In Her Image: a Pokémon RP

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Gemini was the fastest of the four, so its Camouflage was first, the cold hard concrete turning the Star Shape Pokémon a greyish blue and making it Normal-type. Spiegel was up next, forgetting about Absol's Pressure and countering it with a Scary Face, overwhelming the Disaster Pokémon with an aura of bloodlust, making it slightly wary of its foe.

Nevertheless it was time to move. Absol started running all around the battle area, quickly reaching it's formidable top speed, which caused it to leave afterimages in its wake. Anyone trying to attack it, would have to guess correctly, or face the consequences. Not one to let some random Charmeleon intimidate its friend, Mawile rushed towards Spiegel, snapping it out of its intimidation tactic. The Flame Pokémon braced itself for an attack, only for Mawile to stop an inch away from its foe's face, turn around and open it's huge maw like horns, before snapping them shut, sending Spiegel falling backwards and slightly hurting it. As it got up, the mental image of a large predator bearing down on it still haunted Spiegel's mind. It would take a while to snap out of it.

Noticing this, Gemini didn't waste time and quickly spun around behind the retreating Mawile's back and let fly with a Water Gun. The jet of water sent Mawile flying back towards Spiegel and Mawile landed at its feet, visibly hurt by the attack as it stood up and distanced itself from the still shocked Charmeleon.

Absol saw this as a chance to sneak in an attack, rushing out from the rows of afterimages, it charged its sharp claws with an ominous ghostly aura and slashed at Spiegel who, for a moment, could feel life itself escaping its body. What's more, the attack seemed to hurt it more than it should've, bringing the already badly punished Charmeleon to it's knees. It wasn't out though. Not yet. Not when its Trainer's pride was on the line. It got up to ready a Smokescreen when... Where was Mawile.

Mawwwwwiiilleee...

Spiegel reacted to the sound but it was too late. Reappearing from the left flank, Mawile's Faint Attack hit Spiegel and sent it flying. Things were looking grim for it now. Once again the tough as nails Pokémon got up. That was it. Spewing out a thick cloud of black smoke that utterly blinded its two opponents, Spiegel gestured to its teammate. It was Gemini's turn. As per Daria's orders, Gemini released a flurry of bright star-like beams from its gem.
The stars disappeared into the smoke and only the cries of the Pokémon within could be heard as they both took the hits.

Inside the smoke Absol was feeling the hurt, while Mawile shrugged it off without too much trouble. Absol started charging his next attack, while Mawile charged out of the smoke to Bite Staryu. To no awail. The Deciever Pokémon had no idea where Staryu was and when it noticed its error, it was too late. Its horns were already chewing on concrete.

Tatya seemed pleased with the progress so far. But there was still the matter of this being a 2 v 4 battle. She needed a KO. Fast.

"You're doing fine guys! Get that smoke out of your eyes, look out for what they have next and attack!"

Forte on the other had was watching Daria's moves with much interest.

Hmmm. Adequate team tactics, but the order of moves leaves a lot of room for errors. If she had considered her opponent's strategy better, she might've had the upper hand by now...

"Char... Char..."

Spiegel was back on its feet, panting. Pain was coursing through his body, but he wouldn't allow himself to quit. Not now. He could already hear Daria shouting at him from the other side of the smoke.

"SPIEGEL, YOU'RE DOING GREAT! Get out of that Smokescreen, beat both of 'em to the punch! Don't stop using Growl until they're both clear! GEMINI, KEEP POURING ON THE SWIFT, YA CAN'T MISS! As soon as that Absol's clear of the smoke, and if it's still standing after Spiegel attacks it, I want ya to douse it with a Water Gun, then dive in with a Rapid Spin! Get right up in its face, don't even let it LOOK at Spiegel, ya got that!?"

"Hya!" cried the Staryu, following its orders. Daria turned her attention back to her Charmeleon.

"Spiegel, ya remember Brock? Don't ya think for a DAMN second I'm gonna let ya slack off now after you took out an Onix! Your first target's Absol! As soon as it gets in sight pour on the Dragon Rage! Then when Mawile gets close, nothing but Fire Fang attacks on it! I want scorch marks so deep in that thing's skin it looks like a charbroiled Doduo!"

"CHARMELE!" bellowed the fire lizard, launching his trainer's plan into action without a second thought. He trusted her completely.

"W-well, sorry about that. We should be going, r-right?"

Much to Rupert's surprise, Tom began to laugh. Of course his laughter was at least twice as loud as his normal speaking volume, nearly bringing Rupert to clamping his hands over his ears just to stop them from ringing. Once calmed down, Tom broke out into his trademark smile and replied.

"Hey, it was definitely no bother to me! If I lost any of my teammates, I would've been running all over too! But hey, before we go, let's meet the others up on the roof and wish them good luck alright? Trust me, I'll make sure it'll be as quick as possible."

This time taking the elevator, the two slowly ascended to the roof. Unbeknownst by the others in the glass contraption, Tom had his hands gripped onto the railing behind his back like an Octillery in a hurricane. Walking out of elevator, He waved to the others.

"We're just about to get going, but we wanted to wish you guys good luck later today. We've got what we need, so we're off! Good luck and we'll catch you guys later alright?"

For some reason, Tom seemed to be talking quite a bit faster than usual.

Gemini shot out another Swift, pelting its opponents with more star like beams. Absol snarled as the pain became more intense, while Mawile wasn't very affected, being of the Steel-type. Spiegel, on the other hand began a low Growl, intimidating the opponents that couldn't see, just hear it somewhere in the smoke. Morale between the two was getting lower yet again.

*WHOOOSSSHHH*

That's when a swift flick of Absol's horn cleared away the Smokescreen, revealing the combatants' positions. That wasn't its only purpose though. The Razor Wind released multiple blades of razor sharp air at both Spiegel and Gemini.

Spiegel could feel time slowing down as it breathed heavily and observed the path of the blades. Was this it? Was he going to take a setback to his path to becoming the strongest ally ever to grace his Trainer and friend? Hell no! With a weave and a few leaps that pushed the Flame Pokémon to its limits, he was in the clear. Even Forte's face twitched at the sight.
Gemini was not as lucky. His share of the blades sheared right through it, sending the Staryu tumbling to the ground, its gem blinking as a sign of its rapidly approaching end.

M-M-Maaaawwwwiiile! Maaaaaaaaa-aaawwiiile-e-e! M-M-Mawwwwwww

Fake Tears. It didn't take any effort from Spiegel to make this one fail. No way he was letting his guard down. Gemini however couldn't help but feel sorry for the little deciever. Probably due to its gentler, more naďve personality. Spiegel wasn't having none of it. He charged a dark blue flame and shot it at Absol, engulfing its figure in flames. As the flames faded, however, nothing. A damn afterimage. It was Gemini's turn. A Water Gun hit Absol with all the pressure Gemini could muster. Again. Nothing. The Disaster Pokémon's Double Team was really doing it's job now. As was it's Pressure, which kept tiring out Daria's Pokémon, as each move they made felt more taxing than usual.

Tatya couldn't help but smile.

"Hahahaha! That's my boy! Now, finish off that Staryu with a Quick Attack! Mawile! Use Vicegrip on the Charmeleon!"

Absol complied and one of the afterimages vanished, reappearing only to slam into Daria's Staryu. Gemini tried to get up, but its jig was up. It had fainted.

Mawile moved in to use a ViceGrip on Spiegel. Only to fail miserably as the Fire-type dodged the attack. Enraged by the outcome of Gemini's battle, Spiegel pounced on Mawile, igniting his fangs and digging them in. Pain. Fire. A critical hit. Mawile cried out in pain before going limp. Spiegel released it, throwing the Decieving Pokémon onto the concrete in front of him. He turned his attention towards Absol with an expression that seemed to tauntingly just say.

"1 - 1"

"1 - 1"

Dust and wisps of remnant smoke drifted across the field as a red beam pulled back Gemini. The only combatants left on the field were Spiegel, and the Absol. The lizard glared at his foe. No more playing around. Its tail was roaring brightly, flames licking across the air. He looked back at Daria, waiting for the order. To give the command.

The trainer grinned wildly, eyeing her competition from across the field. "Don't think I didn't scan your Pokemon with the 'Dex. That Absol's got a five level lead on Spiegel, and six on Gemini. The Mawile had two, and three. And now it's come to this. Kinda pathetic, don't'cha think? Spiegel, end it! DRAGON RAGE!"

"CHARMELEOOOOOOOOOON!" Spiegel roared, a gout of blue and lavender flames building up between its grinning teeth.

"Don't think I didn't scan your Pokemon with the 'Dex. That Absol's got a five level lead on Spiegel, and six on Gemini. The Mawile had two, and three. And now it's come to this. Kinda pathetic, don't'cha think? Spiegel, end it! DRAGON RAGE!"

Daria's words echoed in Tatya's head. She was right. Was this the best she could do? Was this the extent of her love? Why couldn't her team do better?

"Rgh... This isn't over yet! ABSOL, use a Shadow Claw, NOW!!"

Ab! Absol!

Absol rushed towards Spiegel at blinding speeds, with a simple objective: connect with the attack and disappear back into the sea of afterimages. As it got closer, Spiegel got down close to the ground, planting its forearms onto the concrete.

Time it properly
Your enraged lunatic of a Trainer is gunning for you
But you can make her miss horribly and bump into this red-haired guy
NOW!!

With an expertly timed leap, Spiegel jumped over Absol as the Disaster Pokémon's eerie claw missed its target by a hair's length. While still in the air, the Charmeleon released the Dragon Rage, spitting the blue orb of flame at his opponent. Absol was in no position to dodge and this was no afterimage. The flames engulfed it, making the rare Pokémon howl in pain. As the flames subsided, Absol did it's best to keep standing. It couldn't. Spiegel and Daria had won.

Tatya was speechless. An utterly crushed look on her face as she silently recalled her Absol. Forte got up and walked away slowly.

Hm. An admirable performance by your Charmeleon, Pace. It won't help you against us though...

Before joining Forte, Tatya turned around to the now celebrting duo and said.

"Don't think this is the end Daria Pace! I won't let anyone. Anyone interfere with me and Remy. He's coming back to Veilstone with me and that's final!"

And with that the two of them were gone, leaving Daria and her Charmeleon to their festivities.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile Remy, having bought his Brick Break, sneezed rather loudly, attracting the attention of some of his fellow shoppers.

"WHAAAHAHAHHHAAAATTTCHOOOOOH! *sniffle* *SNORT* *sniff* Whoo boy! Someone's probably talking about me."

"Of course Lee, I was looking to expand my team. And with some down time before the tournament begins again, now seems like the time to do so."

'OK then well I will get what I need to catch the pokemon and then meet you at the entrance to Ilex forest' Shortly after lee said he was already off to get the shopping done quickly, he went into each shop he had to go to and went directly for what he was planning on buying. Getting a dusk stone for 10.000P and a hand held mirror for 50P, after leaving the building he also released his snover to get a couple of snover berries. He then headed south to Ilex forest.

"No idea, I've got family back in Pallet, I guess I'll ask Oak if he knows anyone that's looking for breeders, haven't been back there in a few months."

Just like I thought, he really doesn't have any idea of things past the present. Typical

Sav was drinking her tea when she heard Darius mention the name Oak, piking her interest on the subject. Could he possibly be talking about Professor Oak? The guy who practically invented the Pokedex?

"You know Professor Oak? Wow! He's such an esteemed authority on Pokemon, most of what I know about Pokemon I learnt from his research and knowledge via the Pokedex. Knowing such a celebrity, lucky you!"

"What about you? You got any plans? Family waiting for you back in...Hoenn?Sinnoh?"

"After the tournament? I hadn't really thought about it... I guess I'd like to explore the world y'know? Visit every region, capture a few Pokemon along the way, maybe pick up on some skills that could help me become a better Breeder. "

She mulled these thoughts over in her head, that was basically what she had set out to do after all. It was a vague goal, more of an excuse for an adventure if anything, but at least it was something.

"It's Hoenn by the way. I come from Rustboro City, where the Devon Corp HQ's situated. It's not really known for much else beside that besides the Gym there. I haven't seen the folks for a while now, they encouraged me every step of the way to be independent. Once I get a decent Flying-Type I'll probably Fly back there and pay them a visit every once in a while."

"You know Professor Oak? Wow! He's such an esteemed authority on Pokemon, most of what I know about Pokemon I learnt from his research and knowledge via the Pokedex. Knowing such a celebrity, lucky you!"

"It's just Oak, nothing really that special about him beyond that. Sure he was the first champ and all, but that's history, last time I saw him he was trying to remember his grandson's name and what to do with his old pokemon. He's an alright guy, if a bit forgetful, but then again, he's always been like that. Involved in his work so much he doesn't have much time for the rest of the world, how he ever got family in the first place boggles me."

"After the tournament? I hadn't really thought about it... I guess I'd like to explore the world y'know? Visit every region, capture a few Pokemon along the way, maybe pick up on some skills that could help me become a better Breeder. "

Well, that sure sounds more fun than my semi-worked out plan, but I've never been one for walking around and camping out night after night.

"I haven't seen the folks for a while now, they encouraged me every step of the way to be independent. Once I get a decent Flying-Type I'll probably Fly back there and pay them a visit every once in a while."

Darius shivered,"I've had a few bad experiences with Flying-types, not going through with Fly again after the last time."

"Oh, damn! Forgot I had to buy Brick Break for Primeape! I want to give him something that can really make a dent on things ya know? Kid, mind if I leave my Pokémon with you for a sec?"

"Bwah?"

The bemused grunt was all Matt could manage as Remy shoved a trio of Pokeballs into his arms, before dashing off on his errand. Fumbling, the young trainer managed to get a decent grip on the spheres before they tumbled to the ground, any protests he might have had getting lost among his jumbled thoughts. "But I... This isn't really a good idea!"

With Remy gone, and Caleb and Lee planning to off to catch some more Pokemon, Matt found himself scrambling to maintain order on the roof. It was with no small bit of relief that he spotted Ventus still soaring about, and Spike and Persephone seemed to be keeping Sneasel occupied; it didn't appear that he'd have to worry about any of them. The Zangoose and Primape, however, proved to be a different matter.

Though it took Matt a few moments of scouting, he eventually detected the duo wandering about by the rooftop cafe, to the chagrin of a few of the patrons. Judging by their irritated whispers and uneasy glances, they didn't particularly care for the way the Normal and Fighting types were eyeing their purses and wallets.

Instructing his own Pokemon to stay put, Matt began to march over to his other two temporary charges; something told him that things would quickly spiral out of control if he didn't get a handle on them now.

"Okay then, well I will get what I need to catch the pokemon and then meet you at the entrance to Ilex Forest." Lee said, soon disappearing back down the elevator as quickly as he arrived. Caleb soon followed suit, and soon arrived at the northern end of Route 34, clearly seeing Ilex Forest off in the distance. He could feel a vibration coming from his belt, as a Pokéball came loose of its own accord, and out popped Sebastian.

"Eevee." Sebastian squeaked as he yawned from being inside his Pokéball.

"So Sebastian, you want to join us as well then?"
"Eve." Sebastian quickly replied with, nodding afterwards. He was soon picked up by Caleb, and placed on his trainer's shoulder.

*Caleb begins looking for a Ralts*

Lee watched as Caleb's eevee let itself out of its pokeball to help him catch what ever pokemon caleb was out looking for.

'well I am going to go hide in a bush to avoid scarring the murkrows, so either you can join me in the bush or we just meet back here once we are done' lee said as he crawled into a bush that was somewhat into the forest. Lee lied prone as he pulled out the mirror he bought, as he started slowly moving it about, hoping to make it sparkle, he also had berries in his other hand to hopefully make the murkrow like him more.

"Char... Char..."

Spiegel took a few steps straight back, giving a cocky glare at the Absol, five levels higher than him, utterly unconscious and floored. As it disappeared into the Pokeball, he turned towards Tatya, fuming and screaming curses and threats as she stamped away with Forte following close behind. "Mele!" taunted the victor, tugging beneath his left eye with a claw, and sticking his tongue out.

This moment of victory was cut short when he was glomped from behind by Daria, and the both of them hit the ground. Daria was laughing at the top of her lungs, and grabbed Spiegel on either side just underneath his arms, rolling onto her back and lifting him up into the air, flailing helplessly above her. She'd done the same thing when he was still a Charmander, and a mixture of fond memories and utter embarrassment caused just a hint of blush on the normally-composed lizard's face.

He was trying to growl out his protests, but his trainer was having none of it. "Dude! Ya did AWESOME!" she exclaimed. "Way to show that psycho why ya don't mess with us!" Spiegel tried to look smugly confident of the victory, but the smile he was desperately trying to hide showed that he did appreciate his trainer's praise.

In a motion that Spiegel wasn't entirely sure was possible, Daria hopped back up to her feet, still holding him, before giving him another tight (spine-cracking) hug and pressing his Pokeball to the back of his head. The Charmeleon disappeared in a red burst of light, leaving Daria to dust herself off.

"Well, that was fun..." she mused, partially talking to the Pokemon stored in their balls. "But I still didn't that ironwood. Normally I'd head for the Pokemon Center, but this is important."

She reached into a pocket in her bag, coming up with a little yellow diamond; a Revive. She plucked Gemini's Pokeball off her belt and held the Revive up against the all purpose button in its center.

"So, this is gonna tide ya over for a bit, OK?"

The ball scanned the Revive, and in an instant the yellow shape dissipated into a cluster of white particles, which were quickly absorbed by the Pokeball to resuscitate her Staryu. Satisfied with that, she took off back into the city, heading for a place that she quite honestly should have checked first: a hardware store.


About fifteen minutes later, she walked out of the store with all the ironwood she needed, and missing about 1500PD. She wanted to make sure she had enough to account for errors; who knew how many mistakes she might make carving the stuff?

After that, she took a trip to the Pokemon Center, meeting the same terrified nurse as earlier, who was more than happy to heal her team. She left in a rush, doubling back to the Department Store. She had one last thing to purchase, that she'd only thought about during her previous battle.

Up in the TM Department, a terrified salesclerk was startled by Daria slamming down a stack of money, and demanding a TM for Brick Break.

Having bought his Brick Break and effectively 3000P poorer, Remy decided to go back to the rooftop.

Hope the boys didn't give Matt any trouble...

As he reached the top level he noticed Zangoose and Primeape both listening to Matt. He had no idea what he was telling them, but what ever it was, it seemed to be enough to keep them from stealing anything.

"Yo! I trust the boys didn't cause you too much trouble."

Remy said, recalling Sneasel and Primeape, leaving Zangoose out.

"Anyway, I'm done here and I don't really feel like going to the market at this point. How about we go and catch some rays at the park? What do ya think kid?"

Turning to face the two "lovebirds" at the café, he shouted.

"Hey Darius! Savannah! Wanna go to the Park?!"
______________________________________________________________________________________________

At the TM Shop Remy had just left, a salesclerk was now gently handing over yet another TM for Brick Break to Daria, while accepting 3000P and trying not to make movements that the young woman might consider "too sudden". She had the wood and the TM. What was next for her?
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Menwhile, Caleb and Lee arrived at Route 34, just south of Goldenrod. Caleb opted to stick to the northern end of the route, as that was where a Psychic-type like Ralts would more likely be found, near the city. Lee however went closer to Ilex Forest. His target was a Murkrow. Rare at this time of day, but he had a plan. A very peculiar plan.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Route 34 - Daytime

In tall grass:

Rattata||Common||Lvl 10-14
Drowzee||Common||Lvl 10-15
Abra||Rare||Lvl 10
Ditto||Rare||Lvl 10
Ralts||Rare||Lvl 10
Zigzagoon||Uncommon||Lvl 12
Buizel||Uncommon||Lvl 12

By Headbutting trees:

Hoothoot||lvl 10-15
Spinarak||lvl 10-15
Pineco||lvl 10-15
Exeggcute||lvl 12
Murkrow||lvl 13
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As Caleb searched for a Ralts he noticed a slight ruffle in the grass. A Pokémon wandered out ready for battle. Unfortunately for Caleb, however, it was a Drowzee.

Drowzee/Male/Lvl 14
Ability: Forewarn

Moves:
-Pound
-Hypnosis
-Headbutt
-Confusion
-Disable

Lee's cooky plan, on the other hand, worked perfectly. The glimmer from the mirror attracted a Murkrow with Insomnia, thus circumventing his need for Headbutt. The Murkrow came closer and went for the Snover berries with a hungry look in its eyes, still oblivious to the Trainer hiding in the bushes right in front of him.

Murkrow/Male/Lvl 13
Ability: Insomnia

Moves:
-Peck
-Astonish
-Haze
-Pursuit

Daria stepped away from the counter, clutching the disk in her hands happily. She went wandering off into the aisles, examining the other products as she explained her plan to the Pokemon located on her belt.

"I was thinking, Spiegel, and I realized something. You'd have dropped that Absol without even blinking if ya'd had a Fighting-type move. And Slagger, ya need more than Rock and Ground to do real damage. So we're gonna start expanding both of your movesets."

She used the TM she'd just acquired to teach both of the pair BRICK BREAK. Since neither could learn any more moves, she opted to get rid of Slagger's ROCK POLISH, as well as Spiegel's SCRATCH.

Satisfied with her purchased for the day, Daria returned to her hotel room. She felt like a nap before her big match that coming evening.

Caleb had been searching the grass, when he noticed a slight shuffle ahead, accompanied by the rustling of leaves. Hoping it the Ralts he was searching for, a brief look of disappointment appeared on his face, when he discovered a Drowzee plodding its way towards him. A brief sigh accompanied his disappointment.

"Oh well, its a start at least. Sebastian attack that Drowzee with Shadow Ball." Caleb ordered, Sebastian leaping off his shoulder, and began charging the Ghost type move, knowing that it would be quite effective against Drowzee.

"Anyway, I'm done here and I don't really feel like going to the market at this point. How about we go and catch some rays at the park? What do ya think kid?"

"Sure, sounds good to me." To be honest, Matt was just relieved that he wouldn't have to worry about watching Remy's Pokemon anymore; having that many unfamiliar Pokemon forced on him at once had not gone well for the young lad. Still, he had heard good things about Goldenrod's park; it was supposed to be a pretty beautiful place, if all the hype was true.

Recalling his Pokemon, Matt followed after Remy, heading over to Darius and Savannah.

Lee moved very carefully and slowly trying not to startle the murkrow while he went to reach for a ultra ball. Once he grabbed the ball and had his hand in a good position and then threw the ball, the ultra ball should hopefully be strong enough to catch the murkrow without it having to be weakened.

"I've had a few bad experiences with Flying-types, not going through with Fly again after the last time."

"Huh? Oh really? Do tell, what happened last time?" she said as a small smirk appeared across her face. What could cause the normally stoic and unwavering Darius to have a quote "bad experience"? She finished off her tea before it got too cold, leaving the small amount of money on the table as she thought of what to do to kill some more time before the tournament resumed.
As if to answer her question again, she heard Remy shout in the background.

"Hey Darius! Savannah! Wanna go to the Park?!"

Sav held no immediate objections to this, apart from where on Johto the park was.

"Sure! As long as you lead the way, I have no clue where the heck I'd be going!"

She turned to Darius to see what if he had anymore pressing matters to attend to.

"So Darius, you up for that or what?"

"Huh? Oh really? Do tell, what happened last time?"

"Let's just say,"He started, his face scrunching slightly,"It involved a friend's Fearrow and an unexpected peck midflight in an unexpected place."

He smiled a bit at him memory. It was funny now that he thought of it, but it hurt when it happened.

"Hey Darius! Savannah! Wanna go to the Park?!"
"So Darius, you up for that or what?"

"I think I'll just stay here, the sun's out, good view, water you don't have to look for. I'm happy enough here. It's not like I have to be anywhere today after all. I'll be at the tournament though, so don't worry about that."

He sat back and kept a lookout for Lucie, he didn't want her creeping up on him again, she had a habit of violence in that area.

"We're just about to get going, but we wanted to wish you guys good luck later today. We've got what we need, so we're off to go train and catch some pokemon! So yeah good luck and we'll catch you guys later alright?"

Tom seemed a bit off as he told the group his intention. Rupert was anything but a people-person, but even he noticed it. He put it out of his mind soon though, crediting it to his own imagination. He hadn't known Tom all that long after all. Caleb and Lee joined Tom and Rupert in the elevator as they too had decided to go out on a little field trip. Soon after exiting Goldenrod the quartet split up, each going in their own direction to search for new team members. Rupert managed to croak a 'Good luck!' as they parted.

Rupert strode out onto Route 34, excited about the prospect of a new pokemon. His excitement was justified too.

Oh man. This will be the first time I've been out catching pokemon in... oh wow, seven years? Has it really been that long? I guess so. The only pokemon I've ever actually caught legitimately was Gastly.

Having walked out into the tall grass Rupert suddenly stopped.

What... what do I actually do?

It wasn't that Rupert had forgotten how to catch pokemon. Not entirely anyway. He was just frozen at the prospect of it all. How did one chose what to train? Back in Lavender Town this hadn't been an issue. Being a pokemon trainer in Lavender meant that you were more than likely to have a Gastly/Haunter and perhaps a Cubone. Rupert owning these two 'mons was simply a natural effect of never really having left Lavender Town much.
But this? His mind was now open to all the possibilities. Now he had the entire world to chose from. The pospect made him dizzy.

How the heck am I supposed to chose who makes the team?! Should I be trying to go after specific types? Specific pokemon even? Does a proper trainer have to have a balanced team? S-should I go back to the inn and plan this out more?

Planning in advance what one's team should look like in order to maximize effectiveness and minimize one's weaknesses? This seemed sensible but also a bit cold and analytical. Wasn't being a trainer about passion? Rupert was completely stumped, simply fidgeting in the grass trying to figure out what to do. That's when Cubone's pokeball burst open, materializing its occupant onto the grass field.

"Cuu..."

"STOP! Just stop, Cubone. I know what you're going to say. You think that I'm overthinking this, that I should just throw myself into it all. But I can't do that, Cubone. We're talking about an entirely new team member. A member that's going to be sticking around for life. Someone you yourself will have to fight beside. This is really, really big. I-I mean real big. What if like... we catch someone we just don't like? Or someone that's not really that good? What then huh? No. No, you're not getting your way this time. I am assuming the role of responsible trainer and postponing this. I need time to think this over. I can't just jump into this."

Cubone had listened to his trainer's reasoning in silence and finally replied with a short:

"Cu. Bone."

"'Then I will'? What's that supposed to mea... H-HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?"

Cubone started racing toward the nearest tree with a speed that defied his small stature. As he neared the tree he leaned forward and braced for impact with a shrill battle cry.

*BONK*

The mighty tree shook as Cubone's Headbutt connected. The small Ground-Type fell backward to the ground that was slowly gathering leaves from the still reverberating tree. The leaves weren't everything that fell from the tree. A dark shape fell from a branch above. It was a pokemon. Whether he liked it or not, Rupert now had a battle (and a potential catch) on his hands.

Happy to finally be out in the open again, Tom strode out onto route 34 and surveyed the area. It hadn't changed much from the last time he was here, so many years ago. Letting out a large breath he got down to business. Digging out Trapic's pokeball, he released the shield pokemon in front of him.

"Kusari, do you mind getting down for a second?"

The Poison pokemon jumped down from his shoulder and stood next to her teammate while Tom brought out the three TMs that he had bought earlier. He then gave the Yellow tinted one to Trapic and the Brown and Light Blue discs to Kusari. Upon touching the TMs both pokemon began to glow in the respective colors.

"Alright Kusari, sorry about this, but I need to train Trapic a bit more. How about you go practice those new moves on that tree over there." He said, pointing at a tree close to where Rupert seemed to be arguing with his Cubone. "Hey, keep an eye on him for me ok? We don't want him to disappear again now do we?"

Nodding, Kusari made her way towards the tree, while Tom and Trapic stood at the edge of the tall grass. Crouching down to the small saurian, he asked,

"Do you think you can start using thunderbolt on another pokemon right away, or do you want some practice first?"

Trapic, being a bit on the reckless side, nodded.

"Don!"

"Great! Let's jump right in then!"

Wading through the tall grass, the duo searched for wild pokemon to practice against.

Caleb and Sebastian's battle did not last long. Sebastian's higher level, coupled with the super-effective hit, knocked the wild Drowzee out cold before it could even react to the Trainer and his attack. The search continues.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lee's luck was something else, on the other hand. He threw the Ultra Ball at the unsuspecting Murkrow. It tried to make a break for it, but to no avail. The Ultra Ball snatched it and started wiggling on the ground as the Dark/Flying-type tried to break out.

1...

2...

3...

*CLICK* *SNAP*

That was it! Lee had caught it. He was now the owner of a Murkrow.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rupert inched ever closer as Cubone prepared to battle against whatever it had managed to knock down from that tree.

...P-Pinnnnneeeee... Pineco! Pine, Pine!

It was a Pineco. It didn't take kindly to being shaken down from its comfortable slumber. Someone was going to pay.

Pineco/Male/Lvl 15
Ability: Sturdy

Moves:

-Tackle
-Protect
-Selfdestruct
-Bug Bite
-Take Down

______________________________________________________________________________________________

While Kusari was showing a tree what for, Tom and Trapic were busy looking for something to train against. That's when Trapic spotted something coming out of a nearby bush. It was time to fight!

Buizel/Male/Lvl 12
Ability: Swift Swim

Moves:

-SonicBoom
-Growl
-Water Sport
-Quick Attack
-Water Gun
-Pursuit

The Buizel was young and at a low level, but quickly proved to be a fearless fighter, as it lost no time and immediately charged Trapic with a Quick Attack. Much to its surprise and chagrin however, the part Steel time barely even registered the hit. It was his turn.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

It was decided, Darius would remain seated at the café, while Remy, Matt and Savannah went to the Park. It was quite a walk away from the Department Store, but once they finally arrived, they were happy to know that it had been worth it.

"Welcome to the Goldenrod City National Park! How about we sit over there?"

Remy pointed at a large grassy clearing nearby and the three moved in to claim their space. With the tournament and the market and all, the Park was unusually quiet, with only some everyday visitors around.
Remy laid down on the grass and spent some time without saying a word, just admiring the clear blue sky. Spring sure was a great time of year. After a while he decided to break the silence.

"So, you two looking forward to your next fights?"

Caleb watched as the amorphous mass of purple and black matter that was being created by Sebastian's Shadow Ball, was propelled towards the Drowzee at high speed. There was little that the Hypnosis Pokémon could do to protect itself, as the attack made contact, creating a small blast that knocked it out cold right away.

"Eevee eevee eevee eevee." Sebastian barked as it began hopping with joy. Caleb knelt down and began stroking the excited Pokémon.

"Nice job there, that certainly showed it." He remarked with a smile. Caleb was about to stand up, when he could see some grass moving in front of him, and soon turned to Sebastian and Raiden.

"Shhh, be very quiet you two, lets just see whats making that noise up ahead, hopefully, it will be the Pokémon we're searching for." Caleb said in a hush tone, as the three of them began to carefully move forward.

"Eevee."
"Ray."

...P-Pinnnnneeeee... Pineco! Pine, Pine!

Rupert managed to catch up to Cubone and the newly awoken Pineco just as the Ground-type jumped back onto his feet. The trainer was a bit out of breath after chasing Cubone.

Nobody told me that being a trainer involved so much running... Oh, Cubone. You've really done it now.

As Cubone was readying his club Rupert threw up his hands.

"P-please listen, um... p-pine cone pokemon. W-we don't want any trouble and are so, so very terribly sorry for disturbing you. Will never happen again. I promise. Again, sorry. W-we'll just be on our way then and let you get right back to sleep... come on, Cubone."

"CUU?!"

Cubone looked at his trainer in disbelief and pointed at the Pineco as if to say: "But he's right there, man! C'mon!"

Pineco, however, had no intention of letting the two go without their just deserts and with Cubone distracted he launched into a Bug Bite. Although Cubone could not see the Bug-type's mouth he certainly felt its teeth dig into him. Rupert turned round in shock.

"What? No, w-we'll go away. This isn't necce... Cubone, defend yourself! Use your Bonemerang!"

With his far superior speed it was Cubone's turn and he proceeded to do... nothing. Cubone just stood there, allowing the agitated Pineco to get another Bug Bite in. With the difference in their levels this didn't amount to much, but Cubone winced nevertheless.

"Cubone, what are you doing?! Attack him! You can take him easily."

Still Cubone refused to move a muscle, choosing to just stand on the spot with his back to his trainer. Rupert was starting to panic. If this went on Cubone was going to get seriously hurt. And he had no doubt that it would go on if Cubone deemed it necessary. He really was that stubborn. Luckily the Pineco had momentarily stopped its assault to instead wonder what was up with the odd Cubone. Rupert had no idea what to do. Cubone had disobeyed before, but never like this. What did he want?!
Pineco was done wondering about the strange pair. They were getting what they deserved. He launched himself into a Tackle this time, heading straight for the Ground-type. That's when Rupert really did panic and did the only thing he could think of: he jumped in front of his pokemon and took the hit. Just barely making it, Pineco flew straight into Rupert's stomach, knocking the wind out of him. It hurt. It hurt a lot more than Rupert had ever expected a Tackle could.

Hunched over on the ground, Rupert was gasping for air. He was at eye level with the unmoving Cubone now, and as he finally managed to lift his head he was face to face with his first pokemon. Rupert looked miserable as he coughed and recovered from the shock to his system. Cubone, on the other hand, simply met Rupert's wavering gaze with his own steely one. He seemed completely unfazed by his injuries. As trainer and trainee's eyes locked time seemed to stop. A moment passed that for Rupert could have lasted as much as an hour or as little as a second. He had no idea. Through dry lips he spoke up.

"... I get it. I get it, Cubone."

He rose with some difficulty and then took his place not behind Cubone, but beside him.

"Okay. Cubone, use False Swipe. Use False Swipe all the way. We're catching this pine cone thing."

Rupert readied a pokeball as Cubone finally moved, silently launching into a flurry of False Swipes.

As Lee saw the ultraball stop shaking he loudly exclaimed 'HUZAH' with both his hands shooting into the air. Lee picked up the ultraball and looked at for a bit and the let out his newly caught murkrow, they both stared at each other, 'do You want to meet the rest of my team?' lee asked. the murkrow tilted its head and said 'mur?' unsure of how to answer.

Lee released Duskull and said 'this is duskull, duskull this is murkrow. Duskull be nice to murkrow and murkrow don't worry about anything duskull does, he will try and scare you but he won't hurt you' Duskull looked angrily at Lee for giving that away 'Duskull, he is a member of this team now and so he needs to get to know everyone, so you may complain as much as you want but it won't change anything' lee then promptly returned duskull to his pokeball. Murkrow continued looking at lee.

Lee released Octillery which almost instantly resulted in a staring match between the lifeless octillery and the confused murkrow, 'murkrow you are not going to win this one I don't think those eyelids move' lee told murkrow who decided to follow lee's advice and just fly and land on top of octillery and look more closely at octilleries eyes. What does it want? Is it going to peak at my eye, hope it does, would start giving me a reason to practice my aim some more, probably starting with it. Also what does he want from me, normally he tells me at least then I know the best way to aggravate him. Ignoring stuff is most likely a safe bet I mean he most likely wants me to do something, so nothing can go wrong with me sitting here... well I could get my eye pecked at, that wouldn't be nice but at least give me something to do that I want to do. octillery thought till lee returned him to his pokeball

Lastly Lee released snover who straight away walked up murkrow with a snover berry in hand 'Snover!', murkrow happily accepted 'Mur' after eating the berry murkrow nested on top of snover's head and the two started conversing 'well at least you two get on well. Now follow me' lee said as he made his way back to the spot him and caleb first split paths.

"So, you two looking forward to your next fights?"

Matt had been enjoying the peaceful atmosphere the park afforded, having once again released his Pokemon so that they could also enjoy the sunshine and grassy areas. Remy's question, however, began to pull him away from his relaxation, bringing back memories of the promise he had made to Jack the day before. I'M GONNA GIVE YOU HELL TOMORROW, SO GET READY TO LOSE!

It had seemed like a cool thing to say at the time, but now...

"Well, I guess I should be, considering how I promised Jack a good battle. But... Well, I'm never really that good at getting ready for fights. Always nervous and stuff, you know?"

Sighing, Matt pulled out his Pokedex. Flicking the device open, he began to examine the various stats and abilities for his team, hoping that he might be able to pull out some strategy that he'd never tried before. "I guess I'll just try and do my best. Even if my best does end up being pretty disappointing."

"I think I'll just stay here, the sun's out, good view, water you don't have to look for. I'm happy enough here. It's not like I have to be anywhere today after all. I'll be at the tournament though, so don't worry about that."

"Suit yourself then, I'll see you later 'kay?"

She left Darius to his own thoughts, together with Daffy and Knuckles. She almost felt bad leaving him practically alone, but knowing his way of thinking he probably wasn't as fazed as she was, he seemed the type to prefer the quiet solitude. She wandered over to Remy, throwing up a hand to say Hi and show she was coming with him.

"Darius isn't coming, and I figured I could need the walk. So you've got me all to yourself" she said with a wink and a coy smile.

"So just where is this park, is it very far?" she asked.

After a rather silent walk, it turned out the answer was "Yes", although the brisk pace made it seem not as far. As they made there way into the park, Remy welcomed the pair to it's natural beauty, with it's vibrant green grass and it's tall, lush trees, complete with some small bodies of water dotted all around the park.
Remy continued to direct them to a spacious patch of grass that was unoccupied. Sav initially disproved of sitting on the bare ground, as she would've preferred some kind of covering if she had known it was going to turn into an impromptu picnic, but nevertheless she made the best of it, all of them sitting in a semi-circle.
They spent the initial time simply staring at the blue expanse of the sky, taking in the sheer peacefulness of the moment. Savannah thought that this would be an ideal chance for her Pokemon to get out and get some fresh air. Reaching out to each of her Pokemon in turn, she saw Sprig, Set, and Feebas appear in several flashes of light, probably capable of inducing epilepsy in those less lucky.

"So, you two looking forward to your next fights?"

"I certainly have a renewed vigour for it, that's for certain. I'm ready to get out there and kick some ass!"

"I guess I'll just try and do my best. Even if my best does end up being pretty disappointing."

Sav furred her brow at such a reply from Matt, she questioned why he would be so cynical at his own ability as a trainer.

"Come on Matt! You can't afford to think like that when your a trainer, you owe your pokemon more than that, you have to go in there with a positive outset, ready to win against all odds!"

"BUI BUI!"

Bursting out of the grass with a quick attack, the Buizel shot towards Trapic. Of course the normal type attack was completely ineffective, with the Steel Rock hybrid blinking it off. The Water type however seemed to be a bit stunned from running into what seemed to be a wall of solid steel.

"Well well well. A Buizel! Reminds me of back home... Seemed like everyone had a Buizel back in Pastoria."

This train of thought set Tom reminiscing about his latest gym victory. It had been no easy feat getting the fen badge, even with Aeolus. Still deep in his memories, he was unaware that the water type had recovered and was preparing a water gun.

"Don..."

Realizing that his teammate was waiting for a command, Tom snapped out of his trance and began to call out attacks.

"Alright Trapic, start with a metal sound to bring down its special defense! Then you use thunderbolt! You can't naturally produce lightning, so you need to channel the electrical charges in the air through you and release it. Like a lightning rod ok?"

"Shieldon?"

The pokemon tilted its head confused as the Buizel released its attack.

"Uhh... Just go with what you think is right! Metal sound then Thunderbolt. Just do it! Hurry!"

"Don!"

The Steel type closed its eyes and began to screech.

Caleb and his team silently approached the small gure shuffling around in the grass. They were about to pounce on it when, instead, it tripped and fell right in front of them.

R-Ra... Ralts...

Caleb had just hit the jackpot. The small, shy Pokémon in front of him was a Ralts. A rare Psychic type that rarely appeared at Route 34. As Ralts noticed the 3 figures in front of it, it instantly got up and, frightened as it might've been, got ready to defend itself.

Ralts/Male/Lvl 10
Ability: Synchronize

Moves:

-Growl
-Confusion
-Double Team
________________________________________________________________________________________________

The time for waiting was over. Cubone's Trainer had regained his senses and ordered for False Swipe, so False Swipe it was. Cubone rushed towards the Pineco and let fly, hitting it with the other side of it's club, doing damage, but leaving the Bagworm Pokémon conscious for capture.

No second attack was needed. Albeit feisty, the difference in power was clear. One hit was enough to bring the wild Pineco down to its figurative knees. It was ripe for a PokéBall.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Trapic used Metal Sound, filling the surroundings with an ear-piercing sound, causing considerable pain and deafness to the wild Buizel. The Water-type didn't appreciate the gesture and countered with Water Gun, hitting the Shieldon and doing much more damage than the previous effort.

Trapic wasn't out yet, however, and began charging its newly aquired technique. It was easy enough for Trapic's Steel body to redirect the charge at the foe, however... As a physically inclined species, "projectile" attacks such as Thunderbolt felt foreign even discounting the lack of native type. The attack had connected, but it lacked oomph, and thus failed to knockout the wild Buizel. The irate Buizel responded by flicking its forearms and releasing a SonicBoom, hitting Trapic and doing some damage.

Tom's approach was working, but not exactly as well as he had intended.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

At the Park, Remy had recieved mixed feelings about the two tournament quarter-finalists. Savannah was feeling good about it, now that she had talked things over with Darius.

"I certainly have a renewed vigour for it, that's for certain. I'm ready to get out there and kick some ass!"

She said with the same smile that she had shot at Remy back at the Department Store.

She sure doesn't lack for confidence. Reminds me of Tatya in a way... Though she lacks the same psychotic drive... *shudder*

Matt, on the other hand, was nowhere near that enthusiastic.

"Well, I guess I should be, considering how I promised Jack a good battle. But... Well, I'm never really that good at getting ready for fights. Always nervous and stuff, you know?"

*sigh* I guess I should've expected as much. Things haven't exactly gone his way lately as it is... Wonder if I could do something to help?

As Remy weighed his options, Savannah offered a friendly pep talk.

"Come on Matt! You can't afford to think like that when your a trainer, you owe your pokemon more than that, you have to go in there with a positive outset, ready to win against all odds!"

"That's right! You have a great team and loads of spirit somewhere under all that self-doubt. That side of you is what encourages rebellion in Pokémon with strong personalities like your Pidgeotto, you know?"

Getting up and pacing back and forth for a while, Remy came to a halt, turned towards Matt and pointed a challenging finger at the boy.

"Come on! What do you say to a little warm up? Your three against three of mine. I'll get you to work together!"

The challenge was set. The choice was Matt's.

"R-Ra... Ralts..." The little Feeling Pokémon said rather shyly, obviously afraid of what was standing in front of it. Despite its fear, it got ready to defend itself from whatever it was attacked by.

"Sebastian, use a Shadow Ball, but hold back on the power please; I want to try and capture this one."

"Eve." Sebastian replied, nodding his head and beginning to charge up the attack.

"Come on! What do you say to a little warm up? Your three against three of mine. I'll get you to work together!"

"Um, well..." Matt was caught off guard by Remy's offer, and took a few moments to gather his thoughts. While he wasn't really opposed to a practice match, he had to consider that he would be competing in the tournament in a matter of hours; it wouldn't end well for him if all his Pokemon got tired out already.

Then again, there would probably be time to stop by a Pokemon Center before his match against Jack, and a warm up could help get his blood pumping...

"Alright," Matt exclaimed as he hopped to his feet, "I'm in! Let's do this."

"Ouch... Trapic, are you feeling ok? That had to hurt..."

The super effective move had hit the saurian head on, and due to its low special stats, it wasn't able to put everything into the thunderbolt.

"You just have to keep trying buddy.. Once you get it you'll get it for good. You can do it ok? I know you can. I'll heal you right up if you get too hurt, just keep trying and give it all you've got."

"Don..."

"Don't say that, I won't let that ordinary Buizel beat you! And I know you won't loose either! Just charge up another thunderbolt and keep at it! You'll definitely get it!"

Electricity began to arc off of the Shield pokemon once again as Trapic began to gather charges, at the same time that the Buizel, figuring out that the water attack had hit home drew in a deep breath....

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile over at Kusari's tree, the small poison type had been getting bored. Since both moves were fairly simple to learn, she had gotten them down pretty solid. Well, as solid as one could get while practicing on a stationary target that is. Climbing the tree, the Skorupi searched for a wild pokemon to practice against.

Sebastian began to charge a Shadow Ball, aiming slightly off so it wouldn't hurt the wild Ralts too badly. Letting it fly, the Eevee's attack was just about to connect when...

"Ariados, use Spider Web!"

Ariadosss!

The web came out of left field, stringing up the small Psychic-type and sending it flying out of the way of the Shadow Ball and a few feet away from the battle. The Long Leg Pokémon replaced it, followed by a man in his late 40s. He was of average height, strong build and was dressed in true old West style, complete with cowboy hat and a worn brown duster coat.

"Hold on there, fancy feller. That there Ralts fetches quite the price at the casinos out in Unova. I'm terribly sorry 'bout the inconvenience but I means to take it for m'own."

The man looked up at the Hoenn nobleman and smirked. This Ralts was going with him. Either Caleb was going to walk away, or someone was going to go home with no usable Pokémon...
________________________________________________________________________________________________

Trapic charged up again, electricity coursing through its small body. Once more it delivered a shock to the attacking Buizel, who writhed in pain as the current coursed through its body, finally falling to the ground, unconscious. Trapic had won, although the effectiveness of its new attack were not too impressive.

Kusari on the other hand had climbed the tree to find an opponent to test its mettle against. It found one. A wild Spinarak did not take kindly to a new Bug-type coming up to its territory. One of them was going down.

Spinarak/Female/Lvl 15

Moves:

-Poison Sting
-String Shot
-Night Shade
-Scary Face
-Constrict
-Leech Life

The Spinarak spewed out some String Shot, hitting Kusari and making it slightly harder for it to move.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

At the Park, Matt seemed to be taking his time to accept Remy's offer. The youth's expression quickly changed however, revealing a fire in his eyes. A fire Remy never doubted for a second would be there.

"Alright, I'm in! Let's do this."

Remy's smile was as wide as it could possibly get. The Sinnoh vagrant reached for his pants' pocket and fished out a Premier Ball.

"ALL RIGHT!! I knew you'd come around, kid. I gotta warn you though, I'm playing hardball from square one. ZANGOOSE, let's do it!"

The ball burst open to reveal Remy's oldest partner, Zangoose.

Remy had made the first move, but he wouldn't formulate a strategy until he knew what he was up against. It was Matt's turn now.

"Great job Trapic! We still need to work on the power, but at least you can use the attack great!"

"Don Don?"

"Yeah we'll do another. Just lemme heal you up."

Taking a revive, his zinc and two super potions from his bag, Tom sprayed Trapic with the potion, healing his wounds. He then gave the zinc to the pokemon.

"Wouldn't be a catastrophe if we raised your speed a bit. You're still slow, but any advantage is an advantage."

He then took the revive, walked over to the downed Buizel, and pressed the medicine into its side. Groggily opening its eyes the weakened water type looked up at Tom, still too hurt to move. Bringing the pokemon to the edge of the river, Tom used the second super potion on it. With its vitality restored, it wriggled out of his arms and jumped into the river. However instead of swimming away, it floated in the middle of the river, its neck ring inflated, looking at Tom confused.

"You put up a good fight! I couldn't just leave you there! Take care now!"

Turning back to Trapic, he began to search for another pokemon to practice with.

"Let's keep working on that thunderbolt ok?"

"Don!"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Skor!"

Kusari had encountered a Spinarak in the tree that she had climbed. The bug type, being territorial had attacked her on sight, but luckily only with a string shot, the sticky substance making it harder for Kusari to move. Still wanting to practice her new moves, Kusari's claws began to glow, as she prepared to use brick break.

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