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Sybot
27th June 2006, 5:43 PM
Edit- This fic has a general PG-13 rating. (saves me from having to rate each chapter on its own). If it gets higher then I will update this.

Hello there, I'm back after a long absence from these forums (at least long enough for my old account to be deleted). You may (or more likely not) remember my original story, Twilight of the Pokegods. This is an evolution of that, based on some of the same ideas but with many bits and pieces changed.

This is based on the game for timeline purposes, and all characters are based on their game incarnations where possible. Shall we begin?

Contents:

Prologue: Opposites Clash (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=3547594&postcount=1)Phil vs Gold
Chapter One: Adelta Attacked (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=3602280&postcount=2)Phil vs Team Rocket
Chapter Two: The Long Road (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=3676835&postcount=9)Phil vs Jen
Chapter Three: Friends? (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=3805152&postcount=11)Phil and Jen vs Einar and Alfgeir
Chapter Four: Twilight of the Flame (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=4003281&postcount=15)Team Twilight vs Moltres
Chapter Five: A Third Wheel (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=4229799&postcount=16)Phil vs Victreebel
Chapter Six: Psychic vs Dark, No Contest? (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=4340690&postcount=17)Phil vs Sabrina
Chapter Seven: Enter Aden! (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=4791926&postcount=19)Phil vs Aden
Chapter Eight: Game Corner Showdown! (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showpost.php?p=5163276&postcount=22)Dornez vs Tieren

(Note: Dashed lines mark the beginning and end of each chapter)

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Prologue: Opposites Clash
(11 years after Team Rocket were defeated in Kanto, 10 years after Groudon and Kyogre were stopped from destroying Hoenn, 8 years after the Rocket’s resurgence in Johto was put down)

“Your next battle will be against Phil and his Murkrow!” announced the referee.

“Fine,” replied the boy standing at one end of the battlefield. He was eighteen years old, average height for his age and slightly thin, with dark hair and deep blue eyes. He was wearing a red jacket and long, baggy yellow and black trousers.

The first Gym of the Champions’ League, here in Adelta Town, was going to be more of a challenge than he had originally believed. Although the first two junior trainers he had battled were easy to defeat, his Pokémon were getting tired, and he still had one more trainer to deal with before he reached the Gym Leader.

“Please send out a Pokémon,” the referee said. The boy nodded, and took a small red and white sphere, a Pokéball, from his belt.

“Go, Ampharos!” he yelled, throwing it into the centre of the arena. It cracked open in a flash of light and a tall yellow Pokémon with a bright light on its tail and black stripes along its neck and tail materialized. It looked at the room around it.

The Yellow Room, designated for former Champions taking the Champion’s League Challenge, was painted, appropriately enough, yellow. But, after a few years of battles, the walls were covered in stains ranging from impact craters, to scorch marks, to blood spatters. A standard battle arena, a rectangle bisected by a line halfway along its length, was painted in white on the wooden floor. There were no windows; so several lamps on the ceiling lit the room. Overall, the room was barely wide enough to hold the arena, but the ceiling was too high for humans. Of course this was to allow for the largest Pokémon.

“The battle of Hiro Sirit against…” started the referee.

“Gold, if you please,” the trainer interrupted.

“Very well, sir,” the referee sniffed with annoyance. He raised his flags into the air. “Gold against Philip Auris, begin!”

“But he’s not here,” Gold noted.

“But I am,” came a voice from the shadows in the corner of the room. Somebody stepped out of them. He was similar to Gold in stature, but he was clothed in a pale T-shirt and jeans and his hair was as black as the Pokémon on his shoulder. It was a Murkrow, a small black bird-like Pokémon commonly associated with misfortune. Phil had a wry smirk on his face. “Shall we begin?”

“Krow!” shrieked his Pokémon. It took off and flew into the arena, while Phil moved to position directly opposite Gold.

“Thunderbolt!” Gold ordered, to get the battle going. Ampharos glowed as electricity built in its body, and then it discharged. Lightning forked through the air towards Murkrow.

“Faint Attack!” Phil commanded his response. Murkrow faded from view, and the Thunderbolt swept through empty air, eventually impacting a wall in a cloud of dust and paint particles.

“Amph?” wondered the confused Ampharos, as it glanced around the room, looking for Murkrow. Then the air behind it shimmered. Murkrow rematerialized in mid-air directly behind Ampharos and immediately began attacking with its wings.

“Murk-k-k-k,” Murkrow chuckled. Ampharos took the punishment as it was still recovering from the surprise of the attack.

“Iron Tail!” Gold yelled. He had to get that bird off of his Pokémon’s back. Ampharos was his best Pokémon, and he couldn’t let it fall before he reached the Gym Leader.

Still under a flurry of blows from Murkrow, Ampharos was able to muster enough strength to do something. Its tail began to glow, and it suddenly leapt forward, out of Murkrow’s reach. The bird attempted to catch up and renew its attack, but Ampharos quickly swung around 360°, smacking Murkrow with its tail and sending it tumbling through the air.

Hiro looked up at Phil, expecting him to be panicking, or at the very least concerned. But instead, the other trainer was apparently unfazed.

“Murkrow, get yourself together,” he groaned with a roll of his eyes. The Pokémon flapped its wings to steady itself, and it quickly turned to face Ampharos once more. “Good,” Phil continued, “now Drill peck it!”

“Thunderbolt!” Gold exclaimed. Now he was the one panicking. Calm was important in battling, but it was hard when your trusted friends were on the line. Hiro took a deep breath and watched.

Murkrow was spinning faster and faster as it approached Ampharos, and in return Ampharos was charging up another attack. It released the bolt moments before Murkrow impacted. The bird was lit up with light, but it kept going and smashed into Ampharos. The force of the attack sent the larger Pokémon sprawling into a wall. As it struggled to get back up, it was obvious it was exhausted. Murkrow wasn’t much better. It skidded across the floor, twitching slightly as the last few bolts of electricity left its body.

“Ampharos!” Gold cried out. He couldn’t let Ampharos be knocked out. Perhaps some rest in a Pokéball while another Pokémon dealt with Murkrow was better. He took two Pokéballs out, one of them Ampharos’ the other belonging to his next Pokémon, Sudowoodo. “Return!” he said, with his arm outstretched, pointing the Pokéball at Ampharos. A beam of light shot out, aimed directly at it.

“Not so fast!” Phil interrupted, “use Pursuit, Murkrow!” Murkrow, who had been barely able to stand, even with support from its wings, suddenly burst forward with an energy that had seemed to come from nowhere. It entered the beam even as it hit Ampharos. Both of them transformed into light and were sucked into the Pokéball. A few seconds later it began shaking violently.

“No! Ampharos, hang in there!” Gold pleaded to the ball. The vibrations quickly got so bad that he had to drop it to the floor. Gold could do naught but watch. It was the first time he’d seen Pursuit effectively deployed. After a few moments the shaking stopped, and he went to reach for the ball. Just then it exploded open, throwing him back, and Ampharos and Murkrow onto the arena.

“Muurrrk!” Murkrow groaned, giving a sarcastic salute to Phil before keeling over, completely drained. Ampharos said nothing, and fell in a heap upon the floor.

“All of Philip’s Pokémon are out, Gold wins!” announced the referee, with his flag raised towards the challenger, who was rubbing his head after getting up off the floor. The two combatants recalled their Pokémon in silence.

“I achieved my goals,” Phil suddenly said, “I weakened your team, so that you will be easier for my Gym Leader to defeat”

“You ordered your Pokémon to continue, even when it was clearly close to collapse. Why?” Gold asked. He was walking across the arena to the door that led to the Gym Leader.

“Whatever your relationship to a Pokémon outside of this arena, once you are in battle they are merely a means to an end,” Phil replied, fiddling with Murkrow’s Pokéball. Gold stopped just in front of him.

“You can’t think that!” said Gold, shocked at this coldness. He looked into Phil’s eyes, and he realized that that was exactly what Phil felt. Then he noticed something deeper, something that he had never seen before yet was very familiar, a strange darkness penetrating into the depths of Phil’s heart. Gold looked away, and it was gone.

“The light…” muttered Phil. Gold looked up again and saw the other trainer was staring straight at him. “Never mind,” Phil said as broke his gaze. Then, in a voice infused with sarcasm, he continued, “have fun against our Leader…” After saying those words, he put Murkrow’s Pokéball on his belt and then marched towards the exit. Gold watched him leave. There was something about that trainer… He shook his head; he was probably just imagining things. Turning back to the door, he steeled himself for the next challenge, and then opened it and stepped through.

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Chapter One is currently being written, so sit tight. Also just to make sure you know, Phil is the main character, not Gold.

Finally, if you're interested, keep reading for a few factoids about the changes between this version and the original.

-The original prologue was Steven vs Kyogre, 5 years before the story started, serving as an introduction to the main villains. However this time I decided to stick closer to the games storylines for the backstory, so the opening battle of Chapter One became the Prologue
-The original version of this battle had Phil battling a guy called Reutanci, who was in fact Gold under a different name, but I wanted to keep that fact hidden at the time.
-It is interesting that I chose Ampharos for Gold's main Pokemon in the original version, as it will become important plotwise later in this new version, whereas it was just a throwaway Pokemon originally.

Sybot
3rd July 2006, 10:19 PM
Boo hoo no ones replying. Never mind, I'll just PM some reviewers. Anyway, this chapter came up as 9 pages in MS Word, which surprised even me. I'm wondering if this was a bit too long.]

Edit- rated PG-13 for some violence against humans. And guns.

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Chapter 1: Adelta Attacked!

Phil didn’t know where he was; all he knew was that it was a safe and warm place. He was content here. Then out of nowhere a dark shadow loomed. He felt himself being torn from his place, and thrown out into a cold liquid murk. All of a sudden, something different happened. As he drifted away, he could see in the distance a glow, one that he had seen the day before. It was the light…

Philip Auris sat bolt upright in bed. The dream had changed. What could it mean? Phil rubbed his eyes, yawned, and swung his legs over the side of the bed. The dream was his only link to his past, his family, and it hadn’t changed for as long as he could remember. Phil’s earliest waking memory was of being found by fisherman, having washed up on the shore of the Olympus River. He had been less than one-year old at the time.

By piecing together the events in his dream, Phil had built up a picture of what he believed to have happened all those years ago. His parents must have been taking him out on the Lake of Rage, in the Johto region. Then, the boat, or Pokémon, or whatever they were riding got attacked by a Gyarados and Phil was thrown into the water. Somehow he survived, despite being so young, and he was washed into the Olympus River, which flows out of the Lake of Rage. The current carried him to Adelta Town, here near the mouth of the river in the Olympia Valley region.

Phil was raised by the town’s only Pokémon trainer, a retiree who had given up battling and settled down. As a result, he had, from an early age, an interest in Pokémon that was rare in the mostly rural and backwards Olympia Valley. He spent his early years helping with the fishing, and watching Pokémon battles on television in his spare time. Then he received a big break when the Valley was selected to contain the Champion’s League. When a Gym was built in Adelta Town, he was one of the first to sign up as a junior trainer. So here he was. The position wasn’t as fulfilling as competing in grand tournaments, but at least he got to lay the smackdown to arrogant Champions who underestimated the Gym.

However, he had been shaken by the arrival of the trainer known as Gold. It wasn’t that he had lost. He had watched enough recordings of the former Johto Champion’s matches to know he had no chance. What had disturbed him was the vision of light he had seen in Gold’s eyes. It was so opposed to what he felt, and yet it was familiar in some way. Its appearance in the dream was even more disconcerting, as he had been used to seeing the same dream for years, and now it was changed. Could they be connected somehow?

Phil chuckled to himself. He was reading too much into things. Gold was the same age as he was, and came from the opposite side of Johto to the Lake of Rage. There was no way he could be linked to his family. Nonetheless, the light intrigued him, and he wished he could have caught up with Gold when the trainer left last night, having beaten the Gym Leader. Maybe he could try and find Gold again once his shift at the Gym ended and he got a few weeks off.

“Krow!” came a shriek, disrupting his chain of thought. Phil fell backwards onto his bed, and let the perpetrator sail over him, before reaching out and snatching it out of the air. Murkrow must have noticed him sitting in thought, and decided to slam into the back of his head. It was clearly recovered from the previous day’s battle.

“Nice try,” Phil grinned, pinning the small bird’s wings with one hand, and its beak with the other. He stood up and carried Murkrow to his desk, upon which sat a Pokéball. “And that’s enough excitement for you this morning. Back into your Pokéball!”

“Muurrr!” the Pokémon protested through its clamped beak. Phil tapped the Pokéball with Murkrow, and the bird was transformed into light, before being sucked inside. Phil’s hands clasped empty air, and he slumped back into his chair.

His room was small and simple. It only contained a bed with plain coverings, and a wooden desk and chair with a computer. He lived in a collection of six rooms, which were occupied by one junior trainer each. The whole building was made of wood, as was the style for Adelta Town. Not only that, but it stood on stilts, to keep the building safe whenever the river flooded, which was often.

The town was built on the delta of the Olympus River, near to the coast. As such, architects had to worry about marshy terrain and regular flooding when building the town. This had led to all buildings being essentially the same as Phil’s dorm, a wooden structure on stilts. The only exception was the Gym. A magnificent concrete structure painted clear white, it stood above the ground on strong pillars sunk deep into the earth. Unlike the wooden buildings, which regularly rotted away and had to be replaced before they collapsed, the Gym was likely to stand for many years to come.

Phil was looking over the day’s schedules. As was quite frequent, there were no challengers expected to come to take on the Gym, so the routine would be battle exercises. Phil didn’t mind these, since he had based his entire strategy around the unconventional tactics taught to the junior trainers. After all, they needed to be unpredictable against the vastly superior trainers they often came up against.

Now that he thought about it, Phil would like to be one of those superior trainers. A team of powerful Pokémon, backed up by an unusual strategy, would certainly be a force to be reckoned with. But then, he had obligations to the Gym. Maybe later, when the Gym had more Junior Trainers, he would be able to leave. Phil sighed. He needed to clear his head. Putting Murkrow’s Pokéball on his belt, he quietly left the room and dorm, taking care to not make much noise as he descended the wooden stairs to the slightly muddy ground outside

It was still early in the morning, so the sun was below the horizon, and the town was covered in a dim light. It would still be a couple of hours before the first people got up. Phil gently strolled away from his dorm, in the general direction of the Gym. The ground was damp…it must have rained during the night. Now that he had fresh air, he was able to think more clearly. He really did want to go out and become a roaming trainer like Gold, and more importantly, he had the overwhelming desire to battle the former Champion again.

“Stop right there!” growled a deep voice from behind Phil, cutting his line of thought.

Stopping and turning, Phil started with a sigh, “what is this…” He stopped talking and froze in sheer surprise when he saw two pistols pointed at him.

“We had been hoping to catch the Gym Leader on his early morning run,” one of the two men, cloaked in black and aiming at Phil, said with a chuckle, “but you’ll do. You are…” He looked at a piece of paper held in his hand. “Philip Auris, the second ranked junior trainer at the Gym, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” Phil managed to say. Now that the shock was fading, he was already trying to think of a way out of the situation. However, he couldn’t do anything with two guns pointed at him.

“Then you have access to the Gym’s Pokémon supply, do you not?”

An idea came to Phil.

“Yes, but I have to get my access card, and its in my room,” Phil replied. He made a move back towards his dorm, but a wave of a gun from the silent member of the pair made him stop. What they didn’t know was that he actually had his access card with him.

“I’ll get it,” sighed the talkative one, “where is it?”

Phil pointed out his dorm and room, and handed over his key. The man took it and jogged over to the building, after ordering his lackey to keep an eye on Phil. Now that there was only one, Phil had a chance. If only there was a distraction. Suddenly, a light came on in Phil’s dorm. The silent criminal turned to look at it, presumably to make sure it was the right room, and that nobody was watching them. It was all the time he needed.

“Murkrow! Attack him!” Phil yelled, yanking his Pokémon’s Pokéball off of his belt and throwing it directly at the cloaked person. The person spun round, only to get the ball directly in the face. It burst open, and they were thrown back as Murkrow materialized in their face, with a flash of light that must have been blinding at that close proximity.

“Agh!” the previously unspoken person cried. Phil was mildly surprised to hear that it was a woman. She crashed backwards, vainly firing a couple of shots into the air before dropping the gun altogether. The noise made Phil cringe as it pounded his eardrums, but it was nonetheless useful, as it meant that everybody knew something was up. Now lying on the ground, the woman was desperately trying to get Murkrow off of her face.

“We don’t have time for this,” Phil muttered. He was watching his room, knowing the other one had to be coming out soon. “Tackle her and be done with it,” he said coldly.

“Urk!” his Pokémon replied. It launched itself backwards, and Phil got a brief glimpse of the woman’s face. She had short brown hair, and was surprisingly pretty, the image only sullied by a glaring scowl and the cuts from Murkrow’s attack. A moment later, Murkrow divided back in and knocked her clean out. Phil watched for a moment as she went limp, then suddenly leapt forward towards the Gym.

The sound of a bullet whistling way off of its mark alerted Phil to the attentions of the other criminal. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the man throw down his gun in frustration, and instead reach for his belt. As he threw off his cloak, Phil could see the familiar red R of Team Rocket on the man’s black outfit. That organisation was believed to have been disbanded after their failed attack on the Radio Tower in Johto eight years earlier. However, recently several high profile thefts had been pinned on them.

The Rocket took a Pokéball off of his belt, and threw it towards Phil. Out burst a Dodrio, a brown bird Pokémon with three heads and long legs. Phil knew that this Pokémon was famed for its speed, so he began to sprint. Reaching the Gym, he scrambled up the concrete steps, and fumbled with the doors, trying to open them with his access card. Dodrio had almost caught up with him, when from out of sight a voice called out.

“Tauros, Take Down!” Tauros, a large brown bull Pokémon with three tails, horns on its head and a lot of fur around its neck, charged from around the corner. In smashed straight into Dodrio, even as the bird reached the base of the steps. It tumbled away along the ground, but quickly came to a halt. It leapt to its feet.

“Drio!” it screeched out of all three mouths at once, having been enraged by the attack.

“Ros!” snorted Tauros in response. It was pawing the ground with its hooves. As the two Pokémon faced one another Phil noticed Murkrow had finally caught up with him. He turned back to the door, and managed to easily slide his access card in the slot, now that the pressure was off of him.

“Janson!” Phil called out as the doors slid apart. There was only one person in the Gym who used a Tauros, and that person was Phil’s immediate superior, the head junior trainer Janson.

“Saving your hide again, Philip,” Janson said, rounding the corner. He was in his early twenties and very tall with blonde hair. He was also a natural born leader, a quality Phil lacked, which is why he had conceded the position of head junior trainer to Janson when the Gym was set up.

“Don’t catch a cold,” Phil replied impersonally, not getting worked up by Janson. He was referring to the fact that the other trainer was wearing only his boxer shorts. Janson blushed and scowled as Phil entered the building with Murkrow right behind him.

As the doors slid shut, Phil could hear crashes from outside. The battle between Tauros and Dodrio must have resumed. He had to hurry. Now he was faced with three doors. The door on the right, painted green, was for trainers who won the tournament stage of a regional League, but fell to the Elite Four or Champion. Elite Four members wishing to take the challenge also used this door. The centre door was for Champions who had since lost their title. It was painted yellow, and beyond it was the room where Phil had lost his battle with Gold the day before. The final door was painted red and was for current Champions. A card access panel guarded each door.

However, Phil was not concerned with these doors. He turned to the right, to a card access panel seemingly placed on a blank wall. A quick swipe of his access card, and the wall began to move. Murkrow squawked in surprise. It had never seen this before, but Phil had. The wall slid up and out of sight, revealing a room shrouded in darkness.

“Lights!”

At Phil’s command the room lit up, revealing row upon row of red and white Pokéballs. Hundreds covered the room, from top to bottom. Phil didn’t waste any time. He grabbed as many as he could, cradling an ever-growing pile of balls in his left arm. These Pokémon were trained to obey any command given by the junior trainers. Normally, they would only be brought out for the junior trainers who didn’t have a Pokémon of their own, or for when more than just one was needed. Now was such a time. Having grabbed as many as he could carry, Phil dashed back out of the room.

Murkrow had been perching on the access panel, poking its beak into the room. Phil paid no heed to it as he swiped his card to close the door again. The wall came smashing down so fast; the bird had barely enough to get out of the way. It glared angrily at Phil, who only smirked in reply.

Suddenly there was a crash, and glass flew everywhere. Phil raised his right arm to shield himself, so he got away with a few cuts on it. Tauros has been thrown through the entrance door. Leaping through the wrecked door, with Murkrow right behind, Phil came face to face with his least favourite Pokémon, Gyarados.

The enormous snake balanced on its tail, its body covered in large blue scales, and its mouth open in a permanent roar. Silvery-blue spines ran down its back, and two long whiskers extended from its chin. Meanwhile, Dodrio had left to menace Janson. Phil wasn’t scared, as it wasn’t his nature to panic in the face of danger. That didn’t stop him being disgusted at the monster in front of him nonetheless.

“Catch, Janson!” he shouted, grabbing two Pokéballs and chucking them in the other trainer’s direction. He didn’t have time to check whether they reached their target. Concentrating on the situation, he knew the last thing the Rockets would expect was an immediate counterattack. “Drill Peck!” he ordered, looking at Murkrow over his shoulder.

“Krow!” replied his Pokémon. It began spinning, then sped forward. Gyarados was taken off guard as the small bird smashed straight into its centre body. It fell backwards onto the ground, sending up clods of dirt as it impacted. Phil smiled triumphatntly.

“Thanks for that,” came Janson’s voice. Phil looked over to his superior, to see the trainer moving his way, with Dodrio lying immobile on the floor and a Mawile and Pinsir in tow. Looking the other direction, Phil could see several other junior trainers were sneaking around the edge of the town, trying to avoid a large collection of Rockets and their Pokémon that had assembled in the centre.

“Take care of them,” Phil said; ignoring Janson’s gratitude, “I want this Gyarados.” He pointed out the other trainers and Janson nodded. Phil reached into his pile of balls and pulled two out at random. He reached for a third, but then stopped. Something told him another was better. He chose a different one. The rest he handed to Janson. Phil dashed down the steps to where Gyarados was recovering from Murkrow’s surprise attack.

“Gyarados, Rage!” yelled a voice from behind the large Pokémon. It sprung back onto its tail, its eyes frenzied.

“Go, Pokémon!” Phil called out. He grabbed two of the balls he had chosen and threw them in front of Gyarados. In front of him appeared a small red and white bird carrying a sack under one arm, a Delibird, and a rocky bluish-grey Pokémon with a large orange beak, a Nosepass.

“Raaaaaargh!” Gyarados roared as it swept at the two new arrivals using its head. Delibird didn’t have a chance to react and was smashed out of the way. Luckily, it had absorbed most of the force of the attack, so when it reached Nosepass, the rock Pokémon was able to easily withstand the blow.

“Too bad for you!” Phil called out. While Gyarados recovered from its attack and readied for the next, Phil quickly flicked through his mind in an attempt to remember what Nosepass could do. He called out the first thing that came to his head. “Rock Throw!”

“Nose!” the Pokémon responded. It used its small arms to dig into the ground and draw out small rocks. It drew both arms back as far as it could, and then launched. The rocks smashed into Gyarados, but they seemed to have little effect as it reared up once again.

As Phil thought about his next move, an explosion off to the left signalled the start of the battle between the rest of the junior trainers and the rest of the Rockets. Janson was probably there right now, leading them into combat. While Phil knew that he was the superior trainer, Janson was the better leader, so they were both perfectly suited to where they were.

“Take that thing out with a Hydro Pump!” came the voice from behind Gyarados once more. Phil now recognised it. It was the male Rocket who had accosted him before.

“Move Nosepass!” he called out, but he already knew the rock Pokémon was doomed. Gyarados unleashed a torrent of water from its mouth. It impacted Nosepass, who withstood it for only a moment. It was sent backwards, carving a muddy ditch in the ground as it went. It kept moving until it smashed into one of the concrete pillars supporting the Gym. Gyarados stopped its attack, and Nosepass collapsed.

“Krow!” cawed Murkrow. Having watched the battle from behind Phil, it was eager to take on the much larger Pokémon itself. But Phil raised an arm to block his bird. He didn’t want to risk his Pokémon on this. Instead, he took the Pokéball from his belt, the one that he had had a feeling about. Maybe this one could defeat Gyarados.

“Go!” he yelled. The Pokéball burst open and out came Plusle, a small yellow rabbit with red ears and cheeks, and with a red plus symbol for a tail. It was perfect.

“That pathetic thing doesn’t stand a chance!” mocked the Rocket. Phil could see the man’s red-haired head poking around the side of his Pokémon’s body. “Hyper Beam!”

“Dodge it!” Phil ordered. Gyarados began building up an orange ball of light in its mouth. After a few moments, it released the attack. An orange beam of pure destructive energy poured out towards Plusle. Luckily the rabbit was fast enough to dodge and avoided any damage. An instant later, Phil realised the beam was coming at him as well. Both he and Murkrow leapt out of the way as the beam passed where they been moments before.

The beam continued until it finally hit something. The next thing in its path had no chance of getting out of the way. The Gym. The first thing to fall was the outer wall, as the initial impact vaporized it, exposing the Red Room. Phil watched as the beam’s path of destruction continued on to the opposite side of the room, igniting the wooden floor and causing the red paint to peel off of the walls. Once it smashed through the wall into the next room, the orange ball of devastation was out of sight.

With several walls gone, the Gym was massively unstable, and within seconds it began to fall apart. Concrete fell from the ceiling, and the walls collapsed both inwards and outwards, out onto the ground. Within moments, the Gym was little more than rubble, resting on its base above the ground. Phil didn’t bother to look further; instead he turned back to the Gyarados, which was still recharging after its attack.

“Plusle!” he yelled. The rabbit-like Pokémon popped its head out from the ditch that Nosepass created, where it had taken cover from the Hyper Beam. “Use Thunder!” Plusle sprung out of its hiding place, electricity arcing from its body. Gyarados could do nothing but watch as its opponent leapt into the air.

Phil smiled triumphantly. He had known he had won as soon as Plusle appeared. Small and fast enough to dodge Gyarados’ over-the-top attacks, and having the right abilities to pick on its biggest weakness, electrical attacks, Plusle was one of the best Pokémon he could have used.

“Plu…sle!” the small rabbit cried out as it discharged its attack. Lightning forked through the air and struck Gyarados, sending the enormous Pokémon crashing to the floor. Spasms up its whole body sent it jerking in every direction, and by the time the electricity had left its gigantic body, Gyarados was bruised and battered; in other words completely unable to battle. It groaned and closed its eyes, embracing unconsciousness.

“No!” exclaimed the Rocket. He ran and hid behind a wooden support underneath one of the nearby timber buildings. Phil ignored him for the moment, instead recalling all three of the Gym’s Pokémon and climbing onto the unmoving Gyarados.

“Gyarados,” Phil sighed, “my least favourite Pokémon. Something about its pure emotion, in this case rage, really gets to me…” Phil paused.

He had suddenly realised that he had stopped talking about the Gyarados, and was suddenly talking about the light that he had seen in Gold the previous day. There was something about it that both drew him towards it and repulsed him. He dismissed the thought from his mind, and focused once more on the Rocket.

“Enough babbling by me,” said Phil, waving Murkrow to land his shoulder. The bird Pokémon did so. “Now you will pay for attacking the Gym.” His eyes narrowed. Murkrow, Drill Peck,” he ordered in a voice that sent a chill down the man’s spine. Murkrow took off again, and began spinning. The Rocket gasped and raised his arms to protect himself.

There was a loud crash as Murkrow impacted, but the Rocket felt nothing. The Pokémon had instead smashed straight through the support beam. When the Rocket lowered his arms, Murkrow was already coming for another pass. It swept past the man’s face, sending him tumbling into the dirt, and then continued to tear through another support. The Rocket picked himself up, and the sound of a third support smashing brought him to his senses.

“What is this!” cried the Rocket. The building above him was making ominous creaking and rumbling noises.

“Your only mistake was crossing me,” Phil replied coldly. Murkrow destroyed a fourth support.

“I won’t let you,” the Rocket growled, reaching behind his back. Phil only got a glimpse of what he was doing, since a moment later the building began to collapse. Murkrow dived out from underneath the building, even as the remaining supports started to give way. Wood tore and splintered as the walls, roof and floor fell apart. When the noises and movement had stopped, the building was little more than a pile of sticks. No sound could be heard from underneath it.

“Self defence,” Phil said to Murkrow, “he was pulling his gun.”

Phil’s Pokémon cawed acknowledgement and landed on his shoulder. Phil turned away from the ruins and clambered off the Gyarados. Looking across town, he could make out attacks flying in every direction as the other junior trainers fought Team Rocket, though details were too hard to pick out at this distance.

“Well, this isn’t over yet,” he sighed, “lets go.”

He started marching towards the battle, leaving the remains of the wooden building and the Gym behind.

-----------------------

Well, already I'm one chapter into my rewrite and I'm starting to veer wildly away from original events. Chapter 2 will be started shortly.

More factoids. I'm sure you don't care, but whatever:

-Originally the chapter was quite similar, except Phil didn't kill anyone, and the infamous JJ&M showed up as well, along with Ash ready to foil them. Now that I've switched to the gameverse, JJ&M are cut completely, and Ash is now Red, and will not appear just yet.
-Adelta Town has not changed one iota since the original, right down to the raised buildings. Only exception is the Gym, which lost its reception area.
-The battle originally focused much more on the general chaos as the Gym Pokemon swarmed TR, whereas this version focuses almost entirely on Phil's struggle with the Gyarados.
-Janson was originally a throwaway character who had exactly two lines in a brief appearence. This time around, he may or may not play a bigger role, I haven't decided yet.

See you next time...maybe...

Claydol
3rd July 2006, 11:41 PM
It must suck when nobody posts after you've put the effort into writing a fic like this. I'm enjoying it so far and think it's great Phil's pokemon is Murkrow, which is one of my favourites. I could only find one mistake in chapter 1 that stood out, the italic brackets didn't work because you didn't put a "/" in the second bracket, which happens quite frequently and isn't a real problem.

Ohtachi
3rd July 2006, 11:46 PM
Calm was important it battling, but it was hard when your trusted friends were on the line.

I only got to the Prolouge so I'll get to Chapter One briefly. The only error I saw was in bold. Other than that, I like the description you use when telling about the Pokemon Battles. Very well done. Keep it up.

Torkoal
3rd July 2006, 11:54 PM
Good. This is definately not ypur average trainer fic, but as you said, you've had quite some time to edit it and improve on it. Well it has paid off. I'll give you a full review when you're farther into the story.

Ohtachi
4th July 2006, 9:48 PM
Well, I've finished reading Chapter One, and I really like it so far. Excellent description of battles. I'm glad Jessie & James were cut from it. They are merely a comic relief. I hope to see more Manga characters however.

Shadows Follower
4th July 2006, 9:51 PM
I agree, this is good quality and well written and its nice to see someone put some work into their fic instead of the poor quality of some that have been posted up recently. This is an interesting story and hope you continue to write more.

Sybot
5th July 2006, 6:12 PM
Thank you everyone, you've inspired me to keep this going.

Sybot
12th July 2006, 1:04 AM
Here is Chapter 2, after a much longer than expected time to write. I guess writing character interactions quickly is not my forte (good thing I made Phil such an introvert then).

---------------------------

Chapter Two: The Long Road

“You can’t just leave!”

“I think you’ll find that I can”

“But the Gym…”

“Is gone. It’ll take months to rebuild. In the meantime, I have other things to do”

Phil reached into a pocket of his black sleeveless jacket that he was now wearing along with his t-shirt, jeans and small blue rucksack. He pulled out his access card and dorm key. Janson, now properly dressed, watched him angrily.

The battle for Adelta Town was long over. Once the Gyarados had been dealt with, Team Rocket proved easy to defeat. With both their commander and objective buried under piles of rubble, they hadn’t the will to continue the fight. Some escaped, but several were captured. The town was now swarming with police and engineers, trying to sort out the mess left by the attack.

“You want me to take those?” Janson asked incredulously.

“Do what you want with them,” Phil replied. He tossed the items to Janson, who grabbed them one-handed while continuing to glare at Phil.

“If you turn your back on us now…”

“I’d move if I were you,” interrupted Phil. He stepped to one side, watching the truck pull up behind Janson. They were standing on the edge of town, on the poor quality dirt road that linked Adelta Town to the rest of the world. The transport infrastructure was one thing that hadn’t caught up in the rapid modernisation of the Olympia Valley since the creation of the Champions’ League.

“What?” Janson said. He was answered by the blare of a horn. It caused the other trainer to flinch, but that didn’t stop him moving off the road. The truck continued past them. This stunt did little to improve Janson’s mood.

“Now, I’ll be going,” said Phil. He stepped to one side of Janson and walked forward, away from the town. He was stepping out.

“Keep walking then!” Janson called after him, “it’s just like you to abandon your friends when we need you!”

Phil ignored Janson and kept walking. The other Gym trainers were hardly his friends, and he’d even been drifting away from his adoptive father recently. His only loyalty was to the Gym, and now that it was gone he no longer had any reason to stay in Adelta Town. His new purpose was out there, wherever Gold was. Phil sighed. The encounter with Gyarados had reminded him of that trainer. Its rage was not unlike the burning passion he had seen in the light of Gold’s eyes. He had no idea why that was drawing him to the light, after all, such strong emotion was the diametric opposite of what he felt.

He banished the thoughts from his mind, and instead focused on the task at hand. The most likely place to find Gold would be Olympia City. Many challengers in the Champions’ League put off that Gym for as long as they could, because of what it entailed; a best-of-three battle against none other than the founder of the Champion’s League and de facto World Champion, Red. With this in mind, Gold was probably challenging the Gym shared between Romana and Remena Cities at the moment. All Phil would have to do is wait in Olympia City for Gold to show up.

What would happen next though? Phil knew he had no chance against a trainer as powerful as Gold. He’d barely been able to knock out one of his opponent’s Pokémon, and that was after it had been weakened in previous battles. The best thing for him to do would be to just confront Gold, and force him to guarantee a rematch sometime in the future, after Phil had assembled a full team. He looked over his shoulder. The town had long since vanished behind the long reeds that lined the banks of the river. Maybe he’d return there someday, but for now his destiny lay elsewhere. From that moment on, he never looked back.

Now he had been walking for hours, and Olympia City was still a long way off. Apart from the occasional truck passing carrying stuff to and from Adelta, the route was peaceful. From his right came the sound of flowing water and reeds swaying gently in the breeze. From his left came the sound of long grass swishing, with occasional Pokémon cries in the distance. Living in a rural village for most of his life, Phil had come to appreciate the calming effect that pure nature could have on a person. So he took the opportunity to clear his head, and concentrate on collating everything he knew about Gold and his battle strategy.

And thus he continued walking, lost in thought, not paying attention to the world around him. Phil liked it like this. Soon night had come, and he could see the lights of the city on the horizon. Especially visible were the Triumvirate, as the locals liked to call them: three skyscrapers, owned by Devon Corp, Silph Corp, and the Champions’ League. They were designed to represent the new, more modern Valley, but just seemed out of place amongst the older buildings that made up the rest of the city.

Just then he noticed a break in the long grass off to the left side of the road. The break was centred on a conveniently placed group of leafy deciduous trees surrounded by short, comfortable looking grass. Phil stepped off the road. It might not be perfect, but it was far cheaper than spending the night in a hotel in the city. After taking off his jacket and folding it into a pillow on the floor by the tree, he took Murkrow’s Pokéball and tossed onto the ground.

“Krow?” his Pokémon asked as it materialised, lolling its head quizzically.

“Watch my stuff while I sleep,” answered Phil, lying back on the ground. He had piled his jacket and rucksack together on the ground, and was now resting his head on them. He looked over just in time to Murkrow dive into the long grass, probably chasing after some Pokémon noise that it had heard. Phil closed his eyes. Murkrow would be back, it just needed to stretch its wings and get something to eat. After all of that walking, sleep came easily

Phil looked into the distance. There was a light. As he approached, two figures could be seen standing in front of it. One was all too familiar, Gold. The other was humanoid, but clearly a Pokémon of some kind, as shown by its tail. He didn’t recognize the species, but it resembled one that he did…

They were both facing away from him. He drew closer, and they realised he was there. As they turned to face him, Phil focused his gaze on Gold, and received a shock when the other trainer stared right at him. Gold’s eyes, right down to the pupils, were pure white!

The next thing Phil felt was a light pecking on his cheek. It was familiar, so he didn’t even bother opening his eyes.

“Enough Murkrow, I’m awake,” he muttered, “now let me get some more sleep” He rolled onto his side and settled back into his pillow. He heard something flutter, and felt feet on his shoulder. The pecking started again. “Just leave it will you!” Phil grumbled.

“Ahem…” coughed a human voice. So someone else was here. Phil turned onto his back, which caused the bird on his shoulder to tumble to the ground, and slowly opened his eyes. As expected Murkrow was lying next to him, rubbing its head with a wing. It was a bright day today; Phil had to blink a few times before the light stopped hurting his eyes.

Only after doing that did he look to see where the voice had come from. Standing nearby in the shade of the tree was a girl. She appeared to be a bit younger than he was, but that didn’t stop him from looking her up and down. She a few inches shorter than he was, with mid-long light brown hair flowing down her back and hazel green eyes glaring at him.

She was wearing a light blue jacket, and underneath that a tight pink t-shirt and white shorts, both of which complemented her curves beautifully, and revealed a lot of leg. However, her expression made it clear that sex was not her reason for being here, so Phil dispelled those thoughts from his head and instead focused on what she was saying.

“Stop that!” the girl shouted at him. “Get up!” Phil got up, though not just because she said so.

“What do you want?” Phil asked as he stretched and yawned. Already she was annoying him, so any attraction was rapidly waning.

“A battle!” the girl replied almost instantly.

“I’ve only just woken up,” pointed out Phil. He leant down and picked up his jacket and rucksack, slinging both over his shoulder. “I don’t have time for this,” he said, turning away from the girl and back to the road.

“Krow!” called out Murkrow. Phil looked back and saw that the bird was staring at the girl, apparently ready to take her on.

“Looks like you got lucky,” Phil said as he turned back again, “my Pokémon wants to battle, so I’ll go along with it.” The girl smiled triumphantly.

“Prepare to lose!” she said with confidence, grabbing a Pokéball from her belt, “we’ll do one Pokémon each. You can use that little bird…” Murkrow squawked in protest at this “…and I’ll use my much better one. Kestrel!” She threw to Pokéball up in the air, and I burst open in a blast of light and noise. High in the air above them formed a large brown bird Pokémon with a long orange beak, wide wings and a red crest on its head.

“Fearow!” it screeched, look intently down at Murkrow. The smaller bird took flight, and brought itself in line with the Fearow. The girl moved to place her back against the tree. In response, Phil moved to the edge of the dirt road. The patch of grass between the trees and road would be their arena.

“Kestrel, use Agility!” commanded the girl, opening hostilities. Kestrel disappeared in a flurry of fast movements. Murkrow looked around but was unable to see where his opponent was.

“Quickly, counter with a Haze,” shouted Phil. Murkrow opened its mouth and spewed out a cloud of black smoke that covered the whole clearing. Phil wafted it away from his eyes just in time to see Kestrel suddenly reappear in its midst, face to face with Murkrow. “Now use Drill Peck!” Murkrow began spinning rapidly and it charged straight at Kestrel.

“Dodge and Wing Attack!” gasped the girl, looking shocked that she was suddenly on the defensive. Her Fearow responded by strafing to the side, moments before Murkrow would hit it. What happened next was slightly obscured by the Haze but it appeared Kestrel quickly turned and smacked Murkrow with its wing as the smaller bird spun past. Murkrow was flung to the floor with enough force to send up a cloud of dust, washing away the smoke and forcing both trainers to look away. When the dust finally cleared along with the last vestiges of the Haze, Kestrel was flying in the middle of the clearing as if nothing had happened.

“Murkrow,” Phil tutted, “you don’t want to be beaten by her, do you?” Sure enough, with a flap of its wings, Murkrow pushed itself out of the small crater it had made and was swiftly back in the air. It didn’t look to bad, but then its black feathers covered any bruises it may have received.

“Murk!” his Pokémon called out defiantly as it turned to face Kestrel once again.

“That’s right!” Phil yelled, “now use Faint Attack on that thing!” Moments later, Murkrow faded from view.

“Um…err,” the girl stuttered hesitantly. Murkrow reappeared behind Kestrel and started hitting the Fearow in the back with its beak and wings, looking quite gleeful as it did so. It then vanished back into the shadows again.

“Fear!” Kestrel shrieked in pain and annoyance as it tried to track down its opponent.

“Oh, an idea!” the girl said, as though a light bulb had gone off in her head, “use Mirror Move as soon as Murkrow reappears!”

Murkrow reappeared behind Kestrel again, but as soon as it made a move to attack with its left wing, Kestrel turned sharply and countered with its own right wing. Murkrow tried to use its beak to hit Kestrel in the head but Kestrel matched that with its own beak. The two Pokémon were in the air, locked together by Mirror Move.

“Glare, Murkrow,” commanded Phil, suddenly seeing an opportunity to turn the tide of the battle. The opponents were beak-to-beak so it was easy for Murkrow to make eye contact and deliver a harsh Glare. Kestrel’s body abruptly stiffened and crumpled to the ground with a thud.

“No…” the girl muttered, in shock. She reached for a Pokéball.

“Now, Drill Peck!” Phil instructed. Murkrow began spinning in the air above the spot where Kestrel lay. The larger bird was twitching, desperately trying to overcome its paralysis.

“Stop this!” screamed the girl, fumbling with her Pokéball.

“How about…finish this!” Phil responded, with the first two words directed at the girl, and the second two at Murkrow.

“Return!” the girl called out, her Pokéball finally pointing the right way. But she was too late as before the energy beam could connect, Murkrow impacted Kestrel. The force of the blow sent them both skidding across the ground, tearing up grass as they went. When they finally stopped moving, Murkrow was the one to get up, standing triumphantly on Kestrel’s limp body.

“I win,” Phil said with a smirk. Murkrow took off and flew onto Phil’s shoulder, its body erect with pride.

“I hope you learned some lessons from this,” came a voice from the long grass, startling Phil and Murkrow. The long blades of grass pushed apart, and a young man in his early twenties stepped through. He briefly glanced at Phil before moving over to the girl.

It took a few moments before Phil finally snapped out of his surprise at got a look at the newcomer. He didn’t need any hints as to the man’s identity, the Pokémon League cap, loose white Champions’ League shirt and dark spiky hair were more than enough evidence as to who he was. This person was known across the world as one of the greatest Pokémon trainers of recent times. It was Ash ‘Red’ Ketchum, founder of the Champions’ League and Olympia City Gym Leader.

“What did I do wrong?” the girl sniffed while cradling Kestrel’s Pokéball, having returned her Pokémon moments earlier.

“The whole point of this was to show you to expect the unexpected,” Red replied, “you hesitated, and it cost you.”

“I take it then, that is why you chose me, Red?” Phil interrupted. He didn’t know why one of the strongest trainers in the world would bother with such an immature girl as this, but the evidence spoke for itself; he was clearly tutoring her.

“That’s right,” answered Red, “since you were travelling this way, you must be from the Adelta Town Gym. The tactics taught there are perfect for this lesson.” He then did a double take and looked back at Phil with some sadness. “I heard about what happened with Team Rocket…”

“Don’t worry,” Phil replied, “it’s not like any…Gym trainers got badly hurt”

“Yes…” Red trailed off. He looked at Phil perplexedly for a second, before turning back to the girl.

“I’ve got places to be,” Phil said, giving a brief wave as he turned towards the road, “I’ll see you…” He stopped talking and moving, as he’d just had an idea. Red and Gold had been friendly rivals ever since their battle in Silver Cave seven years earlier. Maybe Red could help him find the trainer that had become his obsession.

“Krow?” Murkrow pondered. It was poking at the side of Phil’s head while he was lost in thought. Phil stopped gazing, pushed Murkrow away, and turned back to the other two trainers.

“On second thought, I’d like to go with you,” Phil announced.

“What?!” the girl blurted. Red just looked at him and smiled.

“Why?” Phil continued, trying his best to conceal the lie he was telling, “who wouldn’t want to travel with the famous Red and pick up battling tips from him?”

“I always like to having new companions, especially ones who display skill in battle,” Red replied, still smiling. He walked over to Phil and extended a hand. “Formal introductions then. I’m Red, from Pallet Town”

“Murkrow!” Phil’s Pokémon called out as it hopped around their feet.

“Philip Auris, Adelta Town,” Phil said in return, taking Red’s hand and shaking it firmly. He then looked past the older trainer’s shoulder to where the girl was standing. She looked slightly shocked. “What about you?”

“Humph!” the girl huffed, folding her arms across her chest and turning away.

“Jennifer, from Olivine City, though she prefers Jen. She’s just annoyed that I set up this whole battle so she’d be beaten,” Red explained as he released Phil’s hand.

“Its not just that!” Jen abruptly said, causing Phil and Red to look at her with surprise. “Did you see what he did to Kestrel? I…I was going to recall her, but he attacked anyway… He could have seriously hurt her!” Phil could see she was blinking back tears now. He rolled his eyes after Red had made a move to comfort her; she was probably spoilt with victory, and that was likely with someone under the tutelage of Red.

“I saw that,” Red said softly, putting a hand on her shoulder, “he didn’t do anything against the rules but…” He looked over at Phil with a hint of anger on his face. “…he shouldn’t have continued the battle when you had made it clear you were giving up.”

Phil opened his mouth, ready to spout off his personal philosophy on battling, but then he decided against it. It was very likely to clash with what Red thought, and angering his best chance of finding Gold would not be a good idea. In the end he settled with a compromise solution.

“I suppose,” he mumbled. But then he felt he had to make a comment about something, so he continued, “but I think you need to grow up a bit, Jen. This battle didn’t even have high stakes, and here you are on the verge of tears. Everybody loses sometimes.”

“Show some compassion,” scowled Red.

“He’s right!” blubbered Jen, tears now rolling down her cheeks, “I’m a useless trainer!”

“I didn’t say that…” Phil muttered.

“You’re not useless,” Red said in a comforting tone of voice, “you did come in the top eight in the last KJC League after all.”

“And I’m sorry I upset you…” Phil tried to say. Of course he didn’t mean it, but he didn’t want to mess up his chances of going along with Red by not apologizing.

“Thanks for the gesture, Phil, but I want to do this,” Red said, a palm in the air to stop Phil saying any more.

Phil watched as this continued for the next few minutes. He’d never been one for consoling people, so he let Red do all the talking. It was obvious now what was wrong. Jen’s defeat in the League caused her to lose confidence in her Pokémon and her abilities. He hated people like that. In his opinion, you were stuck with your skill level. If it was too low, then that’s too bad; you should just improve. After all, he harboured no delusions about being able to beat Gold in the near future. That trainer was so much more experienced than he was, that it would take a long time to train to the same level.

Eventually Red was able to calm Jen down, although Phil didn’t bother to listen everything that he said to her. He was far more concerned about getting to Olympia City. So, after a brief lunch, they got back onto the road and continued the trek to the city on the horizon. As they walked, Red and Jen mostly talked about battle strategy while Phil hung back and thought about Gold. He had to decide what he was going to say when they met once again.

“What about you Phil?” Red’s voice suddenly came, intruding on Phil’s thoughts.

“Eh?” Phil said as his brain changed tracks to focus on Red.

“I mean; what do you think you should do to improve?” Red answered.

“Oh, okay,” Phil said, “I think I need a better variety of Pokémon. I can’t beat Gold with just Murkrow…” His sentence trailed off as he realized his mistake.

“You know Gold?” Red asked in surprise. At that point Phil decided to come clean.

“Yeah…the only reason I came along with you was to get to Gold,” he replied, “I want to get him to guarantee a rematch in the future” He braced himself for Red getting angry at being used.

“Is that all?!” Red exclaimed, “I could contact him right now.” Phil breathed a sigh of relief. It looked like Red didn’t mind the lies. The older trainer took something out of his pocket. It looked like a large red rectangle with two semicircles at either end, one blue and the other red, and a keypad on one face.

“What is that?” Phil wondered.

“Holo-phone,” Red replied while he dialled a number on the keypad, “the latest in Devon Corp holographic technology. Only ten people in the world have one.” He set the phone on the dirt road. “Stand back” Phil and Jen obliged. The two hemispheres shot out, revealing themselves to be disks attached to the central machine by cables. Then, four small pieces launched from each of the disks, landing a short distance away in the shape of a square. Red stepped into the square created by the red disk. A few moments later the disk and the four corners in each square began to glow a dim white.

“Hello?” came a voice that Phil instantly recognised. It was Gold. “Of course, the projectors!” The sound of objects launching echoed from the blue disk. A few moments later, Gold stepped into view, appearing out of nowhere a few centimetres above the blue disk. Apart from an odd rippling effect running through his body, it was almost as though he was really there.

“I’ve never seen a hologram this good…” Phil muttered. He looked over at Jen, who didn’t seem too concerned. She’d probably seen this before.

“Gold.” Red said.

“Hi, Red,” Gold replied, “I was just on my way to that Joint Gym. I guess you’re eager for me to get to yours so we can have that rematch.”

“Not exactly,” Red answered, “I’ve got someone here who wants to talk to you.”

“Who?” Gold questioned as Red stepped out of the red square. He motioned for Phil to stand above the red disk.

“Just don’t step on it!” Red chuckled. Phil moved around Gold’s hologram and entered the red square carefully. As he did so, he watched the hologram gasp in surprise.

“You…” Gold spluttered.

“Yes…” Phil replied. They both seemed to be at a loss for words. Instead of saying anything, they just stared. Even though it was only a projection, Phil could still make out the faint flickering of the light behind Gold’s eyes. From Gold’s expression he could tell the other trainer saw something in him as well.

“What is then?” Gold asked, snapping out if his daze. The words also broke Phil’s gaze, and he quickly composed himself.

“Simple, a rematch, once I’ve gotten stronger,” he answered. He wanted to get straight to the point. Already this encounter was making him feel strange.

“Alright then,” the other trainer responded, “I’ll make sure to be ready for you” Then he stepped out of the blue square and disappeared without saying anything else.

“That was short,” noted Jen.

“Why bother with pleasantries,” Phil replied as he stepped out of his square. Jen opened her mouth as if to say something, but then seemed to decide against it.

“Well then,” Ash said to break the silence, “we’d better get going” He bent down and pressed a switch on the side of the holo-phone. First the corners of the square leapt back onto the disks, most likely due to a wire that was too thin to see. Then the cables connecting the disks to the phone retracted, pulling them back to their original positions. Red then picked it up and put it into his pocket. Then, with no more words, they started walking once again.

After a couple of hours the river began to turn away from the road, and the reeds and long grass on either side were replaced by fields full of wheat and vegetables. The dirt road abruptly changed to tarmac as they approached the city. Phil guessed that this was how much of the main road had been constructed so far. It clearly wasn’t a top priority. A short while later they entered the city.

Olympia City, the only real urban centre in the whole Valley, was known for its wide-open spaces and classical architecture. However, the arrival of the Champions’ League had seen the construction of many new buildings and so now the town was a mix of style, with Doric Columns standing next to steel girders. Phil had been here many times before, but it was still disconcerting to walk up to the main Pokémon Centre and see a building of such obvious contrast. The ground floor was not unlike the Parthenon, but several more floors had been built above it, each one looking like a slightly poor attempt at mimicking the Olympian style.

“Well,” Red said as they walked between the columns and into the centre, “this is where we’ll be spending the night.”

“Don’t you have a place of your own?” Phil asked. Surely someone with as much money and power as Red didn’t need to sleep in a Pokémon Centre.

“No. I like to be reminded of my life as a roaming trainer, so I sleep in a Pokémon Centre whenever possible,” Red answered with a smile.

“I see…” Phil replied. Saving money was one thing, but staying the poor quality accommodation of a Pokémon Centre just to relieve past times was a bit odd, in his opinion.

After registering at the main desk and handing in their Pokémon, the three split up and each went to their own rooms. As he settled into his slightly lumpy bed, Phil began to think about what he would do in subsequent days. Clearly he couldn’t hang around with Red forever, especially with the annoyingly immature Jen sobbing all over the place. As soon as he could, he’d set out on his own. The best way he could catch up to Gold would be to do the same that trainer did. He would have to challenge Gyms and catch a full and varied team to get stronger.

Conveniently, one of the Magnet Trains running out of nearby Railhead Town lead to Saffron City. That would be the perfect place to start, as Murkrow could destroy a Psychic Type Gym. He spent his last few waking moments thinking about how much fun it would be to knock the all-knowing smirks off the telepath’s faces.

---------------------------

I'll take a break from writing this tomorrow, then start Chapter 3 on Thursday. I do have other writing commitments after all.

Factoids! If anyone cares...
-Since things are now completely out of sync with the original, I'll be doing these factoids on an event basis rather than chapter basis.
-The original Chapter 2 started with Phil already in Olympia City, and then went on to cover events which will now be part of Chapter 3, apart from the Jen/Phil battle.
-Jen was originally Kris, a Crystal ripoff. Now she gets a new look, and a slightly deeper personality.
-The battle between Murkrow and Fearow was basically ripped wholesale from the original, with only a few bits changed to reflect the new personalities and the different arena
-Originally, the Olympia City Gym was a battle against vague 'Champions', so a battle against Red himself would be unexpected. This aspect has since been dropped, but there is still a secret behind that Gym.

Edit- Authors note: KJC League- Kanto/Johto Combined League. Basically I've taken some liberties (considering I'm using the gameverse) and stuck a tournament aspect in before a trainer is allowed to challenge the Elite 4 and Champion.

Alluvion
14th July 2006, 1:59 AM
If you ask it, I shall come.

It's pretty good overall, but the details are somewhat meh-ish.

PLOT

This is where the meh comes from. It doesn't seem to be much of a plot; get a strong team and defeat Gold? Something could be stacked on top of it to make it more interesting. Also, actually getting Gold to agree to a rematch was over with way too quickly. Why would getting Gold to agree even be a problem in the first place?

The Gyms seem to be pretty specialized. Realize that actual champions are few and far between, and probably aren't challenging Gyms anymore. What would be the point for them? And who in their right minds would ever want to challenge Red anyways, who is supposed to be the best trainer in, well, anywhere? Where would the point be in having Gyms with few challengers and an extremely low chance of winning anything?

It has the potential to be solid, but some of the points are just plain strange. There has to be more elaboration.

CHARACTERS

The original characters are solid. Very much so. Jen actually sounds like someone I could meet in real life! Great job.

I need to point out this one scene, though.


“Now, Drill Peck!” Phil instructed. Murkrow began spinning in the air above the spot where Kestrel lay. The larger bird was twitching, desperately trying to overcome its paralysis.

“Stop this!” screamed the girl, fumbling with her Pokéball.

“How about…finish this!” Phil responded, with the first two words directed at the girl, and the second two at Murkrow.

Now, on its own, this is a great scene and really tells us a lot about both characters involved. But it follows up with this:


Its not just that!” Jen abruptly said, causing Phil and Red to look at her with surprise. “Did you see what he did to Kestrel? I…I was going to recall her, but he attacked anyway… He could have seriously hurt her!” Phil could see she was blinking back tears now. He rolled his eyes after Red had made a move to comfort her; she was probably spoilt with victory, and that was likely with someone under the tutelage of Red.

“I saw that,” Red said softly, putting a hand on her shoulder, “he didn’t do anything against the rules but…” He looked over at Phil with a hint of anger on his face. “…he shouldn’t have continued the battle when you had made it clear you were giving up.”

Phil opened his mouth, ready to spout off his personal philosophy on battling, but then he decided against it. It was very likely to clash with what Red thought, and angering his best chance of finding Gold would not be a good idea. In the end he settled with a compromise solution.

“I suppose,” he mumbled. But then he felt he had to make a comment about something, so he continued, “but I think you need to grow up a bit, Jen. This battle didn’t even have high stakes, and here you are on the verge of tears. Everybody loses sometimes.”

“Show some compassion,” scowled Red.

Now, if this version of Red is based off of Ash, wouldn't he be a bit more ticked off at Phil for continuing when Jen all but said "I forfiet"? Ash would really find this something to go off on, and that should be reflected in Red.

It's nice to see a scummy main character, though.

Before description, let's take a look at a bit of dialogue:


“Do you know why Gyarados is my least favourite Pokémon,” he said, looking into the Rocket’s eyes. The Rocket didn’t reply and just stared back at him. “Its not because I believe that one of its species made me an orphan, no. It’s what it represents. Pure unadulterated rage, emotion so strong that it overcomes everything. This is the antithesis of what I feel, this is…” Phil paused his monologue.

That's corny. There's no other way to put it. It's like Kansas in August. Things like that should be thought, not said.

DESCRIPTION

The only really weird thing I found was this:


clear white

Which is odd because, of course, there's no such thing.

Everything else is solid, though. I happen to be particularly fond of this paragraph, as it gives a realistic vision of what happens to an arena over time:


The Yellow Room, designated for former Champions taking the Champion’s League Challenge, was painted, appropriately enough, yellow. But, after a few years of battles, the walls were covered in stains ranging from impact craters, to scorch marks, to blood spatters. A standard battle arena, a rectangle bisected by a line halfway along its length, was painted in white on the wooden floor. There were no windows; so several lamps on the ceiling lit the room. Overall, the room was barely wide enough to hold the arena, but the ceiling was too high for humans. Of course this was to allow for the largest Pokémon.

GRAMMAR

No glaring mistakes. You seem to have punctuation in dialogue down, and that's always nice. Not much to say.

ETC.


(11 years after Team Rocket were defeated in Kanto, 8 years after their resurgence in Johto was put down, 5 years after Groudon and Kyogre were stopped from destroying Hoenn.)

It's always nice to know when things take place. Thanks.

Anyways, this fic has buckets of potential. I'd come back for just one thing.

The Murkrow.

That Murkrow is totally awesome.

~Alluvion
;138;;198;;138;

Sybot
25th July 2006, 11:55 PM
Chapter Three is done. It took a long time (damn this hot weather) but I made it. Alluvion, I only noticed what you posted when I came to add this so I'll look though it later.

---------------------------

Chapter Three: New Friends?

“Another dream,” Phil thought. By now he had gotten used to this sort of thing, but interpreting it was still a problem.

In front of him were two figures, both humanoid. One was shrouded in darkness, the other silhouetted by a blinding light. Neither of the figures were human, as the dark one apparently had wings, while the light one appeared to have a tail. If they were Pokémon, then Phil didn’t recognise their species. But both looked familiar somehow…

The dream faded, and Phil drifted back into consciousness. Then, he was brought to full attention with a crash, as something hard smacked into his forehead. Phil sprung up and grabbed the object as it rolled off his face. Blinking and still recovering from the shock, he could make out a small red and white object in his hand. When it came into focus, he realized it was a Pokéball in pocket mode. It a few moments for his still sleepy brain to think about what just happened.

“Murk?” came a familiar voice from above him, carrying an unusually concerned tone. Phil looked up and sure enough Murkrow was above him, perched on the room’s ceiling fan. In each wing the bird held two Pokéballs. Phil had no idea how it had managed to get away from the rest of the Pokémon downstairs and get up to his room to annoy him.

“I’m fine,” he growled in response as he tossed the Pokéball in his hand to one side. Murkrow cawed happily and got back to what it was doing, which happened to be juggling the Pokéballs right above Phil’s bed. Phil groaned and stretched as he got out of his bed and moved to get dressed. He stopped briefly to hit the activation switch for the fan before taking out his clothes.

Ignoring Murkrow’s shrieks, he started to put on the same outfit that he had worn the previous day. All the while, he was thinking about the dream and what it had to do with Gold. The light Pokémon he had seen was the same one that was with Gold in the dream from the night before. What was their connection?

After picking up the slightly dazed Murkrow and putting it back in its Pokéball, Phil gathered up his belongings and left the room. He had to go to the lobby to sign out, so that his room could be given to someone else. The lobby was a large open room with white marble making up almost every surface. The walls were lined with ornate images of Pokémon in and out of battle.

Most prominent was a carving on the ceiling of the Legendary Pokémon Ho-oh, although the colourless image didn’t do much justice. Many saw it as the guardian of humanity, even though it was even more rarely seen than most Legendaries. It was said that it would only appear once a generation, and only then to a very specific trainer. Rumour was that Red was that trainer, having spotted the phoenix as he left his hometown years ago, although he neither confirmed nor denied that story. Phil didn’t really care; as far as he was concerned the Legendaries were best left alone.

At one end of the room was the main entrance, and at the other was a desk manned by one of the thousands of members of the Joy family. Phil walked over to that desk, where Nurse Joy was looking over something on a computer. When he arrived, she looked up at him and gave a friendly smile.

“Did you have a good night’s sleep?” she asked cheerily.

“Mostly, although you could of warned me before returning my Murkrow,” Phil replied grimly as he held the Pokéball out in front of him.

“I’m sorry,” Joy apologised in her annoyingly cheerful way, “but after your Pokémon was healed, it insisted that it be returned to you, and we didn’t want to wake you.”

“It’s okay,” Phil shrugged, “now could you sign me out. I won’t be returning here for a long time.” While Joy tapped out some stuff on the keyboard of her computer, Phil shrunk Murkrow’s Pokéball back to pocket mode and then took a look around. There was no sign of Red or Jen. That was good. Maybe he could get out of here without having to talk to them. Once he was out of the city it would only take a couple of days to walk to Railhead Town and get the train to Kanto.

“I’m finished,” said Joy, cutting into his line of thought, “we hope to see you again soon!” She smiled yet again as Phil turned to leave. The smile drooped slightly when Phil moved away without thanking her, but then Joy just ignored that and got back to work.

As he crossed the lobby, Phil noticed that it was a lot quieter than usual. Olympia City was still the premiere destination for trainers in the region, even after the gyms had been set up other towns. At that time of morning it should be buzzing with activity. The reason became obvious when the doors at the main entrance slid apart to reveal a blast of water being shot into the air. Everybody was watching a battle.

The water seemed to be aimed at a Pokémon flying through the air above the viewing crowd, which had assembled on a large open field in just the right way to block Phil’s view of the battling trainers. Phil was mildly interested in the outcome, so he stopped to have a look. The flying Pokémon was a Charizard, a large, orange and dragon-like Fire Type Pokémon with a flame on its tail. It rolled and weaved through the air as its opponent fired Water Gun after Water Gun into the sky.

“Charizard, use Seismic Toss!” came a familiar voice from behind the crowd. Phil sighed with annoyance as he realized who it was. Sure enough, a convenient break in the crowd allowed him and Red to glimpse one another. The older trainer waved at him and called out, “Morning, Phil!”

Phil waved back for a few moments. Now he’d have to hang around with them for a while longer. It wasn’t that they were bad people; it was just that he preferred to be alone and he found Jen’s immaturity and self-doubt grating having spent the previous day with her. Not to mention the fact that he wanted to get to Saffron City as quickly as possible.

“Kraken! Do something!” cried Jen, who was quickly revealed as Red’s opponent, as her Pokémon was grabbed by Charizard and carried into the air. The Pokémon had a round orange body and several tentacles with yellow suction cups. Kraken the Octillery was flailing wildly as it tried to break Charizard’s grip.

“Don’t panic,” Red advised, looking straight at Jen rather than the interlocked Pokémon, “just think of a way out of this”

“B…but I can’t…” spluttered Jen.

Phil groaned. Her Pokémon were good, but she lacked the confidence to use them effectively. She even threw away a type advantage and the perfect chance to exploit it. At that close range Charizard wouldn’t be able to dodge a beam attack from Octillery, but Jen was in too much of a state to realize that.

“As much as I want you to win,” Red called out across their arena, “it wouldn’t feel right simply letting you win. Finish this, Charizard.”

“Char!” roared Red’s Pokémon as it climbed higher and higher. Once it was a minute dot, far into the stratosphere, it turned back and sped back to earth. The pair got ever larger as they accelerated down. Then, with a deafening crash, they impacted the ground with such force as to cover the whole field in a cloud of dust. Phil and the rest of the crowd shielded their eyes as it rolled over and past them.

“Kraken, return,” Jen said in a sad tone as the battlefield cleared. Her Octillery was lying unconscious in a small dirt crater while Charizard stood above it, roaring and shooting flames in delight. After Kraken had been sucked back into its Pokéball, Red did the same with his Charizard. The crowd gave polite applause and then began to disperse, allowing Phil to finally squeeze through.

“I can see why you’re one of the top trainers,” Phil said to Red as he got alongside him. He was impressed with Red, something that didn’t happen often. “Although you were holding back, you still battled superbly.” However, Red seemed to be ignoring him. The other trainer was instead focusing on Jen, who appeared even more glum than usual.

“I was holding back…” Red muttered. He looked over at Phil and continued, “but she still couldn’t win. She really needs a victory to boost her confidence, but she also needs to win on her own, and not because I let her”

“What do you expect me to do?!” Phil blurted, hearing the implication in Red’s voice. There was awkward silence before Phil continued. “Anyway, I want to be in Saffron City as soon as I can, so…”

“You can come with us then!” Red exclaimed, “we’ll be heading to Railhead Town too, to get to Indigo Plateau for this year’s KJC League.” Phil sighed. It looked like he’d have to put up with them for a while longer.

“Well, I guess I’m stuck with you then,” Phil replied with a distinctly fake smile. He felt he had to go along with this, as he didn’t want to get on the bad side of one of the most powerful trainers in the region. Not to mention the fact that a friend in such a high place could pay off down the line.

At that point, Jen finally walked over to them. She was looking very downcast, with her shoulders slouched and her eyes staring at the ground. Phil was at a loss for words. He had no way of knowing what to say to the girl, and a glance at Red revealed the older trainer probably felt the same way. In the end, Red just extended his hand.

“It was a good battle,” he said cheerfully. They stood there for a few seconds waiting for Jen to react. However, rather than shaking Red’s hand she slapped it away.

“That wasn’t a good battle!” she cried, “I sucked and you know it!” Phil rolled his eyes and stepped back. He could tell this wouldn’t need his input. So, while Jen wallowed in self-pity and Red tried to convince her that she wasn’t the worst trainer ever, Phil looked around.

The city was impressive from this angle. From atop the small hill on which the Pokémon Centre stood, he could see pretty much everything. For the most part the city was a jumbled collection of orange roofs and white walls where the buildings had been put up over centuries. The whole style was shattered near the river, where a large boulevard now dominated the layout. On either side were buildings made up in the Olympian style, but with their white walls spoilt by large panes of glass and pillars of steel. Standing out by the river bank were the Triumvirate, upon which it obvious no attempt had been made to emulate the rest of the city, as their height and greyness made them stick out.

On the other side of the river there was far less disruption to the natural flow of the city. The only modern building was what appeared to be a giant Pokéball half-buried in the ground. In fact, it was the Olympia City Gym, where Phil had been several times before. Inside was one of the largest arena’s he had ever seen. It was so large that a speaker system had to be used by trainers to give orders to their Pokémon. Of course, it wasn’t just used for battles. The last time he had been there, a delegation of coordinators from Hoenn were using it as a Pokémon Contest gala. That was the time he…

His thoughts trailed off as he noticed a small group of kids who hadn’t gone away with the rest of the crowd. They were standing there staring at the heated discussion between Red and Jen. Phil glared at them and they backed off and left the field together.

Once again, Phil was left to watch as Red talked Jen into calming down. And, again, Red was able to do it in a matter of minutes. After that, Phil rejoined them and the trio left the city for Railhead Town. The route there was shorter than the road to Adelta Town, but Railhead Town was on the edge of the mountains so it was uphill almost the whole way there. This would mean that rest stops would be frequent and it would take at least two days to get there.

As they moved out of the white clay and orange tiles of the suburbs and into the golden yellow cornfields of the land to southwest of the city, a thought suddenly struck Phil.

“If you’re going to be at the Indigo Plateau for the next couple of weeks, who’s going to look after the Gym?” he asked Red. With Gold already taking on the Romana/Remena Gym, it wouldn’t be long before that trainer came looking for his next battle with Red.

“That’s taken care of,” answered Red after a pause in which he looked very awkward, “you don’t have to worry about that!” Phil wasn’t convinced, but he let it slide.

As the slope became more and more obvious, the farmland gradually gave way to pine woodland. In places it was so thick that they couldn’t see the sky. It was surprising then, when a rainstorm appeared overhead and water began pouring form the sky. With rain providing sufficient impetus it didn’t take long to set up two tents where they could sit out the rainstorm and spend the night. Red and Phil shared one tent, while Jen got the other one.

The campsite was set in a small open area, sufficiently far away from clumps of vegetation to prevent wild Pokémon randomly leaping out and grabbing things. The floor was a damp layer of pine needles and other plant matter, with a few empty husks of the cocoon-like Kakuna and Metapod strewn across it.

“So…” Phil said in an attempt to get a conversation started. He had thrown his jacket to one side to dry and was no rubbing his hair vigorously with a towel. “Anything happening with you and Jen?” Red looked at him confusedly for a few moments before realising what Phil meant.

“Oh no!” the older trainer exclaimed, “nothing like that!”

“Hmmm,” Phil mumbled as he continued to move the towel around his head.

“No, really,” Red continued, “she has a boyfriend already”

“Oh,” Phil said, stopping the motion of his hands. He didn’t think anybody would be interested in such a pit of self-loathing as Jen.

“His name is Tieren, I think…” Red replied, trailing off.

“Anyway,” Phil changed the subject after a few minutes of silence, “I heard that you tried to beat the Sellash Gym again a few weeks ago”

“That’s right,” Red replied, looking far more comfortable than he had before, “but, as you know, I lost again. I’m starting to wish I didn’t design it so well.” He chuckled.

Sellash Gym was the fourth and final Gym in the Champions’ League and it had yet to be beaten, meaning that the first person to do so would automatically become the official World Champion. It was designed by Red to be the ultimate challenge. Unfortunately Red had added an extra feature. Anybody who lost would have their memory of the Gym’s features erased. On top of that, anybody who had something to with the construction of the building had theirs erased as well. As a result, the only beings that knew what was inside were a small group of Psychic Pokémon, Alakazam, who were hired to referee the battles and erase the memories of the defeated.

“Maybe its just that the right trainer hasn’t come up yet,” Phil said. However, Phil wondered if any trainer could ever beat it. If the best trainer around couldn’t beat it, what chance did anyone else have.

“Well, at least I get to call myself unofficial World Champion until someone does beat it!” Red laughed. Phil laughed along with him. Although he didn’t find it that funny, he wanted to get as close as he could to Red. Suddenly a scream rang through the tent.

“Get away!” they heard a girl screech moments later.

“Jen!” Red exclaimed.

“Should we help her?” Phil pondered.

“Of course we should!” Red snapped as he grabbed one of the six Pokéballs he had piled up next to him. He unzipped the tent and rushed out.

“Okay then…” Phil said, before grabbing Murkrow’s Pokéball from his belt and following Red outside. Jen was also out of her tent, chasing after a group of three Rattata, small purple rodents with white bellies and whiskers. The Rattata had grabbed her bags and Pokéballs and were fleeing into the woods with them.

“Pikachu, stop them!” Red yelled, throwing his Pokéball into the path of the Rattata. It burst open, causing them to stop with shock. In front of them another small rodent formed, this one yellow with red cheeks and a zigzagged tail. “Use Thunderbolt!”

“Pika!” Red’s Pikachu replied. It turned to glare at the Rattata and sparks began to fly from its cheeks.

“Help!” cried Jen. Phil and Red turned to look, and they both gasped. Another Rattata had jumped onto Jen’s chest, causing her to fall to the floor, and had one set of claws up to her throat. This one was missing its left whisker and was slightly larger than the others. Phil guessed it was the leader of the pack, which was odd as a Raticate, the evolved form of Rattata, usually led such packs.

“Pikachu, stop,” Red ordered grimly. The glint in the Rattata’s eyes made it perfectly clear what it was planning. Pikachu stopped sparking and scowled at the lead Rattata.

The rest of the group picked up whatever they had dropped and scurried past Red’s Pokémon on their way to the trees. Phil, meanwhile was paying close attention to the lead Rattata. He liked the way it thought, and was already formulating a plan to ensure he could secure it for himself. Suddenly there was a rustle in the bushes behind Rattata and a Pidgey flew out, startled by something. Rattata turned its head to look, and Phil immediately took advantage of the situation.

“Murkrow! Drill Peck!” he called out, sending the Pokéball spinning straight at Rattata. It burst open in midair and Murkrow formed, its body already rotating thanks to the spin Phil put on the ball. Rattata looked back but had no time to react before Murkrow smashed into it. Phil followed up almost immediately with another Pokéball, this one empty. Rattata didn’t even get the opportunity to realise it was on the ground before the ball smacked it in the head and then sucked it in.

“Pikachu! Thunder!” Red called out, taking advantage of Phil’s attack. Pikachu squealed and released an enormous bolt of electricity that rapidly made contact with the remaining Rattata. Phil could hear their cries of pain as the charge ran through their bodies. However, he wasn’t concerned with that, he was to busy watching the Pokéball shake while the button on its front flashed red.

“You’re…trying…to catch it,” stuttered Jen nervously. She had overcome the shock of having Murkrow fly millimetres from her face and was now sitting up watching the Pokéball as well. Murkrow was also keeping a close eye from above, making sure that it couldn’t escape even if it got out of the ball. Then, after a tense few seconds, it emitted a chime.

“I caught it,” Phil said bluntly, “I expected my first real capture to be a bit more exciting”

Red and Pikachu returned, having chased off the remaining Rattata and retrieved Jen’s things. Phil left them to make sure Jen was okay, while he moved away and prepared to face his newest Pokémon.

“Krow!” Murkrow cried as it swooped over Phil’s head and settled facing him a short distance away. It seemed a bit uneasy about working with the Pokémon that had been threatening them just minutes earlier.

“It’ll be fine,” Phil reassured it, before tossing the Pokéball lightly between them. “Come on out, Rattata,” he said. The ball thudded into the topsoil and sprung open, releasing a light that quickly formed into Phil’s second Pokémon. Rattata looked around for a second, and then noticed Phil. It growled and backed up, only to run into the waiting wings of Murkrow.

“Rat! Rattat!” it barked at Phil with a scowl on its face. Phil could tell it didn’t like the idea of being trapped.

“Well, you belong to me now,” Phil said, making sure not to break eye contact. Rattata definitely didn’t like this. It abruptly broke eye contact and sprinted away to the left. Luckily Murkrow was ready, so before Rattata got a few metres the bird had grabbed it by its tail leaving it to hopelessly snap at Murkrow’s feet. Phil’s first Pokémon brought his second back to him, this time hanging it in mid-air so that it couldn’t escape.

“You look like a Pokémon in search of power,” continued Phil. “I’m guessing you lost that whisker fighting the Raticate that previously led your pack.” He gently touched the stump where Rattata’s left whisker used to be, causing the Pokémon to growl angrily and turn its head away. “If you work with me, you can gain far more than you ever would leading a pack out here in the wild.” Ratatta’s ears perked up and it looked back at Phil with that glint once again in its eyes.

“Murk?” asked Murkrow.

“Yes, you can put it down,” Phil answered, “but only if it agrees to battle with me as I work towards my goals”

“Ratatta!” the rodent called out in a tone that suggested agreement. Murkrow set it down softly on the ground and it looked up at Phil, awaiting instruction.

“Alright then,” Phil smirked, “lets see what you can do”

For the next couple of hours, Phil had Murkrow spar with Rattata in order to see what his newest Pokémon could do. It was no match for Murkrow in a head-on fight, but it had its own strengths that could be exploited. Rattata seemed almost entirely geared for straight out combat with techniques such as Quick Attack and Hyper Fang. This wasn’t what Phil particularly liked in a Pokémon, but he’d been taught to adapt to anything, and so it wasn’t long before he was able to start formulating strategies he could use with Rattata.

Night soon fell, so Phil put the Pokémon back into their Pokéballs and went back into the tent he shared with Red. The following morning the group packed up their camp and got back on the road. It was late afternoon by the time they arrived at the top of the slope. By now the trees had disappeared, and they found themselves on a dry and dusty plain. Railhead Town lay at the end of a short valley surrounded on three sides by mountains, so there was very little rainfall.

“Look at them,” Jen said quietly as the three continued to trudge along the cracked and waterless ground. Walking almost parallel to them was a pair of preteen boys. From their clothes and the direction they were coming from Phil could guess they were from Valgate Town, a small town near the end of the Olympia Valley. He wondered why they were here. Valgate Town was very isolationist and was probably the only human settlement in the Valley not to have been influenced by the arrival of the Champions’ League.

They both had blond hair and were wearing long dull woollen cloaks that mostly covered poor quality linen clothes underneath. Most interestingly, Phil saw a flash of red and white that was probably a Pokéball underneath one of the boy’s cloaks. He didn’t trainers existed in Valgate Town. Maybe he had been wrong. Just then one of the boys looked over at them, and then got his companion to do the same.

“Hey there!” the one who first noticed them called out. The pair sprinted across the plain and leapt in front of Phil’s group.

“Hello,” Red said in a friendly tone, “what do you want?”

“A battle!” the second boy announced.

“A double battle actually!” corrected the first boy.

“I’m ready for that!” Phil exclaimed, stepping forward. “You’ll be the perfect test subjects for my newest Pokémon!” It would be a very good idea to test Rattata’s abilities in a real battle and find out if the strategies he had developed would work before he started using it in battles that mattered.

“Jen?” Red asked, stepping back from the boys.

“I can’t!” she moaned in reply. “I’ll just screw it up!” Phil sighed, and then turned and grabbed Jen’s arms. A swift tug brought her stumbling to his side.

“There, now are you going to get out of your little slump or not?” he said harshly

“Phil!” protested Red, stepping towards Phil.

“Sorry, Red, but your approach was too soft,” Phil replied. Red was about to respond, but Phil raised his free hand and stopped the other trainer from saying anything else. He’d had enough of Jen’s whining, and now was the time to try and end it.

“What?” Jen cried. Phil looked into her eyes and saw fear. Realising he was giving the impression that he was angry when in fact he was merely doing what was necessary, he let go of her arm and let her back away.

“So, what will it be?” he asked Jen, making a point to stare unsympathetically into her eyes. A few seconds passed before she gave her answer.

“I’ll do it,” she said with an oddly firm resolve.

“About time!” the boys chorused in unison. Phil smiled and took Rattata’s Pokéball from his belt.

“One Pokémon each then,” he said. The boys nodded enthusiastically in agreement and each one pulled a Pokéball from underneath their cloaks. “My name is Phil, and this is Jen,” he introduced, waving a hand in his battle partners direction.

“I’m Einar!” the first boy chirped.

“And I’m Alfgeir!” the second boy finished.

“Then we begin. Go, Rattata!” Phil called out as he threw his Pokéball out onto the field of dry grass that separated the pairs. Rattata appeared, looked around and then growled eagerly when it spotted the boys opposite it.

“Is that your best!” laughed Einar. He launched his Pokéball onto the battlefield and when it burst open a purple humanoid Pokémon with three spines on its head and a belt around its waist stood in its place. “My Machoke will crush you!” its trainer boasted.

“Well, Drome, lets see if we can win this one,” Jen said softly to the Pokéball she had picked up. She threw it onto the field next to Rattata and it opened to reveal a large orange four-legged Pokémon with three purple rings on each side of its body and two volcano-like mounds on its back.

“A Camerupt!” exclaimed Alfgeir. “I’ve never seen one in the flesh before, but I at least know what type it is! Go, Krabby!” The boy’s Pokéball landed on the field and released a small orange crustacean.

“Now we can begin,” said Phil. He stabbed his finger at Machoke. “Go, Rattata, use Quick Attack then Hyper Fang!”

“Let him come!” Einar called out to his Machoke. Phil wondered what he was planning.

“Crabhammer that thing!” Alfgeir ordered his Pokémon, indicating Drome as the target. That wasn’t good; a Fire/Ground combination like Camerupt was especially weak to Water-Type attacks.

“Ah…” stuttered Jen, “block it with…Flamethrower!” Rolling his eyes, Phil wondered if Jen had lost it.

Rattata sprinted across the field and smashed into Machoke, but the larger Pokémon seemed almost entirely unfazed by this attack. After that failure Phil’s Pokémon turned around and bit down on hard onto Machoke’s calf causing it to wince with pain and drop to one knee. Meanwhile, Krabby launched itself into the air straight at Drome. Jen’s Pokémon opened its mouth and fired a stream of orange flames into the path of its attacker. The attack was so strong that Krabby was actually thrown backwards, leaving it to fall to the floor on its back.

“What?!” cried Alfgeir. Phil was just as surprised. For a Flamethrower to be so effective against a Water-Type, Drome must be very powerful. He immediately moved to take advantage of the situation.

“Rattata! Let go and use Hyper Fang on Krabby!” he ordered. His Pokémon did as it was told, pulling its teeth out of Machoke’s flesh and making a move towards Krabby.

“Use Submission!” Einar called out. Machoke turned to Rattata and attempted to leap after it as it ran towards Krabby. Luckily for Phil’s Pokémon, Machoke’s wounded leg caused it to collapse to the ground without coming anywhere near Rattata.

“Krabby, look out!” Alfgeir warned as Rattata charged. However, his Pokémon was still stuck on its back and so was completely defenceless. Rattata grabbed one of Krabby’s arms with its teeth and pulled hard. The force of the pull ripped the claw out its socket and caused Krabby to flip the right way up.

“It’ll grow back,” Phil said with a smirk to Alfgeir.

“I’ll get you for that!” Alfgeir raged. “Use Vice Grip, Krabby!”

Before Rattata had a chance to dodge, Krabby had snatched it up with its remaining claw and started squeezing. The rodent tried to break free but the grip really was like a vice. Alfgeir nodded to his companion who then pointed out Rattata for his Machoke.

“Hit it with a Karate Chop!” Einar ordered. Machoke got off its knees where it had been nursing its bleeding leg and ran straight at Krabby and the imprisoned Rattata.

”Jen! Do something!” Phil shouted, looking over at the girl. He got even angrier when he saw her standing around gawking, and became furious when he realised that her Camerupt had practically sat out of the battle since it used Flamethrower.

“But…your Pokémon…I can’t,” she mumbled.

“LISTEN TO ME!” Phil yelled. He’d had absolutely enough of her whining. “You are the only person who can get you out of your slump! You are a good trainer, you wouldn’t have made it into the KJC League otherwise! If you lose when you try your best, it doesn’t matter, but if you lose while doing anything but your best then you deserved it! When we battled, you weren’t you best and you paid for it! Your Fearow was powerful, but, ultimately, it is the trainer and not the Pokémon that wins the battle! So have some faith in yourself and do what you can with the tools that you are given!” He finally stopped yelling and gasped for air.

“Uh, while you were squabbling, I knocked out your Rattata,” Einar said. Phil looked over and saw that Krabby had released Rattata and now it was laying on the floor, unconscious and covered in bruises. He raised his Pokéball.

“Rattata, return,” he said calmly and a beam of light shot out, converting his Pokémon into energy and sucking it back inside. “Now its up to you, remember what I said…” he trailed off and backed out of the battle, hoping he had done enough to snap her out of it.

“My best…” Jen muttered, still stupefied by Phil’s tirade. Suddenly her eyes hardened and she looked back up at her opponents. “I will win, by any means necessary!” she announced loudly. “Let’s go, Drome!”

“Girly girl’s perked up,” noted Alfgeir.

“But it’s two on one,” Einar reassured him, “so we can win this!”

“Drome, use Take Down!” Jen called out, her voice filled with a passion Phil had never seen before. Drome ran forward, gradually picking up speed as it went.

“Is that the best you’ve got?” chuckled Einar, “use Submission, Machoke!”

“Crabhammer, Krabby,” his companion simultaneously said.

Their Pokémon leapt aside, letting Drome pass between them. Once it had done that Machoke grabbed onto one of the Camerupt’s volcanoes in an attempt to pull it to the ground while Krabby bounded into the air and swung at Jen’s Pokémon, its claw glowing blue.

“Eruption!” Jen yelled. Drome began to make rumbling noises as the mounds on its back vibrated. The two Valgate boys stepped back in anticipation while Jen stood and looked on. Fire burst from Drome’s mounds, creating a fireball that spread in every direction and engulfed Drome, Krabby and Machoke. When it finally died down, Drome was standing, relatively unfazed, while Krabby and Machoke lay on the ground, covered in burns and unconscious from the pain.

“That’s the Jen I saw at last year’s League,” Red said, in awe. “While I don’t agree with what you said or how you said it, you brought her round.” Phil didn’t say anything in reply, he merely nodded. This girl was a complete stranger, a completely different person to the Jen he had come to know over the past few days. Now he could finally see why Red had taken her as his protégé; she had a battle spirit unlike any he had seen.

“Well, hand over our winnings,” Jen said smugly, walking over to the boys after they had all returned their Pokémon. The two were stamping out grass fires left by the blast that had ended the match. When she arrived they glumly reached into their cloaks and produced a collection of Pokédollars, dumping them into her outstretched hands.

“You did it!” Red called out as the pair of boys limped away dejectedly.

“Thank you for everything,” she said with a smile as she walked over to Phil and handed him his share of the winnings. Phil took them and mumbled thanks. He was still shocked by the change. He had expected her to stop whining at the very least, but not to suddenly become so confident. Even the way she walked had changed.

“Well, I think we better get going,” Red spoke up, “the last trains for today leave in the next few hours”

“Lets go then!” Jen cheerily announced, spinning around and marching ahead of the other two.

The journey to Railhead Town was uneventful, and they arrived with plenty of time before the last trains left. Railhead Town was a small community devoted to servicing the trains and the people who used them. Most of the town was comprised of a single long and dusty street lined on both sides by small wooden buildings.

The station, which stood at one end of the street, was quite small, with just three covered platforms and a simple ticket office. There was only one platform for each route because only one train ever needed to travel on each track. This was all thanks to the vast speed of the Magnet Trains that allowed multiple return trips in just one day. Phil stopped briefly at the Indigo Plateau Line Platform to say goodbye to the others. He hated to admit, but he was actually starting to think of them as friends.

“You have an interesting line of thought about battling,” Red said to him as they stood at the steps up to the train. Phil knew that the ‘trainer first’ philosophy that he followed was what Red was referring to. “A wrong line of thought, but it seems to serve you well.” He shook Phil’s hand and climbed onto the train.

“Thank you for everything,” Jen said softly. She looked sad for a moment, but then she looked at him directly with a cocky grin on her face. “Be sure to find me again, as I want to have a rematch and beat you when I’m at my best!” she announced. She smiled at him again and bounded into the carriage, almost knocking into Red who was leaning out of the door.

“I almost forgot,” he said, “I’ll be in Cerulean City after the League is over to visit a friend. If you’re in the area in a few weeks be sure to look me up!”

“I’ll do that,” Phil replied. He turned and waved over his shoulder. “Being seeing you!”

“Bye!” he heard both of his companions call out as he walked away. It would be strange being on his own again having spent the past few days with them, but he preferred it this way. Now he could focus entirely on the tasks ahead of him. He was so focused that he didn’t notice when he pushed past a man with bright yellow hair as he climbed onto the train headed for Saffron.

--------------------------

Chapter Four will be...actually I have no idea when it will be done (after all I expected to have finished this one by last Friday). Just wait and see.

Factoids (hooray! [/sarc])

-Jen was originally less unconfident (is that a word) and her problems were easily solved by a bit of blasting off of TR...I'm so glad I cut them.
-Rattata has completely changed in personality. In the original it was a typical unwilling capture. Now its a power hungry and slightly psychotic little critter. How things change
-Originally Phil accompanied Jen and Red to Indigo Plateau, but that was merely because I hadn't resolved Jen's confidence at the time, meaning that he can head straight to Saffron this time around.

Sybot
28th July 2006, 9:34 PM
I finally got around to reading your review, and I'd like to make a couple of counterpoints:



This is where the meh comes from. It doesn't seem to be much of a plot; get a strong team and defeat Gold? Something could be stacked on top of it to make it more interesting. Also, actually getting Gold to agree to a rematch was over with way too quickly. Why would getting Gold to agree even be a problem in the first place?

There is a LOT more to this than just Phil vs Gold. If you check the 'factoids' for the Prologue, you'll see I originally had the main villains introduced in there. With hindsight it was probably a bad idea to cut them. As it is they'll be introduced in the next chapter



The Gyms seem to be pretty specialized. Realize that actual champions are few and far between, and probably aren't challenging Gyms anymore. What would be the point for them? And who in their right minds would ever want to challenge Red anyways, who is supposed to be the best trainer in, well, anywhere? Where would the point be in having Gyms with few challengers and an extremely low chance of winning anything?

The way I see it, the world has hundreds of regions and hence hundreds of Champions. After all, it is apparently based on our world and Kanto/Johto/Hoenn/Shinou make up merely Japan. Therefore many other regions must exist for everywhere else. Also each Gym is designed to challenge a Champion in a new way. ie Adelta Town: out-thought, Romana/Remana Cities: out-numbered, Olympia City: out-fought, Sellash Town: no preparation (bah, I wanted to continue the trend)

I realise I should of elaborated on this, but I won't be coming back to the Champion's League for a while yet, so I deemed to not go into to much detail.



Now, if this version of Red is based off of Ash, wouldn't he be a bit more ticked off at Phil for continuing when Jen all but said "I forfiet"? Ash would really find this something to go off on, and that should be reflected in Red.

I see what I did there (I think I probably did that in Chapter Three too). It's mostly down to me sacrificing characters for plot. In other words it was important for Red to be friendly with Phil for later events. I'll try to avoid that in future.



That's corny. There's no other way to put it. It's like Kansas in August. Things like that should be thought, not said.

Yep. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote that



The Murkrow.

That Murkrow is totally awesome.


Thanks! :) Its really the only character that didn't change at all from the original version.

Thank you for the review.

Arcanine Royale
5th August 2006, 1:52 AM
*Rules up sleeves*

Here I am, to do my duty.

Anyway, sorry for being so late. I've been at camp this week.


Prologue: Opposites Clash

Like the title of the prologue, by the way. Anyway, diving into the text...



“However, I am,” came a voice from the shadows in the corner of the room.

To me, this implies that someone else is taking Phil's place. You could possibly change "However, I am" to "But I am" or something like that.




“Iron Tail!” Gold yelled. He had to get that bird off of his Pokémon’s back. Ampharos was his best Pokémon, and he couldn’t let it fall before the Gym Leader.



You have just made me think that Philip IS the gym leader, not a gym leader. Maybe change it to "and he couldn't let it fall before he came to the Gym Leader." or something like that.




Still under a flurry of blows from Murkrow, Ampharos was able to muster enough strength to do something. Its tail began to glow, and it suddenly leapt forward, out of Murkrow’s reach. The bird attempted to catch up and renew its attack, but Ampharos quickly swung around 360°, smacking Murkrow with its tail and sending it tumbling through the air. Hiro looked up at Phil, expecting him to be panicking, or at the very least concerned. But instead, the other trainer was apparently unfazed.



All this action is clumped into one paragraph. Its sorta confusing for the reader. Try breaking it up between the actions of trainers and the actions of pokemon.



“Murkrow, get yourself together,” he groaned with a roll of his eyes. The Pokémon flapped its wings to steady itself, and it quickly turned to face Ampharos once more. “Good,” Phil continued, “now Drill peck it!”


Also, you shouldn't put the actions of pokemon and people in the same paragraph.




“Not so fast!” Phil interrupted, “use Pursuit, Murkrow!” Murkrow, who had been barely able to stand, even with support from its wings, suddenly burst forward with an energy that had seemed to come from nowhere. It entered the beam even as it hit Ampharos. Both of them transformed into light and were sucked into the Pokéball. A few seconds later it begun shaking violently.

“No! Ampharos, hang in there!” Gold pleaded to the ball. The vibrations quickly got so bad that he had to drop it to the floor. Gold could do naught but watch. It was the first time he’d seen Pursuit effectively deployed. After a few moments the shaking stopped, and he went to reach for the ball. Just then it exploded open, throwing him back, and Ampharos and Murkrow onto the arena.

I love the description of Pursuit. Also, begun should be began.



“Muurrrk!” Murkrow groaned, giving a sarcastic salute to Phil before keeling over, completely drained. Ampharos said nothing, and fell in a heap upon the floor.



How do birds salute, and how can you salute sarcastically? It just doesn't make much sense to me.



Prologue Overview

Plot:

Prologues don't really reveal much of the plot, and this one is no exception. The battle was well executed, though the actions seemed confusing. The use of Pursuit by Philip was excellent.

Also, since this is an OT, I like that you didn't start with a new trainer, but with a Champion.

I like that you chose Ampharos and Murkrow - I don't really read many fics with either of those two characters in them.


Characters:

The Prologue makes me think Gold is the main character, for some reason, but you said in the Author's Notes that Phil is going to be the main character. Maybe try to change the POV to be a little more main character orientated.

Phil - I am guessing that Phil is the one that this fic's title is meant for, as his coldness to treatment of pokemon in battle is considered dark by Gold.

Gold - standard trainer, pretty well written out so far.

Description:

I like it so far, it seemed a little clumped together though.

Prologue Overview:

A above-average start, I guess, to a fic that I am rather interested in.







Chapter 1: Adelta Attacked!




“Dodge it!” Phil ordered. Gyarados began building up an orange ball of light in its mouth. After a few moments, it released the attack. An orange beam of pure destructive energy poured out towards Plusle. Luckily the rabbit was fast enough to dodge and avoided any damage. An instant later, Phil realised the beam was coming at him as well. Both he and Murkrow leapt out of the way as the beam passed where they been moments before.



Personally, I don't imagine plusle as a rabbit... but I guess those ears are.

Really, nothing to compain about in this first chapter.

You gave a nice action-filled start, in my opinion.

CHARACTERS

You show to us that Phil is not the heartless jr. trainer that the prologue said he was, that he isn't afraid to do what is right (such as killing a Rocket) and isn't afraid to face his greatest fear/dislike in the form of Gyrados.

PLOT

A very nice action-filled chapter that makes me want to learn the who and why of the attack.

DESCRIPTION

Your description was weaved in pretty well with the action. In a few places it seemed that the description and backstory were getting a little clumped together, but it wasn't that obvious.

ORIGINALITY

I like it that your main character is a jr. trainer. This gives a more underdog feel but Phil still has some pretty surprising training ability, because he, ofcourse, has to face off against pretty uber trainers.

OVERALL

Nice chapter. Not many abuses of the English language, at least I didn't see any. I like your plot and description. All in all, a wonderful start.

Chapter Two: The Long Road




The transport infrastructure was one thing that hadn’t caught up in the rapid modernisation of the Olympia Valley since the creation of the Champion’s League.

I just noticed something, is it supposed to be the league of many champions or the league of one champion? If the first it should be Champions' League. If the second, ignore this.

Also, is the Olympia Valley referring to the region in Washington state?




On his right, the sound of flowing water and of the reeds swaying gently in the breeze, and on his left, long grass swishing, with occasional Pokémon cries in the distance.



Um, that isn't really a sentence. Try rewriting it like this or something:

On his right, the sound of flowing water and of the reeds swaying gently in the breeze filled his ear. On the left, he heard the swishing of the long grass mingling with the ocassional distant cry of a Pokemon.

Just give that sentence action. Above sentence is really an example of excellent description - it mingles strong adjectives with rich verbs and adverbs.



So he took the opportunity to clear his head, and concentrate on collating everything he knew about Gold and his battle strategy.

So he continued walking, lost in thought, not paying attention to the world around him. Phil liked it like this.


I think that using any two words in a sentence after another is a bad idea.



After taking off his jacket and folding _____ into a pillow on the floor by the tree, he took Murkrow’s Pokéball and tossed onto the ground.


I'm pretty sure their should be something there. What did Phil fold? I'm guessing his jacket, which means there should be an it there.






“Is that all?!” Red exclaimed, “I could contact him right now.” Phil breathed a sigh of relief. It looked like Red didn’t mind the lies. The older trainer took something out of his pocket. It looked like a large red rectangle with two semicircles at either end, one blue and the other red, and a keypad on one face.

“What is that?” Phil wondered.

“Holo-phone,” Red replied while he dialled a number on the keypad, “the latest in Devon Corp holographic technology. Only ten people in the world have one.” He set the phone on the dirt road. “Stand back” Phil and Jen obliged. The two hemispheres shot out, revealing themselves to be disks attached to the central machine by cables. Then, four small pieces launched from each of the disks, landing a short distance away in the shape of a square. Red stepped into the square created by the red disk. A few moments later the disk and the four corners in each square began to glow a dim white.



Excellent description of the holo-phone


CHARACTERS

Well, good portrayal of Jen and Red/Ash. Phil is still his same old self.

PLOT

Nice plot, though it seems one chapter is a little to small to be traveling from one town to another, but that may be just me. And yes, Phil is going to Kanto! But since your following the gameverse, I guess that's right.

DESCRIPTION

I like your battle descriptions. Other than that, the description of Olympus City was pretty good.

WORD CHOICAGE

I not sure if I like the name Railhead Town. Maybe change it to _____ Junction. Railhead Town just seems too obvious.

Chapter Three: New Friends?



Neither of the figures was human, as the dark one apparently had wings, while the light one appeared to have a tail.

Was should be its plural form, were.




Most prominent was a carving one the ceiling of the Legendary Pokémon Ho-oh, although the colourless image didn’t do much justice.


One should be on. I'm guessing that was a typo. Secondly, what didn't the colorless image do much justice do? I'm guessing Ho-oh - so put an it at the end there.




“I as much as I want you to win,” Red called out across their arena, “it wouldn’t feel right simply letting you win. Finish this, Charizard.”

I believe that that I was put there by mistake. Delete it and capitilize as.



“Although you were holding back, you still battled superbly”


You forgot a period at the end there.



Yeah, go Red/Misty!

CHARACTERS

Phil is his same old self, and I can sense a small tension growing between Red and Phil.

Red/Ash failed to use the soft approach with Jen and he was glad that Phil did it somehow, but he doesn't like the trainer first philosiphy. I wonder if he and Misty are together somehow...

Jen. Now that Jen has returned to her good old self, she appears to be a powerful trainer.

PLOT

It's an ordinary day on the journey, blah blah blah, catch a pokemon, battle some trainers, reconfidentiate (the coolest word ever) a girl named Jen, it's all good!

DESCRIPTION

The landscape and battles were well described. Not many problems here.

ORIGINALITY

I like it that you had a fire type beat a water type. This proves that Jen is really a strong trainer.

OVERALL

Nice third chapter. Woot! To Kanto they go!



Reviewer's Notes:

I'm terribly sorry it took so long. I've been pretty busy. Good luck with further chapters.

So long, farewell, adidas, adieu, adieu to you and you and you. Sianora (I sucs at Espaniolan spelling) and adios. AR, out.

Alluvion
11th August 2006, 2:56 PM
Hey, ho, I am slow.

I can't believe this is still on its first page of comments. How about trying the Fan Fiction Commercials thread in the Authors Cafe? Get the word out, man. This is good stuff.



There is a LOT more to this than just Phil vs Gold. If you check the 'factoids' for the Prologue, you'll see I originally had the main villains introduced in there. With hindsight it was probably a bad idea to cut them. As it is they'll be introduced in the next chapter.

Okay, that's good to know.


The way I see it, the world has hundreds of regions and hence hundreds of Champions. After all, it is apparently based on our world and Kanto/Johto/Hoenn/Shinou make up merely Japan. Therefore many other regions must exist for everywhere else. Also each Gym is designed to challenge a Champion in a new way. ie Adelta Town: out-thought, Romana/Remana Cities: out-numbered, Olympia City: out-fought, Sellash Town: no preparation (bah, I wanted to continue the trend)

... Never thought about it that way. Trainers from all over the world... That's actually kinda cool.

But Out-Thought and Out-Fought are sort of hard to determine, right? In those cases, the junior trainers (especially the Leaders) would kind of have to be champions themselves, right? You have to admit, there aren't very many people in the world that are a real challenge for Red. Then again, maybe I'm thinking about this too much. It's a fun concept.


PLOT

Sort of a character chapter I'd say. How Jen got her spine back and all. Question: Why'd she lose it in the first place?


It was believed that it would only appear once a generation, and only then to a very specific trainer.

That sounds like balant foreshadowing. I'd muck around with that sentence, no matter what it was supposed to be.


“Anyway,” Phil changed the subject after a few minutes of silence, “I heard that you tried to beat the Sellash Gym again a few weeks ago”

“That’s right,” Red replied, looking far more comfortable than he had before, “but, as you know, I lost again. I’m starting to wish I didn’t design it so well.” He chuckled.

Sellash Gym was the fourth and final Gym in the Champion’s League and it had yet to be beaten, meaning that the first person to do so would automatically become the official World Champion. It was designed by Red to be the ultimate challenge. Unfortunately Red had added an extra feature. Anybody who lost would have their memory of the Gym’s features erased. On top of that, anybody who had something to with the construction of the building had theirs erased as well. As a result, the only beings that knew what was inside were a small group of Psychic Pokémon, Alakazam, who were hired to referee the battles and erase the memories of the defeated.

That is the coolest gym ever.
Must be a bit of a bother for the Leader, though.


“Krabby, look out!” Alfgeir warned as Rattata charged. However, his Pokémon was still stuck on its back and so was completely defenceless. Rattata grabbed one of Krabby’s arms with its teeth and pulled hard. The force of the pull ripped the claw out its socket and caused Krabby to flip the right way up.

“It’ll grow back,” Phil said with a smirk to Alfgeir.

While it's great that you checked the Pokedex for this factoid, you seem to have neglected another; Krabby need both claws for balance.

CHARACTERS

Great to see that Jen's finally shut up. Too bad she and Red are gone now. Ah well.


“Charizard, use Seismic Toss!” came a familiar voice from behind the crowd. Phil sighed with annoyance as he realized who it was. Sure enough, a convenient break in the crowd allowed him and Red to glimpse one another. The older trainer waved at him and called out, “Morning, Phil!”

Ha, Red's so pleasant.


“Kraken! Do something!” cried Jen, who was quickly revealed as Red’s opponent, as her Pokémon was grabbed by Charizard and carried into the air. The Pokémon had a round orange body and several tentacles with yellow suction cups. Kraken the Octillery was flailing wildly as it tried to break Charizard’s grip.

Yay, yay, Octillery, yay. I love Octillery, yay, yay!


“I’m Einar!” the first boy chirped.

“And I’m Alfgeir!” the second boy finished.

Their mothers must hate them. School must've been murder. Especially with substitutes. Eek.

GRAMMAR

I claim I am a Grammar Nazi, yet I cannot be bothered to go back and check your punctuation-- I'm such a hypocryte. I think the reviewer above me covered it anyways.

DESCRIPTION

Solid. Moving along...


Okay! See you next chapter-- with luck, I'll make it sooner than I did this time!

~Alluvion
;138;;138;;138;

Sybot
18th August 2006, 2:00 PM
Thanks for the reviews both of you. I'll make sure to take heed of them. I've finished Chapter 4, but first I want to answer some of your points.


I just noticed something, is it supposed to be the league of many champions or the league of one champion? If the first it should be Champions' League. If the second, ignore this.

Also, is the Olympia Valley referring to the region in Washington state?

It should be the first. I'll make sure to change it.

Secondly, no, I didn't even know that existed. This Olympia Valley is entirely my own creation.


I can't believe this is still on its first page of comments. How about trying the Fan Fiction Commercials thread in the Authors Cafe? Get the word out, man. This is good stuff.

I would if I could think of a decent commercial. I've tried, but advertising is not my strong point. I'll try harder.


That sounds like balant foreshadowing. I'd muck around with that sentence, no matter what it was supposed to be.

Well it was foreshadowing, but not for Phil...I'll see what I can do.


That is the coolest gym ever.
Must be a bit of a bother for the Leader, though.

Who is the leader? Thats one of the big secrets of this fic. (Another is introduced in the coming chapter). This Gym will be very important later on.


Their mothers must hate them. School must've been murder. Especially with substitutes. Eek.

Their hometown, Valgate Town, has a Viking theme, which explains their names. Unfortunately its been pretty much cut from the story, so I felt I had to at least have a nod to it. In case you haven't noticed, each town in the Valley has a theme of sorts (at least before modern buildings started intruding).

Now for Chapter 4. Introducing the main antagonists...

---------------------

Chapter Four: Twilight of the Flame

?Rattata! Quick Attack!? Phil ordered. His Pok?mon sped forward towards its opponent.

?Stop it with Psychic!? the other trainer, a boy of about twelve wearing a T-shirt, shorts and a cap, told his Kirlia. The small semi-humanoid Pok?mon in front of him was various shades of green with two red circles sticking out of its head. It waved its arms and appeared to be concentrating hard.

?Rat!? Phil?s Pok?mon growled in frustration as it was stopped in mid-stride and lifted off the ground.

?Try and overcome it!? Phil told the rodent. Rattata struggled against the pull of the attack, but was still being raised higher and higher. Nonetheless, Phil was impressed. The last few times he had tried it, Rattata hadn?t been able to move at all.

He was glad to have run into this boy and his Psychic Pok?mon; it provided a good means to prepare Rattata for any battles it might fight in the Saffron City Gym. Not that he thought that Murkrow might fall to a Psychic Type, but he needed to cover every angle. So now the two trainers were engaged in a mock battle in the middle of an empty carriage on the Magnet Train. It was a win-win situation for them, as Phil got to practise fighting Psychics and the boy got to train his Kirlia without the pressure of a real battle.

It looked as though Rattata?s struggles were having an impact, since the Kirlia was looking more and more tense as time went on. Suddenly, all the tension in its body seemed to disappear. Simultaneously Rattata stopped floating and fell to the floor if the carriage with a thud. It stood up and shook itself off, before resuming its charge.

?Kirlia, do something!? the boy exclaimed in surprise. Kirlia seemed to focus itself, but nothing happened. It looked like it had attempted a Teleport, but it didn?t have enough energy to perform it.

Phil grinned smugly; it looks like Rattata could handle itself against what many considered the strongest Pok?mon type. His Pok?mon smashed straight into Kirlia and sent it flying into an empty seat, before skidding to a halt to one side of the startled boy.

?Murk-k-k!? Phil?s Murkrow chuckled from its position hovering near the ceiling of the carriage.

?Looks like brawn beats brains for once,? Phil said to the boy as they both recalled their Pok?mon. ?Now do you remember the bet you made; if my Rattata could land a hit, I would get one thousand Pok?dollars? The boy nodded and pulled two 500 P$ (Pok?dollars) bills from his pocket. Murkrow swept down and snatched the notes from his hands, then flew up to Phil.

?You?re good,? the boy complimented, ?I want to battle you again!?

?Maybe some other time,? Phil muttered. He reached for his prize, only to have Murkrow suddenly back off and out of reach, cackling mischievously. He sighed, whipped out the bird?s Pok?ball and sucked it inside. The notes began to float to the floor as Murkrow disappeared, allowing Phil to grab them from the air. The boy then walked up to him and extended a hand. Phil reluctantly shook it and then quickly let go.

?See y?around!? the boy said cheerfully as he stepped around Phil and took off down the carriage. Phil watched him leave, and then slumped down on one of the seats mounted below the windows on each side of the carriage. Looking out of the window, he watched the lights in the tunnel outside flash past. The train had been travelling for almost an hour underneath the mountains that separated Kanto and the Olympia Valley. Soon, however, they?d pass beneath Mount Moon and be back above ground for the last leg of the journey to Saffron.

Suddenly the lights disappeared, and instead the outside was bathed in an odd red glow. Phil stood up and switched off the lights inside the carriage to get a better look. It appeared that the train was going through a large and empty cavern. Phil studied the cavern for the source of the glow and eventually tracked it to a tunnel on the far side of it. It was then that he noticed the glow was getting stronger.

?Whatever that is, it can?t be good,? he muttered to himself. As he said that, something barrelled out of the tunnel. From this distance all he could make out was that its body was covered in flames. Following it out of the tunnel was a large snake-like creature that was probably an Onix. Phil didn?t get a chance to see any more, as moments later the train left the cavern and once more his view was of lights flashing past.

He was about to sit down again when suddenly a jolt ran through the train and Phil was thrown down towards the front by his unrestrained inertia. The train was slowing down. Phil picked himself up, using one hand to keep himself from falling and rubbing his shoulder with the other. Watching the lights outside pass by ever slower, he thought about the situation.

?This is no coincidence,? he muttered. It didn?t seem likely that the train would just happen to stop after they passed the cavern. The train came to a smooth stop and a tone rang out of the speakers lining the carriage interior.

?Attention passengers, we apologise for the delay, but we have suffered a temporary loss of all power,? the voice of the pilot rang through the empty carriage.

?Well, that?s a load of Tauros,? Phil responded. It was obviously a lie, as the train hadn?t fallen onto the track. The Magnet Train relied on electromagnets for levitation so a total power loss would have brought them crashing down. Something was up, but Phil felt it wasn?t his place to go and investigate.

Suddenly a loud thud came from the front end of the carriage, startling Phil. He turned around in time to see the door from the next carriage fly open and someone rush out. He was surprised to see the yellow-haired man that he had pushed past earlier now charging straight towards him. Phil sidestepped rapidly and the man rushed past, the black cloak he was wearing billowing behind him.

?Beedrill! Stop him with Twineedle!? an angry voice cried from the door that the man had come from. Phil turned to look and was immediately faced with a large yellow and black Bug Pok?mon flying directly at him, the stingers on its forelegs pointed menacingly at his face. Overcoming any shock, he grabbed one of the Pok?ball?s from his belt and held it up in the path of the Beedrill with one hand.

?Murkrow, protect me!? he yelled, slapping the Pok?ball as hard as he could with his other hand. The ball exploded open in his hand, causing a sharp pain in the fingers that had been around it. Phil just gritted his teeth and ignored it, focusing instead on his Pok?mon that was now floating in front of him. Moments later the bird was struck by the Beedrill that hadn?t been able to compensate for Murkrow?s sudden appearance.

Murkrow cawed angrily as the two Pok?mon were both thrown back. Murkrow recovered first and immediately launched into an unauthorised Drill Peck. Beedrill finally brought itself back up to a steady hover, only to be immediately impacted upon by the spinning Murkrow. It collapsed to the floor and Murkrow turned around for another attack.

?Return!? growled the voice that had ordered Beedrill before. The Pok?mon dematerialised and got sucked into a Pok?ball held by a man standing at the far end of the carriage.

This man was enormous, brawny and very angry. Phil wasn?t paying attention to the look of rage on the man?s face; he was more concerned with the red ?R? emblazoned on his black uniform. Team Rocket was here. It made sense to Phil. They were here to steal the Pok?mon of everyone in the train, using the tunnel as a means to prevent rescue coming easily.

?I should have guessed it was Team Rocket behind this,? Phil said as Murkrow flew back to his side. ?You?ll not be getting any of my Pok?mon!? He braced himself for battle. The Rocket did the same, putting Beedrill?s Pok?ball away on his belt and picking up a different one.

?Enough!? A harsh voice came from behind the Rocket. A short man stepped around from behind the Rocket. This man was short and looked quite elderly, with a slightly wrinkled face and greying brown hair. Like the larger man, he was wearing a black uniform with the Rocket logo on the torso. ?We don?t have time for this,? he muttered loudly. He looked up at his teammate. ?Stand down!? he barked. The larger one grunted and lowered the Pok?ball he was holding.

Phil and Murkrow looked on in surprise as the weak ordered around the strong. There was clearly more to this man than his aged appearance suggested.

?What are?? Phil started. He was cut off as the smaller Rocket whipped his arm behind his back, pulled something out and swung it back, all in a split second. A deafening boom reverberated through the carriage and one of the seats near to Phil exploded in a cloud of foamy material. As the ringing in his ears died down, Phil looked up to see a gun pointed right at him for the second time in a week.

?I suggest you get out of the way,? the smaller man said with a wicked smirk.

Phil obliged. If the Rockets weren?t after him he had no reason to get in their way. After he moved to one side of the carriage the man lowered the gun and dashed past him, his burlier companion a few steps behind. Phil watched and Murkrow scowled as they left through the far door, heading in the same direction as the yellow-haired man.

?Agh!? Phil winced, as the pain in his hand finally caught up with him. His fingers ached where they had been bent back by the opening of Murkrow?s Pok?ball, so now he was rubbing them gently to sooth the pain. As he did so he spotted another pair of Team Rocket members. These ones were outside the train, running towards the rear. They quickly passed out of sight.

What was Team Rocket up to? If they weren?t after the Pok?mon of the trainers onboard the train, then the only remaining explanation was the battle they had passed by just minutes earlier. There was something about it that made it stick in his mind. A call from Murkrow interrupted Phil, and he looked over to see his Pok?mon attempting to prise open the double doors in the centre of the carriage using its beak and one wing.

?Looks like you were thinking the same as me,? Phil grinned. After tapping the button to make sure the door wasn?t working, he dug his fingers into the gap separating the doors and pushed After just a few seconds of exertion a pop was heard as the vacuum seal keeping the doors together broke. It didn?t take much effort to push them completely open after that. A cold breeze rushed into the carriage.

?Krow!? his Pok?mon cheered as it swooped out into the tunnel and motioned Phil to follow. Luckily Phil wasn?t very hasty or he could have been injured. Without a platform the drop from the train to the ground was quite considerable. Phil crouched down at the edge and thought about what to do. Meanwhile Murkrow flapped around impatiently. In the end his Pok?mon gave up waiting and flew over to grab a fold of Phil?s jacket. A quick pull caused Phil to stumble forward and fall off. He managed to get out of his crouch before he fell, so landing safely was easy. Before he continued, he made sure to thwack Murkrow around the back of the head.

?Thanks for that,? he said sarcastically. The tunnel was pretty unsophisticated, but it didn?t need to be pretty, as for the most part it was unseen. The walls and floor were entirely dirt, except for large steel support arches every so often. Lights adorned the walls a few metres apart, giving a dim glow to the outside of the train.

There was an unusual chill in the air, making Phil wish he?d worn thicker clothing. Together the lack of sunlight and leaks from the cooling systems that ran inside the train track left the temperature in the tunnel at somewhere close to freezing. Phil watched his breath as it condensed in the cold air, and then stopped thinking about it. He had more important things to do than worry about the temperature.

Motioning to Murkrow to follow him, Phil began to jog down the tunnel towards the end of the train. The dirt floor was surprisingly flat and easy to run on, so Phil found himself easily keeping up with Murkrow. He also noticed that the temperature seemed to increase as he moved down the tunnel. At first he put it down to his body warming from the exertion, but as it got warmer it he began to think that there was another cause.

It wasn?t long before he had passed the final carriage of the train and, a few minutes after that, reached the point where the tunnel gave way to the cavern. By now the temperature had risen to that of a warm summer?s day, and Phil could finally see why. Both he and Murkrow stopped and stared as they noticed what was in the centre of the cavern. A large yellow bird, its body covered in flames that seemed to spring from inside of it. Its fire bathed the whole cavern in a raging orange light.

?M-moltres?? he stuttered. He had never expected to ever encounter a Legendary Pok?mon in his lifetime.

Suddenly a stream of water fired up from the floor of the cavern and smashed into Moltres, sending it spinning away and breaking Phil?s gaze. Looking down, he could make out a large blue and white bird Pok?mon, the species of which he didn?t recognise. It wasn?t alone however, as dozens more Pok?mon were around it, all apparently focused on the Legendary above them. Moltres recovered from the attack and immediately went on the offensive; it dived into the crowd, firing an endless stream of fire that sent Pok?mon scattering in every direction to avoid it.

Moltres launched itself back into the air as various attacks flew up after it. While it tried to dodge and evade them, the sheer volume was overwhelming, causing it to get hit from behind by several bolts of electricity in quick succession. It roared with a voice that echoed through the cavern and spun around in midair to punish the attacker. The Pok?mon that had it, a medium-sized orange mouse known as Raichu, squealed in terror and ran as Moltres swooped down towards it burning a trail after it with its Flamethrower.

However, before the attack could hit, Raichu was dematerialised and sucked into a Pok?ball. Only then did Phil notice the humans in the cavern. About twenty people were spaced out around the edge of the cavern, presumably to avoid Moltres? attacks. All he could really make out from this distance was that they were all clothed in dark colours.

?That has to be Team Rocket,? Phil murmured to himself, ?only they?d be stupid enough to mess with a Legendary!?

?What was that?? a familiar voice asked.

Phil sighed. He wasn?t surprised. Turning around, he found the older Rocket from before was standing behind him.

?You just keep popping up, don?t you,? the Rocket said in a slightly annoyed tone. Phil didn?t answer, as he was still angered by their attack on a Legendary. ?It doesn?t matter, just stay out of our way while we save Moltres and you?ll be fine?

?Save!? Phil exclaimed. ?You call that saving!? He pointed accusingly at the battle, where Moltres had just shot down a flying Pok?mon with a Flamethrower, only to have been hit from behind by another bird.

?You think that?s us!? scoffed the Rocket. ?We learnt over a decade ago not to screw around with the Legendaries! We?re here to stop Team Twilight from capturing it!?

?What!? Phil cried. He was stunned. Now that he thought about it, the outfits worn by the people in the cavern looked nothing like Rocket uniforms, and none of them bore the red ?R?. But that meant that, for once, Team Rocket was following its common sense rather than its greed. He was also intrigued about this new criminal group, Team Twilight.

?Sir!? a young man in a Rocket uniform called out from the nearest wall of the cavern to them. He ran over and saluted to the older Rocket. ?Everyone is in position!?

?Good,? the older Rocket replied, before turning back to Phil. ?Are you going to get in my way again, or have you learnt your lesson??

?Actually,? Phil replied, ?I?d like to help you stop them.? If this Rocket was telling the truth, and Phil saw no reason why he wouldn?t be, then they shared the same goals for the time being.

?Well then, shall we go?? the Rocket said, stepping around Phil and his underling and walking towards the battle. He didn?t seem too surprised at Phil?s answer. After spending a moment thinking about it, Phil nodded to Murkrow and the two of them followed the older Rocket while the younger one fell in behind them.

?So what are we doing?? Phil asked as the four of them reached the edge of the slightly raised area that the track rested on.

?Team Twilight has spent the last week in a running battle with Moltres. They?ve rotated their battlers to allow them to rest and heal, but even then they must get worn out. With surprise, we should create enough of a distraction to allow Moltres to escape.?

?Got it,? Phil replied. He was ready to whatever was necessary to help Moltres.

They passed by an odd looking rock that got Phil?s attention. There was something strange about it that he couldn?t quite work out. There were more important things to worry about, such as the all-out battle going on just a short distance away, so he ignored it and continued walking. A few seconds later he heard the footsteps of the Rocket behind him stop.

?Rhyhorn, get them with Take Down,? the voice of the younger Rocket came from behind, with a significantly less subservient tone to it.

Phil spun round and watched as the rock he had seen earlier unfurled into a Pok?mon, a Rhyhorn to be exact. This bulky quadruped Pok?mon was grey and covered in jagged armour, so it was easy to see how it could be mistaken for a rock at a glance. It pawed at the ground and snorted, its horn pointed menacingly at Phil. Then, it charged.

?Look out!? Phil called out as he stumbled to one side and Murkrow flew above them.

Rhyhorn went straight past him and instead focused on the older Rocket, who had only just taken heed of Phil?s warning. The Rocket leapt out of the way and in a flash had his gun backing his hand. Rhyhorn couldn?t compensate for the change of direction and completely missed. The Rocket immediately fired three shots, but they didn?t seem to faze Rhyhorn at all while it stopped and turned for another attack.

?Damn armour?s too thick,? growled the Rocket with anger. He stumbled back as Rhyhorn charged again.

?Drill Peck!? Phil ordered. He couldn?t lose his only ally in this battle, and on top of that Rhyhorn was distracted, meaning he might not get another chance to help.

Murkrow dived and span on an intercept course with the rocky Pok?mon and impacted just as it came within metres of the Rocket. The attack didn?t do much damage to Rhyhorn itself, but the force of the impact knocked the Pok?mon off balance and caused it to fall on its side. Murkrow bounced backwards and crashed to the ground, stunned after crashing beak-first into rock-solid armour. Rhyhorn was left in a perilous position. Its stubby legs were flailing in the air as it vainly tried to get back on its feet.

?I thought there was something strange about you,? the older Rocket said as he turned to face the one that had betrayed them. Phil looked over his shoulder at the man who had now ditched his Rocket uniform and revealed the tight grey outfit underneath.

?We couldn?t have Team Rocket interfering in our mission, so I was assigned to deal with you,? the Team Twilight member responded. He exuded confidence, which was surprising seeing as he now had a gun pointed at him.

?If you?re one of them, what happened to the rest of my team?? the Rocket asked calmly, although Phil could tell that even this typically cool character was starting to lose control.

?We dealt with them,? the Twilight member simply replied with a shrug.

?Well then, I guess I can kill you and leave,? the Rocket hissed through gritted teeth. Just then Phil noticed movement behind him. The Rocket remained oblivious, his weapon and vision focused on the Team Twilight member. ?There?s nothing left for me here, so??

?Behind you!? Phil yelled.

Rhyhorn reared up on its hind legs, its mouth wide open and ready to crunch down on the Rocket?s head. Its victim abruptly switched back into calm battle mode, spinning on his heel with his pistol readied. Time seemed to slow down as Phil watched events unfold. The Pok?mon and human locked eyes as the gun settled into position?inside Rhyhorn?s mouth. The Rocket grinned and pulled the trigger four times, each shot muffled by the thick armour.

?NO!? cried the Twilight agent. His Pok?mon let out a long, deep groan and then fell backwards. It landed on its back, sending up a spray of dust. Shuddering, it breathed its last breath and stopped moving.

?Your turn,? sneered the Rocket. He turned around once more as the magazine fell out of his pistol and clattered to the floor. However, just as he reached into his uniform to pull out another, he stopped and stared. Phil followed suit when he saw what was behind the member of Team Twilight.

?What is it?!? raged the man. He was shaking angrily and already had a Pok?ball in hand to continue the fight. He looked over his shoulder and gasped.

A wall of water had risen from the surface of the cavern and was now speeding away from them. It looked to Phil like a Surf attack, but he couldn?t see its purpose. Suddenly a ball of steam burst from the water and flew above them. The steam quickly blew away, revealing Moltres. The Legendary looked in a bad way. It seemed to be flying with great difficulty and its flames were far weaker than before. Nonetheless it was able to fire Flamethrowers into the assembled Pok?mon below. Then it noticed the Twilight member that Phil had been flying, a perfect target out in the open with no Pok?mon to protect him. The Legendary bird swooped down.

?Murkrow, return!? Phil yelled, calling Murkrow back into its Pok?ball as he dashed for the track. He could feel the heat on his back as a fiery attack swept through the area where the two of them had been moments before. He looked back just long enough to see the Team Twilight member engulfed by flames. If Moltres was willing to attack humans then he definitely didn?t want to be around.

?You?ve got the right idea!? exclaimed the Rocket as he came up alongside Phil. Moltres had finished with its first victim and had now singled the two humans out as targets. The pair leapt onto the raised area with the track and turned into the tunnel. The Legendary dived after them but had trouble getting inside, allowing several attacks from Team Twilight to hit it, causing it to screech in pain and dimming the further the flames on its body.

?Keep up,? Phil grunted to the Rocket. The man?s age appeared to be catching up with him, meaning that he was slowly falling behind Phil. Moltres managed to get inside the tunnel and resumed its pursuit.

?In the back?carriage of the train?? wheezed the Rocket, ?get the power?back on and get the train ready to go?? He then seemed to hit the wall and his running speed dropped dramatically. Phil nodded and put all his energy into running for the train. He reached it, clambered up to the door at the rear of the train and pushed it open. The interior was lined with inactive machinery. In the middle of the carriage a woman in a black Rocket uniform was menacing two technicians with a small purple snake Pok?mon, an Ekans.

?Who are you?? growled the Rocket woman. She reached for another Pok?ball, but Phil exhaustedly raised a hand to make her stop.

?Get this train started?its right behind me,? he gasped as caught his breath.

?What!? the woman exclaimed. She stepped past Phil and looked out of the open door. Her eyes widened with shock as she saw her commander running with Moltres right behind him. ?Do it?? she ordered quietly. The two technicians got to their feet and, watching Ekans cautiously, started fiddling with the machinery. A hum started as the lights in the carriage came onto full strength.

Meanwhile, Phil watched as Moltres loomed over the Rocket commander. There was no way he would make it. The Legendary opened its mouth, but instead of flames pouring out to vaporize him, a small shower of harmless embers rained down. Moltres gasped as its flames died completely and it lost all will to continue. It collapsed down directly on top of the Rocket running beneath it.

?Sir!? cried the female Rocket from beside Phil. A cloud of dust flew up, obscuring the collision. Phil actually felt a pang of sympathy for the man he?d fought alongside, which surprised him.

?Pok?ball, go!? a strong voice echoed through the tunnel. A bright red light could be seen from inside the dirty cloud. As the dust settled, Moltres was gone and a Pok?ball sat in its place. A person stepped forward to claim it. This person was wearing a silvery cloak with a hood that left their face in darkness. They took the Pok?ball and put it inside their cloak.

?Attention passengers,? the pilot?s voice echoed through the carriage, ?power has been restored, we are now proceeding to Saffron City?

Phil felt the jolt when the train started moving. He could only watch in shock as the cloaked person receded into the distance. A Legendary had been captured. Team Twilight was going to pay.

-----------------------

Mysterious new Team, check. Plan involving Legendaries, check. Cloaked character just begging for a massive revelation, check. It all seems a bit cliche, but there's still a lot to Team Twilight that is yet to be revealed.

Do you want factoids? No? I'll give you some anyway.

-Team Twilight has changed a bit. They're still after the Legendaries, but they're not as 'mwhahaha' evil as they were in the original version.
-When we first saw Moltres originally, it had already been captured and TT was negotiating with it for its battle skills. I think this is better.
-This section originally introduced Tieren, but this time around I deemed him unecessary, so he'll speak his first words later.
-Originally the whole train segment was based around a crash that got Jen her confidence back (by beating down TR). With the shuffling of events it now serves as the introduction to TT and the train gets to stay intact.
-The older Rocket we meet in this chapter didn't exist in the first version. He takes the role of the Gyarados-owning Rocket that I killed off in Chapter One.

Chapter 5 will be done sometime in the next month. I do have other writing commitments, so I need to focus on them (having neglected them to write this Chapter).

Sybot
13th September 2006, 12:21 AM
Wow, has it really taken me almost a month to complete this chapter...I guess time flies!

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Chapter Five: A Third Wheel

Phil walked down the street, trying to concentrate on the coming Gym battle. He knew that this would be important as the first real test of his skill, but his mind get going back to the events of the train journey. After they had arrived in Saffron City earlier that morning the police arrived and arrested the Rockets that had remained on the train. He told the officers about Team Twilight, but they had pointed out that capturing a Legendary was not illegal.

He sighed. There was nothing he could do on his own, so for the time being he had to focus on other things. Instead of thinking, he looked around the city as he continued walking and let himself get immersed in the sights and sounds.

Saffron City was completely different from the metropolis he was used two, Olympia City. Here the great glass skyscrapers blended perfectly into the cityscape, making an impressive sight for someone who hadn’t been in such a big city before. The next half hour was spent in a slow stroll as he steadily made his way to the Gym. When he finally arrived there he was surprised by how it looked. He had seen photos, but it was even weirder when seen with his own eyes.

The building was white with a hint of purple. Its roof was a bizarre lumpy configuration going back in a symmetrical pattern from the front. Below each large lump an inverted conical pillar trailed down to the ground around the building, ending in a point. It was interesting how such a small point could hold all that weight. The building itself was large and circular, but that could barely be made out under the strangely shaped roof. Phil made his way to the main entrance, but before he reached the doors a short man in purple robes stepped in front of him.

“Stop,” the man said.

“Now what?” sighed Phil. He didn’t have time for this. Suddenly he felt a stirring on his belt. His Pokéballs detached themselves and then floated into the air between him and the man. It didn’t take Phil long to work out what was happening. “A psychic…” he muttered.

“Correct,” the man stated as he used telekinesis to suspend the two Pokéballs in mid air. “It appears you only have two Pokémon. This Gym is three-on-three. You may not enter until you have three Pokémon”

“But I don’t need three,” Phil retorted, “in fact, I only need one!”

“That does not matter, you cannot enter,” the psychic said flatly.

“Any other way around it?” Phil sighed. The man shook his head in a negative response. Snatching his Pokéballs out of the air, Phil determinedly said, “I’ll be back then, and you better let me in next time.” He then turned his back on the Gym and marched away. It was probably going to be easier to catch a Pokémon than to find a way around the rules anyway.

Within a few hours he had found his way out of the city and into a forest on its eastern boundary. This forest was pretty wild, which was somewhat surprising for one so close to a city. The trees and plants were close grown and walking meant wading through a sea of bushes, hardly the stealthiest way of finding a Pokémon to capture.

After spending a couple of hours watching Pokémon in the distance flee as soon as he came into view, Phil gave up and slumped down in a small clearing. This was his first time going out with the intent to capture a Pokémon. After all, Rattata had come to him, rather than the other way around. Maybe he was going about it the wrong way.

“Any ideas?” he asked, throwing two Pokéballs into the centre of the clearing. Rattata came out first and shook its head negatively. Murkrow followed moments later, emerging with its eyes closed in a stance that suggested deep thought. After a few seconds it opened its eyes, revealing a glint in them.

“Krow!” the bird cheerfully announced. It took off and flapped over to Rattata, picking up the smaller Pokémon and placing it in the centre of the clearing. Then Murkrow dived into the bushes. A few moments later it walked out with a strange gait, its pose suggesting it was trying to impersonate a different Pokémon. It came up behind Rattata menacingly, and then pounced.

“Pokémon attacking Rattata…” Phil thought out loud while his two Pokémon scuffled. Suddenly he realised what Murkrow was trying to say. “A trap!”

Murkrow cawed in agreement before taking off to avoid an attack from Rattata, who was now chattering angrily with its teeth bared. It attempted to leap up and grab Murkrow’s leg, but the bird Pokémon just flew out of reach, cackling loudly. Rattata seemed to get even angrier. It attempted another jump but Phil was ready to intercept it. The rat struggled as its trainer grabbed it and restrained it.

“That’s enough!” Phil snapped. Rattata angrily conceded and ceased its struggle. Putting the Pokémon down, Phil looked up to Murkrow. “Get over here,” he ordered before looking back down to Rattata. “You stay there.”

“Tat?” the rat Pokémon asked with a growl as Phil and Murkrow moved out of the clearing.

With a sigh, Phil locked his gaze on Rattata as he lay down in the bushes on the edge of the clearing. The Pokémon was obviously uncomfortable in a situation like this where it had no control, as opposed to the independent life it lead before. Such was the life of a trainer’s Pokémon, Rattata just had to learn that.

“Just stay there,” Phil said quietly as he moved back into a position where the bushes obscured his body. Murkrow set down by his head and hid itself as well.

They only had to wait about fifteen minutes before Phil’s plan came to fruition. There was a rustling in the bushes and a small canine Pokémon crawled out in a poor attempt at stalking its prey. From its black markings and pale tufts of fur Phil could tell it was a Growlithe, no match for Murkrow. It snuck up behind Rattata, only succeeding because Phil’s Pokémon was letting it get close.

“Murkrow, attack!” Phil yelled, leaping to his feet. Murkrow launched itself out of the bushes and straight at Growlithe.

Rattata leapt out of the way, hissing with glee as it watched Murkrow sail at the canine Pokémon, which was standing frozen with fear. The sudden opening allowed Murkrow to hit without a problem. The Growlithe was sent flying away into a tree trunk. It slid down and crumpled on the floor in an unconscious heap.

“Good work guys!” Phil cheered. He swung off his bag and took out a Pokéball. “Growlithe, prepare to be caught! Go Pokéball!” he yelled.

The ball sailed through the air as Phil and his Pokémon watched intently. Suddenly a blur leapt from the bushes and in the path of the ball, causing it to get knocked away and completely miss its target. It took a moment for Phil’s eyes to focus on the newcomer. It looked like a larger version of Growlithe, except that its fur was a deeper shade of orange and it had bigger tufts of fur on its body.

“Arc! Arcanine! Arc!” the new Pokémon raged at the trainer. Phil guessed it was one of the Growlithe’s parents.

“An Arcanine,” Phil mused, “I guess you’ll do.” He leapt into action before Arcanine could try to escape. “Rattata, Quick Attack! Murkrow, Drill Peck!” he ordered.

Both Pokémon charged forwards. Murkrow reached Arcanine first, but it had to swerve away, as it hadn’t finished its Drill Peck windup. As it swept past Arcanine lashed out ineffectually in an attempt to hit it, but luckily the bird was too fast and so Arcanine missed.

Rattata took immediate advantage and ran into the large canine, sending it stumbling back. It turned and ran away to prepare another charge, but Arcanine was ready. It opened its mouth and launched an orange fireball from inside. The ball scorched the earth as it sailed through the air towards an oblivious Rattata. Before Phil could shout a warning the fireball struck in a scorching explosion that knocked his Pokémon away.

Unfortunately, Phil didn’t have a chance to recall Rattata as Murkrow was already coming around for another pass and he needed to focus. His favourite Pokémon dived from above, spinning fast enough this time to use Drill Peck adequately. Of course, all Arcanine would have to do to avoid it would be to use its impressive speed to move away, but it was protecting its young, making it the perfect time to use such a pinpoint attack. Murkrow smashed into the skull of the dog Pokémon, forcing it to the floor where it howled in pain until the bird pulled away and prepared to attack again.

“Good work, now we just need to finish this,” Phil commended. The Pokémon in front of him was cowering on the floor, blood seeping through its fur from the wound on its head. One more attack would knock it out and make it easy to capture. But first he needed to recall Rattata, now that he had the opportunity. “Return, Rattata,” he called out as he whipped out the Pokéball and turned around. Phil didn’t get surprised often, but this time the shock caused him to pause for a few seconds. Rattata was gone.

“Rat!” came a faint cry in the distance. Phil snapped out of his daze, looked in that direction and spotted a purple shape moving through the bushes, suspended in mid-air by a pair of vines wrapped around its middle.

“Murkrow, follow me!” Phil exclaimed before leaping out of the clearing after his kidnapped Pokémon. Murkrow broke off its attack run, paused briefly in confusion and then followed him.

“Murk?” the Pokémon asked as it caught up with its trainer. The two were now weaving through the trees in pursuit of the distant calls of Rattata.

“Go ahead and try to stop them,” Phil ordered. Murkrow cawed in acknowledgement and sped ahead. Phil had almost entirely forgotten about the Arcanine and its offspring now. His mind was focused entirely on rescuing Rattata. He couldn’t lose a Pokémon he’d already gained the trust of and that he’d been training specifically for this Gym battle.

“Murk!” came a call from ahead. Murkrow sounded insistent so Phil picked up the pace.

“What is…” he started to ask as he came up his Pokémon as it sat in the lower branches of a tree. He stopped himself saying any more as he looked out on the scene in front of them.

A large pit, at least forty feet across, sat in the middle of a forest and yet remained devoid of trees or any sort of plants. In the middle were an array of Pokémon, although it didn’t take Phil long to notice that only two species were dominant. Most of the Pokémon were being restrained by the vines of Bellsprouts; small thin twig-like Pokémon with yellow heads and two leaves sticking out of their bodies. The Pokémon being restrained were a variety of Bug-Types and various other woodland creatures. Amongst them was Rattata.

A scream drew Phil’s attention to the centre of the pit. Lazing back was the largest Victreebel that he had ever seen. This Pokémon’s yellow body was more swollen than normal, and its leaves drooped indolently at its sides. To put it simply, it looked fat. The reason was soon clear as it moved the leaf covering its mouth to let a Bellsprout drop a Pokémon inside. Another blood-curdling scream could be heard as the creature was dissolved in Victreebel’s acid.

Phil scowled. He was fully aware of the brutality of nature, but this was something else. Normally a victim of the Bellsprout family of Pokémon would be dead or close to death before being doused in the acid that passed as digestive juice for the flycatcher Pokémon. Here, on the other hand, the Victreebel in charge seemed to revel in the suffering of its meals. Phil wanted to do something, but he knew that he had more important things to take care of, like rescuing his Pokémon from its fate.

“Murkrow, use Faint Attack to get Rattata away from that Bellsprout,” he whispered. Murkrow cawed quietly in reply and faded away.

As he waited patiently for Murkrow to begin, Phil heard a rustling below him. Looking down, he spotted a Bellsprout moving by his legs and clearly not paying him any attention. This one seemed different than the ones in the pit; the hue of its leaves was a more hazel-green than the leaves of those servicing the Victreebel.

More noises quickly gave away the position of further Bellsprout assembling around the perimeter of the pit. Phil had an idea of what was going on, but for now he couldn’t do anything about it. He turned back to the pit, where the Bellsprout holding Rattata had now joined the line to feed its master. Murkrow had to hurry up.

Right on cue, the bird materialized above the Bellsprout, beak open. It bit down hard, severing one of it vines that was holding Rattata. The Bellsprout looked up in shock and fell on its back, unable to take the readjustment of balance. In the process it loosened it grip and Phil’s Pokémon fell to the ground beside it. It took a few moments for the rest of the Pokémon in the pit to notice what was happening and by that time Murkrow was already in the air, clutching Rattata with its feet.

The Victreebel roared with anger and some of the Bellsprout began to panic; they ran in every direction looking for cover. Others managed to keep their nerve; these ones began launching vines and razor-sharp leaves after Murkrow. The bird easily dodged the few attacks and continued speeding towards Phil, who had now taken out both Pokéballs and pointed them towards his Pokémon.

“Return!” he shouted. But before he could fire the recall beams, a Bellsprout leapt up directly in front of him. It must have been hiding near one of the walls of the pit. In let off a string of leaves directly at Murkrow that it had no chance of dodging. The bird was hit several times and crumpled to the floor in pain, releasing Rattata in the process.

Phil hissed in annoyance and made a move to push past the Bellsprout. Suddenly one of the hazel coloured Bellsprout stepped in his path. Phil stopped and watched as it fired a single leaf at the unsuspecting Pokémon on the pit edge. It neatly severed its head from its body, sending the yellow flower flying into the air and the twig-like body collapsing to the ground.

“Sprout!” the Pokémon yelled with a surprisingly loud voice.

There was a mass of movement as the Bellsprout arrayed in the treeline dashed forward and slid down into the pit. Very soon the sounds of lashing vines and slicing leaves had filled the air as the two different tribes of Pokémon clashed. Phil had guessed something like this would happen when he spotted them originally. It was good news, as it meant he could easily nip in and get his Pokémon back.

He stepped forward and recalled Rattata into its Pokéball only to realise that Murkrow had vanished. It didn’t take long to find it, an island of black feathers in the ocean of green leaves. The vines of at least five Bellsprout were holding down his Pokémon. Phil smirked as the Grass-Types had to lay more and more vines in just to keep the bird restrained. Murkrow was powerful, much more so than the pathetic Pokémon here.

Nonetheless, it needed his help. He slid carefully down the side of the pit and ran into the fray. Neither side was particularly interested in him so he just stayed away from the major scuffles and all he had to worry about was the occasional stray attack. As he zigzagged across the field he noticed that the hazel group was steadily gaining the upper hand; the main problem seemed to be a lack of coordination amongst the defenders. Sure, the Victreebel was standing in the centre of the pit screeching orders, but the general coordination of the Bellsprout group was lacking. Phil could guess that they weren’t used to anything bigger than grabbing a stray Pokémon and running.

A crash in front of Phil brought him out of his thoughts. A hazel Bellsprout had fallen to the floor unconscious in his path having been mauled by the vines of a trio of the defenders. Phil stopped in his tracks and tried not to draw attention to himself as the three creatures responsible moved past him and onto further combat. He began to move forwards again once they had passed. Suddenly there was a sound of something lashing through the air and before Phil could react a thin, green vine ensnared his leg.

Phil felt the vine tug his feet out from under him and he fell painfully to the ground. Rolling over, he saw one of the three Bellsprout had grabbed him with a vine extended from behind its head. Another vine was waving around in the air waiting to strike. Phil was able to put his arm up just in time to deflect the attack away from his face. His arm stung from the blow and he was sure that the skin had been broken, but there was little he could do. Now he was being dragged by the foot towards the Bellsprout, presumably so that it could get a better angle to attack.

The Pokémon clearly didn’t realise its mistake. Phil had no way of fighting back at a distance but up close he could easily overcome the physically weak Grass Type. Rather than struggle against the pull, Phil exploited it, using his hands and free foot to push forward. The Bellsprout was caught off guard and before it could react Phil had it pinned to the ground. The Pokémon was so feeble that he was able to hold it down with one hand while slipping off his bag and rummaging through it with the other.

“May as well make the most of this,” Phil muttered, “Pokéball, go!” He slammed the red and white sphere into Bellsprout’s head, knocking the Pokémon out cold and sucking it in moments later. As the vine around his leg disappeared, Phil was able to get up and watch the Pokéball as it wobbled and whined. It was almost as though he was willing it to succeed, given how intently he was staring at it.

After a few tense seconds, the ball stopped shaking and emitted a chime. Phil picked up the Pokéball and put it away. At least this encounter wasn’t a complete waste. Now he just had to hope that he hadn’t been delayed enough by that little incident to stop him from rescuing Murkrow. Turning back, he easily spotted his Pokémon. Not much had changed; it was still struggling against several captors who were holding it down with vines.

It was then he threw caution to the wind and rushed headlong towards the struggle. Razor Leaves skimmed barely past him as he rushed up to them. A swift kick knocked two Bellsprout away, causing them to lose their grip on Murkrow. The vines fell away from its left wing and it began flapping at the remaining restraints. Phil smirked with satisfaction and moved to kick at the remaining Bellsprout. Suddenly there was a soft thud from behind him along with an unwelcome cry.

“Treeeeeee!” screeched the Pokémon behind him.

For the first time in that battle, Phil was not just anxious, but terrified. He attempted to leap away but thick vines that he had no chance of breaking wrapped around his arms and flipped him around to face his attacker. As he predicted, it was the Victreebel. Phil struggled fruitlessly against his bonds as the Pokémon looked on in arrogant amusement. As he was lifted off the ground and the leaf atop Victreebel opened Phil lashed out with his legs. However, Victreebel simply absorbed the blows and sent more vines to secure those limbs.

Phil was almost in a blind panic by this point, but suddenly he spotted something moving out of the corner of his eye. It was so reassuring that almost all his worries vanished within seconds. He focused his eyes on the gaping maw of the Pokémon in front of him before opening his mouth and calling out his orders.

“Use Drill Peck, and don’t hold back!”

The Victreebel paused and looked at him strangely before continuing to move him towards its mouth. Now Phil could see the acid inside was shimmering, waiting to digest him. He just had to hope it would be finished in time. Victreebel chirped trimumphantly. Suddenly, out of nowhere a streak of black swooped past the large plant Pokémon.

“Urk…” was all the Victreebel seemed to be able to say. Its grip on Phil loosened and he fell to the floor. Shaking himself off and looking up, Phil saw the Pokémon’s digestive juices were flowing out holes on opposing sides of its body. Something vital must have been severed or melted away by the acid, as Victreebel didn’t even cry out when it crumpled to the floor in a heap.

Phil sighed with relief as a stunned silence descended over the battlefield. The sounds of combat died away within moments of the Victreebel’s death. Suddenly, screams rang out as the greener-coloured Bellsprout began to panic and run in every direction. As the fled the pit, the surviving hazel Bellsprout began to leave as well, though they didn’t bother to pursue the fleeing defenders. One of them stopped briefly near Phil to prod the corpse of Victreebel a few times. It then looked at Phil in a disdainful way, almost as if it was saying ‘we could have done this without your help’. It turned and marched out after the rest of them.

Murkrow flew over and settled on the ground next to Phil. It looked exhausted, and its feathers were ragged where the acid had eaten away at them as it passed through Victreebel’s body. Just then, seeing his Pokémon in such a state, all the events of the past two days caught up with Phil. He suddenly felt incredibly tired. Having only a couple of hours of sleep over the past two days was a very bad thing for his body. As his eyelids began to droop, he whipped out a Pokéball and called Murkrow back into it. Then he fell on his back, fast asleep.

Phil was back in the tunnel, watching the mysterious person with the gleaming silvery cloak receding into the distance. He could feel the train moving beneath his feet, but he couldn’t look to confirm what was happening. His eyes were fixed on the person in the distance. Suddenly there was movement from inside the darkness of the person’s hood and a voice rang out as clear as if he was standing right next to that stranger.

“I know your name…”

When Phil opened his eyes, it appeared that night was rapidly approaching. Through the break in the trees above the pit the clouds took on an orange glow. He sat up and rubbed his eyes as he recovered from his sleep.

“Rat?” came a surprised squeak from nearby.

Phil looked over to see a Rattata poking around the plant remains that had previously been Bellsprout. It took Phil a few seconds to register it as not being his own. He groggily shooed it away and then picked up his bag where he had taken off during the battle. As he rummaged through it, making sure nothing had been taken while he slept, he began to become fully awake. Nothing had been taken, but he mentally berated himself for being foolish enough to fall asleep in such an exposed position.

After picking up Murkrow’s Pokéball and putting it back on his belt he began to wade through the aftermath of the battle. The air was filled with a sickly sweet scent from the bodies of the Bellsprout. Ironically the same smell that lured Pokémon to their doom would now lure Pokémon to a feast. There was an eerie silence across the pit, punctuated by the distant cries of far off creatures. Phil climbed up the edge of the pit and entered the treeline. Before leaving, he took one look back at the pit and the hazel and green bodies littering it.

“And they say Humans are the vicious ones,” he muttered.

By the time he got back to Saffron City, night was beginning to set in and a Gym battle was looking less and less appealing with every minute. So, he decided to wait for the following day and instead spend the night getting to know his latest acquisition. After arriving at the Pokémon Centre, a small glass building with a Pokéball mounted above to distinguish it from the surrounding structures, he left his Pokémon downstairs to be healed and went to his room.

In the typical style of a big city, the bedroom was small and cramped, with just enough room for a single bed and a chest of drawers with a television on top. Not the ideal location for testing Bellsprout’s abilities, but it was free and so he wasn’t complaining.

He relaxed and watched the television for a few hours before his Pokéballs were brought up to his room. He thanked the nurse and closed the door. Now the real test would begin. How could he get a Pokémon that had been trying to kill him when they had last seen one another to trust him? He tossed Murkrow’s and Rattata’s Pokéballs opposite one another and then, after they had emerged and got their bearings, he ordered them to be ready to fight.

“Let’s see what you’ve got, Bellsprout,” he said throwing the third Pokéball in between the two open ones.

The plant-like Pokémon emerged in the typical flash of light and glanced around. It quickly realised something was amiss and sent out a pair of vines to protect itself. After a few tense seconds it noticed that neither Murkrow nor Rattata were moving to attack and it relaxed slightly. It then looked up at Phil and suddenly recognition flashed across its face.

“That’s right,” Phil sneered, “I’m your owner now.” He was going for a more dominant style this time, as it seemed to be the way that the Victreebel had treated its servants. Following through fear was probably the only reason that this Bellsprout had any loyalty.

“Bell?” the Pokémon asked, seeming as though it was taken aback.

“Your leader is dead, I defeated it,” the trainer continued, while glaring confidently down at the Pokémon. He was about to continue when Bellsprout abruptly bent over in a pose that looked a lot like a bow. He hadn’t counted on his plan being this effective and was left momentarily stunned. “So…you’ll battle for me,” he finally managed to say.

“Sprout,” the Pokémon responded submissively.

“Well then,” Phil said with a grin, “we have the night ahead of us, shall we begin with Rattata versus Bellsprout!”

The rodent Pokémon leapt up onto the bed the moment its name was mentioned and squealed with delight at the prospect of a battle. Murkrow also looked pleased as it flew up and landed on the television and settled in to watch. Phil went behind Bellsprout and stood with his back to the door, facing Rattata and the bed.

“Do whatever you want, Rattata,” he said.

Almost instantly Rattata leapt off the bed and towards Bellsprout.

“Dodge and use Vine Whip!” Phil yelled. His first task was to confirm Bellsprout could use that basic Grass-Type attack.

Bellsprout sidestepped Rattata’s charge and sent vines out of its body that smacked Rattata in the side, knocking it into a wall. The Pokémon got up, shook itself off, and prepared to charge again.

“Razor Leaf!” Phil ordered. Bellsprout didn’t do anything and Rattata was able to leap in and smack into it. As it fell to the floor Phil muttered, “I guess you don’t know that attack then…”

This continued for some time as Phil worked out what techniques the Pokémon could use. In the end, it appeared that Bellsprout could use its vines for attacks such as Vine Whip and Wrap, as well as being able to launch a variety of powders such as Stun Spore and Poison Powder. All in all, Bellsprout seemed to be better at ranged combat than either Rattata or Murkrow, although the absence of Razor Leaf hampered it in that respect. Another thing that concerned Phil was the Pokémon’s lack of initiative. It seemed to be unable to do anything without his direct order, unlike the others, who were more than happy to take control when needed. He believed it was down to the subservient attitude it had.

He thought of all these things and more as he returned the three Pokémon to their balls and lay down on the bed. Thanks to his nap earlier that day, it would take a while for him to get to sleep. So he spent his time thinking about strategies he could apply to take full advantage of Bellsprout’s abilities. Eventually he drifted off to sleep.

Everything was purple. This was different. He was used now to seeing dreams of the light and the dark, but purple…

“I see you wish to challenge me,” a cold female voice intoned. As those words were spoken a pair of piercing eyes appeared on the purple fabric of the dreamscape. They seemed to break right into Phil’s mind. “I can assure you that you will not…” the voice continued.

“Oh get out of my head you psychic *****!” Phil snapped. A wave of comforting darkness washed over the dreamscape and the voice and eyes were gone. The darkness lasted until morning, providing a nice night’s sleep.

Phil woke up in the morning with a mild headache. He figured it was a small price to pay for keeping the person he assumed was Sabrina, the Saffron City Gym Leader, from messing around inside his head. He only wished that he had the mental abilities to counterattack and screw around with her brain instead of merely using a subconscious defence.

He rushed through his shower and stormed through his breakfast; it had been days since he had first decided to take on the Gym, and he wanted to get into battle as quickly as possible. Within thirty minutes of waking up he had left the Pokémon Centre for the Gym.

“Happy now?” he asked the Gym’s guard sarcastically once he arrived, waving the three Pokéballs in the man’s face. The guard snorted derisively and stepped aside before getting back to bending spoons.

As Phil pushed open the door, he could make out a quiet, echoing voice in his head. He rolled his eyes. Was he going to have to put up with that for this whole Gym battle? He couldn’t wait to send out Murkrow and defeat them all.

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Psychic vs Dark: No Contest?

Can Phil conquer the Saffron City Gym, or will his overconfidence get the better of him?

I promise to have the next next chapter up sooner!

Factoids shmacktoids, like anyone cares:

-The fate of the Growlithe was made clear in the original, but I've left a loose end this time around. Rest assured that this loose end will be tied eventually.
-Originally the battle was between some Beedrill and the defending Bellsprout rather than two rival tribes. It ended with the lead Beedrill skewering Victreebel instead of Murkrow. I think the new outcome is better.
-I'd also like to point out that this is the last chapter I finished before giving up on the original story. I hope I can get the Gym battle done this time around.
-One last thing. D/P frigging stole my idea! Granted I hadn't even posted it yet...Anyway I had an idea for a new kind of Pokeball that was important to the plot: The Dark Ball. Of course, this has now been taken so I'll have to at the very least rename it...

Sybot
26th September 2006, 12:01 AM
Here is Chapter Six, not that anybody seems to be reading this.

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Chapter Six: Psychic vs Dark: No Contest?

Phil stepped into the Gym, and was immediately greeted with a tall and slightly nerdish man wearing glasses and a blue suit.

“Hey there, champ-in-the-making!” the man said with a grin.

“Oh, please,” muttered Phil. He didn’t need this guy’s help. Unlike the average trainer to come stumbling through the doors, he’d done his research and knew exactly what to expect in terms of the Gym’s set-up.
“Excuse me?” the man asked, seeming slightly offended.

“I don’t need your help,” Phil replied with a bit of anger. He stepped around the man and walked into the centre of the Gym’s lobby.

The room had a slightly futuristic feel to it; the walls were smooth purple with inbuilt lights and the floor was covered in metallic plastic tiles. In the centre of the room stood two pillars with an oddly textured floor tile between them. There appeared to be no doors out of the room apart from the one Phil entered through.

Before starting his Gym challenge, Phil decided to check out the two pillars. On top of each one was a carving of a Pokémon, in both cases a Kadabra. However, that wasn’t what interested him. Carved in the grey stone of the two pillars was a list of trainers that had beaten the Gym.

Running his finger down the list, he managed to pick out several familiar ones: Red, Gold and Jen were all there. Looking elsewhere on the pillar, he spotted other familiar names, those of Gym Leaders and Elites: Blue, the Viridian Gym Leader, was there, and so was Lance, the current head of the KJC Elite Four. One name stuck out: Karen, a member of the Elite Four and fellow Murkrow user. She was the one Phil had studied in order to develop tactics for Murkrow. He hoped to one day battle her and put himself to the test.

Suddenly there was a vibration from Phil’s belt and a flash of light leapt into mid-air next to him. The light faded into the familiar form of his Pokémon, Murkrow.

“Thinking the same thing?” Phil asked rhetorically.

“Murk!” the Pokémon responded cheerfully. It flew up and landed on an arm of the Alakazam statue while pointing its beak eagerly at the odd tile that stood between the pillars.

“Well then,” Phil muttered. He knew what was coming. The Warp Tile in front of him would teleport to another room, and he would have to battle the occupant, a Junior Trainer of the Gym. From there he would pick another Warp Tile and repeat the process until he faced Sabrina. It wasn’t the battle that worried him; it was the thought of having his molecules messed with and his fate being in the hands of a machine that gave him the most anxiety. It took a few seconds for him to gain the courage to walk forward and take his first ever steps onto a Warp Tile.

It was a strange passing sensation of nothingness, and then he found himself in the corner of a different room. The walls and floor were identical, but the contents were not. There were no pillars, and there were three other warp tiles in the other corners. In the centre of the room a comparatively small battle arena had been painted on the floor. Sitting in the middle of the arena was a short man in blue robes and with spiky purple hair. He had his eyes closed and appeared to be meditating.

There was the sound of a rush of air behind Phil indicating the arrival of Murkrow. Phil stepped off the Warp Tile and started to walk towards the man.

“Shall we get this battle…” Phil started to say.

Suddenly the man cut him off by raising his right hand towards Phil, palm outwards. The trainer looked on in confusion. A few seconds passed, and he was about to ask what was going on when he felt a massive force pushing him backwards. He couldn’t resist and within seconds he had slammed into the wall behind him. It didn’t take Phil long to work out what had happened. He’d been hit by a telekinetic attack.

“Two can play at that!” he yelled angrily, clutching his chest as a result of the impact. “Murkrow, use Drill Peck!”

His Pokémon was still flying above the Warp Tile, apparently unaffected by the attack. Upon hearing the orders, it dived straight for the psychic. His right hand still raised, the man reached into his robes and took out a Pokéball. He seemed to concentrate hard, and suddenly Phil felt himself being pushed back into the wall. After struggling to open his eyes, he realized he could see the telekinesis by the distortions in the air. Most importantly it let him see Murkrow, who seemed to have the distortions flowing around rather than through it.

The Gym trainer seemed to put more and more effort into his attack, causing the air to forced out of Phil’s lungs and making it hard for him to breathe. Nonetheless, Murkrow remained unaffected and continued barrelling towards its target. Eventually, the man opened his eyes, probably because he realised he was having no effect. The last thing he saw was the dark shape of Murkrow aimed straight for his head.

The bird impacted with a thud and bounced away towards the ceiling. The psychic lost consciousness instantly and was knocked a few feet though the air before falling motionless to the floor. His Pokéball rolled out of his left hand and hit the floor with a clatter. Phil felt the pressure lift from his body and breathed deeply a few times to recover from the ordeal. While he got up and walked over to the unconscious form on the floor Murkrow was having a bit of fun by standing on the Pokéball and rolling it around with its feet.

“We didn’t even get to battle,” Phil sighed falsely. He quickly checked to make sure the man wasn’t too badly hurt then he picked one of the three other Warp Tiles at random and went towards it. “Come on, Murkrow,” he said over his shoulder.

His Pokémon reluctantly tossed the Pokéball into the unconscious man’s face and then flew after Phil, who was now standing in front of the Warp Tile. He had an idea of what would happen this time, so it didn’t take him very long to work up the courage to step onto it. Not existing was a drag, but the feeling didn’t last long and soon he was in another room. This one was identical to the last except that there was a robed, middle-aged woman standing in the centre. Eerily she was staring straight at him.

“I foresaw your arrival,” she said distantly before Phil could do anything. So she was a seer.

“Alright then, shall we battle?” Phil asked, glad that this one wasn’t trying to kill him.

“Yes, we shall…” the woman started saying, but she stopped talking and her eyes appeared to glaze over.

“Are you okay?” Phil questioned. He didn’t really care; he just wanted to know if he could move on or if he had to wait. Just then a rush of air signalled Murkrow emerging from the Warp Tile. The woman blinked and returned to normal, and then looked at Murkrow.

“I forfeit,” said stated bluntly.

“What?!” Phil exclaimed.

“I had a vision. You will use that Murkrow and none of my Pokémon will be able counter it. Therefore I will not put them through more pain than necessary. You are free to pick a tile and move on.”

“I see…” Phil muttered.

The woman sat down on the floor, closed her eyes and began to mediate, completely ignoring Phil. He shrugged, chose another Warp Tile at random and went over to it with Murkrow flying closely behind. This time he had no hesitation before stepping onto it. Once he reappeared he noticed that once again he was in the room of a Junior Trainer. The room was once again identical to those before it, and once again a trainer clad in blue robes sat mediating in the centre. This one was a boy in his early teens with light brown hair. Phil wondered what his ability was.

“I’m a telepath,” the boy said abruptly, answering Phil’s question both directly and indirectly as Murkrow entered the room just behind him.

“I suppose I don’t have to tell you the reason I’m here,” Phil said. He had to make a choice now. Hide his thoughts or leave them in the open. The former would make it hard to concentrate on the battle but the latter would make it easy for the telepath to read what he was thinking.

“That won’t work,” the telepath responded to Phil’s plans. The psychic got up and walked to one end of the battlefield. Phil and Murkrow went to the opposing end.

“Why not?” Phil asked. He thought psychics could only read surface thoughts.

“We can do more than that,” the boy replied. He closed his eyes and his face tensed up with concentration. Phil felt small, garbled voices poking into his mind. There were so many, he had no way of making them leave. He couldn’t use the same technique as he had the last night, as it seemed that only worked on a subconscious level, such as when he was asleep. “Now,” the boy continued, “lets see what’s inside your mind!”

The voices suddenly became sharp, although still garbled. They lanced into Phil’s mind and rummaged around as subtly as knives. Phil tried his best to hide his thoughts, but that only made them more vulnerable. However, before the voices could reach them, something appeared in the way. The voices appeared confused as they tried to break around the barrier; they didn’t know what it was. Phil however, instinctively knew that it was his subconscious. The voices eventually stopped trying to go around, and instead they stabbed straight through it. It held only briefly before a gaping hole appeared. Suddenly the voices disappeared; it was as though they had never been there.

Then he realised he’d had his eyes closed the whole time, and that the mental battle that had seemed to last forever had in fact only taken place over a few seconds. Opening his eyes, he saw that the psychic boy was backed up against the wall, eyes wide in fear. Murkrow was already on its way over to investigate. Phil blinked a few times and let the headache that had sprung up, recede. Murkrow flapped around in front of the boy’s face, but it seemed to have no effect; the boy just continued staring at Phil in silent terror.

“What happened?” he wondered aloud. “Does this mean I get to move on?”

There was no response from the boy. Phil shrugged and turned away. He picked the nearest Warp Tile and headed for it. He’d have to ask Sabrina about that once he met her, after all she was the expert on psychic abilities. Murkrow left the boy and caught up with Phil, giving an encouraging squawk. Phil nodded at his Pokémon, and was about to step on the tile when a sound came from behind him.

“Au…au…” the boy stuttered very quietly. Phil turned back and saw the boy had managed to pull himself away from the wall, though he still looked terrified.

“Go on,” Phil sighed. He was having trouble sympathising with the person who had rudely invaded his brain, but he had to at least make an effort.

“Auris…” the boy said before fainting onto the floor. Phil arched an eyebrow in curiosity.

“So all he wanted to do was tell me my own surname,” he muttered, “fine. Lets go, Murkrow”

He once more faced the Warp Tile and took a step onto it. He was mildly surprised when he arrived at the other end. The room he entered was far larger than the others he had been in. It was also exceedingly dark. He couldn’t make out the ceiling or opposite wall through the murk. The next thing he noticed was the voice prodding around the fringes of his mind. Unlike the boy’s from earlier, this voice was clear, distinct and refined.

“The human mind is very fragile, as has been demonstrated today,” the voice stated icily.

“That kid,” Phil called out into the room, “what was going on there?”

“He was foolish. Breaking into the human subconscious can be a dangerous thing for one to do. You will see the innermost thoughts and primal urges of a person, and it may terrify you. That is what happened.”

“I see, thanks for the long-winded explanation,” Phil replied sarcastically. He stepped forward and noticed a battle arena was painted on the floor in front of him, extending into the darkness. He moved into position at his end of the field and stood there, waiting. The sound of a rush of air from behind him followed by a flapping of wings indicated Murkrow entering the room and taking off into the darkness above.

After about a minute his eyes had gotten used to the darkness and he could make out the rest of the room. Standing to one side of the battlefield was a referee. He, for Phil assumed it was a man, was standing on an elevated platform so the darkness hid his upper body. Opposite him on the field was a woman in her late twenties wearing a uniform comprised of a red jacket and short skirt with long black stockings. Her dark green hair cascaded down her back. Phil would have been attracted to Sabrina if he hadn’t known she was a psychic. Instead, he only felt the urge to defeat her.

“The battle will be three against three. Only the challenger may substitute Pokémon!” the referee yelled in a voice that Phil found familiar somehow.

Phil knew she could read his thoughts, but he had prepared himself for this. She was not likely to be as forceful as the boy had been, and Phil could try and exploit this. He grabbed Rattata’s Pokéball and thought only of how he could defeat psychic Pokémon using it.

“I foresaw your arrival, Philip Auris of Adelta Town,” Sabrina said. Phil sighed; he knew he was in for the typical boasting. “The future, however, remains unclear,” the Gym Leader continued, “though I do know that this will be a difficult match, the outcome is not predetermined. As such, I will try my hardest to defeat you.” She levitated a Pokéball from her belt and threw it into the arena with her mind. “Kadabra,” she stated.

The ball burst open, briefly illuminating the room and allowing Phil to see that the décor was the same purple as the rest of the Gym. In the arena, Phil was faced with a medium sized yellow-brown humanoid Pokémon. There was a yellow tail with brown stripes extending from behind it and it carried a spoon in one of its hands. Phil didn’t hear it speak, but he felt its telepathy gently move around his head alongside Sabrina’s. It was annoying, but he would have to put up with it for the duration of the battle.

“Rattata!” Phil yelled, lifting the Pokéball into the air, “I don’t choose you!” This got the expected reaction from Sabrina, causing her to briefly lose her composure due to surprise. Phil knew that because she had only been reading his surface thoughts, it was all too easy to convince her he was going to use Rattata first. Now there was a Pokémon on the field that was easy meat for his real choice.

“Krow!” the bird Pokémon cried out as it descended from the shadows to land opposite Kadabra.

“I choose Murkrow,” Phil said calmly. Sabrina didn’t respond, but he expected that from what he knew of her personality.

“Begin!” the referee shouted as he raised two flags into the air, one red and one green.

“Murkrow, Faint Attack,” Phil ordered without bothering to put effort into it.

He was sure they both knew that Kadabra could do nothing to fight a Dark Type. Silence descended over the arena when Murkrow disappeared from view. Phil glared at Sabrina and she stared back emptily. Suddenly there was a shimmering in the air to the left of Kadabra and the black bird reappeared. It dived forward and smashed into Kadabra, sending it stumbling to the right.

Suddenly Phil felt the tendrils of Sabrina’s telepathy withdraw from his mind. He quickly realised she was communicating with her Pokémon. Moments later one of Kadabra’s hands began to glow yellow. The Psychic Pokémon turned to Murkrow and leapt forward. It took until the moment that sparks flew from its hand that Phil realised what was happening. It was Thunderpunch!

“Murkrow!” Phil called out, suddenly recognized that he’d have to put in a bit more effort.

His Pokémon cried out in shock at Kadabra’s counterattack. However, the Psychic Pokémon was comparatively slow thanks to its weak muscles and Murkrow was able to easily dodge the attack by taking off higher into the air.

“Now use Drill Peck!” Phil commanded while Kadabra’s punch passed through empty air.

Murkrow didn’t even bother to do a proper wind-up for the attack. In span through the air and hit Kadabra even as it landed from its attempted punch. Sabrina’s Pokémon lost its balance and fell to the floor. It tried to push itself to its feet, but the punch had taken all of its physical energy and it collapsed again.

“Kadabra is unable to battle!” the referee announced, raising his green flag towards Phil.

“You exploited my telepathy,” Sabrina stated. “You are an interesting battler. Most either ignore it or attempt to fight it. However, a vision has come to me. Your Murkrow will fall to my next Pokémon.”

“Your entire strategy is based around psychic abilities, I doubt your Pokémon could defeat my Murkrow,” Phil replied arrogantly, watching on as Sabrina recalled Kadabra and telekinetically switched the Pokéball with another one.

“I choose Venemoth,” she announced.

On cue the Pokéball opened and Phil got another glimpse at the rest of the room. As the light faded and the usual gloom returned a new Pokémon was floating above the arena. This one was a large insect with two large, purple wings coming out of a body comprised of a brown abdomen, a purple thorax with six stubby legs and a purple head with large grey eyes and a three-pronged crown-like structure.

“Murkrow, use Faint Attack again!” Phil yelled to get the battle started again.

Murkrow cawed acknowledgment and faded away for the second time. Once more, Phil felt Sabrina’s psychic tendrils poking around and reading his thoughts. He guessed that this meant she wasn’t giving out orders telepathically any more in order to focus on predicting his moves.

“Venomoth, use Gust on the arena,” the Gym Leader ordered blankly.

Her Pokémon began to flap its wings. Phil was concerned. Murkrow should have reappeared by now. What was taking so long? The air in the room was getting more and more stirred up with each flap of the Bug Pokémon’s wings. Soon a wind had picked that forced Phil to brace himself so that he wouldn’t lose his balance. Suddenly, he saw Murkrow reappear. It popped back into view on the edge of the arena, having apparently succumbed to the Gust. It was flung into the shadows, a crump signalling its meeting with a wall.

“Murkrow, are you okay?!” Phil called out over the wind. There was no answer.

Venomoth began to flap its wings in a motion to counter the wind and stop it. This proved to be a mistake, because as soon as the gusts had died down, a black shape zipped out of the shadows and impacted it before it had a chance to evade. Murkrow pulled back after its attack and returned to hovering in front of Phil. Its red eyes were glowing with anger and it appeared to be eager for revenge.

“Looks like Faint Attack won’t work,” Phil mused, “so I guess I’ll just go with a straight up Drill Peck!” He shouted the last two words, and Murkrow bolted forwards towards its opponent, who was still pulling itself back into the air after the last attack.

Phil noted that Sabrina continued to stand impassively rather than give an order to her Venomoth to dodge the attack. She was planning something, yet it seemed as though there was little she could do against such a direct attack. He could feel her pressing weakly at the outskirts of his mind, almost as if she wasn’t really focused on that, almost as if she was focused on waiting for something. Suddenly it hit him.

“Murkrow! Stop!” he cried out. Unfortunately his Pokémon had committed and was now barrelling almost uncontrollably towards Venomoth. As it drew to within seconds of impact, Phil finally saw the outcome of Sabrina’s plot.

“Dodge and use Stun Spore,” the Gym Leader commanded bluntly.

Venomoth slipped to one side, just out of the path of Murkrow’s attack. The bird was unable to compensate in time and completely missed its target. As Murkrow passed by the oversized bug it flapped its wings once, unleashing a spray of powder that Phil’s Pokémon had no chance of avoiding. Murkrow’s whole body stiffened and it fell from the air, still spinning from the inertia of its attack. It hit the ground and stopped moving.

“Murkow, return,” Phil said, rapidly taking out the Pokéball and recalling Murkrow before it could officially be declared unable to battle. He might be able to use again in future. For now though he had to deal with a Venomoth that was only slightly injured and now had full access to its psychic techniques. There was only one Pokémon he could choose. “Finish it, Rattata!” he called out, switching Pokéballs and throwing Rattata’s into the air.

The Pokéball opened in midair and sent out the stream of light that was Rattata. It hit the ground and quickly formed into the familiar small, rodent-like shape of Phil’s second Pokémon. It squealed with delight when it realised it was out on the battle arena and mockingly pawed at the ground. Venomoth looked on in mild bemusement at the tiny Pokémon.

“Quick Attack!” Phil ordered quickly, attempting to catch Venomoth, at the very least, off guard. Rattata dashed forwards with surprising speed and leapt into the air towards its target.

“Confusion,” Sabrina responded, not .

Venomoth’s eyes glowed, and an aura surrounded Rattata. It stopped in mid leap and hung in the air, its limb flailing uselessly. Phil now knew that it had to follow the training it had been given. Venomoth wasn’t a Psychic Pokémon, its attacks should be easy to overcome compared to the Kirlia he had faced before. After a few seconds, his Pokémon realised this too and began to struggle against its telekinetic restraints. Phil could see the exertion in the faces of the two Pokémon as they were drained of their energy.

Suddenly, all the tension was released and Rattata flew forward even faster than it had been before. Venomoth reeled, first from the breaking of its attack, and then from the impact of Rattata. It fell to the floor and flopped about weakly, so drained that it was unable to even fly. Rattata was in slightly better shape. It stood proudly with a triumphant grin near to where Venomoth had landed. Only take a few moments rest would be needed for it to recover from the ordeal.

“Finish it up with a Bite attack!” Phil called out, sensing an impending victory. Rattata grinned even wider and began to bound towards Venomoth.

“Use Psybeam,” Sabrina responded. Phil suddenly realised that his arrogance had cost him a Pokémon. He shouldn’t have underestimated the downed Venomoth.

Venomoth seemed to pull all its strength together for one last attack. Its eyes glowed once more and a rainbow coloured ball of energy appeared on its forehead. As it continued to grow, Rattata continued to approach. After a few seconds that felt like minutes for Phil, it was unleashed in the form of a bright multihued beam that Rattata ran straight into. The force of the beam was enough to fling Rattata backwards and almost straight into Phil. He sidestepped his own Pokémon and glared at Venomoth. Surely it couldn’t recover after all of that. Luckily for him, his guess was correct and Venomoth fell on to its back, too exhausted to even sit up.

“Venomoth and Rattata are unable to battle!” the referee declared, both of his flags raised and pointing opposite directions.

As Phil recalled Rattata, he realised he had a difficult choice. Whatever Sabrina used next, his best choice would be Murkrow. However, there was the chance that Murkrow would be declared unable to battle the moment it was used thanks to its paralysis. It had to be kept as a last resort. As such, there was only one choice.

“Your turn, Bellsprout!” Phil shouted as he released his Grass Type Pokémon.

“I am relying on you to defeat him, Mr Mime,” Sabrina countered, tossing out another Pokéball with her mind. It opened and the beam of energy that shot forth became a humanoid Pokémon that looked a lot like a short, round, pink and white clown.

“Begin with a Vine Whip!” Phil commanded to get the battle started. Bellsprout launched vines from behind its head and they lashed towards Mr Mime with a whipping sound.

“Barrier,” Sabrina ordered. Mr Mime placed its hands out in front of its body and motioned them as though it was pushing against an invisible wall. The vines hit an invisible wall just in front of Mr Mime and bounced away.

“Get closer!” Phil ordered Bellsprout. He had a plan to defeat Mr Mime, but it was very risky. Bellsprout pulled back its vines into its body until only a few inches were sticking out and then it began to run towards Mr Mime.

“Psybeam,” Sabrina stated.

Her Pokémon closed its eyes and a rainbow ball of energy began to form on its forehead. The ball grew much faster than Venomoth’s had, which could be put down to Mr Mime being a Psychic Pokémon. After a few seconds, it released and the beam of mental energy seared through the air towards Bellsprout.

“Jump up with your vines!” Phil yelled.

His Pokémon responded by pushing at the ground with the vines that it had not fully retracted. As a result it was launched into the air, safely out of range of the Psybeam. Nonetheless, the Psybeam had an impact as it sailed effortlessly through the vines; the vines were completely disintegrated. Phil heard his Pokémon cry out in pain, first from the severing and then from its impact with the ground.

“Keep going! Get as close as you can!” Phil barked. He couldn’t afford Bellsprout slowing down.

His Pokémon got to its feet and immediately began to run again. This seemed to surprise Sabrina who had probably expected him to worry about Bellsprout’s condition for a while before sending it forward. As a result Mr Mime was caught off guard and Bellsprout was soon within inches of it.

“Now use Poisonpowder!” Phil yelled.

Bellsprout ran past Mr Mime, blowing a fine dust out of its mouth as it went. The dust settled on Mr Mime and the floor around it, but it appeared to have no immediate effect. After accomplishing that, Bellsprout stopped just behind Mr Mime and readied its vines, though they were still lacking tips.

“Doubleslap,” Sabrina told her Pokémon, which immediately turned and leapt at Bellsprout.

Phil waited for Bellsprout to try and dodge it, but he remembered too late that Bellsprout was entirely reliant on him for orders. Mr Mime first swung its right arm back and then it swung it forwards, hitting Bellsprout and knocking it off its feet. The plant Pokémon didn’t get any rest, as Mr Mime’s left arm rapidly came in and hit it from the other side, sending it in the opposite direction. Soon Phil’s Pokémon was being juggled back and forth between its opponent’s two hands. He had to do something quickly, or he would be forced to switch to Murkrow.

“Use Wrap on an arm!” he called out, hoping Bellsprout could manage it.

The vines, which had been dangling limply from Bellsprout ever since Mr Mime’s attack had begun, suddenly leapt into action and wrapped themselves around Mr Mime’s left arm. The next time Mr Mime pulled its left arm back to ready a slap Bellsprout was dragged along and flung from in-between the Psychic-Type’s arms leaving it with a stunned look on its face. Bellsprout landed roughly on the ground with a loud crump, but it was able to pull itself to its feet moments later. The Grass-Type appeared to be in bad shape. It probably couldn’t take another attack, and yet Phil couldn’t risk using Murkrow.

Phil felt Sabrina poking at his mind, so she knew this fact too. She instantly worked to take advantage of it; she gave an order to her Pokémon. “Mr Mime, use another Psybeam!” she called out.

She seemed surprised when Mr Mime didn’t immediately react. Instead of preparing another attack it was standing still and clutching its stomach while groaning in pain. Phil hoped that his strategy was working. After a few moments Mr Mime’s pain seemed to ease and it began to charge up a Psybeam. Bellsprout had no chance of withstanding it; Phil had to think fast to keep his Pokémon in the battle. The rainbow coloured beam was unleashed even as he was thinking. As it sailed effortlessly through the air, the answer hit Phil like a speeding train and he moved as quickly as possible to implement it.

“Use Vine Whip on the beam!” he said as fast as he could while still being comprehensible.

The damaged vines whipped forwards from his Pokémon and impacted the head of the beam. Most of the beam was stopped in mid flight for a few instants, and then it began to dissolve the vines in order to get through. Bellsprout was in obvious pain from its extensions being destroyed, but it tolerated the feelings. The beam continued along the vines, destroying them as it went. Eventually, and just inches from Bellsprout, the rainbow beam fizzled out as a result of using its energy to destroy the vines.

“Another one,” Sabrina commanded.

Bellsprout couldn’t pull off that trick again, nor could it move fast enough to dodge the beam while on foot. Phil still had Murkrow to call on, but if was still too paralysed to move then he would fail as soon as it came out. He couldn’t take that risk, yet he seemed to have no choice. Suddenly Sabrina’s voice brought him out of his thoughts

“Get over it and attack!” Sabrina said loudly to Mr Mime, her calm attitude almost breaking.

Phil looked up and noticed that Mr Mime was doubled over in pain. It seemed as though his plan was working after all. Then, the pain in its body seemed to subside and it stood upright and began preparing another ball of psychic energy. Looking over at Bellsprout, he could see that his Pokémon still had no chance of escaping a beam; it could barely stand up. The ball kept growing in strength.

“Bellsprout, I don’t care what you have to do, just try and survive!” Phil called out. He couldn’t do anything else.

Then, Mr Mime completed the Psybeam build-up and released it. At almost the same time, its whole body stiffened with pain and the beam split apart and went flying off in random directions. Barely missing the trainers and Bellsprout, the beams splashed harmlessly on the walls and floor of the battlefield; Psybeam was designed to only damage living organisms. Had Phil won? He saw that Mr Mime was still moving, but that movement was little more than twitches as it felt the pain of the poison in its body.

He had to do something to finish it, but Bellsprout was too weak to get close, nor could it use its vines as they had been torn apart by the Psybeam and would require days of healing to repair. Suddenly Bellsprout stood upright, only a slight shaking revealing its weakness. It opened its mouth and spat a large purple blob towards its opponent. Mr Mime didn’t eve try to dodge, as it was still fighting the pain of the poison. The blob splattered onto Mr Mime, burning its skin wherever it hit and causing it even more pain. Phil was surprised. It looked like Bellsprout could use Acid after all. Mr Mime fell to the floor and writhed around in pain, utterly unable to do anything else.

“Mr Mime is unable to battle; with three eliminations to one, the victory goes to Philip from Adelta Town!” The referee declared.

“It was not your fault we lost,” Sabrina said, sounding as comforting as an emotionless psychic could, “we were simply outmanoeuvred.” Mr Mime returned to its Pokéball and then Sabrina telekinetically placed the ball back on her belt.

“You did better than expected Bellsprout,” Phil told his Pokémon, “return.” He pointed the Pokéball at Bellsprout, who was starting to collapse from exhaustion, and fired the recall beam. The beam managed to scoop up his Pokémon even as it hit the floor. At the same time he felt Sabrina’s telepathic tendrils withdraw from his brain and all the psychic tension in the air dissipate.

“You are an excellent trainer, Philip,” Sabrina said as she walked across the arena, carefully avoiding the patches of Acid and Stun Spores. “If you had latent psychic ability, I would recruit you on the spot”

“Well, I guess that’s as close to a compliment as I am going to get from you,” Phil responded.

“Correct,” Sabrina stated. “And now, as recognition of your victory, I present you with the Marsh Badge” Her eyes began to glow and she extended her hand. Suddenly a there was a rush of air and a small gold circle with an indentation in the centre appeared in her hand.

“Thank you,” Phil said with a smile as he took the badge from her. He was one step closer to matching Gold, but he couldn’t celebrate just yet. There was still one thing to take care of that had been lingering at the back of his mind since the beginning of the battle. “Could you come down here, referee,” he asked, his smile rapidly fading.

“Of course,” the referee replied. He leapt off of his platform and landed on the floor a few metres behind Sabrina.

“I thought as much,” Phil muttered. Standing there was the grey-haired Rocket he had met on the train. “I saw you get crushed, how exactly did you survive?”

“It wasn’t too hard. Without its flames, Moltres wasn’t really that dangerous and it was just a matter of avoiding its body. I got hit by a wing and knocked out”

“So why are you here?” Phil asked, stepping around Sabrina to get a better look at the man.

“You are an excellent battler, Philip, and you have a deep desire to fight Team Twilight. I would like to recruit you for Team Rocket”

“Wh…what!” Phil exclaimed. He hadn’t expected this. He disliked Team Rocket as much as any trainer, and had only sided with them for the purposes of fighting the other Team. Managing to calm down, he was able to think of a compromise. “I don’t really want to join a group that is little more than a bunch of glorified Pokémon thieves, but I would like to help you fight against Team Twilight.”

“I see…” the Rocket muttered. He stood thinking for a while, until an idea appeared to come to him. “Well, you don’t have to be a member of Team Rocket to be an ally of it. Just look at Sabrina here” He pointed at the Gym Leader.

Phil glanced over and noticed a slight glow in her eyes that the Rocket wouldn’t have been able to see. Since he couldn’t feel anything in his mind, she must have been reading the Rocket’s thoughts.

“Go to the Pokémon Centre in Celadon City and ask for ‘Soyuz’. We’ll go from there,” the Rocket continued. He then walked past Phil and Sabrina to the Warp Tile. “By the way,” he said just before he stepped onto it, “since I know your name now, I’ll tell you mine. I am Agent Dornez, fifth ranked agent in Team Rocket and…” he was cut off in mid sentence as his foot hit the Warp Tile as though an invisible force had pushed it on there.

Phil looked over Sabrina with slight disbelief. Why was she a supporter of Team Rocket? Her personality definitely suited Team Rocket, but she was a Gym Leader. He had thought they were staunch supporters of justice.

“They provide me with funds for projects that the League would not allow, and in return I use my abilities to assist them in a small, untraceable way,” she replied, taking Phil’s question from his mind and providing a response.

“That makes some sense,” Phil said, “but what sort of project is banned by the…”

“He is hiding something,” Sabrina interrupted, “be wary.”

“Well, that’s what Rockets do, but what about those…” Phil tried to say.

“Enough, I wish to be alone,” Sabrina cut in again. Her eyes began to glow and Phil felt energy building in his body.

He sighed, knowing there was nothing he could do to stop it. The energy continued to build until reached a crescendo and Phil popped into non-existence, on his way to a destination as far away from Sabrina as she could send him.

---------------------

The next chapter will take a while, as I'm off to university next week so I won't have time to write.

You know, the main reason I do these factoids is for myself more than anyone else. I like seeing how I've changed.
-In the original version Phil had to take on three trainers in battle before facing Sabrina. I realized that this meant cutting back on the main event, so I made Phil breeze past them without a fight instead.
-Sabrina has changed in personality. For some reason I wrote her as angry in the original version, a choice that makes no sense with hindsight.
-The Rocket that meets Phil in the Gym was originally the leader of the attack on Adelta Town, but since I killed him this time around I had to use my new Rocket character instead.

While on his way to Celadon City, Phil meets with a trainer eager for battle, but what will the result be when he suggests a catching competition?

Venastois
27th September 2006, 12:40 AM
just thought i'd post and give you a reason to actually use the sarcasm.
and the factoids are interesting to read (though only a tiny bit ;) )

as for the story, i like the main character alot, considering i can relate to what he thinks/ does. I'm probably just as, if not more cynical than he is. Anyway, your story actually got me thinking about what pokemon are underappreciated, and murkrow immediately came to mind. Your descriptions of the battle scenes were great, and your little asides are also fun to pick up on.

"'t was not your fault we lost,' Sabrina said, sounding as comforting as an emotionless psychic could,"

i found that line pretty funny, i'm glad to know that i'm not the only one that thinks about these things.


as for gramatical stuff, i can't really critique, considering i have the same problems when i'm writing that you do. although i only caught maybe 2 awkward sentences in the whole thing.

one more thing, i'm a closet reader, so i'll try and breakt the habit, but don't expect a huge amount of critism (wheter constructive or not)

viva la murkrow

Sybot
12th November 2006, 2:29 PM
Thanks Venastois

Sorry this took so long. University really takes up a lot of my time.

There is one major change to note though, I have changed the timeline so that R/S/E takes place one year after R/B/Y (previously it took place six years later). It doesn't have any real effect on the story since we haven't met any Hoenn characters yet, but I have just don't want people to be confused.

Enjoy!

---------------------

Chapter 7: Enter Aden!

Phil was sitting at a computer in the lobby of the Saffron City Pokémon Centre, a simple affair consisting of little more than a plain painted room with several computer stations and a set of chairs in the centre, with a desk opposite the door.

The Internet held a great deal of data, and he was searching it for information on the Celadon City Gym. He had materialized about one hundred metres away from the Gym after Sabrina had sent him away, and he couldn’t be bothered to go back in. Instead, he had returned to the Pokémon Centre and handed over his Pokémon for healing. Rattata and Murkrow were fine, but Bellsprout would have to stay for several days to re-grow its vines. He didn’t have time to hang around, so he was leaving the Grass Pokémon where it was and departing as soon as he was ready.

“An all female Gym?” Phil thought out loud with a perverted grin.

He wasn’t really interested in having a relationship, but he was a young male and he couldn’t help but think about these things. Dispelling those thoughts, he got back to his real task, the formation of a plan to fight Erika, the Celadon City Gym Leader. She was a Grass-Type user, and her strategy seemed to be based around a sort of ballet of attacks. Phil knew that the best way to stop a dance was to interrupt its rhythm, so he would have to devise a way to do just that.

One problem was that the Gym, like Sabrina’s required a minimum of three Pokémon for entry. If Bellsprout was still recovering when he reached Celadon City he would have to waste time going out and catching a new Pokémon. Phil didn’t have time to waste. He needed to catch a new Pokémon while travelling there, preferably one with decent ranged abilities; his match with Sabrina had shown how lacking he was in that area.

Just then, as he leant back into the back of his chair, something over by the front desk caught his eye. A young girl in tomboy-style shorts and a T-shirt was waiting anxiously for a nurse while cradling something in her arms. She nervously looked around the room, her face etched with worry and sadness. After half a minute of waiting a Joy clone rushed up to the desk, dressed in her usual white nurse’s uniform.

“What happened?” she asked, her voice filled with concern.

“I found it out in the woods…” the girl stuttered quickly. She looked down at the Pokémon in her arms, and then back up at the nurse. “I think it’s only a baby”

“What about its mother?” the nurse said.

“I found her too…” The girl looked to one side and Phil caught a glimpse of held-back tears. “She was dead…there was blood coming from her head”

“I see,” the nurse muttered quietly.

Phil quickly drew his conclusions, and he didn’t even need to see what was in the girl’s arms to figure out what had happened. When a pair of Chanseys wheeled in a stretcher and the girl placed the Growlithe onto it, everything was confirmed. He didn’t feel guilty, as there had been no way of knowing that the Arcanine was weak enough to be killed by a single blow. Still, unnecessary death made him uncomfortable, and he was glad that the Growlithe was getting a trainer that cared about it.

“Such is life,” he said to himself with a shrug. He had more important things to do than mope around. Once the girl had gone, following Growlithe and the Chanseys deeper into the Centre, he got up and went to the desk.

“Sir?” the nurse questioned.

“Transfer my Bellsprout to Celadon City once it is healed please, I’m leaving now,” Phil told her.

“You won’t be staying while it heals?” she asked in reply, sounding slightly surprised.

“Why should I? I have things to do, and it would save me so much time to just let it heal while I walk to the next city,” Phil responded.

The nurse frowned and nodded to confirm Phil’s request. He then thanked her and left the desk, stopping briefly to pick up his rucksack from where he had been sitting at the computer. After briefly glancing at the Growlithe being taken away, he slung his rucksack onto his back and left the Pokémon Centre. There was nothing left for him to do in Saffron City, so he immediately made his way to the western entrance of the city and departed without looking back.

One more thing needed to be done before he could go to Celadon, and that was to catch a new Pokémon. So Phil turned away from the main road between the two cities and entered the grasslands that ran alongside it. It would take him longer to get to his destination, but he could use the time to catch a Pokémon and create strategies for it and the rest of his team to counter Erika.

The grassland was a wide plain covered in long, light-green grass, which in some places grew higher than Phil’s head. It was the prefect place for Pokémon to hide, so Phil wasted no time in pushing into grass that reached up to his waist. Within half an hour, something happened. Something that had been bent down in the tall grass leapt up and smacked Phil in the chest. He fell, gasping, backwards into the grass, but before he had hit the ground he had already grabbed a Pokéball.

“Go, Rattata! Use Quick Attack!” he managed to yell before the wind was knocked out of him by the impact.

The Pokéball he had been holding flew from his grasp and opened in mid air. After materialising, the purple rodent that was Phil’s second Pokémon fell into the grass and began to scurry rapidly around, its position only visible by ruffling of the long shoots.

Phil coughed a couple of times and pushed himself up to get a look at his attacker. It was a short, brown, wingless bird with two heads, a Doduo. It squawked at him with one head, and then leapt forwards, pointing the other head for an attack. Just in time, a purple shape streaked from the grass and knocked the Pokémon away. Rattata landed next to Phil and chattered happily. It was excited to be back in battle.

“Rat!” it squeaked loudly in a request for orders.

“I was looking for something with more of a ranged emphasis,” Phil said to himself, “so this won’t do. However, I do have another use for it” He watched the bird try to pull itself to its feet, which was not an easy task for a creature with only two appendages. “Rattata, use Hyper Fang. I think you know what you want to do.”

Rattata took off through the grass towards the ailing Pokémon. The shaking shoots that marked its position stopped just below the body of Doduo. The Pokémon looked down with one head and cried out in fear at what it saw. Phil guessed that it was probably the look on Rattata’s face. The rodent launched out of the grass and clasped its teeth around the thin black neck of the lowered head. It cried out again, this time in pain from both heads.

A few seconds passed as it limply tried to throw Rattata off, and then a loud crunch sounded across the grassland. The head that Rattata was attacking fell limp and the other head began wailing even louder, forcing Phil to cover his ears.

“Finish it off!” he called out, hoping Rattata could still fight through the noise.

“Tat!” he heard vaguely over the din from the Doduo’s remaining beak.

Rattata let go of the dead head and landed on Doduo’s back. The Pokémon stopped crying and instead struck using its beak to perform Rage, knocking Rattata back down into the grass with an attack backed by powerful emotion. After poking at its dead head and calling out in sorrow and pain again, it looked up at Phil with extreme anger. Eager for revenge, it bolted straight towards Phil, but in this attack the emotion was to be a weakness. Phil could easily guess its moves as it hurtled towards him in a straight line and he managed to leap out of the way and grab its neck at the last minute. The sudden deceleration had a bad effect on Doduo, and as Phil’s hands brought it to a jarring halt a second sickly crack could be heard.

“Well, that’s that,” Phil said, dropping the now-completely dead Pokémon and rubbing his arm where the momentum of the grab had affected it. “Now…how do you pluck one of these again?”

Several hours later, night had arrived and Phil, Rattata and Murkrow had settled down next to a fire in a small clearing by a lone tree for a meal. The Doduo meat was a bit stringy, but it was satisfying. Rattata especially seemed to enjoy eating it; Phil speculated it was due to the thrill of killing, or at least helping to kill, the donor of the meat. Murkrow was finding it more of a nuisance than anything else, as the meat had to be cut up into manageable chunks before the bird could eat due to its lack of teeth. Still, it had fun throwing around any loose gristle or bone that it found.

“Krow?” his Pokémon asked after they had eaten their fill. A considerable amount of meat was left.

“Don’t think I haven’t thought of that,” Phil answered with a smile, “this could be used as bait to lure Pokémon to us.” He turned away from Murkrow and looked into the distance. The lights of Saffron City were still visible on the horizon, a dim glow that settled on the grass giving it a slight luminescence. It would take at least a few more days to reach Celadon City, so he didn’t have to worry about catching a Pokémon straight away.

“Swellow, use Quick Attack on the food!” came a voice suddenly from behind the tree. Phil looked over at the trunk in time for a shape to whiz out from behind and dive for the remaining meat.

“Murk!” came the sharp yell of his Pokémon as it materialised in front of the food after using Faint Attack. The shape moved so quickly that it was over before Phil realised what had happened. Murkrow and the other Pokémon had collided and bounced away in opposite directions before they both crashed to the ground. Now, lying opposite the black bird was a medium-sized bird, its feathers coloured blue, red and white. Phil vaguely recognised it as a Swellow, from the tropical Hoenn region.

“Wow, I didn’t think you’d want your food that much,” the same voice chuckled. From around the tree stepped a boy in his early teens. He was wearing the standard T-shirt and shorts combo that seemed popular for his age group, but what stuck out the most was a blue hat with white wing motifs and straps that dangled loosely at the sides of the boys face. Phil was sure he had seen it somewhere before.

“So you’re a food thief?” Phil growled. He was getting annoyed with this brat.

“Ah! Don’t worry, I thought you had finished with it and I just wanted to play around!” the boy exclaimed while waving his hands negatively and frantically.

“Well…” Phil started to say, while glaring at the boy. The other trainer seemed genuinely sincere that it was a joke. Although Phil wasn’t the best at reading other people, he believed that a kid like this, clearly loud, obnoxious and probably spoiled, was unlikely to be a real thief. As a result, he decided not to send Rattata in to attack the boy. “I guess I can forgive you, Rattata, return”

He heard a squeal of disappointment as he lifted the Pokéball and fired it blindly while continuing to glare at the boy. A whooshing noise indicated a successful return, and he put it back on his belt before gesturing to Murkrow. The bird picked itself up off of the ground and flew onto his shoulder.

“That’s a cool Flying-Type!” the boy declared, apparently having completely forgotten about the tense situation moments later. “I love bird Pokémon and I’m going to be the Gym Leader of Fortree City one day!” He excitedly thrust one arm into the air. “Just you watch!”

“So you studied under Winona; I thought I recognised that getup from somewhere,” Phil said with comparative calmness. He remembered watching some of that Gym Leader’s battles as part of his initial attempts to understand how best to use Murkrow in battle.

“Yeah, I was the top Junior Trainer in her Gym, but she told me to go on a journey to become stronger!” the boy replied. He seemed happy that Phil acknowledged his name-dropping.

“Maybe it was just to get rid of you,” Phil responded. He was getting annoyed with this kid, and maybe a healthy dose of cynicism would drive him away.

“What!” the boy yelled in exaggerated rage.

“You should have been the one to decide when to leave your Gym. I was the second best Junior Trainer at Adelta Town Gym, and I only left when I needed to, not because my superiors asked me to,” Phil replied. Nonetheless he had the feeling that his words would have little effect.

“Whatever,” the kid shrugged. Phil sighed.

“Will you leave me alone if I beat you in a battle?” Phil asked, finally succumbing to his frustration and getting to the point.

“That would be great!” the boy exclaimed, “but my Pokémon are tired after today…”

“Well then,” Phil started. He already had an idea about how he could easily deal with this boy and help himself at the same time. “Why don’t we both go out and catch new Pokémon tonight and then battle using them in the morning?” Phil smirked in his mind; his plan was excellent.

“Great idea, I’ll get right on it!” the boy replied, he turned and was about to run when he seemed to realise something and turned back to Phil. “What was your name,” he laughed, “we never got introduced”

“Philip Auris,” Phil answered.

“Cool, I’m Aden,” the boy said, reaching over with a hand for Phil to shake. Phil reluctantly took it. After they shook, the boy spun on his heel and began to run. “Come one, Swellow!” he yelled over his shoulder.

“Swellow!” the bird cried out in reply as it shook the dirt off of its body and took off after its trainer. Phil waited for the rush of air that followed Swellow to die down and then looked up at Murkrow.

“Shall we go?” he asked rhetorically.

“Krow,” Murkrow replied as it glared at Swellow and Aden disappearing into the twilight.

Phil made sure to put out the fire and pack away the remaining meat before leaving the camp. His plan was simple. Whatever they caught would be have to be weakened, and he was pretty sure he would be able to catch a Pokémon without doing too much damage. That kid, on the other hand, would probably just smash it repeatedly and make it almost useless for a subsequent battle.

“Murk,” his Pokémon cawed quietly, bringing Phil out of his contemplative mindset. It had been using its excellent night vision to keep an eye on where they were walking, as Phil was mostly feeling blindly through the long grass. Night had set in and only the dim glow of the distant city lit the fields.

“What is it?” he asked in a similar tone. Instead of replying, Murkrow faded into the darkness. Phil scowled in minor annoyance; it tended to do that whenever it spotted something interesting. He squinted into the distance and was just able to make out a shape lying against what appeared to be a tree stump.

Moving slowly though the grass so as to avoid startling whatever it was, Phil approached until he had come up right behind the tree stump. Now that he was closer, it was easy to recognise the Pokémon. Sticking up over the top of the stump were the yellow, bald head and ears of a Drowzee. A Psychic, and hence an excellent ranged fighter. Just what he was looking for.

Suddenly he felt the air behind him disturb and before he could react something black had rushed over his head, skimming his hair. It took a few moments of surprise before he realised it was Murkrow. The bird swooped over Drowzee’s head and turned before coming to a hover in front of its face. There was a stirring from the Pokémon and it stood up, maintaining eye contact with the Murkrow in front of it.

“Murkrow, use Glare,” Phil ordered.

He was glad that Murkrow was immune to the effects of sleep-inducing techniques. Right now the Drowzee was probably trying with all its might to put its opponent out with Hypnosis. Phil shut his eyes and looked away from the two to avoid Murkrow’s attack. A few seconds later there was a thump as Drowzee collapsed in paralysis. Phil opened his eyes and saw Murkrow on the Drowzee’s head, poking playfully at its ears while it lay helpless. Phil moved around the stump and got a better look at the Pokémon. Its brown lower body lay sprawled on the ground and its wrinkly snout hung limply by its mouth. It looked pitiful, so Phil remedied the situation.

“Pokéball, go,” he said with boredom. He tossed a Pokéball gently, having readied it earlier. The ball bounced off of Drowzee’s head, causing Murkrow to fly away in irritation, and then opened up, sucking in Phil’s victim. The ball clattered to the floor and shook a few times before emitting the telltale chime of a successful capture.

“Krow!” Murkrow squawked with delight, as it swept through the night, barely visible in the darkness.

“That was too easy,” Phil grinned, “now to deal with that kid”

He turned and marched back in the direction of the city lights, knowing that Murkrow was above him, ready to guide him past any obstacle. Suddenly he stepped on something soft, and there was a loud screech as a Pokémon darted through the grass from under Phil’s feet. A vague chirping chuckle could be heard from the sky, and so Phil took far more care from then on.

By the time Phil made it back to where he had set up camp he was incredibly tired and in no fit state to do anything except sleep. Recalling Murkrow and sending out Rattata to act as watchman, he took off his jacket and rucksack and folded them together to form a semi-comfortable pillow on the ground. He was just about to lie down when something loud and obnoxious came out of the bushes.

“Hey, Phil,” Aden said loudly with a wide smile, “I caught a great Pokémon, want to see it?” The sound of his voice caused many more sounds as startled Pokémon dashed whatever way they could. Even Rattata was shocked; it jumped into the air and was in a crouched battle stance before it hit the floor.

“Not now,” Phil groaned as he cringed from the punishment the unexpected noise had inflicted on his ears. He immediately slumped on the makeshift pillow and fell asleep.

“If he is in my way, I should just get rid of him…” Phil said to himself.

An image flashed up in his mind. Murkrow swept back and forth, drilling away at wood. A crash. A life was gone.

“But then, he is only a nuisance and not a threat. He is only young and stupid; he does not deserve to die because of that”

Another flash. His hand reached out. A soft object entered his grasp. He pulled hard on it, and a crack could be heard. A life was gone.

“Why must fools be persistent? If they stand in my way, I will move them out of the way, by whatever means necessary. It does not matter who or what they are!”

Phil sat bolt upright, breathing hard with rage. A moment later he looked around and realised that there was no reason to be angry, so he began to calm down. He couldn’t explain the feeling, and that worried him slightly. In the end he put it down to the violent dream he’d been having. At least it was a change from bizarre images of light or psychic interference.

“Rat?” came the squeak of his Pokémon from down by his feet. Rattata was staring at with a look of slight confusion.

“None of your business,” Phil retorted, “now return.” He picked up the Pokéball from his side and recalled Rattata. Then, he stood up and started to walk around to get himself fully awake. He felt damp from the early morning dew, but there was little he could do about that, so he tolerated it.

In the distance Saffron City could be seen, a grey smear on the horizon, and above it rose the sun, bathing the grassland in a glorious morning yellow. Bird Pokémon were chirping, and somewhere in the distance one was calling out, perhaps in hunger or fear or just having woken up. The tranquillity was only broken by the distant yells of a human, probably that boy training his new Pokémon. Phil realised that he better start training to. Their battle would begin soon.

“Drowzee, Murkrow, come on out!” he said, reaching for the two other Pokéballs on the floor and opening them.

Two beams of light shot out and landed on the ground, quickly forming into the familiar black and yellow bodies of Murkrow and Drowzee. Murkrow stretched its wings and opened its beak in a large yawn. Drowzee stood still, and then fell over sideways onto the floor. Murkrow let out a few chuckling caws before Phil realised what was happening.

“Sorry about that,” he said, trying not to laugh.

He pulled his bag out from inside his jacket and took out a Full Heal, a small yellow plastic bottle that contained a variety of restoring drugs. He sprayed it onto Drowzee’s skin, and immediately he began to see the effect. The Pokémon’s muscles began to loosen and it started moving and stretching to recover from the ache that the paralysis had left in its body. Almost straight after that, it spun its head and stared straight at Phil. Luckily Phil was expecting this, and he shut his eyes almost immediately.

“Not quick enough,” Phil said coldly, leading to a few murmurs from the humanoid Pokémon. “It is simple. I caught you, so you should battle for me. Unless, of course, you want to stay in your Pokéball forever?”

“Drow…” it grumbled. Phil heard it slump to the ground and cautiously opened his eyes.

“Krow!” Phil’s bird Pokémon cheered, giving a friendly slap on the back to the dejected Drowzee.

Phil was happy with this outcome. While he wasn’t entirely sure on Drowzee’s loyalty, he could count on it to fight. That wasn’t important however, as that could be dealt with at a later date. Right now he had to make sure he knew what Drowzee was capable of, so that he could come up with dome sort of battle plan.

“Hey, Phil!” came a voice, cutting sharply into his thoughts.

Phil looked around and saw Aden running straight towards him, while waving what appeared to be a Pokéball over his head. On closer inspection, Phil realised that it wasn’t a Pokéball. The ball had a white lower half like a Pokéball, but its upper half was black with a pair of yellow stripes running over the top. It took a few moments for him to recognise it as an Ultra Ball, a far more powerful version of the Pokéball. This was worrying, as it meant that the kid could have caught his Pokémon without weakening it too much. Still, Phil didn’t place too much faith in the kid’s battle abilities, so he was more than happy to begin.

Whatever the kid had, it was probably a Flying-Type, as they were his favourite type. Phil had already thought of at least one viable strategy to use against them. A Hypnosis from Drowzee would either send them to sleep or force them to close their eyes, neither of which was a good option for something flying through the air. Combined with his usual tactics, it was perfect.

“Shall we begin?” Phil asked, with an arrogant smirk.

“Is that your Pokémon?” Aden laughed without giving Phil an answer, “if that’s the case then you shouldn’t be so big-headed!”

“We’ll see,” Phil said in reply, dashing behind Drowzee and readying himself for battle.

“Come on out, my friend!” Aden yelled, tossing the Ultra Ball into the sky. It burst open in a flash and the light began to form into the shape of a bird, as Phil had predicted. However, as the light began to fade, Phil rapidly became apprehensive. Black feathers, a hat-like crown, red eyes. It was a Murkrow!

“Krow!” Phil’s Murkrow exclaimed. Phil didn’t say anything. He was far too surprised to even think about responding. It took a few moments for the wheels of his mind to start turning once again, and he began to think about how he would deal with this situation.

“Like it?” Aden called out, a slight hint of a taunt in his voice, “when I found a Murkrow just like yours I couldn’t resist catching one to see how we compare! Its name is Eapoe.”

“So what, I am still a far better trainer, you just made the odds slightly more even,” Phil retorted. However, he was bluffing. Eapoe, like his Murkrow, was immune to all psychic abilities and sleep inducing techniques, effectively reducing his Drowzee to close-quarters combat. The situation did not look good.

“I won’t let you underestimate me!” Aden cried out, a look of rage on his face, “Eapoe, go in with Wing Attack”

And the battle was on. Aden’s Murkrow dived down, its wings outstretched and hardened ready for attack. Phil ordered Drowzee to dodge, and the Pokémon did so, moving backwards through the short grass as quickly as its slow body would let it. Eapoe was still aimed at the point where Drowzee had been, and it had to pull up to avoid hitting the ground. This was all to buy time, as Phil racked his brains for Drowzee’s non-Psychic attacks.

“Poison Gas!” he finally called out. Drowzee turned and stared at him with a look of confusion in its eyes. Phil sighed in frustration; that was one attack it didn’t know.

“Now, use Faint Attack!” Aden called out.

His Pokémon obeyed, flying into the sky and fading away. Moments later it reappeared in front of Drowzee. However, Phil’s Pokémon was still looking the wrong way, and soon a black wing had smacked it across the face, leaving a slight bruise. As Eapoe faded away again Phil could hear annoyed chattering coming from behind him. It didn’t take a genius to guess that Murkrow was annoyed at this kid using the same attacks that it knew.

“Use Disable,” Phil commanded. He finally saw an opening, and he took full advantage of it.

Drowzee turned and raised it hands into the air before slowly waving them around in a strange pattern. After a few seconds, there was a shockwave that passed through the air. It caused little more than the flapping of hair for Phil, but he knew it did more than that. The attack changed the air’s consistency so that Eapoe couldn’t use Faint Attack any more; even though it was immune to direct Psychic attacks, psychic effects on the battlefield itself could still influence it. Sure enough, a black shape fizzled into view above them.

“Go straight down with a peck!” Aden yelled, his voice full of the excitement of battle.

“Then you go straight up with a Headbutt!” Phil responded. He gritted his teeth. It was a big gamble; Eapoe’s Peck was pathetically weak compared to a Headbutt attack, but it did have the advantage of gravity on its side.

Drowzee bent its knee and then propelled itself into the air. At the same time Eapoe began a headfirst dive towards the ground. They approached one another rapidly until they almost impacted. Phil could only watch anxiously. Suddenly a new order came from his opponent.

“Dodge and use Wing Attack!”

Phil only then saw the mistake he had made. In his arrogance he had taken Aden to be a naďve kid with little ability, but now he had fallen into that very same kid’s trap. Eapoe shifted its dive slightly, and instead of impacting Drowzee it flew past it. As it did so, it spun in midair and smacked Drowzee with its wing, knocking it out of the air for a hard landing in the long grass.

“Drowzee, are you okay?!” Phil yelled as he ran to where his Pokémon had landed. He didn’t get an answer before arriving, which just confirmed his suspicion. Drowzee was lying unconscious amongst the grass. Phil brushed the blades of grass aside to get a clear shot and then recalled Drowzee to its Pokéball.

“I won?” Aden said to himself, “I won!” He let out a huge cheer and leapt in the air before running over to congratulate his descending Murkrow. Phil’s Murkrow looked on disdainfully.

Phil sighed. The kid was annoying, but he did have skill, so maybe there was some common ground to work on. They’d need it, as it seemed like they’d be stuck with each other for the rest of the journey to Celadon City.


---------------------

I don't know how long it'll be before the next chapter is up. But sit tight!

Factoids etc...
-Aden was originally named Adam. I didn't really like the name so I changed it.
-Originally it was the Growlithe that died and not the Arcanine
-Other than that, this chapter is almost identical to how I envisioned it in the original story two years ago.

Edit- I forgot this:

Phil and Aden arrive in Celadon City and split up to check out the sights. Phil goes in search of Team Rocket to help him in his personal war with Team Twilight, but it soon becomes clear that he is not the only one looking for the Rockets.

Thanks Venastoise (in response to the review after this), at least I know someone is reading my fic. As for Aden, he is supposed to be annoying, so I'm glad that came out right. He's sort of based on Naruto, so he's annoying without the benefit of being main character.

Venastois
13th November 2006, 2:02 AM
loved it, great doduo scene, realistic.


“An all female Gym?” Phil thought out loud with a perverted grin.

He wasn’t really interested in having a relationship, but he was a young male and he couldn’t help but think about these things.

hahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
funniest line in...a chapter -_-


He remembered watching some of that Gym Leader’s battles as part of his initial attempts to understand how best to Murkrow in battle.

i think your missing a verb there at the end, but i have a general idea of what you are trying to say.

you portrayed Aden well, i really hate that guy....(for obvious reasons.)

nice chap overall, and i did not expect him to get a Drowzee, i was thinking of something more like growlithe or the like, considering type advantages (though he still has murkrow). Nicely done. I can't wait for the next one.


Edit: ironic how the self-proclaimed closet reader is the only one responding. ;)

Edit 2: (add in brittish accent) hmmm.... interesting little tid~bit..(brittish accent gone). hehe ^_^ fun stuff. Yeah, i can see a little naruto in there, but i was mroe picturing like those little kids that say "Imma kill u wit muy awsomeness lolz!!!!" (of course i expect them to have better grammer...but whatever.) and the like.

I'm just going to throw this out there right now,

ADEN IS A ROCKET AGENT ON THE INSIDEZ!!!!!!!!
and was sent by Winona (sp) to find out what TWILIGHT wants with the legendary birds of Kanto.

i am soooooooo sleep deprived.... ^_^

-_- zzz.

Icicle
15th November 2006, 2:11 AM
Okay, took me two days to read through this >_>; And most of the points in the chapters have been pretty much been pointed out so I'll just stop right there xD

This is a pretty good story, well written.. a plot that makes me what to read more. I want that Ratata and that Murkrow xD! Though... Phil's attitude towards his pokemon kinda makes me wanna slap him.

And the whole actually pokemon deaths, a pretty cool concept (one I haven't read before).. though the whole Doduo killing scene made me cringe a bit.

I really do look forward to reading more =D

Sybot
28th December 2006, 3:55 PM
These updates are getting further and further apart. I'll be thirty by time I finish this at this rate! I really need to knuckle down and get these done faster.

Anyway, enjoy!

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Chapter Eight: Gamer Corner Showdown!

“Use Peck, Swellow!”

Phil sighed; Aden was far too impulsive.

The large blue and white bird swooped down on its target, a squat turquoise lizard with an unopened flow head growing out of its back. The Ivysaur stood its ground in amongst the short grass, and launched two vines from either side of its flower. The vines caught Swellow in mid-dive and wrapped around its wings causing it to be trapped in midair.

“Murkrow, Drill Peck him out of there,” Phil muttered.

“What! I can handle it!” Aden exclaimed, turning away from the battle to look at Phil.

Despite Aden’s complaints, Murkrow began to spin through the air, rotating its body as it flew towards Swellow. Aden’s Pokémon turned its head and cawed in anxiety as it saw the black shape spinning straight for it. It closed its eyes and waited for the inevitable collision, but it never came. Murkrow was actually aimed at the vines holding the larger bird in place. It swooped in and sliced through a vine, freeing one of Swellow’s wings and causing a yelp of pain from the Ivysaur.

“Get out of there, Swellow!” Aden called out.

His Pokémon responded immediately, wresting its wing out of Ivysaur’s grip. It flapped hard to push itself away from the flailing vine, and them immediately darted forward, hitting Ivysaur with a Wing Attack. The grass Pokémon was still reeling from Murkrow’s attack, and it had no way of shielding itself. It was sent rolling backwards, into a mound of dirt.

“Finish it with another Drill Peck!” Phil yelled to Murkrow, who was careening through the air high above.

The bird turned towards the ground and began its wind-up once again. Its victim didn’t even see it coming as it impacted with enormous spinning force. There was a terrible shredding noise, and the whole field rapidly got covered in a shower of tiny green and red objects. Phil shielded his eyes from the spray, and was surprised to find it wasn’t dangerous; it felt like he was being hit by petals. Lowering his arm, he saw what had happened.

Murkrow was embedded beak first into the mound of dirt, flailing its wings and legs to get out. In front of it, Ivysaur was lying unconscious on the ground, its flower torn to tiny pieces. A clear fluid was leaking out of the stub where the flower had connected to its host’s back.

“Got it!” Aden yelped loudly, “now you can catch it!”

“Why should I, I have no need for another Grass-Type,” Phil replied as he recalled Murkrow. Aden turned and scowled at the trainer while doing the same to his Pokémon.

“It’s called human decency, you’ve done so much damage to it, the least you can do is take it to the Pokémon Centre, even if you only plan to release it straight after,” he retorted.

“It’s called nature,” Phil responded in whiny imitation of Aden, “it attacked us, and it lost. If it suffers as a result then it’s not my problem. The flower will grow back eventually, assuming it survives the next few days”

“Hey! You can’t just start talking like that!” Aden started yelling. Phil put his hand up and the younger trainer seemed to calm down. “Though I do see where you’re coming from…” he finished with a mutter.

“At least we got something out of it,” Phil said after a short and awkward silence, “we were able to battle together, which might be useful in the coming Gym” He turned and began to walk away towards the distant lights of Celadon City.

“I guess,” Aden muttered, following Phil after a few guilty glances at the unconscious Ivysaur.

It wasn’t long before the pair was back on the main path to the city. Already signs of human habitation were infiltrating the grassland around them. Man-made hedges began to criss-cross the landscape, and the road steadily became more ordered and less dusty. Phil took in his surroundings and said nothing as they approached the outskirts of the city. For some reason, no matter how much of the world he saw, he always found himself lost in the view, be a sweeping landscape or glowing cityscape. It was if he was seeing it for the first time, or after going away for a long time.

“I can’t take it anymore!” Aden yelled, disturbing Phil’s tranquillity.

“What?” he asked, slowly going back into conversational frame of mind.

“I can’t just walk along like this without anything interesting to do. You don’t talk nearly enough!” his companion complained.

Phil shrugged. “That’s what I do. I could say that you talk too much.”

Aden seemed lost in thought for a few moments as he mulled this over. “Amybe your right!” he exclaimed in the end. “You know, we are sort of like opposites sides to a coin or something, with me the cheerful one, and you the depressing one; sort of like the darkness and the light…”

“No”

“No?”

Phil turned and glared at Aden. “There is only one person who is the Light. That person is awaiting me at the end of my journey, and I don’t have time for others psychoanalyse me,” he said, feeling a mix of emotions including anger towards Aden, hate towards Gold and the drive to push to the top.

“Okay…” Aden muttered as he turned away from Phil’s gaze, “you are one weird guy. I think we…” The noises of Phil’s companion began to disappear as Phil blocked him out and engaged in his own thoughts.

It had been a while since he had thought of his real objective. As much as Team Twilight was a threat, the whole reason he had began his journey was to defeat Gold and the Light. He still couldn’t understand what drew him towards it. Logically, he should just disregard it as a battle he had lost and move on to new things, but, as it was, he couldn’t just let it go.

His train of thought continued even as they entered the city. Soon, without noticing, Phil was once again amongst the concrete and tall buildings in Celadon City. Unlike Saffron, however, this city was different. The layout was far more relaxed, with large open spaces and buildings designed for aesthetics, instead of the cold, business-like, steel and glass monsters in the other city. The building that stood out the most was the Department Store; a gaudy structure brightly coloured and covered in advertising. Phil wasn’t much for shopping, so he turned away from it and headed for the Pokémon Centre. He had barely taken a few steps when Aden got in his way.

“Don’t you want to go shopping? I bet they have loads of cool Pokémon stuff there!” the boy exclaimed, trembling excitedly.

“I have other things to do,” Phil intoned.

“Like what?” Aden asked with suspicion.

“Pick up my Bellsprout for one,” Phil replied, using his excuse-that-wasn’t-really-an-excuse. He was really going to meet with ‘Soyuz’ at the Pokémon Centre, and getting Bellsprout was just something he could do along the way.

“Oh yeah, you did say that…” Aden trailed off as he seemed to dig into his memories. “Well, I want to go shopping. I’ll see you at the Pokémon Centre tonight. We can head for the Gym tomorrow.”

“Sure,” Phil agreed. He watched Aden zip away in the direction of the Store before continuing towards the Pokémon Centre.

The Celadon City Pokémon Centre was a large building with a dome on top, surrounded by a large park, where Phil could see countless trainers playing with their Pokémon. It was amusing to know that the kids had no idea that Team Rocket was right next to them, and could easily steal the Pokémon they held dear. That was another reason for siding with Team Rocket. By allying with the criminals, he reduced the chance that they would go after his Pokémon. It always helped to have every advantage he could get.

Inside was a lobby that seemed as generic as any other, with the usual rectangular room with seats, videophones, and computers lining the walls. As expected, a pink-haired Nurse Joy was manning the main desk. Phil handed over his three Pokémon to her and went over the city map mounted on one of the walls while he waited. His Pokémon only had minor injuries, so they would only take a few minutes to be healed. Phil used the time to look over the map and get his bearings on where everything was the city. He made sure to note the locations of the Gym, the Pokémon Centre and the casino known as the Game Corner. If some of the stories Red had told him were true, he’d be there soon enough.

“Mr Auris!” the Nurse called from the desk. Phil left the map and went to pick up his Pokémon. “Your Pokémon are as good as new, and your Bellsprout is fully recovered too,” the Nurse said with a smile as she handed over four Pokéballs.

“Thank you,” Phil said, taking them, “and one more thing, where can I find Soyuz?”

The Nurse’s smile suddenly became a frown. “Through that door…” She pointed to the door besides the desk. “…second corridor, third room on the right.” Phil went in the direction she pointed, but made sure to note the slightly sympathetic look the Nurse gave as she watched him leave.

It didn’t take long to find the room. The door was labelled ‘No Entry: Hazardous Machinery’. Phil naturally ignored this and, after checking to make sure nobody was around, knocked on the door.

“Who are you looking for?” a muffled voice came from behind it.

“I’m looking for Soyuz,” Phil replied, trying to keep his voice from shaking. It was hard to keep calm when he would soon be meeting with notorious criminals and, more worryingly, walking into an unknown situation.

“Enter,” the answer came. A click sounded from the door and it loosened in its frame as though it had been previously sealed tight.

Phil turned the handle, gave a push and entered the room. It was dark, so dark that Phil had to wait a few moments before his eyes adjusted. The only light that lit the room was a dim glow coming from a computer screen at the opposite end of the small room. Sat in front of the screen was a small man with a scruffy Team Rocket uniform hanging loosely from his body. Phil guessed that the man had probably been stuck there as a punishment assignment. Suddenly the man’s voice, which was weak but due to the small size of the room, quite loud, rang out.

“Philip Auris; birthplace unknown, taken as Adelta Town; birthdate unknown, taken as 1st September; became a trainer aged 14 at the Adelta Town Gym; left the Gym and registered for the Kanto/Johto Combined League two weeks ago; currently holds one KJC League Badge”

“So you can read off of a computer screen,” Phil sneered. By this point he had already guessed that Team Rocket were looking up information in him. He wasn’t exactly eager to have his private life sniffed into. While all of the information just read out could easily be extracted from the League’s trainer database, there were far deeper things he didn’t want anyone to know.

“I understand your hometown was attacked by us, resulting in the destruction of your Gym, and you left the town shortly afterwards,” the man continued with his back still to Phil, in clear disregard for Phil’s attitude, “isn’t it possible that you came looking for us merely to exact revenge”

“I came looking for you so I could fight Team Twilight, and the Gym didn’t really matter to me; it was just a place to train and earn money until I could figure out my goals,” Phil responded, feeling the situation becoming more and more like an interrogation. He had to end it quickly. “Besides, I don’t want to join you, I want to ally with you to fight those Twilight *******s.”

The Rocket spun round in his chair to reveal a pale emancipated face with eyes that seemed hollow. Despite his weakened appearance, he was easily able to look bemusedly at Phil. “I don’t know what you’ve been told, kid, but once you’re in here…”

“Philip!” a jovial voice suddenly cheered, startling Phil and the Rocket. A wall off to one side of the room suddenly swung open towards Phil. He stepped back and peered around the edge of the wall-turned-door.

“Agent Dornez,” Phil muttered at the thin greying man marching out of the door.

“I’ll take it from here, Soyuz,” Dornez said, dismissing the lower-ranked Rocket with a wave of the hand.

“But I haven’t finished vetting and briefing him…” Soyuz started.

“I’ll handle it. I don’t have time to wait for you to finish,” Dornez interrupted, causing Soyuz to bow his head in inferiority and stop talking. Dornez turned to Phil and said, “follow me”

Phil glanced at the humbled Soyuz and promptly forgot about him. He had bigger things to worry about as he stepped around the door and entered the hidden passage behind Dornez. The tunnel was surprisingly spacious. It was wide enough to hold three men abreast between the brick walls. Eventually they reached a set of stairs going down which were carved into dirt, and the brickwork on the walls ended. The following passage was the same width, but looked far more unstable, as the walls of dirt were held up by rickety-looking support beams on which lamps precariously balanced.

Not a word was said during the transit. Phil spent the time trying to guess his position. They had been heading south, so he assumed they were moving towards the Game Corner. He also wondered what he would find when he got there. Team Rocket would probably want something in return for any help they gave him against Team Twilight. Sabrina had warned him that Dornez wasn’t telling him the whole truth. Maybe that was why Dornez was in such a good mood. In the, the only way to find out was to ask.

“Why are you in such a good mood?” Phil enquired in a casual tone.

“I’ll have a new toy to play with soon!” Dornez said with a sigh. He turned and winked at Phil.

“Erk…” Phil grunted while recoiling automatically.

“Haha, I had to do that to see the look on your face,” Dornez laughed, “I meant a new one of these.” He patted the bulge on his hip, his gun.

“Well, you got what you wanted,” Phil sighed as he calmed down. He wasn’t prejudiced, but he still felt distaste at the thought of that. He quickly got his mind to other things and the two of them continued walking.

After a few more minutes, they arrived at a large, featureless, metal doorway. There was no visible way of opening it.

“Slowpoketail!” Dornez called out.

The door swung open upwards, using hydraulics mounted on its inside face. Phil worked out that the system was designed to stop anyone from forcing their way in through this entrance. Unless you knew the password, there was no way of opening the door, as all the mechanisms were on the inside. The pair passed through the opening.

Phil was quite surprised to enter the Rocket base. He had been expecting some sort of underground facility filled with mysterious machinery and Rocket agents bustling everywhere, sort of like in the movies. Instead, he found that the interior was more like the inside of an office block, and most of the people he saw moving around were dressed in civilian clothes; only the presence of a few patrolling guards in full Rocket uniform distinguished the place from anywhere else.

“This way,” Dornez said, indicating a set of stairs. They climbed up and entered a long corridor with bare stone walls, a big change from the floor below. Above him, Phil could hear music and the sounds of hundreds of people milling around. “That’s the Game Corner, we took it over again as part of our recent revival,” Dornez told him as he saw Phil looking up. They continued along the corridor, and Phil eventually got round to asking about what he wanted to know the most.

“What do you know about Team Twilight?” he asked eagerly.

“Since we aren’t in such a critical situation, I can brief you further,” Dornez replied, referring to the brief outline he had given Phil in the train tunnel. “Team Twilight first appeared about six years ago, in Hoenn. Since then they have spread to almost every region of the world, including here in Kanto. We don’t know exactly what they are up to, but they have shown a lot of interest in the Legendaries, and we have been doing everything we can to stop them. Unfortunately, we have no idea where they are based or who their leader is, so we can only react to their operations.”

Phil nodded with comprehension. He hadn’t really learned anything that could be useful, although he was concerned that over such a long time of activity, Team Twilight might have captured multiple Legendaries. He could not allow that to happen, and he felt anger building in him with every second he thought about it. Even though he knew it was irrational, he couldn’t help but feel that way.

“We’re here,” Dornez stated as they approached a plain door.

Opening it revealed a small room in which a woman in Rocket uniform was sitting, watching the array of monitors mounted on one of the walls. Half the monitors showed deserted and bland entrances like the one he had come in, and the other half showed a dazzling array of bright lights and colours from inside the crowded Game Corner. The woman, who had been leaning back in here chair, leapt up and to attention as soon as she noticed them.

“Agent Dornez, sir,” she stuttered. She took a few seconds to compose herself then continued. “I was asked to give you these reports.” She reached onto the control panel in front of her and grabbed a wad of papers, before stuffing them into Dornez’ hands.

“Can you give me the gist of it?” Dornez asked as he put the papers to one side. There was a pause as the woman eyed Phil suspiciously. “He has clearance for all Team Twilight related matters”

With a shrug, the woman gave her answer. “A report from Mars in Sinnoh indicates that Team Twilight is moving on the Lake of Aspiration, our scouts are still unable to locate Archie and Maxie, and the manager of the Kanto Power Plant died in mysterious circumstances, only to be replaced by someone we believe to be working for Team Twilight.” She took a few deep breathes after finishing her fast briefing.

“Thanks, now do you have it?” Dornez asked, quickly changing the subject. Phil noticed that his eyes were filled with an unusual eagerness.

“Right here, sir,” the woman replied, reaching under the control panel and pulling out a long object. As it came into light, Phil struggled to work out what sort of weapon it was supposed to be. Then he realised; it looked exactly like a musket used in war centuries ago.

The gun had a long metal barrel mounted on a stock of varnished wood. The shoulder rest was large and just as varnished, and above the trigger was an ornate figurine that would spark the gunpowder. The only modern part was a leather strap mounted on both ends. Dornez took the gun and stroked it lovingly, taking his time to make sure all the components were working.

“Its perfect!” he exclaimed as he hooked the musket over his shoulder using the strap. Phil couldn’t see what was so good about it. What little he knew of weapons like that told him that they were inaccurate and slow to reload. There was something special about this gun, otherwise Dornez wouldn’t have used it.

As the Rockets talked further about the new weapon, Phil grew bored and stopped listening. Instead he moved further into the room and started watching the monitors, looking for anything he could focus on while waiting for Dornez to finish. He wasn’t particularly drawn by the glow of the gambling machines, but maybe he could find something to look at.

Suddenly he saw something that caused him to audibly gasp with sheer surprise. It was the cloaked person that had captured Moltres! Phil immediately calmed himself and peered closer at the monitor. He soon realised that it was a false alarm. While that person’s cloak was silvery and glistened, the person he saw now was far greyer and duller. He dismissed it as a false alarm initially, but then he went on full mental alert moments later as two more people stepped into view behind the cloaked man. They were both wearing the same grey outfits as the Twilight member he and Dornez had fought in the tunnel.

“Look at this…” he growled, his eyes tracking the three from screen to screen as they moved effortlessly through the crowds inside the Game Corner.

“What?” Dornez muttered, looking up at the monitors. He caught a glimpse of one of the Twilights, and immediately jumped with surprise. “What the hell are they doing here!” he yelled in a sudden rage, “sound an alarm! I need to stop them, now!”

“Yessir!” the Rocket woman yelped, but she was talking to empty air as Dornez had already dashed out of the room. Phil immediately went to follow him, almost knocking the woman down as he left.

“Stay back!” Dornez yelled over his shoulder as they ran down the corridor in the direction opposite where they had come from.

“I came here to help fight them!” Phil responded angrily, pulling up alongside the older man easily. “You won’t hold me back!”

Dornez glared at him for a moment, then focused back on running. The two continued for about twenty seconds before skidding to a halt at a staircase. Leaping up the stairs three at a time they quickly reached a door. Dornez pressed a button and it slid open, allowing them through. Suddenly he calmed, and Phil followed suit moments later. He guessed they didn’t want to look too suspicious. Though their movements had slowed, Phil could feel the tension as they silently moved from behind the row of game machines that concealed the door.

The Game Corner was even more impressive in reality than on the screens. Everywhere people bustled and lights flashed, fruit machines rang and winners cheered. It was almost overwhelming. Phil could see how this was a good venture for the Rockets; a more emotional person could easily be drawn in and spend all their money. Suddenly he noticed the cloaked Twilight moving parallel to them.

“Watch out for the others,” Dornez muttered. He started moving forwards, and then broke into a run. The Twilight didn’t get a chance to react as he was grabbed from behind by an arm and dragged back towards Phil.

“What the…get off! ” the man exclaimed.

“No chance,” Dornez growled. He threw the Twilight into a wall as soon as they were back behind the machines, out of sight of the rest of the casino. Dornez pressed the man up against the wall with one arm, and whipped out his pistol with the other, pointing it into the face of the Twilight. Phil could barely see any features thanks to the hood of the cloak, but it was clearly a young man.

“Team Rocket. I wondered when you’d show up,” the man chuckled, seemingly over his initial shock.

“What are you up to? And why are you making such a bold move?” Dornez asked heatedly, practically shouting in the man’s face.

“Are you okay, sir?” a female voice suddenly asked.

Phil spun around to find the other two Twilights right behind him. One of them was a woman in her twenties with blue hair tied in a bun. The other was a man, although his face was almost completely covered by a cloth mask, so Phil had to discern this fact from his figure. The eyes, which were the only things Phil could see, looked full of pain and sadness, and it caused Phil to recoil in slight disgust. The pair both held a Pokéball ready in their gloved hands.

“Go on ahead, I’ll handle these ones,” the pinned Twilight said calmly.

“Stop them!” Dornez yelled, not taking his eyes off the one he held.

Phil knew he couldn’t match them physically, so he immediately went for a Pokéball. However, before he could grab one they launched a joint attack, shouldering him in both shoulders and sending him tumbling to the ground. He barely had a chance to turn and see them dash through the entrance the underground base.

“Dammit!” Dornez cried.

The slight lapse in his concentration was enough, and the Twilight pushed, easily overcoming Dornez’ arm and sending the gun skidding across the floor. Before the Rocket could react, the Twilight had already pulled himself onto the row of gaming machines and pulled out a Pokéball.

“Show them your power! Destroy it all!” he shouted, throwing the Pokéball into the crowd below him.

Phil was still getting to his feet when the ball exploded open, out of sight. Screams and cries filled the air as people and machines were flung aside to make room for the emerging Pokémon. There was a period of brief and clear silence. The machines stopped, and it seemed like everyone in the building held their collective breath. Then, it came.

“Hiiiiido!” came the terrible roar of the Pokémon.

“It can’t be…” Dornez muttered watching the Twilight as he groped blindly for his gun.

“What kind of Pokem…” Phil started. He was cut off as a ball of flames flew into the air and exploded on the ceiling.

The panicked cries of the customers started in earnest. Phil dashed for the end of the row and looked around. People were running in every direction in a blind panic, and with good reason; a large, rocky, red and grey, quadruped Pokémon was standing in the centre of a circle of ruin. The fireball was followed by another, and then another, all emanating from the Pokémon’s mouth. The flames burst among the fleeing people, setting them on fire or sending them flailing through the air. Phil had never seen such disregard for innocent human life. He grabbed all four Pokéballs from his belt and prepared to throw them.

“No!” Dornez yelled. He leapt in and grabbed Phil’s arm before the trainer could od anything. “It’s a Legendary, you wouldn’t stand a chance. Let me handle it”

“A what!” Phil was utterly shocked. He had known there was this possibility, having seen Team Twilight’s capture of Moltres, but he never expected one of the great beasts to fight for them. “I don’t recognise it,” was he could splutter out, in the vain hope that Dornez was wrong.

“Its from Sinnoh,” Dornez replied. He began moving the stunned Phil back to some shelter, the now-abandoned service desk.

“There you are!” the Twilight suddenly shouted happily in their direction, “hit them with Land Power!”

The Pokémon slowly turned on the spot until it was facing them. Then it reared up and smashed its feet down on the ground, cracking the floor in a straight line directly towards them. The attack woke Phil out his stupor and he was able to roll out of the way. He had no idea where Dornez was until he heard a surprised yelp from the Twilight. Dornez had leapt onto the row of machines and was running straight for him, gun raised. The Twilight jumped off the machines quickly and ran for his Pokémon.

“No!” Dornez shouted, spinning and firing several times. The Twilight, with masterful footwork, spun and dodged and the bullets lodged harmlessly in the ground.

Phil took the opportunity to get behind the desk. He was out of his state of shock, but terror still filled him. He hadn’t felt that helpless since the battle with the wild Victreebel, and he hated it. He began breathing slowly to calm down. Now that he was safe, he could watch Dornez’ battle and see how good the Rocket really was. By now all the civilians had either escaped or become corpses.

“Heat Wave!” the Twilight ordered from a safe position behind the Legendary.

The Pokémon turned to Dornez and opened its mouth, sending forth a blast of air that was so hot it glowed. The Rocket leapt off the machines and landed on the ground with a roll, spinning underneath the attack and coming out with only a few singes to his clothes and the musket on his back. For comparison, Phil looked at the machines that had taken the brunt of the attack. They had melted down into slag. This did nothing to calm his nerves.

Dornez got to his feet and broke into a run for the desk. As he ran he fired the rest of his magazine at the Pokémon, but there was no visible effect. Phil watched the Rocket running past, and the musket suddenly fell into his hands. It took a few seconds to register what happened, but he quickly worked out that Dornez wanted his new toy protected. Dornez then disappeared behind a row of fruit machines.

“Well, well, who’d have known we’d be playing hide and seek,” the Twilight said loudly. Phil could hear his footsteps coming towards him, and soon afterwards the reverberating thuds of his Pokémon’s feet

Phil was frozen in place. In the face of such power, his insignificance was laid out so clearly, and it terrified him more than anything. He wanted to run, but he knew that would only result in his death. To keep himself calm, he focused on the musket, keeping his mind occupied with theories as to what was special about it. He pressed down on the figurine, and suddenly it flipped over and a square of glass mounted on a metal frame popped up. In the centre, a digital crosshair moved around, as if searching for something.

“What do we have here,” came the mocking voice of the Twilight.

Phil stopped moving completely. Had the movement made a noise? He couldn’t do anything. The tension was so thick it was suffocating. Phil wanted to cry out, but he couldn’t. Suddenly, a scream filled the air. It took a few seconds for Phil to realise that it wasn’t his.

“You should have run when you had the chance, use Fire Spin on her,” the Twilight said, addressing the other person, and then his Pokémon.

The woman responded with garbled cries that were quickly drowned out by the roar of flames. Phil cautiously looked over the top of the desk and saw a roulette table burning intensely. He guessed the victim had been hiding underneath. He didn’t really feel anything, but it was such a waste for a probably good person to go up in smoke. He ducked back down just as the Pokémon, and the Twilight alongside it, turned back to continue the way they had been heading.

“What kind of monster are you!” came the yell of Dornez suddenly. Phil looked back up again to see Dornez leap up over the fruit machines and run straight at the Pokémon.

The Twilight spluttered an order, but the Legendary was not interested, it clearly didn’t care about orders when its opponent was charging straight at it. It opened its mouth and launched a stream of flames. Dornez skidded aside and let them pass by close enough to light an arm of his uniform on fire. He seemed to ignore it as he continued the charge and leapt to the ground. Rolling underneath the Pokémon, he fired an entire clip of bullets into its underbelly, making it grunt in pain. As he got up again on the other side of the Legendary, the fire on his arm defeated by the roll, he had a look of annoyance on his face, annoyance that even hitting the weakest point had done minimal damage. Before the Twilight or the Pokémon could react, Dornez sprinted to Phil and leapt over the desk in a swift move of the legs. He snatched the musket from Phil and held it up.

“I’d hoped to not use this in front of you, but I have no choice…” he said quickly.

“What?!” Phil exclaimed; he had no idea what Dornez meant.

“You weren’t told? It doesn’t matter,” Dornez wheezed. The Rocket seemed to suddenly get exhausted as the strain of battle overcame him. He reached up and pressed the back of his neck with one finger, and suddenly perked up again.

“I’ve had enough of this!” the Twilight yelled in frustration, “finish him off with Magma Storm!”

Dornez stood up and jumped out from behind the desk with renewed vigour. Phil got back up and watched him run across in front of the pile of melted machines. Dornez held the musket with one hand on the trigger and the other holding the stock pointed at the Legendary. He was focusing intently on the targeting array that Phil had popped up.

“Come on…lock…” Phil could hear him talking to the gun.

Meanwhile, the Pokémon was shaking, as pressure seemed to build up inside it. It opened its mouth, and a huge quantity of balls of molten rock began to fly out towards Dornez. Just then, there was a chime from the musket, and Dornez pulled the trigger. Phil half expected a puff of smoke like in the pictures he’d seen, but instead there was a miniature explosion, and something blue streaked out leaving a jet trail behind it. Before Phil could work out what was happening, the ‘bullet’ had systematically weaved a zigzagging path through the balls of magma, causing them to explode in a beautiful red and orange blossom, and making Phil duck to avoid the resulting scorching debris.

By the time it was safe to get back up again, the Legendary was already roaring with pain. Phil saw that one of its legs had been hit badly enough to expose raw flesh. He initially though the attack was over, but suddenly the bullet reappeared, clearly having made a 180 degree turn, to attack again. This time it tore through the Pokémon’s back, sending the rocky armour scattering through the air. It came back, for another, and another, and another, until eventually it ran out of steam and lodged somewhere in the Pokémon’s body. The creature was overwhelmed by pain and slumped to the ground, unconscious.

“Return!” cried the Twilight, and his Pokémon dematerialised and was sucked into its Pokéball.

“Now for you!” Dornez growled. He had thrown aside the musket and redrawn his pistol, and was now pointing it at the Twilight.

“Use Space Warp!” came a muffled yell from out of sight.

The very air around Dornez’ gun seemed to shimmer, and then start to bend. Dornez cried out in pain and quickly yanked his hand out of the affected area, leaving the gun floating in midair. The air seemed to bend and bend further, until…SNAP…the gun broke in two and clattered to the floor.

“Return!” called out the same voice, which was followed by the sound of a Pokémon returning to its ball. Phil looked over at the direction it came from, the entrance to the Rocket base. “Are you okay, Tieren? I thought you said you’d handle it!” the masked Twilight said as he stepped out of the door, his female comrade just behind. The two looked over the wrecked Game Corner.

“We should get going, we have all we came for,” the woman said. They walked around the melted machines, while all Phil and Dornez could do was look on. Without a word, the three left the building.

Phil breathed an enormous sigh of relief and slumped back down. He was finally safe. For the first time though, he felt anxiety about the future. He had known full well that Team Twilight had Legendaries, but not that they would ever use them in battle. He had though that the Legendaries would never fight for a human. What could they possibly be offered that would convince them to do this? This was a big problem. He would have to get a lot stronger before he had a hope of matching them. He kept telling himself that hiding had been the right thing to do. Dornez was right, if he had tried to fight, then it might have caused his Pokémon or, more importantly, himself to be killed.

“Dornez!” he called out as he shakily got to his feet, “I think I should go now, and let you guys clean up”

He looked slowly at the devastation. Almost all the gambling tables and machines had been completely destroyed or tossed aside, at least half a dozen bodies were in view, and the roof was looking dangerously unstable. It was eerily quiet, a vast difference from the bustling fun palace that it had been before. This was precisely why he had to stop them. The Legendaries were too powerful for fallible and malicious humans to use, they had to be all released. He continued looking, until he focused on Dornez, who was hunched over in pain and exhaustion. It took a few seconds for Phil to realise that the Rocket was pointing the musket straight at him.

“Sorry Philip, but I guess I interrupted before Soyuz could finish. Once you enter our base, you don’t leave until you’re one of us.”

---------------------

Phil has to battle to find his place in Team Rocket. With no choice but to comply, what will he do now?

I want to get this next one done before I go back to uni, so expect it in the next couple of weeks.

Factoids...
-Of the three Twilights we meet, only one was in the original. I realised that I needed more than just two recurring characters from that Team to make them a credible threat.
-Dornez has a much bigger role in this the story than his equivalant originally did. He is also an homage to a certain anime/manga. If you've read it, you'll know what I mean.
-I stuck Hiidoran in there at the last minute, since I was having trouble deciding what Legendary would be used. Originally this wasn't a Legendary encounter at all.