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Morpher01
20th May 2012, 3:00 AM
(rated PG-13)

Well...looks like the time has come.

For future reference, this is indeed a journey fic. Some people here may recognize the title, as something similar was attempted in the past. I eventually got bored with the plotline, so I rewrote it, and now it feels MUCH more worth reading. So, without further ado, I give you, the new and improved...



Proving Grounds



Chapter 1: Beginnings




Lone footsteps traversed the deserts of the Orre region. No care was given for the vast expanse of the desert, nor for how treacherous the territory could be. The owner of the footsteps simply walked on, ignoring the dusty winds that blew about his red hooded cloak, which bore golden lining fitting of royalty. The six red-and-white spheres mounted on his worn leather belt wobbled at the touch of the gusts.

The man pulled a dirty old canteen out of his pocket, swallowing a massive gulp of the liquid within. He grimaced as he removed the canteen from his surprisingly dry lips. With a ragged sigh, the grizzled figure continued on his way.

****

Elsewhere in Orre, where the winds blew more softly, a young boy of ten years stood outside the sandy brick walls of his native Phenac City, his sapphire eyes radiating a soft but noticeable coldness. His raven-colored hair was smooth and slick, stretching down to the top of his neck and drifting lower in miniscule dreadlocks, coated across the top with three streaks of green, orange and blue. His clothes were colorful for such a seemingly distant individual, consisting of an orange torso, a short blue right sleeve, a short green left sleeve, a mud-like coloration on the left pant leg, and a yellow right pant leg. All had rather rough stitching attaching each part together.

The rest of Phenac was as jubilant as possible: children frolicking in the city’s central fountain, elderly folk gazing happily at their city’s splendor, and adolescents throwing red-and-white spheres forward and releasing majestic creatures that would do battle for them.

Pokemon.

The world was filled with such strange and wonderful creatures, appearing in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and forms. Humans had discovered the ability to capture Pokemon in those red-and-white spheres, dubbed “Pokeballs” due to their purpose, and battle them against one another. Although such sport seemed barbaric on the surface, a deeper look would reveal much more. Pokemon were generally befriended by the individual controlling them—widely called a “Pokemon trainer”—and with that friendship formed a bond of trust and loyalty. Battles were seen as an expression of that trust and loyalty, as well as a way of amplifying it through intense situations.

That was what this young boy wanted. At ten years of age, a child was eligible to become a Pokemon trainer, despite a general lack of knowledge regarding the reason that was so. Once that milestone was reached, the child could receive their first Pokemon from a person who studied them, namely a Pokemon professor. Many parents looked on proudly as their child became a Pokemon trainer, knowing that their family name would be forever engraved in the history of the world.

“POLICE! WHERE ARE THE FREAKING POLICE?!”

The father of this child was not such an individual.

Guess that’s my cue, the young boy thought, hoisting his burlap sack atop his shoulder and departing Phenac City. More thoughts strayed into his mind, all of them unusually bitter and resentful for someone of his age. ‘You can’t have a Pokemon,’ he said. ‘They’re inferior creatures’, he said. ‘You should focus on more important things, like my business,’ he said. Memorize this, calculate that. Manage your own business, jerkwad. I think I’d rather live life in MY shoes, not yours.

As his father’s bellows for the police continued, the boy began his trek to the professor’s laboratory, where a Pokemon would surely be waiting for him. A distance away, however, the cloaked figure stood silently, eyeing the boy with rage.

****

The HQ Lab, as it was often called, was most identified by the large Pokeball-like structure above the main entrance. As a somewhat grimy bus that pulled up alongside the lab, the eyes that peered out from within could see that the lab’s white marble walls and large glass windows only served as secondary identifiers, as did the metallic and glass sliding doors on various points on the front of the building. The boy with the burlap sack disembarked, he heaved a sigh. A four-hour trip across the region by bus was not to be recommended.

As the boy approached the lab, the glass doors opened. A man stepped out, sporting spectacles, a white lab coat matched with a green shirt and dark tan pants, and slightly messy brown hair.

“Hello, there,” the man said. “My name is Professor Krane. Judging by the look of you, I’d say you’re here to receive a starter Pokemon.”

“That’d be it,” the boy replied, barely acknowledging the professor.

“Ah, I see,” Krane said. “Forgive my lack of preparation. You see, most would-be trainers have their parents call ahead and schedule a meeting. A trainer’s journey, after all, is usually done with his or her parents’ permission.”

“It’s all right,” the boy shrugged.

“May I ask your name?” Krane asked.

“Derak,” the boy said simply.

“Derak?” Krane repeated with a slightly surprised expression. “As in Derak Kadir, son of wealthy businessman Anoch Kadir?”

“Don’t remind me,” Derak said bitterly. “Listen, I’m kinda in a rush, so could you just give me a starter and get it done with?”

“Oh, of course,” Krane said. “Please, follow me.”

Krane took Derak inside, where the professor led the aspiring young trainer into a cylindrical elevator. The elevator began a slow descent into the lower levels of the HQ Lab, where much of the more technical aspects of Pokemon were kept.

“I’m surprised you’re here at all, Derak,” Krane said as the elevator descended. “Your father’s dislike of Pokemon is quite infamous. How did you obtain his permission to start a Pokemon journey?”

“Let’s just say ‘I didn’t’ and leave it at that,” Derak replied.

“But that can only mean...did you run away?” Krane asked.

“I got sick of doing business ethics, okay?” Derak sighed. “All my so-called ‘dad’ cares about is his business. I wanted to take my life in my own hands, so that’s what I’m doing. Is that a problem?”

“I see,” Krane said, remaining civil despite Derak’s rudeness. “Not that I’m condemning you for it, considering your father’s also-infamous temper, but you seem to have chosen the path that he would despise the most.”

“Nice of you to notice,” Derak said. “That’s kinda the idea.”

The elevator stopped and opened up its glass doors.

“Here we are,” Krane said. “This is where you will choose your first Pokemon, Derak.”

“What do I have to choose from?” Derak asked.

“I’ll show you,” Krane said.

He led Derak to a metallic door, which split in half and separated at its master’s approach. Inside were five tables, lined horizontally, each with a sphere of a different color on it: one was green-and-white, another orange-and-white, and a third was blue-and-white. Krane stepped forward, indicating the leftmost table.

“Because Orre has no starting Pokemon to call its own,” he began, “we use Pokemon from other regions. The table to the far left here has the three starters from the Kanto region, contained within color-coded Pokeballs: one for the Grass-type, one for the Fire-type, and one for the Water-type. The table to its right has starters from the Johto region, and so on until we reach Unova, the far right table and the most recently-discovered region. I will show you the Pokemon from each region, and you will choose one to take as your starter.”

“Sounds good so far,” Derak said.

Krane picked up the Grass-type Pokeball on the Kanto table.

“This Pokemon is—” He began, but a rumbling above cut him off. “What in the world is happening up there? Derak, stay here. I need to investigate this.”

Krane ran outside, attempting to catch the elevator up and investigate the strange occurrences above, but he found it gone.

“That’s strange,” he remarked. “The elevator should be here.”

The elevator soon returned, but it did so with an occupant. The hooded figure from the desert stepped out, sand spraying from the edges his cloak. One dusty black boot hit the floor after the other as the cloaked man approached Professor Krane, his waist-length reddish-brown hair spilling out from underneath the hood.

“I recommend you get better guards for your facility,” the cloaked man said in a harsh, scratchy voice. “Although, the floor is much shinier thanks to their faces having mopped it.”

“Who are you?” Krane demanded. “Why have you--?”

“Sableye, rise from the ashes,” the mysterious man said, limply dropping a Pokeball from his hand.

The Pokeball split open, and a white light burst from it. The light took a small, humanoid shape, and when the light evaporated, a strange creature was revealed. This creature possessed dark purple skin and a small torso decorated with red and blue gemstones. Indeed, this creature’s eyes themselves appeared to be large diamonds. A sharp-toothed Cheshire grin stretched across the creature’s face as it flexed its razor-sharp claws, anticipating a fight.

“Saaay,” the creature rasped.

“Use Shadow Ball, Sableye,” the Pokemon’s trainer ordered calmly.

Sableye formed a sphere of pulsing dark energy between its hands, which it then threw straight toward Krane’s chest. The professor was knocked off his feet and sent sailing across the hallway, landing outside the room he left Derak in.

“Professor, are you all--?” Derak began, but he stopped when he saw the cloaked man and his Sableye standing over Krane’s body. “Uh…dare I ask who the heck you are?”

“Vengeance,” the cloaked man replied simply. “Sableye, Shadow Ball again!”

Sableye again launched its attack, this time directly at Derak. The runaway trainer let out a cry of shock as he flattened himself on the ground, allowing the ball to sail over him and strike the table immediately next to the one Krane described as having Unova-born starter Pokemon. The Pokeballs on that nearby table shook, particularly the orange one.

“What the heck is your problem?!” Derak cried.

“I told you, I want vengeance,” the cloaked man said.

“Vengeance for what?!” Derak cried. “What did I do, exactly?”

“Not you,” the mysterious aggressor said. “Sableye, use Brick Break!”

Sableye lunged forward, drawing back one small arm in preparation for a strike. Derak dove out of the way, causing Sableye’s arm to crash through the table its Shadow Ball had struck earlier. The table split in two, scattering its contents across the floor. One of the balls, specifically the orange-and-white one, began to shake violently as it rolled into a corner.

“Use Will-o-Wisp!” the attacker commanded.

This time, Sableye spread its arms out, creating a circle of eerily blue balls of fire. The small Pokemon grinned hungrily, fangs displayed in all their glory. It pushed its arms forward, sending its fireballs forth, but the orange-and-white Pokeball burst open, sending out a light that blocked the fireballs’ advance. Like the light from Sableye’s Pokeball, this light formed a shape, in this case small simian shape. When the light faded, it revealed an orange-skinned Pokemon with a pale yellow coloring on its hands, face, feet, and stomach. It had large eyes containing grey irises as well as a small point of hair atop its head, but by far its most noticeable feature was the burning flame on its backside.

“Char-char!” the new Pokemon screeched. “Chimchar!”

“Uh…what just happened?” Derak asked, looking at the small orange monkey. “And what is that?”

“It is a Chimchar, you imbecile,” the cloaked figure spat. “It would appear that I will be having an actual battle with you, child…despite the short time it will take up. Take command of Chimchar, now that you have the chance to fight back.”

“Uh…okay?” Derak said. “Chimchar, use…uh, what was it…Shadow Ball!”

“Char?” Chimchar turned to Derak and looked at him inquisitively.

“You…don’t know that move? Is that it?” Derak asked.

“Chim-char,” the monkey nodded with an oddly listless tone in its voice.

“Uh, okay…Brick Break!” Derak yelled.

“Char,” Chimchar shook its head, indicating that it did not know that move, either.

“Uh…do you know Will-o-Wisp?” Derak asked.

“Chim-char,” Chimchar shook its head again.

“Forget what I said earlier,” the cloaked man said with a ragged sigh. “This is going to be absolutely pathetic. Sableye, just finish this with Shadow Claw.”

“Chimchar, don’t let him!” Derak yelled. “Use…I don’t know, something! Something that works!”

Sableye wound back one arm again, this time forming an aura of darkness around it. Three long claws made from the shadows themselves grew from Sableye’s arm, much to the small purple Pokemon’s delight. Chimchar, however, had something to contribute in regards to the situation, and spat a storm of small flaming orbs—these of regular orange color—at Sableye. Taken off-guard at first, Sableye’s chest took several shots before the purple gremlin blocked the rest using its Shadow Claw-powered arm.

“Fight as much as you want, boy,” the cloaked man rasped. “At this stage, Chimchar only knows two moves, and you just used up one of your only options.”

“Guess I don’t have much choice, then, do I?” Derak said. “Chimchar, use your other move!”

Chimchar leapt at Sableye, with speed that actually invoked surprise in the small purple gremlin. Chimchar drew back its hand and promptly raked its fingers across Sableye’s face. Although Derak celebrated the apparent success of the move, his joy soon turned to despair upon realizing that Sableye took no damage whatsoever.

“Ember may have done a small amount of damage to Sableye,” the cloaked man admitted, “but a Normal-type attack like that Scratch will be completely useless against a Ghost-type. Finish this, Sableye.”

“Chimchar, get out of there!” Derak yelled.

His command came too late, however. Just as Chimchar was about to leap away, Sableye brought its Shadow Claw down upon the flaming-tailed monkey, pinning it to the ground. Chimchar screamed in agony as the Shadow Claw dug into its body, something that Sableye actually seemed to enjoy. The apparent Ghost-type Pokemon grinned darkly as it twisted its claws around, prompting more shrieks of pain from Chimchar.

“Hey, stop it! You won already!” Derak cried, but his protests fell on deaf ears as Sableye continued to torture Chimchar, the cloaked man doing absolutely nothing about it. “I SAID STOP IT!”

Derak charged forward, which caused even the cloaked man to raise an eyebrow. Derak then took hold of Chimchar and yanked the monkey out of Sableye’s grasp, clutching it protectively as he retreated. Sableye’s smile then flipped upside-down, and the vicious little Pokemon drew back another Shadow Claw.

“Sableye, enough!” the cloaked man barked, and Sableye turned to its master, lowering its head in shame. “Return.”

The man pointed a Pokeball at Sableye, and a red beam shot from the silver button in the ball’s center. The beam absorbed Sableye upon making contact with it, pulling back into the Pokeball and taking the aggressive little Pokemon with it.

“So, that’s how it works?” Derak asked. “You just say ‘return’?”

“Evidently,” the cloaked man replied sharply.

“O…kay, then,” Derak said. “So, Chimchar, where did your Pokeball go?”

Derak looked around for the small sphere until Chimchar wordlessly pointed at the corner. Derak saw the Pokeball there and picked it up. Before he could recall the monkey, however, a firm hand grasped his head, fingers digging into the boy’s skull.

“Hey, what—” Derak began to object, but the cloaked man kneed the boy in the stomach, knocking the air out of Derak’s lungs.

“Quiet,” the man barked. He lowered his hood, revealing an aged face with strangely golden eyes. “I need to check something.”

The man looked into Derak’s eyes and saw something in them, something along the lines of resentment and coldness…but also the sort of kindness that prompted the boy to save Chimchar in the first place. Derak looked into his foe’s eyes, as well. He saw bitterness, hatred, and rage…but also some unknown sort of sadness. Chimchar blinked, unable to comprehend what was going on. A groaning behind the cloaked man signaled the rise of Professor Krane.

“Ow…that was some Shadow Ball,” Krane moaned, rubbing his head. The cloaked man let go of Derak’s head, dropping the boy to the floor as he pulled his hood back up.

“Professor Krane, was it?” the man asked in his scathing voice. “Is this boy starting a Pokemon journey?”

“Y-yes, he is,” Krane replied. “We were about to go over the available Pokemon when you barged in and—”

“Give him Chimchar,” the cloaked man ordered.

“Wuh-what?” Krane stuttered. “Why Chimchar?”

“It obviously wants to battle for him,” the cloaked man said in a dismissive tone. “Is that a problem?”

“Well, no, but—” Krane began.

“Then do as I say,” the cloaked man barked. “I assume you want to be rid of me. My business here is concluded, so I have no further reason to remain.”

The cloaked man roughly brushed past Krane and took the elevator out. After a moment of staring after his attacker, Krane looked to Derak. The latter already knew what the former wanted to ask.

“Chimchar kinda jumped out of his Pokeball to fight the guy’s Sableye,” Derak explained, holding the small starter in his arms. “Even though he lost, it doesn’t matter to me. I like Pokemon the way they are, strong or not.”

The Chimchar looked up at Derak with a bewildered gaze.

“Well…I’m not sure how to tell you this, Derak,” Krane said, “but Chimchar is…different…from the other starters.”

“Seems just fine to me,” Derak said, looking down at the monkey.

“Physically, yes,” Krane said. “But the problem is not in that nature. The starters hear many things about Pokemon trainers during their daily exercises. Chimchar heard that many trainers treat their Pokemon as fighting machines, and assumed it was true. Because of that viewpoint, it refused to socialize with the other Pokemon, and focuses solely on fighting. It truly believes that it is a fighting machine.”

“Seriously?” Derak blinked. “Chimchar, you’re not a fighting machine. You’re a living being, so you have the right to act like one, right?”

“Char?” Chimchar chirped, staring at Derak with the utmost confusion on its face.

“Okay, I’ve been at this training thing for only a few minutes and I’m already sick of calling you ‘Chimchar’ over and over,” Derak said. “How about I give you a name?”

“I think that’s an excellent idea,” Krane nodded with a smile. “Perhaps that is the first step to reopening Chimchar’s mind and heart.”

Derak ignored Krane’s words as he gently set Chimchar on the floor and knelt down to its level.

“Let’s see…Blaze? No, that’s lame…Burner? No, that still sucks,” Derak muttered. “Wait, I’ve got it! How about ‘Wildfire’? What do you think?”

Chimchar only stared blankly at Derak.

“I think it fits quite well,” Krane said. “Now, would you like me to show you how to recall a Pokemon?”

“Saw the Sableye creep do it,” Derak said. “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

He stood up and pointed the orange-and-white Pokeball at the newly-named Wildfire.

“Wildfire, return,” Derak said, and the Chimchar was absorbed into its Pokeball.

“Well done,” Krane said. “For someone so in the dark about Pokemon for so long, you seem to be quite a quick learner.”

“I guess,” Derak shrugged. “Not something I’m proud of, really.”

“Here,” Krane said, pulling a small orange device out of his pocket and handing it to Derak. “This is your Pokedex, the novel tool for any Pokemon trainer. It has an expansive database cataloging every Pokemon currently discovered.”

“This little thing?” Derak asked skeptically, noting that the Pokedex more resembled a portable video gaming console than a Pokemon encyclopedia.

“Indeed,” Krane nodded. “If I may, Derak, do you know what region you will be traveling to first?”

“Doesn’t really matter,” Derak shrugged. “Probably Kanto, I suppose.”

“A good idea,” Krane nodded. “As Orre lacks a true Pokemon League of its own, Kanto—where Pokemon were first discovered—is the best choice for beginning trainers. A ship will be leaving Gateon Port for Kanto in a few hours. Let us go and get your trainer card made, and you will be able to begin your journey.”

Derak smirked, looking down at his new orange Pokeball.

“Can’t wait to go,” the ten-year-old said happily.

****

Outside, the cloaked man’s own journey was continuing as he departed the lab. He looked back for a moment, staring at the lab. The blood of his enemy was there, he could smell it. But perhaps…perhaps, if he went to Gateon Port, he could wait for his enemy to come to him.

Yes…that would suffice.

****

So...thoughts?

Sid87
20th May 2012, 3:10 AM
I hope this doesn't interfere with Struggle for Power. :p

Morpher01
20th May 2012, 3:27 AM
I hope this doesn't interfere with Struggle for Power. :p

I've already written up the vast majority of SfP, so don't worry, it won't. XD

TheEliteEmpoleon
20th May 2012, 4:20 AM
Cool! I like how already this has a dark felling to it, which is a nice change. I've been wanting to read and keep up with a good story that is just starting out, and I guess I found one.

Morpher01
27th May 2012, 12:26 AM
TheEliteEmpoleon: So you did. Glad you like it so far!


Anyway, we now continue on with our story by means of the second chapter.




Chapter 2: Departure



An hour later, Derak stepped into Gateon Port, feeling like a new person. On his belt was one orange Pokeball, containing his starting Pokemon. In one pocket was an identifying card with his image on it. In the other pocket was a Pokedex, the portable guide to the Pokemon of the world. He could not remove the wide smile from his face.

He was finally a Pokemon trainer.

But then his smile faded as more serious thoughts entered his mind. His father would most likely be looking for him, given the sudden absence of his son. The authorities would also be hunting, particularly if Mr. Kadir offered them money as incentive. Derak would have to keep a low profile, at least until he left Orre. But there was one last thing he had to do before he left.

Derak approached the railing, looking out at the sea. He clicked open his Pokeball, allowing Wildfire to appear in a burst of light. The Chimchar immediately adopted an aggressive posture, expecting a fight.

“Slow down, Wildfire,” Derak said. “We’re not in a battle.”

“Ch-char?” Wildfire sputtered, looking up at its trainer with wide eyes. Why would it be outside of its Pokeball at all if it were not in a battle? Its confusion furthered when Derak gently lifted the Pokemon and held it in his arms.

“Just look at that ocean,” he said. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

Wildfire felt its eyes glistening, as if the sea itself was touching them. Something tugged at the corners of its mouth, but the Chimchar quickly shook its head, relieving itself of the sensation.

“Chim-char,” Wildfire said flatly, trying its best to maintain its emotionless façade.

“Getting through to you might be harder than I thought,” Derak said. “Okay, let’s try something else: honesty.”

“Char?” Wildfire squeaked curiously.

“I like honesty,” Derak continued with a smile. “I like to hit people on the head with their flaws. Something about it just…I don’t know, it just makes me feel good. But…there are some times where blunt honesty gets a little awkward. This is probably one of those times.”

He sighed, the smile vanishing from his face.

“Wildfire, I have a confession to make,” he said. “Even though I know almost nothing about Pokemon, I did have a specific starter in mind when I went to the HQ Lab. And…just for the record…it, uh…wasn’t really you.”

“Char,” Wildfire droned, still blankly staring out at the sea.

“Wait, what?” Derak sputtered. “You don’t care in the least that I didn’t plan on choosing you, even though you…I guess, chose me?”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire muttered.

“Oh, boy…I REALLY need to do some work with you,” Derak shook his head.

A raspy (and somewhat exaggerated) cough drew Derak’s attention to the same cloaked figure who attacked him in the HQ Lab. The man was also leaning on the railing, which he pushed himself off of upon Derak’s noticing him.

“Not you again,” Derak groaned. Wildfire growled at the man, ready for a rematch despite the sound thrashing it received at the hands of his Sableye. “What exactly is it that you want from me?”

“I may have been a bit…hasty…at first,” the man said. “I want to know one thing.”

“What’s that?” Derak asked.

“How far back does your family tree go?” the man asked.

“No idea,” Derak shrugged. “Why?”

“That is none of your concern,” the man spat.

“Oh, that’s nice,” Derak said with a raised eyebrow, voice dripping with sarcasm. “I really feel like answering every last question you have, now that you’ve cleared that up for me.”

The man’s hand suddenly latched onto Derak’s shirt, pulling the boy up with one hand. He brought Derak up to eye level, somehow managing to hold the boy a foot off of the ground with little—if any—difficulty.

“I lack the time for your charming witticisms, boy,” the man snarled, fighting sarcasm with sarcasm. “I have no way of knowing for certain whether or not you tell the truth, so I—”

“THERE YOU ARE!” a voice roared, much to Derak’s dismay. “You’ve caused me a lot of trouble today, you ungrateful brat!”

A dark-haired man in a grey business suit stormed into Gateon Port, livid with rage. Derak silently cursed his luck at the sight of this man. The cloaked man let go of Derak’s shirt, roughly dropping the boy to the ground, as he stared at the newcomer

“Is this man your father?” the cloaked figure asked Derak.

“Yep,” Derak sighed, dusting himself off as he rose.

“My condolences,” said the figure with a vague hint of sincerity.

“I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care!” Derak’s father boomed, pointing an accusing finger at the cloaked man. “You are going to hand my disobedient son over to me!”

The cloaked man replied by silently opening a Pokeball. The Pokemon of choice was not Sableye, however. Instead, it was an orange-skinned turtle with a black shell on its back and grayish rings around all of its ankles as well as its long neck. The shell had a small hole on the top, as well as a circle of crimson hexagons around it. The Pokemon’s eyes appeared to be completely closed, which evidently served a good purpose given the black smoke the Pokemon shot out of its nostrils.

“Torr-koooaall!” the Pokemon yelled, its nostrils making a sound similar to a locomotive horn.

“Whoa, what’s that?” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex and pointing it at the Pokemon. The Pokedex opened up, revealing an image of the Pokemon on the screen, and began to speak.

“Torkoal,” the Pokedex said in a mechanical, feminine voice, “the Coal Pokemon. Type is Fire. Torkoal burns coal inside its body for energy. It blows out black soot if it is endangered.”

“WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?!” Derak’s father roared upon seeing his son’s Pokedex, his eyes widening further upon seeing Wildfire in his arms. “AND WHAT IS THAT THING DOING IN YOUR ARMS?! Throw them away right now, or so help me, I’ll—”

“I have had more than enough of you,” the cloaked man snarled. “Torkoal, use Smokescreen!”

“Koooaaall!” Torkoal yelled, this time spraying thick black smoke out of its mouth rather than its nostrils. The smoke billowed up into a massive cough-inducing cloud, and by the time it vanished, Derak and the cloaked man were nowhere to be seen.

“Blasted fool!” Derak’s father cried, stamping his foot. “Why can’t he understand that this is for his own good?!”

****

Derak and the cloaked man now stood aboard one of the ships docked in Gateon Port, Torkoal stored back in its Pokeball. Derak coughed out the last bits of inhaled Smokescreen as the cloaked man looked around. Trainers of various ages and experiences gathered aboard this ship, all presumably headed for the Kanto League.

“Okay, now I’m REALLY confused,” Derak choked, still coughing out smoke alongside a shoulder-mounted Wildfire. “First you attack me, then you help me? Not that I’m not ungrateful or anything, but—”

“I know,” the old man interrupted. “Your name is Derak Kadir, correct?”

“Yeah, why?” Derak said.

“Look up your family tree,” the cloaked man ordered. “There should be a computer or two here aboard this ship.”

“And…why am I doing this, exactly?” Derak asked.

“I need my question to be answered,” the man said.

“I repeat…why?” Derak sighed. The cloaked man did so as well.

“Someone I suspect to be in your family line caused me a lot of trouble,” the man reluctantly said.

“And how do you know he’s in my family?” Derak asked.

“I saw it in your eyes,” the old man said. “Regardless of appearance, they look the same as the ones I looked into many years ago. You, like your relative, possess a single ambition. You wish to simply be a Pokemon trainer…your relative wanted to conquer his home region, and then the world.”

“…we are DEFINITELY not talking about my dad here,” Derak remarked.

“As much as I can see him causing problems for many people,” the cloaked man sighed, “your father is not my enemy.”

“And somehow I am?” Derak asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I admit, I jumped to conclusions,” the cloaked man said, waving Derak’s objection aside. “Now, if you are finished with your whining, then go and ask for use of a computer and the internet.”

“Uh-huh,” Derak said as the man began to walk away. “And where exactly will I find you if I want to tell you the results?”

“On the upper levels,” the cloaked man said flatly as he left. Derak now stood with only Wildfire to keep him company. He looked to the small monkey.

“What in the world have we gotten ourselves into?” he asked.

Wildfire blinked, but did not answer. This was all far over the young Pokemon’s head.

****

The ship began to depart the port, sounding a loud horn as it advanced forward. Many adults waved to the ship, wishing their children well on their respective Pokemon journeys. Younger siblings jumped up and down, begging their elders to write them letters or call their houses. Even the occasional Pokemon said farewell in its own fashion, some breathing fire and others sparkling with electricity.

All the excitement blinded the people to a dark, shapeless mass that bounded out of the forest, ricocheted off several buildings, and latched onto the very rear of the ship’s hull. Nobody who noticed the mass remain there said anything about it: they assumed that it was simply rust that no one ever got around to cleaning, or perhaps an aftereffect from a past Pokemon battle. Either way, no one noticed the mass slowly inch up the hull of the ship, getting closer and closer to the top level.

****

Needing knowledge of where to find a computer, Derak approached a female receptionist. The blonde-haired woman smiled and gave Derak a friendly bow.

“Hello, and welcome to the S.S. Wailord,” the receptionist said. “How can I help you?”

“Hey, is there a place where I can find a computer with internet access?” Derak asked.

The woman blinked for a moment, her smile fading.

“We don’t have internet access on this ship,” she said. “We’re out of range of any sort of connection.”

Derak made a mental note to himself stating that the cloaked man was a complete idiot for not only failing to prepare Derak adequately, but for making the young trainer feel like an idiot himself.

“Although, I think I can make you feel a little better, sir,” the woman said, as if reading Derak’s mind. “Is that Chimchar yours?”

“Uh, yeah, that’s kinda why he’s sitting on my shoulder,” Derak said somewhat rudely.

“I see,” the woman said, regaining her smile and apparently ignoring Derak’s attitude. “Well, if you’re just starting out your journey—for which I congratulate you—then you may want to participate in the mini-tournament we’re holding.”

“Any reason I should?” Derak asked.

“The staff of the S.S. Wailord likes to make new trainers as comfortable with their chosen starter Pokemon as possible before they plunge into the unknown,” the woman explained. “Battling with that Pokemon is the best way to do that, and as such, a miniature tournament is held every voyage in order to strengthen the bond between you and your Pokemon.”

“Huh,” Derak grunted, looking at Wildfire. “What do you think, Wildfire?”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire said blankly without even looking at Derak. To the small fire monkey, the only opinion that mattered was that of its trainer.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Derak said. “Where do I sign up?”

“Right here,” the woman said. “Once you’re done, just head up to the top level. I have several other new trainers registered already, but the mini-tournament doesn’t start for another twenty minutes, so don’t worry about being late.”

She handed Derak a sheet of paperwork, which asked for his name, the Pokemon he would be using (along with whatever nickname he gave it), and his hometown. He began to write down various things, although Wildfire noticed that he was not exactly filling out the form exactly as instructed.

“Okay, here,” he said, handing the form back to the receptionist. “I’ll be on the top level.”

“All right, good luck!” the receptionist said. As Derak left, she looked over his paperwork, furrowing her brow. As she was to provide color commentary during the mini-tournament, the way Derak filled out his form may have made her job somewhat awkward.

****

Derak trudged up the stairs, heading for the top level. The ascension felt like it lasted an eternity, but once he reached the top, he closed his eyes and let out a sigh of relief. He made it. He was safe.

That was, until he saw a large red shape hurtling towards him.

With a yelp, Derak flattened himself against the ground, allowing whatever the object was to sail over him and tumble down the stairs.

“Crawdaunt, no!” a white-garbed sailor yelled, vaulting over Derak as he chased after his Pokemon.

Derak looked up and saw the cloaked man and his Torkoal standing before a crowd of astonished spectators, all gathered about a large arena. With a sigh, Derak got up and approached his cloaked acquaintance, who was taking a large swig from his canteen.

“I see you’ve been busy,” Derak said.

“In a sense,” the cloaked man sighed, placing his canteen back on his belt. “What did you find out?”

“That you’re an idiot,” Derak said bluntly. Upon receiving a baleful glare from the older man, Derak continued. “The receptionist told me that there isn’t any internet connection way out here. It was kinda something that people would be able to figure out without having to ask someone.”

“I should have known that my unfamiliarity with technology would come back to haunt me,” the man sighed. “No matter, we will inevitably find a computer once we reach land.”

“What makes you say that?” Derak asked.

“I have been told that we will be arriving in Pallet Town, a small settlement in the Kanto region,” the man replied. “I know for a fact that a Pokemon Professor lives there, and undoubtedly has access to the internet.”

“Makes sense,” Derak shrugged. “Me, I need to get ready.”

“For what?” the old man asked.

“Some mini-tournament I signed up for,” Derak replied. “I want to bond with my little friend here, and I’m told battling is the best way.”

“You’re entering the mini-tournament?” said a female’s voice. A blonde-haired girl dressed in a camouflage-patterned military outfit approached Derak. She looked about his age, and had a green Pokeball on her belt. She straightened a lighter green headband on her forehead as she came closer.

“Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

“Just want to ask you something,” she said. “Do you really believe all that junk about how bonding with your Pokemon makes them strong?”

Derak stared for a moment. Junk? The idea of being friends with your Pokemon was considered “junk” by this girl?

“…yeah,” he said slowly. “So what?”

“Yep, you’re going to lose,” the girl smirked confidently. “I’ve been drilling with my Pokemon since the moment I got it, and trust me, I have better chances of winning than someone like you.”

“You mean someone with a brain?” Derak asked, looking at a light fixture he found infinitely more interesting.

“What’s that supposed to mean?!” the girl suddenly exploded.

“Probably what you think it means,” Derak responded casually, evidently being used to people yelling at him.

Meanwhile, the cloaked man had gone to the side of the ship while Derak and the blonde girl were engaged in their somewhat one-sided argument. He looked over the side of the ship and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the dark mass that had latched onto the back. What he did not see, given the angle at which he was looking, was that it was slowly working its way up the ship’s white hull. The man narrowed his eyes, puzzling over what this mass could be.

“How can you call me an idiot?” the girl continued, still seething while Derak stood calmly. “You probably don’t know the first thing about that Chimchar on your shoulder!”

Without even looking at the girl, Derak wordlessly took out his Pokedex and pointed it Wildfire.

“Chimchar,” the Pokedex said, “the Chimp Pokemon. Type is Fire. Chimchar is a highly agile Pokemon. When it goes to sleep, the fire on its tail goes out in order to prevent fires.”

“Problem solved,” Derak said simply.

“We’ll settle this when we battle,” the girl growled before storming away.

“You are going to battle?” the cloaked man said skeptically. “This is something I have to see.”

“It’ll be different than when I was battling you,” Derak said, “considering that I only just got my Pokemon and you’ve had that Sableye for who knows how long.”

“True enough,” the man nodded. “I await the results of your battle.”

“Attention, beginning trainers of Orre!” the receptionist from earlier cried. “It’s time for the S.S. Wailord mini-tournament! And now, for the first match! Hailing from none other than Pyrite Town, may we please have Melissa Armare come to the field!”

The blonde girl with whom Derak had been “arguing” approached the field where the cloaked man had previously been battling at with his Torkoal. She crossed her arms and waited impatiently for her opponent.

“And, now, for her opponent,” the receptionist continued. “Hailing from…uh, well, he put down ‘somewhere in Orre’ for his hometown, and he didn’t write his last name…will a ‘Derak’ please come to the field?”

Recognizing his handiwork, Derak strolled over to his end of the field and was met with a disapproving glare from Melissa.

“No regard for authority, huh?” Melissa sneered.

“I’ve got more important things to do than suck up to people,” Derak said as he shrugged one shoulder, “especially brainless ones like you.”

“Ooh, sounds like we’ve already got rivals on our hands!” the receptionist remarked as Melissa balled her hands into angrily-shaking fists. “If the trainers are ready, then send out your Pokemon!”

“Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa yelled, throwing her green Pokeball.

Her Pokemon of choice was another turtle, albeit much smaller than the cloaked man’s Torkoal. Its body was primarily a pale green, with yellow ends on each of its stubby feet. Its rather large head had a pale green upper half, which had a small sprout protruding from the top, and a yellow bottom half that matched the Pokemon’s big yellow eyes. With the exception of its head, everything on this turtle’s body was, fittingly enough, covered by a brown shell.

“Turtwig,” Derak’s Pokedex stated, “the Tiny Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. Turtwig’s shell is made from soil, and on a very healthy Turtwig, the shell should feel moist.”

“Guess you’re up, little guy,” Derak said, and Wildfire leapt off of his shoulder and into battle.

“We have Melissa’s Turtwig up against Derak’s Chimchar, nicknamed ‘Wildfire’!” the receptionist commented. “Two starting Pokemon from the Sinnoh region are going at it, folks! Who do you think will win?”

“Probably me,” Melissa snorted. “You actually NAMED your Pokemon? And you call me an idiot. Pokemon aren’t your pets, genius!”

“He’s not my pet, GENIUS,” Derak said mockingly. “Wildfire’s my friend, which is probably a word that someone like you would have to look up in a dictionary every time you hear it.”

“Char?” Wildfire uttered, staring at Derak as if he had just said that the world was ending in the next five minutes.

“I’ll show you what that kind of thinking gets you!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, use Tackle!”

Turtwig lowered its bulbous head and charged forward, barreling towards Wildfire. Just as the small turtle was about to ram Wildfire, however, Derak’s Pokemon somersaulted over Turtwig and leapt off of its shell.

“Nice dodge!” Derak cried. “Now, shoot Turtwig with an Ember!”

“Turtwig, counter with Razor Leaf!” Melissa cried.

Wildfire planted its feet on the ground and spat a series of small fireballs at Turtwig. At the same time, however, Turtwig swung its head around, launching a group of boomerang-like leaves that soared through the air like a ninja’s throwing stars. The two attacks collided and disabled one another, Wildfire’s Ember having turned Turtwig’s Razor Leaf into little more than tiny piles of ashes.

“Here’s what you can do when you actually TRAIN your Pokemon!” Melissa snapped. “Turtwig, use Bite!”

The fact that Turtwig possessed a third move caught Derak off-guard. The Tiny Leaf Pokemon charged forth once more, but this time Turtwig opened its wide jaws and clamped them onto Wildfire’s head. The Fire-type stumbled onto its back, unable to support Turtwig’s weight as well as its own.

“Now, throw it!” Melissa yelled.

Turtwig obliged, lobbing Wildfire straight up into the air. The Chimchar screamed the entire distance, flailing around in a desperate attempt to reorient itself.

“Wildfire, use Scratch!” Derak cried.

Thanks to its trainer’s words, Wildfire was able to position itself in such a way that, when it fell, it was able to use the momentum from its descent to deliver a fierce scratch to the side of Turtwig’s head. The cloaked man watched the battle unfold, witnessing Turtwig attempt another Bite attack that Wildfire managed to dodge before countering with an Ember.

“Interesting,” the cloaked man muttered. “Perhaps I judged the boy too quickly. Now that he is on a more equal footing, his true strength shines…unusual in someone so inexperienced. Perhaps his veins carry the only good part of my enemy’s blood.”

As he spoke, however, he glanced down at the dark mass, which crept ever closer to the uppermost deck. Meanwhile, Derak and Melissa’s Pokemon stared each other down, each waiting for an order to strike.

“Wildfire, Ember!” Derak cried.

“Turtwig, show them how strong I made you!” Melissa cried. “Dodge and use Tackle!”

Wildfire spat forth the stream of fireballs once more, but this time Turtwig bounded to the side and barreled towards Wildfire, slamming head-first into the monkey Pokemon’s stomach and carrying it along as Turtwig continued its charge.

“Wildfire, throw it!” Derak yelled.

Wildfire grabbed onto Turtwig’s head and threw the Grass-type aside, Turtwig skidding across the floor. Turtwig soon rose, glaring at Wildfire but clearly on its last legs.

“Now, finish this with one more Ember!” Derak cried.

Wildfire released another Ember, and this time Turtwig lacked the energy to dodge. The Grass-type was pummeled relentlessly by the Fire-type attack, leaving burns across its body. Once the Ember ceased, Turtwig collapsed upon the ground, having completely fainted.

“Turtwig is unable to battle!” the receptionist announced. “Which means that the winner is Derak!”

Derak blinked as reality set in, and then a smile spread across his face. He had just won his first Pokemon battle. Wildfire breathed a sigh of relief, believing itself to have proven its worth to its new trainer.

“Hmph,” Melissa grunted as she recalled her Turtwig, “you only won because you had a type advantage.”

“Says the girl who has no idea what Pokemon training is actually about,” Derak snorted.

Melissa snarled and stomped off. Derak’s victory was met with a round of applause from most of the other trainers. Derak noticed that the cloaked man was one of those trainers, lightly pounding his palms together in a repeated fashion.

“What an impressive way to start off this mini-tournament!” the receptionist cried. “Up next, we have—”

No one ever got to see the next trainers battle, however. The dark mass that had latched on the ship gained a sudden burst of speed as it rocketed over the cloaked man, landing in the battlefield like a meteor striking the earth. Once this impact was established, the dark mass faded, revealing a Pokemon underneath.

The Pokemon had a dominantly purple body, sprouting four brown paws and a brown head to match. A small purple tail grew from this Pokemon’s backside, but the most noticeable feature was on this Pokemon’s face. The facial features were tan, and had a large mustache that extended into two long protrusions that rested on either side of the Pokemon. A strange darkness was in this Pokemon’s eyes as it gnashed its teeth at the present trainers, drooling hungrily.

“Whoa, what the heck?” Derak sputtered as the Pokemon snarled at him.

“Stoutland,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Big-Hearted Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Herdier. Stoutland is an extremely wise Pokemon that rescues people stranded in the mountains, where its shaggy fur protects it from the cold.”

“Doesn’t look so big-hearted to me,” Derak muttered as the Pokemon viciously glared at all humans present.

“Oh, my!” the receptionist cried. “How did this Stoutland get on the ship? If this Stoutland is yours, please return it to its Pokeball!”

The cloaked man, meanwhile, had gone pale upon seeing Stoutland. His hands began to shake, his eyes widened, his jaw hung loosely. A flood of memories rushed into his mind, none of them ones he felt like reliving.

“It…it can’t be,” the man mumbled nervously.

“Koal?” Torkoal said, pointing its seemingly blind eyes in its trainer’s direction. This was the first time it had ever seen him act in such a manner, and it was greatly worrying. What was even more worrying, however, was the intruding creature that was threatening the passengers.

With one final glare, Stoutland opened its mouth wide. A ball of purple energy began to form, gathering particles of dark power from the air around it. Stoutland lurched its head downward, and the ball became destruction incarnate.

The ball of darkness transformed into a colossal beam of destruction, tearing through each level of the ship like a bullet through glass. Everything caught in the blast, be it living or otherwise, was incinerated or torn to shreds in a matter of seconds. Once the beam had ruptured the ship, it dug into the ocean floor, stirring up a torrent of dirt that scattered whatever wild water Pokemon were not killed by the ensuing blast.

With a gaping hole in the ship, Stoutland let out a bone-chilling howl of victory, energy gathering around it and transforming it into a shapeless dark mass once more. The dark mass catapulted itself through a group of trainers and into the ocean, where most aboard the ship hoped that it would remain for the rest of its days. All the while, the cloaked man stared blankly at where Stoutland went, lost in a sea of memories.

Meanwhile, the ship began to groan and tilt as water flooded inside the lower levels. Every minute that the ship remained, more water overtook a level. A man in a blue suit and a white cap, evidently the captain, took command.

“Everyone, return your Pokemon and gather around!” the captain cried. “This ship was named the S.S. Wailord for a reason!”

Derak recalled Wildfire as the cloaked man, finally coming back to reality, returned his Torkoal. The captain threw down a Pokeball, and everyone hoped for the best.

****

The ship slowly sank into oblivion, the ocean claiming it as its prize. Even so, there were many who had survived Stoutland’s beam of death and lived to tell about it. The crew, passengers, and various Pokemon all sat aboard a large blue whale-like Pokemon with a white underbelly and beady eyes.

“Full speed ahead, Wailord,” the former ship’s captain commanded. “We’re almost to Kanto.”

“Waaaaeeee,” Wailord groaned, revealing enormous flat teeth.

Derak, having little else to do with his time, pulled out his Pokedex and analyzed the Pokemon he was riding.

“Wailord,” the Pokedex said, “the Float Whale Pokemon. Type is Water. Evolved form of Wailmer. Wailord is said to be the biggest of all Pokemon, and can dive to a depth of almost ten thousand feet with only one breath.”

Wailord’s Pokedex entry only answered minor queries, however. In the end, Derak had one question that no one could truly answer:

“What in the world just happened?”

****

The Great Butler
28th May 2012, 10:05 AM
Okay, I'm sorry I've taken so long to get to this. I'm going to review Chapter 1 in this post, and get to Chapter 2 as quickly as possible.




Proving Grounds



Chapter 1: Beginnings




Lone footsteps traversed the deserts of the Orre region. No care was given for the vast expanse of the desert, nor for how treacherous the territory could be. The owner of the footsteps simply walked on, ignoring the dusty winds that blew about his red hooded cloak, which bore golden lining fitting of royalty. The six red-and-white spheres mounted on his worn leather belt wobbled at the touch of the gusts.

The man pulled a dirty old canteen out of his pocket, swallowing a massive gulp of the liquid within. He grimaced as he removed the canteen from his surprisingly dry lips. With a ragged sigh, the grizzled figure continued on his way.

I really like this introduction. It clearly contains important elements, but is mysterious in tone also; this combination drew me in almost immediately. It helps that I like the setting.



Elsewhere in Orre, where the winds blew more softly, a young boy of ten years stood outside the sandy brick walls of his native Phenac City, his sapphire eyes radiating a soft but noticeable coldness. His raven-colored hair was smooth and slick, stretching down to the top of his neck and drifting lower in miniscule dreadlocks, coated across the top with three streaks of green, orange and blue. His clothes were colorful for such a seemingly distant individual, consisting of an orange torso, a short blue right sleeve, a short green left sleeve, a mud-like coloration on the left pant leg, and a yellow right pant leg. All had rather rough stitching attaching each part together.

I wonder if this information couldn't be delivered in a less rigid fashion. It kind of feels like listing here, which certainly isn't horrible. I can just see better possibilities for it.


The rest of Phenac was as jubilant as possible: children frolicking in the city’s central fountain, elderly folk gazing happily at their city’s splendor, and adolescents throwing red-and-white spheres forward and releasing majestic creatures that would do battle for them.

Pokemon.

The world was filled with such strange and wonderful creatures, appearing in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and forms. Humans had discovered the ability to capture Pokemon in those red-and-white spheres, dubbed “Pokeballs” due to their purpose, and battle them against one another. Although such sport seemed barbaric on the surface, a deeper look would reveal much more. Pokemon were generally befriended by the individual controlling them—widely called a “Pokemon trainer”—and with that friendship formed a bond of trust and loyalty. Battles were seen as an expression of that trust and loyalty, as well as a way of amplifying it through intense situations.

That was what this young boy wanted. At ten years of age, a child was eligible to become a Pokemon trainer, despite a general lack of knowledge regarding the reason that was so. Once that milestone was reached, the child could receive their first Pokemon from a person who studied them, namely a Pokemon professor. Many parents looked on proudly as their child became a Pokemon trainer, knowing that their family name would be forever engraved in the history of the world.

Okay, this is an utterly brilliant way to incorporate the World of Pokemon thing from the movies. It fits in seamlessly with the rest of the story here, and is easily visualized to boot. Excellent work on this.


“POLICE! WHERE ARE THE FREAKING POLICE?!”

The father of this child was not such an individual.

Guess that’s my cue, the young boy thought, hoisting his burlap sack atop his shoulder and departing Phenac City. More thoughts strayed into his mind, all of them unusually bitter and resentful for someone of his age. ‘You can’t have a Pokemon,’ he said. ‘They’re inferior creatures’, he said. ‘You should focus on more important things, like my business,’ he said. Memorize this, calculate that. Manage your own business, jerkwad. I think I’d rather live life in MY shoes, not yours.

As his father’s bellows for the police continued, the boy began his trek to the professor’s laboratory, where a Pokemon would surely be waiting for him. A distance away, however, the cloaked figure stood silently, eyeing the boy with rage.

And this is a bit of an unusual setup for a journeyfic. I like that you're playing with the tropes associated with beginning-of-the-quest settings like this. Usually, the beginning of the quest is a lot more positive than this.


The HQ Lab, as it was often called, was most identified by the large Pokeball-like structure above the main entrance. As a somewhat grimy bus that pulled up alongside the lab, the eyes that peered out from within could see that the lab’s white marble walls and large glass windows only served as secondary identifiers, as did the metallic and glass sliding doors on various points on the front of the building. The boy with the burlap sack disembarked, he heaved a sigh. A four-hour trip across the region by bus was not to be recommended.

As the boy approached the lab, the glass doors opened. A man stepped out, sporting spectacles, a white lab coat matched with a green shirt and dark tan pants, and slightly messy brown hair.

“Hello, there,” the man said. “My name is Professor Krane. Judging by the look of you, I’d say you’re here to receive a starter Pokemon.”

It strikes me that Krane doesn't seem terribly concerned about his safety, greeting visitors in person outside the lab like this. I would have thought that he would have learned after being kidnapped once.



“Derak?” Krane repeated with a slightly surprised expression. “As in Derak Kadir, son of wealthy businessman Anoch Kadir?”

“Don’t remind me,” Derak said bitterly. “Listen, I’m kinda in a rush, so could you just give me a starter and get it done with?”

“Oh, of course,” Krane said. “Please, follow me.”

Krane took Derak inside, where the professor led the aspiring young trainer into a cylindrical elevator. The elevator began a slow descent into the lower levels of the HQ Lab, where much of the more technical aspects of Pokemon were kept.

“I’m surprised you’re here at all, Derak,” Krane said as the elevator descended. “Your father’s dislike of Pokemon is quite infamous. How did you obtain his permission to start a Pokemon journey?”

“Let’s just say ‘I didn’t’ and leave it at that,” Derak replied.

“But that can only mean...did you run away?” Krane asked.

“I got sick of doing business ethics, okay?” Derak sighed. “All my so-called ‘dad’ cares about is his business. I wanted to take my life in my own hands, so that’s what I’m doing. Is that a problem?”

The last few sentences of this part reflect why I don't think identifying Anoch as a "wealthy businessman" explicitly is necessary. A reader would still know he's a businessman from Derak's last sentence, while Krane's knowledge of him would allow one to infer that he is well known.


“I see,” Krane said, remaining civil despite Derak’s rudeness. “Not that I’m condemning you for it, considering your father’s also-infamous temper, but you seem to have chosen the path that he would despise the most.”

“Nice of you to notice,” Derak said. “That’s kinda the idea.”

The elevator stopped and opened up its glass doors.

I notice Krane didn't take the bait that last time. He's certainly keeping an even head.


“Here we are,” Krane said. “This is where you will choose your first Pokemon, Derak.”

“What do I have to choose from?” Derak asked.

“I’ll show you,” Krane said.

He led Derak to a metallic door, which split in half and separated at its master’s approach. Inside were five tables, lined horizontally, each with a sphere of a different color on it: one was green-and-white, another orange-and-white, and a third was blue-and-white. Krane stepped forward, indicating the leftmost table.

“Because Orre has no starting Pokemon to call its own,” he began, “we use Pokemon from other regions. The table to the far left here has the three starters from the Kanto region, contained within color-coded Pokeballs: one for the Grass-type, one for the Fire-type, and one for the Water-type. The table to its right has starters from the Johto region, and so on until we reach Unova, the far right table and the most recently-discovered region. I will show you the Pokemon from each region, and you will choose one to take as your starter.”

Obviously, this is up to artistic liberty, but that aside, I think I disagree with this part. The Johto starters appear to be the ones most associated by far with Orre - Verde, Rosso and Bluno have Bayleef, Quilava and Croconaw in Colosseum, while Battlus will give you one of the Johto starter trio if you can make it up Mt. Battle from start to finish without leaving or changing your team. Those facts make me think that if Orre had starter Pokemon, they'd probably be Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile.

But again, personal preference.


“Sounds good so far,” Derak said.

Krane picked up the Grass-type Pokeball on the Kanto table.

“This Pokemon is—” He began, but a rumbling above cut him off. “What in the world is happening up there? Derak, stay here. I need to investigate this.”

Krane ran outside, attempting to catch the elevator up and investigate the strange occurrences above, but he found it gone.

“That’s strange,” he remarked. “The elevator should be here.”

Again, he's already had his lab attacked and been kidnapped once. I would think he would react more than this having seen a similar crisis before.


The elevator soon returned, but it did so with an occupant. The hooded figure from the desert stepped out, sand spraying from the edges his cloak. One dusty black boot hit the floor after the other as the cloaked man approached Professor Krane, his waist-length reddish-brown hair spilling out from underneath the hood.

“I recommend you get better guards for your facility,” the cloaked man said in a harsh, scratchy voice. “Although, the floor is much shinier thanks to their faces having mopped it.”

You really are pretty good at having characters drop witty one-liners straight out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's playbook, you know that? XD;


“Who are you?” Krane demanded. “Why have you--?”

“Sableye, rise from the ashes,” the mysterious man said, limply dropping a Pokeball from his hand.

The Pokeball split open, and a white light burst from it. The light took a small, humanoid shape, and when the light evaporated, a strange creature was revealed. This creature possessed dark purple skin and a small torso decorated with red and blue gemstones. Indeed, this creature’s eyes themselves appeared to be large diamonds. A sharp-toothed Cheshire grin stretched across the creature’s face as it flexed its razor-sharp claws, anticipating a fight.

“Saaay,” the creature rasped.

Great description of Sableye, and 'rapsed' is a good word to use to describe its voice.


“Use Shadow Ball, Sableye,” the Pokemon’s trainer ordered calmly.

Sableye formed a sphere of pulsing dark energy between its hands, which it then threw straight toward Krane’s chest. The professor was knocked off his feet and sent sailing across the hallway, landing outside the room he left Derak in.

“Professor, are you all--?” Derak began, but he stopped when he saw the cloaked man and his Sableye standing over Krane’s body. “Uh…dare I ask who the heck you are?”

“Vengeance,” the cloaked man replied simply. “Sableye, Shadow Ball again!”

You know, it makes total sense that there are Wild West-esque badasses calling themselves 'Vengeance' running around in Orre, if you think about it.


Sableye again launched its attack, this time directly at Derak. The runaway trainer let out a cry of shock as he flattened himself on the ground, allowing the ball to sail over him and strike the table immediately next to the one Krane described as having Unova-born starter Pokemon. The Pokeballs on that nearby table shook, particularly the orange one.

“What the heck is your problem?!” Derak cried.

“I told you, I want vengeance,” the cloaked man said.

“Vengeance for what?!” Derak cried. “What did I do, exactly?”

“Not you,” the mysterious aggressor said. “Sableye, use Brick Break!”

Clearly he was wronged by Derak's father, though exactly how is a question with countless possible answers.


Sableye lunged forward, drawing back one small arm in preparation for a strike. Derak dove out of the way, causing Sableye’s arm to crash through the table its Shadow Ball had struck earlier. The table split in two, scattering its contents across the floor. One of the balls, specifically the orange-and-white one, began to shake violently as it rolled into a corner.

“Use Will-o-Wisp!” the attacker commanded.

This time, Sableye spread its arms out, creating a circle of eerily blue balls of fire. The small Pokemon grinned hungrily, fangs displayed in all their glory. It pushed its arms forward, sending its fireballs forth, but the orange-and-white Pokeball burst open, sending out a light that blocked the fireballs’ advance. Like the light from Sableye’s Pokeball, this light formed a shape, in this case small simian shape. When the light faded, it revealed an orange-skinned Pokemon with a pale yellow coloring on its hands, face, feet, and stomach. It had large eyes containing grey irises as well as a small point of hair atop its head, but by far its most noticeable feature was the burning flame on its backside.

“Char-char!” the new Pokemon screeched. “Chimchar!”

“Uh…what just happened?” Derak asked, looking at the small orange monkey. “And what is that?”

“It is a Chimchar, you imbecile,” the cloaked figure spat. “It would appear that I will be having an actual battle with you, child…despite the short time it will take up. Take command of Chimchar, now that you have the chance to fight back.”

Two things strike me here. One, Vengeance (as I'll call him for now) seems to have a sense of honor to a degree by allowing Derak the chance to fight back, and two, this is an analogue to the rival battle after choosing your starter in the games. You're doing really well at delivering these themes from the games in subtle ways adapted to suit your story.


“Uh…okay?” Derak said. “Chimchar, use…uh, what was it…Shadow Ball!”

“Char?” Chimchar turned to Derak and looked at him inquisitively.

“You…don’t know that move? Is that it?” Derak asked.

“Chim-char,” the monkey nodded with an oddly listless tone in its voice.

“Uh, okay…Brick Break!” Derak yelled.

“Char,” Chimchar shook its head, indicating that it did not know that move, either.

“Uh…do you know Will-o-Wisp?” Derak asked.

“Chim-char,” Chimchar shook its head again.

This exchange is amazingly realistic, when you consider that Derak and Chimchar have been thrown together with no warning. It's understandable that they would have no synch with each other.


“Forget what I said earlier,” the cloaked man said with a ragged sigh. “This is going to be absolutely pathetic. Sableye, just finish this with Shadow Claw.”

“Chimchar, don’t let him!” Derak yelled. “Use…I don’t know, something! Something that works!”

Sableye wound back one arm again, this time forming an aura of darkness around it. Three long claws made from the shadows themselves grew from Sableye’s arm, much to the small purple Pokemon’s delight. Chimchar, however, had something to contribute in regards to the situation, and spat a storm of small flaming orbs—these of regular orange color—at Sableye. Taken off-guard at first, Sableye’s chest took several shots before the purple gremlin blocked the rest using its Shadow Claw-powered arm.

“Fight as much as you want, boy,” the cloaked man rasped. “At this stage, Chimchar only knows two moves, and you just used up one of your only options.”

“Guess I don’t have much choice, then, do I?” Derak said. “Chimchar, use your other move!”

Chimchar leapt at Sableye, with speed that actually invoked surprise in the small purple gremlin. Chimchar drew back its hand and promptly raked its fingers across Sableye’s face. Although Derak celebrated the apparent success of the move, his joy soon turned to despair upon realizing that Sableye took no damage whatsoever.

“Ember may have done a small amount of damage to Sableye,” the cloaked man admitted, “but a Normal-type attack like that Scratch will be completely useless against a Ghost-type. Finish this, Sableye.”

“Chimchar, get out of there!” Derak yelled.

His command came too late, however. Just as Chimchar was about to leap away, Sableye brought its Shadow Claw down upon the flaming-tailed monkey, pinning it to the ground. Chimchar screamed in agony as the Shadow Claw dug into its body, something that Sableye actually seemed to enjoy. The apparent Ghost-type Pokemon grinned darkly as it twisted its claws around, prompting more shrieks of pain from Chimchar.

Your battle scenes really flow well and show off an impressive degree of realism, I think.


“Hey, stop it! You won already!” Derak cried, but his protests fell on deaf ears as Sableye continued to torture Chimchar, the cloaked man doing absolutely nothing about it. “I SAID STOP IT!”

Derak charged forward, which caused even the cloaked man to raise an eyebrow. Derak then took hold of Chimchar and yanked the monkey out of Sableye’s grasp, clutching it protectively as he retreated. Sableye’s smile then flipped upside-down, and the vicious little Pokemon drew back another Shadow Claw.

This is a good character-establishing moment for Derak, showing him having the decency to try and extract his Pokemon from a dangerous situation whatever the cost. That's something important to establish early.

I don't think this is going to be the last we see of Sableye, either.




Derak looked around for the small sphere until Chimchar wordlessly pointed at the corner. Derak saw the Pokeball there and picked it up. Before he could recall the monkey, however, a firm hand grasped his head, fingers digging into the boy’s skull.

“Hey, what—” Derak began to object, but the cloaked man kneed the boy in the stomach, knocking the air out of Derak’s lungs.

“Quiet,” the man barked. He lowered his hood, revealing an aged face with strangely golden eyes. “I need to check something.”

The man looked into Derak’s eyes and saw something in them, something along the lines of resentment and coldness…but also the sort of kindness that prompted the boy to save Chimchar in the first place. Derak looked into his foe’s eyes, as well. He saw bitterness, hatred, and rage…but also some unknown sort of sadness. Chimchar blinked, unable to comprehend what was going on. A groaning behind the cloaked man signaled the rise of Professor Krane.

The question raised here in my mind is, does this guy have some sort of power? The color of his eyes seems to be important, and often when a character has unusually-colored eyes they have some sort of power that their eyes reflect. In this case, he seems to be able to share consciousness with his target to some degree.


“Ow…that was some Shadow Ball,” Krane moaned, rubbing his head. The cloaked man let go of Derak’s head, dropping the boy to the floor as he pulled his hood back up.

“Professor Krane, was it?” the man asked in his scathing voice. “Is this boy starting a Pokemon journey?”

“Y-yes, he is,” Krane replied. “We were about to go over the available Pokemon when you barged in and—”

“Give him Chimchar,” the cloaked man ordered.

“Wuh-what?” Krane stuttered. “Why Chimchar?”

“It obviously wants to battle for him,” the cloaked man said in a dismissive tone. “Is that a problem?”

“Well, no, but—” Krane began.

“Then do as I say,” the cloaked man barked. “I assume you want to be rid of me. My business here is concluded, so I have no further reason to remain.”

My mind is working to piece together theories, which is good. I'm thinking right now that Vengeance wants to see Derak disobey his father's wishes for his own ends.


The cloaked man roughly brushed past Krane and took the elevator out. After a moment of staring after his attacker, Krane looked to Derak. The latter already knew what the former wanted to ask.

“Chimchar kinda jumped out of his Pokeball to fight the guy’s Sableye,” Derak explained, holding the small starter in his arms. “Even though he lost, it doesn’t matter to me. I like Pokemon the way they are, strong or not.”

The Chimchar looked up at Derak with a bewildered gaze.

“Well…I’m not sure how to tell you this, Derak,” Krane said, “but Chimchar is…different…from the other starters.”

“Seems just fine to me,” Derak said, looking down at the monkey.

“Physically, yes,” Krane said. “But the problem is not in that nature. The starters hear many things about Pokemon trainers during their daily exercises. Chimchar heard that many trainers treat their Pokemon as fighting machines, and assumed it was true. Because of that viewpoint, it refused to socialize with the other Pokemon, and focuses solely on fighting. It truly believes that it is a fighting machine.”

I'm not sure what to think here. It is reminiscent of Paul's Chimchar in the anime, but also has hints of Shadow Pokemon, which given the setting aren't unexpected. I think I'm going to have to wait and see where this one goes.


“Seriously?” Derak blinked. “Chimchar, you’re not a fighting machine. You’re a living being, so you have the right to act like one, right?”

“Char?” Chimchar chirped, staring at Derak with the utmost confusion on its face.

“Okay, I’ve been at this training thing for only a few minutes and I’m already sick of calling you ‘Chimchar’ over and over,” Derak said. “How about I give you a name?”

“I think that’s an excellent idea,” Krane nodded with a smile. “Perhaps that is the first step to reopening Chimchar’s mind and heart.”

Derak ignored Krane’s words as he gently set Chimchar on the floor and knelt down to its level.

“Let’s see…Blaze? No, that’s lame…Burner? No, that still sucks,” Derak muttered. “Wait, I’ve got it! How about ‘Wildfire’? What do you think?”

Chimchar only stared blankly at Derak.

“I think it fits quite well,” Krane said. “Now, would you like me to show you how to recall a Pokemon?”

That actually made the nicknaming portion fit in very well. It wasn't abrupt at all.


“Saw the Sableye creep do it,” Derak said. “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

He stood up and pointed the orange-and-white Pokeball at the newly-named Wildfire.

“Wildfire, return,” Derak said, and the Chimchar was absorbed into its Pokeball.

“Well done,” Krane said. “For someone so in the dark about Pokemon for so long, you seem to be quite a quick learner.”

“I guess,” Derak shrugged. “Not something I’m proud of, really.”

“Here,” Krane said, pulling a small orange device out of his pocket and handing it to Derak. “This is your Pokedex, the novel tool for any Pokemon trainer. It has an expansive database cataloging every Pokemon currently discovered.”

I'm surprised it's not a P*DA, given that they're in Orre and Krane has a track record of giving those away.


“This little thing?” Derak asked skeptically, noting that the Pokedex more resembled a portable video gaming console than a Pokemon encyclopedia.

“Indeed,” Krane nodded. “If I may, Derak, do you know what region you will be traveling to first?”

“Doesn’t really matter,” Derak shrugged. “Probably Kanto, I suppose.”

“A good idea,” Krane nodded. “As Orre lacks a true Pokemon League of its own, Kanto—where Pokemon were first discovered—is the best choice for beginning trainers. A ship will be leaving Gateon Port for Kanto in a few hours. Let us go and get your trainer card made, and you will be able to begin your journey.”

Oh, so he's not staying in Orre. That makes a couple of things make more sense.



Outside, the cloaked man’s own journey was continuing as he departed the lab. He looked back for a moment, staring at the lab. The blood of his enemy was there, he could smell it. But perhaps…perhaps, if he went to Gateon Port, he could wait for his enemy to come to him.

Yes…that would suffice.

And we end on a suitably mysterious note. Nice bookends for the chapter.

I'm pretty impressed, from this first chapter. You're doing well avoiding a lot of the pitfalls that usually trap journeyfics, and your characters are pretty interesting. So far, the settings are solid as well. I don't think I can really think of any substantial criticism to give here, so you're definitely on the right track.

Morpher01
3rd June 2012, 4:08 AM
The Great Butler:
I wonder if this information couldn't be delivered in a less rigid fashion. It kind of feels like listing here, which certainly isn't horrible. I can just see better possibilities for it.

There probably are, but I wanted to convey the weirdness of Derak's outfit for a reason.


It strikes me that Krane doesn't seem terribly concerned about his safety, greeting visitors in person outside the lab like this. I would have thought that he would have learned after being kidnapped once.


He's generally too nice for his own good, I think. XD


Obviously, this is up to artistic liberty, but that aside, I think I disagree with this part. The Johto starters appear to be the ones most associated by far with Orre - Verde, Rosso and Bluno have Bayleef, Quilava and Croconaw in Colosseum, while Battlus will give you one of the Johto starter trio if you can make it up Mt. Battle from start to finish without leaving or changing your team. Those facts make me think that if Orre had starter Pokemon, they'd probably be Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile.

But again, personal preference.

I think of Orre as more of an "all-in" sort of region, and thus I decided to give it all the available starters. But, hey, you have your preferences, and I have mine.


Clearly he was wronged by Derak's father, though exactly how is a question with countless possible answers.

Chapter 3 gives information that may require more speculation on that front...


The question raised here in my mind is, does this guy have some sort of power? The color of his eyes seems to be important, and often when a character has unusually-colored eyes they have some sort of power that their eyes reflect. In this case, he seems to be able to share consciousness with his target to some degree.

You'll see...XD


I'm not sure what to think here. It is reminiscent of Paul's Chimchar in the anime, but also has hints of Shadow Pokemon, which given the setting aren't unexpected. I think I'm going to have to wait and see where this one goes.

In all honesty, Wildfire's issues are purely psychological and self-designed, primarily due to the fact that he's a young and fairly naive Chimchar who just wants to make sure he doesn't get abandoned.


I'm surprised it's not a P*DA, given that they're in Orre and Krane has a track record of giving those away.

I'm more used to trainers using Pokedexes, honestly. P*DAs don't seem to give out informative entries like the Pokedex, though I suppose you have to trade off something to work in features like e-mail and a Snag List.


I'm pretty impressed, from this first chapter. You're doing well avoiding a lot of the pitfalls that usually trap journeyfics, and your characters are pretty interesting. So far, the settings are solid as well. I don't think I can really think of any substantial criticism to give here, so you're definitely on the right track.

I have to be honest here...I believe that chapters 1-3 are great, but the ones that follow it steadily decline quality-wise. I'm not entirely sure that the quality standard of the first few chapters is going to be met by every last one (and there are going to be plenty).

I could be wrong, though. The way I see it, the quality of the chapter is decided half by the writer and half by the reader.

Speaking of which...chapter 3 is nigh. Like I said before, this might be the last of the above-average quality chapters that I've written up till now, but we'll need to look at chapter 4 in order to decide that for certain.



Chapter 3: Rage


Wailord reached land roughly an half-hour later, and with a bit of difficulty, the remaining passengers departed. Derak was one of the first ones off, sliding off of the Float Whale Pokemon and planting his feet back on solid ground. The cloaked man followed, as did Melissa Armare.

“Can someone explain to me what just happened?” Derak asked of no one in particular. “Because I’m pretty sure we almost just got killed by a crazy Stoutland.”

“I’m pretty sure you just answered your own question,” Melissa sneered. “Stoutland was unusual, sure, but it probably drowned when it dove off the edge. No reason to worry about it anymore.”

“Well, aren’t we fond of jumping to conclusions?” Derak said with his sardonic wit. “Hope you can keep those amazing logical skills when Stoutland is munching on your leg tomorrow morning.”

Melissa glared at him and walked away. The cloaked man shook his head.

“The girl is wrong,” he said. “Dead wrong. I can feel it…it will take much more than a little water to even harm, let alone kill, that Stoutland.”

“How do you know that?” Derak asked.

“I…that is none of your business!” the cloaked man snapped. “Besides, we have no time to wait around. We must reach Pallet Town and find a suitable internet connection.”

“Why do you want that answer so badly?” Derak asked.

“Because it will determine whether you live or die,” the cloaked man replied.

Derak blinked.

“Uh…oh…kay, then,” he said.

****

While Derak and his cloak-wearing elder began their journey through the Kanto region, Orre had concerns of its own. High up in an undisclosed location, a man in a dark purple suit sat at his desk, brow furrowed and hands clasped together. He stroked his black goatee as his long, equally-black ponytail hung limply behind his head.

“Run that by me once more,” the man sighed. “What exactly happened to the S.S. Wailord?”

“Well…it’s difficult to describe, Governor,” a female secretary said nervously, eyes shifting uncomfortably. She knew how Orre’s governor could get if something went wrong, even if his campaign advertisements always said exactly what the people wanted to hear. “Eyewitnesses reported that a strange Stoutland somehow leapt onto the ship out of nowhere before using an unknown attack to destroy the ship from the inside-out. Most of the passengers survived thanks to the captain’s Wailord, but the ship itself is at the bottom of the ocean.”

“I see,” said the governor, a glint of interest in his eyes. “Contact the recovery crew. Tell them that I want to see the results of their findings.”

“Governor Draykus…?” the secretary said in bewilderment.

“I wish to see for myself what this Stoutland was capable of,” Draykus said as he stood up, casting an intimidating shadow over his secretary. “And I wish to see it as soon as possible.”

“Of…of course, Governor,” the secretary stammered.

****

“So, this is Pallet Town?” Derak asked, glancing at the small houses in the suburban settlement. “I never thought towns could be this small, but that’s probably just me being a Phenac native.”

“Do not get distracted,” the cloaked man admonished. “We are here for a computer, not to sightsee.”

“Oh, of course. How selfish of me to not obsessively put your goals ahead of mine, especially since you tried to kill me back in Orre,” Derak snidely retorted, drawing a glare from his acquaintance. “There should be a computer somewhere in the Pokemon Lab, right?”

“How do you know there is a Lab here?” the cloaked man asked.

“Professor Krane told me while I was getting my trainer card,” Derak said. “He said I had to go talk to the guy in the Lab in Pallet Town to register for the Kanto League. We might as well both get what we want, even if I’d rather not help you.”

“That does sound reasonable,” the cloaked man agreed. “Come, then. The Lab should be fairly easy to spot.”

As it would turn out, the Lab was indeed quite visible, being a large house standing atop a large grassy hill. As Derak and the cloaked man ascended the hillside, the former took note of a slowly-spinning windmill beside the house. Derak knocked on the front door, and a man answered, wearing a white lab coat over a red shirt and tan pants. He gave a kind smile as he smoothed his graying hair.

“Ah, hello there!” the professor greeted. “My name is Professor Oak. May I help you with anything?”

“He needs to use the internet,” Derak said, nodding his head to the cloaked man. “I need to register for the Kanto League.”

“You’ve both come to the right place,” Oak smiled. “Take a seat, young man. As for you,” he added, looking to the cloaked man, “if you’ll follow me, I’ll show you the computer I use for posting my research findings online.”

“Good,” the cloaked man said.

“By the way,” Oak said as he led the cloaked man into another room with a chair, a computer, and a window in it, “what might your name be?”

The cloaked man wordlessly sat at the computer and activated an internet browser.

“Er…sir?” Oak ventured.

“I believe the child requires your attention,” the cloaked man said.

“Oh, yes, quite right!” Oak nodded. “Although, I will expect an answer later. You can’t really have someone in your home if you don’t learn their name, after all!”

“I hardly see this as a time for a hospitality lesson,” the cloaked man muttered as Oak left. “Let me see…Derak Kadir.”

He typed the boy’s name into a search engine, adding on the words “family tree” on the end. Once a set of findings were brought up, the enigmatic wanderer set to work.

As the cloaked man fiddled with websites, Professor Oak and Derak sat across from each other in a central room. Oak leaned forward, eager to dispense advice to a new trainer. Derak, meanwhile, lounged in his seat without a care in the world.

“Now, then, young man—” Oak began.

“Could you stop calling me that?” Derak interrupted. “It makes me feel uncomfortable. Just call me Derak.”

“Heh! Well, then, Derak,” Oak chuckled, never losing his smile despite Derak’s interruption, “allow me to explain the basics of the Pokemon League.”

Derak slowly sat up, attempting to take in the professor’s explanation.

“There are facilities in many cities throughout Kanto,” Oak continued. “These facilities are called ‘Gyms’. Trainers aspiring to enter the Kanto League must defeat the leader of each Gym and be awarded a badge as proof of their victory. Once a trainer collects eight badges, he or she is eligible to enter the Kanto League.”

“Okay, I’m with you so far,” Derak said.

“Each Gym specializes in a certain type,” Oak said, “such as Fire, Water, or Grass. May I see your starter Pokemon? I can give you some tips about what to do for the first of the Gyms.”

Derak simply shrugged.

“Wildfire, come on out,” he said, clicking open his sole Pokeball. Wildfire appeared, still striking an aggressive posture. The Chimchar blinked as it realized it, once again, was not called into battle, and resumed a more peaceful pose.

“Well, well!” Oak said, kneeling down to Wildfire’s level. “It’s been quite some time since I saw a trainer with a Chimchar! Although, the first Gym specializes in Rock-type Pokemon, which I’m afraid your Chimchar may be fairly ineffective against,” Oak added, smile finally fading somewhat.

“We might be able to manage,” Derak said, “right, Wildfire?”

“Chim-char,” Wildfier said blankly.

“Even so,” Oak said, “you may want to catch another Pokemon before taking on the Pewter City Gym.”

“…uh…how do I do that?” Derak asked, as this was one of the few things Krane had neglected to explain to him.

“Don’t worry, I’ll explain the process,” Oak said.

Meanwhile, the cloaked man’s ragged breaths became faster and angrier, his free hand curling into a fist on the desk. He had found what he was looking for, but the very sight of it was flooding his mind with horrible memories. The man bared his yellowing teeth in a vicious snarl, and with a yell of pure rage he threw the chair out the window, scattering several small bird Pokemon. He swiped his hand at the computer, bludgeoning the device so hard that it slid off the desk and clattered onto the floor.

“My word, what is going on in here?!” Oak cried as he ran to the cloaked man, stopping in the doorway. “Please, tell me what’s wrong!”

The cloaked man’s hood fell as he threw his head back in a rage, revealing a baleful pair of golden eyes. The man glared darkly at Oak as he picked a Pokeball off of his belt and dropped it, releasing a large Pokemon reminiscent of a yellow tiger-striped sasquatch with flat teeth, black fingers, and two long black tails.

“Out of my way,” the man growled. “Electivire, Thunder!”

Electricity began to spark between the two stubby antennae on the Pokemon’s wide head, and with a yell of rage so like that of its trainer, Electivire shot a powerful bolt of lightning directly into Professor Oak’s chest. The professor was sent sailing into a wall, electricity coursing through his body as his paralyzed form slid back down onto the ground.

“Professor?!” Derak cried, soon seeing the cloaked man’s preparations to attack. “Oh, come on, not this again!”

“Focus Blast!” the cloaked man ordered.

This time, Electivire formed a ball of blue energy between its hands, which it then launched directly at Derak. The young trainer dove to the ground, Wildfire doing so as well. The attack sailed over the boy and burst through the wall, giving Derak an opportunity to scan the cloaked man’s latest Pokemon.

“Electivire,” the Pokedex said, “the Thunderbolt Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Electabuzz. Electivire is a durable Pokemon that pays no heed to enemy attacks. Its favorite tactic consists of closing in on its foe, shoving its tails onto the foe, and discharging high voltage.”

“And now, one wants to kill me,” Derak gulped.

“Ice Punch, now!” the cloaked man roared.

With speed fitting of its classification as the Thunderbolt Pokemon, Electivire was upon Derak and pulling back one fist. Derak and Wildfire rolled out of the way just in time to see Electivire’s fist, coated with frigid energy, slam into the floor. Electivire’s red eyes widened as it realized that its fist had become stuck in the floor, giving Derak a chance to recall Wildfire and try for an escape.

“Stop him with Double Team!” the cloaked man bellowed.

As Derak ran for the door, something shocking happened: another Electivire suddenly materialized between Derak and the door, grinning wickedly. Startled, Derak fell onto his rear as the second Electivire was soon joined by several others, all snickering mischievously.

“What is your problem?!” Derak yelled at the cloaked man. “I thought we got over this!”

“You thought wrong,” the cloaked man growled, glancing at the first Electivire’s continued attempts to remove its fist from the floor. “Electivire!”

The voice of its trainer was apparently what Electivire needed, as the Thunderbolt Pokemon managed to retract its fist once it heard its species’ name. With the other Electivires all towering over Derak, the original began to advance on him, cracking its knuckles with a devious grin. Derak shut his eyes, waiting for the final blow…

…and then he heard an oozing sound.

Electivire evidently heard the sound as well, looking around for the source of it. Professor Oak, who was still unconscious and lying against the wall, was not that source. Even the once-hooded man was confused, also puzzling over the possible origins of the sound. Even more confusion entered the room once a horrendous stench entered the nostrils of the present trainers, causing them to clutch their noses in repulsion.

And then a giant purple blob completely smothered Electivire, trapping the Thunderbolt Pokemon using its two slimy arms. The other Electivires disappeared once the original was underneath the blob, much to the pleasure of said blob’s two large eyes.

“MUUUUUUKK!” the blob roared, opening its truly enormous mouth.

“Muk,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Sludge Pokemon. Type is Poison. Evolved form of Grimer. A toxic fluid seeps from Muk’s body, which instantly kills plants and trees on contact.”

“Muk, muk, muk!” Muk boomed, looking to Derak and pointing to the door with one arm as it continued to envelop Electivire.

“What?” Derak said, looking at the door for a moment. And then the meaning of Muk’s exclamations hit him. “Wait, I’m not going to just leave you! You’ll get—”

Muk was suddenly coursing with electrical energy, Electivire having used Thunder at point-blank range. The Electric-type then used its two tails to fling Muk off of its body, causing the amorphous Poison-type to land on Oak’s sofa. Oak’s television suddenly turned on, Muk having apparently made contact with the remote. The first thing to appear on the screen was a female newscaster with her hair tied in a bun.

“We’re back with World News!” the newscaster said. “We have a breaking news bulletin! An Orre region passenger ship, the S.S. Wailord, spontaneously sank halfway through its trip to the Kanto region. Orre governor Nathaniel Draykus had this to say.”

An image of Draykus appeared on the screen, standing before what appeared to be his office.

“Thank you,” Draykus said. The moment he heard Draykus’ voice, the cloaked man’s eyes widened so much that they bulged out of his skull, and he wandered over to the television as if in a trance. “I want to let you all know that we are looking into the cause of the destruction, and we have identified it to be the work of some rogue Pokemon. I can assure you all that I, nor anyone in the Orre region under my command, will not rest until this Pokemon is brought to justice.”

The cloaked man stared at Draykus, hand slowly closing into a fist once again. His lips parted into a snarl, and his eyes narrowed with loathing.

“So…you live as well,” the man growled.

“What do you mean?” Derak asked.

“Nothing you need to concern yourself with,” the cloaked man said, making a surprising move by recalling his Electivire. “Not anymore.”

“I wonder why I don’t believe that,” Derak said bitterly, crossing his arms.

“Believe what you will,” the man said as he walked over to Professor Oak, roughly shaking the fallen scientist.

“Whuh…wha?” Oak mumbled as he opened his eyes. “You…! Why would you do such a—”

“My reasons are my own,” the cloaked man said bluntly. “You would do better with your time by giving the Muk medical attention rather than questioning me.”

He began to leave, but before he did so, he looked to Derak.

“I want to speak with you before you continue on your journey,” the man said before departing.

“Great,” Derak muttered. “Another friendly conversation with the bipolar Pokemon trainer.”

“He certainly is a strange one, isn’t he?” Oak agreed. “Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, here.”

He pulled five shrunken Pokeballs out of his pocket and handed them to Derak.

“These are some empty Pokeballs for you to catch Pokemon with,” Oak explained. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to give Muk some medicine. That odd man was right about one thing, and that would be Muk’s need of healing.”

“He might be,” Derak said before looking over to the unconscious Muk. “Hey, say thanks to Muk for me when it wakes up, will you? It really saved my hide back there.”

“I’ll be sure to do that,” Oak smiled. “That Muk belongs to a trainer who came from Pallet Town some time ago. It certainly loves humans, and believe me, I speak from experience.”

“I…don’t think I want to know about that,” Derak said, greatly disturbed by the implications of a human-loving blob of purple slime. “Oh, almost forgot, can you register me for the Kanto League?”

“Of course!” Oak said. “Just give me your trainer card.”

Derak did so, and Oak scanned the card into one of the few remaining computers that the cloaked man had not destroyed in his berserk rampage.

“There you go,” Oak said. “You’re all set. Good luck on your travels, Derak!”

Derak gave Oak a simple, limp wave and left. Once he reached the bottom of the hill, he was met by the cloaked man.

“So, what do you want this time, Mr. Bipolar?” Derak asked.

“I want to accompany you on your journey,” the man said.

“What?!” Derak cried, breaking his normally unflappable demeanor. “Forget it! Why would I want to hang around you for at least a whole year?!”

“Let me begin by saying that I may have been wrong in my initial judgment,” the man sighed. “The man I thought to be your relative is my sworn enemy. I believed that, by slaying you, I would be able to avenge the wrongs he dealt me.”

“So, what made you change your mind?” Derak asked, calming down somewhat.

“You would not believe me if I told you,” the cloaked man sighed. “Trust me on that.”

“Yeah, about that whole ‘trust’ thing…it’s not happening,” Derak said, folding his arms.

“Think of me what you will,” the man said. “All I ask is that you let me accompany you, so that I may become worthy of a second chance.”

Derak let out a heavy sigh. As much as he distrusted this odd man, the elder trainer had experience that Derak suspected he would need by his side, particularly if Stoutland reappeared.

“All right,” he said reluctantly, “but I’m not giving you that second chance you want so badly.”

“I never said I wanted that second chance to come from you,” the man said, turning to leave Pallet Town.

“Whatever,” Derak said. “Oh, and by the way, what am I supposed to call you? Just ‘creepy old hooded guy’?”

The man stopped.

“Garth,” he stated flatly.

“Huh?” Derak said.

“Garth,” the cloaked man repeated. “My name is Garth Cesslon.”

Garth then entered a nearby wood, a sign in front of it reading “VIRIDIAN FOREST”. Derak shrugged.

“Garth it is,” he said, following the elder trainer into the apparent Viridian Forest.

****

Back at Kanto’s shores, a dark shape prowled under the glistening water, slowly nearing land. As the shape reached the shoreline, one brown paw burst out of the water, followed by the rest of Stoutland’s body. The supposedly Big-Hearted Pokemon then transformed once again into a dark mass of energy, leaping across the roofs of Pallet Town and soaring deep into Viridian Forest.

****

Anoch Kadir’s office starkly contrasted the rest of Phenac City’s clean splendor. The room was littered with the results of a childish tantrum, papers and books scattered across the floor. Derak’s father slammed his forehead into his desk, a clear indicator of his frustration.

“Why does that boy not listen to me?!” Anoch grumbled. “I’ve done everything a single father can possibly do!”

He then heard several knocks at the door.

“What is it?!” he bellowed.

“Sir?” a voice said. “I’m here as you requested.”

“Oh, Spire,” Anoch said. “Come in.”

A man in his early twenties with spiky black hair entered the room. Like Anoch, he wore a business suit, although his was a fiery red rather than a plain black, sporting a navy blue tie. He gave a respectful nod to Anoch upon entering the room.

“Nice to see someone on my side right about now,” Anoch sighed.

“Nice to be on your side,” Spire replied. “I’ve been your lawyer for almost ten years, now, and I don’t intend to stop now.”

“Good to know,” Anoch said. “I’ve notified the Kanto police force about Derak, so all that remains is for you to put your miracle-working skills to work. I’ve never lost a case in which I’ve had you as my lawyer, all because of that hobby of yours…what was it again?”

Spire smiled and pulled a leather wallet out of his pocket. The wallet fell open, revealing a golden eye-shaped badge with the word “PRIVATE” above it, and the identifying name of “NICK SPIRE” underneath the eye.

“Part lawyer, part private investigator!” Spire declared. “That’s how I was able to gather materials for all your cases…by using my detective skills.”

“And boy, have they helped me,” Anoch sighed. “Can those ‘detective skills’ bring back my son?”

“Of course,” Spire nodded. “I haven’t failed a case yet, and I don’t plan to start now.”

“Good,” Anoch nodded. “Since the S.S. Wailord was destroyed, you’ll need to find a new ship to take you to Kanto.”

“I’ll get on that right away, sir,” Spire nodded.

“Good luck, Spire,” Anoch sighed.

Spire nodded and left the office. Once he left the building altogether, he sighed.

“I’ve been your lawyer for years,” Spire said to himself. “That doesn’t mean I always agree with your methods…especially how you handled raising Derak.”

He reached into his other pocket, pulling out four Pokeballs that he clipped onto his belt in short order.

“Besides,” he said, “I don’t need a ship to reach Kanto. Braviary, close the case!”

A large avian Pokemon emerged from Spire’s Pokeball. It spread its broad red wings, exposing its purple underside, as it flexed its yellow talons. Its shook its white head, snapping its yellowed beak in anticipation. Spire climbed aboard this Pokemon’s back, which the latter took to with a content look despite the fact that its trainer was a foot taller than it was.

“Braviary, use Fly!” Spire ordered. “Next stop, Kanto!”

Braviary squawked as it flapped its wings, taking both it and its trainer into the sky.

*****

The Great Butler
6th June 2012, 9:44 AM
Chapter 2: Departure



An hour later, Derak stepped into Gateon Port, feeling like a new person. On his belt was one orange Pokeball, containing his starting Pokemon. In one pocket was an identifying card with his image on it. In the other pocket was a Pokedex, the portable guide to the Pokemon of the world. He could not remove the wide smile from his face.

Orange Pokeball?


He was finally a Pokemon trainer.

But then his smile faded as more serious thoughts entered his mind. His father would most likely be looking for him, given the sudden absence of his son. The authorities would also be hunting, particularly if Mr. Kadir offered them money as incentive. Derak would have to keep a low profile, at least until he left Orre. But there was one last thing he had to do before he left.

Knowing the still generally lawless nature of Orre, it wouldn't surprise me if there's some not-so-authority types looking for him too.


Derak approached the railing, looking out at the sea. He clicked open his Pokeball, allowing Wildfire to appear in a burst of light. The Chimchar immediately adopted an aggressive posture, expecting a fight.

“Slow down, Wildfire,” Derak said. “We’re not in a battle.”

“Ch-char?” Wildfire sputtered, looking up at its trainer with wide eyes. Why would it be outside of its Pokeball at all if it were not in a battle? Its confusion furthered when Derak gently lifted the Pokemon and held it in his arms.

I really like how you're giving us a window into the mind of the Pokemon. Few authors really go into that; I know I tend to forget it.


“Just look at that ocean,” he said. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

Wildfire felt its eyes glistening, as if the sea itself was touching them. Something tugged at the corners of its mouth, but the Chimchar quickly shook its head, relieving itself of the sensation.

“Chim-char,” Wildfire said flatly, trying its best to maintain its emotionless façade.

“Getting through to you might be harder than I thought,” Derak said. “Okay, let’s try something else: honesty.”

“Char?” Wildfire squeaked curiously.

“I like honesty,” Derak continued with a smile. “I like to hit people on the head with their flaws. Something about it just…I don’t know, it just makes me feel good. But…there are some times where blunt honesty gets a little awkward. This is probably one of those times.”

He sighed, the smile vanishing from his face.

“Wildfire, I have a confession to make,” he said. “Even though I know almost nothing about Pokemon, I did have a specific starter in mind when I went to the HQ Lab. And…just for the record…it, uh…wasn’t really you.”

This is something else I like to see. It's not "go to the professor and get the starter you always wanted" but it's not "go to the professor and get stuck with the last Pokemon" either. It's a third option, and I like to see it be used.


“Char,” Wildfire droned, still blankly staring out at the sea.

“Wait, what?” Derak sputtered. “You don’t care in the least that I didn’t plan on choosing you, even though you…I guess, chose me?”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire muttered.

“Oh, boy…I REALLY need to do some work with you,” Derak shook his head.

That's a pretty ... unique attitude Wildfire's taking on. It will be interesting to watch it develop.


A raspy (and somewhat exaggerated) cough drew Derak’s attention to the same cloaked figure who attacked him in the HQ Lab. The man was also leaning on the railing, which he pushed himself off of upon Derak’s noticing him.

“Not you again,” Derak groaned. Wildfire growled at the man, ready for a rematch despite the sound thrashing it received at the hands of his Sableye. “What exactly is it that you want from me?”

“I may have been a bit…hasty…at first,” the man said. “I want to know one thing.”

“What’s that?” Derak asked.

“How far back does your family tree go?” the man asked.

“No idea,” Derak shrugged. “Why?”

“That is none of your concern,” the man spat.

I see not much has changed with this guy. Not surprising.


“Oh, that’s nice,” Derak said with a raised eyebrow, voice dripping with sarcasm. “I really feel like answering every last question you have, now that you’ve cleared that up for me.”

The man’s hand suddenly latched onto Derak’s shirt, pulling the boy up with one hand. He brought Derak up to eye level, somehow managing to hold the boy a foot off of the ground with little—if any—difficulty.

“I lack the time for your charming witticisms, boy,” the man snarled, fighting sarcasm with sarcasm. “I have no way of knowing for certain whether or not you tell the truth, so I—”

“THERE YOU ARE!” a voice roared, much to Derak’s dismay. “You’ve caused me a lot of trouble today, you ungrateful brat!”

A dark-haired man in a grey business suit stormed into Gateon Port, livid with rage. Derak silently cursed his luck at the sight of this man. The cloaked man let go of Derak’s shirt, roughly dropping the boy to the ground, as he stared at the newcomer

Awww hell. I should have known this was coming, but this quick?


“Is this man your father?” the cloaked figure asked Derak.

“Yep,” Derak sighed, dusting himself off as he rose.

“My condolences,” said the figure with a vague hint of sincerity.

“I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care!” Derak’s father boomed, pointing an accusing finger at the cloaked man. “You are going to hand my disobedient son over to me!”

The cloaked man replied by silently opening a Pokeball. The Pokemon of choice was not Sableye, however. Instead, it was an orange-skinned turtle with a black shell on its back and grayish rings around all of its ankles as well as its long neck. The shell had a small hole on the top, as well as a circle of crimson hexagons around it. The Pokemon’s eyes appeared to be completely closed, which evidently served a good purpose given the black smoke the Pokemon shot out of its nostrils.

“Torr-koooaall!” the Pokemon yelled, its nostrils making a sound similar to a locomotive horn.

**** yeah! I want to love Torkoal a lot more than I do...


“Whoa, what’s that?” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex and pointing it at the Pokemon. The Pokedex opened up, revealing an image of the Pokemon on the screen, and began to speak.

Kind of surprised he doesn't know what a Torkoal is.


“Torkoal,” the Pokedex said in a mechanical, feminine voice, “the Coal Pokemon. Type is Fire. Torkoal burns coal inside its body for energy. It blows out black soot if it is endangered.”

“WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?!” Derak’s father roared upon seeing his son’s Pokedex, his eyes widening further upon seeing Wildfire in his arms. “AND WHAT IS THAT THING DOING IN YOUR ARMS?! Throw them away right now, or so help me, I’ll—”

“I have had more than enough of you,” the cloaked man snarled. “Torkoal, use Smokescreen!”

“Koooaaall!” Torkoal yelled, this time spraying thick black smoke out of its mouth rather than its nostrils. The smoke billowed up into a massive cough-inducing cloud, and by the time it vanished, Derak and the cloaked man were nowhere to be seen.

“Blasted fool!” Derak’s father cried, stamping his foot. “Why can’t he understand that this is for his own good?!”

****

Derak and the cloaked man now stood aboard one of the ships docked in Gateon Port, Torkoal stored back in its Pokeball. Derak coughed out the last bits of inhaled Smokescreen as the cloaked man looked around. Trainers of various ages and experiences gathered aboard this ship, all presumably headed for the Kanto League.

“Okay, now I’m REALLY confused,” Derak choked, still coughing out smoke alongside a shoulder-mounted Wildfire. “First you attack me, then you help me? Not that I’m not ungrateful or anything, but—”

You're just as surprised as I am, Derak. I wonder what exactly it is he's up to...


“I know,” the old man interrupted. “Your name is Derak Kadir, correct?”

Old man? I don't remember age being assigned to the cloaked guy before.


“Yeah, why?” Derak said.

“Look up your family tree,” the cloaked man ordered. “There should be a computer or two here aboard this ship.”

“And…why am I doing this, exactly?” Derak asked.

“I need my question to be answered,” the man said.

“I repeat…why?” Derak sighed. The cloaked man did so as well.

“Someone I suspect to be in your family line caused me a lot of trouble,” the man reluctantly said.

“And how do you know he’s in my family?” Derak asked.

“I saw it in your eyes,” the old man said. “Regardless of appearance, they look the same as the ones I looked into many years ago. You, like your relative, possess a single ambition. You wish to simply be a Pokemon trainer…your relative wanted to conquer his home region, and then the world.”

It's Nobunaga. /runs

I like where this is going, though.


“…we are DEFINITELY not talking about my dad here,” Derak remarked.

“As much as I can see him causing problems for many people,” the cloaked man sighed, “your father is not my enemy.”

“And somehow I am?” Derak asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I admit, I jumped to conclusions,” the cloaked man said, waving Derak’s objection aside. “Now, if you are finished with your whining, then go and ask for use of a computer and the internet.”

“Uh-huh,” Derak said as the man began to walk away. “And where exactly will I find you if I want to tell you the results?”

“On the upper levels,” the cloaked man said flatly as he left. Derak now stood with only Wildfire to keep him company. He looked to the small monkey.

I would say I'm surprised that the cloaked guy isn't getting bothered for standing out, but then I remembered just how bizarre Orre's cast of characters is. He fits right in.


“What in the world have we gotten ourselves into?” he asked.

Wildfire blinked, but did not answer. This was all far over the young Pokemon’s head.

I don't know why, but "this was all far over the young Pokemon's head" made me laugh.



The ship began to depart the port, sounding a loud horn as it advanced forward. Many adults waved to the ship, wishing their children well on their respective Pokemon journeys. Younger siblings jumped up and down, begging their elders to write them letters or call their houses. Even the occasional Pokemon said farewell in its own fashion, some breathing fire and others sparkling with electricity.

All the excitement blinded the people to a dark, shapeless mass that bounded out of the forest, ricocheted off several buildings, and latched onto the very rear of the ship’s hull. Nobody who noticed the mass remain there said anything about it: they assumed that it was simply rust that no one ever got around to cleaning, or perhaps an aftereffect from a past Pokemon battle. Either way, no one noticed the mass slowly inch up the hull of the ship, getting closer and closer to the top level.


Now I wonder what THIS thing is.


Needing knowledge of where to find a computer, Derak approached a female receptionist. The blonde-haired woman smiled and gave Derak a friendly bow.

“Hello, and welcome to the S.S. Wailord,” the receptionist said. “How can I help you?”

“Hey, is there a place where I can find a computer with internet access?” Derak asked.

The woman blinked for a moment, her smile fading.

“We don’t have internet access on this ship,” she said. “We’re out of range of any sort of connection.”

Derak made a mental note to himself stating that the cloaked man was a complete idiot for not only failing to prepare Derak adequately, but for making the young trainer feel like an idiot himself.

Oops.

Though, I would think that an internet signal would be something universal in a world as advanced as this one.


“Although, I think I can make you feel a little better, sir,” the woman said, as if reading Derak’s mind. “Is that Chimchar yours?”

“Uh, yeah, that’s kinda why he’s sitting on my shoulder,” Derak said somewhat rudely.

“I see,” the woman said, regaining her smile and apparently ignoring Derak’s attitude. “Well, if you’re just starting out your journey—for which I congratulate you—then you may want to participate in the mini-tournament we’re holding.”

I don't see any possible way this can have a good outcome. He's in a foul mood, just met this Chimchar who has some mood problems himself... yeah.


“Any reason I should?” Derak asked.

“The staff of the S.S. Wailord likes to make new trainers as comfortable with their chosen starter Pokemon as possible before they plunge into the unknown,” the woman explained. “Battling with that Pokemon is the best way to do that, and as such, a miniature tournament is held every voyage in order to strengthen the bond between you and your Pokemon.”

“Huh,” Derak grunted, looking at Wildfire. “What do you think, Wildfire?”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire said blankly without even looking at Derak. To the small fire monkey, the only opinion that mattered was that of its trainer.

Interesting, he's broken and doesn't care about himself...


“I’ll take that as a yes,” Derak said. “Where do I sign up?”

“Right here,” the woman said. “Once you’re done, just head up to the top level. I have several other new trainers registered already, but the mini-tournament doesn’t start for another twenty minutes, so don’t worry about being late.”

She handed Derak a sheet of paperwork, which asked for his name, the Pokemon he would be using (along with whatever nickname he gave it), and his hometown. He began to write down various things, although Wildfire noticed that he was not exactly filling out the form exactly as instructed.

“Okay, here,” he said, handing the form back to the receptionist. “I’ll be on the top level.”

“All right, good luck!” the receptionist said. As Derak left, she looked over his paperwork, furrowing her brow. As she was to provide color commentary during the mini-tournament, the way Derak filled out his form may have made her job somewhat awkward.

Filling out the paperwork incorrectly is something completely expected for him, I think.


Derak trudged up the stairs, heading for the top level. The ascension felt like it lasted an eternity, but once he reached the top, he closed his eyes and let out a sigh of relief. He made it. He was safe.

That was, until he saw a large red shape hurtling towards him.

With a yelp, Derak flattened himself against the ground, allowing whatever the object was to sail over him and tumble down the stairs.

“Crawdaunt, no!” a white-garbed sailor yelled, vaulting over Derak as he chased after his Pokemon.

Derak looked up and saw the cloaked man and his Torkoal standing before a crowd of astonished spectators, all gathered about a large arena. With a sigh, Derak got up and approached his cloaked acquaintance, who was taking a large swig from his canteen.

“I see you’ve been busy,” Derak said.

Indeed he has. Beating a Crawdaunt with a Torkoal is impressive.

Nice job using some rarely-seen 3rd Generation Pokemon, too.


“In a sense,” the cloaked man sighed, placing his canteen back on his belt. “What did you find out?”

“That you’re an idiot,” Derak said bluntly. Upon receiving a baleful glare from the older man, Derak continued. “The receptionist told me that there isn’t any internet connection way out here. It was kinda something that people would be able to figure out without having to ask someone.”

“I should have known that my unfamiliarity with technology would come back to haunt me,” the man sighed. “No matter, we will inevitably find a computer once we reach land.”

“What makes you say that?” Derak asked.

“I have been told that we will be arriving in Pallet Town, a small settlement in the Kanto region,” the man replied. “I know for a fact that a Pokemon Professor lives there, and undoubtedly has access to the internet.”

Not sure how I feel about Pallet Town being their first stop. It's a little stereotypical, but it could still work.


“Makes sense,” Derak shrugged. “Me, I need to get ready.”

“For what?” the old man asked.

“Some mini-tournament I signed up for,” Derak replied. “I want to bond with my little friend here, and I’m told battling is the best way.”

“You’re entering the mini-tournament?” said a female’s voice. A blonde-haired girl dressed in a camouflage-patterned military outfit approached Derak. She looked about his age, and had a green Pokeball on her belt. She straightened a lighter green headband on her forehead as she came closer.

“Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

“Just want to ask you something,” she said. “Do you really believe all that junk about how bonding with your Pokemon makes them strong?”

Derak stared for a moment. Junk? The idea of being friends with your Pokemon was considered “junk” by this girl?

“…yeah,” he said slowly. “So what?”

“Yep, you’re going to lose,” the girl smirked confidently. “I’ve been drilling with my Pokemon since the moment I got it, and trust me, I have better chances of winning than someone like you.”

Oh boy, this one sounds like a real winner. I can see where Derak's interaction with her is going to go right now.


“You mean someone with a brain?” Derak asked, looking at a light fixture he found infinitely more interesting.

“What’s that supposed to mean?!” the girl suddenly exploded.

“Probably what you think it means,” Derak responded casually, evidently being used to people yelling at him.

Meanwhile, the cloaked man had gone to the side of the ship while Derak and the blonde girl were engaged in their somewhat one-sided argument. He looked over the side of the ship and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the dark mass that had latched onto the back. What he did not see, given the angle at which he was looking, was that it was slowly working its way up the ship’s white hull. The man narrowed his eyes, puzzling over what this mass could be.

This most definitely is not a good sign.


“How can you call me an idiot?” the girl continued, still seething while Derak stood calmly. “You probably don’t know the first thing about that Chimchar on your shoulder!”

Without even looking at the girl, Derak wordlessly took out his Pokedex and pointed it Wildfire.

“Chimchar,” the Pokedex said, “the Chimp Pokemon. Type is Fire. Chimchar is a highly agile Pokemon. When it goes to sleep, the fire on its tail goes out in order to prevent fires.”

“Problem solved,” Derak said simply.

“We’ll settle this when we battle,” the girl growled before storming away.

“You are going to battle?” the cloaked man said skeptically. “This is something I have to see.”

You probably should have mentioned the cloaked man walking back over to them at some point before he spoke again.


“It’ll be different than when I was battling you,” Derak said, “considering that I only just got my Pokemon and you’ve had that Sableye for who knows how long.”

“True enough,” the man nodded. “I await the results of your battle.”

“Attention, beginning trainers of Orre!” the receptionist from earlier cried. “It’s time for the S.S. Wailord mini-tournament! And now, for the first match! Hailing from none other than Pyrite Town, may we please have Melissa Armare come to the field!”

The blonde girl with whom Derak had been “arguing” approached the field where the cloaked man had previously been battling at with his Torkoal. She crossed her arms and waited impatiently for her opponent.

She's from Pyrite Town? Big surprise that she's so combative then.


“And, now, for her opponent,” the receptionist continued. “Hailing from…uh, well, he put down ‘somewhere in Orre’ for his hometown, and he didn’t write his last name…will a ‘Derak’ please come to the field?”

Recognizing his handiwork, Derak strolled over to his end of the field and was met with a disapproving glare from Melissa.

“No regard for authority, huh?” Melissa sneered.

“I’ve got more important things to do than suck up to people,” Derak said as he shrugged one shoulder, “especially brainless ones like you.”

“Ooh, sounds like we’ve already got rivals on our hands!” the receptionist remarked as Melissa balled her hands into angrily-shaking fists. “If the trainers are ready, then send out your Pokemon!”

Oh, we sure do have rivals on our hands already. That much is certain.


“Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa yelled, throwing her green Pokeball.

This one's about to get very, very interesting when Derak sends his Pokemon out...


Her Pokemon of choice was another turtle, albeit much smaller than the cloaked man’s Torkoal. Its body was primarily a pale green, with yellow ends on each of its stubby feet. Its rather large head had a pale green upper half, which had a small sprout protruding from the top, and a yellow bottom half that matched the Pokemon’s big yellow eyes. With the exception of its head, everything on this turtle’s body was, fittingly enough, covered by a brown shell.

“Turtwig,” Derak’s Pokedex stated, “the Tiny Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. Turtwig’s shell is made from soil, and on a very healthy Turtwig, the shell should feel moist.”

“Guess you’re up, little guy,” Derak said, and Wildfire leapt off of his shoulder and into battle.

“We have Melissa’s Turtwig up against Derak’s Chimchar, nicknamed ‘Wildfire’!” the receptionist commented. “Two starting Pokemon from the Sinnoh region are going at it, folks! Who do you think will win?”

“Probably me,” Melissa snorted. “You actually NAMED your Pokemon? And you call me an idiot. Pokemon aren’t your pets, genius!”

Melissa is... actually standing out very well as a character. She actually might be more extreme than Silver was, and to see it coming from a female character makes her even more unique.


“He’s not my pet, GENIUS,” Derak said mockingly. “Wildfire’s my friend, which is probably a word that someone like you would have to look up in a dictionary every time you hear it.”

“Char?” Wildfire uttered, staring at Derak as if he had just said that the world was ending in the next five minutes.

“I’ll show you what that kind of thinking gets you!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, use Tackle!”

Turtwig lowered its bulbous head and charged forward, barreling towards Wildfire. Just as the small turtle was about to ram Wildfire, however, Derak’s Pokemon somersaulted over Turtwig and leapt off of its shell.

Melissa is about to learn a really big lesson the hard way, I think.


“Nice dodge!” Derak cried. “Now, shoot Turtwig with an Ember!”

“Turtwig, counter with Razor Leaf!” Melissa cried.

Wildfire planted its feet on the ground and spat a series of small fireballs at Turtwig. At the same time, however, Turtwig swung its head around, launching a group of boomerang-like leaves that soared through the air like a ninja’s throwing stars. The two attacks collided and disabled one another, Wildfire’s Ember having turned Turtwig’s Razor Leaf into little more than tiny piles of ashes.

“Here’s what you can do when you actually TRAIN your Pokemon!” Melissa snapped. “Turtwig, use Bite!”

The fact that Turtwig possessed a third move caught Derak off-guard. The Tiny Leaf Pokemon charged forth once more, but this time Turtwig opened its wide jaws and clamped them onto Wildfire’s head. The Fire-type stumbled onto its back, unable to support Turtwig’s weight as well as its own.

“Now, throw it!” Melissa yelled.

Turtwig obliged, lobbing Wildfire straight up into the air. The Chimchar screamed the entire distance, flailing around in a desperate attempt to reorient itself.

“Wildfire, use Scratch!” Derak cried.

Thanks to its trainer’s words, Wildfire was able to position itself in such a way that, when it fell, it was able to use the momentum from its descent to deliver a fierce scratch to the side of Turtwig’s head. The cloaked man watched the battle unfold, witnessing Turtwig attempt another Bite attack that Wildfire managed to dodge before countering with an Ember.

“Interesting,” the cloaked man muttered. “Perhaps I judged the boy too quickly. Now that he is on a more equal footing, his true strength shines…unusual in someone so inexperienced. Perhaps his veins carry the only good part of my enemy’s blood.”

This is turning into quite a good battle, especially for just being a starter battle. Derak being thrown when Melissa had Turtwig use Bite was well done.


As he spoke, however, he glanced down at the dark mass, which crept ever closer to the uppermost deck. Meanwhile, Derak and Melissa’s Pokemon stared each other down, each waiting for an order to strike.

“Wildfire, Ember!” Derak cried.

“Turtwig, show them how strong I made you!” Melissa cried. “Dodge and use Tackle!”

Wildfire spat forth the stream of fireballs once more, but this time Turtwig bounded to the side and barreled towards Wildfire, slamming head-first into the monkey Pokemon’s stomach and carrying it along as Turtwig continued its charge.

“Wildfire, throw it!” Derak yelled.

Wildfire grabbed onto Turtwig’s head and threw the Grass-type aside, Turtwig skidding across the floor. Turtwig soon rose, glaring at Wildfire but clearly on its last legs.

“Now, finish this with one more Ember!” Derak cried.

Wildfire released another Ember, and this time Turtwig lacked the energy to dodge. The Grass-type was pummeled relentlessly by the Fire-type attack, leaving burns across its body. Once the Ember ceased, Turtwig collapsed upon the ground, having completely fainted.

“Turtwig is unable to battle!” the receptionist announced. “Which means that the winner is Derak!”

Wow, he actually did it. For a minute there, I didn't think he'd be able to pull it off.


Derak blinked as reality set in, and then a smile spread across his face. He had just won his first Pokemon battle. Wildfire breathed a sigh of relief, believing itself to have proven its worth to its new trainer.

“Hmph,” Melissa grunted as she recalled her Turtwig, “you only won because you had a type advantage.”

“Says the girl who has no idea what Pokemon training is actually about,” Derak snorted.

Melissa snarled and stomped off. Derak’s victory was met with a round of applause from most of the other trainers. Derak noticed that the cloaked man was one of those trainers, lightly pounding his palms together in a repeated fashion.

This is going to be a wonderful rivalry, I can tell.

"Lightly pounding" is strange wording, though.


“What an impressive way to start off this mini-tournament!” the receptionist cried. “Up next, we have—”

No one ever got to see the next trainers battle, however. The dark mass that had latched on the ship gained a sudden burst of speed as it rocketed over the cloaked man, landing in the battlefield like a meteor striking the earth. Once this impact was established, the dark mass faded, revealing a Pokemon underneath.

The Pokemon had a dominantly purple body, sprouting four brown paws and a brown head to match. A small purple tail grew from this Pokemon’s backside, but the most noticeable feature was on this Pokemon’s face. The facial features were tan, and had a large mustache that extended into two long protrusions that rested on either side of the Pokemon. A strange darkness was in this Pokemon’s eyes as it gnashed its teeth at the present trainers, drooling hungrily.

“Whoa, what the heck?” Derak sputtered as the Pokemon snarled at him.

“Stoutland,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Big-Hearted Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Herdier. Stoutland is an extremely wise Pokemon that rescues people stranded in the mountains, where its shaggy fur protects it from the cold.”

What the...?! Now I'm really curious as to how a Stoutland could be hidden in an amorphous blob like that.


“Doesn’t look so big-hearted to me,” Derak muttered as the Pokemon viciously glared at all humans present.

“Oh, my!” the receptionist cried. “How did this Stoutland get on the ship? If this Stoutland is yours, please return it to its Pokeball!”

The cloaked man, meanwhile, had gone pale upon seeing Stoutland. His hands began to shake, his eyes widened, his jaw hung loosely. A flood of memories rushed into his mind, none of them ones he felt like reliving.

“It…it can’t be,” the man mumbled nervously.

Oh, it's his enemy... I guess whoever the cloaked man's enemy is is not actually a normal trainer. He clearly possess some kind of dark power if his Stoutland can do these kinds of things.


“Koal?” Torkoal said, pointing its seemingly blind eyes in its trainer’s direction. This was the first time it had ever seen him act in such a manner, and it was greatly worrying. What was even more worrying, however, was the intruding creature that was threatening the passengers.

With one final glare, Stoutland opened its mouth wide. A ball of purple energy began to form, gathering particles of dark power from the air around it. Stoutland lurched its head downward, and the ball became destruction incarnate.

The ball of darkness transformed into a colossal beam of destruction, tearing through each level of the ship like a bullet through glass. Everything caught in the blast, be it living or otherwise, was incinerated or torn to shreds in a matter of seconds. Once the beam had ruptured the ship, it dug into the ocean floor, stirring up a torrent of dirt that scattered whatever wild water Pokemon were not killed by the ensuing blast.

That was probably one of the most beautiful fits of description I've read in a long time. Not too short, not too long.


With a gaping hole in the ship, Stoutland let out a bone-chilling howl of victory, energy gathering around it and transforming it into a shapeless dark mass once more. The dark mass catapulted itself through a group of trainers and into the ocean, where most aboard the ship hoped that it would remain for the rest of its days. All the while, the cloaked man stared blankly at where Stoutland went, lost in a sea of memories.

Meanwhile, the ship began to groan and tilt as water flooded inside the lower levels. Every minute that the ship remained, more water overtook a level. A man in a blue suit and a white cap, evidently the captain, took command.

“Everyone, return your Pokemon and gather around!” the captain cried. “This ship was named the S.S. Wailord for a reason!”

Derak recalled Wildfire as the cloaked man, finally coming back to reality, returned his Torkoal. The captain threw down a Pokeball, and everyone hoped for the best.

****

The ship slowly sank into oblivion, the ocean claiming it as its prize. Even so, there were many who had survived Stoutland’s beam of death and lived to tell about it. The crew, passengers, and various Pokemon all sat aboard a large blue whale-like Pokemon with a white underbelly and beady eyes.

“Full speed ahead, Wailord,” the former ship’s captain commanded. “We’re almost to Kanto.”

“Waaaaeeee,” Wailord groaned, revealing enormous flat teeth.

Derak, having little else to do with his time, pulled out his Pokedex and analyzed the Pokemon he was riding.

“Wailord,” the Pokedex said, “the Float Whale Pokemon. Type is Water. Evolved form of Wailmer. Wailord is said to be the biggest of all Pokemon, and can dive to a depth of almost ten thousand feet with only one breath.”

Wailord’s Pokedex entry only answered minor queries, however. In the end, Derak had one question that no one could truly answer:

“What in the world just happened?”

****

I think that last sentence is a question we're all asking ourselves right now.

Will get to the next chapter as soon as I can.

The Great Butler
10th June 2012, 6:21 AM
Chapter 3: Rage


Wailord reached land roughly an half-hour later, and with a bit of difficulty, the remaining passengers departed. Derak was one of the first ones off, sliding off of the Float Whale Pokemon and planting his feet back on solid ground. The cloaked man followed, as did Melissa Armare.

“Can someone explain to me what just happened?” Derak asked of no one in particular. “Because I’m pretty sure we almost just got killed by a crazy Stoutland.”

“I’m pretty sure you just answered your own question,” Melissa sneered. “Stoutland was unusual, sure, but it probably drowned when it dove off the edge. No reason to worry about it anymore.”

Someone really needs to open their minds to... weird possibilities.


“Well, aren’t we fond of jumping to conclusions?” Derak said with his sardonic wit. “Hope you can keep those amazing logical skills when Stoutland is munching on your leg tomorrow morning.”

Melissa glared at him and walked away. The cloaked man shook his head.

“The girl is wrong,” he said. “Dead wrong. I can feel it…it will take much more than a little water to even harm, let alone kill, that Stoutland.”

“How do you know that?” Derak asked.

“I…that is none of your business!” the cloaked man snapped. “Besides, we have no time to wait around. We must reach Pallet Town and find a suitable internet connection.”

That's strange, he seemed awfully talkative before.



****

While Derak and his cloak-wearing elder began their journey through the Kanto region, Orre had concerns of its own. High up in an undisclosed location, a man in a dark purple suit sat at his desk, brow furrowed and hands clasped together. He stroked his black goatee as his long, equally-black ponytail hung limply behind his head.

“Run that by me once more,” the man sighed. “What exactly happened to the S.S. Wailord?”

“Well…it’s difficult to describe, Governor,” a female secretary said nervously, eyes shifting uncomfortably. She knew how Orre’s governor could get if something went wrong, even if his campaign advertisements always said exactly what the people wanted to hear. “Eyewitnesses reported that a strange Stoutland somehow leapt onto the ship out of nowhere before using an unknown attack to destroy the ship from the inside-out. Most of the passengers survived thanks to the captain’s Wailord, but the ship itself is at the bottom of the ocean.”

“I see,” said the governor, a glint of interest in his eyes. “Contact the recovery crew. Tell them that I want to see the results of their findings.”

“Governor Draykus…?” the secretary said in bewilderment.

“I wish to see for myself what this Stoutland was capable of,” Draykus said as he stood up, casting an intimidating shadow over his secretary. “And I wish to see it as soon as possible.”

“Of…of course, Governor,” the secretary stammered.

Aw man, I guess Snattle never did accomplish his dream, did he?

Anyway, I'm guessing Draykus might be a trainer himself, if he's so curious about the strange Stoutland's power.


“So, this is Pallet Town?” Derak asked, glancing at the small houses in the suburban settlement. “I never thought towns could be this small, but that’s probably just me being a Phenac native.”

“Do not get distracted,” the cloaked man admonished. “We are here for a computer, not to sightsee.”

“Oh, of course. How selfish of me to not obsessively put your goals ahead of mine, especially since you tried to kill me back in Orre,” Derak snidely retorted, drawing a glare from his acquaintance. “There should be a computer somewhere in the Pokemon Lab, right?”

“How do you know there is a Lab here?” the cloaked man asked.

“Professor Krane told me while I was getting my trainer card,” Derak said. “He said I had to go talk to the guy in the Lab in Pallet Town to register for the Kanto League. We might as well both get what we want, even if I’d rather not help you.”

But Krane didn't tell you the name of the guy, Derak?


“That does sound reasonable,” the cloaked man agreed. “Come, then. The Lab should be fairly easy to spot.”

As it would turn out, the Lab was indeed quite visible, being a large house standing atop a large grassy hill. As Derak and the cloaked man ascended the hillside, the former took note of a slowly-spinning windmill beside the house. Derak knocked on the front door, and a man answered, wearing a white lab coat over a red shirt and tan pants. He gave a kind smile as he smoothed his graying hair.

“Ah, hello there!” the professor greeted. “My name is Professor Oak. May I help you with anything?”

“He needs to use the internet,” Derak said, nodding his head to the cloaked man. “I need to register for the Kanto League.”

“You’ve both come to the right place,” Oak smiled. “Take a seat, young man. As for you,” he added, looking to the cloaked man, “if you’ll follow me, I’ll show you the computer I use for posting my research findings online.”

Again, isn't the professor here being a little too nice? Especially with a shady-looking guy like this fellow around, shouldn't he be a little more cautious?


“Good,” the cloaked man said.

“By the way,” Oak said as he led the cloaked man into another room with a chair, a computer, and a window in it, “what might your name be?”

The cloaked man wordlessly sat at the computer and activated an internet browser.

“Er…sir?” Oak ventured.

“I believe the child requires your attention,” the cloaked man said.

“Oh, yes, quite right!” Oak nodded. “Although, I will expect an answer later. You can’t really have someone in your home if you don’t learn their name, after all!”

I'll admit, the situation is straining my disbelief a little. Oak's being a little too lax with his security here. Granted, though, Oak isn't the most security-minded guy out there, so it's not that bad.


“I hardly see this as a time for a hospitality lesson,” the cloaked man muttered as Oak left. “Let me see…Derak Kadir.”

He typed the boy’s name into a search engine, adding on the words “family tree” on the end. Once a set of findings were brought up, the enigmatic wanderer set to work.

As the cloaked man fiddled with websites, Professor Oak and Derak sat across from each other in a central room. Oak leaned forward, eager to dispense advice to a new trainer. Derak, meanwhile, lounged in his seat without a care in the world.

“Now, then, young man—” Oak began.

“Could you stop calling me that?” Derak interrupted. “It makes me feel uncomfortable. Just call me Derak.”

“Heh! Well, then, Derak,” Oak chuckled, never losing his smile despite Derak’s interruption, “allow me to explain the basics of the Pokemon League.”

Derak slowly sat up, attempting to take in the professor’s explanation.

“There are facilities in many cities throughout Kanto,” Oak continued. “These facilities are called ‘Gyms’. Trainers aspiring to enter the Kanto League must defeat the leader of each Gym and be awarded a badge as proof of their victory. Once a trainer collects eight badges, he or she is eligible to enter the Kanto League.”

I think it would have been nice here to throw in a mention of the Pre Gym, since it would be about the only way Derak would be familiar with Gyms.



Meanwhile, the cloaked man’s ragged breaths became faster and angrier, his free hand curling into a fist on the desk. He had found what he was looking for, but the very sight of it was flooding his mind with horrible memories. The man bared his yellowing teeth in a vicious snarl, and with a yell of pure rage he threw the chair out the window, scattering several small bird Pokemon. He swiped his hand at the computer, bludgeoning the device so hard that it slid off the desk and clattered onto the floor.

“My word, what is going on in here?!” Oak cried as he ran to the cloaked man, stopping in the doorway. “Please, tell me what’s wrong!”

The cloaked man’s hood fell as he threw his head back in a rage, revealing a baleful pair of golden eyes. The man glared darkly at Oak as he picked a Pokeball off of his belt and dropped it, releasing a large Pokemon reminiscent of a yellow tiger-striped sasquatch with flat teeth, black fingers, and two long black tails.

“Out of my way,” the man growled. “Electivire, Thunder!”

Electricity began to spark between the two stubby antennae on the Pokemon’s wide head, and with a yell of rage so like that of its trainer, Electivire shot a powerful bolt of lightning directly into Professor Oak’s chest. The professor was sent sailing into a wall, electricity coursing through his body as his paralyzed form slid back down onto the ground.

And this is precisely why Oak should have been more careful.


“Professor?!” Derak cried, soon seeing the cloaked man’s preparations to attack. “Oh, come on, not this again!”

“Focus Blast!” the cloaked man ordered.

This time, Electivire formed a ball of blue energy between its hands, which it then launched directly at Derak. The young trainer dove to the ground, Wildfire doing so as well. The attack sailed over the boy and burst through the wall, giving Derak an opportunity to scan the cloaked man’s latest Pokemon.

“Electivire,” the Pokedex said, “the Thunderbolt Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Electabuzz. Electivire is a durable Pokemon that pays no heed to enemy attacks. Its favorite tactic consists of closing in on its foe, shoving its tails onto the foe, and discharging high voltage.”

“And now, one wants to kill me,” Derak gulped.

“Ice Punch, now!” the cloaked man roared.

I like Electivire's diverse movepool. It always is nice to see fics that take advantage of Pokemon who are able to learn many types of moves.


With speed fitting of its classification as the Thunderbolt Pokemon, Electivire was upon Derak and pulling back one fist. Derak and Wildfire rolled out of the way just in time to see Electivire’s fist, coated with frigid energy, slam into the floor. Electivire’s red eyes widened as it realized that its fist had become stuck in the floor, giving Derak a chance to recall Wildfire and try for an escape.

“Stop him with Double Team!” the cloaked man bellowed.

As Derak ran for the door, something shocking happened: another Electivire suddenly materialized between Derak and the door, grinning wickedly. Startled, Derak fell onto his rear as the second Electivire was soon joined by several others, all snickering mischievously.

“What is your problem?!” Derak yelled at the cloaked man. “I thought we got over this!”

“You thought wrong,” the cloaked man growled, glancing at the first Electivire’s continued attempts to remove its fist from the floor. “Electivire!”

The voice of its trainer was apparently what Electivire needed, as the Thunderbolt Pokemon managed to retract its fist once it heard its species’ name. With the other Electivires all towering over Derak, the original began to advance on him, cracking its knuckles with a devious grin. Derak shut his eyes, waiting for the final blow…

…and then he heard an oozing sound.

Oh boy, not this again.


Electivire evidently heard the sound as well, looking around for the source of it. Professor Oak, who was still unconscious and lying against the wall, was not that source. Even the once-hooded man was confused, also puzzling over the possible origins of the sound. Even more confusion entered the room once a horrendous stench entered the nostrils of the present trainers, causing them to clutch their noses in repulsion.

And then a giant purple blob completely smothered Electivire, trapping the Thunderbolt Pokemon using its two slimy arms. The other Electivires disappeared once the original was underneath the blob, much to the pleasure of said blob’s two large eyes.

“MUUUUUUKK!” the blob roared, opening its truly enormous mouth.

Oh ****, now this wasn't what I expected.


“Muk,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Sludge Pokemon. Type is Poison. Evolved form of Grimer. A toxic fluid seeps from Muk’s body, which instantly kills plants and trees on contact.”

“Muk, muk, muk!” Muk boomed, looking to Derak and pointing to the door with one arm as it continued to envelop Electivire.

“What?” Derak said, looking at the door for a moment. And then the meaning of Muk’s exclamations hit him. “Wait, I’m not going to just leave you! You’ll get—”

I wonder if this is Ash's Muk, since it's trying to save Oak.


Muk was suddenly coursing with electrical energy, Electivire having used Thunder at point-blank range. The Electric-type then used its two tails to fling Muk off of its body, causing the amorphous Poison-type to land on Oak’s sofa. Oak’s television suddenly turned on, Muk having apparently made contact with the remote. The first thing to appear on the screen was a female newscaster with her hair tied in a bun.

“We’re back with World News!” the newscaster said. “We have a breaking news bulletin! An Orre region passenger ship, the S.S. Wailord, spontaneously sank halfway through its trip to the Kanto region. Orre governor Nathaniel Draykus had this to say.”

An image of Draykus appeared on the screen, standing before what appeared to be his office.

“Thank you,” Draykus said. The moment he heard Draykus’ voice, the cloaked man’s eyes widened so much that they bulged out of his skull, and he wandered over to the television as if in a trance. “I want to let you all know that we are looking into the cause of the destruction, and we have identified it to be the work of some rogue Pokemon. I can assure you all that I, nor anyone in the Orre region under my command, will not rest until this Pokemon is brought to justice.”

The cloaked man stared at Draykus, hand slowly closing into a fist once again. His lips parted into a snarl, and his eyes narrowed with loathing.

“So…you live as well,” the man growled.

He wasn't kidding when he said he wanted vengeance, was he?

I get the feeling all the people he wants vengeance against are connected...


“What do you mean?” Derak asked.

“Nothing you need to concern yourself with,” the cloaked man said, making a surprising move by recalling his Electivire. “Not anymore.”

“I wonder why I don’t believe that,” Derak said bitterly, crossing his arms.

“Believe what you will,” the man said as he walked over to Professor Oak, roughly shaking the fallen scientist.

“Whuh…wha?” Oak mumbled as he opened his eyes. “You…! Why would you do such a—”

“My reasons are my own,” the cloaked man said bluntly. “You would do better with your time by giving the Muk medical attention rather than questioning me.”

He began to leave, but before he did so, he looked to Derak.

“I want to speak with you before you continue on your journey,” the man said before departing.

Seems a little odd to me that he'd leave right after saying he still wanted to talk to Derak.


“Great,” Derak muttered. “Another friendly conversation with the bipolar Pokemon trainer.”

“He certainly is a strange one, isn’t he?” Oak agreed. “Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, here.”

He pulled five shrunken Pokeballs out of his pocket and handed them to Derak.

Well that came a little abruptly.


“These are some empty Pokeballs for you to catch Pokemon with,” Oak explained. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to give Muk some medicine. That odd man was right about one thing, and that would be Muk’s need of healing.”

“He might be,” Derak said before looking over to the unconscious Muk. “Hey, say thanks to Muk for me when it wakes up, will you? It really saved my hide back there.”

“I’ll be sure to do that,” Oak smiled. “That Muk belongs to a trainer who came from Pallet Town some time ago. It certainly loves humans, and believe me, I speak from experience.”

Well, there's my answer. Nice use of continuity!


“I…don’t think I want to know about that,” Derak said, greatly disturbed by the implications of a human-loving blob of purple slime. “Oh, almost forgot, can you register me for the Kanto League?”

“Of course!” Oak said. “Just give me your trainer card.”

Derak did so, and Oak scanned the card into one of the few remaining computers that the cloaked man had not destroyed in his berserk rampage.

“There you go,” Oak said. “You’re all set. Good luck on your travels, Derak!”

Derak gave Oak a simple, limp wave and left. Once he reached the bottom of the hill, he was met by the cloaked man.

“So, what do you want this time, Mr. Bipolar?” Derak asked.

“I want to accompany you on your journey,” the man said.

What the...?!!


“What?!” Derak cried, breaking his normally unflappable demeanor. “Forget it! Why would I want to hang around you for at least a whole year?!”

“Let me begin by saying that I may have been wrong in my initial judgment,” the man sighed. “The man I thought to be your relative is my sworn enemy. I believed that, by slaying you, I would be able to avenge the wrongs he dealt me.”

“So, what made you change your mind?” Derak asked, calming down somewhat.

“You would not believe me if I told you,” the cloaked man sighed. “Trust me on that.”

“Yeah, about that whole ‘trust’ thing…it’s not happening,” Derak said, folding his arms.

“Think of me what you will,” the man said. “All I ask is that you let me accompany you, so that I may become worthy of a second chance.”

I have no clue what this guy's loyalty truly is, and I suppose that's a good thing.


Derak let out a heavy sigh. As much as he distrusted this odd man, the elder trainer had experience that Derak suspected he would need by his side, particularly if Stoutland reappeared.

“All right,” he said reluctantly, “but I’m not giving you that second chance you want so badly.”

“I never said I wanted that second chance to come from you,” the man said, turning to leave Pallet Town.

“Whatever,” Derak said. “Oh, and by the way, what am I supposed to call you? Just ‘creepy old hooded guy’?”

The man stopped.

“Garth,” he stated flatly.

“Huh?” Derak said.

“Garth,” the cloaked man repeated. “My name is Garth Cesslon.”

Garth then entered a nearby wood, a sign in front of it reading “VIRIDIAN FOREST”. Derak shrugged.

“Garth it is,” he said, following the elder trainer into the apparent Viridian Forest.

Well that's a surprise. I was beginning to wonder if he'd ever actually get a name.


Back at Kanto’s shores, a dark shape prowled under the glistening water, slowly nearing land. As the shape reached the shoreline, one brown paw burst out of the water, followed by the rest of Stoutland’s body. The supposedly Big-Hearted Pokemon then transformed once again into a dark mass of energy, leaping across the roofs of Pallet Town and soaring deep into Viridian Forest.

Oh this can't be good.


Anoch Kadir’s office starkly contrasted the rest of Phenac City’s clean splendor. The room was littered with the results of a childish tantrum, papers and books scattered across the floor. Derak’s father slammed his forehead into his desk, a clear indicator of his frustration.

“Why does that boy not listen to me?!” Anoch grumbled. “I’ve done everything a single father can possibly do!”

A single father, as in one father, or a single father as in one without a wife?

Depending on which one it is, it could have some potential effects on Derak.


He then heard several knocks at the door.

“What is it?!” he bellowed.

“Sir?” a voice said. “I’m here as you requested.”

“Oh, Spire,” Anoch said. “Come in.”

A man in his early twenties with spiky black hair entered the room. Like Anoch, he wore a business suit, although his was a fiery red rather than a plain black, sporting a navy blue tie. He gave a respectful nod to Anoch upon entering the room.

“Nice to see someone on my side right about now,” Anoch sighed.

“Nice to be on your side,” Spire replied. “I’ve been your lawyer for almost ten years, now, and I don’t intend to stop now.”

“Good to know,” Anoch said. “I’ve notified the Kanto police force about Derak, so all that remains is for you to put your miracle-working skills to work. I’ve never lost a case in which I’ve had you as my lawyer, all because of that hobby of yours…what was it again?”

Spire smiled and pulled a leather wallet out of his pocket. The wallet fell open, revealing a golden eye-shaped badge with the word “PRIVATE” above it, and the identifying name of “NICK SPIRE” underneath the eye.

“Part lawyer, part private investigator!” Spire declared. “That’s how I was able to gather materials for all your cases…by using my detective skills.”

Well it's not like anyone ever accused Orre of having clean law enforcement of any kind, right?


“And boy, have they helped me,” Anoch sighed. “Can those ‘detective skills’ bring back my son?”

“Of course,” Spire nodded. “I haven’t failed a case yet, and I don’t plan to start now.”

“Good,” Anoch nodded. “Since the S.S. Wailord was destroyed, you’ll need to find a new ship to take you to Kanto.”

“I’ll get on that right away, sir,” Spire nodded.

“Good luck, Spire,” Anoch sighed.

Spire nodded and left the office. Once he left the building altogether, he sighed.

“I’ve been your lawyer for years,” Spire said to himself. “That doesn’t mean I always agree with your methods…especially how you handled raising Derak.”

Interesting that you're calling Spire's loyalty into question instead of just making him a mindless enforcer for Anoch.


He reached into his other pocket, pulling out four Pokeballs that he clipped onto his belt in short order.

“Besides,” he said, “I don’t need a ship to reach Kanto. Braviary, close the case!”

A large avian Pokemon emerged from Spire’s Pokeball. It spread its broad red wings, exposing its purple underside, as it flexed its yellow talons. Its shook its white head, snapping its yellowed beak in anticipation. Spire climbed aboard this Pokemon’s back, which the latter took to with a content look despite the fact that its trainer was a foot taller than it was.

“Braviary, use Fly!” Spire ordered. “Next stop, Kanto!”

Braviary squawked as it flapped its wings, taking both it and its trainer into the sky.

*****

Braviary suits him, and I like his call-out phrase too.

A lot of events happened in this chapter, so it might be hard for the future ones to live up to it. That doesn't mean that they're bad, though, so just stay confident. You're telling a great story so far.

Morpher01
11th June 2012, 7:11 PM
The Great Butler: Okay, let's see how much I can answer...

Chapter 2:


Orange Pokeball?

I'm relatively certain that, back in chapter 1, I described Wildfire's Pokeball as being orange-colored in order to symbolize his being the Fire-type starter (though I could be wrong).

On a side note, Orre trainers with Water-type starters will have blue Pokeballs. Ones with Grass-type starters will have green Pokeballs. Just something to keep in mind for later chapters.


Kind of surprised he doesn't know what a Torkoal is.

Derak's been kept in the dark regarding Pokemon in general for pretty much his entire life. He does know about a couple of Pokemon, though, but that's not until much later.


Old man? I don't remember age being assigned to the cloaked guy before.

That was actually an error. The cloaked guy was originally going to be older, but I decided to make him younger for the purposes of the story. It seems I forgot to take out a dialogue tag or two...XD


It's Nobunaga. /runs

I like where this is going, though.

You'll see just where it goes in the future...you may or may not be right. XD


You probably should have mentioned the cloaked man walking back over to them at some point before he spoke again.

You're probably right there.


Not sure how I feel about Pallet Town being their first stop. It's a little stereotypical, but it could still work.

I thought about making Vermillion City the first stop, like in GSC/HGSS, but Derak's scheduled captures required that Pallet Town be the first stop.


Melissa is... actually standing out very well as a character. She actually might be more extreme than Silver was, and to see it coming from a female character makes her even more unique.

That's actually one of the reasons I made Melissa female. Every other trainer categorized as "tough on Pokemon/abusive/etc." is male. Why not make a female to spice things up?


"Lightly pounding" is strange wording, though.

What I was trying to go for with our cloaked friend was that he really wasn't giving Derak the most enthusiastic standing ovation, and I wanted to reflect that in the way he was clapping. Doesn't appear that I succeeded.


What the...?! Now I'm really curious as to how a Stoutland could be hidden in an amorphous blob like that.

Dark powers. 'Nuff said.


Oh, it's his enemy... I guess whoever the cloaked man's enemy is is not actually a normal trainer. He clearly possess some kind of dark power if his Stoutland can do these kinds of things.

Stoutland is actually a "wild" Pokemon (there's a reason for the quotations), but it does have a pretty significant connection to our cloaked friend's mysterious past...


Chapter 3:


But Krane didn't tell you the name of the guy, Derak?

I kinda dropped the ball on that...eheheh.


Again, isn't the professor here being a little too nice? Especially with a shady-looking guy like this fellow around, shouldn't he be a little more cautious?

I never really saw Oak as having much in the way of common sense, in all honesty...might have went a little too far with that.


I think it would have been nice here to throw in a mention of the Pre Gym, since it would be about the only way Derak would be familiar with Gyms.

Now that you mention it, that would have been a good idea...I completely forgot about the Pre Gym, actually. Maybe I can bring that up in a later chapter.


He wasn't kidding when he said he wanted vengeance, was he?

I get the feeling all the people he wants vengeance against are connected...

Interesting theory...but will it play out the way you think it might? Only time will tell. XD


Seems a little odd to me that he'd leave right after saying he still wanted to talk to Derak.

He doesn't stick around after his business is concluded. That's just how he is.


Well that's a surprise. I was beginning to wonder if he'd ever actually get a name.

I couldn't call him "the cloaked man" forever, could I? XD


A single father, as in one father, or a single father as in one without a wife?

The second one. And you're right, it will have some significant effects on Derak later on.


A lot of events happened in this chapter, so it might be hard for the future ones to live up to it. That doesn't mean that they're bad, though, so just stay confident. You're telling a great story so far.

Thanks for saying so, and for reviewing. Hope you enjoy the subsequent chapters!

Morpher01
16th June 2012, 3:52 AM
Okay, chapter four is now here.




Chapter 4: Viridian Forest



Following their altercation at Oak’s lab, Derak and Garth traversed Viridian Forest, surrounded by naught but trees and Pokemon. Various bug-like Pokemon crawled about, skittering across the forest floor or ascending the bark of the trees. Some even flew through the air, buzzing excitedly above the trainers’ heads.

“Sure are a lot of Bug Pokemon here,” Derak observed.

“Yes,” Garth nodded. “This forest is famous for them.”

A small yellow worm with stubby pink legs inched into their path, prompting the trainers to stop. The worm looked up at them with its two tiny black eyes, both of which rested above a large pink nose. Above the eyes was a large white spike, which matched the spike on this Pokemon’s tail.

“Hey, there,” Derak greeted in an unusually friendly tone. “What’s your name?”

Without waiting for the Pokemon to answer, he drew out his Pokedex.

“Weedle,” the Pokedex said, “the Hairy Pokemon. Type is Bug and Poison. Weedle eats its weight in leaves every day, and fends off attackers with the needle on its head.”

“Don’t move!” a girl’s voice cried, and a ten-year-old girl with green hair tied into pigtails came running onto the scene. “All right, Weedle, I’ve got you this time!”

She pulled a Pokeball from a pocket, which was somewhat difficult to spot on her faded orange dress, and promptly threw it at Weedle. The Pokeball struck Weedle in the head, but rather than simply leave a bruise there, the Pokeball floated into the air, hovering there as it split open. Weedle then transformed into a red energy that was sucked into the open Pokeball, trapped inside upon the Pokeball’s closing. The ball fell to the ground, shook three times, and made a “ping” sound.

“Yes!” the girl cried, picking up her Pokeball and holding it up as high as she could. “I caught a Weedle!”

She stood in that pose for a few moments, leading Derak and Garth to look at one another in confusion. Finally, Derak ventured a question.

“Is there a point to posing like that?” he asked.

“Yep,” the girl replied cheerfully. “It makes me look awesome.”

“Looks kinda corny to me,” Derak shrugged.

“Whatever works for you,” the girl shrugged. “Hey, you’re Derak, right? I saw you battle on the S.S. Wailord! Your Chimchar was really strong!”

“Whatever,” Derak sighed. Garth simply leaned against a tree and watched as their conversation progressed.

Just seconds ago, Derak was unusually outgoing towards that Weedle, Garth thought. The girl brought his normal demeanor back…because she is human. This could be worthy of note.

“Oh, by the way, I’m Sarah Arachson from Gateon Port,” the girl said, holding out her hand. “I’m from Orre, too.”

“That’s nice,” Deark said somewhat apathetically, notably not shaking the offered hand. “He’s Garth,” he added, gesturing to the cloaked man who gave Sarah a brief nod of acknowledgement. “So, you’re going through Viridian Forest, too?”

“Sort of,” Sarah replied. “I’m mostly sticking around to catch some Bug-type Pokemon, like that Weedle you saw earlier. You see, I’m a really huge fan of Bug Pokemon.”

“Really?” Derak said, this time with actual curiosity.

“Yep!” Sarah nodded. “I want to prove that just because they aren’t the prettiest Pokemon doesn’t mean that people should be so afraid of them.”

“So, what, you want to win the Kanto League with just Bug-types?” Derak asked.

“Pretty much,” Sarah replied. “Except for my starter. Squirtle, come on out!”

Sarah pulled out a blue Pokeball and opened it, releasing yet another turtle. This one, however, had blue skin and a significantly smaller head in addition to a larger, more club-like tail. Its shell had a tan underbelly matched with a brown back, and unlike Turtwig, this red-eyed Pokemon stood on its hind legs.

“Squirtle, squirt!” the Pokemon grunted.

“Squirtle,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Tiny Turtle Pokemon. Type is Water. Squirtle protects itself by using its shell, and strikes back with jets of water at every opportunity.”

“I chose Squirtle as my starter because it’s commonly used by the firefighting community,” Sarah continued. “Seeing as the number one danger to Bug Pokemon is forest fires, I want to be able to protect Bug Pokemon wherever I go. Speaking of which, how about a battle?”

“Seriously?” Derak sighed. “We JUST met…and you want to battle? Really?”

“Battling is the best way to get to know someone,” Sarah said. “It’ll be my Squirtle against your Chimchar, okay?”

“Fine,” Derak sighed, preparing Wildfire’s Pokeball. Before he could summon the Chimp Pokemon, however, a tremendous explosion of dark purple lightning burst from a nearby area of the forest. “What the heck was that?!”

“I don’t know, but we should check it out,” Sarah said. “Pokemon might need our help!”

“Sounds like a good reason to me!” Derak responded.

The two young trainers dashed in the direction of the explosion, Garth following. He already had a hunch as to the cause of the explosion, but there was only one way to be sure. Once the group reached the explosion site, however, the two children gasped. Garth merely narrowed his eyes.

Befitting the results of an explosion, debris was strewn everywhere. Various Pokemon of all forms had fallen to the ground, covered in burn marks. A large patch of scorched earth indicated where the lightning had struck.

“Pee…peee,” whimpered a small green worm with a red ‘Y’ on its forehead, its yellow underbelly dotted with scars and its green nose badly bruised. Only one of its large yellow-and-black eyes was open, the other squeezed shut from the intense pain.

“Oh, no!” Sarah cried, gently scooping the small green worm into her arms. “Are you okay?”

“He’s got burns all over his body, what do you think?” Derak said sardonically despite the situation, opening his Pokedex. “Hang on, let me see if I can find something to help the little guy.”

“Caterpie,” the Dex said, “the Worm Pokemon. Type is Bug. Caterpie releases a stench from its antennae to repel enemies. It grows by molting repeatedly.”

“That…was not helpful,” Derak sighed. He knelt down to Caterpie’s level. “It’s okay, little guy. We’re going to get you some medical attention as soon as we can, all right?”

“Peee,” Caterpie said weakly, looking at Derak and Sarah in turn.

“We should move quickly,” Garth suggested. “Stoutland will not have gone far from this location.”

“Stoutland?” Sarah asked. “You mean that scary Stoutland that destroyed the S.S. Wailord?”

“The very same,” Garth nodded.

“How do you know Stoutland did all this?” Derak asked.

“Trust me, I just know,” Garth stated abruptly. “We need to move as soon as—”

A beam of darkness blazed past the three, however, signifying the end of their time to flee. With a primal snarl, Stoutland burst out of the trees, knocking several of the wooden giants flat onto the forest floor with a simple bump. The strange Normal-type growled viciously at the trio, slaver leaking out of its fanged mouth.

“Go,” Garth said. “I will keep Stoutland occupied.”

“You sure you can beat—” Derak began, but Garth cut him off.

“No, but you will not be capable of performing much better!” Garth snapped. “Now, go! Viridian City is not far, you can heal Caterpie there!”

“Good luck!” Sarah said as she and Derak fled. Garth, meanwhile, stared down Stoutland. The feral canine barked angrily, its voice hoarse as if from constant yelling.

“Believe me…I did not wish it to have to come to this,” Garth said. “But, you leave me with no other choice.”

Stoutland continued to gnash its teeth, paying no heed to Garth’s words. Garth’s Electivire then took the field in a flash of light, flexing its muscles and whipping its tails in anticipation of battle.

“Electivire, Focus Blast!” Garth ordered.

Electivire fired the Focus Blast, but Stoutland had an attack of its own prepared. It formed a ball of darkness in front of its mouth, and then launched that ball like a missile aimed directly at Electivire. Stoutland’s attack obliterated Electivire’s Focus Blast, powering through and slamming into Electivire’s chest.

Stoutland was not finished there, however. Purple electricity began to crackle around Stoutland’s body, and a bolt of dark lightning shot into the air. The bolt curved forward, bearing down on Electivire, but the Thunderbolt Pokemon simply stood in place, confident that it could take the blast. Instead of the expected electrical absorption, however, Electivire suddenly felt a rush of pain as the dark lightning coursed throughout its body, the Electric-type letting out an agonized scream.

“That’s…impossible!” Garth gasped as Electivire fell to the ground, convulsing with dark electricity crackling through its body.

Stoutland gave a ferocious snarl, charging its body with energy once more. The shaggy dog again transformed into a dark mass, rocketing into the air and bounding through the trees. Garth made as if to chase after it, but stopped, realizing that Stoutland was moving far too fast to be able to pursue. He looked back to his Electivire, recalling it with a sorrowful sigh.

If only things had been different…

****

“Nurse Joy!” Sarah cried as she burst into a small building with a large ‘P’ on the front, Caterpie still in her arms and Derak lagging behind. “Please, can you heal this Caterpie?”

“Oh, my!” gasped a woman with her pink hair tied into two ring-like buns, dressed in a pink nurse’s dress matched with a white cap that bore a plus-shaped mark. “What happened?”

“You heard about the Pokemon that wrecked the S.S. Wailord?” Derak asked.

“A little bit,” Nurse Joy replied, remembering the recent call she had gotten from her sister.

“It decided it wanted to do the same with Viridian Forest,” Derak continued. “We managed to get this Caterpie to safety, though.”

“I’ll take care of it right away!” Nurse Joy declared. “Chansey, come quick!”

In rushed a pink, egg-shaped Pokemon with stubby limbs and a pouch that carried an egg within. Like Nurse Joy, this Pokemon wore a medic’s cap, with the same type of cross marked on it. The Pokemon took Caterpie and rushed it into the back of the Pokemon Center, where it was laid upon an operating table.

“Will Caterpie be okay?” Sarah asked.

“Don’t worry,” Nurse Joy said, giving Sarah a reassuring smile. “Chanseys are experts with healing.”

“That’s good to know,” Derak said, looking into his Pokedex. “Let me just check on that…”

“Chansey,” said the Dex, showing an image of Nurse Joy’s Chansey without the cap, “the Egg Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Happiny. Chansey is a kindly Pokemon that lays highly nutritious eggs. It frequently shares these eggs with Pokemon and people.”

“Wait a second,” Derak said, “Chansey gives its babies…to complete strangers?”

“It’s not like that,” Nurse Joy said. “Chansey’s eggs don’t always contain young Pokemon. More often than not, they just have nutrients inside them.”

“Oh,” Derak said. “Had me worried for a minute, there.”

“I can see why, but don’t worry,” Nurse Joy said kindly. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

Yeah…I think I’d rather be the judge of that, Derak thought as he looked past her, warily eyeing Chansey as it gave Caterpie miniature bites of its egg.

“So, what happens now?” he asked Sarah, leaning against the wall while keeping one eye on Caterpie.

“I’m going to stay here until Caterpie recovers,” Sarah decided. “You can go ahead and challenge the Pewter Gym, if you want. I can catch up later.”

“Whatever,” Derak said with a shrug. He then left the Pokemon Center without another word, desiring to stay there no longer. He looked down at Wildfire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. “How does Chansey know which eggs have its kids and which don’t?”

No answer, as Derak expected. He sighed and clipped Wildfire’s Pokeball back onto his belt. Garth soon came out of the forest, Electivire’s Pokeball back on his belt.

“Stoutland got away?” Derak asked.

“It fled, yes,” Garth nodded. “But I suspect we will see it again.”

“So do I,” Derak said. “The first Gym was in Pewter City, right?”

“So it would appear,” Garth said. The two then began to make for the exit of Viridian City. “This journey may be dangerous, Derak. Are you sure you want to go through with this? I cannot guarantee your survival should Stoutland gain the upper hand.”

“No turning back now, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well see this through to the end.”

Garth smirked. The boy had spirit.

That was just what he needed in order to turn Derak against his relative.

****

“Governor Draykus,” the secretary said, clutching a folder in her hand. “These are the images the recovery crew took of the S.S. Wailord’s wreckage.”

“Excellent,” Draykus said, taking the folder. Flipping it open, he removed the pictures and scattered them across his desk. “Remarkable.”

“Sir?” the secretary ventured.

“Look at this,” Draykus said, gesturing to the photographs. “Look at that Stoutland’s sheer power! To be able to blow a hole in every last level of the ship with a single attack…and here we thought only Legendary or well-trained Pokemon could achieve such a feat.”

A phone on his desk began to ring.

“Hello?” Draykus said. “What? Where did you say Stoutland was? I see...thank you for letting me know.”

“Where is Stoutland, sir?” the secretary asked.

“In the Kanto region,” Draykus explained. He then stood up. “Tell the remaining staff members that I will be taking a temporary leave of absence.”

“But, sir—” the secretary interjected, only for Draykus to suddenly clasp one hand around her throat.

“Stoutland’s incredible power has rekindled an old flame of mine,” Draykus said with a sinister smirk, “and I intend to fan that flame with all my might.”

He released the secretary, dropping her to the floor, and left the room. The secretary gasped for breath, trying to reclaim the life that she had so nearly lost.

Had the governor gone insane? Or was this who he really was?

*****

Morpher01
25th June 2012, 1:21 PM
New chapter time. Sorry this one's a little late, I got preoccupied with Pokemon Conquest.





Chapter 5: First Capture




With Viridian Forest behind them, Derak and Garth strode into Pewter City. Very little was remarkable about it, aside from a building that appeared to have been carved into a large stone. The word “GYM” was built above the door.

“Well, looks like I’m going in,” Derak said. “You coming, Garth?”

“No,” Garth said somewhat harshly. “I have no interest in winning trinkets, regardless of what they might mean to you. Besides, I need to heal my Electivire.”

“Wait,” Derak said, turning to Garth, “why didn’t you just do that back in Viridian?”

“Because the Nurse Joy was preoccupied with that Caterpie you and the girl brought in,” Garth explained. “Had I given her Electivire, neither Pokemon would have received the immediate medical attention they required.”

Without a further word, Garth went into the Pokemon Center. Derak stood alone for a moment, trying to figure out the mysterious man, until he gave up with a shrug. He then looked to the Pewter Gym, the very sight of it filling him with a mixture of excitement and nerves.

This was it. His first Gym battle. The first stepping stone on the way to the Pokemon League, waiting to be crossed. But what sort of Pokemon awaited within? And how strong would it be? Would it be stronger than Wildfire?

Derak took a deep breath, and stepped inside the Gym. It was now or never.

The Gym was quite simple: a sandy and rock-laden arena in the floor, two spaces at which the trainers could stand, and space at the sides for any spectators. Near the ceiling was a balcony where many young, tan-skinned children leaned over the edge, trying to get the best possible view of the coming battle. At the opposite side was another young man with tanned skin, wildly spiky brown hair, and eyes that appeared to be chronically squinting. Although he wore a green-and-white striped T-shirt matched with tan pants, he appeared to be just a few years older than Derak.

“Hey,” called the spiky-haired boy. “Welcome to the Pewter Gym. My name’s Forrest, and I’m the Gym Leader.”

“So, that means you’re the guy I have to beat to get the badge, right?” Derak asked.

“You catch on pretty quick,” Forrest nodded. “Let’s get this underway.”

A little girl, who appeared to be Forrest’s younger sister, came down from the balconies and stood at the side of the arena.

“I’m the referee!” the little girl said. “Challenger, what’s your name and where are you from?”

“Derak,” said the aforementioned challenger. “I’m from Orre.”

“Okay!” the little girl cried enthusiastically. “This is gonna be a one-on-one Pokemon battle between the challenger, Derak from Orre, and the Pewter City Gym Leader, my big bro Forrest! If anyone switches out Pokemon, they lose! Everyone ready? Then start the match!”

“Go, Geodude!” Forrest yelled as he threw his Pokeball.

Forrest’s Pokeball released a very simple Pokemon, essentially a small boulder with a face. It had two muscular arms emerging from the sides, but had very little to speak of besides this. As usual, Derak went for his Pokedex.

“Geodude,” the Dex said, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. When at rest, Geodude is identical to a normal rock. If it is carelessly stepped on, it will swing its arms around wildly.”

“Note to self: watch where you step when you’re on a rocky path,” Derak said. “Anyway…Wildfire, let’s go!”

Wildfire took the field with another aggressive posture. Forrest donned an expression of surprise at the sight of the Chimp Pokemon.

“Uh, are you sure that’s what you’re going with?” Forrest asked.

“Looks that way, doesn’t it?” Derak asked. “Can we get this over with?”

“Suit yourself,” Forrest shrugged. “Geodude, use Rollout!”

“Wildfire, dodge it!” Derak yelled.

Geodude tucked its arms onto itself and began to spin, rolling itself towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, managed to leap aside, causing Geodude to stop. The Rock Pokemon glared at Wildfire, irritated at the failure of its attack.

“Speed isn’t everything, you know!” Forrest cried. “Geodude, use Rock Throw!”

A yellowish aura surrounded one of Geodude’s hands, and when it raised that hand, a rock began to levitate above the ground. With a thrust of its hand, Geodude flung the rock towards Wildfire, only for the Chimchar to agilely spring off of the rock and ascend higher into the air.

“Counter with Ember!” Derak yelled.

Still in the air, Wildfire spat its usual storm of fireballs at Geodude. The Rock Pokemon simply placed one hand in front of its face, allowing the Ember to strike there. Despite a direct hit, however, only the most miniscule of burn marks could be seen on Geodude’s hand.

“Aw, great,” Derak muttered, noticing the failure of Wildfire’s main attack. “Follow up with Scratch!”

Wildfire barreled down towards Geodude, preparing to slash its fingers across the Rock Pokemon’s face. A sudden pain in Wildfire’s hand, however, was the only result. The Chimchar clutched its hand, gritting its teeth and waving the agonized limb in an attempt to ease the pain.

“Finish this up, Geodude!” Forrest cried. “Use Mega Punch!”

Geodude simply pulled back its large fist and then thrust it forward, its knuckles making contact with Wildfire’s entire frontal area. The Chimchar was sent spiraling back at its trainer, colliding with Derak’s chest and sending him skidding head-first into the wall.

****

“Derak? You okay?”

“Are you sure we should move him to the Pokemon Center?”

“Don’t be stupid! He’s not a Pokemon!”

Derak awoke with a throbbing pain in his head, made worse by the sounds of argument. Wildfire was standing on top of him, trying its best to look neutral. Forrest and his numerous siblings all gathered around the unconscious challenger.

“…ouch,” Derak muttered.

“Sorry about that, I guess I got carried away,” Forrest apologized, offering the young challenger his hand.

Derak, however, did not take the offered hand, instead pushing himself off of the floor. Wildfire clambered off of his body, avoiding the children as much as possible. While it had indeed been revived thanks to their medicine, their attentions were a bit frightening, to say the least.

“You might want to catch another Pokemon before—” Forrest began.

“I got that impression,” Derak said somewhat harshly. He looked down at Wildfire. “You made a great effort, pal. Take a rest.”

He returned Wildfire to the safety of its Pokeball, and then looked to Forrest.

“So, what’s the nearest spot where I can find wild Pokemon?” Derak asked.

“Route three, just to the east of here,” Forrest said. “Good luck catching one, some of them can be pretty rough.”

Derak gave Forrest a nod and left.

“Guess he’s not much of a people person,” Forrest remarked.

****

Evening set upon Pewter City as Derak left the Gym. The street lights began to burn their light, and most of the citizens had gone inside. Derak raised an eyebrow.

Guess I was out for a while, Derak thought.

He went inside the Pokemon Center, finding Garth already there. Other trainers milled about, comparing each other’s Pokemon, but Derak paid them no mind. He simply sat down at Garth’s table.

“So,” Garth said with a slightly amused tinge in his voice, “how did your Gym battle go?”

“I got knocked out, literally,” Derak said. “Does that answer your question?”

“Not particularly,” Garth said. “I suspected as much, although not exactly in the literal sense.”

“And you didn’t tell me because…?” Derak said, his voice gaining an irritated tone.

“Because, despite the fact that we are traveling together,” Garth said, “I am not going to bail you out of situations that you insist on getting yourself into. I have nothing to do with your pathetic Gym battles, so how to win one is your problem alone.”

“Wow, can’t see why anyone wouldn’t like you,” Derak sighed.

“Hmph,” Garth grunted, turning away.

“Sir, your Electivire is as good as new!” Nurse Joy said, bringing Garth a Pokeball. Derak, however, blinked at the sight of Nurse Joy.

“Uh…weren’t you just at Viridian City?” Derak asked as Garth took the offered Pokeball.

“Oh, you must mean my sister,” Nurse Joy said. She produced a photo showing a plethora of Nurse Joys, the only difference between them being the color of the cross on their caps. “Everyone says that we look alike. I can’t imagine why.”

“I can,” Derak remarked. Garth brushed past him and headed for the door. “Where are you off to?”

“To train my Pokemon for our next encounter with Stoutland,” Garth shot back as he left.

“Then I guess I’ll go see what I can find on route three,” Derak shrugged to himself, also leaving.

****

Even though a dusky shade was in the air, Derak nonetheless ventured out to route three. As he reached the city limits of Pewter City, he looked out at the path ahead of him, finding it significantly less dense than Viridian Forest. With a shrug, he took his first steps onto route three, but within moments, something made him stop. A sudden blast of wind blew a slew of wounded Pokemon at Derak’s feet, all of them bruised and beaten. Some had large purple patches on their body, as if struck there by a living poison.

“What the--?!” Derak cried. “What just happened? What did this to you guys?!”

“Chooooopp,” came Derak’s answer from the bushes. A pale blue-skinned Pokemon the size of a small child slowly approached Derak, hatred in its red eyes. The hands at the ends of its thin but well-toned arms were balled into fists, and its every enraged step left a deep footprint. The three grey fins atop the Pokemon’s head only added to its intimidating properties.

“Machop,” Derak’s Pokedex identified, “the Superpower Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Though small in stature, Machop is powerful enough to easily throw several Geodude at once. It normally lives in mountainous areas, where it can do this regularly.”

“So, what are you doing down here?” Derak asked Machop.

“I’ve heard it was abandoned,” came a voice behind Derak, and Melissa Armare soon stood beside him.

“And how do YOU know this?” Derak asked with an accusatory tone.

“Heard Nurse Joy talking about with some other trainers,” Melissa answered. “She said that some trainer abandoned his Machop around here.”

“Sounds like something you’d be just fine with doing,” Derak said.

“Hey, I don’t just throw away good tools!” Melissa snapped.

“No, you just overwork them until they break,” Derak replied.

“Do you even KNOW how to train Pokemon?!”

“I know that you don’t do it by abusing them.”

“How is what I do abuse?!”

“Try the fact that you called them ‘tools’ about five seconds ago.”

Machop blinked, wondering why those two trainers were standing there arguing instead of trying to capture it.

“Look, we can do this all night, or we can settle it,” Derak suggested.

“First to capture Machop is the right one,” Melissa offered.

“Whatever floats your boat,” Derak shrugged.

Now recognizing a more typical situation, Machop prepared a practiced battle stance, with its body slightly to the side and one foot in front of the other.

“Wildfire, let’s go!” Derak cried.

“Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa yelled.

Both the starter Pokemon appeared once more. Turtwig gave Wildfire a friendly nod, but the Chimchar barely seemed to notice.

“Focus, Turtwig!” Melissa snapped. “Use Razor Leaf!”

Turtwig swung its head about and sent out a series of leaves, much like it did during its battle with Wildfire. Machop, however, dug its heel into the ground and kicked up a pile of dirt, which blocked the vast majority of the leaves.

“Mud-Slap?!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, forget ranged attacks…go in for a Tackle!”

Turtwig obeyed, barreling towards Machop as fast as its tiny feet would allow. Unfortunately, Machop simply grabbed Turtwig’s head, spun around, and threw the Grass-type into a nearby tree.

“Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried, Wildfire responding by releasing an illuminating volley of small fireballs. Machop, however, drew its hands back, forming a vortex of wind between them. It then thrust its hands forward, sending out a small whirlwind that obliterated Wildfire’s Ember.

“Mud-Slap, Vital Throw, Vacuum Wave…this Machop was definitely trained well,” Melissa observed. “Why get rid of it if it’s so strong?”

“Maybe they’re just stupid like you,” Derak shot at her, earning a baleful glare. “Wildfire, use Scratch!”

“Turtwig, get up and use Bite!” Melissa commanded.

Wildfire rushed towards Machop, sharp fingers at the ready, but Machop drew back a glowing purple fist that soon slammed into Wildfire’s stomach in a powerful uppercut, sending the monkey sprawling across the ground. Meanwhile, Turtwig leapt out of nowhere and clamped its jaws around Machop’s arm.

“Ma? Machop, ma machop!” Machop cried, flailing its arm about in a desperate attempt to shake Turtwig off.

“Now, turn the tables, Turtwig!” Melissa cried. “Throw it like it threw you!”

Turtwig spun around, somehow strong enough to take Machop with it, and threw the Superpower Pokemon into a tree. Machop slid down the bark, dazed by the impact.

“Okay!” Melissa said, pulling a spare Pokeball out of her pocket. “Pokeball, go!”

Melissa’s ball made contact with Machop, absorbing it in a similar manner to Sarah’s Weedle. Tumbling out of the bushes, the ball began to shake, the button on the front flashing red. It shook twice, but then burst open. Machop gave its head a shake and cracked its knuckles, evidently ready to continue.

“Not weakened enough? Fine!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, Tackle it again!”

Despite the apparent futility of the move, Turtwig charged forth once more, only to be knocked aside by a swift sideways chop. Machop’s removal of Turtwig, however, left it open to be struck in the chest with a full Ember from Wildfire. Machop skidded backwards from the force of the attack, gritting its teeth as one of the burns left behind began to physically afflict it.

“Okay, guess it’s my turn,” Derak said. “Go, Pokeball.”

Melissa slapped herself in the forehead as Derak limply tossed a Pokeball forward. The ball lightly tapped Machop’s foot, and the Superpower Pokemon was once again absorbed inside. This time, the ball shook three times…

…and clicked.

“Hmph,” Melissa grunted. “You got lucky, that’s all. I can win my Gym battle just fine with Turtwig, so go ahead and keep that Machop.”

Derak barely heard her, even as she stormed off. He slowly picked up Machop’s new Pokeball and held it in his hand. The weight felt incredible.

“I…I did it,” he said, clearly stunned. “I caught a Pokemon.”

****

As Derak began his return to the Pokemon Center, Garth stood on the other side of Pewter City, near a building identified by a banner reading “PEWTER CITY MUSEUM OF SCIENCE”. By Garth’s side were his Electivire and Sableye, the latter two facing one another. Each looked prepared to put massive effort into their training.

“Sableye, use Shock Wave!” Garth yelled.

Sableye crossed its arms in an “X” shape, building up electrical power, which it then released in a wave of pale blue lightning. The wave made contact with Electivire, but unlike when Stoutland’s dark lightning assaulted it, no visual harm was done to it. Instead, the electricity simply sparkled about the Thunderbolt Pokemon’s body, seemingly rejuvenating it.

“I do not understand,” Garth sighed. “Electivire’s Motor Drive ability is obviously working perfectly, which means that all electrical attacks should boost its speed…why, then, did Stoutland’s lightning deal such damage?”

He took a swig from his canteen, spitting a portion of its contents on the ground.

“What IS that Stoutland?” Garth continued. “How did it become so powerful?”

“Electih?” shrugged Electivire, looking just as puzzled as its trainer.

Garth sighed. If what he suspected was true…then his past was yet again returning to haunt him. He had to find a way to deal with Stoutland, and soon.

“Let us continue our training,” Garth said.

“Vire,” nodded Electivire, tensing its muscles.

“Saaay,” Sableye grinned sadistically.

****

“Here you go,” Nurse Joy said a few moments later, handing Derak his two Pokeballs, “your Pokemon are good as new.”

“Thanks,” Derak said simply. He clicked the two Pokeballs open, releasing Wildfire and his new Machop. Immediately after being summoned, however, Machop was in somewhat of a panic. It looked around wildly, fists clenched as if expecting a fight.

“Ma?” Machop growled. “Machop chop, ma-machop!”

“Machop, cool it,” Derak said dully. “Nobody’s going to hurt you.”

“Chop?” Machop said inquisitively, looking up at Derak. Its new trainer gave it a kind smile, and surprisingly enough, Machop returned it. “Machop.”

“So, you’re all right with having me as your trainer?” Derak asked, to which Machop nodded. “Okay, then…it’s my thing to name my Pokemon, so I’m going to give you one now, okay?”

“Chop,” Machop nodded.

“Okay…Muscle?” Derak tried. “No, that’s weak...uh, maybe since you kept beating up Pokemon…and you’re really strong…how about Brute? Do you like that?”

Machop put a hand to its chin, looking off into the distance as it mentally rolled over its new name.

“Chop…Machop!” Machop nodded.

“Okay, Brute it is,” Derak said. “Let’s save introductions for tomorrow, I’m pretty sure we’re all wiped.”

****

Nick Spire and his Braviary soared through the Kanto skies, Pallet Town being nothing but a blur to them. Spire easily saw the site of Garth’s brief battle with Stoutland in Viridian Forest, but as he did not know of the S.S. Wailord’s destruction by Stoutland’s power, he could only wonder what caused such a catastrophe. He soon saw Pewter City, where he and Braviary touched down.

“Let’s take five, Braviary,” Spire said, dismounting his bird Pokemon. He then put a hand to his chin, leaning on a lamppost. “Derak only arrived in Kanto about a day ago…he can’t have gotten too far. He might even be here in Pewter City, resting up at the Pokemon Center.”

Hearing this, Braviary prepared to take off once more.

“No, Braviary!” Spire cried. “Not yet! If we jump Derak now, he won’t come back willingly. We have to at least make him try and see reason before attacking.”

Braviary considered this for a moment before nodding.

“Let’s head over to Cerulean City,” Spire suggested. “Once we’re there, we can head Derak off and be in a suitable position to try diplomacy. I know we’ve been flying a while, but are you ready to take off again?”

Braviary nodded eagerly.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have given you those energy drinks,” Spire shook his head. Nonetheless he climbed aboard Braviary once more. “Okay, Braviary, let’s fly to Cerulean City!”

With a mighty flap of its wings, Braviary took off once more, soaring against the glistening stars of the night sky.

*****

The Great Butler
27th June 2012, 8:44 AM
Chapter 4: Viridian Forest



Following their altercation at Oak’s lab, Derak and Garth traversed Viridian Forest, surrounded by naught but trees and Pokemon. Various bug-like Pokemon crawled about, skittering across the forest floor or ascending the bark of the trees. Some even flew through the air, buzzing excitedly above the trainers’ heads.

“Sure are a lot of Bug Pokemon here,” Derak observed.

“Yes,” Garth nodded. “This forest is famous for them.”

A small yellow worm with stubby pink legs inched into their path, prompting the trainers to stop. The worm looked up at them with its two tiny black eyes, both of which rested above a large pink nose. Above the eyes was a large white spike, which matched the spike on this Pokemon’s tail.

“Hey, there,” Derak greeted in an unusually friendly tone. “What’s your name?”

Without waiting for the Pokemon to answer, he drew out his Pokedex.

“Weedle,” the Pokedex said, “the Hairy Pokemon. Type is Bug and Poison. Weedle eats its weight in leaves every day, and fends off attackers with the needle on its head.”

I get the feeling there might be some Beedrill around nearby...


“Is there a point to posing like that?” he asked.

“Yep,” the girl replied cheerfully. “It makes me look awesome.”

“Looks kinda corny to me,” Derak shrugged.

Gee, I wonder if there's someone who could learn from this?


“Whatever works for you,” the girl shrugged. “Hey, you’re Derak, right? I saw you battle on the S.S. Wailord! Your Chimchar was really strong!”

“Whatever,” Derak sighed. Garth simply leaned against a tree and watched as their conversation progressed.

Just seconds ago, Derak was unusually outgoing towards that Weedle, Garth thought. The girl brought his normal demeanor back…because she is human. This could be worthy of note.

Well, this totally isn't suspicious of him at all...


“Oh, by the way, I’m Sarah Arachson from Gateon Port,” the girl said, holding out her hand. “I’m from Orre, too.”

“That’s nice,” Deark said somewhat apathetically, notably not shaking the offered hand. “He’s Garth,” he added, gesturing to the cloaked man who gave Sarah a brief nod of acknowledgement. “So, you’re going through Viridian Forest, too?”

“Sort of,” Sarah replied. “I’m mostly sticking around to catch some Bug-type Pokemon, like that Weedle you saw earlier. You see, I’m a really huge fan of Bug Pokemon.”

“Really?” Derak said, this time with actual curiosity.

“Yep!” Sarah nodded. “I want to prove that just because they aren’t the prettiest Pokemon doesn’t mean that people should be so afraid of them.”

“So, what, you want to win the Kanto League with just Bug-types?” Derak asked.

“Pretty much,” Sarah replied. “Except for my starter. Squirtle, come on out!”

Is she a reference to the early-game Bug Catchers? It sort of looks like she might be.


Sarah pulled out a blue Pokeball and opened it, releasing yet another turtle. This one, however, had blue skin and a significantly smaller head in addition to a larger, more club-like tail. Its shell had a tan underbelly matched with a brown back, and unlike Turtwig, this red-eyed Pokemon stood on its hind legs.

“Squirtle, squirt!” the Pokemon grunted.

“Squirtle,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Tiny Turtle Pokemon. Type is Water. Squirtle protects itself by using its shell, and strikes back with jets of water at every opportunity.”

“I chose Squirtle as my starter because it’s commonly used by the firefighting community,” Sarah continued. “Seeing as the number one danger to Bug Pokemon is forest fires, I want to be able to protect Bug Pokemon wherever I go. Speaking of which, how about a battle?”

That makes sense. Nice feel of thoroughness to it.


“Seriously?” Derak sighed. “We JUST met…and you want to battle? Really?”

Hah. Derak, you better get used to this. This is the way of the world.


“Oh, no!” Sarah cried, gently scooping the small green worm into her arms. “Are you okay?”

“He’s got burns all over his body, what do you think?” Derak said sardonically despite the situation, opening his Pokedex. “Hang on, let me see if I can find something to help the little guy.”

“Caterpie,” the Dex said, “the Worm Pokemon. Type is Bug. Caterpie releases a stench from its antennae to repel enemies. It grows by molting repeatedly.”

“That…was not helpful,” Derak sighed. He knelt down to Caterpie’s level. “It’s okay, little guy. We’re going to get you some medical attention as soon as we can, all right?”

He should probably learn how to use the Pokedex properly...


“Peee,” Caterpie said weakly, looking at Derak and Sarah in turn.

“We should move quickly,” Garth suggested. “Stoutland will not have gone far from this location.”

“Stoutland?” Sarah asked. “You mean that scary Stoutland that destroyed the S.S. Wailord?”

“The very same,” Garth nodded.

“How do you know Stoutland did all this?” Derak asked.

“Trust me, I just know,” Garth stated abruptly. “We need to move as soon as—”

I don't think any of us really doubted that it was Stoutland.


A beam of darkness blazed past the three, however, signifying the end of their time to flee. With a primal snarl, Stoutland burst out of the trees, knocking several of the wooden giants flat onto the forest floor with a simple bump. The strange Normal-type growled viciously at the trio, slaver leaking out of its fanged mouth.

Well then, that came out of nowhere.


“Go,” Garth said. “I will keep Stoutland occupied.”

“You sure you can beat—” Derak began, but Garth cut him off.

“No, but you will not be capable of performing much better!” Garth snapped. “Now, go! Viridian City is not far, you can heal Caterpie there!”

“Good luck!” Sarah said as she and Derak fled. Garth, meanwhile, stared down Stoutland. The feral canine barked angrily, its voice hoarse as if from constant yelling.

“Believe me…I did not wish it to have to come to this,” Garth said. “But, you leave me with no other choice.”

Stoutland continued to gnash its teeth, paying no heed to Garth’s words. Garth’s Electivire then took the field in a flash of light, flexing its muscles and whipping its tails in anticipation of battle.

I guess you can't say he has no sense of honor.


“Electivire, Focus Blast!” Garth ordered.

Electivire fired the Focus Blast, but Stoutland had an attack of its own prepared. It formed a ball of darkness in front of its mouth, and then launched that ball like a missile aimed directly at Electivire. Stoutland’s attack obliterated Electivire’s Focus Blast, powering through and slamming into Electivire’s chest.

Stoutland was not finished there, however. Purple electricity began to crackle around Stoutland’s body, and a bolt of dark lightning shot into the air. The bolt curved forward, bearing down on Electivire, but the Thunderbolt Pokemon simply stood in place, confident that it could take the blast. Instead of the expected electrical absorption, however, Electivire suddenly felt a rush of pain as the dark lightning coursed throughout its body, the Electric-type letting out an agonized scream.

“That’s…impossible!” Garth gasped as Electivire fell to the ground, convulsing with dark electricity crackling through its body.

Dare I say, Shadow Bolt? I would imagine that if Shadow Bolt existed in a game now, it would harm a Pokemon with Motor Drive.


Stoutland gave a ferocious snarl, charging its body with energy once more. The shaggy dog again transformed into a dark mass, rocketing into the air and bounding through the trees. Garth made as if to chase after it, but stopped, realizing that Stoutland was moving far too fast to be able to pursue. He looked back to his Electivire, recalling it with a sorrowful sigh.

If only things had been different…

I can't wait to find out what those "things" actually are.


“Nurse Joy!” Sarah cried as she burst into a small building with a large ‘P’ on the front, Caterpie still in her arms and Derak lagging behind. “Please, can you heal this Caterpie?”

“Oh, my!” gasped a woman with her pink hair tied into two ring-like buns, dressed in a pink nurse’s dress matched with a white cap that bore a plus-shaped mark. “What happened?”

I think it might be better if you said "the woman whose pink hair was tied into two ring-like buns" and so on. I think it sounds better.


“Will Caterpie be okay?” Sarah asked.

“Don’t worry,” Nurse Joy said, giving Sarah a reassuring smile. “Chanseys are experts with healing.”

While I hate to open this can of worms, I think using "Chansey" as the plural sounds better.


“That’s good to know,” Derak said, looking into his Pokedex. “Let me just check on that…”

“Chansey,” said the Dex, showing an image of Nurse Joy’s Chansey without the cap, “the Egg Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Happiny. Chansey is a kindly Pokemon that lays highly nutritious eggs. It frequently shares these eggs with Pokemon and people.”

“Wait a second,” Derak said, “Chansey gives its babies…to complete strangers?”

“It’s not like that,” Nurse Joy said. “Chansey’s eggs don’t always contain young Pokemon. More often than not, they just have nutrients inside them.”

“Oh,” Derak said. “Had me worried for a minute, there.”

I don't know why but I found that one funny. I'm sure it was meant to illustrate his naivete about Pokemon, but it was still chuckle worthy.


“I can see why, but don’t worry,” Nurse Joy said kindly. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

Yeah…I think I’d rather be the judge of that, Derak thought as he looked past her, warily eyeing Chansey as it gave Caterpie miniature bites of its egg.

“So, what happens now?” he asked Sarah, leaning against the wall while keeping one eye on Caterpie.

“I’m going to stay here until Caterpie recovers,” Sarah decided. “You can go ahead and challenge the Pewter Gym, if you want. I can catch up later.”

“Whatever,” Derak said with a shrug. He then left the Pokemon Center without another word, desiring to stay there no longer. He looked down at Wildfire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. “How does Chansey know which eggs have its kids and which don’t?”

Is there a reason why he keeps wondering about this?


No answer, as Derak expected. He sighed and clipped Wildfire’s Pokeball back onto his belt. Garth soon came out of the forest, Electivire’s Pokeball back on his belt.

You probably shouldn't end two consecutive sentences with "belt."


“Stoutland got away?” Derak asked.

“It fled, yes,” Garth nodded. “But I suspect we will see it again.”

“So do I,” Derak said. “The first Gym was in Pewter City, right?”

“So it would appear,” Garth said. The two then began to make for the exit of Viridian City. “This journey may be dangerous, Derak. Are you sure you want to go through with this? I cannot guarantee your survival should Stoutland gain the upper hand.”

“No turning back now, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well see this through to the end.”

Garth smirked. The boy had spirit.

That was just what he needed in order to turn Derak against his relative.

That's a precious clue there. From that, I'm guessing whoever it is that Garth hates so much is still alive, so the question now becomes even more about who he is.


“Governor Draykus,” the secretary said, clutching a folder in her hand. “These are the images the recovery crew took of the S.S. Wailord’s wreckage.”

“Excellent,” Draykus said, taking the folder. Flipping it open, he removed the pictures and scattered them across his desk. “Remarkable.”

“Sir?” the secretary ventured.

“Look at this,” Draykus said, gesturing to the photographs. “Look at that Stoutland’s sheer power! To be able to blow a hole in every last level of the ship with a single attack…and here we thought only Legendary or well-trained Pokemon could achieve such a feat.”

I am absolutely not trusting this guy. His fascination with Stoutland deeply troubles me.


A phone on his desk began to ring.

“Hello?” Draykus said. “What? Where did you say Stoutland was? I see...thank you for letting me know.”

“Where is Stoutland, sir?” the secretary asked.

“In the Kanto region,” Draykus explained. He then stood up. “Tell the remaining staff members that I will be taking a temporary leave of absence.”

“But, sir—” the secretary interjected, only for Draykus to suddenly clasp one hand around her throat.

“Stoutland’s incredible power has rekindled an old flame of mine,” Draykus said with a sinister smirk, “and I intend to fan that flame with all my might.”

Okay, this guy here is legitimately freaking me out. I'm beginning to get some very strange suspicions about him...

Seriously, though, his suddenly attacking the secretary made me immediately realize just how evil this guy actually is.


He released the secretary, dropping her to the floor, and left the room. The secretary gasped for breath, trying to reclaim the life that she had so nearly lost.

Had the governor gone insane? Or was this who he really was?

It's who he truly is. That's how people like this always are.

I think this was mostly a transitional chapter. We're still establishing stuff here, but there was some action still. Sarah's probably going to be a recurring character, and some small but precious hints were given to Garth's purpose, but I think the part that had the most impact for me was Draykus's scene at the end. Seriously, this guy is ****ed up.

Moving on to the next chapter in my next post.

The Great Butler
27th June 2012, 10:14 AM
Chapter 5: First Capture




With Viridian Forest behind them, Derak and Garth strode into Pewter City. Very little was remarkable about it, aside from a building that appeared to have been carved into a large stone. The word “GYM” was built above the door.

Seems a little unusual to me that they just passed through Viridian Forest without incident, but then again, maybe that's why the last chapter existed?


“Well, looks like I’m going in,” Derak said. “You coming, Garth?”

“No,” Garth said somewhat harshly. “I have no interest in winning trinkets, regardless of what they might mean to you. Besides, I need to heal my Electivire.”

You do have other Pokemon, Garth.


“Wait,” Derak said, turning to Garth, “why didn’t you just do that back in Viridian?”

“Because the Nurse Joy was preoccupied with that Caterpie you and the girl brought in,” Garth explained. “Had I given her Electivire, neither Pokemon would have received the immediate medical attention they required.”

Without a further word, Garth went into the Pokemon Center. Derak stood alone for a moment, trying to figure out the mysterious man, until he gave up with a shrug. He then looked to the Pewter Gym, the very sight of it filling him with a mixture of excitement and nerves.

This was it. His first Gym battle. The first stepping stone on the way to the Pokemon League, waiting to be crossed. But what sort of Pokemon awaited within? And how strong would it be? Would it be stronger than Wildfire?

Derak, you don't know what you're in for...


Derak took a deep breath, and stepped inside the Gym. It was now or never.

The Gym was quite simple: a sandy and rock-laden arena in the floor, two spaces at which the trainers could stand, and space at the sides for any spectators. Near the ceiling was a balcony where many young, tan-skinned children leaned over the edge, trying to get the best possible view of the coming battle. At the opposite side was another young man with tanned skin, wildly spiky brown hair, and eyes that appeared to be chronically squinting. Although he wore a green-and-white striped T-shirt matched with tan pants, he appeared to be just a few years older than Derak.

“Hey,” called the spiky-haired boy. “Welcome to the Pewter Gym. My name’s Forrest, and I’m the Gym Leader.”

Ooh, nice little bit of continuity from the anime.


“So, that means you’re the guy I have to beat to get the badge, right?” Derak asked.

“You catch on pretty quick,” Forrest nodded. “Let’s get this underway.”

A little girl, who appeared to be Forrest’s younger sister, came down from the balconies and stood at the side of the arena.

“I’m the referee!” the little girl said. “Challenger, what’s your name and where are you from?”

“Derak,” said the aforementioned challenger. “I’m from Orre.”

“Okay!” the little girl cried enthusiastically. “This is gonna be a one-on-one Pokemon battle between the challenger, Derak from Orre, and the Pewter City Gym Leader, my big bro Forrest! If anyone switches out Pokemon, they lose! Everyone ready? Then start the match!”

One-on-one? That surprised me a little; it's not something you usually see in Gym battles.


“Go, Geodude!” Forrest yelled as he threw his Pokeball.

Forrest’s Pokeball released a very simple Pokemon, essentially a small boulder with a face. It had two muscular arms emerging from the sides, but had very little to speak of besides this. As usual, Derak went for his Pokedex.

“Geodude,” the Dex said, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. When at rest, Geodude is identical to a normal rock. If it is carelessly stepped on, it will swing its arms around wildly.”

Derak, your lack of knowledge about Pokemon is about to be your downfall...


“Note to self: watch where you step when you’re on a rocky path,” Derak said. “Anyway…Wildfire, let’s go!”

Wildfire took the field with another aggressive posture. Forrest donned an expression of surprise at the sight of the Chimp Pokemon.

“Uh, are you sure that’s what you’re going with?” Forrest asked.

“Looks that way, doesn’t it?” Derak asked. “Can we get this over with?”

“Suit yourself,” Forrest shrugged. “Geodude, use Rollout!”

This is probably not going to end well for Derak.


“Wildfire, dodge it!” Derak yelled.

Geodude tucked its arms onto itself and began to spin, rolling itself towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, managed to leap aside, causing Geodude to stop. The Rock Pokemon glared at Wildfire, irritated at the failure of its attack.

“Speed isn’t everything, you know!” Forrest cried. “Geodude, use Rock Throw!”

A yellowish aura surrounded one of Geodude’s hands, and when it raised that hand, a rock began to levitate above the ground. With a thrust of its hand, Geodude flung the rock towards Wildfire, only for the Chimchar to agilely spring off of the rock and ascend higher into the air.

“Counter with Ember!” Derak yelled.

Still in the air, Wildfire spat its usual storm of fireballs at Geodude. The Rock Pokemon simply placed one hand in front of its face, allowing the Ember to strike there. Despite a direct hit, however, only the most miniscule of burn marks could be seen on Geodude’s hand.

“Aw, great,” Derak muttered, noticing the failure of Wildfire’s main attack. “Follow up with Scratch!”

Wildfire barreled down towards Geodude, preparing to slash its fingers across the Rock Pokemon’s face. A sudden pain in Wildfire’s hand, however, was the only result. The Chimchar clutched its hand, gritting its teeth and waving the agonized limb in an attempt to ease the pain.

“Finish this up, Geodude!” Forrest cried. “Use Mega Punch!”

Geodude simply pulled back its large fist and then thrust it forward, its knuckles making contact with Wildfire’s entire frontal area. The Chimchar was sent spiraling back at its trainer, colliding with Derak’s chest and sending him skidding head-first into the wall.

Aaaaaand lesson learned.


“Sorry about that, I guess I got carried away,” Forrest apologized, offering the young challenger his hand.

Derak, however, did not take the offered hand, instead pushing himself off of the floor. Wildfire clambered off of his body, avoiding the children as much as possible. While it had indeed been revived thanks to their medicine, their attentions were a bit frightening, to say the least.

Now that's perfectly in-character for Derak. I'd expect nothing else.



Derak gave Forrest a nod and left.

“Guess he’s not much of a people person,” Forrest remarked.

Boy is that an understatement.


Evening set upon Pewter City as Derak left the Gym. The street lights began to burn their light, and most of the citizens had gone inside. Derak raised an eyebrow.

Guess I was out for a while, Derak thought.

He went inside the Pokemon Center, finding Garth already there. Other trainers milled about, comparing each other’s Pokemon, but Derak paid them no mind. He simply sat down at Garth’s table.

“So,” Garth said with a slightly amused tinge in his voice, “how did your Gym battle go?”

I bet he knew already, didn't he?


I got knocked out, literally,” Derak said. “Does that answer your question?”

“Not particularly,” Garth said. “I suspected as much, although not exactly in the literal sense.”

“And you didn’t tell me because…?” Derak said, his voice gaining an irritated tone.

“Because, despite the fact that we are traveling together,” Garth said, “I am not going to bail you out of situations that you insist on getting yourself into. I have nothing to do with your pathetic Gym battles, so how to win one is your problem alone.”

“Wow, can’t see why anyone wouldn’t like you,” Derak sighed.

I think it's telling that Derak can't tell how much that could apply to him too.



Even though a dusky shade was in the air, Derak nonetheless ventured out to route three. As he reached the city limits of Pewter City, he looked out at the path ahead of him, finding it significantly less dense than Viridian Forest. With a shrug, he took his first steps onto route three, but within moments, something made him stop. A sudden blast of wind blew a slew of wounded Pokemon at Derak’s feet, all of them bruised and beaten. Some had large purple patches on their body, as if struck there by a living poison.

Oh this can't be a good sign.


“What the--?!” Derak cried. “What just happened? What did this to you guys?!”

“Chooooopp,” came Derak’s answer from the bushes. A pale blue-skinned Pokemon the size of a small child slowly approached Derak, hatred in its red eyes. The hands at the ends of its thin but well-toned arms were balled into fists, and its every enraged step left a deep footprint. The three grey fins atop the Pokemon’s head only added to its intimidating properties.

That surprised me. I was expecting Stoutland.


“Machop,” Derak’s Pokedex identified, “the Superpower Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Though small in stature, Machop is powerful enough to easily throw several Geodude at once. It normally lives in mountainous areas, where it can do this regularly.”

“So, what are you doing down here?” Derak asked Machop.

“I’ve heard it was abandoned,” came a voice behind Derak, and Melissa Armare soon stood beside him.

“And how do YOU know this?” Derak asked with an accusatory tone.

“Heard Nurse Joy talking about with some other trainers,” Melissa answered. “She said that some trainer abandoned his Machop around here.”

“Sounds like something you’d be just fine with doing,” Derak said.

“Hey, I don’t just throw away good tools!” Melissa snapped.

“No, you just overwork them until they break,” Derak replied.

“Do you even KNOW how to train Pokemon?!”

“I know that you don’t do it by abusing them.”

“How is what I do abuse?!”

“Try the fact that you called them ‘tools’ about five seconds ago.”

MelissaXDerak OTP.

In all seriousness, though, these two have great interaction. I really enjoy when they're around each other.


Machop blinked, wondering why those two trainers were standing there arguing instead of trying to capture it.

I think this one line might be a big hint about Machop's background.


“Look, we can do this all night, or we can settle it,” Derak suggested.

“First to capture Machop is the right one,” Melissa offered.

“Whatever floats your boat,” Derak shrugged.

Now recognizing a more typical situation, Machop prepared a practiced battle stance, with its body slightly to the side and one foot in front of the other.

“Wildfire, let’s go!” Derak cried.

“Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa yelled.

Both the starter Pokemon appeared once more. Turtwig gave Wildfire a friendly nod, but the Chimchar barely seemed to notice.

I just realized that Chimchar and Machop might be able to identify with each other.


“Focus, Turtwig!” Melissa snapped. “Use Razor Leaf!”

Turtwig swung its head about and sent out a series of leaves, much like it did during its battle with Wildfire. Machop, however, dug its heel into the ground and kicked up a pile of dirt, which blocked the vast majority of the leaves.

“Mud-Slap?!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, forget ranged attacks…go in for a Tackle!”

Turtwig obeyed, barreling towards Machop as fast as its tiny feet would allow. Unfortunately, Machop simply grabbed Turtwig’s head, spun around, and threw the Grass-type into a nearby tree.

Well, that's that I guess, at least for her.


“Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried, Wildfire responding by releasing an illuminating volley of small fireballs. Machop, however, drew its hands back, forming a vortex of wind between them. It then thrust its hands forward, sending out a small whirlwind that obliterated Wildfire’s Ember.

“Mud-Slap, Vital Throw, Vacuum Wave…this Machop was definitely trained well,” Melissa observed. “Why get rid of it if it’s so strong?”

“Maybe they’re just stupid like you,” Derak shot at her, earning a baleful glare. “Wildfire, use Scratch!”

“Turtwig, get up and use Bite!” Melissa commanded.

Wildfire rushed towards Machop, sharp fingers at the ready, but Machop drew back a glowing purple fist that soon slammed into Wildfire’s stomach in a powerful uppercut, sending the monkey sprawling across the ground. Meanwhile, Turtwig leapt out of nowhere and clamped its jaws around Machop’s arm.

“Ma? Machop, ma machop!” Machop cried, flailing its arm about in a desperate attempt to shake Turtwig off.

“Now, turn the tables, Turtwig!” Melissa cried. “Throw it like it threw you!”

Turtwig spun around, somehow strong enough to take Machop with it, and threw the Superpower Pokemon into a tree. Machop slid down the bark, dazed by the impact.

“Okay!” Melissa said, pulling a spare Pokeball out of her pocket. “Pokeball, go!”

Melissa’s ball made contact with Machop, absorbing it in a similar manner to Sarah’s Weedle. Tumbling out of the bushes, the ball began to shake, the button on the front flashing red. It shook twice, but then burst open. Machop gave its head a shake and cracked its knuckles, evidently ready to continue.

I didn't think she'd catch it, so I can't say I'm surprised she failed.


“Not weakened enough? Fine!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, Tackle it again!”

Despite the apparent futility of the move, Turtwig charged forth once more, only to be knocked aside by a swift sideways chop. Machop’s removal of Turtwig, however, left it open to be struck in the chest with a full Ember from Wildfire. Machop skidded backwards from the force of the attack, gritting its teeth as one of the burns left behind began to physically afflict it.

“Okay, guess it’s my turn,” Derak said. “Go, Pokeball.”

Melissa slapped herself in the forehead as Derak limply tossed a Pokeball forward. The ball lightly tapped Machop’s foot, and the Superpower Pokemon was once again absorbed inside. This time, the ball shook three times…

…and clicked.

Again, I expected that he'd get it. That Machop fits rather well into Derak's existing team, I think, because it seems to have some similarities to Wildfire in terms of personality.


As Derak began his return to the Pokemon Center, Garth stood on the other side of Pewter City, near a building identified by a banner reading “PEWTER CITY MUSEUM OF SCIENCE”. By Garth’s side were his Electivire and Sableye, the latter two facing one another. Each looked prepared to put massive effort into their training.

“Sableye, use Shock Wave!” Garth yelled.

Sableye crossed its arms in an “X” shape, building up electrical power, which it then released in a wave of pale blue lightning. The wave made contact with Electivire, but unlike when Stoutland’s dark lightning assaulted it, no visual harm was done to it. Instead, the electricity simply sparkled about the Thunderbolt Pokemon’s body, seemingly rejuvenating it.

“I do not understand,” Garth sighed. “Electivire’s Motor Drive ability is obviously working perfectly, which means that all electrical attacks should boost its speed…why, then, did Stoutland’s lightning deal such damage?”

Because maybe it wasn't electricity, Garth.

You're in a world with creatures that can be stored in little balls and made to fight each other with magical powers, and you haven't thought of that yet?


“Here you go,” Nurse Joy said a few moments later, handing Derak his two Pokeballs, “your Pokemon are good as new.”

“Thanks,” Derak said simply. He clicked the two Pokeballs open, releasing Wildfire and his new Machop. Immediately after being summoned, however, Machop was in somewhat of a panic. It looked around wildly, fists clenched as if expecting a fight.

“Ma?” Machop growled. “Machop chop, ma-machop!”

“Machop, cool it,” Derak said dully. “Nobody’s going to hurt you.”

“Chop?” Machop said inquisitively, looking up at Derak. Its new trainer gave it a kind smile, and surprisingly enough, Machop returned it. “Machop.”

Maybe Machop will play a sort of mentor role to Wildfire then. I could see that happening.


“So, you’re all right with having me as your trainer?” Derak asked, to which Machop nodded. “Okay, then…it’s my thing to name my Pokemon, so I’m going to give you one now, okay?”

“Chop,” Machop nodded.

“Okay…Muscle?” Derak tried. “No, that’s weak...uh, maybe since you kept beating up Pokemon…and you’re really strong…how about Brute? Do you like that?”

A stab at that in-game trade Machop named Muscle in GSC, perhaps?


Nick Spire and his Braviary soared through the Kanto skies, Pallet Town being nothing but a blur to them. Spire easily saw the site of Garth’s brief battle with Stoutland in Viridian Forest, but as he did not know of the S.S. Wailord’s destruction by Stoutland’s power, he could only wonder what caused such a catastrophe. He soon saw Pewter City, where he and Braviary touched down.

“Let’s take five, Braviary,” Spire said, dismounting his bird Pokemon. He then put a hand to his chin, leaning on a lamppost. “Derak only arrived in Kanto about a day ago…he can’t have gotten too far. He might even be here in Pewter City, resting up at the Pokemon Center.”

Hearing this, Braviary prepared to take off once more.

“No, Braviary!” Spire cried. “Not yet! If we jump Derak now, he won’t come back willingly. We have to at least make him try and see reason before attacking.”

Braviary considered this for a moment before nodding.

“Let’s head over to Cerulean City,” Spire suggested. “Once we’re there, we can head Derak off and be in a suitable position to try diplomacy. I know we’ve been flying a while, but are you ready to take off again?”

Braviary nodded eagerly.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have given you those energy drinks,” Spire shook his head. Nonetheless he climbed aboard Braviary once more. “Okay, Braviary, let’s fly to Cerulean City!”

With a mighty flap of its wings, Braviary took off once more, soaring against the glistening stars of the night sky.

I suppose it makes sense that he doesn't want to broadside Derak right now, but I really don't think the eventual confrontation is going to be as straightforward as it sounds right now.

I liked this chapter more than the previous one. While the events were not as grand in scope, they did feel more exciting to read, I think. Plus, a lot of meaningful things happened here, from Derak having his first Gym battle to him catching Machop to Melissa appearing to Spire arriving.

Looking forward to next time.

Morpher01
2nd July 2012, 1:25 AM
The Great Butler:
Dare I say, Shadow Bolt? I would imagine that if Shadow Bolt existed in a game now, it would harm a Pokemon with Motor Drive.

Something like that...


I think it might be better if you said "the woman whose pink hair was tied into two ring-like buns" and so on. I think it sounds better.

It does sound better, actually.


You probably shouldn't end two consecutive sentences with "belt."

Good point.


I think this was mostly a transitional chapter. We're still establishing stuff here, but there was some action still. Sarah's probably going to be a recurring character, and some small but precious hints were given to Garth's purpose, but I think the part that had the most impact for me was Draykus's scene at the end. Seriously, this guy is ****ed up.

Oh, you have no idea what you're in store for...


I bet he knew already, didn't he?

Garth works in mysterious ways.


A stab at that in-game trade Machop named Muscle in GSC, perhaps?

I find Muscle to be a fairly stupid name for a Machop, but then again, there are worse names (like Doris the Dodrio, Maggie the Magneton, Volty the Pikachu...)


I suppose it makes sense that he doesn't want to broadside Derak right now, but I really don't think the eventual confrontation is going to be as straightforward as it sounds right now.

You have no idea how right you are...


Well, it's about that time again. Chapter 6 is now.



Chapter 6: Rematch



The following morning saw Derak stepping out of the Pokemon Center, looking down proudly at the new crimson Pokeball on his belt. He picked the new ball off of that belt, holding it in his hand.

“I see you actually managed to capture a Pokemon,” Garth remarked as he, too, exited the Pokemon Center.

“Looks like it,” Derak said. “Brute, come on out and meet Garth.”

Brute appeared in a flash of light, arms folded and looking just as calm as its new trainer. Garth raised an eyebrow.

“A Machop?” he said. “How did you catch a Machop in this vicinity?”

“Some creep apparently abandoned him,” Derak said bitterly. “Brute here wasn’t too happy about it, so he started taking it out on the Pokemon around him.”

“Chop,” Brute nodded sadly. Now that it had a new life, it did regret its earlier actions.

“I see,” Garth nodded. “I admit, I am glad that we have one less rogue Pokemon to deal with. Just hurry up and finish your business here. We do not have all the time in the world.”

“I know,” Derak said harshly as he recalled Brute. “Don’t think I haven’t thought ahead, Garth. I don’t plan on staying in one place long enough for the police to drag me back to Phenac City.”

“And I do not plan on losing Stoutland’s trail,” Garth said. “But I do see your reasoning. Just make your time in the Gym quick.”

“That’s not really up to me,” Derak said. “What about you?”

“I will continue my training,” Garth said. “Stoutland’s power cannot be infinite. It must have its limits, and I intend to train my Pokemon until they exceed those limits.”

“Whatever,” Derak said as he walked into the Gym. Garth, meanwhile, made for the museum once more.

****

“Welcome back,” said Forrest upon seeing Derak re-enter. “Did you catch a new Pokemon?”

“Yeah,” Derak said simply, taking his place once more. “Can we get started, now?”

“Sure thing,” Forrest nodded.

His sister repeated her opening statements, and threw her flags up once more. Geodude returned to the field, rocky body sharpened and ready. Derak held Brute’s Pokeball in his hand.

“All up to you, pal,” Derak said. “Brute, let’s go!”

“A Machop?” Forrest remarked upon seeing Brute. “Those are pretty hard to find around here. Nice capture.”

“Whatever,” Derak said in some odd mix between modesty and sarcasm. “Let’s just get the ball rolling.”

“Sounds good to me,” Forrest smirked. “And thanks for the suggestion. Geodude, use Rollout!”

Geodude curled up once more and began rolling towards Brute, accelerating its spinning speed as it came closer and closer to the Machop. Brute, however, remained unconcerned, arms still folded and body staying put. Just as Geodude was about to hit Brute, the Superpower Pokemon casually stuck its foot out and allowed the Rock Pokemon to bump into it, blocking Geodude’s attack with ease.

“Nice, Brute!” Derak cried. “Now, use Karate Chop!”

Brute smirked as it looked down at Geodude. It lightly shoved the Rock Pokemon with its foot, then brought its arm down onto Geodude, slamming the blade of its hand onto the Rock-type’s forehead. Geodude clutched the spot where Brute had struck it, moaning unhappily.

“This is definitely going to be harder than last time, I’ll give you that,” Forrest remarked. “But a Gym Leader has to step up his game in that case. Geodude, use Sandstorm!”

“Geo…DUUUUUUDDEE!” bellowed the Rock Pokemon, spinning about on its bottom and scattering sand everywhere. Both Brute and Derak covered shielded themselves with one arm, the sand kicking up into a fierce dust devil.

“Now, Geodude, follow up with Mega Punch!” Forrest cried.

“Brute, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak yelled. “That might get rid of the Sandstorm!”

Brute thrust its hands forward, releasing the tunnel of wind, but rather than destroy the dust devil as Derak predicted, the two forces merely collided. The Sandstorm spread across the battlefield, still proving a nuisance to the challenger. This was emphasized in particular when Geodude rocketed out of nowhere and struck Brute with the same attack that defeated Wildfire.

“Brute!” Derak yelled, but his Machop only skidded back, significantly less harmed by the attack than Wildfire had been. “Okay, we’re good…for now.”

“Geodude, Rollout again!” Forrest cried.

This time, Brute had no way of stopping Geodude’s rolling strike. The Rock Pokemon barreled straight into Brute’s front, knocking the Superpower Pokemon off balance. Unfortunately, Geodude was not finished yet. Having passed by Brute, the Rock-type turned around and struck Brute again, this time knocking the Machop over with a stronger blow.

“Here’s the thing,” Forrest began as Geodude continued its assault. “The more times Rollout hits, the stronger it becomes. Your Machop might be a lot tougher than your Chimchar, but Geodude was raised by my big brother. It’s seen a lot of action over the years, and that makes it one of the most experienced Gym Pokemon you’ll ever see!”

“Brute!” Derak yelled, his Machop still under attack by the relentless rolling rock. “You’ve got to pull through this!”

The Sandstorm soon dissipated, and Geodude was seen charging for one final Rollout strike.

“Gotcha!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vital Throw!”

Just before Geodude made contact with it, Brute snatched the Rock Pokemon in its hands. With a quick spin, it then threw Geodude back to Forrest’s side of the arena, causing it to unfold back into its regular form as it skidded across the ground.

“Geodude, no!” Forrest cried. “Don’t give up!”

“Geo,” Geodude growled, planting one large hand in the ground. “DUUUDE!”

All of a sudden, Geodude’s body began to radiate a white light. This light became blinding, enveloping Geodude’s entire body. Streaks of green energy began to swirl around the Rock-type, creating a tornado of power.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Derak asked.

“Oh, wow!” Forrest cried. “Geodude’s finally evolving!”

“Evolving?” Derak repeated with confusion.

This time, the “evolving” Geodude gave an answer. Its body began to grow, sprouting two stubby legs. Geodude’s two large arms split into four smaller ones, the upper two being larger than the bottom two. Its central body virtually tripled in size, and once the glow faded, a more ragged surface could be seen on the Pokemon’s body.

“Graveler!” snarled the Pokemon in a gruff voice.

“Graveler,” Derak’s Pokedex stated, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. Evolved form of Geodude. In order to move, Graveler rolls down mountain paths. Once it builds momentum, no Pokemon can possibly stop it without some difficulty.”

“All right!” Forrest exclaimed, pumping a fist into the air. “That’s great, Geodude! You evolved into Graveler!”

“Uh…is anyone going to explain to me what this ‘evolution’ thing is?” Derak asked.

“You don’t know?” Forrest blinked. “When some Pokemon reach a certain condition, they evolve into different Pokemon. They get stronger, and they’re even capable of learning new moves. Let’s show him, Graveler! Use Rock Polish and then Rollout!”

Graveler’s body began to shine brightly, as if it had just been polished by a world-class professional. It then folded up into a ball once more, charging towards Brute with a significant speed boost. Moving too quickly for the Machop to react, Graveler slammed into the Superpower Pokemon, knocking it flat onto its back.

“Brute!” Derak cried.

“Looks like the tables have turned!” Forrest declared. “Graveler, keep going with Rollout!”

“Brute, stop it with Vacuum Wave!” Derak yelled.

Brute groaned as it got up, eyes widening as Graveler neared it with another Rollout strike. Before the Rock Pokemon could near it, however, Brute shoved its hands forward and released another Vacuum Wave. The vortex of wind erupting from Brute’s hands did prove to have sufficient force to stop Graveler, holding the rolling boulder at bay as it made continued attempts to advance. Brute gritted its teeth as it struggled to maintain its Vacuum Wave, the sheer force behind Graveler making the Rock Pokemon quite a chore to hold back.

As the struggle for dominance continued, Graveler’s body began to sink into the ground. Brute began to wince from overexertion, but when its arms fell to its sides and halted the Vacuum Wave, Graveler did not attack. It, too, had a problem: half of its body was stuck in the ground.

“Uh…okay, that works,” Derak shrugged, making it no secret that such an outcome was the farthest thing from what he intended. “Brute, pull it out with Vital Throw!”

After taking a breath, Brute grabbed hold of one of Graveler’s outstretched arms and began to spin around, taking Graveler with it. Despite the tremendous weight of the evolved Rock Pokemon’s body, Brute held it with little difficulty, partially thanks to the centrifugal force generated from its spin. After roughly ten seconds of spinning, Brute threw Graveler with a mighty heave, sending the Rock-type sailing past Forrest and onto the floor by his side.

“Graveler!” Forrest cried, seeing his brother’s Pokemon unconscious on the floor. “You did great, Graveler. Brock would be real proud of you.”

Forrest recalled Graveler and looked to Derak, whose mind was long gone as he stared into space.

“We…we won,” Derak breathed. “Brute, we won! You did it!”

With a jubilant spring in his step, Derak leapt onto the field and exchanged a high-five with Brute. Due to the Superpower Pokemon’s strength, however, a cracking sound was heard once Derak’s hand made contact with Brute’s.

“Aah!” Derak cried, clutching his injured hand.

“Chop…?” Brute said, staring worriedly at Derak and reaching out with one hand. Its trainer, however, simply took its hand and smiled.

“Thanks for your help, Brute,” Derak smiled, shaking his injured hand lightly in an effort to ease the pain. “Couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Machop!” Brute nodded, lightly shaking hands with Derak.

“Hey,” Forrest said, calling the victorious challenger’s attention to him as he approached. “You made a pretty good comeback, Derak. You deserve this.”

He handed Derak a small chunk of metal shaped like a miniature grey boulder.

“This is the Boulder Badge,” Forrest explained. “It’s your first step on the way to the Kanto League. Oh, and take this, too.”

He handed Derak a flat orange container, big enough to hold at least eight badges.

“That badge case will let you store your badges,” Forrest said. “Good luck with the rest of your journey.”

“Thanks,” Derak said, quietly pinning the Boulder Badge to the inside of his badge case before recalling Brute. He then left without another word.

“Huh,” Forrest said. “Yeah, he’s definitely not a people person.”

****

Outside, Garth again stood with his Electivire and Sableye. As the former was his best battler and the latter could create the most accurate replications of Stoutland’s attacks, these were the prime choice for Garth’s training concept. At the moment, Electivire and Sableye faced each other in a sparring match, both knowing this fact but giving their all nonetheless.

“Sableye, Shadow Ball!” Garth ordered. “Electivire, Iron Tail!”

Sableye cast forth the ball of darkness it had injured Professor Krane with, this time with Electivire as its target. Unlike Krane, however, Electivire could fight back, and did so by swinging one tail—empowered with a silver energy—through the Shadow Ball, obliterating it.

“Good,” Garth said. “Now, use Thunder while Sableye uses Detect.”

Electivire released a bolt of lightning at its sparring partner, whose gemstone eyes radiated a bright gleam. As the bolt neared its target, Sableye nimbly leapt aside, landing safely on its feet.

“Well done,” Garth praised his Pokemon. “But we can only judge if this training is sufficient if we encounter Stoutland again. If it is not, we will simply redouble our efforts. Am I making myself clear?”

“Tivire,” Electivire nodded.

“Sableye,” rasped the small gremlin.

“Hey, Garth,” Derak called somewhat lifelessly as he approached. “How’s the training going?”

“Well enough,” Garth replied. “Have you finally won yet?”

Derak pulled his badge case out of his pocket.

“Badge case,” he stated, allowing it to fall open and display his prize. “Badge. So, yeah, I won.”

“It certainly took you long enough,” Garth sneered. “Electivire, Sableye, return.”

Holding a Pokeball in each hand, Garth recalled his two Pokemon.

“So, where next?” Derak asked.

“If I remember correctly,” Garth said, putting a hand to his chin, “the next Gym is in Cerulean City. As it is a Water-type Gym, your Chimchar will be utterly useless there.”

He ignored the heated glare Derak gave him and pointed over to route three.

“If we leave Pewter City immediately and then cut through Mount Moon,” Garth continued, “we will reach Cerulean City within a matter of hours.”

“How do you know all this?” Derak asked. “Have you been to Kanto before?”

“I have been everywhere,” Garth said vaguely. “Now, are you coming or not?”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Derak sighed. “Lead on, oh great wise one who has no time for things like breathing.”

Garth scowled as he turned and obliged. As the two left, however, a boy of about twelve watched them depart. He wore a blue pinstripe suit, although it was in such poor condition—covered in dirt and tattered in some places—that it could have been mistaken for anything else. His long, greasy black hair fell to his shoulders, and a short white necktie hung loosely from around his neck. The boy looked at them with an intrigued gaze from his two eyes: one blue and one brown.

“Most interesting,” the boy said, a sinister grin spreading across his face.

*****

The Great Butler
3rd July 2012, 4:18 AM
Chapter 6: Rematch



The following morning saw Derak stepping out of the Pokemon Center, looking down proudly at the new crimson Pokeball on his belt. He picked the new ball off of that belt, holding it in his hand.

“I see you actually managed to capture a Pokemon,” Garth remarked as he, too, exited the Pokemon Center.

“Looks like it,” Derak said. “Brute, come on out and meet Garth.”

Brute appeared in a flash of light, arms folded and looking just as calm as its new trainer. Garth raised an eyebrow.

“A Machop?” he said. “How did you catch a Machop in this vicinity?”

“Some creep apparently abandoned him,” Derak said bitterly. “Brute here wasn’t too happy about it, so he started taking it out on the Pokemon around him.”

Why do I get the feeling that Machop's former trainer might appear? Maybe he/she already did, methinks...


“I will continue my training,” Garth said. “Stoutland’s power cannot be infinite. It must have its limits, and I intend to train my Pokemon until they exceed those limits.”

“Whatever,” Derak said as he walked into the Gym. Garth, meanwhile, made for the museum once more.

The museum? Maybe Stoutland has some ancient origins?


“Welcome back,” said Forrest upon seeing Derak re-enter. “Did you catch a new Pokemon?”

“Yeah,” Derak said simply, taking his place once more. “Can we get started, now?”

“Sure thing,” Forrest nodded.

His sister repeated her opening statements, and threw her flags up once more. Geodude returned to the field, rocky body sharpened and ready. Derak held Brute’s Pokeball in his hand.

Not wasting any time getting right to business, huh?


“All up to you, pal,” Derak said. “Brute, let’s go!”

“A Machop?” Forrest remarked upon seeing Brute. “Those are pretty hard to find around here. Nice capture.”

“Whatever,” Derak said in some odd mix between modesty and sarcasm. “Let’s just get the ball rolling.”

“Sounds good to me,” Forrest smirked. “And thanks for the suggestion. Geodude, use Rollout!”

Geodude curled up once more and began rolling towards Brute, accelerating its spinning speed as it came closer and closer to the Machop. Brute, however, remained unconcerned, arms still folded and body staying put. Just as Geodude was about to hit Brute, the Superpower Pokemon casually stuck its foot out and allowed the Rock Pokemon to bump into it, blocking Geodude’s attack with ease.

“Nice, Brute!” Derak cried. “Now, use Karate Chop!”

Brute smirked as it looked down at Geodude. It lightly shoved the Rock Pokemon with its foot, then brought its arm down onto Geodude, slamming the blade of its hand onto the Rock-type’s forehead. Geodude clutched the spot where Brute had struck it, moaning unhappily.

Brute is amusing to me. I think I'm going to like him quite a bit.




Brute thrust its hands forward, releasing the tunnel of wind, but rather than destroy the dust devil as Derak predicted, the two forces merely collided. The Sandstorm spread across the battlefield, still proving a nuisance to the challenger. This was emphasized in particular when Geodude rocketed out of nowhere and struck Brute with the same attack that defeated Wildfire.

“Brute!” Derak yelled, but his Machop only skidded back, significantly less harmed by the attack than Wildfire had been. “Okay, we’re good…for now.”

“Geodude, Rollout again!” Forrest cried.

I assume you're taking a looser definition of how Rollout works, since you're using it non-consecutively?

Oh wait, I just realized, the first one didn't hit. Nevermind.


This time, Brute had no way of stopping Geodude’s rolling strike. The Rock Pokemon barreled straight into Brute’s front, knocking the Superpower Pokemon off balance. Unfortunately, Geodude was not finished yet. Having passed by Brute, the Rock-type turned around and struck Brute again, this time knocking the Machop over with a stronger blow.

“Here’s the thing,” Forrest began as Geodude continued its assault. “The more times Rollout hits, the stronger it becomes. Your Machop might be a lot tougher than your Chimchar, but Geodude was raised by my big brother. It’s seen a lot of action over the years, and that makes it one of the most experienced Gym Pokemon you’ll ever see!”

Ooh, it's Brock's Geodude? Neat bit of continuity.


“Brute!” Derak yelled, his Machop still under attack by the relentless rolling rock. “You’ve got to pull through this!”

The Sandstorm soon dissipated, and Geodude was seen charging for one final Rollout strike.

“Gotcha!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vital Throw!”

Just before Geodude made contact with it, Brute snatched the Rock Pokemon in its hands. With a quick spin, it then threw Geodude back to Forrest’s side of the arena, causing it to unfold back into its regular form as it skidded across the ground.

“Geodude, no!” Forrest cried. “Don’t give up!”

“Geo,” Geodude growled, planting one large hand in the ground. “DUUUDE!”

All of a sudden, Geodude’s body began to radiate a white light. This light became blinding, enveloping Geodude’s entire body. Streaks of green energy began to swirl around the Rock-type, creating a tornado of power.

Wow, um... Derak's luck sucks, doesn't it? That thing was around for over a decade without evolving and finally decided to do it while fighting him.


“Uh…is anyone going to explain to me what this ‘evolution’ thing is?” Derak asked.

I actually started to forget about his upbringing, so thanks for keeping it consistent here.


“You don’t know?” Forrest blinked. “When some Pokemon reach a certain condition, they evolve into different Pokemon. They get stronger, and they’re even capable of learning new moves. Let’s show him, Graveler! Use Rock Polish and then Rollout!”

Graveler’s body began to shine brightly, as if it had just been polished by a world-class professional. It then folded up into a ball once more, charging towards Brute with a significant speed boost. Moving too quickly for the Machop to react, Graveler slammed into the Superpower Pokemon, knocking it flat onto its back.

“Brute!” Derak cried.

“Looks like the tables have turned!” Forrest declared. “Graveler, keep going with Rollout!”

“Brute, stop it with Vacuum Wave!” Derak yelled.

Brute groaned as it got up, eyes widening as Graveler neared it with another Rollout strike. Before the Rock Pokemon could near it, however, Brute shoved its hands forward and released another Vacuum Wave. The vortex of wind erupting from Brute’s hands did prove to have sufficient force to stop Graveler, holding the rolling boulder at bay as it made continued attempts to advance. Brute gritted its teeth as it struggled to maintain its Vacuum Wave, the sheer force behind Graveler making the Rock Pokemon quite a chore to hold back.

As the struggle for dominance continued, Graveler’s body began to sink into the ground. Brute began to wince from overexertion, but when its arms fell to its sides and halted the Vacuum Wave, Graveler did not attack. It, too, had a problem: half of its body was stuck in the ground.

Okay, that's pretty creative. I like it.


“Uh…okay, that works,” Derak shrugged, making it no secret that such an outcome was the farthest thing from what he intended. “Brute, pull it out with Vital Throw!”

After taking a breath, Brute grabbed hold of one of Graveler’s outstretched arms and began to spin around, taking Graveler with it. Despite the tremendous weight of the evolved Rock Pokemon’s body, Brute held it with little difficulty, partially thanks to the centrifugal force generated from its spin. After roughly ten seconds of spinning, Brute threw Graveler with a mighty heave, sending the Rock-type sailing past Forrest and onto the floor by his side.

“Graveler!” Forrest cried, seeing his brother’s Pokemon unconscious on the floor. “You did great, Graveler. Brock would be real proud of you.”

Forrest recalled Graveler and looked to Derak, whose mind was long gone as he stared into space.

“We…we won,” Derak breathed. “Brute, we won! You did it!”

I have to say, I'm surprised he actually pulled it off. I thought he was going to lose again.


With a jubilant spring in his step, Derak leapt onto the field and exchanged a high-five with Brute. Due to the Superpower Pokemon’s strength, however, a cracking sound was heard once Derak’s hand made contact with Brute’s.

“Aah!” Derak cried, clutching his injured hand.

Oops. XD;


“Chop…?” Brute said, staring worriedly at Derak and reaching out with one hand. Its trainer, however, simply took its hand and smiled.

“Thanks for your help, Brute,” Derak smiled, shaking his injured hand lightly in an effort to ease the pain. “Couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Machop!” Brute nodded, lightly shaking hands with Derak.

“Hey,” Forrest said, calling the victorious challenger’s attention to him as he approached. “You made a pretty good comeback, Derak. You deserve this.”

He handed Derak a small chunk of metal shaped like a miniature grey boulder.

“This is the Boulder Badge,” Forrest explained. “It’s your first step on the way to the Kanto League. Oh, and take this, too.”

He handed Derak a flat orange container, big enough to hold at least eight badges.

“That badge case will let you store your badges,” Forrest said. “Good luck with the rest of your journey.”

“Thanks,” Derak said, quietly pinning the Boulder Badge to the inside of his badge case before recalling Brute. He then left without another word.

“Huh,” Forrest said. “Yeah, he’s definitely not a people person.”

Okay, I found some humor in the dissonance there. First it's a happy scene, and then all of a sudden he just leaves and Forrest deadpans something about it. It made me laugh.


Outside, Garth again stood with his Electivire and Sableye. As the former was his best battler and the latter could create the most accurate replications of Stoutland’s attacks, these were the prime choice for Garth’s training concept. At the moment, Electivire and Sableye faced each other in a sparring match, both knowing this fact but giving their all nonetheless.

Does Sableye know Recover? That would also make it a good training partner.

Also, does Garth have any other Pokemon?


“Sableye, Shadow Ball!” Garth ordered. “Electivire, Iron Tail!”

Sableye cast forth the ball of darkness it had injured Professor Krane with, this time with Electivire as its target. Unlike Krane, however, Electivire could fight back, and did so by swinging one tail—empowered with a silver energy—through the Shadow Ball, obliterating it.

“Good,” Garth said. “Now, use Thunder while Sableye uses Detect.”

Electivire released a bolt of lightning at its sparring partner, whose gemstone eyes radiated a bright gleam. As the bolt neared its target, Sableye nimbly leapt aside, landing safely on its feet.

“Well done,” Garth praised his Pokemon. “But we can only judge if this training is sufficient if we encounter Stoutland again. If it is not, we will simply redouble our efforts. Am I making myself clear?”

Garth's pretty relentless in his training, but he doesn't come off as a jerk with it, so I think that tells me that you're writing him well.


“Hey, Garth,” Derak called somewhat lifelessly as he approached. “How’s the training going?”

“Well enough,” Garth replied. “Have you finally won yet?”

Derak pulled his badge case out of his pocket.

“Badge case,” he stated, allowing it to fall open and display his prize. “Badge. So, yeah, I won.”

I love the attitude he has about all of this.


“I have been everywhere,” Garth said vaguely. “Now, are you coming or not?”

A hint toward something?



Garth scowled as he turned and obliged. As the two left, however, a boy of about twelve watched them depart. He wore a blue pinstripe suit, although it was in such poor condition—covered in dirt and tattered in some places—that it could have been mistaken for anything else. His long, greasy black hair fell to his shoulders, and a short white necktie hung loosely from around his neck. The boy looked at them with an intrigued gaze from his two eyes: one blue and one brown.

“Most interesting,” the boy said, a sinister grin spreading across his face.

*****

What? Now that came right out of nowhere. Obviously going to be a new rival, but maybe this kid has some connection to Stoutland? I get a pretty bad feeling from him.

I liked this chapter, but I think it lacked focus a little. I guess the Gym battle was okay for being a single-Pokemon battle, but I think Garth's training could have used a little more focus than it received. Of course, Mt. Moon might change that.

Morpher01
8th July 2012, 4:00 AM
The Great Butler:
Why do I get the feeling that Machop's former trainer might appear? Maybe he/she already did, methinks...

Oh, you'll see in time...


The museum? Maybe Stoutland has some ancient origins?

I can't say much regarding that, but I will say that you're on the right track.


Wow, um... Derak's luck sucks, doesn't it? That thing was around for over a decade without evolving and finally decided to do it while fighting him.

My intention is actually for Derak to have some pretty miserable luck, actually. For example, he'll be getting hit (directly or otherwise) by an attack in most of his Gym battles. XD


Does Sableye know Recover? That would also make it a good training partner.

Also, does Garth have any other Pokemon?

I'm pretty sure that Sableye can't even learn Recover. I try to stick fairly closely to the in-game learnsets.

Also, Garth does have a total of six Pokemon (he's mainly training Electivire due to it being his best one and thus his best shot against Stoutland). So far we've seen Electivire, Torkoal, and Sableye. A fourth will debut in chapter 8.


What? Now that came right out of nowhere. Obviously going to be a new rival, but maybe this kid has some connection to Stoutland? I get a pretty bad feeling from him.

You should.


Now, then...I have no idea how well this chapter is going to go over, especially since it's been a long time since I saw the subject of this chapter, but I guess I'm going to find out. All I can say is that I hope it's enjoyable.





Chapter 7: Pewter City Pokemon Contest



As Derak and Garth trekked to Cerulean City, a large domed building came into their sight. The building appeared to be quite popular, as people of all sorts poured into it with excited faces.

“What’s that?” Derak asked.

“Something not worth our attention,” Garth snapped. “We should stay focused on the path ahead.”

“Then watch it for me while I check this out,” Derak said, merging with the flood of people.

“Derak, we do not have time for—” Garth tried, but Derak was already gone. “Damn it…this had better be worth the trouble.”

With little other choice in the matter, Garth also entered the building. Once there, he had to shield his eyes, as bright and cheerful decorations positively covered the walls. Growling bitterly, he lowered his arm shield just enough to scan for Derak, whom he found reading a poster.

“I told you, we have no time for trivial nonsense!” Garth spat.

“Forgive me for wanting to know more about things I haven’t seen in my entire life,” Derak snidely replied. “Any idea what a ‘Pokemon Contest’ is?”

“I have heard of those,” Garth said bitterly. “They are little more than cheap productions designed to flaunt Pokemon around like children’s toys.”

“Can I quote you on that, all-knowing one?” Derak quipped, earning a scowl from Garth. “How about I ask someone who actually knows what he’s talking about?”

“Perhaps one who has participated in Pokemon Contests would be more to your liking?” a polite voice asked.

A man in a wide dark green hat approached the two, a golden harp in his hands. He was draped in a green cloak (albeit one that, unlike Garth’s, lacked a hood) over top of a blue-and-green dress shirt. His long black hair spilled out from underneath his hat, and his kind blue eyes looked as if they had seen much of the world.

“And who are you?” Garth growled.

“I am called Nando,” the harp-holding man said.

“Name’s Derak,” the runaway trainer said flatly. “The jerkhole is Garth.”

Despite Garth’s unending glares and Derak’s rudeness, Nando’s smile never faded even an inch.

“It is an honor to make your acquaintance, Derak and Garth,” Nando said. “Now, then, how may I be of assistance?”

“Can you explain this whole Contest idea to me?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda new to this whole Pokemon training thing.”

“Worry not,” Nando smiled. “We were all beginners at one time, including myself.”

A far-off look suddenly came to Garth’s eyes, as if some distant image came into his field of vision.

“A Pokemon Contest is a competition in which one who partakes—called a Pokemon Coordinator—must direct a performance by their Pokemon,” Nando began, oblivious to Garth’s being in a sort of trance. “First is the appeal round, where a Pokemon must demonstrate their abilities in a captivating way. Should one pass the appeal round, he or she will then partake in the battle round, where Pokemon battle each other but still do so in a way that appeals to the audience.”

“Okay, with you so far,” Derak said. “What do you get out of these Contests, anyway?”

“An excellent question,” Nando remarked. “The victor of a Pokemon Contest receives a ribbon. Whoever receives five ribbons, achieved by winning five Contests, is eligible to enter the Grand Festival. The winner of the Grand Festival is proclaimed a Top Coordinator, and is granted the coveted Ribbon Cup as a reward for their troubles.”

“Wow,” Derak said, head filling with images of himself bearing such an award in sight of a kinder, more loving version of his father. “You get a trophy from all that?”

“Yes, indeed,” Nando nodded. “I managed to achieve a rank in the top four of the Sinnoh region’s Grand Festival, but I have recently decided to take my efforts here to Kanto. I am pleased to have already made a new friend.”

Garth shut his eyes, trying to hide the emotions they radiated. The pain, the sorrow…they would lead to questions. He had no time to answer such irritating inquiries, now that he had found what he was looking for.

“As for you, sir,” Nando said, turning to Garth, “I can see just by your appearance that you are quite experienced in the ways of the world, but perhaps you should give a chance to concepts you have yet to experience.”

Garth’s eyes snapped open, and with a feral snarl he grabbed Nando’s shirt and slammed the minstrel into the wall. Nando’s harp clattered to the floor, its owner otherwise occupied.

“The last time I gave something a chance,” Garth snarled, “it turned out to be the worst decision I ever made in my entire life! How dare you tell me to--!”

“Garth, knock it off!” Derak yelled. “You’re not exactly being subtle, you know!”

This was true. Many eyes now looked upon Garth and how he was threatening Nando, most glaring at the former with disapproval or anger. Some had even sent out their Pokemon, which now glared at the aggressive man and waited for the first order to attack. With a bitter grunt of defeat, Garth released Nando and wordlessly left the building.

“You all right, Nando?” Derak asked.

“I am quite well, thank you,” Nando said, gently brushing himself off. Shockingly, he was still perfectly calm and incredibly polite despite the experience he had just endured.

“Just for the record,” Derak said, “you’re not the first person Garth’s gone bipolar on.”

“It is quite all right,” Nando smiled, surprising even Derak with his forgiving nature. “I am concerned, however, that your companion has experienced some sort of past tragedy that has driven him to become the man he is today.”

Derak paused, having never considered this fact before. Before Nando could explain further, however, another new face appeared on the scene. This one was a young man with short reddish-brown hair, dressed in a dark tuxedo bearing white gloves and a white dress shirt to match. He wore a yellow tie with jagged black designs etched across it, and his shoes were also black.

“I heard the commotion,” the young man said. “Everything all right?”

“Indeed,” Nando nodded. “I thank you for your concern.”

The young man’s eyes fell on Derak and widened slightly.

“Hey, you look sort of familiar,” the young man said. “What’s your name?”

“Derak,” shrugged the runaway trainer.

“Derak?” the young man repeated, eyes going wider. “Derak Kadir? Is that really you? It’s me, Timmy Grimm!”

Derak blinked, squinting at Timmy, before a mental switch flipped.

“Oh, yeah, I remember you,” Derak said. “Your mom brought you to Gateon Port on a business trip when I was, what, five?”

“Great to see you again!” Timmy smiled, reaching out his hand. Derak reluctantly took it, though only because Timmy was a childhood friend.

“Ah, a reunion of old friends,” Nando smiled. “Truly, there are no words to express such an encounter. I shall not hinder your discussions in any way, my friends. Until we meet again.”

Nando bowed and headed deeper into the building. Timmy, meanwhile, remained with Derak.

“So, your dad finally gave you permission to start a Pokemon journey?” Timmy asked.

“Not really,” Derak said. “I had to take my life into my own hands, so I did.”

“You ran away?” Timmy asked. “I guess some people just can’t be convinced, huh?”

“My so-called dad in a nutshell,” Derak sighed. “Let me guess, you’re a Coordinator?”

“Right,” Timmy nodded. “I used to go by the ‘Phantom Coordinator’ since my mom wouldn’t let me enter Contests at first. Now that she’s okay with it, I decided to become a traveling Coordinator, and my latest stop is the Kanto region.”

“Cool,” Derak said, albeit somewhat dully. “Can I watch the Contest? I want to see what all this fuss is about.”

“Absolutely!” Timmy nodded. “The seats are that way. Hope you enjoy the show!”

****

Enjoyment was the last thing on Garth’s mind. He stood outside as he pounded his fist against the wall of the Contest Hall, growling in rage.

“That damn bard…who does he think he is?” Garth snarled. Although his pain was deep, Nando’s words were able to draw up agonizing memories in spite of that. Garth clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut, as if it would somehow block out the one most haunting image in his mind.

A small body of dust blowing out of his hands.

A single tear rolled down Garth’s cheek, and with a wrathful roar, he slammed both his fists on the wall.

****

“Welcome, all you Contest lovers!” a woman in a blue athetic-looking suit proclaimed, a microphone headpiece nestled in her curly orange hair. “My name is Lilian Meridian, and I’m here to bring you a smorgasbord of beautiful Pokemon performances!”

Derak sat in the top row, the two seats to his left taken by Brute and Wildfire. Derak was lounging in his seat, quietly and methodically consuming a bag of popcorn he had acquired from the refreshment stand. Brute looked on with interest, as it—like its trainer—had never experienced a Contest before. Wildfire, however, was glancing nervously at the voluminous amount of spectators who had gathered to observe the Contest.

“The appeals will be judged by these three lovely people!” Lilian continued, grandly gesturing to an aging man in a red suit, a shorter man in a blue suit, and the Nurse Joy from Pewter City’s Pokemon Center. “The Contest founder, Raoul Contesta…the president of the Pokemon Fan Club, Mr. Sukizo…and Pewter City’s very own Nurse Joy!”

Each judge nodded as Lilian gestured to each one in turn.

“And this is what all those Coordinators are competing for!” Lilian cried, displaying a ribbon tied up with a golden trinket. “This ribbon will put the winning coordinator on the road to the Grand Festival, so let’s help them give it their all!”

The crowd, sans Derak and his Pokemon, let out a mighty cheer.

“And now, without further ado, let’s begin the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!” Lilian declared, pumping her fist into the air and inciting another thunderous cheer from the audience. “First up is a coordinator from Verdanturf Town, Hoenn! Once known as the Phantom Coordinator, here is Timmy Grimm!”

Timmy came on stage, gave a bow to the audience, and threw a Pokeball into the air.

“Gastly, come on out!” Timmy cried.

The Pokemon Timmy chose seemed rather simple: a dark orb surrounded by a purple vapor, the only identifying features being two large malevolent eyes and a wide fanged mouth.

“Gaastly!” the Pokemon cackled, swirling its purple vapor around it.

“Gastly,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Gas Pokemon. Type is Ghost and Poison. Gastly is said to be born from gases. Anyone who inhales the poisonous gases it creates will instantly faint.”

“That’s…a little disturbing,” Derak commented.

“Gastly, use Smog!” Timmy yelled.

Gastly released a violet fume from its wide mouth, covering the floor in a foggy substance.

“Now, Psychic!” Timmy cried.

A blue glow shone from Gastly’s eyes as the Smog became outlined in the same color. The Smog then began to curl into twisting columns that swirled around Gastly, forming rings of fog around the Gas Pokemon.

“Finish with Hex!” Timmy ordered.

The rings shifted to Gastly’s front, and formed a single tunnel of smog with a hole at one end and Gastly at the other. Suddenly, the hole at the end opposite Gastly spawned a horizontal line of darkness, which quickly split open to reveal itself as a single, sinister eye. The eye’s red iris glanced about before vanishing in a shower of dark sparks, the tunnel doing the same.

“Ooh, what a creepy appeal!” Lilian commented. “What do our judges have to say?”

“Very interesting,” Contesta said. “Timmy has used his experiences as the Phantom Coordinator well, evidenced by how expertly he used Gastly’s naturally eerie presence.”

“Yes!” agreed Sukizo. “It was remarkable!”

“I liked how it looked as if Gastly was looking at the audience through a telescope!” Nurse Joy added.

Timmy bowed and left the stage.

“Our next Coordinator is another experienced contender!” Lilian announced. “He made it to the top four of the Sinnoh Grand Festival, and now he’s bringing his talents here to Kanto! Give it up for…Nando!”

Nando entered the stage and, polite as ever, gave a brief bow to the audience.

“Petilil, let us begin our performance!” Nando cried, throwing a Pokeball.

Nando’s choice was a Pokemon just as simplistic as Timmy’s Gastly. It consisted of a white face sporting a light green bulb around it, rather reminiscent of hair aside from the trio of leaves bursting from the top. Underneath the face was what appeared to be a light green blob upon which the Pokemon stood.

“Petilil,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Bulb Pokemon. Type is Grass. The leaves on its head are very bitter, and eating one is said to refresh a tired body. Because Petilils prefer environments with moist and nutrient-rich soil, areas where Petilils are abundant are excellent for growing plants.”

“Petilil, use Double Team, please,” Nando said politely.

Once the attack started, Derak rubbed his eyes to make sure they were working properly. Petilil had somehow replicated itself multiple times within the space of a few seconds, each of the Petilils standing side-by-side.

“Uh…what?” Derak sputtered, utterly perplexed at this case of one becoming many.

“Now, use Round, if you please,” Nando said. “Then kindly use Entrainment as we practiced, if you would.”

One by one, Nando’s many Petilils began to sing a cheerful melody. Nando began to strum his fingers across the strings of his harp as his Petilils began to dance, swinging its oddly-formed lower body about in time with Nando’s music and its own song. Most of the Petilils eventually began to circle around a single Petilil, still performing their song-and-dance routine. Finally, when Nando’s song ended, the encircling Petilils vanished, revealing the center Bulb Pokemon as the true one.

“What an enchanting appeal!” Lilian cried, Derak sighing at her poor attempt at a pun. “What do our judges think?”

“Very well-executed!” Contesta remarked. “It was simple yet beautiful, and played to Nando’s strengths quite well.”

“Yes!” agreed Sukizo. “It was remarkable!”

“Petilil is so cute,” Nurse Joy commented, “so watching it dance just made my heart melt!”

Nando bowed again and departed, leaving the stage to Lilian once more.

“Our first two contestants might have been Contest veterans,” Lilian began, “but our next is a newcomer from the Orre region!”

Derak blinked. A coordinator from Orre? Derak’s homeland had no Contests to speak of, meaning that whoever was going to participate had his work cut out for them.

But as Lilian gave way to the next contender, “he” turned out to be a girl. She looked about eleven, with the bangs of her long purple hair hanging over her face. She wore a plain tan jacket paired with somewhat baggy pants, a pocket of which she slowly reached into in order to retrieve a Pokeball.

The girl looked up and gulped at the sight of the audience looming over her. The grip on her Pokeball tightened, sweat running down her neck and what was visible of her eyes wide with sheer terror.

“Miss?” Contesta said. “Don’t be afraid.”

The girl nervously looked at the judges, lifting her hair out of her eyes just enough to reveal their green color.

“Are…are you sure that…I won’t...I won’t mess this up?” the girl stuttered.

“I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Nurse Joy said with a reassuring smile. “Please, tell us your name.”

“…T-T-Te—Teresa,” the girl stammered. “M-my…my name is Teresa.”

Should she really be doing this? Derak thought. She looks scared out of her wits.

“Please, show us your appeal, Teresa,” Nurse Joy said. “I’m sure you’ll be wonderful.”

“O-oh…okay,” Teresa nodded. With a deep breath, she finally threw her Pokeball. “Sh-Shinx, please come out!”

Teresa’s Pokeball released a small cat-like Pokemon with cute yellow eyes and large, egg-shaped ears. The front half of its body was blue, save the black collar around its neck and the yellow rings around its ankles. By contrast, the rear half of Shinx’s body was black, with a tail that ended in a golden star.

“Shinx,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Flash Pokemon. Type is Electric. The extension and contraction of a Shinx’s muscles generates electricity, which causes it to glow when it is in trouble. Shinx are mainly found in the Sinnoh region.”

“Wait, what?” Derak blinked. “We’re in Kanto. How’d she get a Pokemon from the Sinnoh region?”

“Chop machop?” Brute shrugged. Wildfire only maintained its blank expression.

“Shinx, I…I need you to use Hidden Power,” Teresa stammered.

Shinx nodded, making a seeming attempt to ease its trainer’s nerves, then shut its eyes in concentration. Orbs of pink light soon formed around the small cat’s body, and when Shinx’s eyes snapped open, the orbs swirled in a circle as they rose into the air.

“Now, uh…could you use Thunder Wave?” Teresa ventured.

Shinx nodded again, this time releasing a volley of small lightning bolts from its body. The lightning danced about the Hidden Power orbs, causing them to pulse with electrical energy.

“I…I think it’s time for us to…to finish,” Teresa said. “Please, Shinx, I…I need you to use Double Kick.”

Shinx leapt into the air, flipping about as its feet agilely struck the electrified Hidden Power. The orbs subsequently dove into the stage, exploding in a shower of light and sparks as each one made contact. Once all the orbs had been launched into the stage, Shinx landed with a confident smirk.

“That was well done,” Contesta praised. “You may have had some nerves at the start, but you and your Shinx came through very well.”

“I agree!” Sukizo cried. “Remarkable!”

“…is that all he ever says?” Derak asked.

Brute, despite being the only one of Derak’s Pokemon who had any form of emotional reaction to events, only shrugged.

“Th-thank you…thank you all so much,” Teresa bowed, recalling Shinx and leaving the stage as quickly as possible.

“She didn’t do too badly, did she?” Derak asked his Pokemon. Brute gave him a thumbs-up of approval, but Wildfire simply stared at the stage. “Uh…right. Look, I need to use the bathroom, so I’ll be right back. Hold my seat, okay?”

Brute nodded, and as Derak pushed his way out of the seats, his Machop noticed a boy with blood red pants and a black leather jacket stroll onto the stage as if he owned it. A few seats away, a teenager with a long blue ponytail leaned forward, as if expecting something.

“Machoooppp,” Brute growled. It had a bad feeling about these two.

****

“Ugh, who would have thought the lines for the bathroom would be a dozen people long?” Derak complained as he returned to his seat. “So, guys, what did I miss?”

“Welcome back to the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!” Lilian cried. “Now that the appeals have ended, it’s time to enter the battle round!”

“…I guess that answers my question,” Derak sighed.

“All the coordinators who passed the appeal round will now battle it out for the Pewter City Contest’s ribbon!” Lilian announced. “First up are Nando and Teresa!”

The two participants returned to the stage, each bearing a different demeanor. While Nando’s expression was as cheerful and polite as ever, Teresa looked as if she would either pass out or flee the stage. Her hands were shaking, her stage fright having evidently returned.

“Please, miss, you shouldn’t worry,” Nando said with a smile.

“B-but…this is my first Contest battle,” Teresa stammered, eyes on the floor and fingers fidgeting. “I…I don’t know if we can…”

She trailed off, but the audience got the gist of her sentence. Nando, did, as well.

“Miss Teresa, please, do not doubt yourself,” Nando said, his tone remaining as civil and kind. “Whether you win or lose, the experience of battling itself remains an important aspect of Pokemon training.”

A flash of light erupted out of Teresa’s belt, taking the shape of a pale green quadruped Pokemon. Its neck bore what looked similar to a necklace of green orbs, and above its red eyes was a large green leaf. Once on Teresa’s side of the field, the Pokemon—despite having never actually been called out by its trainer—took a fighting stance.

“Chikorita,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. It uses the leaf on its head to determine temperature and humidity. It is a docile Pokemon that likes to sunbathe.”

“Chik-o!” Teresa’s Chikorita cried fiercely. “Chiko, chiko!”

“Er…Chikorita?” Teresa ventured. “I, uh…I didn’t really want you to battle just yet.”

“Chiko!” Chikorita yelled, whirling on its trainer. “Chiko, chiko, chiko!”

The small Grass-type dashed behind its trainer and began to shove her leg, as if urging her forward. When it realized that Teresa would not budge, however, Chikorita sighed and went back in front of her, this time yelling at Nando.

“Chik, chiko!” Chikorita cried. “Chiko, chi-chiko!”

So much for being docile, Derak thought. Nando, however, simply chuckled at Chikorita’s feistiness.

“What an eager Pokemon,” Nando said. “Its wish seems to be for us to progress with our battle. I have no intention of disappointing such a good friend, so let me oblige.”

Nando removed a Pokeball from his cloak and released a small deer-like Pokemon. Its face and lower body were a pale tan, whereas the rest of its body was pink. Yellow markings along its sides accentuated the pink, and a yellow flower on its head completed the look. The deer’s cute black eyes looked upon Chikorita in friendly manner, despite their owner’s knowledge of the coming battle.

“Deerling,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Season Pokemon. Type is Normal and Grass. The color and scent of a Deerling’s fur changes to match the seasons. When it senses hostility, it hides in the grass.”

“Are the trainers ready?” Lilian asked, mainly to prevent another conversation between them. Nando nodded, but Teresa merely gulped. “Then let’s GOOOO!”

Teresa shrunk at the sound of Lilian’s booming voice, but she managed to recover in time to give her Pokemon an order.

“Ch-Chikorita,” she stammered, “I need you to use…Tackle.”

Chikorita rushed forward as fast as its four legs would allow, completely undaunted by Deerling’s greater size. Deerling, however, leapt into the air and avoided Chikorita’s charge, its black hooves clicking as it landed back on the stage.

“Deerling, use Jump Kick, if you please,” Nando said.

“Chikorita, cou…counter with Razor Leaf!” Teresa cried out in a panic.

Chikorita needed only swing around its leaf to release the same sort of leaf barrage used by Melissa’s Turtwig, but even though it was aimed at the already-airborne Deerling, the Season Pokemon still avoided damage. Rather than dodge, however, Deerling simply kicked at each leaf, shattering them into pieces as it barreled down upon Chikorita. Before Teresa’s Pokemon could dodge, Deerling’s hooves slammed into its body, knocking it out instantly.

“Chikorita!” Teresa cried, her nerves vanishing in an instant upon seeing her injured Pokemon. She ran out, brushing past Deerling, and took Chikorita in her arms. “Chikorita, I…I’m sorry. I wasn’t good enough.”

“Teresa?” Nando said, approaching her. “Please, do not say such things about yourself. You did quite well for a beginner.”

“R-reh…really?” Teresa sputtered. “I…thank you, Nando.”

“And with that, Nando wins the first match of the battle round!” Lilian declared as Nando and Teresa left the stage. “Next up, it’s Timmy Grimm versus Contest newcomer Aiden Takeshi!”

Timmy appeared on stage once more, this time alongside the leather-garbed boy whose appeal Derak missed. Both appeared confident, but Aiden’s face expressed much more arrogance than Timmy’s. The mysterious teen with the blue ponytail leaned forward with a grunt, eyeing Aiden darkly.

“All right, Cyndaquil, win me that ribbon!” Aiden cried, throwing an orange Pokeball.

From the Pokeball came a small Pokemon with a long nose and what appeared to be chronically-squinting eyes. While its stomach, limbs, and face were a tan shade, its back was blue, and had a number of red dots on its main body. With a simple flex, Aiden’s chosen Pokemon ignited a fire that burst from those dots, the intensity of the fire showing its readiness.

“Okay, Dusknoir, you’re up!” Timmy cried.

Timmy’s chosen Pokemon was significantly bigger than all others used previously in the battle round, being even bigger than its trainer. Its body was dominantly black with yellow stripes across its arms, and on its bulbous stomach was a pattern reminiscent of a sinister face. The Pokemon had no legs, instead a jagged tail, and its head appeared to be a pale grey mask housing a single red eye. The Pokemon’s large grey hands clenched into fists, spreading its arms wide in a frightening gesture.

“Dussk-nooiiiirrr,” hissed Timmy’s Pokemon as it levitated above the stage.

“Whuh-wha…?!” Aiden sputtered, taking a step back alongside his Cyndaquil. “What is that thing?!”

“Good question,” Derak muttered as he reached for his Pokedex.

“Dusknoir,” the Dex identified, “the Gripper Pokemon. Type is Ghost. Evolved form of Dusclops. Dusknoir is said to take lost spirits into its body and guide them home.”

“Cyndaquil,” the Pokedex said upon being pointed in the direction of Aiden’s Pokemon, “the Fire Mouse Pokemon. Type is Fire. It has a timid nature. When it is startled, the flames on its back burn more vigorously”

Aiden shivered at the sight of Dusknoir, and Cyndaquil’s flame flickered violently, its eagerness having been replaced by sheer terror. Aiden nervously glanced into the crowd, and saw the blue-haired teen sending him a warning glare. With a shake of his head, Aiden made the first move.

“Cyndaquil, use Flame Wheel!” he cried.

Despite its initial uneasiness regarding its opponent, Cyndaquil bravely charged forth, the flames on its back forming into a wheel of fire. This fiery wheel bounced into the air, preparing to slam down upon Timmy’s Pokemon.

“Ready, Dusknoir?” Timmy asked, receiving a nod from his Ghost-type. “Okay, then use Thunderpunch!”

One of Dusknoir’s fists began to crackle with electricity, and as Cyndaquil’s Flame Wheel drew near, the Gripper Pokemon drew back its electrical fist. With a mighty swing, Dusknoir’s electrified fist slammed directly into the flaming Cyndaquil snout, disintegrating the Flame Wheel and sending the small Fire Mouse Pokemon shooting into its trainer’s chest. Aiden was literally knocked off the stage by the sheer force of the impact, prompting an angry grimace from the blue-haired teen.

“Whoa, what was that?!” Derak cried, but his voice became drowned out by Lilian’s imminent commentary.

“And in one dynamic move, Timmy and his Dusknoir win the battle round!” Lilian cried. “Stay tuned, Contest fans! We’ll be right back with the finale!”

****

With the Contest now in intermission, Derak and his Pokemon took this opportunity to stretch their legs. As such, the three were soon in the Contest lobby, Derak leaning against a wall.

“I have to say,” Derak began, “this Contest thing looks pretty fun. What do you guys think?”

Wildfire failed to respond, but Brute simply shrugged.

“Ugh…Wildfire, why don’t you get it?” Derak sighed. “You’re not my pet machine, you’re my friend.”

Now Wildfire was actively ignoring any social interaction from its trainer. Derak sighed, putting his head in one hand.

“What am I going to do with you?” he groaned.

“Out of the way, coming through!” Aiden yelled, barging out of the Contest stadium so fast that his brown pompadour bounced rather violently. He stopped just before the front gate, steadying himself via a hand on the wall as he caught his breath.

“What are you running from?” Derak asked, but his question was soon answered when the blue-haired teen strode out of the doors, casting a deadly glare towards Aiden.

“Uh, hey, man!” Aiden laughed nervously, one hand behind his head. “So, uh, you enjoy the show?”

The blue-haired teen said nothing, but instead did something alarming: he took a deep breath, and then belched a stream of fire directly at Aiden. Had the coordinator not ducked, he would have received more than singed hair.

“How in the…what just happened?!” Derak cried, but the blue-haired teen paid him no mind as he went over and picked up Aiden by the front of his jacket.

“Okay, okay!” Aiden cried. “Look, I know I didn’t win, but I’ll win the next Contest! You’ll totally see, I’ll get you the Ribbon Cup, I promise!”

The blue-haired teen seemed satisfied, releasing Aiden from his grip. After readjusting his jacket, Aiden left the building, his blue-haired attacker following.

“Uh…was I hallucinating, or did that guy with the blue hair just literally breathe fire at Aiden?” Derak asked.

“Chop,” Brute replied, shaking its head. Now it knew what was so disturbing about those two. The sounds of applause and cheers, however, interrupted further musings.

“Looks like the Contest is starting back up,” Derak observed. “Better hunt down our seats again.”

****

“Welcome back, all you Contest lovers!” Lilian cried, making one grand gesture after another as the audience’s excitement escalated. “It’s time for our final round! To my left, Timmy Grimm from Verdanturf Town, Hoenn! And to my right, Nando from Alamos Town, Sinnoh! With five minutes on the clock, it’s time for us…to BEGIN!”

As if triggered by the emphasis in the last word of Lilian’s introduction, a timer placed upon a large scoreboard (which Derak only just noticed due to having been unusually focused on the actual battles) began to count down, second by second. Nando once again released Deerling, but once the small Normal-type beheld Timmy’s imposing Dusknoir, the small Season Pokemon’s eyes went wide with terror as the rest of its body began to shake.

“Please, Deerling, let us do this together,” Nando said, and Deerling’s nerves calmed somewhat. “Use Shadow Ball, if you please.”

Deerling formed a ball of crackling darkness in front of its mouth, which it then fired towards Dusknoir. The Ghost-type’s response, however, took the audience by surprise: the jagged line on its stomach split open and swallowed the Shadow Ball. Once the pseudo-mouth clamped shut, Dusknoir’s body began to pulse with dark energy. Of the two circular meters next to Timmy and Nando’s images on the board, Nando’s point amount depleted by roughly a third.

“All right! Now, Dusknoir, use Focus Punch!” Timmy yelled.

“Deerling, evade, please,” Nando said with his typical nonchalance.

The newly-empowered Dusknoir shot into the air, leaving a hazy trail of darkness in its wake. Although it drew one fist back, transforming it into a swirling torrent of crimson energy, the actual punch only served to create a hole in the stage. Deerling gracefully landed as Timmy’s points fell by a quarter, but it had no need to press the attack. The sheer force behind Dusknoir’s punch had actually caused its fist to become stuck in the stage floor, something the now wide-eyed Gripper Pokemon realized as its dark power boost faded away.

“Dusknoir, no!” Timmy cried.

“And now, let us bring our performance to a close,” Nando said. “Deerling, please use Solarbeam.”

Deerling’s body took on a bright shine as white particles of energy gathered around it. The trapped Dusknoir could only watch as Deerling absorbed these particles, the glow it radiated becoming stronger and brighter with each passing second. Timmy gritted his teeth, knowing that he had a limited time-frame to work with.

And then an idea struck.

“Dusknoir, use Psychic!” Timmy cried.

Dusknoir’s lone red eye began to glow with a blue light as an aura of the same color surrounded Deerling. Startled out of its charging process, Deerling was suddenly yanked through the air by an invisible force, heading straight towards Dusknoir.

“Now, finish this with Fire Punch!” Timmy yelled.

As Deerling neared its Ghost-type foe, Dusknoir’s free fist became coated in flame. With a violent swing, Dusknoir’s flaming fist delivered a devastating backhand strike to the Season Pokemon, knocking Deerling aside as the small Grass-type fell unconscious. With that final blow, the remainder of Nando’s points vanished, followed by his portrait. Only Timmy’s face remained on the screen, with the word “WINNER” appearing in massive red letters.

“And that’s it!” Lilian cried. “With one decisive move, Timmy Grimm and his Dusknoir have won the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!”

The entire audience burst into a rousing applause, and even Derak followed suit with a methodical clap of his own. Contesta handed Timmy a small ribbon, which the latter held up for all to see.

“Hey, guys,” Derak said to his Pokemon. “You think maybe I should enter a Contest some day? What do you think?”

“Chop,” Brute nodded, having immensely enjoyed the show. As usual, however, Wildfire gave no response, much to Derak’s disappointment.

“Come on, guys,” Derak said, recalling his two Pokemon. “Garth’s probably moved on to Cerulean by now.”

****

Outside the Contest Hall, however, Garth stood with his Electivire, icy patches on several trees serving as evidence that they had been training.

“Ice Punch, once more!” Garth yelled.

Electivire’s fist thrust forward and pounded a tree, hitting it with enough force that the tree actually bent slightly at the impact. As with the others, a small patch of ice formed on the spot where Electivire had struck it.

“Good,” Garth commented. “That will do for now.”

“Vire,” Electivire nodded. The Thunderbolt Pokemon’s eyes then drifted over to the doors of the Contest Hall. “Elec, electivire?”

“I have to wait for the boy,” Garth sighed. “As much as I train you and my other Pokemon, working with Derak may be my best chance for revenge…as ironic as it is.”

Soon, the doors opened, and the crowd began to pile out. Somewhere within the flood of people, Garth knew, was the boy he was supposed to be traveling with. His golden eyes squinted, attempting to identify the boy. The cloaked trainer’s efforts were soon rewarded, as he found Derak in conversation with Timmy Grimm, the two having separated from the herd of spectators for a moment.

“So, Derak, how did you like the Contest?” Timmy asked.

“I’ve got to say, it was pretty something,” Derak admitted.

“Glad to hear it,” Timmy smiled. “Try and stop by future Contests down the road, okay?”

“I might,” Derak said. “Later.”

The runaway turned his back on Timmy with a limp wave of his hand, heading towards Garth. The older man sighed, returning Electivire to its Pokeball as Derak approached.

“Are you done wasting time yet?” Garth spat.

“Pretty much,” Derak said. “Let’s hit the road.”

“Finally,” Garth groaned, and the two set on their way.

“Oh, by the way,” Derak said, “did you see a guy with blue hair come out here?”

“I did,” Garth said. “Why?”

“I saw him breathe fire at one of the coordinators,” Derak said. “Literally.”

“Humans cannot breathe fire, you imbecile,” Garth snapped. “You were most likely blinded by one of those nonsensical ‘appeals’.”

“Yeah, about those,” Derak said. “I saw one of the Pokemon use a move…I think he called it ‘Thunderpunch’.”

“And?” Garth asked.

“You think Wildfire might be able to…I don’t know, learn how to do it?” Derak asked. “Just so he’s not ‘useless’ in the Cerulean Gym.”

“Hmm…you may be on to something,” Garth said, putting a hand to his chin. “Electric-type attacks like Thunderpunch are incredibly effective against Water-types. If you could get Chimchar to learn it, you could have an ironically effective ace-in-the-hole in your match against the Cerulean Gym Leader.”

“Sounds good,” Derak said. “And his name’s ‘Wildfire’, not ‘Chimchar’.”

“Whatever,” Garth grunted. “We have wasted enough time already, just follow me to Cerulean City…without getting distracted by the first shiny object you find this time.”

“Whatever you say, oh fearless leader,” Derak quipped.

A primal growl of rage escaped Garth’s lips. He was starting to wonder if putting up with this boy would be worth it in the end.

*****

The Great Butler
14th July 2012, 10:10 AM
Chapter 7: Pewter City Pokemon Contest

Oh this ought to be interesting.


As Derak and Garth trekked to Cerulean City, a large domed building came into their sight. The building appeared to be quite popular, as people of all sorts poured into it with excited faces.

“What’s that?” Derak asked.

“Something not worth our attention,” Garth snapped. “We should stay focused on the path ahead.”

Hmm... I wonder if this is just Garth focusing too strictly on his goals or something more. Maybe there's a reason why he dislikes Contests so violently?


“Then watch it for me while I check this out,” Derak said, merging with the flood of people.

“Derak, we do not have time for—” Garth tried, but Derak was already gone. “Damn it…this had better be worth the trouble.”

With little other choice in the matter, Garth also entered the building. Once there, he had to shield his eyes, as bright and cheerful decorations positively covered the walls. Growling bitterly, he lowered his arm shield just enough to scan for Derak, whom he found reading a poster.

“I told you, we have no time for trivial nonsense!” Garth spat.

“Forgive me for wanting to know more about things I haven’t seen in my entire life,” Derak snidely replied. “Any idea what a ‘Pokemon Contest’ is?”

“I have heard of those,” Garth said bitterly. “They are little more than cheap productions designed to flaunt Pokemon around like children’s toys.”

Definitely looking like he has a deeper motive for hating Contests, so if that's what you're going for, it's good. I hope I'm not interpreting this wrong.


“Can I quote you on that, all-knowing one?” Derak quipped, earning a scowl from Garth. “How about I ask someone who actually knows what he’s talking about?”

“Perhaps one who has participated in Pokemon Contests would be more to your liking?” a polite voice asked.

A man in a wide dark green hat approached the two, a golden harp in his hands. He was draped in a green cloak (albeit one that, unlike Garth’s, lacked a hood) over top of a blue-and-green dress shirt. His long black hair spilled out from underneath his hat, and his kind blue eyes looked as if they had seen much of the world.

“And who are you?” Garth growled.

“I am called Nando,” the harp-holding man said.

Oh boy, here we go. I don't believe you actually used him! I guess that makes two people who actually think he's worth writing about now, me and you.

I really like the way you described him when he appeared. It flowed very naturally and described him well.


“Name’s Derak,” the runaway trainer said flatly. “The jerkhole is Garth.”

Despite Garth’s unending glares and Derak’s rudeness, Nando’s smile never faded even an inch.

“It is an honor to make your acquaintance, Derak and Garth,” Nando said. “Now, then, how may I be of assistance?”

“Can you explain this whole Contest idea to me?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda new to this whole Pokemon training thing.”

“Worry not,” Nando smiled. “We were all beginners at one time, including myself.”

A far-off look suddenly came to Garth’s eyes, as if some distant image came into his field of vision.

“A Pokemon Contest is a competition in which one who partakes—called a Pokemon Coordinator—must direct a performance by their Pokemon,” Nando began, oblivious to Garth’s being in a sort of trance. “First is the appeal round, where a Pokemon must demonstrate their abilities in a captivating way. Should one pass the appeal round, he or she will then partake in the battle round, where Pokemon battle each other but still do so in a way that appeals to the audience.”

“Okay, with you so far,” Derak said. “What do you get out of these Contests, anyway?”

“An excellent question,” Nando remarked. “The victor of a Pokemon Contest receives a ribbon. Whoever receives five ribbons, achieved by winning five Contests, is eligible to enter the Grand Festival. The winner of the Grand Festival is proclaimed a Top Coordinator, and is granted the coveted Ribbon Cup as a reward for their troubles.”

“Wow,” Derak said, head filling with images of himself bearing such an award in sight of a kinder, more loving version of his father. “You get a trophy from all that?”

“Yes, indeed,” Nando nodded. “I managed to achieve a rank in the top four of the Sinnoh region’s Grand Festival, but I have recently decided to take my efforts here to Kanto. I am pleased to have already made a new friend.”

Good job on two things here - maintaining Nando's character perfectly, and remembering his history. Both things are done exactly how they should be.


Garth shut his eyes, trying to hide the emotions they radiated. The pain, the sorrow…they would lead to questions. He had no time to answer such irritating inquiries, now that he had found what he was looking for.

“As for you, sir,” Nando said, turning to Garth, “I can see just by your appearance that you are quite experienced in the ways of the world, but perhaps you should give a chance to concepts you have yet to experience.”

Garth’s eyes snapped open, and with a feral snarl he grabbed Nando’s shirt and slammed the minstrel into the wall. Nando’s harp clattered to the floor, its owner otherwise occupied.

There's a good way to surprise a reader - have some violence involving the most stoic, upbeat character ever.

I wonder what the hell is up with Garth, though.


“The last time I gave something a chance,” Garth snarled, “it turned out to be the worst decision I ever made in my entire life! How dare you tell me to--!”

Well, there's the confirmation. He's got something going on here.


“Garth, knock it off!” Derak yelled. “You’re not exactly being subtle, you know!”

"Subtle?" I'm not really sure if that's the right word. I don't really understand what he's saying.


This was true. Many eyes now looked upon Garth and how he was threatening Nando, most glaring at the former with disapproval or anger. Some had even sent out their Pokemon, which now glared at the aggressive man and waited for the first order to attack. With a bitter grunt of defeat, Garth released Nando and wordlessly left the building.

“You all right, Nando?” Derak asked.

“I am quite well, thank you,” Nando said, gently brushing himself off. Shockingly, he was still perfectly calm and incredibly polite despite the experience he had just endured.

“Just for the record,” Derak said, “you’re not the first person Garth’s gone bipolar on.”

“It is quite all right,” Nando smiled, surprising even Derak with his forgiving nature. “I am concerned, however, that your companion has experienced some sort of past tragedy that has driven him to become the man he is today.”

You're not the only one, Nando, not the only one...


Derak paused, having never considered this fact before. Before Nando could explain further, however, another new face appeared on the scene. This one was a young man with short reddish-brown hair, dressed in a dark tuxedo bearing white gloves and a white dress shirt to match. He wore a yellow tie with jagged black designs etched across it, and his shoes were also black.

“I heard the commotion,” the young man said. “Everything all right?”

“Indeed,” Nando nodded. “I thank you for your concern.”

The young man’s eyes fell on Derak and widened slightly.

“Hey, you look sort of familiar,” the young man said. “What’s your name?”

“Derak,” shrugged the runaway trainer.

“Derak?” the young man repeated, eyes going wider. “Derak Kadir? Is that really you? It’s me, Timmy Grimm!”

Derak blinked, squinting at Timmy, before a mental switch flipped.

“Oh, yeah, I remember you,” Derak said. “Your mom brought you to Gateon Port on a business trip when I was, what, five?”

“Great to see you again!” Timmy smiled, reaching out his hand. Derak reluctantly took it, though only because Timmy was a childhood friend.

Well now, there's a face I never expected to see. In fact, he's a face that I never thought I would ever see in any fic, so points for that.

I also find it interesting that you've given him a history with Derak. That's a nice, original idea for a character like Timmy.


“Ah, a reunion of old friends,” Nando smiled. “Truly, there are no words to express such an encounter. I shall not hinder your discussions in any way, my friends. Until we meet again.”

Nando bowed and headed deeper into the building. Timmy, meanwhile, remained with Derak.

Very good keeping Nando's speech patterns intact, too.


Enjoyment was the last thing on Garth’s mind. He stood outside as he pounded his fist against the wall of the Contest Hall, growling in rage.

“That damn bard…who does he think he is?” Garth snarled. Although his pain was deep, Nando’s words were able to draw up agonizing memories in spite of that. Garth clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut, as if it would somehow block out the one most haunting image in his mind.

A small body of dust blowing out of his hands.

A single tear rolled down Garth’s cheek, and with a wrathful roar, he slammed both his fists on the wall.

Okay, something about that has me really intrigued now. There are a number of ways that that line could go, and all of them have great promise.


“Welcome, all you Contest lovers!” a woman in a blue athetic-looking suit proclaimed, a microphone headpiece nestled in her curly orange hair. “My name is Lilian Meridian, and I’m here to bring you a smorgasbord of beautiful Pokemon performances!”

This feels good to read. It's nice and familiar.


Derak sat in the top row, the two seats to his left taken by Brute and Wildfire. Derak was lounging in his seat, quietly and methodically consuming a bag of popcorn he had acquired from the refreshment stand. Brute looked on with interest, as it—like its trainer—had never experienced a Contest before. Wildfire, however, was glancing nervously at the voluminous amount of spectators who had gathered to observe the Contest.

I like the differing personalities here.

I wouldn't begin two consecutive sentences with "Derak" though.


The Pokemon Timmy chose seemed rather simple: a dark orb surrounded by a purple vapor, the only identifying features being two large malevolent eyes and a wide fanged mouth.

“Gaastly!” the Pokemon cackled, swirling its purple vapor around it.

“Gastly,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Gas Pokemon. Type is Ghost and Poison. Gastly is said to be born from gases. Anyone who inhales the poisonous gases it creates will instantly faint.”

Gastly isn't something you see every day. Thanks for deciding to use it.


“That’s…a little disturbing,” Derak commented.

“Gastly, use Smog!” Timmy yelled.

Gastly released a violet fume from its wide mouth, covering the floor in a foggy substance.

“Now, Psychic!” Timmy cried.

A blue glow shone from Gastly’s eyes as the Smog became outlined in the same color. The Smog then began to curl into twisting columns that swirled around Gastly, forming rings of fog around the Gas Pokemon.

“Finish with Hex!” Timmy ordered.

The rings shifted to Gastly’s front, and formed a single tunnel of smog with a hole at one end and Gastly at the other. Suddenly, the hole at the end opposite Gastly spawned a horizontal line of darkness, which quickly split open to reveal itself as a single, sinister eye. The eye’s red iris glanced about before vanishing in a shower of dark sparks, the tunnel doing the same.

“Ooh, what a creepy appeal!” Lilian commented. “What do our judges have to say?”

“Very interesting,” Contesta said. “Timmy has used his experiences as the Phantom Coordinator well, evidenced by how expertly he used Gastly’s naturally eerie presence.”

“Yes!” agreed Sukizo. “It was remarkable!”

“I liked how it looked as if Gastly was looking at the audience through a telescope!” Nurse Joy added.

That was quite a creative appeal. I'm impressed you remembered that Hex was originally named Evil Eye and incorporates eyes into its design in the anime.


Timmy bowed and left the stage.

“Our next Coordinator is another experienced contender!” Lilian announced. “He made it to the top four of the Sinnoh Grand Festival, and now he’s bringing his talents here to Kanto! Give it up for…Nando!”

Nando entered the stage and, polite as ever, gave a brief bow to the audience.

“Petilil, let us begin our performance!” Nando cried, throwing a Pokeball.

Nando’s choice was a Pokemon just as simplistic as Timmy’s Gastly. It consisted of a white face sporting a light green bulb around it, rather reminiscent of hair aside from the trio of leaves bursting from the top. Underneath the face was what appeared to be a light green blob upon which the Pokemon stood.

“Petilil,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Bulb Pokemon. Type is Grass. The leaves on its head are very bitter, and eating one is said to refresh a tired body. Because Petilils prefer environments with moist and nutrient-rich soil, areas where Petilils are abundant are excellent for growing plants.”

“Petilil, use Double Team, please,” Nando said politely.

Once the attack started, Derak rubbed his eyes to make sure they were working properly. Petilil had somehow replicated itself multiple times within the space of a few seconds, each of the Petilils standing side-by-side.

“Uh…what?” Derak sputtered, utterly perplexed at this case of one becoming many.

“Now, use Round, if you please,” Nando said. “Then kindly use Entrainment as we practiced, if you would.”

One by one, Nando’s many Petilils began to sing a cheerful melody. Nando began to strum his fingers across the strings of his harp as his Petilils began to dance, swinging its oddly-formed lower body about in time with Nando’s music and its own song. Most of the Petilils eventually began to circle around a single Petilil, still performing their song-and-dance routine. Finally, when Nando’s song ended, the encircling Petilils vanished, revealing the center Bulb Pokemon as the true one.

I think Petilil probably was harder to write an appeal for than Lilligant would have been. That said, you did manage to pull it off pretty well. I'm really liking how creative your move usage is.


But as Lilian gave way to the next contender, “he” turned out to be a girl. She looked about eleven, with the bangs of her long purple hair hanging over her face. She wore a plain tan jacket paired with somewhat baggy pants, a pocket of which she slowly reached into in order to retrieve a Pokeball.

The girl looked up and gulped at the sight of the audience looming over her. The grip on her Pokeball tightened, sweat running down her neck and what was visible of her eyes wide with sheer terror.

“Miss?” Contesta said. “Don’t be afraid.”

The girl nervously looked at the judges, lifting her hair out of her eyes just enough to reveal their green color.

“Are…are you sure that…I won’t...I won’t mess this up?” the girl stuttered.

“I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Nurse Joy said with a reassuring smile. “Please, tell us your name.”

“…T-T-Te—Teresa,” the girl stammered. “M-my…my name is Teresa.”

Should she really be doing this? Derak thought. She looks scared out of her wits.

“Please, show us your appeal, Teresa,” Nurse Joy said. “I’m sure you’ll be wonderful.”

“O-oh…okay,” Teresa nodded. With a deep breath, she finally threw her Pokeball. “Sh-Shinx, please come out!”

I get the feeling Teresa is going to end up being important to the story, especially given what her home region is.


“Th-thank you…thank you all so much,” Teresa bowed, recalling Shinx and leaving the stage as quickly as possible.

“She didn’t do too badly, did she?” Derak asked his Pokemon. Brute gave him a thumbs-up of approval, but Wildfire simply stared at the stage. “Uh…right. Look, I need to use the bathroom, so I’ll be right back. Hold my seat, okay?”

Brute nodded, and as Derak pushed his way out of the seats, his Machop noticed a boy with blood red pants and a black leather jacket stroll onto the stage as if he owned it. A few seats away, a teenager with a long blue ponytail leaned forward, as if expecting something.

“Machoooppp,” Brute growled. It had a bad feeling about these two.

I don't think I can blame Brute for doubting these two.


“Ugh, who would have thought the lines for the bathroom would be a dozen people long?” Derak complained as he returned to his seat. “So, guys, what did I miss?”

“Welcome back to the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!” Lilian cried. “Now that the appeals have ended, it’s time to enter the battle round!”

That's one way to not have to cover all the appeals, I guess.


The two participants returned to the stage, each bearing a different demeanor. While Nando’s expression was as cheerful and polite as ever, Teresa looked as if she would either pass out or flee the stage. Her hands were shaking, her stage fright having evidently returned.

“Please, miss, you shouldn’t worry,” Nando said with a smile.

“B-but…this is my first Contest battle,” Teresa stammered, eyes on the floor and fingers fidgeting. “I…I don’t know if we can…”

She trailed off, but the audience got the gist of her sentence. Nando, did, as well.

“Miss Teresa, please, do not doubt yourself,” Nando said, his tone remaining as civil and kind. “Whether you win or lose, the experience of battling itself remains an important aspect of Pokemon training.”

Even if he's far above her skill level, I think Teresa got lucky by having to face Nando, because he's going to at least make sure she learns from the experience.


A flash of light erupted out of Teresa’s belt, taking the shape of a pale green quadruped Pokemon. Its neck bore what looked similar to a necklace of green orbs, and above its red eyes was a large green leaf. Once on Teresa’s side of the field, the Pokemon—despite having never actually been called out by its trainer—took a fighting stance.

“Chikorita,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. It uses the leaf on its head to determine temperature and humidity. It is a docile Pokemon that likes to sunbathe.”

“Chik-o!” Teresa’s Chikorita cried fiercely. “Chiko, chiko!”

“Er…Chikorita?” Teresa ventured. “I, uh…I didn’t really want you to battle just yet.”

“Chiko!” Chikorita yelled, whirling on its trainer. “Chiko, chiko, chiko!”

The small Grass-type dashed behind its trainer and began to shove her leg, as if urging her forward. When it realized that Teresa would not budge, however, Chikorita sighed and went back in front of her, this time yelling at Nando.

“Chik, chiko!” Chikorita cried. “Chiko, chi-chiko!”

So much for being docile, Derak thought. Nando, however, simply chuckled at Chikorita’s feistiness.

I like this Chikorita. Hopefully we get to see plenty more of it.


“What an eager Pokemon,” Nando said. “Its wish seems to be for us to progress with our battle. I have no intention of disappointing such a good friend, so let me oblige.”

Nando removed a Pokeball from his cloak and released a small deer-like Pokemon. Its face and lower body were a pale tan, whereas the rest of its body was pink. Yellow markings along its sides accentuated the pink, and a yellow flower on its head completed the look. The deer’s cute black eyes looked upon Chikorita in friendly manner, despite their owner’s knowledge of the coming battle.

“Deerling,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Season Pokemon. Type is Normal and Grass. The color and scent of a Deerling’s fur changes to match the seasons. When it senses hostility, it hides in the grass.”

“Are the trainers ready?” Lilian asked, mainly to prevent another conversation between them. Nando nodded, but Teresa merely gulped. “Then let’s GOOOO!”

Teresa shrunk at the sound of Lilian’s booming voice, but she managed to recover in time to give her Pokemon an order.

“Ch-Chikorita,” she stammered, “I need you to use…Tackle.”

Chikorita rushed forward as fast as its four legs would allow, completely undaunted by Deerling’s greater size. Deerling, however, leapt into the air and avoided Chikorita’s charge, its black hooves clicking as it landed back on the stage.

“Deerling, use Jump Kick, if you please,” Nando said.

“Chikorita, cou…counter with Razor Leaf!” Teresa cried out in a panic.

Chikorita needed only swing around its leaf to release the same sort of leaf barrage used by Melissa’s Turtwig, but even though it was aimed at the already-airborne Deerling, the Season Pokemon still avoided damage. Rather than dodge, however, Deerling simply kicked at each leaf, shattering them into pieces as it barreled down upon Chikorita. Before Teresa’s Pokemon could dodge, Deerling’s hooves slammed into its body, knocking it out instantly.

That... was a little abrupt. I guess it suits the situation, though.


“Chikorita!” Teresa cried, her nerves vanishing in an instant upon seeing her injured Pokemon. She ran out, brushing past Deerling, and took Chikorita in her arms. “Chikorita, I…I’m sorry. I wasn’t good enough.”

“Teresa?” Nando said, approaching her. “Please, do not say such things about yourself. You did quite well for a beginner.”

“R-reh…really?” Teresa sputtered. “I…thank you, Nando.”

“And with that, Nando wins the first match of the battle round!” Lilian declared as Nando and Teresa left the stage. “Next up, it’s Timmy Grimm versus Contest newcomer Aiden Takeshi!”

Timmy appeared on stage once more, this time alongside the leather-garbed boy whose appeal Derak missed. Both appeared confident, but Aiden’s face expressed much more arrogance than Timmy’s. The mysterious teen with the blue ponytail leaned forward with a grunt, eyeing Aiden darkly.

“All right, Cyndaquil, win me that ribbon!” Aiden cried, throwing an orange Pokeball.

From the Pokeball came a small Pokemon with a long nose and what appeared to be chronically-squinting eyes. While its stomach, limbs, and face were a tan shade, its back was blue, and had a number of red dots on its main body. With a simple flex, Aiden’s chosen Pokemon ignited a fire that burst from those dots, the intensity of the fire showing its readiness.

“Okay, Dusknoir, you’re up!” Timmy cried.

Good to know Timmy still has his familiar Dusclops, albeit evolved. Cyndaquil suits Aidan from what little we know of him so far, too.


Timmy’s chosen Pokemon was significantly bigger than all others used previously in the battle round, being even bigger than its trainer. Its body was dominantly black with yellow stripes across its arms, and on its bulbous stomach was a pattern reminiscent of a sinister face. The Pokemon had no legs, instead a jagged tail, and its head appeared to be a pale grey mask housing a single red eye. The Pokemon’s large grey hands clenched into fists, spreading its arms wide in a frightening gesture.

“Dussk-nooiiiirrr,” hissed Timmy’s Pokemon as it levitated above the stage.

“Whuh-wha…?!” Aiden sputtered, taking a step back alongside his Cyndaquil. “What is that thing?!”

“Good question,” Derak muttered as he reached for his Pokedex.

“Dusknoir,” the Dex identified, “the Gripper Pokemon. Type is Ghost. Evolved form of Dusclops. Dusknoir is said to take lost spirits into its body and guide them home.”

“Cyndaquil,” the Pokedex said upon being pointed in the direction of Aiden’s Pokemon, “the Fire Mouse Pokemon. Type is Fire. It has a timid nature. When it is startled, the flames on its back burn more vigorously”

Aiden shivered at the sight of Dusknoir, and Cyndaquil’s flame flickered violently, its eagerness having been replaced by sheer terror. Aiden nervously glanced into the crowd, and saw the blue-haired teen sending him a warning glare. With a shake of his head, Aiden made the first move.

Okay, something is very wrong here. Aidan and this blue-haired kid are acting way too suspiciously.


“Cyndaquil, use Flame Wheel!” he cried.

Despite its initial uneasiness regarding its opponent, Cyndaquil bravely charged forth, the flames on its back forming into a wheel of fire. This fiery wheel bounced into the air, preparing to slam down upon Timmy’s Pokemon.

“Ready, Dusknoir?” Timmy asked, receiving a nod from his Ghost-type. “Okay, then use Thunderpunch!”

One of Dusknoir’s fists began to crackle with electricity, and as Cyndaquil’s Flame Wheel drew near, the Gripper Pokemon drew back its electrical fist. With a mighty swing, Dusknoir’s electrified fist slammed directly into the flaming Cyndaquil snout, disintegrating the Flame Wheel and sending the small Fire Mouse Pokemon shooting into its trainer’s chest. Aiden was literally knocked off the stage by the sheer force of the impact, prompting an angry grimace from the blue-haired teen.

“Whoa, what was that?!” Derak cried, but his voice became drowned out by Lilian’s imminent commentary.

“And in one dynamic move, Timmy and his Dusknoir win the battle round!” Lilian cried. “Stay tuned, Contest fans! We’ll be right back with the finale!”

I'll be honest here, these battles are a little bit too short. I get that there's a vast difference in power, but still, there should be a little more substance to them.



“Out of the way, coming through!” Aiden yelled, barging out of the Contest stadium so fast that his brown pompadour bounced rather violently. He stopped just before the front gate, steadying himself via a hand on the wall as he caught his breath.

“What are you running from?” Derak asked, but his question was soon answered when the blue-haired teen strode out of the doors, casting a deadly glare towards Aiden.

“Uh, hey, man!” Aiden laughed nervously, one hand behind his head. “So, uh, you enjoy the show?”

The blue-haired teen said nothing, but instead did something alarming: he took a deep breath, and then belched a stream of fire directly at Aiden. Had the coordinator not ducked, he would have received more than singed hair.

Well that sure ain't normal at all. What's going on?


“How in the…what just happened?!” Derak cried, but the blue-haired teen paid him no mind as he went over and picked up Aiden by the front of his jacket.

“Okay, okay!” Aiden cried. “Look, I know I didn’t win, but I’ll win the next Contest! You’ll totally see, I’ll get you the Ribbon Cup, I promise!”

The blue-haired teen seemed satisfied, releasing Aiden from his grip. After readjusting his jacket, Aiden left the building, his blue-haired attacker following.

“Uh…was I hallucinating, or did that guy with the blue hair just literally breathe fire at Aiden?” Derak asked.

“Chop,” Brute replied, shaking its head. Now it knew what was so disturbing about those two. The sounds of applause and cheers, however, interrupted further musings.

“Looks like the Contest is starting back up,” Derak observed. “Better hunt down our seats again.”

I'm gonna find it a little hard to follow the Contest now, after that little interruption.


“Welcome back, all you Contest lovers!” Lilian cried, making one grand gesture after another as the audience’s excitement escalated. “It’s time for our final round! To my left, Timmy Grimm from Verdanturf Town, Hoenn! And to my right, Nando from Alamos Town, Sinnoh! With five minutes on the clock, it’s time for us…to BEGIN!”

As if triggered by the emphasis in the last word of Lilian’s introduction, a timer placed upon a large scoreboard (which Derak only just noticed due to having been unusually focused on the actual battles) began to count down, second by second. Nando once again released Deerling, but once the small Normal-type beheld Timmy’s imposing Dusknoir, the small Season Pokemon’s eyes went wide with terror as the rest of its body began to shake.

“Please, Deerling, let us do this together,” Nando said, and Deerling’s nerves calmed somewhat. “Use Shadow Ball, if you please.”

Deerling formed a ball of crackling darkness in front of its mouth, which it then fired towards Dusknoir. The Ghost-type’s response, however, took the audience by surprise: the jagged line on its stomach split open and swallowed the Shadow Ball. Once the pseudo-mouth clamped shut, Dusknoir’s body began to pulse with dark energy. Of the two circular meters next to Timmy and Nando’s images on the board, Nando’s point amount depleted by roughly a third.

“All right! Now, Dusknoir, use Focus Punch!” Timmy yelled.

“Deerling, evade, please,” Nando said with his typical nonchalance.

The newly-empowered Dusknoir shot into the air, leaving a hazy trail of darkness in its wake. Although it drew one fist back, transforming it into a swirling torrent of crimson energy, the actual punch only served to create a hole in the stage. Deerling gracefully landed as Timmy’s points fell by a quarter, but it had no need to press the attack. The sheer force behind Dusknoir’s punch had actually caused its fist to become stuck in the stage floor, something the now wide-eyed Gripper Pokemon realized as its dark power boost faded away.

It's a little hard to picture a "wide-eyed" Dusknoir. Could you describe it more?


“Dusknoir, no!” Timmy cried.

“And now, let us bring our performance to a close,” Nando said. “Deerling, please use Solarbeam.”

Deerling’s body took on a bright shine as white particles of energy gathered around it. The trapped Dusknoir could only watch as Deerling absorbed these particles, the glow it radiated becoming stronger and brighter with each passing second. Timmy gritted his teeth, knowing that he had a limited time-frame to work with.

And then an idea struck.

“Dusknoir, use Psychic!” Timmy cried.

Dusknoir’s lone red eye began to glow with a blue light as an aura of the same color surrounded Deerling. Startled out of its charging process, Deerling was suddenly yanked through the air by an invisible force, heading straight towards Dusknoir.

“Now, finish this with Fire Punch!” Timmy yelled.

As Deerling neared its Ghost-type foe, Dusknoir’s free fist became coated in flame. With a violent swing, Dusknoir’s flaming fist delivered a devastating backhand strike to the Season Pokemon, knocking Deerling aside as the small Grass-type fell unconscious. With that final blow, the remainder of Nando’s points vanished, followed by his portrait. Only Timmy’s face remained on the screen, with the word “WINNER” appearing in massive red letters.

“And that’s it!” Lilian cried. “With one decisive move, Timmy Grimm and his Dusknoir have won the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!”

Impressive combo there.



“Humans cannot breathe fire, you imbecile,” Garth snapped. “You were most likely blinded by one of those nonsensical ‘appeals’.”

“Yeah, about those,” Derak said. “I saw one of the Pokemon use a move…I think he called it ‘Thunderpunch’.”

“And?” Garth asked.

“You think Wildfire might be able to…I don’t know, learn how to do it?” Derak asked. “Just so he’s not ‘useless’ in the Cerulean Gym.”

“Hmm…you may be on to something,” Garth said, putting a hand to his chin. “Electric-type attacks like Thunderpunch are incredibly effective against Water-types. If you could get Chimchar to learn it, you could have an ironically effective ace-in-the-hole in your match against the Cerulean Gym Leader.”

“Sounds good,” Derak said. “And his name’s ‘Wildfire’, not ‘Chimchar’.”

“Whatever,” Garth grunted. “We have wasted enough time already, just follow me to Cerulean City…without getting distracted by the first shiny object you find this time.”

“Whatever you say, oh fearless leader,” Derak quipped.

A primal growl of rage escaped Garth’s lips. He was starting to wonder if putting up with this boy would be worth it in the end.

*****

Garth might need to become more involved than he thinks so Wildfire can learn Thunderpunch, methinks.

Anyway, it was a good chapter, but it petered out a little at the end. I think that more focus on the battles could have helped fix that.

Rotomknight
14th July 2012, 4:45 PM
This is well written. would you please make more. Maybe in cerulean they will find a pokemon masues and chimchar will get a rub. I pity the chimchar who thinks he's a figtnin machine. (In a mr. T accent.) Please put me on the pm list.

Morpher01
15th July 2012, 4:00 AM
The Great Butler:
Oh boy, here we go. I don't believe you actually used him! I guess that makes two people who actually think he's worth writing about now, me and you.

I really like the way you described him when he appeared. It flowed very naturally and described him well.

I do actually think Nando is an interesting character, especially after reading your use of him, so I'm glad you appreciate his involvement.


"Subtle?" I'm not really sure if that's the right word. I don't really understand what he's saying.

A better word would probably have been "inconspicuous" (or however you spell it). What I was trying to do (and apparently failing at doing) was have Derak point out the fact that Garth was drawing quite a bit of attention to himself.


Well now, there's a face I never expected to see. In fact, he's a face that I never thought I would ever see in any fic, so points for that.

I also find it interesting that you've given him a history with Derak. That's a nice, original idea for a character like Timmy.

Personally, I don't really see what's so wrong with Timmy Grimm. I found his story fairly interesting, and (as you may be able to figure out) it even played a role in my inspiration for Derak (for trivia's sake, another part of said inspiration was reading Anabel's Dream: The Road to XD^3. XD).


Well that sure ain't normal at all. What's going on?

According to current plans, you'll get a slight hint as to the deal with Aiden and his blue-haired friend in a few chapters. The full reveal is, at the moment, set to occur around Cinnabar Island.


Anyway, it was a good chapter, but it petered out a little at the end. I think that more focus on the battles could have helped fix that.

The battles were a bit short, and you are probably right in how they petered out. Thanks for reading, though.

Rotomknight: Thanks and done! You are now on the PM list, and should be getting one momentarily.


Okay, chapter 8...not entirely sure how I feel about this one. The rest of Garth's Pokemon will be reavealed, for those interested.


Chapter 8: Blazing Terror




Mount Moon was reputed as a mysterious yet wonderful place. Many scientists came here, seeking to learn the secrets of a Pokemon called “Clefairy”. It was said on certain nights, Clefairies would dance at the summit of Mount Moon in a sort of prayer to the moon itself. No one knew the true nature of this dance, only that if an observer had the right timing, they could plunder a small stone that was capable of evolving a Clefairy into a stronger Pokemon called “Clefable”.

Despite being in the middle of the day, a group of Clefairies gathered atop Mount Moon. Each one of the small, vaguely star-shaped Pokemon stood in a line, twitching their surprisingly bulbous tails and holding their claw-like fingers above their brown ears. As their pink bodies faced the sky, all the Clefairies raised their arms into the air. Their index claws began to waggle from side to side in a hypnotic rhythm, each Clefairy chanting their species name as they looked to the sky.

Virtually anyone looking at this scene would have been calmed of all anxieties. Seeing these carefree Pokemon so devoutly worshipping something humans so frequently took for granted, something that was not even present at this time, would have to drag even the most begrudging of admiration from someone. This was a truly peaceful event.

“FAAIIIRR!”

One of the Clefairies was sent soaring into the air by a colossal beam of darkness that burst from under them. The remaining Clefairies scattered in an instant, somehow vanishing from sight as a Torkoal sailed out from the hole the beam had created, crashing down on the ground in an unconscious state.

Several floors below, Stoutland snarled as it faced down Garth and Derak, having easily dispatched the former’s Torkoal. Garth stood in front of Derak, one arm out to the side and holding the boy back.

“Accursed beast,” Garth muttered. “Electivire, rise from the ashes!”

With a simple toss of a Pokeball, Electivire once more faced down Stoutland. The Thunderbolt Pokemon tensed its muscles, knowing of the untamed power its foe possessed.

“What’s with this Stoutland?!” Derak cried. “Why does it keep destroying things?”

“This monster knows only rage, and seeks only destruction,” Garth answered. “As much as I wish otherwise, it must fall here, no matter what. Electivire, let us put our training to use! Use Thunder!”

Electivire launched a Thunder from its antennae just as Stoutland released a blast of its own dark lightning. The two bolts clashed fiercely, but almost immediately, one could tell that Garth’s Electivire was under strain. Sweat trickled down its head, and quick pants escaped through its gritted teeth. Stoutland’s fangs were bared in a ferocious snarl as its sinister Thunder fought Electivire’s, but then something happened. A red glint appeared in Stoutland’s eyes, and with a bone-chilling roar, the shadowy Thunder sliced through Electivire’s and devastated the Thunderbolt Pokemon in a single strike.

“Electivire!” Derak cried.

“Return!” Garth snarled as he withdrew Electivire’s convulsing body back into its Pokeball. “We cannot last much longer! We need to leave, now!”

“But what about Torkoal?!” Derak cried. “We can’t just leave it!”

Garth’s eyes widened as if a realization dawned on him. He clenched his jaw as his fist began to shake.

“No…no, I cannot,” Garth muttered. “Not this time. Bronzong, get us out of here!”

Garth threw a Pokeball that summoned a rather odd-looking Pokemon that resembled a large turquoise bell covered in various markings, some of which resembled a face with two round red eyes and a set of flat teeth. It lowered the vaguely arm-like extensions that emerged from its top, as if expecting the humans to get on. Garth did so, clinging to one of the “arms”.

“Grab on, now!” Garth ordered.

Derak latched onto the other pseudo-arm, and without a second’s hesitation, Bronzong levitated itself up through the hole in Mount Moon, carrying Garth and Derak with it. As they passed Torkoal, one of Garth’s arms released its grip on Bronzong, causing him to slightly slide down Bronzong’s false arm.

“Garth, are you nuts?!” Derak cried.

“You said we could not leave Torkoal behind,” Garth spat back as he used his newly-free arm to retrieve a Pokeball. “I agree. Torkoal, return!”

Torkoal was recalled into its Pokeball, and once the sphere was replaced upon Garth’s belt, he regained his place on his Bronzong. The bell-like Pokemon continued to levitate, now descending Mount Moon at a rapid pace. Back on the mountain, Stoutland burst through the mountain’s summit, planting its four paws on the ground. Through a blood red haze of rage, it saw its quarry escape it. Stoutland threw its head back in a horrifying roar, vowing vengeance.

Stoutland was unaware, however, that it, too, was being watched. Nathaniel Draykus stood at the foot of the mountain, eyeing his quarry through a pair of black binoculars. He smirked as he observed the Big-Hearted Pokemon’s rage.

“Incredible,” Draykus said as he watched Stoutland transform itself into a ball of darkness once again, the less-than-Big-Hearted Pokemon fleeing the scene. “I have never seen such power, such darkness…not even during my past.”

He lowered the binoculars, placing a hand to his chin as a plan began to take shape.

“Soon,” Draykus said, an ambitious glint in his eye, “that power will be mine, and mine alone.”

****

Bronzong glided down into a nearby settlement, identified by a sign saying “CERULEAN CITY—THE FLORAL LAGOON CITY”. Once the large bell drifted to a stop in front of the Pokemon Center, Garth and Derak dismounted it, and having no more need of its services, Garth prepared to return it to its Pokeball.

“Hold on a sec,” Derak said. He pointed his Pokedex at Bronzong, prompting a rolling of Garth’s eyes.

“Bronzong,” the Dex said, “the Bronze Bell Pokemon. Type is Steel and Psychic. Evolved form of Bronzor. Bronzong brought rains by opening portals to other worlds. It was revered by ancient people as the bringer of plentiful harvests.”

“Are you quite finished?” Garth sighed.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Derak began with a sardonic tone already in his voice. “How inconsiderate of me to actually try and learn about Pokemon I haven’t seen before instead of making things as convenient as possible for you. How completely rude of me.”

“Shut up, you little brat,” Garth growled as he recalled his Bronzong. “You should be thankful I have been aiding you on your precious journey.”

“OBJECTION!”

With that unusual battle cry, Nick Spire burst out of the Pokemon Center, dramatically pointing one finger at Derak.

“The journey can’t be precious to him,” Spire said, “because it’s now coming to an end!”

“Who in the world are you?” Garth blinked, taken off-guard by this unusual figure.

“Uncle Nick?” Derak gasped. “What are you…wait, dear old dad sent you to drag me back kicking and screaming, didn’t he?”

“More or less,” Spire answered. “Derak, you have to come back to Orre.”

“Why should I?” Derak asked, narrowing his eyes. “There’s nothing for me there.”

“That’s not true and you know it,” Spire countered. “As temperamental and controlling as he is, your father is a good man, Derak. He cares about you.”

“That’s not true and YOU know it,” Derak retorted somewhat mockingly. “My self-proclaimed ‘dad’ doesn’t care specifically about ME, he cares about the fact that I could keep his business going. When it all comes down to it, Anoch Kadir only cares about money. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“Derak, just think about it,” Spire said. “Why would your dad raise you if he only cared about his business and his money?”

“Because he wanted an heir,” Derak snorted.

“I think there’s more to it than that,” Spire said. “Derak, please, just listen. I’ll see if I can make it so that you can keep all the Pokemon you’ve captured. Just come back with me and—”

“Forget it,” Derak spat. Garth, who had been entirely disinterested in this discussion up until now, turned his head upon hearing the determination in Derak’s words. “I made a promise to someone a few years ago...and I made a promise to myself, too. Like I said, there’s nothing for me in Orre. I’m journeying through Kanto, and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it, family friend or not.”

Derak punctuated his declaration with a steely glare directed at Spire. Garth’s lips cracked into a small smirk. He had to admit, the boy had conviction. Spire, however, only sighed.

“I was afraid you would say that,” he said. “Derak, I’m sorry, but if you won’t listen to reason…I’ll have to use force.”

“Fine by me,” Derak growled. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

Wildfire began glaring at Spire the second it appeared from its Pokeball, interpreting him as a threat to its master. Spire removed a Pokeball of his own from his belt, but just as he was about to throw it, Garth stepped between Spire and Derak.

“You heard the boy,” Garth said. “If even a family friend like you cannot change his mind through words, I doubt you will do so through force.”

“What are you doing?” Spire asked. “Derak’s a runaway, he has to be brought home! Why are you protecting him from what’s right?”

“Right and wrong mean nothing to me,” Garth snarled.

“So why are you helping me?” Derak asked.

“Let us just say I still have need of you,” Garth replied before turning back to Spire. “Now get on with it.”

“Suit yourself,” Spire said, taking a few steps back as he and Garth moved a distance away from each other, leaving Derak on the sidelines of the improvised battlefield. “Infernape, close the case!”

A three-foot tall monkey was released from Spire’s latest Pokeball. Its body was dominantly a brownish orange color, with blue fingers and feet at the ends of its arms. These arms were connected to a furry white torso with two yellow swirling patterns on the front, which were also found on the Pokemon’s wrists, knees, and shoulders. Although it had a long, monkey-like tail, this Pokemon’s most noticeable feature was its furry white head, with red eyebrows and piercing red eyes underneath a massive crown of flame.

“Hmm…Cradily, rise from the ashes!” Garth cried.

In order to combat Spire’s Pokemon, Garth chose a rather odd-looking pale green creature with an egg-shaped head surrounded by short, pink, purple-tipped tentacles. The head itself had a horizontal black line in which two beady yellow eyes rested, and was connected to a stubby base via a long neck. On the Pokemon’s body were yellow markings, including swirls on its forehead and stripes at the base of its neck.

“I’m going to be using this thing a lot, aren’t I?” Derak sighed as he pulled his Pokedex out of his pocket.

“Cradily,” the Dex said upon being pointed at Garth’s Pokemon, “the Barnacle Pokemon. Type is Rock and Grass. Evolved form of Lileep. It lives in the shallows of warm seas. When the tide goes out, it digs up prey from beaches.”

“Infernape,” observed the Pokedex upon acknowledging Spire’s Pokemon, “the Flame Pokemon. Type is Fire and Fighting. Evolved form of Monferno. Infernape is the final evolution of Chimchar. It uses a unique fighting style involving both its hands and feet, and is willing to take on any opponent.”

“Whoa…just look at that thing,” Derak said, already impressed by Infernape. He knelt down to Wildfire’s level. “See that, little guy? You might evolve into a Pokemon like that one day.”

“Chaar,” Wildfire sighed, also in awe of its final evolution. It could tell just by looking at its final evolution that it was quite powerful, and strength like that would inevitably please a trainer immensely.

“Infernape, Flame Burst!” Spire yelled.

Before Garth or his Cradily could react, Infernape opened its mouth and belched out a large fireball that struck Cradily’s head. Although Cradily reeled back, neck bending as far back as it could go, it soon lurched back forward with all the elasticity of a rubber band.

“Tough guy, huh?” Spire growled. “Okay, Infernape, use Close Combat!”

Infernape leapt at Cradily and clasped the Barnacle Pokemon’s neck in one hand. The Flame Pokemon pinned Cradily’s head to the ground, preventing further bounce-backs. With its target in place, Infernape began to viciously beat Cradily’s head with punches and kicks, each blow pounding its target into the pavement.

Derak narrowed his eyes at this perceived mistreatment of Pokemon. Wildfire’s eyes widened at the sheer brutality unfolding before it. Was such behavior really necessary?

“Now, Infernape, finish this with Blast Burn!” Spire yelled.

With one last punch to Cradily’s head, Infernape shot up into the air, its body taking on a blood red aura. The Flame Pokemon then drew back its head and released another fiery attack from its mouth, this one a smaller variant of its earlier Flame Burst. Cradily stood its ground, pulling its head out of the ground and gazing straight into the incoming attack.

When the fireball connected, chaos began.

The fireball exploded into a massive blast of flame, a mushroom cloud rocketing into the air. The place where Cradily once stood was had been set completely ablaze, sparks dancing about and flames hungrily grasping at the air. There was no way anything, even a Pokemon as well-trained as one of Garth’s, could escape that alive.

Wildfire began to whimper as its body began to shake. Infernape landed back at Spire’s side and cast a glare at its base evolutionary form.

That was all that it took.

Screams of terror erupted from Wildfire’s mouth as the Chimchar scuttled back as far as it could, eyes squeezing shut. Once its rear touched the Pokemon Center’s outside wall, Wildfire balled its body into a fetal position, shrieking at the top of its lungs as tears of fear flooded from its eyes.

“W-Wildfire?” Derak stammered, the sudden change in his starter Pokemon’s demeanor taking him entirely off-guard. “H-hey, what’s wrong?”

Derak’s Chimchar did not respond to his query, but only continued to scream and cry.

“Hey…hey, easy, Wildfire!” Derak said, taking his starter in his arms and stroking its head. “It’s…it’s Infernape, isn’t it?”

The Pokemon in question simply scoffed, looking back over to the destruction it had wreaked. Garth’s vision was directed Wildfire, eyes wide as something stirred within his chest. Clenching his fist, Garth shot his most heated glare yet towards Spire and his Infernape.

“You miserable wretch,” Garth snarled. “Cradily, use Earth Power!”

Infernape smirked, thinking that Cradily was already defeated. A surge of golden energy cracked through the ground, however, and released a series of eruptions that barreled towards the Flame Pokemon. Infernape’s eyes bulged as the final eruption blasted it into the air, the Flame Pokemon fainting long before it came back to the ground.

“Wha—that’s…Infernape, return!” Spire cried, withdrawing his fallen Fire-type. “How…how did Cradily last through all that—”

Spire was cut off when Garth snatched his throat in a vice-like grip.

“Do you have any idea what you have done?!” Garth growled. “See for yourself!”

He pointed Spire’s head at Derak, who was still attempting to comfort Wildfire. Derak was stroking his Chimchar’s head, having now reduced the screams to whimpers. The still-present tears, however, drove a stake of guilt into Spire’s heart.

“I…I never—” Spire choked.

“Shut up,” Derak growled. “I thought you were the closest thing I had to a friend back in Orre. But I guess I was wrong. I don’t know what Garth’s going to do to you, but I’m pretty sure that you deserve every bit of it.”

“Indeed you do,” Garth rasped, his grip on Spire’s throat tightening.

Spire’s hands latched onto Garth’s arm, his attempts to free himself failing miserably. He closed his eyes, awaiting the end. But it never came. Garth instead released his grip, allowing Spire to collapse onto the concrete. As the lawyer-detective regained his ability to breathe, Garth scowled down at him.

“A selfish scumbag like you is not worth the effort,” Garth spat. “Get out of my sight, you filthy maggot.”

Stumbling about in a panic, Spire clambered away from the scene, fleeing the city itself. Garth sighed and pointed a Pokeball at the now somewhat-diminished fire, dispersing the remaining flames as he silently recalled Cradily.

“Is Chimchar all right?” Garth asked Derak.

“I think he’ll be fine in a little while,” Derak said, still stroking Wildfire. “It’s going to be okay. You don’t have to evolve if you don’t want to, so you won’t be turning into a monster like that Infernape.”

“Ch…char?” Wildfire choked, looking at Derak with confusion. He was a trainer, was he not? Why would he not force his Pokemon to evolve?

“You’ll be safe in your Pokeball, Wildfire. Return,” Derak said, recalling his Chimchar. “Garth, I…I never thought I’d say this, but I guess I owe you one. Thanks, for...you know.”

Garth merely grunted with a nod. He then strode inside the Pokemon Center, leaving Derak outside. The boy looked down at his orange Pokeball for a moment.

Making Wildfire evolve would make him stronger, Derak thought, but if he goes completely insane…yeah, definitely not worth it.

He clipped Wildfire’s Pokeball back onto his belt and entered the Pokemon Center.

****

“Here you are, sir!” the Cerulean City Nurse Joy chirped as she handed Garth a single Pokeball. “Your Cradily is good as new!”

Garth wordlessly took Cradily’s Pokeball and turned to Derak, who was currently slouching in a lobby chair. Evening had set while they had waited for Cradily to be healed, and the fading orange sunlight that poured through the Center’s windows exemplified this.

“So, Cradily’s okay, then?” Derak asked. “Even after all the insanity Infernape pulled off?”

“Yes, it is,” Garth replied. “A Cradily’s strength lies in its defensive capabilities and its stamina. Even an offensively-based Pokemon such as Infernape will not fell a Cradily so easily.”

“Good to know,” Derak said, rising out of his seat and heading for the door. “Well, I’m off.”

“Hold it,” Garth said. “Do you honestly think that your current team has any chance against a Water-type Gym?”

“I was planning on using Brute for the most part,” Derak shrugged.

“Your Machop is not so strong as to be able to defeat multiple Gym Leader-trained Pokemon,” Garth countered. “You wanted Chimchar to learn Thunderpunch, correct?”

“Yeah, so?” Derak replied.

“So follow me,” Garth said. “We are going to teach Chimchar how to use Thunderpunch.”

“I thought you weren’t interested in my Gym battles,” Derak said as he followed Garth out into the streets of Cerulean City.

“I am not,” Garth replied.

“So…why are you helping me with one, exactly?” Derak asked.

“My reasons are my own,” Garth grunted, preparing a Pokeball. “Now, let us begin. Electivire, come out!”

“Wildfire, you too,” Derak said dully, opening his orange Pokeball rather than throwing it.

Once both Pokemon appeared, Wildfire’s eyes trailed upward to find Electivire towering over it. The Chimchar bared its teeth, remembering its encounter with the Thunderbolt Pokemon back at Professor Oak’s lab. Electivire, however, gave a relatively-friendly grunt to the small Fire-type.

“Chimchar,” Garth said to the small Pokemon.

“His name’s Wildfire, he who hath no ears,” Derak snapped.

“We are going to teach you how to use the move Thunderpunch,” Garth continued, blatantly ignoring Derak’s corrective sentence. “Electivire will demonstrate the move.”

“On what?” Derak asked.

“On our sparring partner,” Garth replied, holding up a second Pokeball. “Dewgong, rise from the ashes!”

The final Pokemon in Garth’s party of six was a white, sea lion-like Pokemon with a somewhat banana-shaped body. It had two small fins on its sides as well as a larger fin at the end of its tail, and its face possessed friendly black eyes, small tusks protruding from its mouth, and a small horn emerging from the top of its head.

“Dewgong,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Sea Lion Pokemon. Type is Water and Ice. Evolved form of Seel. In the winter, the pure white coat covering Dewgong’s body obscures it from predators.”

“So, our sparring partner is a Water-type?” Derak asked. “Makes sense, I suppose.”

“Then we will begin,” Garth began. “Electivire, Thunderpunch! Dewgong, use Protect!”

Much like Timmy’s Dusknoir had done against Aiden’s Cyndaquil, Electivire drew back one fist, charging it with electrical power. Just as it was about to bring its Thunderpunch down on Dewgong, however, the Sea Lion Pokemon formed a green bubble around itself, which effectively blocked the Thunderpunch.

“Good, both of you,” Garth said, and his Pokemon stood down. “Now, Chimchar, it is your turn.”

“You know what? I’m not going to bother correcting someone who doesn’t bother to listen,” Derak sighed. “Anyway…Wildfire, try to do what Electivire did, okay? Try and use Thunderpunch.”

“Char,” Wildfire nodded. It clenched its right hand into a fist and concentrated. Feeling something in its fist, it lunged for Dewgong and brought its fist forward…

…only to have it lightly tap Dewgong’s stomach as absolutely nothing special happened.

“Okay, so that could have gone better,” Derak remarked. “No big deal. Just try again.”

“Cha…?” Wildfire blinked at its trainers nonchalant attitude towards its failure. It shook its thoughts out of its head, however, and strengthened its resolve. “Chim-char!”

It turned back to Dewgong and swung its fist forward again, but as before, Wildfire’s tiny fist barely bruised Dewgong’s blubbery body.

“Gong,” Dewgong said compassionately, giving Wildfire a light nudge of encouragement with its fin. It then used that same fin to gesture to its chest. “Dew, dewgong.”

“Viirre,” Electivire sighed, rolling its eyes at this display of sentiment.

“Dewgong!” Dewgong snapped at its comrade, then turned back to Wildfire. “Gong, gong.”

“What are they doing?” Garth sighed. He made to intervene, but Derak cast an arm in his way.

“Hold on, let them talk it out,” Derak said. “They might be on to something.”

“Hmph,” Garth grunted, turning his gaze back to the Pokemon.

“Dew, dew,” Dewgong said, again gesturing to its front.

Wildfire took a breath and closed its eyes. It held up its fist, and soon, that fist began to emit sparks. Eventually, crackling electricity began to dance around Wildfire’s fist, and with a mighty swing, a Thunderpunch landed on Dewgong’s chest. The Sea Lion Pokemon recoiled somewhat, but soon recovered and gave Wildfire an encouraging smile.

“Gong, dewgong!” Dewgong said.

“Char?” Wildfire blinked. It looked down at its fist, which lost its remaining traces of electrical power. “Chim-char.”

“Wildfire, that’s awesome!” Derak cried, grinning from ear to ear. “You just used Thunderpunch!”

“Yes, it used the move,” Garth said, “but it still needs to master it.”

“He just used it, didn’t he?” Derak asked. “Doesn’t that mean he’s mastered it?”

“If Chimchar can execute a flawless Thunderpunch again, then yes,” Garth said. “Chimchar, use Thunderpunch again.”

Despite not actually belonging to Garth, Wildfire nonetheless nodded and prepared to execute the order. It drew back its fist, poured its focus into that same fist, and then thrust it forward. This time, however, only a small sparkle of electricity emanated from its hand.

“Char?” Wildfire blinked, confused at this development.

“As I said, you have yet to master the attack until you can execute it multiple times without incident,” Garth said. “We will keep doing this until—”

A beam of red light suddenly struck Wildfire, sucking the Chimp Pokemon back into its orange Pokeball. Derak stuck the ball back onto his belt and wordlessly made to enter the Pokemon Center.

“What are you doing?!” Garth snapped, whirling on Derak. “We are not finished training!”

Derak stopped just before he entered the Center.

“In case you haven’t noticed, it’s kinda getting late,” Derak said. “Wildfire and I need some rest if we’re going to take on the Gym tomorrow.”

“And just how are you going to succeed in the battle unless Chimchar knows Thunderpunch?” Garth sneered.

“Eh, we’ll wing it,” Derak shrugged. “Night, Bipolar Man.”

With that last nickname, Derak strode into the Pokemon Center. Dewgong tried its best to hide a chuckle, earning a heated glare from Electivire. Garth only growled to himself.

“I hate stubborn children,” he muttered.

*****

The Great Butler
15th July 2012, 9:45 AM
Personally, I don't really see what's so wrong with Timmy Grimm. I found his story fairly interesting, and (as you may be able to figure out) it even played a role in my inspiration for Derak (for trivia's sake, another part of said inspiration was reading Anabel's Dream: The Road to XD^3. XD).

Really? Hilariously enough, I almost forgot that oneshot even existed. What part exactly was inspiration to you?


Chapter 8: Blazing Terror




Mount Moon was reputed as a mysterious yet wonderful place. Many scientists came here, seeking to learn the secrets of a Pokemon called “Clefairy”. It was said on certain nights, Clefairies would dance at the summit of Mount Moon in a sort of prayer to the moon itself. No one knew the true nature of this dance, only that if an observer had the right timing, they could plunder a small stone that was capable of evolving a Clefairy into a stronger Pokemon called “Clefable”.

Nice bit of continuity with the games. I always did like that event in GSC/HGSS.


Despite being in the middle of the day, a group of Clefairies gathered atop Mount Moon. Each one of the small, vaguely star-shaped Pokemon stood in a line, twitching their surprisingly bulbous tails and holding their claw-like fingers above their brown ears. As their pink bodies faced the sky, all the Clefairies raised their arms into the air. Their index claws began to waggle from side to side in a hypnotic rhythm, each Clefairy chanting their species name as they looked to the sky.

Virtually anyone looking at this scene would have been calmed of all anxieties. Seeing these carefree Pokemon so devoutly worshipping something humans so frequently took for granted, something that was not even present at this time, would have to drag even the most begrudging of admiration from someone. This was a truly peaceful event.

“FAAIIIRR!”

One of the Clefairies was sent soaring into the air by a colossal beam of darkness that burst from under them. The remaining Clefairies scattered in an instant, somehow vanishing from sight as a Torkoal sailed out from the hole the beam had created, crashing down on the ground in an unconscious state.

Several floors below, Stoutland snarled as it faced down Garth and Derak, having easily dispatched the former’s Torkoal. Garth stood in front of Derak, one arm out to the side and holding the boy back.

I have to say, starting the chapter by having the fight with Stoutland already going on is certainly different. It felt a little abrupt at first, but once I got used to it, I think I have to say it was a good choice.


“Accursed beast,” Garth muttered. “Electivire, rise from the ashes!”

With a simple toss of a Pokeball, Electivire once more faced down Stoutland. The Thunderbolt Pokemon tensed its muscles, knowing of the untamed power its foe possessed.

“What’s with this Stoutland?!” Derak cried. “Why does it keep destroying things?”

“This monster knows only rage, and seeks only destruction,” Garth answered. “As much as I wish otherwise, it must fall here, no matter what. Electivire, let us put our training to use! Use Thunder!”

Electivire launched a Thunder from its antennae just as Stoutland released a blast of its own dark lightning. The two bolts clashed fiercely, but almost immediately, one could tell that Garth’s Electivire was under strain. Sweat trickled down its head, and quick pants escaped through its gritted teeth. Stoutland’s fangs were bared in a ferocious snarl as its sinister Thunder fought Electivire’s, but then something happened. A red glint appeared in Stoutland’s eyes, and with a bone-chilling roar, the shadowy Thunder sliced through Electivire’s and devastated the Thunderbolt Pokemon in a single strike.

Excellent description. It really got me on the edge of my seat, because this was quite an exciting scene.


“Electivire!” Derak cried.

“Return!” Garth snarled as he withdrew Electivire’s convulsing body back into its Pokeball. “We cannot last much longer! We need to leave, now!”

“But what about Torkoal?!” Derak cried. “We can’t just leave it!”

Garth’s eyes widened as if a realization dawned on him. He clenched his jaw as his fist began to shake.

“No…no, I cannot,” Garth muttered. “Not this time. Bronzong, get us out of here!”

Is that a hint about Garth's backstory I see? I'm certainly intrigued if so.


Garth threw a Pokeball that summoned a rather odd-looking Pokemon that resembled a large turquoise bell covered in various markings, some of which resembled a face with two round red eyes and a set of flat teeth. It lowered the vaguely arm-like extensions that emerged from its top, as if expecting the humans to get on. Garth did so, clinging to one of the “arms”.

“Grab on, now!” Garth ordered.

Derak latched onto the other pseudo-arm, and without a second’s hesitation, Bronzong levitated itself up through the hole in Mount Moon, carrying Garth and Derak with it. As they passed Torkoal, one of Garth’s arms released its grip on Bronzong, causing him to slightly slide down Bronzong’s false arm.

“Garth, are you nuts?!” Derak cried.

“You said we could not leave Torkoal behind,” Garth spat back as he used his newly-free arm to retrieve a Pokeball. “I agree. Torkoal, return!”

Okay, Garth is pretty badass. That move just scored him major points in my book.


Torkoal was recalled into its Pokeball, and once the sphere was replaced upon Garth’s belt, he regained his place on his Bronzong. The bell-like Pokemon continued to levitate, now descending Mount Moon at a rapid pace. Back on the mountain, Stoutland burst through the mountain’s summit, planting its four paws on the ground. Through a blood red haze of rage, it saw its quarry escape it. Stoutland threw its head back in a horrifying roar, vowing vengeance.

Whoa, intense.


Stoutland was unaware, however, that it, too, was being watched. Nathaniel Draykus stood at the foot of the mountain, eyeing his quarry through a pair of black binoculars. He smirked as he observed the Big-Hearted Pokemon’s rage.

What the?! When did he get here?

Pleasant surprise for me, not-so-pleasant surprise for everyone that's about to have the misfortune of encountering him.


“Incredible,” Draykus said as he watched Stoutland transform itself into a ball of darkness once again, the less-than-Big-Hearted Pokemon fleeing the scene. “I have never seen such power, such darkness…not even during my past.”

Past? Now you've really got me wondering about him.


He lowered the binoculars, placing a hand to his chin as a plan began to take shape.

“Soon,” Draykus said, an ambitious glint in his eye, “that power will be mine, and mine alone.”

So he isn't actually behind Stoutland, huh? That surprises me, actually.


Bronzong glided down into a nearby settlement, identified by a sign saying “CERULEAN CITY—THE FLORAL LAGOON CITY”. Once the large bell drifted to a stop in front of the Pokemon Center, Garth and Derak dismounted it, and having no more need of its services, Garth prepared to return it to its Pokeball.

“Hold on a sec,” Derak said. He pointed his Pokedex at Bronzong, prompting a rolling of Garth’s eyes.

Just putting action to everything we're thinking, Garth.


“Are you quite finished?” Garth sighed.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Derak began with a sardonic tone already in his voice. “How inconsiderate of me to actually try and learn about Pokemon I haven’t seen before instead of making things as convenient as possible for you. How completely rude of me.”

“Shut up, you little brat,” Garth growled as he recalled his Bronzong. “You should be thankful I have been aiding you on your precious journey.”

“OBJECTION!”

With that unusual battle cry, Nick Spire burst out of the Pokemon Center, dramatically pointing one finger at Derak.

HAHAHA WHAT

WHY DIDN'T I SEE THIS COMING


“The journey can’t be precious to him,” Spire said, “because it’s now coming to an end!”

“Who in the world are you?” Garth blinked, taken off-guard by this unusual figure.

“Uncle Nick?” Derak gasped. “What are you…wait, dear old dad sent you to drag me back kicking and screaming, didn’t he?”

“More or less,” Spire answered. “Derak, you have to come back to Orre.”

“Why should I?” Derak asked, narrowing his eyes. “There’s nothing for me there.”

“That’s not true and you know it,” Spire countered. “As temperamental and controlling as he is, your father is a good man, Derak. He cares about you.”

“That’s not true and YOU know it,” Derak retorted somewhat mockingly. “My self-proclaimed ‘dad’ doesn’t care specifically about ME, he cares about the fact that I could keep his business going. When it all comes down to it, Anoch Kadir only cares about money. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“Derak, just think about it,” Spire said. “Why would your dad raise you if he only cared about his business and his money?”

“Because he wanted an heir,” Derak snorted.

I find it a little odd that this kind of storyline is coming up in a story that doesn't feature Silver, who we know was intended to just be an heir to his father.



Wildfire began glaring at Spire the second it appeared from its Pokeball, interpreting him as a threat to its master. Spire removed a Pokeball of his own from his belt, but just as he was about to throw it, Garth stepped between Spire and Derak.

“You heard the boy,” Garth said. “If even a family friend like you cannot change his mind through words, I doubt you will do so through force.”

“What are you doing?” Spire asked. “Derak’s a runaway, he has to be brought home! Why are you protecting him from what’s right?”

“Right and wrong mean nothing to me,” Garth snarled.

Gee, I would never have guessed that, Garth. /runs


“So why are you helping me?” Derak asked.

“Let us just say I still have need of you,” Garth replied before turning back to Spire. “Now get on with it.”

“Suit yourself,” Spire said, taking a few steps back as he and Garth moved a distance away from each other, leaving Derak on the sidelines of the improvised battlefield. “Infernape, close the case!”

Hmm, looks like we just missed a Chimchar VS. Infernape fight. I wonder how that would have gone...


“Hmm…Cradily, rise from the ashes!” Garth cried.

Well then, there's a Pokemon you don't see every day.


In order to combat Spire’s Pokemon, Garth chose a rather odd-looking pale green creature with an egg-shaped head surrounded by short, pink, purple-tipped tentacles. The head itself had a horizontal black line in which two beady yellow eyes rested, and was connected to a stubby base via a long neck. On the Pokemon’s body were yellow markings, including swirls on its forehead and stripes at the base of its neck.

“I’m going to be using this thing a lot, aren’t I?” Derak sighed as he pulled his Pokedex out of his pocket.

“Cradily,” the Dex said upon being pointed at Garth’s Pokemon, “the Barnacle Pokemon. Type is Rock and Grass. Evolved form of Lileep. It lives in the shallows of warm seas. When the tide goes out, it digs up prey from beaches.”

“Infernape,” observed the Pokedex upon acknowledging Spire’s Pokemon, “the Flame Pokemon. Type is Fire and Fighting. Evolved form of Monferno. Infernape is the final evolution of Chimchar. It uses a unique fighting style involving both its hands and feet, and is willing to take on any opponent.”

“Whoa…just look at that thing,” Derak said, already impressed by Infernape. He knelt down to Wildfire’s level. “See that, little guy? You might evolve into a Pokemon like that one day.”

“Chaar,” Wildfire sighed, also in awe of its final evolution. It could tell just by looking at its final evolution that it was quite powerful, and strength like that would inevitably please a trainer immensely.

I like that you had Wildfire show emotion here. Showing it at this moment fits in perfectly with his established character.


“Infernape, Flame Burst!” Spire yelled.

Before Garth or his Cradily could react, Infernape opened its mouth and belched out a large fireball that struck Cradily’s head. Although Cradily reeled back, neck bending as far back as it could go, it soon lurched back forward with all the elasticity of a rubber band.

“Tough guy, huh?” Spire growled. “Okay, Infernape, use Close Combat!”

Infernape leapt at Cradily and clasped the Barnacle Pokemon’s neck in one hand. The Flame Pokemon pinned Cradily’s head to the ground, preventing further bounce-backs. With its target in place, Infernape began to viciously beat Cradily’s head with punches and kicks, each blow pounding its target into the pavement.

Derak narrowed his eyes at this perceived mistreatment of Pokemon. Wildfire’s eyes widened at the sheer brutality unfolding before it. Was such behavior really necessary?

I almost wonder if Garth is letting this happen to test Spire.


“Now, Infernape, finish this with Blast Burn!” Spire yelled.

With one last punch to Cradily’s head, Infernape shot up into the air, its body taking on a blood red aura. The Flame Pokemon then drew back its head and released another fiery attack from its mouth, this one a smaller variant of its earlier Flame Burst. Cradily stood its ground, pulling its head out of the ground and gazing straight into the incoming attack.

When the fireball connected, chaos began.

The fireball exploded into a massive blast of flame, a mushroom cloud rocketing into the air. The place where Cradily once stood was had been set completely ablaze, sparks dancing about and flames hungrily grasping at the air. There was no way anything, even a Pokemon as well-trained as one of Garth’s, could escape that alive.

Wildfire began to whimper as its body began to shake. Infernape landed back at Spire’s side and cast a glare at its base evolutionary form.

That was all that it took.

Screams of terror erupted from Wildfire’s mouth as the Chimchar scuttled back as far as it could, eyes squeezing shut. Once its rear touched the Pokemon Center’s outside wall, Wildfire balled its body into a fetal position, shrieking at the top of its lungs as tears of fear flooded from its eyes.

“W-Wildfire?” Derak stammered, the sudden change in his starter Pokemon’s demeanor taking him entirely off-guard. “H-hey, what’s wrong?”

Derak’s Chimchar did not respond to his query, but only continued to scream and cry.

What the hell is going on? I mean that in a good way - things just went completely south, and I think that's exactly what you were going for.


“Hey…hey, easy, Wildfire!” Derak said, taking his starter in his arms and stroking its head. “It’s…it’s Infernape, isn’t it?”

The Pokemon in question simply scoffed, looking back over to the destruction it had wreaked. Garth’s vision was directed Wildfire, eyes wide as something stirred within his chest. Clenching his fist, Garth shot his most heated glare yet towards Spire and his Infernape.

“You miserable wretch,” Garth snarled. “Cradily, use Earth Power!”

Infernape smirked, thinking that Cradily was already defeated. A surge of golden energy cracked through the ground, however, and released a series of eruptions that barreled towards the Flame Pokemon. Infernape’s eyes bulged as the final eruption blasted it into the air, the Flame Pokemon fainting long before it came back to the ground.

“Wha—that’s…Infernape, return!” Spire cried, withdrawing his fallen Fire-type. “How…how did Cradily last through all that—”

Spire was cut off when Garth snatched his throat in a vice-like grip.

“Do you have any idea what you have done?!” Garth growled. “See for yourself!”

He pointed Spire’s head at Derak, who was still attempting to comfort Wildfire. Derak was stroking his Chimchar’s head, having now reduced the screams to whimpers. The still-present tears, however, drove a stake of guilt into Spire’s heart.

“I…I never—” Spire choked.

“Shut up,” Derak growled. “I thought you were the closest thing I had to a friend back in Orre. But I guess I was wrong. I don’t know what Garth’s going to do to you, but I’m pretty sure that you deserve every bit of it.”

Garth was testing him, wasn't he? It just wasn't in the way I thought... this was pretty rough.

The training scene was about what I expected it would be, and you wrote it well. I liked some of the touches you put on, such as Dewgong giving Wildfire advice, so the scene had more character than it typically would.

I think this was one of the best chapters so far. There was some pretty intense action, hints at larger plot threads and great character development all around - I don't think I could ask for more. You gave me everything I could have wanted in this chapter.

Morpher01
23rd July 2012, 4:04 AM
The Great Butler:
Really? Hilariously enough, I almost forgot that oneshot even existed. What part exactly was inspiration to you?

The segment where Olivia acquired a Totodile. Which, as we know, is the farthest thing from what actually happened. Still, that part (along with the desire for a protagonistic trainer who was actually NOT everyone's best friend) played a role in the creation of Derak.

Good times.


Okay, Garth is pretty badass. That move just scored him major points in my book.

He does have his moments, doesn't he? XD


So he isn't actually behind Stoutland, huh? That surprises me, actually.

If you're surprised now, you're in for quite a shock later on...


Hmm, looks like we just missed a Chimchar VS. Infernape fight. I wonder how that would have gone...

Horrendously. For Derak, at least. XD

Glad you enjoyed the overall chapter. Now...it's time for the next one.



Chapter 9: Cerulean Gym



The next morning, Derak stepped out of the Pokemon Center, oblivious to the blissful day that surrounded him. Not even passing trainers gained his notice, Derak instead rotating his shoulder in an attempt to loosen it.

“Ugh,” he groaned. “That’s one night I’m never getting back…stupid Teachy TV show.”

He removed his two Pokeballs from his belt, gazing down at them.

“Hope you guys are ready,” he said. “Gym battle number two is coming up.”

Derak strode off into the distance, trying to play out the Gym battle in his mind. Back in the Pokemon Center, however, Garth remained behind. The cloaked man was at a table, taking a swig from his canteen. The second it left his lips, he slammed it on the table with a ragged sigh.

“Five minutes,” he said. “I give it five minutes before that brat is back here whining about how he lost his battle before it even began.”

****

The Gym itself was a large building with a yellow dome atop it. Its grand design was clearly an indicator of the building’s importance, as it was evidently built with the ability to hold a large crowd. With a shrug, Derak entered, and found himself in a cavernous room lined with enough seats to fill a football field. The center of the room was the apparent arena, a pool dotted with various square platforms in random places.

Movement appeared just above Derak’s vision, and he looked up to see a young red-haired woman in a white swimsuit launch herself from a diving board. She dove into the water like a bullet, and moments later, she burst out of the water directly in front of Derak, splashing him in the process.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” the young woman said. “I didn’t know you were there.”

“Much as I wish otherwise, I’m not exactly hard to ignore,” Derak sighed, wringing out his brightly colored amalgam of an outfit. “Name’s Derak. This is the Gym, right?”

“Right,” the woman nodded, her neck-length red hair dripping even more water as a consequence. “My name’s Misty. I’m the Cerulean City Gym Leader.”

“Uh-huh,” Derak said. “Mind if we just get on with this?”

“Not much for small talk, are you?” Misty asked. “Oh, well, that’s fine by me.”

Misty took a place by one side of the arena, and Derak took his place at the opposite side. The two trainers stared each other down, waiting for the chance to begin…

…except that the referee was not present.

“Ugh, where are they now?!” Misty sighed with immense irritation.

“And ‘they’ are…?” Derak asked.

“My sisters!” Misty replied. “One of them was supposed to referee my Gym battles, but they’re all such valley girls that they can’t focus on one thing for more than ten seconds! This is the fifth time, too, and…”

My ears aren’t going to survive this experience, are they? Derak thought with a sigh. He then turned around and walked to the front door.

“Uh…hey, where are you going?” Misty asked, stopping her rant long enough to see Derak leaving.

“Not much point in hanging around here right now,” Derak said, “so I figured I might as well get some last-minute training in.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” Misty nodded. “Go ahead.”

Upon Derak’s departure, however, Misty frowned with concern.

Most trainers in this situation would try to learn about who they’re battling, Misty thought. Why is this one so determined to not socialize?
****

“Okay, Wildfire, use Thunderpunch!” Derak ordered.

Wildfire threw its fist forward, but only a few sparks fell off of its hand. The Chimchar looked down at its fist in confusion, as if expecting an answer from it. It even looked to the passing people in the streets of Cerulean City, seemingly hoping for an answer for one of them.

“All right, what’s the problem?” Derak sighed, placing a hand to his head. “You pulled it off back when you were training with Garth’s Dewgong, so what’s the deal here?”

Although it did not directly respond to Derak’s question, Wildfire steeled its gaze and repeatedly made punching motions at the air, each time attempting to replicate its success the previous day. Faster and faster its fists went, tearing the air apart with the speed of its strikes. Its teeth were bared into a snarl, and the effort the small Fire-type exerted was so great that beads of sweat began to trickle down its head.

“W-whoa, whoa, Wildfire, easy!” Derak exclaimed, grabbing Wildfire’s arms in an attempt to stop the young Chimchar’s intense efforts. “Calm down! You’re not going to master Thunderpunch by wearing yourself out like that!”

“Ch-char?” Wildfire sputtered, eyes going wide. Why did its trainer care about it so much? It was only a tool of war…wasn’t it?

“Look, stuff like winning or losing doesn’t really matter in the end,” Derak said, rubbing his starter’s head. “If we win, great. If we lose, we just try again. No big deal. That’s just how life is.”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire said dully.

“Let’s just give it our best shot and hope for the best, okay?” Derak said. “No more overkill training, all right?”

“Char,” Wildfire nodded mechanically. Derak only sighed.

“What am I going to do with you…?” he said.

“Hey! Derak!” cried Misty, who had apparently donned a pale blue jacket as she left her Cerulean Gym. “One of my sisters is finally back, so let’s battle!”

“Whatever,” Derak sighed, recalling Wildfire.

****

“This will, like, be a two-on-two Pokemon battle,” an attractive woman with navy blue hair announced. “This battle is, like, between Derak from Orre and, like, my little sister Misty. I, like, have a date soon, so let’s just get this done with!”

“You really need her for this?” Derak asked, gesturing to Misty’s elder sister. “I mean, really? I can, LIKE, barely understand a thing she says. Because she, LIKE, has no idea how people actually talk. She’s, LIKE, really annoying.”

“You might be going a little overboard there,” Misty sighed, “but you have a point.”

“Hey!” Misty’s sister snapped. “I’m, like, one of the big stars in the shows we put on here!”

“And I care because…?” Derak asked. “You know what, don’t answer. Hearing you murder language is too painful to describe.”

Ignoring the baleful glare Misty’s sister sent him, Derak threw a Pokeball into the air.

“Brute, let’s go!” Derak cried.

“A Machop, huh?” Misty remarked as Brute appeared on one of the pool’s platforms. “Okay, then. Staryu, go!”

Misty’s first Pokemon was a creature resembling a brown five-pointed star with a crimson orb in the center of its body. The gem was surrounded by a golden armor that appeared to be designed for protection. The armor appeared to wrap around one of its legs, which happened to be one of the two legs the Pokemon stood on when it appeared atop a platform of its own.

“Hiyaah!” Staryu grunted, despite having no visible mouth of any kind.

“Staryu,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Starshape Pokemon. Type is Water. If its body is torn, it can grow back as long as its red core remains. At midnight, the core glows.”

“Why do I get the feeling that I’m going to have nightmares tonight?” Derak groaned as the thought of regenerating dismembered limbs crept into his mind.

“You might want to focus on the battle before you wonder about later!” Misty cried. “Staryu, start off with Bubblebeam!”

“Brute, Vacuum Wave!” Deark yelled.

Staryu pointed its uppermost leg forward, firing a string of blue orbs that barreled towards Brute. The Superpower Pokemon, however, released a Vacuum Wave that quickly tore through the Bubblebeam and knocked Staryu off of its platform and into the water.

“That’s a strong Machop!” Misty gasped. “Okay, Staryu, use Rapid Spin!”

A dark shape began to rush through the water, and soon Staryu erupted from the pool, resembling a ninja’s throwing star as it hurtled towards Brute. Derak’s Machop, however, grabbed one of Staryu’s legs before the Starshape Pokemon could strike its blow.

“Nice one, Brute!” Derak smiled. “Okay, give it a Vital Throw!”

“Quick, Staryu, use Thunderbolt!” Misty ordered.

Brute drew its arms back, preparing to throw Staryu, but before it could do so, a surge of lightning coursed through the Superpower Pokemon’s body. As the source of the lightning, Staryu remained unharmed, and once Brute let go of the Water-type, it bounced back into the water.

“Oh, great,” Derak groaned. “Brute, use…uh…I don’t know, shoot a Vacuum Wave into the water or something!”

Brute paused for a moment, forming a ball of wind between its hands. Rather than fire wildly as its panicking trainer most likely expected, Brute’s eyes gazed about the water, searching for something indicating Staryu. Movement appeared in the corner of its eye, and Brute hurled its Vacuum Wave in that direction. Although the blast of wind ripped through the water, it failed to hit its target. Instead, Staryu spun out of the water and landed on a platform, clearly unharmed.

“Let’s finish this up, Staryu!” Misty cried. “Use Water Gun!”

Staryu again pointed its uppermost leg at Brute, but instead of a string of bubbles, the Starshape Pokemon fired a jet of water. Brute ducked under the blow, looking to its trainer for what to do next. As it did so, however, Staryu prepared another Water Gun.

“Uh…crap! Come on, come on, what do I do?” Derak muttered, putting his fingers to his head as if it would aid his racing mind. “Wait a sec, I’ve got it! Brute, use Vacuum Wave to shoot yourself into the air!”

Brute smirked, evidently agreeing with this plan. It thrust its hands beneath it, creating a blast of wind that catapulted the Superpower Pokemon into the air. As the Water Gun sailed harmlessly beneath it, Brute was now in the ideal position of attack.

“Okay, we did it! Now finish this with Poison Jab!” Derak ordered.

Brute’s fist began to glow purple as it barreled down on Staryu, slamming the energized fist into the Starshape Pokemon’s core. The sheer force of the impact resulted in a web of cracks appearing in the platform, with an unconscious Staryu in the center.

“Staryu is, like, unable to battle!” Misty’s sister declared. “The winners are, like, Derak and his Machop!”

“Nice job, Brute,” Derak smiled. Brute smiled as well, giving its trainer the thumbs-up sign.

“You, too, Staryu,” Misty added as she recalled her Staryu. “Your Machop’s really strong, Derak. I’m impressed.”

“Whatever,” Derak sighed, the thrill of victory vanishing the very second Misty opened her mouth. “I’m not doing this to get people to like me.”

“Oh…well, uh…that’s fine,” Misty nodded slowly, though Derak’s abnormal motivations caught her off-guard. “Everyone has their own reasons for becoming Pokemon trainers. Anyway, I think it’s time I stopped holding back. Starmie, let’s…huh?!”

Misty’s sudden exclamation was caused by a Pokeball within her jacket somehow opening by itself. The Pokemon that emerged appeared to be a portly yellow duck with tan feet matched with a tan bill, sporting three black hairs on its head and stubby arms ending in small claws. Its round head, which the Pokemon appeared to be holding on to, played host to two vacant eyes, which stared blankly into space.

“PSYDUCK!?” Misty shrieked.

“Psyduck,” the duck blurted, tilting its head to one side.

“Psyduck?” Derak asked his Pokedex.

“Psyduck,” the Dex replied, “the Duck Pokemon. Type is Water. Overwhelmed by enigmatic abilities, Psyduck suffers a constant headache. It sometimes uses mysterious powers.”

“UGH!” Misty grunted. “Psyduck, I thought we worked on this! You’re not supposed to come out of your Pokeball by yourself anymore!”

“Duck,” Psyduck blurted again, tilting its head in the opposite direction.

“What am I going to do with you?” Misty sighed. “Well, since a Gym Leader can’t switch Pokemon, I guess I’m stuck with Psyduck. Okay, Psyduck, use Water Gun!”

Psyduck, however, merely blinked and tilted its head again.

“Psyyy…?” Psyduck droned.

“Oh, come on!” Misty cried. “You know that move!”

“Uh…oh…kay,” Derak said slowly. Even Brute was staring at Psyduck, scratching its head in an attempt to puzzle out the situation. “So…what do we do now?”

“Just make your move,” Misty sighed. “Psyduck can be such a pain to deal with sometimes.”

“Er…all right, then,” Derak said. “Brute, use Karate Chop!”

With a shrug, Brute leapt into the air, bringing down its hand onto Psyduck’s head in a vertical chop. Psyduck’s eyes squeezed shut from the pain, and when Brute withdrew its hand, the Duck Pokemon stumbled about for a moment.

And then a strange blue glow came from Psyduck’s eyes.

Brute became surrounded by a blue aura, and as if thrown by an invisible hand, the Superpower Pokemon was sent flying back into the wall of the Gym. Brute peeled off of the wall and crashed into the floor with some force, leaving a small crater behind, before being brought forward fast enough to knock Derak into the water. The runaway trainer gasped for breath as he grabbed for a platform, which happened to be the same one upon which Psyduck stood.

The Duck Pokemon paid Derak no mind as it continued to throw Brute through the air, waving its arms as Derak’s Machop was cast about the arena in the corresponding direction. Eventually, Brute plummeted into the floor for a final time, creating a second crater. Derak’s jaw dropped for a moment, and after he recovered, he turned his gaze to Psyduck.

“You are the most evil thing on this planet,” he said flatly.

“Duucck…?” Psyduck droned, the glow having faded from its eyes and its normal demeanor having returned.

“Derak, are you okay?” Misty asked. “Sorry, sometimes I forget that Psyduck can do that if you hit it in the head.”

“Thanks, I hadn’t figured that out,” Derak spat as he swam back to his side of the arena. After recalling Brute, he wrung out his shirt again before picking Wildfire’s Pokeball off his belt. “Not much other choice, so…Wildfire, let’s go!”

“A Chimchar?” Misty asked as Wildfire materialized. “Are you sure that’s a good choice?”

“He’s my only other Pokemon,” Derak replied with a shrug. “So sue me.”

“Okay, if you say so,” Misty said. “Psyduck, use Tail Whip!”

This time, Psyduck responded to Misty’s command. It turned around and began to rhythmically shake its stubby tail at Wildfire while simultaneously walking backwards. Unfortunately, due to the small size of the platform, Psyduck soon fell off and into the water. Despite being a Water-type, Psyduck did not swim. Instead, it simply flailed about wildly and quacked at the top of its lungs, eventually finding its way back to its platform. Once it was back on dry land, its regular behavior returned once again, clutching its head and staring blankly at Derak and Wildfire.

“Uh…what the…?” Derak blinked. “Oh…kay. Wildfire, whatever you do, don’t hit Psyduck on the head. That’s how Brute was knocked out.”

“Char,” Wildfire nodded.

“All right…ready?” Derak asked. “Aim for the stomach, and…use Thunderpunch!”

Misty gasped, amazed that Wildfire actually knew how to execute such a move. The Chimchar closed its eyes, focusing all of its power into one fist. It then leapt into the air, drawing that fist back as electricity coursed through it. With one mighty punch, Wildfire struck a devastating blow to Psyduck’s stomach, sending electricity pulsing throughout the Duck Pokemon. After a cry of pain, Psyduck abruptly fell onto its back, utterly unconscious.

“Psyduck is, like, unable to battle,” Misty’s sister announced. “Which means, like, the winner of this Gym battle is, like, Derak from Orre!”

“Well, I guess that’s that,” Misty sighed as she recalled Psyduck. “Good work, Psyduck. Sometimes I forget how strong you really are.”

“Hey, pal,” Derak said as Wildfire returned to his side. “Great job out there. You mastered Thunderpunch, just like I knew you would.”

“Char,” Wildfire said blankly.

“Will you knock it off?” Derak sighed. “You’re my friend, not my battling tool. How many times do I have to say it?”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire droned.

“I have to admit, Derak, I’m really impressed,” Misty said as she came over to Derak’s side of the battlefield. “You’re a pretty good trainer, especially seeing as how you won in spite of a type disadvantage.”

She presented Derak with a badge shaped like a drop of blue water.

“Here,” Misty said. “This is the Cascade Badge. You’ve earned it.”

“Thanks,” Derak said dully as he took the Cascade Badge and placed it in his case. Misty, meanwhile, knelt down to Wildfire’s level.

“You’re such a strong little guy,” she cooed, reaching out to pet Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, reacted with fright, backing away from Misty’s show of affection as if it were some diseased body part.

“Hey, you okay?” Derak asked his starter. “We’re done here, so you can go back in your Pokeball if you want.”

“Ch-chim, char,” Wildfire nodded nervously.

“Okay, return,” Derak said as he recalled his Chimchar. “Guess you’re not a people Pokemon, huh?”

“That’s kind of a shame,” Misty remarked. “Congratulations, though. The next Gym is in Vermillion City, and it’s an Electric-type Gym. I have to warn you, though, the Gym Leader there is really strong.”

“I think we’ll manage,” Derak said, placing his badge case in his pocket. He then turned and left without another word, only giving Misty a limp wave of his hand as a good-bye.

He’s so nice to his Pokemon, Misty thought. Why doesn’t he show that kindness to humans?

****

The Great Butler
26th July 2012, 10:35 AM
Chapter 9: Cerulean Gym



The next morning, Derak stepped out of the Pokemon Center, oblivious to the blissful day that surrounded him. Not even passing trainers gained his notice, Derak instead rotating his shoulder in an attempt to loosen it.

“Ugh,” he groaned. “That’s one night I’m never getting back…stupid Teachy TV show.”

Will we ever find out what's going on here? This sounds like it could be an amazing story.


He removed his two Pokeballs from his belt, gazing down at them.

“Hope you guys are ready,” he said. “Gym battle number two is coming up.”

Derak strode off into the distance, trying to play out the Gym battle in his mind. Back in the Pokemon Center, however, Garth remained behind. The cloaked man was at a table, taking a swig from his canteen. The second it left his lips, he slammed it on the table with a ragged sigh.

“Five minutes,” he said. “I give it five minutes before that brat is back here whining about how he lost his battle before it even began.”

Have some faith, Garth. Have some faith... and learn that you can get drinks when you're at a Pokemon Center instead of relying on a canteen. XD;


The Gym itself was a large building with a yellow dome atop it. Its grand design was clearly an indicator of the building’s importance, as it was evidently built with the ability to hold a large crowd. With a shrug, Derak entered, and found himself in a cavernous room lined with enough seats to fill a football field. The center of the room was the apparent arena, a pool dotted with various square platforms in random places.

Ooh, neat, looks like you're using the anime design of the Cerulean Gym.


Movement appeared just above Derak’s vision, and he looked up to see a young red-haired woman in a white swimsuit launch herself from a diving board. She dove into the water like a bullet, and moments later, she burst out of the water directly in front of Derak, splashing him in the process.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” the young woman said. “I didn’t know you were there.”

“Much as I wish otherwise, I’m not exactly hard to ignore,” Derak sighed, wringing out his brightly colored amalgam of an outfit. “Name’s Derak. This is the Gym, right?”

“Right,” the woman nodded, her neck-length red hair dripping even more water as a consequence. “My name’s Misty. I’m the Cerulean City Gym Leader.”

“Uh-huh,” Derak said. “Mind if we just get on with this?”

“Not much for small talk, are you?” Misty asked. “Oh, well, that’s fine by me.”

If you only knew, Misty. That's an understatement.


Misty took a place by one side of the arena, and Derak took his place at the opposite side. The two trainers stared each other down, waiting for the chance to begin…

…except that the referee was not present.

“Ugh, where are they now?!” Misty sighed with immense irritation.

“And ‘they’ are…?” Derak asked.

“My sisters!” Misty replied. “One of them was supposed to referee my Gym battles, but they’re all such valley girls that they can’t focus on one thing for more than ten seconds! This is the fifth time, too, and…”

My ears aren’t going to survive this experience, are they? Derak thought with a sigh. He then turned around and walked to the front door.

Boy, he sure can't get luck today, can he?


“Uh…hey, where are you going?” Misty asked, stopping her rant long enough to see Derak leaving.

“Not much point in hanging around here right now,” Derak said, “so I figured I might as well get some last-minute training in.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” Misty nodded. “Go ahead.”

Upon Derak’s departure, however, Misty frowned with concern.

Most trainers in this situation would try to learn about who they’re battling, Misty thought. Why is this one so determined to not socialize?

Hmm. Is Misty perhaps trying to teach Derak about being more social? Her opening him up a bit might be interesting to see.


“Okay, Wildfire, use Thunderpunch!” Derak ordered.

Wildfire threw its fist forward, but only a few sparks fell off of its hand. The Chimchar looked down at its fist in confusion, as if expecting an answer from it. It even looked to the passing people in the streets of Cerulean City, seemingly hoping for an answer for one of them.

Okay, now that was a neat bit of imagery.


“All right, what’s the problem?” Derak sighed, placing a hand to his head. “You pulled it off back when you were training with Garth’s Dewgong, so what’s the deal here?”

Although it did not directly respond to Derak’s question, Wildfire steeled its gaze and repeatedly made punching motions at the air, each time attempting to replicate its success the previous day. Faster and faster its fists went, tearing the air apart with the speed of its strikes. Its teeth were bared into a snarl, and the effort the small Fire-type exerted was so great that beads of sweat began to trickle down its head.

“W-whoa, whoa, Wildfire, easy!” Derak exclaimed, grabbing Wildfire’s arms in an attempt to stop the young Chimchar’s intense efforts. “Calm down! You’re not going to master Thunderpunch by wearing yourself out like that!”

“Ch-char?” Wildfire sputtered, eyes going wide. Why did its trainer care about it so much? It was only a tool of war…wasn’t it?

I can understand Wildfire's confusion, when looking strictly at only this situation. Derak only just seemed to be acting harshly toward it, then he became sensitive again. The signals were a bit mixed.


“Look, stuff like winning or losing doesn’t really matter in the end,” Derak said, rubbing his starter’s head. “If we win, great. If we lose, we just try again. No big deal. That’s just how life is.”

“Chim-char,” Wildfire said dully.

“Let’s just give it our best shot and hope for the best, okay?” Derak said. “No more overkill training, all right?”

“Char,” Wildfire nodded mechanically. Derak only sighed.

“What am I going to do with you…?” he said.

“Hey! Derak!” cried Misty, who had apparently donned a pale blue jacket as she left her Cerulean Gym. “One of my sisters is finally back, so let’s battle!”

“Whatever,” Derak sighed, recalling Wildfire.

Even though not much progress is being made, I'm consistently entertained by Derak and Wildfire interacting. Both of them have personalities that hold my attention and interest.

Nice use of HGSS Misty also.


“This will, like, be a two-on-two Pokemon battle,” an attractive woman with navy blue hair announced. “This battle is, like, between Derak from Orre and, like, my little sister Misty. I, like, have a date soon, so let’s just get this done with!”

Oh this is gonna be great, I can tell now...


“You really need her for this?” Derak asked, gesturing to Misty’s elder sister. “I mean, really? I can, LIKE, barely understand a thing she says. Because she, LIKE, has no idea how people actually talk. She’s, LIKE, really annoying.”

Thank you, Derak, putting voice to all of our thoughts.


“You might be going a little overboard there,” Misty sighed, “but you have a point.”

“Hey!” Misty’s sister snapped. “I’m, like, one of the big stars in the shows we put on here!”

“And I care because…?” Derak asked. “You know what, don’t answer. Hearing you murder language is too painful to describe.”

This byplay might be what makes her a lot more tolerable. I had to laugh at Derak's line.


Ignoring the baleful glare Misty’s sister sent him, Derak threw a Pokeball into the air.

“Brute, let’s go!” Derak cried.

“A Machop, huh?” Misty remarked as Brute appeared on one of the pool’s platforms. “Okay, then. Staryu, go!”

Misty’s first Pokemon was a creature resembling a brown five-pointed star with a crimson orb in the center of its body. The gem was surrounded by a golden armor that appeared to be designed for protection. The armor appeared to wrap around one of its legs, which happened to be one of the two legs the Pokemon stood on when it appeared atop a platform of its own.

“Hiyaah!” Staryu grunted, despite having no visible mouth of any kind.

I always did wonder why Staryu's voice sounded like that. Thanks for keeping it in.



“Brute, Vacuum Wave!” Deark yelled.

You misspelled Derak's name here.


Staryu pointed its uppermost leg forward, firing a string of blue orbs that barreled towards Brute. The Superpower Pokemon, however, released a Vacuum Wave that quickly tore through the Bubblebeam and knocked Staryu off of its platform and into the water.

“That’s a strong Machop!” Misty gasped. “Okay, Staryu, use Rapid Spin!”

A dark shape began to rush through the water, and soon Staryu erupted from the pool, resembling a ninja’s throwing star as it hurtled towards Brute. Derak’s Machop, however, grabbed one of Staryu’s legs before the Starshape Pokemon could strike its blow.

“Nice one, Brute!” Derak smiled. “Okay, give it a Vital Throw!”

“Quick, Staryu, use Thunderbolt!” Misty ordered.

Brute drew its arms back, preparing to throw Staryu, but before it could do so, a surge of lightning coursed through the Superpower Pokemon’s body. As the source of the lightning, Staryu remained unharmed, and once Brute let go of the Water-type, it bounced back into the water.

Whoa, creative tactic. Caught me off guard, that's for sure.


“Oh, great,” Derak groaned. “Brute, use…uh…I don’t know, shoot a Vacuum Wave into the water or something!”

Brute paused for a moment, forming a ball of wind between its hands. Rather than fire wildly as its panicking trainer most likely expected, Brute’s eyes gazed about the water, searching for something indicating Staryu. Movement appeared in the corner of its eye, and Brute hurled its Vacuum Wave in that direction. Although the blast of wind ripped through the water, it failed to hit its target. Instead, Staryu spun out of the water and landed on a platform, clearly unharmed.

“Let’s finish this up, Staryu!” Misty cried. “Use Water Gun!”

Staryu again pointed its uppermost leg at Brute, but instead of a string of bubbles, the Starshape Pokemon fired a jet of water. Brute ducked under the blow, looking to its trainer for what to do next. As it did so, however, Staryu prepared another Water Gun.

“Uh…crap! Come on, come on, what do I do?” Derak muttered, putting his fingers to his head as if it would aid his racing mind. “Wait a sec, I’ve got it! Brute, use Vacuum Wave to shoot yourself into the air!”

Brute smirked, evidently agreeing with this plan. It thrust its hands beneath it, creating a blast of wind that catapulted the Superpower Pokemon into the air. As the Water Gun sailed harmlessly beneath it, Brute was now in the ideal position of attack.

“Okay, we did it! Now finish this with Poison Jab!” Derak ordered.

Brute’s fist began to glow purple as it barreled down on Staryu, slamming the energized fist into the Starshape Pokemon’s core. The sheer force of the impact resulted in a web of cracks appearing in the platform, with an unconscious Staryu in the center.

“Staryu is, like, unable to battle!” Misty’s sister declared. “The winners are, like, Derak and his Machop!”

That was actually really exciting and very, very creative. Well done on this battle so far.


“Nice job, Brute,” Derak smiled. Brute smiled as well, giving its trainer the thumbs-up sign.

“You, too, Staryu,” Misty added as she recalled her Staryu. “Your Machop’s really strong, Derak. I’m impressed.”

“Whatever,” Derak sighed, the thrill of victory vanishing the very second Misty opened her mouth. “I’m not doing this to get people to like me.”

“Oh…well, uh…that’s fine,” Misty nodded slowly, though Derak’s abnormal motivations caught her off-guard. “Everyone has their own reasons for becoming Pokemon trainers. Anyway, I think it’s time I stopped holding back. Starmie, let’s…huh?!”

Misty’s sudden exclamation was caused by a Pokeball within her jacket somehow opening by itself. The Pokemon that emerged appeared to be a portly yellow duck with tan feet matched with a tan bill, sporting three black hairs on its head and stubby arms ending in small claws. Its round head, which the Pokemon appeared to be holding on to, played host to two vacant eyes, which stared blankly into space.

“PSYDUCK!?” Misty shrieked.

OH ****. Now THERE is something I NEVER expected to see.

You're toast, Derak. Get out now.



Psyduck, however, merely blinked and tilted its head again.

“Psyyy…?” Psyduck droned.

“Oh, come on!” Misty cried. “You know that move!”

“Uh…oh…kay,” Derak said slowly. Even Brute was staring at Psyduck, scratching its head in an attempt to puzzle out the situation. “So…what do we do now?”

“Just make your move,” Misty sighed. “Psyduck can be such a pain to deal with sometimes.”

“Er…all right, then,” Derak said. “Brute, use Karate Chop!”

With a shrug, Brute leapt into the air, bringing down its hand onto Psyduck’s head in a vertical chop. Psyduck’s eyes squeezed shut from the pain, and when Brute withdrew its hand, the Duck Pokemon stumbled about for a moment.

You just made a fatal mistake, Derak. If only Teachy TV could have warned you about THIS...


And then a strange blue glow came from Psyduck’s eyes.

Brute became surrounded by a blue aura, and as if thrown by an invisible hand, the Superpower Pokemon was sent flying back into the wall of the Gym. Brute peeled off of the wall and crashed into the floor with some force, leaving a small crater behind, before being brought forward fast enough to knock Derak into the water. The runaway trainer gasped for breath as he grabbed for a platform, which happened to be the same one upon which Psyduck stood.

The Duck Pokemon paid Derak no mind as it continued to throw Brute through the air, waving its arms as Derak’s Machop was cast about the arena in the corresponding direction. Eventually, Brute plummeted into the floor for a final time, creating a second crater. Derak’s jaw dropped for a moment, and after he recovered, he turned his gaze to Psyduck.

“You are the most evil thing on this planet,” he said flatly.

Boy, is that ever an appropriate response.



This time, Psyduck responded to Misty’s command. It turned around and began to rhythmically shake its stubby tail at Wildfire while simultaneously walking backwards. Unfortunately, due to the small size of the platform, Psyduck soon fell off and into the water. Despite being a Water-type, Psyduck did not swim. Instead, it simply flailed about wildly and quacked at the top of its lungs, eventually finding its way back to its platform. Once it was back on dry land, its regular behavior returned once again, clutching its head and staring blankly at Derak and Wildfire.

“Uh…what the…?” Derak blinked. “Oh…kay. Wildfire, whatever you do, don’t hit Psyduck on the head. That’s how Brute was knocked out.”

At least Derak is learning from his mistakes and trying not to repeat them.

I have to say, keeping Psyduck's antics intact is proving to be a great choice. I missed them and didn't even realize it.


“Char,” Wildfire nodded.

“All right…ready?” Derak asked. “Aim for the stomach, and…use Thunderpunch!”

Misty gasped, amazed that Wildfire actually knew how to execute such a move. The Chimchar closed its eyes, focusing all of its power into one fist. It then leapt into the air, drawing that fist back as electricity coursed through it. With one mighty punch, Wildfire struck a devastating blow to Psyduck’s stomach, sending electricity pulsing throughout the Duck Pokemon. After a cry of pain, Psyduck abruptly fell onto its back, utterly unconscious.

“Psyduck is, like, unable to battle,” Misty’s sister announced. “Which means, like, the winner of this Gym battle is, like, Derak from Orre!”

Oh wow, he actually pulled it off. I'm utterly shocked, seriously. I thought Psyduck would beat him.


“Well, I guess that’s that,” Misty sighed as she recalled Psyduck. “Good work, Psyduck. Sometimes I forget how strong you really are.”

“Hey, pal,” Derak said as Wildfire returned to his side. “Great job out there. You mastered Thunderpunch, just like I knew you would.”

“Char,” Wildfire said blankly.

“Will you knock it off?” Derak sighed. “You’re my friend, not my battling tool. How many times do I have to say it?”

Probably quite a few more times.



“You’re such a strong little guy,” she cooed, reaching out to pet Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, reacted with fright, backing away from Misty’s show of affection as if it were some diseased body part.

I think this line could have worked better if you mentioned Misty's arm somewhere, instead of using "diseased body part" to refer to her show of affection.


“Hey, you okay?” Derak asked his starter. “We’re done here, so you can go back in your Pokeball if you want.”

“Ch-chim, char,” Wildfire nodded nervously.

“Okay, return,” Derak said as he recalled his Chimchar. “Guess you’re not a people Pokemon, huh?”

“That’s kind of a shame,” Misty remarked. “Congratulations, though. The next Gym is in Vermillion City, and it’s an Electric-type Gym. I have to warn you, though, the Gym Leader there is really strong.”

“I think we’ll manage,” Derak said, placing his badge case in his pocket. He then turned and left without another word, only giving Misty a limp wave of his hand as a good-bye.

He’s so nice to his Pokemon, Misty thought. Why doesn’t he show that kindness to humans?


There's probably something else going on that's going to answer that question, Misty.

Sorry I have to keep my thoughts brief on this one. It was a good chapter with a well written gym battle, though I do think it would have been nice if there was something involving Garth at the end to bookend the beginning.

Morpher01
30th July 2012, 3:21 AM
The Great Butler:
Will we ever find out what's going on here? This sounds like it could be an amazing story.

I doubt it. My knowledge of Teachy TV is actually somewhat vague due to not having actually played FRLG or anything Gen I related (besides HGSS).


Boy, he sure can't get luck today, can he?

Sometimes Derak's just an unlucky guy. XD


You misspelled Derak's name here.

...which is exactly why I need to comb through chapters before posting them. XD


OH ****. Now THERE is something I NEVER expected to see.

You're toast, Derak. Get out now.

Honestly, involving Misty's Psyduck was an opportunity I just couldn't afford to pass up. XD


Probably quite a few more times.

Oh, you have no idea...


I think this line could have worked better if you mentioned Misty's arm somewhere, instead of using "diseased body part" to refer to her show of affection.

That would definitely have been a better idea.



Well, now we're moving on...


Chapter 10: The Hidden Village



“CHAAR!” Wildfire screeched, slamming a Thunderpunch into the crossed arms of Garth’s Electivire. Although it was executed flawlessly, the attack did nothing other than send a few sparks of electricity throughout the Thunderbolt Pokemon’s body.

“Elec,” Electivire nodded, giving Wildfire its evident approval.

“There you go,” Derak said. “One perfect Thunderpunch. Are you satisfied for once?”

“Fairly,” Garth said dismissively, sitting somewhat lazily on a rock.

Derak rolled his eyes. A day had passed since his victory in the Cerulean Gym, and he now stood alongside Garth within a forest clearing on the way to the next city. Vermillion City was still a ways off, and thus the two had elected to allow themselves a few brief moments of respite.

“I have to admit,” Garth said as he stood up, “I had not expected your Chimchar to master Thunderpunch so quickly. Perhaps…there may be more to you than simply an idiotic boy who is obsessed with befriending his Pokemon.”

“Uh-huh,” Derak sighed. “Not much more to you than just being a bipolar jerk-off, though”

“Looks can be deceiving,” Garth snarled. “And now that I have evidence of Chimchar’s mastering Thunderpunch, I suggest we end our rest period and move onto—”

“Metapod! Metapod!” a somewhat monotonous voice grunted as a Pokemon reminiscent of a small green armor-covered crescent moon hopped up to Derak, admiration in its eyes.

“Uh…hi, there,” Derak said, kneeling down to the Pokemon’s level while simultaneously pulling out his Pokedex. “And you are?”

“Metapod,” the Dex identified, “the Cocoon Pokemon. Type is Bug. Evolved form of Caterpie. A steel-hard shell protects its tender body. It quietly endures hardships while awaiting evolution.”

“Derak, Garth!” cried a female voice, and soon none other than Sarah Arachson came running into the clearing. “Hey, what’s up?”

“Oh, Sarah,” Derak said dully. He then nodded to the Metapod at his feet. “This little guy yours?”

“Yep,” Sarah nodded. “You’ll never guess how I got him.”

“I’m not going to bother, because I have a feeling you’ll tell me anyway,” Derak sighed.

“Don’t like guessing games, huh?” Sarah remarked. “Well, anyway, you’re not going to believe this! Remember that Caterpie we found in Viridian Forest? Once it was healed, it wanted to come with me, and now it’s evolved into a Metapod!”

“Wow, really?” Derak asked, looking down at Metapod. “That explains the way you’re looking at me.”

“Metapod! Metapod!” Metapod nodded using its entire body, the grateful gaze in its pale eyes never fading for an instant. It then turned itself over to Garth and looked upon him with the same admiration, bounding towards him and landing at his feet. “Metapod!”

“I have nothing to do with your rescue,” Garth snarled, shoving Metapod away with one foot. “Go pester the children.”

“Hey, that’s not nice!” Sarah snapped, running to Metapod’s side and clutching the Bug-type in her arms.

“Neither is reality,” Garth growled. “I suggest you learn that before someone decides to bring it down on your head.”

“How come you’re traveling with this guy?” Sarah asked Derak, shooting a quick glare at the cloaked man.

“Don’t really want him around, myself,” Derak shrugged. “Garth just sorta tags along like some weird stalker or something.”

Garth grunted as he sat back down on his rock, distancing himself from the children’s conversation.

“So, Derak,” Sarah said. “I was wondering if we could finish that battle we were going to do back in Viridian Forest?”

“Oh, yeah, that,” Derak sighed as the memories returned to him. “I guess we can do it. We could probably use a little training before we take on the next Gym.”

“Cool!” Sarah cried. “Okay, let’s make it a two-on-two! Metapod, you’re up first!”

“Metapod!” chirped the Cocoon Pokemon, hopping to Sarah’s side.

“If I have to,” Derak groaned, preparing his Machop’s Pokeball. “Brute, let’s go!”

“You caught a Machop?” Sarah gasped upon catching sight of Brute. “Wow, that’s awesome! Okay, Metapod, start off with Tackle!”

“Brute, Vacuum Wave!” Derak ordered.

Metapod bounced towards Brute with surprising speed, but the Superpower Pokemon was ready. With a sphere of wind between its hands, Brute stared down Metapod as the Bug-type made a mighty leap into the air, attempting to crash down onto its Fighting-type adversary. Brute, however, launched its Vacuum Wave, blasting Metapod high into the air. Although Derak had ordered the attack with the expectation that Metapod would land somewhere near Sarah, the Bug-type instead sailed over the trees and off into the distance.

“Metapod!” Sarah cried out in concern.

“Uh…oops?” Derak laughed embarrassedly. “Sorry, our bad.”

Sarah barely heard Derak, having already torn off in the direction of her Pokemon. Deciding that he should accompany her, Derak recalled his two Pokemon and followed after her.

“Now what is he doing?” Garth groaned. “Another pointless distraction, no doubt.”

“Vire,” Electivire nodded, apparently sharing its trainer’s conviction to some unknown goal.

“Return,” Garth said as he recalled Electivire. With a reluctant sigh, he chased after Derak, mentally bemoaning his choice in traveling companions.

*****

Sarah and Derak, with Garth in tow, dashed into the forest, heading deeper as Metapod’s cries of distress became louder. Despite the presence of other forest Pokemon, such as Weedle and Caterpie, Sarah’s mind was focused on one thing.

“Metapod!” Sarah yelled. “Where are you?!”

“Metapod! Metapod!” droned the Bug-type, and soon the group came upon the Cocoon Pokemon. Unfortunately, it was stuck in a tree.

“Hang on, we’ll get you down!” Sarah cried, preparing her blue Pokeball. “Squirtle, use Tackle to get Metapod out!”

The second Sarah’s Squirtle appeared, it slammed its shell into the tree with quite a bit of force. This blow appeared to be enough, as the subsequent shaking of the tree dislodged Metapod. The Bug-type fell out of its trap and into Sarah’s arms.

“Are you okay, Metapod?” Sarah asked.

“Metapod!” nodded the Cocoon Pokemon.

“Hey, uh, sorry about the whole Vacuum Wave thing,” Derak said sheepishly.

“Metapod! Metapod!” chirped Metapod, nodding happily as its sign of forgiveness.

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Sarah sighed, pointing the Bug-type’s Pokeball at its occupant. “Return, Metapod.”

“Are we quite finished?” Garth growled.

“I suppose so,” Derak said. “You really that anxious to move to Vermillion Ci—”

“Wait,” Garth suddenly said, holding up a hand. “I heard something.”

“What did you hear?” Sarah asked, keeping her voice low.

“Movement,” Garth hissed. “It would appear we are being watched.”

As if on cue, a bush nearby began to violently rustle, as if something small was panicking inside it.

“There you are!” Garth roared, and in a surprisingly swift motion he lunged into the bush and pulled out what appeared to be a crimson crab with pointed claws and two red-and-yellow mushrooms on its back. “So this is what was watching us?”

“Paras,” Derak’s Pokedex said as Garth held up the Pokemon in question by one claw, “the Mushroom Pokemon. Type is Grass and Bug. Small mushrooms called tochukasu grow on its back. They grow along with the host Paras, and are valued as life-extending medicine.”

“Wow, a Paras!” Sarah cried, obviously elated at the sight of a Bug-type Pokemon. Paras, however, began to panic, flailing about in Garth’s hand. “H-hey, don’t be afraid! I’m not going to hurt you, honest!”

“Paras!” a woman’s voice called. “Where are you?”

A woman with neck-length navy blue hair came out of the bushes, wearing an red over her pink clothes. Paras made a noise resembling a excited squeal in a raspy voice, and although it attempted to reach the woman, Garth’s grip on its claw was still intact.

“I assume you sent this Paras to spy on us?” Garth snarled.

“What?” the woman blinked. “Paras wasn’t here to spy on anyone, it just wandered off. I’m sorry if it startled you.”

“You should keep a closer watch on your Pokemon,” Garth suggested somewhat harshly, roughly dropping Paras to the ground and allowing the small crab to scurry back to the blue-haired woman.

“Actually, Paras isn’t mine,” the woman said. “My name’s Melanie. I look after a lot of Pokemon who live in this forest.”

“So…if Paras isn’t yours, then can I catch it?” Sarah pleaded. “I really love Bug-type Pokemon!”

“No,” Melanie said, her sweet demeanor broken by a rather dark glare. “I won’t let any of the Pokemon under my care be abused by people again.”

“What do you mean ‘again’?” Derak asked. “Wait...Paras wasn’t abandoned by its last trainer, was it?”

“That’s exactly what happened,” Melanie sighed. “In fact, that’s what happened with all the Pokemon I’ve been safeguarding. I can’t let them be mistreated like that again.”

“Sounds reasonable to me,” Derak shrugged, although Sarah’s face drooped with disappointment. Despite this, she still spoke up.

“Uh, Melanie?” Sarah asked. “Do you have something to help heal my Metapod? We were in a battle earlier, and—”

“Things went a little screwy,” Derak interrupted, not trusting Sarah to maintain the fragile trust between them and Melanie. “You have anything that can help?”

“I do,” Melanie nodded, “but you have to promise not to catch any of the Pokemon there.”

“Not unless they want it,” Derak shrugged.

“I doubt they would help us, anyway,” Garth added.

“Oh…fine,” Sarah pouted.

“Thank you,” Melanie smiled. “You all seem like decent people. Follow me, I’ll take you to the village.”

As Melanie walked away with Paras and Sarah in tow, Derak and Garth followed behind.

“Did she really just call you ‘decent’?” Derak quipped.

Garth only growled in response. After they left, however, something rustled in the trees above. A figure dropped out of the trees, landing on the ground with little difficulty. The figure reared up, revealing itself to be the strange blue-haired teen from audience in the Pewter City Pokemon Contest. The teen’s eyes glowed a deadly red as he observed where the group went, a smirk spreading across his face.

****

Melanie took the group to another clearing, this one housing a small log cabin. Inside, Melanie fed Sarah’s Metapod a spoonful of crushed herbs as Sarah looked on. Garth stood aloof from the others, absent-mindedly staring out the window. Derak simply sat on a small couch until a framed photograph caught his eye.

The photo contained Melanie standing alongside numerous Pokemon, most of which had multiple representatives from the same species. One Pokemon, however, was unique in that it was the only one of its kind present in the photo. It was small a small quadruped with a pale blue body, a wide mouth, two red eyes and a frog-like head. On its back was a large green bulb. The Pokemon looked quite happy to be alongside its friends, evidenced by the smile on its face.

“Oh, are you wondering about that picture?” Melanie asked, noticing Derak’s interest.

“Something like that,” he said, handing Melanie the photo. “Who’s the one with the bulb on his back?”

“That’s Bulbasaur,” Melanie said. “It used to be the self-appointed protector of this little village.”

“Wait, ‘used to be’? As in, ‘not anymore’?” Derak asked. “What happened to it?”

“Something that turned out to be good,” Melanie replied, giving Metapod another spoonful of medicine. “A group of traveling trainers came here by accident some years back while on the way to Vermillion City. Bulbasaur and I didn’t completely trust them at first, but after the trainers saved the village from a group of Pokemon thieves, I asked them to take Bulbasaur with them, seeing as it couldn’t really grow in the forest. Since then, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Bulbasaur, and how it’s grown so much and gotten so much stronger.”

“Good to know,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. He pointed it at the photo, attempting to learn more about Bulbasaur’s species.

“Error,” the Dex said. “No data available.”

“Uh…okay?” Derak remarked. “How do I get info on Bulbasaur when I haven’t actually seen it in person?”

“Do a search, you imbecile,” Garth snapped.

“Thanks for the input, oh wise one whose opinion is never needed,” Derak replied, pressing random button sequences on his Pokedex in a rather odd effort to gain the knowledge he sought.

“Er, Melanie?” Sarah ventured. “What was the name of Bulbasaur’s new trainer?”

“His name was Ash,” Melanie replied.

“Ash?” Sarah repeated, her jaw dropping. “As in Ash Ketchum, the famous trainer from Pallet Town who’s traveled all over the world and become amazingly strong? THAT Ash Ketchum?”

“Yes, I believe they’re the same,” Melanie nodded with a smile.

Oh great, Sarah’s a fangirl, Derak thought as he continued to fiddle with his Pokedex.

“Ever since Bulbasaur left,” Melanie continued, “Paras here has wanted to go on a journey of its own. But, it’s always been too nervous to do it, so it started watching trainers from afar. That’s how I found you…I was looking for Paras after it wandered off. It would be great if it could follow in Bulbasaur’s footsteps, but until the right opportunity comes, I can’t let Paras go.”

Sarah was about to make a comment, most likely another round of begging to catch Paras, but Derak cut her off upon finally finding Bulbasaur’s image in the Pokedex.

“Ah, here we go!” he exclaimed. “Found it!”

“Bulbasaur,” the Dex began, “the Seed Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. For some time after its birth, it grows by gaining nourishment from the seed on its back.”

“You took that long to do a search?” Garth asked with a condescending tone.

“First time not doing it automatically, so sue me,” Derak retorted.

“Well, here you go,” Melanie said, handing Sarah her Metapod. “Metapod’s much better now.”

“Thank you, Melanie,” Sarah replied. “I swear, I’ll take good care of Metapod.”

“Metapod! Metapod!” the Cocoon Pokemon added with a happy nod.

Garth grunted and turned back to his window, but his eyes widened when he saw something outside.

“What is it, Garth?” Derak asked, heading over to the window. “Aw, son of a…!”

The runaway trainer burst out the door, not bothering to give an explanation.

“Derak, wait! What’s wrong?!” Sarah cried, following him out.

“Ugh, again?” Garth grumbled as he trudged outside.

Once the three trainer were outside, they found something only Derak recognized. Aiden Takeshi, the Cyndaquil trainer from the Pewter City Contest, stood before a group of what appeared to be Grass-type Pokemon, an empty Pokeball in hand. By his side were his Cyndaquil and his blue-haired accomplice.

“Okay!” Aiden cried. “Go, Pokeball!”

“NO!” Melanie cried, rushing out. She placed her body between the Pokeball and the Pokemon, allowing it to bounce off of her body. “You can’t catch these Pokemon!”

“Why not?” Aiden asked. “They’re fair game, right?”

“Not really,” Derak said. “So, quick suggestion? You might want to turn around and leave before this gets ugly.”

“You kidding?” Aiden scoffed. “I need some good Pokemon if I’m going to win the Ribbon Cup, and a couple of random trainers aren’t exactly going to stop me. Right?”

He looked to his blue-haired accomplice, who merely shrugged.

“You can’t do that!” Sarah cried. “Those Pokemon were abandoned by past trainers! They don’t need to be put through that kind of thing again!”

“Aw, come on, babe!” Aiden said, approaching Sarah and wrapping one arm around her. “Picture this…you and me, all these Pokemon, and the Ribbon Cup. I don’t know about you, but I can’t picture a better future than—yowch!”

Aiden’s flirtatious monologue was cut off by a slap upside the head from the blue-haired teen, who gave him a deadly red-eyed glare.

“Okay, okay, I’ll catch the Pokemon!” Aiden cried. He made to throw another Pokeball at the Pokemon, but a Chimchar materialized in front of him in a flash of light.

“You think it’s going to be that easy?” Derak asked. “You really are a cocky piece of trash.”

“Hey, who are you calling a piece of trash?!” Aiden snapped.

“You,” Derak replied simply, ignoring his opponent’s rage. “Right now, I don’t really see any other morons with bad hair.”

“Okay, that’s it!” Aiden snarled. “Cyndaquil, use Swift!”

“Wildfire, block with Ember!” Derak cried.

Cyndaquil opened its mouth and spat a stream of golden energy stars directly at Wildfire. The Chimchar fired an Ember at the stars, but each orb from Ember was disintegrated upon contact with the stars from Swift. Most of the stars struck Wildfire head on, knocking the Chimchar to the ground.

“Now, Cyndaquil, follow up with Flame Wheel!” Aiden ordered.

Just as it had done before during its bout with Timmy’s Dusknoir, Cyndaquil transformed itself into a wheel of fire. It paused for a moment, spinning in place threateningly, before charging towards its fallen target. Wildfire shut its eyes, waiting for the blow…

“Squirtle, use Skull Bash!”

Wildfire’s eyes opened upon hearing Sarah’s voice, and just before Cyndaquil’s Flame Wheel could make contact, Squirtle burst out of its Pokeball and slammed its head directly into Cyndaquil’s side. The Fire Mouse Pokemon tumbled across the grass, but rose soon after with its fire burning vigorously.

“Two-on-one, huh?” Aiden smirked. “I like uneven odds! Nidoran, time to win!”

Aiden threw another Pokeball, this one revealing a small purple rabbit-like Pokemon with spikes covering its back, two large ears, and a small horn between its two red eyes. The Pokemon snarled viciously, managing to bare its large buck tooth.

“Nidoran male,” Derak’s Pokedex identified, “the Poison Pin Pokemon. Type is Poison. Nidorans come in two varieties: male and female. The male scans its surroundings by raising its ears out of the grass. Its toxic horn is for protection.”

“I’m still amazed everyone stops long enough for me to do this analysis thing,” Derak said. “Well, anyway…I guess we’re tag-teaming, Sarah?”

“You bet!” Sarah cried excitedly, pumping her fist. “Trainers who work together are unstoppable!”

“Ugh,” Derak muttered, rolling his eyes. “Suddenly I’m wishing for a different partner. Anyway, Wildfire, let’s focus on Nidoran. Use Ember!”

“Squirtle, Water Gun on Cyndaquil!” Sarah yelled.

“Cyndaquil, dodge and use Crush Claw!” Aiden cried. “Nidoran, counter Ember with Echoed Voice!”

Squirtle spat a jet of water from its mouth, but Aiden’s Cyndaquil leapt aside as the tip of its forearm became charged with electrical energy. The Fire-type dashed forward, raking tiny electrified claws across Squirtle’s stomach. The Tiny Turtle Pokemon tumbled onto its back, clutching an unpleasant gash on its stomach.

Meanwhile, as Wildfire’s Ember closed in on Nidoran, the Poison-type simply let out a long cry. The cry manifested itself as a series of sound waves, which apparently possessed enough power to dissipate the Ember. The sound waves eventually reached Wildfire, causing the monkey to once again tumble onto its back. Aiden’s blue-haired accomplice saw this, and with a sinister grin, pounced onto Wildfire like a feline animal onto a toy.

“Hey, what are you doing?!” Derak yelled. The nameless teen said nothing as he stood over Wildfire, instead drawing back a hand as if in preparation to strike the monkey. “You cheating little…!”

Derak was about to go forward, but his eyes soon went wide as he saw what happened next. The blue-haired teen found his arm unable to move, much to his shock. One look revealed that his arm was caught in Garth’s vice-like grip.

“You are an absolutely pitiful waste of life,” Garth spat. “And Derak was so afraid of a miserable coward like you.”

“Uh, did you forget that he could—oh, what was it now—BREATHE FIRE?” Derak snarled.

With a newly-renewed grin, the teen whipped his head in Garth’s direction and took a deep breath. Garth raised a condescending eyebrow, expecting some justification for the teen’s previous actions. Instead, a jet of flame erupted from the teen’s mouth with enough force to blast Garth away and set his cloak ablaze.

“Oh, no!” Sarah cried. “Squirtle, use Water Gun to put the fire out!”

Squirtle complied, but Garth barely noticed the small Pokemon’s efforts as he stared in bewilderment at the one responsible for the condition of his now somewhat-singed cloak. Meanwhile, the strange blue-haired teen turned his gaze back to his prey, only to find Wildfire glaring darkly at him. The Chimchar spat an Ember directly into the teen’s face, causing him to stumble back as his body seemingly began to fade.

“Uh-oh, time to book!” Aiden gulped. “Cyndaquil, Smokescreen!”

Cyndaquil and Nidoran gathered together, the former spraying a thick black smoke from its mouth. Aiden came to his blue-haired companion’s side, the billowing smoke obscuring them from sight. Once it faded, the duo had vanished, taking Cyndaquil and Nidoran with them.

“What…just happened?” Garth gasped. “Did that one with the blue hair just…breathe fire?”

“No, of course not,” Derak said snidely. “Humans don’t breathe fire. You must have been blinded by the fact that you were completely WRONG.”

“…I admit that I failed to consider that there are indeed things in this world that even I fail to understand,” Garth said dismissively. “Regardless, our business here is finished.”

Garth headed into the forest once more, grumbling about the state of his cloak. Derak could only roll his eyes.

“Self-absorbed as ever,” Derak sighed. “Well, I guess I’m heading out, too.”

“Wait,” Melanie said. “Derak, Sarah…you both fought for the Pokemon of this village, even though I distrusted you. I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault,” Derak shrugged.

“It’s okay, Melanie,” Sarah nodded.

“Paras?” rasped the small crab-like Pokemon as it scuttled up towards the two trainers. “Ras, paras.”

“I think you’ve earned Paras’ trust,” Melanie smiled. “It wants to go with one of you.”

“Really?” Sarah cried. “Thank you, Paras!”

Before anyone could stop her, Sarah had taken out a Pokeball and tapped Paras with it, absorbing the Bug-type inside and capturing it.

“Yes!” Sarah yelled. “I caught a Paras!”

She victoriously thrust her Pokeball into the air, earning bewildered stares from the various Pokemon around her. Derak, meanwhile, simply glared at her.

“Uh, reality check?” he said. “You’re not the only trainer here, Sarah. And the pose is still stupid.”

“Huh?” Sarah blinked. “Oh, sorry, Derak. I just got excited. So, how about we finish that battle?”

“Maybe some other time,” Derak said. “I need to make sure Garth doesn’t get himself into trouble. Again.”

He brushed past Sarah, but despite his rudeness, the Bug-type enthusiast was no less thrilled.

“Bye, Derak!” Sarah cried, waving happily. “See you again sometime!”

Derak simply gave her a limp wave of his hand as he vanished into the trees.

****

Garth looked down at his ruined cloak, fingers drifting across the charred edges. His golden eyes were filled with something other than his ever-present rage, evidenced by a drop of liquid slowly sliding down his face. One whispered word escaped his lips.

“Father…”

*****

The Great Butler
2nd August 2012, 9:55 AM
Chapter 10: The Hidden Village



“CHAAR!” Wildfire screeched, slamming a Thunderpunch into the crossed arms of Garth’s Electivire. Although it was executed flawlessly, the attack did nothing other than send a few sparks of electricity throughout the Thunderbolt Pokemon’s body.

“Elec,” Electivire nodded, giving Wildfire its evident approval.

“There you go,” Derak said. “One perfect Thunderpunch. Are you satisfied for once?”

Garth? Satisfied? I don't think so, Derak.


“Fairly,” Garth said dismissively, sitting somewhat lazily on a rock.

Yep, thought so. No big surprise he's like this at all.


Derak rolled his eyes. A day had passed since his victory in the Cerulean Gym, and he now stood alongside Garth within a forest clearing on the way to the next city. Vermillion City was still a ways off, and thus the two had elected to allow themselves a few brief moments of respite.

“I have to admit,” Garth said as he stood up, “I had not expected your Chimchar to master Thunderpunch so quickly. Perhaps…there may be more to you than simply an idiotic boy who is obsessed with befriending his Pokemon.”

“Uh-huh,” Derak sighed. “Not much more to you than just being a bipolar jerk-off, though”

Boy, these two sure make a great match, don't they?

You missed a period at the end of the last sentence in this part.


“Looks can be deceiving,” Garth snarled. “And now that I have evidence of Chimchar’s mastering Thunderpunch, I suggest we end our rest period and move onto—”

“Metapod! Metapod!” a somewhat monotonous voice grunted as a Pokemon reminiscent of a small green armor-covered crescent moon hopped up to Derak, admiration in its eyes.

“Uh…hi, there,” Derak said, kneeling down to the Pokemon’s level while simultaneously pulling out his Pokedex. “And you are?”

“Metapod,” the Dex identified, “the Cocoon Pokemon. Type is Bug. Evolved form of Caterpie. A steel-hard shell protects its tender body. It quietly endures hardships while awaiting evolution.”

“Derak, Garth!” cried a female voice, and soon none other than Sarah Arachson came running into the clearing. “Hey, what’s up?”

Oh neat, a familiar face. This ought to be interesting, she hasn't been on my mind in a while.


“Oh, Sarah,” Derak said dully. He then nodded to the Metapod at his feet. “This little guy yours?”

“Yep,” Sarah nodded. “You’ll never guess how I got him.”

“I’m not going to bother, because I have a feeling you’ll tell me anyway,” Derak sighed.

“Don’t like guessing games, huh?” Sarah remarked. “Well, anyway, you’re not going to believe this! Remember that Caterpie we found in Viridian Forest? Once it was healed, it wanted to come with me, and now it’s evolved into a Metapod!”

“Wow, really?” Derak asked, looking down at Metapod. “That explains the way you’re looking at me.”

Dare I say that Derak may have found a girlfriend in Kanto with Sarah?


“Metapod! Metapod!” Metapod nodded using its entire body, the grateful gaze in its pale eyes never fading for an instant. It then turned itself over to Garth and looked upon him with the same admiration, bounding towards him and landing at his feet. “Metapod!”

“I have nothing to do with your rescue,” Garth snarled, shoving Metapod away with one foot. “Go pester the children.”

“Hey, that’s not nice!” Sarah snapped, running to Metapod’s side and clutching the Bug-type in her arms.

“Neither is reality,” Garth growled. “I suggest you learn that before someone decides to bring it down on your head.”

I get the feeling Garth's advice is going to be a lot more relevant than it appears right now...


“How come you’re traveling with this guy?” Sarah asked Derak, shooting a quick glare at the cloaked man.

“Don’t really want him around, myself,” Derak shrugged. “Garth just sorta tags along like some weird stalker or something.”

Have I mentioned just how amusing the group dynamics here are? That's actually something you're very good at in general; it was like this in Struggle for Power too.


Garth grunted as he sat back down on his rock, distancing himself from the children’s conversation.

“So, Derak,” Sarah said. “I was wondering if we could finish that battle we were going to do back in Viridian Forest?”

“Oh, yeah, that,” Derak sighed as the memories returned to him. “I guess we can do it. We could probably use a little training before we take on the next Gym.”

“Cool!” Sarah cried. “Okay, let’s make it a two-on-two! Metapod, you’re up first!”

“Metapod!” chirped the Cocoon Pokemon, hopping to Sarah’s side.

"Chirped" seems like a little bit of an odd word to use for a Metapod, in my opinion.


“If I have to,” Derak groaned, preparing his Machop’s Pokeball. “Brute, let’s go!”

“You caught a Machop?” Sarah gasped upon catching sight of Brute. “Wow, that’s awesome! Okay, Metapod, start off with Tackle!”

“Brute, Vacuum Wave!” Derak ordered.

Metapod bounced towards Brute with surprising speed, but the Superpower Pokemon was ready. With a sphere of wind between its hands, Brute stared down Metapod as the Bug-type made a mighty leap into the air, attempting to crash down onto its Fighting-type adversary. Brute, however, launched its Vacuum Wave, blasting Metapod high into the air. Although Derak had ordered the attack with the expectation that Metapod would land somewhere near Sarah, the Bug-type instead sailed over the trees and off into the distance.

“Metapod!” Sarah cried out in concern.

“Uh…oops?” Derak laughed embarrassedly. “Sorry, our bad.”

Oops indeed.

Is there a big power difference between Brute and Metapod? It would seem so, especially because, if I'm remembering correctly, Fighting-type moves shouldn't be very effective against Bug-types.


Sarah barely heard Derak, having already torn off in the direction of her Pokemon. Deciding that he should accompany her, Derak recalled his two Pokemon and followed after her.

“Now what is he doing?” Garth groaned. “Another pointless distraction, no doubt.”

“Vire,” Electivire nodded, apparently sharing its trainer’s conviction to some unknown goal.

“Return,” Garth said as he recalled Electivire. With a reluctant sigh, he chased after Derak, mentally bemoaning his choice in traveling companions.

Good to know the love is mutual between them. :P



“Are we quite finished?” Garth growled.

“I suppose so,” Derak said. “You really that anxious to move to Vermillion Ci—”

“Wait,” Garth suddenly said, holding up a hand. “I heard something.”

“What did you hear?” Sarah asked, keeping her voice low.

“Movement,” Garth hissed. “It would appear we are being watched.”

As if on cue, a bush nearby began to violently rustle, as if something small was panicking inside it.

“There you are!” Garth roared, and in a surprisingly swift motion he lunged into the bush and pulled out what appeared to be a crimson crab with pointed claws and two red-and-yellow mushrooms on its back. “So this is what was watching us?”

“Paras,” Derak’s Pokedex said as Garth held up the Pokemon in question by one claw, “the Mushroom Pokemon. Type is Grass and Bug. Small mushrooms called tochukasu grow on its back. They grow along with the host Paras, and are valued as life-extending medicine.”

Wow, um, for nothing more than a Paras Garth sure lost his mind there. Although, that move he pulled out to catch it was pretty amazing.


“Wow, a Paras!” Sarah cried, obviously elated at the sight of a Bug-type Pokemon. Paras, however, began to panic, flailing about in Garth’s hand. “H-hey, don’t be afraid! I’m not going to hurt you, honest!”

“Paras!” a woman’s voice called. “Where are you?”

A woman with neck-length navy blue hair came out of the bushes, wearing an red over her pink clothes. Paras made a noise resembling a excited squeal in a raspy voice, and although it attempted to reach the woman, Garth’s grip on its claw was still intact.

Wearing an what? I think you left out a word.


“I assume you sent this Paras to spy on us?” Garth snarled.

“What?” the woman blinked. “Paras wasn’t here to spy on anyone, it just wandered off. I’m sorry if it startled you.”

“You should keep a closer watch on your Pokemon,” Garth suggested somewhat harshly, roughly dropping Paras to the ground and allowing the small crab to scurry back to the blue-haired woman.

I'm going to guess that Garth's paranoia is justified in some way. I wouldn't think that someone would act so erratically.


“Actually, Paras isn’t mine,” the woman said. “My name’s Melanie. I look after a lot of Pokemon who live in this forest.”

“So…if Paras isn’t yours, then can I catch it?” Sarah pleaded. “I really love Bug-type Pokemon!”

“No,” Melanie said, her sweet demeanor broken by a rather dark glare. “I won’t let any of the Pokemon under my care be abused by people again.”

I have an immediate hunch that whatever happened here is going to have something to do with Brute. Either way, though, you've certainly got my attention even more now.


“What do you mean ‘again’?” Derak asked. “Wait...Paras wasn’t abandoned by its last trainer, was it?”

“That’s exactly what happened,” Melanie sighed. “In fact, that’s what happened with all the Pokemon I’ve been safeguarding. I can’t let them be mistreated like that again.”

“Sounds reasonable to me,” Derak shrugged, although Sarah’s face drooped with disappointment. Despite this, she still spoke up.

“Uh, Melanie?” Sarah asked. “Do you have something to help heal my Metapod? We were in a battle earlier, and—”

“Things went a little screwy,” Derak interrupted, not trusting Sarah to maintain the fragile trust between them and Melanie. “You have anything that can help?”

“I do,” Melanie nodded, “but you have to promise not to catch any of the Pokemon there.”

“Not unless they want it,” Derak shrugged.

“I doubt they would help us, anyway,” Garth added.

“Oh…fine,” Sarah pouted.

“Thank you,” Melanie smiled. “You all seem like decent people. Follow me, I’ll take you to the village.”

Oh **** I just realized who this actually is. It's been so long since I saw her episode that I totally forgot who Melanie was. I've certainly got it now that I remember her and her village, though. She could be an interesting addition to this story...


As Melanie walked away with Paras and Sarah in tow, Derak and Garth followed behind.

“Did she really just call you ‘decent’?” Derak quipped.

Garth only growled in response. After they left, however, something rustled in the trees above. A figure dropped out of the trees, landing on the ground with little difficulty. The figure reared up, revealing itself to be the strange blue-haired teen from audience in the Pewter City Pokemon Contest. The teen’s eyes glowed a deadly red as he observed where the group went, a smirk spreading across his face.

Things couldn't be peaceful for long, huh?


Melanie took the group to another clearing, this one housing a small log cabin. Inside, Melanie fed Sarah’s Metapod a spoonful of crushed herbs as Sarah looked on. Garth stood aloof from the others, absent-mindedly staring out the window. Derak simply sat on a small couch until a framed photograph caught his eye.

The photo contained Melanie standing alongside numerous Pokemon, most of which had multiple representatives from the same species. One Pokemon, however, was unique in that it was the only one of its kind present in the photo. It was small a small quadruped with a pale blue body, a wide mouth, two red eyes and a frog-like head. On its back was a large green bulb. The Pokemon looked quite happy to be alongside its friends, evidenced by the smile on its face.

“Oh, are you wondering about that picture?” Melanie asked, noticing Derak’s interest.

“Something like that,” he said, handing Melanie the photo. “Who’s the one with the bulb on his back?”

“That’s Bulbasaur,” Melanie said. “It used to be the self-appointed protector of this little village.”

Oh, the nostalgia. You worked it in perfectly.



“Er, Melanie?” Sarah ventured. “What was the name of Bulbasaur’s new trainer?”

“His name was Ash,” Melanie replied.

“Ash?” Sarah repeated, her jaw dropping. “As in Ash Ketchum, the famous trainer from Pallet Town who’s traveled all over the world and become amazingly strong? THAT Ash Ketchum?”

“Yes, I believe they’re the same,” Melanie nodded with a smile.

Oh great, Sarah’s a fangirl, Derak thought as he continued to fiddle with his Pokedex.

Well, this is certainly... an interesting way to include Ash in the story's continuity, that's for sure.


“Ever since Bulbasaur left,” Melanie continued, “Paras here has wanted to go on a journey of its own. But, it’s always been too nervous to do it, so it started watching trainers from afar. That’s how I found you…I was looking for Paras after it wandered off. It would be great if it could follow in Bulbasaur’s footsteps, but until the right opportunity comes, I can’t let Paras go.”

Sarah was about to make a comment, most likely another round of begging to catch Paras, but Derak cut her off upon finally finding Bulbasaur’s image in the Pokedex.

“Ah, here we go!” he exclaimed. “Found it!”

“Bulbasaur,” the Dex began, “the Seed Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. For some time after its birth, it grows by gaining nourishment from the seed on its back.”

“You took that long to do a search?” Garth asked with a condescending tone.

“First time not doing it automatically, so sue me,” Derak retorted.

Not only that, though, Bulbasaur is Pokemon #001, as in, the very first one...


“Well, here you go,” Melanie said, handing Sarah her Metapod. “Metapod’s much better now.”

“Thank you, Melanie,” Sarah replied. “I swear, I’ll take good care of Metapod.”

“Metapod! Metapod!” the Cocoon Pokemon added with a happy nod.

Garth grunted and turned back to his window, but his eyes widened when he saw something outside.

“What is it, Garth?” Derak asked, heading over to the window. “Aw, son of a…!”

The runaway trainer burst out the door, not bothering to give an explanation.

“Derak, wait! What’s wrong?!” Sarah cried, following him out.

“Ugh, again?” Garth grumbled as he trudged outside.

Once the three trainer were outside, they found something only Derak recognized. Aiden Takeshi, the Cyndaquil trainer from the Pewter City Contest, stood before a group of what appeared to be Grass-type Pokemon, an empty Pokeball in hand. By his side were his Cyndaquil and his blue-haired accomplice.

Awww hell... there is absolutely no way this is going to end well. At least we might get some purpose for these guys.


“Okay!” Aiden cried. “Go, Pokeball!”

“NO!” Melanie cried, rushing out. She placed her body between the Pokeball and the Pokemon, allowing it to bounce off of her body. “You can’t catch these Pokemon!”

“Why not?” Aiden asked. “They’re fair game, right?”

“Not really,” Derak said. “So, quick suggestion? You might want to turn around and leave before this gets ugly.”

“You kidding?” Aiden scoffed. “I need some good Pokemon if I’m going to win the Ribbon Cup, and a couple of random trainers aren’t exactly going to stop me. Right?”

He looked to his blue-haired accomplice, who merely shrugged.

“You can’t do that!” Sarah cried. “Those Pokemon were abandoned by past trainers! They don’t need to be put through that kind of thing again!”

“Aw, come on, babe!” Aiden said, approaching Sarah and wrapping one arm around her. “Picture this…you and me, all these Pokemon, and the Ribbon Cup. I don’t know about you, but I can’t picture a better future than—yowch!”

Oh wow this guy is a dirtbag. I already feel completely repulsed by him.


Aiden’s flirtatious monologue was cut off by a slap upside the head from the blue-haired teen, who gave him a deadly red-eyed glare.

“Okay, okay, I’ll catch the Pokemon!” Aiden cried. He made to throw another Pokeball at the Pokemon, but a Chimchar materialized in front of him in a flash of light.

Huh. It definitely looks like that blue-haired kid is the one in charge...


“You think it’s going to be that easy?” Derak asked. “You really are a cocky piece of trash.”

“Hey, who are you calling a piece of trash?!” Aiden snapped.

“You,” Derak replied simply, ignoring his opponent’s rage. “Right now, I don’t really see any other morons with bad hair.”

“Okay, that’s it!” Aiden snarled. “Cyndaquil, use Swift!”

“Wildfire, block with Ember!” Derak cried.

Cyndaquil opened its mouth and spat a stream of golden energy stars directly at Wildfire. The Chimchar fired an Ember at the stars, but each orb from Ember was disintegrated upon contact with the stars from Swift. Most of the stars struck Wildfire head on, knocking the Chimchar to the ground.

“Now, Cyndaquil, follow up with Flame Wheel!” Aiden ordered.

Just as it had done before during its bout with Timmy’s Dusknoir, Cyndaquil transformed itself into a wheel of fire. It paused for a moment, spinning in place threateningly, before charging towards its fallen target. Wildfire shut its eyes, waiting for the blow…

“Squirtle, use Skull Bash!”

Wildfire’s eyes opened upon hearing Sarah’s voice, and just before Cyndaquil’s Flame Wheel could make contact, Squirtle burst out of its Pokeball and slammed its head directly into Cyndaquil’s side. The Fire Mouse Pokemon tumbled across the grass, but rose soon after with its fire burning vigorously.

Okay, that was a good surprise. Well done. The battle is being done very well, too.



“I’m still amazed everyone stops long enough for me to do this analysis thing,” Derak said. “Well, anyway…I guess we’re tag-teaming, Sarah?”

Oh, nice lampshading. I've asked that question myself.



Meanwhile, as Wildfire’s Ember closed in on Nidoran, the Poison-type simply let out a long cry. The cry manifested itself as a series of sound waves, which apparently possessed enough power to dissipate the Ember. The sound waves eventually reached Wildfire, causing the monkey to once again tumble onto its back. Aiden’s blue-haired accomplice saw this, and with a sinister grin, pounced onto Wildfire like a feline animal onto a toy.

“Hey, what are you doing?!” Derak yelled. The nameless teen said nothing as he stood over Wildfire, instead drawing back a hand as if in preparation to strike the monkey. “You cheating little…!”

What the hell is going on with this kid? He is starting to get really disturbing.


Derak was about to go forward, but his eyes soon went wide as he saw what happened next. The blue-haired teen found his arm unable to move, much to his shock. One look revealed that his arm was caught in Garth’s vice-like grip.

“You are an absolutely pitiful waste of life,” Garth spat. “And Derak was so afraid of a miserable coward like you.”

“Uh, did you forget that he could—oh, what was it now—BREATHE FIRE?” Derak snarled.

With a newly-renewed grin, the teen whipped his head in Garth’s direction and took a deep breath. Garth raised a condescending eyebrow, expecting some justification for the teen’s previous actions. Instead, a jet of flame erupted from the teen’s mouth with enough force to blast Garth away and set his cloak ablaze.

“Oh, no!” Sarah cried. “Squirtle, use Water Gun to put the fire out!”

Squirtle complied, but Garth barely noticed the small Pokemon’s efforts as he stared in bewilderment at the one responsible for the condition of his now somewhat-singed cloak. Meanwhile, the strange blue-haired teen turned his gaze back to his prey, only to find Wildfire glaring darkly at him. The Chimchar spat an Ember directly into the teen’s face, causing him to stumble back as his body seemingly began to fade.

What the...?! I can only guess now that whenever the answer about this kid is revealed, I'm going to really be blown away.



“Paras?” rasped the small crab-like Pokemon as it scuttled up towards the two trainers. “Ras, paras.”

“I think you’ve earned Paras’ trust,” Melanie smiled. “It wants to go with one of you.”

I figured that the Paras story would end like this.




Garth looked down at his ruined cloak, fingers drifting across the charred edges. His golden eyes were filled with something other than his ever-present rage, evidenced by a drop of liquid slowly sliding down his face. One whispered word escaped his lips.

“Father…”


And an air of mystery to wrap everything up. It's a good mystery, too, because it provokes a great deal of reader thought on what exactly it means for Garth's motives. I wonder if that freaky blue-haired ... thing ... did something to his father?

This chapter really showed how well you can handle canon material. Melanie and the Hidden Village were seamlessly integrated into your storyline, to such a degree that it would almost be impossible to tell that they were from the anime in the first place. What stood out the most in this chapter I think, however, were Aiden and that weird blue-haired entity. There's clearly something going on with them, and whatever it is it's without a doubt something really bad. There were enough questions raised that there's plenty for me to keep thinking about.

Morpher01
6th August 2012, 3:35 AM
The Great Butler:
Boy, these two sure make a great match, don't they?

You missed a period at the end of the last sentence in this part.

I think what happened there was that I was originally going to give Derak more to say, but decided against it. It appears that I accidentally took off a period that I somehow missed when checking through the chapter...guess I just don't pay attention. XD


Oops indeed.

Is there a big power difference between Brute and Metapod? It would seem so, especially because, if I'm remembering correctly, Fighting-type moves shouldn't be very effective against Bug-types.

You're remembering correctly, and there is something of a power difference between Brute and Sarah's Metapod (also, I kind of imagined Metapod as being fairly lightweight...)


Wearing an what? I think you left out a word.

I wasn't quite sure what the actual name of Melanie's outfit was (it was something of a red overall-thing, but I wasn't exactly sure), so I skipped a bit with the intention of coming back to it. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to return to it. XD


Oh **** I just realized who this actually is. It's been so long since I saw her episode that I totally forgot who Melanie was. I've certainly got it now that I remember her and her village, though. She could be an interesting addition to this story...

I kinda had to dig through Bulbapedia in order to find Kanto-related events from the anime. The place where Ash got Bulbasaur seemed like a good fit.


Not only that, though, Bulbasaur is Pokemon #001, as in, the very first one...

I do enjoy making Derak seem laughably pathetic at times. XD


Oh, nice lampshading. I've asked that question myself.

I had to bring it up at some point. XD


What the...?! I can only guess now that whenever the answer about this kid is revealed, I'm going to really be blown away.

Oh, you have no idea...


And an air of mystery to wrap everything up. It's a good mystery, too, because it provokes a great deal of reader thought on what exactly it means for Garth's motives. I wonder if that freaky blue-haired ... thing ... did something to his father?

You'll just have to see as time rolls on.



We have arrived in Vermillion City. I took a somewhat different approach to this chapter, with the intention being to make the Gyms seem a bit less repetitive. Hopefully I succeeded to some degree.



Chapter 11: Bitter Reunions




A day after their encounter with Aiden in the hidden village, Derak and Garth entered Vermillion City. In this rather populated city, people passed by in personal journeys of their own. Derak paid little attention to them, however. What mattered to him was his own journey.

“There’s supposed to be a Gym here, right?” Derak asked Garth.

“Yes,” Garth nodded, having evidently recovered from his earlier troubles. “It is reputed as being quite difficult, however. The Gym Leader is clearly no fool.”

“Won’t know until I see for myself, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well just give it a shot now. If I lose, I can just try again.”

“Need I remind you that time is of the essence?” Garth growled. “There is no telling when Stoutland will attack again, so we should proceed through your damn Gyms as quickly as possible!”

“Easy on the language, there’s children present,” Derak sighed. “Oh, was I putting my needs ahead of yours again? So sorry, it’ll happen another thousand or so times considering that I actually have MY OWN needs to worry about.”

“Just go to the Gym and get it over with,” Garth groaned, bemoaning Derak’s sarcastic demeanor.

“Whatever,” Derak said.

As the Gym came into view, marked with a “GYM” logo, Derak wordlessly entered. Upon doing so, he found himself in a somewhat darkened room illuminated only by a slew of ceiling lights. At the opposing end of the arena was a colossal, muscular man with spiky blonde hair. His clothing consisted of a green undershirt and camouflage-patterned pants. The evident Gym Leader smirked upon seeing Derak.

“Well, look what we have here!” the man boomed. “A little baby trainer!”

“…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

“Welcome to the Vermillion Gym, baby!” chuckled the man. “Name’s Lieutenant Surge, and I run the show around here. Think you can get the Thunder Badge from me, do ya? Show me what ya got in a one-on-one Pokemon battle! Unless, that is, you’re too chicken!”

So this is what Melissa would have been like if she was born a boy, Derak thought. Making no effort to respond to Surge’s taunts, he simply removed Brute’s Pokeball and released his Machop. In response, Surge threw out a Pokeball revealing a large, orange-bodied mouse-like Pokemon with a long black tail tipped by a lightning bolt.

“Raaaii,” the mouse growled, the yellow circles on its cheeks sparking with electricity as it narrowed its beady eyes.

“Raichu,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Mouse Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Pikachu. Its tail discharges electricity into the ground, protecting it from getting shocked. Pikachu evolves into Raichu upon exposure to a Thunder Stone.”

Raichu evidently shared its trainer’s cocky demeanor. It smirked at Brute, attempting to intimidate the muscular Pokemon by lashing its tail against the ground, scattering electrical sparks on contact. Had Brute any true eyebrows to speak of, it would have raised one. This could be a tricky match, that much was for certain.

“Ready to do this, Brute?” Derak asked, receiving an affirmative nod. “Okay, then. Use Vacuum Wave!”

*****

Outside, as Derak waged battle against Surge, Garth sighed. That boy was almost more trouble than he was worth. But he had to use the boy. The supreme irony of turning one relative against another was simply too delicious a dish to let pass.

“I suppose we should begin training, then,” Garth said to his Electivire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. He summoned his Electric-type, which promptly let out a frightening cry. All faces instantly turned towards Garth.

“What’s your problem?!” one person yelled.

“We need to train,” Garth replied. “Unless you would like to paint targets on your bodies, I suggest you all leave. Now.”

“Vire,” Electivire added, its antennae sparking as it clenched its fists.

The people obeyed, slowly backing into the safety of places such as nearby allies or their homes. Only one person remained, slowly applauding Garth’s display. The latter’s eyes widened upon seeing who it was.

Nathaniel Draykus himself.

“Bravo,” Draykus said with a smirk. “I expected no less of you.”

“You,” Garth snarled, his every syllable containing untold amounts of loathing. He recalled his Electivire, wishing to deal with this intruder himself. “How are you still alive?”

“The same way that you are, I’d wager,” Draykus replied. “But as much as I would love to catch up on old times, I have business to attend to. Pleasure to see you again.”

Draykus made to leave, but Garth snatched one arm, holding Orre’s governor in place.

“You will NOT escape this time!” Garth growled. “You need to pay for what you did to me, to my home!”

“Is that so?” Draykus said without an ounce of concern in his voice.

Then, in one swift motion, he grabbed his aggressor’s arm and threw him with such strength that Garth crashed into a lamppost with enough force to significantly bend it.

“Your talk of vengeance is amusing, but pointless,” Draykus said, dusting himself off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Garth bared his teeth, the flames of his rage fanned by Draykus’ words. With wrathful roar, he leapt at Draykus, who avoided Garth’s assault by somehow leaping atop a nearby roof.

“Get back here, you coward!” Garth bellowed, his body jumping upon the roof as well.

“Ah, I see you’ve been training yourself as much as I have,” Draykus remarked.

“The thought of your bleeding face underneath my heel is an excellent motivator,” Garth replied bitterly, lunging for Draykus again. This time, Draykus deftly avoided his attacker’s outstretched hand and slammed his fist into Garth’s stomach, forcing the air out of the cloaked man’s lungs. Draykus followed up with a quick palm strike to Garth’s chest, knocking the cloaked trainer back to the street with a mighty roundhouse kick.

“Is that all?” Draykus taunted, performing another superhuman leap as he came down to street level. “I thought one of your heritage would be a better fighter.”

Another roar pierced the sky, but this one was not from Garth. The vengeful man’s eyes widened as he realized the roar’s true source. Draykus simply smirked and straightened his suit.

“Ah, finally,” he said. “Now I can get what I truly came for.”

“OVER MY DEAD BODY, FILTH!” Garth bellowed, lunging for Draykus. With a sigh, Draykus pulled something out of his pocket and jabbed it into Garth’s stomach. The object pierced Garth’s skin, glinting viciously as blood trickled over it.

“Not a very fast learner, are you?” Draykus said as he withdrew the knife from Garth’s body, unceremoniously shoving him onto the pavement.

What happened next would astound anyone who saw it. Garth’s wound stopped bleeding, and then stitched itself together. In moments, Garth’s flesh appeared as if it had never been stabbed at all. Draykus, although indeed astounded, recovered quickly with a smirk.

“Ah, I see now,” Draykus said. “Let me test a theory I just thought of.”

Shockingly, Draykus then thrust his knife into his own stomach, only for his own wounds to heal just as quickly upon the knife’s removal. The governor’s smirk grew wider.

“Well, then,” Draykus smirked, “it seems that your petty revenge is indeed pointless…seeing as neither of us can ever die.”

“I am willing to test that theory,” Garth growled. An explosion of darkness just outside Vermillion City, however, prevented Garth from attacking again.

“That appears to be my cue,” Draykus said, removing a Pokeball from his pocket. “Conkeldurr, advance!”

Draykus’ Pokeball revealed a beefy sepia-colored Pokemon with a body covered in purple, vein-like bulges. Its round head possessed a pointed grey beard, a spherical red nose, and a bulb of skin that emerged from the top of its head. In each of the Pokemon’s massive hands was a large concrete pillar, held in a manner similar to that of walking canes.

“You? With a Conkeldurr?” Garth snorted.

“An old acquaintance of mine got quite a bit of use out of a Conkeldurr,” Draykus shrugged. “I figured I may as well see for myself how good it really is. I’m proud to say that it has yet to disappoint me.”

Another shadowy explosion, this one much closer to the city, erupted into the air. Draykus reacted by smirking yet again.

“But enough talk,” he said. “I have an ultimate weapon to acquire.”

“You keep your filthy hands off of—” Garth began to object, but Conkeldurr silenced him by clubbing him with one of its pillars, knocking him unconscious.

“Thank you, Conkeldurr,” Draykus said. “Now, prepare yourself. It’s time to truly experience Stoutland’s power first-hand.”

“Keldurr,” nodded Conkeldurr.

One more dark explosion came, this one just inside the city. This time, a familiar blob of darkness burst from the explosion and landed a short distance away from Draykus and his Conkeldurr. The darkness faded to reveal Stoutland, slaver dripping from its fanged mouth as it snapped viciously at its newest foe.

“At last,” Draykus whispered with a smirk. He then raised his voice for his first command. “Conkeldurr, use Fake Out!”

Conkeldurr responded by using its pillars to propel itself into the air, looking down as it noticed Stoutland advancing on its trainer. Continuing the execution of its move, Conkeldurr threw its pillars down, aiming in such a way that the pillars would slam down in front of Stoutland. The strategy worked well, the pillars having landed with enough force to generate a small wind that slightly pushed Stoutland back. The Normal-type, however, simply gave its head a shake and growled, ready to continue.

“Follow up with Dynamicpunch!” Draykus ordered.

Though initially still in the air, Conkeldurr soon plummeted down rapidly, one fist becoming surrounded with a bullet-like whirlwind of red energy. To counter, Stoutland once again surrounded itself with darkness, rocketing up to meet Conkeldurr. The latter Pokemon was taken by surprise at this aggressive turn of events, but before it could turn the tables again, Stoutland’s dark blob slammed into it with devastating force, knocking Conkeldurr to the ground. To make matters worse, the blob actually barreled down towards Conkeldurr, which only had a wide-eyed gasp on its face when Stoutland crashed down into it. When the dust settled, Stoutland’s dark blob form was seen bounding away, leaving behind a defeated Conkeldurr within a large crater.

“Incredible,” Draykus gasped. “Conkeldurr was defeated so easily…it seems I’ll need to try a different tactic.”

A groan of anguish reached Draykus’ ears as Garth reawakened. The governor of Orre simply recalled Conkeldurr, whose concrete pillars somehow vanished along with it as it was returned to its Pokeball.

“Now, then,” Draykus said, turning to Garth. “I assume you’ll also be pursuing that particular Stoutland. But I have no intention of letting such power run free.”

“I will die before I let you have Stoutland!” Garth spat, struggling to get up.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Draykus smirked. “Until our next meeting, Garth Alburus Cesslon IV.”

With that, Draykus left, Garth still attempting in vain to rise.

“That vile man will pay for this,” Garth growled as he got up on one knee.

“Who are you swearing an overdramatic vengeance to now?”

Garth’s gaze turned to Derak, who was leaning on the wall of the Gym.

“Nothing of your concern,” Garth spat.

“It probably would concern me, actually,” Derak retorted, “seeing as you look like you were run over by a train with feet. What happened while I was in the Gym?”

“I will explain later,” Garth sighed. “Did you get the badge?”

“Yep,” Derak said, opening his badge case and showing Garth a badge resembling a cartoonish sun. “I was told the next Gym was in Celadon City. The Leader here said that Celadon Gym was Grass-type.”

“Then you may have a chance with that Chimchar of yours,” Garth nodded. “Come. We should be on our way.”

As they began to depart Vermillion City, however, Garth silently gritted his teeth. Draykus would never get his filthy hands on Stoutland…not while he was alive.

This was his vow.

****

The Great Butler
6th August 2012, 9:27 AM
Chapter 11: Bitter Reunions




A day after their encounter with Aiden in the hidden village, Derak and Garth entered Vermillion City. In this rather populated city, people passed by in personal journeys of their own. Derak paid little attention to them, however. What mattered to him was his own journey.

“There’s supposed to be a Gym here, right?” Derak asked Garth.

“Yes,” Garth nodded, having evidently recovered from his earlier troubles. “It is reputed as being quite difficult, however. The Gym Leader is clearly no fool.”

“Won’t know until I see for myself, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well just give it a shot now. If I lose, I can just try again.”

“Need I remind you that time is of the essence?” Garth growled. “There is no telling when Stoutland will attack again, so we should proceed through your damn Gyms as quickly as possible!”

Well, someone sure is cranky today. I'd imagine that what happened last chapter really shook him up, though, so it's kind of understandable.


“Easy on the language, there’s children present,” Derak sighed. “Oh, was I putting my needs ahead of yours again? So sorry, it’ll happen another thousand or so times considering that I actually have MY OWN needs to worry about.”

“Just go to the Gym and get it over with,” Garth groaned, bemoaning Derak’s sarcastic demeanor.

“Whatever,” Derak said.

As the Gym came into view, marked with a “GYM” logo, Derak wordlessly entered. Upon doing so, he found himself in a somewhat darkened room illuminated only by a slew of ceiling lights. At the opposing end of the arena was a colossal, muscular man with spiky blonde hair. His clothing consisted of a green undershirt and camouflage-patterned pants. The evident Gym Leader smirked upon seeing Derak.

“Well, look what we have here!” the man boomed. “A little baby trainer!”

Oh boy, here we go. It's this version of Lt. Surge... ah, the nostalgia.


“…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

“Welcome to the Vermillion Gym, baby!” chuckled the man. “Name’s Lieutenant Surge, and I run the show around here. Think you can get the Thunder Badge from me, do ya? Show me what ya got in a one-on-one Pokemon battle! Unless, that is, you’re too chicken!”

So this is what Melissa would have been like if she was born a boy, Derak thought. Making no effort to respond to Surge’s taunts, he simply removed Brute’s Pokeball and released his Machop. In response, Surge threw out a Pokeball revealing a large, orange-bodied mouse-like Pokemon with a long black tail tipped by a lightning bolt.

“Raaaii,” the mouse growled, the yellow circles on its cheeks sparking with electricity as it narrowed its beady eyes.

“Raichu,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Mouse Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Pikachu. Its tail discharges electricity into the ground, protecting it from getting shocked. Pikachu evolves into Raichu upon exposure to a Thunder Stone.”

Raichu evidently shared its trainer’s cocky demeanor. It smirked at Brute, attempting to intimidate the muscular Pokemon by lashing its tail against the ground, scattering electrical sparks on contact. Had Brute any true eyebrows to speak of, it would have raised one. This could be a tricky match, that much was for certain.

“Ready to do this, Brute?” Derak asked, receiving an affirmative nod. “Okay, then. Use Vacuum Wave!”

Judging from all the nostalgia to this point, I get the feeling we're going to see a very intense fight, if nothing else.


Outside, as Derak waged battle against Surge, Garth sighed. That boy was almost more trouble than he was worth. But he had to use the boy. The supreme irony of turning one relative against another was simply too delicious a dish to let pass.

I'm still not sure if Garth is someone to be trusted. Stuff like this really makes me wonder...


I suppose we should begin training, then,” Garth said to his Electivire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. He summoned his Electric-type, which promptly let out a frightening cry. All faces instantly turned towards Garth.

“What’s your problem?!” one person yelled.

“We need to train,” Garth replied. “Unless you would like to paint targets on your bodies, I suggest you all leave. Now.”

“Vire,” Electivire added, its antennae sparking as it clenched its fists.

The people obeyed, slowly backing into the safety of places such as nearby allies or their homes. Only one person remained, slowly applauding Garth’s display. The latter’s eyes widened upon seeing who it was.

Well, that was unusual. What startled them so much?


Nathaniel Draykus himself.

“Bravo,” Draykus said with a smirk. “I expected no less of you.”

“You,” Garth snarled, his every syllable containing untold amounts of loathing. He recalled his Electivire, wishing to deal with this intruder himself. “How are you still alive?”

“The same way that you are, I’d wager,” Draykus replied. “But as much as I would love to catch up on old times, I have business to attend to. Pleasure to see you again.”

Draykus made to leave, but Garth snatched one arm, holding Orre’s governor in place.

“You will NOT escape this time!” Garth growled. “You need to pay for what you did to me, to my home!”

Ooh, foreshadowing. I guess I wasn't so far off when I said Draykus seemed completely and unabashedly evil?


“Is that so?” Draykus said without an ounce of concern in his voice.

Then, in one swift motion, he grabbed his aggressor’s arm and threw him with such strength that Garth crashed into a lamppost with enough force to significantly bend it.

“Your talk of vengeance is amusing, but pointless,” Draykus said, dusting himself off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Garth bared his teeth, the flames of his rage fanned by Draykus’ words. With wrathful roar, he leapt at Draykus, who avoided Garth’s assault by somehow leaping atop a nearby roof.

“Get back here, you coward!” Garth bellowed, his body jumping upon the roof as well.

“Ah, I see you’ve been training yourself as much as I have,” Draykus remarked.

Neither of these two are normal, are they? Most people don't just jump up onto a roof from the street like it's nothing.

You missed an "a" in "With a wrathful roar."


“The thought of your bleeding face underneath my heel is an excellent motivator,” Garth replied bitterly, lunging for Draykus again. This time, Draykus deftly avoided his attacker’s outstretched hand and slammed his fist into Garth’s stomach, forcing the air out of the cloaked man’s lungs. Draykus followed up with a quick palm strike to Garth’s chest, knocking the cloaked trainer back to the street with a mighty roundhouse kick.

“Is that all?” Draykus taunted, performing another superhuman leap as he came down to street level. “I thought one of your heritage would be a better fighter.”

Another roar pierced the sky, but this one was not from Garth. The vengeful man’s eyes widened as he realized the roar’s true source. Draykus simply smirked and straightened his suit.

“Ah, finally,” he said. “Now I can get what I truly came for.”

“OVER MY DEAD BODY, FILTH!” Garth bellowed, lunging for Draykus. With a sigh, Draykus pulled something out of his pocket and jabbed it into Garth’s stomach. The object pierced Garth’s skin, glinting viciously as blood trickled over it.

“Not a very fast learner, are you?” Draykus said as he withdrew the knife from Garth’s body, unceremoniously shoving him onto the pavement.

What happened next would astound anyone who saw it. Garth’s wound stopped bleeding, and then stitched itself together. In moments, Garth’s flesh appeared as if it had never been stabbed at all. Draykus, although indeed astounded, recovered quickly with a smirk.

Okay, what the **** is going on? I mean that in a good way - you completely caught me off guard with this whole thing, and it opens a whole new range of possibilities for Garth and Draykus.


“Ah, I see now,” Draykus said. “Let me test a theory I just thought of.”

Shockingly, Draykus then thrust his knife into his own stomach, only for his own wounds to heal just as quickly upon the knife’s removal. The governor’s smirk grew wider.

“Well, then,” Draykus smirked, “it seems that your petty revenge is indeed pointless…seeing as neither of us can ever die.”

Well then... my mind is certainly working on solving the mystery of these two, that's for sure.


“I am willing to test that theory,” Garth growled. An explosion of darkness just outside Vermillion City, however, prevented Garth from attacking again.

“That appears to be my cue,” Draykus said, removing a Pokeball from his pocket. “Conkeldurr, advance!”

Draykus’ Pokeball revealed a beefy sepia-colored Pokemon with a body covered in purple, vein-like bulges. Its round head possessed a pointed grey beard, a spherical red nose, and a bulb of skin that emerged from the top of its head. In each of the Pokemon’s massive hands was a large concrete pillar, held in a manner similar to that of walking canes.

“You? With a Conkeldurr?” Garth snorted.

“An old acquaintance of mine got quite a bit of use out of a Conkeldurr,” Draykus shrugged. “I figured I may as well see for myself how good it really is. I’m proud to say that it has yet to disappoint me.”

Conkeldurr suits hiim, but what intrigues me is just who his "old acquaintance" is. It's someone who's going to surprise me, isn't it?

I'm also reminded of my near-flawless Conkeldurr nicknamed Bane that I bred in the game. Draykus is not kidding about how useful they are.


Another shadowy explosion, this one much closer to the city, erupted into the air. Draykus reacted by smirking yet again.

“But enough talk,” he said. “I have an ultimate weapon to acquire.”

“You keep your filthy hands off of—” Garth began to object, but Conkeldurr silenced him by clubbing him with one of its pillars, knocking him unconscious.

“Thank you, Conkeldurr,” Draykus said. “Now, prepare yourself. It’s time to truly experience Stoutland’s power first-hand.”

Okay, so Draykus isn't behind Stoutland, but he wants to capture it, and Garth is trying to stop anyone who wants to capture Stoutland. That helps frame a few things, but it also raises more questions, namely, just who or what is behind all of this?


“Keldurr,” nodded Conkeldurr.

One more dark explosion came, this one just inside the city. This time, a familiar blob of darkness burst from the explosion and landed a short distance away from Draykus and his Conkeldurr. The darkness faded to reveal Stoutland, slaver dripping from its fanged mouth as it snapped viciously at its newest foe.

“At last,” Draykus whispered with a smirk. He then raised his voice for his first command. “Conkeldurr, use Fake Out!”

Conkeldurr responded by using its pillars to propel itself into the air, looking down as it noticed Stoutland advancing on its trainer. Continuing the execution of its move, Conkeldurr threw its pillars down, aiming in such a way that the pillars would slam down in front of Stoutland. The strategy worked well, the pillars having landed with enough force to generate a small wind that slightly pushed Stoutland back. The Normal-type, however, simply gave its head a shake and growled, ready to continue.

“Follow up with Dynamicpunch!” Draykus ordered.

Though initially still in the air, Conkeldurr soon plummeted down rapidly, one fist becoming surrounded with a bullet-like whirlwind of red energy. To counter, Stoutland once again surrounded itself with darkness, rocketing up to meet Conkeldurr. The latter Pokemon was taken by surprise at this aggressive turn of events, but before it could turn the tables again, Stoutland’s dark blob slammed into it with devastating force, knocking Conkeldurr to the ground. To make matters worse, the blob actually barreled down towards Conkeldurr, which only had a wide-eyed gasp on its face when Stoutland crashed down into it. When the dust settled, Stoutland’s dark blob form was seen bounding away, leaving behind a defeated Conkeldurr within a large crater.

“Incredible,” Draykus gasped. “Conkeldurr was defeated so easily…it seems I’ll need to try a different tactic.”

Serves you right, you creep. You had it coming.

I do wonder how anyone can hope to stop this Stoutland thing though...


A groan of anguish reached Draykus’ ears as Garth reawakened. The governor of Orre simply recalled Conkeldurr, whose concrete pillars somehow vanished along with it as it was returned to its Pokeball.

“Now, then,” Draykus said, turning to Garth. “I assume you’ll also be pursuing that particular Stoutland. But I have no intention of letting such power run free.”

“I will die before I let you have Stoutland!” Garth spat, struggling to get up.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Draykus smirked. “Until our next meeting, Garth Alburus Cesslon IV.”

With that, Draykus left, Garth still attempting in vain to rise.

“That vile man will pay for this,” Garth growled as he got up on one knee.

“Who are you swearing an overdramatic vengeance to now?”

Garth’s gaze turned to Derak, who was leaning on the wall of the Gym.

Somehow I get the feeling it was a good thing that Derak wasn't around for what just happened.

Is it correct to assume that Draykus is not a well-known figure in Kanto? I mean, he is a politician, and a powerful one at that, but he can pull off things like the above incident and not seem to be terribly noticed for it.


“Nothing of your concern,” Garth spat.

“It probably would concern me, actually,” Derak retorted, “seeing as you look like you were run over by a train with feet. What happened while I was in the Gym?”

“I will explain later,” Garth sighed. “Did you get the badge?”

“Yep,” Derak said, opening his badge case and showing Garth a badge resembling a cartoonish sun. “I was told the next Gym was in Celadon City. The Leader here said that Celadon Gym was Grass-type.”

“Then you may have a chance with that Chimchar of yours,” Garth nodded. “Come. We should be on our way.”

As they began to depart Vermillion City, however, Garth silently gritted his teeth. Draykus would never get his filthy hands on Stoutland…not while he was alive.

This was his vow.

****

Hmmm, so the Gym battle was offscreen? I suppose that's a different way to go about it. Will we see flashbacks to it later, perhaps?

A short chapter, but a very interesting one. Garth and Draykus having their showdown was certainly something worth seeing, and while some questions were answered about them, many other things were raised. I'm already thinking about possible explanations of just what is going on with the two of them, and also, who Draykus's associate was that got a lot of use out of a Conkeldurr.

I'm not sure how I feel about offscreen Gym battles, though. The fight between Derak and Lt. Surge had potential to be extremely interesting, so I guess I'm a little disappointed it was skipped. What it was skipped for, on the other hand, was actually very entertaining, so I don't know.

Morpher01
12th August 2012, 3:59 AM
The Great Butler:
Well, someone sure is cranky today. I'd imagine that what happened last chapter really shook him up, though, so it's kind of understandable.

Also, this is Garth we're talking about...XD


Neither of these two are normal, are they? Most people don't just jump up onto a roof from the street like it's nothing.

You missed an "a" in "With a wrathful roar."

You'll find out just what exactly makes Garth and Draykus so unique in due time.

Also, noted. I think I managed to fix problems like that in the next chapter.


Conkeldurr suits hiim, but what intrigues me is just who his "old acquaintance" is. It's someone who's going to surprise me, isn't it?

I'm also reminded of my near-flawless Conkeldurr nicknamed Bane that I bred in the game. Draykus is not kidding about how useful they are.

The "old aquaintance" will only be getting a mention, but is nonetheless someone who is going to surprise you.

And why am I not surprised that you named your Conkeldurr "Bane"? XD


Is it correct to assume that Draykus is not a well-known figure in Kanto? I mean, he is a politician, and a powerful one at that, but he can pull off things like the above incident and not seem to be terribly noticed for it.

Pretty much. I can't really say a lot without spoiling, though. XD


I'm not sure how I feel about offscreen Gym battles, though. The fight between Derak and Lt. Surge had potential to be extremely interesting, so I guess I'm a little disappointed it was skipped. What it was skipped for, on the other hand, was actually very entertaining, so I don't know.

Eh...my main goal with that was to put some variety into the chapters. I felt that, if the same pattern of "go-into-town-and-battle-Gym-Leader" kept up, the story would get fairly repetitive and/or dull. So I tried to spice it up by having a Gym battle done off-screen, so to speak, and subbed in plot material like the Garth-Draykus encounter. I don't yet have any plans to skip future Gym battles, though.



Okay, next chapter...this one introduces one of my favorite rival characters. You'll see...





Chapter 12: Lavender Town



Several days passed since the events of Vermillion City, where Garth encountered Governor Draykus and was made aware of the latter’s desire to capture Stoutland. Derak’s traveling companion, however, was not the only one to be aware. Due to Stoutland’s wild behavior, news footage of the encounter’s results was broadcast all across the Kanto region.

A particular receiver of the news was a familiar figure who remained in Cerulean City, his Infernape by his side. From within the Pokemon Center, Nick Spire observed the news footage of the catastrophic damage left by Stoutland’s rampage, as well as the crater Draykus’ Conkeldurr had made upon its defeat.

“Boy…how did we get into this mess, Infernape?” Spire groaned. “How in the world am I going to tell Anoch that his son is in such danger? There’s no way Derak would listen to me after what happened with you and his Chimchar, and I can’t force him to come back as long as he’s with that strange cloaked man.”

“Fernape,” Infernape grunted, squatting by its trainer’s side.

“But…I can’t give up now,” Spire said. “I can’t go back to Anoch empty-handed. I need to bring Derak back somehow, and I think I might have an idea. I just need to find out where he is.”

*****

Derak and Garth’s next leg of their journey was a quaint little town dubbed “Lavender Town”, filled with small wooden houses and wizened people who traversed the streets. As Derak and Garth crossed into the small town, they were in the midst of a conversation regarding their respective battles in Vermillion City. Dusk was beginning to set on them, and Bug Pokemon began to buzz and chirp as if to herald its coming.

“Wait, back up,” Derak said, stopping for a moment. “You’re telling me that Orre’s governor is here in Kanto…looking for that crazy Stoutland?”

“Exactly,” Garth nodded. “I expected no less of him.”

“How do you know Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “You talk like you’ve known him for years.”

Garth paused, as if realizing that he had spoken too much.

“If I told you…you would most likely not believe me,” Garth replied. “Now, come. We must reach Lavender Town’s Pokemon Center before nightfall.”

Derak gave a shrug and accompanied Garth to the familiar “P”-bearing building, where the resident Nurse Joy greeted them with a friendly smile. Derak blinked for a moment, trying to figure out just how all the Nurse Joys looked exactly the same, but after a moment of effort he gave up. Some mysteries of the universe were simply never meant to be unraveled.

He handed Wildfire and Brute’s Pokeballs to Nurse Joy and collapsed in a chair, attempting to piece together the facts. Governor Nathaniel Draykus had completely abandoned his office in order to capture an unusually powerful and aggressive Stoutland. Garth Cesslon somehow knew of both Draykus and Stoutland, and professed a desire to stop them. Despite already having this knowledge, Derak’s attempts to uncover the entire story were like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.

His thoughts were interrupted by a flash of white light from outside. Recognizing it as the signature flash caused by the opening of a Pokeball, he got up and poked his head out the door. Noticing Derak’s sudden curiosity, Garth came to investigate as well.

Two trainers were facing each other on the street, each using a serpentine Pokemon. One trainer used a slender-bodied Pokemon with a tan front and a green back, the tail ending in a three-pronged green leaf. The Pokemon’s thin arms crossed as its large amber eyes gazed rather condescendingly at its opponent, a Pokemon resembling a purple rattlesnake with a yellow ring around its torso and a yellow rattle at the end of its tail.

“Snivy,” Derak’s Pokedex reported upon observing the green serpent, “the Grass Snake Pokemon. Type is Grass. Snivy exposes its tail to plenty of sunlight, which makes its movements swifter. It is intelligent and calm, but if it is not feeling well, its tail droops.”

“Ekans,” the Dex said upon being pointed at the purple snake, “the Snake Pokemon. Type is Poison. It sneaks through grass without making a sound and strikes its opponents from behind.”

“Hey, you with the Snivy,” Derak called. “Not trying to interrupt, but your Pokemon looks kinda familiar…is it related to something called Serperior, by any chance?”

“Yeah,” Snivy’s trainer nodded. “Snivy evolves into Serperior.”

“Okay, just making sure,” Derak nodded. “I kinda had a hunch.”

Ekans’ trainer was a face Derak had not yet seen: the greasy-haired boy who had observed Derak’s victory over the Pewter Gym. The boy smirked at this convenient appearance, but decided to put aside that matter until this battle was finished.

“Wait a moment,” Garth said to Derak. “How do you, of all people, know what a Serperior is?”

“Tell you what,” Derak replied, “you tell me your story, I might tell you mine.”

“Okay, Snivy, let’s get on with the battle!” cried the Grass-type’s trainer. “Use Tackle!”

Given Snivy’s rather small limbs, running was not a particularly valid option. Instead, the Grass Snake Pokemon agilely sprang forward, nimbly approaching Ekans. The greasy-haired trainer in the tattered blue suit simply smirked and waited for Snivy to approach. And then, in a cultured voice, he gave a command.

“Ekans, use Wrap,” the boy ordered.

Just as Snivy came near, Ekans coiled itself around the Grass-type, constricting Snivy with as much force as it could muster. Snivy did its best to avoid crying out in torment, but a few grunts of pain nonetheless escaped its clenched teeth.

“Hey, let Snivy go!” protested the Grass-type’s trainer.

“If you insist,” Ekans’ trainer smirked. Rather than give an order for his Poison-type to do so, however, he instead gave a snap of his fingers. Despite this unorthodox command, Ekans obeyed by rapidly uncoiling itself while simultaneously twisting its body, flinging Snivy into the air.

“Snivy, no!” cried the Grass Snake Pokemon’s trainer.

“And now, it is time to bring this to a close,” the greasy-haired trainer said. “Ekans, use Sludge Bomb!”

Ekans reared up its head and spat a wad of slime at the airborne Snivy. The slime exploded in a burst of ooze upon contact with Snivy’s body, sending the Grass-type plummeting back onto the ground. The Grass Snake landed by its trainer’s feet, covered in slime and completely unconscious.

“It would appear you have lost this battle,” Ekans’ trainer remarked. “I do thank you for the brief warm-up, however. It will most certainly aid me in future battles.”

Snivy’s trainer did not respond, instead taking his fallen Pokemon in his arms and rushing into the Pokemon Center. Ekans’ trainer merely recalled his Pokemon, placing its Pokeball back onto his belt. Upon closer inspection, Derak noticed that, while Ekans’ Pokeball was the normal red, the greasy-haired boy had two other Pokeballs on hand. One was blue, like that of Sarah’s Squirtle, and the other was green, much like the Pokeball that contained Melissa’s Turtwig.

“I must admit…Derak Kadir, was it?” the blue-suited boy said. “I was quite looking forward to our inevitable encounter. It appears that our journeys have finally intertwined.”

“Uh…how do you know me?” Derak blinked. “And who the heck are you?”

“Ah, where are my manners?” chuckled the blue-suited boy. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Elliot Trey. I am, like yourself, a Pokemon trainer. As such, I would greatly enjoy a battle between the two of us.”

“Ugh…is battling all that anyone ever thinks about?” Derak sighed.

“That is how the world works, I’m afraid,” Elliot shrugged. “If you win, you gain more experience. Should I emerge as the victor, then I will have more experience. Either way, this is—as they say—a ‘win-win’ situation. Now…shall we?”

“Might as well, I guess,” Derak sighed. As he moved into position a distance away from Elliot, Garth remained on the sidelines by the Pokemon Center. “Brute, let’s go!”

Like always, Brute emerged from his Pokeball in a flash of light. The second he materialized, however, he caught sight of Elliot. The mere sight of this mysterious trainer caused the normally-calm Brute to begin growling with rage.

“H-hey, Brute, what’s wrong?” Derak stammered.

“Haven’t forgotten me, have you?” Elliot smirked at Brute. “I must say, I’m quite touched.”

“What are you talking about?” Derak asked.

“Perhaps I should explain in detail,” Elliot said. “You found this Machop around Pewter City, correct? As I recall, that was where I…how shall I say…left it to the Mightyenas.”

“Wait…YOU’RE the one who abandoned Brute?!” Derak snarled. Garth clenched his fist and bared his teeth, also angered by this revelation. “Why would you do that?! He was a strong Pokemon and a loyal friend, right?!”

“True enough,” Elliot said, “but quite simply…I grew bored with it.”

“THAT is your justification?” Garth growled. “You ‘grew bored’ with it?! And you call yourself a trainer!”

“Ah, thank you for reminding me,” Elliot said cheerfully, preparing his blue Pokeball. “On to the battle. Piplup, fight!”

Elliot’s blue Pokeball released a small blue penguin-like Pokemon. Its light blue body, patterned similarly to a tuxedo, stood on tiny yellow feet. Its round head was primarily a darker blue, and its white face played host to two blue eyes and a short yellow beak. The penguin proudly placed one of its small, pale blue wings on its front, puffing out its chest in a display of arrogance.

“Piplup,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Penguin Pokemon. Type is Water. Due to being a poor walker, it often falls down. Its strong pride, however, makes it puff up its chest without a care.”

“Now, shall we begin?” Elliot smirked. “Piplup, use Stealth Rock.”

Piplup formed several small stars around it, which became comets that shot towards Brute. Despite this impending attack, however, the Machop did not move, instead steeling its gaze. It recognized this tactic.

“Brute, what are you doing, get out of the way!” Derak cried, only to watch the comets swerve past Brute and embed themselves in the ground. “Uh…wait…what just happened?”

“Do not underestimate Stealth Rock,” Garth growled. “It will—”

“Now, now, no need to spoil the surprise,” Elliot interrupted. “Come, Derak, it’s time to make your move.”

“Oh, we will,” Derak growled. “Brute, use Karate Chop!”

Brute lunged forward with one arm drawn back, but Piplup somehow managed to avoid it by somersaulting backwards, evidently working around its walking problems. The Karate Chop instead struck the ground, leaving its penguin target untouched.

“Is that unpleasant demeanor of yours really necessary?” Elliot said with a somewhat arrogant smirk.

“Uh, yeah!” Derak snapped. “You abandoned someone who’s supposed to be your friend!”

“As I said before, I grew bored with Machop,” Elliot explained with a shrug.

“THAT’S NO EXCUSE!” Derak roared, drastically breaking his regular composure. “You’re supposed to make friends with Pokemon, not just throw them around like your toys! I don’t even know half of what there is to know about Pokemon, and even I know better than you!”

Elliot’s smirk faded away, and his brown eye began to twitch.

“Well?!” Derak yelled. “You going to try and justify being an idiot, now?!”

“I don’t need to justify a thing for you, Kadir,” Elliot snarled, his voice becoming gruffer and losing its cultured tone.

“WHAT DO YOU—wait, what’s…what’s up with your voice?” Derak asked.

“Piip?” Piplup chirped as it looked up at its trainer with concern.

“WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!” Elliot roared at his Piplup, whipping out its Pokeball and recalling his starter. “Get the hell out of my sight!”

“What the heck are you doing?” Derak asked. “I thought you wanted to battle me?”

“I do,” Elliot growled. “Piplup is just Elliot’s preferred starter.”

“Uh…you ARE Elliot,” Derak said.

“Call me Jason,” Elliot growled. “Elliot and I are a two-in-one sort of thing.”

“A split personality?” Garth remarked.

“What’s it to you, old man?!” the Jason personality barked. He then jerked his head back to the battlefield, preparing the green Pokeball. “Treecko, fight!”

The Pokemon from the green Pokeball was drastically different from the Piplup Elliot had previously used. It appeared to be a bipedal green lizard with a red stomach and lower jaw, with yellow reptilian eyes that radiated a desire for battle. The Pokemon flicked its dark green tail in anticipation.

“Treecko,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Wood Gecko Pokemon. Type is Grass. The soles of its feet are covered by countless tiny spikes, enabling it to walk on walls and ceilings.”

“How do you have two starter Pokemon, let alone two Pokemon from completely different regions?” Garth asked.

“Less talk, more fighting!” Jason roared. “Treecko, Pound!”

Treecko leapt forward and quickly swung its tail around, clubbing Brute in the side of the head and instantly flooring it. Brute gave its head a shake and tried to get up, only to find Treecko suddenly standing over it.

“Pound again!” Jason yelled. “And again!”

Shockingly, Treecko actually smirked as it complied with Jason’s orders, viciously slamming its tail into Brute’s body multiple times. Brute winced every time the Grass-type struck it, feeling an increasingly greater pain every time Treecko struck the same area. Derak’s eyes went wide at this merciless display.

“Hey, stop it!” Derak cried. “Brute, return!”

Fortunately, the red beam from the Pokeball withdrew Brute in time to prevent Treecko from injuring it further.

“Okay, that was completely uncalled for!” Derak cried.

“Tough,” Jason spat. “You can’t take the heat, you get out of the freaking kitchen.”

At that point, however, Jason’s blue eye twitched. The confident smirk returned, signifying Elliot’s return to dominance.

“Ah…my apologies for Jason’s behavior,” Elliot said, straightening his grimy-looking suit. “You see, we share a goal of attaining ultimate strength, and we would greatly appreciate the rapid removal of obstacles.”

“Why do you want to be strong so badly?” Derak asked.

“Ah-ah-ah!” Elliot smirked, waggling his finger. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out. I will give you a hint: it has nothing to do with ludicrous things like becoming a Pokemon Master or a Top Coordinator. Titles like that mean virtually nothing to me. Now…shall we continue our battle in style?”

“In style?” Derak repeated.

“What do you say to a double battle?” Elliot proposed. “My Piplup and Treecko against your two Pokemon. Will you accept?”

“You really think I’m letting you get away with what you did to Brute?” Derak growled. “Wildfire, Brute, come on out!”

Derak’s two Pokemon materialized as usual, but the moment they did so, massive rocks burst from the areas where the comets from Piplup’s Stealth Rock had landed earlier. The rocks levitated out of the ground and slammed into Wildfire’s body, greatly weakening it. Brute suffered a similar fate, albeit with less effect than Wildfire.

“That is the effect of Stealth Rock,” Elliot explained. “Switching Pokemon becomes quite risky, as you have seen. And should a Pokemon be weak against Rock-type attacks…”

“…the more damage Stealth Rock does, right?” Derak asked, noting that the bruises the Stealth Rock left on Wildfire were larger and darker than those on Brute.

“Now you’re learning,” Elliot smirked. “Shall we begin? Piplup, fight!”

Piplup reappeared, this time alongside Treecko. Though the two starter Pokemon exchanged a quick glare, they turned back to Derak’s Pokemon, evidently putting up a temporary truce.

“Now the battle shall begin in earnest,” Elliot said, his smirk widening into a sinister grin. “Piplup, use Bubblebeam on Chimchar! Treecko, use Bullet Seed on Machop!”

“Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vacuum Wave!”

Elliot’s two starter Pokemon spat a series of spheres at their respective targets. While Piplup fired a narrow stream of blue bubbles of energy towards Wildfire, Treecko released a wide-ranging storm of yellow orbs at Brute. The Machop fired off a Vacuum Wave that quickly sliced through Treecko’s attack, knocking the Wood Gecko Pokemon for a loop in the process. Unfortunately, Wildfire’s Ember was doused by Piplup’s Bubblebeam, and the Water-type attack began to close in on the Fire-type Chimchar.

“Chop?” Brute grunted, noticing the attack. It then leapt between Wildfire and the Bubblebeam, taking the blow itself. “Ma-choooppp!”

“Char?!” Wildfire cried. “Ch…char, chim-char?”

“Ma…ma-chop,” Brute grunted, managing a reassuring smirk in spite of its pain.

“How noble,” Elliot said with a disinterested sigh. “I suppose we should finish this now. Piplup, use Water Pledge! Treecko, you will use Grass Pledge!”

Piplup and Treecko both folded their arms across their chests, each of their bodies taking on a bright aura. Piplup’s blue aura formed into a swirling ball of energy, while Treecko’s green aura did the same.

“Derak, be careful!” Garth cried. “Those attacks will empower each other the moment they are launched!”

“Aw, crap!” Derak swore. “Uh…come on, what do we do? How do we block this?!”

Wildfire looked past Brute, watching Piplup and Treecko’s energy orbs combine into a single sphere. The two opposing starter’s raised their arms to the sky, and that sphere plunged into the ground. Wildfire watched as the spot where the sphere sank began to release blue and green pulses of energy, and its eyes bulged in fear at what happened next.

A swirling fountain of water erupted from the ground, with vine-like energy coiling around it. The aquatic tornado hovered there for a moment, as if reveling in the terror it imposed in its foes, before lurching forward. It bore down on Brute and Wildfire, energy vines lashing out wildly in their attempts to strike.

“Oh, man,” Derak muttered fearfully, staring in horror at the Grass Pledge-Water Pledge combination attack. “Aw, crap, what are we gonna do…?”

Wildfire stared at the incoming attack, fear welling within its body as well. It desperately looked behind it, as if hoping Brute would reassure it. The Machop only looked at the attack, gritting its teeth as it awaited the attack’s strike. And then Wildfire understood. If this attack hit, the battle would be over. Elliot would win.

Wildfire turned back to the Pledge tornado, which was mere inches from contact. The Chimchar simply steeled its gaze and crossed its arms.

And then a colossal quantity of water and energy crashed down upon Derak’s Pokemon.

“BRUTE!” Derak yelled. “WILDFIRE!”

“It appears our match has finished,” Elliot smirked. “I must say, it was rather amusing for a…what?”

Elliot’s eyes widened upon seeing that, although his Pledge combination had indeed struck, a dome of water remained. The water slid down, revealing a green bubble within.

And in the bubble was Wildfire, arms crossed and eyes squeezed shut. Brute was behind the bubble, having escaped most damage due to the bubble taking the brunt of the impact.

“What?!” yelled Elliot, his brown eye twitching and sending him back into his Jason persona. “Are you kidding?!”

“Incredible,” Garth breathed. “Chimchar just learned Protect…it must have remembered Dewgong’s use of the move.”

“Wildfire…Wildfire, Brute, you’re okay!” cried an overjoyed Derak. “Guys, I…I don’ t know what to say, but…I’m proud of you both. You’re just awesome, there’s no other word for it.”

“Oh, shut up!” Jason roared. “We’re not done here, you hear me?! Piplup, use Peck! And Treecko, use Pound!”

“You’re not taking us down that easily!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, use Thunderpunch on Piplup! Brute, use Poison Jab on Treecko!”

Piplup and Treecko, both glaring in frustration at the failure of their combination attack, charged forth. Piplup’s beak began to glow white as it elongated, becoming a sharp weapon that the penguin intended to use to its fullest effect. Treecko leapt at Wildfire, its tail drawn back and prepared to strike.

Derak’s Pokemon, however, nodded to one another. Wildfire charged its fist with electricity, leapt over Piplup’s Peck, and slammed its fist into the Water-type’s back. Piplup cried out as a sharp pain tore through its body, Wildfire’s attack having clearly found a weak spot. The penguin fell over, struggling to get up as leftover electricity sparked from its body.

Meanwhile, Treecko swung its tail around in an attempt to strike Brute, but the Machop managed to catch the Grass-type’s tail in its grip. The Superpower Pokemon gave Treecko a smirk before flipping the Wood Gecko Pokemon onto its back. Growling in rage, Treecko quickly rose and charged again, only for a purple fist to jab itself into Treecko’s stomach. As the second of the super-effective blows was landed, Treecko joined Piplup on the floor as it, too, tried to recover.

“How…has he turned this around so quickly?” Elliot gasped as his blue eye twitched. “No matter. Piplup, Treecko, return.”

“You finally done?” Derak asked.

“For now,” Elliot said as he placed his Pokeballs back on his belt. “I wanted a taste of your potential when I saw your victory with Machop and the Pewter Gym. From this battle, I gained such a taste.”

He looked at Derak with a chilling smirk spreading across his face.

“You may wish to redouble your training efforts,” Elliot suggested, “because the next time we meet…we will battle for real.”

Elliot turned and left, heading out of Lavender Town. The moment that Elliot turned his back, Derak collapsed on the ground, letting out a massive sigh of relief.

“Whew,” Derak breathed. “We did it.”

“Chop,” Brute said, limping over to Derak and giving him a thumbs-up. “Ma-chop.”

“Glad you got to stick it to your old trainer, Brute,” Derak smiled.

“As am I,” Garth added. “I have noticed there are few things that we truly agree on, Derak. Can we agree that Elliot—or Jason, whatever his name is—is a truly vile person?”

“Yep,” Derak said as he got up. “We can agree on that.”

He went over to Wildfire, rubbing the Chimchar’s head.

“Hey, you did great today,” Derak said. “You learned a new move and everything. Let’s get some rest, okay?”

“Ch-chim, char,” Wildfire nodded slowly. Derak picked it up in his arms and went inside the Pokemon Center, Brute and Garth in tow.

****

Elsewhere in Lavender Town, there rested a large stone tower. It was here that numerous graves were placed, honoring the spirits of deceased Pokemon. As such, the Pokemon Tower was a haven for Ghost-type Pokemon, particularly those who enjoyed playing tricks on passers-by.

At the moment, however, the spectral residents of the Pokemon Tower laid scattered about with fresh wounds somehow present on their bodies. A large hole in the top of the tower indicated the forced entry of a mighty force, and that force was responsible for the carnage that took place. That force stood on the top floor of the tower, its dark power pulsing about its body.

Stoutland let out a horrifying howl, and a short distance away, Nathaniel Draykus smirked in triumph.

*****

The Great Butler
13th August 2012, 9:06 AM
And why am I not surprised that you named your Conkeldurr "Bane"? XD

Because he breaks opponents in half and uses Drain Punch to heal his pain.

OF COURSE YOU AREN'T SURPRISED.


Eh...my main goal with that was to put some variety into the chapters. I felt that, if the same pattern of "go-into-town-and-battle-Gym-Leader" kept up, the story would get fairly repetitive and/or dull. So I tried to spice it up by having a Gym battle done off-screen, so to speak, and subbed in plot material like the Garth-Draykus encounter. I don't yet have any plans to skip future Gym battles, though.

I can understand that, though I think there might be better ways to do this.


Chapter 12: Lavender Town



Several days passed since the events of Vermillion City, where Garth encountered Governor Draykus and was made aware of the latter’s desire to capture Stoutland. Derak’s traveling companion, however, was not the only one to be aware. Due to Stoutland’s wild behavior, news footage of the encounter’s results was broadcast all across the Kanto region.

A particular receiver of the news was a familiar figure who remained in Cerulean City, his Infernape by his side. From within the Pokemon Center, Nick Spire observed the news footage of the catastrophic damage left by Stoutland’s rampage, as well as the crater Draykus’ Conkeldurr had made upon its defeat.

“Boy…how did we get into this mess, Infernape?” Spire groaned. “How in the world am I going to tell Anoch that his son is in such danger? There’s no way Derak would listen to me after what happened with you and his Chimchar, and I can’t force him to come back as long as he’s with that strange cloaked man.”

“Fernape,” Infernape grunted, squatting by its trainer’s side.

“But…I can’t give up now,” Spire said. “I can’t go back to Anoch empty-handed. I need to bring Derak back somehow, and I think I might have an idea. I just need to find out where he is.”

Hmmm, I'm a little conflicted now. It's getting a little harder to tell if Spire, and Anoch by extension, are on the side of good or not. I guess we'll see.


Derak and Garth’s next leg of their journey was a quaint little town dubbed “Lavender Town”, filled with small wooden houses and wizened people who traversed the streets. As Derak and Garth crossed into the small town, they were in the midst of a conversation regarding their respective battles in Vermillion City. Dusk was beginning to set on them, and Bug Pokemon began to buzz and chirp as if to herald its coming.

A question that just jumped to mind - is this the incarnation of Lavender Town that has the Pokemon Tower, or the one with the Radio Tower and House of Memories?


“Wait, back up,” Derak said, stopping for a moment. “You’re telling me that Orre’s governor is here in Kanto…looking for that crazy Stoutland?”

“Exactly,” Garth nodded. “I expected no less of him.”

“How do you know Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “You talk like you’ve known him for years.”

Garth paused, as if realizing that he had spoken too much.

“If I told you…you would most likely not believe me,” Garth replied. “Now, come. We must reach Lavender Town’s Pokemon Center before nightfall.”

Garth isn't lying here; I know I don't believe what just happened yet either.


Derak gave a shrug and accompanied Garth to the familiar “P”-bearing building, where the resident Nurse Joy greeted them with a friendly smile. Derak blinked for a moment, trying to figure out just how all the Nurse Joys looked exactly the same, but after a moment of effort he gave up. Some mysteries of the universe were simply never meant to be unraveled.

Oh, you. The world is just so amusing through Derak's cynical eyes.


He handed Wildfire and Brute’s Pokeballs to Nurse Joy and collapsed in a chair, attempting to piece together the facts. Governor Nathaniel Draykus had completely abandoned his office in order to capture an unusually powerful and aggressive Stoutland. Garth Cesslon somehow knew of both Draykus and Stoutland, and professed a desire to stop them. Despite already having this knowledge, Derak’s attempts to uncover the entire story were like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.

His thoughts were interrupted by a flash of white light from outside. Recognizing it as the signature flash caused by the opening of a Pokeball, he got up and poked his head out the door. Noticing Derak’s sudden curiosity, Garth came to investigate as well.

Two trainers were facing each other on the street, each using a serpentine Pokemon. One trainer used a slender-bodied Pokemon with a tan front and a green back, the tail ending in a three-pronged green leaf. The Pokemon’s thin arms crossed as its large amber eyes gazed rather condescendingly at its opponent, a Pokemon resembling a purple rattlesnake with a yellow ring around its torso and a yellow rattle at the end of its tail.

“Snivy,” Derak’s Pokedex reported upon observing the green serpent, “the Grass Snake Pokemon. Type is Grass. Snivy exposes its tail to plenty of sunlight, which makes its movements swifter. It is intelligent and calm, but if it is not feeling well, its tail droops.”

“Ekans,” the Dex said upon being pointed at the purple snake, “the Snake Pokemon. Type is Poison. It sneaks through grass without making a sound and strikes its opponents from behind.”

“Hey, you with the Snivy,” Derak called. “Not trying to interrupt, but your Pokemon looks kinda familiar…is it related to something called Serperior, by any chance?”

“Yeah,” Snivy’s trainer nodded. “Snivy evolves into Serperior.”

“Okay, just making sure,” Derak nodded. “I kinda had a hunch.”

Ekans’ trainer was a face Derak had not yet seen: the greasy-haired boy who had observed Derak’s victory over the Pewter Gym. The boy smirked at this convenient appearance, but decided to put aside that matter until this battle was finished.

Oh boy, there's a face I hadn't thought about in a long time.


“Wait a moment,” Garth said to Derak. “How do you, of all people, know what a Serperior is?”

“Tell you what,” Derak replied, “you tell me your story, I might tell you mine.”

I get the feeling no stories are going to be told, huh?


“Okay, Snivy, let’s get on with the battle!” cried the Grass-type’s trainer. “Use Tackle!”

Given Snivy’s rather small limbs, running was not a particularly valid option. Instead, the Grass Snake Pokemon agilely sprang forward, nimbly approaching Ekans. The greasy-haired trainer in the tattered blue suit simply smirked and waited for Snivy to approach. And then, in a cultured voice, he gave a command.

“Ekans, use Wrap,” the boy ordered.

Just as Snivy came near, Ekans coiled itself around the Grass-type, constricting Snivy with as much force as it could muster. Snivy did its best to avoid crying out in torment, but a few grunts of pain nonetheless escaped its clenched teeth.

“Hey, let Snivy go!” protested the Grass-type’s trainer.

“If you insist,” Ekans’ trainer smirked. Rather than give an order for his Poison-type to do so, however, he instead gave a snap of his fingers. Despite this unorthodox command, Ekans obeyed by rapidly uncoiling itself while simultaneously twisting its body, flinging Snivy into the air.

“Snivy, no!” cried the Grass Snake Pokemon’s trainer.

“And now, it is time to bring this to a close,” the greasy-haired trainer said. “Ekans, use Sludge Bomb!”

Ekans reared up its head and spat a wad of slime at the airborne Snivy. The slime exploded in a burst of ooze upon contact with Snivy’s body, sending the Grass-type plummeting back onto the ground. The Grass Snake landed by its trainer’s feet, covered in slime and completely unconscious.

“It would appear you have lost this battle,” Ekans’ trainer remarked. “I do thank you for the brief warm-up, however. It will most certainly aid me in future battles."

Snivy’s trainer did not respond, instead taking his fallen Pokemon in his arms and rushing into the Pokemon Center. Ekans’ trainer merely recalled his Pokemon, placing its Pokeball back onto his belt. Upon closer inspection, Derak noticed that, while Ekans’ Pokeball was the normal red, the greasy-haired boy had two other Pokeballs on hand. One was blue, like that of Sarah’s Squirtle, and the other was green, much like the Pokeball that contained Melissa’s Turtwig.

“I must admit…Derak Kadir, was it?” the blue-suited boy said. “I was quite looking forward to our inevitable encounter. It appears that our journeys have finally intertwined.”

Okay, this kid is bad news. It's very obvious.


“Uh…how do you know me?” Derak blinked. “And who the heck are you?”

“Ah, where are my manners?” chuckled the blue-suited boy. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Elliot Trey. I am, like yourself, a Pokemon trainer. As such, I would greatly enjoy a battle between the two of us.”

“Ugh…is battling all that anyone ever thinks about?” Derak sighed.

Well, there's that sheltered upbringing rearing its head again. That's one of the basic facts of the Pokemon world, that all anyone thinks about is battling.


“That is how the world works, I’m afraid,” Elliot shrugged. “If you win, you gain more experience. Should I emerge as the victor, then I will have more experience. Either way, this is—as they say—a ‘win-win’ situation. Now…shall we?”

“Might as well, I guess,” Derak sighed. As he moved into position a distance away from Elliot, Garth remained on the sidelines by the Pokemon Center. “Brute, let’s go!”

Like always, Brute emerged from his Pokeball in a flash of light. The second he materialized, however, he caught sight of Elliot. The mere sight of this mysterious trainer caused the normally-calm Brute to begin growling with rage.

Oh crap. I never even THOUGHT of this.


“H-hey, Brute, what’s wrong?” Derak stammered.

“Haven’t forgotten me, have you?” Elliot smirked at Brute. “I must say, I’m quite touched.”

“What are you talking about?” Derak asked.

“Perhaps I should explain in detail,” Elliot said. “You found this Machop around Pewter City, correct? As I recall, that was where I…how shall I say…left it to the Mightyenas.”

“Wait…YOU’RE the one who abandoned Brute?!” Derak snarled. Garth clenched his fist and bared his teeth, also angered by this revelation. “Why would you do that?! He was a strong Pokemon and a loyal friend, right?!”

“True enough,” Elliot said, “but quite simply…I grew bored with it.”

That's not enough of an excuse. He's got something else going on, I can tell.


“THAT is your justification?” Garth growled. “You ‘grew bored’ with it?! And you call yourself a trainer!”

“Ah, thank you for reminding me,” Elliot said cheerfully, preparing his blue Pokeball. “On to the battle. Piplup, fight!”

Elliot’s blue Pokeball released a small blue penguin-like Pokemon. Its light blue body, patterned similarly to a tuxedo, stood on tiny yellow feet. Its round head was primarily a darker blue, and its white face played host to two blue eyes and a short yellow beak. The penguin proudly placed one of its small, pale blue wings on its front, puffing out its chest in a display of arrogance.

“Piplup,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Penguin Pokemon. Type is Water. Due to being a poor walker, it often falls down. Its strong pride, however, makes it puff up its chest without a care.”

Now that's a smart choice of starter. The pride factor definitely fits right in with Elliot.


“Now, shall we begin?” Elliot smirked. “Piplup, use Stealth Rock.”

Piplup formed several small stars around it, which became comets that shot towards Brute. Despite this impending attack, however, the Machop did not move, instead steeling its gaze. It recognized this tactic.

“Brute, what are you doing, get out of the way!” Derak cried, only to watch the comets swerve past Brute and embed themselves in the ground. “Uh…wait…what just happened?”

“Do not underestimate Stealth Rock,” Garth growled. “It will—”

“Now, now, no need to spoil the surprise,” Elliot interrupted. “Come, Derak, it’s time to make your move.”

I didn't actually know Piplup could learn Stealth Rock, so once again, kudos on making your movesets diverse and surprising.

Stealth Rock is also a tactic that suits Elliot's personality well.


“Oh, we will,” Derak growled. “Brute, use Karate Chop!”

Brute lunged forward with one arm drawn back, but Piplup somehow managed to avoid it by somersaulting backwards, evidently working around its walking problems. The Karate Chop instead struck the ground, leaving its penguin target untouched.

“Is that unpleasant demeanor of yours really necessary?” Elliot said with a somewhat arrogant smirk.

“Uh, yeah!” Derak snapped. “You abandoned someone who’s supposed to be your friend!”

“As I said before, I grew bored with Machop,” Elliot explained with a shrug.

“THAT’S NO EXCUSE!” Derak roared, drastically breaking his regular composure. “You’re supposed to make friends with Pokemon, not just throw them around like your toys! I don’t even know half of what there is to know about Pokemon, and even I know better than you!”

Elliot’s smirk faded away, and his brown eye began to twitch.

“Well?!” Derak yelled. “You going to try and justify being an idiot, now?!”

“I don’t need to justify a thing for you, Kadir,” Elliot snarled, his voice becoming gruffer and losing its cultured tone.

“WHAT DO YOU—wait, what’s…what’s up with your voice?” Derak asked.

“Piip?” Piplup chirped as it looked up at its trainer with concern.

“WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!” Elliot roared at his Piplup, whipping out its Pokeball and recalling his starter. “Get the hell out of my sight!”

“What the heck are you doing?” Derak asked. “I thought you wanted to battle me?”

“I do,” Elliot growled. “Piplup is just Elliot’s preferred starter.”

“Uh…you ARE Elliot,” Derak said.

“Call me Jason,” Elliot growled. “Elliot and I are a two-in-one sort of thing.”

You sure aren't holding back on characters with unusual traits, are you? Split personalities can be a fascinating detail to explore, so I'm excited you're going for it.


“A split personality?” Garth remarked.

“What’s it to you, old man?!” the Jason personality barked. He then jerked his head back to the battlefield, preparing the green Pokeball. “Treecko, fight!”

The Pokemon from the green Pokeball was drastically different from the Piplup Elliot had previously used. It appeared to be a bipedal green lizard with a red stomach and lower jaw, with yellow reptilian eyes that radiated a desire for battle. The Pokemon flicked its dark green tail in anticipation.

“Treecko,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Wood Gecko Pokemon. Type is Grass. The soles of its feet are covered by countless tiny spikes, enabling it to walk on walls and ceilings.”

“How do you have two starter Pokemon, let alone two Pokemon from completely different regions?” Garth asked.

Somehow I get the feeling this isn't a question that can be easily pondered.


“Less talk, more fighting!” Jason roared. “Treecko, Pound!”

Treecko leapt forward and quickly swung its tail around, clubbing Brute in the side of the head and instantly flooring it. Brute gave its head a shake and tried to get up, only to find Treecko suddenly standing over it.

“Pound again!” Jason yelled. “And again!”

Shockingly, Treecko actually smirked as it complied with Jason’s orders, viciously slamming its tail into Brute’s body multiple times. Brute winced every time the Grass-type struck it, feeling an increasingly greater pain every time Treecko struck the same area. Derak’s eyes went wide at this merciless display.

“Hey, stop it!” Derak cried. “Brute, return!”

Fortunately, the red beam from the Pokeball withdrew Brute in time to prevent Treecko from injuring it further.

“Okay, that was completely uncalled for!” Derak cried.

“Tough,” Jason spat. “You can’t take the heat, you get out of the freaking kitchen.”

At that point, however, Jason’s blue eye twitched. The confident smirk returned, signifying Elliot’s return to dominance.

“Ah…my apologies for Jason’s behavior,” Elliot said, straightening his grimy-looking suit. “You see, we share a goal of attaining ultimate strength, and we would greatly appreciate the rapid removal of obstacles.”

What I'd like to better understand is just what the trigger for the switch is.


“Why do you want to be strong so badly?” Derak asked.

“Ah-ah-ah!” Elliot smirked, waggling his finger. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out. I will give you a hint: it has nothing to do with ludicrous things like becoming a Pokemon Master or a Top Coordinator. Titles like that mean virtually nothing to me. Now…shall we continue our battle in style?”

“In style?” Derak repeated.

“What do you say to a double battle?” Elliot proposed. “My Piplup and Treecko against your two Pokemon. Will you accept?”

“You really think I’m letting you get away with what you did to Brute?” Derak growled. “Wildfire, Brute, come on out!”

Derak’s two Pokemon materialized as usual, but the moment they did so, massive rocks burst from the areas where the comets from Piplup’s Stealth Rock had landed earlier. The rocks levitated out of the ground and slammed into Wildfire’s body, greatly weakening it. Brute suffered a similar fate, albeit with less effect than Wildfire.

“That is the effect of Stealth Rock,” Elliot explained. “Switching Pokemon becomes quite risky, as you have seen. And should a Pokemon be weak against Rock-type attacks…”

“…the more damage Stealth Rock does, right?” Derak asked, noting that the bruises the Stealth Rock left on Wildfire were larger and darker than those on Brute.

He baited Derak into a Double Battle just to troll him into activating Stealth Rock twice, didn't he?


“Now you’re learning,” Elliot smirked. “Shall we begin? Piplup, fight!”

Piplup reappeared, this time alongside Treecko. Though the two starter Pokemon exchanged a quick glare, they turned back to Derak’s Pokemon, evidently putting up a temporary truce.

“Now the battle shall begin in earnest,” Elliot said, his smirk widening into a sinister grin. “Piplup, use Bubblebeam on Chimchar! Treecko, use Bullet Seed on Machop!”

“Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vacuum Wave!”

Elliot’s two starter Pokemon spat a series of spheres at their respective targets. While Piplup fired a narrow stream of blue bubbles of energy towards Wildfire, Treecko released a wide-ranging storm of yellow orbs at Brute. The Machop fired off a Vacuum Wave that quickly sliced through Treecko’s attack, knocking the Wood Gecko Pokemon for a loop in the process. Unfortunately, Wildfire’s Ember was doused by Piplup’s Bubblebeam, and the Water-type attack began to close in on the Fire-type Chimchar.

“Chop?” Brute grunted, noticing the attack. It then leapt between Wildfire and the Bubblebeam, taking the blow itself. “Ma-choooppp!”

“Char?!” Wildfire cried. “Ch…char, chim-char?”

“Ma…ma-chop,” Brute grunted, managing a reassuring smirk in spite of its pain.

Elliot's loss that he released a Pokemon this loyal to its trainer. I get the feeling that we'll be seeing more of this in the future.


“How noble,” Elliot said with a disinterested sigh. “I suppose we should finish this now. Piplup, use Water Pledge! Treecko, you will use Grass Pledge!”

...Thank you for actually using these attacks and even making sure to include the "combo attack" portion of their functions.


Piplup and Treecko both folded their arms across their chests, each of their bodies taking on a bright aura. Piplup’s blue aura formed into a swirling ball of energy, while Treecko’s green aura did the same.

“Derak, be careful!” Garth cried. “Those attacks will empower each other the moment they are launched!”

“Aw, crap!” Derak swore. “Uh…come on, what do we do? How do we block this?!”

Wildfire looked past Brute, watching Piplup and Treecko’s energy orbs combine into a single sphere. The two opposing starter’s raised their arms to the sky, and that sphere plunged into the ground. Wildfire watched as the spot where the sphere sank began to release blue and green pulses of energy, and its eyes bulged in fear at what happened next.

A swirling fountain of water erupted from the ground, with vine-like energy coiling around it. The aquatic tornado hovered there for a moment, as if reveling in the terror it imposed in its foes, before lurching forward. It bore down on Brute and Wildfire, energy vines lashing out wildly in their attempts to strike.

“Oh, man,” Derak muttered fearfully, staring in horror at the Grass Pledge-Water Pledge combination attack. “Aw, crap, what are we gonna do…?”

Wildfire stared at the incoming attack, fear welling within its body as well. It desperately looked behind it, as if hoping Brute would reassure it. The Machop only looked at the attack, gritting its teeth as it awaited the attack’s strike. And then Wildfire understood. If this attack hit, the battle would be over. Elliot would win.

Wildfire turned back to the Pledge tornado, which was mere inches from contact. The Chimchar simply steeled its gaze and crossed its arms.

And then a colossal quantity of water and energy crashed down upon Derak’s Pokemon.

“BRUTE!” Derak yelled. “WILDFIRE!”

“It appears our match has finished,” Elliot smirked. “I must say, it was rather amusing for a…what?”

Elliot’s eyes widened upon seeing that, although his Pledge combination had indeed struck, a dome of water remained. The water slid down, revealing a green bubble within.

And in the bubble was Wildfire, arms crossed and eyes squeezed shut. Brute was behind the bubble, having escaped most damage due to the bubble taking the brunt of the impact.

“What?!” yelled Elliot, his brown eye twitching and sending him back into his Jason persona. “Are you kidding?!”

“Incredible,” Garth breathed. “Chimchar just learned Protect…it must have remembered Dewgong’s use of the move.”

I actually cheered a little when Wildfire pulled this off.


“Wildfire…Wildfire, Brute, you’re okay!” cried an overjoyed Derak. “Guys, I…I don’ t know what to say, but…I’m proud of you both. You’re just awesome, there’s no other word for it.”

“Oh, shut up!” Jason roared. “We’re not done here, you hear me?! Piplup, use Peck! And Treecko, use Pound!”

“You’re not taking us down that easily!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, use Thunderpunch on Piplup! Brute, use Poison Jab on Treecko!”

Piplup and Treecko, both glaring in frustration at the failure of their combination attack, charged forth. Piplup’s beak began to glow white as it elongated, becoming a sharp weapon that the penguin intended to use to its fullest effect. Treecko leapt at Wildfire, its tail drawn back and prepared to strike.

Derak’s Pokemon, however, nodded to one another. Wildfire charged its fist with electricity, leapt over Piplup’s Peck, and slammed its fist into the Water-type’s back. Piplup cried out as a sharp pain tore through its body, Wildfire’s attack having clearly found a weak spot. The penguin fell over, struggling to get up as leftover electricity sparked from its body.

Meanwhile, Treecko swung its tail around in an attempt to strike Brute, but the Machop managed to catch the Grass-type’s tail in its grip. The Superpower Pokemon gave Treecko a smirk before flipping the Wood Gecko Pokemon onto its back. Growling in rage, Treecko quickly rose and charged again, only for a purple fist to jab itself into Treecko’s stomach. As the second of the super-effective blows was landed, Treecko joined Piplup on the floor as it, too, tried to recover.

“How…has he turned this around so quickly?” Elliot gasped as his blue eye twitched. “No matter. Piplup, Treecko, return.”

I think that the battle was essentially sewn up for Derak the moment Wildfire learned Protect and stopped the combo move. Elliot's pace was completely broken when that happened.


“You finally done?” Derak asked.

“For now,” Elliot said as he placed his Pokeballs back on his belt. “I wanted a taste of your potential when I saw your victory with Machop and the Pewter Gym. From this battle, I gained such a taste.”

He looked at Derak with a chilling smirk spreading across his face.

“You may wish to redouble your training efforts,” Elliot suggested, “because the next time we meet…we will battle for real.”

Elliot turned and left, heading out of Lavender Town. The moment that Elliot turned his back, Derak collapsed on the ground, letting out a massive sigh of relief.

“Whew,” Derak breathed. “We did it.”

“Chop,” Brute said, limping over to Derak and giving him a thumbs-up. “Ma-chop.”

“Glad you got to stick it to your old trainer, Brute,” Derak smiled.

“As am I,” Garth added. “I have noticed there are few things that we truly agree on, Derak. Can we agree that Elliot—or Jason, whatever his name is—is a truly vile person?”

“Yep,” Derak said as he got up. “We can agree on that.”

I think we ALL agree on that.


Elsewhere in Lavender Town, there rested a large stone tower. It was here that numerous graves were placed, honoring the spirits of deceased Pokemon. As such, the Pokemon Tower was a haven for Ghost-type Pokemon, particularly those who enjoyed playing tricks on passers-by.

At the moment, however, the spectral residents of the Pokemon Tower laid scattered about with fresh wounds somehow present on their bodies. A large hole in the top of the tower indicated the forced entry of a mighty force, and that force was responsible for the carnage that took place. That force stood on the top floor of the tower, its dark power pulsing about its body.

Stoutland let out a horrifying howl, and a short distance away, Nathaniel Draykus smirked in triumph.

*****

The only thing I can think here is that it answers my earlier question about what buildings are in this version of Lavender Town. There's just not anything I can say yet about the rest.

Much better chapter, vastly improved from the chapter before it. And because that chapter was pretty good, this one is excellent. The battle was exciting and Elliot, in his first real appearance, made for a compelling character. I have literally nothing I can say that's wrong with this chapter.

Sid87
13th August 2012, 10:02 PM
Finally getting started here.

Chapter 1

I kind of curious as to why Professor Krane (...Heh. Is that an intentional Batman reference?) and Derak are so seemingly nonchalant about the assault on the lab by the guy with the Sableye. After he leaves, they basically act like nothing happened, even though Krane was physically assaulted (and, to a lesser degree, so was Derak). I get that Derak is a hard-nosed kid, but he is still just 10. I imagine he would be terrified of what he just witnessed. That's one reason I'm not a big fan personally of using 10-year olds as protagonists in pokemon stories: they are HARD to write well. They are still just very young children and still several years away from being even a teen.

The scene with Derak trying to get Chimchar to use the attacks Sableye used was pretty funny. I enjoyed that. Go ahead and use a Shadow Ball, Chimchar. Sure, why not? :)

I'm also a bit surprised--back to the ten-year old bit--that Krane is okay with this child just running away from home without permission. It seems wildly irresponsible. I guess this is the pokemon world and the standards are different, but it just strikes me as unusual.


Chapter 2

Okay, here we got to see Derak acting a little more like a ten year old in that he and Melissa were both very annoying, and I wanted to smack both of them. But they were being realistic, smarmy, loud-mouth kids. So that fit.

The bit about the cloaked man just assuming there would be internet in the middle of the ocean was amusing, and I can almost picture him saying something like "Curses! Foiled again by technology!" I got a laugh.

I wonder what's up with Derak's dad. Why does Derak call him "Mr. Kadir"? What will he be doing going forward? Is he actually concerned for Derak? I assume he is and that his intentions of keeping Derak away from pokemon aren't totally cruel. But he does speak like a stereotyped Disney step-parent. "My disobedient son!" and what not. It's hard to reconcile that with wanting to keep Derak safe, but if he's just a bad person...why?


Chapter 3

I still like the cloaked guy's reaction to computers and technology like it's this Rubic's Cube he can't quite figure out.

A few problems I had here: One is that YET AGAIN, we have the cloaked guy physically assaulting a professor and a child, and YET AGAIN, no one really cares once he stops. It's just like if somebody came into your home, started beating the crap out of you, and then just stopped...you probably wouldn't be cool with it. Why is no one calling the police on this guy. Another problem is I don't by the Derak is not TERRIFIED of this guy. He's older, bigger, stronger, has powerful pokemon, and can't seem to decide if he wants to kill him or not. There's no way a ten year old isn't going to be spazzed out and in tears about this. At the very least, he'd tell the crazy guy to shove off and leave him alone. Let him have his identity crisis somewhere else.

Another thing...a LOT of the last section with Anoch and Spire read as characters saying things they have no business saying. Like "I've been your lawyer for ten years" or "I use my detective skills to help me win cases". Anoch already knew those things, so those lines really read exactly for what they are: info-dumps for the reader. I imagine you don't regularly walk up to your friends or coworkers and say "We have been friends for ten years now!" Because the person you're talking to already knows that. That kind of info is better given through narration.


Chapter 4

In 4 chapters, you've already introduced all 3 turtle-based pokemon (Turtwig, Squirtle, and Torkoal). Was that intentional?

I REALLY like the bit about "Chansey lets people eat its babies!" Oddly, I never thought of it like that before, but yeah...I guess that is the case.

I kind of like the new female character as the anti-Misty. She loves bug pokemon and seems to be basing her entire existence as a trainer around them. As a Butterfree fan, I can support this. I wonder what, if anything, she has besides Squirtle and Weedle?

Draykus is obviously tied in with Garth's actual rival. Is the Stoutland a shadow pokemon? I know you have an affinity for them, and they DID start the story in Orre. So it's at least a reasonable assumption to me. Why is it running around like crazy? Why is it following Derak? Interesting.


Okay, that might be it from me for now. I will try to continue catching up later.

Rotomknight
14th August 2012, 12:50 AM
EXELLENT.
Don't forget to keep the pms flowing...
NOOOOOO!
Garth borke his oath. Now he will die by the hands of drakyus. Cause his shadow(?) stoutland kicksbutt.

Sid87
14th August 2012, 9:55 PM
Okay, so I finished the first page's worth of chapters here.

You sure like introducing a lot of characters, and I'm just not sure how many of them are important and how many are just one-offs. There's Derak, Garth, Derak's dad, Draykus, Spire, Melissa, Sarah, Teresa, Aiden, the blue-haired guy that breathes fire, Timmy, Nando...and I'm sure I'm missing others. Are they all important? They were described well enough to be, that's for sure, so kudos there, but I'm not sure how much I should be remembering everybody. And I know firsthand from SfP that you like having swarms of characters.

What is it about Garth that makes people act so irrationally. After physically assaulting Professor Krane and Oak, he border-line assaulted Nando here, and again was just let go and forgotten about. Doesn't this world have assault and battery charges?

The Contest thing seemed like a weird aside, but at least it was new. You don't see too many contests thrown into Fanfics. Lord knows I never participated in them in-game. Heh. :) Is Derak going to get involved in them? I wonder what the relevance there was. I guess I'll see. But it's certainly an original thing to add in!

I think there's some dialogue problems at points: I'm still not entirely sold on Derak as a legit ten-year old boy. He reads as more of a 14 year old or so. He's just so jaded and more mature than a ten year old. Even given whatever kind of life he had, there should still bemore of a childishness to him. And some characters speak in cliches regularly (noteworthy of this Draykus' "Soon the power will be mine and mine alone!" bit which could well have been accompanied by his twirling a moustache).

The scene with Wildfire and Derak after the Infernape fight was touching. I imagine that somewhere down the line, Chimchar will intentionally evolve to save/help Derak, but the scene of it freaking out and Derak caring for it was nicely done.

I'm sure I've mentioned this in SfP, but the jumpy narration really gets to me sometimes. Getting to see the thoughts and opinions of Derak, Garth, and others all in one scene feels like it's really giving stuff away and not leaving much to the assumptions of the reader. That's one thing I'd love to see you work on either here or in another story: consistent, steady narration. It could change from character-to-character by chapter, but not multiple times in the same scene.


EDIT: Okay, I'm all caught up. How interesting that this story takes place in the Ash Ketchum universe. I'd not have thought that would be the case. Will we be seeing any other familiar characters?

The return of Sarah was nice, and I do enjoy seeing characters return when I haven't seen them for a while.

Morpher01
20th August 2012, 2:11 AM
The Great Butler:
You sure aren't holding back on characters with unusual traits, are you? Split personalities can be a fascinating detail to explore, so I'm excited you're going for it.

That would be the primary reason why Elliot is so fun to write about. XD


What I'd like to better understand is just what the trigger for the switch is.

Generally stressful situations (like being yelled at, for instance...).


He baited Derak into a Double Battle just to troll him into activating Stealth Rock twice, didn't he?

Another reason why Elliot is so fun to write. XD

Glad you enjoyed the chapter, but be prepared: revelations are to come.


Sid87:
I kind of curious as to why Professor Krane (...Heh. Is that an intentional Batman reference?) and Derak are so seemingly nonchalant about the assault on the lab by the guy with the Sableye. After he leaves, they basically act like nothing happened, even though Krane was physically assaulted (and, to a lesser degree, so was Derak). I get that Derak is a hard-nosed kid, but he is still just 10. I imagine he would be terrified of what he just witnessed. That's one reason I'm not a big fan personally of using 10-year olds as protagonists in pokemon stories: they are HARD to write well. They are still just very young children and still several years away from being even a teen.

Eh...I prefer writing about teen-ish people myself. Still, I wanted Derak to be a ten-year-old because, for some odd reason, I can't picture the story any other way. XD I don't know, sometimes I get stuck on one idea even if it isn't the best. This is probably one of those cases.


I wonder what's up with Derak's dad. Why does Derak call him "Mr. Kadir"? What will he be doing going forward? Is he actually concerned for Derak? I assume he is and that his intentions of keeping Derak away from pokemon aren't totally cruel. But he does speak like a stereotyped Disney step-parent. "My disobedient son!" and what not. It's hard to reconcile that with wanting to keep Derak safe, but if he's just a bad person...why?

Because Derak's kind of an a-hole. XD Mainly because I wanted him to be an unorthodox young trainer (although, given other characters, I probably could have done that a bit better...).

In all seriousness, though, Derak's dad's motivations will be expanded on later.


You sure like introducing a lot of characters, and I'm just not sure how many of them are important and how many are just one-offs. There's Derak, Garth, Derak's dad, Draykus, Spire, Melissa, Sarah, Teresa, Aiden, the blue-haired guy that breathes fire, Timmy, Nando...and I'm sure I'm missing others. Are they all important? They were described well enough to be, that's for sure, so kudos there, but I'm not sure how much I should be remembering everybody. And I know firsthand from SfP that you like having swarms of characters.

I like to work with large amounts of characters. It gives me opportunities for things like sub-plots, protagonist development, etc. Hence why everything you'll read from me has a ton of characters. XD

As for remembering everybody...most of the rival-ish characters are brought in every now and then, so all you really need is to have a "Oh yeah, I remember that person!" feeling when they show up. XD


What is it about Garth that makes people act so irrationally. After physically assaulting Professor Krane and Oak, he border-line assaulted Nando here, and again was just let go and forgotten about. Doesn't this world have assault and battery charges?

I will definitely admit that I dropped the ball where Krane and Oak are concerned reaction-wise. Nando, however, is a different story. Throughout all of his appearances in the DP portion of the anime, he always--ALWAYS--maintains a calm, polite, and civil demeanor. Even when he was being ARRESTED FOR A CRIME HE DID NOT COMMIT, he still kept a smile on his face and remained a gentlemanly fellow (don't ask me how...).


Another thing...a LOT of the last section with Anoch and Spire read as characters saying things they have no business saying. Like "I've been your lawyer for ten years" or "I use my detective skills to help me win cases". Anoch already knew those things, so those lines really read exactly for what they are: info-dumps for the reader. I imagine you don't regularly walk up to your friends or coworkers and say "We have been friends for ten years now!" Because the person you're talking to already knows that. That kind of info is better given through narration.

You're probably right there.


The Contest thing seemed like a weird aside, but at least it was new. You don't see too many contests thrown into Fanfics. Lord knows I never participated in them in-game. Heh. Is Derak going to get involved in them? I wonder what the relevance there was. I guess I'll see. But it's certainly an original thing to add in!

To be honest, I never really did Contests in the games myself. XD The only reason I invovled them in the first place was because I liked how the anime did Contests. There, they looked like an absolute blast. In the games...not so much. Still, glad you find it new. Given the somewhat overdone-nature of the "Gym-Badge-collection" plot, I wanted to inject something new every now and then to actually make the fic interesting.

As for Derak entering a Contest...ah, you'll see.


I think there's some dialogue problems at points: I'm still not entirely sold on Derak as a legit ten-year old boy. He reads as more of a 14 year old or so. He's just so jaded and more mature than a ten year old. Even given whatever kind of life he had, there should still bemore of a childishness to him. And some characters speak in cliches regularly (noteworthy of this Draykus' "Soon the power will be mine and mine alone!" bit which could well have been accompanied by his twirling a moustache).

There's actually a reason Derak is like that, and it'll be seen fairly soon.

As for Draykus...let's just say I'm glad that his generic-ish villain behavior let your guard down. Heh heh heh...you'll see. You'll see very soon...

(although, looking at some of the future chapters that come even after his big revelation, he still seems fairly generic. Going to need to do some changes...)


I'm sure I've mentioned this in SfP, but the jumpy narration really gets to me sometimes. Getting to see the thoughts and opinions of Derak, Garth, and others all in one scene feels like it's really giving stuff away and not leaving much to the assumptions of the reader. That's one thing I'd love to see you work on either here or in another story: consistent, steady narration. It could change from character-to-character by chapter, but not multiple times in the same scene.

Hmm...you may have a point there. I could probably work something like that in, but it won't be for a few chapters (like with SfP, I'm trying to write at least a few chapters in advance. Currently on chapter 16 out of what I'm projecting to be at least 30...yeah, it's going to be a long one).


Okay, I'm all caught up. How interesting that this story takes place in the Ash Ketchum universe. I'd not have thought that would be the case. Will we be seeing any other familiar characters?

The return of Sarah was nice, and I do enjoy seeing characters return when I haven't seen them for a while.

All of my Pokemon-related writings take place in a universe that is essentially a hybridized version of the games and anime (for example, the existence of Orre from Colosseum and XD despite there being no Orre in the anime). As for other familiar characters...you just might.


Rotomknight: Yeah...kinda dropped the ball there. XD

But...is Stoutland a Shadow Pokemon? You'll see...it's not what you might expect...



Okay...the next couple of chapters are going to involve some revelations, although the first one is a bit short. Brace yourselves.



Chapter 13: Pokemon Tower



The next morning, Derak emerged from the Pokemon Center, reaching for the sky in a mighty stretch. Once he felt adequately awakened, his arms fell limply back to his sides as Garth arrived.

“Man…what a day yesterday,” Derak said.

“Yes…that did appear to be a rather tricky battle,” Garth admitted. “I do advise taking Elliot’s advice on one thing, however. Despite having a less-than-ideal state of mind, he is clearly no fool where battling is concerned. I recommend that you either train your current Pokemon or capture new ones, preferably both.”

“I’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Derak said, rolling his shoulder. “So, which way is Celadon City?”

“Hmm…if I remember correctly, it should be to the west of Lavender Town,” Garth said. “We should go soon, so we can—”

Something entered his field of vision that made his eyes go wide. A distance away from the Pokemon Center stood none other than Nathaniel Draykus, who casually leaned against a wall with a smirk on his face.

“You,” Garth snarled.

“Huh?” Derak grunted, trying to follow Garth’s gaze. “Wait…isn’t that Orre’s governor?”

Draykus chuckled slightly, turning and leaving as if completely oblivious to Garth’s presence. This, of course, did not amuse the cloaked man.

“That arrogant swine,” he snarled. “He will pay!”

“Uh…mind bringing me up to speed?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda lost here.”

Garth merely shoved the boy aside as he gave chase to Draykus. Derak brushed himself off, sighing as Garth’s unpleasant demeanor made itself known once again.

“Thanks, I’m completely in the loop now,” Derak groaned. “Might as well go see what’s up.”

****

“GET BACK HERE!” Garth roared as he continued to chase Draykus. The governor stopped outside the entrance to the Pokemon Tower, smirking as he turned to Garth. “You will answer for your crimes if it kills me!”

“I see,” Draykus chuckled. “Although…didn’t you wish to keep me from capturing Stoutland?”

“What?” Garth gasped. “Stoutland is here?”

“Indeed,” Draykus nodded. “Some observant citizens of Lavender Town have noticed a significant drop in the activity of Ghost-type Pokemon, and others reported witnessing a dark shape plow into the top of this tower. Given our experience in Vermillion City, we both know what this means.”

“Yes,” Garth growled. “It means that you will die here and now! Bronzong, rise from the ashes!”

Bronzong appeared with a droning moan, levitating between Garth and Draykus as it waited for an order. Despite this, Draykus only chuckled again.

“Unfortunately, I lack the time for a Pokemon battle,” Draykus said. “But do bring the boy up to the top floor of the tower once he arrives. I believe it’s time I properly introduced myself.”

“And you honestly think he would believe you?” Garth spat.

“Heh…this is an era where creatures with vast magical powers are contained in mechanical balls,” Draykus chuckled. “I’m certain anything is possible if you think about it. Oh, and don’t keep me waiting, Cesslon. My patience never was infinite in matters such as these.”

With that, Draykus entered the tower. Seconds later, Derak ran to Garth’s side, gasping for breath.

“What…did…I miss?” Derak panted.

“We have no time to talk,” Garth snapped. “Stoutland is in that tower, and that vile man plans on capturing it.”

“What’s so nasty about Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “From what I’ve heard, Orre’s been doing pretty well under him.”

“He calls himself ‘Draykus’?” Garth snorted. “I expected something more original from him.”

“Okay, what the heck are you talking about?” Derak asked.

“Enough chatter,” Garth snapped. “We need to give chase to ‘Draykus’, and we need to do it now.”

“Eh, might get explanations from him, anyway,” Derak shrugged.

****

The path to the top of the Pokemon Tower was surprisingly straightforward, likely due to Stoutland’s having assaulted the resident Ghost-type Pokemon that would have normally impeded a visitor’s efforts at exploration. As a result, Derak and Garth easily rushed through the levels, heading quickly for the uppermost floor.

“Man…Stoutland sure did a number on these Pokemon,” Derak remarked, noting the fallen Gastlies scattered around him.

“Will you stop being so easily distracted?” Garth barked. “We have a mission, and it needs to be the prime center of our focus!”

“Oh, sorry!” Derak snapped. “Forgive me for putting lives above whatever crazy plan you have in mind that will most likely get us KILLED!”

“Shut up and follow me!” Garth snapped. “We are nearly at the top floor!”

A portion of the ceiling in front of them suddenly collapsed, a familiar dog-like shape falling out of it. Stoutland struggled to rise up, only for a concrete pillar to slam into its back, causing the Normal-type to let out a howl of pain.

“Stoutland,” Garth gasped, his voice containing an unusual concern.

“Eldur!” grunted Draykus’ Conkeldurr as it leapt down from the upper floor, landing just behind Stoutland and retrieving its pillar. “Conk-eldurr!”

“Conkeldurr,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Muscular Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Evolved form of Gurdurr. It is thought that Conkeldurr taught humans how to make concrete over two thousand years ago. They use their concrete pillars as walking canes, and know moves that can swing them freely during battle.”

“Conkeldurr!” cried Draykus as he, too, leapt down from the floor above. Despite his being a seemingly normal human, he executed the massive jump perfectly and landed without an ounce of harm done to his body. “Finish this with Dynamicpunch!”

“NO!” Garth cried. “Bronzong, use Iron Head to stop it!”

Bronzong rocketed in from out of nowhere, surrounded by a bullet of silver energy. The bell-like Pokemon slammed directly into Conkeldurr’s chest, knocking the Fighting-type onto its back and causing it to drop its pillars.

“Ah, Garth,” said Draykus. “I see you brought the boy. What was your name, boy?”

“Derak,” said the child in question. “You’re the governor of Orre, right? Why are you so obsessed with this Stoutland?”

Draykus could only chuckle. Stoutland attempted to use this temporary distraction to launch a counter-attack, but Conkeldurr pinned it down via the use of its two pillars.

“Ah…the naivety of a child,” Draykus smirked. “Let me explain. Conkeldurr, keep Stoutland there for a while.”

Conkeldurr nodded, applying more pressure to Stoutland’s body. As it did so, Draykus began to pace by the various tombstones that dotted the floor.

“The short lives of men and Pokemon are nothing compared to the age of the world,” Draykus said. “To find something of great power is…difficult, to say the least. And yet news of this unique Stoutland simply fell into my lap, as if it were destiny.”

“Your only destiny is the death you so richly deserve!” Garth roared and made to attack Draykus, only for Conkeldurr to fend him off with a swing of one of its pillars.

“Be quiet for a moment, Garth,” Draykus said before turning to Derak. “Tell me…Derak, was it? What do you know of the history of this world?”

“Not much of anything, actually,” Derak shrugged. “Kinda happens when you’ve been stuck in a pseudo-shelter that protects you from things that you don’t need to be protected from.”

“Ah…then let me educate you,” Draykus said. “Once, centuries ago…there was a faraway region by the name of Ransei.”

Garth’s eyes widened as Draykus spoke, realizing where this lesson was headed.

“Ransei was dotted with seventeen kingdoms, all independent of one another,” Draykus continued. “But everything changed one day when a group of scholars learned of an ancient legend. The legend told that, if a single kingdom could dominate the other sixteen, a Pokemon of great power would appear.”

“Arceus,” breathed Garth.

“Indeed,” Draykus smirked. “The Pokemon in question was called Arceus, revered as the being that created the entire world. Therefore, its power would obviously be at least tenfold that of any other Pokemon, regardless of its evolutionary level or amount of training. Thus, the seventeen kingdoms armed themselves, each attempting to conquer the others and summon Arceus.”

“So…who won?” Derak asked.

“No one,” Draykus replied. “Ransei is now a barren wasteland, thanks to decades of war. Arceus never showed itself…not that there was anyone left to behold its majesty.”

“Whoa,” Derak gasped. “That’s…that’s awful.”

“So it is,” Draykus sighed. “It is a rather tragic tale.”

“But…what does that story have to do with Stoutland?” Derak asked.

Draykus chuckled again.

“One warlord came quite close to bringing forth the coming of Arceus,” he continued. “He led the kingdom of Dragnor and its Dragon-type Pokemon in a campaign across the whole of Ransei. And yet, when the power of Arceus was so near…it was snatched from his grasp. So many in Ransei stated that the power was not his to bear, but all the man had wanted was to create a truly peaceful world where humans could live in harmony alongside Pokemon.”

Garth narrowed his eyes. He had a bad feeling that he knew how this speech would end.

“I will succeed where there was once failure,” Draykus continued. “With Stoutland’s power, I will force that world into creation. Once all of the world is under my thumb, I shall bring about an age of peace unlike any other!”

“Let me guess…you take away freedom in the process?” Derak sighed.

“Unfortunately…sacrifices must be made,” Draykus admitted, yet showed no signs of regret or remorse. “Are a handful of lives not a worthwhile trade for true peace?”

“…okay, this is messed up,” Derak said, giving his head a shake. “Governor…ever since I was little, I spent what little free time I had watching TV. You were always on there, always talking about peaceful solutions and democracy and things like that…that’s not who you are now. Who are you, really?”

A truly sinister smirk crept onto Draykus’ face. He removed a unique-looking Pokeball from his pocket, one with a black upper half and two yellow stripes painted on the top.

“The man who will change this world,” he said. “Now…Ultra Ball, go!”

Garth gasped in horror as Draykus threw the ball. He made to block it, but Conkeldurr clubbed him with one of its pillars, sending Garth skidding across the floor and into the wall. Derak stood paralyzed, unable to move as the reality of Draykus’ persona sank in. The Ultra Ball struck Stoutland’s body and fell to the floor.

It shook once…

…twice…

…and clicked.

Draykus had captured Stoutland.

“At last,” Draykus grinned, retrieving the Ultra Ball. “At long last…the power to truly change this world…is in my hands.”

“…guess it’s true what they say,” Derak muttered. “No one’s who you really think they are.”

Draykus glanced at him and smirked.

“I suppose I do owe you a bit of knowledge on that subject,” he said. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name—my TRUE name—is Nobunaga Oda.”

****

The Great Butler
21st August 2012, 9:34 AM
Chapter 13: Pokemon Tower



The next morning, Derak emerged from the Pokemon Center, reaching for the sky in a mighty stretch. Once he felt adequately awakened, his arms fell limply back to his sides as Garth arrived.

“Man…what a day yesterday,” Derak said.

“Yes…that did appear to be a rather tricky battle,” Garth admitted. “I do advise taking Elliot’s advice on one thing, however. Despite having a less-than-ideal state of mind, he is clearly no fool where battling is concerned. I recommend that you either train your current Pokemon or capture new ones, preferably both.”

“I’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Derak said, rolling his shoulder. “So, which way is Celadon City?”

“Hmm…if I remember correctly, it should be to the west of Lavender Town,” Garth said. “We should go soon, so we can—”

Something entered his field of vision that made his eyes go wide. A distance away from the Pokemon Center stood none other than Nathaniel Draykus, who casually leaned against a wall with a smirk on his face.

Boy, this day sure got off to a great start, didn't it?


“You,” Garth snarled.

“Huh?” Derak grunted, trying to follow Garth’s gaze. “Wait…isn’t that Orre’s governor?”

Draykus chuckled slightly, turning and leaving as if completely oblivious to Garth’s presence. This, of course, did not amuse the cloaked man.

“That arrogant swine,” he snarled. “He will pay!”

“Uh…mind bringing me up to speed?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda lost here.”

Garth merely shoved the boy aside as he gave chase to Draykus. Derak brushed himself off, sighing as Garth’s unpleasant demeanor made itself known once again.

“Thanks, I’m completely in the loop now,” Derak groaned. “Might as well go see what’s up.”

I think it might have been better if Derak questioned a bit more why Draykus was there, because, like I said previously, he is an important politician where Derak is from.


“GET BACK HERE!” Garth roared as he continued to chase Draykus. The governor stopped outside the entrance to the Pokemon Tower, smirking as he turned to Garth. “You will answer for your crimes if it kills me!”

“I see,” Draykus chuckled. “Although…didn’t you wish to keep me from capturing Stoutland?”

“What?” Garth gasped. “Stoutland is here?”

“Indeed,” Draykus nodded. “Some observant citizens of Lavender Town have noticed a significant drop in the activity of Ghost-type Pokemon, and others reported witnessing a dark shape plow into the top of this tower. Given our experience in Vermillion City, we both know what this means.”

I get a gut feeling it's not Stoutland for some reason...


“Yes,” Garth growled. “It means that you will die here and now! Bronzong, rise from the ashes!”

Bronzong appeared with a droning moan, levitating between Garth and Draykus as it waited for an order. Despite this, Draykus only chuckled again.

“Unfortunately, I lack the time for a Pokemon battle,” Draykus said. “But do bring the boy up to the top floor of the tower once he arrives. I believe it’s time I properly introduced myself.”

Okay, now I'm kind of disturbed. Why would Draykus want to see Derak like that?


“And you honestly think he would believe you?” Garth spat.

“Heh…this is an era where creatures with vast magical powers are contained in mechanical balls,” Draykus chuckled. “I’m certain anything is possible if you think about it. Oh, and don’t keep me waiting, Cesslon. My patience never was infinite in matters such as these.”

With that, Draykus entered the tower. Seconds later, Derak ran to Garth’s side, gasping for breath.

“What…did…I miss?” Derak panted.

“We have no time to talk,” Garth snapped. “Stoutland is in that tower, and that vile man plans on capturing it.”

“What’s so nasty about Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “From what I’ve heard, Orre’s been doing pretty well under him.”

“He calls himself ‘Draykus’?” Garth snorted. “I expected something more original from him.”

That caught me by surprise, to be honest. I never really expected that it wasn't his name.

Something still feels off about how Derak is taking this, though. He feels strangely detached from these affairs.



The path to the top of the Pokemon Tower was surprisingly straightforward, likely due to Stoutland’s having assaulted the resident Ghost-type Pokemon that would have normally impeded a visitor’s efforts at exploration. As a result, Derak and Garth easily rushed through the levels, heading quickly for the uppermost floor.

“Man…Stoutland sure did a number on these Pokemon,” Derak remarked, noting the fallen Gastlies scattered around him.

“Will you stop being so easily distracted?” Garth barked. “We have a mission, and it needs to be the prime center of our focus!”

“Oh, sorry!” Derak snapped. “Forgive me for putting lives above whatever crazy plan you have in mind that will most likely get us KILLED!”

“Shut up and follow me!” Garth snapped. “We are nearly at the top floor!”

A portion of the ceiling in front of them suddenly collapsed, a familiar dog-like shape falling out of it. Stoutland struggled to rise up, only for a concrete pillar to slam into its back, causing the Normal-type to let out a howl of pain.

“Stoutland,” Garth gasped, his voice containing an unusual concern.

“Eldur!” grunted Draykus’ Conkeldurr as it leapt down from the upper floor, landing just behind Stoutland and retrieving its pillar. “Conk-eldurr!”

Wow, Conkeldurr was tough enough to damage Stoutland after nothing else could touch it?

I guess Stoutland's punishment really was more severe.


“Conkeldurr,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Muscular Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Evolved form of Gurdurr. It is thought that Conkeldurr taught humans how to make concrete over two thousand years ago. They use their concrete pillars as walking canes, and know moves that can swing them freely during battle.”

“Conkeldurr!” cried Draykus as he, too, leapt down from the floor above. Despite his being a seemingly normal human, he executed the massive jump perfectly and landed without an ounce of harm done to his body. “Finish this with Dynamicpunch!”

“NO!” Garth cried. “Bronzong, use Iron Head to stop it!”

Bronzong rocketed in from out of nowhere, surrounded by a bullet of silver energy. The bell-like Pokemon slammed directly into Conkeldurr’s chest, knocking the Fighting-type onto its back and causing it to drop its pillars.

Nice move there. Very exciting.


“Ah, Garth,” said Draykus. “I see you brought the boy. What was your name, boy?”

“Derak,” said the child in question. “You’re the governor of Orre, right? Why are you so obsessed with this Stoutland?”

Draykus could only chuckle. Stoutland attempted to use this temporary distraction to launch a counter-attack, but Conkeldurr pinned it down via the use of its two pillars.

“Ah…the naivety of a child,” Draykus smirked. “Let me explain. Conkeldurr, keep Stoutland there for a while.”

Does Draykus have a mustache? Because he needs to be twirling it while he explains his evil plan. XD;


Conkeldurr nodded, applying more pressure to Stoutland’s body. As it did so, Draykus began to pace by the various tombstones that dotted the floor.

“The short lives of men and Pokemon are nothing compared to the age of the world,” Draykus said. “To find something of great power is…difficult, to say the least. And yet news of this unique Stoutland simply fell into my lap, as if it were destiny.”

“Your only destiny is the death you so richly deserve!” Garth roared and made to attack Draykus, only for Conkeldurr to fend him off with a swing of one of its pillars.

“Be quiet for a moment, Garth,” Draykus said before turning to Derak. “Tell me…Derak, was it? What do you know of the history of this world?”

“Not much of anything, actually,” Derak shrugged. “Kinda happens when you’ve been stuck in a pseudo-shelter that protects you from things that you don’t need to be protected from.”

“Ah…then let me educate you,” Draykus said. “Once, centuries ago…there was a faraway region by the name of Ransei.”

Oh ****. This could go one of several places... and none of them are really all that good for Derak and Garth.


Garth’s eyes widened as Draykus spoke, realizing where this lesson was headed.

“Ransei was dotted with seventeen kingdoms, all independent of one another,” Draykus continued. “But everything changed one day when a group of scholars learned of an ancient legend. The legend told that, if a single kingdom could dominate the other sixteen, a Pokemon of great power would appear.”

“Arceus,” breathed Garth.

“Indeed,” Draykus smirked. “The Pokemon in question was called Arceus, revered as the being that created the entire world. Therefore, its power would obviously be at least tenfold that of any other Pokemon, regardless of its evolutionary level or amount of training. Thus, the seventeen kingdoms armed themselves, each attempting to conquer the others and summon Arceus.”

“So…who won?” Derak asked.

“No one,” Draykus replied. “Ransei is now a barren wasteland, thanks to decades of war. Arceus never showed itself…not that there was anyone left to behold its majesty.”

I guess that means this story has an alternate ending to the Conquest story?


“Whoa,” Derak gasped. “That’s…that’s awful.”

“So it is,” Draykus sighed. “It is a rather tragic tale.”

“But…what does that story have to do with Stoutland?” Derak asked.

Draykus chuckled again.

“One warlord came quite close to bringing forth the coming of Arceus,” he continued. “He led the kingdom of Dragnor and its Dragon-type Pokemon in a campaign across the whole of Ransei. And yet, when the power of Arceus was so near…it was snatched from his grasp. So many in Ransei stated that the power was not his to bear, but all the man had wanted was to create a truly peaceful world where humans could live in harmony alongside Pokemon.”

Garth narrowed his eyes. He had a bad feeling that he knew how this speech would end.

“I will succeed where there was once failure,” Draykus continued. “With Stoutland’s power, I will force that world into creation. Once all of the world is under my thumb, I shall bring about an age of peace unlike any other!”

“Let me guess…you take away freedom in the process?” Derak sighed.

“Unfortunately…sacrifices must be made,” Draykus admitted, yet showed no signs of regret or remorse. “Are a handful of lives not a worthwhile trade for true peace?”

So he's Nobunaga but as a seemingly normal politician. I actually rather like this... it's an interesting method for a villain.


“…okay, this is messed up,” Derak said, giving his head a shake. “Governor…ever since I was little, I spent what little free time I had watching TV. You were always on there, always talking about peaceful solutions and democracy and things like that…that’s not who you are now. Who are you, really?”

A truly sinister smirk crept onto Draykus’ face. He removed a unique-looking Pokeball from his pocket, one with a black upper half and two yellow stripes painted on the top.

“The man who will change this world,” he said. “Now…Ultra Ball, go!”

Garth gasped in horror as Draykus threw the ball. He made to block it, but Conkeldurr clubbed him with one of its pillars, sending Garth skidding across the floor and into the wall. Derak stood paralyzed, unable to move as the reality of Draykus’ persona sank in. The Ultra Ball struck Stoutland’s body and fell to the floor.

It shook once…

…twice…

…and clicked.

Draykus had captured Stoutland.

“At last,” Draykus grinned, retrieving the Ultra Ball. “At long last…the power to truly change this world…is in my hands.”

Still doesn't explain what the hell is going on with that Stoutland, though.


“…guess it’s true what they say,” Derak muttered. “No one’s who you really think they are.”

Draykus glanced at him and smirked.

“I suppose I do owe you a bit of knowledge on that subject,” he said. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name—my TRUE name—is Nobunaga Oda.”

****

OH ****!

This was already a good chapter; it was short but did what it had to do. Perhaps the only thing I was disappointed in was Derak's seeming disconnect to just how important a major politician executing an evil plan is. But then came that brilliant plot twist at the end, and everything changed. You floored me.

Rotomknight
21st August 2012, 4:50 PM
Lemme guess... Garth is the main character in pokemon conquest.
Stoutland isn't arceus in discise is it.
Derak son of nobunga. Derak must win.
I got no pm.

Morpher01
26th August 2012, 3:18 AM
The Great Butler:
That caught me by surprise, to be honest. I never really expected that it wasn't his name.

Something still feels off about how Derak is taking this, though. He feels strangely detached from these affairs.

Yeah, I kinda screwed up on writing Derak in this chapter...not really sure what happened there, to be honest.


Does Draykus have a mustache? Because he needs to be twirling it while he explains his evil plan. XD;

He has a goatee. Close enough, right? XD


I guess that means this story has an alternate ending to the Conquest story?

You'd be right.


OH ****!

This was already a good chapter; it was short but did what it had to do. Perhaps the only thing I was disappointed in was Derak's seeming disconnect to just how important a major politician executing an evil plan is. But then came that brilliant plot twist at the end, and everything changed. You floored me.

It's always so satisfying to find out just how readers react to those plot twists. XD

Other than that, yeah...my writing of Derak was clearly not at its best in that chapter. Hopefully with this next one, though, that may be fixed somewhat.


Rotomknight: Really? I could've sworn I sent a PM this time. Anyway, I can't say much about Stoutland, but I can definitely say that it isn't Arceus in disguise. XD



Well...next chapter time. This one will be revealing quite a bit about Derak.






Chapter 14: Links to the Past




“I knew it,” Garth snarled. “I knew from the very moment I saw your sickening face on television that you were the man I so deeply despised.”

“Indeed,” Draykus—or rather, Nobunaga—nodded. “It was I who once ruled over the kingdom of Dragnor, leading my armies forth in my efforts to conquer Ransei. It was I who nearly summoned Arceus. And it will be I who rules this world.”

“Wait, wait, back up,” Derak sputtered. “You’re the warlord of Dragnor? Didn’t you just say that the wars in Ransei were hundreds of years ago? How in the heck are you still alive? People don’t live for that long.”

“Not without special aid, they don’t,” Nobunaga smirked. “Perhaps Garth can tell you more about that.”

Derak whirled on Garth, at first appearing as if he would say something, but soon found his palm meeting his forehead.

“Why am I not surprised you didn’t give me all the details?” Derak groaned.

“Would you have believed me?” Garth snorted.

“Good point,” Derak said. “I’m not even sure how I believe this creep.”

“Is that any way to talk about your ancestor?” Nobunaga smirked. “It was through myself and my wife, Noh, that your bloodline came to be, boy.”

“…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

“Your blood is my blood, Derak,” Nobunaga continued, extending one hand. “Join me…together, we can create the ideal world. Pokemon and humans will finally be able to truly live in harmony. There will be no war, no strife…the world will become a perfect utopia.”

“Uh, yeah…that sounds great and all,” Derak said, “but your whole ‘end-justifies-the-means’ thing is kinda turning me off.”

Garth looked at Derak out of the corner of his eye, trying his best not to smile. So the boy was truly on his side…

“So be it,” Nobunaga sighed. “This is not the first time my own flesh and blood has turned against me.”

“Sounds like whoever did it before me was the smart one in the family,” Derak said. “You’re crazy, Nobunaga. You’re a complete and utter loon, and in all honesty, I’d like to keep relatively sane company.”

“…I see,” Nobunaga said. “In that case…we shall battle for the fate of this world.”

“Good,” Garth growled, Bronzong levitating by his side. “I have long awaited this chance.”

“Not you,” Nobunaga corrected. “I want the boy to battle me. After all, it is only fitting that it is a battle between ancestor and descendant that decides this world’s fate.”

“What?!” Garth roared. “After all that you put me through, do you really expect me to—”

“Hold it, Garth,” Derak said. “Okay, Nobunaga, you’re on…but on one condition.”

“And that is?” Nobunaga asked.

“Garth battles with me,” Derak said.

The cloaked man in question looked at Derak as if he had grown some odd appendage out of his armpits.

“What?” Garth gasped.

“Hey, you’re the one with all the experience,” Derak shrugged. “Besides, if you want a go at this lunatic so badly, be my guest.”

“Hmph…I suppose this is an acceptable agreement,” Nobunaga grunted. “The honorable nature of Ransei appear to have remained in my system despite the passing of all these years.”

He began to walk past Derak and Garth, heading out of the tower.

“Our paths will cross again,” Nobunaga said as he left, “but we shall not battle until you conquer the remaining Gyms and reach the Indigo Plateau. It will be there, when you will be strong enough to be worthy of my blood, that the world’s fate shall be decided. Try not to keep me waiting.”

With that, Nobunaga Oda departed the Pokemon Tower, taking Stoutland with him.

“Boy…just when you think you know someone,” Derak muttered before looking over to Garth. “So…anything you want to tell me?”

“Not now,” Garth said, but it was not with his usual sternness or irritation...it was with a more tragic tone that he said this. “Nobunaga has brought…painful memories to me. I…I need some time.”

“…okay,” Derak nodded. “That works, I guess. Come on, let’s go. We might as well move on to Celadon City.”

****

The two trainers once more entered Lavender Town, trudging through the streets. The day was bright and cheerful, and the bird Pokemon soared through the skies in true jubilation. And yet, on the ground, Garth’s mood was anything but cheerful. His head was low, and his eyes were shut, prompting his memories to arrive in their fullest.

“So…if you don’t mind my asking…what exactly did Nobunaga do to you?” Derak asked. “I don’t need the whole story right now, just…”

“I thought I told you I did not want to talk about it,” Garth spat. “Just know that…Nobunaga has caused me great tragedy. No matter how I examine the circumstances, in the end, everything points to Nobunaga.”

“Hey…sit here for a second,” Derak said, placing himself on a nearby bench. Garth reluctantly complied. “So…Nobunaga did bad things to you, right? And you don’t want to talk about them because they’re not exactly fun things to relive?”

“…essentially,” Garth replied.

“…I guess I can respect that,” Derak shrugged.

“I lost people who were dear to me because of Nobunaga,” Garth said. “I still see their faces when I go to sleep at night. That is why I cannot talk about my past now.”

“All right…I understand,” Derak nodded. A mutual silence hovered over them for a moment. “Hey, I just thought of something.”

“What?” Garth grunted.

“So, quick question…if I tell you my story…will it make you feel more comfortable with yours?” Derak asked.

“Why would you suddenly want to tell me your own past?” Garth asked. “You despise me, remember?”

“Yeah, but we’ve got a common goal, now,” Derak shrugged. “Might as well work together for it. Besides, I’m going to need your help when I eventually battle Nobunaga.”

“Hmm…I think I can see your point,” Garth said. “Very well. I do occasionally wonder how you survived an existence with that pitiful excuse for a father.”

“I had a motivator,” Derak said, as memories began to flood into his mind. “I found it about three or so years ago…”

****

With blue shirt, tan pants, and noticeably shorter hair, seven-year-old Derak Kadir clambered up on the railing, watching a ship drift lazily into Gateon Port. The sheer excitement in his young blue eyes greatly contrasted with the more emotionally distant eyes of the boy’s present-day counterpart. Regardless, once the ship’s passengers began to depart, Derak looked them all over. Most of them had Pokeballs on their belts, fanning the flames of Derak’s excitement.

Pokemon. They actually had real live Pokemon.

He thought about greeting one of the trainers, but second thoughts began to enter his mind. What if his father saw? What if the trainer had no desire to speak with him? Most of them seemed to pass him by without looking, anyway.

Except for one.

A young man in an orange jacket and grey pants looked over at Derak with his pale grey eyes, the dirty blonde hair on his head shaking slightly.

“Hey, there, kid,” the trainer said calmly. Derak almost wet himself. A trainer actually SPOKE to him! And now the trainer was WALKING TOWARDS him!

“H-hey!” Derak greeted, getting off of the railing and meeting the trainer.

“What’s your name?” the trainer asked.

“I’m Derak,” said the younger boy. “Are you a…a trainer?”

“Yep,” the trainer nodded. “My name’s Trip. I’m from the Unova region.”

“Unova?” Derak asked.

“Yeah,” Trip said. “It’s this really far away region where the Pokemon are totally unique. You can’t find them anywhere else in the world.”

“Wow!” Derak cried. “So, why did you come here to Orre?”

“I wanted to check out the Colosseum circuit,” Trip said. “I heard the best of the best when it comes to trainers go and compete in the Colosseums. Maybe someday I’d be battling you.”

Though his intentions were far from it, Trip’s idle comment actually caused Derak to burst into tears. Although the young child tried to hold them back, the mist in his eyes took on a life of its own.

“Hey…Derak, what’s wrong?” Trip asked.

“Muh-my…my dad doesn’t want me to be a trainer,” Derak choked. “He wants me to be a businessman like him…and he…he hates Pokemon.”

“Is that right?” Trip asked with a raised eyebrow. “Derak, let me show you something.”

Trip pulled out a Pokeball and opened it, releasing a Pokemon larger than the both of them combined. Trip’s Pokemon was a long, pale green serpent with a chalk-white face and piercing orange eyes. It had yellow markings at various places along its body, which ended in what appeared to be a dark green sprig. A wide, dark green collar sprouted from this Pokemon’s back, and two ear-like protrusions emerged from the back of its head.

“Is…is that…a Pokemon?” Derak gasped.

“Sure is,” Trip said. “This is my Serperior. It was the first Pokemon I ever got, and it’s been my partner for a long time, now.”

“It’s so cool!” Derak cried. He reached out with one hand. “Can I…?”

“Knock yourself out,” Trip smiled, a gesture that even the reserved Serperior mimicked.

Derak gently laid his hand on Serperior’s body. It felt as if he was touching grass, but this grass felt astonishingly pleasing. He tried to get every ounce of enjoyment he could from it, as it would likely be the only time he would ever have this opportunity again.

“So, Derak,” Trip said, kneeling down to the boy’s level. “You really like Pokemon, don’t you?”

“Yeah, but—” Derak started, but Trip cut him off.

“I know, I know,” Trip said somewhat impatiently, “your dad hates them. But, listen, only an idiot hates Pokemon. That’s basic.”

“Okay,” Derak said, trying to absorb this information.

“It really doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of you,” Trip said. “If you do what you think is right, if you stand by what you believe in, then you’ll always find a way to succeed.”

“Is that basic, too?” Derak asked. Trip chuckled slightly.

“Not really,” Trip answered with a smile. “That’s more of the philosophy I ended up with during my travels in Unova.”

“DERAK KADIR!” the boy’s father bellowed. “Where are you?! We’re leaving!”

“Guess the business deal went bad,” Derak said sadly, finally taking his hand off of Serperior. “I have to go, Trip.”

“I understand,” Trip said, his face becoming serious. “Derak, I want you to promise me one thing,” he said.

“What?” Derak asked.

“When you turn ten years old,” Trip said, “I want you to do whatever it takes to start your Pokemon journey. And when you do, live by what you believe in.”

“Okay, I promise,” Derak said.

“Good,” Trip smiled. “Hang on a sec.”

He pulled a green digital camera out of his pocket and snapped a picture of Derak with his Serperior.

“What are you doing?” Derak asked.

“Chronicling my journey,” Trip replied simply. “Now, get going. Don’t want to give your dad any ideas just yet.”

****

“…I never saw Trip again after that,” Derak finished. “But I knew I wanted to be a trainer like him. So, ever since that day, I started trying to copy him, just to try and be like him. I even made plans for my first Pokemon to be something that somehow became a Serperior.”

“And was it copying this Trip that caused you to become so annoyingly sarcastic?” Garth asked with a hint of a smirk.

“Pretty much, yeah,” Derak chuckled. “Trip wasn’t exactly Mr. Sarcasm, but I kinda ended up going my own way from a basic idea. It all worked out, though. To be honest, it made me realize how lousy the world tends to be. Especially…”

“What?” Garth asked. “What are you trying to say?”

“Trip…wasn’t the only reason I wanted to be a trainer,” Derak said. “You know how I like to be brutally honest with people? That’s because my ‘dad’ wasn’t completely honest with me.”

“Somehow, I am not surprised,” Garth sighed.

“Yeah, really,” Derak laughed. “But…once or twice, I saw pictures of this really nice-looking woman in my dad’s office. I asked him if that was my mom, but he just kicked me out of the office and told me to do something else.”

“Do you not have a…?” Garth trailed off. But Derak simply shrugged.

“No idea,” he said. “I never knew my mom, but I’m certain that…oh, hang on, it should be here somewhere. I snatched it out of my dad’s office the day I left Phenac.”

Derak began digging through the pockets of his pants, and after a moment, he pulled out a photograph. The picture was of an attractive-looking woman whose hair—colored in orange, green, and blue hues—was tied in a ponytail. Garth noticed two distinct emotions in her eyes. On one hand, she was happy, likely from having a family. On the other hand…she appeared sad, somehow…as if her life was incomplete.

“I’m a hundred percent positive that this is my mom,” Derak said. “When I look at this picture, I get the feeling that I’ve seen her somewhere before…but I don’t actually remember seeing her recently.”

“You may be right,” Garth nodded. “If she is indeed your mother, you may have some faint infantile memories of her.”

“Probably,” Derak said, stuffing the picture back into his pocket. “The other reason I became a trainer, besides to follow what Trip said…it was to try and find my mom. Then maybe…I can fix my family.”

He looked up into the sky, fondly visualizing his ideal family with a faint smile on his face.

“My dad won’t be such an arrogant piece of crap…my mom will actually be there…and I’ll be a trainer,” he said. “I know, it’s unrealistic, but…a kid can dream, can’t he?”

“I suppose,” Garth said. “Do you know what your mother’s name is?”

“…Liana,” Derak said. “The name ‘Liana’ rings a bell, even though I’ve never met anyone who goes by that.”

“Hmm…I do not believe I have heard that name before,” Garth said. “But if this journey continues, we may just find her.”

“Wait, ‘we’?” Derak said. “Thought you wanted nothing to do with what I wanted.”

“You said it yourself…we are working together,” Garth said. “We may as well cooperate.”

“Well, what do you know?” Derak smirked. “Miracles really DO happen.”

“Ugh…enough joking,” Garth sighed. “We should move on to Celadon City.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Derak said. “Nobunaga’s not going to wait forever.”

“And neither can I,” Garth said. “Let us go.”

The two got off the bench and left Lavender Town. As they walked, however, Garth’s eyes trailed up to the sky.

You will know my story one day, Derak. he thought. Not today…but one day.

****

Before anyone asks...I intentionally spelled No/Noh's name a bit differently. I did that to distinguish her name from a certain English word. I think you can figure out which one. XD

The Great Butler
26th August 2012, 9:43 AM
Chapter 14: Links to the Past

A shout-out to a Zelda game, or a shout-out to "linking" with Pokemon in Ransei?


“I knew it,” Garth snarled. “I knew from the very moment I saw your sickening face on television that you were the man I so deeply despised.”

I assume this means Nobunaga did not change his appearance much over the years, which raises a question in my mind: didn't anyone recognize him as someone from the history books?


“Indeed,” Draykus—or rather, Nobunaga—nodded. “It was I who once ruled over the kingdom of Dragnor, leading my armies forth in my efforts to conquer Ransei. It was I who nearly summoned Arceus. And it will be I who rules this world.”

“Wait, wait, back up,” Derak sputtered. “You’re the warlord of Dragnor? Didn’t you just say that the wars in Ransei were hundreds of years ago? How in the heck are you still alive? People don’t live for that long.”

“Not without special aid, they don’t,” Nobunaga smirked. “Perhaps Garth can tell you more about that.”

There's nothing here we didn't already know, but something about this part amused me greatly. Maybe it's Nobunaga smirking.


Derak whirled on Garth, at first appearing as if he would say something, but soon found his palm meeting his forehead.

“Why am I not surprised you didn’t give me all the details?” Derak groaned.

“Would you have believed me?” Garth snorted.

“Good point,” Derak said. “I’m not even sure how I believe this creep.”

Does Derak actually believe him already?


“Is that any way to talk about your ancestor?” Nobunaga smirked. “It was through myself and my wife, Noh, that your bloodline came to be, boy.”

*clears throat*

OH ****!

It's nice to get something that ties a lot of things together, and this is one of those things.


“…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

“Your blood is my blood, Derak,” Nobunaga continued, extending one hand. “Join me…together, we can create the ideal world. Pokemon and humans will finally be able to truly live in harmony. There will be no war, no strife…the world will become a perfect utopia.”

“Uh, yeah…that sounds great and all,” Derak said, “but your whole ‘end-justifies-the-means’ thing is kinda turning me off.”

I think it would have been funnier if Derak lampshaded the overwhelmingly typical "I am your father, join me" thing.


Garth looked at Derak out of the corner of his eye, trying his best not to smile. So the boy was truly on his side…

“So be it,” Nobunaga sighed. “This is not the first time my own flesh and blood has turned against me.”

“Sounds like whoever did it before me was the smart one in the family,” Derak said. “You’re crazy, Nobunaga. You’re a complete and utter loon, and in all honesty, I’d like to keep relatively sane company.”

There's something bugging me about Derak's dialogue here, and I can't really put my finger on what it is. I guess that maybe it's because he isn't really acting like he is speaking to an ancient, apparently immortal warlord?


“…I see,” Nobunaga said. “In that case…we shall battle for the fate of this world.”

This world.

Wonder if that was a hint.


“Good,” Garth growled, Bronzong levitating by his side. “I have long awaited this chance.”

“Not you,” Nobunaga corrected. “I want the boy to battle me. After all, it is only fitting that it is a battle between ancestor and descendant that decides this world’s fate.”

“What?!” Garth roared. “After all that you put me through, do you really expect me to—”

“Hold it, Garth,” Derak said. “Okay, Nobunaga, you’re on…but on one condition.”

“And that is?” Nobunaga asked.

“Garth battles with me,” Derak said.

The cloaked man in question looked at Derak as if he had grown some odd appendage out of his armpits.

“What?” Garth gasped.

“Hey, you’re the one with all the experience,” Derak shrugged. “Besides, if you want a go at this lunatic so badly, be my guest.”

I feel like this part might be getting approached a bit too casually. Nobunaga obviously went through a lot for his goals, so I just think that the stakes should be a bit higher and everyone should be acting accordingly.


“Hmph…I suppose this is an acceptable agreement,” Nobunaga grunted. “The honorable nature of Ransei appear to have remained in my system despite the passing of all these years.”

This sentence is worded oddly; did you mean to say "The honorable nature of Ransei appears to have remained in my system, despite the passing of all of these years?"


He began to walk past Derak and Garth, heading out of the tower.

“Our paths will cross again,” Nobunaga said as he left, “but we shall not battle until you conquer the remaining Gyms and reach the Indigo Plateau. It will be there, when you will be strong enough to be worthy of my blood, that the world’s fate shall be decided. Try not to keep me waiting.”

With that, Nobunaga Oda departed the Pokemon Tower, taking Stoutland with him.

Okay, that makes the previous part I criticized for being too casual a little better. I still think that this turn of events should have been treated with a bit more seriousness by the characters, but since it turned out that they are not going to fight here, it is a little less of a problem.


“Boy…just when you think you know someone,” Derak muttered before looking over to Garth. “So…anything you want to tell me?”

“Not now,” Garth said, but it was not with his usual sternness or irritation...it was with a more tragic tone that he said this. “Nobunaga has brought…painful memories to me. I…I need some time.”

“…okay,” Derak nodded. “That works, I guess. Come on, let’s go. We might as well move on to Celadon City.”

****

The two trainers once more entered Lavender Town, trudging through the streets. The day was bright and cheerful, and the bird Pokemon soared through the skies in true jubilation. And yet, on the ground, Garth’s mood was anything but cheerful. His head was low, and his eyes were shut, prompting his memories to arrive in their fullest.

“So…if you don’t mind my asking…what exactly did Nobunaga do to you?” Derak asked. “I don’t need the whole story right now, just…”

“I thought I told you I did not want to talk about it,” Garth spat. “Just know that…Nobunaga has caused me great tragedy. No matter how I examine the circumstances, in the end, everything points to Nobunaga.”

“Hey…sit here for a second,” Derak said, placing himself on a nearby bench. Garth reluctantly complied. “So…Nobunaga did bad things to you, right? And you don’t want to talk about them because they’re not exactly fun things to relive?”

I think Derak might be struggling a little with the idea of not bringing certain things up for discussion.


“…essentially,” Garth replied.

“…I guess I can respect that,” Derak shrugged.

“I lost people who were dear to me because of Nobunaga,” Garth said. “I still see their faces when I go to sleep at night. That is why I cannot talk about my past now.”

“All right…I understand,” Derak nodded. A mutual silence hovered over them for a moment. “Hey, I just thought of something.”

“What?” Garth grunted.

“So, quick question…if I tell you my story…will it make you feel more comfortable with yours?” Derak asked.

“Why would you suddenly want to tell me your own past?” Garth asked. “You despise me, remember?”

“Yeah, but we’ve got a common goal, now,” Derak shrugged. “Might as well work together for it. Besides, I’m going to need your help when I eventually battle Nobunaga.”

I feel like the pacing might be a little bit rushed around here. Derak just found out that he's descended from a warlord who has become immortal and plans to take over the world, and yet he seems more interested in getting Garth to finally open up. I recommend you slow down a little. Everything's going well, but I think each idea could use its own time to develop more fully.


“Hmm…I think I can see your point,” Garth said. “Very well. I do occasionally wonder how you survived an existence with that pitiful excuse for a father.”

“I had a motivator,” Derak said, as memories began to flood into his mind. “I found it about three or so years ago…”

****

With blue shirt, tan pants, and noticeably shorter hair, seven-year-old Derak Kadir clambered up on the railing, watching a ship drift lazily into Gateon Port. The sheer excitement in his young blue eyes greatly contrasted with the more emotionally distant eyes of the boy’s present-day counterpart. Regardless, once the ship’s passengers began to depart, Derak looked them all over. Most of them had Pokeballs on their belts, fanning the flames of Derak’s excitement.

Pokemon. They actually had real live Pokemon.

He thought about greeting one of the trainers, but second thoughts began to enter his mind. What if his father saw? What if the trainer had no desire to speak with him? Most of them seemed to pass him by without looking, anyway.

Except for one.

A young man in an orange jacket and grey pants looked over at Derak with his pale grey eyes, the dirty blonde hair on his head shaking slightly.

Congratulations, I think you might be the first person I've seen to actually use Trip in a meaningful role. I happen to one of the few who like him, so this is obviously a treat.


“Hey, there, kid,” the trainer said calmly. Derak almost wet himself. A trainer actually SPOKE to him! And now the trainer was WALKING TOWARDS him!

“H-hey!” Derak greeted, getting off of the railing and meeting the trainer.

“What’s your name?” the trainer asked.

“I’m Derak,” said the younger boy. “Are you a…a trainer?”

“Yep,” the trainer nodded. “My name’s Trip. I’m from the Unova region.”

“Unova?” Derak asked.

“Yeah,” Trip said. “It’s this really far away region where the Pokemon are totally unique. You can’t find them anywhere else in the world.”

“Wow!” Derak cried. “So, why did you come here to Orre?”

“I wanted to check out the Colosseum circuit,” Trip said. “I heard the best of the best when it comes to trainers go and compete in the Colosseums. Maybe someday I’d be battling you.”

Though his intentions were far from it, Trip’s idle comment actually caused Derak to burst into tears. Although the young child tried to hold them back, the mist in his eyes took on a life of its own.

“Hey…Derak, what’s wrong?” Trip asked.

“Muh-my…my dad doesn’t want me to be a trainer,” Derak choked. “He wants me to be a businessman like him…and he…he hates Pokemon.”

“Is that right?” Trip asked with a raised eyebrow. “Derak, let me show you something.”

Trip pulled out a Pokeball and opened it, releasing a Pokemon larger than the both of them combined. Trip’s Pokemon was a long, pale green serpent with a chalk-white face and piercing orange eyes. It had yellow markings at various places along its body, which ended in what appeared to be a dark green sprig. A wide, dark green collar sprouted from this Pokemon’s back, and two ear-like protrusions emerged from the back of its head.

“Is…is that…a Pokemon?” Derak gasped.

“Sure is,” Trip said. “This is my Serperior. It was the first Pokemon I ever got, and it’s been my partner for a long time, now.”

I was a little unsure of Trip's depiction at the beginning here, because he seemed to be a little more friendly than he usually is. But now that I see that this is presumably post-Best Wishes!, I definitely can believe that he's being kind. I accept where you are with him now.


“It’s so cool!” Derak cried. He reached out with one hand. “Can I…?”

“Knock yourself out,” Trip smiled, a gesture that even the reserved Serperior mimicked.

Derak gently laid his hand on Serperior’s body. It felt as if he was touching grass, but this grass felt astonishingly pleasing. He tried to get every ounce of enjoyment he could from it, as it would likely be the only time he would ever have this opportunity again.

“So, Derak,” Trip said, kneeling down to the boy’s level. “You really like Pokemon, don’t you?”

“Yeah, but—” Derak started, but Trip cut him off.

“I know, I know,” Trip said somewhat impatiently, “your dad hates them. But, listen, only an idiot hates Pokemon. That’s basic.”

Ah, there's some of the old Trip again.


“Okay,” Derak said, trying to absorb this information.

“It really doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of you,” Trip said. “If you do what you think is right, if you stand by what you believe in, then you’ll always find a way to succeed.”

“Is that basic, too?” Derak asked. Trip chuckled slightly.

“Not really,” Trip answered with a smile. “That’s more of the philosophy I ended up with during my travels in Unova.”

“DERAK KADIR!” the boy’s father bellowed. “Where are you?! We’re leaving!”

“Guess the business deal went bad,” Derak said sadly, finally taking his hand off of Serperior. “I have to go, Trip.”

“I understand,” Trip said, his face becoming serious. “Derak, I want you to promise me one thing,” he said.

“What?” Derak asked.

“When you turn ten years old,” Trip said, “I want you to do whatever it takes to start your Pokemon journey. And when you do, live by what you believe in.”

“Okay, I promise,” Derak said.

“Good,” Trip smiled. “Hang on a sec.”

He pulled a green digital camera out of his pocket and snapped a picture of Derak with his Serperior.

“What are you doing?” Derak asked.

“Chronicling my journey,” Trip replied simply. “Now, get going. Don’t want to give your dad any ideas just yet.”

It's fitting that Trip is now playing the role for Derak that Alder played for him in the past.


“…I never saw Trip again after that,” Derak finished. “But I knew I wanted to be a trainer like him. So, ever since that day, I started trying to copy him, just to try and be like him. I even made plans for my first Pokemon to be something that somehow became a Serperior.”

“And was it copying this Trip that caused you to become so annoyingly sarcastic?” Garth asked with a hint of a smirk.

“Pretty much, yeah,” Derak chuckled. “Trip wasn’t exactly Mr. Sarcasm, but I kinda ended up going my own way from a basic idea. It all worked out, though. To be honest, it made me realize how lousy the world tends to be. Especially…”

“What?” Garth asked. “What are you trying to say?”

“Trip…wasn’t the only reason I wanted to be a trainer,” Derak said. “You know how I like to be brutally honest with people? That’s because my ‘dad’ wasn’t completely honest with me.”

“Somehow, I am not surprised,” Garth sighed.

“Yeah, really,” Derak laughed. “But…once or twice, I saw pictures of this really nice-looking woman in my dad’s office. I asked him if that was my mom, but he just kicked me out of the office and told me to do something else.”

You know, if this implication is true, it doesn't surprise me. Enoch would father a child out of wedlock like that.


“Do you not have a…?” Garth trailed off. But Derak simply shrugged.

“No idea,” he said. “I never knew my mom, but I’m certain that…oh, hang on, it should be here somewhere. I snatched it out of my dad’s office the day I left Phenac.”

Derak began digging through the pockets of his pants, and after a moment, he pulled out a photograph. The picture was of an attractive-looking woman whose hair—colored in orange, green, and blue hues—was tied in a ponytail. Garth noticed two distinct emotions in her eyes. On one hand, she was happy, likely from having a family. On the other hand…she appeared sad, somehow…as if her life was incomplete.

“I’m a hundred percent positive that this is my mom,” Derak said. “When I look at this picture, I get the feeling that I’ve seen her somewhere before…but I don’t actually remember seeing her recently.”

“You may be right,” Garth nodded. “If she is indeed your mother, you may have some faint infantile memories of her.”

I'm a little suspicious. I suspect there might be more to this story than what we're seeing here on the surface.


“Probably,” Derak said, stuffing the picture back into his pocket. “The other reason I became a trainer, besides to follow what Trip said…it was to try and find my mom. Then maybe…I can fix my family.”

He looked up into the sky, fondly visualizing his ideal family with a faint smile on his face.

“My dad won’t be such an arrogant piece of crap…my mom will actually be there…and I’ll be a trainer,” he said. “I know, it’s unrealistic, but…a kid can dream, can’t he?”

I like this kid's goals.


“I suppose,” Garth said. “Do you know what your mother’s name is?”

“…Liana,” Derak said. “The name ‘Liana’ rings a bell, even though I’ve never met anyone who goes by that.”

Again, I think there's a lot more going on here than it looks.

Very impressive chapter, certainly a return to form of sorts after the last couple of chapters felt just a little shaky. I think the main thing you have to worry about right now is slowing down so all the events coming up get their proper time to develop on-screen. There are lots of great things going on here - the revelation of Derak's descent from Nobunaga, whatever's going on with Nobunaga and Garth, Derak's admiring of Trip and finally, the search for his mother - and all they need is time to be focused on. Like I said, just try to slow down your pacing a bit so things don't come and go so fast.

Rotomknight
26th August 2012, 3:09 PM
Nice...
keep the chapters flowing...
Is Garth mitsushide, the guy with the gallade.

Air Dragon
26th August 2012, 3:42 PM
Just when I thought I'd caught up, a new chapter. Will get around to reading the update and update this as soon as possible.

L@er!

Morpher01
1st September 2012, 7:17 PM
Okay, all...might not be putting up a new chapter this week due to complications. In short, I'm back in college, which is gobbling most of my time like a Munchlax gobbles food. That's a bit of an issue, considering that this is meant to be a long fic, and I have some other (very distracting) fic ideas bouncing around in my head.

In addition to that, however, I'm starting to lose interest in writing this. It's. Just. Too. Dang. Long. Here we are, around 14 chapters in, and we haven't even reached what was intended to be the climax. I've projected at least 25-30 chapters for this, which--coupled with my current schedule--could be incredibly tricky to put out. It's more than twice as long as most of my fics, which average around 15-17 chapters.

So...yeah. My life and writing long fics don't really seem to agree. As a result, Proving Grounds will likely be on hiatus for some time, if not outright cancelled. Sorry to those who've been enjoying it thus far, but know this: you have not seen the last of Derak, Garth, or Nobunaga. They will have their day...oh, yes, they will...

Morpher01
10th September 2012, 2:03 AM
Okay, so I've been doing some thinking, and I've decided to continue this. I'm kinda sick of having this thing die after the planning that went into it.

Just one warning: chapters probably won't be as frequent as I'd like due to college classes taking up about 3/4 of my time. Other than that, I should be able to finally finish this at SOME POINT in the future (although that won't be for quite a while, in all honesty).

Meantime, here's the next chapter. I don't know...I'm personally not too pleased with how this turned out, but I've had this opinion about chapters before, and I've been told that they're actually decent. Eh, we'll have to see.



Chapter 15: Rock Tunnel



Following Derak and Garth’s departure from Lavender Town, the two trainers continued their trek across Kanto. After some odd hours of hiking, they came upon a large opening carved into a rock face. A sign reading “ROCK TUNNEL” stood next to the entrance, looking faded and worn from what may have been a long existence.

“So, if we go through here, we get to Celadon City?” Derak asked.

“Indeed,” Garth nodded. “We should be careful, however. It is much easier to be ambushed by a wild Pokemon in a cave than in the grass.”

“Noted,” Derak replied.

“Well, look who it is,” a female voice sneered. “The stupid kid who doesn’t know how to treat Pokemon.”

Recognizing the voice, Derak lazily turned his head to find Melissa Armare standing behind him, arms folded and one eyebrow raised.

“Oh. You,” Derak sighed with as little interest as possible. “Is there a reason you’re talking about yourself like that? I think it’s a sign of insanity.”

“Ha, funny,” Melissa growled. “Are you and your weird-looking friend are going through the Rock Tunnel?”

“What about it?” Derak said. Garth, despite the insult Melissa threw him, simply leaned back on the wall and observed the rivals’ conversation.

“I’m going through, too,” Melissa said. “Might as well go together.”

“Huh?!” Derak sputtered. “Why the heck would I want to hang out with you?”

“I can actually stick some of reality in your head,” Melissa sneered, brushing past Derak. “Then maybe you’ll start treating your Pokemon properly.”

Without another word, Melissa entered the Rock Tunnel. Rather than follow, however, Derak simply positioned his fingers in such a way that his hand now resembled an alligator-like mouth. The mouth then began to repeatedly open and close, as if mimicking Melissa’s earlier words.

“You really are an incredible brat,” Garth grunted.

“Eh, takes one to mock one,” Derak shrugged, entering the Rock Tunnel as well. “By the way, how come you just sit back and watch whenever I start talking with someone?”

“I enjoy watching your interactions with people,” Garth replied. “I find it amusing when your sarcastic remarks are directed at someone else.”

“You would,” Derak smirked, much to Garth's displeasure.

Shortly after the group of trainers entered the tunnel, however, another familiar figure approached. Nick Spire and his Infernape looked into the tunnel, watching Derak’s back fade into the darkness.

“He’s in the Rock Tunnel, huh?” Spire said. “Okay, Infernape, let’s try something new. Hopefully we can scare Derak out of continuing his journey.”

*****

“So, who are you supposed to be?” Melissa said to Garth once he and Derak had caught up with her.

“I do not see how it is any of your business,” Garth grunted.

“Hmph,” Melissa snorted, turning her focus to Derak. “You got lucky back on the S.S. Wailord, you know.”

“Yeah, I got SO lucky,” Derak sighed. “Never mind the fact that an amoeba is twice is smart as you’ll ever be, it was ALL luck that I won and you didn’t. Not type advantages, not my being smarter than you, just luck. Totally true.”

Melissa harrumphed again and violently turned her head away from him.

“Let me guess…don’t have any friends?” Derak sighed. “Wouldn’t surprise me.”

“I have friends!” Melissa snapped.

“Name one,” Derak said calmly.

“My dad,” Melissa declared proudly.

“And he is…?” Derak asked.

“An officer in Pyrite Town’s police force, and the greatest man alive,” Melissa boasted. “He taught me everything I know: how to drill your troops, how to follow the law…”

“…how to treat every living thing like garbage, how to fail at life,” Derak continued for her. “If that’s the case, I guess I can’t blame you for your lack of brain cells.”

“HEY!” Melissa yelled. “DON’T TALK ABOUT MY DAD LIKE THAT! That’s it, we’re battling, right here and—”

A shrill cry rang through the Rock Tunnel before Melissa could throw a Pokeball, sending a chill down both the children’s spines. Garth, however, merely narrowed his eyes. That cry was somewhat familiar…

“What was that?” Derak asked.

“I don’t know,” Melissa replied. “Sounds like something nasty is coming.”

“Calm down,” Garth spat. “I may know that produced that cry, and I can assure you both that it is absolutely no thre—”

Garth was cut off by an unexpected event: a blue bat-like creature falling onto Melissa’s head. In addition to the purple skin inside its pointy ears and between the bones of its wings, the bat possessed a pair of long pointy legs and a face with no discernible features save a large fanged mouth.

“Hold that thought,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. “I think I saw one of those in Mount Moon.”

“Zubat,” the Pokedex reported, “the Bat Pokemon. Type is Poison and Flying. Zubat checks its surroundings and location by emitting ultrasonic waves from its mouth.”

“Looks good on you, Armare,” Derak smirked. “Does it come in pink and fluffy?”

A snarling Melissa replied by pulling Zubat off of her head and throwing it into Derak’s stomach. The boy let out an “oof” upon contact, but the Zubat was clearly in worse condition. Its entire body was shivering with fear, its wings wrapped around itself as if they would somehow protect it.

“Real nice,” Derak growled at Melissa before stooping down to pick up Zubat. “Hey, little guy…you okay?”

“Leave it, Derak,” Melissa spat. “That Pokemon is clearly worthless. I mean, just look at it! It has no eyes! It can’t tell up from down, let alone execute a single attack accurately!”

“Uh-huh,” Derak grunted. “Zubat? Show her which way is up.”

The Zubat complied by pointing one wing towards the ceiling.

“Now show her which way is down.”

Zubat pointed its win towards the floor.

“But…but, that’s not possible!” Melissa sputtered. “It has no eyes, how can it see?!”

“Echolocation,” Garth said. “It essentially gives its species a kind of sonar.”

“In other words,” Derak said, “you’re wrong. Again. As if anyone is surprised.”

Melissa’s face reddened with anger, but before she could spout some sort of retort, the ground beneath her began to rumble. Zubat began to panic, flapping out of Derak’s arms and screeching incessantly at every possible living organism.

“NOW what’s going on?!” Derak complained, putting a hand on the wall in an attempt to maintain his balance.

“I guess that thing really is smarter than it looks!” Melissa cried, pointing down the tunnel. “Look!”

Something large was working its way towards them. A gruff, guttural roar came from the darkness, and although it was clearly not the source of the earlier shrill cry, it was nonetheless just as intimidating. The rumbling grew more intense as the beast came closer, something Zubat immediately recognized. The Bat Pokemon flew ahead of the three humans, stopping for a moment to screech back at them.

“Come on, let’s go!” Derak cried, chasing after the Poison-type. “Zubat can lead us out of here!”

“You’re trusting our lives with that thing?!” Melissa yelled.

“You’d rather take your chances with whatever’s back there?!” Derak shot back.

“Point taken!” Melissa cried.

Light soon poured into the trainers’ sight, and the exit soon became visible. Zubat was the first out, its wings propelling its tiny body out into the sunlight. Derak, Melissa, and Garth soon followed, but the beast chasing them was not far behind. Mere seconds after the trainers escaped the Rock Tunnel, a blast of blue fire erupted from the tunnel’s mouth.

“That was a Pokemon attack, right?” Derak asked. “Please tell me that was a Pokemon attack!”

“It was a Dragonbreath, stupid!” Melissa snarled. “And a strong one, too…I think I’ve found myself a new recruit!”

As if on cue, a large serpentine monster burst out of the Rock Tunnel. Its body appeared to be made entirely from numerous boulders, all somehow attached together. Its slightly pointed head had a large fin-like horn emerging from the top, and two large eyes glared down at the trainers.

“Onix,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Rock Snake Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. It burrows through the ground at a speed of fifty miles per hour while feeding on large boulders.”

“Are you insane?!” Derak cried. “You want to battle something that can chew through boulders?!”

“I want to CATCH something that can chew through boulders,” Melissa retorted, preparing a Pokeball. “I could use a Ground-type for the Fuchsia Gym down the road. Krabby, report for duty!”

Melissa’s Pokeball revealed a rather simple-looking Pokemon: a typical red crab, albeit with large eyes and two evenly-sized pincers. The crab glanced up at Onix, making a sighing sound as foam appeared around its mouth.

“Krabby,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the River Crab Pokemon. Type is Water. It lives in burrows dug on sandy beaches, and its pincers can fully grow back if they are broken in battle.”

“Krabby, huh?” Derak said, returning his Pokedex to his pocket. “The name suits you.”

Melissa gave Derak a quick glare before turning her gaze back to Onix. As she began to enter battle, however, Derak saw something in Onix’s eyes. It was not the rage that he expected…it looked more like fear. A fear of something much worse than her. Nonetheless, Melissa either did not notice or—as Derak assumed—did not care as she issued her first command.

“Krabby, use Bubblebeam!” Melissa cried.

Krabby limply pointed a claw at Onix, opening it up and releasing a stream of blue energy spheres. Onix, however, dodged by somehow contorting its rocky body in such a way that the Bubblebeam sailed right past. The Rock Snake countered by diving underground, completely submerging itself within the earth in spite of the Rock-type’s size.

“It knows Dig?!” Melissa cried. “Krabby, stay alert!”

“Kruh-key, kruh-key,” Krabby grunted, releasing more foam from its mouth. The ground beneath it suddenly cracked, and Onix burst out from underground. Although the Rock Snake expected to send the River Crab flying, it saw no trace of its Water-type foe in the air or on the ground.

“Now, Krabby! Point-blank Bubblebeam!” Melissa yelled.

Six small feet planted themselves on Onix’s head, and the Rock-type’s eyes widened upon realizing that Krabby had grabbed onto the former’s horn. Onix was now completely helpless as the River Crab fired another Bubblebeam, this one smashing directly into the side of Onix’s head. The Rock Snake let out a roar of pain, and with her opportunity in sight, Melissa threw a Pokeball. The ball absorbed Onix inside, causing the unaffected Krabby to plummet back down to earth. Despite the plight of her Water-type, Melissa instead smirked as her Pokeball shook three times and clicked, signifying Onix’s successful capture.

“And that’s how it’s done,” Melissa bragged, retrieving her Pokeball. “Well, Derak? Got any smug words now?”

She turned around, but rather than find Derak making some sardonic comment, she found that he and Garth had long since left. Only Melissa and Krabby remained, the latter managing to dig itself out of the small crater that was caused by its rough landing.

“I hate that boy,” Melissa growled.

Krabby gave another foamy sigh, wondering what cruel deities had decided to place it with such a clueless trainer.

****

“Well, here we are,” Derak said, Zubat resting on his head and Garth standing beside him. “Celadon City.”

The site of Derak’s fourth Gym battle was truly a sight to behold. Skyscrapers towered over the populace, and people busily buzzed from building to building. Trainers had battles in the streets, and shoppers inspected the local perfume shop. To say this city was bustling would be an understatement.

“We should get to the Pokemon Center,” Garth said. “It is getting late.”

“Looks like it,” Derak replied, noticing that the sky was indeed darkening. He looked up at Zubat. “Hey, Zubat…you want to come with me or something? I mean, it would probably explain why you seem to like sticking around.”

Zubat nodded eagerly.

“You sure?” Derak asked. “I mean, this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. There’s stuff like Gym battles, crazy ancestors, lawyers, annoying people like Melissa…”

Zubat nodded again.

“Okay, it’s your choice,” Derak shrugged. “All right, Zubat…it’s kinda my thing to name my Pokemon. You okay with that?”

Zubat nodded yet again.

“Cool,” Derak said. “Can you get off my head for a second? I need to take a look at you.”

Zubat complied, using its wings to propel itself off of the boy’s head. It began to hover in front of Derak, allowing the latter to examine it.

“Okay…let’s see,” Derak said, putting a hand to his chin. “You’re a bat, and you make sound waves…Garth, what was it called when Zubat does radar stuff with sound waves?”

“Echolocation?” Garth suggested.

“That was it!” Derak said. “Okay, Zubat…I think I’m going to call you Echo. What do you think?”

Zubat seemed to consider the name for a moment, tilting its head to the side in some sort of strange pensive gesture. After its time of contemplation had finished, however, it gave Derak a nod.

“Cool,” Derak said, pulling a Pokeball off his belt. “Now, I’m going to need you to hold still for a sec, okay?”

The newly-named Echo nodded, already knowing what was coming next. Derak lightly tapped the Pokeball against Echo’s head, and the Zubat was promptly absorbed into it.

“Welcome to the team, little guy,” Derak smiled. “Come on, let’s go to bed. It’s been a rough day.”

****

Just outside Celadon City, Nick Spire plopped himself down on the ground, his head in his hand.

“Great, just great,” he groaned. “That was definitely not what I intended. I wanted Infernape’s Roar attack to scare Derak, not send a rampaging Onix after him!”

He collapsed onto his back, staring up at the sky.

“This isn’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped,” he sighed. “Every time I reach out to bring Derak back, he just gets further away. Maybe…maybe this is some kind of sign? Maybe something greater than me wants Derak to keep going?”

“Yes…that would be the case.”

Spire sprang to his feet in an instant, Infernape’s Pokeball at the ready, but a hand suddenly gripped his arm and pulled it behind his back, effectively restraining him. The hand then threw Spire to the ground, a foot landing on his back and pinning him down. The lawyer managed to turn his head just enough to see his assailant, but the attacker’s identity caused his eyes to bulge with shock.

“Now,” growled Nobunaga as his foot applied pressure to Spire’s back, “let us talk about what you will be doing next.”

****

Rotomknight
10th September 2012, 4:15 AM
Uhuh....
It's finally happened Nobunga...
Youve lost your mind. (says clown)
Simpsons reference.

What will mr. lawer do.
And what about derrak's dad, who wouldn't let him leave.

What would he think about all this.

The Great Butler
10th September 2012, 8:27 AM
Okay, so I've been doing some thinking, and I've decided to continue this. I'm kinda sick of having this thing die after the planning that went into it.

Just one warning: chapters probably won't be as frequent as I'd like due to college classes taking up about 3/4 of my time. Other than that, I should be able to finally finish this at SOME POINT in the future (although that won't be for quite a while, in all honesty).

I hope you do continue it. It's very enjoyable.


Chapter 15: Rock Tunnel



Following Derak and Garth’s departure from Lavender Town, the two trainers continued their trek across Kanto. After some odd hours of hiking, they came upon a large opening carved into a rock face. A sign reading “ROCK TUNNEL” stood next to the entrance, looking faded and worn from what may have been a long existence.

“So, if we go through here, we get to Celadon City?” Derak asked.

“Indeed,” Garth nodded. “We should be careful, however. It is much easier to be ambushed by a wild Pokemon in a cave than in the grass.”

I think Garth should also tell him that there's Lavender Town and Saffron City between Rock Tunnel's exit and Celadon, shouldn't he?


“Noted,” Derak replied.

“Well, look who it is,” a female voice sneered. “The stupid kid who doesn’t know how to treat Pokemon.”

Recognizing the voice, Derak lazily turned his head to find Melissa Armare standing behind him, arms folded and one eyebrow raised.

“Oh. You,” Derak sighed with as little interest as possible. “Is there a reason you’re talking about yourself like that? I think it’s a sign of insanity.”

She better have Burn Heal.

I'm amused by how little Derak seems to think of her.


“Ha, funny,” Melissa growled. “Are you and your weird-looking friend are going through the Rock Tunnel?”

“What about it?” Derak said. Garth, despite the insult Melissa threw him, simply leaned back on the wall and observed the rivals’ conversation.

“I’m going through, too,” Melissa said. “Might as well go together.”

“Huh?!” Derak sputtered. “Why the heck would I want to hang out with you?”

“I can actually stick some of reality in your head,” Melissa sneered, brushing past Derak. “Then maybe you’ll start treating your Pokemon properly.”

Melissa, this is the kid who just found out he's descended from an immortal warlord from feudal Japan (or the equivalent thereof). Reality to him would sound like fantasy to you.


Without another word, Melissa entered the Rock Tunnel. Rather than follow, however, Derak simply positioned his fingers in such a way that his hand now resembled an alligator-like mouth. The mouth then began to repeatedly open and close, as if mimicking Melissa’s earlier words.

“You really are an incredible brat,” Garth grunted.

I hope Garth didn't just figure that out now.



Shortly after the group of trainers entered the tunnel, however, another familiar figure approached. Nick Spire and his Infernape looked into the tunnel, watching Derak’s back fade into the darkness.

“He’s in the Rock Tunnel, huh?” Spire said. “Okay, Infernape, let’s try something new. Hopefully we can scare Derak out of continuing his journey.”

Okay, I can't imagine this is going to end well for all involved.


“So, who are you supposed to be?” Melissa said to Garth once he and Derak had caught up with her.

“I do not see how it is any of your business,” Garth grunted.

This is something I'd miss if you cancelled the story, Garth's attitude.


“Hmph,” Melissa snorted, turning her focus to Derak. “You got lucky back on the S.S. Wailord, you know.”

“Yeah, I got SO lucky,” Derak sighed. “Never mind the fact that an amoeba is twice is smart as you’ll ever be, it was ALL luck that I won and you didn’t. Not type advantages, not my being smarter than you, just luck. Totally true.”

Melissa harrumphed again and violently turned her head away from him.

“Let me guess…don’t have any friends?” Derak sighed. “Wouldn’t surprise me.”

“I have friends!” Melissa snapped.

“Name one,” Derak said calmly.

And Derak's attitude, for that matter. So amusing to read.


“My dad,” Melissa declared proudly.

“And he is…?” Derak asked.

“An officer in Pyrite Town’s police force, and the greatest man alive,” Melissa boasted. “He taught me everything I know: how to drill your troops, how to follow the law…”

“…how to treat every living thing like garbage, how to fail at life,” Derak continued for her. “If that’s the case, I guess I can’t blame you for your lack of brain cells.”

This could go one of two ways depending on if she's the daughter of Sherles or Johnson, which is a little vague right now. If it's Johnson, what Derak is saying could be much truer than first thought.


“HEY!” Melissa yelled. “DON’T TALK ABOUT MY DAD LIKE THAT! That’s it, we’re battling, right here and—”

A shrill cry rang through the Rock Tunnel before Melissa could throw a Pokeball, sending a chill down both the children’s spines. Garth, however, merely narrowed his eyes. That cry was somewhat familiar…

“What was that?” Derak asked.

“I don’t know,” Melissa replied. “Sounds like something nasty is coming.”

“Calm down,” Garth spat. “I may know that produced that cry, and I can assure you both that it is absolutely no thre—”

Garth was cut off by an unexpected event: a blue bat-like creature falling onto Melissa’s head. In addition to the purple skin inside its pointy ears and between the bones of its wings, the bat possessed a pair of long pointy legs and a face with no discernible features save a large fanged mouth.

“Hold that thought,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. “I think I saw one of those in Mount Moon.”

“Zubat,” the Pokedex reported, “the Bat Pokemon. Type is Poison and Flying. Zubat checks its surroundings and location by emitting ultrasonic waves from its mouth.”

“Looks good on you, Armare,” Derak smirked. “Does it come in pink and fluffy?”

Once again, I laughed. I have a gut feeling that that Zubat might be important, though. Let's see if I'm right.


A snarling Melissa replied by pulling Zubat off of her head and throwing it into Derak’s stomach. The boy let out an “oof” upon contact, but the Zubat was clearly in worse condition. Its entire body was shivering with fear, its wings wrapped around itself as if they would somehow protect it.

“Real nice,” Derak growled at Melissa before stooping down to pick up Zubat. “Hey, little guy…you okay?”

“Leave it, Derak,” Melissa spat. “That Pokemon is clearly worthless. I mean, just look at it! It has no eyes! It can’t tell up from down, let alone execute a single attack accurately!”

I had actually forgotten just how vicious Melissa can be, so thanks for this very clear reminder. Incredibly cruel of her...


“Uh-huh,” Derak grunted. “Zubat? Show her which way is up.”

The Zubat complied by pointing one wing towards the ceiling.

“Now show her which way is down.”

Zubat pointed its win towards the floor.

“But…but, that’s not possible!” Melissa sputtered. “It has no eyes, how can it see?!”

“Echolocation,” Garth said. “It essentially gives its species a kind of sonar.”

“In other words,” Derak said, “you’re wrong. Again. As if anyone is surprised.”

Boy, you really aren't holding back when it comes to Melissa, are you? I smiled here, seeing her getting put in her place.


Melissa’s face reddened with anger, but before she could spout some sort of retort, the ground beneath her began to rumble. Zubat began to panic, flapping out of Derak’s arms and screeching incessantly at every possible living organism.

“NOW what’s going on?!” Derak complained, putting a hand on the wall in an attempt to maintain his balance.

“I guess that thing really is smarter than it looks!” Melissa cried, pointing down the tunnel. “Look!”

Something large was working its way towards them. A gruff, guttural roar came from the darkness, and although it was clearly not the source of the earlier shrill cry, it was nonetheless just as intimidating. The rumbling grew more intense as the beast came closer, something Zubat immediately recognized. The Bat Pokemon flew ahead of the three humans, stopping for a moment to screech back at them.

“Come on, let’s go!” Derak cried, chasing after the Poison-type. “Zubat can lead us out of here!”

Yeah, I'm definitely getting the feeling that Zubat is going to be important.


“You’re trusting our lives with that thing?!” Melissa yelled.

“You’d rather take your chances with whatever’s back there?!” Derak shot back.

“Point taken!” Melissa cried.

Light soon poured into the trainers’ sight, and the exit soon became visible. Zubat was the first out, its wings propelling its tiny body out into the sunlight. Derak, Melissa, and Garth soon followed, but the beast chasing them was not far behind. Mere seconds after the trainers escaped the Rock Tunnel, a blast of blue fire erupted from the tunnel’s mouth.

“That was a Pokemon attack, right?” Derak asked. “Please tell me that was a Pokemon attack!”

“It was a Dragonbreath, stupid!” Melissa snarled. “And a strong one, too…I think I’ve found myself a new recruit!”

As if on cue, a large serpentine monster burst out of the Rock Tunnel. Its body appeared to be made entirely from numerous boulders, all somehow attached together. Its slightly pointed head had a large fin-like horn emerging from the top, and two large eyes glared down at the trainers.

“Onix,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Rock Snake Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. It burrows through the ground at a speed of fifty miles per hour while feeding on large boulders.”

I knew it had to be an Onix the moment it was mentioned to have used DragonBreath. The question in my mind, though, is if it is actually a wild Onix or does it belong to Spire?


“Are you insane?!” Derak cried. “You want to battle something that can chew through boulders?!”

“I want to CATCH something that can chew through boulders,” Melissa retorted, preparing a Pokeball. “I could use a Ground-type for the Fuchsia Gym down the road. Krabby, report for duty!”

Well, that reaction makes sense for Melissa. Krabby's a good choice, too.



Melissa gave Derak a quick glare before turning her gaze back to Onix. As she began to enter battle, however, Derak saw something in Onix’s eyes. It was not the rage that he expected…it looked more like fear. A fear of something much worse than her. Nonetheless, Melissa either did not notice or—as Derak assumed—did not care as she issued her first command.

Hmm... this is actually surprising. I wonder what it means...


“Krabby, use Bubblebeam!” Melissa cried.

Krabby limply pointed a claw at Onix, opening it up and releasing a stream of blue energy spheres. Onix, however, dodged by somehow contorting its rocky body in such a way that the Bubblebeam sailed right past. The Rock Snake countered by diving underground, completely submerging itself within the earth in spite of the Rock-type’s size.

“It knows Dig?!” Melissa cried. “Krabby, stay alert!”

“Kruh-key, kruh-key,” Krabby grunted, releasing more foam from its mouth. The ground beneath it suddenly cracked, and Onix burst out from underground. Although the Rock Snake expected to send the River Crab flying, it saw no trace of its Water-type foe in the air or on the ground.

“Now, Krabby! Point-blank Bubblebeam!” Melissa yelled.

Six small feet planted themselves on Onix’s head, and the Rock-type’s eyes widened upon realizing that Krabby had grabbed onto the former’s horn. Onix was now completely helpless as the River Crab fired another Bubblebeam, this one smashing directly into the side of Onix’s head. The Rock Snake let out a roar of pain, and with her opportunity in sight, Melissa threw a Pokeball. The ball absorbed Onix inside, causing the unaffected Krabby to plummet back down to earth. Despite the plight of her Water-type, Melissa instead smirked as her Pokeball shook three times and clicked, signifying Onix’s successful capture.

I guess that answers my question about whether it belonged to Spire or not.

I want to say that I appreciate you using some more obscure Pokemon like Krabby and Onix that don't see as much action in this day and age.


“And that’s how it’s done,” Melissa bragged, retrieving her Pokeball. “Well, Derak? Got any smug words now?”

She turned around, but rather than find Derak making some sardonic comment, she found that he and Garth had long since left. Only Melissa and Krabby remained, the latter managing to dig itself out of the small crater that was caused by its rough landing.

“I hate that boy,” Melissa growled.

Krabby gave another foamy sigh, wondering what cruel deities had decided to place it with such a clueless trainer.

Okay, I like this Krabby. XD;


“Well, here we are,” Derak said, Zubat resting on his head and Garth standing beside him. “Celadon City.”

The site of Derak’s fourth Gym battle was truly a sight to behold. Skyscrapers towered over the populace, and people busily buzzed from building to building. Trainers had battles in the streets, and shoppers inspected the local perfume shop. To say this city was bustling would be an understatement.

I guess you restructured Rock Tunnel a bit so they're go right to Celadon? Also, I find it odd that Spire didn't show up in the tunnel... he must be up to something.


“We should get to the Pokemon Center,” Garth said. “It is getting late.”

“Looks like it,” Derak replied, noticing that the sky was indeed darkening. He looked up at Zubat. “Hey, Zubat…you want to come with me or something? I mean, it would probably explain why you seem to like sticking around.”

Zubat nodded eagerly.

“You sure?” Derak asked. “I mean, this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. There’s stuff like Gym battles, crazy ancestors, lawyers, annoying people like Melissa…”

Zubat nodded again.

“Okay, it’s your choice,” Derak shrugged. “All right, Zubat…it’s kinda my thing to name my Pokemon. You okay with that?”

Zubat nodded yet again.

I knew it. Almost immediately upon Zubat's entrance I predicted Derak would catch it, and I was right. I kind of like this Zubat already, so I think it'll make a good addition.


“Cool,” Derak said. “Can you get off my head for a second? I need to take a look at you.”

Zubat complied, using its wings to propel itself off of the boy’s head. It began to hover in front of Derak, allowing the latter to examine it.

“Okay…let’s see,” Derak said, putting a hand to his chin. “You’re a bat, and you make sound waves…Garth, what was it called when Zubat does radar stuff with sound waves?”

“Echolocation?” Garth suggested.

“That was it!” Derak said. “Okay, Zubat…I think I’m going to call you Echo. What do you think?”

Zubat seemed to consider the name for a moment, tilting its head to the side in some sort of strange pensive gesture. After its time of contemplation had finished, however, it gave Derak a nod.

“Cool,” Derak said, pulling a Pokeball off his belt. “Now, I’m going to need you to hold still for a sec, okay?”

Hm. That name works.


Just outside Celadon City, Nick Spire plopped himself down on the ground, his head in his hand.

“Great, just great,” he groaned. “That was definitely not what I intended. I wanted Infernape’s Roar attack to scare Derak, not send a rampaging Onix after him!”

Well that explains what happened to him. I actually cracked a smile, because this guy is almost comical in how he fails sometimes, or at least that's how I read it.


He collapsed onto his back, staring up at the sky.

“This isn’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped,” he sighed. “Every time I reach out to bring Derak back, he just gets further away. Maybe…maybe this is some kind of sign? Maybe something greater than me wants Derak to keep going?”

“Yes…that would be the case.”

Spire sprang to his feet in an instant, Infernape’s Pokeball at the ready, but a hand suddenly gripped his arm and pulled it behind his back, effectively restraining him. The hand then threw Spire to the ground, a foot landing on his back and pinning him down. The lawyer managed to turn his head just enough to see his assailant, but the attacker’s identity caused his eyes to bulge with shock.

“Now,” growled Nobunaga as his foot applied pressure to Spire’s back, “let us talk about what you will be doing next.”

****

Well then. My first thought is, Spire still knows Nobunaga as Draykus, right? I don't think I remember him learning the truth yet. Either way, though, it looks like Spire's mission from Enoch just got completely complicated.

I think this was a good chapter, certainly not as bad as you made it sound. It was short, but it told an effective enough story, had some great moments and overall was just entertaining. I don't think you can ask for more.

Air Dragon
11th September 2012, 8:41 PM
Righteousness prevails! I'm so glad this isn't gonna die! I can't go into too much details now, but it's been a certainly intriguing trip so far!

Truthfully, I'll put more into a full review once the latest chapter is read, but I'll definitely fill you in soon!

But for now... L@er!

Morpher01
15th September 2012, 1:50 PM
Rotomknight: You'll see. That's all I can say. XD


The Great Butler:
I had actually forgotten just how vicious Melissa can be, so thanks for this very clear reminder. Incredibly cruel of her...

I wouldn't really call her "cruel" per se, just too hot-headed to make accurate judgements. And also not too bright. XD


Boy, you really aren't holding back when it comes to Melissa, are you? I smiled here, seeing her getting put in her place.

Some characters are just fun to humiliate. XD


This could go one of two ways depending on if she's the daughter of Sherles or Johnson, which is a little vague right now. If it's Johnson, what Derak is saying could be much truer than first thought.

I wanted it to be somewhat vague, partly because I wanted it to be up the the reader's imagination (and partly because I couldn't decide who her dad should be myself XD). Either way, the idea is that she's taken his advice a little too far.


I want to say that I appreciate you using some more obscure Pokemon like Krabby and Onix that don't see as much action in this day and age.

I wanted to have a Kanto-dominated Pokemon lineup due to the setting. Thus, Krabby and Onix.


I guess you restructured Rock Tunnel a bit so they're go right to Celadon? Also, I find it odd that Spire didn't show up in the tunnel... he must be up to something.

Pretty much. At first I was going to use it the actual way (or not at all), until I realized that I needed to give Derak the Zubat. Thus, this incarnation of Rock Tunnel came to be.


Well then. My first thought is, Spire still knows Nobunaga as Draykus, right? I don't think I remember him learning the truth yet. Either way, though, it looks like Spire's mission from Enoch just got completely complicated.

Spire does know him as Draykus. In fact, no one knows him as Nobunaga. There's a reason for that which will be revealed around Fuchsia City.


Air Dragon:
Righteousness prevails! I'm so glad this isn't gonna die! I can't go into too much details now, but it's been a certainly intriguing trip so far!

Truthfully, I'll put more into a full review once the latest chapter is read, but I'll definitely fill you in soon!

But for now... L@er!

Heh, makes me glad I didn't decide to cancel. Thanks for your enthusiasm, and take your time on your review.

Morpher01
23rd September 2012, 2:04 AM
Okay, time for the next chapter. Not sure if this one was handled the best way, but my primary goal is to avoid repetitive chapters as much as possible. So...yeah. Here we go.




Chapter 16: Training Day



“Let me get this straight,” Garth sighed, his forehead in his palm. “Despite using a Fire-type Pokemon, as well as a Pokemon that is both a Poison-type and a Flying-type…you failed to defeat even ONE of the Celadon Gym Leader’s Pokemon?”

A day had passed since Derak and Garth arrived in Celadon City. After a quick training session in which Derak learned of the moves in Echo’s arsenal, the boy went to challenge the fourth of Kanto’s Gyms. Unfortunately, fate was not on Derak’s side.

“Hey, don’t look at me,” Derak protested, nursing what appeared to be a broken nose. “The Gym Leader’s Tangela used Ancientpower to clobber Echo, then it evolved into some freakish ball of vines that—for some weird reason—doesn’t care if its arms get eaten. Then it instantly beat Brute with a Poison Jab to the chest, and then it threw out another Ancientpower that launched Wildfire RIGHT INTO MY FACE. Don’t blame me for other people’s use of cheap tricks.”

“Evolving in mid-battle is against no official rules,” Garth sighed. “Were you not the one who simply said to try again if beaten?”

“That was before Erika unleashed her Tangrowth of Super-Armed Death,” Derak grumbled. “How are my guys supposed to fight something that can hit them from across the whole battlefield?”

“We train,” Garth said flatly. “I believe we will be able to use one of my Pokemon’s attacks to simulate Tangrowth’s elastic arms. Once your Pokemon are finished healing, we can begin that.”

“I guess that’ll work,” Derak muttered, still massaging his injured nose.

Garth only nodded and took a drink from his canteen.

“Okay, what is it with you and that canteen?” Derak asked. “Nobunaga-related trauma probably won’t relate to why you obsessively drink out of that one canteen.”

“You would need to know my story in its entirety in order to fully understand why I only drink from this canteen,” Garth sighed.

“…lactose intolerance?” Derak guessed. “That’s the first thing I can think of, anyway.”

Garth blinked at Derak’s somewhat random response before shaking his head. Before their conversation could continue further, a pair of familiar faces entered the Pokemon Center. Garth narrowed his eyes upon recognition, still bitter from his encounter outside Pewter City.

“Good day to you, Nurse Joy,” said Nando, giving the nurse a polite nod of greeting. Teresa, the shy Coordinator, clung to his cloak as if fearing that he would suddenly vanish without a trace. “We would appreciate it if you would heal our Pokemon.”

“That’s no problem at all,” Nurse Joy nodded. “Just give them here and they’ll be good as new in a couple of minutes.”

Nando handed Nurse Joy a set of six Pokeballs. Teresa followed suit with her four, albeit with a hard swallow and shaking hands. The nurse took the balls and went over to a healing machine, where Derak’s own three Pokeballs sat.

“Hey, it was, uh…Nando, right?” Derak asked.

“Ah, hello there, Derak!” Nando smiled. “Yes, that is correct. Teresa, this is Derak and his friend Garth. Derak watched your Contest debut in Pewter City.”

“Hel…hello,” Teresa gulped, tightening her grip on Nando’s robe. “It’s…nice…to meet you?”

Derak merely raised his hand in acknowledgement.

“And how are you, sir?” Nando said, turning to Garth.

“…I am well,” Garth growled. Derak winced, expecting his cloaked companion to attack Nando once more.

“That is good to hear,” Nando nodded. “So, my friends, how has your journey been thus far?”

“Lost at the Celadon Gym a little while ago,” Derak interjected with a raise of his hand, primarily to keep Garth restrained.

“Ah, that is unfortunate,” Nando said. “I wish you the best of luck in your next match.”

Teresa added a nervous nod.

“I think I’m going to need it,” Derak sighed. “Maybe one of my Pokemon will spontaneously evolve and wreck the Leader’s team. That’d be a nice change.”

“One can only hope,” Garth sighed.

“If I may…the Celadon Gym Leader prefers Grass-type Pokemon, correct?” Nando asked.

“Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

“I believe I have an idea that would benefit all involved parties,” Nando began. “It just so happens that I have quite a collection of Grass-types myself. I would like to offer my services as a training partner in order to better prepare you for your upcoming rematch.”

“Not on your life!” Garth growled.

“Oh, shut up, Garth,” Derak groaned, leaning back in his chair. “You’re still mad that Nando gave you decent advice back in Pewter.”

“That has nothing to do with it!” Garth snapped. “I still have need of you, and I will not have your training trusted to some chronically-drunken bard!”

“Even if said drunken bard actually knows what he’s talking about?” Derak retorted. “No offense, Nando.”

“None taken,” Nando smiled. “Unsporting opponents have often called me worse.”

“Seriously, Garth, get over yourself and let Nando lend a hand,” Derak said. “Training with him will probably give me what I need to beat the Celadon Gym. How is this going to turn out bad for either of us?”

“Hmph…I suppose I can accept, then,” Garth said begrudgingly. “My Cradily may not be able to fully prepare you, anyway.”

“Excellent, then we are all agreed,” Nando smiled. “Once our Pokemon are finished healing, we shall begin our training.”

****

A few moments later, Nando and Derak stood in the streets of Celadon with enough distance between them for a battle. Garth and Teresa remained on the sidelines, the former with arms folded and the latter seemingly attempting to hide in her jacket.

“In order to simulate the Gym battle, we shall each use three Pokemon,” Nando began. “Now, let us begin, Lilligant!”

Nando’s Pokemon was a feminine creature with chalk white skin and orange eyes. Its body was primarily composed of a large bulb that was physically similar to the lower half of a dress, and atop the Pokemon’s pale green hair was a large flower positioned as if it were a hat. Two leafy arms fanned out from the Pokemon’s sides, and swirled about as the Pokemon did a pirouette in place.

“Lilligant,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flowering Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Petilil. The fragrance of the garland on its head has a relaxing effect, but if it is not adequately taken care of, it will wither.”

“Hmm…perhaps that bard may be worth something after all,” Garth mused.

“Uh…um…e-excuse me? M-mr. Garth?” Teresa stammered. “Why do you…how come you don’t really…like Nando?”

“Because of his attitude towards life,” Garth growled. “He has no idea what sort of suffering life holds. Not like I do…”

Meanwhile, Echo appeared from Derak’s first Pokeball, flapping excitedly at its chance for a new experience.

“An interesting choice,” Nando remarked, observing Derak’s Zubat. “You may have the first move.”

Derak sighed. Something he noticed during his travels was that, whenever someone said that, they usually had something planned in advance. Realizing that he had little choice in the matter, however, he gave his first order.

“Echo, use Double Team!” Derak cried.

Still hovering near Derak, Echo suddenly duplicated itself multiple times. Soon, roughly a dozen duplicate Zubats formed a semi-circle in front of Nando and his Lilligant.

“I see. We shall use a preparatory tactic, as well,” Nando said. “Lilligant, use Sunny Day, please.”

Lilligant’s leafy arms began to glow a bright orange, and with an elegant ballerina-like twirl, the Grass-type lifted its arms into the air. An orange comet erupted from each the Flowering Pokemon’s arms, spiraling into the air and vanishing over the sun. Suddenly, the sunlight’s brightness and intensity were increased twofold, forcing Derak and Teresa to shield their eyes. Due to their choice of headwear, however, Garth and Nando had little difficulty.

“Now, Lilligant, shall we go on the offensive?” Nando asked. “Please, use Magical Leaf.”

Lilligant did another pirouette, this time summoning a swarm of glowing leaves that shot high into the air. The leaves then barreled down towards one specific Zubat clone on the far right, but despite the attack being a seemingly random shot, it struck the clone and knocked it to the ground. Derak’s eyes widened in shock as the remaining illusions vanished, Nando having broken the effect of Double Team.

“Echo!” Derak cried. “Quick, use Sludge Bomb before he can follow up!”

“Lilligant, please dodge, then use Energy Ball,” Nando said.

Echo took a deep breath, then spat out a wad of slime that hurdled towards its feminine foe. Shockingly, Lilligant vanished in a green blur, reappearing just behind Echo with a ball of emerald-colored energy already formed between its arms. The ball was flung directly into Echo’s back, launching the Zubat high into the air.

“Oh, no! Echo, return!” Derak cried, quickly withdrawing his Zubat before it could hit the ground. “How…how did Lilligant move so fast?”

“That would be because of Lilligant’s ability, Chlorophyll,” Nando replied calmly. “When the sunlight is particularly bright, such as when the effects of Sunny Day are in play, a Pokemon with Chlorophyll becomes significantly swifter in movement.”

“Great,” Derak sighed. “Anything else I should know?”

“Just that numerous Grass-type Pokemon are capable of having Chlorophyll as their ability,” Nando replied. “It is quite likely that a Pokemon in the Celadon Gym will be just as capable, and will seek to use that ability against you.”

“Ugh,” Derak groaned. “I already know how this is going to end.”

“Please, do not be discouraged,” Nando said. “Shall we continue?”

“Fine,” Derak sighed. “Brute, let’s go.”

Upon appearing, Brute narrowed his eyes at the sight of Lilligant. The Fighting-type could tell just by looking that its latest opponent was quite strong, especially with the Sunny Day still bearing down from overhead. Brute cracked its knuckles and prepared for a tough challenge.

“Ready, Brute?” Derak asked, to which he received a nod. “Okay, use Vacuum Wave!”

“Lilligant, please counter with Leaf Storm,” Nando said.

Brute released its Vacuum Wave, but Lilligant began to rapidly twirl in place. A cyclone of leaves whipped up around the spinning Grass-type, generating a wind that collided with the tunnel-shaped wind blast that was Brute’s attack. The Vacuum Wave was dispelled, but Lilligant’s Leaf Storm did not subside. The leaves suddenly burst forward in waves, blasting Brute off of the ground and sending it sailing across the pavement. As with Echo before it, Brute was also knocked out in a single shot.

“Brute! Ugh…return,” Derak sighed. “You did your best, given the what we're up against.”

“Do not despair,” Nando said. “You are doing well.”

“Yeah?” Derak snorted. “What makes you say that? We’re kinda getting clobbered, here.”

“And yet you have an opportunity to turn the tables,” Nando said. “Leaf Storm, while indeed a powerful move, becomes weaker every time it is used. Should your opponent know Leaf Storm or similar moves such as Overheat or Draco Meteor, you may be able to exploit their weaknesses. Shall we try exploiting Leaf Storm’s weakness?”

“…I guess it won’t hurt,” Derak sighed. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

“Ah, an excellent choice!” Nando complimented upon seeing the Chimchar before him. “Now, let us continue. Lilligant, use Sleep Powder, if you please.”

“Wildfire, use Protect!” Derak cried.

Lilligant released a glittering flurry of green powder from the flower on its head, the powder somehow maintaining an arrow-like shape as it headed towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, crossed its arms and formed a green bubble around itself. The Sleep Powder made contact with the Protect, but the former dissipated into nothing after touching the latter.

“Ah, well-played,” Nando complimented. “You may, however, have used that move too soon. Lilligant, please, use Solarbeam!”

“Wildfire, Protect again!” Derak ordered.

The Flowering Pokemon began to absorb particles of light into its flower, and after a brief moment of charging, the flower flashed once. With its charging process complete, Lilligant released a colossal beam of light into the air, allowing it to barrel down on Wildfire. In response, the small Fire-type put up another Protect, but unlike the first, this one faded away mere seconds after it was raised. A wide-eyed Chimchar then found itself on the receiving end of Lilligant’s Solarbeam, with only a burnt body and a large crater left where Wildfire once stood.

“WILDFIRE!” Derak yelled, rushing to his starter’s aid. “H-hey, are you okay?”

“Please forgive me,” Nando said as he approached his young opponent. “We may have done a bit too much in our last attack.”

“Liiilll,” said Lilligant with an apologetic bow of its head.

Derak said nothing as he recalled his unconscious Chimchar. Nando offered the boy a hand, but Derak did not take it, instead rising on his own. Despite this, a smile remained on Nando’s face as the bard began to speak once again.

“It has been an honor to help you train,” Nando said.

“What training?” Derak snorted. “We got slaughtered.”

“That was merely because of my greater amount of experience,” Nando said. “Although you were at a disadvantage, you performed admirably.”

“Sure,” Derak said, but his tone suggested disbelief. “I guess this’ll have to do for the Celadon Gym.”

“Assuming you learn how to use Protect properly,” Garth interjected. “It may be useful, but it cannot be used twice in a row.”

“Indeed,” Nando nodded. “Also, you may want to consider the possibility that your opponent may know how to use Solarbeam. It normally takes a short while to charge, but when Sunny Day is in effect, it is capable of being fired instantly.”

“Let me guess, a lot of Grass-types can use Solarbeam?” Derak sighed.

“You would be correct,” Nando nodded. “You may have a difficult challenge ahead of you, but I am confident that you will succeed.”

Derak, wishing for a second opinion, looked over to the two spectators. Teresa gave a nervous nod, while Garth simply shrugged. Derak gave a shrug as well, and turned back to Nando.

“All right, then,” Derak said. “Hope I don’t disappoint.”

“If I may, will you give me the privilege of observing your Gym battle?” Nando asked.

“Don’t you have a Contest or something to go to?” Derak asked.

“There is plenty of time before the next Contest,” Nando smiled. “And I cannot simply abandon a new friend.”

Ugh, when will this bard ever shut up and admit that he has no idea what he is talking about? Garth thought with a grunt.

*****

Back in Orre, Anoch Kadir grew impatient. It had been several months since Derak had fled home, and Nick Spire had not contacted him in some time. Anoch gripped his head in his hands, grimacing as he wondered what was taking Spire so long.

A loud thump from outside caught his attention. Thinking that it might be Spire with Derak in tow, Anoch quickly headed for the front door. Just as he reached it, he hesitated. Through the door, he could hear something…something akin to heavy breathing.

Something inhuman was outside his door.

A blast of energy tore through the front half of Anoch’s house, knocking the businessman flat onto the floor as the roof was ripped away as if by a giant hand. Derak’s father could only stare in horror as a giant beast with three serpentine heads glared down upon him, snarling viciously. An object fell off of the beast’s back, and Anoch’s eyes widened as he realized that it was the unconscious body of his lawyer.

“Wh-what the hell is going on?!” Anoch cried.

The three-headed beast lowered itself to the ground, all six of its red eyes fixed on Anoch, and a familiar figure stepped off of its body.

Nobunaga.

“Anoch Kadir…a pleasure to meet you,” Nobunaga smirked. “Let me and Hydreigon here show you what we think of your interference with your son’s journey.”

*****

The Great Butler
23rd September 2012, 9:43 AM
Chapter 16: Training Day



“Let me get this straight,” Garth sighed, his forehead in his palm. “Despite using a Fire-type Pokemon, as well as a Pokemon that is both a Poison-type and a Flying-type…you failed to defeat even ONE of the Celadon Gym Leader’s Pokemon?”

Well now, this is certainly different.


A day had passed since Derak and Garth arrived in Celadon City. After a quick training session in which Derak learned of the moves in Echo’s arsenal, the boy went to challenge the fourth of Kanto’s Gyms. Unfortunately, fate was not on Derak’s side.

“Hey, don’t look at me,” Derak protested, nursing what appeared to be a broken nose. “The Gym Leader’s Tangela used Ancientpower to clobber Echo, then it evolved into some freakish ball of vines that—for some weird reason—doesn’t care if its arms get eaten. Then it instantly beat Brute with a Poison Jab to the chest, and then it threw out another Ancientpower that launched Wildfire RIGHT INTO MY FACE. Don’t blame me for other people’s use of cheap tricks.”

Somehow this description of the fight tells me everything I need to know without actually seeing it. In all seriousness, I don't feel like I'm missing out, because this is more than enough.


“Evolving in mid-battle is against no official rules,” Garth sighed. “Were you not the one who simply said to try again if beaten?”

I think it's worth noting that a Gym Leader's Pokemon evolving in the middle of a battle is something I don't believe has ever happened in the anime, so this is worth something.


“That was before Erika unleashed her Tangrowth of Super-Armed Death,” Derak grumbled. “How are my guys supposed to fight something that can hit them from across the whole battlefield?”

“We train,” Garth said flatly. “I believe we will be able to use one of my Pokemon’s attacks to simulate Tangrowth’s elastic arms. Once your Pokemon are finished healing, we can begin that.”

“I guess that’ll work,” Derak muttered, still massaging his injured nose.

Garth only nodded and took a drink from his canteen.

“Okay, what is it with you and that canteen?” Derak asked. “Nobunaga-related trauma probably won’t relate to why you obsessively drink out of that one canteen.”

“You would need to know my story in its entirety in order to fully understand why I only drink from this canteen,” Garth sighed.

“…lactose intolerance?” Derak guessed. “That’s the first thing I can think of, anyway.”

lol what.

The canteen is important, isn't it? Something about it makes me feel like it's meant to be a Chekhov's Gun.


Garth blinked at Derak’s somewhat random response before shaking his head. Before their conversation could continue further, a pair of familiar faces entered the Pokemon Center. Garth narrowed his eyes upon recognition, still bitter from his encounter outside Pewter City.

“Good day to you, Nurse Joy,” said Nando, giving the nurse a polite nod of greeting. Teresa, the shy Coordinator, clung to his cloak as if fearing that he would suddenly vanish without a trace. “We would appreciate it if you would heal our Pokemon.”

Good to see them back again.


“That’s no problem at all,” Nurse Joy nodded. “Just give them here and they’ll be good as new in a couple of minutes.”

Nando handed Nurse Joy a set of six Pokeballs. Teresa followed suit with her four, albeit with a hard swallow and shaking hands. The nurse took the balls and went over to a healing machine, where Derak’s own three Pokeballs sat.

“Hey, it was, uh…Nando, right?” Derak asked.

“Ah, hello there, Derak!” Nando smiled. “Yes, that is correct. Teresa, this is Derak and his friend Garth. Derak watched your Contest debut in Pewter City.”

“Hel…hello,” Teresa gulped, tightening her grip on Nando’s robe. “It’s…nice…to meet you?”

I'm trying to remember why Teresa is so shy, but nothing's coming back up in mind. Was it stated before, or was she just shy?


Derak merely raised his hand in acknowledgement.

“And how are you, sir?” Nando said, turning to Garth.

“…I am well,” Garth growled. Derak winced, expecting his cloaked companion to attack Nando once more.

Oh, Garth, don't ever change.


“That is good to hear,” Nando nodded. “So, my friends, how has your journey been thus far?”

“Lost at the Celadon Gym a little while ago,” Derak interjected with a raise of his hand, primarily to keep Garth restrained.

“Ah, that is unfortunate,” Nando said. “I wish you the best of luck in your next match.”

Teresa added a nervous nod.

“I think I’m going to need it,” Derak sighed. “Maybe one of my Pokemon will spontaneously evolve and wreck the Leader’s team. That’d be a nice change.”

Do I see some foreshadowing here?


“One can only hope,” Garth sighed.

“If I may…the Celadon Gym Leader prefers Grass-type Pokemon, correct?” Nando asked.

“Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

“I believe I have an idea that would benefit all involved parties,” Nando began. “It just so happens that I have quite a collection of Grass-types myself. I would like to offer my services as a training partner in order to better prepare you for your upcoming rematch.”

Nice way to work Nando in an important role. This really works.


“Not on your life!” Garth growled.

“Oh, shut up, Garth,” Derak groaned, leaning back in his chair. “You’re still mad that Nando gave you decent advice back in Pewter.”

“That has nothing to do with it!” Garth snapped. “I still have need of you, and I will not have your training trusted to some chronically-drunken bard!”

Oh wow Garth, someone's got their panties in a wad today. What is it about Nando exactly that set him off so badly? Is he really chronically drunken?



A few moments later, Nando and Derak stood in the streets of Celadon with enough distance between them for a battle. Garth and Teresa remained on the sidelines, the former with arms folded and the latter seemingly attempting to hide in her jacket.

“In order to simulate the Gym battle, we shall each use three Pokemon,” Nando began. “Now, let us begin, Lilligant!”

Nando’s Pokemon was a feminine creature with chalk white skin and orange eyes. Its body was primarily composed of a large bulb that was physically similar to the lower half of a dress, and atop the Pokemon’s pale green hair was a large flower positioned as if it were a hat. Two leafy arms fanned out from the Pokemon’s sides, and swirled about as the Pokemon did a pirouette in place.

Perfect. Lilligant fits him like a glove.


“Lilligant,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flowering Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Petilil. The fragrance of the garland on its head has a relaxing effect, but if it is not adequately taken care of, it will wither.”

“Hmm…perhaps that bard may be worth something after all,” Garth mused.

“Uh…um…e-excuse me? M-mr. Garth?” Teresa stammered. “Why do you…how come you don’t really…like Nando?”

“Because of his attitude towards life,” Garth growled. “He has no idea what sort of suffering life holds. Not like I do…”

I didn't actually expect there to be a deeper reason behind Garth's hatred of Nando, but here it is. I'm actually rather intrigued by how this sounds; it could give quite a look into the opposing worldviews Garth and Nando hold.



Derak sighed. Something he noticed during his travels was that, whenever someone said that, they usually had something planned in advance. Realizing that he had little choice in the matter, however, he gave his first order.

Nice lampshading.


“Echo, use Double Team!” Derak cried.

Still hovering near Derak, Echo suddenly duplicated itself multiple times. Soon, roughly a dozen duplicate Zubats formed a semi-circle in front of Nando and his Lilligant.

“I see. We shall use a preparatory tactic, as well,” Nando said. “Lilligant, use Sunny Day, please.”

Lilligant’s leafy arms began to glow a bright orange, and with an elegant ballerina-like twirl, the Grass-type lifted its arms into the air. An orange comet erupted from each the Flowering Pokemon’s arms, spiraling into the air and vanishing over the sun. Suddenly, the sunlight’s brightness and intensity were increased twofold, forcing Derak and Teresa to shield their eyes. Due to their choice of headwear, however, Garth and Nando had little difficulty.

Oh boy, Nando's not messing around here. I like the fact he's using tactics.


“Now, Lilligant, shall we go on the offensive?” Nando asked. “Please, use Magical Leaf.”

Lilligant did another pirouette, this time summoning a swarm of glowing leaves that shot high into the air. The leaves then barreled down towards one specific Zubat clone on the far right, but despite the attack being a seemingly random shot, it struck the clone and knocked it to the ground. Derak’s eyes widened in shock as the remaining illusions vanished, Nando having broken the effect of Double Team.

Good use of Magical Leaf's effect of guaranteed hitting.


“Echo!” Derak cried. “Quick, use Sludge Bomb before he can follow up!”

“Lilligant, please dodge, then use Energy Ball,” Nando said.

Echo took a deep breath, then spat out a wad of slime that hurdled towards its feminine foe. Shockingly, Lilligant vanished in a green blur, reappearing just behind Echo with a ball of emerald-colored energy already formed between its arms. The ball was flung directly into Echo’s back, launching the Zubat high into the air.

“Oh, no! Echo, return!” Derak cried, quickly withdrawing his Zubat before it could hit the ground. “How…how did Lilligant move so fast?”

“That would be because of Lilligant’s ability, Chlorophyll,” Nando replied calmly. “When the sunlight is particularly bright, such as when the effects of Sunny Day are in play, a Pokemon with Chlorophyll becomes significantly swifter in movement.”

I knew Nando was planning something when he used Sunny Day. Derak letting him set up was a mistake, obviously.


“Great,” Derak sighed. “Anything else I should know?”

“Just that numerous Grass-type Pokemon are capable of having Chlorophyll as their ability,” Nando replied. “It is quite likely that a Pokemon in the Celadon Gym will be just as capable, and will seek to use that ability against you.”

Ah, good teachable moment here. This will surely be useful against Erika.


“Ugh,” Derak groaned. “I already know how this is going to end.”

“Please, do not be discouraged,” Nando said. “Shall we continue?”

“Fine,” Derak sighed. “Brute, let’s go.”

Upon appearing, Brute narrowed his eyes at the sight of Lilligant. The Fighting-type could tell just by looking that its latest opponent was quite strong, especially with the Sunny Day still bearing down from overhead. Brute cracked its knuckles and prepared for a tough challenge.

“Ready, Brute?” Derak asked, to which he received a nod. “Okay, use Vacuum Wave!”

“Lilligant, please counter with Leaf Storm,” Nando said.

Brute released its Vacuum Wave, but Lilligant began to rapidly twirl in place. A cyclone of leaves whipped up around the spinning Grass-type, generating a wind that collided with the tunnel-shaped wind blast that was Brute’s attack. The Vacuum Wave was dispelled, but Lilligant’s Leaf Storm did not subside. The leaves suddenly burst forward in waves, blasting Brute off of the ground and sending it sailing across the pavement. As with Echo before it, Brute was also knocked out in a single shot.

Derak sure is overmatched here.


“Brute! Ugh…return,” Derak sighed. “You did your best, given the what we're up against.”

“Do not despair,” Nando said. “You are doing well.”

“Yeah?” Derak snorted. “What makes you say that? We’re kinda getting clobbered, here.”

“And yet you have an opportunity to turn the tables,” Nando said. “Leaf Storm, while indeed a powerful move, becomes weaker every time it is used. Should your opponent know Leaf Storm or similar moves such as Overheat or Draco Meteor, you may be able to exploit their weaknesses. Shall we try exploiting Leaf Storm’s weakness?”

“…I guess it won’t hurt,” Derak sighed. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

Oh, I see now. This is where Derak is going to learn something, isn't it?


“Ah, an excellent choice!” Nando complimented upon seeing the Chimchar before him. “Now, let us continue. Lilligant, use Sleep Powder, if you please.”

“Wildfire, use Protect!” Derak cried.

Lilligant released a glittering flurry of green powder from the flower on its head, the powder somehow maintaining an arrow-like shape as it headed towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, crossed its arms and formed a green bubble around itself. The Sleep Powder made contact with the Protect, but the former dissipated into nothing after touching the latter.

“Ah, well-played,” Nando complimented. “You may, however, have used that move too soon. Lilligant, please, use Solarbeam!”

“Wildfire, Protect again!” Derak ordered.

The Flowering Pokemon began to absorb particles of light into its flower, and after a brief moment of charging, the flower flashed once. With its charging process complete, Lilligant released a colossal beam of light into the air, allowing it to barrel down on Wildfire. In response, the small Fire-type put up another Protect, but unlike the first, this one faded away mere seconds after it was raised. A wide-eyed Chimchar then found itself on the receiving end of Lilligant’s Solarbeam, with only a burnt body and a large crater left where Wildfire once stood.

“WILDFIRE!” Derak yelled, rushing to his starter’s aid. “H-hey, are you okay?”

“Please forgive me,” Nando said as he approached his young opponent. “We may have done a bit too much in our last attack.”

That was a surprise. I thought Derak would learn to exploit Sunny Day boosting Fire moves.



“If I may, will you give me the privilege of observing your Gym battle?” Nando asked.

“Don’t you have a Contest or something to go to?” Derak asked.

“There is plenty of time before the next Contest,” Nando smiled. “And I cannot simply abandon a new friend.”

Ugh, when will this bard ever shut up and admit that he has no idea what he is talking about? Garth thought with a grunt.

I'm sure Garth will come around soon enough.


Back in Orre, Anoch Kadir grew impatient. It had been several months since Derak had fled home, and Nick Spire had not contacted him in some time. Anoch gripped his head in his hands, grimacing as he wondered what was taking Spire so long.

Oh boy, this guy. Something bad's about to happen, I'm sure.


A loud thump from outside caught his attention. Thinking that it might be Spire with Derak in tow, Anoch quickly headed for the front door. Just as he reached it, he hesitated. Through the door, he could hear something…something akin to heavy breathing.

Something inhuman was outside his door.

A blast of energy tore through the front half of Anoch’s house, knocking the businessman flat onto the floor as the roof was ripped away as if by a giant hand. Derak’s father could only stare in horror as a giant beast with three serpentine heads glared down upon him, snarling viciously. An object fell off of the beast’s back, and Anoch’s eyes widened as he realized that it was the unconscious body of his lawyer.

Unconscious or lifeless?


“Wh-what the hell is going on?!” Anoch cried.

The three-headed beast lowered itself to the ground, all six of its red eyes fixed on Anoch, and a familiar figure stepped off of its body.

Nobunaga.

“Anoch Kadir…a pleasure to meet you,” Nobunaga smirked. “Let me and Hydreigon here show you what we think of your interference with your son’s journey.”

*****

I think Anoch Kadir just met his worst nightmare.

I wouldn't worry about how you handled this chapter. This was better than the Lt. Surge battle taking place offscreen, because we got a bit better an amount of detail on what happened against Erika, enough so that we know the necessities of what went on. The training should offer some good lessons for Derak, too, even if it was a bit merciless. I can see his rematch with Erika going quite well based on what he could have picked up from fighting Nando. One thing that has me wondering, though, is that with Spire out of commission and Nobunaga over in Orre, what will happen next exactly?

Air Dragon
24th September 2012, 6:38 AM
In the light of the increasing amounts of awesome this fic is producing, I think I'll limit this review to the two latest chapters, fifteen and sixteen.

Firstly, if I recall my Kanto geography, Rock Tunnel doesn't lead to Celadon City from Lavender. It leads to Route 10 and the Power Plant. This, notwithstanding, is an excellent chapter in my book. The interactions between Melissa and Derak just keep escalating and now even her Pokemon wonder to Arceus what on earth they did wrong. Just loved that bit. :D

Nick's plan wasn't too bright, was it? What else did he expect to happen? Honestly...

Back to speaking of interactions, Derak's description of his battle with Erika to Garth had to be the highlight of the chapter. Although I do believe Derak has a point: Nando pretty much crushed him, and while he gained so much information about Grass types, Nando didn't exactly help hi devise any counterstrategies, despite the double advantage Derak's team has (Wildfire and Echo). Something tells me the rematch will be quite detailed.

Theresa's another cookie you seem to find tricky to let us know she's there. Whether you're laying emphasis on her timidity or the task is getting a bit much remains to be seen. While we get she's a little dormouse in personality, this might rub people the wrong way unless a bit more depth is given in my opinion. Garth with his canteen forcibly reminded me of Mad Eye Moody and his hip flask from Harry Potter. Wonder if the reasons are similar?

And as a footnote, Nobunaga's exploits as footnotes in the chapters is starting to become a pattern. I get that he's evil, and wants Derak to continue his journey, I just thought shifting it somewhere else in the chapter as a scene cut might make for a more interesting/refreshing twist.

All in all, this is definitely a work I'm keeping my eye on, and I'm pleased it's going on. Don't worry about the timespan between chapters. People prefer quality over quantity. Any day.

L@er!

Morpher01
29th September 2012, 3:34 PM
The Great Butler:
Somehow this description of the fight tells me everything I need to know without actually seeing it. In all seriousness, I don't feel like I'm missing out, because this is more than enough.

That was the main thing I was worried about with this chapter, so it's good to know that it went over well.


I think it's worth noting that a Gym Leader's Pokemon evolving in the middle of a battle is something I don't believe has ever happened in the anime, so this is worth something.

Actually, it happened twice back in Kanto: Sabrina's Abra and Koga's Venonat evolved mid-battle against Ash. Still, I figured I could use that tactic for Erika's Tangela, seeing as it has the whole "Ancientpower-induced-evolution" thing.


The canteen is important, isn't it? Something about it makes me feel like it's meant to be a Chekhov's Gun.

You would be right. Not saying any more than that just yet.


I'm trying to remember why Teresa is so shy, but nothing's coming back up in mind. Was it stated before, or was she just shy?

It wasn't stated before, and there's actually a reason Teresa's so shy. You'll see around Saffron-ish.


Do I see some foreshadowing here?

I'm not really spoiling much by saying that none of Derak's Pokemon will be evolving for a while. And what you see is just Derak whining. XD


That was a surprise. I thought Derak would learn to exploit Sunny Day boosting Fire moves.

Honestly...I totally forgot about that aspect of Sunny Day. XD I've managed to work it into the next chapter, though.


One thing that has me wondering, though, is that with Spire out of commission and Nobunaga over in Orre, what will happen next exactly?

You'll see. XD


Air Dragon:
In the light of the increasing amounts of awesome this fic is producing, I think I'll limit this review to the two latest chapters, fifteen and sixteen.

...for some reason, I can't really tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing.


Firstly, if I recall my Kanto geography, Rock Tunnel doesn't lead to Celadon City from Lavender. It leads to Route 10 and the Power Plant.

I kinda re-structured it a little for the sake of convenience. I needed a cave for Derak to get Echo in (primarily because I didn't want to make Echo and Brute's captures too close together time-wise), and the Rock Tunnel was the best choice.

Also, I was originally taking Kanto's geography from FRLG (as HGSS hadn't been released at the time of original writing) despite not having actually played it, so I was bound to get a few things wrong. XD


This, notwithstanding, is an excellent chapter in my book. The interactions between Melissa and Derak just keep escalating and now even her Pokemon wonder to Arceus what on earth they did wrong. Just loved that bit.

Glad to hear it, because there will be more of those moments. XD


Back to speaking of interactions, Derak's description of his battle with Erika to Garth had to be the highlight of the chapter. Although I do believe Derak has a point: Nando pretty much crushed him, and while he gained so much information about Grass types, Nando didn't exactly help hi devise any counterstrategies, despite the double advantage Derak's team has (Wildfire and Echo). Something tells me the rematch will be quite detailed.

You're probably right about Nando's lack of real help, but then again, Derak wouldn't really learn too much if Nando was there with free strategies.

And, yes, the rematch will be quite detailed. And long.


Theresa's another cookie you seem to find tricky to let us know she's there. Whether you're laying emphasis on her timidity or the task is getting a bit much remains to be seen. While we get she's a little dormouse in personality, this might rub people the wrong way unless a bit more depth is given in my opinion. Garth with his canteen forcibly reminded me of Mad Eye Moody and his hip flask from Harry Potter. Wonder if the reasons are similar?

You'll be finding out more about Teresa around Saffron City, where she and Nando will most likely be appearing next. There's actually a good reason for her timidness.

And if I'm correctly recalling the reason why "Moody" (quotations necessary for, ahem, spoiler-ish reasons) drank so frequently from that hip flask, then you might be drawing a fairly accurate conclusion. I can't say for certain just yet, but I will say this: a lot of stuff gets revealed around Saffron, regarding several characters. You'll see. XD


And as a footnote, Nobunaga's exploits as footnotes in the chapters is starting to become a pattern. I get that he's evil, and wants Derak to continue his journey, I just thought shifting it somewhere else in the chapter as a scene cut might make for a more interesting/refreshing twist.

Eh, I mostly just needed Nobunaga to do something instead of just sitting around and twiddling his thumbs as he waits for Derak to get his eight badges. I'm toying with a sub-plot idea for him, but I'm not sure if I like it just yet, as it would require introducing another new character (and there's already quite a few).


All in all, this is definitely a work I'm keeping my eye on, and I'm pleased it's going on. Don't worry about the timespan between chapters. People prefer quality over quantity. Any day.

Thanks for the encouragement. The longer timespan has actually helped me quite a bit, so it's reassuring to know that people don't mind it too much.

Morpher01
6th October 2012, 1:59 AM
At last, it's time for the fourth Gym battle.



Chapter 17: Celadon Gym


The day after his training with Nando, Derak entered the greenhouse-like Celadon Gym alongside both Teresa and the bard himself. Inside was a sight that seemed rather out-of-place in a city as industrious as Celadon: a large assortment of various types of plant life, arranged in such a way that they surrounded a large battlefield.

“This certainly is a unique Gym,” Nando remarked. “I look forward to battling here myself.”

“Don’t get too cozy,” Derak advised. “The Gym Leader bans people if they don’t like perfume. Seriously.”

“Well…I suppose we all have our priorities,” Nando commented, although he did seem slightly taken aback by this revelation.

Some of the denser plants over at the opposing end of the field began to rustle, and a young woman emerged from within. Despite having passed through dense plant life without aid from any sort of tool, her yellow-and-red kimono appeared spotless, as did her neck-length dark hair.

“Oh, hello again, Derak,” said the young woman. “Have you been doing training with your friends there?”

“Pretty much,” Derak shrugged, remembering some of the last-minute tips Nando had given him. “It was…Erika, right? Can we just get on with this?”

“Sure,” Erika nodded. “Let’s get started.”

All the present humans took their respective places. Derak stood at one end of the battlefield, Erika at the other. Nando and Teresa found a bench on the sidelines, and an apron-wearing girl on the side edge of the arena held up two flags to indicate her status as the referee.

“This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle!” the referee declared. “Each trainer will use three Pokemon, and the battle will be over when all three—”

“Okay, can we skip this intro stuff?” Derak interrupted. “I mean, we’ve already heard it for the last battle, and I don’t think Gym rules get changed every five minutes, so what’s the point of listening to it again?”

The referee blinked, looking to Erika for the answer. The Gym Leader merely shrugged.

“Okay, then, begin the match!” the referee cried, swinging her flags upward.

“All right…Bellossom, you’re up first!” Erika cried.

The first of Erika’s Pokemon was rather small, just barely over a foot in height. It appeared to be, for all intents and purposes, a green-skinned hula girl. It even had a leafy, green-and-yellow skirt and two vibrant red flowers on its head, completing its thematic attire. In its hands, however, was a small brown rock covered in crimson crystals.

“New tricks, huh?” Derak remarked, pulling out his Pokedex. “Nice of you to not start off with the Tangrowth that slaughtered me.”

“Bellossom,” the Dex reported, “the Flower Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Gloom. When the heavy rain season ends, it is drawn out by warm sunlight to dance in the open. A Gloom will only evolve into a Bellossom if it is exposed to a Sun Stone.”

“Somehow, I can already guess what this thing’s going to hit me with,” Derak sighed, remembering his battle with Nando’s Lilligant the previous day. “Echo, let’s go!”

“Zubat versus Bellossom!” the referee declared once Echo appeared on the field. “Begin the--!”

“All right, now you’re just treating us all like idiots,” Derak interrupted again. “We DO have working eyes, you know.”

“He’s…er…a bit, uh…mean…isn’t he?” Teresa said slowly.

“Perhaps,” Nando chuckled, “but that is simply who he is. There are many sorts of people in our world, just as there are many sorts of Pokemon.”

“Oh…I see,” Teresa nodded slightly, turning her gaze back to the battle. Erika’s Bellossom gracefully danced aside to evade a sequence of Sludge Bombs from Derak’s Zubat, much to the former’s pleasure.

“Let’s start our counter-attack!” Erika cried. “Use Sunny Day!”

Of course, Derak thought bitterly.

Just as he had predicted, Bellossom’s tiny arms did indeed charge with orange energy, which coursed through the strange stone that it held. The Grass-type lifted the stone into the air, allowing its Sunny Day to pass through and burst into the sky, much like the Sunny Day that Nando’s Lilligant had used.

“Okay, Echo, go in for Zen Headbutt!” Derak cried.

Echo’s pointy ears shone with a blue light as they began to emit a series of blue energy waves, somehow using the waves to form a protective wall in front of its head. The Zubat then charged directly towards Bellossom, aiming to strike it literally head-first, only for the Grass-type to suddenly vanish in a blur of green.

“Ugh, there’s Chlorophyll again,” Derak sighed bitterly. “Echo, go up in the air and send out a few more Sludge Bombs!”

“Oh, no, you don’t!” Erika yelled. “Bellossom, stop it with Teeter Dance!”

The Flower Pokemon reappeared in another blur of movement, this time standing in the center of the battlefield. Echo took to the skies, attempting to find an angle from which a Sludge Bomb would deal maximum damage. Before the Poison-type could fire, however, Bellossom began to rhythmically sashay from side to side in a manner truly befitting of a hula girl. Although it lacked any visible means of actually seeing Bellossom perform this dance, some mysterious quality to the attack completely fouled Echo’s innate sonar, causing it to fall to the ground in a befuddled heap.

“Echo!” Derak cried as his Zubat lied on the ground, attempting to dance along with Bellossom using only its wings. “Uh…what are you doing?”

“Derak, be careful,” Nando advised. “Teeter Dance can inflict confusion upon opposing Pokemon, which appears to have happened to your Zubat.”

“How is that even possible? Echo doesn’t have any eyes!” Derak complained. “Ugh, nothing we can do about that…Echo, return.”

“Switching out already?” Erika asked as Derak recalled his Zubat. “You’re not actually giving up, are you?”

“I didn’t give up after a giant vine monster destroyed my team,” Derak said. “Pretty sure a dancing plant-girl isn’t that threatening. Okay, since Sunny Day is supposed to juice up Fire-types, too…Wildfire, let’s go!”

Upon materialization, Derak’s Chimchar eyed the Bellossom viciously. It knew that it was chosen to fight in this battle again for some reason. It knew that it absolutely had to redeem itself for its earlier failure, or else the worst could happen.

“All right, Bellossom, use Sludge Bomb!” Erika cried.

“Dodge and use Ember!” Derak cried.

Bellossom mimicked Echo by spitting out a wad of slime, which Wildfire agilely leapt over. The Chimchar landed with a quick somersault, releasing a storm of small fireballs that burned more intensely once exposed to Bellossom’s Sunny Day. Consequently, Bellossom was knocked onto its back by the Ember’s increased power, whereas before it would have only cringed.

“Bellossom, no!” Erika cried. “This is a bit of a gamble, but we’ll have to try and hit that Chimchar as hard as we can. Use Solarbeam, quick!”

“Wildfire, block it with Protect!” Derak cried.

Bellossom’s petals began to glow brightly as energy from the sunlight began to flood into them. Again repeating the patterns demonstrated by Nando’s Lilligant, the Flower Pokemon unleashed an enormous beam of light into the air. Just as the beam curved down, however, Wildfire put its Protect in place, allowing it to harmlessly disperse the Solarbeam.

“Use Solarbeam one more time!” Erika cried.

“Use Pro…wait, we can’t use Protect, can we?” Derak muttered. As he struggled to come up with a new command, however, Bellossom’s Solarbeam was already in the air. “Aw, crud! Wildfire, just…I don’t know, do something! Something that works!”

The beam bore down on Wildfire, but the Chimchar barely noticed. Its steely gaze was transfixed on Bellossom, knowing that its trainer caused Wildfire’s own trainer to lose. And it was all Wildfire’s fault. It had to redeem itself…it had to!

The Solarbeam found its mark, the fire monkey completely obscured by the blinding light. Derak and Teresa shielded their eyes, but all Nando had to do was simply lower his hat. Only Erika saw a wheel of fire burst from the light and collide with Bellossom, hitting the Grass-type with such force that it was unconscious by her feet in moments.

“…what? What happened?” Derak blinked, finding the flaming wheel still burning but spinning in place, its target having already been recalled. The flames soon dissipated, revealing Wildfire within. “Wildfire…? You’re okay!”

“I think it’s more than okay,” Erika corrected. “Your Chimchar has just learned how to use Flame Wheel.”

“That’s what it’s called?” Derak remarked. “Well, it fits, I suppose.”

“Don’t celebrate too soon,” Erika warned, another Pokeball in hand. “Now it’s time for my second Pokemon!”

Her next choice was a rather odd-looking creature, resembling a deflated yellow balloon with a pair of large leafs at its base and a third leaf covering its circular pink mouth. Two unpleasant-looking eyes gazed out from underneath a pair of sharp fangs, and a long brown vine hung behind the Pokemon. The fact that its cry sounded like a human woman’s scream only added to its unusual nature.

“Victreebel,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flycatcher Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. Evolved form of Weepinbell. It pools in its mouth a fluid with a honey-like scent, which is really an acid that can dissolve anything.”

“…wonderful,” Derak sighed. “Note to self: keep away from anything that smells like honey.”

Wildfire glared harshly at Erika’s Victreebel, but Derak held out its orange Pokeball.

“Sorry, pal, I need to save you for that Tangrowth,” Derak said as he returned Wildfire to the confines of its Pokeball. “Echo, come on back out!”

Derak’s Zubat appeared once again, apparently recovered from its disorientation. It nonetheless winced a little, however, as a cave-dwelling Pokemon was clearly uncomfortable with the still-intensified sunlight.

“Shouldn’t the sunlight have gone back to normal by now?” Derak asked, using his hand to cast a shade over his eyes.

“Normally, yes,” Erika replied. “But not this time. Bellossom was holding a Heat Rock, which lengthens the amount of time Sunny Day is in effect.”

“Brilliant,” Derak sighed. “Guess we’ll have to roll with it. Echo, use Supersonic!”

Echo began to screech incessantly, releasing a series of sound waves that bombarded Victreebel’s hearing. The balloon-like plant began to wobble dizzily, its trainer grimacing as she realized that Echo had returned the favor from Bellossom’s earlier Teeter Dance.

“Oh, no!” Erika gasped. “Victreebel, try and pull through with Vine Whip!”

The Flycatcher Pokemon’s long brown vine lashed out angrily but, due to the Grass-type’s confused state, only struck the ground a few feet away from Echo. The vine soon came back to its owner with some force, slapping the space between Victreebel’s eyes. Noticing an opportunity, Echo looked over to Derak and let out a small screech as it used one of its needle-like legs to gesture to its opponent.

“You want to attack, huh?” Derak asked, to which Echo nodded. “I guess we’ve got the upper hand, so go ahead and use Zen Headbutt!”

Echo complied by charging once again, this time slamming its glowing head into Victreebel’s stomach. The Grass-type’s eyes bulged as the force of the impact became apparent, sending the Flycatcher Pokemon tumbling across the dirt with a large bruise on its front. Victreebel shoved its vine against the ground, struggling to push itself up. Noticing this, Echo prepared a Sludge Bomb that would finish off its balloon-shaped foe.

“Hold on a second, Echo!” Derak called. “Let’s give Victreebel a chance to get up first.”

Echo made an inquisitive screech, but nonetheless obeyed. As Victreebel slowly rose, Nando smiled widely.

“Do you see, Teresa?” he said. “Even if some people may seem unpleasant, beneath that may be something more.”

“I…I see,” Teresa nodded.

“I must say, you are certainly an excellent learner,” Nando said with a reassuring smile. “It honors me to be the guide for your journey. Now, let us observe the rest of Derak’s battle. It is sure to be most excellent.”

Nando’s vision returned to the battlefield, but Teresa’s mind was on other subjects. She knew someone who was utterly vicious in his temperament, and Derak’s rudeness occasionally reminded her of troubling circumstances she faced while in proximity to that person. But now, knowing that Derak was not so poor of character…what did that say about the bully she once knew?

“I have to give you credit. You’re really sporting,” Erika remarked.

“Nah,” Derak shrugged. “I just don’t like beating my opponents senseless.”

“Well…whatever the case, let’s continue!” Erika cried. “Victreebel, use Vine Whip!”

Victreebel prepared to lash its vine forward once more, but its eyes suddenly squeezed shut as feminine whimpers came from its circular mouth. Echo allowed itself a small smile, realizing that the bruise its Zen Headbutt had inflicted was causing Victreebel to flinch, rendering the Grass-type unable to attack. The Zubat looked back at its trainer, gesturing to the flinching Victreebel.

“Well, now that it’s up, I guess we can start our attack again,” Derak shrugged. “Finish this with Sludge Bomb!”

Echo finally fired its Sludge Bomb, and—despite its lack of eyes—was able to aim for the bruise on Victreebel’s stomach. The effectiveness of the blow was greatly increased by this decision, causing the Flycatcher Pokemon to fall in defeat.

“Victreebel, return,” Erika said. “You did very well…and so have you, Derak. You have yet to lose a single Pokemon in this rematch, yet I’ve lost two out of three.”

“I’ve been playing it safe for now,” Derak said grimly. “I know what’s coming next.”

“I’m sure you do,” Erika smirked. “Tangrowth, come on out!”

There it was.

The huge, shaggy beast that had destroyed Derak in his previous encounter with it. Covered head-to-toe in dark blue vines, the only distinguishable features of this monstrosity were two cartoonish eyes near the top of its body. Two slender, red-tipped blue arms emerged from the beast’s sides, stretching down to its stubby black legs.

“Tang-gang!” Tangrowth chattered, whipping the ground with one arm.

Derak snarled at the memory of this horrendous beast. It had evolved from a Tanglea—a smaller ball of blue vines—and obliterated his entire team. Now, it was time to settle the score.

“Okay…here we go,” Derak growled. “Ready to keep going, Echo?”

The Zubat nodded eagerly. It, too, desired a chance for revenge.

“All right, let’s start off with Double Team!” Derak cried.

“Tangrowth, use Power Whip!” Erika cried.

Echo produced a plethora of illusory Zubats, hiding itself among them. Tangrowth, howver, appeared unconcerned as one of its arms began to glow green. The shaggy beast swung the glowing arm in a wide arc, cutting through all the Echo copies and knocking the real one to the ground.

“Now, follow up with Ancientpower!” Erika cried.

“Not this time!” Derak cried. “Echo, quick, fly up and use Sludge Bomb!”

Echo pushed itself off of the ground and sailed into the air, releasing a Sludge Bomb that barreled directly towards Tangrowth. The Sludge Bomb’s target, however, became surrounded with an aura of silvery energy that swirled into a ball that Tangrowth held between the tips of its arms. It flung the ball towards the Sludge Bomb, and the two attacks collided in an explosion of smoke and slime.

“Tangrowth, Brick Break!”

Derak had no idea where Tangrowth was, seeing as the smoke generated by the explosion had clouded the entire battlefield. Echo was screeching desperately, trying to use its echolocation to find its monstrous foe. Unfortunately, one large vine-like arm suddenly slammed down on Echo’s back, sending the Poison-type into the dirt. The smoke soon cleared, revealing that Tangrowth had performed something of a karate chop on Echo’s body.

“Aw, great,” Derak grimaced. “Echo, return…well, this is going to go badly.”

“Derak, please, do not give up just yet,” Nando called. “Two Pokemon remain on your side. Is there a way that you can turn this around?”

“Hmm…well, the Sunny Day looks like it’s still going,” Derak said, observing that Bellossom’s attack still had yet to fade away. “Might as well try and make it count while it can. Wildfire, let’s go!”

Upon seeing Erika’s Tangrowth, Wildfire grimaced as well. This monster had utterly decimated the fire monkey before. Perhaps, now that it knew Flame Wheel, it could turn things around?

“It’s our turn, now!” Erika cried. “Tangrowth, use Poison Jab!”

“I know how that works, so…Wildfire, use Flame Wheel along Tangrowth’s arm!” Derak cried.

The tips of Tangrowth’s arm began to glow purple, and with a sudden burst of speed that was likely provided by yet another instance of Chlorophyll, Tangrowth’s arm shot forward. Wildfire, however, managed to time its jump in such a way that the Poison Jab would thrust into the ground, allowing the Chimchar to execute its newly-learned Flame Wheel. As Derak had instructed, Wildfire rode its Flame Wheel along Tangrowth’s arm, quickly slamming into Tangrowth’s main body and knocking it back slightly.

“Now, follow up with Ember!” Derak cried.

Wildfire obeyed, but Tangrowth merely used its other arm to block the ensuing storm of tiny fireballs. Tangrowth then brought its arm downward in another Brick Break attempt, only for Wildfire to shield itself with a Protect. Rather than retract its arm, however, Tangrowth instead dug its extended arm into the ground behind Wildfire’s Protect.

“Now, Tangrowth!” Erika cried. “Use Body Slam!”

“Oh, crud!” Derak sputtered. “Wildfire, get out of the way!”

Using its anchored arm as leverage, Tangrowth pulled itself towards Wildfire with alarming speed. The sight of a massive vine-covered beast hurdling towards it caused the Chimchar to panic, its feet frozen to the spot. Tangrowth collided full-force with Wildfire’s body, pressing the small Fire-type into the ground.

“Aw, come on,” Derak sighed. “Wildfire, return.”

“Will…will he be able to win?” Teresa ventured.

“He does seem to be in a tight situation,” Nando agreed, “but he still has one Pokemon left. And sometimes, that one Pokemon may make all the difference.”

Derak sighed as he held up Brute’s Pokeball. All his hopes were riding on the first Pokemon that he caught. He refused to be ridiculed by Garth because he could not win this battle. Brute had to do this…he knew that it could.

“Okay…last one,” Derak gulped. “Brute, let’s go!”

The Machop appeared with its arms crossed, its eyes narrowing at the sight of Tangrowth. It knew what it had to do, and regardless of how difficult it would be, that task would be compmlete.

“Tangrowth, use Poison Jab!” Erika cried.

“Again?” Derak blinked. “Wait, I’ve got an idea! Brute, grab the arm!”

Brute nodded with a smirk, realizing where Derak’s plan was going. Now that the sunlight had finally faded, Tangrowth was moving with reduced speed. Despite this, the monster’s arm still lurched forward quite quickly, aiming straight for Brute’s chest. The Superpower Pokemon, however, simply side-stepped the attack and grabbed hold of Tangrowth’s arm.

“What?!” Erika gasped. Nando merely smiled.

“Okay, let’s take that freakish ball of death for a ride!” Derak cried. “Use Vital Throw!”

Brute dug its heel into the ground and pulled on the arm, yanking Tangrowth towards it. Although the latter Pokemon was almost three times the Machop’s size, it was nonetheless thrown into the air by Brute’s immense strength.

“Oh, no!” Erika cried. “Tangrowth, quick, try and counter with Body Slam!”

“Now we’ve got it,” Derak smirked. “Brute, use Poison Jab!”

Tangrowth plummeted down towards Brute, who dropped the shaggy beast’s arm and allowed it to be retracted. The Machop, however, prepared its own Poison Jab, drawing back one fist. Just as Tangrowth came down upon it, Brute thrust its fist into Tangrowth’s stomach, the damage furthered by the momentum that the Grass-type had gathered from its fall.

“Tangrowth, no!” Erika cried.

“Marvelous,” Nando smiled. “What a brilliantly-played move.”

“Tang…gaaaanng,” Tangrowth groaned as it fell off of Brute’s fist, landing just beside the Superpower Pokemon. The Machop smirked, giving its trainer the thumbs-up sign. Derak heaved a sigh of relief as he slumped into a sitting position, but nonetheless managed to return Brute’s gesture.

“Tangrowth, return,” Erika sighed. “Well, Derak…I’m impressed. You really turned your situation around.”

She approached Derak and handed him a colorful flower-shaped badge.

“This is the Rainbow Badge,” Erika said. “You’ve earned it.”

“Finally,” Derak sighed, placing his fourth badge in his badge case. “C’mon, Brute, let’s go get you and others healed.”

“Chop,” Brute nodded, massaging its arm. Although the average Machop could lift multiple Geodudes, a Tangrowth was nonetheless quite heavy.

****

Back in the Pokemon Center, Garth sat lazily at a table, drinking a strange glittering water out of his canteen. The sound of metal slamming upon the table caught his attention, and the cloaked man found Derak forcefully presenting his open badge case. Nando and Teresa stood behind the boy, the former smiling as always.

“Finally got that freaking fourth badge,” Derak sighed. “Now we can get out of here.”

“It is about time,” Garth grunted as he stowed his canteen back inside his cloak.

“Before you go,” Nando interjected, “let me say that it has been an immense pleasure to train with you. I am honored to be a part of your victory at the Celadon Gym.”

“Excuse me, but did you say that one of you won at the Gym?” the local Nurse Joy asked.

“Yeah, that’d be me,” Derak said. “What about it?”

“Please, we need you to help us,” Nurse Joy begged.

“Ugh, what do you want?” Garth groaned. “We have places to be.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know where else to turn,” Nurse Joy said. “I can’t call the police because this isn’t really a crime, but…”

“Huh?” Derak blinked. “What are you talking about?”

“Well…there’s this old mansion in Celadon that’s been around since the city was first founded,” Nurse Joy explained. “Lately, there have been strange noises coming out of there. We need a strong trainer to investigate.”

“Why are you asking ME?” Derak asked. “Don’t they have TV shows about this kind of thing? Or maybe actual authorities?”

“There may be Pokemon that need help in there!” Nurse Joy pleaded. “You have to do this, I’m begging you!”

“Ugh,” Derak sighed. “Fine, I’ll do it, but it’s for the Pokemon’s sake. Can we get some rest, first, though? It’s been a long couple of days.”

“Indeed it has,” Nando nodded. “Tomorrow would be the ideal time for you to investigate this Celadon Mansion, as well as for me to challenge the Gym Leader myself. I can only hope that my efforts will be as successful as yours.”

****

A distance outside the Pokemon Center was a decrepit old manor, complete with rotting wood and broken windows. Although quite large, the mansion’s size only added to its repulsive nature. Just one look could tell that no one had lived in this mansion for years.

Despite this fact, lights flashed from within the mansion. The front door slowly creaked open, allowing an eerie sound to escape.

“Eeeeeee…eeeeeeeeee…”

****

Rotomknight
6th October 2012, 2:41 AM
Let's hear more of Nobunga!
Clever Vital Jab combo!
But I need to see what will Derak's father say to that? NOBUNGA IS ALIVE!

The Great Butler
12th October 2012, 10:15 AM
Chapter 17: Celadon Gym


The day after his training with Nando, Derak entered the greenhouse-like Celadon Gym alongside both Teresa and the bard himself. Inside was a sight that seemed rather out-of-place in a city as industrious as Celadon: a large assortment of various types of plant life, arranged in such a way that they surrounded a large battlefield.

Hmm, interesting. I kind of think that Celadon would have more flowers than the usual city.


“This certainly is a unique Gym,” Nando remarked. “I look forward to battling here myself.”

“Don’t get too cozy,” Derak advised. “The Gym Leader bans people if they don’t like perfume. Seriously.”

“Well…I suppose we all have our priorities,” Nando commented, although he did seem slightly taken aback by this revelation.

Somehow I'd think Nando would be right at home in such a place.


Some of the denser plants over at the opposing end of the field began to rustle, and a young woman emerged from within. Despite having passed through dense plant life without aid from any sort of tool, her yellow-and-red kimono appeared spotless, as did her neck-length dark hair.

Ooh, lovely description of Erika.


“Oh, hello again, Derak,” said the young woman. “Have you been doing training with your friends there?”

“Pretty much,” Derak shrugged, remembering some of the last-minute tips Nando had given him. “It was…Erika, right? Can we just get on with this?”

“Sure,” Erika nodded. “Let’s get started.”

All the present humans took their respective places. Derak stood at one end of the battlefield, Erika at the other. Nando and Teresa found a bench on the sidelines, and an apron-wearing girl on the side edge of the arena held up two flags to indicate her status as the referee.

“This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle!” the referee declared. “Each trainer will use three Pokemon, and the battle will be over when all three—”

“Okay, can we skip this intro stuff?” Derak interrupted. “I mean, we’ve already heard it for the last battle, and I don’t think Gym rules get changed every five minutes, so what’s the point of listening to it again?”

Now, see, this might be one reason why I'm not totally comfortable with Gym matches taking place offscreen. Sure, Derak knows all of this already, but the reader does not.



“Bellossom,” the Dex reported, “the Flower Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Gloom. When the heavy rain season ends, it is drawn out by warm sunlight to dance in the open. A Gloom will only evolve into a Bellossom if it is exposed to a Sun Stone.”

“Somehow, I can already guess what this thing’s going to hit me with,” Derak sighed, remembering his battle with Nando’s Lilligant the previous day. “Echo, let’s go!”

“Zubat versus Bellossom!” the referee declared once Echo appeared on the field. “Begin the--!”

“All right, now you’re just treating us all like idiots,” Derak interrupted again. “We DO have working eyes, you know.”

Nice lampshading.

On a serious note, I'm not sure how much faith I have in Derak's chances. He did train with Nando, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still using a Zubat.


“He’s…er…a bit, uh…mean…isn’t he?” Teresa said slowly.

“Perhaps,” Nando chuckled, “but that is simply who he is. There are many sorts of people in our world, just as there are many sorts of Pokemon.”

“Oh…I see,” Teresa nodded slightly, turning her gaze back to the battle. Erika’s Bellossom gracefully danced aside to evade a sequence of Sludge Bombs from Derak’s Zubat, much to the former’s pleasure.

I like how these two interact. Hopefully we see more of them.


“Let’s start our counter-attack!” Erika cried. “Use Sunny Day!”

Of course, Derak thought bitterly.

Just as he had predicted, Bellossom’s tiny arms did indeed charge with orange energy, which coursed through the strange stone that it held. The Grass-type lifted the stone into the air, allowing its Sunny Day to pass through and burst into the sky, much like the Sunny Day that Nando’s Lilligant had used.

I agree with Derak here, it was clear that Sunny Day would be critical again.


“Okay, Echo, go in for Zen Headbutt!” Derak cried.

Echo’s pointy ears shone with a blue light as they began to emit a series of blue energy waves, somehow using the waves to form a protective wall in front of its head. The Zubat then charged directly towards Bellossom, aiming to strike it literally head-first, only for the Grass-type to suddenly vanish in a blur of green.

“Ugh, there’s Chlorophyll again,” Derak sighed bitterly. “Echo, go up in the air and send out a few more Sludge Bombs!”

“Oh, no, you don’t!” Erika yelled. “Bellossom, stop it with Teeter Dance!”

Erika strikes me here as a lot more excitable than she usually is depicted as.


The Flower Pokemon reappeared in another blur of movement, this time standing in the center of the battlefield. Echo took to the skies, attempting to find an angle from which a Sludge Bomb would deal maximum damage. Before the Poison-type could fire, however, Bellossom began to rhythmically sashay from side to side in a manner truly befitting of a hula girl. Although it lacked any visible means of actually seeing Bellossom perform this dance, some mysterious quality to the attack completely fouled Echo’s innate sonar, causing it to fall to the ground in a befuddled heap.

“Echo!” Derak cried as his Zubat lied on the ground, attempting to dance along with Bellossom using only its wings. “Uh…what are you doing?”

“Derak, be careful,” Nando advised. “Teeter Dance can inflict confusion upon opposing Pokemon, which appears to have happened to your Zubat.”

“How is that even possible? Echo doesn’t have any eyes!” Derak complained. “Ugh, nothing we can do about that…Echo, return.”

I notice that the animation for Teeter Dance in the games shows musical notes, so I suspect there might be a musical element to its effect as well. In that case, Echo would only need ears to be affected.


“Switching out already?” Erika asked as Derak recalled his Zubat. “You’re not actually giving up, are you?”

I'm not sure how I feel about this depiction of Erika. She's really hot-blooded, a lot moreso than usual.


“I didn’t give up after a giant vine monster destroyed my team,” Derak said. “Pretty sure a dancing plant-girl isn’t that threatening. Okay, since Sunny Day is supposed to juice up Fire-types, too…Wildfire, let’s go!”

Upon materialization, Derak’s Chimchar eyed the Bellossom viciously. It knew that it was chosen to fight in this battle again for some reason. It knew that it absolutely had to redeem itself for its earlier failure, or else the worst could happen.

The first line was funny, but the second made me kind of concerned. I guess Wildfire is still having some issues?


“All right, Bellossom, use Sludge Bomb!” Erika cried.

“Dodge and use Ember!” Derak cried.

Bellossom mimicked Echo by spitting out a wad of slime, which Wildfire agilely leapt over. The Chimchar landed with a quick somersault, releasing a storm of small fireballs that burned more intensely once exposed to Bellossom’s Sunny Day. Consequently, Bellossom was knocked onto its back by the Ember’s increased power, whereas before it would have only cringed.

“Bellossom, no!” Erika cried. “This is a bit of a gamble, but we’ll have to try and hit that Chimchar as hard as we can. Use Solarbeam, quick!”

“Wildfire, block it with Protect!” Derak cried.

Bellossom’s petals began to glow brightly as energy from the sunlight began to flood into them. Again repeating the patterns demonstrated by Nando’s Lilligant, the Flower Pokemon unleashed an enormous beam of light into the air. Just as the beam curved down, however, Wildfire put its Protect in place, allowing it to harmlessly disperse the Solarbeam.

Good thinking to deal with the faster-firing Solarbeams.


“Use Solarbeam one more time!” Erika cried.

But Erika's got a way right around that.


“Use Pro…wait, we can’t use Protect, can we?” Derak muttered. As he struggled to come up with a new command, however, Bellossom’s Solarbeam was already in the air. “Aw, crud! Wildfire, just…I don’t know, do something! Something that works!”

The beam bore down on Wildfire, but the Chimchar barely noticed. Its steely gaze was transfixed on Bellossom, knowing that its trainer caused Wildfire’s own trainer to lose. And it was all Wildfire’s fault. It had to redeem itself…it had to!

The Solarbeam found its mark, the fire monkey completely obscured by the blinding light. Derak and Teresa shielded their eyes, but all Nando had to do was simply lower his hat. Only Erika saw a wheel of fire burst from the light and collide with Bellossom, hitting the Grass-type with such force that it was unconscious by her feet in moments.

“…what? What happened?” Derak blinked, finding the flaming wheel still burning but spinning in place, its target having already been recalled. The flames soon dissipated, revealing Wildfire within. “Wildfire…? You’re okay!”

“I think it’s more than okay,” Erika corrected. “Your Chimchar has just learned how to use Flame Wheel.”

I liked that. It didn't feel forced and it gave us a glimpse into Wildfire's mindset.


“That’s what it’s called?” Derak remarked. “Well, it fits, I suppose.”

“Don’t celebrate too soon,” Erika warned, another Pokeball in hand. “Now it’s time for my second Pokemon!”

Her next choice was a rather odd-looking creature, resembling a deflated yellow balloon with a pair of large leafs at its base and a third leaf covering its circular pink mouth. Two unpleasant-looking eyes gazed out from underneath a pair of sharp fangs, and a long brown vine hung behind the Pokemon. The fact that its cry sounded like a human woman’s scream only added to its unusual nature.

“Victreebel,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flycatcher Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. Evolved form of Weepinbell. It pools in its mouth a fluid with a honey-like scent, which is really an acid that can dissolve anything.”

“…wonderful,” Derak sighed. “Note to self: keep away from anything that smells like honey.”

Oh neat, Victreebel. There's something that you don't see often.

Great line from Derak, too.



“Normally, yes,” Erika replied. “But not this time. Bellossom was holding a Heat Rock, which lengthens the amount of time Sunny Day is in effect.”

I appreciate that you used this mechanic, but I really think it would have helped to actually show Bellossom holding an item at some point instead of simply telling us it was.


“Brilliant,” Derak sighed. “Guess we’ll have to roll with it. Echo, use Supersonic!”

Echo began to screech incessantly, releasing a series of sound waves that bombarded Victreebel’s hearing. The balloon-like plant began to wobble dizzily, its trainer grimacing as she realized that Echo had returned the favor from Bellossom’s earlier Teeter Dance.

“Oh, no!” Erika gasped. “Victreebel, try and pull through with Vine Whip!”

The Flycatcher Pokemon’s long brown vine lashed out angrily but, due to the Grass-type’s confused state, only struck the ground a few feet away from Echo. The vine soon came back to its owner with some force, slapping the space between Victreebel’s eyes. Noticing an opportunity, Echo looked over to Derak and let out a small screech as it used one of its needle-like legs to gesture to its opponent.

“You want to attack, huh?” Derak asked, to which Echo nodded. “I guess we’ve got the upper hand, so go ahead and use Zen Headbutt!”

Echo complied by charging once again, this time slamming its glowing head into Victreebel’s stomach. The Grass-type’s eyes bulged as the force of the impact became apparent, sending the Flycatcher Pokemon tumbling across the dirt with a large bruise on its front. Victreebel shoved its vine against the ground, struggling to push itself up. Noticing this, Echo prepared a Sludge Bomb that would finish off its balloon-shaped foe.

“Hold on a second, Echo!” Derak called. “Let’s give Victreebel a chance to get up first.”

That was rather unexpected, and quite pleasant too. Good to see another angle of him come out.


Echo made an inquisitive screech, but nonetheless obeyed. As Victreebel slowly rose, Nando smiled widely.

“Do you see, Teresa?” he said. “Even if some people may seem unpleasant, beneath that may be something more.”

“I…I see,” Teresa nodded.

“I must say, you are certainly an excellent learner,” Nando said with a reassuring smile. “It honors me to be the guide for your journey. Now, let us observe the rest of Derak’s battle. It is sure to be most excellent.”

Nando’s vision returned to the battlefield, but Teresa’s mind was on other subjects. She knew someone who was utterly vicious in his temperament, and Derak’s rudeness occasionally reminded her of troubling circumstances she faced while in proximity to that person. But now, knowing that Derak was not so poor of character…what did that say about the bully she once knew?

More great interaction, but Teresa's comments really are intriguing to me. I wonder what's up with them.


“I have to give you credit. You’re really sporting,” Erika remarked.

“Nah,” Derak shrugged. “I just don’t like beating my opponents senseless.”

“Well…whatever the case, let’s continue!” Erika cried. “Victreebel, use Vine Whip!”

Victreebel prepared to lash its vine forward once more, but its eyes suddenly squeezed shut as feminine whimpers came from its circular mouth. Echo allowed itself a small smile, realizing that the bruise its Zen Headbutt had inflicted was causing Victreebel to flinch, rendering the Grass-type unable to attack. The Zubat looked back at its trainer, gesturing to the flinching Victreebel.

“Well, now that it’s up, I guess we can start our attack again,” Derak shrugged. “Finish this with Sludge Bomb!”

Echo finally fired its Sludge Bomb, and—despite its lack of eyes—was able to aim for the bruise on Victreebel’s stomach. The effectiveness of the blow was greatly increased by this decision, causing the Flycatcher Pokemon to fall in defeat.

Well, that worked out well. Good thinking and good luck on his part.


“Victreebel, return,” Erika said. “You did very well…and so have you, Derak. You have yet to lose a single Pokemon in this rematch, yet I’ve lost two out of three.”

“I’ve been playing it safe for now,” Derak said grimly. “I know what’s coming next.”

“I’m sure you do,” Erika smirked. “Tangrowth, come on out!”

There it was.

The huge, shaggy beast that had destroyed Derak in his previous encounter with it. Covered head-to-toe in dark blue vines, the only distinguishable features of this monstrosity were two cartoonish eyes near the top of its body. Two slender, red-tipped blue arms emerged from the beast’s sides, stretching down to its stubby black legs.

“Tang-gang!” Tangrowth chattered, whipping the ground with one arm.

Derak snarled at the memory of this horrendous beast. It had evolved from a Tanglea—a smaller ball of blue vines—and obliterated his entire team. Now, it was time to settle the score.

I should mention that I feel pretty fired up right here for this fight.


“Okay…here we go,” Derak growled. “Ready to keep going, Echo?”

The Zubat nodded eagerly. It, too, desired a chance for revenge.

Nice touch keeping a piece of Echo's personality intact.


“All right, let’s start off with Double Team!” Derak cried.

“Tangrowth, use Power Whip!” Erika cried.

Echo produced a plethora of illusory Zubats, hiding itself among them. Tangrowth, howver, appeared unconcerned as one of its arms began to glow green. The shaggy beast swung the glowing arm in a wide arc, cutting through all the Echo copies and knocking the real one to the ground.

“Now, follow up with Ancientpower!” Erika cried.

“Not this time!” Derak cried. “Echo, quick, fly up and use Sludge Bomb!”

Echo pushed itself off of the ground and sailed into the air, releasing a Sludge Bomb that barreled directly towards Tangrowth. The Sludge Bomb’s target, however, became surrounded with an aura of silvery energy that swirled into a ball that Tangrowth held between the tips of its arms. It flung the ball towards the Sludge Bomb, and the two attacks collided in an explosion of smoke and slime.

“Tangrowth, Brick Break!”

Derak had no idea where Tangrowth was, seeing as the smoke generated by the explosion had clouded the entire battlefield. Echo was screeching desperately, trying to use its echolocation to find its monstrous foe. Unfortunately, one large vine-like arm suddenly slammed down on Echo’s back, sending the Poison-type into the dirt. The smoke soon cleared, revealing that Tangrowth had performed something of a karate chop on Echo’s body.

“Aw, great,” Derak grimaced. “Echo, return…well, this is going to go badly.”

Hmm. I kind of think Echo should have had a little more before going down, but really, it's your call. Tangrowth got some good action in here.


“Derak, please, do not give up just yet,” Nando called. “Two Pokemon remain on your side. Is there a way that you can turn this around?”

“Hmm…well, the Sunny Day looks like it’s still going,” Derak said, observing that Bellossom’s attack still had yet to fade away. “Might as well try and make it count while it can. Wildfire, let’s go!”

Upon seeing Erika’s Tangrowth, Wildfire grimaced as well. This monster had utterly decimated the fire monkey before. Perhaps, now that it knew Flame Wheel, it could turn things around?

I hope so. Wildfire sure could use the encouragement.


“It’s our turn, now!” Erika cried. “Tangrowth, use Poison Jab!”

“I know how that works, so…Wildfire, use Flame Wheel along Tangrowth’s arm!” Derak cried.

The tips of Tangrowth’s arm began to glow purple, and with a sudden burst of speed that was likely provided by yet another instance of Chlorophyll, Tangrowth’s arm shot forward. Wildfire, however, managed to time its jump in such a way that the Poison Jab would thrust into the ground, allowing the Chimchar to execute its newly-learned Flame Wheel. As Derak had instructed, Wildfire rode its Flame Wheel along Tangrowth’s arm, quickly slamming into Tangrowth’s main body and knocking it back slightly.

“Now, follow up with Ember!” Derak cried.

Wildfire obeyed, but Tangrowth merely used its other arm to block the ensuing storm of tiny fireballs. Tangrowth then brought its arm downward in another Brick Break attempt, only for Wildfire to shield itself with a Protect. Rather than retract its arm, however, Tangrowth instead dug its extended arm into the ground behind Wildfire’s Protect.

“Now, Tangrowth!” Erika cried. “Use Body Slam!”

“Oh, crud!” Derak sputtered. “Wildfire, get out of the way!”

Using its anchored arm as leverage, Tangrowth pulled itself towards Wildfire with alarming speed. The sight of a massive vine-covered beast hurdling towards it caused the Chimchar to panic, its feet frozen to the spot. Tangrowth collided full-force with Wildfire’s body, pressing the small Fire-type into the ground.

Now that was some great action. Very fluid and exciting.



The Machop appeared with its arms crossed, its eyes narrowing at the sight of Tangrowth. It knew what it had to do, and regardless of how difficult it would be, that task would be compmlete.

Minor mistake: "complete" is misspelled.


“Tangrowth, use Poison Jab!” Erika cried.

“Again?” Derak blinked. “Wait, I’ve got an idea! Brute, grab the arm!”

Brute nodded with a smirk, realizing where Derak’s plan was going. Now that the sunlight had finally faded, Tangrowth was moving with reduced speed. Despite this, the monster’s arm still lurched forward quite quickly, aiming straight for Brute’s chest. The Superpower Pokemon, however, simply side-stepped the attack and grabbed hold of Tangrowth’s arm.

“What?!” Erika gasped. Nando merely smiled.

“Okay, let’s take that freakish ball of death for a ride!” Derak cried. “Use Vital Throw!”

Brute dug its heel into the ground and pulled on the arm, yanking Tangrowth towards it. Although the latter Pokemon was almost three times the Machop’s size, it was nonetheless thrown into the air by Brute’s immense strength.

“Oh, no!” Erika cried. “Tangrowth, quick, try and counter with Body Slam!”

“Now we’ve got it,” Derak smirked. “Brute, use Poison Jab!”

Tangrowth plummeted down towards Brute, who dropped the shaggy beast’s arm and allowed it to be retracted. The Machop, however, prepared its own Poison Jab, drawing back one fist. Just as Tangrowth came down upon it, Brute thrust its fist into Tangrowth’s stomach, the damage furthered by the momentum that the Grass-type had gathered from its fall.

“Tangrowth, no!” Erika cried.

“Marvelous,” Nando smiled. “What a brilliantly-played move.”

I certainly have to agree, that move was impressive.


“Tang…gaaaanng,” Tangrowth groaned as it fell off of Brute’s fist, landing just beside the Superpower Pokemon. The Machop smirked, giving its trainer the thumbs-up sign. Derak heaved a sigh of relief as he slumped into a sitting position, but nonetheless managed to return Brute’s gesture.

“Tangrowth, return,” Erika sighed. “Well, Derak…I’m impressed. You really turned your situation around.”

She approached Derak and handed him a colorful flower-shaped badge.

“This is the Rainbow Badge,” Erika said. “You’ve earned it.”

“Finally,” Derak sighed, placing his fourth badge in his badge case. “C’mon, Brute, let’s go get you and others healed.”

Two minor complaints here. One, I feel like Tangrowth went down a little fast, and two, I think you could have described him receiving the badge in more detail.


Back in the Pokemon Center, Garth sat lazily at a table, drinking a strange glittering water out of his canteen. The sound of metal slamming upon the table caught his attention, and the cloaked man found Derak forcefully presenting his open badge case. Nando and Teresa stood behind the boy, the former smiling as always.

“Finally got that freaking fourth badge,” Derak sighed. “Now we can get out of here.”

“It is about time,” Garth grunted as he stowed his canteen back inside his cloak.

“Before you go,” Nando interjected, “let me say that it has been an immense pleasure to train with you. I am honored to be a part of your victory at the Celadon Gym.”

Always so pleasant, Nando.


“Excuse me, but did you say that one of you won at the Gym?” the local Nurse Joy asked.

“Yeah, that’d be me,” Derak said. “What about it?”

“Please, we need you to help us,” Nurse Joy begged.

“Ugh, what do you want?” Garth groaned. “We have places to be.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know where else to turn,” Nurse Joy said. “I can’t call the police because this isn’t really a crime, but…”

“Huh?” Derak blinked. “What are you talking about?”

“Well…there’s this old mansion in Celadon that’s been around since the city was first founded,” Nurse Joy explained. “Lately, there have been strange noises coming out of there. We need a strong trainer to investigate.”

This is... random. I'm not really sure where this is going to go.


“Why are you asking ME?” Derak asked. “Don’t they have TV shows about this kind of thing? Or maybe actual authorities?”

“There may be Pokemon that need help in there!” Nurse Joy pleaded. “You have to do this, I’m begging you!”

“Ugh,” Derak sighed. “Fine, I’ll do it, but it’s for the Pokemon’s sake. Can we get some rest, first, though? It’s been a long couple of days.”

I can't blame him for reacting in such a way.

“Indeed it has,” Nando nodded. “Tomorrow would be the ideal time for you to investigate this Celadon Mansion, as well as for me to challenge the Gym Leader myself. I can only hope that my efforts will be as successful as yours.”


A distance outside the Pokemon Center was a decrepit old manor, complete with rotting wood and broken windows. Although quite large, the mansion’s size only added to its repulsive nature. Just one look could tell that no one had lived in this mansion for years.

Despite this fact, lights flashed from within the mansion. The front door slowly creaked open, allowing an eerie sound to escape.

“Eeeeeee…eeeeeeeeee…”

****

Oh boy, here we go.

This chapter was pretty good. The battle mainly carried it, as it contained a decent amount of action and was written well. I do think that Erika's characterization had a couple of problems, though.

Air Dragon
12th October 2012, 3:17 PM
A week late... I HATE the Internet not working on my laptop! >.<

Sit tight, I'll be done with this in a jiffy!

You know, until now, I never knew Zubat can learn Zen Headbutt without seeing a move tutor. Must of had a Noctowl for a daddy (weirdest family tree ever. :P )

The battle, however, was pretty well done, and I'm pleasantly surprised Derak pulled off a victory. Guess Luck is an important attribute of a trainer. And now the Celadon Mansion... wonder what could be inside... Good use of "being in the right place and time" with solid enough reasons to get Derak to go in after it. Very nicely explained and I enjoyed the lad's counterarguments failing one by one.

Well, it's almost midnight here (good grief!) Atleast this won't need to be done tomorrow! Nice chapter!

L@er!

Morpher01
17th October 2012, 12:56 AM
Rotomknight: You will find out next chapter. That's all I can say.


The Great Butler:
Now, see, this might be one reason why I'm not totally comfortable with Gym matches taking place offscreen. Sure, Derak knows all of this already, but the reader does not.

True. I probably did drop the ball there.


Erika strikes me here as a lot more excitable than she usually is depicted as.

Ehhh...honestly, I took a few liberties with Erika. I could tell that she definitely has a more aggressive side, as seen in the anime when she bans challengers from her Gym if they insult her perfume. I probably did focus too much on that aspect, however.


The first line was funny, but the second made me kind of concerned. I guess Wildfire is still having some issues?

Yep. He's going to be having those issues for a loooooonnnnnnnng time.


I appreciate that you used this mechanic, but I really think it would have helped to actually show Bellossom holding an item at some point instead of simply telling us it was.

I'm pretty sure I described the Heat Rock in Bellossom's hands when it first appeared, although I may be misinterpreting your meaning.


Minor mistake: "complete" is misspelled.

........and I somehow completely missed that mistake. XD


Two minor complaints here. One, I feel like Tangrowth went down a little fast, and two, I think you could have described him receiving the badge in more detail.

You're probably right on both counts.


This is... random. I'm not really sure where this is going to go.

I can tell you this: remember my comment regarding how Olivia was attacked by the Bisharp and Pawniard in Angel of Reckoning? That's going to come into play soon. XD I think you'll find what happens to be...most interesting.


Air Dragon:
You know, until now, I never knew Zubat can learn Zen Headbutt without seeing a move tutor. Must of had a Noctowl for a daddy (weirdest family tree ever. :P )

Move-wise, I tend to follow the anime's rules of how even move tutor/breeding moves can be used by wild Pokemon (Dawn's Buneary knowing Ice Beam, Pikachu learning Volt Tackle, etc.). But, yeah...that would be an interesting family tree. XD


The battle, however, was pretty well done, and I'm pleasantly surprised Derak pulled off a victory. Guess Luck is an important attribute of a trainer. And now the Celadon Mansion... wonder what could be inside... Good use of "being in the right place and time" with solid enough reasons to get Derak to go in after it. Very nicely explained and I enjoyed the lad's counterarguments failing one by one.

Glad you enjoyed it. I was a bit worried that the reasons to enter Celadon Mansion would require too much suspension of disbelief.


Chapter 18 will be up soon. I've been adding a couple of things here and there, and I think it's going to be quite interesting to read. XD Heh heh...

Morpher01
21st October 2012, 1:37 AM
Okay, the next chapter is here.



Chapter 18: Celadon Mansion






The day after Derak’s victory at the Celadon Gym, he stood outside the decaying Celadon Mansion. He still had no idea why the local Nurse Joy would trust the investigation of this building to a random trainer rather than the proper authorities, but he was nonetheless aware that a Pokemon could be injured inside. The police, he believed, would only worsen the situation.

As he prepared to approach the front door, a light gust passed across one of the higher windows. One of the shudders dropped off, its hinges having all but disintegrated by this point. The fallen shudder landed with a loud crack in front of Derak’s feet, splitting in two.

“Wow, can’t see why this place would be abandoned,” Derak sighed. “I’m starting to see why Garth didn’t want to tag along.”

He stepped over the broken shudder and carefully ascended the stairs, his every step producing a loud groan from the wood beneath him. He took the knob in hand, but upon attempting to turn it found that the door was already ajar. Derak gently pushed the door open and was greeted with nothing but darkness.

“I swear, if some guy jumps out of the bushes with a camera and tells me I’m on one of those pranking shows…ugh,” Derak muttered as he poked his head inside. “Hello? Anyone home?”

Silence.

“Okay…I’m going to walk inside, now,” Derak said. “If that’s not okay with you, then just let me know.”

He took one step forward, but before he could take another, the floor suddenly gave way. Derak’s weight on the brittle floor caused him to drop into the basement, landing directly on his rear end.

“…ouch,” Derak groaned as he got up. “Yeah, Garth was definitely the smart one this time.”

“Eeeeeeee…eeeeeeeee,” moaned a faint, high-pitched voice.

“Uh…hello?” Derak blinked. “Is someone there?”

“EEEEE!” the voice cried, and a blast of chilled—yet somehow purple—air suddenly threw Derak onto his back.

“I’ll…take that as a yes,” Derak grunted as he got up, rubbing his backside. “Okay, look, you’re clearly a Pokemon. But, here’s the thing, you didn’t really have to do that. I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Eeeee?” the mysterious voice moaned again, this time making a clear vocal response.

“I’m telling you the truth, honest,” Derak said, taking a few steps forward. “Look, I’m not sending out a Pokemon or anything…actually, now that I think about it, you might not be able to really ‘see’ me since it's kinda dark in here, but…you get the point, right?”

“Eeeeee,” the voice moaned again.

“Okay, I’ve got an idea,” Derak said. “I can’t really see too well in here, but if you keep making that noise, I might be able to find you. Okay?”

“Eeeee…eeeee…eeeeee,” the voice replied with an affirmative tone.

Derak followed the voice, occasionally stopping to try and position himself in such a way that he would continue to accurately approach the voice’s owner. He eventually came upon an area in which a decent amount of light poured in from a small basement window, as well as numerous holes in the ceiling. In the center of the light was a small quadruped Pokemon with dominantly brown fur, aside from its fluffy tan-colored collar. Its long, pointed ears and brush-like tail were drooped with depression, and its dark chocolate eyes were filled with pain and sadness.

“Hey…hey, was that you making all that noise?” Derak said as he kneeled down to the Pokemon’s level. “You’ve got some strong lungs for such a little guy.”

“Eeee,” the Pokemon groaned, favoring an injured leg.

“Hang on,” Derak said as he removed his Pokedex. “Let me see what you are, first. Might actually help for once.”

“Eevee,” the Dex reported, “the Evolution Pokemon. Type is Normal. Eevee has an unstable genetic makeup that allows it to evolve into a multitude of forms. Thus far, seven evolutions of Eevee have been discovered.”

“…once again, the Pokedex doesn’t really help that much,” Derak sighed. “Well, at least I know that you’re an Eevee.”

“Veee?” the Eevee moaned, looking up at Derak.

“Okay, so, how did that leg injury get there?” the boy asked.

Eevee gestured to the window, which appeared to have been opened at one point.

“Did you…fall in through there?” Derak asked. “Wait, you weren’t abandoned by a trainer, were you?”

Shockingly, Eevee nodded. Derak let out a long, irritated sigh.

“Why are people so unbelievably stupid?” he groaned. “I don’t see anything wrong with you, myself.”

“Vee?” Eevee squeaked inquisitively.

“Yeah, you’re just fine aside from that leg problem,” Derak said. “Hang on, I’ve got someone I’d like you to meet.”

He opened a single Pokeball, and Brute appeared in a flash of light. Eevee cringed, but once Brute simply sat down in a non-threatening posture, the Normal-type relaxed.

“Okay, so here’s the deal,” Derak said. “This is Brute. I found him outside Pewter City…where his last trainer abandoned him.”

“Eeev?” Eevee looked at Brute.

“Chop,” the Superpower Pokemon nodded sadly.

“He wasn’t feeling so emotionally great, either,” Derak said. “He kinda started taking it out on the local wild Pokemon…which is kinda how he got his name, actually. But, listen, Brute’s gotten a whole new chance at life since I took him in. You can have the same thing, if you want.”

Before Eevee could respond, a Pokeball sailed in from out of nowhere and rammed into the Evolution Pokemon’s head, absorbing the small furry creature inside. The ball shook three times and clicked, signaling a successful capture.

“What?!” Derak sputtered. “Are you kidding?!”

“Ah, I’m afraid I must apologize,” said a familiar voice that made Derak’s skin crawl in anger. Sure enough, Elliot Trey stepped into the light and picked up the Pokeball that now contained Eevee. “I realize that you were bonding with that Eevee, but you see, it is quite a rare Pokemon, and Jason simply couldn’t wait.”

“Maaaaach,” Brute growled.

“Pleasure to see you again, Machop,” Elliot smirked. “So, Derak, I assume you are here to investigate the mysterious happenings at this less-than-pleasurable establishment?”

“I don’t see how it’s any of YOUR business,” Derak spat as he got up. “I’m betting you’re just going to abandon Eevee once you get ‘bored’ with it, like you did Brute.”

“I may have multiple personalities, but I’m no fool,” Elliot said, observing his new Eevee’s Pokeball. “It is virtually impossible to find another Eevee so readily, so why waste such a chance?”

“Didn’t stop you from abandoning him,” Derak growled, gesturing to Brute.

“To be honest, that Machop was simply a temporary means to an end,” Elliot sighed. “It failed to fit in with my long-term plans, so I released it once it was no longer useful to me.”

“And that’s how you justify abandoning Brute?!” Derak snarled. “What are your precious ‘plans’, anyway?”

“If I simply told you, that would spoil all the fun,” Elliot replied, a sinister grin spreading across his face. “Just remember that, once I gain a sufficient level of strength, the world will be in for quite a rude awakening.”

“You want strength?” Derak growled. “How about we take this outside, and settle—”

Another blast of chilled air whipped through the room, causing all present to fall to the ground. Elliot quickly clipped Eevee’s Pokeball onto his belt as he got up, Derak and Brute following suit.

“Aw, again…?” Derak groaned. “Hang on, if you captured Eevee…then why is that wind still coming?”

“That wasn’t a normal wind, you idiot!” snarled Elliot’s Jason persona, his entrance cued by another twitch of Elliot’s brown eye. “That was Ominous Wind, a Pokemon attack. Eevee can’t even learn that move, let alone use it.”

“So, if Eevee wasn’t making that wind…then what was?” Derak asked.

As if to answer Derak’s question, a flash of light burst from some of the ceiling holes, accompanied by several sparks showering down from above. A bolt of lightning suddenly smashed through the ceiling, ricocheting off the floor and then several walls in succession. When the lightning finally stopped, the source was revealed: a small red ball-shaped Pokemon with a long spike emerging from the top of its head and a stubby ball protruding from the bottom. Two frozen bolts of lightning seemed to function as the Pokemon’s arms, and a miscievious grin paired with two large blue-and-white eyes served as the Pokemon’s face.

“Ah, so there is our answer,” remarked Elliot, having reverted back from Jason. “A Rotom.”

“A what?” Derak said, looking to his Pokedex.

“Rotom,” the Dex answered, “the Plasma Pokemon. Type is Electric and Ghost. Its electric-like body can enter certain kinds of machines and take control of them in order to make mischief.”

“Rotom!” chirped the Plasma Pokemon in question, bouncing around wildly. “Ro-tom-ro-tom-ro-tom!”

“How intriguing,” Elliot commented, putting a hand to his chin. “Rotom is a rather rare Pokemon, almost as difficult to find as a Legendary Pokemon. And yet this one simply fell into both of our laps.”

“Ro?” Rotom blinked, as if trying to figure out what Elliot meant. Its trickster grin widened, however, upon realization. “Ro-tom-tom!”

The Electric-type suddenly began spinning madly, releasing what was unmistakably another Ominous Wind. As Derak and Elliot now saw the attack coming, however, they were able to remain standing and shield each of their bodies with one arm. Brute was knocked off its feet, but Derak managed to grab hold of the Fighting-type’s arm to keep it from being seriously harmed.

“So you WERE the source of all the trouble,” Elliot grinned, preparing another Pokeball. “Let’s see how well you can battle. Ekans, fight!”

“No way I’m letting someone like you get another Pokemon!” Derak growled. “Brute, looks like it’s time to get in there!”

Elliot’s purple rattlesnake materialized on the scene, coiling up and shaking its rattle-like tail in as intimidating a gesture as possible. Rotom only let out a deranged cackle, seemingly finding Ekans’ snarls amusing. Brute narrowed its eyes, realizing that this match could be quite difficult.

“Try if you like,” Elliot shrugged. “The competition makes it all the more fun. Ekans, use Dark Pulse!”

Ekans reared back its head and spat an erratic stream of shadowy rings, which somehow stayed in a line as they barreled towards Rotom. The Plasma Pokemon easily sprang off a wall, however, allowing the Dark Pulse to slam into the opposite side of the basement.

“Brute, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak cried.

Brute swung its arm forward and did release the windy attack, but Rotom made no effort to dodge. The reason for this soon became apparent: Brute’s Vacuum Wave simply sailed through Rotom, causing the Electric-type no visible harm whatsoever. The Plasma Pokemon countered by putting its two bolt-like appendages together and shooting a blast of blue lightning from them, electrocuting Brute with what appeared to be a Thunderbolt.

“I must say, I do wonder how you even got to the fourth Gym with your lack of knowledge,” Elliot smirked. “Fighting-type attacks have no effect on a Ghost-type like Rotom. Ekans, Dark Pulse once more!”

Ekans again fired a Dark Pulse, but this time Rotom dodged by spontaneously rocketing through the ceiling. A series of loud thumps could soon be heard, each one closer than the last.

Oh, great, Derak thought. What’s that hyperactive psycho up to now?

Rotom soon returned the same way it exited: crashing through the ceiling. This time, however, its form was much larger, and the Plasma Pokemon landed on the floor with a loud bang. Its body now somewhat resembled a refrigerator, and the irises of its eyes—along with its now-blunted bolt-like arms—had turned purple.

“What in the…?” Derak stared. “What happened to Rotom?”

“It appears to have possessed an electrical appliance, using it as a body and changing its abilities significantly,” Elliot observed. “Ekans, we will need to change tactics to suit our foe’s new form. Use Iron Tail!”

Ekans launched itself like a spring, uncoiling itself as it leapt into the air. Its rattle took on a silver sheen, indicating that the Poison-type intended to strike Rotom with its tail. The Electric-type grinned again, however, and opened its two refrigerator doors. A shower of ice and snow somehow erupted from Rotom’s open doors, and due to its positioning, Ekans was completely caught in the frigid assault. The snake soon fell to the ground, eyes wide but body completely encased in ice.

“Raagh, stupid little gremlin!” the Jason persona snarled. “How dare you use Blizzard on my Ekans!”

Well, Ekans is obviously out of the running, Derak thought. Okay…Elliot said that Rotom’s abilities change when it possesses stuff, and he had Ekans use Iron Tail instead of Dark Pulse. Maybe…

He looked down at Brute.

“Ready for another try?” Derak asked. “I know this sounds like a stupid idea, given what happened last time, but…”

“Ma-chop,” Brute nodded.

“Okay, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak ordered.

Brute again wound back one fist and threw forth a small wind tunnel, but this time Rotom’s eyes went wide in horror. With the bulk of its new refrigerator body limiting its movement, Rotom was helpless as the Vacuum Wave threw it to the floor. The refrigerator-bodied Plasma Pokemon began to glow, however, and the true form of Rotom soon emerged.

“Roooh?” Rotom groaned, using one of its bolt-arms to rub its apparently aching head. The Plasma Pokemon looked up and saw Derak and Elliot towering over its own small body.

“Aren’t you done yet?” Derak sighed. “There’s only so much that people can take of your crazy antics, you know.”

“Tom!” Rotom narrowed its eyes and crossed its bolt-arms. “Rooooh-TOM!”

A small ball of electricity formed around Rotom’s arms, and when the Plasma Pokemon quickly uncrossed its arms, the ball was launched forth. Rather than simply strike Derak or Elliot, however, the ball instead split into a large net-like shape. The electric net caught both of the young humans inside it, trapping them on the floor as a cackling Rotom levitated into the air.

With a psychotic grin in place, Rotom put its bolt-arms together and began firing Thunderbolts randomly around the basement. Walls began to fall apart, fragments being blasted out by Rotom’s attacks, and the already-fragile ceiling began to drop pieces. Despite this, Rotom appeared to be even more thrilled, launching Thunderbolts with a renewed vigor every time something fell and made a loud noise.

“Oh, no,” Derak mouthed, eyes going wide. “That crazy Rotom’s going to bring the whole mansion down on our heads!”

“WHAT?!” Jason roared. “Are you kidding?! That’s it, get me the hell out of this Electroweb!”

As the boy with multiple personalities scrambled about in his attempts to break the net, Brute hurried to Derak’s side and quickly tore the Electroweb open. Derak fell out, Jason following suit. Rotom noticed their escape, and in response, redoubled its efforts. The ceiling was now minutes from collapsing thanks to the Plasma Pokemon’s wild Thunderbolts, leaving the trapped trainers with few options.

“We’ve got to get out of here!” Derak cried, jumping as a piece of the ceiling fell beside him. “That Rotom’s going to kill us all!”

“This way!” Elliot cried. “We’ll escape through the window!”

Despite the window’s small size, Elliot was able to push it open, clamber up, and squeeze through. Derak needed a boost from Brute, but was able to make it as well. Once outside, Derak recalled Brute and fled the scene. Rotom stopped firing Thunderbolts for a moment, long enough to realize that its prey had escaped.

And it simply let out another cackle as the Celadon Mansion crumbled around it.

*****

“What…in…the…world?” Derak panted, his body flat on the ground. “That Rotom…just tried…to KILL us!”

“Yes, ‘mischievous’ did seem to be an understatement,” Elliot agreed, his own body in a similar position. He soon got up and dusted himself off. “Well, I’d best be off. If you’ve already won at the Celadon Gym, I suggest you do the same.”

“Why would I want to take YOUR advice?” Derak snarled.

“Because I actually know what I’m talking about?” Elliot smirked. “I have a new Pokemon to train, so I’m afraid I must be going. Until we meet again.”

With that, Elliot left. Derak took a moment to seethe, his hatred for the split-personality boy growing, before he got up.

“Ah, forget this, I’m going back,” Derak said, looking to the fallen wreckage of the Celadon Mansion. “Just need to try and figure out how to explain that.”

****

That night, after Derak had gone back to the Pokemon Center, some of the mansion’s rubble began to shift. A rigid lightning bolt protruded the wreckage, and an entire body followed soon after. Rotom looked around at the night sky, and let out an excited cackle.

This was going to be fun.

****

Air Dragon
21st October 2012, 6:13 PM
This was going to be fun.

Oh, for goodness sake... Hasn't that thing had ENOUGH?!

Well, Elliot getting the Eevee was quite the startling switcheroo from the norm. (Gah, I HATE that little turd!) Ahem, sorry. Bravo. Nice to see Derak catch on to opponent weaknesses quickly... who said you can't teach him new tricks quickly? :)

So his rival swipes a potential capture and a homicidal Pokemon has him marked. Not the best of days. But he travels around with Garth. So I could be wrong. XD

Nicely done, good sir! Nicely done.

L@er!

Rotomknight
21st October 2012, 10:28 PM
Maybe Eevee won't obey, and he abandons it and helps it.
Derak better get that rotom!
IT's MY favorite!
And maybe he just wants company, and ghosts hang with oter ghosts.
If ther's an evil rotom, i'd put on a rubber suit and hug it till its good.

The Great Butler
23rd October 2012, 10:58 AM
Chapter 18: Celadon Mansion






The day after Derak’s victory at the Celadon Gym, he stood outside the decaying Celadon Mansion. He still had no idea why the local Nurse Joy would trust the investigation of this building to a random trainer rather than the proper authorities, but he was nonetheless aware that a Pokemon could be injured inside. The police, he believed, would only worsen the situation.

Oh, how true this observation of the Pokemon world's dysfunctional public services actually is.


As he prepared to approach the front door, a light gust passed across one of the higher windows. One of the shudders dropped off, its hinges having all but disintegrated by this point. The fallen shudder landed with a loud crack in front of Derak’s feet, splitting in two.

I think that should be "shutter," not "shudder." I won't point out any further instances of it, so just consider this point for every time "shudder" gets used in that context.


“Wow, can’t see why this place would be abandoned,” Derak sighed. “I’m starting to see why Garth didn’t want to tag along.”

He stepped over the broken shudder and carefully ascended the stairs, his every step producing a loud groan from the wood beneath him. He took the knob in hand, but upon attempting to turn it found that the door was already ajar. Derak gently pushed the door open and was greeted with nothing but darkness.

“I swear, if some guy jumps out of the bushes with a camera and tells me I’m on one of those pranking shows…ugh,” Derak muttered as he poked his head inside. “Hello? Anyone home?”

You know what? It would have been hysterical if something like that actually ended up happening.


Silence.

“Okay…I’m going to walk inside, now,” Derak said. “If that’s not okay with you, then just let me know.”

He took one step forward, but before he could take another, the floor suddenly gave way. Derak’s weight on the brittle floor caused him to drop into the basement, landing directly on his rear end.

“…ouch,” Derak groaned as he got up. “Yeah, Garth was definitely the smart one this time.”

I think this part could have used just a little more description. It feels like it happened a little bit too fast. Just describe the environment in a bit more detail.


“Eeeeeeee…eeeeeeeee,” moaned a faint, high-pitched voice.

“Uh…hello?” Derak blinked. “Is someone there?”

“EEEEE!” the voice cried, and a blast of chilled—yet somehow purple—air suddenly threw Derak onto his back.

Oh boy, it's here. Time for fun.


“I’ll…take that as a yes,” Derak grunted as he got up, rubbing his backside. “Okay, look, you’re clearly a Pokemon. But, here’s the thing, you didn’t really have to do that. I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Eeeee?” the mysterious voice moaned again, this time making a clear vocal response.

“I’m telling you the truth, honest,” Derak said, taking a few steps forward. “Look, I’m not sending out a Pokemon or anything…actually, now that I think about it, you might not be able to really ‘see’ me since it's kinda dark in here, but…you get the point, right?”

If it lives in the Mansion, and it's always dark in the Mansion, wouldn't it stand to reason that the Pokemon could see in the dark?

Also, it just hit me that Derak found the Pokemon rather fast, if it was indeed what he was to be looking for. That isn't really that big a deal though.


“Eeeeee,” the voice moaned again.

“Okay, I’ve got an idea,” Derak said. “I can’t really see too well in here, but if you keep making that noise, I might be able to find you. Okay?”

“Eeeee…eeeee…eeeeee,” the voice replied with an affirmative tone.

Derak followed the voice, occasionally stopping to try and position himself in such a way that he would continue to accurately approach the voice’s owner. He eventually came upon an area in which a decent amount of light poured in from a small basement window, as well as numerous holes in the ceiling. In the center of the light was a small quadruped Pokemon with dominantly brown fur, aside from its fluffy tan-colored collar. Its long, pointed ears and brush-like tail were drooped with depression, and its dark chocolate eyes were filled with pain and sadness.

Oh ****, that wasn't what I thought it was going to be. Maybe something else is going on here that made me think incorrectly?

It's fitting that Eevee would appear at Celadon Mansion, though, now that I think about it. Celadon Mansion is where you get it in the Generation 1 and 3 games, so yeah, it works. I'm liking your adaptation of it so far, with the Mansion being run-down.


“Hey…hey, was that you making all that noise?” Derak said as he kneeled down to the Pokemon’s level. “You’ve got some strong lungs for such a little guy.”

“Eeee,” the Pokemon groaned, favoring an injured leg.

“Hang on,” Derak said as he removed his Pokedex. “Let me see what you are, first. Might actually help for once.”

“Eevee,” the Dex reported, “the Evolution Pokemon. Type is Normal. Eevee has an unstable genetic makeup that allows it to evolve into a multitude of forms. Thus far, seven evolutions of Eevee have been discovered.”

“…once again, the Pokedex doesn’t really help that much,” Derak sighed. “Well, at least I know that you’re an Eevee.”

Two things:

One, nice lampshading of how useless the Pokedex entries usually are. Derak's putting into words what a lot of us are thinking.

Two, I'm kind of surprised that Derak doesn't know what an Eevee is, given how common they seem to be among trainers in Orre. Did Enoch shelter him that much?


“Veee?” the Eevee moaned, looking up at Derak.

“Okay, so, how did that leg injury get there?” the boy asked.

Eevee gestured to the window, which appeared to have been opened at one point.

“Did you…fall in through there?” Derak asked. “Wait, you weren’t abandoned by a trainer, were you?”

Shockingly, Eevee nodded. Derak let out a long, irritated sigh.

“Why are people so unbelievably stupid?” he groaned. “I don’t see anything wrong with you, myself.”

I get the feeling that Eevee being abandoned by its trainer is not going to just be a throwaway plot point. It's going to be more important than that.


“Vee?” Eevee squeaked inquisitively.

“Yeah, you’re just fine aside from that leg problem,” Derak said. “Hang on, I’ve got someone I’d like you to meet.”

He opened a single Pokeball, and Brute appeared in a flash of light. Eevee cringed, but once Brute simply sat down in a non-threatening posture, the Normal-type relaxed.

“Okay, so here’s the deal,” Derak said. “This is Brute. I found him outside Pewter City…where his last trainer abandoned him.”

I'm glad that you're taking this approach to dealing with Eevee. It's what came right into my head as soon as you mentioned Eevee being abandoned, that Brute would connect with it.


“Eeev?” Eevee looked at Brute.

“Chop,” the Superpower Pokemon nodded sadly.

“He wasn’t feeling so emotionally great, either,” Derak said. “He kinda started taking it out on the local wild Pokemon…which is kinda how he got his name, actually. But, listen, Brute’s gotten a whole new chance at life since I took him in. You can have the same thing, if you want.”

Before Eevee could respond, a Pokeball sailed in from out of nowhere and rammed into the Evolution Pokemon’s head, absorbing the small furry creature inside. The ball shook three times and clicked, signaling a successful capture.

“What?!” Derak sputtered. “Are you kidding?!”

“Ah, I’m afraid I must apologize,” said a familiar voice that made Derak’s skin crawl in anger. Sure enough, Elliot Trey stepped into the light and picked up the Pokeball that now contained Eevee. “I realize that you were bonding with that Eevee, but you see, it is quite a rare Pokemon, and Jason simply couldn’t wait.”

Oh come ON. Of all the times for this creep to come back, it had to be here and now and in this way?

Of course, I'm sure "creep" is the kind of word you want a reader to be thinking when they look at him, so what you're doing is working.


“Maaaaach,” Brute growled.

“Pleasure to see you again, Machop,” Elliot smirked. “So, Derak, I assume you are here to investigate the mysterious happenings at this less-than-pleasurable establishment?”

“I don’t see how it’s any of YOUR business,” Derak spat as he got up. “I’m betting you’re just going to abandon Eevee once you get ‘bored’ with it, like you did Brute.”

“I may have multiple personalities, but I’m no fool,” Elliot said, observing his new Eevee’s Pokeball. “It is virtually impossible to find another Eevee so readily, so why waste such a chance?”

“Didn’t stop you from abandoning him,” Derak growled, gesturing to Brute.

“To be honest, that Machop was simply a temporary means to an end,” Elliot sighed. “It failed to fit in with my long-term plans, so I released it once it was no longer useful to me.”

“And that’s how you justify abandoning Brute?!” Derak snarled. “What are your precious ‘plans’, anyway?”

“If I simply told you, that would spoil all the fun,” Elliot replied, a sinister grin spreading across his face. “Just remember that, once I gain a sufficient level of strength, the world will be in for quite a rude awakening.”

Oh, of course he's not going to just spill his plans immediately.

I'm really intrigued by what he's saying about the world being in for a "rude awakening," though. My mind naturally wanders into wondering if it is somehow connected to Nobunaga.


“You want strength?” Derak growled. “How about we take this outside, and settle—”

Another blast of chilled air whipped through the room, causing all present to fall to the ground. Elliot quickly clipped Eevee’s Pokeball onto his belt as he got up, Derak and Brute following suit.

“Aw, again…?” Derak groaned. “Hang on, if you captured Eevee…then why is that wind still coming?”

“That wasn’t a normal wind, you idiot!” snarled Elliot’s Jason persona, his entrance cued by another twitch of Elliot’s brown eye. “That was Ominous Wind, a Pokemon attack. Eevee can’t even learn that move, let alone use it.”

“So, if Eevee wasn’t making that wind…then what was?” Derak asked.

As if to answer Derak’s question, a flash of light burst from some of the ceiling holes, accompanied by several sparks showering down from above. A bolt of lightning suddenly smashed through the ceiling, ricocheting off the floor and then several walls in succession. When the lightning finally stopped, the source was revealed: a small red ball-shaped Pokemon with a long spike emerging from the top of its head and a stubby ball protruding from the bottom. Two frozen bolts of lightning seemed to function as the Pokemon’s arms, and a miscievious grin paired with two large blue-and-white eyes served as the Pokemon’s face.

Now that's what I thought was the source of all this in the first place. Eevee was quite the surprise, when I was expecting Rotom all along.


“Ah, so there is our answer,” remarked Elliot, having reverted back from Jason. “A Rotom.”

“A what?” Derak said, looking to his Pokedex.

“Rotom,” the Dex answered, “the Plasma Pokemon. Type is Electric and Ghost. Its electric-like body can enter certain kinds of machines and take control of them in order to make mischief.”

“Rotom!” chirped the Plasma Pokemon in question, bouncing around wildly. “Ro-tom-ro-tom-ro-tom!”

“How intriguing,” Elliot commented, putting a hand to his chin. “Rotom is a rather rare Pokemon, almost as difficult to find as a Legendary Pokemon. And yet this one simply fell into both of our laps.”

“Ro?” Rotom blinked, as if trying to figure out what Elliot meant. Its trickster grin widened, however, upon realization. “Ro-tom-tom!”

The Electric-type suddenly began spinning madly, releasing what was unmistakably another Ominous Wind. As Derak and Elliot now saw the attack coming, however, they were able to remain standing and shield each of their bodies with one arm. Brute was knocked off its feet, but Derak managed to grab hold of the Fighting-type’s arm to keep it from being seriously harmed.

“So you WERE the source of all the trouble,” Elliot grinned, preparing another Pokeball. “Let’s see how well you can battle. Ekans, fight!”

“No way I’m letting someone like you get another Pokemon!” Derak growled. “Brute, looks like it’s time to get in there!”

This is going to become a posturing contest, isn't it?

After Eevee, I hope Derak wins. It would be irritating if Elliot ended up getting both Pokemon in this chapter, not to mention disappointing since they both seem like poor matches for him personality-wise.


Elliot’s purple rattlesnake materialized on the scene, coiling up and shaking its rattle-like tail in as intimidating a gesture as possible. Rotom only let out a deranged cackle, seemingly finding Ekans’ snarls amusing. Brute narrowed its eyes, realizing that this match could be quite difficult.

“Try if you like,” Elliot shrugged. “The competition makes it all the more fun. Ekans, use Dark Pulse!”

Ekans reared back its head and spat an erratic stream of shadowy rings, which somehow stayed in a line as they barreled towards Rotom. The Plasma Pokemon easily sprang off a wall, however, allowing the Dark Pulse to slam into the opposite side of the basement.

“Brute, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak cried.

Brute swung its arm forward and did release the windy attack, but Rotom made no effort to dodge. The reason for this soon became apparent: Brute’s Vacuum Wave simply sailed through Rotom, causing the Electric-type no visible harm whatsoever. The Plasma Pokemon countered by putting its two bolt-like appendages together and shooting a blast of blue lightning from them, electrocuting Brute with what appeared to be a Thunderbolt.

This is a Regular Forme Rotom, right? I don't think Vacuum Wave will even work on it...


“I must say, I do wonder how you even got to the fourth Gym with your lack of knowledge,” Elliot smirked. “Fighting-type attacks have no effect on a Ghost-type like Rotom. Ekans, Dark Pulse once more!”

Oh, I spoke too soon.


Ekans again fired a Dark Pulse, but this time Rotom dodged by spontaneously rocketing through the ceiling. A series of loud thumps could soon be heard, each one closer than the last.

Oh, great, Derak thought. What’s that hyperactive psycho up to now?

Rotom soon returned the same way it exited: crashing through the ceiling. This time, however, its form was much larger, and the Plasma Pokemon landed on the floor with a loud bang. Its body now somewhat resembled a refrigerator, and the irises of its eyes—along with its now-blunted bolt-like arms—had turned purple.

Okay, now things are getting interesting. This fight is actually turning out to be pretty dynamic and exciting, and Rotom changing Forme part of the way through ought to provide another good turn of events.


“What in the…?” Derak stared. “What happened to Rotom?”

“It appears to have possessed an electrical appliance, using it as a body and changing its abilities significantly,” Elliot observed. “Ekans, we will need to change tactics to suit our foe’s new form. Use Iron Tail!”

Ekans launched itself like a spring, uncoiling itself as it leapt into the air. Its rattle took on a silver sheen, indicating that the Poison-type intended to strike Rotom with its tail. The Electric-type grinned again, however, and opened its two refrigerator doors. A shower of ice and snow somehow erupted from Rotom’s open doors, and due to its positioning, Ekans was completely caught in the frigid assault. The snake soon fell to the ground, eyes wide but body completely encased in ice.

“Raagh, stupid little gremlin!” the Jason persona snarled. “How dare you use Blizzard on my Ekans!”

Can "STUPID LITTLE GREMLIN!" become a meme now, like Hugh unleashing his rage? :P

I'm surprised he didn't know enough to expect Blizzard from Frost Forme Rotom, though, especially when he actually did recognize what it was and what type it became.


Well, Ekans is obviously out of the running, Derak thought. Okay…Elliot said that Rotom’s abilities change when it possesses stuff, and he had Ekans use Iron Tail instead of Dark Pulse. Maybe…

He looked down at Brute.

“Ready for another try?” Derak asked. “I know this sounds like a stupid idea, given what happened last time, but…”

“Ma-chop,” Brute nodded.

“Okay, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak ordered.

Brute again wound back one fist and threw forth a small wind tunnel, but this time Rotom’s eyes went wide in horror. With the bulk of its new refrigerator body limiting its movement, Rotom was helpless as the Vacuum Wave threw it to the floor. The refrigerator-bodied Plasma Pokemon began to glow, however, and the true form of Rotom soon emerged.

I like that you showed Derak getting this hit in. Sure, part of it was luck, but you also showed him using his head and deducing potential situations based on what Elliot did.


“Roooh?” Rotom groaned, using one of its bolt-arms to rub its apparently aching head. The Plasma Pokemon looked up and saw Derak and Elliot towering over its own small body.

Oh God, that's adorable.


“Aren’t you done yet?” Derak sighed. “There’s only so much that people can take of your crazy antics, you know.”

“Tom!” Rotom narrowed its eyes and crossed its bolt-arms. “Rooooh-TOM!”

A small ball of electricity formed around Rotom’s arms, and when the Plasma Pokemon quickly uncrossed its arms, the ball was launched forth. Rather than simply strike Derak or Elliot, however, the ball instead split into a large net-like shape. The electric net caught both of the young humans inside it, trapping them on the floor as a cackling Rotom levitated into the air.

Electroweb?

Okay, major points here if that's what this actually is. The B2W2 Move Tutors brought in some really awesome potential moves and I like seeing that possibility taken advantage of.


With a psychotic grin in place, Rotom put its bolt-arms together and began firing Thunderbolts randomly around the basement. Walls began to fall apart, fragments being blasted out by Rotom’s attacks, and the already-fragile ceiling began to drop pieces. Despite this, Rotom appeared to be even more thrilled, launching Thunderbolts with a renewed vigor every time something fell and made a loud noise.

“Oh, no,” Derak mouthed, eyes going wide. “That crazy Rotom’s going to bring the whole mansion down on our heads!”

“WHAT?!” Jason roared. “Are you kidding?! That’s it, get me the hell out of this Electroweb!”

As the boy with multiple personalities scrambled about in his attempts to break the net, Brute hurried to Derak’s side and quickly tore the Electroweb open. Derak fell out, Jason following suit. Rotom noticed their escape, and in response, redoubled its efforts. The ceiling was now minutes from collapsing thanks to the Plasma Pokemon’s wild Thunderbolts, leaving the trapped trainers with few options.

“We’ve got to get out of here!” Derak cried, jumping as a piece of the ceiling fell beside him. “That Rotom’s going to kill us all!”

“This way!” Elliot cried. “We’ll escape through the window!”

Despite the window’s small size, Elliot was able to push it open, clamber up, and squeeze through. Derak needed a boost from Brute, but was able to make it as well. Once outside, Derak recalled Brute and fled the scene. Rotom stopped firing Thunderbolts for a moment, long enough to realize that its prey had escaped.

And it simply let out another cackle as the Celadon Mansion crumbled around it.

What a devious little thing. I hope we see it again somehow.


“What…in…the…world?” Derak panted, his body flat on the ground. “That Rotom…just tried…to KILL us!”

“Yes, ‘mischievous’ did seem to be an understatement,” Elliot agreed, his own body in a similar position. He soon got up and dusted himself off. “Well, I’d best be off. If you’ve already won at the Celadon Gym, I suggest you do the same.”

“Why would I want to take YOUR advice?” Derak snarled.

“Because I actually know what I’m talking about?” Elliot smirked. “I have a new Pokemon to train, so I’m afraid I must be going. Until we meet again.”

With that, Elliot left. Derak took a moment to seethe, his hatred for the split-personality boy growing, before he got up.

“Ah, forget this, I’m going back,” Derak said, looking to the fallen wreckage of the Celadon Mansion. “Just need to try and figure out how to explain that.”

Are you sure that's a good idea, Derak? Going back seems a bit hasty...

Oh wait, he means going back to the Pokemon Center. Nevermind, I misunderstood.


That night, after Derak had gone back to the Pokemon Center, some of the mansion’s rubble began to shift. A rigid lightning bolt protruded the wreckage, and an entire body followed soon after. Rotom looked around at the night sky, and let out an excited cackle.

This was going to be fun.

****

Dare I think that he will live on?! Rotom's next appearance will surely be something to wait for, no doubt about it.

Well, all in all that was a very entertaining chapter. The beginning was a little shaky and had a couple of faults that I pointed out, but once you hit your stride, it really was good. The battle was the best part - while it was relatively short, it captured the competitiveness being traded between Derak and Elliot quite well.

Morpher01
29th October 2012, 10:38 PM
Air Dragon:
Oh, for goodness sake... Hasn't that thing had ENOUGH?!

Nope. Not for a long time. XD


So his rival swipes a potential capture and a homicidal Pokemon has him marked. Not the best of days. But he travels around with Garth. So I could be wrong. XD

Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg...


Rotomknight: Good luck with your "turn-Rotom-good" method. Although, for this Rotom...you may not even get close enough to hug it. XD

As for Derak getting Rotom...ah, you'll see. You'd be surprised by how things will turn out.


The Great Butler:
I think that should be "shutter," not "shudder." I won't point out any further instances of it, so just consider this point for every time "shudder" gets used in that context.

Now that you mention it, you're probably right.


Two things:

One, nice lampshading of how useless the Pokedex entries usually are. Derak's putting into words what a lot of us are thinking.

Two, I'm kind of surprised that Derak doesn't know what an Eevee is, given how common they seem to be among trainers in Orre. Did Enoch shelter him that much?

Actually, yes. Anoch didn't want Derak to be exposed to ANY Pokemon, let alone to Eevee and all related evolutions.


Oh come ON. Of all the times for this creep to come back, it had to be here and now and in this way?

Of course, I'm sure "creep" is the kind of word you want a reader to be thinking when they look at him, so what you're doing is working.

"Creep" is one of the possible words you may have in mind, yes. XD


Oh, of course he's not going to just spill his plans immediately.

I'm really intrigued by what he's saying about the world being in for a "rude awakening," though. My mind naturally wanders into wondering if it is somehow connected to Nobunaga.

Can't say too much on Elliot, but I can say that he isn't connected with Nobunaga. He's got his own agenda to worry about.


Dare I think that he will live on?! Rotom's next appearance will surely be something to wait for, no doubt about it.

Oh, you have no idea what you're in for...heh heh heh...

Morpher01
6th November 2012, 1:46 AM
Well, it's slightly late, but here's the next chapter. I got Black 2 recently, so...yeah.



Chapter 19: Safari Zone



The dusty winds of Orre drifted across Phenac City, speckling the once-spotless city with bits of sand and dirt. Derak’s hometown was now an absolute mess. People and their Pokemon, the latter bearing agonizing battle scars, barely clung to consciousness as their bodies laid flat on the ground. Some buildings were afflicted with scars of their own, large holes having been blasted into them and rubble decorating the streets.

The most devastated building, however, was Anoch Kadir’s home. It was larger than most due to his wealth, but that only added to the miserable state the house was in. The front wall, along with sections of the roof, had been completely obliterated, and the house had all but collapsed upon itself. Anoch’s body—battered, beaten, and burnt as it was—somehow managed to escape death by crawling out of the wreckage. One shaky hand reached out, as if to grab something.

“Dray…kus…you—” Anoch grunted, only for unconsciousness to finally take hold of him.

The man he knew as “Draykus”, however, was currently occupied with other affairs. His Conkeldurr and Hydreigon faced down a man with long purple hair and a white jacket, whose chosen two Pokemon had fallen before his eyes. The purple-haired man gritted his teeth, realizing that his fall would most likely mean the end of Phenac. His opponent, however, merely heaved a disappointed sigh.

“Really?” Nobunaga sighed. “This is the best that Phenac City has to offer? You are supposed to be Justy, the head of the Prestige Precept Gym, where trainers from all over Orre flock to learn about the intricacies of battling. And yet, here we are, with your six Pokemon handily defeated…by my two.”

“I’m still going to stop you, Governor!” Justy declared angrily. “I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I won’t let you destroy the very region you swore to protect!”

At this, to Justy’s shock, Nobunaga merely chuckled.

“I’m afraid my reasons would be beyond your comprehension, boy,” he laughed. “Now, stand aside. I wish to see just what you’ve been teaching in your ‘Pre Gym’.”

He made to advance, but Justy did not move. The Pre Gym Leader steeled his gaze, scowling fiercely at his foe.

“Very well,” Nobunaga sighed. “Conkeldurr?”

The colossal Fighting-type simply swung one of its pillars and knocked Justy aside, sending his body careening into Phenac’s outer wall. With the Pre Gym Leader’s now-broken body out of his way, Nobunaga advanced into the semicircular building known as the Pre Gym. Inside, he was met with a less-than-warm reception: young children huddled in a corner with a teacher wrapping her arms around them as best as she could, the teacher herself glaring viciously at Nobunaga, and a group of angry trainers staring down the supposed governor of Orre.

“Heh,” Nobunaga smirked. “Are you going to battle me, now?”

“We’ll do better!” one of the trainers declared. “We’re going to defeat you!”

The trainers sent out a multitude of variegated Pokemon, each one distinguished by its unique shape, size, and typing. Although team balance was clearly part of their studies, Nobunaga was undaunted in the slightest. In fact, he actually seemed to be bored.

“Hydreigon, use Draco Meteor,” he sighed.

The three-headed beast reared up, a swirling light gathering upon its stomach. The center of the heads pointed skyward and opened its mouth, releasing a single sphere into the air. The sphere split into a plethora of smaller spheres, which rained down upon the Pre Gym Pokemon like a torrent of meteors. The meteors viciously battered the opposing Pokemon, their types being of no help to them. All the Pre Gym trainers gasped upon seeing their Pokemon beaten so easily with but a single attack, and fell themselves shortly after due to a shockwave caused by Conkeldurr’s fist striking the ground.

“No wonder Derak sought to flee this city,” Nobunaga muttered, ignoring the ruptured floor and broken bodies that lay before him. “Had he remained here, his potential would be squandered into nothing.”

“Wh…what do you want?” one of the trainers groaned weakly.

Nobunaga smirked and approached the trainer, Conkeldurr in tow. The Muscular Pokemon pinned the bottom of one pillar onto the trainer’s stomach, and Nobunaga’s sinister smirk grew upon seeing the fear in the trainer’s eyes.

“Heh heh,” Nobunaga snickered. “You want to know what I want? Very well, then. What I want is information.”

His smirk suddenly vanished, replaced by a frown. His eyes narrowed, and the entire expression of his face went from sadistic mirth to deadly serious.

“There is someone I must visit if my future plans are to succeed,” Nobunaga said, his voice calm and his tone authoritative. “What do you know about Team Plasma?”

****

A week passed before Derak and Garth arrived at their next destination. It was a city, but it appeared to be rather rural. The houses were generally small and spaced apart, with nature itself set between them. There were a small number of larger buildings, but otherwise the town was fairly unremarkable.

“This is where the fifth Gym is, right?” Derak asked. “Fuchsia City?”

“If I remember correctly, yes,” Garth nodded. “The Gym here focuses on Poison-type Pokemon, so to get done with this quickly, you should focus on Psychic-type and Ground-type attacks.”

“You said that Echo’s Zen Headbutt was Psychic-type, right?” Derak asked, holding his Zubat’s Pokeball. “Well, that’s one guy I’m definitely going to be using.”

“As if you have any choice in the matter,” Garth snorted. “You have only those three Pokemon, remember?”

“Eh, if I find another one that’s all right with this whole trainer thing, I’ll let him tag along,” Derak shrugged as the two entered the Pokemon Center.

“That would require an inordinate amount of luck, boy,” Garth grunted. “From what you told me of what occurred in the Celadon Mansion, you appear to be relying too much on what is determined to kill you.”

“Yeah, just figures that I’d get stuck up against a psycho Rotom that wants me dead,” Derak sighed bitterly.

“At least try and get a Ground-type Pokemon,” Garth suggested as the two trainers sat down at a table. “There should be one or two available in the Safari Zone.”

“…the what?” Derak blinked.

“Ugh, that sheltered upbringing of yours,” Garth muttered. “Very well. Here in Fuchsia City, there is a reserve where the native Pokemon are rare, even outside of Kanto. Trainers are free to enter this reserve, dubbed the ‘Safari Zone’, and capture up to thirty Pokemon using special Pokeballs provided by the management.”

“So…it’s a nature reserve…where people catch Pokemon?” Derak said slowly. “What’s the bad news? I mean, it's got to be in there somewhere.”

“As far as I know, the ‘bad news’ is that you cannot battle the Pokemon you wish to catch,” Garth answered. “Assuming that you find a worthwhile Pokemon, all you can do to capture it is throw a ball and hope that it works.”

“…that’s kinda stupid,” Derak blurted.

“Agreed,” Garth sighed, “but it is also your only option at the moment. The Safari Zone is open right now. Go there and capture a fourth Pokemon. You may well need it against the Fuchsia Gym Leader.”

“All right,” Derak said as he made to leave. “I’d say ‘wish me luck’, but we both know how that’ll turn out.”

****

Shortly afterward, Derak pushed his way into the Safari Zone with a large bag in hand. Within the bag were, as Garth had earlier described, thirty Pokeballs with a dark green upper half. Despite having sufficient ammunition, Derak only grimaced as he made his way into a forested area.

“Whose bright idea was it to give the cranky old receptionist a gun?” Derak muttered. “Ugh, anyway, let’s get down to business…”

As his first endeavor for finding a suitable fourth Pokemon, he pushed aside part of a bush and peered behind it. A Pokemon was indeed there: a small purple dinosaur-like creature with small ears, a stubby tail, and what appeared to be a black plate atop its head. The Pokemon looked at him with its beady black eyes, studying him inquisitively.

“Kang?” the Pokemon squeaked.

“Hey, little guy,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. “What are you supposed to be?”

“Khan!” a deeper voice cried, and out of the forest stomped a larger, brown-colored version of the small purple dinosaur with a pouch on its stomach. “Kangas-khan!”

“Uh-oh,” Derak gulped, backing away from what was apparently the brown dinosaur’s baby. “Okay, look, I’m backing away, I have nothing to do with your baby!”

Derak had managed to back several feet away, and the brown Pokemon ignored him as it approached its baby. A tender smile overtook the parent’s aggression as it lifted the baby into its pouch, much to the infant’s pleasure.

“Kangaskhan,” Derak’s Pokedex reported. “The Parent Pokemon. Type is Normal. It raises its offspring in its belly pouch, and only lets the baby out to play when it feels safe.”

“The kid must have wandered off, then,” Derak muttered as he replaced his Pokedex in his pocket.

“Um…excuse me? Kangaskhan?” a timid female voice ventured. A familiar purple-haired girl came into view, a Safari Ball in hand.

“Khan?” Kangaskhan blinked, ignoring Derak as it turned to face Teresa. It immediately began sizing her up, attempting to determine if she would be a threat.

“I…I’m a trainer, and…I’ve, uh…always admired how you…protect your baby…with your life,” Teresa said slowly. “Could you…if it’s not too much trouble…could you come with me? I…I need help…my Pokemon need help…from someone like you.”

The Parent Pokemon seemed to consider this for a moment. It looked Teresa over once more, eventually judging her to be of decent character. With a friendly smile, Kangaskhan nodded.

“Really? You’ll…you’ll do it?” Teresa gasped, and Kangaskhan nodded again. “Th-thank you…Kangaskhan.”

Teresa nervously reached out with her Safari Ball, and gently tapped the mother Kangaskhan’s forehead. The saurian parent was promptly absorbed into the Safari Ball, its child going with it.

“Whew,” Derak sighed in relief. “Hey…it was Teresa, right?”

“Huh?” Teresa blinked. “Uh, oh…yes, it…it was.”

“Thanks,” Derak said. “I probably wouldn’t have made it out alive if you hadn’t caught that Kangaskhan.”

“Oh…well…you’re welcome,” Teresa said nervously, fiddling with her fingers.

“Okay, seriously, what’s your deal?” Derak asked. “How come you’re so nervous all the time?”

“I…it’s, uh…it’s kind of a long story,” Teresa said. “Erm…if it isn’t too much trouble, could you…uh, maybe…help me get out of here? W-when you’re done here, that is, I…wouldn’t want to…inconvenience you.”

“Uh…okay?” Derak blinked. “Anyway, I still need a Pokemon, so I guess we’re moving on.”

****

Back at the Pokemon Center, Garth sat alone at his table, taking another swig from his canteen. Once the canteen left his lips, he heaved a ragged sigh.

“Knowing the boy, I may need to enter the Safari Zone myself,” Garth muttered bitterly. “Doubtless he will have somehow gotten lost…and still be without a fourth Pokemon.”

“This just in!” a newscaster cried on a television mounted in the upper corner of the lobby. “A mysterious black Pokemon has been spotted in the skies of Kanto! Eyewitnesses claim that this is no ordinary Pokemon, but in fact a Legendary Pokemon!”

Garth’s eyes widened. A black Legendary Pokemon? He spun around until he located the television, which initially displayed a woman in her twenties sitting at a desk. The picture soon changed to a somewhat blurry image of what was presumably the Pokemon in question.

“This is an image taken on an eyewitness’ cell phone,” the newscaster explained. “It appears that someone is riding atop this Pokemon across the Kanto region.”

Garth was oblivious to the second half of her explanation, however. All he saw was a shape from his memory: a huge black dragon with enormous bulky arms and legs but comparatively tiny bat-like wings, its most notable feature being the large generator-like tail protruding from the dragon’s rear. Garth only uttered a fearful whisper at the sight of this beast.

“Zekrom…”

****

In the Safari Zone, Derak and Teresa continued on their expedition. Teresa was always looking around nervously, as if fearing that something aggressive would burst out of the bushes. Derak, however, continued to stop every now and then, peering into small areas.

“So…you, uh…still need a new Pokemon…right?” Teresa asked.

“Pretty much,” Derak replied. “Hey, I think I see something over there!”

The two soon came upon a small field-like area, where a rhinoceros-like Pokemon rammed its armored body into a large rock, smashing the boulder into pieces. The Pokemon was a dull grey color, with a single small horn and clawed toes at the end of each of its four short legs. Its blood red irises were just as intimidating as the large ridge coming out of the rhinoceros’ spine.

“Rhyhorn,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Spikes Pokemon. Type is Ground and Rock. Its powerful tackles can destroy anything. However, it is too slow-witted to help people work.”

“Maybe…maybe you can catch that Rhyhorn?” Teresa ventured. “The Safari Balls...well, they work better if you’re…closer to the Pokemon. Maybe you can…?”

“Maybe,” Derak replied, scratching his head. “I’ve heard Ground-types are pretty good against Poison-types, but—”

He was cut off by a sharp whistle that quickly caught the Rhyhorn’s attention. There, on the other side of the small field, stood Elliot Trey, casually leaning on a tree and smirking arrogantly. The boy with multiple personalities made a beckoning gesture with one finger, which managed to send the Rhyhorn into a violent rage. The Spikes Pokemon quickly charged towards Elliot, smashing anything that got into its way as it barreled towards him.

“Elliot,” Derak growled. “What in the world is he doing?”

Despite the Rhyhorn’s seemingly imminent impact with his body, Elliot did not move an inch from where he stood. Instead, he simply took a Safari Ball out of his pocket and waited for Rhyhorn to come closer. Once the Ground-type was a foot away from impact, Elliot reached out and casually tapped the Safari Ball against the Spikes Pokemon’s horn. Eyes wide in shock, Rhyhorn could do nothing to stop its absorption into the Safari Ball. Following the obligatory click that signaled a successful capture, Elliot clipped the Safari Ball onto his belt and left without a word.

“Great,” Derak growled. “That’s another Pokemon for HIM and one less for ME.”

Teresa shrank back slightly, as if she feared Derak’s anger turning on her. The boy noticed this, and sighed.

“What are you worried about?” he asked. “It’s got nothing to do with you.”

“O-okay,” Teresa gulped. “Let’s…let’s just go. There…has to be a Pokemon for you…somewhere in here…right?”

****

In Orre, the same news broadcast that Garth saw earlier was seen by someone else. The mouth of this someone curved into a sinister grin upon seeing the mysterious Pokemon. He, too, recognized it.

“There you are,” Nobunaga grinned. “Heh…time to claim what was once mine.”

****

Back in the Kanto Safari Zone, Derak suddenly came to a stop. Before him were several damaged trees, either cut through or knocked over. Teresa gulped as she looked down, cringing as she saw a red liquid spattered on the grass.

“Oh, man,” Derak breathed. “What happened here?”

A sickly groaning could be faintly heard within the cluster of broken trees. The eyes of both trainer’s quickly widened. Derak was the first to run in, with Teresa lagging behind due to her unwillingness to see more blood. They soon found the source of the groans: a third Pokemon, this one resembling a humanoid praying mantis with a vaguely canine head and massive blades serving as arms. On the Pokemon’s back was a pair of what were once gossamer wings. Now, however, they were folded and spindled, clearly causing their owner pain.

“Scyyy,” growled the Pokemon, struggling to push itself up.

“Scyther,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Mantis Pokemon. Type is Bug and Flying. The sharp scythes on its forearms become increasingly sharp by cutting through hard objects.”

“Rrgh, of all the times to act useless,” Derak muttered. “Hey…Scyther, hey, can you hear me?”

The Scyther’s blue eyes narrowed at the sound of Derak’s voice. The Bug-type turned its head and angrily spat something red at Derak’s feet, much to Teresa’s discomfort.

“Uh…okay, I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” Derak said slowly. “Look, Scyther, you need help. Hang on, let me…”

He pulled out a Safari Ball, but Scyther’s eyes widened at the sight of the device. It pointed one bladed arm at Derak, still attempting to rise from the bloody patch it had left behind. The more it rose, however, the more wounds became visible: cuts, bruises, and small holes added to Scyther’s broken wings.

“Okay, that’s it, I need to take you to the Pokemon Center yesterday!” Derak said, aiming for a relatively unhurt spot on Scyther’s body and gently throwing the Safari Ball. The Bug-type glared at him viciously as its body faded into red energy, but Derak ignored it as he grabbed hold of the Safari Ball and dashed out of the Safari Zone as quickly as he could, Teresa following to the best of her ability.

****

“You again?” Garth groaned. “Why are you here?”

“I am here to challenge the Fuchsia Gym,” replied Nando, having just sat down at Garth’s table.

“With nothing but your Grass-types?” Garth snorted. “I believe I have a good idea of how your battle will go.”

“You are correct to believe that I may be at a type disadvantage,” Nando nodded. “You should not, however, count me out so quickly. As I am sure you are aware, types alone do not determine how a batt—”

“Nurse Joy!” Derak cried the second he burst into the Pokemon Center, Teresa barely keeping up with him. “Really messed-up Scyther! Needs help now!”

“Oh, my!” Nurse Joy gasped, taking the Safari Ball that Derak haphazardly threw onto the counter. “Did you find this in the—”

“JUST HELP IT!” Derak yelled. “It’s bleeding a LOT! It needs help NOW!”

Nurse Joy hurriedly ran to the back, her Chansey in tow. With a final few pants, Derak collapsed on the ground, sighing as he thumped his head against the front desk.

“What happened?” Nando asked.

“We…we found a Scyther,” Teresa replied. “It was…very badly injured. Its wings…they were…”

“Really messed-up,” Derak finished sadly. “Just like the rest of its body.”

“How did I know you would stoop to find the first bruised—” Garth began.

“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR STUPID CRITICISM!” Derak bellowed, his dramatic change in demeanor causing Garth to stop for a moment. All that could be heard for that moment was Derak's panting.

“Are you done?” Garth asked calmly.

“…that depends,” Derak sighed. “Are you going to spit out garbage about how I shouldn’t have stopped for the Scyther, even after seeing that one of its wings was folded IN HALF? As in, folded in a way that it shouldn’t have been AT ALL?”

“Ah, I see,” Garth said. “If the injuries were that severe, then I suppose you did the right thing.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Derak asked. Teresa worriedly backed into a wall, anticipating that the worst would follow.

“I had assumed that—given your nature—you would have stopped to nurse the first injured Pokemon you saw, despite the fact that its injuries could be healed without human aid,” Garth explained. “In all honesty, I would have done the same thing as you if that Scyther was indeed in as poor condition as you claim.”

“Sure you would have,” Derak scoffed, leaning against the front desk.

“Hmph…believe what you want,” Garth grunted.

Derak merely stayed by the desk, looking back into the operation room. Minutes dragged on like hours as he waited for Nurse Joy to return with news of Scyther’s status. Once or twice her Chansey came in to retrieve a supply of some sort, but the nurse herself did not show for some time.

Eventually, however, she did return. The depression on her face brought worry to Derak’s mind, but upon noticing him, Nurse Joy smiled.

“Your Scyther’s been patched up, and should recover most of the way by morning,” she said.

“What do you mean ‘most of the way’?” Derak asked. “There’s a ‘but’, isn’t there?”

“I’m afraid so,” Nurse Joy nodded. “Scyther’s wings were badly broken. They’ve been put in a cast, but they’re going to take some time to fully heal.”

“Can I see him?” Derak asked.

Nurse Joy nodded, and lead Derak back into a sort of waiting room. A large glass panel showed an unconscious Scyther lying face-down on an operating table, its heavily-bandaged wings pointed straight up.

“We had to anesthetize it,” Nurse Joy explained, “but other than that the only problem was the sensitive wings.”

Derak could only stare at the Scyther in the operating room. He could only imagine the level of pain it had endured by some unknown enemy…and the amount of time it would take to recover.

“Don’t worry,” Nurse Joy smiled. “It’ll be just fine by tomorrow. It should even be battle-ready, if you're the go-getter type."

She turned and left just in time to avoid a dark glare from Derak.

I don’t care about HIS being battle-ready, he thought. I care about his being a hundred-percent for the sake of being a hundred-percent.

He slowly approached the window and placed a hand on it.

“Get well soon,” he whispered. “…Strike.”

With that, Derak trudged away. Once he had gone and the lights went out, however, Scyther’s body began to move. One blue eye snapped open, and only one thing could be seen within that eye.

The fires of pure rage.

*****

Rotomknight
6th November 2012, 2:16 AM
Derak: AHHHHH! IVE BEEN DECAPITATED!
Is the eevee going to make another appearnce, perhaps on Derak's team.

The Great Butler
6th November 2012, 7:47 AM
Chapter 19: Safari Zone



The dusty winds of Orre drifted across Phenac City, speckling the once-spotless city with bits of sand and dirt. Derak’s hometown was now an absolute mess. People and their Pokemon, the latter bearing agonizing battle scars, barely clung to consciousness as their bodies laid flat on the ground. Some buildings were afflicted with scars of their own, large holes having been blasted into them and rubble decorating the streets.

The most devastated building, however, was Anoch Kadir’s home. It was larger than most due to his wealth, but that only added to the miserable state the house was in. The front wall, along with sections of the roof, had been completely obliterated, and the house had all but collapsed upon itself. Anoch’s body—battered, beaten, and burnt as it was—somehow managed to escape death by crawling out of the wreckage. One shaky hand reached out, as if to grab something.

Well now, THIS certainly is a surprise. I don't think I could have ever predicted that this would take place. I thought we were done in Orre.


“Dray…kus…you—” Anoch grunted, only for unconsciousness to finally take hold of him.

The man he knew as “Draykus”, however, was currently occupied with other affairs. His Conkeldurr and Hydreigon faced down a man with long purple hair and a white jacket, whose chosen two Pokemon had fallen before his eyes. The purple-haired man gritted his teeth, realizing that his fall would most likely mean the end of Phenac. His opponent, however, merely heaved a disappointed sigh.

“Really?” Nobunaga sighed. “This is the best that Phenac City has to offer? You are supposed to be Justy, the head of the Prestige Precept Gym, where trainers from all over Orre flock to learn about the intricacies of battling. And yet, here we are, with your six Pokemon handily defeated…by my two.”

Frankly, I'm kind of surprised Nobunaga actually stopped to fight Justy and didn't just dispose of him. The image called to my mind is Loki in The Avengers - he could win easily, but he wants to win in the most theatrical way possible to assert his dominance.

I'm also kind of wondering where Trest, the mayor of Phenac, is.

Minor correction: Pre Gym's full name is Prestige Precept Center.


“I’m still going to stop you, Governor!” Justy declared angrily. “I don’t know why you’re doing this, but I won’t let you destroy the very region you swore to protect!”

At this, to Justy’s shock, Nobunaga merely chuckled.

“I’m afraid my reasons would be beyond your comprehension, boy,” he laughed. “Now, stand aside. I wish to see just what you’ve been teaching in your ‘Pre Gym’.”

He made to advance, but Justy did not move. The Pre Gym Leader steeled his gaze, scowling fiercely at his foe.

“Very well,” Nobunaga sighed. “Conkeldurr?”

The colossal Fighting-type simply swung one of its pillars and knocked Justy aside, sending his body careening into Phenac’s outer wall.

Now that's more Nobunaga's style.

Did he just kill Justy?


With the Pre Gym Leader’s now-broken body out of his way, Nobunaga advanced into the semicircular building known as the Pre Gym. Inside, he was met with a less-than-warm reception: young children huddled in a corner with a teacher wrapping her arms around them as best as she could, the teacher herself glaring viciously at Nobunaga, and a group of angry trainers staring down the supposed governor of Orre.

“Heh,” Nobunaga smirked. “Are you going to battle me, now?”

“We’ll do better!” one of the trainers declared. “We’re going to defeat you!”

Um, yeah, that's not happening. Slaughter incoming.


The trainers sent out a multitude of variegated Pokemon, each one distinguished by its unique shape, size, and typing. Although team balance was clearly part of their studies, Nobunaga was undaunted in the slightest. In fact, he actually seemed to be bored.

“Hydreigon, use Draco Meteor,” he sighed.

The three-headed beast reared up, a swirling light gathering upon its stomach. The center of the heads pointed skyward and opened its mouth, releasing a single sphere into the air. The sphere split into a plethora of smaller spheres, which rained down upon the Pre Gym Pokemon like a torrent of meteors. The meteors viciously battered the opposing Pokemon, their types being of no help to them. All the Pre Gym trainers gasped upon seeing their Pokemon beaten so easily with but a single attack, and fell themselves shortly after due to a shockwave caused by Conkeldurr’s fist striking the ground.

“No wonder Derak sought to flee this city,” Nobunaga muttered, ignoring the ruptured floor and broken bodies that lay before him. “Had he remained here, his potential would be squandered into nothing.”

One does not become a mighty Warlord by practicing restraint, huh?

I like the dynamic of Nobunaga being interested in Derak's strength. It makes him more than just a typical villain.


“Wh…what do you want?” one of the trainers groaned weakly.

Nobunaga smirked and approached the trainer, Conkeldurr in tow. The Muscular Pokemon pinned the bottom of one pillar onto the trainer’s stomach, and Nobunaga’s sinister smirk grew upon seeing the fear in the trainer’s eyes.

“Heh heh,” Nobunaga snickered. “You want to know what I want? Very well, then. What I want is information.”

His smirk suddenly vanished, replaced by a frown. His eyes narrowed, and the entire expression of his face went from sadistic mirth to deadly serious.

“There is someone I must visit if my future plans are to succeed,” Nobunaga said, his voice calm and his tone authoritative. “What do you know about Team Plasma?”

Whoa, where did this come from?!

Suddenly the potential scope of this whole thing has gotten a whole lot wider. If he gets together with Ghetsis, for example, that's bad news.


A week passed before Derak and Garth arrived at their next destination. It was a city, but it appeared to be rather rural. The houses were generally small and spaced apart, with nature itself set between them. There were a small number of larger buildings, but otherwise the town was fairly unremarkable.

“This is where the fifth Gym is, right?” Derak asked. “Fuchsia City?”

“If I remember correctly, yes,” Garth nodded. “The Gym here focuses on Poison-type Pokemon, so to get done with this quickly, you should focus on Psychic-type and Ground-type attacks.”

“You said that Echo’s Zen Headbutt was Psychic-type, right?” Derak asked, holding his Zubat’s Pokeball. “Well, that’s one guy I’m definitely going to be using.”

“As if you have any choice in the matter,” Garth snorted. “You have only those three Pokemon, remember?”

“Eh, if I find another one that’s all right with this whole trainer thing, I’ll let him tag along,” Derak shrugged as the two entered the Pokemon Center.

I've got a feeling that's going to happen pretty soon.



“So…it’s a nature reserve…where people catch Pokemon?” Derak said slowly. “What’s the bad news? I mean, it's got to be in there somewhere.”

“As far as I know, the ‘bad news’ is that you cannot battle the Pokemon you wish to catch,” Garth answered. “Assuming that you find a worthwhile Pokemon, all you can do to capture it is throw a ball and hope that it works.”

“…that’s kinda stupid,” Derak blurted.

“Agreed,” Garth sighed, “but it is also your only option at the moment. The Safari Zone is open right now. Go there and capture a fourth Pokemon. You may well need it against the Fuchsia Gym Leader.”

I'm kind of surprised that Garth actually agrees with him on that.


“All right,” Derak said as he made to leave. “I’d say ‘wish me luck’, but we both know how that’ll turn out.”

That line gave me a smile.


Shortly afterward, Derak pushed his way into the Safari Zone with a large bag in hand. Within the bag were, as Garth had earlier described, thirty Pokeballs with a dark green upper half. Despite having sufficient ammunition, Derak only grimaced as he made his way into a forested area.

“Whose bright idea was it to give the cranky old receptionist a gun?” Derak muttered. “Ugh, anyway, let’s get down to business…”

Okay, that was pretty hilarious.


As his first endeavor for finding a suitable fourth Pokemon, he pushed aside part of a bush and peered behind it. A Pokemon was indeed there: a small purple dinosaur-like creature with small ears, a stubby tail, and what appeared to be a black plate atop its head. The Pokemon looked at him with its beady black eyes, studying him inquisitively.

“Kang?” the Pokemon squeaked.

“Hey, little guy,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. “What are you supposed to be?”

“Khan!” a deeper voice cried, and out of the forest stomped a larger, brown-colored version of the small purple dinosaur with a pouch on its stomach. “Kangas-khan!”

“Uh-oh,” Derak gulped, backing away from what was apparently the brown dinosaur’s baby. “Okay, look, I’m backing away, I have nothing to do with your baby!”

Derak had managed to back several feet away, and the brown Pokemon ignored him as it approached its baby. A tender smile overtook the parent’s aggression as it lifted the baby into its pouch, much to the infant’s pleasure.

“Kangaskhan,” Derak’s Pokedex reported. “The Parent Pokemon. Type is Normal. It raises its offspring in its belly pouch, and only lets the baby out to play when it feels safe.”

“The kid must have wandered off, then,” Derak muttered as he replaced his Pokedex in his pocket.

I'm kind of glad that Derak didn't capture the Kangaskhan. They're exceedingly rare and difficult to capture, so I think it might have been a bit unbelievable if he got lucky and got one on his first try.


“Um…excuse me? Kangaskhan?” a timid female voice ventured. A familiar purple-haired girl came into view, a Safari Ball in hand.

“Khan?” Kangaskhan blinked, ignoring Derak as it turned to face Teresa. It immediately began sizing her up, attempting to determine if she would be a threat.

“I…I’m a trainer, and…I’ve, uh…always admired how you…protect your baby…with your life,” Teresa said slowly. “Could you…if it’s not too much trouble…could you come with me? I…I need help…my Pokemon need help…from someone like you.”

The Parent Pokemon seemed to consider this for a moment. It looked Teresa over once more, eventually judging her to be of decent character. With a friendly smile, Kangaskhan nodded.

“Really? You’ll…you’ll do it?” Teresa gasped, and Kangaskhan nodded again. “Th-thank you…Kangaskhan.”

Teresa nervously reached out with her Safari Ball, and gently tapped the mother Kangaskhan’s forehead. The saurian parent was promptly absorbed into the Safari Ball, its child going with it.

It's good to see her again, and Kangaskhan suits her more than it does Derak. I do think she caught it a little easily, but that's not too big a deal in the bigger picture.


“Whew,” Derak sighed in relief. “Hey…it was Teresa, right?”

“Huh?” Teresa blinked. “Uh, oh…yes, it…it was.”

“Thanks,” Derak said. “I probably wouldn’t have made it out alive if you hadn’t caught that Kangaskhan.”

“Oh…well…you’re welcome,” Teresa said nervously, fiddling with her fingers.

“Okay, seriously, what’s your deal?” Derak asked. “How come you’re so nervous all the time?”

Well, that's a little rude, Derak, especially after she helped you.


“I…it’s, uh…it’s kind of a long story,” Teresa said. “Erm…if it isn’t too much trouble, could you…uh, maybe…help me get out of here? W-when you’re done here, that is, I…wouldn’t want to…inconvenience you.”

“Uh…okay?” Derak blinked. “Anyway, I still need a Pokemon, so I guess we’re moving on.”

I guess that makes up for it though.


Back at the Pokemon Center, Garth sat alone at his table, taking another swig from his canteen. Once the canteen left his lips, he heaved a ragged sigh.

“Knowing the boy, I may need to enter the Safari Zone myself,” Garth muttered bitterly. “Doubtless he will have somehow gotten lost…and still be without a fourth Pokemon.”

“This just in!” a newscaster cried on a television mounted in the upper corner of the lobby. “A mysterious black Pokemon has been spotted in the skies of Kanto! Eyewitnesses claim that this is no ordinary Pokemon, but in fact a Legendary Pokemon!”

Garth’s eyes widened. A black Legendary Pokemon? He spun around until he located the television, which initially displayed a woman in her twenties sitting at a desk. The picture soon changed to a somewhat blurry image of what was presumably the Pokemon in question.

“This is an image taken on an eyewitness’ cell phone,” the newscaster explained. “It appears that someone is riding atop this Pokemon across the Kanto region.”

Garth was oblivious to the second half of her explanation, however. All he saw was a shape from his memory: a huge black dragon with enormous bulky arms and legs but comparatively tiny bat-like wings, its most notable feature being the large generator-like tail protruding from the dragon’s rear. Garth only uttered a fearful whisper at the sight of this beast.

“Zekrom…”

Okay, something big is about to go down. Now we've got Zekrom and someone who is probably N involved? Coupled with Nobunaga's actions the plot is suddenly moving forward very, very fast again.


In the Safari Zone, Derak and Teresa continued on their expedition. Teresa was always looking around nervously, as if fearing that something aggressive would burst out of the bushes. Derak, however, continued to stop every now and then, peering into small areas.

“So…you, uh…still need a new Pokemon…right?” Teresa asked.

“Pretty much,” Derak replied. “Hey, I think I see something over there!”

The two soon came upon a small field-like area, where a rhinoceros-like Pokemon rammed its armored body into a large rock, smashing the boulder into pieces. The Pokemon was a dull grey color, with a single small horn and clawed toes at the end of each of its four short legs. Its blood red irises were just as intimidating as the large ridge coming out of the rhinoceros’ spine.

“Rhyhorn,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Spikes Pokemon. Type is Ground and Rock. Its powerful tackles can destroy anything. However, it is too slow-witted to help people work.”

Rhyhorn and its evolutions work for him, and they'll help him against Koga/Janine. I support this.


“Maybe…maybe you can catch that Rhyhorn?” Teresa ventured. “The Safari Balls...well, they work better if you’re…closer to the Pokemon. Maybe you can…?”

“Maybe,” Derak replied, scratching his head. “I’ve heard Ground-types are pretty good against Poison-types, but—”

He was cut off by a sharp whistle that quickly caught the Rhyhorn’s attention. There, on the other side of the small field, stood Elliot Trey, casually leaning on a tree and smirking arrogantly. The boy with multiple personalities made a beckoning gesture with one finger, which managed to send the Rhyhorn into a violent rage. The Spikes Pokemon quickly charged towards Elliot, smashing anything that got into its way as it barreled towards him.

Or not. Why must this guy ruin everything? Half joking, but seriously, he did it last time too.


“Elliot,” Derak growled. “What in the world is he doing?”

Despite the Rhyhorn’s seemingly imminent impact with his body, Elliot did not move an inch from where he stood. Instead, he simply took a Safari Ball out of his pocket and waited for Rhyhorn to come closer. Once the Ground-type was a foot away from impact, Elliot reached out and casually tapped the Safari Ball against the Spikes Pokemon’s horn. Eyes wide in shock, Rhyhorn could do nothing to stop its absorption into the Safari Ball. Following the obligatory click that signaled a successful capture, Elliot clipped the Safari Ball onto his belt and left without a word.

“Great,” Derak growled. “That’s another Pokemon for HIM and one less for ME.”

If it's any consolation, Derak, I feel that way too.


Teresa shrank back slightly, as if she feared Derak’s anger turning on her. The boy noticed this, and sighed.

“What are you worried about?” he asked. “It’s got nothing to do with you.”

“O-okay,” Teresa gulped. “Let’s…let’s just go. There…has to be a Pokemon for you…somewhere in here…right?”

I'm kind of shipping Derak and Teresa now and I feel horrible for it.


In Orre, the same news broadcast that Garth saw earlier was seen by someone else. The mouth of this someone curved into a sinister grin upon seeing the mysterious Pokemon. He, too, recognized it.

“There you are,” Nobunaga grinned. “Heh…time to claim what was once mine.”

WHY DID I NOT REALIZE THIS?! Zekrom and Nobunaga... it should have been so obvious!


Back in the Kanto Safari Zone, Derak suddenly came to a stop. Before him were several damaged trees, either cut through or knocked over. Teresa gulped as she looked down, cringing as she saw a red liquid spattered on the grass.

“Oh, man,” Derak breathed. “What happened here?”

A sickly groaning could be faintly heard within the cluster of broken trees. The eyes of both trainer’s quickly widened. Derak was the first to run in, with Teresa lagging behind due to her unwillingness to see more blood. They soon found the source of the groans: a third Pokemon, this one resembling a humanoid praying mantis with a vaguely canine head and massive blades serving as arms. On the Pokemon’s back was a pair of what were once gossamer wings. Now, however, they were folded and spindled, clearly causing their owner pain.

Well that was unexpected. I would have thought the Scyther would be the one who spilled the blood, not the one who lost it.\

Correction: "trainers" needs no apostrophe.


“Scyyy,” growled the Pokemon, struggling to push itself up.

“Scyther,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Mantis Pokemon. Type is Bug and Flying. The sharp scythes on its forearms become increasingly sharp by cutting through hard objects.”

“Rrgh, of all the times to act useless,” Derak muttered. “Hey…Scyther, hey, can you hear me?”

The Scyther’s blue eyes narrowed at the sound of Derak’s voice. The Bug-type turned its head and angrily spat something red at Derak’s feet, much to Teresa’s discomfort.

“Uh…okay, I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” Derak said slowly. “Look, Scyther, you need help. Hang on, let me…”

He pulled out a Safari Ball, but Scyther’s eyes widened at the sight of the device. It pointed one bladed arm at Derak, still attempting to rise from the bloody patch it had left behind. The more it rose, however, the more wounds became visible: cuts, bruises, and small holes added to Scyther’s broken wings.

Why do I get the feeling that Elliot may have some connection to the state of this Scyther?


“Okay, that’s it, I need to take you to the Pokemon Center yesterday!” Derak said, aiming for a relatively unhurt spot on Scyther’s body and gently throwing the Safari Ball. The Bug-type glared at him viciously as its body faded into red energy, but Derak ignored it as he grabbed hold of the Safari Ball and dashed out of the Safari Zone as quickly as he could, Teresa following to the best of her ability.

****

“You again?” Garth groaned. “Why are you here?”

“I am here to challenge the Fuchsia Gym,” replied Nando, having just sat down at Garth’s table.

I was wondering when he'd show up again, with Teresa around.


“With nothing but your Grass-types?” Garth snorted. “I believe I have a good idea of how your battle will go.”

“You are correct to believe that I may be at a type disadvantage,” Nando nodded. “You should not, however, count me out so quickly. As I am sure you are aware, types alone do not determine how a batt—”

Also, who says he only has Grass types?


“Nurse Joy!” Derak cried the second he burst into the Pokemon Center, Teresa barely keeping up with him. “Really messed-up Scyther! Needs help now!”

“Oh, my!” Nurse Joy gasped, taking the Safari Ball that Derak haphazardly threw onto the counter. “Did you find this in the—”

“JUST HELP IT!” Derak yelled. “It’s bleeding a LOT! It needs help NOW!”

Nurse Joy hurriedly ran to the back, her Chansey in tow. With a final few pants, Derak collapsed on the ground, sighing as he thumped his head against the front desk.

That was... different. We don't usually see Derak act like this.


“What happened?” Nando asked.

“We…we found a Scyther,” Teresa replied. “It was…very badly injured. Its wings…they were…”

“Really messed-up,” Derak finished sadly. “Just like the rest of its body.”

“How did I know you would stoop to find the first bruised—” Garth began.

“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR STUPID CRITICISM!” Derak bellowed, his dramatic change in demeanor causing Garth to stop for a moment. All that could be heard for that moment was Derak's panting.

I can't blame Derak for reacting so angrily. Garth was totally out of line here.



“Hmph…believe what you want,” Garth grunted.

Derak merely stayed by the desk, looking back into the operation room. Minutes dragged on like hours as he waited for Nurse Joy to return with news of Scyther’s status. Once or twice her Chansey came in to retrieve a supply of some sort, but the nurse herself did not show for some time.

Eventually, however, she did return. The depression on her face brought worry to Derak’s mind, but upon noticing him, Nurse Joy smiled.

“Your Scyther’s been patched up, and should recover most of the way by morning,” she said.

“What do you mean ‘most of the way’?” Derak asked. “There’s a ‘but’, isn’t there?”

“I’m afraid so,” Nurse Joy nodded. “Scyther’s wings were badly broken. They’ve been put in a cast, but they’re going to take some time to fully heal.”

I'm sure that's going to affect how he's able to use Scyther in the future, the injury it suffered. Exactly how, though, is something I'll wait to see.


“Can I see him?” Derak asked.

Nurse Joy nodded, and lead Derak back into a sort of waiting room. A large glass panel showed an unconscious Scyther lying face-down on an operating table, its heavily-bandaged wings pointed straight up.

“We had to anesthetize it,” Nurse Joy explained, “but other than that the only problem was the sensitive wings.”

That sounds painful just to think about.


Derak could only stare at the Scyther in the operating room. He could only imagine the level of pain it had endured by some unknown enemy…and the amount of time it would take to recover.

“Don’t worry,” Nurse Joy smiled. “It’ll be just fine by tomorrow. It should even be battle-ready, if you're the go-getter type."

She turned and left just in time to avoid a dark glare from Derak.

I don’t care about HIS being battle-ready, he thought. I care about his being a hundred-percent for the sake of being a hundred-percent.

He slowly approached the window and placed a hand on it.

“Get well soon,” he whispered. “…Strike.”

A reference to Scyther's Japanese name?


With that, Derak trudged away. Once he had gone and the lights went out, however, Scyther’s body began to move. One blue eye snapped open, and only one thing could be seen within that eye.

The fires of pure rage.

*****

Well that can't be good. I have a feeling Derak's Gym battle is going to be quite the sight...

I'm especially excited by what was going on in Orre and the introduction of N, Zekrom and Team Plasma. There are just so many places these storylines can go, particularly with Nobunaga involved.

Darkened_Kingdra
7th November 2012, 3:28 AM
Hi! I read this in45 min. and I love it. Your basic sp. desc. punc. is great. You're developing everyones personality really well and the split person was a stroke of genius. PM list?
P S
I am not like Mr. Reviewer so I'll be popping in from time to time with advice and comments.
Grav
¢

Air Dragon
7th November 2012, 11:41 AM
I'd run a long commentary on this chapter, but The Great Butler beat me to it. One thing I can comment on from that review is:



“Nurse Joy!” Derak cried the second he burst into the Pokemon Center, Teresa barely keeping up with him. “Really messed-up Scyther! Needs help now!”

“Oh, my!” Nurse Joy gasped, taking the Safari Ball that Derak haphazardly threw onto the counter. “Did you find this in the—”

“JUST HELP IT!” Derak yelled. “It’s bleeding a LOT! It needs help NOW!”

Nurse Joy hurriedly ran to the back, her Chansey in tow. With a final few pants, Derak collapsed on the ground, sighing as he thumped his head against the front desk.

That was... different. We don't usually see Derak act like this.

Actually, I can. Derak is much more sympathetic to a Pokemon's plight than a human's. And Joy basically asking questions when he's pretty agitated is only going to set him off worse.

Interesting addition to the team, now if he can only evolve it into a Scizor, Koga/Janine won't stand a prayer, Steel types being immune to poison and all... blast that Elliot.

Nobunaga trolling Phenac City was pretty well done, not to mention quite the opener. Owning like a total boss. I haven't played Conquest, but the Zekrom/Nobunaga connection from there isn't even intriguing me. This fic is doing the link enough justice as it is. :)

OK, I gotta jet now... L@er!

Morpher01
18th November 2012, 1:45 AM
Rotomknight: Eevee will be making another appearance or two down the road, but it won't be on Derak's team...


The Great Butler:
Minor correction: Pre Gym's full name is Prestige Precept Center.

Ah. My bad.


Did he just kill Justy?

Possibly.


Whoa, where did this come from?!

Suddenly the potential scope of this whole thing has gotten a whole lot wider. If he gets together with Ghetsis, for example, that's bad news.

No kidding. I didn't grasp how dangerous Ghetsis really was until I played Black 2...the man is literally a raving lunatic.


I'm kind of glad that Derak didn't capture the Kangaskhan. They're exceedingly rare and difficult to capture, so I think it might have been a bit unbelievable if he got lucky and got one on his first try.

Which is partly why I didn't give Derak an Eevee.


Well, that's a little rude, Derak, especially after she helped you.

Oh, just wait until Saffron City/Cinnaber Island. You'll be surprised at just how rude he can be to people...


Or not. Why must this guy ruin everything? Half joking, but seriously, he did it last time too.

The idea is for people to dislike Elliot. From what I've seen, it appears to be working quite well.


I'm kind of shipping Derak and Teresa now and I feel horrible for it.

I'd ask why, but I've learned that some reasons for shipping may be better left unsaid. XD


A reference to Scyther's Japanese name?

I was looking over the Pokedex page for Scyther, trying to figure out what Strike's moveset would be, and I found that its Japanese name was "Strike". Sounded good to me.

I think you'll enjoy this chapter. Stuff is happening. Lots of stuff.


Grav: Sure! You are now on the PM list. Hope you enjoy the later chapters!


Air Dragon:
Interesting addition to the team, now if he can only evolve it into a Scizor, Koga/Janine won't stand a prayer, Steel types being immune to poison and all... blast that Elliot.

I love how everyone's hating on Elliot, exactly as I planned. XD

Honestly, evolving Strike right after he's been captured would be a little too fast for my liking. Plus it would give Derak too much of an advantage. He does need to be the unlucky trainer, after all. XD


Nobunaga trolling Phenac City was pretty well done, not to mention quite the opener. Owning like a total boss. I haven't played Conquest, but the Zekrom/Nobunaga connection from there isn't even intriguing me. This fic is doing the link enough justice as it is.

That opener went through a couple of revisions plot-wise, so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

And, if you're into strategy games, I really recommend Conquest. I find it a bit frustrating at times, but I really like how they adapted actual Japanese history into the Pokemon world. It's pretty awesome.



Well, it's time to bring out the next chapter. This one's going to be fun.



Chapter 20: Strike



The morning after Derak’s capture of Strike, his new Scyther, Fuchsia City’s lampposts slowly dimmed as they accepted the sun as their replacement. One lamppost, however, began to crackle with blue electricity. The electricity burst off of the lamp and merged into the form of a familiar red Pokemon.

“Tom?” blinked the Rotom from Celadon Mansion, looking around at the rural place its travels had brought it to. And then it began snickering mischievously. “Ro-tom-tom-tom!”

****

Derak was the first one up, immediately standing outside Strike’s operating room. The Scyther had not moved since yesterday, instead remaining in the operating room as its strength recovered. Derak anxiously waited for his Bug-type to recover, hoping that he could have a chance to come to an understanding with it. The circumstances of its capture had not quite turned out the way he had hoped for.

“H-hello?” Teresa stuttered. “I’m…sorry, I just…wanted to see how—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Derak shrugged. “Strike still hasn’t moved too much, but he’s obviously still alive.”

“That’s…that’s good,” Teresa nodded, moving alongside Derak so that she, too, could see Strike. “I’m…glad to hear that.”

“Okay, seriously, why do you keep talking like that?” Derak asked. “Why do you act like people would strangle you if you say one wrong word?”

Teresa swallowed hard, finding a sudden interest in her feet.

“It’s…like I told you yesterday, it’s…a long story,” she stammered.

“I’ve got time,” Derak shrugged. “Don’t have much to do until Strike recovers, so I’ll be here all day if I have to.”

“O-okay,” Teresa nodded. “I’m…I’m from Agate Village.”

“The old people’s town up north?” Derak blinked, having heard of Orre’s chief retirement residence.

“Y-yes,” Teresa nodded. “But, my…my family was originally…from the Sinnoh region.”

“Oh, yeah, you used a Shinx in the Pewter Contest, right?” Derak asked. “Is that where you got it?”

Teresa nodded again.

“So why move to Orre?” Derak asked.

This time Teresa gulped again, her skin suddenly going pale at the thoughts she was made to relive.

“You okay?” Derak asked. “Hey, you don’t have to tell me if—”

“N-no, I…I need to do this,” Teresa interrupted. “Mr. Nando, he’s…he’s always telling me that I if I talk about it…it’ll get better.”

“So…you’re going to talk about it?” Derak asked.

Teresa nodded again. She took a deep breath and began her tale again.

“I…was born in Veilstone City,” Teresa said. “My mother was…a coordinator. I always thought she was great…I wanted to…to be like her. I…I never really wanted to…leave Veilstone. I…I was happy where I was.”

“So why leave?” Derak asked.

“I…I had another relative…living in Veilstone,” Teresa gulped, remembering the critical part of her story. “A cousin. His…his name was Paul. He lived…with his brother, Reggie. Sometimes we…we visited them.”

Tears began to well up in Teresa’s eyes.

“Those visits,” she murmured. “Those visits…were the worst times of my life.”

“Why?” Derak asked. “What about Paul and Reggie made those visits bad?”

“Paul…he,” Teresa muttered, her eyes still misty. “PAUL WAS A BULLY!”

Derak jumped at her sudden outburst, and was even more startled when Teresa began to slam her fists against the wall.

“PAUL WAS A STUPID, ROTTEN, NO-GOOD BULLY!” Teresa ranted, tears soaring from her eyes and her fists punctuating each word in her description of her cousin. “His father was never there for him, so he took it out on me! I’ve suffered because of Paul! SUFFERED!”

She propped herself up against a wall, allowing her eyes to freely release the liquid of sorrow.

“I’m so afraid,” she muttered. “Paul’s out there, somewhere…I know he is. I’m so afraid that I’ll find him, and…and he’ll…”

Teresa’s crying became heavier, and a green Pokeball popped open. Her Chikorita emerged and leapt onto her shoulder, stroking her hair with its large leaf. Teresa slowly looked over at the Grass-type and smiled.

“Th-thank you…Chikorita,” Teresa smiled.

“Hey, Teresa?” Derak said. “Look…cross that bridge when you get to it, okay? If you do find Paul—”

The lights in the room suddenly powered down, leaving the two trainers completely in the dark.

“Uh, what just happened?” Derak asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Teresa answered. “The power just…just went out.”

A ceiling light a short distance away from them suddenly exploded, sending shards of glass showering everywhere. Another ceiling light followed suit, then another, until the one directly above Derak and Teresa spontaneously shattered. The two trainers jumped back in order to avoid the falling glass, along with some electrical sparks that fell with it. Derak looked up to find that blue electricity crackled from the ceiling light, and as if on cue, the electricity joined together to form a familiar Pokemon.

“Oh, no,” Derak groaned. “Not YOU again!”

Indeed, the Rotom from Celadon Mansion had returned. The Plasma Pokemon snickered at Derak’s reaction to its presence, as if finding his anguish amusing.

“You…know this Rotom?” Teresa asked.

“Remember when I went into Celadon Mansion?” Derak asked. “This thing tried to kill me there.”

Rotom snickered again, but out of the corner of its eye it saw the unconscious Strike lying in the operating room. A mischievous Cheshire grin crossed Rotom’s face as it put its two bolt-arms together, its body charging with electricity as it prepared to launch a Thunderbolt.

“Oh, no, you don’t!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, stop Rotom with Flame Wheel!”

A fiery wheel immediately burst out of Wildfire’s Pokeball, slamming into Rotom and knocking it to the floor just in time to prevent the Electric-type’s attack. The Plasma Pokemon gave itself a quick shake, however, and levitated into the air again.

“Chikorita…please, we need to help,” Teresa whimpered. “I need you…to use Razor Leaf.”

Chikorita eagerly leapt off of Teresa’s shoulder and spun its leaf around, releasing a flurry of sharp-edged leaves. Rotom, however, quickly darted out of the way, bouncing off several walls before landing directly in front of Chikorita. With a mirthful cackle at the Grass-type’s startled response, Rotom crossed its bolt-arms again and released a new Electroweb. Being at point-blank range, the Leaf Pokemon was easily caught inside, gritting its teeth as the net’s electricity surged through its body.

“Oh, no!” Teresa gasped. She made to try and work her starter free, only to receive an electric shock from touching the Electroweb.

“Great,” Derak muttered. “Wildfire, can you use Scratch to free Chikorita?”

The Chimchar nodded and complied with one swift motion. The Electroweb faded away upon being cut, much to Rotom’s disappointment.

“Tooomm, roh-tom?” Rotom whined in a tone reminiscent of a child whose favorite television show had unexpectedly ended.

“Sorry we can’t give you your sick thrills,” Derak spat. “Wildfire, use Flame Wheel again!”

Again Wildfire assumed its wheel form, but Rotom suddenly shot up to the ceiling. It bounced off of the ceiling and then the walls, its speed increasing as it gathered momentum. Wildfire began to panic, realizing the futility in trying to keep track of the Plasma Pokemon.

“We need to move, it’s too cramped in here for us to do anything!” Derak cried. Teresa nodded and the two trainers began to flee with their starter Pokemon in tow. Rotom, however, stopped bouncing long enough to notice their retreat efforts. It charged its entire body with electricity and shot off like a bullet, leaving a trail of lightning in its path.

And then the lightning slammed into Derak’s back, the trainer himself crying out in agony just as he reached the Pokemon Center’s lobby. Despite a seeming lack of physical characteristics, Derak could feel a bruise where Rotom’s attack had struck, particularly as he tumbled across the floor and agitated the spot. Rotom itself materialized in the middle of the lobby, wincing slightly from the attack’s recoil.

“A Rotom?” Nando gasped.

“And not just any Rotom, I would wager,” Garth growled, preparing a Pokeball.

The Electric-type in question looked around, and upon seeing a greater amount of people, cackled hysterically.

“You will not be laughing for long,” Garth snarled. “Sableye, rise from the ashes!”

“Sawsbuck, let us assist them!” Nando added.

Each man’s Pokeball released a different Pokemon. The small purple demon-like creature that was Garth’s Sableye grinned widely, each pointy tooth adding to the intimidation of the smile. Nando’s Pokemon was a brown deer-like creature with a tan underbelly, several small pink spots on its back, and pink flowers growing out of its dark brown antlers. The deer stamped one hoof, awaiting its orders.

“Stay down,” Garth ordered, noticing Derak’s attempts to rise. Wildfire stopped from entering the fray, as did Teresa and her Chikorita. “We will handle this. Sableye, use Shadow Ball!”

“Sawsbuck, please, use Horn Leech,” Nando said, somehow maintaining his composure despite the situation.

Sableye formed a sphere of darkness between its hands, but even after it threw the projectile, Rotom bounced aside with ease. Nando’s Sawsbuck, remembering the strength it had gained since its time as his Deerling, charged forth as its antlers began to glow a bright green. Rotom unleashed an Electroweb, but Sawsbuck’s horns simply tore through the net and crashed into the Plasma Pokemon’s body. Due to its small size, however, Rotom actually managed to get stuck between Sawsbuck’s antlers, causing Nando’s Pokemon to become greatly distressed.

“Please, Sawsbuck, calm yourself!” Nando cried, noticing Sawsbuck’s frenzied attempts to shake the Electric-type free from its antlers. “Use Giga Drain, please!”

Although understandably uncomfortable with having Rotom stuck in its antlers, the voice of its trainer was enough for Sawsbuck to regain its composure. Its antlers again began to glow green, this time causing a green aura to course through Rotom’s body. The Plasma Pokemon winced as its stamina was steadily sapped away, managing to summon enough strength to discharge a Thunderbolt. The intense pain of having electricity surge through its horns was too much for Sawsbuck, and as its Giga Drain halted, Rotom managed to slip out of its antlers.

The Electric-type’s freedom was short-lived, however, as Garth’s Sableye leapt upon it with a Shadow Claw drawn back. Rotom wailed in shock, its body taking on a strange glow for roughly half of a second. Sableye’s slashed its Shadow Claw through Rotom’s body, but instead of falling to the floor in defeat, the Electric-type somehow vanished in a puff of smoke.

“What?” Garth gasped. “A Substitute? Then…where is the real one?!”

Sableye’s gemstone eyes glanced about, attempting to locate its missing foe. Sawsbuck slowly rose to its feet, still suffering from an unpleasant headache brought on by Rotom’s Thunderbolt. For a moment, there was nothing. Rotom appeared to have completely disappeared, leaving behind only the damage caused by the battle. Nurse Joy carefully peeked up from behind the counter, trying to see if it was safe to reemerge.

Then the light fixtures began to crackle with electricity, and Rotom burst out with yet another Electroweb. The electrical net quickly enveloped Sableye, and Rotom laughed wildly as its captive tumbled back helplessly. Its eyes widened, however, when Sableye’s claws cut the Ghost-type free, with an angry sneer in place of its usual grin.

“Rooh?” Rotom blinked, having clearly not expected Sableye to escape so soon.

“Saaaay,” Sableye rasped viciously, flexing its claws in anticipation.

The resolve of Garth’s Pokemon seemed to worry Rotom, and in another dash of lightning it slipped back into the light fixture. Sableye’s grin returned, this time with a measure of satisfaction.

“Is…is it gone?” Teresa asked nervously.

“That thing…survived having Celadon Mansion collapse on top of it,” Derak groaned as he managed to rise. “No way something that crazy is going to give up that easily.”

Derak’s words seemed to be justified when a faint humming sound could be heard from outside. The humming became steadily louder, and the louder it became, the more it sounded like a running motor. And then, when it sounded as if it were just outside, it stopped. A tense calm descended on the Pokemon Center.

And then the storm ensued.

A hurricane of wind and leafs burst through the front doors, blasting Garth’s Sableye off its feet and pushing back Nando’s Sawsbuck. Wildfire tumbled into a wall, and Teresa’s Chikorita skidded back into its trainer’s leg. Most of the humans found ways to shield themselves from the windy assault, but what came in afterward was completely unexpected.

Rotom had returned, this time having possessed another appliance. Its appearance now resembled a sideways egg with two wheels on each side and a large cube in the back. Its antenna had grown a large bulb, and its eyes—along with its aura—had turned green. Underneath the eyes was a wide, sharp-toothed grin, and its bolt-arms had merged into a single scoop-like protrusion that emerged from the front.

“Oh, great,” Derak groaned. “Now it’s a lawnmower with teeth!”

“Tom-tom-tom-tom-tom-tom!” Rotom chattered rapidly, its body becoming electrified as it barreled towards Derak.

“Sableye, use Brick Break to stop Rotom’s Wild Charge!” Garth yelled.

Despite the small size of the gemstone-eyed Pokemon, Sableye leapt between Derak and Rotom as it drew up one arm. Once the Plasma Pokemon’s lawnmower body was within range, Sableye brought its arm down, directly slamming the space between Rotom’s eyes. The Wild Charge dissipated as Rotom winced in pain, stunned from the blow Sableye had landed.

“Now, Sawsbuck, we must finish this!” Nando cried. “Use Megahorn!”

The twig-like horns on Sawsbuck’s head began to glow a bright green, and the entire Pokemon charged towards Rotom. Knowing that its possession of the lawnmower had given Rotom a Grass-type’s weakness to Bug-type attacks such as Megahorn, Nando hoped that this would indeed be the final blow. Unfortunately, Rotom quickly shot out of the lawnmower and into the air, causing Sawsbuck’s attack to damage only the lawnmower. The device that Rotom once inhabited skidded in shambles towards the wall, with Rotom itself hovering in the air once again.

“I can see why you found this creature so vexing,” Garth muttered to Derak.

“So how do we beat it?” Derak asked. “It just keeps jumping into appliances nonstop.”

Rotom put its bolt-arms together and prepared another Thunderbolt, but its eyes suddenly widened. It stopped charging and looked past the counter with an inquisitive gaze. Derak blinked in bewilderment until he heard a single footstep down the hallway. The footstep was eventually followed by another, then another, all in slow procession. Something was slowly coming out of the back. Teresa clapped her hands over her mouth in shock once she saw what it was. Derak’s jaw dropped once he also saw it.

The source of the footsteps was his Scyther.

Strike stood there, bandaged wings pointing up at the ceiling, as it slowly looked around. Its intense blue eyes drifted from one individual to another, as if evaluating them. The Scyther stared darkly at Derak for a moment before its eyes fell on Rotom. Up until this point, the Plasma Pokemon had simply floated there, trying to determine how it was going to react to an injured Scyther emerging from the hallway. The first one to speak, however, was Derak.

“Strike?” Derak blinked. “What are you doing, are you nuts? You shouldn’t be out of—”

The Scyther silently pointed one of its bladed arms at Derak and sent him a threatening glare.

“Scy-ther,” growled the Bug-type before it turned its gaze back towards Rotom. It studied the Electric-type for a moment until it pointed a blade at the Plasma Pokemon’s body. And then Strike flicked its head in a beckoning gesture.

Rotom blinked in surprise at the gesture, but quickly recovered and burst into a fit of laughter. The Plasma Pokemon fired off a Thunderbolt, but in a sudden surge of speed defying its current condition, Strike was gone. Rotom spun around wildly in its attempts to locate its new Bug-type foe, only for Strike to appear out of nowhere and slash the Plasma Pokemon in an “X”-shaped pattern with both its blades.

“Strike, what are you doing?!” Derak cried. “You’re not fully--!”

“Enough!” Garth spat at Derak.

“But his Scyther is still—” Nando ventured.

“It seems to me that Scyther has things under control,” Garth said, “In fact…this particular Scyther seems to be more than capable of defeating Rotom, in spite of its injuries.”

Rotom had since recovered from the X-attack, and after a quick shake of its head, released an Electroweb. Strike simply scoffed and cut through the electric net with a single slash, causing the attack to fizzle into nothing. Rotom’s desperation had reached its peak by this point, and the Electric-type began to fervently look around for some kind of edge or escape. Upon spying the broken lawnmower, it quickly dove into the device again, regaining its new form and somehow completely repairing the lawnmower.

“Tom-tom!” Rotom chattered, snapping its teeth viciously.

Strike, however, was less than impressed with Rotom’s new form, and indicated as such with another scoff. Rotom growled at this, its typical mirth all but gone, and managed to unleash a Leaf Storm that hurtled straight towards the Mantis Pokemon. Strike smirked, as if finally seeing what it wanted, and crossed its blades in front of it. Some of the Leaf Storm blew past or nicked Strike's body, but the majority of it slammed into the makeshift shield the Bug-type had created. The second that the Leaf Storm ended, Rotom rushed forth with another Wild Charge, its lawnmower body somehow bouncing up and colliding with Strike’s front.

“Strike, no!” Derak cried.

His concern was well-earned, as the force from Rotom’s Wild Charge sent Strike skidding back towards the wall. The Scyther, however, managed to turn its body so that its side bore the brunt of the impact, rather than its wings. Strike fell onto one knee, and seeing weakness in its foe, Rotom charged again.

“Strike, get out of there!” Derak yelled.

Despite the imminent Wild Charge and its seemingly-perilous situation, however, Strike smirked. Everything was going just as it had planned. All it needed was for Rotom to come just a bit closer.

Derak, however, did not understand Strike’s plan, and was busy fumbling for his lone Safari Ball. Just as he managed to find it, he stopped. Something was wrong.

“Uh, Garth?” Derak asked. “Why is there a faint red glow coming from Strike’s body?”

“That,” Garth smirked, “is why I told you to not interfere. I knew there was something unique to this Scyther.”

Rotom came closer to impact, its malicious grin back on its face as it cackled madly. Just as it was about to land the critical blow, however, the faint red glow on Strike’s body burned brightly. Rotom’s eyes widened, but it could not stop itself in time. The glow transferred to one of Strike’s blades, and that blade slashed Rotom across its face. The apparent impact, however, looked more like Rotom had been struck with a giant sledgehammer, seeing as the Plasma Pokemon was sent spiraling into a wall and out of its lawnmower body.

“Whoa,” Derak gasped. “What was that?”

“Reversal,” Garth replied.

“Brilliant,” Nando observed with a tone of admiration. “Reversal is an attack that becomes more powerful if the user is in worse condition than the target. Your Scyther intentionally injured itself in order to strengthen Reversal, knowing that it could do a significant amount of damage.”

“Roooh…Ro…ro-tom,” moaned the Electric-type target of Strike’s Reversal, wobbling in mid-air as it attempted to flee. Strike saw this, but did nothing to stop Rotom. As far as it was concerned, the Plasma Pokemon was already beaten.

“You will not be getting away from me!” Garth cried. “Sableye, stop Rotom!”

Rotom, however, was too quick for even the lunging Sableye. The Plasma Pokemon slipped into a light fixture once again, this time vanishing from the Pokemon Center altogether.

“Ugh, here we go again,” Derak groaned. “Watch, he’s going to pop right back in while possessing a toaster or something.”

“No, I believe that your Scyther has taught Rotom an excellent lesson,” said Nando. “Rotom will need to lick its wounds, which should provide us all a break from its mischief.”

“Yeah, ‘mischief’. That’s one word for it,” Derak groaned as he finally managed to rise. Wildfire came to his side, gingerly prodding its trainer’s leg. “I’m okay, little guy. I’m just glad that Rotom’s gone.”

“Char,” Wildfire nodded. Even it had to admit that Rotom was a problem.

“So…Strike?” Derak ventured. His Scyther made no indication that it heard him. “Thanks for scaring off Rotom and all…but you’re still injured. I mean, just look at your wings! They’re in casts, for crying out loud!”

Strike briefly glanced at its trainer, but otherwise gave him no acknowledgement. Derak sighed.

“Look, let’s just get you back on the recovery table, and—” he began, but stopped short when Strike pointed its blade in his face once again. The blade was practically touching Derak’s nose, much to the trainer’s discomfort.

“Uh…okay, sure, you’re fine,” Derak said quickly. “Just…don’t use attacks that involve your wings, okay? They’re still in pretty bad shape, even if the rest of you isn’t.”

“Scyy,” Strike spat as it withdrew its blade. The Scyther then walked out the front doors, heading outside and leaving everyone else behind.

“Uh…okay?” Derak blinked. “Well, this is a messed-up way to start off this morning.”

“I have had worse,” Garth assured him.

Derak did not respond, instead looking down at Wildfire. The Chimchar was staring at Strike’s departing back, wondering why the Scyther acted in such a manner.

“Might as well go introduce you and others to Strike,” Derak shrugged. “I just hope that goes well.”

****

Outside, a black shape passed over the clouds that drifted above the Pokemon Center. The shape was colossal even at first glance, but only when it broke through the cloud barrier and landed behind Fuchsia City did it become truly visible. It was a massive red-eyed black dragon, with small bat-like wings and large hands that ended its long arms. The creature’s tail resembled a large cone-shaped turbine, and it was from atop this turbine that a mysterious man dismounted.

The man had long tea-green hair tied into a ponytail, all of which emerged from underneath a black baseball cap. He wore a white jacket over a black shirt, and tan pants upon his legs. The moment the man’s green sneakers touched the grass beneath him, a cube-like puzzle bounced as it dangled from his waist. Six Pokeballs attached to his belt also shook from the impact of his landing.

“Thank you, Zekrom,” the man said. “I need you to return to the Pokeball for now.”

The dragon nodded, having a prior understanding of the man’s reasons. It thus put up no resistance as it allowed its apparent trainer to recall it and place its Pokeball on his belt. One of the other Pokeballs, however, suddenly began to wobble violently. The man’s eyes went wide as he snatched the Pokeball off of his belt and held it between his hands.

“Wait, my friend!” the man cried to the Pokeball, apparently communicating with the Pokemon within. “ I know you find it loathsome in there, and I understand! But you must endure just a bit longer!”

The ball continued to shake, exerting a significant degree of force against the man’s hands.

“Please, I know this is difficult, but you must trust me, just this once!” the man cried. “If you are always outside, someone is bound to notice your unique circumstances and indulge in selfish desires for power! I cannot allow Pokemon to be used so greedily, and neither can you!”

The ball stopped shaking after a moment, allowing the man to breathe a sigh of relief.

“Thank you,” the man said. “I understand that your patience is wearing thin, but we have just reached Fuchsia City. It is only a matter of time before you will be given the freedom you deserve.”

With that, the man placed the renegade Pokeball back on his belt and trudged into Fuchsia City.

Will this be where black and white meet? the man thought. We shall see soon enough.

*****

Darkened_Kingdra
18th November 2012, 4:08 AM
Oh yeah! N is back! Strike is awesome! Zekrom is actually in a ball.
That aside, will Derak be battling him? That would be funny to see the mighty Zekrom taken down, smashed into a spike wall153 times, and thrown into Four Island by Strike.
I awaite the next chappie!

Rotomknight
18th November 2012, 2:56 PM
XLNT!
I like strike, I hope he can trust derak soon!

Air Dragon
19th November 2012, 5:50 AM
Is it just me, or is this Rotom that much of a freaking tank? Seriously, Wildfire, Sableye, Sawsbuck and Strike were needed just to make it back off?

If Derak or Garth actually manages to catch that, then it would be a game breaker. Nuff said. Speaking of which, I had to reread Strike's using Reversal on Rotom to remember it was Mow Rotom then. It was that high speed.

So, Theresa is related to Paul... the plot thins. I find it a bit hard to believe this all passed under the radar of a "breeder" like Reggie, who actually beat six out of seven Battle Frontier facilities as well as every gym from Kanto to Sinnoh, but Paul must be really slick, or Reggie defunct.

Strike's behaviour is going to make this a sticky relationship somewhat. He can't exactly leave, and he clearly doesn't want to stay around. I'd be cautious about making an avatar for Murphy's Law out of your protagonist. He gets a bit predictable that way. No use throwing bad stuff at him if everyone (except him) can see it coming. That would make him dumb.

Either way, the upcoming introductions should be... interesting. Keeping watch!

L@er!

The Great Butler
20th November 2012, 9:50 AM
Chapter 20: Strike



The morning after Derak’s capture of Strike, his new Scyther, Fuchsia City’s lampposts slowly dimmed as they accepted the sun as their replacement. One lamppost, however, began to crackle with blue electricity. The electricity burst off of the lamp and merged into the form of a familiar red Pokemon.

“Tom?” blinked the Rotom from Celadon Mansion, looking around at the rural place its travels had brought it to. And then it began snickering mischievously. “Ro-tom-tom-tom!”

Oh no. You know as soon as this little troublemaker shows up that things are going to be crazy.


Derak was the first one up, immediately standing outside Strike’s operating room. The Scyther had not moved since yesterday, instead remaining in the operating room as its strength recovered. Derak anxiously waited for his Bug-type to recover, hoping that he could have a chance to come to an understanding with it. The circumstances of its capture had not quite turned out the way he had hoped for.

“H-hello?” Teresa stuttered. “I’m…sorry, I just…wanted to see how—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Derak shrugged. “Strike still hasn’t moved too much, but he’s obviously still alive.”

“That’s…that’s good,” Teresa nodded, moving alongside Derak so that she, too, could see Strike. “I’m…glad to hear that.”

“Okay, seriously, why do you keep talking like that?” Derak asked. “Why do you act like people would strangle you if you say one wrong word?”

Teresa swallowed hard, finding a sudden interest in her feet.

“It’s…like I told you yesterday, it’s…a long story,” she stammered.

“I’ve got time,” Derak shrugged. “Don’t have much to do until Strike recovers, so I’ll be here all day if I have to.”

“O-okay,” Teresa nodded. “I’m…I’m from Agate Village.”

Ah, another Orre connection. You know I like those.


“The old people’s town up north?” Derak blinked, having heard of Orre’s chief retirement residence.

“Y-yes,” Teresa nodded. “But, my…my family was originally…from the Sinnoh region.”

“Oh, yeah, you used a Shinx in the Pewter Contest, right?” Derak asked. “Is that where you got it?”

Teresa nodded again.

“So why move to Orre?” Derak asked.

This time Teresa gulped again, her skin suddenly going pale at the thoughts she was made to relive.

“You okay?” Derak asked. “Hey, you don’t have to tell me if—”

I just like shipping them to answer the question, okay? XD;


“N-no, I…I need to do this,” Teresa interrupted. “Mr. Nando, he’s…he’s always telling me that I if I talk about it…it’ll get better.”

“So…you’re going to talk about it?” Derak asked.

Teresa nodded again. She took a deep breath and began her tale again.

“I…was born in Veilstone City,” Teresa said. “My mother was…a coordinator. I always thought she was great…I wanted to…to be like her. I…I never really wanted to…leave Veilstone. I…I was happy where I was.”

“So why leave?” Derak asked.

“I…I had another relative…living in Veilstone,” Teresa gulped, remembering the critical part of her story. “A cousin. His…his name was Paul. He lived…with his brother, Reggie. Sometimes we…we visited them.”

Well then, that's something I certainly didn't expect. I hope you'll expand upon it going forward.


Tears began to well up in Teresa’s eyes.

“Those visits,” she murmured. “Those visits…were the worst times of my life.”

“Why?” Derak asked. “What about Paul and Reggie made those visits bad?”

“Paul…he,” Teresa muttered, her eyes still misty. “PAUL WAS A BULLY!”

Derak jumped at her sudden outburst, and was even more startled when Teresa began to slam her fists against the wall.

“PAUL WAS A STUPID, ROTTEN, NO-GOOD BULLY!” Teresa ranted, tears soaring from her eyes and her fists punctuating each word in her description of her cousin. “His father was never there for him, so he took it out on me! I’ve suffered because of Paul! SUFFERED!”

You know, in hindsight I should have seen this side of Teresa coming. You can't possibly be as timid as her without it building up over time.


She propped herself up against a wall, allowing her eyes to freely release the liquid of sorrow.

“I’m so afraid,” she muttered. “Paul’s out there, somewhere…I know he is. I’m so afraid that I’ll find him, and…and he’ll…”

Foreshadowing?


Teresa’s crying became heavier, and a green Pokeball popped open. Her Chikorita emerged and leapt onto her shoulder, stroking her hair with its large leaf. Teresa slowly looked over at the Grass-type and smiled.

“Th-thank you…Chikorita,” Teresa smiled.

“Hey, Teresa?” Derak said. “Look…cross that bridge when you get to it, okay? If you do find Paul—”

The lights in the room suddenly powered down, leaving the two trainers completely in the dark.

Oh boy, here we go.


“Uh, what just happened?” Derak asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Teresa answered. “The power just…just went out.”

A ceiling light a short distance away from them suddenly exploded, sending shards of glass showering everywhere. Another ceiling light followed suit, then another, until the one directly above Derak and Teresa spontaneously shattered. The two trainers jumped back in order to avoid the falling glass, along with some electrical sparks that fell with it. Derak looked up to find that blue electricity crackled from the ceiling light, and as if on cue, the electricity joined together to form a familiar Pokemon.

“Oh, no,” Derak groaned. “Not YOU again!”

You're not the only one feeling that way, Derak. Not at all.


Indeed, the Rotom from Celadon Mansion had returned. The Plasma Pokemon snickered at Derak’s reaction to its presence, as if finding his anguish amusing.

“You…know this Rotom?” Teresa asked.

“Remember when I went into Celadon Mansion?” Derak asked. “This thing tried to kill me there.”

Rotom snickered again, but out of the corner of its eye it saw the unconscious Strike lying in the operating room. A mischievous Cheshire grin crossed Rotom’s face as it put its two bolt-arms together, its body charging with electricity as it prepared to launch a Thunderbolt.

“Oh, no, you don’t!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, stop Rotom with Flame Wheel!”

A fiery wheel immediately burst out of Wildfire’s Pokeball, slamming into Rotom and knocking it to the floor just in time to prevent the Electric-type’s attack. The Plasma Pokemon gave itself a quick shake, however, and levitated into the air again.

I might have used different words other than "fiery wheel" to describe Flame Wheel.


“Chikorita…please, we need to help,” Teresa whimpered. “I need you…to use Razor Leaf.”

Chikorita eagerly leapt off of Teresa’s shoulder and spun its leaf around, releasing a flurry of sharp-edged leaves. Rotom, however, quickly darted out of the way, bouncing off several walls before landing directly in front of Chikorita. With a mirthful cackle at the Grass-type’s startled response, Rotom crossed its bolt-arms again and released a new Electroweb. Being at point-blank range, the Leaf Pokemon was easily caught inside, gritting its teeth as the net’s electricity surged through its body.

It knows Electroweb? Neat. Rotom knowing Electroweb is coincidentally something you might want to remember yourself.


“Oh, no!” Teresa gasped. She made to try and work her starter free, only to receive an electric shock from touching the Electroweb.

“Great,” Derak muttered. “Wildfire, can you use Scratch to free Chikorita?”

The Chimchar nodded and complied with one swift motion. The Electroweb faded away upon being cut, much to Rotom’s disappointment.

“Tooomm, roh-tom?” Rotom whined in a tone reminiscent of a child whose favorite television show had unexpectedly ended.

“Sorry we can’t give you your sick thrills,” Derak spat. “Wildfire, use Flame Wheel again!”

Again Wildfire assumed its wheel form, but Rotom suddenly shot up to the ceiling. It bounced off of the ceiling and then the walls, its speed increasing as it gathered momentum. Wildfire began to panic, realizing the futility in trying to keep track of the Plasma Pokemon.

“We need to move, it’s too cramped in here for us to do anything!” Derak cried. Teresa nodded and the two trainers began to flee with their starter Pokemon in tow. Rotom, however, stopped bouncing long enough to notice their retreat efforts. It charged its entire body with electricity and shot off like a bullet, leaving a trail of lightning in its path.

And then the lightning slammed into Derak’s back, the trainer himself crying out in agony just as he reached the Pokemon Center’s lobby. Despite a seeming lack of physical characteristics, Derak could feel a bruise where Rotom’s attack had struck, particularly as he tumbled across the floor and agitated the spot. Rotom itself materialized in the middle of the lobby, wincing slightly from the attack’s recoil.

Was that any particular attack? It can't be Wild Charge, unless you're taking liberties with the movesets, which is fine.



“Sawsbuck, please, use Horn Leech,” Nando said, somehow maintaining his composure despite the situation.

Sableye formed a sphere of darkness between its hands, but even after it threw the projectile, Rotom bounced aside with ease. Nando’s Sawsbuck, remembering the strength it had gained since its time as his Deerling, charged forth as its antlers began to glow a bright green. Rotom unleashed an Electroweb, but Sawsbuck’s horns simply tore through the net and crashed into the Plasma Pokemon’s body. Due to its small size, however, Rotom actually managed to get stuck between Sawsbuck’s antlers, causing Nando’s Pokemon to become greatly distressed.

“Please, Sawsbuck, calm yourself!” Nando cried, noticing Sawsbuck’s frenzied attempts to shake the Electric-type free from its antlers. “Use Giga Drain, please!”

Although understandably uncomfortable with having Rotom stuck in its antlers, the voice of its trainer was enough for Sawsbuck to regain its composure. Its antlers again began to glow green, this time causing a green aura to course through Rotom’s body. The Plasma Pokemon winced as its stamina was steadily sapped away, managing to summon enough strength to discharge a Thunderbolt. The intense pain of having electricity surge through its horns was too much for Sawsbuck, and as its Giga Drain halted, Rotom managed to slip out of its antlers.

That was an awesome use of of the physiology of Sawsbuck and Rotom in creating an in-battle scenario. Very good.



The resolve of Garth’s Pokemon seemed to worry Rotom, and in another dash of lightning it slipped back into the light fixture. Sableye’s grin returned, this time with a measure of satisfaction.

“Is…is it gone?” Teresa asked nervously.

“That thing…survived having Celadon Mansion collapse on top of it,” Derak groaned as he managed to rise. “No way something that crazy is going to give up that easily.”

Derak’s words seemed to be justified when a faint humming sound could be heard from outside. The humming became steadily louder, and the louder it became, the more it sounded like a running motor. And then, when it sounded as if it were just outside, it stopped. A tense calm descended on the Pokemon Center.

And then the storm ensued.

A hurricane of wind and leafs burst through the front doors, blasting Garth’s Sableye off its feet and pushing back Nando’s Sawsbuck. Wildfire tumbled into a wall, and Teresa’s Chikorita skidded back into its trainer’s leg. Most of the humans found ways to shield themselves from the windy assault, but what came in afterward was completely unexpected.

If there was any way this mess could have gotten worse, I think Rotom just found it.

"Leaves," not "leafs."


Rotom had returned, this time having possessed another appliance. Its appearance now resembled a sideways egg with two wheels on each side and a large cube in the back. Its antenna had grown a large bulb, and its eyes—along with its aura—had turned green. Underneath the eyes was a wide, sharp-toothed grin, and its bolt-arms had merged into a single scoop-like protrusion that emerged from the front.

“Oh, great,” Derak groaned. “Now it’s a lawnmower with teeth!”

That... is probably an appropriate reaction to seeing Mow Rotom.


“Tom-tom-tom-tom-tom-tom!” Rotom chattered rapidly, its body becoming electrified as it barreled towards Derak.

“Sableye, use Brick Break to stop Rotom’s Wild Charge!” Garth yelled.

Oh, so it was Wild Charge.


Despite the small size of the gemstone-eyed Pokemon, Sableye leapt between Derak and Rotom as it drew up one arm. Once the Plasma Pokemon’s lawnmower body was within range, Sableye brought its arm down, directly slamming the space between Rotom’s eyes. The Wild Charge dissipated as Rotom winced in pain, stunned from the blow Sableye had landed.

“Now, Sawsbuck, we must finish this!” Nando cried. “Use Megahorn!”

The twig-like horns on Sawsbuck’s head began to glow a bright green, and the entire Pokemon charged towards Rotom. Knowing that its possession of the lawnmower had given Rotom a Grass-type’s weakness to Bug-type attacks such as Megahorn, Nando hoped that this would indeed be the final blow. Unfortunately, Rotom quickly shot out of the lawnmower and into the air, causing Sawsbuck’s attack to damage only the lawnmower. The device that Rotom once inhabited skidded in shambles towards the wall, with Rotom itself hovering in the air once again.

I see Rotom actually knows some tactics. Clever.


“I can see why you found this creature so vexing,” Garth muttered to Derak.

“So how do we beat it?” Derak asked. “It just keeps jumping into appliances nonstop.”

Rotom put its bolt-arms together and prepared another Thunderbolt, but its eyes suddenly widened. It stopped charging and looked past the counter with an inquisitive gaze. Derak blinked in bewilderment until he heard a single footstep down the hallway. The footstep was eventually followed by another, then another, all in slow procession. Something was slowly coming out of the back. Teresa clapped her hands over her mouth in shock once she saw what it was. Derak’s jaw dropped once he also saw it.

The source of the footsteps was his Scyther.

There's about to be a beatdown, isn't there?



Rotom had since recovered from the X-attack, and after a quick shake of its head, released an Electroweb. Strike simply scoffed and cut through the electric net with a single slash, causing the attack to fizzle into nothing. Rotom’s desperation had reached its peak by this point, and the Electric-type began to fervently look around for some kind of edge or escape. Upon spying the broken lawnmower, it quickly dove into the device again, regaining its new form and somehow completely repairing the lawnmower.

If that attack was X-Scissor, then you may as well go ahead and call it X-Scissor instead of "X-attack."

I really like how you're using Rotom's form changes.



“Whoa,” Derak gasped. “What was that?”

“Reversal,” Garth replied.

“Brilliant,” Nando observed with a tone of admiration. “Reversal is an attack that becomes more powerful if the user is in worse condition than the target. Your Scyther intentionally injured itself in order to strengthen Reversal, knowing that it could do a significant amount of damage.”

Maybe it's just the wording, but that's not quite how Reversal works. Reversal gets stronger the lower the health of its user has against its own maximum, not against the target's current condition.


“Roooh…Ro…ro-tom,” moaned the Electric-type target of Strike’s Reversal, wobbling in mid-air as it attempted to flee. Strike saw this, but did nothing to stop Rotom. As far as it was concerned, the Plasma Pokemon was already beaten.

“You will not be getting away from me!” Garth cried. “Sableye, stop Rotom!”

Rotom, however, was too quick for even the lunging Sableye. The Plasma Pokemon slipped into a light fixture once again, this time vanishing from the Pokemon Center altogether.

“Ugh, here we go again,” Derak groaned. “Watch, he’s going to pop right back in while possessing a toaster or something.”

Don't tempt fate, Derak. Don't do it bro. Because now we KNOW that'll happen later.



“Look, let’s just get you back on the recovery table, and—” he began, but stopped short when Strike pointed its blade in his face once again. The blade was practically touching Derak’s nose, much to the trainer’s discomfort.

“Uh…okay, sure, you’re fine,” Derak said quickly. “Just…don’t use attacks that involve your wings, okay? They’re still in pretty bad shape, even if the rest of you isn’t.”

“Scyy,” Strike spat as it withdrew its blade. The Scyther then walked out the front doors, heading outside and leaving everyone else behind.

“Uh…okay?” Derak blinked. “Well, this is a messed-up way to start off this morning.”

“I have had worse,” Garth assured him.

Derak did not respond, instead looking down at Wildfire. The Chimchar was staring at Strike’s departing back, wondering why the Scyther acted in such a manner.

“Might as well go introduce you and others to Strike,” Derak shrugged. “I just hope that goes well.”

Strike is going to be quite the character on Derak's team, I can tell now. And that's to say nothing of when he meets Nobunaga, judging by how aggressively he went at Rotom.


Outside, a black shape passed over the clouds that drifted above the Pokemon Center. The shape was colossal even at first glance, but only when it broke through the cloud barrier and landed behind Fuchsia City did it become truly visible. It was a massive red-eyed black dragon, with small bat-like wings and large hands that ended its long arms. The creature’s tail resembled a large cone-shaped turbine, and it was from atop this turbine that a mysterious man dismounted.

The man had long tea-green hair tied into a ponytail, all of which emerged from underneath a black baseball cap. He wore a white jacket over a black shirt, and tan pants upon his legs. The moment the man’s green sneakers touched the grass beneath him, a cube-like puzzle bounced as it dangled from his waist. Six Pokeballs attached to his belt also shook from the impact of his landing.

“Thank you, Zekrom,” the man said. “I need you to return to the Pokeball for now.”

And here's where the stakes get stepped up even further. I didn't expect Zekrom and N to become relevant this quickly.


The dragon nodded, having a prior understanding of the man’s reasons. It thus put up no resistance as it allowed its apparent trainer to recall it and place its Pokeball on his belt. One of the other Pokeballs, however, suddenly began to wobble violently. The man’s eyes went wide as he snatched the Pokeball off of his belt and held it between his hands.

“Wait, my friend!” the man cried to the Pokeball, apparently communicating with the Pokemon within. “ I know you find it loathsome in there, and I understand! But you must endure just a bit longer!”

The ball continued to shake, exerting a significant degree of force against the man’s hands.

“Please, I know this is difficult, but you must trust me, just this once!” the man cried. “If you are always outside, someone is bound to notice your unique circumstances and indulge in selfish desires for power! I cannot allow Pokemon to be used so greedily, and neither can you!”

The ball stopped shaking after a moment, allowing the man to breathe a sigh of relief.

“Thank you,” the man said. “I understand that your patience is wearing thin, but we have just reached Fuchsia City. It is only a matter of time before you will be given the freedom you deserve.”

With that, the man placed the renegade Pokeball back on his belt and trudged into Fuchsia City.

Will this be where black and white meet? the man thought. We shall see soon enough.

*****

Great ending line. It leaves me wondering, just what is N after? What is it that he wants Zekrom to meet, presuming Zekrom is the "black" in that sentence? I also wonder what was up with that ball that N had to calm down.

Good chapter. There was a lot of action surrounding Rotom, and I think you captured it well.

Morpher01
16th December 2012, 7:20 PM
Grav:
Oh yeah! N is back! Strike is awesome! Zekrom is actually in a ball.
That aside, will Derak be battling him? That would be funny to see the mighty Zekrom taken down, smashed into a spike wall153 times, and thrown into Four Island by Strike.
I awaite the next chappie!

Heh, glad to see that Strike is so well-recieved.

As for Derak VS N...you'll see.


Rotomknight:
XLNT!
I like strike, I hope he can trust derak soon!

I'm afraid you won't be getting your wish for a while. XD


Air Dragon:
Is it just me, or is this Rotom that much of a freaking tank? Seriously, Wildfire, Sableye, Sawsbuck and Strike were needed just to make it back off?

Rotom is almost a tank in that it has pretty much no idea how to quit when it's behind. XD


If Derak or Garth actually manages to catch that, then it would be a game breaker. Nuff said. Speaking of which, I had to reread Strike's using Reversal on Rotom to remember it was Mow Rotom then. It was that high speed.

...too high speed? XD My bad. Hopefully the fighting in the later chapters will be a little easier to follow.


So, Theresa is related to Paul... the plot thins. I find it a bit hard to believe this all passed under the radar of a "breeder" like Reggie, who actually beat six out of seven Battle Frontier facilities as well as every gym from Kanto to Sinnoh, but Paul must be really slick, or Reggie defunct.

According to Bulbapedia, Reggie has (at some point in the DP saga) admitted that Paul has always had something of a cruel streak. I took some liberties with that, and thus Teresa's backstory.


Strike's behaviour is going to make this a sticky relationship somewhat. He can't exactly leave, and he clearly doesn't want to stay around. I'd be cautious about making an avatar for Murphy's Law out of your protagonist. He gets a bit predictable that way. No use throwing bad stuff at him if everyone (except him) can see it coming. That would make him dumb.

Noted. Thanks.


Either way, the upcoming introductions should be... interesting. Keeping watch!

From what I've written so far...they are. XD You'll see.


The Great Butler:
Well then, that's something I certainly didn't expect. I hope you'll expand upon it going forward.

I'm working with something like that, but it might not be apparent for a while.


You're not the only one feeling that way, Derak. Not at all.

And you're going to be feeling that way several more times throughout the course of this fic. XD


I might have used different words other than "fiery wheel" to describe Flame Wheel.

It does seem fairly redundant, doesn't it? Maybe something along the lines of "burning somersault" or something similar would be more appropriate. Eh, needs a little more brainstorming.


It knows Electroweb? Neat. Rotom knowing Electroweb is coincidentally something you might want to remember yourself.

Oh, I have.

Rotom's current movepool is as follows: Electroweb, Thunderbolt, Ominous Wind, Substitute, Wild Charge (which will be replaced in upcoming chapters due to an error on my part XD), and whatever move is given to it by the appliance it's possessing at the time. Unless I'm introducing a new move, the ones I've listed are what Rotom will be sticking with.


Was that any particular attack? It can't be Wild Charge, unless you're taking liberties with the movesets, which is fine.

I neglected to look at the Pokedex while I was writing this chapter, actually. XD I only figured out that Rotom can't learn Wild Charge until I read your review. I'm probably going to replace Wild Charge with Sucker Punch or something along those lines.


"Leaves," not "leafs."

Noted. That's actually been a recurring problem of mine: what version of "leaf" to use in which context. XD


Maybe it's just the wording, but that's not quite how Reversal works. Reversal gets stronger the lower the health of its user has against its own maximum, not against the target's current condition.

Ah...that was my fault. The wording isn't the problem, it's the fact that I never dug too deeply into how Reversal works. I just assumed "oh, it gets stronger when the user is weaker, good enough for me"...which will probably come back to bite me at some point. XD


Great ending line. It leaves me wondering, just what is N after? What is it that he wants Zekrom to meet, presuming Zekrom is the "black" in that sentence? I also wonder what was up with that ball that N had to calm down.

Oh, you'll see. Can't spoil the surprise too early. XD Just know that you'll be incredibly familiar with the Pokemon within that certain ball.



Okay, update time: the next chapter should be up by next week. My finals only just ended, and I still need to finish up the current chapter. Some interesting stuff happens, and I hope everyone's looking forward to it.

Morpher01
25th December 2012, 4:16 AM
I wish a very merry Christmas to the readers who celebrate it. For my gift, I present...at long last...the next chapter.

Without any further ado, let us begin:



Chapter 21: P1 Grand Prix




A short while after Derak’s encounter with Rotom, the boy stood outside the Pokemon Center with his four Pokemon beside him. Wildfire stared blankly into space, waiting for orders as always. Echo, fittingly enough, hung upside-down from a tree, yawning as it basked in the shade. Brute stood with its arms crossed, eyeing Strike warily. The Scyther itself merely glared at Derak, occasionally glancing to its new trainer’s other Pokemon.

“Okay…introduction time,” Derak said. “Strike, this is Wildfire, Brute, and Echo. They’re going to be your partners, so you might want to try and get used to them.”

Strike silently rolled its eyes at the thought of receiving help.

“Everyone, this is Strike,” Derak said to his other three Pokemon. “He’s the new guy. You can do a handshake…well, actually, that’s kind of impossible with Strike, now that I think about it. Just…I don’t know, greet him somehow, just don’t touch the wings.”

At the mention of its injured part, Strike glanced back at its wings with a sigh. That was going to be a problem.

“Char?!” Wildfire cried, finding itself pushed forward by Echo’s head. “Char, chim char-char?!”

Echo’s only response was to communicate in a series of small screeches and gesture to Strike with one wing. Wildfire looked back at Brute, the latter giving the Chimchar an approving nod. The Fire-type looked down at its hand for a moment, and slowly reached it outward, in what Derak considered a momentous step.

“Yeah, that’s it, Wildfire,” he smiled. “Don’t be afraid, he’s…well, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to hurt you. Kinda.”

Wildfire nervously held its outstretched hand, but Strike looked down at it in disgust. The Bug-type made to turn away, but a familiar crab-like Pokemon with mushrooms on its back approached it from the exact direction in which Strike had turned.

“Ras, paras?” the crab rasped, waving a claw in greeting.

“Scy-therr,” Strike sighed with an irritated tone in its voice, putting one bladed arm beside Paras’ body. The Scyther then suddenly whipped its arm to the side, catching Paras with the flat part of the blade and launching it into a tree.

“Oh, crap, Paras!” Derak cried, rushing to the crab’s aid. “Seriously uncalled for, Strike!”

His Scyther merely spat at the ground, as if trying to show just how defiant it was going to be.

“Ugh, great,” Derak sighed. “Hey…you were from Melanie’s village, right? Sorry about that, Strike’s kind of…new.”

“Paras!” a girl’s voice cried, and as if on cue, Sarah Arachson jogged into view. “Oh, hey, Derak! Is Paras all right?”

“Paras, paras!” rasped the Bug-type, nodding as best as its physiology would allow.

“That’s great,” Sarah sighed in relief. “You really need to stop wandering off like that. Return.”

The Mushroom Pokemon was reabsorbed into its Pokeball, but Sarah nearly dropped it when she saw Strike.

“Oh…my…Arceus!” Sarah gasped. “Is that a Scyther?! Is it yours?!”

“Uh…more or less,” Derak said slowly.

“Oh Arceus, it’s so cool!” Sarah cried. “Can I touch—”

“No!” Derak cried fearfully. “I…sorry, just…Strike here isn’t exactly great with people…or anything else, actually.”

“Scyyy,” Strike rolled its eyes, turning away from its trainer.

“Wow…sorry to hear that,” Sarah said. “So, if you don’t mind me asking, what happened to Scyther’s wings?”

“Don’t know,” Derak sighed. “I just found him with busted wings in the Safari Zone. I don’t know what did it to him, but I’m hoping I never run into them.”

Strike narrowed its eyes upon hearing this.

“Aww…I feel sorry for it,” Sarah pouted, somehow remaining oblivious to the loud retching noise that Strike made. “Well, it’ll be okay soon. I’m going to see if I can find a couple Pokemon in the Safari Zone, and one of the ones I’m looking for might be able to help with Scyther’s wings.”

Strike rolled its blue eyes once more. Neither human noticed, however.

“So, anyway, Derak,” Sarah said, “are you entering the P1 Grand Prix?”

“The…what?” Derak blinked.

“You don’t know?” Sarah gasped.

“Look, I only just got to Fuchsia and I’ve been kinda busy dealing with a psycho Rotom that wants to fry me like a piece of toast,” Derak sighed. “Mind explaining for me?”

“Okay, sure…hang on, I found a poster somewhere,” Sarah said. “Oh, here’s one!”

She walked over to a nearby house and removed a poster from the wall, then came over to Derak and displayed the poster for him. On it were several vicious-looking Pokemon engaged in combat within a wrestling ring.

“This is the P1 Grand Prix,” Sarah explained. “It’s a special tournament held every so often around Fuchsia City. The winner gets a golden championship belt.”

“A golden trophy, huh?” Derak said, crossing his arms as he began to think. He took the poster in his hands, reading it over for himself while Sarah continued to talk.

“Yeah, it’s awesome!” Sarah cried. “But there’s some rules for it. You can only enter with one Pokemon, and that Pokemon has to be a Fighting-type. In addition, your Pokemon can only use attacks involving physical contact, and if a Pokemon gets knocked out of the ring for too long, it loses. You should totally enter with your Machop, I’m sure it could win the whole thing!”

“…do I even want to know how you’re so sure of that?” Derak asked.

“Hey, Ash Ketchum started off even worse than you! …no offense,” Sarah added. “He entered the P1 Grand Prix with a Primeape, and won on his first try! I’m sure you and Machop could do really well, too!”

She looked over to the Safari Zone.

“Well, I might as well see what I can catch,” Sarah said. “Good luck in the tournament, Derak!”

The bug-loving girl then headed for the Safari Zone, leaving Derak behind. The boy barely noticed her departure, however, for he had other thoughts on his mind.

“Hmm…what do you think, Brute?” Derak asked his sole Fighting-type. “Think we can give it a shot?”

“Chop,” Brute nodded. Strike, however, looked at the Machop skeptically, seriously doubting its supposed comrade’s capabilities.

****

“So,” Garth began as Derak entered the Pokemon Center, the P1 Grand Prix poster still in the boy’s hands, “how is Scyther dealing with having you as its trainer?”

“Badly. What did you expect?” Derak sighed, handing Garth the poster. “Forget about that for a minute, Sarah handed me this. There’s a tournament around Fuchsia that I can enter Brute in.”

“And you believe that a tournament for Fighting-type Pokemon will help you train for the Gym?” Garth asked. “Despite the fact that Fighting-type attacks are not particularly effective against Poison-types?”

“Well…to be honest…I want the gold belt they’re offering,” Derak admitted. “I figure that, if I can show my dad a trophy that my Pokemon won, he might actually think twice about the whole ‘Pokemon-hating’ business.”

“…I expected better from you,” Garth growled, throwing the poster aside. “Nobunaga may be gathering strength right at this very minute, which means that we should work our way through the Gyms as quickly as possible. And here you are, wanting to play around with your Machop while the rest of your team sits and watches like a group of couch potatoes!”

“Hey, Brute’s one of my best guys!” Derak cried. “Besides, I’m pretty sure he used a Ground-type move when I first met him back around Pewter. I think it was called…mud-something…Mud-Slap, that’s what it was!”

“Mud-Slap is one of the weaker Ground-type moves,” Garth sighed. “Still…I suppose that the strength of the Pokemon is what matters more than the strength of the move. If you believe that this P1 Grand Prix will provide you with an ace in the hole when the time to battle Nobunaga comes, then this idea of yours may work out for the best.”

“Sounds good to me,” Derak shrugged. “Going to need to train Brute a little, though.”

“Indeed,” Garth nodded. “And I believe Electivire would be the ideal sparring partner.”

“I take it you want to get this over with?” Derak asked.

“You could say that,” Garth replied. “Now, let us begin. We need to work in as much training as we can before the tournament starts.”

The two trainers left the Pokemon Center, but as they did so, Nando and Teresa stood up from their own seats. Nando approached the poster and carefully read it over.

“What an interesting proposition,” Nando said. “Perhaps I shall enter the tournament, as well.”

****

It was a short while before the Grand Prix began, but Derak and Garth had managed to squeeze some last-minute training for Brute beforehand. A sizeable building on the outskirts of Fuchsia City had attracted an equally-large crowd of people, clearly indicating that the tournament would take place here.

“Wait, run that by me again?” Derak sputtered as he and Garth slipped into the crowd and made their way into the stadium. “You’re actually WATCHING something that I’m doing?”

“Electivire and I put quite a bit of effort into your Machop’s training,” Garth answered. “I only want to see whether or not that effort was wasted.”

“Thanks, Mr. Confidence,” Derak sighed. “Hey, uh…could you watch the rest of my team for me once we get in? I want them to see this, too.”

“I suppose that would be fine,” Garth nodded. “Perhaps watching Machop’s battles will inspire them to put in a bit of effort, as well.”

“Not exactly what I was going for, but…I guess that works to,” Derak shrugged. “You know, you’re unusually agreeable today.”

“As impromptu as this event may be,” Garth said, “it may eventually prove worthwhile for when we battle Nobunaga. If this is what we must do to strengthen your Pokemon, then so be it.”

Derak simply shrugged and released three of his Pokemon. Wildfire, Echo, and Strike appeared alongside Garth, while Brute remained within its own Pokeball. As Derak approached the registration counter, Garth let out a sigh.

“I assume that I will have to play babysitter with the three of you?” Garth groaned. Only Echo made a vocal response, letting out a series of screeches with a rather offended tone. Wildfire stared into space once again, and Strike simply glanced at Garth for a moment. “Brilliant. Well, come on, then.”

He led the three Pokemon into the stands, where—despite the rather odd group they presented—they managed to find several seats. Garth sat down in one, but the Pokemon had other ideas: Echo flapped onto Garth’s head and lounged lazily atop his hood, Wildfire climbed into the back of the seat next to Garth’s, and Strike simply stood in the middle of the aisle.

“Hey, creep!” a jocular man barked at Garth, a large bag of popcorn in hand as he attempted to push his way past Strike. “Get your Scyther back in its ball, it’s taking up—”

The man’s popcorn suddenly went scattering everywhere, Strike having sliced the bag—and very nearly the man’s hand—in two. He stood there in stunned silence for a moment, only moving when Strike pointed a blade in his face. The man stumbled back onto his rear before scrambling away in panicked fright.

“Scyy,” Strike sighed, shaking its head. Humans were so overrated.

“Your trainer might object to that,” Garth remarked, earning a glare from Strike. Unlike Derak, however, Garth merely raised an eyebrow and studied the Scyther’s expression for a moment. “So…you want someone dead. And that someone, I assume, is the one who injured your wings?”

“Scy-ther?” Strike blinked.

“It may be on a Pokemon’s face, but I know that look,” Garth said. “I have seen it hundreds upon thousands of times…all of them seen in my reflection. It is a look of rage…but it is not the sort of mild irritation that comes from running out of Potions or something mundane like that. No…the rage you feel, and the rage I feel, is because we each have been grievously wronged by someone…and we wish to avenge ourselves.”

“…Sccyyy,” Strike nodded reluctantly.

“How very odd that I find a kindred spirit in a Pokemon,” Garth observed, turning his gaze to the wrestling arena in the center of the stadium. “Oh, well…that is how the world works, I suppose.”

“Welcome, one and all!” the announcer boomed, quieting the chattering audience down. “Today, you shall witness no ordinary tournament! This tournament is a full-on fight to the finish between the toughest Fighting Pokemon that you’ll ever see! I hope you’re ready for a big brawl, because this is the P1 Grand Prix!”

“Ugh,” Garth gritted his teeth, quickly becoming irritated by the ear-splitting cheers of the crowd, “why did I agree to sit here with all these banshees around?”

“Our first two Pokemon combatants are an interesting pair!” the announcer continued. “First up, a Machop—named Brute—entered by a trainer named…uh…well, he didn’t put his last name…or his hometown, so…well, let’s just give it up for Derak!”

Garth smirked slightly, recognizing that—like on the S.S. Wailord—Derak had once again filled out paperwork as he saw fit. Down near the ring, the boy and his Machop trudged out from backstage, both approaching the arena. Despite the warm welcome he received, Derak merely raised a hand in acknowledgement to the audience. Brute, however, gave the crowd a more friendly wave.

“His opponent, ladies and gentlemen, is…entering the ring now!” the announcer cried.

A green kangaroo-like Pokemon with red points at the ends of its limbs suddenly leapt into the ring, the mushroom cap on its head bouncing wildly as it landed. Its short arms burst forward in a series of quick jabs, and its long tan tail sported a ring of fungi around the tip.

“Bre-bre-bre-loom!” the Pokemon cried, bouncing from one muscular leg to the other and eagerly performing several more jabs.

“Breloom,” Derak’s Pokedex identified, “the Mushroom Pokemon. Type is Grass and Fighting. Evolved form of Shroomish. Its short arms stretch when it throws punches, and its technique is equal to that of professional boxers.”

“So…who’s entering with this—” Derak began, but did a double-take upon seeing that Breloom’s trainer was none other than Nando. “Oh…great…we’re toast.”

“Do not sell yourself short,” Nando smiled encouragingly. “This match between us shall be on equal terms.”

“Yeah, because the battle between my team and your Lilligant was so equal,” Derak rolled his eyes. “Or maybe that one between your Deerling and Teresa’s Chikorita? That was pretty equal, wasn’t it?”

“Perhaps you doubt yourself too quickly,” Nando chuckled. “In this world, many things work in mysterious ways. I am certain that our battle will be no exception. Shall we?”

“It’s Nando’s Breloom versus Brute the Machop!” the announcer declared as Brute climbed into the ring. “If our competitors are ready, then…BEGIN!”

With that last word, the fight bell was rung, signaling the official start of the match. Breloom stamped its feet wildly, jabbing viciously as Brute looked on with a raised eyebrow. Nando could only chuckle at his Pokemon’s display.

“Very well, Breloom,” Nando said. “Let us sate your hunger for battle. Use Headbutt!”

“Brute, stop it with Vital Throw!” Derak yelled.

The Mushroom Pokemon lunged forward, its head bent down as if it were a battering ram. Brute stood its ground, however, and merely held its arms out. Breloom’s head slammed into the Machop’s palms, but only Brute noticed a small burst of powder erupt from the crimson bulbs on Breloom’s cap. Nonetheless, the Superpower Pokemon gripped its foe by the cap and swung it around, throwing Breloom across the ring and into the ropes on the opposite side.

“All right, nice job, Brute!” Derak cried. His jubilation turned to concern, however, when electricity spontaneously coursed through Brute’s body. “Wh-what? Brute, what’s going on!”

“And that’s Breloom’s ability, folks!” the announcer cried. “It’s Effect Spore, which—upon making physical contact with Breloom—inflicts a random status condition on the opponent. Looks like Brute just got a dose of paralysis!”

Aw, great, Derak grimaced. As if we weren’t outmatched enough.

Breloom smirked as it watched Brute’s struggle to stand, believing fully that its victory was assured. Its smile faded, however, when a crimson hue spread through Brute’s eyes and a blood red aura surrounded the Superpower Pokemon’s body. Brute slowly rose to his feet with a grin, which all but destroyed Breloom’s confident swagger.

“And it looks like Brute’s own ability has been activated!” the announcer cried. “The paralysis from Effect Spore has activated Guts, an ability that sends a Machop’s attack power through the roof once it’s been afflicted with a status condition!”

“Ah, it seems the tables are beginning to turn,” Nando smiled. “Do not give up, Breloom. Let us try and turn the tables back. Use Mach Punch, if you please!”

“Brute, quick, use Poison Jab!” Derak cried.

Breloom’s fist began to glow, and in a sudden blur of movement, the entire Mushroom Pokemon had leapt towards Brute and attempted a punch. From the audience, Garth narrowed his eyes. Breloom had now completely stopped in front of Brute, as if the paralysis it had inflicted on the Machop had been turned back against it. After a moment, Breloom fell onto its back, a large purple bruise on its stomach from where Brute had managed to strike it.

“Unbelievable!” the announcer cried. “Derak and Brute have defied all odds and won the first battle!”

“We…won?” Derak blinked. “Holy…did we actually just beat Nando?”

“You certainly did,” Nando nodded as he approached Derak, his friendly smile still in place. “Your Machop is quite well-trained, my friend. I am proud to have contributed to its strength, even if my contribution was rather small.”

“Chop,” Brute shrugged, the glow in its eyes and its aura having faded away.

“Okay, pal, let’s get you fixed up,” Derak said as he led Brute backstage. “As thankful as I am for Guts’ saving our butts, the paralysis has to go.”

Garth leaned back in his seat as the crowd burst into applause, unable to help but smirk. Perhaps the boy did know what he was doing.

“Will our next two competitors come up to the ring!” the announcer cried. “And now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s Croagunk versus Hariyama!”

Garth looked down at the two Pokemon that were now in the arena. On one side was a small blue Pokemon reminiscent of a bipedal frog with large, flat teeth lining its mouth. On the other side was a colossal white humanoid Pokemon with three-fingered orange hands that were larger than even its own head. The latter of the two stamped its feet like a sumo wrestler, slightly shaking the arena with its bulk.

Croagunk simply sat and watched, slowly inflating and deflating the orange sacs on its cheeks.

“Croooa…croooa…croooa,” murmured Croagunk, staring into space and paying no regard whatsoever to its opponent’s display of strength.

Hariyama narrowed its eyes and lumbered forth, its body taking on a silver aura. Despite the massive bulk of its body, it somehow managed to jump into the air and position itself above Croagunk.

“Could this be the end already?!” the announcer yelled. “If Hariyama’s Heavy Slam hits Croagunk, it’s all over!”

Croagunk again paid no regard to Hariyama, instead casually glancing behind it. Its apparent trainer, shrouded in a brown cloak that obscured all features save the mouth, merely nodded. Croagunk looked up at Hariyama, watching the giant Pokemon come barreling down, and simply waited.

Just as Hariyama was about to crush Croagunk, the frog suddenly leapt backwards onto the ropes with speed defying its earlier lethargy. Hariyama crashed violently onto the arena, allowing Croagunk the opportunity to leap upon its back and thrust a Poison Jab into the larger Pokemon’s back. Hariyama let out a pained groan, but before it could get up and remove its attacker, Croagunk landed another Poison Jab in the same spot, and then another. One final Poison Jab later, and Hariyama’s strength finally gave out.

“I don’t believe my eyes!” the announcer boomed. “Croagunk has somehow defied all odds and defeated Hariyama!”

Croagunk slid off of Hariyama’s fallen body and landed back on the mat, its body taking on a white glow. Its body grew larger and more slender, and by the time the glow of evolution had faded, Croagunk’s appearance had noticeably changed. Its two orange sacs had now fused into a single red one underneath its throat, and its arms now sported recognizable hands that each grew a single hooked claw from the middle knuckle. Its yellow eyes glanced about the arena until they fell upon the evolved Pokemon’s trainer, and without a word to anyone, the mysterious cloaked trainer left with the Pokemon formerly known as Croagunk.

“Sccyy,” Strike smirked, scraping its blades together in anticipation.

“Do not even think about it,” Garth snapped. “If that Toxicroak can fell a Hariyama without so much as a word from its trainer, then you would have no chance whatsoever.”

Strike silently glared at Garth before turning back to the arena, deciding to observe some of the other matches.

****

After several hours of match observation, however, Strike was quite ready to force its head through a concrete wall. By its judgment, every fighter in the P1 Grand Prix was outright weak. Pokemon like Mankey and Heracross fell in an instant against the mysterious Toxicroak trainer, and even Derak’s Machop was sweeping through Pokemon like Scraggy and Hitmontop with ease.

“Is this tournament done yet?” Garth groaned, evidently thinking on a similar wavelength as Strike. “I now remember why I never bothered with competitive circles. Too much bureaucracy.”

Strike gave him a nod of agreement, then looked down to the arena once more. Brute was currently engaged in battle with a blue dog-like Pokemon with a pair of black protrusions emerging from the sides of its head. The dog—a Pokemon called Riolu—thrust the palm of its paw forward in a shower of sparks, only for Brute to catch the Force Palm in one hand.

“Nice, Brute!” Derak cried. “Now, use Vital Throw!”

Given the smaller size of Riolu, Brute needed only one arm to swing the canine Pokemon around. After a moment of swinging, Brute released Riolu, sending it sailing into the ropes and into unconsciousness.

“And, just like that, Derak and Brute have won again!” the announcer cried. “Give it up for one of the P1 Grand Prix’s greatest trainers!”

“Oh, come on, I’m not great,” Derak sighed. He turned to Brute with a smirk, however. “You, on the other hand…”

“Ma-chooop,” Brute laughed, rubbing the back of its head in an embarrassed gesture.

“And now, we’ve reached the final!” the announcer continued. “Please give it up for our mystery trainer and his partner, Toxicroak!”

The frog hopped into the ring once more, the shrouded trainer remaining on the ringside.

“Looks like Garth has a cousin,” Derak smirked as he pulled out his Pokedex. “Anyway, let’s see…”

“Toxicroak,” the Dex reported, “the Toxic Mouth Pokemon. Type is Poison and Fighting. Evolved form of Croagunk. The croaking that Toxicroak produces before a battle is for churning the poison it has stored in its poison sac.”

“Crroooaaak,” growled Toxicroak, inflating the sac as it clenched its three-fingered hands into fists, making as intimidating an appearance as it could.

“Ma-choop,” Brute narrowed its eyes. This one was going to be tricky.

“Hmph…well, what do you know?” Garth snorted. “It seems as if he IS going to manage some practice for the Gym.”

Unbeknownst to the audience, another strange figure stood in the middle of the arena’s entrance hallway, watching the match alone. The green-haired Zekrom trainer slowly looked across the ring, silently examining each of the Pokemon. Although most trainers would be excited by such a potential clash, this one merely heaved a tragic sigh.

“Both Pokemon are ready to take each other on!” cried the announcer. “So, without further ado, let us begin!”

“Okay, Brute…we don’t have the Poison Jab advantage we had against Nando’s Breloom, so we’ll have to make do with what we have,” Derak said. “Let’s try Vital Throw!”

Brute nodded and charged towards Toxicroak, but the Toxic Mouth Pokemon was fully prepared. It crossed its arms, allowing a pale green glow to envelop its knuckle claws before it slashed at Brute. Although Derak recognized the attack as the same sort of X-scissor that Strike used against Rotom, by then it was too late. Brute was knocked back a short distance, but quickly recovered due to his type’s resistance to Bug-type moves.

“Great,” Derak grimaced. “Okay, try Karate Chop!”

Brute made as if to attack, but Toxicroak suddenly rushed forward in a blur of movement and quickly knocked the Machop onto the mat. Brute tried to rise, but Toxicroak stamped its foot on the Superpower Pokemon’s back, pinning it down.

“Hey! Sorry I’m late!” Sarah Arachson said, pushing her way to a seat near Garth. “What did I miss?”

“Could this be the end?!” the announcer cried. “That Sucker Punch may have just given Toxicroak the win!”

“Does that answer your question, girl?” Garth sighed.

“No…no way,” Derak murmured. “Brute, come on! We can’t let it end like this!”

Toxicroak was oblivious to the cries of Brute’s trainer as it drew back its fist once more, preparing its latest Poison Jab. Brute simply squeezed its eyes shut as it tried to push the frog off, but failed due to Toxicroak’s superior size. With the Poison-type looming over him, preparing the final blow, Brute could only think of the day it was abandoned…

****

“There, now,” smirked Elliot, Brute by his side as they both faced down a trainer. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

The trainer, a child who was clearly too young to own Pokekmon, simply recalled the small yellow horse Brute had beaten.

“But..it’s not fair!” the child wailed, tears falling from his eyes. “My dad just told me to catch a Pokemon! I didn’t even want to battle to start with!”

“That, I’m afraid, is the way of the world,” Elliot shrugged.

“But my dad’s going to be so mad at me because his Ponyta got beaten up!” the child wailed.

“Grr…shut up, stupid brat!” roared Elliot as the Jason persona took forth, lunging for the boy with one fist drawn back. Before he could strike the child, however, something caught his fist.

Brute.

“Machop!” Jason growled. “Let me go this INSTANT!”

Brute steeled its gaze, tightening its grip on its original trainer’s arm. It nodded to the child, who quickly took the hint and ran away.

“You IDIOT!” Jason snarled, tearing his arm out of Brute’s grasp. “You do what I say, no matter what! Understand?!”

Brute only crossed its arms. Jason raised an eyebrow, but then his blue eye twitched. A twisted grin crept across his face.

“Ah…have we developed a conscience?” Elliot sneered. “I’m afraid that won’t do.”

He looked up to the sky, leaning on a tree.

“I have plans in store, Machop,” Elliot continued. “Many plans. And I fear that your behavior today…does not agree with them.”

“Chop?” Brute blinked. Elliot looked at it, his Cheshire grin showing every one of his teeth.

“Yes, pacifism from you would be…detrimental, shall we say?” Elliot said. “And there is one person in particular who absolutely MUST be punished for his deeds. His punishment must be as severe as possible, everything from public humiliation…to execution.”

“Ma-chop?!” Brute gasped. Elliot only laughed a cold, disturbed laugh.

“Heh heh haa…you don’t know me at all, do you?” Elliot grinned. “Let us begin the lesson, then. I demand complete and utter obedience, regardless of my deeds or the moral convictions of others. And those who are unable to comply with my demands…”

He removed a Pokeball from his belt and placed it against a tree.

“Well, they say it’s better to show than tell,” Elliot smirked.

He picked up a rock the size of his hand, and used it to smash the Pokeball against the tree. Brute’s eyes went wide as it realized whose Pokeball Elliot destroyed.

“Look at you,” Elliot scoffed. “The ‘Superpower Pokemon’? Hardly. You can’t even stomach a simple act of retribution.”

“Choooop,” Brute growled.

“Are you angry?” Elliot smirked. “How adorable. You really think a miserable little runt like you can threaten me?”

Brute’s temper finally broke as it lunged for Elliot, roaring madly. It was stopped, however, by a flash of light and a prompt Bubblebeam that sent it sailing into a tree. Brute slid down onto the ground, and came face-to-face with Elliot’s Piplup.

“Pip-lup,” scoffed the penguin, arrogantly turning its head away and returning to its trainer’s side.

“You have to simply face facts, Machop,” Elliot smirked. “You are not only obsolete…you are, put bluntly, WEAK.”

Elliot turned and left, leaving Brute without a trainer. Its rage at the boiling point, Brute tossed a Vacuum Wave into the bushes. It launched more as its rampage continued, bringing it closer and closer to Pewter City.

****

“Toxxiiiii,” growled Toxicroak as Brute’s memory faded away. It wound back its fist, preparing one last Poison Jab. “CROOOAK!”

“Brute, NO!” Derak cried.

Brute’s eyes snapped open. And, then, just before Toxicroak’s Poison Jab landed…

…a white glow enveloped Brute’s body.

“Brute?” Derak gasped. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t believe this, ladies and gentlemen!” the announcer cried. “Looks like Toxicroak isn’t the only one who can evolve mid-battle!”

Toxicroak was just as surprised as Derak, particularly when Brute’s body surged to double its original size and even outgrew Toxicroak. The Superpower Pokemon’s already-muscular body became even burlier, and its head developed a somewhat canine-like skull shape. The glow faded away, revealing that Brute had somehow gained a pair of underwear that already bore a champion wrestler’s belt, as well as crimson markings on its arm muscles.

“Maaa…CHOOOKE!” Brute roared, causing Toxicroak to shrink back in fright.

“Brute, you…you evolved!” Derak gasped. “Holy—this is—I have no idea what I can say, this is great!”

Brute glanced at its trainer with a smirk, flashing him the thumbs-up sign. Toxicroak clearly lacked the confidence the newly-evolved Machoke had, and even the Poison-type’s trainer gasped at this development. Both Garth and the Zekrom trainer looked on with interest, albeit for different reasons.

“Okay, Brute, let’s finish this!” Derak cried.

“Choke,” Brute nodded, cracking its knuckles. Toxicroak whimpered for a moment, backing up against the corner of the ring, but upon realizing that it had nowhere to run, its vicious deameanor—or at least an imitation of it—returned. It charged both of its fists with a Poison Jab and leapt into the air, but Brute simply stood still and waited.

“Croak?” Toxicroak blinked, already expecting a trap. Nonetheless, it plummeted downward and prepared its dual Poison Jab, only for shock to dominate its face when Brute caught both of its fists in its hands.

“Ma-choke,” Brute smirked, swinging Toxicroak around and throwing it into a far ring post.

Toxicroak gave its head a shake and scrambled to its feet, inflating its sac menacingly. Brute only chuckled and beckoned with one hand. Toxicroak blinked and looked over to its trainer, who nodded. The Poison-type prepared an X-scissor, but Brute merely clenched one fist.

“Okay, we can do this,” Derak said. “We can totally do this.”

Brute smirked and closed its eyes. It waited to hear the sound of Toxicroak’s feet, and as it heard the Poison-type heading towards it, Brute also knew that it could win…for the sake of its new friendship. As if illustrating its newly-strengthened resolve, a fiery pink aura surrounded Brute’s body, burning violently.

“Is that…?” gasped the Zekrom trainer, eyes going wide.

Toxicroak charged forth, ignorant of Brute’s newfound skill, and leapt up for a final X-scissor. Brute, however, opened its eyes just in time to see the Poison Mouth Pokemon close in. The Machoke pulled one fist back, and then slammed it into Toxicroak’s stomach. The sheer force of the impact sent the Poison-type rocketing through the air and even out of the ring. Gasps rang through the entire arena as the unconscious Toxic Mouth Pokemon landed at its stunned trainer’s feet.

“No way!” Sarah cried. “Was that a Return?”

“So it would seem,” Garth nodded. “And a powerful one at that.”

The Zekrom trainer was just as stunned for a while, but when he saw Brute climb out of the ring and give Derak a gentle high-five, he smiled.

“This…this is what I’ve been searching for,” he whispered to himself. He looked down at the Pokeballs on his belt. “Can you all feel it? Only one thing could produce a Return so powerful…and we are lucky to have witnessed it.”

“Brute, that was awesome!” Derak cried. “You evolved, you learned a new move…this is just too awesome!”

“Ma, ma-choke,” Brute laughed, crossing its arms.

“Okay, let’s take a look at the new you,” Derak said, pointing his Pokedex at Brute.

“Machoke,” the Dex reported, “the Superpower Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Evolved form of Machop. It happily carries cargo to toughen up, and willingly does hard work for people.”

“Let’s give it up for Derak and his new Machoke, Brute!” the announcer cried, inciting a round of cheers and applause from the audience. “They have broken all possible boundaries, and become the new P1 Grand Prix champions!”

“Ugh, can we just skip the song-and-dance routine?” Derak sighed. “I just want to get the trophy and leave before the interview garbage starts.”

Brute smiled in amusement as it shook its head. Only Derak would act in this manner…

…but that was what made him the best possible trainer.

****

Later, after the presentation of the trophy, Derak held it in his hands as he sat in the Pokemon Center lobby. It was a colossal belt with a golden center, with the words “P1 Grand Prix” etched onto it. He stared at it for the longest time, and most of his Pokemon shared in the glory of his accomplishment. Echo laid upon its trainer’s head, wishing it had eyes to admire the belt with. Wildfire gently prodded the trophy belt, attempting to determine if such things were truly real. Brute simply leaned on a wall, much like its trainer did in most public settings, and smiled. Strike, however, rolled its eyes in disgust.

“Are you trying to find your reflection in that piece of junk?” Garth asked, evidently sharing Strike’s sentiments.

“Hey, it’s not a piece of junk!” Derak shot back. “This thing…when I show it to my dad, he’ll have to drop his whole ‘Pokemon-are-bad’ thing. He’ll see that, if they can win stuff like this…then he’ll have to let me get more from stuff like the League or other tournaments.”

“I suppose appealing to a businessman’s sense of greed would be the best way into his heart,” Garth shrugged.

“Yeah, especially because there isn’t much else I can appeal to,” Derak chuckled. “Speaking of which…whenever we find my mom…I need to show this to her, too. I’ll bet she’ll be happy. I’ll bet she’ll be proud that her son, even with such a lousy dad, became as great a trainer as her. I mean, she HAS to be a great trainer if my dad won’t talk about her, right?”

“Knowing your idiotic father, that