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

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Having snagged one of the single rooms that the Pokemon Center offered for weary Trainers the previous day, Eileen had missed out on any of last night's late ongoings. Her normal routine of waking up early for a morning jog was discarded; instead replaced with her sleeping in for the first time in months. I wouldn't mind giving my Pokemon more days off if this is how it feels like, she mused once out of bed, cleaning herself up in the bathrooms provided before returning to her room.

All of her Pokemon were up by then except for Dalton, who seemed to still be tired from the previous day's workout. "Guess someone wants to miss breakfast," she said sarcastically and loudly enough for him to hear. Her Swinub immediately opened up his eye (startling his Trainer in the process) and off the bed and to the door; sniffing at the opening under the door as if food was within reach underneath it. "Hold on Dalton, let me get my jacket on," Eileen told him, grabbing her lightweight and picking up the Pig Pokemon before exiting with Hughes and Cleo in tow.

Most of the group is already awake, Eileen noted, merrily greeting everyone with a 'good morning' before making her Pokemon some breakfast. While the Center's food was decent by itself, she always would mix in a little of her own supply in with it. Give them all the proper nutrients and vitamins needed since the Center's food is not very enriched.

After grabbing a bit of toast for herself, she walked back over to where everyone was sitting at; standing to the side furthest away from Callum. "I had quite a swell night. Felt quite bizarre getting up so late," she started, not noticing the apparent mood of everyone there.

"I wish you all luck today in your matches against Misty. I'm positive all of you will be able to kick her butt this time around," she added, pausing for a moment to give Callum a look that indicated that she thought he would lose and wanted that to be the case before continuing, "Once we're all done with her we'll be heading on out again for more adventure!"

"Morning there, Charlie. Yeah, there's room for a few more here." Aeris said, looking up from her breakfast as Charlie greeted her and sat down by her table, Quinn going down from his shoulder to eat by Aeris' Pokémon, staying especially close to Blaze. Jessie finished eating and floated up to Aeris to sit on her head, which now seemed to be her favorite spot when outside of her Dusk Ball. Aeris smiled at that, then turned back to Charlie. "How did you sleep?" she asked him before Rochelle entered the dining area, getting food for herself and her Pokémon and sitting down.

Aeris whispered to Charlie. "Do you think we should talk to Rochelle about last night? I'd rather not feel like I'm invading on her personal space by talking about something she doesn't want to talk about, but at the same time, I don't want to seem like I'm ignoring her after last night." She watched as her Abra teleported onto her head, which did look a bit funny and Aeris giggled a bit at it. She didn't have much to reply to Eileen since she wasn't going to fight Misty today.

Before Charlie got around to answering any of Aeris' questions, he began to realize that he might've sat down a bit too early. His stomach loudly churned, causing him to grasp at it in a bit of a hunger pain. "'Cuse me a mo'." He excused himself, leaving Quinn and Nina at the table to go gather various breakfast foods. He returned in due time, balancing a tray with bowls of pokémon food (enough for each of his pokémon) in one hand, and his own breakfast in the free hand. Carefully setting the tray down, Charlie slid Quinn's bowl closer to her, letting her know that it was time to eat.

"Okay. Now i'm here for real. And no, I barely slept a wink last night. I probably would've woke up late if my alarm didn't go off." As he talked, he released Talon and Parker from their devices. The Pidgey wasted no time getting to his food, mozying up to Nina to eat. Parker, the lofty Spinarak, felt the need to survey his surroundings before deciding to eat. "Do you think we should talk to Rochelle about last night?" The crimson coated comrade catechized cautiously as Charlie commenced chowing. He tried waiting to finish chewing his food before answer, but failed. "Dude, I was thinking the same exact thing. After that, I don't think we could ignore her. Maybe we could talk to her about it after the Misty rematches. In private, of course. 'S doesn't seem like something she'd want all out in the air." He talked, more than half of the continental breakfast stacked on his plate already gone.

As Jordan walked into the Center, it appeared to be a hive of activity, which was surprising. Most of the people he was travelling with were already out and about. The Gym did not provide any kind of breakfast, so the smells coming from the cafeteria were more than enough to successfully lure him in. Red and...Ponytail Dude were in eating food, and Jordan quickly got himself a helping. There was no talking from the native of Fuchsia, as he was starving after a night of exercise. He quickly shoveled the offered meal into his face. He headed back over to where the other two were, since it looked like they were close to done.

"So you guys, like, ready to go to the gym, and stuff?" he asked while rubbing the back of his neck.

"Well, I a-already beat her, but I shouldn't need to g-go anywhere near the water this t-time." Red was shaking a little bit. Why she doing that if she, like, already won?

"Yeah, I'll be ready to go after me and my group finishes eating." Charlie replied, mouth partially full of breakfast as he answered.

Jordan looked over at the other Pokemon out and chowing down. "OK cool, I should probably like make sure everyone else is good."


Eventually Jordan managed to round up everyone in the center, even though Rochelle seemed to have something on her mind and Simon and Newest Girl seemed somewhat groggy. At least the short trip to the gym didn't take long. Having been through the process before, it was easier to get through to the battling pool. Misty was already out and ready to go for the first time in a long time, given something to battle for now.

"Challengers!" she shouted across the pool as the diving board began to rise underneath her. "I know I've battled some of you before and you were washed away by my superior skills, but what you saw was only a ripple compared to the tsunami you're facing now! I'm ready to unleash the fury of the deep on all of you! So step forward and get ready cause you're going to be all wet after this." Ugh. I really need new material.

"Ugh... please don't yell," Rochelle said quietly as she stepped up. She felt considerably more awake now that she had eaten, but she still looked and felt terrible. You sure you're up to battling a Gym Leader? she asked herself as she headed upwards. Iskra's got Thunderbolt, he'll figure it out if I don't tell him what to do every time. If he can't handle it, Kirsten or Phoenix will be a decent stand-in.

The challenger's spot was rather high up; she took hold of one of the rails just in case. "Yeesh. Look at you. Ya look like you've got the mother of all hangovers," Misty commented upon seeing the redhead leaning on a handrail for support. "A little water oughta fix you right up... Oh, who am I kidding. I beat you before and I'll do it again."

Rochelle didn't answer verbally, instead taking Iskra's Poké Ball from her belt and releasing her Electric-type into the arena. Misty raised an eyebrow. "So he got a bit bigger. Am I supposed to be impressed?"

Wow, someone seems a bit snippy. Best deal with her quickly then. "Just send out your Pokémon," Rochelle answered, louder this time so that she could be heard. "Not interested in the banter right now."

"Suit yourself. Horsea, you're up!" Misty tossed a Poké Ball into the water below and a familiar creature emerged from within, quickly diving to the bottom of the pool. Iskra cocked his head, concerned. What was Horsea doing here? She was a friend, not an opponent in battle. His confusion cost him the first strike, as Misty's Horsea rose from the depths to blast him with a spray of water. "Flaaf!"

"Iskra, that one's not friendly! Thunderbolt him," Rochelle told her Pokémon. Despite his concerns, Iskra complied, launching a bolt that skimmed the surface of the water. Misty's Horsea ducked beneath it, swimming away from the handful of impact points where the lightning bolt connected the shifting water.

"Hah, so you got a new toy from Surge. Not bad. But it won't be enough! Horsea, Smokescreen! Flank him!" The surface of the pool turned black; Rochelle caught a glimpse of blue and cream darting away underneath Iskra's platform. Iskra began looking from side to side, searching for his target. "Don't aim for the Horsea itself, Iskra, just electrify the water," Rochelle suggested. Misty just gave the challenger a look, as if to say, Really? You're gonna do that? Iskra did as he was told, however, launching another Thunderbolt into the water of the pool. He got a highish squeal as a result: the Horsea dashed away from its opponent, eyes narrowed and a slight scorch mark on its side.

Rochelle didn't tell Iskra to pursue it. He could figure it out. Sure enough, Misty ordered another attack and Iskra pre-emptively retaliated, delivering another Thunderbolt into the water. He's gotten a bit tactical, recently, hasn't he... kind of independent. The Horsea began to take pot-shots from a distance, but Iskra just fried it again with another Thunderbolt. It squealed a second time and flopped up onto one of the platforms.

Seeing this, Misty called it back. "Alright, you may have beaten the first one, but this won't end in your favour!" she cried, tossing a second Ball. A Poliwhirl popped out, standing on a platform in a similar manner to Iskra. "Pol!" Rochelle recognised the species as being the one that had taken Iskra out of their first match.

"Oh, shut up." Rochelle was the one giving her opponent a look now. She wasn't in the mood to battle verbally as well as letting her Pokémon have a piece of the action. Her Electric-type could speak well enough for both of them. "You know what to do, Iskra. Hit the water if you have to." Another Thunderbolt catapulted from him, knocking the Tadpole Pokémon backwards. It seemed rather unfazed compared to the Horsea's squealing from before, but had to shake it off all the same.

"Body Slam! Take him out of the picture!" Poliwhirl charged forward, diving off of its platform into the water. Iskra tried shocking patches of water to deter his opponent, but the Water-type broke the surface, flipped over in midair - Misty chuckled at that - and smacked straight into Iskra. Sparks flew from the built-up electricity in Iskra's wool, dancing across the Poliwhirl, and both Pokémon fell into the water... Rochelle watched without speaking, curious to see who would surface first.

Iskra was the first to pop upwards, although he struggled to reach his platform again. The Poliwhirl resurfaced soon after, although it didn't move except to tread water. Iskra grabbed the edge of the platform with one hand, but when he tried to hoist himself up onto it, he just slid back down. His opponent was sparking, a limb occasionally freezing in place. He was paralysed due to Iskra's Static ability. But was Iskra... paralysed as well? Body Slam could do that? Maybe it's time to switch out... Misty can't do that, she's already lost the first round... We can do this. The weight vanished from Rochelle's slightly heavy eyelids. She felt a rush of confidence. We can beat her. She took a breath, and tried to stand straighter.

"Well, looks like we're done here. Good job, Poliwhirl," Misty noted. "You can finish him off: another Body Slam should do."

"Not so fast. Iskra, come back." Rochelle returned the Electric-type to his Ball. For the first time that morning, she felt properly awake and clear-headed. She had the advantage. Now was the time to take it. She thought she'd win. Time to prove her wrong. "A certain Gym Leader once told me not to take chances. Phoenix, it's time to finish this!" She released the bird Pokémon from his Ball. He chirruped and stretched his wings with a quick loop around Rochelle before taking to the arena. "Rrrrow! Spearow!"

Misty's face fell, though it was for the briefest of moments. She regained her composure, waiting to see her opponent's next action.

"Phoenix, that Poliwhirl's paralysed. Use your speed to outmatch him! Aerial Ace!" Rochelle commanded. Phoenix leapt to attention, soaring high into the air before tucking his wings in and bearing down on his target. The Poliwhirl tried to dive underwater to escape, but its limbs wouldn't respond in time. Phoenix delivered a perfect strike with his beak to the Tadpole Pokémon's back, curving back upwards and coming around for another pass.

"Again! Finish him off!" was Rochelle's next command. This time the Water-type managed to get underwater a short way, but Phoenix just smashed through the surface, using the speed built up by his second dive to curve upwards and back out of the Poliwhirl's home territory. Misty's Pokémon floated to the surface, breathing shallowly and clearly in no shape to battle.

"Poliwhirl? ... Damn. You got me." A little disappointed, Misty returned her Pokémon to its Ball and tossed a package over to Rochelle's side of the arena. Rochelle fumbled it, but picked it up off of the floor. "Congratulations, Rochelle. I see you learned something from our previous encounter," she noted.

"Yeah... defeat isn't absolute. You can always come back stronger." The words seemed strong... ish. Rochelle thought they were a little bit hollow. Wish the same could be said of dealing with my other problems. But that's a matter for another time. Savour the victory. "Thanks for the rematch," she added, giving a smile before she stepped down to rejoin her friends, Phoenix riding happily on her shoulder.

Showering didn't really help Callum take his mind off of how he was feeling about himself. Instead it was just a five minute period of time where he was scrubbing himself clean, while going over all of the things in the last few days that had bugged him. In the end he had no solutions to anything or could change nothing about what had happened so he moved on.

After drying himself off quickly, Callum put on a pair of boxers, a pair of camouflage cargo pants, his socks, and his boots. He walked over to a bathroom sink and patted down and ran his hands through his matted hair until it looked flat and somewhat combed through. Noticing the growing hairs on his face Callum decided to shave now, rather than wait for who knows how long before he'd get the chance to do so again.

After barely avoiding cutting himself with the razor, Callum quickly brushed his teeth and put on some deodorant and one of his white t-shirts. Next he refolded his bandana and placed his gym badges back on them. The Boulder Badge and the Thunder Badge gleamed in light of the bathroom, but there was a missing space between them that Callum had to fill today. The thought of winning another badge and moving on made him feel a little better and he put his bandana on. Finally he put his jacket and picked up his backpack, before heading to the cafeteria in order to get some food for breakfast.

He had grabbed himself a bacon and egg sandwich with a bottle of orange juice, while also grabbing plenty of food for his Pokémon. Detached from the group Callum sat at a table all by himself and released his Pokémon so they could eat the food he had gotten for them. As soon as he taken the first bite of food, Eileen had stood up to wish everyone who had to battle today luck. The look she shot Callum made it clear that she didn't include him in her wishes, and only drove the boy to wonder what the hell was wrong with her.

As Jordan rounded up the rest of the group, Callum quickly finished his breakfast and returned his Pokémon. He quickly made his way over to a PC and opened up his Pokémon box. He loaded his Beedrill into the PC and looked at the note left for him. Apparently they had only gotten around to examining his Shedinja, and didn't examine any of the other Pokémon. Because of this Callum only took out his Shedinja and signed out of his box on the PC.

Soon after, Callum arrived at the gym with the rest of the group. The gym itself was spacious, but unlike Surges Gym, there was hardly anyone in the stands beside the group themselves. The massive pool in the center of the gym caught Callum's eye the most. His mind constantly wandered back to having a chance to swim in the pool, while watching Rochelle's entertaining battle. As soon as he knew it, Rochelle had won, and Callum quickly made his way down from the stands.

"Good job," Callum said to Rochelle as he passed her heading towards the trainer's box.

As soon as he was there Callum quickly stripped down to his boxers and dived into the pool. After a quick length of the pool, an unimpressed Misty yelled at him, "pool hours are later, if you aren't going to challenge get out of the pool and leave!"

Callum quickly made his way back to his stuff by the side of the pool. "Sorry! I got ahead of myself a little!" Callum yelled back as he released his Shedinja and Oddish from their Balls.

Misty on the other side of the pool started to mutter profanities to herself as she released a Seel and a Corsola. In response Callum took out his Pokédex and scanned the two Pokémon.

That Seel looks cool.

Callum put down his Pokédex and started to swim in the pool again.

"What the hell are you doing!?" Misty yelled across the gym, clearly having no patience for Callum's antics.

Callum stopped swimming at the sound of her yelled and quickly yelled back, "Fight's against them, not me!" As soon as he was finished he went back to swimming.

Confused Misty looked back to her Pokémon. Her Seel was already asleep as Oddish had already used Sleeping Powder on the Seel. Meanwhile Corsola was busy trying to hit Shedinja with its Bubble attack. The Bubbles harmlessly popped against Shedinja's body, as its Wonder Guard ability protected it from any harm.

"No! Damnit! Corsola that won't work! Use Rock Blast on that Shedinja! Seel wake up!" Misty ordered as her temper flared up upon sight of how the battle was going.

Quickly the Shedinja used Double Team and a long line of Shedinjas surrounded the Corsola. Five Rock Blasts were launched at the Shedinjas as the Coral Pokémon slammed into the top of the concrete floor surround the pool. Four of the blasts hit fake Shedinjas, and one of them went clear wide and almost hit Callum, himself being completely oblivious to this fact as he kept on swimming.

Oddish on the other side of the pool wasn't going to waste time attacking an already asleep Seel. Instead she took aim and attacked using Absorb. A red beam fired across the pool and hit the Corsola dead on. The hit instantly did a ton of damage as the Oddish needlessly absorb the Corsola's energy.

"Damnit! Seel wake up and take out that Oddish! Corsola hurry up and take out that Shedinja!" Misty yelled, full well knowing that she was in a terrible position. Should her Corsola faint, she would be unable to take down the Shedinja due to its ability.

Slowly the Seel awoke from its slumber and Misty issued an Icy Wind attack order on the Oddish. Wind carrying a wake of frost was produced from the Seel's mouth, chilled the air as it made its way towards the Oddish.

Unfortunately for Misty, before the attack reached the Weed Pokémon, the Oddish fired another Absorb at the Corsola. The attack struck as another three rocks were launched, only to find more fake Shedinjas as Shedinja had once again used its Double Team attack.

The red beam hit the Corsola and the Coral Pokémon collapsed backwards and fainted. As soon as the attack ended the Icy Wind hit the Oddish. The attack was powerful and did a considerable amount of damage to the Oddish. Angry the blue and green Pokémon was about to used absorb on the Seel, but was suddenly interrupted as Callum recalled the Pokémon.

Callum had felt the Icy Wind while swimming and saw the attack land. He knew the Oddish would likely have been fine fighting the Seel, but he didn't want to take any chances, since he felt it was unlikely that Misty would even be able to do any damage to his Shedinja.

"It's alright buddy. I know you might be mad, but you did good and there's probably no need for you to keep fighting."

Frustrated, Misty ordered the Seel to use every attack it knew on the Shedinja as the fake Shedinja's from the Double Team faded away. Headbutt, Icy Wind, Ice Shard, and Surf all proved to be ineffective as they hit the Shedinja.

In the meantime, every time Seel had launched an attack against Shedinja, Shedinja had launched one back. The Shed Pokémon had been using its Fury Cutter attack. While the attack is normally weak and doesn't do any extra damage against Water Pokémon, for every consecutive hit it makes using that attack, the damage doubles. Right now four red lines were still digging into the Seel's body, as the pressure of the attacks continued. Finally the Shedinja's halo turned around and another red slash appeared in the air. It soared forward and hit the Seel across from the other red slashes already on its body. The combined damage from this attack finally proved too much as the Seel collapsed onto the ground and fainted.

Calming down, Misty recalled her Seel. Callum had already left the pool and had put his pants, socks, and boots back on by the point. Misty tossed the bag of his winnings across the pool. The bag missed Callum as he failed to notice it and went to recall his Shedinja. The winnings landed on top of his backpack and Callum picked them up.

Not want to risk the boy stripping down and going back for another lap, Misty still a bit irritated, but still cooling down, ordered Callum to return to the stands so the next trainer could challenge her. Callum grabbed the rest of his stuff and added the new badge to its spot on his bandana before putting it back on. In a normal toned voice Callum thanked the Gym Leader for the battle as he left the pool side.

Eileen let her Pokemon walk with her as she followed the group over to the familiar Cerulean City Gym; feeling that such a nice day shouldn't be spent staying inside a Pokeball. Besides, Hughes likes watching other Pokemon battle, and Dalton needs to start watching more Trainer battles. The more he sees, the more he'll be prepared when I start having him battle actual Trainers instead of just other wild Pokemon. She looked down at her small group of Pokemon, watching them trot along behind her. Hughes stayed by her side, attentive to any sudden movements that he saw that could be a potential threat. Dalton shuffled along slightly behind his Trainer, keeping up as he sniffed at the things he would find on the ground. Cleo lagged the furthest behind the group; exploring the nooks and crannies of her old home city.

Once inside the Cerulean gym, Eileen and her Pokemon made their way onto the stands; finding a nice spot next to the other spectators. With her Pokemon sitting next to her, Eileen cheered on the first battle. Rochelle had a solid strategy there, and her team was strong enough to make it happen. A good comeback compared to what had happened the first time around, Eileen thought, smiling in approval as Rochelle made her way from the arena.

The smile faded as she saw Callum strip down and jump into the pool; the image bringing back the first time she had met the young man. A friendly first meeting. If only I had known the type of Trainer he was, she thought, absent mindedly reaching for her notebook to see what she had written that day before realizing she had left everything back at the Center. "Oh well," she muttered, trying to keep her composure as she saw watched the battle unfold.

By the time it had reached its conclusion, Eileen was practically fuming. The sheer absurdity of the whole battle left her with her arms crossed and an unamused look on her face. Inside her head she replayed the battle, shaking her head at how Callum had completely ignored the match. The only thing she had agreed with was returning the Oddish back, but she would never have let the battle get to that point in the first place. Battles between Pokemon in the wild will not be enough to have them safely be able to battle when they fight stronger Trainers, Eileen thought. That was not the only thing that was bugging her, though. There was another thought that she hadn't realized might be one of the reasons for her annoyance; the thought that since Callum's Pokemon were winning battles without him, did that mean her own Pokemon didn't need her to win?

No, that isn't the case. I am a great Trainer, and my Pokemon win with both my knowledge and resources, and their fighting capability. His Pokemon have only been getting by because of their own strength, Eileen told herself as she stood up, telling her Pokemon to stay here while she got some air before leaving the gym.

As Callum headed back towards the stands to rejoin the group, he saw Eileen leave with another angry or annoyed look on her face. He always had trouble identifying between the two.

She did the same thing after my last match didn't she? What's her problem? Is it how I battle? Why's she so mad about that? And why is this bugging me so much? And why aren't I doing anything to fix this?

"Fuck," Callum said out loud in a whisper as he ran out the door behind the girl.

"Eileen wait!" Callum yelled as he exited the door only to find the girl standing right there. His face turned a little red at the rashness of his action, but that only distracted him from what he wanted to ask. He felt that he had to do it quick or else the words might get caught trying to come out of his mouth.

"Why'd you leave again after my battle? Why do you look so pissed off and annoyed after seeing how I treat my Pokémon and let them battle?"

The fresh, crisp air was a nice distraction for the brief moment that Eileen got to enjoy it before the door behind her opened up; the sudden action startling her. Seeing Callum before her was as much of a surprise, though the initial surprise quickly reverted back to annoyance.

"Why'd you leave again after my battle? Why do you look so pissed off and annoyed after seeing how I treat my Pokémon and let them battle?"

"Its...it is because," Eileen started, trying to come up with the correct way to explain what she thought. The past few conversations she had with him on the subject seemed to not have correctly conveyed her annoyance at Callum's battle technique. Have to be clear on what I mean this time.

After a few more seconds of her gesturing with her hands as she tried to start her explanation, Eileen finally began. "The way you battle. It is not what a Trainer should do. We're called Pokemon Trainers for a reason; we raise and make our Pokemon capable in battles. Your complete lack of any form of care when it comes to your Pokemon's battles is what I have a problem with. Pokemon are important. They have feelings, and needs. They are like people. And people need to learn to get better at what they do. Otherwise they stagnate.

Which is what is going to happen with your Pokemon. They're capable right now to be able to beat other Trainers and even some gym leaders, but what happens when their own abilities are not enough? It is then that they will look at their Trainer, only to find no response. It is then that Pokemon get hurt. Pushing them too hard can be just as bad as not training at all, but doing anything is better than doing nothing.

That has mainly been my problem when I watch you battle. It just...yeah," Eileen said with no more annoyance in her voice. Instead she was relatively calm, though a hint of something else was heard as she finished her speech. Hoping she conveyed her message well enough to Callum this time around, Eileen waited for his response.

Sarah clapped for both Rochelle and Callum as they both won their battles, but raised an eyebrow when Eileen left the gym yet again. She made to go after her but seeing Callum pursue her again caused her to resume her seat and wait for the next battle.

She had always debated getting into the Gym scene but it was far too fast paced for her to enjoy. Even the battle with her new pokemon in the wild had gone far too quickly for her. In all reality it was not the battles that were quick, but instead her pace that was slow. She preferred it that way and so did her Pokemon. Neither of them seemed to be particularly high strung.

She turned to Jordan, wanting a second opinion on it. He seemed fairly laid back and she was curious as to how he handled the faster pace of battle, "Say Jordan, may I ask you a question?"

Jordan seemed a little taken aback at her sudden inquiry, "Uh, yeah sure."

"I was wondering how you cope with the fast pace in which a battle moves. The two trainers, the two Pokemon, it all moves so quickly, I can barely keep up. How do you do it, how does one compete at such a level?"

Parenthood, Simon decided, may not be something he was cut out for. On the plus side, his Pokemon egg was starting to make the tiniest of sounds and even moved around a bit if he happened to be holding it at the right time. On the bad side, not knowing when the egg was going to hatch was starting to drive him a little crazy. And he still wasn't sure if he had all of the right stuff to take care of a baby Pokemon. What if he'd forgotten something? He'd only been shopping three times in the past 24 hours. He understood now why people needed a partner to 'tag'. He'd briefly considered having his team start taking on egg watching duty.

He'd stayed up window shopping the evening before and consequently slept like the dead that night. In his morning panic Simon wasn't even sure what he'd had for breakfast but he knew he'd eaten something. Cereal, perhaps? Or was it a sandwich? Juice?

He'd eaten something and the egg hadn't hatched yet. Those were the things he knew. And now Simon was seated in the Cerulean City gym stands, with Shadow resting comfortably at his feet. The canine's long body easily took up two and a half people's worth of space. Simon's pack was also on the floor and he had pulled the Pokemon egg up into his lap after Shadow started to sniff at it. The surface of the egg was warm. It always was. But Simon made sure to keep the egg covered. There were ice attacks flying around, one could never be too careful.

The gym battles were interesting enough to keep Simon's attention and wake him up a bit. Especially when Misty started to yell. That voice was rather...distinctive. Partway through the first battle Simon began to quietly narrate the gym battles. It started as his own private commentary but he thought he'd felt the egg move so he began to embellish the tale a little. He pretended that the egg was actually listening. It was kind of nice, actually, and it helped that both trainers so far had won.

"You are going to have to practice, okay?" Simon informed the egg solemnly when there came a short break in the fights. "But we will have fun too. Shadow will make sure of that."

Shadow, hearing his name, raised his head and his ears twitched. When no food or command followed he settled back down.

Jordan was a bit unfamiliar with the whole "giving advice" scene. He was usually the one asking questions that didn't pertain to surfing or beach etiquette. Still there had to be something he could tell Newest Girl.

"Uh, well you know, you gotta like, trust that your Pokemon know what's up, you know? Like, when I send out Vince bro, he know's what he's gonna do, and like, I just guide him. So, I guess it's on both sides, like, I dunno how you and your Pokemon do, like I don't even know who your Pokemon are, but that's the way I see it I guess, you know? I dunno. Like I probably not the guy to be asking this sort of thing, I've only been doing this for like, a week, but that's just the way I'm feeling."

With Rochelle and Callum successfully getting badges off the flaming redhead, that meant Jordan was up. He wasn't really looking forward to this, and was thankful for the interruption that Newest Girl provided.

When entering the gym with everyone else, Aeris now had to stay close to someone else than Mika, and the closest person was Charlie, so she pretty much clung to his arm the entire time. She quickly sat down with Charlie and while she didn't mean to, she pretty much dragged him down to have a seat as well beside her. Blaze was secure in her Pokéball, while Jessie stayed above Aeris' head like usual.

Watching the two battles that happened had been pretty fun. Seeing Rochelle win made her feel a bit better since she was happy for her, and watching Callum win without giving a single order to his Pokémon was certainly odd, but he won either way and that much was good. She had no idea why Eileen walked out of the gym right after that, but she didn't think too much about it, nor did she either when Callum followed her.

With most everyone else having already beaten Misty, it seemed only Jordan was left. Well, Jordan and the woman sitting beside him. Aeris didn't remember her name, though she was sure she remembered her from Surge's gym and on the way back to Cerulean. Was she a new addition to the group? She'd ask later. Right now, she just wanted the battles to be over so she could leave. She probably could just leave, but she felt it would be rude of her to do so before at least Jordan would finish his battle against Misty.

Even though it took her a few moments to place her thoughts, Eileen had a lot to say. Callum stood there trying to focus on every word she said and place it with how he battles and handles his Pokémon. By the end of it, Eileen seemed to be less annoyed, but Callum still needed to process what she was saying.

After a few seconds he had thought over what she had said, and processed what he wanted to say.

"Eileen...I...it's...you no," Callum through both hands on top of his head as his face turned red again, as he tried to think through his frustration. How serious and stressful the last few days had been were finally catching up with Callum and his thoughts were turning into pieces.

Focus and start over!

"Eileen I think I know what you are saying, or at least trying to say." Callum stopped to regain his thoughts as they started to flow properly again.

"It's just that what you're saying may be right to you, but that doesn't mean they're right to everyone; or even right in general. Pokémon are like people, and they need to learn to get better at what they do. However just like people they can learn from themselves, they need to learn from themselves. If they rely upon a trainer, then their instincts dull and if we don't know what to do, and we fail them, they too can become stagnant and hurt.

It's not that I don't care for them; they're my buddies, my friends, but just like I did, they need to grow on their own. I feel safer with them being able to make judgments on their own, and to know how to look into themselves to get out of a situation that I might not know how to handle.

Like when you were drunk and fell asleep while Team Rocket attacked the ship. If your Pokémon could only fight well on your commands, and had poor instincts what do you think would happen? They'd get hurt too.

If there was an opponent that you didn't how to beat, or how to battle against. If you stalled for a second and your Pokémon just waited on you, while taking no action of their own because they are used to you having a plan. Could your Pokémon not get hurt as well? If its instincts aren't how to survive and win, but to wait for my trainer because they will have a plan and I won't get hurt because of it.

Doing anything could be even worse than doing nothing. Giving your Pokémon an order that you are unsure of, or even one that you are sure of, can easily get your Pokémon injured as well.

Being a trainer isn't as simple as saying that this is right or this is wrong. Saying that this will keep your Pokémon save, and this will lead your Pokémon to harm can be up to bad luck, bad timing, or bad circumstances.

I don't have a problem with the way you train your Pokémon, but don't forget to make sure that they know how to fight on their own and more importantly be there friend above all else. Meanwhile I need to be sure that if I crack, they will be able to think for and handle themselves without me. By not being there now, I know that they'll be able to keep themselves safe if I'm not there later." Callum finished saying as a tear started to form in one of his eyes.

Slowly he reached his hands out forward and glided them through Eileen's hair so they were held around her head. Then he moved his head forward looking her deep in her eyes. Callum could see the sharpness of his silver eyes reflect against Eileen's grey and the two colours merged as his face got closer. He shifted his head and gently placed his forehead on her before calmly saying, "Eileen remember that you agreed to not bad talk how I train my Pokémon. I'll let this time go because it was bugging you so much, but I won't be so nice if you do it again."

"Well I think that- oh," Eileen began, having formed a rebuttal for all of Callum's points before the sudden closeness between the two. Eileen remained speechless as she listened to his reminder on promise she had made, breaking eye contact after the shared glance between the two. After taking into consideration that staring at his bare torso was probably not the best course of action in this situation (Or maybe it is. Or not...I don't even know, she briefly thought), she remade eye contact with him.

Eileen knew that saying a response would be the appropriate thing to do, but it didn't seem like Callum was in any sort of hurry for one. Finally, she mustered up a decent response, "I...uh, don't necessarily agree with all of your points, but I had promised to not really talk poorly on your training, uh...'techniques'. Or lack thereof. I just...I guess I shouldn't say anymore on the subject then. I'm sorry for bringing it up again; I just...you already know my opinion on the matter. There is no point in bringing the points up. We'll just agree to disagree...again."

She made to fix her glasses to break contact, adjusting them slightly as she took a step back. "So..." she said awkwardly, kicking at a pebble on the floor that seemed to be of much interest as she kept looking at it to avoid looking at him, "I guess that is that then. Shall we...go back inside? Continue watching the last few matches?"

"Sure," said Callum with a warm smile as he backed his head away before removing his hands. The lessened amount of animosity between the two was playing better on his mind as he headed back inside with Eileen.

Sarah looked back at Jordan. Maybe she had been mistaken about him. He seemed as lost as she was about this whole Pokemon business. Unlike her though, he seemed content to just glide along as life dealt him hands. It was odd, peaceful in a way she supposed but far too reliant on luck, "Well thank you for the advice, I'll definitely look at incorporating it into my lifestyle," she stumbled on, "But I do believe it is your turn to face Misty, good luck."

She sat back again, and watched the arena intently. She wanted to see how Jordan fared against Misty, how his freestyle attitude met against Misty's apparently more abrasive nature.

"Awwww yeah, i'm ready for some gym battles-" Charlie's eagerness to watch said battles was halted as he found himself being clung to by the companion in red, Aeris. Now, he had absolutely no problems with girls clinging to him for comfort (with him being in this group, it was becoming a bit of a theme), but this seemed different from the last time it happened. He couldn't help but take note as she hesitantly (but definitively) edged into the arena, with the bushy haired, bewildered trainer in tow. Quinn followed behind the two, picking up her pace to make sure she didn't fall to far behind her trainer. He let out a bit of a nervous scoff as the group moved into the bleachers, and he was yanked down into seat by the crimson crowned compadré. As Rochelle's battle began, Charlie did his best to cheer and whoop on with the rest of the trainers, the act being somewhat of a challenge as Aeris (and Quinn, to some extent) basically restrained him to the seat. He petted the small Cyndaquil as she nervously curled into his lap, her view turned away from the battle.

"Yeah, Quinn was pretty spooked the last time we were in here, a pool is no place for a fire pokémon..." Rochelle's battle ended without a hitch, and Charlie made his cheers as she won her earnings. Callum stepped up to the plate, and his battle began soon after. But, not before he jumped into the pool. The water that splashed up from the dive caused Aeris to flinch some, while her grip around his arm tightened. Her grasp loosened a bit soon after the battle began, but now Charlie had questions. "I wonder if this has anything to do with her stutters too. Is she scared of the gym or something?" He began wriggling the arm she held on to, in order to get her attention. "Hey, uhh, you okay?" He questioned slowly.

Aeris slowly nodded without looking up to him. After a moment, though, she lightly shook her head since she didn't want to lie to Charlie. "I-I'm af-fraid of w-water..." she said, whispering it a bit. "Ohhhhhhhh" Just like that, everything made sense. In the starkest of realizations, he slowly, extravagantly, nodded at her words. "Okay, yeah, I can see why it might a little hard for you to be in here right now, yup." As he looked on, Callum had already won his fight, and Eileen stomped her way out of the gym, with the bug catcher following not too far behind her. "D'you want to blow this Popsicle stand? Or are you gonna wait until after Jordan wins his fight? We can go right now, if you want." He asked the fearful trainer.

Aeris lightly shook her head again. "N-no, I want t-to see how he'll d-do. I-I'd feel rude if I j-just went out bef-fore he's done." She kept herself close to Charlie since she felt safer having him close to her. "True, true. Don't wanna seem like a dick..." He kinda admired her slight overcoming of the adversity, even if it wasn't a complete aversion. "Baby steps, I guess..." And just like that, his thought reservoir sprung an idea leak. "You wanna hold on to Quinn? She's about as frightened by all this as you are. You won't have to let go of me as long as your arm is still 'round mine." He suggested. The Cyndaquil uncurled from her ball as her name was mentioned. "Qui?" She mewed as she began sniffing at Charlie's sweater.

Aeris nodded and, with her arms shaking a little, she took the little Cyndaquil into her arms. Quinn was cute and warm, and like Charlie said, about as frightened as she herself was. The petite fire mouse didn't hesitate to cozy up to the girl as she held her. Charlie couldn't help but grin a large grin at the union before reassuring the two. "Even a little support is better than no support at all." He said, with the three waiting to watch the last battle unfold.

As Jordan stepped onto the platform indicated for current challengers, the girl who's bed he had spent two of the last three nights in stared at him with a smirk on her face.

"All right As-I mean Jordan! Jordan. Yes," Misty managed to get out. "Jordan! It's good of you to challenge my gym again, but I should tell you that you're going to lose. You're going to lose bad. Am I clear on that?"

"As the water," Jordan answered. "But I'm totally winning this one, you know. So let's do this!"

"Turn the hat around!"

"What?"

Misty motioned to the top of her head. "You're supposed to turn the hat around when you battle! Don't you know anything?"

Jordan was confused. "Does that really, like, make a difference in battle?"

"JUST TURN THE HAT AROUND! Or you can kiss your badge goodbye!"

"Fine, fine," Jordan rotated the hat so the white and the brim faced backwards. I look like one of those frat bros that invade the beach on the break. Hate those guys. "Happy?"

"Yep. Now I was going easy on you last time, but this time you're going to face my best! Poliwag! Starmie! Let's take him down!"

The Pokeballs erupted above the pool revealing the combatants Misty had chosen. First a little blue tadpole appeared, the swirl on it's belly appearing to spin as it danced a little jig upon being released. "Polipoli!" The other Pokemon looked like it belonged in a treasure chest than on the battlefield, but Jordan had seen one of them before, off the Fuchsia coast. The little ones were popular as night lights during parties, but the big one, that was for special occasions. "Hrrrrrrr..." it hummed. "Now show me what Pokemon I have to smack down again, Jordan!"

"Fine!" Jordan rummaged through his pocket trying to find the two Pokemon he actually wanted to use in this battle. "Uhh, no, not her....there's one! Vince bro, let's go!"

One Pokeball released the Mantis Pokemon onto a mat in the middle of the pool, arms raised at it engaged in it's battle cry. Scyyyyyyther! Scyther! Awwwww yeah! Bout time!

"So predictable," Misty offered as commentary.

"And uh...here we go! Solana bro, let's do this again!" The other Pokeball released it's resident into the water next to Vince's mat as the Angler Pokemon poked it's head out to see the surroundings. Chinnnnnnnchowww. This is nice...

Misty was not happy with this second choice and immediately made her displeasure known. "What the hell are you doing having a Chinchou?!?"

"Dude, I like beat Lightning Dude with her. Was pretty easy, she soaks up the juice like nothing, you know?" Jordan pulled out his Pokedex. He was going to need to remember all the moves his Pokemon had at their disposal if he was going to win this one.

Misty was still visibly agitated. "But that....you know what? Doesn't matter! I'll beat you anyway! Poliwag! Hypnosis on his Chinchou! Starmie! Use Water Pulse on Scyther!"

"Uh, Solana, like don't let it hit you with that thing! Try and Thunderbolt it up! Vince bro, try and do like a Quick Attack on her Starmie!"

Vince was able to strike the center of the evolved member of Misty's team, knocking it back into the water, but that only set up Starmie in perfect position for a Water Pulse, the rings of which caught Vince flush in the face, disorienting the Bug-type. "Scy!" Damn! Starmie used the opportunity to move up onto another mat to position itself for another attck. Meanwhile, Poliwag's eyes were glowing light blue as it tried to put Solana to sleep, but the Chinchou dove underneath the water to avoid the attack. Poliwag followed it's prey below the surface to try and catch the Electric/Water type, but its youthful exuberance led it too close to its opponent, and Solana took the opportunity to tap it with it's antennae. Chinnnnn... Hiiiiii.... The electricity that Solana unleashed could be seen across the whole pool occasionally leaping out of the sides. Once the light show had stopped, Misty's Poliwag was the first to emerge from the depths. Unfortunately for the gym leader, it emerged belly up, the swirls in it's eyes matching the one on it's stomach. Chow! Bye-bye!

"What! No!" Misty couldn't believe that she was down a Pokemon already. "Poliwag, come on! You can't be out already!" Solana popped up right after she confirmed Poliwag was unable to battle.

"Told you Misty. Solana, she's like really good. Saving my life good."

Misty's eyes were shut and her teeth were clenched as she returned her fallen Pokemon. "I will not let you beat me like this! Starmie! Use Psyshock on Chinchou!" Hoped I wouldn't have to use that move...

"Hrrrrah!" Starmie's back star started spinning rapidly as it generated a shimmering blob of energy that it fired at the more potent threat for the moment. Solana could only stare at the ball. Chinchou... Shiny.... The swimming Pokemon took a big hit from the attack, and was left disoriented for the moment.

"Dude!"

"Heh, that TM update actually proved good for something. Just because I didn't update the Water Pulse discs I give out doesn't mean I couldn't take advantage of Psyshock on my own."

"Not cool," was Jordan's opinion. His attention quickly turned to his Pokemon. "Solana, you OK?"

"Chinnnnnnchouuuuuu..." That hurtttttt, a lotttt....

"OK see if you can't zap that Starmie like you did the other one. Vince bro, use, uh, use Pursuit! Knock it into the water!"

Vince took off from the mat, making a beeline (mantisline?) towards the opponent. Starmie jumped into the water to avoid the attack, but this meant it was in Solana's vicinity, and she still had plenty of juice left. The Thunderbolt attack shocked the pool again, and Starmie had to move to get up and out of the pool, but as it rested on the mat, the move had clearly done a number on it.

"Damn it! Starmie! Use Recover!"

"Hrrrrah!" Starmie began to emit a yellow glow, centered on it's jeweled core as the burn marks from the electric attack faded away.

"That's not fair! Like you can't be healing like that!" Jordan was more in shock that all the damage was disappearing.

"Are you kidding? That's a legitimate move, Jordan! As a trainer you should know that you CAN heal Pokemon in battle, or have them heal themselves."

Jordan still thought it was a cheap move, but he pressed on. "Right bros, just keep doing what we're doing then!"

The spam tactics of the challenger's team continued as Vince once again struck the core of Misty's star Pokemon, sending it into the water for Solana for some shock therapy. Again it emerged from the pool, but it was looking even worse than before.

Misty had a look of anguish on her face. DAMN IT! I can't just keep having Starmie heal! He'll actually win at this rate! I've got to take out that damn Chinchou... "Starmie! Use Psyshock on his Chinchou!" The energy was pooling in front of Starmie's core yet again.

"Crap, uh, Solana! Like don't let it hit you! Dive or something!"

Now a more astute battler would have surveyed the field before responding solely to the opponent's commands. However, Jordan merely reacted to the gym leader's call, not thinking that 'Maybe Solana is already underwater'. Instead, Solana only heard a garbled noise, sounding somewhat like her trainer's voice. Unsure what to do, she did the wrong thing.

Solana poked her head out of the water near where the Psyshock blast was charging. "Chinnnnn?" Wha?

"Now, Starmie!"

Misty's Pokemon unleased another psychic attack that connected with Jordan's star attacker. After the glow in the pool faded, Solana was visible with her antennae hanging in front of eyes that went from plus signs to swirls. "Chowwwwwwwww...." Owwwwwww...

"Yes!" Misty celebrated. "Now what are you going to do, Jordan!?"

"Uh..." Jordan looked at the field as he returned Solana to her Pokeball. Vince, despite being a little wet, was still fresh. Starmie looked less like a star and more like a burned up meteorite. It was tough to see from afar, but the core was dimly blinking, like the alarm clock in his mother's room. "I think I'm going to win?"

"No you're not," Misty said adamantly.

"Yeah, yeah, think I am, bro. Vince, do that Pursuit thing again. Don't think it'll take another one."

"Yes it will!"

"Scyther!" No it won't! Vince took off and flew at the Gym Leader's battered Pokemon, a dark aura surrounding it's scythe, as it approached the target. Starmie was too tired to move and and Vince smashed into the center of the Mysterious Pokemon. Starmie fell backwards, a large crack visible in the gem as it slowly blinked a couple more times before going dim, signifying the end of Misty's pursuit of victory.

Jordan was a bit surprised, watching Vince already break into a mid-air victory pose. "SCYSCYTHER!" WHAT'D I TELL YOU! "I think she's over now, huh!"

"No! No, no NO! NO!" Misty was fuming, steam almost coming off her as she realized she'd lost this gamble. "Starmie get up! You can't be done! It was one hit!"

"She's done, bro. Like even I can see she's not moving or nothing."

"FUCK!" The polished veneer of a gym leader was peeling away under the humiliation of losing to a guy she dismissed as being all puff and no Jiggly. She thrust her arm out to recall her fallen Pokemon and had to stop herself from chucking the Pokeball in anger. She reached into the pedestal on her end of the pool and pulled out a goody bag. "Here! Take the damn badge! Take it all! Go! Get out of here!"

She hurled the bag towards the other side as hard as she could, and Vince flew in to catch it as he returned to where his trainer stood. Upon landing, Jordan claimed the prize from his starter. He wrapped his arm around the Scyther's back and rested his head on top, in a manner similar to the baseball players on the Sharks following a big play. "Vince bro, you were awesome, like totally awesome. Glad you got this one, bro!"

"Scytherscytherrrr!" It was about time!

"ENOUGH OF THE FUCKING LOVE FEST!" Misty was not taking the loss very well. Between the fire-types roasting her, the trainer before winning while not giving a damn, and now Jordan getting the best of her, it had been a rough couple of days in the arena, and it was all coming out now. "GET OUT! EVERYONE, GET THE FUCK OUT! I'M DONE FOR THE DAY! THE GYM IS CLOSED! GET OUT!" The redhead stormed off to the back of the gym, the doors slammed behind her as she made a less than gracious exit.

Thank you for coming to the Cerulean Gym. We hope you enjoyed your visit. Please exit the building through the main gates. Thank you.

Jordan made his way off the platform towards where the other trainers still gathered, Vince in tow behind him. "So yeah, that was fun. Guys wanna get outta here?"

"Geez. I thought Misty was a better loser than this... she's almost as bad as Whitney," Rochelle commented upon seeing Misty flip out. The Goldenrod Gym Leader was known for being rather tearful upon her defeat. "But yeah, that was... well, it was a better battle than against Brock," she properly answered Jordan, having stowed her prize for now. She led the way out of the Gym as she spoke, wanting to leave sooner rather than later.

"Rrow!" Phoenix chirped in her ear as she stepped through the doors, before taking off to land on a streetlight a short distance away.

Then much like Iskra had done before him, he began to glow a bright white and he started to change form. Rochelle hurriedly pulled out her Pokédex to record the new information. The beak extended in length, as did the neck, and Phoenix's wings unfurled to reveal a considerably larger wingspan. The white glow faded to reveal that Phoenix's red colouration had changed to a brown and cream colour scheme; he had become his evolved form. "Fearrrow!"

image#022: Fearow Beak Pokémon
image image
Height: 6'08" / 2.0 m.Weight: 83.8 lbs. / 38 kg.
Ability: Keen EyeMoves that hinder accuracy, like Sand-Attack, have no effect.
Moves: Peck, Leer, Aerial Ace, Pursuit
.
It cleverly uses its thin, long beak to pluck and eat small insects that hide under the ground.

"Well, well, look at you," Rochelle noted, looking up at the newly evolved Phoenix. Where there had once been a diminutive little chap who could ride around on her shoulder, there was now a large Pokémon who looked like he would be the one providing the transport. She wondered if he would allow it. "Y'know, a lot of people are a fan of Pidgeotto and Pidgeot's elegance, but Fearow does have a certain charm to it. Eh, Phoenix?"

"Feeearrow." Phoenix picked at one of his new feathers briefly, then spread his wings to examine his newly increased wingspan.

"That's the spirit. Come on down, big guy." The Fearow pushed off from the streetlight and glided for a short distance, then banked around and landed before his Trainer. He fumbled the landing a little bit, judging by the awkward run upon contact with the ground. Rochelle put that down as not being familiar with his new form just yet.

Once out of the gym, Rochelle's Pokemon flew up and suddenly became a much bigger Pokemon. "Shoot, that's a big Pokemon now," Jordan commented oblivious to the obviousness.

The Pokemon Center churned out some fast service for once. All battlers were healed up and ready to go within minutes. Direction from the nurse on duty pointed the travelers to a open gate on the East side of the city that led out to the mountainous Route 9 that would get them to the next town on the list. She promised a quick trip through to Lavender Town. She promised.


As the trainers conquered the brush outside the city that lead to the rock-hewn route, the river was visible in the distance near a sizable mountain. Not as big as the ones that bordered the left hand side of the route, but still, it looked imposing. There were patches of vegetation that managed to break through and brighten up the grey and brown rocks, even a couple of streams that provided some water and it looked like the Pokemon of the area were more than happy to take advantage of.

"Whoa, for like, not being the ocean, this looks kinda nice, you know?" Jordan commented.

With the final gym battle finished and the subsequent closing of the gym for the day, Eileen found herself right back outside with the rest of her group after having just went back in. At least I got to grab my stuff before being kicked out, she thought, hefting her backpack over her shoulder as she watched the rest of the group start heading back to the Pokemon Center.

"No sense going back when all of you are healed up right? Might as well get a head start," Eileen told her Pokemon giddily, already excited for the battles that were to be won today along Route 9. She already knew how to get to Route 9 after having explored Cerulean City for a few days before she had joined up with the group. With this knowledge, Eileen went out ahead to the route with her Pokemon; breathing in the fresh air of a new route filled with new victims.

She immediately spotted a couple of campers and a picnicker further into the route, bringing her hands together to crack her knuckles and saying, "Cleo, you can go and scrounge around for anything interesting. Just be sure to bring it back my way. Hughes, Dalton, you two are going to get some training in."

The two Pokemon had mixed reactions to this statement, with Hughes giving a competitive bark out and Dalton looking at the kids in the distance and wondering just what in the world was he traded into.

"Hey you three!" Eileen yelled dramatically as she approached the two campers and the picnicker who had been playing around, "Do you all want to los- battle, I mean?"

Camper Drew and Camper Chris were more than ready to accept the challenge, though Picnicker Alicia seemed hesitant as she eyed Hughes. It was only after Eileen promised to use Dalton to battle her instead that she reluctantly agreed to a match. "So...who will be the first to succumb to my Pokemon's battle prowess!?" Eileen said with extreme confidence, watching as Camper Chris stepped forward.

"I'll show you what a real Growlithe looks like!" he shouted, calling out a Growlithe of his own to battle with. Eileen and Hughes shared a laugh at the opponent's own Puppy Pokemon; causing both the opponent and his friend to get annoyed. "Just you wait! I'll show you what my Growlithe can do! Go boy, use Bite attack!" Camper Chris ordered, his Pokemon launching himself into the air in a dive.


The battles were short and sweet; which was what Eileen had expected. Hughes easily beat his opponents with his superior skills and training; while Dalton struggled a small bit when he battled the picnicker's four Grass type Pokemon. After using her last potion (writing down a note to buy more next time she could) to heal Dalton, Eileen congratulated her Pokemon before the kids forked over some of their cash to her. Camper Chris muttered something about taking money from little kids, making Eileen reply that if they were old enough to fight a battle than they were old enough to lose money after losing to a better Trainer.

"The first of many victories along this route," Eileen said gleefully, continuing with her Pokemon down to the next Trainer she could see.

The final battle between Jordan and Misty concluded quite...explosively. With the gym leader losing her temper and subsequently kicking everyone out, Charlie never got a chance to toss any flirts in her direction. With a disappointed "Awww...", the young trainer found himself being speedily removed from the premises by Aeris, deeming it best to leave before the gym leader began throwing things. Outside, the gang began heading back towards the pokémon center. Or, at least most were. Eileen sped off ahead with little less than a second word.

"Well, that's all said and donWhoa-!" Charlie was taken aback by the sudden evolution of Rochelle's Spearow. Against the afternoon sun it had a little less punch than the evolutions he witnessed the night before, but it was a sight to see nonetheless. Still in Aeris' arms, Quinn began uncurling from her ball-like state, after both hearing the sounds of evolution and realizing that they had finally exited that evil, evil establishment. "Y'know, a lot of people are a fan of Pidgeotto and Pidgeot's elegance, but Fearow..." The remark from the girl reminded him about his own pokémon, his Pidgey, Talon. "I gotta remember to put him to work on this next route. And maybe Parker...Quinn too, maybe?"

Rochelle invited the giant bird down her side, and it did so happily, breaking Charlie from his thoughts as the majestic avian blew up heavy gusts of wind as it landed as its trainer's side. "So, this next route. How's it gonna look, I wonder...?" He leisurely asked to the air of trainers.


The route was weirdly more scenic than he was expecting. "Seriously, everything all comes together in a fit of characteristicsynergyandnatureandstuff..." He mumbled, waving his hands about as he lazily described the area. "So!" He clapped said hands together. "Time to train our way to Lavender Town!" In an weird, almost galloping-pouncing motion, he began awkwardly highstepping his way into the nearest tuft of tall grass, eager to find anyone or anything pokémon related willing to face him. Now that he thought of it, he didn't know exactly what was in Lavender Town, but a town that had a shade of purple in it's name couldn't be all bad, right?

But before he encountered any pokémon, he stopped himself. After all that went down with the Misty battles, the events of the night before (and to some extent, earlier that morning) had completely slipped his mind. "We gotta talk to Rochelle." He wondered if she needed to be further comforted in regards to her night terrors. "But I do really? I mean, she seemed pretty okay earlier, watching her Spearow evolve n' all..." It was proving to be quite the conundrum.

Okay... new route, fresh start. Route 9 was rather picturesque; the streams in particular were at least somewhat comforting to Rochelle. However, she wanted to try something before properly getting into the thick of things, training-wise. With that in mind, she edged a short distance away from the others and released Phoenix a second time. Might need some space for this. "Rrow?"

"Phoenix, we're going to try an experiment. You're a big guy... but are you strong enough to carry a passenger?" Rochelle inquired, looking up at the large bird.

"Row? Fearrr... fearrow." Phoenix seemed to mull it over for a while before he shifted his weight and leaned down to match Rochelle's height, wings partially extended to expose the cream feathering on his back. "Is that a yes?" Rochelle mused, carefully approaching the base of the bird's neck. Phoenix wasn't much bigger than her... would he be strong enough? You never know until you try...

Rochelle tried climbing up onto Phoenix's back. It was odd; there weren't any handholds or anything, so she put one hand on the base of his neck and hoisted herself up one leg at a time. The Fearow made a noise and shifted under her weight, but remained standing and got back up to his previous height. If anything, he seemed to be trying to tell her to hold on a bit better. "Dang, you're stronger than I thought," Rochelle noted as she held onto Phoenix by his neck feathers, doing her best to hang on with all four limbs instead of just two.

Okay... moment of truth. "All right, Phoenix... let's go. To the skies!" she told her Pokémon.

"Fearrrrow!" Phoenix let out a cry as his wings snapped open. He took a short run-up... then began beating his wings quickly. Rochelle felt the bird push off underneath her... and then she no longer felt the ground beneath. Phoenix took to the air, wings working to keep him and his passenger aloft - and making a mess of Rochelle's hair in the process - but they were flying. The thought was exhilarating. Rochelle had the freedom to go wherever she wanted...

... only they were flying too low. "Phoenix! Watch out!" THUMP.

Focusing on keeping himself going rather than flying higher, the Bird Pokémon met the top of a rather large tree and crashed straight into the leaf canopy. Rochelle was rather unceremoniously deposited in the thick of them, and gravity brought her crashing through until she met the lower, thicker branches. She thought she caught sight of someone or something in the same tree, probably a Pokémon. Above the tree, however, a small flock of Spearow were dispersing, spooked by the giant bird and his Trainer disturbing their nests.

"Ooh... that was a mess," Rochelle groaned, extricating herself and her pack from the tree and landing on the ground with another thump. "Might have some bruising from that." Still. We proved it can be done. Phoenix just needs practice.

"You'll get more than bruises! You and your big dumb bird scared all the Pokémon away with your carrying on!" A kid a few years younger than Rochelle dropped from the tree with considerably more grace than the redhead. "I was gonna catch myself a Mankey too... dangit! You owe me a battle for that!" The kid brandished a Poké Ball.

Rochelle got to her feet, running a hand through her hair to comb out any leaves and twigs that had gotten stuck. Well, it beats fighting wild Pokémon... fine. "Fine, what're you sending out?" In response, the kid released a Geodude in front of him. "Geo! Geo!"

Kirsten would thrash the Rock-type in a heartbeat. But Rochelle saw it as an opportunity to get Kara used to the idea of battling. "Kara, you're up," she noted, calling her Abra into the makeshift arena. The Psychic-type was curled up in a ball, sound asleep.

"An Abra? Ha! This'll be quick. Geodude, Magnitude!" The Geodude promptly smashed a fist into the ground, causing a small shockwave aimed at Kara. Before Rochelle could call out instructions, Kara vanished with the familiar zwoip sound she made when teleporting, reappearing a few feet to the other Trainer's right. The Abra uncurled, hovering a foot off the ground, and folded her arms as if to say, You people woke me up. Why did you wake me up?

"Kara! When the Geodude attacks again, use another Teleport! Let him wear himself out!" Rochelle instructed her Pokémon. A gust of wind behind her indicated Phoenix landing a short distance away and walking the rest of the distance to stand beside Rochelle. She would pay attention to him later: there was a battle at hand.

The kid's Geodude took the bait, trying another Magnitude only for Kara to teleport out of the way. In response to the attempted attacks, Kara raised her hands and began to glow a faint purple. An orb of light appeared between her fingers before she seemed to throw it at the Geodude. The orb made contact, knocking the Rock Pokémon back before it raised its fists.

"Rock Throw! Crush them!" the kid ordered. The Geodude tore a fist-sized chunk out of the ground and hurled it in Kara's direction. She zwoiped out of the way a third time.

"Kara, whatever you just did, do it again," Rochelle told the Psychic-type, eager to complete the battle without having Kara take a hit. The Abra turned her head in Rochelle's direction - the Trainer was unsure if she was being given a look - before Kara did as she was instructed, throwing another orb of purple light at the Geodude. This new attack seemed to wear down their opponent.

As the battle progressed, Rochelle examined Kara with her Pokédex again, just in case she had missed something the first time around.

Pokémon Recognised: Abra.image
Updates:
Moves:Teleport, Hidden Power

Hidden Power? Isn't that the move that has a different type advantage depending on the Pokémon using it? When did Kara learn that? There would be time for explanations later. For now, Rochelle needed to finish the battle. "One more, Kara! Let's end this!" Kara's purplish orb appeared a third time, and for a third time it connected with the Geodude. This time it didn't get back up. Disgusted, the kid called back his Pokémon and stomped off in a huff. Didn't even have the courtesy to say anything.

"Well, that was... different."

"Aabra."

At least they were out of the gym, Aeris thought as they all left. Quinn still in her arms, Aeris watched as Rochelle's Spearow evolved into a Fearow. She was quick to grab her Pokédex and scan the Fearow with it, then put it back in her pocket. It was fairly big, taller than she or Rochelle were, and looked impressive. Though Aeris wasn't all that big on bird Pokémon. She'd get a dragon once Blaze would evolve again, and then they could have an air race. Sounds like a plan to me. she thought to herself before they made their way to Route 9.



While the route did look pretty, Aeris kept herself close to the mountain away from the lake beside the route. She did not want to go anywhere near that, nor did Blaze who was now walking beside her, or Quinn who was still in her arms. Jessie had been let out as well, and was hovering over Aeris' head as per usual. She'd also let Felina out, for the simple reason that she could probably find useful items with her Pick Up ability. So far, she'd found a Potion, a Great Ball and an Escape Rope, all of which were put into Aeris' backpack.

She stayed relatively close to Charlie as they walked along the route, and when Charlie mentioned Lavender Town, she got thinking of all the Gastlys she'd be able to see, and capture. Although only one would be enough, and she wasn't even sure anymore if she would trade using a Gastly for her Misdreavus. She'd just have to figure that out once the time came. Right now, she looked around for a Pokémon to either battle or capture.

"We gotta talk to Rochelle." Charlie said, which brought Aeris' attention back to him. "Hmm, yeah, though she does seem alright at the moment to me. Maybe we could try a little later when we find another spot to stop on and rest." It wasn't as if she didn't want to talk to Rochelle, but if she seemed alright, there wasn't too much reason to bother her, or at least Aeris felt like she'd be bothering her.

She was brought from that train of thought when she spotted a Growlithe. She presumed it was a wild one as she didn't see Eileen anywhere. She quickly sprinted towards it, catching up to it before it could have a chance to run away. "Aww, aren't you just the cutest little thing ever?" she said as she hugged the Growlithe maybe just a little too tightly. She'd almost forgotten that she held Quinn in her arms, and the little Cyndaquil wasn't too happy with the current situation.

Neither was the Growlithe who expressed that very well with a growl and a well placed Bite on Aeris' shoulder. "Owww! Why you little..." Aeris let go of it, but the Growlithe didn't seem to want to run away. It seemed to want to fight, even though it didn't seem to make the initial move apart from the Bite he gave Aeris. "Growl! Growlithe!" Come at me! I can handle whatever you throw at me! "Hmpf. I see. Well, if it's a fight you want, it's a fight you get. Jessie!" The Screech Pokémon hovered to between the Growlithe and Aeris. "Misdreavus!~" Leave it to me!~

"Jessie! Thunderbolt!" Aeris commanded her Misdreavus, and she followed the order, making bolts of thunder appear from the sky and hit the Growlithe, who could take it, but wasn't happy about it, answering with a Bite which connected. Misdreavus hurt from that more than if the Growlithe had used any other move it had because of her weakness to Dark moves. However, she could take it and Aeris believed in her. And if worst came to worst, she had Potions in her bag.

"Confuse Ray, followed by Psywave!" Jessie released a sinister ray of light from her eyes, hitting the Growlithe dead on, making it confused, then followed it with a psychic wave that also hit the Growlithe. It tried to attack back, but the confusion made it hit a nearby rock instead when it charged at it. "Ouch. That'll leave a mark..." Aeris said when she cringed a bit as it hit the rock.

"Okay, Jessie. One more attack, then we'll see how weak it is. Astonish!" Jessie charged towards the Growlithe and as she was about to hit it, she gave a loud shout that startled the Growlithe before she hit it. The Growlithe, now fairly weakened, tried to find a way out of the battle, but the confusion was still affecting it, so it couldn't try to escape as Aeris picked up an empty Great Ball from her backpack and threw it at the Growlith. It disappeared in a red light inside the Great Ball which shook once, twice, three times, and then it clicked, indicating a capture. Aeris picked up her Pokédex and aimed it at the Great Ball.

image#058: Growlithe Puppy Pokémon
image
Height: 2' 04" / 0.7 m.Weight: 41.9 lbs. / 19.0 kg.
Ability: Flash FirePower of Fire type moves is increased when hit with a Fire move
Moves: Bite. Ember. Leer. Odor Sleuth.
Lvl 16
A Pokémon with a loyal nature. It will remain motionless until it is given an order by its Trainer.

"That sounds like a good trait to have." Aeris said to the Great Ball before she put her Pokédex back into her pocket and picked the Great Ball up. "As for a name, I think Mars will do you well." As she let go of that sentence, the Great Ball vanished from her hand in white light. This startled Aeris a bit, and she wondered where it had gone when she remembered that you could only carry six Pokémon with you at once. Any additional ones would be transferred to a box in a PC where she could swap out any Pokémon she had there with any of the ones in her party.

With that out of the way, Aeris headed back to Charlie and handed Quinn over to him. "While she is adorable and feels warm to hold, she is your Pokémon, and I believe we're both feeling much better since we got out of Misty's Gym." She smiled to him as she handed Quinn over, assuring him that she was feeling better. Despite the bite marks on her shoulder which were bleeding a little, the bite marks visible on her t-shirt and the blood staining the cloth.

Charlie made sure he was a safe distance away from Aeris as she encountered the exasperated fire pup. "Don't wanna get caught up in that flurry..." he thought of using that chance to find something of his own to battle, but, he always enjoyed viewing a good fight. Unceremoniously rooting for his fellow in fire as she fought, a scream of "Phoenix! Watch out!" broke him from the battle. "Huh?" He looked around to try and pinpoint where the screams might've originated. "It sounded like Rochelle-" He was interrupted by sounds of cracking branches, rustling canopies, and the startled chirps of evacuating flying-types.

Charlie took a look back to Aeris before deciding to run off, in hopes to locate the source of the alerting noises. "Sounded like they could use some help. I'll be right back." He reassured himself as he trotted through brush. "Rochelle...? Was that you that crashed through the trees just then-?" He called out, but soon found himself looking down yet another battle. Didn't seem Rochelle needed any help at all, in fact, she was the one battling. He tried getting a better look at the battle, only to get blown off his feet again by her imposingly sized, view-obstructing Fearow. "Well, it seems they're both fine. Now to check back on Aeris..." He ran off again, this time returning to where the two began. And in the nick of time too.

Charlie reappeared at his spot behind the burgundy emblazoned blossom, coming back to the sight of a cheering, chirping Quinn and a newly captured Growlithe. "I don't even think she realized I left!" He thought with a smirk as she turned to approach him. "...I believe we're both feeling much better since we got out of Misty's Gym." The two excahnged smiles as she handed off the young Cyndaquil back to it's owner. "C'mere guurl~!" The bushy haired trainer called. Quinn squeaked happily before leaping into his arms, and finding her usual perch on his shoulders. "Let's go meet up with Rochelle, okay? I saw her battling some kid not too far from here." He told Aeris, exhibiting a "c'mon" gesture as he began for their comrade.

As they began off, Charlie couldn't help but notice Aeris' shoulder, where the white of her t-shirt intermingled with streaks of red, a sign that she was dealing with some minor cuts. "Uhhh..." By the way it seemed, Aeris hadn't even been aware of her injuries. "Your shoulder got a little banged up, Red." He pointed out. "Want me to patch it up? I know my mom packed a first-aid kit..." As he suggested his assistance, he swung his duffel bag on it's strap, bringing it to his front to rummage through it.

The walk along the hilly route was progressing nicely for Jordan. Vince was hacking and slashing away at whatever jumped out of the grass the wrong way. Spike was assaulting the little creatures that popped out and didn't have wings. After another talk about how she was going to have to get over this state of photophobia, Vicky flew out to back up the stupid monkey in taking out some of the lower level Pokemon. Solana stayed close to Jordan, waddling as fast as it's little legs could carry it until a brook emerged in the distance. Upon seeing the shimmering stream the water-type darted forward, eager to splash around and try and find a snack or two.

Jordan sat down next to the water, taking off his shoes to dip his feet in. The movement of the water running past felt good, much better than the last time he was in the water. This was where his mind was at its best, surrounded by H2O. It had been too long since he had been able to actually enjoy it. Shoot I didn't even get to like swim or anything in Misty's pool. Bug Boy got to do that and I didn't. That sucks. Hopefully we get back to some ocean soon. And not like, evil dude ocean. Good surf ocean.

"Chowchinchow!"

Jordan looked over to see Solana's little cross eyes furrowed in anger as a sizable yellow Pokemon sat on the shoreline, smoke or steam coming off it's body. "Psyyyyyyyyyy......

"Uh....remind me not to tick you off, Solana bro. That looks painful."

"Chinchow! Chinchowchow!" He jumped me! I had to do it!

"OK, OK, let's just keep moving on then." Jordan slipped his sneakers back on and picked his bag back up. Solana moved back into position alongside it's trainer and the two went to catch up with the rest of the team.

Callum finally put his shirt back on once they were inside and whistled and called out a good job to Jordan as Misty kicked everyone out of the gym. Healing up his Oddish while everyone else had their Pokémon was unexpectedly quick and soon he was off with the rest of the group. Once they hit Route 9 everyone seemed to slip up (if they hadn't already) and Callum took off to try and catch anymore Pokémon that his job required.

Traveling along the tall grass around any trees that he could search, Callum released his five Pokémon to let them stretch and battle if they wish to. Shedinja, Spinarak, Oddish, Paras, and Butterfree were all released. Shedinja, Spinarak, and Paras all set off and started to attack the various Pokémon hiding in the grass, while Oddish and Butterfree started to come under attack of their own.

Stall and putting their opponents to sleep with the Sleeping Powder attacks made there would be attackers fall off and become either easy prey to the Oddish and Butterfree, or one of Callum's other Pokémon harassing the local wild life. Still Callum had seen no new Bug Pokémon to catch and started to search the groups of trees in the surround areas. Suddenly after entering of the groups of trees a Pokémon that looked like a dragonfly flew in front of him, stopped midair in an instant and took off.

"Wait. I need that one," Callum said out loud as he chased after the Yanma. The Pokémon darted back and forth between the trees and suddenly Spinarak shot out of a shadow from behind a tree and hit the Yanma. The Clear Wing Pokémon was knocked sideways by the attack and flew right into a String Shot attack.
The Yanma's wings help shake off most of the string, but it was clearly slowed down. Callum's Spinarak descended from a tree via a single strand of web only to be hit right away by the Yanma's Quick Attack. Knocked into the air, Spinarak fired off a couple random String Attacks as he turned and tumbled. One hit the Yanma again, this time locking up its wings, and another hit a tree branch and the Spinarak stabilized himself. Mad at the previous attack, Spinarak tried to use Shadow Sneak again, but it failed due to the Yanma using Detect.

A little enraged, the Spinarak used its Poison Sting attack and struck the Yanma with the barb cause a cry of pain. That was enough for Callum to see as he pulled out a new Poké Ball and tossed it at the Yanma. The ball proceeded to shake for a minute as Callum waited for the click and the Spinarak waited to attack again. Finally a deafening click was heard as the Yanma was caught. Callum walked over to the Poké Ball and took out his Pokédex to scan it.

image
193 Yanma
Clear Wing Pokémon
imageimage
HT 3' 11"
WT 83.8 lbs.
It can hover in one spot by flapping its wings at high speed. It flits about to guard its territory.

Quickly remember the name on one of his TM lists, Callum dug through his bag and found TM 62 and inserted it into his Pokédex. A moment later Yanma's moves were updated and he had learned Silver Wind in place of SonicBoom.

Callum clicked the button on Yanma's Poké Ball and the Yanma rematerialized in front of him. "Hey bud, don't fly off now. You're part of my team now okay? It's not going to be much different, you just get to see more places and stuff," Callum said before looking at his Spinarak. "He's another one of my Buds. I don't want to see you fight anymore, now let's go back and introduce you to the rest of my team."

Callum walked back to the rest of his team that was still continuing to terrorize the local Pokémon for the most part. Most of the team had spread out by this point and Callum found them one by and introduced his new team member. The last one he found was his Butterfree. The Yanma and Butterfree seemed to take a liking to each other and off together, while Callum headed off to find a place to nap for a bit.

Route 9 was proving to be a cornucopia of people to battle, with an abundance of random Pokemon to engage in whenever there was a short lull in Trainers. Eileen shook the hand of a hiker that had just been defeated by Dalton, commending him for giving her the hardest battle so far along the route before going off to take care of her Pokemon.

"That was a glorious battle Dalton. You performed exceptionally, though we definitely need to work on your reaction time. There also seems to be a problem with you being slow at the start, and not having quite the endurance to last a very long battle. All of which is fixable with the right training; so I'm going to adjust what you'll be doing every day to better fit your needs. We'll implement this probably tomorrow morning, so be ready for it. Until then though, you can relax for right now. My map seems to indicate that the trail is gonna change soon, so you can have a break until then. Hopefully Cleo will have grabbed the right berries," Eileen told her Pokemon, not noticing that he had started to tune her out by the second sentence.

Eileen continued talking to her Swinub until Cleo showed up, dropping a number of different berries onto the ground while holding something else in her paw. "I suppose I should have been more specific," Eileen said as she picked up the three Berries and gave them to Dalton. "Those ones I know heal up a Pokemon...though I can't recall what these two do. Might be to cure a status ailment or something. Thank you for grabbing them Cleo," she thanked her Pokemon, putting the other two berries away for now before noticing Cleo staring at her, "Uh...did you want another thank you for the Pokeball you found earlier?"

Meowth! Meow-meowth. Cleo said shaking her head, holding out her paw to reveal a silver and blue TM.

"That is better than any berry! Nice job Cleo, that is super awesom-" Eileen started as she reached for the TM before Cleo closed her paw and moved it behind her back. "Are...you serious?" Eileen said, flinching back when Cleo got ready to scratch her before realizing what she was doing and standing her ground, "No more scratches, understood? I understand that finding a TM is difficult, and I do think something like finding one should be rewarded. So, starting with this one here, I'll give you something you want for each one you find. Sounds good?"

Cleo put her paw up to her chin in a thinking pose before nodding and handing the TM over. "Thank you. Now what is it you'd like in return. It can't be anything like my golden nuggets or things like that since those are of very high value, and it isn't like you'd be able to carry them anyways," Eileen said, watching Cleo saunter over to her bag smugly before rifling through it.

"Hey I said no gold nuggets," Eileen started when Cleo grabbed one out, stopping when she also brought out a berry bar and pointed at the two. "A gold berry bar? Do you know how much those cos-?" she said, stopping herself when Cleo nodded. "Fine. Deal. If you eat too many of those bars you are going to get fat, I'm letting you know that now before you come complaining to me. Those things have no nutritional value. I'll buy you one once we get over to the next city. Town, actually," Eileen stated as she looked at the number on the TM, smiling after saying 'forty' out loud before putting the TM in her case.

Ouch.

Callum opened his eyes and could tell that it hadn't been more than twenty minutes since he started his nap. Looking down at what landed on his chest was a large Pokémon egg.

"Where did this come from?" Callum asked himself out loud and he turned the egg around looking for some sign of where it came from. There was no luck from his quick inspection as he stood up and continued to look around for no further avail.

Damn. I didn't ask for this. I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to do with this thing. Who would know? Callum thought to himself as be stuck two fingers in his mouth to signal for his Pokémon to return to him. As they slowly returned, Callum finally realized what he could do with the egg.

"Alright buddies. We're going to head out for now. I've got someone I wanna find. Plus you guys caused enough harm here anyways." Callum announced to the group as he looked over his slightly battered group, comparing it to the much worse off group of locals either passed out, or limping away.

Sighing, Callum took off back through the trees and back into the hilling route ahead of him. He could see glimpses of some of the others and random other trainers scattered along the route. Knowing the fast way forward was following the path of devastation; Callum started asking the local trainers if they'd seen his intended target. Mixed reactions from the trainers ultimately lead him in the intended direction as he came up behind her while she appeared to be negotiating with one of her Pokémon.

"You know if you were better friends with your Pokémon, you probably wouldn't need to bribe them," Callum said as he approached Eileen from behind.

"This is all part of the process," Eileen explained to Callum after hearing him comment on her simple business deal with Cleo, watching the Scratch Cat Pokemon scamper off to take a look for more loot. "With this whole deal, I'm showing to Cleo that I am the one who has the ultimate and final say in the matter while still giving her the power to ask for a suitable reward for her abilities. So increases her productivity and sense of worth," she elaborated after the Meowth was a good distance away, putting her gold nugget and berry bar into her bag before standing up. "So how has the route been treating you and your Pokemon?" she asked, taking off her glasses to clean them of the dust from the trails.

Callum wasn't convinced about what claimed. A good friend would work harder for you then someone with a business deal, but he didn't have enough experience with the situation, or care enough, to bring it up.

"Pretty good. I caught a Yanma which should be..." Callum stopped his sentence as he looked back and saw his Butterfree and Yanma flying off together again. A quick whistle and a call about wanting to introduce them to someone brought them flying back. "Well he should be back in a second."

"Oh ya, I also woke up after a nap to find this egg on my chest. Not sure where it came from and I'm not exactly sure about how you're supposed to take care of one. Do you have any idea?" Callum asked after remembering that he was still carrying the egg.

"An egg, eh? That seems fast," Eileen mused after putting her glasses and looking at the egg that Callum was holding. Glancing up at the Yanma and Butterfree, she noted the similar colors that the egg and Yanma shared. "Well it is easy to deduce where it came from. As for taking care of it, I'm not exactly an expert on the subject. I know that you can usually just hold onto it and it'll hatch by itself when the Pokemon inside is ready. Some people buy a special case to carry it in, but there isn't a place to buy one around here anyways," she told him.

"Once it hatches it will be a fairly weak Pokemon that will still need protection for a while until it builds up strength," she added taking her eyes off the egg to look up at him, placing emphasis on a few of the words to get her point across.

Perfect she knows more about taking care of an egg than I do. Callum thought to himself ignoring most of what Eileen said while a grin grew across his face.

"Here," Callum said while lightly shoving the egg into Eileen's arms. "Since you know more about Pokémon eggs than I do, you can watch over this one. Consider it one of the favours that you owe me alright?" Callum said to Eileen with no forethought what-so-ever.

Eileen practically dropped the egg as it was shoved into her arms, managing to clutch it tightly enough to keep it from falling onto the grass. "Woah, I mean...they aren't really that hard to take care of. It doesn't need to be kept at a certain temperature or anything complicated like that. I think," she replied back to him after the initial shock, not particularly keen on the idea of taking care of someone else's Pokemon egg.

Especially since I tend to get caught up in such dumb things that usually cause bodily harm! He does too though, so there is that. Not sure how long it takes a Yanma egg to hatch; I only know they tend to be rarer than normal Pokemon and are pretty decent battlers with the right moves. There is also the fact that I do kinda owe him...and I doubt he'd be the most active caretaker, Eileen thought over, wondering just how the egg would survive with such an absentee Trainer looking over it. "Alright. I'll take care of the egg for now until it hatches. After that the Pokemon, which should be a Yanma, will be your responsibility. Be sure to catch it in a Pokeball as soon as it hatches as well; you never know if the Rockets or some other thieves are around to try and take it."

"Alright I'll try to keep that in mind and try to be there when it hatches. Thanks again for looking after the egg." Callum said with a smile before looking around and see the Yanma and Butterfree start to fly off together down the route away from Cerulean City.

"Get back here you two! Stick together with the group!" Callum yelled in a fun manner as he started to chase after them, the rest of his Pokémon following him in tow.

"Yeah. This egg is definitely in better hands now," Eileen said aloud as she watched Callum run after his Pokemon, hearing a grunt from her Swinub in agreement.

"Rochelle...? Was that you that crashed through the trees just then-?"

"Rra!" Kara vanished yet again, and Rochelle soon heard the sound of rustling in the tree out of which she had just fallen. "Dangit, Kara... you need to stay with the rest of us," she told the section of tree where she thought the Abra was nestled.

There was no response except for more rustling. Rochelle just sighed. Oh well. She'll be back soon enough. Was that Charlie calling out earlier? "C'mon, Phoenix. Might as well meet up with the others again." "Rrow!" Phoenix tried to land on Rochelle's shoulder for the trip, but knocked her flat on her face with one wing due to his drastic increase in size since his evolution. A yelp from the redhead was soon stifled by a mouthful of grass.

"Pfthah! Gross! You don't get shoulder rides any more, Phoenix. What? Don't give me that look, you're too big!" The six-foot-tall Fearow briefly covered his face with one wing, but acquiesced and shuffled in step behind Rochelle instead of taking his old place on her shoulder. Mildly annoyed by the lingering taste of earth and grass, Rochelle headed back the way they came, soon finding Charlie and Aeris with a few of their own Pokémon out and about.

"Hey. How goes things?" she queried upon getting closer and coming to a stop. Zwoip. Kara popped back into view at Rochelle's feet, but didn't acknowledge any of the three Trainers. Instead she folded her arms and turned to face away from the humans present.

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me. And here I'm used to Fire types liking me. I guess there's a first time for everything. This bite scar will make a fine addition to my burn scars. Yeah, it'd be good to get this disinfected and bandaged as soon as possible." Aeris said to Charlie before they got to Rochelle who hailed them. "They're going alright, aside from an injury I got from my latest catch." She pointed towards her bloodied shoulder. Blaze looked at it and looked both concerned for what had happened and gave another look as to say that she could have been more careful. Jessie mostly just hovered over Aeris' head, but also looked concerned for her trainer. "Misdreavus~" That looks like a nasty bite~ "Yeah, it does." Aeris answered Jessie before she rolled up her sleeve so Charlie could have an easier access to her wound.

Charlie got to work, tending to the fresh cut as Aeris addressed Rochelle. "We're fine, Roche. But, what about you-sweetarceus-" In the second it took for him to look away from his work, he noticed an Abra materialize at their feet, and did a bit of a hop in fright. He gained his composure in time, and with a sigh he finished wrapping the gauze around Aeris' shoulder. "I mean, you look fine now, but after what happened last night..." He completed the wrap alongside his pause, giving her his attention before he continued. "I'm just saying, if you need any sort of back up, I-er, we'll be there. We got your back, is what i'm sayin'." He concluded his bout of repitition with a smile and a cheesy thumbs-up.

"Thank you." Aeris said, giving him a smile before turning back to Rochelle. "Yeah, he's right. We're here for you."

"Yeah... I guess I owe you an explanation for that," Rochelle answered, glancing down at the ground for a second. "Um... Aeris, you remember Mt. Moon, right? How we ran into Team Rocket? Before everyone else met up with them, I ran into a couple of them while I was chasing Iskra. They... they knocked me out with Sleep Powder and... and left me in a locked closet. Took all my things too, and my Pokémon. I - I panicked. Tried to get out... but almost every night after that I've had nightmares about being lost in a maze, with them chasing me." Her voice shook as she spoke, but she persisted.

"Last night... well. Vermilion only made it worse, and that was th - the result," she finished, folding her arms tight in a self-hug. Phoenix rested his head on her own, though Kara remained indifferent.

"What?!" This was Charlie's first hearing of this meeting. "Whoawhoawhoa, you guys ran into Team Rocket on Mt. Moon?? When was this?!" Clearly excited over the whole story, he remembered hearing news about the infamous ne'er-do-wells frequenting the area, but he cleared the range without one encounter from any of the gang's members. "So S.S. Anne wasn't the first time they've had a close encounter with those dickholes." As he thought, his face crumpled in aggravation as his hands balled into fists.

This expression lasted momentarily, as he tried to shake off the spontaneous fit of anger. "I...huh, heh...whoo!...that pissed me off more than i'd like to admit...!" He replied, unaware of his pacing motions until they were full blown cycles. "Okay, no, I change my mind, i'm a little pissed, y'know? Just..like...just lightly livid. I mean, really?! They basically snatched you up, and robbed you?? And they probably could've had their way with you and left you for dead, too?! NO! No no no, nonnono no. After the bullshit that went down on that boat, i'll be damned if I let them come at you like that again. Or at any of us, for that matter! No! Fuck naw! Heh! Nope, non, nuh-unh, no siree bob!" Charlie took a quick breather, putting his hands on hips to stop his pacing for just a second. He felt it best to collect his thoughts before his rant devolved into exasperated rambling.

"Just...fuck! I wish one of 'em steps to me the wrong way, imma beat the shit outta 'em! I don't even have to win the fight, i'd just be fine with getting a few hits in! Just as long as they got the message!" the vibrantly animated, very colorful, Rocket-induced rant ended with those last words, the bushy-haired trainer taking in a few deep breaths to regain his composure. "Okay, s'cool, i'm fine, i'm fine." He straightened himself back to normalcy as he fell back in with the two redheaded trainers. He placed a hand on each of her shoulders, putting on a look of grimacing determination as he looked into her.

"If what we said earlier wasn't enough proof, then let me cement our claims. Like, a declaration of newfound volition. No tears. No fears. Just pure, unleaded anger with a dash of lazer-guided vengeance. If we see one of those Team Rocket fucking shits again, and they wanna throw down, then we'll fucking throw down. I'll throw down. Bet on it, Roche." Letting out another sigh, his expression softened. He quickly calmed as he backed off, pushing the thought towards the back of his mind. He shook himself off, and raised his head with his usual, trademark smile. "...Alright? Okay. Now, let not retread old ground anymore. At least, not right now. It takes up wayyy too much of my energy to get all riled up like that." He chuckled with some sheepishness.

It was a Pokémon in a dress. Simon still couldn't quite understand it And to be more precise, it was an angry Pokémon in a dress with bows on its head and multiple ears. But the creature seemed focused on growling and running circles around Simon. He hadn't been attacked yet.

The trainer had been taking a break, so his supplies - and Shadow - were a short distance away. Apparently Shadow didn't feel threatened by the newcomer. Simon frowned at his Pokémon's form which was curled around the two packs.

That was fine, Simon decided. He had other team members to train.

"Hey Skip, can you help me out with ....this." Simon glanced down at the angry Pokémon again but he still couldn't figure out if the Pokémon was supposed to be male or female.

"Poli?" The Poliwag tilted its head once it appeared, first at Simon and then at the strange Pokémon. Then it looked at the surrounding area. Simon did the same out of reflex. Trees, grass, dirt, every thing that was getting familiar. Though there weren't any oceans within sight. "If you want to swim we'll do that later."

The angry Pokémon stopped circling Simon and bared it's teeth at Poliwag.

"Poli..." The water Pokémon seemed saddened by the aggressive display.

"Start with a water gun" Simon ordered firmly, hoping it would end the fight quickly.

Poliwag shook itself, getting into a battle stance to ready the attack. Simon stepped back a few paces, not wanting to get doused himself.

High pressured water slammed into Skipper's target. Now there was a wet and angry Pokémon growling at both trainer and Pokémon. It started to distort it's face in a strange way.

"Double slap." Simon ordered. While the combatants circled each other he tried to aim his Pokédex at the challenger. The device kept giving its 'bad scan' alert sound. Simon hit the side of the device with his hand. "Come on!" He needed information.

The growling ceased suddenly and both Pokémon paused. Simon gave a sigh of relief. His Pokédex began displaying the information for Snubbull. Snue-ball? Snub-all? he scanned the entry quickly. Fairy Pokémon.

"Whirr!" Skipper gave a cry of alarm. Simon looked up to see Snubbull in mid-air. Electricity arced around the Pokémon's mouth just before it latched onto Poliwag's side.

"Poliiiii..." Skipper fell backwards, and Simon recognized the symptoms of paralysis. The tiny bits of errant electricity were a big clue.

"Really?" Lightning? Lightning. What was this thing? Simon dropped his Pokédex on the ground and ran to grab both of his packs. "Move!" He said gruffly. Shadow jumped out of his way, his ears flattening against his head.

Simon hauled both packs next to Skipper. Intimidated, probably by Shadow, the Snubbull backed away.

"Shadow, finish the fight." Simon pointed.

With a whine Simon didn't understand Shadow obeyed. Shadow circled Snubbull, gaining speed until he could perform a full speed tackle.

Trusting his oldest Pokémon Simon knelt next to Skipper.

"Hold on." He said quietly. I'm starting to get the hang of this at least. Carefully the trainer applied a portion of a potion bottle and followed it with a paralyze healing spray. When Skipper was able to stand Simon returned the Pokémon to its Pokéball.

Shadow yelped and Simon glanced up to see his Pokémon's fur covered in ice. More ice dripped from Snubull's jaws.

Lighting, ice...did that Pokémon have all of the elements?

Shadow sneezed twice and shook, sending ice chips flying. "Be careful", Simon called. "Try another tackle."

Simon tensed when Snubbull moved to bite Shadow. But this time there was no accompanying elemental force. The smaller Pokémon latched onto Shadow's leg but was dwarfed by the Mightyena's larger size. It looked a little silly.

Simon changed his mind. "Shadow, show it what a bite really is and then tackle it." The tackle would be tricky unless Shadow could get free his opponent. But of course, Shadow did. The tackle was more of a spin but the dislodged Snubbull flew into a tree. Simon figured it still counted.

Snubbull stumbled a few times, did a rather graceful spin, and then fell face first onto the ground.

"Gotcha." Simon pulled an empty Pokéball from his pack. "Now just hold still-"

*Rrrrrr* Shadow growled loudly, sending Simon into an immediate defensive mode. That was a sound not to be ignored.

He whirled to see Shadow growling at his Pokemon egg. Huh? Was someone trying to steal the egg? Simon looked left and right but saw no one in the immediate vicinity.

"What are you doing, you know you can't eat that, right? Hey, careful!"

Shadow whined, pawing at the straps that secured the smaller of the two packs. Simon jogged closer and knelt to inspect the bag. Two straps were nearly gone. Was he chewing on these? Simon groaned. It wasn't his main pack but he still hoped to get some use of it.

"Snuuuuubbuuullll" the sound of scrambling paws accompanied the rapidly fading call. Simon shook his head, not even bothering to look. His potential capture was gone.

"See what you did..." Simon pushed lightly against his Pokémon's flank. "Move buddy, let me see what you've ... done."

Had something moved? Simon pushed his glasses further up on his nose. He stared at the egg this time, watching carefully. But it remained still. Simon counted to ten slowly. Still nothing.

The trainer sat back, brushing dirt from his pants. He set the unused Pokeball on the ground, spinning it like a child's toy. "I could have captured that one." He commented, still watching the pack.

Shadow whined and dropped to the ground. The trainer immediately felt bad.

"Okay maybe it would have escaped. And it was kind of odd-looking."

Shadow's tail began to thump against the ground.

"Didn't you think so? I thought so."

*Crk*

Something snapped like a dry twig. Shadow's ears and Simon's head both turned to the sound.

There was an unmistakable crack in the Pokemon egg.

"Oh. Oh! Uh-oh." Simon dropped down to undo the rest of the straps and unwound the cloth padding until the Pokémon egg, which was now wobbling in place, was completely freed.

Another crack appear, bisecting the first. Simon's hands hovered around the egg. He anxiously tried to remember what he'd read. Did he get help? Was he supposed to go to a Center? What'd did he do?

Shadow whiffed quietly. "What do I do?" Simon asked.

The egg tilted, and began to fall to one side. Simon quickly put both hands around the egg.

"Come on." He urged. "You can do it."

The eggs wobbled violently almost causing Simon to lose his hold. Then with a series of popping sounds numerous cracks appeared on the surface. Rough egg shell broke away at the top to reveal a yellow head and face. Then two arms appeared. And finally two legs, which kicked immediately until the Pokémon stood up.

"Togeprrri?" The small Pokemon trilled. It looked up at Simon and made another trilling sound. Tiny arms reached up towards the trainer. "Priiii."

"Hey little guy." It's so small. Picking up the Pokémon carefully Simon held it against his chest. It actually still retained most of the egg shape, with its white base and red and blue markings. Simon reached across the grass until his hand hit the Pokédex he'd left. He needed to know if the egg bit was normal.

"This won't hurt, little guy, just...hold still."

The small Pokémon just kept chattering. It's feet kicked against Simon's ribs. He coughed as the Pokedex beeped twice and a loud fake bell sounded.

A computerized voice began speaking. "New Pokémon detected. Beginning registration process..." A series of musical tones was next. To Simon's amusement the baby Pokemon attempted to mimic the sound.

The voice continued, "Pokemon : Togepi successfully registered to Pokemon Trainer : Simon Braddock. Would you like to register your Pokemon's name at this time?"

So soon? "N-no" Simon stammered as Togepi began wriggling in his hold. "Hold still." He mumbled.

"Priiii."

"No name will be recorded at this time. Please scan the included Pokeball now."

Included? There was no included! Simon panicked. Shadow's head bumped into his free hand. "I need, what are you?" Simon saw that Shadow had rolled the empty Pokeball closer. "That, I need that."

"Good boy." Simon praised absently. He pressed the Pokéball's main switch and another button on his Pokédex. The Pokéball glowed briefly with a familiar white light as the Pokédex screen filled with a bunch of symbols that scrolled too fast for Simon to follow.

The device made another bell sound. "Pokéball registered. Thank you and have a good day."

"You too?" Simon replied automatically. He scanned the new entry.

"Togepi." He read out loud. Apparently the egg shape was normal. "Spike ball Pokemon." And he'd been wrong about his new Pokémon's gender again.

"So you're a girl." Simon noted.

"Togi. Togi." The baby Togepi tried to climb up Simon's shirt. Its small arms couldn't get any purchase on the fabric. Laughing softly, Simon pocketed his Pokédex so that he could lift Togepi with both hands. The Pokémon made a pleased sound. Simon laughed again. He dropped and raised the Pokémon just to watch it wave its hands as though it were a fun ride.

"You're a happy one, you know?"

"Togepiii."

A soft whine caught Simon's attention. Shadow was lying flat on the ground, his tail wagging even with his head between his paws.

Simon's grin faltered. He knew that Shadow wanted to play but he didn't want any accidents.

"Come here, buddy" Sitting cross legged Simon set Togepi on his knee. Shadow walked closer, tail still wagging. He paused until Simon motioned to him to lay down again.

"Shadow, this is..." Simon hesitated. Maybe he should have named her. "This is our new team member." Or maybe mascot Simon mused. It would be a while before he'd be comfortable putting Togepi in a fight.

Togepi leaned forward, with Simon's hand still keeping it upright. It patted Shadow's nose. Permission apparently given, Shadow barked quietly and licked Togepi's face.

"Hey, hey, easy." Simon pulled Togepi back, though it seemed unaffected by the impromptu washing. Simon dug through his pack and came out with a clean shirt that he used to clean Togepi with. Then he remembered the baby Pokémon food he'd purchased.

He set Togepi on top of his shirt "Stay still, okay?" Simon told both Pokémon. "Where did I put that food..." He mumbled as he began to pat the various pockets on his pack.

There was only so much nature that could be enjoyed among the group of people until they slowly trickled towards the natural gate that led down into Route 10. Most of the group was already there as Simon came up to the group with something squirming in his arms. Jordan had never seen anything that looked like that before, it almost looked like breakfast. "Dude, like, what is that thing?" he asked.

Simon looked a bit confused at the question. Thing? What thing? "This is Togepi." He held her towards Jordan and the rest of the group. "She's new."

Togepi looked dazed for a second before wiggling her stubby arms and feet. "Togeh togeh! Prrrrriiiiii!"

A Togepi? Simon's answer had caught Rochelle's interest. She glanced over to find, sure enough, the little white spiky-headed Pokémon looking around. Aww! Where'd Simon get that? I want one! The baby Pokémon was a rare sight to see; Rochelle had seen a couple before but had no idea where they could be found in the wild. Just looking at the adorable little guy brought a smile to her face.

Togepi continued to soak up the attention, closing it's eyes as it chirred to push its cuteness levels into overdrive.

"Cool," Jordan finally answered. "So like, we're heading down the road then, right?" The suggestion was met with general approval as the party descended towards the river that marked the end of Route 9.


As everyone approached the rocky outcropping that jutted out towards the water, the low hum of machinery and a few back-up beeps could be heard rising over the sound of flowing water. Upon coming across the entry to the tunnel, it was clear that there were going to be some obstacles to passing through the tunnel, but they were man-made. Men in orange vests were milling around one side of the entrance and a dump truck could be seen retreating into the cave like a Diglett head, before it stopped with the cockpit still outside. The red roof of a Pokemon Center could be seen off to the side, but it failed to distract from the carved stones that now adorned the opening in the rock.

One of the men in orange vests was shouting at the truck driver. "Look, I'm telling you, you gotta dump it out further down the mountain. There aren't any spaces inside we can use in there for the junk anymore."

"Well what are we gonna do?" the driver asked, yelling over his engine. "Ain't gonna get more gullible Cerulean types looking to decorate their walkways with this crap!"

"Whatever! Just dump it outside for now, and maybe some of the Onix will eat up enough rock to clear some room!"

"Fine, fine!"

The truck lurched forward, intent on finding somewhere to drop its load. As it passed by, the group of trainers attempted to make their way into the cave.

"Whoa, like what's all this?" Jordan asked oblivious to the idea of work.

"This is the culmination of four years of work!" the foreman stated proudly. "After hundreds of complaints of the state of the cave, the Rock Tunnel now lives up to it's name! You'll be able to ride a Wailord through this thing! It will be fully complete within the next couple months!"

"So.....can we like, go through it?"

"Well of course! If you want to get through, just steer clear of a couple of the slag piles we haven't cleared out and you'll be in Lavender in no time."

Sarah looked up at the construction worker, her brow furrowed in almost a puzzled look, "But sir, if you're blasting the tunnels, won't that scare the Pokemon? Where are they going to go?"

The hard hat was lifted in a nod to the obvious question. "Well we've gradually moved the Pokemon deeper into the cave, into their own sections where they can live and fight and all that fun stuff. There are a couple pathways into it if any of you are interested in catching them or fighting them, but honestly, you're probably better off going straight through. It is why we built the tunnel, after all. We wouldn't want it to be a massive waste of government money now, would we?"

Jordan just shrugged. "Whatever dude, can we like go now?"

"Yes of course, you can past through. Just don't go over the concrete barriers, we're still doing work there." With that, the construction worker's walkie-talkie buzzed, and he went back to his job, which appeared to be yelling at people.

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