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Dragon Tamer
Dragon Tamer
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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:33 pm
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This is a new story that I'm starting, taking place in Marion, the setting of Pokémon Sun and Moon (the 'games' I 'made'). I will attempt to describe all the new Pokémon as best I can, so you know what they look like. They're all based on real plants and animals found in Oregon. I'm excited to write this now, but I make no guarantees that the excitement will endure. Know that I have every intention of finishing the story eventually, but that intent may not last.

*****

CHAPTER ONE

The blare of the train's horn woke Sean with a violent start. Heart pounding in his chest, he silently cursed the train. All summer, he had seen signs near the train tracks saying they would stop sounding their horns. But every now and then, one would sound, and he would curse it. Before the signs had said the horns would stop, he hadn't had any problems with them; in fact, he barely noticed them. But now they annoyed him.

He checked the clock, saw how late in the day it was, and immediately darted out of bed. He made a quick pit-stop in the bathroom before throwing on any clothes he knew weren't absolutely filthy. Smelling himself to make sure he was fine, he rushed down the stairs and out the front door, shouting a quick love-ya to his father before running down the street toward the Pokémon Lab. Most mornings, he'd take the time to notice the crisp air of his home city of Cherry Orchard, delight in the slightly sweet taste of it all, but not today. Today he was far too late to notice anything, not even the packs of Cherubi and Cherrim meandering about. Today, he had to pick his first Pokémon and start his adventure.

Last night, his father had warned him to get a good night's rest. Sean usually didn't need the advice, as he loved sleep almost as much as food, but still he didn't get to sleep until late. It wasn't that he was too excited to sleep; just that he was waiting on the song. Every night, before bed, he'd hear the most beautiful song to lull him to sleep. There were no words to this song, just the sweet melody that would put him out just as he was starting to enjoy it. When he was a young boy, his father had told him it was the moon that sang to everyone at night, but whatever the case, last night the song did not play. The moon had been out, but there was no song, and Sean spent far too long waiting for it.

Luckily, Sean only lived three blocks from the giant Pokémon Lab. Still, he was out of breath by the time he barged through the huge double-doors. Panting, heart hammering in his chest, he swallowed a few times and walked quickly through the off-white halls, passing rooms with people in lab coats holding beakers of foaming liquid, or humid rooms buzzing with insects and filled with plants, or any number of other rooms that were not the one he was looking for. He stopped in the Pokémon Center, as he did every time he visited the professor, to check on the sick, injured, and abandoned Pokémon. There was a Pichu that had been found in the wilds south of town, part of its ear missing, as well as a pair of Eevee that had been left on the front steps of the lab, that Sean visited frequently. They were the only ones that were there every time he arrived; the others were just sick or injured, and spent no more than a day there before their Trainers picked them up.

That day, however, it was just the two Eevee. Sean asked a nurse what had happened to the Pichu, and the look she gave him told him more than he wanted to know. But she smiled warmly at seeing his grief-stricken face, and said, "No, hon, I'm sure she's fine. She was just adopted by a young man yesterday. She was happier than I've ever seen her." Sean smiled too, happy for the little Pichu, and went to visit the Eevee. He scratched their ears and chins as they gently pressed their heads into him. After a few minutes, he said goodbye and went back to rushing to get to the professor.

"I was wondering where you were," a man said from behind him as he rounded the corner out of the Pokémon Center. Sean turned to find Professor Fir standing with a small smile on his face. The professor was much taller than Sean was, taller even than Sean's father, with dark eyes and a shaved head. He was around the same age as Sean's father, though perhaps a little younger. Although he talked like an Englishman sometimes, he was from Cherry Orchard just as Sean was. "I called your father and he told me you had rushed out of the house. Didn't sleep well?"

"No, professor, it's not that. I just didn't get to sleep when I was supposed to," Sean replied.

"It was the song, wasn't it?" a tall brown-haired girl asked, coming into view as she stepped out from behind the professor.

"More like the lack of the song," Sean said. "Were you late, too, Lexi?"

"No, we've just been waiting for you for the last three hours."

"Enough chit-chat," Professor Fir interrupted, "we've something important to do."

He took off down the hall, long legs forcing Sean and Lexi to jog to keep up. Up the stairs they went, down another long hall, finally to the professor's office. Inside was as it always was: cluttered and stacked with papers. Except today the desk was clear of everything, and on it sat three Pokéballs. That explains why these stacks of paper are taller than normal, Sean thought to himself.

"Today is the first day of the rest of your lives," Professor Fir stated after clearing his throat. "From now on, you will be Pokémon Trainers, and you will live with and depend on the Pokémon you choose here today. So don't muck it up." He touched the buttons on all three Pokéballs, releasing the three within.

"First up is Xantholus, the Forest Bird Pokémon," Professor Fir said, indicating the first Pokémon. It was a small bird, with forest-green cheeks, chin, throat, and chest, and dusky brown body plumage. It chirped cheerfully as it bounced around, greeting everyone who was looking at it before conversing with the other two Pokémon, who didn't seem to notice its presence. "She evolves into Icteriol, and then into Neglectark. She is very friendly, as you can see, and loves to fly around and dive into water to fish. All of her evolutions, including herself, are dual grass and flying type. This one will provide you with a bit of a challenge in the first couple of gyms, but she'll be a great friend and companion should you choose her."

Judging from her high-pitched squeal, Sean could tell Lexi was already in love with it.

"Next is Firula, the Beaver Pokémon," Professor Fir said, pointing to the second Pokémon. It was the largest of the three, with dark orange-brown fur, large front teeth, and four five-toed feet. Its whiskered nose sniffed Sean's hand before giving it a lick. "He evolves into Beavire and Pycastra. He makes his home in volcanoes, and does not like the cold. As he evolves, he will grow a tail and use it to absorb heat to warm himself in cold areas. Firula and Beavire are pure fire types, but his final form, Pycastra, becomes dual fire and ground. When he's hungry, he doesn't notice much. He's obsessed with smells, and will smell everything before he eats it. If it smells good, he'll lick it, and if it tastes good, he'll eat it. His favorite snack is wood, which he uses to prevent his teeth from growing too long. As he evolves, he'll start eating rocks to keep his teeth from growing. He'll have a bit of a challenge in the first gym, but otherwise should be an excellent companion.

"And finally, we have Hermik, the Hermit Pokémon." The smallest of the three, Hermik was a dark blue crab-like Pokémon with a faint-blue shell in which it seemed to live. It had one large pincher, and had used it to grab ahold of Firula's front-left leg. Firula didn't seem to notice as it stared down at the wooden desk, a hungry look in its eyes. "He is a pure water type, and evolves into Grachela, another pure water type, and finally into Magicrab, becoming dual water and psychic. While not very friendly to others, he's extremely loyal to his Trainer and his Trainer's Pokémon. After he evolves into Grachela, his shell becomes attached to him, and grows harder the stronger he gets. As Magicrab, he can use telekinetic powers to move objects and attack foes. He'll be very useful in the first few gyms, and should be a big help to you should you choose him.

"So, which one do you kids want?"

"Xantholus!" Lexi screamed. "I want Xantholus!" Xantholus chirped delightedly and jumped onto Lexi's shoulder, playfully pulling on her hair. Professor Fir handed her the Pokéball before turning to Sean.

"I'll take Firula," Sean decided. Even though he thought it had contemplated eating him, he felt they were a lot alike, and would get along splendidly. "I'll call you Castor. It seems a strong, unique name. What do you say?" Castor responded by biting a chunk out of Professor Fir's desk and munching noisily. "I'll take that as a 'yes'."

"Okay, here's your Pokéball," Professor Fir said, handing Sean the ball. "While Xantholus likes to be out and about, Firula--sorry, Castor--is not big on moving around, and would likely prefer being in his ball. But when you stop for the night, and, say, build a campfire, he would most certainly like to join you."

Sean and Lexi attached their Pokéballs to their belts, Lexi not recalling her Xantholus because of what the professor had said, Sean not recalling Castor because he was still chewing on Professor Fir's desk.

"The next order of business is your Pokédex," the professor said. He opened his desk and retrieved two red book-sized devices, handing one to each of the prospective Trainers. "As you see and capture Pokémon, your Pokédex will fill up. Just seeing a Pokémon will get its name and type, but in order to get its full information, you'll need to capture it. These devices are very important to us professors, and they're new, so don't lose them. Go ahead, give them a try."

Lexi used hers to record Xantholus. "Xantholus, the Forest Bird Pokémon. Xantholus live in forests and by rivers, and will welcome any stray Pokémon into their flock." On the screen, Xantholus' type, height, and weight were listed.

Sean use his next to record Castor. "Firula, the Beaver Pokémon. Born inside volcanoes, this Pokémon is very uncomfortable in the cold. It loves to eat wood." The screen listed its height as one-foot-seven-inches and weight as sixteen-point-three pounds.

"There you go, your first entries into your Pokédexes. In your Dex, you can find all your Pokémon's attacks, where they can be found, and whatnot. Play around with them a bit to get completely familiarized with them. Now, our final bit of business before I kick you out of my lab so I can fix my desk: the gyms. In order to challenge the Elite Four of the Marion League, you'll need to battle the eight Marion Gym Leaders. There is one gym to the west, two to the north, two to the northeast, and three to the southeast. I would suggest you head southeast to Royal Town first. Train your Pokémon by battling other Trainers and wild Pokémon, capture a few--oh, that reminds me, take some spare Pokéballs--and, most important, be safe. The roads can be a dangerous place. Now beat it."

"Thank you, Professor Fir," Lexi said as she made for the door.

"Thanks, Professor," said Sean, recalling Castor and attaching the ball back to his belt. "Sorry about the desk." He waved and shut the door behind him as he joined Lexi in the hall. "So, Lex, where to first?"

"Well, we should probably go home and pack, you need a shower, and then we should buy supplies for the trip. Do you have any money?"

"Yes, my dad gave me 3,000 PokéDollars for my tenth birthday last week. What about you?"

"My mother did the same for my birthday this week." Xantholus took off down the hall, flying around and chirping into rooms. Lexi watched her as she said, "I'll meet you by the exit to Route 22?"

"Sure thing, see you in about an hour," said Sean.

"See you, Sean. Come on Xan, we're leaving!" Xan flew back to Lexi as she walked down the staircase nearest them, and Sean moved on down the hallway to leave for his home. Outside, he picked up a few branches, cleaned them off as best he could, and tucked them under his arm for Castor to munch on once he got back to his house. On his walk back home, he enjoyed the smells and tastes of Cherry Orchard, recorded the Cherubi--the mascot of Cherry Orchard, after whom the city was named--and Cherrim into his Pokédex, and opened his front door to find his father all dressed up in his work clothes.

"You're back!" his dad said. "Did you get a Pokémon?" Sean answered by releasing Castor. Castor looked around at his new surroundings before making his way to a wooden stool. Sean quickly waved a stick in front of him, waited as Castor sniffed it, and let go of it so he could eat it. "Excellent, Sean. I'm proud of you. You're going to make a fantastic Trainer, I just know it. Listen, I have to go to work now, but I love you, son. Be safe, and watch after Lexi and your Pokémon."

"I will. I love you, too, Dad."

His father kissed him on his forehead before grabbing his keys and leaving. Sean picked up Castor and went up to his room, placing his new Pokémon on his bed while he packed his backpack. Once he was done, he grabbed a towel and went to take a quick shower. When that was finished, he went back to his room and, at first, couldn't find Castor. Then he noticed the lump under his blankets, lifted them up, and found Castor tucked into a ball, asleep. Sean replaced the blanket as he got dressed in clean clothes, went downstairs to pack some food for him and his Pokémon, grabbed his jacket from the coat-hanger, and left the house. He immediately went back in to recall Castor, grabbed his own keys, and locked the door. He started to leave again, but instead turned back around to get his backpack and a handful of berries to snack on on way to the Lexi and Route 22, and left the house one more time.

"Third time's the charm," he said to himself, plopping a marionberry into his mouth. He began humming to himself as he walked toward his great adventure.

_________________
If you were offended by my post, just know that I was probably kidding. Probably...

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Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:59 pm
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Dragon Tamer
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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:33 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Right behind you
Arrived, the next chapter has. I forgot to mention last time that there are going to be rules I ignore for the purposes of this story. Not rules like, "Up is up, down is down," but things like a Pokémon only being able to know four moves at a time, and only being able to carry six Pokémon with you at a time. Also, when capturing a wild Pokémon, it will be fully healed when brought back out, assuming it is given time. And tired Pokémon will get their rest (for their moves, not their health) when in their balls. I don't know how many of those changes were made in the anime, but that's what's happening here, so deal with it. Finally, if you like the story, or have criticisms, feel free to post them, knowing that you will not be hunted down for expressing your opinions. Well... no, no you won't.

*****

CHAPTER TWO

As they left the PokéMart, Sean checked his pack to make sure everything was in place. He had Castor's Pokéball attached to his brown leather belt; the five empty Pokéballs Professor Fir had given him in his pocket, a quick movement away should he need one; a healing potion in another pocket with more in his backpack; his Pokédex in his back pocket; and, last but certainly not least, some food for Lexi and himself, as well as more food for Castor and Xan, in his backpack. Lexi had a similar arrangement, her pack containing their change of clothes, camping equipment, and toiletries, as well as healing potions for Xan. Sean had offered to carry the heavier pack, but Lexi had said she'd feel better knowing he had the food, since he wasn't about to let anything happen to it.

They took off down Route 22, leading south, the sun shining and the wind a cool, pleasant breeze. Cherubi and Cherrim, in their Sunshine Forms, called out to them as they passed, and Lexi took the time to add them to her Pokédex while Sean waved. Xan flew over to get a quick word in with them before flying back to soar above Sean and Lexi's heads. They crossed a bridge over the Cherry River, then went out onto the grassy area of the route. Small Kituru flew about, their stark white tails, heads, and underbodies glowing with reflected sunlight. One dove close to them, landed, and gave them a terrible, whistling yelp.

"I think it wants to challenge us," said Sean.

"I've got this," replied Lexi. "Xan, why don't you give it a Gust attack?" Xan began flapping her wings, kicking up dust and wind simultaneously. The wild Kituru responded by flapping its own wings, using Gust itself to counteract Xan's attack. Kituru's Gust broke through Xan's, and continued on toward her. Xan took off, flying up and around the small wild Pokémon. It turned its grey back on them, following Xan as she flew around and around. "Tackle!" Lexi yelled, and Xan swooped in to crash into Kituru. The wild Pokémon righted itself in time to dodge a follow-up tackle, and took flight after Xan. It quickly caught up with her, and tried to grab hold with its talons, but Xan dove into the river.

Kituru couldn't follow it, and looked about for it. With a splash, Xan charged out of the gentle river, tackling the wild bird with its back turned. It fell onto the bridge, trying to get up.

"I'm going to capture it," Lexi said, mostly to herself, as she took out one of her Pokéballs and threw it. Kituru was converted into energy and pulled into the Pokéball, which closed and fell to the ground. "Yay!" Lexi shouted, frightening other Kituru that were about. "I've caught my first wild Pokémon!"

"I wouldn't be so sure about that, Lex," Sean said, pointing behind her. Her Pokéball was moving on its own, as though the Kituru inside were struggling to get out. Lexi inhaled sharply, holding her breath, as the ball continued to fidget. After a few seconds, it stopped.

"YAY!" she yelled again, jumping up and down. "My first Pokémon, my first Pokémon, you ain't got one, you ain't got one," she teased in a sing-song voice while doing her victory jig. Sean had seen the victory jig often throughout the years, since they first became friends in kindergarten and she had beat him at a game of tic-tac-toe. It was no less annoying now than it had been then.

"Very nice. Shall we proceed, now?"

"Sour puss," she scolded, then went to pick up her new Pokémon and attached it to her belt. She took out her Pokédex and recorded the Kituru.

"Kituru, the White-Tailed Pokémon. These Pokémon hover over fields, using their white underbodies to blend in with clouds and take enemies by surprise."

"Excellent!" said Lexi. "I just love bird Pokémon!"

"Alrighty, then, let's go," said an impatient Sean.

They moved on south down the route, the forest on either side. Eventually, the path turned southeast, but continued onward nevertheless. They battled more wild Pokémon, mostly Rattata and Kituru, but neither of them attempted to catch any of them. Two hours in, they met a man with a net, coming out of the forest with a bulging pack. He waved to them, and they waved back.

"How do you do?" Sean asked.

"I'm fantastic! There were so many bug Pokémon in the forest, I nearly went nuts." He eyed the Pokéball on Sean's belt. "Hey, we should battle! What do you say to that?"

"Sounds good to me," answered Sean, removing Castor's ball from his belt.

"Okay... First up, I choose Baird!" He threw one of the three Pokéballs he had, and out popped a small, hairy green Pokémon with black and yellow stripes. Sean checked his Pokédex, but all it told him was that it was the Bearded Worm Pokémon, and that it was a bug type.

"As I only have one Pokémon, I'll start with him. Go, Castor!" With a flash of white, Castor was free from his ball. He was far more alert than when Sean had first met him; this was due in no small part to the various trees he had nibbled on over the last two hours. Its dark orange-brown fur bristled as it gave Baird a fierce look.

"Baird, use String-Shot," the opposing Trainer commanded.

Baird's mouth worked and shot out thin white threads of string, covering Castor.

"Use Ember, Castor," Sean said, and Castor opened his mouth and spewed out hot flames, hitting the bug Pokémon and sending it cringing away.

The bug catcher took his Pokéball and recalled Baird, then took his second ball from his belt. "Maybe this one will have more luck. Go!" Another Baird came next. It have Castor a fierce look, but it was too adorable for it to strike any fear in Castor.

"Tackle attack, Baird!"

Baird charged with a speed Sean did not expect. "Chomp!" Sean cried. As Baird drew closer, Castor opened his mouth, and bit down as soon as Baird was within range. He shook his head around, shaking the trapped Pokémon. He threw it, and it did not get up.

"Wow, you're very good," the bug catcher said as he recalled his Pokémon. "But your Pokémon must be tiring now. And, I've got another Baird who's ready to go." He threw his third and final Pokéball, and out popped a third Baird.

Sean wasted no time. "Hit it with another Ember," Sean instructed. Castor took a deep breath, and spat out bouts of fire. Baird didn't stand a chance. The bug catcher recalled his last Baird and pulled out his wallet.

"You've won fair and square," he said defeatedly. "Here's your winnings." He handed Sean sixty PokéDollars. "I should probably head back to Royal Town to heal up... how long will it take to get to Cherry Orchard?"

"We've been at it for about two hours now," Sean answered.

"Oh, then you're almost to Royal Town. Just another hour's walk, I'd say. I've actually been in the forest all morning, catching Baird, so I don't know for sure exactly. Oh, well, I'd better get to it. See ya!"

"Bye," Sean and Lexi both said. The bug catcher waved and scurried back into the forest.

"Sean..." Lexi tugged on his sleeve. He looked to see where she was pointing, and noticed Castor was glowing. Sean stared open-mouthed as Castor grew to almost three times his original size. His body became barrelled. His tail grew long, thin, and flat, and appeared to be scaly. His forefeet were still the same proportion, but his hind feet became large and partially webbed. His fur turned a dark red and became glossy. "I think he evolved."

Sean checked what Dex had to say. "Beavire, the Beaver Pokémon. This Pokémon uses its tail to absorb heat, then fan itself to become warmer. It enjoys eating rocks." It listed Castor's new height as three-foot-two-inches and weight as sixty pounds.

Castor ran up to Sean and nuzzled his nose against Sean's chest. Sean patted Castor's smooth, red fur and scratched his chin. He almost jumped at the sudden buzz coming from his Pokédex, so he checked it.

"It looks like Castor's learned a new move," he told Lexi. "Mud-Slap. Cool!"

"Lucky," Lexi said, coming over to pet Castor. He seemed very happy to be receiving all the attention.

Castor's hairy ears flicked, and he turned toward the forest. A small, white Pokémon had come out of the forest, apparently investigating all the commotion. It seemed to be friendly enough, and Castor didn't seem to scare it. Xan chirped happily, as if inviting the Pokémon to join them. Sean checked his Dex.

"It's a Ralts. A psychic type." Ralts drew closer. Sean squatted down so as not to appear threatening. "Hello, there," he called kindly. The Ralts drew even closer. She seemed hesitant, then turned back to the forest. Something moved among the trees, but Sean couldn't see it. Ralts turned back to him and came right up, hugging onto his knee. "Do you want to come with us?" Sean asked, a little startled. He looked to Lexi, her eyes wide as she took in the adorable Pokémon. Ralts nodded, and Sean reached into his pocket for a ball. He held it to the Ralts and captured it. Unlike when Lexi captured Kituru, Ralts didn't struggle once inside the Pokéball.

"I wonder what it was looking at," Lexi said. Sean shook his head that he didn't know, and stood up and looked into the forest.

"Is there anyone there?" he called, attaching the ball with Ralts to his belt. The leaves moved some more, but nothing came out. A small rumbling sound cut through the silence.

"What was that?" Lexi whispered.

"My stomach," Sean answered. "I'm starving. Let's take a lunch break."

"Okay, I suppose I could eat." They moved off the road into the grass, found some rocks that looked suitable as chairs, and sat down, plopping their bags on the ground. "I still can't believe that Ralts just came right up to you and let you capture it."

"I know, I've never heard of that happening. Very strange. Let's see what Dex says about it." He flicked open his Pokédex and played the description.

"Ralts, the Feeling Pokémon. Ralts is very sensitive, and won't appear if it senses hostile people or Pokémon."

"What are you going to name her?" Lexi asked as Sean returned the Dex to his back pocket.

He took her ball from his belt and released her. She turned around to him and gave his leg a quick hug before spinning about and staring at Lexi. "I was thinking Genève," Sean answered. Ralts looked at him. "Does that work for you, little one?" She smiled and hugged him again, then sat next to where Castor had placed himself. "Genève it is, then."

Sean took out the satchel of food from his backpack and handed a bag of Pokémoon food to Lexi. She release Kituru, and placed two small bowls of the food on a stone next to her. The two bird Pokémon landed and ate, Xan periodically chirping, Kituru yelping a response. Sean then gave Genève some food, then returned the bag to his pack and removed food for Lexi and himself, Castor munching away on a stone.

"Remember a few years ago when we were at your house," Lexi asked after a short time, "and that Cherubi walked on in and parked itself on your lap?"

"Vividly," Sean answered after swallowing a bite of his sandwich. "What about it?"

"It just seems like Pokémon are attracted to you somehow. Like they find you compelling to be around."

"Are you suggesting I'm not?"

"No, it's not that, it's just..."

"I know what you mean. I think it's because I'm so calm, they sense that about me and feel relaxed and safe near me. A similar thing happens with babies. I can usually calm down a crier."

Lexi snorted.

The trees rustled again. Castor shifted his head toward the forest, and Genève stood up and began spinning happily.

"What in the world is in there?" Sean wondered aloud.

A small green and gold Pokémon shot out through the forest canopy. Sean had his Pokédex out quickly to scan it. It searched its database, but yielded only the words NO RECORD.

"No record?" Lexi asked after Sean showed her. "Did you get a good look at it?"

"It sort of looked like a Cherubi, but it was bigger and gold. And it can fly."

"That's odd. We should ask Professor Fir about it on our way back."

"Agreed."

Everyone but Castor ate in silence, the crunch of stone the only sound coming from the large beaver. Once everyone was done, they packed up and continued southeast to Royal Town. Sean and Lexi kept all their Pokémon out, even Castor; he appeared big enough to keep up, and seemed keen on getting some exercise.

The final hour of travel went by as quickly as the first, and they soon found themselves walking into the small Royal Town. Sean had only been there once before, when he was a child visiting his father's brother in Pioneer City. It was just as he remembered: sounds of people about their business, but no one visible.

"Where is everyone?" asked Lexi.

"Probably at the bar," Sean answered. "Come on, the Pokémon Center's over there. We should rest these guys up and learn as much as we can about the gym leader."

They recalled all their Pokémon and Sean led the way down the dirt path to the Center. Inside, they handed their Pokémon to the large nurse, then went outside, making their way to the gym, where they read the sign:

Royal Town Gym, Home of Ken, the Solid, Down-to-Earth Ground Master

"Ground-types, eh?" Sean said to himself. "What do we have that can be effective against ground-types?"

"I have Xan," Lexi said. "She's immune to ground attacks. But didn't Professor Fir say that she wouldn't be useful in the first few gyms? Why is that?"

"Maybe their dual-typed. Let's check the Pokédex for Pokémon that are part ground and part... whatever's effective against flying. How about electric?" He checked the Dex. There were no electric/ground types. "Okay, ice?" None. "Rock, then." This yielded a result: Geodude's line.

"So a Geodude is probably what you'll face," said Lexi. "Or something else that knows rock moves. Or ice or electric."

"Either way, we don't have anything other than Xan that should be useful here, but the professor said she wouldn't do... Let's go back to the Center, get our Pokémon, and think this through."

They walked back to the Pokémon Center, thinking of strategies to use against Geodude or any other ground-types. Once they got their Pokémon back, they sat at a table and thought some more.

"Well, we know that rock-types like Geodude are generally strong against physical attacks," Sean began, "so we'd want something that has special attacks. Xan, Castor, and Gen have special attacks, but Castor is weak to ground and rock moves, and Xan is weak to rock moves, as well."

"You're still assuming he's going to use Geodude," Lexi reminded him. "We don't know that for sure."

"True," Sean conceded, "but there are wild Geodude further southeast on Route 23." He removed Gen's Pokéball from his belt. "Whichever combination it turns out to be, be it dual ice or rock or electric, Xan still wouldn't be a good choice, and neither would Castor. That just leaves Genève. So, do you want to face him first, or should I?"

"Oh, I'm not battling him," she said, as though Sean should have known that.

"Why not?"

"I don't want to be a Trainer. I don't want to make my pretty birds fight. I want to be a Pokémon Breeder, take care of them and make sure they grow up healthy and strong. I'm only coming along with you so you don't get into trouble."

"When have I ever gotten into trouble?"

"The last time? When you let your Pokémon eat Professor Fir's desk."

"How was that my fault?"

"He was yours, you should have prevented it. A good Trainer would have prevented it. Now poor Professor Fir will have a huge chunk missing from his most prized desk."

Sean laughed and stood up. "Whatever the case, I'm glad you're here. It would be lonely going on this adventure by myself. Well, let's get a move on. If we hurry, we should be able to face Ken, get the badge, and make it to Bridge Town before nightfall."

Sean asked the nurse for their Pokémon, and upon receiving them, turned to leave. But then he remembered the strange green and gold Pokémon they had seen earlier. He decided to inquire about it.

"Miss, out on Route 22 my friend and I saw what looked like a Cherubi, but it was gold and much larger, it only had one, er, cherry, and it could fly. Does that sound like any Pokémon you've heard of?"

She leaned back and put her hand to her chin. "I've heard of many strange and new Pokémon being sighted in the forests. Some have seen this golden Pokémon of yours, some have seen strange four-legged Pokémon with antlers, and others have seen giant birds. No one knows what they are. Don't you have a Pokédex?" Sean nodded that he did. "Did you check it?" Sean nodded again. "And you didn't get any results, did you?" Sean shook his head this time. "Right. We've had professors from all over come to try to find out about them, some coming from as far as Unova. Still, no one's made any record of any of them. They've never been able to see one, let alone catch one. Seeing one is said to be extremely lucky."

"Maybe that's the reason I caught my Ralts," Sean said. "She just came up and asked for me to capture her."

"That's very odd, but you could be right."

Sean thanked the woman for her assitance and, Pokémon in hand, he and Lexi left and walked the short distance back to the gym and entered. Inside the large blue building they found naught but a dirt floor, some bleachers off to the sides, and one person at the far end with two small Pokémon out in front of him. As Sean and Lexi approached, they noticed that the two Pokémon were both Geodude.

"You owe me money," Sean said.

"No, you forgot to bet me, loser."

Sean smiled. "Hello there, sir!" he called out. "You must be Ken!"

The man looked up from his Geodude. "I am. Are you here to challenge me?"

"I am," Sean mimicked.

"Okay, come on up. Will it be both of you, or just the one?"

"Just him, I'm going to sit down," answered Lexi, moving to the bleachers.

"You know the rules, then?" Ken asked.

"Yes, yes. 'Only use the Pokémon on my belt, no attacking fainted Pokémon,' blah blah." Sean was a bit impatient to begin, and extremely nervous. The nervousness expressed itself most commonly as arrogance.

"Good. Then let's begin. Geodude, you're up."

He recalled one of the Geodude, but the other moved out onto the field. Sean let go of the Pokéball he had clutched in his hand the whole way from the Pokémon Center. "I choose Ralts."

Genève looked around, studying the room she was in, before realizing she was in a fight. She hunched her shoulders and growled.

"Cute," Ken smirked. "Geodude, Tackle."

Geodude rushed toward Gen, gaining speed. She was so small, Sean didn't think she would be able to withstand a single hit. "Double Team," he told her. Her image flickered, then split, becoming two separate Ralts. Geodude picked one and rushed at it, but went through it and dissipated the image.

"Rock Throw," Ken called.

"Use Teleport, Gen." Genève disappeared and reappeared as Geodude picked up rocks from the terrain and threw them. "Hit it with Confusion," Sean instructed next. It was still throwing rocks, but Genève was teleporting safely out of the way. She placed her small, fingerless hands on her green helmet-like hair, and waves of psychokinetic energy struck out and hit Geodude. It seemed to work a treat, as Geodude did not recover.

Ken recalled his fallen Pokémon. "Very good. But this next Geodude is stronger. Go, Geodude!" Geodude sprang forth from his ball in a flash of white light. "Tackle!" It rushed forward, quicker than the last, and struck Gen hard. She fell backward, landing on the hard ground and banging her head. Sean almost ran out onto the field, but she got up, a little slowly but steady nonetheless.

"Confusion!" Sean yelled. Placing her hands to her head, waves of energy struck out and knocked the Geodude back. It got up, and started looking about wildly.

"Tackle it again," Ken said. Geodude took off, but halfway across the gap separating him from Gen, it veered to the left, where it crashed into the bleachers opposite Lexi. It fell over, fainted.

"Damn..." Ken recalled Geodude, the red beam absorbing the small fainted boulder. "I can honestly say I didn't expect to lose to a child, especially not so fast. But, you won, so you've earned the Solid Badge. Wait here while I go get it."

Ken left through one of the back doors leading into what appeared to be an office. Sean turned to Genève to congratulate her, and found her glowing. She grew to twice her original height. Sean took out his Pokédex and checked it.

"Kirlia, the Emotion Pokémon. The happier its Trainer, the more cheerful and beautiful this Pokémon becomes."

Lexi appeared behind Sean. "Hey, you evolved. Yay!" Genève spun around happily as Lexi clapped.

Ken came out of the back office with a fist closed. He saw that Gen had evolved into Kirlia, and looked at Sean and said, "So, your Pokémon evolved, too. Good for you. Here's your badge."

He handed Sean the small brown badge, and Sean held it up to the light. It was brown and parallelogram-shaped, with raised specks that resembled pebbles, making the whole thing look like the floor of the gym. Sean pinned the badge on the inside of his jacket, realizing he'd need to buy a badge case later.

"Congratulations, Sean," Lexi said as Ken turned and walked away. "I'm so proud of you." She bent down and kissed his cheek. "Now let's get going. Like you said, we could probably make it to Bridge Town before dark, but only if we leave now."

Sean, his cheeks red and burning, motioned for Genève to follow. "Good idea. One badge down, seven to go. I hope they're all this easy."

Behind them, Ken shouted, "I heard that!"

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Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:38 pm
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Ace Trainer
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I looked at this, and I like what I'm seeing. To be honest, I haven't any real authority on judging these things (because I always feel really bad when giving out critisism), but I'd like to say what I think anyways;

Out of 10, I'd give this a 9.
To grade;
2+ for the detailed tidbits (particularly the train part at the beginning, that was a nice touch).
2+ for good grammar and construction (you used capitalization, good for you! I like that).
2+ for the smooth integration of new pokemon (I could visusalize them, and none were overly derpy or remakes of previous Pokemon).
1+ for the inspired source of the new Pokemon (It was neat that you based them off of real wildlife).
2+ for characters I could connect with.
2+ for the occasional humor. (It wasn't smothering the story, and it was amusing when it was there)
1+ for the mystery of what Genève may have been looking at, and the strange golden Pokemon. I'm highly curious about these.
1000000000000000+ FOR Genève THE RALTS THE KIRLIA, but this is unfair, so I'm ommiting the addition of these points.

(This is the part where I feel really bad)
2- since it just seemed too easy for your characters. The evolutions came a little too fast for me, and the first Gym was a walk in the park. I feel like it will start getting harder soon anyways, but still felt like this was a little bit of a weak point. (Eep, forgive me...)
1- because I didn't feel like I got to know the Pokemon as well for their personalities. They could use some characteristical or behaviorial traits as an individual. (Again, eep. Just an opinion)

All in all, intriguing and well-written. I'd like to see more.

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Forest of Secrets is finished! Time to do homework and polish!
Soon, there should be a sequel; River of Divides.

Pokemon Y FC; 0989-2247-7711


Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:46 pm
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Dragon Tamer
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About the evolution: I totally agree with you on this. I looked to the games for when each Pokémon should level up, and in the games mine will have almost always leveled up at least once before the first gym. In the third chapter (which is coming) I definitely felt this a bit more, as more of Sean's Pokémon evolve. I'm tired right now (it's three in the morning), so I'm going to over-explain why I do the things I do: I make a list of all the gyms in the games, what level the leaders' Pokémon are, and try to get all my Pokémon to be a certain level above them. For example, Brock's highest level Pokémon in Blue was a level 14 Onyx, so I made my Pokémon all level 15; Misty's highest level Pokémon was level 21 Starmie, so I made all I Pokémon 25. I did math (I really like overcomplicating things) to get the average levels of... blah blah blah. It doesn't matter. All that's important is that I noticed the problem in this last chapter, and I'm going to change it.

About the first gym's easiness: Again, I agree with you. But the first gym was supposed to be easy, to lull Sean into a false sense of security, so he'll be MURDERED IN THE NEXT GYM!!! I mean... no, not that. Something completely different... Oh, yes, a wedding! Seriously though, you're right in thinking they'll get harder.

About the Pokémon personalities: The third chapter will delve a little deeper into their individualism. Or the fourth.

About Chapter Three: I have most of it written out already, but the finishing touches are still being applied. I've been absorbed in my finals (which start Monday), so that's why there's been a delay.

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Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:05 am
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Finally! My final final is finally over! So, here's chapter three! Yay!

*****

CHAPTER THREE

"Kaiyu, finish it off with Magnitude!"

Sean's newest Pokémon, Geodude, pushed himself into the air, then came crashing down, causing the ground to shake. The other Trainer's Oddish tipped over, and shook violently with the ground. Sean and the picknicker shook with it, as well, until the tremors slowly began to die down. Oddish was done long before they finally ceased.

"No," the girl wept, "my poor Oddish. You big meanie!" She returned her unconscious Oddish to its ball, stuffed her hand in her purse, and angrily shoved money at Sean. "Take it, jerk."

"You challenged me, lady!" Sean snapped. "Don't be such a sore loser."

"I didn't expect you to win, or I would never have challenged you."

"Whatever. Let's go, Lex." Sean recalled Kaiyu, and placed it next to Gen on his belt.

"Almost done here," she said behind him. Xan was locked in battle with a Hoppip, and had it on the ropes. "Hit it with another Vine Whip!" Vines leapt off the ground and struck out at the cottonweed Pokémon. It fell out of the sky, and its Trainer, the picknicker's camping partner, recalled it.

"Good match," he said to her. He gave her the money he owed her. "Next time, you won't be so lucky."

"That wasn't luck, pal, it was skill." She put the money in her wallet, replacing it in her pack. "Okay, Seanie, now we can go," she said in a sweet voice. "Wait a minute... is Xan evolving?"

Sean looked at the small bird, only it wasn't small anymore. It had grown to be almost as tall as Sean. Her under-feathers, breast, and face were green, whereas her back, wings, and tail were greyish brown. Each eye was covered with black, like make-up. Her throat had a black patch as well, and the wings had a white bar on them. Even Sean, who wasn't as fond of birds as Lexi, had to admit she was beautiful.

"Icteriol," Lexi read from her Pokédex. "Hm... if it's alright with you, I'll keep calling you Xan." Xan's chirp was harsher as Icteriol than it had been as Xantolus, but it was still obviously happy to keep its nickname.

"Congratulations, Lex," Sean said. "You've finally evolved a Pokémon. I mean, yes, I've already evolved two, but, you know, good for you!" She punched his arm. "By the way, I thought you said you didn't want to battle."

"Yeah, well, I was bored, and he looked easy." She looked at Kaiyu's ball on his belt. "And could you please not use Magnitude when I'm battling right behind you?"

"Why not? Both of your Pokémon were flying types. If it bothered them, they could have just taken to the sky."

"Yes, but I'm not a flying Pokémon, and it made me queasy."

"Oh, quit your whining, I wrote you poem. 'Lo', what is it I see before us--a city? Well, then we must away, perhaps 'ere end of day?'"

She gave him a quizzical look, and beckoned for Xan to follow them. She took off, leaving Sean with his arms stretched out. When she said nothing about his poem, he followed her. "What did you think? I should write a bunch of them down and sell 'em or something."

"You do that." She squinted down Route 23, trying to see Bridge Town. She could see nothing. "Where's this city? I don't see anything."

"Miss Lexi, what I see is simply, well, silly. Another poem! Are you remembering these?"

They trudged on, Lexi in silent regret of her decision to join Sean on his journey, Sean coming up with sillier and more elaborate poems with each step, inventing words as the need arose. After what seemed to be an eternity to Lexi and only a few minutes to Sean, but was in fact only thirty minutes, they arrived in Bridge Town. The town was split down the middle by Cherry River, the Pokémon Center and PokéMart on their side, and, across the bridge after which the town was named, the Bridge Town Gym, the residents' homes, and the exit to Route 24. They made their first stop at the Center, where they requested a room for the night. The nice older woman took their Pokémon with a large smile, and handed Sean a key, pointing to the stairs leading to the top floor and giving him directions to their room. The two travelers thanked the woman and went upstairs. Through the window, they could see the setting sun, bright rays basking the interior in a beautiful ruby light.

Their room was small, most of the space taken up by the bed, which was more than big enough for the two of them. Sean threw his backpack in the middle of it, stretched, and yawned. It had been a long day: he had received his first Pokémon, evolved it, caught another, evolved it, won his first badge, and caught a third Pokémon. Now, they were in the town where he'd get his second badge. He was sorely tempted to go back downstairs, get his Pokémon, and challenge the second gym leader, but decided against it.

"I'm going to take a shower," Lexi informed him as a way of asking if he needed to use the bathroom before she went in.

"Okay, I'll make us some dinner." As Lexi stepped into the bathroom, Sean took the cooking equipment from his pack and got to work. He cooked a pot of beans over the fire on the patio outside, and fried up a few strips of bacon, getting them perfectly chewy before cutting them up and tossing them into the beans. Next, he took a loaf of bread, cut it down the middle, and set it on the grill, getting a nice brown. Then he spread garlic butter on it, swallowing frequently as his mouth furiously watered. "It feels like its missing something," he said to no one. He snapped his fingers when he realized what it was, and took the bag of spinach, lettuce, and brocolli from his pack, placing them into a medium-sized serving bowl he found in the room. By the time he was done, Lexi was, too.

"If you don't hurry up, I'll eat it all by myself," Sean warned, setting the dining table in their room. Hair still in the towel, she sat down opposite Sean, not knowing whether he was joking or not, but not willing to risk it.

After the meal, they set their backpacks down the middle of the bed, acting like a barrier, and went to sleep.

Sean, however, was unable to fall to sleep. Just as the night before, he waited for the song. Just as the night before, it did not come. When he finally did fall asleep, he wore a frown on his face.

The next morning found Sean up earlier than he would normally be. Lexi was still asleep, and Sean was content to let her sleep. He went downstairs to collect his Pokémon and went outside. It was dark and very cold, causing Sean's teeth to chatter. He let Castor out, and walked beside him, the Beaver Pokémon's body warming him splendidly. Castor didn't seem to mind the cold, and Sean led him down the street and across the bridge. The Bridge Town Gym wasn't as large as the Royal Town Gym, but that meant nothing. Sean read the sign hanging out front.

Bridge Town Gym, Home of John, the Cold-Hearted Ice Master

"Ice types?" Sean almost laughed aloud. "Sound fun, Castor?" His companion grunted an affirmation, and they headed back to the Pokémon Center.

It was still early, the sun not yet up, fog all about. Lexi would not likely be up yet, and the gym didn't look open, so Sean decided to pit his Pokémon against each other behind the Pokémon Center. There was a training area a good distance from the Center, where they wouldn't likely wake up anyone. He released his other Pokémon and set the instructions.

"Castor's doing the fighting in the next gym, you two, so we need to practice to ensure victory." Genève and Kaiyu had serious expressions on their faces. "I want you two to fight him, separately, but don't hold back. I'm not going to command you, so you'll have to do what is necessary to win. Castor won't be holding back and I won't be telling him what to do, either. Are you ready?" Everyone nodded. "Good. First up, Castor versus Kaiyu."

Sean and Genève moved to the side of the training area as Castor and Kaiyu squared off. Genève held onto Sean's arm as she watched her two friends fight.

Kaiyu started things off ready to go. He lifted himself off the ground and slammed back down, causing a small earthquake. Castor lost balance and fell, but regained his footing soon enough. Kaiyu lifted himself off the ground again but this time Castor charged toward him, flames surrounding him, and crashed into the Rock Pokémon. Kaiyu tumbled backward, then picked himself up, brushing off the attack. Kaiyu charged right back at Castor, but Castor countered by chomping down, shaking and throwing Kaiyu aside. This seemed to do more damage to Castor than Kaiyu, but neither Pokémon were out of the match yet. Kaiyu picked up nearby rocks and started throwing them at Castor. Castor backed away, the rocks bouncing off his head. He turned and spat out fire, setting the grass aflame and obstructing Kaiyu's view. Kaiyu tried to see his opponent, but couldn't, so he just kept throwing rocks. A few found their way to Sean and Genève's viewpoint, but the Psychic Pokémon, her arm still clutching Sean's, teleported them out of the way. Through the flames charged Castor, crashing again into Kaiyu, this time landing a direct hit. Kaiyu struggled to get up, and was just barely able to do so. Sean was surprised at his tenacity, and even more surprised when he started to glow.

Sean thought he was going to use Selfdestruct, an attack he had not yet seen used, but instead Kaiyu evolved. The new Pokémon stood tall, still weak, but confident. Sean took out his Pokédex.

"Graveler, the Rock Pokémon. This Pokémon either does not notice or does not care when pieces fall off it as it rolls about."

Kaiyu rolled forward, ramming into Castor, then spun about and threw rocks at him as he tried to shake off the daze. The rocks hit with brute force, and were too much for Castor. He fainted, and after seeing he had won, Kaiyu fainted as well.

"So, that's a tie," Sean said, recalling the two combatants. Genève followed him back to the Pokémon Center, where he handed his fainted Pokémon to the nurse and went to a table to sit. He was suddenly tired, so he recalled Genève and set his head down on his arms, and quickly fell asleep.


*****


"C'mon, wake up!"

Someone who was no doubtedly very annoying was pushing his arm.

"We don't have all day, now get up! You have a badge to win."

Sean opened his eyes and squinted through the brightness of the room's lights at Lexi. "What time is it?" he asked groggily.

"Eight."

"At night?!" He yelled the question as he jumped to his feet.

"No, in the morning. See that there sun? Yeah, those only happen in the day."

"Don't belittle me. Come on, I have a badge to get." He pushed past her and out the door.

"Have you planned anything, or have you just spent the morning drooling on yourself?"

"I have not been..." He glanced down at his sleeve, and wiped the drool from it, then from his mouth. "Yes, I have planned something. I went out this morning and saw that this gym is an ice gym. Sounds perfect for Castor, no?"

"Yeah, you're probably right."

A quick walk brought them to the gym, and when they went inside they found an ice skating rink. Immediately wishing for a heavy coat, Sean looked at all the empty seats, then went down the stairs to search for the gym leader. But he and Lexi were the only ones in the gym.

"Hello?" he called. "I've come to challenge John! I mean you no harm! We haven't come for the children!"

"What are you doing?" Lexi asked.

"Listening to my voice's echo," Sean answered, as though the question was a dumb one.

At the other side of the gym, doors opened and a man stepped into the room, wearing a festive holiday sweater and a furry hat. Sean's right eyebrow lifted, seemingly of its own volition, at the sight of the gym leader.

"'Sup!" the man called.

"The sky!" Sean answered.

"Truth, man, truth!" The man Sean presumed was John sat down at the bottom of the staircase, putting on ice skates. "You got any?" he asked, indicating the skate.

"No," Sean answered. "Ice isn't really my thing."

"Aw, man, that's alright. Everybody's different, bro. To each his own, you know?"

"Sure..."

"A little bird tells me you're looking for the gym leader, John. Is that true?"

"Yes, it most certainly is. The biggest clue, I think, was when I shouted that I was looking to challenge John."

"Yo, that's so... man, it's just so... Hey, what's your name, man?"

"Sean."

"What?! That's so cool, dude! My name's John and yours is Sean! Whoah, my mind is literally blown!"

Sean wasn't quite sure what was happening. Was this man really a gym leader? "So... are we going to do this or what?"

"Oh, sure, bro. I get it, you're busy, probably got things to do. No, that's cool. I guess we can get started. Hey, you're not going to use fire or rock types, are you? That would suck, man."

"Actually, that's exactly what I was planning on using," Sean answered. He walked out onto the ice and carefully made his way to his side of the rink.

"Oh, dude, that's not cool. I got ice types, man. And if you use fire, the ice will melt, and I'll have to get it frozen again. Do you have any idea what kind of hassle that is? Naw, man, I'm just kidding. I got ice types, they can just re-freeze if it's necessary. Man, I'm really craving an apple all of a sudden. Hey, you wouldn't happen to have any apples, would you?"

Sean pretended not to hear the question. "Okay, Castor, go!"

The large Pokémon was not too thrilled to be called out into such a cold environment. He gave Sean a look that left no doubt about his feelings on the matter.

"Aw, beautiful Pokémon, bro. He looks like he could eat a whole mess of apples. Oh, I'll choose Vanillite."

An ice cream cone? The man is using ice cream!

"Castor, use Flame Charge."

Castor's newest move sprang to life, and he charged at Vanillite, fire spreading from his head, along his fur, to his tail. As he neared Vanillite, the small ice Pokémon slid to the side, and as Castor tried to stop, he slid all the way to John's side of the rink.

"Whoah, you okay, little buddy?" John asked as Castor smashed into the wall. Castor seemed fine, however, and got back into the match. "Yeah, you show that Vanillite what you're made of! Go, Castor!"

"You realize you're cheering for my Pokémon, right?" called Sean, smiling at the goofy man. In the stands, he could hear Lexi laughing.

"No, man, this Pokémon's on my side, Vanillite's on your side. Castor, use... wait, what moves do you have? Hold on a minute..."

"Castor, use Ember!"

"Uproar!"

Vanillite started shaking, and the loudest noise Sean had ever heard echoed all around the small gym.

"Bad idea!" John shouted, although no one heard him.

Castor seemed to go crazy with the sudden noise, and spewed bouts of flame at the small snowy Pokémon. It fainted, and mercifully the noise died out.

"That sucks, man. I told you, fire wins out against ice every time. So who will you use next?"

"John, Vanillite is yours, remember?"

"What? Oh, right." Even from the distance separating the two, Sean could see John's lower lip quiver. "Poor thing. You didn't deserve this. Don't worry, your big brother will avenge you! Go, Vanillite!"

Another Vanillite popped out, no bigger or more intimidating than the previous one.

"Don't use--"

"Uproar! Wait, no--"

The small Pokémon cut its master off with the extremely loud sound. Sean's teeth jarred and his bones quaked as the sound reverberated off the walls. "Ember!" he shouted, but Castor did not seem to hear. "Castor, use Ember!" Instead of doing anything, Castor simply fell over.

Sean recalled his fainted Pokémon, and reached for Kaiyu. He tilted his head into his right shoulder, his left hand covering his ear, but still it didn't help. Vanillite kept at it, and Sean wasn't sure if would survive. His brain felt like it was turning to jelly. As he grasped at his belt, the ice began to crack, long breaks reaching both competitors. From the corner of his eye he saw Lexi with her hands over her ears, eyes squeezed shut. Finally, he was able to get to Kaiyu's ball, and threw it.

As Kaiyu came out into the arena, Vanillite's Uproar ceased.

"Hmm..." John shouted. "That's lucky for you!"

"What?!" Sean shouted, having seen John's lips move but not hearing what was said.

"Huh?!"

"Kaiyu, use Rock Throw!"

Kaiyu grabbed bits of itself and threw them with amazing precision at the icy Pokémon.

"Avalanche, Vanillite!"

A fierce wind kicked up, and flakes of ice flew up into the air, gathering together and thickening before crashing down on Kaiyu, burying him under several feet of snow. The two human combatants stood still as they waited for something to happen. Then, the cracked ice cracked even more, and the snow fell. Kaiyu rolled aside, then charged at Vanillite. The small Pokémon was surprised by the sudden movement, and fainted when hit.

"NO!" yelled John. "What cruel fate does Destiny have for thee, my precious snow angels?!"

"Is that it? Are you out?" Sean really hoped he didn't have another Vanillite on his belt.

"No, man, not quite. You still have to face the terrible, horrible, terrifying, horrifying... Spheal! It's all up to you now, buddy!"

From her seat, Lexi yelled, "It's so frickin' cute!"

"Water Gun, Spheal!"

A beam of water shot from the adorable little Pokémon's mouth, hitting Kaiyu hard, knocking him rolling back into a wall.

"You okay, Kaiyu?" Sean asked. Kaiyu got to his feet and nodded.

"Water Gun again!"

"Dodge it, Kaiyu!"

Kaiyu tried to dodge it, but he was too slow, and was hit again. Sean could tell he wasn't doing very well, and didn't see how he was still up, so he reached for his Pokéball to recall him. However, before he could, Kaiyu rolled toward Spheal and began to glow white.

"Hey, man, what is he doing?" John asked. "Is he... evolving?"

"I doubt it," Sean answered.

"Spheal, jump down the cracks in the ice! Get away from it!"

Spheal escaped just in time, for Kaiyu exploded, sending bits of rock and chunks of ice raining down on everyone. As the smoke cleared, Sean saw a large crater with Kaiyu at the bottom, knocked out cold. Sean recalled him.

"Okay, Genève, let's finish this!"

Genève spun happily in the still-falling bits of ice particles, as though it was a snowy day.

"Use Water Gun again, Spheal!"

Genève, not stopping her dance, teleported away from the water's path, causing Sean to get soaked. As he stood shivering, she reappeared behind Spheal.

"Use Confusion!" Sean shouted as his teeth chattered. Gen struck out, and Spheal looked around the room, searching for his prey. When his eyes found John, he charged.

"Does someone need a hug?" John asked, arms reaching out. Spheal opened his mouth and bit down hard on John's arm. "OW!" he yelled. "What the hell are you doing?! She's the enemy, not me!" Spheal didn't let go, however, just bit down harder.

"I'd recall my Pokémon if I were you," Sean called.

"You would? That's probably a--ow!--good idea. Okay, Spheal, return!" His Pokémon returned to its ball, and he rubbed his arm. "I guess that means you win. Congratulations, man, that's really cool, I'm proud of you."

"Thanks. So, uh, the..."

"The what? Oh, the badge! Yeah, here you go." John reached into his pocket as he skated to Sean. He pulled out a small white badge, an intricately designed snow flake. "Here's the Cold Badge."

"Wow, it's beautiful," said Sean, admiring it before placing it in his badge case next to the Solid Badge.

"Aw, thanks, man! You know, I make them myself. Each one's unique, just like a real snow flake. I want you to take it, and go off and become the Marion Champion, and whenever you see that badge you'll think of your old pal John and all the adventures we've had together."

"Right... Thanks again, John. You'll be okay by yourself?"

"Of course, dude, real sweet of you to ask. Say hi to Cindy for me!"

Sean turned to tell John he didn't know a Cindy, but John was gone.

"Where... You know what? I don't care. Let's go, Lexi."

"Why was he called the cold-hearted ice master?" Lexi asked. "He's one of the sweetest guys I've ever met."

The two kids left the gym, and as the doors shut, John yelled, "Guys! Help! I fell down the crack in the ice!"

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Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:31 am
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