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Stage On
1st March 2012, 5:14 AM
Hi everyone. It's been a long time since I last posted a story... A one shot back in 2008. I kind of got busy with stuff like Collage and haven't been writing much of anything at all despite the fact it's one of my favorite hobbies.

I've been thinking for a long while about what I would like to write if I did something, and with some help refining the idea I finally came up with this. A 26 episode (plus prologue and epilog) series about the story of a Pokemon coordinator in the early part of his carrier as he tries to get his life together or should I say Coordinated, in more ways then one. I hope you enjoy

Chapter List

Stage one
Chapter 1 - Breaking free (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14241398#post14241398)
Chapter 2 - First catch (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14266253#post14266253)
Chapter 3 - New Paths (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14270234#post14270234)
Chapter 4 – Reunion (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14320554#post14320554)
Chapter 5 – Rock and Roll (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14341678#post14341678)
Chapter 6 - Wipeout (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14350653#post14350653)

Stage two
Chapter 7 – Reconciliation (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14371291#post14371291)
Chapter 8 - Lost light (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14372868#post14372868)
Chapter 9 - Intertwined fates (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14380259#post14380259)
Chapter 10 - Washed up (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14406745#post14406745)
Chapter 11 - Juliation (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14465854#post14465854)
Chapter 12 - Breaking tide (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14477494#post14477494)

Stage three
Chapter 13 - Bugs, bugs, bugs (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14494722#post14494722)
Chapter 14 - Birthday blues (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14500014#post14500014)
Chapter 15 - Steel shock (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14503920#post14503920)
Chapter 16 - Rival rumble (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14523613#post14523613)
Chapter 17 - Desert danger (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14535309#post14535309)
Chapter 18 - Fire fight (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14551573#post14551573)

Stage four
Chapter 19 - Ribbon duel (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563798-Coordinated-(G)&p=14569534#post14569534)
Chapter 20 - Maxed out
Chapter 21 - White Star Festival




Prologue - Setting the Stage

It was a windy afternoon in the Hoenn region as a teenager stood, his red jacket fluttering slightly in the breeze as he appraised the fancy looking structure before him. It was the first time the brown haired youth had ever seen a school before, let alone a building so large. Blinking his light blue eyes he struggled to take in how much ground the campus covered, thinking that it might be bigger than his entire home town of Celestic put together.

Sticking his black gloved hands into his jean pockets the young man sighed with apprehension. It was the first time he had been allowed to leave Sinnoh, and the sense of freedom was only narrowly winning out over his anxiety of being in such strange and far off place. As if sensing his trainer’s uneasiness the small Rilou sitting on the boy’s shoulder patted his paw reassuringly against the back of his head. As always his partner was a Pokemon of few words, preferring to let his actions speak for themselves.

“Thanks Kouken, I’m sure everything will be fine,” replied the boy in his usual easygoing way as he stepped past the front gate into the school grounds only to be promptly greeted by a young blond lady approximately his own age.

“Hey are you here for the summer trainer camp as well?” she asked to which he gave a curt affirmative nod.
Wearing a simple white-tee shirt with a pink dress, she had a blue ribbon tying her long ponytail in place. Her blinking green eyes seemed to appraise him for a short moment before she smiled widely and introduced herself. “I’m Maria and you?” she asked inquisitively.

"Jason,” The boy replied with a wan smile, not really sure what else to say, having little experience interacting with girls his own age.

His hometown was very small, and he rarely had interacted with anyone outside his family other than his best friend Brian who had left on a training journey years ago when he had turned ten. Jason the same age had desperately wanted to go with his friend, but had been forced to stay behind in order to continue his… training.

“I’m hoping to become a professional Pokemon coordinator,” confessed Maria in a wistful tone. “And you?” she blurted out in hopes of learning more about the newest arrival.

“Same here, though to be honest my parents are kind of hoping this camp will get me to take up battling instead,” Jason confided. “They don’t see contest skills as being relevant in our line of work…” he added unsure of how much he should tell her.

While said line of work was no secret it was also not widely known and he’d rather avoid giving out details on it unless necessary. After all Aura guardians were so few and far between they had become the stuff of legends just like the type of Pokemon they protected the world against. Because of this he likely knew more about legendary Pokemon than most professors, thought admittedly that knowledge amounted to more myth than fact, consisting manly of old stories that held little use in real world day to day activities.

In some ways he viewed his power as more of a curse then a blessing. He was only average at best when it came to controlling aura, not half as good as either parent had been at his age. No matter how hard he tried to improve he couldn’t seem to please them, and they where none too thrilled with his obsession over contests which was the reason they had sent him here in the first place. It was time to go beyond the basics and learn the intricacies of Pokemon battles, something every aura guardian worth his salt had to be good at.

Deciding not to pry further the girl decided to continue to conversation on a different route. “That’s a shame, if you ask me the contest world could use more male coordinators. Especially considering something like seventy five percent or more are girls,” remarked Maria to which Jason agreed with a nod.

“Even I noticed that when I watched my first grand festival six years ago. Remember Dawn vs Zoey? That was something else,” he replied with a found smile.

“Do I ever!” Maria exclaimed with an enthusiastic nod. “Imagine two rookies making it to the finals. It gives me hope that maybe even I could make it that far,” she said with a heavy sigh almost as if resigned to never get that far.

“If you’re going to aim for something, might as well aim for the top,” Jason tried to say encouragingly causing the young girl to grin since the word top had a double meaning in this case since the winners of a grand festival were known as Top coordinators.

“You know, I thought I was going to be the only one at this camp serious about contests. All everyone else can think about is chasing gyms. I’m glad to see I was wrong,” Maria said warmly causing Jason to blush self consciously.

“Err, You’re welcome… I guess?” he stuttered out awkwardly before the two of them quickly broke out into laughter together.
Jason was amazed at how natural it felt, like he could get along with this person without even trying. If you had asked him that morning he never would have guessed he’d be able to make a friend so quickly and yet here he was, his first day at camp and he’d already found a buddy. With any luck perhaps he would discover the key he needed to gain his parents acceptance as well.

"Maybe this camp thing won’t be so bad after all," he thought to himself as Maria let him further into the school grounds in order to introduce him to his fellow students.

3D992
1st March 2012, 6:20 AM
I cant wait for more! Although short, it was a good start.

I'm not much for good grammer and I cant quote on my device, however I noticed a "curse" was spelled "cruse".

EDIT: Sorry, didnt see riolu!

Shadow Lucario
1st March 2012, 6:22 AM
“Thanks Kouken, I’m sure everything’ill be fine.” Replied the boy in his usual easygoing straightforward way as he stepped past the front gate into the school grounds only to be promptly greeted by a young blond lady approximately his own age.

You should just use both words. It would be everything'll, but that sounds more awkward than everything will. Since you are saying he replied the end punctuation would be a comma before the end quotation. This sentence also seems weirdly long. You can break it into two.


“Hey are you here for the summer trainer camp as well?” She asked to which he gave a curt affirmative nod.

Since someone else is speaking that forms a new paragraph. She would be lowercase. It's not the end of the sentence since you explained that she asked him. Also the adjectives need to be separated with a comma. The only time they wouldn't be is if there was a color.


“I’m Maira and you?” She asked inquisitively. “Jason.” The boy replied with a wan smile, not really sure what else to say, having little experience interacting with girls his own age.

Same as above except minus the adjective part.


“I’m hoping to become a professional pokemon coordinator.” confessed Maria in a wistful tone. “And you?” she blurted out in hopes of learning more about the newest arrival.

“Same here, though to be honest my parents are kind of hoping this camp will get me to take up battling instead.” Jason confided. “They don’t see contest skills as being relevant in our line of work…” he added unsure of how much he should tell her.

Fixed.


After all Aura guardians where so few and far between they had become the stuff of legends just like the type of Pokémon they protected the world against.

Were. Small error.


“That’s a shame. If you ask me the contest world could use more male coordinators. Especially considering something like seventy-five percent or more are girls,” remarked Maria to which Jason agreed with a nod.

“Even I noticed that when I watched my first grand festival six years ago. Remember Dawn vs Zoey? That was something else,” he replied with a found smile.

Fixed.


“Do I ever!” Maria exclaimed with an enthusiastic nod. “Imagine two rookies making it to the finals. It gives me hope that maybe even I could make it that far…” she said with a heavy sigh almost as if resigned to never get that far.

“If you’re going to aim for something, might as well aim for the top,” Jason tried to say encouragingly causing the young girl to grin since the word top had a double meaning in this case since the winners of a grand festival where known as top coordinators.

Fixed.


“You know, I thought I was going to be the only one at this camp serious about contests. All everyone else can think about is chasing gyms. I’m glad to see I was wrong,” Maria said warmly, causing Jason to blush self consciously.

“Err, You’re welcome… I guess?” he stuttered out awkwardly before the two of them quickly broke out into laughter together.


Maybe this camp thing won’t be so bad after all, he thought to himself as Maria led him further into the school grounds in order to introduce him to his fellow students.

Fixed.

So far nothing too interesting has happened. We learned that Jason is an Aura Guardian and that he is very shy. Also, is this a school or camp? I kept seeing the word camp and school. It was riddled with small errors. But you do have something here. I encourage you to continue and make subsequent chapters even better. Keep it up.

Stage On
2nd March 2012, 7:11 AM
Thank you for the valuable feedback guys. I hope you don't mind but I went ahead and edited the prologue to incorporate it and it definitely helped fixed some stuff as I was working on the first chapter. There are some things word just can't catch.

Chapter 1 – Breaking Free

It had been two short weeks since summer camp had begun and already with the end of august coming it was drawing to a close. To Jason it seemed the time had passed all too quickly as several of his fellow students had already returned to their respective regions leaving the prospect of him having to go home soon looming largely over him. While in some ways he had only traded one prison for another after fifteen years in one small town rarely venturing outwards he was loath to go back and leave the new friends he had made.

Granted they were few in number since he was still somewhat awkward around other people, but all that more precious because of that and infinitely preferable to the solitude that awaited him. He wished he could have done better but some of the other students where jealous of the grades he had gotten since when it came to his classes he had taken like a fish to water, feverously studying in a effort to make his father proud of him for once.

There was Maria how had acted like a constant companion. They had studied together, read books and ate lunch and just hung out a lot In general, thought Jason for the life of him couldn’t understand why some of the other students whistled at them when they were together causing Maria to blush. Was there something weird about a guy and a girl being close friends? They both wanted to take up contests so perhaps they would end up as rivals some day.

And then there was Adam. With his bright red hair and green eyes and cloaked in usual green shirtless jacket and brown shorts the slightly younger boy at the age of fourteen acted as a constant irritation, Always trying to get between the two of them for some reason Jason couldn’t understand. Adam’s energy seemed boundless. Always challenging and always losing, thought they had only battled three times so far, the youth’s persistence was very annoying. The way he twitched and shifted when sitting as if unable to contain his boundless optimism make Jason almost swear the boy had to be drinking too much coffee or energy drink except for the fact he’d never seen Adam so much as sip anything of the sort. Even now the Johto native from the town of golden rod was hoping up and down excitedly, his Pichu mimicking him as he tried to challenge Jason to yet another match.

At first the only reason Jason had been able to put up with Adam’s presence was due to how the boys efforts reminded him of his own relationship to his best friend Brian. The parallels where so eerily similar that he couldn’t help but take pity and from there they had forged a friendship of sorts, albeit a bit of an unease one.

“Come on fight me! My Pichu Jewel vs your Rilou Kouken winner takes all!” Adam cried out desperate for one more fight, one more chance to prove himself to his crush.

The irony wasn’t that Jason was even all that better a trainer. He did amazing on paper tests but in the end was only average during the practical parts of the course. His teachers had deemed him competent enough, thought he’d likely struggle at first to make it if he decided to pursue a league carrier they figured with his smarts that he’d do alright in the end.

“No offense but it’s our last day and I’m kind of tired of moping the floor with you,“ he said managing to sound meaner then he meant to which resulted in Adam glaring angrily at him. “Sorry, it’s just that I still have to pack,” Jason added trying to appease his friend.

“Come on you’ve still got time, why not take him on for old times’ sake?” asked Marina sweetly as she stepped in, partly to intervene before things could escalate into harsh words between the pair and partly because she wanted to see Jason in action one final time. Making a production of it Jason sighed deeply and shrugged as he gave in.

“Fine, fine. Who knows maybe you’ll even win this time Adam,” he said and meant it. While it was true Adam hadn’t done well in the last few matches, he trained very hard and had been showing signs of improving. It seemed like it was only a matter of time until he got the upper hand. That gave Jason hope because if Adam could improve then he could improve as well. If there was one thing he wanted as much as to get a contest license it was to catch up to his friend and self declared rival Brian who had had fallen so far behind.

At least then, if he was that strong even his parents would have to admit that he would make a good aura guardian despite what he did for a living in the long stretches between incidents right? After all deity class legendary sightings where few and far between, meaning they could usually be left to their own devices. In actuality guardians where rarely actually called upon to perform their duty. In his entire life he could count the times his parents had gone out to deal with an event of that caliber with one hand.

The reality of their work was far from glamorous consisting of training, training and more training with occasional calls to keep the weaker legends out of the wrong hands or quell a misbehaving titan. As far as he was concerned a Top coordinator could do the duty just as well as advanced trainer could so what was the problem?

The three of them moved from the near empty hallway to the courtyard in order to be able to battle more freely. As Jason and Adam faced off from across the battlefield Maria stood off the side acting as the referee. Knowing that the time for action had come Rilou hopped down from his customary spot on Jason’s right shoulder then bowed respectfully to his opponent before striking a traditional karate battle pose. One leg and arm held outwards and one held closer to the body, a good position to react quickly from. Adam’s Pichu head bopped up, down and sideways in exuberance as he waited breathlessly for the battle to begin.

“This will be a one on one Pokemon battle, begin,” declared Maria with a dramatic sweep of her arm downwards mimicking the wave of a checkered flag at the beginning of a race.

“Alright bro,” Jason said tauntingly. “You made the challenge so you get to make the first move,” he offered politely causing Adam to pump his fists in the air excitedly.

“First move and the last go Jewel Thunder shock!” he ordered. With a low growl the diminutive yellow creature obeyed jumping forward and letting lose several thin bolts of lightning in practically every direction, its watt output far in access then anything it had previously displayed.

Jason cursed at this development. "Jeez no wonder he hasn’t battled me in the last few days. I’m surprised he had the patience to save it all up for this one moment," he thought to himself. His only luck was that controlling so much raw energy at once was beyond Pichu’s ability resulting in its aim being more than a little sloppy. None of the bolts where even coming close to Rilou as the fired off in random directions but at this rate it was only a matter of time until one nailed him and once it did it would almost certainly do tremendous damage. Thinking quickly Jason realized that the only way to prevent that was to take down the source of energy before it could hit.

“Kouken use Aura sphere at 50%,” he called out opting for precision over power. Rilou nodded and cupped his hands as he quickly gather energy that took to form of an incandescent purple orb that seemed to shimmer in his palms. Just as he was about to initiate the long range attack Adam decided to make another move.

“Jewel close in, that way you can’t miss,” he hollered not realizing his grave tactical error. Jason’s eyes widened in horror as the Pichu leapt forward in an attempt to cover the gab between himself and his foe only to land himself in nearly point blank range as Rilou launched the powerful attack directly into the smaller creatures gut before Jason had a chance to stop him. With a loud bam noise the two of them where evolved in black smoke. Somehow Rilou held his ground as Pichu’s small body was hurled through the air landing with a rough smack on the ground.

That move was by far Rilou’s most powerful and even at reduced effectiveness it was sure to do critical damage in such close quarters, especially to something as physically frail as Adam’s Pokemon. He’d wanted to make it faint not put it in critical condition. The fight was over nearly as quick as it had begun.

“Dang it,” he swore as he forgot about the battle and rushed to the Pichu’s side checking on its health. Its usual yellow fur was covered it soot from the aftermath of the blast making it hard to tell simply by looking how serious the damage was. There was only way to tell if it needed to be rushed to the emergency room or not and that was to use his powers, something he had been afraid to reveal until now unsure of how they would react.

But his parents had drilled into him time and time again to have the power to act and not use it was considered a grave sin, one he wasn’t willing to commit even if it cost him his friendship. Besides if they were really that shallow would they really be such good friends in the first place?

“Don’t breath a word of this to anyone,” he hissed threateningly as tugged his right glove off with his left hand and then placed his now bare palm gently against the Pichu’s forehead. Closing his eyes he concentrated, gritting his teeth as he attempted to read the rodents aura. At first he saw nothing and he cursed his own lack of ability. His mother could tell a Pokemon heath at a glance and yet even while touching them directly it took him long precious seconds to be able to see beyond the physical realm and into the spiritual. Finally after what felt like an eternity but was less than a minute he breathed a sigh of relief as Jewels life flame came into few, petite like the creature itself but burning brightly. It was hurt to be sure, but nothing to be too worried about.

Still it wouldn’t hurt for him to practice his healing ability while he had the chance. It wasn’t much but it would be enough to get the Pokemon in question back up on its feet again, though it would still need to rest and recuperate for while afterwards to get back to full strength.

Calling upon the power within him deeper now blue wavelike energy began to trickle out of his fingertips and slowly grow larger over several minutes until it engulfed his entire hand. Adam and Maria watched in awe unable to say anything until finally after several tense moments Jason lifted his hand away, the energy winking out of existence even as the poor Pichu’s eyes fluttered open as its consciousness returned to it.

“Oh thank Arceus you’re ok Jewel. I was worried sick,” sobbed Adam as he began to cry tears of joy and engulfed his partner in a hug being careful not to crush the electric mouse despite his exuberance. Call him over energetic if you like but at least Adam knew when to restrain himself when it counted, well most of the time anyhow as he started squeezing just a might too hard resulting on him being on the business end of a thunder shock.

“That…that was AMAZING! What was that?” asked Maria her eyes wide in astonishment with a hint of some other emotion that Jason wasn’t experienced enough to read. For a long pause Jason considered just what to tell them. He’d been caught in the moment when he’d used his powers and never really thought about how he was going to explain them to his friends.

“That was nothing,” he lied pretending to be modest as he replaced his glove which he wore so as not to accidentally sense things from every touch of his hands. In his mind it was only a white lie since he was sure his parents would berate him for not healing the Pichu quicker and more fully, almost as if they expected him to weave miracles out of thin air.

“So what are you guys doing next?” he asked forcefully to make them to change the topic rather than focus on him. It was almost like the first day he had met them too months ago, when he had been barely able to string a few sentences together at a time while talking with them. Maria always quick to pick up when he wasn’t comfortable talking about something decided to go along with it now, fully intending to pick up on it again later when he felt more comfortable talking about it.

“I got my contest license today,” she said as she took a card with her picture on it out of her back pocket and showed it off to them. “So I’m heading towards Petalburg City. You guys are welcome to come with me if you’d like,” she offered hopefully.

“Well I don’t know my,” Jason began, rubbing the side of his lip with his left index finger nervously as he spoke only to be cut off suddenly by Adam who seemed more enthusiastic then normal even for him.

“I’ll go, I’ll go. The gym there is a perfect place to try for my first badge,” he declared with boundless confidence that despite his lousy performance today he was sure to conquer and win his way straight to the Pokemon league. “See you later Jase, meet you at the gate Maria,” he said hastily and then he was off in a hurry as usual to begin his journey.

“Never time for long goodbys with him,” Jason said with a light laugh before lapsing into awkward silence. Saying goodbye to Adam was easy in a way. He was the type that came as quick as he went and Jason had quickly gotten used to his flighty nature. But he had spent the last two weeks spending the majority of his time with Maria and thought the time had been short they were as close as two friends could be. Somehow he couldn’t find the words within himself to simply say goodbye.

“Don’t be a stranger,” Maria said sounding sad as she finally broke the silence and then surprised Jason by glomping him with a hug causing him to blush fiercely due to being unused to such intimate contact with another human being outside of his family who hugged him frequently. Stern but loving was the name of the game at his house.

For a long moment she continued to hug him until slowly but surely his hands rose up, shaking at first but then hugging her back firmly for a brief moment in return before letting go. For a moment longer Maria continued to cling to him, as if reluctant to leave which was strange because as far as Jason could recall the only time she hesitant about anything before now was when speaking about her dream the first time they had met.

Then before he could think on it further she too slowly withdrew her arms and turned away so that Jason would be unable to see the tears that were beginning to form in her eyes.

“If you don’t call I’m going to kick you next time I see you,” she declared fighting to keep her voice steady as she took off running towards the girl’s dormitory, and with that last sight Jason realized his amazing vacation away from home was officially over.

***

As Maria quickly packed she wondered how she could have allowed herself to grow so close to somebody she had known wouldn’t be around for long. It had started with something so simple as them having something in common but what really had drawn her to spend so much time with Jason was the way he treated her. While other boys saw her as a prize, she was just another friend to him which was a refreshing change of pace. She had tried her hand at contests once before but had been a failure until she had met him, the first to truly encourage her dream, just like she had been the first to truly encourage his.

She wanted to tell Jason how she felt but was afraid of changing the dynamic that seemed to work so well between them. Afraid that doing so would make parting with him even more painful than it already was. She had left one last hope behind to encourage him to move forward with his life but after seeing his hesitation earlier she doubted he would take it.

But maybe this was for the best. If they were traveling together they would end up competing over almost ever ribbon. Besides what sort of Top coordinator would she be if she had to depend on someone else to give her confidence all the time. In the end it was up to herself to make her own dreams come true. She just wished going her own way didn’t have to hurt so much.

***

In the boys dormitory Jason was putting away the last of the few things he had brought with him and reached into his backpack to pull out his return boat ticket home only to discover a strange packaged wrapped in brightly colored paper with a contest ribbon theme inside.

"When did this get here?" he thought to himself quickly tearing the wrapping away to reveal something that shocked him to his very core, a note in Maria’s handwriting and a contest license for the Hoenn region with HIS picture on it.

Dear Jason. Don’t you think you’re old enough to decide for yourself what to do? You have a choice, either a ticket to freedom that I’ve taken the liberty to give you or a ticket back to borsville. You said if you’re going to aim for something aim for the top. If you’re a real man live up to those words and meet me on the contest circuit and show me what you’ve got!

~Your friend Maria

Jason started at the note for several minutes as its contents sank into his brain. Could he actually openly defy his parents? On one hand he didn’t want to neglect his duties as an Aura guardian but on the other he wanted to see the world, to experience it for himself rather than through dusty old tombs and television

He glanced one last time at the contest license in one hand and the boat ticket in another, thinking long and hard about the correct discussion to make. His would be the first to admit that with his friends gone his life was in shambles, His self esteem a mess from trying to meet seemingly impossible expectations. Could he finally throw that to the wind and forge his own path, to become the coordinator not just of his dreams but over his own fate? He thought briefly of asking Kouken for advice but then dismissed the idea. This had to be his choice, his decision all on his own and no others.

Finally he had his answer as he walked out of the room shutting the door behind him a torn boat ticket sitting in the garbage can all that was left of his wake as he took the first true step towards what he hoped would be the correct path.

Shadow Lucario
2nd March 2012, 9:18 AM
I just lost all of the corrections I made, but there are A LOT. You need to slow down and look over your chapter. Most of them were comma errors. When you describe how something is said a comma is needed before the end punctuation. Like so.


"You'll never beat me," said Joe.

That was the most common mistake. Along with that were a lot of misplaced words, unnecessary sentences, capitalization where it shouldn't be and words that needed to be capitalized that weren't. Words such as Pokemon, Pokemon League, Pokemon Center, and Pokemon species need to be capitalized. You always capitalize Charizard, Pikachu, and Stunfisk.

Jason is showing signs of being a Gary-Stu. A random Taillow is better than most? That is very Gary-Stuish. You want to avoid that. On another note, Riolu cannot learn Aura Sphere by any means and the only way for it to know Bullet Punch is through a Hitmonchan knowing that move being its father. Next time slow down, read over your chapter and make sure your character is not a Gary-Stu.

3D992
2nd March 2012, 3:48 PM
Agreed. However an anime riolu knew aura sphere and who knows who riolu's father is?

Silawen
6th March 2012, 5:31 PM
“Thanks, Kouken, I’m sure everything will be fine,” replied the boy in his usual easygoing straightforward way as he stepped past the front gate into the school grounds only to be promptly greeted by a young blond lady approximately his own age.

You seem to have issues with punctuation. In this quote, you need a comma before 'Kouken' and one after 'fine'. I'll explain why below.

First of all, the comma before 'Kouken'. This is a case of direct address. The boy is directly addressing the riolu named 'Kouken', which means you get a comma before it. The same happens with 'Thank you, Jake' or 'Amazing, man!' In this case 'Jake' and 'man' are names directly addressing one individual person.

The second comma is due to punctuation rules regarding speech. When a speech verb - said, whispered, hollered, inquired, etc - is used, you get a comma and lowercased word following it.

"Hello," she said.

'Said' is a speech verb and thus you get a comma. You also make the word following it - in this case 'she' - lowercased. Exceptions to this rules are, of course, words that are always capitalized like names and 'I'.

When you follow a sentence by a verb that isn't related to speech, this happens:

"Hello." The girl smiled.

You cannot 'smile' a sentence, so you know it's not a speech verb. As a result, you don't get a comma and the sentence after it is deemed separate and thus begins with a capital letter.

Hope that makes sense. Please let me know if you don't quite understand.

I do also want to mention that it seems kind of strange that someone is both 'easygoing' and 'straightforward' when speaking. They don't quite cancel each other out, but they don't seem like they'd relate to each other well.


“I’m hoping to become a professional pokemon coordinator,” confessed Maria in a wistful tone.

This is another example of a sentence require a comma. (Also, earlier on in the story I caught you spelling 'Maria' Maira.


Because of this he likely knew more about legendary pokémon than most professors, thought admittedly that knowledge amounted to more myth than fact

Than is used to compare things. That house is bigger than mine. An apple is rounder than a pear.

Then is used when talking about subsequent events. "This happened, then that happened."

Also, if you want to type out the é in pokémon, on most keyboards you can do so by combining ALT 130 on your numberpad.


Jason tried to say encouragingly, causing the young girl to grin since the word top had a double meaning in this case since the winners of a grand festival were known as Top coordinators.

I have to agree with the reviewer before me. You have to slow down and read what you write. Several of these things would have been easy to catch. I'm sure you know it's 'were' and not 'where' in this instance and these missing commas would have been easily added, not to mention that the coordinators bit is a typo. Just slow down and give things a bit of time. Write something, put it away for a day, and then come back to it. You have no idea how much you catch onto if you've left it for a bit.


With any luck he would perhaps discover the key he needed to gain his parents' acceptance as well.

Again, proofreading would have caught this.

I really have no idea why trainers would ever choose to go to schools - or camps - over going out a journey, though. Especially one who has a riolu, of all pokémon. It seems completely counterproductive to me unless there is a valid reason for him to. I can't think of any, really.

Stage On
7th March 2012, 3:39 AM
Ok thanks to your help guys I went back and fixed a few things in the first couple of chapters.

Commas and I don't get along very well. *laugh*

I tried to follow your instructions as well as I could Silawen but I'm having a hard time understanding them at best. Sorry :(

I know about the alt 130 thing but that doesn't work on my laptop since it lacks a keypad.

Now about Taillow, I made a small edit to the chapter to try and explain better but it's only supposed to be really good looks wise, not necessarily strength wise. Jason being a coordinator first and foremost cares more about how a Pokemon looks beautiful or cool then about it's battle strength.

As for Rilou, he's a Pokemon belonging to a family of Aura guardians so it's natural that his ability to manipulate aura would be a bit more advanced then the standard Rilou. It's not like it's never happened before as 3D922 pointed out both in the anime and the games if you transfer one from the Ranger series. And you guessed who the father is, a plot point for the future :)

Chapter 2 – First Catch

A few hours later Jason was wandering through a nearby forest hopelessly lost. He had tried to catch up to his friends who had left ahead of him while he had been lost in thought about what to do only to wander in the wrong direction due to the unfamiliar terrain. The school grounds where the summer camp had been held while there normal students where away on vacation had been normal enough but this area was downright tropical compared the more rugged mountains he was used to.

While traveling he had been keeping an eye out for wild Pokemon to catch with the Pokeballs he had acquired from his teacher before leaving but so far he had yet to spot neither hide nor hair of any creature.

“I thought Adam said Zigzagoon and Poochyena were supposed to be common around these parts. What gives?” he groused in annoyance as his frustration mounted. The text books had all implied that you could hardly shake a stick without running into something and yet here he was empty handed despite all of his effort.

“Ria” spoke Kouken softly who was walking ahead of him for exercise rather than ride his trainers shoulder like usual. Though Jason couldn’t speak Pokemon, he had spent enough time with his partner over the years to infer what that general tone meant, no aura telepathy required. Be patient, things will happen when they will.

Kouken always seemed to have wise advise at hand far beyond his years, and was often the voice of reason between the pair and he seemed to be leading them in the direction of the nearest settlement as Jason spotted a nearby town on the horizon.

“We should be able to reach there before nightfall. Hopefully they have a Pokemon center… I don’t have the money for a hotel,” admitted Jason more for his own benefit then his Pokemon who would be more than happy to sleep outdoors if it wasn’t for the fact that Jason didn’t have any camping equipment or much supplies at all having never actually planned for a cross region training trip in advance. All things considered things could have gotten much worse since now at least he’d be able to procure some food for himself.

Feeling a formulary heat buildup in the pit of his gullet Jason sighed knowing that his acid reflux was acting up again. He had a problem with his esophagus where it wouldn’t close right causing stomach fluids to splash up into his throat which burned like all heck, making him feel at times like he could breath atomic flames like a radioactive Charizard. It didn’t happen often but when it did it hurt and so he began to take his backpack off so that he could reach for his medicine pouch when an avian shrike filled the air.

Turing towards the source of the noise Jason gasped as he spotted a small blue and white bird Pokemon with a distinctive red crest on its face. He didn’t know what species this was but the fierce look in its eyes and the way its crest enhanced its gracefulness instantly caught his eye instinctively telling him that this specimen was a cut above the rest if only aesthetically and with the right type of training would be perfect for performances.

“You ARE mine,” He declared as he swept his arm forward calling his Pokemon forth. “Kouken take the stage,” he called out in what he had decided would be his standard opening line for battle once he became a real coordinator years ago. He could almost weep with joy at finally being able to use it after all this time if not for the excitement at having finally found something in this forest to battle.

The bird which was a Taillow had to be a flying type which put him at a disadvantage. What was the best move to use given the situation? Rilou only knew aura sphere, bullet punch, agility and foresight which made his options very limited.

"No choice, I’ll just have to work with what I’ve got," though Jason. “Kouken use bullet punch,” with a slight almost imperceptible nod of acknowledgement the knob on the back of Rilou’s right fist began to glow as he trust it forward at high speed resulting in a long bang like the crack of a gun going off as he shot out a bolt of solid white energy straight towards the bird who artfully dodged it by simply flying upwards and out of the way.

Two more shots followed and where similarly dodged. Already Kouken was beginning to pant lightly from the effort expended. If Jason didn’t find some way to make the remaining shots count somehow the wild Pokemon would get away. The question was how to hit something so small and quick? Suddenly the answer came to Jason and he face palmed himself for not thinking of it sooner.

“Kouken use agility and follow up with another bullet punch,” Jason called out. Ceasing his panting Rilou vanished in the blink of an eye, reappearing instantaneously directly underneath the Taillow directly in its blind spot followed by throwing an attack straight at its vulnerable belly.

Jason felt an immense sense of satisfaction as the bullet punch impacted against the bird Pokemon hard knocking it to the ground with a loud crash, but the feeling didn’t last long as the Taillow quickly picked itself up and took off again seemingly shacking off the damage done as a minor inconvenience. Performing a loop de loop the Taillow screeched in defiance as in swooped down attempting to ram into Rilou with an arial ace attack.

Jason was about to call for his Rilou to dodge when he realized that there was a tree directly behind it giving him a hasty but risky idea to bring the battle to a close. Crossing his fingers for luck he hoped Rilou’s augmented reflexes would be up to the task.

“Wait until the last second to evade, “ he barked and Kouken complied staring down the oncoming bird that was barreling down towards him like a speeding freight train waiting almost until the birds beak was touching against his fur to jump out of the way letting the Taillows own momentum carry it straight towards the solid tree trunk with no time left to react resulting in a collision followed by the bird sliding down to the ground, still not knocked out but at least disoriented from the blow.

Realizing that the moment to make his move was now Jason threw a Pokeball which tapped against the bird before opening and sucking the bird in with a red beam of light before closing again. The Pokeball fell softly to the ground and shook several times before finally it made a pinging sound signifying that the capture was complete.

“Good job Kouken return,” said Jason as recalled his Rilou to its Pokeball so that it could take a well deserved rest. Walking over the Pokeball on the ground he picked it up and grinned as he strapped it to his belt.

It had involved a bit of luck but his first capture had gone swimmingly. The only problem now was that he lacked a Pokedex to be able to tell him what type of Pokemon he had caught, or what moves it had. Something that would have to be rectified for later since for now the only thing he could really do was head for town.

***

(3 hours ago)

Adam’s smile as he spotted Maria walking towards the front gate quickly turned to a frown when he noticed the faint traces of tears on her face. She had tried to hide it by whipping her face while packing but she had been sloppy, leaving just enough evidence of her recent crying for a close friend to tell she was upset.
“What’s wrong?” asked Adam thought he suspected that he already knew the answer.

“I…I just wish Jason was coming with us,” she said sadly not revealing that she had left the contest license behind because she had her doubts that Jason would use it. Adam shrugged in response.

“He’s got to inherit the family business whatever that is. I think his family is rangers or something given how seriously they take it,” he speculated not knowing how close to the mark he was. Trying to encourage her he went on “How about after you get your contest ribbon and I get my badge we call him up. I’m sure he’d be happy to hear from us.”

“You mean after you lose again just like you lost to Jason today?” Maria bit out sharply only to immediately regret her words when she saw the hurt expression that came over Adam’s face. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that. I was just venting because I didn’t want him to go,” she apologized but the damage was already done.

“I’m just a loser to you aren’t I?” asked Adam, his confidence at an all time low. He felt humiliated for how easily he Jason had beat him earlier today and to make matters worse Maria the person he had been trying to impress the most had seen it all. Maria shook her head insistently no.

“You’re not a loser Adam. You’re just not…him,” she admitted causing the young man too ball up his fists tightly in anger. It was always about Jason never about him. What did that upstart have that he didn’t? Why wasn’t he good enough that even with his friend gone she STILL wouldn’t look at him the same way? But before he could have a chance to voice those questions Maria broke him out of his thoughts, his heart sinking in a single sentence.

“Sorry I…I need some time alone to think,” and with that she was running off leaving him alone. But as long as he gave her time he figured he’d be able to win her over eventually, after all Jason might as well be a world away over in the Sinnoh region. He’d keep his true feelings bottled up for the last few weeks, what were a few more days?

***

Jason arrived at town sooner than he had expected. Despite the fact it had looked further off, it had actually be relatively close leaving him with time to burn before night fell and relatively little to do since he had to be careful with the relatively small amount of money he had at hand, especially since he had so few options for acquiring more other then calling home but why do that when the boat that he should have been on wouldn’t be due back for at least another two weeks?

He’d cross that bridge only when he had to, and hopefully at then he’d be able to come up with a good excuse that wouldn’t land him in hot water. After all if either of his parents or worse his grandfather came for him now the dispute would be solved in the traditional manner, and that was one Pokemon battle he wasn’t anywhere close to being able to win just yet. Just then a familiarly voice broke him out of his reverie.

“Wow Jace is that really you? I thought you were heading back to the ranch,” asked Adam in surprise as he ran over from the park bench where he had been sitting. Jason was elated that he had been able to catch up with his friends. If he traveled with them there would be no more isolation for people his own age and he would be free to act like himself for once.

“I was, but then I received a challenge of sorts and you know how I can’t ignore those,” Jason replied to which Adam gave a knowing nod. His friendly rival was someone who had something to prove and could be counted on to almost always attempts to complete a dare as long…well as long as it legal anyhow. But before Adam had the chance to say anything more Jason noticed something was missing. “Where’s Maria weren’t you supposed to be traveling together?” he asked confused.

“Well you know her, always forging her own path.” Adam answered with a forced laugh that sounded anything but happy. Jason opened his mouth to ask way they had split up but Adam anticipating the question averted his eyes, unwilling to impart the reason the two of them had parted ways. Spotting the new Pokeball on Jason’s belt he clenched his fists as the elation at seeing his rival quickly gave way to jealousy due to the course of the day’s events.

“I see you caught yourself a new Pokemon Jace… Battle me with it,” he insisted his voice hard as steel. Jason had never seen Adam with so much resolve. His friend stood with a still quite anger which was quite a contrast to his normal bouncy self. Jason felt unsure, he had only just found out what type of Pokemon he had caught by asking around the town and still didn’t know what moves it had or even its gender, it almost didn’t seem right to battle with it before he could give it a proper name. As if sensing his friend’s hesitation Adam growled in frustration.

“BATTLE ME!” he demanded in a cantankerous tone of voice Jason had never heard from him before, a tone that confused him. What could he have done to set his friend of to this degree? But then maybe it wasn’t anything to with him as he realized that maybe Adam and Maria had an argument and his friend was just using trying to blow off steam. Either way Jason realized there was one good reason to avoid a confrontation.

“Have you taken Jewel to a Pokemon center yet?” he asked concernedly. “It’s only be a few hours since Kouken beat him, and the treatment I gave him wouldn’t be enough to get him in proper battle shape so soon,” however it seemed he had chosen his words poorly as the reminder of the earlier beat down only served to fire Adam up more instead of calming him down.

“What are you chicken to fight even if my Pokemon is only at fifth percent? No wonder you’re parents look down on you,” spat Adam venomously making Jason’s eyes twitch as he fought to hold himself back from slugging his friend in the face for going so far. That had been a really low blow and was totally uncalled for.

“Fine, but don’t go crying if you lose because your Pichu is tired,” Jason declared, only just narrowly holding back from flinging something equally harsh back Adam’s way. Those type of words escalating could destroy friendships and while he was admittedly hurt but what Adam had said, it wasn’t enough to make him totally lose his cool just yet.

Sending out his Taillow the bird screeched as it stretched its wings but remained on the ground glaring fiercely as Adam’s Pichu emerged, wheezing heavily. Clearly Adam had used it since the last time Jason had seen it and it was on its last legs.

“I don’t think this is such a good idea after all. Poor thing looks bone tired,” commented Jason only to be ignored which concerned him all the more. Adam was impetuous at times but he usually cared about his Pokemon deeply enough to not put them in harm’s way like this.

“If you aren’t going to attack then I will. Jewel use thunder shock.” Adam ordered. Struggling to comply the yellow rodent released a weak stream of energy that arched through the air landing several meters away from hitting the blue and white bird making it all too clear that it was in no shape to be battling.

“This is just pathetic. Why not just come back tomorrow after you’ve had some rest and I’ll battle you then,” Jason offered only for Adam to continue attacking in a blind rage causing Jason to sigh. It looked like he’d have to knock some sense into his friend the hard way.

“Enough of this, show me you moves,” He called out in lieu of an attack name. In response Taillow took to the sky his body bursting into flames as he looped around and then slammed straight into the Pichu knocking it out cold. Suddenly snapping back into reality Adam rushed over to Jewels side and broke into tears.

“Why...why do you always beat me. Why do you always win?” he sobbed speaking more than just about Pokemon battles as he pounded the ground in frustration, an eerie mirror image of the last time Jason had spoken to his best friend Brian the day he had left town. Brian hadn’t had an answer for him any more then he had for Adam but he had to try just the same.

“If you hadn’t pushed your luck this time you might have won,” Jason said softly. “Don't forget that Pokemon are living breathing creatures just like we are. They are flesh and blood not tools that can be used and used again without getting tired,” he lectured. Picking up his Pichu with one hand and whipping away his tears with another Adam stood up and nodded in agreement.

It was then he understood that unless something changed, unless he did something that he would never win against Jason where it really counted and that wasn’t Pokemon battles. He had to throw a wrench in and throw it now before Jason and Maria had a chance to meet again on the contest circuit and all was lost. An idea came to him then as his coddled his fallen Pichu in his arms, having lost once more due to rushing things again and he resolved never to make the same mistake again. If he could exploit Jason’s weakness, his undying need to live up to expectations it would be easy to derail him onto another path entirely, a path away from contests and more importantly away from Maria.

“You’re right as usual. Fine then we’ll settle this later. There’s a contest in three days at Oldale Town. I’ll face you there Jason,” he said the name almost as if it was a dirty word before taking off in the direction of the Pokemon center leaving Jason to wonder just what he could have done to turn a friend into such a bitter rival.

Silawen
7th March 2012, 12:49 PM
I tried to follow your instructions as well as I could Silawen but I'm having a hard time understanding them at best. Sorry

What don't you understand? The speech punctuation? I can't explain it better if I don't know what you're having problems with.

Now, I've read through your first chapter. While I'm not going to make specific edits until I know what you're having problems with, I do want to say some things about it. First of all, I don't think you're setting up your character the way you want him to. For one, he's contradictory. He's smart, but awkward, and yet a girl falls for him. He's mean to his younger friend, yet this friend still loves and adores him. Heck, the girl sees nothing wrong with being mean to their friend either. Jason doesn't sound cool when he's talking to Adam, he sounds condescending and like a bully. I doubt you want to make us feel that way about your main character.


As far as he was concerned a Top coordinator could do the duty just as well as advanced trainer could so what was the problem?

I don't quite agree. I'm assuming keeping a legendary safe, or correcting them, requires a lot of strength and battling. Those things require training. Contests, while involving battles in a way, are more designed to showing the looks and moves of the pokémon. They don't involve battle strategies as much as regular battles do.


He’d wanted to make it faint not put it in the Pokemon center since the nearest one was several miles away from the secluded school grounds.

That makes no sense. If this is a camp focused on battling - contest related or not - they would have some way of healing those pokémon that would undoubtedly get injured. Especially because it involves novice trainers. If there wasn't a pokémon centre nearby, they'd have their own stash of medication and a qualified physician.

Reading through the rest, I can see Adam suddenly turns from happy-go-lucky to unnecessarily rude and abrasive. Why? I know he's been slighted, but you haven't established such a personality trait in him, so why is he displaying it now? It is not good character building to have a character's personality change so drastically, especially for no reason. Especially because Adam seems to love his pichu a lot and seemed genuinely concerned when it was injured. It makes no sense that he'd suddenly not care about its health, angry or not.

Same goes for suddenly being so jealous of Jason that he hates him for it. He's been losing to the guy for months and the girl has been favouring Jason for months as well. He'll have gotten used to that. (And Jason is coming across as a bit of a know-it-all bully, really.)

Stage On
7th March 2012, 9:35 PM
Due to my job I likely won't be able to write another chapter until after March break so I thought I'd reply now rather then leave it for later.


What don't you understand? The speech punctuation? I can't explain it better if I don't know what you're having problems with.

I'm confused by speech verbs. All that adjective, verb, adverb stuff ect always made my head spin in English class. I guess you could say I prefer to simply write through experience


Now, I've read through your first chapter. While I'm not going to make specific edits until I know what you're having problems with, I do want to say some things about it. First of all, I don't think you're setting up your character the way you want him to. For one, he's contradictory. He's smart, but awkward, and yet a girl falls for him. He's mean to his younger friend, yet this friend still loves and adores him. Heck, the girl sees nothing wrong with being mean to their friend either. Jason doesn't sound cool when he's talking to Adam, he sounds condescending and like a bully. I doubt you want to make us feel that way about your main character.

Actually contradictory is exactly what I'm going for. A girl falls for him, but he's totally oblivious and he's unwittingly doing the same thing to Adam that Brian did to him. He's always struggled to live up to impossible expectations so when he finds himself with the roles reversed he isn't as mature about it as he should be. Ultimately he means well but the road to hell is paved with the best intentions and he could have avoided the situation he finds himself in entirely if he had simply been a bit nicer rather then condescending. Who knows when his own words will bite him in the long run.




I don't quite agree. I'm assuming keeping a legendary safe, or correcting them, requires a lot of strength and battling. Those things require training. Contests, while involving battles in a way, are more designed to showing the looks and moves of the pokémon. They don't involve battle strategies as much as regular battles do.

That's the same mindset Jason's parents have and it's not entirely right or wrong either. I wouldn't have much of a story if the answer was clear cut



That makes no sense. If this is a camp focused on battling - contest related or not - they would have some way of healing those pokémon that would undoubtedly get injured. Especially because it involves novice trainers. If there wasn't a pokémon centre nearby, they'd have their own stash of medication and a qualified physician.

The camp was already technically over by that point. It was the last day and many of the students had already left as had the resident doctor. This is my bad for neglecting to mention it in the chapter but it was already so long that I didn't want to make it any longer. I'm aiming for an average of 7 pages in word and it was 10 but if I cut it into two chapters the pacing of the entire story would have been thrown into whack.



Reading through the rest, I can see Adam suddenly turns from happy-go-lucky to unnecessarily rude and abrasive. Why? I know he's been slighted, but you haven't established such a personality trait in him, so why is he displaying it now? It is not good character building to have a character's personality change so drastically, especially for no reason. Especially because Adam seems to love his pichu a lot and seemed genuinely concerned when it was injured. It makes no sense that he'd suddenly not care about its health, angry or not.

Same goes for suddenly being so jealous of Jason that he hates him for it. He's been losing to the guy for months and the girl has been favouring Jason for months as well. He'll have gotten used to that. (And Jason is coming across as a bit of a know-it-all bully, really.)

You're expecting a teenager to be entirely rational about their feelings? Even as an adult there are times I get so angry I louse focus and I'm much more level headed now then I was ten years ago.

Adam is head over heals for Maria and his friendship with Jason started as one of convenience since Jason and Maria spent so much time together. He HAD to be nice to Jason if he wanted to get closer to his crush and while that friendship became deeper it's foundations where never that solid to begin with making it easier to fall apart in the end.

He bottled up his feelings since he figured that after the camp was over Jason was going away anyhow leaving him a clear shot at the girl but when Jason didn't leave he finally snapped, which conversely finally gave him to focus he needed to be a good trainer.

So Jason is coming across more or less the way I intended him too but Adam isn't . Either because I was being to subtle or simply not giving him enough focus.
Just goes to show how much room I still have left to grow as a writer.

Silawen
8th March 2012, 1:03 AM
I'm confused by speech verbs. All that adjective, verb, adverb stuff ect always made my head spin in English class. I guess you could say I prefer to simply write through experience

Okay, let me try explaining it more thoroughly. Don't be afraid to ask if something isn't clear. :)

Speech verbs are verbs that indicate how a sentence is being said. 'To say' is the most common one. When someone says something, you use these verbs to show the reader how that sentence is being said. If you wanted to make someone say 'hey', you'd say:

"Hey," she said.

In this case 'said' is the speech verb. Other examples are 'whispered', 'yelled', 'asked' and others. Can you see that they all involve something being said? You can shout sentences, you can ask them, you can inquire, or suggest. They're all ways of saying something. That's what a speech verb is.

'To walk' is not a speech verb. You cannot 'walk' a sentence. 'To jump' is not a speech verb either. Do you see the difference between them?

When using speech verbs for dialogue, you get very specific punctuation. Let's pull up the example I used above again.

"Hey," she said.

'Hey' is the bit being said, 'she' is the person saying it, and 'said' is the speech verb. When a speech verb is involved, you do not use a period/full-stop, but you use a comma. This remains the same whatever the speech verb is. It could be 'asked', 'mumbled', 'wondered', anything. (Including present tense, such as 'asks', 'mumble', or 'wonders'.) You get a comma. You also get a lowercased word following it - in this case 'she' - because the spoken sentence and the person saying it and the speech verb are connected to it.

Other examples:

"I don't know," he admitted.

"Yesterday," she says.

"No," they insisted.

When it doesn't involve a speech verb, they aren't connected so you'd simply get a period/full-stop and a capital letter like with any other sentence.

"Hey." She waved.

She is not waving the sentence, she speaks and then waves, or waves while speaking.

Now, if the sentence includes a speech verb and continues after it, you'd get one of two scenarios:

"Hey," she greeted. "How are you?"

Or.

"What," she snarled, "are you doing?"

In the first case, what she's saying is "Hey. How are you?" They are two separate sentences and as a result you end the speech verb part with a period/full-stop and start a new sentence. The second example shows one sentence "What are you doing?" that's been cut in two by the speech verb. As a result it's still ongoing and you use a comma, plus a lowercased word following it.

Does this make sense at all? I'll leave it at this for now. Please mention it if you're still not sure. :)


Actually contradictory is exactly what I'm going for. A girl falls for him, but he's totally oblivious and he's unwittingly doing the same thing to Adam that Brian did to him. He's always struggled to live up to impossible expectations so when he finds himself with the roles reversed he isn't as mature about it as he should be. Ultimately he means well but the road to hell is paved with the best intentions and he could have avoided the situation he finds himself in entirely if he had simply been a bit nicer rather then condescending. Who knows when his own words will bite him in the long run.

Fair enough, but then you need to show us more of this. Your first chapter says that Adam 'acted like a younger brother', 'looked up to him', and 'enabled them to become friends'. This is no indication that their relationship is quite that awkward. Instead it suggests it's a good, friendly relationship.

You even say 'rather than Jason simply becoming annoyed at the youth’s persistence', which you then contradict by showcasing Jason's behaviour. Brothers tease and whatnot, but their relationship doesn't tend to be quite like that. Him meaning well, according to you, doesn't mean anything if you don't show us this. If it's not in the story, then it doesn't exist, and so far you've set up things that don't quite make sense. If he's so awkward, unkind, and unsure of himself, then why is the girl even interested in him? You have not show us anything. You've just stated that she does. She likes him. Why? No idea.


That's the same mindset Jason's parents have and it's not entirely right or wrong either. I wouldn't have much of a story if the answer was clear cut

It's logic, though. Dealing with dangerous legendaries requires certain skills. These would be easier acquired by battling, not contesting. His parents, while being restrictive and inconsiderate to his feelings, have a point.


The camp was already technically over by that point. It was the last day and many of the students had already left as had the resident doctor. This is my bad for neglecting to mention it in the chapter but it was already so long that I didn't want to make it any longer. I'm aiming for an average of 7 pages in word and it was 10 but if I cut it into two chapters the pacing of the entire story would have been thrown into whack.

I'm pretty sure readers wouldn't mind longer chapters. In fact, I'm convinced they'd prefer longer chapters over being confused about plotholes. Still, if there are still children around, then the faculty would be there as well. I am a teacher, that is how things are. Whoever ran that camp would be responsible for the children and having someone with medical training around, especially when in a remote location, is the least that can be expected.


You're expecting a teenager to be entirely rational about their feelings? Even as an adult there are times I get so angry I louse focus and I'm much more level headed now then I was ten years ago.

No, I'm expecting some sort of indication that this was coming. I wasn't rational about my feelings when I was a teenager, but I didn't randomly turn on my best friends over nothing. There would have been a lead up to it. That's what personalities are like. You've given little to no example of Adam being that volatile and it comes across more as a convenient plot-point than anything else.


Adam is head over heals for Maria and his friendship with Jason started as one of convenience since Jason and Maria spent so much time together. He HAD to be nice to Jason if he wanted to get closer to his crush and while that friendship became deeper it's foundations where never that solid to begin with making it easier to fall apart in the end.


This hasn't been established anywhere. I just read through chapter one again and nowhere does it give any indication that Adam has feelings for Maria. This only comes to the front when he has this switch in personality and suddenly gets angry with Jason. It's a bit more understandable, perhaps, as he's just had a nasty run-in with Maria, but still odd. You need to introduce these things. How should we have known that he has a crush on Maria? How were we to know his friendship with Jason isn't what you said it was? (You said they were like brothers, that Adam was one of the few who was friends with him, that Adam looked up to him, but then you contradict all that.)

I also don't understand why they all had to have feelings for each other. It doesn't add anything and just makes Maria seem as the cliché love interest. Can't there be a trio involving a girl that doesn't end in some kind of love-angle? But, okay.


He bottled up his feelings since he figured that after the camp was over Jason was going away anyhow leaving him a clear shot at the girl but when Jason didn't leave he finally snapped, which conversely finally gave him to focus he needed to be a good trainer.

Again, you never let us know about any of these things. And why would Adam even expect such a thing? He knew how close those two were, right? Also, this is the kid who kept trying after countless losses, who trained his pichu to learn a powerful attack through perseverance and hard work. I doubt he needed any more 'focus'. In fact, Adam is a much more impressive character to me than Jason. Adam kept trying and working at it, while Jason was just condescending and rude.


So Jason is coming across more or less the way I intended him too but Adam isn't . Either because I was being to subtle or simply not giving him enough focus.
Just goes to show how much room I still have left to grow as a writer.

Well, if you wanted Jason to come across as condescending and kind of mean, then yes. I just think the whole change in personality for Adam is very abrupt and that Maria is the one who needs more development and focus. Right now her primary role seems to be of 'love interest' which isn't all that comforting.

Stage On
8th March 2012, 6:22 AM
This isn't so much of a new chapter rather then part of a major revision I just finished. Hopefully this should fix a few plot holes and other issues Silawen brought up.

I'm sure there are still comma issues, but that's just the way it is as I learn to use them better. *shrug*

I also didn't get as many extra shifts as I expected for March break so depending on how things go I might get some totally new material up sooner then I hoped, but no promises.

Chapter 3 New Paths

Jason had arrived in Oldale town a day early and promptly registered for the upcoming contest which had been surprisingly more simply then he had expected. Just a quick form and he was done. With that out of the way he had gone online and searched Pokjiji to look for local goods until he came across a second hand Poketch, the owner of which was willing to part with for cheap. With a move check app already installed it was the perfect solution to at least one of his problems since now he would be able to tell the name of his Taillow’s moves.

“Brave bird, arial ace, wing attack and quick attack,” he muttered to himself as he read off the list trying to imagine potential ways to create a show stopping performance with them but coming up blank. “I guess I’ll have to see them in action first if I want inspiration.” with a sigh he resolved himself to finding a quite spot in the park in order to train.

As he wandered through the town he wondered why Adam had challenged him to a contest and not a standard battle, it didn’t make much sense considering that he had taken several classes on contests during the summer camp while Adam had taken none. If it was a regular fight at least his friend would stand a chance since the only reason Adam lost before was because he had a tendency to leap before he looked and once he learned how to get past that little problem he had the potential to become an ace trainer.

Maybe his friend was simply leaping before looking again but somehow Jason doubted it. Adam’s challenge had been too purposeful, too calculated for him to not have some sort of plan going into the fight. But plan or no plan, Jason wasn’t about to just sit back and allow his friend who wasn’t even interested in getting to the grand festival to be the one to stop him from gaining a ribbon. For not the first time in the last few days he wondered what had brought this all about.

***

Awhile later Jason had found a quite space near the contest hall and was training with his Taillow hard, trying his best to mimic the Bird Pokemon’s movements as he had it run through several moves in an effort to choreograph something that didn’t look half baked which wasn’t going too well so far.

“Getting ready for the contest tomorrow?” asked a voice and Jason turned to see a girl with whitish blue short hair sitting on a nearby wall, her crimson red eyes watching his training session with a hint of curiosity and a hint of something not quite admiration but close.

“Something like that,” replied Jason as the girl jumped down allowing him to catch a better glimpse of her. With her light purple tank top, green combat shorts and combat boots she was more of a tom boy then Maria could ever hope to be, especially with the golden bandana tied around her forehead street fighter style giving her an air of authority as she stood with her arms crossed appraising him and his Pokemon. She looked vaguely like someone he should know but Jason couldn’t place her.

“Good job, it’s nice to see a rookie train for a change rather than just jump straight onto the stage with no plan,” she said with a light laugh all but admitting she had done that herself during her first contest. “But you’re forgetting one of the most basic things about contests. You’ve got to combine moves if they’re going to have any impact.” she advised.

“Of course why didn’t I think of that sooner.” exclaimed Jason as he slapped his forehead for forgetting something so simple in his excitement. “Taillow use brave bird combined with arial ace,” he called out and the two of them both whistled low at the results. Returning the bird to its Pokeball a moment later Jason turned to the mysterious girl. “That was amazing. Thanks for the advice.”

“Don’t mention it rookie. If I didn’t scope out the competition I’d never find what I’m looking for,” replied the girl with a casual shrug.

“Looking for?” Jason asked.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s not worth talking about,” she said. “Well not unless you do well in the contest anyway,” she added off handedly. Unsure of what to say next but wanting to keep the conversation going Jason looked down at the Pokeball in his hands which gave him an idea.

“Speaking of advice I’ve had her for several days and still haven’t thought of a good name,” he said hopefully causing the girl to raise an eyebrow then think for a few seconds before replying.

“How about Fuu, it’s Japanese for wind,” she suggested to which Jason gave an agreeable nod.

“A wind that is usually calm but can become a raging tempest when pushed to its limits, very fitting,” the two of them talked for a short while longer but before long the girl had to go.

“See you at the contest good luck,” she paused and almost seemed to consider asking his name then thought better of it. “Rookie.”

“What don’t you want me to introduce myself?” asked Jason in confusion to which the girl gave a sly smile.

“Not until you’ve earned it. I only remember the names of those that prove promising,” she explained and then left before he could have a chance to ask her name.

"Huh, what a funny gal," thought Jason to himself as he returned to his training since he still had a few hours to go before he had to turn in for the night and he intended to make the most of it.

***

The day of the contest had come. Surprisingly only a dozen people had shown up to compete, nearly all of them first timers like Jason himself. He was among the first to be called to perform and his heart felt like it was beating a mile a minute as he jumped onto the theater from behind the curtains and threw a Pokeball with a seal on it so that instead of appearing in a usual flash or red light, his Rilou emerged in a burst of white smoke that managed to make him look more mysterious which Jason hoped would appeal to the Judges.

“Let’s keep this simple and short. Throw an aura sphere in the air then hit it with a bullet punch just like we practiced,” ordered Jason. Kouken quickly obeyed effortlessly tossing a pulsating purple orb high above his head before slamming a white slug into it a split second later causing it to explode into a shower of red and blue sparks resembling fireworks and as the sparks died down to embers and where extinguished the crowd broke into a wild applause.

“What a refreshing display, perfect for the end of the summer,” exclaimed the commentator as Jason and Kouken took a bow before quickly leaving the stage and returning to the audience in order to get a first hand view of the remaining contestants. Sure he could have watched though tv in the waiting room but that was the way he had always seen contests before while sitting in the stands was something fresh and exciting.

“We have a treat from the Unova region today. I give you the one, the only Katina!” shouted the commentator causing the cheering from the crowd to rise to a near deafeningly level as the mysterious girl Jason had spoken with earlier waltzed onto the stage causing his jaw to drop in surprise by how different she looked. Exchanging her Rambo like outfit for a simple white dress and sandals she was hardly recognizable.

Jason was so stunned by the radiance she seemed to be exuberating that he hardly noticed when she brought out a Metagross. The mere sight of such a high level Pokemon alone should have worried him if he weren’t so focused on the girl herself. He knew from the way she spoke she’d experienced a few contests herself but this clearly showed that she meant business. After her performance ended and the crowd died down a little Jason turned to the gentleman beside him to ask a question.

“Who was that?”

“You don’t know who Katina is? What do you live in the boondocks or something?” joked the man until he saw the serious look on Jason’s face. “When it comes to Contests she’s a rising star. Her grand festival record is top eight in Sinnoh, top four in Kanto and runner up in Johto,” explained the man causing Jason to let out a low whistle. Celestic Town was so remote that unless you had satellite you only got the Sinnoh grand festival and now that the man mentioned it could recall seeing her performance three years ago on tv.

“Tough luck for you huh kid,” added the man with a chortle. “Rumor has it she’s looking for a partner for a pair’s league opening up back in her home region next year. Not that you’re good enough to be considered of course.”

"Not yet anyway," thought Jason as Adam took the stage and put on a surprisingly good performance with a Mudkip he must have just caught. Despite his clothing being the same there was a different look to him as well today, more driven, more determined than before and most telling more still. Huh maybe he deserves more credit then I gave him.

Half an hour later the final performance was over the judges briefly deliberated on who would move on to the final four. Seeing his face come up on the screen Jason clenched his fists in determination. Despite the fact he knew he didn’t stand much of a chance of walking away with the ribbon with a pro like Katina around he felt more fired up than ever. He didn’t know why but he felt inspired to do better, to aim higher in a way that even Brian had never stirred in him. Crossing his fingers he hoped against hope he’d get to face off against Adam first. They still had a score to settle after all and frankly it would be kind of lame if his friend did better than him in a contest. It seemed luck was on his side after all as the judges revealed the first match.

"Time to show Adam what contests are all about," thought Jason as he took up one end of the ring and Adam the other waiting for the match to begin, just like old times. With any luck all that practice he had put in the day prior was about to pay off.

“Go Fuu take the stage,” called Jason as his Taillow appeared in a shower of Sakura petals. Thankful Seals where dirt cheap. Adam merely grinned knowingly and sent out a Lotad without any theatrics or special effects. Another new Pokemon? When did he catch that? thought Jason. Feeling confident that his flying type had the advantage over Adam’s grass/water type Jason decided to make the first move.

“Alright Fuu use arial ace,” he ordered. With that Taillow began to flip in the air and was about to start flying towards it foe when Adam responded.

“Fiesta counter with Ice beam,” not expecting an Ice type move Jason was caught off guard.

“Don’t let it hit you,” but it was too late for Taillow to entirely avoid the oncoming rush of subzero energy. She attempted to twist out of the way and managed to avoid the brunt of the attack only to have her left wing frozen causing Jason’s point count to drop by a good chunk. That had been too close, another hit like that and his Pokemon would faint before he could even run out of points. But he’d worry about that later since if he didn’t do something now Taillow would plummet to the ground leaving her easy prey for a follow up attack.

“Use brave bird to free yourself, than combine it with arial ace,” he said hoping that Fuu would perform the move just like she had in the training sessions. With a loud scraw she burst into red flames the ice instantly melting away as she preformed another loop in the air, embers trailing behind her in a brilliant display. Tucking her wings in, she began to dive bomb the Lotad, the red flames giving way to a bright blue aura which grew in intensity as she swooped down, her body a solid streak of like before suddenly she move so fast she vanished almost seeming to teleport as she reappeared right before her foe a moment later slamming into the Lotad and knocking it straight off of the stage. It wasn’t quite the knockout blow Jason had been hoping for as the Lotad quickly rolled over and hopped back onto the stage but it had cost Adam most of his points.

“Fiesta retaliate with water gun, than follow up with ice beam,” said Adam causing the small lily pad Pokemon to spurt out a stream of high pressure h2o out of its mouth towards the bird.

“Combine Wing attack with quick attack to cut straight through before he can finish,” ordered Jason causing Fuu to shoot forward her right wing glowing white slicing the stream of water straight through the middle rendering it harmless and sending droplets of the water sparkling thought the air around her magnifying her natural beauty.

A loud bleep rung through the air as Adam ran out of points before his Lotad could launch its ice beam. Recalling his Pokemon he almost seemed to shake with anger at the indignity of it all causing Jason to feel a chill run up his spine as he realized if that had been a regular battle he WOULD have lost.

“So you won again this time big deal. Collect eight badges and then meet me at the Pokemon league and then we’ll see once and for all who the better trainer is, unless you think you can’t prove yourself,” challenged Adam as he pretended to storm off. It was a calculated risk but doubted Jason would be able to resist.

“What a dramatic declaration of rivalry! Things are really heating up today,” bellowed the commentator as they moved onto the next match which Katina won in record time when her Metagross used Meteor mash to knock the other girls Bidoof silly in the opening and closing move. After a five minute intermission Jason walked onto the platform again feeling like he was sweating bullets. Taillow was tried from her last match so he had to go with Rilou and hope for the best.

"By Arceus I hope I at least do better than the last match," he though as he sent Kouken out in another burst of white smoke.

“Alright rookie, show me what you’ve got,” Katina said with a wide grin as she sent out a Serperior who appeared in a shower of multicolored hearts. “I doubt you’ll even be able to scratch my Aina,” she boasted giving him a goal to aim for as she sat back content to wait for him to make the first move.

“Alright Kouken use Aura sphere,” Jason called and Rilou followed suit by tossing a purple orb at the grass snake.

“Counter shield!” with those words whirling leafs sprang into place around the Serperior as it used leaf storm to protect itself from harm. An unusual move she had picked up from a traveling Kanto trainer years earlier. The aura sphere splashed harmlessly against the swirling leafs dissolving into a shower of sparks and costing Jason a good chunk of points. “No combinations? I’m disappointed. At this rate I won’t even have to attack to win,” said Katina as she stifled a yawn only for Jason to grin. Now that she had dropped her guard it was the perfect time to strike.

“Now Kouken use Aura sphere followed by a double Bullet punch,” this time as Kouken threw another purple orb at the shield and with a loud bang quickly shot a white shell at it causing it to explode into a shower of blinding but harmless fireworks a split second before it could splash against the foliage shield causing the Serperior to hesitate, its defense slipping. Katina watched in total bewilderment not understanding what the heck Jason was going for until a second crack like lightning rang through the air, a white projectile flying through a hole in the leaf storm and striking Aina hard across the side of her face. The power difference between the two Pokemon meant that it had done little actual damage but the fact that somehow a rookie had broken through what she had considered to be a perfect defense and actual caused her to lose points stunned her.

“Not bad, but it’s the only hit you’ll get. Aina use leaf storm,” growled Katina more in announce at herself at letting her guard down then at Jason for taking advantage. With a roar the regal grass snake unleashed a shower of razor sharp leafs that quickly overwhelmed Kouken despite his best efforts to defend himself. In moments the onslaught subsided leaving Kouken collapsed on the floor and Katina the clear winner, the contest was over.

***

Awhile later after Katina had been presented the ribbon she tracked Jason down just as he was about to leave town and head towards Rustboro city where another contest was scheduled to be held soon, not to mention a place with a gym, thought Jason still wasn’t sure if he would take up Adam’s challenge or not yet.

“You did good rookie. Better than I expected anyway. It’s not much but here’s a consolation prize,” admitted Katina as she tossed Jason a small disk. “Tm 60 aka drain punch the perfect move for that Rilou of yours,” she explained offhandedly. “I’ve got my eye on you now. It’ll be interesting to see if you live up to your potential rookie,” with that she turned to leave and Jason made a hasty decision. The way she battled had been like a revelation for him and he wanted to see more of it. If she was looking for a partner for a pair’s league then he wanted to BE that partner. Maybe he wasn’t good enough yet but he resolved to work hard and catch up to her the same way he been trying to catch up to Brian for years.

“The name’s Jason not rookie. Remember that,” he shouted out to which she broke out in a grin and gave a casual wave goodbye.

“Alright catch you later Jason," she called out warmly as she walked off towards the setting sun. As Jason left the town heading his own way he realized that he was walking down a new path in life. Not just to be a top coordinator anymore for its own sake but also to impress someone and work with them. Somehow that felt much more purposeful then before. In many ways he had a lot of work ahead of him, and yet he was looking forward to nearly every minute of it.

Stage On
20th March 2012, 4:23 AM
Chapter 4 – Reunion

Early morning in Rustboro city found Jason sitting cross legged in the garden outside the Pokemon center, meditating with Kouken as part of their daily aura training. Everything was calm and peaceful until he suddenly felt a very formulary presence, his eyes snapping open in surprise as he scrambled to his feet and ran out to the front and came face to face with his best friend and biggest rival Brian. His black hair was much longer then Jason remembered but he could never forget those sharp brown eyes.

Brian was from Pallet town in Kanto but his family owned a summer home in Celestic Town. Thought Brian was a year older than him they got together very well and each year the boys had spent several months playing together until Brian had turned ten and left on his training journey leaving Jason behind.

“Woh I never expected to see you here Jason,” exclaimed Brian who was wearing a black leather jacket and jeans with flame decals on the sleeves.

“Well I wasn’t going to keep training a home to be an aura guardian forever. I figured it was finally time to stretch my wings a little,” replied Jason “By the way what’s with that Goth get up?” asked Jason with a raised eyebrow. It had been years since he had last seen his friend in person but Brian had also dressed in bright colors to match his starter.

“Same reason as always,” replied Brian with a sly smirk making Jason even more confused.

“But I thought Charmander was orange,” said Jason causing his friend to break out laughing.

“Jason, Kage hasn’t been a Charmander for a long long time,” Brian said as he let his Pokemon out revealing a Charizard with jet black skin. “You didn’t know he was a shiny did you?” he asked rhetorically. “To be honest nether did I until he evolved,” He added with chuckle.

Kouken let out a yelp upon seeing the Charizard and immediately hid behind Jason. Thought he wouldn’t gain a secondary steel typing until he evolved he had lost to Charmander so many times before in practice matches that he had become afraid of fire types.

Jason on the other hand was trembling, not out of fear like his Pokemon but out of frustration. Seeing how strong Kage looked confirmed just how far ahead of him Brian had gotten since they had last met. It was as if they where light-years apart in strength… How could he possibly even begin to catch up.

“Wanna match for old time’s sake?” asked Brian who mistook the trembling as excitement. Realizing that this was a good chance to see just how strong his Taillow was Jason nodded.

“Go Fuu,” he called out as he summoned his cardinal. He was just about to ask Brian to bring out one of his fresher catches so that they could have a more even battle when Brain made his move.

“Kage flamethrower now.”

“Wha wait,” but the Charizard unleashed a torrent of raging flames from its mouth engulfing Taillow before Jason could complete his sentence. A moment later the torrent subsided and Taillow crashed to the ground completely out cold.

“Dude that was totally uncool sicking your strongest Pokemon on me. I just caught her a few days ago,” Jason complained as he returned Fuu to her Pokeball. Blue energy sprang up around his hand holding the device as he used heal pulse in an attempt to help her recover faster.

“Sorry, I just thought you’d like to fight Kage since that’s how we always fought in the past,” apologized Brian sounding sheepish for not even giving Jason a chance.

“That was when we both only had one Pokemon. Surely you could have gone easy on me and used something with a bit less experience,” but at those words Brian shook his head no.

“If I’m going to be a gym leader then I can’t afford to go easy,” He stated matter of factly causing Jason to unleash a long suffering sigh. His friend’s dream had always been to open a multitype gym back in his home town.

“How’s that going by the way?” Jason asked.
“Pretty good so far. I’ve raised most of the cash I need to build the gym, now I just need to get certification. If I could just win a league I’ll be easy to pass. I came pretty close in Johto when I got second place, but this time I’m going for the gold.”

“Speaking of gym battles, do you think it’s possible for someone to do both those and contests?” asked Jason to which Brian paused for a long moment as he gave the question some serious thought. He knew Jason well enough to know what this was about and he would have to choose his words very carefully since anything he said on the subject would have a profound effect on his friend. He knew Jason had been trying to catch up to him for the longest time, and when he had been younger he had even encouraged it by boasting. But he was older and hopefully a bit wiser now and didn’t want his friend to always live in his shadow like this, as if Jason didn’t have enough shadows to live in already.

“I don’t think it’s not possible. I know a few people who were able to be successful coordinators and trainers," Brian replied. “Heck doing both might even be great for fast tracking growth.” He added only to realize he had said just a little too much when he saw the look of determination that came over Jason’s eyes. “So much for not encouraging him to case after me,” he thought with a sigh. The two friends talked together for a few more minutes until the alarm on Jason’s Poketch went off.

“Sorry gotta go get ready for a contest this afternoon. You free to catch up after that?” asked Jason to which Brian nodded his assent. “Cool, wish me luck,” said Jason and with that he was off leaving his friend smiling as he came up with an idea.

“I wonder if they have any seats left,” Brain thought to himself as he recalled his Charizard and headed towards the contest hall.

***

“Ok Fuu take the stage,” called out Jason as the appeal round started. He hurled a Pokeball high causing it to burst open in a shower of sparks from the seal he had placed on it just prior to the start of the contest. His Taillow gave out a loud squawk of greeting to the crowd as it circled over his trainers head awaiting its orders.

“Fuu use Brave bird combined with arial ace,” said Jason with a dramatic wave of his arm. At those words Taillow swooped down towards the crowd as his body spectacularly burst into flames. Just when he seemed he was going to ram into the audience he pulled up leaving a glittering trail of embers as he went. Suddenly the fire subsided replaced by a dazzling luminous blue glow that engulfed the bird Pokemon from its beak to its tail feathers as it made a dramatic series of loop de loops.

“Now for the climax, quick attack,” yelled out Jason. Hearing the yell Taillow speed up leaving a trail of white light behind him as he zigged and zagged thought the air until finally he had spelled out the Japanese character for Victory before diving down towards Jason. With a loud squawk Taillow pulled out of his dive causing the blue light that had encased his body to splash off him dynamically as he landed on Jason’s outstretched arm then tucked his right wing and bowed to the audience along with his trainer.

Hearing the round of applause that resulted Jason smiled in satisfaction, it seemed he had put the advice Katina had given him to good use judging by how the cheering was louder and more enthusiastic then in his first contest days ago. Too bad she wasn’t here to see it, he would have liked to hear her input on how his training was going so far.

Returning to the audience Jason yawned at the next few performances which were either boring or half baked. It didn’t look like he’d have to face anybody too challenging at first at least that was until Brian walked onto the stage causing Jason’s jaw to drop in shock. His friend had never once taken an interest in contests so why was he participating in one now?

“I choose you Tiamat,” called out Brian as he summoned his Lapras to the stage. “Use water gun followed by Ice beam,” He ordered causing the large water pokemon to tilt it’s head back then open its mouth and spew a stream of high pressure water out for a few seconds before switching to an twin interlaced lines of blue that spun around each other before joining at the top hitting the column of water as it came crashing back down quickly freezing it from bottom to top.

“Now use Ice shard to sculpt it,” ordered Brian. Lapras unleashed a loud cry as light blue shards of ice quickly formed around its body and then shot forward, hitting the larger chunk of ice in rapid succession chipping pieces of it away with each hit until finally it resembled the legendary Pokemon Regice. Much to Jason’s incredulity the crowd actually cheered louder at this display then they had for his performance.

***

“What the hell are you doing here?” Jason yelled angrily at Brian in the waiting room as they waited to see who would make it to the battle round. Bad enough that Brian had beat him at every Pokemon battle they had ever had but did he have to get in the way of him in contests as well?

“Well you mentioning contests earlier made me curious to see what they were like first hand. Every trainer should try them at least once," Brian replied deflecting Jason’s anger with a light laugh causing Jason to clench his fists in determination. There was no way in hell he was going to let Brian show him up this time or he might as well quit trying to be a coordinator all together. Jason grinned fiercely as the match ups came on the screen showing him vs Brain as the first match in the first round. At least they would get this out of the way quickly one way or the next.

***

Jason sighed as he gripped his Pokeball tightly knowing he had little choice but to go with Kouken if he wanted to have any chance of actually winning the match. He had managed to recover Fuu enough to perform on stage but an actual battle against someone of Brian’s league was just out of the question.

“Take the stage,” he called out as he tossed the Pokeball out causing Rilou to appear in a burst of stars. “So you want to try a contest huh. I’ll show you how it’ done first hand,” he declared dramatically playing to the crowd as he took a fighting pose and then Rilou followed suit mimicking him.

“This should be fun. Go Atlas,” called Brian as he sent out a Tyranitar in a plain old beam of red light. The crowd went wild with laughter at the sight of the match up Brian’s Pokemon was four times weak to Jason’s. But Jason knew better then to laugh. The power difference between the two was massive, more than enough to make up for that weakness. Just like with Adam if this was a straight battle he would surely lose, but it wasn’t a straight battle and in that lay his chance.

“Atlas start off with Stone edge,” barked Brian causing the Tyranitar to form two horizontal rings of gray stones around itself before sending them all flying at Rilou.

“Defend yourself with aura sphere,” Jason called out quickly to which Kouken formed a blue orb in its from paws but was unable to launch it in time as the rock shards flew straight into it only to catch everyone by surprise by dissolving into harmless powder on contact rather than cause the aura sphere to explode. It had never occurred to Jason to use aura sphere like that but in retrospect he should have seen it before now from the way Katina had used leaf storm in the last contest. Maybe with a bit of training he could apply that principal in a similar fashion on purpose rather than as a fluke.

But that was something to think of for another time as the board rang out signifying a large point drop for his rival. He had to capitalize on this fast and point out his foe before his Pokemon took a knockout blow, but to do that he’d have to get in close.

“Get ready,” he thought using his powers to communicate his intentions with his Pokemon. Kouken nodded and cupped his paws together beginning to charge up another aura sphere.

“Atlus use Sandstorm,” commanded Brian causing the green armoured Pokemon to open its mouth and tilt its head back issuing forth a swirling stream of light brown from its throat. In mere moments the entire stage would be covered in the stuff blocking everything from sight.

"NOW", thought Jason as Rilou launched the aura sphere straight into the nexus before the Tyranitar could fully launch its attack. With a loud boom the sandstorm was disrupted and the sand that had been summoned was blow away causing the big lug to blink in confusion and Brian to lose another chunk of points. Seizing the opportunity Kouken used Agility to rush forward crossing the stage in seconds and appearing right in front of his foe.

Jason began to unleash a series of punches and kicks using the Jeet Kune do which Kouken preformed in perfect synchronization with his trainer their hearts linked as one, the actualization of their years of hard work and training paying off as Rilou wailed on the Tyranitar who had its arms crossed defensively in an attempt to ward off the blows. They didn’t seem to be causing much damage but hopefully the constant barrage would be enough to keep it from fighting back.

As Brians points began to take a nose dive he growled. “Atlas shrug him off and then use Crunch,” With a mighty roar Tyranitar flexed its arms trusting them forward and knocking the Rilou away from him long enough for him to recover his footing. Then he shot forward and tried to clamp down on Rilou with his large jaws only for Rilou to shove an Aura sphere straight into its mouth letting it chow down on that instead. Tyranitar blinked as the aura sphere exploded inside its throat then belched out a stream of black smoke.

“TY-RANITAR,” It howled, it’s eyes glowing red in anger completely pissed off from that last stunt. Without an order from its trainer the Tyranitar opened its mouth again and was about to unleash a hyper beam which at that range Rilou couldn’t hope to avoid when a loud buzzer went off signaling the end of the match since Brian had ran out of points.
Tyranitar glared daggers at Rilou for a long moment then shook its fist angrily at him before Brian return it to its Pokeball. Jason let out a breath of relief as he whipped the sweet off of his brow. That had been entirely too close for comfort.

***

After that the rest of the contest had gone smoothly for Jason. His foe in the second match hadn’t stood a chance against him and his Rilou and he had walked away with the victory and the contest ribbon in hand.

“Yes, I can do this. I can be a coordinator,” He told himself as he looked down at the green band of fabric in his hand before slipping it into a contest case. “One down and four to go.”

“Congratulations,” said a voice behind him and Jason turned to see Brain leaning against a nearby wall clapping.

“Say you didn’t chose a Pokemon that’s four times weak against mine to make it easier for me did you?” asked Jason suspiciously causing Brian to look away into the sky.

“You know me I don’t go know the meaning of going easy,” He replied with a lopsided grin and Jason couldn’t tell if his friend was lying or not. “In any case here’s something in honor of your first win against me,” Brian added as he handed Jason a white Pokemon egg with green spots.“My Tropius laid this the other day, should come in handy,” as Jason appraised the egg it suddenly reacted to his arua and began to glow white, startling him to the point he almost dropped it.

“It’s…it’s hatching!” he exclaimed as the egg began to crack and fall apart revealing a Treecko that stared back at him before grinning. “I think I’ll call you Aoki. It stands for green tree, with any luck you’ll grow big and strong just like one,” he said to which the Treecko nodded enthusiastically.

“Ha that was fast, nothing less from an aura guardian. Good luck with that gym battle Jase. Knock’em dead,” said Brian as he walked away waving goodbye casually with his back turned. Turning towards the gym for a second Jason shook his head and then turned towards the forest. His new Pokemon required some training first before he could take the next step, no point rushing things.

3D992
21st March 2012, 7:13 AM
Great as always! I havent read this in a while... It seemed a little too fast paced, however I can live with that.

Stage On
25th March 2012, 8:16 PM
Chapter 5 – Rock and Roll

Jason was in the forest having spent most the last week since the contest training with his Pokemon while scouting out his opponent in order to get ready for a gym battle to insure that his crew where at tip top fighting shape.

“I’ve got my first ribbon, now I’m going to try and get my first badge and beat Adam to it,” he thought as he headed back towards civilization. It wasn’t long before they could see the lights of Rustboro city against the backdrop of a setting sun. It was still early in the evening so there was still a chance he could get a gym battle in provided that the gym leader was around and willing.

As he went through the glass double door into the inner sanctum of the building Jason recalled Brain’s gift to him and wondered if his friend was intentionally trying to give him an extra edge with Treekco or if it had just been a coincidence that the Pokemon that had hatched from the egg was super effective here.

“Oh what do we have here a contestant?” asked a girl with brunet hair and pigtails as Jason walked into the battle hall which was littered with rocks of various shapes and sizes.

“I am Jason of Celestic Town and I am here to challenge you to a gym battle,” called out Jason as a means of introduction.

“Very well then, I Roxanne the Rustboro city gym leader except your challenge,” she replied with a warm smile. Steeping to opposite corners of the room the two trainers faced off against each other Jason contemplated his strategy.

"If I was her I’d save my very best Pokemon for last, so I better do the same," He thought while the local ref explained the rules.

“This will be a three on three battle with no time limit. Only the challenger may switch Pokemon in and out at will. One the gym leader recalls a Pokemon it will be considered out of the match. Begin,” The ref called out. At those words both Jason and Roxanne threw out a Pokeball at the same time. In a flash of red light a Treecko and a Geodude appeared respectfully.

“Go Aoki use leech seed,” ordered Jason as the green gecko Pokemon sucked in its breath then spat out a small kernel towards the round rock Pokemon.

“Geo-one block it with defense curl,” called out Roxanne as her Geodude curled up into a ball causing the kernel to hit it at an odd angle and bounce off harmlessly. “Now use mega punch,” before Jason could even react the Geodude had uncurled and threw a mighty punch which hit Treecko in the gut sending the small gecko flying backwards. Flipping through the air Treecko managed to land safely on his feet rather than slam into the ground.

"That thing is too fast, I need to immobilize it," thought Jason. The only problem was that he couldn’t do that without using leech seed which was would only bounce off uselessly against another defense curl. “Wait I’m going about this the wrong way. If I use a combination like if this was a contest rather than a gym battle, it might just work,” thought Jason as he came up with an idea.

“Aoki use leech seed followed by pound,” he called out. On those order Treecko spat out another kernel only this time before it could get very far he spun around and whacked it hard from the side with his tail as hard as he could sending it flying at triple the speed of the first one. Unable to roll up in time The Geodude gasped in horror as the seed impacted hard against its head. In seconds it sprouted into vines that wrapped all around the roundish rock Pokemons body keeping it from moving as they drained its vital energy away.

“Now Aoki finish it with Absorb,” yelled out Jason. Treecko nodded and leapt forward biting down on the Geodude’s head and sucking out its remaining energy in a flash, knocking out the rock Pokemon and restoring the health that Treecko had lost from the earlier mega punch attack.

“Hum that wasn’t too bad, but don’t think that just because you took my first Geodude out means you’ll do so well with my second,” mused Roxanne as she recalled her Pokemon. “Go Geo-two,” she called out as she sent out yet another Geodude.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” exclaimed Jason at the site of yet another ball of rock that happened to have arms attached to it. Didn’t she have more verity in her team or was the first gym leader or this region just some one trick pony? No that couldn’t be it or she wouldn’t have been allowed to become an official gym leader in the first place. There must have been something special about this second Geodude to warrant its use.

“Fine then, Aoki use leech seed followed by pound again,” called Jason figuring that if his trick had worked once he might as well try it again. After all as the saying went the second time is the charm.

“Geo-two counter with roll out,” ordered Roxanne.

“Geo Geodude,” called out her Pokemon in response as it leapt forward and curled itself into a ball then began to roll forward like a tire at high speed. The sheer velocity of its rotation was enough to cause the leech seed to disintegrate on impact and a split second later it slammed into Treecko like a truck slamming into a deer sending the poor Gecko flying into the nearby wall with a loud thud.

“Did you really thing that you’d get me with the same trick twice? I’m not a gym leader for nothing you know,” taunted Roxanne as Treecko slowly picked himself up off the ground with a low growl. He might have been hurt but he was far from out of the fight and was ready to unleash a can of whoopass all over the Geodude which kept on spinning as it began to circle around for another attack run. Jason frowned as he thought about what moves his Treecko knew a mix of normal and grass attacks, none of which would be effective at all as long as the Geodude was rolling around.

“I need to figure out a way to stop it’s rotating soon or I’m sunk,” thought Jason as Treecko narrowly avoiding being run over a second time by jumping to the side at the last second before the Geodude could steam roll him causing the rock Pokemon to narrowly avoid running into a large stone. “That’s it, if I can change his trajectory I can make him crash,” thought Jason with a wide grin. “Aoki jump into the air and use bullet seed to hit Geodude from the side,” he called out.

“Tree cko,” yelled Aoki as he leapt high into the air then spat out a torrent of seeds that struck the rolling Geodude on its side and near its bottom. The seeds themselves didn’t do much damage but they were enough to cause the Geodude to swerve straight into a giant bolder! A loud rumble filled the air as stone collided hard against rock causing the Geodude to fall out of its spin and fall over with its back to the ground.

“Now Aoki, bullet seed again,” ordered Jason. With those words Treecko rained a barrage of bullet seeds down on the poor Geodude who tried feebly to word them off with its outstretched hands. While it seemed that the attack was working well Jason knew better. Geodude’s tough hide and strong defense would allow it to weather the hail of seeds quite well and if he didn’t add a little twist in it would soon be back up and rolling again, and this time his little trick wouldn’t knock it over again. He would have to act fast if he wanted to put it down for the count.

“Now combine Bullet seed with Leech seed,” hollered Jason. Treecko grinned and as it continued to fire normal mundane bullet seeds he made sure to mix in a special energy sucking seed as well. Without being able to tell which seed specifically to defend against the Geodude flailed out with its arms trying to whack them all away only for the unusual seed to slip through its guard and take root on its forehead. Jason smirked as vines began to sprout locking the Geodude’s limbs in place and rendering it practically defenseless.

“Now finish it with absorb,” he demanded as Treecko clamped down on the Geodude’s head and sucked out its energy once again using the stolen power to restoring some of the damage that had been done to him. It was a good strategy since it would despite the hits Treecko had taken facing off against two consecutive Pokemon he was still relatively unscathed, though slightly worn out from all of his exertion as he stood victoriously over the fallen Geodude panting.

“I admit that you’ve done very well to get this far Jason, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to let you beat me with a clean sweep. Tthis is the end of the line,” said Roxanne dramatically as she recalled her Geodude. “Go Nosepass let’s turn this battle around,” she added as she sent out her third and last Pokemon. Strongly resembling an Easter island statue come to life her Nosepass seemed to positively radiate with magnetic power thanks to its sturdy large red nose. Glancing at his panting Treecko Jason decided he’d only be pushing his luck if he kept it going without any rest.

“Good job Aoki return. Go Fuu take the stage,” called out Jason as he switched Pokemon. With a loud squawk his cardinal Pokemon appeared and stretched her wings out as she geared up for battle. Her pride still stinging from her loss to Brian’s Charizard she glared extra hard down at the strange rock Pokemon feeling like she could take him despite the type disadvantage.

“A flying type Pokemon huh. Are you sure that’s such a good idea?” asked Roxanne in a knowing tone that caused Jason to simply smile in reply. Thanks to his scouting he had known that this was a rock gym going into the battle and that it would have been foolish to go against typing without at least some prior preparation and used some of his contest winnings to purchase Tm 47.

“Fuu clobber it with a Steel wing,” ordered Jason as his blue bird Pokemon swooped towards the statue Pokemon her right wing glowing with ethereal white light. With a loud cry Taillow smacked the Nosepass across the head hard as she flew by him and then circled around to follow up with another round. Roxanne only smirked as her Nosepass easily tanked the damage with its astronomically high defense rating. Without Stab that little bird could smack her tough statue all day and still not make much headway, still she didn’t have that much time to waste and decided that it was high time for her to show Jason what her true power was like.

“Nosepass Rock tomb now,” she said with a snap of her fingers. Almost instantly the Nosepass swiveled around and smashed a nearby bolder with one of its legs before catching the falling rubble using it’s magnetic nose and twisting around slamming the debris all into Taillow at once landing a critical hit knocking out the poor bird in one blow. As Taillow lay with its head exposed underneath the pile of rubble Jason gasped at the sheer display of power that the Nosepass had just demonstrated. It was almost enough to make him quiver in a mix of anticipation and fear. Seeing this Roxanne laughed

“My pair of Geodudes are just a test to weed out trainers unworthy of having a serious battle against. If you want to a Stone badge, you’re going to have to get it the rock hard way,” she said with a clenched fist. It was clear that even with both his super effective Treecko and Riolu remaining that this wasn’t going to be an easy battle by any means. With a frown Jason recalled his Taillow then sent Treecko back out again. He hadn’t had much of a rest but it was better than nothing and the more damage he could deal before having to use Riolu the better. If Roxanne wanted a fight then he we was darn well going to give her one.

“Aoki use bullet seed to chip away at its defense,” called out Jason. With a nod the gecko sucked in a deep breath and when he blew out he shot out a barrage of kernels at the statue.

“Harden,” said Roxanne with a snap of her figures.

“Nose Nosepass,” replied the statue pokemon as the surface of its body suddenly took on an almost metallic sheen split seconds before the kernels impacted against it and ricocheted off without causing hardly a scratch.

“Thunder wave,” said Roxanne with a smirk as Nosepass’s bright red nose sparked with electricity which shot forth like a bolt of lightning, engulfing Treekco briefly paralyzing him. “Now tackle it,” exclaimed Roxanne which sent the sculpture Pokemon careening forward.

“Don’t let it hit you,” cried out Jason in desperation but it was to no avail as Treecko could barely budge an inch. The gecko couldn’t possibly move out of the way in time and the Nosepass slammed it into the floor hard causing swirls to appear in Treecko’s eyes. “Well so much for that idea,” thought Jason as he returned Treecko to its pokemon. “Good job Aoki, you worked hard today,” he said as he placed the Pokeball on his belt then took hold of the last one. Letting out a small smirk Jason gripped the Pokeball tightly.

This was it he was down to his last Pokemon. If his Riolu was knocked out first then he would lose. But that was a big if as far as Jason was concerned. Kouken was his first Pokemon and Jason had faith that he would come through for him.

“Alright buddy it’s all up to you, let’s finish this together,” whispered Jason as he sent his Pokemon out. Kouken appeared on the battle ground and took a fighting stance as he let out a low growl directed at the Nosepass and its trainer. “Nail it with an aura sphere,” ordered Jason. Rilou nodded then cupped its hands together and thrust them at the statue sending a shimmering orb of energy flying towards it.

“Dodge and use Sandstorm,” said Roxanne with a wave of her arm. Jason’s jaw dropped as the bulky looking rock Pokemon sidestepped being hit by the energy ball. For something that looked so immobile it could sure move like greased lightning sometimes. Raising its arms the Nosepass’s red nose began to glow as particles of sand started to defy gravity and swirl around through the air. The vile of sand grew thicker and thicker and soon it became almost impossible to see more than a few inches in front of your face. Rilou growled in confusion as he tried to figure out where his foe was when suddenly the Nosepass burst thought the sand and tackled him sending him flying before vanishing back into the sandstorm.

“Remember your training Kouken look with your heart not your eyes,” called out Jason. Taking a deep breath to calm himself down Rilou closed his eyes and reached out with his aura using it to feel where his enemy was as the Nosepass was coming around again for another tackle attempt. “Dodge then use Drain punch,” ordered Jason who was also using his aura to sense out what was happening on the battle field as the statue Pokemon barreled forward.

With his trainer’s sense of sight dulled by the Sandstorm Roxanne was unable to warn her Nosepass in time as Rilou jumped to the side out of its way then trust a fist up hard against the rock Pokemon’s broad side. With a cry of pain the Nosepass ground to a halt as some of its energy was sucked away, causing it to lose concentration over the sandstorm sending the grains of sand cascading down all over the field.

“Now’s your chance Kouken, hit it with an aura sphere and give it everything you’ve got,” called out Jason at the top of his lungs. With a loud roar Rilou trust its palms forward slamming a huge crackling ball of energy slamming into the Nosepass at nearly point blank range. Because it was a special attack rather than a physical one and because it was super effective and backed by same type attack bonus the aura sphere nailed the Nosepass hard landing a critical strike and lifting the statue pokemon up into the air sending it flying back into a wall with a loud crash as it broke straight through the flimsy concrete. Walking over to the wall the ref let out a low whistle as she surveyed the damage. Noting the Nosepass’s swirling eyes she let out a grin and raised her left hand.

“Nosepass is unable to battle, the winner is Jason!” she exclaimed.

“Alright” shouted out Jason exuberantly as he ran over to his Rilou and glomped him. “You’re the best buddy” he added with a large smile which Rilou returned. Over to the side Roxanne sighed at her defeated as she returned her Nosepass to its Pokeball.

“I’ve got to admit that your Rilou surprised me there Jason, I didn’t expect it to be packing so much power,” she said as she took out a book and opened it revealing a glittering piece of metal. “You battled valiantly and above all with a cool and calculating head. It is my honor to bestow upon you this Stone badge,” Roxanne said ceremoniously as she handed Jason the small symbolic object which he had set out to gain.

He had started out as just an ordinary coordinator. But with this perhaps he had proof that he could be a good trainer as well thought Jason as he accepted the badge with pride.

Stage On
28th March 2012, 4:52 AM
Chapter 6 – Wipeout

Jason checked the clock at the Pokemon center as he waited for his Pokemon to be healed after his gym battle and was surprised to see how early in the evening it still was. The match had felt like it has lasted forever but in reality had taken less than half an hour. With more free time on his hands then he was expecting he decided now was as good a time as any to try and contact his friends via videophone.

Finding an empty booth he took a seat and dialed the number for Maria’s PokeNav only to be told by a mechanical voice that the user he was trying to reach was unavailable causing him to frown. This was the third time since he had set out that he had tried to call her and gotten the same response and he was begging to wonder if his friend’s device had been broken somehow since it was unlike her to leave it turned off.

He would have tried to call Brian next except for the fact, that as far as he knew his older buddy didn’t carry any type of electronic gear beyond a Pokedex making him unreachable in the field. That left Adam as the only person Jason knew to contact outside of his parents and despite them not exactly being on the best of terms anymore at least it would be a formulary face. Dialing the number of Adam’s Pokegear Jason smiled happily as the younger trainers face came up on the video screen.

“Hey Jason, how’s the badge quest going?” asked Adam skipping past the usual greetings and getting straight down to business. Jason grinned in response and held up his Stone badge.

“First one down already,” he said proudly only for Adam to snicker in response.

“Only one? While you were busy wasting time with contests I already got TWO,” Adam boasted as he held up a badge case with both a Stone badge and a Knuckle badge inside. “At this rate you won’t even make it to the Ever Grande Conference,” he taunted in an effort to get Jason to focus on chasing after the next badge rather than the next contest.

“We’ll see about that. Where is the second gym located?” asked Jason since he didn’t know much about the region he was traveling.

“Dewford Island about an eight hour boat ride from Rustboro,” explained Adam offhandedly who unlike his rival had actually planned his journey out ahead of time. Glancing off at the clock and seeing it was only 8pm Jason realized that if he hurried and left now he could still catch the last boat out and make it to Dewford island by the morning. While it was faster then he’d normally prefer to travel the last thing he wanted was to fall behind Adam when he was already so far behind his other rivals already.

“Alright then I’m heading straight there. See you later,” He declared as he hung up then headed over to see Nurse Joy so that he could collect his Pokemon before heading out. With any luck by this time tomorrow he would have his second badge and be caught up. After all if Adam had won this quickly how hard could the gym really be?

***

Jason was surprised to find when he arrived at the Dewford gym to find that it wasn’t so much an actual building but rather an artificial cave dug out of a series of large jagged boulders set off from the main island by a stony pier. Given its look Jason would have almost sworn it was a rock type gym except for the fact that no region had two gyms of the same type which begged the question of which type was this one. Going by the outside aesthetics he would have said ground but as he made his way inside he was surprised to see a row of surfboards against one wall making him wonder if the place was water themed instead.

“Hum first rock, then maybe water? I wonder if the gyms here follow a similar pattern to what Brian’s told me about Kanto,” He thought to himself as the hallway ended and he found himself in a reception room where a man with blue hair wearing a Hawaiian style t-shirt was setting at a desk decorated with trophies from both martial arts tournaments and surfing competitions.

“You must be here to challenge me for a badge, far out,” said the man excitedly as he stood up and offered his hand to shake. “I’m Brawly nice to meet you,” he added as Jason took his hand and shook back.

“Likewise, I’m Jason from Celestic Town,” said Jason as he introduced himself.

“Another kook still introducing yourself by your hometown huh, we’ll see if you’ve got what it takes to hang ten with me,” replied Brawly as he led Jason over to a battlefield sized room, but instead of a pool like Jason was half expected the floor was made out of a thick steel frame with a line down the center similar to a sliding door.

The ref began to take her place at the sidelines and Jason blinked in confusion at the sight of her. She looked exactly like the ref from Rustboro from the short red hair to the blue long sleeved shirt with a Pokeball emblem on the left side. Catching the look on the young man’s face the ref laughed.

“I’m referee Julia. Just like nurse Joy and officer Jenny at the girls in my family look alike,” She explained. Jason instantly understood what she meant but he was starting to think there was some mad cloning experiment going on considering the number of identical cousins running around. “Now let’s see what battlefield we get today,” she said as she pulled a remote control out of a pocket and thumbed the switch causing the steel floor to part revealing a black void from which a pool with several small rocks for footing quickly rose into view.

“Heh, of the seven fields this gym sports I haven’t seen this one in awhile. It seems the odds are in my favor today,” remarked Brawly with a smirk as he took up his spot in the trainer’s box at the far side of the room.

“Ok today’s battle shall be a three on three match where only the challenger can switch and no time limits. On your mark, get set, GO!” exclaimed Julia as she waved a checkered flag acting as if this was more like a race then a battle.

“Let’s start this off with a quick cool down, Go Hitmonchan,” called out Brawly as he sent out his first Pokemon causing Jason to gape as the boxer hopped lightly from one foot to the other as it balanced itself on a rock too small to get proper footing on.

"Of course with those trophies I should have expected this," thought Jason who was feeling slightly silly for not seeing this come sooner. “Alright, I’ll go with the same strategy as last time. Start out strong and save the most effective for last,” he thought as he sent out Kouken who growled at the sight of the boxer.

“Ri, Rilou,” Kouken shouted out defiantly, his small statue making it easy for him to keep his footing on the small rocks. His own father was also a Hitmonchan whom he had inherited his bullet punch move from and just like Jason he had always been trying to prove himself to his father only to seemingly fall short. To say that made him really fired up for this battle would have been an understatement.

“Alright start off with aura sphere,” called out Jason and a moment later Rilou shot out a shimmering blue orb straight at the boxer.

“Counter with Mach punch,” roared Brawly causing Hitmonchan to execute its signature move it’s right gloved hand shooting forward at blinding speed and slamming into the aura sphere impacting it so hard that instead of exploding on contact instantly it was actually pushed back slightly before it ignited leaving the boxer virtually unscathed.

Caught by surprise by the attacks failure Jason failed to react in time as Hitmonchan began to rush forwards gracefully skipping across the small stones with ease crossing the field in mere seconds where other Pokemon would have taken much longer with such little solid ground to use. Having closed the gap between them he launched a series of jabs at Rilou.

Recovering quickly Jason linked his heart together with Kouken and the two moved together in a defensive pattern with their arms in an attempt to ward off the blows while waiting for an opening. It was only partly effective blocking every two out of three punches but it was better than nothing and seemed to be working well, at least until Brawly smirked widely.

“Radical trick dude but not enough for a wipeout. Ice punch,” he ordered causing Hitmonchan’s left glove to glow white from sub zero temperatures. Jason cursed under his breath as tried to spin and Kouken followed suit managing to twist just enough to avoid a direct blow but even just brushing up against the ice cold glove was enough to freeze his entire left arm in the blink of an eye.

Jason frowned as he felt his own arm go numb from the psychic link forcing him to break it rather than disrupt his concentration. Nobody had actually used it against him before and it had never occurred to him that it might be a double edged sword, but this wasn’t the time to worry about that as he had to regroup before Kouken came under another assault.

“Use agility to pull away,” he called out as Rilou quickly jumped back several feet but as he began to land Brawly made his move.

“Vacuum wave,” ordered the gym leader at Hitmonchan pulled back his fist then whirled it around so fast that the sheer force of his blow generated a gust of wind that slammed into Kouken hard before he could get his footing knocking him straight into the water which was a big problem. While Rilou could swim well enough, his style of martial arts wasn’t meant to be used in the water leaving him vulnerable.

Scrambling to the nearest rock, Kouken struggled to pull himself up with only one working arm. He had almost hauled himself out only for the Hitmonchan to swoop in and strike the water with an ice punch flash freezing the area with Rilou’s legs still inside trapping him in place. The Hitmonchan stood towering over Kouken, a wide smirk on its face as it savored its immanent victory. Realizing that he was running out of options fast Jason made the only move he could.

“Aura bomb,” he called out causing Kouken to thrust his remaining paw right up towards Hitmonchan’s chest with a crackling orb of energy in hand and exploding it at point blank range with a loud bang sending the Hitmonchan crashing hard into the nearby wall and enveloping himself in a cloud of smoke which slowly cleared to reveal that the ice trapping him had been shattered by the force of the blast. Kouken stood on the rock, panting heavily and covered it soot but still on his feet while Hitmonchan pulled himself from the wall and began to dust himself off only to collapse a moment later.

“Hitmonchan is unable to battle,” called out Julia as she waved a red flag to indicate it had been knocked out.

“Bummer, I thought for sure he had that one,” sighed Brawly in disappointment as he recalled his Pokemon. “But now I can show you the big wave of fighting in action. Go Hariyama,” he said as he sent out the large sumo wrestler who stood at the edge of the battlefield for a long moment surveying it.

Jason blinked wondering how this was going to work since Hariyama was way too big and heavy to stand on such small rocks and his jaw dropped in surprise as the sumo Pokemon grabbed a surfboard from off the wall and then jumped into the water with the board beneath its feat as it effortlessly began to glide along the surface, weaving in and out of the rocks like they weren’t even there.

“Return Kouken you should did well but rest for now. Aoki take the stage,” called out Jason as he switched Pokemon to Treecko who hopped excitedly up and down at being summoned. “Alright Aoki use bullet seed to wear him down,” ordered Jason to which Treeko began spitting out a barrage of seeds only for Hariyama to dodge out of the way with surprising agility. Generally such a heavy Pokemon would be slow but it seemed to be using surf to make up for its usual lack of mobility.

Treecko stopped firing and glanced back at his trainer unsure of what to do next now that his attack had missed. Pointing his hand out like a gun Jason took aim at the sumo wrestler as he tracked its movements. He hadn’t owned Aoki for long so he wasn’t sure how well it would work but he since he’d have to eventually do this with Pokemon he’d never met before tried to connect their hearts anyhow in order to convey the targeting information he was gathering.

Flicking his thumb down mimicking a gun going off Treecko began another barrage, this time taking Hariyama’s movements into account and it almost looked like it would hit until Brawly trust out his arm and the Sumo Wrestler coped him and with a mighty arm trust struck the seeds hard with the palm of his hand knocking them out of the air harmlessly as he began to surf towards Treecko since he could only fight in close quarters.

“Quick switch to bullet leach,” said Jason calling for the combo attack of Bullet seed and Leech seed they had first used in his last gym battle. Treeko began another barrage and this time when Hariyama tried to swat them away one of the seeds stuck to his right palm and began to sprout vines that snaked up his arm in an attempt to tangle it up and suck his energy but Brawly only smirked.

“You know I once had trouble with a Treeko before, that’s why I found a tutor to teach my bud this tubular move! Flame punch,” he declared.

“Hari HARIYAMA,” yelled out the sumo wrestler as the vine covered arm burst into flames burning the vines off as it plowed its flaming fist straight into Treecko sending him flying into a nearby rock before he bounced off and fell into the water before bubbling up to the surface eyes crossed and tongue hanging out of its mouth.

“Treecko in unable to battle,” ruled the Julia as she waved a green flag this time. Jason flinched not believing his luck since usually Hariyama wouldn’t have any moves that where super effective against Grass types. Kouken was still weak from his last battle and worse was afraid of fire making it a very bad match up for him which meant that Fuu would have to pull of the brunt of the remaining battle if he was to have a hope of winning.

“Aoki return, Fuu take the stage,” said Jason as he switched Pokemon for the second time. He knew three of Hariyama’s moves so far. Arm thrust, fire punch and surf so as long as its last move wasn’t thunder punch then his Taillow should be able to turn things around easily enough since two of her moves where super effective. “Nail it hard with Arial ace,” he ordered

Desperate to prove herself after her last two consecutive loses Fuu let out a loud screen as she flew through the air diving straight towards the sumo Pokemon then performing a quick loop over its head heading towards it unguarded back only for the Hariyama to swivel on its board and block the blow with a quick arm thrust knocking Fuu back several feet in the air before she recovered.

“You didn’t think it would be that easy bro? Each and every one of my Pokemon has counter training for facing off against flying types,” explained Brawly

“Taillow Tail,” squawked the bird in annoyance at her attack being deflected so easily. With her small size and stature she simply couldn’t generate enough force with arial ace alone to overcome the force of Hariyama’s arm trust and she even with quick attack she probably didn’t have the speed to get past the trust in order to land a direct blow without being tagged in return, that meant using something with a little more oomph.

“Ok Fuu use Brave bird with everything you’ve got,” Jason ordered. He had to make this quick before Brawly had a chance to wear his trump card down.

“TAILLOW,” bellowed out Fuu as she tucked in her wings and swooped down, flames gushing forth from her body before she pulled her wings out and it transformed into a radiant blue glow as she rushed straight towards the Hariyam who attempted to counter with another arm thrust. The two attack hit each other with a loud roar only instead of Taillow being kocked back like before the force of the Brave bird to send Hariyama staggering several steps back off of its surfboard and into the drink.

“LOW,” squawked Fuu proudly as she flapped her wings to stay in place only for blue sparks to run up her wings the moment the blue aura faded away causing her to follow the sumo wrestler straight into the water.

“What the heck?” cried out Jason in confusion as he watched his Pokemon take a dive. He’d had Taillow perform Brave bird several times already and that had never happened before.

“Sorry bro but when Brave bird hits it can cause recoil damage,” explained Brawly sagely as his Hariyama grabbed hold of its surfboard and quickly pulled itself out of the water, panting heavily from the damage it had taken while Taillow struggled to stay afloat, it’s wings flopping about uselessly since they were meant to catch air not be used as paddles. “Heavy Slam!”

“Fuu hurry and get out of there,” Jason warned but it was too late as Hariyama jumped off of its surfboard and landed belly first straight onto Taillow delivering an instant knockout blow since the damage of the attack was determined by the difference in weight between Pokemon and the Sumo wrestler outweighted Fuu by quite a lot. As Hariyama pulled himself up onto his board once more it grinned as Taillow bobbed up to the surface, it’s head lulled to the side.

“Taillow is unable to battle. The challenger is down to his last Pokemon,” ruled Julia causing Jason grimace as he held a hand up to his face thinking quickly. If he sent out Kouken in his current condition he might have recovered enough energy to make it a fight. But that was an awfully big might and even if he had the second fire punch came into the equation he would panic opening himself up to a big counter attack.

Even if somehow Kouken still overcame those nearly overwhelming odds Brawly still had one Pokemon left that was still fresh. Frankly speaking his Rilou simply didn’t have enough juice left in the tank to go that far. To keep going would simply be to fight a futile battle he couldn’t win.

“I surrender,” called out Jason softly as he recalled Fuu to her Pokeball, his hand shaking in disgust at himself for being beaten so badly.

“The gym leader wins the match,” ruled Julia instantly now that the challenger had given up.

“Righteous, I like a man who knows to quit a match when he’s ahead. If you want to try again I’ll take you on again anytime,” Jason only half heard him as Julia’s words rang in his head over and over again.

"The gym leader wins the match, The gym leader wins the match," He felt the strength in his legs go out as he collapsed to his knees in defeat. How..how could he have lost?

Stage On
3rd April 2012, 12:10 AM
Chapter 7 – Reconciliation

“The gym leader wins the match,” The words rang through Jason’s head one last time. Suddenly a hand appeared in front of his face and his blinked coming back to reality as he realized that Julia was offering to help him back to his feet. Nodding gratefully he took the offered hand and began to stand up, his legs slightly unsteady but quickly coming back to full strength as he took first one step then another.

“Don’t worry challenger, everyone loses a gym battle now and then. Why years ago even Master Ketchum lost at this very spot,” Julia explained trying to sound comforting as she led Jason towards the exit.

“You think I could be like him?” asked Jason who was having a hard time believing that the great Ash Ketchum had ever lost a battle. Thought they had never met in person from the video’s Jason had seen online on Poketube the man just seemed so strong, so invincible. But then he again he couldn’t have started out that way could he since one did not become a Pokemon master overnight.

“Well you never know what someone will become if they work hard enough,” Julia said thoughtfully as they reached the door. “I hope you’ll return to challenge us again,” and with those parting words she was gone leaving Jason alone to think.

“What would Ash do?” he thought to himself before quickly disregarding that thought. Ash was a Pokemon master something he had no interest in becoming. These gym battles where just a way for him to prove himself to his sort of friend and rival Adam and to help him catch up to his other rival Brian and nothing more. Even if he got all the badges in this region Jason doubted he’d bother to go for another set somewhere else.

But if he couldn’t look to Ash’s example directly then perhaps he should look to other famous people Ash was famous for associating with such as Dawn and May two of the best top coordinators in the entire world and Jason’s personal idols. But then again as far as he knew from the various interviews they had done only Dawn had tried a gym battle once and she had lost never to try again. Did that mean that gym battles just weren’t for him and that his first badge had just been a fluke? Maybe Adam was the better trainer after all since he had won his second badge so quickly.

“Why should I be surprised? Dad always said I was never good enough when it came to battles, why should now be any different,” Jason wondered out loud to himself feeling like a big looser as he headed in the general direction of the local Pokemon center before taking a seat at a park bench outside. “I wonder how I could have done better,” He thought as he went over the battle again in his head.

Switching the order of his Pokemon around wouldn’t have worked. Hitmonchan’s ice punch would have made likely made short work of either Fuu or Aoki. And even if Fuu had managed to beat Hariyama it stood to reason that since Brawlys first Pokemon knew ice punch and his second knew fire punch that the third would likely know thunder punch, especially since Brawly had said that all of them had been trained to be able to counter flying types which meant as his Pokemon where now loosing was all but inevitable. The simple fact of the matter was that he had been ill prepared for the match.

Jason laughed bitterly as he realized the irony of the situation. He had criticized Adam for leaping without looking and now he had fallen for the same trap and all it had cost him was a huge chunk of his confidence. If he had taken the time to scope out the competition and prepare for it like he had done with the first gym then he might have been able to put up an actual fight rather than going down like a sack of cards.

“Hey rookie you seem glum, what’s the problem?” said a formulary voice breaking Jason out of his thoughts as he turned to see Katina by the Pokemon center door, her Serperior wrapped around her right leg almost as if it was helping to guide her. He hadn’t expected to run into the coordinator from Unova so soon since as far as he knew there wasn’t a contest scheduled for this week but then maybe she was here on other business. Jason was just about to answer her question when it sunk in that she hadn’t addressed him by name.

“It’s Jason I thought you promised you’d remember that!” he exclaimed pouting in disappointment. What kind of impression was he making as a Coordinator if he couldn’t get a big gun like her to remember him?

“Did I?” Katina laughed teasingly as she took a seat beside him on the bench. “Must have slipped my mind, but never mind that Jason tell me what’s got you down,” she said sounding concerned about him.

“Well… I kind of lost my gym battle today,” Jason admitted sheepishly feeling like he was letting her down somehow. If he had brought back a badge would she have been impressed?

“So you lost your first contest as well and did you let that stop you?” she asked as if she could see to the heart of the matter and knew he was thinking about not having a rematch.

“Well…no. No it didn’t,” he replied as he fished his ribbon out of his right pocket and held it up for her to see only to frown when she didn’t seem to notice. But then again she had probably won so many ribbons by now that seeing one more wouldn’t be a big deal.

“Well that’s your answer then. You didn’t give up then so why give up now?” she asked rhetorically. “By the way I heard about your contest in Rustboro, sounds like you put up quite a show against that Tyranitar.”

“Yes that was quite a fight. If he hadn’t run out of points when he did then I’ve been toast,” Jason said with a laugh since there was no shame to admitting when you’d had a close fight with a tough foe. “I’m surprised you know about it,” He added to which Katina shrugged casually.

“If I don’t pay attention to other contests then I’ll never find what I’m looking for," she explained.

“So is it true then, the rumor about you looking for a double contest partner?” asked Jason trying not to sound too hopeful. Katina nodded.

“It’s true, but who ever I pick they’re going to have to be able to keep up with me. I’ve already got two ribbons after all,” she revealed with a slight knowing smirk as if she knew that Jason was hoping to team up with her.

“Jeeze at this rate you’ll have all five by the end of the month,” exclaimed Jason.

“Ha, I’m good but I’m not THAT good. It’ll take me at least two,” joked Katina before her face grew more serious. “Listen Jason since you’re doing gym battles are you aiming to be a coordinator first or not?” She asked

“Why are asking?” Jason countered out of curiosity.

“I don’t really care if you do both. After all there are strong duel class trainer coordinators like Nando around. But I’m all about contests myself so if anyone wanted to become my partner that would have to be their priority as well or things just wouldn’t work out,” she explained

“No worries. All I’ve wanted, the only thing I’ve wanted since I was a kid was to be a Top coordinator. The gyms are just for training since my family expects me to be strong battler for our duty,” said Jason. Being an Aura guardian did not pay the bills after all so most guardian’s had a secondary profession of some kind. His own mother was a nurse and his father was a former gym leader.

“Duty?” asked Katina in confusion. Jason had never explained everything to his friends in summer camp. Being an aura guardian wasn’t exactly top secret but it also wasn’t known to the general population either, though he kept a badge that would be recognized by all any police forces or rangers he ran across. But despite the fact he usually didn't openly advertise his status for some reason he couldn’t put his finger on he felt compelled to now.

“We’re guardians, using a spiritual energy known as aura to travel around doing good deeds and protect the world from legendary Pokemon and legendary Pokemon from the world,” he explained to which Katina nodded in understanding.

“Ah I see why one would have to be strong to do that. I’ve met a legendary Pokemon once myself, its power was overwhelming,” she said with a slight shudder. “Since you told me something you usually hold close allow me to share something with you as well. I wish a guardian like yourself had been with me that day, otherwise I might not have gone blind,” she said with a wistful sigh.

“Blind?” asked Jason in confusion, hadn’t she been watching him the first time they had met, not to mention during their contest battle?

“It’s a long story that maybe I’ll tell you another time, but suffice it to say you guardian’s aren’t the only ones who can use aura,” Katina said with a wide grin. “Besides, I have help when I need it,” she said as she gave her Serperior a pat on the head. Jason wasn’t sure what to say and before he could even have a chance to gather his thoughts Katina cut him off.

“Listen it was nice talking with you Jason, but I can’t stick around much longer but before I go I do have some parting advice for you,” she said. “First off the next contest for this island is in a month. You have until then to beat the gym leader. If you can’t manage it by then give up and move on to the next contest or this time I really will forget your name. Second this contest has a twist. The battle round is pretty standard but it requires a double performance,” she explained as she stood up.

“I was going to take part in this upcoming contest but at this point you’d never stand a chance. I don’t know if you’ve got what it takes in the long run but the only way to find out is to give you room to grow,” she said as she began to leave.

“Wait Katina, why…why are you being so nice to me?” he asked feeling confused. She was a rival he looked up to like Brian but here she was holding back for his sake instead of crushing him, something Brian had never done. Katina turned and smiled at him warmly causing Jason to feel like he had Butterfree in his stomach.

“Jason my eyes might be blind but my heart isn’t. Like a gemstone you might be a little rough around the edges but you have the potential to become something great if polished properly. To be honest I don’t know if that means being a top coordinator or something else. Whatever it is it’s up to you to find the proper path to get there,” she advised, her face flushed as she ran off before he could say anything else.

If what she had said about being able to use aura had been true then maybe he didn’t have to. With enough concentration he could read the intentions of Pokemon and other human beings, but with one less sense to distract her Katina would likely be able to do that as easily as she breathed. It was no wonder she had figured him out so easily. The way she kept moving on quickly made her seem shy and if his motivations had been less pure, something other than wanting to train with someone who he saw as strong and admired she likely wouldn’t have spoken with him for so long.

As usual he had felt funny around her, but he just attributed it to being so close to someone he looked up to. How could he not be at least a little awed when she was practically everything he aspired to be? Well traveled and nearly a top coordinator in her own right he could relate to her more since while she was above him she was still in the earthly realm that felt reachable and not in the heavenly realm that only a multiple time champion could inhabit.

Shooting to his feet Jason felt more motivated then ever thanks to their talk. He would have begun training then and there both for a rematch and the upcoming contest if it wasn’t for one small problem. Between buying himself a suit, the steel wing tm and a two way boat ticket to Dewfoard island he was already nearly out of all the money he had won in his last contest. There was no way he had enough to last an entire month which meant the only way to get more was to face the music and finally call home like he had been dreading, especially since his two week reprieve was nearly over.

With a long sigh he trudged into the Pokemon center and over to the Video phone booths hoping against hope that they would all be occupied but no such luck was with him today as nearly all of the booths where empty. Resigned he dialed the number he had been forced to memorize in his youth but never had to use. As his mothers face came up on the screen he nearly sighed in relief but quickly stopped himself. Between his parents she had always been the easier one of deal with. Explaining why he had run off to his father would NOT have been easy, badge or not. Thought his mom was in her mid thirties she still looked like she was in her twenties with her long brownish hair and bright blue eyes that Jason had inherited.

“Oh Jason honey you’re back early. Do you want me to send a cab to the port to pick you up?” his mom asked and it was all he could do not to laugh bitterly that they hadn’t even trusted him to get to the port by himself when this had all began.

“That won’t be necessary mom. I’m not in Sinnoh.”

“Oh then are you calling from the boat?” she asked in confusion only for Jason to shake his head no.

“I never got on that boat Mom,” he tried to explain only for her to look even more confused.

“Never got on the boat? Did you take a plane then?” she asked willfully oblivious to the truth.

“No mom, I’m still in Hoenn, I’m not going homes” he said lightly trying to break the news to her gently.

“Not…Not coming home?” she blubbered as reality hit her and she began to break out crying. “What do you mean you’re not coming home! You still need to finish you’re training. You’re not ready to be a full fledged guardian yet.” she exclaimed hysterically.

“I might not be as strong as you or dad when it comes to aura but Grandpa says my level of control is fine for someone my age. The rest is mostly self taught at this point anyhow so what difference does it make if I learn it at home or on the road?” he argued.

“Even so you’re not a strong enough trainer yet. You always lost to Brian remember,” she pointed out.

“How can I forget but that was years ago, I’m not going to always be a weak little kid. In fact it’s been less than two weeks and I’ve already got my first badge,” he said forcefully as he held up his badge to see.

“Is it true dear… does he really have a badge,” said a voice from off the screen that Jason realized must belong to his father who had been listening in all along. His mom seemed to hesitate for a moment before replying.

“Yes, it’s true,” she said before stepping aside and a man with short black hair and brown eyes took her place.

“I see it’s about time you took battling more serious,” said his father sternly instead of the usual praise one would give their child at such a momentous occasion. After all what could a weak guardian hope to protect. “So this journey of yours is to collect badges and become strong is it?” asked his father.

“Yes, I’m aiming to reach the Pokemon league and defeat a rival I met at camp.” Jason explained which was true enough. He simply was omitting the fact that he was also going after contest ribbons as well since he knew his father wouldn’t approve of that.

“Very well then, that seems a worthy goal. I shall allow you to continue. At the very least a guardian must be able to compete at a league level to perform their duty, thought a truly strong one such as myself would win the tournament entirely but I suppose I can only expect so much,” said his dad dismissively. Jason clenched his fists angrily careful that it didn’t show on screen. What did it take to impress this man? Would he ever be able to prove himself to his father? Instead he nodded pretending to be grateful. No matter what they had said at this point he would have continued permission or not as legally he was old enough to decide for himself if he wanted to travel.

“I shall forward to you a small traveling allowance which as my father did for me will increase with every badge you manage to earn. I made it to twelve before my first league and would be most impressed If you managed to break my record,” He father said hintingly. Given that he only had about nine to ten months until the league and nearly twelve until the grand festival Jason very much doubted he’d be able to do just that.

“Thank you father, now if you’ll excuse me I have training to do to prepare for my next gym battle,” he said as he signed off and let out a loud sigh. All things considered that had gone much better than he had expected too since he’d half expected them to order him home to finish his aura training under his grandfather.

“I wonder if Uncle Riley ever had this much trouble with grandpa when he was growing up,” Jason tought to himself as he headed outside to a practice squire and then let out his Pokemon only to gasp in surprise at what he saw.

Kouken was sulking slightly that he hadn’t even had a chance to face off against Hariyama and Fuu was outright depressed over her string of defeats, after three quick losses in a low her confidence was at an all time low, enough to make Jason’s earlier mood today almost seem cheerful in comparison. Only Aoki seemed oblivious to what was going on as he hopped joyfully from foot to foot happy to simply be getting some fresh air.

If this was going to work he would have to start working on Kouken’s fear of fire and restore Fuu’s confidence all well trying to figure out some new team combinations for the Contest and improving his Pokemon’s overall stats. Speed, agility, power and toughness all would need to be worked on if he was going to have any chance of beating Brawly. This was going to be a long month.

Stage On
3rd April 2012, 8:09 AM
Dear readers: I know I'm not usually this quick to update with new chapters but a little luck has come my way lately and I'm on fire with the desire to write more well the getting is good.

If you could please take the time to leave feedback it would be greatly appreciated. I haven't had any for the last several chapters in a row and I'd like to know if you like how things have been going lately between the two gym battles and the major developments with one of the main characters.

It doesn't have to be much, but just knowing people are reading and liking my work goes along way towards future chapters so please post.

Chapter 8 – Lost light

As Katina ran away from Jason she felt the blood rushing to her face and realized that she must be blushing.

“I can’t believe I opened up to him like that. I barely know him,” she thought to herself. Part of her wanted to continue hanging out with him, but the longer they spent together the more and more she was coming out of her tough girl shell that she put on to protect herself and she still wasn’t sure what to think about that. Letting her guard down for anyone, let alone a stranger was difficult because she was afraid of being hurt again. Hurt like she had been when her mother had passed away, hurt like how her friends had teased and shunned her when she was still adjusting to being blind.

She found herself wondering what it was about Jason that had drawn her to him twice now. She hadn’t lied about him having potential, but right now he was just an average rookie like dozens of others she had met over the course of her journeys and she hadn’t paid them any much attention so why now? Was it the way his aura seemed to sparkle and shined brighter than anyone else she had ever met? Or was it simply the fact he was so earnest about becoming a top coordinator a rare trait among man.

In either case he still had a long way to go before she would even consider taking him on as a partner for double contests. She had been so thrilled when they had first announced Double contests would be coming to Unova, after it was her home regions lack of contests halls that had forced her to travel overseas in order to compete which had resulted in a long and difficult journey to her current status.

Despite her disability she had managed to climb the rankings slowly grand festival after grand festival and felt certain that this would be the one where she won it all and took home the trophy. Still she was beginning to doubt her choice of regions. For the place labeled as the birth place of contests the competition had been complete weak sauce so far as she had won both her ribbons so far with only Jason giving her the slightest challenge.

She hadn’t come here for a cakewalk. The last thing she wanted was for people to think she had only reached the top because she had picked the easiest festival to win at. No she had come looking for a strong partner to team up with and was coming up completely empty. She could always team up with her eternal rival Midori, the two of them had won a tag battle tournament together in the past, but she found the idea of working with her rival long term distasteful. The occasional alliance was one thing but their relationship worked best when they where constantly competing against each other, each pushing and pulling the other to greater and greater heights.

Feeling that she was far enough away from the source of her discomfort to relax again Katina sat down and took out her brail map as she began planning out a course that would take her to Slateport City where another contest was scheduled to be held in two weeks. That was where she was originally planning to head in the first place until the ferry she had been on had broken down forcing them to dock at Dewford island for repairs.

Despite the fact she was trying to get Jason out of her mind she couldn’t help but wonder what he would think of her if she had told him the full story on why she had gone blind. Touching her golden bandana covering her forehead she shuttered slightly as she recalled the day almost nine years ago when she had still been a naive young child and everything had changed.

***

Despite being in the desert north of Castelia city the air around Katina felt unnaturally cold as she and her father began descending into a set of freshly uncovered ruins. The young trainer who had stumbled across them a week ago had brought back a relic with the legendary Pokemon Zekrom inscribed on it and so a small team of archaeologists had been dispatched to investigate and with any luck uncover the link between the ruins and the legend.

Despite being only seven Katina had tagged along with her father like she had for the last two years. Ever since her mother had passed away she had little choice but to travel around with him and though the other archaeologists had protests at first those cries had quickly died out when it turned out she had been a natural at uncovering relics that others on the team had missed and passed over. That was the reason she usually traveled around cross dressing as a boy since dresses where simply terrible for the spelunking she regularly indulged in.

“Remember Katina, don’t get to far ahead,” warned her father as he snapped a photo of the entrance. They would have to document everything as the first rule of exploring a new ruin was to take nothing but photographs because to do otherwise could accidentally destroy vital clues to past cultures or worse activate hidden bobby traps, thought he made sure to only bring his daughter with him for the less dangerous ruins.

Judging by the evidence they had gathered this place seemed to be a shrine for the lord of truth and the lord of ideals so he wasn’t expecting much trouble since the ying and yang Pokemon of the Tao trio were mostly known to be relatively peaceful and benign, thought they could be risky to deal with in person he doubted either of them would be cooped up underground for decades, perhaps even centuries since the ruins had last been visited by human beings.

Spotting a mural depicting Kyurem posing elegantly over a waterfall that was freezing from its presence Katina took a picture in awe that the color on the painting was still so bright after so much time had passed. All things considered it had been remarkably well preserved and with any luck they would be able to return soon after the initial expedition and have it transferred to a museum for everyone to see.

“what is your truth?” a voice seemed to whisper at the edge of her hearing.

“Did you hear that?” she asked her father who shook his head.

“Must be the wind dear it’ll quite down once we move further away from the entrance,” he said offhandedly.

“What is your truth?” the voice echoed again this time sounding louder almost as if it was speaking in a normal voice. Looking towards what seemed to be the source of the sound Katina blinked as she spotted a hallway leading off into the darkness. Had that been there before? In any case it seemed they weren’t the only ones in this ruin and she wondered curiously who else could have found their way here. Strange really considering their hadn’t been any footprints in the sand leading up to the place but then the sand shifted constantly so how long would those last anyhow.

Taking out her flashlight Katina flicked it on and began to head down the hall, not scared in the least. The worst thing she had ever run into while exploring had been a Galvantula and a giant spider or two was nothing she couldn’t handle especially since her father had lent her his Sigilyph to protect her if she needed it. If any treasure hunters had beaten them to the punch and where looking to pilfer the place then they had another thing coming.

Gripping the Great ball tightly just in case Katina headed further down the hall the voice getting louder the closer she got until it practically seemed to be shouting. The volume was starting to make her feel nervous and she was just thinking of turning back when she came across a brightly lit room with a large marble looking egg sitting in the center. Clicking off her flashlight Katina looked around for the source of the immunization and blinked in confusion when she found none.

“Stranger and stranger,” she muttered to herself as she took a picture of the room and then began to circle around the egg so that she could get a picture from the other side. Suddenly and abruptly the egg began to glow a bright white as the Pokemon Reshiram began to emerge from it, it’s large form impossibly towering over her despite seemingly being too large to possibly fit in such a tiny room.

Katina’s jaw dropped own and she trembled in fright at the sight of such a magnificent physics defying creature, it’s radiance unlike anything she had ever seen before in her short life. Reshiram seemed to glance down on her balefully and then began to laugh as if assumed he had been summoned by someone so young and small.

“It has been a long, long time since someone last visited this shrine. Tell me little human are you afraid?” he asked and though Katina’s heart was beating a mile a minute she shook her head no. Though she was terrified the last thing she did was want to admit it, because the first time her father had taken her to the ruins she had gotten lost and scarred and he almost refused to take her with him ever again.

She had already lost her mom, so the thought of not being able to be with her dad was unbearable. More than anything she wanted to be archaeologists like him as well as become a coordinator like her mother. Her dream was to combine the two professions, to win contests and then use the prize money to fund expeditions. And so she pretended to be tough, the same way she had pretended for the last two years too young to realized what a bad idea it was to lie to the lord of truth himself.

“Me afraid? I’m not afraid of anything!” she boasted lying through her teeth as she tried to act casual and hide her trembling.

“YOU SHOULD BE!” Reshiram bellowed as h reared up to his full height and it was then that Katina realized he wasn’t speaking with his mouth but by some other power which explained why she had been the only one to hear him, thought why he’d picked her was anyone’s guess.

“Sinful little creature unable to see the truth in front of your face, so too shall you become blind to reality until you have been deemed worthy to open your eyes once more,” rumbled the angry god as he lay down his curse setting destiny in motion as Katina’s vision was engulfed by a brilliant flash of light before everything faded to black as she let out a loud scream and then fainted.

***

“Katina Katina wake up,” she felt someone shacking her lightly and calling her name and then groaned.

“Daddy is that you?” she asked as she opened her eyes only to find herself engulfed in darkness. She could no longer sense the presence of Reshiram so perhaps with the lord of truth gone the mysterious light source had vanished as well. But then shouldn’t she be able to see the beam of her father’s flash light?

“I’m right here sweetie are you ok? I heard you scream,” her father asked, his voice full of concern.

“I’m fine I think, but could we get some light on in here,” she requested and thought she couldn’t see it she could almost feel her Dad frown.

“More light? But it’s as clear as day in here,” replied her father in confusion and it was then that Katiwna put two and two together. It wasn’t so much that the room was dark, but rather she couldn’t see it. When Reshiram had said that she would be blind to reality he had meant it literally.

“Daddy I ran into one of the Pokemon this place was built for, you know the white one,” she told him her voice trembling.

“You saw Reshiram? It was really here?” asked her dad in wonderment so Katina nodded in affirmation causing the hair on her forehead to part and her father to gasp. “You’ve been marked by him.!" he exclaimed in shock.

“Marked?” asked Katina in confusion.

“Yes, you have the symbol of the third eye on your forehead. It is said those who receive this mark have great spiritual insight,” her father explained. “Do you feel anything different?” he asked his voice full of curiosity. Katina paused for a long moment to reflect upon her senses to see if anything had changed but other than not being able to see she felt the same as ever.

“I don’t know about spiritual insight but I don’t have any sight at all,” she finally sobbed out as she clutched onto her father tightly, her only source of stability in this strange dark new world she had found herself in.

“There there, I’m sure everything will be alright eventually. It’s probably just a temporary side effect of receiving the lord of truth’s blessing,” her father said speculatively as patted her head reassuringly. But at the moment Katina was feeling far from blessed.

***

After a couple of weeks had passed it had become clear that Katina’s blindness was no mere side effect from being marked by a legendary Pokemon. Her father had taken her to see several doctors each as baffled as the last as to the source of her misfortune. According to them her eyes where perfectly fine in a physical sense so perhaps the damage was purely physiological from running into a being that was beyond children’s and even some adult’s ability to fully contemplate.

In any case she had been declared legally blind and so now her father had taken her to see Professor Juniper in order to get her first Pokemon three years earlier then they had been expecting. Admittedly it was unusual for someone so young to but special allowances where made for the disabled in order for them to better compensate, and what better way to help a blind person then to give them a seeing eye Pokemon as a companion.

“I have your special license all ready for you Katina, now all you have to do is select one of these three Pokemon. I have a Snivy, a Tepig and an Oshawott to choose from. Since you can’t see them directly Gg ahead and pat them before you decide. It’s important that you have a feel if which one you’d like best after all,” explained the Professor kindly.

Katina nodded but rather then getting close and petting any of the Pokemon she stood across from them staring blankly and although she couldn’t see on a physical level it was almost as if she was looking deeper and in truth she was. Reshiram was not a cruel god and thought he had stolen her sight for now he had also unlocked the latent aura that had rested deep inside her as compensation in order for her to better see the truth.

Katina was still getting used to her new abilities. The only thing she could see was the life glow of a living being thought she was starting to get a vague sense of her surroundings that was slowly growing sharper over time. So in a sense she could see the Pokemon she was looking at, thought if you asked her to describe things like their color or shape she’d be completely clueless. Finally after a long moment of deliberation she pointed directly at the Snivy.

“I want this one,” she said with a tone of finality causing the Professor to raise an eyebrow. If it wasn’t for the fact the girl was having trouble walking without running into things still she would have almost suspected her to be faking it in order to get a Pokemon early.

“Any particular reason why?” asked Juniper.

“Her life flame glows the strongest,” answered Katina curtly causing Juniper to blink. Even seeing the marking on the girls forehead hadn’t convinced her until now. She was tempted to recommend Katina be sent to Professor oak, the worlds foremost expert on human and Pokemon relationships except she knew that the girl’s father would be against it.

“Very well then would you care to name your new Pokemon?” Juniper asked with a warm smile to which Katina returned as she began to warm up to the professor more.

“Could you describe her a little for me first please,” asked Katina pleadingly. Without knowing what her new Pokemon looked like it would be very difficult to give it a proper name.

“You’ve chosen Snivy the grass snake Pokemon,” explained the professor to which Katina nodded knowingly.

“Ah a grass type so she’s likely green then,” Katina guessed and she could sense Juniper’s affirmation before the professor even gave it verbally. “I know the perfect name then, I’ll call her Aoki. In Japanse it’s written with the characters for love and vegetables!” Katina exclaimed with a joyful laugh as she ran over to the Snivy and scooped it up into her arms before twirling it around.

“That’s a wonderful name, thought I’m surprised you could read Kanji so well for someone your age,” commented Juniper.

“My Dad taught me since so many of the ruins we explore have Japanse writing on them for some reason,” Katina replied enthusiastically before suddenly quieting down. “I just realized I’m going to have to learn how to read again from scratch. This sucks!” she moaned causing the professor to pat her head in pity.

***

Pity…that was something Katina seemed to be getting a lot of lately once she had returned to school and to be frank she hated it. So what if she was blind now, other than having to learn brail nothing had really changed. Sure she needed Aina to tell her what sings meant but other than that she was getting around well enough, heck in the last few days she hadn’t even needed a walking stick to help her navigate as she had finally gotten used to being able to sense her surroundings.

Her dad was reluctant to let her return to ruin exploring with him but she knew she’d win him over eventually once she could read again which seemed like it was only a matter of time and effort. But despite her best efforts to seem unchanged everyone around her seemed to treat her as if she was now some delicate flower that would wilt from the slightest touch doing things like getting doors for her that she could easily get herself or trying to guide her around obstacles that she wasn’t anywhere close to running into.

Heck even the shop keepers where starting to give her special discounts when she went out to buy the grocers since her father was far too busy with his research to cook. All in all it was starting to drive her crazy, but worse than the nice ones where the ones making fun of her for the marking on her forehead, calling her names like Triclops and Seymour which really strung and so she found herself retreating more and more into her tough girl mask, pretending like their barbs didn’t bother her in the slightest.

She clenched her fists in determination to demonstrate that they were all wrong. She would show them blind or not she could see become a great coordinator and archaeologists even if she had to travel across the entire world to prove it.

***

That had been three years before setting out on her journey and it had been nearly six since it had begun. She had come along ways since then and now nobody doubted her anymore and she didn’t get the looks of pity anymore simply since she didn’t bother to tell anyone until now because she hated the feelings of condensation that would wash off people in waves if they knew. A feeling that strangely enough she realized she hadn’t felt from Jason when she had revealed part of her story to him.

She wondered what he would think of her if she took off her bandana and showed him the mark Reshiram had given her and for the first time in a long time she felt truly afraid. Afraid of being called Triclops again or worse being told she looked hideous. But for now at least she could hide it like she always did, her feelings behind her mask and her mark behind her bandana. Not for the first time she felt grateful to her rival Midori for giving her this headband, but that was a story for another time.

3D992
3rd April 2012, 5:36 PM
I've been reading this! I just didnt post. Interesting of you to use a blind girl... We'll have to see how this plays out.

Stage On
5th April 2012, 7:21 AM
I already asked 3D992 this since he's my most frequent source of feedback, but out of curiosity are any other readers shipping for any of the characters in my story?

Chapter 9 – Intertwined fates

It was early morning in Rustboro City as Adam took out a brush and bent down to groom his Pichu only to hear something clatter to the ground behind him. Glancing over his shoulder he saw that his badge case had fallen out of his back pocket and snapped open from the fall, turning slightly he picked it up frowning slightly as the two stickers that he had placed inside tumbled loose.

The truth was that when Jason had called him the other day he hadn’t won any badges at all yet and in fact had just received a major beat down from the Petalburg gym leader Max. It was a simple deception that would be easily seen through in person, but the camera on his PokeNav was so low resolution that nobody would notice the difference on screen. He didn’t exactly fell great about lying to his friend but it was the only alternative he had that was still passive aggressive rather than outright sabotage, a line he absolutely refused to cross. For one if he did he would never truly know who was the better trainer then even if he won and secondly it would just be plain wrong. If he did something like that he wouldn’t be worthy of speaking to the girl he liked, let alone a shot at winning her over.

As things stood he didn’t feel too badge about falling behind his rival badge wise. It had been a simple matter of trying to do things out of the optimal order. Max was simply too strong for a beginning trainer like himself who only had a handful of Pokemon to chose from so instead he was better of focusing his resources where they would make the most impact.

He had Jewel his Pichu which he had brought with him from the family ranch when he had begun his journey as well as Fiesta the Lotad and Quagmire the Mudkip. Pokemon he hadn’t so much caught as raised back on the ranch and had his family transfer over to him. Thanks to Jason he now knew that the first gym was rock type which would be a breeze for him thanks to the fact he had both a grass/water and a water type. By the time this day was done he was pretty confident he’d be caught back up.

But it wasn’t so much today that was on his mind as tomorrow. Coming from a family of breeders he had a legion of potential Pokemon to call upon. He had to carefully select which ones to build an optimal team to not just conquer the rest of the gym leaders but also to crush Jason with once they both made it to the Pokemon league.

He had no doubt they both would make it that far, his rival was a strong battler thought for some reason that Adam couldn’t comprehend he seemed to constantly downplay that as if he believed himself to only be half as good as he really was. A very irksome quality since to him it made Jason seem to be boasting rather than trying to be humble.

“Let’s see I think I’ll have my mom send me Dune over. A fire type like Numel would make a good edition to my team and maybe I should start raising a fighting type for a rematch with Max down the line," he thought out loud as he brushed some dust out of Pichu’s fur. But despite trying to look forward he couldn’t help but look backwards towards the events that had lead him here only just over a month ago.

***

It was a particularly warm day for midsummer forcing most of the Pokemon on the ranch to seek shelter in the shade and making it harder for Adam to locate them as he pushed around a large food cart, his shirt drenched in sweat. Despite being thirteen he had stayed behind at the ranch just outside of Golden rod city limits to help his Parents since he wasn’t quite sure what carrier path he himself wanted to follow.

Statistically two out of every four kids who received there trainer’s license would then go out on a badge journey and fail before they even reached their first league and the third would eventually retire to a different line somewhere down the road leaving only one to become successful.

Being a coordinator seemed too sissy for him. So what did that leave becoming a breeder like his parents or perhaps a doctor or even a referee? In any case he was having some serious trouble deciding and to make matters worse his sister Nadia would be turning ten in a few days and had made clear her intentions to leave on a journey of her own leaving him feeling like he was falling further and further behind the longer he took to decide what to do with himself to make a living. If he didn’t decide soon he would end up stuck on the ranch forever by default and while he loved taking care of the various Pokemon on the ranch he dreaded having the choice taken away from him.

“Arg,” he shouted on in frustration. “If only something or someone would just give me a sign,” he cried out in desperation only for his cry to be met by a load squawk coming from high above. Adam glanced up at the source of the noise and his jaw dropped as he caught sight of the largest bird he had ever seen, something easily over twice the size of a Pidgeot. He had no idea what this mysterious Pokemon was but between its yellow tail feathers and white underside and the rainbow that seemed to be trailing in its wake the bird could only be described as majestic. Eyes locked on the bird Adam continued to watch for minutes on end until finally the creature faded into the distance heading in the direction of Hoenn.

“Well if that wasn’t a sign then I’m not sure what one would be!" He remarked as he abandoned the cart and ran towards his house. For the first time in years he felt like he had direction in his life and he was determined to make the most out of it. Brushing past his sister he rushed over to his room and hurriedly began to stuff his backpack with clothes.

“What’s the big rush?” asked Nadia as she poked her red haired head into his doorway.

“Destiny’s finally come knocking. I think if I leave now I’ll finally find the path I’ve been looking for,” explained Adam as he finished packing then slung his backpack over his shoulder. “I’m just taking Jewel with me for now but make sure to tell Mom and Dad that I’ll call for more Pokemon if I need’em,” he added as he patted his sisters head good buy. Adam knew about how to raise Pokemon but he hardly knew anything about battling with them an essential skill for any traveling trainer no matter what their profession. His first order of business once he arrived at Hoenn was going to have to be signing up for a refresher camp or something in order to be caught up with his peers.

***

Evening had fallen in Petalburg City and a contest had just ended, a contest that Maria wearing a red bubble dress and jacket and pink heels had swept handily with her Torchic Nova. Being a Hoenn native it wasn’t the first time she had found herself in that contest hall, but unlike then she now had a contest ribbon in her hands to show for it. If only she had known that winning would feel this sweet she would have tried again much, much sooner.

Five years ago when she had set out to become a coordinator the first time things had not gone well. She had gone from contest to contest and in the end hadn’t managed to get even one ribbon by the time the grand festival had rolled around. Feeling dejected from her failures, her confidence shattered Maria had decided to quit her now seemingly impossible dream of reaching the top.

But going home had never been an option for her. Half the reason she had left was because of how much her mother neglected her. Ever since her father had run out on them she had been left in her grandmother’s care while her mom was busy with her job and when she was around the only thing she tried to do was turn Maria into a fashion model like herself.

But Maria had always been more interested in showing off Pokemon rather than showing off clothing but until now it had seemed like fate had decided that line of work wasn’t for her. But if she couldn’t succeed at contest then at least she could do something else that was still related to Pokemon and so she had gone to nursing school to learn how to take better care of them and thus in her own way help others trainers to achieve their dreams even as her own lay in ruins.

For several long years she had studied, working hard to pass her assignments and exams until finally she had been issued a nursing license just this April only to run into an unexpected problem. As it turned out each and every Pokemon center in the region was already staffed with a Nurse Joy with openings in sight. If she wanted to practice her trade she would have leave for a far off region and despite the problems she had with her mother she wasn’t quite ready to leave her completely behind just yet before even attempting to patch things up.

The best solution to her problem would be to open her own private practice in her hometown Mossdeep city except that idea came with problems of its own, namely obtaining the funding necessary to get off the ground. Even a small one woman operation to start wouldn’t come cheap, and then there would be things like supplies and rent before she could even begin to think of expanding.

She had briefly considered doing a kickstarter campaign to raise finical support but as a complete unknown she doubted she’d be able to get the amount of backers necessary to succeed and get off the ground. Not sure what to do next she had gone to her grandmother for advice and to her surprise her mother had actually canceled an important show in order to be there for her daughter now that she had finally come home.

“I’m sorry, I spent so much time trying to make you into a miniature version of myself when I should have been encouraging you to follow your own path, I know I’ve been so selfish all these years but I hope in time you’ll learn to forgive me,” said her mom as she lowered her head to the floor bowing for forgiveness.

“It’s alright mom…I already have,” replied Maria tears of joy running down her face as she embraced her mother in a tight hug.

“If you’d like I have some money saved up from my modeling carrier, more than enough to build a small clinic,” her mom offered. Maria paused for a long moment, considering it before finally shaking her head no.

“Don’t get me wrong mom, I really appreciate the thought but this is something that I think I’ve got to earn for myself if it’s going to have any meaning,” said Maria sagely. This was her path to succeed or fail on her own. Her mom nodded in understanding she had done a lot of soul searching after her daughter had left and understood how much this all meant to her.

“Hum I have another idea then. Why not try taking up contests again like you wanted to do in the first place. Even just getting to the grand festival would be enough to raise your profile enough that getting investors should become a snap,” suggested her mom causing Maria to frown.

“But Mom I was a complete failure as a coordinator why would I ever want to try to become one again?” Maria whined.

“You’ll never know if you don’t try. My first several modeling gigs bombed one after another and I nearly gave up until your father encouraged me to try again and look at me now,” said her mom.

“You mean the same man who abandoned us?” Maria nearly bit out only to barely hold the words back. She had just reconciled with her mom and now was not the time to rock the boat whatever her issues with men might be. Instead she went a different route.

“I don’t know mom… I’m awfully rusty when it comes to battles,” said Maria feeling more unsure of herself then she had in a very long time. But her mom smiled warmly and handed her a flier for a two week Pokemon training summer camp that included an optional refresher course on contests.

“It’s a small start, but you might like what you’ll find there,” her mother said reassuringly. Maria sighed as she looked over the add two weeks wasn’t a huge commitment she supposed and if she didn’t like it she could always drop the idea afterwards and look for another path.

But as it turned out she had met Jason and he had given her the courage to truly try again, courage that had served her well in the first contest of her new journey. Since they had parted he had tried to call her several times but she had ignored them all, even going so far as to turning off her Pokegear so as not to be tempted to answer but it was not out of anger that he hadn’t gone with her but something else.

The truth was that she liked him, maybe even more then liked him but she was afraid of becoming depended of him, that what she had needed to become successful all along had been simply to find a man to lean on something she had vowed to avoid ever since her father had walked out of her life.

***

Nearby Brian sat in a local café sipping a cup of tea while watching reruns of tonight’s contests on the television as he idly flipped a balance badge between the fingers of his left hand. Now that he had participated in a contest himself he was beginning to understand what Jason saw in them, though he was in no hurry to sign up for another one anytime soon. All that prep work to get his Pokémon to look pretty would only end up dulling his edge even further then his current boredom was.

Brawly, Roxanne and now Max had fallen like a sack of cards before him. They might have proven a challenge if he had used one of his more freshly caught Pokémon but that would have meant holding back, something he couldn’t afford to do if he was going to secure his place in the regional Pokémon league. He needed to obtain the best ranking he could get if he wanted to impress the board members of the gym leader selection comity.

But without much challenge he was almost begging to wish that Hoenn had a Battle frontier to participate in so that he could keep his skills sharp or that he hadn’t gotten so far ahead of his rival in the intervening years since they had last me. Sure he had always beat Jason in the past, but the truth was that those battles had always been very close until now and the years on the road had opened a wide gap between them.

While not yet elite level quite yet Brian could easily be considered an Ace trainer, and he likely could pass the gym leader application test right now if he tried. Heck if he really applied himself he could even become a frontier brain if it wasn’t the fact that ran counter to his goals. Despite Pallet town being the home of a very famous trainer it still had very little going for it in the way of tourist attractions other then Professor Oak’s lab.

A Battle frontier facility was invitation only where as a Pokemon Gym was open to any and all challengers. Once he opened his people would flock from far and wide for a chance to win a badge and in the process give the local economy a major boost brining much needed money into the sleepy burg. Heck with Jason’s help he had already designed his badge with a touch of irony in mind, Monochrome despite the fact his gym would cover all types.

Thinking of his friend Brian felt a touch of regret fill up inside of his heart. It was bad enough that he had left Jason behind to go on a Pokemon journey all those years ago, but now he had even lied to Jason about his Charizard.

“You didn’t know he was a shiny did you? To be honest nether did I until he evolved,” But the reason he hadn’t know was because his Charmander had not been born a shiny Pokemon in the first place and the reason he had become one now had been very sinister.

Early in his carrier Brian had taken Kage to a salon which had turned out to be a front for Team rocket. Though they mostly used it to launder dirty money, the organization was always on the lookout for rare or powerful Pokemon and most starters even at the first stage fit both of those bills and so when Brian had been away shopping for supplies they had stolen Kage and preformed experiments on him as part of some sick process to turn a normal Pokemon shiny in order to raise their monetary value on the black market.

It had taken Brian weeks to track down Kage, whose personality had changed during the process going from sunny and outgoing to shadowy and reserved like his namesake. As far as Brian knew Kage was the only success from that Project that Team rocket had managed to produce because the two of them had razed the lab and all the data within it to the ground to ensure that the experiment would never be repeated. Even so Kage had been forever marked but what had happened. On the outside the differences had been subtle at first. Except for an expert it was hard to tell a Shiny Charmander from a normal one but once he had evolved into Charazard it became impossible to hide and Brian had found himself thrust into the spotlight everywhere he went.

From the curious who simply wanted a glimpse of such a rare sight, to the hucksters who had tried to take advantage of him to the jealous thieves who kept trying to still Kage away he felt like he had seen just about it all and now he wasn’t quite sure who he could trust anymore since it seemed like almost everyone he meet wanted a piece of him of some kind or other in the end.

He would have to make it a point to hang out with Jason as much as he could from now on if for no other reason than at least he knew what his friend wanted up front which was a refreshing change of pace but he had a feeling that getting their paths to cross would not be easy since they were both busy chasing their respective dreams. Getting up from his seat and leaving the money to pay for his drink plus a generous tip behind Brian headed for the door. He had heard rumors that the previous gym leader Norman still took on challengers now and again despite being retired and any chance to face off against a strong trainer like that was well worth looking into.

3D992
6th April 2012, 7:51 AM
I saw several minor mess ups (didnt fell good, didnt feel badge...) but I'm not a very good grammer reviewer. Also later you said load squawk and other than the spelling of loud, dont you think shrill cry or something might be a little more magestic for a legendary bird.

Adam, adam, adam... lying to your friend? You stoop low...
Maria, maria, maria... blocking your friend's calls? You have problems...
Brian, brian, brian... you lied to your friend? He's your friend...
katina, katina, katina... you angered lord reshiram? Shame...
Jason, jason, jason... arent you just the perfect person? Yes, you are... jk

Great new chapter. Keep it up.

Stage On
11th April 2012, 2:47 AM
Ha you crack me up 3D992.

Between the Long weekend and a funeral I almost didn't get a chapter done this week.

I won't be able to write another one until next week since this is the last calm day I'm going to get for awhile.

With this chapter my story is about approximately 1/4 complete.


Chapter 10 – Washed up

Two weeks had passed since Jason had lost his match against Brawly and he had put the intervening time to good use by doing basic training with his team doing things like running to increase stamina and speed, carrying buckets of water to increase strength and power and even running obstacle courses to work on agility. Satisfied with the results so far he decided that it was time to move on to more advanced individualized training.

“Tail Taillow,” complained Fuu as she splashed about in the shallow end of the beach’s water.

“Yah yay I know you don’t like getting wet but you need to know how to swim so that If you get knocked in the water again you can get out quickly or at least move out of the way of an attack,” explained Jason for what felt like the fifth time today as he stood by the shore supervising while his other Pokemon where off to the side practicing on their own while he acted the lifeguard. “Trashing only gets you more stuck, Be still and you’ll be fine” he advised.

“Taillow low,” sulked Fuu as she stopped splashing and began to float on the surface similar to a Wingull or a Ducklett would. She wasn’t a part water type like they were and would never be able to swim quite as well due to the lacked of webbed feet but the same principles to taking off and landing in the water still applied to her. With a flap of her wings Fuu lifted off and glided over to Jason’s waiting left arm before landing on it.

“Good work. At this rate you won’t be having any more trouble with water after today,” said Jason proudly as he gave her head an affectionate pat.

“Low Taillow,” squawked the bird as if to say just because she was doing well with water didn’t mean she was good enough to win. Jason sighed knowing that the three losses in a row where still affecting her confidence.

“Don’t let those losses get you down. You can’t be expected to take down a fully evolved Powerhouse like a Charizard yet and you had a type weakness against Nosepass which was the gym leaders strongest Pokemon so it’s understandable. Heck even losing to Hariyama was more my fault then anything since I jumped into that battle without proper preparation,” Jason explained to Fuu in an effort to console her but she didn’t seem to be taking it to heart. If he was going to restore her confidence he was going to have to take a calculated risk.

“Come on Fuu I’m counting on you for the upcoming contest,” implored Jason causing the bird to perk up a little since her trainer was depending upon her to do her best. If he could win there with her it would give her confidence a major boost and better yet psyche her up for his rematch with the gym leader but if he lost it could shatter her already fragile confidence.

“Ok time for some more power training,” said Jason as he picked up a bucket then ducked down filling it with water before holding the handle out to Fuu who gripped hold with her talons before beginning to fly in circles dragging the heavy load along with her. It wasn’t much but Jason had to increase her striking output somehow if she was going to be able to push back a heavyweight like Hariyama.

“Time for some training of my own,” thought Jason as he held out his right hand and closed his eyes. White energy began to flare around his fingertips circling around the palm of his hands and forming into an orb the size of a small marble. Opening his eyes Jason sighed at the sight of his tiny aura sphere which was nothing compared to Kouken’s or even his father’s who could manage one the size of a baseball. Concentrating harder the sphere began to grow slowly over the next few minutes until it finally reached the size of a golf ball before stabilizing.

“Not bad for a human but still too slow,” he muttered to himself before tossing it casually into the ocean like a rock and watching it skip across the surface a few times before dissipating. Jason blinked having expected it to sink in rather than skip like a rock and repeated the makeshift experiment again just to be sure he hadn’t been seeing things and sure enough his second aura sphere bounced across the water just as well as the first had.

“This gives me an idea for later,” Jason thought with a wide grin as he turned around to check up on how Kouken was doing with his training. He watched for a few moments as his Rilou kept punching a thick log until finally one particularly focused punch caused it to shatter into a shower of wood-chips.

“Ha good one Kouken,” Jason said with a slow clap of his hands. “Now we have the perfect kindling we’ll need for the next step of your training,” he added as he began to gather up the woodchips into a small pile before picking up a stick he had gathered earlier and taking a lighter out of his back pocket with his other hand. Flicking the lighter on he saw Kouken flinch and sighed.

“I should have dealt with this problem years ago,” he thought to himself as he tried to light the tip of the branch on fire without much luck. “Gosh darn I wish I had a fire type on me.” Jason complained as the light’s flame died out having run out of fuel. “Worthless,” He muttered as he tossed it into a nearby garbage can. With a sigh he began to glance around for another way to get a fire started such as a second stick to rub against the first but coming up empty. The beach he was at was at the far end of the island and getting back to town would take too long not to mention be a waste of time since it had no local Pokemart where he could buy supplies and the weekly visit of the Done deal a mobile shopping mall in the forum of a ship wasn’t due for another couple of days.

“I knew I should have gotten matches,” sighed Jason as his eyes fell upon his Taillow as she circled around the area with her bucket of water. “Ah ha that’ll do,” he said as he held the branch up high. “Fuu drop the bucket and use brave bird on this branch,” he called out. Fuu gave him a look like he had gone nuts but complied releasing the handle causing the bucket to clatter loudly to the ground and slip its load onto the sand as she pulled her wings back and burst into flames swooping past the stick before the flames subsided into a bluish glow like always.

A moment later the tip of the stick ignited causing Jason to break out into a grin. Technically Brave bird wasn’t a fire type move but the initial activation could be counted on to always involved a burst of flames and if those flames where strong enough to set a stick on fire what if… Jason grinned as an idea for a team combination move between Fuu and Aoki came to mind. It seemed he was just overflowing with inspiration today. But that idea could wait a little as he still had to work on curing his Rilou’s arsonphobia. Touching the flaming end of the branch to the wood-chips Jason set them on fire as well then turned towards Kouken who was backing away from him.

“I understand why you are afraid. Fire can burn you, touching it hurts and it can easily destroy things. It’s alright to be afraid, after all fire is a powerful force that must be respected, but you must not let your fear paralyze you like this,” said Jason as he waved the stick around dramatically. “Unable to act, unable to move you leave yourself open to attacks, open to defeat. How to you expect to guard anything, to protect anything in your current state?” he asked as Rilou trembled and flinched away from the branch.

“Ri Rilou,” Kouken squeaked pathetically as he backed into a tree and was unable to pull further away from the burning stick.
“Don’t run. Fight it, turn your fear into power,” pleaded Jason to which Rilou responded by throwing an aura sphere at the stick only to miss by a mile due to his eyes being closed… It wasn’t much but it was progress since at least he wasn’t freezing up totally at the sight of a flame anymore. Jason was just about to encourage him to take another shot when they where interrupted.

“Tree cko tree,” hollered Aoki from the water’s edge. Dunking the burning end of the stick into the sand to put it out safely Jason ran over to see what the problem was and found his Treecko kneeling beside a strange white and blue Pokemon he had never seen before that was lying face down in the sand having just washed up onto the beach moments ago.
Kneeling down not caring that he was getting his pants wet Jason turned the strange Pokemon over an was relieved to find that it was still breathing, albeit weakly likely from traveling a very long distance without rest. Feeling it’s forehead he cursed as he realized it was running a fever. One look at its flushed face was enough to tell him that this was beyond the ability of his heal pulse to fix on its own.

Jason wasn’t a doctor himself but he had learned enough about taking care of Pokemon from his mother who was a nurse that moving the Pokemon in this condition would not be a good idea and to make matters worse the nearest Pokemon center was over an hour away and he didn’t have its phone number to call either. By the time he featured Nurse joy it would be too late as the Pokemon needed help now if it was going to survive. Taking an item capsule out of his pocket Jason clicked the button on it causing it to emit a black beam that resolved into his emergency medical kit that all aura guardian’s carried. Opening the kit Jason cursed as he went over its inventory. He had plenty of bandages and potions as well as herbs to heal status effects but little in the way of stamina restorers.

“Fuu, Aoki, Kouken I need you to search the area for Oran berries,” he ordered and his Pokemon quickly took off heading in three separate directions. “Let’s see if I could mix some of those with a bit of energy powder and a revive I think it might just be enough,” he wondered out loud as he rummaged through the case and pulled out a bottle of a white dust like substance and something that looked like a yellow piece of candy as well as a small Mortar and Pestle.

“Cko Cko Treecko,” cried out Aoki as he returned holding something in his balled up hands.

“That was fast what did you find?” asked Jason to which Treecko held out a green leaf with three prongs.

“This isn’t an Oran berry,” said Jason causing Treecko to look dejected. “It’s even better. A rare revival herb!” exclaimed Jason to which Treecko perked up. “I don’t know where you found this but it’s better than I could have hoped for,” praised Jason as he gave Treekco a pat then began to grind the herb into a fine paste and then began spoon feeding it to the washed up Pokemon and watched as the colour returned to its face.

“It should be fine now with a bit of rest. I wonder where it came from since it doesn’t seem native to this region from what I’ve been studying,” he thought out loud as he gazed at its orange button nose which made it seem kind of cute as it slept with the waves lapping up against it. Deciding that was not a safe place to leave it and knowing it was stabilized Jason picked the Pokemon up and moved it over to his base camp at the edge of the beach before placing it beside his sleeping bag and putting a blanket over it to keep it warm.

Changing his pants and hanging the wet ones up to dry Jason threw up a fist into the air feeling pumped after his victory of helping out a Pokemon in need before quickly retrieving his medical kit before he forgot it and it ended up washed out to sea.

“Crisis over back to training,” he said with a wide grin. It was time to put some of those ideas he had gotten earlier into action.

***

That night Jason turned in early, going to bet at only ten pm in order to get an early start in the morning. His ideas had gone well so far and with a little bit more refinement he felt confident he’d be ready for both the upcoming contest and gym battle. He was sleeping soundly at first and didn’t know what time it was when he heard the unmistakable noise of a Pokemon training woke him up.

“Could Fuu be that worried about her loses that she’s training herself extra at night?” Jason thought to himself as he looked to where he had left his belt to the side of his knapsack only to find all three Pokeballs still closed. But if it hadn’t been Taillow or one of his other Pokemon training then who was? Turning to check on how the strange Pokemon was doing and found the blanket folded up nicely and the creature gone.

“No way. It shouldn’t be recovered enough to be on its feet yet,” he thought in surprise and he quickly got out of his sleeping bag and then cautiously began to approach the source of the noise which was leading away from the beach and towards a nearby cliff overlooking the ocean. There illuminated by a full moon stood the Pokemon methodically swinging the scalchop from its chest like a sword. Jason stopped and watched for a long moment. The scene reminded him so much of his Grandfather practicing Kendo that he couldn’t bring himself to ask the Pokemon to stop. Any warrior that practiced the art so diligently was one to be respected.

“Osha wott Osha,” called out the Pokemon each time it swung and then pulled back its blade. Silently Jason walked up beside it and began to perform a series of basic warm up exercises alongside it for several minutes and though he didn’t talk during this time his actions spoke volumes to the Pokemon. After a half hour had passed Jason paused to whip the sweet off his brown then grinned down at the Pokemon beside him.

“Don’t you think that’s enough for one night? You need to rest if you’re going to regain your strength otherwise I’m going to end up having to take you to a Pokemon center after all,” said Jason with a light laugh before turning and heading back to his sleeping bag, a slight smirk on his face as he felt the mysterious Pokemon following him.

***

Early morning found Jason fiddling with his PokeTec as he tried to figure out a setting that might tell him what sort of Pokemon he was looking after but so far he wasn’t having much luck. With a long suffering sigh he switched off the device and put some food out for his guest to eat.

“Man I’ve got to get a Pokedex somehow or at least a Pokedex app. Not knowing what I’m running into on the road is ridiculous,” He muttered to himself as the Pokemon sniffed at the food before popping a piece into its mouth.

“Osha Oshawott,” said the Pokemon happily as it began to scarf down everything in the bowl.

“So that’s your species huh. If only I knew more about what an Oshawott was. About the only thing I can tell about you is that you’re a water type right?” he asked to which the Oshawott nodded affirmatively. Putting a hand against the Otter’s forehead Jason smiled in relief to find that its temperature was fully back to normal. “Alright Oshawott I pronounce you a clean bill of health, you’re free to go now where ever you please just be more careful this time ok,” he said as he stood up to go back to his training only to feel a tug on his pants leg. Glancing back he saw the Oshawott staring at him with watery eyes.

“What? Do you want to come with me?” Jason asked speculatively causing the water to nod insistently. “Humm,” said Jason as he brought a hand up to his chin and began to think about it since now that he had gotten going he didn’t want to catch just any random Pokemon anymore but rater ones that worked towards the particular ascetic he was building. The Oshawott's sword skills instantly came to mind and with them a new strategy for confronting Brawly began spilling out before his eyes and he could envision several useful ways to use the water Pokemon in a contest. And heck who was he to deny something so cute looking?

“Alright but you’re going to need a name. The way you train, it’s almost like you have the soul of a samurai. I think it’s only fitting to give you a title as sharp as your blade, something like Masamune which is a famous type of sword,” Jason suggested

“Osha,” cried the Oshawott happily as it jumped into Jason’s arms.

“Well I suppose that’s one way to catch a Pokemon.” Jason laughed before he asked Masamune to show him its moves so that he could begin to formulate a new plan of attack. With any luck Brawly wouldn’t even see his new strategy coming.

Stage On
24th April 2012, 8:41 AM
Chapter 11 – Juliation

Light splatters of water struck the ground all around Jason as he ran towards the contest hall who was desperate to get out of the rain before it really began to pour since he hated getting soaked while wearing normal clothes. Arriving at his destination he sighed in relieve as the automatic doors whooshed open allowing him to run inside just before a crack of thunder filled the air signaling the true start of the downpour.

Glancing back Jason frowned as the heavy rainfall obscured his sight. If the downpour stayed at those levels he doubted the contest he was looking to participate in today would be very well attended in person. Crossing his fingers he hoped enough contestants had shown up otherwise the entire thing might be called off due to not having enough contributors.

Walking over to the registration desk he pulled out his license from his back pocket and showed it to the clerk who in turn handed him a registration form to fill out. It wasn’t much as other than his name he simply had to put down which of his Pokemon he intended to use for the appeal around and the battle round if he managed to make it that far. As Jason began to fill out the form he was interrupted.

“Are you here for today’s contest?” asked an unmistakably female voice that sounded slightly formulary but yet different than before. Turning towards the source of the sound Jason was taken aback by the sight of Referrer Julia’s distinctive short red hair on the body of a ten year old.

“Julia?” Jason sputtered on in surprise. He’d already run into two of them before at the local gyms but he hadn’t been expecting to run into one outside of that setting, let alone one so young.

“Oh I see you’ve met some of my sisters or cousins,” she chirped happily as she introduced herself by doing a light curtsy. “I’m not out enough to be an official ref yet like them so I thought I’d do some contests to keep busy. I only just started a few months ago and I already have four ribbions,” she bragged. “How about you?” she asked.

“Just one so far I’m afraid,” Jason admitted sheepishly

“Only one? Looks like I’ll be able to waltz my way into the grand festival without a challenge after all,” laughed Julia.

“Wait a sec, what makes you think you’ll be able to win so easily?” countered Jason his pride stung at having been dismissed so easily.

“Simple, some noob with only one ribbon doesn’t stand a chance against an advanced coordinator like myself who’s never lost a single contest Maybe if you had the same amount of ribbons as me it’d be a different story but the difference in our ability level is quite clear,” Julia said with a casual shrug before filling out her own registration form and leaving to the girls changing room to get ready.

Jason scowled as hastily finished filling out his own form and slammed it down on the desk. It was one thing to be beaten by somebody who had participating in multiple grand festivals like Katina but there was no way he was going to let some little girl on her first contest tour show him up without a fight.

“That brat thinks she’s so much better than me does she… I’ll show her.” He vowed to himself as he made his way to the man’s change room in order to get ready. After all of his training he was ready to show Julia, no show the world that a win against him would not be taken easily.

***

Jason put his Jacket onto a coat hanger and hung it inside his locker before slipping on the next tuxedo he had bought back in Rostboro city and was finally getting to wear for the first time. Contests where all about showing off your Pokemon so it was only natural that the coordinator themselves look good as well. He’d had the option of getting a dress tie as well with the suit but opted for a light green bow tie instead for two reasons.

The first was that he found dress ties too old fashioned in this modern day and age. That was something more like his grandfather would have once worn to work after all, the second was that he figured he’d have to be crazy to put his head willingly into such a noose like object. Glancing at the mirror inside the locker door Jason grinned in satisfaction at how dashing he now looked.

Taking out Fuu’s Pokeball he summoned her in a flash of light. Now that he was ready for the show it was time to get his Pokemon ready as well. Taking out a brush he began to comb his Taillow’s feathers so that they would look nice and neat, luckily she only needed a little bit of touch up work to shine looks wise but Jason was a bit concerned about her move pool.

Fuu knew only arial ace, brave bird, steel wing and quick attack all good moves but the problem was all of them where ultimately close ranged which meant she had no options for attacking from afar. While it was true Pokemon where limited to only using four moves during an official match they could potentially learn more than that but with that extra verity came a downside since the more moves a Pokemon knew the less effective those moves would become.

As the saying went Jack of all trades master of none. Keeping your Pokemon’ movepool low could have beneficial effects since if they used the same move enough times they would draw out the moves full potential which could have a devastating effect against a foe. For example an Iron tail usually only lasted just long enough to land one hit, but a master of the art could strike multiple times with it, those extra hits making all the difference between victory and defeat.

Various experts had different opinions about the optimal balance between verity and mastery but Jason was firmly in the less is more camp a philosophy he carried over to his team building. Better to have a small roster he could use effectively rather than having a group too large for him to juggle.

Putting the brush aside Jason took out a yellow ribbon and tied it around Fuu’s neck so that it looked like an aviators scarf. Taking a moment to admire the effect he thought it looked so good that it almost made him wish he had matching goggles to go with the ribbon. Just then one of the Pokeballs on his belt opened up as Masamune appeared in a flash of light.

“Osha, Oshawott,” cried out the water Pokemon as he thumped the shell on his chest enthusiastically in an attempt to volunteer himself for the upcoming appeal round.

“You’re not ready for your contest debut yet,” replied Jason causing Masamune to look dejected. “Don’t be like that, we just need to work on your act a little and you’ll good to go in no time. For now watch and learn and I’ll make sure to register you next time,” promised Jason as he patted the otters head reassuringly.

A buzzing sound filled the air signifying the start of the appeal rounds. Since the presentation order was the same as the registration order Jason knew he’d have to wait a while for his turn so he sat down on the bench getting as comfortable as he could while the other participants showed off their stuff. Watching what was going on stage through the television screen Jason only half paid attention to the first few trainers who’s acts where to common or typical like having a Rattata balance on a Bayleaf’s vinewhip like it was a highwire or a Machamp juggle Voltorb.

“What is this, the circus?” thought Jason as one trainer had a Cubone jump through arings of smoke generated by a Torkoal. The preformances so far had been nothing but a joke and he was beginning to see why Julia was taking things so lightly if this was her standard level of competition since even the other students at the summer camp had been more impressive then this during practice.

And then it was Julia’s turn and as she entered the stage with a twirl and brought out a Kadabra and a Kirlia in a shower of sparkles Jason instantly began to give the television screen his full attention. Anybody who had won four ribbons wasn’t just full of hot air after all. He’d have to be a fool to be daydreaming now since she was bound to be his biggest obstacle.

“Now boys Grand Delusion,” ordered Julia with a flourish of her arms and then a flash of light seemed to fill the screen followed by nothing. Jason blinked in confusion as he tried to figure out was going on. The two psychic Pokemon seemed to just be standing there doing nothing while the audience sat and stared totally enraptured before breaking out into a round of applause.

“Oh I get it now,” thought Jason as he realized what had happened. The two physic types had daisy chained their power together to generate a large scale illusion that couldn’t be captured by cameras since it was only in the heads of the people in the studio audience and not a trick of light like a mirage. The trick was a little on the cheap side but still technically within the rules despite being absolutely boring to anyone not watching live which could cost points depending on the judge.

With his turn coming soon Jason left for backstage not wanting to miss his cue. With only two people ahead of him it wouldn’t be much longer until he was called on.

“Alright kid you’re up break a leg,” said the producer as he waved for Jason to come on screen. This was it then, wither he got to the battle round or not road on how well he did now. Jason could feel an almost crushing sense of pressure for how much of his future depended on the next few moments, failure was simply not an option.

“Go Fuu, Aoki take the stage,” he called out as he sent his bird and gecko Pokemon out in a shower of Sakura petals. It wasn’t quite seasonal since they were heading into fall but of all the capsule effects he had on hand to choose from this was the one that most suited the nostalgic mode he wanted to give off.

“Ready for takeoff?” he asked Fuu who nodded and spread her wings then acted like she was on a airport runway by dashing down the stage before jumping straight towards the crowd. “Captain if you would do the honors,” said Jason to Aoki as he saluted.

Aoki nodded his head then opened his mouth and began to fire a series of bullet seeds one at a time, slower than the usual rapid fire rate in order to produce a sound almost like a miniature cannon going off. The seeds flew in the air in an high arc and Jason waited for a few more seconds giving them time to pass over Fuu enough that it looked almost like they would actually strike the crowd.

“Shift into Turbo,” he called out. At those words his Taillow combined brave bird and quick attack to burst into fire and shoot forward at high speeds, the tip of her flaming wings just barely brushing against the seeds as she rushed through them causing them to explode in her wake like a stream of fireworks over the audience’s heads.

It almost looked like something straight out of an aerial show at first until the red flames subsided into an intense blue energy as Fuu turned around and began engaging in an intense series of twists and swerves only now that her aura had changed the seeds simply exploded into a cloud of smoke on contact making it look like she was narrowly dodging being shot down by enemy fire.

The choreography that had been required to pull the timing for this off had taken weeks of training to get just right but the result of all their hard work spoke for itself as the audience watched with baited breath, having been sucked into the show and hoping that the bird would make it through such a heated assault.

Finally with one last cannon boom one seed struck Fuu head on engulfing her in a cloud of smoke causing the audience to gasp and then holler out in joy as she flew out of the cloud unscathed and then landed on Jason’s outstretched arm.

“Good thing grass attacks aren’t very effective against flying types otherwise that stunt wouldn’t have worked,” thought Jason to himself as he and his Pokemon took a bow before leaving the stage and running into Julia in the joint gender waiting room.

“Not bad, maybe I underestimated you after all,” said Julia with a friendly smirk. “You might be a rookie but you’re no noob,” she admitted. “Since that’s the case don’t expect me to go easy against you if we face off in the battle round.”

“Ha I’d be insulted if you did hold back. What would be the point of winning or losing if you didn’t give it your all?” Jason asked rhetorically to which Julia nodded in agreement as they announced the four finalists who would be moving onto the next step of the contest and who would be facing who in the first battle round.

“Looks like we’re up against someone else for the preliminary, good luck making it to the finals it’d be nice to have a real match before I get to the grand festival,” said Julia with a casual wave as she headed off to her match which was first and didn’t last long as her Kirlia made quick work of her opponents Swak with taking only one hit in the process which she quickly treated with a potion.

Jason’s match against a Throh didn’t go quite as smoothly as his Taillow took a few hits before knocking her opponent out, a rare thing since Jason usually went for point wins over taking out his foes in contests but with a type advantage on his side it had simply been more expedient to go for the throat sort to speak rather, besides he figured it would be good experience for his coming rematch with Brawly.

“And so we come to the final match of the day. In the red corner having swept four contests straight is a person some are starting to call a prodigy of the contest world I give you Julia. In the red corner we have an up and comer rookie Jason who’s given us an impressive show against a couple of well-known trainers. Will Julia go on to win her fifth ribbon in a row or will the rookie break her winning streak? Let’s get ready to rumble!” called out the announcer.

“Hold on just a sec.” called out Julia as she pulled out a potion from her satchel and tossed it to Jason. “I healed my Pokemon after my last fight. It’s only fair if he gets to do the same,” she remarked grudgingly.

“Wow what a display of good sportsmanship!” exclaimed the announcer as Jason spayed the potion onto Fuu restoring her to full health. At first he had thought Julia was a bit of a brat but he had to admit she had her good points too.

“Thanks but you better not regret that if you lose,” He taunted as he tossed the empty container aside.

“Ha, I just didn’t want you to use that your Pokemon was weak from its last fight as an excuse when I win,” countered Julia as she sent out her Kirlia. “For that initiative goes to me. Magical leaf,” she ordered as Kirlia trust his arms forward unleashing a stream of glowing green crescents at Taillow.

“Blow them away with Brave bird,” shouted Jason as Fuu burst into flames and flew straight through the crescents burning them away at impact but taking some damage in to process causing both Jason and Julia to lose points.

“Now use calm mind and confusion,” called out Julia attacking again to force Jason to stay on the defensive rather than attack back. Kirlia’s eyes began to glow as he unleashed a wave of concentrated physic power at Fuu.

“Smack it down with Steel wing,” ordered Jason and Fuu followed suit, her right wing glowing white as she used it to hit the wave of energy hard just barely deflecting it towards the back wall of the stage where it impacted with a loud thud leaving a round crater in its wake.

The attacks continued back and forth their points remaining relatively even when Jason felt a formulary heat from his acid reflex as liquid fire surged up his throat causing him to clutch his chest just below his adam’s apple.

“Darn it why now? I made sure to eat before the contest,” thought Jason as his Taillow took a hit from magical leaf while he was unable to commend her to dodge. The acid reducer pills he took to manage his condition weren’t very effective forcing him to eat calcium carbonate pills frequently in an effort to lessen the symptoms. But despite the fact that he felt like he was about to spit out a pool of acid strong enough to melt metal he was in the middle of a contest and couldn’t afford to stop and take a pill right now.

“Brave bird,” he called out through gritted teeth as he tried to push aside the pain through pure will power. Taillow burst into fire once more burning away more crescent leafs before they could do damage her.

“He’s holding his own better than I expected, it’s time to use my trump card” thought Julia. “Hold your foe down with Psychic,” she ordered. Kirlia nodded and held out a hand glowing with purple energy causing Fuu to freeze in midair as if she had been grabbed hold by some invisible force.

“I was going to save this for the Grand festival but at this rate I can’t afford to hold anything back if I want to win,” declared Julia as she pulled a Dawn stone out of her satchel and tossed it directly at her Kirlia. On contact with the stone her Pokemon was engulfed by a bright white light so that all you could see was its outline as it changed and evolved from a Kirlia to a Gallade causing the psychic field around Jason’s Taillow to shimmer into sight and waver slightly as its concentration slipped.
“Now use Brave bird to break free and make it extra showy!” exclaimed Jason.

“Tail, Taillow,” cried out Fuu loudly as she burst into a flame large then anything she had ever produced before making her resemble a tiny phoenix as she shattered the psychic field into a thousand tiny glass like pieces that reflected a spectacular rainbow of light all around her as she rushed forward and slammed into the Gallade’s chest hard sending the large Pokemon staggering back several steps.

Taillow flapped her wings causally as the electricity sparking up them from the recoil damage which had the side effect of making her look badass due to how easily she seemed to be shrugging it off. Julia stood their flabbergasted at how much damage a single hit had done to her Pokemon. It was the only direct damage Jason had landed in the entire match and already her Pokemon was breathing hard and near the verge of fainting.

“Why so surprised? Gallade is a psychic fighting duel type so of course Flying type moves are going to be super effective. Evolving him now might have been flashy and scored you big points but you couldn’t have picked a worse time since now I have the upper hand,” explained Jason.

“Shut up, shut up, shut up! Gallade leaf blade,” shouted Julia furiously causing Jason to blink in surprise as she ordered her Pokemon to use a fifth move only for the judges to not immediately disqualify her.

“What’s going on?” he thought as the Gallade closed in his green angular arms glowing with raw power as it prepared to slash at his bird. “Counter with arial ace,” he spat out at the last second causing Fuu to loop backwards out of the way and then ram straight into the glowing sword her flying type move easily overpowering the grass type one and sending Gallade flying off stage.

Gallade struggled to get back up to his feet. He had taken a lot of damage but he was still feeling the surge of power that came from being freshly evolved and was ready and willing to keep on trucking for a while longer a trait that would have been great for a gym match but was worthless at this point in a contest as a the buzzer to end the match went off as Julia had run out of points from that last exchange.

***

Later after the contest had ended and Jason had been awarded the ribbon he was confronted by Julia as he made his way to the exit. Now that the storm had ended he had been planning to head to the Pokemon center for a quick recharge before confronting Brawly.

“You’ve won this time but I’ll get you back once you get to the grand festival,” Julia declared as she shock her fist at him, more playful then vengeful since in her mind he had only just delayed the inevitable a little.

“What was that thing with your Pokemon using a fifth move?” He asked causing Julia to grin.

“Rule 75 subsection e look it up,” she explained coyly leaving Jason to wonder just how the heck he had managed to pick up yet another strange rival.

3D992
24th April 2012, 7:23 PM
Ooo, rival action... I loved the first paragraph and other than a few spelling errors I'd say it was fine. Good job!

Stage On
27th April 2012, 2:17 AM
as for Young Julia I wonder just how much we'll see of her before the grand festival since she's only one ribbon away from getting entrance to it which is ahead of even the Katina who's a pro at this by now.

Chapter 12 – Breaking tide

“Any progress?” asked Jason’s father who’s face seemed to be locked in a perpetual scowl, his displeasure at his son’s delay of acquiring a second badge palpable even through the video screen.

“I’ve got an appointment with the local gym leader for two pm today. Just having Nurse Joy give my team a checkup in the meantime,” explained Jason hastily in an effort to placate his demanding dad. Half out of an attempt to seek his approval and half out of fear of having his allowance revoked.

“Hum, I suppose that’s sensible,” murmured the older man with the faintest hint of a smile on his face. He might be a hard-*** but that didn’t mean he didn’t care.

“Number seven your Pokemon are ready for Pick up at the front desk,” called a voice over the intercom.

“Gotta go Dad wouldn’t want to keep the gym leader waiting,” replied Jason as he signed off and exited the booth before heading out to collect his team, brimming with determination with every step he took. This time he would be sure to walk away with the badge. It wasn’t a matter of proving who was the better trainer between him or Adam anymore but rather a simple matter of finances since his allowance with only one badge wouldn’t be enough for him to afford a return trip to the Hoenn mainland, at least not in time for him to make the next nearest contest anyhow.

The prize money for the contest earlier today should have covered it but the pot had been lower than usual due to the unexpectedly low turnout thanks to the storm leaving Jason just short a couple hundred yen from his goal. Nothing more than Pocket change and yet just enough to stop his quest cold if he didn’t succeed against Brawly.

Wither or not he made it to the league was immaterial. So what if he was behind Brian yet again as if that was anything new. No his true goal was the Grand festival and if it took a few gym battles to be able to afford to get their then so be it. He figured he’d have to get at least that far before he could even consider asking Katina to team up with him.

If nothing else if he could get that far he would be able to make a real carrier out of being a coordinator with enough money to finally become independent of his parents unlike now where he needed his weekly handout from them just to scrap by. Plus he figured it wouldn’t hurt to having a roaming Aura guardian around since most where sedentary preferring to settle down and protect one region rather than travel around outside of the initial training journey that every trainee would inevitably have to take before becoming full-fledged.

Jason shuddered slightly at the thought that if he had taken his Journey in Sinnoh instead that he never would have been able to get away with entering contests on the side like he was now due to their televised nature. Luckily outside of the Grand festival there were so many local ones being held that they weren’t worth broadcasting outside of the region they were being held, Being available internationally only to enthusiasts willing to pay extra or for people willing to pirate them.

His parents where too frugal for the first and too inept at using computers for the second, they could barely turn a computer on to use e-mail let alone figure out how to use a torrent sight which meant his secret was safe for the foreseeable future.

***

A short while later Jason arrived at the reception room of the gym a bit surprised by how quickly everything had dried up after such an intense storm earlier. But then he had only just gotten used to the fact he only needed a light spring jacket rather than a heaver coat due to the much more tropical climate then what he was used to.

“Ah good day challenger how are you this afternoon?” asked Referee Julia who was doubling as the receptionist. Jason blinked in surprise at the sight of her, the physical contrast between the adult version and his new contrast rival was startling little outside of height and uniform. It was the difference it attitude he found the most unsettling after if the adult version was almost too sickeningly sweet after how sassy the child version had been just a few short hours earlier.

“Pretty good actually, how about you?” asked Jason awkwardly. Given how wide spread the adult Julia had claimed to be in the referee world he was beginning to wonder why his father’s gym hadn’t had one around before his father had retired five years ago.

“Excellent especially since SOMEONE seems to have finally knocked some sense into my little sister who was taking contests far too lightly for her own good,” replied Julia with a knowing smile that made Jason feel very self-conscious and convinced him more than ever that all the identical Jenny, Joys and Julia’s of the world HAD to be the result of some wacky top secret cloning experiment gone horribly terribly wrong. Before he could dwell on that thought too long however she lead him to the main battlefield where Brawly was already waiting for him Surfboard in one hand and Pokeball in another.

“I was wondering if you were going to be up for a rematch or not dude. Glad to see you haven’t let me down, I haven’t had a good challenger all month!” Brawly explained as the steel floor slide aside to reveal the same battlefield as before which consisted of mostly water with a few small rocks as footholds. “Bummer dude bad luck to get the field I’m strongest in twice in a row.”

“Luck is just part of skill,” shot back Jason who had calculated this turn of events into his battle plans and was ready for it as Julia took her place at to the side of the ring.

“You guys know the rules since they are the same as last time. Begin,” she declared as she waved down a checkered flag almost as if she was signaling the start of a race rather than a match.

“Alright Hitmonchan let’s knock’em out,” called out Brawly as he send out his Pokemon first as a curtsy to the challenger just like Jason had predicted he would. That good thing about gym leaders was that they were there to test trainers not crush them and thus could be relied upon to not shake things up too much if you lost in order to give a clear goalpost of development to aim for.

“Go Kouken time to show him how much we’ve improved,” said Jason as he send out his Rilou who eyed his foe wearily but quietly this time rather than growl once more. He had only won by the most narrow of margins last time and new that his foe was not someone to take easy no matter how much he had grown.

“Start things off with Aura burst,” ordered Jason causing Kouken to toss a pulsating purple orb at the boxer that looked as strong as normal but was actually just an empty shell intended as a diversion as per their pre-planned strategy.

“Counter with Mach Punch,” said Brawly with a sigh thinking history was simply repeating itself until Hitmonchan’s gloved fist came into contact with the orb only for it to explode in a flash of disorientating light rather than bounce back like it had in the first match. As Hitmonchan blinked to clear its vision it’s eyes widened in fight as Kouken had cleared the distance between them, his right hand glowing softy with purple energy in preparation to launch a force palm attack.

As Kouken jabbed his fist forward towards Hitmonchan’s chest he gasped in surprise as Hitmonchan brought up his knee with surprising speed causing the blow to hit hard bone instead of his venerable stomach and resulting in negligible damage. From that position Rilou’s fists flew forwards and the two exchanged blows nither able to slip past each other’s guards until finally the boxer whirled around trying for a kick forcing Kouken to jump back a few feet to the nearest rock to avoid it.

“Now vacuum punch,” said Brawly excitedly as he saw an opening to knock his foe into the water which would leave him vulnerable to a follow up assault. With a roar Hitmonchan thrust forward so fast that the sear air pressure from his swing slammed into Kouken hard knocking him back off the rock. Only instead of the splash Brawly had been expecting he blinked in surprise as Rilou landed on the surface of the water without sinking into it by using aura to keep himself afloat.

The principal behind it was simple, all the user had to do was emit a constant stream of aura from the bottom of their feet and the repellent force would enable them to walk across the water’s surface. Something Jason had accidentally discovered when he had skipped his aura sphere across the water like a rock two weeks ago.

While Brawly was still in shock trying to register what his eyes where telling him Kouken struck hard launching an aura sphere straight into the Hitmonchan’s unguarded chest sending it crashing into the nearby wall with loud thud before it slumped down to the ground unconscious.

“Hitmonchan is unable to battle,” called out Julia while Brawly struggled to get his dropped draw back into place as he recalled his Pokemon.

“Woh…just woh. That was tubular dude but how will you do against my main man Hariyama?” asked Brawly as he sent out his summer wrestler Pokemon and tossed it the surf board he had been holding since before the match had begun. As long as the large Pokemon was on that board in the water it’s speed and agility where way above what was normal for the species making for formidable foe. But within that strength also lay its greatest weakness.

“Return Kouken, go Masamune it’s time for your debut,” Jason declared as he sent his otter Pokemon out which promptly procced to thumb his chest in excitement and glare furiously at his much larger foe. Jason knew his Oshawott only knew Tackle, Water gun and Razor shell so far but he was counting on its expert swordsmanship to make up for its lack of moves. “Alright let’s try some Water gun,” he ordered.

With those words Masamune sucked in his breath then blew it out in one big burst shooting out an intense stream of water from his mouth with it which Hariyama used Palm thrust to slap away harmlessly.

“Oh please you think a puny stream will affect us bro? It’s nothing compared to the mighty waves he used to crash into back as a Makuhita when he was first learning to surf,” boosted Brawly proudly.

“I don’t need water gun to hurt you when it can distract you,” pointed out Jason smugly causing Brawly to do a double take as he glanced at where Oshawott had been only to now notice that it had vanished.

“Where did it go?” Brawly asked in confusion as he and Hariyama looked around frantically trying in vain to find Oshawott.

“Masamune razor shell!” shouted Jason as suddenly a blue blade burst from the water inches away from the surfboard Hariyama was standing on and quickly proceeded to slice through the middle of the fiberglass like a hot knife through butter chopping it into two pieces and sending the sumo wrestler splashing into the drink as the two pieces of board spread apart farther then it’s legs could spread.

The Hariyama was calm upon entering the water having whipped out many times before while surfing and knowing that its thick fat made it especially buoyant but without its primary mode of transportation it had no way to dodge in time as Masamune swiveled around and slashed it across it’s back.

“Hari, Yama,” the sumo Pokemon grunted out in pain but despite the severity of the blow he was far too tough to go down in just one hit like that.

“Pummel it with water gun,” ordered Jason.

“Counter with Force palm,” called out Brawly but without proper footing to give the heavy Pokemon leverage the slaps where nowhere near as effective as before allowing the majority of the water pressure to strike him and damage to accumulate as he was hit once, twice then three times before succumbing.

“Hariyama is unable to battle, the gym leader is down to his last Pokemon,” called out Julia causing Brawly to break out into creepy laughter as he recalled his Pokemon.

“You sure surprised me that was totally radical man,” he said as he brought out an Ultra ball causing Jason to gulp since those where usually reserved for catching high level Pokemon. “I don’t usually use this against challengers but now I’m really fire up!” exclaimed Brawly as he sent out a Medicham. With its long thin arms and thick stubby thighs it seemed to brim with pure power as it easily balanced across the rock formation it had found itself summoned onto.

“Let’s take the incentive Water gun,” cried out Jason as his Oshawott spat a torrent of liquid that seemed to nail the Medicham in the chest only for it to twist with the force of the blow receiving very little damage as he gracefully spun out of the way making him resemble something out of the Seedotcracker.

“Darn it razor shell,” ordered Jason causing Masamune to jump out of the water and descended towards the Medicham with his scalchop drawn and charged with glowing blue power.

“Counter it with Thunder punch,” said Brawly calmly as he casually crossed his arms. A crack of electricity filled the air and sparks flew around Medicham’s slim fist as it shot forward and collided directly with Oshawotts shell. Suprisingly instead of the electric attack overpowering the water one they simply cancelled each other out thought the force of the blow was enough to send Oshawott back causing him to land on a nearby rock.

Jason grinned as he had predicted earlier Brawly’s last Pokemon had thunder punch just like he had guessed it would. Luckily for him his Oshawott could defend itself against electricity to some extend with its shell which was made of nonconductive insulated materials.

“No matter, drop him into the drink and repeat your last move,” said Brawly with a casual wave of his hand. Medicham’s eyes began to glow red as an invisible force grabbed hold of Masamune thrusting him into the water before he could react. A sick grin came over the Medicham’s face as it knelt down and trust it spark filled fist into the water sending a jolt of electricity throughout the entire pool which anything inside would find impossible to avoid. A moment later Oshawott bobbled to the surface, his fur matted and blacked in spots from being electrocuted.

“Oshawott is unable to battle, the challenger is down to two Pokemon,” called out Julia.

“Some people say mind over matter and others say muscles trump all,” Brawly began as Jason clenched his teeth in irritation. He had been counting on Masamune’s shell defence to help him last longer and tire out the gym leaders last Pokemon more. “I disagree and say you need a balance between the two dude,” Brawly finished as Jason sent Kouken out once more.

“It’s like ying and yang, Can’t have one without the other,” Jason remarked as his Rilou shout out an aura sphere that struck the Medicham dead on knocking it off the rock and towards the water only for it to be surrounded with a purple aura that stopped it from taking a dunk at the last second.

“You’re not the only one with a Pokemon that can run on water bro,” called out Brawly with a laugh as Medicham surged forward and the two began to exchange a series of fast and furious blows while standing on the water’s surface.

Finally one of Medicham’s fists slipped through Kouken’s defence striking him hard in the chest with a glowing purple palm. It didn’t seem to do much damage at first as the Medicham retreated jumping back and away to a safe distance but then sparks of electricity surged through Rilou’s limbs as the paralyzing side effect of force palm took hold of him causing him to drop into the water instantly with a loud splash.

Recognizing the danger of drowning his Pokemon was now in Jason quickly recalled Kouken with a loud curse of displeasure before the judge could declare it unfit for battle. Brawly’s last Pokemon had just gone through two of his that where still realizely fresh like a scythe through wheat before he could have a chance to wear it down. He had been expecting to use his Taillow from the start but knew that she was going to have trouble with that thunder punch and had been counting on lowering its energy more to make it an easier mark.

“Go Fuu nail it with arial ace,” called out Jason who was desperate to strike hard and fast knowing that it was his only chance as he sent out his last Pokemon.

“Hi Jump kick,” countered Brawly his Pokemon’s left foot glowing red as it jumped high into the air and swung just as Fuu was coming out of a loop de loop hitting her straight in the beak and sending her spiraling backwards. “Follow up with force palm,” said Brawly with a yawn already getting bored of the match now that things hard turned distinctively towards his side.

“Stop it with Steel wing,” cried out Jason as his Taillow spun around blocking the palm thrust with a glowing white pinion.

“Nice try bro, but it won’t block a Thunder punch,” said Brawly with a snicker figuring that this would be the final blow.

“Dodge it with quick attack,” said Jason hastily as his Taillow quickly surged forward as a streak of white light rushing past the Medicham before it could hit her.

“Ah ah, I’m not letting you get away that easily psychic,” ordered Brawly casing Medicam’s eyes to glow red as he grabbed hold of Taillow with a shimmering force field.

“Use Brave bird just like you did in the contest earlier to break free,” demanded Jason. Fuu complied by bursting into an intense inferno of flames but the force field didn’t waver an inch.

“I saw that contest dude. That trick only worked because Gallade had just evolved breaking its concentration. Bummer for you,”said Brawly with mock sympathy as his Medicam prepaired to unleash another thunder punch.

“Tail, Taillow!” screeched Fuu furiously. She had finally redeamed herself for her losing streak at the contest, after an entire month training for this one moment she refused to go out so easily. With a burst of white light the force field shattered as her shape quickly morphed and changed into a much bigger one.

“Swell, Swellow!” Fuu bellowed as she emerged from her cocoon of light fully evolved. Jason took a quick moment to glance down at the Poketch on his wrist noting that a new move had been added to Fuu’s repertoire.

“AIR SLASH,” Jason shouted with a dramatic sweep of his arms causing Swellow’s wings to glow bright blue as she unleashed a torrent of saw blade shaped energy projectiles that impacted into the surprised Medicham hard knocking it into the back wall behind Brawly.

“Medicham is unable to battle. The winner is,” started Julia only for Brawly to raise a hand in objection.

“Hold on a sec he just used a fifth move! Is that even legal?” Brawly asked cantankerously.

“Rule 75 subsection e,” quoted Jason knowingly causing Julia to look at him in surprise that he knew of such an obscure rule. Thought the truth was he only knew because the younger Julia had told him to look it up and he had while his pokemon where being treated.

“In the event of an evolution mid battle, a Pokemon’s move list for the match is considered to be reset due to the fact that their movepools change upon evolution and they may become unable to use previous attacks,” explained Julia causing Brawly to break out into confectious laughter.

“Ha you really got me their dude. You’ve more than earned this badge and a half considering you beat my Medicham… Truth is I’m only supposed to use him against more advance trainers with but I got a little over excited,” admittedly Brawly sheepishly as he handed Jason a Knuckle Badge.

“Ha and dad says I’m not much of a trainer, wait until he hears this,” Jason remarked as he held up the badge high savoring his well-deserved victory. With this had had proven that while he might not be quite Brian level yet he wasn’t that bad a trainer after all and he could move forward towards his next objective in Mauville City and another step closer to catching up to the person he was chasing after.

Next: All the main characters in the same chapter for the first time in Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

3D992
30th April 2012, 3:49 AM
Sorry I never got around to reading this, TnT. I cant wait for the next chapter! I just noted a couple missing commas and such.

Stage On
1st May 2012, 8:10 PM
It's a special extra long chapter for today's update.

Chapter 13: Bugs, bugs, bugs

The salty air of the sea filled the air as the fairy Jason was riding pulled into dock at Slateport City. It had taken a few days to cruse there from Dewford island but the extra time had been more than worth it in order to arrive on such an auspicious day. It was October fifteenth which meant it was time for the Bugfest.

Located just outside of the main city was Slateport Forest an internationally famous insect sanctuary known for their exceptional quality bug types. Being a sanctuary it was closed off to the general public except for this one day where a giant bug catching contest would be held in just before winter fell in order to keep the population in check.
A ticket to participate in this contest was not cheap at eight thousand yen but considering the money went to maintaining the sanctuary it was a small amount to pay for the chance at obtaining a rare or powerful specimen since many past champions had walked away in the past with a shiny in addition to the prize money of eight hundred thousand yen for winning.

Usually the odds of finding a shiny Pokemon in the wild where one in eight thousand one hundred and ninety two but in Slateport Forest those odds where merely one in a thousand, a thousand being roughly the number of participants each year. For that one lucky trainer victory was all but guaranteed usually followed by either fame or fortune and sometimes both.

Some past Champions had sold their rare catch and others had used them in contests and gone on to become top coordinators. Visions of a shiny Butterfree, Accelgor and Heracross danced in Jason’s head and he was practically drooling at the thought of catching one because if he did it would go a long long way towards catching up towards the person he was chasing after.

It would take most of his remaining allowance to enter but even if he wasn’t so lucky to find a shiny Jason felt sure something important awaited him within that forest. He could practically feel the pull of destiny calling him towards it. Disembarking he spotted the younger Julia standing a few feet away from the boarding ramp and decided to quickly say hello before heading to the registration point.

“Excuse me are you the same Julia from the contest the other day?” Jason asked. He could never tell the difference between any of the Joy’s and Jenny’s and Julia was no different in that regard other than the fact this one was younger than the ones he’d run into at the gyms anyhow.

“You big jerk, how many Julia do you think are doing contests?” she snapped unset that her rival of all people hadn’t recognized her.

“I don’t know, how many Julia are active refs in the Hoenn region?” Jason joked rhetorically

“Three hundred and thirty seven,” answered Julia oblivious to Jason’s attempted witticism.

“Are you here for the Bugfest Catching contest?” asked Jason excitedly. Since there wasn’t a contest ribbon on the line this time he was actually excited over the prospect of competing with her rather than ambivalent about it like he had been last time when his pride had been on stake.

“Bugs, eww,” said Julia with a noticeable shiver of fear. “No way am I going near THAT contest,” she declared.

“Oh yah didn’t Maria once say something about how most girls don’t like bugs much.” thought Jason with a disappointed sigh which Julia caught onto.

“If you want to compete with me again before the grand festival there’s always the white star festival in Fortree,” she suggested slyly.

“The white star festival?” asked Jason who had never heard of such a thing before.

“It’s the day that the city puts a decoration of the white star on the top of a sacred tree. People write a wish down on a piece of paper and compete for the privilege of tying that paper to a branch on the tree because when they do those wishes often come true,” explained Julia

“Hum sounds intriguing, when is it?” asked Jason who was already thinking up possible wishes he would like to have granted like finally beating Brian in a Pokemon battle or making it to the grand festival.

“December twenty fifth,” replied Julia with a casual wave goodbye as she made her way towards the local Pokemon center.

“But that isn’t for over two months from now," Jason tried to point out but to no avail as Julia had quickly melted into the crowd. “Eh I guess two months isn’t so bad considering this regions grand festival isn’t until July,” he thought to himself as he headed towards the Bugfest registration desk.

***

After catching up to Jason badge wise in the last month Adam had almost made it halfway to Mauville City when he came across a bill board advertising the Bugfest.

“Pft, as if I need a bug type Pokemon and if I did my Mom could always send me one.” He thought to himself ignoring the board at first until a Beedrill flew out from behind the board and buzzed past him heading towards a nearby lake. The sight of the yellow and black stripped Pokemon triggered a memory of the Pokemon summer camp that Adam had nearly forgotten in his rush to gather gym badges.

One afternoon during a lecture about berries a small Bee had flown thought an open window into the class causing Jason to completely flip out and run from the room, all the while begging the tiny insect to keep away from him. Jason had claimed he had a phobia for the creatures but Adam had been too jealous at the time at how Maria had been comforting his rival to see the potential of how he could take advantage of such an irrational fear.

“If Jason flips out at the sight of a normal bee imagine how he’d react to a giant one! Just brining one out could be enough to win a battle with him,” thought Adam with glee as he whipped out a Pokeball. “Go Dune,” he called out as he sent out a Numel but the Bedrill had already vanished while he had been busy flash-backing.

Letting out a loud curse Adam glanced over at the billboard for the bugfest an evil grin slowly coming over his face. Surely there would be plenty of Beedrill to be found at such a place and he only needed to find one to gain the upper hand. After all if he could show Maria how much better at Pokemon battles he was then Jason surely she would chose him right?

***

Jason had finished registering for the catching contest and was loitering with the other trainers waiting for the signal to enter the forest and begin when he picked up on the formulary aura of his friend Brian nearby. He had once asked his grandpa why he could sometimes sense some people without actively trying and apparently sometimes if you knew someone well enough knowing they were near just came naturally.

As Jason moved gently through the crowd zeroing in on his friend he grinned as he finally caught sight of Brian only for a strange pain in his chest to crop up as he saw his best friend talking casually with Katina. Confused by the unformulary feeling, Jason moved forward doing his best to pretend everything was normal.

“Hey guys imagine running into you here,” he called out trying to sound joyful but finding his voice strangely colder than expected. “What the heck is wrong with me?” he thought to himself trying not to frown as he gave Brian a friendly pat on the back.

“Hey Jason come to hunt some bug Pokemon like us?” asked Katina with a warm smile that seemed to make the tightness in his chest double.

“You bet. I’ll even try to catch something better then Brian here!” he exclaimed. If he couldn’t beat his best friend in a battle then he’d have to settle for trying to beat him other ways for now.

“Wow I’m surprised you guys know each other,” Brian remarked.

“I could say the same thing,” Jason replied his voice trailing off as he noticed that his friend wasn’t paying full attention to either of them by rather looking towards the giant gag check that would be handed out to the champion. “So he’s after the prize money for building his gym,” thought Jason feeling slightly bad that if he managed to beat his friend he might actually be hurting his dream.

“During my second year of traveling we met back in Unova during the Don battle, Donamite and Dontimate. Three Tournaments held by a guy named Don George who’s sort of a male version of the three J’s,” Brian started to explain making Jason shudder at the thought of even more clones running around.

“Ironically enough despite being in three tournaments together we never actually had a fight against each other. Runner up of a Grand festival and Runner up of a Pokemon league I wonder who would win,” continued Brian in a challenging tone as he tried to provoke Katina into a match.

“That was years ago before I started doing contests. What difference does it make now when you can’t even beat a rookie for a ribbon?” Katina taunted back with a light laugh.

“I’m trying to be a gym leader not a Pokemon fashion model you can’t expect me to do good at those,” Brian shoot back. “So how do you two know each other?” asked Brian curiously trying to change the subject before Katina could have the chance to counter his logic.

“She’s the person who beat me at my first official contest,” replied Jason with a slight grin as he brought the topic around to a point where Katina could fire back.

“Considering it was you’re first you did better than many who’ve had several under their belts and you’ve only gotten better since. From what I heard that Taillow of yours was fantastic at Dewford,” said Katina catching Jason off guard since he’d been expecting her to insult Brian back and instead she had gone and complimented him brining a light blush to his face that Brian didn’t fail to catch.

“Excuse us for a moment miss. I need to speak with my old friend privately,” said Brian with false courtesy as he grabbed Jason by the collar and dragged him to just out of the blind girl’s earshot before letting go. “You’re jealous aren’t you? Don’t worry I have a girlfriend back in pallet town,” said Brian reassuringly before he really laid into his friend. “Ok now spill, what’s going on between you two?” asked Brian nosily.

“Going on? Nothing,” Jason denied. “She’s just a mentor figure to me, someone to look up to like you,” he added feeling someone sad that he couldn’t truly call her a friend quite yet. Reading his friends face Brian grinned knowingly.

“You’re smitten with her aren’t you Jase?” asked Brian in a sign song voice.

“I AM NOT!” Jason yelled his face beat red with embarrassment his voice loud enough for Katina to hear and turn in their direction with a look of confusion on her face to which Brian started to wave reassuringly only to realize she couldn’t see him doing that.

“We’re cool don’t worry about it,” he called out before turning to Jason with the largest grin on his face. “Whatever you say bro, whatever you say,” he said thought his tone of voice said otherwise as he took Jason’s shoulder and lead him back to Katina.

“So what Pokemon are you guys going to use for the contest?” he asked knowing that by the rules you could only register two and that every participant could only catch one bug type each to avoid thinning the population too much.

“Go Yoka, Bira,” called out Katina as she sent out a Floatzel and a Zebstrika. Jason blinked as he realized that between her Metagross Mana and her Serperior Aina all of her Pokemon so far had names four letters long that ended with a.

“Yoka Japanese for Ocean smell, but Bira isn’t Japanse,” Jason said confused by how it seemed to not quite match her theme.

“Eh, it’s close enough to the onomatopoeia they have for the sound of electricity,” Katina replied with a shrug causing the boys to groan.

“Me next. Fuu, Masamune take the stage,” called out Jason as he sent out his Taillow and Oshawatt.

“Oh your bird’s aura is much stronger than before did she evolve? And when did you catch a water type?” asked Katina leaving Jason in awe. She had said she could use aura to sense her surroundings but he had no idea she was this adapt. Telling a Pokemon’s type that way was pure master level.

“Yep she’s a Swellow now and I rescued an Oshawatt who decided to join me later,” he confirmed. Brian seemed surprised that he had managed to get a Pokemon that was so unusual for this region but Katina seemed to have other matters on her mind.

“You know Jason I’ve heard the next gym leader Telsa uses the electric type. You’re going to have trouble against him with your current team,” she cautioned. “Keep an eye out for a Dwebble or a Nincada in the forest. Their typing would be ideal for matching off with him,” she added sagely.

“Duly noted,” replied Jason who was pleased that as usual she had given him the best advice. She seemed so wise and he felt like he could learn a lot from her if given the chance.

“Next gym leader? So you decided to go for both contests and gyms after all. How far have you gotten?” asked Brian.

“I’ve only got two badges so far and I’ll need at least a week to train before I go for my third. You?” asked Jason.

“Eh same as you,” lied Brian who already had four badges by now but didn’t want to get Jason more fired up to chase after him then he already was. “My turn, Go Raiden, Consus,” called out Brian as he sent out a Manectric and a Tropius. “Consus is the mother of the egg I gave you Jase,” explained Brian. Jason was just about to ask him why he wasn’t going to be using his Charizard Kage who had a type advantage against bugs when a loud buzzer sounded signalling the start of the contest.

“Remember the rules. Stick only to the Pokemon you’ve registered and catch only one bug type each. And remember that it’s legal to interfere with each other only by Pokemon battles,” called out one of the Contest judges as hundreds of trainers began to rush into the forest.

“Alright bro good luck,” said Brian with a friendly wave as he dashed off.

“See you later Jace,” said Katina as she dashed off in another direction, her words causing Jason’s heart to skip a beat. Only his closest friends what few he had anyhow called him by that nickname. His grin shinned like the sun as he made his way into the forest.

***

Hours of trudging through the thick shrubbery later Jason mode had taken a turn for the worse as he had had absolutely zero luck finding anything good so far and with dusk coming soon time was quickly running out as the winners ceremony was set to be held shortly after sundown.

“Almost nothing but common Caterpie, Wurmple and Venipede I thought this was supposed to be the pinnacle of rare insects,” Jason complained. “The rarest thing I’ve found was a Dunsparce and that’s not even a bug type and the biggest I’ve found was a Metapod and what am I going to do with that in a contest tell it to harden?” he said sarcastically to himself as he started to make his way back towards the town. The last thing he wanted to do was be too deep in the forest before nightfall.

He was having another problem as well since the forest was so thick that Fuu was having trouble navigating a issue she wouldn’t have had in her Taillow form. It seemed evolution had its downsides sometimes after all and he had been forced to return her to her Pokeball and rely entirely on Masamune who was proving surprisingly adept at using Razor shell like a machete to cut through tough spots despite water not generally being very good against grass.

“This is getting me nowhere, I need to try a different approach,” thought Jason to himself as he considered different methods of looking for bugs. He didn’t have anything like honey to use as bait so he would have to rely on his own senses which wasn’t working that well so far. Inspiration struck as he recalled how Katina had effortlessly used Aura to tell things about his Pokemon. “Of course why didn’t I think of that sooner, I can’t do it passively yet like her but when actively concentrating I should be able to sense anything within about a half mile radius or so around myself,” he thought.

Sitting down cross legged Jason closed his eyes concentrating deeply for several minutes allowing himself to get a feel of his surroundings before he locked onto a signature he knew, one that was feeling distress.

“Maria!” he shouted as he bolted to his feet. If she was in trouble then he had to help her right now. Running start towards her ignoring the branches in his path digging into his skin painfully as he ran by Jason burst into a nearby clearing to find her Torchic Nova locked into an intense battle with a shiny Scyther which was using Swords dances to spin around and deflect Nova’s ember attack.

His first thoughts at seeing that she was safe was a flood of relief which was quickly replaced by a flood of jealousy that after the string of bad luck he had been having all afternoon she had struck the mother load.

“Oh well that’s the breaks,” he thought to himself as he began to turn away. Rules where rules and she had to catch it by herself after all, thought he would be lying if he wasn’t tempted to interfere. As he started to walk away that temption grew as he thought about how Maria had been ignoring him ever sense he had left to summer camp and started his journey to the point that she likely didn’t even know he hadn’t gone home to Sinnoh after all.

“Ah screw it,” thought Jason as he gave into his temptation. Maria might be a friend but he wasn’t going to let her off the hook for giving him the cold shoulder so easily. “Go Masamune use water gun to counter the flames.” He ordered causing his otter to spit out a stream of high pressure liquid which struck the ends of the ember attack head on only for something unexpected to happen. At worst Jason had expected the clash of attacks to produce a cloud of steam that would allow the Scyther to escape but instead the resulting clash of water and fire exploded with a loud boom sending the mantis crashing into a nearby tree and knocking it out cold.

Jason stood flabbergasted at the attack, his brain trying to work out the physics behind it. He had seen Dawn once do something similar before and as far as he understood the extreme heat of the fire had separated the hydrogen and oxygen molecules that made up water, and the hydrogen being highly flammable had ignited.

Meanwhile while Jason worked out what had happen Maria was unfazed and quick to take advantage by whipping out a Net ball and tossed it at the Scyther. Three beeps later and it was hers. Pumping her fist up in victory Maria walked over to her newly acquired treasure and picked it up just as Jason was picking up his jaw.

“Thanks for the assist,” Maria started to say as she turned to face the stranger who had helped her only for it to be her turn for her jaw to drop as she spotted Jason. Before he had a chance to say a word he found himself engulfed in a crushing hug. “You took the contest pass I gave you after all! Why didn’t you tell me you were still around you big lug,” Maria sobbed into his chest making Jason feel incredibly awkward, his face flushed as he tried to find the right words to handle such a delicate situation and failed.

“Um, you didn’t really give me a chance too,” he remarked breaking the moment and bringing reality crashing back down on Maria as she realized that she had glomped her crush and jumped back, her face blushing fiercely. She knew she couldn’t blame him for not updating her on the situation since she had been blocking his phone calls.

She stood their sheepishly wondering what to say next, torn between confessing her feelings and her deep seated issues with trusting men. Part of her was afraid of being rejected but an even bigger part was afraid of him returning the sentiment only to abandon her later like her father had abandoned her mother even if not intentionally. She knew Jason was an inherently kind person, but he had alluded to the fact that his work was could sometimes be highly dangerous even if such situations where rare. What if one day he went to deal with whatever it was he did outside of contests and never came back?

But before Maria could make up her mind something large rustled in the nearby underbrush catching her and Jason’s attention. Whatever it was from the noise had to be big and when it came to bugs bigger usually meant more dangerous.

“Oh Arceus,” swore Jason, at this range he could sense the creatures aura without even trying and it felt enormous. The only thing he could compare it to was the one time his father had taken him to see a Lugia in one of the rare trips outside of Celestic. “Get behind me,” Jason said as he stepped forward between Maria and the tree’s determined to protect her. All of a sudden the rustling came to a stop as a five foot dark purple and gray insect stumbled into the clearing and the collapsed at Jason’s feet covered in burns and scratches causing Maria to let out a shrill scream.

“It’s hurt pretty bad. You’re a registered Pokemon nurse Maria I might need your help to treat it,” said Jason as he turned to her only to watch her run away in fight. He couldn’t blame her however as this thing looked way more intimidating than a mere Scyther ever could. He supposed there was only so much bugs even a tough slightly tomboyish girl like Maria could take.

Getting out his emergency medical kit Jason went to work spraying the bug’s wounds with an antiseptic and then bandaging it but he could tell just by looking that alone wouldn’t be enough and this time he doubted he would be so lucky as to find another revival herb. It was enough to make him wonder what could have possibly messed up such a powerful Pokemon so badly. Even an Ace trainer like Brian would have had problems with something this strong if even half of the fossil records about it were accurate.

“I thought you’re kind was extinct so don’t you dare die on me now,” Jason remarked as he began to take off his gloves. He didn’t like using Heal pulse considering the risks involved but it was his last resort if he was to have any chance at all of saving such a uniquely rare creature such as this. Summoning blue energy into his hands he laid his palms against the creature’s chest and prayed to all the deity class legendary Pokemon he could think of that this would work as he concentrated with all of his might.

Amazingly his prayers seemed to work as the size of the energy field he was holding suddenly ballooned rapidly until it was almost doubly big as before. Jason blinked in astonishment, he had never produced an aura field this large before even on his best days. Even with all the training he had been doing with his Pokemon he shouldn’t have improved this much since he had left home.

“Huh, I chase after the strongest aura flame in the entire forest and who do I find but you Jase,” called out Katina as she walked into the clearing from the other end. “I seem to have a knack for unexpectedly finding you,” she said jokingly as she walked over and then knelt down beside him. Thought unspoken she understood the situation. “I haven’t trained, but I’ll try to lend you my strength,” she said as she laid a hand across Jason’s and he felt a surge of energy flow thought him and into the bug Pokemon reinvigorating it.

Moments later they were done as the Pokemon’s aura stabilized signalling that its life was no longer in danger and both Jason and Katina let out a long sigh, her hand staying over his for much longer then was strictly necessary as they stat their and relaxed in their victory over saving a life.

“So just what sort of creature have we found here today Jason?” asked Katina as if she instinctively knew her companion had the answer.

“It’s a Premisect, the legendary lord of bug type Pokemon,” explained Jason causing Katina to raise an eyebrow.

“Well then why don’t you catch it then while you’ve got the chance? I bet a legendary is even rarer than a shiny after all, you’d win the contest for sure,” she exclaimed jubilantly only for Jason to shake his head no.

“Premisect is supposed to be extinct. I don’t know how this one’s still around but if it is it’s likely vital to the eco system of the area. Some things are just better left untouched,” Jason said now that it was his turn to sound sagely for a once to which Katina nodded in understanding. “How about you?” he asked.

“Eh I already caught a Heracross I decided to name Fuka which means maple smell. I only came because my curiosity got the better of me again,” she remarked with a deep shrug.

“What are you a Purrloin?” Jason remarked comparing her to the infamous feline Pokemon causing them both to break into boisterous laughter as the sun began to set meaning that any hope Jason had for winning the contest or even catching a bug Pokemon for his team was now lost.

“You did the right thing,” said Katina as she helped Jason back up onto his feet before finally letting go of his hand which felt extra cold all of a sudden. For once Jason hadn’t minded being able to sense another person’s feelings so easily and felt a pang of longing as he slowly slipped his gloves back on.

“I only hope that that doing the right thing keeps being this easy,” Jason remarked. It was one thing to give up on the bug catching contest but what if he had to give up something bigger in order to perform his duty? Something like the grand festival in which so many of his hopes and dreams lay.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” replied Katina as if she could read his mind startling Jason. “Come on let’s go back and see who the winners are,” she said with a warm smile as she lead them unerringly back towards town.

***

As the pair exited the forest they found Brian waiting for them who immediately let off a low wolf whistle teasingly.

“Back from your date you two? What took you so long in there,” he said suggestively causing both Jason and Katina to blush deeply. What could they say without revealing the big secret they had found, if word got out about Premisect nobody would leave the poor thing alone and it would be hunted relentlessly until someone with far less scruples got their hands on it.

“Something like that,” Katina finally said boldly causing both the boys to drop their jaws in shock. “Just kidding,” she said sticking out her tongue leaving Brian shaking his head sadly. Clearly he still had work to do if he was planning on playing match maker like he had been hoping. Before he could get to work formulating a new plan of attack the judges began announcing the winners calling Maria to the front stage followed by two people Jason didn’t know.

“I didn’t get anything how about you?” asked Jason as they handed Maria the large fake check for show since the real one would be mailed to her later. Everything had been so quick since the Judges knew exactly which person had caught which Pokemon thanks to the various electronic devices every trainer carried on them.

“Go Zoran,” said Brian as he sent out a Flygon for Jason to admire, a calculating look in his eye as a devious idea came to his mind about how he could get his two friends to hook up, they would benefit from each others company so much that he just couldn’t resist.

“Looks like I win today’s match Jase. How about trying next time at the White star festival, you too Katina,” suggested Brian to which both nodded their accent since it sounded innocent enough. Brian grinned slyly as that would give him just enough time to get everything into place to play Luvdisc. The first step accomplished it was time to move onto phase two of his master plan. “Katina can I talk to you for a second,” he asked as he lead her away.

Feeling less ambivalent about his two friends spending time together Jason was standing idily by waiting for them to return when he heard cracking maniacal laughter fill the air. Turning towards the source he could almost swear he could spot Adam walking away with a freshly caught yellow and black stripped Pokeball in hand except that there was no way his somewhat uneasy rival would have at least stopped to say hello.

His mind drifting back to Premisect Jason hoped the lord of insects was doing alright and vowed to punch who ever had done that to the legendary if he ever caught them. It was one thing to try to catch a Pokemon but to injure it like that was beyond the pale and completely unforgivable in his book. Though he couldn’t quite put his finger on it, he felt like there was something much bigger going on here. With any luck he would get to the bottom of it before it was too late.

3D992
1st May 2012, 10:55 PM
Ok this is my favorite chapter yet! Why u no pm/vm me? I love the character developement going on here. Too bad Jason didnt catch anything... So is this Premisect a fakemon?

Stage On
1st May 2012, 11:12 PM
Ok this is my favorite chapter yet! Why u no pm/vm me? I love the character developement going on here. Too bad Jason didnt catch anything... So is this Premisect a fakemon?

I didn't pm you because I'm busy working on the next chapter even as I am now checking this thread to reference something. I actually finished 13 at like 3am last night but was too tired to post it until now.

As for Premisect with out giving too much away think ancient Genesect before being tampered with by science. So yes a fakemon, but not entirely pulled out of thin air either.

I based him off this
http://evan2011.deviantart.com/art/ancient-genesect-294473358

3D992
1st May 2012, 11:26 PM
I didn't pm you because I'm busy working on the next chapter even as I am now checking this thread to reference something. I actually finished 13 at like 3am last night but was too tired to post it until now.

As for Premisect with out giving too much away think ancient Genesect before being tampered with by science. So yes a fakemon, but not entirely pulled out of thin air either.

I based him off this
http://evan2011.deviantart.com/art/ancient-genesect-294473358

Ahhhh. I like.

Stage On
3rd May 2012, 3:09 AM
Chapter 14 – Birthday blues

October twenty fifth a slightly chilled fall breeze filled the air in Mauville City but Jason didn’t seem to mind as he stood outside the local Pokemon center training with his team. He was drawing some strange looks for walking around without a jacket but compared to the climate back home this cold was practically t-shirt and shorts weather.

It was true that he was training to get ready for a match against the local gym leader Telson but he was also training to try and distract himself from the crushing solitude that always accompanied him on his birthday. For as far back as he could recall he had seen other children on television having parties on their birthdays with large crowds on their cohorts in tow, something he had never experienced himself growing up.

Celestic Town was rural, a small village out in the middle of nowhere with no school. The only pier he had near his own had had been Brian who was only around during the summer and never the fall and his own family had been too busy with work and duty to ever truly mark the occasion other than giving him his yearly present which would without fail loop back towards his training in some fashion or other.

The only one who had ever treated him differently had been Uncle Riley who had spoiled Jason with toys and video games by mail much to his parent’s protests. Still even his Uncle couldn’t be around in person during those days leaving an empty loneliness behind for all these years.

“I was alone all those other birthday….why should this one be any different,” Jason muttered bitterly to himself as he sat down to watch and evaluate his Pokemon’s progress. At least he had made some more friends now which eased his heart a little but being a traveling trainer made meeting up with any of them problematic at best as they each traveled their own paths. He wondered if he’d even be able to see any of them in person before the white star festival in December.

Speaking of festivals Halloween would be coming up in a few days, at sixteen he was a little old to be considering trick or treating but then that was something else he had also never experienced before in his childhood and he figured he deserved to try and least once. The only problem was what sort of costume to wear.

Shaking his head trying to clear it Jason attempted once more to focus on something more productive by working on bringing his team to the next level so that he could finally catch up to the back he had been chasing for so long. Truthfully he should have taken on the third gym leader by now but because he had bungled the bug catching contest he was feeling extra cautious with only four team members to work with.

Kouken thought small in his Rilou form had just about everything he needed to succeed. Speed, power and a good move pool, there was no question that he was Jason’s strongest Pokemon and would be near perfectly trained as one could get except for one nagging flaw his crippling fear of fire. Together they had been working to overcome said fear and had managed to get to the point where Kouken would no longer freeze up at the mere sight of a flame but they still had a long way to go before he could battle a fire type effectively.

Next was Fuu and out of all of his Pokemon she was the one Jason was the worst worried about. After overcoming her confidence problems she had gone on to recover from a string of loses with a spectacular contest and gym victory even evolving in the process and gaining a long range move to round out her combat options. Other than upping her basic stats which Jason was planning to do for the entire team he would have been happy to simply figure out a way to teach her roost and calling it a day except for the nagging problem of how she was going to defend herself against electric types.

Thanks to steel wing she at least had some way to fight back against rock types but her only option if a move like thunderbolt was thrown her way was to try and dodge it which might not be good enough against a gym leader. If this match was three on three like that last couple had been Jason wasn’t going to have a choice but to use a Pokemon that had a severe disadvantage so he was going to have to work extra hard to overcome it.

Third on the line was Aoki who was young and impetuous, still unaware of his own limits. Being a grass type he would resist electrical attacks well which made him the centerpiece of Jason’s plan. All Aoki needed at the moment was to upgrade a few attacks, maybe trade absorb for mega drain or better yet Giga drain if he could get hold of the proper tm that and perhaps a timely evolution to boost his stats from simply strong to super.

Last but not least was Masamune who was sorely lacking in the moves department. Right now Jason was busy teaching him to use Aqua jet in order to increase his mobility but he was also hoping to teach his otter a non-water type move to replace tackle. Something with more oomph like revenge or slash. So far his biggest strength was that his scalchop if used properly could block electric type moves as proven when he had blocked a thunder punch from Brawly’s Medicham.

“Concentrate. Pool the water around your feet in a puddle to start then engulf yourself in it like a bubble. Think of it like directing the force of a water gun backwards for propulsion,” Jason explained as he coached his Oshawott, giving him tips on how to use Aqua jet after the first five tries had been less than successful.

“Osha, Oshawott,” agreed Masamune as he tumped his chest in acknowledgment as he opened his mouth letting water trickle out as he titled his head down slightly then let loose as the trickle became a raging brook around him before launching him to air and through a series of rings before he touched down on the opposite side of the field letting the jet stream splash harmlessly around him as it subsided.

“Alright perfect that’s the way to do it!” exclaimed Jason as he ran over to his Pokemon’s side who was panting lightly from exertion. “Ok we’ve been at this long enough, time for a break,” he said lightly as he took out Masamune’s Pokeball and recalled him before letting out a long sigh. He had put off opening the package that had arrived from home this morning long enough, it was time to get the inevitable over with.

Walking over to his backpack which was lying on a picnic bench at the side of the practice field Jason rummaged thought it extracting a medium sized wrapped box. Ripping thought the wrapping carelessly for keeping it persevered he tossed it aside and opened the lid to reveal a book with a tag on it indicating it was from his parents.

“Pokemon gyms for dummies,” he said reading the title out loud. “Gee thanks Dad I wonder how I ever managed to get two badges without this,” he said with a roll of the eyes as he casually tossed the book aside. If he needed advise about gym battles he’d ask Brain or Katina not consult some unless tome. Digging deeper into the box he found a couple Blu rays of the summers hottest movies that his Uncle had sent him.

“The Snorlax games, The Pokengers, The amazing Spinarak-man, The dark Gliscor returns and Pokangelion three point three three…” he said as he sorted through the pile. Too bad he had left his Pokestation three behind at home which meant he had no way of playing any of them, thought he had to admit it was a nice sentiment even if he had asked for Pokemon conquest to play on his 3ds instead.

Jason was about to put the movies back into the box to make them easier to store in an item capsule when he noticed that there was one more thing in the box, a small round package marked to be from his grandfather causing Jason to blink in surprise. His grandpa was out of touch with the modern world and so had always given him money in the past so that Jason could choose his own present. What could be so important that he would actually buy something?

Picking up the package Jason could tell it was a Pokeball of some sort from the weight even before he removed the wrapping only to gasp as the paper slid aside to reveal a ultra-rare purple Master ball with a small card attached which he hurried to read.

“Dear Jason, The master ball able to catch any Pokemon with one hundred present certainty is the ultimate tool in an aura guardian’s arsenal. There will come a day when you face a legendary Pokemon too strong to defeat conventionally. On that day I’m sure this will come in handy.

~ With love your Grandpa.”

“Thanks gramps,” said Jason a tear in his eye at being given such a precious gift. It was the first time someone had ever given him something related to his duty that was actual useful, well other than Kouken anyhow. Reverently he attached the master ball to his belt where he could quickly reach it if needed and then slowly stood up feeling better than he had when he had woken up this morning.

Feeling his stomach rumble Jason decided it was time to grab some lunch and headed towards the Pokemon center only to practically stumble straight into a courier making his exit as the electronic doors slide open. But rather than seem upset at the narrowly avoided collision the courier perked up at having almost literally run into his target.

“Ah just who I was looking for, I’ve got several packages for you Jason,” he said as he opened his messenger bag and quickly stuffed Jason’s arm with a small box containing several parcels inside of it. Mail for the traveling trainer was surprisingly simple. All they had to do was register a device, in this case Jason’s Poketch and anything send to them would be forwarded towards the nearest Pokemon center to the trainers gps signal for a nominal cost.

Jason blinked in surprise at the box in his hands, he had almost forgotten that he had given Brian and Adam his mailing address and Maria could easily have gotten hold of it from her call log. But even putting them together wasn’t their one present too many? Jason was just about to question the courier to ask him if there had been some mistake only to find that the mailman had vanished, likely back to his appointed route.

Finding a table to sit down at and ordering a small egg salad sandwhich and a slice of cheesecake as a treat Jason grinned as he placed the box down and dug out the first present which was from Brian who had always been a true friend through thick or thin even if they fought against each other in Pokemon battles frequently.

Even when they had been apart Brian had never failed to mail him a souvenir from his journey each year and seeing that he hadn’t forgotten to do so now brought a warm smile to Jason’s face. The present this time was small but to Jason it was worth its weight in gold as he removed the packaging to reveal a carton of pantoprazole magnesium tables for treating stomach conditions and a small note.

“Hey Jase I heard your acid reflux was acting up again. I came across this medicine in my travels and heard it was super effective against that sort of thing. Just take one a day when you wake up and you should be good to go.”

The thought of finally being free of the pain that occasionally racked him freely brought tears of joy to Jason’s face as he hugged the cartoon tightly. Before now the thought of being able to go an entire day without a shrug of white heat down his throat would have taken a miracle to accomplish and he couldn’t even begin to count the amount of tumbs he went through since the acid reducer pills he had been taking previously seemed to work intermittently at best.

Quickly whipping the tears from his face with his sleeve before the waitress could see them since that would be unmanly Jason moved onto the second present unwrapping it to reveal a rubber Torchic gag gift from Adam which Jason examined thoroughly perplexed by the joke.

“I don’t get it,” he finally admitted as it flopped about in his hands before he placed it aside and took another present that contained a Pokeblock case from Maria which was already full of Pokeblocks of various colours.

“I suppose I already gave you your present early this year with the contest pass, but I figured this would come in handy so I decided to give you a second present anyhow…” said the note in hastily scribbled hand writing which attested to the last minute nature of the gift, almost like she had been very reluctant to send it. Not that Jason minded considering how useful it would be for raising his Pokemon’s attributes.

Finally Jason was down to the last present, his heart beating nervously as he wondered just who could have sent it and why. Perhaps one of his teachers from the summer camp or even one of the gym leaders he had already faced thought he doubted it since something about this one seemed different, special even.

For the first time he removed the wrapping slowly taking great care not to tear it as he opened to package to reveal nothing but a simple birthday card with the distinctive edges of a tm sticking out ever so slightly from the side. Taking out the disk in order to get at the text written inside Jason gapped in amazement as he saw that the card had been signed by Katina of all people. But how had she gotten his mailing address when he hadn’t given it out to her yet…heck how did she even know it was his birthday?

Suddenly everything clicked into place as Jason recalled his friend Brian taking Katina to the side to talk at the end of the bugfest. The only logical explanation was that his best friend had given her the information at that moment considering how hard he had been teasing the two as a couple even if that was totally and utterly completely false.

“You sly dog you,” Jason chuckled in amusement as he scanned the card for more text only to find there was none beside Katina’s signature. Even so the fact that she had even thought to send something was enough to bring a light blush to his face. Out of all of his presents for some reason this one felt the most significant even though it really ought not to be.

Turning over the Tm he whistled lowly at the number he saw. Thirteen which in most regions other than Johto meant it was for ice beam which was widely considered to be an extremely useful attack. He almost couldn’t wait to teach it to Masamune if it wasn’t for the fact he really needed to eat first as news of increased Team plasma activity over in Unova in recent days filled the radio.

For the first time on his birthday he felt a little less lonely. Maybe his friends weren’t physically with him today but he could feel their warmth all around him making him feel better for the future. Who knew maybe at this rate next year he could have something resembling a proper birthday party after all.

3D992
3rd May 2012, 4:22 AM
My new favorite chapter! It was great, TnT. I didnt notice anything about it being small. I cant wait for the gym battle!

Stage On
3rd May 2012, 5:27 AM
Wow I wasn't expecting you to change favorite chapters so quickly. What part of this one made you like it so much?

3D992
3rd May 2012, 5:47 AM
The fact that his friends got him presents. Also I liked the backstory to it. His grampa and uncle sound like great people. Plus getting a masterball is pretty cool. I dunno... I just like it. I'll say it's a tie between chapters 13 and 14.

Stage On
4th May 2012, 4:22 AM
Chapter 15 – Steel Shock

The morning after Halloween found Jason still in costume from the night before as he made his way determinedly towards the Mauville City gym. A lollipop hanging loosely from his mouth as he practically skipped down the street for the sugar high he was on. He had never seen so much candy in one place until now and if it hadn’t been for an item capsule his backpack would be bursting from the seams from how much he had managed to collect in one evening.

Dressed in a blue tunic over a white shirt and pants with a red cape, he looked like a dashing prince from a fairytale. An outfit he fully intended to reuse for contest appearances down the road to make up for the cost of acquiring it. He probably should have changed but he had stayed out for as long as possible only turning in once people had started turning off their porch lamps which was much later than normal for him and now he just didn’t feel like it was worth the bother.

To be honest Jason wasn’t too thrilled about facing against an Electric gym leader with his current line up since two of his four Pokemon where weak against that type, but he couldn’t afford to stick around Mauville much longer if he was going to make the next contest in Fallarbor Town in time. He had tried a venturing out of the city a few times to look for a suitable match for the situation like a Geodude but had no luck and thus was going to have to hope that all the extra training he had done over the last couple weeks since the bug fest had been enough.

As he arrived at his destination at twenty one watt street Jason glanced at the building before him skeptically wondering if he had been given bad directions or taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. Featuring a statue of a giant robot in the front yard and with a maid café to the side of the main entrance it looked more like a heaven for otaku then a proper gym building. But then again the Dewford gym had been built out of a cave so who was he to judge.

Ignoring the maid café Jason walking through the main doors and nearly turned around at the site of crude humanoid sized robots lining the walls on both sides of the hall, each in its own small alcove when he spotted a gentleman installing a newer looking model into an empty niece.

“Excuse me if this the Mauville gym or the museum of robotics?” Jason asked feeling somewhat confused. The man caught sight of Jason’s expression and burst into friendly laughter.

“Why it’s both my good fellow, well sort of anyhow,” replied the brown haired man as he turned around. Looking like he was in his late twenties or early thirties his mustache and the scoped monocle he was wearing over his left eye made him look very distinguished. “You see building robots is sort of a hobby of mine. You could say this is a history of what I’ve accomplished so far,” he explained. Stepping away from the robot he was working on the man reached down whipped the grease off his hands with a rag he had stuffed into his vest pocket before offering his hand to Jason.

“The name is Tesla, engineer extraordinary and gym leader at your service.”

“Jason… err coordinator pleased to make your acquaintance,” replied Jason as he took to offered hand and gave it a firm shake before Tesla lead him further into the building, this time into a room with larger robots resembling the statue outside. “Um if you’re not too busy Tesla I was hoping for a match.” Jason asked

“Hum you don’t get many coordinators going after badges… intriguing,” muttered Tesla to himself. “Very well then, but first tell me what to you think of my life’s work.” he said as he waved a hand towards the robot at the center of the room. Standing at nearly twenty feet it towered over them like a silent monolith. “It’s over seventy five present complete. Once it’s done I’m hoping it will be the first in a long line protecting the people from legendary Pokemon,” said Tesla proudly.

“Isn’t that a job for Aura guardians?” Jason asked defensively not feeling very keen on the idea of a machine taking over for him.

“On the contrary,” said Telsa with a disapproving wag of his right index finger. “Yes aura guardians supposedly protect us but they are few and far between. Where were they when Groundon and Kyogre fought several years back? Or when the Sinnoh region was nearly destroyed by team galactic? There have been countless other similar incidents and the next time one occurs my Rx Megazord will be ready!” lectured the engineer passionately.

Jason had to admit the man had a point. Even working directly with the government there simply weren’t enough guardian’s around to deal with ever crisis. But even so he doubted this zord Telsa was working would be able to make a difference against a Titan class legendary like Regigigas let alone a deity class one. Plus it seemed unlikely that the facilities existed to mass produce it in any meaningful fashion.

“I guess it’d be interesting to see in action.” Jason confessed.

“All in good time my dear chap, all in good time,” said Telsa as he lead him even further into the building until they came to a large hanger where the floor had been converted into a battlefield which looked surprisingly normal considering all things considered. To two combatants took up sides on opposite ends of the field when suddenly to floor to the side slid apart with a loud wearing noise as a robotic version of Referee Julia rose into view.

“You modeled your battle judge after a person?” asked Jason feeling totally creeped out by the sight since you could tell it resembled the original quite closely except something felt just slightly off throwing it straight into the uncanny valley.

“Why not? Incidentally all the servers in my café are robots just like this one as well. It’s one way how I raise money to continue my research,” boasted Tesla making Jason wonder if the man was more of a mad scientist rather than an engineer.

“Beep, today’s challenge shall go by the standard three Pokemon format. You may begin when ready,” said robot Julia in a monotone voice that gave Jason the feeling that if a real Julia ever ran into this bootleg version, she would be less than flattered.

“Tradition dictates that I should go first. Very well then shock things up my RX1,” called out Tesla as he sent out a Magnemite causing Jason to break into a wide grin. He had been worried about which of his Pokemon to start with but that worry vanished the second Tesla had unveiled something with a secondary typing that played right into his hands.

“A electric/steel type huh? Perfect for my Rilou to mulch,” thought Jason to himself as he sent Kouken out. “Let’s ring his bell before he even know what hit him! Aura sphere,” he called out going for his starter Pokemon’s usual opening move. With a roar Kouken thrust his arm forward hurling a pulsing purple orb at the Magnemite’s cyclopean face.

“Dodge it with Magnate rise,” ordered Telsa as the as the red and blue tips at the end of the Magnet Pokemon’s appendages began to spark causing it to raise rapidly over the oncoming projectile which crashed harmlessly into the wall behind it. “Now RX1 make yourself harder to hit with Double team.”

“Magnamite.” The Pokemon seemed to whisper as it’s form began to blur and then suddenly there seemed to be ten of them flying around the room instead of just one. Each bobbing in different directions from up to down and left to right making it extremely hard to tell which was real and which was fake.

Closing his eyes for a brief second Jason reached out with his senses and found it almost instantly. A few weeks ago it would have taken him longer to pinpoint but he had been training vigorously since the bugfest making his senses sharper and more accurate.

“THERE,” he declared with as he pointed to one off to the left which Kouken quickly nailed with another Aura sphere which impacted with a hard tang against the metal surface of the Magnamite’s skin sending it reeling. Mangnamite spun around recovering quickly only to blink in surprise as Kouken blurred into sight directly in front of him using agility.
“Now finish it with Force palm.”

“Fight back with Thundershock,” the two Pokemone struck near simultaneously, a stream of chackling voltage engulfing Jason’s Rilou even as the Mangnamite was sent crashing to the ground by a powerful strike to its face.

“Beep. Magnamite is unable to battle. Will the gym leader please select his next Pokemon,” declared robo Julia.

“NO RX1,” cried out Tesla as he ran over to his fallen Pokemon’s side. “Don’t worry RX2 and I shall avenge your honor!” he declared as he returned it to its Pokeball before sending out a Magneton.

“Are you still good to go Kouken?” asked Jason concerned by how nasty the last strike had looked. In response Kouken seemed to silently nod and give the closest approximation of a thumbs up that he could manage. “Alright then try and recover some health with a Drain punch.” Jason ordered. Kouken grinned baring his teeth as he jumped forward his right fist glowing green only to hit air as the Magneton slipped to the side with surprising speed for something as large and heavy as it looked.

“Quick RX2 pound him with Thunder bolt,” directed Tesla. Furious sparks flew around the entire Magneton’s body as it converged around the bottom unit before surging outward in one big blast.

“Get out of there,” yelled Jason only for Kouken to drop to his knees as tiny jolts of energy flash around his legs. Jason swore as he realized that his Rilou must have been hit by paralysis as a side effect of the thunder shock. With no way to move out of the way in time his only choice was to attempt to defend or be hit by the full brunt of that attack crashing down on him.

“Aura shield,” Jason shouted desperately. After seeing Katina use Leaf storm in unexpected ways he had been working on creating variants for his own Pokemon’s moves and had successfully created the Aura bomb and the Aura burst. Theoretically Aura shield would protect the user against an attack but the move was still in development and uncompleted making using it risky but Jason saw little other choice.

Kouken trust his palms forward together so that they were facing the enemy, a white orb shimmering into existence in the space between his hands only for the bolt of electricity to lance straight through it, shattering it like it was tissue paper before slamming straight into Kouken’s chest sending him skidding across the floor before he slammed into the wall with a sick thund.

With a low moan Kouken struggled back onto his feet hurt but ready for round two until he fell to his knee a second time as the paralysis too effect once more. Jason cringed wanting nothing more than to pull out a paralyze heal out of his backpack expect for the fact that using an item like that would be against the rules for an official match.

“Kouken that’s enough don’t push yourself too hard for my sake,” Jason cried out as he whipped out a Pokeball returning his Rilou to it. “Good job taking one of them down. Leave the rest to us,” He whispered softly as he wondered which Pokemon to use next in this complicated situation. Normally Aoki would be ideal expect that Magnaton’s secondary steel type was resistant to grass attacks which meant it was time to take another risk.

“Go Masamune,” Jason called as he sent out his Oshawott. While Oshawott was weak to electricity at least his attacks would still do normal damage against Magnaton unlike Jason’s other Pokemon. His best chance now was to strike fast and strike hard before the foe could fight back.

“Close in using Aqua jet,” Jason ordered figuring that he’d he couldn’t use the long range water gun to minimalize the chance Oshawott’s own water would be used against it. Like a surging river Masamune’s rapidly pushed forward high into the air.

“Shut him down,” ordered Tesla as Magnaton spun it’s three sets of appendages around pointing all the tips at the bottom of the stream rather than the Oshawott himself since a moving target would be harder to hit then a still one, especially when a direct hit was unnecessary when the self-generated brook the Otter was in would conduct the electricity to everything inside of it.

A thousand watts of pure power surged from the tri magnet Pokemon towards the tributary only for Tesla to gasp in surprise as Masamune stopped using Aqua jet the force of his own momentum sending him flying from the water even as that same water was stunned into submission.

“Use razor shell repeatedly,” called out Jason insistently. As Masamune sailed through the air he seemed to reach for the scallop on his chest in slow motion only to draw in with blinding speed executing a series of quick slashes before slowly starting to sheath the shell as he fell past. The Magnaton hung it the air seemingly unharmed until Masamune finished sheathing with a loud thump of his chest sending the tri magnate crashing down to the ground with a loud thud.

“No RX2 don’t give up I believe in you,” cried out Tesla his please met with a crash of thunder as rain loudly began to pound on the hangers ceiling only for the sound to be drowned out by a loud buzzing sound as Magnaton slowly rose from the crater its eyes glowing ominously. “YES! RX2 execute maneuver delta!” sang out Tesla in joy at his Pokemon’s miraculous comeback and shot out another stream of energy only this time directly at its foe.

“Block it with your shell,” countered Jason as Masamune pulled the scallop from his chest once more holding it firmly like a shield and bracing himself as the energy lanced into the shell pushing him back several steps but otherwise doing no damage. Grinning fiercely Masamune surged forward with a second water jet before jumping out at the last second and slashing Magnaton across its center making it reel.

“Magna, Magna, Magna TON!” shouted out the tri magnet angered at how obstinate a mere water type was being. It had never battled one that hadn’t gone down to the first strike or two before and the fact this one had lasted this long was making its blood broil as it unleashed an indiscriminate attack sending jolts of lighting in every direction for a brief moment before the electricity turned around in mid arc and straight into its body engulfing it in a white light as it began to evolve into Magnezone.

“Oh Arceus,” swore Jason not believing how rotten his luck had been so far today knowing better than anyone how quickly a sudden evolution like that could turn the tide of battle. Still Masamune had been so close to winning maybe he could finish the job with just a little extra push. His first priority had to be to muck up his foes movements. If it had gotten any faster with evolution his aqua jet ditching technique wasn’t going to fly anymore.

“Lock it down with Ice beam,” he called out. Nodding Masamune opened his mouth forming a light blue ball of energy from which two strings began to spiral out of only to fizzle out a moment later causing Jason to blink in surprise. “It failed?” he asked aloud. Since when did a Tm taught move fail? But it was too late to try anything else as Magnezone finished forming and was pointing both of his magnate like hands into the air.

“Wha ha ha RX2 you’ve upgraded! Please show me your new power,” commanded Tesla. Magnazone didn’t have a mouth to grin from, but Jason could tell by the look in its eyes it would have if it could as it unleashed a torrent of electricity into the air with a loud clap of thunder sending it crashing down on his Oshawott who futilely tried to block with his shell only to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of voltage being thrown at him at once and shocked into unconsciousness.

“Beep, Oshawott is unable to battle. Will the challenger please send out his next Pokemon,” requested robo Julia causing Jason to break out in sweat. With Kouken suffering from Paralyses he might as well be down to his last Pokemon putting him at a big disadvantage since Tesla still had one fresh ready to go.

“No choice, go Aoki let’s turn this around,” said Jason determinedly as he sent out his Treecko while thinking quickly. There had to be something he could do to get around the fact that none of Aoki’s moves would put a dent in Magnazone’s defense. Suddenly a lightbulb went off in Jason’s head as he remembered an old trick he had done once before. “Can that thick hide of yours take a rain of bullet seed?” Jason taunted trying to lure the gym leader into his trap.

“Ha I bet my RX2 won’t even notice!” boasted Telsa as he took the bait.

“Do it like the first gym.” Jason ordered. With a knowing nod Aoki opened his mouth and began to spit a hail of seeds that all seemed to bounce harmlessly off the Magnazone’s undercarriage without doing much if any damage.

“With this next move your geeko will be finished!” bragged Tesla as he was about to order an attack.

“I wonder about that,” said Jason with a quite smirk as vines began to sprout around the Magnazone’s left limb growing at an unprecedented pace as they wound around and tangled up the large Pokemon causing it to lose stability and crash down onto the ground leaving it helpless.

“What that… how did you do that?” demanded Tesla.

“I had Aoki mix in a few Leech seeds with the Bullet seeds,” Jason explained mimicking Teslon’s finger wagging from earlier to drive the point home.

“Darn I can’t believe I overlooked that possibility,” said Tesla with a slap of his forhead. “Quickly RX2 free yourself with thunder,”The Magnazone sparked furiously as it tried to break the vines around it with a surge of energy but it seemed to be having little effect.

“Come on, you can do it!” cheered Tesla and Magnazone tried again with no success. “Curses, foiled by simple vegetation.” remarked Tesla as he recalled his Pokemon. “Now you face the wrath of my final if not strongest Pokemon Dg Alpha,” he laughed manically as he sent out a wimpy looking Electrike that whimpered at the sight of Jason’s Treeko.

“Hum perhaps I should spend less time building mecha and more time training my non mechanical Pokemon a bit more…” Tesla mused to himself as Aoki pounded the small dog into the ground with one swipe of his tail which brought a rather anticlimactic end to what had previously been such an intense battle.

“Beep, Electrike is unable to battle. The challenger is the winner,” declared robo Julia before she quickly slid into the floor and out of sight much to Jason’s relief. He’d had more than enough of robots just being in this building for a lifetime and couldn’t wait to get back outside.

“Well most don’t make it past RX2 to get to Dg Alpha anyhow so well done,” congratulated Tesla as he offered Jason Dynamo Badge. “Now that our business is concluded could I interest you in a quick tour of my maid cafe?” asked Telsa only to blink in mild surprise as Jason ran away screaming. “Why do they keep doing that?” He mused to himself with a shrug before heading back to work on his megazord.

3D992
8th May 2012, 6:40 PM
I read this a while back yet forgot to post anything. Interesting battle chapter... I liked how that guy named his pokemon RX1 and such. Him being a technition/inventor/whateveryoucallit dude was a good idea.

Stage On
9th May 2012, 5:21 AM
Chapter 16 – Rival rumble

The crisp autumn air felt unusual warm to Jason as he stood in the park located in the heart of Verdanturf Town quietly surveying his surroundings. It was almost as if a second summer had descended upon the quite burg and several families and a few young trainers had come out to enjoy the nice weather while it lasted, especially with winter just around the corner.

Normally after a gym battle like he had had yesterday Jason would be training to try and learn from any mistakes he had made such as refining Kouken’s Aura shield or trying to figure out the reason behind Masamune’s failure to launch a proper ice beam. Heck never mind that what he really should be working on his act for the upcoming forth contest.

But he couldn’t do either of those and still keep a proper eye on the small green hedgehog like creature that was curled up at his feet and snoozing after brining literally all of the flowers in the park to bloom. His mission today was simple, protect Shaymin. Despite this being little more than a gloried babysitting assignment Jason felt grateful to be on duty since it meant his ability’s as an aura guardian had been recognized even as just an apprentice.

Everything had happened so quickly, just this morning he had still been miles away in Mauville City and now he had purposely gone the totally wrong direction to reach his destination in Fallarbor Town, well unless one wanted to take the scenic route anyhow. Thinking back Jason started to recall the events that had brought him here.

***

That morning Jason had just sat down for breakfast at the Pokemon center’s mess hall when a somewhat pudgy man wearing a brown trench coat and grey fedora sat down across from him. The smell of coffee lingered about the mustached man as he took off his hat placing it on the table.

“Alright kid are you Jason? Aura guardian Jason” asked the man in a deep gravelly voice.

“What’s it to you?” asked Jason back cautiously. The man wasn’t giving him any bad vibes but all the same for all he knew he could be talking with an undercover Team rocket operative or worse. The man smirked, amused by Jason’s attitude as he flashed a police badge. “Ah my apologizes Inspector Ronald, what can I do for you?” asked Jason who severally doubted he was under arrest since he hadn’t broken any laws, at least not as far as he knew anyhow.

“I’ll cut straight to the chase kid. We’ve spotted a Shaymin over in Verdanturf rejuvenating the park. As a class 1 protected species we need someone qualified to watch over it until it can finish the job and rejoins its herd. Usually we’d dispatch a ranger to deal with something like this but their busy dealing with some team plasma nons0ense near Slateport. So I got smart and searched the database for active aura guardian’s in the area and came up with you. I’d rather not sent in someone who’s not fully fledged yet kid but bottom line you’re our only choice,” said the inspector with a long weary sigh.

“I’ll do it but I’m sixteen for crying out loud, stop calling me kid,” complained Jason.

“Kid, I’ll stop calling ya that once you’ve proven yourself to me not a second sooner,” drawled the inspector as he put his hat back on. “When you’ve finished your grub I’ve got an Officer Jenny outside on a motorcycle ready to drive you over to the scene. Just try not to screw up, I’ve got a lot riding on this,” said the inspector as he got up leaving Jason to his food.

“I swear I had enough of this team garbage with Mamga and Aqua back when I was just a constable. Bad enough team galaxy’s been making a comeback recently now I’ve got to deal with these hippies from plasma too. At this rate I’ll never make commissioner, well not unless me betting on the kid pays off anyhow,” thought the inspector to himself as he made his way back to headquarters.

***

Jason had never road a motorcycle before and had to admit that even sitting in the sidecar had been super exciting as the wind whipped past him. It was almost frightening to think what would have taken him day to walk had taken a mere hour by vehicle, even if they’d had to go way over the normal speed limit to achieve that.

“I have GOT to get me one of those.” Jason thought to himself. He was old enough to get a driver’s licence now after all and if he had something to actually drive to go with it he could from contest to contest so much quicker. Sure they were a bit pricy but even he’d be able to afford a low end one if he saved up a bit. With his allowance increased again after getting his third badge, he’d easily have enough by the time he won another badge or two or even just the next contest.

“Too bad this job doesn’t pay, but I suppose helping the world is its own reward," he thought to himself as he glanced down at the Shaymin as it yawned and stretched. With Jason watching the small creature near exclusively it almost seemed to the untrained eye like he wasn’t paying much attention to his surroundings when in fact he was monitoring the area with aura, this way he would feel trouble coming long before he could see it and it made good training as well. One day he’d be able to do this instinctively like breathing rather than having to concentrate.

So far everything had been peaceful. The only people in the area where having picnics and even Young Julia when she had shown up had been more interested in picking flowers then bothering the legendary Pokemon he was standing guard over. Just what sort of trouble did the Inspector think was coming to making this guard detail necessary?

Shaymin thought a legendary was hardly a power house in either of its forms so what did it matter if some trainer managed to catch it, still orders where orders and he was bound and determined to follow them. Jason’s eyes shoot up as he felt someone he knew enter the park. Glancing in that direction he spotted Adam walking calmly towards him, a deep frown on his friends face.

“Aw man I heard that there was a really cute Pokemon around and you’ve already caught it before I could get here!” complained Adam as he glanced from Jason to Shaymin and back.

“It’s not mine. It’s not anyone’s really,” replied Jason causing Adam’s frown to break into a grin.

“Great then I’m going to catch it. It’ll make the perfect present for her,” Adam muttered to himself as he sent out a Numel only for Jason to stand between him the two Pokemon.

“Hold on. Shaymin is a class one protected species. I’m under orders to not let anyone take it,” Jason said firmly as he flashed his apprentice aura guardian badge to show he was working with the law on this.

“Oh so that family job you mentioned was with the police huh,” Adam mused.

“Close enough anyhow.”

“Come on I looked this one up online. There are entire flocks of them around, surely it wouldn’t hurt to let me catch just one,” begged Adam as he hopped from foot to foot excitedly. Adam was right, Shaymin wasn’t so rare that a trainer catching one would be a big problem and part of him wanted to just let his friend take it since he knew it would be in good hands… but the Inspector had been counting on him and he really didn’t want to let the man down.

“If you find another one you’re more than welcome to try, this one’s off limits,” Jason said in what he felt was a reasonable compromise.

“It could take me months to find another one, I’d miss being able to give it to her during the festival,” Adam said with a deep pout.

“Her? Her who?” asked Jason curiously wondering just who Adam was planning to hand such an elusive Pokemon to.

“Oh I see how it is. You aren’t going to fool me that easily buddy. You’re just trying to trick me so that you can catch it and give it to her yourself!” exclaimed Adam who was beginning to sound a bit deranged.

“What are you talking about? The last thing I want to do is catch it since I don’t need another grass type on my team,” Jason said trying to calm his friend down.

“But she doesn’t does she. That’s what makes it the perfect present. Fight me for it!” Adam demanded insistently.

“Fight you? Don’t be ridiculous,” scoffed Jason.

“What are you afraid to lose?” taunted Adam making Jason’s blood boil.

“To you? Never,” Jason declared as he stepped forward reaching for Aoki’s Pokeball.

“Hold on we’re going to need a judge for this. Anyone volunteer?” asked Adam loudly causing the nearby Julia to drop the flowers she had been picking as she jumped up and down trying to get their attention.

“Oh pick me, pick me! I’m training to be a Referee just like all my sisters and cousins,” she exclaimed excitedly.

“Sure go ahead,” said Adam with a grin causing Jason to sigh. He felt self-conscious having one of his rivals judge his battle against another but it wasn’t like he had much choice.

“This will be a series of three one on one battles. Best two out of three wins begin,” declared Julia as she swept her left hand down like a flag.

“Go Quagmire,” called out Adam as he sent out a Marshtomp.

“This will be quick! Take the stage Aoki,” called out Jason as he sent out his Treecko who had a distinct advantage. The two Pokemon stood for a long moment staring each other down while they waited for their trainers to give them an order.

“We’ll show him Quagmire! Use muddy water.” ordered Adam. With a roar of determination brown liquid began to swirl around the Marshtomp’s body which surged forward in the form a cresting wave that threatened to drench everything in its path.

“Blow it away with special seed.” Jason said calmly having finally given his combo move a name. Aoki nodded inhaling deeply before opening his mouth and unleashing a torrent of seeds with a rat a tat tat sound. Jason’s breathe caught in his throat as the seeds splashed against the water with insufficient force to stop the oncoming tide as it crashed over Aoki sending him tumbling end over end before the wave subsided leaving the geeko in a puddle of mud as he angrily picked himself up the attack having done little damage.

Jason winced if that had been a contest such a blunder on his part would have cost him major points. But his wince quickly turned into a grin. The water hadn’t been enough to stop the momentum of all of the seeds and some had gotten through striking the Marshtomp hard knocking him over and engulfing him in fast sprouting roots which where pinning him to the ground.

“Marshtomp is unable to battle. Round one goes to Jason,” declared Julia.

“That was just a bad match up. This time you have to choose first.” Adam declared with a sneer.

“Fine return Aoki, go Masamune.” said Jason as he switched Pokemon sending out his Oshawott fully expecting Adam to retaliate with his Pichu Jewel. True he had picked Aoki for the type advantage but he had also been aiming towards giving him more experience towards evolving which is why he was picking Masamune now since Fuu couldn’t evolve anymore and he wasn’t quite sure how to trigger Kouken’s evolution only that his grandpa had told him that it would come when the time was right.

“Oh that’s an interesting Pokemon you’ve got there Jason. I’ve bread tons and never seen one like it before.” Adam complimented.

“I found him washed up. Don’t know where he came from to be honest.”

“I’m sure he’ll come in handy for the next gym what being fire type and all,” Adam commented helpfully. “But enough small talk go Fiesta.” he said as he sent out a Lombre which danced around excitedly.

“Hold on a sec, next gym?” asked Jason who was almost as confused by that comment as his rivals choice of Pokemon. Why had he picked an Grass/Water type over his more effective Electric one? But more importantly if what Adam had said was true then he was in trouble since Kouken was still afraid of fire and Aoki was weak to it leaving half his team ineffective.

“Sure I just got my third badge in Lavaridge and am heading down to Mauville. And you?” Adam shot back wondering if he had finally pulled ahead.

“I just got my third badge myself in Mauville… Listen when you take on the gym leader concentrate everything on his Magnezone, the rest are a pushover,” Jason said repaying his friends tip with an equally valuable one.

“Thanks for the heads up. Just like old times,” said Adam as he recalled how Jason had always thrown him advice during class.

“Would you guys quite chatting and get back to battling,” chided Julia who was getting board of the whole exchange.

“Fiesta water gun,” Adam ordered a wistful smile on his face. Lombre sucked in a lungful of air before exhaling a stream of high pressure water straight at Oshawott’s chest.

“Counter with ice beam,” called out Jason who was felling that the last failure had to be a fluke. Masamune’s jaw dropped open and it began to form a blue ball of energy between his teeth which wobbled unstably before vanishing with a loud pop as the stream of water struck Oshawott hard slamming him several feet across the ground. “Ok not a fluke,” thought Jason as he face palmed himself.

“Shower it with Razor leaf,” ordered Adam as Masamune started to pick himself up. With a happy dance Lombre waved his arms sending a flurry of leaves flying out towards the otter.

“Pick em off with water gun.” called out Jason. The two of them had run target practice together so that Masumune could rapid shot targets out of the air but even as he sent a pulse of water hitting one leaf and stopping it and then another and another there were simply too many leaves to stop them all using that method and the last several slammed into Oshawott in a row making him reel. For a moment Masamune stood still gritting his teeth as he hung on determined to continue the battle only for him to take a step forward and fall to his belly on the ground unconscious.

“Oshawott in unable to battle, the winner of the second round is err what was your name again?” asked Julia. She knew Jason from the contest she’d had with him before but she’d never met the other guy before.

“It’s Adam.”

“Right then the winner of the second round is Adam. Round three shall be the tie breaker. For fairness sake both trainers shall send out their last Pokemon at the same time,” declared Julia to which both boys nodded in assent. Now that it had come down to the wire there was no question what each of them would use. Adam was tempted to use his secret weapon but he knew it’d only work once so he had to make it count.

“Go Kouken.”

“Go Jewel.”

Jason blinked as Adam sent out his Pokemon. That was no Pichu but rather a Pikachu. Now that it had evolved battling it would be no joke. He cursed silently wishing he had time to finish up Aura shield but he knew from experience that as it stood electricity would go straight through it so he’d have to simply do without.

“Aura sphere,” he yelled out causing Adam to smirk since Jason almost always started with that move.

“So predictable counter with iron tail,” ordered Adam as Jewel leapt forward, his normally flexible tail becoming rigid as it spun around and smacked the purple orb Kouken had thrown at him hard sending the attack straight back at its source.

“Dodge it,” cried out Jason but it was too late as the aura sphere impacted hard against Kouken’s chest and exploded engulfing the Rilou in a cloud of black smoke obscuring him from sight.

“Clever little counter. Let’s see you do that for a move you haven’t seen before. Drain punch,” ordered Jason as Kouken emerged from the smoke his right paw glowing green as he smacked Jewel hard in the chest only for electricity to spark up his arm as Pikachu’s static ability took affect paralyzing him.

“Aw not again,” disclaimed Jason who was beginning to think he should teach someone on his team safeguard with how often Kouken seemed to be hit by that particular status condition. Just then Jason felt a cold drip of wetness against his shoulder and blinked as it began to rain lightly.

“It seems luck is on my side today,” said Adam who grinned wickedly at the change of weather. Jason’s eyes widended as he realized what his rival was about to do. “Jewel use thunder!” he exclaimed

“Dodge,” Jason started to say but it was too late as a crack of lightning like a divine hammer striking an anvil filled the air as Pikachu unleashed a bolt of pure voltage into the air which came crashing down on Rilou like a ton of bricks. When the fold of electricity subsided Kouken still stood there, his paw raised in a fighting position.

“Tough guy huh? Finish him with iron tail,” ordered Adam as his Pikachu leapt forward with his tail glowing white only for Jason to rush forward and intercept the blow with his right hand wincing in pain as the force of the blow pushed him backwards.

“Hey what are you doing interfering?” Adam cried out angrily only for Jason to shake his head sadly.

“It’s over already... Julia if you’d please,” said Jason causing the young girl to blink as she examined Kouken more closely only to gasp in shock.

“He’s unconscious on his feet. Rilou is unable to battle, Adam is the winner of the third round and with two out of three rounds the winner of the match,” she declared. “Well it’s been fun guys but I’ve got to go before I get soaked,” she said as she scoped up her flowers then dashed off.

“This doesn’t count, she isn’t here to see it,” Adam muttered out loud. He’d finally won a battle with his rival but it didn’t feel like a win for him without Maria around. Jason held out his right hand to shake forgetting the tear in his glove and Adam absently stepped forward to take it, the moment they made contact sending a surge of intense emotions into Jason causing him to gasp at the sheer amount of anger and jealousy directed towards him. Adam glanced at his rival sideways wondering what was wrong with him before turning towards where Shaymin had been only to gasp in surprise himself that it was gone having vanished from sight.

“Darn it where did it go?” he growled in frustration.

“Shaymin is the gratitude Pokémon, you’re feeling anything but scared it away,” Jason explained his mission completed successfully despite losing the battle.

“You, you cheated me,” snapped Adam angrily as he grabbed Jason’s collar pulling his friend close.

“Dude what’s your problem with me?” said Jason as he bushed Adam’s hand off. Sure he had won a few Pokemon battles before now but he hadn’t been a complete jerk about it so why was his friend so mad at him?

“Blind as ever huh Jason, fine in February they are going to bring the Don battle here to Hoenn for the first time at Lilycove City. Beat me there and I’ll explain everything to you,” declared Adam. If he could beat Jason there it would be televised for all the world and especially Maria to see.

“Why wait until February when we could face off at the White star festival instead?” asked Jason causing Adam to burst into dark laughter.

“That’s an event for couples you jerk are you trying to rub it in?” He spat out before running away leaving Jason more confused than ever.

“Couples?” he echoed. If it was about couples then what did Brian have planned inviting him and Katina together. Even worse what did Julia who was six years his junior have in mind when she’d brought the event up in the first place. “I hope she’s not expecting me to go with her,” he thought feeling more than a little icky at the idea.

3D992
9th May 2012, 6:28 AM
Great! I'm glad Jason finally got to do some real aura guardian stuff. Plus I like shaymin so I really liked this chapter. I sure hope Jason beats the crud out of Adam at this Don George tournament.

Stage On
12th May 2012, 5:36 AM
Chapter 17 – Desert Danger

Even for mid-afternoon Jason couldn’t believe how ungodly hot it felt as he crouched in the shadow of a large sand dune with a pair of binoculars in hand. Even though he was doing his level best to avoid exposure to direct sunlight he could feel the heat rolling around him, but thankfully it was a dry heat not a humid one which was the only thing keeping it bearable to him, if only just.

Glancing over the edge he scanned the horizon with the binoculars for a few minutes before letting out a silent curse. Tossing the binoculars aside in frustration he allowed himself to slide down the dune and back to the protective tarp he had set up earlier at the base. It wasn’t quite the best location for a day camp but then he wasn’t exactly used to making camps in such a dry sandy environment either so it would have to do.

The reason he was here was fairly simple. To get to Lavaridge quickly from Verdanturf he had decided to take a short cut straight through the desert on route one hundred and eleven that most trainers chose to go around instead. Though admittedly he had another motive to go through the desert other than just to save time since he hoping to use the heat to help get ready for his upcoming gym battle in more ways than one.

With a grass type in his Treecko Aoki and his Rilou Kouken afraid of flames half his team would be near worthless against a fire type gym leader like the one that supposedly resided in Lavaridge according to Adam. Well at least if he could trust the info Adam had given him, but the way Adam had been acting lately Jason wasn’t quite so sure he could take his friendly rival at his word. Assuming it was true however he really needed to shore up his team since his Oshawott and Swellow weren’t going to be able to win the expected three on three alone.

In any case Jason’s logic on looking in the desert was a simple one. Surely something that was adept at living in heat like this would have to be useful against fire right? Usually one would expect to find several ground types like Sandshrew or Hippopotas in the desert but so far all he’d spotted had been Cacnea which were less than useless for his needs since Jason didn’t want to double up on any type he already had until he had at least one of each type first to cover all his bases.

“Why is it that I always seem to have such terrible luck when looking for wild Pokemon?” Jason muttered to himself tiredly as he settled down to wait for nightfall. If things continued at this rate he wasn’t going to be able to catch anything before he reached the gym and be forced to wing it or worse skip over it in order to reach the deadline to register for the next contest. Jason sighed. No sense worrying about that bridge until he had to cross it. For now he should concentrate on things he could change such as training with his Pokemon.

“Come on out Kouken, Masamune,” called out Jason as he sent out his Rilou and Oshawott so that the appeared beside him underneath the tarp. It was too hot for most conventional training but that didn’t mean other methods wouldn’t work. “Kouken please keep up your image training, I know you can overcome your fear if you work hard enough,” Jason said trying to sound encouraging even well he knew that was something easier said than done.

“To be honest I might need you for the next gym but it’s a fire type one so I’ll understand if you don’t want to,” admitted Jason reluctantly. He didn’t want to give up but at the same time the last thing he wanted was to force one of his Pokemon to fight against its will. Suddenly Jason’s mind snapped back to reality as he felt a reassuring pat on his shoulder as Kouken grinned at him and gave him a thumbs up. Jason grinned back before Kouken sat down cross legged. Leaving his Rilou to its mediation he turned to Masamune next.

“Ok we’ve had Ice beam fail to fire on us twice now. Let’s try to figure this out before it happens a third time during battle,” he said to which Masamune nodded in agreement. “Alright first let’s start by firing one that way” Jason declared pointing out the front flap. Masamune responded by opening his mouth and forming a blue ball of energy between the gap. Twin tendrils of energy began to shot out from the ball only for the entire thing to fizzle out before the tendrils could reach even two inches.

“Just like before… Try it again only slower. Maybe I’ll be able to see what’s causing the failure point that way,” Jason mused. Masamune nodded then closed his mouth and opened it only this time instead of a ball appearing it started as a tiny dot of energy which was quickly joined by more and more dots until it formed into an orb only for the orb to crack and shatter just as it looked like it would succeed.

“Hum,” said Jason as he observed the orbs collapse. “Not unlike when an aura sphere falls apart.” He muttered to himself before turning to more fully face his Oshawott. “I have a theory. Sometimes when projecting energy some points on a person’s body work better than on another’s. For example I can project aura from my right hand better then with my left but my dad is the opposite,” he explained making sure not to talk too fast for his Pokemon to understand.

“This doesn’t just apply to people but to Pokemon as well. Just because one launches a Hyper beam with its hands doesn’t mean another won’t from its mouth. Now obviously being a water type you’re used to projecting orally with moves like water gun but what if you tried a different method like emitting the beam from your hands,” Jason suggested.

Masaume glanced down at his paws as he contemplated the idea before thumping his chest loudly and nodding his agreement. Streching out his arms he closed his eyes concentrating causing blue energy to flare to life around his fingers.

“Wow that actually feels chilly,” commented Jason as the energy lanced outwards from each hand as two lines that ended up intersecting with each other and spiraling into one coherent beam that shot out through the tent flap and into the hazy desert. “Finally some air conditioning,” joked Jason with a nod of approval as he chipped off a piece of ice and popped it into his mouth.

“Perfect. With some practice I bet you’ll be able to fire it with only one hand instead of both, and it’ll sure be easier to combine with other moves this way. Almost makes me wonder what would happen if we tried to project aqua jet from your feet but it’d be a pretty bad idea to try that right in the middle of the desert where you need to converse your water not waste it wantonly,” Jason said wistfully. “Ok good work rest for now, I’ve got to think what to whip up everyone for dinner,” he added as he returned Masaume to his Pokeball.

Woop woop woop. The sound of a helicopter filled the air catching Jason’s attention. Wondering who could be passing through he picked himself up dashing outside and picking up his dropped Binoculars and turning them towards the source of the noise only to nearly drop them a second later from shock.

“Is that smoke?” he asked himself rhetorically as he watched a black spiral rise from rear rotor as the helicopter zigged and zagged erratically through the sky before abruptly dropping from view behind a far off dune. Jason wondered if it was ok before the sand beneath him shock for a brief moment followed by a large plume of smoke rose from near where the airborne transport had vanished from sight.

“Shoot, better go check for survivors,” Jason cursed as he quickly ripped the tarp out of the ground and hastily wrapped it around himself to use as a makeshift cloak. “Come on Kouken we’ve got a rescues mission,” Jason declared as he headed off in the direction of the crash site.

Fortunately for him just because something sometimes looked far away in a desert didn’t always actually mean it was far away and about half an hour later he came across the twisted and smoldering wreckage of the helicopters fuselage. Jason was beginning to fear the worst as he drew closer only to breathe a sigh of relief as he noticed the cockpit was relatively intact. Glancing through the cracked glass on the door he could see someone, likely the pilot wearing something that looked like greyish white armor making them seem as if they had come straight from out of a renaissance fare.

“It’s locked,” Jason said with a frown as he tried to pry open the door with little success. “Kouken a hand please,” he asked as he stepped back out of the way allowing Kouken to waltz up to the door and rip it straight out of its hinges with one yank. Holding the door as if it he barely noticed it’s weight Kouken casually tossed it aside then slashed apart the harness holding the Pilot in place allowing Jason to pull him from out of the wreckage.

“He’s alive but hurt, hopefully nothing my first aid can’t handle before we can get him to a hospital,” Jason said as he appraised the crash victim while Kouken combed the site for more survivors. Looking up Jason spotted his Rilou waving him over. “What’s up found another one?” he started to ask only to switch to a curse.

“By Groudon!” Jason exclaimed as he spotted the large sandstorm on the horizon rapidly heading their way. “Not much time until it hits, we need to seek shelter now or we’re sunk,” he thought to himself. But where would be safe to hide in the middle of the open desert? Certainty not the helicopter wreckage whose sheer weight was already beginning to sink into the dune it had crashed onto and they would only get buried or blow away if he tried to set up his tarp again.

Reaching out with his aura Jason could sense a nearby cave opening. Figuring it was his safest bet he grabbed the man by the shoulders and hefted him up, surprised by how light he was for someone who appeared to be between there eighteens or twenties. It seemed that though the pilots clothing wasn’t the armor it had first appeared to be otherwise Jason would never have been able to heft the man by himself. Dashing towards the cave with the sand rapidly closing in behind him the trio managed to slip into the entrance just in time as the roar wind washed past them.

“That was too close,” commented Jason to himself as he gently knelt down and leaned the man against the wall of the cave for support. “Not a big cave but better than nothing in a pinch,” he thought as he examined the man’s clothing’s once more looking for something like a pocket that would hold a wallet and id or perhaps a pair of dog tags. Better to be safe than sorry depending on what type of medicine he’d have to administer. It’d be awfully stupid if he’d saved the man from the crash only to doom him because of an allergy reaction.

Finding nothing but a stylized P shield symbol on the man’s chest as identification Jason sighed then went to work applying bandages hoping for the best. With any luck he’d be able to get some answers once the man regained consciousness. Finishing his treatment shortly later Jason sat back leaning against the opposite wall as he waited impatiently for the sandstorm to pass. The longer he had to wait the longer it would take to get the man proper medical attention since Jason could do little more than basic field dressings.

Awhile later the man gave off a groan as his eyes slowly fluttered open and took in his savior. Blinking in confusion the man looked around him apprising his surroundings a fugitive look in his eyes as if he was back at base or worse behind bars.

“What, what happened?” the man croaked out, his voice hoarse as Jason opened up a catena of water and poured some into a cup before handing it to the man to sip.

“Your Helicopter crashed and I pulled you out before a sandstorm hit. Mind telling me what went wrong with your ride?” Jason asked curiously as the man drank the water greedily then held cup out for more.

“Wrong? More like what went right,” The man said with a bitter laugh. “My team and I where on a mission for Scientist Dudley to bring a specimen back for study but apparently the place we needed to go is off limits most of the year and the police came down on us like an iron hammer. We tried to get away but I think one of Jenny’s dogs tagged my bird with a flamethrower or something since I started experiencing trouble soon after takeoff,” said the man who seemed relieved to confess to someone.

“Team? You mean like Team rocket or Team Galactic?” asked Jason who’d heard of their nafiarious deeds on the television.

“No Plasma. Team Plasma,” insisted the man.

“Weren’t they the ones Inspector Ron said where causing trouble near Slateport?” thought Jason. “Never heard of em,” he replied only partly playing dumb since other that that one mention he really didn’t know the first thing about them.

“I’m not surprised we’re only a small pokelanthropic outfit in Unova at the moment,” the man commented.

“Really, and what would a group of pokemon lovers be doing getting on the wrong side of the law?” Jason asked.

“Whatever it takes to liberate Pokemon from Humans hands and keep them that way. Pokemon are majestic creatures that belong in the wild , their natural environment not battling for our enjoyment or being reduced to pets,” ranted the man.

“Says a guy wearing a couple Pokeballs on his belt,” replied Jason pointing out the man’s hypocrisy.

“A small price to pay to insure the purity of Pokemon and my children,” the man said with a scoff.

“Look don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Pokemon rights and stuff. If I saw someone mistreating one I’d probably punch the guy in the face. But the average person treats them with love and respect so I don’t see what taking Pokemon away from them would accomplish,” Jason said trying to reason with the man.

“It’s ok you’re too young to fully understand yet,” the man said with a kind smile. “Maybe Lord N could explain better, I’m sure if you talked with him you’d want to join our cause,” he said with a sense of absolute certainty.

“Maybe, but I doubt I’d make a very good aura guardian working by myself. At the very least I certainly couldn’t have saved you without some help from Kouken here,” Jason said as he indicated his Rilou.

“A guardian? A hero here in Hoenn… Lord N has been looking for one like himself, but we though he was the last of their kind,” the man whispered reverently.

“Well I am still in training,” Jason admitted sheepishly only for his eyes to widen in shock as he noticed sand had begun to pile around his feet. Looking to the entrance he cursed as he noticed the sandstorm was getting so bad that the cave was slowly begging to fill in threatening to suffocate them if they didn’t leave.

“Leave me hero. By yourself you might still stand a chance,” implored the man as he grabbed Jason’s arm weakly.

“After I did all that work to save you? Not a chance,” said Jason as he stood and faced the entrance. “Let’s hope those signs I saw at the entrance where true.” He thought to himself. “Kouken with me, On my mark,” Jason added as he cupped his hands and began to form an aura sphere the size of a small baseball. “3… 2… 1… Mark,” Jason called out as he hurled the sphere out into the storm while his Rilou copied him by throwing a much bigger one.

Several minutes passed as the cave continued to fill with sand causing the man to grown. “Nothing is happening. Please go quickly! Lord N would never forgive me if I lead a guardian to his doom,” the man pleaded.

“Nothing?” commented Jason. “I won’t be so sure about that,” slowly the sound of a buddhist like chant could be heard over the hallowing of the wind as the sand around the entrance parted to reveal two lines of tiny humanoid statues there closed eyelids glowing with psychic power holding the storm at bay. There must have been hundreds maybe even thousands of the things as the line stretched for miles as far as the eye could see.

“Dogu?” asked the man confusing the creatures from the statues from Japanese history.

“No wild Baltoy. By request of the Rangers they patrol the desert helping out people in danger. They must have sense our distress signal,” Jason explained as he lead the man down the line of sentient statues

“People and Wild Pokemon working together, Have we been wrong all along?” the man muttered to himself as the world seemed to blur around them. One moment they were in the desert and the next they found themselves at the edge of Lavaridge the line of Baltoy gone with one lone exception that lead them to the hospital.

“My Lord N…So much to report,” muttered the man deliriously to himself as a doctor lowered him into a wheelchair.

“Tell this lord of yours that I’d very much like to speak to him If I ever come to Unova,” said Jason as they wheeled the man away. He frowned having a bad feeling about this Team plasma from his experience well intentioned extremists where rarely a good thing. If they ever crossed the line it might be up to a guardian like him to stop them. Turning to go to the Pokemon center Jason was surprised that the lone Baltoy was still following him.

“Well I was looking for a ground type,” He thought to himself with a grin. “Hey you,” he called out trying to get the creatures attention. “Yes you,” he said as it looked over at him. “I challenge you,” he finished as the creatures eyelids blinked to life in silent acknowledgement. “Go Masamune time to show em our moves,” called Jason as he sent out his Oshawott. Masamune grinned at the sight of the Boltoy and thumbed his chest three times in rapid succession from right hand to left hand and back to right again pumping himself up for battle. “Right nail him with Water gun,” ordered Jason causing Masamune to spurt like a water pistol.

“Bal-toy” said the statue Pokemon in a monotone voice as it began to spin around like a living top the momtum of its spin causing the water to mostly splash off in random directions on contact rather than deal a direct hit.

“Ooh, rapid spin nice. Now I want you even more! Stop it in its tracks with ice beam,” called out Jason. Trusting his arms forward Masamune threw out a ray of blue light that cut through the warm air like a lance striking the spinning Boltoy in the side making ice form around him as he spun causing him to quickly grind to a halt from the added weight.

“Perfect execution,” praised Jason. “Now finish the job with water gun,” But instead of opening his mouth like Jason had expended him to Masamun held out his hands. “He’s changing the focus point,” Jason exclaimed as a pool of water dripped out from between the Oshawott’s fingers forming into a sphere which he quickly tossed overhead like a baseball at the Boltoy’s chest where it impacted with a loud bang sending the statue crashing to the ground.

“Ha you used my lessor to learn water pulse wicked,” Jason declared as he took out a Pokeball and threw it at the Baltoy. With a whoosh the statue was sucked into the device which fell to the ground and shock for several tense seconds before a loud beep confirmed that it had been caught. Now Jason had the perfect weapon to use against the fire gym and for future contests.

“Welcome to the team Daichi,” declared Jason as he held the Pokeball up high reveling in his victory.

3D992
12th May 2012, 6:43 AM
Ok, I noticed a few comma errors but otherwise its good. When I heard the word 'armor' I immediately thought "Team plasma!" and I was right. I never played the hoenn games so I know nothing of the geography. Oh, and yay for a baltoy! I like those little topps. I wonder how you'll depict N...

Stage On
15th May 2012, 3:50 AM
Chapter 18 – Fire fight

“Tonight on the evening news, the lead story on Mars industry’s new delta class space shuttle only on Vulpix twenty four,” said a commercial on the television in the Pokemon centers lounge as Jason went over his Team one last time trying to decide one and for all who to use in the upcoming gym battle. He was expecting the format to be three on three so both Masamune and Daichi where a shoe in since they were both super effective against fire types leaving the last slot open to dispute.

Dare he risk using Kouken who was afraid of fire but training hard to overcome said fear or stick with the safer option of using Fuu? It could very well be the final push Kouken needed to push his burden aside one and for all but it could also backfire on him costing him the battle and unlike in Dewford he didn’t have time to stick around and train for a rematch.

Suddenly Jason perked up as he sensed a known energy signature close at hand as the doors to the Pokemon center slid open and Katina walked in. His passive sensing range was nowhere near his active one but it was nice to see that it improving over time from his training since only a few short weeks ago he might not have noticed that his friend was around even after she entered the room.

“Oh hey Jason, did you see the great contest yesterday?” Katina asked in a friendly tone at which Jason noticed that she now had three ribbons tied to the right side of her purple tank top were as last time he’d seen her she’d only had two.

“There was a contest yesterday?” Jason asked in shock wondering how he hadn’t heard about this information sooner. If he hadn’t been busy dealing with Shaymin earlier he might have made it here to register in time or failing that if he hadn’t had to deal with that smuck from Team plasma he would have at least been able to watch in in person.

Lord knew what he could learn just from watching the more experienced Katina in action from the sidelines considering how much he had already picked up from her during the match in the first contest. He never would have come up with the idea to develop the still in progress Aura shield if he hadn’t seen her Serperior Aina using leaf storm in such an unexpected manor.

“Yep, you missed me beating the pants off some Julia kid,” Katina said with a light laugh. “Tough I have to admit she put up quite a fight. I haven’t lost that many points in one match since my second year back in Johto,” she added wistfully with more than a little admiration in her voice causing the blood to drain from Jason’s face at the thought of the two girls teaming up for the doubles league.

“I’ve got to improve more and fast,” He thought to himself as he shoot to his feet determined to whip the floor with this gym leader quickly and then move on to the next contest so that he could catch up to the number of ribbons Katina as soon as possible. He was about to excuse himself when he stopped the question he had been asking himself unexpectedly bubbling up to his lips.

“Katina what do you do when you’re not sure which of your Pokemon to use in a match?” Jason asked, feeling somewhat surprised by the words that had come out of his mouth. He hadn’t been intending to ask her for advice so why had he? Katina paused considering the question carefully for a long moment before finally answering.

“Whenever I’m really really not sure I default to my starter Pokemon. Remember that your starter Pokemon has was your first and been with you the longest, your bonds together stronger than any steel it will often go above and beyond to help you achieve your goal,” Katina explained. “But remember not to become over reliant on them. Default to your starter too much and your other Pokemon will never prosper and grow like they would have otherwise stunting their potential,” she added cautioning tone.

Jason nodded as he mulled over her advice taking the words to heart before glancing at the clock cursing lightly in his mind as he realized that he was running late for his appointment.

“Sorry gotta run, thanks for the guidance,” he said as he took off at a run dashing through the doors and heading across the street to a wooden building that looked like it was part of a hot springs resort which he supposed it probably was on the side given that the other gyms he had run into on this region each ran its own business during the off hours between challenges to generate income.

“Hum I wonder what sort of business Brian plans to run once he opens up his own gym,” Jason thought idly to himself as he entered the building to find a young crimson haired woman in her mid-twenties waiting for him impatiently with her hands on her yukata covered hips.

“Don’t you know you’re not supposed to keep a lady waiting?” the woman said jokingly as she lead Jason down a long hall way to an courtyard battlefield. But rather than a standard flat plane this one had a large bowl like depression strewn with boulders in the center. “The name is Flannery and I’m expecting a white hot battle from you challenger Jason,” she said as she read off his name from a small appointment book she had mysteriously pulled from out of her sleeve. Flannery clapping her hands lightly and an adult Julia appeared wearing a similar yukata as the gym leader rather than the standard battle judge uniform as she took her customary spot at the side of the battle field.

“This will be a four on four match with only the challenger allowed to substitute,” explained referee Julia causing Jason to wince. All this time he had been getting ready for a three on three and now they’d had to break the pattern on him. Still he had been training with Masamune rather extensively for the upcoming contest so hopefully he would be able to pull some extra weight for the rest of the team.

“Let’s start with a warm up, go Slugma,” called out Flannery as she sent out a red creature that resembled a living blob of lava.

“If it’s a warm up you want then I’ll go with you Daichi,” called out Jason as he sent out his Baltoy only to blink in surprised and confusion as Flannery burst out laughing.

“Dai for great and chi for earth or for wisdom that’s clever,” Flannery snickered out as she whipped a tear from her eyes from laughing so hard.

“I’ll show you clever, go Daichi use mud-slap,” ordered Jason causing the statue Pokemon to dig its hands into the ground and pull up to clumps of dirt that it tossed at the living blob.

“Too slow,” laughed Flannery as the Slugma effortlessly jumped and weaved out of the way of the attack without even needing to be ordered to dodge. For something with slug in its name it was surprisingly agile. “Hammer it with Flamethrower,” She ordered as the blob opened its mouth unleashing a great gush of flames which bored down on the living statue at high speed.

“Defend with rapid spin,” countered Jason as his Pokemon began to twirl around almost as it was dancing, the speed of its rotation causing the fire to splash harmlessly off in five different directions one of which splashed near Jason who was trying his best not to flinch away as the attack died off as the Slugma paused to catch its breath.

“Now’s your chance Daichi, use ancient power,” called out Jason. Baltoy’s eyes blinked red in acknowledgement as it held out its hands as his entire body began to glow with a bright white light almost forcing the humans in the room to shield their eyes as the radiance flowed down the statues body pooling into a large silver of energy that it promptly hurled at its foe.

The sliver ball crashed into the lava blood with a loud bang sending the creature flying into the far wall of the courtyard with a sick splosh like sound resembling jello hitting the floor after it had been dropped. A thin trail of smoke issued from Baltoy’s hands as it hovered in the air waiting for his next order as the ref ran over to the blob to check on it before shaking her head no.

“Slugma is unable to battle," referee Julia declared.

“Wow now that was quite an eruption of power,” declared Flannery who was practically purring in joy as she returned her Pokemon to its Pokeball. “Speaking of eruptions what do you think of this one?” She said as she sent out a large red turtle like Pokemon that breathed smoke out of its nostrils then stomped its foot in a challenge to Boltoy.

“With a shell like that I bet its defence is high. I better close in before attacking if I want to damage it,” thought Jason to himself. “Alright Daichi get in there and use ancient power again,” He called out causing his Satatue Pokemon to rush forward like a bullet train, its body glowing white as it prepared to fire off another shot only to suddenly veer off and crash into a nearby bolder.

“What the!” exclaimed Jason in shock.

“Aw darn,” Flannery sighed in disappointment. “Those Baltoy sure pack a lot of punch but their bodies are too small to contain much energy so they usually don’t last long,” she explained as Daichi’s eyes blinked rapidly on and off like a low power indicator on a battery.

“Darn I had no idea you had a time limit like that,” commented Jason as he recalled his Pokemon. “Still you took at least one of them down so good job. Masamune can take the rest from here,” Jason said confidently as he sent out his Oshawott.

“You aren’t about to put a dampener on this battle! Sunny day,” declared Flannery as her Torkoal began to stomp its feet rapidly as it danced around for a few seconds causing the clouds overhead to part aside letting more sunlight stream into the court yard.

“Darn,” thought Jason with a scowl. He hadn’t been expecting a weather manipulating move like that but he should have been since it would reduce the base power of all water attacks by fifty present while in affect. Flannery was a gym leader, of course she would take measures like this to compensate for her Pokemon’s weakness.

As Torkoal stomped once more in defiance Jason couldn’t fail to note how low to the ground the turtle Pokemon was as it stood at the bottom of the bowl like depression giving him an idea of how to take it on since brute force seemed ill advised.

“Masamune use aqua jet to climb into the sky,” Jason called out. His Oshawott grinned as water surged around his body launching him several feet into the air before he suddenly cut off the move launching him out of the self-propelled stream and into an flying arc high above the creator.

“Great now use Water Pulse combined with Ice beam repeatedly,” Jason shouted. Holding out a hand Masamune formed a sphere of water with it then blasted it was a lance of blue energy with the other turning it into a miniature iceburg which he tossed down at the Torkoal before throwing another and another. Because he was throwing the attacks as fast as he could Masamune was sacrificing speed for accuracy and none of the icicle boulders struck the mark as they fell harmlessly around the Torkoal.

“Trying to pin us in are you? Clever, but not clever enough. Torkoal blast your way to freedom with overheat,” ordered Flannery with a sweep of her arms.

Blasting smoke from his nostrils in reply as the red spots on its shell began to glow brightly before it opened its mouth emitting a brilliant white flame with a secondary reddish orange flame spiraling around it, the sheer effort of this move generating a large plume of smoke from its back as the flames struck the ice around it melting it effortlessly only for Jason to grin in response.

Torkoal’s overheat was indeed very hot but not hot enough to transform solid ice to steam instantly. One moment the Turtle had been standing on dry land and the next it found itself drowning as the melted ice turned the depression into the ground into a small hot spring.

“Dang didn’t expect that,” exclaimed Flannery as Torkoal flailed around helplessly in the water forcing her to recall it since it had no way of extracting itself as Masumune touched down gently on the edge of the pool side.

“This is getting interesting Jason. Now I’m really fired up!” Flannery exclaimed as she took out a premier ball. “I had this one specially imported from Sinnoh for me. I’m sure he’ll give you a warm reception,” she joked as she sent out a Monferno. The small monkey like Pokemon hoped up and down on one of the boulders inside the pool excitedly at being called upon and Jason grinned at the sight. There were several Pokemon in Hoenn he knew very little about, but he knew plenty about Monferno like the fact that it was a fire/fighting type.

“Return Masumune take a rest, this is a job for Fuu,” Jason said confidently as he switched out to his Swellow who folded in one wing and took a bow before assuming a fighting stance.

“Ooh, aiming for the secondary type weakness eh? Will it be enough?” taunted Flannery.

“We’ll just have to see about that. Fuu quick attack,” ordered Jason causing the large bird to dart forward like a high speed arrow only for the monkey Pokemon to suddenly dig a hole into the ground and dive down it at the last moment causing Fuu to swoop harmlessly past.

“Where did it go?” thought Jason as his eyes swept over the battle field only to widen as he sensed where the fire monkey had gone. “Behind you…”’ he started to say as Fuu began to whirl around but it was too late as the Monferno burst out of the ground and decked the bird in the chest with a mighty sky upper cut making the Swellow reel.

“Now use dig again before it can recover,” ordered Flannery.

“Stop it with arial ace,” cried out Jason. Snapping open her eyes Swellow performed a upside down loop slamming into the Monkey’s chest peak first just as it was about to dive back into the hole it had popped out from sending it flying high into the air.

“Now finish it with air slash,” shouted Jason excitedly as Fuu flapped her mighty wings sending a series of shuriken like projectiles flying into the monkey’s body enveloping it in smoke as they impacted with a series of hard thuds. A moment later the Monferno fell to the ground, it’s eyes swirling as it let out a low moan.

“Monferno is unable to battle. The gym leader is down to her last Pokemon.”

“Wow that was scorching. Let’s see if I can turn this around with a blaze. Go Magcargo,” Flannery said as she sent out something that looked similar to the first Pokemon see had sent out, only this blob had a hard rocky shell on its back.

“Hum… the evolved form of Slumga huh? Not sure what it can do so I better approach it cautiously.” Jason thought. “Alright Fuu bombard it with air slash,” he advised. Fuu pulled back her wings to launch a second assault only for Flannery to grin.

“You’ve never seen a Magcargo before have you? Let me introduce you with a Rock slide,” she ordered as the fire slug’s shell began to glow before suddenly several rocks formed around it and shot out towards Swellow ripping straight through the wind made shrunken like they were wet tissue paper before crashing into the bird sending it crashing out of the sky.

“Swellow is unable to battle,” called out the Referee making Jason snap his thumb in mild disappointment. Still he had to admit Fuu’s downfall had given him valuable information about the enemies typing since now he knew for sure that Magcargo was part rock type rather than simply suspecting it based on its looks.

“Easy pickings,” he muttered to himself as he sent out Masamune once more sure that the water type would make short work of anything four times weak to it only to blink in surprise that the Magcargo had vanished. Jason looked to the left then the right before looking up in confusion finding nothing in either direction and it certainly couldn’t have dived into the hot springs.

“Where did it go?” he thought to himself as suddenly the Magcargo’s head popped up from the hole Monferno had dug.

“Solar beam,” called out Flannery with a knowning grin as Magcargo popped open its mouth and unleashed an intense laser without any prior charge up thanks to the effects of sunny day.

“Slash it with Freeze Blade,” called out Jason as Masamune grabbed hold of his scallop and swung it hard frost spewing from it as he combined Razor shell and ice beam and swung out cleaving the beam of light in two even as the beam pushed him several feet back scorching him heavily. Masamune thumped his chest in triumph at having overcome the enemies attack as he sheathed his sword in preparation for a quick draw and glared out at the Magcargo which stuck out it’s toung defiantly before vanishing back into the hole.

“I don’t think so case it out with Water pulse,” ordered Jason as Masamune stood over the hole and tossed a throbbing orb of water down the crevice only for nothing to happen moments later when Jason had been expecting the slug to have been blasted out the other side.

“There have been countless holes dug here by Pokemon in the past. I never did bother to fill them all in,” Flannery taunted. Realizing that the Slug could pop up from an unexpected place Jason cursed knowing that his Oshawott would be unable to take another ponding like before.

“Quick dive into the water,” he ordered. If Flannery’s Pokemon could hide underground then he would have his hide under the water. The minutes ticked by as the two trainers stared off knowing they were in a stalemate where the first to make a move would likely be the first to go down. Jason glanced up at the sky and grinned. If he could just hold out a little longer until sunny day wore of then he would be able to strike far faster than the Magcago could charge up another solar beam.

Suddenly Masamune bopped up to the surface, his eyes spinning as he pulled himself up onto a rock and out of the water causing Jason to blink in surprise only for his eyes to widen in revelation as he realized that his Oshawott was used to cold water not hot and had gotten light headed from prolonged exposure to the hot springs the same way that a human would have.

“Solar beam,” said Flannery as she realized what was going on at the same time as Jason and moved quickly to take advantage as Magcargo unleashed another laser that shot into the Oshawott hard sending him tumbling end over end into the nearby foliage at the end of the courtyard.

“Oshawott is unable to battle, the challenger is down to his last Pokemon,” declared referee Julia making Jason break out into a nervous sweet. He had been counting on Masamune to carry the rest of the battle and now he had to make an impossible choice on which of his two Pokemon to use.

Aoki would work well against Magcargo’s secondary rock type but was in turn weak to Magcargo’s primary fire typing. Kouken on the other hand would have been perfectly suited for the situation except for the fact he might freeze up in fear. If this had been the start of the battle it would have been worth the risk since he would have had other Pokemon to fall back on but now it was all or nothing. Undecided Katina’s words abruptly echoed in his head.

“If you’re not sure default to your starter Pokemon,”

“Right here goes nothing. You can do it Kouken,” said Jason trying to project a confidence he didn’t truly feel as he sent out his Rilou who flinched at the sight of the fire Pokemon sticking its head out of the ground. But then Kouken gritted his teeth and pulled himself into a fighting stance.

“Well it’ been fun Jason but things just aren’t hot enough anymore to hold my attention. Let’s finish this Magcargo,” Flannery said with a yawn as the slug Pokemon launched another Solar beam before Kouken had a chance to close in on it.

“Block it with Aura shield.” Jason said. He’d had a chance to tinker on the move it since it had failed in the last gym battle and this time he was sure it would work. Well mostly sure anyhow as Kouken held his hands out plams flat towards the enemy as he formed an Aura sphere between them catching the beam and causing it to splash harmlessly off the energy field as it splintered into a rainbow of seven colored light that would have scored Jason high marks if this had been a contest.

“Now Kouken counter attack,” Jason started to say as the solar beam died off but the Magcargo had already dived back into the hole. “You can run but you can’t hide,” Jason remarked as Kouken closed his eyes sensing for the enemy’s position before ramming the aura sphere he was holding into the ground causing it to crack and split apart revealing a very startled Magcargo.

“Ho, maybe I was wrong about this battle cooling down after all,” remarked Flannery in amusement as Kouken began to rush forward so that he could begin to unleash a can of woop *** on his foe. “Flamethrower,” she snapped out

Recovering from being uncovered Magcargo’s head whirled towards the Rilou as he opened his mouth and spat out a torrent of flames. Kouken’s eyes widened in panic as he aborted his attack run and quickly rolled to the side as the flames shot past barely missing hitting his shoulder by a mere centimeter. Pulling himself up to his feet Kouken winced and hit his head with his right paw cursing himself for his weakness as his foe quickly slimmed its way out of the crater and onto the edge of the poolside.

Jason frowned thinking quickly. The longer this fight went on the less Kouken would be able to keep a lid on his fear increasing the chances he would freeze up at a critical moment. But no matter how hard he struck it would be hard to overcome that sheer defense unless. Noticing how closely the Magcargo was to the hot springs Jason smirked as he came up with an idea.

“Agility,” He called out as Kouken blurred and began to rush forward jumping out of the way of another flamethrower as he closed the distance between the two Pokemon until they were only a scant meter apart.

“Now use Aura sphere to propel yourself,” called out Jason. Gasping in surprise as he realized what his trainer was asking Kouken grinned as he whirled around and tossed an aura sphere directly into the ground in front of him then riding the shockwave as it exploded rocketing into the Magcargo with a flying body check that send both Pokemon tumbling into the drink.

A moment later Kouken jumped out of the hot spring landing on the water’s surface and balancing on one foot on as he raised his hands and other legs in an attack stance waiting for his foe to surface but it proved unnecessary that the Magcargo splashed about helplessly unable to swim just like the Torkoal had been before it.

“Magcargo is unable to battle, the challenger wins the match,” declared referee Julia as Flannery recalled her Pokemon with a sigh before breaking into a wide grin.

“You really got me by making good use of the battle field around you. The way you battle…you’d make a pretty good coordinator Jason,” complimented Flannery as she tossed him a Heat badge.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Jason joked back as he grabbed hold of the badge and held it tightly knowing that it meant another bump in his budget and a step closer to getting the Motorcycle he had been thinking off since Offer Jenny had given him a ride to Verdanturf. Perhaps he ought to offer Katina a ride to thank her once he got it to thank her since it had been her advice that had enabled his win.

With his business in Lavaridge concluded Jason figured it was time to hit to road one more and make his way to Fallarbor Town. He had his forth contest to participate in and a ribbon to win if he was going to keep moving along he chosen path and catch up to the back he was chasing. Failure was not an option.

Skiyomi
16th May 2012, 9:38 PM
Hey there, I'm here for the review game and if you don't mind I'll give you my impression of my reading up through chapter 2.

First off, I noticed that a lot of this could use some revision on the technical side. I saw a lot of typos that could be taken out, but the thing that caught my eye the most was the improper use of capitalization and punctuation of dialogue tags. I think other people would've pointed this out to you by now, but yet I also see on a quick skim that these problems have continued through your most current chapter. I'll try to give you a bit of a primer on this based on the mistakes I saw:


“Err, You’re welcome… I guess?” He stuttered out awkwardly before the two of them quickly broke out into laughter together.

Correction: “Err, You’re welcome… I guess?” he stuttered out awkwardly before the two of them quickly broke out into laughter together.

Treat exclaimation points and question marks like commas if you're using them with a dialogue tag afterward. Technically the sentence hasn't ended since you're adding a "he said/she said" on the end, so the first letter shouldn't be capitalized.


“This will be a one on one Pokemon battle, begin.” declared Maria with a dramatic sweep of her arm downwards mimicking the wave of a checkered flag at the beginning of a race.

Correction: “This will be a one on one Pokemon battle, begin,” declared Maria with a dramatic sweep of her arm downwards mimicking the wave of a checkered flag at the beginning of a race.

You need a comma instead of a period at the end of this line of dialogue. You're added a he said/she said bit, so the sentence hasn't really ended.

Honestly, I see you doing this right sometimes and wrong other times. Perhaps it's just an inconsistency that requires revision.

You've added some really good description details in this piece, particularly in the prologue. I'll admit that occasionally I thought the description was a little heavy-handed, but I see your dilemma. You want us to be able to visualize these characters as quickly as possible, but I think it's more effective if you sort of slip the details in with our food, so to speak, instead of plopping them on us all at once. You do a good job with this during Jason's part of the prologue since you never stop the narrative to give a description. You couch the description amongst the movement of the scene, so it never feels static. You don't say "his jacket was red" you say "his red jacket fluttering slightly in the breeze as he appraised the fancy looking structure before him" and that's much more poignant and memorable as an image. I suppose my main problem is, even though you're using good action verbs, the description feels a little clumped at some points--particularly with Maria's description.

In general, I suppose my main complaint about what I've read so far is that it tells where it should be showing. Jason's backstory is delivered in exposition dumps instead of teased out slowly and in the moment. The same thing can be said about the summer camp--these are two weeks that form our main characters' initial reactions and relationship toward each other and we mostly get it in summary, not scene, which makes their relationships feel more artificially constructed to the reader. I think Maria makes up the prime example. You were doing a good job with her in the prologue where we were mostly getting at her character just through dialogue. The reader could see a nice rapport between her and Jason over their shared interests. However, we skip pretty quickly to them having become close and her having developed a crush on him. This probably doesn't happen too fast for them as characters since they have two weeks to get to know each other, but it happens too fast for the readers since they don't get to see that crucial development. I'm sure their relationship will get deeper as the story progresses, but I feel like we've missed that important first step.

I like a lot of the details you add about the characters. The one that jumps to my mind is Jason's acid reflux. It makes the character feel much more well-rounded. Also, I have acid reflux so it creates relatability (at least for me).

It really seems like you enjoy writing battles and that makes sense for a detail and description oriented writer such as yourself. I can feel that creativity and that relish for the battle scene in your work, and that's very important given the kind of story you seem to be trying to write here. Me, I'm one of those writers who's well aware that her Pokemon fics are short on battles. I don't like writing them, but it seems like a different story for you, so that's good.

With all that said, I have to be honest that I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to continue onward from here. Part of this is just a matter of my preferences, and I'm not a huge fan of journey-based fics. But the inconsistencies in punctuation are also a deterring factor. I know it seems like a small thing, but observing proper conventions in writing makes your work more reader-friendly, so I definitely think it's worth it to implement the correct conventions in your future writing and to revise your previous chapters.

I hope that was helpful, and I wish you all the luck in the world as you continue this story.

Stage On
17th May 2012, 4:41 AM
Well that's certainly a lot to chew on, thank you.

I've been trying hard on the punctuation thing but going back to fix it I was surprised by just how much I missed especially in earlier chapters. Gosh darn myself thought the auto fix in word isn't doing me much favors either.

Out of all you said that was the easiest thing to incorporate and I've gone through and fixed all 18 chapters fixing a couple of other minor spelling errors well I was at it.

The rest, well that's going to require some thought and reflection.

Balancing description can be hard, and I'm still working on how to not be crumpled at times like you said or too heavy handed at others.

If there is one thing I really regret about the early part of my story is how quickly I skipped over the summer camp/school. That happened because originally I planned on doing only 26 episodes and later changed to 40. But it's a bit late to do much about it now that I'm about half way thought already so I'm not really sure what can be done about it other then flashback or maybe a prequel.

I'm glad you like the details and quirks I'm trying to give the characters. I feel that helps make them feel more real to have at some minor flaws and problems like that. Especially when it can even effect the story and isn't just for flavor.

It's funny because I'm worried my battle scenes aren't dynamic enough and that I'm reusing some things in them too much. I'm really glad you like them so far :)
I'm not sure you're going to read more but I hope that the contest appeals are good as well since those are even more important then most of the battles given what the story is about.

Anyhow I took a lot of notes from what you've said Skiyomi and I'll be dwelling on it for quite a while. Thank you very much again and I really hope you'll decide to read more. I'm trying really hard not to be just a typical journey fic

3D992
18th May 2012, 5:19 PM
I'm glad kouken got over his fear of fire. Or atleast in this battle. I've been busy lately cause of summer so I havent been on a lot.

Stage On
19th May 2012, 7:12 AM
Chapter 19: Ribbon duel

It was late November by the time the day for the contest in Fallarbor Town rolled around but thankfully due to his speed running in Lavaridge Jason had arrived over a week early with plenty of time to spare, time which he had divided between training his team and helping the local farmers bring in the last harvest earning him some extra cash and a few berries for his troubles.

Jason was wondering what to do his new found stash of fruit before it spoiled as he wandered into the contest hall bright and early. At this early in the morning the hall was mostly deserted other than a secretary running the front desk and a janitor cleaning up. Spotting the local berry bender which was usually swarmed by people Jason grinned as he got an idea.

He’d always wanted to try making his own Pokeblocks but had never had the opportunity until now. Putting down his backpack he pulled out a capsule that produced small basket full of berries and began feeding them into the blender one by one until he had put in one of each of the seven types he had on hand. Sitrus, Nanab, Magost, Occa, Ganlon, Starf and Enigma.

Jason crackled feeling like an alchemist as the blender whirled to life reducing the berries into mush before a few moments later sucking the mush away with a loud slurp. Moments later several golden coloured cubes clattered down the dispenser and Jason picked one up admiring his handy work.

“Gold huh, I wonder if that means it’s good,” he thought to himself as he summoned Masamune and tossed the block to it. Glancing at the strange treat inquisitively the Oshawott finally shrugged then popped the cube into its mouth then broke into a pleased smile as it brought its hands up to face and danced around in joy from the flavor. Feeling like his experiment had been a success Jason went over the front desk to pick up a registration form only for his smile to quickly turn to a frown as he quickly read over it.

“I have to use a different Pokemon from the appeal and battle round?” he read aloud with a deep sigh as he glanced over at Masamune. He had prossmed the otter he would use it for this contest but he had been hoping to use it for both rounds not just one which meant the rest of his team didn’t have much new skits ready to show off for the battle round, but he supposed he’d have to improvise a little.

Sending out his entire team he began to appraise them trying to decide who would make the best fit for the job. First his eyes went over his Baltoy and he shook his head negatively. He had only had Daichi for a short while now and still didn’t feel like he had a good grasp on the statue’s time limit. It would be disastrous if it ran out of energy in the middle of a match.

Next his eyes fell over his Swellow and he paused to seriously consider it. He had used Fuu in the last contest but that was when she had still been a Taillow. Still she only had one new move that he didn’t really have any combinations for yet so of he used her again now would that be too much of the same flavor?

Finally his eyes fell on his Treecko and Jason broke into a grin. Aoki had taken part in the appeal round in the last contest but not the battle round which meant nobody had seen his special seed combo yet which made him an ideal choice. Jason was just about to pen in Aoki’s name when the small grass Pokemon began to glow with a bright light, its form swiftly growing and changing as it evolved into a Grovyle but instead of being happy Jason nearly had a conniption fit at the sight. He’d been hoping to evolve Masamune and Treecko but it’s timing couldn’t be worse since now it’s move set and timing might be altered and Jason didn’t have time to adjust to the new rhythm.

“Shoot what do I do now?” though Jason to himself as he gripped his head in panic his heart racing as he tried to think of some cleaver way out of this situation he had gotten himself into when he recalled Katina’s advice to him once more, just like the last time he had been in trouble.

“If you’re not sure, default to your starter Pokemon,”

Taking a deep breath trying to calm himself down Jason glanced down at Kouken as he considered if that really was such a good idea at this time. Despite Kouken’s performance in the last gym battle, or perhaps because of it Jason wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to battle with him yet while his fear of fire still lingered.

He had seen how Kouken had reacted to that flamethrower. If it hadn’t been for the advantage in terrain he would have likely lost the match. But what would he do in the grand festival when the terrain would be neutral without a convenient pool to throw a foe into, or what if he went up against something that wasn’t a fire type but used a fire type move anyhow? If he didn’t overcome this problem it could mean the end for him professionally in the long run.

But at the same time this was the last contest in the area before the holiday season during which most of the halls would be closed. If he didn’t do something now it would be his last chance until early next year. If he waited that long he might never make it to the grand festival. What a joke would he be than if he made it to one stage at the Pokemon league but not the one he truly wanted in his heart.

“Right let’s do this.” Jason said determinedly as he scribbled down Koukens name onto the form for the battle round then handed it in to the secretary. If he was going to make his dream come true then he was going to have to grab the future with his own two hands. He felt like he was close to making a big break though, that just one more push would enable him to reach the next level where if he wouldn’t be outright able to beat his more advanced rivals like Brian and Katina that at least he’d be able to put up a good fight against them.

Fully registered now Jason started heading to the men’s locker room to get changed when his Poketch began to ring, emitting the tune of best wishs letting him know that someone was trying to call him. Brining the wrist watch like device to up to his face he clicked it answering the call.

“Hello Jason here,” he said with a wide smile as Maria’s face popped up on the screen. From the Picture he could tell she was calling using her Pokenav and not one of the phones at a Pokemon center.

“Hey Jason did you manage to make it to Fallarbor in time?” asked Maria her voice filled with concern.

“Sure did, I just finish registering now,” Jason replied with a wide grin. “Are you going to watch?” He asked, feeling like he would be able to perform better if he knew a friend was watching.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” replied Maria with an equally wide grin. “I won’t keep you waiting then good luck,” she said as she hung up and slipped her Pokenav into a pocket on her skirt then looked up at the contest hall before her, the same one she had just confirmed that Jason was inside. This was going to be fun.

***

“Would the next contestant please take the stage,” called out the commentator.

“That’s my cue,” thought Jason as he jumped out from behind the curtain and tossed out a Pokeball that seemed to explode in a shower of fireworks as Masamune emerged and struck a pose holding out arms to left so that they were hiding his eyes from the audience then bringing them down so that one was held out to the side while the other was gripping the hilt of his scallop.

“Aqua jet into the air,” called out Jason causing Masamune to grin as water pooled around his feet sending him surging several feet, only jumping out of the stream just as it seemed he was going to strike the ceiling. “Now ice beam then follow with razor shell,” ordered Jason
Reaching out his free arm Masamune emitted a beam of light from it that spun like a cork as it flew through the air and struck the pillar of water head on freezing it solid in the blink of an eye as the otters momentum cut out causing him to begin to fall. As he reached the ice he drew his scallop slashing at stupendous speeds then sheathing it again.

To the untrained eye it would look like he had only slashed once, but in actuality he had slashed many times in that one moment. As he landed he sheathed the scallop on his chest then raised his left arm to cover his eyes again. For a long moment time seemed to stretch as nothing happened then suddenly with a loud crack the ice pillar fell apart revealing a sculpture of the legendary Pokemon Ho-oh that sparkled and shined as the spotlights refracted off it turning into the second colors of the rainbow making it almost seem for a moment that it had come to life.

The crowd erupted into a wild applause and Jason knew that in that moment he had them in the palm of his hands, with a reaction like that advancement into the battle round was all but assured. The only real question now was who would he face in that round? Usually by this point in the contest he could tell who his main rival would be but so far nobody else had really stood out during their appeal and there wasn’t many people left to go since the random order had put him near the very end.

Jason had just gotten into the shared waiting room and was about to see down when what he saw on the screen had him nearly fall over in shock as Maria waltzed onto the stage clutching a black and green dusk ball tightly in hand as the lights around her winked out as per her request drenching her in darkness.

“What the heck is she doing here?” he thought as a singular glowing eye appeared in the inky darkness hovering spookily over his friend. With woosh several small blue fire balls burst into existence around the creature which only served to highlight the horror effect Maria must have been going for as several audience members screamed out in a mix of fear and delight like one would often hear at visiting a haunted house at an amusement park.

It was the best performance Jason had seen from her yet, a dramatic improvement over what he had seen at the academy and he had to admit he admired her for how she wasn’t taking the easy route out and not using her shiny Scyther which who’s appearance alone would have been basically a free pass to the battle round. But all the same hadn’t they agreed not to face off against each other until the grand festival?

It would have been one thing to register for the same contest by mistake but the fact that she had called him meant she knew exactly which contest he had booked and had registered for the same one deliberately. But what was her motive for doing so? Did she simply want better competition or did she have some other reason to be here. It seemed like he would have a chance to get the answer to that question as Maria walked into the room having just finished her performance.

“Maria what were you thinking coming here what about our agreement?” asked Jason causing her to breakout in a smirk.

“What afraid of losing to a girl?” she asked teasingly as she brushed past him and then ducked into the woman’s locker room before Jason could have a chance to give her a proper reply.

“No afraid of what will happen if I win.” Jason muttered to himself with a sigh. When he had met her confidence for being able to do well in contests was a mess and it had taken a lot of prep talk to build it up again to the point she had even been willing to try taking contests again. Would her confidence shatter again if he beat her?

Besides she had told him once the reason behind her trying to get to the grand festival, so that she could get the funding she needed to open her private Pokemon clinic. She didn’t have to actually win the festival, just getting to it alone would be enough and part of the reason he hadn’t wanted to fight her was that there were only a limited number of ribbons to go around, fighting each other over them constantly would only be counterproductive.

In the end it was a good thing that they hadn’t ended up traveling together since that would have only bogged them down since they’d have to aim for the same ribbon every time instead of hopefully just this one time. Still what would happen if he beat her now and she didn’t make it to the grand festival did he really have in in his heart to be the one to crush her dream?

And yet if he held anything back, didn’t give the battle round everything he had how would Maria feel? They two of them where too even in skill for her not to notice something was off and knowing her she would be probably be quite pissed at such a chauvinistic gesture, her pride wounded at being looked down upon.

Jason’s train of thought came to a halt as he realized for the first time how Brian must have felt every time they had fought each other so many years ago, why he had never once held back or loosened up because to do so would be an insult to the one he was facing. Closing his right hand into a fist Jason glared in the direction of the gir’ls locker room. If Maria had chosen to enter this contest in order to fight him, then it was a fight he was going to give one hundred present too.

***

Jason grinned as he blew his opponent’s Clefairy away in the first strike. One aura sphere straight to the chest and it was down and out, the match over as quickly as it had begun. Three minutes later where he heard Maria had won her match as well he simply nodded knowingly. To him that outcome had been obvious from the start. The moment that he and his friend had both entered this hall they had been destined to fight each other.

“In the red corner the fresh meat that broke a prodigies streak Jason,” rhymed the commentator as Jason walked to his end of the state waving and bowing to the crowd along the way.

“And in the blue corner another rookie looking to get the ribbon cookie I give you Maria,” called out the commentator causing the audience to grown at his awful joke as Maria walked from behind the stage and over to her end of the ring.

“Alright folks this is it the final match, let get ready to rumble!” exclaimed the commentator as both contestants drew their Pokeballs.

“Go Kouken take the stage,” called out Jason as he went first sending out his Rilou.

“Go Nova explode onto the scene,” cried Maria as she sent out a Torchic causing Jason to curse since it seemed he wasn’t the only one who had fallen back on his starter Pokemon. Of all the Pokemon he knew Maria had this had to be the worst possible choice for him to go up against as Kouken flinched slightly at the sight of the fire type, a detail the commentator didn’t fail to miss.

“What’s this a knew we had a chicken on stage but I’d never guess it’d be the Rilou,” said the commentator with a cruel laugh.

“Never mind him, we’ll pluck her feathers with a bullet punch,” called out Jason as he did the unexpected by ordering a move that wasn’t very effective. Kouken hesitated for a split second and then obeyed swinging his fist forward with a loud crack as a shot fired from the back of his paw and flew across the stage like a bolt of lightning striking the small fire bird in the head before it could blink causing it to spin around in place.

Maria frowned deeply as Nova quickly recovered footing and glared across the stage, the blow hadn’t done much damage physically but it had taken a nice chuck out of her point count. It made it feel like this was going to be a tough match and that thought made her frown turned to a grin as she relished the challenge.

“Fight back with peck attack,” Maria called out. Nova jumped forward her tiny legs propelling her at surprising speed as she attempted to close in, her beak glowing white with power.

“Push it back with force palm,” Jason ordered as Kouken trust an arm out his longer reach allowing him to strike the bird in the chest long before the Torchic had a chance of reaching him. Nova stumbled back several steps and Maria’s points took another hit.

“Fine if I can’t get close then I’ll fight from a distance, Nova use flamethrower,” Maria exclaimed as her Torchic took a deep breath then blew out a flood of flames from its open beak that rushed towards the Rilou.

“Dodge it,” Jason called out only to curse as Kouken freeze up in fear as the fire descended upon him. It was too late to get out of the way now but that didn’t mean Jason didn’t have other options. “Aura shield,” he barked out in his most commanding voice causing Kouken to reflexively form an aura sphere in his hands that collided directly with the fire causing the stream to split into several smaller rivers that flowed around him.

Kouken trembled at the sheer amount of fire that was blowing past him, the aura sphere he was holding wavering slightly as Jason’s points began to slowly but surely drain away. His Pokemon wasn’t taking much if any damage but at the same time his defence was inelegant at best and looked like it might crumble at a moment’s notice, especially as Kouken closed his eyes trying desperately to escape.

“Things are really heating up for Jason and his Rilou. Will he be able to pull out of the frying pan in time?” said the commentator with a jeer just as everything seemed lost.

“Kouken don’t give up. You beat a Magcargo for crying out loud surely you can overcome this,” cried out Jason who was trying his best to encourage his Pokemon. Hearing his trainers voice Kouken’s eyes snapped open as he glared across at the Torchic in determination.

Unexpectedly Kouken’s entire body erupted in a white light as his form shot up and expanded growing several feet so to point the tip of his ears came up to Jason’s shoulders as he evolved from a Rilou to a Lucario. Kouken grinned fiercely as the aura sphere in his hands stopped wavering then pulsed outwards blowing the flames away in an instant with his newfound power.

“Now Kouken Aura sphere and make it extra flashy,” shouted out Jason with a huge grin on his face as Kouken dropped the aura sphere he had been holding and then kicked it like it was a soccer ball sending it spinning across the field and impacting into Nova with a loud explosion that send the small chicken flying out the ring disqualifying it.

Kouken stood their staring at his paws which much larger then before and seemed to be overflowing with aura. Evolving made he fell like he had been reborn and more importantly he was no longer afraid of fire despite being weaker to it now then he had been in his previous form. He knew in his heart he could trust his trainer to make the right calls.

“Wow what a sudden turn a bout folks, I haven’t seen anything like it since that time in,” the commentator began to drone on as Jason walked over to Maria who was helping her Torchic back onto the stage.

“You alright?” he asked concerned about how she was going to take her loss.

“Are you kidding me? That was fantastic!” Maria exclaimed as she suddenly glomped him taking Jason by surprise. “I’ve seen you battle on tv before but it’s nothing compared to seeing it firsthand,” she said as she let go of her hug holding his shoulders at arm’s length as she stepped back.

“In my first contest I was too afraid I would lose again to really enjoy it even thought I ultimately won in the end. By the second the fear was gone but I was board because the girl I was up against was a push over making it too easy. This time even though I lost it was the most exciting contest I’ve ever had,” Maria explained before pausing for a second as she seemed to consider something.

Before she met Jason she had enjoyed watching contests but never enjoyed being in them. To enjoy them to the extent she had today. The way her heart had raced during the battle had been exhilarating. But how could she express those feelings to Jason especially with her heart pounding in her chest again only for a different reason this time. Blushing heavily Maria let her hold on Jason’s shoulder go and turned away, her fist clenched tightly in frustration at her own shyness and inability to put her feelings into words.

“Next time will be my victory! Until then don’t you dare lose a contest to anyone” she declared fiercely as she stormed off the stage leaving Jason to receive his prize. Jason grinned at her declaration feeling like he better not let her down, but determined to come out the winner in their inevitable rematch.