Battlegrounds : A Pokémon Role-Play { Closed } - Day Two: On the Road to Jade Forest

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Alan was beginning to grow restless after just sitting around for so long and waiting for Clay's paralysis to wear off. He wasn't the only one either, Samson was pecking furiously at the ground for some odd reason and Clay himself was twitching his fingers and toes furiously as that was all he could do for the time being. Mary on the other hand seemed to be perfectly content as she lay in Alan's lap. "At least someone's happy I guess...." He muttered, rubbing her fleece absentmindedly.

After another few minutes of this Clay growled as loudly and angrily as he could muster. He had been stuck like this for far too long already and couldn't stand any more of it. Through sheer willpower he leapt to his feet and began stretching his limbs vigorously to return feeling to them and get back to training. The sudden noise and movement startled Mary and she jumped out of Alan's lap and hid behind him to protect herself from Clay's revenge.

Clay eyed the cowering Mareep up menacingly as though deciding what to do with her for a bit before Alan stepped in. "Hey! None of that now. It was your own fault for picking that fight when I tried to warn you. You two are gonna get along or you can go back in your Pokeball until we get to Kalita City. We clear?" The threat of not being able to run free was clearly an effective one and Clay nodded, begrudgingly giving up on his chances of a rematch. "Good. Now let's get moving, we've still got plenty of training to do."

No sooner than the words had left his mouth, Samson took off like a rocket down the trail in search of a good brawl. Clay cast one more glare Mary's way before quickly following after. Alan stood and began to follow them as well just so he wouldn't lose sight of them again with Mary trotting happily along close behind him. As they moved back to the main trail, Alan heard a voice and looked up to see one of the trainers from back at the lab waving to him as he passed by.

Yeah I recognize him. Don't think I ever got his name though. I could say the same for half the people here though I guess. Couldn't hurt to find out. Alan thought, picking up the pace slightly to catch up with Russel and falling into to step alongside him. "Yo." He said casually, returning the greeting he'd been given. "Don't think we've been introduced yet, have we? I'm Alan. Alan Baines.

"I didn't know you had such an interest in dancing, Robyn."

"Are you kidding? I was-am one of the best dancers in Unova." Am. Still am, just on the disabled list right now. Temporarily. Yes. "I've been dancing in my crew back home for the past couple years, and before that was in ballet since I was five. It's one of the tattoos I got."

She lifted up the back part of her top layers to show the ink above the shorts. "It's the one on the right...I think. If that dang Angel did it right, it's the one on the right." The shirts went down to their original position.

"The crew I'm with is the only reason I'm here. They raised enough money to pay for my trip so I can become the champion, and get all that prize money. I didn't even know Pokemon had the ability to dance, I mean, Nina never moves in time to the music I play, so I didn't think there was any kind of rhythm there. If Laila can do it though, that just opens up a whole new world. Like it's meant to be, you know?"

"Dancers? The both of 'em? What a coincidence." Morgan thought in a bit of a muse, raising the sliest of eyebrows as Robyn showed her back to the two. He made sure to flatten the expression as she turned to the two, to avoid any other outbursts that could spring from the girl. Here he was, but a simple sailor, basically using this region as a vacation spot. "Or, at least it would've been, if I didn't see those uniformed jokers back at the lake..." With Robyn, it seemed she had an actual goal to her journey, with people rooting for her and hoping her return. Such motives seemed quite the opposite for Morgan.

"Huh. I wasn't even thinking of challenging the league here, I was just trying to get the fuck out of Hoenn. Parents had too many fingers in my affairs." He admitted, crossing his arms. "But if you're only here for a title shot, then what about the league in Unova? Do they even have a league?" He asked.

Now that he thought about it, there wasn't much he knew about that particular region, other than the knowledge that most summer blockbusters were usually made/distributed from there. "And dancers too, apparently. The place must be filled with famous people."

"I dunno, I kinda wanted to get out of the country for a bit too," Robyn admitted, putting her hands up behind her head. "It's the first vacation I've had, like, ever. Plus, Castelia's Gym Leader is a stupid hipster douche who uses Bugs, which aren't Nina's specialty. Plus Gensia's got more money, at least from the get go it looks like. The people who beat Burgh don't look too pleased with the after-match results, but again, that could be the smug douche residue he leaves on their faces."

Robyn's Pokemon were still getting acquainted behind her. Natalie and Laila instantly bonded over shared avian traits. Nina on the other hand stood away from the pair, still not impressed that the Fire-type instantly got her battle trophy returned upon capture. Scout was beside her, watching the two. He didn't really get the jealousy factor, but she was his first squadmate, and he was sticking with her over the less experienced two.

"Russel Manov. Nice to meet ya." he said, nodding at him. He took a moment to observe Alan's pokemon. While he had seen plenty of Tailows back home, the other two were new to him. Pulling out his pokedex he managed to get info on them, giving them a second glance "Don't mind me. Haven't really seen pokemon like these before." He looked back at the Tyrogue, who seemed a little off compared to the others. "Oi, is he ok?" he slowed down a little to try and get a closer look.

After a couple seconds, his eyes lit up as he recognized what was up. "Paralysis. Little fella musta had a run in with something. Doesn't seem to bad. The fella seems rested up. Still, best medicine is prevention... Oi!" he called to Munchie, who jumped into his backpack. "Get a Cheri Berry, will ya?" He stood back up straight, getting back to where he was before. "Sorry if I was a little nosy. Force of habit. After working with stuff like this for so long you start to memorize the little details."

Once he had finished speaking, Munchie emerged, jumping down next to Clay and offering him the Berry. "Still, I've been rambling on without giving you a chance to speak. What brings ya here to Gensia?"

Caleb was still trying to wrap his head around what those Team Equinox had in mind when they closed off the lake, and he was surprised by the fact that they were carrying guns around. Clearly they meant business, but at least they had the decency to not resort to unnecessary violence. The other trainers seemed to be heading off in their own directions, and after applying one of his last Potions to the scorched Mankey, he thought it best he start moving along as well. He didn't want to become a straggler for any remaining Equinox goons to try and pick off. He gave Maxwell one final tussle of the hair before returning him to his Poké Ball. With Spike on his pack and his pack on his back, Caleb began the short trip to the lake where he hoped to see some new and interesting Pokémon.

It was kind of funny to think that as one that generally preferred routine, order, and was cautious of sudden change, he was handling his first day in the region well. Spike seemed to enjoy exploring just as much as Caleb, taking in the scenery and all it had to offer, liking the feeling of not quite knowing what might be in store for them. All his imaginings came to an abrupt halt, however, as he entered the fringes of Lake Lapis - the sight of the wondrous area simply overtook him. It may not have seemed like much to some, but for him, it was like walking into a Pokémon gold mine. It seemed that falling behind had its upsides, because it allowed him to witness the creatures' actions and interactions with little worry of disturbances. He didn't know how long he'd just been standing there from the cover of foliage with his mouth agape, but when he finally caught himself, he didn't waste another second and quickly withdrew his Pokédex. Thoroughly scanning all the Pokémon he could, new entries were put into the system faster than Caleb could read them. He wasn't too concerned with that for the moment, he'd have time to review the information later, he just wanted to collect as much data as he possibly could.

Caleb watched and waited for quite some time until he was almost sure he'd seen all there was to see. Filled with excitement, the Trainer slunk away from the edge of the lake and found a tree to rest against and read through the new entries in his Pokédex. The quadrupedal water-skimmer was apparently a Surskit, and it's cap interestingly enough was used secreted a syrupy substance that some Pokémon loved to eat, a fact that Caleb found particularly intriguing. Something that intrigued him even more, however, was the Lotad he'd seen that had been ferrying around a Shinx at the time using the leafy pad atop its head. The ecosystem of Lake Lapis was truly fascinating, and just as he was finished reading about the common behaviors of Poliwags, an odd-looking bipedal Pokémon slowly trundled into view, seemingly oblivious to Caleb and Spike's presence. It was light-blue with purplish gills protruding from the sides of its head, it didn't have any arms and its large, wide tail wobbled behind it as it moved along. Its skin also seemed to shine from some slimy coating, likely to allow it to retain moisture Caleb presumed. The Pokémon paused for a moment, the Trainer thinking it had finally acknowledged his presence, and leaned down to take a bite from a fallen berry, proving Caleb wrong in doing so. It was undoubtedly peculiar that the creature was completely unaware, especially since the human and the Elekid were in no way hidden or camouflaged, but rather sitting in plain sight.

The mysterious Pokémon slowly finished the berry and looked ready to continue its meandering for food, though Caleb had no intention of just letting it walk off so soon. He fished a half-full can of kibble from his pack and tossed one of the morsels towards the creature. It sluggishly spun on its rounded heel to turn towards the kibble, appearing only to acknowledge the food that would sate its hunger. It took the kibble in one bite and before it could finish chewing, another was thrown before the Pokémon, this one settling even closer to Caleb. Soon, a short trail leading up to the Trainer was formed and eaten by the slick creature that followed it, ending in a pile of food that rested no more than a foot from Caleb.

"Uhhhh...paaaaahh," the Pokémon said softly, almost sighing as it sat down before the kibble mound and leaned forward to eat.

Caleb watched, amazed at how little the creature seemed to care about his surroundings, then he aimed the lens of his Pokédex at it to exactly what it was...

image#194: Wooper Water Fish Pokémon
image image
Height: 1' 04" / 0.4 m.Weight: 18.7lbs. / 8.5kg.
Ability: UnawareUnaware ignores other Pokémon's positive and negative status changes when calculating damage involving a Pokémon with this ability.
Moves: Water Gun. Tail Whip.
Wooper lives in cold water most of the time, but it will on occasion leave the water to search for food when the temperature cools in the evening. While walking on land, it coats its body with a slimy, toxic film that keeps its skin from dehydrating and insulates itself against the cold. In the water, Wooper partially buries itself in the mud at the bottom to sleep.

"Interesting," Caleb thought aloud. "I suppose, given how much shade there is in this area, she needn't worry much about what time she emerges."

"Paaah," said the Wooper, pausing and giving a brief nod as if it was agreeing with the Trainer, who was quite surprised with the reaction.

"Well, I guess she's not completely oblivious," Caleb muttered, receiving a grunt of agreement from Spike. "Now, I wonder..."

Cautiously, the Trainer reached for his bag and removed an empty Poké Ball. It expanded in his hand and he slowly reached over to tap the Wooper on the head with it. The small Pokémon disappeared into the ball with what seemed to be absolutely no resistance. The Ball clicked, signaling a successful capture, and Caleb stared at it in disbelief. What was even more unbelievable was when he had released the Wooper again, she just sat in her previous spot and continued her meal.

"Well, that was surprisingly easy," said Caleb, scratching his head, dumbfounded by the whole capture. However simple the Wooper may be, she was his now. "Hmm...I think I'll call you...Ira. How does that sound?"

"Pah," she said contentedly. Or perhaps it was reluctance as there was little to differentiate from in her tone, though she seemed perfectly pleased with the name.

"Well then, it's settled," Caleb said cheerily. "Welcome to the group."

Eurydice nodded meekly, picking up Geodude's pokeball. She turned her arm, taking a look at the scratches on it. She showed Heidi too, just in case she was worried. Shinx walked up and sniffed her, before giving the scrape a tentative and sandpaper-y lick. Eurydice made a face, jerking her arm back with a grin. She gave Heidi a thumbs up, smiling widely. She had watched the Chimchar's mischievous antics, making small cartoony drawings of Chimchar in glasses, and Chimchar and Heidi fighting over the glasses.

She stood up from her seat on the ground, brushing off her dress. She quickly trot back over to Heidi, Shinx following. She stood straight, pointing towards their next destination. After holding her pose for a few seconds, Eurydice sprinted off down the road towards the city. The rest of the route was relatively peaceful.

There's so many rare pokemon on this route... starter pokemon too. Professor Oak used to be the only person with this kind of access to these kind of pokemon. Gentia really has a diverse ecosystem... She slid to a stop at the bottom of the hill, taking the time Heidi took to catch up to scribble down a question. Were there rare pokemon in the wild where you came from?

Heidi frowned a bit on the scratches Eurydice had suffered from the fight with the Geodude, but after her thumbs up, she gave one back to her and a smile. Heidi let out each of her Pokémon now, that she had with her anyway, to let them do some training. Each of them helped one another out to make sure no one would get taken out easily.

Heidi watched where Eurydice pointed and followed quickly after her, all her Pokémon following, though she had to put Daniel in his Pokéball due to being a Metapod, and did the same to Lewis since Surskit aren't as fast on land as they are on water. Heidi didn't have too much trouble following after Eurydice, but she was a fast one for sure, and she had gotten a headstart when she'd surprised Heidi with how fast she'd started sprinting.

Once she caught up at the bottom of the hill, she read what the younger girl had to ask her. "Rare Pokémon? Well, in Sinnoh, Munchlax is pretty rare, only appearing really rarely on some trees. And you can't find a lot of wild Gible since they and Gabite are only in specific places. Two or three, if I remember right. Then of course you have the Pokémon in the Great Marsh, like my Yani." When Yani's name was mentioned, she went over to Heidi and sat down on her head, buzzing happily. Heidi showed Eurydice the Safari Ball she had. "These are what we use there to catch them. I don't know if you have them as well since I've never gone outside of Sinnoh." She listed a few other Pokémon as well that were rare, such as the Magnemites and Magmars you could find near the Fuego Ironworks, and the Electabuzzs on Route 222, as well as some others.

To finish her list, she also said "Oh, and then there's the Solaceon Ruins we have that supposedly have Unown in them. I've never seen them myself, but it might be cool to see if I can find them. I'd love to have an H one myself if I had one." She giggled lightly before asking "What about you? Are there rare Pokémon in the wild in your region?"

Alan watched with interest as Russel examined and diagnosed Clay with impressive accuracy for the amount of time it took. Meanwhile, Clay eyed the berry Munchie was offering cautiously before taking it and slowly putting it in his mouth. It didn't take long after he swallowed for him to feel the affects and an energetic grin formed on his face as he gave Munchie a thumbs up in thanks. At least he's thankful enough not to pick a fight again. Alan thought in silent gratitude before turning his attention back to Russel.

"Hey thanks for that man. Mary here may not look like much but she packs a punch and Clay is a bit too eager to fight..." Alan explained. Mary poked her head out from behind his legs and gave a small happy bleat at hearing her name mentioned, obviously somewhat proud of herself. Clay didn't like that one bit and shot both her and Alan a fierce glare but he seemed to have learned his lesson and left it at that.

"Anyway, I came to Gensia with Clay so we could challenge the League here. I'm still pretty new at being a trainer though so it's a bit of a challenge. But I'm nothing if not determined to be the best, and thankfully Clay feels the same so I can sorta keep him in line most of the time." Alan said, leaving out the bit about his wrecked arm and failed boxing career since that was a bit heavy to be laying on someone he just met. "How about you? What brings you to Gensia? Are you some kinda Pokemon doctor?" Alan asked, curious about Russel's knowledge about Pokemon health and berries. At the rate he was going, a guy like that would be handy to be on good terms with.

Munchie gave the closest approximation to a thumbs up he could back at Clay before leaping down onto the ground next to Mary, dusting himself off before he resumed walking.

Russel picked up the pace before answering Alan. "A doctor? Me? Nah, I just know my way around herbs. Work with my mother in an herb shop. Dealing with sick Pokemon as long as I have, you start to memorize the signs." He stretched for a second, looking up to the sky while he considered the other part of Alan's question. "As for why I'm here... I just needed to get out of Hoenn. Place is nice, but I don't think I could stay there all my life. Decided on Gensia for a couple reasons. First off the brochure made it look pretty. Second reason is I'm here to pick up a potential new friend or two for Munchie here." He said, looking down at the small group of pokemon.

"Little fella sure seems enthusiastic." he said, gesturing to Clay. "I could think of a couple guys who could give him a good fight. Here's hoping he's up for the gym..."

Eurydice nodded enthusiastically. She wished her Pokedex was more updated, but the few pokemon they had just seen would have to do. She flipped through a few entries, her gadget announcing the names as she went by.
Squirtle, the Tiny Turtle Pokemon
Charmander, the Lizard Pokemon

Very rare in Kanto she wrote.

Noticing that Heidi had released a few of her pokemon to train, Eurydice slowed her pace. This next city... the chances were high that they had a gym. Becoming a pokemon master by profession was not of concernment for her right now. She wanted to capitalize on pokemon research in the fields, not merely filling up a database to survey their habitats. She wanted to study their anatomy and physiology, their social customs, their diets... it was all so fascinating, and yet they were stuck with such a prosaic task.

Oh! Where's Shinx? I didn't return him to his ball yet... Eurydice whistled, looking around. After a few seconds, a ball of blue fur burst out of the grass, excitedly running up to Eurydice before starting to clean itself. Shinx had decided to take the grassy way down the hill, digging out a few Oddish for fun. Their leaves weren't very tasty though, and they made a lot of noise, so Shinx had quickly moved onto other activities.

Elias tossed his new Pokeball up in the air and caught it with a small flourish. His latest catch was a Shinx, a small but fierce creature that he thought Tess would get along with considering he'd been shocked by the both of them. Dune had defeated the Shinx easily. Now all he had to do was check and see what everyone else got.

"Hey guys? Guys? Uh..." Uh-oh. There was no one in sight. Quickly shoving his Pokeball into a pocket Elias began to run down the trail. They couldn't be that far away, he'd only wandered a little ways off the path, right?

Elias slid to a halt next to a sign declaring that he was now entering Route 3. Okay. I know where I am. Kinda. Elias paused to catch his breath and make sure everything was still attached to his pack. He resumed his jog, looking for any sign of the others.

He was only slightly winded when he spotted a plume of smoke in the air just over the next hill. A campsite maybe? But it was an awfully tiny bit of smoke and it seemed awfully early to be setting up for the night. Elias squinted up at the sun. So what's this? he wondered.

"Hey!" He called as he slowly trudged up the hill. "Anyone? I think I..."

"Tork?" A red and black Pokemon raised its head from the grass and peered curiously at the trainer.

"Oh! Hey!" Elias backpedaled quickly. He'd already been electrified once today. "What are you doing here?"


"Uh-huh..." Elias nodded solemnly. So there were no people then. He gestured to the path he was on and then to the trees in the distance.

"Did you seen a bunch of people like me come through here?" He asked, pulling out his Pokedex to read his new find.

"Koal. Tor." The Pokemon inhaled just as the Pokedex finished its scan.


"Gyaah!" Elias dropped to the ground, just barely missing a small stream of fire that came directly from the Pokemon's mouth.

"Niiice Pokemon. Good Pokemon. Please don't set my clothes on fire. They're already scorched for today." Rolling onto his back Elias checked his Pokedex.

"Torkoal. Good Torkoal. I could use a fire Pokemon. Hey maybe you can heat up my lunch for me?"

"Tork?" The Pokemon came closer, and Elias noticed that it was leaving visible tracks in the grass.

"Here, let's try this."

Elias sat up and tossed a Pokeball on the ground. The air shimmered and coalesced into a grumpy Rattata. Rex turned to glare at Elias.

"Ratt. Rattata"

"I need you to fight for me, sorry? You can nap later?" Elias took a guess at what the Pokemon was upset about.

"Tork! Koal. Tor."

"Huh?" Elias turned to see Torkoal shifting from side to side. He looked at Rex who was doing the same thing.


Torkoal stopped shuffling and inhaled. Elias noticed a white light starting to appear around its mouth this time.

"Woah. Time out, hold on!" Jumping to his feet Elias hurried to move away from the sudden battlefield. "Rex, tackle him! Er her? Tackle, now!"

But it wasn't fire that appeared this time. Instead it was smoke. Big poofy clouds of smoke that blocked Elias' view for a moment.

"Oh, you're the campfire!" The trainer realized. "Try a bite attack, Rex." As he gave the command Elias swept away the smoke with his hands.

There was a small growl and an answering cry that had to be Torkoal. When Elias found them again his Rattata Rex was circling the larger Pokemon who had withdrawn into its shell.

"Okay, uh. Tackle attack now?"

"Rat!" The hit was solid, but Torkoal's much heavier form barely moved.

"Torrrr." Torkoal reappeared and opened its mouth again.

Globs of fire sizzled and trailed smoke in the air as they flew in Rex's direction.

"Watch it!" Elias called. He looked down to check Torkoal's Pokedex entry and realized that this was the Ember attack.

"Rat! Rat! Raaaaat!"

"What's wrong with- stop drop and roll!" Elias called to his panicking Pokemon. "Rex? Rex! Roll!" The frantic rodent continued its wide circle around a calm Torkoal, the rodent's tail smoking and fur visibly singed.

"Stop! Just. Gah. Return!" Elias threw the Pokeball into the air and crossed his fingers. The device hit the ground and the awesome red light captured the Rattata in mid-stride.

"That didn't work out." In fact Torkoal didn't even seem fazed by the battle.

"Tork?" Torkoal tilted its head, sounding confused.

"Try this guy on for size." Elias decided, drawing out a new Pokeball.

"Dile?" Exposing his teeth in a wide yawn Dune looked a lot like Rex had when he'd emerged.

Elias pointed to Torkoal. "What do you think? I like 'em."

"San. Sandile."

"Then let's go! Sand attack!" Dune stirred up the dirt for the attack easily but was counted with a familiar cloud of black smoke.

"Bite 'em, tackle 'em!" Elias began rapidly listing attacks as the battle speeded up. Dune's attacks were countered as much as they connected. But when Torkoal began to rely more on its withdrawal then its fire attacks Elias decided to take the risk.

"Okay." The trainer muttered. "Please work." He threw a brand new Pokeball at the still withdrawn Torkoal. Dune had his jaws wrapped around the Torkoal's shell, but the Sandile's jaws snapped shut when the Pokemon vanished.

Elias crossed his fingers when the Pokeball began to shake. "Stay. Stay. Stay. Please stay?"

And miraculously, it did. Elias quickly called out his new friend.

"Tork! Tooor."

"Hi there." A blast of heated air blew past Elias' face. Then the trainer had the strange experience of a Pokemon stepping on his foot and attempting to melt his shoes with steam/smoke. It seemed to be an affectionate gesture though.

"Hot! Okay I get it I like you too. But really, you can stop now, I like these shoes. And my feet. You're cool though."

Elias reached down to pet Torkoal but froze when something began sounding an alarm. A really loud obnoxious alarm.

"What is that?"


Both Pokemon looked towards the ground, and Elias saw his Pokedex. It was flashing different colors and the alarm got louder when he picked up the device. He pressed one of the buttons and the alarm stopped. The screen stopped flashing to display a bunch of text.

Warning : Trainer has too many Pokemon on hand. Please choose [1] Pokemon to send to the Storage System.

"Well how do I do that?" Elias waved to indicate Torkoal and Dune. "Some of my guys are out!" He pulled out Shinx' Pokeball. "Maybe I could - hey!" The Pokeball flashed with bright light and vanished into thin air. Actual thin air, there was nothing left!

"Hey!" Elias shook the Pokedex. The machine ignored its upside-down orientation and beeped twice, quieter this time. The screen cleared once more to display another few lines of text.

Pokemon accepted. Pokemon [Shinx] has been stored in [Box 1] of the Storage System. Please contact the nearest Storage representative if you have questions. Goodbye.

"I wasn't sure about that one..." Elias complained. "I didn't even get to name him yet." The trainer sighed as the Pokedex powered down. "At least I still have you two." Using his mutinous Pokedex Elias scanned Torkoal again.

No. 324


Name: Torkoal
Species: Coal Pokemon
Height: 1'08" / 0.5 m
Weight: 177.2 lbs / 80.4 kg
Ability: White Smoke - Prevents ability reduction. Cannot be intimidated by other Pokemon.
Description: It burns coal inside its shell for energy. It blows out black soot if it is endangered.
Item: N/A
OT: Elias Lanford // 53504

"Cool. Though I thought your smoke was black..."


"Well it was. Go ahead and return, I'll come up with a name for you later I promise. Unless this stupid thing goes crazy again. Who came up with that rule anyway." He was going to have to read that book again...

Two flashes of light later Elias was alone on the road.

"Did anyone else have to store Pokemon?" He wondered out loud. Oops. "Hey guys!?" Elias ran down the road.

"It's the first vacation I've had, like, ever. Plus, Castelia's Gym Leader is a stupid hipster douche who uses Bugs, which aren't Nina's specialty. Plus Gensia's got more money, at least from the get go it looks like. The people who beat Burgh don't look too pleased with the after-match results, but again, that could be the smug douche residue he leaves on their faces."

"Bleah. From what I've seen, Bug Gyms aren't all that flash," Alix noted. She'd seen a bit about the Bug Gyms in Johto and Unova on TV once... and wasn't a fan of Bug-types in general. "Fire, though, that's the fun kind of Gym. Flannery's place back in Lavaridge is great. I visited the Gym with Matti one time when he was still an egg," she explained.

"But yeah, it does look like Gensia's got a bit more money to it. All the flashy buildings and signs and such."

The sun began to make its descent towards the horizon, and most of the group of Trainers found themselves at the base of the hill leading up to Kalita City. A large wall surrounded the hill, studded with gates at regular intervals to allow access to both foot and vehicular traffic. Alix noted a large bird Pokémon flying over the wall without so much as a downward look from its passenger.

"So, this is it... first city with a Gym," she commented as she made her way in alongside the others. Some had their Pokémon out: Matti was sitting on Stana's back, clinging to the Poochyena's neck fur, and Gideon was walking beside them. Past the wall around Kalita, the city was somewhat remarkable. It appeared to be divided in half, with one side being devoted to what looked like residential areas, and the other half filled with tall, business-ish-looking buildings. Two Pokémon Centers were visible, one close to the visitor Trainers and one at the top of the hill. A two-line tramway system seemed to be connecting the two Centers.

Beside the Center at the top was some sort of... stadium? Maybe? It looked rather unkempt compared to the clean and bright business district; Alix could see that its architecture was broken in places and missing large chunks. She approached a signpost for directions... the arrow pointing to the stadium said it was Barrett's Gym? Bizarre. Flannery kept her Gym impeccably clean. The outside of that stadium looked like it had been hit by a Blastoise or something.

"Hmm... you guys set for taking on the Gym tonight?" she asked no-one in particular. "I might see if there's a café or something. Grab a bite to eat before taking a look myself."

The path up switched between steep and slight inclines for a while, before the path basically leveled off. The path itself was wide and there were a variety of caves ranging in sizes along the cliff wall on the left side of the path.

Erika walked along the wall and started to look into the caves as she passed them. Some bore vacant nests and living arrangements of various Pokémon. Erika had no way of identifying which Pokémon make which nest, so she wasn't able to simply stake out a cave and wait for the Pokémon to return. Every other cave she passed along the way was empty and her hunt for a Cyndaquil was beginning to look hopeless.

Three caves from a completely flat stretch of cliff Erika looked into a cave only to be instantly hit in the face and was knocked backwards, almost stumbling off of the cliff. Erika put her left hand backwards to support herself in an attempt to stand up, only to find that there was no ground behind her. Instead she shifted forward to one knee, while getting a quick shill down her spine as to how close she was from dying.

As she started to stand up Erika looked around for what had smashed into her face only to find the target of her desires staring up at her from the ground in front of her. Bastard. Erika quickly ran to the side away from the cliff while grabbing a Poké Ball off of her belt and pressed the release. "Go Breńa!"

"Howl!" Erika commander her Poochyena as she took position closer to the cliff wall she could safely lean against. The Poochyena instinctively let out a Howl that started to lightly echo in the distance. "Now Tackle!" Erika commanded as she pulled out her Pokédex and scanned the Cyndaquil.

No. 155
Name: Cyndaquil
Species: Fire Mouse Pokémon
Height: 1'08" / 0.5 m
Weight: 17.4 lbs / 7.9 kg
Ability: Blaze - Powers up Fire-type moves in a pinch.
Description: It has a timid nature. If it is startled, the flames on its back burn more vigorously.
Moves: Tackle: Normal, Physical.
................Leer: Normal, Status.
................Smokescreen: Normal, Status.
Item: N/A

When Erika looked up from her Pokédex she saw how a SmokeScreen covering the path way. Just as Breńa was about to enter and attempt her Tackle attack, Erika shouted, "retreat!" This prompted the Poochyena to lightly skid to a complete stop and quickly turn around after briefly entering the SmokeScreen.

Breńa gave Erika a weird look as it returned to her and gave a weak whimper, "Pooch?" "Remember what happened last time you charged into a SmokeScreen?" Erika rhetorically asked her Poochyena. "Yen!" The Poochyena responded before turning around to look into the SmokeScreen only to find a pair of glowing red eyes meeting its own. The Leer attack from the Cyndaquil made the Poochyena shudder slightly.

The eyes disappeared behind the black smoke and there was no sign of the Cyndaquil afterwards. Impatient Erika started to order her Poochyena to repeatedly use its Howl attack as if it was calling out the Cyndaquil.

After about four Howl attacks, the smoke cleared only to reveal that the Cyndaquil was gone. Breńa looked forward confused before hearing her trainer's orders. "Dodge and use Tackle!" Instinctively the Poochyena jumped backwards barely dodging the Cyndaquil that suddenly shot out from a cave in the cliff wall. The Cyndaquil hit the ground and stopped, only to be sent sliding sideways from the Poochyena's Tackle attack.

The Tackle attack did appeared to do a fair bit of damage and Erika threw a Poké Ball at the Cyndaquil. The Pokémon was sucked into the ball and the Poké Ball shuck twice before the Cyndaquil broke free and launched into a Tackle attack against the Poochyena. Still has more fight in it.

Despite the earlier battle, Poochyena took the hit surprisingly well and didn't look to be going down just yet. "Tackle it again!" Erika commanded as her Poochyena dodged a Tackle from the Cyndaquil and the two began dueling with dodges and Tackle attempts. Finally the Poochyena got the edge and slammed into the Cyndaquil cleanly against its stomach.

Let's try this again. Erika took out another Poké Ball and threw it at the Cyndaquil. The Pokémon was sucked in and Erika watch patiently as the ball slowly shuck. Once, twice, three times and finally the Cyndaquil broke out again. "What the hell!" Erika yelled as she threw another Poké Ball at the Cyndaquil. This time the ball barely shuck once before the Cyndaquil broke free.

"You've got to be fucking kidding me. Breńa use Tackle!" Erika commanded and the Poochyena slammed into the Cyndaquil again. The Fire Mouse Pokémon struggled, but ultimately failed to stand up. Okay this has to be it. There's no way that it should break out at this point. Erika threw another Poké Ball at the Cyndaquil and it got sucked in.

One. Two. Three. Erika counted in her head as the ball shuck. Come on just stay in there. And as if the universe hated her, he Cyndaquil broke out of the ball and tried to use a surprise Tackle against the Poochyena, only to collapse inches away from the Poochyena. "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" Erika yelled as she threw a fifth Poké Ball at the Cyndaquil. One, two, three and finally, after what seemed to be every nerve Erika had, the Poké Ball locked closed and the Cyndaquil was caught.

"About time. Now Breńa return," Erika commanded as a beam of red light hit the Poochyena and dematerialized it back into its Poké Ball. Slowly Erika walked over and picked up all of the broken Poké Balls before picking up the Cyndaquil's Poké Ball. Erika put the broken Poké Balls into her bag and pulled out her stickers and put the Cyndaquil on the ball in her hand.

"Now you need a name." Erika mused to herself out loud as she rubbed her forehead. "That's probably going to bruise too. Wild little bastard you are. How about Ygritte? Ya that could probably work. I'll go with Ygritte you wild fire bastard." Erika said as she continued down the path as it appeared to merged back with the lower path a little bit further on.

She saw a large chunk of the group ahead of herself, before hearing another trainer say something that came from the path below her.

"Did anyone else have to store Pokemon? Hey guys!?"

"I haven't yet," called down Erika to the lightly tanned skinned trainer hat was running down the path. "No need to hurry after them, first gym's in that town and I doubt we'll be running through it!" Erika said to the man as she continued down the slope to where the Paths actually merged together again.

Russel saw ths city up ahead. "And here we go..." he started walking faster, trying to get back to civilization faster, turning to shout out "Nice meeting ya, Mr. Baines. Good luck at the gym!" He turned back around, seeing Munchie and Mera having a hard time keeping up.

"Hold up..." he said, reaching for Mera's ball in his pocket. The red light shot out, turning the Lotad into a mass of red light before returning to the ball. During that time, Munchie had caught up and was climbing into Russel's backpack. "Now then, Kalita awaits."

Russel broke off from the group, taking the moment to sight-see. "Doesn't seem as busy as the last couple places... more business focused." He started heading towards the stadium, figuring he might run into something more interesting there. "Seems like a nice place to live." he muttered as he approached the Pokemon Center. He checked the surrounding buildings, seeing a quaint little cafe across the street from the Pokemon Center, giving customers a good view of the entrance to the stadium. "I think that's a good place to get some supper..." he said, walking over.

He was quickly seated, ordering a cup of coffee and a meal. "So should we challenge the gym before it gets dark, or wait until tomorrow morning..." he muttered to himself. Munchie was lying in the middle of the table half asleep. "Well, thanks for your great wisdom." Russel smirked, reaching into his backpack and pulling out an Oran berry. Suddenly Munchie perked up, wide awake. "Knew that'd get your attention. Now then, think you're up to the challenge tonight?" Munchie nodded, jabbing his arms forward, trying to move like a boxer. "Hah! Damn right!" he threw the berry up in the air. Munchie opened up wide and caught it in his mouth, swallowing it whole. As soon as Munchie had finished, Russel's coffee arrived.

He started stirring it, adding what he needed to get it to his liking. "Still... perhaps a more cautious approach is needed. We should go watch a match. See what the leader is like. I think the plan will work, but I do like to have a little unknown variables as possible..."

Kalita City was seeming to be about as average as Morgan was anticipating. "Yeah, it was built on a really big hill, but that's about it." The sailor thought as he slowed to a stop at a street corner. Evening was approaching, and it seemed some buildings were preparing to illuminate the skyline. "Well, it's cleaner than Slateport, if anything." He looked down at his hand, his pokédex being mindlessly fumbled around by the fingers. It's not like he could've just forgot about what he saw at the lake, the laws he swore to wouldn't let him. Coming up behind him, were some of the trainers he was loosely travelling with. Alix talked of going to check out the gym.

"...I might see if there's a café or something. Grab a bite to eat before taking a look myself." She mused to the air, meandering past Morgan as she took in the sights. "Y'know, I think I might take you up on that. Let me do...this other thing first." He replied, looking back down at the device. "Guess I should find a police station or something..." And he began doing just that. It wasn't all that far from his position, actually. A brick-laden building with some white accents along the double-doored entrance. It sat adjacent to one of the city's pokécenters, the one at the hill's base.

First thing he noticed upon entering, was the front desk, and the familiar faced, teal-haired policewoman that sat behind it. "Hmph. Even in a new region...the police still look the same." He mumbled with a scoff as he approached the desk. She asked him to state his business. "Yes, i'd like to report a sighting? A few hours earlier, me and the group I was travelling with were approached by what appeared to be some sort of militia or very organized terrorist cell. There was a collection of these guys patrolling Lake Lapis over out there on Route One. All were considered armed and dangerous, carrying fully automatic firearms and pokémon. For whatever reason, they had the lake closed off, and my group and I had to battle them to access the lake."

"Mmhmm, mmhmm, okay." The officer seemed to be writing something into a pad, pausing her scribbles to look back at Morgan. "Do have any sort of evidence for this claim?" She asked. Morgan showed her the pokédex, with the picture of the alarmed gent still on screen. "I kinda wish I could've gotten a better picture, but take note of the uniform he's wearing. No branch of military uses that particular print of camouflage. Not to mention his lack of rank, and the peculiar badge on the right arm and chest." He handed her the device as he explained, getting a few understanding nods in return.

"Are you in the military?" She asked, taking notice of the sailor's attention to apparel. "Yes, ma'am, Hoenn's Royal Navy. Petty Officer Third Class. I was planning on contacting my CO about this as well-" The officer interrupted Morgan mid-spiel. "No, no. That won't be necessary." She said with haste, return his pokédex before sliding over the paper she was writing on. "Now, if you'l just sign this written report, we'll have send an investigative team out to the lake before the night's out." Morgan nodded before signing the paper. "Thanks." He replied before he made his departure. Once he was back out on the streets, the officer crumbled up the paper, throwing it away with a relived sigh.

"Okay, that's done. Maybe now I can find something to eat." The first thing that caught Morgan's eye, was the tram system that led up into the city. In a fit of curiosity, he boarded a car just as it was taking it's leave. One surprisingly short ride later, he had found himself at another pokécenter, and right outside of the city's Gym. "Not ready for that yet..." He scanned his surroundings further. He spotted a café right across the street from the center, and decided to head for it.

It was a quaint little ditty of a place. Dimly lit to give those inside a better look at the Gym. "Cozy." Morgan let out as he looked around. Soon, he spotted a familiar faced fellow, talking to his pokémon. "That looks like...uh...whatshisface...that slacker lookin' guy that's been sorta following us...?" Morgan felt he should introduce himself to the guy, and began to do just that. The sailor approached the man at the edge of his discussion, not wanting to be any sort of interruption. "Hey, you were one of the guys travelling with us through Route Two earlier, right? I don't know if we've been introduced yet, but i'm Morgan. This seat taken?" He gestured towards one of the open chairs at the small round table.

If Kalita City had to be described in one word, Robyn quickly chose the word Bland. This place is like dull city. Ooh a hill. That's nice. Granted, being comparable to Castelia was going to be a tall order, but a tall mound of dirt wasn't going to do it for her. Some places, like the gym, didn't even look like they were trying to present an proper image to visitors, although it did remind Robyn of the old record store on Wayland.

"Hmm... you guys set for taking on the Gym tonight? I might see if there's a café or something. Grab a bite to eat before taking a look myself."

"I'd be up for eating," Robyn answered. "Don't think I've had anything since we got of the boat, and that was AGES ago. Is there a place around here?"

Nina, the only one of Robyn's Pokemon who remained outside of her ball, sniffed at the air but all she could smell was dirt. Lots of dirt. "Lilll.....Petilil...." This place...doesn't seem nice...

"I suppose the seat's open. I think I saw you on the route. Take it you had some trouble with our fellow trainers?" he smirked, gesturing to the seat across from him. "Name's Russel, by the way. So what brings you here?"

"Trainers? Those chumps don't deserve the right to have that title." Morgan did his own smirking as sat, dropping his duffel bag at his feet. "Nice to meet you, Russ. The military's brought me here...sort of. I mean, I chose to be stationed here, but I'm almost certain I wouldn't be here if I weren't enlisted. Just...had to get away from the 'rents, y'know?" He paused slightly, taking off his glasses. "What about you? I assume you're here for the League Challenge, yeah?" He shot back a query of his own.

"I want to try my luck at the league. Needed to get away from home. Hoenn was nice, but I want to see the world." Russel stretched, looking out. "So you're in the military? What was it like?"

"Well it's, uhh...Well I haven't gotten that far honestly. Fresh outta school, so i'm still kind of green. Basic training was probably the most challenge i've had so far, and even then I wasn't in any life-or-death situations. Also: Hoenn? Nice? Heh, we must be from opposite ends of it then. I'm from Mauville myself. One the girls that was with us, Alix, she said she was from Hoenn too." Morgan let out a bit of a scoff as he put his glasses back on. "Even in a whole new region, the world is still as small as ever."

"Large group of trainers all from different regions. Makes sense there'd be some overlap. Fortree, by the way." he said, shrugging as well. "I find it weird we haven't run into any local trainers. I know another from Unova might be around here."

"The black chick with us said she was from Unova." Morgan quickly confirmed, almost cutting himself off mid-sentence to flag down a nearby waitress. After asking for a cup of java, he turned his attention back to Russel. "To be honest, I wasn't expecting an overlap. This place is like, brand new to me. Brand- brand new. Like, i've never seen anything about this region on the news, or in books, or in anything. Could just be me, though." He dismissed his own thoughts as the waitress returned. He nodded in thanks as she left. "The wild pokémon here are kind of...weird, too. Like, there was one I saw earlier, A Shinx. A cat lookin' thing? Never seen one of those before! And at the Lake? After we trashed those beatniks, I caught a Squirtle! Like, of all the pokemon to run into, I find a Kanto starter!" Morgan managed to keep his voice low, but it was clear that he was excited by the developments.

"One of them from the group was from Unova, huh?" Russel muttered to himself. "Wasn't expecting the pokemon all over the place. And yet here I am just catching familiar pokemon from home." he laughed a little. "Anyway, how did you find this place? I just find out about this place recently. Family member told me about it."

"It kinda sort of just, appeared in my station locations. I didn't have much to choose from, and Gensia was the only one overseas. So I picked without a second thought. I almost thought I wasn't gonna get it, that worked out better than I was hoping. What kind of pokémon did you catch?"

"Caught a Ralts. Thought he'd be fun to bring around. Also caught a Lotad. She's nice, but I admit I caught her just for the gym. Might let her go afterwards. Maybe she could help out back home..." Russel shifted in his chair, deciding to change the subject. "So... the gym. Got any plans?" he was hoping this one would probably go before him. "You plan on going to fight the leader today? Mind if I watch?"

"Fight, today? Nah. I'm not all that interested in the League challenge here, and not nearly eager enough to rush in headfirst like that. I mean, I guess i'll go through some of the gym leaders, just to see how they're like here, but I have no intentions on fighting tonight. I'm quite sure at least one person from our group's gonna fight. We just wait for them to come up this way, and latch onto their coattails." Morgan answered, finishing what was left of the hot, dark liquid that inhabited his mug.

The topic of taking on the gym leader in Kalita city caught the attention of a nearby Trainer. Brandon Harlaw had just beaten the gym leader, Barrett, a few hours previously, and was currently taking a break to relax with his Pokemon. All of whom were sitting down at the table he was at, taking sips of the very drinks that he decided to treat them with for such a good job at the gym earlier.

"Barrett is not that hard when it compares to some gym leaders," Brandon spoke up after a lull in the conversation between Morgan and Russel, turning towards the two other Trainers in the cafe. "You just gotta use the basics of battling to beat him. And even then, I used two Pokemon who were weak to his and I managed to beat him," Brandon continued, pointing at a Croagunk sitting across from him and a small Drillbur that was sitting atop the table, "Admittedly Perry my Marill did most of the work."

Upon hearing the new voice, Russel turned around. "Well... thanks for the advice. Nice to know Munchie here can stand a chance." he said, pointing to his Gulpin. "Name's Russel. Aaaaand you are...?"

"Brandon. And it isn't a problem. Not like I'm telling you some secret way to beat him or anything," Brandon replied, looking at Russel's Gulpin after he pointed at it, "He'll be good. I don't know if it was just me, but Barrett seemed easy. He might've been having a bad day or something like that."

"Morgan here." The sailor put up his hand in a bit of a wave, to indicate that his name was, indeed, the one he said. "Put it this way, he is the first gym. Y'know, he's gotta be the guy to give the younger ones a chance. Pull his punches and whatnot. What kind of types was he using?" Morgan asked.

"Ground. Like Norma here," Brandon said, nodding at Morgan's introduction of himself and pointing to the Drilbur that was on top of his table. The Pokemon looked up when she heard her name said, taking a moment to look at the new people before going back to her lemonade. "I guess that is the reason. Ya don't want to give the new Trainers one of the harder gym leaders to battle first time 'round."

"Right... ground trainer." Russel said. After a second, he thought of something. "Tell me... were there any other trainers challenging the gym today? Or have you been travelling alone?" Not likely, but maybe he hasn't left town yet...

"Well I've been traveling with myself so far. I just got here to Gensia a few days ago," Brandon started, doing his best to recall if anyone had gotten in line after him, "I think there was someone else waiting in line, but Barrett had ran off after my battle to I guess there really isn't anyone else. Can't battle him until he comes back though."

"...Was that earlier today? We ran into Barrett." suddenly remembering earlier that day, Russel decided to see if he could find anything out about the other group there. "Tell me... have you encountered any strange trainers? Groups of uniformed trainers in a military get-up? They were the reason Barrett was at the lake..."

"We did...? Must've been before I popped up..." Morgan thought on the appearance of the gym leader, before giving his own two cents on the 'trainers'. "They were blocking off Lake Lapis 'fore were cleaned them out. Fuckers had guns, of all things. The one I fought said they a part of some sort of security firm called Equinox, but it had to be more than that. Last I checked, you needed a warrant for holding down a public area like the way they did."

Brandon listened to what Morgan had to say about the incident with gun-toting people working for a security firm before speaking up, "I have certainly not heard of any firm called Equinox before. When I went through Lake Lapis there were only Pokemon. Definitely would have noticed if there were guys with guns running around. Kinda scary thinking about it."

"Hmph. Scary to some, angering to others. That, and they were barely intimidating. Talked big game, but the one I fought was a fuckin' bitch. Could of handled him with, or without my pokémon. You know how some people are. Think they're hot shit, but end up nothing more than cold diarrhea." Morgan replied, the malicious comtempt in his voice proving to be more than obvious.

A look of annoyance crossed over Brandon's face briefly at the harsher use of language Morgan used, but he nodded at his sentiment nonetheless. "At least no one was hurt, right? It would be terrible if someone or their Pokemon were injured in anyway by these guys you're talking 'bout. Hopefully they'll be dealt with quickly enough so that there are no more instances like what happened to you two."

"Here's hoping..." Russel said, raising his cup. "Those guys at the lake weren't tough, but I get the feeling they weren't the best they had." Suddenly an employee walked up. "Excuse, Mr... Manov? Someone came in asking you to join him." Russel perked up, looking at the man "Right now?" after getting a nod in response, Russel shrugged. "Gents, I've got a sudden summons. Suppose I'll have to leave you two. Been nice meeting ya. I'll hopefully be seeing you at the gym."

"...No need to hurry after them, first gym's in that town and I doubt we'll be running through it!..."

First gym? Elias only kind of remembered people talking about the gym. And that one guy during the Equinox fight was the gym leader wasn't he?

He couldn't go to the gym now though, he had to fix his guys.

"There's probably one of those Pokemon Centers near the gym, right?" Elias asked. He wanted to heal his Pokemon. But he also kind of wanted to see the rest of the group's gym battles too. He was a lot better at learning through watching than learning through books, or book. The battles might take a while though, what if he got hungry mid-way through? Would he be allowed to leave?

"Or maybe some place with food..." he muttered, half to himself. Food would be good.

Alan waved goodbye to Russel as he moved on ahead to the city, making sure to thank him once more for his help with Clay, before making sure his Pokemon were all nearby and heading into Kalita City himself. As he made his way inside he noted that Kalita wasn't quite as lively as Aquamar, although that was probably natural since Aquamar was a port city. Sightseeing wasn't really on Alan's to do list anyway. He was much more interested in the Gym that sat atop the hill. It was hard to tell at a distance, but the gym looked like it had fallen into disrepair. "Chuck wasn't exactly the tidiest guy around but he had some pride in his gym's appearance at least. This Barrett guy must not feel the same..." Alan said to himself as he gazed around at the gym and the city that surrounded it.

"Well, we can take on the gym tonight if you guys think you're up to it." He said looking down at his Pokemon gather around him, though he already knew the response he would get. Clay and Samson both nodded enthusiastically while Mary visibly cringed at the thought. "Don't worry Mary, you won't be able to do much against a Ground type gym anyway so you'll be sitting this one out. Now let's get you guys rested up at a Pokemon center first. Gotta be at your best for a serious fight like this after all."

A nearby tramway seemed to be a shortcut up the hill to the gym so Alan got on board it upon seeing that it connected to another Pokemon center at the top near the gym. After a short ride, he entered the center and had the three Pokemon return to their balls so he could leave them with the nurse for treatment. There was a bit of a wait so Alan sat down at a nearby bench but found himself quickly growing restless. Sitting still had never been something he was good at and he was eager to get to the gym as soon as he could. Suddenly he remembered the training journal that his father had given him before he left and figured that now was as good a time as any to start filling it out.

Alan quickly dug it out of his backpack and began to jot down his notes about the challenges Samson and Clay had overcome today. That part was easy enough but when it came to planning out what they could improve on in the future, that was a bit more difficult. They both had the drive and will to fight but they were severly lacking in discipline and focus. Clay simply charged ahead and tried to punch his way through whatever stood in his way regardless of the consequences. Samson had a similar problem. While Alan was so busy with Clay, Samson had just flown around aimlessly fighting anything he saw.

And then there was Mary. Alan was starting to wonder why he had even brought her along to begin with. Her gentle nature was a nice change of pace but trying to get her to fight at all would possibly be more work than it was worth. Still, when he thought about how happy she was to come along with him it made it hard to consider letting her go on her own again.

Writing in the journal had shown Alan that he had a lot more problems than he had initially thought. That was probably for the best though as he may have never thought twice about some of these things a if he hadn't stopped to reflect . Now that he had established his progress and his problems, he could start coming up with solutions. So as he continued to wait, Alan turned his thoughts to various training exercises he could have each Pokemon go through and jotting them down in his journal.

Russel followed the waiter to a nearby table. There was a man sitting there, roughly Russel's age. He wore a black vest without the pocket for pokeballs, and a white shirt beneath instead of a purple one. He wore a black fedora, covering his short hair. "Russel. Didn't think you'd get here so fast." the man smiled, gesturing to the seat across from him.

Russel took a seat, leaning his chair back. "Good to see ya, bro. Thought you would have left town already. Figured you'd have no trouble with the gym." He took a look around "Oi, Sergei, would have thought you'd have one of your pokemon out..."

"Just beat the Gym Leader not too long ago. He out for a bit of time, and I had to wait for him to get back. My pokemon are at the pokemon center. Took a step outside to get some air, saw you across the street..."

"And so here we are." Russel said, interrupting him. The two took a sip of their drinks before Russel changed the subject. "So... how has Dad been doing?" Sergei smiled again "He was really happy to hear you were going on your own journey. Said it'd do you some good." That last part made Russel wince, but he smiled and nodded. "Oh! By the way, he wanted to give you a gift." He reached under the table, scavenging around until he pulled up a container holding a pokemon egg. "Been lugging this thing with me since I got here. Thing's damn near close to hatching. I'd say it'll hatch early morning tomorrow."

Russel took the egg with a wide grin. Munchie prodded the container curiously before it was moved back under the table. "Wow! I better call him and say thanks." He turned to Munchie, the smile still plastered on his face "We got a new friend, Munchie! ...So what kind of Pokemon is it?"

"Where's the fun in that? It'll be a nice little surprise when it hatches..." Sergei said, smirking as he looked out the window. "So, you planning on seeing the sites and then heading to the next city?"

"Actually, I wanted to challenge Barrett. It's the whole reason I went to this city first." Russel said. Sergei jerked his head around to face Russel, one of his eyebrows raised. "Wait, you're actually challenging the Gensia League? I thought you were just here on a vacation." Again, Russel twitched, seeming a little agitated. "I did just want to get out of Hoenn, yeah. But I figured 'why not'? I'll be stopping by every city on the way anyway, might as well test my luck at the Gyms."

Sergei seemed a little more tense. "Well then... good luck. I'll be heading out tonight." Russel groaned "Come on, bro, don't be like that. Just because we're after the same thing doesn't mean we have to compete right now." After a shrug in response, the two just sat there, finishing up their food. A couple minutes later, Russel stood up, ready to leave. Unsure of what to say, he decided to try and give a simple warning. "Oi... if you insist on going by yourself, look out for some group calling themselves Equinox."

"Equinox? I ran into a couple of guys at the port in some fancy get-up. Thought they could mess with the new arrivals. Some jerk named Gail tried to recruit me after I got them to buzz off." Sergei responded. "That one seemed to be higher-up there... seems like trouble. The whole lot of them do. Reminds me of those Team Plasma punks we had back home a few years ago. Take care out there, Russel."

Russel walked out, taking a moment to try and fit the egg container into his backpack. "Well that went well. Met a couple new trainers, saw some of the family, and we even have a new pokemon ready to join us." he said to Munchie. After he had managed to stuff the egg inside, he sighed and turned to Munchie "...You don't mind that I'm challenging the League, do you?" Munchie seemed confused at the sudden question, but gave Russel a reassuring pat on the leg. Gul Gulp. Russel smiled, picking up Munchie and putting him on his shoulder "Damn right. Now let's head to the Gym."

"Don't think I've had anything since we got of the boat, and that was AGES ago. Is there a place around here?"

It's not like I know the place... was Alix's first thought, slightly amused by it. "I dunno... the map I picked up in Aquamar doesn't go into much detail on how the cities are laid out." A few people had already gone off in search of food or other things. The signpost she had examined a minute or so earlier had pointed out a few notable places, though, so she stole another look at it.

Among the pointing arrows were two leading to Pokémon Centers. The one aiming at the Center higher up on the hill also detailed a handful of cafés, presumably for the benefit of travelling Trainers. "Here we go, there's a few up the hill from here. Near one of the Pokémon Centers, apparently," she noted.

Alix and Robyn promptly boarded one of the trams providing transport between the higher and lower points of the city, though the lighter-skinned Trainer had to return Gideon and Stana to their Poké Balls due to a staff member informing her of a limit of one Pokémon out of their Ball per Trainer. She held on to Matti, though, since she figured he was still little and therefore needed constant care. The tram journey was rather short, though that didn't stop Alix from staring a bit. As far as she knew, Hoenn didn't have this sort of thing. The cable car from the base of Mt. Chimney to the summit was far slower... and prone to rocking if heavy winds were present.

Soon enough the two Trainers were at the top of the hill. Barrett's Gym was even less impressive up close: it looked weather-beaten, damaged, and in general disrepair. A stark contrast to the man who had presumably taken the time to keep his appearance immaculate back at the lake. Didn't look very... Gym-like, was the best phrase Alix could think of.

Still. Food wasn't going to find itself. They pressed on, finding a large place a minute's walk from the Pokémon Center and scoring a table for themselves. The café was rather well-populated, with most of the tables and booths taken up by people and Pokémon, including some of the latter that Alix had never seen before. A kid a few years younger than the two Trainers was playing a guitar at the other end of the room.

Almost as soon as Alix and Robyn were seated, a waitress hurried over, notepad in hand and menus under one arm. "Hey, what can I getcha this evening?" she asked in a cheery tone as she passed the menus over. Alix took a moment to consider the options... there was a fair bit to choose from. "Hmm... you don't mind if I take a moment, do you? I'll just get some water and a tray of food for four Pokémon for now. Oh, and an extra plate, if possible, since I'll need to keep some separate for Matti here." The Togepi in question was wriggling around, trying to take in all the sights. Alix knew well that trying to calm him down wouldn't work when he was like this.

Eek. I still haven't properly introduced myself to Jen yet... she seemed shy back on Route Three, so if I'm lucky she won't run away. That'd be a mess... chasing after a loose Torchic.

"Alrighty," the waitress answered, making notes. "And for yourself, ma'am?" she asked, turning to Robyn.

"Uh...." Robyn hadn't really made up her mind yet when the waitress turned to her expecting an order.

"Lillil! Petilil!"

"OK, well I'll get a tray of food for five" Wait, does Sauza even have a mouth? No... "sorry, make that four Pokemon, with a separate plate as well. Andddddd......." I don't know.... "I'll just take a lemonade to start. I'll try and make up my mind when you come back."

"Alrighty then. I'll be right back with your drinks," the waitress said as she moved back to the counter to complete the order.

As Nina bounced up onto the table to get a better view of the area, Robyn turned her attention back to the menu. "Um, I dunno. Do you want to just split like a plate of nachos or something?"

As the others scattered away, Heidi and Eurydice entered Kalita City together. Heidi had her eyes set on the Gym, and she was going to battle it before the end of the day. "What say you we go ahead and get our Pokémon healed at the Pokémon Center by the Gym, then head inside it to challenge Barrett?" she asked the younger girl, Yani flying around the two.

Eurydice nodded enthusiastically. The Gym was a good place to start their stay. She took a minute to survey the city. It was a nice, big city. She surrendered her Pokemon inside the Center, taking time to talk with Heidi as they waited. "What kind of Pokemon do you think Barrett has?" she wrote out. She knew she had a good spread of Pokemon in regard to types, but it was good to know what you were going up against.

Heidi had also given the nurse her Pokémon to heal them, then sat down while she waited. "Hmm. I don't really know, and I'm not sure what I should hazard a guess at. I've heard that Kanto and Hoenn had Rock Gyms as their starting ones, and Sinnoh did the same thing, so maybe Rock? Which would make your Ponyta useless against it. But it could also be a Bug Gym, though I don't really know if a gym in such disrepair would be a Bug Gym." There were plenty of possibilities, although she was pretty sure it wasn't going to be a Dragon gym. That would be a bit too much for a starting Gym.

Eurydice nodded, trying to think of which Pokemon she should bring. Budew, and Ducklett... the others were almost useless. Budew could use Absorb, and Ducklett could use Water Gun. "Which Pokemon are you going to use?"

"Of course it will depend on what kind of Gym it is, but if my speculation on it being a Rock Gym are right, I'll be using Laura and Lewis, my Mudkip and Surskit. Though I will have to be careful with Lewis since he's part Bug." Heidi answered Eurydice's question. "What about you?" she asked back.

"Budew. Ducklett." She went and got her Pokemon as soon as they were ready. She decided to go ahead and keep all her Pokemon. Just in case it wasn't a Rock gym. But she put Budew out first just in case. Heidi followed soon after and got her own Pokémon back, letting Yani back out of her Safari Ball as they exited the Pokémon Center and headed towards the Gym, entering it one after another.

Russel took his time walking to the Gym, still finalizing his strategy in his head. Russel noticed the strange girl with the Ponyta from before with another girl heading into the Gym. Well, at least I'm not the only one trying my luck. He took a look around the gym, seeing some seats for observers. He walked past the pair, heading to the side. So, Barrett, let's see what you've got...

Alix briefly consulted her own menu upon hearing Robyn's suggestion. "Hmm... Sure, why not. That plate looks big enough for two." The decision sorted, she turned her attention to her satchel and pulled out the handful of Poké Balls present. She opened the Ball containing her most recent catch: a familiar face from Hoenn popped out. Confused as to her surroundings, the Torchic looked around for a few seconds before chirping and hiding under Alix's chair. "Tor?" She sounded scared.

"Hey there. Remember me?" Alix queried, leaning over to look down at the Fire-type. Jen glanced upwards amid her continuous examination of the area, but didn't say anything. Maybe the idea of having a Trainer was a scary thought. "Jen, meet Matti. Matti, say hi. And don't go running off," Alix introduced the two Pokémon, setting Matti down on the floor.

"Togeh!" Matti promptly ran under the chair and waved hello. Alix heard another "Tor?" before a squeak from the Togepi and a "Rrr... chic chic." She glanced under her seat again to find that Matti had given the Torchic a hug as an introduction, and Jen was making a face and trying to get out of it. Chuckling, she looked back up at Robyn and Nina.

"Apparently Jen's not the type to do hugs," she noted, amused by this development.

The interior of Barrett's Gym was drastically different from the ruined outside. In stark contrast to the crumbling and decaying exterior, the Gym itself was pristine and in . A large circular arena - its floor composed of sand and dirt - dominated the open-air Gym, surrounded by seats arranged in a ring around the center. Two platforms, one blue and one red, stood at opposing sides of the arena. They were raised a few feet off the ground below for Trainers to properly conduct their matches.

Barrett was already waiting at the top of the red platform, backed up by a hovering silver machine fitted with several racks of Poké Balls and a few flat-screen monitors built into his side of the arena. While he kept the neon-green mohawk, he had changed into semi-formal attire. "Ah, a handful more come to challenge the local master of Ground-type Pokémon!" he declared, his voice carrying through speakers due to the Gym's size, as Heidi, Eurydice and Russel entered. A bright silver security camera glinted on its wall-mount near the entrance, explaining how he knew they had entered the Gym. "Say... I remember y'all being part of the merry band back at Lake Lapis. Thought I'd see ya again soon enough." A brief chuckle came over the speakers.

"All righty! Let's get down to business! Y'all look like you're set for a challenge. Come on up, and see if you can step to Barrett! Take your first shot at Gensia's Pokémon League!"

The inside of the Gym looked much better than the outside. Heidi didn't give Eurydice a chance to start as she stepped up first towards the arena. "I'll be your first challenger!" she called to him as she got onto the blue platform. Would've liked to be on the red one, but the color of the platform isn't important. Barrett gave another chuckle and grabbed one of the Pokéballs to the side. "Then lets get this show on the road!"

Heidi grabbed Lewis' ball and both of them threw their Pokéballs towards the arena. Her Surskit popped out, while on Barrett's side a Sandile appeared. A Pokémon that Heidi had never seen or battled. She took out her Pokédex to get quick data on it. Ground/Dark? That's an odd combination. Very interesting and makes me want to get one, but odd nevertheless. If only Lewis knew Bug moves... Even if she hadn't sent out Lewis, her only Pokémon with a Bug move was Daniel, her Metapod, and she was fairly sure he wouldn't be as good as Lewis. He had Bubble, at least, and could actually move, so he had more of a chance to avoid attacks.

"An interesting Pokémon you've got there! Let's see how well it does against my Sandile! Sandile, move in for a Bite!" The little crocodile was faster than it had been at first sight and Lewis didn't have time to avoid the attack. Heidi cursed herself mentally for not being fast enough to get in an order, but she'd make sure not to make that mistake again.

"Lewis! Quick Attack on that Sandile! And watch out for his attacks!" The Surskit traveled quickly over the sand and dirt to attack the Sandile, the hit landing on him. He moved away quickly so as to not get hit again.

That, however, wouldn't be happening just yet. "Sandile, whip up a Sand Tomb for the little water bug!" The Sandile moved around the arena fast to create a small sandstorm that was confined to the arena and the immediate area. Barrett seemed to be used to it, while Heidi had some problem seeing. Lewis was taking hits from the sand storm, his movement hindered because of it.

"Lewis, shake the sandstorm off and hit him with Bubble!" Lewis scouted the arena for the Sandile, ready to use his Bubble attack when he'd see him. Barrett used the sandstorm to his advantage as he gave another command. "Sandile, use Torment to surprise the little fellow!" Sandile, hidden in the sandstorm, managed to sneak up on Lewis and hit him with a Torment attack, biting, tackling and doing whatever he could to make sure that Lewis would get angry towards him. It seemed to work, though in doing that, he had revealed himself to Lewis, who fired off a Bubble at Sandile. The move connected and seemed to hurt the Sandile, but he wasn't about to give up.

"That's it! Now hit him with another Bite!" The Sandile moved in for another Bite, but Lewis was quick enough this time to not get bitten. Heidi was well aware of what Torment did as she gave him an order again. "Lewis, you can't use Bubble again after just using it! Use Quick Attack again, then alternate between that and Bubble!" Lewis nodded internally to himself as he hit the Sandile with another Quick Attack, followed shortly by a Bubble.

The sand storm was lessening, but still present. Barrett was quick to order his Sandile to use his Bite repeatedly, throwing in a Sand Attack now and then. When the sand storm lessened, Barrett had him bring it up again. The sand storm was hurting Lewis, but he could hang in there. By the fourth Bubble attack, both Pokémon were getting pretty weak and almost seemed to only need one hit more or so to fall down, but they were both stubbornly holding up, not wanting to give the other one a chance to win.

Lewis moved in for another Quick Attack, which didn't take down the Sandile, who retaliated with another Bite, which left Lewis even weaker than before, but still standing. He didn't seem like he was able to move towards the Sandile, so he stood still where he was, keeping himself up. "Sandile, finish him off with another Bite!" Barrett called to his Pokémon, who quickly went over to Lewis, ready to attack him. But Lewis had other plans for that as he sprayed his opponent with bubbles and moved out of the way as the defeated Pokémon slumped towards the ground after his jump for the bite. Both trainers returned their Pokémon to their Pokéballs, and Barrett acknowledged that it was a victory for Heidi as the sand storm dispersed.

"That was pretty good, but now comes the second part!" He grabbed another Pokéball after he'd put Sandile's Pokéball back into its place. Heidi did the same, putting Lewis' Pokéball onto her belt, then grabbing Laura's. Both trainers again threw their balls at the same time, both Pokémon appearing at the same time. For Heidi, it was her Mudkip. For Barrett, it was his Rhyhorn.

This time, there was a considerably more difference in height than earlier. Laura was actually smaller than Lewis, while Rhyhorn was taller than Sandile. However, she was confident that size wasn't all. Maybe he was stronger than her, but somehow, she'd win. Immediately, Heidi ordered Laura. "Use your Mud Slap against him!" She quickly did as Heidi told her and started the battle with a Mud Slap attack to Rhyhorn. While there wasn't any actual mud there, the sand and dirt was good enough for her to use, and the attack had its intended effect as it hit the Rhyhorn.

Heidi knew that Mud Slap was basically like a Sand Attack that did damage, so it was a great move to use against a big brute like Rhyhorn. He'd show how much of a brute he was as Barrett ordered him. "Don't just stand there and take the attack! Answer it with Fury Attack!" Damn, Heidi thought. That was a pretty good move, and if she was unlucky, it would do some serious damage to Laura. Thankfully, due to the Mud Slap, he missed Laura who had also found it easier to dodge his attack and answered with another Mud Slap. A Tackle wouldn't be good against Rhyhorn, but she knew that she couldn't have Laura just use Mud Slap the entire fight.

Barrett was not happy with how Rhyhorn had missed the small Mudkip, but it was to be expected with the combination of Rhyhorn being bigger and slower, and him having been hit by the Mud Slap attack, along with the inaccuracy of Fury Attack. But that wasn't going to stop him or Barrett. "Alright, since Fury Attack isn't working, use Horn Attack instead!" Rhyhorn turned around, horn in position as he charged towards Laura who tried to avoid the attack, but got hit. She got thrown away and the horn had left a small wound on her, but she was tough and hung in there.

"Laura, use Growl, followed by another Mud Slap!" Laura did as she was told and gave the Rhyhorn a growl, which seemed to work, before she Mud Slapped him again, doing a good bit of damage to him. He still stood proud, though, taking the attack like it was nothing. "Try Fury Attack again!" Barrett hoped that the little Mudkip was wounded enough to be hit by the Fury Attack. But alas, she avoided it again. "Fine then, this time, use Bulldoze!" Heidi had no idea what that move was, having never heard it before. The Rhyhorn lifted his front legs up, standing on his hind legs for a few moments before he stomped down, making the earth shake a bit and managed to send Laura flying again, who was now bruised after she landed a bit badly, but she wasn't about to give up.

"Laura, Yawn at him, then do another Mud Slap." She'd have to use that move in order to manage through the rest of the fight. Laura yawned at the Rhyhorn, making him yawn back. Of course, it didn't work just yet, as Barrett told him to attack again with another Horn attack. Laura managed to get off another Mud Slap before she got hit, gaining yet another wound on her small body. Before long, though, the Rhyhorn's eyelids grew heavy and he yawned again before slumping down and falling asleep. "Get up, Rhyhorn! Dreamland ain't gonna help you win!" But he wasn't waking up, making him a prime target for Laura's Mud Slap. She slapped her tail fin against the ground a few times, making a few Mud Slaps hit Rhyhorn before he woke up again, feeling weaker than when he fell asleep.

This had been just the advantage Laura had needed. She now had the upper hand, pretty much, and had a chance to win this for her trainer. She did another Yawn, causing the Rhyhorn to yawn again, then used another Mud Slap, weakening him further. The Rhyhorn wouldn't have that, though, as he charged with another Horn Attack, which hadn't missed so far. However, this time was the exception as Laura avoided the attack, and Rhyhorn fell again prey to the world of dreams, sliding in the sand as he had fallen asleep while running. Laura used the time to use a few more Mud Slaps, and when Rhyhorn woke up again, he barely had the strength to stand up. Barrett admitted defeat and returned Rhyhorn back to his Pokéball before Heidi did the same for Laura. "You did great!" she said to the Pokéball containing her hurt Mudkip. "Both of you." she added as she picked up the Pokéball containing her hurt Surskit. She placed the two Pokéballs back on her belt before turning her attention to Barrett.

He gave a hearty laugh before he began talking again. "Now that was a great battle! Congratulations, you've earned this!" He threw a small bag over to Heidi, which contained what she'd won. She opened it to reveal a badge, some cash and a TM. "That there's the Arena Badge! Go ahead, pin it on yourself where you want and show that you beat the first gym of the Gensia region! The TM in there is for Bulldoze, the attack my Rhyhorn used! It's quite effective, I tell you, though your Mudkip showed that she's a tough little cookie!"

Heidi thanked Barrett before she stepped down off the platform and pinned the badge onto her shirt. It looked pretty good, and marked the start of her journey through the region. She'd need to remember to heal her Pokémon, but first she wanted to see Eurydice battle. "Alright, now that one of you has battled me, how about one of the other two step up and give me another challenge? I'd love to see what you're gonna throw out at me!" He gave a small chuckle, ready for another fight.

The antics of Alix's Pokemon were somewhat amusing. "I'm not surprised. Doesn't look like she has any arms," Robyn commented. I should probably bring her sister out, let them see each other.

She reached into her carrier bag, fishing out the most recently filled Pokeball. The orange colored Chick Pokemon emerged on the tiled floor of the restaurant, looking around at it's new surroundings. "Chic?" Laila was a bit confused until under Alix's chair she spotted a familiar face. "Torchictor!" The blue feather was barely kept in place as she dashed over to her nestmate. "Torchic!" She rubbed her feathers up against Jen, happy to see her safe.

Robyn looked down at the scene. "Awwww, figured she would be worried about her."

Nina however was not pleased that her trainer's attention had shifted away from her. "LilLIL! Petilil. She bounced over, landing on the plate that had been placed in front of Robyn. "LIL!"

Robyn's attention turned to her starting Pokemon. "Yes Nina, I see you too. Calm down." She pet the Bulb Pokemon's head as the waitress returned with the trays full of Pokemon food, as well as the trainer's drinks.

"All right, here's the chow," she said as she put the food down. "Have any luck on choosing something to eat?"

"Yeah," Robyn answered. "Can we get the nachos, please?" While Robyn's attention was again diverted, Nina took the opportunity to poke at the food placed in front of her, and steal an exploratory bite.

"Of course, I'll put that in right now." She jotted the order down and headed back to the kitchen.

Robyn turned back to Nina. "Hey! You couldn't wait could you?" She pulled Nina away from the main tray and set her down to the side. "Lil!" "Here." Robyn scooped some food onto the provided plate and set it in front of the Grass-type. "You got your own food, OK?" Nina started munching on one of the nuggets as Robyn pulled the other Pokeballs out, ready to get the rest of her team fed.

"Tor!" Jen seemed to calm down a bit upon Laila's arrival on the scene. Matti, however, wasn't intending to let go any time soon, as he had found a nice source of warmth in the Fire-type. But he could smell food nearby... up top, where Alix was. Food, or warmth?

"Matti, Jen, food's here," Alix told the Pokémon under her chair. Curious, Jen half-walked, half-dragged Matti out from their spot to investigate. "Torchic?" "Yup, dinner time." Alix dug her packet of baby Pokémon food out of her backpack and set a few cubes on the spare plate she'd requested: it was important to keep Matti's stuff separate from the rest due to differing formulae and ingredients. Once that was sorted, she bent down and picked up her Togepi, sitting him on her lap and giving him one cube at a time.

Jen, however, got a portion of the café's food like the others, whom Alix let out of their own Balls before setting the tray of food on the floor. There were too many Pokémon out at once to have them all at the table, she reasoned. Upon catching sight of Gideon, Jen gave a peep of fright and ran to Laila. Gideon was a mite confused by this, but wasn't about to start a fight when there was food up for grabs. Stana was already digging in... Ludevic, however, was asleep yet again.

"Aww... Gideon won't hurt you, Jen, you're on the same team. Right, Gideon?" Alix queried of her Water-type.

"Oshawo." Gideon's response was one of understanding, thankfully accompanied by a nod. He waved to the two Fire-types before taking some of the café-provided food for himself.

Alix sighed, hoping Jen and Gideon would sort the problem out themselves, before giving Matti another cube of food to occupy him for a while and looking over to Robyn. "While we're waiting... what kind of dancing do you do again? You mentioned a 'crew'?" The term was unfamiliar to her: before she had to cut back a bit to take care of Matti, Alix had been dancing with a studio and instructors. There were specific routines each semester, which the studio's classes learned and mastered before taking them to performance competitions.

" There's probably one of those Pokemon Centers near the gym, right? Or maybe some place with food..."

"Umm..." Erika lightly said as she pulled out her Pokégear and started to scan through the map of Gensia before finding Kalita City.

"Let's see there's two Pokémon Centers. Huh. It looks like the city's kind of split in two or something and you need to take a tramway between the two. I've never seen one of those before. Anyways there's one Pokémon center on either side of the city and it kind of looks like the gym is on the other side of the tramway, so we'd need to cross it to get there. In terms of food there isn't much on this side of the city.

Let's see okay restaurant reviews. Yuck, people actually eat that. Okay here we go this seems more normal. Not bad. Not bad. Pretty good. Well based on online reviews there's some good cafes and stuff around the gym as well. Could probably grab something to eat at one of them if you're planning on getting your Pokémon healed as well." Erika spouted out completely missing the fact that half of what she said could have been found out by reading the signs or looking at the city itself.

Finally Erika put her Pokégear away and looked over to the boy she had more or less been walking beside for a while as they entered the city. He wasn't much taller than herself, and his clothing seemed a little more thrown together, like something you could damage or wear into without caring. Ultimately the thing that caught her interest was the carabiners on his belt loops.

"I'm not sure I've met you before, it's been crazy so far today you know? I'm Erika. I noticed those carabiners on your belt loops. Do you hike or rock climb or something?" Erika asked after introducing herself.

Over on the side of the gym, Russel had stretched back, watching Heidi and Barrett battle. Once the whole thing was done, Russel whistled, sitting back up. "Good show. And now I got to see Barrett's TM move. Doesn't seem that bad. No need to change the plan too much..." He then turned to see the girl Heidi had come in with. He smiled and waved to her. "Hey, your friend did pretty good! So, are going to challenge him next?"

As Jen came running back to her, Laila took a defensive stance, ready to go after the perceived threat to her younger sibling, but the Water-type appeared to have no interest in battle. As Gideon moved to attack the food instead, Laila turned back to Jen. "Torchic. Chicchictorchictor." It's fine. I'm gonna eat now. You should too.

Laila headed towards the food as Robyn released the rest of her Pokemon as Alix had done before. Scout quickly went over to the food trough that now lay on the ground near Alix's own, while Natalie hopped in step behind him. Sauza was uninterested in the food, as predicted, laying motionless behind the booth.

"While we're waiting... what kind of dancing do you do again? You mentioned a 'crew'?"

"Um, yeah," Robyn said, taking a sip of her lemonade as she leaned back. "Well, I was in ballet for the longest time, but it wasn't really getting me anywhere, you know? So I met up with these guys back home, they do crew dancing. It's more athletic than ballet, it's more about speed and that kind of...frenetic movement other than ballet that's more slow and deliberate, and I enjoy doing that more." If I can still do it. "It plays to my strengths and the guys back home, they're like my brothers now. Like I said, it's because of them I'm even here, ready to go after these Gym Leaders. Which is why I have a bit of a problem." She looked over to her team, still at the trough. "Natalie, come here."

"Bluuuueuuuu?" The Swablu looked up from the tray, piece of food still in it's mouth. She quickly swallowed it and hopped back towards the booth.

Robyn sighed. "No Natalie, come up here." She tapped her hand on the table top.

The cottony wings spread out for takeoff, but the pilot didn't seemed to want to heed the lights, instead staying grounded. "Bluuu.....bluuuueuuuu....." Natalie looked down at the ground and shook her head.

A bang on the table was heard as Robyn's head connected with decorated plywood. "See?" She rested her chin on her arms. "Natalie doesn't want to fly, and I can't coax her to do it. I know Nina should just roll over those Ground types in there,"

"Lillil!" Nina was happy to hear her name, but not moved enough to stop eating the food.

"but just in case she comes across one that gets the better of her, I gotta have a back up plan. Sauza can't move, Laila's a liability, and Scout might be able to handle it, but getting a type with immunity in there would be the way to go. But what good is immunity if Natalie won't even use it?"

The waitress arrived back at the table with a large plate of nachos. The cheese didn't look completely melted, like it could have used a few more seconds in the oven, but all the veggies were there and ready to be eaten. Between talking about her lost career and her clipped flyer, some comfort food would be greatly appreciated.

Alix took a moment to consider Robyn's commentary on the Gym they had to face. Ground-types... if Matti were a Togetic he'd have the immunity of a Flying-type. But, of course, the baby Pokémon was still in his junior stage, and Alix had no idea when he would change form. Gideon, being a Water-type, was the ideal choice, but it was just like Robyn said. A backup couldn't hurt.

Her entire team was still rather inexperienced, though. Stana didn't have anything except Tackle and thus had the potential to be outmanoeuvred; Ludevic would have to rely on the unpredictable Metronome; Jen was a no-go especially since she needed some one-on-one time before getting her into battles; and Alix didn't like the idea of setting Matti in the arena. He wouldn't understand what was going on... he might even get his shell cracked or chipped. Gym Leaders often had considerably stronger teams than most Trainers or the wild Pokémon on the surrounding routes. Flannery was living proof of that.

Gideon was one of Alix's most recent catches. He'd proven his bravery and accuracy on the way into Kalita... but was that enough to take on one or more Pokémon owned by a Gym Leader?

"Togepi?" Matti poked his inattentive Trainer, hoping for more food. Alix was brought back to reality by the tiny Pokémon, giving him the last half-block she'd broken up before turning her attention to the nachos and helping herself to some.

"Hmm... I might be in a similar situation. For the Gym battle, I mean," she quickly clarified. "I mean, I've got the type advantage thanks to Gideon, but I don't even know how effective he would be against a regular Trainer, let alone a Gym Leader. Maybe I'll head back to Route 3 after dinner, get some extra training in before the Gym." Maybe she would get lucky and run into a Trainer who had similar plans. Or, if Robyn agreed to it, they could stage a practice match.

"I could do a quick battle if you wanted," Robyn offered as she dug into the nachos. She took a big chunk, making sure a few of the large jalapeno peppers were on there. "If you're just looking for some warm-up action or something, we could do something to get some training in." Maybe Sauza would evolve. That would solve everything. Wouldn't even need Natalie at that point.

Her attention turned back to the Flying type, who returned to the trough with Laila and Scout. I wish I knew what was keeping you down on the ground floor, girl...

Morgan and Brandon continued to converse well after Russell made his departure. Trivial things, mostly. But as the topic floated back to pokémon, Morgan remembered something. "Roll call." He realized that he still had two new 'mons in his disposal that he hadn't acquainted himself with. One of the things he learned in basic was to get in touch with your pokémon on a personal, emotional level. He figured now would be the best time to do it, while things were still and he wasn't moving around.

Reaching for the two, newer pokéballs on his belt, Morgan released the additions to his party, and as the light faded the Weedle and Squirtle began to confusedly scan their surroundings before giving Morgan their attention. "Hey, hi." He started with a quaint wave. "My name, is Morgan. And you two (along with a couple of others), will join me as I traverse this new, uncharted terrain they call the Gensia region." He told the two in a lofty, grandiose tone. The Weedle looked to be along for the ride. The Squirtle looked more peeved than impressed. "Squir squir squirtle..." It mumbled defiantly as it crossed its arms. Morgan pretended not to notice as he continued his spiel. "See the world! Take in the sights! Participate in epic battles! Grow and evolve into bigger and better pokémon!"

Eager to show its readiness, the Weedle began inching onto Morgan's hand. "You'll be Sting. That sound cool to you?" Morgan asked the fuzzy little worm, and received elated chittering in reply as it began standing on it's equally tiny hind legs. "And you, my young Squirtle, from now on you'll be...Bruce. How's that sound?" Bruce rolled his eyes in annoyance. Morgan shrugged in return. "Welp, you're gonna hafta deal with it until I can come up with a better name." And with that, he returned the two to their respective devices. With that done, his attention went back to Brandon. "Next on the agenda (I guess), would be to scope out Barrett's Gym." He began collecting his things as he rose from the seat. "You've already fought 'im, but I won't stop you from tagging along, bro. Hot girls will be a guarantee, if you're looking for any extra encouragement." He added with a smirk.

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