Author Notes: Here's a fic that I've been writing on-and-off for a while (read: couple years at least)! It's actually had its full draft finished some months ago, but I've given it a rest before going over it again, and then beta reading as well. It's a chaptered fic, longer than Fairy Tale but not quite the monster that TRoPC ended up being. As chapters come out (which won't be swift - the rest needs further proofreading!) I'll update an index.
For those who've read said works, this one isn't a comedy. So that's unusual for a chaptered fic by me. =p I enjoyed writing it out slowly but surely though, and the story was something different for myself (and hence a useful exercise), so I hope this'll be enjoyable to you readers as well. I'll also note that there'll be a music reference in each chapter title (I can't resist some silliness), so if you catch them do point them out!
What isn't different is that as usual this fic has a basis on the games canon - HGSS, to be specific. (While there is GSC, curiously a bunch of NPCs got renamed in the remakes. I went with the HGSS names.) I hope you'll enjoy my what-if musings involving NPCs with a couple of lines each in the games!
Thanks to Jess and Astinus for feedback provided during beta reading. Guess worth giving credit to Camp NaNoWriMo last year as well, during which a chunk of this was written. Let's go with a rating of PG for this - mild language, battles, etc, but nothing too risque.
A Change of the Season
Chapter 1 – A Hazy Shade of Winter
I awoke with a start, greeted by the familiar screech of my alarm clock. I chose to ignore it for a while longer, far preferring to stay snuggled within the warmth and comfort of my bed than to brave the cold air that awaited me. Sure, the shrills were annoying, but I could almost convince myself that they didn’t exist by burrowing my head further into my pillow. When I had still been living with my parents, they had been astounded by my ability to stay in bed. Dad in particular often grumbled to Mum on how his own daughter didn’t take after his habit of beating the sun up.
What the pillow couldn’t protect me from was Bessie, who bounded into my room a moment later, clambered onto my bed and barked happily at my face. She then slapped my feet with her tail for good measure.
“Fine, fine, I’ll get up,” I grumbled as I rolled to the side and reached my hand out to pet the Dewgong on the head. “Just five more minutes, alright girl?”
Bessie tilted her head at me and frowned slightly before she resumed her loud yelps. When that failed, she moved in and licked my face with her big, sloppy tongue. By instinct I jerked my head away from her to prevent her from licking my hair as well. I had braided it the night before - I didn’t want that effort undone so quickly.
“Agh! I see there’s no convincing you then.” I sighed before I flopped out of bed, feeling somewhat more awake now. I fumbled for the alarm, switched it off on the second attempt and turned to Bessie. She looked back at me with her large, silly grin and bounced lightly on the bed in anticipation. I glanced worriedly at the squeaking bed frame. While it had always managed to support her weight, I didn’t want to risk it falling apart.
“Yes, yes, I haven’t forgotten to feed you. Come on, I’ll go-” Before I could finish she had clapped her flippers together in approval and bounded back out of the room. I laughed and moved to the wardrobe, listening to the Pokémon slide down the stairs with a series of soft thumps. After grabbing a gown I considered going back to the bed and nabbing a few more minutes of rest, but decided against it and followed my Pokémon downstairs. The last time I had done that she hadn’t been very pleased to find myself snoring again and had sprayed my face with Water Sport. That had left my face smelling like fish for a good while, and my bed for even longer. It had enough trouble supporting a Pokémon larger than myself jumping on it.
Bessie was waiting for me in the kitchen, thumping the ground loudly with her tail and staring at the small refrigerator intently, as if trying to will it open. She then watched me open the door and produce a fish. I tossed it to her and watched her swallow it whole before I washed the gloves to remove the smell as best I could. If there was one thing that unnerved me about Bessie, feeding her was it. I couldn’t imagine consuming anything just like that, bones, scales and all.
“No, there’s no more for now,” I said firmly when I noticed Bessie was once more looking at me expectantly. “You know how it is – one fish for breakfast only, or you’ll get fat!” I playfully prodded her belly as I retrieved a block of cheese and bread from the fridge and moved towards the toaster. “You’ll get more for dinner anyway... unless you’d rather have some of this cheese.” A belch of disgust confirmed to me that she wasn’t that hungry after all.
After managing to convince the toaster to work without burning my bread, I made my sandwich and took a bite before carrying it over a plate towards the calendar hanging in the dining area. It was one of the cheap ones you got from the two dollar shop that had a consistent motif, be it of cat Pokémon doing cute things, or scenery, or the like. This one had been a Mahogany Town themed calendar, which I had been initially quite taken by. The first month’s picture had been a nice photograph of the Lake of Rage, and the next a bird-eye view of the town. But I clearly should have bothered to check the rest of the images before buying, given the sudden slump in quality in the latter half of the year. November’s picture had been of a rusty stop sign, and I was glad that the beginning of winter brought about a change in month, and soon a change of year and hence calendar.
However I couldn’t deny being tempted to change it back once I saw that December’s display was of a sleeping hobo on a park bench. I regarded it as I ate my breakfast. Bessie flopped towards the calendar and tilted her head.
“I don’t get it either.” I sighed. “Right, we’ll leave once I get changed properly, so wait right here.” She nodded in reply and rolled over into a more comfortable position as I jogged upstairs.
Now armed with a few more layers of protective clothing, I walked down the path with Bessie sliding on the ground around me. Winter had arrived slightly early this year, but there hadn’t been much snow to speak of just yet, so what was left today was now an ugly slosh of gray-white barely covering the ground. A few blocks ahead I could see the town’s public cleaner’s Pidgeotto flitting about, darting forward and back quickly while giving short, sharp cries as it created gusts of wind to blow the snow off of the paths. I glanced down and noticed some small splatters of snow fall upon the path I was walking on. Bessie then whizzed past and chattered with glee, sending more snow flying around her.
“Come on, Bessie. You know he hates it when you undo his hard work.” She sniffed, perhaps sceptical of the notion it was hard work, but settled down nonetheless.
“Hello, Jill!” someone called from up ahead. I looked up and smiled.
“Good morning, Mr. Jones,” I replied. “How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you,” the elderly man said cheerfully. “Just taking old Nibbles for a walk.” He motioned to his Raticate. I couldn’t help but be amused that he would give the Pokémon a daily walk as it didn’t seem too interested in doing much of anything, but I kept the observation to myself. A low growl from Bessie distracted the two of us; she was clapping her flippers loudly at Nibbles, who responded with its own series of growls.
“Hey girl, calm down,” I said softly, but she instead started barking loudly. I sighed and began walking again and nudged Bessie to follow me. She continued growling for a while before eventually she started to follow me. “Have a good day,” I added to Mr. Jones as I hurried off.
“You too, kid,” he said, before he also continued on his walk. I felt my cheeks reddening as Bessie continued her angry protests long after Nibbles had disappeared from sight, and I flicked her nose in annoyance. She rubbed it with her flipper and blinked a few times in confusion before looking up at me. I frowned and shook my head which seemed to get the message across; she fell silent as we walked (or in her case, slid) onwards.
I was still feeling embarrassed by Bessie’s behaviour as we reached our destination. It was one of the other complaints I could make of my Pokémon; she was extremely defensive and would aggressively target any Pokémon she was not used to. It had taken a good while to get her to relax even slightly in the presence of the other Pokémon she was used to, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of the progress made in that, but any Pokémon she had not met at least a few times she instantly treated harshly. She was more or less fine with new humans by now, but she usually ended up directly encountering Pokémon she didn’t know well. I mused about whether I should take her in her Poké Ball next time I walked here, but she loved sliding about in winter, and I didn’t feel it fair to restrict her like that.
“Hey there, Jill!” Gerardo said as I walked inside and removed my hoodie. He was the only one here; the receptionist that usually manned the desk was nowhere to be seen.
“Hello,” I said, returning his bright smile. Bessie meanwhile barked happily. She leapt onto the icy floor next to us and began to play. “First as usual, I see. What’s up?”
“We’re to begin work on the Gym setup!” he said cheerfully. I nodded, recalling that fact now.
“Oh, so Pryce got the plans for this year’s challenge done then?” another asked loudly. I turned and greeted Deandre as he approached us.
“Yes. Here they are!” Gerardo said. He motioned to a sheaf of papers stacked on the reception desk near the front door. The three of us fell silent as we examined the instructions and layout left for us.
“Huh, so it’s three separate rooms this time around,” Deandre muttered.
“On first thoughts, I preferred last year’s, but I guess this could be interesting. Looks like the first room is for the challengers to get used to the conditions and the general idea, and the others are to combine the battles with the puzzle,” I mused. We continued to pour over the plans.
The rattle of the doorbell a few minutes later distracted myself and Deandre for a moment as the other two trainers, Diana and Patton, arrived. The former snuffed out a cigarette and strolled over while Patton sat down and removed the snowboard from his feet.
“Morning! What are you up to over there?” Diana asked.
“New Gym plans,” Gerardo answered without raising his head.
“Ah, of course, it’s prep week, isn’t it...” she murmured as she examined the papers. “Looks fancy. And I see we’re part of it as well again, unsurprisingly...”
“What’s the puzzle solution?” Deandre asked.
“Pryce said he’s leaving that to us to figure out as we make it.”
“Also unsurprising,” Diana drawled as Patton came over as well. “Supplies arrive yet?”
“They’re all out the back, and before you ask, Pryce isn’t here. He went to his usual spot.”
“That’s also unsurprising,” Patton interjected, earning a light punch from Diana.
“I guess we might as well get started then,” I said, walking over to the ski supplies. “It’ll probably take us a while after all, and we’ll need to leave the ice some time to set once we’ve got it all ready. Then the builders can help prepare the rooms around the ice arenas.”
“Fair enough,” Patton said as the others nodded and went to grab their gear as well. I noted that the builders the League hired to assist with Gym puzzle construction had already set up the ice bases over the weekend. Large sections of the Gym were covered in ice, while in the past it had also been covered in snow regardless of season, and so moving about tended to be easier on snowboard or ski rather than foot. We never let the Gym challengers know that however; that would have just ruined the fun of it, as well as the challenge. Moving about also wasn’t a problem for our Pokémon - as all of them were Ice types or at least going to be when they evolved they were quite accustomed to the conditions. Underneath the ice sections were pools of water, kept cold to allow some of our Water-Ice dual types an additional arena in which to battle if the ice was broken.
I kept an eye on Bessie as the other trainers sent out their Pokémon, but this time she remained quiet upon their arrival, even with Diana’s Jynx, which she didn’t know as well as the others yet. I smiled approvingly at her. It was warming to see that she had improved with them at least.
“Okay, girl, we’ll need to get the more stable ice blocks set up first, so we need to start cutting them to size,” I instructed once I had donned a pair of skis and grabbed a tape measure. The others followed suit and moved to the large blocks of ice that took up the supply room, and made a few marks on the block. “Cut along here with the other Pokémon, and make the rest as you want it – just make sure it’s this wide.”
We watched as the Pokémon set to work on the task, interrupting every so often to give extra instructions, begin work on a new block or rescue Gerardo’s newly acquired Shellder after it curiously gave one of the blocks an unfortunate lick. Despite the mishap Gerardo remained his typical self, ensuring that everything was in order and up to Gym standards, while Patton and Diana were more interested in making creative shapes for the wedges. I didn’t bother; experience told me that enough would be destroyed during the odd battle to require many replacements.
Once each block of ice was completed they were moved by Diana’s Jynx, whose Psychic powers saved us the trouble of pushing them into place ourselves. The other Pokémon then worked together to glue them into place with concentrated Ice and Water type attacks. The first room was nearly done when the doorbell rang again and a young man strolled in.
“Where is the Gym Leader? Or the person you go to sign up for battles?” he asked loudly, likely referring to the empty reception area.
“Pryce has gone out, and she’s not in today,” Patton answered. This seemed to throw the youth. His face contorted into the strangest expression of puzzlement I had ever seen.
“He’s not allowed to be gone,” he said eventually. “Gym Leaders should always be ready for battle, and I’m challenging the Gym!”
“So why did you ask where he is if he isn’t allowed to be gone?” Diana asked pointedly, producing a splutter from the young teenager. I glanced at Bessie and tried desperately to avoid laughing at her remarkably successful attempts at mimicking his facial expression.
“Besides, you didn’t even say hello,” Patton continued, pretending to assume an air of indignation. “I don’t think Pryce would like people who don’t say hello, would you, Jill?”
“No, I don’t think he would,” I answered with a grin.
“Well I want to beat him up!” the newcomer said. A few of us exchanged glances as Gerardo returned. He had left earlier to check the storeroom before the youth had arrived. The kid turned to him. “Hey! Can you tell me where Pryce is – I want to battle him.”
“You are not currently able to do that, I’m afraid,” Gerardo said. He glanced at me as if to say ‘is this kid for real?’. “Did you see the sign outside? The Gym is closed for the week due to the annual preparations, as is every other Gym.”
“So I’ll battle him outside of the Gym! I have all these, after all – I have the right!” With a huff he opened his jacket wide and revealed a number of badges hanging from his shirt. He puffed out his chest proudly.
“That’s nice, dear,” Diana said, before turning back to her work.
“Gym battles are also suspended by the League during the week,” Gerardo continued somewhat more helpfully. “Rules are rules after all.”
“Well... that’s stupid,” he spat eventually. “I’ll just have to go find him myself then. Where is he?”
We looked to each other again. It wasn’t usual for challengers to act so rudely, but it seemed the type continued to turn up every so often. It was almost a shame that Pryce wasn’t here already to set him straight.
“Well, he’s outside,” Patton offered.
“Actually,” Diana interjected, “we might as well take a break and take him to Pryce.” I looked at her in surprise and she winked.
“Yeah, why not. We have to let the ice sit for a while anyway so they’re firmly stuck in place,” I replied pointedly, making sure everyone else got Diana’s drift. “Did you say he went to the usual place, Gerardo?”
“What is he doing all the way out here, anyway?” the trainer grumbled as we walked through Route 44. Part of the lake within it had already started to freeze over, but a few fishermen were still diligently making use of the available fishing spots to try and find something not called a Magikarp. The large pile of red fish flopping on the land behind them indicated they weren’t having much luck.
“Training, of course,” Diana said. “Did you expect him to do all of it indoors or something?”
“Why do you need a week to set up the Gym anyway?” he continued, ignoring Diana’s question. His tone was becoming quite aggravating, and judging by the grimace Deandre wore I was not alone in being irritated.
“It’s a League rule,” Gerardo explained patiently. Evidently he was better at handling the annoyance. “Some Gyms take a long time to perform maintenance and set up new, different gym puzzles for challenges. Just look at our one – ice is not the easiest thing to work with.”
“And I can assure you there’s no such thing as a foolproof NeverMeltIce either,” Patton grumbled. All of us sans Diana involuntarily shuddered. I recalled the case of a trainer telling their Magmortar to use Overheat which resulted in a number of us swimming in water that chilled to the bone. Only our Pokémon had seemed to enjoy that experience.
“And there’s other things to tend to as well,” I added. “At any rate, it’s the League’s decision, and as they’re in charge-”
“Is that him?” the trainer interrupted suddenly. We followed his gaze to the entrance of the Ice Path. A small figure had just emerged, slowly walking in our direction with cane in hand. Before any of us could answer the trainer had already taken off, hurtling at full pelt down the road. I shook my head as Bessie stared after him in puzzlement, clearly not sharing quite the same levels of excitement over seeing Pryce.
“You know, I wouldn’t mind if Pryce made an exception with that trainer,” Deandre growled. I glanced at him.
“Because taking his Pokémon down would be oh so satisfying,” he said. He then jogged ahead to follow the challenger.
“But wouldn’t we just battle him in a week anyway?” Patton asked, scratching his head once Deandre was out of earshot. “Sure, the guy’s annoying and kinda rude, but...”
“Can’t say that comment surprises me, coming from him,” Diana drawled, nodding at Deandre. “Let’s go after him before he says something stupid in front of Pryce.”
“Good idea,” I said and we picked up the pace. I was a bit bemused by the comment myself, but as Diana said it was a sort of thing Deandre was prone to say. He had only joined our group a few months ago and had quickly established himself as the brashest. The only other member of our group that was newer was Diana. She joined us only a couple weeks ago, and she had settled into the routine far quicker. And she did get on rather well with us, which was more than could be said for Deandre. He instead spent half of the time talking about his father, some apparently distinguished former Gym Leader, and the other half talking about himself.
A couple of minutes later we reached the others. Deandre scowled at the back of the challenger’s head as he babbled about how he absolutely had to have a battle with Pryce now rather than a week later. Pryce meanwhile merely sat down on a large rock, spinning his walking stick in his hand as he paid attention to the young man. He nodded gently to us as we came into view.
“...And I don’t care about any League rules, I just want to battle you now! My Pokémon are ready for some action!”
“Alright then,” Pryce said, “that’s all well and good. May I ask, however, one question: why?”
“Huh?” the boy blurted out belatedly. Deandre smirked.
“To clarify, why must you have the battle now?” Pryce said.
“Well... I just said-” the challenger began louder than ever, complete with exaggerated hand gestures.
“I heard what you said. It hasn’t convinced me.” Pryce stood up and began walking back towards Mahogany. “If you can give me a reasonable answer for why you must – absolutely must - battle now instead of later, then I’ll consider your request. But I’m afraid, young man, that simply wanting to battle now is not going to convince me. I’ll see you a week from now.”
Pryce sure knows how to give answers, I thought. The challenger stared at Pryce’s back.
“Well, damn you!” he shouted suddenly, stamping his foot. I blinked in surprise and Gerardo sighed as we glanced at Deandre, noting him approach the challenger. He looked ready to let fly but Diana quickly punched him lightly in the arm and glared at him, getting the message across to hold back for a moment.
The only one who didn’t seem to react was our Gym Leader. He just kept hobbling onward in his own slow way. “Two weeks,” Pryce said evenly a moment later, without a break in pace. The challenger paused for a moment, seemed to think better of further compounding his troubles and stormed off in the opposite direction.
“I wonder if he knows that way leads to Ice Path?” Patton asked once he was out of earshot.
“Maybe we’ll ask him in two weeks,” Diana said as we rejoined Pryce. We walked quietly for a few minutes down the flight of stairs and the dusty path bordered by trees before Pryce sighed.
“They haven’t changed all that much from my younger days, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “Deandre, I’d rather next time that someone doesn’t need to remind you to avoid taking personal offence to other people’s actions. The world is full of fools, and if you worry too much about them then it just makes matters worse.”
“...Yes, Pryce,” Deandre said quietly.
“Don’t worry too much about it,” Pryce continued. “Just keep it in mind next time. Now, let me see how much work you’ve done on setting up the puzzle.”
The process of Gym puzzle construction was a distant memory by the time two weeks rolled past. The moment they had, the youth reappeared to challenge the Gym. We learnt from the receptionist that his name was Alex. And currently we were learning that he was quite the handful. He had swept past Diana’s and Patton’s teams with ease, and was currently doing the same with Gerardo’s Pokémon.
“Hang in there, Cloyster!” Gerardo shouted. He tugged at his shirt as he watched his Pokémon slide across the ice and come to a halt at an ice block. It wobbled uncertainly and spat out a few jagged icicles at its opponent. The challenger’s Ampharos, however, simply responded by enveloping itself in a blanket of electricity which shattered the projectiles before they could reach its body. It then heaved its body forward and threw the sparks at the Cloyster. It had no chance to avoid the attack and once enveloped its shell slammed shut.
“Good work,” the challenger muttered as he recalled his Pokémon.
“Good match,” Gerardo offered, but the kid was already on his way, sliding around the ice cautiously in the search for the path towards Pryce. Pryce was in plain view upon a raised platform at the back of the room, but we had set up the ice and polished it in such a way that movement was practically restricted to linear paths if you just relied on regular footwear. Of course we didn’t mention the fact that we didn’t forbid trainers from using any tricks to navigate through, but this trainer had not thought of any. Instead, he kept triggering the rule that stated if a challenger ever stood next to us, the Gym trainers, they had to battle.
“Not a bad effort, Gerardo,” Pryce said from his icy platform. “He overcame your Cloyster by taking advantage of its immobility. Try to focus on addressing that problem over the next few battles; it’s a disadvantage, but only if you let it become one!”
“Alright.” Gerardo nodded and then left the room to heal up his Pokémon.
The approach trainers took in challenging our Gym usually differed. Some purposely went and battled all of us to get their Pokémon more used to the conditions, as well as gain more battling experience. Others would try to avoid everyone in getting to the end. Here however it seemed to be a case of the challenger just not knowing where to go. I spent the next few minutes finding amusement in the challenger repeating his circular navigation, until he eventually took a different tack and ended up next to me.
“I guess there’s no other way to get to Pryce without going here and challenging you then,” he sighed. I simply shrugged and grabbed my Poké Ball.
“Alright, Bessie, go out and do your best!” I said as I pressed the button. Without breaking anyone’s face this time, I added mentally. She appeared and instantly glanced around for an opponent.
“Hah, another Water type,” Alex smirked. “Alright, Sparks, go and zap it with a Thunderbolt like before,” he said, sending out his Pokémon and stepping backwards to give more room for the battle. The Ampharos appeared, hopped about for a moment as its feet felt the icy ground, and then began summoning a ball of electricity from its paws. I smiled.
“It won’t be that easy,” I said, moving away from the arena myself. “Bessie, dodge to the side and use the ice blocks!” A second later the sphere of electricity flew at my Dewgong who simply slid across the ice to safety. A second attack was promptly sent at my Pokémon who turned again and bounced off an ice block to avoid the attack. “Right, use Mist to obscure its vision!” I commanded.
Bessie decided instead to bark loudly and fling herself at the Ampharos’ head to bash it with her own. It cried out loudly as it stumbled backwards and only just managed to keep its footing as Bessie landed back on ground with a loud thump.
“Bessie!” I hissed loudly. “Mist, now.” She begrudgingly complied this time around but maintained an angry glare at her opponent. The Ampharos steadily disappeared from view save for the light glowing from its horns and tail as cold, misty air was expelled from Bessie’s mouth.
“Hey, no fair,” Alex complained as he disappeared from my view. “Spark, brighten things up with Flash and then attack again!” At once the room lit up again, although everything was still considerably hazy.
“Keep yourself calm, Bessie; nothing’s going to hurt you as long as you do that,” I said quickly. “Icy Wind.” Bessie nodded and breathed out a jet of cold air which wheezed its way to the Electric type, producing more bleats of pain. Bessie slapped her tail on the ground and for once seemed to be happy about the battle rather than angry at her opponent.
That changed a moment later as a sudden burst of sparks engulfed her. This time it was Bessie’s turn to shout out, before she lunged forward with a bellow.
“You’re not staying calm!” I shouted unhelpfully as I tried to make out the two silhouettes. It seemed that Bessie was angrily slapping the Ampharos with her tail, and the electric type was trying to bat her away by waving its stubby arms quickly rather than listen to its own trainer as well.
“Do something!” he shouted. “Another Thunderbolt!”
“Aqua Jet away from there!” I shouted, and suddenly she listened, blasting water from her mouth and flying backwards from the force of the action, sliding back to a safe distance. Whether by luck or purpose was not clear, but the water had also struck the Ampharos on the head once again, and this time the sheep Pokémon tilted backwards and fell over, waving its arms about weakly before falling still
“Come back, Sparks,” he said, returning his Pokémon. “Not bad, overcoming my type advantage like that.”
I just nodded and looked at Bessie. “See, if you listen then you can win without having to get yourself into a frenzy,” I told her. Bessie sniffed at me and charged forward again. Startled, I looked up and saw that Alex had already sent out another Pokémon; this time it was a Primeape.
“Bessie, get back!” I yelled as the Dewgong ran straight into the Fighting type’s chest, again striking with a Headbutt. How many Pokémon does he have with a type advantage over Bessie? I wondered.
“Karate Chop!” shouted its owner. Bessie continued to thrash about but yelped when the Primeape composed itself and slammed its arm into my Pokémon’s body, sending her across the gym into a block of ice. A powder of white briefly hid Bessie from view.
“Aw great,” Deandre grumbled. “We’re going to need to replace that one again.” I tried to ignore his complaint and instead began to move towards Bessie.
“C’mon girl, just calm down,” I whispered, but I felt the usual weight in my stomach when she was in this state of anger. You could tell it was particularly bad when you could see the frigid air fuming from her nostrils. I wasn’t particularly surprised when she responded by firing a beam of ice that missed her target by a significant distance and charged forward once again. The smaller Primeape was ready this time and stepped forward with an outstretched fist, but missed narrowly as Bessie jumped in the air in the last second and above the Fighting Type. She crashed into her opponent and began flailing haphazardly.
Well, maybe she could win that way, I thought for a moment, as the Primeape stumbled about upon taking hit after hit. It was sometimes able to land a strike, but was hindered by the icy surface in getting into any really dangerous position. But I don’t want to risk any serious injury to Bessie, nor anyone else’s Pokémon... She’s not responding to my voice though so how do I get through to her? I looked around and briefly considered hurling a lump of ice at her, but then realised a simpler idea and whistled as sharply as I could through my frosty lips.
It had an instant effect; Bessie was often curious about that sound and as usual turned her head suddenly at me. I sighed.
“Good, now get back over here-” I began, but unfortunately she had forgotten about the battle a bit too well, and was promptly sent into next week courtesy of a haymaker from the ape Pokémon. She flew across the ice and fainted before she collided with another ice block, the thud of the hit echoing around the room. The Primeape panted a bit, clearly tired out by the onslaught and its attack, but it soon proudly beat its arms against its chest.
“Sorry, Bessie,” I said as I recalled her. I glanced up and noticed the challenger looking expectantly at me. It took me a moment before I realised that he thought the battle was still ongoing.
“I only have the one Pokémon,” I explained.
“Oh, I see,” Alex said. “Well, good match; that Dewgong is pretty darn strong.” He shook my hand before glancing around to see how to progress now in his Gym challenge. I raised an eyebrow; he hadn’t said a thing to the other trainers after their battles. As he slid off I glanced at Pryce, expecting some criticism.
“Not a bad effort; your Dewgong’s getting very strong there now. I’ll say more to you later though at our private training,” he said in his usual measured manner.
“Alright, thanks,” I said, before I departed to pay the Pokémon Centre another visit.
“Oh Bessie,” I said as I handed over her Poke Ball to the nurse. I mused that the whistle had proven useful; if only I had thought of it earlier on in my training. I supposed even Pryce hadn’t suggested it, however. Maybe it would be a new technique to try. If only she didn’t require it...
“She bash her head into another Pokémon until she fainted again?” the nurse asked drily.
“Well... almost, Sarah,” I responded with a smirk. “I snapped her back to her senses a few times this battle, but she’s still got work to do. And that person’s team was pretty tough too. She nearly overcame both an Ampharos and Primeape.”
Sarah raised her eyebrows as she handed the Poke Ball to her Chansey, who happily chirped a greeting to me and inserted Bessie’s ball into the healing machine. “That’s pretty good, actually. Maybe you don’t need much more training from Pryce?”
I shook my head. “Nah, I still think there’s a lot to learn from him, and I’m not yet ready to move out from here anyway.” I had arrived a bit over a year ago now and was fairly content with my steady job as a Gym Trainer. The pay wasn’t the greatest, but it was an enjoyable livelihood when all was said and done. Back then Bessie had only been a Seel, albeit still a very aggressive Seel. There was a lot more to improve on – after all, she only listened some of the time.
“Fair enough then.” Sarah shrugged. “You can come back for her later if you want; I think she’s had enough of battling for at least a few hours.”
Nodding my thanks, I returned to the gym, just in time to see Deandre’s own Dewgong land the finishing blow on a large Kingler belonging to the challenger. The Dewgong waved its tail happily as the oversized crab was returned to its Poké Ball. I bet Bessie would still be carrying on if she won, I thought.
“Darn it!” the kid exclaimed. “Good battle, I guess. I’ll have to come back tomorrow to finish this,” he added with a huff. He skated back off the icy ground and departed. Deandre meanwhile was grinning from ear to ear.
“Told you I’d beat his Pokémon!” he crowed.
“Yes, you’re right about that,’ Pryce said, approaching us. “However, don’t forget you were fighting a fairly weakened team there, particularly thanks to the work of Jill’s Dewgong.”
“Yeah, she put up a good fight,” Gerardo quipped as Diana and Patton walked in from the second room in the gym. I shrugged.
“Well I guess we beat his Pokémon then,” Deandre conceded. “But I finished the work!”
“Yeah, congrats,” Diana said drily. “Say, anyone up for lunch then given he wiped out the rest of our Pokémon? Silly guy didn’t have a clue in how to avoid us, or how to get to Pryce...”
No other challengers turned up that day, so the rest of the afternoon was uneventful. I picked Bessie up on the way back home and let her out of her ball once we were back safely in the warmth of my home.
“Oh, you silly Pokémon,” I told her as she curled up on the carpet and yawned. “You still need to control that temper of yours in battle, otherwise you’ll get way more whacks in the face like that.” She made a small sound of disagreement, and I sighed.
“We’ll talk some more about it tomorrow with Pryce,” I said, giving her a scratch behind the neck. “Right, how about some dinner?” She gave an enthusiastic nod and rushed off to the kitchen. I stayed for a moment longer to adjust the heating before heading after her.