Hey! I started writing this fic a year ago and stumbled upon it again recently. I thought it was interesting and good and decided to start up with it again. Let me know what you think!
Note: Pacifidlog Town plays a key role in this story. Because of this, Pacifidlog Town is based off of its anime version (where it's an island) and not its game version.
This is rated PG-13 for minor language and violence.
It’s only been one day and I’m already feeling down. It’s not because I only made it to the Top 32 in the Hoenn League. Sure, that sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. It was my first ever time to compete in a tournament, so it’s not a huge deal if I don’t do so great. I should be happy I made it past the first round, unlike Haley and Alex. Speaking of them, they’re the reason I’m not feeling great.
It frustrates me, how after all that time we spent together, traveling all over Hoenn, earning gym badges together, catching Pokémon, everything, they didn’t want to go with me to the Kanto region. It’s just ridiculous. They’re just sore losers. “I guess I don’t like battling as much as I used to.” What crap! How could they not go with me. For Pete’s sake, we’ve known each other since we were babies! And now they just want to stay and not get better? I guess Alex’s reason isn’t so bad. Wanting to go to school to become a gym leader is cool, but it stinks that he can’t come with me. But Haley. A nurse? Really? A Pokémon nurse? What kind of crap is that? After all we’ve been through, she just wants to stay and not be with me. I want to be with her, does she not want to be with me?
Writing this has just gotten me right back into that bad mood again, so I should stop. I need to get some rest anyways; it’s a long boat ride to Kanto. I’ll write again once we land in Vermillion.
Your troubled trainer friend,
Four years later
I stepped out onto the deck of the ferry. A warm, salty breeze touched my nose, and I happily breathed it in. I walked up to the edge of the boat and leaned on the guardrails, admiring the beauty of the ocean around me. The sun reflected off of the blue glass beautifully, reminding how much I loved living near the sea. Rock formations dotted the area, so I knew we’d be nearing land soon. A tall, rotting tower jutted into the sky in the distance. I’d always wanted to go visit it when I was younger, but sadly I didn’t have any Pokémon. And of course my mom wouldn’t let me.
A lot of things have changed.
“Are you nervous?”
The calm voice of my mother from behind me startled me at first, but once I realized it was her, I turned around and smiled. The wind ruffled my white t-shirt as I leaned back onto the guardrail. “A little bit,” I replied, staring out into the sea ahead of us. “It’s hard to believe I haven’t been home in four years.”
She walked over and leaned onto the rail next to me. “I know. It’s hard to believe that in four short years, my little boy went from losing in the Hoenn League to winning the Unova League.” She ruffled my bleach blonde hair. “You need a haircut.”
I ignored her. She should be grateful that I decided to shave at all while I was gone.
“Why don’t you let Castform out?”
“Oh! Great idea.” I reached down to my belt and grabbed the Pokéball closest to the front. I opened it up, and a flash of light shot from it. The light materialized into a small, gray shape that floated above the deck. Almost immediately, the creature began to morph. Its bland grey skin changed into a bright, translucent orange that made me feel warmer just looking at it. Smaller orange spheres appeared on the top of its head, giving it the appearance of a small, cute sun. The small Pokémon nestled its puffy white lower half onto my shoulder.
“Cast form cast!” it cried jubilantly. Castform loved being outside in the weather, no matter what kind. It spent the majority of its time on my shoulder.
Mom petted its head. “He was amazing in the league, Tyler,” Mom stated. “I didn’t know such a little Pokémon could summon such an enormous Fire Blast attack!”
“Yep! Castform’s a little powerhouse, isn’t he?” I cooed and tickled the Pokémon’s chin.
“Form!” he cried and smiled.
The breeze blew silently for a moment. I heard a Wingull call above me.
“Are Haley and Alex still the same?”
“Tyler, honey, you asked me this question an hour ago.”
“I know, I know. It’s just…” I turned back to the sea. “I’m afraid they’re going to have changed so much that we can’t be friends anymore. You know?”
“I understand.” She pushed some of her hair, the same almost-white blonde as mine, behind her ear. A blind person from a hundred yards away could tell we were related. “I wouldn’t worry. Haley’s still her energetic, fun-loving self. I have a feeling you’ll still be as enamored with her as you were when you left.”
My heart skipped a beat. “Was is really that obvious?”
“Well, it was to me and your father. I don’t know how obvious it was to Alex and Haley. You guys were only what? Eleven? Twelve? You kids were only just discovering how cute the opposite sex was.”
“But I’m sixteen now, Mom. Things are different. I’m much more mature.”
“Then why is there still ketchup on your shirt?” She pointed to my chest.
“Huh?” I looked down.
“Gotcha!” she teased as she playfully bopped me on the nose.
I laughed. I’d grown accustomed to this trick, but four years away from home had caused me to forget it.
“Attention passengers,” the intercom speaker interrupted us. “We will be arriving in Pacifidlog Town in approximately twenty minutes. Thank you.” Click.
“You’re almost home,” Mom comforted as she placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Yeah…” I sighed. “This should be interesting.”
Twenty minutes later, the ship had docked in the Pacifidlog Town harbor, and the ramp leading down was opened up. The ferry hadn’t been a very full one, so my mom, my dad, and I were some of the only people to get off. Dad, who had been sleeping for the majority of the ride, walked behind me, carrying my enormous trophy from the Unova League. He had no trouble with it though. He owned the Surf Shop in town and spent most of his days making surfboards, and let me tell you, that gets a guy pretty buff.
I looked up. A small crowd of people had gathered on the dock with a banner reading “Welcome home Champion” in front of them. One of the holders of the banner, a brunette girl, screamed my name and bolted forward. I immediately dropped my bag as she jumped into my arms, squeezing me tightly. Her soft hair fell onto my shoulders as I happily returned the hug.
“You’re finally back!” she said as I let her down. She smiled at me with her perfectly white teeth, giggled a bit more, and then hugged me again. “I’ve missed you so much!”
“I’ve missed you more!” I replied, grinning wider than I had when I’d won the tournament. “Wow…you look fantastic!”
I wasn’t lying. She did look fantastic. We were twelve when I left for the Kanto region, when she was still a tomboyish, awkward girl. Now, she looked a lot older and much more beautiful. The simple red tank top she wore fit her fantastically, and she’d gotten an impressive tan. Everything looked more amazing than before, except for her intoxicating hazel eyes. Those had always been perfect.
“Thank you! You look great too!” she said, unable to stop grinning. “And so does Castform!” She petted its head. The Pokémon sighed happily. “You’ve gotten so much taller! Oooh, and it also looks like someone’s been working out. Let’s check your abs.” Immediately, she punched me in the stomach, knocking the wind out of me.
Yep. Still the same Haley.
After I regained my breath, we walked over to the rest of the group. I recognized everyone almost immediately. The mayor was there, probably because he wanted to publicly congratulate the first ever Pacifidlog native to win a major Pokémon League tournament. That was cool with me though. I recognized a lot of my childhood friends that I knew but wasn’t super close to. There were parents, Surf Shop regulars, and a few others. All in all, there were probably twenty people there to welcome me back.
“Alex!” I said as I noticed my other best friend heading up the crowd. He was sporting a black t-shirt and a yellow baseball cap that attempted to extinguish his fiery red hair, but failed.
“Bro!” he called as he walked up. We exchanged a hug. “It’s awesome to see you again! I can’t believe you won the Unova League. That’s so awesome!”
“You know what’s awesome? The fact that you’re only what, one year away from becoming a gym leader!” I stated.
“Very true, that is pretty awesome.” He patted the Pokéballs on his belt. “I’m off school for the summer, but in about a year, I’ll be getting my own gym. I’d like to build one here, but I don’t really know if we have room for that…”
“Yeah you’re kinda limited on space here in Pacifidlog. How’s Marshtomp?”
“You mean Swampert? He’s great!”
I exchanged many more greetings. Robert, the hot dog cart owner, offered to give me a free hot dog as a congratulatory gift. My old preschool teacher told me how much her class would love to see Castform and me, so I promised to visit sometime. Benny, an employee at my dad’s shop, told me how awesome it would be for us to go surfing again, and I told him that would definitely happen. After several more friendly exchanges, my parents told the crowd I needed to unpack, so we said our goodbyes and headed toward home.
As we were walking away, Haley called to me and ran up. Alex was close behind her.
“Are you doing anything tonight?” she asked me.
“Nope,” I replied.
“Well then the three of us should hang out, just like old times.”
“You want to?” Alex asked.
I chuckled. “You guys had to ask me? Of course!”
Haley and Alex smiled. “Awesome,” Haley said excitedly. “Let’s meet at the Low Tide Café at seven.”
“Sounds good to me. This’ll give us a good chance to catch up. I have so many crazy stories to tell you guys.”
“All right, so we’ll see you there man!” Alex waved goodbye and jogged off.
“See ya tonight Ty,” Haley punched me in the shoulder and walked off.
I petted Castform. “It’s good to be home buddy.”
“And then this Scolipede appears out of the bushes and starts using Sludge Bomb on us!”
“No way!” Haley gasped. “A wild Scolipede just started attacking you!?”
“Thah cruh zah,” Alex stated with his mouth packed full of cheesecake.
“Your appetite hasn’t changed at all, has it Alex?” I chuckled, leaning back in my chair and sipping on some soda.
We laughed. It was just the three of us, since Castform decided to stay home and watch a romantic comedy with my parents. We were at the Low Tide Café, an open air restaurant built partially over the water. We sat at the table closest to the ocean, so the steady sound of waves crashing on the shore made the experience all the more enjoyable. It was always our favorite place to go as young kids, so it was the perfect fit for a night of catching up.
“Yeah, so after half an hour of it chasing us, I realized it wasn’t going to leave us alone,” I continued. “So after a battle with my Donphan—”
“Wait,” Alex interrupted after swallowing. “You have a Donphan?”
I sighed. “Dude I told you about him.”
“No you didn’t.”
“I did too! We talked every other week on the phone, and I would always tell you if I caught any more Pokémon!”
“Well you didn’t tell me about Donphan.”
“Ugh whatever. Anyways, so after a battle with Donphan, I was able to catch Scolipede.”
“You caught the Scolipede!?”
“Okay I know I told you about him.”
“You know my memory is terrible!”
“Still! Did you not watch me on TV in the tournament at all!?”
“I watched the final battle! The one that you actually won!”
“I won all of my battles there!”
“Boys!” Haley interjected. “That’s enough. Calm down.”
Alex laughed. “Did you hear that dude? Haley, of all people, is telling us to calm down. Irony at its finest.”
Haley punched him in the arm. I fought back a grin. “Tyler, I saw you use Scolipede in a few of your battles in the tournament,” she started. “I just didn’t know that’s how you caught it. That’s very cool!”
“Thank you,” I said, smiling proudly.
“All right Tyler, I’ve got a request for you,” Alex suddenly said.
Haley and I glanced at each other for a second. “What is it?” I asked.
“Okay,” he began, “you know that in just about a year I’ll be receiving my own gym assignment. However, I have no idea where that gym could be. I’d prefer it to be here in Hoenn, but there is a larger possibility that it won’t. It’s even possible that that gym could be in Unova, and I’ve never even seen a Unova Pokémon in real life before and would like to get some experience battling one. So…do you think I could battle your Scolipede?”
I smirked. A new challenge always gets me interested. “Well, Scolipede is at Birch’s lab right now, so I can’t battle with him.”
Alex’s expression drooped.
“But, I do have another one of my Unova Pokémon with me, so would you like to battle her?”
“Heck yeah!” he swiftly answered, taking a Pokéball from his belt. “Let’s go down to the beach.” Before we could say anything, he had run across the restaurant, hopped over the rail, and bolted down the beach.
“Care to referee?” I asked Haley smugly.
She rolled her eyes, but smiled. “You boys and your battling. But yes, I would love to!” She excitedly stood up and grabbed my arm, hauling me after her. I frantically tossed a tip onto the table as I was lurched away, thankful that we’d already paid. We hopped over the railing and landed in the sand. I kicked off my flip-flops, an article of clothing that I was happy I was actually able to wear again, and headed toward Alex. The beach was lit by nothing but the dim light from the town and the full moon. Alex and I stood about twenty-five yards apart with nothing but sand in between us.
Alex held up the Pokéball in his hand. “You’ll remember this guy. Let’s go!” He tossed the small metal orb into the air. It opened up, releasing a beam of white energy that began to materialize on the beach. The energy formed into a four-legged shape that was slightly hunched forward. Its head sprouted two large, dark fins. Orange patches on the creature’s legs and cheeks matched its eyes, which stared at me determinedly. Its massive tail fin shook as the Pokémon roared.
“Your Swampert looks fantastic,” I complimented. “He’s really grown up from that cute little Mudkip.”
“Of course he has, I raised him,” Alex stated, puffing out his chest.
“Swam pert swam!” the mudfish Pokémon agreed.
I chuckled. “Looks like it’s my turn.” I tossed my Pokéball into the air, releasing white energy identical to Alex’s Pokéball’s. However, mine materialized into a smaller shape. The creature’s body was slender and a deep violet, and its yellow spots shone in moonlight. A sickle shaped tail sprouted from the Pokémon’s rear. Its menacing green eyes stared directly into Swampert’s and winked.
“Whoa…” Alex said. “What is that Pokémon?”
“This, my friend,” I began, “is Liepard. She’s an agile dark type, but with a mischievous streak.”
Liepard purred in response to my last comment.
“She’s pretty,” Haley commented. Liepard meowed happily.
“Let’s get this started then. Shall we?” Alex asked.
“Gladly,” I replied. “You can go first.”
“I was going to anyway. Swampert, use Earthquake!”
Swampert roared and lifted up its front legs. Suddenly, it slammed them down into the sand, sending out a visible shockwave through the sand.
I remained calm. “Liepard, jump and then use Night Slash.”
Liepard meowed and leapt into the air. At the peak of her jump, Liepard’s body suddenly turned dark and her claws glowed red. She shot forward, leaving a streak of dark aura behind it. She passed by Swampert, swiping her claws across its face. The mudfish Pokémon fell back, but regained its posture.
“Now Swampert, use Ice Beam!” Alex ordered.
“Hit it with a Shadow Claw,” I commanded.
Liepard’s right front paw suddenly became surrounded in a black aura, similar to how its entire body did when it used Night Slash. Swampert unleashed the light blue, freezing energy from its mouth. Liepard casually danced around the attack and leapt forward, delivering another successful attack to Swampert’s face.
The blue Pokémon was slower to stand back up this time, but when it did, it was glowing with a bright blue color. The Pokémon glared at Liepard with a triumphant look on its face.
“Whoa,” I started, “I’ve never seen his Torrent so strong before. You’ve trained him well.”
“I know,” Alex smirked. “Now let’s make things interesting. Swampert, hit her with Surf!”
Swampert stepped back into the shallows of the ocean. As it did, the water around it began to lift it up, forming an enormous wave. Swampert rode on top professionally, and I could tell they’d practiced this move a lot.
Liepard nervously glanced at me. I nodded calmly. She returned the nod and braced her paws in the sand.
“Go Swampert!” Alex ordered.
Swampert leaned forward, and the wave began to fall. Liepard did not move, and the wave fell onto her.
“Yes!” Alex punched the air in front of him. I stood there quietly.
Swampert smiled as it touched down in the sand. The wave dissolved and started to sink into the beach, and the reflection of Swampert’s glowing blue body faded from below it. The Pokémon turned around, preparing to taunt its opponent after successfully delivering a powerful attack.
However, when Swampert turned around, it did not see a beaten and battered cat-like Pokémon, but one surrounded by a green force field and completely unharmed.
“What!?” Alex gasped.
“How did it know to use Protect!?” Haley asked exasperatedly from her referee position.
I smirked. “It’s just a little thing we worked on. Now Liepard, let’s end this. Go ahead and use Aerial Ace.”
Liepard meowed and bolted toward Swampert. White streaks began to surround Liepard as she did this, speeding her up and making her hover off the ground. Before Swampert could even blink, Liepard tackled it in the stomach, throwing it backward. Swampert rolled back and few times, eventually losing its momentum and stopping in the sand. Liepard touched down onto the ground gently.
Haley ran up to Swampert. “Swampert’s out,” she stated. “Tyler and Liepard win!”
Liepard meowed happily and ran up to me. I knelt down and petted its forehead. “You were awesome,” I said. “I know you’ve been struggling with that move for a bit, but you used it perfectly tonight.”
The Pokémon purred.
“Wow Tyler,” Alex started as he walked up to me. He had already returned Swampert to its Pokéball. “You have gotten so much stronger.”
“That was amazing!!!” Haley screamed as she ran up. “Oh my gosh! I knew you had gotten super talented when I saw you on TV, but seeing in person…wow!”
I laughed. “Thank you guys. Always happy to satisfy.”
“You should become a gym leader too,” Alex stated. “You’d be awesome at it.”
“Nah,” I said as I returned Liepard to her Pokéball. “I don’t think getting into a career where you lose for a living is really my thing.”
Alex growled. “Who says I’m going to lose?”
I laughed. “I didn’t, but if no one could beat you there wouldn’t even be a league tournament!” We started walking up the shore toward the marketplace. “My goal,” I continued, “is to become one of the Elite Four, and then maybe someday defeat Wallace and become the Champion.”
“I think you’ll do it,” Haley complimented, patting my shoulder.
The three of us continued through the Pacifidlog streets, occasionally passing people. Pacifidlog is a fairly small town, so most everyone knows each other. We got a lot of waves, and even a few “Congratulations!” Eventually, we turned a corner and stepped onto Main Street, home of the world-renowned Pacifidlog Market.
Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The Pacifidlog Market is actually fairly small, only stretching down one street. Since Pacifidlog Town is somewhat of a tourist hotspot, most of the shops are souvenir ones, ranging from stuffed Pokémon toys, t-shirts, little key chains, and many more. A tourist could burn their entire wallet here.
However, for natives like Alex, Haley, and me, the Pacifidlog Market is an awesome hangout, especially at night. Lights are strung over the top of the road, lighting it up casually and beautifully. It reminded me of Nimbasa City, but less flashy and colorful and much more peaceful. We’re friends with most of the vendors, so it’s great to say hi and laugh about old times. No one owns any cars on Pacifidlog, so the street was free reign for anyone to play or walk or just be happy.
“I’ve missed this place,” I said.
“It’s missed you,” Haley replied, looking at me. Her eyes reflected the lights above us, making them look like two hazel fireworks frozen in time.
“Okay guys, enough of the mushy stuff,” Alex said. “Let’s go get a hot dog.”
“Alex, we just ate.”
“I’m still hungry.”
After getting a hot dog from Robert, we decided to check out the shops. All of the stands were fairly similar in size but decorated very differently. The t-shirt stand had its merchandise hanging all over it, whereas the keychain stand displayed its items all over the front counter. Some vendors were attempting to lure people in, whereas others took a more passive approach. I’m fairly sure the man wearing sunglasses at nine at night was asleep.
“This little Torchic doll is adorable!” Haley cooed as she picked it up from the stuffed toy stand and snuggled it. I understood why she liked it so much. Torchic had been her first Pokémon, so she had a special connection to it. “How much?” she asked the vendor.
“Twenty dollars,” she replied.
Haley’s face sank. “I don’t have enough…” She sat the toy back down. I put a hand on her shoulder sympathetically, trying to think of something helpful to say, but failed. I silently cursed myself as we walked away.
As we continued down the street, something green flashed in the corner of my eye. I turned and saw a booth laden with what appeared to be ancient material. There were a few metal items, such as daggers and what looked like a very primitive Pokéball, but all of them had rust creeping up on them. I noticed several arrowheads, along with a few chunks of rock that had some interesting dot markings on them. Some pieces of clothing that looked like a Pharaoh’s were hanging on the back wall of the booth.
The item that had caught my eye was not as large as any of these items, though. It was about the size of a coin, but its color was a vibrant green that seemed to shine even under the night sky. I picked it up and examined it closely, noticing how impossibly smooth it was. I could see a perfect reflection of myself in it.
“That’s a Rayquaza scale.”
I jumped. A tall, tan man was standing behind the counter. He was unshaven and his brown hair was impressively unruly. He sported some desert camouflage pants and a tan tank top that showed off his massive arms, which looked like they could crumble a building with one punch. Smiling calmly, he held out an enormous hand, and I set the scale in it. He held it up and stared at it for a moment.
“Wait,” Alex butted in, “so that’s a real scale from the real Rayquaza?”
“Yes,” the man replied with a very deep voice, setting the scale back down on the counter. “You kids remember several years ago when Groudon and Kyogre had their battle in Sootopolis City?”
“Of course,” I answered. “It was all over the news. Rayquaza came in and stopped them. We hadn't even left on our first journey when that happened.”
“Well, I happened to be in Sootopolis on that day.” He chuckled. “I was afraid for my life. After the battle though, as Rayquaza was flying away, it dropped a single green scale, which landed in front of me. That scale is the same one.”
“That’s so cool!” Haley squealed.
“Yes it is. It’s my most prized possession…” the man trailed off as he stared at it. “You can have it for a hundred.”
I did a double take. “Wait, what?”
“Okay I’ll sell it to your for ninety.”
“But…but you just said it was your most prized possession. Why would you be trying to sell it?”
The man sighed. “Money’s been very tight lately. I’m an archaeologist, but I haven’t made any discoveries in a long, long time. So unfortunately, I’m being forced to sell my possessions in order to pay for the necessities.”
There was a moment of awkward silence.
“Well that sucks,” Alex blurted out. Haley punched him in the gut.
The man laughed. “It’s all right. I’m Rocky by the way.”
“My name’s Tyler. These are my friends Haley and Alex.”
“Are you kids from here?”
“Yes, we all are,” Haley replied. “I’ve been working at the Pokémon Center studying to become a Pokémon nurse.”
“I’ve been studying to become a gym leader in Rustboro, but I’m home for the summer,” Alex stated, regaining his breath.
“And I just got home today after being gone for four years traveling other regions,” I said.
“Really?” Rocky scratched his chin. “Where did you travel?”
“Kanto, Johto, and Unova.”
“Tyler won the Unova League!” Haley interjected.
“Wow! That is impressive!” Rocky said. “Congratulations young man!”
I smiled sheepishly. “Thank you.”
“So you’ve got some seriously powerful Pokémon, do you not?”
“Yes…” Alex grumbled, still upset over his defeat.
I chuckled. “Yes, they’re a talented group.”
“And you’ve gotten the opportunity to train all over the world?” Rocky continued, suddenly very interested in me.
“Yes, I spent two years in Kanto, a year in Johto, and a year in Unova,” I replied.
"So you're quite the experienced traveler! Now tell me...have you ever navigated Routes 132, 133, and 134? The ones just west of here?"
I chuckled. "Are you kidding? I used to go out on those routes all the time when I was a kid. I would borrow my dad's Sealeo and go out surfing in the currents for an afternoon. Then his Pelipper would fly me back since the currents go mostly westward."
Rocky's face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Would you be my guide!?" he asked suddenly.
I gave him a perplexed look.
Rocky coughed and backed up a bit. "Sorry. That was a bit sudden. Allow me to explain." He cleared his throat. "I believe there to be a secret, underwater cavern located on Route 134. However, I'm not exactly sure of the precise location of the cavern. So, I need someone who is familiar with the Routes to help me navigate them since the currents are so powerful. Would you be willing to do that for me?"
I stood there silently, staring at the Rayquaza scale.
“Sure,” I replied.
Rocky’s expression became ecstatic.
“But on one condition.”
He looked at me uneasily. “What is it?”
I looked at Haley, then at Alex. I grinned. "My friends come along too."