Well, Chapter 4 is now ready.
I'm not sure what it is, but this chapter felt kind of 'off' somehow. Oh well, I hope it isn't too bad.
Anyway, please continue to read and review.
Mastering a New Start
Chapter 4: What Am I Doing?
At the end of a particular dirt road, a small yet bustling city gleamed in the afternoon sunlight. A pair of eyes gazed from a hilltop overlooking this city, and quietly examined the busy metropolis from his bird’s eye view. The man behind these eyes grinned at what he saw, and started forward once more.
Mark was both pleased and disappointed with the lack of interruption in his journey after his brief encounter with the Pokemon thief. The part of him that was still used to how he went about his actions in his own world appreciated how little time was taken traveling between Pallet and Viridian. On the other hand, the trainer he was starting to become had desired more experience in actual Pokemon battling before arriving in a major city.
As the trainer reached the city limits, his thoughts shifted to what he should attempt to accomplish here. By consulting a guide to the Kanto region Oak had provided, Mark had already found that the Pokemon Gym in this city was out of the question for now, the leader here being ranked far too high for a new trainer to even have a chance in a Pokemon battle. As he continued through the streets, he started to make his way to the Pokemon Center, having decided that he should make sure Pidgeotto received a thorough medical examination before anything else.
As Mark walked through Viridian City, he glanced from one area to another, examining everything. The buildings, the streets, the houses, all had few differences with those he constantly saw in his own world. However, upon looking at those who were walking the streets, it was evident that he wasn’t home any longer. The people looked no different, but the Pokemon greatly stood out to the man.
Beings that were clearly neither human nor animal dotted the city, walking alongside humans and helping with normal day-to-day tasks. Many of the Pokemon’s forms were unfamiliar and exceptionally strange compared to those he had encountered up to that point. Fortunately, Mark had spent a month growing accustomed to the unusual, and continued on his way without incident.
After several minutes of searching, the large, bright building with the pokeball-shaped sign came within view, and Mark made his way towards it. The twin glass doors in the front slid open on the trainer’s approach, and the man strolled into a large, well-kept room. The area to his immediate right seemed to be a waiting area, with a number of light blue couches surrounding a large, wooden table stacked with a number of Pokemon-related magazines. To his left was a staircase leading to an upper floor, and the area in front of him was dominated by a large reception counter at which a woman and a Pokemon were stationed, who both came to attention at his entrance.
The woman was… Nurse Joy? Mark blinked, wondering how Joy made it to Viridian City before him, not to mention what she was doing here in the first place. After a moment, he recalled something Joy had told him during the past month; it having been something about her relatives running most of the Pokemon Centers in the world. The man shook his head in disbelief; he had known identical twins that were easier to tell apart than this. It seemed that the Pokemon weren’t the only oddities in this world.
As Mark strode up to the desk, he took a quick glance at his Pokedex to identify the pink, egg-shaped Pokemon standing alongside the nurse. The entry that appeared on the dark blue device’s screen identified the creature as a Chansey; it also clarified that they were found in most Pokemon Centers working with the resident Nurse Joy. As Mark reached the counter, he lifted the only occupied pokeball from his belt and placed it in front of the patiently waiting nurse.
“I’d like for you to check Pidgeotto for me. She was just in a battle that caused her to evolve.” The trainer’s request came simply, and he waited just long enough for Nurse Joy to explain that she should be done with the assessment within a half hour before he gave a nod of appreciation and left the Center.
As Mark departed from the Pokemon Center, he decided to travel in a new direction. As he had nothing to accomplish here, he didn’t feel like staying long, and had decided to leave the next morning. As a result, he determined that he might as well see as much of the city as possible before he left. After several minutes of nothing noteworthy, a building came within view that caught his interest.
It was large, much bigger than any of the buildings he had seen in this city so far, with a stadium-like structure. It also had a large, three dimensional image of a Charizard struggling against an unidentifiable rock-like pokemon mounted high on the stone outer wall, directly over the words ‘Pokemon Arena’, which were printed in red letters. Apparently, this building was used to allow trainers an ideal place to battle their Pokemon.
Intrigued by the possibility of seeing the strategies employed by other trainers, Mark quickly walked inside. Upon entering the building, the trainer found himself in a spacious lobby; at the far end of the room was a desk, behind which a single man sat. The apparent employee of this stadium appeared bored, leaning back in his chair and seemingly attempting to count imaginary objects on the ceiling. Upon hearing Mark’s entrance, he slowly straightened himself in his seat and glanced at a clipboard while addressing the newcomer.
“Welcome to Viridian City’s Pokemon Arena. Do you have a battle scheduled today?” The welcome was spoken in an automatic tone, making it clear that the cheer in his voice was heavily forced. Mark shook his head as he made his request to watch one of the battles already taking place. The receptionist pointed down the corridor to Mark’s left as he answered in the same practiced tone.
“Of course, all of the battles at the moment are in this half of the stadium; the doors with lights blinking over them are rooms in which a battle is currently in progress.” Mark quickly thanked the man and started off in the indicated direction. He almost immediately came across a door that was signaling that a Pokemon battle was taking place on the other side of it, and Mark quietly stepped through.
He found himself in another large room, and discovered that he was separated from what appeared to be a rocky field by a transparent barrier made of an unfamiliar material. On the field itself, two young men faced each other down intensely from opposite ends of the expanse. They stood behind what Mark could only assume were their respective Pokemon, who were already crouched, sharing their trainer’s fierce gazes and ready to attack at any moment.
Before the trainer on Mark’s right was a large, purple creature that stood on its hind legs. Spikes ran from the top of its head down to its powerful looking tail; the Pokedex described it as a Nidoking. On the other end of the field, a man-sized, doglike Pokemon stood in front of its own trainer. The beast that the Pokedex identified as an Arcanine was covered in a coat of deep orange which was striped with black. A mane of tan fur surrounded its head, while its tail was thick and made up of coarse fur of the same color.
A loud buzzer sounded from somewhere above, apparently signaling the beginning of the battle. Both trainers wasted no time in getting started, the man on the left calling for a Flame Wheel attack while the other commanded his Pokemon to perform a Take Down. Their Pokemon were equally eager, both leaping forward to follow their orders without hesitation. After a short but furious lunge, the powerhouses collided in the center of the field, Arcanine jumping into the attack headfirst, surrounded by dancing flames, and Nidoking crouching forward, his right shoulder leading the charge. The impact resounded throughout the field, rattling the barrier before Mark and forcing the two competing trainers to brace themselves to stay upright.
The two battlers quickly broke apart with a simultaneous grunt as new sets of commands were issued to them. Nidoking threw himself forward, his horn in front, which was then glowing with a greenish color; Arcanine flung his own body to his left as the Megahorn attack crashed into the ground and responded with a growl, accompanied by a powerful stream of flame bursting from his maw. Nidoking was forced back, taking the Flamethrower to his right side.
As the fiery assault broke, the now enraged Pokemon started forward with a bellowing roar and struck the fire-type with his left fist. The attacking hand was glowing with a sickly purple color, indicating he was using the Poison Jab attack his trainer had just called for. The Arcanine was thrown back by the blow, and he went into a short roll upon contact with the ground before returning to his feet.
The doglike Pokemon’s trainer called out for a Fire Spin, which was responded to with a burst of flames from his battler’s mouth, which formed itself into a spiral that quickly made its way to his opponent. Nidoking charged forward at his own trainer’s command, his horn glowing a green color once more. As the purple beast reached the twisting inferno flying towards him, his Megahorn attack swung up and around, slicing through the blaze, causing it to scatter and fade.
As Mark watched this contest of power unfold, he began to find himself overwhelmed by the enormity of what he had chosen to take on, now fully understanding the obstacles that stood between himself and his ambitions. As his line of thought went down this path, he soon found himself questioning whether he could ever match the power commanded by the two younger trainers before him. His mind conjured up only answers that he didn’t want to hear.
Mark grudgingly accepted that he never belonged in this place, and could never hope to match those who spent their lives understanding the lessons he spent a mere month only scratching the surface of. He let himself fall backwards, slumping against the wall behind him as the two combating Pokemon continued to lash at each other with increasingly powerful attacks. Dejected, the trainer wandered out the door as a stream of intense flames shaped into a star met with a beam of bright orange energy, resulting in an explosion that rocked the arena. He heard a short exclamation of triumph, though he wasn’t certain which trainer the voice belonged to.
The disheartened man trudged through the seemingly longer streets of Viridian City, making his way back to the Pokemon Center. Though he paid little attention to where he walked, he still managed to find his way to the large building, even the pokeball-shaped sign seeming to mock him now. Mark sluggishly stepped through the glass doors and found Nurse Joy and Chansey happily welcoming him back. After he gave a brief nod to acknowledge the pair, he made his way to the counter. Joy held up Pidgeotto’s pokeball and glanced at it while delivering her diagnosis.
“Well, we’ve gone over Pidgeotto, and there isn’t anything wrong with her. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most well trained Pidgeotto I’ve ever seen; I actually had a hard time believing that she just recently evolved.” Mark allowed himself a faint smile on his partner’s behalf, and replied:
“Thanks, but I… I didn’t have much to do with how well off she is now, to be honest.” Joy’s features formed into a puzzled expression at his self-demeaning tone as she answered him back in a warm voice.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that; this Pidgeotto seems to care about you a lot. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all the training she’s done was for you.” The nurse suddenly looked from Mark’s face, to the pokeball still in her hand, to Mark again, and she quickly took on an expression of understanding, “You’re Mark Rowley, aren’t you?” Joy began to explain when Mark’s features shifted to surprise.
“I’ve been talking with my cousin over in Pallet Town recently, and she’s talked about what you’ve been going through. She says that you’ve been training constantly, like you have something to prove, and thought that you would end up like this sooner or later.” At Mark’s confused look, Joy laughed and continued.
“Come on, you know what I mean! You look like you have to fight a Machamp with both arms tied behind your back! You have to understand, trainers never start off powerful; it takes a good deal of experience as well as training, and it’s going to be the same for you. Of course, if this Pidgeotto’s condition is any indication, I think you’re going to do just fine here.” A smile slowly returned to Mark’s face as he began to speak; it was weak, but sincere.
“Thanks, I guess I needed that. I’ll be back to get a room to stay the night in after a walk to clear my head.” Joy handed over the pokeball with a grin, and Mark walked back into the streets.
Mark wandered along, feeling only slightly better after Nurse Joy’s advice, and still wondering if he really could go as far in the Pokemon League as he hoped. He abruptly stopped when he came across what appeared to be a park, considering it was a large, grassy area spotted with small clusters of trees. As he began examining the area, the man noticed several other trainers with their Pokemon, practicing various attacks together and going through several exercises.
Mark briefly glanced at each of the trainers and their partners, immediately knowing that the pokemon these people commanded were well trained. He continued on along the park’s boundary, seeing still more trainers along the way, until he came across one who looked back at him with what seemed to be recognition. The young man confirmed this when he gave a shout:
“Hey, you!” Mark unsurely pointed to himself, the gesture silently asking whether he was the one being addressed, and the trainer continued, “Yeah, I’m talking to you. The name’s Jason; I remember you from when I was in Pallet Town not too long ago. Since you seem to be a Pokemon Trainer now, are you up for a battle?” Despite his current state of gloom, Mark had never been one to back down without good reason, and he made his way to where the boy was, accepting the challenge.
“Alright, let’s make this a standard three-on-three match, okay?” The young man’s speech was interrupted by a hesitant reply from Mark.
“Actually, I only have one Pokemon at the moment; I’m afraid this will have to be a one-on-one instead.” Jason’s features twisted into a sour look as he gave out a humorless chuckle.
“You haven’t caught any Pokemon yet? Shame, I was hoping you might have been a trainer worth my time. Oh well, go Squirtle!” The younger man’s last words were punctuated by removing one of the pokeballs from his belt and tossing it to the ground before him. The red light that came forth quickly condensed into the easily recognizable form of a Squirtle, who let out a short, gurgling sound as he began to stare down Mark. Mark recognized his challenger now, having seen him receive this very Pokemon from Professor Sketchit a few days ago.
Not feeling up to defending his decisions at the moment, Mark simply brought his own pokeball from where it rested on his belt and pressed the button on its face, releasing its own shimmering red light. The light quickly dimmed to reveal Pidgeotto, who announced her presence with a series of chirps. The feathered Pokemon glanced back at her trainer, noting his unusually hesitant posture with concern before turning back to the Squirtle crouched in front of her.
“I’ll start this off; Squirtle, Water Gun!” The mentioned Pokemon responded quickly, as a powerful burst of water shot from the turtle-like Pokemon’s mouth at the large bird. Pidgeotto rose briefly to avoid the attack as Mark finally issued his own order.
“Pidgeotto, Quick Attack, but avoid staying in a straight line.” The flying-type wasted no time in spreading her wings back as she began to dive toward the earth. Jason shouted out again in response.
“Use your Water Gun again, Squirtle! Knock it out of the sky!” More pressurized streams of water were issued from the water-type in an attempt to halt Pidgeotto’s progress, but the feathered Pokemon continuously weaved from one side to another, causing the projectiles to pass harmlessly by. Quickly realizing that his opponent’s Pokemon wouldn’t be stopped this way, Jason changed tactics.
“Squirtle, Withdraw!” The addressed Pokemon immediately followed his trainer’s confident order, and drew his head and all of his limbs into his shell just as the large bird hammered into him. The shell flew backwards, bouncing several times before coming to a stop. Only a moment passed before Squirtle emerged from his haven, slightly disoriented, but otherwise unharmed.
Mark hung his head in despair, knowing that his own Pokemon wasn’t nearly strong enough to breach a defense as solid as what this Squirtle displayed. Just as the trainer began to give in, a loud chirp broke his thoughts; he looked in the direction of the sound, finding Pidgeotto trilling her encouragement to him. He gave a weak grin to his companion, and frantically racked his brain searching for an answer to the dilemma. Suddenly struck by inspiration, the man spoke once more.
“Pidgeotto, let’s see another Quick Attack.” The feathered Pokemon didn’t hesitate for a moment, and quickly launched herself at her opponent. The other trainer smirked, calling to Squirtle to Withdraw once more, and the turtle quickly complied as its form retreated into its shell. As the bird closed in, Mark’s grin grew wider as he issued a new command:
“Pidgeotto, grab the shell and carry it into the air!” The flying type complied, and her opponent soon found himself airborne, held up by the holes his arms usually occupied. As the two Pokemon climbed higher into the air, Mark’s grin evolved into a smirk, and he revealed the final stage of his plan with a newfound confidence.
“Now dive back down and let go of the shell just before you reach the ground!” Back in his own world, Mark had once heard of birds that would pick up shellfish and hurl them into jagged rocks in order to break through the shells and get at the animal inside. Since this battle was taking place over a grassy field rather than a group of sharp rocks, he knew this attack wouldn’t have nearly as dramatic an effect on the Squirtle, but he was hopeful that the impact should still damage the water type, even through his shell. As the pair hurtled downwards, Jason quickly grasped Mark’s intent, and frantically called for a Water Gun pointed at the ground in a last ditch effort to slow his Pokemon’s landing.
The turtle was not as quick, however, and the ground rushed up to meet him just as he prepared to follow his trainer’s orders. A loud crash and a rising cloud of dust drew the attention of everyone nearby who wasn’t already watching the battle. As the sandy cloud dissipated, the revealed Squirtle was face down, and sprawled unconscious on the ground as Pidgeotto hovered triumphantly over him. The losing trainer quickly recalled his downed Pokemon, made his way towards Mark, and spoke in an apologetic voice.
“Well, I guess you won; it seems you’re better than I thought.” After Mark gave his thanks for the compliment, the other trainer continued, “Well, I hope we get a chance to battle again.” As Jason turned back towards the park, Mark went back on his own way, Pidgeotto now at his side, and ready to continue on his way to the top.
As Mark entered the Pokemon Center, he quickly postponed his plans to secure a room for the night when he noticed a woman speaking with Nurse Joy. The unfamiliar female wore a police officer’s attire and had green hair flowing from underneath her cap. The two had serious looks on their faces, and Mark, noting that they were making no effort to hide their conversation, decided to listen as well. The policewoman was speaking by the time he began eavesdropping.
“No one is sure what it is just yet, but it’s been attacking wild Pokemon in Viridian Forest. It doesn’t seem to be attacking any humans going through the area, though.” Nurse Joy’s voice held a deeply concerned tone as she voiced her own thoughts.
“Are the Pokemon alright? Have they been able to recover?” The officer nodded with a weak smile as she answered.
“Yes, they’re all fine. Fortunately, it hasn’t caused any serious injuries to its victims; so far, it has never gone farther than knocking them out.”
Mark tuned out of the discussion and mulled over this new information for a few moments. It seemed there was a Pokemon stalking Viridian Forest that had some noteworthy fighting skills. A smirk formed on Mark’s face as a single word came out.
Last edited by BladedScizor; 15th August 2007 at 9:55 AM.
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