Caleb stepped back as Raphael took another direct Shock Wave, and watched as the Young Fowl collapsed to the floor. He tried to move, but felt that all his strength had been all but sapped away from the electricity, and started to fall unconscious. Suddenly, from nowhere...
Ralts! Ra-Ralts! Came a voice, and to Caleb's astonishment, it was the same Ralts that had started this battle in the first place. It stood firm in-between the two Pokémon that were currently battling, but appeared to be protecting Raphael. The poacher simply scoffed at this event.
"Hmph. Well I'll be. True to their protective nature. Looks like this 'ere Ralts wants to come with you... Electabuzz, come on back!" The trainer began to walk away, adjusting his hat, and spoke to Caleb without turning his head.
"I'll let ya off the hook this time, pretty boy. But you best not cross me again, ya hear?"
"I'll try to avoid your path... cowboy." Caleb responded in a stern voice. When the man disappeared, the Feeling Pokémon walked over to its saviours. He saw that the Ralts was fishing inside of his satchel for something, and brought out a Ultra Ball, placing it into his hands.
Ralts! Ral Ralts!
"You, you want to come with me?" Caleb asked, slightly confused, and pointed to himself afterwards.
"Okay then, in you go." He threw the Pokéball at the little Psychic type, and watched as it disappeared into the red light then the ball wobbled slightly, which soon stopped, and was proceeded by a quick *ping* noise. Caleb knelt down to pick up the ball, and looked at it.
"Welcome to the team friend, I promise that we'll have fun. I'll give you a name later, but first a rather dire emergency." Caleb said, welcoming the Ralts to the group, then activated the return on Raphael's ball. After putting both balls on his belt, he calmly turned around, and made his way from towards the Pokémon Centre.
Kalmia hit the ground hard. The last thunder fang had been the straw that broke the camerupt's back. However even this did little to wipe the dopey smile off of Tom's face. Kusari continued to pinch him, over and over, but Tom seemed to be numbed to the pain. Sighing in annoyance, the bug type jumped off of her trainer's shoulder, landing next to Trapic. After whispering her plan to the steel type, Trapic nodded. Giving Tom a hard tackle with Kusari behind him, Tom fell down, still dazed. Climbing onto Tom's chest, Trapic let out his ear piercing metal sound. Clamping his eyes shut and covering his ears, Tom temporarily broke out of his infatuation.
"OW! WHY ARE YOU SCREECHING RIGHT IN MY FACE?"
Tapping Trapic on the shoulder, to signal that he should stop, Kusari smiled, and then hit Tom with her tail.
"What!? What do you mean... KALMIA!"
finally noticing his downed pokemon, Tom stood up, and sadly withdrew her with a, "Sorry girl, I just wan't paying enough attention."
Turning back to the facsimile of his teammate, Tom wondered which of his team would be next to battle.
"Trapic has the advantage, but I kinda want to see how Kusari's training went..."
"You want to go in? Are you ready for this?"
"Alright then, give it your best shot, and do it for Kalmia!"
Casting a skeptical look at Tom to make sure he wouldn't go all heart-eyed again, Kusari jumped in front of the disguised ditto.
"Kusari! Start it off with pin missile!"
While waiting Lee familiarised himself with murkrow's moves, snover enjoyed watching murkrow fly and his company. murkrow enjoyed snovers company but much more enjoyed having a warm place to rest. Lee waited on the others getting their catching done [i]Why can't people be more efficient, go in with a plan and you murkrow' lee said while pointed at the murkrow firmly roosted on snovers head.
"So how did it go? As you see I was able to catch my Murkrow." Lee asked as Caleb came towards him, pointing out the recently caught Flying type that was roosting itself on the head of Lee's Snover. Its deep red eyes stared directly at Caleb, as it tried to unerve him; but failed to do so.
"It went well enough as it could, was out trying to capture a Ralts, found one; then some poacher came and yanked it away. We was in the midst of a battle, when the little psychic type came in to defend my Combusken, who is shall we say a little worse for wear currently. After the poacher left, Ralts actually wanted to become part of my team. I'm just off to the Pokémon to have Combusked healed up." Caleb responded, giving a cut down version of the events that happened.
"So, how was it with Murkrow?"
"It went well enough as it could, was out trying to capture a Ralts, found one; then some poacher came and yanked it away. We was in the midst of a battle, when the little psychic type came in to defend my Combusken, who is shall we say a little worse for wear currently. After the poacher left, Ralts actually wanted to become part of my team. I'm just off to the Pokémon to have Combusked healed up."
Caleb said after having a very short stare off with murkrow.
"So, how was it with murkrow?"
'Well, it was rather uneventful compared to what happened to you. I hid in a bush, placed out a shiny object and some berries and then threw a pokeball at the first murkrow that came down to check it out.' Lee paused for a bit to make sure he included everything that happened 'Yea that's it, well I guess planning ahead helps speed things up. Hey after you visit the pokecenter want to have a practice match with our two new pokemon? well... if there is time before the tournament' lee asked while the two walked to the pokecenter.
To Matt, it seemed as though time had ground to a halt. He had spilled his guts like an idiot, embarrassed himself in front of two of the few people who maybe kind of liked him, and had probably found a way to earn even more of Daria's ire. There was no doubt about it, he had screwed up big time.
Unable to properly think, let alone move, the trainer remained in his hunched over position, fingers clenching his hat with all the strength they could muster, praying with all of his might that this was all just some kind of sick nightmare. Sadly, that delusion was shattered when he heard heard Daria exhale slowly, her voice thick with some unidentifiable emotion. "Matt... no..."
Though he could see nothing but the sidewalk beneath his feet, Matt's ears still functioned quite well. As he detected the telltale sounds of bushes rustling and footsteps on concrete, it wasn't hard for the lad to guess who was walking towards him. Somehow his fingers found even more desperate might, his knuckles turning white as he balled his hands into fists full of fabric, awaiting the admonishment that was sure to follow. This was it, he was in for it now.
"No...you should--shouldn't apologize. Ventus is, erm, your... Pokemon. I didn't have any right to threaten him like I did. You can... you can train your Pokemon however you want."
"I was--I was wrong. I saw you were out here, and I wanted to... watch you fight. But I was afraid you were still mad at me so--so I hid. I... I'm the one who should be apologizing."
Matt wasn't sure when he had stood back up, nor was he aware that his hands had dropped back to his sides. As his (Significantly crumpled) hat slowly slid back to its normal position, the Jhoto native found himself staring at Daria with a health mixture of shock and surprise. This was... unexpected to say the least. He could have sworn that she would have torn into him like everyone else always seemed to, berating him for his mistakes until he apologized over and over and over. But apologizing to him, no, hiding from him? How was he supposed to react to that?
"I, uh... I, uh..."
Slowly, bit by bit, a smile began to inch its way across Matt's face. A small chuckle, tiny in comparison to his guffaws from early, escaped from his lips, as he finally found the words he was looking for. "Heh. So while I was scared that you were mad at me, you were scared that I was mad at you?
"Well, I... I'm sorry, I guess. But no, there's more than that isn't there? I... Well, I don't really know, but I can tell you that I'm mad. And I'm sorry that you thought I was, I..."
Awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck, Matt flashed a grin Daria's way. As he finally lapsed into silence, the smile remained, sincere and honest as he tried to communicate the feelings he couldn't put into words.
Despite the softness of Remy's tone, his words still broke through Matt's reverie like a thunderclap, as he suddenly remembered what he had been doing. "Oh, shoot!"
Spinning around, Matt quickly took stock of the... surprisingly successful battle. Persephone had done good, damaging the Wooper and putting it to sleep. She had done her part, now it was time to do his.
Reaching into his pack, the trainer rummaged around until he found what he was looking for: a curiously colored Pokeball, its typically monochromatic top part half red, half light aqua, with a trio of orange, vertical stripes just above its button. Apparently that detour to Azalea Town had been a good idea after all. "Come on, Lure Ball! Let's go!"
The ball tore through the air, bouncing off of the immobile Wooper before splitting in half and swallowing the Pokemon in a flash of red light.
"Well, it was rather uneventful compared to what happened to you. I hid in a bush, placed out a shiny object and some berries and then threw a pokeball at the first Murkrow that came down to check it out." Lee said, pausing for a moment to check something before continuing.
"Yea that's it, well I guess planning ahead helps speed things up. Hey after you visit the pokecenter want to have a practice match with our two new Pokémon? Well... if there is time before the tournament." Lee asked as the pair both made their way towards Pokémon Center.
"Well it appears that your capture attempt, whilst not as eventful, certainly went a whole lot smoother. Whilst normally I would enjoy testing out a new Pokémon's strengths in a battle; I feel as though your Murkrow would have the better chance of winning, it have a type advantage over Ralts, plus it really only knows one attack. Perhaps another time maybe?" Caleb responded, following up with a question of his own, sounding hopeful at the end for things to come.
Tension was high, as after a heartfelt reconciliation by Matt and Daria, a PokéBall was now wiggling with a Wooper inside.
That was it! Wooper had been caught!
"YES! YEAH! Awesome, kid! You totally did it!"
The otherwise quiet Tentacool threw its two feelers up in jubilation as it joined Remy in congratulating Matt.
"I knew you had the spark, Matt. And something tells me you still have some tricks up your sleeve."
Remy said, allowing the girls their turns at celebrating the young man's newest aquisition.
"Kusari! Start it off with pin missile!"
Kusari complied, aiming for the Kalmia doppelgänger with its tail and releasing a wave of small needles. Normally, these would have little to know effect on a Fire-type like Houdoom, but its Dark half would be its downfall today. As the needles kept pouring on it, the Houndoom started changing shape, slowly but surely regressing back into the small pink blob it originally was.
One hit was all that was missing. Tom and Kusari had taken the match!
"Wow! For such a small Pokémon, your Skorupi sure packs a punch. Well done Tom, you deserved that win."
As she shifted her gaze from the little scorpion in front of her to her watch, she quickly jumped up.
"Oh my, look at the time! It's already 17:25! Doesn't the Tournament resume at 18:00?"
Matt felt himself lift off of the ground as Daria's arms wrapped around his chest, constricting like an Arbok going in for the kill as she lifted him up, yelling "I KNEW ya could do it, kid! Didn't even break a sweat!"
This little celebration went on entirely longer than it should have, and the girl spun around enough times that Matt was feeling just a tad sick to his stomach when she finally set him back on the ground. She was laughing pretty uproariously, rocking back and forth on her feet as she clapped a hand on one of Matt's shoulders. It stung, as any contact with Daria always did, but it felt significantly less painful than usual; as if she was aware of her own strength, for once.
"Ya see?" she asked cheerfully. "Stop questioning yourself, and ya handle yourself just fine! Now you'd better go get your team healed up, we've only got oh crap"
When she glanced at her Pokegear, her face went white. She immediately exploded into a flurry of motion, legs scrambling every which way as they tried to pick a direction to run in.
"Oh wow oh crap oh jeez, tournament starts in thirty minutes! My whole team's still back at the hotel GOTTA RUN!"
She began sprinting off towards the city proper, only stopping at a twenty-pace distance to turn around and wave at the pair she'd left behind.
"Bye Remy! And good luck with your match, Matt!"
She turned around, and was gone in a flash.
"Well it appears that your capture attempt, whilst not as eventful, certainly went a whole lot smoother. Whilst normally I would enjoy testing out a new Pokémon's strengths in a battle; I feel as though your Murkrow would have the better chance of winning, it have a type advantage over Ralts, plus it really only knows one attack. Perhaps another time maybe?"
'well that seem fair enough' lee had no real complaints with calebs response, he also couldn't say that he wouldn't fell the same way, he followed caleb to the pokecenter without saying anything else.
They soon arrived at the Pokécenter where Caleb handed over his Pokéballs, including his new Pokémon Ralts; despite it not receiving much if any damage during the battle between Caleb and the poacher, it couldn't hurt to at least have it checked out for any minor injuries due to being yanked away by the Spider Web that Ariados used. The process in its entirety took longer than usual due to the substantial damage and paralysis that Raphael suffered when fighting Electabuzz.
Both him and Lee soon left and made their way towards the Tournament Arena, where today's matches would be starting soon. Caleb could see Rupert walking around the area, either lost as to where he should be going; or patrolling the area for any signs of the people who attacked the Arena yesterday. He also noticed the increased security presence as well. Caleb decided to see what Rupert was up to.
The tournament was almost upon them yet again. Deep inside the stadium Rupert had nobly decided to patrol the area for any sign of the criminals Looker was after. He was in fact looking at a rather shady character right now. The person in question wore bulky concealing clothing, was hunched over as if to hide his face, he avoided others, and had an overall dark demeanour.
Unfortunately, Rupert was staring at his own reflection as seen in the glass of a concession stand. Yes, the most suspicious looking person at the stadium right now was himself. The real security guards seemed to agree; Rupert had been taken aside and questioned by them at one point. His frantic nervous stammering hadn't done much to prove his innocence in their eyes, but one of them had eventually recognised him from yesterday's match. They let Rupert go with a stern warning. He had no intention of testing their patience.
Rupert sighed and turned away from the stand of Shuckle branded juice cartons. He was making his way towards the stadium's main entrance for some fresh air. The venue was also slowly filling up with people and it was making him uncomfortable.
How the heck did you intend to patrol this place, Rupert? You stand out like a Moltres in a Pidgey nest. This was a dumb idea...
Outside the young trainer calmed down somewhat now that he wasn't surrounded by people, but it was obvious to anyone that cared to look that there was something on his mind. Rupert was fidgeting and playing with two of the pokeballs on his belt. The two balls that contained his newest acquisitions in fact. There was something he felt he needed to do, but he wasn't quite sure how to go about it.
"Hello there, Rupert."
Rupert winced as he only now noticed the figure beside him. He winced again when he recognised the aforementioned figure. Rupert only knew one sword wielding gentleman; it was Caleb. Rupert silently cursed his increasingly frequent habit of spacing out. He really didn't want to look like a fool in front of Caleb, whom he quite admired after seeing his match with Nicolas.
"Ha-hello! I mean... hi, Caleb."
Not off to a good start. Caleb's handsome features furrowed in a slightly concerned frown. Rupert's response seemed to have confirmed some suspicion of Caleb's.
"Is there something on your mind, Rupert? You looked a bit... off-kilter standing here alone. If there is anything I can do to help please let me know."
Caleb's kind offer sent some colour into Rupert's cheeks. Had the nobleman noticed his unease and come over just to check up on him? Rupert could never be described as much of a talker, but the thought that a far more experienced and skilled trainer had taken the time to ask about his wellbeing left him utterly flabbergasted. Caleb even had a match to fight quite soon. Rupert had no idea how to respond to such kindness.
"N-n-no, I'm f-fine... I mean I... t-there is a, um... but y-you really s-shouldn't..."
Caleb simply looked at Rupert with the patience of a Hindu ox. Rupert looked hugely conflicted and started playing with the two pokéballs again. I can't ask him this! I'll look like a fool! But he's such a nice guy. For a trainer of his caliber to look out for a scrub like me... And it's not like he couldn't help me out with this. Oh god, I'm just wasting his time like this. Just swallow your pride and ask him, Rupert!
"Um, a-actually there is one thing..."
Caleb remained silent although he now wore a small encouraging smile.
"Y-you see, I went out to Route 35 a-and I um, I caught two new pokémon. First time I've been c-catching pokémon in s-seven years actually. Heh..."
"Ah, congratulations Rupert."
"T-thank you. But the p-problem is that... Well, I-I'm not too familiar with pokémon outside Kanto and..."
Rupert finally drew out the two pokéballs he had been playing with and dropped them to the ground. They both opened and revealed his Pineco and Hoothoot, both looking slightly confused as to what they were supposed to be doing out here.
"Could you tell me what these two are?"
"T-thank you. But the p-problem is that... Well, I-I'm not too familiar with pokémon outside Kanto and..." Rupert finally brought out his latest Pokémon captures, revealing them to be a Pineco and a Hoothoot, both of which looked as confused as the trainer who they belonged to. "Could you tell me what these two are?" He asked rather nervously. Caleb responded with a friendly smile as he removed a red rectangle shaped device from his coat pocket. It had a clam shell style lid, and a white Pokéball like image in the middle with a blue button. On its inside, was a small screen which had various readouts on display.
Rupert's expression changed from one of nervousness to curiosity, intrigued by the device; possibly due to never seeing one before. Caleb figured it would have been a good idea to explain what it was in case.
"This Rupert is whats called a Pokédex. Its an invaluable tool to trainers, as it contains information regarding all the Pokémon that exist in the world. Although, only a small amount of them are given out at a time when a person chooses a starter Pokémon from their home region, and only to ones that are felt to have exceptional potential and skill. Guess I was lucky then." Caleb chuckled briefly at the remark. He never felt that he was exceptional, but maybe its how he presented himself to Professor Birch all those years ago, and how he handle Torchic for the first time that meant he was chosen.
"The process of actually scanning a Pokémon is actually quite simple. You have the camera at the back pointed at the Pokémon you want to scan, and after a few moments it will present the information about the chosen Pokémon. Now then, lets see what these two are like." He remarked, holding the device in front of Pineco first.
"Sturdy is a good ability to have Rupert. It will help prevent Pineco from fainting from a move that will knock it out in a single hit; although it will be severely weakened by it. It will also evolve into the Bug/Steel type Foretress." Caleb remarked, then went on to scan the Hoothoot.
"A Pokémon with the Keen Eye ability Rupert, will never be affected by moves that lower its accuracy. And a Hoothoot will evolve into a Noctowl. What do you think? Has this helped you understand your Pokémon a little better now?" Caleb asked in a concerned, yet friendly tone.
Rupert's anxiety was lessened somewhat when Caleb responded to his request with a friendly smile. He had feared that the older, more experienced trainer would give him a stern look of disapproval. Maybe even laugh at him. Who'd ever heard of a trainer who didn't even know what he was training? Instead the nobleman brought out a red device and snapped it open with a flourish.
"This Rupert is whats called a Pokédex."
That had been Rupert's first thought, but it was nice of Caleb to affirm this as he'd never actually seen one of these famous gizmos. He went on to explain its exact function, and Rupert listened intently. The Kanto trainer was already aware of the primary functions of a pokédex, but if Caleb was being a bit patronizing towards him then Rupert knew he had no one to blame but himself. He hadn't exactly given anyone reason to believe that he was anything more than a complete beginner.
"Now then, lets see what these two are like."
Caleb scanned the two pokémon, one after the other. They both seemed curious about the device being pointed at them. Caleb's pokédex was very thorough, telling Rupert everything he needed to know about the two critters. Caleb himself even went one step further by explaining what their individual abilities amounted to and what their evolved forms were.
"What do you think? Has this helped you understand your Pokémon a little better now?"
"Huh?" Rupert responded, snapping out of an amazed daze from all the wealth of info Caleb had provided. "O-oh, yes! A-absolutely! Thank you, sir... I mean C-Caleb! I mean... thank you!"
Before Rupert knew what he was doing he was actually bowing to the Hoenn trainer out of sheer gratitude. As he snapped back up again Rupert felt extremely awkward. He had no idea how to behave in front of this aristocratic trainer that he strongly admired and now felt he was indebted to.
"I-I really am grateful. I mean, I w-wasn't even sure what types they were... So really, thank you."
Come on, come on, come on...
A few lines of text scrolled across the screen of Matt's Pokedex as the Lure Ball finally stopped shaking. The standard, "Congratulations! You caught a ______", and a few of the Wooper's stats blinked for a few seconds, before the display returned to its usual, blank self. Not that the trainer cared. He was far too busy trying to process the simple fact that he'd managed to pull it off.
"I... I did-"
"YES! YEAH! Awesome, kid! You totally did it!"
As Remy shouted out his congratulations, Matt turned to offer a growing, almost ecstatic grin to his friend. "Yeah, I guess I-OOF!"
"I KNEW ya could do it, kid! Didn't even break a sweat!"
The next few seconds seemed to blend together for the Jhoto native, as Daria began to slowly crush the air from his lungs. As black spots danced across his vision and his bones began to groan and creak, Matt began to seriously regret not working out more. A few sit-ups, maybe some stretching, and who knows? He might not be suffocating right now.
The lad had just about given up hope when his enthusiastic companion suddenly released her grasp. Doubling over, Matt began to gratefully gulp down air as he celebrated his new lease on life. At least, he did until Daria delivered another hefty, congratulatory slap to his back. While she had clearly reigned in a good part of her strength, the blow was still enough to bend Matt's knees; no doubt the resulting welt would hang around for a while. Still, her words did help to alleviate some of the pain.
"Ya see? Stop questioning yourself, and ya handle yourself just fine!"
Before Matt could manage a response, Daria suddenly took note of the time and dashed off, shouting her farewells even as she streaked back towards the stadium. She was quite the speedster, and by the time Matt's breathless reply rang out she was already long gone. But it wasn't as though the lad was alone; Remy and Sav were still around to see the slight smile that played across his face as he bashfully muttered something to himself. "Heh... Yeah, I guess I can."
But as much as Matt would have loved to stay there, reveling in his victorious moment, Daria was right about the time and the approaching tournament. Returning Ventus and Persephone to their respective Pokeballs, the trainer turned to his remaining companions, his lungs once more full of air and his mouth set in a lighthearted grin. "Guess we should probably head after her, right? Don't want to be late, after all."
A few steps later, and Matt came to a halt. "Oh, Remy," he began, turning around and flashing a thumbs up towards the roguish character. "Thanks for all the help. I think... I think I'm actually getting a little fired up now."
"Huh?" Rupert responded with in a semi-confused state after Caleb had provided all the information on his new Pokémon. "O-oh, yes! A-absolutely! Thank you, sir... I mean C-Caleb! I mean... thank you!" He even bowed afterwards, which Caleb felt was unnecessary, but could understand why. "I-I really am grateful. I mean, I w-wasn't even sure what types they were... So really, thank you." Caleb smiled after being thanked.
"No need to thank me Rupert, I was simply helping out a fellow trainer who was curious about the Pokémon under his care. Seems like we were both lucky in getting new additions to our teams, as I managed to capture a new Pokémon as well. Do you want to see it?" Caleb asked as he removed the Pokéball that had contained Ralts.
"Oooh, a new Pokémon as well. This I have got to see."
"Very well then, come on out Ralts." Caleb said as he hurled the Ultra Ball into the air, and out formed a Ralts who began to spin briefly before stopping next to Caleb. Its red eyes looked with curiosity as it saw two other Pokémon in front of him. He then looked up to Caleb.
"Ral, Ra-alts Ral."
"Well, you certainly look happy for a newly caught Pokémon. Say hello to Pineco and Hoothoot, who belong to Rupert here."
"Ral Ralts Ral." The Feeling Pokémon said, waving at the Pokémon, then to Rupert.
"Ral Ralts Ral."
As the small Feeling pokémon waved at him Rupert gave it a nervous smile and a small wave back. Predictably, he had never seen a Ralts before.
Wow. It looks kinda weird, almost like a small child. It seems a bit vulnerable actually.
The Ralts reminded Rupert a little of his Cubone when he first found it, back when the Ground-type hadn't grown considerably tougher. Rupert had been deathly afraid of most pokémon back then. He wondered if things would have been different if he had just grown up with something like this Ralts, rather than with a seemingly endless amount of Gastlys.
"W-what type is that, Caleb?"
Hooot hoh hoh hoot!"
Hoothoot spread her wings and answered Auron's greeting in a jovial manner. Pineco on the other hand merely gave the Psychic-type a barely noticeable nod and then proceeded to stare at Rupert in the most inquisitive manner. Noticing this Hoothoot turned round as well and seemed almost spooked to find Rupert there. She then started shifting her attention and tilting her head from Auron to Pineco to Rupert in an extremely unnatural manner, as only a Hoothoot can. She didn't seem to know what to do with herself.
Rupert felt extremely uncomfortable.
"Aw geez, this really is awkward... Caleb, I-I'm really sorry, b-but I have to go for a minute. The whole r-reason I so wanted to know more about t-these two was so that... well, we haven't actually had a p-proper um, introduction yet. I wasn't sure how to go about that when I d-didn't even know their names..."
Rupert let out a nervous laugh. Caleb really had saved him: it had felt exceedingly weird to walk around with two pokémon that were complete strangers to him. Now that he actually knew what kind of pokémon they were Rupert felt more comfortable with introducing the team to each other.
"I n-need to find a quiet place to get this over with before the t-tournament starts. T-thank you again, Caleb. I really would have been l-lost without you. A-and um, it w-was nice meeting you, Auron. Oh! And good luck with your m-match, in case I don't see you again before it begins. I-I promise to watch."
With that Rupert called back the Owl and the Bagworm pokémon and walked off, Pineco oddly doing a little bow to Caleb before disappearing.
"Wow! For such a small Pokémon, your Skorupi sure packs a punch. Well done Tom, you deserved that win."
Blushing at the compliment, Tom replied with a, "Thanks Ada, Gummy was really great too! He's a tough one! Although.. I think Kusari leveled up from that, so I guess the training was a success! What do you think girl, do you feel stronger?"
"Awesome! Our opponent had better watch out!"
"Oh my, look at the time! It's already 17:25! Doesn't the Tournament resume at 18:00?"
"WHAT?! Oh No! Uh, Ada, that was an amazing battle, but I can't be late, so i gotta go! Maybe I'll see you later!" By the time he finished his goodbye, he was already racing off into the distance. However, he had failed to notice that Kalmia's pokeball had been left behind.
Getting straight to the pokecenter, he was in such a hurry that he grabbed Aeolus' pokeball along with the others, and failed to realize that he was missing one pokemon. Trying so hard to be late, he said a hurried thank you to the Nurse Joy on duty, who shot him a glare for him bursting through the door earlier faster than a Dodrio. Of course this was added to the list of things that Tom had not been paying attention to in his hurry to get to the stadium. A few minutes later, he had made it, in the nick of time. Panting heavily, he went off to see if he could either find the others, or figure out who his opponent would be.
"Aw geez, this really is awkward... Caleb, I-I'm really sorry, b-but I have to go for a minute. The whole r-reason I so wanted to know more about t-these two was so that... well, we haven't actually had a p-proper um, introduction yet. I wasn't sure how to go about that when I d-didn't even know their names..." Rupert remarked with a stutter, followed closely by a nervous laugh. He appeared to be a little more relaxed after knowing more about his new Pokémon.
"I n-need to find a quiet place to get this over with before the t-tournament starts. T-thank you again, Caleb. I really would have been l-lost without you. A-and um, it w-was nice meeting you, Auron. Oh! And good luck with your m-match, in case I don't see you again before it begins. I-I promise to watch." Rupert then signalled his Pokémon to return to their balls; which Pineco gave a curteous bow towards Caleb. He then began to walk away.
"Good luck to you too Rupert, may you find joy with your new Pokémon. Hope to see you at the tournament soon, my friend." Caleb said with a smile as he walked away and headed inside the Tournament arena.
17:59. The sun was well on its way down behind the horizon as fireworks and fanfare signaled the second day and triumphant return of the tournament after the mysterious power outage the day before.
In and around the arena, masses of people made their way to the bleachers, placing wagers on winners and enthusiastically talking about yesterday's most exciting bouts. Behind all the smiling faces however, a shadow of doubt and anxiety could be felt. Goldenrod City was a highly advanced capital in one of the most technologically adept countries in the world. A power outage like the one yesterday shouldn't happen. Couldn't happen. Rumors of a terrorist attack ran amok, and were only encouraged further by an increased police presence, and a high concentration of reporters from all over the country.
At a conference room in the North side of the arena, Looker eyed the ten makeshift deputies before he began to relay instructions. Everyone was present, even Ryan, who had been missing in action since that morning. Remy glanced at his region-mate quizically but decided to stay quiet for once and listen to the agent's orders.
"Ah, all ten are present. This is good to observe. To maximize coverage of the area, I shall divide the group into four teams. This way, our eyes and ears shall be everywhere. Your job will be to keep your senses sharp. Would anything of note take place, please contact me with haste."
Walking back and forth a couple of times, Looker glanced over his helpers, as if to asess their strength. He then stopped and continued.
"Well then. With no further ado, the teams shall be thus: Tom, Rupert and Lee. You shall take the West side. Remy, Matt and Savannah shall keep an eye on the South side. Darius and Caleb shall handle the East side of the arena. Ryan shall join you once he is done with his battle. In fact, you should go now Ryan. You wouldn't want to be late."
"Right. See you lads later then." Ryan said as he nodded at Darius and Caleb, before leaving for his bout.
"Finally, Daria. You shall patrol this, the North side with my partner. Unfortunately, he has not yet arrived, so I am afraid that until this happens, you shall be alone. I would not worry, however. With your strength, this should not pose a problem."
Looker stopped his pacing, turned to the nine remaining Trainer's and gave his last instructions.
"That's it. Have a Pokémon out, should you need one quickly. If the security gives you trouble say Looker authorized it. If you are called upon to take part in the tournament, be sure the others have you covered. Now go and do your best!"
Remy slapped Matt in the back and decided it was time to speak up.
"Well, you heard the man! You got your Pokémon all healed up, right kid? So let's get going. The South side is the on farthest from here."
Outside, a young woman with short, brown hair and piercing blue eyes made her way through the crowd with a Growlithe in tow. She had just arrived from the Hoenn region where she had been held back by some thugs the day before, causing her to miss her slated battle in the tournament.
"Excuse me! Yes you there with the Growlithe!"
The girl was approached by a female reporter and her cameraman, who proceeded to stop her in her tracks.
"Gabby Seong, JohtoTV news. Are you here as a participant or spectator? Miss...?"
Meanwhile, Remy, Matt and Savannah had arrived at their seats. Slightly higher than last time, these seats would give them quite the vantage point over the southern end of the arena.
"Could do with a Flying-type though..." Remy mused, lightly nudging Matt as he did.
"C'mon out Zangoose!" The Premier Ball cracked open to reveal Remy's #1.
Zangoose took in his surroundings, shooting a quick glare at Matt, whose Pokémon had taken him out not an hour ago.
"Okay Zangoose. Keep an eye out for any weirdos, okay?"
Zan. Zangoose complied.
The PA system started playing a familiar tune as the popular announcer pair introduced themselves for a second evening.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome, to yet another exciting day of this, the All Regions Tournament! I'm your host for this evening Terry Brooking. And with me tonight is commentator and former Battle Frontier champion Andy Madden, how are you Andy?
I'm fine Terry, thank you. Yesterday's incident gave me quite the jump but I'm sure that's all behind us. I'm just pumped to see what great matches we have lined up tonight.
Indeed. On behalf of the National Pokémon Trainers Association and JohtoTV, I would like to once again apologize for yesterday's inconvenience and assure everyone here and at home, that it will not be happening again. Now, without further ado, let us get ready for the last qualifying match that had to be skipped due to our blackout.
Up in the highest point of the stadium, two men looked down at the stadium. One of them, a young man with a violent expression, neck length black hair shaved at the sides and wearing a black tracksuit with golden highlights spoke.
"Huh, they really stuck to their guns, just like Aniki said. What a bunch of tools. Can't wait for the signal so me and Ringstar can smash some faces."
The other man, dressed in a black suit with the white shirt underneath opened halfway, was clean cut and had an empty smile on his face and narrow, sharp eyes. He chuckled and answered.
"Heheheh. Aniki this, Aniki that. Who gives a shit? I'm just here to have some fun, crush some dreams, maybe even kill something. You know? Fun. I'll leave the ass kissing to you, Pussycat."
The tracksuit clad man shot a glare at the smiling one and said.
"Watch your mouth, you fox-faced little prick. Just make sure to leave some alive for the process, will ya? Until that creepy bastard can come up with a new formula, our rank and file guys burn through 'em like 3 a month."
"Whatever you say. I got South, right? So you stay here."
"Right. Remember the signal."
"Phah. As if I could forget!"
SO! IN THE RED CORNER. FROM SOLACEON TOWN, SINNOH, RYAN OLIVER!
AND IN THE BLUE CORNER. FROM FUSCHIA CITY, KANTO, JEREMY MOORE!
The crowd burst into a deafening cheer as the first two battlers of the night walked onto the battle area. Jeremy was clearly the crowd favorite, his revolutionary breeding technique having brought him worldwide renown despite his young age. The stoic man stared at his opponent and his Pokémon companion disdainfully.
"Hmph. What irony for them to pit me against some backwoods hick with no idea how to breed a proper fighter. This will be over in seconds... Go, Gloom!"
Darius and Caleb shall handle the East side of the arena.
"Well,"Darius started,a bit perturbed to be paired up with the one person of their group he disliked the most,"Looks like it's you and me rich boy, come on, get out your pokemon, I've got our mobile siren here."
He put his pipe back into his mouth and let out Whismur. She started shivering almost immediately out of the ball at the sight of so many people. Darius picked her up and she nestled into his bubblegum-pink shirted chest.
"Hey,"He whispered to her,"Don't go to sleep, I need you awake now. And you've gotta get over your little fear eventually, now's as good a time as ever to start your training."
The Whisper pokemon turned around and stared out at the world from the safety of Darius' arms, eyes wide, but no longer shivering in fright. That was a huge step already.
Kayla clapped her hands together as the reporter approached her. "I know who are. You're the best reporter ar JothoTV. You always have the best and most interesting segements." Kayla looked around the stadium before turning back to the camera. "I guess I'm a spectator now. I was supposed to be here yesterday but some nasty old thugs held me up back in Honnen. Stupid thugs. I hope they get eaten by bugs. Oh I guess I need to give you my name. I'm Kayla Denit," Kayla thumped her chest and waved at the camera. "Hi mom! Look at me
I'm on T.V." Kayla made a kiss at camera.
"Darius and Caleb shall handle the East side of the arena." Looker said to the makeshift deputies as he organized the group into teams.
"Well. Looks like it's you and me rich boy, come on, get out your pokemon, I've got our mobile siren here." Darius said with a perturbed look on his face; obviously something about Caleb's life had annoyed him. He then brought out Whismur who shivered upon exiting its Pokéball. Caleb responded by bringing out his Luxray, whose eyesight would help in spotting any suspicious activity; but could find their way around in case the lights went out again.
He remained calm despite the attitude that Darius was exhibiting. After making their way through the stands, the pair had arrived at their seats along the East side of the arena; with a higher vantage point to better scope out the situation. There was a definite silence between him and Darius.
"The job of a breeder must be a fun and interesting one Darius. Getting the opportunity to see Pokémon in their stages of infancy definitely sounds like it is a rewarding experience. I hope you do well in your career." Caleb remarked in a friendly tone.
Daria stood at a high path on the Northern side of the stadium, looking out over the proceedings with a modicum of interest. Without much thought, she tapped a ball on her belt, and out popped a red lizard.
She smiled down at her little companion and patted his head. "Guess what, we're on guard duty!"
Spiegel groaned and smacked his face in frustration. Daria pursed her lips in frustration.
"Aw, c'mon Spiegel! Ya know, we should be honored for this kinda duty."
The look on the lizard's face as he stared her down said it all: You honestly believe that, don't you?
Daria shrugged in resignation. "Fine, whatever, be a gloomy Gus for all I care. But while you're brooding, mind keeping an eye out for the big fella we'll be fighting today? Now, even if ya hate this I KNOW you're lookin' forward to puttin' him in his place!"
Spiegel couldn't argue with that. He scanned the audience that he could make out from their position, but shook his head no. Daria groaned in dissatisfaction. "Thought we'd at least get something of use done while we're up here."
She leaned her stomach out on the railing, arms dangling precariously as she tried to make out the fight below from her position. "Looks like that Ryan kid's up. Wonder who he's fighting?"
"Mele mele." Spiegel replied, straining to make out the details himself.
They stayed like this for a minute, when the lizard's trainer asked, "Y'know something?"
"Our match is up next. And we're the only ones patrolling the north side."
The Charmeleon grunted in agreement, but in a tone that questioned what she could do about their predicament.
With a swing back, Daria righted herself and said "Simple! We just find somebody else to cover for us! C'mon, let's look around!"
Spiegel hesitated a moment to make absolutely sure this was Daria's actual plan, instead of asking someone already patrolling the other sides. But it looked like she was actually going to do this. He chewed his bottom lip in frustration and trudged after her.
"The job of a breeder must be a fun and interesting one Darius. Getting the opportunity to see Pokémon in their stages of infancy definitely sounds like it is a rewarding experience. I hope you do well in your career."
"You could say that,"Darius said from around his pipe,"You could also say that about the life of a wealthy family, being born into money does wonders for your reach into the Pokemon world, I'd bet. Then again, it also limits your desire to keep ahold of your acquisitions." He kept the derision he felt from his voice, simply stating it as a fact of life as he looked on at the opening blows of the Pokemon battle happening between Jeremy and that one guy from yesterday.
A Gloom, that's nice, versus a Mightyena. That's interesting. What else has he got? Whatever he's got, he seemed to have a bit of a grudge against me for it. Can't hurt to start doing research on the man.
17:36. In an empty hallway of the stadium, the very same hallway Rupert had first met Eres, the Kanto trainer was facing his Cubone and Haunter, speaking hurriedly.
"Okay guys, this is important. It's a big moment. It has just been the three of us for years now a-and I honestly though that that's how it was always going to be. But things have changed. I-I have changed. I have no intention of being the weakest member of my own team anymore."
Rupert looked straight at Cubone as he said this last part, and the Ground-type answered only with his steely gaze. Haunter wasn't really listening, instead choosing to focus on a ceiling light in the hope of annoying his trainer.
"S-so in the interest of getting stronger we're... expanding. We have two new team members and I want them to feel welcome."
Haunter shifted his focus right back to Rupert at this point. Was this really happening? Was little ol' Rupert actually trying to be a trainer?
"So be on your best behavior, alright? I'm looking at you, Haunter. D-don't try anything funny with them."
Haunter responded with a smile that could scare the stripes of an Electabuzz.
"... N-never do that again. *Sigh* Okay, here goes nothing."
Rupert once again let out Pineco and Hoothoot but not before trying to assume a more upright stance than he was used to, hoping that it would make him appear more assertive. It didn't. The two materialized in the hallway, this time obviously not only curious about their unknown trainer but also about the two pokémon present.
"H-hello there! It's nice to finally meet you properly. I-I'm Rupert and this is Cubone and Haun... Cubone, where the heck did Haunter go?"
Haunter had indeed disappeared but it was his reappearance that had Hoothoot thoroughly spooked. The ceiling lights had mysteriously started flickering and what appeared to be purple teeth were slowly rising up through the floor in a ring around Hoothoot. The ring soon turned into a distinctive purple maw, and the Owl Pokémon flew off in a panic just seconds before Haunter popped out of the floor in full and locked his jaw shut. To Rupert's surprise Hoothoot flew straight for his face, nearly sending him to the floor as she smacked into him and then refused to let go of his head. This display was so ridiculous that Haunter was unable to keep up his scary persona and burst into his distinctive roaring laughter.
"Hau hau hau haunter!"
Rupert finally managed to tear Hoothoot of his face, though not without receiving a few scratches from her claws. He was about to launch into yet another impotent chastisement of his Ghost-type when he stopped and looked at Hoothoot. The poor thing was shivering like a leaf in the wind. The color drained from Rupert's face as he felt genuine anger boil in him. Bad memories of being scared witless of the Ghost-types of Lavender Town flooded him. Pictures of the infant vulnerable Cubone came to him. He wasn't about to let Haunter have his fun at the expense of others, especially not with his weaker team members. Rupert had promised to do right by them, and he couldn't let this go. Haunter needed disciplining.
Just as the pale trainer was about to give Haunter a tongue-lashing the likes of which the Ghost-type had never received Rupert was once again interrupted. Haunter wore the oddest, most confused expression and was staring at Rupert's feet. As Rupert looked down he saw what the Gas pokémon was staring at: it was Pineco. The Bagworm pokémon had positioned himself between them, facing Haunter, and a shimmering shield-like field was covering him.
"P-Pineco? What are you... did you just use Protect?"
"Pin. Co pin eco pin."
"I-I'm sorry. I don't understand what you're saying. What..."
That's when Cubone, the one member of the team who Rupert understood perfectly, spoke up and explained Pineco's intent.
"Cu bone. Cu cubone bone."
"He said 'this time I protect you'? Wh... what does he mean, Cubone? I... oh."
Rupert's still sore abdomen reminded him of his battle with Pineco. During it Rupert had shielded Cubone, taking one of Pineco's Tackles to his stomach. Unbeknownst to the trainer this gesture had in fact left quite the impression on the wild Pineco. He had never thought humans to be capable of such acts. Rupert intrigued him.
Rupert was very happy to see that despite his nervousness over getting new pokémon Pineco apparently already felt some loyalty towards him. It was almost touching. So great was his relief that his anger at Haunter dissipated. Maybe he had over reacted. Haunter never meant to do harm. Rupert had never known him to be mean spirited. Playing tricks on people was just in his nature. Looking at him now the Ghost-type looked rather pitiful; the trio of Pineco, Cubone and Rupert wore awfully serious faces and seemed almost to make a united front against him. This left Haunter looking confused and hurt.
C'mon Rupert. Be a trainer. Be assertive. You can't let your team be divided like this. You need to be a force of unity.
"T-thank you Pineco, but that's not necessary. I don't need my pokémon protecting me anymore. Haunter, it's okay buddy. Just... just tone it down for the future, alright? Hoothoot? Are you okay, girl?"
The Owl pokémon had calmed down considerably. She seemed to feel a lot safer with Rupert. Her own fight with the trainer had actually also left a certain impression. The fact that Rupert had insisted on catching her through non-violent means (in her case Hypnosis) had not gone unappreciated. She moved onto the trainer's shoulder and started cooing contentedly.
"Heh. A-alright then. This didn't go quite as planned, but I suppose it will do as an introduction. Now that we know each other we can get on with business. We have an um, assignment of sorts. It might be a bit d-dangerous, but... Well, I wish I could assure you that everything is going to be okay, but... I'm honestly not the best trainer out there. Not compared to the likes of Tom, Daria and Caleb... But I can promise you that I'll do my very best, and that I'll do right by you. That's why I'll always be upfront with you. I-I only ask that you bear with me when I make mistakes. Um... Welcome to the team."
Minutes later a flustered but happy Rupert arrived a minute late for the meeting with Looker.
As the trio of Tom, Lee and Rupert walked over to the west side of the stadium Rupert was happy to see Tom again. Feeling glad to interact with someone? Rupert supposed that he really was changing. Tom seemed a bit out of breath, as if he had hurried back to the stadium.
"S-so how did the training go, Tom? Did you catch anything?"
Rupert had decided to let Hoothoot out of her pokéball as per Looker's instruction. She was making herself comfortable on her trainer's shoulder all the whilst scanning the stadium with her enormous red eyes. Hoothoot might not be entirely battle ready, but according to Caleb her eyesight was extraordinarily well developed. Rupert hoped that this would allow her to spot any suspicious activity at a distance.
When the trio arrived at their seats Rupert was very anxious to see Ryan's match. He liked the Sinnoh trainer and wished him the best, especially seeing as he was the definite underdog of this battle. Having only one lone pokémon (albeit a particularly fierce one as Rupert could attest to) put him at a disadvantage, and this Jeremy guy was apparently famous although Rupert had never heard of him.
"You could say that," Darius remarked, a little smoke emanating from his pipe. "You could also say that about the life of a wealthy family, being born into money does wonders for your reach into the Pokemon world, I'd bet. Then again, it also limits your desire to keep ahold of your acquisitions."
"Darius, you make a rather fine point; one could lose it all to carelessness. A single mistaken act, and everything you hold dear to is lost." Caleb remarked solemnly as he looked upon the battle that was taking place below between Ryan and Jeremy. The Sinnoh native brought out his only Pokémon, a Mightyena, against what looked like a rather power Gloom. He then turned to Darius.
"This is certainly going to be an interesting battle no doubt. As they have all been." Caleb said with a calm voice. Raiden was carefully scanning the surrounding area for signs of trouble, as per his trainer's instruction.
As Tom, Rupert, and Lee set off to patrol the staduim, they naturally began to chat.
"S-so how did the training go, Tom? Did you catch anything?"
"Who, me? Nah. I'm already pretty rounded out, The best additions to my team would be something along the lines of a natu. Y'know, I couldn't go wrong with an electric type. Well, maybe I could. Not like my team needs a theme of being weak to ground types or anything. But anyway, I see you got yourself a hoot hoot clock. Thats what I used to call them by the way. Did you know that they're always tilted to tell the exact time?"
Smiling brightly as usual Tom chattered on. As usual. Hands behind his head, not really paying attention to anything but the clouds. Kusari on the other hand was actively searching for suspicious people or pokemon, making sure that she wouldn't mistake one of Daria's teammates for a shady pokemon.
"So anyway, is that Hoothoot the only one you got?"
Lee followed the other two as they conversed, he let out his duskull and said 'follow me with your shadow sneak, you might need to spook some people later' with the idea of an approved scaring duskull was ecstatic, he joyfully sunk into the shadows his head buzzing with ideas.
"Did you know that they're always tilted to tell the exact time?"
'how does that work, you need two handles to tell the time, well I guess the top of the head could be the hour arm, but how would one look at 6 O'Clock, I mean can its leg even turn that much?' Lee said both horrified by the image in his head and confused at figuring out the logistics of this trait 'I mean what sort of advantage those that serve them, do they have a schedule to keep? Even then they know the time by being able to tell it so why would they display this, do other pokemon go to attack it and say "o crap its 11:30 pm, gotta get that beauty sleep"' Lee continued not pausing for an answer.
The roars of the crowd reached Kayla as she talked with the reporter.
"Sorry but I need to run. Things to see. Fights to watch. You know," Kayla ran past the reporter and her cameraman into the interior of the stadium. She looked down at her ticket North Side Level six Seat 25.
"Come'on Growlithe. We need to hurry. I don't want to miss this," Kayla started to take the steps two at a time, racing as fast as she could. Racing up the last couple of stairs to her goal she was caught unaware by a brown haired girl coming down. Kayla crashed into her,knocking them both down to the ground.
Kayla groaned as she gathered her barrings again. Slowly she began to realize where she was. Or more specific, where her head was resting on the other girl's chest.
Scrambling back, her face beet red, Kayla picked herself up as she stuttered, "I'mmm so. It. It was an accident. I wa wa was in a rush and I I I I didn't se se se see you there. Mmmmm. My name is Kayla Denit," Kayla held out her hand to help the other girl up, as King came up the stairs laughing to itself once it saw its Mistress was fine.
"My name is Kayla Denit,"
Daria did not accept the hand at first, apparently preferring to sit dumbstruck on the ground, face burning up like the sun. Her mouth dropped wide open, as her brain tried to process the last five seconds, and what her eyes were taking in right at that moment.
"I-I-I buh, guh... I'm, uh, ga--DARIA!" She shot her hand out like a rocket, grasping Kayla's and pulling herself up with such a yank that the other girl was nearly pulled down to the ground instead. "M-my name is Daria. Daria Pace. Nice to meet ya."
Her eyes darted around, looking for a conversation topic before settling on King. "Oh hey!" he yelled enthusiastically, crouching down to look the canine in the eye. Her oval shades dropped down the bridge of her nose, revealing her eyes as she admired the little creature. "Is this your Growlithe?" she asked Kayla, reaching out to scratch his ear.
She didn't get to do this for long before a clawed hand smacked her own away. Spiegel glared at her with all the exasperation he could. She was embarrassing him more than enough as it was, no need to get touchy feely with her pooch.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, suddenly remembering her own Pokemon. She shot back up and gestured towards the Charmeleon. "This here's Spiegel!"
"Charmeleon." the lizard replied with a noted lack of enthusiasm.
"So, where ya from?"
She smacked Kayla on the back, urging her to move with Daria as she began to pace around the stadium. "C'mon, walk with me."
The two began to move, and Daria made a few grandiose gestures towards the symbol on her back, saying "Yeah, I'm from Pewter, myself, Kanto region. Showed up for the tournament. Ya come to watch, or compete?"
Kayla stumbled forward as Daria slapped her on the back.Ya come to watch, or compete?" "I was, well originally supposed to be competting but I got held up and I got here late. I missed the first day so I'm out. At least that is what I am assuming, so from now on I am just a spectator from now on. I come from Cherrygrove her in Jotho. I like to travel a lot so I've been to Pewter City myself." Kayla gestured to King who was following them and giving glares at Spiegel, "This cute furball is King. He has been with me since the start. Through thick and thin he has always been there for me." Kayla clasped both her hands in front of her as they walked. "So how about yourself? Are you competing?"
"So how about yourself? Are you competing?"
Daria's expression brightened considerably. "Yeah, actually, I am!" she exclaimed. "As a matter'a fact my match is up next! Gonna totally squash this total snob built like some kinda brick wall..."
The girl in the cap looked a little bit less than sane with her wicked grin accentuated by a gesture of pressing her two hands together as if she were crushing something beneath her. Behind them, Spiegel was beginning to return the glares King was giving. If he wasn't gonna bother with being polite, why should he?
Eventually, Daria snapped out of it and said "So, yeah... that actually kinda brings something up. See, I'm supposed to be keeping an eye on this side of the stadium for a... friend. But I don't know how I'm supposed to do that during a match, and I'm the only one on this side. Do ya think, maybe, ya could help me out?"
"Um. Sure I guess I could keep an eye out for you. You go kick some ass. I'll hold down the fort," Kayla lifted her right leg, making it look like she was standing on a box. "You can count on me," Kayla started to fall forward, swinging her arms widly, when King grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled her back to solid ground, sighing and rolling it's eyes at Spiegel as if to say, "The stuff we put up with somedays".