Boring Disclaimer Garbage: This is a fan-fiction I made. (DUUUUH!) Pokemon may not be mine but most of the characters and Pokémon are of my own design apart form the ones you should obviously know and that I obviously don't own. So NYAAAH!
Chapter One: The Call
Chapter Two: A Rivalry is Born
Chapter Three: The Price Of Trust
Chapter Four: Sapph’s First Capture
Chapter Five: Action in EverWood (Part 1)
Chapter Six: Action in EverWood (Part 2)
Chapter Seven: Quit Buggin’!
Chapter Eight: Across the Bay
Chapter Nine: Shocking Developments
Chapter Ten: Two Annoying Rivals
Chapter Eleven: The Gatonda Tournament
Chapter Twelve: Hurried Hunting
Chapter Thirteen: The Main Event Part 1 Part 2
Chapter Fourteen: Off The Chains Part 1 Part 2
Chapter Fifteen: Rock On, GrandpaPart 1 Part 2
Chapter Sixteen: The Phony Leader
Chapter Seventeen: Rolling Stones Gather No Moss Part 1 Part 2
Chapter Eighteen: One for the Honey...
Chapter Ninteen: Soaring Shadows
Chapter Twenty: Aerial Prison Break! Part 1 Part 2
Chapter Twenty One: Ace On the Airwaves Part 1 Part 2
Chapter Twenty Two: Battling the Storms Part 1 Part 2 SEASON FINALE
Chapter One: The Call
Rolling green hills, purple snow-capped mountains, vibrantly coloured fields of wild flowers and crystal blue skies and lakes moved on by in a slow rush as an old steam engine moved progressively north. The breathtaking scenery, however, was not on the minds of some of the passengers. Indeed, an eleven year old boy found sleeping a more fulfilling past time than stopping to smell the roses (not that he could stop the train to smell them anyway.)
As the train drew nearer to Olville Station, the boy reflected on how the invitation from Prof. Theodore T. Yew’s call to his father had started his journey to and in Corei...
Up in his room back in Cherrygrove Town, Johto, Sapph yawned lazily, stretched a bit and rolled on his side. It was, after all, a Saturday, and he was at perfect liberty to sleep in. At least he would have if his mother didn’t know how to get him out of bed in the mornings.
Unfortunately for Sapph, his mother knew.
“SAPPHIRE MANSON! GET DOWN HERE!”
That did it…
“It’s SAPPH!” he hollered down the stairs.
“So you are awake,” his mother smiled from the doorway, knowing she had won the daily battle.
“Aww, crud,” Sapph moaned to his pillow. He then grudgingly got out of bed to peer blearily at his reflection in the mirror.
A boy with extremely messed up dark brown hair peered back at him with startling blue eyes which were presently dulled by sleep. Yawning widely, he reached for his towel as he shuffled for the bathroom.
Sapph couldn’t see what the rush was about, there was nowhere “and I mean nowhere other than school to go,” as he would constantly complain to his often-exasperated but good-natured mother and his stern and often indifferent father.
Half an hour later, Sapph ambled into the kitchen where his little sister Emma was finishing off a plate of honeyed waffles. His mother stood at the stove, serving two more plates of the morning treat that was Sapph’s favourite.
“Morin’ Samph,” Emma greeted him cheerily, her mouth full of pastry.
“Hey Emm,” Sapph replied, stifling another huge yawn.
“Sapph, would you please not yawn that way? Especially in pretence,” his mother chided him kindly.
Sapph grinned. “Suuuuure thing, Mom,” he smiled, faking another yawn.
“That’ll do, Sapphire,” his mother countered with a bite of impatience, setting a large stack of breakfast before her second son.
“Thanks, Mom,” he said in sincere appreciation and dug in.
Katherine Manson smiled and rumpled his hair a little before setting a second plate of waffles on the table before the seat on Sapph’s left.
“Hey, mwere’s Dad?” Sapph asked, his face red with the effort of keeping his breakfast in his mouth and talking at the same time.
“On a walmph,” Emma replied, her cheeks once again stuffed to bursting point.
“Alright, that’s enough, both of you,” his mother scolded with a smile.
Both children smiled and somehow swallowed their food.
“Mum, what did Rubin say last night?” Emma asked her mouth mercifully empty this time.
“That he was arriving at Goldenrod City Station from Saffron this afternoon,” his mother said, now preparing some Pokémon food for the gym Pokémon."Emma, can I have you feed the Pokémon today? Your father left town early to pick Rubin up and I have to run to Azalea City this afternoon for some groceries.”
“Mum, can I come, hunh? Pleeease?” Emma asked, her emerald green eyes wide and puppylike.
“No, honey, you know your job to do,” Katherine smiled as she sat down to her breakfast.
“Awww, Muuuuuuuuum,” Emma moaned.
Just then the videophone in the study rang.
“Dear me, not a moment’s peace, hmm?” Katherine mused, rising to answer the phone.
“Don’t sweat it, Emm. You can do it in no time stat,” Sapph smiled at her and winked. “I’ll get it, Mom,” he added, rising to get the phone.
Emma beamed and their mother said “Thank you very much, dear.”
The Mansons owned a junior league gym in Cherrygrove Town. Sapph’s job was usually to feed the gym Pokémon as well as occasionally help Emma to clean the arena without their mother or father knowing.
“C’mon, Mum. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?” Emma continued to plead.
“Sorry, but- what was it Sapph says? Oh, yes- no sale,” Katherine replied, between bites.
“Pretty please, with honey, sugar, icing and a sundae cherry on top? And an extra large caramel centre?”
“Hey, Mom. That was the Day Care Centre,” Sapph said returning to his now cold pancakes and munching on them nonetheless.
“Really, how’s Tyra?” she asked, looking up form her waffles.
Tyra was Katherine’s Typhlosion and the first Pokémon that Sapph and Emma's mother received from Professor Elm about nineteen years ago.
“Looks like she’s going to go into labour or something,” Sapph mumbled his mouth once again filled with waffle.
Katherine’s fork fell from her hand with a loud clattering.
“She’s what?” she breathed.
Sapph opened one eye, swallowed and said “That’s what they told me to tell you…said it could be anytime this afterno…what’s wrong?” he asked, noticing that his mother had moved upstairs as though she had used an Extreme Speed attack.
“What’s with Mom?” he asked Emma, who gave Sapph an extreme fish eye.
“Don’t you know what that means?” she asked incredulously.
“Uh, no. Should I?” Sapph asked, only a little irritated.
“It means she’s going to have a baby!” Katherine told her son as she reappeared fully dressed up. Sapph stared: his dad had always said that it took their mother forever to dress up for anything.
“Look after the house alright, Sapph? And make sure Emma does her chores,” their mother said in a giddy rush as she bustled about clearing up plates. “Oh, happy day! Tyra’s having a baby!”
“No sweat, Mom,” Sapph assured her.
“Thank you, Sapph,” their mother said. “Now, the Pokémon food is all dished out and I must dash, Tyra having a baby!” She sang out loud as she skipped out of the room in a way that would even embarrass Emma.
Sapph and Emma stared, first at the closed door, and then at each other.
I don’t get it, Sapph thought, a piece of waffle hanging out the corner of his mouth. If Tyra’s having the baby, why’s she so happy?
The Manson Family Gym was a large, hardwood building that slightly resembled a barn more in size than in appearance. Everything, from the stable doors to the main supports of the gym was hardwood. Even the arena floor comprised of interlocking, dark hardwood panels on which were painted thick white lines which outlined the battle area. Being a junior league gym, only little leaguers came there for gym matches. The family gym had been victorious for the past two years in one hundred and ninety-nine battles and losing only four, making the league officials consider making it a major league gym for which Johto Silver Conference challengers would have to face before being allowed to compete, provided they could win one more. Sapph was sure he could rack in the one final gym win to make the Manson Gym an official Pokémon League gym…
…if his dad would only give him the chance.
As he fed his father’s Muk, Hitmonchan and Onix, he told Emma this. However, as this was a regular topic of discussion, Emma was more or less disposed to agree, even though she sincerely believed he could do it.
“-I mean, Dad’s Pokémon are really tough, and only lightweights come here for a Strength badge, I bet I could beat anybody who passes by for a badge…”
“Yeah, but wouldn’t Dad be peeved if you did?” Emma asked quietly as her mop sloshed across the gym floor.
“Not if I win,” Sapph said dismissively, now setting a dish of sweetened Pokémon food before Ribbon, his mother’s Butterfree and Gummy, Katherine’s Wigglytuff and turning to pick up a mop to help Emma. “After all, it’s ultimately the trainer’s skill that wins the match, as Dad tends to always tell me…”
“I bet Dad feels you can do it,” Emma said brightly.
Sapph looked at Emma hopefully for a moment and then both hung their heads as one as the gloom of reality hit them.
“Yeah, right,” they murmured together dejectedly, returning to Emma’s mopping.
“Imagine if I could do it before Dad gets back from Goldenrod,” Sapph went on, slightly starry-eyed. “He’d be so proud and Rubin will finally show me some R-E-S-P-E-C-T,”
“Again, yeah right,” Emma only just half-joked.
The mopping was finally done and Sapph and Emma were just standing back to watch the gym floor dry (“I mean, I know it’s boring but you got a better idea?” Sapph had argued with Emma before they both sat down to watch) just as a voice called out,” Hey! Anybody here?”
A boy who looked barely a year younger than Sapph showed up at the doorway. Decked out in a green and gold tracksuit, cap and trainers, he put the image of an overlarge leprechaun in Emma’s mind. He surveyed Sapph and Emma with an appraising look in his copper brown eyes.
“Is this the Manson Family Gym?” the boy asked, looking around and rumpling his messy reddish-brown hair.
“Yeah, it is,” Emma answered nervously.
“What d’you want?” Sapph answered.
“A battle for the Strength Badge,” the boy answered coolly.
Sapph’s (his mind on his discussion with Emma earlier) face lit up as the arrival of a reckless and slightly insane idea hit him.
“I’m Rickie,” the boy continued. “So! Where’s the gym leader?”
“He’s-“ Emma began to say.
“You’re lookin’ at him, rookie,” Sapph cut in with a bit of a swagger.
“Sapph!” Emma said, startled.
“Rickie,” the boy corrected in the same cool voice, his eyes locked on Sapph’s sparkling blue ones. “So, are we doin’ this or what?”
“But, but!” Emma stuttered desperately, trying to dissuade her older brother from what she figured out must have crossed his mind.
“Yeah, we are! Let’s get to it!” Sapph said, ignoring Emma‘s warnings.
“But Sapph,” Emma hissed as Sapph picked out one of his dad’s Pokémon to battle with. “What if you lose? Dad’ll have to start winning gym battles from square one, and you’ll be so grounded to go!”
“I’ve gotta show Dad that I can do this,” Sapph whispered urgently to her, pushing two flags; one red and one green into her hands.
“But-, “Emma continued, fear now in her face.
“I have to show him that he can count on me, just as much as he counts on Rubin,” Sapph said softly. “C’mon, let’s get the filming equipment rolling…”
Within five minutes, Rickie and Sapph stood on opposite ends of the training field with Emma on the sidelines.
“An official Johto Junior League battle between Sapph Manson and Rickie Sun will now begin,” Emma said, her throat dry. “If Rickie wins, he will earn a Strength Badge.” She then turned helplessly to her older brother who acted as the gym leader.
“Let’s go with one Pokémon each, OK?” Sapph said.
“Cool,” Rickie said readying his pokéball. “Let’s do it!”
“Let’s go, Rumble!” Sapph yelled, throwing a red-and-white orb onto the field.
“I choose you, Cubone!” Rickie called, chucking a similar sphere into the ring at the same time.
Two Pokémon appeared on the circular pitch. Both brown, one stood at a towering four foot seven inches and wore red boxing gloves. The other came in at a measly one foot four and hefted a short bone as a club. Its short tail wagged slightly as it sized up his foe through the eye holes of its large skull helmet.
This match is in the bag, Sapph thought.
Do your best, Sapph! Emma pleaded.
This battle may be a little on the rough side, none of the others had Pokémon this strong-looking, Rickie thought worriedly.
“Let’s do our best, Cubone! Try Headbutt!” Rickie called out.
“Pfft,” Sapph scoffed. “Show ‘em your Mach Punch, Rumble!”
Cubone only got round to lowering his head to charge before the Hitmonchan’s fist came out of nowhere to clobber Cubone’s heavily guarded head. Cubone flew to the edge of the ring and landed flat on his belly, crying out in pain.
“Cubone! You OK?” Rickie called out worriedly as his Pokémon struggled to its feet.
“Nice one, Rumble! Now, Ice Punch attack!” Sapph cheered, remembering the attacks he’d seen his father have Rumble use in the past.
“Cubone, roll away!” Rickie cried.
Rumble’s right fist glowed with frozen energy as he ran towards the littler Pokémon. However, Cubone knew he couldn’t let his trainer down. Before the expected impact, Cubone, using a spurt of unreckoned-with speed, rolled away towards Rumble’s left, avoiding the blow which froze the part of the ring where the Lonely Pokémon had stood a mere nanosecond before. The frozen slipstream of the attack however caused Cubone’s skin to feel uncomfortable and affected some damage. Cubone rolled over to stare at the Hitmonchan, panting hard as the biting cold gnawed away at his flank.
<Well, aren’t you annoying?> Rumble quipped, turning around slowly to glance at the smaller combatant.
“Hey, you shouldn’t have been able to dodge that!” Sapph exclaimed.
Rickie shook off his beaming smile as he turned to face Sapph and shrugged “I guess Cubone and I won’t let each other down,” he said in his cool voice.
“Rumble, another Ice Punch attack! Go!” Sapph ordered, starting to get mad.
Rickie just nodded at Cubone. Cubone nodded back.
Rumble rose slowly, clenching his fist as he turned to face Cubone. Cubone also staggered upright as the air around Rumble’s fist slowly cooled to sub-zero temperature. Rumble dashed over and scored a direct hit on Cubone’s belly with a swift yet deliberate uppercutting motion.
It’s over, Rumble, Sapph and Emma thought together as Cubone doubled up in pain…
…and vanished in a puff of smoke.
What the! Sapph thought frantically as Rumble's eyes grew huge.
“Good job, Cubone! Nice Substitute!” Rickie cheered, his face glowing with pride in his Pokémon.
Substitute?! Sapph cried out internally.
<Where’s the real one then?> Rumble asked nobody in particular, scanning the ground frantically for the Ground Pokémon.
“Now use Aerial Headbutt!” Rickie cheered.
“Rumble!” Sapph screamed as Cubone, previously unnoticed by the Punching Pokémon, brought his head down heavily on top of the Hitmonchan’s flattened dome, causing critical damage. Cubone flipped away as Rumble staggered around a little, trying to get his bearings.
Wow! I’ve never seen a Ground type manuevre in the air like that! Emma thought.
“Get it together, Rumble! Use Mega Punch!” Sapph called out desperately.
“Cubone! Dodge and use Bone Club!” Rickie commanded swiftly.
Rumble turned and used drove his fist straight at Cubone with devastating power. However, as the Fighting Pokémon was still a little disoriented from the near concussion he had sustained from Cubone’s first attack and Cubone ducked swiftly, he missed by a mile and struck floor panel. In the same timing Cubone ducked, he twisted to his right, raising his club slightly behind him. As Hitmonchan’s fist hit hardwood, Cubone’s club arched upwards sharply connecting with Rumble’s chin and sending the Punching Pokémon flying this time onto his back a full six feet away.
“Rumble!” Sapph yelled. “Get up quick and use Ice Punch to end it!”
Rumble staggered upright onto a shaky and weak knee as he rubbed his chin with his left fist as his right grew cold once again. With a loud battle roar, Rumble ran as fast as he could to end the fight and uphold his trainer’s and Gym’s honour, drawing his freezing fist back as he ran towards Cubone’s panting form.
“Cubone, quick! Try your Flamethrower attack!” Rickie ordered, worried for his Cubone’s safety.
“FLAMETHROWER!!!” Emma yelled incredulously.
“No, Rumble stop! Dodge it, dodge it fast!” Sapph half-yelled, half-pleaded.
It was too late: Cubone inhaled deeply as Rumble was spare inches away from him and released a huge stream of continual, red-hot fire into Rumble’s face. Sapph and Emma shielded their faces from the unbearable heat wave as the flames danced throughout the ring, eventually dying down to show a well-done Hitmonchan and a very-much pleased with itself Cubone.
“Rumble?” Sapph said, his voice shaky.
Rumble turned to stare incredulously at Sapph, as though wondering how Sapph could let him lose to a half pint like Cubone. Without warning, he then coughed out a ring of smoke and fell right over backwards, swirls in his eyes.
“Rumble is unable to battle,” Emma said uncertainly, raising the green flag towards Rickie and Cubone. ”Rickie and Cubone win the match and a Strength Badge.”
“ALLL… RIGHT!!!” Rickie yelled, punching the air and then running onto the pitch to hug his Pokémon.
<We did it, we did it! We so-o kick bu-utt!> Cubone cheered as Rickie twirled him around through the air.
Sapph returned Rumble silently and with his face downcast reached for a small, round silver disc which he planted into Rickie’s palm.
“Here,” he mumbled, still in shock at what his impatience had cost the family. “The Strength Badge. Wear with honour.”
“I will! Promise!” Rickie said happily, pinning the gleaming badge. “Well, gotta go!” he said, waving to the Manson siblings and walking out the door with a tired out Cubone in his arms.
“What’ll Dad say?” Emma asked in disbelief as she watched their father’s gym record destroyed in an instance.
”Well, at least he didn’t see me lose,” Sapph muttered ruefully.
“Uh, Sapph,” Emma began quietly.
“Lay off, alright Emm?” Sapph yelled hotly. “I admit it, I screwed up big time. I shoulda listened but noooo… I had to go ahead with my stupid, abjectly insane plot to get Dad to be pleased with me for once! I messed up Dad’s best chance to promote the gym, I blew it, I threw all their hard work out of the window, I…”
“Dad did see you lose,” Emma cut across her big brother. “So did Mum and Rubin.”
Sapph’s rant ended abruptly as he dropped Rumble’s pokéball and fear stole over his face.
“And it looks like he’s been at the doorway for quite some time,” Emma ended quietly.
Mortified, Sapph turned slowly to see his mother with a sad, stunned look on his face, his father’s bearded face red with rage and his older twin brother Rubin’s face determinedly not looking at Sapph.
Dinner was not a relaxing affair for the Manson household that evening.
Justin Manson had started a huffy rant that had carried throughout the whole evening and was still shouting at Sapph even as they sat at the table to mashed potato, braised vegetables and thick, rich beef gravy. True, Rubin had left for Hoenn two years back to begin his Pokémon journey. Just last night, the Manson family had heard from him that he had become the winner of the Pokémon Coordinators’ Grand Festival Contest in some town called Slateport City. The news had caused Justin great joy then. Now all he could settle to was reliving Sapph’s latest failure for the nine hundredth time, with his wife trying to calm him down and Rubin and Emma quietly not trying to get involved, nonchalantly and fearfully respectively.
“What kind of idiot are you, Sapph?! Losing to a Cubone? Have you learnt nothing from Earl all this time?” He had roared, banging his fist down on the table and causing the pepper shaker to fall on its side.
“Justin, honey," Katherine said, hesitantly touching her husband's arm. " Please relax and try to enjoy your meal!”
“Filming your loss to the Pokémon League HQ…" Justin continued to rage, a bit of mash flying off his fork. "Do you understand the magnitude of what you’ve done?”
“I’m sorry, Dad,” Sapph mumbled in his tiniest voice.
“'Sorry' doesn’t cut it, Sapph! Rubin was never that irresponsible! Nor was he that damned disobedient!” Justin continued to chew his son out.
Dad's using a swear word? Emma thought as she chewed. He must be upset...
Sapph had had enough. Enough of being the loser, enough of being the failure of the family, tired of being the source of shame…he had to justify himself, redeem himself slightly, in the tiniest way possible…
“Hey, it took Rubin two years to win the stupid Grand Festival!” Sapph yelled, tears in his eyes.
“That was because he just wanted to be sure of victory and felt that he needed another year of preparation for the contest!” His father shouted back. “And don’t you talk back to me, Sapph! When I set a rule, I expect it to be obeyed!”
“Justin, that’s enough, Sapph’s sorry…” Katherine tried to interject seeing hot tears prickle the corners of Sapph’s eyes.
“After all,” he added, “it took you three years to graduate from Earl’s Pokémon Academy, and it took Rubin one. Geniuses do exist, and they know how best to handle themselves and their responsibilities,” Justin Manson’s emphasis on the last word was suffocating.
Rubin looked unbothered, Sapph looked as red as a Tamato Berry.
“And trainers, geniuses and otherwise, know better than to bite off more than they can chew,” Sapph’s father added as a note of finality before walking off into the study.
“Justin, JUSTIN!” Katherine called after her husband, chasing out of the room after him.
Emma looked at Sapph apologetically. “He didn’t mean it, Sapph,” she said softly.
“I disagree,” Rubin’s cool voice said quietly. “He normally doesn’t give speeches like that…I’m going out to pick up my Pokémon and Rumble. Don’t wait up.”
With that, Rubin got up and slouched out through the screen door.
“Don’t listen to him, Sapph,” Emma said angrily. “You did your best. Rubin’s just mad because he didn’t get to come home to run an official Major League Gym!”
Sapph stayed silent, listening to his parents argue from the next door study, his spirits dropping as he heard more and more.
“Two years of effort, Kathy! Two years! And your son had to blow it all in one desperate whim for attention! Doesn’t he feel that he gets enough of that from school?” Justin stormed on, going into an all out rage.
“Two years of our effort, Justin! Mine and yours! Sapph’s as much your son as mine and wanted to make you just as proud as he made me for trying his best and Rubin makes you for everything!” Katherine cried, angry tears streaking her face.
Just then the videophone rang.
“Hello, Justin speaking...Theodore!” Sapph’s father’s voice had lightened up considerable, although it still sounded brusque to Sapph.
"Theodore?" Emma asked with a quizzical look at Sapph. "Who d'you reckon that is?"
Sapph, still downcast, did not respond as he twirled his potato salad with little energy. His little sister pouted, and half dragged her older brother to look inti the conversation on tiptoe.
“Theodore?” Sapph asked with a quizzical look at Emma. His little sister shrugged. Both tiptoed to the door to look into the conversation.
“Uh, hunh…yes, he did, professor,” Justin grunted. Sapph gulped. The volume of the speaker phone may have been set on low, but he knew the conversation was about him. Emma shushed him quietly and the duo strained to catch what the professor said next.
“I was just wondering; has Sapph graduated from Earl’s yet?” Prof. Yew asked, scratching his chestnut brown hair.
”Yes, yes, he’s graduated,” he heard his father say.
“Well, I was wondering if you’d want to send him here to Corei to compete in the League here,” Professor Yew said, adjusting his wire-rimmed glasses.
“What’s that, you say?” Justin said incredulously.
“After all, he is old enough to own his own Pokémon, and travelling along the road will be a good experience for Sapph as you obviously know,” Prof. Yew said.
“You sure? Well, I suppose…”
Professor Yew then said something Sapph and Emma couldn’t catch, but their father’s response came loud and clear.
“I’m not game for this, you know…he really hasn’t shown much talent at it…” Justin said sceptically.
“He’s twelve years old, Justin; he should get a feel of raising his own Pokémon, you know; learn true responsibility as you would put it…” Prof. Yew said firmly yet not unkindly.
"Eleven actually, Professor," Katherine corrected the man on the screen politely.
"Oh, really? Must've mixed him up with Kamren again," Theodore said apologetically.
“Hmmm… maybe you’re right…maybe he should come to Corei,” Justin said softly, obviously thinking hard.
“I knew you’d see it my way,” the professor said cheerfully, his dark brown eyes sparkling with childish mischief.
“I don’t! I just feel you may have a vague point, that’s all!” Justin roared, highly flushed.
“If you say so,” Prof. Yew smirked. “So! When’ll Sapph get to Corei?”
”Fine, he’ll be there in three days!”
“Three?” Prof. Yew asked in disbelief.
“What’s the rush? You surely aren’t that hot-headed are you, Justin?” Prof. Yew asked with a laugh.
“Very funny…yeah, goodbye.” Sapph’s father grunted humourlessly.
Then Sapph heard his father hang up. He and Emma barely had time to share a mystified look before they heard him call.
“Sapph! Get in here!”
Sapph cringed before entering the room. His father sat at the desk, stroking his chin as he surveyed his son through appraising blue eyes similar to Sapph’s and his mother stood to one side looking tired, worried yet pleased all at once.
“I just spoke with Prof. Yew from Olville Town, Corei,” Justin began. "You remember him, yes?"
“Y-yeah? Yeah,” Sapph said, nonchalantly at first, but suddenly turning it to uncertainty before his parents caught on to the fact that he was eavesdropping.
Sapph’s father frowned and continued, “He has a proposal, Sapph. About you.”
“Yes…apparently, he wishes for you to try your hands at training. Pokémon training,” Justin went on, his eyes closed as though in thought and his temple resting against his knuckles.
“Apparently, he sees you fit to take care of your own Pokémon, and although I’m of a different disposition, it’s true that having your own Pokémon may be the only way to teach you what true responsibility is all about…”
Sapph heard, but hardly dared to believe it.
“You… you mean,” he stuttered.
Sapph’s father nodded and smiled a small smile, “Mmmm-hm, that’s right,” he said, opening his eyes to survey him. “if you agree, you leave for Corei tomorrow, if you decide to…”
“YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSS! WAAAAAH-HOOOOOOOOOO!” Sapph whooped at the top of his voice.
“Quiet down, Sapph! Now go and pack!” Katherine told Sapph, trying and failing to conceal a grin at her son’s monkey tricks.
Sapph ran out of the room, took the stairs three at a time and burst into his room, lost amidst a violent frenzy of joy. He couldn’t believe it; he was going to an unaspected continent teeming with all new Pokémon to capture and train, it was just too surreal…Sapph felt giddy, but he felt tired too. Trying and failing to whoop with glee one more time, Sapph failed and fell onto his bed, and fell even more deeply into slumber…
“Where’s that boy gotten to?” Justin growled to his wife the next morning.
“I don’t know, dear…the bus’ll leave soon!” Kathy fretted, looking around the bus stop frantically.
“Don’t worry, Mum, he’ll be here, look there he is now,” Emma chimed in pointing in the direction of the shopping lane, from which Sapph was jogging towards them.
“Where’s Rubin?” Sapph asked looking around for his twin brother.
“He’s gone off to train somewhere,” Justin said shortly. “Here, take this to Gus the repairman in Olville City. It’s your older brother’s Pokédex,” he added, quelling Sapph’s questioning look concerning the slim, battered red box he handed him.
“Well, this is it dear,” Katherine Manson said, with a brave stab at her usual cheery tone, but her voice slightly wobbly “Have a nice journey, and stay safe!”
“I won’t let you down, Mom,” Sapph reassured him.
“Promise you’ll call! Promise?” Emma asked tearfully.
“You betcha, Emm,” Sapph smiled with a wink. “I may even catch you a rare Pokémon out there!”
Emma smiled a watery smile and jumped up to hug her big brother.
“Sapph?” His father said.
“Yeah, Dad?” Sapph asked, letting go of his sister and turning to his father.
Justin looked into his second son’s eyes and read nothing but determination to keep his word in his face. Exhaling deeply and said, “Just make sure that you grow up, got it?” Justin told him sternly. “Grow up into the best man you can be! And starting as a Fire type trainer can help you be exactly that!”
“Got it, Dad,” Sapph said apprehensively.
Geez, count on Dad to put pressure on me before I even leave! Sapph thought, resisting the urge to roll his eyes.
His mother took him aside and said to him quietly “Don’t stress yourself out living up to another’s standard, alright son?”
“Okay, Mom,” Sapph said softly.
“Just show Corei what the Manson family can do, and I’ll not think any less of you or love you any less either,”; She added, tears now running down her cheeks as she wrapped Sapph up into a tight hug.
“You got it, Mom. And stooooop crying,” Sapph replied, faking a large yawn.
Kathy smiled and put him on the train, rumpling his hair one more time as she did so.
Sapph sat down and smiled at his family as he waved goodbye at them out the window. As they vanished around the corner, Sapph leaned back only to hear a familiar voice say, “What’re you doing on the bus, Sapph?”
Sapph spun around in his seat to see the freckly face of Rickie Sun smiling at him, Cubone on his knees.
“Rickie!” Sapph said uncertainly “What’s up?”
“I’m great! I decided to try out for the major league after our battle. Cubone and I are gonna get down at Violet and keep moving on foot from there. Right, Cubone?” Rickie babbled cheerfully.
Cubone nodded happily.
Sapph said nothing and just stared out the window at the trees moving by. Rickie, guessing what was on his travel companion's mind, frowned slightly.
“Listen, Sapph: I can’t say I’m sorry about the battle yesterday. Someone had to win, and we both know it. Let’s just use the experience to look forward and try to be the best that we can be, deal?” Rickie asked offering his hand.
Sapph looked around at him and found out that he just couldn’t stay mad at Rickie; true, because he lost to him he’d brought shame on himself and the family gym, but losing to a guy like Rickie made him feel loads better than beating a total loser like he was then. After all, he was right: someone had to win, and a loss usually teaches a better lesson than a victory…
However, rather than say all this, he simply asked instead, “What’s your PokéGear number?” flipping his own device open.
"Why d'you want it?" Rickie asked, taken aback by the abruptness of the question.
"So that when I get stronger, I'll challenge you and Cubone to another battle, and whup ya back for yesterday!" Sapph replied with a maniacal smile as the bus progressed northwards.
"In your dreams, Manson," Rickie replied with a laugh, "In your dreams."
"Friends call me Sapph," Sapph corrected him, grinning also.
"Deal, Sapph," Rickie replied with a grin.
The rest of the journey passed amicably, with Rickie end up giving Sapph advice on how to get to the train station from the Goldenrod City bus stop and on which train to take as the bus rolled to a stop in Violet City.
“Keep in touch, okay Manson?” Rickie said as Sapph leaned out of the bus window to say good bye. “And good luck!”
“You too, Rickie,” Sapph countered with a grin. "See you, Cubone!"
<Later, Sapph!> Cubone called, waving his club in farewell.
The journey to Goldenrod City from then on was uneventful and Sapph found no trouble transferring onto the old steam train that was to take him to Corei with help from Rickie’s instructions.
Soon, he was on the train to a whole new, mind-blowing world, and he just couldn’t wait to get there!
“Dad, Rickie and Mom were right,” Sapph murmured to himself, a small smile on his lips as he slept on, oblivious to the weird stares his fellow passengers gave him. “This is a journey that’ll help me grow up. And I am gonna have to show them what I can truly be. A Manson. And the best that I can be…”
Whaddya think for a new beginning? Review your comments, views, corrections and ideas! Later, Guys!