Chapter 1: The Accident
The National Pokémon Championship Tournament (NPCT) had at last begun. The strongest trainers from around the world were gathered together for the greatest battles imaginable. People from all towns and cities nearby and even far off would come to watch the incredible matches, for a relatively large admission fee. Everyone watching the tournament would be waiting in eager anticipation to see what kinds of Pokémon teams would be assembled by all the expert participants.
There would be teams of all kinds. Trainers would use Baton Pass teams, stall teams, weather teams, you name it, and they would be there. Not only that, the Pokémon there would be statistically perfect. They would have all the right EVs (Effort Values), IVs (Individual Values), moves, natures, everything. There probably wasn't a single trainer there that wasn't fretting over their Pokémon's stats. Were their IVs perfect? Did they EV train them correctly? Were there better moves available? Still, one thing was certain: only the greatest Pokémon teams in the world would be seen that day.
One such Pokémon team was preparing for the tournament while waiting for their master to return. They had been placed inside a PC and sent to a containment room within it. The room was incredibly bare, as usual, but they wouldn't be in the PC for too long this time, as the preliminary rounds were about to begin. The Pokémon were all eagerly, yet nervously, awaiting their trainer to come and tell them it was time to go.
The Pokémon were all together, merely talking or discussing their past battle performances and fiddling with their held items. There was a powerful Volcarona, a Victreebel with the valuable ability Chlorophyll, a Salamence whose main purpose was type coverage, a Cloyster for Rapid Spin in case of Stealth Rock and as a possible sweeper, and the team leader, a unique, black-scaled Charizard that people called a 'shiny' pokemon. Together, they formed the core of an almost undefeated sun team.
Ember the Ninetails, the last member of the team, was listening to her friends and enjoying their company while eagerly awaiting her master. She was always put first in every battle, her purpose being to use her special ability, Drought, to power up the rest of her team and boost their fire. Unfortunately, this usually resulted in her being knocked out very quickly by the opponents, but she endured it, merely glad to have a purpose on the team and help her companions. Once everything began to quiet down, she stepped forward, caught up in the moment.
"Okay, everyone!" she said cheerfully. "We finally made it. All our training has paid off. We can win this, no problem! Let's all do our best for Rose and make her proud!"
The other Pokémon, who were mostly tense and anxious, were grateful for Ember's moral support. Cloyster and Salamence even began cheering encouragements as well, Victreebel and Volcarona thanking Ember for the sentiment. The only one who remained silent was Charizard.
Suddenly, the door to the PC containment room opened up with a loud hiss. A brown-haired girl in her late teens with a green cap, a red vest and a green-and-white bag slung over her shoulder was standing outside. She held up six Pokeballs, glancing at her team.
"Time to go," she said.
Volcarona, Victreebel, Salamence and Cloyster immediately ran, rolled or floated over to their trainer, red beams of light touching them and absorbing them into their Pokeballs. Just as Ember was about to go as well, she noticed Charizard watching her. She stopped and looked back at him curiously.
"Did I say something wrong?" she asked.
Charizard shook his head. "I was just impressed with how cheerful you always are. Most lead Pokémon are upset or worried before competitive matches like these, since they're usually knocked out first. I think you even inspired the others with your spirit."
Ember looked down shyly. "Well…I guess I just like being with you guys and doing what I'm doing to help."
Charizard gave her a little smile. "I like your attitude. Seeing other Pokémon like you is what keeps me going. After all, the teams I'm on are constantly changing. Almost every day I see a new face or two, and I enjoy meeting them all even if it's only for a short time, but not many have your energy."
"Hey!" Rose called. "What are you two doing? Come on!"
Charizard nodded toward their trainer. "Let's go."
The massive crowd cheered wildly as the latest contestants stepped into the arena. There had to be at least fifty or sixty thousand people watching the matches, not counting the ones seeing them on TV. Being the first one to arrive, Rose stepped onto the battle platform. A few seconds later, her opponent, a dark-skinned man in his mid-twenties, walked onto the platform as well, drawing an Ultra Ball from his belt.
A referee in a suit and tie walked onto the middle of the platform.
"Alright, contestants, you know the rules," he said. "No legendaries, no duplicates, and no banned items. Are you both ready?"
The contestants nodded.
"Then let the match between Rose and Davis begin!" the announcer yelled over-dramatically as he stepped off the platform.
Rose clicked open a Pokeball and tossed it onto the field. Ember appeared on the arena in a flash of light, wearing the blue-and-white Choice Scarf her master gave her around her neck. She glanced around nervously at the gigantic group of humans surrounding her. She had never battled with so many people watching before, but she wouldn't let her master down.
On the other side of the field, the other trainer tossed out an Ultra Ball. Appearing in a flash of light was a Mienshao, a Pokémon she had encountered several times in battles like these. Ember had never beaten a Mienshao before, and she felt a knot in her stomach at the thought of losing so soon. Still, she had a purpose to fulfill, and she used her ability, feeling the power of fire coursing through her. The sun above her shone brightly through the clouds, bathing the entire arena in brilliant light. All Fire Pokémon would now be greatly strengthened thanks to her Drought.
"Fire Blast!" Rose commanded.
Ember swiftly obeyed, flames welling up in her throat. However, Mienshao was right in front of her before she could react. He slammed her in the face with Fake Out, the ridiculous speed causing her to flinch. The flames got caught in her throat, and she had a coughing fit. The Mienshao moved back to its spot on the arena in the blink of an eye, already preparing another attack.
The first round of the fight was over, and Ember had definitely gotten the raw end of the exchange, her throat horribly sore. Still, it would be stupid for the opponent to try to use Fake Out again, and without that move at Mienshao's disposal, her Choice Scarf would allow her to outrun her foe. Ember quickly prepared another Fire Blast, aiming directly for Mienshao's torso while remaining wary. Finally, she launched the attack, the wall of flames flying right at her opponent.
Mienshao expertly avoided the attack, dodging to the side. Ember gritted her teeth in frustration. Fire Blast had relatively fair accuracy, but things like that happened every now and then. Suddenly, the Mienshao leapt up into the air. He was going for the kill. Ember knew that a Hi Jump Kick was coming, and that would be the end of it.
Still, just like Fire Blast, Hi Jump Kick wasn't the most accurate move in the world. She knew that if she was quick enough, there was a slight chance she could dodge the attack. She saw the Mienshao twist his wiry body in the air and launch himself at her like a rocket. Rather than instantly try to jump away, which would spell her doom, she waited until the very last second.
Then, with reflexes like a Liepard, she leapt to the right, ducking and rolling aside, narrowly avoiding the attack. Mienshao had a brief look of shock on his face before slamming into the ground, the horrible recoil and impact stunning him allowing Ember to land an easy Fire Blast. Mienshao lied there, unconscious. Ember was the victor. Trying to catch her breath, she heard the crowd erupt into cheers. She felt a surge of pride at defeating such a powerful opponent for the first time.
But the other trainer wasn't done. Not by a long shot. The man withdrew Mienshao and sent out a Jellicent. Ember sighed. She had no way to beat a water-type special sponge, especially with her Choice Scarf preventing her from using any other moves than Fire Blast. Her master, however, had different plans.
Ember felt herself being lifted off the ground, surrounded by a scarlet glow as she was absorbed into her Pokeball. Through the red-and-white confines of the ball, Ember tried to look out and see the match. She briefly saw Rose send out Victreebel against the Jellicent. Ember was grateful she didn't have to battle that Pokémon.
She saw a few moves being exchanged, the Jellicent mainly using Scald in an attempt to burn Victreebel, soon followed by Ominous Wind, whereas the Victreebel was merely trying to power through Jellecent's defenses with its deadly grass attacks. Still, it was incredibly difficult to watch the match through her Pokeball, and eventually Ember got a headache and just decided to wait patiently for Rose to call on her again. She heard several more loud noises and many Pokémon cries as moves were exchanged and Pokémon switched out.
Finally, she felt her Pokeball being moved. Ember was suddenly enveloped in a bright light as she was sent out onto the arena again. Ready for battle, she looked around for her opponent.
She immediately wished she hadn't.
On the other side of the field, the massive, shark-like form of a Garchomp stared her down. The gigantic Pokémon slowly stalked toward her. She felt a deep fear as it drew closer, but she still managed to obey Rose's orders and aimed a Hidden Power Ice at Garchomp. The giant Pokémon was impossible to miss. The wave of energy crashed into the behemoth like a tidal wave of frost. Garchomp seemed to be in great pain, but it still withstood the attack despite the extra type advantages powering up Ember's move, probably thanks to a Focus Sash.
Now it was Garchomp's turn. The enormous Pokémon reared back and used Earthquake, slamming the ground with its scythe-like fins. The whole arena shook, rocks jutting out at Ember. Finally, the earth beneath her shot up, knocking her into the air. She landed painfully with a sickening thud, already beginning to lose consciousness. The last thing she saw was Charizard being sent out, who immediately dodged a Stone Edge and blasted Garchomp with Dragon Pulse. Then, Ember saw nothing but blackness.
When Ember awoke, a dark fog was slowly fading from her eyes. She glanced around, her vision still blurry. She tried to get up, but her dizziness and awful headache prevented her. When her disorientation finally faded enough for her to see, she noticed that she was lying on the ground back in the holographic containment room within the tournament PC.
She saw Charizard tending to the other Pokémon nearby—who were also unconscious-and tried to call out to him, but her voice came out as little more than a dull whisper. Still, Charizard heard her and slowly approached, standing beside her.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
"I think so," she replied weakly. "What happened after I got knocked out?"
"We managed to win the match after I took out Garchomp, but it was down to the wire. Everyone else is out for the count."
Ember nodded, immediately regretting the action, as it made her headache worse. After a few moments, she looked back up at her leader.
"Charizard…did I do well?"
Charizard nodded. "You were outstanding, Ember. I was amazed at how well you handled yourself against Mienshao. That Pokémon is a notorious lead."
The praise made Ember feel much better, especially coming from Charizard, who never gave it lightly. Still, something else was bothering her. Charizard seemed to sense this.
"Something on your mind?" he asked.
Ember sighed. "It's just that you're so strong, Charizard. It's like you carry the entire team on your shoulders. You've beaten tons of Pokémon before, even in a single match, and I can barely beat one or two at best. Why can't I ever be as strong as you?"
Charizard thought for a moment. "Well, sometimes when you're on a team, you have to fill the role that's best for everyone else, and that's not always the one you want."
"I guess I understand…but I feel like I'm always losing. I'm still happy to have my purpose and help everyone, but sometimes it's hard to keep stepping into an arena knowing I'm probably going to get knocked out sooner or later, sometimes without even firing off an attack. I just wish I could keep awake for one match."
Charizard nodded slowly. "Believe me, I understand how you feel. I've been on many other teams and seen countless Pokémon, but I remember them all. And just like you, many of them said the same thing. There isn't really an easy answer. Battling can be arduous, but it's our lot in life. And trust me, you could be off a lot worse. I've seen many Pokémon battle and battle until they can't battle anymore, and they are either forgotten by their trainers or just keep battling until they die. We didn't choose this life, but we have it, and we've no choice but to make the best of it."
Ember listened intently to her friend and leader, though it was difficult to accept everything he was saying. Still, he was much more experienced than her, so she decided to take his advice and make the best of her life, trusting that things would resolve themselves somehow.
A few minutes later, the door opened again, Rose stepping inside. She held up their Pokeballs, returning all six Pokémon in the room to them. Ember felt a bit crestfallen to be returned to her ball before she could finish talking with Charizard, but she knew they could speak again later. Rose carried her six Pokeballs to a nearby counter and handed them to a nurse. The woman took the Pokémon to a healing machine, putting them all inside.
Ember instantly felt refreshed upon being put in the machine. She never understood how it worked, but her headache was gone and her injuries were already beginning to feel better. She peeked through her Pokeball and saw that they were headed back to the stadium.
They were already going to have to battle again.
Ember once again saw the cheering crowds and brilliant sunlight as she was let out of her Pokeball and onto the arena. That silly-looking human they called an "announcer" was already yelling out the same rules she heard before. She looked ahead and saw her opponent human, a brown-haired woman a little older than Rose. She seemed incredibly calm and confident as she drew an Ultra Ball from a suitcase.
Ember noticed an odd bird Pokémon out of the corner of her eye. It was perched high atop the lights above the arena, and she recognized it as a Honchkrow. The black bird was staring at her intently, and it started giving her the creeps. What was it doing here? Why had no one else seen it yet? She quickly snapped herself out of those thoughts. She couldn't get distracted now. She had to win this for Rose.
"Let the match between Rose and Velour begin!" the announcer yelled, quickly stepping off the field.
Ember resolved herself to do better this time, to avoid getting knocked out. She waited anxiously for her first opponent. When the other human sent out her foe, she felt her heart miss a beat. It was the one lead Pokémon she feared most.
Ember's throat became very dry when she saw the vicious, serpent-like Pokémon emerge from its ball. Gyrados was one of the strongest and deadliest lead Pokémon in the world. It was both water and flying type, and none of her moves would be effective enough to take it out in one shot. And one shot was all she would have.
Gyrados was famous for tearing through any first opponent it faced with ease unless they were fully prepared, and she was not. Gyrados would easily defeat her in one move as soon as it attacked. So much for not getting knocked out, she thought bitterly. She didn't have a chance. She prayed that Rose would withdraw her and send out a different Pokémon to fight Gyrados, one that could have a better chance at winning.
Her hopes were instantly dashed by her trainer's next command.
"Ember, use Solarbeam!" Rose commanded.
Ember's legs began to quiver. She hesitantly looked back at Gyrados, her heart pounding rapidly. She didn't even know if Solarbeam was the right move to use, since the sun would give such great power to her Fire Blast, but she knew she had to obey her master. She reared back, feeling the warm rays of the sun giving her strength. She then opened her mouth and fired a massive green ray of energy at Gyrados, hoping against hope it would somehow take the Pokémon down.
It didn't. Gyrados was knocked back and nearly collapsed, but soon regained stability. Gyrados parted his massive fangs and used Stone Edge. Suddenly, sharp, jagged stones flew toward her at ungodly speed. She tried to avoid them, but most of them hit home. She was immediately flung back by the force of the blows. One of the rocks struck her right in the head, the others slamming painfully into other parts of her body. That was it. As quick as it had begun, the fight was over.
"Not again…" Ember groaned as she fell to the ground, beginning to lose consciousness even faster than before.
Ember didn't want her master to be upset with her, so she tried to get up, but it was useless. She had no strength left. She could only lie there and wait for the blackness to overtake her. Before falling fully unconscious, however, after her master sent out another Pokémon, she noticed the opponent switch out Gyrados and send out another pokeball. She then heard the most blood-chilling, earsplitting roar she had ever heard in her life.
Her last thoughts before fainting were filled with profound fear of whatever beast let out that roar, but also a deep sorrow that she had failed her master, and her team.
(A\N) I began a little bit before the release of Black 2 and White 2. The story does not take place directly in Unova, but it does use generation five mechanics such as infinite drought sun, knock off is bad, no mega, and so on. This is for a simple reason: Generation six did not exist when I started writing, and when it was announced I didn't want to go back and rewrite all of my hard work.