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Ash_Junior
23rd September 2005, 5:05 AM
Yes, ANOTHER Spin-off of Hell Hath no Fury: An Ice Queen's Saga. Hopefully this one won't die. Lorelei will play a pretty minor role inthis fic, but Nuschantz, as you will see, will be a pretty major one.

For those of you who don't know what Nuschantz is, it's all explained. :D

Tell me if you guys need more info about the Battle of Sheer Cliff. I'd be happy to provide it for you.

Chapter 1: Just For Starters...

“You'll like it there,” Steven assured her, grinning widely at her. He was a General, he had told her. A General of something called a Gym. He insisted that he was something called a Gym Leader, though. She wasn't quite sure what a Gym was, but judging by the way he and the other Outlanders spoke of it, it was something wonderful. But he had said that he commanded the men that trained under him in his Gym, and he was the ultimate authority for the Gym. Wouldn't that make him a general?

“It's one of the best places in Johto. Elm's even got a secondary lab there. True, it's mostly rock, but we've got our share of greenery.” Greenery. He kept talking about such things. Plants so big that you could conceal a Snorlax underneath their vines. Trees as tall as the five-story Verin Retreat. What had been the Verin Retreat. Fields of flowers that didn't need to be taken care of inside a greenhouse. Could those stories really be true?

Sarah Gilchrist frowned at Steven. “I thought that green things only grew near the coasts.” she stated. “Of course, that may be because I've never really heard much about places outside of Nuschantz.” The wintry country of Nuschantz, a resort country for those who had enough money, had been her home, and she had never been outside the country. She had heard tales of Sintaur to the south, where endless plains of green grass stretched as far as the eye could see; Effeular and its mountains and streams; and Acquar, where sand stretched for miles, and temperatures so high that they could kill a man in minutes. She shuddered. She much preferred her own country of Nuschantz. She couldn't imagine living anywhere else. But here she was leaving it, probably for good.

She remembered the battle, each painstaking move that she had done. She had held off dozen of Doppelganger Blizzards, as the rebel Blizzards had been called single-handedly with just her trusty carbine and the team of Pokemon that had been assigned to her. She had done such a good job, infact, that Steven, a Kanto general, had personally come and talked to her, inviting her to come to Johto to try living as a Gym Trainer in his gym.

She remembered when Gertal himself had come to speak to her. She had been making sure that her Pokemon partners were getting the medical attention that they had so desperately needed.

+++++

“Lieutenant Gilchrist,” a commanding voice said. Sarah whirled around and snapped to attention, to see the kindly, smiling face of the leader of Team Blizzard. “At ease, soldier,” he said, smiling

“Thank you, sir,” Sarah said, spreading her legs slightly and putting her hands behind her back. She looked at Gertal, in awe of the man, not really believing that they were in the same room. His graying hair and wrinkling skin was a sharp contrast to his vibrant eyes, and his youthful grin.

“Sarah, I'd like to introduce Steven Hall, General of the Johto Expeditionary Forces.”

Sarah shifted her gaze to the Johtan, noting the man's skin. It was tanned, but not quite as dark as an Acquarrian. It was a medium shade of brown, like a Sintauran horse master. His unnatural light blue hair fell into his emerald eyes. Sarah's brown eyes took in his dirt-colored, long-sleeved shirt and darker brown vest. He was handsome, she decided, but she, a Nomad, would have no chance romantically with him, if she had had any ideas about it, which she didn't. Even if she did, she was a Lieutenant, and he was a General. He stepped forward and held out his hand. “It's nice to meet you, Sarah. I saw you battling today. You are an excellent trainer.”

Sarah looked at his proffered hand, then up at Steven. “Why do you offer me your hand?” she asked curiously. “Do you wish to marry me? And what is a 'trainer'? I have heard your men speaking of them.”

Steven blushed and quickly withdrew his hand. “Obviously we have different customs.” he mumbled.

Gertal laughed a loud, booming laugh, and pounded Steven on the back. “I knew that would happen, my friend, but I wanted to see what you would do.” Steven smiled sheepishly and looked away, and Gertal turned to Sarah. “Sarah, for the Resorters and most of the rest of the world, when someone offers you their hand, it is a method of greeting, nothing more.”

Sarah cocked her head curiously, and looked at Steven intently. “Why?” she asked.

“Excuse me?” Gertal asked.

“Why do they grasp one another's hands?” Sarah asked. “It seems rather pointless to me. If you see the other person, why is it socially required to touch them? Isn't the mere sight of them enough?” By her tone, Gertal and Steven could tell that she was genuinely curious, and not trying to be difficult.

Steven and Gertal looked at each other, then Steven spoke. “It's not exactly required, but so many people do it that. If you don't want to, that's fine. But some people might be offended if you don't shake their hand.”

Something changed in Sarah's eyes, and her hand came up and out, palm outwards, towards Steven. “Then let me shake your hand. I did not mean to offend you. I stand ready to take whatever punishment you feel is necessary.”

Gertal laughed again. “Sarah, just because he's higher in rank than you doesn't mean that he is like me.”

Steven grinned as he took her hand in his and shook her hand firmly. “You didn't offend me, you just—Ow!” he exclaimed as Sarah tightened her own grip. “That's good!” he gasped, “That's good! You can let go now!”

Sarah let go of his hand as if it were on fire. “I did something else wrong, didn't I?” she asked. “I knew that I would.”

Steven grimaced up at her. “No,” he said through gritted teeth, holding his hand, and hunching over it. “But just for future reference, it isn't a contest of who is stronger.”

+++++

Sarah brought herself back to the future. She had learned much more about Johtan culture since that day, and she was confident that she could avoid many of the social blunders, but she knew that there was no way that she would avoid all of them. Steven had told her much of this, and she had learned more from talking to the assorted Johtan trainers that had been in the camp. It had been they who had finally told her what trainers really were.

Steven was telling her what it was like in his gym. It sounded like a very nice place, if overly metallic. When she had told him that, however, he just laughed and explained that most of the gyms in the Johto League designed their gyms after the type that they specialized in.

To Sarah, this was an unnecessary luxury, and said so.

Steven laughed. It was a very nice laugh, Sarah decided. It was deep-but not as deep as Gertal's-and it was friendly. “Sarah, you've got a lot to learn. Johto, Kanto, and Hoenn are countries of luxury. At least for the successful Pokemon trainers.”

That brought silence to Sarah for the rest of the flight. Slowly, she fell asleep, and dreamed of trees the size of mountains, flowers, and green things that grew all over the place.

+++++

“Sarah?” Sarah thought that she heard someone talking to her, but she ignored the voice, and tried to burrow deeper into her bunk. “Sarah, we're here.”

“Buzz off, Hanover. I'm sleeping in. We've got a week before maneuvers, remember?” she mumbled, and tried to shut the voice out of her mind.

There was a chuckle. “Sarah, wake up. We're in Johto, and you're in the aisle seat.” at the mention of the country, Sarah's eyes sprang open. Johto. She had waited for so long to see what it was like.

“The trees!” she shouted, and practically tore through Steven in an attempt to get to the window. What she saw astounded her. Dimly, she felt Steven slide out from underneath her, and move towards the exit. Gone was the snow, ice, and rocks of her home country. In their place was a slab of concrete and a building much like the one at the Hampton Haven that she had just left, except that here there was no snow. And behind the terminal...she could only stare. Green. There was so much green. Grass, much like she had seen pictures of, what she believed was called brush, and what she could only assume were trees. They were tall things, most of them, and had green things that Steven had told her were called leaves hanging off of extensions.

It was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen in her entire life.

“Sarah?” she turned away from the window to see Steven standing over her. “You coming? We kind of need to get off.” Dimly, she heard some cheering, but didn't think anythign of it.

Wordlessly, Sarah nodded, and followed Steven to the exit. When she reached the aperture, she froze. Outside, waiting for them, were hundreds of people, yelling and shouting at the plane. All were nicely dressed, and looked like they made a pretty good living, and all of them were cheering for her.

It was the single most terrifying thing that Sarah had seen in her life.

She screamed and dove back into the plane. To her, people like that had always, until recently, been her enemies. To see that many people like that together in one place had terrified her out of her wits.

+++++

“I'm really sorry about that,” Sarah told Steven, curled up in a device that apparently was generally used for Ice types. “I'm not that used to crowds. We Nomads don't get together that much. And people dressed like that are generally Resorters. And I'm not used to trusting them yet.”

Steven smiled and sat down next to her. “That's fine, Sarah, but we've got to have a talk about what happened when you came out of the plane.”

Sarah's face fell. “I'm sorry,” she whispered. “But when one of us Nomads ask for a fight, it's human to human. I'm glad that he wasn't permanently hurt.”

Steven laughed. “He's going to be sore for a while, though. You hit him pretty hard.”

Sarah smiled up at him. “I didn't know. Thanks for letting me use your use your Aggron, by the way.”

Steven grinned. “No problem. You handled him like a pro. You've obviously got a lot of experience with Pokemon.”

Sarah smiled. “Every Resorter is trained in Pokemon warfare from about age five and onwards. I wouldn't say that I'm the best at it, though.”

Steven shook his head. “Nope, I wouldn't either. One of my Kantan friends, AJ, is the best I've ever seen. He would never try to be part of the Indigo Elite Four, though, so most people think that he's just weak.”

“That's what some people told me you were, but look at you. You're a pro. That's why I offered you that Gym Trainer position.” Steven said, staring straight into her eyes.

Sarah smiled. “That is very kind of you, but after coming over here and seeing Johto for myself, I am not sure if it would be the best thing to do.”

Steven smiled. “Just give it a few months, Sarah. Then we'll see how you're doing. If you still don't feel like you fit in, I'll give you enough money to go wherever you want to go.”

+++++

Sarah grinned at the trainer she had just defeated. “End of the line,” she said, grinning, and bowed deeply. “Come again!” she called after him. She looked up as Steven approached her. “We're closing the gym for the night, Sarah. Would you mind joining me for supper in a half hour? There's someone that I want you to meet.”

Sarah nodded. “Sure,” she said, bowing her head slightly. “I'll be there. Are you kicking me out? Because if so, these last two years have been among the most enjoyable I've had in my life.”

Steven laughed. “No, I'm not firing you. It's just that I've got some company, and I thought that you might want to see her. After all, she was near us in the Battle of Sheer Cliff.”

Sarah's eyes lit up. “I shall be there, then.” She frowned. Who in the world could it possibly be? It obviously wasn't Gertal, since Steven had specifically said that it was a woman. Who in the world could it possibly be? Another Nomad?

+++++

Sarah walked into Steven's personal Dining Room, and stopped. He was talking to a young woman who was a little younger than she was. She was small, with white hair. Steven looked up and saw Sarah. “Lorelei, this is the young woman I've been telling you about, Sarah Gilchrist.” the girl turned and looked at Sarah. “Sarah, this is Lorelei Winters of the Indigo League Elite Four. She was on the top of Sheer Cliff during the battle.”

Sarah strode forward, and extended her hand, remembering amusedly the first time that Steven had done the same. Lorelei took her hand, but didn't squeeze at all. It felt like a limp Magikarp. “Hello, Sarah, I've heard a lot about you. I'm impressed,” she said quietly. “In fact, that's why I want to give you this.” she held out a Pokeball. “It's the son of my Sneasel, Junior; and the grandson of the very first Pokemon.”

Sarah stared at the Pokeball. She was getting a Pokemon from a member of an Elite Four? She looked up at Lorelei. “Thank you,” she said quietly. “I don't know what to say.” She reached out and took the Pokeball, and bowed. “Thank you very much.”

“Lorelei is heading to Azalea,” Steven interjected, “And she said that she wanted some company. Would you be interested in going with her?”

Sarah eyed the Ice Elite. Starting her journey off with someone of her caliber? “I'd be honored,” Sarah grinned, her eyes glittering.

+++++

by the way, to any who know what I'm talking about *coughelemental_charizamcough* I'm going to try to have this have the same storyline as the ORIGINAL version of Hell Hath no Fury: An Ice Queen's Saga. Modified for Sarah, of course.

Ash_Junior
23rd September 2005, 7:52 PM
Sarah glanced over at Lorelei, who was plodding along at a steady pace, and frowned. She had heard of the Ice Elite’s infamous temper and sharp wit. Neither had surfaced. In fact, the notoriously loud-mouthed young woman was silent, as if cowed by something. “Are you ill, Lorelei Winters?” Sarah asked, watching her traveling partner curiously.

Lorelei stirred, as if from deep thought. “What was that?” she asked. Sarah opened her mouth to repeat her question, but Lorelei responded. “Oh, no.” she stared forward, where her Sneasels were playing together several hundred yards up the trail. “I’m fine.”

Sarah nodded, accepting the answer. They had just left Union Cave, and were now approaching Azalea Town. They had walked all the way from Blackthorne in silence. It was…unnerving. Sarah had known many people that did not like to talk, and she personally had no problem with them, but for such a notorious loud-mouth like Lorelei to be so…cowed was unnerving. What had happened to her? “Because if you are,” Sarah spoke up again, “I’d be more than happy to stop and let you rest.”

Lorelei stopped and looked at her. Sarah turned, and saw what appeared to be tears forming in the young woman’s eyes. “I’m fine, Sarah,” she said quietly. “Thank you for asking, but I am fine.” Lorelei’s face turned towards the ground, and Sarah frowned.

“Lorelei, may I ask you a question?” a nod of the Ice Elite’s head spurred her on. “I was led to believe that you were a rather…” she paused. “A rather talkative individual. However, in practice, you talk no more than a Marowak.” This elicited a small smile from Lorelei, the first that she had seen since Sarah had met her. “Is something wrong?”

“No,” Lorelei said quietly. “Nothing is wrong. I’ve just been through more in my nineteen years than most people go through in a lifetime. I don’t want to talk about it.” With that, the white-haired young woman strode forward, leaving a confused Nuschantian in her wake.

+++++

Sarah caught up with Lorelei at the Azalea City Gym, where Lorelei was talking to a pair of girls who looked noticeably alike. Both had the same brown hair and blue eyes, and wore the same clothes, except one dress was colored pink, and the other green. Then she noticed something else about them. “Bugsy isn’t here-” the first one began.

“-Right now,” the second one picked up smoothly. “He went to Slowpoke Well-”

“-to find a trainer that’s been missing,” the first one interjected, brushing a strand of hair out of her eyes.

Sarah frowned. “Who are you two?” she demanded.

“We are-“ the first one began.

“Bugsy’s twin sisters. She is Molly-” the second began, pointing at her pink counterpart.

“-and that is Holly,” Molly finished, pointing at her green sister. Both of them smiled up at Sarah, and she felt her temper rising. She didn’t especially like kids, and when they switched off like this it was getting even more annoying.

“If I battle you,” she said hotly, “Will you stop talking like that?”

The twins glanced at each other, then smiled in a sickeningly sweet way up at Sarah as they said together. “Of course.”

Sarah heaved a sigh of relief, and plucked her Pokeball off of her belt. “Sneasel, go!” she called. Lorelei, for her part, stepped back and leaned against the gym’s wall, watching the proceedings interestedly.

“This will be a sudden death elimination battle,” Sarah said, knowing that, as the challenger, it was up to her to state the terms of the battle. “No time limit, each side may use one Pokemon.”

The twins looked at each other and then nodded. “We accept!” they said together. “Go Heracross, Megahorn!” The odd beetle Pokemon appeared, glanced around to get its bearings, then spotted its lithe, ice type opponent. It let out a bellow and charged.

“Faint Attack!” Sarah said quietly, so that only Sneasel could hear it, knowing that her Sneasel didn’t have enough time to get out of the way. To the twins, it looked like she had muttered something to herself, but hadn’t given her Pokemon a command.

The Heracross slammed into Sneasel, who made no move to dodge. The Dual Dark and Ice type flew across the gym, and slammed against a wall. The Sneasel fell to the ground in a heap, and the twins erupted in cheers. “One hit KO!” they shouted, running around in little circles. “One hit KO!” Heracross, distracted, and more than a little happy, turned and looked at its trainers happily.

Instantly, the Sneasel was in the air, its claws extended, its teeth bared. The Heracross barely knew what hit it when Sneasel slammed into its back, and forced its face into the grass-imitation carpet. “Ice Beam!” Sarah called, and the Sneasel, still atop the Heracross’s back, reared one hand back.

The Heracross screamed in fury and fear, and the twins opened their mouths to say something. Then the beam of pure ice formed itself in Sneasel’s right hand, and slammed into the back of the Bug and Fighting type’s head, dazing it and slamming its head down, once more, into the carpet. “Reversal!” the twins called out as one, a split second after the Ice Beam was fired.

Sarah grimaced. She had been hoping that the little girls had forgotten about the bug’s fighting types. Before her Sneasel could jump away, five blue orbs sprang into existence around the Heracross. Each of them homed in on Sneasel, and knocked the Ice type off of its opponent. Heracross then swung around, its horn slamming Sneasel several yards away.

Sarah watched her Sneasel anxiously. Would he be able to get back up? The battle would be over if he couldn’t. “Finish it off with Brick Break!” the twins called out, once again speaking at the same time.

Sarah swallowed. Sneasel would faint if the attack hit, she knew. Then, she saw Sneasel’s arms begin to push itself up. With a groan and a mountain of willpower, it leaped to its feet, and faced its opponent, who had paused, waiting for its opponent. There was but a heartbeat in which to give a command, and Sarah took it. “Blizzard and Agility!” she called out.

There would be no way, she knew, that the Heracross, hurt though he was, to miss her Sneasel in the ice type’s condition if it could SEE Sneasel, even if it used only Agility. However, if the Heracross’s vision were obstructed…

Then the moment was over, and the Heracross leaped for Sneasel, who brought up a hand, and instantly a curtain of snow blanketed the gym. Temperatures plunged, the twins shivered, and Sarah sighed in contentment. For the first time in two years, the temperature was finally bearable again. The downside, of course, was that she wasn’t able to see what was going on. However, if she were right, both Pokemon were hanging by a thread. “Icy Wind!” she called out. She heard the twins calling out an attack for Heracross, but the wind that had suddenly intensified snatched their words away from Sarah.

Now it was getting cold, even for the Nuschantian. She could only wonder what the Heracross was feeling. Heracross were generally found in tropical areas. For temperatures this cold…Suddenly Sarah felt something fly past her face, and knew instinctively that it was the Icy Wind attack. She dropped down to one knee and covered her face to keep any stray pieces of ice from slicing her face wide open.

Then the widn died down, and the snow dropped to the ground. The temperatures rose almost instantly, and pools of water began to form. Sarah got to her feet and looked around. There, standing victorious on top of the unconscious Heracross, was Sneasel, panting heavily and looking much the worse for wear, but he was still standing.

“Nice job,” Sarah heard a male voice say from behind her. She turned around, and saw Lorelei arm in arm with a man that could only be Bugsy. He had the same purple hair that he had in the picture in the Pokemon Trainer’s Monthly.

Sarah smiled and bowed to him. “Thank you very much.” She heard Sneasel coming up behind her. The little ice type stood beside her and copied her bow.

Lorelei and Bugsy both grinned. “They grow up so fast,” Lorelei said quietly.

Bugsy grinned. “That was a pretty good battle, there. Your name is Sarah, right?” the Nuschantian nodded, and Bugsy grinned. “Steven’s told me a lot about you.” He looked past Sarah and at his sisters. “Holly, Molly, what have I told you about battling with the Gym Pokemon?”

Sarah turned to look at the sisters, who were both making faces at Bugsy. “Now that we have our own, we’re not supposed to use them.” Holly said distastefully while Molly returned Heracross.

“That’s right,” Bugsy replied. “That Jigglypuff, Holly; and that Clefairy, Molly cost me a bunch of credits. I need to see you two training them. Once you’ve proven to me that you can handle those, you can use the Gym Pokemon. Now go back to Nurse Joy and have her heal Heracross.”

Bugsy turned back to Sarah. “I only caught the tail end of that battle, but you did an excellent job. I can see why Steven brought you back over here. You’ve heard of the Johto Gym Challenge, haven’t you?”

Sarah smiled sardonically. “I’ve worked in a gym for the last two years, Bugsy. I know what the Challenge is.”

Bugsy laughed. “Right, sorry. Forgot about that. My memory isn’t what it used to be. Have you ever considered taking the challenge?”

Sarah frowned. “Not really.”

“You’d do very well on it,” Lorelei said quietly. “If you battle this way with just Sneasel, I can’t imagine how well you’ll do with an entire team.”

Sarah grinned. “Can I battle you then, Bugsy?”

Bugsy grinned. “No, because it’s not Battling hours right now. Besides, I’d tear you apart. You only have one Pokemon. I’ve got six. A Gym battle uses all of your Pokemon, to a maximum of six. They’re not trainer battles, Sarah. Whitney in the next town only has two Pokemon, though, so you might have an easier time. Just follow the path through Ilex Forest.”

Sarah grinned. “Very well. I may just attempt the Challenge. I don’t believe that I would do very well, but it would be interesting to see how far I could get. I’ll leave first thing tomorrow.”

+++++

Well, I haven't done a straight traner versus trainer battle in my fiction in...

wow...

it's been about two years, at least. I think...

anyway, there's Chapter 1. Let me know what you think. I'll work on Chapter 2 and have it up soon.

Ash_Junior
10th October 2005, 5:22 PM
I think that I'm gonna start up the habit in this fic that at every new chapter, I have either a journal entry (these will probably be the most common), a news report, or something else to sum up the happenings of previous chapters. How did I get this idea? Well, Buffy/Angel, Stargate SG-1/Atlantis, Farscape, 24, etc.

Basically any show that has more than one episode and requries people to knwo information about previous shows...since I can't flash back whole scenes quickly and easily, I'll settle for journal entries...:D

I hope you like it.




Journey Day 1
Greg's Diner, Azalea Town, Johto.

Well, here I am, about to start my journey. Steven told me to keep a journal if I ever went on a journey, so here's my first entry. I'm lost in Ilex Forest. Some trainer I am, huh? Getting lost right after I decide to go on my journey? Maybe I should start from the beginning. I'm Sarah Gilchrist, former Squad Leader of Team Blizzard—the Loyalists, not the Doppelgangers that went nuts and tried to take over Nuschantz—and Johto is the first country besides Nuschantz that I've ever been to in my life.

I was born and raised in Nuschantz. I was a Nomad, so I've been all over the country at one time or another. I'm not one of the Nuschantians that most people think of. You know, the people who run the ski resorts at inflated prices for the rich Outlanders—anyone who doesn't live in Nuschantz. They're Resorters, and there's been a bitter feud between us Nomads and the Resorters for centuries, I've been told. No one is quite sure what started it, but the recent Battle of Sheer Cliff may have ended it. True, there weren't any actual Resorters there, but there were some Johtans and Kantans there. That's how I got to Johto.

The Blackthorne Gym Leader, Steven, saw how I fought, and invited me to Johto to work as a Gym trainer in his gym. He didn't even consider the fact that I'm used to Ice types, and he uses Steel types. Truth be told, I didn't either, and I only found out once I got there, but I adapted within a few weeks.

The next really important thing that happened, once I got to Johto, was just a few days ago. Steven invited me to dinner, and told me that someone from the Battle of Sheer Cliff. It turned out that its one of the current Indigo League Elites, Lorelei Belle Winters. She gave me a Sneasel, and invited me to go with her to Azalea Town to meet Bugsy (her boyfriend). It took us almost a day, and when we got to the Gym, he wasn't there. I ended up battling his little sisters, Holly and Molly, and their Fighting/Bug Heracross. Heracross had an elemental advantage over Sneasel (Fighting beats Dark), and Sneasel had an elemental advantage over Heracross (Ice beats Bug). It was a very close thing.

Bugsy suggested to me that I embark on the Johto Gym Challenge—that is, travelling to and defeating every Johto Gym Leader—but refused to battle me. He said that he was too strong. He's pretty stuck up, if you ask me. I don't see what Lorelei sees in him. Speaking of which, I thought that she was supposed to be some loud-mouthed, hot-tempered young woman. The Lorelei that I saw was the quietest person I have ever been around.

So now I'm on my way to Goldenrod. Bugsy said that Whitney, the Goldenrod City Gym Leader, only has two Pokes, so I should be able to stand a chance—according to him. Whitney's not the ditz that everyone thinks she is. Steven had her over several times in the two years that I stayed with the Steel-type Gym Leader. She's actually pretty smart. I think I heard that she got a degree in Quantum Physics from the Goldenrod University.

Well, I'll be heading off pretty soon. I've got to get through Ilex Forest before it gets dark. Dark types come out after dark, after all...

+++++

Sarah glanced at her watch. Just past two PM. How in the world was it so dark? She glanced up at the slight illumination that filtered through the dense coverage. Okay, so it was a rhetorical question. She sighed and shook her head. At least there wasn't a lot of underbrush. If it had been nice and bright there would have been underbrush, but here she was, walking through a dark and gloomy forest in the middle of the afternoon and there was no underbrush.

Sarah glanced at the compass she'd bought in Azalea, and its accompanying map. If her calculations were right, she'd be getting back to the path in about three minutes. Of course, she wouldn't have gotten off the path if Sneasel hadn't decided to run off into the forest after something shiny, but it could be worse.

From somewhere above her, she heard a low growl. She whistled, and Sneasel darted to her side, dropping into a ready position. Sarah's eyes scanned Ilex Forest, looking for the source of the growling. Then something splashed onto her neck. She frowned and wiped it off, bringing it around to her face for closer examination. Then the rain began to pour down through the leaves, and more thunder rolled through the forest.

“Never say that something could be worse,” she muttered, half to herself and half to Sneasel. “If you do, it ALWAYS gets worse.” Sarah suddenly wished that she had brought along something to keep the rain off of her. Instead, all that she had brought with her from Azalea in her excitement was her Pokeball belt, Sneasel, and the clothes that she was wearing.

She sighed and, having no other recourse, began to trudge forward.


Johto: A New Beginning Chapter 2

Disciples of Celebi, Fringes of Ivy


Sarah peered through the rain, and for a moment, thought that she saw some sort of dwelling. She shivered and walked forward, wishing that she had Sneasel for company. Unfortunately, she had had to return him several hours before, when the rain had begun to freeze to his hair in such a way that it pulled on his hair.

Her map had gotten past waterlogged an hour before that, and had ripped in half when she had tried to close it. Attempts to repair it had only damaged it further, to the point where she had had to discard it.

So here she was, on her way to Goldenrod in the pouring rain with just over a thousand credits in her pocket, a Potion, two Pokeballs, and a Sneasel that was recalled until the storm blew over. Fortunately, the Pokemon in Ilex Forest hadn’t been too active, so she hadn’t had to fight any of the Ilexians yet. With any luck, she wouldn’t need to, especially with Sneasel's condition. “If I had luck, though, I’d be in Goldenrod, trying to find the coldest place possible to stay.” she muttered. She smiled. Maybe she had been separated from Nuschantz by an ocean and thousands of miles, but Nuschantz could never be separated from her. She despised the chronically warm—and this despicable wet—weather that the Johtans had. A cold shower—not THIS kind of shower, sub-freezing temperatures, and snow on the ground every day—why couldn’t those things happen here?

She sighed, and continued walking, ignoring her clothes sticking to her body and sliding with every step. Sooner or later, she’d find her way out of this Allnian-forsaken forest, and then she would never have to travel through it again. Hopefully.

She squinted through the rain and looked at what she had been looking at earlier. Yes, it was a building. Rudimentary—it probably leaked buckets—but it was shelter. Sarah sprinted towards the building, scanning it for a door. She made it to the building and was halfway around before she found it.

After several seconds of pounding, the door opened a crack to reveal an older, bald man in a simple gray robe with piercing emerald eyes staring at her. The instant he saw her, he swung the door wide open and called something in a language that she didn't understand. He grabbed Sarah and pulled her inside, and something was instantly thrown around her. It took her several seconds to realize that it was some kind of cloak.

She heard more of the strangely musical language being spoken, and she was being half-pulled, half-dragged towards a fireplace. She was shoved down onto a couch, and a fire was immediately kindled without the aid of a fire type with a speed that surprised Sarah. The old man who had been at the door came into her line of vision, and asked a question. It took her several seconds to realize that he was speaking in English. Suddenly she realized how tired she was, and, seconds later, she was asleep.

+++++

They were everywhere. Sarah ran, but still more came. She raised her carbine and fired indiscriminately into their midst, but it didn’t stop them, and barely slowed them down. They were coming—coming for her. She couldn’t see what they were. They were dark, though. Humanoid, but dark. They could be humans, but they could also be a humanoid Pokemon. What were they? Why did they hate her so? Why did she hate them?

She was alone on a battlefield. Bodies of Pokemon were strewn all about her. Some had been hers, others had been killed by her and her team. They didn’t stop coming. They never stopped coming. She had chosen to fight them, and they had retaliated. She was dying, and she knew it. The dark masters kept sending their Pokemon out to face her, not caring that she and her now dead team had killed hundreds of them. They wanted her dead.

Here they came—Fighting types rampaging through their own troops in an effort to get to her; avians drawing ever closer, their beaks and sharp talons a terrible thing to behold; and Psychics, floating serenely over the carnage, protecting and healing the dark onslaught from Sarah and her gun.

Then they were all upon her. They were fighting her. Her carbine was ripped from her hands. She—

Sarah woke up in a cold sweat, screaming. She looked around and saw that she was back in the small Ilexian house. The old man was coming through a door in the rear of the house. A small fire roared in the fireplace. There were now two small couches—wooden she saw now that she wasn't falling asleep every which way—in front of the fireplace. She was on one, and a boy that looked to be seventeen or so was sitting on the other, staring at her, a frightened expression on his face.

“Are you all right?” the boy asked nervously as the older man hurried towards the two.]

Sarah blinked, and shook her head. “Yeah,” she muttered. “I was just dreaming about…” she trailed off, trying to remember her dream, but to no avail. “I can’t remember,” she said quietly, “But all I know is that it was terrifying.”

The old man nodded knowingly. “Those who sleep in this house often have dreams. The past, the present, the future…all these things can be seen, when sleeping so close to the shrine of Celebi.”

Sarah and the boy looked at each other, then back at the old man. Sarah frowned. “Excuse me?” she asked, “Celebi? What is THAT? And who are you two?”

“I’m Patrick Schmitt, I got lost just like you and wound up here.” The boy said, pushing his unruly raven hair back over his head.

“You may call me Sage Ni,” the old man said, bowing gracefully. “I am the leader of the Disciples of Celebi. My brother—my biological brother, that is—is Sage Li of Sprout Tower. He decided that the Tower Bellsprout needed his attention more than our shrine.”

Sarah stared at the bald man. “You still haven’t answered my question, sir,” she said coldly. “Who is Celebi?”

“Celebi,” Sage Ni began softly. “How do you define Celebi?” The old man sat down on the floor, cross-legged, between the fireplace and the two teenagers. “Celebi is a creature of incredible power. He is the only Pokemon in existence that can travel forward or backwards in time. Long ago, or so the stories say, he tried to change history to make things easier for humans and Pokemon alike. The changes he made, were disastrous. In the end, he exiled himself from this world, to return only if the world were in extreme peril.

“It is said that he placed the artifact that we now consider a shrine, to link him forever to this world, as a way to return to this world, in case he was ever needed.” Sage Ni stared at Sarah, as if he knew something that she didn’t. “In case his power were ever needed. At times, the power of Celebi can be felt by individuals, if they are within a quarter mile of the shrine, and can see different times, as you did, just now.”

Patrick stared at her, his eyes full of fear. Sarah stared at the monk intently, then laughed. “Right,” she said. “You actually expect me to believe this garbage? Come on! I’ve heard better stories about the Titans. You know, how Lokrye, this big evil thing betrayed the rest of the so-called ‘Titan Council’ and tried to take over the world and stuff. It’s all a bunch of nonsense.” She got to her feet, and instantly felt dizzy. She reached out a hand to steady herself, and shook her head to clear it. “I’m sorry that I intruded on your property, but if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be going. And no more of this Celebi mumbo jumbo, please. I just need to get to Goldenrod.”

Sage Ni smiled. “Of course. I shall have Brother Ghent take you. He has been chafing under our strict policy of non-contact with the outside world, with the sole exception, of course, being those who are lost. I am sure that he would relish returning to Goldenrod City. I look forward to meeting you again, Sarah Gilchrist.”

Sarah nodded. “Thanks, but I won’t be coming—“ she froze. “How did you know my name?” she demanded. “I never told you!”

The old man simply smiled.

+++++

:D

well, I guess I should get started on Part 2....:D

Ash_Junior
21st October 2005, 8:00 PM
Johto-A new Beginning? Chapter 2 Part 2

Sarah sniffed the air, and grimaced. “What is that smell?” she demanded. “It stinks!” She and Brother Ghent had been marching towards the Team Ivy enclave for more than three hours, and she was just about ready to snap. She wanted to be there, and be there right now! Of course, when she had told Brother Ghent about this, he had just laughed and said something about being patient, and stopping to smell the Roselias or something like that. He’d been saying stuff like that the whole trip! He was going to drive her nuts, with his….monkish style of speaking. Thank goodness that she was going to be with the Team Ivy scientists soon. But that smell…it wasn’t good, but it was somehow familiar.

“You may wish,” Brother Ghent said, stopping and holding one hand out towards her, “To stop and examine the path ahead before you proceed.” Sarah rolled her eyes and turned her head towards the monk. He, like all of the other monks, and Sage Ni, was dressed in a brown robe, and had a shaved head.

“Look, I’m tired of all the mumbo jumbo. Can you just PLEASE—” Sarah began, but cut off as something bit into her skin. She yelped, and as her legs came forward, something bit into those too. She threw herself backwards and felt her skin literally rip, and begin to bleed. She glared up at Brother Ghent. “What just attacked me?” she demanded.

Brother Ghent sighed. “I tried to warn you. We are approaching the outer limits of the Team Ivy Miltank pastures. You ran into one of their barbed wire fences.” He half-smiled, laughter shining in his brown eyes.

Sarah glared up at him, then a thought occurred to her. “Wait a minute, if that was a barbed wire fence to keep the Miltank in, then that smell…” she trailed off, suddenly remembering where the smell was so familiar. “Manure,” she muttered, remembering with hatred the times that she had been assigned, as a punishment, to clean out the Arcteron stalls. She rolled her eyes and raised her head to the sky. “Of course,” she muttered. “They just have to have Miltank.”

“Miltank manure IS the best fertilizer,” Brother Ghent offered, a little too helpfully, looking up from rummaging around in the small pack that he had brought with him.

Sarah just shook her head and glanced at Sneasel, who was leaning against a bush, smirking at her. She pointed a finger in his direction. “Shut up.” She hissed. “I don’t wanna hear a peep out of you.”

“You know,” Brother Ghent began, “Pokemon who are treated well battle better than those who are treated like…well, like you treat your Sneasel.” He looked up at her and extended a small, plastic case with a red cross on the top. “Here, the First Aid Kit that Sage Ni insists that we always carry with us.”

Sarah accepted it, but began to chuckle. “You know, Ghent,” she began, grinning. “I was in Team Blizzard over in Nuschantz, and I know that that is just not true. We even did an experiment to test that. If anything, those Pokemon that were treated worse ended up better, so that they would show us up. Most of them, anyway. A lot of them turned out to be crybabies, so we set those loose. We didn’t have any room for ‘em in Team Blizzard.”

Brother Ghent stared at her as she pulled out a cotton swab and began mopping up the blood on her arms. “Is that so? Well, my experience has always been the opposite.”

Sarah laughed, and rummaged around in the first aid kit for the rubbing alcohol. “Look, if you want to waste your time pussy-footing around, walking on egg shells around the wuss Pokemon, be my guest. I don’t want any part of it. My team is gonna be focused, determined, and tough, on the inside AND out. I don’t want any wimps on my team. Team Tenacity is gonna be the roughest, toughest team in Johto.” She looked down at the cotton ball soaked in alcohol that she had just finished cleaning her cuts with, and then up at Ghent. “That’s what I’m calling my team. Team Tenacity.”

Sneasel swaggered out in front of her, and grinned up at her, then flexed its muscles. “Ya see?” she asked, gesturing at Sneasel. “He understands, and he agrees.”

Brother Ghent shook his head. “Sarah Gilchrist, you don’t know what you’re doing. Please, don’t do this. Be kind and gentle to your Pokemon, and—“

“Yadda yadda yadda,” Sarah replied, rolling her eyes, “Blah blah blah. That’s all I’ve heard since coming to Johto, you know that, monk boy?” she picked up another cotton ball and dipped it into the rubbing alcohol, and got started on her arms. “Look, I know what I’m doing, okay? I’ve trained Pokemon ever since I joined Team Blizzard seventeen years ago when I was five. I’ve seen more battles and peril than most average trainers will see in their lifetimes. I almost died myself in the Battle of Sheer Cliff, when the Doppelganger—“ she stopped talking and dropped the cotton ball into the first aid kit. “You don’t know about the Battle of sheer Cliff, do you?” Brother Ghent shook his head, smiling broadly. “Well, I don’t have time to tell you.” She slapped band-aids on the cuts she had cleaned, and closed the kit. “We need to get to Team Ivy.” She tossed the plastic box to Ghent. “Let’s get a move on.”

She grabbed Sneasel, and got to her feet. “You must be in pain,” Brother Ghent began, “You should rest—“

Sarah whirled around, her eyes flashing. “I’m fine. I’ve been shot before, multiple times, and I kept going. I’m not weak, you know. I have a VERY high tolerance for pain. If you want to rest, that’s fine. But now that I know that this is a Miltank pasture, I’m pretty sure that I can find my own way. I’ll keep going NOW.”

Brother Ghent shook his head and got to his feet. “May Celebi watch over you,” he said softly, and picked up his pack.

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Whatever,” she muttered, and started for the Team Ivy enclave, this time not leaving any of her skin or clothing on the barbed wire. “What a whacko,” she muttered to Sneasel, who chittered his agreement.

Sneasel looked back over his shoulder, and saw Brother Ghent, pack in hand, watching them walk away, a faint smile on his face. But the smile wasn’t the only expression on his face. Suddenly, for some reason, Sneasel began to feel very uneasy.

+++++
+++++

Chapter 2 is complete...

hoep you guys are enjoying this. Now you'll be able to see that she's quite a bit an anti-heroine. hope that doesn't drive people away. Like I said, she's kinda modeled after R/B/Y Blue/Gary. The "Smell Ya Later" Gary. That's my favorite character from that series, actually.

anyway, the stuff in spoil tags hasn't happened yet, I'll take it out of spoil tags as soon as it does happen.

I hope that you guys enjoy the banner. I made it myself, and had a LOT of fun doing it.

:D

as always, please drop a review off at the end of the thread

Ash_Junior
12th November 2005, 8:27 AM
Journey Day 8
Mess Hall, Team Ivy Enclave

I know it's been a while since I've recorded anything, but I've been busy here with Team Ivy. For a bunch of scientists, they aren't half bad. It's more like a quarter of 'em. The “Don't bug me, I'm studying” guys I'm talking about. Lariot doesn't mind me that much. She's been nice to me ever since I showed up.

Lariot's the head honcho here. Her name isn't really Lariot, but since she's the head of Team Ivy and she helps out a lot with the ranch hands, the Ivians call her Lariot. She's a really nice person, and she was the one that first found me wandering around the pastures. She challenged me to a battle. Later, she told me that she thought I was a Rocket. Apparently they've been getting pretty annoying around here. At first I thought that she was going to use the Rapidash she was riding, but she sent out a Miltank. I don't think I have ever laughed harder.

Of course, I don't think I've ever been so humiliated by a Rollout. Of course, maybe I lost because Sneasel and I were so disgusted by its Milk Drink technique. Don't worry, future self, I won't go into the details. Let me just say that only female Miltank can do it, and that all Miltank are EXTREMELY flexible. Of course, apparently the male Miltank are terrible for battling, and good pretty much only for reproductive activities. But the female Miltank are terrific battlers. I've got to get one sometime.

Lariot agreed to help me get to Goldenrod, but she said that I could stay on and earn a little spending money, and go with them when they go to Goldenrod to get supplies. That's today.

I have to say, working on a ranch is hard work. I haven't been this sore in two years—since the Battle of Sheer Cliff. It feels like every muscle in my body has been taken out, stabbed with needles, stretched, put over an iron, and put back in by Aipoms. I've never felt better. I'd forgotten how a good workout feels.

I'm going to miss this place, but I'm sure I'll be back again. Lariot has said that she'd be glad to give me a job if I ever needed one. Hopefully she didn't mean research. If it were anything but research, I'd be more than glad to help. A few other trainers have passed through, and they've all complained about the food that they serve here. They obviously haven't had survival rations. I'd rather eat my own arm than eat a survival ration.

Well, Lariot's coming. Looks like it's time for me to go.

Future Self, I'll write you more later.

Until then, it's me—er...you.

Crap. I knew I shouldn't have done this entry like a letter!

+++++

Johto—A New Beginning Chapter 3

+++++

Sarah shook her head, disgusted at herself, and put her notebook into her pack. Lariot was coming up to her, and grinning. Lariot was a short woman, maybe five and a half feet tall, but she was strongly built. Apparently she was the smartest woman on the ranch, and also one of the strongest. Her fiery red hair that stuck out from under her fedora accentuated her high cheekbones and pronounced forehead. If Sarah had been almost anyone but herself, she wouldn't have wanted to been around Lariot when she was in a bad mood. Today Lariot was dressed in her good clothes—worn, blue denim overalls that covered up an “I love Grass!” T-shirt. Apparently they sold them. Not many, though. “You ready, Sarah?” Lariot asked in her rough manner.

Sarah grinned and nodded. “I'm ready.” she glanced around the Mess Hall. She was going to miss it. The log construction. The high, wood ceiling. The mashed potatoes that had dried on the wall and had never come off. The ranch's mascot and cook, a Blissey named Cookie, that had blown out to unbelievable dimensions chowing down on the left-over food. She'd spent a week here, but she'd formed a lot of memories. “Back on the road again.” she said tenderly, grinning up at Lariot. “I'm really gonna miss it here, though.” Lariot's face softened. “Now,” Sarah said, formalizing her tone and straightening up. “I think that there's the slight matter of payment?”

Lariot grinned. “Right. Straight to the point. I can respect that. Your pay is fifteen hundred credits.” She tossed Sarah an envelope. “But me and the others have a few surprises for you out front.” Sarah glanced down at the envelope and started counting the money inside. Lariot shook her head, smiled, and headed towards the door.

Content that she had everything that she had coming to her, Sarah got up and followed Lariot. Outside was the whole Ivy bunch, and most of the ranchers besides. Most of them were probably there to cheer her leaving, she was sure. She had lost track of how many experiments she had ruined, how many chores she had messed up, and how many people she had driven to distraction (or tears, in one memorable argument). Come to think of it, she didn't see Professor Irving Loggerhead. He was probably still crying from when she had insulted his Chicken Pot-pie earlier that day. That was two people she had made cry. And both men, for some reason.

Whatever the case, they were all outside, waiting for her. And Cookie was giving two Pokeballs to Lariot. What in the world was going on? Lariot had said that she had had a surprise for her, but...

Lariot turned to face her, a grin spread across her face. “I've hired trainers passing through before, but nobody quite like you before. You're a hard worker. So, I took the liberty of getting you a couple presents that you've probably come to appreciate.” Sarah frowned. That probably meant that that second Pokeball, which she now saw to be an Item Ball, was probably filled with manure or a pitchfork or a shovel to clean up manure or something. Lariot held both out to her. “To you, from us.”

Sarah nodded at Lariot, and held the Pokeballs out as far out from her as she could, and activated the remolecularization process for both. The Green beam that shot out of the Item Ball coalesced into a hat—a fedora like Lariot's, and the red beam of the Pokeball turned into a Miltank. It stood on all four of its feet, and looked up at Sarah as if gauging her. “I don't recognize the Miltank,” she said. “I don't see a brand either.” Sarah stepped forward and grabbed the hat, and knocked it against her knee several times to shake off the dirt that had come onto it when it had fallen onto the ground.

Lariot grinned. “Yeah, it's ours. It's a yearling, though. We've had you working with the older Miltank. We don't brand the Miltank here until they're yearlings.”

Sarah grinned. “Thanks a lot,” she said. “I really appreciate it.”

Lariot laughed. “You're welcome. You were the hardest working trainer I've ever had come through here. It was the least I could do.”

++++++

Sarah waved goodbye to Lariot and the others the head of Team Ivy had brought to Goldenrod with her as they rattled away in their beaten-up pickup truck. They had dropped her off in front of the gym, as Sarah had requested. The sooner that she got this badge out of the way, the faster she'd be able to get back to beat Bugsy.

Sarah turned to the gym and pushed open the door. There was nothing special about the Goldenrod Gym. Just a standard Johto League regulation Battling pit—complete with dirt for Sand Attack-capable Pokemon—and two regulation trainer's boxes. But right now, they weren't in use. A bunch of girls in cheerleader outfits were kneeling on top of each other's shoulders.

Sarah closed the door, and glanced down at Miltank, who had plodded in behind her, Sneasel lounging comfortably on The Miltank's back. It was time to see whether Miltank was the kind of material Sarah wanted hanging around her. “You wanna have some fun?” she asked quietly, grinning. She glanced back up at the cheerleaders, who fortunately hadn't noticed her yet.

Miltank glanced back up at her and grinned. As soon as she felt Miltank beginning to curl up, Sneasel left off of her back, and grinned at the Miltank. “No bowling right now,” Sarah said quietly. “I just need you to Stomp as hard as you can.” The Miltank grinned maliciously as she unrolled and raised her left foreleg up as high as she could, then drove it into the ground hard. Sneasel and Sarah, who had both prepared for the minor tremor that followed, were unaffected, but the cheerleaders collapsed in on each other like a Devon Corp tent, as Sarah would joke later.

Sarah started laughing, and began walking towards them, Sneasel and Miltank following along after her. Sneasel was laughing, and Miltank was doing her best to laugh but it came out more like hoarse coughing. Lariot had explained to Sarah at the Team Ivy enclave that this was because humanoid Pokemon had vocal cords like humans, and bestial Pokemon didn't, so the sounds that the two general types of Pokemon could make were vastly different. And Miltank were bestial, so they couldn't really laugh or anything.

The cheerleaders began to gather themselves, and one got up and faced them. “What have you done?” she demanded. “Do you realize how much concentration that takes?” she was looking at the dirt of the arena floor where they had been practicing, and it was only then she spotted the dirt that had gotten onto every cheerleader's clothing.

“Not as much as it did to pick out that outfit,” Sarah snickered. “I've seen seen better-dressed beggars back in Nuschantz. At least they were sensible enough to cover up all of their bodies.” Sarah grinned as she thought about the fact that she had left out about them needing to cover up, or they'd freeze to death.

The cheerleader looked up at Lorelei, and her lower lip trembled. “It's a good outfit,” the young woman said tremulously. “I picked it out myself for the team.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Right. I guess that I should also ask whether you knew that halloween was over or not, because of all your makeup.” It WAS true that the cheerleader had a lot of makeup on.

The young woman raised a hand to her left cheek, and burst into tears. “You're mean!” she sobbed, throwing her face into her hands. She turned and ran towards a door in the back of the gym.

The other cheerleaders watched her go silently, then turned to stare balefully at Sarah. “nobody does that to a member of the Vogue Sorority!” one of them said, taking a step towards the trainer.

“Yeah!” another said, falling in behind the first. “Just because she's emotional, has problems, and cries at the drop of the hat is no reason to make her cry!” There was a brief pause. “Well it's not!” the same girl insisted.

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Whatever,” she said. “Look, where's Whitney. I want to challenge her.”

“You're not going anywhere near Whitney until we avenge Vicky!” the first cheerleader said harshly, and gestured towards one of the trainer platforms. “Pokemon battle now. Five minute time limit—“

“Nope,” Sarah rolled her eyes as she interrupted. “Since I was challenged, I make the rules. TEN minute time limit,” she smiled thinly. “Sudden death, one use per Pokemon, and a one versus one.” A one use per Pokemon battle meant, of course, that a Pokemon could not be used again if it were withdrawn.

The first cheerleader grinned. “We accept! Give us a second while we decide what Pokemon we'll use.”

Sarah grinned. This was going to be like taking candy from a Cleffa.

Ash_Junior
2nd December 2005, 6:25 PM
not like anyone is reading this, but here's the next chapter segment, full of battling goodness!

+++++
+++++

Sarah stared at the Pokemon the cheerleaders had sent out. When she had thought that it would be like taking candy from a Cleffa, she hadn’t actually thought that they would send out a Cleffa that was munching on some Rare Candy—a Cleffa that looked as if it had been raised on the drug.

Rare Candy, as every trainer knew, was a strength enhancer originally developed by Silph Corporation, but eventually emulated by Devon Corp, Specter Corp, and other major trainer aid companies. Because they were so difficult to make, they were extremely expensive, and only the very rich and the very good Pokemon trainers could afford them.

Rare candy greatly boosted the strength of the Pokemon that ingested it, but only for a short time, unless the Pokemon ingests a lot of them at one time, in which case it was usually permanent. Moreover, they were extremely addicting. Having just one Rare Candy could cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms if more Rare Candy was not procured. In spite of this, Rare Candies were still perfectly legal

This Cleffa looked as if it were in the first stages of Rare Candy addiction. Sarah grimaced. She would take it down, but it pained her to see any Pokemon need to use Rare Candies. She glanced down at her team. Which one would she use against the Cleffa? The Cleffa was almost certainly female. If Cleffa used Charm on Sneasel, he would almost certainly be out of the fight. If, however, she used Miltank…Sarah sighed. She didn’t know exactly how powerful Miltank was, but at least she wouldn’t be effected as much by a Charm attack.

She looked down at her duo. They stared back up at her, waiting. “Miltank,” she finally said. “Go.” The Miltank trotted out into the middle of the arena across from the Cleffa, and awkwardly bowed.

“Cleffa, Pound!” the cheerleader said, and the Cleffa leaped into the air and used what little mass it had to slam the off-balance Miltank to the ground.

Sarah glared at the Cheerleader. That had been a cheap shot. And the cheerleader was going to pay for it. “Miltank,” she called out. The Miltank, splayed out on the ground, looked at her. “Defense Curl.” The Miltank paused for a moment, then did its best imitation of a grin as it realized what Sarah was planning. Of course, the grin looked like a grimace to Sarah, but what more could you expect from a Bestial Pokemon?

The Cleffa had stopped itself and was coming back for another attack. “Cleffa,” the cheerleader called out, “Encore!” Sarah grimaced. The Cleffa waved its arms around and started clapping. Sarah grimaced. Encore was a Normal/Psychic move that influenced the victim’s brain to keep it doing whatever it had been doing. Yes, Miltank would be great at defense when the Encore move was over, but that would also allow the Cleffa to inflict damage on Miltank in the interim.

“Shake it off!” Sarah called out as Miltank started another Defense Curl. “Shake it off!” Sarah glared at the Cheerleader, who merely smiled back at her. “Shake if off and do your Rollout!”

“It won’t be a threat for a little while,” the Cheerleader said. “Go ahead and take a nap.”

It was a few minutes before anything else happened. Miltank kept Defense Curling, and Cleffa slept, regaining its strength. Sarah paced the length of the attacker’s side of the rink, railing insults at the Cheerleader she had been battling, who turned out to be named Veronica. Sarah’s opponent, on the other hand, stood perfectly still (except for reading some fashion magazine) on the defender’s side of the rink.

Then, finally, it was over. Miltank broke out of the trance the baby Pokemon had put her under. And she was mad, too. Sarah couldn’t blame her. That many Defense Curls would definitely make the Miltank equivalent of the abdominal muscles hurt a lot. “Miltank, Rollout!” she called out. Miltank nodded, glanced around to get its bearings, and started rolling towards the still-sleeping Cleffa.

“Wake up, Cleffa.” Veronica said nervously. Sarah grinned. Playtime was over. “Cleffa, wake up!”

Miltank barreled over the sleeping Cleffa, and kept right on going. The pain turned out to be just what the little baby needed to wake it up from the deep sleep that accompanied excessive Rare Candy use. The Cleffa leaped to its feet, the pain making it instantly awake, and glared at the Miltank as it came around for another pass. “Sing!” Veronica called out desperately.”

The Cleffa leaped out of the way of the barreling Miltank—almost. Miltank clipped the Cleffa, and sent it sprawling. The Cleffa slowly got to its feet and began singing a haunting lullaby. But Miltank was too angry to be affected by it. Sarah glanced down at Sneasel. His eyes were getting heavy. One swift slap corrected that. When she looked back up, the Cleffa had stopped singing, and was lying on the ground, breathing heavily. And Miltank was coming around for another pass.

Veronica looked at her Cleffa desperately. It was obvious that the cheerleader wanted this victory. She looked at Miltank, who was just finishing turning around, then back to her tiny Cleffa. In a loud, clear voice she called out. “Cleffa, Evolve!” Sarah paled. No way. No way was this Cleffa ready to evolve. Not now, not in the middle of the battle. No!

But it was true. Almost as soon as the words left the Cheerleader’s mouth, the Cleffa began to glow. Within a second, it was too bright to look at. Miltank was barreling down towards it, but Sarah could see that it was too late. “Abort!” Sarah called out desperately. “Abort!” she’d seen this exact same thing happen back in Nuschantz many times.

Either Miltank was too stubborn and didn’t want to listen to her, or she couldn’t slow down in time and hit the Cleffa. In any case, the second Miltank hit the center of the light—the evolving Cleffa—Miltank was thrown backwards on the brink of a large explosion. Miltank was thrown all the way back to the wall of the gym, and slid to the floor, unconscious.

Sarah growled under her breath as she recalled Miltank. “Get out there, Sneasel!” she cried. Sneasel catapulted forward as if shot by a gun. “Direct contact,” she said, noting that the evolution light was nearing its peak. “Only leads to that. Ranged attacks can halt the evolution, though. Ice Beam it until it stops.”

Sneasel nodded and began firing Ice Beam after Ice Beam at the glowing Normal-type, causing explosion after explosion. Yet still the blinding light continued. Sarah couldn’t look at the Cleffa-turning-Clefairy, but because Sneasel was a Dark type, it had better eyes and a third eyelid, and could easily see the Pokemon.

Finally the light began to calm down, but Sneasel didn’t stop firing. Sneasel had to be getting tired, Sarah knew. And there was still another Pokemon to defeat. Then the light was gone, and there stood a Clefairy. For one split second, it stood there, defiant against Sarah, all of the damage it had sustained as a Cleffa healed completely. Then the barrage of Ice Beams started hitting it, and it was driven backwards. The Clefairy raised its hands over its head to try to ward off the attacks, but Sneasel showed no mercy, and began stalking towards the normal-type.

Veronica and her Pokemon tried everything, but to no avail. Sarah and Sneasel managed to counter everything they did. Finally, the Clefairy fainted. The Second cheerleader that Sarah had seen when she had first entered the gym stepped forward as Veronica returned her fainted Clefairy. “Nice work,” She said. “But you’ll have to do better. I’m Alyson, and I’m between you and Whitney.” She took a Pokeball from her belt and held it out for Sarah to see. Sarah glanced at Sneasel. He was tired, and she wasn’t sure if she could handle another battle. “Behold the power of the Chansey!” Alyson jammed her finger down onto the release button, and the red beam shot out.

Sarah grimaced. She was definitely going down.Chansey ,while regarded as some as the weakest of the weak, were most definitely one of the strongest Pokemon, hands down, allowed in the Indigo and Johto Leagues. The red beam of light coalesced, and Sarah grimaced as the Stantler appeared.

Sarah paused, then did a double-take. A Stantler? Wasn’t it supposed to be a Chansey? Obviously Alyson thought so too, because she was yelling. “I TOLD VICKY NOT TO REARRANGE THE POKEBALLS!” She yelled. She kept yelling, but Sarah didn’t pay any attention. She gestured to Sneasel, and he scurried back to her.

While Alyson was having her little rant, she and Sneasel would be planning strategy. As everyone knew, Stantler, the Normal/Psychic type’s antlers were special. Sometimes sold as works of art, they were capable of distorting reality, much in the fashion of a Psychic, due to the fact that they were the channelers of the Stantler’s Psychic energy. Stantler was once considered just a Normal type, but after further study and deliberation, Stantler were reclassified as a Normal/Psychic type.

“You’re a Dark type, so this should be in the bag,” Sarah said softly, kneeling down to smooth out some of Sneasel’s ruffled fur. “Stay away from the Antlers. You’re not strong enough a Dark type yet to disrupt its Psychic abilities by jumping onto the antlers. Don’t look it in the eyes.” Alyson seemed to be calming down, but was still ranting and raving. That would give her a few more precious seconds. “After what we did here, Faint Attack won’t work like it did on the twins. Besides, these are experienced trainers, so they’ll be expecting us to pull that, so don’t even try. We’ll be using Slash, Steel Claw, and Beat up. Maybe an Agility or something here and there.” Alyson was finished. “Go. We’ve got this one, Sneasel. Don’t screw up.” She finished in a warning tone.

Sarah got to her feet and nodded towards Alyson as Sneasel trotted out towards Stantler. “Whenever you’re ready.” She said, grinning.

Alyson mumbled something to herself, then called out. “Stantler, Sand Attack!”

Sarah growled. She had forgotten that Stantler knew how to do that. “Sneasel, Agility.” Sarah didn’t understand why some trainers called out for their Pokemon to turn their back to Sand Attacks, or not to let them get sand in their eyes. Pokemon weren’t stupid, after all…just tactically challenged. They knew enough.

Sneasel managed to make it through the dust storm all right, and came around towards the Stantler. “Metal Claw and Ice Beam!” Sarah called out, shifting her feet uncomfortably.

“Confuse Ray!” Alyson called out confidently.

Sneasel kept its eyes down, looking at the Stantler’s feet. With a running jump, it reached down and slashed at the Stantler’s back. The Stantler screamed in pain, and finished charging the Confuse Ray. It wheeled around and fired the Ray at Sneasel, who leaped into the air, and fired Ice Beams out of both of its palms to make it go even higher. The Confuse Ray reflected off of the Ice Beams, and dissipated harmlessly into a wall.

Sarah let out a breath. So far so good, but Sneasel had been lucky, and all four combatants (plus Veronica) knew it. “Hail!” She called out, taking her backpack off of her back and raising it over her head.

“Reflect!” Alyson called out, and grabbed an umbrella from a nearby satchel—probably stocked with items designed for just such an occasion—and opened it up over herself and Veronica.

Then the hail came down. One hit the Stantler just as the Psychic defense screen came online. Sarah had been expecting this, but fortunately, she had a counter. Thank goodness that there had been several fighting types there to help Sneasel perfect the move. “Brick Break!” she called out, grinning defiantly at the cheerleaders, whose mouths dropped open as they watched Sneasel charge towards Stantler, and shatter the Reflect. Hail pounded onto both of them, and Sneasel darted away, panting. Stantler, off-balance, staggered to its right, trying to regain its balance.

Sarah grinned. It was over. It was ALL over. Yes, Sneasel was tired, and yes, Stantler was more fresh than Sneasel, but she could see in the cheerleaders’ eyes that with that Brick Break, she had not only broken the Reflect—she had also broken the cheerleader’s belief in themselves that they could win the battle.

Sarah grin widened. Psychological warfare was so much more fun than conventional warfare.

+++++

Sarah looked down at the roll of bills the cheerleaders had thrust into her hands before they had run off to find the Gym Nurse Joy. Sarah herself had gone to the Goldenrod Pokemon Center and returned for her match against Whitney. It wouldn’t do, after all, to challenge Whitney with only a fainted Miltank and a drained Sneasel.

And there she was—Whitney. Standing with the cheerleader that had started crying when Miltank had stomped. Sarah opened her mouth to speak, but Whitney spotted her and whirled on her. “What were you thinking?” Whitney yelled. “Vicky has been practicing that all month! What were you thinking?”

Sarah sighed. “Look, I don’t really care about that.” Whitney opened her mouth to say something. “In hindsight it may not have been the best thing to do.” Mostly because I can see now that it’s caused a longer wait in battling you, Sarah added mentally. “But I did do it and I’m here to battle you. Now.”

Whitney sighed, and turned to the still-crying cheerleader. “We’ll finish talking later, Vicky,” she said quietly. “Could you wait for me in my office?” The crying girl nodded and walked towards a door set in the back wall. Whitney turned to Sarah. “I watched your battle on the security cameras. Very Impressive. Veronica’s been waiting for weeks for something like that to happen to her Cleffa so that she could pull a surprise evolve.” Whitney smiled. “And you’re lucky that Alyson is absent-minded and messy. If she had gotten her Chansey out, she would have creamed you.”

Sarah smiled. “This is true. I’m glad she sent out the Stantler, though.”

Whitney smiled wryly. “I’m going to have to have a talk with her about that temper of hers, though. I’m not sure what you said to your Sneasel, but you could have healed it with potions if you had had any.”

Sarah grinned. “Can’t afford any yet. I’m just starting out.”

Whitney smiled. “That’s what I thought. You’re from Steven’s gym, aren’t you?” Sarah nodded. “I thought I recognized you. I scanned the Pokedex database, but you weren’t given one. You know the drill. I need to see your Trainer Card.”

Sarah froze. “My what?”

Whitney frowned. “Your Trainer Card. Your Pokemon Training License.”

Sarah closed her eyes and grimaced. “You mean you don’t have one?” Whitney asked, cocking her head.

Sarah shook her head. “Nope. I don’t. I came over from Nuschantz two years ago with Steven. I started working directly in his gym. You don’t need a Pokemon license for that.”

Whitney nodded. “In that case, I can’t battle you. It’s against League regulations.” Sarah opened her mouth to protest. “There’s nothing I can do. You’re going to need to go to New Bark Town and get Elm to give you a Trainer Card.”

“But that’s several days’ journey away!” Sarah protested.

Whitney sighed. “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do.”

“I doubt that.” Sarah said darkly. She scooped up Sneasel, shot a glare over her shoulder at Whitney, and stalked out the door.