Well it most certainly has been a while, but here is chapter 31, where I'm hoping the chapter lives up to the wait and also expectations of the characters. Max has undergone a lot in this chapter, I can't think of a more character centred chapter really. I'm hoping I've done it justice too as this is very pivotal to Max's history and where he's going, and his reactions are hopefully realistic.
This is the start of a new phase in the story where Max and Harriet are hopefully heading into new directions and growing into more mature and well rounded people!
But I'll wait and see what you have to say about that:
This chapter links back to an episode in Hoenn, but it doesn't rely on the fact that everyone will have seen it and hopefully it is still enjoyable nevertheless.
As per usual:
Max's Hoenn Journey Intro 3
Chapter 31: Don’t Forget Me
Max was suddenly and overwhelmingly filled with an inundation of emotions. His eyes became fixated on the small creature sat only mere metres away and they began to fill with a brewing liquid that spilled down his cheeks. It was joyous emotion though, and he was thrilled to look upon the Pokémon.
Jimmy could see something different in Max; he knew that this one moment had suddenly changed everything. A deepening silence replaced the hard thumping sounds of a raging battle, and though he knew nothing about the importance of what he witnessed, that didn’t seem to matter.
Both Budew and Chikorita were also amazed at the sudden appearance of the new Pokémon, which had also appeared to dampen the effects of Graveler’s Earthquake. They merely became weak little tremors, which the two felt relief about. But presently, it was the last thing to cross anyone’s mind. Graveler on the other hand had already become distracted and began to concentrate on kicking a few pebbles about the ground.
Max continued to gaze out towards the white skinned Pokémon, his eyes expressing complete and utter awe. It had been so long!
“So…” Max’s voice nervously shook as he fumbled his hands through his hair in an awkward fashion. It was obvious that he had no idea what to do or say. “This… I… I’ve never stopped thinking about this moment… And after all this time… It’s really happened!”
His words seemed to filter through everything like sharp razor blades that cut right into the Pokémon’s heart. It had been a number of years since their last meeting, and now here they stood; this was how they were brought back together and neither of them cared for formalities. The Pokémon too began to tremble in the eyes
Max began to rub his arms and allowed a guilty expression to creep onto his face. He paused; totally unsure about what he even wanted to say let alone how to say it. The creature didn’t seem to mind though, and he eagerly looked towards Max with a deep, sentimental welcoming love.
Suddenly, Max thrust himself out into the field and charged towards the Pokémon with outstretched arms. Both Harriet and Jimmy were almost bowled off their feet by this abrupt alteration in Max’s actions. It seemed rather unprecedented, but that’s what they loved about Max, the fact that he was full of new and unexpected things.
Max scooped the young physic type up in his arms, kneeling down to the ground and snuggling his head against its pure white body. He was a delicate little creature, light and seemingly fragile, yet there was so much energy coursing through his body, radiating so much heat through his skin. Max lovingly pressed his face deeper into the warmth allowing more joy and happiness to well up inside, which in turn seemed to increase the warmth that the creature emitted.
“Ralts, I’ve missed you bud!”
The two just sat there in each other’s embrace as if time itself had stopped. Hours felt as if they flew by, and years, especially the years apart. They seemed to merge together forming a brief, fleeting second. It was as if eternity had suddenly begun.
Ralts then slowly edged his head away from Max’s shoulder, his eyes still sparkling with so many different emotions. Max lifted his head up too and allowed their gazes to match.
After a few more moments of ‘eternity’, Max bowed his head a little in a reflective state, readying a question in his mind.
“How… Ralts, how did you find me?”
His friends looked on with astonishment abound in their faces. It was obvious that the two had a deep connection that went way back, and also obvious that Max held a great deal of grief about it. So in turn, they could see where the question came from. But it still stumped them, even the Pokémon. Max had never usually been on to explore his emotions, and although they could see the turmoil of feelings cascading in his eyes, as well as Ralts’, it seemed unusual for him to act upon them.
Max continued to keep his eyes squarely centred on Ralts’ loving complexion, unsure what its subtle complexities were saying. He didn’t want to repeat himself, no, that would be too unbearable to reproach, but even so, he had to know. He felt he needed to ask again, to somehow rephrase the question, but as he did Ralts raised both his hands and planted them on either side of Max’s temple. There was suddenly a flash of light, and then it all became clear!
It was like a rollercoaster of colours, swirls and vivid flashes of images. Everything seemed to fly by at great speeds, yet Max could picture it all so clearly and he understood the story that it began to depict. Indeed, it was apparent; Ralts had been a true friend. He had kept to his promise and his end of friendship.
Max could see the trail that led up this point, the journey that Ralts had taken. The loneliness, the twists and turns, the ups and downs, he felt the pains of them so deeply in his heart. But through all that he also knew, and could sense all the love possible in it, that Ralts still missed him and wanted to partner up no matter how far the distance or how long the wait.
Finally, as the outpouring of emotions began to disperse, Max glimpsed the last leg of the journey that spanned from a seemingly coincidental event; Rustboro. Ralts had seen the new displays scattered across Hoenn. He had seen the aftermath of the rampage, and the works of Roxanne and Brock. A familiar face had appeared. And in the background of those images had been another, Max, tireless helping too, unaware of the media coverage around him. Too concerned on the benefit of others, on being a servant hearted helping hand. All that had given Ralts enough clues to detect and a path to follow, a road that lead him towards Max. Ironically, something so terrible had reared a tremendous blessing. There was reunion.
The vivid images then stopped. Absolute blackness shunned its way into Max’s sight and he recoiled backwards but with such eloquent grace. Ralts appeared to be guiding him; letting him down gently after such an explosion of high emotions with the simple recline of his hand.
Harriet and Jimmy, along with all the four Pokémon rushed over to Max’s side. Chikorita and Budew nudged the sides of Max while Harriet and Jimmy stooped down and comforted him, allowing Ralts to shuffle onto his lap. Jimmy beckoned his two Pokemon over too who had thus far kept their distance, and they hovered next to him; Beedrill slowly descending to the ground.
A jolt seemed to strike through his body and he bolted upright, a gigantic grin spread across his face and ablaze in his eyes.
“Wow!” he simply remarked.
He was ecstatic; full of life again all within the space of a few seconds. Somehow his need for rest, a longing for not only emotion and physical rest but also inner rest had just been imparted in him. It was a gift that up till now hadn’t found the time or capabilities to be accepted.
Max looked down at his old friend with such overwhelming joy. He took Ralts into his arms and hugged him so tightly. After a few moments he gently released his grip and clambered to his feet.
“Thank you, Max gracefully said, “Thank you so much. I’m so sorry that I hadn’t found you sooner, but I’m so glad we’re finally together again here and now.”
Max then turned his head to gaze down at his other companion that was still so full of surprise and bewilderment that she didn’t know what faces to pull. He smiled at her and beckoned Budew forward with his open arms.
“Sorry for all the confusion Buddy, but I’d like to formally introduce you to Ralts, one of my old friends from the last time I travelled through Hoenn.”
The Pokémon took a few steps forward, as did Ralts, and they began their introductions. Still with the same smile on his face, Max turned and in silence nodded at both Harriet and Jimmy, his signal to say everything was ok. He then reached to the other two PokéBalls on his belt and unclipped them, feeling their smooth and cool surface on his palm. With one simple push of the white circular buttons on the front, the PokéBalls enlarged in Max’s hand and he instantly chucked them in the air.
“Murkrow and Charmander, come and join us. I have someone for you to meet!”
The two Pokémon shot out of their PokéBalls with utter speed that it almost made Budew jump as each one simultaneously appeared on either side of her. Ralts also turned around with surprise, but more so because he was intrigued to meet Max’s new friends.
He walked on over to them and greeted them with a giant smile and a warm cry. Murkrow cautiously rotated its head, half closing one eye to, and tucked its wing over the front of its body. Charmander on the other hand grabbed Ralts by the hand and vigorously acknowledged its arrival.
“See,” Max said to Ralts, still crouching beside him, “Here I have my starter, Charmander, another friend, Budew and my first capture, Murkrow.”
Max ushered Murkrow to join in the pleasantries but he still sat there with a cautious appeal in his eyes. His head was cocked back a little and his eyes were fixed on Ralts as he continued to scan the little Pokémon. With a nervous expression in his body he hopped towards Max and the others and hesitantly approached the side of Ralts who lifted a hand in reassurance. Murkrow then responded by lifting its wing and clasping it against Ralts’ hand, and suddenly all his muscles seemed to relax.
“Ralts, wow! Are you passing on your emotions again like you did with me?” Max asked.
Ralts looked up with a soft look and nodded.
“That’s absolutely amazing,” Jimmy remarked, bending down to Ralts and placing his hand gently on the Pokémon’s shoulder, “May you show me something too?”
Ralts placed both his hands on Jimmy’s face, one on each cheek. Jimmy relaxed his face and shut his eyes as he began to allow the feelings of Ralts to wash over him. There were beautiful rays of colour soaring past his mind’s eye, pinks and reds and yellows, all warm colours. They physically felt like they were giving off an aura of love and warmth, something that warmed even the deepest parts of his being.
He opened his eyes and gazed down on Ralts, but with different eyes and a different look that he had done so before. Even though Jimmy hadn’t appeared nervous, tense or anxious, he now seemed as if he had been completely released from any binding ties of worry. It was as if that moment had just changed him with a peaceful atmosphere.
“Thank you Ralts,” Jimmy remarked, “Thank you!”
“You’re certainly an exceptional Pokémon Ralts,” Harriet stated, bending down to the small psychic type herself, “I’d certainly love to battle you!”
“What!” Max said.
“Yea actually,” Jimmy jumped in, “That’s not a bad idea. You and Ralts obviously go back quite far, so you could easily pair up with him, and I’d certainly love to have a double battle on Ralts’ team.”
“See, it’d be great for all of us Max! I can practice battling a wild Pokémon too so that the next time I encounter a water type I’ll be ready to catch it!”
“Well... I’m not sure about that guys, I mean, Ralts and I haven’t exactly battled with each other before!”
“Wait, that doesn’t matter right now,” Jimmy said, now turning to Harriet with a very perplexed face glaring at her, “What does is your ridiculous idea that battling a psychic type will help you in any way when facing a water type. It’s not that simple!”
“Yes it is! It was the case when I caught Burmy! I had only battled Johto Pokémon and it still helped me capture a Sinnoh Pokémon!”
“You so have this totally backwards Harriet!”
“Well whatever! Just as long as I can capture a water type then I’ll be fine. They have such amazing moves that I won’t be able to lose my next contests because they have amazing appeal yet awesome strength!”
“I can’t believe you think it’s all that easy! Just because they appear eloquent doesn’t mean they start out that way. You’ve got to have the talent and skill to be able to perfect contest style moves in a battle anyway... And maybe this double battle will be a great place for you to develop that!”
“What? You don’t think I can already do that?”
Max stood up, still looking uneasy about the challenge that had been proposed earlier on, but this little spat had gone on long enough and it was his turn to chime in.
“Harriet, I’m afraid Jimmy has a point. Look at your last few contest battles, you sorta did struggle with the contest elements to them. Admittedly you did win, but it’s a contest, and so, maybe if we did battle this will be great practice for all of us!”
Harriet reeled back a little bit. The words cut deep, but she knew them to be true. In fact, Max and Jimmy hadn’t been alone in their thinking, she too shared their same concerns but had feared to vocalise them.
“Alright then, but Max, I’ll do it only if you battle with Ralts. He looks like such a tough opponent and I know it’s what I need to... well you know!”
Max looked down to Ralts and then back up to his best friend, knowing too well that she was right. He needed to battle with Ralts; in fact he needed to do a lot more than just battle with him.
Ralts could sense the unease in his friend, knowing full well that he feared to confront the issue that was currently straining his thoughts. Yes Ralts was powerful, and that terrified Max. To be in control as such a novice trainer of a Pokémon who had so much more experience than him frightened his core to bits.
The small Pokémon leapt up onto Max’s shoulders and peered round the corner of his face into the boy’s eyes. They made contact and Max had to quickly flick his head away. He picked Ralts up and placed him down next to his other friends, looking at the four of them standing together.
Jimmy bent on down to Max’s three Pokémon, giving Charmander a little pat on his head, stroking Murkrow’s soft feathers and also giving Budew a little tickle under the tips of her buds. He looked over at Ralts, and then back to the other three. It was so obvious that Ralts fitted into the group; in fact they appeared to almost expect him to be there now with the way they flocked around him.
Jimmy could see it, and he knew Max could too. And the long drawn out silence was such a dead giveaway to the how Max was feeling about the whole situation.
Jimmy looked back up towards Max with the largest calming smile he could muster. Max again had to shy away from another gaze.
“Max, it’s alright you know,” Jimmy said as he stood up and wrapped his arm around Max’s shoulder with a tight squeeze, “You’ll learn just how best to work with Ralts... and anyway you’ve both already shown how deep your bond together is and that at the end of the day is the most crucial part of any relationship. No trainer and Pokémon relationship ever works unless they form a trust that comes from a friendship.”
This time Max stared straight into the eyes of his friend, denoting the fear and apprehension emanating from his thoughts through the power of his eyes. This time, Max wasn’t afraid to confront it.
“I don’t know. Ralts is a brilliant Pokémon and a great friend, but I don’t know if I’m the one to help him grow, or even if I’d be able to learn or the others. What if we just get completely stomped and lost... What if I become lost?”
“Max, it’s understandable you feel this way. You have so much history, so many emotional tugs that it’s ok to be feeling this way. Don’t be bea...”
The whole while Ralts and his new fellow friends had been watching the conversation, all of them growing worried for their human friend. Ralts glanced over at Max’s backpack that was propped up against a few large rocks, along with another two of different designs and colours. Max’s bag was partially undone and Ralts could see a red glint shimmering from one of the pockets. With a loud crackle and a blinding flash Ralts disappeared. Everyone snapped their heads around and placed their attentions towards Ralts last position, where the noise had originated from.
Max noticed a crinkling and rustling from his back and quickly scooped down next to it, pulling back the two pieces of fabric separated by a metal zip and noticing the prominent white and green colours of a spherical head. Max was very puzzled.
“Ralts, what on earth are you doing?”
Ralts made a few remarks and thrust his clasped hands towards Max’s face. Concealed in his grasp was a small round ball; one half red, and one half white. Right in that moment, Max’s faced dropped and terror bounded into the muscles on his face.
“No! What if we’re not... what if it’s not right?” Max stuttered.
It was too late though, as quickly as Max spoke Ralts moved faster. He squeezed the centre of the PokéBall and it instantly enlarged in between his two paws. Within seconds, Ralts tapped the circular button in the middle and it sprang open, soaring a little into the air and sucking his energy into the small capsule. Everybody’s faces were left with astonishment and anticipation, and Max in particular was stunned to silence.
The PokéBall closed up and sealed shut with a blue tint evaporating from the metal around the brim. It shuddered and shook for a few seconds until the round centre popped with another blue sparkle and the PokéBall simply remained still. Ralts had just been caught...
Max remained motionless, unable to comprehend what had just happened, or even what he should now do. Harriet looked over to Jimmy, expressing her concern with her uneasy stare. They both nodded and walked on over to Max, placing a hand on his back in support.
“Max... Congratulations. Whether you feel comfortable with it or not, Ralts just chose you, and he is your friend. It may not be ideal, and may well be terrifying, but can I assure you that after seeing you battle I know you can handle yourself, your other three partners, and now your new capture too. You have it in yourself mate, and I think that actually what may be best would be to use Ralts in a battle with me against Harriet. What do you say?”
Max turned to face his friends, and glanced over to his other three pals that had been unusually but respectfully quiet throughout the capture. He nodded at Jimmy, grabbed the PokéBall and ran over to Charmander and the others.
Stooping down, he beckoned the three to clamber onto him. Murkrow perched on Max’s left shoulder, while Charmander leapt onto the other, and Budew rested neatly into a cradle Max created with his elbow joint and his torso.
Turning back around, he motioned to Harriet and Jimmy, “Well guys, if I’m going to battle with you, I’m not going to do it alone. I have my friends with me, and we’re all going to support each other in this, so let’s get this started...”
Max looked back down at the PokéBall, running his fingers across the smooth surface. He looked out over the grass and tossed it into the area.
“Well then, Ralts, I choose you!”
Jimmy gave a brimming smile and let out a chuckle, “Alright then Max, let’s get going, Wingull, come on out and join us!”
The two balls burst open and released the remarkable flow of white energy that quickly jumbled together to form the two creatures. They stood in unison on the field, with Wingull stretching its wings out and releasing a piercing cry.
“Ha yea! We’re so ready for this!” Jimmy eagerly shouted, “Bring on your two Harriet!”
“Well alright then, I’m so going to prove to you just how much I want to grow and just how much I want another capture! Don’t go easy on us, as we definitely won’t on you!”
“You’ve got nothing to fear, we won’t be losing our first battle together!”
“Bring it! Mothim and Chikorita, let’s show them what we can do!”
Chikorita came running into the battle area from the side, where she had been patiently waiting with the bags next to Beedrill and Graveler. Her legs carried her with tremendous force, while above her came another flash of light. A dancing energy flew through the air, centring together and dissipating with a twinkle. In its place was Chikorita’s partner and friend, Mothim.
“ Let’s not give them a chance to counter, Chikorita launch in with a Razor Leaf, and Mothim use Hidden Power!”
The two Pokémon leapt straight into action as they launched their attacks towards Ralts and Wingull. The moves soared fast towards their targets, but even so neither Pokémon feared what was about to come. There was a gentle glint in their eyes as if they knew what was about to come next.
“Wingull fly up high!”
“And Ralts, Teleport!”
Harriet gasped. She had completely forgotten that both Pokémon were agile enough to escape and had ample speed and technique to dodge. She looked up at the attacks she had just commanded as she watched them reach the supposed target area, only to keep going and collide with a mantle of bushes behind both her opposing trainers. She had commanded two attacks without even considering a contest style arrangement, and that would’ve cost her points in an actual contest battle.
“Harriet, you can do better than that. Well you missed an opportunity there, and we’re not going to let you get another one! Wingull, launch into a Wing Attack...”
Max paused, he had been so caught up in the concept and hype of the battle that he had completely forgotten to check what moves Ralts knew. The only reason he had chosen Teleport was the simple fact that Ralts had already shown his command of such a move.
“It’s alright Max, quickly check your Pokédex to see what attacks Ralts can use, I’ll cover your back in the meantime,” Jimmy quickly said as he realised the predicament his partner was in as well. How could either of them have forgotten such a basic thing?
Wingull’s wings began to throb with a white energy that flowed through its feathers. It circled Ralts to gain some momentum before speeding towards its targets.
“Well I guess that gives us a quick window for now, target all your attacks on Ralts now guys; we can’t let this opportunity go! Repeat your previous moves but this time aim them in a foray of movement around the area Ralts is in, that way we have to hit one of them!”
“Darn it!” Jimmy cried, “You really are thinking now, good on you! But hopefully that’s not enough, Wingull keep going and get to them before they have any chance of...”
Harriet’s two Pokémon had reacted fast enough, however, and had already begun to bombard Ralts with the multitude of colourful beams that shot from Mothim’s wings, along with fast spinning leaves that twirled in a circular fashion towards the psychic type. Jimmy now looked very worried.
There was a moment’s silence as everyone partially turned their attention towards Max. He seemed vacant and pale, but very suddenly that began to change. Max’s face began to glow a vibrant red as he ecstatically began to bob on the spot. He then unexpectedly punched the air before turning to Jimmy!
“Right, got it... Ralts, use Double Team to evade!”
The Pokémon’s body began to rapidly vibrate as its cells became dramatically charged with movement. In the next moment it was as if he was splitting in two, and then four, and then suddenly eight. Multiple copies began appearing around the battlefield, confusing even the likes of Wingull who had now stopped its attack to watch his partner’s spectacular abilities.
“Good one Max!” Harriet yelled, “But not good enough. Chikorita, fire your vines towards each copy until you hit your target, and Mothim take care of Wingull with Bug Bite!”
Their footsteps echoed amongst the trees as the two people breathlessly pattered their way through the woods; their boots rasping against the crisp, hard ground with force. The duo seemed immaculately clean for people that had spent their previous few weeks living in the forest’s groans and moans.
They continued to whistle their way through the foliage until they saw a brim of light enter through a few cracks from the branches. They halted in their movement, gazing towards the bright sunlight as they rapidly inhaled and exhaled. Their faces pulsated with a red liquid and their bodies crept with the trickle of sweat.
The young male adult looked at his companion.
“It’s time. We’re nearly there, and then we can see just how this new addition handles himself.”
“Are you sure the reports were correct, Butch? Are we going to find them here?”
“Our data appears sound...”
The duo’s ears pricked up as a fierce whistling sound propelled towards them. A loud crash sounded and the light suddenly faded under a cloud of dusty haze.
“I think they’re already here!”
The Rocket’s leapt back into action as they sped towards the clearing, bursting through the forest brim and flying into view. Yet, what they saw was most definitely not what they had been expecting.
“What?” exclaimed Cassidy, “Where’s Team Sukai?”
Butch glared out into the opening, staring at the figures of three humans and a number of Pokémon.
“No... It can’t be! Cassidy, look, it’s those annoying kids again.”
She peered into the distance, seeing the image of an engaged battle brewing. Her heart dropped and the tension left her body, but in its place emerged devious thoughts.
“Butch, you know what we should do! Let’s pay ‘em back for all the hassle that they’ve caused us. They’re nothing against the power we now have!”
Butch met Cassidy’s cunning look with a sly smile of his own. It was perfect, and that way they would have something else to suck up to Giovanni with. A bunch of Pokémon would likely put a smile on his face.
“Alright, but let’s not waste the surprise to begin with. Hitmontop, come out and have some fun!”
“You’re right, this is going to be great, Granbull, you too!”
The two Pokémon emerged from their PokéBalls with sly looks on their faces too. It was as if the emotions and feelings of their trainers travelled into the Pokémon from the skin through to the balls. They were ready to flex their battling muscles too after some time without fighting the slightest Pokémon, not even measly wild Pokémon as training practice.
Granbull punched its right hand with its left first, rocking it too and fro in its powerful grasp. Hitmontop looked on up to its companion and eagerly smiled; awaiting its commands seemed like an intense ordeal. Both were ready to get back into action.
“Right, Hitmontop jump into your Rapid Spin!”
“And Granbull, use Headbutt!”
The two Pokémon immediately burst forth, Granbull charging ahead on its powerful leg muscles, and Hitmontop spinning across the grass on its head, churning up a load of grass and mud with it. All the while, the three trainers were completely oblivious to what was occurring.
Chikorita’s vines spliced through every silhouette of Ralts, cutting and chopping them to bits as they made their way ever so closer to the target. Mothim too had got the better of Wingull’s speed closing in on the water type with its gnashing jaws.
“Wingull, use your Hydro Pump on the ground and get above Mothim, then knock it to the ground with Wing Attack!”
“And Ralts, grab Chikorita’s vines with Psychic and send her flying back!”
“Chikorita, withdraw your vines quickly, and Mothim watch your back and counter with Protect!”
Just as they called their commands, they all heard a loud growling noise growing closer. All the Pokémon continued to follow their orders, but Max, Jimmy and Harriet turned their attention to the forest line about a few hundred metres away from them.
“What’s that?” Harriet yelled.
“I’ve got no clue, but I’m not waiting to find out! Wingull, use Hydro Pump against the oncoming Pokémon! And Graveler and Beedrill, I need your help too, use Rock Throw and Pin Missile!”
“Hmm, alright then, Chikorita, Razor Leaf and Mothim, Hidden Power too, let’s stop them in their tracks!”
“Wait a second,” Max suddenly shrieked, “Is that Team Rocket standing over there?”
Jimmy and Harriet continued to allow their Pokémon to proceed as commanded, but turned their gaze over to the plush green foliage that shrouded the dense forest. It seemed Max was spot on. Dressed head to toe in complete black were two very astute people, watching the oncoming Pokémon with a keen eye. Their fists were clenched with a PokéBall in each, ready to introduce reinforcements as and when necessary.
“What are they doing here?” Harriet commented; concern and fear blazing in her eyes, “Well whatever, I’m not letting them get any closer! Chikorita and Mothim, keep it up!”
Butch turned to Cassidy, prompting her to release another Pokémon alongside him.
“Cloyster come and join us and target the three humans with your Water Gun!”
“And Tentacruel, use Hydro Pump!”
The Pokémon instantly burst forth from their PokéBalls, almost with no time lapse between beginning their attack and leaving the white energy. Cloyster eerily opened its shell and the water came pouring out.
The initial run of Water Gun intercepted the barrage of attacks that headed towards Granbull and Hitmontop quelling them on impact. In the same instance, Wingull, Beedrill and Mothim were knocked out of the air, along with Murkrow whom Max had just sent up to join in with the fighting. His Shadow Ball’s faded as he plummeted to the earth.
Chikorita began to grow restless and attempted to launch another whirl of Razor Leaf towards the Pokémon. Her body was gripped with fear as her adrenaline coursed throughout every fibre within her. But to her dismay she watched on as her attack was crushed by the follow up Hydro Pump, which continued on and impacted the three youngsters. All the Pokémon were left with horrified looks.
Harriet attempted to duck beneath the torrent of water, but was caught off guard and toppled over, flung into the air by the sheer force of the swirling water. As she flew backwards, she saw Jimmy thrown to the ground as the water took his legs out and he flopped against the soggy terrain. Finally, as the water struck Max, it sent him flying to one side, his head tilting down and allowing a chain to come flying off, while his remaining Pokémon were caught up in the stream and flung towards Jimmy.
Max looked up and noticed his pendant lying on the ground, a few metres away from where he had crashed into the dirt. His hand quickly massaged his neck as he tried to feel the tickle of the cold chain against his hand out of habit, but it wasn’t there.
Butch and Cassidy watched with glee as they saw the trainers lose their balance, and the Pokémon become even more fearful. But the most cheering thing of all was seeing the purple glint that lay on the ground, which had been ripped from Max’s neck in an instance, and now delicately awaited its retrieval.
Ralts watched the entire proceedings, worried for everyone’s safety. His mind flicked back to his initial encounter with another similar group of people when he first met Max. The thoughts raced through his mind as he geared himself up for dealing with this issue.
He peered out from underneath his cap, and his eyes began to glow a powerful sky blue. The colour grew more and more intense and suddenly waves of energy radiated from his body.
Granbull and Hitmontop were instantly stopped in their tracks, their bodies concealed by a powerful blue force that surrounded them. They couldn’t move an inch, and terror shocked them to the core.
The large Pokémon let out a terrifying cry, full of fear, pain and worry, alerting its trainer to a serious problem.
“Butch, what do we do?”
“It’s time Cassidy, get ready...”
“Alright, Tentacruel return, I don’t need you getting in the way!”
“The same with you, Cloyster,” Butch cried.
Chikorita, Mothim, Wingull, Beedril, Graveler and Murkrow received a boosted thrill from the sudden turn of events, releasing another barrage of attacks at the Pokémon buying time for their trainers to clamber to their feet.
The Razor Leaf, Hidden Power, Pin Missile, Rock Throw, Hydro Pump and Shadow Balls finally collided with their targets, and Ralts released his grip on the two Pokémon with a gentle push too. Granbull and Hitmontop flew back a fair distance and collided with Butch who had just finished placing Cloyster away in his pocket. Cassidy just managed to escape the pile up as she replaced one PokéBall with another.
“It’s not over,” she shouted, finally clutching the other capsule tightly in her grasp, “We’re not going to let you win this time!”
Jimmy glanced over at Max who was still busy trying to brush large clumps of soggy mud from his clothes. He quickly gave him a nudge in the arm to prompt him to react.
“You have to do something, mate. Ralts has already shown how capable he is, now command another attack and send them away. We won’t stand a chance if they pit more Pokémon against us!”
Max was terrified at the prospect of controlling that much power, he knew that Ralts concealed a great deal of psychic energy but using it was a different matter. The fact he was terrified of even being the trainer of a Pokémon like that freaked him out, and this was another step too many. However, he had to disregard all his senses and thoughts, and rather use instinct instead of mind. It was time to finally merge in trust with Ralts by doing this one thing, and truly begin their journey together.
“Ralts, brilliant work my friend and thank you all for giving us time to get back up! Now let’s finish them up and knock them back one last time. Use Psychic on all four of them and send them far, far away!”
Ralts began to levitate off the ground, his two legs flowing like a silky dress over the trampled grass. His eyes continued to glow as they let forth a powerful ripple of energy that shot across the field like a gigantic gust of wind moving everything and anything in its path. The grass bent completely against the ground and the air separated with force, and then it collided.
Team Rocket were lifted off their feet with a giant blow, as if someone had taken a swing at them with a humungous bat. Their bodies coiled over their torsos as the blast propelled them away, pushing against the one spot on their bodies. With a blink of the eyes, they were gone.
Harriet erupted with overbearing joy, dancing about as she welcomed her Pokémon into her arms. Jimmy did the same as he sped over towards Wingull and embraced his Pokémon with a deep and intimate hug. He looked over at Beedrill and Graveler who had slumped down next to his backpack, almost faint from the exhaustion the battle brought.
“You guys were amazing,” Jimmy remarked, “Take a nice long rest.”
He held the two PokéBalls out, watching the red beams impact the creatures and suck them back into their cocoons.
Max looked around at the remaining four Pokémon; his friends and partners for life. They had just worked as a team to save one another, and successfully used their instinct and capabilities to protect everyone else. With a precarious grin, he bent down to scoop Charmander and Budew up, both of whom had taken a large beating from the giant force of the Hydro Pump. He squeezed his face against their bodies and held them close. He was so relieved for their safety.
“Never again, I won’t let it happen again. I’m so sorry you even got hurt!”
Both of them shuffled up his arms and onto his shoulders with loving smiles that brought warmth to Max’s soul. He smiled back and then ran on over to Murkrow and Ralts who were busy celebrating themselves. He picked both of them up as well and held them close to his heart.
“Thank you guys, you were so amazing and showed just how great you two are!” he said while ruffling Murkrow’s head, “You were brilliant and knew exactly what to do and when, without me having to even tell you anything. You really do know how to handle yourself. And Ralts, my word... you are powerful, more so than I ever imagined.”
He paused and smiled individually at each of his companions.
“Look at us all,” he finally said, “We are a team... and that’s what counts! So Ralts, welcome to our family!”
By now, Harriet and Jimmy had rejoined Max, standing side by side with their friend. They looked down at their own companions with the same love in their complexions that Max had in his words.
“Well Max... that was simply amazing! What better way to introduce Ralts to us than that, eh?”
Jimmy chuckled to himself as he shot Ralts a large thank you smile, nodding his affection towards the small creature.
“You truly are powerful my friend,” he continued, “And I look forward to many future battles with you!”
“The same goes for me, Max. I can’t wait to see more of what Ralts can do, but more importantly I must say, it’s great to have him with us. You two were brilliant in our little battle, and then against Team Rocket...”
Harriet paused and she pondered her next words carefully.
“And I guess I should also add that I completely understand where you and Jimmy were coming from earlier, and if you guys don’t mind I’d love it if you can help me more often to perfect my skills! Our battle was so educating and I really got to see where I could begin to improve and think in an appeal mindset, and I just want to keep learning!”
“Sounds good to me,” Max responded, still gleaming with excitement about everything, “I think it’ll be great for all of us! And I must admit it gives us all some great practice in the long run. If we begin to learn how to counter moves and techniques we’re not used to then I think this’ll really prepare us for our eventual gym battles and contest battles.”
“I have to agree,” Jimmy added, “It’ll be great to fully flesh our own styles, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep to my end of the bargain until our next contest Harriet...”
“Well, you see, I’m actually heading to Fortree city now, to go and challenge Winnona for my next badge, but trust me when I say; I look forward to facing you in our next contest together.”
“Well if you must,” Harriet cheekily said; tutting a little as she shook her head, “But rest assured, the next time we see each other again, I’m going to be so much stronger and I’m not going to let you get the best of me. And you can also guarantee that firstly, my Pokémon will be so much more powerful and skilled too, and secondly that there’ll be a surprise Pokémon waiting to battle you!”
“Well I like the sound of that!”
Jimmy clasped Harriet’s hand and rigorously shook it before doing the same with Max, who very cautiously responded as he tried not to lose the grasp on his Pokémon.
“And the same goes for you too buddy. I look forward to our next battle, and seeing just how much stronger you all get, and just who else may have tagged along with you as well!”
With those words, Jimmy shuffled over to collect his backpack, launching it over his shoulders while Wingull positioned itself neatly in the crevasse between the fabric and Jimmy’s hoody. He readjusted his clothes and patted himself down, knocking some of the dried mud off his thick yellow garment. He twisted around and gave one last wave.
“Until next time!”