We were like 10 meters away from the water, and I didn’t feel like carrying him, especially since I was also a bit tired by now, so I recalled him into his ball, walked to the water, and released him into the ocean, for which he let out a grateful sigh as he was floating in the water on his back.

“Good effort, Squirtle. You rest for a bit, I will check on the others and we will have a long break for some food and rest. I will call you once everything is set up.” He raised an arm and waved in agreement, and continued to float.

Since I was already in the water, I looked for Magikarp and I couldn’t see her. That didn’t surprise me much, since she would be underwater, so I was looking for the barrel, which should still be floating. It took me a good minute to scan the water before I noticed the small bobbing barrel, quite a distance from the shore. There was no way Magikarp would be able to hear me from there, especially underwater.

“Hey Squirtle, sorry to give you one more thing to do, but could you fetch Magikarp?” He turned around and looked where my finger was pointing and gave me a nod, before disappearing into the waves himself.

I hadn’t considered having to reach Magikarp in a situation like this. Having two water types was handy in that regard. Satisfied that that was taken care of, I went to check on Eevee, and she was currently lying next to her bowl which was by now empty of water.

I knelt next to her and gave her wet fur a quick rub. “Hey girl, I saw you kept running, do you think you improved?”

She gave me a tired nod. “That’s good to hear. Now, take a bit of a rest, but do so in the shade.” I picked her and her bowl up and carried both to the shade of the boulder where my stuff was lying and put her next to my backpack. I also filled her bowl with water and some food and did the same for Squirtle. I also unpacked some food for Magikarp and walked back to the water and I was happy to see Squirtle and Magikarp were coming back. Magikarp was rather slow, but seeing that she must be super tired and still pulling the barrel, that was to be expected.

“Oh, that was some impressive grit you have shown there, Magikarp.” I knelt down, this time not caring that I got my shorts a bit wet, since Magikarp looked exhausted and couldn’t swim as close as she wanted. I took off the harness and pulled the barrel to me, lifting it out of the water, but only after I poured a generous portion of food into the water, which Magikarp started to eat.

“Eat and relax for a bit. We will continue training in a few hours.” Magikarp managed to somehow nod and keep eating at the same time. I gave her a quick pat on the top of her head and went to join Squirtle and Eevee in the shade, who had long since started to eat.

I was paying for the higher quality version of the generic pokefood, and thankfully, so far none of my pokemon required a specific diet. It was rich in all the nutrients pokemon who battled required to be healthy and to perform at their peak.

I would have to adapt once a pokemon joined the team that had more peculiar food needs. I myself only had a cereal bar, made out of oats and dried fruit. It wasn’t the tastiest thing in the world, but it was good enough for now.

We remained in the shade for a good hour, just sitting and resting. Squirtle had withdrawn into his shell and I heard his soft snores coming out, while Eevee had long since climbed on my lap, enjoying getting her fur brushed. It was a bit pointless, since she was going to train in a bit, and mess up her fur again, but she enjoyed it, and it was oddly relaxing for me as well.

My mother’s Umbreon never enjoyed much contact with me, so it was rather joyful that Eevee did. Then again, my mother’s Umbreon also never quite warmed up to my dad or anyone else for that matter.

I also had periodically looked at Magikarp, who had apparently managed to strike up a conversation with a pair of wild Magikarps. No idea what they were talking about, but to be honest, there were fewer pokemon than I expected around here. A few Wingulls passed from time to time, and I saw a Krabby skittering into the water once, but I had assumed there would be more.

I guess our presence was scaring them off? Probably didn’t want to risk getting captured, since I am clearly a trainer and it’s mostly only trainers who catch pokemon in the wild.

When I checked the time on my pokecom, I decided that was enough time spent sitting. We had plans, after all.

“Okay, guys. Time to get back to work.” I had to knock Squirtle’s shell to get him out, and he started slouching to the ocean, to properly wake up. Eevee, meanwhile, was stretching on the ground. I picked up the harness and walked to the water, where Magikarp was waiting, and attached the harness and barrel back to her.

“You go again, girl. You have to do this for a while before we see the results. Do resurface and check the shore from time to time, so I call you back if something is up.” Magikarp nodded and started swimming.

I turned to Squirtle, who was floating in the shallow part of the water, where he could touch the sand if he so wished. “You will now be doing the same thing Eevee was doing until now. Short sprints and then trying to dodge the sticks by going in a slalom. Now, I know you’re not as agile or fast, but I still want you to get some practice in for dodging and changing directions. Especially since you can use that to launch into a Rapid Spin, which we will also practice in the coming days.”

Squirtle squeaked in agreement and I gave him an encouraging pat on the head. “Good boy,” I praised him. “You can do this. Don’t forget to take plenty of breaks.” I also poured some water into a bowl for him, so he could avail himself whenever he needed it. I know he can create his own water if he so pleases, but I don’t think water pokemon like drinking the water they create themselves.

Eevee and I then walked to the sport where Squirtle had been doing his target practice, but only instead of the discs, I pulled out the punching mittens. They were pretty big and thick, bigger than Eevee was, with a lot of surface. And on its black side that was facing outwards after I would put them on, I had drawn five yellow circles, one in each corner and one right in the middle. I also had written a number in each circle, starting with 1 in the top left, going 2 in the top right, then 3 in the bottom left, 4 in the bottom right, and finally, 5 in the middle.

Before I could actually wear them, I did need to do some preparation. I pulled out the tape and bound my right wrist and arm, and strapped on a sort of plate over that. Then, I put that hand inside the punching mitten. Later on, I would be trying this with two mittens, but this should be enough for the start. I hoped the tape and plates would provide enough stability and absorption for my arm so that the Tackles would hurt me too bad since I wanted to be involved in the training beyond shouting orders.

“Okay, we will be practicing your Tackle and Quick Attack. First your Tackle, just to see how this works.” For this, I kneed in the sand, feeling how hot it was, but not so much that it burned, and I placed my left hand on my wrist, ready for the attack. “Don’t worry about the numbers just yet, I want you to hit the middle with a Tackle, but maybe don’t go full force yet.”

Eevee shot me a concerned look and launched a hesitant Tackle by jumping forward and striking the middle with her paw. I felt the paw hit the mitten, but the mitten didn’t move.

“Okay, I can take that much. Go for full force now.”

She nodded and attacked again, and this time, my arm was pushed back and I let out a grunt. I definitely felt that, but it didn’t hurt, not really. At Eevee’s concerned look as she walked up to me, I gave her a wide grin. “Don’t worry, bud, it didn’t hurt. That means we can actually go through with this. So, we will go for aiming practice at the start. I will call out the number and you will hit it. Later on, I will be standing and moving the mitten, so you have to hit a moving target, especially one much taller than you, which will be a lot of pokemon, since the Eevee line doesn’t really get much bigger than you are now. Granted, you’ll have access to a lot of ranged attacks, but Quickattack will always be part of your arsenal, and this will benefit your ranged attacks as well if you can get close in the right way.”

Eevee agreed as she immediately launched a cheeky tackle, which actually pushed my arm back more since I wasn’t ready for it.

What a brat.


That had been the first day of our training, and the next few days had been rather similar. Before learning anything new, I wanted my pokemon to fully master their current abilities and have a firm physical foundation. Squirtle steadily improved his aim, although not quite at the level I wanted him to be, whereas Eevee actually steadily improved her speed by shaving over two seconds off her time, something I noted down in my journal, and I also intended to send an email later on to Miss Showers, since I wanted to stay on her good side.

Magikarp had been training the most, and I could feel that she desperately wanted to fight as soon as possible, but we would have to see. As a pure water pokemon with no ranged attacks, her fighting options were already rather limited, and I didn’t like her chances against most of them either, but that was something for later.

Our first training week had been monotone in that regard since we mainly kept practicing the same things until I was satisfied. By the time we reached the weekend, Squirtle had actually managed to hit all ten discs in a row two times but was faltering at the third time. It wasn’t quite perfect, but it was close enough and we would keep practicing, but now, after taking the weekend off to recover, I wanted to start him on Rapid Spin, since that would be his second main attack for quite some while.

Eevee, meanwhile, had gotten quite good at aiming her tackle and Quick Attack, although the Quick Attack had been starting to hurt my wrist to the point that I had let Nurse Joy check it once or twice, but I felt myself getting tougher as well, which would be useful to help them in their training.

I had even started to train directly with Magikarp, by entering the water, laying my hands on her face, without covering her eyes, of course, while standing in front of her, and pushing against her, while she would trying to push me with swimming. When my feet were touching the sand on the bottom, I could anchor myself enough to hold against her, but if we did so while I was also swimming, she was able to push me.

That had been sort of fun. I also had let her pull me a few times while holding onto the barrel, which hadn’t been very fast, but I had been impressed that she had managed it. I felt we were on the right track there.

While Magikarp would stick with the same training, Eevee should be starting new things next week. Baby Doll Eyes and Swift would be the next two targets to learn, while also spending some time with Sand Attack, which we hadn’t touched upon much, but which also needed more refinement.

Eevee’s plate would be full next week, it would be a busy time for all of us, but first, some rest on the weekend.

Which is why it was so distracting when Gym Leader Koga caused an uproar by holding a press conference, making his dissatisfaction with the current system clear and introducing what would be called the Reforms.
Seen May 29th, 2023
Posted May 25th, 2023
15 posts
5.8 Years
Chapter 5

For nearly three weeks, we walked to the beach every day and trained, with the weekends being days of rest. Since it was the city beach, it was well guarded and protected, so there was not much need to look out for wild pokemon. As such, Magikarp kept pulling the barrel with sand, with me slowly increasing the volume of sand inside and also practicing her Tackle against Squirtle, who in turn was training his toughness by taking it, and practicing how to take hits in a way that would minimize the damage. I often joined them in the water, at times being pulled myself or pulling me and the barrel at the same time.

We also would try pushing against me. I would hold her face in such a way that I wasn’t touching her eyes with both my hands and push against her. We tried it with my feet touching the sandy ground and while swimming. It was hard on my arms and back, but it was fun.

Magikarp had a surprising amount of enthusiasm for training and would persist even when Eevee and Squirtle started settling down. I had to stop her a few times, and I felt like if I let her, she would have continued until she had spent every last speck of energy she had, which was, of course, not great for training and her health.

I guess she really wanted the evolution to Gyrados, which, fair enough, that’s something I also wanted, but that would take quite some time. There was the unfortunate truth that while any Magikarp could evolve, not every single one would, and that was sometimes despite trying.

I hadn’t raised that point with her, because that was just too early to tell, not that I knew there was a way to tell beforehand. We would simply have to train and see. She was a hard worker, though, that’s for sure.

Which is why it had been fun when I had asked around the local fishermen if anyone knew of a boat that had sunk in the last few years relatively close to the shore, and there had been one. Locating it had only taken like twenty minutes for Squirtle and Magikarp, which had been rather fortunate since it was somewhat close to our normal training place.

I had shown both of them a picture of an anchor and told them to tell me if they saw anything close to it. When they signaled to me that they did, I instructed them to lead me there. Thankfully, it wasn’t too deep down, but by holding onto Magikarp and Squirtle, they both dragged me to the sunken fisher boat, right to the anchor. Magikarp was already wearing her harness, so I tied it to the loop of the anchor.

Because that was the next step of her training. Her job had been to drag that anchor to the shore and it had taken her over a week to do so, with me periodically swimming to her to untie her for breaks. It had been good training for both of us, but I was certain that she had gotten stronger. My notes did not lie, as they were showing a steady improvement. The instances where the anchor got stuck in a piece of rock or coral she usually was able to pull it out with enough force, although once she got stuck for over an hour.

It hadn’t helped that two Krabby’s had made fun of her which had led to a small squabble that Squirtle had to break up, much to his chagrin.

Outside of the water, when not running interference for his teammates, Squirtle had still practiced his dashing and Water Gun since the more we improved his stamina, accuracy, and power to use it effectively for the whole duration of the fight, the better off we would be.

We also practiced a few strategies, where we trained how to fake exhaustion, bait the enemy into attacking and lure them into a range where the Water Gun would be hard to avoid and deal a lot more damage.

Knowing that there are a lot of pokemon who would dodge by jumping in the air and leaping away, we also practiced shooting short bursts of water to make them commit to a jump and then immediately fire a full force Water Gun and try to hit them in the air.

Eevee had been the partner for that, and it had taken a few days to really get that down, but we also substituted her with Magikarp at times, who could jump rather high from the water. We entertained a few children who liked watching Squirtle try and hit the leaping Magikarp and Magikarp seemed to be the one to enjoy it the most afterward. Being pushed a few meters in the air by the water beams had been a source of joy for her.

Lastly, Squirtle learned Bite and Rapid Spin. Bite had been easy enough as an action, but it required channeling dark energy into his mouth, which had been the tricky part. It had been the lowest priority attack to learn, so he had only devoted the last hour of the day to it in those days, but he had ultimately learned it well enough that it would do some damage if it hit, which was of course the concern with such a close combat move.

Rapid Spin, on the other hand, would be his second main weapon, and this had taken the biggest chunk of time. By retreating in his shell, starting to spin, and then hitting your enemy with it was rather intuitive for Squirtle, but it wasn’t that easy to gain the necessary momentum, and it was even harder to actually aim while doing so. He couldn’t see while doing it, his hearing wasn’t that great and his sense of smell was also not the best. As such, we needed to practice using the move where he wouldn’t be easily dodged.

One thing that mitigated that huge disadvantage, was the fact that missing didn’t necessarily put Squirtle in a bad position. Since he was in his shell, which itself was spinning rather fast, he was well protected when using it. While hitting the enemy was obviously the most desired outcome of using that move, hit or miss, Rapid Spin did increase Squirtle’s speed. Moving and reacting faster was an advantage, and it ensured that his next Rapid Spin would have a higher chance of hitting. Not to mention that even missing can put pressure on the enemy, forcing them to make mistakes that we could exploit.

If nothing else, it was also a move that could be used to dodge and move about the battlefield in a faster and more agile fashion than sprinting.

We had only devoted a relatively short time to the Bubbles attack, mostly because it was a technique that came very easily to the Squirtle line. It did less damage than the Water Gun, had less range, and was a tad bit slower, but in return it could be spread a bit a more to cover a wider area, and it could reduce a pokemon’s movement speed. It wasn’t guaranteed, but it could happen.

Unfortunately, it didn’t have any battlefield applications, as the bubbles generated by the attack popped and disappeared really quickly, but it was still an option, even if Water Gun would be better in most cases.

We also practiced falling a bit, and for that, I had simply hurled Squirtle into the air, and he would try to land on his feet or at least pull back into his shell and start spinning. That had been quite entertaining, although my arms had been hurting after a while and I had needed some cold compresses.
The stern talking to by the resident Nurse Joy had been an unpleasant experience.

In other words, Squirtle had been going through very intense training, and at the end, the poor guy was rather exhausted, and he had more than deserved the two-day break I had granted him afterward, which he again spent mostly eating, sleeping, and playing in the Pokemon Center pool.

Eevee had also been rather busy. She had learned Baby-Doll Eyes, which had been particularly important to me, as it was a fairy type move, which would allow her to evolve into a Sylveon if she so chooses. Personally, I would be happy with either Espeon or Sylveon, and while one could try and tip the scale, it wasn’t a 100% guarantee either way, unless I managed to find a Sun Shard, which were exceedingly rare and expensive and not really an option. Unlike its elemental versions for the fire, water and electric evolutions, which might not be common and cheap, but at least you could find one in every big city, and it was at least affordable.
There were no bad eevolutions though, so I didn’t particularly worry about it. Flareon, Glaceon, and Vaporeon were also very desirable picks. Even the others weren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination.

By itself, Baby-Doll Eyes wasn’t that special. It was basically a Growl that required eye contact, which could be faster against pokemon who could see, which was most of them, or worse against pokemon who could not, and there were a few. The one advantage was that it was a fast move and the enemy couldn’t generally do anything about it, and they would suffer a reduction in their attack power. They could do something immediately after, though.

What we needed to practice was that if the enemy decided to blitz Eevee when she was using that move, she would be able to dodge that incoming attack. Even if the attack was weaker, Eevee was still not exactly a tank. Ideally, if the enemy was coming close, that would be the moment where Eevee would be greeting them with a Sand Attack, but it can be difficult to swap from one attack to the next, especially while facing the pressure of a fast opponent rapidly approaching. So, for now, jumping to the side or even over the enemy were options we needed to pursue.

So, during their joint practice hours, Eevee would try to dodge Squirtle’s physical attacks and ranged attacks. Once she got the hand of it, we even tried to combine it with Squirtle’s Rapid Spin training, which had been a lot more difficult, for both of them. For Squirtle, before the attack got going, he needed to retreat into his shell and gain the necessary momentum, which would give Eevee enough time to dodge. On the other hand, once Squirtle had that momentum, it became a lot harder for Eevee to get away, and we had a few visits to the Pokemon Center to heal the bruising.

During her solo training, we kept increasing her general stamina, speed and accuracy, while also improving her proficiency with Sand Attack.

She also improved her Quick Attack, and it took a while to really get that down. Quick Attack was one of those core-moves that was considered one of the more dangerous, especially since it was so common and accessible to a lot of pokemon. True to its name, it was very fast and the pokemon using it usually stuck first, unless both pokemon used it, in which case, the faster pokemon managed to connect first.

The problem for Eevee was that while reasonably fast, Eevee was still not exactly a speed demon, like Espeon would be. The bigger issue was that Eevee weighed six or seven kg. A small creature like that, going fast to hit the enemy with their body weight, well, there were a lot of pokemon who would mostly shrug that off. A bigger or faster pokemon could gain enough momentum so that a Quick Attack would really hurt and against enemies roughly the same size, that would also be true for Eevee, but she didn’t really have an answer for bigger enemies.

So, our training had also involved trying to learn Iron Tail and Swift, but so far, she hadn’t gotten either move down. I know that Eevee’s can naturally learn Swift once they are ready and strong enough, so it might just be too soon for her. Iron Tail was a bit of a different beast, but hardening your tail was not the best instruction. We had put the practice mittens to good use, and had Eevee hit it with her tail, and later on with Tackle and Quick Attack also, and while she was small, she was still a pokemon, and it wasn’t exactly easy for me to take the attacks like that. Still, I managed, and it was good training for Eevee, especially as I kept moving the glove, which also improved her aim and reaction speed.

It was rough but rewarding.

I had checked the prices for TMs and both, Iron Tail and Shadow Ball were a bit out of my price range for now. That would also have to wait. While we both had been a bit disappointed, the weeks of training had improved her speed and stamina considerably.

Another issue I wanted to correct, something that I had only considered a bit too late, was that my pokemon, for all their training, were still woefully inexperienced in actual combat. They fought each other a lot, so they got some experience, but training was not the same as real battle. Not to mention, that there are so many different types and attacks out there, that they need to fight as many as possible, so that in matches where winning really matters, they know how to best react to the situation and are not overwhelmed by something they have no frame of reference to deal with.

The same applied to me, of course. The trainer was hardly a passive observer.

And lastly, the final aspect of the training we needed to tackle was the actual strategies. They needed physical strength, speed, and stamina, that was true. They needed to use and wield their attacks and skills, the better they could use them, the more dangerous they would be. And of course, experience in order to know how to best approach various enemies.

But once those foundations were laid, or at least, we were actually trying to lay, we needed actual strategies and tactics.

Shouting attack names or giving brief orders at the moment was all fine and good, but there was only so much you could do during the heat of battle.

The fact was, 70% of a pokemon battle was fought before the pokemon set a paw inside the ring. Raw strength and shouting attacks would only get you so far. It could get you very far, to be fair, but only until you ran into someone who knew how to work around the strengths of your pokemon beyond shouting an attack of the type your pokemon is weak to.

So, we had some things to plan. While it was possible to plan concrete strategies against specific pokemon, like those of the Gym Leaders, Elite Four, Champion and a few of the higher level battlers, simply since theirs were well known, there were hundreds of pokemon and having plans for each one would be…ambitious, to say the least.

As such, what we were doing was to go for certain strategies against certain types of pokemon. As in, if a pokemon we were facing was X, we would do Y and Z. It wouldn’t be awe-inspiring genius, but it would mean that in most cases, we would always have something to do that might overcome the enemy.

Of course, that might not work every time. Quite often, trainers weren’t idiots and would train against the obvious counters to their pokemon. Which is also something we would incorporate into our training schedule. Squirtle needed a way to deal with electric attacks, for example, or pokemon who primarily inflicted status effects. Don’t get hit, as an idea, could only get you so far, after all.

The best way to do this was to have my team huddle around at the beach, with a carefully flattened part of the sand ready to be drawn on. Eevee and Squirtle were watching carefully, while Magikarp was sitting in a bucket filled with water I had borrowed and was peering over its edges.
I had a stick in my hand to draw, and I tried my best to not overcomplicate things. “So, first things first, Magikarp. I’m sorry to say, you will mostly be using the oldest attack stratagem in the world, but thankfully, it is the type of old that makes it a timeless classic rather than outdated. You have one job and one job only. You will rush the enemy in a direct line as fast as possible and slam your body, the upper part of your head, where your body is at its hardest, into the enemy. Nothing more, nothing less. It is the exact kind of play that is unfortunately easy to counter, but I’m not gonna lie, buddy, but you don’t have many other options. Naturally, if the enemy attacks, if you are not committing to an attack, you should dodge by swimming in a zigzag. If you are committing to an attack, well, then this is gonna be your judgment call, because I won’t be able to see underwater. It will be your decision whether you take the hit, power through, and slam into the enemy, or you dodge and abort the attack and swim around for a bit before you once again try to attack by gaining speed.”

Magikarp let out a questioning howl and jumped a bit, splashing a bit of water out of the bucket. It was enough that Squirtle felt the need to add a bit again with his Water Gun.

“Are you asking why you have to abort the attack?”

She nodded energetically, once again splashing water, which made Eevee move to my other side, after shooting Magikarp a cross look.

“Well, you won’t have enough oomph to hurt most enemies otherwise. Honestly, even with it, might be cutting it close. Besides, a lot of pokemon you will fight will also be a lot more dangerous at close range, so you don’t want to be within the reach of a Tentacruel’s tentacles or a Goldeen’s horn. You will need the speed.”

Magikarp looked a bit sad, as she let out a whine and slipped back into her bucket.

I gave her a smile and gave her a soft pat on her hard and wet head. “Don’t worry, girl. You know this is only temporary. Once you evolve, all the pokemon we have to very carefully approach for now will be significantly easier for you to deal with. I know that’s not that much of a consolation right now, but that’s what we have to do. So for you, it’s all about speed and strength, so that when you do hit the enemy, it deals enough damage. Do pay attention, though. I want you to also learn what the others are going to do because once you evolve, this will be important as well. The strength of a Gyrados is tremendous, but it’s not invincible and if you don’t use it correctly, it will mean our defeat.”

Magikarp gave a nod and managed another splash inside her bucket, making Squirtle sigh and top it up again.

“Thanks, buddy. Well, as to you two, you know that you are different types of fighters for now, but you will still need to know all the tactics and tricks we will employ. So, firstly…”

And the next two hours were spent hunched over our little piece of sand, hoping my pokemon will be able to memorize keywords which then will make them act and move in certain ways.

It won’t be easy, and we will have to train to actually execute those moves later on, but making them understand the theory first was the hard part.


A few days later, we mingled a lot with trainers outside the Pokemon Center. While there wasn’t that big of a training scene in Hop Hop Hop Town, there was no place in Kanto that was completely devoid of pokemon trainers looking to battle. So, finding trainers who wanted to fight was often as simple as making eye contact.

While it was fun, our record was not as good as I would have liked. We lost pretty hard against a trainer who used a Magnemite who really ruined our day. Its metal body had been hard to hurt with the techniques available to us, and its electric attacks had been powerful enough to put Squirtle down uncomfortably fast.

While Eevee had been able to avoid most Lighting Bolts, she had not been able to keep dodging forever. There had been a trainer using two surprisingly annoying Zubats, and another trainer who had used Pidgeotto, and we had to learn that for now, we were not that good at dealing with flying types, at least those who had ranged attacks.

Waiting and countering when they came close was a risky option, and unfortunately, in these cases, our gambles had not paid off.

Those three losses had cost me a big chunk of my money, which had made me worried about not having enough for supplies. I had taken one more match, though, and that had been the turning point. Both Eevee and Squirtle had been pretty angry about the losses, and had thrown themselves into the next battles with an extreme fervor. So, when the new trainer had opened with Farfetch’d against Eevee, she had been able to perfectly dance around him, lowering his attack, defenses, and accuracy, and then whittling it down with Quick-Attacks and Tackles. Squirtle had lucked out and faced a Vulpix. While the type advantage had helped, the trainer had not been ready for the Water Gun hitting Vulpix hard and fast enough that it was too dazed to do anything about the Rapid Spin that hit it right in the side, sending it flying and knocking it out.

That had given us the much-needed boost in confidence, motivation, and cash. We had won two more matches, lost one, and then won three more. Overall, it wasn’t the perfect match-history of my dreams, and I wasn’t swimming in money which would allow me to buy the TMs I wanted, but we had rebuilt our wallet to the point that it would be more than enough for supplies and food, and give us time to look for quick, well-paying jobs that might provide enough funds for the TMs.

More importantly, my pokemon had come out of this with more battle experience and knowledge of a few more pokemon types and the sorts of attacks they might use. Even Magikarp had managed a mock duel against a Goldeen with another trainer in the Pokemon Center pool, even if he unfortunately lost. No money was bet, since it had been more of a cooperative training exercise disguised as a duel than an actual trainer battle, but that had been nice of the older trainer. We were still at the beginning of our journey, but now, after the three weeks stop in Hop Hop Hop Town, I felt we could continue, with our foundation being firm enough to build upon.

Of course, training and battling hadn’t been the only things we had been doing. I also had taken the occasional job. It had mostly been about getting rid of minor pokemon who were annoying local shop- and restaurant owners, who wanted rookie trainers like myself to do so for cheap. Those had been mostly boring and didn’t really offer much training. Most Raticate were scared away easily and didn’t usually fight. The one notable instance had been a battle against a rather enthusiastic Muk, who hadn’t so much wanted to fight as it had wanted to play. The smell had been terrible, and it had taken an immediate wash cycle and shower to feel clean afterward, but honestly, it had been kinda fun. I had thought about catching it, but they were just so difficult to keep, and I am rather sure Eevee would have revolted if I had done so.

The other kind of job had been courier work, and my bike had been rather useful for that. It hadn’t been stressful, which had been a worry I had. Since I didn’t know the city at all, it took me a bit longer than it would have taken a resident, but no one had any complaints. The pay was decent as well, and I felt that after winning a Gym battle, I would have enough money to buy a TM or two and still have enough money left over for supplies and losing battles for a bit.

I also had done a favor to Professor Oak, who had wanted me to check up on a researcher who was living in the outskirts of Hop Hop Hop Town, who apparently had been two weeks overdue with reporting in. The professor hadn’t seemed too worried though, since that was apparently par for the course for the guy, who fell into these research holes where he forgot the whole world existed and was only able to sustain himself with the help of his neighbors who had taken it up to themselves to make sure the guy didn’t kill himself.

It had been an uncomplicated visit, and it had taken only an hour to solve the issue, which is that he had apparently misplaced his pokecom ages ago and had been unable to find it. So while the professor and he had talked by using my pokemon, me and Eevee had combed through the whole house, only to find the damn thing in a half-empty cereal box.

I was just glad it was something so trivial and nothing more drastic. The whole thing took only a few hours, but the professor had been grateful and told me he would definitely be shooting me more of these sorts of jobs.
I used the opportunity to tell him that I would be interested into courier missions to other regions where one has to simply go to deliver something or pick something up and back to Kanto, especially if the transportation was taken care of. There wouldn’t be many of those, but even just one might give me the chance to capture a pokemon in a different region.

Still, I was happy with things as they were. I even had kept Florinda Showers updated with regard to Eevee’s training, and while there hadn’t been any new information, she had been content enough to receive it if the small 500 pokedollars she sent over were any indication.


The dangerous thing with a bit of surplus money was that you were very tempted to immediately spend it in very unwise ways. Especially when you were calculating future winnings which you did not yet have and which were very much not guaranteed.

I knew this, and I was still eying TMs in the high-end shop which had the biggest selection of TMs in the city. Hop Hop Hop Town was no Saffron, which was rumored to have a store that had a copy of every TM, but the selection was still rather generous. Unfortunately, the prices were rather hefty as well.
6000 for the cheapest TM. That was the price for 30 pokeballs, or two full restores, and the TMs I was interested in were over 10 000.

This was also, unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of being a generalist. Generally speaking, pokemon of one type had a lot more overlap with regard to what kind of moves they could learn, so any TM you bought, you were guaranteed to get some value out of it by being able to apply it to several of your pokemon, if not all of them.

I was aiming for variety, which had its advantages, but there was a reason that a lot of the best trainers were type specialists. A skilled generalist was a nightmare to face, but it took them longer to reach that level. Not that being a type specialist was easy, far from it, but it had advantages for the earlier and mid-stages of one’s development.

Which was all well and good, but didn’t quite help me resist the impulse to buy Shadow Ball right then and there. Eevee would really benefit from a ranged attack, and it was such a good one. But it was so expensive, and it was literally only useful to Eevee right now, and it was such a bad idea.
Apparently, the inner conflict was playing out on my face, because that’s when I was approached by an older girl.

Taller than me by a head and a year older, with short, black hair, wearing red and blue shorts and a t-shirt, with a rucksack slung over her right shoulder. And, of course, she had four pokeballs attached to her belt.

She had walked up to me, with an easy grin on her face. “You do know these are rip-off prices, right?”

“Don’t think other stores are that much cheaper,” I replied, turning to face her.

“Oh, not shops. You should always buy these from other trainers who won’t need theirs anymore. They always demand less, and quite often you can get away with trading TMs, unless the price difference is too big, in which case there is some additional payment.”

I perked up at that because I had heard of exchanges between trainers and that wasn’t forbidden or anything, but there was always a risk because you could only use a TM so many times before the memory imprinted on it faded away. Oh, you could absolutely use it on your whole team if you so wanted, but as far as I knew, after eight or ten uses, or after a year or so, the TMs lost their power.

That’s why you’d time your purchase of a TM correctly. The good thing was, the pokemon never forgot the move they learned. That’s why getting it from another trainer was risky. For all you know, you might get one or two uses out of it, if at that, and there would be no recourse. And that wasn’t the kind of cheating that got you put on a blacklist, simply because most of the time, the trainers themselves didn’t know, because they had bought the TM themselves from another trainer, and so on. You might get a perfectly good TM for half the price, or even less, or you might get some that wouldn’t work or only work once.
But I guess, for me, that could work, since for now, I would need for the Shadow Ball TM to only work once.

“Are you trying to sell me something?” I finally asked, not sure where else this conversation was going.

“Ah, not quite,” she replied. “Well, first thing, the name’s Mint. And I was less trying to sell you something and more scouting out if you were open to maybe purchase a TM together? We would be splitting the cost, then we teach all the pokemon we have who can learn the TM, and afterward we sell it back to a store and split the money we get. How about it?”

Oh, that was of course a different matter, and quite a good proposal. Sure, I wouldn’t own the TM afterward, but unless I was willing to pay outrageous sums for the permanent models, that wouldn’t have applied to me anyway. Teaching my pokemon essential moves for half the price was a fantastic deal.

“Which TM did you have in mind? Oh, I’m Green, by the way.” With that, I extended my hand and Mint shook it, a relieved grin on her face.

“That’s cool. Well, I approached you because you were looking at Shadow Ball, and that’s a move I’m interested in as well, since I have two pokemon who can learn it.”

“I have only one, so far, which is why I was mostly just looking at the prices. Wasn’t actually planning on getting one right now.”

Mint nodded, her smile not faltering, “I get that, don’t want to pressure you or anything. It’s just that not many people are open to this kind of thing, preferring to buy them on their own, so even if you don’t want to buy one right now, how about we trade numbers, so we can do so in the future, maybe?”

I had no objection to that, so exchanging numbers was done quickly enough.

“Nice,” Mint said, putting away her pokecom. “So, where are you going next? I take it you are also on your journey?”

“Yeah, just stared a few weeks ago. I’m going to go to Celadon next, but not sure if I will go to Saffron or Fuchsia after that.”

“Well, that works for me, since I’m also going to leave for Celadon in a week or so. Still have some business to take care of here, and then I’ll be leaving for Saffron City. Maybe we can make things work around there?”

“Sure, would be great.” I paused for a second, “any other TMs you are interested in?”

“Protect,” she immediately answered, and yeah, made sense. Protect was one of those no-brainer moves. It wasn’t always super useful, but most pokemon would be better off having learned it, since there are always situations where you can’t dodge, and being able to negate one enemy attack could invaluable, even if the power of Protect strongly diminishes with each use in one battle, so you could only really count on it once.

I would also love Protect, but that would be foolish to get now as well since Squirtle could learn it on his own, Magikarp couldn’t learn it at all, and it would once again be something just for Eevee whereas it would be better to wait until I had more pokemon, so I could teach it to my whole team.

“That’s a good one, and I would be open for that as well, once I have at least a full team. Although the problem there might be, that it might just not last for the teams of two trainers.”

“Eh, it should still work out, but we might be unable to sell it once we are done with it since it would most likely be used up. Would still mean saving money while also improving our pokemon.”

There was that, of course.

“Yeah, it’s something I would at least try. Still means saving money. We could take turns, and see how far that takes us.”

She nodded, “Exactly,” she said, “Well, this was cool. I will call you in a few weeks or so? To see where we are and stuff.”

“Sure, sounds good.” With that, and after a bit of small talk, I left the store, with my new…contact, I guess was the best word, choosing to remain behind, probably wanting to find another person or two for this.

It made sense, not everyone would want the same TMs, so the more people you had for this, the more TMs would be open to you.

I don’t think I would be looking for others, but I would be open if I was approached. Maybe Mint would have a sort of network or already had it, so that could be useful.

That was something to keep in mind, but it was nice to know that buying TMs had gotten a bit easier. I would have to time and plan my journey accordingly, but it was at least an option. Shadow Ball would be particularly useful, and it would be the one I would have to work towards first, since Saffron was a gym I’d have to conquer in a month or two, and when I did, I wanted Eevee to have mastered Shadow Ball already. Sabrina was not known to hold back that much, and ghost-type attacks were an obvious but effective strategy.

I released Eevee from her pokeball, and knelt down, allowing her to jump into my arms, and I gave her a quick cuddle. I could tell how people walking past me were giving us amused looks, but I didn’t quite care.

“Hey, girl, you have to wait a bit for Shadow Ball, but I promise you, it will happen sooner rather than later.”

Eevee gave a happy squeal, burrowing her face into my chest. I stood up, Eevee still in my arms, and started to walk back to the Pokemon Center. I needed to grab a few more jobs, since now that money might yield more TMs than I had initially planned for.

The Pokemon Center wasn’t very far away. Only a roughly ten-minute walk which had extended to a twenty-minute one, because we had stopped to grab some ice cream. Thankfully, there was such a thing as ice cream for pokemon, so while I unfortunately couldn’t offer any to Magikarp right now, at least Squirtle and Eevee enjoyed a bit each.

In the following days, I did many more courier missions, and on one of those courier missions, I learned something that corrected a piece of misinformation I had initially believed. Well, kinda.

I had thought there wasn’t a gym here, and I was sort of right, in that there is no gym that rewards a badge that qualifies one for the Indigo Conference and access to certain areas and jobs. However, there is a former official gym, that had been able to do that until it had lost that privilege to the new coming Gym Leader

Surge nearly a decade back. I hadn’t known that these places were still operating and were actually getting a bit of funding from the League.

They weren’t official Gym Leaders anymore, but they still helped the city with wild pokemon and still had a position of authority in their communities, even if it was a diminished one, compared to the eight official ones. They were certainly less in the limelight and didn’t get nearly as much attention, but they were still operating, and you could challenge them in order to get a badge. Only, the badge was mostly symbolic, but it did look good when you had them, but only if it was in addition to the main badges. If you only collected these side badges, people would regard you as someone too weak and cowardly to go for the main ones.

That was a bit unfortunate, but since I was already here, fighting the resident gym, even if it wasn’t a main gym, was rather tempting, since that would just mean more experience for my pokemon.

They were also giving out reward money. It wasn’t much, only 2000 pokedollars compared to the 5000 of official gyms, but that was still enough that it would make a difference to me.

I had decided to do so at the end of my stay, so, after another two-day break, freshly supplied and everyone in perfect condition, we left for what was once the normal type gym, in order to win the Steppe Badge.
Seen May 29th, 2023
Posted May 25th, 2023
15 posts
5.8 Years
The former official gym was in the outskirts of the city, and it wasn’t the most impressive building I had seen, and I came from Pallet Town. As far as my research showed, this wasn’t the original gym building, that one had been in a more central location, but apparently, after a few years of trying to reclaim their position, the city leadership had realized that there was no hope of getting their spot back, so they had torn it down to build a park there.

I know that must have been a very bitter experience for the former gym team, but I had seen that park and I have to say, it was a rather nice park, with plenty of green space for pokemon and people to relax in, amidst all the concrete and noise of a city.

At first glance, this looked like a building that was past its prime, but still very serviceable, with big enough doors to allow larger pokemon to pass. It was only one story though, but it had an outside fighting area, and a bit of free space in general in what seemed to be like a 20-meter radius around the building. A gym was supposed to be a place of constant action and movement, with countless people moving in and out, doing things. The two trainers occupying the fighting space with their pokemon were downright quiet from what I had expected.

I entered, finding the door open after knocking hadn’t really yielded any reaction.

“Hello?” I said, raising my voice with the hope of getting the attention of someone. “I came here to fight for the badge.”

I walked through the doors, and what greeted me was a very basic reception, only without anyone manning it. There was even a bell, so I stepped up and rang it a few times. This time, after twenty seconds, I heard footsteps hurrying towards me and a plump lady, older than my mother, came into sight.

She was wearing a green dress, had her blonde hair in curls going down to her shoulder and she was beaming.

“Oh, it has been a few days since we had a challenge. It is so nice to meet you, dear.” She paused for a second. “You are here for the challenge, right?”

“Hello,” I said again and returned the smile. “And yes, I’m here for that. Could go right now, if possible.”

She nodded, typing something on the computer in front of her, and hit enter. She then turned to me. “I just wrote Frederik, and he will be happy to fight you. Poor guy, has been anxious for a while. Nothing to do, you understand.”

I nodded, hoping to convey my sympathy. Fewer people were challenging him than I had expected.

She then led me to the indoor battle arena. “We are getting maybe one challenger a week, sometimes two. There were more, but not many people visit Hop Hop Hop Town during their gym circuit, and even fewer of those find their way to our gym. Frederik has appealed multiple times to put up more signs, making them aware of our gym and lead them here, but the mayor and city council has refused. I think they are a bit embarrassed and want to try something else, and Frederick is too stubborn to do that. Oh, it is just so unfortunate.”

I was getting more information about the state of the gym, its leader and the local political landscape than I ever wanted to know.

“That does sound unfortunate,” I said a bit lamely, not really knowing what to say about that.

“Oh, I am sorry dear, I must be boring you with our problems. It’s just nice to talk about it with someone new.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I assuaged her, just as we entered the battle room. “I guess I am just surprised that he would need their permission to advertise or hang up posters or give interviews and the like.”

“He can do that,” she said, “it’s just that he doesn’t want to deal with the media. He wants to be acknowledged by the city and not treated like its embarrassing secret.”

That sounded like a him-problem. The way I saw it, he’d have to suck it up, get some people in here through whatever means necessary and once he had gotten more popularity, push his case then.

But that wasn’t advice that some random rookie who had literally just wandered in should give, it would be ridiculously arrogant to do that.

“That’s rough,” I just said, “I hope things will look up soon, for you guys. You have a nice building here.”

And it was nice. Not terribly new or advanced, but still nice.

“Thank you, dear,” she said with a sad smile. “He will probably arrive soon. Do you want something to drink?”

“No, thank you, I’m just gonna wait here.”

“That’s okay, I still have some things to do in the back, just wait a few minutes and he will be right here. Have fun!”

With a cheery wave, she turned around and left.

Well, while it was not really my business, I did get an interesting and a bit disappointing first impression of former gym leader Frederick, and that was one of a bitter old man, who was unable to let go of the past and who was too proud to change, even though his current path was not at all working.

That didn’t necessarily mean this would translate to an inflexible and outdated battle style, mind you. But it was something to keep in mind. Although, maybe not too much, since I hardly had all the information and only the account of the resident helper at the Gym. Way too early for any judgement calls.

I fished out a piece of gum, and popped it in my mouth. Chewing slowly and enjoying the texture and flavor, I started to inspect the battleground. It was a small field, with the ground being normal earth where pokemon could dig in if they needed to, regular size, with roughly ten meters between the trainers once they each stood on one part of the field, with the space in-between reserved for their fighting pokemon. The limits were clearly outlined with white chalk.

I know he was using normal type pokemon, but I couldn’t really know which two he would send against me, so type wise, there wouldn’t be an advantage or disadvantage for either of us, which was just fine for me.

Not even a minute later, a man stepped into the room, and while I had known that the former gym leader had been an older man, I hadn’t been prepared for how old he was. Despite being slightly hunched over due to his clear old age, he still towered over me with nearly two meters. With his tanned skin from exposure to the sun, a wide frame and a barrel chest, he cut an imposing figure, even in his cargo shorts and white t-shirt. His short hair, though, was snow-white, as was his beard that went down to his neck.

His face, though, showed his age in a way that the rest of his body somehow didn’t, and I still couldn’t exactly guess what it was. Maybe 60 or 70? 80? More? He still looked like he was using an Onix to jump rope.

“So, you’re the young lass who wants to challenge me, is that right?” he grumbled, voice deep and loud.

“Yes, sir, that’s me”, I replied, standing straight as he came to stop in front of me, and I had to crane my neck back to meet his gaze.

“Great. I’m Frederick, and I was the normal-type gym leader of Kanto, but by now, I’m just an old man who is happy to show you youngsters a trick or two.”

“I’m Green, from Pallet Town.”

His eyebrows rose. “You come from little Sammy’s town?”

I didn’t have a clue who little Sammy was before a thought struck me.

“Do…do you mean, Professor Oak?”

He rolled his eyes, “bah, I remember when he came through my doors, cocky as you please, convinced he was Arceus’ gift to the world. He wasn’t a fancy professor then! Gave him a bit of a reality check.” He barked out a laugh, “Of course, he has somewhat improved since then. Do me a favor, will you. Tell him to come visit me again one of these days, it’s rude to expect his elders to come to him. And make sure to tell him not to skimp on the good stuff, the ungrateful miser.”

Well, that was information I was completely unprepared to receive.

“Sure,” I said, “I’ll tell him.” I paused for a second, wrestling with myself before finally deciding to ask. “Okay, I just have to ask, so sorry if I’m rude, but how old are you if you beat the professor when he was a kid as an established gym leader?”

He laughed, “that has been some while ago, hasn’t it?” Frederick ran his fingers through his long beard, “Well, let’s see. I think we had our first match when I had already been gym leader for more than a few years and I got that post with 23 or so. Not exactly sure, give or take a few years. That was over 50 years ago. Heh, time sure does fly.”

Well, suddenly I liked my chances in this fight a lot less if he had been an active pokemon trainer for longer than my parents had been actually alive.

“So, are you good with three on three?” he asked, looking at my belt.

“One of my three pokemon is Magikarp, so I would prefer a two on two.”

He frowned, “I dislike that format, but that’s how a lot of modern gyms do it nowadays, I suppose. Very well, we shall do it that way. How many badges do you have?”

“None, this would be my first gym fight, be it official or unofficial.”

“Wanting to get some practice in before you go for the real deal, is it?” and the way he framed it made me think he wasn’t super fond of that strategy. Thinking of it from his perspective, I guess it was a bit insulting.

“When you frame it like that, it does make me sound like a jerk.”

He let out a humorless laugh as he took position on his side of the battlefield and I did mine. “That’s how things are now. I don’t like it, but while it’s less glorious, it’s still a valuable duty.” Suddenly a wide, sharp smile appeared on his face, between his white beard, showing his teeth. “But lass, if you thought this was the easy fight, to warm you up, you have miscalculated. Now, release your first pokemon.”

“Shouldn’t you release your pokemon first?” I asked, but I still plucked Eevee’s pokeball from my belt.

“It’s different nowadays, but back then, the challenger released their pokemon first and the Gym Leader sent out a pokemon to better match them. Not to go for a more advantageous counter, but to better challenge and teach. That’s how we’re going to do it here, so don’t worry about me going for a lame counter.”

I guess that was a way of doing things. I threw my pokeball, and Eevee materialized on the field, her guard already up. I had told all of my pokemon earlier what we were going to do, so they all knew what was up.

“Be ready,” I told her, and watched him look at Eevee for a few seconds, nodding once.

“She looks good. Healthy. Not too shabby for a rookie trainer. How long have you been together?”

“I started last month and got her on my second day. Traveled here from Pallet, and we have been training ever since.”

“Heh, deciding on improving the basics before going out and battling. Cautious, but I can’t say that’s the wrong move. Well, we’ll see, I suppose.” He reached for his own belt, which had six pokeballs, with two of them being a different, darker color. “Okay, old girl, let’s show them our strength.”

Out of the pokeball came a Doduo, a bipedal bird pokemon with two heads, each attached to a very long neck. Its long legs made sure that the beast was towering over my Eevee.

“I figure that’s a decent enough start to show me if you know your stuff.

“I actually expected a Raticate or Meowth.”

“A lot of people do, and I had a few, but unfortunately, they all passed away, and I just couldn’t replace them with new ones. But that’s just what happens when you live to my age. You have to deal with that. Enough stalling though. Are you ready?”

I nodded.

“We begin on three.”

The second the countdown was done, Eevee looked at Doduo, meeting all four of her eyes as best as she could, and made an adorable expression by activating Baby-Doll Eyes. Doduo glowed white for a second, making me glad that her attack had been lowered, but unfortunately, she also had immediately started sprinting.

While he had practiced that, Doduo was unfortunately a very fast runner, and it dashed toward Eevee, and while Eevee had managed to dodge the first Peck attack of the left head, the right head did manage to scratch her, making her growl in pain.

“Use Sand Attack,” I ordered her and her glowing left paw hit the ground and a concentrated blast of sand hit one of the heads, making it shake and squawk in annoyance.

Unfortunately, Doduo had two heads and the other one could see perfectly fine and attacked again by slamming its beak on Eevee’s head.

There weren’t many pokemon with several heads or eyes, so we hadn’t really trained with that in mind. An obvious oversight, in hindsight.

Eevee scurried back and launched another Sand Attack, only the Doduo was ready for it and leaped to the side. The second it landed on its feet again, it dashed forward, listening to Frederick’s order to use Fury Attack.

The second head was really annoying since even the blinded one, with its eyes closed, could seemingly attack as long as the other could see, as it launched a flurry of attacks with both of its heads.

Eevee tried her best to dodge the attacks and managed to avoid being hit by most of the attacks, even though the Doduo got a few hits in. Thankfully, we had managed to lower its attack at the beginning, or we might already have been knocked out.

The two separated, with Eevee gaining a bit of distance, and I could see her growling and breathing hard, all tense. Even her fur was standing up and she looked a bit bigger than usual.

“Stay calm,” I told her. “Think about our plan. Use Tail Whip.” She obeyed and wagged her tail, and I could see the move having an effect.

Frederik, of course, wasn’t passively watching. The second head had used the time to rub its neck over the first head's face and get out the worst of the sand, meaning both could see again.

That wasn’t great, but at least it would be able to take fewer hits. We couldn’t afford to trade too many hits at this point, especially since Eevee was already pretty tired and the Doduo had a higher attack potential.

But we had a plan.

“Use Growl now, but be ready,” I told her, wanting less to reduce its attack even more than I wanted Frederick to commit to an attack now.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Frederick yelled, “Finish this with Pluck!”

Doduo started running towards Eevee, and I waited for a heartbeat before roaring “NOW!”

And Eevee immediately aborted the Growl and instead launched a Quick Attack, by shooting forwards, running at full speed towards the Doduo who was not ready to receive the counter-attack. Its heads were unable to stop Eevee from slamming her body into Doduo’s, making both heads cry as it fled to the side and landed hard on the ground, but it managed to get up pretty quickly. Given the way it was breathing and not standing fully up, it did some damage.

“Not bad, use Leer now.”

All of its eyes glowed an ominous red and I could see Eevee wince, and I didn’t like that her attacks would be weaker now, but Doduo would hopefully only need one or two more hits before it was brought down.

“Tail Whip again,” I said, blowing a small bubble with my gum, holding my hat in my hand and I noticed that I was gripping it hard.

Once again, Eevee’s tail was wagging left and right and once more, but this time, Frederick didn’t take the bait and allowed that attack to go through and instead used that time for his Dodou to take a breath and regain some of its stamina.

Doduo’s defense was lowered again, and now it would only take one more attack to bring it down. At least, so I hoped, but now it had much better chances to land an attack that would bring down my Eevee.

I felt a smile appearing on my face, as I was enjoying this moment of tension, and the energy in the air.

“Be ready, girl,” I told her, “You only need one more hit, make it count.”

This would have been a great moment to use Swift, but there was no use crying over something we couldn’t change at the moment. But one thing I had noticed was that while Dodou’s speed was formidable, it wasn’t really faster than Eevee’s. And while its long legs might enable it to be a far superior long-distance runner than Eevee could ever be, that wasn’t really applicable to the situation at hand. On the contrary, its long legs meant that it wasn’t as agile and couldn’t change directions as easily as Eevee could.

On the other hand, it didn’t need to do that in order to land its attacks. Once it stood still, its heads would be able to attack all around its body as they controlled everything in a short radius around it, and I didn’t feel comfortable to risk Eevee having to dodge two heads like that.

Huh, then again, she wouldn’t need to, would she? Not if she tried to stay on one side of the Doduo’s body so that only one head could attack her.

“You aren’t doing half bad so far,” Frederick mused, “but a bit passive, I’d say. Very well, I’ll indulge you one more time.” He ordered his Doduo to attack and Dodou started running again. This time, it was a bit slower, and ready to dodge or at least react to another Quick Attack.

“Stay on its left side,” and Eevee dashed forward, only to stop and then break away hard to the side. Doduo tried to emulate her, but by the time it had turned, Eevee was already gone from there and had gotten a bit closer. “Sand Attack,” I told her, and launched another wave of sand against the face closest to her and it hit, with Doduo screeching in distress. It hit only one but that was the opening we needed.

“Finish it with a Quick Attack!”

“Quick Attack!” Frederick roared, mirroring my attack and suddenly, with a step to the side that brought Doduo a bit further away from Eevee it also simultaneously allowed its second head to lounge forward and parried her attack. Glowing beak met glowing paws and unfortunately, Eevee was pushed back, although they didn’t really damage each other.

That was unfortunate, because Eevee had burned a lot more stamina in that last action than Doduo had, and the blinded head wasn’t as significant of a disadvantage as I would have liked.

This fight really laid bare all of our current shortcomings. We were lacking a lot of options and tools.

“Ready for Sand Attack and then jumping Tackle,” I said, and it felt inadequate. I guess this was where my shortcomings were laid bare as well, since I couldn’t really think of anything to get the edge. The battlefield was open and empty, with nothing to hide behind or to take advantage off. Both pokemon were tired, but Doduo had the higher range and had a weird numerical advantage, that was not quite a two on one, but it also didn’t really feel like a one on one either.

Maybe I should have opened with Squirtle, his water attacks would have had changed the battlefield a bit. It wouldn’t have been an outrageous change, but it would have been something.

That was a thought for later, though.

Eevee listened and made herself ready, while Doduo was once again keeping its distance, one head still partly blinded while the other was keeping Eevee firmly in its sight, its beak opening threateningly.

They stood for a few seconds, which made me realize that Frederick wasn’t going to attack again, at least not now, and if we waited for too long, Doduo would have shaken off the Sand Attack.

“Abort that. Get closer and attack with Quick Attack. Don’t aim for the heads. Put everything into this and make sure to dance around it.”

The problem with the two heads is that they and the necks they were attached to were flexible and sturdy and more than able to block attacks. Oddly enough, its main body was the least sturdy part, but both heads and its long legs allowed it to sufficiently protect it.

So, any attacks from now on needed to either overpower the head which would move it to either block or counter-attack, or circumvent it altogether. I didn’t like our chances for the former, and the odds were low for the latter, but the second was still the better bet.

Eevee ran forward, but didn’t move to attack just yet. She knew that the Doduo was ready. So she got close enough that she was in striking range, but it waited. Eevee dashed to the right and then immediately zigzagged to the left. Doduo tried to step back and whirl its body around, but Eevee changed direction once more, and then pretended to lunge forward which was finally enough to trigger a reaction from the Doduo and its unharmed head thrust forward, its beak glowing with the color of flight type energy,

Eevee was able to dodge the Peck, and I was proud that she made a quick dash between its now wide legs and then launched a Quick Attack from just behind and the second head was not ready to react without the vision of the first and Eevee managed to hit right in its bottom right flank.

Both of its heads cried in pain as it stumbled a few feet, but to my dismay, it was still standing.

“That was better,” Frederick complimented us, but you wouldn’t know it from his expressionless face. “Still not aggressive enough, but that’ll do, I suppose.”

Checking both of our pokemon, both were dirty, injured and panting in exhaustion. Neither one was down, but Eevee had burned all of her stamina, and the tank was too empty for another such attack. Similarly, the Doduo was most likely hurting a lot more, but could maybe launch another attack, but given its wobbly feet, it wouldn’t be able to do so without some cost.

“I’m going to call this a draw,” Frederick stated and returned his Doduo.

I nodded, not super psyched about it, but I saw his point. “Good job, Eevee. Take your rest.” I was just about to recall her when she turned to me and let out a low whine. “Oh, you want to watch the next round? Sure. You have to leave the field, though.”

She nodded and trotted beside me, allowing me to give her a quick rub on her back.

Frederick seemed satisfied. “Now, pick your second pokemon.”

I had to give that to him, he had picked a pokemon that had demanded everything Eevee had, and she had just managed to match it. With that in mind, I was exited what he had in prospect next.

My next choice was of course clear. Magikarp was not yet a feasible pick, so it was Squirtle. Seeing my starter materialize in front of me, ready to battle, made me feel exited. We had trained hard and right now, Squirtle was the heavy hitter of my team.

“Oh, nice specimen. Sammy does like handing those out.”

Frederick nodded and plucked the fourth pokeball from his belt and released his pokemon. I didn’t like being surprised by his Lickitung. It wasn’t a pokemon I knew super well, beyond the fact that they were among the rarest of the Kanto pokemon and that while they were normal type, their tongues secreted a very powerful paralyzing saliva. Their tongues were also very long and strong, enough to wrap around enemies a few meters away and lift them.

It was very much a close to mid-range pokemon with a very dangerous gimmick. There weren’t that many in the higher echelons of professional battling though, for the very simple reason that its powerful gimmick had a lot of counters. Even though it was, in a lot of ways, a niche choice, it was a very effective one right now since I couldn’t employ those counters as much as I would like.

I really didn’t like this.

“Very well, let’s go,” Frederick said, and once again, left me with the first move.

“Water Gun,” I ordered, because while very predictable, it was still the correct choice.

Before the water beam hit its stomach, the Lickitung extended its tongue and blocked the water with it.

I wasn’t too worried, because I expected that. Lickitung weren’t fast enough to dodge most attacks by moving their bodies and tended to block things with their tongue. And while it was a very strong and durable tongue, covered with dangerous fluids which protected it, I wasn’t so sure it felt nothing being hit with a reasonably strong Water Gun.

Once the Water Gun petered out, the Lickitung pulled its tongue back, giving us a cheeky smile.

“Well done, now let’s hit them with Rollout.”

Lickitung curls its round body into a ball and starts rolling towards Squirtle.

“Counter with Rapid Spin,” I said, still calm, because while being hit by Rollout would hurt, it wasn’t as dangerous for us as being hit by its tongue was.

Squirtle immediate retreated into his shell and started spinning, and slammed into the oncoming Licktung. Right now, both pokemon were using attacks that made it difficult to control where they were going. Still, I liked Squirtle’s chances because when they hit each other, while Lickitung was bigger and heavier, Squirtle’s shell was harder and spun faster. Not to mention the shell was protecting Squirtle, so I was certain that in an exchange of blows, Squirtle would come ahead.

Both pokemon flew away from each other, but Lickitung was the one letting out a cry of pain as it landed and rolled on the ground, snapping out of the Rollout.

“Follow up with another Water Gun!” I ordered Squirtle, and he obeyed, nailing the Lickitung with another water beam as it was trying to get up, hitting it right in the back of its head. The Lickitung’s face was pressed to the ground, and it let out a pained howl.

Unfortunately, that is when our luck shifted, as it managed to get up surprisingly fast and its tongue shot out just as quickly, giving Squirtle not enough time to dodge as he was still recovering from his own taxing, successive moves. The tongue slammed into his head with enough force to knock him over backwards, and while the damage to the head was worrying, I was far more concerned with the paralyzing effects of it. Still, a turtle on his back wasn’t a great position either, but thankfully, there were still options for us.

“Withdraw,” I ordered him and he immediately obeyed, pulling all his limbs and head inside his shell.

“Ooh, turtling up, I see. We’ll see if that works out for you. Go for Wrap now, boy.”

His tongue shot out again, and instead of licking, it wrapped itself around the shell, but that is what I had been counting on.

“Now, Rapid Spin as hard as you can!”

Before the tongue pulled itself tight, Squirtle started spinning and I could see from the wince of the pink pokemon, and from the tongue loosening away from Squirtle, that the short contact had hurt his remarkably tough tongue.

“Water Gun,” I said, knowing this was a bit risky. Combining two moves is never easy, and there was a random factor involved, but right now, it was literally impossible for Squirtle to miss since the tongue was all around him.

Water shot out of the hole his head was usually coming from, and two things happened; The water started to hit the tongue, as the shell was still spinning, but it wasn’t particularly hard since it never hit the same spot for too long, but at the same time, the water had propelled the shell forward, making it connect with the tongue again and that was enough for the Lickitung to pull it back completely.

That is also when using two attacks caught up with Squirtle as he stopped both, and got out of his shill, standing up again but panting.

He gave the Lickitung a mocking squeak though, for which his opponent returned a harsh growl.

While I felt like we had done the best we could in that situation, I couldn’t help but feel that the Lickitung had gotten away better from this. We had slightly hurt it, but for the stamina and energy we had wasted, it didn’t really seem like a worthwhile exchange.

Of course, letting Lickitung grab the Squirtle and slam him against the ground a few times wouldn’t have been better, but still.

“That was a neat trick,” Frederick admitted, “but not very effective.”

No, it hadn’t been. Squirtle was tired, and Lickitung was slowly walking towards him, his tongue wiggling outside his mouth, waiting for the order to attack once more.

But for the last month, if we had practiced one thing, it was Squirtle’s ability to use Water Gun, even after he was tired and exhausted.

It didn’t mean he wouldn’t run out of energy, but we had one or two more shots left that could do some real damage that he wouldn’t necessarily be expecting from a pokemon that seemed so tired.

That said, while tired, the Rapid Spins had increased his speed and the Withdraw had increased his defense, so he was also in better shape than he looked. It all depended on timing things right.

Seeing that I was once again waiting for him to act, he shook his head. “You’re too reactive, girl. You can’t always wait on the enemy to make the first move.”

“It’s the correct move, though,” I said, and it was. Right now, we didn’t have the juice to set the flow of the battle, and committing to any attack first would allow for Lickitung to counter.

“No, it’s not, and I’ll show you what you have missed out on now.” And with that, he gave his next order, which made my heart sink into my stomach. “Rest.”


Right in front of us, whilst walking, the Lickitung closed his eyes and dropped on the ground, snoring. Already, I could see his skin looking better.

“Rapid Spin!” I yelled, and Squirtle jumped, and his spinning shell hit the sleeping pokemon right on his head, making him grunt in his sleep, but not enough to wake him up. The bruise that the Rapid Spin had caused was soon healed as well. This was terrible because I don’t think Squirtle had the energy left to overcome his healing.

I don’t think Frederick would be amused if I gave the order to try and drown the Lickitung by shooting an unceasing Water Gun in his face. Injuries happening over the course of the fight was one thing, but aiming for that was another.

That said, I don’t think I had that many other options. Later, far later, once Squirtle was evolved and had a greater pool of attacks and options, using Rest like this would have been tantamount to giving up.

Unfortunately, Frederick had correctly judged the level we were at, and while Squirtle could wail a bit on Lickitung, he wouldn’t able to deal the amount of damage that would-

Wait a minute.

“Hey, is there a ring out?” I asked him, because so far, the fight had happened in the confines of the field.

Frederick smiled. “Sure.”

This was going to be a gamble. “Push him out with your Water Gun, but make sure to make the path you are going to push him on wet first!”

Squirtle obeyed and a stream of water first hit the space between the edge of the ring and the sleeping pokemon, before moving on to the Lickitung. For a few seconds, nothing happened before the force of the Water Gun started to slowly move him.

I grimaced, because that was taking too long. Squirtle didn’t have a lot of stamina left, and shooting out a Water Gun that strong for so long at this point would completely exhaust him. Not to mention that Lickitungs were not light pokemon. Pretty sure the thing was heavier than I was.

“Not a bad idea,” Frederick said, “you’re not bad on your feet, but you need to be more aggressive. I don’t doubt that you will be more effective later on, but right now, the way you’re fighting is not to your advantage, and it won’t be for a good, long while. Wake up, boy.”

Despite being so firmly asleep that even the continuous Water Gun that had slowly been dragging over the field had not woken him up, the Lickitung obeyed the command of his trainer by opening his eyes, getting up and extending his tongue to start blocking the water stream.

A few seconds later, the stream petered off, with Squirtle being truly spent, and panting.

Frederick waited a few seconds, to see what I would do, and I knew what I had to do.

“I give up, it’s our loss.” The words felt like ash in my mouth.