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Thread: Roots // PG-13

  1. #51
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    Umbreon Ruler! Welcome back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Umbreon Ruler View Post
    Not much happening besides a little development between Michael and Patricia’s bond but that’s alright. I genuinely do feel bad for his mother since (it seems) she’s trying very hard to get through to her son and getting nowhere. I was secretly hoping you’d give her the win in the argument just to put a smile on her face. :P And it hurt to read that the bond Michael had broken “would never mend again.” I have no hope for their shared happiness now. XD
    Yeah, I did a pretty good job of messing up their relationship... But Patricia's story won't end here, just so you know. There will be more to say about the two of them.

    And "Michael made his was down the street casually"? Haha, thanks for pointing that out. I disagree with the comma one, because Michael is supposed to say it all in one breath. But whatever, I guess.

    I have to say, I'm glad to have someone on Patricia's side. (As the writer I try to be unbiased, but since I'm writing in Michael's point of view, naturally, he sees himself as the victim.) I'll be getting more on their relationship later in the story, but I think you'll like how it'll turn out.

    Yes, Funky Town is the song. I downloaded it just so I wouldn't have to go on Youtube every time I wanted to listen to it. I've never listened to Gaslight Anthem before, but I'll Google it in my free time. Only two or three songs in my library fit the mood of this story, and listening to music helps motivate me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Umbreon Ruler View Post
    I also found it kind of funny that as soon as Michael finishes telling the blonde how he knows the area pretty well he realizes he doesn’t know where a hotel is. XD
    Yeah, that's one of the pitfalls of flirting :P Very fun to write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Umbreon Ruler View Post
    The reaction to the Deoxys discovery bothers me a little bit. I mean, this is an alien they’ve found and everyone seems more upset that they were beaten. Plus, those must be some highly intelligent scientists to find out what they did about the creature with the technology (I assume) they had during that time in the Pokémon world.
    I was hoping someone would notice that. The brief explanation would be that some groups of people (like Michael and his friends) watch the Space Race for the sake of competition. They don't really care about the science of it all, just keeping score. I did this on purpose, since this will be a big part of Michael's character development.

    As for the technology, science was pretty advanced back then. It's just that most of their stuff wasn't available to the general public. (Like the computer, for example. They did all sorts of things with it, even began to use it to build automobiles, but didn't build the desktop until around 1970.) They even had atomic clocks.

    The best part about writing a story like this is researching the time period, the technology, and the way of life in general. I try to implement all these things into the story to make it more realistic.

    So, thanks a bunch for the review! See you next chapter.


    The story of Professor Rowan - Chapter 42 is up!

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  2. #52
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    Wow, life isn't so easy for Michael now, is it?


    Just wanted to say I liked the chapter, I've never been good at reviewing >.> Thanks for taking the time to answer my question, too. Yaaaaay.
    Poliwhirl is an awesome pokemon. So there. Think aout that long and hard. That's what she said.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Lovett View Post
    I was hoping someone would notice that. The brief explanation would be that some groups of people (like Michael and his friends) watch the Space Race for the sake of competition. They don't really care about the science of it all, just keeping score..
    ... which really isn't so far-fetched at all.

    Thinking back to 'our' space race, I'm pretty sure that if, say, the Soviet Union discovered life on Mars before the U.S. did, lots of people over here would care very little about the discovery in itself--only the fact that we 'lost' and didn't find the little green men first.

    Granted, I don't know if Hoenn and Shinnoh have /that/ tense a rivalry, but this is the sort of thing that's keeping the story interesting!

  4. #54
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    Isosceles: That's all right. It's enough for me if you just stop by and say hello

    Super_Nerd: Yeah, that's all too true. Story-wise, I wouldn't say that the countries themselves are at an all out (undeclared) war; it's just that the people are.

    Thank you both for reading and commenting!


    The story of Professor Rowan - Chapter 42 is up!

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  5. #55
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    A/N: This chapter is personally my favorite. I tried something new with spacing in the beginning to better convey how Michael wakes up. Plus, you get to find out who the other boy in the banner is


    (P.S. This is where things start getting tricky real-life. Since school's almost started for me, I'm gonna simmer down a bit on the writing. I have a lot of things to get together before I go. I'll still try to post once a week, though I may be inactive. I'll let you know of course if there's going to be a horrendously long delay in a chapter or otherwise.)


    0.6


    When Michael eased back into consciousness, the first thing he became aware of was a dull throbbing in his leg. He was leaning against something hard and uneven and... yes, he was sure it was making his back ache. Beneath him, the ground felt shifty and lumpy.

    Where am I?

    A few patches of light separated themselves from the darkness.

    Was it all a dream? Am I back in my room?

    His mother's angry face appeared before him, suspended in the oblivion. He had started a fight with her. She had said something to him... and then his anger got the better of him and he replied. She had left his room, and she had been so angry, but then again, hurt.

    Ha ha.

    He started to clean his room. But his backpack was there too; it was telling him to go.

    Ha ha.

    His room began to blink with color, and suddenly, it transformed into the Jubilife skyline. He had trudged across an entire city in a single night... and now a fresh jolt of pain squeezed his leg to remind him. He had decided to run away, with nothing but a backpack and a cage carried along with him.

    The girl. Now her face popped into view, that slight frown and amber eyes. She had looked at the cage, and said that it was too heavy a burden. She had laughed. Probably should be getting back to her cousin now, yes, he drank too much and would need a ride home. Stupid Stunky. Always there to ruin the day.

    Ruined his day. Team Rocket had ruined his day. No more Space Race... Deoxys was watching from up above. Laughing at him. Didn't want to sleep outside, but what choice did he have?

    Then, a frozen image of the night sky. He had fallen asleep and the image vanished, replaced by a blank backdrop. The reel had ended.

    But the laughter continued.

    It had started out as a vague peal, but now it was slowly rising out... like something more than a memory.

    Slowly and slowly, the patches of light took form, first into a canopy of trees. Tall, high off the ground. A blend of color became shrubbery, wild and overgrown. No one had stopped to maintain this route in months.

    Next came the fence. White, picket maybe. It was broken and in some places the paint was chipped off.

    A dirt path somewhere ahead, clean, but covered in footprints that previous travelers had left behind. On it stood three figures.

    First, a bulky frame which became a boy. He wore a baseball cap, and a burnt cigarette dangled in between his lips. The second, a girl. Not pretty, but confident. Red hair. A nasty look in her eyes. The third, a scrawny boy. Michael couldn't see his face; it was hidden beneath a sunhat.

    They were all laughing.


    At him.


    Michael sat up and opened his eyes all the way.

    "Took you long enough, Tree Man!" hooted the boy with the cigarette.

    "Did Mommy kick you out of the house or somethin'?" the redhead said, her hands poised on her hips.

    "Who are you?" Michael said loudly. He struggled to stand, but his hand slipped on the tree bark and he fell back down. More laughter.

    "We were just watching you sleep like a baby." The redhead made a horrible pouty face. "Poor wittle homeless baby has nowhere to go!"

    "He's like one of those bums on the street! Wait 'till he grows a beard!" Once again, the pair tossed back their heads in loud, chest-heaving laughter. Somewhere underneath the noise, Michael heard the short boy's soft voice.

    "I think he's one of those cave people," he said, hiding his smile behind his palm.

    All of a sudden, the laughter stopped. The boy's companions turned to give him a strange look.

    "What are you talking about?" the redhead said. "Cave people live in caves. This guy lives by a tree."

    "Yeah, he climbs trees like an Aipom! What with those huge hands of his. He probably has a tail too, but he hides it in his pants," Cigarette Boy said. "Well, Tree Man? Do you climb trees or what?"

    Michael didn't answer, still not sure what to make of this. He had fallen asleep in an empty route, and had woken up to find three people standing in front of him. People he didn't even know. They were laughing so carelessly, so mercilessly, just like the so-called bullies at his school did. Only now did it occur to Michael how dorky he must have looked, sitting under a tree like he had nowhere else to go. Like he was a wimp.

    Heat rushed to his face. No one laughed at him. Not at Michael Rowan.

    Cigarette Boy yawned. "I asked you a question, Tree Man. Do I look like someone you wanna mess with?"

    "No," Michael said sharply, voicing the first thing that came to mind. "You look more like a Bidoof to me. What, with your buck teeth and your fat ass. You probably think you're just so cool right now, waving it in my face like a flag."

    At first, his statement cast off into silence. No one reacted. Then Michael heard a strange squealing sound, and the short boy erupted in giggles. He doubled over, and his knees sank into the leaves. The redhead rolled her eyes.

    Cigarette Boy, however, had flushed a deep red. "Well well well! Looks like we've got us a smartass! Hey Tree Man, didn't your mommy ever teach you about respect?"

    "Didn't yours ever teach you not to shove your pimply nose into other people's business?" Michael retorted.

    The small boy's laughs increased, but this time they were ignored. Both Cigarette Boy and the redhead were looking at Michael now, their fists clenched. Man, he really knew how to turn the tables.

    "I've had enough of your cheek," Cigarette Boy said. "We go to this route every day to practice and we've been doin' it for years. We don't like smartasses, but we take 'em down just as easy. Now look me in the eye, Tree Man, and tell me if you wanna be starting something." He crossed his arms, and waited.

    Michael looked at him for a few moments, already beginning to map out a plan of action. Cigarette Boy was leaning slightly to the right, and his arms were slightly lopsided. Uneven weight distribution. One hand curled into a fist, and the other hung limp, as if it belonged to someone else. With the right angle, Michael could probably manage to knock him down. Sure the kid had muscles, but Michael had enough experience to know that size did not always mean strength.

    Feeling braver than usual, he rose and cracked his knuckles. "Bring it on."

    They seemed surprised by this, but Cigarette Boy's sneer held a hint of satisfaction. He stepped forward and the sunlight caught his arm, underscoring the ripples in his muscles. Michael braced himself against the tree, ready to run, ready to kick, ready for anything...




    But to his surprise, the boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a pokéball.

    "Go!" he said, and a flash of white light illuminated the forest. An Azumarill sprang from the capsule, landing on all fours. Michael was bewildered.

    Am I supposed to fight that thing?

    He stood there for a few moments, unsure of what to do.

    "I'm waiting, Tree Man. Or did all your pokémon run away already?"

    A pokémon fight? Michael turned back to his tree. The Stunky was still there, watching curiously through the bars. Its ribcage was showing slightly through its skin. The Azumarill could pin it down in seconds. So the only thing left was... Turtwig.

    Michael's heart sank as he went over to his backpack and fingered the pokéball nestled in the pocket. He twisted the knob and watched the Turtwig materialize before him. In the daylight, its blue-green skin seemed even brighter.

    On cue, the others began laughing.

    "Whoa! What's with its skin?" the redhead exclaimed, her hands pressed to her mouth. "Is it like diseased or something?"

    "Doesn't matter," the bulky boy said, crossing his arms. "It's going down! Jaws, use Tackle!"

    What am I supposed to do now? Michael thought, resisting the urge to bite his lip.

    Several yards away, the Azumarill was preparing for a full-blown attack. It sprinted forward, and a cloud of dirt was raised as it gained speed. Beside him, the Turtwig stood absolutely still.

    "Move out of the way!" Michael urged. "Go left! Play chicken! Do something!" The Turtwig turned its head to look at him.

    "No! Don't look at me, look at -" But before he could finish his sentence, the Azumarill had collided with the Turtwig, eliciting an audible wham. Their combined momentum left deep skid marks in the dirt. The Azumarill wrestled Turtwig to the ground, where it lay flat on the back of its shell. Its legs moved back and forth, like a dying insect's.

    Michael gritted his teeth. "Get up!"

    The Turtwig began to rock back and forth, but it remained where it was. Finally, Michael bent down and flipped it over onto its feet. The pokémon shook, but held firm. On the other side of the battlefield, the three teenagers were laughing and jeering. Cigarette Boy pumped his fist in the air.

    "Finish it off! Use Water Gun!"

    Michael slapped his forehead. I lost. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do, and now I lost to them. He took one last look at his Turtwig. The sprout on its head was bent, making the leaves jut out at awkward angles. As he looked at it, he felt something click in his brain.

    Grass! Michael drew himself up. Of course! Water can't hurt plants! It can only help them!

    He turned back to the Turtwig, his eyes gleaming. "Use a grass attack! Water Gun can't hurt you, you're based on grass!" Michael felt a little silly saying this to a pokémon, but for some odd reason, he could tell that the Turtwig understood.

    It threw its head back a little, far enough so a few leaves dislodged from the sprout. At first, Michael didn't know what it was doing. But then, with a single flick, the leaves were sent tearing through the air like razors. Azumarill didn't even have time to move. The leaves seemed to stick to its body, leaving behind traces of red where they touched. The pokémon gave a single cry, then toppled. A tiny cloud of dust billowed around its body.

    Michael was dumbstruck.

    "What? NO!" Cigarette Boy snarled. His knuckles were white as he raised the pokéball to the Azumarill's body. After its outline faded away, he looked back up at Michael. "You'll be sorry, punk!"

    From behind him, the second boy smiled eagerly. "My turn?" Just as he was about to step forward, the redhead shoved him aside.

    "No, Henry. It's mine." She withdrew a pokéball of her own. It was covered in stickers. "I'll teach you some manners. Go Timmy!" A lean orange pokémon emerged from her hands, landing in the spot Azumarill had just vacated. Michael immediately recognized it as a Buizel - one of those annoying companions that the school swimming team practiced with. He had always thought that the yellow sacs around their necks looked like shock collars.

    The Buizel's tails flicked back and forth as it steadily lowered itself into a crouch. It looked ready to break into a sprint.

    "Again! Do the leaf thing again!" Michael said to the Turtwig. For a minute, he thought he saw it smile. Again the Turtwig threw its head back, and sent another series of leaves rushing towards the Buizel. But before they could make contact, the pokémon disappeared in a blur, letting them pass harmlessly to its side. The blur ran in a zigzag, and collided full-force into the Turtwig. The attack raised a cloud of dirt, making Michael cough. When it cleared, he saw that the two pokémon were still wrangling, rolling over and kicking at each other.

    "No!" Michael shouted. "Don't be a wimp! Use your surroundings! Knock it off balance!"

    "All right! Timmy, use Hydro Pump!" the redhead shouted, her brow furrowed in determination.

    Michael closed his eyes for a moment. Hydro... like water! Water again! He looked over to his Turtwig. It was lying on its side, its body bruised and dirty.

    "Get up, get up!" Michael bent down and lifted the pokémon to its feet. He looked it in the eye. "I will not lose this! I don't care if it kills you, tear that Buizel's head from its shoulders!"

    The Turtwig narrowed its eyes. "Turtur!" it screeched. It threw its head back again, but in the meantime, Buizel was preparing for an attack of its own. Its mouth was wide open, and some sort of liquid was bubbling in its throat. For a minute, Michael wondered if it was about to vomit. But instead, it lifted its face just as a wide jet of water sprayed out of its mouth, like some sort of fire hose.

    The water accumulated, then swept the Turtwig away in a torrent. The stream carried it off somewhere behind the bushes. Michael let out a growl. He spun around on his heel, ready to kick the Buizel down himself, but was immediately surprised to find it twitching on the ground with tiny cuts sprinkled along its body.

    What the...?

    The redhead seemed equally surprised. The corners of her lips were twitching as she slowly approached her pokémon. She maintained silence as she bent down over by the Buizel and returned it back into its pokéball. Then she went over to Michael, reached into her pocket, and pulled out a thin stack of bills. She slapped the money into his hands.

    "Ugh. Whatever. Freak." With that, she stormed off towards the open trail. Cigarette Boy was next. He went over to Michael, withdrew a single dollar, and let it fall to the ground.

    "Oops." He turned abruptly and went after the redhead. Michael was left standing alone with a bemused expression, a handful of money, and absolutely no idea what had just happened.

    For a minute, it was quiet. A Starly screeched from somewhere overhead.

    "Wow..."

    The voice nearly made him jump. Michael turned, and saw that the short boy was still there. He had come out from behind a bush, and was looking at Michael with reverence. "I've never seen anyone win against them before. How'd you do it?"

    Michael scowled. "You're with them. So beat it, before I kick your ass too!"

    The boy shook his head sadly. "They're not really my friends. All they do is take advantage of me. They treat me like dirt."

    Michael snorted. I wonder why.

    "To tell you the truth," the boy continued, "I'm no good at battling. I always lose. But you're, well... you're amazing."

    "Hardly." Michael eyed the bills in his hands. "What's the deal with them giving me money? Did they lose a bet or something?"

    The boy eyed him curiously. "What do you mean? That's what all trainers do. It's the code of honor. You lose, you pay money. It's respect."

    Michael paused for a moment. "So I can get money for beating people?"

    The boy nodded.

    A smile spread across Michael's face. "Neat. Well, I gotta go. I'm gonna find my Turtwig and get into some more battles. Later." He turned in the direction of the stream. It was already beginning to dry, but the initial path was still discernable. Turtwig must have landed somewhere in the bushes, if it was even strong enough to hold on.

    "Wait." The boy's voice cut him off, just as he took his first step. Michael turned back.

    "What?"

    "You're going to Oreburgh, right?"

    "I don't know. Sure?"

    "Can I come with you? I just need to get back to my hotel room." The boy's face reddened. "I don't know a lot of people here and I, well, I don't want to hang around Chester and Veronica anymore. So, if it's okay with you, I mean... the town's really big, and I'm afraid I'll get lost."

    Michael stopped for a moment, wondering if he was actually serious. This kid was the furthest thing from cool that he had ever seen. He was almost positive that after only a single day at his school, that boy would be running home in tears. He was probably a kiss up in class, bringing apples to the teachers and actually appreciating them. His mother probably bought him those cargo shorts, saying that they looked 'absolutely precious' on him. His hat made him look like a tour guide, or some sort of zookeeper.

    Michael was seconds away from saying all of this, but reason stopped him. It would only be for a few hours. Plus, his arm was tired from carrying the Stunky around.

    "Fine," he said. "But you're holding this." Michael went over to the cage and handed it to the boy, who smiled gratefully.

    "Thanks! I'm Henry, by the way." He hoisted the cage on his arm like a handbag.

    "Michael."

    Henry peered inside the cage, tapping it with his finger. The Stunky shrank back. "Where did you get this guy anyway?"

    "I caught it, obviously."

    "Like... with a pokéball?"

    "No, with my hands."

    Henry's eyes widened. "Coooool."

    Michael turned to face the stream. "I have to find my Turtwig."

    "Is that it right there?" Henry pointed. Sure enough, behind a nearby bush, Michael's Turtwig lay in a heap, its front legs gripping a loose branch. Its tongue was hanging out from between its lips and its eyes were closed.

    Michael scowled as he approached it. "Come on, get up!" he said. "You can't battle if you're lying around. Lazy." The Turtwig did not move. Michael nudged it with his foot, but it gave no response. He exhaled sharply. "What's with you? Are you dead or something?"

    Henry squatted beside the Turtwig. "It's probably just tired. You have to give it a few days to rest."

    Michael groaned.

    "But," Henry lifted a finger. "There is a faster way."

    "And that would be?"

    "Just take it to a Pokémon Center."

    "A what now?"

    "A Pokémon Center. It's like a mini hospital for pokémon. They put your pokéball inside this special heating chamber, and the therapy supposedly makes your pokémon recover from anything."

    Michael nodded. "Okay. Where do we find one of those?"

    "There's one in Oreburgh City. It's not too far away from here. And -" Henry leaned in closer. "- they have a Gym!"

    Judging by his tone, Michael guessed he was supposed to be excited by this. But all he could manage was a blank look. "What's that?"

    Henry's mouth gaped, as if it were the dumbest question in the world. He fought for words for a moment, then finally managed to say, "You're not a trainer, are you?"

    Michael froze. "No," he said firmly. "And if you have a problem with that, you can leave."

    "So... you're pretending to be a trainer when you're actually not?" Henry's expression was neutral. Michael braced himself.

    "What if I am?" he snapped. "Do you want to tell me what's right and what's wrong?"

    "No... it's just really... cool. How you don't care or anything." Henry fumbled for words. "I won't tell anyone," he added quickly.

    "Whatever."

    Henry's face fell. "Well, this stinks. Even non-trainers are better battlers than I am."

    "No one sucks that bad, kid."

    "Well, I do. I really do. I mean, pokémon won't listen to me, and they're all really slow for some reason..."

    "Good luck with that," Michael said. "So how far is Oreburgh?"

    "About three miles."

    "Then you can lead me there. After that, I'll leave you alone, and you can go back to your hotel room."

    "Okay."

    "Cool. Let's go." Michael gathered his things and started forward.

    For the first time in his life, he heard a beat of footsteps behind him.



    //////



    He and Henry walked through the remainder of Route 203, neither of them saying much along the way. Through it all, Michael was absorbed in visions of money.

    If I could beat everyone in town... I could become the most powerful battler in the world! I'd be rich!

    Henry, on the other hand, seemed more interested in the route itself. His eyes never left the tree canopies, and his mouth formed an 'O' whenever he saw a brightly-colored pokémon flick between the branches.

    "I wonder how many kinds of pokémon there are..." he said at some point, eyes sparkling.

    Michael didn't reply, however. He was too busy mentally constructing the pool in his future home.

    When they finally decided to stop and rest, the sun was high overhead and leaves were drooping from the heat. They chose a shady spot underneath an oak tree, where they sat watching the clouds. Michael reached into his backpack and zipped open his snack compartment. He withdrew a chocolate bar and began chewing with closed eyes, savoring the flavor.

    "Do you have anything else to eat?"

    Michael opened his eyes. Henry was eyeing the bar enviously.

    "Uh, do you want some?" He broke off a piece and offered it to him.

    Henry shrugged. "I can't. Mom says chocolate's bad for your stomach if you eat it too much."

    Michael frowned. "Is your mother here now?"

    "No."

    "Then take it. Don't be a wimp, she's not gonna come out from behind a tree and spank you." He held up the piece again. Henry laughed a bit, but still didn't take it. "Whatever," Michael popped it into his own mouth.

    He threw the remaining wrapper into a separate pocket. Then he took out his notebook and opened it up to a clean page.

    Dear Cory and/or Brendan,
    Sorry I didn't give you guys any sign that I was running away. It was kind of a last-minute decision. I just want you to know that I'm fine, and I'm about to go to Oreburgh City.


    Michael frowned, then scribbled over his lines. What if his mother or someone else got to the letter first? He started again.

    To whom it may concern,
    DO NOT READ THIS LETTER! FOR MY FRIENDS' EYES ONLY!


    Michael crossed it out again, then slumped back against the tree. It would be impossible to write a letter without the possibility of interception. He stopped to think for a minute, when he realized that Henry was peering over his shoulder.

    "What'cha writing?" he asked.

    Michael shook his head. "Nothing." He tore off the page and threw it into his backpack. He could always start again when Henry wasn't looking.

    "Okay." Henry reached into his own tote bag and pulled out a small canister. "Pokémon food," he said to Michael. "Here, I'll give some to your Stunky. It looks awfully hungry." Henry sprinkled some of the contents into the cage, and the Stunky squealed gratefully.

    Henry giggled. "You should really let this Stunky out of its cage. It looks like it could be a lot of fun to play with."

    "It'll run away," Michael said.

    For a minute, he absently watched the Stunky eat. It was eyeing Henry gratefully, and prancing around in circles. Michael's pencil dropped back down onto the paper and began to sketch the spiky outline of its fur. As the pokémon turned, Michael observed the curvature of its cheeks and the shape of its eyes. He did some shading, and added a grassy background. He was no artist, but the final result left him satisfied. He gazed down at it for a few moments, and ended up adding a sun and some clouds.

    "Can I ask you something?" Henry said after a while. Michael looked up, and saw that Henry was watching him draw.

    "What?"

    "Why is your Turtwig differently colored than normal?" Henry pulled on a blade of grass. "Sorry if it's a personal question or something, but I was just curious."

    Michael didn't answer. His gaze returned to the paper, and he doodled a quick tree in the landscape.

    "It's not the first time I've seen it," Henry said softly.

    At this, Michael looked up. "You've seen it before?"

    Henry nodded. "My friend had a Zubat that was green. She took it to a bunch of specialists to have it checked out, but they didn't know what was wrong with it. They ran all these tests and drew all kinds of graphs. They wouldn't give it back to her, though, even after she asked. And there were no more like it, so she couldn't get another one."

    "That's weird..." Michael said. "Did it ever change color or anything?'

    Henry shook his head. "Nope. I was wondering if you knew about it, since you have one of those weird ones."

    Michael slapped the page with his palm. "It's stupid how no one knows about any of this. When I asked that Emerson dude about my Turtwig, he just kicked us out. And he's supposed to be the authority on pokémon."

    "Wow, that was really mean of him to do that."

    "He's probably just too lazy to do his homework. I bet that the answer is sitting right there in one of his books, but he can't be bothered to look because he's too busy trying to quit smoking." Michael spat, and shoved his notebook back into his backpack. "Anyway, I'm not just gonna sit here all day. You ready to go?"

    "All right." Henry stood, and began to gather his things.

    Michael urged his heavy limbs to move back onto the path. Up ahead, he could see the beginnings of a strange rock formation. Branches obscured his view, but he was fairly certain that there was a sign hanging over it.

    "There's Oreburgh Gate," Henry explained. "It's the only public entrance to the city."

    Beyond that, Michael could see the hazy outline of the Coronet mountain range. Its jagged pattern stretched across the horizon, from the region's southern shores to its snowy northern valleys. The sun rested atop a blunt peak, illuminating the land on the other side. He exhaled slowly. For the first time, the world seemed like such a big place.

    "Well, we're not gonna get there by just looking at it," Michael said after a while. "Let's go." Michael started forward. From behind, he heard the beat of Henry's footsteps as he rushed to keep up.

    The Oreburgh Gate didn't have any doors. Its floor wasn't paved, and flickering ceiling lamps served as the lighting. The air inside was hot and thin. There were a few people here as well, cooing to wailing children and using pay phones. The lamps casted unnatural shadows on their faces, making them look demented.

    "My gosh, it's like a cave in here," Michael shuddered.

    Henry let out a dry cough. "Yeah. I hope the city isn't this bad."

    It wasn't. The first thing Michael noticed when they stepped out into the light was how brown everything was. The roads, the buildings, and even people's clothes had that same dusty shade. Unlike Jubilife, there were no flashing lights or advertisements to be seen. The closest thing to technology was the complex system of pulleys that circulated the town, transporting rocks of various sizes. Michael's eyes traced the maze and quickly found its starting point - a large opening in the ground on the far side of the city. Like Jubilife, it was buzzing with activity. But this town was like a tiny ant colony - small, but hardworking. Everyone here seemed like family, instead of just a bunch of strangers gathered in one spot.

    "I always liked this place," Henry finally said, inhaling.

    "So where's the Pokémon Center?"

    "It's a bit further in. I'll show you."

    Henry led him in a winding path, crossing intersections and sharply rounding corners. During a span of five minutes, Michael went through at least seven different visualizations of what the building might look like. Would there be a line? Would it cost him money? Would it be like one of those fancy clubs that never let anybody inside?

    Just when Michael thought his head would explode, Henry stopped and pointed. "Look!"

    In front of them was an ordinary-looking building, with shining windows and a bright red roof. A pokéball was painted on its door, but apart from that, it was nothing special.

    On the inside, Pokémon Center resembled a laundromat. The walls and floor were white, and were lined with strange machines. Michael watched as a woman placed three pokéballs onto a metal tray and closed the lid. Her machine glowed red for about a minute, then she withdrew the pokéballs and put them back into her purse.

    "Here, I'll show you how to use it." Henry pulled him over to an unoccupied machine and repeated the process. It hummed, displaying a constant temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Minutes later, Turtwig's pokéball came back out. It felt warm in Michael's hands.

    "That's it?"

    Henry smiled. "Yup. Turtwig's as good as new."

    Michael found it hard to believe that, but decided to take Henry's word for it. "Well, okay. Thanks, I guess." There was a pause. Henry began to rock back and forth, eyes drifting towards the ceiling.

    "So... are there any good places to battle, or is everything just lumped together here?" Michael asked.

    Henry clicked his tongue. "Well, there's a park at the center of town. I can show you that too. A lot of trainers come there to practice, but..."

    "But what?"

    "The people there are really mean." Henry looked down at his shoes. "They... they like to make fun of people, let's just say."

    Michael let out a groan. What was this kid, six? "I think I'll be fine."

    Henry shook his head. "No it's not a good idea! Trust me. They'll pick on you, just like Chester and Veronica did."

    Michael laughed. "You actually think I was afraid of your little dweeb friends? Let me clue you in on something. I was the coolest guy in my school. No one picked on me, because they all respected me. So I'm the last person you should be worrying about when it comes to those sissies."

    "But those kids are all bad!" Henry persisted. "They smoke and stuff!"

    "Just because someone smokes doesn't mean they're bad. My brother... he smoked, and he was the best person I ever knew." He looked at Henry again. "So are you gonna take me there, or am I gonna have to find my own way?"

    "Well... okay. But we can't stay long, okay?" Henry pleaded. Michael rolled his eyes.

    "Yeah sure whatever. Let's go."

    They left the Pokémon Center. Henry led him through several more streets, until they came across a large square clearing. The entire city ran around it, branching off into a bunch of little dirt paths that led to the park. Some kids were here already, sitting on benches and under trees. And although he searched, Michael saw only one boy who was smoking.

    "Well, here we are!" Henry said. "Who do you want to battle first?"

    Michael took a look around. He saw one girl sitting on a swing set stroking a Piplup, and a boy by the fence playing with his Machop. Neither of them looked like they could take a hit, much less pay a good amount. He walked past them. The other kids either didn't have pokémon with them, or turned away when he approached.

    Michael continued through the park, and stopped when he reached a tall white fence. A group of five boys was leaning against it, talking slowly and casually.

    "They look like a good group," Michael said. "What if I beat them five to one? How cool would that be?"

    Henry, however, was shaking. "Oh no..." He reached up to bite his nail.

    "What?"

    "You see those boys over there?" He pointed to the group. Someone had told a joke, and now they were all laughing heartily. Michael instantly thought of his friends, and felt a pang of guilt.

    "They're the ones who make fun of me," Henry said, keeping his voice low.

    "And what am I supposed to do about it? You have to stick up for yourself."

    "Yeah, but -"

    "Yo, it's Henry!"

    Michael looked up. One of the boys had noticed them, and was slowly coming their way. The gang trailed behind in a semicircle of grins. Henry seemed to shrink in their presence.

    "So who's your friend?" said the first boy. He looked over to Michael, giving him a quick once-over. Michael did the same. He noticed that the kid was wearing a Team Galactic shirt.

    "You got a name?"

    "Michael. Michael Rowan," he said simply, hands in his pockets. The boy nodded.

    "What you doing hanging around a wimp like him for?" He jerked his thumb in Henry's direction.

    "He's showing me around town." Michael nodded towards his shirt. "Been watching the Space Race lately?"

    The boy grinned. "Yeah. Team Galactic is boss, man."

    "Did you see those shots of Deoxys?"

    "Yeah yeah, nothing special. If you ask me, the Rockets are just desperate for an excuse to beat us."

    "Agreed," Michael said. "It's pathetic, really."

    "Yeah and for all we know, they could've faked it. Why, we could take a picture of Henry's face and say it's an alien species."

    Michael began to laugh.

    "What do you want from us, Mack?" Henry finally said.

    The boy turned back to Henry, his smile fading. "Not feeling too brave without those friends of yours covering your ass, are you? Is that why you brought Michael along? Think you can scare us away?" The rest of the gang began to chuckle.

    "It's... it's not like that..." Henry looked down again, and began drawing circles in the dirt.

    "You need to learn respect, little punk. Don't think I'll forget what you tried to do to us."

    When Henry lifted his face again, his cheeks were red. "Let's leave, Michael."

    "Mike can do whatever he wants, right? He's a cool head."

    Henry tapped Michael on the shoulder. "Come on, let's go!"

    "Hey, why don't you leave the kid alone and let him do what he wants?" The boy turned again to Michael. "You can hang out here if you want, Michael. You can help us maintain order in the park. Too many wimps like him, if you ask me. How about it?" The boy extended a hand. His arm was covered in dirt, leaves, and bruises.

    But before Michael could reply, he felt something jerk his arm forward. All at once, the gang groaned. It took a few seconds to realize what was happening. Henry had grabbed him by the arm and was stomping down the path, like a mother would do to her child. Michael felt his face redden as he struggled to pry his fingers off.

    "Shit! Henry, let go! What the hell are you doing?"

    "Those kids are mean, and I don't want to be around them."

    "So?" Michael looked back over his shoulder. The gang was shouting something over to them, but he couldn't hear what it was. They were already nearing the exit. "Man, why do you have to be such a -"

    "Wimp? Dweeb? Nerd?" Henry sighed and dropped his hand. "Everyone's so mean to me here!" His voice cracked, and his eyes filled with tears. Pretty soon, they were spilling down his cheeks.

    Michael gritted his teeth. "Stop crying. It's embarrassing."

    "I don't care!" he shouted, voice hoarse. "I'm sick of everyone treating me like this! It's not fair! Everyone does it! It's everywhere I go, and I don't know why!" He was seconds away from stomping his foot, but before he could, Michael grabbed his shoulders.

    "Listen to me, people are only gonna laugh harder when they see you cry! So shut up!" Michael shook him a little, and Henry quieted down.

    "I'm sorry!" He sniffed and wiped his eyes. "Those kids just annoy me so much! They're the reason I hate coming here."

    "Fine. Is there another place I can go to battle without having you scream in my face?"

    "T-the Gym, but..."

    "Now what?"

    "I'm not good for that either!"

    "Hang on, hang on. What is a Gym, exactly? Tell me."

    Henry sniffed again. "Not... not a lot of trainers want to do it. It's for the topest of the top. They say it's hard like crazy."

    "Do they give money?"

    "Yeah..."

    "Then let's check it out."

    "Wait, I don't want to go there either," Henry said.

    "Ugh. Why not?"

    "Because I always lose!" A fresh stream of tears fell from his eyes. "I'm not good at anything!"

    Michael sighed. "Give it another shot, okay? We'll go together."

    "No! I won't!"

    "You're acting like a little kid."

    "But I know I'll lose!"

    "Then you'll really lose! But if you're certain that you're gonna win, then you'll win."

    "But it doesn't work like that for me! You don't know what it's like to have every single person you talk to laugh at you! You don't know what it's like!"

    "Oh God, I am so sick of your sob stories! You're so damn soft!" Michael gave him a sharp punch in the shoulder. Henry staggered back, wincing with pain. "There's always gonna be some kid out there who has it worse than you do. But that kid isn't crying about it. He's fighting the world and making something out of himself. I'm giving you a choice. Today. Are you gonna be a closet wimp, or are you gonna do your own thinking?"

    Henry pondered this for a moment, wiping his nose of his sleeve. "Okay... Fine."

    "Good."

    Henry looked up at Michael with watery eyes, and smiled. "Thanks for that."

    "For what?"

    "For calming me down. You're a good friend."

    This caught Michael off guard. He stepped back a little, and looked at Henry curiously. "Okay. Uh... thanks."

    They left the park in silence. Michael's mind was churning. First his teacher had put him down. Then his mother had left him, dropping off the face of the Earth. Then a bookstore clerk had called him a monster. Then a pair of kids had laughed at him for sleeping under a tree.

    Then out of the blue came Henry, the kid who wore a sunhat, almost a foot shorter than him, the epitome of middle-school nerdiness, and the first kid who had ever called Michael Rowan a good friend.
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 9th July 2013 at 2:09 AM.

  6. #56
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    A very interesting story and a very original idea! I'm liking this story very much so far! Keep up all the great work!

    You've done a great job with character developement, thrown in some interesting twists, and added a good amount of humor considering how serious the story can get at some points.

    Chapter 6 was very entertaining, I can see why it's your favorite! As for errors, I could only spot one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Lovett View Post
    "There's one in Oreburgh Town. It's not too far away from here. And -" Henry leaned in closer. "- they have a Gym!"
    Dear Cory and/or Brendan,
    Sorry I didn't give you guys any sign that I was running away. It was kind of a last-minute decision. I just want you to know that I'm fine, and I'm about to go to Oreburgh City.
    At one point, you refer to Oreburgh City as Oreburgh Town, and then later call it Oreburgh City.

    Anyways, it's a great story! Would you mind adding me to the PM List?

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    On the other side of the battlefield, the three teenagers were laughing and jeering.
    Alright, one problem I have with the battle: Michael is too good. You said that the three trainers “practiced” every day, which I assume means they train, yet Michael beats them with very little difficulty. Not to mention the fact that Azumarill is an evolved Pokémon. I dunno, it just seems like battling comes a little too easy to him (which could be a part of his character for all I know, but I think the point still stands). However, the discovery of a cash payout was a good way to get Michael motivated to actually participate in training and battling. XD

    Henry should make an interesting (temporary?) traveling partner. His wide-eyed nature is a good contrast to Michael’s greedy, cynical attitude. And since I’m assuming that Michael has never had a “friend” quite like Henry, it could also lead to some interesting changes in both of them.

    Paha, I thought the park would be a good chance for Michael to defend Henry but instead it seems he was about to make new friends. :P Although the “good friend” comment was nice. If they stay together, they could definitely help each other out (in completely different ways, of course).

    A lot happened in this chapter but it seemed to flow well so good work on that. I'm wondering if Michael's drawing might be foreshadowing something but (based on Professor Rowan's Bulbapedia article) I can't imagine what. Maybe it was just a one time occurrence. *shrugs* And I couldn't help but think that maybe Stunky will be given to Henry (we still don't know what Pokémon he has, I guess).

    I believe that's all. Good chapter. :)
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    Very intruging, good job.
    A fanfic set in a magical region far away from Nippon. where a boy faces a mass of Shadow Pokemon and typical travel!
    Check it out!


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    All right, time to answer some reviews!

    ~Platinum~: I can't remember for the life of me if Oreburgh was a town or a city... (Thank goodness for the D/P Game Strategy Guide and Google!) I'm pretty sure it's a city, so I'll just refer to it as that from now on. PM list updated!

    Umbreon Ruler:

    Alright, one problem I have with the battle: Michael is too good. You said that the three trainers “practiced” every day, which I assume means they train, yet Michael beats them with very little difficulty. Not to mention the fact that Azumarill is an evolved Pokémon. I dunno, it just seems like battling comes a little too easy to him (which could be a part of his character for all I know, but I think the point still stands).
    I guess I should clear this up a little, but I won't do it too much since the answers will come with the story: Michael uses type advantages to win, whereas trainers of that time don't fully understand them yet. Kind of like the thing with the shinies. There's just so much that still has to be discovered. I get your point, though. Michael will lose his fair share, but I have to carefully time both outcomes.

    Yeah, Henry's the reason I love this chapter. There isn't another person more unlike Michael, and here they are now traveling together. Henry will be sticking around for a while. He'll be an important character later on. As for the drawing, I try to go by the Bulbapedia article and all the confirmed info on Rowan. So yes, he'll be interested in evolution, but I'll develop it in my way. The drawing won't directly influence that, but it'll influence something else. I'll let you use your imagination until I actually explain it :P

    Thanks for the review!

    Psychic Champion: Thanks for reading! Glad you liked it.



    See you next chapter.


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    Ohoho, so now Michael's gonna be battling for money huh? Niice.

    I can why this was your favorite chapter, Mrs. Lovett. Really good work, each one of your chapters sucks me in right away.

    Be seeing you next week

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    Piekid11: Is there really any other reason to battle? xD Anyways, glad you liked the chapter. Thanks for stopping by!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Lovett View Post
    "A Pokémon Center. It's like a mini hospital for pokémon. They put your pokéball inside this special heating chamber, and the therapy supposedly makes your pokémon recover from anything."
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Lovett View Post
    "Here, I'll show you how to use it." Henry pulled him over to an unoccupied machine and repeated the process. It hummed, displaying a constant temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Minutes later, Turtwig's pokéball came back out. It felt warm in Michael's hands.
    What the F*ck?!

    They barbecue the Pokemon?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicoloGuy View Post
    What the F*ck?!

    They barbecue the Pokemon?!
    Not when they're inside the pokeballs. It's a form of heat therapy, kind of like the patches people use to relieve pain. (And 102 degrees isn't hot enough to kill you, at least not after a period of only a few minutes :P)


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    Great chapter, Michael did win a bit easily but yeah, types and stuff. I do think the whole thing of giving money to a victor is a bit odd, even if it is out of respect. I don't think those annoying kids at the start really respected Rowan at all. I kinda liked the ones in the Oreburgh park, they seemed alright, Henry just needs to get a few buckets of self-confidence. Keep up the working of a good nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddypower View Post
    Great chapter, Michael did win a bit easily but yeah, types and stuff. I do think the whole thing of giving money to a victor is a bit odd, even if it is out of respect. I don't think those annoying kids at the start really respected Rowan at all. I kinda liked the ones in the Oreburgh park, they seemed alright, Henry just needs to get a few buckets of self-confidence. Keep up the working of a good nature.
    I take most of that stuff from the games. You know how you get prize money after every win. I thought it would be the perfect way to get Michael interested in battling the first time around. Glad you liked the chapter!


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    Oh, Henry seems like the perfect travel partner for Michael, right? ...right? XD

    Brilliant chapter, I've been waiting for some battle action. I like the way that you use Michael's simple strategies (grass absorbs water and the like) to defeat those other trainers. I was hoping Turtwig and Michael were going to have a moment, but I guess it's too early for that. ;_;

    I also like the way that no one has really researched pokemon in this time period, so type advantages don't really exist.

    I wonder what pokemon Henry has. If it's a Bidoof, I'm gonna laugh. XD

    Great chapter as I said before, looking forward to next week.
    Poliwhirl is an awesome pokemon. So there. Think aout that long and hard. That's what she said.

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    I was considering a Bidoof, but Henry has to have some dignity :P His pokemon will be made clear in the chapter after the next, or maybe even in the next, depending on how I work things out. I'm doing a lot of editing here.

    And yes, Henry is the perfect travel companion, isn't he? I've been waiting since Chapter 1 to post him... haha. Glad you're enjoying everything.

    See you next chapter!


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    I had to do a bit of PokeDex research for this one... you'll see how all that plays in soon enough. Sorry for the one-day delay, but I just had to do some more planning. Read on


    0.7

    "... so there are eight Gyms all over Sinnoh, and one leader for each Gym. Those trainers are really good, and you get a badge for each one you beat," Henry was saying, as they walked down Helix Avenue. It was a pretty busy road, full of pedestrians and hikers carrying shovels, but according to Henry, it was the fastest route to the Gym. During the past five minutes, he had covered the basics of the Gym's operation, all the trainers that would be there, and told Michael more about the worldwide competition that they called the Pokémon League. Apparently each country had its own, though each circuit was united under one logo.

    "And who's the leader for this town?" Michael asked.

    "Byron. I've battled him before, and he's really good. That's kinda how I got stuck with Chester and Veronica. They both won the Oreburgh Gym, and I'm the only one who lost."

    "Okay, and let's say I beat all the Gyms. Then what happens?"

    "Well, you can go to the Elite Four. They're the four most powerful trainers in the region. And after you've beaten them, well, if you get lucky enough, you get a shot at the most powerful one. The champion."

    "And after that?"

    Henry's growing smile faded for a moment. "I don't know. I don't think anyone's won before. They say you get a plaque, and your name goes down in a place called the Hall of Fame. Oh, and there's a money prize too."

    Instantly, Michael leaned in. "How much?"

    "Fifty thousand dollars."

    Michael felt as if he'd been slapped in the face. "Fifty thousand dollars... is there an age limit?"

    "I don't think so."

    Michael beamed, and looked up towards the sky. It was a clear summer blue.

    Fifty thousand... imagine if I won! I'd be the most powerful person in Sinnoh! I'll never have to count my money again.

    Indeed, it would be rather fitting if he left his home as a poor, homeless drifter, and eventually found riches on his travels. It would be the perfect success story, something that would inspire people to write books and even movies. Michael turned back to Henry, and saw that he had been looking up as well.

    "I'm gonna take the Gym challenge," Michael said.

    Henry's face fell. "Wow. I bet you have what it takes, though. You look like it. But me, I stink. I want to sign up for a rematch, but I don't think I'll make it."

    Michael grumbled. "My God, you're so fricking depressed. You're never gonna get anywhere, you know that?"

    "But it's true! He knocked my team out flat."

    "So try again and kick his ass this time."

    "I guess..." Henry said, without enthusiasm. They continued walking, and now, Michael could see a large brick building up ahead. It was bordered by shrubs, which hid a thinning lawn. They neared it, and Michael could see a sign that jutted out of the soil: 'Oreburgh City Gym. Leader - Byron.'

    "That's it?" he said. "That's the Gym?"

    Henry looked up. "Yeah."

    "Not too big on advertising, are they?"

    "They don't have to be. Just being the first Gym of the League makes it popular."

    The path that led up to the building wasn't paved. Now, Michael could see the sign in detail. Its surface was dented slightly, and there was a smaller inscription underneath the text: "I rock this town!" He chuckled to himself.

    "So how do we do this; do I just walk in and say I want a battle?"

    "Pretty much," Henry nodded.

    Michael stepped forward and knocked on the door. There was no answer.

    "Hello?" he called. His hand fell down to the doorknob, and he gave it a turn. It wasn't locked. He opened the door slowly and stepped in.

    Inside, the ceiling was high and the floor was covered with tumble mats. Small, square windows lined the walls, giving light to the room. It was spacious, clearly designed for a large event, but today the benches that lined the walls were empty. The only other people there were a young man and woman, both standing in the center. The man was reading something on a clipboard, dressed plainly in a polo shirt and pants. The woman stood behind him, humming, with her arms draped over his shoulders. They were so caught up in their task that they didn't notice when the door slammed, and the two new arrivals stepped into the room.

    "...so they want me to give ten percent of my profits towards the new museum, and in return they'll give me free advertising," said the man, scratching his chin. "What do you think?"

    The woman laughed loudly. "Oh, they've been asking that for months now! Can't you just say no already and stop playing nice?"

    Michael raised an eyebrow. A puzzled look had crossed Henry's face as well. He was about to back away when the man suddenly looked up.

    "Uh, hello. Can I help you?"

    "We're, uh-"

    The man snapped his fingers. "Oh, right, right, you're trainers! Sorry for not recognizing you, I'm really busy today. Are you here to schedule a battle?"

    "Yeah," Michael said.

    The man nodded. "Okay. I'll put you on the waiting list." He flipped back a few pages and drew a pen from his pocket.

    "Wait a minute, there's a waiting list?"

    He smiled. "Well, this is a popular Gym. A lot of people are waiting to get their first badge."

    "Especially since the Gym leader is so handsome!" The woman smiled, tilting his face toward hers.

    "So, both of you want a battle?"

    Michael stole a sideways glance. Henry shrugged, biting his lip. "Yeah," Michael said loudly. "The little kid too."

    "All right. Names please?"

    "Henry McPherson... I battled you on Monday, so you might remember me..." Henry's gaze fell to the floor.

    "Here for a rematch? That's good for you, boy. The sign of a remarkable trainer is his determination." Byron scribbled down a few notes, then turned to Michael.

    "And you?"

    "Michael Rowan."

    "Okay. I don't think I've seen you before. Is it your first time here?"

    "Yep."

    "Okay, then I'll have to register you in the records. First off, are you a boy or a girl?" Michael's lips parted, and Byron chuckled. "Just kidding. All right, I'll need your age and date of birth."

    "I'm thirteen. July 19, 1950."

    Byron scribbled some more. "Okay, now I need to -"

    But before he could finish, he was interrupted by a loud slam. A man's bald head poked through one of the side doors.

    "Uh, Byron? Phone call. It's urgent. From the landscaper."

    Byron sighed and pocketed the pen. "Now?" The man nodded, and Byron turned back to Michael. "The way it is, your battle will probably be next Tuesday. We open at nine in the morning, so be there early. Henry, yours will be on Wednesday."

    "Okay. Thanks."

    Byron waved casually, then turned to leave. The two disappeared behind the door, talking animatedly, leaving only the woman. She looked over to the boys and let out a playful tsk.

    "He's always so busy, that Byron. Here." She reached into her pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. "He always gives these things out to new trainers. Looks like he forgot this time, so you can have this one."

    "Thanks." Michael took a look at its cover. 'THE POKÉMON LEAGUE: INFORMATION FOR THE FUTURE MASTER'. He didn't feel like reading what was inside at the moment, so he shoved it into his pocket.

    Once he was outside, he collapsed into a nearby bench, grateful for the sun's heat on his face. Henry sat down as well, placing the cage next to him, and rested his elbows on his knees. The Stunky squeaked.

    "Well, we have our battles." Michael said after a short silence. "That Byron guy doesn't look so tough, though."

    "He's really good," Henry said, still staring at the ground. "He knocked my entire team out in less than a minute."

    Michael looked at the sign again. "Well, he should really come up with a new slogan. 'I rock this town' is really cheesy." He continued to stare at it for a while, through narrowed eyes.

    "You need to train them big time if you want to win, though," Henry pressed on. "Seriously, Byron's the master on rock type pokémon!"

    "Hang on. Did you say rock?" Michael's eyes were fully open now.

    Henry nodded.

    "You mean, this Gym only uses one type of pokémon?"

    "Yeah."

    Michael smiled. His gaze trailed off back to the sign. The letters, which had been carved deeply into the wood, now seemed to stand out against the background. "You know, we could really use this to our advantage."

    "How?"

    "I've been thinking about this for a while, ever since I beat your friends. Have you ever noticed whether an attack has different effects on different pokémon?"

    Henry rubbed his forehead. "Well, I guess. I mean, when Chester and Veronica used Water Gun and Hydro Pump on your Turtwig, it barely did anything. But when they use it on other people's pokémon, it practically knocks them out the first time. One day, they were battling a kid with a Hondour. They won in, like, thirty seconds. I counted."

    "Do you know why that happened?"

    Henry shook his head. "I guess some pokémon are weaker than others?"

    "Maybe... but I think there's something else at play. Like... people use water to douse fire. But water, just normal water, doesn't ever hurt plants. Plants absorb it to make themselves healthier. And Turtwig is a grass pokémon, so..."

    "So water attacks can't hurt it?" Henry's face lit up. "That's why you won!"

    "I think so."

    "But this gym is rock type. If a rock falls on a plant, won't it die?"

    "Well... it's something I learned in science class. It's called biological weathering. Some species of plants can break down entire boulders. Kind of like decomposition, when flies and stuff pick at a dead corpse."

    Henry's nose crinkled in disgust. "Are you sure that'll work?"

    "Well, if it'll get me the win, it's worth a try."

    "But won't it be... you know... cheating?"

    Michael groaned. "Look, I honestly don't think that guy's gonna care if we do a little extra prep before the battle. It's not like it's a test. He never said that we couldn't try to help ourselves. And that's the most important part. Whatever people don't say you can't do, you can do."

    "I've never really thought about it that way... Hey, you know what you should do? You should make a chart with all the types on it. And for every one you can write down what it's weak against and what it's strong against. That'll make you win the Gym for sure." Henry beamed. "We could bring it in on battle day, even. It would be so nifty!"

    Michael cringed, unable to stop himself. "Okay, just please don't say 'nifty' again. That's what all the dweebs say. They think it's cool, but really, it's not."

    "... I guess." Henry flushed a little at Michael's correction, and looked down at his thumbs. "You know, we could train together too. Since our battles are close and stuff. Just to help each other out."

    "Uh, problem? I have nowhere to stay."

    "You can share the hotel room with me. It has two beds. I have it 'till the end of the week too."

    "All right. But first I want to find more about this Gym. Let's go to the Pokémon Center. There should be a bunch of trainers there." Michael rose from the chair, and Henry followed. They made their way back to the familiar building, and when Michael entered, he took a good look around.

    There weren't that many kids here, though his gaze eventually found a young boy sitting in the corner. He was fiddling around with a metal cube, a mound of curly hair shielding his face from view. Michael guessed he was a trainer - the belt strapped to his waist held three pokéballs. The boy didn't notice their approach. Up close, Michael saw that the cube had a small screen. It flickered to life when the boy pressed the buttons, then went blank again a few seconds later. Each time it did, the boy let out a small groan.

    "Hey," Michael said. "Do you have a minute?"

    The boy looked up. His face was flushed, and his glasses were askew. His hat bore the pokéball insignia, the same that was on the back of the machine. "Huh? Who're you?"

    "Just a trainer."

    "We want to know more about the Oreburgh Gym," Henry piped up.

    The boy eyed them briefly, then shook his head. "Uh, sorry, I can't help you. I'm busy." He looked back down at his machine and rapped it against the wall. "You stupid piece of... work already!" The screen flashed again. It now covered with tiny white stripes.

    "What is that thing?" Michael said.

    "It's a Pokémon Data Exploiter," the boy huffed. "It's the newest model, but it's just as bad as the rest... Come on, you stupid piece of shit! Work!" He knocked it against the wall one more time, so loudly that several heads turned. The boy ignored the murmurs, and lowered the device into his lap. There was a dent on the corner, but the screen had died.

    "It's no use." His shoulders sagged. "I'm done for."

    "Why?"

    The boy looked up at Michael. "The professor gave it to me. I'm one of his interns-in-training. It's a summer camp." He sighed. "The professor wants us to gather info on sixty species of pokémon by the end of the month and record them here. I already got ten, but then this stupid gizmo died on me!" He gave it another half-hearted tap. "It'll take forever to get it fixed. By then, all the other guys will beat me."

    "Well that's a stupid competition. Is there a prize?"

    "Yeah. You get this super cool new pokéball that the professor designed himself. It's supposed to be foolproof, but I don't believe him."

    Michael chuckled. "I wouldn't rely on that idiot too much. He doesn't know shit about what he's doing. You know, my friends and I, we call him -"

    "Professor Chrome Dome, yeah," the boy said absently. "Everyone calls him that behind his back, even some of his real assistants. It's funny, but it's sad at the same time. You know, 'cause he can't help it or anything. He's lazy and stuff, but he's pretty nice once you get to know him."

    "Whatever. So are you gonna help us or not?"

    "With what?"

    "The Gym," Michael said. "Have you been there? Do you know anyone who's battled Byron before?"

    The kid shrugged. "I'm not really into the League, since my camp's taking too much of my time. But I've been there before, you know, just to see what types of pokémon he has, and... " He rubbed his chin, as if deciding whether to continue. "Well, okay, here's the thing with Byron. He says he prefers to use rock pokémon, but really, he's well-rounded with the moves. And one of his pokémon isn't even rock type."

    "Then what is it?" Michael said, now more impatient than ever. "Tell us!"

    "I would tell you if I could, but all my data's in here!" the boy held up the contraption. "And I can't get it started!"

    "Perfect." Michael slapped his forehead. "Can't you just get it fixed or something?"

    "Not when Sandgem Town's over a hundred miles away! Going back now would be like reserving a spot in last place!"

    "Then get it fixed here," Michael said. "There should be a repair shop or something."

    The boy shook his head. "No, it won't do any good. The professor designed it himself, and it's completely unique so only he knows how it works."

    "Then he's a dipstick!" Michael exploded. "Didn't he give you something, anything, in case it malfunctioned?"

    The boy opened his mouth for an angry reply, but then, his face lit up. "You know... maybe he did. I remember him giving us all this little pouch before we left. It had a bunch of tools to fix it..."

    "Yes, and where did you put the pouch?" Michael said.

    The boy held up a finger. "Hang on, I might have it here..." he slid his backpack off his shoulder and placed it in his lap, unzipped it and began to search through it.

    Michael waited with his arms crossed, and Henry clicked his tongue. When the boy finally took out a large pouch from the bag, Michael sighed with relief.

    "I almost forgot I had this," the kid said. "Thanks!"

    "All right, all right. So can you do it yourself?"

    The boy shook his head. "I don't know... I forgot most of what he showed me. But I can try. We'll need a table, though." He looked around, and pointed to an empty wooden table in the corner, well away from the machines. The three went over and sat down, and the boy spilled out the tools onto the surface. There was a small screwdriver, a few colored wires, an extra battery, and a few extra screws. He watched as the boy opened the device's back, revealing a jumble of wires and lights.

    "My gosh," Henry said. "That thing looks like it's about to eat me alive! Did you say it was the newest model?"

    "Yeah."

    "Then what did the first one look like?"

    The boy paused and looked at Henry. "Uh... you don't want to know. You couldn't even carry it in your pocket because it was so big. You had to use a special case, and it was pretty heavy. So if you were a researcher and you had to lug it around all day, you'd be having backaches all the time. The professor told us all about them. The Data Exploiters were originally storage systems, just for regular computers, but then the scientists got sick of using paper to record their pokémon data, and they converted the systems to store that instead. They've made a lot of improvements since the first Data Exploiters, like they made it portable and stuff, but there's still something missing. They can't make a device that's both small and fast and doesn't die every other time you use it." The boy held up a clump of wires to the light, but dropped them instantly. "Owww! My God, that's hot!" He rubbed his fingers and looked down at the open device. "Ugh, man, this is so impossible! I don't even know what's making it act up like this!"

    "Do you know how wires work?" Henry said.

    "Well... no. Something about positive to the positive? Or positive to the negative?"

    "No," Henry said. "Don't you just match up the colors or something? Liked red to red and blue to blue?"

    "Ugh." Michael rose. "Don't you two pay attention in class? Lemme see it."

    The boy stepped aside as Michael bent down beside the table. He pressed his palm to the inside wall, and yanked it back instantly before the heat could burn him. "I think it's overheated. That might be the problem. When machines get too how they can crash because their systems fail. Plus, it looks like your battery's really old. You'll have to change it."

    "Do you know how to do that?"

    "Yeah. Just give me the spare." Michael unhooked the battery, ignoring the patches of pain in his fingers. The boy gave him the new one, and Michael slid it into the holder. "Now give me two new red wires and a new blue wire." The boy handed him the wires, and Michael clipped them into place.

    "I think that's it. But yeah, like I said before, it probably just got too hot and crashed."

    "But why does it heat up like that? I swear, sometimes I can't even hold it because it burns my hands."

    "You can't fix it," Michael said. "Machines generate heat, and the only way to cool them down is to kill the power for a while. Just don't overwork this thing. It's too crappy to take a hit." He fastened the lid, tightening it in with the screwdriver. "Also, just keep it in a cold place. Like the refrigerator or something."

    Henry giggled.

    "What? I'm serious. You have to keep machines cool. Blow it with a fan or something. Here." He handed the device to the boy. "See if it works now."

    The kid flipped a switch, and the screen blinked to life. "So far so good..." Michael watched as a title screen popped up - Pokémon Data Exploiter - v9.5. Designed by Sandgem Labs. Then it vanished, replaced by a large scrolling list where a bunch of pokémon names were registered.

    "We've got it!" the boy cried. "I have the list up! Thanks so much!"

    "Okay, now can you tell us what pokémon Byron has?"

    "Yeah, definitely! Hang on." The boy scrolled down the list. Henry hopped up from his seat and leaned over to watch.

    "Wow, this is so cool."

    The screen read:


    POKéMON DATA EXPLOITER v9.5
    DATA FILE // POKéMON ENTRIES
    NUMERICAL

    No. 001 TURTWIG [GRASS]
    No. 002 GROTLE [GRASS]
    No. 003 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 004 CHIMCHAR [FIRE]
    No. 005 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 006 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 007 PIPLUP [WATER]
    No. 008 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 009 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 010 STARLY [FLYING]
    No. 011 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 012 - - - - - - - - -
    No. 013 BIDOOF [???]
    »


    "What are all the spaces for?" Henry said.

    "They're the ones I haven't gotten yet."

    Michael pointed to Bidoof's entry. "Why are there question marks there?"

    "Because I don't know what type it is. I've battled a trainer who had one, and the pokémon just bit and clawed at mine. They didn't shoot water out of their mouths or anything. Its attacks were just normal."

    Michael shrugged. "So put 'Normal'. The professor lets you write your own entries, right?"

    "Yeah." The boy continued scrolling.

    "Man, how many do you have here?"

    "I added in sixty slots, but I only have about ten... oh, here, I have the entries from Byron's gym!" He showed them the screen. "Here's his first pokémon."


    No. 031 GEODUDE [ROCK]
    ------------------------------
    This guy looks exactly like a rock, but it's strong and fast. In battle, it can use Rollout and knock down opponents using its arms, which it swings around. It lives by the mountains and sometimes on hiking trails. it likes to hide in plain sight, among other rocks, which can make it really hard to find.


    "Interesting," Michael said. "Next?"

    The boy showed him the next screen.

    No. 034 ONIX [ROCK]
    ------------------------------
    A giant worm-thing made of rocks. It likes to burrow deep in the ground where it's nice and cool. It has a good sense of direction, so it never gets lost. In battle, it likes to whip enemies with its tail, which it uses like a club. It can screech really loudly too, which distracts opponents and throws them off balance.


    "Okay, next?"

    "All right, here ya go..." The final entry flashed before Michael's eyes.

    No. 060 BRONZOR [Steel?]
    ------------------------------
    It uses a lot of non-physical attacks that can confuse the opponent. Its habitat and diet is unknown, though it can be a good


    The boy sighed and turned off the device. "That's all I could get. I didn't finish it because I didn't really know a whole lot about it. Byron wouldn't let me stay either to observe it; he said that there were other people waiting to battle him."

    Michael's shoulders sagged. "Well that sucks. Didn't you get anything else out of it?"

    "No. But it was amazing in battle, though. It can knock out a pokémon without even touching it."

    "That's strange... were any moves you used effective against it?"

    "I used my Buneary. She's really fast, and I just told her to use Jump Kick, and that did the trick."

    Michael nodded. "Interesting. Well, thanks a lot kid. You've been a big help."

    "Yeah, thanks!" Henry smiled.

    "No prob. Hey, before you go, can you do me a favor?"

    "What?"

    He turned the device back on. "Do you have any pokémon that I don't have data on? I need a leg up in the competition."

    "Sure," Michael said. "Let's see... do you have Stunky?" He gestured towards the cage in Henry's hands.

    The boy shook his head. "Nope. I saw one before, but I never got a chance to record anything... Do you mind?"

    "Not at all. I'll give you the entry. Let's see... it shoots out a really smelly gas from its butt. The gas is green, and the smell lasts for weeks."

    As Michael talked, the boy typed furiously into the device. "Uh-huh."

    "They live in grassy areas, mostly near the suburbs, and they're really hard to catch. They run really fast."

    "... Okay. Got it. Thanks!"

    Michael nodded. "No problem." He looked at the device some more, and smiled. "You know what that Pokédex needs? It needs a feature where you could add in pictures of pokémon."

    Suddenly, the boy looked up. "What?"

    "You know, a picture. Like put a little camera in there so when you see a new pokémon you take a picture of it. That would be boss, instead of reading stupid text."

    "No, I mean... what did you call it?" The boy held up the device. "Poké...what?"

    "Pokédex." Michael shrugged. "I don't know, just a shorter name for it. Pokémon Data Exploiter feels so lame to say. Like the cat's got my tongue or something."

    The boy rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Pohh-kayy-dex... I like it! I'll have to remember that."

    Michael nodded. "Well, good luck with the competition."

    "Thanks. Good luck with the battle."

    "Cool. Let's go, Henry." Michael turned for the door, and Henry started after him.

    "Bye!" the boy called after them, and they left the building.

    When Henry joined him outside, Michael put his hands in his pockets. "This is really interesting... do you realize that if we keep this up, we can beat every single Gym in Sinnoh? All we have to do is read up a bit on the pokémon, assemble a team to counter the leaders, and we'll be done!"

    "What are you gonna do if you win? Are you gonna challenge the other Gyms?"

    Michael thought for a moment. "Probably. If I get good enough, I can win fifty thousand bucks. What are you gonna do if you win?"

    Henry puffed out his cheeks. "I don't know... All I want is to get the Coal badge so I can prove to myself and other people that I can do it. Maybe get the next two ones if I'm good enough... but I never thought about doing the entire League. It seems like such a big thing for one person."

    A smile tugged at Michael's lips. "Then what about two?"

    Henry raised an eyebrow. "Huh?"

    "What if we challenged the League together? Think about it. Doing it as a team will be better than doing it alone."

    "But we have no money!" Henry protested, fiddling with the edge of his shirt.

    "We'll start making some when we win battles. Look at how much I got just for Route 203."

    "But it could take weeks for us to get anywhere! What if we don't make it? We'll have to go back home."

    Michael rolled his eyes. "Cry me a river. I'm not a coward. I'm not gonna sit home wasting my entire life in my stupid room, moping about how dull my life is and how unfair everyone is to me. Remember how you told me that your friends treated you like dirt? Well, I had it even worse than that. But I'm actually gonna do something about it, because the fact is, if your life sucks now, it's gonna keep on sucking until you change it. I'll make my own money and success one day, and if you want to travel with me, then you have to share that goal. I'm not gonna stop you if you don't want to. So you can just go home right now, like a little baby, and keep on crying and whining. And maybe in a few months, you'll get to read about my victory in the newspaper."

    Henry was hesitant. His tongue rolled around between his cheeks as he grappled with conflicting thoughts. His eyes frequently darted to the path, and for a minute, Michael was certain that he would refuse. After all, defeating the Pokémon League was probably far beyond his simple, sixth-grade fantasies.

    But to his surprise, the little kid took his hand firmly and shook.

    "Deal."
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 9th July 2013 at 2:02 AM.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Lovett View Post
    "Ugh." Michael rose. "Don't you two pay attention in class? Lemme see it."
    Michael, you big hypocrite. We all know you never pay attention either.

    Pretty nice chapter there, 50k for beating the league, elites and champion? There's the real motivation for Michael. Hoping to see your man with the Pohh-kayy-dex again later in the story (Did they ever get his name?). Next chapter possibly the gym battle? I like how you've put in Byron instead of making up some other randomer instead. Now, we can see Byron has at least three Pokémon, while Michael only has Turtwig and Stunky (Who I think would be less than willing to battle for Rowan). So it's either, request a one-on-one battle, catch some more stuff, or preform a sweep with Turtwig =O. Looking forward to stuff, have fun writing.
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    Actually, he does pay attention to a certain degree. (Otherwise he wouldn't be able to get good grades in science.) You will see the boy with the Pohh-kayy-dex later, and I'll reveal his name then. There's a reason I introduced the Dex in this chapter

    See you next chapter which, hopefully, I'll be able to get done by the end of the week. Of course, I'll post with any schedule updates I may have. Thanks for stopping by!


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    Pretty good chapter! So, next chapter is most likely the gym battle. Can't wait to see what pokemon Henry has. I also wonder if Stunky is going to battle. Can't wait!

    So Michael is going to take on the Sinnoh League? I actually forgot about that conversation between Cynthia and Rowan at the League until this moment. And Byron is the Oreburgh City gym leader? Makes sense but I didn't think he was that old.

    I really liked the custom Pohh-kayy-dex entries. Kind of wish we could do that in the games.

    Keep up the good work!

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    I used Byron as the Oreburgh leader because, as we all know, he's Roark's father, and it would make sense if his son inherited the Gym when he got old enough. Bulbapedia doesn't give Byron an age, so I just made one up. I did the calculations somewhere so it would all fit, but I don't remember where I put the paper... The Underground man will be a Gym leader too, since he's Byron's father. They don't give him an official age either, so I have a lot of room to be creative.

    See you next chapter!


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  23. #73
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    Just a few comments, as thats all I have time for at the moment.

    Overall, two great chapters that I missed. I really enjoyed the length and description that were incorporated into both, I really felt as if I was traveling with Michael, and it was a nice escape from packing for college. It also had the ability to motivate me to write my final chapter, which is pretty darn impressive. :]

    Anyways, I really like Henry as a character, I think he makes an excellent companion to Michael, the contrast is awesome. I also liked how you made Byron the first gym leader and how you got Michael into battling. I thought the money was the perfect segway for it!

    Not a very good review, but I am pressed for time. Keep me posted!

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    Great chapter, the bit about the Pokedex was pretty cool. Lucky Michael's such a genius, right? What with the electronic repairs and the grass > rock mentality, you really accurately portrays Michael as the Boy Wonder, though his attitude can be less than helpful. >.<

    I've still been trying to figure out what Pokemon Henry has. Perhaps a Starly, seeing as he was destroyed by Byron, but I'll have to see. It's driving me mad. :O

    I'll be waiting for next week.
    Poliwhirl is an awesome pokemon. So there. Think aout that long and hard. That's what she said.

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    Manaphyman: Thanks for stopping by! Don't worry about the review, I'm grateful to have you reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manaphyman View Post
    Overall, two great chapters that I missed. I really enjoyed the length and description that were incorporated into both, I really felt as if I was traveling with Michael, and it was a nice escape from packing for college. It also had the ability to motivate me to write my final chapter, which is pretty darn impressive. :]
    Haha, that's great! Good luck with your writing.


    Isosceles: I've already planned out his team, and they'll make an appearance in the next chapter. (That chapter may or may not include the Gym battle, though, depending on how I plot it out.) Either way, you'll get a glimpse of his team soon.


    Glad you both liked the chapter(s), and see you next week!


    EDIT 8/27/10: Update! As expected, school is taking up a lot of my time. I've had two tests already, and one more to study for. I've been making tiny steps in writing Chapter 8 in the meantime, but it's nothing major. I'm estimating that maybe it'll get posted by next week, but that depends on how busy I am. Over the weekend, I'll definitely get more done, though, so it's not all bad.
    Last edited by Mrs. Lovett; 27th August 2010 at 10:40 PM.


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