View Poll Results: Which Corei Starter would you choose?

Voters
30. You may not vote on this poll
  • Mongle

    10 33.33%
  • Fryger

    10 33.33%
  • Aquari

    10 33.33%
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Thread: The Corei Quest...rewritten!

  1. #51
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    Thanks FlamingRuby! Hope my other chapters impress you too!

    And now for a couple of general announcements:

    As of the next chapter update, i'll be starting a little Corei-Dex; you know, introduce the new gen pokemon to you in a basic format, but not as to spoil any surprises.

    I also debated about spoilers for upcoming chapters...it may happen, but sporadically.

    Lastly, expect the new chapter to be up by New Years' Day. If not, it'll be a day or two later! Fingers crossed (for luck)!

    catch ya L@er!
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
    PROJECT C-SQUARE STATUS = 100.00% Complete (11-12-2010, ca. 2:40pm GMT)
    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  2. #52
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    Just noticed the poll. I voted Mongle, and he's winning Yay!

    New years day wont be that eventful for me so a new chapter will hopefully cheer me up. and its my nans birthday.
    Skogsrĺ

    Gardenia never liked the Old Chateau, but what if the Old Chateau liked her?

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  3. #53
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    Cool Chapter Ten: Rival Battle 1!

    HAPPY 2007 TO ALL YA GUYS OUT THERE WHO READ THIS FIC!

    As promised, time was on my side so as a gift from me to you, Chapter ten! Sapph finally squares off against his rival Kamren! Who'll come out on tops? Read on and see:

    Chapter Ten: Two Annoying Rivals


    Both trainers’ eyes locked. This battle was a long time in coming, Sapph thought but I don’t mind. He was finally going to get Kamren for his over bloated ego and vicious bullying and he couldn’t be happier.

    “I’ve been waiting a long time for this”, Sapph snarled, a furious expression on his face.

    “Really?” Kamren yawned, a lax expression on his face. “For what? A chance to get your *** kicked?” he asked, now twirling his pokéball on his finger.

    Everything was still in the evening air. Only the wind blew gently as both trainers cocked back their fists, ready to begin.


    “Go, Ledyba!” Sapph called, releasing his first placer into the fray.

    Is that your best shot, Sappy? Kamren said in his mind. Well, it ain’t good enough. Not by a long shot…

    “C’mon out, Ciela!” Kamren yelled releasing the largest Flying Pokémon Sapph had seen so far since his arrival to the Corei region. It had vermillion red body and wings and gold plumage at the tip of its two long tails and medium length wings. Its strong looking talons were jet black, set in large, gold feet whose colour matched its short, conical beak, which was set in an equally brilliantly-vermillion red plumed head. It glared at Ledyba through its laser-like, crimson eyes.

    “Whoa, what’s that?” Sapph pondered, bringing out his trusty Pokédex, who said:

    Zwi-tail, the Noble Crow Pokémon. Its sleek, streamlined body and amazing aerial prowess allows it to dive precisely from heights of up to fifty feet even in dense forest. Zwi-tail is the evolved form of Ravow.


    Hang on, Sapph thought, remembering his double battle in EverWood Forest. Ravows are darker than that… do they change colour during evolution?

    “Not only that, it’s a shiny Zwi-tail!” Calvin informed an awed Haley.

    A shiny?! So that’s it! That guy! Always getting all the cool Pokémon from under my nose! Aloud, however he said: “Well, shiny or not, we’ll still beat it! Ledyba, Supersonic!” Sapph shot back.

    “Useless… Ciela, use Double Team and Air Cutter together!” Kamren ordered.

    Whoa, Sapph thought, thrown temporarily off guard. Two attacks at once?!

    Ciela multiplied four times and shot towards the Bug/Flying combination Pokémon before Ledyba let loose a shriek that befuddled the fore running attackers. However, it became apparent that he hadn’t hit the real one, for as soon as the clones vanished, the real Ciela came up from behind and struck Ledyba in the back. Hard.

    What kinda insane speed was THAT? Sapph screamed in his head.

    “Ledyba!” Sapph yelled as his Pokémon fell, spinning towards the ground.

    “Rip that bug apart, Ciela! Use Fury Attack, now!” Kamren called to his Flying Pokémon.

    Sapph countered quickly. “Dodge it, Ledyba! Quickly!”

    Ledyba righted himself and putting on a spurt of speed which left two clones striking the field in their haste to make contact with the Five Star specie. Letting out a loud combined squawk of pain, the two doppelgangers disappeared in two puffs of smoke.

    “Grrr…” Kamren growled in a manner reminiscent of a rabid Houndoom. Then he ordered his Pokémon, with a vicious look on his face, “Ciela, multiply again and squash that bug with Peck!”

    “Ledyba! Head for the ground and kick up some cover!” Sapph responded.

    Ledyba nodded and plummeted to the ground, whilst dodging the rain of Noble Crow Pokémon as they attempted to inflict some serious damage on his back. Skimming the field with a bare inch of space between his underbelly and the field, Ledyba began to work his wings furiously. Not only did this increase his speed even further, but it had also created a humungous cloud of red dirt to fill the air as the Zwi-tails closed in.

    Unconcern etched in his face, Kamren ordered, “Don’t back down, Ciela! Rush ‘im!”

    He’s fallen for it! Sapph thought with glee, ”Ledyba! Pull a fast one-eighty and use Supersonic!”

    Ledyba quickly complied, knocking all the Zwi-tail that had followed silly. Several seemed to crash-land onto the dirt, and those who were lucky to stay airborne wound up unluckily attacked by each other.

    Sensing that his plan had worked, Sapph pumped his fist and said “Nice! Now, Ledyba, get outta there and ready a Comet Punch!”

    Ledyba flew backwards out of the cloud unscathed, his little fists alight with cosmic energy, scanning the field below for Ciela.

    Kamren simply smirked and said, “Now you’re in for it, Sappy.”

    “Hunh?” Sapph said, a puzzled expression on his face. Then he looked up and what he saw made his heart stand still. Two large vermillion-and-gold blurs were racing for his Pokémon; one cutting a wide arc from behind, the other one from above. Sapph opened his mouth in horror but before he could shout out a warning, Ledyba had been Double Teamed from the rear in two opposite directions, forcing him to lose concentration and the Comet Punch to fizzle out on him as he was sent spinning towards the ground, his eyes closed and his mouth open in a scream of pain.

    Kamren laughed cruelly and tutted at Sapph, wagging his finger: “Rule number one in battle, Sappy: ‘Always watch your back’. Ciela! Fury Attack, and make it count!”

    Before Ledyba had hit the ground, Ciela was on top of him jabbing her short beak into Ledyba’s back four times before they crashed into the ground, the Noble Crow Pokémon standing on top of the Five Star one.

    “Ledyba! NO!” Sapph and Haley yelled.

    I’m such an idiot! Sapph thought as he watched Ciela flap backwards over to Kamren’s side of the field. I’ve sent him on a suicide mission! What the hell is wrong with me? Did I want to beat Kamren’s smug little butt that badly?

    Ciela turned her sharp face back towards the Bug type’s prone form and scoffed <Is that all your miserable excuse for a trainer could teach you?>

    <Stop it… don’t say those things…> Ledyba mumbled.

    <Uh hunh, like you can stop me saying them,> Ciela said coyly.

    Ledyba’s breathing was starting to look erratic as it laboured to push itself back onto his feet. Its wings were torn from Ciela’s vicious pecking and it seemed unlikely that they would work again without care.

    With what seemed to be an enormous effort, Ledyba croaked, <Sapph…isn’t…miserable…he’s…my…friend…don’t…won’t… allow…you…let…you…you…say…mean things…about…my friends…>

    <If all you can do best is being a worthless punch bag then you aren’t worrying about… Talk about a crap pile! He stinks to the worst- no, wait! That’s all crap like him can do!> Ciela hissed in Ledyba’s ear with a cruel laugh as she took off towards her master, making certain to kick a patch of dirt into the Bug Pokemon's face as she turned.

    “Your Ledyba can’t battle anymore, Sapph,” Carla said sniffily. “Best to pack it in…”

    “You know what they say, right?” Kamren asked his companions “’Like trainer, like Pokémon’?”

    Ciela completed the hypothesis, although only Ledyba could fully understand what she said, <In short, if the trainer is third rate crap, the Pokémon’s not too far behind…>

    The laughter from Kamren, Carla, Dex and Calvin rang throughout the air as Sapph bowed his head helplessly. The sight made Ledyba very, very mad.

    Just as Sapph was reaching for Ledyba’s pokéball to return it, Ledyba started to rise out of the dirt, his wings thrumming furiously and his eyes reduced to angry, narrow slits and taking on a dangerous red colour.

    <Take. That. Back.> Ledyba said slowly, rising into the air, his fierce eyes locked on the arrogant Ciela. What looked like bright red vapour issued out from in between the joints of his exoskeleton and enveloped his body, his wings healing before everybody’s eyes, the scratches fading from sight.

    Is that Aromatherapy? Carla and Haley thought incredulously, watching Ledyba with huge eyes.

    Can’t be, Calvin thought with his eyes narrowed against the clouds of dust Ledyba’s furiously-thrumming wings created.

    Sapph raising his head said with a morose, hollow expression, “Ledyba, that’s enough.” Then, his voice cracking slightly, repeated “Enough.”

    “On guard, Ciela,” Kamren murmured worriedly to his Pokémon. “This could get dangerous…”

    <Or what? Oooh, I’m… so… scared! > Ciela laughed.

    < You should be.> Ledyba whispered, his fist clenching as he gathered cosmic energy around it for a Comet Punch.

    < Really? Well, what will you do if I don’t …oh, what was it? Oh, yeah… take it back? > The Flying type Pokémon challenged Ledyba.

    <I’ll make you.> Ledyba hissed, his voice totally different from the usually cheerful tone Sapph was used to. The energy on his fist crackled as it reached an unattained volume and yellow sparks started flying off. Sapph noticed and for the first time ever, and even though he couldn’t comprehend what was going on between the two Pokémon on the field, was scared for and of his usually timid companion.

    “Ledyba?” Sapph asked uncertainly.

    Before either trainer saw it, Ledyba had vanished, reappearing as he Comet Punched Ciela high into the air with a fist of pure lightning. Ciela screeched as the electricity coursed through her body, causing her muscles to seize up.

    Sapph and Kamren were shocked, to put it mildly.

    “What the f- “Kamren began. “What the f***ing hell did you do, Sappy?”

    “Since when did you know Thunder Punch, Ledyba?” Sapph asked himself, as stunned as the others. The memory of his battle against Arlene’s Ballomb came to mind in which Ledyba’s Comet Punch seemed to swallow up Ballomb’s Thundershock attack, and Sapph’s jaw dropped as a crazy theory hit him.

    No way…is that the true power of Comet Punch? Sapph wondered bewilderedly.

    “Now he’s using the ‘F-word’,” Haley mumbled, who’d have normally written this down to use as blackmail later but was as stunned as everyone else at Ledyba’s sudden surge of speed and power. Not to mention the fact that Ledyba had mastered the use of Thunder Punch, which was supposedly impossible.

    <What was THAT?!! Where’d that insolent bug get that much power from?> The Zwi-tail asked, wincing from the force of the attack as she rose into the air against her will, trying her best not to succumb to paralysis.

    “Not to mention the Thunder Punch attack,” Calvin said in wonder.

    Flapping her wings and finally able to stabilize her flight pattern, Ciela was finally able to sustain flight about fifteen feet up, where she started scanning the field below, furiously looking around for the ‘insolent bug’ that had the gall to hit her.

    A split second later, Kamren’s Zwi-tail experienced a world of pain as the Five Star Pokémon appeared out of nowhere, dishing out lightning fast jabs to every part of her body that he could reach. It felt to Ciela as though she was being crushed by a Rock Slide technique.

    “How’d that Ledyba’s Comet Punch get so strong? I’ve heard even Cassandra’s Ledian didn’t pack that hard a punch!” Carla demanded of Sapph, her eyes wide and fixated on her friend’s rival.

    “Was it the Comet Punch drills I put Ledyba through this morning?” Sapph wondered aloud, reflecting on the tough training routine they’d undergone at dawn…

    -Flashback-

    At a rocky, blocked path north of Nightspark City…


    “…OK Mongle, Ledyba…one more time!” Sapph called.

    <Can’t we- you know- take- five?> Mongle gasped, on hands and knees and panting hard. <My tail leaf- feels like- it’s- about to fall- off!>

    <I can’t feel my hands.> Ledyba mumbled, looking at his tiny fists and noticing that they seemed to refuse to close.

    “Okay, guys,” Sapph said, starting to get only a little impatient with his team mates, “I know we’ve been out here for the past three hours, but this will help both of you become stronger! One more time and we call it quits, OK?”

    <WHAAAT?!> Ledyba and Mongle shouted.

    <ARE. YOU. FREAKING. SERIOUS?!!!> Mongle yelled, stopping in mid-rant as he noticed their voices had created a loud-enough echo to result in part of the blockade of rocks falling towards them.

    Ledyba, acting on what seemed to be instinct, clenched his fist and flew towards the rocks, dealing each one a direct Comet Punch, while Mongle raced up with Quick Attack to use alternating Razor Leaf and Pound attacks on a couple more descending boulders. Each rock shattered on contact into tiny little pebbles, which bounced harmlessly off their trainer below.

    “See, guys? I told you it would make you stronger! Alright, one more time! Let’s go!” Sapph charged his team mates, with a confident fist as both Pokémon hit the ground, utterly worn out.

    Sapph’s eager grin evaporated on the spot as he gave off a huge anime sweat drop.

    Oh, crap. Crap, crap, crap… OH, CRAP! He thought frantically, returning Mongle and Ledyba to their pokéballs and sprinting back to the Pokémon Centre as fast as he could…

    -End Flashback-

    I was pretty rough on them then… Sapph thought. Who’d of thought it would be that effective? Or drive Ledyba that far over the edge? He added with a slight shiver at how far a Pokémon like Ledyba could get when it lost its cool.

    Both Pokémon was falling to earth now; Ledyba ‘helping’ Ciela to a great degree by punching her in the back consistently, until both Pokémon hit the ground with enough force to create a small tremor. As the dust cleared, Ciela was to be found lying on its belly, twitching in the small crater formed from its impact with the field and Ledyba hovering slowly higher, ready to dive again.

    Sapph, Kamren, Haley, Calvin, Carla and Dex were speechless at this turn of events. So were all but one of the trainers standing around who had been drawn to the field at the sounds of the battle.

    “Calvin, what the HELL was THAT?!!” Kamren roared, turning on his friend for some kind of explanation.

    “Impossible… no Ledyba alive should have that much physical strength…nor use Thunder Punch… it’s just not logical…” Calvin spluttered, staring aghast at the two Pokémon’s conditions after Ledyba’s reckless manoeuvre.

    “Sapph, you sure put Ledyba through some scary experiences,” Haley mumbled, turning to face Sapph, who nodded mutely, his eyes as wide as dinner plates.

    I said I’d make him stronger than Cassandra’s Ledian, but I wasn’t expecting this much growth from Ledyba so soon! ,Sapph thought.

    “That thing scares me, Carla,” Dex whimpered.

    “Everything scares you, you drip,” Carla countered, her wide terrified eyes fixed on the Bug/Flying Pokémon.

    <TAKE. IT. BACK!!!> Ledyba screamed, soaring in for another attack.

    “Ciela, show that insect who’s in charge! Wing Attack now!” Kamren roared, pointing at the descending Ledyba.

    <Why you…> Ciela snarled, her wing glowing white as she half-rose up to her feet, swinging it around into Ledyba’s head. Ledyba went spinning, his eyes slowly returning to their natural black colour as he fell to the ground.

    It seemed to take an eternity for Ledyba to fall to Sapph. Eventually, the Five Star Pokémon hit the dirt, creating a cloud of dust as he collapsed, exhausted.

    Carla was too stunned to announce Ciela as the winner of the match.

    “Ledyba, return.” Sapph mumbled numbly, returning his faithful friend, barely registering what was happening, his mind full of the last five minutes.

    “What could have been the cause?” Calvin pondered aloud.

    “Could Ciela have angered Ledyba? Could it have been for Sapph’s sake? To protect his pride as a trainer?” Haley wondered aloud, staring at Sapph, who in turn was staring at the ground.

    “Pfft, like a Pokémon can feel that range of emotion…” Carla scoffed at Haley.

    “Yeah, they’re only dumb animals who g…gravilate…” Dex began.

    “Gravitate” Calvin supplied dully.

    “I knew that…gravitate to a really strong trainer for strength to surpass all others of their… uh, their… um, kind? Oh yeah! That’s it! KIND!” Dex complimented.

    “Then why aren’t you in a pokéball?” Carla muttered.

    “You’re dumb enough, based on your own criteria.” Haley added in an undertone.

    Too dumb to be wanted as well, Kamren thought, looking wistfully at his slow friend.

    Why, Ledyba? Why all that for me? Sapph asked sadly, staring at the pokéball in his hand, reflecting on Ledyba’s gross increase in strength in the cause of protecting his trainer’s integrity. How could I have that effect on my Pokémon?

    Phew, Kamren thought, inwardly calming down and resuming his usual arrogant air as he surveyed his rival.

    “What’s up, Sappy? Lost confidence already?” He yelled cockily, his eyes possessing a nasty glint.

    Sapph didn’t respond.

    “I guess you are a retard after all. What trainer sends out a Bug type to fight a Flying type?” Kamren called.

    Still Sapph refused to speak back.

    “Guess it’s really true that the Pokémon takes after the trainer…” Kamren continued, rapidly getting into his proud swagger. “I mean, look at your Ladybug, it’s as weak as you are!”

    Haley opened her mouth to retort angrily, but Sapph interrupted her in a low voice.

    Eyes on his sneakers again, Sapph mumbled almost incoherently “Ledyba’s not weak. Shut up, Kamren.”

    “You can’t make me, Sap Head!” Kamren taunted. “Anyway, bring on number two! You can’t withdraw either!” he added, noticing Sapph’s solemn quietude.

    Sapph knew Kamren was right and hated himself and Kamren’s lot for trapping him in this mess. Arranging his face to reflect confidence he’d long lost in himself, he locked eyes with Kamren.

    “Who’s withdrawing? Go, Mongle, use your Quick Attack now!” Sapph yelled, throwing his second Pokémon into the battle.

    Mongle appeared in a burst of white light and temporarily vanished, reappearing in the same spot two seconds later as the Zwi-tail, who, unable to react in time, went flying to the ground and fainted from over exertion.

    Kamren gritted his teeth and returned her to her orb. He then looked up and somehow managed to sneer.

    “Lucky shot, Manson,” he spat, “but this match is mine! Go Burner!” Kamren called, sending out his second Pokémon into the fray.

    The first thing Sapph and Mongle noticed as the blazing red light died down was that Burner had changed too. The Fire Tiger now stood erect, the white fur that had occupied a small portion of his neck as a Fryger had grown across his long arms, along the nape of his neck and along the middle of his forehead in a Mohawk. Burner stood about three foot seven inches tall and looked heavier. His long, wicked-looking claws, each about eight inches long and a foot thick at the base now matched his golden yellow eyes, which together with his black nose and bandy hind legs had grown wider.

    Therline, the Fire Tiger Pokémon, the Pokédex recited in its usual tone. Therlines use their Fire Spin attack to trap prey and then cut it down with its long claws. Therline is the evolved form of Fryger. The Pokédex added, unnecessarily as Sapph, Haley and Mongle thought.

    <Don’t tell me Burner’s freaking evolved already!> Mongle yelled.

    So that was the ‘heavy type advantage’ Cassandra must have meant, Sapph thought. This’ll be tough. But we’re tougher!

    “Mongle, use Pound!” Sapph said again.

    “Useless…” Kamren repeated. “Burner, show ‘em that we mean business.” He told his Therline.

    Burner nodded and turned to watch the Leaf Squirrel Pokémon race towards him. Like Ciela, his keen eyes could pick catch up with his pace in no time. Unlike Ciela, he could keep up.

    Mongle lunged at Burner tail first. Just before he would have made contact, Therline, almost carelessly, raised a large paw and caught Mongle’s attack in his bare paw.

    Sapph’s jaw dropped. So did Haley’s.

    WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT! They screamed mentally at the sight.

    <Hey there, uh!> Burner greeted maliciously, raising Mongle by the tail leaf above his head and throwing him back across the field.

    <He stopped my attack with one paw! > Mongle thought amazedly as he soared though the air.

    “Mongle, hurry and try Quick Attack one more time!” Sapph cried desperately.

    Kamren crossed his arms and said to his Pokémon calmly “Metal Claw.”

    As Mongle’s fell, he twisted in midair and landed on all fours, readying itself to ram the Therline with his strongest attack. However, before he could launch his attack, Burner was right beside him, his claws glowing a silvery white, smiling a wicked smile reminiscent of his trainer.

    <What’s up?!> He crowed, using his claws to strike Mongle in the torso.

    A dark red substance sprayed across the field as Burner’s attack made contact with the Mongle’s midriff. Everyone except Kamren stared in shocked horror as Burner, digging his metallic claws in deeper into the gut of his opponent, caused a greater cascade of blood to flow out of the smaller Pokémon.

    “Mongle…” Sapph whispered in a small voice, the scene playing out before his eyes as though from an old black and white film running at half-speed.

    Burner then dragged his claws through the Leaf Squirrel Pokémon’s flank, up to the neck region and dangerously close to the jugular. With a darkly satisfied smirk, the Fire Tiger Pokémon drew his claws out and whipping his tail around, seemingly crushing Mongle’s stomach region in a flash of otherworldly green light. Sapph’s mind was in slow-motion; he knew something was broken, knew he’d seen the green light somewhere before but how Mongle could bear the pain without passing out was beyond him, for Mongle’s face clearly showed that it felt what it was going through.

    “Mongle!” Sapph whispered, his hand stretched out to help his Pokémon, but his legs lacking the strength to move him forward.

    Mongle’s eyes slid out of focus from sheer pain. He felt his body go limp as he flew though the air to crash into the dust, defeated by the single blow.

    “MONGLE!!” Sapph screamed, watching his first Pokémon bite the dust, choking spittle onto the field.

    Pfft, didn’t even need to use Ember, Kamren thought, watching the scene of brutality without flinching. “Another one.” Kamren ordered Burner nonchalantly.

    Burner’s claws glowed the same silvery white again as he raced towards the gasping Mongle.

    “MONGLE, NO!!” Sapph yelled.

    “Return him, quickly!” A spectating trainer screamed.

    Haley covered her face in her hands.

    “Mud Shot attack, now!” A brisk, baritone voice ordered.

    Before Burner made it to Mongle, or indeed, before Sapph could have reached his pokéball on his belt, a powerful stream of sticky mud struck Burner in the chest, sending him soaring into a tree eighteen feet away. Burner slid down the trunk with swirls in his eyes, clearly defeated.

    Sapph froze, his hand with Mongle’s pokéball suspended before him. He knew that voice…

    His head turned slowly around to see a flash of red light return to the pokéball held up by a boy his age. The boy was a couple of inches or so taller, his light brown hair under his green and white bandanna blowing lightly in the evening zephyr. He wore a large, baggy collared tee shirt under a green and white-lined jacket, long brown shorts with many pockets, blue and white trainers and a green, one-shouldered knapsack slung over his left shoulder. Although his eyes were closed, almost as though it was a bother to send out his Pokémon, Sapph knew that when they opened, he’d see his mother’s hazel eyes look at him reproachfully.

    “Whoa, who’s the hunk?!” Carla and Haley asked hearts in their eyes.

    “He’s so dreamy and strong!” Haley whispered, almost literally melting into a pool as he opened his brown and gold tinged eyes.

    “Back off, ugly! He’s mine!” Carla yelled, grabbing the front of Haley’s shirt and dragging her aside.

    “Says who?!” Haley snarled, her eyes narrow, white slits of fury as she grabbed the front of Carla’s vee neck shirt, staring her down.

    “Me!” Carla snarled back.

    “OH, YEAH?!!!” Haley roared.

    The two girls started to shoot electricity into each other’s eyes, creating sparks in mid-air, snarling as Calvin and Dex cowered in fear.

    “That’s enough, you. You won, so pack up and clear off.” The boy added to Kamren, with no hint of a threat in his voice, but making his point clear from his cool gaze.

    “He has such a cool, voice!” Carla and Haley squealed hearts in their eyes again.

    “Yeah!” said a redheaded youth, who’d been watching Sapph and Kamren’s battle.

    “Too cool!” affirmed the boy whom Sapph had just been defending from Kamren.

    The rest of the crowd murmured their assent and various comments.

    “Did you see that?”

    “No way…”

    “…with one shot!”

    “Totally awesome!”

    “Beyond awesome!”

    Scary, Kamren thought, breaking into a cold sweat. To avoid looking at the mystery trainer, he busied himself with returning Burner to his pokéball and beckoning to the others to follow his lead.

    Dex and Calvin quickly complied, dragging off a snarling Carla, who screamed,” Don’t you DARE touch him with your dirty paws, you-“, her voice fading as they ran around the corner and out of sight.

    The trainer, after watching them go, turned to face the losing trainer, who’d returned his Grass Pokémon to his pokéball and hastily stowed it out of the sight of the other boy’s prying gaze.

    He felt him approach slowly and hastily closed his eyes, praying he’d pass by without a comment. However, the Johto trainer heard his saviour’s footsteps stop right before him. He looked up slowly, tentatively into the taller boy’s face to see his eyes closed again.

    The boy exhaled exasperatedly, and uttered six words in a soft voice only Sapph could hear.

    “You’re such a disappointment, Sapph Manson.”

    And he walked away slowly, his shadow engulfing the boy trainer, as it had done all their lives.

    The words cut deeper to the boy’s heart than any other words had done all his life. He turned and ran towards the northern town limits, away from the trainer as the twilight faded.

    “Sapph?” Haley asked, snapping out of her flighty daydreams regarding the boy and looking around for her friend.

    ***

    Haley found Sapph on the blocked route where he’d trained before his gym battle that morning as the reddish dusk had turned to twilight’s navy blue.

    Sapph held a pokéball in his hand as he stared blankly into the night sky, which reflected in his eyes red.

    “Sapph? Are you OK?” she asked feebly, almost slapping her forehead out of pure ‘duh!’

    Wake up, Haley Kent! She chided herself. Does he look OK to you?!

    Sapph closed his eyes tight as tears spilled out of his eyes, but he didn’t turn around.

    “Sapph, who WAS that guy?” Haley asked.

    “My dear older twin brother” Sapph mumbled, feeling even more down by the second.

    “You mean…?” Haley gasped, reddening in spite of herself.

    “Yeah,” Sapph said, turning around to face her. “That’s Rubin.”

    Haley hated seeing Sapph this bummed out; she’d never done so before, but didn’t know what to say. She moved forward to place a hand on his shoulder. Sapph beat the ground with his fists once howling in rage and dissolved into more tears.

    “Why?” Sapph choked in pain. “Why must I be rescued every time by him? Why does he always get the spotlight? Why?”

    Man, Sapph’s had a rough day Haley thought sadly, looking at Sapph’s sobbing form, wanting to comfort him, but not knowing how. First Kamren steamrollers his team into processed road kill, then his Pokémon is rescued by his dominating older twin… Now I know why everybody likes Rubin more, she thought sadly, reflecting on how she’d forgotten about Sapph, whom she knew better, just because of his handsomer twin. She searched herself for an excuse for leaving Sapph when he needed a friend most.

    That’s right! Carla made me jealously want to fight for Rubin! She thought, moving towards Sapph. I don’t like him like that! No way! No… way…she thought, feeling a slight twinge as she recalled how she’d reacted upon seeing him, remembering how Sapph had reacted to Rubin’s name and how, today, she may’ve just made Sapph feel a hundred times worse…

    Who am I kidding? She thought dejectedly. You try rooting for Sapph to make him feel better, and you mess up! Think, Haley Kent! Think!

    But nothing came to her except to be there, silently holding on to Sapph’s hand, and promising herself not to let go as long as he needed someone to hold him, care for him or just need him.

    ***

    The duo returned to the festival city an hour later, Sapph marching along briskly and Haley doing all she could to keep up.

    “Why’re you in such a hurry?” Haley gasped trying to keep even with her friend.

    “I’ve gotta get to the Pokémon Centre,” Sapph replied tersely.

    “Hunh? Why?” Haley said in surprise.

    Sapph stopped abruptly and Haley walked right into him. Stumbling a bit, Haley looked up to see Sapph giving her an incredulous withering stare. Haley stared at him for a second, seeing a vague resemblance between Sapph and his brother that made her lose touch with reality briefly. Then noticing why he was looking at her that way, she snapped out of if and crossed her arms, frowning at Sapph.

    Now what?” Haley asked annoyed.

    Stating it as though it were obvious, Sapph said snippily, “Easy… so you can pick up Bubbles and I could get my Pokémon healed, seeing as I didn’t do so after what went down this afternoon.”

    Haley’s eyes widened in shock. “You mean you haven’t done that yet?” then adopting a sceptical tone, she added “Talk about irresponsible…”

    “You know what?” Sapph said, obviously incensed. “If you were a little more serious about battling, your Pokémon would be beside you if you’re going up against someone like Kamren…”

    “Oh, so I’m not serious about battling?” Haley said indignantly, her hands at her hips now staring Sapph down. “You know what, Mr. Manson? I…never…was!” She said the last three words with forced emphasis, jabbing Sapph in the chest with her forefinger to add a point.

    “Really?” Sapph said, getting into his argumentative mode “And why may I ask aren’t you at home? This happens to be the Pokémon world,” he added, his arms crossed. “It’s insane to be out here without tough Pokémon to back you up!”

    “Oh, so I’m insane and weak because I don’t like to battle?” Haley half-yelled.

    “And that’s supposed to mean?” Sapph yelled back his eyes narrowed angrily. “Cuz incidentally, I did not call you weak!”

    Sapph last words seemed to jolt Haley to reason… Sapph hadn’t called her weak at all. “It means, Sapph Manson, that you think a researcher is useless in this world!” Haley said softly, looking at him straight in the eyes.

    She paused, panting for breath while Sapph stared at her, his eyes softening in spite of himself as he looked into Haley’s goose grey ones.

    “No, I didn’t,” Sapph muttered, unfolding his arms and looking at her in a different light as the festival music blared on around them. “I think you’re very important…”

    “What did you say?” Haley said suspiciously.

    Sapph shook his head vigorously and snorted “Nothing. Just that researchers are important! You never mentioned being a researcher to me…again, showing negligence!” he added, turning on his heel to keep from looking at her.

    Haley spluttered in indignation. “Negligence? Me?! Who needs to get their Pokémon to the Centre because they neglected to do so sooner?”

    Sapph animé-fainted and said angrily. “I was going there ‘til you started this stupid argument!”

    I started it?! What d’you mean, I… hey! Get back here!” Haley yelled, dancing on the spot in a Primate-like temper as she saw Sapph was now turning the corner to the Pokémon Centre, leaving her behind. “We’re not through yet, Sapph Manson!” She yelled, now running to catch up.

    ***

    Ten minutes had passed since Sapph had returned to the Pokémon Centre and handed in his pokéballs to the local Nurse Joy for emergency care. Chansey had barely left the room when Haley had stormed in, her bad temper still flaring around her.

    “Oh, Haley! Come for your Pokémon?” Nurse Joy said cheerfully.

    “Yes, please. I’ve got to leave town-“She spared the moment to glare at Sapph, who was seated at one of the videophone booths talking to Prof. Yew, and resolutely ignoring Haley as she’d marched in. “-As quickly as possible.”

    “Sure thing, Haley.” Nurse Joy said as she left the room and came back with a tray designed to hold up to six pokéballs although only one was occupied with a small white orb. “Here you go, Haley,” she said cheerfully.

    “Thank you, Nurse Joy,” Haley said, reclaiming her Pokémon and fitting it onto her belt.

    “Oh, yes!” Nurse Joy said, as though remembering something. “These came for you and Sapph over there,” reaching behind the counter and pulling out two identical brown envelopes. “They just arrived by Pidgey Post from Olville Town. Could you give Sapph’s to him please?”

    Plastering a huge fake smile on her face, Haley grinned, “Why, of course, Nurse Joy! No problem!”

    As Haley drew nearer to where Sapph sat she opened her envelope, only half-listening to the conversation going on around her.

    “As I was saying, Sapph,” Prof. Yew said. “It could have been an Aromatherapy technique, or might have been, if Ledyba couldn’t do something so similar…”

    “It was no Aromatherapy, Professor,” Sapph said firmly.

    “How can you tell, Mr. Sapph Manson?” Haley scoffed, stopping behind Sapph and dropping his letter onto his lap with negligent care. “Hello, Professor,” she added, ignoring Sapph and speaking to the face on the videophone screen.

    “Are you listening in to my phone calls?” Sapph started angrily. “Why don’tcha mind ya own business!”

    “I plan to, Sapph,” Haley hissed back, not looking at him.

    “Hello, Haley! Any new discoveries yet?” Prof. Yew said cheerfully.

    “Aside the fact that Sapph is a total Neanderthal? Nope,” Haley said nonchalantly, yet with a hint of exasperation.

    “What?!” Sapph yelled, spinning around to glare at Haley.

    “Well, maybe there’s something unusual I’d like you to check out for me,” Prof. Yew said, his eyes twinkling in a way that Sapph associated with nothing good for him.

    “What is it, Professor?” Haley said eagerly.

    “Well, Sapph’s Pokémon have recently been displaying strange phenomenon. I was wondering if you two would consent to travel together so as to help me gain some answers.” Professor Yew said, pushing his thin, wire-rimmed glasses up his large nose.

    Haley and Sapph looked like they’d been asked to assume responsibility for Ol’ Flo’s upkeep.

    Gesticulating wildly, Haley spluttered, “Wa-what? J…Just- uh…w-w-wait, Professor! My mom sent me a telegram just now…she probably wants me back in Olville…s-s-see?” And she pulled the telegraph out and read aloud, her voice faltering the more she read:

    ’TO HALEY KENT STOP WAIT FOR SAPPH IN NIGHTSPARK CITY STOP SPOKE TO HIS MOTHER AND WE BOTH DECIDED THAT IT’LL BE BEST FOR YOU TO TRAVEL TO GETHER STOP SAPPH SHOULD HAVE ATELEGRAM FROM HIS MOTHER BY NOW EXPLAINING THE WHOLE SITUATION STOP YOU HEARD ME NO BUTS LADY STOP TAKE CARE STOP LOVE YOUR MOTHER.’ What the…no way!” Haley yelled in disgust.

    “Well it’s settled then!” Prof. Yew said happily. “Right, Sapph- you’re in Haley’s excellent hands now. I’ll keep in touch! Good night you two!” and the screen went black.

    “Professor! Professor, noo!” Sapph screamed, trying and failing to get the Professor to maintain the link and failing.

    Haley, in a state of shock, could only mumble in reply to the news: “I’ve got to travel…with Sapph…together? With…him?” She stared at him in horror.

    Turning around in zombie-like fashion she dragged herself to the room where she stayed in the Centre, muttering as she punched the wall with resounding noise “All a bad dream…got to wake up…maybe…maybe tomorrow…all this…will be…just a …a nightmare…”

    “Sapph? Your Pokémon will have to stay the night…Sapph, dear?” Nurse Joy said tentatively.

    Sapph didn’t hear her. He could only stare at the envelope, not opening it, yet knowing what it would say, what it would contain…

    …His sentence.

    ***

    How’s that? Hope you like the battle. Please post your comments, please! I love comments! Especially from you!

    Lastly, the new Corei-DEX's first entry!

    Mongle
    Corei-DEX Number:
    001
    Species: Leaf Squirrel
    Element: Grass
    Name Derivation: 'MONG' from 'MONGoose' and 'LE' from 'LEaf"
    Height: 1'02"
    Weight: 9 lbs
    Evolution Line: Normally Mongle follow the following pattern:
    Mongle-(16)->Squirrage-(36)->Warrel
    Artist's/Author's Note: Mongle was one Pokémon that went through a couple of changes before I came up with the leaf-tailed, hunched over Grass starter people like Diddy love. He was initially a mongoose Pokémon with two long stripes running along the length of his back. his leaves were ringed around his neck and his body was much longer than it is now.
    Ironically, Mongle wasn't my original choice for the grass starter of the Corei region. I'd initially wanted Cactadder, a Grass snake to take that position as it had a full evolution chain and Mongle's wasn't ready. In the end I'd settled for Mongle having finally settled what the higher forms would look like.
    In Fic: WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

        Spoiler:
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 9th October 2012 at 10:33 AM.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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  4. #54
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    Better. Much better than the original. I can really feel the brutality here. And just what level is Mongle? >16? And Burner is what? 30? X_X Not making sense here...

    Oh yay. Sapph and Haley sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. lol.

    Not much to say. Gotta kip soon.

    Good night.

    Pika out.
    FTMP is officially dead. Those who are still interested in reading click
    here.
    Last Update: Chapter 17: Date: 6-2-2006(MM-DD-YYYY)

    "I have returned from the depths of hell to do battle with you." ~ Godot

  5. #55
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    i would belevie this is the first post i have put up here even though i have read from the begening.

    But anyways excellent story you have going here. It is a shame having carmen demolish sapph's pokemon and then to be saved by his brother. Hope you have another chapter again within a few weeks but until then keep up the good work and good luck
    Arsenal FC

    Gunner till i die

  6. #56
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    Thumbs up

    Before I review I would just like to tell Air Dragon that I reccomended your story as one of my favorite journeyfics in my journeyfic thread.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The battle was described excellently, although I think that the Ledyba battle seemed to be more prominent than the Mongle vs. Burner battle. The appearance of Rubin was very interesting, although I would like to know what Pokemon he saved Sapph with. The development in the relationship between Sapph and Haley, as well as them traveling together, is going to present some great oppurtunities story-wise.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One problem that I had with the chapter is that you said that Quick Attack is Mongle's most powerful attack, instead of Razor Leaf, which is illogical.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Overal- 9.99/10. By far, your best chapter yet.



    ~ ~
    advance shipping forever
    contestshipping must die painfully

    I have claimed Saint Bernards and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Together they shall rule the world.

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  7. #57
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    Felix: Felix Navidad, my little pika pal (edges away before being incapacitated) So glad you liked the battle. i guess brutality will always shine brightly in you eyes...heh. Yeah Sapph and Haley...two young people doomed to kill each other. Metaphorically of course...In the Corei-DEX entry for Mongle, i said 'Normally'. bear in mind that Sapph's mongle isn't normal...not by a long shot...

    A.F.C Guy12: thanks for your support! so another closet reader has come out into the open, hah! Yeah, well Sapph is to put it in Felix's words 'having a totally screwed lifetime' of things right now. although things usually tend to look up for him. Welcome to the thread!

    P.S: Gunners die in the face of a Red Devil...MWA.Ha.HA!

    lorgzangoose: arigatou gosaimasen, zangoose-dono! i was in the journeyfics thread and saw it myself before posting chapter 10! It made me mucho happy! Ledyba's one tough cookie, right now he's tougher than Mongle, to tell the truth so even against type disadvantages he tends to hold his own pretty well. i'll elaborate when Ledyba's Autohr's Note is released. Rubin's pokemon will be revealed slowly over time, the main reasoni'll leave for the fanfic to be revealed in due course. there will be a couple of contest appearances of Rubin and Carla, much to Haley's chagrin. Hah so more of Rubin's team will be revealed over time. i notice what you mean about Mongle's move pool: against a fire type like Burner, grass attacks really won't stand (unless you talking energy attacks like solarbeam and energy ball) but mongle's too young for them now.

    OK! Questions answered? Thanks given? Alright!

    L@er!
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
    PROJECT C-SQUARE STATUS = 100.00% Complete (11-12-2010, ca. 2:40pm GMT)
    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
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  8. #58
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    I like the ideas you have, Air Dragon. Keep it up. Sapph and Haley should get new pokemon and travel together indeed.
    Visit Nocturne of Shadows. Check the chats and forums section to visit the forum. I have a guestbook and a mini shout box.

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    Finally here for a request review!

    Firstly, we have: trainer gets up late and doesn't get desired Pokemon, standard "rival", Team (insert name here), and multiple Nurse Joys. Normally I would say that journeyfics containing these elements are badly cliched, but, you know what?

    Your fic is just too well-written and entertaining to me to dock points for that! First we have Sapph, a trainer with a magnet for bad luck and a bit of a Butch complex (URGGH! The name is SAPPH!) That and the fact he's not the brightest Volbeat in the swarm, so to speak. Not to mention that he *might* be a worse cook than me. A very nice break from the typical trainer molded after Ash who can do no wrong.

    And even though you do have the standard rival, Kamren strikes me as having a lot more personality than rivals I usually come across. He's a character that I "love to hate" because he goes out of his way to insult and pester Sapph at every opportunity. That and the fact that he's more than willing to beat his opponent's Pokemon into submission only adds to his character.

    The Pokemon characterizations are top-notch. The interactions between Mongle and Ledyba are oftentimes so freakin hilarious that I can't control myself! And Bubbles is so cuuute Also, I never pictured Chansey as the type to go ballistic and slap Mongle silly on multiple occasions. Nice job there, as well, bringing out a whole new side of a species I gave a stereotyped personality. Stupid me! Anyway, after reading yours and icemew's fics, I'm beginning to second-guess my decision not to have Pokemon speak in my fic, as it seems easier to give them personality that way. Then again, having Pokemon speak human language isn't really part of my style of writing, so I would probably Butch (URGGH IT's BOTCH) it up if I tried.

    The descriptions are well done, and as you progressed you started to move away from a "list of attributes" to a more smooth, flowing style of description. Most of your created Pokemon, I was able to picture them in my mind pretty easily, which is perhaps the greatest obstacle in using self-made Pokemon in a fanfiction. And you did a nice job overcoming that hurdle.

    STOP! GRAMMAR TIME!
    Stating it as though it were obvious, Sapph said snippily, “Easy…so you can pick up Bubbles and I could get my Pokémon healed, seeing as I didn’t do so after what went down this afternoon.”

    Haley’s eyes widened in shock “You mean you haven’t done that yet?”
    In the first sentence, you need to put a space after an ellipsis, just like any punctuation mark. In the second sentence, you need to put a comma or period after "shock."

    Looks like Haley and Sapph are stuck together not, whether they like it or not And I wonder what Team Shadow is up to. Just, please do not make Kayla and Andre like Jessie and James. Having bad guys battle like nimrods and go flying into the wild blue yonder is seen a bit too often in journeyfics. I would really like to see Team Shadow do something interesting and unique as far as villains go.

    Overall, I was very impressed with this story. I never got a chance to read the original, so I'm in no position to compare. But you have a unique, entertaining, and engaging writing style, and I will definitely be looking forward to future chapters.

    Highlights include the spazzing Chanseys, "Plan B: RUN AWAY LIKE LITTLE GIRLS!", the narcotic mushrooms, and the fact that Sapph seems to be so oblivious to stuff like Joy Jr.'s advances that his Pokemon literally have to spell it out for him. Some really funny stuff there
    Last edited by DarkPersian479; 7th January 2007 at 9:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkPersian479 View Post
    STOP! GRAMMAR TIME!
    That was the most hilarious line in a review i think i've ever read. anyway I need to talk about the chapter or risk being severly off topic.

    Ledyba, a pokemon I thought was babyish, rubbish in battle, ugly etc. is really starting to grow on me. I probably won't use one, ever, but yours is a good character to read about.

    Go Mongle, even if he was vanquished in battle, what can ya do against a huge opponent, I always found it strange that my treecko could defeat a wailord in the games with pound.

    off topicness. you mentioned the red devils. Hmm why did you have to support manchester united. Its Liverpool all the way. And you know it.
    Skogsrĺ

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  11. #61
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    Wink Chapter Eleven's here!

    DarkPersian479: That was really nice of you.Diddy was right STOP! GRAMMAR TIME! was the hilarious line i'd heard in a review! made me listen to mc hammer's track for the rest of the day!

    Diddy: Thanks for the review!
    off topicness. you mentioned the red devils. Hmm why did you have to support manchester united. Its Liverpool all the way. And you know it.
    Okaaay, *cough, cough* right.

    In all honesty, let's put our fanhood behind us and get this chapter rolling!

    Chapter Eleven: The Gatonda Challenge


    Sapph knew his journey would be full of lessons. He’d in fact already learnt two new ones after his match with Kamren: he could cook up some mad ideas, crazy ideas and some so insane they were just plain not-to-bright. And two; Haley did not appreciate practical jokes at four-thirty in the morning.

    It all began that morning. The peaceful dawn that mimicked the tranquillity Sapph had arisen to in his room at the presently silent Nightspark City Pokémon Centre would be peaceful no more. For Sapph had another one of his not-so-bright ideas as the sun peeked over the pier that he would so regret later on. Slipping out of bed and tiptoeing past Mogshex, who after making a point of telling Sapph she hated being in a pokéball the previous night, was currently sleeping on the soft felt pouffe in the room towards his bag. Mogshex, hearing shuffling noises, opened one eye to watch Sapph rummage in his bag for something large and brown. Sapph stared at it for a moment, his smile growing into a simpering grin before he began to put it on. Mogshex had no idea what Sapph in mind but knew her trainer wouldn’t like the consequences very much.

    After donning the Ursaring suit and shuffling over to the door. Sapph opened the door ajar and slipped out, leaving it slightly open. As Sapph crept down the corridor and into Haley’s room, he stretched his hands towards Haley’s sleeping form, his shadow fell across her. Haley’s silver eyes fluttered open slowly, taking in the image of the shadow very slowly.

    “What the…” she began uncertainly, rubbing her eyes and peering more closely at the shape of the shadow. Recognising it with a thrill of terror, Haley spun around to see a large grizzly bear with a large gold ring on its belly rise onto its hind legs and growl.

    All peace and dreams of the citizens of Nightspark City at that instant were shattered by a long, piercing scream.

    “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! MURDEROUS URSARING ON THE LOOOSE! GET AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!” Haley screamed, her foot rising to connect with the fake Hibernant Pokémon’s chin, ripping off its head and sending its limp body soaring into the dresser with enough power to make any Nidoqueen proud. Determined to finish off her assailant, Haley leapt out of bed and proceeded to stomp the living daylights out of its carcass until a familiar moaning pain caused her to look down. Where the Ursaring’s head should have been, Sapph’s violently red face with a bloody lip and nose looked up into her…

    Sapph? What the…where did the…hey, wha-, “she stammered, looking down to see Sapph now glowing face and wide eyes transfixed. Haley blushed incandescent crimson and continued to stomp Sapph’s face in like a four-hundred pound Donphan on steroids, reaching over for her fallen pillow to aid her in snapping Sapph out of what she assumed was severe perversion.

    “What the frigging hell are you looking at, you freaking pervert! Quit looking, damn it! Look…a…freaking…way!” Haley yelled, in a voice so loud no font size could encapsulate its ear-splitting volume.

    “OI! HEY! GERROFF ME, HALEY! GERROFF! OWW! OWWW, PUT THE DAMN PILLOW DOWN, HALEY! KNOCK IT OFF, YOU CRAZY WOMAN!!!! OWWWW!!!” Sapph yelled, shielding his face with his arms.

    “Don’t you freaking tell me to f***ing knock it off, you perverted b*****d!” Haley continued to storm, landing another kick in the side of Sapph’s head, sending him flying into the corner. The walls shook as Sapph collided with the walls. “I oughta…hunh?” she stopped abruptly, staring at her reflection in the dressing mirror where she saw one of a girl’s nightmares’ unfold right before her eyes.

    “WHAT THE… IS THAT…?!!!” She began loudly, and her voice getting progressively louder.

    “Now what?” Sapph muttered, rubbing his sore ribs.

    “AAAAARGGH, A FREAKING GRAY HAIR! SAPPH MANSON! YOU’RE SO GONNA FLIPPING PAY!!!” Haley Kent continued in a bloodcurdling screech, her silver eyes on fire.

    “Hunh? Gray hair?” Sapph muttered drowsily, lifting his hands off his smarting head to see a lock of whitened hair dangling from Haley’s head, clearly distinct amongst the reddish-blonde. He gulped as he rubbed a hand over his chin to feel a small trickle of blood of it running from his chin to his mouth and somehow knew he was going to see a lot more of it soon.

    Uh, oh… this won’t end well, Sapph thought worriedly as Haley slowly dropped her hand from the strands of mismatched hair on her head.

    “Do you know, Sapphire Manson, for how long the lustrous gleam of my hair has been important to me?” Haley whispered, rising slowly as she cracked her knuckles.

    Sapph didn’t know, but he had a feeling that he was going to find out that it took quite a while…

    Lord, let me live, Sapph fervently prayed as Haley drew closer.

    Five minutes later…

    “Lord, let me die.” Sapph mumbled in a constricted voice, curled up on the floor, covered in bruises and smoking lumps the size of tennis balls as Haley flounced out of the room to cover up the shame her beautiful, precious hair now suffered at the hands of Sapph’s joke.

    ***

    “Geez, what was that for?” Sapph mumbled an hour later to his Mongle, Ledyba and a small black kitten with white tufts of hair around its neck and the base of its paintbrush tail, spiky black hair on top of its head and a cute button nose as they sat or hovered down to breakfast in the main lobby of the Pokémon Centre.

    <Well, it was your fault, you know,> Mogshex said, after primly swallowing the food in her mouth. <If you hadn’t scared her so much, she wouldn’t have greying hair and you wouldn’t have broken ribs.>

    “So you’re telling me she's right not to have a sense of humour?” Sapph countered moodily, rubbing his tender trunk.

    <Who knows, son? Who knows?> Mongle replied sagely. Or as sagely as he could with his mouth was filled to bursting yet again.

    “I mean, one second it’s peaceful and the next second she ready to rip my head off! Why are girls so emotional anyways?” Sapph asked no one in particular.

    <Well-uhhh…well,> Mongle began, food dribbling down out the corner of his mouth (Mogshex chose this moment to throw the Leaf Squirrel a look of pure disgust before turning away). <Ledyba, help me out here!>

    Ledyba, who had also closed his eyes to stave off the nauseating sight of Mongle talking and eating at once, opened his eyes when he thought it would be safe to without throwing up and answered succinctly, <Please, Mongle. Keep me outta this, OK?>

    <Hmph. Some pal you are,> Mongle grumbled, food still falling out of his face with every syllable.

    “I mean, Bubbles literally drowned you with drool in its sleep… did I make a ruckus? No!” Sapph continued to grumble to no one in particular.

    <The female is such a complex creature, my son. Very complex indeed.> Mongle mused, after finally getting his food down the right tube.

    “How am I supposed to bear this for a year and a half? I mean how could Mom and Mrs. Kent do this to me?” Sapph groaned, referring to the telegrams they had received from Mrs. Kent the previous evening, telling the twosome that the two mothers had agreed to let Sapph and Haley travel together for about a year and a half ‘for security reasons’ as his mother’s telegram had said.

    Whose security, though? Sapph wondered, reflecting on Haley’s assault earlier in the morning, ‘cause I feel mine is being threatened by this girl every minute I spend with her!

    He’d lost thread of the conversation going on around him as he pondered how he was going to survive with a potentially lethal travel companion.

    <Not so. It’s you guys who are too simple to understand us girls.> the kitten piped up.

    <No way!> Mongle insisted. <Do not listen, my son! The feline one seeks to confuse you!>

    <Who the heck are you calling ‘My son’?> Ledyba said, staring at Mongle in a confused manner.

    <Sure as hell ain’t you, Goggle Head!> Mongle sass-mouthed Ledyba, dropping the mystic tone in a flash. <What do you take me for, Globes for Eyes? You that dumb, Bug Eye?!>

    A vein went off on Ledyba's temple at a rate that was off the scale. Eventually, the Five Star Pokémon calmed down enough to reply.

    <Hmm, you’re right there. It is stupid to compare you to my dad. Last time I checked, my dad had much better manners. He was more handsome too.> Ledyba smart-alecked back.

    <What! OK, that does it! You and me, Bug Eye! Right here, right now!> Mongle said, only to be returned to his pokéball by an exasperated Sapph along with Ledyba who’d swallowed his food and also looked ready to go.

    <See? Told you guys are too simple to understand girls.> the kitten replied nonchalantly, who’d looked up to watch her new team mates' spat with disgust and had now returned to eating her meal in peace.

    “Mogshex, I’m a guy too, ya know. Don’t generalize your comments about guys like that or I’ll send you back in too.” Sapph warned her, only a little wearily. It was hard to get mad at Mogshex.

    <Whatever. It’s not my fault if my team mates lack maturity,> she replied nonchalantly, not looking up from her breakfast.

    “That is a little unfair, though” Sapph said slowly, chewing on his food thoughtfully. “Ledyba isn’t usually that rough…usually only happens with Mongle…”

    <Yeah, well…Ledyba’s an exception to the rule,> Mogshex said with a satisfied purr, as she used her rough tongue to clean her dish.

    Sapph rolled his eyes and returned to his just as Haley pranced out of the rest room with Bubbles the Aquari cuddled in her arms.

    <Gooool monning, Sap!> Bubbles called cheerily.

    “IT’S SAPPH, YOU…” the Johto trainer half-yelled, stopping abruptly at the look on Haley’s face when she saw that her Pokémon looked ready to unleash a bucketful of tears out at once. “Erm, sorry Bubbles, my name is Sapph,” he rephrased apologetically.

    <That whatta say! Sap!> Bubbles insisted.

    “Never mind, Bubbles.” Haley assured her Pokémon, sitting down to some breakfast too. "I'm sure Sap knew that! You being so smart and all!"

    <Yay! Bubbles smart, Bubbles smart!> The Water Hare screeched happily.

    Under normal circumstances, Sapph would have pretended to retch over the table and retort rudely, but with the Haley from that morning still fresh in his mind, he contented himself with a strained smile.

    “You, er, OK, Haley?” Sapph asked tentatively, looking Haley over nervously.

    “I’m great!” she replied enthusiastically, as Sapph watched Haley and Bubbles digging in with enough gusto to make even Mongle sick.

    I guess pounding the crap outta me must have taken a lot outta her, Sapph thought watching her with a sickened expression that matched his new Pokémon’s.

    “By the way, Sapph,” Haley asked, emptying her mouth, “when did you get a Mogshex?”

    “Oh, yesterday,” Sapph said flashing back to when he met his newest Pokémon…

    -Flashback-

    At the rocky route north of Nightspark City…


    “Who’s there?” Sapph choked out, swiveling around to see a pair of ruby red eyes staring at him from out of the shadows.

    The Pokémon stepped into the moonlight to reveal itself to be a small black kitten with white, fluffy hair around the nape of its neck and base of its tail.

    As usual the Pokédex had the answer.

    Mogshex, the Night Cat Pokémon. Mogshex are found only at night and appear only to people who feel distinct despair. Such emotions are drawn in by its fine white hairs as a source of energy, replacing them with a feeling of peace and tranquility. As such they are rarely seen at all.

    That so? Sapph thought, watching the Mogshex slink closer towards him. He felt all the pain of the evening slip away. He began to smile as he looked into the kitten’s deep red eyes, who smiled back in an enchantingly cute way. It suddenly sprang lithely into the boy’s lap and curled up there, purring contentedly.

    Sapph felt this wave of content and relaxed on the boulder. Fortunately (or unfortunately), this movement caused the Mogshex to nudge an empty pokéball on his belt, enlarging it. In a blink of an eye, the Night Cat Pokémon had vanished in a flash of red.

    <What the-> the kitten had begun in alarm, but to no avail. The deal was sealed; Sapph had caught her.

    “Hunh? Hey, where’d the Mogshex g-,” Sapph started, snapping out of his dreamlike state sharply as he noticed what had happened. “Aw, man! Is that the only way I can catch a Pokémon? By freaking accident?!” he cried out in frustration, throwing the fist clenched around the pokéball into a nearby rock.

    A popping sound then echoed in the clearing as Sapph squeezed the pokéball. Mogshex reappeared in a flash of white light, blinked twice and yawned. Striding up to where Sapph sat, it climbed up to Sapph’s chest so it could reach his face. Sapph smiled; Mogshex’s soothing power was really effective. The Mogshex’s face suddenly turned dangerous as she swatted her new trainer across the face, leaving three long, thin and stinging scratch marks on his face. Sapph, yelping in pain and anger, reached for the Night Cat Pokémon’s orb and returned it in a temper as she stretched and curled in to a ball, ready to resume her napping.

    -End Flashback-

    “I see… so that explains the dual carriageway markings across your nose…” Haley mused, smirking broadly.

    “Haley…” Sapph snarled, a vein throbbing painfully on his clenched fist.

    “Oops, sorry, Sapph!” Haley tinkled, though not looking too sorry at all. “Anyway, when are we gonna see the carnival, Sapph?” Haley asked coming out of her reverie after listening to Sapph’s short narration of his most recent capture.

    “I’ve already seen enough of it for now,” Sapph answered shortly.

    "But that’s not really the point, Sapph,” Haley said, her eyebrows raised. “After all, there was a hand bag I simply must get for my mother and an adorable..."

    “I said, we’re not,” Sapph replied bluntly, finishing off his meal and rising to his feet.

    “...ribbon that would look simply...excuse me?” Haley asked, unsure if she heard Sapph right.

    “I said, we’re not staying,” Sapph repeated, reaching for his knapsack.

    “But-,” Haley began to protest.

    “Listen, you and Bubbles can stay if you want, but Mongle, Ledyba, Mogshex and I are hitting the road. I’m not letting Kamren Kent get ahead of me…not since yesterday,” Sapph told her, a determined glint in his sapphire blue eyes.

    “Geez, you are so-,” Haley spluttered as Sapph turned to go.

    Sapph didn't wait to hear what he so was. He didn't really give a hoot anyway...

    “Fine! I don’t give a dirty Rattata’s rear what I’m meant to be this time! C’mon, Mogshex… catch you guys at the town gate in half an hour! You can do your shopping in that amount of time! Right, Little Miss Organized?” Sapph said loudly, cutting Haley’s indignant protest short. Mogshex leapt nimbly into his arms rather than into her pokéball, and he was gone.

    Silence reigned in the Pokémon Center for about three minutes, during which Haley’s face grew beet red and Bubbles, noticing this flattened her long ears and braced herself for the explosion that Sapph could hear even three hundred yards away as he searched the sprawling carnival for the western exit of the city, so he could get on with his journey.

    Sapph, however, had another issue to be grumpy about and didn't care much for the ruckus the Pokémon Centre behind him was experiencing.

    “What’s with you and your dislike for walking?” Sapph asked Mogshex disgruntled, shimmying out of the way of a parade displaying a troupe of dancing Aipom.

    <Well, the road’s muddy, isn’t it?> Mogshex answered, looking down at a puddle and shuddering at the thought of having to walk through it.

    “Geez… Are all Mogshex this prissy? Or is it just females?” Sapph groaned, rolling his eyes. “Come to think of it, are all girls like that?” He asked, once again remembering Haley’s apoplectic behaviour this morning.

    <Hey! For your big bad information, buster, I am so...not... prissy!> Mogshex began in an irate, scandalized tone.

    Just as the words came out, a small girl ran out of a side alley smack into Sapph, who in surprise dropped Mogshex into a particularly muddy puddle as he grabbed the girl around the waist to stop her falling into one herself.

    Mogshex rose out of the puddle, dripping muck all over her face. Wiping it off with the back of her paw and throwing her trainer a dirty look, Mogshex mumbled incoherently, <Ugh…sure, Sapph… you be the big strong hero and I’ll just hang around down…down… what ha-ha-haaaaa…> she suddenly began to stutter, staring at the mud on the back of her paw, whilst reaching up tremulously with the other one to feel her face, her mind on fast forward as the horror of what happened to her hit her.

    <AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGGGG GHHHHHHHHHHH! MY BEAUTIFUL FUUUUUUUUUUUR! RUINED!> Mogshex wailed, looking herself over in horror.

    “What the-, “Sapph exclaimed, looking the girl over and blushing furiously as his mind caught up with the position he was in and let go hurriedly wondering how the hell he got into these situations. The girl also hot flashed as the duo jumped apart in surprise and embarrassment as she hastily disentangled herself from his arms after briefly snuggling herself closer to his side.

    “Oh, oh, oh! I-I-I-I’m so s-so-sorry!” the petite gasped, her shiny green eyes widening in apology under her long light brown fringe.

    “J-Joy?! When did you get here? Wow, w-what a surprise! What’s with the hair colour change?” Sapph stammered.

    The girl seemed too flustered to answer Sapph’s questions. Sapph pressed on, noticing that she kept looking over her shoulder.

    “Joy? Are you OK? Is anyone after you? And have you shrunk a bit since we last met?” Sapph asked, now peering carefully at his new ‘acquaintance’, oblivious to Mogshex’s screams of anguish.

    “Joy? Who-who’s Joy? You mean my…” the girl said softly.

    “No…not your third sister twice removed from the apple…sorry, family…oh, whatever! I meant, you! “ Sapph said, trying to remember her link to the nursing family and winding up frustrated. “Nurse Joy Jr.?” He added with a shot at hopefully jogging her memory.

    “Wha…is…is my…is she a friend of yours?” The girl went on, understanding flickering in her eyes, although Sapph was clearly lost in the dark.

    OK, Sapph thought furtively she is seriously weirding me out now. Was a nurse’s memory that short? Or was what happened back in EverWood just a phase?

    “Hey, you OK? You’re Joy! Are you a little amnesic from your fall?” Sapph said worriedly.

    “Fall? N-no! I-I’m not J-Joy…I’m called…” the girl went on, but a raucous voice interrupted her.

    “Hey, Nora! Where’re Reggie’s goods?” yelled the raucous voice, which Sapph observed belong to a boy wearing a bug catcher hat as the boy ran up to them. The youth looked no older than ten to Sapph. By his side was a small, black dog with long fangs and blood red eyes. Its short, brushy tail twitched as it growled at the girl now cowering close to Sapph’s side.

    “I dunno what’s going on, but you really should know better than to have your Pokémon attack a person for fun,” Sapph said sternly, addressing the boy.

    “Hey dude, butt outta this!” the boy with the dog told Sapph curtly, taking a step closer. At the same time, the girl clung tighter to Sapph’s back and Sapph took a step forward towards the other boy.

    That is a Poochyena, the Bite Pokémon. There are indigenous to the Hoenn Region, The Pokédex reported.

    Two more boys loped out of the shadows, Poochyena by their sides as well. One wore a fishing hat, the other a green fishing cap.

    “So, boys! Wanna battle, or what?” Sapph asked cockily. I guess I got time for these three, he added mentally. He may be outnumbered, but at five foot eight, he towered above the other boys, the tallest of which had to five foot three, and Nora who looked no taller.

    “You’re pretty dumb to think you can beat us, the Dark Pokémon Trainer Club,” the boy in the straw hat called, pointing at Sapph.

    “Yeah!” His companions yelled.

    "Hunh? You guys are the… what was it again?" Sapph asked, confused by the long title the youths had placed upon themselves. He placed his right hand on his waist and stuck his left pinky finger up his ear as though to clean out a build up of wax.

    "THE DARK POKÉMON TRAINER CLUB!" All three trainers yelled in unison, seriously ticked off at this point.

    "What'sa matter, boys? Couldn't think of a cooler and shorter name?" Sapph teased, making a nerdy face at the trio.

    “Okay tough guy, that does it! Bring it on!” Straw Hat roared.

    “Yeah!” The boy with a fishing hat added.

    “We’ll whup your butt but good!” chortled the youth with the cap.

    Three on one, hunh? Sapph thought, a grin curling up his face. Should be fun! “Let’s go, Mogshex!” He rallied.

    <MY FUR! WAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!> Mogshex continued to bawl.

    Sapph sweat dropped.

    “Umm, okay, then go Mongle!” he said, chucking his Grass Pokémon’s ball forward.

    Mongle took form on the street, staring at all three of his canine counterparts.

    <A street battle, hunh? Is that allowed, Sapph?> Mongle asked, looking at his trainer out of the corner of his eyes.

    Sapph shrugged. “I dunno,” he admitted.

    <Ah, who cares? I say let’s get it on!> Mongle agreed, looking back towards the issue at hand.

    “Poochyena, Howl!” all three boys yelled in perfect unison.

    All three Bite Pokémon, raised their snouted faces up to the sky and let loose a collective battle cry, which echoed off the buildings. The Poochyena then looked tougher; more battle ready.

    Poochyena howl to raise their Attack power in battle, the Pokédex continued. In the wild, they use the howling to keep together in packs, especially after evolution.

    “Really?” Sapph said, arching his dark brown eyebrows. “Then use Razor Leaf, Mongle!”

    The puppy Pokémon had barely finished charging up when Mongle pummelled them over the heads with sharp, spinning leaves. The Bite Pokémon flew into a nearby dumpster where they lay, too beat to continue.

    “No way!” Straw-Hat yelled.

    “Unreal!” the green capped youth exclaimed

    “Impossible!” the Fisherman-Hat kid hollered, bug-eyed.

    <Heh, now that’s what I call takin’ out the trash!> Mongle crowed.

    “Had enough?” Sapph asked, hiding his glee behind a look of extreme boredom. That was almost too easy! Sapph thought.

    “We gotta tell the leader!” The boy in a straw hat said in awe, recalling his fallen Poochyena from the dumpster.

    “Yeah!” the others agreed, following suit.

    “No need, boys… I saw the whole thing,” a new voice called. A taller boy stepped out of the shadows, clapping his hands slowly in mock applause.

    Sapph tensed, taking in his new opponent’s appearance. With slicked back hair and a leather biker jacket, this guy sure lived up his role as leader of the pack based on his appearance. The only thing that ruined the image was the lollipop the boy had stuck in his mouth to look like a cigarette.

    “Who’s that?” Sapph asked Nora, who’d broken out into a fresh wave of shivers.

    “My brother Reginald,” she whispered.

    “Reg to you,” He corrected pushing his black glasses up his long nose. He then looked around at the beaten Pokémon and whistled. “Not bad…not bad at all,” the guy said, stepping up to Sapph and Mongle, who’d jumped back a couple of paces to ready himself for another battle. “Look’s like I’ll have some decent competition in the Gatonda Tournament, this year…”

    “The what?” Sapph asked.

    “Not a local, hunh? Well the tourney is an annual regular at this carnival,” Reg explained. “I’m best bet at being tourney champ this year,” he added with a bit of a swagger.

    “Really? You must be good! How’s about showing me your stuff now?” Sapph said eagerly. “I got time for one more battle before I leave for the next league badge…”

    “Later, kid…Nora, hand over my stuff. Now!” he yelled at the girl who, with fear in her coral green eyes quickly handed him a small white paper bag.

    “Is that it?!” the boy yelled incredulously, stepping forwards towards his sister, who cowered behind Sapph.

    “Hey, back off! Is that a way to treat your little sister?” Sapph demanded angrily.

    “Butt out, Kid! Oh well, Ma always gave you less allowance than me,” Reggie said indifferently, popping the lollipop out of his mouth and pulling a new one out of the bag.

    “Hey, wait… was Nora’s money used for that?!” Sapph yelled, as Reggie shoved the bag into his jacket’s inner pocket and his free hand into his denim trouser pocket.

    “Maybe. Let’s go, boys,” Reggie answered indifferently, turning to walk off.

    “Hey, we’re not done here,” Sapph protested.

    “I’ll deal with you at the tourney, unless you’re too chicken to sign up!” Reg called back disappearing into the shadows with his motley crew.

    You’ll bet I’m staying, Sapph fumed. This ain’t over!

    <Man, what a jerk!> Mongle moaned. The Leaf Squirrel then noticed Mogshex in the puddle, crying over her soggy fur.

    <Pfft- pff- Wh-what happened t-t-t-to… pfft…> Mongle stuttered, struggling not to laugh at his team mate.

    <Don’t laugh! If you laugh, I’ll-I’ll…> Mogshex gulped.

    “Lay off her, Mongle,” Sapph warned his first Pokémon. "She really doesn't need that from you right now..."

    <I’m sorry Sapph, I –I –I – AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Muddy Mogshex! Muddy Mucky Mogshex!> Mongle screamed out in mirth, rolling all over the floor, clutching his stomach.

    <Quit it! Stop laughing!> Mogshex squealed, blinking back tears.

    “Mongle…” Sapph said warningly, his hand reaching for his pokéball.

    <Sorry, girly cat! It‘s just that you look-you look…> Mongle choked, laughing some more.

    <MONGLE! STOP...LAUGHING...AT...MEEEE!!!> Mogshex screamed, raking her paw over the Grass Pokémon face, sending him flying into the dumpster.

    Too late, Sapph thought ruefully, letting his hand drop to his side again.

    “Shouldn’t we stop them?” The girl asked perplexed, her eyes almost as wide as Ledyba's after seeing this odd display of infighting.

    “Nah,” he said tiredly. “Mogshex won’t do worse… it’s too dirty in there for…”

    All hatred of dirt forgotten, Mogshex flew after Mongle into the dumpster, and, past caring how dirty it was inside, started swatting every part of his face she could reach with a Fury Swipes attack.

    Sapph's eyes resembled mere pinpricks at this turn of events.

    “Uh, forget it” Sapph said hastily, sweat dropping.

    Sapph and the girl sprang forward and within seconds had separate the squabbling Pokémon- Nora held the flurry of claw and black fur that was Mogshex back as Sapph held onto a severely scratched Mongle. It looked like Mogshex had been playing Tic-Tac-Toe with Mongle’s face as the board and had no idea you only needed nine squares to play.

    “Do Pokémon fight their team mates like this all the time?” Nora wondered aloud, trying to keep her injuries to a minimum as she held the spitting and slashing tangle of claws and black-and-white fur that was Mogshex.

    “Nope. Just mine,” Sapph replied wearily. It had been a very long morning…

    “It’s my fault your Mogshex got all messy… here come with me. I’ll clean them up for you," the girl said softly, not quite meeting Sapph's eyes as she mumbled her apology.

    "No, it's not your fault," Sapph reassured her, scratching the back of his head embarrassedly. "I can take them to the centre, and..."

    “No, really, my grandma and I do this all the time. It's really my fault, anyway. I-I, uh, I-I, err, kinda...you know...insist," She stammered faintly, an extremely faint tinge of pink in her cheeks as Sapph stopped scratching to look at her when he answered.

    "My name is Nora, by the way,” She added, rapidly averting her eyes from his as she led Sapph out of the alley and up the crowded sidewalk.

    “I’m Sapph, and you really don’t have to worry. I can get them cleaned up at the Centre.” Sapph replied uncomfortably as he followed. Nora’s suddenly sparkly eyes were uncomfortably and attractively haunting in a way he couldn’t quite place his finger on.

    “Do you know the Junior nurse at the EverWood Pokémon Centre, Nora? Your eyes look so much like hers, and you sort of act the same,” Sapph asked his new friend as she led him around a magician’s float as they crossed the road.

    “She’s my distant cousin, as a matter of fact,” Nora said, looking back and managing a small smile at him. “We stay in touch. People keep saying how alike we were when we were younger so my Gran’s Misdreavus dyed my hair brown so everyone could tell us apart. They tried to wash it out but I guess some stayed in there…what’s funny?” She went on a little flustered as Sapph had let out a great whoop of laughter.

    Sapph stopped quickly, noticing he was being rude about it. “Sorry,” he said quickly, wiping his eyes. “But you’ve gotta admit that is kinda funny…”

    Nora relaxed. “Well, it is… I just thought… well… I didn’t know you knew her, too… sorry,” she added, blushing to the roots of her light brown hair.

    Continuing to blush as she looked at her sneakers, they continued to walk up the road in silence. She then went on to say, “It was so confusing back then…it was like we had no individual identity before then…everybody liked Joy better cause she could nurse well…I didn’t know squat… had no talent either…and my whole family are nurses...”

    “I can relate to that,” Sapph said darkly, knowing what it was like to resemble someone who was so much better at everything they did.

    She went on, not hearing what Sapph said, “… so I was kinda relieved when it happened… gave me an opportunity to be different… to be me.”

    “Yeah, it’s pretty amazing when you get a chance to be you,” Sapph said, thinking of Prof. Yew and the call that had possibly changed his destiny.

    “Hunh? Did you say something, Sapph?” Nora said quickly, looking at him and blushing, if possible even more.

    Realising with a huge animé sweat drop that he’d said something that would create an awkward situation, he quickly flapped his hands and said, “N-n-no! Of course not!” Sapph quickly looked downwards and away from Nora to hide the fact that he was blushing slightly.

    “Oh! Sorry,” Nora said, turning her face away so Sapph couldn’t see how disappointed she looked.

    They walked on in silence, lost in their own little worlds as the procession of floats moved on amidst loud band music and showers of colourful streamers and confetti.

    “Was there this big a difference in Corei girls to Johto girls, or are Corei girls just plain outta this world weird?" Sapph thought quietly in a confused manner as he watched a procession of brightly coloured floats pass by another major street, reflecting on how much success he’d had with girls at Violet City Pokémon Academy and realising there wasn’t much to reflect on.

    <I dunno... maybe you're the next hot thing in Corei, ma man!> Mongle said with a sly look at his trainer. <I mean… Nurse Joy Jr. was all over you… and now so’s her cousin!>

    “Ssh!” Sapph hissed.

    Mongle happily went on summarising Sapph’s love life, oblivious to Sapph’s noise of dissent. <… and you obviously like the nurse…or, no…you don’t!>

    “Don’t what?” Sapph said quickly in spite of himself.

    A large smirk crossed Mongle’s face as he looked at him with a face full of mischief < You naughty Casanova! Not the cousin too?!>

    Sapph mentally face faulted at this pronouncement. True, he liked Nurse Joy Jr. a lot (Not like I’d ever tell you, Mongle, Sapph though ruefully) and Nora seemed nice (as a friend, he thought hastily), but what did that have to do with anything?

    Gaining control of the amount of heat that had rushed to his face, Sapph arranged his face to reflect disdain and turned to look down Mongle. "You know something, Mongle?" Sapph asked wearily.

    <Not unless you tell me, New Kid on the Block,> Mongle replied.

    "Just shut up for the rest of the day, ok? You can do that, right?" Sapph asked him, totally worn out from the day's events so far.

    <Nope!> Mongle said coyly. <After all, we know you simply LOVE having these little...ah, heart to hearts...>

    "No, I don't!" Sapph hissed furiously into Mongle's ear.

    <Sapph, Sapph... denial will get you nowhere...> Mongle said slyly. <Do I tell Joy…or will you have the pleasure?>

    Enough.” Sapph said coldly. Mongle curled up again, his catlike grin spreading from ear to ear.

    Aw, man! Of all the talkative Pokémon... Sapph thought in disgust, exasperation and amusement as he ignored his partner and focused on where they were going.

    They had left the rambling skyscrapers of the bustling industrial area behind and were now in a peaceful residential area. At least it's quieter here, Sapph thought, but it's still so full of life. Large, shady trees lined the generally narrower streets in which little children played in. Here there were a variety of three-storied flats and one-storied buildings which arranged in neat blocks and separated by neatly kept hedges. Parents who weren't at work or the festival were either chatting merrily over the hedges, keeping their playful children from harassing the family Pokémon or tending to their vibrantly coloured gardens.

    “Here we are,” Nora informed him as they walked up the short flight of steps to a modest one- storey home that looked like it came from fourteenth century Violet City.

    With light wood floor panels, a small herb garden out back, a traditional moat and stretches of velvety green lawns dotted with flat stones that formed a path leading to what looked like the garden shed, Nora’s place looked like a nice place.

    “…I don’t see why she can’t,” a loud voice called out as Sapph took his shoes off.

    “My grandma,” Nora whispered to Sapph as they entered.

    Just as they were crossing the hall way, three adults stormed out, arguing heatedly.

    “You let Reginald become a trainer, why not Nora?” the eldest queried; a short, stout lady in a white and blue-hemmed kimono.

    “Reggie is a boy,” the woman answered quietly, not looking at the man next to her.

    Nora's mom, Sapph thought, wishing he weren't here right now. I mean, anybody would be embarrassed to bring a guest home to this, Sapph added internally, glancing at Nora to see her facial expression torn between severe chagrin at having Sapph see her family fight and pain: Mogshex had been startled by the yells and was currently clinging to Nora's fore arms painfully by the claws.

    “That is right,” he agreed; with a pencil moustache and wearing a male’s kimono, Sapph assumed this to be Nora’s father. “It is to be expected.”

    “That’s no excuse!” the senior lady said shrilly. She seemed in the eighties with deep wrinkles forming at the corners of her flashing green eyes.

    <Ooh, real life drama family spat! Where's the popcorn, buddy?> Mongle jibed.

    "Mongle, just shut up!" Sapph growled through tightly gritted teeth.

    <That idiot is so not helping the situation, Sapph. You do know that, right?> Mogshex whispered to her trainer.

    This conversation seemed to bring Nora's family to their senses. They all spun around to look at Sapph and Nora with expressions of open surprise.

    “Umm, I’m home,” Nora called uncertainly to her family.

    “Nora!” the younger woman cried out, her pale face flushed to see her daughter had company. “How are you?”

    “Where’s your brother? And who’s this urchin?” Nora’s father inquired sharply, all traces of surprise gone. He now wore an austere frown on his thin pointy face as he looked at Sapph with cold, ice blue eyes.

    “Leonard!” the old woman chided. “That was uncalled for!”

    “Stay out of this, mother!” the man snapped back. “Well?” he asked again, staring appraisingly at Sapph.

    Urchin?! At least I'm not a forty year-old momma's boy! Sapph thought furiously.

    Sapph never backed down from anyone except his dad (and his mom when she was really mad) before, and never knew when not to talk back and just shut up (a trait Mongle had no doubt picked up from the Johto trainer.)

    However, just as he opened his mouth to answer and make the situation ten times uglier, the older woman stepped in.

    “It’s alright, Ralph,” she said soothingly, “Thank you for bringing Nora home,” she added, winking at Sapph, who took the hint not to argue with her son at last and rearranged his face from a look of abject confusion to one of solemn modesty.

    Pulling off a short Japanese bow, he said in his most humble voice, “My pleasure, Obaa-san.”

    She then led Nora and Sapph away from Nora’s parents by the arm into a room that looked like an apothecary: medicines in all colours and shapes and sizes of bottles and jars lined the shelves. There were pots on a stove boiling away slowly. What seemed like a hot tub for Pokémon also stood in a corner.

    “Don’t you mind that old blowhard son of mine,” she reassured Sapph as she got the tub heated up with Nora’s help. “He’s just high-strung…”

    “…and a tradition-loving jerk? Yeah, I noticed,” Sapph said quietly.

    The two ladies stared at Sapph for a minute and Sapph suddenly felt as though he’d gone too far. The older lady suddenly threw back her head and let out a great whoop of laughter.

    “I’ve got to remember that one,” she choked, her eyes flooded with tears of mirth.

    “Grandma!” Nora said chidingly as Sapph looked dumbfounded.

    “So, er... is this a clinic or something?” Sapph asked her as he looked around.

    “Or something,” the old lady replied as she took Mongle from Sapph and plonked him into the tub.

    <Hey, lady! Not so…aaahhh,> Mongle started to protest, but he started relaxing once Nora had added some sweet smelling herbs to the bath. He moaned with relaxation as he soaked up the soothing sensation the bubbles filled the air with. <Now, this is the life!>

    Sapph felt a slight twinge of jealousy.

    “We work hand in hand with the Center… my grandmamma Rose is an expert Co-ordinator and breeder,” Nora explained, brushing back a strand of her short light brown hair that once matched her mother’s cherry coloured hair.

    She then proceeded to brush Mogshex off with a soft brush, which the Night Cat Pokémon enjoyed immensely.

    <Oh, yes, right there…ahh! That’s the spot!> the kitten purred with pleasure.

    “So what’s your real name? I know for a fact it ain’t Ralph,” Rose continued, flyaway hair under a red bandanna. She looked at Sapph with mischievously sparkling eyes that danced with childish mirth. “…and our little Nora isn’t quite ready for marriage yet, though if I were eleven, I wouldn’t say no to a gallant, handsome one such as yourself!” she added, chuckling.

    Grandmama!” Nora cried out, blushing furiously as heat also crept into Sapph’s cheeks.

    “Uhh, I’m Sapph, and I ‘m, erm, that is, I … “Sapph stammered.

    “Just kidding, Sapph!” Rose laughed, clapping Sapph on the back. “So! Any more Pokémon that need pampering?” She laughed at her own little joke.

    "Uh, pampering's funny?" Sapph said, bewildered, staring at Nora.

    “We’re from Pampa City, west of here,” Nora explained. “Daddy got a job at the Power Plant, so we moved to this closer location.”

    “Oh, right. I’ve got a Ledyba,” Sapph nodded, turning to Grandma Rose and releasing the Five Star Pokémon, for some treatment.

    <Hey, what are you going to do to me?> Ledyba screeched, trying and failing to get away from Grandma Rose.

    “Just a little deep wing muscle massage and antenna cleaning,” Grandma Rose assured the jittery Bug Pokémon. “You into contests, Sapph?” she asked, looking round at the Johto trainer as he helped restrain Ledyba.

    “No, I’m in the running for the League…got two badges too!” Sapph added, quickly regaining his light hearted swagger.

    “That’s great, my boy! Nora would be too, if that son of mine would just let her,” she added, her voice trailing away in a mutter. "Moves into my home... says such nonsense... such impudence..."

    “Holy Celebi,” Sapph said stunned, slapping his forehead. “He is a forty-year old momma’s boy…”

    Grandma Rose froze for a second long enough for Sapph to realise he’d made himself audible. Before he could apologize, she let out another wild whoop of gleeful laughter as Nora buried her face in one hand.

    Wiping tears of mirth from her eyes, Grandma Rose said cheerfully. “You crack me up, kid!”

    Grandmama…” Nora groaned in exasperation.

    “What’s with the Gatonda Tourney? Why is it such a big deal?” Sapph asked, attempting a change of subject. He succeeded as Ledyba relaxed in the hands of his masseuse.

    “Because the first prize is a Gatonda, a rare Electric Pokémon,” Nora told her.

    “I’d enter young Nora in a flash with mine if she had Pokémon, but you need at least five to compete,” Grandma Rose grumbled. "And I only have two to give her.”

    “I could enter for you, it’d be a cinch!” Sapph exclaimed.

    “Well, Grandma’s Pokémon are a little…” Nora began.

    “Don’t you say it!” Grandma Rose warned, her eyes flashing.

    “…old,” Nora finished. “They wouldn’t be able to take the strain of the tourney,” she added, finishing off Mogshex’s brushing.

    “No sweat! I’ll just catch some new ones!” Sapph assured her, reaching for Mogshex’s pokéball and his backpack.

    "Really? You'd really do that for me?" Nora asked in disbelief, looking up amazedly at Sapph.

    "Yeah! Is-er, that a problem?" Sapph asked, turning from Grandma Rose to Nora. His voice faltered as he saw Nora's eyes sparkling in a way that made him feel somewhat awkward.

    "Oh, I'm sure it's absolutely no problem at all, Sapph," Grandma Rose supplied slyly as the two young people quickly looked away from each other, blushing faintly.

    <Can it wait, Sapph? It really feels good in here!> Mongle yawned lazily stretching back a bit.

    Nora handed Mogshex back to Sapph and proceeded to help Mongle towel off as he recalled his Night Cat Pokémon to her pokéball.

    <Yeah.> Ledyba added slowly, groaning in pleasure as his wing muscles were loosened.

    “No. Now,” Sapph said, recalling Mongle from the side of the tub where he was towelling off.

    “Ledyba will take awhile longer to finish,” Grandma Rose told Sapph. “Why not head for the old Power Plant along that rocky road to the northwest? I’ll be done by the time you get back. You’ll need those Pokémon registered by tomorrow evening by six if you want to compete.”

    “Okay, I’ll pick you up later, Ledyba!” Sapph said, running out the door, catching Grandma Rose say, “Boy, are you one tensed up bug!”.

    <“Good luck!”> Nora and Ledyba called after him.

    As Sapph left, Leonard looked in on the two ladies.

    “Where’s Ralph off to? And whose Ledyba is that?” he asked brusquely.

    “He’s off to help your daughter become a trainer!” Grandma Rose declared stoutly. “… and I won't hear a word of complaint! No, not one word!" she added sternly as her son showed every sign of wanting to put a word or ten thousand in on the topic of his daughter becoming a trainer.

    ***

    As Sapph raced through the carnival, he bumped into Haley and Bubbles at the hoop la stand.

    “Sapph! I thought you’d left!” Haley said in some surprise.

    <Yah, we saw de most beautifullest firewalks an' ate all the cotton candies we could, dat is 'til poor Hawey went and...> Bubbles began to narrate cheerfully.

    "Bubbles!" Haley warned.

    "Haley what, Bubbles? Haley what?" Sapph asked eagerly.

    "You do not need to know, Sapph Manson!" Haley said firmly.

    <Aww, Hawey was a wheel sore wooser, Sap... she couldn't... cudn't...Hawey wat was da B-word for eating a lot of food wheely, wheely fasty- fasty?> Bubbles asked, losing the eager thread with which she was telling Sapph her tale.

    "Anyways, let's just say I learnt that Bubbles can eat much more candy than I can," Haley summarized embarrassedly. “Well, I’m ready to leave now…”

    “Well, I’m not,” Sapph answered bluntly, “I’ve got a...hold up," Sapph said abruptly, a sly, cat-like expression overshadowing his face. "You didn't by any chance both enter any eating contests, did you?"

    "Drop it, Sapph Manson! Now!" Haley snarled, sparks flying from her hair.

    Sapph gulped and sweat-dropped.

    "Okay, okay! For your information, I've got a tournament to prepare for on Saturday! So we aren't leaving until it's over!” Sapph said hastily.

    “Hunh?” Haley and Bubbles queried in unison.

    “That’s right! The Gatonda Tourney!” Sapph explained.

    <The what?> Bubbles asked, as confused as Haley felt.

    “But Sapph, what about Kamren?” Haley asked, half-humorously, half-amazedly. “I mean, I know it’s a really big event for trainers and all, but…”

    “Who cares about him? This is bigger than beating him! Besides, I can catch up any time!”

    ’Who cares?’” Haley echoed disbelievingly.

    <You are Sap, wight?> Bubbles asked suspiciously.

    “Sure I am Bubbs! Listen, I’ll catch you two at the Centre later tomorrow afternoon!” Sapph called over his shoulder, running down the street and out of sight.

    Haley and Bubbles watched him go with their mouths slightly open.

    <Bubbs?> Bubbles echoed. <I’m Bubbles! Ant I Bubbles, Hawey?>

    And Mongle says girls are hard to understand, Haley thought exasperatedly, nodding slowly.

    ***

    So! What d'you think? Let all review rip!

    And, now: the Corei-dex!

    Aquari
    Corei-DEX Number: 007
    Species: Water Hare
    Element: Water
    Name Derivation: 'AQUA' meaning 'water' and 'RI' from 'RabbIt"
    Height: 1'00"
    Weight: 8 lbs
    Evolution Line: Normally Aquari follow the following pattern:
    Aquari-(14)->Aquala-(36)->Aquazou
    Artist's/Author's Note: not much to say...Aquari was one of my first fakemon sketches and the first of the three Corei starters to be confirmed. Aquari's bubble tail was an idea adopted from Marril, and as bunny rabbits have fluffy bobbed tails, I thought, what the hey! After all, if Nintendo didn't like her, they didn't have to use her! This was back when I wanted to contribute to the third gen Pokemon posse.
    In Fic: Bubbles is the heart and soul of Haley's team. Being the youngest of the three starters in Professor Yew's lab, she was naturally highly protected by Mongle. Inquisitive and simply in love with living life free of worry, Bubbles sees her life as one long merry-go-round ride.
    One could say she's like Cream the Rabbit would be as a baby/toddler. All sugar and nice, with no spice. She can't really pronounce words well, like Sapph (Sap) and Mongle (Mongie), but no noe can really hold it against her (except Sapph).
    Her love for Haley is exceeded only by her hatred for mean thoughts and harsh words being thrown about. Bad pronunciation of names and other words will disappear after her evolution, although her carefree outlook of life will not.

    ***

    Let me know if you want to be on my pm list for future updates! they may take their time in coming though!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 9th October 2012 at 10:40 AM.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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  12. #62
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    Really cool chapter. I wonder what Sapph is gonna capture next.
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  13. #63
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    Gatonda is next on his list I say. XD Naw...

    I wonder what are the next two in his inventory? It'll be fun to know.

    And you have severe phrasing problems. I'm lazy to list, but you seriously need a proofreader.

    LOL STOP GRAMMAR CHECK. I'm lazy to do that kind of thing though...

    He's probably going to win the tourney for sure...

    Now I shall wait for next chapter to find my theories.

    P.S. I <3 Mogshex. So kawaii.
    FTMP is officially dead. Those who are still interested in reading click
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    Last Update: Chapter 17: Date: 6-2-2006(MM-DD-YYYY)

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  14. #64
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    We'll start off with...

    I LIKE GOOD GRAMMAR AND I CANNOT LIE...
    “So you’re telling me she's right not to have a sense of humour?”
    Mongle started to protest, but he started relaxing once Nora had added some sweet smelling herbs to the bath.
    Yup, only two mistakes that I could see here. Well, that and I do like to see a single space after an ellipsis- looks cleaner IMO.

    Again, though, another well-written chapter. My favorite line was:
    I guess pounding the crap outta me must have taken a lot outta her,
    The aftermath of yet another not-so-bright idea from Sapph...

    I think it's interesting here how the Pokemon aren't afraid to mouth off at each other and their trainer, but when push comes to shove they do fight for each other. It is some interesting characterization you have going here.

    “You let Reginald become a trainer, why not Nora?” the eldest queried; a short, stout lady in a white and blue-hemmed kimono.

    “Reggie is a boy,” the woman answered quietly, not looking at the man next to her.
    How true. It always seems that girls are getting the short end when it comes to Pokemon training, which really annoys the heck outta me. At least in D/P, the champion is a female.

    Looks like we have another gang with a bad attitude that Sapph needs to lay the smackdown on. However, Haley+eating contests... I never imagined she'd do something like that. Oh well

    Another good chapter, and I'm looking forward to the tournament: My pick for tournament winner? I'm gonna go with the underdog and say Nora if she's able to get enough Pokemon in time.

  15. #65
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    Great chapter, the tournament sounds very interesting

    Grammar:
    Dark Persian pretty much covered what I was going to say, so I'll leave this department up to her from now on.

    Characters: Developed the character's very well this chapter. Mogshex was given a good introduction for her first appearance, it was shown that there's more to Haley than meets the eye, Nora is an interesting character that added even more to Sapph's love life, Reginald could become a future rival, and Bubbles is still an idiot.

    Predictions:
    1. Sapph wins the Gatonda Tournament
    2. Reginald becomes a new rival of Sapph
    3. Haley goes wacko
    4. There will be another hilarious line from DarkPersian749.

    Overall
    9/10
    advance shipping forever
    contestshipping must die painfully

    I have claimed Saint Bernards and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Together they shall rule the world.

    Proud member of Xbox 360/Xbox Live Club and the Mythical Creatures Club.



    Paired with SkyHighSwellow
    She's a Contestshipper that dislikes Advanceshipping and I'm an Advanceshipper that dislikes Contestshipping. *nodnod*

  16. #66

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    Well, as promised, here is your review, I know its a bit late, but its here, and it is only for the first chapter but hopefully it will pick up quickly.

    Anyway, the grammar appears to be good, and likely being disected by other reviewers so I won't bore you with it.

    Instead... Emma, Sapph, and Rubin. I think anyone can figure the pun easily.

    I'm certainly always intrigued by new Pokemon and moves. So, Aerial Headbutt seems to be the only new feature of intrigue here. It also seems, unfortunately, a tad unrealistic a move atleast in my opinion. Moves usually are, in English, at most, twelve letters long, including spaces. It's why Poisonpowder and Thunderpunch lack spacing. Regardless, it shouldn't be a factor of importance so I'll shush now.

    I am intrigued to know more about this move and the new creatures of your creation.

    As for the story: Keep it up. I'll be reading more soon and might provide an actually insightful review.

    Currently on Hiatus

    Very gracious thanks to Tezza for the Banner.

    The Generic Story You All Probably Know… and Hate

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  17. #67
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    Cool Out with the rewrite... Enter the originals!

    That's right! From here on out, TCQ's going fresh from the oven for real. those who read the first thread will know i stopped at the end of the last chapter (formerly numbered 10) Now it may take a little longer to get chapterage up but it will be off the top of my head (i.e. totally random!)

    Dilasc: thanks for the review. Aerial Headbutt was only suggestive of a headbutt attack pulled off in midair. i have a couple of new attacks to reveal in time, but not this chapter. Counting on your continual enjoyment!

    DarkPersian479: ...DARKPERSIAN'S GRAMMAR SKILLS SO FLY! Noted the errors and will take appropriate measures. i'm a review behind myself so i'll get to it pronto!

    lordzangoose: thanks for the pm! it really put the juice in me to finish this off before it got closed. Assignments are a hell of a mountain to cover but now i've got some air space, i could finish.

    EDIT: Coulda sworn i posted this chapter, damn the internet...

    Chapter Twelve – Hurried Hunting


    <Sap is one weird kid, Hawey,> Bubbles said, slightly bemused as they watched Sapph melt into the crowded, colourful carnival.

    “You said it… so, what are we going to do? We can't leave without him and I don’t have any inclination to just sit around doing nothing until his dumb tournament on Saturday,” Haley agreed.

    <So what will you do ‘til then, Hawey?> Bubbles queried as they meandered through the festive game stands.

    “Well, I think it’d be a wonderful thing to catch some more Water Pokémon,” Haley mused. “If only we could get a boat…”

    “I believe that could help you there,” a male voice called out from one of the stands.

    Haley turned to see a large man with a full beard and twinkling black eyes smiling at her from the all you can eat stand.

    “Really? You could?” Haley asked, taking in the man’s large size and even larger beer belly.

    “I heard that you needed a boat in hopes of catching some Water Pokémon,” the man continued, moving out from behind his stall to talk to Haley more freely. “And I’m sure that Roni for one wouldn’t mind taking you out in my boat for the afternoon. Hasn’t had a free moment since the carnival began, poor kid…”

    “Really?” Haley said once more, all starry eyed. “That is only too incredibly awesome!”

    “Well,” the man said genially, rubbing his chin. “There is one thing I’d like you to do for me first…”

    <Oh, bwother, there always has to be a snag in the walks,> Bubbles groaned.

    “I just want to see you battle my kid,” the man said.

    “Hunh?” Haley said, momentarily as stupefied as Sapph usually resorted to be when caught off guard or Mongle when Chansey hit him and doesn’t quite understands how.

    <That’s it? A ballel?> Bubbles echoed, equally wrong-footed.

    “That’s right, a battle. One on one,” the man agreed. “The carnival’s fun and all, but it’s just work for me and Roni. A really good battle would help me get my pep back before I hit the bay again.”

    “I suppose that’s all right, right, Bubbles?” Haley said. How hard can it be to battle a baby goat? She asked herself.

    <Sure!> the Water Hare Pokémon piped up.

    “Excellent! Oi, Roni! Get out here for a minute will ya son?” the man called out.

    A boy of a tall and slight build came into view. His dark red hair framed his long and highly freckled face.

    “Yeah, Dad?” Roni asked, scratching the back of his head as he approached his father.

    “Nice tan,” Haley commented.

    “They’re freckles, stupid,” Roni corrected her.

    <A lotta fweckilies,> Bubbles added as Haley sweat dropped.

    “Hey, don’t you rub it in, you wussie rabbit!” Roni snarled.

    “Wussie rabbit?!” Haley yelled.

    <Wat wussie, Hawey?> Bubbles asked.

    “Now now, Roni!” Roni’s father chided with a faint chuckle. “Let’s have none of that before a match!”

    “Aww, not again, Dad!” Roni groaned. “Do I have to battle everybody who wants to use the boat? It’s kinda…you know, annoying?”

    There is absolutely no way I’m letting this little twit ruin my chances of catching another Water Pokémon, Haley thought in an annoyed tone.

    “Hey, if you’re chicken, just say so!” Haley pouted airily.

    “What did you call me?” Roni said, taken aback.

    “Shall I spell it out for you? I called you a C…H…I…C…K…E…N…chicken!” Haley said slowly and deliberately.

    “Chicken? Me?! No way! Let’s battle out back!” Roni retorted angrily, pulling out and enlarging a pokéball.

    “Excellent!” Roni’s father boomed out yet again. “Let’s go!”

    Behind the rows of opposite stalls was a strip of green grass about six feet wide and stretching as far as the stalls were erected. Haley and Roni stood about twelve feet apart and prepared to battle.

    “I will be the judge of this one on one battle,” Roni’s father said, raising both hands. “Let the match begin!”

    “Let’s play, Bubbles!” Haley said, rallying her first Pokémon to take to the field.

    “Go get ‘em, Marill!” Roni countered, chucking his pokéball onto the field.

    A round Pokémon with cute round ears took shape out the field. As it rubbed its light blue fur, it waved its thin, zizgzagged tail which bore a large bubble similar to Bubbles’s on the tip.

    “You raise a Water type too, hunh? Well let’s just see who’s the better Water Pokémon Master!” Haley said.

    “You’re on! Marill, use Rollout attack!” Roni yelled.

    ***

    After forty minutes of steady stumbling over rocky trails and rough terrain, Sapph finally found the path that led to the abandoned power plant.

    Finally! Sapph thought triumphantly, readjusting his backpack and setting forth down the now dusty trail.

    “Hold on there, you!” a brisk voice called out to him from behind a particularly wide boulder.

    Sapph turned around to see a thin, weedy guy in a white shirt and wire-rimmed glasses step out from behind the boulder.

    “What is it, nerd?” Sapph said impatiently.

    “I’m no NERD!” the young man retorted.

    “Really?” Sapph asked sceptically.

    “Really…I’m a SUPER NERD!” the man exclaimed, puffing his chest and chin out proudly.

    Sapph sweat dropped.

    “Yep, you got that right,” Sapph muttered sarcastically. “Whoo boy, you sure told me off, all right,” he added rolling his eyes.

    The Super Nerd could hear him.

    “And even then, I’m not your regular super nerd,” he continued in a tone that suggested that he had mystical powers.

    What are you, then? A hyper nerd? Sapph thought dejectedly.

    “Yes! I hold the key that’ll light up your path in the near future… and if you want it, you must battle me for it!” the super nerd ranted on.

    This is such a total waste of time… how the heck do I lose this guy? Sapph thought desperately, thinking of how much time he was wasting there.

    “Uh, Super Nerd? Super-Nerd-with-the-key-that’ll-light-up-my-path?” Sapph said slowly.

    “Yes? Will you battle me for the key?” he asked hopefully.

    “Not quite, but I’ll tell you something… call it advice you really need,” Sapph said again in his slow voice. “Go away, keep outta your medicine cabinet and quit being a retarded delinquent!”

    “So you don’t want the key?” the nerd asked curiously.

    “NO, I DO NOT WAN’T NOR DO I NEED THE DARNED KEY! JUST LET ME GO ON MY WAY WITHOUT LOSING ANY MORE BRAIN CELLS THAN I MAY ALREADY HAVE DONE BY NOW, OKAY?!!!” Sapph yelled, storming off for the old plant.

    “Are you sure you don’t want the key?” the nerd said in a slightly whiney voice.

    Ten minutes later…

    “Just what kinda Dark Pokémon can’t see in the dark, anyways?” Sapph asked Mogshex, seriously annoyed with his Night Cat Pokémon.

    <Hey, being a Dark Pokémon does NOT mean that I can see in the dark, okay?> Mogshex shot back, equally ticked off at Sapph for trying to make her lead him into the dusty power station.

    “Mogshex, you’re a cat for crying out loud! You can see in the dark!” Sapph said exasperatedly.

    <I woulda tried harder if you hadn’t forced me down that dirty corridor,> Mogshex said with a shudder.

    “Honestly, if there were another life form on this planet as so totally annoying as you, I’d…I’d…,” Sapph spluttered.

    “Hello there! Are you back for the key?” an annoyingly familiar voice called out to Sapph from atop another boulder.

    Sapph froze, closed his eyes as though praying for patience and grit his teeth.

    Don’t tell me he’s still here, Sapph moaned. “Yo! Why don’tcha go back to where all nerds come from and stay there?!”

    “Yoohoo, over heeere!” the Super Nerd called out in an annoyingly high pitched yodel that would have Ledyba screaming for mercy on his sensitive feelers.

    <Persistent guy, isn’t he Sapph?> Mogshex smirked. <Think he’s gay?>

    “DON’T start, Mogshex! And you?” Sapph said, addressing the nerd. “Fine. FINE! Let’s get it over with already!” Sapph yelled.

    ***

    “Now Bubbles! Finish it off with another Water Gun!” Haley said cheerfully.

    “Marill, look out!” Roni yelled.

    Marill, curled up in a ball and rolling at high speed towards Bubbles was helpless to stop as Bubbles fired a icy blast of cold water at his left side, sending him spinning into a wooden stall post.

    As Marill uncurled itself and staggered to its tiny feet, it tottered around a few steps. Apparently, the Aqua Mouse Pokémon had met the post head on. Literally.

    After a tottery Teeter Dance, Marill finally gave up and fell forward in defeat.

    “Marill is unable to battle any further,” Roni’s father cried, lifting a hand in Haley and Bubbles’s direction. “The winners are Haley and Bubbles!”

    “Good job, Bubbles,” Haley cheered.

    <Ah hunh, ah hunh, I so…kick bum! Ah hunh, ah hunh…> Bubbles sang, dancing around in a little circle.

    I guess I need to talk to Sapph about how much contact Mongle has with Bubbles, Haley thought resignedly, sweat dropping at Bubbles’ antics.

    “Guess I’d better get the boat keys dad,” Roni said, returning Marill. “Good match, Hazey,” he added, Proffering his hand to shake hers.

    Haley did a double take at Roni’s last word.

    “The name is Haley,” she said through slightly clenched teeth.

    <And don’ you… foget it! Nuh hunh, ah hunh…we so kicked… sa…> Bubbles chanted, still dancing around and getting progressively dizzier as she did so.

    “Alright, no more cotton candy for you, Bubbles,” Haley said, only a little annoyed as she returned her Water Hare Pokémon to her pokéball in a slightly irate mood.

    “Quite a funny bunny you got there,” Roni’s father said as his son went into the tent.

    “I’d call it negative peer pressure,” Haley muttered dryly.

    “Hey, are we going or not?” Roni called, twirling a bunch of keys around his index finger.

    “Yes, of course,” Haley said

    “I left Marill inside,” Roni went on to his father. “If you need me back in a hurry, just send Wingull.”

    “OK, Roni. Take care now,” his father said with a nod.

    Roni and Haley set off up the aisle between the carnival stalls to a side alley.

    “So, erm,” Haley said slowly, wanting to break the silence before Roni’s seemingly sour mood developed into a grudge. “So what d’you and your dad do when not at the festival?”

    “What, you think I’d really harbour a grudge because I lost to you once?” Roni said stoically. “I’m not strictly overflowing with that masculine pride you ladies say we’re filled with, ya know.”

    Haley felt distinctly awkward at that pronouncement. She wasn’t usually seen through like that and didn’t think she enjoyed the experience.

    Roni, seeing the look on Haley’s face, went on calmly, “Dad’s a fisherman and I’m a Junior Sea Ranger.”

    The duo had reached the marina. About a dozen ships stood moored along the docks whilst scores more dotted the bay. Sails and flags of all colours fluttered in the brisk breeze.

    Whilst Haley glanced around, Roni went to the harbourmaster’s cabin and returned in about ten minutes with the key to his father’s old boat. When he’d returned, Haley had let out her Aquari for some fresh air.

    “So, is a Junior Sea Ranger a full time job?” Haley asked curiously, the wind gently playing with her reddish blonde hair.

    “Sort of,” Roni told her, leading the way towards a part or the dock where their transport was moored. “We mostly assist our supervising Pokémon Rangers out at sea. We’ll use my boat,” he added nonchalantly.

    “Your…” Haley began.

    “Don’t worry, I am licensed to call it that. You should see dad’s new boat. Forty footer catamaran. Simply beautiful,” Roni rambled, lost in thought as he stared at Haley.

    “Uh, Roni? Why are you staring at me?”

    “Hmm? N-no, I’m not!” Roni said, turning away to hide his burning cheeks.

    “Yes, you… oh, forget it,” Haley said resignedly.

    “So, are you into the league?” Roni asked Haley, as they reached a coble; a flat-bottomed, high-bowed fishing boat with a single sail which was blue and gold.

    Why do boys think of nothing but the league?! Haley thought exasperatedly. “No, I’m just aiming to be a great Pokémon Researcher,” Haley went on hesitantly “and to find a certain…someone.”

    “Oh, that’s cool too, I guess. It’s just that with you being so strong back there, I just thought…” Roni said, his voice trailing away into nothingness. He then proceeded to lower the Pokémon Ranger flag at the top of the single mast and raised the anchor, carefully performing all these tasks without Haley seeing his face.

    “So,” Roni went on, blushing faintly as he bent over, looking for his fishing rod. “Met anyone at the festival yet?”

    Haley noticed, and tried to keep the conversation away from that aspect of her life as she gratefully accepted the fishing rod Roni gave her to use.

    “You mean, like a boy?” Haley said nonchalantly, though inwardly seriously flushed.

    “Uhm, yeah!” Roni said, almost enthusiastically.

    “Oh. Uh, not necessary. It’s just that…”

    “What? I’m not being too direct, am I?” Roni said quickly, blushing some more. “I mean, of course, not that it matters, just that… boy, wind’s sharp today…” Roni mumbled, his cheeks bright pink.

    Haley and Bubbles exchanged a look before Haley said, smiling faintly and placing a hand on her new friend’s arm and said “Roni, you’re a nice guy. Really. It’s just that, I’m, uh, on assignment with this guy. Research work,” she added quickly, letting her hand drop and turning back to watch the sea scenery pass by with Bubbles.

    Roni looked slightly unsure. “Do you really have to go around Corei with him if you don’t want to?”

    Now that, Roni is a good question, Haley thought, watching her boots unusually carefully. One not even I can make up her mind about answering from time to time…in more ways than one…

    “I suppose so,” Haley said dismissively, watching her line for a bite as the float made little ripples in the water as it bobbed up and down. “I don’t really have many options for travel mates though, do I, Roni?”

    “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Roni said, looking defeated.

    Haley went on, smiling. “It doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t talk to each other.”

    Roni looked up to see Haley offering him a scrap of paper with a number scrawled on it, a grin on her face.

    Roni grinned back and took it, returning his attention to steering the boat out to sea.

    “So, Roni,” Haley called back to the ‘helmsman’, the wind throwing the sound of her voice around. “What’s biting in these waters?”

    “All sorts,” Roni called back. “Few are really interested in the ecology of the bay. That’s why it’s our job to maintain it.”

    Haley turned to Bubbles and saw her smiling.

    Uncertain that she wanted to know the answer, Haley asked anyway. “What?”

    <Wooks like you have your weekend all pwanned out, Hawey,> Bubbles giggled.

    “D-don’t be ridicu- WHOA!” Haley said, starting as her line gave a hearty tug.

    ***

    “OK, Mogshex, we’re almost there! Finish it with Faint Attack!” Sapph yelled, pumping his fist with gusto.

    Mogshex began to sprint towards her opponent, fading from view as she ran. The Virtual Pokémon the Super Nerd had called forth to battle furiously scanned the battlefield for any trace of dark energy before Mogshex landed a hard slash to its right leg, followed by a headbutt to the neck and a second strike to the Porygon 2’s right flank.

    The Porygon 2 flew back slightly, shaking off the brunt of the attack. It still looked ready to fight although the consistent damage it had kept receiving from Mogshex’s surprisingly powerful punches did leave it looking worse for wear.

    “Almost there doesn’t quite mean you’re there, Twinkle toes!” the Nerd yelled back. “Take a good look at your little kitty!”

    Sapph stole a quick glance and saw that Mogshex had developed some serious cuts and bruises from continual connection with Porygon 2’s sharpened body. Mogshex panted slightly as she tried to stay up.

    Crap, this is bad! Sapph thought worriedly. No wonder he let us hit him over and over again!

    “Mogshex! Can you keep fighting?” He called out to his Pokémon.

    Sapph’s request stung Mogshex almost as much as her injuries. In an indignant voice, she hollered back. <Of course, Sapph! I’m not exactly a baby, you know!>

    The Nerd brought the focus of attention back to himself as he declared loudly, “Sharpen doesn’t only sharpen the user’s body surface, it raises attack power too! Watch this… Porygon 2, use Psybeam!”

    Sapph stood dumbfounded for a second as the Virtual Pokémon began to charge up psychic energy around its ‘beak’. Then he smiled. Slipping his hands into his pockets, he calmly said, “Mogshex, relax.”

    Mogshex spun around and stared at her trainer in disbelief. <Say what?>

    Sapph’s smile broadened. As the psychic energy reaches a crescendo within the Porygon 2, he enforced his command with a simple, “Trust me.”

    As though Sapph had mentally told his plan to the Night Cat Pokémon, Mogshex smiled back trustingly and braced herself.

    Not knowing what was going on seemed to drive the Super Nerd into a greater frenzy. Spit flying from his gums, he screamed “Given up, eh? That’s too bad. Porygon 2, fire!”

    Porygon 2 complied, releasing a psychedelically-hued beam of energy straight for Mogshex. Rocks seem to split on either side of the rocky pass as the Psybeam raced towards its stationary, smiling target. As Sapph watched serenely, the Super Nerd stared fanatically, his features enhanced almost bestially. The Psybeam connected and Mogshex squealed in pain. Her body rigid as though receiving an electric shock had taken on the many flashing colours of the Psybeam attack.

    The Super Nerd screeched in triumph. “Ha, HAAH! I win!”

    Sapph’s only reply was to laugh. “Do you really think so?” he tutted his opponent.

    <AAAAARGH! The pain! Make it stop! Make it…just kidding!> Mogshex mewed playfully.

    “Wh- Wh- Whaa-“ the Super Nerd stuttered in disbelief. “How?”

    Sapph smiled became a toothy grin as he answered. “Moron,” he said happily, leaning against a large boulder and crossing his arms. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten Mogshex, as a Dark Pokémon is immune to psychic attacks?”

    “No!” The Super Nerd screamed, clutching his hair.

    “Mogshex, let’s finish this one at long range,” Sapph went on, flipping his Pokédex open and scanning for any useful attacks Mogshex could utilise against his opponent. “Ah… this looks promising. Dark Pulse!” he said the last two words with a ringing force.

    Mogshex’s dark red eyes contracted as they became bathed in black energy as waves of darkness emanated from them. The concentric rings widened like ripples on a pond’s surface which caught the Porygon 2 in no time flat. This time it was the Virtual Pokémon’s turn to screech as it had its programming reassembled. The waves of darkness continued to pour out from Mogshex and into Porygon 2, causing the latter much discomfort, its outer edges becoming blurred.

    After a few more seconds, Porygon 2 stopped screeching and fell limp. With a careless flick of her face, Mogshex tossed it aside like a rag doll where it passed out. Mogshex turned and smiled a wicked smile on her face as though to say “That was fun.”

    All Sapph could do was stare. So did the Nerd for a second, before returning his fallen Pokémon and walking towards the victorious pair.

    Stopping in front of Sapph and Mogshex, he reached into his shirt pocket and brought out a small disc, similar to the one Sapph had been given by the engineer in Nightspark City, although this one was grey.

    “Here,” he said moodily, thrusting the disc into Sapph’s chest. “You’ve won Flash. Now go away and leave me alone!” He screamed his last words as he turned and ran back to town. He turned back and screamed “MEANIE!”

    Sapph and Mogshex could only stare at his repeating back with comically large eyes.

    “<Okay…Freak!>” They said in unison and laughed.

    “You weren’t too shabby back there, Mogshex!” Sapph commended his Pokémon as he scanned the disc.

    <Being good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy it,> Mogshex said sagely. She suddenly winced in pain and shouted <Ouch! What was that for?!>

    The Pokédex answered: Congratulations, your Mogshex has learned Flash.

    “Sorry, Mogshex… should have warned you about that…” Sapph said apologetically. “Well, shall we?” he resumed in a businesslike tone, turning back to the yawning opening of the power plant.

    <Whatever…> Mogshex grumbled, her lamplike eyes glowing yellow as she stepped into the plant, Sapph close on her heels.

    “So… I heard Magnemite live here… they’d be cool to catch,” Sapph mused as Mogshex rolled her eyes, making the pools of light issuing from her eyes to run all over the ceiling.

    <What’s so cool about Magnemite?> Mogshex said drily.

    “Well, as steel types, they have the edge over a ton of other types they’d serve well as a defensive wall. Hey! I think they don’t suffer from poison attacks either! What a way to cut down on antidote-spending money!” Sapph said in transported delight.

    <Hmph…chiseller,> Mogshex said scathingly, smiling nonetheless. <Hey!> She went on in a Loud yell as something small and silver rammed her unexpectedly from the side.

    <Go back! Intrudersss…> the small creature droned in a mechanical voice as it levitated before an awed Sapph and a smarting Mogshex. It looked almost alien with its metallic, spherical body which had what looked like a screw arising off the top of his head and two horseshoe magnets, one on either side of its body. What would give kids the willies would be its one eye which flashed angrily at the pair.

    “Mogshex…” Sapph began, his voice barely keeping in his excitement.

    <I know, I know…> Mogshex said with a bite of exasperation in her voice. Her eyes narrowed as the familiar waves of darkness began to wash over the Steel-type Pokémon. The attack this time had a woefully low effect as Magnemite pointed out in its mechanical drone

    <Eight percent health loss… Are you serious?> It taunted, blasting Mogshex with a distractive Thundershock which hit its mark, leaving the Night Cat Pokémon smoking.

    <Okay, that’s it… hope you like ’em fried, Sapph,> Mogshex muttered, her eyes contracting to slits of fury.

    <Intensity… increasing twenty-fold… losing HP… rapidly… forty percent lost… fifty percent lost…sixty percent… seventy… eighty… ninety percent…> The Magnemite squealed as though issuing from a badly-tuned radio, its body seemingly heating up in the pain the attack was putting him through, its one eye losing focus.

    “Okay, Mogshex! I’ll take it from here! Go, pokéball!” Sapph yelled, tossing a red-and white orb at the creature. As the ball hit the Magnet Pokémon with a metallic PING it cracked open, spilling red light all over the Pokémon and drawing it in.

    Sapph clenched his fists convulsively as the sphere hit the dusty floor with a thud. The boy and Pokémon watched in tense apprehension as it rocked from side to side, the button in the centre of the orb flashing furiously. Soon however, fate had its say and the pokéball struggled no more.

    <There… One Magnemite, medium rare,> Mogshex smiled tiredly as she watched Sapph literally bounce around the room in sheer yippee. Then she passed out, too spent to go on. Sapph spun around and picked up his third Pokémon gently and started to sprint out of the building, casting a wistful glance at the darkening walls, wishing he had more time.

    ***

    The Litaire knew her species weren’t suited for living in open wasteland spaces where there were no juicy bugs to chew on, nor was city life her style (that was for filthy Murkrow)… she just wanted to know more about the boy from the woods. As she flapped on over the rocky landscape into which the youth had vanished, the last two days of fatigue and self-starvation got to her as she began to lose consciousness.

    <Oh… craaaap… > She groaned as she tail spun into the ground where she crashed ungainly into the dirt. Panting heavily, she attempted to lift herself up onto her wings to keep flying… when a loud howl rent the air. She went rigid in shock as a trio of Poochyena came loping out of hiding, their red eyes gleaming maniacally as they liked their chops with their slobbering tongues

    <Looks like this is it…> the Litaire thought bravely, closing her eyes. She wasn’t afraid; she’d never had been before and wasn’t about to start now…

    The three doglike Pokémon closed in on their nightcap, growling when suddenly a loud cocky voice called out <Three on one? Now that’s not very nice, is it chaps?>

    The Bite Pokémon’s eyes widened in horror and, inexplicably, all three turned tail and ran back into town as a smaller Pokémon leapt down nimbly and trotted over to the Flying type. She gazed blearily up at his ruby red eyes for a second and fainted.

    “Is it OK?” Sapph asked his Leaf Squirrel Pokémon as he skidded down the slope, panting.

    <I guess,> Mongle replied, taking a cautious sniff and effecting a playful recoil. <It’s alive, at least.>

    “Not funny,” Sapph said exasperatedly, reaching the place where the bird lay exhausted. Picking a new pokéball off his belt he bent over the Litaire.

    <Are you sure she’ll be OK with this?> Mongle said, arching his brow.

    “If I don’t, it’ll die out here,” Sapph said firmly. His face flashed red as he drew the Litaire in, making it his own to raise. “From hunger, exhaustion… or worse.” He ended, picking himself up and returning Mongle to his ball as well. He then yawned, the lateness of the hour catching up with him.

    It’s late, Sapph decided silently. Better rest up at the Center and pick up Ledyba tomorrow…

    ***

    The next day, although Friday, was treated like a Saturday to Sapph…

    …meaning he slept in.

    Yawning widely, Sapph picked up his clock and saw with a start that it was already eleven a.m. Sapph, ran a hand through his messy hair and climbed out of bed, rummaging blearily for his towel.

    Half an hour later Sapph came out looking refreshed and raring to go.

    “Good morning, Sapph! Sleep well?” Haley said, looking up from her breakfast and smiling slightly. “You were out late, Nurse Joy just finished with your Pokémon, they're at the desk with Chansey,” she went on, turning back to her meal.

    “Thanks,” Sapph said cheerfully. He suddenly froze and said uncertainly. “Haley?”

    “Hmm?” She said calmly, turning around to face him.

    “Could you pinch me?”

    “I could slug you, if you’d like,” Haley said with an understanding smile, her face still radiating kindness.

    Sapph sweat dropped as he chuckled nervously. “Uh, no thanks.”

    “You’d better get moving,” Haley advised, turning back to her tea and toasted sandwiches. “Registration for the tournament ends at twelve noon today… I’d say you have…”

    “WHAT?!” Sapph exploded. “Grandma Rose told me it ended at six!”

    “It did,” Haley conceded nonchalantly. “Thirty years ago.”

    Sapph went cold as stone.

    “I gotta go!” he yelped, grabbing his pokéballs from Chansey, who’d just waddled out towards him from behind the counter with his Pokémon containment devices nestled in a special tray and rushing out with a hurried thanks to her and Haley, one of whose sandwiches he’d pinched on his high-speed exit.

    Chansey blinked confusedly as she turned to Haley, who smiled back at her. She then dropped her happy façade as she stared into the dregs of her tea, a worried frown creasing her forehead.

    Sapph weaved in and out of the procession floats and concession stands frantically. According to his watch, he had twenty five minutes to register all his Pokémon and the carnival wasn’t helping. It came as an immense relief as Sapph found the old-looking Town Hall and ran up to the registration desk eight minutes later, behind which sat a lady who looked like she was in her early thirties with sea green hair.

    “Hello!” the cheery lady at the desk greeted. “Here to register for the tourney?”

    “Yes, my name is Sapph Manson from Cherrygrove Town, Johto. I’ve got a Mongle, Ledyba, Mogshex, Magnemite and Litaire,” Sapph rattled of in a rush.

    “Oh-kay! You’re all set, Sapph!” The woman went on, inputting his information onto the computer on her desk and handing Sapph a competitor’s ID card. Your match details for tomorrow are all on the back of that card. Good luck!

    “Phew…” Sapph exhaled in relief walking down the Town Hall steps, relieved that the process ended quickly to meet a surprise waiting for him: Nora with a pokéball clutched in her hand and Haley, who leaned against the steel banister.

    “Hey guys!” Sapph called out, waving as he jogged down the rest of the stairs towards them. “Just finished registering!”

    “That’s great, Sapph!” Haley beamed. “Nora here came looking for you just after you left,” she added, nodding towards the other girl who approached Sapph with what he noticed was unwonted nervousness. Sapph immediately grew apprehensive.

    “Nora? What’s wrong? Nothing happened to Ledyba, right?” Sapph asked her worriedly. Nora’s only response was to hold out a pokéball Sapph instantly recognized as his Ledyba’s.

    Sapph took it and squeezed it gently, releasing its contents onto the sidewalk. The light that spilled onto the pavement took a form Sapph remembered seeing not too long ago, but before he’d registered what the Pokémon was the light faded out and Sapph’s jaw dropped.

    ‘Ledyba’ now stood at four foot three inches and his squat face was now oval. His goggly eyes were now near-completely masked by blue, visor-like lenses. His six arms now were reduced to four, the last two now ending in red feet and arose from what seemed to be a reduced stomach.

    Sapph could only splutter. “Y-you’re… You-you’ve… “

    Evolved.” Haley completed in awe.

    <I… what?> Ledian said uncertainly. His voice wasn’t squeaky anymore, but if anything softer and much more mature.

    “B-but… why? When?” Sapph stammered on.

    “It was last night,” Nora explained apologetically. “After we’d finished clearing up our equipment, Ledyba got into Grandma’s Essence du Rare…” Nora tried to go on, but just shook her head.

    “Essence du Rare? What’s that? Mind if I… What’s the matter with you, Sapph? Aren’t you glad?” Haley asked, as she watched Sapph slump onto the lowermost step and grip his hair.

    Ledyba looked worried and hovered over to Sapph, muttering <I’m sorry, Sapph.>

    “No, that’s OK, Ledyb- I mean, Ledian,” Sapph corrected himself. “I just wished I was there when you evolved… you being the first Pokémon I’d ever caught and all… “

    Sapph continued to groan slightly as the girls exchanged a look before turning to Sapph.

    “Uh, Sapph?” Nora said tentatively.

    “Yeah?” Sapph mumbled listlessly, not looking up.

    Haley picked up the slack. “You registered Ledyba for the tournament, right?”

    Sapph only nodded.

    “Well, now, it’s a Ledian…” Nora resumed.

    “… it won’t be allowed to compete.” Haley finished.

    Sapph just sat there for another three minutes without moving.

    “Sapph, listen… I caught a couple more Water types in the bay,” Haley pressed on. “I know it’s too late to try finding another Pokémon before twelve,” She went on, looking up to stare at the large building’s clock face which read five minutes to. “So how about I lend you one of…”

    “No.”

    “Sapph, you haven’t got much op…” Haley pressed on a little angrily, but Sapph chose this moment to stand up. His head bowed, he returned Ledian to his ball and clenched his fist around it.

    “You don’t understand… when I make a promise, I intend to keep it with my own strength,” Sapph said quietly.

    “Sapph this is no time to start acting cool!” Haley stormed. “You haven’t got the time to catch another Pokémon, you can’t use your registered Ledyba because it evolved, why can’t you just…”

    “Alter your registration?” a male voice said from behind them.

    The trio turned around to see a boy with black hair standing on the other side of the banister. For a moment Sapph thought it was Reg due to the boy’s all-black attire, but a second glance showed that the boy’s jacket went up to his shoulders and continued in orange short sleeves. The words “Kazuto National Academy” were embroidered on the left breast part of the jacket and at his feet stood a small, coffee brown quadruped with large black eyes and a tail similar to Mogshex.

    “The name’s Brian,” the boy went on, sweeping the trio with his dark eyes. “This is Eaves, my Eevee.”

    <Hey there, pardners!> The Eevee drawled in a Southern accent.

    “Did you say, ‘alter my application’?” Sapph asked incredulously.

    “Is that possible?” Haley asked sceptically.

    “You’ve lived here and you’re asking him that?” Sapph asked her incredulously.

    “Anyways,” Brian went on quickly, eager to stop an argument from starting. “Most Pokémon around here evolve quickly. So in case a Pokémon evolves after registration but before the tournament, the trainer can alter their registration before the deadline, which happens to be about one and a half minutes from now.”

    Sapph stared for a few seconds, blinked and said “Really?”

    “Sapph, is you brain stuck or something?” Haley screeched. “Move!”

    Sapph bolted up the stairs again.

    “Thanks so much!” Nora said graciously, bowing slightly in Violet City fashion.

    “A pleasure, I’m sure,” Brian said warmly.

    Haley still looked sceptical. Folding her arms, she cast him a distrustful look. “I’ll bet. Why’d you help Sapph anyway? Aren’t you competing?”

    Twitching his coat back to show three more pokéballs fixed to his belt, Brian answered. “Nope, not enough Pokémon. I’m from Quartzstone City, Kazuto,” Brain said cheerfully. “I’m here in Nightspark as a tourist and Corei in training to take over my dad’s gym. There’s no Dark-type gym in Kazuto, and I plan to start the first…”

    “Ah, a fellow Dark type lover! That’s what we like to see, right boys?” A loud drawl called out.

    Brian, Haley and Nora turned to see the Dark Pokémon Trainer’s Club assembled there, Reg in the front and centre, smiling.

    “Want to join the club?” Reg went on, proffering his hand in a friendly fashion. “We could make you an honorary member…”

    “And a fat lotta good that’ll do him,” Sapph answered with a smile, although his eyes remained slightly frosty. “If he wants to be a loser.”

    “So! Still here, are ya?” Reg drawled in a bored tone. “Didn’t think you would take the risk of being totally humiliated in front of your damsel in distress,” he went on in a nasty sneer, making Nora go scarlet and Sapph go a little pink.

    “We’ll see,” Sapph said coolly walking past him without bothering to look at him. “By the time this is over, even Nora’ll be able to kick your… never mind. See you Saturday. Don’t wimp out.”

    The others all stared at Sapph in awe.

    You’re going down, kid! Reg thought viciously.

    Not bad, Brian mused with a smirk.

    No one insults Reg, you weenie, the boy in the Straw hat thought acidly, watching Sapph’s retreating back.

    Wow! He’s so cool! Nora thought, watching Sapph admiringly.

    “He’s so asking for trouble,” Haley muttered as she, Nora, Brian and Eaves followed the boy trainer up the street.

    ***

    Finally, the Corei-Dex!

    Pilepux
    Corei-DEX Number: 208
    Species: Sparkle
    Element: Electric
    Name Derivation: PIka+LEPUX (variation of Lepus, latin word for rabbit)
    Height: 2'07"
    Weight: 78 lbs
    Evolution Line: Pilepux don't evolve
    Artist's/Author's Note: Pilepux is essentially a yellow rabbit with black paws, ears and tail which has a yellow lightning bolt passing through it. Pilepux has black stripes traversing his back and a black underbelly.
    In Fic: Pilepux was my original idea for Sapph's Electric Pokemon. Originally uncaptured due to dislike of the concept, it teamed up with Sapph to beat the 'bad guys' in the league. When Sapph returns to Nightspark for his sparring rematch with Arlene, he'll battle Pilepux and catch it.

    well, zat's zat!

    Gotta run,

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 9th October 2012 at 10:46 AM. Reason: Chapter missing
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
    PROJECT C-SQUARE STATUS = 100.00% Complete (11-12-2010, ca. 2:40pm GMT)
    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
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    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  18. #68
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    9.5/10 *waves TCQ flag* You're back, finally. You really had some great character development in this chapter.

    Grammar
    Your first grammar-mistake-free chapter. Congrats!

    Characters:
    Roni is my least favorite character yet, aside from the researcher the Haley has a crush on. He is messing up Haley x Sapph. Brian seems to be a cool guy. I think Eaves is going to be an Umbreon soon, and he'll end up fighting Reg alongside Sapph. Lol at the super-nerd. Magnemite pwns da world, and Ledyba is Ledian! Hooray!

    Predictions:
    none, I'm keeping my mind open to all possibilities.

    still in fanboy mode, can't write anymore.
    advance shipping forever
    contestshipping must die painfully

    I have claimed Saint Bernards and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Together they shall rule the world.

    Proud member of Xbox 360/Xbox Live Club and the Mythical Creatures Club.



    Paired with SkyHighSwellow
    She's a Contestshipper that dislikes Advanceshipping and I'm an Advanceshipper that dislikes Contestshipping. *nodnod*

  19. #69
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    Brian is a cool guy because I happen to be him. Brian wa one of my characters. The region Kaatuzo is my idea. Air Dragon and I will team up. And the idea of namin Quartzstone as his hometown was cool. Nice fic all together.
    Visit Nocturne of Shadows. Check the chats and forums section to visit the forum. I have a guestbook and a mini shout box.

  20. #70
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    Unhappy Aww, pooey

    Merlock and I are the only reviewers. We should PM the people who reviewed before the most recent chapter.
    advance shipping forever
    contestshipping must die painfully

    I have claimed Saint Bernards and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Together they shall rule the world.

    Proud member of Xbox 360/Xbox Live Club and the Mythical Creatures Club.



    Paired with SkyHighSwellow
    She's a Contestshipper that dislikes Advanceshipping and I'm an Advanceshipper that dislikes Contestshipping. *nodnod*

  21. #71
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    I agree. Oh, You'll get to know more of Brian when Kazuto Journeys is up and running. I just need help compiling my own starters, Air Dragon's 2 characters, Sapph and Haley and every pokemon they will have. I'll throw in some of my pokemon ideas and if Air Dragon wants to throw any ideas in, be my guess. There will be a dark pokemon gym in Kazuto that his father opens up and it will be an offical league gym. After Brian wins the league, he'll take the gym over.

    My rating for the fic: 19/10 stars.
    Visit Nocturne of Shadows. Check the chats and forums section to visit the forum. I have a guestbook and a mini shout box.

  22. #72
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    All right, time for another review! It certainly has been awhile, but it was definitely worth it!

    I WANNA BE A BALLER, GRAMMAR CALLER, WITH PUNCTUATION ON THE IMPALA...
    (yeah I know the last part makes no sense, I mean, who paints question marks on their Impala besides perhaps the Riddler?)

    “Go away, keep outta your medicine cabinet
    Check out my post regarding this mistake.

    annoyingly high pitched yodel that would have
    Nurse Joy just finished with your Pokémon, they're at the desk with Chansey
    Also covered in the post linked to above.

    I liked this chapter, as we are introduced to new characters, at least one of whom might shake up some relationships.

    And it looks like someone's having a bad influence on Bubbles... I had to LOL at picturing a cute bunny talking about kicking butt and taking names.

    Super Nerds... ya just gotta love those n00bs. Though, doesn't that make my character a "Mega Ultimate Pwnzor Nerd?" But geez, that guy was persistent. Creepily so. Can you say, Stalker Alert?

    Roni... he comes off as a jerk, but later he turned out to be a decent guy. Only problem is he could make another love triangle. We already have Sapph x Joy Jr. x Haley and now it's Sapph x Haley x Roni. Of course shipping's not my thing, except for the shipping that involves large 18-wheelers cruising down the highway

    So the tournament is ready to begin, and we have those Dark-type idiot gangbangers show up again. Seriously, they make me mad. I hope somebody pwns them in the tournament. Anybody, seriously.

    Especially with new mystery man Brian, this tournament is shaping up to be one heckuva time. I look forward to it.

    Peace out.

  23. #73
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    ln absolute neutrality.
    Posts
    869

    Default

    You need to clarify this.

    Now that, Roni is a good question, Haley thought, watching her trainer unusually carefully. One not even I can make up her mind about answering from time to time…in more ways than one…
    Who's da speaking?

    Sorry for the lateness, but I kinda ran from Serebii for awhile... X_X LOL.

    Anyway, Mogshex ownage! Flash! Random attack of death! Magnemite done medium rare! XD

    And LEdyba evolved. Sadly for Sapph not to see it evolve. And isn't he dense not to think of altering his registration? X_X

    LOL enough ranting for now.

    Pika out.
    FTMP is officially dead. Those who are still interested in reading click
    here.
    Last Update: Chapter 17: Date: 6-2-2006(MM-DD-YYYY)

    "I have returned from the depths of hell to do battle with you." ~ Godot

  24. #74
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    A therapist's Sofa
    Posts
    996

    Default

    Hooray! I have returned, even though none of you knew that I would be going but I did. I just had to stay off the computer for a while so I could catch up on all my college work.

    Anyway. I'm liking the guy with Eaves the Eevee, not sure of his name, but seeing as he likes dark pokemon then I'm guessing he'll get an Umbreon. Hope he has a Cacturne aswell cos there cool, freddy krueger anyone.

    Sapph will own the tournament to keep his ever expanding amount of potential girlfriends ever expanding.

    Till I return...
    Skogsrĺ

    Gardenia never liked the Old Chateau, but what if the Old Chateau liked her?

    Author's Profile

  25. #75
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Manchester, NH
    Posts
    110

    Default

    Diddy, the new character is Brian. Named after me. I'll be including him in my fic soon for this. No Cacturne at all. Brian is a dark pokemon trainer.
    Visit Nocturne of Shadows. Check the chats and forums section to visit the forum. I have a guestbook and a mini shout box.

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