18th December 2014, 6:56 PM
Unification of Hoenn (PG-13)
This is my second attempt at fan fiction. I previously had the start of a story out called "Destined for Revolution," but I didn't write enough, and it fell off. This story contains largely the same ideas, and the first several chapters are nearly unchanged. So, if for some reason you remember that, the first seven or so chapters should be quick to skim over.
I have had these ideas in my head for years, so I just want to get them out. I've had to adjust the storyline for Mega Evolutions, and the release of the Hoenn remakes offered a great opportunity to release my Hoenn related story.
Note about the rating: The rating comes mostly from violence and swearing.
Without further ado, here's some reading material:
The man, about 25, walked into the bank with a sinister swagger. He wore a black sweatshirt with the hood up and dark pants. His gait was one of confidence, even though what he was about to do was not something many people had much confidence in. Once he was in the lobby of the bank, he assessed his surroundings. There was only one other customer and a few employees. He stole a look at the cameras, the absence of a red light told him they were off. Finding them to be sufficient, he dropped a Pokéball, releasing his Pokémon. He proceeded to approach the clerk.
"Please, sir, no Pokémon are to be out inside the bank," said the teller without looking up from her work.
"That's no way to great a customer, ma'am," he said in reply.
"Recall your Pokémon, Mr. Teague, and then I will be happy to do business with you,” replied the teller as she looked up and recognized the well-known man.
A smile showed on the man's face, "I'm afraid I'll be doing business with him out."
“Sir, it is against company policy-"
"Take care of them," interrupted the man as he began walking toward the back area.
Realizing what was going on, she tried to scream out, but was abruptly stopped. He and his Pokémon made their way to the vault unobstructed, swiftly eliminating the others before they could act. The door was no match for the creature's capabilities and they were soon inside the vault. At this point, other members of his group that were securing the outside came in the bank and began to bag up the unguarded currency.
"Ron! You take it from here, I've got other work to do," said the man as he pulled off his sweatshirt, revealing a clean, ironed suit. While he was doing this, he made it out the back door and started off toward the Capitol building. He was greeted warmly by everyone he passed and finally, after talking with a few of his colleagues, took his seat in the room full of representatives.
Put the Pokémon in order from slowest to fastest
A) Munchlax, Breloom, Hypno, Blastoise, Espeon.
B) Blastoise, Breloom, Hypno, Espeon, Munchlax.
C) Espeon, Breloom, Blastoise, Hypno, Munchlax.
D) Munchlax, Hypno, Breloom, Blastoise, Espeon.
He read the question with contempt for a few reasons. One, it was the last thing standing between him and a very exciting summer. Finals were a time of both stress and relief for everyone.This was his last experience of hair-pulling mental torture before he could relax his mind with a summer full of sports and television. Two, he didn't really know much about Hypno, Breloom, or even Blastoise for that matter. Other than those three setbacks, it was a fairly easy question.
Well, one thing that I do know is that Munchlax couldn't outrun a Graveler missing a leg, so that puts B and C out of the picture. He scratched his head a little, upsetting the medium length, dark brown hair on his head in the process.
Ok that helps. It looks like Blastoise is gonna have to be second fastest whether I know about it or not. That's weird. I never would have thought that an oversized tortoise would be able to outpace a...whatever Breloom is.
That leaves the aforementioned Breloom and that Hypno. C'mon, think of what Hypno looks like. All I can think of is a yellow, human-like Pokémon with a huge nose. Oh yeah, now I remember. Kind of wish I hadn't. Might have nightmares tonight.
After some further deliberation, he decided to go with the creepy looking Psychic Pokémon as coming in second to the Grass mushroom Pokémon. He still didn't know what exactly to call it. He circled D and turned in his paper with as much confidence as he possibly could in a Pokémon Stats class. It was the most difficult class in his horrendous schedule.
His parents always strongly encouraged him to take courses that would challenge him. With this in mind, he took classes such as Advanced Math, Advanced Language, Chemistry, Pokémon Biology, Government, and Pokémon Stats. He hated that class. The thought of having to memorize thousands of numbers abhorred him. So to get by, he went by test taking skills and the appearance of the creatures in question. This obviously led to many missed questions, but somehow he managed to keep his grade acceptable.
Sensing liberation from school, he eagerly awaited for the dismissal bell to ring. Upon hearing this harbinger of freedom, he hurried to his locker, picked up his things, and headed for the door.
"Hey, nerd, where are you off to so fast?" Knowing the source of this insult, he smiled and turned around to see his curly haired friend, Trae. Standing short at about 5'9", Trae was about the same height as the "nerd", maybe slightly shorter, but stockier for sure.
"I'm gonna run home real quick and put my stuff away, then I'll meet you at William's house."
“Alright, I'll meet you there," with that brief exchange, the nerd and his dark-skinned friend headed their separate ways.
"Mom, I'm home! Finals were good. Aced 'em all. Gonna grab a few things then head over to William's," he said in rapid succession as he deposited his schoolbag on the counter and ran upstairs.
“Ok, that's great, but have you cleaned your room?" his mom asked, speaking over the coverage of a bank robbery in Hoenn on the news.
Upon entering his room, he found the answer to this question to be a resounding no. Clothes were piled everywhere and scattered around the room. "At least my room is small," he thought to himself. Grabbing a few of the cleaner clothes, he put them into his bag, and he put the rest of the clothes in a jumbled heap into the Victreebell laundry hamper in his room.
"Hey, I never asked you if you had heard about the elections in Hoe-" his mother started to say before he interrupted her.
"Ok, all clean. Bye, Mom. Love you," he said almost too fast to understand as he ran out the door.
As the door closed with a thud, his mother wondered why he was in such an uncharacteristically big hurry.
He walked briskly along the sidewalk in the warm day of late spring. This was typical weather for Vermillion City in May. He was walking from his house in the north of the town, past the school, to his friend's house in the south. Finals week had been rough for him, so he was excited to finally let some steam off with his buddies.
William's house was always the choice when it came to hanging out. It was large, and it had a great location because it was close to both the beach and the gym. They would often go to the gym on weekends to watch the battles. Here, they would watch as the local leader, Lt. Surge, used his Electric Pokémon against challengers that came from all over the region.
Getting lost in his thoughts of some of the more memorable gym battles he had watched, he passed the school without noticing something important. What he had failed to notice was the group of boys his age that were playing football on the school playground.
"Hey, stop the ball!" he heard as he snapped out of his daydreaming trance. The ball was bouncing toward him and, consequently, the street. Not taking action quickly enough, the ball bounced past him into the street, where it was immediately run over by a car that had also failed to react to the ball.
"Well, that is rather unfortunate," he mumbled to himself as he proceeded on his way.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Knowing he was the likely target of this question, he turned around.
"You owe us a new ball, idiot," said one of the more outspoken boys.
"Excuse me? How do I owe you a ball? By the way, don't call me an idiot. That’s rude.”
"You were the one that caused our ball to get hit by that car, so you owe us a new one. Only a stupid person wouldn't understand that," said that same kid as the others voiced their approval of his statement. He recognized this boy from a class he had with him a few years ago. All he remembered was that he was a jerk.
Trying to keep his cool, he calmly asked, "Which one of you gentlemen last touched the ball?" his voice was notably sarcastic as he addressed them.
One of the bigger kids said that he was the one that swatted the ball into the street.
"There's your new scapegoat," he said to the mob gathered in front of him before he turned and made to walk away.
"We aren't that stupid. We know that you're the one that owe us a new ball," said the outspoken boy. "How dumb are you?"
The last insult made him realize that he was hopelessly arguing with a group of people that could not be reasoned with. After all, he was just walking by. Even so, he could not let them go without trying to prove he was right. He faced them again because even if he was wrong, he couldn't let it go.
"Dumb? Would a dumb person be one of the top ranked students in his class? Last time I checked, that wasn't the case. I remember being in Geometry with you, Jonah. You cheated off me every test, so I suggest you guys let this dumb person go. Maybe if you idiots spent less time doing this, you would have a future that looks a little better. Now, you guys can suck it up and get over your ball because I'll be on my way."
With that, he turned again and continued walking towards his friend's house. That proved to be a mistake. He got about twenty feet before one of the angry boys tackled him from behind. Being scrawny and overwhelmed, the situation looked bleak. It didn't help that he was taken by surprise either. The kid continued his assault by punching him in various places while the mob looked on with joy. He was frozen in shock at what was going on when he felt a fist hit him in the mouth, which was followed by the distinct taste of blood.
Sensing this was getting serious, he ripped one of his arms free and struck out. He made contact with the nose of his assailant, knocking him off. Seizing the opportunity, he frantically tried to make an escape. This was short-lived because two more boys pounced on him.
"How the hell am I going to get out of this?" he thought as he struggled against his attackers.
He was pinned and helpless when he heard a voice yell from a distance away, "Logan? Is that you?"
Knowing the owner of the voice and sensing liberation, he managed to yell out a muffled yes.
"This shouldn't take long," he thought to himself. "You guys are screwed," he whispered confidently to the boys holding him down.
His attackers were thrown off of him sooner than he expected. Having his vision unobstructed, he saw two of his friends, William and Conner. That was a more than welcome sight to his roughed up eyes. William, standing about 6'2", was the picture of physical excellence. Conner stood about 6'4" and was strong as well. They made short work in scaring off the bullies assailing Logan.
"Dang, dude, let's get you cleaned up," said William as he helped his friend up. "Good thing we were on our way to the store to get some stuff for my mom, but that can wait." The three friends walked towards William's house as Logan related his unlucky account to his friends.
"I guess I should probably stop being so condescending all the time," admitted Logan.
"Nahh you're alright, man. Those dudes were just bullies. I can't stand people like that. They just go after people for no reason. Can you imagine if we did that?"
Conner responded to his brownish red haired friend's question, "William, your dad would kill us before we got to our first victim."
The friends laughed, and they made their way to William's house. It was the nicest and biggest house that they had access to, so, whenever they gathered, it was usually there.
Upon seeing Logan's beaten up figure, William's mom, Sarah, went to work. She got out some bandages and cleaned him up. The wounds weren't as bad as they had first looked, and he was just fine in about an hour of rest. He just had some bruises and scrapes. It took his best persuasiveness, but he convinced her not to call his parents.
As Logan, William, and Conner were sitting in the living room watching TV, their friend Trae finally arrived.
"What are you guys watchin'?" asked Trae as soon as he walked in the door.
“Well, hello to you, too," said Logan somewhat accusingly, "but we are watching a special thing about Steven Stone that the news is running. I'm not sure why they have this on, but it is pretty interesting."
They turned their attention to the massive television screen showing a blonde reporter interviewing the Hoenn champion, Steven Stone. She asked many questions about his favorite battles, Pokémon, challengers, etc.
"Wow, she is way too hot to be a reporter," said William without realizing that he had said that out loud.
Disregarding that observation, Logan complained, "Why is she asking these questions? She acts like this is the end of his career." He was a fan of Steven Stone for as long as he could remember.
"Because it is the end of his career!" interjected Trae.
"What? No way!" countered Logan.
"I don't know. I was just messing with you because I know how much you like Stone."
"I hate you sometimes."
The reporter was coming to an end with her questions, and finally asked why Steven had called for this interview.
Steven calling for an interview? That's strange. Usually he doesn't say much to the press, thought Logan.
"I wanted to have this interview to announce my resignation from the position of Champion of the Hoenn League at Ever Grande City. I feel that I have done my duty as a battler and have little more to accomplish in this field. I want to do more exploring in the field of geology, and I would also like to learn more about and ultimately take over the business empire that my father has built. Wallace will take over for me as Champion until a worthy challenger arises at the upcoming Regional Tournament, providing he or she can then defeat the Elite Four of Hoenn. I would like to thank my fans and everyone that has supported me throughout this fantastic portion of my life. It is greatly appreciated."
With that, the steel-gray haired young man of about 25 stood up and shook the hand of the reporter.
As one last question she asked, "What will you be now that you aren't the Champion of Hoenn?"
Quoting a popular superhero, he said with a smirk and a wink, "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist."
Logan just sat there with his mouth wide open. This could not be happening. His favorite celebrity just announced he was going out of the public eye.
“Well, that's weird," said Trae, stating the obvious.
Logan had recovered from the initial shock of Stone's resignation and now they were all playing a video game in William's room. They were playing an online multiplayer match on a popular first person shooter game. The game seemed to bring a very interesting array of curses from Trae's mouth, who wasn't particularly good at the game.
While throwing a tantrum after getting killed to end his streak, Conner accidentally unplugged the console from the wall, ending their game.
Trying to get a conversation going, William asked, “So, when are you guys thinking about getting your first Pokémon and going on a journey across a region? At 16, we are all old enough. Plus, we have enough credits to be able to go to a region outside of our home region. Logan even has good enough grades that he could start with a rare Pokémon instead of a typical starter if he could get ahold of one. How cool would that be?"
All the boys in the room had thought of this before. Most of them had gone over it many times. The only problem is getting their parents to sign off on it, especially if it is in another region. It seems obvious that many parents would not be okay with their adolescent child running around alone in a far off area. Many say no, and this leads to the all too often case of runaway kids. The normalcy of taking a break from school at this age to travel the world in this way is of great concern to the education system.
Already knowing the problem, Logan proposed this, “Honesty, if we all go together, then we have a better chance of getting our parents to send us. I want to go to a different region. I'm not staying in Kanto where my parents can follow me around everywhere. I've always wanted to go with you guys."
“Yeah, I'm sick of waiting around taking classes when I could be out there kicking *** with my Pokémon," added Conner. "Where would we go?"
"I'm with Logan on going somewhere far away," said William.
"I would want to go to Hoenn because it’s my favorite region, but my brother went there. I want to have a different experience than he did. It would be bad if we did the same things, and my parents would never go for it. I vote we head to Sinnoh. I heard they recently remodeled a lot of the gyms, and there are a lot of new trainers headed that way. There should be plenty of great competition there," offered Logan.
"Leave it to you to research it before we even talked about it. I vote Sinnoh."
"I'm good with Sinnoh. Let's ask our parents in the morning, so hopefully we can get out of here in a couple weeks."
The now former-Champion walked purposefully toward the waiting limousine. There, a stately old man with white whiskers held open the door for him.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Stone. How did your interview go?"
"Splendid. Thanks for asking, Arthur," he said as he stepped in. "Take me to the statehouse. I have business to attend to."
"Any word on them?"
"My problem is resurfacing. I thought they took a hit with the recent gun control being enforced to a tee, but they appear to be trying something new. Something a little more significant than a little violence here and there. I'm going to get more information on a suspicion that I have."
His trusted butler allowed a sly smile to cross his lips as he started the vehicle and drove off.
The recent elections brought quite a change to the political system in Hoenn. The Congress, formerly held in slight majority by the Anti-Federal Party of Hoenn, was surprisingly different now. It was not the opposing party, the Progressives, that took control. In fact, the Progressives were down to only a few representatives. It was the new, never before seen People's Union of Hoenn party that took control. Drastic upheavals without much notice do not usually happen. There had to be something going on.
Steven, as Champion, was the figurehead of the executive branch. His power was limited and symbolic of a tradition long passed, but he still had plenty of tasks to attend to. However, his other duties and some of his hobbies had prevented him from doing his duty or even allocating some of his responsibility. After all, nearly all Champions appoint an expert to better handle the complicated issues that come with being a part of the government, but not Steven. He had just left it to himself and, consequentially, unfinished. While still overwhelmingly popular in the public eye, to many experts he was an ineffective Champion.
Knowing the discontent around him, Steven wanted to show that he could make a difference. He certainly had the ability. He was also aware that it would be too time consuming to change his lifestyle as Champion, so he elected to step down. This in itself relieved many of his critics. Seeing his opportunity with the strange new developments, he knew he had to investigate.
After a week of convincing, William had finally gotten his parents to agree on letting him go. There was one condition, and it was that he had to go with the other three boys that were always hanging around his parents' house. After that, the pieces fell together quite nicely. Conner got the ok, and Trae was cleared to go. Logan was the only one that was missing.
He had tried everything to get his parents to let him get away for this opportunity. The problem was that his parents had an idea that was directly contrary to the plan. They wanted him to stay in his home region of Kanto rather than go off to the faraway Sinnoh. They wanted this "because they loved him." He had heard enough of that. Privately, he had decided he would go anyway. All it would take is a lie, some guts to run away, and a rather quick passage out of the region. This would be hard considering he had revealed the travel plans to his parents in his pitch to them. He would be leaving in a week for Sandgem Town. His parents, wanting to offer some further closure, called him in to talk with him.
"Honey, I hope you realize that we are just doing what we think is best for you," his mother said in a tone that was manufactured to calm him down. Logan had been thinking about this for a long time, and he knew just what to say to strike a nerve with the parents.
"Is this because of what happened to him?"
Silence. Pure, awkward silence. His mother and father felt their hearts sink. Their son had been referring to the subject that had undoubtedly lead to many quiet dinner tables and many slammed doors. His brother. He had left about 10 years ago, at the same age that Logan now was, destined for Hoenn. There, he was to live as any other teenager would, but there had been a problem. After about six months, he ceased to contact home. When they had last heard of him, he had finished collecting the eight badges of Hoenn and was in Ever Grande City to challenge the Pokémon League. It was quite a feat for a young trainer to move this quickly. They said there was only one other trainer to start that year to move this quickly, a young boy who was destined to become Champion, Steven Stone.
Obviously, this concerned his parents immensely. They called the Hoenn police for more information, and they were abhorred at what they came across. There had been a series of attacks by an out of control gang in Ever Grande focused on creating as much chaos as possible, and he had been caught in the crossfire. Getting cocky in his own abilities, he tried to assist in bringing down the assailants. He was never seen or heard from again, according to the police report. Since then, the gang has grown even larger and has expanded. However, it has been a while since they have made any attempt to terrorize the public.
The news hit the parents just as it would any, and that was like a Rhyhorn tackling them into a concrete wall. Logan was devastated as well. He had long dreamt of cheering on his talented sibling from his couch as he watched him take on opponents in the Regional Tournament. Logan dreamt of being an elite battler as well, but his brother was always regarded as extremely gifted in that area, while Logan was not. High level tournaments like this were broadcasted across all television stations for the world to see. He wanted to brag to everyone that it was his brother out there torching the competition with his Magmortar. Logan was full of excitement at the thought of the two young phenoms meeting in the finals. His brother had previously said that he could beat the rich Stone boy. It would have been a match for the ages. Now this was just a long lost dream reserved for nights when his last actions before drifting off to sleep were sobs. He had decided to cheer for Steven ever since in honor of his late sibling. With Steven done battling, so went his sole consolation of his lost brother.
His parents felt that it was their fault all along for not being there to protect him. They have been protective of Logan ever since. This is why Logan was so adamant that he "fell while playing a game at William's house" when he returned home the other day.
"Mom, I promise I won't be like him. I'm smarter than to do...what he did. Plus, I will have my friends with me the whole time. I won't be alone."
"No. We have already discussed this. We don't want to lose another child."
"Mom, you are being unreasonable. Honestly, how many kids go through this every single year? Too many to count. Austin's story was a one in a million accident. Sinnoh just recently had its gyms remodeled, too. That means there will be hordes of new trainers like myself out there. Sinnoh will undoubtedly be prepared for this. I'm sure there will be plenty of police, and there aren't any well known crime organizations like that of Hoenn. Hoenn’s always been a mess. I’m doing everything I can to make this different. You just have to trust me."
His father, always the more lenient one, had thoughts in the back of his mind. There were the images of his younger son showing him the research on crime rates in each region, with Sinnoh at the low end. There were countless other facts and statistics that were thrown at him in a frenzy as well. He was finally beginning to realize that he had to be fair to his son and let him go. He remembered his own days of his youth. If he didn't go now, when would he? Without a doubt, he would go sometime soon, likely chasing after his friends without his parents permission. He might as well support his son. After all, he is nearly the complete opposite to his older counterpart.
"Actually, I think we might need to let him go on this one. I went through the same thing, as did you. That is how I met you for goodness sakes. We need to let him be like everyone else and give him this opportunity." Privately, he still held on to the dream of one of his son's becoming a highly successful trainer. Logan didn't show as much competitiveness as his brother, but there was still a chance.
His mother's eyes went wide with a sort of terror, "but what if he gets hurt? What about his studies?"
"He can always continue those later; these opportunities only come once in a lifetime. A little first hand experience will do him some good."
"Well...alright," his mother got no further as a result of the 16 year old son that was immediately upon her with thanks.
"I promise I won't let you down!" Logan professed as he ran up to his room to start getting everything ready for the next stage in his young life.
26th December 2014, 11:09 PM
Goodbyes were more difficult than all four sixteen year olds had anticipated. Shockingly, physically large and intimidating Conner had the most trouble saying goodbye. After getting him away from his parents, the four boys boarded the small plane.
Staring out above the bay as the plane made its way to the distant region of Sinnoh and countless new adventures, Logan felt a pit grow in his stomach. It was so intense it started to grow into a sharp pain. Doubled over in his seat, he truly was in misery.
"Bro, you alright?" asked Conner.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. Just a little nervous I guess."
The sickness proved to be more than nerves. What seemed like innumerable hours and three fits of vomiting later, the plane landed in the small airstrip outside of Sandgem Town. This local airport was constructed specifically to harbor the new trainers that flock to this small town due to the well known lab of Professor Rowan.
"Logan, you feeling alright?" asked William as they walked off the small aircraft.
"Maybe it was more than nerves. It must have been that food from last night," reasoned the smallest of the group. Starting this grand adventure off by throwing up the whole flight was not how he wanted to begin. It gave him a bad feeling about what the rest of the journey could have in store; however, these feelings didn't last long due to the excitement that was building inside of him.
As they made their way from the airport to the Professor's Lab near the center of town, they were talking about the Pokémon that they were looking forward to getting.
"Obviously, my goal is to become Champion, so I need to make sure I pick a strong Pokémon," said William.
Not wanting to be outdone, Conner retorted, "You won't become Champion unless you beat me. I'm gonna whoop you when it's all said and done." As he said this, he punched one fist into the other. This friendly banter was common between the two ultra-competitive friends.
"Honestly, I just want to get some really cool Pokémon. I don't think becoming a Champion level trainer is in my future. I just don't really care that much about that kind of stuff I guess."
"Trae, you're still going to have to get strong to keep traveling with us, so you will be fine. I'm not really sure what I'm hoping to get out of this. I was just focused on getting to this point. I never really thought of what I was planning on doing once I got here. I guess I've always liked the thought of having somewhat rare and uncommon Pokémon. Guys, don't you think the whole 'I'm gonna be champion some day' thing is a little overdone? Like, there are probably thousands of other kids out there with the same goal," said Logan.
"No need to bash on our dreams, man."
"I'm just saying it's something to consider. Like, what makes you different from anyone else? Are you gonna have a great strategy, unique strategy, or are you just going to overwhelm your opponents with brute force?" Logan's words rang inside William's head.
As they got within one hundred yards of the lab, they felt the excitement growing in their chests. All of them could feel it. It was the start of a completely different part of their lives. When they got close to the entrance, another group of four kids their age walked out. Well, it was more like two pairs that got there at the same time. The first two were a pair of well built boys. One had short, black hair and wore a nice gray jacket that probably cost more than all of what the other boy had together. The other boy had longer hair, also dark, but his hair was brown. He was dressed in a T-Shirt that had the logo of the Snowpoint City Sneasels football team.
The other pair consisted of a boy and a girl. He had an orange sweatshirt on sporting the University of Saffron. There wasn't much that stood out on him. That was because all that the group could focus on was the girl walking next to him. She was strikingly beautiful, and they were desperately hoping for her to look their way. As if to shut down their hopes, she kept her head straight forward and eyes down. Her brown hair was kept in a ponytail, and she had a bright red tank top that especially drew the boys' attention. Obviously hailing from somewhere sunny, her skin had a golden glow about it.
Preoccupied with gawking at this young lady, they almost ran straight into the door. Logan, however, did actually run into the door. He hit it with a thud, and then, caught up in nerves, his sweaty hands failed to perform the simple task of opening the door. After getting himself together, the group entered the lab.
Upon entering, their eyes were overwhelmed with the amount of scientific equipment present. There were machines everywhere, all with various uses. There were aides scurrying around working on projects that made no sense to the boys. They were too excited to care however.
"Hello! Are you the boys from Vermillion that are here to get started?" an aide asked as she flipped through a clipboard.
Assuming leadership, William answered, "Yes. We have all our paperwork already filled out." They reached into their bags to provide proof of his statement.
"Oh, so you guys are all prepared to meet the professor," she said after she looked over the papers.
She lead them to the back of the giant room where the Professor was sitting at his computer. Even at his old age, he was a tall, intimidating figure. The boys cringed with excitement when he stood and faced them. They were so close to starting something that they had been looking forward to.
"Alright boys, I'm Professor Rowan, Sharon has already looked at your paperwork, so that means you just need to listen to my boring lecture before you can get your starters. Now, I realize you likely will not be paying attention, so I'll try and make it quick."
The boys were surprised with his humor.
"As you know, after you get your Pokémon, you are free to go and make your way however you please. You can battle to try and become powerful trainers, catch multitudes of different Pokémon, breed Pokémon, or anything else. I urge you to treat your Pokémon with respect because they are not tools or toys. They are creatures that you should form a special bond with. You will be able to communicate with your Pokémon and understand them as you form this bond. Also, as you become more experienced, you will be able to communicate with other Pokémon as well. Now, let's get you boys a Pokémon."
He walked over to a desk that had a tray resting on it with three Pokéballs sitting undisturbed.
The boys were not concerned about being the odd man out because they knew that, due to the high amount of new trainers that come through, there were always two sets of starters, often some even from different regions, available.
"Who's first?" Rowan said with a sly smile.
Seizing the opportunity and letting the excitement get the best of him, William roared forward, "I am!" He stepped up to the three Pokéballs and confidently picked the one in the slot with the red ring underneath it. His emotions showed through the giant smile plastered on his face.
"Ah, the Fire type is the one you want. You have selected Chimchar. Wait for your friends to get their Pokémon before releasing yours."
Trae took the lead next, and calmly picked the Pokéball resting atop the blue ring.
"You have picked Piplup, the Water type."
Conner rushed forward and picked the remaining Pokéball on the green ring before Logan even got a chance to react.
"Turtwig, the Grass type, is your choice," said the Professor as Conner walked back to join his friends.
The professor turned his attention to Logan, "Now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a problem. There was a group of kids that just passed through that cleared out the other set of starters, so you will have to wait until we get the new shipment. That should be about three days. Hopefully that isn't too much an inconvenience."
Logan's jaw dropped. He couldn't believe it. Knowing his friends, he couldn't, and didn't want to, stop them from moving on without him. The other three turned their heads to see his reaction. He was just sitting there in stunned silence. On the inside, he was trying to think of a solution. He knew there was something, but he couldn't place it.
"Wait! What about him?" Logan burst out as he recalled his memory. He was pointing behind himself at a lab station towards the front.
"I saw him when we walked in. Could he be my starter?" Logan asked with desperation.
"Hmm... Interesting point. Normally I don't permit beginning trainers to acquire Pokémon not specifically designated as starter Pokémon from me. They usually show up with a Pokémon that they obtained an alternate way, such as a gift from their parents. Also, we’re doing tests on this Pokémon. I’m afraid I can't let you take him," decided Rowan.
"Now wait, Professor," interrupted Sharon the aide, "On his paper it says that he got a good score on the Standardized Trainer Exam. He clearly knows how to handle a Pokémon properly. I can’t say whether he will implement this knowledge, but it is there. Plus, it's not like we are giving him an incredibly rare and powerful Pokémon. Just look at it."
With this, everyone turned and examined the little green, furry quadruped sleeping on the countertop. It had dozed off due to being such a young Pokémon. He had a small, yellow, pointed tail with yellow markings around his face going along his head crest. He had spiky looking fur that stood up on his feet making it look like he had three tails. The small canine Pokémon was only about 5 months old.
"I realize that, Sharon, but I don't want to leave a young, weak Pokémon in the hands of a young, inexperienced trainer to be overworked and mistreated."
"Lighten up, Rowan. Do I need to remind you of how you got your start?" said the persistent aide.
Rowan saw the sincerity in the young boy's eyes whose future was in his hands. He had seen it somewhere else, but his old age had got the better of him and he couldn't remember.
"I guess I can let it slide this time. You better promise to take good care of him."
Logan felt so relieved. That was two extremely close calls. Sharon returned the Electrike and gave the Pokéball to Logan. He had never felt one before. It was cool due to being made of metal, but not cold. There was a special feeling that it gave him when he held it in his hand.
The professor offered a word of advice to the departing trainers, "I would recommend making your way to Jubilife City. It will be on your map. It isn't too far," he spoke with a calm, instructing tone. "You should be able to make it without too much travel if you move with a decent pace. This weekend there is a tournament scheduled for new trainers like yourselves. It is only Tuesday, so you should have some time to get at least some training in. It would be good to enter that to see how you stack up with others. It is sponsored by Devon Corp. due to the opening of their new Sinnoh building. Rumor has it that Stone will be there himself, presenting the winner with the grand prize. Good luck to you, boys."
After accepting some potions and provisions offered by Sharon, the group left the building and started down the path leading to Route 202. William, unable to contain his excitement, took his Pokéball in hand and spoke to his companions, "I can't wait anymore. I need to meet the partner that I'll take all the way to the top."
The Pokémon released, Chimchar, was a small orange chimp like Pokémon with a cream colored belly and paws. There was a little fire burning on his backside.
The others released their partners as well. The whole assembly consisted of a little green turtle with a twig on his head, aptly named Turtwig, the small blue penguin known as Piplup, and the aforementioned Electrike. The whole party made their way along the route to the North.
"Hey, William, let me know when you want my Turtwig and I to kick your tail," Conner challenged after the trainers had gotten to know their Pokémon a little.
"You're on," replied William as he accepted the challenge.
Both trainers called on their Pokémon. The fire chimp appeared in front of William, and the grass turtle appeared in front of Conner. Despite not being in many battles, both Pokémon gave their opponent a courageous glare.
"Ok, Sherman, let's start this out with Scratch!" shouted William. It is custom for trainers to nickname their first Pokémon, rather than keeping the name that the Pokémon was given. William had chosen Sherman as the name for his Pokémon.
"Frank, watch your head. Make that Scratch attack hit your shell," commanded Conner. The other boys snickered slightly at his choice of name.
As Chimchar charged, his claws (more like fingernails) began to glow. Turtwig threw his back at his opponent to make the attack hit his hard shell. He took little damage. Retaliating, Turtwig used Tackle to knock Chimchar down. The battle continued in this fashion with Chimchar attacking furiously and Turtwig deflecting and countering. Eventually Turtwig triumphed, much to the delight of his trainer.
"Atta boy, Frank! That's how we do it," taunted Conner to a shamefaced William.
All William could do was look down in embarrassment. He thanked Sherman for his effort and returned him. "I can't believe I've already lost."
“Dude, calm down. It was just your first battle. Sherman didn't even know any Fire type moves," Trae pointed out.
The boys continued to walk and talk for the next few hours with little action happening. As the sun began to set, they decided to try and find an acceptable place to stop for the night. They spotted some smoke up ahead and decided to head towards it to check it out. As they neared it, they noticed that it was the group of teens that they had passed on their way to the lab.
One of the boys, the one wearing the grey jacket, greeted them cordially, "Hey, what brings you guys here?"
"We were looking for a place to stay the night and spotted your smoke. We're new trainers, too. Mind if we use this spot? Strength in numbers, right?" responded William on behalf of the group, trying to take advantage of the free campsite in front of them.
Meanwhile, Logan found himself staring at the girl again. He would try not to look at her, but he couldn't manage. He wasn't aware that his friends were having the same issue.
"Sure, that'd be great. I'm always up for making new friends. It's ok, right guys?" she said abruptly.
The boy in the grey jacket gladly accepted the offer and began to show them an area where they could set up their stuff.
"Oh my gosh, I forgot to introduce myself. How rude of me. I'm Henry, the guy in the Snowpoint City T-shirt is Gabriel, the dude in the sweatshirt is Lucas, and the girl over there is Carly."
Taking advantage of the situation, all the boys took a long look at Carly, who was trying, and failing, to set up a tent.
"Here, let me help you with that!" offered William. He walked over and began to help the confused girl with the overly complicated setup.
"Yea, I'll help too," Logan offered, but as he was walking over there, he tripped over a bag that was laying on the ground. He landed on his face right in front of the two people he went to assist.
Carly didn't even try to stifle her laughter. When she was finished, she said, "I'm sorry, but that was just too funny. Are you alright?"
Logan, cherry faced, managed a muffled yes and then tried to hide behind the tent they were working on. He thought it was shaping up to be a rough night. After a light meal of some of the provisions that they had brought, all the kids called out their Pokémon. There was Sherman the Chimchar, Frank the Turtwig, Ulysses the Piplup, and Bolt the Electrike. Logan decided on the name, cheesy as it was, because he thought it fit the little canine.
In response to this, the other group released their Pokémon as well. Gabriel had a Bulbasaur, a Squirtle stood beside Lucas, Henry was paired with a Charmander, and Carly was holding a Cubone. The boys from Vermillion were very familiar with these Pokémon, as they were all Pokémon common in Kanto.
"Anyone want to battle?" Lucas asked, "Squirt and I want to get stronger for the tournament coming up in Jubilife. Nobody is going to stop us from winning that Beldum that is being given away as first prize."
He looked around for challengers, but didn't find any. Frank was tired from his battle with Sherman, and William didn't want to risk another loss and blow to his ego.
"What about you?" he asked Logan with confidence.
"Umm...well Bolt here is still recovering from a battle with a wild Bidoof that we came across," Logan explained.
"Just one battle with a Bidoof?" he mocked, "Squirt and I took down 6 Bidoofs and a Starly before we came here." With that, he reached down and patted his Squirtle on the head.
Logan, becoming a little frustrated, lashed out, "Well Bolt is really young! He can't handle too many battles right now. We're trying to work our way up as he gets stronger." As he said this, the Electrike tried to bark at Lucas, but it only came up as a squeak.
Lucas laughed, "Whatever, I didn't want to embarrass you too much anyway. It probably wouldn't even be worth my time."
"Hey, I have no problem battling you," Trae interrupted on behalf of Logan. He gave Logan a wink as Logan gave him a look of thanks.
"Bring it on."
The two trainers stepped back from each other to give their Pokémon space to battle. Ulysses the Piplup jumped in front of Trae while Squirtle, showing off, spun on his shell in front of Lucas.
"Start off with Pound, Ulysses!" started Trae.
"Dodge and hit him with a Tackle," countered Lucas.
Piplup went for his attack, but came up with a wing full of air. Squirtle rammed into him from the side. Not knowing many other attacks, the battle was quite dull. Squirtle did use Withdraw when it was too late to try and dodge however. The two exchanged Pounds and Tackles before Squirtle got behind Piplup and gave him a direct hit to the back, knocking him out.
"What did I tell ya?" Lucas taunted, "Squirt and I are gonna win the whole tourney. Can't wait 'til Friday for the opening round."
"Yeah, well Friday is still a long way away; it's only Tuesday. There is still time for us to get stronger," replied Trae, bitterness in his voice as a result of defeat. His normally cool demeanor was compromised.
"You're gonna need it," said Lucas smugly.
Later that night, they were all sitting around a campfire they made with help from the fire Pokémon. Needing to stretch his legs, Logan dismissed himself and went for a walk in a clearing nearby. Bolt followed him while jogging circles around his trainer. His fur gave off small sparks of static electricity as a result of his movement. The light flickered around the canine, making it seem like he gave off a green glow. Logan was fascinated with this ability and wondered if it could ever be useful.
Logan, not realizing someone was following him, gave a little yelp when the person announced themselves. It was Carly, followed by her Cubone, Daisy.
"Oh, sorry to scare you. I didn't mean to, I swear," said Carly sincerely.
Logan, upset with his lack of bravado, quickly replied, "No, it's alright. I wasn't scared."
"Ok," said Carly, clearly seeing through his bluff. "Anyway, I just wanted to apologize for the way my brother acted earlier. He's just competitive is all. He's really a nice guy."
"Wait, Lucas is your brother?"
"Yep, we're twins, but not identical!” Carly said with a smile. She was proud of their uniqueness.
"Yeah, now that I think about it, you guys do look a little alike. Thank you I guess. I just wish Bolt was a little stronger, so we could train harder," Logan said as he picked up the Electrike.
"You guys have time though, the tournament isn't until Friday. The Pokémon around here aren't too strong, but if they are too strong for you, you should try doing some training without battling," Carly advised.
"Like practicing attacks and conditioning and stuff?" Logan asked. Carly nodded her head. "That's a good idea."
"My dad was a professional trainer for awhile before he became an accountant, so he gave us a bunch of tips. He's the one that gave me Daisy. He said that she never knew her mother, just like me," Carly said. Logan could tell she didn’t mean to say the last part, as it was muttered under her breath.
Logan heard the last part, but didn't know what to say. He just stood there looking at the ground. The silence was becoming awkward, so he took a chance, "I'm sorry about your mom. I sort of know what that's like. I lost my brother about ten years ago, but I can't imagine losing my mother."
"Aww, it's ok," Carly said as she hugged him before he could react. The hug was comforting. It was nice to have someone other than his mom show that they felt some empathy for him. His friends usually gave him a friendly punch on the arm and said that he'll be alright. He awkwardly hugged her back for a brief second before pulling away. They returned to the camp while their Pokémon ran around them, chasing each other.
As he laid down that night, Bolt snuggled up against his back for the night. Logan was filled with happiness at this show of affection. He had made it through his first day as a trainer, and he wondered what was in store next.
[Hey, wake up! C'mon, we got work to do,] the voice was childlike and had a slight squeak to it, [C'mon, get up.]
Logan shot up awake with the small Electric Pokémon pulling on his arm. He was still in shock that he could understand what he was saying. Then he thought back to what Rowan had said about forming a bond with your Pokémon. Once that happened, it would be possible to understand them. Anxious to spend more time with his partner, he quickly got up and dressed without waking anyone else.
Logan and Bolt made it a short way to the south from the campsite before they were interrupted by the appearance of a small brown bird with white markings on it.
"Alright, here's a Starly for us. You should be able to take it," encouraged Logan.
The aggressive Starly charged at Bolt with what appeared to be a Tackle attack.
"Dodge it and use Tackle," commanded Logan.
Bolt did as he was told and jumped out of the way. With the bird on the ground, Bolt slammed into it. Jumping back after the successful hit, small sparks of electricity came from Bolt's coat. The Starly dusted itself off and charged at Bolt, this time faster than before. Bolt was unable to get out of the way before he was hit. However, the static electricity from Bolt's coat was transferred to the bird, paralyzing it.
"Wow, that was great! How'd you do that?" asked Logan with excitement.
[I honestly don't know, but can we please finish this first.]
"Oh, right. Use Tackle."
Bolt charged the stunned Starly and made a direct hit, knocking it out.
Logan, still excited from the paralysis, asked, "Do you think you could use all that electricity that your fur works up when you move as an attack? Maybe an attack like Thunder Wave?"
Bolt, trying to stay optimistic, replied, [Well, I guess I could try.]
The next half-hour was spent with Bolt running around to build up static, then trying to channel it into an attack. There were many failures, but finally there managed to be a weak jolt of electricity emitted that died out about 2 meters in front of Bolt.
"Awesome! There's somewhere to start. Just keep working on it," he was excited with the fact that he had a secret weapon for use in the tournament. He longed for the chance to beat Lucas by crippling his Squirtle with this attack.
Bolt, tired from all of the training, said with frustration, [And what are you gonna do? Just stand there and watch? How about you do something to make yourself better? I've seen you in comparison with the other humans; you're small and outmatched, just like me. I'm working to get better, what about you?]
The outburst shocked the new trainer. He had never thought of how his Pokémon would feel about all this training. It was true, and the truth hurt.
"You have a point. I guess I could do pushups or something while you work on that. Then we could go for a jog and head back to camp. How's that sound?"
Bolt still wasn't convinced, [What are pushups?]
Logan got down and showed the small Pokémon. He did ten, and then he was worn out. He had to take a break before continuing. Accepting this method of training, Bolt resumed working on his Thunder Wave attack.
While doing his 8th set of pushups, Logan thought, "1...Never thought my Pokémon would be...2...training me...3...but I guess it's...4...for the best...5...if that's what it will...6...take to get him to...7...work...8...then I guess I'll have to...9...work as well...10." Logan dropped his body helplessly to the ground and let out a grunt of exhaustion.
Satisfied with his trainer's progress, Bolt walked over to his trainer to tell him it was time to return to the camp. This meant it was time to run, and was not a welcome sound to the tired boy. He reluctantly got up and jogged with his Pokémon back to the campsite. Upon their return, the other members of the group were already ready to move on.
"Jubilife City is just on the other side of those trees to the North, so it shouldn't be very long before we get there," said William.
With great effort, Logan gathered his things and walked along the dirt path with his friends.
"Where's the first gym at? Is it in this city?" asked Conner eagerly.
"No, it's in Oreburgh, and the leader uses the Rock type," replied Trae.
"Ha! Frank and I won't have any trouble with him then. Neither will you Trae. William, I was talking to Gabriel and he said Sherman's evolutions are part Fighting type, so you might want to evolve Sherman as soon as you can to take on that leader. Logan, you're screwed. You'll need to catch another Pokémon," said Conner.
Trae replied, "Logan, if you can win that tournament in Jubilife then you can get that Beldum from Steven Stone. That would help you out."
Conner and William laughed heartily at this suggestion. They firmly believed that he had no chance against them. It would likely come down to one of those guys or someone from the other group in the finals, probably Lucas. Logan was not one to get his hopes up, and he knew that Bolt didn't match up well against the others right now.
Logan knew he couldn't let them talk him down like that, especially if it hurt Bolt's confidence, "We'll see about that.”
The bustling city of Jubilife was enormous, and people fluttered about everywhere around the four friends. The other group had left about an hour before them.
"We should go to the Pokémon Center and get our Pokémon healed up, then we should find out where to register for that tournament. Maybe we will see the others," said William. The others nodded and made their way towards the two story building with the bright red roof on the main street. The streets were filled with business people and other pedestrians. Other trainers their age were common as well.
Once inside, they returned their Pokémon and handed the Pokéballs to the nurse. The lobby was home to an area with various couches and benches for the trainers to rest on, and the second story also contained free rooms for trainers who needed a place to stay. The rooms were free to trainers that showed their trainer ID. This reform was put in place in order to keep traveling trainers safe in the cities rather than camping on the routes. The trainers provided for a huge market for restaurants and other stores, so the change was more for economic reasons than hospitality reasons. The Pokémon League paid for this service.
Scanning the lobby, a flash of red caught Logan's eye. It was Carly and the others. Logan began walking towards them and motioned for the others to follow.
"Hey, I thought you guys would never show up. What took you so long?" asked the girl as she ran her hands through her hair.
"We had to wait for Logan to get back," replied Trae.
"I was just doing some training with Bolt. I didn't know you guys were waiting on me. Anyway, we need to know how to sign up for this tournament," said Logan.
"The sign up is online on the Devon Corp website. Just follow the link that mentions the beginners tournament in Jubilife City," answered Henry while he adjusted his expensive grey jacket.
“Alright, thanks," replied William. The boys walked over to the two computers that the Pokémon Center provided. Trae and William were first, and Logan and Conner followed.
Logan followed the link and got to the sign up page. It just asked for some basic information and gave details about the tournament. It confirmed that the prize was indeed a Beldum. When he saw this, Logan could only think of how much he needed to win that. He also knew that his friends would fight just as hard to come out on top. He would have to beat them at some point. Logan clicked "Submit" and could only think of one thing, winning.
8th January 2015, 6:00 PM
Friday had finally come. Logan and Bolt had been training, but he made sure Bolt was still fresh and well rested. He had insisted, much to Logan's dismay, that they continue to train Bolt's way. Nevertheless, they woke up Friday morning excited to experience their first official tournament.
Devon Corp. had gotten together with the STC, Sinnoh Trainer Committee, and had gotten this to be listed as an official league event. The Sinnoh Trainer Committee is a regional branch of the Pokémon League and keeps track of trainer records and hosts tournaments for trainers to show their skills. As a result, there were often many people that showed up to these events, even if the Pokémon are young. At especially high level tournaments, such as the one in Sunyshore City, there can be crowds as large as 15,000 people packed into stadiums specifically built for that purpose.
Logan rolled out of bed, well not really. He had gotten stuck on the floor due to drawing the short straw the night before at dinner. Due to the higher number of new trainers to the area than there would normally be, the Pokémon center lacked the room capacity to split the group up into pairs. So that meant someone had to sleep on the floor because William absolutely refused to share a bed with another guy.
The boys got dressed and headed downstairs to get some breakfast. There was less talking than usual because of the nerves everyone was feeling. Trae even tuned them out by having his headphones on listening to music. It was clear that friendships would be put off if anyone faced each other in the tournament.
William was looking at the bracket that he had picked up last night and said, "Conner, looks like you're up first. You're match starts at 10:00 on Field Two." The stadium where they were to battle, The Pokétch Public Arena, had two battlefields fit into the width of the floor area, but there was also one main battlefield that ran the length of the floor. The main field would be used for the later rounds.
"How many people are in this thing?" replied Conner.
"Thirty-two, so you will have to win five straight battles to win. That's pretty tough," answered Logan. The others mumbled their agreement.
It was 8:45, and the boys decided to head over to the arena to check out some of the earlier battles. They found some seats in the small, about 2,000 seat, sparsely filled bleachers. The first battle they saw, the 9:00 one, featured a Gligar going up against a Starly. The Gligar made quick work of the Starly, winning in minutes. On the other field, there was a Geodude throwing stones at a Cyndaquil, eventually making contact and knocking it out.
"Wow, that guy with the Gligar will be tough to beat," muttered William as he assessed the competition.
The next battles started at 9:30 and pitted a girl's Kricketot against another girl's Bidoof. This being the last battle before his match, Conner released Frank and let him warm up a little. The match ended with the Kricketot unleashing a Bide attack to knock out Bidoof. On the other field, the boys spotted their friend Gabriel battling with his Bulbasaur against a Pidgey. Utilizing Bulbasaur's Vine Whip attack to pin the bird on the ground by grabbing the wings, Gabriel won in impressive fashion despite the type disadvantage. The boys cheered and searched for their other friends who were undoubtedly in the stands as well.
Following Gabriel's eyes, Trae located the others. The boys moved over to sit with them while Conner was called over the intercom to report for his battle, which was in five minutes. He walked onto the battlefield and, when the time came, shook the hand of his competitor and took his place.
"Let's win this, Frank," the boys could hear from their seats.
"C'mon, Woopy," came the reply from the other side.
A Wooper, a blue, muddy, bipedal creature, and Frank faced each other.
A huge smile came across Conner's face as he remembered what he learned about Wooper in school, "Frank, just use Absorb and this should be done in no time."
The Turtwig shot out a tiny white ball from its mouth headed for Wooper. It dodged and countered with Mud Slap. The other boy gave an audible, "Yes!" when it made contact.
"Get closer so you don't miss," advised Conner. Frank did as he was told and charged the Wooper, knocking it back with a Tackle attack. Taking advantage of the downed opponent, Frank fired off another white ball. This one made contact, and Wooper let out a cry while Frank looked noticeably better. Frank used Absorb once more and ended the match, winning by a landslide. Conner gave a little fist pump and shook the hand of the other boy. He returned to the group with his ego not only intact, but built up even further.
"Undefeated, boys. That's all I have to say," said Conner cockily.
The others sighed because they knew it was only the first round, and he got a lucky draw.
More matches went on throughout the day including: a Pachirisu beating a Wurmple, a Machop smacking around a Rattata, a Budew overcoming a Cleffa, and a Gastly winning over a Zubat. Now came the stretch in which most of the boys were scheduled to compete. It was around noon when William took his place for battle.
Both Pokémon were released and there emerged Sherman the Chimchar and a tiny, pink, egg shaped creature known as Happiny across from him.
"Sherman, start off with Ember," William shouted. The little Fire type took a deep inhale then projected small balls of fire at his opponent. The egg was too slow, and the attack was a direct hit. However, the Happiny didn't seem to notice the damage taken from the attack. Then, commanded by its trainer, it took off at a (slow) sprint towards Sherman.
"Charge it and use Scratch," William advised. Sherman nodded its head and ran at the still charging creature intent on hitting the primate. His fingers began to glow as he leapt over the Happiny, leaving it face down on the ground as a result off the failed Pound attack. He brought his nails down on the creature's back with noticeable delight. Again, the Happiny stood up without much struggle.
"What the heck is going on? Happiny acts like Sherman didn't even make contact?" William complained out loud.
Henry laughed as he explained to the group watching, "Happiny comes from an evolutionary line that is notoriously difficult to knock out, and this one seems to be no exception."
Sherman and William both took their frustration out on the outmatched Pokémon. Sherman repeatedly kept connecting Scratch attack after Scratch attack until Happiny finally relented and was knocked out.
An annoyed William returned and said, "That was ridiculous. That Happiny clearly had no chance, but it just wouldn't go down." William said, still confused. The others laughed as they explained to them what Henry had revealed about Happiny. Henry, meanwhile, was ready for his first round battle.
Henry's battle turned out to be a first round beat down. It pitted his Charmander against a Caterpie. Charmander won with an Ember attack. That's all it took to set the little bug ablaze.
"I cannot believe the kind of luck all you guys are having. Have you seen my area of the bracket?" complained Lucas as he used his smartphone to look at an online version of the bracket. He had a point. His first round battle, coming after Carly's, would be against an Onix. He had a type advantage, but asking a young Squirtle to take down something that size is no small task. He also had to deal with the skilled Gastly that he saw in the first round, should Lucas beat the trainer with the Onix.
While Henry was torching a Caterpie, on the other field a trainer with a Nidoran found himself victorious when the little pink Pokémon impaled a Weedle with a Peck attack. This left only Carly, who was up next, Trae, Lucas, and Logan to complete their first round battles.
"Carly Stensa, please report to Field One for your battle. It will begin in five minutes," rang the announcer's voice over the speaker.
"Wish me luck, guys," said Carly happily as she went down to compete. All the members of the group wished her luck except Logan. If she won, then she would be his opponent in the second round, providing that he should win as well. He didn't want to have to battle her. The reason being that he knew Bolt wouldn't have a good chance at dealing with her Cubone, Daisy. He wanted to win this tournament, and, after seeing all of the competition, he believed he could do it. He just needed a bit of luck.
Carly entered the trainer box after shaking her opponents hand and began, "Let's go, Daisy!" The ground type emerged twirling its bone with glee.
Logan's luck came in the form of a Totodile, Daisy's opponent. Carly and Daisy both showed visible signs of sadness when the tiny blue crocodile like Pokémon appeared. Logan rejoiced on the inside. He felt bad for rooting against her, but he needed to win.
"Fang, use Water Gun," commanded the opposing trainer with confidence. Totodile released a weak stream of water that shot towards Daisy. Jumping agilely out of the way when Carly told her to, Daisy rushed in for a Headbutt attack.
"Fang, use Water Gun again," repeated the other trainer. Fang shot the water towards Daisy and, despite being weak to the attack, Daisy lowered her bone covered head and continued her charge. She made contact with the startled croc, knocking him on his back. Daisy pounced on the defenseless Pokémon and unleashed a devastating Bone Club attack. The Totodile retaliated with a Bite attack to Daisy's arm, causing her to drop her bone. While Daisy was clamoring for her precious bone, Fang jumped back and hit her with a Water Gun attack. The fatigue on such an inexperienced Pokémon from her rush through the water coupled with this direct hit spelled the end of the day for Daisy.
Carly, happy with the promise that Daisy showed, said as she returned the fallen Cubone, "That's ok, Daisy. We'll work on that. Good job."
Logan was ecstatic on the inside, but put on a sad, comforting face for Carly when she came back to the group. They all encouraged her and turned their attention to the battle beginning on Field Two, Trae's battle.
Ulysses the Piplup faced an airborne bird that was similar to a Starly. This Pokémon had a smaller, fiercer looking beak. The Spearow took off into the air at a breakneck pace. Trae noticed this and told Ulysses to use Bubble to try and interrupt his course. The bubbles formed a cloud and was executed just as Trae had envisioned. However, Spearow just simply went right through and landed a Peck attack on Ulysses.
"Use Bubble again," commanded Trae. The bubbles spewed out of Ulysses's beak and floated with speed toward Spearow. Spearow dodged a few, but was hit by others. The moisture made his wings heavy, and he had to land for a moment to recover.
"Hit him with Pound!" yelled Trae with excitement when he saw that Spearow was grounded. The attack hit without a hitch because Spearow wasn't very mobile on the ground. After dodging a Peck attack, Ulysses finished Spearow off with another Pound.
The next battles were scheduled for the same time slot. Logan and Bolt would be facing a brown haired girl's Shinx, and Lucas would take on a rugged boy from the mountains and his Onix.
Logan could feel his heart beating from the excitement that came from his first official battle. He wondered if the others had felt it as well. His eyes wondered off into the blue sky, and he wondered what what happen if it started raining. Would the battles--
[HEY! Are you gonna pay attention? It doesn't look very good for you if I do it all alone,] complained Bolt as he sidestepped a Tackle attack from the cat-like Shinx. Logan had not been paying attention. He cursed himself inwardly for being so aloof.
"Oh shut up," replied Logan jokingly, "Use Tackle. Make sure you come in hard." Bolt obeyed and charged Shinx. When the blue electric type jumped out of the way, Bolt quickly changed direction and landed his attack. Shinx struck back with a swipe to Bolt's face. Bolt decided, without Logan's command, to try and overpower his opponent. Shinx countered his close quarters Tackle attack with a Tackle of her own, knocking Bolt off balance.
"Get yourself some space. You're quicker than her," advised Logan. After saying this, he stole a glance to the field beside him. He saw that most of the crowd was engrossed in watching Lucas and Squirt battling the Onix. The Squrtle was slipping around the Onix's attempts to crush it and countering with barrages of bubbles.
Bolt quickly hopped laterally out of the way of the oncoming Tackle attack. Feigning an attack of his own, he jumped over the top of the Shinx that was bracing itself for the hit.
"Now finish him with Tackle," commanded Logan energetically.
[Calm down, killer. There's no need to yell. I’ve got this,] replied Bolt while he made contact with the Shinx and knocked it out. Logan hoped there wasn't anyone in the crowd who could understand the witty comments his Pokémon made. However, there was a young man there that was trying to stifle some giggles. Then this same man got up and left the arena for the day. Not wanting to be noticed, he kept his head down as he scratched his steel grey hair underneath his hat.
In the other battle, Lucas had finally triumphed over the Onix in impressive fashion. After finally being trapped under the tail of the rocky behemoth, Squirtle appeared to be finished. Out of necessity, he had learned the move Water Gun, and he used this to repel the rock snake's head before it came crashing down upon him. Freeing himself, he utilized his new attack to overcome the Onix once and for all.
Outside, there was once again a limousine waiting for the man. Stepping in, he took off his hat to reveal his signature hair, which he shook to restore its messy appearance.
"How's the future looking, sir?" asked Arthur, the driver.
"Not too bad, actually. I love watching young trainers. Reminds me of how I used to be. The passion, the intensity, and the companionship is something I could watch all day long. I truly do miss it. However, I have work to do, but I'll be coming back tomorrow."
With that, the first round was over. After a break to eat and to heal up Pokémon, the evening session began.
Logan's five o'clock match was the first up on Field One. He would be facing the Totodile, Fang, that ended Carly's run. On the other field, Lucas would take on a Gastly. Logan was kind of upset that he wouldn't be able to watch Lucas to do some scouting for a potential match up later in the tournament. However, he needed to focus for this next match.
He performed the routine of shaking his opponent's hand and called out Bolt.
[Dang, not much rest around here, huh?] complained Bolt.
"Just focus. I need you to concentrate because this one should be tougher."
Logan's opponent started the match off quickly, "Fang, use Scratch."
"Bolt, show them your Thunder Wave," commanded Logan. Bolt's fur stood on end with the electricity before he released the attack. The wave of yellow electricity spread out as it moved toward Totodile. Being hit by the attack, Fang limped along to attempt his Scratch attack as a result of the paralysis.
"Use Tackle," said Logan.
"Try a Water Gun," said the other trainer. Fang shot a stream of water at the charging Electrike. The water soaked Bolt, but that was about it. He shook out the moisture and glared at the water type. After a command from Logan, he charged Fang and knocked him over with a Tackle attack. Fang tried to counter with a Scratch attack, but the paralysis prevented him from doing so.
"Keep it up with Tackle," advised Logan. Bolt continued to knock over the hampered Totodile until finally knocking out the little blue croc. Logan was proud of the way that his Pokémon executed his new attack.
On the other field, Lucas and Squirt made easy work of the Gastly they went up against. That was the second impressive win in a row, and there were rumors spreading through the crowd that Lucas was now the favorite with Henry and the boy who trained the Gligar.
Next on Field One was Henry and his Charmander against the boy with a Nidoran. The Nidoran came out extremely aggressive, and repeatedly went after Charmander with Peck attacks and Poison Stings. Henry was prepared for this opponent and did some research on his smartphone regarding the species. He told Charmander to avoid contact at all costs to prevent being poisoned by the little pink Pokémon's ability, Poison Point.
"Now use Ember," commanded Henry calmly after Charmander had dodged various attacks by his opponent's horn. Charmander blew the small flames into the face of Nidoran. Charmander kept up the ranged assault until overcoming the Nidoran.
At the same time on Field Two, the boy with the Gligar went up against Gabriel. Bulbasaur, like the last match, tried to use his Vine Whip to bind the Gligar to the ground. If Gligar was in the air, then the battle would be no contest. The problem with this strategy was that Gligar would snip the vines off with his pincers whenever he was bound. Flying in, he would latch on to Bulbasaur and inject poison with a Poison Sting.
Luckily for Bulbasaur, he was part Poison type to negate the poison effects. Swatting the Ground/Flying type off of him with his vines, Bulbasaur hit him with a Tackle. Gligar lunged at the Grass type in a blur with his Quick Attack. Taking to the air, Gligar continued the aerial assault against the helpless Bulbasaur.
"I've got to keep that thing on the ground if I want to have a chance," commented Henry while he watched after quickly finishing his match against the Nidoran. He would face the boy, Zak, in the next round.
Next up was William, who would face off against a girl and her Budew. It was a fortunate draw for him, and Sherman put the tiny Grass type out of commission with a couple of Ember attacks.
While Sherman was setting fire to the unfortunate Budew, the Kricketot and Geodude were battling on the other field. This battle was also short. Kricketot tried to pull out his typical Bide attack, but the strength of Geodude's Rock Throw proved to be too much. Kricketot was knocked out before he got the chance to unleash his built up energy.
This left Trae to take on his opponent, a young man in a blue cutoff with his Machop, and Conner to battle the girl with the Pachirisu. Trae and Ulysses were both listening to music to get themselves ready for the match. It was a strange sight to see him sharing the headphones with the penguin Pokémon. Once the match began, they were both focused.
"Hit him with a Bubble," commanded Trae.
"Chop those bubbles and move in for a Low Kick," responded the other trainer. Machop popped the bubbles with ease to avoid taking damage and took off towards Ulysses.
"That kick is coming in, well, low. Jump and use Pound," said Trae. Ulysses jumped over the sweeping kick of Machop and wound up for a Pound attack while he was still in the air. The other trainer gave an audible smirk as he saw this. Without any hesitation, the superpower Pokémon thrust upward with a Karate Chop attack that hit Ulysses right in the gut, propelling him up into the air.
"Nice job, Brons. Let's make this next hit count. Use Focus Energy," commanded Bret, the trainer of Brons. The Machop took a deep breath and punched one fist into his other open hand and looked even more ready to battle.
"Try another Bubble," said Trae trying to figure out how to attack his opposition. Ulysses put forth bubble after bubble, but the Machop would just dodge them while moving ever closer to Ulysses.
Trae could sense he was in a dangerous situation, and he decided to just go for it. "Use Pound!" he yelled, trying to inspire his now-intimidated Pokémon. This proved to be a bad strategy. Ulysses swung at Brons, but Brons caught the attack. He gave the Piplup a chop to the chest, kicked his legs out from underneath him, and finished him with another chop.
"Ouch. That had to hurt," remarked Carly as Trae returned his battered Pokémon and shook his opponent's hand.
On the other field, there was the final round of sixteen match, Conner's match. Frank the Turtwig looked confident as he stared down his opponent.
"Let's get a good start. Use Razor Leaf," said Conner.
"Use Quick Attack," commanded his female counterpart. The leaves zipped by the blur that was Pachirisu before the EleSquirrel rammed into Frank. Frank took the hit nicely, and countered with an Absorb attack.
"Nice job, Frank. Try Razor Leaf again," said Conner. Pachirisu attempted the same counter, but this time Conner and Frank were ready.
"Quick, use Withdraw," shouted Conner. Frank quickly drew himself into his shell, and Pachirisu bounced right off.
"Now you can use Razor Leaf," remarked Conner as he saw the dazed Electric type. The leaves hit Pachirisu, leaving small lacerations on her soft, white fur.
"Oh no, you hurt my little Pachirisu," cried her trainer, "I can't bear to see my little baby get hurt. We're done for today." She returned the Pachirisu, who was obviously upset by the decision of the overprotective trainer. With that, Conner had moved on to the next round.
"Not what I was anticipating, but we'll take it," remarked Conner.
That conclusion marked the end of the second round. The field was now down to eight hopeful trainers. All of them had their eyes still on the prize. While many of the fans had left, there were still most of the trainers in the lobby of the stadium. They conversed and shared stories, information, and strategies. Excited to meet new people, Carly was everywhere among the small crowd as she asked for names and phone numbers. The guys in the crowd were more than happy to take her up on her request.
"She is, um, quite the people person," remarked the shy Logan to William.
"Yeah, and she's hot too," blurted out William absent-mindedly.
"Of course. Hey, isn't that the kid with the Gligar?" asked Logan as he nodded in the direction of the boy with the black jacket in the corner of the room.
"Yeah it is, I wonder what he's doin'?" wondered William. As they said this, they saw Henry introduce himself to the shy boy and have what appeared to be a friendly conversation with him. Once they were finished, William called Henry over.
"Hey guys. What's up?" said Henry.
"Not much, we were just wondering who that kid you were just talking to was," responded William.
A sly smile came across Henry's face, "His name is Zak. He is from Blackthorn City in Johto. He also happens to be my opponent, a very capable opponent, in tomorrow's battle, so I was trying to squeeze some strategy out of him. Hopefully he didn't know I was his matchup because he did give some strategy. He likes to hit and run is all he said."
"You think you can beat him?" asked Logan. He needed Henry to win tomorrow if he wanted any shot at the title. They were on the other side of the bracket, so one of them or the winner of Conner versus Bret would be in the finals. That is, assuming Logan made it to the finals. He mentally scolded himself for looking too far ahead.
"I don't know. It will be tough, but if I can keep him grounded I'll have a shot," responded Henry.
"Guys, come look at this," said Conner, standing in front of a bulletin board. On it, there was a piece of paper compiled by the tournament officials that ranked the competitors in a top to bottom order regarding their performances on the first day. It was determined by a system of numbers as well as the opinions of experienced trainers in the crowd. First was Zak, followed by Lucas, Henry, Bret, Logan, Conner, and William. These were followed by the rest of the field.
"Logan is ahead of us. How did that happen?" said Conner to William with no regard to Logan standing right behind him.
"Must be a mistake or something," responded William bluntly.
Offended by their lack of respect for his abilities, Logan said, "Maybe I'm just better than you guys."
"Probably not," said William. Conner seconded his statement.
Logan turned and walked away to head to the Pokémon Center. He was determined to show them that they were wrong, and he could not only compete with them, but beat them as well.
17th January 2015, 8:32 PM
The next morning came and brought along a chance for everyone left in the tournament to prove themselves. The first bout of matches were to be held in the morning, and the final four would be later that night.
After eating breakfast, the group made their way to the stadium for the early battles. Starting at nine, the day would be packed full of battles for the young trainers and their Pokémon. The teens didn't talk much to one another because of the competitiveness between them.
After checking in, Conner and Henry left the group to get ready for their battles. The rest made their way to the stands. Even though it was early, there were considerably more people in attendance than yesterday.
"Hello and welcome to this special tournament held in honor of Devon Corp.'s opening of their brand new facility right here in Jubilife City. They are committed to bringing this great city the best in new technology and innovations. The battles will begin in five minutes, and we wish everyone participating today the best of luck in their pursuit of victory," said the P.A. announcer.
"You think Conner will win?" Trae asked Logan as they sat down to watch the battle.
"Probably, but it will be a tough one for him. I watched that Machop yesterday, and he looked tough. I'm more interested in watching Henry go against that Zak kid. Those are probably the top two kids in the tournament," answered Logan.
As Conner's battle started, some of the scouts from the big sponsors that were there in the stands shifted their gaze to the pads of paper in front of them.
"I don't understand why these scout people evaluate kids so early. Is there really anyway to tell who is going to be an elite trainer at this time? Oh well, I guess it gives some people jobs," Logan observed.
"Yea, they must like to track the progress of the kids. Also, I'm sure it makes the trainers feel special when they see that these people are writing things about them," responded Trae as Frank the Turtwig began the battle by charging the opposing Machop.
The Machop slid out of the way of the oncoming Tackle and delivered a brutal Karate Chop that sent Frank reeling. The Grass type struggled up and let out a grunt of determination to show that he was not intimidated.
"Try using Absorb, Frank," commanded Conner. The tiny ball of energy that Frank released made contact with Machop's arm and restored some energy to Frank.
"Get in there, Brons. Don't just take that. Hit him with Karate Chop!" screamed Bret obnoxiously loud. The pale blue Pokémon took off at a sprint towards Frank.
"Withdraw, Frank," advised Conner. Frank successfully dampened the power of the attack by withdrawing into his shell before impact. The edge was still with Brons as he jumped back and momentarily caught his breath. Frank popped his head out of his shell and promptly released another Absorb attack.
"Low Kick!" yelled Bret, once again in a voice that was unnecessarily loud. Brons leaped toward Frank to deliver the kick. With surprising agility, Frank got to his feet and launched himself in a Tackle attack at the Machop's vulnerable torso. The hit was enough to knock him over and buy Frank some time and much needed space.
Whispering to Trae, Logan said, "He can't keep this up. Frank's too slow to counter like that all the time."
"But if he can keep his distance and control the damage he takes with Withdraw he could pull it off," Trae responded with his traditional optimism.
"True. I just don't see it happening," Logan said. He wanted Conner to suffer this humbling defeat to knock down his ego just a tad. Then he shook that thought away because he was his friend.
After that shot to the body that knocked the wind out of him, Brons needed time to recover before going for another reckless attack. Frank gladly took advantage of this by firing off multiple Absorb attacks to the great pleasure of his trainer. Conner had a triumphant look on his face as his Pokémon rejuvenated himself while preventing the opponent from recovering.
"Suck it up, Brons! What did I tell you about taking breaks like this? Move in for another Karate Chop!" Bret screamed at his Pokémon. This snapped Brons out of his little daze in a hurry. He ran at Frank and sidestepped an oncoming Razor Leaf attack.
"Withdraw! Withdraw!" yelled Conner in a panic when he realized the impending doom his Pokémon faced. Frank did so, and Brons still landed a hard chop on the back of his shell. Frank let out a yelp of pain from inside the shell. Learning his lesson, Brons stood over the shell and waited for the turtle to show himself. He yelled a taunt to his opponent while flexing his biceps for all the spectators to see.
Conner searched every corner of his mind for a way out, but he didn't have any tricks up his sleeve. All he could do was hope that Brons didn't keep up his assault.
"What is this guy doing? Just keep attacking the shell. Clearly it still effects Frank," thought Logan.
Strangely, Bret did not order an attack from Machop. They just waited it out, for a while. Brons got impatient and delivered a swift kick to the shell, sending it skidding across the floor. Bret roared his disapproval while Frank took advantage of the gift by popping up and using Absorb. This time the little energy ball was larger and more intense. Brons took the attack and showed fatigue due to Frank's attacks for the first time in the battle.
Clearing up the confusion among the group, Gabriel said, "Turtwig's ability, Overgrow, just kicked in. It boosts the power of Grass type moves when Turtwig is in a tough spot. My Bulbasaur has the same ability."
Conner could feel the tide turning his way as he commanded yet another Absorb attack from his beleaguered Turtwig. Bret countered by telling Brons to go for a Karate Chop. Frank's attack was dodged, but he slipped out of the way of the Fighting type's attack as well. Frank went for a Tackle, but Brons batted him to the side with his hand to avoid getting hit. Both Pokémon were getting tired, and the battle was coming to a close. Brons began to charge Frank, and Frank delivered an Overgrow boosted Absorb. Using the energy gained from the attack, Frank hit Brons directly in the torso with a Tackle, knocking him out.
Conner yelled with excitement and ran to the center of the field to congratulate his Pokémon. He swept the little Grass type up and held the exhausted Turtwig up like a trophy.
"That was so lucky. Why did that guy not keep attacking?" asked Logan.
"I think it was because Machop was tired. If he had been in better condition, then he would have wiped the floor with Frank," answered Trae.
"This is why I love coming to these events," said a covert Steven Stone in the stands away from everyone. He was speaking to a serious faced old man in a shirt and tie who looked like he had never had any fun in his entire life.
"Yes, it is quite enjoyable to watch them," responded the man. Steven gave a sigh and turned back to the action.
The other battle going on at this time was also an exciting one. Even though Logan had said that he was more interested in watching this battle between Henry and Zak, he couldn't take his eyes off the great battle between his friend and Bret. This battle was reaching its climax after grueling hits taken by both Zak's Gligar and Henry's Charmander. Gligar was executing quick strikes with Poison Sting, and Charmander was keeping him at bay by spitting flames at him.
Both trainers were tense with concentration and their Pokémon were badly battered. Gligar's wings had singe marks, and Charmander had bruises all over and was likely poisoned as well.
"Wait for him to attack. Use Ember when he does," commanded Henry. Henry got his wish, and Gligar prepared a Poison Sting, his tail stinger glowing a sinister purple color. Charmander took in a deep breath and exhaled bright orange flames at the approaching Pokémon.
"Roll!" suddenly yelled Zak, surprising as he rarely raises his voice. Gligar obeyed in an instant and barrel rolled out of the way of the oncoming embers. As he came upon the young Fire lizard, he planted his stinger in the side of him. After successfully injecting the poison, he took to the air once more. Charmander spun to locate his opponent, then doubled over in pain due to the poison circulating his body. Henry had a look of concern on his face as he inquired to his Pokémon. Charmander gave out a sigh and face planted on the ground. A disappointed Henry returned his Pokémon and congratulated the soft spoken Zak.
"Wow! What a great round of battles. I can't wait to see what's in store for the next match ups!" said the P.A. announcer with forced enthusiasm. The next competitors, Logan, William, Lucas, and a boy with a Geodude were called to the floor.
Facing William, his friend and now opponent, across the field, Logan tried to focus the best he could. He stole a glance at the other field. Lucas and his Squirtle were ready to take on the previously mentioned Geodude. Releasing his partner, he was ready for the showdown.
"Sherman, use Scratch!" called out William, trying to pump up his Pokémon.
Logan was eager to cripple his opponent and responded by saying, "Bolt hit him with Thunder Wave." Bolt glowed for a split second, then unleashed the pulsing wave of electricity at the Chimchar. Sherman was clearly prepared by William before the battle, and he showed it by leaping gracefully above the fast electricity heading toward him. He raked his glowing nails across Bolt's head crest and wound up for another strike when Bolt retaliated with a swift Tackle to the gut. The two hit the ground together, neither in an advantageous position.
"Now use Thunder Wave!" called Logan excitedly. Bolt did so, and the yellow wave hit Sherman, but not before William had Sherman deliver an Ember attack at nearly the same time.
[Son of a *****, that's hot!] cried Bolt as he took off away from the slowed Sherman and towards his trainer to regain his composure. On the other field, Lucas had already disposed of his opponent, so all eyes were on the two remaining competitors.
"Hey, where'd you learn to talk like that?" asked Logan quietly but sternly to his Pokémon, who was now standing close in front of him.
[I was hanging out with Frank. What do I do now?] replied Bolt nonchalantly. His head crest had claw marks on it and his face had a black char, but he still seemed energetic.
"Try and take advantage of the paralysis and use Tackle," commanded Logan.
"Use Ember," was the call from the other side. Bolt picked up speed and Sherman spat flames at him. With a quick step to his right, Bolt dodged the volley. Slamming into the Fire type, Bolt knocked him over, but stayed on his feet. He was getting better every battle. Circling around, he went in for another Tackle. Sherman waited until Bolt was nearly upon him to roll out of the way and fire off an Ember attack. The attack hit Bolt in the right hind leg and caused him to fall awkwardly. Sherman made a rush to fall upon Bolt with a Scratch attack, but was brought to his knees when the paralysis disabled his legs. Both Pokémon were in rough shape.
Logan tried to encourage Bolt by saying, "Get up and use Tackle. He can't take much more." Bolt took off at the Chimchar to finish him. William, knowing Sherman was not very mobile at the time, called for another Ember. Sherman used the Ember attack just as Bolt left his feet to launch himself at the stationary Chimchar. Bolt leveled him with a thud, but the Ember attack hit the Electrike head on as well. Sherman was knocked out.
Logan was not going to settle for a tie to be decided by a strange tiebreaker, "C'mon! Just stay up for a little longer!" Bolt stood where he was on wobbly legs for a while until the official declared Logan the winner. At that time, he dropped straight to the ground in exhaustion.
Knowing how fiercely competitive his friend was, Logan tried not to boast in his narrow victory. He was just so happy that he proved to his friends that he could hang in there with them.
After some short announcements concerning when the next round would be held, the stadium emptied out until five o'clock that night. Conner, Logan, Trae, and William all went out for some lunch. Sitting down at the café, the boys talked of home nostalgically even though it hadn't really been that long.
Taking their time finishing up, the boys made the decision to just spend the rest of the time at and around the stadium. Upon their arrival, they sat on a bench outside the entrance and enjoyed the warmth of the season. It was bright and sunny, and there was a mild breeze. The boys were busy bantering about football teams when a black car pulled up. The boys went silent as they took in the stunning design of the sports car. There were accents of purple and gray on the design, and they were equally awed when they saw who stepped out of the car. First, there was an old man, right around the age to retire it appeared, that got out of the passenger seat who nobody recognized. Emerging from the driver's seat of the supercar was Steven Stone, the former Champion of Hoenn.
There was not a massive paparazzi like one would expect around a person like Steven Stone. Truth of the matter is, professional and high level Pokémon trainers usually do not demand the kind of crowd as a comparable movie star or other celebrity would. That is, unless they prefer that kind of attention. This is due to the imminent threat of having an angry, protective Pokémon unleashed upon them. Stone himself has a reputation of having a particularly short fuse when it comes to being harassed and otherwise bothered. Many a time his Metagross has intimidated annoying followers away. This led to the creation of the image of Steven being a recluse that only enjoys beating challengers and digging up rocks. He truly enjoyed interacting with fans, but he despised being stalked all the time. He liked to interact on his terms at times of his choosing.
The boys turned to Logan, who was staring in stunned silence. Stone locked the car and waved to the group sitting on the bench. They looked around to see if there was some other person he was referring to. Stone and his father walked to the entrance and stopped at the awkwardly silent boys.
Steven turned and asked, "How's the battling been, boys?" He assumed they were there for his tournament. There were mumbled and incomprehensible replies from the group. Chuckling slightly, Stone asked again, "You boys are here for the tournament, right?" He was always amazed at how kids would react to him.
William replied sounding unsure of himself, "Well, uh, yea. We're just waiting for the next round."
"A bit early, don't you think?" was the reply.
"We didn't have anything else to do, so we were just, uh, waiting."
"Seems kinda dull. I'm here to check on the staff to make sure everything goes well tonight. Concessions and such. Quite a bit of grunt work I suppose. You guys seem like good kids. Would you mind helping out a bit if you are looking for something to do? I'll pay you."
Steven's father, having been through this with his son before, reinforced the offer as well. His boy had always enjoyed making people's days, and Mr. Stone admired that about him.
After a few seconds of silence, William shot off his seat and offered his hand for a handshake, "Of course. My name's William by the way," he said as he shook Steven's hand. The others followed suit. Trae introduced himself next.
When it got to Logan and Conner, Steven stopped and said, "Hey, aren't you guys in the battles tonight? That's awesome," he said, becoming more confident in his memory.
"Yea we are," replied Logan in a way that was trying not to sound like a little girl meeting her favorite celebrity.
"That's so cool. Good luck. You're Conner, right?" he asked as he shook Conner's hand. An affirmative reply followed from the shocked teenager.
Coming to Logan, he said, "And you're Logan. I remember you. Your Electrike is quite the funny little Pokémon. I enjoyed watching your battles with his little comments."
Logan shook his hand, thanked him, and went to join his friends. He felt a mixture of extreme happiness that his idol knew his name mixed with fear that he might think he was a bad trainer for the way his Pokémon talked to him. Steven introduced them to the head of the staff at the stadium, and they were given boxes of candy to unpack and stack and did other jobs. Stone went missing during this time, but the kids were still in shock that he was even in the same building as they were. At around 4:15, Mr. Stone came in, paid them (quite handsomely at that), and wished them good luck.
The star struck kids made their way to the stands, splitting as they went. Logan and Conner went to the area for the battlers to wait while William and Trae got some seats. There were more people arriving now. Steven was out front greeting people and shaking hands, loving the looks on people's faces as he greeted them.
Logan could feel the pressure mounting. Steven was here, and apparently had been there for his previous battles. There were hundreds of people here to watch. Even though it wasn't needed because the sun wouldn't set until much later in these early summer months, the lights overhead were turned on to give the kids the sense of battling under the lights like the big time trainers do.
Logan and Lucas were called down first. These battles were one at a time, and on the main field rather than the two smaller fields. As they walked down, the announcer gave short introductions such as their full name, home city, and Pokémon. Logan and Lucas shook hands at the middle, walked back to their places, and the battle was on.
Logan had been telling Bolt to remember the time when Lucas had humiliated them, so he knew Bolt would be engaged and focused to try and win this. It began by Lucas calling for a Water Gun. Bolt stood firm as the water splashed over him. He was soaked, but Squirt was too far away for the attack to have any real power behind it. Using a Thunder Wave attack, Bolt's fur immediately stood up and appeared dry when he loosed the pulsing wave of yellow electricity. Squirt dodged it and moved in for a Tackle attack. Trying it again, Bolt's attack was once again impressively dodged by the oncoming Squirtle. Bolt was hit hard by the top of Squirt's head, and was knocked back as a result.
"Try your own Tackle. We'll get a Thunder Wave later," advised Logan, knowing his Pokémon's intended strategy. Bolt went in for the attack with Squirt standing his ground. As Bolt came upon him, he withdrew into his shell and sent Bolt hurtling over him without a target. Bolt landed on his feet and immediately turned and loosed a Thunder Wave. There was no need to charge the attack because of the electricity his fur had naturally built up from running. The wave hit Squirt right as he came out of his shell. There was a moment of stalemated silence followed by a small round of applause for the little combination.
"Now, use Tackle," commanded Logan. Bolt took off towards Squirt. Squirt used Water Gun to try and deter Bolt from his course, but it was ineffective. Bolt slammed into the little turtle and circled around for another. This time, Squirt jumped backwards at Bolt to meet his Tackle and withdrew into his shell, giving Bolt a face full of hard shell. Applause again greeted the move.
"C'mon, Bolt! You got this," encouraged Logan. Bolt howled and ran at Squirt. Squirt tried to dodge, but the paralysis took away his legs. Bolt slammed into the helpless Pokémon. Squirt scrambled up and fired off a Water Gun that knocked over Bolt, but Bolt got up and took advantage of the immobile Water type by hitting him with another hard Tackle. Squirt bounced off and was knocked out. Applause greeted the victor. Logan was amazed at what his little Electric type could do. Bolt howled once more for the crowd and followed his trainer off the field.
The next battle featured Conner going up against Zak. Frank was at a disadvantage against the opposing Gligar, but he certainly didn't think so. Conner started with a Razor Leaf attack that was easily dodged by Gligar as he weaved through the sky. He perched on top of a light pole above the stadium and went into a dive towards Frank. Frank, overcome with fear at the sight and speed of his opponent crashing towards him from the sky, withdrew into his shell. This made for an easy target for Gligar. He hit him with a loud thud and scurried off to take flight once again. Frank was dazed from the attack, but still managed to use a half hearted Razor Leaf attack. The attack made contact, but did little damage. Gligar took off in a wide arch and circled around to make another run at Frank. Flying low, his stinger took on the familiar purple glow. Frank rolled out of the way, and Gligar pulled up to try another run at it. This time Frank tried an Absorb to throw the part Flying type off course. Gligar let the attack hit him and continued his run. He latched onto the surprised Turtwig and injected the poison. Frank couldn't shake him off, and Gligar stuck him with another poison sting. This proved too much for Turtwig, and he was knocked out. Zak never said a word, and loud applause followed the impressive victory.
There was a short break to allow the boys to heal their Pokémon. The sun was descending, but there was still plenty of natural light. This would be the final battle, and the winner would take home the first prize of Beldum, providing that Steven himself deemed the trainer responsible enough. This was to make the Pokémon less of a Team Rocket game corner prize and more of a privilege given to a promising trainer.
Logan was feeling very nervous and was wondering if Zak was feeling the same way. Zak was not. He was confident that he would win this with no problems. There were brief pre-battle activities such as the Sinnoh National Anthem, and then the battle began.
"Use your new Howl attack," began Logan. Zak motioned Gligar to take to the air. Gligar circled the helpless pup, and then began his attack. Bolt couldn't move fast enough and was hit. Gligar took off once again. He went higher this time and descended again.
"Use Thunder Wave," commanded Logan.
[But it won't do anything!] cried Bolt, remembering the lessons on types that Logan had taught him.
"Just do it!"
Bolt reluctantly fired off a Thunder Wave. The bright wave washed right over Gligar's face. There was no damage done, but the bright flash of electricity took away his eyes for a moment. Bolt had moved out of the way, and Gligar did not have enough time to correct his course. He crashed into the ground with his stinger first. His stinger was jammed into the ground. Rushing in on the helpless Gligar, Bolt laid into him with a vicious Tackle, dislodging him in the process. Gligar was shaken up, but he managed to fly clumsily away.
"Don't use that strategy anymore. Go for Poison Sting instead," said Zak. Gligar was flying low this time, and clipped Bolt with his stinger. The poison set in, and Bolt started breathing heavy. He was poisoned.
Logan knew he had to try and end it quickly, "Use Tackle."
Bolt grimaced as he saw the circling Gligar coming in for another attack. He picked up speed and jumped into the oncoming Gligar. The two attacks met. Gligar narrowly pulled up to avoid the Tackle while simultaneously lowering his stinger. The stinger jabbed into Bolt's stomach. He was sent flying from the impact, and he also was hit with the Poison Sting. He hit the ground and laid there motionless. Raucous applause signaled the end of the match. He was knocked out and with it, Logan's championship hopes were dashed. Logan ran towards his Pokémon and dropped down to his knees. Zak walked over and congratulated him for a tough battle.
Steven walked out and briefly talked to Zak. He presented him with a medal and a Pokéball. Zak exited the arena with a broad smile and his champion Gligar following. Steven then made his way over to Logan.
"Pick your head up, kid. You've got a bright future ahead of you."
"Thanks, that means a lot coming from you, but I can't get over how I'm going to get past the first gym leader with only Bolt?" Logan admitted, disheartened.
"Oh c'mon. There's plenty of other ways. There are hundreds of Pokémon out there that would be a great fit for your team. You don't just need my Beldum.”
"I guess so, but I just really wanted that. You're my idol, and I wanted to be like you."
An idea popped into Steven's head with the mention of his status to the boy, "If that's the case, then I think I might be able to help you out," Logan raised his head to look at him, "but I need you to help me first."
Logan was taken aback by the thought of his idol asking for his help, "Sure, what is it?"
"I just need you to do me a favor. I'll explain it to you later. Meet me at the new office building at ten o'clock. Don't bring your friends."
"Ok, I'll be there," responded Logan. Steven helped him up, and the two went their separate ways.
26th January 2015, 2:19 AM
Logan walked away from Steven and out of the arena where he met up with his friends. They greeted him and slapped him on the back in a sobered celebration due to his loss. The whole group was there, and he even got a hug from Carly. They all went to get some late food at a restaurant close to the stadium. Afterwards, Logan said he had to split up from them. He mentioned that he had something he had to take care of. His friends thought that this was strange, but were too tired to protest against him, so they headed back to the Pokémon Center. This left him to wander the streets to the Devon Corp. office building.
The streets were bustling in the lit up main streets of Jubilife. The city was known for its late night entertainment scene. Logan stuck to these main streets. He didn't want to be caught walking alone on a dark, empty street by himself. He noticed that the people walking around Jubilife at this time swapped their formal business attire for more comfortable clothing. Many of them were couples, but there were a few larger groups. He just walked with his hands in the pockets of his long, black shorts and kept his head mostly down. He finally made it to the front entrance of the brand new building. He went to open the door, but it was locked.
"What the-," he started to say, "Is this some kind of joke?" He waited there and called out Bolt.
[Hey, this isn't the Pokémon Center! I was really looking forward to a nice big bowl of food. Maybe even put a little extra in there too, ya know? Where are we?] said the disappointed Pokémon.
"We are in front of the Devon Corp. office building. It's locked. We're waiting for Steven. He asked me to meet him here, so I can do him a favor."
[What's in it for us?] asked his Pokémon.
"He said he would help us get through the first gym leader. He uses Rock types, so I think you'll have trouble against him. I think he might give us a new team member. Isn't that exciting?"
Bolt had a look of genuine disappointment on his face as he looked at the ground and said, [So you don't think I'm good enough? I'm sorry, but I tried as hard as I could.]
"What are you talking about? Of course you are good enough; you're more than good enough. I couldn't believe some of the things you did out there this past couple of days. Besides, this new team member won't come between us or anything. It's not like I'm shoving you to the side. Think of it as a new family member."
[Ok, I'll think about it,] said Bolt, still confused.
Just then, Steven finally arrived in his sports car. The low growl of the engine was cut off before he stepped out of it.
"Sorry I'm late. I was doing a little polishing on my Metagross. Nothing makes him happier than a good ole polishing. I don't even wanna know how much time I've spent doing that throughout the years. Oh well, if it makes him happy, I'll do it as much as he wants," said Steven as he made his way to the door and unlocked it.
"I thought Metagross didn't have a gender?"
"Oh, right. Well, technically he doesn't. However, when we communicate, his voice sounds masculine, and he has male tendencies," answered Steven. "Right this way. We'll be going up to the top floor, so head over to that elevator."
The lobby was immaculate, typical of a Devon Corp. headquarters. When they got up to floor 50, Steven unlocked another door that opened up to the most amazing room he had ever seen in person. It looked like an office mixed with an apartment. The floors looked like marble, and the entire opposite wall was glass. There were luxury furnishings everywhere. Pictures of Steven in some of his greatest battles adorned the walls. A large HD TV was set atop a small stand against one wall. There were a couple of doors that led to what Logan assumed would be the bathroom and bedroom. The kitchen was small, but well equipped. The appliances and bar were stainless steel. Steven motioned him to take a seat at one of the barstools.
"This place is incredible," remarked Logan.
"Thanks, it wasn't cheap. Would you like a drink?"
"Uhh, sure I'll take a glass of water," said Logan, not knowing what to ask for.
"Lame," said Steven as he got the drink for Logan. He poured himself a glass of wine and leaned against the refrigerator as he was thinking.
"Now, you're probably wondering what it is that I need you to do for me. I could tell you, but I think you may need some background information first. You know, to put it into context. I've always loved telling a good story. Call out Bolt, I want him to hear this too. Plus, I like that little guy,” Steven said.
"Uhh, alright," obeyed Logan, unsure of Steven's intentions. The little Pokémon's eyes went wide as he observed the room he was in. He gave Logan an astonished look.
"Should you choose to accept this 'mission' of sorts, you may become involved in things much larger and dangerous than you may think. Now, I understand you may have some doubts about this, so I will give you the choice to walk away right now with no questions asked. Just remember, once you accept, there may be no going back. There’s more to me than just sitting at a desk and battling every now and then, and I’ll tell you if you accept. You’ll become part of my group. Talk it over with your Pokémon. See what he wants to do. I'm going to change out of this awful suit, so give me an answer when I return," he said before he downed the rest of the glass and walked towards one of the doors.
Logan felt a pit in his stomach. His heart sank, and he felt afraid. He remembered what had happened to his brother when he meddled in things that he shouldn't have. He remembered the promise he had made to his mother about staying out of trouble. But he also remembered what it felt like to be weak and taunted by someone just because they felt like they could beat you. He remembered the subtle pain he felt when he saw Steven win the title in the absence of his brother. Most of all, he remembered the promise he made to himself that day to find out what really happened, and to avenge his sibling the best way that he could. He did not think Steven was involved in any foul play, but he thought that the Champion could help him find his brother. Logan had a feeling that Steven was fighting the same people that he was, but he had no way to know for sure. If he took this offer, then he could find out more information and possibly be closer to his goal. Steven could give him power. He had long lusted for the power he needed for this. He looked at Bolt, who simply gave a reassuring nod. He was surprisingly soft spoken at this time.
His thoughts were interrupted by Stone coming back from the room, with his familiar casual outfit on. He poured himself another glass of wine, and asked Logan if he had an answer yet.
"Yea, I'll do it."
“Oh, that's splendid. Now, I suppose I should tell you exactly what is going on. Let's move to the couches so as to be more comfortable." They moved to sit in the furniture. Steven sat in the recliner and Logan sat in the adjacent, longer couch.
"I suppose I'll start at the beginning. Let's see, I had just gotten my fifth gym badge and was watching one of my friends get his. I had travelled largely in a group of four just as you do. Before the battle, I left to use the restroom. I saw on the TV in the lobby that there was some kind of attack on Lavaridge Town. I think the news people mentioned something about the authorities checking into it, and that they believed a violent, radical organization was responsible. Being your age, I simply shrugged it off and went on my way. That would be the first time I remember seeing anything about it.
"The first major confrontation I had with them would be when we were stopping in at Lilycove. They were there and caused a huge commotion. My friend was much more militant in his involvement than I wished to be, but I was there nonetheless. We captured one of the members. I remember him saying that in time we would all be reduced to nothing but slaves to his higher order. I, of course, thought he was crazy. After all, this guy was nothing more than a bum off the street. My friend had then taken serious interest in stopping this group, and I got dragged into it.
"One of the most difficult days of my life happened just a few months later. We were in Ever Grande City in preparation for the Pokémon League Tournament. Then they attacked. It was a surprise attack on almost all the high caliber Pokémon trainers all concentrated in one area. To this day I don't know how I didn't realize that we would be a target. After some initial fighting, there was essentially a front established. We were right there. My friend went down. I can remember it so clearly. He was in pain, a lot of pain. I think his arm was hit. I was hiding behind some kind of cover, I forget what. He was stuck, and he needed my help. I was frozen by fear. I didn't help him. I can still remember him calling out my name, but I just stood there like a scared fool!"
At this point, Steven had gotten more emotional than he had wanted to. This was clearly something he often thought about and had trouble with. He had stood up. He was sweating and breathing heavily, and his eyes showed obvious signs of tears being shed. Logan was sitting there intently listening. He slowly pet his Pokémon. He wanted to know exactly what happened.
Steven had calmed down and was sitting again, "The police had come in to get all of the trainers evacuated. They came up and dragged me away. As they dragged me away, I tried to fight free, but my body just wouldn't respond. I saw my friend still crying out for me, but I couldn't help him," he took a long pause, "I haven't seen him since that day. Maybe you’ve heard of that incident in the news. It was pretty big in terms of violence in the region coming to a breaking point.”
Logan could tell Steven was crying now, "You alright? You don't need to tell me all this if you don't want to."
Logan could hardly finish his sentence before Steven lashed out at him, "No! You need to hear all of it! I want you to know exactly what kind of people we're going up against. You need to know the pain they've caused not only to me, but to countless others. It’ll happen to you too unless you’re careful! They have no regard for anyone but themselves. You need to be prepared for this kind of stuff. Anyway, I'll continue.
"When I was what was presumed to be a safe distance away from the action, I immediately told the officers to go back to where I was to get the other boy there. They left, and when they returned they said that they didn't see anybody where I had described to them. I was crushed. As soon as I was allowed to, I searched the entire area. I hardly rested. My search only came to an end when it was time for the tournament to begin. I felt like I had to win to show that I wasn't weak anymore, to show my enemies that I was strong, that I’m not going to back down anymore, and to prove to my friend that I'm doing my best to avenge him. I won that tournament by a landslide. Nobody came close to touching me. The victory was obviously bittersweet because my friend and I had looked forward to battling it out for the right to be the best since we had begun, but he wasn't there. I challenged the Elite Four the next day, and was sworn in as Champion the next week. I spent nearly my entire tenure trying to find a way to bring down those villains one way or another. Unfortunately for my personal vendetta, they were surprisingly mellow and difficult to find. I made only marginal progress. Sure, I made plenty of enemies in my time because of this, but I felt it was the right thing to do at that time. Maybe someday we can look back and see I did the right things, but I'm done wrestling with my past actions. However, I fear a resurgence is coming. They have been quiet for far too long. In fact, I know they've gained strength,” Steven finished. After this, he stayed quiet for a while.
Logan had become too anxious to hold it in any longer. He had to ask, "Steven, what was your friend's name?"
The man looked at Logan straight in the eyes and replied, "Joseph Bismarck."
Logan's suspicion proved correct. That was his brother that he had referred to. He had finally found out the truth. Not to mention that he now had an ally, a very powerful ally, to help him out. He couldn't believe it. He decided to make his move.
"Steven, do you know who I am? My name is Logan Bismarck. Joseph wa--, is my brother."
Steven was stunned and shook his head in confusion, "He never said anything about having a family. I think he might have even said that he didn't have anyone that cared about him."
It was Logan's turn to be stunned. He couldn't believe that his own sibling would just turn his back on his family like that. He began to question if what he was doing would eventually be worth it. He replied, "Well, that's hard to swallow, but nevertheless, he's still my brother, and I want to find him. I believe he's still out there somewhere. I've just got a feeling."
Steven let his emotions take over at that point. He couldn't believe it. He sprang up and hugged Logan, reassuring him that they would find him. After a minute or so of stunned silence, they continued the conversation.
"Alright, here's what I need you to do. I have been tracking a couple of representatives from Hoenn on their visit here. They are only here for two more days I believe, so you have to act fast. In short, I need you to get their signatures. We need them for fake IDs. If I have them, then I, or one of my coworkers, can access many additional places without extra suspicion."
"Why do you need to secretly access these places? And what places?"
"Well they are a part of the People's Union of Hoenn party, and they are affiliated with the gang organization we need to find. The party is basically what they present to the public. I can't tell you the areas that we need to get into yet. Pay attention, you should be able to recognize them by this symbol," he showed Logan the symbol on his phone. It was an arrow pointed up with a circle circumscribed around the outside of it.
"What does that symbol mean?"
"I have no idea," answered Steven honestly. "Anyway, just figure out a way to get their signatures."
"Aren't you going to tell me how to get them?"
"No way, that takes all the fun and adventure out of it. I have faith in you. This is a good learning experience for you. You need to learn how to do small tasks like this. However, don't be too suspicious, or else they might follow you and figure out you're working with me. That would be trouble. Now, let's get you home."
They descended the towering building in the elevator and walked out into the parking lot. Steven walked to an area of the lot, but Logan did not see anything where he was headed.
"Where are you going?"
Sounding surprised, Steven explained, "Oh my, I forgot. Well you see, the car has a special paint that makes it very difficult to see from a distance in the dark. It actually becomes very useful in the proper situation. Once your eye is trained, then you should be able to identify it easier. It isn't magic or anything. You wanna drive?"
Logan was astounded at the thought of driving such a feat of engineering. He answered with euphoric enthusiasm, "Of course!"
Steven laughed, "I'm just joking, man. I would never let you drive this."
Logan reluctantly accepted this and got into the car. He was still thrilled with riding in it, but he thought that it might take some time to get used to Steven's humor. They arrived at the Pokémon Center. Logan put Steven's phone number in his phone so he could call him when he was finished with his task.
"Alright, let me know when you get those signatures," said Steven as Logan got out of the car.
Logan stepped out and waved goodbye to his famous friend. Steven sped off with the engine roaring. Logan could only make out the taillights on the camouflaged vehicle as it drove away. He made his way up to the room, being careful not to wake anyone up. It was late, and everyone was asleep. He entered the room and immediately got down on his little patch of blankets on the floor. He fell asleep with Bolt curled up next to him. His last action before drifting off was thinking of how he would complete his task. He didn't want to disappoint his idol.
He was woken up the next day. Early. He wasn't even sure the sun was up when he rubbed his eyes awake to be greeted with a bunch of commotion in his room. His friends were packing their bags.
"What is going on? What time is it?"
Conner responded with a chuckle, "Morning, princess. It's a little after six. Oh that's right, you weren't here last night. We're getting an early start to today's travels. We wanna get to Oreburgh Gate with plenty of time to cross before it gets too late."
"Do we really need that much time?"
"Yeah man, we wanna train a little and maybe catch more Pokémon. The route should be swarming with trainers ready to move on."
"Well I got something to do. Steven needs me to do him a favor, so I'll meet up with you later."
The group stopped what they were doing and turned to Logan. William said, "Wow, that's really cool. We wanted to go through this route together, but I guess that is worth staying. We don't mind. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity." The rest of the group mumbled their approval. Logan couldn't tell if they were disappointed or jealous. Either way, he was going back to sleep.
Logan awoke about an hour and a half later, around seven thirty. His friends were gone, and there was a strange quietness to the room. He looked around for Bolt, but he wasn't anywhere in the room. He checked the bathroom, and found him chewing up a toilet paper roll. As the little pup sat in a pile of shredded paper around him, his eyes went wide with terror when he saw he was caught.
"Dude, what the hell are you doing?" said a confused Logan.
[Uh, nothing. When are you leaving? I got bored,] was the reply.
"I can see that. I'll leave as soon as I get ready. Try and clean this up"
Logan packed his bag. The black backpack was stuffed tightly with all his supplies. He was ready, and checked up on Bolt. The little green Pokémon was almost finished with his job. Logan finished it up for him by picking up the smaller pieces. Logan put a blue beanie on, a strange choice in this heat, and made his way to the street.
"Now where do I find these people?" he muttered to himself. The streets were full of well dressed business people walking to their jobs. He decided to go back in and ask the nurse a few questions about the city.
"Is there like a courthouse or some other kind of government building in the city?" asked Logan.
The nurse, caught off guard by the non-Pokémon-health related question, responded, "Umm...yes. There is the city courthouse on the other side of town. There are maps over there if you need more help."
Logan thanked her and made his way to the table that held the trifold city guides. Picking one up, he observed that his destination was farther than he expected. He decided that he could not walk it without taking too long, so he found the bus station. He and Bolt walked the distance to the bus stop and waited. They observed the busy professionals on their way to work. He gave quick, friendly nods to the ones he made eye contact with. The bus arrived, and he paid the small fare to ride. He found a seat to himself and sat there quietly for the duration of the ride.
Arriving at the closest bus stop to the courthouse, he got off and walked the short ways to the courthouse. The building was like an antique compared to the newer skyscrapers in the city. It looked exactly like every government building he had seen. This made him wonder why there wasn't typically a lot of variation in the architecture. After walking up the steps to the door, he pulled on the door only to discover it was locked. He glanced at the sign that explained the hours of the building and scolded himself for his forgetfulness.
"It's Sunday you idiot! Everyone knows that it's closed on Sundays in Sinnoh!" he shouted to himself. His tirade was interrupted by his stomach growling. He had forgotten to eat. Frustrated, he made his way to a diner he had passed on the walk over. He slumped in and sat at a table. A waitress named Darlene took his order, and he sat there thinking about what to do next.
"Here ya go, honey," said Darlene as she brought him his food. Logan thanked her and quickly ate his food because he was starving and had nobody to talk to. Finding the right amount to pay for it, he gave the money to Darlene and told her to keep the change. He had decided to walk over to the Devon Corp. building to ask Steven for help. On his way out, he bumped into two men.
"Oops, sorry," Logan said as he walked out. He had noticed something about the men. They both had pins on their suits with the insignia that Steven had shown him last night. He couldn't believe his luck. He turned and tapped one on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, sir, are you the representatives from Hoenn?" asked Logan, trying to sound genuine.
"Yes we are. What can we do for you today?" said the one he had tapped.
"Well, I'm part of the school newspaper, and I'm writing a Summer article on the recent change in political system in Hoenn. I heard you were in town, and I thought you guys must know more about it than anyone else. I can't believe I found you. I thought I had run out of time. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions," asked Logan. He knew it was strange of him to ask, but it was all he could come up with.
"Sure, I don't see why not," responded the other. Logan asked them a few questions that he made up on the spot. He wrote down their responses on the back of his map with a pen that he got from Darlene. The representatives seemed more than happy to share their ideologies with the next generation of Sinnoh. Logan noted in his head and on his map that they were talking about some pretty radical stuff.
At the end of the interview after Logan couldn't think of anymore questions, he asked them to sign at the bottom of the answer sheet to verify that it was them who he had interviewed. He passed it off as a requirement from his ultra strict teacher. They signed, and he thanked them and walked out.
"Spreading the word without even working. Pretty good deal right, Teague?" remarked one of them.
The one named Teague had a thoughtful look in his eye as he responded, "Aren't the schools out for Summer, and how did that kid know right away that we were from Hoenn?"
"C'mon man, he's just a kid. It was just a few questions. It's not a big deal."
"Yea I know. I just can't help but think that there was something fishy going on."
Meanwhile, Logan had quickly entered the nearest possible venue with a restroom and changed his clothes. He removed his hat as well. He took the bus to the Devon Corp. building. He walked up to the receptionist and asked to see Steven. She gave him a puzzled look, and pressed a button on the desk and spoke into a telephone.
"Mr. Stone, there's a boy here to see you."
"Oh good! Send him right up," was the reply. She gave a shocked look, and Logan gave her a smug look as she motioned him to the elevator. He was greeted at the door to floor 50 by Steven in his usual attire. He was given a glass of water and was asked to sit down.
"I have the signatures," said Logan.
"That's splendid. May I see them?" asked the older one. Logan took the signatures out of his pack and handed them over. Steven looked over them, nodding as he did.
"Did they ask you any questions on who you were?" asked Steven.
"Well they asked just some general information. I was Isaac Brigham from right here in Jubilife City on a Summer newspaper assignment. As soon as I got them, I left and changed my clothes. I had a hat on, so I don't even think they saw what color my hair was," explained Logan with pride on his face at the precautions he took.
Steven pondered over this information for a short time, then said, "You did well for your first assignment. However, I want you to travel quickly to Oreburgh. This Teague fellow has given me some trouble before, and he is not easy to fool. He’s incredibly important to their operation, and he’s no joke. Stay close to your friends; it shouldn't be as easy to spot you in a large group. That's something I forgot to tell you," Steven took a pause and looked Logan in the eyes, "always stay by your friends' sides. They are all you have in this foreign region, and you don't want to lose them."
Logan felt a pit in his stomach at these words from his idol. He decided not to tell him about what had happened in the morning.
Steven interrupted his guilt by saying, "I suppose I owe you your reward. I did say that I would help you advance by the first gym leader, didn't I?" He could see the excitement on Logan's face. He decided to toy with him for a little while longer. "On one hand, I could teach Bolt Iron Tail," he saw the excitement diminish slightly, "but on the other hand, I could give you a Steel type Pokémon. These days Steel types are becoming more and more valuable, but that is solely my biased opinion."
Logan could hardly believe his luck, "If you are trying to decide, then I think it would benefit me more if you gave me a Steel type."
"Is that so? Well come to think of it, I do have an available Pokémon," while saying this, Steven tried looking like he was making a tough decision. Logan's mind was racing with all the powerful Pokémon he could imagine receiving from his benefactor: a sturdy Shieldon, a levitating Bronzor, an electrifying Magnemite, or maybe even a Riolu to become a Lucario, or a high flying Skarmory.
"I recently hatched a few eggs of this Pokémon, and this particular individual's personality doesn't really fit my style, but I feel like he could be an asset to your team. I've decided, so here he is," Steven handed over a Pokéball. This Pokéball, rather than the typical coloration, had a uniform steel color.
Upon receiving the Pokéball, Logan promptly thanked Steven and released his new team member. Materializing from the glow was a compact quadruped that had a light grey coloration with black dots spaced evenly on his body. An Aron, not exactly what Logan expected, but he was still ecstatic.
[Hey, Stevie, where the heck am I? Who is this kid?] asked the confused Steel type.
"Baron, this is Logan. He's your new trainer. You'll be traveling with him throughout the region to try and become as strong as you can be," explained Steven, knowing exactly how to get through to the Pokémon.
[Sweet! Hey, listen up, pipsqueak. We're not gonna let anyone push us around. We're gonna become Champions just like Stevie and my dad. I'm so sick of them acting like they're so special. We're gonna beat them, too,] said the fired up Pokémon.
"Is he always like this?" asked a stunned Logan.
Steven said with a laugh, "Oh yeah, all the time. You better get going. It's a little longer to get to Oreburgh than it was to get here. There is a cave as well, but Baron should be at home in a cave. Good luck to you guys. Baron, behave yourself."
[Yeah, yeah, whatever, wonder boy. Before you know it, you'll be the one asking us for help,] the little Pokémon said. He certainly talked a big game, but his juvenile voice made him difficult to take seriously.
"Thanks again. Good luck with your search. Stay safe," called out Logan as he followed the headstrong Pokémon out the door to the elevator. As the elevator descended, he thought of how his journey will be changed by the addition of this new team member. He also wondered how Bolt would handle it, especially with the drastically different personalities. Above all, he worried about being hunted down by the two men he had just conned. He remembered how he promised his mother that he would stay away from trouble, but he was already in deep trouble. He quickly thought about his brother as well. He returned Baron, much to his displeasure, and departed the building. He was headed for Route 203 and hoped to catch up to his friends as quickly as possible.
2nd February 2015, 10:59 PM
Steven sat in his apartment silently for a few minutes after Logan had left. He looked out over the vast metropolis and thought of what he must do to ensure its safety. He thought back to Logan. Here was a kid who had strange connections with Steven's own best friend. His loyalty would no doubt be easy to win over, if he already hadn't done so. Nodding slowly to himself, he decided that Logan would be a great fit for his operation. He pulled out his smartphone, the latest model, and opened up a document.
The document had faces and names of various people. There was a brief description beside each individual. He scrolled through the list of around a dozen people, most of them young, and became more confident in his plan. He had team members in every region now that he established contact with Logan. He still had some work to do with the boy, and he also had an overload of information to give him as well.
"His time will come. I just need to be patient. I really don't want to lose this one. I can't wait to tell the others," he thought to himself in the loneliness of the empty room.
Down below, Logan was walking through the hot sunlight towards Route 203. The Route was in the northern part of the city and headed west from there to Oreburgh Gate. As he walked, he noticed trainers around him likely making the same journey as he was. He kept to himself. He didn't want to start a battle this early in the day's travels and weaken his Pokémon. He knew from what his brother had told him that certain trainers can get really worked up over simple eye contact.
Once he made it to the sign signaling the beginning of Route 203, he considered calling out his team. He reached for the Pokéballs magnetically clipped to the strap on his backpack. He didn't have them on his belt because, unlike most trainers, he didn't wear a belt due to his usual attire being long athletic shorts. Pressing the button to enlarge the capsule, he released Bolt.
[Finally! We're going somewhere!] he exclaimed as he took off in a wide arch around his trainer.
"Hey, calm down. I've got someone I want you to meet. He's a little, um, different. Just play it cool and be calm. I'm sure you guys will get along great," said the nervous boy. He desperately hoped that his last statement would be true. He grabbed the steel gray Pokéball and threw it. Out of it materialized the Steel type that was a little shorter than Bolt.
He took a look around and spotted Bolt. Assuming this was his new friend, he proceeded to jump on top of him.
[Hey, bud. I'm Baron. We're gonna be the greatest ever. We're gonna be a dynamic duo like nobody has ever seen,] shouted the young Pokémon with a squeal. Bolt eventually wrestled him off and gave Logan a look that said, "Are you kidding me?"
"Calm down, Baron. You're going to make Bolt not like you if you keep that up. That would jeopardize your chances at becoming the greatest ever," Logan said thoughtfully. He was trying to figure out what made the little Pokémon respond and listen.
[Oh, man! I'm sorry! I really am sorry. I didn't know that you didn't like that. Please forgive me,] pleaded Baron. Bolt relented and gave Logan another look, this time a look of gratitude.
"Alright guys, let's get moving. Get to know each other because we'll be living together for the foreseeable future.”
Further on down the path, the other three members of the group were making good progress. Trae had caught a Starly. He became fascinated with Flying Pokémon as he watched Zak's Gligar take down opponents in the tournament. He gave the bird, named Rayne, a potion after he had caught it, and they were training as they moved through the Route.
William wanted to capitalize on the power of Paralysis that enabled Logan to defeat him. This loss was humiliating in William's eyes, but he was determined to grow stronger from it. Also in order to support Sherman to handle Water types, he decided a Shinx would be a good fit for his team. The Shinx, named Oren, was already making great strides in William's opinion.
Conner, not surprisingly, was convinced Frank didn't need any help at the moment. He believes he just caught a bad break, and that's why he lost. He concentrated all his training on Frank, and Frank had probably grown into the strongest Pokémon of the group as a result. The Turtwig was constantly taking on wild Pokémon.
Zak was also spotted briefly by the three friends. His Gligar was gliding above him and he was talking with his Beldum. He seemed to have trouble communicating and understanding Beldum. The floating piece of metal also wouldn't listen to him. A rare and powerful Pokémon is not likely to take to its trainer as quickly as another less powerful species. This is why it is usually not advised for inexperienced trainers to raise them. Zak was becoming frustrated with this learning curve. He made a quick wave to his acquaintances and continued on his way.
"Are we almost to Oreburgh Gate?" complained Trae.
"I have no idea. We should be getting close. We've been walking all day," responded William.
"I've got an idea," said Trae. He whistled to Rayne and told him to fly up and find out where the cave was. The bird sped off and returned a little while later with the news of the cave. He revealed that it was only about another half an hour's walk. The boys were relieved and picked up the pace. They would rest before going through the short cave.
Farther back, Logan was making much slower progress. He had to rein in Baron nearly every time he spotted another Pokémon. He was constantly challenging other, random trainers as well. The pair of Logan's Pokémon were quickly tired out from the numerous battles against not only weaker wild Pokémon but from the longer, more difficult match ups with passersby. Logan would have preferred to lay low, but after Baron's taunts, and sometimes threats, the other teens eagerly accepted the challenges.
After a rough battle, Baron was exhausted and finally seemed to show signs of calming down. Logan was waiting for this. He wasn't going to stop him before this because Bolt and Baron were getting to know each other while also getting stronger.
"Hey, bud, you ready for a break?" asked the trainer. He was greeted with an angry look.
[What? No way!] responded the irate Pokémon. Logan rolled his eyes as Baron resumed walking down the path, and Bolt reluctantly followed. It wasn't long before the steel type charged into the grass to battle once again.
This pattern continued until Baron was walking with difficulty. Logan had had enough and recalled Baron, much to his displeasure. Bolt thanked him for bringing an end to the gauntlet, and Logan picked up his weary Pokémon to relieve his paws. They made slow, gradual progress until they made it to the cave. It was almost sunset, and there was nobody around.
"Looks like we're too late. William sent me a text that said they were waiting for us, but they must have decided to move on," Logan said as he looked down to the Pokémon at his side. He brought out Baron as well.
[Hey! What was the long rest for? I was fine,] said Baron. Logan expected to hear this.
"I'm saving you for this cave. I need you to get us through it," responded the boy.
[Cool! I love caves. My brothers and I spent a lot of time in caves,] said Baron happily.
"You have brothers? What are they like?" inquired Logan. He pitied the man that had to deal with multiple Barons if they are anything like him.
[Yea, I have two brothers, Duke and Earl. They’re great. For some reason Steven always preferred them over me, but that doesn't matter now. We're gonna show them, right?]
Logan felt bad for his newest friend and felt like he had to do his part in helping Baron fulfill his dream.
"Sure, now let's get through this cave."
The party entered the cave. The opening was wide, giving light to the area close to the entrance. Logan knew that it wasn't very large, but he did not want to make a wrong turn. He wished he would have stuck with his friends. He gave Baron stern instructions not to run off and to listen to his commands in battle. There were Zubats that were appearing from everywhere. Usually Bolt just gave them a quick jolt of a Thunder Wave and the group walked past the stunned Pokémon. Baron took the lead on the more durable Geodudes that were also frequent. After some walking in the dark of the cavern, the cave narrowed for a short distance and sloped downward at a fairly steep angle. It then opened up into a large room. Logan was shocked at what he saw.
"Guys, we must have went the wrong way," said Logan as he squinted to scan the poorly lit room. There were Zubats covering the ceiling and most of the walls. On the ground, there was a multitude of Geodudes.
[Alright! Finally some competition. Bring it on, weaklings!] taunted Baron. Logan gave him a quick slap to the top of the head and told him to shut up. It was too late, however, and the Pokémon attacked. They came in waves. First, about half of a dozen Zubats dove in towards the trio. They were followed by a volley of rocks from a few Geodudes. Logan was hit in the chest by a rock, and fell to the floor. He suddenly realized the danger that they were in, but he didn't know how to react. Being hit another time, he decided it was best to fight.
"I'm not just going to sit here and get overrun. Attack! Bolt, send out a wide Thunder Wave. Baron, take out those Geodudes. Use Mud-Slap to take out their vision. We just need to buy some time," shouted out Logan as he picked up a nearby stone and pelted an incoming Zubat.
[Yes! It's about time we did something fun!] roared Baron as he charged the Geodudes. Bolt stayed closer to his trainer and released his Thunder Wave attack in a wide arch towards the ceiling. The Zubats that were hit, becoming paralyzed, lost their grip and fell to the floor.
"Keep that up, Bolt. I'll cover for us," encouraged Logan while he readied another stone.
[I need some static for another attack that large. Hold on a second,] replied Bolt. At this, he took off in a blur. He slammed into a few low flying enemies and returned back with incredible speed. His fur was stood up and he glowed with the sparks emanating from his coat. He launched another Thunder Wave and there was a similar result.
"Awesome idea! That Quick Attack is really coming along. Let's get out of here while they're regrouping."
Logan had spoke too soon. Baron was getting overwhelmed with his task. The Geodudes seemed to be coming out of the walls themselves. He was surrounded.
"Any bright ideas?" asked Logan.
[Just one,] was the response from Bolt. He took off again in a blur and emerged at Baron's side. One of the Geodudes threw a rock at him, but Baron stepped in front of it, taking little damage.
Logan was touched by the display of camaraderie, but he still didn't know what Bolt's plan was. They were still in a bad situation. The Zubats were almost ready to attack again as well.
"What the heck is going on here?" said a voice from the path into the room. Logan snapped around and was greeted with the familiar face of Zak.
"Help!" yelled Logan. Zak immediately instructed his two Pokémon, and they both sped through the air at the crowd of Pokémon. Gligar and Beldum landed right beside the two helpless others. Gligar picked up Bolt by wrapping his tail around the Electric type's torso. Beldum used its magnetism to bind Baron's head to it, and they both took off towards the two boys. The Zubats swarmed them on their way. Beldum was swinging Baron's body around like a club as it smashed through the bat Pokémon, much to Baron's amusement. Bolt used a Thunder Wave attack to clear the way for Gligar. The Pokémon flew right over the heads of their trainers and down the narrow pathway back to the main path of the cave. The boys turned and followed, covering their heads from the oncoming stones from the Geodudes.
After reaching the safety of the other part of the cave, the exhausted group sat down. Gligar put down Bolt, and Beldum released Baron.
"Is everybody alright?" asked Logan, trying to catch his breath.
[I've got the worst headache right now. Other than that, I'm fine though. Did you see me out there smashing through those Zubats?] replied Baron.
"Yes, I saw you. You looked very strange hanging from Beldum by your head. Zak, thanks so much man. You saved us out there."
The soft spoken trainer nodded and said, "It's not a big deal. I heard some commotion as I was exploring that side path, so I went and checked it out. What happened in there?"
Logan responded, "I didn't even know that we went off the main path through the cave. It's just so dark in there. We were just trying to pass through. Anyway, we stumbled into that room, and there were all those Pokémon just waiting there."
"I see, there must have been another trainer pass through there before you. The Pokémon must not have liked that, so they banded together to try and stop the next traveller from trespassing. They can get very territorial. Why didn't you guys just turn around?"
At this, Logan looked at Baron, "I was going to, but this genius decided it would be better to challenge the whole room rather than just walk away. We handled the first wave of them pretty well, and there was a small lapse in the assault, but we couldn't run because he was surrounded."
Zak chuckled, "Why didn't you just return Baron and run while you had the chance?"
Logan turned red with embarrassment from his decision, "I guess I never though of that. That could have saved us a lot of trouble."
"Yes it would've. Let's get going before those Pokémon decide to chase us out of the whole cave."
"Sounds good to me. Thanks again, man."
The two made it out of the cave without further trouble and walked into the open air a while after sunset.
"Ahh finally we made it to Oreburgh. I'm starving. Want to grab something to eat? It's on me. I owe you one," proposed Logan.
"Sure. That sounds nice. I'm hungry, too. Haven't eaten all day," was the reply. The two boys returned their Pokémon and found a café in the heart of the small town. The only things of interest that brought people here were the gym, coal mine, and museum. Other than that, it was a quiet, hardworking town.
Sitting down at their table, Zak asked, "I've been meaning to ask you, where did you come across that Aron? They're not naturally found in Sinnoh."
Logan nodded and responded, "After you beat me, I told Steven I was worried about not being able to beat the first gym leader with only Bolt. Steven told me that if I did him a favor, he would help me out. Giving me Baron was the way that he decided to help me out I guess."
Zak became interested at this explanation and asked, "What was it that he had you do?"
"I just had to get these two congressmen from Hoenn's signatures for him. It wasn't really that hard. Now I'm in a whole different situation though, but that's a story for some other time," replied Logan.
Zak slowly nodded his head and then said, "See, Steven also asked me to do him a favor. It was a job similar to that. I had to spy on someone or something. I don't have all the details because I declined to do it. I don't want to get involved in anything like that. I'm just here to train my Pokémon and have my own experience. Are you worried that you might be in any danger?"
Logan thought for a second, then said, "I don't believe I'm in any danger yet. Providing that Steven does a good job of covering his tracks, they shouldn't link any trouble to Jubilife City a few days ago or anything like that. I think I did a good job of disguising myself as well, so I'm feeling pretty confident."
"Well I sure hope you did. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you because of that. You're a talented trainer. You gave me one of the more difficult battles that I've come across thus far. The way you used Thunder Wave, knowing that it wouldn't effect Gligar, to stick him in the ground was impressive. You made me change strategies in the middle of a battle, something nobody else in that tournament made me do. I was impressed," said Zak.
"Gosh, thanks man. I was just trying to figure out something that would at least put you on your heels. You're going to be tough to beat down the road as well. If that Beldum develops, I don't think anyone will be able to touch you."
"I appreciate that, but Beldum is a different sort. He is hard to figure out. He rarely listens to me. It's frustrating at times because he knows that I'm not Steven Stone, and he thinks that he doesn't need my guidance. It's going to take some time before he buys into the idea of me training him," confessed Zak.
The two boys ate their food and continued talking. After they were finished, Logan paid their bills and went their separate ways. Logan was on his way to the Pokémon Center, while Zak said he had to pick something up at the Pokémart.
"Hey, stay safe, man," called out Zak as he walked away from Logan. Logan went to the Pokémon Center in hopes of finding his friends. Once they met up, he would challenge the gym when he thought he was ready. He hoped that he hadn't lost too much time. Overall, he was happy with what the future promised. He had grown fond of Baron and his antics and felt like he and Bolt were getting along.
Steven sat in his office facing a computer screen. He was on a video meeting call with five others. In one box was the famed Elite Four trainer and Captain, Drake. He was seen with his cap on and seemed nervous. In another box was the Kanto gym leader, Koga. His expressionless face never shifted during the course of the meeting. Morty, the gym leader from Johto, was also in attendance. Volkner, from the gym in Sunyshore City in Sinnoh, was in his box. The last box was black because the person was not there. The location underneath the box simply read, No Signal.
"Any new findings?" Steven asked his panel.
Drake spoke up and delivered his news, "I'm becoming more sure of their involvement with every day that passes. I think they may be on to me. I'll keep you posted as the days go by."
Steven nodded. Volkner was next, "Nothing to report here. It's been the usual boring Sunyshore."
"Don't get too complacent, Volkner. You never know what might happen. Morty, have you gotten anything?" said Steven.
Morty took a deep breath and said, "My visions haven't yielded anything of note for the future. It is cloudy though. I may have to collaborate with Sabrina if things don't clear up."
"I'd be careful about her. Make sure she is exactly who you think she is before you go telling her everything that is going on. I've never been too fond of her. My area is all clear," replied Koga.
Steven responded, "Alright, sounds good, team. Has anybody heard anything from-"
Koga cut him off, "Of course nobody has heard anything from him. He never shows up to these, and he never communicates with anyone. He thinks he's so special. He needs to start pulling his weight around here, or else I'm going to go find him and give him a piece of my mind."
Steven just laughed at the outburst, "Koga, you say that every meeting. I doubt he gets any signal anyway. Besides, he is very special. I wouldn't want that kind of power and responsibility put in my hands. I think he's doing the right thing. After all, we know where to look if we ever need him. Anyways, what's your take on the recruits?"
Drake put in his word, "I think it's a decent idea. It certainly gives us eyes in areas where we otherwise wouldn't be, but I question the loyalty of these kids. How are we to know what they will do when they are faced with a high pressure situation where they might be forced to give us away?"
There were mumbles of approval from the panel. Steven spoke up, "I believe in them. I think I picked reliable and capable correspondents. I guess we will just have to wait and see. By the way, I found one just the other day that is sure to be loyal. He says that his brother was supposedly killed in the Ever Grande attacks. It gets even better, too. Guess who his brother is? Joseph Bismarck."
Morty's eyes grew wide as he recalled the memories of Joseph. He was a close friend of Morty's as well. Morty was not the caliber that the other two were and was eliminated in the final eight. After that, he went to train under renowned Ghost type trainer, Agatha, of the Kanto Elite Four. Through this connection, he got to his current job as gym leader.
"How did you ever come across him?" asked Morty.
Steven chuckled and replied, "I was shocked as well when he told me. He is sure to be a valuable asset to us in the future, but he is inexperienced. I'll be keeping my eyes on him. Fate works in mysterious ways, Morty."
22nd February 2015, 10:10 PM
Logan entered the Pokémon Center and found just what he was looking for. His friends were sitting there lounging in the common area that the building provided to the trainers. They were there along with the other group as well. He made a quick wave and dropped his Pokémon off to the nurse. Then, he greeted his friends.
"Dang, dude, where have you been?" asked Conner.
"I've had a more difficult time than you would think," responded Logan. He related the whole tale of his past few days to his friends. He left out a few of the more important details regarding his interaction with Stone because he wasn't sure he could trust the other group. Previously, he had no trouble telling Zak everything because he felt like Zak already understood what was going on. He continued to describe his slow progress through Route 203 along with his adventure in the cave.
"Sounds like an eventful journey," added Henry.
"I guess it was," said Logan absently as he reflected on what he had been through. "How were your travels?"
Lucas spoke up now, "Not too bad. We went through Route 203 really quickly and had no troubles getting through Oreburgh Gate. We didn't make any wrong turns or anything stupid like that." The response had a condescending tone that offended Logan.
He responded with his own sarcasm imbued remark, "Wow! That's really great! I'm really impressed with how you did that, being in a group of four and all. Must've been tough not having to travel alone."
"Shut up. At least we didn't get lost and need bailed out of the smallest cave in Sinnoh," Lucas retorted.
"Like you could have done better! You wouldn't have lasted a minute in that room full of Pokémon," Logan responded.
"You're right. I would have just taken all of them down and went on my way. I wouldn't even need someone else to help me out."
"Right, because that explains why I beat you head to head," replied Logan calmly.
Lucas was furious at this recollection of their match up and stood up to face Logan, who had never sat down. William could sense the tension and clenched his fists in eager anticipation. The rest were also intently watching to see what unfolded.
"How about we let everyone here watch me wipe the floor with you this time around?" said Lucas.
Logan thought for a second, then said, "I'd rather not embarrass you too much today. I need my Pokémon healthy for when I take on the Gym Leader anyway. I don't want to waste my time on you." After saying this, he walked over to the nurse, picked up his Pokémon and walked out. His friends excused themselves and followed him. Lucas started to go after them, but Carly told him to get over it. She's had to keep him in check multiple times already in the journey.
Conner caught up to him and asked, "Dude, what was all that about?"
"Nothing, really. I just wasn't in the mood to deal with Lucas and his mouth."
"Well he's mad, man."
"Let him be mad. I don't see what he's going to do about it," said Logan confidently. On the inside, he was concerned. He didn't know how much stronger Lucas's Pokémon had gotten, and if his Squirtle had evolved, then he might as well forget about it. He wasn't as concerned with a physical confrontation. Should something happen, even though Lucas was slightly bigger than him, he knew he had his friends to back him up.
They walked around the town, from the museum to the coal mine. They were just talking and catching up. Most of the time was spent remembering the days at home and speculating on the days ahead. They returned to the Pokémon Center late at night and promptly went to sleep.
The next two days were spent in preparation for challenging the local Gym Leader. Avoiding Lucas, Logan trained both with his friends and by himself. He worked especially hard with Baron. He knew Baron would be a key if he were to win. Bolt made progress as well with his Quick Attack. Logan was not surprised when Bolt made him work out with the two Pokémon as well. This was a policy that Baron embraced with glee. He loved seeing his trainer struggle and work. It was all a part of "being the best" in his mind.
The final night before the four boys agreed to challenge the Gym Leader, they went out to one of the only restaurants in town. With sore muscles, Logan gladly relaxed and enjoyed the delicious food. The boys discussed their different strategies for tomorrow. They had gone and watched a few of the Gym Leader's matches while they were in town, so they knew what they were up against.
"I'm not worried. Frank will take them down no problem," Conner boasted. Nobody argued because they knew it was true.
"I've been working with Sherman on his Mach Punch, and I think he's got it mastered pretty well. He's adapted to his new body quickly," said William, referencing his Chimchar's recent evolution into Monferno.
Logan put in his word, "Baron should be fine. There's not much that can hurt him, and his Metal Claw and Mud-Slap attacks should be successful against Roark. What about you, Trae?"
"Ulysses will take care of it. I'm just disappointed that I won't be able to show off how much Rayne has improved."
After dinner, they went back to the Pokémon Center and went to bed early in preparation for the big day ahead. Sleep was hard to come by for the four beginning trainers on the night before their first gym battle.
After a night of tossing and turning, the boys got up eager to prove themselves. The scheduled times for their matches were spread throughout the day. Conner was up first at ten o'clock. They ate a light breakfast and headed over to the gym.
There was a small lobby where Conner checked in, and the others made their way to the empty stands. They were the only ones present to watch the proceedings other than two little boys. The two kids were regulars here to watch the battles.
Conner stepped on to the battlefield first and surveyed the terrain around him. There were boulders and stones of various sizes strewn everywhere around the field. Conner scraped his foot along the ground in front of him to get a feel for the surface. It was mostly dirt with gravel in some spots. While he was doing this, the Gym Leader, Roark, emerged onto the battlefield.
"Hello there, challenger!" yelled Roark from across the field. He laid out the official Pokémon League rules for gym battles. After he finished, he got approval from the official of the battle and released his first Pokémon.
Conner stared at the lump of stone in front of his opponent. The rock had two arms that extended on either side of it.
"Geodude? We can handle that," said Conner as he threw Frank's Pokéball. The Grotle checked out his opponent and gave an approving grunt.
"Use Razor Leaf!" Conner yelled. The Grove Pokémon unleashed a flurry of leaves from the small bushes on its back that zipped towards the helpless Geodude. The attack did what was expected of it, and the Geodude was knocked out.
This domination continued for the duration of the battle, and Conner won easily. Roark wasn't disappointed and gave Conner his badge. He met back up with his friends acting as confident as ever. The group conversed for a moment while Roark healed his Pokémon, then Trae was up.
The required formalities were performed, and then Roark sent out his Geodude again.
Trae took a deep breath and sent out Ulysses. The Piplup sprayed a few bubbles to show it was ready. Roark gave an audible sigh as he realized what his fate would be. Ulysses sent Bubble attack after Bubble attack at all of Roark's Pokémon until finally they were all knocked out. Trae received his badge and returned to the stands.
Next up was William. Sherman was called upon to battle the previously mentioned Geodude first. Having only one attack that would do significant damage to the tough Rock type, he relied on Mach Punch. The Fire type was jumping around in a blur as he threw multiple punches in quick succession at the slow Geodude. After the Geodude was knocked out, Roark sent out his Onix. This much larger Pokémon posed a problem for Sherman, who was vulnerable to Rock attacks.
Roark capitalized on this weakness by hitting the Monferno with a Rock Throw. Dodging the next attack, Sherman moved in for a blinding Mach Punch. Slamming his fist into Onix's body, the attack did little damage. Sherman had to hit the vulnerable spots like between segments and the face. After coming to this realization, Sherman adapted quite well. The fiery monkey was too quick for the Onix, and Onix eventually was overcome.
Roark then sent out his ace, Cranidos. Cranidos lacked the opportunities to showcase his skills in the previous battles due to bad match ups and consequently, quick exits. Roark ordered a Headbutt, and Cranidos pawed the ground for a second and then took off towards Sherman. He was surprisingly quick, but the Monferno's reflexes were quicker. Taking a quick hop to the side, Sherman deftly dodged the reckless attack and countered with a quick jab to the face. Cranidos toppled over at the sudden loss of balance. The size of his head in relation to the rest of his body makes his species susceptible to such mishaps.
With Cranidos on the ground, Sherman kicked up the assault. He blew an Ember attack straight into the face of his opponent, largely for intimidation as it did little real damage. After this, he fell to his enemy, launching punch after punch to the helpless Cranidos's body. The assault was over just as quickly as it started, and Sherman was the winner. Roark declared William the winner and presented him the badge.
Logan was the only one remaining now. Roark said he would be right back as he dejectedly went back to heal his Pokémon, knowing what kind of competition Logan was likely to bring as a result of the beat downs his friends had given the leader already.
Roark returned quickly, and Logan took his place on the battlefield. He wasn't nervous, but felt like he should be, this being his first ever gym battle. He thought it might be because of the ease with which his friends had already won, but then he realized it was because he did not have the slightest doubt that he would win. He laughed under his breath as he thought of this. The kid that was so solemn after not winning that tournament due to his belief that he would not be able to defeat the Gym Leader is now fully convinced that he will not have trouble with Roark.
He snapped back into focus as he gripped the smooth, cold metal of Baron's steel gray Pokéball. He released the tiny quadruped, and he appeared ready to battle, screaming taunts at the Geodude waiting across the room.
[Don't worry, Logan. I got this under control,] said Baron as he charged the Geodude, only to stop short and fling mud into the creature's eyes. This was followed by a raking Metal Claw across the body of the Geodude.
While watching his little independent Pokémon battle away without command, Logan turned his thoughts back to what he was previously thinking about. He realized his confidence was no accident. He contributed it to Steven. When Steven gave Logan that Pokémon, he was doing more than just providing him with a favorable type match up. By choosing Baron, with his arrogance and all, he was providing Logan with confidence put into the form of the young Aron. Extreme as he may be, Baron gave Logan a certain edge and swagger that he previously lacked. Steven was instilling in Logan this because he saw very clearly that the young trainer lacked exactly that. For Logan to go as far as he dreams, and as far as Steven needs him to go, he needed this attribute.
Logan came back to the battle with a jump. He hadn't realized he had let his mind go off on such a tangent. Bolt would never have allowed such a thing, but Baron had hardly noticed. He just kept battling. He was now facing Roark's Onix. Baron had yet to find the weak points in Onix's anatomy and continued to try direct strikes at the boulders that made up Onix's body, convinced he would break him down eventually.
"I guess this is why I'm here," said Logan. "Baron, go for the spots between the boulders."
Baron made a run for the giant rock snake, but was met with a strong impact of the Pokémon's tail to his head. While stopping Baron's movement, the attack did little actual damage to the little Rock/Steel type. Logan was blown away by the sturdiness of his little friend. Baron stood still, as if confused himself as to why the head on strike didn't hurt him.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Hit him with a Metal Claw," commanded Logan.
Baron was emboldened by the toughness of his face and charged the Onix recklessly. It brought a chuckle to Logan as he saw the behemoth of a Pokémon shrinking away from his angry little Aron, who, when standing up tall, stood at a little over a foot. He knew he would hear from Baron later about how he scared the huge Onix. Baron eventually brought the Onix down with a few Metal Claw attacks.
Roark sent out Cranidos, who's species is famous for their hard skulls, and Logan ordered Baron not to take attacks head on as he did last time. Baron clearly wanted to test Logan's warning for himself, but surprisingly refrained from doing so. Baron avoided head on collisions and used Metal Claw to full effect and came out victorious in little time.
"Congratulations, let me present you with your official Pokémon League Gym badge," said Roark as he fumbled through a pocket in his pants. He gave a look of disappointment, "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I forgot to get a badge for you. I have more in my office. Come with me and I'll get you one right away. Sorry again for the inconvenience."
Logan assured him it was not a big deal and followed Roark to the door on Roark's side of the arena. The door opened up to a hallway that split to the left and to the right. Roark turned left and after a short distance, made a right and went down a few stairs. He opened a door at the bottom of the stairs to reveal his office. It was small, but not cramped. It had a bookshelf full of books that Logan scanned to find out they were all about coal, Rock Pokémon, and mining practices. On the large wooden desk that Roark was making his way behind, Logan was puzzled to see a large book that was titled The Principles of Government. Logan was confused as to why a young Gym Leader like Roark would be interested in such a topic, but dismissed the thought as nothing more than a curiosity.
"Let's see, they're in this drawer right here," said Roark as he turned ninety degrees to a stack of drawers. He pulled one out and Logan's mind immediately was filled with what seemed like a million questions. In the drawer, right next to the Stone like badges, were pins of the symbol that Steven had shown him earlier. The arrow with the circle around it. It was a simple design, but unmistakeable. He was sure it was the one Steven told him to look out for. He knew Steven would want to know what was going on, if he already didn't know. Logan had no idea what his mentor knew or didn't know. He decided to find out more either way.
"What are those for? They don't look like Gym badges," asked Logan with innocent confusion.
Roark lit up with excitement at the curiosity that Logan exhibited, "I'm the local leader of the People's Union of Sinnoh party, and these are the pins I give out to the new members."
"Oh that's neat. I think I've heard of that name, or something similar to it, but I just can't place it," admitted Logan as he made a face that said he was thinking hard to try and remember.
"I'm sure you have! The People's Union of Hoenn party has just recently taken power in Hoenn and is going to make tons of great new changes. We follow the same principles and are largely lead by the same people. It's great to have a model in Hoenn to work from and see all the success we're having," said Roark with unmasked excitement.
"That is pretty cool how they're connected like that. Who is the leader of the Sinnoh part of the party?"
"That's my dad, Byron. He's been a part of it basically even before it started, so he knows all the ins and outs of how it is. I couldn't wait to get involved, and, when I became Gym Leader, he let me take over the local branch."
"Wow I wish I had that kind of dedication like your dad has. This is pretty interesting, who can I contact on my travels if I ever want any more information?" Logan asked finally.
Roark could hardly contain his happiness at Logan's possible conversion, "Here, take this number and say that Roark personally referred you. That part is important because I get credit if you join." he scrawled a telephone number on a sticky note he had on his desk and held it out to Logan.
Logan took it with gratitude and said his thanks and goodbyes. As he made it to the door, he turned and asked, "You think I could have one of those pins so I don't forget about your organization during my adventures?"
Roark could hardly contain himself, "Of course, of course, please take one."
Logan caught the pin that he tossed and stuck it in his badge case, much to Roark's delight. Logan thought the pin might come in handy. He retraced his steps until he was back in the lobby where his friends were waiting for him.
"What took so long?" asked Conner.
"Took him a while to find them. Weren't in their normal spot," responded Logan absent-mindedly. He was on his phone sending a text message to Steven.
It simply read, "Meet me at Oreburgh Museum ASAP." He hoped he would get a positive response from his busy friend. His less famous friends were trying to figure out something to eat for an early dinner. Logan was hardly participating. He was too busy trying to decipher what he just heard. They had finally come to a conclusion when Logan's phone, as well as his face, lit up.
"Ok. Be right there. Meet you at 5," was the message he received. Logan was startled at the reply. It was already four thirty, and Logan was unsure of whether he could make it there in time himself. He decided to skip dinner and head straight there. It was tough convincing his friends, but eventually they relented, but not without calling Logan Steven's little pet. He knew they were just giving him a hard time, but it still offended him.
He walked the distance from the Gym to the museum at a quick pace. He arrived short of breath, disgusted by his lack of conditioning, and checked his phone for the time. 4:50. He allowed himself a satisfying smile and searched for somewhere to wait outside the museum. There were benches spread down the sidewalk and he scanned them for a place to sit. He was surprised, once again, to see Steven sitting patiently alone on one of the benches, watching the people pass by on their way home from the museum. He got a laugh out of the sight of the most powerful trainer in Hoenn sitting alone on a bench, hands together in his lap, waiting patiently while watching passerby do double takes as they walk by.
"You shouldn't walk with your head down like that. You'll miss things that you should see," he said, raising an eyebrow that implied Logan should've spotted him from a greater distance, "and it makes you look weak and vulnerable. Posture is important for how others perceive you.”
"Hello to you, too, then," said Logan as he sat down next to him. This merited only a look from Steven.
"You're here early. Were you in the area?" asked Logan.
"You're early yourself. Anyway, no, I was in Rustboro at Devon Corp. headquarters talking with my father about accounting. I was more than happy to see your text," said Steven with a chuckle. This puzzled Logan even more, and Steven saw his confusion.
"You're probably wondering how I got here so fast," said Steven, who was reaffirmed by a nod from Logan. "I used my Claydol's Teleport. It's really quite handy."
"That does sound convenient. Anyway, I wanted to talk with you because of some information I learned about the people who we are concerned with," said Logan.
Steven nodded and responded, "I don't want to talk here. You never know who is listening to you, especially when you're as noticeable as I am. Let's go back to Devon Corp. My father will want to hear this as well."
Steven called out his Claydol from a Pokéball luxuriously decorated in the likeness of its inhabitant. Claydol appeared with a flourish and immediately knows its purpose. Steven told it the destination and motioned for Logan to take hold of its arm. In an instant, they were dropped into an office. Steven landed on his feet, and Claydol just floated in place, but Logan crashed to the floor.
His legs were weak, and he felt disoriented. He managed to squeak out from his fetal position on the ground, "What the heck just happened. I can't feel my legs, and my vision is cloudy. The world is spinning, and I have a huge headache."
"Oh, right, sorry about that. I must have forgot. It's been so long since I've teleported someone who isn't used to it. It takes some adjusting to, but eventually you'll get the hang of it. I probably should have started you off with something shorter, oh well. The sensation should go away in a few minutes. Just stay where you are, and I'll go get my father. And maybe some refreshments? Yes, of course, why not?" said Steven as he walked out of the room.
Logan stayed in his miserable state for what seemed like days before he felt strong enough to open his eyes. After his vision adjusted, he scanned the room. It was modeled in largely the same fashion as the apartment Steven had in Jubilife, albeit slightly older looking. He continued to examine the room until he met eyes with Claydol. His two eyes met the Pokémon's many eyes, and Logan snapped his eyes shut. There was something eerie about the Pokémon. It just continued to float in silence and stare at its unknown companion.
Steven returned, and Logan was feeling better by that time. The stately Mr. Stone followed his son. Logan went from his current sitting up position to standing to give him a handshake. Logan's hands were shaky and his coordination was off, so Mr. Stone made sure to go and meet his hand.
"I remember my first time I teleported. It was miserable, but it improves quickly. I ought to give my negligent son a spanking for his behavior. I do apologize for him teleporting you so far on the first time," said Mr. Stone.
Steven spoke up, eager to change the topic from his own mistake, "So, Logan. What was it you wanted to tell me about?"
Logan concentrated on the floor as he ordered his thoughts. After some brief thinking, he said, "Well, I had just finished my gym battle, and Roark was out of badges."
At this point, Mr. Stone interrupted, "Oh, splendid job. The first gym battle is always the most memorable. In fact, I remember when little Steven came bursting in the house to tell us all about his first badge."
Steven jumped in, "Dad, please stop and let him finish."
Logan continued, "It's fine. Anyway, he took me back to his office where the other badges were stored. Inside, there were dozens of badges along with a different kind of pin," Logan looked in his backpack for his badge case to show the pin. His belongings had been shuffled around as a result of the teleport. He continued talking while he was searching.
"I asked him what the pin was about and he said that he was the leader of the local branch of the political party it stood for. After some more talking, I discovered that his father, Byron, is the Sinnoh Regional Director and has been involved in it for quite some time," Logan finished as he continued rummaging through his bag.
"Logan, what was the pin? What was the party?" Steven asked suspiciously.
Logan had finally found the case, "I pretended to be interested in it, and he gave me this. I'd say it explains the rest." As he said the last sentence, he pulled the pin from the case and handed it over to Steven.
Steven looked at the pin. Its perfect circle colored gold while containing a metallic red arrow that touched the circle in two places made it a simple, yet unmistakeable symbol. He rubbed it over with his thumb a few times as he stared unblinking at its shiny, smooth surface. After a few seconds of this, Steven finally blinked and Logan could see the tear form in the corner of his eye.