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

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"Equinox, engage the Trainers at will!"

"Who's Equinox?" Elias wondered out loud. 'Where'd all the people come from?' he looked as he wondered. There were a lot of strange people in camouflage.

"You! Kid!" Some guy in the camo outfit walked in Elias' direction. He was an older guy, with faded clothes and gloves that didn't match the rest of him. Who wore gloves in public? They weren't even good climbing gloves because they were a dirty off white color. "Hey!" the man snapped his fingers in the disco gloves.

"Yeah?" Elias answered while still frowning at the man's clothes. 'Is the circus in town? Is there a paintball competition no one told me about?' "Hey are you-"

The man made a throwing motion and something flew past Elias' ear.

"Hey, watch it!" Elias tried to duck and dodge and ended up almost falling. His shoe kicked up dirt and his arms flailed as he struggled to maintain his balance.

"Nido-nidoran!" When he'd recovered there was a small but tough-looking purple Pokemon on the ground baring its teeth.

"Oh you wanna fight." Elias tossed the first Pokeball he could find onto the ground. "Why didn't you say so. Go!..."

"Abra?" The sleepy psychic was not very happy to be summoned. He sat on the ground and peered up at Elias.

"Abra! Sorry?" Elias pointed to the spitting Nidoran. "You can go back to sleep once you get rid of him. It'll be over in a flash, come on."

"Your Pokemon is going to get crushed." The Equinox/camo/weird-glove guy boasted.

"I don't think so" Elias shook his head. "My Abra's the best." he looked down at the Pokemon in question. Well he's the best at disappearing.

"Nidoran, use Peck."

"Abra...uh-oh" Fumbling for his Pokedex Elias jabbed at the buttons quickly. "Use...uh. Teleport!"

Nidoran's charging form hit thin air as Abra vanished. He reappeared a few feet away, sitting calmly on a small boulder.

"Ha!" Elias grinned at the scowling man. "See there."

"Cheap trick. Nidoran, focus your energy."

This guy's pretty focused. Elias laughed at his own joke and hit a few more buttons on his Pokedex. The next attack sounded pretty useful. "Abra, use foresight."

Nidoran didn't do anything that Elias noticed. It bared its teeth but didn't move. Well it shook a little. Which was good because Abra didn't move from its spot either.

"Another peck attack, Nidoran!"

Elias picked the last attack on the list as his counter. It sounded cool. "Metronome!"

Abra actually stood up then. Holding his tiny first in the air he waved one finger. Or, Elias thought that's what it looked like. "That's it?" The trainer frowned. The attack was supposed to be decent.

"Aaaaaa" Abra leaned to the right. Then leaned to the left. "braaaa..." And then fell over into a dead sleep.

"Ha!" The uniformed man actually struck a pose at Elias' disappointed-face. "You're done!"

"Pshh, no I'm not!" Withdrawing Abra just before Nidoran hit Elias triggered a new Pokeball. He made sure to check which one it was this time. "Falling asleep? Really? What a weird move."

"Finish this, Tess. Thundershock"

"You-" But the camo-man's protest was drowned out by the sound of his Nidoran being zapped by who knows how many volts of electricity.

"...doraaan." When the sparks and dust cleared Nidoran was still twitching.

"Finish with a tackle. Not me!" Elias quickly redirected his excited Electrike.

"Trike!"

Tess tackled the paralyzed Pokemon and then began to roll it towards camo-man as though it were a toy. Elias laughed but called his Pokemon back.

"Keep laughing kid, Pokemon, go!" Another Pokeball was hurled at Elias but he dodged to keep it from hitting him in the face.

"You must have played baseball as a kid? Did you? Can you remember that far back?" Elias mimed swinging a baseball bat. Tess tried to jump on his leg but Elias stepped back. He didn't need to be shocked right now.

"Shut up." The Equinox member yelled.

"Make me." Elias retorted. He withdrew Tess and summoned his next Pokemon into battle.

The two opponents materialized at the same time...

...and Elias laughed again.

"Paaaat!" On the ground, Patrat's red eyes were wide as a dark shadow covered its entire body. "Raaaat" The Pokemon began running in frantic circles.

In the air, Elias' Hoot-hoot was flying in a lazy circle. "Hooo. Hooo."

"Patrat, stop running and use leer!"

Elias decided that it was a lot of fun being on this side of the bird-rat battle. "Hypnosis-uh-hypnotize the Patrat." Elias waved up at Hoot-hoot.

The air went weird and bendy as Hoot-hoot's attack hit but Patrat only slowed a bit. "That usually works." Elias muttered.

Camo-guy was getting annoying again. "Tackle attack." Patrat began running with purpose.

"You could switch." Elias suggested.

"No."

Elias checked Hoot-hoot's data while Patrat began to run towards nearby trees, not towards Hoot-hoot. Which was weird. "Okay...Night shade!"

Patrat scurried up a thin tree and sat on its very top. The tree bent and became a catapult, sending the Pokemon flying so that it managed to hit Hoot-hoot who had just begun her attack.

"You can't..how did? Geez." Elias shook his head. It was an impressive attack. But still weird. "Make that rat go to sleep already." he complained.

"Hoot!" Hoot-hoot made another circle then suddenly switched to hover in mid-air briefly. The air distorted in between the two Pokemon which Elias confirmed was the hypnosis attack doing its thing.

This time Patrat was the one falling over into a dead sleep. The Equinox member shoved his hands into his pockets but there was no Pokeball thrown Elias' way.

"I think you've lost." Elias pointed out happily.

"All right, so do you jokers want to get out of here...

Elias turned to see that he wasn't the only one successful in their battle. "I think a lot of you all have lost. Heh."

"...shut up." The Equinox guy grumbled but he was retreating back to his own team already.

Elias mimicked the pose he'd seen the guy do earlier. "Ha!..."

Russel observed the other various battles with passing interest considering his attempts at fishing weren't bearing any fruit. "Now that's just sad..." he muttered after the first few Equinox grunts were taken care of. A few more were still fighting, but one seemed unaccounted for. He noticed Russel and ran up to him. "Hey, don't think you were going to go by unnoticed! Your friends might be tougher than we thought, but I'm way tougher than those rookies!" He stood up as straight as he could, leering down on Russel.

Russel shrugged, setting down his rod next to Munchie as he slowly got to his feet. "Look, they aren't really my friends, they've just been heading to the same places I've been going. And as for the idea that you'll fare better than them, why don't you just ditch that now and save us both some time and frustration?" The Equinox grunt just laughed heartily, clearly happy that Russel didn't seem to want to fight. "Oh, that's right? You don't want to fight? You too afraid to face the me, boy?"

That seemed to get Russel agitated. "Ok, you look younger than I am, so don't call me 'boy'. Second, I've been more intimidated by Team Magma than you, and one of their officers was a man named Tabitha. Finally, I never said I wasn't going to battle, I was just offering you the chance to back down now."

The grunt reached to his side, picking one of his two pokeballs and throwing it into the air. "Go!" Out of the ball burst a black crow with what appeared to be a hat on its head. Murkrow! Russel reached into his pocket to get an idea of what he was dealing with.

image#198: Murkrow Darkness Pokemon
imageimage
Height: 1'08"/0.5mWeight: 4.6bs/2.1kg
Ability: InsomniaThis pokemon cannot be inflicted with sleep
Moves: Peck, Astonish, Pursuit
If spotted, it will lure an unwary person into chasing it, then lose the pursuer on mountain trails.

"Dark, huh? And here I was hoping to let Rory have his first battle. Oh well... looks like it's you and me again, Munchie." Gulpin nodded, stepping forward, handing over the rod to Rory. The Ralts could barely hold it up, moving Russel's backpack on top of it to weigh it down. Gulpin! he held up his little stubby arms in a fighting stance.

"Murkrow! Peck the little bug!" the grunt shouted, and the crow dove towards Munchie, pecking him a couple times. "Munchie! Pound him away!" Munchie started swinging, missing a few times, getting more agitated, but managed to smack the Murkrow away. "Follow it up with a smog!" Munchie opened his mouth wide, belching out a stream of blackish green gas. The Murkrow coughed and hacked, but then flew over the gas, shaking his head to clear his head. "Don't let up! Keep using smog!" Munchie kept spouting out poisonous gas, but the Murkrow flew around it, diving towards the Gulpin.

"Now use Astonish!" the grunt cried out. The Murkrow stopped right in front of Munchie, then cried out KROW!, making Munchie jump back. However, Munchie was in the middle of preparing another attack, and the sudden shock made him cough out another cloud of gas, but instead of blackish-green, this cloud was dark purple. The Murkrow coughed again, flapping its wings to try and clear the gas. It seemed a little woozy after getting clear, but shook his head. "Dammit, Murkrow, shake it off and peck that pest!" the grunt growled. It started pecking at Munchie again, but didn't seem to be doing it with as much force. "Munchie, get rid of him. Deck him in the beak!" Russel commanded. Munchie took a few more pecks before jumping up and smacking the Murkrow square on the end of the beak, sending him rolling back. It tried to get back up, but coughed and hacked before finally collapsing on the ground, his eyes spiraling, his tongue sticking out of his mouth. kroooooow.... The Equinox grunt was grinding his teeth as he recalled his fallen Murkrow.

Gulpin-pin-pin! Munchie cheered, flexing his stubs as if they were muscular arms, but then flinched, rubbing his head where the Murkrow had been repeatedly pecking him. "HAH!" the grunt yelled, clearly not fazed that he had just had one of his pokemon beaten. "Your pokemon is on the ropes! He won't stand a chance against my strongest Pokemon! Go, Nidoran!" he said, throwing a second pokeball, releasing a small blue rodent with a sharp looking horn on her head. It growled, glaring at Munchie.

Russel gestured behind himself, telling Munchie to head back. "Oi, Rory! Yer up!" he shouted back. Rory had fallen asleep again, jolting up and walking over to its trainer. Ral? Rory nodded, slowly heading to where Munchie was standing. The two nodded to each other as they passed, and Munchie stood by Russel's leg. The grunt was clearly not amused. "How cowardly!" he said, puffing out his chest. "Swapping out because you KNOW you're going to lose! What's the matter? Too afraid to..." Russel rolled his eyes "Just go!" he said, Rory yawning again, rubbing where his eyes would presumably be. "Oi, mind yourself, Rory. This one looks tough." The grunt seemed even more unamused after being interrupted and the ignored. "Nidoran! Double Kick!" the Nidoran turned around and kicked Rory in the face ith her hind legs, sending Rory falling back on his seat. This seemed to wake him up, and he growled at his opponent. "Rory, Confusion!" Rory nodded, extending his hand out, a blue aura emanating from it. The Nidoran twisted in pain, and it was clear that this particular blow was harder than normal. Rory flicked both his arms towards the lake and the Nidoran went flying, landing face-first into the water. After a couple seconds, the Nidoran washed up on shore, its eyes swirling like the Murkrow before it.

"No fair! That was a cheap shot!" the grunt cried out, stamping his feet.

Russel shrugged "Yeah, it kinda was a lucky shot. But luck happens, my friend." he walked towards Rory, picking him up and petting his head a couple times. "Not bad, man. Not bad at all." Rory nodded and yawned again, then noticing the rod was moving. Ralts? Ralts! he pointed to the rod.

"Huh? Hey!" Russel ran over to the rod, almost crushing Rory with the one hand he was now using to hold him. He grabbed the rod right before it was pulled out from under his backpack, now reeling it like a madman. "Thought you could get away from me, huh? Well I have you..." the line came in, and the bait was gone, a wet, empty hook greeting him. "...now." He turned to the Equinox grunt, grumbling incoherently as he withdrew his Nidoran. "Well, you made me lose my catch. Doubt that's much of a consolation prize, but you can make of it what you will." he said, saying it as smugly as he could to rub it in.

Caleb was stunned by the battle royale that was unfolding near the lake, it seemed that just about everyone was in the fray. There was more Pokémon before him than he'd seen in an area that size and it amazed him to see such ferocity coming from all of them. Mere feet away from Caleb, one if the Equinox grunts had just finished his cigarette, stamping the tiny ember out on the ground before looking at the young trainer.

"So," calmly began the Grunt, "we gonna get this over with soon, or would you like some more time to pick your chin up off the ground?"

"Uhhh," was all Caleb could manage as the realization that he'd have to do battle sunk in. "Well, tha-that's not really, y'know...necessary...is it?"

"'Fraid so, pal. You ain't walkin' outta this one in one piece," the Grunt said as he detached a Poké Ball from his belt, "so you can either take the beatin' like the nerd you are or you can make it a little more interesting and at least try not to get pulverized into the dirt."

The Grunt's Poké Ball quickly expanded in his hand and a dog-like Pokémon materialized in a burst a red energy. Caleb fumbled through the pockets of his backpack straps for his Pokédex so he could find it exactly what this black and red-furred foe was. He snapped the lens at the creature and its information quickly appeared on the screen.

image#228: Houndour Dog Pokémon
image image
Height: 2' 00" / 0.6 m.Weight: 23.8lbs. / 10.8kg.
Ability: Flash Fire Makes the Pokémon immune to Fire-type attacks and strengthens the Pokémon's own Fire-type attacks upon receiving the initial Fire-type attack.
Moves: Leer. Ember. Growl.
.
Houndour normally travel in packs. They are very protective of one another and will not abandon any of its pack if they are hurt. Houndour convey their feelings using different cries.

The Houndour growled and scratched at the ground in burning anticipation, no doubt aiming to intimidate any Pokémon Caleb would soon bring out. Almost immediately, Caleb grabbed Maxwell's Poké Ball and released the Mankey from within. It didn't take long for the little primate to grasp the situation at hand and he faced the Houndour, ready and willing to put up a fight.

"Max, give 'im a Leer," called out Caleb, pointing at the Houndour for emphasis. The Mankey Leered intensely at the Houndour, though only received another Leer in return. Clearly the Equinox Grunt had some experience, at least more than Caleb. "Uh, good try, Max. Umm...oh! Use Focus Energy!"

"Alright Bloodhound," called the Grunt, "use your Growl, don't let him get the upper hand!"

While Caleb couldn't see it, Maxwell felt his own strength diminish briefly. Still, the Mankey knew he had to endure if he was to come out of this battle as the victor, so the little primate carried out his trainer's commands as they were given. "Go, Max! Use Scratch!"

Maxwell closed the gap between him and the Houndour, but not before it's trainer could call out an attack. The Houndour barked and had unleashed a burst of fire from its mouth, singing the Mankey's fur and forcing him to shield his eyes. Maxwell's Scratch went wide, if only by a hair's breadth, and the Houndour leapt back just enough to avoid an immediate followup attack.

"Max, give it another go," Caleb called and again, the Mankey moved in to attack.

"C'mon, Bloodhound," the Grunt shouted, "show this twerp the meaning of pain! Ember!!"

As if on repeat, another burst of fire escaped the Houndour's mouth as Maxwell attacked, though the Mankey had readied himself. Allowing his free hand to take the brunt of the burst, he managed to keep an eye on his target long enough to land his Scratch. The Houndour let out a small yelp as it reeled in pain.

"Dammit, Bloodhound," yelled the Grunt, clearly angered by his Pokémon showing signs of weakness. "You gonna let that hairball push you around? Burn him!"

Back and forth, the Mankey and the Houndour exchanged blows, both taking substantial damage but it seemed as though the Houndour was coming out on top. Maxwell was put on the defensive, taking every opportunity to evade and remain just out of range of his opponent's Ember attacks. However, this strategy would not last as both the primate Pokémon and his trainer were well aware of. Caleb looked to his Pokédex for assistance, maybe there was something he was missing...

Waves of text were being filtered through until he caught something, something he thought himself foolish for not realizing sooner. The Houndour was weak to Fighting-type moves, and Maxwell had but one in his arsenal. With a newfound confidence, Caleb called out to his companion. "Max, this guy's heavier than your last opponent! You know what to do!"

The Equinox Grunt, his Houndour, and even the Mankey all shared a look of perplexity, though it was only the Mankey whose face lit up with acknowledgment and even Leered confidently at his opponent.

"Alright, enough playing around," shouted the Grunt. "Let's finish this, Bloodhound. Use your Ember and don't let up!"

The Houndour darted towards the Mankey, though the Mankey was just as swift in evading the bursts of fire. All of Maxwell's waiting finally bore fruit when in the Houndour's frustration, he charged forward, almost blindly throwing a burst of fire. With a surprising amount of grace, Maxwell twisted and turned wide of the blast, delivering a swift and hard Low Kick as he did so. The Houndour's front legs gave way and his head was the first and last thing to hit the dirt, first onto his ear just before tumbling forward and then right onto his jaw immediately after.

The Equinox Grunt's own jaw hung low as he stared, dumbstruck with his mouth agape. It took a few moments before he could find his voice again, and it was a rather furious voice at that. "Dammit, Bloodhound! Get up, you stupid dog! Get up and finish that ape!!"

Discombobulated, the Houndour staggered to his feet, just barely managing to keep himself from tottering to the ground. Maxwell Leered once more at his already shaken opponent and was more than ready to finish what had been started. With Mankey closing in, the Equinox Grunt barked orders at his shakily-standing Pokémon, "Don't you let him get you like that again, Bloodhound! Keep him away from your legs!"

As offset as his equilibrium was, the Houndour was already seeing double and found it troublesome to focus. He only saw the fuzzy blurs rapidly approaching and unleashed burst after burst of Ember, though as he kept his low guard all but impenetrable, he was far too exposed above. Maxwell proved it as he leapt upward, evading a blast of fire that singed the fuzz on his toes as he dragged his claws down the length of the Houndour's back. The harsh Scratching elicited a loud yelp and a sharp whining from the dog Pokémon as he fell to the ground, overwhelmed by the pain.

"Goddammit, Bloodhound," the Equinox Grunt cried out as he fell to his knees. "No! No, no, no, why?!"

Caleb had fallen to his knees as well, though it was more from the inability to contain his excitement than from disappointment in the fallen Pokémon. Spike struggled to remain upright as his trainer fell with his arms raised, and had only managed by clinging to the hair atop Caleb's head. The Elekid met eyes with the Mankey and he raised an arm in victory, smiling as the gesture was returned along with an even broader grin. With renewed vigor, Maxwell hobbled over to his companions and was immediately swept off his feet by his bespectacled trainer. Upon taking the Mankey in his arms, Caleb couldn't help but notice the patches of burned and darkened fur that seemingly covered his companion. It wasn't anything that some time and a Potion wouldn't fix, but for the time being, the trio basked in the glory of victory.

"I swear, when I finally catch up to those two.... I don't even know what I'm going to do." Alan grumbled angrily as he trudged through the forest near Route 2, following after his overly enthusiastic Pokemon. Things had started out just fine. He had let them out to get some training in along the route, Samson had made quick work of a Caterpie, and suddenly the two just locked eyes and bolted off into the forest.

Following Samson was nearly impossible since the Taillow was flying ahead, but Clay left an obvious trail of broken sticks and trampled foliage for Alan to follow and he could only assume the two were together. Making it easier, Alan also found more unconscious Caterpie along the way. "Those two must be making good time if they can take down wild Pokemon and still stay a step ahead of me... Maybe I could..." He reached for an empty Pokeball in his bag, contemplating catching a Caterpie that his Pokemon had defeated, but quickly decided against it. He could barely handle the two Pokemon he had as it was so it would probably be best to just forget about adding another to the mix as it was.

The sounds of fighting ahead caught Alan's attention and he placed the ball back in his bag and quickened his pace. He soon came across a small clearing where Clay and Samson lay collapsed on the ground, not unconscious but clearly beaten and exhausted. Across from them stood a Machop and a Geodude along with their trainer, a man wearing a martial arts uniform with a black belt tied around his waist. The black belt held a ball in his hand looked ready to throw it. Alan quickly stepped in between his Pokemon and the trainer, holding his right hand up signalling the trainer to stop. "Wait, wait! These are my Pokemon! You can't catch them! They just got away from me, I'm sorry if they caused you any trouble." Alan said, making sure to apologize as well to help smooth things over.

The black belt looked puzzled but slowly lowered the Pokeball he was holding. "So... Someone already caught these Pokemon? Strange, they're so undisciplined I could have sworn the were wild... Well, no harm done. They were no trouble at all really." He said nonchalantly. The way the trainer dismissed his Pokemon so casually irritated Alan, but since he was the one as fault here he said nothing as the black belt continued. "Since you're a trainer too, I'd challenge you to a battle too but.... Well, it seems I've already won."

That last jab was more than Alan could stand. He turned around without responding and knelt down to check on his Pokemon. They were still conscious and didn't even seem that badly hurt. If he had to guess, Alan figured that the difference between the wild Pokemon they had been battling up until now and trained Pokemon had been greater than expected. He knew better than anyone that psychological defeat could be way more crippling than any physical beating. Walking away now wasn't an option, he had to get them to win this fight or their journey would be over before it even began. "Guys.... Get up. I know we're strong enough to beat these guys if we work together. And I know that none of us want the fight to end this way. I can't promise that we'll win every fight but if you actually start to listen to me, I promise that you'll never lose like this again." Alan whispered quietly to Samson and Clay.

He was a bit worried that he wouldn't get through to them but Clay slowly opened his eyes and gave Alan the most determined look he'd seen from the Tyrogue yet. Clay quickly got to his feet and nudged Samson until he did the same. The two shot fiery glares over at the black belt and his Pokemon. "Well, looks like they're ready for round two. How about you guys?" Alan taunted with a confident smirk as he stood and turned to face his opponent.

The black belt returned the smile with one of his own. "It doesn't matter if we do one hundred rounds, you'll never win against my Pokemon! Just like last time guys, charge forward and take them down!" At their trainers command the Machop dashed towards Samson and the Geodude flew towards Clay.

Alan used the brief moment before the Pokemon clashed to devise his strategy and then gave his orders. "Focus on the Machop guys! He'll go down a lot easier than the Geodude and Samson's beak should make quick work of him." After hearing this, Clay nodded and sidestepped the Geodude instead of meeting it head on and then dashed to intercept the Machop. He didn't quite make it in time though and the Machop aimed a sweeping kick at Samson's legs. Samson gave a quick flap of his wings to get himself airborn and avoid the kick. He followed up the dodge with a swift peck to the Machop's head, disorienting it long enough for Clay to arrive and tackle it to the ground. Getting hit so hard and so suddenly by Pokemon it had previously viewed as weak must have been a big shock for the Machop since it stayed down long enough for Samson to get in the few remaining pecks to finish it off.

Clay got off of the Machop and smiled broadly, but his victory was short lived as the Geodude came crashing into him from behind. Clay stumbled but managed to stay on his feet as he spun around to face his foe. The Geodude charged at Clay again but this time Clay braced himself and caught the Geodude. The strain was visible on Clay's face as he tried to push the Geodude back, but he simply wasn't strong enough. "What are you waiting for Samson? Get in there and help him finish the fight!" Alan called out and shortly after Samson landed on the Geodude and began pecking furiously at it.

Samson's beak did almost no damage to the Pokemon's rock skin but it was enough to break the Geodude's concentration. In that moment, Clay took advantage and lifted the Geodude over his head before throwing it to the ground. A loud thud echoed throughout the clearing as the Geodude crashed into the ground and did not get back up. This time they had really won it. Samson and Clay exchanged excited looks and chattered happily at having won the battle and Alan walked over to join them. "See? I told you we could do it! I'm really proud of you guys and I know things will only get better from here." He said patting them on the head with a broad grin of his own.

"And to you, that was a great battle. You could have just taken your win and left, but you stuck around for another go. Thank you. I know this will be a big help in getting these two to the championship." He said to the black belt, walking over and extending his hand for a hand shake. Even though the guy had started out trying to catch his Pokemon, he truly was grateful for the experience this battle had given him and his Pokemon. Now that he had shown the two that they could become so much stronger with his help, things would hopefully be much easier.

The black belt begrudgingly shook Alan's hand before collecting his fainted Pokemon. "I gotta say, I never saw that coming. I think this was a good experience for me too but.... I guess I've got a long way to go. Good luck to you from now on. If we meet again I won't lose." He said before exiting the clearing and vanishing into the woods.

Alan quietly watched him go for a bit. He never felt sorry for the loser of a fight but at the same time he knew how hard it could be to give it your all and still come up short. He quickly shook the thought from his head though. There were much more important things for him to focus on now after all. "Alright, we've probably kept the others waiting long enough guys. I'm sure you're tired, so you can rest in your balls while I take us there." Alan said, returning Clay and Samson to their Pokeballs and making his way to Lake Lapis where they had all decided to meet up.

_________________________________________________________________________________

The scene that unfolded before Alan as he arrived at Lake Lapis was not what he had been expecting at all. He found the people he had left Willow's lab with all battling a group of strangely dressed people while another group watched it all happen. "The hell? What are they doing fighting those guys? I don't think anyone said anything about having huge battle when we got here..." Alan wondered aloud as he watched battle unfold.

A woman from the oddly dressed group who was watching the battle as well seemed to have heard him and made her way over to him. "What are you doing here? This area is off limits and under the control of the Equinox Security Company. I'll have to ask you to leave the vicinity immediately." She ordered him in an authoritative tone that did fit her story of being a security guard.

It still struck Alan as odd though. Why would those guys be fighting a security company? Sure he didn't know them all that well, but they didn't seem the law breaking types. The woman clearing her throat brought Alan's attention back to her and he realized she was still waiting for him to leave. "Um... This is kinda weird but I was supposed to be meeting those guys here. Why are you fighting them?" He asked her, hoping she'd have some sort of answer that made sense.

As soon as Alan finished, the woman quickly reached towards her belt and grabbed a Pokeball. "So, you're with them eh? Normally I wouldn't mess with a buff looking guy like you, but I think I could take a gimp on no problem." She taunted, her gaze drifting to his left arm. He had worked up a bit of a sweat chasing his Pokemon all over the forest and had changed into his training clothes to cool off. His bandaged arm, wrapped tightly and bent at a slight angle to heal properly, was plainly visible as a result.

Alan did his best to keep any hint of anger from his face as he calmed himself down and thought of a good retort. Based on her hostile behavior, it seemed like this security company had been the one to pick the fight and not the people have been traveling with. He still had no idea what this was all about, but knowing that made him feel a little better about taking these guys on and showing them just what a "gimp" like him could do. "So your security company challenged them to a battle, but you were left on the sidelines... Guess you're not much of an Equinox Security guard then. More like an Equinox Gofer maybe?" Alan replied calmly with a taunt of his own, giving a mocking grin to go along with it.

The Gofer fell for the taunt and flew into a rage. "GRRRRR! I'LL TEACH YOU TO MESS WITH EQUINOX! BEAT HIS ASS MISDREAVUS!" She screamed as she threw the Pokeball she was holding, bringing forth a small floating Pokemon that looked like a little ghost girl.

"Tch! Knew it. Guess getting stuck with the small fry is what I get for being late." Alan chuckled as he flipped open his Pokedex to check out the Gofer's Pokemon.

image#200: MisdreavusScreech Pokemon
Height: 2'04"Weight:2.2 lbs
Ability: LevitateGives full immunity to all Ground type moves.
Moves: Growl. Psybeam. Spite.
.
A Pokémon that startles people in the middle of the night. It gathers fear as its energy.

Well, it's ability to levitate won't hurt me too much. It's a Ghost type though, which could be a problem. Good thing Clay has a way of getting around that. Alan thought as he read through the Pokemon's data and decided on a strategy. He grabbed Clay's ball and tossed it onto the ground, releasing the energetic Tyrogue. Alan had been concerned that Clay would still be tired from their earlier battle but if anything he seemed even more eager to fight than usual. "Alright Clay, we've gone over this one before. Start by using your Foresight to read it's moves. It's the only way you'll get anywhere in this fight." Alan called out to Clay and the Tyrogue nodded vigorously before turning to the Misdreavus and focusing intently on it.

The Equinox Gofer let out a harsh barking laugh upon seeing the Clay. "You chose a Fighting type? Against a Ghost?! It's not just your arm that's messed up is it? I'll show you why that's the worst mistake you'll ever make. Misdreavus, use Psybeam!" At it's trainer's command the Misdreavus stared intensely at Clay. It's eyes began to glow as the air rippled around her and something shot through the air towards Clay. Clay saw it coming but couldn't get out of it's way in time. He clutched his head in pain and almost fell to his knees, but seemed to resist and shook his head to regain his composure.

"Dammit, I knew she had a Psychic attack.... I'm sorry Clay but just hold on a little longer. The next time she attacks is when you take here down, alright?" Alan called out to encourage Clay and ensure him that the fight wasn't over yet. As long as he could predict the Misdreavus' moves, he could use that opening to attack.

The Gofer let out another horrible laugh. "HA! As if. That runt will never touch my beautiful Misdreavus. Finish him off with another Psybeam!" Once again, the Misdreavus' eyes began to glow but this time Clay didn't sit still and take it. He dashed forward and tackled the Ghost Pokemon before its attack could launch. The Misdreavus was so caught off guard that it was helpless to stop Clay from dragging it to the ground and pummeling it into submission. "WHAT?! He should just pass right through her though!" The Gofer cried out in shock and disbelief as she watched Clay standing over her defeated Pokemon.

"Normally yeah, but she has to take form to attack him right? That's where his Foresight came in handy. He picked just the right moment to go in. Good job buddy, now rest up. That Psybeam looked pretty rough." Alan said, pausing to give Clay a high five and return him to his ball to rest. "Now are we done yet? I'm sure your boss could use a coffee or something."

Her face redder than Alan had ever seen before, half with rage and half with embarrassment, the Gofer reached to her belt and tossed another Pokeball out onto the ground. This time a Pokemon he was familiar with emerged. It was a Rattata. "Not yet! I'll never lose to you! Now get that stupid meat head of a Pokemon out here again so I can have revenge!"

The idea was tempting to Alan but Clay had been hit pretty hard during that last fight. He decided to play it safe and let Samson have this one instead. The Taillow looked just as eager to be out of his ball and in the fight again as Clay had been, which was a great sign. "Alright Samson, this thing may not look like much but it's got sharp fangs. Let's make em a little duller with a good fierce growl eh?" Alan called out his orders and Samson was more than happy to oblige, letting out a growl so fierce that the Rattata visibly cringed.

"H-hey! Don't be such a wuss! Show that pipsqueak bird who's boss! Get in there and tackle him!" The Gofer called out frantically, trying to rally her demoralized Rattata. The Rattata didn't seem too convinced that it could stand up to the fierce Samson but it obeyed it's trainer regardless and dashed towards Samson at full speed. Samson stood his ground and took the tackle full force, with only a slight flinch as to show that it hurt him. Now that they were up close, Samson returned the attack by pecking fiercely at the Rattata.

The poor Rattata squealed in pain and ran away, hiding behind it's trainer who was clear not happy with the outcome. "You... You useless rat! GET OUT THERE AND WIN! I can't lose to this GIMP!" She screamed in rage, raising a hand and making it into a fist.

Alan was across the field and grabbing a hold of her tightly with his good arm in an instant. "That's enough. It's over. Taking it out on your Pokemon won't change a damn thing. You can't stand to lose? Then toughen up and fight better next time. And don't pick on someone because you think they're weaker than you. Maybe then you won't be the last one your co workers pick to go into a fight with." He said calmly, though the look on his face said he was anything but.

The Gofer paused for a moment, not sure how to respond that before angrily pulling herself free of his grip. She returned the Rattata to it's ball and stormed angrily back to her post, seething over losing and then being lectured. Alan couldn't help but chuckle as he watched her leave even though it wasn't very sportsmanlike of him. In fact, he usually despised trash talking like he did that whole fight but he didn't feel quite so bad since she had started it. "Guess I just shouldn't make it a habit." He muttered to himself as he rubbed Samson's head gently and let him into his ball to rest. "Still, that was kinda fun. I just hope every day isn't like this. I'll be pretty exhausted by the end of this if it is..."

"Well now, y'all ain't had a problem with beatin' these guys in battle," Barrett commented rather loudly, having watched a few of the matches. "Not bad for a pack o' rookie Trainers, I do declare." He strode forward, the two Rangers following on either side, to stand between the two sides. The Equinox members had grouped together behind their Sergeant and formed ranks, while most of the Trainers stood in a far more scattered group.

"Permission to engage through alternate means, Sergeant?" one of the Equinox men growled through gritted teeth, glaring at the teenagers who had wiped the floor with them.

"Permission denied, soldier. Stand down; we don't need to get violent," the cap-wearing man shot back, glancing over his shoulder briefly before he looked to the Gym Leader. "So what happens now, hmm? Are we to just pack up and leave?"

"Uh-uh, homie. First you gotta tell us what you lot were doin', lockin' down a public place that don't belong to you. What didja hope to gain from keepin' the lake to yourselves?"

The Equinox Sergeant laughed in Barrett's face. "You're asking the wrong person. I don't - "

"You sayin' you don't get to know the details, and just follow the orders yer given? Dat shit's weak. Yo' just a grunt doin' what he's told. So I'mma give you a new order: get outta here, and take yo' badly dressed mooks with ya, before I have y'all turned over to the five-oh." Scorn now adorned the Leader's face as he turned his back on the Equinox people. Alix caught a snarl pass over the Sergeant's face before he raised a hand and made a gesture to his underlings. The group as a whole promptly moved out, collecting the few packs and suitcases they had left lying around before disappearing into the surrounding forest.

Alix raised an eyebrow. "Why'd you let them go? Couldn't you have turned them over to authorities?"

"I ain't a cop, missie. Might be a Gym Leader, but y' don't make a citizen's arrest without knowing more information 'bout these people and what they're up to. 'Sides, they was all packin' heat. Every last one of 'em. We'd stand no chance if they got out their pieces. Better to let 'em go and report to their superiors that they can't go doin' crap like this without clearing it with government officials, with proper grounds and reasonin' and all."

At this point, one of the Pokémon Rangers chipped in. "So, Barrett, now that the situation has been taken care of..."

"Oh right! I gotta roll. Got other business to take care of," Barrett explained. "Y'all should come challenge me in Kalita City, if you feel you're up to the task. Me and my Ground-type Pokémon'll be happy to have some new faces 'round town. Gym's easy enough to spot: it's at the top o' the hill. Catch y'all later, homies." Giving the group of Trainers a short wave and a wink, Barrett promptly turned and began a brisk jog towards another path away from the lake.

The two Rangers, however, stuck around for a while longer. "You should probably heal up your Pokémon, if they got hurt in their battling. Especially if you want to try your luck at Lake Lapis: there are some slightly rarer Pokémon in the wild here and on Route Three," one elaborated before both turned away to follow the path the Equinox people had taken. "Good luck in your future endeavours. Maybe we'll meet again somewhere."

Alix watched them go for a moment, then looked to the lake. It was rather pretty, the way the sunlight met the water. Rather picturesque. "So... shall we see what Lake Lapis has to offer, then?" she queried, both to her fellow Trainers and her Pokémon. Ludevic was still on her shoulders and Stana sat at her feet.

Heidi was glad that the Equinox members had now left. Even though they actually weren't all that tough. She'd faced off against their leader, or supposed leader, and beaten him. If they could be beaten that easily, they were no different from Team Galactic. Even though Team Galactic's goals had been on a much grander scale than any other team she'd heard about, and these Equinox guys were no different.

"I'd like to see what I can catch here. Maybe there are some adorable double types or Bug types I can catch." she said in response to what Alix said. "Come on, Eurydice. Let's find some adorable Pokémon." She grabbed Eurydice's hand and dragged her with her towards the lake. Although, not much dragging was needed as Eurydice went almost faster than Heidi towards the lake.

Once at the lake, Heidi let go of Eurydice while she looked at all the Pokémon around the lake. There were some of them that she didn't recognize, and when scanned with her Pokédex, didn't look like any that she'd be interested in. Too many single types. But for the ones she recognized, she found at least two that she wanted because of being double types. Wooper and Surskit, both being Water types and Surskit having Bug as its second type. However, there was one more she wanted as well that wasn't a double type right now, but had two evolutions that were both double types. Mudkip, who seemed to not be all that common around the lake.

As uncommon as they were, though, a Mudkip got up out of the water to check out these new people. She was wearing a pendant around her neck that had what looked like a waterdrop on it. Getting a glint in her eyes, Heidi picked up one of her Pokéballs and sent out George. Daniel, being a Metapod, wasn't going to be mobile much and Eve only had Gust as her offensive move, and with her ability it was less accurate. And even if Yani could do it, George needed the exercise.

"George, we're going to catch that Mudkip to help us against Barrett! Give it your best!" George nodded as he flew around the Mudkip, who watched him in a curious manner. "George, Quick Attack!" The suddenness of the order and the attacked surprised the Mudkip and had her fall backwards. This did not go well with her as she stood up again and attempted to use a Tackle aimed straight towards George, but didn't hit him due to him being in the air.

Heidi had scanned the Mudkip earlier and seen that the Mudkip had one physical move, so she could have George use Growl on the Mudkip. She called towards him for his next commands. "Use Growl, then Tackle this time!" George nodded and flew back towards the Mudkip who did not like the looks of this and tried running away, but didn't get far as George gave a growl, then tackled her, sending her towards the ground again. She did manage to stand up again, but the tackle had taken a bit out of her.

The Mudkip tried to use another Tackle on George, which again didn't hit him, as he prepared another Quick Attack and before the Mudkip knew it, he hit her again, sending her flying towards Heidi. She had a Pokéball ready and when the Mudkip landed at her feet, she dropped it onto her, where the Mudkip got taken in by a red light. The Pokéball lightly hit the ground and shook a few times before a click was heard. Heidi picked up the Pokéball and scanned it with her Pokédex.

image#258: Mudkip Mud Fish Pokémon
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Height: 1' 04" / 0.4 m.Weight: 16.8 lbs. / 7.6 kg.
Ability: Mold BreakerThis Pokémon can use moves regardless of the abilities of other Pokémon.
Moves: Tackle. Growl. Yawn. Mud Slap.
Item: Mystic Water image
To alert it, the fin on its head senses the flow of water. It has the strength to heft boulders.

"Ooh, you're a strong little guy, aren't you? Or girl, rather." she commented on the Mudkip's species description. Presumably she'd noticed them because of the fin on her head "Hmm. A good name for you might possibly be...Laura? Yeah, Laura. Sounds pretty good." She shrunk the ball and put it on the fifth slot of her belt. She had one more spot left on her belt before, what she presumed, her Pokémon would be sent to a PC box for her to retrieve if she wanted to at a later time. She looked to see what Eurydice was up to.

The view of the Lake greatly improved without having to stare at those ugly posers. Robyn took the time to drink it all in from up close. The waters back home were always filled with boats or pedalos or little kids with their toy boats. This was pure unspoiled beauty. Looking out on the water, she could even spot a Water Pokemon jumping out and breaching the surface for a brief kiss of the sun's rays. Between the tall pine trees lining the surrounding the water and the gentle ripples reaching the pebble-dashed beach, this was the anti-thesis of what Castelia had to offer. Dang, it's almost worth it to be out here just to be able to enjoy this.

The sounds of battle from just down the shore snapped Robyn out of her musing. It appeared that Heidi had already entered battle and won from the looks of it. This would be a great place for Nina to get some battles in too. All these Water types kicking around. Dunno if there's anything worth catching, but at least the experience will help. She reached into her pocket and produced all four of her occupied Pokeballs. "Come on out, yall!"

Emerging in flashes of light were Robyn's entire roster. Nina started bouncing immediately, excited to be out of the ball and in the sun. "Lillil!" "Sentretsentret!" Scout was trying his best to calm her down. Natalie started pecking at the ground in the area, while Sauza remained motionless with a couple of scuffs still on her from the battle with the Equinox loser.

"All right team, don't be fooled by the pretty sights. There are a lot of opponents out here, and I don't want any of you to take a loss for an answer when they step into the circle with you! They come to dance, you make them march to your beat, got it?" Nina nodded, Scout saluted, Natalie seemed more confused than anything, and Sauza didn't move. "Good, now let's see who dares challenge us! Nina, you stay close to the water, get whatever pops out. Scout, Sauza, I want you to take the tree line. If anything emerges for a drink, you two are on it." The Pokemon nodded and headed to the designated areas, Sauza managing to hop at a steady pace keeping up with Scout. "Huh, thought I was going to have to carry Sauza. That's good." She looked at the remaining member. "Natalie...Natalie girl, you really sure you still can't fly?"

The Swablu tilted it's head up, still looking confused. "Bluuuuuu? Bluuuluuuuuuu?"

"Come on, if you can fly, you can go out over the lake and get at those Pokemon in the deep water!" Robyn picked Natalie up by the cottony wings. "I know you can do it!"

She released Natalie, pushing her forward and imploring her to spread her wings and fly out majestically off the shore. However, it did not go according to plan. The second Robyn let go, Natalie fell like a rock back to the ground, landing beak first in one of the softer patches of beach. The Flying-type righted itself then looked up at the person who sent it tumbling. "Bluuuuuuuu..." It almost sounded remorseful.

"Natalie! Come on! You're a Flying-type! You should be able to do this!" Robyn picked Natalie up again. "You just got to spread your wings out!" She fumbled her grasp, trying to pry those puffy wings out into flight formation, but it was tough to tell which way they went. After a few seconds of struggling, she managed to get one of Natalie's wings extended, and soon after, the other one was brought out, putting the Swablu into something like a glider position. "OK, see? Like that. So just do that and fly!"

Once again, Robyn pushed Natalie for take off, but once again, Natalie was self-grounded. At least this time, the wings managed to keep Natalie upright upon landing, a little bit further from where she face planted. Back on the ground, she retracted her wings and turned around to face her trainer. "Bluubluuueuu?"

Robyn could only sigh. "Well, I guess that's some kind of progress." She picked Natalie up again. The Swablu almost cringed, but soon let out happy chirp as Robyn nuzzled the top feathers on it's head. "OK, I won't make you do any more. You can go back-up Nina on the shore OK?"

"Blublu!" Robyn set Natalie down on the ground, and the Cotton Bird Pokemon hopped over to where Nina was standing over a now fainted Wooper. Natalie gave the Water Fish Pokemon a tap on the head as it regained enough consciousness to head back into the water.

Orders given, Robyn found a rather large rock on the shoreline and sat down on it, supervising the efforts of her team. "I knew this training thing wasn't going to be easy, but I at least figured Pokemon would be able to do what the file said they could," she griped softly to herself. "Just my luck, I guess."

"Alright... let's see what there is to see here before we move on, guys," Alix said to the Pokémon she had out. Not a moment too soon, however, as Stana immediately charged off in the direction of the water's edge. Alix followed at a bit more of a leisurely pace: there was no real urgency to start battling straight away.

Once she reached a section of water near where she could see Robyn sitting and watching her own Pokémon, Alix took Ludevic off of her shoulders and set the Abra on solid ground... where he promptly curled up for a nap, his tail covering his face like some of the cattish Pokémon used to do when she was taking care of them back home. "Darnit, you," she mock chided the small Psychic-type, but instead called Stana to heel and brought Matti out of his Poké Ball.

"Okay, you two, let's see if we can get some Water Pokémon to show up. We're gonna need one if we want to beat Barrett," she explained, taking a seat on the grass to talk to them a bit better. "Um... well, I dunno if I want to send you guys into the water, so... both of you stay here for now, we'll play the waiting game." At the mention of the word 'play', Matti perked up and began jumping up and down. "Togeh, togepi!"

"Not what I meant, mister," Alix grinned, poking the little adorable menace. He squeaked at her and grabbed her finger with his stubby hands. Stana gave a small yap and sat down to wait, scratching an ear with her hind leg. Seeing the potential for a fluffy pillow, Matti let go of Alix and ran over to Stana.


From just under the lake's surface, a pair of eyes watched the human and her Pokémon lounging around in his territory. They weren't supposed to be there. They could be stealing food. Time to drive them off.


As Alix watched Matti try to climb on Stana's back, the Poochyena resisting only playfully, something broke the surface of the water nearby. A Pokémon was probably nearby, coming towards her and her Pokémon judging by the ripples in the water. Soon it bounced out of the lake and onto dry land: it was a Croagunk, like the one that belonged to the Equinox guy Alix had battled. Its eyes narrowed as it raised fists at Alix and her companions, beckoning towards itself.

It looked like the Pokémon was challenging her. Alix briefly weighed up her options. Ludevic was asleep, and Stana would be at a disadvantage if it knew any Fighting moves. That left Matti, who knew a decent Psychic-type move that could probably send the Croagunk packing. "Matti, stop playing around, you're in battle now," Alix told her Togepi, who looked puzzled. To explain it to him, she promptly picked him up and set him down facing the Croagunk. The Pokémon's gaze turned to Matti. "Cro." It sounded rather aggressive, but seemed to be waiting until it was attacked before retaliating. Alix took the opportunity as it was given. "Matti, use your Extrasensory."

Matti's eyes drifted out of focus for a second, then refocused and began to glow golden. Without warning, beams of gold light shot out of his eyes and collided with the Croagunk, knocking him back a little. Dazed but not out of the fight, the Poison-type shook its head, ran forward and smacked Matti on the head. Matti sat down hard, looked up at his opponent and let out a small whine. The Poison/Fighting Pokémon shoved him over with a push, and made a noise that sounded like laughter at the Togepi rolling around in the grass.

Matti's whining grew louder... All Alix could manage was an, "Oh no, Matti..." before he started to cry. And with the crying came screaming. Loud screaming.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" The usually cute face was scrunched up, mouth wide open and eyes filled with tears. Alix scooped up the wailing Togepi and tried to gently rock him back and forth to calm him down. He would have none of it, though: he was flailing around, oblivious to Alix's attempts to console him. Eek... he's not usually this loud when he's upset. Come on, little guy, cool off. It's just a battle...

The Croagunk stuck its tongue out at Alix and Matti... just before it was hit in the back by a splash of water. Startled, it spun around to find the source of the spray. Of her own accord, Stana growled and charged forward, hitting the mean Pokémon with a Tackle, knocking it into the lake. The water began to churn a little as Stana returned to Alix's side. The floating Croagunk was pulled under by what looked like a white paw, only to be thrown out again and land with another splash. Alix was puzzled by the whole turn of events, though she was still occupied by the wailing and squirming Matti.

After a short while, during which time Alix had finally gotten Matti to calm down - his screaming was reduced to sniffles, though he was still crying - another Pokémon hopped out of the lake in front of Alix. It was a white and blue Pokémon, holding a seashell in one paw and wearing some sort of pendant around its neck. "Osha-wo!" it declared, eyes bright as it waved its shell at Alix and her companions. Holding Matti in one arm, Alix pulled her Pokédex from her satchel to scan it:

image#501: Oshawott Sea Otter Pokémon
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Height: 1'08" / 0.5m.Weight: 13 lbs. / 5.9 kg.
Ability: Vital Spirit(This Pokémon cannot fall asleep.)
Moves: Tackle, Tail Whip, Water Gun
Item: Mystic Water image
It fights using the scalchop on its stomach. In response to an attack, it retaliates immediately by slashing.

"Oshawott, huh... never seen one of these before," Alix mused, tapping the 'Show Advanced Description' button on her Pokédex's touchscreen to get some more information.

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#501: Oshawott - Advanced Description
Oshawott is seen in the wild in Gensia and Unova. It is the first in its evolutionary line.
It evolves into Dewott, which evolves into Samurott.

#502: DewottDiscipline Pokémon
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Ability: If this Oshawott is caught and evolves, Dewott will have the Vital Spirit ability.

#503: SamurottFormidable Pokémon
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Ability: If this Oshawott is caught and evolves, Samurott will have the Vital Spirit ability.

"Did you come to help us out? Good on you, mister," Alix told the Water-type, who tossed his shell from hand to hand before setting it on his stomach like the picture in the Pokédex. She thought he was rather cute, with the little white paws and buttonish nose. "Y'know... you could be a valuable asset to the team, if you want to come along," she suggested, unsure of whether it would understand her, or even accept the offer. Matti started squirming again, and Alix took her eyes off of the wild Pokémon to look down at her own. He'd stopped crying, and was looking at the Oshawott with curiosity. Alix wasn't about to let him go, though. She didn't want him to start up again and cause more problems.

The Oshawott looked Alix and her Pokémon up and down. Was he sizing them up? Studying them? Judging them? Alix couldn't tell. But after a long silence on both sides, interrupted only by a sniff from Matti and Ludevic's muffled snoring, the Water-type nodded and stepped forward. Alix dug a Poké Ball out of her satchel and tossed it to her latest addition to the team. It bounced off easily, sucking in the Oshawott before it landed in the grass. She was surprised that it twitched a couple of times before the familiar click was heard.

She promptly let her Oshawott out of his Ball again, and this time slipped her pack off her back to find some food to distribute. Oshawott seemed to reject the 'carnivore' food, instead taking a piece from the 'herbivore' pack. Of course, the others all got a bit to eat as well, save for the sleeping Abra. Matti perked up considerably when offered a piece and a finger to wipe the tears from his eyes.

Yay! They beat the Equinox guys! Eurydice picked up her tired but triumphant Shinx and spun around. When she put him down, Eurydice enthusiastically rubbed up his fur, small sparks flying every which way. He licked her hand, shaking his fur out as she pet him until his blue fur was quite fluffed out. This was the first time Eurydice had looked closely at her pokemon. It looked young, of course, a bit of spry electricity held together by sheer will and sugar.

Budew slid down her arm, running around and cheering as well. Eurydice took the chance to return her to her pokeball. Shinx was a good fighter, and she decided she would use him even if he didn't know any electric moves yet. As if on cue, Heidi came and took her to the lake. Finally, what they came there for! A water pokemon would be valuable... hopefully they would be out of the water, and could be caught without the use of a fishing rod. They just had to make sure to block them from going back in the water when they surfaced...

The Lake itself was pretty nice: a standard, medium sized body of water. Whatever people were there must have been cleared out by those Equinox guys... Heidi left her in some of the tall grass, going a few paces away to find a pokemon. Eurydice gave Shinx a confident smile, and set off in the opposite direction.

They walked a while before finding anything, or rather, before something found them. Her Shinx started sniffing the air, looking around for the source. Eurydice smelled it too. The air was sweet. Hm... there's probably a pokemon using Sweet Scent around... Before she could take a look around, something dropped on her head. "EEK!" The girl swat around her head, startled. Her hand connected with something, sending it off into the grass. Shinx was immediately excited, running after it into the grass. A blue bundle of legs ran out of the grass. It looked like a spider with less legs. Shinx ran out after it, and was met with a flurry of angry bubbles in its face. It was funny, even if the Shinx didn't think so. He barked, chasing the small thing around one of the trees. Bubble, tackle, bubble, tackle. The two went around for minutes until what her Pokedex identified as Surskit ran to the lake and... across the water. Shinx tried to follow, splashing into the water and paddling across. Of course, he was no match for the light bug pokemon, who was out of sight in seconds. It paddled back to land, wet and muddy, and disappointed.

They ran into a couple Lotads, and a family of Duckletts head by a Swanna. The Swanna was beautiful. She had never seen one, but considered catching a Ducklett for it. It was a water pokemon, and a flying one too. Two... birds with one stone. Her Shinx looked at her suspiciously. He wasn't going to go in the water again.

As it turned out, he didn't have to. The water broke behind the last Ducklett, and a large mouth snapped at it.
"Waak! Lett lett! Waak waak waak!"
They scattered, going in all directions. The Swanna tried to herd all the Duckletts together, searching for their attacker. The Ducklett looked injured, having a hard time following its siblings. Eurydice gasped, looking around for anyway to help it. Splashing in the water after it wouldn't work, if anything that would scare it back. Shinx didn't look too keen about going back in the water either. A blue head surfaced with black eyes, swimming straight for the Ducklett. Out of ideas, Eurydice crouched down and picked up a rock, hurling it in the lake.
Clack! Spash.
It hit the toothy pokemon right on its head, right between the eyes. The Ducklett splashed towards the shore, taking the oppurtunity to put distance between them.
"DIIILE! DILE!"
It made a beeline for Ducklett, shooting the poor thing out of the water and into the mud. Eurydice got a good look at the pokemon as it jumped out of the water: it was a short, stocky pokemon with a wide and powerful looking mouth. Eurydice looked uneasily at Shinx, who eyed the new pokemon carefully. Eurydice nodded. They had to help the Ducklett.

Shinx sprung forward, a rocket on legs, and pummeled into the... Totodile, her pokedex claimed. The text warned about its powerful bite. She shifted her weight nervously, looking around for maybe a tree branch to knock the thing back into the water. Nothing. Eurydice dug in her bag and took out a potion, spraying the Ducklett quickly. If anything, they could buy it time to escape and then run themselves. The Totodile had only grabbed tufts of fur off the Shinx so far, but it would only take one mistake... Eurydice grabbed the small Ducklett and whistled sharply at the Shinx. With one last tackle to push the Totodile away, the Shinx followed his trainer, hot on her heels. They ran until they were safely away. Wait... where are the other Duckletts??? The Swanna and Duckletts were... gone. They must have flown off.
"Let... let let..."
She could have sworn it sniveled. What was she going to do? It bit her finger when she tried to pet it. I... guess we'll look around the lake a little to see if we can find the rest of them... Eurydice knelt and looked over Shinx to make sure he wasn't too hurt before starting to go around, looking for the Swanna. If she couldn't find it... well... she had a new Ducklett.

image#580: Ducklett Water Bird Pokemon
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Height: 1'08"/0.5mWeight: 12.1 lbs/5.5kg
Ability: Keen EyeOpponent cannot lower this pokemon's accuracy
Moves: Water Gun, Water Sport, Defog, Wing Attack
Level 9
They are better at swimming than flying, and they happily eat their favorite food, peat moss, as they dive underwater.

"Well, that was fairly anticlimactic." Morgan mumbled as the Equinox operatives began their retreat. He wanted to protest alongside Alix in regards to reporting the scoundrels, but the Gym Leader departed before he could get a word out. "Well, if he's not gonna do it, then I will." He added as the Rangers took their leave. With the intrusion of the gang members gone, it seemed the band of merry trainers was free to do what they originally intended. And with the lake now free to explore, Morgan wasn't going to pass up the chance at finding another water-type pokémon.

"But first..." He had objectives. As the team began to disperse along the lakeside, Morgan followed suit, eyes more glued to his multi-functioning pokédex than to where he was going. "I wonder if I can send this picture with the 'dex..." He pondered aloud as he meandered along the lake's edge. Spike scouted ahead in his usual manner, taking in loud, wet laps from the water whenever he had the chance. The quiet moment was broken by the sounds of a loud, intruding wail. Startling both the sailor and his pokémon, Morgan pinpointed the source not too far behind him. It seemed Alix's Togepi was having some battling troubles, only to be saved by a pokémon Morgan couldn't specify.

"Interesting. Makes me wonder what other kinds of water-types'll be around here." He thought as he took his attention back to the pokédex. It didn't seem to be working in his favor as he fiddled with it.

"Well I took the picture, can I not send it? How am I supposed to report this to my CO? Maybe I should cut out the middleman and just show the police whenever I get the chance?" He looked into the pokédex's screens, the bewildered face of the Equinox guard plastered upon the top screen, and confusing menu operations all over the bottom. Too involved in the difficult GUI to watch where he was going, Morgan managed to miss a small grassy ledge, one that led towards the more sandier parts of the lake. Losing his footing, Morgan stumbled into the sand, an arm away from landing flat on his face. Spike ran to his master's side to see if he was okay, only to lower into a defensive stance and let out a threatening growl. As Morgan found the reason for all the commotion, he emitted a gasp that borderlined on a overexcited squeal.

"Is that...what I think it is?" Morgan claimed in awe as he scrambled to his feet. The tiny, Chelonii-esque creature glared back at the trainer and his pokémon, its tiny, blue hands clenched into equally tiny fists. His pokédex made a brief 'new pokémon discovered!' tone, as if to confirm his suspicions.

image#007: Squirtle Tiny Turtle Pokémon
image
Height: 1'08"/0.5mWeight: 19.8 lbs./9.0 kg
Ability: TorrentGives the pokémon an enhanced skill and force in water-based attacks.
Moves: Bubble, Tackle, Tail Whip
Level 9
It shelters itself in its shell, then strikes back with spouts of water at every opportunity.

"A Squirtle..." Morgan couldn't believe his eyes. Such a specimen was basically nonexistent in Hoenn, and even considered to be a rarity in its home region. "How did one...get all the way out here...?" While it was a question he knew he didn't have an answer for, he did know that this occurrence was a one-in-a-million chance that he didn't want to pass up. The Squirtle acted first, a volley of bubbles releasing from its mouth. "Spike, use Tackle!" And the Poochyena did so, bypassing enough of the bubbles to successfully ram into the Squirtle. The attack put the turtle on its spherical back, leaving it slightly immobilized.

"Spike, tackle it again! This time from the side!" Morgan called. This tackle caused the Squirtle to spin out of control. "Squirrrrrrrrrrr!" It yelped as it spun, unprepared for the ride. The Poochyena prepared itself for another attack. "Hold on Spike, take five." Morgan withdrew him from battle, soon replacing him with Chase. After adjusting his eyes to the abrupt change in light, the Chinchou soon realized that there was a pokémon ahead of him, spinning on its shell with reckless abandon.

"Chin?" He tried to make sense of the abstract situation. Before Morgan could call out another attack, the Squirtle sprang to it's feet, fairly dizzy from the whole ordeal. "Chase, use Supersonic!" It seemed the sailor was planning on disorienting the Squirtle into submission. Such a plan was seeming to work, as the screeching waves of sound dizzied the small turtle even further. It wanted to attack, and even tried, only end up bonking itself in the confusion of things.

"It's now or never..." Morgan threw a free pokéball at the Squirtle. The device rolled to a stop near the turtle head, opening and devouring the 'mon in a matter of seconds. The ball shook violently in the sand as it began constraining the Squirtle. Morgan crossed his fingers. "C'mon...c'monnnn..." It shook once. It shook twice. It shook a third time. There was a pause, and the sailor made a sharp inhale and held his breath.

It clicked, confirming the catch. Morgan's eyes widened as he ran over to the ball. He pumped a fist into the air as he picked up the capsule. "This Squirtle...is gonna make a great addition to the team! Whaddayathink, Chase?" The Chinchou looked up at his owner, still not completely sure on what was going on. He shrugged to the best of his ability.

That fact that no arrests could be made frustrated Erika. Doing nothing could allow this Equinox group to do something similar as to what happened with Team Rocket in Mahogany Town, and throughout Johto as a whole. Still the fact that they all had weapons on them was an unavoidable fact and she had to let it go as the gym leader and Pokémon Rangers left.

The whole event killed her mood and Erika down the side of the lake to a group of bushes and trees. Erika dropped her backpack under a smaller thin tree and quickly sat down; almost slamming her back into it at full speed as she leaned against it. The contact shook the tree and a berry fell down in front of her. Picking it up, Erika realized she knew what kind it was, an Oran Berry. If there is one, there should be more.

Erika looked up and noticed a few more hanging from the branches of the tree. Feeling lazy and not wanting to get up, Erika released Aerial from her Pokéball. "Hey Aerial, I need you to fly up there and nock some of those berries down. Do you think you could do that?" Erika asked her Pokémon. "Pidg." was the reply Erika heard as the Tiny bird took flight and peck the stems of three berries, sending them falling to the ground.

Erika collected the berries and released the rest of her Pokémon as Aerial flew back down to her. "Alright guys these are a special treat," Erika said as she pointed to the four berries that she had lain onto the ground in front of her. "If you guys eat these, they will rejuvenate you a little so you'll feel better. Now we only have one for each of you so don't be greedy and try to take more than your own.

There was a small harmony as the four Pokémon replied in understanding, and quickly took to eating the treats lain out in front of them. As they ate, the Pokémon appeared to be getting healthier; small scratches and light bruises disappeared. A warm small crept across Erika's face at the sight.

"Okay now I'm probably going to sit here for a while. I figure you guys might like some fresh air, so you can head out. Just don't go too far," Erika told the group before remembering something. "Aerial you are not to eat Maya, and everyone watch out for each other."

The Four Pokémon headed off towards a patch of large grass and lily pads a few meters off. Erika watched them till they were out of sight before removing her sketchpad and some charcoal. Today she decided that she would sketch the Lake where she experienced her first Trainer battle.

Some sounds of battle appeared to the side as Maya started to fight some Lotad, Aerial harassed some Croagunk, Burtha fought some Shinx, and Breńa took on anything it could get its paws on. And maybe I'll add them and their battles to this sketch as well.

Russel sighed, casting his line back into the water. "Goddamn luck. Of course they bite while I deal with Mr. Dress-Up back there..." He sat back down, Munchie and Rory lying beside him. "So what do you figure the odds are on getting something worthwhile?" As soon as he said that, he got a bite, and started reeling it in "Here we go! Better be something goo-" he was cut off when he pulled in the line, revealed a Magikarp flooping in front of him now. "Oh great..." he rolled his eyes. "Rory, if you don't mind?"

Rory nodded, focusing his power and using confusion to get the Magikarp to splash back into the water. "Well, not as impressive as it was against the Nidoran, but you'll get better. Besides, this is great practice." he said, putting another berry on the hook before casting it out. "Now let's try this again..."

Five Magikarps later, Russel was getting frustrated.

"Ok, that does it. One more try. If I don't get anything here, we're heading out. We'll beat that Gym another way." As Munchie gulped at the possibility of having to either face a Ground-type gym, he noticed something floating towards his line. A single lily pad. Gulp? "Well, I'll be... a Lotad. Grass and Water. Maybe luck's on my side after all. Just hope the damn thing bites..." He started slowly reeling his line in, the lily pad chasing after it. "Almost there..." Finally the Lotad reached the shore. Lotad.. "Let's see what we've got here..."

image#270: Lotad Water Weed Pokemon
imageimage
Height: 1'08"/0.5mWeight: 5.7 lbs/2.6 kg
Ability: Rain DishRestores Health when it's raining.
Moves: Astonish, Water Gun, Absorb, Nature Power
Level 9
This Pokémon lives in ponds with clean water. It is known to ferry small Pokémon across ponds by carrying them on the broad leaf on its head.

"Oi, this one's pretty strong... Munchie, you might want to take care of it." he said, nudging Munchie forward. Munchie jumped towards the Lotad, getting into a fighting stance, but then yawning. The confused Lotad quickly turned away, eating the berry on the hook in front of him. This offended Munchie, using pound to smack the berry away. Seeing the hostile intentions, the Lotad shot out a strong stream of water, knocking Munchie into the tree. Munchie managed to get back on his feet (figuratively speaking...) and charged the Lotad. But then something odd happened. Right before Munchie could hit him, the Lotad dropped. It only took a second to realize it had fallen asleep.

"Wait a minute..." Russel recalled earlier in the battle. "Munchie, I think you learned Yawn." Munchie looked at Russel, confused about the situation, but then saw Russel grin, stroking his chin and looking upwards. The gears in his head were starting to turn. "So a distance fighter, sleep, poison and now a water type... I think we can win this..." he muttered to himself. However, his machinations were interrupted by Rory poking his leg, pointing at the Lotad. "Oh, right! Almost forgot..." he reached into his pocket, pulling out a Pokeball, tossing it at the sleeping weed. The ball barely shook before it clicked, confirming his new catch. He walked over, picking up the ball, smirking as he stuffed it in his pocket. "Now that that's done... how about we head to town? Get our new companion here a bit of a workout while you two get ready for the Gym?"

Munchie and Rory nodded as Russel packed up his gear, heading towards Route 3.

Sam walked along the waterside, keeping an eye out for viable Pokemon to catch, his feet sloshing through the shallows of Lapis. He'd heard there were some pretty good Pokemon in this area, and he was really hoping to get his hands on a Squirtle. The idea of someday have a Blastoise was too enticing to pass up.

Water splashed up at him. He took it in the face and stepped back, glaring around before noticing a small orange Pokemon in the water. Of it's own volition, his Pokedex blinked, and before taking a moment to glare at the fish, he looked at it.

image#129: Magikarp Fish Pokemon
image
Height: 3'2"/1.0mWeight: 25lbs/11kg
Ability: Swift SwimBoosts Speed when it's raining.
Moves: Splash, Bounce, Bubble, Reversal
Level 10
A Magikarp living for many years can leap a mountain using Splash. The Pokemon remains useless, though.

"No shit, a Magikarp? I couldn't guess."

The Magikarp splashed him again. He glared at it. "Stop that. You're not worth my time." Willow fluttered above him, chirping cheerily. Mocking him. The damn Magikarp splashed him again.

"Oh, that is it." He shot out a hand and grabbed the Pokemon, lifting it out of the water - it was surprisingly heavy - and slammed it down onto a rock, stunning it.

"Well, fuck. I might as well catch your useless ass." He pulled out a ball and smacked it against the stunned fish, sucking it in. "Well, wasn't that a dark and deadly challenge, Willow?" He held out his hand, waiting for Willow to settle onto his finger, and wiped his water-sodden hair out of his eyes. Clothes were drenched, too.

Well, at least he got a bath. He stuck the Magikarp pokeball back onto his belt and kept walking, not giving the encounter a second thought beyond that he'd need to find a laundromat when they got to their destination. Well, a laundromat and some actual money.

Fantastic.

Heidi looked around for Eurydice before she noticed her, however she was interrupted as she noticed a Surskit walking around on the lake's water like it had some water walking powers. Although, it was probably more due to how light it was and how its legs were. "I must have him. Alright, Laura, lets see what you can do."

She picked up the Mudkip's Pokéball and released her into the water, a relief for Laura after the battle she had with George. There weren't a whole lot of options for her. Mud Slap, being a Ground move, didn't do much damage against the Bug part of Surskit, so Tackle it would have to be, along with some help from Growl and Yawn. Yawn would be useful for once she would try to catch the Surskit so he wouldn't run away. He was small enough to be able to do so if he wanted to.

"Laura, use Tackle!" Laura traveled at a great speed underwater and hit the Surskit with her body, sending it flying towards the lake's edge, closer to Heidi and the ground by the lake. The Surskit answered in return with a Quick Attack, quickly skimming across the water to attack the Mudkip with its small body. Laura didn't really feel it too much, but this wouldn't be taken kindly as she used another Tackle at the command of Heidi, hitting the Surskit again and traveling quickly across the water to make sure the Surskit wouldn't go anywhere far.

Once she was close enough, she yawned at the Surskit, who looked a little confused at her before commencing another Quick Attack, which hit. Laura used another Tackle to yet again throw the Surskit at Heidi's feet, and this time he stayed there as the effects of Yawn hit him and he fell asleep. "Time to catch you." Heidi said as she dropped a Pokéball onto the Surskit, the familiar red light engulfing him and the Pokéball shaking after it closed. Once, twice three times, then a click. The Surskit was caught. Heidi picked up the Pokéball and scanned it with her Pokédex.

image#283: Surskit Pond Skater Pokémon
image image
Height: 1' 08" / 0.5 m.Weight: 3.7 lbs. / 1.7 kg.
Ability: Swift SwimThe Pokémon moves faster when it's raining
Moves: Bubble. Quick Attack
Level 8
It appears as if it is skating on water. It draws prey with a sweet scent from the tip of its head.

"Heh. Not this time. You'd need to know Sweet Scent in order to do that. As for a name for you, I think I'll call you Lewis." With that, Heidi put Lewis' Pokéball onto the sixth slot on her belt. A Safari Ball and five Pokéballs. Not much variety right now, but it would hopefully change later on.

Now that she had caught two Water Pokémon, she felt it was enough for now. Right now, she wanted to check up on Eurydice. She lightly jogged over to her, then stopped once she was with her and walked at her pace. "Did you manage to catch anything?" she asked Eurydice before noticing the Ducklett in her arms. "What's that Pokémon?" She pulled out her Pokédex and scanned the Ducklett. "A Ducklett, huh? Never heard of it. Well, if you caught her, then that's pretty sweet. Little fellow doesn't look so bad, either way." She wasn't sure what Eurydice was doing exactly, but it looked like she was looking for something. "What're you looking for? Lost something?"

The tranquil area of the lake shore was a welcome respite for Robyn. As her Pokemon battled the local fauna, she felt content to just gaze out onto the water...and think ahead to the Ground Gym. What am I gonna do if Natalie can't fly? I mean, yeah, Nina's tough. But she hasn't been in any major battle like this. Just the stuff back home and the little battles since we got here. Is she going to be ready for taking on two, maybe three tough Pokemon in a row? I gotta get Natalie airborne. She's got no excuse. She's going to have to fly. It's just gotta-

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Augh! The hell was that?!? Like a cop car on helium! Robyn looked around for the cause of such an ear-splitting racket, it was coming from down near the water where Nina and Natalie were. The Swablu looked just as disturbed by the wail, but Nina was still in her own world. In fact she was attacking another Wooper who looked like it would take fainting to avoid hearing that shriek. From a little way on, it looked the source of the noise was...Alix? She couldn't really tell at the current distance.

By the time she calmed Natalie down and walked over, the little Egg Pokemon had been tucked up with it's trainer. So that thing made that annoying cry? How'd it pull that off? Tiny little thing. "So Alix, you every think about getting a muzzle for that guy, or a pacifier or something? Because if that was it crying, You might win every battle just by hitting it yourself. I could hear it all the way down the shore."

Alix's eyebrows shot up at Robyn's comments. She wasn't about to hit Matti, under any circumstance. "Yeah... Matti can get loud when he gets upset. He took a bad hit in a battle just now. I try to keep him occupied if I hear him whining," she explained, still holding the Togepi in question. "For now, though... he's a baby Pokémon. He's a little difficult to calm down when he starts crying. He'll grow out of it eventually, though, once he evolves into Togetic." I dunno when that'll be, though.

"Togeh?" Matti had finished his snack and was looking up at Robyn with still slightly watery eyes. He gave the other Trainer a wave.

"You're alright now, though, aren't you?" Alix set Matti down on the grass and he promptly ran off to say hello to the Oshawott she had caught. Alix looked back up at Robyn. "So yeah... he's adorable, but he's a handful to take care of." At least the other Pokémon she'd caught so far seemed to be easier to look after. Stana only needed reining in occasionally, and Ludevic seemed to just sleep most of the day away.

"We might head down to Route 3 now, if you wanna come with us," she suggested.

Alan was somewhat annoyed as he watched the Equinox goons just leave after dragging him into a fight like that. And he still had no idea what they were doing here besides keeping people out. But if what Barret had said was true and they had guns then it was probably best to leave them for now. Still, Alan would definitely remember the name Equinox and be on guard for them in the future.

"Well, no sense in worrying about it now. I'll see em when I see em I guess." He said to himself as he released Clay and Samson from their Pokeballs. Samson seemed as energetic as ever and flew off immediately to stretch his wings, but Clay on the other hand seemed a bit worse for wear after his fight with the Misdreavus. A quick examination showed no obvious wounds but that was only to be expected since Clay had taken a mental beating more than anything. "I'm sorry Clay, I pushed you a little too hard there didn't I? Let's take it easy for a bit. How about a light jog by the lake? A little fresh air should help clear your head."

Clay didn't have much to say which worried Alan but the Tyrogue nodded eventually and the two set off at a relatively slow jogging pace on the lake shore. Now that he had the time to get a good look, the view was rather nice and the atmosphere overall was kind of relaxing. Samson seemed to be enjoying flying around and occasionally diving towards the lake to pick a fight with any water Pokemon that emerged, though the skirmishes never seemed to amount to much. Clay also seemed to be enjoying himself, his pace having increased significantly since they began.

I think I got a little better at this training thing. With two of them anyway. Maybe I can handle adding one or two more into the mix. If they're a little less rambunctious than these two anyway. Alan thought, coming to a stop and signaling for Clay to do so as well. "Feeling better?" He inquired and was pleased to see Clay nod vigorously in reply. "Alright then, we'll be moving on to Route 3. I think it's time we added a few new recruits to the team, don't you?"

After signaling Samson, who reluctantly stopped trading blows with a Goldeen to fly over to them, the three of them left Lake Lapis and set out on Route 3. The rocky terrain was not unlike Route 47 back home but Alan felt like he needed to warn Clay anyways. "Watch your step Clay! I'd hate for you to trip and twist your ankle or something out here. Believe me, it's all too easy on trails like this." Alan warned with a wry grin at the memories of his own unfortunate jogging accidents.

Erring on the side of caution, Alan decided to take the lower path just in case. After a bit of uneventful walking, they saw some rustling in the nearby tall grass and what looked like a Mareep poking it's head out timidly to see who was walking by. Alan was familiar with the Pokemon but pulled out his Pokedex to get some more info anyway.

image#025: Mareep The Wool Pokemon
image
Height: 2' 00" / 0.6 m.Weight: 17.2lbs. / 7.8kg.
Ability: StaticContact with the Pokémon may cause paralysis.
Moves: Tackle. Charge. Thunder Wave. Thunder Shock.
.
Its fluffy coat swells to double when static electricity builds up. Touching it can be shocking.

"Huh. Sounds pretty tough to fight against if touching it just gets you shocked..." Alan muttered looking up just in time to see Samson swooping down to fight the Mareep. "Oh no you don't! That's practically suicide for you Samson!" Alan said, grabbing one of Samson's legs and pulling him away before he got himself hurt. Unfortunately, Clay took that to mean he was the one to fight.

The mere sight of Clay approaching caused the Mareep to flinch and quiver with fear. Clay paused, unsure of how to react to this before seeming to decide that the Mareep may be more willing to put up if fight after the first blow and dashing in for a tackle. The Mareep made no move but the moment Clay came into contact with it he felt a strong jolt and froze in place before falling over, paralyzed. "I did warn you guys..." Alan sighed heavily as he walked over to Clay and the Mareep.

"Poor girl doesn't even want to fight looks like. I'd say you got what you deserved this time Clay." He said with a chuckle, kneeling down near Clay and the Mareep. The poor Pokemon still hadn't opened her eyes and was quivering. Alan carefully reached out his hand and let it gently rest on her head. The Mareep opened one eye to see what was going on and bleated quietly in a mix of fear and curiosity as to who Alan was and what he wanted. "It's okay, I'm not gonna hurt you." Alan whispered, rubbing her head gently. The Mareep seemed to calm down and closed her eyes again, enjoying the attention. Alan moved his hand from her head to her back, the electricity in her wool made his fingers tingle but didn't shock him. He took that as a good sign that she had calmed down.

She definitely didn't seem to be much of a fighter but she had proven she could pack a punch if need be. Maybe with time and the right training she could be comfortable enough to fight. Plus a quiet and gentle personality would to wonders to even out the teams current intense and driven nature. "How'd you like to come with us? I'll take good care of you, I promise." He asked, removing his hand in case she didn't take too kindly to the idea.

The Mareep opened it's eyes and seemed a bit surprised, looking between the fallen Clay who still intimidated her and Alan who had been so kind to her. Eventually it came to a decision and nodded, letting out a single happy cry. "Alright, welcome aboard! I think I'll call you.... Mary. It's simple, sweet and easy to remember. Sounds perfect to me." Alan said with a broad smile and Mary seemed to have no objections.

"Now then, I'd say we should get moving but...." He looked over to Clay who was still paralyzed. "I don't have anything to help with that... I guess we'll just have to wait it out." Mary moved over to Clay and licked his face a few times, seeming somewhat apologetic for causing this. Clay seemed none too happy about this but lacked the ability to do anything about it.

Alan couldn't help but laugh at the sight and neither could Samson who had perched on his shoulder and chirped in what also seemed to be laughter. "Don't feel too bad Mary, he started it after all and I did warn him. Hopefully he learns his lesson from this." Alan said, reassuring the worried Mary with chuckle and a friendly pat on the back. "We're in no hurry after all. I don't mind taking another break."

Pokemon. Number. Five Hundred. Eighty. One. Swanna. Evolves from. Ducklett. At level. Thirty. Five. Despite their. Elegant appearance. They can. Flap. Their wings, strongly, and fly for. Thousands. Of miles.

Eurydice held up her Pokedex to show Heidi the picture of the Swanna she took. A few of the Duckletts were in the picture too. She nudged the Ducklett and nodded towards the Pokedex again. She had been looking for a while now: her dress' hem had gotten muddy, along with her shoes. Shinx jumped in and out of the marshes at the edge of the lake, perhaps under the guise of helping, but truly for his own enjoyment.

She sighed in defeat. No sign of the Swanna. Maybe she should just go ahead to Route 3... maybe someone in the city would have seen it, or she could drop it off at the Pokemon Center. It could heal up, and then maybe find it's mother on its own? No... Aha! She'd take the Ducklett with her to Route 3. If she didn't find her family, she'd see if she wanted to stay with her or not. It didn't seem to like her very much at the moment.

She nodded at Heidi with a new smile, pointing her thumb towards the shiny ROUTE 3 sign.

The higher path looked fun, and might give her a better view of the lake, so she trot up the dirt road. She whistled for the Shinx, returning him to his ball after petting him a sec. Spouts of fire occasionally erupted from the tall grass here. Maybe the Ducklett would help...? If not, she would rely on Ralts.

It didn't take long for a pokemon to jump out in front of Eurydice. An Ekans! Finally, a pokemon that she recognized. It hissed at her, curling up. Well... Ralts it is! Her Ralts appeared in a red light, looking around, slightly panicked, for a second. The Ekans struck at it instinctively, but the Ralts was faster, blasting it with Confusion. Super Effective! Eurydice fist pumped. The Ralts wasn't fast enough to avoid Ekans' tail, which whipped around last minute to grab her. It started to squeeze. Luckily, before it did too much damage, Ralts hit it with another Confusion. The Ekans shrieked, and slithered off into the grass.

Eurydice did another silent fist pump. The air was filled with all sorts of pokemon calls, and it was exciting. She had one more spot on her team before they started going to storage... Unfortunately, while her thoughts were preoccupied, she tripped. "Aouch!!"
"Waaaak!!!"
"Ra!!!"
The Ducklett fluttered out of her grasp, making a rough landing in the dirt. Ralts had skittered ahead as well, with agility unhampered by her dress. She walked back up to Eurydice slowly, patting her arm with her small hand.
"Ralts? Ralts?"

With a small whimper, Eurydice sat up. She had skinned her right forearm. "Ral? Ra Ra? RALTS!"
Suddenly she let loose a blast of Confusion. Eurydice yelped, jerking out of the way, only to see what she had been aiming at. The rock she had tripped over. It growled, and shuddered. Eurydice noticed a pair of angry, beady eyes. Oh no! A Geodude! It got up and barreled into Ralts. She wouldn't be able to stand up against this kind of assault... she returned it to its pokeball. She took out Budew's ball, finger on the release, when...

"Ducklett!" Ducklett spat out a blast of water at the Geodude, easily knocking it out. Huh... I don't have a rock/ground type yet... I should catch it, just in case. She took out a pair of pokeballs. The Geodude went quietly, going into the ball and onto her belt. The Ducklett was pretty impressive. And it was pretty angry as soon as she turned the metallic sphere on her. "Wak! Lett! Lett lett!" It ran right towards her. She let Budew out.

And it hit her right on. The Budew flew into the grass with a surprised yelp. It tried to growl, but the Ducklett quickly took her out of commission with a Wing Attack. Eurydice bit her lip, returning it. Water, Flying... water, fly- Shinx!

Shinx hit the ground running, rolling out and sinking his teeth into Ducklett's wing. Dang! No Electric attacks! Still, Shinx was on his feet. Ducklett sprayed more water right into Shinx's face."Raa! Rrrr!" It took a step back and slammed into the Ducklett. Eurydice quickly threw her empty pokeball.

"Waaaak!" It broke out, spraying water everywhere. Shinx ran and pinned her down.
"Waaa! Waaa!"
"Rrrr!"

Another pokeball.

One... two... three... Click!

image#74: Geodude Rock Pokemon
imageimage
Height: 1'04"/0.4mWeight: 44.1lbs/20.0kg
Ability: SturdyIt cannot be knocked out with one hit.
Moves: Tackle, Defense Curl, Mud Sport
Level 7
Commonly found near mountain trails, etc. If you step on one by accident, it gets angry.

"Yeah, I'm up for that," Robyn agreed. "Doesn't look like there's too much around here in terms of tough battlers. My Pokemon have been just feasting on the competition around here."

"Lillil! Petilil!" Nina had hopped in behind Robyn and announced her presence with a shout. Natalie was with her, a blue leg sticking out of it's beak. Robyn turned and spotted the mess on her Flying-types face.

"In more ways that one," she finished her earlier thought. "Jeez Natalie. Can't even finish the whole thing? Gross." She bent down and flicked the offending piece off of the young Swablu, who went to retrieve it and finish her meal. "Now the other two are..." She spotted Scout and Sauza in a nearby bush, looking rather bored. At least Scout was. Hard to tell with Sauza at the moment. "Looks like we can move on now."

She produced two of her Pokeballs and returned the two far off Pokemon. The other two came out for her closer Pokemon, but one didn't want to go back in.

"Lillllll? Petiiii?" Nina was looking up with those little red eyes.

"Oh, you know I can't say no when you make the cute face." Robyn picked up Nina and returned Natalie to the Pokeball. "Fine, you can ride with me for now." She straightened back up but it took a bit of effort.

"Lil! Lillil!" Nina started bouncing again, the top leaf tickling Robyn's chin.

"OK, OK, simmer down a bit!" Pokemon secure, she turned back to Alix. "So. Ready when you are."

"Alright. Come on, guys and girl!" Alix called out to her four Pokémon. Oshawott was showing Matti his seashell, or scalchop as the Pokédex called it, but both hurried over, Stana soon following. Ludevic, however, was in dreamland. Alix sighed and walked over the the curled-up Abra, poking him lightly. "Come on, mister, time to move."

"Rrf... Aaaabra." Ludevic yawned as he sat up, hovering a few inches above the grass. He followed Alix on her way back to her other Pokémon, so she assumed he was alright to walk a ways. She scooped up Matti as usual, the Togepi waving to Robyn's Petilil, but Alix called Stana back to her Ball. Oshawott could walk for a bit, maybe get to know Ludevic if they got to 'talking'. Alix remembered that she had yet to give the Water-type a name. It had to be something that would suit his evolved forms as well.

"Let's go then," she said to Robyn as the two Trainers made their way down the path, heading for Route 3. The route was an interesting one, with rougher terrain than the previous routes. Alix thought she saw spots of flame up ahead, and little holes in rock walls. Could Fire-types be around? Perhaps. There were two paths to take on Route 3: one high up and one at ground level. There was a ramp up to the higher path: Alix had sort of expected rocky stairs like the ones at the base of Mt. Chimney and the Jagged Pass. She could see some Trainers on both paths, battling and such.

"So... which path to take, I wonder," she mused to both Robyn and her Pokémon. Oshawott bounded forward a little ways, curious to see what life was like beyond Lake Lapis.

Robyn decided to follow alongside Alix, doing her best to avoid tromping on her Pokemon. She got an Oshawott? Thought those were only supposed to be like starter types? Damn. Be nice to find one of those. Better then those dang Woopers and shit getting pulled out of the lake.

"So... which path to take, I wonder,"

Robyn looked at the general area. There wasn't really a discernible difference in the two except that one appeared to be higher up than the other. People were active on both, there were ample opportunities to catch Pokemon from the looks of the terrain. Still the one up top offered a prettier view. Robyn shifted her weight to try and put it all on her right leg and instantly regretted the decision as pain shot up through her body. FUCK! FUCK! DAMN IT! OK, OK, no climbing then. We'll just try and avoid that.

"Probably just as well to stick to the lower path," she opined to Alix. "Look like the two are similar in make-up and there's no need to really go full at it right? Make sure we get to this place easy and ready to hand that gym leader's tail to him?" And make sure I make it.

Heidi looked at the picture, then the Ducklett Eurydice was holding in her arms and did her best to make the connection between the two based on her question. "Oh, you're looking for this Ducklett's mother? Well, then I'll help you find her." And so she started to search with Eurydice, looking around as much as she could, even asking Yani, George and Eve to help them out. But after a while of searching, they found nothing. "It can't be this hard to find a frigging swan." she said in mild frustration.

However, her attention was taken away from that when Eurydice pointed her towards a sign saying ROUTE 3. "You want to look over there? Well, okay then. I'd think the Swanna would be near the lake, but we can look over there as well." She kept her three flying Pokémon out of their Pokéballs to help with the search, following after the younger girl with the Ducklett.

An Ekans attacked Eurydice, but she was quick to attack it back with her Ralts and win. "Nice!" Heidi said to her, encouraging her. However, shortly afterwards, she fell. Heidi ran over to her and knelt down by her side. "Are you alright?" she asked before her Ralts attacked something. Heidi got out of the way as well along with Eurydice to not get hit by the Confusion attack from Ralts and saw as well what she was attacking. A Geodude. A Geodude who was not happy with being tripped over.

Heidi watched as Eurydice acted quickly against the Geodude and caught it with the help of the Ducklett she'd been carrying, then the Ducklett turned on her as soon as she showed that she wanted to catch it. She again watched at how quickly Eurydice acted against it, although it was kind of unfortunate that Shinx didn't know any Electric moves early on, but she still caught the Ducklett nevertheless.

Heidi didn't get any peace, though, as she was attacked by a Pokémon as well, a Chimchar who jumped at her and started to wail on her for seemingly no reason. "Agh! Get off me!" She took him off her, but unfortunately her glasses fell off. They were alright, but Heidi didn't know where they were. "Yani! I need your help finding my glasses!" Yani instantly started looking for Heidi's glasses, when she noticed that the Chimchar was wearing them, probably originally to tease Heidi, but ultimately worked against him as he couldn't see a thing out of them. "Yan! Yan yan!" The Chimchar has them! I'll get them from him! Yani flew fast towards the Chimchar and, due to him not really seeing much, she managed to grab them from him and fly back to Heidi with them, handing them to her when Heidi put her hand out. "Thanks, Yani." Heidi adjusted her glasses, then looked towards the Chimchar with slight rage in her eyes.

"No one, and I mean no one, takes my glasses away from me!" She was not pleased by what the Chimchar had done, and she was going to make sure he would know. She picked up one of her Pokéballs and sent out Laura to take on the Chimchar. "Laura, take him out, would you? Mud Slap!" Laura couldn't help but obey Heidi's orders because of how furious Heidi sounded, slapping mud in the Chimchar's face. The attack hit, and the Chimchar retaliated by scratching Laura, but it didn't affect her too much as she retaliated back with another Mud Slap, leaving the Chimchar weaker than it was. Heidi picked up an empty Pokéball and threw it with all her might at the Chimchar, catching it after three shakes and a click. Heidi picked up the Pokéball and scanned it with her Pokédex.

image#390: Chimchar Chimp Pokémon
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Height: 1' 08" / 0.5 m.Weight: 13.7 lbs. / 6.2 kg.
Ability: Iron FistBoosts the power of punching moves
Moves: Scratch. Leer. Ember.
Level 8
It is very agile. Before going to sleep, it extinguishes the flame on its tail to prevent fires.

"At least you won't set everything on fire when you go to sleep. I think I'll name you Mike." As if naming him did the trick, Mike's Pokéball flashed away from her hand. Heidi was very surprised at it, but she quickly realized that he was probably just sent off to a PC box where her Pokémon would be sent to. After that, she went back to Eurydice to check up on her again. "Seeing as you couldn't really get a chance to answer me earlier due to all that commotion, I'll just ask again. Are you alright?"

Russel arrived at the entrance of Route 3. Rory slowed down a little, starting to look up and the paths and whine Raaaalts... "Oh right... rocky passes might not be the best choice. Maybe you should take a rest back in your ball..." Rory nodded as Russel pulled out his Pokeball, shooting a red beam at Rory and withdrawing him into his ball. "While we're at it, this'd be a good chance to get some practice with our new friend..."

In a swift movement he had swapped Rory's pokeball with that of his new Lotad, opening it to reveal the sleeping Pokemon. "This is going to become a pattern, isn't it...?" he sighed remembering Rory tended to be asleep when they weren't walking. "OI!" he shouted, clapping his hands. The Lotad jumped a few inches, looking all around it. Lo? Tad? Lotadtad? she quickly turned to face Russel. "Welcome aboard, little guy. Well, gal, if the pokedex is right. Now as for a name... you kinda look like a 'Mera'. That sound good to you?" The Lotad nodded, walking over and nodding her head to Munchie. Lotad? Munchie extended his hand, shaking the lilypad on her head as if it were a hand. "Nice to see you two getting along, but we have some work to do. We should get going to town before the sun starts going down..." His pokemon nodded, following him into Route 3.

Russel took a moment to check the surroundings, noticing two of the trainers from back at the lab contemplating which path to take. Is it really that hard a choice? Take the lower one. Path of least resistance... he shrugged, walking past them. "Ladies." he said, tipping his fingers where a hat would be, with both Munchie and Mera duplicating this action.

"Lots of fire types and rock types here, Mera. Should be easy pickings. Think of them as target practice for the gym coming up." he smirked, looking for their first opponent.

"Alright, lower path it is then," Alix agreed, taking note of Robyn shifting her weight to her right leg and immediately back again. "Doesn't look like there are many of those little caves on the higher path: maybe we'll find something inside - Oshawott, come back here!" The otter Pokémon had begun to investigate some of the tall grass nearby: no sooner had he done so than a Torkoal popped its head out and belched a cloud of poisonous gas at him.

Once again Alix was surprised by the presence of a Pokémon she had previously thought to be a native of Hoenn. She had often seen the tortoise-like creature in and around Mount Chimney. Oshawott seemed to not hear her, kicking up a spray of water before he turned tail and ran back to Alix with a glint in his eye.

"You're not supposed to go off and battle other Pokémon on your own unless I say so," she instructed the Water-type. "Osha?" Alix reached down and gave the new guy a scratch behind one ear. "Hmm... you need a name, don'tcha. What's a good name for a Water-type... I know. How's Gideon sound?"

Gideon seemed happy with the name, giving a nod of approval.

"Okay, that's settled. Let's go then." Alix and Robyn began making their way down the route, Alix's Pokémon occasionally getting into a short scuffle here and there. Alix took interest in poking around the caves to see if other Fire-types were present: a fair few were empty, and when she did find a Pokémon inside, it hurried away deeper in where she couldn't follow. Then she came across one with two more familiar Pokémon inside... both belonging to the same species, and the orange Fire-type was rarely seen even in Hoenn.

"Torchic!"

The two chick Pokémon had built a nest for themselves inside one of the holes in the rocky wall. One was playing with a pretty feather, sometimes holding it in its beak, other times adding it to the fuzzy feathers that made up its wings. The other was hopping around on both feet rather than walking, pecking at the ground near the twigs and leaves that made up the birds' nest.

Alix drew back from the cave a little way, so as not to spook the rare Pokémon, then briefly weighed up her options as to what to do. Matti wanted to jump down from where he was being held up and say hello to the Fire-types, but for once he didn't protest when Alix retreated from the cavern. She could try to catch one, but that could scare the other away. And it would be selfish of her not to share her discovery with her friend.

"Psst! Robyn! Have a look at this!" she half-whispered, half-called out to the darker-skinned Trainer. Gideon and Ludevic were talking in low voices again, while they waited for Alix to turn her attention to them.

Gazing upon the lake, Morgan soon came out of his tranquil trance. The sounds of the conversing trainers around him quieted so, making him realize that they all began moving out of the area. "I guess that means we're back on the move too." He rose from his spot on the lakeside, and looked out towards the lake. "C'mon Chase, it's time to go." He called out to the mischievous Chinchou, the young pokémon seeming to ignore his trainer as he splashed around in the water. "Come on Chase, I don't feel like doing this now." He tried using a sterner tone. The Angler pokémon replied by splashing water in his owner's direction, with a teasing raspberry to follow. Morgan groaned at the antics.

"I don't have time for this right now." He mumbled. In a fit of speed, he brandished Chase's pokéball, returning the Chinchou before it could notice or protest. "Don't wanna cooperate? Then you can't hang out. Simple as that." He said to the ball before placing it back on his belt. As if to rub salt in the wound, he took the adjacent capsule from his belt, releasing Spike. "Wanna be my walking buddy, Spike?" He asked the petite Poochyena, with it yapping excitedly in reply. "Welp. Onward to Route three." He gathered his bag, and started towards the others.

The path towards the route was closer than Morgan anticipated (or maybe it wasn't, he was walking faster than usual to keep up with Spike's pace), and as the two approached the route's road sign, Morgan raised an eyebrow at the peculiarity of the fork he was presented to. "Hmm. Do these two paths lead to the same area? Even then, which one should I take...?" He pondered through mumbles. Spike decided to answer for him, taking off into a trot down the lower path. Morgan followed after him, wondering if he caught a whiff of a familiar scent. "I know you wanna see that girl's Poochyena again Spike, but slow it down, geez!" As the area grew increasingly mountainous, Morgan made a thought of training Chase and the Squirtle out here. "They'd definitely have an advantage over whatever pops out around here..."

Up ahead, Spike eventually found what caught his attention, the familiar feets of the trainer Alix. He sniffed around her to confirm his predictions. "Yen! Cheeyen!" He barked happily, tongue lolling freely as he sat and panted. Unbeknownst to the Bite pokémon, was the girl's motives, as his loud barks reverberated heavily through the cave she stood at. Still a ways off, Morgan slowed his gait some as he looked ahead, realizing that his pokémon eventually came to a halt. With no need to run, he let out a sigh of relief, figuring he'd reach the puppy (and the trainer he so eagerly approached) within due time.

Robyn followed alongside Alix as the two travelled along the lower route. She had let Scout and Natalie out to take on any challengers that would emerge from the bushes, since Nina was not really in her element and Sauza would be a sitting duck against the fire types that appeared to live in the area. Alix dubbed her new Oshawott "Gideon". That ain't much for a name. Sounds poofy. Though I guess it's just as legit as naming a Pokemon after liquor.

"Psst! Robyn! Have a look at this!

Robyn crept as close as she could to where Alix was standing without falling on top of her. Peering into the indicated cave, she saw what the other girl was talking about. She had never seen the two Pokemon in there before, but they looked adorable. Especially the one with the feather in it's wings. She couldn't place the Pokemon it must have came from, but it was a brilliant deep blue. It stood out against the orange cream of the little Pokemon dancing with it, and it made it super cute.

"Torchic!"

Robyn had to stifle an awwww. "I want it soooo much!" she whisper-squeed to Alix. "Can we get any closer?"

Nina was going to find out. She bounced out of Robyn's arms while her trainer was distracted and started moving towards the nest. Robyn wanted to call out to her to get back, but that could call the two other Pokemon as well. So she stayed quiet as the Petilil moved in towards the pair. Nina was making good progress to, about ten feet away from the nest.

"YEN! YEN!"

WHAT THE HELL!

The yapping from outside reverberated through the cave. Nina turned at the sound, but so did the two other Pokemon, and they made it clear in a moment what type they were. That cute feather got tucked away in a hurry as both the little birds started firing balls of fire towards the entrance.

"Nina! Get behind the rock!"

The Grass-type did what it was told, taking shelter behind a small boulder and ducking it's head to avoid losing another chunk of leaf. Robyn moved as quick as she could to along the cave entrance to try and avoid getting scorched.

"Dammit! Scout!" she called out to the erstwhile Sentret, whose ears picked up at the sound of it's trainer's call. It stood on its tail from a ten meters away. "Sentret?" "Get over here! You've gotta get Nina out and stop those things inside!"

A look of realization, then determination spread on Scout's face as it rushed over to where Robyn was standing, leaving Natalie to pluck at the bushes. As it reached Robyn's position, it stood on it's tail and lifted it's tiny hand up in a salute. "SENTRET!" The Normal-type then took a breath and rushed into the cave.

Erika put away the charcoal and her sketch book as she finished her drawing. The picture was a bit rough and crude overall, but it was the limits of her skill. When she walked over to the lake to wash her hands, she ultimately decided that she liked her drawing as its roughness and crudeness was similar to her first battle.

When she got back to her backpack she picked it up and turned to the grass that her Pokémon ran into. Walking over towards it she stuck two fingers into her mouth and blew a loud whistle. Aerial, Breńa and Burtha rushed and flew out of the grass towards her.

Where's Maya? She should be right here with...oh god Aerial you didn't...oh god...wait that's too rash, maybe she's just kno... Erika's thought process was stopped as she say a stream of String Shot shoot into the air and a glowing light appear from below it. The light stopped and Erika quickly pulled out her Pokédex in order to scan the new Pokémon before her.

No. 011
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Name: Metapod
Species: Cocoon Pokémon
Height: 2'04" / 0.7 m
Weight: 21.8 lbs / 9.9 kg
Ability: Shed Skin - The Pokémon may heal its own status problems.
Description: A steel-hard shell protects its tender body. It quietly endures hardships while awaiting evolution.
Moves: Tackle: Normal, Physical.
................String Shot: Bug, Status.
................Struggle Bug: Bug, Special
................Bug Bite: Bug, Physical.
Item: N/A
OT: Erika Park // 27718

An emotionless face peered at Erika from the grass as it hopped along the ground and joined her with the rest of her Pokémon. The unchanging face and blank stare kind of creeped Erika out and she quickly returned her new Metapod along with the rest of her Pokémon, before heading off through the forest, and onto Route 3.


The forest was thick and was slowing Erika down as she hiked through it. The promise of open ground and plenty of sunshine pushed her forward to the edge and then accidently over it as Erika had failed to notice the sudden drop off at the edge. Her feet quickly planted on the side of the steep hill, and she slid down the side of it in a state of half excitement, half terror.

The slide down the hill ended a second later as the ground leveled out onto a pass and Erika almost ran another person over. A cloud of dust followed her down as she caught her balance and stopped for a second to catch her breath.

"Are you alright?" The man she almost ran over asked.

"Yes. I didn't see the drop or yourself. That turned into something a little too exciting, and I'm sorry for almost running you over." Erika apologized to the man as she looked up at him. The man looked to be wearing a lot of hiking gear and was a few inches taller than her.

"It's alright no harm done." The man replied as he looked up to the top of the hill and realized the direction she came from. "You wouldn't happen to have come this way from Lake Lapis?"

"Ummm...ya. Why?"

"Are those insane guys in uniforms still there? What were they called? It was "e" something; Equinox. That's what it was Equinox. Are they still there? They drive me and a bunch of other people away from Lake Lapis earlier. I was hoping for a relaxing day at the beach too." The man said to Erika.

"Those people were there," Erika said with some scorn. "I'm not sure what they were doing, but the group of trainers who just started in Gensia with me today drove them off after beating all of them in Pokémon battles. Well less drove them off and more of them their leader ordering them to leave. It was a little strange since they were armed and could have probably driven us away with their weapons."

"Thanks..." The man paused for a second. "I didn't get your name yet. I'm Stephen by the way."

"Oh my name's Erika and it was no problem."

"I know this might sound strange, but considering you just drive them off would you mind facing me in a battle? I kind of want to know how strong someone who helped drive them off through battle is."

"I'm not sure about that. It does sound pretty weird."

"Well you just said that you started today, so some more battles would be good experience. Plus we can make a small wager. Let's say P$200."

Well it would be good to get more experience before a gym battle. "Okay you've sold me."

"One on one battles with two Pokémon each; that is if you have two Pokémon."

"Don't worry I have more than two Pokémon and that sounds good, although you should release first considering you issued the challenge and the rules."

"Fair enough."

Stephen turned around and walked back a few steps before taking a Pokéball out of his pocket and released the Pokémon inside. "Go Growlithe!" A red Pokémon with brown strips and white shaggy groupings of hair appeared in a white light. Erika quickly pulled out her Pokédex and scanned the Growlithe.

No. 058
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Name: Growlithe
Species: Puppy Pokémon
Height: 2'04" / 0.7 m
Weight: 41.9 lbs / 19.0 kg
Ability: Justified - Raises Attack when hit by a Dark-type move.
Description: A Pokémon with a loyal nature. It will remain motionless until it is given an order by its Trainer.
Moves: Bite: Dark, Physical.
................Roar: Normal, Status.
................Ember: Fire, Special.
Item: N/A

So it knows a fire attack. That takes Maya and Burtha out of the question. I guess I'll go with Breńa. Erika removed the Pokéball with the Poochyena from her belt buckle and pressed the release button. "Go Breńa!" Erika Yelled as she tossed the ball in the air and Breńa appeared on the ground. Stephen had his Pokédex pulled out to scan her Pokémon.

"Breńa use Howl and then Tackle!" Erika commanded as her Poochyena let out a howl unfittingly loud for a creature its size.

"Growlithe use Ember!" Stephen ordered.

The Puppy Pokémon shot a small continuous stream of flame balls out of its mouth, and swept it towards the Bite Pokémon. The Poochyena quickly dodged and jumped around the balls of fire until it was in close range. The fire stream connected with Breńa and she slowed down a little as she took damage, but still powered forward and landed a Tackle on the Growlithe's chin.

The stream of fire balls stopped as the Growlithe recoiled for a second and both Pokémon received their next orders.

"Breńa Tackle again!"

"Growlithe use Bite!"

Breńa quickly charged forward again and leapt at the Growlithe. The Growlithe caught the Poochyena in the air with a Bite attack and Breńa's fur shot up as its ability activated. Quickly Breńa slammed its head into Growlithe's and the Puppy Pokémon let go of it.

"Breńa keep using Tackle until you win!"

"Growlithe use Ember until her Poochyena is knocked out of the battle!"

A stream of flame balls shot out of the Growlithe's mouth again, but Breńa was faster and moved to the side of the Growlithe before landing a Tackle. The Growlithe moved to adjust, but was too slow as Breńa jumped over it and slammed into its back with another Tackle.

The Growlithe started to spray the Ember attack everywhere and a few managed to hit Breńa, but it was ultimately in vane as she slammed her full weight into the Growlithe's face right between its eyes. The Ember attack stopped as the Growlithe collapsed to the ground, knocked out.

"Damn. You were lucky Erika, but I still have one more Pokémon left. Go Cyndaquil!" Stephen said as he returned his Growlithe, and released his Cyndaquil onto the battlefield.

"I just got lucky and you fought well. Wait did you say a Cyndaquil?" Erika quickly replied before the Cyndaquil materialized. Cute! "Where'd you get one? I'm from Johto and those are our starters, but even there they are incredibly rare." Erika asked now scanning the Cyndaquil.

No. 155
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Name: Cyndaquil
Species: Fire Mouse Pokémon
Height: 1'08" / 0.5 m
Weight: 17.4 lbs / 7.9 kg
Ability: Flash Fire - It powers up Fire-type moves if it's hit by one.
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

"If you win I'll tell you. Now Cyndaquil use Smoke Screen and then Tackle!" Stephen replied before the battlefield filled with a black smoke. Suddenly Breńa was sent tumbling out of the smoke and was barely able to stand up.

She might be able to keep fighting, but it's better if I return her for now. "Breńa return," Erika ordered as a beam of red light from her Pokéball hit the Poochyena and sucked it back into the ball. "Now go Aerial!"

A flash of white appeared and Aerial began to fly through the sky. "Aerial use your Gust attacks to drive away the smoke from the battlefield!" Erika commanded.

The Tiny Bird Pokémon rapidly unleashed several small Tornados into the field of smoke, and the smoke began to flow away from the battlefield. Suddenly from within part of the black smoke a blue Pokémon with a fire on its back flew out into the open and rolled across the ground from the force of the wind.

"Damnit!" yelled Stephen as he scanned the Pidgey with his Pokédex. "Cyndaquil use Leer, and hit the Pidgey with a Tackle whenever you think you have a chance!"

"Aerial use Sand Attack!" Erika commanded as the Pidgey flew lower to the side of the hill and starter to whip sand and dirt into the air with the wind from its flapping wings. There was a brief hesitation from Aerial due to the Leer and the Cyndaquil fleetly ran to the Pidgey and hit it with a powerful Tackle. The Pidgey was knocked backwards and briefly hit the ground before taking to the air.

The Cyndaquil started to rub its eyes as the sand and dirt it ran through started to get into them. That's exactly what I wanted. Pidgey now use another Gust and follow it with a Razor Wind!" Erika ordered. "Pidg. Pidg." came back a reply from Aerial as it was struggling a little to keep in the air.

Suddenly it turned in the air and a larger than normal tornado of wind quickly whirled towards, and hit, the Cyndaquil. The Fire Mouse Pokémon rolled backwards and a large Whirlwind formed between the Pidgey and the Cyndaquil.

"Quick Cyndaquil! You have to hit it with another Tackle!" Stephen commanded. The Cyndaquil nodded and charged through the whirlwind at full speed. Once it entered the middle it disappeared for a moment before suddenly exiting halfway up the whirlwind attempting to Tackle the Pidgey out of the air.

"DODGE!" Screamed Erika as Aerial stopped flapping its wings and dropped below the intended path of the Cyndaquil. In a blink of the eye Aerial flew above the whirlwind and blew gusts of wind from it that looked like white slashes through the air. The Cyndaquil managed to dodge a few, but it was stuck without a way to counterattack. Then suddenly it was grazed one white slash, and then another. Soon it was hit but several slashes full on and it collapsed.

"Cyndaquil return!" Stephen ordered as a red beam of light hit his Cyndaquil and dematerialized it back into the ball.

"Fair is fair Erika, and that was a good battle. I caught this Cyndaquil earlier on the path between here and Kalita City. You should reach a fork in the path and there should be two routes. One will lead up and looks a bit harder to take then the one that leads down. Take the route that heads up and if you're lucky you might be able to find a Cyndaquil or two along the cliffs." Stephen instructed her before attempting to walk past her, and down the path towards Lake Lapis.

He stopped suddenly when he heard a dry forced cough. "Oh right the bet." Stephen said rubbing a hand behind his head like he had forgotten. Quickly he walked back to Erika and handed over the P$200 before taking off again.

"Have a good time at the beach Stephen and thanks for the battle and information about the Cyndaquil!" Erika yelled after him once she had received her victory winnings.

Erika removed Aerial's Poké Ball from her belt buckle and returned her before she walked down the path and reached the aforementioned fork in the path. When she looked up the path and saw the slightly greater roughness of it, she was glad she was wearing her hiking boots and started to head up; ever vigilant of any Cyndaquil who were likely to suddenly and briefly appear.

"I want it soooo much! Can we get any closer?" Alix gave a quiet laugh at Robyn's comments. Torchic was indeed a cute Pokémon... she hadn't seen many of them back in Hoenn though. Some people at the Lavaridge Gym trained with a Torchic, or its evolved forms Combusken or Blaziken. Alix had caught glimpses the few times she'd visited.

"Yen! Cheeyen!"

As soon as the somewhat familiar Poochyena started yapping at Alix, the two Torchics got scared and began kicking up a ruckus, throwing fire at the cave entrance. Alix cursed under her breath, shooting a glare at the Dark-type. "Dammit! Get away, you," she chided... Spike, that was his name.

Scared of the sudden arrival, Ludevic hid behind Gideon upon catching sight of the Poochyena. Alix, however, had other plans. She set Matti down next to the others, hurriedly instructing him to stay put, then turned to Gideon. Being a Water-type, he was perfect for the situation. "Gideon! I need you to get in there and start to counter their fire attacks!" she instructed him. Time to show me what you can do, little guy. Intrigued by what was going on, Matti tried to run up to the cave entrance himself, but Ludevic grabbed the Togepi and held on.

"Osha-wo!" A confident expression on his face, Gideon bounded forward to the cave entrance, scalchop in paw. He swiped the shell through the air to bat away a small fireball aimed at him. The Torchic that had sent the flames at him cocked its head slightly, surprised. "Tor?"

Gideon launched an offensive of his own, spitting a jet of water towards the Fire Pokémon, who hopped behind a rock to avoid being hit... though it did get caught in the spray as it ran for cover. It peeked its head out from behind the rock, only to retreat when it saw Gideon again. Alix didn't want to scare the Torchic deeper into its cave... she needed something to keep it around so she could catch it. She glanced over at Robyn, who was calling her Sentret over to help out her Petilil.

Meanwhile, the Torchic that Gideon had attacked was scared of him, chirping and peeking out at the Oshawott as he waited for it to emerge from its hidey-hole. Gideon was frowning. Why was this Pokémon hiding?

Alix knew why. Fire-types didn't like water being spat at them. "Gideon, come back! Swap places with Ludevic!"

"Abra?"

"Come on, Ludevic. Let's see if we can draw this Torchic out into the open," Alix told the Psychic Pokémon. Gideon reluctantly complied with Alix's command, and Ludevic handed the squeaking Matti to Gideon before hovering himself into the cavern's entrance. He yawned and sat down on the cavern floor... Alix raised her eyebrows, but hopefully the Torchic would perceive him as less of a threat, and come back.

Her guess was wrong. The Torchic was only visible by its shivering head feathers poking up from behind its rock. It was too afraid to come out. Just like Gideon, Ludevic was wondering why it was hiding. "Ludevic, see if you can coax the Torchic out. Try using Metronome," Alix suggested.

Ludevic raised his hands and wagged his fingers back and forth. They began to glow a bright white, and the glow expanded to encompass his whole body. Ludevic was lighting up the cave somehow: Alix shielded her eyes because of the brightness. The Torchic's head feathers stopped shaking, and instead jerked around as if it were looking about itself. It peeped its head out again to look at what was happening. "Tor... chi?" it chirped, hopping a little closer to the light source.

Soon Ludevic's light faded, revealing the Abra again. The Torchic's eyes narrowed and it hopped forward to scratch him with its feet. Alix reasoned that Ludevic could take the hit, telling him to Metronome a second time once the Fire-type had hopped away rather quickly. Again the Abra raised his hands and twitched his fingers... then he coughed up a cloud of green powder, which enveloped the Torchic. It slowed to a stop, confused, and then its eyes snapped shut and it settled on the ground, sound asleep.

Alix was surprised: Ludevic had put it to sleep with Sleep Powder. She didn't give it the chance to wake, tossing a Poké Ball. It landed next to the Fire Pokémon and sucked it in. One twitch, two, three... click. Since the cavern was rather small, Ludevic picked up the sealed Ball and carried it back to Alix, his nose twitching as a result of coughing up the Sleep Powder. She took her new catch from the Abra and raised the Ball a little ways in triumph, making sure to scan it with her Pokédex.

image#255: Torchic Chick Pokémon
image
Height: 1'04" / 0.4 m.Weight: 5.5 lbs. / 2.5 kg.
Ability: Speed Boost(This Pokémon builds up speed during battle.)
Moves: Scratch, Growl, Focus Energy, Ember
.
If attacked, it strikes back by spitting balls of fire it forms in its stomach. A Torchic dislikes darkness because it can't see its surroundings.

"A girl, eh? I think I'll name you... Jen. Short and sweet. That sounds good for a Fire-Fighting type," Alix mused, remembering that she needed to apply labels to the Poké Balls she'd used... that meant she needed to buy labels. She mentally kicked herself for not getting a pack back in Lazuli Town. Not knowing who was in which Poké Ball meant the potential to make mistakes during a battle. She looked over at Robyn to see how she was doing: the other Trainer's battle with the other Torchic had been going on at the same time.

"Uh oh." Morgan began to realize that his Poochyena's playful barks might've caused some sort of chain reaction from inside the craggy hollow Alix and Robyn wandered into, with sounds of battle erupting from within a mere second after Spike made his presence known. The sight of bite sized fireballs whizzing past the heads of the trainers and pokémon alike only grounded such suspicions, and Morgan thought it'd be best to make towards the opening with haste.

"Nina! Get behind the rock!" "Gideon!...start to counter their fire attacks!" "Osha-wo!" "Dammit! Scout!" "Abra?" "Ludevic, see if you can coax the Torchic out." Was the collection of words that expelled from the cave, but it was one of which truly caught the sailor's attention. "Wait...did she just say Torchic?" By the sounds of it, the girls had also encountered rare pokémon. Or at least, rare by Hoenn standards.

He slowed down some as he reached the cave, hugging the outer wall as he did so to avoid getting caught up in the brunt of an attack. However, it seemed the sounds of battle quieted some as he neared the entrance. "Another starter type? Do the other regions just get their pokémon from Gensia?" He mumbled, poking his head in ever so slightly to catch a glimpse of the action. Spike moved to his trainer's side, suggesting that he wanted to battle as well.

"...I'll name you...Jen. That sounds good for a Fire-Fighting type," He could hear. "Sounds like Alix caught the Torchic..." He quickly found out that it wasn't the only one, with Robyn off to the right making her own attempts to catch a second Torchic. "So, not only have they found a rare pokémon, but they found it in bulk!" He thought as he looked on, making silent supplemental quips on how her Petil wouldn't be much help in a fight like this one.

Scout charged into the cave, and quickly spotted his team mate behind the rock. The fireballs forced a low approach, but when the storm ceased, the Sentret jumped up and dashed over to where Nina was still cowering.

"TRET! Sentretsentret?" Hey! Are you all right to move?

"Lillill....petililpetilil." I can't....not with them out there.

Scout had new resolve grow in his expression. "Sentretsentretsentret." Then I'll get rid of them.

The Sentret cozied up beside the rock, waiting for the moment when the barrage of flames would dissipate. Unanticipated support from the other side of the cave meant that time was now. The two Fire-types apparently had to reload. Scout was ready for this and went to make his move when suddenly, a flash! The cave was illuminated and Scout was disoriented. It took a moment for the Normal-type to regain it's bearings, but that moment was all it's opponent needed.

Drawn by the light at the edge of the cave, the other Torchic approached with it's sibling, but while it's sister was timid, it was aggressive. Seeing the presumed intruder shaking its head meant that the Fire-type had the advantage. Emboldened, the Torchic dashed ahead and jumped, in order to land a solid Scratch to Scout's stomach.

Scout was caught off-guard by the attack, but now that the target had come out to play, he was ready to take it on. "SENTRET!" He lunged forward, small fist at the ready to land a Dizzy Punch, but this was the Torchic's turf. It knew how to use the cave to it's advantage. It leaped off a small rock nearby to avoid the attack before landing on top of Scout, Scratching it again. "Torchic." It took the feather out of its wing and twirled it around in it's beak before tucking it back into place.

Robyn could only watch from the outside as the Pokemon went at it, not wanting to interfere with either match-up, but she couldn't help but be impressed with the fighting prowess displayed by the feather-donning Pokemon. OK, that's it, I have to have this one. It's cute and can fight like that, it's a Champion-level Pokemon.

Scout dusted himself off after that last hit to the back, and he was getting mad. It stayed in place trying to get a read on the Torchic. It wasn't going to miss this time. Hindsight was 20/20 but Foresight would see that this little chick would be getting hit. As he locked on, Scout was set. There was a plan. Meanwhile, the Torchic seemed to be focusing itself to land the final attack to end this encounter.

"Sentret....sentretsentret!" Not bad...but not good enough!

Scout jumped up and moved forward, fist clenched as the Torchic acted as well, ready to gouge a final hit. The Chick Pokemon jumped, but the problem was Scout dove. It landed below the arc of the Torchic's jump and popped it's fist up to catch the opponent behind the sharp talons, and in the torso. All flying progress was halted as the Pokemon took the brunt of the punch and landed with a thud beside near Scout, blue feather separated from cream on the rock floor. The Normal Pokemon had the presence of mind to roll away as Nina stopped taking cover behind the rock and stood on top of it, leaves pinned down by the small roof but ready to seal the deal against the Pokemon that tried to barbecue her.

"Lillil!" Take this! The Bulb Pokemon shot a large seed out of it's forehead towards the downed Torchic, and it hit it's mark. Vines sprouted immediately and wrapped up the target in a neat little package. A faint glow could be seen as energy started to be sapped from the fire type. The Torchic tried to shake the vines, but they were wrapped tightly and slowly the struggling became muted.

"Petilil! Petilil! I did it! I did it!

"Sentrettret." We won it.

It was clear to see that this match was over, even in the diminished light of the cave. Robyn readied a Pokeball, but with the cave entry as low as it was, she couldn't trust her aim to connect to the target. Instead she shouted to her leader in the cave. "Scout!" She rolled the Pokeball in towards where Scout stood. "Hit it with that!"

Scout understood and picked up the Pokeball. Walking over to where the vines still kept the Torchic pinned down, he dropped the ball, enlarging it. "Sentret...sentretsentret." Good effort...but it's over now. He dropped the ball on top of the Fire Pokemon and it was quickly enveloped by the red light. The vines fell to the ground as the ball landed on top, shaking for a couple moments before clicking shut.

"All right guys come back out!" Robyn shouted into the cave. After a few seconds, the two emerged. Scout came first, Pokeball in it's hands, presenting it to its trainer. "Thank you, Scout. Very nicely done in there," she congratulated the Normal type and skritched it behind it's ears. "Sennnnntret."

Nina came out shortly after, it's own trophy in it's little nubs. It had picked up the blue feather that adorned the Torchic and was waving it around as it came out into the open, conducting to a tune only it could hear. "Lillll, lillll, Petipetilillll!"

"Nina, come on, you don't need that," Robyn told her. "Here." She took the feather out of Nina's grasp and tucked it in beside the scrunchie that kept her ponytail in place. Nina protested slightly, but was sated when Robyn picked her back up. "Come on. You with a feather is weird." As she cradled Nina, she looked at the Pokeball in her other hand. You are going to win me a lot of matches. I can see that.

Catch and Pokemon secured, she turned her attention to who she assumed was the trainer who put them in that harrowing situation. "You are damn lucky I caught that Pokemon, or else I'd be stuffing you into this ball instead! Don't be letting Pokemon run around like that! You could have gotten my Pokemon badly hurt!" Nina was silent but picked up on her trainer's rage and gave as angry a stare as it could muster on the man at the focal point of Robyn's comments.

It seemed that Robyn had caught the other of the Torchics that had made this particular cave their home. The other Trainer, however, seemed to be in no mood to celebrate the victory. Instead she wheeled around to someone behind the two girls: Alix recognised him as Morgan, the owner of the Poochyena that had scared the Fire-types into defending their nest. Alix let Robyn vent for a little bit before chipping in with comments of her own.

"She's got a point, Morgan. We could have used a different approach to the Torchic nest if Spike hadn't spooked its inhabitants," she began, beckoning to her Pokémon to regroup around her and picking up Matti with a free hand as she spoke. Rather than mimicking Robyn's angry tone, Alix was slightly calmer about the situation... but still quite annoyed that Spike had caused the ruckus. "I think we might all get along a little better if he learned the concept of 'heel'. I don't think anyone here wants a repeat of what just happened."

Russel had been walking along the path Robyn and Alix had taken, not too far behind them. However, he was distracted by the call of a man walking down from the mountainside. "Excuse me! Excuse me, kid! I was wondering if you might have something to deal with a burn. I was about halfway to town when some Pansear got the drop on my Pokemon. I was about halfway down the mountain when I noticed you and those other trainers and..." Russel raised his hand up to interupt him, reaching into his backpack.

"Say no more, say no more..." he said, pulling out a Rawst Berry. "So who was the unlucky sap?" the trainer pulled out a pokeball, revealing a Machop. "My little buddy here got into a bit of a scrape without me noticing. I was hiking along the mountain to try and get some training in. I am pretty good at hiking, and thought this place'd be perfect to get some practice before the gym leader."

Russel nodded as the Machop chowed down on the berry. "Yeah, I was kinda surprised I didn't see that many other trainers here. Lovely lake behind us filled with water pokemon and a ground gym up ahead. Seems like basic math, really..." he shrugged. "Still, small world. I'm planning on facing the gym leader as well."

The hiker turned to face Russel now, his hand in his pocket. "Oh really? Well, how about a battle? A quick practice round with the new Pokemon I caught here near the caves." He pulled out a pokeball, expanding it.

Russel took a moment to think, recalling what types of pokemon were common in these kinds of areas, then grinned, nodding. "You're on. The stakes?"

"Let's keep it small. About 100?" the hiker reached into his other pocket, showing he had the money.

"Fair enough. Two on two. You send out your pokemon first." Russel said, stepping back and gesturing to the hiker to throw his pokeball.

"Fine! Go, Geodude!" He shouted, a Geodude emerging from the ball. Duuuuuude

Russel nudged Mera with his foot. "C'mon. Let's make this quick..."

Two Geodudes later, the hiker and his Machop looked dumbstruck, then the look changed to depressed. "Awww, and they looked so strong..."

Russel shrugged. "I'm sure they'll be better with a bit of training."

The hiker laughed heartily "That they will, boy! But first we should settle some other matters..." he handed Russel the money, shaking his hand. "Well, best of luck to you at the gym." he said, walking away.

Russel nodded, waving to him. "Well he was nice. Plus we got some training in. Now then..." before he could complete that through, he saw the two trainers from before up ahead, this time with someone else. "Huh. Would have thought they'd be at town by now. I didn't beat him that fast..."

He walked up to the other trainers, but saw one of them was agitated. "Yikes. Perhaps discreteness would be the better option here..." he said, trying to walk around these Alix, Robyn and Morgan without being spotted. "Don't want to get into another battle too quickly."

Taking his detour, he noticed Alan nearby, another one he recognized from the lab, even if not by name.. Russel walked by, waving to him "Hey there."

Naturally, Spike's barely-uncontrollable excitement resulted in Morgan getting verbally berated on two different fronts. With one trainer's reaction being considerably more brash than the other's. Granted, it wasn't anything faltering, he's been yelled at before. And without this particular person being a superior officer, he took the girl's words in stride. "Oh calm down. You still got the Torchic, didn't you? I..." Morgan squinted a bit as he looked into the darker-skinned girl, placing a folded finger to his lips in thought. "...don't we've been formally introduced? I'm Morgan." As he offered a handshake with a fearless smirk, Spike made a malicious growl in Robyn's direction, he could smell the hostilities coming off this girl.

"Hey!" Morgan let out sharply, kneeling to the Poochyena. With a light but firm tap to the snout, Morgan had to let the pokémon know that he did something wrong. "Don't you ever do that again, do you hear me?" The sailor accentuated his words with a sharp, stern tone, with a hard, wagging finger to accompany the act of discipline. Even if Spike couldn't understand the words of his trainer, he would at least know the tone. He knew he was being put in his place.

"Cheeee ee ee..." He whimpered to his trainer. "Nuh uh Spike, don't apologize to me. The damage is done. You know what you did. Now you know not to do it again." Morgan replied to the Poochyena's somber whimpers. Alix piped up soon after.

"She's got a point, Morgan. We could have used a different approach to the Torchic nest if Spike hadn't spooked its inhabitants." She pointed out, her Togepi scurrying into her arms. Morgan sighed in slight irritation as he looked up to her from his kneeling position. "I think we might all get along a little better if he learned the concept of 'heel'. I don't think anyone here wants a repeat of what just happened." She added, twisting the knife a bit from Morgan's perspective. "Starting to sound like a bit of a know-it-all there, chick..." "Yeah, my bad. I've had a reign on him until now, I wasn't expecting him to get that far away from me. Or to get that excited at a familiar scent. Or maybe I figured he would do that, but I didn't have a proper grasp on your situation...? Whatever, I dunno."

"But enough about me. You're from Hoenn, right Alix? You don't think it's a little crazy that you just found one of our region's rarest pokémon, just out here in the wild? Not to mention that I caught a fuckin' Squirtle just down at that lake. This place is definitely getting my motor running...what are the possibilities? Just imagine what other type of rarities we can find here!" He told the two, beginning to ponder on just how interesting the next few months could be.

"Oh calm down. You still got the Torchic, didn't you? I..."

"Not the point, four-eyes," Robyn told the bespectacled man in the pause, before the derivative nickname pointed something that he himself confirmed.

"...don't we've been formally introduced? I'm Morgan."

Robyn was about to tell him where his hand could be stuck when the little yapper who caused Nina to almost be barbecued in the first place started growling. Her anger was going to be turned onto the small Pokemon, but Morgan beat her to chastising the small Dark-type. Alix came in as well, sounding like the condescending yin to Robyn's angered yang. Morgan seemed to apologize to her as well, but he was more excited about the catches they made. Oh yeah, should probably see what exactly this little scrapper can do.

By this time Natalie had hopped over to see what the commotion around her trainer was, leaving only Sauza out of the loop as Robyn clicked the button on the Pokeball she still had in her hand. Released into the pack of her current team, the Torchic immediately shook itself upon materializing back on the ground, as if still trying to get Nina's vines off. Once it realized that the vines were long shed, it looked around confused as to what happened and why these other Pokemon were around it.

Robyn got her Pokedex out and pointed it at the tiny Fire-type. "Now let's see what exactly you got in the arsenal."

image#255: Torchic Chick Pokémon
image
Height: 1'04" / 0.4 m.Weight: 5.5 lbs. / 2.5 kg.
Ability: Speed Boost(This Pokémon builds up speed during battle.)
Moves: Scratch, Featherdance, Focus Energy, Ember
.
A fire burns inside, so it is very warm to hug. This Pokemon breathes fire of over 1800 degrees F, including fireballs that can leave the foe scorched black.

The rest of the entry might have read "This Pokemon causes trainers to have never ending bad luck and catch nothing but Magikarp for the rest of time" for all Robyn cared. There was one word in that info packet that had raised the Torchic's status from having her curiosity to having her attention.

"Are you serious?" She bent down, putting all the pressure on her propped up left leg instead of the kneeling right. She wanted to get as close to the Torchic's level while making sure that she could actually get back up again. "You're a dancer?"

Torchic looked at Robyn's face, but it's attention was also drawn elsewhere, to her blue feather that now adorned the back of Robyn's hairdo like a tribal chief. That feather was it's identity, and it wanted it back. "Torchic! Torchic! Torchicchicchic!" It was jumping up towards Robyn's face, causing her to lean away to avoid getting pecked. Taking this opportunity, the Chick Pokemon hopped onto Robyn's knee. "Torchic!"

The Torchic wasn't even looking at Robyn's face, it was looking above it. That's when the trainer realized what it was probably looking for. She plucked the feather out of her hair. "All right, if I give you this back, will you show me your dance?"

"Torchictor!" Robyn handed the feather back to Torchic, while Nina softly protested, Scout looked on with derision, and Natalie was obliviously pecking the ground. Target acquired in its beak, Torchic hopped off it's acquired perch and faced it's trainer. "Trrrrrr," it said somewhat muffled. It started to gain a golden glow around itself. "Chrc...chrc...chrc....chrc." The feather moved gracefully from the beak to the air and back in its mouth as Torchic swayed from side to side. A golden powder was released as it did this, spread by the feather as it settled over Robyn and the rest of her Pokemon. As she watched, Robyn felt the rage at Morgan and his Pokemon's actions almost melt away, like her desire to attack was reduced to nothing. The dance finished with a flourish, as a final toss in the air was accompanied by a spin move from Torchic before catching the feather and placing it in it's original spot in her left wing. "Torchic!"

Robyn had to pause for a few seconds before bending back over and putting the Torchic back on her knee. "You...are...so awesome!!!" "Tor! Torchic!" It seemed to concur with Robyn's assessment. Even the other Pokemon came in to offer congratulations and welcomes to the team. "I need to name you something awesome then too." She thought for a second about what would work. "My best friend when I was doing ballet, like the one who I'd always pair with, her name was Laila. I think you're an even better dancer than she was. What do you think?"

The Torchic closed it's eyes and nodded up and down in taking the name. "Laila it is then!" She placed the Torchic back down and got up with a soft grunt. With her newest trainee now meeting and greeting the rest of the team except for Sauza, she headed back over to Morgan, intent on finishing the conversation.

"Sorry about yelling," she said. "I dunno what it is about this place that's letting rare Pokemon wander around like Rattata, but I'm not complaining. If it will help me become the Gensia Champion then it's awesome for me." Right, name. "I'm Robyn, by the way."

Alix watched Robyn's conversation with her newest acquisition with noticeable interest, taking note of the Torchic's dancing antics. FeatherDance, eh? I thought you could only get that move by breeding with certain other bird Pokémon... and even then, if I remember correctly, they themselves have to be bred for it beforehand. And if the two that we found are related, which is possible, why doesn't Jen have FeatherDance? Weird. She shot Jen's Poké Ball a look of curiosity before turning back to the others.

"I didn't know you had such an interest in dancing, Robyn," she mused aloud, rejoining Robyn and Morgan with her Pokémon in tow. "I took a few classes myself for a couple of years, back before I took a proper job in Pokémon breeding. I, er, I like to think I was good at it. Might be a bit rusty since I haven't practiced in a while." Matti was to blame for that. Having to take constant care of a childish, sometimes mischievous baby Pokémon was enough to keep Alix away from her pastimes.

Note To Self: Find time to practice some of the old routines from last term. Also, see if there's internet access in Kalita City, to remind yourself of them. The latter note was probably an easy one to take care of, since even Lavaridge, a smallish town by Hoenn standards, had access to decent-speed internet.

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