The Road to Indigo (Pokemon RP (Closed): Chapter 7: Dead Living On The Radio...)

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Rochelle greeted the newcomer with a "Hello," and a short wave. She briefly wondered about how Sarah had met Callum and Eileen... and where Eileen was. The latter seemed like the type to challenge Gyms as soon as possible. Maybe she was sleeping in or something.

As Rochelle pondered this, she heard a familiar voice interrupt her. "Hey bros! Totally weird seeing you here... this close to the door. I should totally join you guys and stuff. Take Surge dude on at the same time, right?"

"Oh, hey, Jordan," she answered. "Yeah, we were about to head inside... I will say, though, that if you're gonna cut in line, you gotta get behind us. It's not fair for you to jump the gun when we've been waiting for longer than you." She thought she heard someone grumble about Jordan cutting in line, but there had been no complaints about Sarah's presence, so she figured why not allow Jordan to get in line behind the three that were already present?

Soon enough Rochelle was leading the way into the Vermilion City Gym... Surge's style of decorating was an interesting one... and a potentially dangerous one. Were those live electric currents running around the edges of the arena? She quickly pulled out her Poké Balls and recalled the three Pokémon she had out, in case something happened to them. And Surge's end of the arena was bedecked with American flags and symbols and whatnot... it looked like the man really loved his home country. Rochelle would show him what a girl from Johto could do.

After the exchange of introductions, of course. Formalities were to be observed in situations such as this. Then they could get straight into battling.

"Well, okay, she didn't burst into tears when I mentioned Mika. So we've definitely made progress." Charlie thought with relieving mental sigh, making sure he listened to her words as he subsequently fed both himself and his Pokémon. It made him wonder if he could show such a strong affection for someone he's come to know in just under a week. It's fairly easy to show friendliness towards new people, but romantic affection just seemed like something that would require a longer passage of time to fully grasp. Or at least, that's how he thought. Or how he was taught to think. "Wait, little under a week?" Then he realized that these kids have been out in the world for about as long as he has. It was funny, seeing as he was always under the assumption that the troupe might've embarked on their journey at least a few days ahead of him.

"Hm. I wonder how things would've been if I'd met up with these guys earlier..." He pondered through a feat of subconscious multitasking, feeding Quinn a piece of pancake as he continued listening to Aeris.

"I still didn't know a lot about him, and I hope that the future will present more opportunities to get to know him better."

"Don't worry, I'm positive it will." Charlie replied with a habitual nod. He wished he could've said more, but knew he couldn't. He really didn't know the boy beyond Aeris' description of him and their short introduction the night before. It induced a feeling of subtle guilt in him, and he couldn't explain why. The topic was changed soon after, and Charlie saw it as a perfect opportunity to get his mind on something else.

"I wouldn't think so either. That's why I let Quinn out whenever I can. I mean, I'd let everyone out too, but then I wouldn't have anything to eat." He said with a chuckle. The topic of Pokémon brought up a bit of a subtopic in him. "Oh!, You're going to fight Surge today too, right? Might've asked this earlier, but d'you think you'll be ready?" He queried, soon turning to his own glass of OJ, his bounding gulps seemingly contrasting Aeris' quaint sips.

As Jordan followed Rochelle, Callum and Sarah into the daunting Vermillion Gym, the edge was slightly taken off with the almost cartoonish Leader's side of the arena. Surge's decorating style couldn't be more American if he had smeared apple pie on the walls with a baseball bat. It was a little off putting, at least to Jordan. Man, like, I knew Americans were all patriotic and junk, but jeez. This is like too much. As they entered with some of the other trainers, a packed grandstand could be seen along the side of the dirt floored arena. Many of the stranded S.S. Anne travellers sat to take in the battles.

As the challengers stood on the non-American side of the arena, music started blaring over the loudspeakers. Jordan couldn't quite place it, something about highways and danger zones. After that line, Surge strutted out from a side door. "Dat's right kids. Dis...is...the danger zone!"

As he said that, fireworks went off along the far side of the gym, away from the crowd. The pyrotechnics earned some applause from the crowd. Jordan was confused. Isn't this guy, like, got electricity and junk? Why fireworks?

"All right, here's how dis is gonna work for the lotta yas. Since I gotta lot of fights on my card today, we're gonna do this one on one, you're best against one-a my best. You beat 'em, you get a badge, some more spending cash, and one-a dese Thundabolt TMs. Lose and you get nothing! Cause dat's how America works!"

"Dude, too much America," Jordan noted.

"And if ya think dis is gonna be easy, think again kiddos. My Pokemon are ready to shock ya inta submission. I trained dem with da same methods that saved my ass during tha war, and you better believe dat they make dis battlefield light up with da sparks of combat! So get ready, cause you'll be shocked how quick we can put ya down!"

"So get ready, cause you'll be shocked how quick we can put ya down!"

Disregarding the electricity pun, Rochelle stepped up first to challenge Lieutenant Surge. The man was confident in his type of choice... but she had an ace up her sleeve. The one type that could easily best the Lieutenant. "I, Rochelle Sanders, challenge you," she declared as she approached the edge of the arena, Pokédex in hand just in case.

"Skip the formalities, kiddo, we got a battle to fight," Surge shot back as he raised a Poké Ball and released its contents. A yellow and white four-legged Pokémon materialised in the arena. "Jolteon!" it cried, discharging a few sparks harmlessly into the floor as it ran around a little ways. Almost instantly Rochelle's Pokédex updated itself:

image#135: Jolteon Lightning Pokémon
image
Height: 2'07" / 0.8m.Weight: 54.0 lbs. / 24.5 kg.
Ability: Volt Absorb(This Pokémon heals itself when hit with Electric-type moves.)
Jolteon is one of the seven evolved forms of Eevee. It evolves through the use of a Thunderstone.
.
Every hair on its body starts to stand sharply on end if it becomes charged with electricity.

"Alright..." Time to show me what you're made of. Rochelle plucked the appropriate Ball off of her own belt. "Come on out, Eva!" she called out as she pressed the button and the Gligar appeared in a flash of light. She raised her claws to face the Electric-type, clacking them a couple of times.

Surge's reaction was to Rochelle's type advantage caused her to raise an eyebrow. "Alright, girl, so you got yourself a Ground-type. Not gonna help ya much! Jolteon! Quick Attack!" The Eeveelution became little more than a blur as it started to run: Eva was smacked into the wall before Rochelle had a chance to call out a move. That thing was fast.

"Eva, hang in there. Try for a Poison Sting," she suggested. Eva's eyes narrowed and she raised her stinger in anticipation of the Jolteon's next move. Its speed wouldn't help it against the lingering effect of poison. But when Surge's Pokémon moved in for another hit, Eva tried for a jab and missed completely. Rochelle had to change tactics. Moving wouldn't help when her opponent was far faster... so she had to go for a defensive route instead.

As the Jolteon retreated a second time, Rochelle improvised an idea. "Eva! New plan! Kick up a dust cloud with Sand-Attack!"

"Gar!" The Gligar complied, scratching at the floor and beating her small wings to stir up the dirt. Soon she was obscured by the cloud... but it was small. Surge's Jolteon would easily spot her inside it. "It's gotta be bigger than that!"

Eva redoubled her efforts and the cloud of dust and dirt expanded a bit, soon covering a larger portion of the arena floor. Rochelle couldn't see her Pokémon now. The Jolteon was sitting and watching curiously, head to one side. Surge, too, was looking on with interest. "A clever trick... but your Gligar can't hide forever. Jolteon! Stand ready!" His Pokémon stood up again, sparking a little as it braced itself for a potential ambush.

Then the dust cloud began to dissipate a little, and it was split by Eva shooting up from its center. Her wings snapped open, and she was gliding in circles a short distance above the arena, poking her tongue out at the foe below. Clever girl... Being unable to take flight as a bird Pokémon would, she had used the dust cloud as cover to get herself into the air. Independently, to boot.

"Hah. I'm not gonna make it that easy for ya, girlie! Jolteon, bring 'er down!" Surge commanded. Was she within jumping distance? Rochelle didn't know. But her query was soon answered by the Jolteon's next move. It began to charge electricity... why? What good would it do against Eva? Electric attacks were pointless, they just dissipated against Ground-type Pokémon.

Then the Jolteon released the energy in a ThunderShock, hitting Eva perfectly... and Rochelle saw the reason behind the attack. Eva was immune to the effects of Electric-type attacks, but she was unable to ignore the physical impact of the move. She dropped a few feet in height as a result of being knocked out of her glide path.

"Now, Jolteon! Bring 'er down to ground level," Surge called out. Clearly Eva was within range for a jump, as the Jolteon leapt up to the side of the arena, paying no heed to the live currents of electricity, and pushed off from there, leaping upwards to pounce on Eva. Rochelle remembered trying a similar technique against Eva, aboard the S.S. Anne...

"Eva! Remember what you practiced with Clive! Do it! Do it now!"

Rochelle's shout was a desperate gambit: the Jolteon couldn't alter its trajectory when it was in the air, unlike a bird. Eva's practice with Clive, her former Trainer, had been used to defeat Rochelle in battle. Sure enough, just before the Jolteon crashed into Eva, the Gligar flipped over and enveloped its head, clinging onto its face. The two began to fall... and just as she had seen her do it before, Eva twisted in the air and landed on top of her opponent, more or less. The loud whump that resulted from the crash was met with a smattering of applause from the crowd.

Eva let go of the Jolteon's head, but stuck it with her stinger a couple of times, causing it to flail around in attempts to dislodge her. After a couple of seconds, Eva let go and half-scuttled, half-ran away from the Jolteon, which struggled to its feet. Having a heavy weight land on top of you, especially when your landing did not go as planned, was generally not good for one's health, Rochelle reasoned. The Jolteon coughed a couple of times... and then it coughed up a gob of something and swayed alarmingly on its feet.

Poisoned... that should do it! We've got the upper hand now! "Excellent work, Eva! Now finish him! Quick Attack!" Rochelle called out, confident that she was about to win the battle. Lieutenant Surge looked shocked by the result of Eva's tactics. "Jolteon! Come on! Hang in there!"

His call, however, was left unheeded. In imitation of the Jolteon's preemptive strike, Eva charged the poisoned Electric-type. But when she knocked it over, it didn't get up again. Seeing this, the crowd began to cheer and applaud. Rochelle thought she heard a familiar, "Capital!" in the cheering, and smiled to herself.

A slightly dejected look on his face, Surge raised his Poké Ball and returned his defeated Jolteon. "Congratulations, girlie. Didn't think you'd beat me there, but you pulled it off," he admitted, tossing a small package across the arena. Rochelle caught it with no problem. "Come here, Eva," she called to her Gligar, who cheekily stuck her tongue out at the Lieutenant before climbing out of the arena and walking beside Rochelle as she stepped down to rejoin her friends.

"Well... that's a welcome change from the fight against Misty, that's for sure," she confessed with a slightly awkward smile. "Good job there, Eva, you were fantastic."

"Gar! Gligargar!" Eva smiled behind her tongue as she briefly hugged her Trainer's leg. The two of them stepped aside to let the others past, since they had their own battles against Lt. Surge.

Aeris smirked a little when Charlie said that he wouldn't get anything to eat if he had all his Pokémon out, but it didn't last for long. Though his question did give her some food for thought. "I don't really know. I mean, I do want to face off against him, but I don't know if I can do it right now..."

She would at least need to have the others by her side if she was going to fight him. She knew she wasn't going to be able to fight him if none of the others from the group would be there. Charlie was nice and all, but she hadn't known him for as long as the others. And then there was the matter of who she would use against him. She knew that Xal was an excellent choice, given that he was part Ground type.

Aeris managed to finish a bit more of her sandwich and orange juice, then gave the rest to Blaze, who finished it for her. Aeris tried to clear her thoughts a bit, but it wasn't going too well. "What about you?" she finally asked. "Are you going to fight Surge? Or do you want to go to the bank first?" She remembered the check that was in her backpack and that it might be good to take it to the bank and get the cash from it, though she didn't want to interrupt anything Charlie might have wanted to do.

Sarah watched the display with marvel. While it was obviously over the top, she couldn't help but be amazed at the effort the gym leader would put forward to showcase his love of his country. The gym leader himself was a little more unnerving and Sarah found herself retreating slightly behind the others with her.

She watched as the battle between the girl, Rochelle or something like that and Surge. It was fast paced, exciting and full of heart, it appeared that Rochelle's strategy of using a ground type would give her no positive ground, Surge's experience was extremely evident, but in the end the girl had prevailed and Sarah clapped politely as the rest of the viewers celebrated in a much more...loud fashion.

During Surge's speech to Rochelle, Callum took the opportunity to introduce Sarah to Jordan, the boy seemed to be in some sort of permanent daze and even called her Bro, despite her sex being completely opposite of what would constitute a Bro. Regardless, she shook his hand quickly and returned to watching Rochelle obtain her badge. Callum leaned into her ear and whispered, "Don't be offended if he doesn't remember your name, he never remembers names."

"Hm." Charlie replied initially, attentively. It was obvious Aeris wasn't ready to face a challenge as significant the next gym leader. Not yet at least. "...It makes me realize that I really don't have a 'mon that could have any sort of advantage against Surge. But then again, I beat Misty with Quinn...y'know what? I'm not gonna even worry about that. I'm just gonna go out there, and earn my badge the only way I know how." Charlie stated with low smirk that contrasted his overly confident tone. As looked down at his plate, he realized Quinn was finishing what scraps were left. It didn't matter as much as it did earlier, he was full, and his mind had moved on to other things.

"Break's over, Quinn. It's time for us to get back to business." He said to the Cyndaquil, she in turn looking back to him with a look of obliviousness. Charlie began his shimmy out of the seat, reaching for his wallet as he slung his bag over one of his shoulders. Just then, Aeris asked him another question.

"...do you want to go to the bank first?" She queried, the Charmeleon beside her devouring what was left of her food. Charlie raised an eyebrow at the question, as he hadn't immediately realized its relevancy.

"The bank...? What would we go there for-Oh yeahhhh, because of that check they gave us this morning..." He remembered, now at his feet. he produced a crudely folded paper from the same pocket as his wallet. Unraveling the note, he gave a long look at the numbers embroidered across the check.

"...Eh, nah. I can always cash this check after I win against Surge. The bank'll still be there afterwards." He decided, putting the check back in his pocket. With that same hand, he opened his wallet, and placed more than enough money on the table. As he did so, Quinn saw it as a chance to run up his arm. "...even if you aren't ready to throw down, I think you should still come to the gym. Y'know, maybe all the fighting could get you all riled up and excited. I'm hoping we might find some of our peeps there too." He added, giving everything on his person one last pat down. He looked back towards the trainer.

"Ready to go?" He asked simply.

Memories of her own fight against Misty did bring a bit of joy back to Aeris, since Charlie had mentioned how he'd won against her with Quinn, just like how Aeris had won against Misty with Blaze. It had been such a great moment for her. Probably the first step towards her recovering from her fear.

It was like that kinda snapped her back in place. Yeah, she was still worried about Mika. And she didn't know if he would be alright or not. But she had to go on, because moping around wasn't going to help him recover. She'd see if she was ready for Surge, but for now, going along with Charlie sounded like a good idea. And like he, she could always go later to the bank too. She got some money out of her own wallet and put enough of it on the table for what she'd had, and she nodded to Charlie when he asked her if she was ready to go. "Yeah, lets go to the gym."

They headed out from the eatery and towards the gym, Aeris following Charlie, where they could see the long line of trainers waiting to go in. "Ugh, we'll have to wait forever to get in now..." Blaze wasn't too happy about it either, but she shrugged. There was little to be done about it.

"So...are you gonna challenge Surge today?"

"The gym leader? Yes." Simon replied. He paused, reviewing his current errand load mentally. "I have another stop to make first, though." he admitted. 'Will Drowzee be able to fight?' Simon frowned when he realized that he didn't know the answer. "I'm sorry, but I have to go by the Pokemon Center now. If you'll excuse me." Giving a partial wave Simon immediately began moving past the now sizable teller line. Once outside he began jogging towards the Pokemon Center.

****

"Excuse me, I'm here to pick up my Pokemon? He was left here last night." Waiting in line hadn't eased Simon's worry about his Pokemon. Judy, the helpful nurse from the previous day was nowhere in sight. Instead a new and much younger desk clerk handed Simon a clipboard with a pen attached.

"Sign here and we'll get to you in a jiffy."

Simon neatly printed his name, ID, and the current time on the sign-in sheet. And even though there wasn't a space for it he wrote 'Pick up - Drowzee' in the margin. He hoped a jiffy wasn't very long.

After handing back the clipboard Simon sat down next to an older man who appeared to be with a young boy playing with a small Charizard figurine. Simon's suspicion was confirmed when the boy turned to the man handed him another Pokemon figure to play with. The boy began enthusiastically narrating his own Pokemon battle. Not wanting to unpack anything, or speak to anyone, he tilted his head back and closed his eyes.

"Braddock, Simon?" When he looked up again the boy and his father were gone. The friendly assistant handed Simon a thin folder with metal fastenings along one side and Drowzee's Pokeball. It looked as though someone had tried to clean the Pokeball. The layer of black paint was less noticeable.

"Your Pokemon's been examined and rested so you should be all set. If you have any questions about the report there's a number at the bottom you can call. Have a nice day."

"Thank...you." Simon flipped open the folder and skimmed the first page. Sure enough, there was a phone number listed in the footer. Though instead of being the friendly Pokemon Center logo there was a Pokemon Research Facility logo and and address written in small text. The next two sheets were identical to the original report he'd received. Simon flipped through the remaining pages. Height, weight, blood work, summaries of X-ray results, Psychic Evaluation, Physical Evaluation. The evaluations were new. 'What's this?' Each test result was a number - which meant nothing to him - but some also had yellow exclamation points next to a pair of colored letters. 'It's a code. So...' Simon turned the page over to find a legend. Subject performed at or above the ninetieth percentile. 'Which means what exactly?' Simon wondered. He waited for a young man with a large net in one hand to walk inside the Center so he could walk outside.

Simon put the report into his pack but set the Pokeball on the ground after activating it. Drowzee appeared with the same flash of light that always occurred. "Drow?" and seemed calm. Simon took that as a good sign.

"Hey. Hi." He knelt down, ignoring the gravel digging into his knees. "How are you doing? You okay?"

Drowzee tilted his head. "Zee. Drow." the Pokemon answered after a pause.

"I was going to go to the gym now, if you're okay." It wasn't really his original plan, but they could shop later.

"Zee." Drowzee turned to point at a nearby sign. According to that sign the gym was only a short distance away. Simon stood up and brushed off his pants. "Okay." He took a moment to readjust his backpack and egg-pack before following Drowzee. "Here we go."

Watching Rochelle come away with a victory against the large Vermillion Gym Leader gave Jordan a glimmer of hope for his upcoming battle. Hey that's awesome. Rochelle can do this, so like, dunno, maybe I can pull this off too. As the redhead passed by, Jordan offered some congratulations.

"Way to go, Rochelle. Totally nailed that dude," he complemented as best he could.

"Thanks," she replied.

As she came back towards her friends, an announcement blared over the PA system in the gym. "A reminda to youze all," the voice had an even more annoying American accent than Surge's, "once youze dun battaling Surge, get outta da way and get ovva to da stands or get outta here, or sometin'! Just don stand dere!"

"Man, what's with that chick's accent?" Jordan asked Rochelle, as if she would know.

"Not a clue," she answered. "Come on, Eva." She motioned the Gligar to follow her, and the Pokemon complied as the two took a spot in the stands.

"Next up!" Surge bellowed from across the arena. The leader's powerful voice could probably be heard out in the harbor.

Jordan looked around. He was nearest to the battlefield, so it looked like it was his turn. "Uh, all right, I'm going to step up here bro! Let's do it!"

Surge looked a little bewildered but the kid had fight. "That's what I wanna hear! Now Raichu!" Surge tossed a ball and out popped a Pokemon almost exactly the same as the one he commanded so effectively on the S.S. Anne. The only difference was this one was clearly younger, and itching to fight. Sparks were flying out of the mouse's cheeks. "Raiiiiiiiiiii," If the older one sounded like a revving engine, this one was clearly already in gear.

Jordan stood for a second as he thought about who he should be using in this fight. I dunno, that dude looks mondo tough. Like I don't think any of my bros can take that. Uh, I dunno. I guess Vince bro probably has the best shot. He's gonna have to be the call.

Jordan fumbled around in his pocket for Vince's Pokeball, before finally coming up with it. Or so he thought. "Come on out Vince bro!"

He tossed the Pokeball onto the field, but what emerged was not the imposing yet overmatched Mantis Pokemon. Instead, Jordan's liferaft from the shipwreck stood on the dirt floor, the dangling antennae on it's head doubling it's height but not adding to the intimidation factor Jordan was going for.

"Chinnnchouuuuuu!" "I'm here!" Solana announced before looking around the arena, almost as surprised as it's trainer. "Chinnnnnn" Where's here...

"Solana??? Awww no, wait, do-over bro!" Jordan exclaimed. However, his voice wasn't able to break the noise from the murmuring crowd.

"Raichu vs. Chinchou!" the referee announced. "Begin the battle!"

"Let's see how quick dis is gonna be," Surge said confidently. "Raichu! Give it a Dundabolt!" Raichu followed the call as the sparks from it's cheeks grew into a powerful bolt that flew towards Jordan's Pokemon.

It didn't take a Rocket grunt to know that sending electricity towards a creature that lives in water was a good way to get something fried, and Jordan could only watch as the beam smashed into Solana's spot on the ground, illuminating the arena with a flash. Dude, one move and done. Like I can't do this. I'm sorry Solana bro. You saved me and I didn't pay it back.

Jordan looked up to get a look at the damage done, only to find that there was none. Solana was still standing there, perfectly fine. In fact, it looked like it had even more energy than before, hopping around the battlefield. "Chinchinchinchinchouuuuu!" Wowwwww! Like a million bites of food at once!

"Looks like dis will be interesting after all," Surge commented.

"I...what? Solana's OK?!? But how?" Wait..the Pokedex thing. It will know! Rochelle said it would!

Jordan pulled the Pokedex out of his pocket and pointed at his still energetic partner.

Chinchou, the Angler Pokemon (Female)
Type: Water/Electric
Ability: Volt Absorb: This Pokemon regains health when hit with electricity.

"Dude...that's awesome!" Jordan exclaimed. I should probably have it do something...

Attacks: Thunder Wave, Flail, Confuse Ray, Water Gun

"OK, so uh, use Water Gun I guess?"

Solana fired a blast of water towards the opponent, but it was less a torrent and more a stream. It caught Raichu flush in the face, but the Electric type only had to shake it off.

"All right, we can win dis widout da juice," Surge stated. "Raichu! Give 'em a Slam!"

Raichu charged towards Solana, and leapt into the air. As the Water Pokemon looked up, Raichu spun and brought it's bulky bolt-shaped tail forward, slamming it down onto Solana. All the built up power was quickly sapped with the mighty lash, as the Chinchou staggered backwards.

"Not cool! Ummm," Jordan went back to the Pokedex to try and pick another move. "Uh....try...uh Confuse Ray, Solana!"

"Chin!" Right!" Solana bent forward, the orbs on the end of it's antennae glowing a bright gold before multiple orbs shot out towards Surge's Pokemon. The orbs surrounded Raichu, spinning around it and disorienting the Mouse Pokemon until the converged and exploded in a flash of light. Once the din faded, Raichu was wobbling around on its feet like a Vermillion dock worker at midnight on Fridays.

"Snap outta it, Raichu! Give dat Chinchou anudda Slam!"

"Raiaiaiaiiiiii....." Raichu stumbled back towards Solana, it's balance shot as it was still disoriented. However, it was still able to whip it's tail around and deliver another blow to the freshly caught member of Jordan's team, and Solana was left reeling. She flew a couple feet before landing on her back in front of Jordan.

"Solana, you can get up little bro...ette," Jordan was still trying to keep an eye on the Pokedex since it was basically walking him through the fight. "What else we got...can you Flail, Solana?"

"Chinnnnnn. Chinchou." ....Yes. I can. The Chinchou rose back to its stubby little feet and charged towards the still drunk-looking Raichu. It was slow, but on approach, Solana started whipping her fins and antennae around in a frenzy, creating a whirling dervish effect upon reaching the confused combatant. The Raichu didn't know what hit it as every part of Solana's body not dedicated to movement struck it. Jordan didn't know that it was because of the battering Solana took that this move was so effective. All he saw was his newest team member striking back hard at the burly man's chosen battler.

"Raichu don't take dat from dat minnow!" Surge commanded. "Slam it again! Finish it!"

Raichu loped towards it's weakened opponent to try and get the final blow in, but the young Pokemon foolishly went for another jump Slam to seal the deal. It was in no shape to be attempting such a move. It barely got off the ground before crashing down in a maneuver that looked more like a fall than a jump. It thudded into the ground, it's face showing a couple new scrapes.

"OK, so like what haven't we done yet...OK, uh Solana! Use Thunder Wave!"

The move probably wasn't going to have much bearing on the fight, but Solana did as Jordan told it to. Sparks flew around it's body, and a thin beam shot out from it's antennae towards the downed opponent, enveloping it in the electricity.

"Come on Raichu! Dis shoulda been over ages ago! Get onda attack already! Slam it down and send'em home!"

Despite not regularly training with the Gym Leader, Raichu still wanted to do its best for Surge, but the Thunder Wave had taken hold. It wasn't able to get up and mount the called for attack. But there was one attack it could do without moving, and it's current addled state, it decided that it was the best attack for the job. Stronger sparks flew from around it, and another Thunderbolt ripped towards the opponent.

"Nooooo! Not Dundabolt!" Surge shouted, but even his voice couldn't stop the lightning from riding on.

Solana was hit with Raichu's Thunderbolt in the same way a battery gets hit when attached to some jumper cables. It was an instant recharge. After the blast, Solana looked like it could go for another fight right after. But that wouldn't be necessary.

"All right Solana, go back to the Water Gun! I think this one's looking pretty done!"

"Chinchouchinchou!" "Yes, I'm going to win!" Solana shot another stream of water at the Gym Leader's Pokemon, and this time the stream might as well have been a torrent. Raichu was all out of fight, and the attack sent it rolling back to Surge, unable to continue.

"That does it!" The referee announced. "Chinchou is the winner!"

Jordan held his arms straight up, since it was the only thing he could think to do to celebrate the unlikely victory. "We did it! We totally did it!"

Solana bounded back over to her trainer, her eyes blazed alight, and Jordan was ready as she jumped as well as she could into his arms. "Chinchouchinchouchouuuuu?" Yay, so now I get more of that food right?

"All right kid, you got me beat, so here ya go." Surge reached into his cargo pants and tossed a small bag across the battleground to Jordan. "Take your winnins."

"Cool, thanks dude!" Jordan replied, cradling the bag in between him and the winning Pokemon.

"Next up!" Surge shouted!

Jordan moved out of the way and went to join Rochelle in the stands. Solana was still energetic and was squirming in his arms, but he didn't care to return her just yet. He wanted to bask in the moment a little while longer.

"Who's gonna be my next opponent out of you bunch of pansies?" Lt. Surge called out to the large group of trainers, clearly looking forward to the fights ahead.

"That will be me!" Eileen shouted as she stepped forward from the crowd after dramatically opening the doors of the gym, "You best prepare one of those victory ba- AH it is so damn bright in here!" The blinding light from all the electricity temporarily causing her to get distracted as she covered her eyes with her hand while digging for her sunglasses with another. "That's better," she muttered after taking a moment to composing herself. She was ready for this gym battle now, having psyched herself for it for the past few hours. In her mind, there was no way she could lose with the strategy she had come up with. 'It's a dangerous one, but I know it can be done.'

"Hah! I like that attitude girl! I'll be sure to beat you in this battle to keep all your buddies from acting as cocky as you!" Lt. Surge replied with a hearty laugh, ignoring the angry complaints from the other Trainers that had been skipped in line. The gym leader and challenger both walked to their spots on the gym's battle ground, both ready for a tough battle.

"First off, this is just going to be a one on one battle. One Pokemon each, mano a mano! Whoever's Pokemon gets beaten, loses! No time limits or anything like that! Now, let's begin! I, Lt. Surge, accept your challenge!" With that, the battle begun and Lt. Surge called out one of his strongest Pokemon: Jolteon.

"This fella here will make this battle end quickly!" Lt. Surge called out to Eileen as she took out her own Pokeball.

"We'll see about that!" she yelled back, sending Hughes out to battle. It had been a tough decision choosing who she would have battle, but in the end it had to go to Hughes. Dalton was still too inexperienced in battle, even though he did have the advantage of being a ground type. 'I'm sure I could win with Dalton, but not without taking a few days to come up with a strategy and train him. Hughes is already used to my training, so he doesn't need as much time to learn strategies.'

With the two Pokemon out now, the battle truly began. Both Trainers told their Pokemon to attack; Lt. Surge telling his Jolteon to use Quick Attack while Eileen had Hughes use a Bite attack. The Jolteon was fast; too fast for Hughes to be able to retaliate with a bite. The fire Pokemon was hit with the Quick Attack and sent skidding back a few feet.

'That Jolteon is faster and stronger than Hughes since it is an evolved form. Not sure if I accounted for such a difference,' Eileen thought to herself watching the battle, her battle plan adapting slightly to fit this Pokemon. "Hughes, use Flame Wheel!"

"Jolteon, hit him with a Thundershock!" Lt. Surge yelled to his Pokemon. His Jolteon sent bolts of electricity at Hughes, a few missing from the speed of the attack. A few of the bolts were brushed off from the flicking flames, but a good one managed to hit Hughes and veered him off course. He never slowed his roll, making a sharp turn to hit the Jolteon hard.

This time it was the Jolteon that fell back a few feet, recovering itself as Hughes went in for a Bite. "Use Quick Attack to get outta there!" Lt. Surge ordered, his Pokemon evading the brunt of the opponent's attack, "Now use Tackle before he gets his bearings!"

The Jolteon rushed forward as fast as it could, hitting the fire Pokemon before retreating after its Bite attack to the leg. The two Pokemon had only hit each other with a few moves, but already they seemed tired from the battle. 'This is what happens when two Pokemon so close in strength battle,' Eileen thought, still sure that victory would be hers with one move.

"Hughes, use Flame Wheel again!" Eileen said loudly, watching as Lt. Surge ordered his Jolteon to use Thundershock again. The electric attack hit Hughes just as he was about to hit the Jolteon, though this time he still managed to hit the Pokemon on the first run. He followed through with a Bite attack to the leg. The Jolteon attacked with its own Quick Attack to put some distance between the two, and both Pokemon found themselves back to where they started.

'Flame Wheel is a stronger move than Thundershock, and Jolteon's Defense is weaker than its Special Defense. I think we're almost there.'

The battle raged on, with both Pokemon taking hits. Though Jolteon was naturally faster, the constant Bites to his legs impeded his ability to successfully evade attacks. That didn't mean Hughes was off the hook though; the Jolteon still had its dangerous Thundershock and Quick Attacks that would hit him.

The two Pokemon were tired at this point in the battle, both at a very weak stage. Eileen and Lt. Surge could tell that his Jolteon was strong enough to last if this battle continued the way it was. "I'm gonna end this right now! Jolteon, charge up and unleash a Thundershock!" Lt. Surge yelled intensely.

"Hughes, use Reversal before it can attack!" Eileen shouted right after Lt. Surge called his order. Hughes began to glow slightly, and as the Jolteon sent out its Thundershock he unleashed the Reversal attack. The spiraling energy hit the Thundershock, the stronger attack going straight through as it hit the Jolteon. The Pokemon was sent flying out of the battle ground, hitting the wall with a loud thud!

"Jeez, another loss! I'll make sure this isn't a continuing thing!" Lt. Surge said, looking at the other Trainers lined up as he returned his Pokemon. "Victory was yours today. This here bag contains your prizes, including the ThunderBadge."

"Yes!" Eileen shouted happily, accepting the prize bag before attending to the worn out Hughes. He was tired and worn out, but he seemed pleased with his victory. "After a victory like that you deserve something nice Hughes. With the money from the check, what I pawned off, and this victory we can afford some nice things buddy," she told her Pokemon, giving him one of her potions to help him out. "Another victory!" she told the group, turning around and giving a thumbs up to everyone.

Callum watched Rochelle and Jordan battle Lt. Surge from the arena bench silently. He congratulated both of them after their victories, when they returned to the bench beside him. After Jordan he stood to go take his own turn, but Eileen burst in and beat him to it. Callum waited near the bottom of the arena and congratulated her as he passed her to challenge Surge when he called out for more challengers.

Callum walked over to the trainer's box and removed his Nincada's Net Ball from his bag. "I'm Callum Tap and I'm your next challenger," Callum said in a less than eager and excited voice. "Go Nincada." Callum announced as Trainee Pokémon materialized on the gym floor. "Ninnncada."

"Where's da energy kid? Where's da THUNDA?!" Lt. Surge yelled as he pulled out a Poké Ball and released an Electabuzz. "Electabuzz crush that bug! Use low kick!" Surge ordered, before noticing Callum that Callum had left the box on his side of the arena and was heading back to the waiting bench. "Where in da hell are you going kid?! Get back to da arena and battle!" Lt. Surge screamed across the arena in a thunderous voice of a Drill Sergeant.

Callum ignored the gym leader as he reached a bench and dropped his backpack beside it. Lying down, Callum had completely ignored everything Lt. Surge had been yelling at him. Standing up there in front of everyone was too stressful and Callum had decided that laying back and watching would be a more relaxing venture.

In the arena the Electabuzz had charged forward and slid forward towards the Nincada. "Electa!" In response the Nincada had used Harden and the kick had barely done any damage; although the Nincada slid backwards on the field. Before the Electabuzz could get up, Nincada quickly scurried forward and raked the Electabuzz four times with its legs." Cada!" The attack didn't appear to do much damage, but there were some small scrapes along the Electabuzz's leg.

Callum noticed a shadow cast over him and looked to find the source. A familiar face with light brown wavy hair pulled back in a ponytail was looking down at with him a stern glare.

"Just what in the world are you doing Callum? Last I checked Trainers give their Pokémon orders when it comes to battling! This is just disrespectful for every one of us here right now," Eileen said with anger, chewing out the younger Trainer as he relaxed on the seat. "I don't even see how you can call yourself a Trainer!"

Callum turned back towards the ongoing battle and proceeded to watch it again. He held up his index finger, as he watched Surge's Electabuzz jump into the air and start flipping; performing a Swift attack.

"Number one, part of our agreement for me to help you in that double battle was for you to leave me alone about how I choose to battle."

Nincada ran forward, trying to dodge the star shaped rays; the dodges failed and Nincada was hit several times by the Swift attack. The Electabuzz landed on the ground and Nincada moved to it and crawled up the back of its right leg. Quickly Nincada used Leech Life and started to drink some of the Electabuzz's blood to regain a bit of health. While still preforming Leech Life, Nincada started to use Scratch on the Electabuzz's leg.

Callum raised his middle finger next. "Number two, you're implying that my Pokémon aren't capable of battling without commands. Pokémon can and have been living and fighting in the wild, since well before there were trainers. Do you honestly think that those natural survival skills are useless because I'm not issuing orders?" Callum asked rhetorically as he got off of the bench and started to slowly walk back towards the trainer's box. Boos and thrown objects and food came from the audience as he walked back.

Lt. Surge ordered the Electabuzz to use Swift again to knock the Nincada off of it. The black and yellow Pokémon jumped in the air and started to flip. The star shaped rays hit point blank and Nincada was knocked off and across the arena. The Electabuzz landed and Surge ordered it to finish the Nincada off with a Low Kick.

A smile crossed Callum's face, as he raised his ring finger. "Finally I can call myself a trainer because I trust my Pokémon above all else. And because I trust them, they trust me back. Now watch as my trust is just as good as your commands." Callum replied in a voice barely audible over the booing.

The Trainee Pokémon was hurt, but not knocked out. It recovered and jumped to the right of the Electabuzz's left sweeping right leg. "Nincadaaaa!" Callum's Nincada yelled as it darted forward and delivered a deep and painful Scratch attack to the Electabuzz's right leg.

"Turn back around and hit dat pest with a Low Kick!" Lt. Surge ordered his Electabuzz. The Electabuzz tried to make a right sweep with its left leg, but the damaged right leg caused it to collapse on its stomach. Nincada didn't hesitate a second, and quickly started to unleash Fury Swipe after Fury Swipe on the Electabuzz before Lt. Surge determined his Pokémon could no longer defend itself.

As the Electabuzz collapsed on the ground, Surge sullenly recalled his Pokémon. "Can't believe dis. Losing to idiots. Losing to lazy kids. Dis is a disgrace. Fine. Take your prize, kid. But I'll tell ya now, dat act ain't gonna work in odtha gyms. You gotta work on your training you wanna keep winning." He tossed a bag over to Callum and got another Poké ball ready for his next opponent.

The crowd stopped booing at Callum, as he was about to recall his Nincada, when it started to glow. The glow broke out of the back of the Nincada's body and a Ninjask flew out at an incredible pace. "Cool." Was all Callum could say before the Nincada's exoskeleton partly curled up and started to float in the air. "Huh?" was all Callum could get out this time as he pulled out his Pokédex.

Eileen stayed quiet as Callum finished the match with both a victory and an evolution. After hearing Lt. Surge say his final words of wisdom, she decided to make one last statement to Callum. "Fine, do what you want when it comes to battling. One day though you are going to lose a battle badly, and I'll be there to tell you that I told you it would happen! And I'll laugh as I then show you what a true Trainer does!"

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291 Ninjask
Ninja Pokémon
imageimage
HT 2' 07"
WT 26.5 lbs.
Because it moves so quickly, it sometimes becomes unseeable. It congregates around tree sap.

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292 Shedinja
Shed Pokémon
imageimage
HT 2' 07"
WT 2.6 lbs.
A discarded bug shell that came to life. Peering into the crack on its back is said to steal one's spirit.

Callum had tuned Eileen out and ignored everything she just said. "Strange, but awesome." Callum said as he returned the Ninjask to Nincada's Net Ball and pulled out a new Net Ball for his brand new Shedinja. This Shedinja should be an interesting team member. Callum walked back from the field picked up his backpack. He changed and added the stickers to their balls before returning the balls to his bag. By the time he was finished he was at his seat by the rest of the group he came in with.

After a while of waiting in line and watching people battle against Surge, it seemed that it was finally Aeris' and Charlie's turn to battle. Aeris went down first, ready to fight after she'd seen how the battles were handled this time. Damn, only one Pokémon. I don't want to use Blaze for this battle. It's going to have to be just Xal... She weighed her options as she got down to the arena.

"Lets make dis snappy. Dis day's been tiresome, and ah'm a bit sick of losin' ta kids. One Pokémon. Choose wisely." Lt. Surge picked up a Pokéball and sent out an Electrode. Crap, that thing's really fast from what I've heard. Aeris thought as she watched the giant ball roll around, eager to battle. She picked up Xal's Pokéball and sent him out. Surge sighed. "Ya've gatta be kiddin' me. Anotha Ground type? And a Geodude, no less. What, did ya want ta copy dat Rock dude dat much?" he asked with a mock in his tone. Aeris blew air into one of her cheeks before answering. "No, I didn't want to copy Brock. I wanted to beat you!" Surge laughed at that. "Dat's da spirit! Lets battle!"

Both Pokémon ready to fight, Surge gave the first order. "Alright! Let da show begin! Electrode, roll all over dat rock with yer Rollout!" Electrode grinned as it rolled towards Xal, who hovered there a bit lazily. The attack connected, but barely did damage to Xal, mostly just knocking him back. "Hah! I guess I'll get you to shut up if this keeps up!" Aeris called over to Surge before giving Xal a command. "Hit that ball with a Magnitude!" Xal nodded and slammed his fists into the ground, making it quake and hit the Electrode with a great force, knocking it back and making it stop rolling. Aeris couldn't help but grin herself. "Lets see if you can counter that!"

Surge gave a small growl. He knew he couldn't do much against a Geodude, even if it was weaker and smaller than his Electrode. Spark and Charge Beam wouldn't affect Geodude, and Rollout wouldn't do much damage. He decided to at least make Rollout a little more effective. "Electrode, deafen him with a Screech!" Electrode grinned before opening its mouth and letting out a horrible noise, making the crowd, Xal and Aeris hold their hands over their ears to block out as much of the noise as they could. Wherever there are ears on a Geodude, anyway. Once Electrode was done, it immediately charged towards Xal again. Xal decided to counter its Rollout with a Rollout of his own, both Poke´mon charging at full speed towards one another. They collided, and were both knocked back, Xal flying over Aeris' head, and Surge needing to step aside quickly so Electrode wouldn't hit him.

Both Trainers went over to their Pokémon, checking to see if they were alright. Xal had to pick himself up, but was hovering in no time. Electrode looked towards Surge with a pained grin, obviously having received a lot of damage both from the earlier Magnitude and now from the Rollout, but still ready to fight. They each headed back into the arena, facing each other once again. Electrode couldn't handle much more, but wouldn't go down without a fight. Xal stared at it, hovering lightly up and down, his arms in a battle ready position. Surge still had little options, looking Aeris dead in her eyes, who stared back. Both of them nodded before they gave their Pokémon another command.

Both of them shouted at the same time, but their Pokémon still understood their commands. Electrode grinned as it started up another Rollout, charging towards Xal faster and faster. Xal in the meanwhile started to pick up a rather large rock from the ground and tossed it towards Electrode before picking up another rock and throwing it too, continuing to do so, as Electrode did its best to evade the rocks, having some luck with it due to its speed, but some of them hit. It was getting closer now, and there was only one attack Xal thought of doing. "Geeeoooduuuuuuuuude!" Xal yelled as he lifted his hands and arms high into the air, hovered a bit higher before he slammed his fists into the ground harder than before, sending the Electrode flying over his and Aeris' head and right through the front door.

Surge hurried past Aeris and towards Electrode, going outside after it. A few moments of silence passed before Surge returned, holding a Pokéball in his hand. He sighed, though he quickly put on a grin and laughed. "Dat sure was a heated battle! Yeah, ah lost again, but ah had fun! Here, take the prize!" He threw a bag towards her, which she caught. Eager that she won, she looked for Charlie first, but also where others from her group were and once she saw Charlie getting ready for his turn, she went towards the group with Xal hovering by her side. Both were really glad to have won, and it had lifted her spirits high up.

Even if a change in Aeris' emotions were expected, it still surprised Charlie at how well she melded into the moment. Seeing her excited to battle, made him excited to battle. He whooped and cheered for her as she fought, and whistled loudly as she sent Surge's Electrode sailing over the crowd.

"YEAHHH!! WHOOOO!!" He yelled over the roaring crowd before whistling again. Surge soon reappeared in the spotlight with his battered pokémon in tow, and Aeris' well-deserved badge. Once after accepting her prize, the two trainers exchanged glances. Charlie gave her a bewildered thumbs-up (with both thumbs no less) as she victoriously approached him. Before he could fully congratulate her however, Surge's loud voice boomed through the gym.

"Next!" He proclaimed. Charlie began to grin as he rushed up the steps to the pronounced battleground, almost losing his footing in the process. He quickly made his way to his side of the field, where he spotted the familiar redhead moving towards another familiar redhead and the group of those he'd befriended sometime last night. The grin on his face elongated ever so.

"Jordan! Rochelle! They made it!" He thought happily. With the question of his newfound friends' safety finally answered, he realized he could fully focus on what lied ahead: Lt. Surge. The gym began to center his sights on the young trainer. He noticed Charlie's excited features and put on a smirk himself.

"See, now dis is what I was lookin' for! A trainer, clearly excited ta face me in battle! Tell me kid, are ya ready to feel da THUNDA!?" He asked extravagantly, the crowd roaring in return. Charlie hadn't realized how fanboyishly anxious he appeared towards the battle until Surge pointed it out. In return, he loosened up a bit, shaking out his arms and legs before looking back at Surge, his face solidifying into a guise of determination.

"Nope! But I hope you're ready to feel the FIRE, cuz you're about to get BURNED!" Charlie replied, ripping the closest pokéball from his belt in a flashy fashion, the crowd showing application towards the boy's gusto. Surge chuckle again as he produced his own pokéball.

"Oh, so ya gonna give us a show as well? I admire dat. I can't carry dis act all by myself! Ya should know by now, that this'll be a one on one battle! No switchouts! So I hope that 'mon you're holding'll be enough for my-" Surge tossed his pokéball out into the field, where it expelled a bright light.

"Flaaffy!" The pokémon cried into the air. It was an electric-type for sure, but not one Charlie was expecting. Either way, he shrugged off the occurrence before tossing his own ball into the center. As one might anticipate, Quinn, a no-doubt fire-type, appeared out of the white light. Raring' for a fight, trademark flames sprouted from the pads on her back. A referee appeared from the sidelines and officially commenced the battle. Both trainer and pokémon alike jumped into action.

"Quinn! Smokescreen!" She did as Charlie told, releasing a billowing cloud of smoke from her mouth. The cloud spread all through the field, shrouding the tiny fire mouse's movements. The Lieutenant scoffed at Charlie's attempts to gain the upper hand.

"Huh! Tryna play defensively? Dat's not gonna slide in mah house! Flaaffy! Use Thundershock!" Surge retaliated, and the Flaaffy complied, a wicked bolt of electricity firing from its wooly head. The attack shredded through the smoke, near missing both Charlie and the Cyndaquil. It was a successful attempt at hindering the Flaaffy's accuracy, but it was time for another attack route.

"Okay then, we'll play offensively! Quinn, use Ember!" The Cyndaquil trotted forward before expelling tufts of fire from her mouth. The attack connected with the Wool pokémon, the impact causing it to slide back on its heels. Surge could only grit his teeth as he watched his pokémon take the brunt of the attack.

"Lucky shot." He mumbled before commanding the Flaaffy to shoot another Thundershock in Charlie''s direction. It seemed the effect's of Quinn's smokescreen still affected the Flaaffy's vision, and the second bolt failed to strike the Cyndaquil. "Quick Attack!" was what Charlie asked for next, and Quinn efficiently delivered. In a feat of blinding speed, the small Fire mouse took off on all fours, ramming into the Flaaffy before one could notice the other. The hit did minimal damage, but it was enough to cause a frown of frustration to form on Surge's face. As Quinn rounded back towards Charlie, the trainer made a small swirling motion with a pointed finger.

"Keep it going girl. Hit 'em again." He said quite softly, his words easily drowned out by the various noises of the crowd. He made the same finger gesture again, verifying that Quinn should perform the same attack a second time. Even if she didn't hear his words, she easily understood the familiar act. She complied, spinning on a heel to face the opposition. She began another sprint towards her target, in preparations for another Quick Attack. One could easily notice the angered scoff Surge let out after realizing the audacity Charlie formed from attempting the same attack consecutively. And it became an attack he anticipated.

"Flaafy! Thunder Wave! We'll nip dis lil' game in da bud right now!" Surge commanded. The Flaaffy responded, a shockwave of electricity releasing from a central point on its body. As Quinn delivered her attack without fail, she received the Flaaffy's attack head on. The Wool pokémon began recovering from the attack, but it was clear that its stamina was waning. Quinn struggled to move as electricity visibly coursed through her. Surge capitalized on Quinn's gradual paralysis, and the Flaaffy delivered a tackle that she received fully. Charlie's face stiffened even further as he watched the attack unfold. The impact of the attack was enough to send Quinn towards the middle of the field. He called out to her, in hopes to get her to attack. But Quinn could only whimper as she attempted to trudge towards her owner. Surge crossed his arms at the sight, a cocky smirk accompanying the stance.

"Well, would'ya look at dat? Da lil' thing is still going! Heh, dat's a feat. Tell me kid, D'ya have faith in your 'mon right now?" He asked. Charlie looked up from Quinn's position on the field. Looking straight into the gym leader, he wore his own defiant grin.

"'Course I do. Do I look worried right now?" The trainer retorted. Surge answered with another Thundershock, this attack sending Quinn further down the field, and closing the gap between her and Charlie. The trainer knelt to his pokémon as she slowly stood on her hind legs. As she looked up to her trainer, her look of worry contrasted Charlie's proud grin.

"Hey. You're doing great out there. That Flaaffy is on it's last legs. That badge is as good as ours! I know it's hard for you to move right now, be we gotta hold out. We just gotta play the field a bit." He said encouragingly to his pokémon, stroking her head.

"Qui..." She squeaked doubtfully.

"Remember what Grandma said, Quinn. Keep going. And that's what we're gonna do-" Charlie's words were interrupted by his opponent's, who called out to him from across the arena.

"'Ey kid! Did I say ya could take a time-out?! You betta keep this fight goin', before I disqualify you!" Surge called out, springing the two from their moment. Charlie replied with another Smokescreen attack, the field filling with dark smoke yet again. The disgruntled leader watched as the move obscured his-and most likely, his Flaaffy's-vision. The trainer's act was really starting to ware on his nerves.

"Flaaffy! Go into the smoke and find that 'mon! Use Take Down when you find it!" The Luiteinant commanded hastily. The Flaaffy hesitantly agreed before fleeing into the cloud. From the other end of the field, Charlie couldn't see his opponent, but he could easily hear his words. Said words caused the trainer to raise an eyebrow.

I was expecting another Thundershock...maybe he's realized how ineffective it's been?...Eh." He thought with a shrug before kneeling to the Cyndaquil, the fire mouse still standing at his feet. "We're gonna wait 'til we see the Flaaffy, then we're gonna bombard it." He whispered to her before rising back to his feet. She nodded in compliance before steeling herself, wondering if this is what he meant by 'playing the field'. Then, the two waited for even the slightest glimpse of pink to visualize through the dark shroud. When it did, Charlie announced his attack.

"Ember!" And Quinn did as such, shots of flame endlessly firing from her mouth. Before the Flaaffy could breach the smoke, it found itself being pelted with bullets of fire, a stray tuft causing the smell of burning wool to mix in with the scent of the smoke. It was forming into a foul stench, but it was easy for both parties to tell that the attack was inflicting additional damage to the Flaaffy. Surge cursed to himself as he realized that he sent his pokémon headfirst into a trap. He yelled for the Flaaffy to retreat, but it was obvious that it couldn't hear his commands over its own pained cries. The end was in sight, and Charlie began to get excited again.

"This is it! Quinn, finish it while it's distracted! Quick Attack!" He said as the Cyndaquil halted its onslaught. As if faster than before, Quinn bolted towards the Flaaffy speedily, a headfirst tackle blasting into her opponent. Surge saw his pokémon yet again, only this time he found it on it's back, exhausted. The once white wool that adorned its head was now smoldering, and black. He ran to its aid, patting out the patches of wool that still burned into the Flaaffy's scalp. Charlie appeared from the smoke, Quinn in his arms. He stood over the gym leader, an arm extended.

"That was a great match Lieutenant. Quinn and I, we've learned a lot from this." He said humbly. Surge rose to Charlie, and shook the trainer's hand. "Yeh, da feeling's likewise, kid. You gave me quite a show! And I don't think I've ever had a losing streak dis consecutive! Either way, you've earned this." Surge handed Charlie the small bag containing his badge and earnings. Charlie tried to contain his excitement as he received his winnings, giving the gym leader one last nod and a "thank you" before descending into the crowd. Excitedly, he made a beeline towards the familiar gaggle of trainers, high-fiving Aeris once he approached her.

"Yeah! Y'see that? That's how we get it done! And you were great out there as well." He cheered to her before addressing the others. "Oh hey, guys. Good to see you all made it off the Anne okay." Words that were mainly for Rochelle and Jordan, but were easily made for everyone involved.

Eileen had gone outside after Callum's victory over, idly walking along the building in no particular mood to watch more Pokemon battles. There wasn't going to be any amazing battles at this point, and she was still mighty angry from Callum's battle.

"He's going to regret it one day," she muttered to herself, stepping out of the brightly lit gym and back onto the streets of Vermillion. Hughes looked up at her with a confused look, walking along his trainer.

"Look Hughes, it is not like I don't trust you in a battle. I know you can hold your own against many Pokemon, but it is always better to have help. And what better help than someone who knows what they are doing and understands things on a smaller scale? You get the big picture; attacking the opponent and winning the battle, and that is all you have to think about. I do all the small things like factoring in the powers of attacks, resistances, weaknesses, all that mumbo jumbo that you don't know about," Eileen explained until she could tell that she was starting to lose him.

"We are going to be the best team Hughes. There are only a few of us now, and there will only be a few more here and there in the future. That gives us more time to work out any kinks and to train each member of the team to be the best of the best," she told her Growlithe, patting the determined looking Pokemon on his head. "The best of the best."

Jordan was enjoying watching the battles now that he had already locked up a victory against the burly man in charge. Solana had calmed down a bit in his arms, although he did suspect that she still wanted food. Going to have to stop at like the vending machines again, pick her up a treat.

Charlie came up into the stands, the latest victor against the Gym Leader, and he was obviously in a good mood. "Oh hey, guys. Good to see you all made it off the Anne okay."

"Yeah, totally," Jordan answered. "Was a little dicey, but like, Solana bro bailed me out. She's just been like stellar the past day. Totally awesome."

"Chinchouuuu! Chinnnn! I'm awesome! Yaay!

"But yeah, you did good out there bro. Killer win."

The idea of Pokemon relationships is an old one indeed and an odd one at that. From the manner of capture, to the nature of the relationship, Pokemon and their trainers is a curious bond that has yet to be properly explained, save for the cliché terminologies involving love and the like. What we aim to explore in this paper, are the psychological and philosophical natures behind Pokemon and their owners. To explore the nature of the relationships beyond what the trainers themselves believe it to be. Is there a science behind it? Is it instinctual for trainers and Pokemon to bond in the way that they do? Are Pokemon pets, or friends?

-Excerpt "Of Pokemon and Trainers" by Linda Forest

Sarah watched the battles with a renewed interest. While she had watched quite a few battles on TV, it was an entirely different experience to watch someone in action. She could even argue that it was different than battling yourself, due to the various emotions you got to see flirt across the player's faces as they did battle. The Pokemon were interesting to watch as well, each one as unique as the trainer they worked with. As she watched each of these new friends battle against the very patriotic Lt. Surge, she was amused and intrigued to see the various battle styles these trainers employed and she began to take notes during the battles.

After Callum's battle however, conflict arose. Eileen took offense to the way he battled it seemed. It was interesting after all, the way he almost threw it against the wall to see what stuck, for lack of a better saying. He won and his Pokemon evolved, and Eileen walked out of the gym. It had caused a tension that even Sarah could feel but it looked like Callum didn't even notice. His evolution of a Pokemon into two Pokemon was interesting enough to distract, she decided and wandered out of the gym herself to find her new friend.

She found her, not too far away, patting her Growlithe on the head and talking to it. Sarah stopped for a second. She didn't want to interfere with the moment the two were having. Of Pokemon and Trainers had put forward the idea of the relationship between the two being nothing more than Commensalism at work and in some cases, Parasitism. Sarah disagreed though and she was even more sure when she observed the Pokemon nuzzling its owners hand in happiness. It was irrelevant if the Pokemon understood the trainer, it didn't matter that the relationship had begun with an involuntary capture or voluntary, the look on the trainer's face and the one that mirrored on the Pokemon was more loving than simple science could say at the moment. A saying that would describe the moment perfectly would be Aries Ghultap's, "A Pokemon and a trainer are two incomplete parts that seem incompatible. Until you see them together."

Sensing that it was alright for her to walk into the moment, she finally stepped forward, "Why did you leave the gym?"

Eileen jumped at the sudden question, startled by the Trainer she had met on the S.S. Anne. "Goodness, hah...scared me there. So distracted, uh," Eileen started, composing herself and calming down her Pokemon who went into his protective mode when he realized someone was nearby his Trainer, "He'll get used to you, I'm sure."

There was a pause now as Eileen figured out what she wanted to say. Half of her wanted to complain to Sarah about everything that was making her a bit more irritable than usual, but it was probably best to not unload all that on someone she just met. "Oh, you know just a few things. Like the Rocket attack and all that. I still have a headache too, thought it'd be a bit less bright out here. At least there is less commotion."

"I also was not really interested in any of the battles. Nothing noteworthy was going to happen, and then Callum's attitude just pissed me off. Figured it'd be better to get some air and such," she told Sarah, looking out at the view of the ocean from the front of the gym. It was funny how calm and beautiful the water was; she had thought the same while on the S.S. Anne. 'At least those Rockets have been dealt with for now.'

Simon waited to see if anyone else would approach the gym leader. When no such challenger appeared he stepped into the arena himself. A somewhat smaller crowd was now present, creating a low hum of background noise which Simon tried to ignore. He would have preferred a private battle.

"I'm your next challenger." He announced. He waved, since the gym leader was on the other side of the arena-type area. Drowzee raised his own arm in challenge and stepped in front of Simon. "Droooow."

"Alright!" Lt. Surge yelled his approval followed by another phrase that Simon didn't quite catch. He did see the gym leader picking out a new Pokeball to use. Simon took that as a sign that he'd been accepted. Since Drowzee was already out Simon dropped his main pack on the ground and shifted his wrapped Pokemon egg to be secure on his back. "Please don't hatch right now, okay?" Simon muttered to the bundle. He could only handle this one fight right now. He even shoved his worry about Drowzee's condition to the background. This was a gym fight. It was important.

But just to be safe. Simon knelt down to check with Drowzee. "Are you okay to fight?"

A short nod and "Zee." sounded like an affirmative answer.

Powering up his Pokedex Simon held the device loosely in one hand. "Okay." he gave his own nod and stood.

The gym leader shouted again. "Dat's it. Time's up kid. Let's fight."

Lt. Surge threw his Pokeball in a perfect arc. It landed in its own small crater near the middle of the arena. Raichu, the chosen Pokemon, appeared in a shower of electricity that continued spreading across the floor. The display was bright enough for Simon to take a cautious step back.

Drowzee was unaffected, or perhaps unimpressed, by the display. He walked onto the field calmly. "Drowzee." the Pokemon called out to his opponent.

"Raiiiichu." Raichu continued posing and throwing sparks until Drowzee was close enough for the match to be declared.

"Confusion!" Simon called out the first attack quickly. Raichu's data was processing on his Pokedex so he was still sailing blind.

"You gotta be better n dat!" Lt. Surge raised his fist as he countered, "Raichu, use Thunderbolt!"

Watching Raichu charge for its attack Simon wondered if perhaps he'd chosen the wrong Pokemon. Shadow's faster...Sandshrew's a ground-type, augh. Shaking off his disappointment Simon focused back on the battle. A quiet tone sounded to let him know Raichu's data was being displayed. Too late now. He was going to have to go on instinct.

Electricity flew across the battlefield hitting Drowzee at chest-level. But Drowzee's attack was just as powerful. Drowzee's cry of pain was echoed and Simon watched Raichu rock backwards from the Confusion attack launched on it. Unfortunately the Pokemon was perfectly lucid once it recovered its balance.

"Shake it off." Lt. Surge demanded, "now use Quick attack."

'No.'. They needed something that could counter a fast attack. "Try another Confusion." Simon called to Drowzee. If it hit maybe Raichu could be thrown off balance. Maybe. Simon he risked a glance at his Pokedex to see Raichu's data.

The orange and yellow blur that was Raichu blinked in and out of existence around Drowzee as the psychic tried to line up his own attack. Come on, come on. Simon lost track of the enemy Pokemon at the wrong moment.

"Zeeeee!" Drowzee tumbled across the ground and there was Raichu with a smug grin, whipping its tail back and forth in glee.

"That's more like it." Lt. Surge pumped his fist in the air, visibly excited. "Another Thunderbolt!"

"Disable him?" Simon called. He assumed it was possible.

*Mmmm* Drowzee's body began to glow with dark colors that clashed with the bright light gathering around Raichu.

Please survive. Simon thought fervently.

Electricity flared bright enough to make Simon shade his eyes with one hand. He found Drowzee when the light cleared, on the ground with errant electricity still covering his body. Oh no. Was that it? Had he lost his first gym battle?

"Get up...come on get up." Simon chanted quietly. Slowly, very slowly, Drowzee stood up.

"Almost over now. Raichu use, use something awesome!" Lt. Surge waved his hand in Drowzee's general direction as he gave the command.

What's that about? Simon wasn't sure if he was being insulted or not. It kind of felt like it. Either way he'd use it to their advantage. "Use headbutt!" Simon hoped Drowzee was steady enough to pull the attack off.

Drowzee stumbled fowards. Simon winced but relaxed a fraction as Drowzee gaining momentum and stability. He became a small tan blur hurtling towards Raichu.

While Drowzee charged, Raichu turned and began to move its tail back and forth.

Tail Whip? Simon guessed. Though he'd never seen a tail whip attack glow like that. If it was tail whip then Drowzee should have the upper hand.

"Raiii-"-"ZEE!"-"Ha-uh?" Simon's laugh of triumph slipped into confusion as both Raichu and Drowzee fell to the ground. What was that?

"Thunderbolt!" Lt. Surge called while Simon was still trying to figure out what happened.

This was it. So close to Raichu there was no way Drowzee could dodge even if- "Move!" Simon waved as though he could move Drowzee himself from so far away.

"Rai!...chu?" Instead of the bright flashes of electricity Simon was now used to small sparks fizzled and died around the electric Pokemon.

Disable. Success! Simon waved at Drowzee and then pointed emphatically across the battlefield, "Hypnotize that Raichu."

Obediently Drowzee began the rapid hand-motions that accompanied the hypnosis attack.

The gym leader laughed "You only disabled one ability, boy, Raichu Thundershock now!"

"Raiiich-"

"Drowww!"

"1...2..."

Drowzee's attack finished first. Translucent waves surrounded Raichu whose electricity flared and then vanished. "chuuuu..." Raichu's eyes closed and it began to spin in place.

"Wake up, soldier, wake up NOW!" Roared Lt. Surge from his side of the field. The gym leader clapped his hands loudly. Simon jumped but Raichu remained in its sleepy trance.

Pushing his glasses up on his nose Simon gave Drowzee what he believed would be the final attack.

"Hit him with a headbutt, but be careful."

"Zee. Drow."

"Raiiii..." Simon's warning became unnecessary as Raichu began snoring. For a medium-sized Pokemon it could snore rather loudly.

The unblocked headbutt sent Raichu tumbling towards Lt. Surge. "You're insubordinate." The gym leader commented to the unconscious Pokemon who attempted to use his boots for a pillow. Surge returned the Pokemon, officially ending the battle.

Simon followed suit but not before congratulating Drowzee and promising a sizable meal when they returned to the town. He carried his pack by one strap to meet Lt. Surge in the middle of the battlefield.

"We almost had you." The gym leader pointed out. Lt. Surge didn't seem too upset about this particular loss though.

"Yes sir, you did." Simon respectfully replied as he took his winnings and new badge. He had no problem agreeing with a man twice his own size.

"Sir! Ha! I like that. Good luck to ya. " Surge gave a loud laugh and shoved Simon in a pseudo-friendly gesture that sent the trainer stumbling a few steps.

"Th-Thank you." Rotating his sore shoulder Simon walked towards the nearest exit. Ow...

Her Growlithe lived up to its name at first and Sarah stepped back to allow its distance, "No matter what we write or say, there's is still that animalistic instinct isn't there?" She smiled as the Pokemon relaxed once she was a proper distance from its trainer, "Its loyal though, that's nice to see."

The trainer had shared a little on her mind but not near enough, but Sarah couldn't expect any real intimacy yet; they had only just met. Her opinion on the battles was interesting though, the battles had been exciting, there was no doubt about that. What was she looking for then, in a battle?

Sarah realized she was staring and shook herself out of her thoughts, "Sorry, I am curious though, why did the other one piss you off, I thought his battle was interesting, if not a little unorthodox."

"I've always loved Pokemon battles; the anticipation and build-up to the match, the twists and turns of each battle. People think that it is just the Pokemon battling, but the Trainers are as well. It's like a mental chess game is what my brother used to say. Your Pokemon are the ones doing the actual fighting, but it is the trainer that chooses the attacks and even what Pokemon to use based off of knowledge of what their Pokemon can do and what their opponent's Pokemon can. It's a Trainer's responsibility to take care of their Pokemon, and that means partaking in the battle as the Trainer," Eileen told to Sarah, completely serious as she spoke.

"You can't just expect the Pokemon to do all the work. It can work for a while, but once they get into a battle with a real Trainer that can exploit that weakness it is the Pokemon that suffers," she said, looking down at Hughes and petting him behind the ears. "I've had Hughes here since we were both little, and once I knew more about battling I started to train him to become stronger. I could not get many battles in since the Pokemon and Trainers around Cinnabar are really strong; so he the lacked actual experience of battle, but we watched many matches to learn all that we could. While I trained him to become faster and stronger, I also studied all I could about moves, and strategies, and anything that I could my hands on that could help when we actually started to battle."

"Now look where the two of us are; Vermillion City with three gym badges and no losses to speak of. I see only good things to come for Hughes and I," Eileen said confidently, standing up tall as her Pokemon puffed his chest out with pride.

Sarah smiled at Eileen's pride. She found most trainers were extremely confident in their abilities and it seemed that Eileen was no different. She was passionate, and that was something that Sarah had always admired in trainers, they wanted to win and they loved to battle. It seemed that her passion went beyond that though. It'd be interesting to see Eileen continue to battle and refine her technique. Maybe it was worth staying with this group, "I see; and Callum's battle relied mostly on his Pokemon's ability to act instinctively. I think I understand where you're coming from then."

Sarah took out her notebook she kept in her bag and scribbled a few notes about Eileen's views on battles before shoving it back into her bag, "So then you've been keeping to the order of the Kanto challenge then? Brock, Misty and Surge if I'm not mistaken; that means Celadon city is next right?

With Surge being handed yet another defeat, Tyler was feeling confident about his own chances. What he wasn't confident about, however, was going up against Surge in front of a crowd. The Gym Leader's losing streak caused quite a few people to leave, but the crowd was still decently sized. Tyler swallowed hard and stepped forward. Hopefully performance anxiety wouldn't get to him.

"Surge, I'd like to challenge you next," he said meekly.

Tyler's apparent shyness seemed to amuse Surge, who laughed heartily. "Well, don't just stand there, kid!" he shouted in his strange accent. "Come on up and feel the THUNDER!" The crowd reacted warmly to the Gym Leader's pun, with some cheering and whistles.

'Is the showmanship really necessary?' Tyler thought as he took place at the arena. 'In fact, is the audience really necessary?' He sighed and reached for Tank's Pokeball. He hadn't seen any action in the last Gym battle, so it was only fair that he give him a shot this time.

"Ya pick your Pokemon, boy?" Surge asked.

Tyler nodded. "Let's do this."

"Right to business. I like your style!" Surge pulled a Pokeball from the shelf behind him. "My Pokemon will be Magneton!" he declared as he hurled the device into the air. Out of the white light came a familiar form: the three connected Magnemite. Tyler wondered briefly if it was one of the Magneton that had disarmed the Rockets on the S.S. Anne. He pulled out his Pokedex to do a scan, while he had the chance.

image
081 Magneton
Magnet Pokémon
image image
HT 3' 03"
WT 132.3 lbs
It is actually three Magnemite linked by magnetism. A group can set off a magnetic storm.

"Well don't just stand there! Put the toy away and battle!"

Tyler was starting to lose his patience. Surge's demeanor was beginning to wear thin, and the battle hadn't even started yet. Resisting the urge to say something, he pulled out Tank's Pokeball from his belt. "My Pokemon will be Tank!" he declared before tossing the ball. Tank appeared in a flash and looked around before setting his gaze on his opponent.

Surge grinned. "A Nidorino, huh?" He cracked his knuckles. "This won't take long. Magneton! Let's start things off with a Thunderbolt!"

"Maaagnetoooon"

The floating magnetic triad began to glow a bright yellow. Sparks started flying from the ends of each shoehorn magnet and a concentrated bolt of lightning lurched outwards from Magneton in frantic zig-zagging patterns. The air crackled as the energy closed the distance to its target. Tank sidestepped the attack and the Thunderbolt dissipated harmlessly into the ground.

"Double Kick!" Tyler commanded.

Tank complied with a grunt and took off running towards the Magneton and jumped, his powerful legs launching him into the air. He adjusted his trajectory mid-flight to point his hind legs towards Magneton and gave the formation's top magnet a powerful kick. The blow clearly did some damage, as the Magnet Pokemon let out a metallic shout of pain as it hurtled backwards. The audience responded with mild surprise.

Surge nodded, but his air of confidence did not waver. "Shake it off, soldier!" he shouted to his Magneton. "Hit 'em with another Thunderbolt!"

Another bolt of lightning surged from Magneton. Tank tried to dodge by jumping to the side, but this time he was too slow. The Thunderbolt scored a direct hit. The Nidorino let out a yelp as the electricity ravaged his body. He crashed into the gym floor, still sparking from the powerful attack.

Tyler winced. "Tank, are you okay?"

Tank let out a strained reply and tried to rise to his feet. His movements were stiff and labored. When he did finally stand up, he seemed very unsteady on his feet.

"C'mon, buddy, Double Kick him again!"

With a groan, Tank moved forward - and promptly collapsed onto the ground, unable to move.

Surge let out a deep, bellowing laugh. "Looks like your Nidorino's paralyzed! I might as well finish him off! THUNDERBOLT!"

The crowd began to cheer, expecting the knockout blow. Surge's Magneton launched another Tunderbolt at the immobile Tank, who cried out as he was struck yet again by electricity. As the sparks dissipated, Tank rose unsteadily to his feet. Battered, but not out.

"I think it's about time ya gave up before your Nidorino gets himself killed! Next time, don't bring a pet to the big leagues."

"And how about you shut your goddamn mouth, Surge?" Tyler's face burned red with equal parts anger and embarrassment. He wouldn't stand being humiliated like this, and he definitely wouldn't tolerate his Pokemon being insulted. The audience reacted to his outburst with a low chorus of amusement. Tank growled and dug his feet into the ground, ready to lunge at Magneton. Tyler and Tank exchanged glances. The Nidorino's resolve was clear: Fight.

"We're still in this! Tank, show Surge what you've got! Double Kick!"

Recovering from his previous paralysis, Tank took off running towards Magneton.

Surge shook his head in pity. "Looks like we gotta teach 'em a lesson, Magneton! You know what to do!"

"Maaagneton..."

Magneton launched another Thunderbolt at the charging Tank, who easily dodged it. It fired another, which Tank also dodged. With a powerful leap, Tank landed his Double Kick dead center in the top magnet's eye, with devastating force. The Magneton flew backwards and the formation lost cohesion. Three individual Magnemites clattered to the ground, defeated. clattered to the ground, defeated.

Tank howled victoriously and Tyler relaxed somewhat. The audience's reaction was mixed. Some reacted with genuine surprise, and others with jeers. Surge's expression was blank for a moment, but he soon cracked a wide grin.

"So your Nidorino's got what it takes, after all. The little guy can sure take a beatin'." He returned Magneton to its Pokeball and set it aside. "And since ya beat me fair and square, you should probably take this." From a nearby shelf, he produced a package marked with a lightning bolt and hurled it towards Tyler. "Catch, kid!"

Running to meet the hurtling package, Tyler reached out and caught it. Its contents rustled around a bit as it came to a stop in his arms. "Don't worry," Surge called out. "It's bubble wrapped."

Looking down at Tank, Tyler couldn't help but smile. He knelt down next to his Nidorino and affectionately scratched behind his ear. "You did great," he said quietly.

"Ran!" Tank replied, with a weary nod.

"Let's get you patched up. Then we can get something to eat. How's that sound, buddy?"

Tank nodded again.

"It's a date, then," Tyler said before returning Tank to his Pokeball. "And thanks for the battle, Surge," he told the Gym Leader. With that, he exited the Gym, his victory package in hand. Next stop, the Pokemon Center.

Once Tyler had taken his turn handing the Vermillion Gym Leader another defeat, the crowd on the challengers' side of the gym appeared to be thinning. Jordan looked through the pack, but there didn't seem to be anyone there from their group...at least that he could remember. Solana was still energetic. Broette probably deserves a little rest after that though, like even with the shock treatment.

"Yo bros, you want to, like, get out of here? Head for the Center or something?" he offered. "Think we're all here anyway." Jordan's friends seemed to nod in agreement, so the group got up collecting people from the challengers side and outside the gym to head back to the Center.


As the group arrived back at the Center, Fary stood by the reception counter. She seemed to jump up with the arrival of the rest of her friends but she moved right to Jordan. "Jordan," she said. "Can I talk to you? In private?"

"Uhhhhh, OK?" Jordan said, a little confused. Fary led the two of them to a side room away from the main lobby. It should have been far enough away from where everyone else congregated. Rogue was already in there, but she standing awfully still. It wasn't like her. Something had to be off.

"Ummm well." Fary took a deep breath and let it out. "I'm sorry I cheated on you and I'm sorry I slept with Brock. I've been fucked up for a while now since my ex left me right before I left to train in Kanto." she said crying some and held her arms.

"Well yeah, that's harsh, I guess," Jordan admitted. "But still, Rock Dude? Hung on me for like, two days and jumped to Rock Dude? That's what sent the signals up Fary." In honestly, Jordan didn't know. The way Misty came on, he probably would have ended up doing things with her anyway, but Fary struck first.

"Wait you seem to be forgetting something Jordan, you still, even after what I did, slept with that water bitch even after you said you needed time to think. If you wanted to leave me say it, don't go fucking another chick." Fary said starting to get angry. "One fuck up doesn't make another not matter. The fact is you cheated on me as well. Eye for an eye." she said starting to shout some.

This jump in attitude was not appreciated by the laid-back surfer. "Whoa, whoa, you broke it off first, you know?" he tried to maintain his usual level of talking, but it was starting raise a little. "Like you were hanging with him, staying the night with him. Like what did we even do? To have any kind of relationship? Way you went about things? Like it was not even there from the start. And you know what? That's why I totally don't feel bad about what happened." He folded his arms across his chest. "So there. Guess neither of us cheated, since there was nothing to cheat on, tssha."

"So you assume I felt nothing for you? Yea I may have jumped on the relationship wagon way too soon but I still felt something, I felt something for the first time in a long ass time. I feel like shit for what I did because of how I felt. Why do you think I've been acting abnormal? For kicks and pity? You fucking ass. The nerve to stand here and tell me you don't feel any shred of remorse for what you did while I'm asking for forgiveness. Oh yea that's what a real man does. God maybe I should talk to Grimsley." she said really starting to yell.

"Yeah sure, go talk to what's his name! Grimson, whatever!" Jordan wasn't having any of the yelling and finally started to raise his voice. "You know, I'm totally sure this is stuff he wants to hear. How you're going around, playing like boytoy chase the ace, swapping dudes and smashing tables. I know you've been like, going through some shit, but that's wipe-out style stuff, Fary! I mean, if you're feeling like shit, you think I feel any better, getting my ass passed over for that tool?" Jordan didn't even realize the past week had affected him like this, but everything was getting thrown on the table now.

"You don't know what Grimsley did or who he is. He's a member of the Unova Elite Four. I'm not normal like this. As I said I'm fucked up, from Grimsley no less. All I see right now, however, is you treating me like shit when I'm apologizing to you. Hell I'm starting to not even feel bad now. Fuck being happy with you and fuck hoping to fix things if I'm going to have everything shoved back in my fucking face like a dog punished and thrown out into the cold." Fary was starting to loss her temper and say things she didn't mean. "Grimsley left me to join the Elite Four, yea that's right he left me. I fought for him to stay but he lied his way out of staying with me when I had always been by his side. Right before he left he yelled at me and called me a slut. Since then I've been trying to make myself believe that I deserved his treatment and that I was a slut. I loved him more then I could ever love anyone and now, after everything, he's begging for me back. He's dogging me about it." Fary said breaking down.

"Well that like, that sucks Fary," Jordan commented as he lowered his voice. Much as he hated this entire situation, he still didn't want to see Fary cry. "I'm sorry bout that, but like, I dunno, maybe you should see him. I mean like, you obviously weren't happy enough with me. Like, and I hope you weren't happy with Rock Douche, so I dunno. If this guy is like, another Douche, but he wants you back and you can't like make your mind up on like if you hate him or want him or whatever, then, like, I dunno. Go to him or something, talk it out. See what his deal is. And if like, there's something there, awesome. and like if there's not, then deck him one and then move on. I think, that's probably what you should go on, you know?" He wasn't sure exactly what he was saying but it sounded good enough.

"I don't want to see him. I'm trying to move on but.. I just can't be here, with other people right now. I guess maybe I need to go off on my own you know. Think shit out and figure out what I want and need. I'm worried he'll come clear from Unova and find me. I guess what I'm saying is I need to go alone for a bit. Train and what I came here to do. I think need to go on my own, away from people." Fary said sighing.

"Well then yeah, do that," Jordan concurred. "Like do something, cause you know, that girl who hung out with me for like the first couple days or so, she was cool enough. She needs to come back. If that's like what it takes, that's what it takes."

Fary smiled and nodded. "I'll do that then. I do want her to come back, that's how I really am too. I'm still pissed at your mankey for the cock block." she said laughing some then hugged Jordan. "She'll come back with me I promise. Wait for her?" she asked.

Jordan hugged Fary back. Considering where this conversation was heading, this was a more than satisfactory result. "For sure. Still gotta teach her how to surf," he remarked.

"Sounds like a good idea. I'm sure she'll like it." she smiled and gave Jordan a quick kiss then picked up Rogue. "Ready to go?" she smiled as Rogue yipped. "I'll miss you and I'll be sure to beat the water bitches ass." she said smiling wide.

"Give her hell, bro," Jordan told her. That remark served as a reminder that he still had to face her himself, but he was confident that he could do it this time. Solana had proven herself against the Lightning Dude, she could do it against Misty. "I'll see you later, for sure."

Fary waved and put Rogue on her shoulder. "I'll see you around. Well Rogue, let's head out and give Kanto hell. You've been doing a good job so far but you can still get stronger." Fary said petting Rogue and walked out of the room and waved good bye to the other members of the group as she got on her bike right outside the Pokemon Center and rode off.

After having left her name and Pokémon with the nurse on duty, Rochelle retired to one of the many seats in the lobby and weighed her new Thunder Badge in one hand, studying it. It didn't look very electrical-themed: in fact it looked rather flowery. Rochelle rifled through her pack for her Boulder Badge, comparing the two after she found it. The silver-grey Badge she'd earned from Brock seemed more appropriate to its Leader's type of Pokémon. Surge's Badge was a strange design choice.

In the search for her Badge, which she had yet to put somewhere special, Rochelle also found the cheque she'd picked up at the meeting that morning. She still had to cash that at a bank somewhere; she needed to do that sooner rather than later. Maybe she could do that on the way out of Vermilion.

Eventually Rochelle decided against finding a specific place for her Gym Badges, placing them in a pocket of her pack as a temporary solution. She would have to find something, though, since they could get scratched or something. As she stashed her prizes, she heard raised voices in a room off of the lobby. Someone wasn't happy. Probably Jordan and-slash-or Fary, she thought, paying it next to no heed. The voices quietened down after a while, and Fary soon left the Pokémon Center, giving people a wave as she left.

Where's she off to, I wonder? Rochelle turned her attention to the others, people-watching a little while she waited for her Pokémon to be patched up.

Jordan sat down in the room for a second, just trying to make sure he fully understood what had just happened there. Dude, thought I was slamming a door on that one. Like what happened? Am I really keeping her open or what? Not really reaching a conclusion, he made the decision to actually leave the room. Upon doing so however, he came across the rest of the travelling party, still standing in the same general area they were before.

"Oh...hey," he said a little timidly. "So yeah, that happened and stuff...so we healing, bros?"

"Celadon will be where my next gym battle is; though I think we're taking a long detour to it which will give me ample time to train all my Pokemon up. Hopefully catch one or two on the way there as well since I only have two battlers right now," Eileen told Sarah, looking over as the gym's door opened and the rest of the group started to come out. "Looks like we're heading back," Eileen said, waiting for everyone to pass by before following behind them to the Pokemon Center.


After dropping off Hughes at the front desk to be healed, Eileen took a seat at a vacant table and brought out Dalton and Cleo. Cleo proceeded to jump off the table and take a look around, while Dalton curled up on his new Trainer's lap and went to sleep. "Dalton, we are going to be training like crazy to get you into shape for battling. I've already come up with a good beginner's training routine to get you into the best shape, and the Pokemon found in the wild around here will provide good battle experience for you," she told her Pokemon, oblivious to the fact that he was sleeping as she started to list the special training that she had planned for him.

Callum had joined the group on their way back to the Pokémon Center. No attention was paid to anyone as he slowly started to think over who he'd be using on the way back to Cerulean. The concept was harder than he thought, since his jib dictated that he needed to train and evolve specific Pokémon he had already caught, meanwhile still needing to examine others before they evolved as well.

The stress was starting to give him a headache as he sat down at the PC in the Pokémon Center and removed his Pokédex as he accessed his storage box. Ledian, Butterfree, and Kakuna were still located inside of it. There was note from the researches as well stating that they had been examined and the money had been transferred to his account. There was a bit of a sigh; neither for relief or weariness.

Callum removed all of his Poké Balls and Net Balls from his pouch and removed his Pokédex. Ninjask hasn't been examined, and since I have Shedinja I don't have to worry about any other evolutions. I'll give it to them to examine. Shedinja is in the same boat. Spinarak still needs to evolve and hasn't been examined, so I'll keep him out. Pineco still needs to be examined and evolve, so I'll let them have him now. Paras needs to evolve, but it's been examined so no need to not keep her. Oddish isn't a Bug Type, so it doesn't matter. Ledian is fully evolved and examined, but I need to work on leveling too many others to take her with me. Butterfree is fully evolved and has been examined, but it still needs to get more experience, and sleeping powder will be helpful if I come across any more Bug Types to catch. Kakuna Still needs to be evolved and has been examined so I'm taking him as well.

Callum went back over everything he thought of as two familiar voices had it out for a few minutes, and he felt he needed to recheck what he was doing to avoid screw ups. The mellow drama of the group needs to chill out. These people really need to learn to relax everyone once in a while. Getting heated over how other people battle, and from the sounds of it, setting paper thin flings in fire. Another sigh, this time of definite weariness, left Callum as he made his exchanges and logged out of the computer.

Callum got up from the desk and went back to the waiting area. He hadn't exactly agreed to join the group, or was really asked by anyone other than Eileen, but Callum still felt that traveling with them might be a good reason to slow down his pace a little. It might just work if the mellow drama he'd been sensing from the group would cool off. "All of my buddies are already healed up, but I'm good if we wait or whatever." Callum replied to Jordan, noting to himself that he'd have to make a stop in for some Poké Balls soon as well.

"Oh...hey. So yeah, that happened and stuff...so we healing, bros?"

Rochelle recognised the voice: Jordan had emerged from one of the rooms off of the Center's lobby. She looked up to find what looked like a slightly embarrassed expression on his face. Something was up, probably to do with Fary. She resolved to ask him about it when they were on the road again, where privacy would be easier to come by.

"Yeah, some of us have left our Pokémon with the nurses. Or, well, those that needed a patch-up," she added as an afterthought, bringing out Iskra's Poké Ball and letting him out. Rochelle had something she wanted to try. The Flaaffy materialised on the floor, curled up. Probably taking a nap. She poked him in the side a couple of times to get him to wake up. "Flaaf?"

"Hey there, mister. Got something to try," Rochelle said to her Pokémon as she held up the CD containing the TM Surge had given her. Being an Electric-type, he could probably use a move called Thunderbolt. "Let's see here... insert into Pokédex to run program. Alright." She dug out her Pokédex and slid the yellow-tinted disc into a thin slot in its side. The screen immediately lit up.

Technical Machine Recognised: TM24 - Thunderbolt
Pokémon Recognised: Flaaffy.
Checking Compatibility:Compatible.
Teach Flaaffy Thunderbolt? Y/N

Rochelle tapped the 'Y' on the touch-screen, and a thin red laser shot out of the Pokédex, catching Iskra right between the eyes. He swayed a little on his feet, eyes drifting out of focus, but remained standing until the beam shut off. The Pokédex beeped a second time:

Pokémon Recognised: Flaaffy.
Updates:
Moves: Tackle, Growl, Thunderbolt, Thunder Wave

Rochelle ejected the disc from the Pokédex and returned it to its case. "How do you feel, buddy?" she asked her Pokémon, curious about any side effects a TM might have.

"Flaaf." Iskra's response sounded rather non-committal. Rochelle chuckled. "Eh, you're alright, Iskra. Misty'll be in for a surprise when we get back to Cerulean." At the mention of the Gym Leader's name, Iskra perked up, a couple of sparks jumping between patches of wool.

Earlier...

It took Charlie a little longer than the others to reach the Pokémon Center. The thought of cashing his compensation check slipped his mind as he battled for his latest badge, and only presented itself once the group decided to move on. As the thought came to mind, he began to gradually fall away from the crowd of trainers.

"I should cash this now, at least then i'd have a little more money to buy supplies..." He pondered aloud. He looked up to tell his friends that he'd disband for a bit, with Aeris being the closest to his person. He tapped at her shoulder, beckoning for her to come with him, joking something about a 'bank buddy'. Before she could comply in any way, he began trotting in the the opposite direction, heading towards the bank closer towards the center of the city.



Now...

With that objective subjectively complete, Charlie began to make his way towards the Center and the others. He noticed Fary speed by him on a bike, most likely leaving the city to mostly likely embark on her own affairs. "There goes that girl that I barely got to know..." Another shrug accompanied his words as he entered the center. Everyone he expected to be there was there, all off doing their own thing.

He moseyed his way to the sole counter of the establishment, where one of the nurses waited. After turning in his information and pokéballs, the nurse gave him a short bow and a confirmation to wait for his pokémon to be healed. As she disappeared through a door behind the counter, Charlie moved himself to one of the nearer tables. Looking into his Xtransceiver, he pushed against the device's screen, motioning to call his parents. Surprisingly, neither picked it up. "Must be at work..." He thought as he looked on, the device prompting to leave a video message after the prompt.

"Hey Mom, Dad, just calling to tell y'all that I won the Vermillion City Thunder Badge not too long ago, with Quinn no less. Gimme a call...whenever." He tacked on lazily with a absentminded shrug. With the message sent, he looked up from the wrist mounted cam-phone to check his surroundings. His ears perked up as he overheard Rochelle talking to one of pokémon. As he looked in the direction of her voice, he realized that she was implementing a TM into her Flaafy. Not too familiar with the process himself, he decided to make his way over to her.

"Do you think TMs could hurt the pokémon when used?" He addressed her with a simple question. "Heheh, I wonder what would happen if you use one on a human..." He added with a dorky chuckle.

This had been a great day so far aside from the start of it. The group was all happy, everyone had won a battle against Surge and they were on their way back to the Pokémon Center when Charlie tapped Aeris' shoulder, saying something about wanting a bank buddy. She giggled at it and followed him to the bank. It reminded her that she need to cash in her own check anyway, so this was a great excuse for her to do so.

With the money in her wallet, she made her way back to the Pokémon Center with Charlie when Fary rushed past them. "What was that all about?" she asked out loud, not really to anyone specific and confused about her just speeding by them. She entered with Charlie and gave her injured Pokémon, which only included Xal, to the nurse, then headed towards the telephones to call her mother and let her know she was alright. She figured the attack from last night had been all over the news and wanted her mother to know she'd gotten out of it alright.

Aeris dialed her mother's number and waited until she'd pick up. A few ringtones later, she appeared on the screen and looked relieved that her daughter was in one piece.

"Thank Arceus we heard from you!" her mother said, clearly having been worried by the tone of her voice. "What exactly happened? Did they hurt you? Were your Pokémon stolen?" Her mother let the questions flow as she asked Aeris a lot of questions, to which Aeris finally responded to her to let her actually answer.

"I don't really know. One moment we were having fun and the next one we were being robbed by Team Rocket. They didn't hurt me, and my Pokémon are safe and sound." she assured her mother, along with answering any other questions she had. Her mother looked to breathe easier now and it was also clear that she had been crying earlier. Beside her mother was her father, and it showed that Aeris got her eyes from him because of his green eyes like the ones Aeris had. He'd apparently been worried as well, worried enough to be beside his wife and not at his job at this moment.

"Hey there, Aeris." he said to her in a calm way. He'd always been like that, trying to hide his worry if he had any.

"Hi, dad." she replied to him in the same manner. She'd only seen a few of his work when she'd visited his lab.

"I'm glad to see that you're alright. Did everyone else from your group make it out okay as well?" Aeris would have asked how he knew about it, but her mother probably told him about it.

This wasn't an easy question for her because the only person who hadn't made it out alright was Mika, but she didn't want to tell her parents about what happened to him. However, she couldn't hide it as she started to get teary eyed and tears ran down her cheek. "What's wrong, dear?" her father asked her worried. If they could hug their daughter, they would have.

"It's...Mika. He had a...a mental breakdown and was admitted into the nearest hospital." Her parents understood, and again it was clear that her mother had told her mother about what was between Aeris and Mika.

"Well, that just means that once he'll get out of there, we'll all be able to have fun together." her father assured her. It made Aeris half-smile and she wiped the tears away. "Yeah, we will."

Not wanting to dwell on that, she showed her parents her Thunder Badge on the inside of her vest to show her victory over Lt. Surge, along with showing her father her Boulder Badge and Cascade Badge. They congratulated her on it, and after showing her father all her Pokémon, Aeris promised she would be alright before saying goodbye to her parents and hung up. She had returned all her Pokémon back into their Pokéballs except Blaze, of course. Not knowing what to do now until Xal would get healed, she walked over to Charlie and Rochelle, but didn't really say anything. She wasn't sad, but she wasn't overly joyful either. Just kind of indifferent at the moment.

"Wait, whoa," Jordan said as he watched Rochelle shoot some sort of laser at her Pokemon. "Like, what was that? What did you just do?"

"I taught Iskra Thunderbolt using the TM that Surge gave me," Rochelle stated. "You just slide the CD into the slot in your Pokédex and it practically does it for you."

"Dude, like, so that just teaches them stuff! Cool!"

Upon hearing this, Jordan started fumbling in his pockets for a ball. Opening it up, Vince materialized on the Pokemon Center floor.

"Scyyyyyther!" Awwwww yeah!

"All right Vince bro. Time to teach you a new trick!" Jordan loaded the bright yellow CD into the indicated slot and point it at Scyther. "Fire away!" The beam shot out of the device and caught Vince flush in the face, but it only served to make him confused, and Jordan as well. "Scy! Scyther?" Ah! The hell? "What? Dude? That didn't look like what worked..."

The Pokedex beeped.

Technical Machine Recognised: TM24 - Thunderbolt
Pokémon Recognised: Scyther.
Checking Compatibility:Not Compatible.

"Oh...yeah, I guess that makes sense...Electric move won't work on a...wait....Electric!" Jordan went back to the pockets for another ball. Please be the right one.

This time, the energy clumped down, and Solana appeared next to her teammate. "Chinchouuuuu?" Where am I now?

"Scytherscy?" Who the hell are you?

"Chinchouchinnnnchou." You first, big guy.

There was no time for further introductions as Jordan had the laser ready for firing. Once again, the beam found it's mark, catching Solana in between it's now widened eyes.

Technical Machine Recognised: TM24 - Thunderbolt
Pokémon Recognised: Chinchou.
Checking Compatibility:Compatible.
Teach Chinchou Thunderbolt? Y/N

"There we go!" Jordan commented. He looked over at Solana, she seemed to be in a daze. Vince was poking the top of her head with the tip of his scythe, but it elicited no response. "K, better hit yeah then."

As Jordan tapped the screen, the beam looked to shoot into Solana. Upon disappearing, Solana's eyes shrunk back to normal size, and she finally reacted to Vince's prodding. "Chinchou! Chinnnnnnchou!" Hey! Cut that out! The Pokedex beeped one more time.

Pokémon Recognised: Chinchou.
Updates:
Moves: Thunder Wave, Confuse Ray, Water Gun, Thunderbolt

"There." Jordan returned his Pokemon to their balls, and then remembered what would make the guessing game go away. He went up to the counter and dropped all his Pokemon onto an available rack. "You heal my bros? Thanks." He rushed out towards the door and shouted to the group. "Gonna be right back! Gotta get something!" He rushed out the door, intent on finally making a necessary purchase.

"Hm. Looks like she's back in her slump..." Charlie remarked in concern as Aeris joined him beside Rochelle and Jordan. He couldn't help but look on as the two exhibited the abilities the TM system has to offer. But even then, he turned towards Aeris.

"Hey. How're ya holding up?" He asked, a low yet sincere tone used to deliver the query. Soon after Jordan jetted from the building, a nurse reappeared at her designated spot behind the counter. She called for Charlie, and it was an obvious sign that his pokémon were fully healed. Upon receiving the capsules, Charlie quickly gave his thanks before returning to his seat. Letting out his group of pokémon from their devices, he too, wanted to try out the whole TM thing.

"But can any of you guys learn Thunderbolt?" He asked the crowd. Naturally, Nina took it as a chance to leap into her master's lap. She seemed heavier than usual, and even a little bigger. He held her before him, getting a better look at her features. "Hey Aeris, mind if I get an outside opinion from you? Do you think Nina here might be close to evolving?" He asked the trainer for a secondary output on the situation as he held the Nidoran in her direction. "Nid!" Nina chirped additionally, obviously enjoying all the attention.

After realizing he was sidetracking himself, he placed Nina down on the table before him. "Alright Nina, sit perfectly still. If this works, then you should have a badass new move in your disposal." He told the Nidoran as he took out his Pokédex. "Nid! Nidonid!" She replied excitedly. The remaining three took safety precautions by making their way onto Charlie, Quinn and Talon perching on his shoulders, while Parker skittered onto his head.

"Alright, now..." He fumbled around his pockets, finding the small disc needed for the process. Once it was inserted into the device, the anticipated red beam shot out from the 'dex, and into Nina's head. After a brief pause, a prompt appeared on one of the screens.

Technical Machine Recognised: TM24 - Thunderbolt
Pokémon Recognised: Nidoran♀.
Checking Compatibility:Compatible.
Teach Nidoran♀ Thunderbolt? Y/N

Charlie mouthed "Yes" out of instinct as he pressed the confirmation on the screen. With that, the process had ended almost as quickly as it begun, with the red beam disappearing into Nina. "Hm. I was half-expecting that to not work." he quipped in a surprised mumble as the Nidoran began to come back to her senses. Soon after, a resulting prompted appeared on the screen.

Pokémon Recognised: Nidoran♀
Updates: The move designate 'Growl' has been omitted.
Moves: Scratch, Double Kick, Poison Sting, Thunderbolt

"Huh. Was that supposed to happen?" He queried, looking from beyond the Pokédex to get a look at his Pokémon. "Ya doin' alright over there Nin? How do you feel?" Charlie asked. She took on a guise of determination in return. "Nid Ora-n!"Like a badass! She replied. The trainer chuckled at his 'mon's reaction. "Now her ego's gonna be even bigger than before!" He thought, petting her has she fell back into his lap. "Next battle we get into, we're gonna try it out, okay?" Nina nodded happily in reply.

Jordan's dashing off reminded Rochelle that she needed to visit a bank to cash her cheque. Returning Iskra to his Ball, she too got up. "Actually... yeah, I need to go deal with something myself. Didn't visit the bank before the Gym." She shot a glance towards the front counter: she had left Eva with the nurse. There was no sign of her being ready for pickup, so she promised the others that she would be back soon, adding that if someone could collect Eva for her if she wasn't back in time that would be great, and stepped out of the Pokémon Center.

The bank was easy enough to find on Vermilion's streets: there were signposts pointing out certain buildings. Goldenrod didn't have all that many of those: she'd had to remember where things were herself, for the most part. She quickly found the Vermilion Bank and entered the building, joining a queue for a teller.

Slowly but surely the line crept forward - Rochelle was fidgeting for most of the way - until there was no-one else before her. She cashed the cheque with little problem, making a small just-in-case withdrawal after doing so, and left the bank after both transactions had been dealt to. It was only then that she realised that she hadn't turned her Pokégear on that morning. She did so as she began the route back to the Pokémon Center, and was slightly shocked by the result the screen showed her.

23 Missed Calls
5 Unread Messages: Mum
2 Unread Messages: Dad

"Oh, hell." Rochelle's heart sank as she realised they'd have heard about the incident aboard the S.S. Anne by now. It would have been breaking news. She'd completely forgotten to call them and tell them she was okay. Briefly flicking through the messages - Rochelle, are you alright? - Rochelle, please call ASAP - Call your mother, she's worried sick - she speed-dialed the Sanders' home number. Her mother picked up. "Hello?"

"Hi, Mum - " Rochelle didn't have a chance to continue before her mother began an emotional outburst. "Rochelle Jane Sanders! I was so worried! What kept you?! Where have you been? The S.S. Anne was all over the news, we were trying to call all through the night and this morning..."

"Mum - Mum, please -" Rochelle was trying to get a word in edgewise, but her mother would have none of it. She pressed on, going into the details of the news coverage and Team Rocket's attack. Rochelle politely but forcefully asked that she didn't. "Mum. Mum. Don't. I was there, I remember it all... as much as I don't want to," she admitted. "You guys are okay, though, right? I'm fine. Don't worry."

"Don't worry? How could we not? Your father was going to take the train into Saffron and come find you. We heard there were people missing or - or dead..." Rochelle briefly recalled the gunshot, cringing visibly at both her mother's words and her own memories.


BLAM. The man fell to the deck, a bloody hole through his chest. Panic had shoved itself to the forefront of her mind. What if she was next? What if the two from Mt. Moon were here? What if they recognised her and came for her? She did the one thing that came naturally. She let out a scream of terror and buried herself in Charlie's arm.

She couldn't be a prisoner again. She couldn't live through that. She needed someone to defend her. Charlie was there. He would have to do. Like Tyler had done back under the mountain.


"Rochelle? Honey, are you alright?"

"I... I'm okay. I'm fine. I'm fine." The words were more to convince herself than her mother. She was fine, wasn't she? She had put those memories in a box, away from all the others. But they got out. Briefly she wondered if she was going to get a full night's sleep when she next adjourned to a bed.

"You don't sound fine. I'll put your father on." There was some fumbling of the receiver at the other end of the call. Soon Rochelle heard her father's voice. "Rochelle. Thank goodness you're okay."

"Hey, Dad. Yeah... yeah, I'm okay. It was just rough, is all."

"Are you absolutely certain you're up to carrying on?" Her father's tone was concerned, rather than relieved. "You know you can come home any time, right? If you want to take a break, I mean."

"No... no, I can keep going." Rochelle believed she could. She'd beaten Surge, hadn't she? That was proof enough for her. But what if they show up again? Then she could beat them. And if she couldn't, her friends could. That seemed logical to her.

"Alright... if you're sure, kiddo. That offer I made to send you a Pokémon still stands, in case you need something a bit stronger."

That would be unfair to the system. "No, Dad, I'll be fine. My team is strong. We beat Surge this morning." She was proud of Eva for winning that match.

"Well... if you say so, I guess. Just be sure to call more often. No excuses. I gotta go. We love you, 'chelle."

"Love you both. I'll call when I can," Rochelle promised as she rounded the corner to the Pokémon Center. Was it a bad thing that she breathed a huge sigh of relief when the call ended, and she stepped back into the Center's lobby? Her parents were fine, she was fine, they weren't demanding that she come back home... She needed to be more careful, though. She needed to stay in control if the group encountered Rockets again.

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