Rochelle was practically radiating awkwardness. It unsettled Tyler just a bit. Although considering the circumstances, he really couldn't blame her. "Hey, it's okay," he replied timidly. "Uh...you really don't need to do anything for me. You're okay, and that's good enough in my book". He smiled faintly. "So, how about we go inside? I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing Misty battle".
Rochelle blinked in mild shock, surprised that Tyler didn't want to capitalise on her offer. Still, the awkward discussion was done, everyone was fine, and that was what she had wanted. "Oh, um... okay, sure," she answered, following him into the Cerulean Gym. The décor was amazing: a fair portion of the entrance hall was given over to coral sculptures of various people and Pokémon. The latter were clearly of the Water-type, judging by the fins and general body shape. Rochelle didn't recognise some of them.
The two of them paused at the two hallways, rejoining the rest of the group had gone on ahead without waiting up. The Gym's internal layout, which could be easily seen from their viewpoint, caught Rochelle's attention quickly: there was a large swimming pool in the center of the room, with a few platforms scattered around the place, presumably for people to stand on. Rows of bleachers stood parallel to the long edges of the pool to allow for a considerably large audience.
"Okay... so who's going for it, then?" she asked the others, curious to see how many people were challenging Misty. She wouldn't do so herself just yet; she wanted to see how the Cerulean Leader battled and get an idea of how much stronger than Brock she was. Rochelle remembered that Gary had referred to Brock as a pushover, though... maybe Misty was stronger than people originally expected. With that in mind, she resolved to take note of how Misty battled and how much her Pokémon could take.
(Wattsup, civilians? Guess who is kinda back?)
Jordan turned his head as the rest of the group passed by, to see Rochelle and Tyler still standing back their, not really looking like they were saying anything but they slowly caught up with the rest of the group, which was good. The light shining off the the water from the windows above was very bright, but to Jordan it still looked as welcoming as it did last night. Maybe swimming would even be an option after. That would be so totally awesome to get back in the water.
The bell was still not a welcome noise in Misty's ears. "OH LET ME HAVE JUST ONE DAY OFF!" she cursed to no one in particular. "Ugh, FINE!" She raced through her room as quickly as her hungover self would allow, scooping up a clean swimsuit, a jacket, and a pair of sunglasses and changing before heading out towards the pool.
The challengers stood in by the pool area, awaiting the arrival of the gym leader. Finally the platform at the other end of the gym began to rise, just as it had last night. On it was the red-headed Water Master of Cerulean, gripping the railing as tight as she could. So happy I grabbed these sunglasses. Sun would just kill me right now. Of course what am I going to do for my dive? Have to try and grab them before the platform goes back down I guess. She addressed the people below. "Greetings challengers!" The platform was still rising, at about seven meters now. "So you come here thinking that you can just ride out this match like a...weak wave and walk out with a badge? You don't know what forces you're dealing with!" While think of words and concentrating on maintaining balance, Misty was looking out at the group before. Hey those people from last night are here again...and that guy too! Nice. The platform ground to a halt at the ten meter mark. Misty removed her jacket and her sunglasses, tossing them on the board. "I am Misty of the Cerulean City Gym, and I am not frightened by any challenge!" She ran to the edge of the board, hands up in a point and jumped, her body slowly rotating forward as she fell, entering the water hands first, barely a ripple being made as she entered the pool. A couple of quick strokes and she was back on the poolside, hoisting herself out of the water as the platform began its retreat.
"If you're not prepared for the awesome fury of Water Pokemon, then you are going to be swept right out of this gym by the torrent of my Pokemon's skills!" Wish I didn't have to say all these stupid puns. So lame. As the platform reached approximately ground level, she reached over the railing and fished her sunglasses off, putting them back on to shield her aching brain from the tormenting rays coming in. It was tough to get them on with her now soaked red hair clinging to her skin, but she managed. "Now which one of you is going to step forward first to try and defeat me?"
Alan got into position for those challenging the gym leader to battle, and he cringed openly every time he heard one of her puns. Once he was in position he spoke.
"Can you please stop with the puns? They really aren't necessary, excellent dive though." He said as he let Croc run out in front and jump onto the floating platform for battle.
"Oh thank god, I was getting really sick of that. Everybody always expects me to make stupid puns and stuff and I hate it so much. This will be a two on two battle so choose your second pokemon." Misty replied, pulling out two pokeballs and releasing them.
"Alright Stayu, Corsola, let's make this quick!" She shouted as she tossed them into the air releasing the two pokemon onto the platform.
"Fair enough Misty. Alright Donna let's not disappoint our host." He said as he tossed the pokeball out and released the grass pokemon onto the platform as well. He then pulled out his pokedex to see what it had to say on the two new pokemon.
"Well at least one entry was actually useful." Alan muttered as he began the battle.
"Alright Croc focus on Staryu and Corsola will be your target Donna." Alan said before Misty threw her first attack.
"Will you just hury up already?" Misty quickly replied just before Alan had finished. Staryu and Corsola tackled the two pokemon with both hits connecting with both pokemon. Croc was knocked back into the water while Bellsprout held its position.
Croc swam under the field before jumping out of the water to latch onto the Staryu with its jaws, the Staryu began to spin to try and send the pokemon that was biting it flying but that only caused Croc to bit harder until Staryu entered the water to try and escape. Croc then unlatched and began to swim around again.
Donna meanwhile use the attack it had tried to attack Spike with a day ago and while most vines missed the dodging Corsola enough managed to hit that it was visibly shaken by the attacks.
Corsola the pokemon that wasn't currently underwater responded before focusing its energy to harden the rock covering its skin. The pokemon looked to be better off but it certainly wasn't perfect. Meanwhile Staryu began to spin rapidly and moved to quickly for the Totodile to dodge, taking a direct hit. Croc was getting angry with the repeated hits it was taking and began scratching wildly at the pokemon that continued to spin.
Bellsprout continued to lash out at the Corsola with its vines as the Corsola dodged and began to focus on healing itself. The pokemon seemed better off as Bellsprout continued its assault, only stopping when the Corsola charged it yet again and knocked it back to the edge. Bell sprout lashed out again and moved forward before being slammed back again. At this point Bellsprout wasn't looking too much the worse for wear but its assault was slowing and it was becoming noticable. Bell sprout knew the Corsola was about to go down and mustered enough energy for one last assault on the pokemon. Slamming it as many times as possible, this time the Corsola was too tired to dodge and the assault became just too much. The Corsola fainted and the Bellsprout visibly relaxed a bit.
While this had been going one Staryu and Totodile were still busy trading blows, and Totodile was keeping toe to toe with the Staryu but it was quickly taking its toll on both the pokemon. Their swimming was visibly lethargic as Staryu continued to spin and tackle the pokemon in the water while Croc continued to scratch and bite whenever it could. Alan knew if something didn't change he would probably lose in the water, and then even Donna would have trouble as it wouldn't be able to see where attacks were coming from if it hid under the platforms.
"Croc, jump out of the water!" The pokemon immediately followed its orders and stopped trying to hurt the other pokemon in favor of swimming as quickly as it could to get out of the water. Staryu followed the other pokemon jumping out in an attempt to follow.
"Quickly Donna, wrap Staryu in vines!" Alan shouted as both pokemon left the water. The bellsprout immediately shot enough vines to surround the Staryu and very quickly began constricting the vines as much as it could. At the same time Croc got an idea as the Staryu was held below it, suspended in midair. It turned itself so that it's head was pointing down as if it were going to dive back in and opened its jaws wide. As soon as it was within reach the Totodile clamped down with its jaws once again and began scratching it while wildily ripping its head side to side as if it were trying to rip the Staryu apart.
Suddenly though, Totdile found its jaws shutting as a red light shot out to pull the pokemon back. It flailed as it fell back into the water and Alan recalled his Bellsprout while Totodile swam back to Alan's side and immediately collapsed beside him. Alan picked Totodile up as he looked over to Misty.
"Congratulations on your victory." Misty said with practiced ease. She tossed the badge across the pool and Alan caught it and put it on the inside of his jacket next to Brock's badge. She followed this up with 210 pokedollars and a TM containing water pulse.Maybe now they'll leave and I can actually get some rest. She thought as the next challenger stepped up as Alan stepped down.
Of course not. Was her thought as she watched this.
Kind of reluctantly, Aeris stepped forward to challenge Misty. She wanted to try and prove she could fight against the Water gym leader. She knew it could go both ways. Either she'd lose and just give up or she'd win and be a step closer to being a better trainer. She felt she was ready to take that risk. She knew that to win, she'd need to use her best Pokemon.
"I ch-challenge you, M-Misty." she managed to say loud enough for Misty to hear. "You got a speech impediment or something?" Misty asked her in a mocking tone. Aeris didn't answer right away. She walked onto the platform, feeling shaky and unpleasant. But she knew she had to do this. "N-no, I'm just terrified of w-water..." Misty just laughed at that. "Then why come here and challenge me if you're afraid of water? Seems stupid to me. Nevertheless, I accept your challenge." Misty's mocking didn't make Aeris feel any better, but she was determined to not let it get her down.
"Staryu and Starmie, I choose you!" Misty called out as she sent out the two water Pokemon into the pool. "Pick your two Pokemon and lets get this over with, hydrophobic!" Now she was just picking fun of her for no good reason. Aeris held tightly onto the railing of the platform as she picked up two of her Pokeballs. She hadn't planned on using Blaze, but it should work if she would be careful. "Blaze and Tristan, I choose you!" She sent out her two Pokemon, sending Blaze to the side of the pool and Tristan in the air. Misty laughed at the sight of the Charmeleon. "Another trainer with another Fire type? And especially a Charmeleon. Why don't you guys learn that I hold their weakness in my hands? Fine, if that's your Pokemon, get ready."
Blaze was as surprised as Tristan that she had been chosen to fight against the Water gym leader instead of Ekans. But she understood that she had to do her best and avoid the water as much as possible.
"Tristan, l-lift up Blaze a-above the p-pool!" Aeris commanded her Butterfree. He was a little confused, but did as he was told. Blaze held tightly onto him. "Staryu and Starmie, use your rapid spin attacks to get them!" Misty commanded her Pokemon. "Watch out!" Aeris said as the two starfish Pokemon came spinning towards the two of them. Tristan managed to barely avoid getting hit by either one, and Blaze used her Metal Claw to deflect the attack of Starmie that headed towards her. "Now Blaze, use your Ember on the water!" Blaze started to do so, heating up the pool little by little.
Misty already knew this tactic. "Oh no, you don't! You're not about to heat things up in my pool! Starmie, stop them with your bubblebeam! Staryu, spray them with your water gun!" The two starfish Pokemon hopped out of the pool and started using their respective attacks.
Tristan had a bit of a problem avoiding getting hit or letting Blaze get hit. Blaze kept using her Ember on the pool, until Tristan got hit. "Throw her t-to the s-side of the p-pool, Tristan, then use your Gust on them!" He did as Aeris told him and threw Blaze to the side. She landed safely, with no water getting on her or her landing in the pool.
Tristan started to use his Gust attack, while Blaze kept up with using Ember. There was steam coming from the pool, and it was getting hotter inside the gym. Staryu was thrown back by Tristan's Gust attack, but Starmie stood still, though it was clear that it was just barely able to stand. "D-dust them with y-your Sleep P-powder, then f-follow it up with a-another G-gust!" Tristan switched to spreading a fair amount of sleep powder from his wings, then gusted it all towards Staryu and Starmie. The former fell asleep easily, but Starmie tried its best to avoid falling asleep, shooting at Tristan with a water gun. It hit him, but the sleep powder did its work and Starmie fell asleep.
"Blaze, h-head towards them now." Blaze stopped using Ember on the pool water, and walked over to the two starfish Pokemon. The sleep powder had been effective, but Starmie was waking up again. Evidently, it hadn't knocked it out for very long. "Blaze, quickly u-use your D-dragon Rage!" Blaze heard her trainer and followed her command, sending out a bunch of odd looking fire balls that danced around Staryu and Starmie, closing in on them. "Starmie, take care of those fire balls!" Starmie tried to escape from them and spray them with a combo of water gun and bubblebeam, but they kept coming for it. Starmie hit the pool, but it was too hot to stay in it for too long. Starmie suffered some burns from it and hadn't noticed what side of the pool it had emerged from, which was the same side it had jumped from. "Blaze, use your Metal Claw attack!" Misty was very confused by that command. "But, metal isn't very effective against water..." Blaze came straight for the Starmie with a raised Metal Claw. Normally it wouldn't be very effective, but because of the burns from the hot pool, it did its job of taking off two of the Starmie's limbs. Blaze kept bashing on it with Metal Claw, hitting the red jewel on Starmie a few times, making it crack a bit.
Misty watched in frustration as she was getting beaten by another Fire Pokemon. "Come on, Staryu, wake up! And Starmie, fight back with your bubblebeam!" Tristan picked up the asleep Staryu and flew over the pool with it, dropping it in, having seen what the hot pool did to the Starmie. However, Misty didn't want the same to happen to Staryu as with Starmie, so she retreated it into its Pokeball, a sign that it had been defeated. "It's all up to you, Starmie!" Starmie tried to fight back using Bubblebeam, but couldn't get a clear shot on Blaze. Meanwhile, Aeris had commanded Tristan to use another Sleep Powder attack, sending it to Starmie. Blaze held her nose with one hand, knowing that the Slwep Powder was coming her way too, while using Metal Claw with her other. The Starmie couldn't resist the Sleep Powder and fell asleep, falling into the pool again, making its gem blink slowly. Misty quickly retreated it into its Pokeball so it wouldn't be for too long in the pool.
Aeris threw her fist in the air, so happy to have won. And with Blaze, no less. Misty wasn't all too happy about that. "Fair enough, you beat me. And with a Fire Pokemon no less..." Misty mumbled the latter sentence. "Here is your reward." She was about to throw a small pouch when Tristan flew towards her. "What do you want?" she said snappily. "J-just give it to him s-so he can give it t-to me." Aeris said to Misty. "Fine, fine..." Misty handed the pouch over to Tristan, who flew over to Aeris with it. She opened it and found a badge that looked like a waterdrop, $210 in cash and a TM. "That TM contains Water Pulse, though I don't think you will need it." Aeris wasn't sure whether to hold onto it, but she would anyway.
Aeris got off the platform, still a bit shaky, but now it was also because she had won. She had actually won against the Water gym leader. Blaze walked over to her and gave her a big hug. Aeris got down on her knees and hugged Blaze back, tears in her eyes. They were happy tears, however. "I did it. I actually did it." Her voice was cracking up from how happy she was. She managed to stand up and walk to the others. "I-I do apologize, Eileen, for kind of using your strategy of heating the pool..." She couldn't stop smiling.
"Alright, who's the next one?" Misty called to the other trainers. This damn sun is killing me... I hope this won't take much longer...
"That would be... me, I guess. Rochelle Sanders. I'll give it a shot," Rochelle declared as she stepped up to the platform. Watching the others fight, especially Aeris who had managed to overcome her hydrophobia for the most part and defeated Misty with a Fire-type - an obvious disadvantage from the get-go - she figured she wouldn't have much difficulty with this battle.
"Alright, Rochelle, let's get this over with," Misty answered as she shot another look at the rest of the group, eyes lingering on Jordan momentarily before she brought her attention back to the battle at hand. "Choose your champions... Seel! Poliwhirl! You're on! Show them what you're made of!" she cried as a new pair of Poké Balls were opened up. Both Pokémon were released onto platforms close to the Gym Leader. While the Seel dove into the pool water without a second thought, Poliwhirl assumed what Rochelle thought was some sort of fighting stance.
Rochelle took a moment to pull out her Pokédex and scan the two Misty had chosen.
Seel. Sea Lion Pokémon.
Height: 3'07". Weight: 198.4 lbs.
Description: A Pokémon that lives on icebergs. It swims in the sea using the point on its head to break up ice.
Poliwhirl. Tadpole Pokémon.
Height: 3'03". Weight: 44.1 lbs.
Poliwhirl is the evolved form of Poliwag.
Description: The spiral pattern on its belly subtly undulates. Staring at it gradually causes drowsiness.
With that information, she put the Pokédex away and considered the options she had. Kirsten was Water-type, so her attacks wouldn't be of much use against the Gym as a whole. Iskra was the obvious choice for her team... but he wouldn't be able to beat both Pokémon alone, and the battle would take place both in the water and on what passed for land. The Mareep needed a backup, one who could hit hard and fast... Phoenix. While the little bird was small, he was a tough one.
"Any time now..." Misty hinted, impatient and wanting to deal with the rest of her opponents quickly.
"A little patience would go a long way," Rochelle muttered to herself as she took the two appropriate Poké Balls from her belt and opened them, releasing Iskra onto a platform and Phoenix into the air. At the sight of the two small Pokémon Rochelle had chosen, and the defiant expressions on their faces, Misty burst out laughing. "You honestly think that those two even have a chance of beating my team? Seel, Ice Shard! Poliwhirl, Hypnosis!"
Not needing to be told which of Rochelle's Pokémon to target, having dealt with bird Pokémon many times before, the Seel broke the surface of the water, landing on a different platform, and blinked once. The water that had been splashed up by its action flash-froze into slivers of ice, which bobbed on the surface of the pool. Seel promptly began hefting them into the air with its mouth and batting them into the air with its tail... with such speed that Phoenix had no chance to dodge them. The Spearow screeched as he was buffeted back and forth by the shards, trying desperately to evade at least one but to no avail.
"Come on, Phoenix! Hold it together!" Rochelle silently pleaded, not wanting to be taken down a peg in the first minute of the battle. She didn't want to lose... but didn't want her team to get hurt in the process. She had to take down the Seel before it knocked Phoenix out of the match. "Iskra, ThunderShock that Seel! Phoenix, Fury Attack, same target!" The latter was a bit of a gamble, since Phoenix was trying not to get hit.
Poliwhirl, however, had other ideas for Rochelle's battle plan. The bipedal Water-type pointed one of its hands at Iskra, and the black spiral on its body began to glow faintly. It looked like it was spinning slowly, and it caught the attention of the Mareep, who stared at the glowing spiral with his head cocked to the side, entranced. Rochelle's command was forgotten as Iskra struggled to maintain focus. His legs were weakening, they couldn't hold him up...
"No, no!" Rochelle cried as Iskra slumped to the ground, sound asleep. Misty had her easily outmatched, and the young Trainer realised this too late. She didn't stand a chance, and the truth of that realisation hit her like a punch to the gut. The Gym Leader wasn't about to let her retreat, though, as she capitalised on her Pokémon's clear advantage. "Poliwhirl, Body Slam! Seel, keep it up!" she ordered with a dramatic finger-point. Rochelle paid the gesture no heed as the Seel continued its icy assault, hurling shard after shard until Phoenix could take no more and fell out of the air, landing on the hard surface of the platform below. He didn't get up.
Misty's Poliwhirl jumped into the water and sped straight for Iskra's platform. Once it had hoisted itself out of the pool, it paused for a moment before it leaped into the air and crashed down on the sleeping Mareep. It looked like it hurt, even with the thick wool to mitigate some of the impact. Surprisingly, even after the attack, Iskra remained sleeping.
"Phoenix..." Rochelle murmured in slight shock, afraid that the little Spearow had been hurt as a result of the crash-landing in addition to the shard barrage. She didn't want any more harm to come to him, especially if he couldn't fight back. Therefore she took out his Poké Ball and called him back into it, the device blinking once before she reattached it to her belt. A triumphant grin crossed Misty's face as she savoured the minor victory, but Rochelle ignored her opponent, paying more attention to her one remaining Pokémon. "Iskra... you gotta get up, come on..." she pleaded, fear for the well-being of her Pokémon evident in her voice. The hand that was clutching the railing for stability began to shake, the knuckles turning white as she doubled the strength of her grip.
"A word to the wise, Rochelle: take no chances in battle. Finish it!" Misty commanded, her Pokémon leaping to obey. While the Seel made to imitate Poliwhirl by swimming over to Iskra's platform, the Tadpole Pokémon performed a second Body Slam. It seemed to hurt a considerable amount more than it had the first time, as Iskra remained unconscious. When the Seel got to the platform, it lightly poked Iskra with the horn on its head, but there was no response from Rochelle's Pokémon. Iskra was out of the match as well.
Rochelle was devastated by how easily Misty had dispatched her Pokémon. Clearly she was a much stronger opponent than Brock had been. Hanging her head in both dejection and shame, she called Iskra back into his ball and turned to leave the Gym. Misty, however, had one last comment to make. "Come back with something stronger next time... maybe I'll go easy on you." Not a chance... though she doesn't need to know that, she thought to herself, amused, as she returned her Seel and Poliwhirl to their Poké Balls.
"Next!" she called out to the group that remained.
Once out of the Gym, Rochelle picked up the pace and headed straight for the Cerulean Pokémon Center. She had screwed up big, early in the League challenge, and thoughts of fear began to creep into her head. What if that Seel had hurt Phoenix beyond the aid of the Center's nurses? The crash had looked like it hurt a lot, not to mention the Ice-type attacks that had easily taken him out of the running. Ice beats Flying... Of course it does. She had to find some way around the fact that Misty could easily take out two of her Pokémon - Phoenix and Natalya - and incapacitate the others with near-equal ease. Maybe she needed a new addition to the team... but at that moment she was more concerned with making sure the Pokémon she currently had were okay.
"It's quite alright Aeris, I certainly didn't patent that idea or anything. You did very good in your battle; I was surprised when you chose Blaze. In the end though you managed the win, and that is what counts in a battle," Eileen replied to Aeris after jotting down the last notes of the battle, turning over to a new page for the next.
Rochelle was written at the top of the page once Eileen saw that Rochelle was the next one challenging Misty, the chosen Pokemon being added underneath their respective trainer. Although Eileen was initially worried about Rochelle's choices in Pokemon she figured that there must be a sort of strategy behind the choosing of a Spearow in the battle. 'I had chosen a Pokemon that would not conventionally make sense against Misty, perhaps it's the same here,' she thought, deciding to watch the battle closely to try to catch onto the strategy. It only took a few minutes of watching before she came to the conclusion that Rochelle did not have a concrete plan laid out in this fight, Eileen frowning at the display before her.
This was not a battle, it was a massacre. She wrote down at the bottom of the page once Rochelle's Mareep was defeated, watching as the trainer soon left with her Pokemon. Eileen shook her head a few times before turning back to the other trainers, waiting on seeing who would go next.
Simon stepped forward, followed by an energetic Shadow.
"I'm next." the trainer announced. While taking the remaining steps to the platform Simon eased his glasses out of their case and slid them on. Shadow turned in a circle before sitting down. The Mightyena's tail thumped against the floor making his trainer grin briefly.
But there wasn't any time to waste. "Horsea. Poliwhirl, Go!" Misty's shout was followed by a grand sweeping gesture with one arm that looked practiced. Simon dropped his pack on the ground with one hand and pulled out his Pokedex with the other. This Poliwhirl was a bit darker than the one that had just battled. And the Horsea appeared to be young.
|WT 17.6 lbs|
|It makes its nest in the shade of corals. If it senses danger, it spits murky ink and flees.|
|WT 44.1 lbs|
|The spiral pattern on its belly subtly undulates. Staring at it gradually causes drowsiness.|
'Not good.' Simon thought. The data confirmed what he'd already known. His team had no natural advantages. Then again, Aeris had used a Fire Pokémon. It was worth a shot. "Shadow, you've got Poliwhirl, okay bud?"
"Migh." Shadow ran for pool without waiting for further instructions. Simon paused with his hand hovering over the three occupied Pokeballs he had left. Brynn was out of the question, Penn might be able to dodge but...
'Should have had that training session. Simon berated himself. He unhooked a battered Pokéball and held it carefully at his side as it engaged.
"Drowww?" Drowzee appeared, yawning, and immediately spun to look at its surroundings. "Zee?" the Pokemon asked.
"Hey." Simon said quietly, kneeling down to the Pokémon's level. "I need your help." He pointed to the Horsea in the pool. Unlike its tense companion Horsea was swimming around in the pool and making happy, contented sounds. "But you don't have to fight if you don't want to." Simon continued. He wanted to be clear. He still had Penn if Drowzee backed out.
"Drow..." Drowzee scratched his head and shuffled forward without crossing the painted line. He looked at where Shadow and Poliwhirl were taunting one another, at Horsea, and finally to where Misty was standing on the platform. The gym leader's foot was tapping impatiently.
"Zee." Drowzee nodded and walked toward the pool. As the Pokemon advanced Simon took a few seconds to appreciate the Pokémon Center's healing facility. All of the recent injuries Drowzee had received were gone. And even the older scars had been minimized. For some reason they'd been unable to heal the hole in Drowzee's ear but Nurse Joy had insisted that the injury was very old and no longer caused any pain. Sensing Drowzee's approach Horsea swam forward to meet its opponent.
"Poliwhirl, use Watergun. Horsea, water gun." Misty called. One low and one high pitched cry answered her.
Simon watched with a mixture of curiosity and dread as Horsea took a deep breath and Poliwhirl did something with its hands underwater. "Sea!" "Whirl!". Bubbles shot out of Horsea's mouth and a sudden spray of water erupted out of the pool. Several bubbles hit the unprepared Drowzee. "Zee. Zee. Zee." Each bubble that hit was punctuated by a cry of pain. But on the eighth one Drowzee began running alongside the edge of the pool.
Simon heard a high pitched canine yelp and turned to see Shadow sliding on the floor. Though the initial attack had missed, all of the water directed at Shadow was now covering the floor making it hard for him to stay upright. Poliwhirl was treading water near the edge of the pool as he waited for his trainer's next command. Poliwhirl was actually very close to the edge. What if a water Pokemon was taken away from water? "Shadow, get him out of there!." Simon called, pointing and hoping his Pokémon took the hint. "Na." Shadow answered. Lunging forward Shadow clamped his teeth around Poliwhirl's arm and pulled.
"Drowzee," Simon quickly thought through the Pokemon's attacks. Hypnosis seemed like a good option. The addressed Pokémon had other plans. Without any prompting Drowzee held up its hands and began murmuring quietly. To Simon's surprise Horsea began glowing. 'Ah.' Perhaps that was better than hypnosis.
"POLI!" An angry cry and answering growl caught Simon's attention. Shadow had managed to halfway haul Poliwhirl out of the water. The Tadpole Pokémon had one hand clamped firmly one the edge of the pool and was struggling to get back into the water. Shadow's growls echoed oddly but Simon could also hear an odd chugging sound that he realized was Poliwhirl.
"Poliwhirl use Body Slam. Horsea use Bubblebeam." Misty called.
Poliwhirl gave an affirmative cry. The water beneath Poliwhirl's hand began churning. Horsea prepared his own attack.
"Drowzee, be careful." Simon warned. "Zeee. Drowzee answered calmly. "You too, Shadow."
"Mi-" Was all Shadow got out before Poliwhirl released his hold and slammed its full weight into Shadow. Simon stared as the considerably lighter Pokémon managed to send Shadow backwards several feet. Shadow's whine was more annoyance than pain. Simon then realized Shadow was sliding. 'Not good' Shadow snapped at Poliwhirl as the two continued to move farther away from the pool.
Horsea was making agitated sounds and squeaking anxiously at its trainer. Unable to fulfill it's trainer's command the little water Pokemon was panicking. Simon laughed. Drowzee turned and made a happy sound. "Well done." Simon called. "Drow." Drowzee waved his hand.
"You only disabled one attack." Misty remarked, not at all impressed. "Horsea, calm down and use water gun. Poliwhirl, keep using body slam."
"Poli." Poliwhirl dashed forward. Unlike Shadow the water Pokémon had no problem gaining speed on the wet surface. Horsea stopped squeaking and inhaled audibly.
"Confusion!" Simon called. Drowzee's hands were already moving, faster than they had previously. Simon hoped he was using the right technique. "Shadow, keep moving!" he called. "Miy!" Shadow replied. A bizarre game of tag began as Poliwhirl tried to body slam Shadow and Shadow slid and dodged out of the way. When he couldn't dodge with his own speed Shadow tackled the air. Around and around the pool the two Pokemon went.
"Sea!" Suddenly a stream of bubbles flew between the two, neatly intercepting Poliwhirl's attack. Caught off-guard, Poliwhirl rolled twice before recovering its balance. "Poli!" The Pokemon cried angrily as it waved in the direction of the pool. Shadow noticed he was no longer being pursued and stopped. Even at a distance Simon could see Shadow was panting with exhaustion.
In the pool Horsea was squeaking anxiously again. "Sea. Horse. Sea. Sea." Shaking its whole body up and down the Pokemon appeared to be apologizing.
"Drowzee." Simon said slowly, making the word a question. He didn't want to attract too much attention.
"Zee." Drowzee began another attack. Simon waited until Poliwhirl's turned toward Horsea, still arguing with his teammate. "Shadow, now!" the trainer called.
"Migh!" Shadow tackled the water Pokemon. Poliwhirl cried out in pain but had enough energy to shove the canine away. The battle of tag resumed.
"Seeaaa...." Across the arena Horsea was sinking.
"Oh come on." Misty scowled at the sleeping form, now fully submerged. "Wake up!" she called. But Horsea was already under water. And, Simon guessed, Misty couldn't revive the Pokémon without having enough Awakening to fill the pool. "Return." Misty called. A flash of red light briefly turned the water dark as Horsea was recalled.
"Ha! Good job, Drowzee." Simon enthused. He grinned at the Pokémon. Instead of looking pleased Drowzee pointed. "Zee!" the Pokémon insisted. With a frown Simon turned just as a loud collision sounded.
"Shadow!" Poliwhirl was standing over his unmoving opponent. A low whine just barely stopped Simon from leaving the trainer platform. His shoes slid and the trainer was forced to kneel to keep from falling. Simon slowly looked up, putting one hand on the ground to stay balanced. Shadow's paws were twitching, Simon noted with relief, and he was still conscious. But then came an awful wheezing sound and another whine.
Simon yanked his pack closer and began shoving items aside. As he searched, Drowzee walked back toward the trainer platform. Simon closed his hand around the bottle he needed and quickly gauged the distance to his downed Pokémon. The last attack, which must have been Poliwhirl's body slam, had taken them to the complete opposite side of the gym. Too far for Simon to throw the healing agent as he had done once before. Still keeping the bottle in one hand Simon detached Shadow's Pokeball. "Return." Simon called. The red light stretched across the pool and for a terrifying second Simon thought that it wouldn't reach. But then Shadow's form disappeared. Poliwhirl kicked water from the ground where Shadow had once been. "Whirl." The Pokemon muttered with a note of satisfaction before diving toward the pool.
"So you forfeit?" Misty asked Simon, sounding a big smug.
"No!" Simon protested. He was doing no such thing.
"You have no Pokémon on the field." Misty pointed to the pool which contained only her Pokemon. Definitely smug.
Simon frowned. He yanked a potion out of his pack and set Shadow's Pokéball on the ground, flicking the activation button with one finger. Light coalesced and revealed Shadow's still paralyzed form. They were halfway to winning. So close. Simon snapped the tops off and upended both bottles, covering Shadow, part of the floor, and one of his own shoes. He didn't care at this point. Water had already soaked into his pants from his kneeling on the ground.
"Well?" The gym leader's foot began tapping impatiently again. An official-looking person Simon hadn't noticed before stepped toward the pool with one hand raised.
Simon sighed quietly and reached out to pat Shadow's head. At his trainer's touch Shadow whined. The sound was clearer than before and the awful wheezing had stopped. But the paralyze heal wasn't done yet. As soon as the this was over, Simon decided, he would return his Pokemon and head to the Pokémon Center. They could come back and try the battle again after some training.
"Huh?" Simon looked up to see Poliwhirl glowing bright pink and gesturing angrily at Drowzee. Instead of returning to the platform Drowzee had detoured to the pool. The mysterious official nodded once then vanished to the sidelines again.
"Poliwhirl, use Rain Dance." The gym leader instructed.
Poliwhirl shook itself then raised its hands to clap loudly. The pool darkened and began to churn. Waves formed only to be broken up as water shot up from the pool. Halting near the rafters the water began to form a circle in mid-air. The area around the pool and the trainer platforms became shadowed as the gathered water grew in size. Thunder sounded and when the sound ended the water had become a cloud.
"Woah!" Simon threw his hands up to cover his head as rain began pouring down. An indoor cloud. Drowzee made a noise of complaint as he too was rained on.
"Confusion!" Simon called to Drowzee as he rose to his feet. He pulled his glasses off and shoved them in his pocket.
"Zee." Drowzee's eyes filled with light that was echoed in a blast that radiated out from his hands and slammed into Poliwhirl. The rain continued but the pool stopped churning as Poliwhirl was pushed backwards.
Shaking his head, Poliwhirl looked up at his trainer.
"Water gun." Misty called.
'This again...' Simon frowned.
"Poli!" A wave of water rose up from the pool and rushed toward Drowzee. Rain joined the wave and made it stronger. Drowzee was already moving, running as fast as his short legs could go. But it wasn't fast enough. "Zeeeeeeeee" Propelled forward by the attack, Drowzee slid and tumbled then slid some more.
The waterlogged Pokemon slid to a stop at the far wall. "Drowzee..." Simon hesitated but the Pokemon was starting to rise. "Use Hypnosis." the trainer finished.
"Poliwhirl, Body Slam, now." Misty countered with her own instruction.
Poliwhirl rushed forward, its exit from the side of the pool causing a large wave to form and then crash down to flood the edge of the pool. Rapidly gaining speed Poliwhirl advanced on Drowzee who was just starting to move.
Simon recognized the hypnosis gestures. But Poliwhirl was moving too fast, and the movements were too slow. There wasn't enough time. "Drowzee, move!" Simon called. With only a few feet to go Poliwhirl shoved off from the ground and threw its body expertly forward.
*Crash* Only to be stopped by the very solid wall next to Drowzee.
For a moment Simon just stared. Then he turned to look at his Pokemon.
Drowzee, who hadn't moved at all, made a quiet sound. Almost like a laugh. Simon looked back at the now moaning Poliwhirl. Bits of plaster dropped to the ground as it turned.
"Wh...ir...l" the confused Pokemon made a full 360 degree rotation before falling forward. Still not moving, Drowzee watched the other Pokemon stand and slowly move toward the pool. Simon half-wondered if Drowzee was going to trip Poliwhirl. It certainly wasn't a valid attack. But it would be effective..
"Drow!" When as Poliwhirl came within range Drowzee jumped forward. The head-butt hit Poliwhirl in the center of its back, sending both Pokémon in the direction of the pool. They hit the water and vanished.
For a moment there was nothing. Then Drowzee's head emerged and he swam for the closest side of the pool edge. Poliwhirl appeared a few seconds later, floating on its back. "Wh...ir...l"
"Snap out of it." Misty demanded. She looked down at the pool from her platform. "Use water gun."
"Hypnosis," Was Simon's instruction. Then he couldn't help adding "You've got him."
"Yen!" Simon's enthusiasm was echoed by the suddenly mobile Shadow. Shadow rose to his feet but remained still.
"Hey, bud. Welcome back" Simon reached out to pat Shadow's side. He kept his gaze on the pool. Drowzee was now sitting on the edge, muttering quiet phrases while looking at Poliwhirl.
"Poliiii..." Already confused and tired Poliwhirl quickly succumbed to sleep.
"Again?" Misty's disbelief was fully evident in both syllables. The gym leader shook her head and muttered something Simon didn't catch. "Alright. You've won." Poliwhirl disappeared into its Pokeball. "Here are your winnings."
Simon stepped off of the trainer platform and carefully walked around the edge of the pool. He took the bag that was held out. Simon shook the bag lightly and a small badge fell into his hand. The bag was still heavy, with what Simon assumed was the money and standard TM. He closed his hand around the badge before looking up.
"Thank you." Simon said quietly.
"You got lucky." Was the gym leader's response. Simon frowned but the gym leader then offered her congratulations which sounded sincere.
'Lucky.' The word echoed in Simon's head as he stuck the gym badge to his bandolier. Sure he'd been kind of lucky. But...it wasn't all luck. Simon looked at his two Pokemon who were patiently waiting for him. No...it wasn't just luck.
Returning to the platform Simon dropped down to one knee and addressed his two victorious Pokemon. "Well done, guys. You won. Let's go get you healed, okay?"
After both Pokemon were safely returned Simon picked up his pack and slung it over his shoulder. His gaze slid to the group only briefly before focusing on the door. 'Lucky...' Simon stepped outside but still managed to hear the gym leader's cry of challenge.
On her way back to the Pokémon Center, Rochelle had to occasionally squeeze her way past groups of people talking in the middle of the street, being as careful as she could not to disturb them. The city was so much more populated than what she had seen of Pewter or Viridian: it was almost too crowded for her liking.
Once she reached the Center, she headed inside and made straight for the counter. As usual, one of the nurses was present. "Need to get your Pokémon patched up?" she asked in the cheerful manner Rochelle had come to associate with the Nurse Joys across Johto and Kanto.
"Yeah. I just challenged Misty... and lost spectacularly," she answered as she handed over the four Poké Balls on her belt. She figured that she might as well get all of them healed at the same time, just to be on the safe side of caution. "I'd thought that I could handle it, but she was a lot stronger than I expected. I'd thought I'd picked a good pair to face off against hers, but she beat my team in about five minutes," she explained, dejection creeping back into her voice. "Ice Shard took out Phoenix, my Spearow, really quickly... I don't have much that can beat her, I think," she added, remembering Phoenix's cries as the little bird was buffeted back and forth in mid-air thanks to the Seel's accuracy of its attack.
"There are plenty of Grass-type Pokémon to be found just north of here," Nurse Joy answered, accepting Rochelle's Poké Balls and transferring them to a tray for the moment. "You could try raising one of those... or if you have an Electric-type, that's just as good."
"I thought so too," Rochelle said with a hint of a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, though she retained her down expression. "But Hypnosis cancelled out my Mareep and his electric attacks. Misty's Pokémon were faster and stronger than mine."
"Well, I don't really know what to say to that, besides keep your head up and keep at it," the nurse replied with a much more confident smile than Rochelle's weak attempt. "I'll let you know when your Pokémon are ready for pickup."
"Thanks very much," Rochelle said as she turned away from the counter. Unsure of what to do for the moment, since she didn't want to go back to the Gym to watch the others battle - and therefore risk not being able to pick up her Pokémon as soon as they were all fully healed - she simply took her pack off her back and set it down near a chair, in which she promptly took a seat. Perhaps the rest of the group would come along in due course. Still disappointed in herself because she had lost her battle with Misty, she sighed and rested her head in her hands.
"I'll give it a shot." Mika said with an unusually confident look, getting up from his spot on the bleachers. He leaned over to Aeris and gave her a little kiss on the cheek. "You did great, sweetie. I'm really proud of you."
He picked two pokeballs from his belt and walked down to the arena, the small teenager almost looked tall by the way he carried himself.
"Hmm, I dunno. I'm not sure I'm comfortable beating up little kids like you... But, if you insist, I'll just have to oblige." Misty said with a sarcastically cheerful tone. "Come on, little guy. Show me that you can play with the big girls!"
"I'm not that small. And you'll learn big things come in small packages!" He shouted back as she unleashed her pair of Pokemon.
An armless blue tadpole with a swirl across its belly, and a majestic ten-point star, the color of amethyst. Poliwag and Starmie were Misty's choice for the battle.
"I.. I can do this. Not a problem." Mika said with a smile, sending out his own team. Bones was sent out first, followed shortly by Take. The Bug-Type Pokemon and the Dark-Type Pokemon stood across from the two Water-Types, prepared for battle. "You guys ready? Give it all you've got!"
The two Pokemon gave their affirmation in battle cries, and steeled themselves for the coming battle ahead.
(Will post more later... need to get some sleep.)
"Go, Take! Use Bullet Seed on the Starmie! Bones, use Snarl!" Each of the two Pokemon took their commands readily, the small orange Bug-Type spitting a barrage of seeds at the Mysterious Pokemon, Bones' Snarl affecting both of their opponents.
"Uh-oh.." Misty muttered to herself, knowing now what Mika's plan was. "Starmie, take out that mutt! Bubblebeam! Poliwag, Water Gun!"
The Water-Types obeyed, and focused their blasts on the Houndour, who managed to skip out of the blast of water, leaving Take to take the brunt of the Bubblebeam, still taking some damage himself though.
"Take, heal yourself. Leech Life on Starmie! Bones, Bite hard!" Mika shouted, the silver-haired boy watching and sweating as his partners went through his plan. The Tinymushroom Pokemon jumped forward and sunk his teeth into Misty's Starmie, absorbing its health to replenish his own. The Starmie's gem was flickering, signifying its weakness. It didn't take much more, and Bones' Bite did the job, knocking it out cold. "Great job, Bones!"
"Hit him, Poli!" Misty cried out, a blast of water hitting Bones square in the side and knocking him out as well, leaving only Poliwag and Mika's Paras. "Now, use Doubleslap!"
The Poliwag bounded forward, and proceeded to slap Take with its webbed tail, the orange Bug-Type taking the hit in stride, swallowing an Oran berry that Mika had given to the Pokemon before the battle. When the blue Tadpole Pokemon landed, it staggered and whimpered in pain, a sickly look strewn across its face.
"It's been poisoned. Effect Spore, of course! Take, Bullet Seed to finish it!" And Take did just that, another barrage of seeds hit the Poliwag hard, and sent it back into the water with a splash. "That's a win, Misty! My two knockouts versus your one."
"I can do math, Skinny." She said coldly, tossing her ginger hair back a bit and having one of the Gym staff hand Mika the winner's box. "Just like with the hydrophobe, there is your prize money, and your TM, along with the Cascadebadge. Good luck out there, kiddo..."
"Yeah, thanks... bitch.." Mika said as he walked back to the stands, holding the tear-shaped medal in his hands.
"Shadow...Shadow, slow down!"
"Yeeen." A large grey blur of fur continued rushing past startled citizens. Simon apologized to the strangers as he passed.
"I'm sorry. Sorry, sir. Pardon me, ma'am..." The apologies flowed smoothly with mostly honest sincerity. Simon was beginning to worry about the side-effects of mixing medicines. Maybe there was a warning he'd forgotten to read? Hyper-activity or something along those lines. Super-healing, perhaps? Simon's pack was sure to be a mess now, he could feel the items shifting as he jogged to keep up with his Pokémon.
After a few minutes Shadow grew bored, he wasn't being chased properly anymore, and slowed to a walk. "Migh?" The Pokémon stopped just beside a large red and white painted sign. Pokémon Center. Now Open.
Simon stopped to catch his breath a few feet away. "I'm not sure. That you need healing. Bud." he gasped, looking at the calm Mightyena who wasn't winded in the slightest.
"Yen?" Shadow tilted his head, a tactical maneuver.
"Don't give me that look. You know you are in trouble." Simon straightened to stand then gestured to the door. "Alright. Let's go." The trainer coughed quietly before beginning to walk.
One after the other trainer and Pokémon entered the Pokécenter. Simon handed his Pokémon, secured in their Pokéballs, over to the nurse at the counter who assured Simon that the healing process would only take 'a moment'. After a brief debate Simon returned Shadow to his Pokéball and added it to the tray. Simon knew from experience that 'a moment' was anywhere from five minutes to an hour. So he headed for the waiting area.
He passed a small table with old magazines and today's newspaper. Simon picked up a magazine from the stack. Finding a seat, he flipped to a random page and dropped his pack onto the ground. Maybe if he could find an interesting article then he could stop hearing Misty's voice in his head.
'Archeologist finds remnants of unknown fossil in cave!'
"Wonder what the big deal is there..." Simon commented quietly to himself. He flipped to the next page. A small card dropped to the floor. Some form of subscription reminder. Simon sighed and bent to pick the card up.
12 issues for only the card read. As he straightened and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed his error, Simon recognized someone a few chairs over.
He idly turned the card around in his hand. 'Should I?' Simon didn't want to intrude. But the waiting room was almost empty. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt. 'Is she ill?' If she wasn't well then this wasn't quite the right place to be. For a good minute Simon debated. When the minute was up he leaned over in his chair.
"Are you okay?" Simon asked Rochelle. Without looking he set the small white card down on top of his borrowed magazine, still held open to the article he'd been reading.
While she was waiting for her Pokémon to heal, Rochelle had begun to replay the battle in her head and thinking about how it could have gone differently if she had used different Pokémon. Both Phoenix and Natalya were at a disadvantage against Seel's Ice-type attacks, and Kirsten was just not an option since she herself was a Water-type... that left Iskra as the only one who could stand up to the Water-types. But the Mareep had easily succumbed to Hypnosis, before he even managed to attack himself.
Rochelle had little idea of what she could do with the team she had at present. Perhaps the nurse's idea was right, and she should catch a Grass-type or similar... but she already had four Pokémon on her team, and she didn't want to catch something for the exclusive purpose of beating a single Gym. A familiar voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Are you okay?"
Rochelle looked around to face the speaker: Simon. She hadn't noticed him enter the Pokémon Center; he must have just arrived from the Gym. "Oh, hi... yeah, I'm alright, I guess," she answered, a little hesitant. "Just thinking about that mess of a battle earlier. My team needs to get a lot of training done before we try again." She shuffled round in her seat to face Simon, to help engage in the conversation a little more.
"It's just... Misty's Pokémon beat mine with ease. She'll probably do the same again the next time I challenge her," Rochelle continued. She didn't like the idea of losing a battle, nor did she really enjoy the thought that she would have to face Misty a second time.
Simon wasn't quite sure what to say. While he had won his battle the gym leader's parting comment still bothered him. But it didn't change the fact that he'd won. He'd won all of his battles in fact, so far. If he was getting lucky then maybe luck would have to run out at some point. 'Luck is not the same as skill or ability.' he stated firmly to himself.
"There's no limit on challenges," he said, trying to make the fact an optimistic one, "you can try again." Simon paused for a second. Then, realizing he'd just repeated Rochelle's own words he hastily tacked on, "-until you succeed."
The Pokemon Center's intercom system crackled to life, announcing the name of a trainer whose Pokemon were ready for pickup. But the words were garbled and full of static. The name was unrecognizable as either Simon or Rochelle. Simon waited until the intercom stopped squealing to speak again. "Misty told me I was lucky." he admitted quietly. Simon dropped his gaze to his magazine briefly before folding it closed.
Mika walked back to the Pokemon Center to get his Pokemon healed, but not until after having given Aeris some comforting hugs. He stretched his shoulders as he entered the Pokemon Center... he might've pulled something throwing the pokeballs so hard.
He gave his Pokemon's capsule-like homes to the nurse, and went over to one of the couches in the lobby. He turned to grab a magazine, and saw that he was sitting next to Simon and Rochelle... but they seemed as if they were deep in an important discussion, so he got back up and sat a fair ten feet away from them, or so... just reading the magazine and keeping quiet as he waited for his Pokemon to heal, acknowledging them with a smile and a nod.
"A win is a win, Simon..." Rochelle replied, still a little down at the prospect of facing Misty a second time, or even a third if she lost the second match. She hadn't seen Simon's battle, having left immediately after losing the match, so she couldn't exactly comment. "Getting lucky is better than losing, I guess." Especially the way I lost... I messed that up, we weren't ready for it. Not by a long shot. She decided to give these thoughts voice; perhaps Simon could help.
"The thing is, though, Simon," Rochelle continued, "My team was by no means ready for the battle. We were easily outmatched... we weren't ready to take on Misty." Another idea came to her, and it wasn't a pretty one. With this loss, what would happen if the band of Trainers moved on from Cerulean? The Gym in Vermilion City was the next one on the list, if she remembered correctly. And whoever was in charge of that Gym would most likely have even stronger Pokémon than Misty... Rochelle realised she had a new problem.
"I'm not sure if we can build up the strength we need to beat the Gym Leaders in time. As long as the others keep winning, they'll keep pressing onwards to challenge the rest of the Gyms... if I keep going with the rest of the group, my Pokémon might not even beat anyone else without taking two or three whole days focusing entirely on training." Rochelle knew that raising Pokémon to be strong didn't just happen overnight. There was a lot more to it than that.
'It would be nice to be considered skilled at the next gym.' "Do you want to change their itinerary?" Simon asked. He mentally tallied the existing group members. The group was getting quite large. Considering that they were all trainers. "It's not a bad idea to get some extra practice in. There's enough people now the group could split up into subsets. Take different routes and agree to meet up at a restaurant in the next town." Simon remembered when he went to breakfast and saw most of the group all together. Towns that had gyms tended to cater to traveling trainers. Restaurants were not hard to find.
"The group may find more trainers and Pokémon to battle that way without stepping on each other's toes." The idiom reminded Simon of when Shadow had stepped on his trainer's toes. Shortly after evolving the Pokemon had tried to walk beside of Simon as he normally did. But since Shadow was much larger than before he tripped up his trainer. It had taken some adjustment on both their parts to get used to the Pokémon's new size. The energetic Shadow still like to tackle him though. Simon grinned, glancing at the front counter before resettling his gaze. 'I should talk to Drowzee.' he realized. The apparent newest member of his team. He should name Drowzee. Soon.
Rochelle briefly considered the idea of the group splitting up to either train or move on. Two groups of five or so seemed like a idea that could be done, given the numbers. As she recalled, there were nine of them counting herself: one group of five and one of four was the best plan if they were to split up.
"Hmm... splitting up the group could work. Possibly. Depends on the way we're divided, really," she said. "I'll ask about it, check with the others and see what they think. If the rest of the group wants to stick together, though, maybe I'll just ask if we can slow down a bit so I can fit in some more training." Rochelle didn't want to hold back the rest of the group if they wanted to move on and quickly challenge the next Gym... it was a bit of a conundrum to her, since her team wasn't good enough yet.
The intercom crackled to life again, interrupting Rochelle's train of thought, though static continued to interfere with the clarity of the message. She turned and looked towards the counter behind her: the nurse beckoned to her. It seemed that her team had been healed up and were ready to be collected.
"I'll be back in a little bit," she explained to Simon, gesturing to the counter as she got up. She figured that she didn't need to take her pack, as it was only a short trip to the counter and back, so she left it with Simon and approached the counter.
"Rochelle, right?" the nurse asked as the young Trainer got closer. At Rochelle's nod the nurse presented her with a tray of familiar Poké Balls, each one labeled in her handwriting. She gratefully accepted the spheres, thanked the nurse and returned to her seat, resting the Poké Balls in her lap. She made a plan to have a small talk with all of her Pokémon later, just to make sure they were okay after the loss. Kirsten and Natalya would probably be as fine as usual, since they hadn't taken part in the battle. Iskra and Phoenix, though... Rochelle wondered what they would think. She could never really tell what her Pokémon were thinking.
Simon took his magazine back to the table while he waited for Rochelle to return. He pulled his pack out from under his chair by the strap and set it on the empty seat next to his own. The bag was bulkier than normal, having an additional to-be-delivered package inside of it. 'I've got to remember that.' Simon thought. There was no official delivery date, so he wasn't required to hurry. But he was responsible for the box. Whatever it was.
He was debating looking up the tracking id to find out what the contents were when Rochelle returned. "About the group," he turned to ask her, "there's something I'd like to know." He raised his hand slightly, dropping his fingers until he was indicating 'two', "The two new members. What are their names again?" If they were going to join the group there was chance he'd be speaking to both of them. And learning names through unintentional eavesdropping was awkward.
The two new people... Rochelle recalled speaking with both of the newcomers earlier that day. At different times of the day, of course. "They're Eileen Weismann and Alan... something. Never got his surname during the introductions," she explained with a small grin. "Alan's a reporter, apparently... 'Eileen's personal shadow,' he calls himself. I wonder if he's writing an article or something focusing on her," she continued.
The lack of knowledge about the new additions to the group gave Rochelle pause for thought. She realised she didn't actually know very much about most of the people with whom she travelled: their home cities, life before taking on the Kanto Gyms, and more besides. Rochelle immediately resolved to learn more about her friends, starting with Simon since he happened to be there at the time of her revelation. "So, umm... if you don't mind, Simon, I'd like to learn a bit more about people in our little group, starting with you. Please, tell me a bit about yourself. Whereabouts are you from?"
Rochelle hoped she wasn't being a little too forward in her request: it made sense for people travelling together to get to know one another.
Mika got up as he saw his Pokemon ready to retrieve from the Nurse. He went to the front desk and took back his pokeballs, thanking her and calling out his team for a little pep talk over on the couch.
"Good job guys, Bones, Take... You did so well today. I'm very proud of you two." He smiles and pets them both, avoiding rubbing too hard on the Paras' mushrooms and accidentally releasing some spores. He looks to his other team-mates and smiles at them as well. "Claw, from what I hear, the next Gym is an Electric type... You'll need to train hard so we can get you ready."
All of his Pokemon seemed happy and excited, all of them healthy from their rest and recovery. "Alright, let's get you guys something to eat. You look famished." Mika finally said, taking them over to get some food.
Simon recalled the friendly though hyper Totodile Alan had been with. Shadow had liked that one...
"...tell me a bit about yourself. Whereabouts are you from?"
Simon leaned back in his chair, a bit surprised by the question. "I'm...from Slateport City." he replied. "It's on the southern coast of Hoenn." Simon's tone changed to mimic an advertisement he'd seen often as a child. "Slateport City contains the Oceanic Museum, Stern's Shipyard, and Hoenn's own Pokémon Fan Club branch. Of course there's also the Slateport Harbor." Simon's voice returned to normal and he gave a light smile. "There's been some debate as to whether Pewter's Museum of Science is smaller or larger than our Oceanic Museum." Despite both museums having public records of their size, the debate was a form of friendly competition. Joking comments about expansions to 'keep up with that other place' were not uncommon.
Talking about his home city was not uncomfortable for Simon, it was a question many curious customers had asked. But he wasn't sure he wanted to say anything else. Anything personal. So he returned Rochelle's question. "What about you, where are you from?" Simon asked.
Simon's voice sounded a little odd when he described his home city: it sounded a little more formal. Nonetheless, Rochelle listened appreciatively, wanting to know more about the place.
"Goldenrod City is my home, over in Johto," Rochelle answered when he asked, warming up to the conversation. "There's a fair bit to see over there... the Department Store, which has pretty much everything a Trainer could use, the Magnet Train station for quick travel to Saffron City, and the Gym, which is the third one in the Johto League." She remembered watching battles in the Goldenrod Gym when she was younger: Whitney, the Gym Leader, used Normal-type Pokémon. It was an odd choice of type... and Whitney turned into a whiny brat when she lost, which was often. She often refused to give the winning Trainer her Badge after the battle.
"Oh, and there's also the Radio Tower. Though since the... the Team Rocket attack a few years ago, security's tightened considerably," she finished up. At her mention of Team Rocket a shiver went through Rochelle: she could feel goosebumps on her arms as she remembered the previous day's events. That nightmare she'd had hadn't helped matters either.
The department store didn't interest Simon. Shopping, while a necessity at times, was not a hobby of his. However the Magnet train sounded interesting. Ships, boats, and bikes had been the main modes of transportation for Simon for almost all of his life. Only recently had that changed. He'd walked more the past few days then he ever had while working. He wondered how fast 'quick travel' truly was compared to say a speedboat. A speedboat driven by a cousin who'd just gotten it as a birthday present. 'Scariest ride ever.' And that included the 'Ghost Ship' Halloween event when he was seven.
Simon frowned at the inclusion of Team Rocket into the conversation. "That group is ruining a lot of places." he muttered. 'I hope we don't run into them again.' Simon noticed only then that Rochelle looked uncomfortable. Much like she had earlier. They'd gone full circle and that hadn't been his intention.
"How fast does the Magnet Train go?" Simon asked. He couldn't manage to sound energetic so he went with curious. He did want to know. "I've never been on a train before." he added.
Rochelle jumped on the new topic instantly, wanting to put her memories of Team Rocket behind her as best she could. "Neither have I, though my parents have both used the Magnet Train... apparently it can travel at speeds upwards of five hundred kilometres per hour. That's over three hundred miles per hour," she explained, unsure which system Simon used: imperial or metric. The thought of such speeds amazed her: the train was faster than any Pokémon she had heard of. And some of them were rumoured to be invisible due to their speed.
"Quite honestly, I think that's a little hazardous to the health of the passengers based on the speed alone. There must be more to it than simply boarding and letting the acceleration flatten you into a two-dimensional version of yourself." The idea was somewhat strange, now that Rochelle thought about it. People wouldn't use the Magnet Train if it wasn't safe... what technology did they have to allow it to move at such high speeds and keep the passengers comfortable during the ride? Whatever it was, it was beyond her knowledge.
'A two-dimension version? Simon found himself quietly laughing at the thought of paper-thin passengers. Notebook paper cut-outs with rubber bands for seat belts. "I'm sure there's more to it than that." he said.
"Si...on...dock..." Simon's mirth faded and he frowned his name was mangled by the intercom system. "Excuse me." he said to Rochelle. Simon stepped around the magazine table and made his way toward the front desk. His Pokémon were waiting on a small tray held by a nurse. Simon picked up the minimized Pokéballs. "Thanks." he told the nurse. Her name tag read 'Patience'.
"This too." The nurse handed Simon a stack of paper held together by a large staple. He flipped the stack right side up to read the top page. 'Blood work' was the bold title at the top followed by an italicized 'Drowzee - 33296007'. The rest of the pages were filled with graphs and chemical notations that Simon didn't understand. "What's this?" he asked, holding up the stack.
"Those are your copies of our reports. For your records. Sign here, please" The nurse handed Simon a pen and waited while he signed and initialed on the dotted lines. When he was finished she made a 'tsk' sound. "It's nothing bad, dear, our technicians found an unidentified marker in one of your Pokémon's blood samples. The Drowzee. We've kept your file flagged for observation so you may get another set of reports next time you visit one of our Centers. Okay?"
Simon nodded slowly. 'Just an unidentified marker? What?'
"Is it dangerous?" he asked. Was he supposed to do something? Had he done something? What if...
"Our technicians ruled out known diseases and viral infections when they treated the Drowzee's wounds. They just want to run some more...tests." The nurse's tone was meant to be reassuring but the pause at the end of her sentence worried Simon. He placed three of the Pokéballs into their proper locations on his bandolier. The last Pokéball he kept out. A small fleck of black paint fell to the ground as he turned the minimized device around in his hand.
"Thank you." He told the nurse again. The woman nodded briskly before turning to get the next trainer's tray. Simon walked slowly back to his chair. He avoided looking at Rochelle, the graphs and 'tests' still on his mind. Pulling his pack onto his lap Simon slid the reports inside. He had to tilt his pack for the papers to fit. Stray potion bottles slid against each other with quiet sounds of impact.
"Does it. Um-" Simon secured his pack with a bit more force than necessary. "Does it cost anything to ride the train?" he asked Rochelle. Simon dropped his pack onto the floor then snapped Drowzee's Pokéball in place while he waited for a response.
"Okay, who's next?" Misty asked as she impatiently tapped her foot.
Might as well try, Tyler thought with a shrug before he stood from his spot at the bleachers. "I will," he said to Misty. He made his way over to the challenger's side of the pool and cleared his throat. "I'm Tyler Page from Saffron and I-"
"Look, I really don't care," Misty interrupted as she rubbed her temples. "Let's just get this over with, alright?"
"Uh...okay then," Tyler replied, momentarily caught off guard by her snappy response. "Is one on one okay?"
Misty produced a Pokeball. "Fine by me. In that case, my first Pokemon will be Staryu!" She hurled the device into the air, which opened at the apex of the throw and projected white energy onto the platform below. Out of the energy formed a creature shaped like a five-pointed star with a glowing red pearl in the center of a gold casing.
"Heyah!" it cried.
Tyler quickly pulled out his Pokedex to scan the Pokemon.
|Star Shape Pokemon|
|WT 76.1 lbs|
|An enigmatic Pokémon that can effortlessly regenerate any appendage it loses in battle.|
Huh. That's pretty handy. He readied Blitz's Pokeball. Electric attacks in a battlefield surrounded by water were bound to give an advantage. "Alright, Blitz, let's go!" he called as he released his Pikachu onto the platform in front of him.
Misty appeared to smirk slightly. "Been a while since I've seen a Pikachu. But having an Electric Pokemon won't guarantee you a victory with me! Staryu, Tackle now!"
The Staryu complied, flinging itself into the air and spinning like a shuriken straight at Blitz.
"Blitz, dodge it!"
Blitz jumped out of the way of the hurtling Pokemon, landing on one of the other floating platforms on the pool. Unable to change its trajectory in time, Staryu whizzed through empty air and splashed into the pool. Tyler shielded himself as stray water splashed over him. Shouldn't there be a splash zone warning or something? he thought.
"You should expect to get wet if you're this close to the pool, kid," Misty taunted. "Staryu, Tackle again!"
Staryu merged from the pool at full speed and struck Blitz in the side with a spinning tackle that knocked him off the platform. The Pikachu cried out in pain before hitting the water. Sailing through the air like a boomerang, Staryu flew around for another pass, which gave Blitz enough time to climb back onto the platform and face his opponent.
"Blitz! Use Thunder Wave!" Tyler called out.
"Pika!" he replied.
From the red spots on his cheeks, sparks of electricity began to form. After briefly charging, Blitz unleashed twin arcs of energy that raced towards the oncoming Staryu. The arcs collided with it, running over its wet body and halting the movement of its limbs. It was now effectively paralyzed. Crackling with electricity, Staryu dropped like a stone onto a platform in front of Blitz.
"Heeeeh..." it groaned as it tried in vain to move.
"That's more like it," Tyler said with a grin. "Finish it off with a Thundershock!"
Once more, electricity gathered in Blitz's cheeks. "Pika...chu!"
Two yellow bolts struck the immobile Staryu, running even more voltage through its system. It shouted out in agony until Blitz relented, stopping the flow of electricity. The red gem in its center began to flicker on and off while it struggled to rise to its feet. Finally, the gem ceased to blink and Staryu collapsed.
Misty growled. "Staryu, return!" The defeated Pokemon was called back into its ball. "Not bad, but it's time for me to end this. Starmie, you're up!"
She tossed a second Pokeball, releasing a Pokemon that resembled Staryu, but with a violet body and a second star attached to its backside.
Tyler scanned the new combatant with his Pokedex as well. The more data he filled out, the better.
|WT 176.4 lbs|
|This Pokémon has a geometric body. Because of its body, some people suspect that it is an alien creature.|
Alien? Kinda creepy.
"Let's go, Starmie! Water Pulse!" Misty commanded.
Starmie bent its top 'arm' down, pointing straight at Blitz. A powerful jet of water gushed forward from the tip of the arm at an alarming speed. It was accompanied with a pulsing sound that almost resembled a submarine's sonar. Blitz jumped out of the way of the attack in time for the stream to harmlessly fly by.
"Use Thundershock!" Tyler ordered.
The bolts of electricity launched from Blitz's cheeks and solidly hit Starmie, who stumbled backwards into the water. The electric assault had done a number to the Pokemon, who remained underwater as Staryu had done before.
"Starmie, use Recover!"
Starmie leaped out of the water, glowing with a faint white shine. By the time it landed on the platform, the shine was gone, and it looked no worse for wear than before Blitz had attacked it. Somehow, it had recovered entirely from the Thundershock attack. Tyler wondered if it was even fair for a Pokemon to use a move like that.
So it can recover...this makes things a bit harder
"Hit it with another Thundershock, Blitz!"
This time around, Starmie nimbly dodged the attack by leaping into the water again. The energy harmlessly struck the platform and dissipated.
"Starmie, Water Pulse again!"
Starmie launched out of the water again, this time pointing its top 'arm' down towards Blitz. Another torrential blast of water shot out, straight for him. Blitz had no time to dodge before the attack struck him in the face. The Pikachu was forced backwards, stumbling as he tried to maintain his balance.
"Blitz! Shake it off and use Thunder Wave!" shouted Tyler
Sparks haphazardly formed on Blitz's cheeks as he began to list to the left and to the right. The Water Pulse attack had severely disoriented Blitz, to the point where he couldn't properly concentrate electricity.
Misty didn't hesitate to capitalize on this. "Finish him off with a Rapid Spin!"
Starmie, using its rear star as a propeller, launched itself in the air and dived straight for Blitz, striking him with a full force blow. The Pikachu was sent flying off the platform and out of the pool, where he crashed into the ground a couple feet from Tyler. Although still breathing, it was obvious that Blitz wouldn't be doing any fighting.
"Looks like your Pikachu is out for the count. Choose your next Pokemon. And make it quick."
Tyler returned Blitz to his Pokeball and put it in its place on his belt. A trip to the Pokemon Center would be direly needed after this, that was for sure. He reached for Geist's Pokeball and enlarged the device. Right now, the Abra was Tyler's most powerful Pokemon. Hopefully he would be able to defeat Starmie...as long as he avoided the Water Pulse and Rapid Spin.
"My next Pokemon will be...Geist!" Tyler announced as he released his Abra. When the white light faded, it revealed Geist sitting cross-legged on the platform.
Misty suppressed a laugh. "Your last Pokemon is an Abra? You might as well forfeit now! Teleport yourselves back to the Pokemon Center! It'll save both of us a little bit of time."
Tyler clenched his hands into fists. Insults directed towards his best friend were getting rather old. "Brock said the same thing. There's more to this Abra than what meets the eye, I promise you that."
"You know, it doesn't take much to beat Brock. There's a reason why that pig is the first Gym Leader. But if you insist, let's do this. Starmie, use Water Pulse!"
The jet of water passed through thin air as Geist teleported away and reappeared on a nearby platform.
"Water Pulse again!"
Once more, Geist teleported away and reappeared. With every attempt at hitting Geist with a Water Pulse, the Abra simply moved somewhere else. The sequence repeated itself several times as every attack cleanly missed. Misty was becoming visibly frustrated with the tactic, which made Tyler grin somewhat.
"Come on, Starmie!" Misty barked. "Stop the damn thing! Swift, now!"
Complying with its orders, Starmie stopped its attempts at Water Pulse. Its jewel-like core began to glow. Bright white star-like projectiles shot forth at a very high speed, aiming straight at Geist. The Abra vanished once more and reappeared on a platform to the left. Starmie fired more projectiles, but they too missed. But before Geist could teleport for a third time, the stars hit their mark, causing him to stagger
It was Misty's turn to smirk. "Rapid Spin! Get that Abra out of my pool!"
A spinning Starmie flew in and collided with Geist as he tried teleporting again. The impact was brutal, flinging the Abra skyward just it did to Blitz.
Tyler watched in dismay as Geist soared lazily through the air on a collision course with the ground outside the pool. Game, set match, he thought. Challenging Misty was a stupid idea, especially with how inexperienced his team was compared to hers. What was he thinking? He should have waited until he trained a little more. Misty was way out of his lea-
In mid-air, Geist's body turned into radiant white energy and began to rapidly change. He grew taller, and his tail began to increase in size. His hands and feet became more claw-like and an object of some kind spontaneously formed in his right hand. By the time Geist landed feet-first, the white glow had subsided completely, revealing his new mustachioed form.
Tyler was momentarily lost for words. "G...Geist? You...you evolved!"
Geist nodded affirmatively with the approximation of a smile.
Misty's exasperated sigh could be heard throughout the Gym. "We seriously need to come up with a rule against evolving Pokemon mid-battle. Alright, bud, are you gonna keep fighting or not?"
"You sure you're up for it?" Tyler asked his newly evolved Kadabra. Celebration would have to wait until after the battle with Misty was done and over with. And now that Geist was a Kadabra...they had a fighting chance.
"Kadabra," Geist replied with another nod.
Tyler was positively beaming. "Alright then. Let's get back in there!"
Geist teleported back onto the starting platform, ready for action.
"Starmie! Hit 'em with another Rapid Spin!"
Repeating the previous maneuver, Starmie took off at Geist. The Kadabra teleported away, dodging the attack. The momentum from the attack was sufficient to allow Starmie to swing around like a boomerang and make another pass at Geist as he re-materialized. After man successive teleports, Geist was beginning to feel fatigued. Times in between teleports became longer and longer until finally Starmie landed a glancing blow along his shoulder.
We can't keep this up for much longer...we need to strike, Tyler thought. Starmie was just too fast and hit too hard. They needed to halt its momentum and defeat it before it could recover the damage taken. An attack had to be made...and it had to be decisive.
"Geist! Hidden Power! Stop that Starmie dead in its tracks!"
Aiming his newly acquired spoon at the oncoming Pokemon, Geist's eyes and body began to glow with a faint purple aura. A ball of concentrated purple energy emerged from the light and traveled up to the spoon, from where it catapulted at Starmie. The projectile hit it dead-on and entirely killed its forward momentum. Starmie was sent tumbling backwards when the energy ball detonated. The Ghost-type attack was devastating to the partly Psychic Pokemon.
Sensing victory, Tyler pumped his fist. "Hit it one more time!"
A second Hidden Power attack launched at the airborne Starmie, hitting it directly in the jewel center. The Pokemon unceremoniously dropped face-first onto a floating platform below it. Despite the considerable thrashing, Starmie managed to get back onto its 'feet', but its core was erratically blinking.
"Shake it off, Starmie, Recover!"
Starmie began to glow white, but it was visibly struggling to perform the move. The effort was in vain, however, as its core blinked off and it collapsed onto its back, defeated.
They had won. Tyler was absolutely ecstatic. "Geist! C'mere buddy!" The Kadabra levitated himself off the ground and glided over to his Trainer, enthusiastically embracing him. "Hey...look at you," he said, scratching behind the ear. "You're a Kadabra now! Remember when everyone made fun of us? Man, they're gonna be in for a shock when we get back to Saffron..."
Misty groaned as she returned her unconscious Starmie. She descended from her side of the pool and rummaged through a locker behind her. Producing a badge and a CD, she approached Tyler. He met her halfway with Geist following close behind.
"You defeated me, so here's your Cascade Badge. And here's a TM for the move Water Pulse. It can sometimes confuse your foe and yadda, yadda, yadda."
Tyler put the items into his backpack. "Thanks. Great battle, by the way."
By then Misty had already turned around and started walking away. "Whatever," she replied bluntly, going back to rubbing her temples again.
What's up with her, anyway?
Tyler shrugged and exited the Gym with a fresh spring to his step. It was time for a trip to the Pokemon Center. His stomach was quick to remind him about food as well. "Hey, Geist. You up for something to eat?"
"Kadabra!" he replied happily.
"Glad to see your appetite didn't change a bit," Tyler replied with a laugh as they approached the Center.
Mika watched Rochelle and Simon chat on about Goldenrod and the Bullet Train... He'd ridden on it a few times. Growing up in Lavender Town, he often visited Saffron City with his friends and/or family... Going across to Johto occasionally during the summers was a fun thing to do, since the beaches in Kanto were always too crowded.
He fished out his wallet, and took out his Bullet Pass, the lifetime boarding pass he'd gotten when he left for his first Pokemon journey. It was a bit faded, but the magnetic strip on the back still worked perfectly.
Bones nipped at Mika's leg playfully, causing him to look down at the Dark-type Pokemon. Mika smiled, leaning down and petting the smooth black fur of his partner, and kissing him on the forehead. "Love you, Bones..."
I love you too, Mika... We all do. Bones responded with a lick to Mica's face.
Mica wiped the Pokemon slobber off of his cheek, and smiled, letting the Pokemon finish eating before returning them to their spherical capsule homes... "Mmm, I think a little training is in order..."
Rochelle didn't answer Simon immediately because she was carefully watching him, studying his face. He looked troubled... he had refrained from looking at her as he returned, and the falter in his question told her something was up. Had the healing process gone wrong somehow? That was unlikely. Pokémon Centers were renowned worldwide for their medical technology capable of curing any injury, whether it had been in battle or otherwise.
Simon had held onto one of his Poké Balls as he sat down and fitted some papers into his backpack, rather than fitting it into his bandolier like the other three in his possession. Looking at it now that it was in its place, Rochelle didn't recognise its design: there was a large amount of black paint covering its usual colouring, and the standard red and white that she could see was covered in little scratches. She could pick those out even in the Ball's miniaturised state: how had those gotten there? The paint seemed to disguise the Poké Ball: it seemed like it had belonged to someone else and Simon had wanted the paint job removed. She resolved to eventually ask him about it.
"It costs a little bit, and you have to register for a special pass at either of the two stations," she answered his question. Unsure of what else to say, she was a little hesitant to ask if there was something bugging him. Rochelle's indecision caused silence to fall around the two of them... it was somewhat awkward. She wanted to break the silence, but was too nervous to ask.
Eventually - it felt like a long time, but a quick glance at her Pokégear told her only about twenty seconds had passed - she spoke up again. "Are you alright? You seem kinda bothered about something. Is it, uh, anything I might be able to help with?" Rochelle was curious, wanting to know what was up.
Simon nodded as Rochelle explained the train ticket system. The gesture was automatic, an ingrained habit, because Simon wasn't really paying attention. There were words. Something about a pass and something about registration. Then the words vanished leaving only silence. Silence that Simon didn't notice. He was busy thinking about trying to find one of the technicians. But then the silence was broken.
"You seem kinda bothered about something."
Bothered? He was a bit bothered. Mostly he was concerned. He'd been told his Pokemon had something wrong with it. Something 'not dangerous'. But unknown. Which to him meant potentially harmful.
"Is it, uh, anything I might be able to help with?"
It was the offer for help that bought Simon's gaze up and pushed his thoughts aside. He focused on Rochelle, trying to gauge her sincerity. Not that he could really tell. She had asked, though. That meant something. Simon's surprise was as genuine as the hesitation in his response. "...It's not-" But he stopped himself. He couldn't call the matter unimportant. It was important. And he couldn't bring himself to be rude either. Simon's hand rose and he set his index finger against his temple. Where the hinge of his glasses would normally be. Simon tried again.
"Sorry. Thanks. But, I don't think you can help. To be honest I'm not sure I can help." Simon dropped his hand to his pack then tilted the same hand to point at the front desk. He glanced around the waiting area as he withdrew his hand. There was one trainer Simon slightly recognized but it appeared most people were busy with their own conversations.
Simon lowered his voice anyway. "The nurse said they found something in Drowzee's blood. Some marker? They don't know...what it is." Simon frowned and shook his head. "How could they not know?" He mumbled the rhetorical question.
Simon wasn't making much sense to Rochelle. She didn't know he had added a Drowzee to his team, having seen none of the Psychic-types herself. And what did he mean by 'marker'? Did it have some sort of disease? If so, that would be something that the Pokémon Center staff would be able to identify and treat... she had never heard of a nurse not knowing what was wrong with an injured or otherwise afflicted Pokémon. That didn't seem right somehow.
Simon then mumbled something under his breath that Rochelle didn't quite catch. She ignored it, though, focusing on the part of his answer that she heard. "Damn. That doesn't sound good. Hopefully it's nothing serious, though," she said, trying to be a little sympathetic. Simon didn't seem too happy with the topic, though, so she changed tack slightly. Maybe talking about his Pokémon team, or Rochelle discussing hers, would cheer him up a little.
"If I may be curious, when did you get a Drowzee? Actually..." Rochelle trailed off as she double-checked the number of Poké Balls in Simon's bandolier. "You have two more Pokémon than I remember. Last I checked, you had Mightyena and Pidgey. Drowzee is one of the ones I don't know: what's the other one?"
Drowzee, his nameless and possibly afflicted Pokémon had been rescued from an abusive Team Rocket member. 'That damn Grunt.' Simon frowned at the memory. He didn't want to talk about that particular fight. But...he could...he could talk about his 'other one'. That was a safe topic.
"Brynn. She's my Sandshrew." Simon answered. He took a slow breath after the brief introduction. 'Wait. What if Grunt did something? No. Focus, Sy." he instructed himself. 'Talk about Brynn.' Simon dropped his hand to the side of the chair, lightly gripping the metal where his seat met the next in line. "She's a stubborn one", he gave the adjective an affectionate note, "and rather protective." Simon was both grateful and amused by that trait. He shifted some of his weight to his hand and idly tilted his foot. The slashes he'd received from the angry Sandshrew in Mt. Moon had almost healed. He'd decided to leave the bandage off of his calf this morning. After a quick blast of disinfectant. Simon recalled Brynn trying to 'protect' him from Tyler when her trainer had been busy applying the first bandage. It had been an interesting sight.
Simon's gaze shifted to notice Rochelle still had her Pokémon, safe in their Pokéballs, set in her lap. "Do you have any new acquisitions?" he asked. Simon tried to recall which Pokémon belonged to Rochelle.
Rochelle smiled when Simon mentioned the characteristics his Sandshrew exhibited. She knew what it was like to have an overprotective Pokémon: Natalya was quick to assume that people were unfriendly, unless Rochelle told her otherwise. Thankfully the little bird recognised the people her Trainer hung around with, and didn't freak out every time someone came along. She wasn't sure what she would do if that were the case; Natalya would need some coaching to quell her paranoia.
She noted a few holes in Simon's pant leg, glancing down at them when he moved. They looked like they had been put there by claws of some description... the thought that Pokémon could do a considerable amount of damage to humans or each other was reinforced a little in Rochelle's mind. Not for the first time, she reminded herself to be careful.
"Do you have any new acquisitions?" Simon's next question interrupted Rochelle's train of thought. The most recent Pokémon to join her team was Iskra, whom she had caught just before the group entered Mt. Moon. The little Electric-type had proven himself to be a powerful asset when facing off against Damian and Kimmy... even if he was the one that had gotten Rochelle into that whole mess. Her mind began to wander back into the day before.
Iskra running off in pursuit of a wild Pokémon... the tunnel leading to the two Team Rocket members... Rochelle waking up alone in the near pitch-black of the supply closet... tears running down her face as she hammered on the door, panicked and wanting to go back to the safety of her home in Goldenrod...
Rochelle stopped there, having no desire to relive her memories. She didn't want to go back to them, even though they had only happened yesterday. She could feel both of her hands shaking ever so slightly, and a cold sweat beginning to form on her forehead. To give her hands something to do, she picked up Iskra's Poké Ball from her lap and showed it to Simon. "I caught Iskra, my Mareep, a little while before - after we left Pewter," she answered, cutting herself off in mid-sentence. She didn't want to say, 'before we got to Mt. Moon.'
Her voice was quiet, almost subdued. She hadn't liked revisiting even the basics of her ordeal.
"Iss-k-ra" Simon repeated the name carefully. It didn't sound like a very common name. He repeated the name silently while leaning forward to look at the offered Pokéball. It looked to be in much better condition than the Simon's own. Probably from being new, the trainer reasoned. Or maybe Rochelle just took better care of the them.
Iskra the Mareep. Simon remembered seeing the Pokémon very briefly during Rochelle's fight with Misty. Before it was forced to sleep. That had been a rather quick fight. There hadn't even been a chance to see many of the Mareep's moves. Whatever they might be.
"Would you mind if I scanned Iskra sometime, for the Pokédex record?" Simon asked. He started to reach for his pack but then stopped. Surely Rochelle would know what he was talking about. Without him needing to dig out the device. Other than gym battle opponents Simon hadn't been scanning many Pokémon. He was missing a lot of entries that he could have gotten on day one. "I've been meaning to ask the group." he explained. Which was sort of true. He'd asked...Tyler so far. That counted.