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Thread: Proving Grounds: Kanto

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    Default Proving Grounds: Kanto

    Since I'm currently suffering from the dreaded writer's block on my current fic, I decided to write this one in my spare time. I actually tried this a couple of times before, but after a while I lost interest in it. A month or so back, however, I read a thread by fellow author Breezy about journey fics, which got me inspired to start this up again.

    EDIT: Ah, it never ends with me...I always forget to put the rating. So far it's rated E10 for ages 10 and up, but it may go to PG-13 later on.

    Without further ado, we now begin a version of a trainer fic that I've been putting a lot of effort into making different from other journey fics:

    Proving Grounds: Kanto



    Chapter 1: A New Trainer’s Start! Enter: Derak Kadir!





    Phenac City, Orre…a city filled with water and riches. In recent years, the city had expanded beyond its former boundaries, becoming a thriving metropolis in which hundreds of citizens performed their daily chores, alongside the mystical creatures known as Pokemon. Sand-colored bricks held the city in place, as well as allowing water to travel freely.

    Children frolicked in the city’s recently improved fountain, splashing the fascinating blue life-giver onto their friends and siblings. Those children ten years of age or above were often seen training their Pokemon. Senior citizens gazed happily at Phenac’s beauty, feeling blessed to reside in such a marvelous city.

    There was one child, however, who was unaffected by all that occurred around him. This boy was outside the city, staring back with eyes of sapphire and hoisting a burlap sack over one shoulder. His raven-colored hair was smooth and slick, stretching down to the top of his neck and drifting lower in miniscule dreadlocks, coated across the top with three streaks of green, orange and blue. His clothes were colorful for such a seemingly cold individual, consisting of an orange torso, a short blue right sleeve, a short green left sleeve, a mud-like coloration on the left pant leg, and a yellow right pant leg.

    Colorful this boy may be, he remained invisible to all who frolicked in Phenac.

    Finally, I’m out of there, the child thought, and not a moment too soon. I turned ten this morning.

    Derak Kadir was this boy’s name, and he knew full well of how one’s first Pokemon was obtained. A child was to reach their tenth birthday, and it was on that day they would be permitted to receive a Pokemon as their starter. Although he knew this, he knew little about Pokemon in general. This he planned to fix soon.

    “Let’s see how Anoch deals with my ‘absence’,” Derak smirked, referring to his father not by ‘Father’ or simply ‘Dad’, but by his first name: Anoch.

    “POLICE!” a voice bellowed from Phenac, shattering the tranquility and causing Derak’s stare to become even colder. “WHERE ARE THE FREAKING POLICE?!”

    “Figures,” Derak sighed. “Well, I guess that’s my cue to hit the road.”

    As Derak turned and allowed his crimson shoes to scrape the desert surrounding Phenac, he speculated that his father’s demands were becoming increasingly more noticeable by the village far north of Phenac, Agate. Ignoring every stream of words flowing rudely from his former home, Derak set his course for the neighboring area: Pyrite Town.

    *****

    Derak wished to avoid his father, and the police, for as long as possible. This meant that to do so, he was to enter the darker, shadier town of Pyrite. Known as “the town of earth, wind, and money”, Pyrite was complete contrast to the splendor of Derak’s native Phenac: buildings were coated brown with rust and dirt, residents eyed one another darkly while idly tossing Pokeballs in their hands, and the occasional small Pokemon darted from alley to alley.

    “Hey, kid,” called a voice from Derak’s right, “welcome to Pyrite. You’re not a trainer yet, are ya?”

    The voice came from Cail, Pyrite’s gatekeeper. Well known for being a strong trainer himself, the belt of Cail’s black jumpsuit held five spheres that were half red, half white with a black streak in the middle. His long, green hair stretched to the bottom of his neck, a pair of black-and-orange goggles strapped to the top of his head.

    “No,” Derak answered simply, still gripping his burlap sack.

    “Well, the lab’s that way,” said Cail, pointing a black gloved hand outside Pyrite.

    “I’ll be going there as soon as Anoch quits ranting,” Derak replied.

    “You’re Derak, right?” Cail asked, tilting his head slightly.

    “How’d you guess?” Derak answered, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

    “Just luck,” Cail shrugged, “since your dad’s pretty well known for hating Pokemon. Why does he, anyway?”

    Derak thought for several seconds, racking his brain for an answer.

    “Dunno,” the ten-year-old responded, “but I heard him say something about them being ‘childish’ at one point.”

    “Huh,” Cail nodded before speaking again. “So, judging by the sack, I’m guessing you ditched him?”

    Derak couldn’t help but smile. If only Cail had been his older brother…

    “Heh, score one for Cail,” the gatekeeper chuckled. “But, hey, congrats anyway. Didn’t think you’d put up with him for much longer. Seriously, I can hear that guy ranting from all the way here in Pyrite!”

    “Yeah,” Derak agreed, “that’s always been Anoch’s problem: he just can’t shut up.”

    “So,” Cail began, “since the cops are on your tail, mind if I tag along ‘till you get to Gateon?”

    Now it was Derak’s turn to tilt his head.

    “You sure you can do that?” he asked.

    “We in Pyrite don’t respect a whole lot of rules, remember, even if we are reformed,” Cail explained. “Besides, I haven’t had a chance for a good battle in a long time. Messing with cops is something that practically runs in my blood. That, and I wanna see the look on Johnson’s face when he loses ya.”

    Derak tilted his head to another angle…this was a hard question. On one hand, he wanted to travel alone, with only Pokemon by his side. On the other hand, Cail was somewhat easy for Derak to get along with. After a few moments, the runaway ten-year-old gave his answer.

    “All right,” he said. “Deal.”

    Cail smirked.

    “Sweet,” the gatekeeper stated. “And, don’t worry: I’ll get you to the lab before you can count to ten…”

    “One, two, three,” Derak began, smirking.

    “Uh…ten-thousand,” Cail added.

    “You cheater,” accused Derak.

    “Seriously, though, lemme show you my ride.”

    ****

    Outside of Pyrite, Cail and Derak stood in front of a black vehicle. It greatly resembled a motorcycle, although a front wheel did not exist. A side car was attached to one side, and six shining silver pipes—three on each side—rested on the back of the vehicle.

    “With this baby,” Cail began, “we can go through Orre without a problem! Yeah, she can go from zero to sixty in a few seconds, so no cop can catch up.”

    “Unless they ‘rip off’ your ride,” said Derak.

    Cail barely noticed Derak; he was too busy praising the capabilities of his motorcycle. It was then that Derak looked behind him, and became somewhat uncertain.

    “Uh…Cail?” Derak said.

    “Yeah,” Cail said, “what?”

    Upon seeing several police officers clad in blue standing directly behind him, he merely let out an “oh”. Among the officers was Officer Johnson, clothed in a navy uniform matched with crimson pants and a tall blue hat. A pair of brown, angry eyes glared from Johnson’s face at the two.

    “Cail, what are you doing?” Johnson demanded. “That boy has run away from home! Why are you showing him your bike?”

    “Hey, Officer,” Derak began, cutting off Cail’s comeback, “you know what the difference between a house and a home is? Apparently not, because that place wasn’t my home. As far as I’m concerned, I’m homeless.”

    Smart kid, Cail thought as Derak bravely stood up to Johnson.

    “Uh, uh…,” Johnson stuttered, taken quite aback. “That—you—Mr. Kadir…”

    “Cail, you mind dropping me off at the lab?” Derak asked as Johnson began sputtering words at random.

    “Fine by me,” Cail replied, “Hop in.”

    “H-hey, wait!” Johnson called, raising a hand. “Stop in the name of the…”

    Cail had already driven his motorcycle away, Derak in tow on the sidecar.

    “…law,” Johnson finished, his hand falling limply to his side. “Men, get a team ready. We need to bring back that runaway SASP…what?” he added, noting the confused expressions on the faces of his men.

    *****

    Cail departed shortly after dropping Derak off, leaving him on the dirt pathway leading to the place where starting Pokemon were only recently added, namely the Pokemon HQ Lab. The pure white walls radiated an aura of cleanliness, much unlike the town of Pyrite, where rust and filth seemed to have no end. Sliding glass doors provided the entrances and exits to the Lab, and a structure resembling a giant Pokeball rested on the roof.

    “Ah, hello there!” a brown-haired man in glasses said as he stepped through a door, smiling kindly, “What’s your name?”

    “If you have to guess,” said Derak, “it’s not Bob.”

    “Hmm…you seem somewhat cynical for a boy your age,” the man remarked. “By any chance, are you Derak Kadir?”

    “Isn’t there ANYONE in Orre who doesn’t know my name?” Derak sighed, slapping himself in the forehead.

    “I’m afraid not, Derak,” the man shook his head. “My name is Professor Krane. I’m somewhat well known for developing the Purification Chamber during the second Shadow Pokemon incident, but in more recent years I’ve been handing out starter Pokemon to Orre’s young trainers.”

    “Look, Professor,” Derak began, “no offense, but I didn’t come here to listen to your life story.”

    “Of course,” Krane’s spectacled face smiled despite the somewhat insulting phrase Derak had uttered, “Please, come inside.”

    Derak followed the Professor into the Lab, where he was led into a room on the left side of the first floor. It was then that the boy suddenly froze in his tracks. There, on five steel tables, were fifteen Pokeballs—three for each table. On each of the tables were a green Pokeball, an orange one, and a blue one, all in a row.

    “From left to right,” Krane began, “we have the starting Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and last but not least, Isshu. You’re free to choose from any one of these Pokemon, but you can only choose one.”

    “…what do I have to choose from?” Derak asked, confused.

    “I’m surprised your father allowed you to come, Derak, given how little you know about Pokemon. What did you do to convince him?” Derak’s response to Krane’s question was to glare for a brief period of time. “Oh, so you ran away?”

    “What did you expect?” Derak answered. “He always kept me away from anything Pokemon-related, not to mention he made me study junk I never cared about since I was five. I was tired of it. Now, like I asked before, what are the choices?”

    “Well, there’s—” Krane began, but a shouting voice cut him off.

    “In there!” the voice cried. “The kid’s in there!”

    “Not them again,” Derak groaned as a group of men wearing blue-and-black outfits stomped inside, “Oh, so it’s not the cops.”

    “No, we’re better than the cops!” one man grunted. “We’re the Retrievers: we track down Pokemon and humans who’ve run away! Your father’s promised us a big reward if we bring you back to him, so shut up and come on!”

    “Back off!” Derak suddenly snapped, taking a step back. “I’m not going back there, understand?!”

    As though it heard him, the orange Pokeball on the Sinnoh table began wobbling from side to side. With a click, it opened to unleash a burst of white light that passed Derak and landed on the polished floor in front of him. The light took a chimpanzee-like shape before it faded away, revealing a small Pokemon.

    The Pokemon indeed seemed monkey-like in appearance. Orange fur covered almost all of its body, and yellow skin on its hands, face, and front ensured a slightly colorful appearance. A small tuft of hair resembling a flame spiked from the top of the Pokemon’s head, and a spiral pattern was etched onto its stomach. Large, hazel eyes would have made the Pokemon seem cute had it not been for the eyes appearing dark and vicious. A flame flickered on the monkey’s rear, serving as a sort of small tail.

    “Wait, what’s that?” Derak asked. “Is that…a Pokemon?”

    “Yes, it is,” Krane nodded. “It’s a Chimchar, Sinnoh’s Fire-type starter.”

    “Chim-CHAR!” the Chimchar cried in a somewhat squeaky voice, fists clenched tightly in an aggressive posture, “Char char, chim char!”

    “Isn’t that cuuuuute!” laughed the leader of the Retrievers, the one who had spoken earlier. “That little Chimchar thinks it can take us on! It hardly knows what it’s up against, does it? Since we’re gonna have to stun the kid anyway, I think I’ll give my Pokemon a little practice.”

    The lead Retriever pulled a Pokeball from his belt, smirking.

    “Elekid, get it!” he bellowed, lobbing his red-and-white Pokeball into the air.

    Like Chimchar, this Pokemon also appeared in a flash of light, though this one seemed slightly more humanoid. As the light cleared, a small yellow Pokemon became visible. Black, horizontal stripes ran across the sides of its egg-shaped torso, leaving a small black lightning bolt insignia between their stopping points. Egg-shaped feet attached to black legs held this Pokemon up, and a pair of bulky, yellow, black-striped arms hung limply at its sides. A pair of what appeared to be plug-like appendages sprouted from the Pokemon’s head. Scowling eyes glared beneath the plugs, and a mouth bared its small fangs at its opponent.

    “Bee-BEEP!” Elekid cried, swinging its arms in circles angrily.

    “That’s an Elekid!” Krane cried. “Derak, take command of Chimchar; I think it’s chosen you as its trainer!”

    “Uh, okay then,” replied Derak, unsure. “Chimchar, use…uh…something…”

    This seemed to do for Chimchar, for it reared its head back before lurching forward, spitting a storm of flaming orbs towards Elekid. The attack came too fast for the yellow Pokemon to block, forcing it to stumble back slightly. Its bulky, clawed arms did no good in defending Elekid against the attack, leaving even its trainer in shock for a short moment.

    “That’s a strong Ember, kid,” chuckled Elekid’s trainer, “but it’s not strong enough! Elekid, use Thundershock!”

    “Bee, bee, bee, bee-bee-bee-BEEP!” Elekid cried as its arms began rotating rapidly once more. Instead of an intimidation tactic, however, the pattern was used this time to form a spark of electricity between the Pokemon’s plugs. Soon, the spark formed a weak bolt of electricity, which quickly made a line for Chimchar.

    “Uh…Chimchar, dodge it?” Derak managed, though still unsure.

    As instructed, the monkey leapt into the air and away from the Thundershock with spectacular speed. It performed a mid-air flip just before its vaguely hand-like feet touched solid ground once more. Elekid angrily bared its fangs, frustrated at the failure of its attack.

    “Now, Ember again!” Derak ordered, becoming more confident with commanding Chimchar.

    Chimchar blasted Elekid with another Ember, this one further injuring the yellow Pokemon. The fiery assault continued as Elekid futilely attempted to block the attack using its bulky arms, each sphere of flame spat by Chimchar striking Elekid’s front. Soon, as the storm ceased, Elekid was left with ebon burn marks scattered across its arms.

    “Don’t take that, Elekid!” boomed the egg-shaped Pokemon’s trainer. “Quick Attack, now!”

    Elekid proved that the move known as Quick Attack certainly lived up to its name, a trail of light following the speeding Pokemon as it rushed towards Chimchar. Slamming into the monkey with a violent tackle, Elekid knocked Chimchar back with such force that the fire monkey was thrown back into Derak’s leg.

    “Hey, are you okay?” Derak asked Chimchar, only to receive no response as Chimchar rose into its aggressive stance once more. “I don’t understand what your problem is, Chimchar, but I guess I’ll live with it for now. Ember again!”

    “Not this time, runt,” chuckled the lead Retriever. “Elekid, Light Screen!”

    Elekid’s bulked-up arms spread out, obeying the orders of its trainer. The egg-shaped Pokemon’s trainer was expecting a panel of glass to form between Elekid and Chimchar’s Ember, effectively blocking the attack. Instead, however, the burns on Elekid’s arms began to spark, which—as evidenced by the small Pokemon’s clenched teeth—caused Elekid enough pain to prevent it from using its own attack. Ember struck home, the attack’s abnormal power causing Elekid to stumble back in a futile attempt to escape the storm. The attack did end, but Elekid was immediately found Chimchar clawing it in the face afterward, knocking Elekid down and out.

    “Beee…” groaned the small Pokemon, face blank and mouth hanging open.

    “What the…Elekid, return,” grunted the lead Retriever, pointing Elekid’s Pokeball at it. A red beam of light fired from the center of the ball, which absorbed Elekid inside of it. The Retriever looked to his men for advice, but seeing as he was the only one with any Pokemon, none was given.

    “You win this time, kid,” the humiliated man grunted as he turned away with his Retriever minions following, leaving Derak alone with Krane and Chimchar.

    “Thank goodness you won,” Krane sighed in relief. “I shudder to think what would have happened if you had lost.”

    “Why?” Derak asked.

    “Those men were not legitimate officers,” Krane explained. “The ‘Retrievers’ simply find any Pokemon or human that has fled their home and takes them back by force…more often than not using excessively. All they care about is money, and that's why so few of them own Pokemon: they can't be bothered to catch or train them.”

    “That explains why my ‘father’ hired them,” Derak snorted. “He always did like cheap labor.”

    He looked down at the monkey that had essentially saved his life, quickly changing his tone.

    “That battle was great, Chimchar,” Derak congratulated. “You were just...well, amazing.”

    Again, Chimchar made no response. Derak confusedly tilted his head to one side.

    “What’s with Chimchar, anyway?” he asked.

    “I was afraid it would do this,” Krane muttered. “You see, Chimchar is the least social of all the Pokemon. It focuses on nothing but battling, rarely showing any emotion other than anger. There are some rumors of trainers treating their Pokemon as if they are machines, and my guess is Chimchar believed those rumors true…it thinks it’s a machine.”

    “You’ve gotta be—Chimchar,” Derak began, “you’re not a machine. You’re a living being. You know, heart and stomach and all that stuff…right?”

    “Chim char char,” Chimchar responded, though it did so with a monotonous voice, despite its high-pitched voice.

    “Speaking of which,” Derak began, “I think I’d better give you a name or something. I’ve only been at it for about ten minutes or so and I already hate calling you ‘Chimchar’ over and over.”

    “An excellent idea!” Krane remarked. “Perhaps you can reopen Chimchar’s mind.”

    Derak simply stared at him as if the professor of Orre had suddenly grown a third arm from his forehead.

    “It’s an expression,” Krane responded.

    “Meaning…?” asked Derak.

    “Look,” said Krane, “why don’t you name Chimchar now? If you give it a name, and treat it kindly, over time it may cease to believe that it’s a machine.”

    “Fine,” Derak agreed prior to placing the tips of his fingers to his forehead. “Okay…what am I going to name you…Blaze…nah, that stinks…wild…yeah, that sounds good. How about ‘Wildfire’? How’s that sound?”

    The newly-named Chimchar once again made no response.

    “I think it fits very well,” Krane commented. “Here’s Chim—er, Wildfire’s Pokeball. Point the Pokeball at it and…no, it’s better if I show you.”

    He pointed the orange Pokeball towards Wildfire.

    “Wildfire, return,” Krane stated, and the red beam of light absorbed Wildfire just as another had done to Elekid moments before. “Say anything along the lines of that and Wildfire will be recalled into its Pokeball. Oh, and here is a Pokedex. It analyzes and catalogs Pokemon you point it at. I assume you will be leaving for Kanto first?”

    Derak nodded as he accepted the Pokedex. The device resembled a compact video game system with an orange hue to it.

    “Excellent,” Krane continued. “It is, after all, the most recommended region for Orre’s starting trainers. Originally, trainers who hail from Kanto received a Pokedex that only works on Kanto-native Pokemon. Given the discoveries of Pokemon from other regions, however, starting trainers—including ones here in Orre—will receive a national Pokedex that—”

    “Gets every Pokemon,” Derak guessed, “right? Can I go now?”

    “Ah, eager to start your journey, are you?” Krane chuckled.

    “That,” Derak answered, “and I’d really like to leave before Anoch sends some more lunatics after me.”

    “All right,” said Krane. “The ferry for Kanto leaves from Gateon Port within four hours. Good luck on your journey!”

    Derak simply nodded before departing. Although he seemed calm as a smooth ocean, inwardly he was rather joyful. Derak allowed a smirk to cross his face.

    “I’m gone,” he said to no one in particular before setting off to Gateon Port. He knew the way, for Anoch had taken him multiple times for the sake of business trades with other regions. And now, Derak was headed for the ferry that would take him towards the journey of a lifetime.

    ****

    Unfortunately, Derak’s father did not share even a small portion of Derak’s pleasure. He remained oblivious to Derak’s reasons and saw only a disobedient son with a need to be severely punished. Had he not raised the boy on his own for nine years? He should be entitled to respect and obedience!

    With the failure of the Retrievers in mind, Anoch Kadir stood now in a bounty hunter’s office in a smaller portion of Pyrite, slicked black hair shining from the light of a ceiling fan. The hunter before him reclined in his chair, heels stationed on his wooden desk.

    “Must you have that THING there?” Anoch asked, eyeing the somewhat large tan cat at the hunter’s side. Pure white eyes narrowed as the cat’s black-rimmed ears perked angrily, a vicious purr radiating from the fanged mouth.

    “Yes,” the hunter responded in a cold tone. “I must.”

    “For what reason?” Anoch glared. “It’s an inferior—”

    “Persian, if you would,” the hunter sighed.

    Immediately the Pokemon called Persian leapt gracefully onto the table and positioned a pointed claw at Anoch’s throat. Realizing that stating his belief of Pokemon would get him nowhere, Derak’s father refused to further speak of it.

    “All right,” the hunter began, moving his heels off of his desk, “are we going to talk business, or do I need to have Persian move that claw just a little to the left?”

    “Business,” Anoch hurriedly stated. “I’ll give you a hundred thousand in cash if you track down my son.”

    One of the hunter’s eyebrows rose, becoming visible rather than hidden behind a blue visor. The red jewel embedded in the center of Persian’s forehead gleamed as it crawled back down to the floor, long whiskers twitching and curled tail swaying through the air.

    “Isn’t a hundred thousand a bit steep for one ten-year-old kid?” questioned the hunter.

    “Will you take the job or not?” Anoch demanded.

    “Relax, old timer,” the hunter chuckled, though his voice remained cold. “There’s a reason I’m called the Tracker…there isn’t a target I can’t find.”

    ****

    As of this chapter, all post-chapter bits will be underlined.

    So, what did everyone think? I know, I know, it's an OT fic, the plot of which is generally overdone. But, as Breezy stated in the thread that he/she made a while back, there's hardly any finished journey fics. I intend to make a difference in that regard.
    Last edited by Morpher01; 25th October 2010 at 2:24 AM.
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  2. #2
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    Default

    We now move on to chapter two.



    Chapter 2: The Tournament Aboard the S.S Wailord!



    Derak leaned on the back rail of the ship dubbed the “S.S Wailord”, arms crossed on the railing as his upper body pointed towards the slowly receding Gateon Port. Many Orre citizens, young and old alike, waved farewell to those they loved. Derak’s father was not amongst the crowd, nor did his son expect him to be.

    Wildfire used its feet and knuckles to crawl up beside its trainer. Derak had decided to let his Chimchar out for the trip, given his belief that it needed such kindness to help it realize that it was not a machine.

    “So long, Orre,” Derak said to the coastline. “Don’t know if I’ll miss you or not, but frankly, I don’t care.”

    He sighed, removing his arms from the railing. Wildfire looked up towards its trainer, who began to stroll down the ship. He had barely taken two steps, however, when he stopped. He turned and kneeled down towards his Chimchar.

    “Wanna ride on my shoulder?” he asked the small Pokemon.

    Though it made no sound, Wildfire did clamber onto its trainer’s shoulder. Derak smiled, hoping that he could—as Krane phrased it—“reopen its mind” to the world...or at least to himself. With his Pokemon clinging to his shoulder, Derak continued his beginning exploration of the ship.

    ****

    In the space of several hours after Derak’s departure from Phenac, several other trainers had taken the remaining starting Pokemon and had also boarded the S.S Wailord. Derak, along with the other trainers, lounged in the ship’s café. Male and female alike talked of their current Pokemon and its abilities, though Derak merely pressed his back against the wall, unwilling to socialize.

    The reason for this attitude was nearby.

    “My precious Pokemon,” groaned the reason. “My precious, precious Pokemon…”

    A boy of ten years was clutching a small, blue Pokemon that seemed to be quite frightened. The trainer wore a tattered brown shirt with navy jeans of a similar condition. His Pokemon resembled a humanoid alligator with red eyes to match the fins running down its back. Its long, pointed mouth was filled with teeth matched in sharpness only by its clawed hands and feet.

    “I don’t know what confuses me more,” said Derak, “that trainer or his Pokemon. Speaking of which…”

    Derak pulled his Pokedex from his pocket and pointed it at the alligator. The device opened, revealing a computer screen that showed an image of the small Pokemon. A computerized feminine voice then began to explain the Pokemon.

    “Totodile,” the Pokedex began, “the Big Jaw Pokemon. Type is Water. Totodile is one of the three starting Pokemon given out in the Johto region alongside Cyndaquil and Chikorita. It is well known for having a habit of biting anything using its developed jaws. This habit is so present that even its trainer must be careful when utilizing this Pokemon.”

    “Suddenly I don’t know who I’ll feel sorry for later,” Derak remarked. “While I’m at it…”

    He pointed the Pokedex at Wildfire, and a picture of the fiery monkey replaced that of Totodile.

    “Chimchar,” the Pokedex began, “the Chimp Pokemon. Type is Fire. Chimchar, along with Turtwig and Piplup, is one of the three Pokemon given to beginning trainers in Sinnoh. In the wild, they agilely scale sheer cliffs to make their home at the summit. Chimchar’s flaming tail is fueled by gases made in its stomach. Although the fire is not doused by rain, it does go out when Chimchar sleeps.”

    “May I have your attention, please!” a feminine voice called, and the attention of all the trainers aboard the ship turned their heads towards a blonde-haired woman wearing a blue beret. “My name is Anna, and I’ll be able to register you for a special tournament that takes place here on the S.S. Wailord!”

    “Tournament, huh?” Derak mused. “What do you think?”

    Wildfire nodded.

    “Then let’s go,” stated its trainer.

    ****

    Later, the very top of the S.S. Wailord had literally opened up. The gargantuan doors leaned to opposing sides, giving the ship the slight appearance of having wings. An immense arena had been what was concealed beneath the doors, providing an area for battles.

    “Big arena, but we can handle it, pal,” Derak encouraged his partner Pokemon.

    “Are you entering the tournament?” someone asked.

    Derak turned his head to find a girl his age standing behind him. Her dark blonde hair came down to her shoulders, a green army-pattern headband wrapped tightly above hazel eyes. Her clothes were patterned similarly, a single green Pokeball hanging on her belt.

    “Yeah,” Derak turned to face her, “what about it?”

    “Well, it’s just that…hold on,” the girl titled her head upon seeing Wildfire. “Why’s your Chimchar out of its Pokeball, let alone on your shoulder?”

    “’Cause he’s my friend,” Derak responded, “that’s why.”

    “Friend?” the girl seemed quite confused. “Pokemon are meant to be battle machines, not friends. What’s wrong with you?”

    “What’s wrong with YOU?” Derak responded, almost childishly. “I barely know a thing about Pokemon and I know that only total morons treat them like machines.”

    Wildfire seemed to react to this, turning his hazel eyes towards his trainer. Uttering a small “char”, the monkey turned his head back to face the girl.

    “WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!” the girl exploded, shrieking in Derak’s face. Shockingly, the runaway trainer remained absolutely placid. This was due to his father’s continual yelling becoming casual to Derak, as if it were normal speech.

    “A moron,” Derak answered calmly.

    “You’ll see!” the girl snarled. “You’ll see that making friends with Pokemon is wrong. I’ll show you what you’re supposed to do with them, you spoiled brat!”

    “Look who’s talking,” Derak muttered as the girl spun on her heel and stormed off.

    ****

    “The battles will now commence!” Anna began. “Beginning are Melissa Arare and Sarah Arachson!”

    Derak stood off to the side with Wildfire on his shoulder as the girl from earlier and a green-haired girl took their places at each side of the arena. Whilst Sarah appeared cocky, the girl named Melissa wore a determined expression.

    “Squirtle, I choose you!” cried Sarah as she threw a blue Pokeball.

    Sarah’s Pokeball revealed a Pokemon that could be accurately described as a small, blue-skinned turtle. Its shell had an armored back with a light brown hue of color, Squirtle’s stomach colored as if it were sand. Although its eyes were red, they did not appear aggressive or evil in any way, instead appearing in an innocent expression.

    “Pokedex time,” said Derak, drawing out his orange Pokedex.

    “Squirtle,” began the Dex, “the Tiny Turtle Pokemon. Type is Water. Squirtle is given out as a starting Pokemon in Kanto alongside Bulbasaur and Charmander. Although often used as protection from other Pokemon, the shape and grooves of Squirtle’s shell allow it to swim better in water by minimizing resistance. The shell hardens soon after a Squirtle’s birth, and if it is poked, it will simply bounce out.”

    “Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa cried, throwing a green Pokeball.

    From Melissa’s Pokeball, another turtle appeared. This one, however, had green skin and a shell with a darker shade of brown. Turtwig’s large, green head poked out from the rest of its body, possessing a yellow bottom jaw in addition to what appeared to be a small tree sapling sprouting from the top of its head. Although Squirtle stood on its hind legs, Turtwig’s stubby feet did not allow for such dexterity, leaving it four-legged. Beady, yellow eyes gazed at its opponent, ready for a fight.

    “Turtwig,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Tiny Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. Turtwig is a starter given out in Sinnoh alongside Chimchar and Piplup. The sapling on its head, though capable of photosynthesis, wilts whenever Turtwig is thirsty. As a result, it lives along lake areas. The shell on its back is made from soil, and hardens when Turtwig drinks water.”

    “It’s Melissa’s Turtwig against Sarah’s Squirtle!” Anna commented. “Begin the match!”

    “Squirtle, use Tackle!” Sarah cried.

    “Turtwig, Razor Leaf!” Melissa ordered.

    Squirtle valiantly charged towards Turtwig, only for the Grass-type to swing its head wildly, firing a storm of blade-like leaves from its tiny tree. These leaves, upon contact with Squirtle, left cuts on the Water-type. Although the battle had only begun seconds ago, Squirtle was already severely weakened.

    “Melissa uses types to her advantage well!” Anna commented, serving as the announcer and referee, “By exposing a Water-type’s weakness to Grass-type moves, Melissa and Turtwig take an early lead!”

    “Type advantages?” Derak muttered, the expression on his face morphing from bored to confused. “This training thing gets more and more complicated every five seconds.”

    “Don’t give up, Squirtle!” Sarah called, “I believe in you!”

    “That was corny and unnecessary,” Melissa scolded Sarah. “Pokemon don’t need you to ‘believe in them’. All they need is the harsh training they deserve.”

    The only thing I can agree with her on is the ‘corny’ bit, Derak thought.

    “I’ll show you why you’re wrong!” Melissa sneered. “Turtwig, finish off Squirtle with a Tackle!”

    “Spray the deck with a Water Gun!” Sarah ordered.

    Believing it to be a futile move, Melissa promptly burst into a fit of obnoxious laughter. Squirtle, however, did as its trainer told it, spraying a small stream of water from its mouth onto the deck. At first, this unorthodox tactic seemed to work: Turtwig began to slip and slide on the water. Unfortunately, the tactic backfired, which was proven by Turtwig slamming hard into Squirtle. The attack knocked Squirtle onto its back, leaving it fainted.

    “Squirtle is unable to battle!” Anna announced, “The winners are Melissa and Turtwig!”

    “Cheapskate,” Derak muttered as Melissa soaked up all the glory. “You’re the one who’s wrong.”

    “Our second battle pits Derak Kadir against Thomas Gall!” Anna cried.

    I have to go against that weirdo? Derak thought as he saw the Totodile’s trainer approach. Wonderful.

    “I forfeit!” cried Thomas, the Totodile’s trainer. “I will not hurt my precious!”

    Derak shook his head as Thomas clutched his Totodile closely. This, he knew, left him with Melissa, so when round two started he would battle her.

    “Er…all right,” said Anna. “Our two finalists are Derak Kadir from Phenac City and Melissa Arare from Pyrite Town!”

    The two trainers stepped to their ends of the arena, and stood there, ready for battle.

    “Ready to be proven wrong?” Melissa arrogantly called.

    “I’m not,” Derak retorted, “but you should be. Let’s go, Wildfire!”

    The Chimchar leapt off of Derak’s shoulder and onto the battlefield, taking the same battle stance it held when it battled the Retriever’s Elekid. Melissa sent out her Turtwig, and the battle began.

    “Turtwig, Tackle!” Melissa ordered.

    “Wildfire, dodge it!” Derak called.

    Turtwig did as Melissa commanded, barreling towards Derak’s Pokemon with intent to slam. Wildfire, however, leapt over the charging turtle, landing on its yellow feet. Turtwig skidded to a stop, turning to attempt another Tackle.

    “Now use Ember!” Derak cried.

    Wildfire spun on its heel and spat a storm of miniscule fireballs into Turtwig’s face. Eyes squeezed tightly shut, Turtwig skidded sideways, though still towards its Chimchar opponent.

    “Scratch!” Derak cried, and with that third order, Wildfire struck Turtwig across the face with a quick swipe of its quite possibly nigh-invisible claws. Turtwig stumbled about for a short while, impervious to Melissa’s angry cries of “pull it together you stupid turtle”, until it fell onto the floor, fainted.

    “Turtwig is unable to battle!” Anna commented.

    “What?!” Melissa nearly shrieked.

    “The winners are Derak Kadir and his Chimchar, Wildfire!” Anna finished, the other trainers bursting into sporting applause.

    “This tournament’s even shorter than that billboard said,” Derak commented, “not that I’m really complaining.”

    As usual, Wildfire said nothing, though this time it looked curiously at the cheering trainers, uttering a small “chim” in confusion.

    “We will hit land in Kanto in exactly two minutes!” Anna announced.

    “Two minutes to land?” said Derak, “C’mon, Wildfire!”

    Although Wildfire was already on his shoulder, he ran towards the front of the ship to see the mass of land ahead of him. A billboard placed there read “Welcome to Kanto”, and with this Derak knew his first attempt at a championship would take place here.

    “Ready to go, Wildfire?” the still new trainer asked his Chimchar.

    Wildfire nodded, though not making a sound. Soon, Derak disembarked from the ship, unaware of his being watched.

    “So,” said the Tracker, garbed in a brown trenchcoat with a matching fedora, “that’s the kid I’m supposed to track down…Derak Kadir. Isn’t exactly worth my time, but I’ll see what he’s got.”

    ****

    So, what does everyone think?
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  3. #3
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    Children frolicked in the city’s recently improved fountain, splashing the fascinating blue life-giver onto their friends and siblings.
    That's ... Really? o_O That's not at all fancy to you? Why not just say "water"?

    This boy was outside the city, staring back with eyes of sapphire and hoisting a burlap sack over one shoulder. His raven-colored hair was smooth and slick, stretching down to the top of his neck and drifting lower in miniscule dreadlocks, coated across the top with three streaks of green, orange and blue. His clothes were colorful for such a seemingly cold individual, consisting of an orange torso, a short blue right sleeve, a short green left sleeve, a mud-like coloration on the left pant leg, and a yellow right pant leg.
    In short: Information dump. It's too much for the reader to take in with the bombardment of colors rather than saying "his shirt was a multitude of colors" or something.

    "Sapphire eyes" is another example of purple prose (I'm still in awe "blue life giver") when you could have easily said "blue." Likewise, unless it's of dire importance to know the exact placement of colors on your character's shirt, you probably don't need to go into insane detail about it. And if you do, there are remarkably easier and smoother ways to go about it where you're not just piling it heavily onto the reader. One way is to merge the detail with some sort of character interaction:

    Ex) "What's with the shirt?"

    He looked around, trying to figure out who the girl was talking to. "Me?" he finally asked, pointing to himself.

    "Yeh."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Well, lookatcha self," she said, her eyebrows raised. "You poor or somethin'?"

    He didn't get it. He didn't respond.

    "Like ... what's with you sleeves?"

    There's nothing wrong with my clothes, he thought, running his fingers down the front and tugging at the bottom. He pulled off a loose orange thread from it and released it, watching as it spiraled in the dry wind.

    "It's like a rainbow barfed on ya."

    Basically, the more you detail you stack into a paragraph, the less chance your reader is going to really take it in or even read it. If you spread details out through the story with a reason, like someone commenting on someone else's dress or the character interacting with his/her own style/hair/whatever, there's more likely a chance your reader is going to take in the detail and remember it. It no longer LOOK I'M DESCRIBING PLEASE REMEMBER THIS and instead becomes something that seems important to the story.

    It varies per person, but, at least to me, if it's something small like your description here:

    Well known for being a strong trainer himself, the belt of Cail’s black jumpsuit held five spheres that were half red, half white with a black streak in the middle. His long, green hair stretched to the bottom of his neck, a pair of black-and-orange goggles strapped to the top of his head.
    then you could get away with listing detail because it's in a small amount.

    “Let’s see how Anoch deals with my ‘absence’,” Derak smirked, referring to his father not by ‘Father’ or simply ‘Dad’, but by his first name: Anoch.
    You can't "smirk" a statement, so the comma after "absence" should be a period. What is being said and the action performed during it are functioning as two independent items.

    This is also a bit wordier than needed, IMO. Why bother with the "simply dad" part?

    “No,” Derak answered simply, still gripping his burlap sack.

    “Well, the lab’s that way,” said Cail, pointing a black gloved hand outside Pyrite.

    “I’ll be going there as soon as Anoch quits ranting,” Derak replied.

    “You’re Derak, right?” Cail asked, tilting his head slightly.

    “How’d you guess?” Derak answered, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

    “Just luck,” Cail shrugged, “since your dad’s pretty well known for hating Pokemon. Why does he, anyway?”

    Derak thought for several seconds, racking his brain for an answer.

    “Dunno,” the ten-year-old responded, “but I heard him say something about them being ‘childish’ at one point.”

    “Huh,” Cail nodded before speaking again. “So, judging by the sack, I’m guessing you ditched him?”
    It's okay to omit "speech tags" (the clauses before/after/in between dialogue) if you conversation is being traded back and forth between two characters. It might be a trick of the mind, or maybe there's an explanation behind it that I can't remember, but sometimes deleting the "speech tags" during conversation with two characters tends to make the dialogue snappier and more "conversational."

    Interestingly enough, actually, I found that your dialogue could have "paused" because the transition between subjects was a bit too quick.

    “Yeah,” Derak agreed, “that’s always been Anoch’s problem: he just can’t shut up.”

    “So,” Cail began, “since the cops are on your tail, mind if I tag along ‘till you get to Gateon?”
    along with

    “I’ll be going there as soon as Anoch quits ranting,” Derak replied.

    “You’re Derak, right?” Cail asked, tilting his head slightly.
    Maybe it's just me, but I felt like the transition from one subject to another was a bit too fast. Or maybe it's just the wording. Something. I felt the same during the bit where the officers found Derak and Cail. Possible problem might be you're spending too much time on the unnecessary detail, like Derak's shirt, and not expanding on detail, like when the officers found Derak or Derak and Cail's conversation.

    “Hey, Officer,” Derak began, cutting off Cail’s comeback, “you know what the difference between a house and a home is? Apparently not, because that place wasn’t my home. As far as I’m concerned, I’m homeless.”

    Smart kid, Cail thought as Derak bravely stood up to Johnson.

    “Uh, uh…,” Johnson stuttered, taken quite aback. “That—you—Mr. Kadir…”

    “Cail, you mind dropping me off at the lab?” Derak asked as Johnson began sputtering words at random.

    “Fine by me,” Cail replied, “Hop in.”

    “H-hey, wait!” Johnson called, raising a hand. “Stop in the name of the…”

    Cail had already driven his motorcycle away, Derak in tow on the sidecar.
    Why would the police be taken aback by such a comment? Have they not dealt with worse? Why is Cail virtually emotionless during this scene (he's not worried about the police, cocky about escaping, anything?).

    I think you're relying too much on your dialogue to explain things for you that it makes your scenes rush by. Slow it down and take the time to get into your characters' head to show their reactions toward things. This is reading a lot like a report of events. The little set up paragraphs that describe the cities/characters at the beginning of most new scenes isn't really helping you either.

    The pure white walls radiated an aura of cleanliness, much unlike the town of Pyrite, where rust and filth seemed to have no end.
    Get rid of the "much" ("much like" works as a phrase, but "much unlike" is just odd). This description is repetitive, too. You already told us that Pyrite is rusty and filthy; why tell us here again? And even if you didn't, since you described the lab as "pure white and clean," we can assume Pyrite is filthy with the phrase "unlike" anyway.

    “I’m surprised your father allowed you to come, Derak, given how little you know about Pokemon. What did you do to convince him?” Derak’s response to Krane’s question was to glare for a brief period of time. “Oh, so you ran away?”
    How did the professor assume that from a glare?


    Generally speaking, the major thing you have to work on is knowing when to cut back on description and knowing when to expand on it. Things like character detail aren't too important and should be weaved through the story. Likewise, the police coming up on Derak might be something you want to put a little more effort into. Your battle sequences are a bit of a back and forth -- a short one. I felt like you spent more time describing the pokemon rather than the battle itself. It's interesting to me because your story in my opinion is both very slow but very rushed. Slow at the unimportant bits and rushed at the bits that are important to character development or the plot. It might be because you rely too heavily on dialogue to speak for your narrator or self-assume that what is being said in the dialogue will key the reader into knowing something. So saying something like

    "The police are coming," he said.

    isn't really an excuse to not describe the police coming.

    Everyone, besides Derak, seems to be stereotypes or are rather one-dimensional. Actually, more like everyone besides Derak seems pretty stupid. The police are tricked by a ten year old? The professor isn't offended by Derak's rude comments but just keeps smiling? Derak beats that one group and, for some reason or another, they just leave? Melissa in chapter two just freaks the freak out over a comment Derak said. Actually, while we're on Melissa, I found it odd that she believes in "pokemon as just battlers" tactic but she flies off the handle. Most trainers who believe in that (Silver, Paul) have great control of their emotion. It kind of seems like you're catering around Derak by making everyone somewhat on a lower level, whether it's in intelligence or ability to control their emotion.

    Derak himself is rather interesting. I feel like you wanted to make him cynical, or at least dry, in the first chapter, but kind of ditched those plans in the second chapter. I'm not sure how to feel toward him because I don't think you really hammered out if you wanted him all the way cynical, or just slightly sarcastic.

    To wrap this up, read over your work for redundancy. Using fancy metaphors like "eyes of sapphires" or "blue life giver" doesn't spice up your story, kind of like how using fancier vocabulary. It just looks odd in the midst of your regular prose/style. Likewise, read over your work for areas that you seem to be rushing through by using your dialogue as a descriptor. Put a little more of your characters' reaction towards things instead of just leaving it as just a description of something happening.
    Last edited by Breezy; 11th October 2010 at 4:10 PM.

  4. #4
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    Breezy: ...wow. That's a long review.

    But, yeah, I'll see if I can keep all those tips in mind during future chapters (of course, I actually wrote this about 20 chapters in advance, so it may be a bit difficult...). Actually, my main goal with Derak is (while keeping him seperate from the stereotypical "energetic-and-overtly-nice" trainer) is to generally abuse him throughout the story. XD It mainly starts in chapter four.

    Now, with Breezy's observations in mind, chapter three may not be particularly amazing, but I find it a little better than the previous two.



    Chapter 3: Through Pallet Town and Viridian Forest!



    With Wildfire in his Pokeball, Derak trudged towards the first stop for any trainer in Kanto: Pallet Town. As he approached the lab, with intent to pass, a man stepped out of the building. Graying hair topped his slightly wrinkled head, a white lab coat swaying behind him. A crimson shirt and graying pants protected the rest of his body.

    “Why, hello there!” greeted the man, waving. “Are you a new trainer?”

    “Yeah,” Derak answered, “why?”

    “Professor Krane informed me of trainers from the Orre region coming to challenge the Kanto League,” the man explained. “Are you Derak Kadir?”

    “Yes,” Derak sighed, once more upset that people were aware of his name.

    “I’m Professor Oak,” said the man, “and I’m a Pokemon researcher. I’ve been studying Pokemon all my life, and recently I’ve made many new breakthroughs. Being a trainer, you must be here to challenge the Kanto League.”

    “Yeah, that would probably be the reason why MOST trainers come through here,” Derak replied. “So, how do you get to the League in the first place?”

    “Please, come inside,” Oak offered, “I will explain everything to you.”

    ****

    Within the house owned by Professor Oak, the Professor sat on a sofa opposite Derak, who was sitting on a sofa of his own. Oak was leaning forward on his sofa, eager to begin advising a beginning trainer. Derak, however, look as if he was unable to begin to care about what the Professor would say.

    “To enter the League,” Oak began, “the first thing you have to do is register for the Kanto League.”

    “How do I do that?” Derak asked with a raised eyebrow.

    “It’s quite simple,” Oak said. “Just hand me your Pokedex and I’ll do the rest.”

    “Uh…okay,” Derak said, reluctantly handing the Pokemon Professor his orange Pokedex. Oak got up, plugged the Pokedex into a machine, and a short moment later returned it to the trainer.

    “There you go, you’re all set,” Oak smiled. “Now, then…to officially enter the League, you have to win a Gym Badge from the eight Gym Leaders here as proof of your wins. Only trainers who have all eight badges may enter any Pokemon League.”

    “So, where’s the first Gym?” Derak asked, now becoming interested.

    “In Pewter City,” Oak explained. “You have to go through Viridian City and then Viridian Forest to get there. May I see which starter you chose? I can give you some information about the Pewter Gym Leader.”

    “All right,” Derak agreed. “Wildfire, c’mon out.”

    As Wildfire formed from the white burst of light, the professor placed a hand to his chin.

    “A Chimchar?” Oak commented. “Interesting. Pewter Gym uses Rock-type Pokemon, and Fire-types like Chimchar are weak against Rock-types. I recommend you catch some more Pokemon to challenge the Gym Leader with.”

    “And just how do you do that?” Derak asked.

    “I’m afraid you’re on your own with that,” said Oak. “I need to leave to take care of the precious Pokemon that trainers from Kanto often leave with me.”

    The minute Oak said “precious Pokemon”, Derak suddenly had an image of Thomas, the Totodile trainer. It took quite a bit of effort for Derak to suppress a shudder.

    “I can help you with these, though,” said Oak, removing five miniaturized Pokeballs from his coat pocket. “These are Pokeballs. They allow you to capture a Pokemon, but first you have to use your current Pokemon to weaken it.”

    “I’ll take them,” Derak said.

    “Excellent,” said Oak, handing over the five Pokeballs. “I wish I could stay and tell you how to capture a Pokemon, but I’m afraid I have to leave and feed the many Pokemon. They mean quite a lot to their trainers, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.”

    Once more, the image of Thomas and his Totodile entered Derak’s mind, and this time the runaway trainer failed to hide his disturbed reaction.

    All of a sudden, a creature accurately described as a giant purple blob with arms, two eyes, and a gaping mouth tackled Oak to the floor. Both of the present humans were taken completely by surprise, particularly Derak.

    “Oh, not again, Muk!” Oak grumbled as the blob covered the entirety of his lower body.

    “What the heck?!” Derak cried, immediately pulling out his Pokedex and pointing it at the blob.

    “Muk,” the Dex began, “the Sludge Pokemon. Type is Poison. Evolved form of Grimer. Muk oozes a sludge that is horribly repugnant to the nostrils of any being. Although this smell may be a result of its Stench ability, the fluid kills any plants and trees on contact. As its stench is its special ability, even being contained inside a Pokeball will not suppress it.”

    “No, it’s all right,” Oak laughed. “This Muk belongs to a trainer that came from Pallet Town some time ago. Muk, please get off!”

    “Uh, okay,” said Derak nervously, “gotta go, see you.”

    Derak recalled Wildfire and left with extreme promptness, unwilling to receive a fate similar to Oak’s.

    ****

    Derak virtually ignored everything in Viridian City, despite a Gym being placed there. He did not access the Gym for two reasons: Oak had said that the first Gym was in Pewter City, and the Gym in Viridian City was closed.

    Derak soon came upon the lush and green Viridian Forest. Bug-like Pokemon crawled and scurried across trees and grass. A small yellow worm inched up to him, the white spike atop its head contrasting its big-nosed face.

    “What are you, exactly?” Derak asked of the worm before taking out his Pokedex to scan it.

    “Weedle, the Hairy Pokemon,” the Dex began. “Type is Bug and Poison. Weedles have ravenous appetites and will daily consume an amount of leaves equal to their body weight. It fends off attackers by using the two-inch poisonous stinger on its head.”

    “Don’t move!” a girl’s voice cried, and Sarah Arachson jogged towards the Weedle, green pigtails bouncing with every step. Her orange skirt seemed inappropriate for such an environment, though Sarah soon proved otherwise as she pulled a small Pokeball from her pocket.

    A click of the grey button on the front of the Pokeball caused it to enlarge, making it evidently easier to throw. She then tested such aerodynamics of the newly-enlarged Pokeball by launching it at the Weedle, which struck the worm on its large pink nose. Suddenly, the Weedle became a red light that was absorbed into the Pokeball. The ball shook three times before clicking, no longer moving after the click.

    “Yes!” Sarah gleefully remarked, retrieving her Pokeball. “I caught a Weedle!”

    She thrust her arm into the air, holding the Pokeball containing her newly-acquired Weedle above her head. Derak simply stared at her for a short while before speaking.

    “…is there a point to posing like that?” Derak asked.

    “Kinda,” answered Sarah, “it makes me look awesome.”

    “Looks corny to me,” Derak commented.

    “Yeah, well, most trainers do it,” Sarah responded. “I’m Sarah Arachson, by the way.”

    “Derak Kadir,” Derak responded.

    “Yeah,” Sarah said, nodding, “I know. What?” she added, in response to Derak’s heavy sigh.

    “I’m kind of sick of everyone knowing who I am right off the bat,” Derak explained. “Nothing personal, really.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” Sarah laughed, “Anyway, are you passing through here?”

    “Yeah, why?” Derak responded.

    “I was catching a few Bug-type Pokemon,” Sarah began, “like that Weedle. I’ve always liked Bug Pokemon because I want to prove that, just because they aren’t the prettiest of Pokemon, doesn’t mean that people should be afraid of them all the time.”

    “So,” said Derak, “what, you want to win the League with Bug-types?”

    “Yep!” Sarah nodded. “I chose Squirtle as my starter because it’s always been used to put out fires. Since the highest ranking danger to Bug Pokemon is forest fires, I want to have Squirtle help me protect Bug Pokemon. Speaking of which, what do you say to a battle?”

    “Eh, why not,” Derak shrugged.

    “Great,” replied Sarah, smirking. “It’ll be my Squirtle against your Chimchar.”

    “Koffing, go!” a male voice from somewhere away cried, drawing Derak and Sarah’s attentions

    “Sounds like there’s a battle going on right now,” Derak remarked.

    “Let’s go see!” Sarah cried, dashing off to see the battle. Derak followed, though only willing to see what was going on.

    ****

    The pair had only to travel a short distance to reach the site of the battle. Upon their arrival, Sarah gasped. Derak soon saw why.

    A man clad in a green-and-yellow uniform was making an aggressive posture towards a small, green worm. Beside him was a purple orb-shaped creature with small holes covering it at nearly every possible angle. What seemed to be fangs emerged from the orb creature’s mouth, and a pair of eyes sat above the mouth.

    “Koffing,” the Dex pointed out when Derak pointed it at the orb, “the Poison Gas Pokemon. Type is Poison. Koffing is kept afloat by the smelly gasses in its body that cause constant sniffles, coughs, and teary eyes to those who inhale them. These gasses are not only lighter than air, but are also highly explosive.”

    “Caterpie,” said the Dex, identifying the worm, “the Worm Pokemon. Type is Bug. Caterpie releases a repugnant stench from its red antennae to ward off foes. Its feet can stick to any surface, which allows it to climb trees in search of food. Caterpie repeatedly sheds its skin to grow.”

    The Caterpie was injured, obviously having been attacked by the man and his Koffing. Sarah was absolutely speechless, clasping her hands over her mouth. Derak, however, had something to say.

    “Hey, you!” Derak cried, “The guy with the purple floater!”

    The man turned to glare at Derak, as did Koffing.

    “What do you think you’re doing to that Caterpie?!” Derak demanded.

    “I’m trying to unlock its potential,” the man responded casually. “Now, stand aside. I don’t have time to waste on children.”

    “How does beating up a Caterpie so much unlock potential?” Derak continued, very much ignoring the man’s second comment. “In case you haven’t noticed, that defenseless Pokemon you’re beating on is about to faint!”

    True enough, Caterpie was staggering on its stubby tan legs, its circular eyes half-closed and body shaking.

    “Then it’s weak,” the man coldly responded. “We of Team Cyclone have no need for weakness.”

    “Weak?!” Derak growled. “What are you—hold up, what’s Team Cyclone?”

    “None of your business,” replied the man, who was apparently a grunt for the mysterious Team Cyclone. “Now, leave. I’m going to unlock this Caterpie’s flying potential, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    “We’ll see about that,” said Derak, “Wildfire, come on out!”

    “Squirtle, you too!” cried Sarah, having finally regained herself.

    Squirtle appeared alongside Wildfire, both Pokemon anticipating a difficult fight.

    “Koff-fing!” snorted Koffing, its trainer having a similar attitude.

    “You honestly believe that those pathetic excuses for Pokemon will win?” scoffed the Cyclone grunt. “Very well. If you want to throw their lives away, fine. Koffing, use Sludge Bomb!”

    Immediately proving itself stronger than any individual starter Pokemon, Koffing spat a wad of purple slime at Wildfire and Squirtle. Upon orders from their trainers, Wildfire leapt away from the attack while Squirtle performed a backwards flip to dodge. Now airborne, Wildfire was poised to attack, snarling at Koffing.

    “Ember!” Derak ordered.

    Obeying its trainer, Wildfire launched its storm of small orbs. Though the attack did make contact, Koffing seemed less damaged than Squirtle would have been. Sarah ordered Squirtle to follow up with a Water Gun, prompting the turtle Pokemon to drench the orb in a short stream of water.

    “Koffing, Gyro Ball!” ordered the Cyclone grunt.

    Koffing began rolling in the air towards Wildfire, a silver ring of light running vertically up the orb Pokemon’s body. Its speed began to increase as it came closer and closer to Wildfire.

    “Wildfire, can you block it?” Derak asked of his starter.

    Evidently, it could not, as though Wildfire valiantly stood its ground in the face of the Koffing, the monkey was soon shoved into the ground. Wildfire seemed to ignore Derak’s concerned call of his name, standing to perform another attack.

    “Squirtle, Water Gun again!” cried Sarah.

    “I don’t have any more time for this,” growled the Cyclone grunt. “Koffing, use Selfdestruct!”

    “What?!” Sarah gasped, while Derak simply took a step back in shock.

    As per its orders, Koffing began to glow a bright white, shortly before a powerful explosion of flame erupted from its entire body, eradicating Squirtle’s water blast in the process. Both Wildfire and Squirtle were instantly defeated by this attack, landing on their backs in front of their trainers. When the smoke cleared, the Cyclone grunt was gone, as was his Koffing. Caterpie, however, remained, albeit horribly bruised and beaten.

    “Aw, you poor thing,” Sarah cooed, scooping Caterpie in her arms. “We need to get this Caterpie and our other Pokemon to the nearest Pokemon Center. We need to get back to Viridian City.”

    ****

    “Oh, my!” the nurse began as Derak and Sarah entered Viridian’s Pokemon Center. “What happened to your Pokemon? Did Team Cyclone show up?”

    “A grunt took out both our Pokemon with a Koffing before getting away,” Sarah explained as Derak raised an eyebrow in confusion. “Can you heal them, Nurse Joy?”

    “Certainly,” nodded Nurse Joy, her pink buns of hair bouncing slightly as she did so, “just give them to me and I’ll heal them.”

    “What’s Team Cyclone, anyway?” Derak asked.

    “They’re a group of criminals who appeared not very long ago,” Nurse Joy explained as she placed the Pokeballs holding Wildfire and Squirtle on some sort of machine, just before coming to pick up Caterpie. “They claim that they help Pokemon by hurting them so that they learn to fly, but they aren’t helping at all. Caterpie evolves into a Flying-type, so it’s usually a prime target of grunts. It’s so sad, I’ve seen so many Caterpies and other Pokemon brought here just because they didn’t know how to fly.”

    “Wait,” Derak said, “my Pokedex said that Koffing’s only a Poison-type. It didn’t say anything about flying.”

    “Koffing has an ability called Levitate,” Sarah explained as Nurse Joy went into a back room with Caterpie. “It lets Koffing hover above the ground and avoid Ground-type attacks. I guess Team Cyclone counts levitation as flying, so that’s why that grunt had a Koffing. I’ll stay here to make sure Caterpie gets better.”

    “And I’ll get Wildfire and head back to the forest,” Derak stated.

    ****

    Returning to the entrance of Viridian Forest, Derak stood, staring into the darkness. Many trainers rumored it to be filled with vicious, aggressive, territorial Pokemon…at least, that was what Derak heard from the trainers aboard the S.S. Wailord. Without a word, the trainer carefully entered the forest, believing himself and his lone Pokemon ready for the danger.

    Outside the forest, meanwhile, the Tracker strolled up towards the edge of the forest, black boots thumping the grassy soil beneath. The tail end of his brown trenchcoat trailed behind him, following his footsteps. Both his arms remained stationary at his side, though only one wore a trenchcoat sleeve. Oddly, the left arm was covered by a strange black-and-gold device. The front end of the device, the part which covered the top of Tracker’s hand, resembled the upper half of a crab’s claw. A spike protruded from just underneath the claw-like part of the machine, extending past its owner’s hand.

    “Looks like the Kadir kid went through here,” Tracker remarked, just before something in his coat pocket began to vibrate. With a groan, he removed a cell phone-like device, placing it to his ear.

    “For the last time, Anoch,” Tracker growled, barely concealing the annoyance in his voice, “I’m tracking the kid down. Shut up and let me do my job.”

    “You don’t understand!” Derak’s father snapped from the other end of the line. “My reputation will be in ruins if Derak isn’t brought back IMMEDIATELY!”

    “I think I know why you put a hundred thousand on your kid’s head,” Tracker smirked. “You’re an egomaniac with issues.”

    “I am not!” Anoch bellowed from the other end. “I need him so I can make sure that he never see—”

    The phone, to use an incredibly low-tech term, went dead. This, of course, was planned by Tracker, who had deactivated the phone in the first place. He then turned his attentions to Viridian Forest, placing his right hand to his chin in thought.

    “I need something that can both blend in and grab the kid quickly,” Tracker mused to himself. “And I think I know what.”

    Tracker removed a Pokeball from his belt. Oddly, however, the Pokeball was entirely different than the standard red-and-white variant. Both semi-spheres of the ball were a shade of dark purple, the ring in the middle a pure white. Two strips of white metal ran through a red button in the center.

    “Beedrill, start the hunt,” said Tracker, throwing the odd Pokeball into the air. A Bug-type Pokemon emerged, this one resembling a yellow wasp the size of a human being. Red compound eyes allowed the wasp sight, though smell was only allowed by a pair of blue antennae emerging from the top of its head. Gossamer wings provided this Pokemon the ability to fly. These wings, combined with the giant spikes dominating its blue arms, gave the wasp impressive aerial attack potential. When needing to rest, it used blue legs emerging from the sides of its abdomen.

    “Beedrill,” Tracker began, “I want you to find the Kadir kid, but stay out of sight. If you find him, bring him to me, but do it so that anyone else in there won’t know he’s gone until it’s too late. Understood?”

    With a noise slightly reminiscent of a hiss, Beedrill nodded before flying into the forest to act on its assigned task.

    ****

    “I don’t see why people keep saying that Viridian Forest is full of Pokemon that are a pain to new trainers,” commented Derak as he trudged through Viridian Forest. “I haven’t seen anything so far.”

    Truly, Derak had seen nothing. This was partly because Tracker’s Beedrill, its speed rocketing it ahead of Derak, had cleared itself a path leading to a certain spot of Viridian Forest, easily defeating each and every Pokemon that it came across. Just as Derak neared the forest’s exit, a hiss behind him signaled the trainer to quickly spin to face it.

    There, hovering in front of him, was Tracker’s Beedrill. Derak, however, assumed it to be a wild Pokemon, though nonetheless he drew out his Pokedex.

    “Beedrill,” said the Dex, “the Poison Bee Pokemon. Type is Bug and Poison. Evolved form of Kakuna. Beedrill is the final evolution of Weedle. It is a very hostile Pokemon, attacking every passerby that it comes across. Its best attack involves it flying through the air, striking with its stingers, and flying off.”

    “Uh…oh,” Derak muttered. The knowledge that Beedrill attacked any innocent bystander that came into its path greatly unnerved the boy. As if to prove that the Pokedex was correct, Beedrill hovered back, bent forward, and shot towards Derak with amazing speed.

    With a minor scream, Derak flattened himself against the ground, Beedrill missing by inches. The Poison Bee swooped around for another attack, but this time, one of its stingers began to glow a bright purple. Derak rolled away in time to allow Beedrill’s attack to pierce the ground rather than his body.

    Derak rose, then, summoned Wildfire from its Pokeball. At once, the monkey took yet another fighting stance. Beedrill, however, seemed as if it couldn’t care less whether Wildfire was there or not.

    “Wildfire, Ember!” Derak ordered.

    Wildfire complied, firing the storm of flaming orbs at Beedrill. A Fire-type attack would normally have been very effective against a Bug-type Pokemon like Beedrill. The Bug-type in question, however, merely cringed in pain, rather than the more intense reaction Derak had been expecting.

    After the Ember ceased, one of Beedrill’s front stingers became coated in a dark purple energy. It then fired a burst of slime at Derak and Wildfire, though both managed to dodge.

    “I think that was a Sludge Bomb or something,” Derak said to himself, “like what that Cyclone grunt’s Koffing used.”

    Beedrill prepared another Sludge Bomb as Derak spoke. At that moment, an idea found its way inside the boy’s mind.

    “Jump onto the stinger with the Sludge Bomb!” Derak ordered.

    Despite the apparent insanity of the order, Wildfire obeyed without question or hesitation. Though the resulting burst sent the Chimchar flying back into its trainer, Beedrill also went careening, its own attack having backfired. Beedrill was blown clear out of the forest, straight through the overhanging leaves.

    “Well, that was weird,” Derak remarked as he got up, then he remembered his Pokemon. “Oh, no, Wildfire!”

    Wildfire was completely unconscious, lying flat on the forest floor. Promising his Pokemon a healing upon entering Pewter City, Derak left Viridian Forest and entered the city holding the first Gym.

    ****

    Elsewhere, the Cyclone grunt was speaking into what appeared to be some sort of walkie-talkie.

    “A pair of children interfered with the unlocking,” said the grunt, “but don’t worry, my leader…I’ll make certain that they won’t interfere for long.”

    ****

    Back at the entrance to the forest, Tracker stood at the entrance yet again.

    “Wonder how Beedrill is doing?” Tracker asked of no one in particular. As if to answer his question, his Beedrill plopped onto the ground in front of him, emitting a weak hiss before fainting.

    “Hmm. Beedrill, return,” said Tracker, recalling Beedrill into the odd Pokeball. “Guess the kid’s better than I thought. But, I still don’t think he’s worth much to me. Oh, well, have to do a job right.”

    ****

    So, yeah, this chapter might be a little better. That, however, is up to the reader to decide. Any thoughts?
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  5. #5
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    And now the fourth chapter.




    Chapter 4: Catching a New Pokemon in Pewter City!



    After Wildfire was healed, Derak left the Pokemon Center and stood firmly outside it, taking in all of Pewter City’s scenery. Aside from the Pewter Museum, the city seemed quite bland. Even the Gym appeared to be quite unimpressive, appearing as simply a door carved into an immense rock. Regardless, to Derak, a Gym was a Gym. And for any Pokemon trainer, a Gym was to be challenged.

    With Wildfire’s Pokeball clipped safely to his belt, Derak pushed open the glass door of the Pewter Gym. Indeed, the Pewter Gym preferred to refrain from glamour, as an arena made from stone and sand took up the majority of the arena. The rocks were not even, as some were larger or pointier than others. A Pokeball-shaped symbol made from chalk was engraved in the center of the arena, lines of more chalk connecting it to the outside.

    A boy at the other end of the arena marked Derak’s apparent opponent. His spiky, brown hair was similar to the landscape of the arena he battled in. The boy’s skin, which was of a slightly darker shade than Derak’s, was mostly covered by a green-and-white striped shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Black shoes protected this boy’s feet, though Derak wondered how he could see where he was going with his chronically squinting eyes.

    “Hey!” the boy called, “Are you here to challenge the Pewter Gym?”

    “…yeah,” Derak hesitated to respond, drawing out his word as he spoke. “Why else would I be here?”

    “Okay,” said the boy. “My name’s Forrest, and I’m the Pewter Gym Leader. We’ll each use one Pokemon, okay?”

    “Fine,” Derak shrugged, “Wildfire, let’s go!”

    To Forrest’s surprise, Wildfire the Chimchar burst from his Pokeball and onto the field. Taking a battle stance as always, the fire monkey waited for Forrest to make his choice.

    “A Chimchar?” Forrest questioned. “You don’t see that every day in a battle against a Rock-type Gym. Sorry if this is too much, but…go, Geodude!”

    From Forrest’s Pokeball came a Pokemon that would be accurately described as a rocky head with arms. Two large, brown eyes and a wide mouth dominated the creature’s face. The two arms were like any other, but they looked immensely strong.

    “Geodude,” said Derak’s Pokedex as he pointed the device at the Pokemon, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. Geodudes live on mountain trails and slam into each other to compete in contests of strength and hardness. They are usually found half-buried in the ground, which makes them easily mistaken for average rocks. If a Geodude is angered, it will swing its arms around.”

    A girl who looked to be Forrest’s sibling stood at the side of the arena, holding a flag in each hand. One flag was green, the other red. The red flag indicated Forrest’s side, while the green one identified Derak’s.

    “The battle between…uh, what’s your name and where are you from?” the girl asked Derak.

    “Derak Kadir, Phenac City in Orre,” Derak responded, relieved that someone actually had no knowledge of his name.

    “The battle between Forrest, the Gym Leader of Pewter City, and the challenger, Derak Kadir from Phenac City, will now begin!” cried the girl. “Each trainer will use one Pokemon. The battle is won when one trainer’s Pokemon can’t continue. In addition, only the challenger may make substitutions. And now, begin!”

    The girl swept her flags into the air, and immediately Forrest made the first move.

    “Geodude, use Rollout!” Forrest commanded his Geodude.

    In response to the order, Geodude tucked its arms by its sides and began to rapidly roll towards Wildfire in a manner reminiscent of a steamroller. Upon an order from Derak, Wildfire leapt into the air to avoid the attack. Its target missed, Geodude came to a sudden stop as Wildfire landed some distance away.

    “Geodude might seem slow, but we can cover that distance pretty quickly!” smirked Forrest. “Of course, sometimes we don’t even need to. Geodude, Rock Throw!”

    Geodude’s hand became surrounded by an aura of blue as a segment of the arena began to glow a similar color. With a sweep of its hand, a large rock shot out of the arena floor and hurdled towards Wildfire. Seeing the large object hurdling towards it, Wildfire began to panic, though tried its best to not show it.

    “Dodge it, quick!” Derak cried, and Wildfire leapt to the side, flipping off its hands and thus avoiding the attack in a martial arts-like manner.

    “Looks like we’ll need to turn up the heat some more, Geodude!” Forrest commented. “Rock Polish and then Rollout!”

    “Geo…DUDE!” roared Geodude in a gruff voice, its body suddenly shining so brightly that Derak had to cover his eyes. The shine soon faded, and Geodude began rolling again. This time, however, Geodude had used the effect of Rock Polish to its full advantage. The point of the move was to double the speed of the user, a fact Derak clued in to when Geodude slammed into Wildfire with enough strength to catapult the monkey out of the arena…

    …and into Derak’s chest, sending the trainer onto the floor in a sprawled heap.

    “…ouch,” grunted the young trainer as Forrest recalled his Geodude.

    “Are you okay?” Forrest asked, helping Derak up.

    “I’ve been better,” responded Derak, taking Wildfire in his arms. “You did great, Wildfire, even if we didn’t win.”

    “You might need to catch a new Pokemon to challenge me with—” Forrest began, but Derak cut him off.

    “I kind of figured that out,” Derak said as he returned Wildfire to his Pokeball. “Do you know somewhere I can get one?”

    “There’s route three a little farther down,” Forrest answered. “I’m pretty sure you’ll find a good Pokemon there.”

    “Right,” said Derak, “be back in a while.”

    And with that, the runaway trainer left the Gym.

    ****

    Derak entered the Pewter City Pokemon Center to find Nurse Joy standing behind the counter, as usual. He walked up to the counter and held out Wildfire’s Pokeball.

    “Could you heal my Chimchar again?” Derak asked. “By the way, weren’t you at Viridian?”

    “Oh,” said Nurse Joy, “you must mean my sister. Everyone says all the people in my family look alike.”

    She held out a picture of what seemed to be hundreds of Nurse Joys, all appearing exactly identical.

    “I can see why,” Derak commented as Nurse Joy put the photo away and took Wildfire’s Pokeball. After placing it on the healing machine, Joy handed Derak back his starter’s Pokeball, and with a brief “thanks”, Derak left the Pokemon Center.

    ****

    Route three was much less of a dense jungle than Viridian Forest, but was still very forest-like. The trees did not hang thickly over the pathway, but they still played host to a variety of tree-dwelling Pokemon. Derak stared at the entrance, wondering what sort of Pokemon he would find.

    The answer was made clear when a sudden blast of wind blew several Pokemon out in front of him. The first was monkey-like in shape, with tan fur matching brown hands and feet coupled with a large head serving as the main body. A pig-like snout was mounted in the center of this body, with two vicious eyes and pointed ears above it.

    The second Pokemon was small and purple, physically similar to a rabbit aside from its giant horn and mouse-like ears. Small spikes poked from its back, and miniscule white claws on its feet served as a means of leaving a unique footprint. The final Pokemon was similar to this, the main changes being that it was blue, had smaller ears, and a large front tooth in place of the horn.

    “What the heck?!” Derak cried, startled. “Are you guys all right?”

    The trainer knelt down to the monkey, first, pulling out his Pokedex to analyze it.

    “Mankey,” said the Pokedex, “the Pig Monkey Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Mankies live in treetop colonies, and are susceptible to angering instantly. If even one is enraged, the entire colony begins to rampage for no known reason.”

    “Guess your anger didn’t help you this time,” Derak commented before switching his gaze to the first of the rabbit Pokemon.

    “Nidoran male,” the Pokedex began, “the Poison Pin Pokemon. Type is Poison. Male Nidorans have developed muscles that allow them to turn their ears in any direction. This is combined with their toxic horn to make a very effective defense system.”

    “Sorry, Nidoran, but I don’t think your ears helped as much as they should have,” Derak said, pointing his Pokedex to the final Pokemon.

    “Nidoran female,” said the Pokedex, “the Poison Pin Pokemon. Type is Poison. Although small, a female Nidoran has venomous barbs that render it very dangerous. It prefers not to fight, using its barbs as a self-defense technique.”

    “Ma-chop!” cried a slightly masculine voice from the forest. “Ma, machop!”

    The newcomer was a blue, humanoid creature roughly two feet tall. Three brown fins protruded from the top of its head, red eyes allowing for visibility. A small tail emerged from the Pokemon’s backside, and its bare limbs bore sinewy muscles.

    “What is that?” Derak asked of the Pokedex.

    “Machop,” said the Dex, “the Superpower Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Machops heft Gravelers repeatedly to strengthen their entire bodies, and its muscles never cramp no matter how much it trains. In combat, Machop uses its personal variant of many human martial arts, all of which it has trained itself in. Machops live in mountainous regions, far away from human civilization.”

    “Wait…if Machops live on mountains,” Derak began, “then why’s this one down here?”

    “I think I know,” said a girl’s voice behind him, and Melissa came into view.

    “When did you get here?” Derak asked, barely keeping resentment out of his voice.

    “A few minutes ago,” Melissa answered. “I won the Stone Badge at Pewter Gym, and I heard from Nurse Joy about a trainer abandoning their Machop recently.”

    “Sounds like your kind of thing to do to a Pokemon,” Derak sneered.

    “Hey, I don’t just abandon them, I train them the way I should!” Melissa yelled, but managed to calm herself shortly after. “Anyway, how about this? Whoever catches Machop gets to keep it.”

    “Fine,” Derak shrugged. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

    “Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa called, summoning her Turtwig while Derak’s Chimchar also took the field.

    Machop smiled cruelly, showing all of its teeth, and then pulled its arms back. Small orbs of wind began swirling around its hands, and with a great shove, Machop hurled the wind blasts at the two starter Pokemon. The two were blown off of their feet, and somewhat battered, but still able to continue.

    “What was that?” Derak asked Melissa.

    “Vacuum Wave,” she responded, “a Fighting-type attack that lets the user go first. Turtwig, show that muscle-bound monster that strength is what matters, not speed! Razor Leaf, go!”

    As it did before in its battle against Wildfire, Turtwig swung its head around, unleashing a storm of razor-sharp leaves at its intended target. Machop, however, dug its heel into the ground and kicked a rather large amount of mud into the air, blocking the majority of the leaves. Although some came through and did damage Machop, the damage was much less than it could have been.

    “Great, it knows Mud-slap, too!” Melissa groaned.

    “Wildfire, go in for Scratch!” Derak ordered.

    With its speed, Wildfire dashed in on its hands and feet, preparing to draw one hand back for a Scratch attack. Machop, however, was ready. One of Machop’s hands began to glow purple, and it drew this hand back in preparation to attack.

    “Dodge that attack!” Derak cried, and Wildfire’s great agility allowed it to do so. Wildfire then performed its Scratch attack, striking Machop’s face. Although weakened more than before, Machop still refused to give in, evidenced by it delivering a strong sideways chop to Wildfire, flooring the fire monkey.

    “Turtwig, use Bite!” Melissa ordered.

    Using an attack learned during its battle against Forrest’s Geodude, Turtwig leapt at Machop and tightly clamped its jaws around Machop’s arm.

    “Ma?! Machop, machop!” Machop cried, incredibly distressed by the turtle clinging to its arm.

    “Throw Machop!” Melissa ordered, and Turtwig slammed Machop into a tree. “All right, Pokeball, go!”

    Melissa threw the red-and-white sphere at Machop, and on contact, the humanoid creature was absorbed inside it in a manner similar to Sarah’s Weedle. The ball shook twice, but burst open before the third shake, proving the attempt at capture to be a failure. The ball sailed back to Melissa as she gritted her teeth in frustration.

    “Wildfire, Ember!” Derak cried, and Wildfire assaulted Machop with its flaming orbs. As had happened before with the Retriever’s Elekid, Machop received several burns on its body. One burn in particular seemed to cause the most pain to the Superpower Pokemon, as one hand immediately went to its location on Machop’s side.

    “Okay…here goes,” Derak said slowly. “Go, Pokeball.”

    Derak limply tossed the Pokeball whilst Melissa’s palm met her forehead at his display, the Pokeball sailing towards Machop and striking it in its own forehead. As before, it was absorbed into the ball, but this time it shook three times…

    …and clicked.

    Derak stood dead still, stunned at what had just happened.

    “Wow…I did it,” Derak said quietly. “I caught a Pokemon.”

    He walked over to the Pokeball and picked it up.

    “I’m going to get you to the Pokemon Center, Machop,” said Derak, “then we can be friends. And don’t say anything!” Derak added in response to Melissa opening her mouth to speak. Angrily closing her mouth, Melissa began to say something else.

    “Well, a deal’s a deal,” said Melissa. “Keep Machop, Derak. You’ve earned it.”

    Confused at her lack of rudeness, Derak tilted his head to one side again.

    “When you’re done here, the second Gym is in Cerulean City,” said Melissa. “I’ll see you there.”

    And with that, Melissa marched past him and into route three.

    “That was…kind of awkward,” Derak remarked. “Well, at least I got a new Pokemon out of this. Wildfire, return…let’s go back to Pewter.”

    ****

    At the Pokemon Center, Derak waited for Wildfire and his new Machop to finish healing. At last, Nurse Joy handed him the two Pokeballs containing his two Pokemon. Derak let both out to speak with them, but as soon as it appeared, Machop began growling at Wildfire.

    “Machop, cut it out,” Derak snapped. “Wildfire’s not your enemy anymore.”

    Machop stood silently for a moment, and then nodded.

    “Okay, Machop,” Derak began, “it’s my thing to give my Pokemon names. So, I’m going to give you one.”

    Machop shrugged in response.

    “Okay, let’s see…strongman…no, that’s stupid…wait, I’ve got it. Since you started beating up those Pokemon back at route three, how about I call you Brute?”

    Machop seemed to consider it for a moment, and then, it nodded.

    “Okay,” Derak smiled. “Welcome to the team, Brute. The first thing we’re going to do tomorrow is battle Forrest again at Pewter Gym. And we’ll keep battling him until we come out on top.”

    “Machop!” grunted Brute in agreement, pumping its fist into the air.

    ****

    Just for the record, Derak's captures are going to be few and far between (unlike the BW anime series, where the main character catches four Pokemon in addition to his starter all before the tenth episode...).
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  6. #6
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    Chapter 5 now.



    Chapter 5: Team Cyclone again! Battle Against Admins Torie and Snattle!



    After resting a day in the Pokemon Center, Derak entered the Gym again. Once more, Forrest was standing at the other end of the arena, causing Derak to wonder if he ever moved from that spot.

    “Welcome back,” Forrest greeted, nodding. “Did you catch a new Pokemon?”

    “Yeah,” Derak responded, “and, uh, I’m not here to chat.”

    “I know you aren’t,” Forrest smirked, “so let’s get on with the battle! Go, Graveler!”

    A new Pokemon emerged from Forrest’s Pokeball, this one almost twice the size of his Geodude. It was, simply, a large brown rock with a confidently smirking face, four arms, and a pair of small feet underneath its ragged body. Notably, the two bottom arms were smaller than the top ones. As usual, Derak reached for his Pokedex to analyze the new Pokemon.

    “Graveler,” the Dex began, “the Rock Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. Evolved form of Geodude. Graveler makes its home in mountains by gouging out horizontal holes. Its daily diet consists of a metric ton of rocks. A Graveler can be found rolling down mountains and they do not care if they lose any of their body parts.”

    “Okay…that’s kind of disturbing,” Derak commented, wondering how in the world something could not care if its limbs were forcefully removed, “but…oh well. Brute, let’s go!”

    For the first time, Derak sent out his new Machop. The blue, child-sized being formed from the burst of light, standing with its arms crossed.

    “A Machop, huh?” Forrest remarked. “Those are pretty hard to find around here. Nice catch.”

    “Sure, sure,” Derak said in a way resembling some odd cross between modesty and cynicism. “Now, how about we just get on with it?”

    After doing her introductions again, Forrest’s sister once more raised her flags and ordered the two trainers to begin.

    “Okay, Brute,” Derak began, “Nurse Joy filled me in on all your moves. So start off with Karate Chop!”

    Brute ran towards Graveler, drawing one hand to its side to deliver a fierce chop. Forrest, however, knew a way to counter. His Geodude had evolved during its battle against Melissa and her Turtwig, but it was still not yet his strongest Pokemon. He had several other Pokemon given to him by his older brother, and he would not let down the same brother with whom he shared a strong familial bond.

    “Graveler, Gyro Ball!” cried Forrest.

    A move taught by its recent evolution, Graveler tucked its arms in as it had done before as a Geodude. This time, however, a trail of light ran down the center of Graveler’s rolling form as it barreled towards Brute, ready to strike.

    “Catch it with…what was it again? Oh, yeah, Vital Throw!” Derak cried, pausing for a brief second to remember the name of the one move Brute had not used against him.

    Brute stopped, planting its feet firmly in the ground. As Graveler approached it, Brute suddenly caught Graveler, spun around once, and threw it into a large rock on the side of the arena. Though far from defeated, Graveler had been weakened considerably by the attack.

    “Not bad,” complimented Forrest, “but we have a few surprises of our own. Graveler, use Double-Edge!”

    Surrounded by a yellow aura, Graveler began lumbering towards Brute, ready to deal a devastating tackle. As a large rock with stubby legs, however, Graveler was quite slow, which gave Derak all the time he needed to order a Vacuum Wave from Brute. The blast of air knocked Graveler off its feet and with a gruff “Gravel-ER!” it fell onto its backside, its attack disabled.

    “Looks like I’ll need to start thinking ahead,” Forrest commented. “Graveler, Rock Tomb!”

    Hands again covered by a blue aura, this time all of them, Graveler thrust its four arms into the air. Four rocks surrounding Brute suddenly rose up and slammed into the Machop, trapping it completely inside a makeshift stone pillar.

    “Brute!” Derak cried, concern in his voice.

    “Okay, let’s try again, Graveler,” said Forrest. “Double-Edge!”

    Graveler was again surrounded by the yellow aura as it charged towards Brute again. This time, however, Brute could not see Graveler coming, nor could it counter with a Vacuum Wave.

    “C’mon, Brute, break out of that!” Derak cried. “You have to! I know you can! I mean, you have big muscles, right?”

    For a moment, Derak’s encouraging (albeit somewhat poorly-chosen) words seemed to do nothing. Graveler came closer and closer to Brute, the latter still enclosed within the rocks. Cracks began to form in the pillar, however, and Brute burst out, launching into the air. Both Graveler and its trainer recoiled in shock, Graveler halting its move.

    “All right, Brute!” Derak cried, joy replacing his concern. “Now, let’s finish it! One last Karate Chop!”

    Brute drew its arm back, then, plummeted down to deliver a powerful strike to Graveler’s forehead. The super-effective blow, combined with the momentum from the charge, was enough to make Graveler faint on the spot.

    “Wow…Brute,” Derak said slowly, “we did it.”

    “Ma-chop!” Brute cried, pumping its fist into the air. Derak simply smiled and stuck his hands into his pant pockets.

    “Graveler, return,” said Forrest as he recalled Graveler. “Great comeback, Derak. You deserve this.”

    Forrest held out a small, metal emblem shaped—fittingly enough—like a stone.

    “It’s the Stone Badge,” Forrest explained, “Pewter Gym’s badge. You have seven more to go to get to the League, but I bet you’ll make it. Oh, and take this, too.”

    Forrest held out a wide, orange box. It was small enough to fit into Derak’s pocket, but wide enough to comfortably hold quite a few Gym Badges.

    “It’s a Badge Case,” Forrest continued, “and you can store all of Kanto’s badges in it.”

    Derak took the Stone Badge, placed it in the Badge Case, uttered a “thanks”, and left without another word. This display left Forrest staring after him in utter bewilderment.

    “I kinda expected a pose while saying ‘I got a Stone Badge’ or something,” remarked the Leader.

    ****

    Later, Derak leaned against the wall of the Pokemon Center with a hot dog in one hand. Wildfire and Brute were also out, devouring bowlfuls of small brown blocks Nurse Joy called “Pokemon food”. Derak ate his food slowly, with little enthusiasm, though his Pokemon acted quite differently. Both Pokemon hungrily consumed what was in front of them, wishing to make sure their stomachs were fully filled. Wildfire even dropped its robot-like façade in order to eat, something Derak appreciated.

    It was at that moment that something caught Derak’s eye. Men and women dressed in green robes similar to those of the Cyclone grunt in Viridian Forest were beginning to sweep into Pewter City’s museum, led by a woman with wild red hair and a man with faded purple lips matching his tall hair. The woman seemed to be in charge, her robes seeming much more regal than those of the grunts. The man, however, wore robes only slightly more impressive than the grunts’.

    “All right, Snattle,” began the woman, “get ready. We’re going to accomplish two missions in one fell swoop.”

    “Oh, as you so COMMAND, dear Torie!” the man named Snattle replied, bowing deeply enough to show off his spectacles and the large white streak running through his hair.

    “I’ll never understand why the boss let you on the team in the first place,” said Torie, shaking her head. “Well, anyway, into the museum!”

    Torie and Snattle led their swarm of grunts into the museum and out of Derak’s line of sight. Derak sighed, stuffing his unfinished hot dog into his pocket. As it turned out, his Pokemon were already done eating.

    “You guys done?” Derak asked, to which his Pokemon nodded. “Good, because it looks like we’re going to get some after-lunch exercise.”

    Recalling his two Pokemon, Derak followed the Cyclones into the museum.

    ****

    “Get that Old Amber as fast as possible!” Torie demanded. “Our leader needs the strongest Flying-type Pokemon, and the Aerodactyl from the Old Amber will be that sort of strong Pokemon!”

    Derak came in from behind the Cyclones. The grunts were attempting to take a large, egg-shaped block of amber from a glass case. Ignoring the other fossils, Torie commanded the grunts to steal the amber, as it was the only one that held any interest to her. Snattle merely stood by, apparently enjoying the scene unfolding before him.

    Forrest suddenly charged in, crying out in disgust at what the Cyclones were doing. Of course, this cry was what caused Snattle and Torie to notice the two trainers standing behind them. Though Torie sneered, Snattle was the only one who had any comment.

    “Well,” said the odd man, “look what we have here: a guest who is uninvited, and one who is semi-uninvited.”

    “That…made no sense whatsoever,” Derak commented, and as if to prove his point, Torie stared awkwardly at Snattle.

    “At ANY rate,” Snattle snarled, “I suggest you run along and play, kiddy. Our business is with the Old Amber…and Forrest over there.”

    “Me?” Forrest questioned.

    “Yes, boy, you,” Snattle answered. “Since your Rock-types pose a threat to the new world our leader currently has in mind, what with his obsession with flight and levitation and such, we’ve been ordered to kill you. Nothing personal, really.” Snattle added, as if it would make amends for their goals.

    “Kill me?” Forrest said, stunned and confused. Derak, however, had something to say.

    “How can you kill him?” he asked, oddly calm about such a situation. “You’re only human, in case you haven’t noticed.”

    “I am,” began Snattle, drawing a Pokeball, “but my hungry friend here isn’t. Metagross, come!”

    An enormous spider-like Pokemon was summoned from Snattle’s Pokeball. Four bulky legs ending in sharp triangular claws held a UFO-shaped body above the ground. Its entire body was blue aside from the white “X” across its face, a blood red eye on either side of the “X”. The minute the creature exited the Pokeball, a fanged mouth opened below the “X” and released a roar so loud that all humans present covered their ears—even Snattle. Consequently, the glass protecting all the exhibits was shattered…including the one holding the Old Amber.

    “What…the heck…is that?!” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex to analyze this new monster.

    “Metagross,” said the Dex, “the Iron Leg Pokemon. Type is Steel and Psychic. Evolved form of Metang. As Metang’s brain multiplied when it evolved, Metagross possesses four brains that collectively rival the intelligence of a supercomputer. It can fly by folding up its four legs. Metagross is a menacing hunter, pinning its prey and then devouring it using the mouth on its stomach.”

    “And guess what—or should I say, who—is on the menu?” Snattle smiled cruelly, pointing a finger at Forrest menacingly. “Metagross, lunchtime!”

    Oily slaver dripping from its fearsome mouth, Metagross folded its legs up onto itself, levitating into the air. With speed betraying its massive size, Metagross shot towards Forrest, clearly intent on sinking its fangs into the boy’s flesh. Forrest immediately called upon Graveler, and the living rock leapt onto Metagross’ face, causing the beast to crash back onto the ground. Rising back onto its legs again, Metagross began shaking its head in a vain attempt to throw Graveler off of it.

    “Bah, resistance is futile, boy…oh, rather fitting phrase for the moment,” paused the strange man. “Oh, well. Metagross, you don’t need to shake it off…just blast it off! Hyper Beam!”

    Graveler was indeed blasted off of Metagross’ face, by an enormous beam of yellow energy shot from Metagross’ mouth. Sent flying into the wall, Graveler was imprinted in the wall before falling out shortly after, obviously fainted. Panicking, Forrest returned Graveler to its Pokeball as Metagross began breathing heavily, breaths becoming ragged and mechanical due to the metallic nature of the spider’s body.

    “That’s the downside of Hyper Beam,” Forrest explained to Derak. “The user needs to rest for a while after using it…which leaves us an opening to attack!”

    “Thanks for the Old Amber!” called Torie as she and the grunts hurriedly left the museum.

    “No!” Forrest cried. “Forget Metagross, we have to get the Old Amber back!”

    The two trainers did turn for a rapid leave, but Metagross quickly darted in front of them, a low growl escaping its enormous mouth.

    “Quite rude of you to leave so soon,” said Snattle. “Metagross is very hungry. Right, Metagross?”

    “Mehhh-tuuuhhhhhhh,” growled the spider in response.

    “So,” Snattle continued, “I think it only courtesy that you two feed it. I do believe your bodies will be sufficient.”

    “That’s just nasty,” said a disgusted Derak. “Seriously, you actually want us to get eaten by your Metagross?”

    “Of course!” Snattle said jovially, to Derak’s confusion and further disgust.

    “How can you do this?!” Forrest demanded. “We’re living creatures, just like yo—”

    “Yes, yes, you kids and your sentimentality,” Snattle interrupted. “What say we expose some more of that sentimental concern? Metagross, Earthquake!”

    “No!” cried Forrest, knowing the museum must be kept intact at all costs. “Steelix, quick, use Fire Fang!”

    Forrest threw a Pokeball as Metagross reared onto its hind legs, preparing to strike the ground with enough force to shatter it. An enormous metal cobra emerged from Forrest’s Pokeball, blocky teeth bared and ready to bite. These teeth quickly became enflamed upon Forrest’s order, just before they were clamped onto Metagross’ front legs. The spider soon showed it was capable of feeling pain, as its latest roar was in pain rather than primal anger. After the snake called Steelix held on to Metagross’ legs tightly for a few short moments, the spider collapsed limply onto the floor.

    “…is that it?” Derak asked.

    “Let’s hope so,” Forrest replied.

    Derak took this time to analyze Steelix in the Pokedex.

    “Steelix,” the Dex began, “the Iron Snake Pokemon. Type is Steel and Ground. Evolved form of Onix. As a result of high pressure and heat tempering their bodies in their underground habitat, a Steelix has a body harder than diamond. They crunch their way through the earth using their sturdy jaws, and their eyes can see through the darkness underground.”

    Steelix, as one of Forrest’s eldest brother’s Pokemon, was incredibly strong. As such, one Fire Fang from it could very well have fainted Snattle’s monstrous Metagross in one hit. There was, however, the fact that Graveler—another Pokemon belonging to Forrest’s brother—had fainted due to one Hyper Beam from Metagross to take into consideration. Steelix leaned in closer to investigate…

    …and was promptly struck in the jaw with a vicious uppercut punch from Metagross. Steelix reeled over, but miraculously avoided causing any damage to the museum. The snake shook its head, severely weakened by Metagross’ attack.

    “Ah, yes,” Snattle said, “the old ‘play-dead-and-then-hit-your-opponent-with-a-Dynamicpunch” routine. Metagross loves it so dearly.”

    “That’s a really cheap trick!” Forrest snapped.

    “Perhaps,” Snattle seemed to agree, “but it is amusing.”

    “Okay, you sicko,” Derak began, “I’m not standing back and watching anymore! Wildfire, come on out!”

    Derak’s Chimchar formed from the white light yet again, this time to face down Snattle’s malicious Metagross. Though obviously much smaller than the metal spider, Wildfire shockingly showed no fear as it took its aggressive fighting stance.

    “Oh, please,” Snattle scoffed, “that monkey is barely worth a bite-sized snack. Metagross, dispatch it with Psychic!”

    Metagross’ crimson eyes began to glow blue as an aura of the same color surrounded Wildfire. The monkey was then thrown back with such force that it flew straight into Derak’s stomach again. The trainer and his starter were both thrown flat onto the floor, Wildfire at slightly less than a third of its original health.

    “Ugh...I’m getting a weird sensation of déjà vu,” Derak commented before Wildfire leapt off his body and onto the floor again. “You seriously still want to fight?!”

    Wildfire barely heard him. The fire monkey was baring its teeth in fury, yellow hands clenched into fists. A red aura began to surround Wildfire, flowing with immense power. A confused Derak turned to his Pokedex.

    “Blaze,” explained the Pokedex, “an ability possessed by all Fire-type starter Pokemon. When endurance is low, the Pokemon receives a boost to its Fire-type attack power.”

    “Let’s use Blaze to our advantage!” Forrest cried. “Steelix, give Chimchar a toss!”

    Steelix allowed Wildfire to jump onto its tail spike, then, threw the monkey towards Metagross. As it flew, Wildfire’s flaming tail began to burn even larger than before. Without any order, Wildfire’s mouth began to radiate flames as it performed a somersault. The flames from Wildfire’s mouth began to cover the monkey’s entire body, making it resemble a flaming wheel. Powered further by Blaze, the attack slammed straight into the “X” on Metagross’ face. Already weakened by Steelix’s Fire Fang attack, Metagross was catapulted towards Snattle, landing on its back at its trainer’s feet. Needless to say, the murderous spider had finally fainted.

    “Wh-what?!” Snattle sputtered. “Metagross, return! Hmph…you win this time, brats, but I will be back.”

    With that, Snattle ran after his already-departed fellow Cyclones in a manner resembling some sort of strange jog. Staring after him for a few seconds, Derak almost did not hear what Forrest had to say.

    “All right!” the Gym Leader yelled in delight. “That was great! Your Chimchar’s going to be a lot tougher to beat now that it knows Flame Wheel!”

    “So that’s what that attack’s called?” Derak asked. “Huh…fits.”

    “I’m not too sure you’ll be able to use it much in Cerulean City’s Gym, though,” Forrest said. “It’s a Water-type Gym, so Chimchar might have problems.”

    “I think we can handle it,” Derak said, “right, Wildfire?”

    Though making no sound again, Derak’s Chimchar nodded.

    ****

    Derak healed Wildfire at the Pokemon Center, and he left Pewter City with Forrest waving good-bye. Derak was still wondering why the Gym Leader was making such a fuss over his leaving, but he waved back for roughly a second before going into route three again, this time on the path to Cerulean City and his second Gym Badge.

    Meanwhile, however, Tracker observed the boy leaving. The hunter smirked to himself at Derak’s accomplishment.

    “Not bad, kid,” said Tracker, “not bad at all for a new trainer.”

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  7. #7
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    And after a long hiatus, we move on to Chapter 6.


    Chapter 6: The Pewter City Pokemon Contest!



    The outskirts of Pewter City were surrounded by forest, just as route three had been. Derak meandered along the forest path, Brute walking alongside him in attempt to allow the Machop to get used to its new trainer.

    Soon, a clearing came into view…one holding an enormous dome-shaped building. Its massive size was well-required, however, as evidenced by the amount of people filing inside.

    “What’s going on?” Derak asked of the air, Brute also staring in wonder. “Might as well find out, I guess.”

    Derak fell in line with the crowd, entering the dome building. Almost immediately, it was clear a spectacular event was taking place. Many people, boys and girls alike, were gathered in groups, speaking of the event to come. Out of the corner of his eye, Derak saw a poster advertising the event, which he promptly walked to and began to read.

    “‘Pokemon Contest: use your Pokemon’s abilities to create fantastic appeals and show off their specialties’. What’s that supposed to mean?” said Derak, reading off of the poster.

    “Ah, if that is the case,” a soft voice began, “may I provide you with information?”

    A man in a green cloak approached Derak, holding a golden harp in his hand. His cape was pinned to his finely-dressed body by a shoulder plate of gold, and a wide green hat with a raven-colored feather protected his head. Long black hair tumbled out from beneath his hat, covering one blue eye. He smiled kindly as he approached Derak, unaware of the trainer’s occasionally rude demeanor.

    “I suppose that’d be nice,” Derak said in agreement. “So, what exactly is a Contest?”

    “Before I begin, I must introduce myself,” said the man. “My name is Nando. I am a traveling minstrel who partakes in both Gym battles and Pokemon Contests.”

    “Okay,” Derak said slowly. “Now all I need to know is what a Contest is.”

    “A Pokemon Contest is a competition that many trainers who participate, called coordinators, aspire to win,” Nando explained, smile never faltering for even a second. “The object is to use a Pokemon’s abilities to create a stunning sight and appeal to the audience, as well as a panel of three judges. These judges determine whether or not one passes from the appeal round to the battle round. There, the same rules apply, aside from the judges being replaced by a time limit of five minutes and two point counters. The opponent’s Pokemon must be knocked unconscious, as in regular battles, but one must still show his or her Pokemon’s skills to win. In addition, if time runs out in a battle round, the one with the lowest amount of points loses.”

    Derak paused to take this all in, as it was quite a lot to take.

    “I thought I heard some harp music,” a voice said as a brown-haired boy in a black tuxedo approached. Upon seeing Derak, the brown-haired boy became rather curious.

    “Derak?” the boy asked. “Derak Kadir?”

    Derak tilted his head to one side again, furrowing his brow. Finally, the answer came to him.

    “Oh, Timmy,” Derak said, pointing out the name of the boy. “How’s it going?”

    “Pardon me,” Nando politely interrupted, “but it seems to me that you two know each other.”

    “More or less,” Derak responded.

    “We met a few years ago,” Timmy explained, “Nando, this is Derak Kadir. His dad and my mom knew each other, and brought us with them on some of their business trips.”

    “Ah, you are friends!” Nando smiled. “Friendship is a truly wonderful thing. I myself have had many friends during my travels.”

    “Hey, Derak,” began Timmy, “since you’re here, how about watching the Contest?

    “Eh, why not?” Derak shrugged.

    “Great!” Timmy smiled. “I’ve been a coordinator ever since some traveling trainers helped me make my mom see that Pokemon aren’t worthless. I’ve been raising my Ghost-type Pokemon since then, and entering Contests all over the world. I’d be happy to have my old friend watch!”

    Wish I could make my parent think that way, Derak thought.

    “If you do wish to view the Contest, I suggest you hurry to find a seat,” Nando advised. “As for Mr. Grimm and I, we shall be off to the coordinator’s room. Perhaps we may see each other after the Contest?”

    With a polite bow, Nando left, Timmy Grimm following. Derak simply shrugged and left to find a seat.

    ****

    Shortly after, Derak sat in a high seat with Wildfire and Brute occupying the two seats immediately to his right. As the Contest began, a woman with curly orange hair began to energetically speak to the audience.

    “Hello, all you trainers and coordinators!” the woman cried. “My name is Lillian Meridian, and I’m here to show you beautiful appeals made by coordinator and Pokemon alike!”

    The crowd, aside from Derak and his Pokemon, simply went wild at this notion. Obviously they were loyal Contest fans, shown by their wild cheering and happy whistling.

    “The appeals will be shown to our three judges!” Lillian continued. “They are the Contest founder, Mr. Contesta…”

    As she spoke, Lillian gestured to a man with slick black hair with a white streak running through the middle. He wore a red tuxedo with a blue tie to contrast it.

    “The head of the Pokemon Fan Club, Mr. Sukizo…”

    This time Lillian’s grandly sweeping hand pointed to a shorter man with a blue tuxedo and red tie. His hair was brown, and also extremely short.

    “And finally, Pewter City’s very own Nurse Joy!” Lillian finished, final gesture indicating the pink-haired woman Derak had seen every time he entered a Pokemon Center.

    “And now, let’s have our first coordinator!” Lillian continued. “Starting us off, here’s Nando!”

    Nando walked on stage, bowed to the crowd, and finally, removed a Pokeball from within his cape.

    “Victreebel, make your mark!” said Nando, voice only slightly raised.

    A creature shaped similarly to a human-sized, upside-down, yellow deflated balloon formed from the burst of white light. Two large green leaves emerged from the sides of this creature, sprouting from near the bottom. At the top of the beast was a pink, circular mouth with two sharp fangs. The mouth was covered by another leaf, this one even bigger, and a long brown vine ending in a yellow, pointed tip came from the top of this leaf. Directly underneath the mouth were two intimidating eyes.

    Having no idea what it was, Derak went to his Pokedex for the information he needed.

    “Victreebel,” the Dex began, “the Flycatcher Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. Evolved form of Weepinbell. The long vine extending from its head is waved about to lure prey. When it comes near, the prey is swallowed hole. Though the liquid it pools in its mouth smells like honey, it is really an acid capable of dissolving anything.”

    “Another disturbing Pokemon,” Derak muttered as he stuffed his Pokedex into his pocket.

    “Let us begin, Victreebel,” Nando calmly began. “Poisonpowder, if you please.”

    Victreebel obliged, the leaf atop its mouth moving to allow an enormous cloud of purple spores to flow into the air. The spores spread through the air, covering the stage as well as Victreebel itself.

    “Now Magical Leaf, as we practiced, please,” said Nando, producing yet another calm and polite order.

    Victreebel’s silhouette appeared within the spore cloud, shining with a green light. With grunts sounding as if they were a woman’s screams, Victreebel swung its bottom around, spraying multicolored leaves around the spore cloud. The path of the leaves curved at Victreebel’s beckon, carving musical note shapes in the spore cloud.

    “Now, we may perform the finish,” said Nando. “Victreebel, please use Vine Whip.”

    Victreebel spun around, its long vine lashing out to strike the musical notes. As the notes were made from spores, they were disintegrated into glittering powder with one hit. As a result, when Victreebel finished spinning, the notes had become a glitter that floated above the stage.

    “What a beautiful appeal!” Lillian cried. “What will our judges think?”

    “Very creative!” Contesta remarked. “I should have expected nothing less from someone so experienced in the Contest field, especially someone who made it to the semi-finals of Sinnoh’s Grand Festival.”

    “I agree!” added Sukizo. “It was remarkable!”

    “I liked how Nando used a Pokemon that not many people think of for Contests,” Nurse Joy commented.

    “Thank you to Nando for participating!” bellowed Lillian as Nando bowed again before exiting. “Our next coordinator was once known as the Phantom Coordinator of the Hoenn region! He might be just a regular coordinator now, but he still really brings a great show to the stage! Here’s Timmy Grimm from Verdanturf Town, Hoenn!”

    Timmy entered in a similar fashion to that of Nando. Taking a Pokeball from his belt, he threw it to summon the Pokemon he would use for his own appeal.

    “Gastly, go!” Timmy cried.

    A Pokemon accurately described as a black orb inside a mass of pale purple smoke burst from Timmy’s Pokeball. Two large, vicious eyes and a wide, fanged mouth gave this Pokemon a face, but rather little to speak of in terms of features.

    “Gaaas-tly!” said the Pokemon in an accented voice, enormous yet cruel smile never fading for even a second. Again mildly fearful of the Pokemon, Derak analyzed the creature using his Pokedex.

    “Gastly,” began the Dex, “the Gas Pokemon. Type is Ghost and Poison. Gastly is rumored to have been born from poisonous gases. As a result, its body is primarily compromised of this gas, which allows it to sneak into any place it desires. This renders Gastly weak to strong gusts of wind.”

    “Gastly, start off with Night Shade!” Timmy ordered.

    The Gas Pokemon began to pulse with an eerie purple energy, until this energy expanded and essentially became an enormous orb in which Gastly was contained. The orb continued to pulsate, a bolt of lightning blasting from the bottom of the orb and striking the floor.

    “Now, use Will-o-Wisp!” Timmy cried.

    At first, a single blue flame began to float in the air above Gastly’s orb. Then, another appeared to the side of that flame, then another. Eventually a ring of flames surrounded Gastly, rotating as the orb pulsed with electric energy.

    “Finish with Psychic!” Timmy ordered.

    A blue aura surrounded both the flames and the orb, both suddenly exploding into a shower of fire and sparks. Gastly, miraculously, survived the entire experience without even a scratch.

    “Ooh, creepy!” Lillian remarked. “What do the judges think?”

    “It certainly was an incredible appeal, one I believe to be truly fitting of a Ghost-type coordinator!” Contesta stated.

    “I agree!” said Sukizo. “Remarkable!”

    “I loved how Gastly finished!” Nurse Joy commented.

    As the crowd, minus Derak, burst with cheers and applause (Derak just clapped again), Timmy bowed and left the same way Nando did before.

    “Our next coordinator is our first female, and a newcomer at that!” Lillian began. “Hailing from Gateon Port of the Orre region, here’s Sal Sorington!”

    “Someone else from Orre?” Derak said, already sighing. “Great, any quirks I should be aware of?”

    As if to answer his question, a roughly thirteen-year-old girl with long red hair took the stage, her plain black shirt and shorts seeming rather unfitting for a Contest despite the skull-shaped pendant dangling around her neck. Nonetheless, Sal took a Pokeball off of her belt and threw it into the air.

    “Doctor, come on out!” Sal called.

    A yellow Pokemon with a brown torso, a long yellow tail, and a fox-like head appeared from Sally’s Pokeball. The Pokemon seemed to be entirely unaware of the audience, even the one member reaching for his Pokedex.

    “Abra,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Psi Pokemon. Type is Psychic. Using its psychic power creates a tremendous strain on Abra’s brain, and as a result, it must sleep for eighteen hours per day. It has a psychic radar that detects incoming attacks, and if it is threatened, it teleports to a different location.”

    “’Kay, Doctor, start off with Grass Knot!” Sal ordered.

    Sal’s Abra, possessing a name Derak could find no reason for, levitated into the air as its eyes slowly opened. Much to the disappointment of the curious, the color of Doctor’s eyes was blocked out by a green light, a light that the entire stage began to shine with as well.

    And then the stage began to break apart.

    “What the--?!” Derak gasped as numerous thorny vines began to grow out of the ground, encircling Doctor and soon covering it completely in a large, orb-shaped mass that appeared to be sprouting makeshift horns.

    “Now, Signal Beam!” Sal cried.

    The thorny mass that contained Doctor began to pulse with vibrant—yet slightly darker-colored—rainbow energy. This energy spread to the entire sphere, even the vines extending out of the floor. After a moment in which the audience stared with fascinated eyes at the glowing mass, the vines that formed the orb exploded, scattering energy and pieces across the arena. Doctor gently floated down, falling back to sleep the moment it landed.

    “And what will our judges think of this appeal?” Lillian asked, never facing away from the audience for a second.

    “Very well done,” said Contesta. “While she is new to Pokemon Contests, Sal has wonderfully proven that experience is not the only factor in the strength of appeals. In addition, her Abra’s abilities are certainly impressive!”

    “I agree!” said Sukizo. “Remarkable!”

    “Any good trainer knows that what Abra might lack in body movement, it makes up for in mind power!” said Nurse Joy. “Sal has certainly proven that!”

    As Sal left, neglecting to give even a brief bow to the audience, Derak posed a question to his Pokemon.

    “Anyone need to go to the bathroom?” Derak asked his two Pokemon, both of which shook their heads. “Well, I need to go. I think the hot dog’s taking its toll on me. Hold my seat until I get back, okay?”

    The Pokemon nodded, and their trainer left to use the lavatory.

    ****

    By the time Derak had returned from the restroom, which had taken him at least twelve minutes to locate, the remaining coordinators had performed their appeals. As usual, Lillian began announcing in her flamboyant way that the next round of the contest would be a battling round. The best of those who appealed in the first round would move on and use a different Pokemon to—as Nando had explained—defeat the opponent stylishly.

    Four coordinators had been picked to move on. The pictures of their heads were seen shuffled around like playing cards until the competitors were randomly matched. These four competitors were Timmy, Nando, Sal, and a smug-looking brown-haired boy whose appeal Derak had missed. Nando was paired against Sal while Timmy was to battle the brown-haired boy.

    “First up are Nando and Sal!” began Lillian,

    The crowd burst into wild cheers again while Derak remained silent, as usual. Their cheers grew even louder when Nando and Sal strolled onto the field. While Nando appeared as calm as ever, Sal seemed to be under a slight amount of tension.

    “Let us begin,” said Nando. “Parasect, make your mark!”

    Nando’s battle choice at first appeared to be a large red mushroom covered in yellow spots. Upon closer inspection, however, a crab-like form was visible underneath the mushroom, the large fungus having concealed it with its size. The Pokemon snapped its large crustacean claws and scurried from side to side on its insect-like legs, showing its eagerness to battle.

    “Parasect,” Derak’s Pokedex began, “the Mushroom Pokemon. Type is Grass and Bug. Evolved form of Paras. Parasect is controlled by the large parasitic mushroom on its back. It is capable of scattering poisonous spores, and constant study reveals that it prefers damp environments.”

    “Okay, then, bard boy,” Sal sneered, “let’s get this started! Lock, come on—what?!”

    While Sal had picked an orange Pokeball from her belt, a different Pokeball burst instead. The light formed into a strange-looking creature reminiscent of a pink pit bull wearing a skirt covered in blue polka dots. It had small tan paw-like feet and stubby pink arms, but by far its most noticeable feature was its large, pudgy head.

    “Zero!” Sal yelled. “I didn’t want YOU out!”

    “Shnubull, shnubull,” moaned the small Pokemon named Zero, rubbing up against Sal’s leg.

    “Okay, fine, you can battle,” Sal groaned, rolling her eyes.

    “Snubbull,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Fairy Pokemon. Type is Normal. While many small Pokemon are frightened by a Snubbull’s scary face, it is considered to be cute by many women. It has a playful and active nature, and is very kind and affectionate towards others.”

    “Apparently it’s not popular with this woman,” Derak commented, noting Sal’s reaction to her Snubbull’s affectionate behavior.

    “Zero, get in there and use Tackle!” Sal ordered.

    “Parasect, please use Cross Poison,” Nando said.

    Zero charged, but its opponent was evidently prepared. Showing surprising agility, Parasect sprang into the air and quickly struck Zero in an “X”-shaped manner using two claws charged with purple energy. Due to its extreme inexperience, Sal’s Pokemon was fainted in one hit.

    “Nando is the winner!” cried Lillian, and once more the crowd went wild as Nando bowed and an annoyed Sal left the stage, her fainted Snubbull in tow. “Next up are our other two semi-finalists: Timmy and Kyle!”

    Timmy walked onto the stage, as did the smug-looking brown-haired boy. The two stared down each other as they chose their Pokemon.

    “Dusknoir, go!” Timmy cried.

    A horrifying sight came from Timmy’s Pokeball. A dark-colored phantom entity appeared, floating above the stage. On its orb-like torso were two yellow ovals on its chest and one jagged yellow line running across its stomach. Grey gloves ended bulky arms, and a grey, cone-like helmet topped by a flat yellow circle on a stick completed this Pokemon. Inside the helmet was one lone, pink orb, apparently the eye.

    “What is that?!” Derak nearly shouted, fumbling for his Pokedex.

    “Dusknoir,” began the Dex, “the Gripper Pokemon. Type is Ghost. Evolved form of Dusclops. Dusknoir evolves from Dusclops by use of a Reaper Cloth. It is said to be capable of traveling to alternate dimensions, though how it does so is unknown. Dusknoir seems to receive transmissions from the spirit world using its antenna, commanding it to kidnap people and take them to the spirit world.”

    “If it’s Dusknoir,” began Kyle, “then go, Crawdaunt!”

    Another sight Derak found disturbing came from Kyle’s Pokeball. The creature resembled a human-sized lobster, one with elephantine back legs and a gold star atop its head. Grey skin ran down the front, and a pair of blue stripes ran across the upper area of Crawdaunt’s front. Two eyes in black sockets glared at Timmy’s Dusknoir, giant and ferocious pincers snapping in anticipation of a fight.

    “Crawdaunt,” said Derak’s Pokedex, “the Rogue Pokemon. Type is Water and Dark. Evolved form of Corphish. Crawdaunt is an extremely violent Pokemon, forcibly removing any other living thing in its lake and rendering it a desolate place. It is highly aggressive, and will attack without warning.”

    “It’s Timmy’s Dusknoir against Kyle’s Crawdaunt!” Lillian commented. “Begin the match!”

    “Crawdaunt, Dark Pulse!” Kyle ordered.

    Crawdaunt opened its pincers, and from them launched an erratic stream of dark purple rings. These ring streams shot towards Dusknoir, but it seemed Timmy was ready.

    “Dusknoir, use Focus Blast!” Timmy ordered.

    “Dussssk,” growled Dusknoir in an eerily deep voice, forming a ball of blue energy between its hands. It then launched this sphere of energy at Crawdaunt’s Dark Pulse, the former easily cutting through and striking Crawdaunt for an incredibly effective hit as well as a depletion of Kyle’s points.

    “Craw…crawww…” panted Crawdaunt as it got up, already weakened by Timmy’s amazingly strong Dusknoir.

    “Finish with Thunderpunch!” Timmy cried.

    “Dusk…NOIR!” bellowed Dusknoir as it shot towards its foe, drawing back a fist that now crackled with electricity. The blow to Crawdaunt’s head was so hard that the Rogue Pokemon was thrown back towards its trainer, collapsing at Kyle’s feet.

    “Crawdaunt, no!” Kyle cried.

    “Whoa, what was that?!” Derak cried, jaw dropping.

    “And Timmy wins the match!” Lillian cried. “We’ll be back after this break, but stay tuned to the final, where Timmy takes on Nando!”

    ****

    The break lasted a short while. Derak had Wildfire in his lap while Brute remained in the seat beside him. Derak’s Chimchar was utterly confused at Derak’s kindness, and made many attempts to figure out why a trainer—one who treats Pokemon like machines—would need to show such willingness for friendship.

    “And we’re back!” Lillian cried, causing Derak to jump. “Now, we’re here in the final with Timmy Grimm taking on Nando! Let’s goooo!”

    Nando once again sent out Parasect, while Timmy remained with Dusknoir.

    “Ready, Dusknoir?” Timmy asked. “Use Fire Punch!”

    The massive ghost charged, drawing back one fist. This fist became coated in a roaring flame, one that would have instantly decimated Parasect had the Mushroom Pokemon not surrounded itself with a Protect field.

    “Counter with Spore, please,” Nando said.

    Parasect shook its mushroom from side to side, scattering a swarm of small spores that floated towards Dusknoir. Upon contact with the Gripper Pokemon’s skin, Dusknoir began to seem unusually tired. In seconds, Dusknoir fell to the floor, completely asleep.

    “Oh, no, Dusknoir!” Timmy cried.

    “Now, Parasect, please continue with Seed Bomb,” Nando said.

    Parasect fired the same white pellets that had earlier countered the Ember of Sal’s Pokabu, though this time the attack was used on Timmy’s Dusknoir. The Gripper Pokemon was knocked back only a short distance, primarily due to the Ghost-type’s immense bulk.

    “Dusknoir, come on, wake up!” Timmy cried, but to no avail, as Dusknoir continued to sleep.

    “And now for the finale,” Nando said. “Parasect, please begin charging Solarbeam.”

    The giant mushroom on Parasect’s back began to glow a bright white as energy from the sun—which shone through the glass ceiling—sprinkled down into the Mushroom Pokemon. Realizing what Nando was attempting to do, Timmy’s urges to Dusknoir became increasingly more desperate. This time, however, Timmy’s words broke through, and Dusknoir rose into the air again.

    “Quick, before it finishes charging,” Timmy began, “use Fire Punch!”

    Once again, Dusknoir launched itself forward, but this time Parasect was too busy to create a Protect field. The collision of the Fire Punch into Parasect’s mushroom was enough to knock the Mushroom Pokemon into unconsciousness, tumbling a short distance before collapsing at its trainer’s feet. Nando, however, took his loss gracefully, merely sighing as he recalled Parasect into its Pokeball.

    “And that’s it, folks!” Lillian proclaimed. “Timmy Grimm is the winner of the Pewter City Pokemon Contest!”

    As Mr. Contesta handed Timmy a ribbon as reward for his accomplishment, the audience burst into a wild applause. While most stood, Derak still sat in his chair, slowly clapping in his typically carefree way. Even when Timmy held his ribbon up to the audience, which prompted an even louder applause, Derak retained his methodical clap. And yet, there was something on the runaway trainer’s mind.

    “Maybe I should enter a Contest one day?” Derak asked his Pokemon. “What do you guys think?”

    Brute gave him a thumbs-up of approval, having evidently enjoyed the Pewter City Contest, but Wildfire still had its typical lack of a response.

    ****

    Derak later met Timmy as the former was leaving. The two Pokemon by Derak’s side looked up at Timmy in different ways: Brute simply crossed its arms, while Wildfire looked at Timmy in its ever-present confusion.

    “So,” began Timmy, “how did you like the Contest?”

    “It was okay,” Derak shrugged. “I’m still wondering about that move your Dusknoir beat that Crawdaunt with.”

    “Oh, Thunderpunch?” said Timmy. “Yeah, Dusknoir learned that when it evolved from Dusclops. Are you challenging Gyms?”

    Derak nodded.

    “It might be a good idea to teach Thunderpunch to one of your Pokemon, especially if it’s weak against Water-type attacks,” said Timmy. “Electric-type moves like Thunderpunch are really effective against the Water-types in Cerulean City’s Gym.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind,” said Derak, and he left with an abrupt “see you”.

    With the Contest behind him, Derak set his sights on Cerulean City, but before that, he was to teach Wildfire the move Thunderpunch.

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  8. #8
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    Chapter 7 now.



    Chapter 7: Arrival in Cerulean City!


    Cerulean City was, put mildly, a beautiful place. With its own beach accompanied by glistening water, people loved to vacation there. Derak, however, ignored all of this beauty as he stumbled into the Pokemon Center, collapsing face-first on the floor.

    “Ugh,” Derak groaned, “Metronome HURTS…a lot.”

    Having traversed a location known as Mt. Moon, Derak had encountered a spot of trouble in which wild fairy-like Pokemon called “Clefairy” nearly brutalized Derak and his Pokemon by using an attack called “Metronome” to call upon a truly horrifying attack called “Explosion”. Having barely escaped, Derak and his Pokemon now came to the realization that Clefairies were not to be trifled with.

    The trainer managed to hoist himself up and give his two Pokeballs to Nurse Joy. After his Pokemon were healed, Derak was about to leave when a teenage boy charged in, accidentally knocked Derak to the floor, and dashed up to Nurse Joy, breathless from his running. The teenager had blonde hair that was spiked upwards, a green scarf wrapped around his neck, a white shirt with brown stripes running across it and grey pants paired with brown shoes.

    “Hey!” the teenager panted. “Can you heal my Pokemon, Nurse Joy?”

    “I will as soon as you apologize to that boy you just knocked over,” scolded Nurse Joy.

    “…ouch,” grunted Derak, as if to prove Nurse Joy’s point.

    “Oh, sorry,” said the teenager quickly as he helped Derak back up, “didn’t see you. You okay?”

    “Aside from the fact that I was just run over by some guy I don’t know, I’m fine,” Derak replied somewhat rudely as he dusted himself off.

    “Hey, don’t be like that!” the teenager cried. “My name’s Barry, and I’m from the Sinnoh region!”

    “Sinnoh, huh?” said Derak, remembering that Wildfire’s species was one of Sinnoh’s starting Pokemon.

    “Yeah!” Barry cried, and it was at this point Derak realized that the boy had far too much energy. “How about I make up for running into you with a battle?”

    “After I just got out of Mt. Moon?” Derak sighed, remembering the exploding Clefairies. He did, however, consider that it could be a chance to see if Wildfire could master Thunderpunch, as they had been training throughout Mt. Moon. “Okay, I’ll give it a shot.”

    “Great!” Barry exclaimed, his fist shooting into the air. “See you outside!”

    And, like a rocket, the teenager from Sinnoh shot outside the doors. Derak followed at a considerably slower pace, and found himself standing in the middle of the street. Barry stood several yards across from Derak, staring down the boy.

    “This’ll be two-on-two!” Barry proclaimed, immediately removing a Pokeball from his bag. “I’ll start with Pidgey!”

    Barry’s Pokeball released a tiny brown bird that took its place at his side of the street “battlefield”. It had a tan, sand-like coloring on its chest and on the inside of its wings in addition to furrowed tan eyebrows over its piercing eyes. With a pink pointed beak and hardened legs in matching color, this Pokemon would have seemed cute if it were not screeching angrily and flapping its wings as it hovered above the ground.

    “Pidgey,” said Derak’s Pokedex, “the Tiny Bird Pokemon. Type is Normal and Flying. Pidgey is a calm Pokemon that dislikes fighting and will not attack unless provoked. It has a faultless sense of direction, which allows it to return to its nest without fail no matter how far away it strays.”

    “Pretty fitting classification,” Derak observed, remarking Pidgey’s small size. “Brute, come on out!”

    Derak’s Machop emerged from its Pokeball yet again. Though it only reached its trainer’s waist in terms of height, it had quite a size advantage over Barry’s choice. Barry, however, had other ideas.

    “Uh, Flying-type attacks are super effective against Fighting-types!” Barry called.

    “Oh,” Derak said simply. “Eh, I’ll roll with it.”

    Barry blinked once at Derak’s usual nonchalance before giving the first order to his Pokemon.

    “Pidgey, Gust!” Barry ordered.

    Pidgey quickly began flapping its wings in Brute’s direction, whipping up a series of small winds that blasted towards the Superpower Pokemon. Derak, however, ordered a Vacuum Wave from Brute, and the Machop’s attack cut through Pidgey’s winds and struck the Tiny Bird Pokemon hard enough to throw it past Barry’s head and into the sky. As Pidgey regained its senses, however, something odd happened.

    Pidgey began to glow white.

    “What’s going on?” Derak asked.

    “Pidgey’s evolving!” Barry explained.

    “Evolving?” asked a once again perplexed Derak.

    This time, the “evolving” Pidgey gave an answer. The bird’s entire body had become enveloped in the glow, and it seemed that Pidgey was doubling in size. When the glow subsided, a set of red-and-yellow tail feathers replaced Pidgey’s brown ones, and a short pink mullet had sprouted from Pidgey’s head.

    “Pidgeot-TO!” shrieked the Pokemon, soaring back to Barry’s side of the field.

    “Pidgeotto,” Derak’s Pokedex explained, “the Bird Pokemon. Type is Normal and Flying. Evolved form of Pidgey. Pidgeotto is much more aggressive than its pre-evolution, as it seeks out foes by soaring over trees. When it spots a potential victim, it defeats it with its strong talons.”

    Just as the Dex described, Pidgeotto’s talons seemed to be rather muscular in addition to the standard sharpness that talons required. The bird landed gracefully at Barry’s feet on these talons, glaring at Brute for attacking it.

    “Okay, Pidgeotto,” began Barry, “use Wing Attack!”

    “Brute, Poison Jab!” Derak cried.

    Brute drew its fist back as the appendage began to glow purple, but before it could strike, Pidgeotto tore through the air and struck Brute across the face with its wing, the bird’s speed clearly renewed. Miraculously, Derak’s Machop rose after stumbling back onto its rear, shaking its head and preparing for revenge.

    “Whoa, tough Machop,” Barry commented. “Pidgeotto, finish it off with Quick Attack!”

    Once again, Pidgeotto shot towards Brute, this time leaving a trail of white light in its wake. Slamming its head into Brute’s chest, the Superpower Pokemon was blown onto the ground, landing at its trainer’s feet.

    “Yeah, great job Pidgeotto!” Barry said to his Pokemon. “Looks like I’m up one, Derak. What’ve you got next? Choose in ten seconds or I’ll fine you!”

    Like I have anything else to choose from, thought Derak as he reached for Wildfire’s Pokeball. Throwing it onto the field, the monkey let out a screech of “chim-CHAR!” before taking its usual battle stance.

    “Sweet, a Chimchar!” Barry remarked eagerly. “All right, Pidgeotto, use Gust!”

    “Wildfire, Flame Wheel!” Derak cried.

    As Pidgeotto once more whipped up winds with its wings, Wildfire somersaulted towards the bird while breathing flame to cover itself. The Gust did nothing to defuse Wildfire’s attack, and Pidgeotto was struck down without another thought.

    “Whoa!” Barry cried, staggering slightly. “That’s a strong Chimchar! Pidgeotto, return…thanks for your help, Pidgeotto. Okay, Poliwag, it’s your turn!”

    Another diminutive Pokemon was shown to be in Barry’s arsenal, this one blue with a large circular torso supported by tiny round feet. Behind it was a feather-like tail, which was in reality much tougher than it appeared. Though it possessed a small pair of eyes and even smaller pink lips, the most noticeable feature was its white belly, home to a black swirling pattern.

    “Poliwag,” began the Dex, “the Tadpole Pokemon. Type is Water. When Poliwag hatches from an egg, its feet are just finished their growth. As a result, Poliwag has difficulty walking. Newborn Poliwags have skin so thin that the internal organs can be seen through it.”

    “…okay, then,” said Derak, somewhat perturbed by the concept of seeing one’s internal organs. “Let’s try that new move, Wildfire. Use Thunderpunch!”

    Snarling at its opponent, Wildfire clenched its fist and drew it back as it leapt towards Poliwag. Fist now crackling with electricity, Wildfire drove its charged fist straight into the pattern on Poliwag’s stomach like an arrow penetrating a bulls-eye. It had a similar effect, as well, as Poliwag had fainted in a single hit from the attack.

    “Yeah!” Derak cried, showing joy for the first time in front of Barry. “Great job, Wildfire! Looks like that training we did in Mt. Moon paid off!”

    “Poliwag, return,” said Barry, recalling his fainted tadpole. “Have to say, that’s one tough Chimchar. But, I’m going to beat the Gym first!”

    “Does it even matter what order we go in?” Derak asked as he held his starter in his arms as a reward for mastering Thunderpunch, causing the monkey to once again stare at him in confusion.

    “Uh…no?” Barry said, uncertainty actually showing in his voice, only to regain his usual confidence mere seconds later. “But, I’m still gonna get there before you! Ten seconds before I blast off! Nine…ah, who’s got time to count?!”

    Dashing off yet again, Derak could only shake his head sadly at Barry’s hyperactivity.

    “Wildfire,” he said to his first Pokemon, “am I the only sane trainer?”

    “…chim?” Wildfire responded, unsure of how it could respond.

    “I…guess I’ll take that as a yes,” said Derak, again somewhat disturbed. “Let’s go heal Brute, then, we’ll head for the Gym.”

    ****

    Minutes later, Derak arrived at the Cerulean Gym. The walls were mainly white, but the roof was essentially a yellow dome, making it resemble some sort of circus tent. The boy entered, and was met with a sight that made him groan in dismay.

    Snattle, though without any additional grunts, was confronting a girl who looked to be in her early teens. The girl had a yellow vest matching a skirt she wore underneath the red covering her stomach. Her hair was a vibrant shade of orange, tied into one pigtail on the side. Her eyes blazed with a vicious anger as she glared at Snattle, who seemed to not care about the girl’s fury. Barry, already at the Gym, was cornered by Snattle’s ever-present Metagross, which was holding onto his bag and growling at him.

    “You don’t know what you’re saying!” the girl accused.

    “Actually, young Misty, I do,” replied Snattle. “As the Cerulean Gym Leader, you happen to own a pair of Pokemon that have piqued my leader’s interest in you…Staryu and Starmie, I believe?”

    “You’re not having them!” Misty cried, readying a Pokeball, Derak also doing so from behind Snattle.

    “Oh, dear girl, you mistake me,” Snattle chided. “Team Cyclone doesn’t want your Pokemon, they want you. As in, to join them?”

    “NO WAY!” Misty shrieked, causing Derak to clamp a hand over his ear. “I’LL NEVER JOIN THE LIKES OF YOU!”

    “So be it,” said Snattle. “Metagross, throw away the boy’s bag and come get dinner.”

    “Metuh,” grunted Metagross as it lobbed Barry’s bag, containing his Pokeballs, into the air.

    “Wildfire, grab Barry’s bag and toss it back to him!” Derak cried, throwing the orange Pokeball in his hand. The minute Wildfire materialized in mid-air, the monkey immediately used Metagross as a boost to gain extra height. Gripping the bag’s strap in its yellow hands, Wildfire spun and threw the bag back to Barry, who caught it and prepped a Pokeball in seconds.

    “We’re not gonna let you treat us this way,” Barry threatened Snattle, “right, Infernape?!”

    Barry’s choice of Pokemon was neither of the ones Derak had previously seen the teenager use. It resembled a near human-sized baboon, with orange fur and white patches of hair on its torso, wrists, head and ankles. A yellow flame-like growth emerged from the back of this monkey’s hands and knees, as well as on both sides of its chest and shoulders. Though it possessed a pair of fearsome yellow eyes, the most noticeable feature was the trail of flame sprouting from the top of the creature’s head.

    “Whoa, what’s that?” Derak gasped, pointing his Pokedex at the creature.

    “Infernape,” the Dex explained, “the Flame Pokemon. Type is Fire and Fighting. Evolved form of Monferno. Infernape is the final evolution of Chimchar. A very agile Pokemon, it uses its great speed to strike its opponents with a unique martial art involving all of its limbs. The fiery crown on its head never goes out, and is indicative of its fiery nature.”

    “Wow…see that, Wildfire?” Derak asked his starter. “You might evolve into that one day.”

    Derak’s Chimchar seemed immediately enamored by Barry’s Infernape. The strength gained from evolution…it would please a trainer well, Wildfire believed.

    “In-in-INFERNAPE!” shrieked Barry’s Pokemon, beating its chest furiously.

    “Bah, useless display,” Snattle coldly commented. “Metagross, use Zen Headbutt!”

    Again, Metagross folded its legs onto itself, and hovered towards Barry’s starter Pokemon. This time, however, a blue energy emanated from Metagross’ “X”, creating a wide shield of pulsing energy that trailed behind Metagross. Infernape, however, did not seem to care.

    That is, until Barry gave it an order.

    “Use…BLAST BURN!” Barry bellowed.

    Infernape became surrounded by an aura of blood red energy as it shoved its fists into the ground. The aura soon turned to one of fire, a fire that swirled to form a sphere in front of Infernape. The orb launched at Metagross, exploding on contact and torching the Iron Leg Pokemon thoroughly. The metallic spider to fell to the ground in a flaming heap, charred black from the intense flames.

    “In-in-in-in-INFERNAAAAAPE!” shrieked Infernape, beating its chest again.

    “Great job, Infernape!” Barry cried.

    Wildfire stared at what had happened, the admiration that was once in its eyes replaced by pure fear. Screaming, Wildfire held the nearest object to it, namely Derak’s body.

    “Hey, what’s wrong?” Derak asked. “It’s…it’s Infernape, isn’t it?”

    “Cha-aar!” Wildfire responded, so afraid that tears fell from its eyes. “Chim chaaar! Chim chim char! Char char chim chim char-chim!”

    “It’s okay,” Derak said, holding his starter close. “It’s okay, Wildfire. You don’t have to evolve if you don’t want to.”

    Wildfire stared up at its trainer, this time in its usual bewilderment at Derak’s kindness. Deciding Wildfire would feel safer in its Pokeball, Derak recalled his starter and stood. Snattle had long since recalled his now-charred Metagross and left, and Misty was now speaking to Barry.

    “Wait, Ash told me your starter was an Empoleon,” Misty said, referencing a name Derak had never heard before.

    “It was,” Barry said. “After the Sinnoh League, I found and caught a wild Chimchar, so now I’ve got an Empoleon AND an Infernape. It’s pretty awesome!”

    “So, why not use Empoleon against Metagross?” Misty asked. “Infernape had a type advantage, but Empoleon has more experience.”

    “Well, Empoleon’s taking a well-deserved rest in my PC right now,” Barry explained. “Besides, Infernape needs more experience, anyway. And, as you saw, it kicks serious butt!”

    “That’s nice and all, but I think you went overboard on Metagross,” Derak stated, hands in pockets as they often were. “You kind of scared the living daylights out of my friend here.”

    He held up Wildfire’s Pokeball to prove his point.

    “Oh, sorry,” Barry said quickly (and somewhat insincerely, to Derak’s annoyance), recalling Infernape before turning to Misty again. “Anyway, how about that battle?”

    “Okay,” said Misty. “You can go first, and then the other kid can go.”

    “That’s fine by me!” Barry exclaimed.

    Derak simply nodded, and turned away to leave.

    “Wait,” Misty said, “aren’t you going to stay and watch Barry’s battle? You can get a look at my Pokemon for when your battle comes.”

    Derak stopped.

    “If that’s the case, fine,” Derak said.

    ****

    Later, Misty stood at one end of the arena as Barry stood at the other. Like Forrest’s Gym, the arena was suited for a Pokemon of a certain type. In this case, the water that dominated the field was quite suited for Water-type Pokemon. The occasional platform allowed for Pokemon with no swimming ability to battle regardless.

    “This match will be, like, two-on-two,” said a blue-haired woman at the side of the arena. “This is, like, Barry from Twinleaf Town against Misty, the Gym Leader.”

    Derak sat in the stands, only his two Pokemon by his side. At the very least, he would know what Pokemon Misty was likely to use from watching this battle.

    “Begin the match!” cried the referee, swinging her flags.

    “Okay, Poliwag, come on out!” Barry cried, throwing a Pokeball that released his Poliwag from earlier.

    “Poli!” squeaked Poliwag as it landed on a platform.

    “Then I choose…Staryu!” Misty cried, throwing a Pokeball of her own.

    Misty’s choice of Pokemon was something easily described as a brown star with a yellow ring around the base of its bottom-right point. At the center of the star was a larger ring of yellow, and inside this larger ring was a reflective red semi-sphere.

    “Let’s see what the Pokedex has to say,” Derak mumbled as he pulled out his Pokedex.

    “Staryu,” the Dex began, “the Starshape Pokemon. Type is Water. The orb at the center of Staryu is an organ called its core. As long as it has this core, Staryu can regenerate any lost limbs. It seems to communicate with the stars in the night sky by flashing its core.”

    “Heeyah!” grunted Staryu.

    “Staryu, start off with Rapid Spin!” Misty cried.

    Staryu began to float in the air, though this was only for a brief time, as it soon began spinning at speeds that would rival those of a top. The Starshape Pokemon then acted as if it were a ninja’s throwing star, launching itself towards Poliwag and striking the small Pokemon in its stomach. As had happened before in its battle with Wildfire, Poliwag fainted instantly.

    “Poliwag, return,” Barry said as he recalled his fainted Pokemon. “That does it, I’m bringing out the big guns now! And my big guns are my Infernape!”

    Wildfire began to shiver with fright upon seeing its evolved form again, and Derak compassionately took it in his arms. Believing that Wildfire would not see the Pokemon from inside its Pokeball, Derak recalled his Chimchar and continued watching the battle.

    “Okay, then. Staryu, Water Gun!” Misty ordered.

    “Dodge it, Infernape!” Barry cried.

    Staryu bent its uppermost limb forward, and from it burst a powerful jet of water. Barry’s Infernape, however, was too fast for the move to hit, agilely landing on another platform.

    “Now counter with Close Combat!” Barry ordered.

    Infernape bounded towards Staryu, slamming one fist into the crimson core of the Starshape Pokemon. This punch was quickly accompanied by a mad flurry of punches and kicks, one after another in brutal succession. As a result of this savage display, Staryu was unconscious in a matter of seconds.

    Maybe Wildfire’s right, Derak thought as Misty recalled her Staryu. Maybe being an Infernape would mean going completely insane.

    “That’s a pretty impressive Infernape, Barry,” Misty complimented. “Let’s see how it does against this Pokemon, though! Go, Starmie!”

    Misty’s next choice appeared to be a slightly larger version of Staryu. In terms of differences, however, it had plenty to speak of. Its skin was purple, unlike the blue of Staryu, and the core resembled a magnificent oval of red jewelry. It lacked a ring around one leg, and it seemed to have twice the amount of limbs due to having what appeared to be a second purple star affixed to the creature’s back.

    “Starmie,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Mysterious Pokemon. Type is Water and Psychic. Evolved form of Staryu. Starmie swims through the oceans by spinning its body like a propeller. Like its pre-evolution, Starmie’s core flashes, though it is suspected to be sending radio signals to life forms in outer space rather than simply communicating with stars.”

    “Where do people come up with stupid ideas like that?” Derak asked his Machop. “Sending radio signals to aliens? Seriously?”

    “Machop chop?” Brute shrugged.

    “Starmie, quick, use Surf!” Misty ordered.

    “Infernape, blast it with Hyper Beam!” Barry ordered.

    Starmie gently floated into the air, and miraculously, the water at Misty’s end of the arena began to rise. Soon, Starmie rode on a massive wave of water that thundered its way towards Infernape, the latter forming an orb of yellow energy in its mouth. The monkey did fire the impressive attack, but Starmie dodged by diving into the water beneath it. Without something to control it, the wave crashed onto Infernape, swallowing it up instantly.

    “Infernape!” Barry called, but his Pokemon was entirely out cold.

    “Something you might have wanted to take into account,” Misty said. “Close Combat reduces the user’s defensive capabilities, and Infernape already has relatively low defenses to begin with.”

    “No way!” Barry cried. “Okay, I’m gonna train some more, and when I get back you’re getting fined!”

    Barry dashed out in his typically hurried way, leaving Misty and Derak with a rather large bead of sweat on each of their heads.

    “So, uh,” Misty said to Derak, “ready for your battle?”

    “I guess,” Derak shrugged.

    “Look, I know you’ve waited a little while, but you’re going to have to wait a little longer,” Misty said. “I need to give my Pokemon a chance to rest. Maybe we can have our battle tomorrow?”

    “Fine,” Derak said.

    And then he turned and left, leaving a slightly confused Misty behind.

    “He seems to be a trainer of few words,” Misty muttered.

    ****
    Last edited by Morpher01; 18th March 2011 at 9:10 PM.
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  9. #9
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    Next up, chapter 8.


    Chapter 8: Cerulean Gym! Derak VS Misty!


    Derak had a rather unpleasant night. While the beds supplied by the Pokemon Center were comfortable, Derak regardless tossed and turned in his sleep. His eyes snapped open, and he looked around the room briefly.

    I never was a heavy sleeper, Derak thought.

    Unable to sleep, Derak wandered outside despite the black shroud of night lingering over Cerulean City. He glanced briefly at the buildings before turning his eyes towards the forest through which he passed.

    “Why does Anoch hate Pokemon so much?” Derak asked of the stars in the sky, observing several Pidgies and Caterpies sleeping peacefully in the treetops. “They never did anything to him.”

    With a sigh, Derak went back inside the Pokemon Center.

    ****

    The next day, Derak entered the Gym once again. As promised, Misty waited at the other end of the arena.

    “Welcome back,” Misty said. “So, are you a new trainer?”

    “Yeah,” Derak replied, “why?”

    “Barry’s a pretty experienced trainer,” Misty said. “You did see how Starmie beat his Infernape, so are you sure you don’t want to train some more before challenging me?”

    “I’m positive,” Derak said, taking a firm stance at his end of the arena (primarily to make sure he was not knocked onto his back again). “Not much other way I’m going to get through Kanto, right?”

    “You have a point there,” Misty said, pulling out a Pokeball. “Hope you can put up a good fight!”

    The referee once more did her introductions, and the battle began.

    “Staryu, I choose you!” Misty cried as she threw her Pokeball.

    “Heeyah!” grunted Staryu as it materialized again.

    “Brute, let’s go!” Derak cried, throwing a Pokeball of his own.

    “A Machop, huh?” Misty said as Brute appeared. “Interesting choice. Staryu, use Ice Beam!”

    Staryu bent its uppermost leg forward again, but instead of a jet of water, a bolt of pale blue lightning erupted from the tip. Brute leapt onto another platform, and timed its jump incredibly well, for the platform it had been on seconds before was now coated in a frozen layer of ice.

    “Brute, Vacuum Wave!” Derak ordered.

    Before Staryu could make its next move, Brute wound back its arm and fired its Vacuum Wave in a manner reminiscent of a baseball pitch. Staryu was immediately knocked off its own platform, but quickly spun itself into the air upon Misty’s order to use Rapid Spin. As the Starshape Pokemon neared its opponent, Derak saw an opportunity.

    “Grab it and use Vital Throw!” Derak cried.

    Brute complied, snatching one of Staryu’s legs with one hand. As Derak’s Machop spun, however, Misty gave another order.

    “Quick, use Thunderbolt!” Misty cried.

    Staryu carried out this order by doing something few expected of a Water-type. Just before Brute could release its hold on Staryu’s leg, the star suddenly electrified its body, delivering a massive shock to the Pokemon in physical contact at the moment. Crying out in pain, Brute let go of Staryu, allowing the Gym Pokemon to float through the air again and land back on another platform.

    “Brute, hang in there!” Derak cried.

    The Machop shook its head to regain its senses, then, clenched its fists tightly as it snarled at its star-shaped opposition. Briefly glancing at the ice-covered platform, Brute looked to its trainer. Derak smirked slightly in response, as if an unspoken plan was exchanged between him and Brute.

    “Go for a Poison Jab!” Derak ordered.

    Brute nodded, and then to Misty’s confusion, took several small steps back. The Fighting-type then made a running leap for the icy platform. Misty, however, had other plans.

    “Quick, Staryu, blast it off with Water Gun!” Misty yelled.

    Staryu aimed and fired, but both it and its trainer soon found there was little to fire at. What Derak’s Machop had intended to do was use the ice to gain momentum to boost the power of its Poison Jab. Instead, Brute had overestimated its jump and slid into the water, Staryu’s Water Gun sailing over the icy platform and promptly soaking Derak.

    “Oops!” Misty cried. “Heh, heh…sorry about that.”

    Derak let out an irritated sigh as he wrung the water out of his multicolored shirt.

    “Whatever,” the challenger grunted.

    “Okay, Staryu, Machop’s in the water!” Misty said, her Pokemon following Brute’s lead. “Give it a Rapid Spin!”

    “Brute!” Derak called into the water. “If you can see Staryu down there…give it your best Vacuum Wave!”

    For a moment, an intense calm hovered over the arena. Neither trainer had any idea what their Pokemon were doing underwater. Misty smiled confidently, knowing her Pokemon had a great advantage while in its natural element. Derak, however, looked into the water with concern, hoping his muscle-bound friend was all right.

    And then the water exploded.

    Staryu sailed through the air, bouncing off two platforms before fainting. Brute was also blown completely out of the water, but the Superpower Pokemon landed on both its feet and gave a smirk.

    “Well, I did say to give it your BEST Vacuum Wave, didn’t I?” Derak smiled. “Nice job, Brute.”

    “Machop!” Brute smirked, giving its trainer a thumbs-up sign.

    “Staryu, return,” Misty said as she withdrew Staryu. “Not bad, I’m down one Pokemon and you’re not. But now you’re up against one of my toughest Pokemon. Starmie, I choose—huh?!”

    Misty’s exclamation of surprise came from an opening Pokeball on her belt. Rather than the Starmie she had used to defeat Barry, a Pokemon resembling a portly yellow duck appeared. It held its head with its clawed hands, a confused and distant expression plastered across its face.

    “PSYDUCK!?” Misty yelled in both surprise and anger

    “Psyduck,” groaned the duck, tilting its head to one side.

    “Psyduck?” Derak asked, pointing his Pokedex at the duck.

    “Psyduck,” the Dex began, “the Duck Pokemon. Type is Water. Psyduck has a chronic headache that, when it worsens, causes it to use phenomenal psychic powers. It never remembers these incidents, however, leaving it chronically puzzled as well.”

    “...so, does Psyduck do that often?” Derak asked. “You know, break out of its Pokeball?”

    “Oh, believe me,” Misty sighed, “it would take all day and then some to tell you how many times that’s happened.”

    She looked in despair to her Psyduck, which uttered another “Psyyy” in return.

    “Well, a Gym Leader can’t switch Pokemon,” Misty groaned, “so I’m stuck with Psyduck. Ready to go, Derak?”

    “I guess,” Derak shrugged. “How about you, Brute?”

    “Machop!” Brute proclaimed, though its battle with Staryu clearly took quite a bit of effort out of the Superpower Pokemon.

    “Okay, then!” began Misty. “Psyduck, use your Water Gun!”

    But Psyduck instead decided to tilt its head with a “Psy?”

    “Oh, come on!” Misty cried, throwing her arms into the air. “You know that move!”

    “Uh…okay,” Derak said. “Brute, go for a Karate Chop.”

    Brute shrugged, leapt into the air, and drew back one hand. Unfortunately, Derak could see where the attack would hit.

    “Wait!” he cried. “Don’t hit Psyduck on the—”

    But it came too late, as Brute’s chop landed square on Psyduck’s head. At first, it seemed that nothing happened. Psyduck simply began flailing about whilst keeping a firm hold on its head, Brute having long since withdrawn its hand.

    And then Psyduck’s eyes snapped open, an eerily luminescent blue replacing the vacant stare.

    Brute gasped in shock a split-second before an aura of blue surrounded it completely. Psyduck pulled its hands off of its head and thrust them into the air, Brute suddenly rocketing up to the ceiling and slamming face-first into it. Twirling its arms about, Psyduck seemed to know exactly what it was doing as Brute spun as if doing mid-air somersaults.

    “Brute, return!” Derak cried as the beam shot from Brute’s Pokeball, calling the Machop back. “That…thing…is…INSANE!”

    The glow faded from Psyduck’s eyes, and its distant gaze returned. Psyduck tilted its head, wondering what in the world Derak was talking about.

    “Don’t feel too bad,” Misty said. “Even I underestimate Psyduck.”

    “Hmm,” Derak mumbled as he picked Wildfire’s Pokeball off his belt. “Well…here goes. You’re up, Wildfire!”

    While Psyduck merely retained its blank stare as Derak’s Chimchar appeared on the field, Misty blinked out of surprise.

    “A Chimchar?” she asked. “You’re sure about that, right? I mean, it IS a Fire-type.”

    “Wildfire’s my only other Pokemon,” Derak shrugged. “So sue me.”

    “Well, it’s your choice,” Misty said. “Psyduck, use Tail Whip!”

    This time, Psyduck managed to comply with the order. The duck turned around and began slowly walking backwards towards its opponent, wagging its tail as it did so. Wildfire barely reacted at all, keeping with the theme of its beliefs, but its trainer stared as he wondered what the point of this “attack” was. This thought became especially present when Psyduck nearly fell over the side, wobbling about before falling forward onto its stomach.

    “How about we get this over with before some other weird thing happens?” Derak asked his Chimchar. “Whatever you do, don’t aim for the head.”

    “Chim-char!” Wildfire nodded.

    “Okay, then,” Derak began. “Wildfire, use Thunderpunch!”

    “It knows Thunderpunch?!” Misty gasped.

    Wildfire ignored Misty as it leapt forward, drawing one crackling fist back. As per its trainer’s advice, the Chimchar did not direct its attack toward Psyduck’s head. Instead, Wildfire imagined that its opponent was Barry’s Poliwag, and aimed for the small creature’s stomach just as it did before. The thunderous fist struck home, slamming into Psyduck’s stomach and discharging the electricity into the Duck Pokemon. Psyduck screamed in pain before simply collapsing on its back, defeated.

    A moment of silence passed between the two trainers and their Pokemon. Misty could feel the tension, but for Derak, the silence was to recover from Psyduck’s eccentric mannerisms. And then he shattered the silence.

    “Wildfire, we won,” Derak said. “You did it, pal. You were just as awesome as you were back at the HQ Lab.”

    “Char?” Wildfire said, looking at its trainer with the same bewildered expression it had worn time and time again.

    “Psyduck, return,” Misty said as she recalled her fainted duck. “You were great, Psyduck. Take a nice, long, rest.”

    She looked across the field at Derak, who was cradling Wildfire in his arms.

    “I have to admit,” Misty began as she walked along the side of the arena towards Derak, “I really didn’t expect a Thunderpunch from such a young Pokemon. I’m really impressed.”

    She then handed him a badge that resembled a blue drop of water.

    “This is the Cascade Badge,” Misty explained. “It’s your reward for beating the Cerulean Gym.”

    Derak set down Wildfire, accepted the badge, and placed it in his badge case. Misty knelt down to Wildfire’s level.

    “You’re such a strong little guy,” Misty cooed as she pet Wildfire on the head.

    Wildfire, however, was less than comfortable with Misty’s touch, and quickly recoiled with a nervous “chim-char!”.

    “Wildfire’s…not that comfortable with people,” Derak said, recalling his Chimchar. “Thanks for the badge.”

    “The next Gym is in Vermillion City,” Misty advised. “It’s an Electric-type Gym, just so you know.”

    “Fine,” Derak said.

    And then he left.

    “Yep,” Misty said. “He’s definitely a trainer of few words.”

    ****

    As Derak left Cerulean City’s Pokemon Center, he turned and headed out of the city itself. Tracker stood in the forest from which Derak had entered the city, smirking darkly.

    “Maybe you’re worth my time after all,” Tracker said.
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  10. #10
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    Nov 2005
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    And now, chapter 9.




    Chapter 9: Team Cyclone Again! Protect the Hidden Village!



    Roughly two days later, Derak and his two Pokemon were having lunch in a forest clearing between Cerulean City and Vermillion City. Derak sat atop a rock, somehow comfortable, while his two Pokemon dug into the food set out for them. Derak’s burlap sack, filled with several boxes worth of food for both human and Pokemon, remained on the ground next to him.

    At that point, Sarah Arachson came in through the clearing. With a smile, she waved happily at Derak, who simply raised a hand in acknowledgement.

    “Hi, Derak!” Sarah said. “How’s it going?”

    “Fine,” Derak replied.

    “So, is that your Machop?” Sarah asked, pointing at Brute.

    “Yeah,” Derak nodded. “I got Brute around Pewter City.”

    “So, then, you got the badge there?” Sarah asked.

    “There and Cerulean,” Derak answered.

    “Cool, so did I!” Sarah said, pulling out a Badge Case of her own and showing Derak a pair of badges, one the Stone Badge and the other the Cascade Badge.

    “That’s nice,” Derak said.

    “Hey, I’ve got an idea,” Sarah said. “How about I introduce you to my new team?”

    Without waiting for an answer, she showed Derak three Pokeballs.

    “Come on out, everyone!” Sarah cried, launching all her Pokeballs into the air.

    From one of the Pokeballs burst Sarah’s ever-present Squirtle. Two other Pokemon appeared, however, that Derak did not recognize. One was a green crescent-shaped creature with a half-open eye on either side of its head and a nose-like point on the inside of the crescent. The other was shaped like a small yellow missile, possessing a pair of dark yet beady eyes on its bald head. Neither of these Pokemon had any arms, legs, or even a mouth to speak of.

    “Kakuna,” Derak’s Dex said upon being pointed at the yellow Pokemon, “the Cocoon Pokemon. Type is Bug and Poison. Evolved form of Weedle. Like Caterpie, Weedle created a shell around itself upon evolving. It hides under leaves and in branches as it waits for evolution.”

    “Metapod,” Derak’s Dex began when he pointed it at the green Pokemon, “the Cocoon Pokemon. Type is Bug. Evolved form of Caterpie. When Caterpie evolved, it created a shell around itself that is as hard as steel. It quietly endures whatever hardship comes its way as it waits to evolve into Butterfree.”

    “Wait, so, Weedle evolved?” Derak asked.

    “Yep,” Sarah nodded. “Oh, and remember that Caterpie we saved from the Cyclone grunt? Well, it was really grateful and wanted to come with me. Now, it’s evolved, too!”

    “Wow,” Derak said, genuinely surprised.

    “I know,” Sarah agreed. “So, how about a battle? We didn’t really get the chance back in Viridian Forest.”

    “I guess we could use some training for the Vermillion Gym,” Derak shrugged, looking over to his two Pokemon. “Okay, two-on-two?”

    “Sounds good,” Sarah said.

    The two trainers took opposite positions at the edges of the clearing, and prepared their battle. Derak stood in his typically nonchalant way, Wildfire and Brute on either side of him. Sarah smiled with an eagerness in her eyes, her Squirtle staring down Wildfire (the latter having no response) as Metapod and Kakuna simply stood beside their trainer.

    “You ready?” Sarah called to Derak, who nodded. “Okay, great! Metapod, I choose you!”

    “Metapod!” said the green crescent in a monotonous voice as it hopped forward.

    “Ready, Brute?” Derak asked his Machop.

    “Chop,” Brute nodded, stepping forward to approach its foe.

    “Let’s go!” Sarah cried. “Metapod, use Tackle!”

    Metapod bravely charged towards Brute, the latter waiting for its foe to come. In truth, this took a while, as Metapod’s charge mainly consisted of a continuous series of short-ranged jumps. As Metapod finally neared Derak’s Machop, the latter’s trainer gave an order.

    “Brute, Vacuum Wave!” Derak ordered.

    What Derak had been intending to do was have the blast of Vacuum Wave send Metapod shooting back towards Sarah’s side of the field. A small unforeseen event arose, however: Metapod’s final leap gave it much greater height, and it was now nearly above Brute. The Vacuum Wave fired, but rather than go back to its trainer’s side, Metapod ended up sailing high into the air, going well over the trees and into the unknown.

    “Metapod!” Sarah cried.

    “Oops,” Derak said, giving a small embarrassed laugh as he rubbed the back of his head. “Sorry, our fault.”

    Sarah barely heard him, having already rushed past with Kakuna and Squirtle back in their Pokeballs. Derak recalled Brute and Wildfire before following suit, going deep into the woods.

    “Metapod, where are you?!” Sarah yelled. “Please answer!”

    “Metapod!” droned a voice from a short distance away.

    “We’re coming, Metapod!” Sarah cried as she charged headlong into wherever Metapod was. She and Derak burst into another clearing, where Metapod was lying on the grass in front of them.

    “Metapod, Metapod,” droned Metapod.

    “I’m glad you’re okay,” Sarah sighed. “Return.”

    Sarah recalled Metapod just in time to notice another Pokemon approach them. It appeared to be a small red crab with two bulging eyes, a small mouth, and a pair of arms resembling the upper half of a crab’s claw. Most noticeably, the crab had a pair of red-and-yellow mushrooms on its back.

    “Oh, wow, a Paras!” Sarah gasped.

    “A what?” Derak asked, drawing out his Pokedex.

    “Paras,” the Pokedex began, “the Mushroom Pokemon. Type is Bug and Grass. When a Paras is born, it is doused with mushroom spores. As Paras grows, these spores grow into mushrooms called tochukaso. Tochukaso are valued as medicine used to prolong life.”

    “Please don’t catch that Paras!” a woman’s voice interjected.

    The two trainers looked up and saw a blue-haired woman in a pink shirt and red overalls approach them. Her hair stretched down to the bottom of her neck, and had a red band running across the top of her hair. When Paras saw her, it immediately scurried towards her, finding a hiding spot behind her.

    “I wasn’t planning on it,” Derak said, though Sarah looked fairly disappointed. “Who are you, anyway?”

    “My name’s Melanie,” the woman said. “I live in a village where I take care of Pokemon who were abandoned by their trainers.”

    “That’s nice of you,” Derak said, a trace of a kind smile on his lips.

    “Thank you,” Melanie nodded. “It’s surprisingly rare to find trainers who are kind to Pokemon.”

    “I’ll believe that,” Derak muttered, remembering Melissa.

    “My name’s Sarah, and this is Derak,” Sarah said, indicating Derak. “We were having a battle when my Metapod ended up around here. Is your village close?”

    “It is,” Melanie said, “but this Paras gets out every now and then. It’s a sort of long story…maybe if you two come to my village I can explain? Just don’t try to capture any of the Pokemon.”

    “We won’t,” Sarah shook her head.

    “Like I said, not planning on it,” Derak shrugged.

    “Thank you both,” Melanie smiled. “Please, follow me.”

    Melanie led the two away, but unbeknownst to any of them, Torie from Team Cyclone and the grunt from Viridian Forest were watching.

    “Those are the two children I told our leader about, Miss Torie,” the grunt said.

    “I saw the boy at Pewter City,” Torie nodded. “I heard his Chimchar actually took out Snattle’s Metagross with help from the Gym Leader’s Steelix. We’ll need to plan our attack carefully.”

    ****

    Back at Melanie’s village, Sarah and Derak sat across from Melanie inside a small cottage. Melanie made the two some tea, which Derak was slowly sipping.

    “The village used to be protected by a Bulbasaur,” Melanie began.

    “Bulbasaur?” Derak asked, remembering when his Pokedex analyzed Sarah’s Squirtle. “Isn’t that one of the Kanto starters?”

    “It is,” Melanie nodded. She then showed Derak and Sarah a framed picture containing herself, Paras, and quite a few other Pokemon, including a rather unique one.

    The Pokemon in question seemed to be a small light blue four-legged creature with patches of a darker blue covering its body. While it had red eyes, pointed ears, and clawed toes on all its feet, its most noticeable feature was the massive green bulb growing out of its back. Derak, unsure if it would work, pointed his Pokedex at the picture.

    “Error,” droned the Pokedex. “No Pokemon data found.”

    “I think you have to search for Bulbasaur, actually,” advised Sarah.

    “Oh,” Derak said. “Hang on…”

    He began fiddling with his Pokedex, and as he searched for a method on finding information on Bulbasaur without actually seeing it, Melanie continued her tale.

    “Bulbasaur was very protective of the other Pokemon,” Melanie explained. “Its heart was in the right place, to be fair, but it never let the other Pokemon leave the village because it was so safe. One day, a group of traveling trainers came, their friend having accidentally washed up in the village. After the trainers helped to fend off a couple of Pokemon thieves, Bulbasaur agreed to travel with one of the trainers, seeing as it couldn’t really grow in the village. Ever since then, Bulbasaur has been treated kindly and, from what I’ve seen, it’s become so much stronger than it could ever have been in the village.”

    “Who was Bulbasaur’s trainer?” Sarah asked.

    “His name was Ash,” Melanie began, but evidently, that was all Sarah needed to hear.

    “Ash?” Sarah repeated, jaw dropping. “As in Ash Ketchum, the famous trainer from Pallet Town?”

    “The very same,” Melanie nodded.

    “Wow,” Sarah breathed. “Bulbasaur’s lucky to have found such a strong, adventurous, and kind trainer.”

    Oh, great, she’s a fangirl, Derak thought bitterly as he continued his search.

    “It is,” Melanie nodded, looking down at the Paras beside her. “Ever since Bulbasaur left, Paras has wanted to explore outside, too, but could never really work up the courage to leave. What I hope is that someday Paras can find a trainer as kind to it as Ash was to Bulbasaur. Then, it can explore to its heart’s content, right Paras?”

    “Paras, paras!” rasped Paras jubilantly.

    “Ah-ha! Found it!” Derak exclaimed triumphantly, having used the several minutes in which the two females were talking to search for Bulbasaur. Indeed, the Pokedex now had Bulbasaur’s image on it, and began to provide the related information.

    “Bulbasaur,” the Pokedex began, “the Seed Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. Bulbasaur is one of the three starters given out to new trainers in Kanto, alongside Squirtle and Charmander. A Bulbasaur is born with a large seed on its back. During the early stages of its life, this seed provides nourishment, and as Bulbasaur grows, the seed grows as well.”

    “Koffing, Sludge Bomb!” a familiar voice cried, and the door to Melanie’s cottage was suddenly blown off its hinges. When the smoke cleared, Torie and the Cyclone grunt could be seen in the doorway.

    “You again?!” Sarah cried, springing to her feet alongside Derak.

    “What are you doing here?!” Melanie demanded.

    “We’re here for the brats,” Torie sneered. “You and your INFERIOR Pokemon can go free…for now. At least, you can if those two come along peacefully.”

    “The Pokemon under my care are not weak!” Melanie countered.

    “If it doesn’t fly in any way, shape, or form,” Torie sneered, “then it’s weak and doesn’t deserve to live.”

    “That has to be the worst philosophy ever,” Derak growled.

    “The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” sneered Torie, prompting Derak to simply roll his eyes in exasperation.

    “We won’t let you hurt the Pokemon!” Sarah cried. “Squirtle, I choose you!”

    “Wildfire, let’s go!” Derak cried, summoning his Chimchar as Sarah’s Squirtle also appeared.

    “Squirtle, blast them outside with Water Gun!” Sarah cried.

    Squirtle complied, firing a noticeably stronger jet of water at the two Cyclone members, propelling them out of the cottage and onto a grassy field. Derak and Sarah pursued, arriving on the field as their foes rose to fight again. Melanie slipped out of the cottage and immediately went to the Pokemon under her care, intending to keep them out of harm’s way.

    “We’ve had it with you mindless children interfering!” Torie snarled, preparing a Pokeball. “Farfetch’d, set them straight!”

    Torie’s choice of Pokemon was entirely different from the grunt’s Koffing. Instead, she chose a creature resembling a brown duck, complete with a yellow bill and feet. The most interesting feature regarding her Pokemon, however, was not the black “V” shape on its forehead, but instead the green stalk plant it held in one wing.

    “Farfetch’d,” began Derak’s Dex, “the Wild Duck Pokemon. Type is Normal and Flying. Farfetch’d cannot live without the stalk it holds. As a result, it defends the stalk from attackers with its life, and should it eat its own stalk as emergency rations, it will find a new one as quickly as possible. Anyone who attempts to disturb the area where the stalks grow will be attacked until they leave.”

    “Ready, Derak?” Sarah asked.

    “Sure,” Derak nodded. “Wildfire, start off with Ember!”

    “Squirtle, Water Gun again!” Sarah cried.

    “Farfetch’d, use Air Slash!” Torie barked.

    “Koffing, Gyro Ball!” the grunt ordered.

    In an instant, the battle burst into a frenzy of fighting. Wildfire spat its typical storm of flaming orbs, but Farfetch’d swung its stalk through the air, creating a sphere of wind that tore through the Ember and struck the Chimchar in its chest. Koffing quickly powered through Squirtle’s Water Gun, but Derak was not going to let another of Sarah’s Pokemon be endangered because of him.

    “Oh, no, you don’t!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, use Thunderpunch on Koffing!”

    The monkey quickly recovered, bounding towards Koffing and swinging an electrified fist into Koffing’s side. Knocked off-course, the Poison Gas Pokemon crashed in front of a crowd of watching village Pokemon. Paras stared in admiration at the unfolding events, hoping that one of the trainers would allow it to come with them.

    “Farfetch’d, take them both out with Air Cutter!” Torie ordered.

    “Far-fetch’d!” squawked the duck, once more swinging its stalk. This time, however, a series of “C” shaped blades of air were born from the stalk’s swipe, which shot towards the two starter Pokemon.

    “Wildfire, power through with Flame Wheel!” Derak ordered.

    “Squirtle, do the same by using Skull Bash!” Sarah cried.

    Though met with some resistance from the Air Cutter, Wildfire’s fiery somersault nonetheless burst through the wind and struck Farfetch’d head on. Wildfire then leapt back to Derak, just in time for Farfetch’d to see Squirtle charging straight towards it, head lowered down with intent to ram. Before the Wild Duck Pokemon or its trainer could counterattack, Squirtle slammed its head into Farfetch’d, knocking the Pokemon back into its trainer.

    “It’s over, Cyclones!” Sarah declared as Derak lightly hugged Wildfire (much to its ever-present confusion). “Just go away!”

    “I’ve got a better idea,” said Torie as she recalled her Farfetch’d. “Koffing!”

    Though the Poison Gas Pokemon did not belong to Torie, it had been taught to obey administrators of Team Cyclone. Thus, the Pokemon managed to recover and float above the ground once more, ready for an attack.

    “Hand yourselves over now,” Torie snarled. “If you don’t, Koffing will bring on its most powerful Selfdestruct.”

    “That could kill all the Pokemon!” Sarah gasped, noting how many had joined Paras as spectators.

    “Exactly!” Torie laughed. Though she did not notice it, Paras was glaring hard at Koffing with something different in its eyes.

    “How do we know you won’t blow them up even if we do go with you?” Derak asked.

    “Only one way to find out, right?” Torie smirked. “Make your choice.”

    “Paaaar,” rasped Paras, its mushrooms glowing rainbow-like colors in tandem with its claws. Pointing its claws at Koffing, the Mushroom Pokemon fired a rainbow-colored beam of lightning at the Poison Gas Pokemon, blasting it into a tree. “PARAS!”

    “Paras!” Melanie cried, dashing to the crab-like Grass-type. “You did it! You faced your fears!”

    “Paras, paras!” rasped an elated Paras, raising a victorious claw.

    “That was an awesome Psybeam!” Sarah cried, running to Paras and Melanie.

    Derak, however, noticed that Torie was covertly reaching for a second Pokeball.

    “It’s not over yet,” Torie muttered, frustrated that her bargaining chip had failed. She then threw the Pokeball high into the air. “Tropius, stir things up!”

    A brown Pokemon resembling a long-necked dinosaur appeared from Torie’s second Pokeball. It had four massive leaves emerging from its back, one pair pointing behind it and a second pair seemingly serving as wings. Its egg-shaped head had a bunch of bananas hanging from the bottom and a green helmet-shaped plant atop its head. The Pokemon let out a mighty bellow as it appeared, scaring the village Pokemon senseless.

    “Tropius,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Fruit Pokemon. Type is Grass and Flying. Tropius only ate its favorite fruit, and as a result, the fruit hangs from its neck. The fruit around its neck ripens twice a year, and is considered a delicacy.”

    “We’re not beaten yet!” Torie exclaimed. “Tropius, blow them all away with Whirlwind!”

    With this command, Tropius began flapping its massive wings, sending forth enormous bursts of wind. The village Pokemon held on to Melanie for dear life, as Derak and Sarah held their respective starters. Due to the power of the wind, no one seemed able to perform a counterattack.

    No one currently in the village, that is.

    “Pharooossss!” a Pokemon’s voice cried as a colossal bolt of lightning erupted from the forest and slammed into Tropius. The Fruit Pokemon screamed in pain, halting its Whirlwind, as the electricity surged through its body. By the time the attack had finished, Tropius had already fallen over, entirely unconscious.

    “Wha—but…how?!” Torie sputtered. Fumbling for her Pokeball, she recalled her Tropius. “You brats won’t get lucky next time!”

    “Wait for me!” the grunt cried, recalling his Koffing and following the Cyclone admin out of the village.

    “Derak, Sarah,” Melanie began, “thank you both so much for what you’ve done. Without your help, this village would probably have been destroyed by those maniacs.”

    “We’re just happy to help,” Sarah smiled.

    “Ras?” Paras rasped, gently poking at Sarah’s shoe. “Paras, paras paras.”

    “Sarah, I think you’ve earned Paras’ trust,” Melanie said. “It wants to go with you.”

    “Really?!” Sarah cried jovially. “Thank you, Paras!”

    She then picked up the Mushroom Pokemon and tapped it with a Pokeball, absorbing it and making her third capture.

    “I’ll take good care of Paras,” vowed Sarah. “I promise.”

    “I’m sure you will,” Melanie smiled.

    “So, who fired that attack, anyway?” Derak asked.

    “Probably some Electric-type Pokemon having a battle,” Sarah shrugged.

    “Maybe,” Derak said. “Have to get going. See you.”

    “Bye, Derak!” Sarah waved. “See you in Vermillion City!”

    Derak simply raised a hand, and in his typical fashion, he left without another word.

    ****

    In the forest from which the lightning came, Tracker stood with a humanoid Pokemon. The Pokemon was yellow, with a white stomach and a red orb on its forehead. It had stubby arms, a pair of black bulges emerging from the sides of its head, and a second red orb on the tip of its striped tail.

    “Ampharos, return,” Tracker said, recalling his Pokemon into the same sort of odd Pokeball that his Beedrill was in. “You’ll meet me someday, kid. Not today, obviously…but someday.”
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  11. #11
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    And now...chapter 10.

    Side announcement: I'm thinking about giving this up...just for the record. Well, anyway, the 10th chapter is up.



    Chapter 10: Vermillion City! Basics of Pokemon Ping-Pong!


    With his hands in his pockets, his Pokeballs on his belt, and his Chimchar on his shoulder for bonding purposes, Derak ambled into Vermillion City. Like Cerulean, the city had a spectacular ocean view, but unlike Cerulean, there was no beach. In addition, the city also held a port from which ships operated, something some trainers from other regions took into account when arriving in Kanto.

    Derak strolled into the Pokemon Center with Wildfire in tow, approaching Nurse Joy. A dark blue-haired man in a light yellow jacket was also there, along with a Pokemon Derak had not seen before. The Pokemon almost seemed to be made of wood, and possessed sandal-like feet to add to this. Two piercing yellow eyes rested above a nutcracker-like mouth, but the Pokemon’s most noticeable features were its long white hair and the leaf-like fans in place of actual hands.

    “Hello, there!” Nurse Joy greeted. “Would you like to rest your Pokemon?”

    “Yeah,” Derak said simply before recalling Wildfire into its Pokeball and handing it to Nurse Joy. Brute’s Pokeball followed soon after. As Nurse Joy placed the two balls on the machine, Derak turned to his Pokedex for information on the new Pokemon.

    “Shiftry,” the Dex began, “the Wicked Pokemon. Type is Grass and Dark. Evolved form of Nuzleaf. Shiftries live quietly in deep forests. It uses its fans to create chilly winds during the winter. With enough effort, these winds can blow one hundred feet per second, and can even level houses.”

    “I see you’re interested in Shiftry,” said the man by Shiftry’s side, presumably its trainer.

    “More or less,” Derak said as the Pokemon in question eyed him darkly. He took back his two Pokeballs quickly, unnerved by the Wicked Pokemon. Shiftry’s trainer picked up on this quickly.

    “Don’t worry,” laughed the man. “Shiftry doesn’t do much battling. In fact, we mostly do Pokemon Ping-Pong.”

    “…Pokemon Ping-Pong?” Derak asked, more bewildered than he had ever been in recent memory.

    “I take it you’re a new trainer?” the man asked.

    “More than most other people,” Derak replied. “What exactly is Pokemon Ping-Pong?”

    “I’ll show you,” the man smiled. “I have a training center here in Vermillion City.”

    ****

    The man and his Shiftry took Derak to a large building a distance away from the Pokemon Center. The building’s inside was rather spacious, mainly filled with ping-pong tables. Derak, however, saw little of this, as the minute he got inside a large purple-furred monkey with two tails immediately came up to him.

    “Uh, hi, there,” Derak said to the monkey. “I’m Derak.”

    “Ambi-pom!” cried the monkey, bouncing about on its purple feet. “Ambi-ambi-ambi-pom!”

    “Ambipom,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Long Tail Pokemon. Type is Normal. Evolved form of Aipom. Ambipom’s two tails are incredibly adept at various tasks, such as shucking nuts. Because of this, Ambipom rarely uses its real arms. Ambipoms live in large trees and link their tails together as a sign of friendship.”

    “So, is this Ambipom yours, too?” Derak asked as he put his Pokedex back into his pocket.

    “Actually, no,” the man answered. “Ambipom belonged to a coordinator from Sinnoh. It had a real talent for ping-pong even though it had just started playing, and I was so impressed that I offered for Ambipom to train with me to reach its full potential.”

    “What makes you the expert, anyway?” Derak asked with a tinge of rudeness.

    “Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself,” the man said. “My name is O. I’m the two-time Pokemon Ping-Pong champion.”

    Derak paused for a moment, again confused.

    “…your name is ‘O’?” Derak asked.

    “That’s right,” O nodded.

    “Ambi,” Ambipom shrugged when Derak looked to it, indicating that it also had no idea where O had acquired his name.

    “Anyway, I’d like to see what Pokemon you have,” O said. “That way, I can judge which one might be best for competing in Pokemon Ping-Pong.”

    “Well, okay,” Derak shrugged. “Wildfire, Brute, come on out.”

    O carefully inspected the two Pokemon upon their appearance.

    “Well, you’re definitely new to training,” O remarked. “Most trainers I’ve seen have more than just two Pokemon by the time they reach Vermillion. Though out of both of these two, I think your Chimchar might be best suited for playing. It takes reflexes and speed to become a strong ping-pong player, and while a lot of Pokemon can get that through rigorous training, Chimchar is one of the few Pokemon species that have those reflexes naturally.”

    “Char?” Wildfire said, blinking in confusion.

    “He means you’re fast enough to do well in ping-pong,” Derak translated.

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire nodded, retaining its monotonous tone of voice (much to Derak’s annoyance).

    “Okay,” O said, “let me show you the rules of Pokemon Ping-Pong.”

    O took a paddle and stood at one side of a table, with Ambipom next to him. Derak mimicked him, Wildfire standing on a block to gain more height. Brute simply leaned on a wall, Shiftry joining it.

    “The rules are simple,” O began. “A trainer and Pokemon both play, but only a trainer uses a paddle. Instead, the Pokemon can use any part of its body to hit the ping-pong ball. The trainer is always the one to serve, and the first team of Pokemon and trainer to reach eleven points wins the game. The first trainer to win three games wins the match.”

    “Sounds like some matches could get pretty long,” Derak commented.

    “Sometimes,” O agreed, “but if that happens, you know it’s an intense match.”

    O picked up an orange ping-pong ball.

    “Now,” he began, “keep in mind that this is just a practice match to get you and your Chimchar used to playing. Since Ambipom still isn’t as experienced as Shiftry, I’ll use it so you’ll have a chance.”

    “That’s nice,” Derak said simply.

    “Okay, then, ready?” O asked, receiving a nod from both Derak and Wildfire. “Then let’s get started!”

    O gave his ball a light toss into the air just prior to striking it with his paddle, sending the ball shooting towards Derak. The young runaway proved his readiness, however, by slapping the ball with his own paddle, this time directing it towards Ambipom. While his hope was that the Long Tail Pokemon would somehow miss, this was soon crushed.

    Ambipom leapt into the air, swung its two tails around, and smacked the ball with all the effort it could muster. The ping-pong ball quickly blazed past both Derak and his Chimchar, and headed straight for Brute.

    “Brute, catch it!” Derak cried.

    Brute complied, casually snatching the ball in one hand without even flinching. With a “Ma-chop!” the Superpower Pokemon tossed it back, allowing it to land in Derak’s hand.

    “So, that’s a point for me,” O stated. “Let’s try that again.”

    Derak served in a similar fashion to O, and the champion ping-pong player knocked the ball back, this time aiming it towards Wildfire. Knowing what it must do, the Chimp Pokemon leapt into the air and attempted to swat the ball with its hand. Though Wildfire’s hand connected, the ball was knocked off-center and spiraled off of the table.

    “Oops,” Derak said, taking the blame as Wildfire chased after the ball. “Sorry.”

    “That’s all right,” O shook his head. “Chimchar might need to use another part of its body, though. I don’t think using its hands is going to work.”

    Wildfire brought the ball back and handed it to O.

    “Thank you,” O smiled, and Wildfire stared at him in its typical befuddlement. Derak called his Pokemon over, and Wildfire’s reverie was broken.

    “How about you use your feet this time?” Derak asked, receiving a shrug from Wildfire. “Okay, guess we’re ready.”

    “Then, let’s try this again!” O cried, serving again.

    Again, Derak and O assaulted the ball with their paddles. Again, O sent the ball towards Wildfire. Again, the monkey leapt into the air to counter. This time, however, with a single kick, the ball was sent soaring over to Ambipom. The two-tailed monkey simply somersaulted in mid-air to strike the ball with its tail again, but when the ball came back, Wildfire once more kicked it and sent it to O.

    “That’s it, excellent!” O cried as he caught the ball with ease. “Now, let’s finish this game!”

    Brute and Shiftry continued to observe their trainers playing their game. The Machop smiled, feeling proud that its new trainer was getting so strong. Its calm moment was shattered, however, when the wall behind Brute and Shiftry was broken down, pinning both Pokemon beneath a rock.

    Derak and O looked, the ping-pong ball bouncing away freely. O gasped, while Derak simply groaned.

    There, standing in the new hole, were Snattle and his Metagross.

    “Well, now, isn’t this a surprise?” Snattle sneered. “It seems I see you wherever I go, you little brat.”

    “You know this guy?” O asked.

    “His name’s Snattle,” Derak said. “Battled him back in Pewter City. He’s kind of a lunatic.”

    “I prefer ‘eccentric’, if you don’t mind,” Snattle said.

    “Having your Metagross eat every living being in sight is only ‘eccentric’?” Derak asked. “So, what do you want this time? O doesn’t have any Flying-types or levitating Pokemon.”

    “True,” Snattle said, casually stomping on the rock Brute was under to keep the Machop from getting up. “Shiftry, however, is a target my leader has his sights on. Mostly for its wind-making ability, really.”

    “Care to tell me what for?” Derak asked.

    “Now, now,” Snattle snickered, “just because people call me insane doesn’t mean that I’m stupid. Metagross, lunchtime!”

    Metagross lumbered forward with a guttural growl, having evidently fully recovered from its humiliation at the hands of Barry’s Infernape. Ambipom leapt to battle, punching the air with its tails. Wildfire joined it, taking its typical battle stance.

    “You really want to resist?” Snattle laughed. “What fools!”

    Derak looked underneath Snattle and noticed Brute still struggling to rise. With an idea in mind, Derak gave out an order to the Superpower Pokemon.

    “Brute, use Vacuum Wave on the ground!” Derak cried.

    Snattle simply gave an overconfident laugh, but soon found himself cut off when Brute rocketed out from underneath the slab of stone, knocking the odd man off his feet and onto his back. Brute soared a great distance into the air, landing just in front of its trainer.

    “Everyone ready?” Derak asked, receiving a nod from both his Pokemon. “Okay, Wildfire, use Flame Wheel! Brute, use Vacuum Wave to give Wildfire a boost!”

    Wildfire once again performed its flaming somersault, but this time Brute’s Vacuum Wave sent it shooting like a bullet into the “X” on Metagross’ face. The massive spider groaned as it struggled to maintain its ground, claws digging into the earth beneath its four feet.

    “Metagross, counter with Psychic!” Snattle cried.

    “Ambipom, use Focus Punch!” O ordered.

    As it had done in Pewter Museum, Metagross telekinetically flung Wildfire off of it, this time sending it into Brute. This, however, left an opening for Ambipom to rush in, one tail-mounted fist drawn back and glowing a bright red. Ambipom swung its tail forward, the fist trailing streaks of red energy, and punched Metagross in the center of its “X”. Unable to take any more, Metagross stumbled back slightly before simply collapsing on the ground, having fallen to what was quite possibly the most powerful Fighting-type attack.

    “Wha—again?!” Snattle roared. “Metagross, return! I will have my revenge, brat!”

    Snattle dashed off in his usually strange way, leaving Derak and O with their Pokemon.

    “Good riddance,” O spat.

    “Yeah, really,” Derak agreed. He then turned to his two Pokemon. “Great job, guys. Let’s go.”

    “Nice meeting you, Derak,” O smiled. “I hope to see you in a Pokemon Ping-Pong tournament someday.”

    Derak simply shrugged, recalled his two Pokemon, and left for the Pokemon Center, planning to attempt the Gym the next day.
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  12. #12
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    Am I the only one here that really enjoys this story? Sorry, but you're a fantastic writer and I don't know why other people aren't coming here? I like Brute alot. When you challenged the Cerleaun Gym, I laughed a little when Staryu shot a watergun at you. That was funny. Anyways, don't quit writing. I read this story alot, and I need it to keep entertained when I'm not writitng!
    Great Stories,
    Totodile I.B

    Pokemon X Round 2


  13. #13
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    Totodile, you're not the only one who enhoys this, it's just i tend to lurk rather than post. and yes, Morpher, don't give up on writing this, it's a good fic. it'd be a shame to waste it.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  14. #14
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    Wow...actual reviews...thanks, that's really appreciated.

    Now that I'm inspired to continue, here's chapter 11.




    Chapter 11: Vermillion Gym! Derak VS Lt. Surge!


    After healing his two Pokemon at Vermillion’s Pokemon Center, he entered the Vermillion Gym. Like the Pewter Gym, the arena was covered with sand and jagged rocks, and had the same chalk Pokeball insignia in the ground. At the other end of the arena was an imposingly massive man with tanned skin, sunglasses, spiky blonde hair, a dark green undershirt and a pair of army-colored pants that instantly reminded Derak of his rival Melissa.

    “Well, look what the Meowth dragged in!” chuckled the man loudly. “A pint-size trainer baby!”

    “…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

    “Name’s Surge, but most people call me Lieutenant Surge,” the man continued. “Ready to get this war started, baby?”

    So this is what Melissa would be like if she were born a boy…Derak thought.

    “The match between Derak Kadir, the challenger from Phenac City in Orre, and Lieutenant Surge, the Vermillion Gym Leader, will now begin!” said the referee. “Each trainer will use two Pokemon. The trainer with the most remaining Pokemon will be the winner. In addition, only the challenger may switch Pokemon.”

    “You pick first, runty,” Surge said.

    “…right,” Derak said, drawing out his one word. “Brute, let’s go!”

    “Ma-chop!” Brute cried upon appearing.

    “A Machop, huh?” Surge smirked. “Heh, easy pickings. Raichu, go!”

    Surge’s first choice of Pokemon appeared to be a humanoid mouse with orange fur with a white front, sleek black ears, and a yellow circle on each of its cheeks. It stood on two stubby black feet, and had equally-stubby arms that ended in the same sort of ebon shade. Its elongated black tail, which cracked at the ground as if it were a whip, had a small protrusion at the end resembling a bolt of lightning.

    “Raichu,” Derak’s Pokedex began, “the Mouse Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Pikachu. Raichu is capable of releasing 100,000 volts of electricity, which it stores by using pouches in its cheeks. Should the electricity in these pouches reach its peak, Raichu’s ears will stand up. If Raichu has too much electricity in its body, its muscles become stimulated, and it turns aggressive.”

    “Not to mention it’s one of my strongest Pokemon!” Surge bragged. “Give it all you’ve got, baby, and Raichu can knock it back!”

    “Rai!” said Raichu, cheeks sparkling with electricity as it arched its tail at Brute.

    “Okay, Raichu, let’s get this started!” Surge yelled. “Use Thunderpunch!”

    Despite the shortness of its legs, Raichu moved surprisingly quickly as it charged towards Brute with one fingerless fist drawn back. Derak ordered a Vacuum Wave, and though the attack hit, it only succeeded in knocking Raichu over. The Mouse Pokemon quickly rose with a “chu!” and snarled at Brute.

    “You call that an attack?!” Surge laughed. “Let me show you what a REAL attack looks like. Raichu, use Thunderbolt!”

    “Brute, dodge it, quick!” Derak cried.

    Raichu’s cheeks began to spark with power again, and just as the Pokedex described, its ears quickly stood up. Brute, noticing this, quickly leapt away, just barely avoiding the bolt of lightning Raichu fired. Though jarred by the ensuing explosion, Brute performed a somersault to recover, and was almost immediately ready to battle again.

    “Tough guy, huh?” Surge snorted. “Raichu, give it your best Focus Punch!”

    Raichu’s fist became charged with a red light as it ran forward, preparing once again to punch its opponent. Derak, however, had a new tactic in mind.

    “Brute, use Mud-Slap!” Derak cried.

    “Mud-Slap?!” Surge echoed.

    For the first time under Derak’s ownership, Brute performed the move it had previously used to block a Razor Leaf from Melissa’s Turtwig. The Machop kicked a pile of mud onto Raichu’s face and the Mouse Pokemon lost its focus, rubbing its eyes in an attempt to rid them of the mud. Surge bared his teeth, knowing that Mud-Slap would reduce the target’s ability to accurately aim attacks.

    “Use Poison Jab, quick!” Derak ordered.

    Brute complied, shoving its now-purple fist into Raichu’s stomach. The Mouse Pokemon stumbled back and began to pant, an oozing purple mark on its stomach indicating that it had been poisoned. Raichu’s opponent, however, also had problems, as electricity suddenly began to course throughout its body, prompting a groan of pain.

    “Brute, what’s wrong?” Derak asked.

    “Sure, your Machop poisoned my Raichu,” Surge smirked, “but it looks like you didn’t know about Raichu’s Static ability.”

    “Static?” Derak asked.

    “If a Pokemon touches Raichu in battle,” Surge explained, “there’s a chance that the attacker’s gonna be paralyzed. And that’s what’s happenin’ with your Machop, baby.”

    Brute, while apparently paralyzed, only suffered from the occasional spark of electricity on its body. The truth was that the Superpower Pokemon seemed entirely able to move, at least for the moment. Brute demonstrated by taking a step forward, doing its best to seem in perfect condition as it glared down Raichu. And then, to the surprise of both trainers, Brute became outlined in a red aura as its eyes flashed a bloody crimson.

    “Brute, what’s happening?” Derak asked.

    “Guts,” Derak’s Dex answered. “If a Pokemon with this ability is inflicted with a status condition such as paralysis or poisoning, their attack power is doubled.”

    “Really? Wow,” Derak whistled. “Let’s use that to our advantage, Brute! Vital Throw!”

    “You’re not gonna take that, Raichu!” Surge barked. “Use Facade!”

    Brute, still surrounded by an aura of red, charged towards Raichu. At the same time, the Mouse Pokemon ran for Brute with an aura of its own, this one purple. Raichu then leapt towards Brute, attempting to use the momentum it had gathered for a flying tackle. Unfortunately for the Electric-type, Brute quickly grabbed it by the ears and began spinning. After several revolutions, the Superpower Pokemon released Raichu, flinging it into a wall. When the dust cleared, Raichu was revealed to have been knocked entirely unconscious.

    “Raichu, return,” Surge growled as he sent his Pokemon back into its Pokeball.

    “Great work, Brute,” Derak smiled.

    “Ma-chooop,” Brute groaned, managing a thumbs-up through its paralysis.

    “Not bad so far, baby,” Surge said. “But now, you’re gonna deal with my other Pokemon. Electabuzz, go!”

    Ironically, the Pokemon that followed a humanoid mouse was apparently a yellow humanoid tiger. It had an egg-shaped torso, a pair of beefy arms, and a wide head with two sharp fangs poking from the corners of its mouth. Atop its head were two antennae, and emerging from behind it was a tiger-like tail. Its clawed feet stamped the ground as the beast roared angrily.

    “Electabuzz,” the Dex began, “the Electric Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Elekid. Unlike its pre-evolution, Electabuzz had no need to windmill its arms to build up power, though it does occasionally do so to slightly boost the power of its punch-based attacks. It can also store electricity, and if it is at full power, being too close to one will make a person’s hair stand on end.”

    “Wait…Electabuzz evolves from Elekid?” Derak asked, remembering the Pokemon used by the lead Retriever at Orre’s HQ Lab.

    “That’s about right!” laughed Surge. “And get this, Raichu and Electabuzz are my two strongest Pokemon! You have half a chance of beating me after taking down Raichu. Think you can win the other half?”

    “Behhhh,” sneered Electabuzz, apparently sharing its trainer’s condescending demeanor.

    “Brute…you think you can keep going?” Derak asked, receiving an affirmative nod. “Okay, then. Start with Karate Chop!”

    “Electabuzz, use Ice Punch!” Surge commanded.

    Brute tried to rush Electabuzz and deliver its attack, but its body began to spark again, stopping the Machop in its tracks. Electabuzz wound back one arm and began spinning it as the Electric-type’s fist became covered in chilled air. With a mighty swing, the Electric Pokemon thrust its fist forward and punched Brute in the face, throwing the Machop onto its back and out of commission.

    “Brute!” Derak cried, pulling out its Pokeball. “Return, okay? You did your best, that’s all that matters to me.”

    Electabuzz snickered as Derak put Brute’s Pokeball back on his belt, believing itself invincible. Derak, however, took no notice, instead looking down at his Chimchar’s Pokeball.

    I’m getting a sense of déjà vu, Derak thought. Hope Wildfire’s ready for this.

    He threw the ball into the air.

    “Wildfire, let’s go!” Derak cried, and the Chimp Pokemon burst forth, taking its typical battle stance.

    “Behhh,” snarled Electabuzz, leaning down and glaring directly into Wildfire’s eyes. “Eleh-buuu!”

    Despite the menacing appearance of the Electric Pokemon, its Fire-type opponent appeared completely undaunted, even going as far as to glare back. This, however, seemed to only amuse Electabuzz, proving it with a loud and arrogant chuckle from the Electric-type. Wildfire snarled, determined to prove itself to its trainer.

    “Wildfire?” Derak said to his Pokemon, which merely turned its head in response. “That’s the evolved form of Elekid.”

    “Char-chim-char?” Wildfire said.

    “Remember, back at the lab?” Derak continued. “Our first battle?”

    Wildfire nodded. Though it kept the memory to itself, the young Chimchar nonetheless remembered the event vividly.

    “This is pretty much the same,” Derak said. “Except…uh…bigger, and…a lot less pleasant. Look, let’s just go for it, okay?”

    Wildfire simply nodded and turned back to its opponent with nary a sound.

    “All right, Electabuzz,” Surge began, “let’s give that baby a Thunderpunch!”

    As it did with its Ice Punch, Electabuzz whirled one arm around as its fist began to crackle with electricity. The Electric Pokemon again swung its fist forward, but found that Wildfire had quickly leapt into the air to dodge. The Chimchar spat forth an Ember attack, but Electabuzz blocked the storm with its arms, just as its pre-evolution had done before in Orre.

    “Wildfire, Flame Wheel!” Derak ordered.

    “Electabuzz, cut it off with Quick Attack!” Surge barked.

    As ordered, Derak’s Chimchar was just about to coat itself in fire again, but Electabuzz slammed it with a lightning-fast tackle, canceling out Wildfire’s attack. Though it stumbled for a moment, the Chimp Pokemon quickly rose, eager to battle once more.

    “Wildfire, quick, give it your own Thunderpunch!” Derak cried.

    The monkey’s electric fist did slam into Electabuzz’s stomach, but the muscular Electric-type seemed almost entirely unaffected. In fact, the Pokemon began to laugh again, evidently taunting Derak’s lack of knowledge regarding Pokemon types. Electricity sparked between Electabuzz’s antennae as it laughed, as if it were fueled by the power from the Thunderpunch.

    “Hate to break it to you, kid,” Surge smirked, “but Electric-type attacks do jack squat against Electric-type Pokemon! Electabuzz, show that little runt a REAL Thunderpunch!”

    Thankfully, Electabuzz’s weakness seemed to be its need to windmill its punches, unwittingly allowing Wildfire time to evade its attack once again. Both trainers picked up on this, as Derak released a small sigh of relief, hoping that Electabuzz would continue its punching attacks. His opponent, however, had other ideas.

    “We’re gonna have to change tactics,” Surge growled. “Electabuzz, use Cross Chop!”

    Rather than perform another punch, Electabuzz crossed its arms and flattened its hands. It then leapt into the air, preparing to come down on Wildfire with a powerful Fighting-type attack. Once again, however, Electabuzz’s Fire-type opponent found time to dodge, though this time the monkey was just barely able to evade.

    “Let’s see how you deal with something you can’t dodge!” Surge yelled. “Electabuzz, use Shock Wave!”

    Electabuzz’s antennae again formed a small jolt of electricity between them, but this time its entire body began to surge with electrical power. The Electric-type then thrust its arms out to the side, releasing a massive ring of electricity that spread across the entire arena. As Surge had predicted, Wildfire was unable to dodge the attack, receiving a painful electric shock and falling to the floor.

    “Wildfire!” Derak cried.

    The Chimchar weakly looked up, and saw what many would have viewed to be the end of the battle. Electabuzz towered over the small monkey with a confident sneer, antennae sparking as a show of strength. And then Surge gave his next order.

    “Let’s finish this up, Electabuzz!” Surge cried. “Use Thunder!”

    The Electric Pokemon charged up again, its antennae sparking even more than ever. Its whole body began to surge with power, an aura of lightning forming around it. The aura grew more intense with each passing second, and in mere moments, Electabuzz fired into the air a truly gargantuan bolt of lightning.

    “Wildfire, NO!” Derak cried.

    The Chimchar covered itself with its arms…

    The Thunder curved in mid-air…

    And then it crashed down onto Derak’s starter.

    Shock and worry were at the front of the young runaway’s mind as he scanned the ensuing smoke desperately, hoping to find some small trace of his Chimchar. And then, he saw something. But it was not the red flame of Wildfire’s tail. Instead, it was something neither trainer expected.

    It was a green light.

    The smoke cleared, and there was Wildfire, cowering in a ball but nonetheless unhurt. The light had come from a green bubble that surrounded the Chimp Pokemon, a bubble that shielded it from Electabuzz’s attack.

    “It’s learned Protect?! But…how?!” Surge’s jaw dropped. Even Electabuzz was taken aback, fanged mouth agape and arms hanging limply at its sides.

    “Wildfire, you’re okay!” Derak cried with a smile.

    “Chim?” Wildfire said as it looked up, evidently confused as to how it was still alive, let alone perfectly okay. It saw the bubble as it faded away, and quickly understood. The monkey rose to its feet again and clenched its fists, ready to resume battling.

    “Electabuzz, Thunder again!” Surge roared. “It can’t use Protect twice in a row!”

    “If that’s the case…use Flame Wheel, quick!” Derak ordered.

    Wildfire launched itself just as Electabuzz began to charge a second Thunder. The fire monkey slammed into Electabuzz’s chest, knocking the Electric-type off its feet and onto its back. Wildfire flipped off of the Electric Pokemon’s front and landed behind it, ready for another attack.

    “Flame Wheel, just one more time!” Derak cried.

    Just as Electabuzz got up, Wildfire slammed it in the back with another flaming somersault, sending the Electric-type onto its face. This time, however, Wildfire bounced off of Electabuzz’s back, launching into the air. Surge’s Pokemon attempted to rise once more, only for Derak’s Chimchar to land on its back, sending it back down for the last time.

    “Did…did we win?” Derak asked.

    “Yeah, kid,” Surge nodded. “You won.”

    “Great,” Derak sighed in relief. “Wildfire, you were just plain amazing. You even learned Protect.”

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire nodded, again in its monotonous tone.

    “Seriously, when are you going to stop that?” Derak asked. “I don’t want a pet machine, I want a friend.”

    Wildfire blinked, trying to figure out why a trainer—one who, it believed, mainly wanted Pokemon for use in battle—would want a Pokemon as a friend. Surge, paying no attention, began to clap.

    “I gotta admit, you really pulled it off, kid,” Surge smiled. “Not a lot of new trainers can do that. I’m impressed.”

    He handed Derak a badge that resembled a small metal version of the sun.

    “This is the Thunder Badge,” Surge explained. “It proves that you’ve won here.”

    “Thanks,” Derak said simply, stuffing the Thunder Badge into his Badge Case. “So, where’s the next Gym?”

    “Celadon City,” Surge replied. “You’ll have to cut through Lavender Town to get there, since there’s some road work being done on the main way. I think you’ll do fine, though, since it’s a Grass-type Gym and you’ve got that Chimchar of yours.”

    Derak nodded, took his Chimchar in his arms, and left without another word.

    “Heh, most kids jump for joy when they beat me,” Surge smirked. “This one’s different.”

    ****
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  15. #15
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    Nice writing mate cant believe u found the time to write up this stuff, love it, keep i t going ^^
    I know I am real...
    but i don't know if you are.....
    or my own illusion....
    is the world I live in real......

    White FC 2580-2624-1554
    Looking for:
    Dakrai
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    Much to offer ^^


  16. #16
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    I take it that, if you're using the game map of Kanto, Derek used the Underground Path? as otherwise, it would be easier to just cut through Saffron. or if you're using the Anime map, where everything just seems amalgated to fit that dosen't matter as they never have any mentions of roadblocks to Saffron.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  17. #17
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    Scizorstrike: Yes, I'm essentially using the anime map of Kanto (while occasionally squeezing in a location or two from the games).

    And now a somewhat shorter chapter.



    Chapter 12: Derak VS Sarah! Vermillion Battle!


    The day after Derak defeated Surge, the boy strolled out of the Pokemon Center with his two Pokemon fully healed and rested. He looked at the two Pokeballs on his belt for a moment before picking them off and releasing Wildfire and Brute.

    “So, how are you guys feeling?” Derak asked.

    “Machop!” replied Brute with a thumbs-up. Wildfire, however, merely shrugged.

    “We need to work on that, Wildfire,” Derak sighed.

    Just then, a familiar green Bug-type bounced to his leg, looking up at Derak with an expression in its eyes that—although difficult to read—could be interpreted as joy. Recognizing the creature as Sarah’s Metapod, the runaway trainer knelt closer to its level.

    “Hi, Metapod,” Derak smiled. “I guess you’re not mad about getting launched by a Vacuum Wave?”

    “Metapod! Metapod!” the Cocoon Pokemon nodded twice. Evidently, the evolved form of the Caterpie from Vermillion Forest remembered one of its two saviors.

    “So, where’s Sarah?” Derak asked.

    “Here I am!” Sarah’s voice called as the pigtailed girl ran up. “How are things going, Derak?”

    “Won at the Gym,” Derak said simply, Brute crossing its arms and nodding proudly.

    “Cool!” Sarah cried. “I’m going to challenge it after training Kakuna and Paras a little more.”

    “Why Kakuna and Paras?” Derak asked, tilting his head to one side.

    “Well, Squirtle’s weak to Electric-type attacks,” Sarah replied. “Plus, like Viridian’s Nurse Joy said, Metapod evolves into a Pokemon that’s partly Flying-type. So, my best bets for winning are going to be Kakuna and Paras, especially because Paras can resist Electric attacks.”

    Derak paused as his mind struggled to absorb the massive load of information. After racking his brain for a few moments, he spoke again.

    “So, are we going to finish that battle or something?” he asked.

    “Sure, great idea!” Sarah smiled. “Two-on-two, right?”

    “Two’s all I’ve got,” Derak shrugged.

    “Okay, Metapod, return,” Sarah said as she and Derak took opposite positions at a certain distance, just as Derak had done for his battle with Barry. “All right! Kakuna, I choose you!”

    The Poison-typed counterpart to Metapod took Sarah’s side of the makeshift battlefield, glaring at Derak with its beady black eyes.

    “Ready, Brute?” Derak asked, and the Superpower Pokemon took its own place on the field. “Okay, go in for Karate Chop!”

    Remembering what Vacuum Wave had done to Sarah’s Metapod, Derak instead ordered Brute to use a physical attack, thus having his Machop charge forward with one hand prepared to strike. Kakuna, true to its nature, made no effort to dodge, but instead simply waited for the attack to come. Just when Brute was only a few feet away, Sarah finally gave an order.

    “Kakuna, use Iron Defense!” Sarah cried.

    Kakuna’s shell took on a bright shine just as the side of Brute’s hand collided with it. With any other Pokemon, the attack would have sent the poor creature skidding across the pavement. Kakuna, however, only tilted somewhat, not even falling over. It sprang back to its original position within an instant, resuming its dark glare.

    “Whoa, that didn’t do anything!” Derak gasped.

    “That’s about right,” Sarah smirked. “I’ll tell you about it later. First things first, though. Kakuna, use Poison Sting!”

    The yellow cocoon quickly shot a series of purple barbs from an area where its mouth would likely have been, striking Brute with a point-blank attack. The Machop stumbled back under the assault, putting up a hand in an attempt to block the storm of spikes. Kakuna, sensing an advantage, pressed its attack, moving its aim in slightly varying directions in an attempt to break through Brute’s defenses. Finally, the Superpower Pokemon sank onto one knee, the Poison Sting finally ceasing.

    “Okay, no more holding back,” Derak said, eyes narrowing slightly. “Brute, Vacuum Wave!”

    “Kakuna, Iron Defense again!” Sarah cried.

    Once again, Kakuna’s shell shone brightly. This time, when Brute’s blast of wind struck, Kakuna merely did a backward somersault, landing upright and still ready for battle.

    “Poison Sting, one more time!” Sarah yelled.

    Kakuna apparently had a rather limited moveset, once again firing off its storm of poison needles. This time, however, Brute could not withstand the assault, and fainted shortly after.

    “Brute, return,” Derak said. “You did a great job, Brute, so take a rest.”

    Derak put Brute’s Pokeball back on his belt and looked to Sarah.

    “Okay, what was that about?” Derak asked. “The Iron Defense thing?”

    “Well, Iron Defense gives a pretty big boost to the user’s physical defenses, and even makes it heavier,” Sarah explained. “That, combined with the fact that Fighting-type attacks aren’t good against Poison-types, means that Machop wasn’t going to do that well.”

    “I know someone who might,” Derak said. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

    Wildfire once more appeared in its ever-present fighting pose, fists clenched and ready for a brawl.

    “Okay, Kakuna, Poison Sting!” Sarah ordered, and the Bug-type complied yet again. This time, however, Derak was prepared.

    “Wildfire, Protect!” Derak commanded.

    “Protect?!” Sarah cried, shocked the Wildfire actually knew the move.

    The Chimchar crossed its arms in a defensive position—a complete contrast to its usual pose—and the translucent green bubble completely enveloped it. Kakuna’s Poison Sting bounced off harmlessly, allowing Wildfire to counter with an Ember. Given that Kakuna’s massive defensive boost was purely physical, the storm of fire orbs delivered a devastating blow to the Cocoon Pokemon. Just when it seemed that Derak would win, however, Kakuna began to glow a bright white.

    “Kakuna’s evolving!” Sarah cried gleefully.

    “Oh, boy,” Derak moaned, Wildfire halting its Ember in concern.

    Kakuna’s size increased by several feet, and when the glow subsided, a Beedrill had replaced the Cocoon Pokemon. The Poison Bee jabbed its stingers into the air furiously, eagerly awaiting payback for the injuries it sustained.

    “Okay, Beedrill!” Sarah cried. “Use your new Fury Attack!”

    Buzzing angrily, Beedrill lunged at Wildfire…and promptly fell forward onto its face, too heavy to fly.

    “I…guess the Iron Defenses are still there,” Derak assumed.

    “Oh…Beedrill, return!” Sarah said, recalling Beedrill before it could hurt itself. “I’m really proud of you Beedrill, take a good rest. Paras, I choose you!”

    The minute Paras appeared, it waved a claw at Derak and Wildfire. Derak gave a half-hearted wave back, but Wildfire blinked in its typical confusion.

    “Okay, then,” Derak said. “Wildfire, use Flame Wheel!”

    “Paras, use Dig!” Sarah cried.

    Knowing that both of Paras’ types were extremely vulnerable to fire, Sarah had Paras perform an attack that involved dodging. The Mushroom Pokemon quickly scratched at the ground with its claws, creating a hole that it crawled into. Wildfire’s Flame Wheel sailed over the hole, the Chimp Pokemon coming out of the attack and looking down the hole.

    “Uh, what just happened?” Derak asked.

    “I wouldn’t let my guard down if I were you!” Sarah called.

    Indeed, Sarah’s words proved true: Paras burst from underneath the ground just under Wildfire, knocking the monkey into the air. Clearly gaining an advantage, Sarah wasted no time in pressing it.

    “Follow up with Psybeam!” Sarah cried.

    Derak watched helplessly as his Chimchar—unable to move in mid-air—was struck down by the same rainbow beam of lightning that also defeated the Cyclone grunt’s Koffing. Wildfire tumbled in front of Derak’s feet, completely unconscious.

    “Hey, you okay?” Derak asked, picking up his starter. Due to having fainted, however, it gave no response. “Return, Wildfire. You did great.”

    “Oh, yeah!” Sarah cried, pumping her fist into the air and striking a pose similar to the one she took when she captured Weedle. “I beat Derak!”

    “Way to rub it in, Sarah,” Derak muttered.

    “Heh, sorry,” Sarah said, rubbing the back of her head embarrassedly. “You were great, though, really. And thanks for helping Kakuna evolve into Beedrill!”

    Derak simply shrugged.

    “Well, I guess I’ll be staying here for another day or two while my Pokemon recover,” Derak said.

    “And I’ll be challenging the Gym,” Sarah said. “See you later!”

    Derak simply raised one hand as a good-bye, uttering a “good luck” as he went back into the Pokemon Center.

    Unbeknownst to both Derak and Melissa, a figure stood amidst the alleys of Vermillion, hidden by the shade of the city. Beside the figure was a small creature with a single pink eye. The figure watched Derak’s battle with Sarah, and uttered one word.

    “Weak.”

    The figure then turned and left, the cyclopean creature following.

    ****

    Far away from Vermillion City, something known to few was making its way through the air. It appeared to be a Pokemon, one with a humanoid body and a dominantly red color scheme. Its blue, mouthless face was stationed between two ear-like protrusions emerging from the sides of its head, and two narrow eyes glanced across the landscape. The mysterious Pokemon flew over a forest, where Torie of Team Cyclone and her Tropius watched it flee.

    “Our leader must know about this!” Torie exclaimed, mounting her Tropius and flying off.

    ****
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  18. #18
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    Now, chapter 13.



    Chapter 13: Derak and Melissa! Rock Tunnel!


    After his battle with Sarah, Derak continued his trek to Lavender Town, eventually coming upon another cave. This cave was rather bland in appearance, being simply a large tunnel carved into the rock. Melissa stood outside the entrance, and glared as Derak approached.

    “Well, look who it is,” she sneered. “Derak the softy.”

    “Well, look who it is,” Derak replied in an almost-mocking manner. “Melissa, the girl without a brain.”

    Melissa growled for a moment, barely keeping herself from exploding with anger, before she managed to calm herself.

    “Look, if we’re both going to go through the Rock Tunnel, we might as well go together,” Melissa suggested.

    “Are you serious?” Derak asked. “First of all, why would I team up with you? Second, would it kill people to actually give this tunnel a better name?”

    “It doesn’t have a very creative name, does it?” Melissa agreed. “As for your first question, there’s no point in one of us just standing here while the other went inside. Besides, just because we don’t like each other doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help each other out.”

    “I suppose you have a point,” Derak shrugged as Melissa entered the cave.

    “Well, you coming?” she asked as she meandered inside, Derak reluctantly following.

    “So, what’s so special about this cave?” Derak asked as they pursued the dark depths of the cave.

    “Nothing, really,” Melissa replied. “There are some Pokemon worth catching here, though, mostly Rock-types and Ground-types.”

    “Geez…fire, rock, ground, grass,” Derak grumbled. “How many types are there?”

    “Seventeen,” Melissa smirked. “Why, does that number hurt your head?”

    “That headband isn’t doing a very good job of keeping YOUR head from swelling,” Derak snapped.

    “WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!” Melissa roared, and out of nowhere a creature resembling a blue eye-less bat with purple-and-blue wings fell onto her head.

    “Hold that thought,” Derak said, aiming his Pokedex at the creature. “I think I saw one of those in Mt Moon.”

    “Zubat,” the Dex began, “the Bat Pokemon. Type is Poison and Flying. While Zubat has no eyes, it can use ultrasonic waves to detect obstacles. It dislikes sunlight, so it remains asleep on the ceilings of dark caves.”

    “Melissa, have you ever thought of renting yourself out as an alarm clock?” Derak asked with a smirk.

    “Ha, ha, very funny,” snarled Melissa as she forcefully pulled the Zubat from her head and threw it into Derak’s stomach.

    “Oof!” Derak grunted when the surprisingly heavy Pokemon struck him. “Ugh, now that was just uncalled for.”

    He bent down and gently picked up the Zubat.

    “Hey, you okay?” he asked the small bat.

    Zubat only let out a small screech in response, and though its fanged mouth took up most of its face, it seemed to be wearing a small smile.

    “Leave it, Derak,” Melissa spat. “We don’t have time to waste on treating Pokemon like babies.”

    “Correct me if I’m wrong,” Derak said, still holding Zubat in his hands, “but don’t Gyms basically wait for trainers to come?”

    “Well, yeah, but—” Melissa began, but Derak cut her off.

    “So,” Derak continued, “just shut up and quit throwing tantrums every time someone shows signs of having a brain.”

    Melissa snarled again as Derak began to walk away, Zubat still in the cradle his hands formed. Stomping after him, Melissa was able to hear his next words perfectly.

    “So, think you can lead us out of here?” Derak asked the Zubat.

    “Why ask it?” Melissa asked. “It has no eyes. Besides, a Pokemon can’t tell up from down.”

    “Zubat?” Derak asked. “Please show her which way is up.”

    The Zubat used one wing to gesture towards the ceiling.

    “Now show her which way is down,” Derak said.

    The Zubat complied, pointing out the floor to a dumbstruck Melissa.

    “Wha…?!” Melissa sputtered, very nearly pulling her hair out of her head.

    “Looks like being wrong all the time really hurts,” Derak smirked. “Come on, Zubat.”

    Derak left again, an extremely frustrated Melissa following with even more reluctance than Derak had displayed prior to entering the cave.

    ****

    Back at the entrance to the Rock Tunnel, Tracker once again stood a distance behind his quarry. As usual, the hunter’s boots scraped the ground beneath him, one hand in his pocket and the arm with the strange device on it simply limp at his side. He looked into the Rock Tunnel, smirking.

    “Well, kid,” Tracker began, “I think it’s time to see how you react in a sudden situation.”

    He removed yet another of his strange dark Pokeballs from his belt, holding it out in front of him.

    “Nidoking, start the hunt,” Tracker said, unleashing a Pokemon resembling a purple dinosaur with mouse-like ears and a mammoth-size tail. The beast had a pointed face that played host to both a long, purple horn and a mouth filled with sharp teeth. The Pokemon flexed its beefy arms upon being called out, stamping its feet in anticipation.

    “Nidoking, use Dig,” Tracker said listlessly. “Go into the wall until you find another Pokemon.”

    Nidoking gave its trainer a nod before punching into the wall a short distance away from the Rock Tunnel, following each blow with another until it made a smaller, makeshift tunnel. Tracker stepped inside the tunnel as Nidoking continued to dig, pausing just several feet inside. He prepared another dark Pokeball, this time summoning a Pokemon that resembled a skinny brown tree with two curving legs and a trio of green orbs on each of its hands.

    “Sudowoodo, cover our tracks with Rock Slide,” Tracker ordered in the same emotionless tone.

    The tree-like Pokemon nodded, raising its arms to the ceiling. The tunnel began to shake, though neither Nidoking nor Tracker seemed to even care, let alone be shaken. A slew of boulders tumbled over the entrance that Nidoking had made, seemingly burying Tracker and his Pokemon inside.

    ****

    Sudowoodo’s Rock Slide had not only affected Tracker’s personal tunnel, but also the one in which Derak and Melissa traversed. The tunnel began to vibrate angrily, and the two trainers nearly lost their balance. Derak, with Zubat still in hand, planted his shoulder into the wall, while Melissa held onto the opposite wall with her hand. When the Rock Slide stopped, so did the miniature “earthquake”.

    “Where the heck did that come from?” Derak asked.

    “No idea,” Melissa said with a shake of her head, “but look what it did.”

    She pointed to a pile of rocks that had shaken loose during the supposed quake.

    “Has Machop learned Rock Smash yet?” Melissa asked Derak.

    Derak simply blinked, attempting to figure out what in the world his rival was talking about.

    “Clueless as ever,” Melissa sighed. “Just as well.”

    She picked a Pokeball off her belt, and Derak noticed that it was not the green one that contained her Turtwig.

    “Krabby, report for duty!” Melissa cried as the Pokeball clicked open.

    Melissa’s apparent capture was a somewhat unpleasant-looking red crab, sporting six tan legs and a pair of large crimson pincers. Two small horns poked from the top of the crab’s head, centered between its two eyes. The Pokemon snapped its pincers twice, making a gargling noise as its mouth foamed madly.

    “Krabby,” Derak’s Pokedex began, “the River Crab Pokemon. Type is Water. Krabbies live in burrows they dug on sandy beaches. When its pincers break off, they somehow lose the ability to walk sideways, and as this is the only way they can walk, they become completely immobilized. This is a regular occurrence, however, and Krabby’s pincers will grow back fully.”

    “Krabby, huh?” Derak said as he stuffed his Pokedex back in his pocket. “The name suits you, Arare.”

    “And that’s supposed to mean…?” snarled Melissa.

    “That you make Mankies look calm,” Derak said simply.

    “I’ve got better things to do than mind my temper!” Melissa snapped. “Like train my Pokemon CORRECTLY, for instance!”

    “Only if you define ‘correctly’ as ‘abusively’,” Derak growled.

    “This coming from the guy who hardly battles with his Pokemon at all?!” Melissa yelled.

    “Maybe that’s because I treat them as LIVING BEINGS and not TOOLS,” Derak snarled.

    Throughout all of this, Krabby simply stood between the two trainers, motionless as a rock. The River Crab Pokemon blinked several times, and though it made no external indication, it quickly came to the conclusion that it was surrounded by idiots.

    “Krabby, use Rock Smash so that I can get away from this creep!” Melissa snarled.

    With a sound reminiscent of a gargled sigh, Krabby scuttled towards the fallen rocks, stopping just in front of them. Turning to face the blockade, the River Crab Pokemon wound back its pincers, and then thrust them into the rock pile. The pile crumbled instantly, the occasional rock tumbling further down the tunnel.

    “That’s good, Krabby,” Melissa nodded. “I’m keeping you out in case we run into another rock slide like that.”

    Krabby blinked again, foaming at the mouth once more.

    “Is Krabby rabid or something?” Derak asked.

    “To be honest, I have no clue,” Melissa replied. “I think it does that to make itself look bigger. Don’t ask me how.”

    Derak stared for a moment at Melissa’s Krabby, and the crimson crab stared back. The runaway trainer tilted his head to the side in an attempt to piece together why Krabby would give signs of rabies if it had none. The Zubat in Derak’s arms twisted its head around, emitting small screeches to fill in the empty role its lack of eyesight left. Melissa simply shook her head.

    “When you’re done having a staring contest with a crab,” Melissa sneered, “how about we—”

    Before Melissa could finish her sentence, however, the ground began to shake again. Zubat, seemingly overreacting, flapped out of Derak’s arms and hid behind the trainer’s head.

    “Zubat, what’s—what’s wrong?” Derak stuttered, attempting to maintain his balance.

    “I guess that Zubat really is smarter than it looks!” Melissa admitted. “It’s not an earthquake that’s shaking the tunnel, look!”

    She pointed back into the tunnel, where it seemed the shaking was coming from. A deep-throated bellow echoed through the cavern, and a massive snake made entirely of rock burst onto the scene.

    “Krabby, return!” Melissa cried, sending her crab back into its Pokeball. “We need to get out of here, now!”

    “For once, we agree on something!” Derak said as the two trainers began to run. He then lightly tossed Zubat into the air. “Zubat, lead us out of here as fast as you can!”

    Zubat gave Derak a quick nod before soaring into the lead, turning into a smaller tunnel that branched off.

    “You’re putting our lives in the hands of some random bat?!” Melissa yelled.

    “You’d rather take your chances with whatever that is?!” Derak snapped back, jabbing his thumb at their massive pursuer.

    “Point taken!” Melissa cried, falling into line as Zubat led her and Derak away.

    ****

    The other end of the Rock Tunnel had been so much more peaceful before Derak, Melissa, and Zubat were all flung out with a jet of green-and-silver fire following them. The two trainers fell onto the ground to catch their breath, and soon saw the true face of their pursuer.

    The creature burst out of the cave and reared itself to its full height, rising to at least twenty-eight feet. Each section of its serpentine body consisted of a large grey boulder, its head having a more pointed shape and possessing a narrow shark-like fin. The monster let out another roar, showing all of its jagged teeth.

    “Geez, that thing is huge!” Derak gasped, fumbling for his Pokedex.

    “Onix,” the Dex began, “the Rock Snake Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. By twisting and squirming, Onix can travel through the ground at fifty miles per hour. When it does so, it causes tremors above-ground. An Onix’s diet consists of large boulders, which it always eats while burrowing.”

    “If it can blow us out with a Dragonbreath,” Melissa remarked, “it has to be strong.”

    She pulled a familiar green Pokeball off of her belt, something Derak noted rather quickly.

    “Are you crazy?!” Derak cried. “You want to battle that thing?!”

    “I want to CAPTURE that thing,” Melissa corrected. “It’s sure to give me a huge edge.”

    She looked back to the Onix, which let out another fearsome roar. Zubat cowered behind Derak’s head again, but Derak hardly paid attention. Looking at the Onix, its eyes seemed almost…afraid. It was as if something was scaring it, and that it was only trying to clear the trainers out of its way so it could flee. Melissa, however, cared nothing about that. All she wanted was a strong Pokemon.

    “Turtwig, report for duty!” Melissa cried, summoning her turtle. “Use Razor Leaf!”

    Turtwig swung its head around and launched its leaves, but while Onix clearly was hurt by the attack, the leaves seemed to bounce off of its rocky skin.

    “Strong defense, huh?” Melissa said. “We’ll see about that! Turtwig, use Sand Tomb!”

    Turtwig’s sapling began to glow a tan color, and a small tornado of sand somehow spawned from above its head. The tornado grew with each passing second, and soon Turtwig swung its head once more, this time launching the sand-tornado into Onix. Although initially buffeted by the attack, Onix discovered a way to counter: burrowing into the ground.

    “It knows Dig, too?!” Melissa cried. “Turtwig, when it comes up, use—”

    It seemed that Onix had a liking for cutting off Melissa in mid-sentence, as the Rock Snake Pokemon erupted from the ground just underneath Turtwig. The Tiny Leaf Pokemon was sent sailing into the air, and though it was completely helpless, Onix was by no means finished. The massive Rock-type’s eyes radiated a blue color, and a rock with a blue aura shot up and slammed into a screaming Turtwig.

    “Come on, Turtwig, that was just a Rock Throw!” Melissa snapped. “Stop whining and use Razor Leaf again!”

    Somehow, Melissa’s angry words inspired perseverance into Turtwig, and the turtle spun around while hurling a storm of leaves at Onix. The leaves struck the Rock Snake Pokemon in its face, and judging by the pained cry that escaped Onix’s mouth, this Razor Leaf was much more effective than the previous one. After the storm subsided, Onix limply fell onto the ground, allowing Melissa to strike it with an empty Pokeball. The ball shook three times, and then clicked, indicating a successful capture.

    “Now this should give me the advantage I need,” Melissa smirked. “Well, Derak? Got anything to say?”

    Melissa turned to her rival, expecting to smugly brag about her achievement. Instead, however, she found that Derak had completely left, taking Zubat with him. Although initially stunned, the girl quickly recovered with use of her anger.

    “I hate that boy,” Melissa fumed, though her starter Pokemon paid no attention.

    “Tur-twig,” moaned Turtwig, looking up to the sky and praying to its creator for a chance to be treated better.

    ****

    “So, Zubat,” Derak said as he and Zubat wandered into Lavender Town. “Do you want to hang out with me for a while?”

    Zubat eagerly nodded, flapping into the air.

    “Okay, it’s my thing to give my Pokemon names,” Derak said. “That all right with you?”

    Zubat nodded again.

    “Okay, let’s see,” Derak hummed with a hand to his chin. “Hmm…okay, you use those sound waves of yours to get around, right?”

    Zubat paused for a moment, attempting to figure out whether or not it should correct him. After all, the proper term for its sound-navigation technique was “echolocation”. In the end, however, Zubat simply nodded, realizing that Derak could not understand what it would say.

    “So, how about I call you Echo?” Derak asked.

    Zubat nodded with a happy screech. Derak pulled out a Pokeball, and lightly tapped it against the newly-named Echo’s forehead. The bat was absorbed into the ball, and Derak had made his second capture.

    “Welcome to the team, Echo,” Derak smiled at the Pokeball in his hand. “Let’s show Celadon Gym what you can do.”

    ****

    “Amazing what a Roar attack can do, isn’t it?” said Tracker as he and his two Pokemon came out of his makeshift tunnel.

    “Sudo,” said Sudowoodo with a nod, while Nidoking simply grunted.

    “Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned,” Tracker frowned. “Derak didn’t battle Onix, that girl did. I’ll have to see how he does later. Time, after all, is the best judge of strength.”
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  19. #19
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    I think I called a Zubat Echo at some point....
    on the other hand, new gym chapter(s) soon.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  20. #20
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    This chapter is somewhat darker then some of the previous chapters...just a heads-up.



    Chapter 14: Pokemon Tower! The Cruelty of Team Cyclone!


    Derak ambled into Lavender Town with his new Zubat by his side, the Bat Pokemon happily flapping about Derak’s head. The two entered the Pokemon Center, only to find a sight that neither were prepared for (even though Echo was blind).

    Nurse Joy was looking over a Pokemon belonging to a man in a green jumpsuit and a yellow construction worker’s helmet. The Pokemon was somewhat humanoid, and had a red upper body and feet to contrast its yellow lower body and cone-like beak. The most noticeable features of the Pokemon, however, were the two flames coming out of its head and the single fire on the tip of its tail.

    “What the heck happened?!” Derak asked, taking a moment to analyze the Pokemon. “Hang on a minute, need to see if there’s something I can do!”

    “Magmar,” Derak’s Pokedex began, “the Spitfire Pokemon. Type is Fire. Evolved form of Magby. Magmars live in volcanoes, as they dislike cold locations. Should it find itself in such a cold area, it blows flame from its mouth in order to make its environment more suitable. If Magmar breaths deeply, heat waves form around its body and make it difficult to see.”

    “Oh, come on!” Derak complained, pressing random buttons on the Pokedex. “There has to be something here about what to do when a Magmar’s hurt!”

    “I’m not sure there’s much you can do,” Nurse Joy said sadly. “This Magmar was injured by a group of Murkrows.”

    “Murkrow?” Derak asked, assuming it to be a Pokemon.

    “Yeah, it was awful!” the worker interjected. “Me and my co-workers, we were going to take down the Pokemon Tower—”

    “The what?” Derak asked.

    “It’s Lavender Town’s landmark,” Nurse Joy explained. “The Pokemon Tower is where many Pokemon grave sites are located.”

    “So you just wanted to tear all that down?” Derak glared at the worker. “It’s so nice to see such ‘respect’ for the dead.”

    “We were going to move the graves beforehand, honest!” the worker pleaded. “Nobody can get in there now, though! Not with that Murkrow flock on patrol!”

    “What’s strange is,” Nurse Joy began, “no matter what kind of Pokemon comes in, it’s always been beaten by the Murkrows, even if it had a type advantage. It’s as if the Murkrows belong to a skilled trainer, but who in the world would want to do such a thing is a mystery.”

    “I…uh,” a timid voice said from behind them. Everyone turned to see a girl with long, dark purple hair and soulful green eyes. “I’m sorry, I…I shouldn’t have spoken.”

    The girl stuffed her hands inside the pockets of her sand-colored coat, turning away from the group of people. As if in response to her shy speech, a green Pokeball on the girl’s belt burst open, the light forming into a small four-legged Pokemon. The Pokemon’s skin was mainly a shade of light green, but it had a ring of small, dark green bulbs around its neck. While it had cute red eyes similar to those of Sarah’s Squirtle, the most noticeable feature of this Pokemon was the massive leaf emerging from the top of its head.

    “Chikorita,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Leaf Pokemon. Type is Grass. Chikorita is one of the starter Pokemon given out in Johto, along with Totodile and Cyndaquil. It uses the leaf on its head to determine the temperature and humidity of its surroundings, and a sweet aroma wafts from the leaf whenever it does so. Chikorita is docile and loves to sunbathe.”

    “Chik-o!” Chikorita yelled, leaping onto its apparent trainer’s shoulder. It then began to bark at the girl as if it were coaching her. “Chik-o-chik-o! Chik chik-o!”

    So much for being docile, Derak thought.

    “Uh…oh-okay, Chikorita,” the girl mumbled as Derak looked on in bewilderment. “My…my name is Teresa. I…is it possible someone might have…well, taken over the tower?”

    “It’s not likely, but it is possible,” Nurse Joy said. “I can’t imagine what a criminal would want with the Tower.”

    Derak thought for a moment, then, spoke.

    “You said that Murkrows were bird Pokemon, right?” he asked.

    “They are,” the worker nodded.

    “I think I might have an idea of who might be behind that,” Derak began. “Are there any Pokemon that fly or levitate in the Pokemon Tower?”

    “Why, yes,” Nurse Joy replied. “There are plenty of Gastlies and their evolutions living in the Tower, all of which have Levitate as their ability.”

    “I knew it,” Derak sighed. “Team Cyclone’s behind it.”

    “Team Cyclone?!” Nurse Joy gasped. “That’s terrible! I’m going to call Officer Jenny!”

    “I…don’t think she’d get here in time,” Derak interjected quickly, unwilling to be sent back to Orre by an officer of the law. “I’ll do it myself.”

    “Chik-o!” Teresa’s Chikorita cried, leaping off of its trainer’s shoulder and landing in front of Derak. “Chiko, Chiko!”

    “You and your trainer want to come, too?” Derak asked.

    “Chik-o!” Chikorita nodded, Teresa giving a small shrug.

    “Okay, let’s go,” Derak said, going past Teresa and leaving the Pokemon Center. Teresa followed, initially reluctant but shoved into a faster stride by her Chikorita.

    ****

    “So, this is it?” Derak asked, eyeing the stone structure.

    “Yes,” Teresa mumbled, Chikorita on her shoulder. “This is Lavender’s Pokemon Tower.”

    The Tower was not only immense, but ominous. There were many levels, each of which presumably had at least one Pokemon buried on it. Its intimidating features came from a pair of horn-like structures sprouting from the Tower’s sides. The top of the Tower, however, was blocked from view by a flock of birds.

    Each of the birds greatly resembled a raven with a witch-like hat and a tail reminiscent of a broomstick. While small in size, the Murkrows were able to fly with ease, their long yellow beaks and yellow legs eager to attack whatever came in sight. Derak, wishing to know of his adversary, pulled out his Pokedex.

    “Murkrow,” the Dex began, “the Darkness Pokemon. Type is Dark and Flying. Murkrow is feared and loathed by many, as it is believed to bring misfortune to those who see it. If it is chased, it lures its pursuer onto a mountain trail, where the chaser will get lost.”

    Just after the Pokedex stopped speaking, one of the Murkrows spotted the two trainers out of the corner of its red eye. Cawing to its brothers, the birds collectively dive-bombed their targets, eager to carry out their orders.

    “Wildfire, use Flame Wheel!” Derak ordered, throwing his orange Pokeball.

    Instead of forming into its typical monkey-shape, the light from the Pokeball transformed into a flaming wheel that struck one of the Murkrows and knocked it away. Teresa closed her eyes for a moment, seemingly gathering focus. And then, when she opened them, it seemed that her personality had suddenly changed.

    “Chikorita, use Razor Leaf!” Teresa yelled, having suddenly gained a significant amount of confidence.

    Much like Melissa’s Turtwig, Chikorita swung its leaf around and released a storm of sharp leaves. While somewhat ineffective against the Flying-type possessed by the flock of Murkrow, the group of Darkness Pokemon was nonetheless shaken by the attack. One of the Murkrows recovered quickly, and broke off from the group to launch an attack of its own, performing another dive-bomb. This time, however, one of its wings was glowing a bright purple.

    Chikorita halted its Razor Leaf in time to notice its attacker, but the Murkrow was on it instantly. The Darkness Pokemon swatted Chikorita with its glowing wing just before flying up, revealing a second Murkrow closing in. This second Murkrow had streaks of light trailing off of its body, indicating that it was about to use a rapid attack.

    “Wildfire, shield Chikorita with Protect!” Derak cried.

    Wildfire immediately leapt in between Chikorita and the offending Murkrow, creating a Protect field just in time to block the attack. Unhappy with seeing their comrade smash beak-first into a solid object, the remaining four Murkrows—including the one that Wildfire had hit with a Flame Wheel earlier—charged in, each one preparing a similar attack.

    “Chikorita, get ready!” Teresa ordered.

    Teresa’s starter then did something alarming—it actually jumped in front of Wildfire, directly in the path of the oncoming Murkrow flock.

    “Uh, I’m not sure that’s a good idea!” Derak pointed out.

    “Don’t worry,” Teresa shot back. “Chikorita, use Counter!”

    Chikorita’s body became completely outlined in a red aura. Just as the five Murkrows closed in, Chikorita planted its feet and took every attack at once. Derak cried out to the Leaf Pokemon, but it soon proved unnecessary, for a bright flash of red light quickly radiated from Chikorita. When the light cleared, all five members of the Murkrow flock fell onto the ground, completely unconscious.

    “Whoa,” Derak gaped, then, he noticed a slew of scars scattered about Chikorita’s body. “Wait, Chikorita got hurt from all those attacks.”

    Teresa’s hands went back to her coat pockets, indicating that her shy demeanor had returned.

    “Y-you’re right,” Teresa said. “Chikorita, I’m so sorry that you got hurt.”

    “Chik-o,” Chikorita snorted, using its leaf to wave aside its trainer’s apology. “Chik-o, chik-o.”

    “So, you’re…okay?” Teresa asked, receiving a nod from her starter. “I’m glad. Chikorita, return.”

    “You okay, too?” Derak asked Wildfire, receiving a nod. “Okay, return. Since everyone’s all right, we’d better get inside. No telling what those Cyclones have pulled off by now.”

    ****

    Surprisingly enough, the two trainers found a complete vacancy of Ghost-type Pokemon in the tower. Despite Nurse Joy’s assurance that the Pokemon Tower was populated with Gastlies, not one of the Poison-type ghosts was to be found. Concerned by this, Derak and Teresa made their way to the upper level, and were greeted with a sight that made Derak groan. Not only was the grunt from Viridian Forest there, but there was also a lanky Admin with messy black hair and pale skin.

    Fortunately, the backs of the Cyclones were to them, as they were focused on other things. Their main concern was a pair of dark orange lizard-like Pokemon with skulls on their heads. One was smaller, with its brown eyes seen easily through the eye-sockets of its skull. The other one, coming up roughly to Derak’s waist in terms of height, had red eyes that fit much more snugly in the narrow sockets of its skull. Both held bone clubs, though the smaller lizard fittingly had a smaller bone.

    “Cubone,” Derak’s Pokedex said when he pointed it at the small lizard, “the Lonely Pokemon. Type is Ground. A Cubone’s mother dies upon giving birth to it, and the mother’s skull is used as a helmet. When Cubone thinks of its mother, it cries, causing its skull helmet to rattle. It particularly sees a likeness of its mother in the full moon.”

    “Marowak,” the Pokedex said upon being pointed to the larger lizard, “the Bone Keeper Pokemon. Type is Ground. Evolved form of Cubone. Marowak is a savage Pokemon that constantly holds a bone, and is skilled in using it as a weapon. It can be seen pounding boulders with this bone to tap out messages to other Marowaks. While it is unknown where Marowak gets its bones, there are rumors of a Marowak graveyard where bones are plentiful.”

    The Cyclone Admin stared down the two Ground-types with a cold glare in his eyes. Cubone hid behind Marowak, the latter stepping in front of its pre-evolution. The Admin only smirked.

    “Ah, a father’s love for its child,” the Admin smirked. “So sad…isn’t it, Typhon?”

    The grunt, evidently named Typhon, made a meek response.

    “I…suppose, Master Cane,” Typhon murmured.

    “Excuse me,” Derak said from behind the two. “What exactly do you think you’re doing here?”

    “Catching some good Pokemon,” Cane smirked, “and maybe eliminating a few useless ones.”

    “You again, brat?!” Typhon snapped, Pokeball at the ready. “This time, I will crush you for the glory of Team—”

    Cane stopped the grunt with a sweep of one arm.

    “No need, Typhon,” Cane said. “If these children have gotten past my little flock, I’ll need to educate them in the true meaning of power.”

    “Ar-are you saying that…all five of those Murkrows were yours?” Teresa asked.

    “Indeed they are,” Cane smirked. “And I’m very displeased that my birds have been injured. So, it seems I need to destroy the two of you.”

    Cane somehow summoned a Pokeball from his sleeve, and threw it straight up into the air.

    “Honchkrow, come on out!” Cane bellowed.

    A rather portly Pokemon emerged from Cane’s Pokeball. At first, it appeared to simply be a more sizeable Murkrow with navy feathers instead of black. Upon closer inspection, however, Derak noticed several key differences: a shorter beak with a lighter shade of yellow, a white group of feathers on its chest resembling an apron, and red tips to its tail feathers.

    “Honch-krow,” squawked Honchkrow in a somewhat gangster-like voice, narrowing its red eyes at its foes.

    “Honchkrow,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Big Boss Pokemon. Type is Dark and Flying. Evolved form of Murkrow. Honchkrows are active at night, and are known to bring flocks of Murkrow along as their minions. It is called the ‘Summoner of Night’ because of its ability to summon many Murkrows with a deep cry. Honchkrow is merciless by nature, and is said to never forgive the mistakes of its Murkrow followers.”

    “Let’s take care of business first,” Cane said, glancing to the Cubone and Marowak behind it. “Honchkrow, use Hyper Beam.”

    Honchkrow spun around and formed a ball of yellow energy within its beak. Disturbingly, the attack was aimed not at Derak, but at the two Ground-types behind Cane.

    “What the heck are you doing?!” Derak cried.

    “Those lizards are in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Cane smirked. “Simple as that.”

    Time seemed to slow to a deadly crawl.

    Honchkrow fired its Hyper Beam.

    Marowak shoved Cubone out of the way a split second before the impact…

    …taking the full blast itself.

    When the smoke cleared, Derak’s jaw dropped.

    There was nothing but a giant hole in the tower left where Marowak had been moments before. Cubone was safe, but utterly frightened.

    “You…YOU LUNATIC!” Derak roared, overwhelmed by anger for the first time in recent memory. “YOU KILLED MAROWAK!”

    “Yes, I did,” Cane said casually.

    Those three words pushed Derak completely over the edge. The boy was grinding his teeth, seething with incomprehensible rage. Even before this day, with Melissa’s treatment of her Pokemon and Barry’s inconsiderate reactions to Wildfire’s fear of Infernape, nothing had driven Derak to his breaking point.

    Until now.

    “WILDFIRE, USE FLAME WHEEL!” Derak roared as he threw the orange Pokeball, apparently aiming at Cane’s head.

    The ball burst open in mid-air, and Wildfire’s flaming form was released. The Chimchar barreled towards Honchkrow, but the Dark-type’s trainer had other plans.

    “Honchkrow, use Sucker Punch,” Cane said in an almost bored-sounding tone.

    With a wing that glowed bright purple, Honchkrow struck Wildfire and knocked it out of its Flame Wheel. The now-unconscious Chimchar skidded across the ground, but in his anger, Derak shockingly paid it little mind.

    “BRUTE AND ECHO, COME OUT HERE!” Derak bellowed as he summoned his two remaining Pokemon.

    “Honchkrow, use Thunder Wave,” Cane said simply.

    For many trainers, it was highly unusual to see a bird generate electricity, and that was what happened with Honchkrow. The Big Boss Pokemon pointed one wing at Echo and fired off a storm of tiny electric bolts. The bolts struck Echo head-on, causing the Poison-type to fall to the ground, paralyzed and sparkling with electricity.

    “BRUTE, USE POISON JAB!” Derak yelled.

    “Honchkrow, use Aerial Ace,” Cane sighed.

    “Krow!” Honchkrow barked as it reared back in mid-air, just before charging forward with white streaks trailing off of its body in the same way that its Murkrow comrades had used earlier. “Honnnch…KROW!”

    The massive crow struck down Brute before its attack could be pulled off, sending the Superpower Pokemon tumbling across the ground. Knowing that Derak was out of Pokemon, Teresa knew that she had to defend the both of them, therefore sending in Chikorita.

    “Chikorita, get ready!” Teresa said.

    “I’ve seen that thing use Counter, you know,” Cane pointed out. “Honchkrow, use Hyper Beam.”

    Derak’s eyes widened, shock taking the place of his fury. Because he had been so careless, Teresa’s Chikorita was going to suffer Marowak’s fate. Now, with no conscious Pokemon left, he had no chance of protecting the Leaf Pokemon.

    And then a miracle happened.

    Honchkrow’s Hyper Beam did fire, but something got in its way with a Protect. The fainted Wildfire was the only Pokemon Derak knew that had Protect in its arsenal of moves, so what could have saved Chikorita? When the smoke cleared, the answer revealed itself.

    Marowak had returned…as a ghost.

    “What the…?” Cane blinked, utterly confused.

    “What is that thing?” Typhon barked.

    “Marrrrooo,” droned the ghostly Marowak, its voice becoming eerily hollow and deep.

    “Seems we’re not finished with this little pest,” Cane said. “Honchkrow, use Aerial Ace.”

    Honchkrow reared back and charged, but Marowak had a response of its own. The ghostly lizard faded away, and its Dark-type opponent sliced through only the air.

    “Krow?” Honchkrow cawed as it stopped, flailing about wildly in an attempt to locate Marowak. Soon, the spectral Ground-type reappeared, a Thunderpunch colliding with the small of Honchkrow’s back.

    “You can send out your Pokemon, now, Typhon,” Cane advised, a tinge of a snarl in his voice.

    “R-right,” Typhon stuttered, fearing the lizard from beyond. “Weezing, go!”

    Evidently, Typhon’s Koffing had grown since the last time Derak encountered him. His sole Pokemon was no longer a single Koffing, but instead appeared to be two Koffings—one large and one small—with their sides fused together and a small third orb linked underneath them. This Pokemon looked significantly more depressed than its counterpart, as if it had realized the repercussions of being used by such a mad trainer.

    “What the heck happened to Koffing?” Derak asked, pulling out his Pokedex despite the moment being completely inopportune.

    “Weezing,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Poison Gas Pokemon. Type is Poison. Evolved form of Koffing. Weezing grows by feeding on gases emitted by garbage. If one of the Koffings inflates, the other one deflates. A Weezing’s constantly mixes its own internal gases, and diluting these gases to the highest level results in top-quality perfume.”

    “Weezing, use Flamethrower!” Typhon ordered.

    The larger of the two Koffings spewed a jet of fire from its mouth, aiming straight at Marowak. With the yellow aura of Double-Edge active, Marowak simply charged through the flames and slammed into both of Weezing’s faces at once. The two-headed Pokemon was launched into the wall, and though it made an impact, it did not break through the wall like Marowak had done when it was alive.

    “We-Weezing, return!” Typhon stammered, recalling his already-fainted Weezing.

    “We need to help Marowak!” Teresa cried.

    “I’ve got nothing,” Derak sighed, “mostly because I’m an idiot.”

    “I have something,” Teresa said. “Chikorita, return! Vulpix, help out Marowak with Fire Spin!”

    Chikorita’s replacement appeared to be a small red fox with six curled tails. The moment its black paws touched the ground, the Pokemon spat a tornado of fire from its mouth that whirled around Honchkrow. Taking advantage of the situation, Marowak attacked the Big Boss Pokemon with another Thunderpunch, sending the Dark-type out of the fire and onto the floor.

    “Honchkrow, return,” Cane said as he recalled the fainted crow.

    “Had enough?” Derak asked, Marowak glaring hard at the man who trained its killer.

    “Not really,” Cane smirked. “I might if you see me again, though.”

    Shockingly, Cane next did something no one understood; he leapt out of the window. By the time Derak and Marowak reached the window, Cane was already gone, flying away on the back of Torie’s Tropius.

    “Great,” Derak growled.

    “Wak,” Marowak agreed with a nod. The ghost then turned to Teresa and Cubone, the latter cowering behind the former. “Maro, maro wak. Maromaro, wak. Marowak.”

    “Cu?” Cubone asked.

    “Marowak,” the Lonely Pokemon’s parent nodded, then, pointed its bone at Teresa. “Marowak, maro. Marowak.”

    “Do…do you want me to…take care of Cubone?” Teresa asked.

    Marowak nodded.

    “I…I’ll do everything I can to make Cubone happy,” Teresa vowed. “I’ll treat it well, I promise.”

    She pulled out a Pokeball and knelt down to Cubone, and as she proceeded to tap the Pokeball against the Ground-type’s nose, Derak analyzed the small fox Teresa had sent out against Cane’s Honchkrow.

    “Vulpix,” the Dex began, “the Fox Pokemon. Type is Fire. A baby Vulpix is born with a single white tail, and as it grows, that tail splits into six. It is very proficient with its Will-o-Wisp attack, and if it is attacked by an enemy stronger than itself, it feigns injury to fool the enemy and escape.”

    The minute Cubone was in Teresa’s Pokeball, she opened it up and summoned the Lonely Pokemon. Cubone shuddered violently, evidently disliking the confines of the Pokeball.

    “I’ll keep you outside, Cubone,” Teresa said. “Is…is that okay?”

    “Cubone!” the diminutive Ground-type nodded eagerly.

    “Maro,” agreed Marowak, shortly before it faded away.

    “Hope you have a good afterlife, Marowak,” Derak sighed. “Other than that, I guess we’re done here.”

    “I…suppose so,” Teresa said.

    “Right now, though,” Derak said, finally recalling his three Pokemon, “I need to get my friends here to the Pokemon Center. I’ve been stupid, and they shouldn’t have to get hurt because of it.”

    Derak left, and after Cubone and Teresa took a last look at where Marowak had once been, they left as well.

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  21. #21
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    Okay... when you said it would be darker you weren't kidding...

    On another note, is this fic set between gen 1 and gen2? because that's when Pokemon tower dissapears... and you have someone deconstructing it here...
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  22. #22
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    It's actually set in the anime universe (with a bit from Pokemon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness thrown in). In the anime, the Pokemon Tower made only one appearance, which was back in the days of Gen I. Seeing as it never appeared again in the anime, I decided to take a few ideas from Gen II and implement them into this story.
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  23. #23
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    Chapter 15 is now.



    Chapter 15: Lavender Town’s Pokemon Ping-Pong Tournament!


    A day passed after the incident at the Pokemon Tower. Derak sat with his three Pokemon in the Pokemon Center lobby. The boy sighed, the eyes (and, in Echo’s case, mouth) of his Pokemon all pointing at him.

    “Guys, I’m sorry I flipped out back at the Tower,” Derak said sorrowfully. “I got you all hurt.”

    Echo screeched slightly and flapped atop his head, indicating that it forgave him.

    “Machop,” Brute shrugged, as its defeat actually mattered little to it.

    Wildfire, like Brute, also shrugged, though the Chimchar made no other facial expression.

    “You guys are way too forgiving,” Derak shook his head, but he was unable to hide his smile.

    Just then, O from Vermillion City came in. He gave a Pokeball to Nurse Joy, and upon noticing Derak, smiled.

    “Hello, Derak,” O said.

    “Oh, hey…uh, O,” Derak said. Evidently, he was still unable to bypass the oddity of the man’s name.

    “So, are you entering the Pokemon Ping-Pong tournament?” O asked.

    “There’s a tournament?” Derak asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “You should probably look around town a little more often,” O advised. “Well, anyway, there’s a Pokemon Ping-Pong tournament being held here in Lavender Town. I’m entering with the Ambipom I’ve been training, and I suspect you’re going to be entering with your Chimchar.”

    “I guess so,” Derak shrugged. “What do you say, Wildfire?”

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire nodded. Derak, however, was beginning to suspect that the Fire-type would do anything he asked, regardless of what it was.

    “That’s good,” O smiled. “Hope to see you there.”

    Nurse Joy handed O back his Pokeball, and the ping-pong champion left.

    “Guess we might as well get going,” he said, recalling his three Pokemon and following O out of the Center.

    ****

    A massive open-roofed dome had been set up in the town, evidently where the tournament was to be held. Derak approached the registration woman, wondering what he was to do.

    “Hello,” the woman greeted warmly. “Are you here to register for the Pokemon Ping-Pong tournament?”

    “Yeah,” Derak said simply, at the same time wondering why no one who was closely associated with the event could simply call it ‘ping-pong’.

    “Just sign your name here, and the name of the Pokemon you’re using,” the woman said.

    “The species name or the name I gave it?” Derak asked.

    “Both,” the woman replied. “Put the species name and then the nickname.”

    Derak signed his name, and followed it with the words “Chimchar—named ‘Wildfire’”.

    “Okay, you’re all set,” the woman smiled. “Just head on inside.”

    Derak complied, entering the dome. The building was packed with both trainers and Pokemon, all of which awaiting the chance to compete in the ping-pong tournament.

    “Will all contestants please release the Pokemon they will be using from their Pokeballs?” a voice boomed over a loudspeaker.

    “Okay, I can do that,” Derak shrugged, releasing Wildfire and hoisting the monkey onto his shoulder. “Let’s see who we’re up against, Wildfire.”

    ****

    Derak soon found a billboard showing a tournament bracket. There, he quickly found an image of his face along with Wildfire’s underneath it. O’s own face could be seen with that of Ambipom, though he was rather far off to the side and had an unusually large bracket all to himself.

    “Figures O would get to go the easy way,” Derak muttered. “Hey, look, Teresa’s entering!”

    Sure enough, Teresa’s face was seen with the front of Cubone’s skull underneath. She was matched against a blonde-haired boy, his Pokemon of choice being a Sudowoodo (though Derak had no clue what it was). Derak spied another pair of familiar faces, but these made him groan.

    “Oh, wonderful,” Derak sighed. “Barry’s entering…and with Infernape, no less.”

    “Ch-chim…char?” Wildfire stammered, already apprehensive about facing Barry’s Infernape, even in a simple ping-pong match.

    “Hey, relax,” Derak assured his Pokemon, “Barry’s not who we’re up against. Actually, we’re up against…”

    He traced his finger along the bracket, going from his face to that of a boy with black hair and a red hat. Below his picture was that of a yellow Pokemon with red circles on its cheeks and pointy yellow ears.

    “…uh, this guy,” Derak finished. “And…I have no idea who this is.”

    “Char?” Wildfire uttered, turning its head to the side. It then pointed a finger in that direction. “Chimchar, chim-char!”

    Derak looked, and saw a boy with a face identical to that in the picture. The red cap was indeed the same, right down to the blue Pokeball insignia inside a field of white. The boy wore black pants on his legs and a blue-and-white jacket on his torso. On the boy’s shoulder was a small yellow rodent with a lightning bolt-shaped tail, three brown stripes on its back, and the same red circles and pointy ears as in the picture.

    “Hey, you’re right, that’s him,” Derak observed, drawing his gaze back to the picture.

    With the boy were two other people. The first was an older young man with green hair who wore a tuxedo without a jacket. His eyes were green, and he wore a yellow bow tie to compliment the buttons on his tuxedo.

    The other of the boy’s companions was a dark-skinned girl with brown eyes and long dark hair tied in a ponytail that seemed to be the size of her entire body. She wore a light tan outfit with pink rings at the ends of her sleeves, as well as a pink bow on her waist.

    The boy and his two companions looked over the billboard, and for a moment, a mutual ignorance passed between them and Derak.

    “Hey, check it out!” the boy said. “That Ambipom there used to belong to a friend of mine. She gave it to O so it could get stronger in its ping-pong skills!”

    “Well, it must have gotten stronger if he’s entering it,” the girl said with a snide tinge to her words. “I can’t wait to see how this turns out!”

    “Me neither!” the boy agreed.

    “There sure are a lot of trainers competing,” the older, green-haired boy observed. “This seems to have the recipe of a tough competition, Ash.”

    “Wait a minute, your name’s Ash?” Derak asked, finally acknowledging the three.

    “Yeah,” Ash answered. “I’m Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town.”

    “My name’s Iris!” added the girl.

    “And I’m Cilan,” said the green-haired boy, bowing respectfully, “a Pokemon Connoisseur.”

    “So,” Derak began, “you’re the same Ash that has a glomping Muk and a Bulbasaur he got from a hidden village?”

    “Yep, that’s me,” Ash chuckled, putting a hand behind his head.

    “Pika!” the yellow mouse waved at Wildfire, but the Chimchar simply stared back awkwardly. Derak, wishing to know more about Ash’s Pokemon, pulled out his Pokedex.

    “Pikachu,” the Dex began, “the Mouse Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Pichu. Pikachu stores electricity in the pouches on its cheeks. It lives in groups in forests, where an injured Pikachu will be recharged by another by using an electric shock. It uses this electricity to roast hardened berries to make them tender enough to eat. Pikachu evolves into Raichu by use of a Thunder Stone.”

    “So, is that your Chimchar?” Ash asked.

    “Well, yeah,” Derak said, “that’s kind of why he’s sitting on my shoulder.”

    It was at that point that Iris snatched Wildfire off of Derak’s shoulder.

    “Aw, it’s so cute!” Iris squealed.

    Wildfire, however, was less than pleased to be held by this stranger. As Derak stared, finding the moment to be rather awkward, Iris continued to fawn over Wildfire, prompting the monkey to push itself off of her face and bound into Derak’s arms.

    “Easy, pal, it’s okay,” Derak said soothingly, returning Wildfire to its Pokeball. He then looked at Iris. “Sorry, he gets a little…jumpy sometimes.”

    “Ax-ew!” cried a small green lizard-like creature that suddenly burst from Iris’ hair, a tusk protruding from each side of its mouth.

    “Axew,” Derak’s Pokedex said, “the Tusk Pokemon. Type is Dragon. Axew uses its tusks to crush berries that it eats. It marks its territory by using these tusks to leave gashes in trees. If a tusk breaks, a new one grows in instantly, and the continuous re-growth of these tusks makes them constantly strong and sharp.”

    “Oh, this is my partner, Axew,” Iris said, gesturing to the small dragon in her hair.

    “Nice to meet you,” Derak said to the Dragon-type, giving it a small wave.

    “Will all competitors please go to their assigned ping-pong tables!” the loudspeaker boomed again.

    “Well, I gotta go,” Derak said. “Here to compete and all that.”

    “See you in our match, Derak!” Ash cried as Derak walked past.

    ****

    Derak soon found himself on a small field that housed a ping-pong table and a bench. Surrounding the arena was a long fence, which separated one arena from another. In the arena next to him, Teresa was about to face off against her opponent, the boy with Sudowoodo. Leaning against the fence, Derak removed his Pokedex and analyzed the tree-like Pokemon.

    “Sudowoodo,” the Pokedex began, “the Imitation Pokemon. Type is Rock. Despite Sudowoodo’s appearance, it is closer to rocks and stones than actual vegetation. To avoid being attacked, it does nothing but mimic a tree. Sudowoodo hates water, and if it rains where Sudowoodo is standing, it seems to disappear.”

    “Thought for sure that was a Grass-type,” Derak muttered as he put his Pokedex away.

    “Do you…feel ready, Cubone?” Teresa asked.

    “Cubone!” Cubone responded, swinging its bone in anticipation.

    “Ready or not,” said Sudowoodo’s trainer as he lightly tossed a ping-pong ball into the air, “here we come!”

    As Teresa’s match began, Derak looked to a field on his right. There, Barry and his Infernape were facing off against an opponent with a bald brown Pokemon that had two piercing eyes and tan, spring-like legs. While the Pokemon’s three-fingered hands were of no use for ping-pong, its clawed feet were an excellent substitution, kicking the ball in the same fashion that Wildfire did.

    “Hitmonlee,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Kicking Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Evolved form of Tyrogue. Hitmonlee’s legs can stretch double their normal length. This ability, combined with its amazing balance, can allow Hitmonlee to kick from any position. A Tyrogue only evolves into Hitmonlee if its physical attack power is stronger than its defensive abilities.”

    Indeed, Hitmonlee’s legs seemed to have limitless stretching power. No matter where Infernape and Barry hit the ball, Hitmonlee always sent it shooting back with a powerful kick. With one final kick, the Kicking Pokemon sent the ball soaring past Barry and Infernape, winning the match for its trainer.

    “And the winners are the Bruce and Hitmonlee team!” the announcer proclaimed.

    “Aw, man!” Barry cried throwing his arms (and his paddle) into the air. “I am SO gonna fine him!”

    “Our next match is the Ash and Pikachu team against the Derak and Wildfire team!” the announcer cried.

    Derak and Wildfire took their places at once side of the table, while Ash’s Pikachu leapt off of his shoulder and joined its trainer at his side.

    “Ready, Derak?” Ash asked, holding the ball in his hand.

    “I guess,” Derak shrugged.

    “Okay!” Ash cried, preparing to serve. “Let’s go!”

    At that moment, however, a rubber glove mounted on a long, extendible arm quickly snatched Pikachu and rose into the sky. All eyes glanced upward to find a hot air balloon with a green basket, from which Pikachu dangled. The balloon itself resembled a tan cat-like head with a single paw on one side, apparently modeled after a Pokemon. Inside the balloon were a blue-haired man and a red-haired woman, both wearing black-and-white uniforms with a pink “R” emblazoned on each uniform’s shirt.

    “Pikachu!” Ash cried.

    “What the heck’s going on?!” Derak cried.

    “That is the question, so twerpish indeed!” the woman said.

    “The answer to come as we feel the need!” added the man.

    “Bringing the blinding white light of evil into the universe!” cried the woman.

    “Thrusting the hammer of justice down onto the black darkness of the universe!” added the man.

    “And carving our names in the Rock of Eternity!” cried a tan cat-like Pokemon that seemed to be the inspiration for the balloon. By far, its most noticeable features were its wide eyes and the golden coin on its forehead.

    “The fiery destroyer, Jessie!” cried the woman.

    “And with thunderous emotion, I am James!” cried the man.

    “Wisest of the wise, Meowth!” interjected the cat Pokemon.

    “NOW GATHER, UNDER THE NAME OF TEAM ROCKET!” Jessie, James, and Meowth all cried in unison.

    “Wobbuffet!” cried a blue Pokemon that burst from one of Jessie’s Pokeballs. It appeared physically similar to a punching sack with two thin arms, eyes shaped like sideways triangles, and a jagged mouth. The Pokemon had a small, black beaver-like black tail in addition to all of this.

    “Mime-mi-mime!” added a Pokemon that emerged from one of James’ own Pokeballs. This one appeared to be a tiny, pink-skinned clown with pointy navy-colored legs and an equally-blue cap reminiscent of a birthday hat. As it emerged, it appeared to be squeezing its beady eyes together to imitate those of the previous Pokemon.

    “Team Rocket!” Ash cried. Derak, however, had entirely ignored the group’s performance, instead going for his Pokedex.

    “Meowth,” the Dex began, “the Scratch Cat Pokemon. Type is Normal. Meowth is nocturnal in nature. It is fascinated with round objects, and will play with one non-stop until it falls asleep. Meowth loves shiny objects, and if it spots one, its eyes will glitter brightly.”

    “Wobbuffet,” the Pokedex continued, “the Patient Pokemon. Type is Psychic. Evolved form of Wynaut. Wobbuffet lives quietly in darkness to keep its black tail hidden, and it is believed the tail hides some sort of secret. A Wobbuffet is never the first to attack, but if it is engaged in battle, it will counter every move the opponent launches.”

    “Mime Jr.,” the Pokedex stated, “the Mime Pokemon. Type is Psychic. Mime Jr. likes places where people gather, and habitually mimics everyone around it. By mimicking the expressions and motions of its friends, it comes to a closer understanding of their feelings. By mimicking its enemies, a Mime Jr. can confuse them before fleeing.”

    “Ex-CUSE me!” Jessie huffed. “You’re supposed to pay attention when we’re reciting our motto!”

    “Huh?” Derak grunted upon finally looking up from the Pokedex.

    “Why that little--!” Jessie snarled.

    “Cool your jets, Jess,” the Meowth advised, evidently gifted with the ability to speak (as well as a gangster-like accent).

    “Who the heck are these people?” Derak asked Ash.

    “They’re a bunch of Pokemon thieves,” Ash explained. “They’ve been after Pikachu ever since I started my journey.”

    “Wait, back up,” Derak said, turning to Team Rocket. “You’ve been chasing Ash for, what, years? And all for just one Pikachu? Seriously?”

    “That’s right!” James proclaimed blissfully. “We tend to take any other Pokemon we come across as well.”

    “Anythin’ for the boss is somethin’ good for us!” Meowth said.

    “But…one random Pikachu?” Derak asked. “Is a little logic too much to ask for?”

    The members of Team Rocket, Meowth included, all paused. None of them knew how to respond to that question, and indeed, there appeared to be little to no logic in obsessively chasing after one trainer’s Pikachu. Finally, Jessie took the lead.

    “That doesn’t matter!” Jessie snapped. “We’re going to take Pikachu and every other Pokemon here!”

    “Right,” Derak said, drawing out the word to emphasize his sarcasm.

    “Oh, no, you’re not!” Ash proclaimed, drawing a Pokeball. “Go—what the?!”

    Ash’s sudden stop was due to a second gloved arm snatching the Pokeball out of his hand. Evidently, Team Rocket had come prepared.

    “Nice try,” James said, “but we can handle anything you throw at us.”

    “We’ve been takin’ hits from you and your twerpy pals for so long, we had to learn something!” Meowth added.

    “Ambipom, use Swift!” a voice cried, and the ping-pong playing Ambipom leapt into the air, swinging its two tails about. Streams of golden stars shot from Ambipom’s tails, ramming into and shattering the balloon’s robotic arms. With nothing controlling the glove attached, Pikachu dropped from the broken device, landing in Ash’s arms.

    “You okay, Pikachu?” Ash asked as O approached.

    “Pika, pikapi!” Pikachu replied.

    “All right!” Ash cried. “Thanks, O. We can take it from here.”

    “I think you can,” O smiled.

    “Hey, Derak!” Ash called. “How about a little tag-team action?”

    “I guess,” Derak shrugged.

    Despite the lack of enthusiasm in Derak’s response, Ash eagerly commanded his Pikachu forward. Wildfire soon joined it, taking its typical battle pose.

    “You think you can get away that easily?!” Jessie yelled. “Seviper, teach them a lesson!”

    Jessie’s choice of Pokemon appeared to be a large, dark-skinned snake with purple scars lining its body. Two piercing red eyes glared from above a yellow bottom jaw, a pair of long crimson fangs gleaming with a thirst for blood. The snake swung a blade-like tail at the air, indicating its readiness to battle.

    “Carnivine, you as well!” James cried, throwing a Pokeball of his own.

    Unfortunately, James’ Pokemon—a creature resembling a large green clamp with a yellow torso that played host to two leafy arms and a slew of dangling green-and-red vines—had ideas other than battling. The Pokemon immediately clamped its jaws onto James’ head, the latter letting out an “EEE” of pain.

    “Seviper,” Derak’s Pokedex began upon being pointed to the snake, “the Fang Snake Pokemon. Type is Poison. Seviper has feuded with the Pokemon known as Zangoose for many generations. In preparation for battle, it whets its sword-like tail on rocks. When it battles a Zangoose, it counters its opponent’s agility with the swipes of its tail, which secretes a deadly poison.”

    “Carnivine,” Derak’s Dex continued as James managed to pry his Pokemon off of his head, “the Bug Catcher Pokemon. Type is Grass. Carnivine binds itself to trees by using its vine-like tentacles. It attracts a potential victim using sweet-smelling saliva, and when its foe is close enough, it clamps down. Carnivine takes an entire day to consume food, so it attempts to hide itself as it does so.”

    “So, you get Seviper while Wildfire and I get Carnivine?” Derak asked.

    “Sounds good to me!” Ash cried. “Go, Pikachu!”

    “Wildfire, let’s show them what you can do!” Derak cried.

    “Seviper, use Poison Tail!” Jessie roared.

    “Carnivine, Bullet Seed!” James cried.

    Ash’s duel with Jessie began with Seviper swinging its tail around, attempting to strike Pikachu with a poisonous attack. The electric mouse dodged quickly, however, and countered by launching a Thunderbolt in a similar manner to Surge’s Raichu. Seviper was instantly electrified and thrown back into its trainer, accidentally knocking her into the balloon.

    Derak, however, took a significantly different approach to his battle with James and his Carnivine. As the Bug Catcher Pokemon spat a storm of seeds from its massive mouth, Derak had an idea.

    “Remember our training with O?” Derak asked. “Try kicking the seeds!”

    Despite the oddity of the order, Wildfire complied, lashing out with a flurry of quick kicks that knocked several of Carnivine’s seeds back at it.

    “They’re YOUR Bullet Seeds, Carnivine!” James cried. “Knock them back!”

    “Cuurrnii…VINE!” Carnivine roared as it swatted the rebuffed Bullet Seeds with one arm, knocking them back as their trainer had intended. Wildfire once again aimed a kick at the Seeds, but this time, its kick destroyed the seeds completely. The Chimchar leapt for Carnivine, delivering a fierce second kick to the Grass-type’s head.

    “What the heck?” Derak cried. “I didn’t tell him to do that!”

    “Derak,” O said, “I think your Chimchar has just learned Double Kick.”

    “Double Kick?” Derak asked. “Seems to fit. Wildfire, let’s finish this up! Use Double Kick!”

    Wildfire struck Carnivine in the chin with one of its hand-like feet, and then spun around to deliver a stronger second kick to its stomach. As had befallen Seviper before it, Carnivine was knocked back into James, sending him sprawling across the floor of the balloon’s basket. Meowth, who had never left the basket in the first place, was the only one left, though he seemed as unwilling to fight as Carnivine and Seviper were at the moment.

    “Pikachu, use Thunderbolt one more time!” Ash ordered, and Pikachu shot another bolt of lightning into the balloon. With a deafening boom, Team Rocket was sent sailing into the air.

    “WE’RE BLASTING OFF AGAIN!” the three cried in unison before vanishing from sight.

    “Well, that was weird,” Derak muttered. “I am now fully convinced that I’m the world’s only sane trainer.”

    “Thanks for your help, Derak,” Ash said. “Your Chimchar’s really something.”

    “That’s nice of you to say,” Derak said, “but I don’t really care about strength.”

    “That’s okay,” Ash smiled. “Hey, maybe we’ll meet in the Kanto League?”

    “You’re going?” Derak asked.

    “Yep!” Ash replied. “But, first, we have to finish our ping-pong match!”

    “Yeah, I suppose we do,” Derak said.

    ****

    Ash Ketchum and Derak Kadir were soon slamming their paddles against the balls, and Pikachu’s tail competed with Wildfire’s feet for supremacy. Their game was almost over, and Ash was in the lead. Derak and Wildfire had been able to score some points, but Ash had played ping-pong before, and was about to win.

    “Pika!” Pikachu cried, swatting the ball with its tail. Before either Derak or his Chimchar could react, the ball bounced off his side of the table and won Ash the match.

    “And the winner is the Ash and Pikachu team!” the announcer declared.

    “All right!” Ash cried. “Way to go, Pikachu!”

    “Pikachu!” Pikachu cried.

    “So…we lost,” Derak commented. He then looked down to his Chimchar. “Eh, it’s all right. You learned Double Kick today, so it all works out.”

    “Char?” Wildfire tilted its head to one side, trying to piece together the reasons as to why its trainer took a loss in ping-pong so well.

    “Let’s go,” he said, “we need to get to Celadon City.”

    “Chim-char,” Wildfire nodded before being reabsorbed into its Pokeball. Derak then left, leaving Ash to compete against Bruce and his Hitmonlee in the next round.

    ****

    Tracker stood atop a roof with his Persian by his side. The two had watched Derak and Ash battling Team Rocket, and though Persian was rather unimpressed, Tracker something to comment on.

    “I doubt those two idiots could have beaten anyone,” Tracker said. “Still, a win’s a win, and the Kadir kid won.”

    His pocket began vibrating, and with an irritated sigh, he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and quickly silenced it. Persian looked at its trainer with inquiry.

    “Yeah, that was the kid’s dad,” Tracker sighed. “I probably should get the job done, though. We’ll give the kid a few more days…and then, we’ll get it over with.”

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  24. #24
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    Nov 2005
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    Now for chapter 16.



    Chapter 16: Celadon City! Enter Elliot!



    Night fell upon Kanto as Derak entered Celadon City. With a yawn, the runaway entered the Pokemon Center. He trudged into his room and released his three Pokemon.

    “Night, guys,” Derak mumbled before collapsing into his bed.

    Unbeknownst to Derak, however, the dark figure who watched his battle with Sarah in Vermillion City stood outside the Center, staring into the windows. His small one-eyed Pokemon floated beside him. The figure turned away from the Center, then faded into an alleyway, his Pokemon following suit.

    ****

    The next day, a refreshed Derak came out of the Celadon City Pokemon Center with Echo in the air beside him. The Zubat flew about, screeching incessantly, ecstatic with freedom. The bat eventually perched itself on Derak’s head, much to his amusement.

    “Okay, Echo,” Derak laughed, “you can get comfortable up there.”

    While there were dozens of skyscrapers scattered about the area, the most noticeable sight in Celadon City was the Gym, which Derak looked to anxiously. The Gym resembled a large greenhouse, but that mattered little to the trainer, as he was hopelessly lost in his thoughts. How would he fare this time? True, he had a third Pokemon now, but what were Echo’s advantages and disadvantages? Before any of these questions could be answered, a trainer came out of the Gym.

    It was Thomas Gall, the Totodile trainer.

    “We won, my precious,” Thomas moaned, holding on to what seemed to be a larger version of Totodile with a yellow loincloth-like pattern on its chest.

    “Oh, great, him again,” Derak said with a roll of his eyes. “What’s that Pokemon he has, though?”

    Thomas brushed past Derak, the latter pointing his Pokedex at the blue lizard in Thomas’ grasp.

    “Croconaw,” the Dex began, “the Big Jaw Pokemon. Type is Water. Evolved form of Totodile. Croconaw uses its large jaws in combat. Should it lose any of its teeth, it quickly grows a new one. There are always forty-eight teeth lining Croconaw’s mouth.”

    “I guess Totodile evolved,” Derak said.

    “Observant one, aren’t you?” an arrogant yet cultured voice called.

    Derak turned to see a twelve-year-old boy with untidy shoulder-length black hair smirking at him from a short distance away. The boy owned a ragged-looking blue suit, complete with a dark green tie and black shoes. The boy had three Pokeballs on his belt: one red, one blue, and one green. The boy’s eyes were somewhat odd, one being blue and the other being brown.

    “And you are…?” Derak asked, Echo tilting its head in confusion.

    “Oh, I apologize, where are my manners?” chuckled the boy. “My name is Elliot Trey. I, like you, am a Pokemon trainer who aims to challenge the Celadon Gym.”

    “So, challenge it,” Derak said with a nonchalant shrug. “I can wait.”

    “Ah, but that’s the beauty of Pokemon training,” Elliot smirked. “You see, I have a proposition. We shall battle, and the winner shall challenge the Gym first.”

    “So, what’s the catch?” Derak asked, raising one eyebrow.

    “In truth, Derak Kadir, there is no catch,” Elliot shrugged. “If I win, your Pokemon gain more experience. If you win, my Pokemon gain more experience, which is significantly more important to me than money…”

    He looked down at his dirty clothes with a smile.

    “As you can plainly see from my attire,” Elliot smirked. “Our battle shall be three-on-three. Are you prepared?”

    “I guess so,” Derak shrugged. “Ready, Echo?”

    Echo screeched slightly in response, flapping in front of Derak. Both trainers took several steps back, providing more room for their Pokemon to maneuver.

    “Now, then, let us begin,” Elliot grinned, removing one red Pokeball from his belt. “Ekans, fight!”

    Elliot’s choice seemed to be simply a purple rattlesnake with reptilian eyes and a yellow rattle. Aside from a lack of teeth, its only distinguishing feature was a yellow ring around it. Derak, of course, pulled his Pokedex from his pocket to analyze the creature.

    “Ekans,” the Dex began, “the Snake Pokemon. Type is Poison. Ekans is capable of slithering through grass without making a sound. It is capable of detaching its jaw and swallowing prey that is bigger than itself. If it does so, however, it will become too large and heavy to move.”

    “Well, Echo, ready for your first battle?” Derak asked.

    The Zubat nodded with a screech.

    “You may have the first move,” Elliot said.

    “Okay, Echo, use…uh, hold on,” Derak said, “I don’t know any of your moves.”

    “What a lovely start our battle is off to,” Elliot sighed. “Ekans, use Dark Pulse.”

    Ekans opened its mouth and spewed forth the same string of erratic black rings used by Kyle’s Crawdaunt in Pewter City’s Contest. Echo, being much faster, managed to dodge by soaring into the air. Ekans halted its attack, glaring up at its foe.

    “Echo, hit it with…uh…I don’t know, something that works!” Derak cried, desperately attempting to figure out what his Zubat could use.

    Echo seemed to figure this out on its own. The Zubat’s ears began to glow a bright blue, and as Echo zoomed in towards Ekans, the bat seemed to have materialized a wall of energy in front of it. Elliot gasped in shock, as did his Ekans, and when Echo struck Ekans the snake was defeated in one hit.

    “Well, that was entirely unexpected,” Elliot remarked, losing his smirk for once as he recalled his fallen Pokemon. “Your Zubat seems to be rather intelligent, I must say. I’ve yet to see another Pokemon that knows the effectiveness of Psychic-type moves like that Zen Headbutt against Poison-types like my Ekans.”

    “Zen Headbutt, huh?” Derak repeated, looking to his Zubat. “Nice work.”

    Though it was difficult to tell, Echo seemed to smile in response.

    “Now, then, to continue the battle,” Elliot said, holding the blue Pokeball. “Piplup, fight!”

    Elliot’s apparent starter was a Pokemon that resembled a small penguin with a short yellow beak and beady black eyes. While its body was of a light shade of blue, even resembling a tuxedo, the Pokemon’s head was a darker blue and had a white face. The Pokemon proudly planted its stubby wings on its hips, spreading its webbed yellow feet apart in anticipation of battle.

    “Piplup,” said the Pokedex, “the Penguin Pokemon. Type is Water. Piplup is given out as a starter in Sinnoh alongside Chimchar and Turtwig. Piplup is very proud, and usually refuses to accept food from people. While Piplup is a poor walker, as it often falls down, it is an excellent swimmer. It is capable of diving underwater for over ten minutes.”

    “Now, then, Piplup,” Elliot said, “begin with Stealth Rock.”

    “Piiip…LUUUP!” Piplup squeaked as it thrust its wings into the air, a crowd of bright stars gathering around it. These stars transformed into comets when Piplup swing its wings forward, launching them all towards Echo.

    “Echo, block it with your wings!” Derak cried.

    Echo, though initially hesitant for some reason or other, put its wings in front of its head to block the incoming attack. The comets of the Stealth Rock, however, diverted their course and plunged into the ground around Derak’s Zubat. Having nothing to block, Echo had evidently shielded itself for nothing, something Derak clued in to when the Bat Pokemon fell to the ground in a heap.

    “You have no idea what Stealth Rock does, do you?” Elliot asked smugly.

    “Not really,” Derak shook his head. “Want to fill me in?”

    “I’m afraid you’ll have to wait,” Elliot smirked. “For now, we must continue the battle.”

    “Okay, Echo,” Derak said, “can you use your sound waves as an attack?”

    Echo, to Derak’s surprise, quickly nodded and began to demonstrate. It pointed its mouth at Piplup and emitted a long screech that manifested itself in a series of rings. To Piplup, this was more of an assault on the senses than the body, and the Penguin Pokemon covered its head as much as it could in attempt to block out the sound. Unfortunately, the attack was too much for Piplup, and when Echo had finished, the penguin began to stumble around in a delirious state with dazed eyes.

    “Supersonic,” Elliot harrumphed. “A standard Zubat attack, and not one I didn’t expect. Piplup, you have to snap out of that confusion immediately!”

    “Confusion?” Derak asked his Pokedex.

    “Confusion,” the Pokedex began. “Some attacks can inflict a confused state on a Pokemon. In this state, the Pokemon may be unable to perform moves or even attack itself.”

    “Piplup, you have to break through!” Elliot cried. “Use Bubblebeam!”

    Piplup shook its head violently, and its eyes returned to their beady selves. It then opened its beak and fired forth a stream of blue bubble-like balls of energy. The bubbles pounded Echo and sent it careening into Derak’s stomach again, causing him to catch it out of concern. The Zubat fell limp in its trainer’s arms, indicating that it had been knocked unconscious.

    “Echo, return,” Derak said, recalling his Zubat. “You made a great effort. Hope I can learn more about your moves so we don’t lose next time.”

    “You have yet to lose this battle, actually,” Elliot corrected him.

    “Pip-lup!” squeaked Elliot’s Piplup, pointing a wing at Derak and seeming to laugh. “Piplup, pip pip!”

    “Piplup, be sporting,” Elliot admonished, and Piplup bowed its head in shame.

    Okay, Derak thought. That Bubblebeam might do Wildfire in, even if he does know Thunderpunch. Guess I’ll have to go with Brute.

    Derak threw the Pokeball and summoned his Machop. Upon spying each other, Brute and Elliot had starkly different reactions. Brute began to growl menacingly, but Elliot simply wore a wide smirk.

    “Well, well, well,” Elliot smiled darkly. “What have we here?”

    “What are you talking about?” Derak asked.

    “First, a word of advice,” Elliot said. “Do your best with your first Pokemon when Stealth Rock is active.”

    “What’s that supposed to—” Derak said, but soon his question was answered. The areas of the field where Piplup had shot comets into the ground had suddenly grown massive rocks. The rocks floated into the air and battered Brute, and though in truth it did little damage, it was still enough to catch Derak off guard.

    “Anyway,” Elliot smirked after Derak and Brute recovered, “on to Machop. You see, I once used that Machop in Pewter City.”

    “Wait…so—hold up!” Derak suddenly stopped, putting two and two together. “It was YOU who abandoned Brute?! What was wrong with him, anyway?!”

    “Oh, don’t think so cut-and-dryly,” Elliot said. “In truth, there was nothing wrong with Machop. I simply grew bored with it.”

    “That’s it?!” Derak yelled. “That’s your excuse?! You ‘got bored’ with Brute?!”

    Elliot said nothing in response. Derak was too angry to notice, but Elliot’s brown eye was twitching.

    “Well?!” Derak shouted. “You abandoned a living being! You have anything to say for yourself?!”

    “Yeah, I’ve got something to say,” Elliot said, his voice becoming harsher and gruffer. “And that something is ‘bug off, Kadir’.”

    “What do you me—wait, what’s wrong with your voice?” Derak asked.

    “Nothing’s wrong,” Elliot snarled. “I just went through a little change. Call me Jason.”

    “I thought your name was Elliot?” Derak asked.

    “That’s just half of me, pal,” the mysterious ‘Jason’ scoffed. “See, Elliot and I are basically a two-in-one. Two people, one body. It’s been that way with us for a good few years.”

    The persona of Jason looked down at Piplup, who was staring up at its trainer with an entirely different kind of confusion on its face. Jason held out Piplup’s Pokeball and, strangely, called Piplup back.

    “You don’t want to finish the battle?” Derak asked, Brute still snarling.

    “Actually, I do,” Jason said. “Piplup is Elliot’s preferred starter. I’ve got one of my own.”

    He picked the green Pokeball off of his belt, and angrily threw it into the air.

    “Treecko, fight!” Jason snapped.

    A second starter Pokemon appeared from the green Pokeball chosen by Jason. Like Totodile and Croconaw, it appeared to be a humanoid lizard, in this case a narrow-headed light green gecko. Its eyes were a reptilian yellow, its bottom jaw and stomach a bright red. Its long and thick tail was a darker green, and pointed slightly upward.

    “Treecko, tree!” said the Pokemon, flicking its tail in anticipation.

    “Treecko,” Derak’s Dex began, “the Wood Gecko Pokemon. Type is Grass. Treecko is given out as a starter Pokemon in the Hoenn region alongside Torchic and Mudkip. The soles of its feet and hands are covered by tiny spikes, which allow it to walk up walls. It uses this ability to make its nest in forest trees, and ferociously guards its nest against invaders.”

    “Wait…can’t you only have one starter?” Derak asked.

    “With most people, yeah,” Jason said. “Of course, we’re not just one person, we’re two. So, since we needed TWO starters, we nabbed a second one after Krane gave us Piplup. Elliot usually uses that Piplup, and I tend to go for Treecko. Let me show you why…Treecko, use Double Kick!”

    “Brute, Poison Jab!” Derak cried.

    Treecko agilely bounded towards Brute, speedily leaping over the Machop’s Poison Jab. With a mid-air flip, Treecko struck Brute in the back with a quickly-executed pair of kicks, one after the other. With Brute now on the ground, its opponent leapt into the air, awaiting another order.

    “Follow up with Pound!” Jason yelled.

    Treecko abruptly dropped tail-first onto Brute’s back, producing another pained cry from the Machop. The Wood Gecko Pokemon then leapt off of the Superpower Pokemon and returned to its trainer’s side of the field, a merciless glint in its eyes.

    Brute’s getting creamed out there, Derak thought. I need Wildfire, he’s fast enough to take on Treecko.

    Derak positioned Brute’s Pokeball forward in order to recall it, but just as the beam of light shot from the Pokeball, Jason ordered an attack called “Pursuit”. Treecko ran forward and, amazingly, transformed into a Treecko-shaped creature made from red light. Just as Brute was enveloped by the Pokeball’s beam, Treecko slammed into the Superpower Pokemon, knocking it out of the Pokeball’s light. While the Machop was still conscious, the beating it had taken from Treecko had clearly left it weakened.

    “What the heck was that?!” Derak cried.

    Jason’s blue eye twitched, and he seemingly reverted into Elliot.

    “Pursuit gets stronger if the opponent’s trainer tries to call it back,” Elliot explained. “Also, I must apologize for Jason’s…behavior. We share a goal of obtaining ultimate strength, you see.”

    “Any reason?” Derak asked.

    “Ah-ah-ah! That’s for me to know and you to find out,” Elliot said, shaking one finger. “And I’ll give you a hint, it’s NOT to become a Pokemon Master or any of that nonsense. Anyway, why not finish this battle in style?”

    “What do you mean by that?” Derak asked.

    “We finish in the style of a double-battle,” Elliot explained, “in other words two Pokemon against two Pokemon.”

    “Are you serious?” Derak asked.

    “I, unlike my other personality, am a rather sporting trainer,” Elliot said. “Still, I would be grateful for this opportunity if I were you.”

    Derak looked to his Machop, and with painful reluctance, realized that Elliot was right. Brute was about to faint, and with both it and Wildfire out, the Machop would stand much more of a chance. Looking back to Elliot, the runaway trainer nodded.

    “Very well, then,” Elliot smirked. “Piplup, come back out!”

    Piplup reemerged from Elliot’s blue Pokeball, and though it and Treecko initially exchanged glares, they turned back to Derak and waited for him to choose.

    “Wildfire, let’s go!” Derak cried, releasing his Chimchar. Unfortunately, Piplup’s Stealth Rock became active again, and the rocks assaulted Wildfire, apparently doing more damage to the Chimchar than they did to Brute. “Wildfire, what’s wrong?”

    “Just so you’re aware,” Elliot said, “Stealth Rock is more effective against Pokemon who are weak against Rock-type attacks.”

    “And that includes Fire-types,” Derak realized, Wildfire panting slightly.

    “Now you’re beginning to understand,” Elliot smiled widely. His brown eye twitched again, and he switched back to his Jason persona. “Enough talking, let’s just get on with this! Treecko, use Bullet Seed, and Piplup, use Bubblebeam!”

    While Piplup fired its typical stream of bubbles, Treecko opened its mouth and expelled a storm of tiny yellow orbs. Piplup’s attack was aimed at Wildfire, while Treecko’s headed straight for Brute.

    “Brute, Wildfire, dodge those attacks!” Derak cried. “Fight back with Flame Wheel and Karate Chop!”

    Both of Derak’s Pokemon leapt above the Bubblebeam and Bullet Seed, Wildfire spinning into a Flame Wheel and Brute drawing back a hand. Wildfire landed on the ground and, still in Flame Wheel, charged straight towards Treecko. Brute performed a similar tactic, charging towards Piplup. At that point, however, Jason switched to Elliot once again.

    “Switch your targets!” Elliot commanded. “Piplup, use Peck on Machop! Treecko, use Detect!”

    Treecko’s eyes gleamed with a red shine as Piplup charged forward, beak lengthening while simultaneously glowing. Brute brought its arm down in an attempt to strike Piplup, only for the penguin to hop aside and jab its beak into the Machop’s side. Wildfire barreled towards Treecko, but the Wood Gecko Pokemon agilely leapt out of the way, Wildfire’s flames disappearing upon realizing that it missed.

    “Brute, use Vacuum Wave!” Derak cried as Elliot’s brown eye twitched again. “Wildfire, Thunderpunch!”

    “Piplup, Peck again!” Jason roared. “Treecko, use Pound on Chimchar!”

    Piplup was clearly not fast enough to escape Brute’s attack, as the Superpower Pokemon launched a Vacuum Wave that knocked the penguin clean off its feet. Treecko and Wildfire both made a run for each other, their attacks colliding and repelling from each other. Both of the Pokemon landed on their feet, glaring at each other and tensing their muscles.

    “Wildfire, Ember, quick!” Derak cried.

    Before Treecko could react, the Chimchar spat an Ember into the Wood Gecko Pokemon’s stomach. Treecko clutched the spot in pain, looking to its partner for assistance. Piplup, however, was having a relatively hard time getting up, wobbling about helplessly in an attempt to rise.

    “Brute, Poison Jab on Treecko!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, finish Piplup with a Thunderpunch!”

    “Treecko, help Piplup!” Elliot cried, having once again reverted from Jason. “Fend them off with Bubblebeam and Bullet Seed!”

    The Wood Gecko Pokemon quickly complied, leaping to Piplup’s aid and using its tail to prop the penguin up. Upon turning their heads, however, they found Derak’s Pokemon closing in fast. Piplup managed to fire its Bubblebeam, but Wildfire dodged via a zigzagging pattern. Brute simply used its Poison Jab to force through Treecko’s Bullet Seed, eventually finding its mark and punching the Treecko in the same spot Wildfire’s Ember had hit. Likewise, the Chimchar’s Thunderpunch also connected with its own target, knocking Elliot’s Piplup for a loop with a mighty uppercut.

    With that final blow, both Treecko and Piplup had been knocked out. Derak happily broke his nonchalant demeanor by pumping his fist into the air, a gesture shared by his equally-jovial (albeit greatly weakened) Machop. Wildfire, however, simply let out a nearly inaudible sigh.

    “Piplup, Treecko, return,” Elliot sighed, recalling his two Pokemon. “Impressive, I must admit. Unfortunately, I fear the Celadon Gym Leader will not allow you such graces as I did.”

    “I wouldn’t expect him to…or, uh, her to,” Derak stammered, realizing his lack of knowledge regarding the Gym Leader.

    “I don’t advise reducing your efforts, however,” Elliot smirked. “Who knows? You may just see me again.”

    He then switched to his Jason persona with a twitch of the eye.

    “You can count on it,” Jason growled, turning and walking away with a grunt.

    “Well, guys,” Derak said to his two Pokemon, “it was tough, but we did it.”

    “Ma-chop!” Brute cried, though again Wildfire made no response.

    “I’m glad you got to stick it to your old trainer, Brute,” Derak smiled. “Come on, let’s go get you healed.”

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  25. #25
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    Now, finally, chapter 17.



    Chapter 17: Grass-type Training with the Bard, Nando!


    The day following Derak’s battle with Elliot, the runaway trainer entered the Celadon Gym (after, of course, he spent some time learning about Echo’s moveset). The Gym essentially resembled a large greenhouse, but only on the exterior. Inside was a wide arena with a flat plain of sand and plants lining the edges of the walls.

    At the other end of the arena stood the second female Gym Leader Derak had seen. Like Misty, her hair was short, but the similarities ended there. The Gym Leader’s hair was an incredibly dark blue, and had a red headband across the top. Her outfit consisted of a green-and-white uniform with a Pokeball-like insignia on her chest.

    “Welcome to Celadon Gym,” the woman said. “My name is Erika. And you?”

    “Derak Kadir, from Phenac City in Orre,” Derak said with his hands in his pockets.

    “Do you mind perfume?” Erika asked, her expression becoming extremely serious.

    Derak blinked for a moment.

    “I don’t think so,” he said slowly. “Why?”

    “I don’t really like challengers who hate perfume,” Erika said. “I’ve banned more than one potential challenger just because they insulted it.”

    “Uh…no offense, but that seems a little overboard,” Derak remarked.

    Erika simply shrugged.

    “Representing Orre is Derak Kadir from Phenac City,” said the female referee, apparently a worker at the greenhouse judging by her long apron and gloves. “Representing Kanto is Erika, the Gym Leader of Celadon City. Both trainers will use three Pokemon. If all three Pokemon on either side are unable to battle, the victor will be the opposing trainer. Begin the match!”

    Erika quickly chose first, throwing a Pokeball that summoned her first Grass-type. The Pokemon appeared similar to the Victreebel that Nando used in the Contest outside Pewter City, only it was significantly smaller. In addition, it had no fangs sprouting from its circular pink mouth, its brown vine was quite short, and its wide eyes radiated a childlike innocence contrary to the glare of Victreebel.

    “Weepinbell,” Derak’s Pokedex began, “the Flycatcher Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. Evolved form of Bellsprout. Weepinbell captures unwary opponents by dousing them with a toxic powder. Despite being filled with acid, it does not melt because of a protective fluid that coats its insides. Against opponents bigger than it is, it slices them with its leaves.”

    Derak blinked for a moment, once again slightly disturbed, and after recovering picked a single Pokeball off of his belt and threw it into the air.

    “Echo, let’s go!” Derak cried.

    Echo appeared with a screech, flapping its wings eagerly.

    “Picking a Flying-type, huh?” Erika said. “Don’t think anyone hasn’t tried that strategy before! Weepinbell, use Sleep Powder!”

    The two leaves at Weepinbell’s sides began to shine, and as the plant-like bell bounced into the air, it began to spin around, scattering a glittering powder across the entire stage.

    “Fly away, quick!” Derak cried. “Then counter with Supersonic!”

    Echo obeyed, soaring into the air with its typical speed. Upon reaching a satisfactory height, the Bat Pokemon once more produced a sonic shriek aimed towards its opponent. In this case, Weepinbell was promptly confused, falling to the ground and wobbling about awkwardly.

    “Oh, no!” Erika cried. “Weepinbell, quickly, use Vine Whip!”

    This, unfortunately, could not be done, for Weepinbell swatted itself in the face with its vine, stunning the Flycatcher Pokemon.

    “Echo, go in for Zen Headbutt!” Derak cried, remembering the type-related knowledge he gained from his battle with Elliot.

    The Zubat’s ears began to glow again, and it once more made itself resemble a blue missile as it struck Weepinbell between its eyes. As with Elliot’s Ekans, Weepinbell was knocked backward onto its back, unable to continue.

    “Weepinbell, return!” Erika cried, recalling her small bell. “Not bad, I have to admit. Tangela, you’re up next!”

    A rather odd Pokemon appeared from Erika’s second Pokeball. It seemed to be little more than a ball of blue vines surrounding a black area with two eyes. The ball stood on two red feet, which allowed its vines to sashay freely without fear of dirtying themselves. As he did with most Pokemon, Derak analyzed this new creature with his Pokedex.

    “Tangela,” the Dex began, “the Vine Pokemon. Type is Grass. Tangela is shrouded by blue vines covered in a layer of thin hair. These vines are always jiggling, which effectively unnerves its foes. No amount of research has revealed the face hidden behind Tangela’s vines.”

    “Consider me unnerved,” Derak muttered as he stuffed his Pokedex back into his pocket, Tangela still waving its vines. “Want to keep going, Echo?”

    The Zubat turned its head towards him and nodded.

    “Okay, then,” Derak said. “Use Shadow Ball!”

    This was an attack Derak had discovered during his brief training with Echo. The Bat Pokemon formed a steadily-growing sphere of dark electricity in front of its mouth, just before launching the orb at Tangela. The Grass-type easily dodged, however, in a rather unusual way. It simply shoved two of its blue vines into the ground to propel itself into the air, effortlessly allowing the Shadow Ball to miss.

    “Good dodge, Tangela!” Erika encouraged. “Now, use Headbutt!”

    Tangela again made use of its vines, this time to catapult itself towards Echo. The Zubat, however, was simply too fast, and sped past the Vine Pokemon with ease.

    “Quick, send Zubat an Ancientpower!” Erika ordered.

    Landing on its two red feet, Tangela then made use of the ground beneath it. Its eyes began to glow a luminescent purple, and a slew of small rocks rose into the air to surround the Vine Pokemon. Two of Tangela’s vines pointed forward, and the rocks converged into a roughly spherical shape. Tangela then launched its attack at Echo, who was taken completely off-guard and struck in the small of its back. As in its battle against Elliot, Echo was once more defeated in one hit.

    “Echo!” Derak cried, but the Zubat was unable to respond. “Come on back, Echo, you did great.”

    “It did,” Erika nodded, “and so did you, Tangela.”

    Tangela barely paid its trainer any mind, instead doing something entirely unexpected.

    It began to glow white.

    “Wait, is Tangela…?” Derak asked, trailing off.

    “Yes!” Erika replied. “Tangela’s evolving!”

    Tangela began to grow as its light continued to shroud it, quickly reaching over six feet tall. By the time the glow faded, Tangela had completely changed. While it was still essentially a mass of blue vines surrounding a pair of eyes, the vines were of a darker shade of blue and its stubby legs were now black with red tips. The Vine Pokemon had even grown a pair of lanky arms, each tipped with red finger-like protrusions.

    “Tangrowth,” Derak’s Dex observed, “the Vine Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Tangela. Tangela can only evolve into Tangrowth after learning the move Ancientpower. It ensnares prey by using its vine-like arms. Losing these arms does not trouble it in any way. In the warm season, Tangrowth’s vines grow so profusely that they cover its eyes.”

    “Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” Derak remarked for multiple reasons. The first, of course, was that if Echo had been dominated by a simple Tangela, a Tangrowth would cause even more problems. The second was simply that Derak found Tangrowth’s casual dismissal of its arms much more disturbing than Tangela’s jiggling vines.

    “Tangrowth, congratulations!” Erika cried happily. “I’m so proud of you!”

    “Tang-tang, tang-growth!” Tangrowth chattered, raising its elongated arms into the air.

    “Well, here goes,” Derak sighed. “Brute, let’s go!”

    Brute appeared on the field, fists clenched and ready to battle. Tangrowth took two steps forward, and though its face could not be seen, the Vine Pokemon still shared Brute’s eagerness.

    “Okay, Tangrowth,” Erika began, “let’s see what you’re capable of!”

    Tangrowth needed no order: it simply launched its arm at Brute, extending it so quickly and easily that both Derak and his Pokemon were taken by surprise. Tangrowth’s “fingers” began to glow purple, and before Derak could react the Grass-type had jabbed Brute in the chest so hard that the Machop was knocked unconscious instantly.

    “Brute!” Derak cried, but the Superpower Pokemon could only manage a weak groan. “Return, okay? Sorry, my fault.”

    “Tangrowth, that was incredible!” Erika said to her Pokemon. “You’ve already learned Poison Jab!”

    “Tang-tang!” Tangrowth said, barely making a move.

    “Well…not sure if this is going to change anything,” Derak said, “but…Wildfire, let’s go!”

    Wildfire appeared, ready for battle as it always was. Upon seeing Tangrowth’s size, however, the Chimp Pokemon became somewhat nervous.

    “This might take a miracle, Wildfire,” Derak said. “Ready? Use Ember!”

    “Tangrowth, use Ancientpower!” Erika cried.

    This time, Tangrowth formed its Ancientpower between its two arms. The second it was formed, Tangrowth launched the Ancientpower forward, allowing it to cut through Wildfire’s Ember and smash into the monkey. Wildfire was flung across the field and into Derak’s legs, though the force was so great that the Chimchar passed under Derak while simultaneously tripping him up. The runaway trainer fell flat onto his face and his Chimchar skidded across the floor, the latter having long since fainted.

    “…ouch,” Derak groaned as he got up. He then limped to Wildfire’s body and picked it up. “You made a good effort, pal. Take a rest, we’ll get the badge next time.”

    Without another word, Derak stumbled out of the Celadon Gym, intending to have both his Pokemon and his legs healed.

    ****

    A short distance away, someone had been standing on a rooftop, watching Derak’s battle with Erika. This new boy’s light blue hair was rather long, tied into a ponytail with a red band. He wore a yellow shirt underneath a dark green jacket, and his jeans matched his hair so well that he seemed to be the embodiment of the sky. Despite his clothes, however, his lifeless brown eyes stared blankly at the two trainers, his mouth curved into a frown. By the boy’s side was a Pokemon that resembled a dark grey ghost, save its skull-like face and a familiar pink eye that bounced back and forth between its two eye sockets.

    “Derak Kadir,” the boy said listlessly. “He is weak.”

    “Duskull,” nodded the Pokemon by his side.

    “We will when Kadir is at his weakest, Death,” the boy said. “Then he will be the first to fall.”

    ****

    Several minutes later, Derak gave his three Pokeballs to Celadon City’s Nurse Joy before sitting down to wait. He sighed as he recalled his loss to Erika.

    “Great,” he muttered. “How am I supposed to beat that Tangrowth?”

    The one-sided battle remained vivid in Derak’s mind. Tangrowth’s power was unbelievable, that much could not be denied. After all, it had demolished Derak’s team with virtually no effort whatsoever mere moments after it had evolved from Tangela. Before he could think any further, the Pokemon bard Nando swept into the Pokemon Center.

    “Welcome to Celadon City,” Nurse Joy greeted the bard. “Would you like me to give your Pokemon a rest?”

    “Thank you, that would be very helpful,” Nando replied.

    After giving Nurse Joy six Pokeballs, Nando noticed Derak.

    “Ah, hello,” said the bard. “I remember you from the Pewter City Contest.”

    “Yeah, that’s me,” Derak said dully.

    From Derak’s tone alone, Nando could tell something was wrong about Derak.

    “What seems to be the matter?” the bard asked.

    “Lost in the Celadon Gym,” Derak said. “The Leader’s Tangela evolved and wiped out my team.”

    “Ah, I see,” Nando said. “I offer you my condolences.”

    “Not sure they’re what I need,” Derak said, “but thanks anyway.”

    The runaway glanced to the ceiling as if asking for an answer from a deity. Just as Nando took back his Pokeballs from Nurse Joy, an idea struck Derak.

    “Hang on,” he said, “you and the Gym Leader both use Grass-types, right?”

    “Indeed,” Nando replied, “although my Pokemon are not all of the Grass-type.”

    “Well,” Derak said, “I’m not really a giant fan of battling, but…want to have a round? You know, so I can get a little more prepared for the rematch?”

    Nando smiled.

    “It would be my honor,” the bard answered.

    ****

    A short few moments later, Derak and Nando had taken up positions similar to those taken when Derak battled Barry. Both knew that this battle was mainly for training, though Nando also hoped to get a glimpse of the younger trainer’s Pokemon.

    “What do you say to a three-on-three battle?” Nando asked. “It would give a feeling similar to what you will be facing in your rematch at the Gym.”

    “I guess,” Derak shrugged.

    “Then, let us begin,” Nando said. “Sunflora, make your mark!”

    A Pokemon with a slender green body and leaf-like arms appeared from Nando’s thrown Pokeball. While it had little noteworthy features in terms of body, its head resembled a giant sunflower with a smiling face underneath two squinting eyes. Derak was unfamiliar with this Pokemon of Nando’s, and thus analyzed it with his Pokedex.

    “Sunflora,” the Dex began, “the Sun Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Sunkern. Sunflora acquires energy by converting it from warm sunlight. During the day, it frantically rushes for sunlight, but when night comes, it closes its petals and comes to a complete stop.”

    “And now a hyperactive flower comes into the list of weird things about Pokemon,” Derak sighed. “Echo, let’s go!”

    “A Zubat, you say?” Nando remarked. “Very well, then. Sunflora, please use Sunny Day.”

    Sunflora’s leaf arms began to glow orange, and upon pointing them into the air, two orbs of orange energy fired towards the sun. The sun, while it had been shining brightly before, suddenly increased its output enough to make Derak cover his eyes.

    “How’d that happen?” the runaway asked.

    “While Sunny Day increases the power of Fire-type attacks,” Nando explained, “it also activates the special abilities of certain Grass Pokemon. Sunflora, please use Cut.”

    With blinding speed, Sunflora dashed forward and slashed Echo with one leafy arm. Echo was sent reeling back, though unlike its previous battles, it managed to recover.

    “Geez, that thing’s fast!” Derak cried.

    “That would be the effect of Sunflora’s ability, Chlorophyll,” Nando explained. “Whenever Sunflora is in the presence of harsh sunlight, its speed greatly increases, as you have seen. Sunflora, let us finish with Razor Leaf.”

    Sunflora thrashed its arms about, firing the familiar storm of leaves that pummeled Echo. The Zubat fell to the ground after the assault, battered and cut in several places but alive.

    “Echo, return,” Derak said, recalling his fallen Poison-type. “You gave it your best effort, Echo. That’s all I really care about.”

    “That is an excellent outlook on battles,” Nando smiled. “I must give you a warning, however. Many Grass-type Pokemon possess Chlorophyll as their ability, and it is very likely that the Pokemon in the Celadon Gym will as well.”

    “Thanks for the heads-up,” Derak said with a curt nod. “Moving on…Brute, let’s go!”

    “An interesting choice,” Nando commented as Derak’s Machop appeared. “A Fighting-type Pokemon has no type advantage over the Grass-types of the Celadon Gym, so please let me see what your Machop’s advantage is.”

    “Okay, then,” Derak replied. “Brute, Poison Jab!”

    “So your advantage is a Poison-type attack. Sunflora, please dodge and counter with Solarbeam,” Nando said.

    Brute lunged for Sunflora, but the Sun Pokemon simply stood and waited for the attack. With the speed boost from Chlorophyll still in effect, Sunflora quickly sped away before Brute’s attack could hit. The Grass-type, now quite a distance away from Brute, spread its limbs apart and pointed its flower-like head at the sky. Particles of energy quickly gathered around Sunflora’s head, but having seen Nando’s Parasect perform a similar move in the Pewter City Contest, Derak knew what was coming.

    “Brute, it needs time to charge!” he cried. “Use Vacuum Wave!”

    Brute did fire the blast of wind, but Sunflora quickly tilted its head forward and fired a massive beam of energy at the Machop. The Solarbeam easily disintegrated Brute’s Vacuum Wave as well as completely engulfing the Fighting-type, the light forcing Derak to cover his eyes. When the light vanished, Brute had also fainted, while Sunflora was again undamaged.

    “Brute, return,” Derak said. “Sorry, pal, I messed up…again.”

    “Do not feel discouraged,” Nando advised. “Losing is only part of the road to becoming stronger.”

    “That’s interesting,” Derak said dully. “So, how did Solarbeam fire so quickly?”

    “Again, the sunlight is a factor,” Nando said. “When it shines brightly, Solarbeam takes almost no time to charge.”

    “Let me guess,” Derak said, “a lot of Grass-types can learn Solarbeam.”

    “Yes,” Nando nodded. “It may be the case that the Celadon Gym Leader will use Solarbeam against you.”

    “Good to know,” Derak said. “Okay, I’m on my last, so…Wildfire, let’s go!”

    “Ah, a Chimchar!” Nando said with a surprised smile. “If the Gym Leader uses Sunny Day, your Chimchar will surely turn the tide. Now, let us continue. Sunflora, please use Sludge Bomb.”

    “Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried.

    Both Pokemon opened their mouths and spat forth a barrage of projectiles. Wildfire fired its typical flaming orbs, while Sunflora fired many wads of slime. As Nando had stated, Sunny Day increased the power of Wildfire’s Ember, and so when it normally would have been destroyed by Sunflora’s Sludge Bomb, the attacks instead collided and caused an explosion.

    “Flame Wheel, quick!” Derak cried.

    “Sunflora, please dodge it,” said the unflappable Nando. “Afterward, please use Solarbeam again.”

    Sunflora leapt into the air as Wildfire’s fiery form barreled through the smoke, then, it quickly began to take in sunlight. Knowing of Solarbeam’s power, Derak ordered a Protect from Wildfire, and the Solarbeam smashed into the barrier, ensuring the Chimchar’s safety.

    “Wildfire, use Double Kick!” Derak ordered.

    “Sunflora, please use Sludge Bomb, once more,” said Nando.

    Wildfire leapt to meet the falling Sunflora, aiming to perform its most recently-learned move. Unfortunately, Sunflora quickly launched a Sludge Bomb straight into Wildfire’s stomach, sending the Chimp Pokemon plummeting to the ground. A single hit was apparently enough, as Wildfire was unconscious in the crater it had made.

    “Wildfire!” Derak cried, rushing to his first Pokemon’s aid. “Wildfire, are you okay?”

    “Ch…char?” Wildfire said weakly, looking up at Derak in its continually-seen bewilderment.

    “You did great, pal,” Derak smiled. “Take a rest.”

    Derak stood up and looked to Nando.

    “Well, guess I’m not ready for the Gym,” he said, “seeing as I couldn’t beat you.”

    “That is rather far from the truth,” Nando smiled. “I greatly enjoyed our battle, and in truth, this was only training. Thanks to this battle, you now possess the knowledge you need in order to confront the Celadon Gym Leader. I will challenge the Gym after you, but until then, I wish you good luck and farewell.”

    Nando left with a smile, and Derak looked at the orange Pokeball in his hand.

    Maybe we are ready, Derak thought. Maybe we are.

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

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