I couldn’t stop staring at my Dimensia Badge. It was so fancy and cool. The design seemed impossible, looking like it was made of glass with smoke swirling around inside it. I twirled it with my fingers, trying to understand the craft and material of it. “Incredible, eh, Charmeleon?” I asked, holding the Badge out to it.
Charmeleon smiled proudly at it and nodded with a pleased grunt.
I put the Badge back in its case and slipped it into my bag as I recalled calling Prof. Oak just last night to tell him about my win at Obsidian Gym, but he wasn’t around for my call, and Prof. Sketchit didn’t pick up either.
The following conversation with my mom led her quickly into tears over the joy she had for my accomplishment. “I am so glad you’re doing so well, babe,” she had said. “It sure did take you a while to get that Badge, though. It’s been a few weeks, now. Even Melissa only took a few days to get her first Badge.” That’s my mom. Always putting a damper on good news somehow. Making sure to rub things in. Constantly comparing things. Never can just let it be.
I struggled not to argue with her and not be too offended. When I mentioned my Charmander evolving, she suggested I get rid of the “dangerous Pokemon,” and that erupted into a huge argument. I could understand her feelings. Her baby was almost killed thanks to Charmeleon, but she was still making things a lot more uncomfortable and upsetting than they had to be. Charmeleon is my friend and partner. What happened is in the past, and I preferred to just leave it there.
As I stared at the map, I wondered if this long trek to Gringey City was actually longer than taking the path through Mt. Moon to get to Cerulean City, especially with Vermilion City being pretty close to Cerulean. Gringey City was between Celadon City and Fuchsia City, and from Obsidian City, Gringey was a fair distance. Fuschia and Celadon were closer, but there was no direct route to either city from Obsidian.
Hmm, I thought to myself. After I finish in Gringey, I have a couple of options. Go back to reach Fuchsia City, then reverse back all the way to get to Celadon. Or maybe I could just go to Celadon, then Saffron, which is nearby, then walk all the way down to Fuchsia. I began regretting my choice to go to Obsidian. This was getting too confusing.
An odd noise in the bushes caused me and Charmeleon to stop walking and turn.
With its feet sticking out from the grass, sitting up, its head visible above the grass that surrounded the middle portion of its body, was a snoring Pokemon.
My eyes widened in realization and my heart beat in shock.
It was an Abra!
I knew all about Abra. It was one of my favorite Pokemon. A Psychic Type. My absolute favorite type of Pokemon. How could I resist this chance?
Abra’s body then glowed white, and in the next instant, the Pokemon had used Teleport and was gone.
“NOOOOOOOO!!” I shouted. I took one step forward before I dropped helplessly to my knees, close to crying. “I can’t believe this crap!” I got up, my anger building up in me, and stormed along the path, continuing on my way to Gringey City. My anger faded soon, sighing to relieve myself of the last remaining bits of disappointment within me. I had no strategy for capturing that Pokemon. I couldn’t catch it if I had actually tried.
Charmeleon was walking by me, giving me a confused look.
“That was an Abra,” I explained to Charmeleon. “They’re extremely rare and can use moves like Teleport to escape a battle or capture, even when they are asleep, which they due to about eighteen hours a day.”
Charmeleon nodded quietly, looking ahead.
Animals ran and flew around us as we maneuvered through their environment, but there were no more visible Pokemon. Some robins, bees, and even a little field mouse, all went by us at some point, but strangely, not one Pokemon for me to capture.
Charmeleon seemed eager to chase after every animal it saw and I had to constantly call it back. “Next time I’m putting you back in the Poke Ball,” I warned. “Let’s stay on track, okay?”
Charmeleon looked upset as it nodded, crossing its arms and looking away from me.
I ignored its attitude.
Darkness settled eventually, the hunger within me becoming unmanageable at this point. I had eaten lunch with my Pokemon, but that was hours ago. I was ready for another round of munching. “Hey, how about we take a break and set up dinner?”
Charmeleon agreed eagerly, licking its chops and nodding.
“Metapod, Hoothoot, Kakuna, Primeape, it’s time to eat!” I called out the group. I set up bowls of food for everyone except Metapod and Kakuna, who rested motionlessly against a tree trunk.
Having spent all their lives as Caterpie and Weedle, eating constantly, they now were inside of their shells, awaiting their final stage, and didn’t need to eat.
Have to remember to purchase more food, I thought, noticing the shortage we had left. Taking care of five Pokemon was tough and costly work.
After eating, my Pokemon were disappointed that their time to rest after stuffing their faces only lasted about ten minutes. I got them all on their feet so we could start training.
Hoothoot used Tackle on Kakuna as it used Harden, and Charmeleon used Scratch against Metapod’s Harden.
Metapod and Kakuna, mainly motionless creatures so that they can keep their soft bodies safe within the shell, were trained to use their Poison Sting and Tackle attack more effectively, yet safely, so they could participate in battles, too.
When Primeape and Charmeleon fought against each other, it grabbed everyone’s attention. They both were so energetic and strong and truly desired to best the other one. Getting them to stop battling proved to be a battle in itself, and impossible without returning them to their Poke Balls.
My Pokemon tackled trees, rocks, and a couple of wild Pokemon even came out and we battled against them, too.
A Rattata and a Hoothoot.
I let my Hoothoot fight against the wild one, and we beat it quickly.
Charmeleon was upset that I didn’t send it out to fight Hoothoot, so I let it battle the Rattata that appeared shortly after, but when I tried to capture it, Charmeleon completely ignored me and beat the little rodent up mercilessly, chasing it away.
“Charmeleon!” I barked.
Charmeleon looked proud of its win but I kept glaring at it. Its smile faded and it lowered its head, muttering its name once. It didn’t actually look sad or sorry, but I took it as an apology.
A while later, when it was very late and everyone was exhausted, I called the training to be done for the night. We all dropped to the grass.
I crawled into my sleeping bag, and my other Pokemon, even Metapod and Kakuna, scuttled over to me, and that’s where we all slept. Together. I didn’t want those two Bugs near me at all, but I closed my eyes tight and tried to focus on them not being there.
The next morning, we all ate a little breakfast. Afterwards, Hoothoot joined alongside Charmeleon and I on our walk.
Hoothoot soared just above me sometimes, and other times it rose even higher, into skies.
The sun was in its afternoon high, beaming right on us, exhausting me, though Charmeleon seemed to be loving it.
My weary eyes focused on the path, they widened as I saw it.
“Hoothoot, Charmeleon, I think we finally made it!” I exclaimed.
With a loud cheer, we all ran towards this city.
This city was large and full of buildings wherever you looked. Factories, tourist attractions, even a couple of small museums. The city actually seemed to have a bit too much in it, actually. There was a very congested feel to it. There was a movie theater with signs showing the latest films. The Dark Type Rises was playing shortly according to the time schedule. A toy store was close to the theater, alongside a small grocery store and a Pokemon Center!
I ran quickly to the familiar building, the doors opening for me as I reached them. Heading for the front counter, I glanced back at the Poke Mart department and changed course quickly, making my way to the market to purchase food and health items. Finally, I reached the beautiful nurse who stood behind the counter with her Chansey and left my Pokemon with them for healing. The checkup lasted about twenty minutes, and I bid the gorgeous as ever Nurse Joy goodbye, far too excited to find the Gym in this city.
The sun met me right at the doors of the Pokemon Center, before I even stepped outside, and heated me up once I was on the other side of the doors. Not a even a slight breeze greeted me to relieve me.
Where’s the fall weather? I wondered as I raised a hand to shield my eyes.
In the distance, a large body of water was surrounded by factories. That spot would have looked beautiful if not for the factories being there, ruining the view and signifying a lot of about human space intruding on nature for little to no good reason.
I got lost in my thoughts, only realizing it when I heard the laughter.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
I looked up and gasped, turning to the sound.
“Of all the luck!” Robin sneered at me. “Imagine seeing you here!”
“Robin!” I uttered in shock. “Wow! I haven’t seen you in ages! What are you doing here?”
“Leaving,” he said with a huge grin on his face.
“Yeah. I got what I came here for,” he laughed. He pulled out a case similar to my Badge case, but a lot less fancy and a little smaller, and opened it. Inside were two Badges. One looked like a teardrop and was blue. The other looked circular with spiked yellow edges and a red circular middle.
“Two Badges?” My eyes widened.
“That’s right,” Robin beamed proudly. “How many do you have, man?”
I pulled out my case and showed him my one.
“Ha! One, huh? Well, that’s a good start, I guess.” He squinted his eyes and leaned in closer. “That’s a really fancy case. No way you could afford anything that nice as just a traveling Pokemon Trainer. Where’d you get it? And, whoa! I’ve never seen than Badge before. Where is that from?”
“Obsidian City. I beat the Ghost Gym Leader, Shane, and he gave me the case afterwards,” I replied.
“You went all the way to Obsidian City to get here?” Robin asked in surprised. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Are you kidding me, Gary? Why didn’t you just go to Cerulean City, like I did! That was a much easier route to lead you here! And there are so many cool Pokemon in Mt. Moon! I even found me a Clefairy!”
“You found a Clefairy?? No way!”
Clefairy were really, reeeeeally rare Pokemon said to come from outer space!
“Dude, I stayed in there for like, three days! Just to find a Clefairy! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Then I gave up, and when I tried to just leave to try my luck at the Cerulean Gym, I realized I was lost. On the fourth day, still lost, I spotted a Clefairy, and it tried to get away! No way was that happening, ha ha ha ha ha! So I chased after it, and we ended up at the exit to Mt. Moon! It didn’t want to go outside. It wanted to stay inside of Mt. Moon. I basically had it trapped. We battled, and I won, and I caught it! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!”
It wasn’t that funny, I thought wearily. “Wow, a Clefairy... Maybe I shoulda gone through Mt. Moon, after all...” I looked to the ground, and then a thought came to my mind and I looked back up. “I see you don’t have the Boulder Badge.”
Robin scowled at me. “Screw that chick! Her and her Graveler! And whatever her second Pokemon was!”
I couldn’t hold in the laughter. “You didn’t even reach her second Pokemon?” I laughed.
“Of course not! What are you saying, you did?” he questioned angrily.
“Yeah, I battled her three times and managed to beat Graveler twice,” I boasted.
Robin sucked his teeth. “Don’t make such poor jokes. You never were the funny one in our group.”
I glared at him. “I’m serious! She has a Kabutops!”
Robin stared at me quietly. Suddenly, he burst out laughing and waved his hand at me. “Well, anyway, since I have the Badge of this town, and you think you’re so good, how about a Pokemon battle? A full six-on-six.”
I was about to agree when I suddenly remembered. “I only have five Pokemon with me right now…”
“Ha ha ha ha ha!! Trying to get a second Badge and you don’t even have six Pokemon! Now I’ve heard it all! Don’t worry, we can have a five-on-five if you can handle that much. There’s never such a thing as too much training, even when the competition is light.” His laughter returned.
Sometimes that laugh was just plain annoying, and that attitude was irking me. He was always competitive and up for a challenge, but always in a friendly manner. Sometimes, though, it was just too much.
I had to show him up.
We stepped back a good distance from each other.
“I choose you!” I tossed the Poke Ball.
“Go!” Robin tossed his.
Out came my Kakuna.
Robin sent out Drowzee.
My eyes widened in surprise.
Drowzee. The Hypnosis Pokemon. It feeds off of dreams and can tell the kind of dreams it is about to eat. There may be some relation to it eating bad dreams, and its inexplicable ability to conjure poisonous gases.
“Kakuna!” Robin laughed. “You gotta be kidding me with that! Ha ha ha ha ha! End this with Confusion!”
“Kakuna, use Har...! No, return!”
Kakuna was returned at the last second.
“Ha ha ha ha!! A Kakuna?! Seriously?!? Is that the best you can do? You wanna make this a four-on-four, man?”
I gritted my teeth. “Watch this! Go, Hoothoot!”
Hoothoot flew out and landed.
Hoothoot created an intense noise that made me and Robin cover our ears.
Drowzee wasn’t faring too well, either.
Hoothoot’s Uproar was loud, annoying, and looked like it was giving Drowzee a major headache.
“Drowzee, Hypnosis!” Robin shouted.
The Uproar must have been scrambling Robin’s brains.
You can’t put a Pokemon to sleep when an Uproar is in effect, I knew.
Robin must have realized this because he slapped himself in the forehead and shook his head.
Hoothoot finally calmed down.
I was ready for it. “Hypnosis, now!”
Hoothoot hit Drowzee with red circles shot from its eyes and Drowzee fell to the ground, fast Asleep.
“Hoothoot, return!” I had a risky idea, but if it worked, it’d only help my Pokemon become stronger. “Kakuna, Poison Sting, now!”
Kakuna flew from the Poke Ball I threw and landed. It titled its head in the direction of Drowzee and leaped forward. It seemed to hit hard, but Drowzee merely rolled over a bit.
Robin laughed again. “Asleep or not, that measly Bug isn’t gonna do anything to us!”
“Go for it, Kakuna!” I encouraged it.
Kakuna could gain experience points battling against Drowzee, and safely since Drowzee was Asleep. My Pokemon kept charging at Drowzee, knocking it over, jabbing at it.
Robin yelled for Drowzee to wake up and finish the battle with Confusion.
A flush of purple fell over Drowzee’s face.
“Oh, no!” Robin screamed. “It’s Poisoned!”
Kakuna continued charging at Drowzee with Poison Sting.
Drowzee’s eyes opened. It stood up and wobbled around a little bit, dizzy from the poison.
“Drowzee, just use Confusion, will you?” Robin insisted.
Drowzee aimed at Kakuna, its eyes glowing blue.
Kakuna’s body was outlined in blue as it was lifted in the air by Drowzee’s Psychic power.
It looked like it was over, but Drowzee’s eyes stopped glowing blue and closed tightly, dropping Kakuna, the blue around my Bug’s body also vanishing, and Robin’s Pokemon kneeled over in pain from the poison. It then fell to its face.
“HA!” I cheered. “Kakuna, you did it! We beat Drowzee! HA-!” My cheering was cut short when I spotted the crack in the shell right where Kakuna landed on its back. “Kakuna??” I began to panic and ran to my Pokemon. Where was that crack from? Did I push it too hard? Did it get injured when Drowzee dropped it? “Hey! Kakuna!”
The crack increased along its body, a white light shining from the widening wound.
I gasped in horror. What was wrong with my Kakuna?? The bright light glowed even brighter, and I squinted against the glow. It took me only another second to understand what was going on, and I backed away in amazement and fear.
The white light pushed out of the shell that was Kakuna and I saw the antennae. The head. The enormous wings. The stingers on its forearms. And of course, the stinger on its bottom end. Kakuna had evolved into a Beedrill!
There was a short silence before I finally managed, “Kakuna evolved into Beedrill!! Beedrill! Congratulations!!”
Beedrill flew about in excitement, buzzing a note that made me shiver in the heat.
“Ha ha ha! Talk about luck! I figured Drowzee would wipe out your entire team! Ha ha ha ha!” He recalled his Drowzee and tossed his second Poke Ball.
This time it was a Raticate.
Raticate. The Mouse Pokemon. They have a more aggressive attitude than their pre evolved form, Rattata. They chew on solid objects constantly to keep their teeth from overgrowing.
“Beedrill, Twineedle attack!”
Beedrill charged quick at Raticate and jabbed at it repeatedly with its stingers.
Raticate dodged the moves, stumbling backwards, and tripped, hitting the ground as Beedrill continued the onslaught of jabs.
“Raticate!” Robin wailed as his Pokemon was hit.
Raticate’s face became flushed with purple as poison set in. With a groan and a weak gasp, it was the end of the fight.
“I can’t believe this!” Robin said angrily. “Return!” Raticate was recalled back to its Poke Ball. “Now you’re gonna get it. Go, Growlithe!”
The little Puppy Pokemon took me by surprise. I didn’t think Robin had one of those. I instantly felt jealousy in my heart.
Growlithe. The Puppy Pokemon. This Pokemon is extremely loyal and faithful to its owner. It is very protective of its territory and will fiercely bark to scare away intruders.
“Wow. A Growlithe! Impressive, Robin!” I admitted.
“Oh, you’ll see, Gary,” Robin smirked. ”Flamethrower, now!”
Growlithe let out a long, huge flame and hit Beedrill with the huge damage.
Beedrill dropped instantly.
“Right, then.” I returned Beedrill to its Poke Ball. “You did really well. Thank you. It’s time for another shot, Hoothoot!” I sent it out with the word, “Hypnosis!”
“Roar!” Robin reacted.
Growlithe dodged the attack by moving quicker than I had thought it would, running around the Hypnosis as the move disappeared with contact to the ground. Then it started ferociously barking at my Hoothoot!
A red beam shot from Hoothoot’s Poke Ball, and the next thing I knew, Hoothoot was being sent back inside its Poke Ball and out came my Charmeleon!
“Hey, what was that?” This had startled me and I stumbled back in pure surprise and confusion.
Charmeleon glared down Growlithe and Growlithe started to growl at Charmeleon.
Roar causes the opponent to be sent back and replaced with a different Pokemon.
I stared at my Pokedex in shock. Of course, I thought. How could I forget that?
Robin smiled at Charmeleon. “Well, well, well, little baby Charmander evolved! Congratulations, man! Does it still attack you?”
“Not at all,” I spoke happily. “Me and Charmeleon are best buds, right?”
Charmeleon didn’t reply. It kept on staring down Growlithe, Growlithe glaring back.
Robin pulled out his Pokedex to scan Charmeleon.
Charmeleon. The Flame Pokemon and the evolved form of Charmander. This Pokemon tends to hunt alone instead of in groups like its pre evolved form. With the strength of its tail alone, it can lift an adult male.
“I guess we better get this battle on.” Robin nudged his head at our Pokemon. “They’re itching to go.”
“Right. Charmeleon, Scary Face!”
Charmeleon glared at Growlithe with a most vicious face.
“Whoa,” Robin muttered, staring warily at my Pokemon, which made me snicker.
Robin looked up at me and shook his head, a nasty look now on his face. “Growlithe, Bite!”
Growlithe stood its ground but didn’t budge.
“Dragon Rage!” I commanded.
Charmeleon’s flame on its tail suddenly increased in energy and it blasted Growlithe off its feet with a red blast of energy from its jaws.
Growlithe rolled on the ground and seemed shaken.
“Scratch attack!” I continued.
Charmeleon moved like lightning and swiped a powerful, sharp claw at Growlithe.
Growlithe rolled until it hit Robin’s feet and didn’t move again.
Charmeleon sent out an intimidating flame in the air in victory.
“Growlithe!” Robin cried. He knelt down to his Pokemon and held it in his arms for a moment. His eyes seemed a lot more darker, angrier, as he looked up at me, returning his Growlithe to its Poke Ball as he stood up. “Okay, little guy. I choose you! Be strong, Pichu!”
It was impossible not to smile at the adorable little thing that was sent out to battle my big, bad reptile.
Pichu. The Tiny Mouse Pokemon. This Pokemon produces electrical energy from its cheeks. It can produce it easier on days when the air is very dry or during days with thunderclouds. Whenever Pichu uses an electric attack, it hurts itself because it cannot control the energy until it evolves into Pikachu.
“A baby Pokemon,” I muttered. I never had seen one before, in person.
These Pokemon weren’t exactly the strongest, but I wasn’t going to keep my guard down.
“Pichu, use Charm!” Robin decided.
“Fire Fang!” I called.
Charmeleon was a lot quicker than the little cute electric mouse, and it had it in its flame covered jaws immediately, crushing down and shaking the thing helplessly.
Pichu cried out but there was nothing that could be done to save it.
As Charmeleon let its victim go, my Pokemon cried out and knelt over. Electric sparks surrounded the Fire type. Pichu was defeated, but something was wrong with my Charmeleon!
“Charmeleon, what’s wrong?” I helplessly watched it twitch and struggle painfully.
“Pichu, return!” Robin said bitterly. “Serves you right! Your Charmeleon got just what it deserved. Picking on an innocent little baby like that. Next time, maybe you’ll think twice before being so aggressive.”
“Huh?” I asked in surprise.
“That’s Pichu’s Ability. It’s called Static. Any physical contact with Pichu may result in Paralysis to whatever hit it. Paralysis can sometimes be overcome in battle, but sometimes, the Pokemon is just helpless and can’t move.”
“Oh. Static. Well, don’t be so mad at me, Robin. I didn’t do anything to you! I’m just battling, okay?”
“Grrrr, you don’t understand!” Robin’s fists were shaking at his sides. My friend was shouting at me, and he was right.
I didn’t understand.
Robin took a deep breath, his shoulders slumping on the exhale. His face showed he was still upset, but regaining his calm, whatever exactly had caused him to misplace it. “This battle is over, anyway. I choose you!”
The Pokemon came out. “Squirtle!”
“Hey, it’s Squirtle! Long time, no see.”
Squirtle looked to me and smiled. It ran past Charmeleon and right up to me, reaching up with its hands like it wanted to be picked up!
“Awww!” I couldn’t resist if I had wanted to, looking into its large, pleading eyes, and I lifted up the little sweetheart.
“HEY!” Robin raged. “Put my Pokemon down! What do you think you’re doing, Squirtle??”
I looked to Robin. “It’s just happy to see me. Can’t you see that?”
Robin was speechless and still looked very upset.
“It’s so good to see you, Squirtle,” I said to it. “You look so strong and healthy! You being taken care of?”
“Squirtle!” it nodded gleefully. It was just so adorable.
“PUT MY SQUIRTLE DOWN AND GET BACK TO THE BATTLE!!!”
Squirtle and I turned to Robin. “What is wrong with you, dude?”
“Me?! I’m just trying to battle here for crying out loud! I thought we were in the middle of one!”
“We are... I’m sorry. We’ll get back into the battle, geez. No need to lose your head over it.” I turned back to Squirtle, who had been staring at Robin, but now had looked back to me, a smile returning to its face “Well, say hi to Charmeleon and get ready to battle, okay?”
Squirtle said its name enthusiastically, agreeing. I set it down and it ran right up to Charmeleon.
The two old pals shook hands and Squirtle backed up a few feet.
“Squirtle, hit that thing with Water Gun!” Robin demanded.
Squirtle waited for a moment. I could’ve sworn it looked at me for a split second. Then it sent out a very feeble Water Gun attack at Charmeleon.
It didn’t even look like an attack. It was just a squirt of water that barely reached Charmeleon’s stomach.
Charmeleon looked like it was bracing itself for a strong attack, but then just stood there calmly as the water hit.
“What the heck is that??” Robin was truly losing it now.
I scratched my own head in confusion. “Use Scratch attack, Charmeleon.”
But Charmeleon didn’t budge, its eyes closed, its body surrounded by sparks. It seemed stuck. The Paralysis was kicking in again.
“Squirtle, here’s your chance! Finish that thing with a Water Gun!”
Squirtle definitely glanced at me for a moment. And didn’t move.
“Squirtle?” I asked.
“It looks like Squirtle and that Trainer over there with the Charmeleon have a closer bond than the Squirtle has with her owner,” a voice said from out of nowhere.
Everyone turned at the voice.
A strikingly attractive girl was standing nearby. I don’t think any of us had noticed her before, but she was definitely the main attraction now. She walked up to us with a dazzling and warm smile, looking directly at me. “You and this Squirtle have history, don’t you?”
I stared at her and my eyes couldn’t help but scan her up and down for a moment before I forced my eyes to meet her own and stay there. “Yes. No. Yes. No. Um… What?” I stuttered.
She laughed at my awkwardness. “You and this Squirtle definitely had some kind of a close friendship going on not long ago. I can tell.”
“Well, I met it once,” I said shyly. “When me and Robin chose our Starter Pokemon, I had a bit of an incident with Charmander, and Squirtle helped me out a bit.”
“Squirtle,” Squirtle mumbled feebly. Its head was down and it seemed sad.
“I think Squirtle really liked you,” the girl responded. “I think she chose you as her Trainer, and you rejected her.”
My mouth dropped open wide to sing opera, but my words were stuck from her claim.
Robin managed a shocked utterance.
I immediately remembered the day I chose Charmander over Squirtle. Squirtle looked so disappointed. When Robin retreated Squirtle to its Poke Ball, I had thought Squirtle gave me one last glance. It wasn’t my imagination? Squirtle really was sad?
“She?” Robin questioned.
“Oh, yes, that Squirtle is a she,” she replied. “I can tell plain as day. I know quite a lot about Pokemon. People tend to come to in this city for advice on the most minor to the most extreme information on Pokemon inquiries.”
“How long were you watching our battle?” Robin pressed her.
“Since Kakuna and Drowzee were battling,” she smiled smugly.
This girl was incredible looking. I couldn’t get over it. And now that she was talking to Robin and not paying attention to me, my eyes scanned her from top to bottom and back again.
She looked to me suddenly.
My eyes zipped back to her face. “Huh?” I said nervously.
“Well, I’d say you are the winner of this match.”
“What??” I responded.
“WHAT??” Robin repeated.
“Your Squirtle simply won’t battle his Charmeleon,” she told us. “She’s gonna end up getting beat up if you both continue this match. You simply can’t win. Those two are close friends.”
Squirtle ran up to me happily again.
I smiled and picked her up. “So, is this true?” I asked her.
“Squirtle!” She nodded and reached out, wrapping my neck in a hug with her little arms.
I laughed and returned her hug.
“This is ridiculous!” Robin was beside himself, furious. “So now Squirtle just will never battle Gary?”
“Possibly,” the girl stated. “It depends on how you work with her. You are her Trainer.
Squirtle started glowing red, and in the next instant, she was out of my hands, returned by Robin back into her Poke Ball.
Robin was glaring at me, holding her Poke Ball in his hand.
“Robin, you have a sixth Pokemon,” I remembered. “Let’s just battle with that.”
“Forget it,” Robin grumbled. “I wanted our Starters to battle. And it was a five-on-five. I’m not sending out a sixth Pokemon. And the Gym Leader said you won, so you won. The end.”
“Gym leader?” I turned to the girl.
“Geez, you’re helpless.” Robin shook his head. “And I’m out of here.” He mumbled things and angrily stormed away, shaking his head, staring at Squirtle’s Poke Ball.
I turned back to the Gym Leader. “So you’re…?”
“My name is June. I’m the Gym Leader of Gringey City,” June introduced herself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She smiled brightly and brushed her red hair out of her face and extended her hand to me.
I shook her hand a little too long, deep down not wanting to let go, and when I noticed this, I pulled my hand back a little too sharply.
“Oh!” June uttered in surprise.
“Oh! I’m sorry!” I cried, horrified at what I had just done.
She laughed. “It’s okay.” Her head tilted to the side as her dark eyes remained on mine, her smile seeming to be telling me the most wonderful story.
I began to feel nervous, uncomfortable, self conscious, by her sheer beauty, but I couldn’t turn away from her.
“I’ll escort you to the Pokemon Center and we can talk more as they heal your Pokemon,” June offered.
“Okay...” I hesitantly went along, taken aback by my luck of getting to spend a little extra time with this girl.
During our walk to the Pokemon Center, she told me a lot about Gringey City. She told me how it was once a thriving city filled with activity and business, but eventually reached a bad end for a while when it became filled with too many factories and power plants. The town became virtually abandoned, and the water nearby becoming polluted. This resulted in a Pokemon named Grimer beginning to thrive there. They’re a filthy Pokemon made of pure sludge who appear in the most disgusting, filthy areas. The Grimer clogged the tunnels that delivered water to power the hydroelectric generators, used to power the Pokemon Center and the entire town. But the situation was eventually resolved once the issue was discovered, and they since have taken great care to make sure the situation doesn’t happen again.
“You see, I’m actually originally from Vermillion City,” June told me as my Pokemon were in Nurse Joy’s care.
We had decided to go to a nearby restaurant and have lunch. She insisted she’d pay and wouldn’t take no for an answer, even though I insisted I did have some money on me.
“I loooooove Electric type Pokemon. They are theeeee sweetest things on Earth! Especially my favorite Electric Pokemon, Pikachu. I begged Lt. Surge, the Electric MASTER and extreeeeeme hot guy Gym Leader of Vermillion City, even though he is a bit older than me, but, like, age is nothing but a number, right? To let me be a protégé of his and he finally caved in and agreed! I trained hard and made sure to listen to him and proved myself worthy in constant Pokemon battles with him and his other understudies.”
I sat there listening to her babble on and on and on, eating my cheeseburger, nodding my head on occasion.
“So, in the end, Lt. Surge suggested I go to Gringey City!” June said excitedly. “He said there was a power plant that contained Electric Pokemon. Magnemite and Magneton in most cases, but maybe even others. He said I may learn a lot about Electric types by going to live in an environment where Pokemon like that are drawn! But I didn’t wanna leave beautiful Vermillion and my love Lt. Surge! He promised there was a nice view of the water, but it isn’t quite what I expected… ha ha. He also said I was good enough to be a Gym Leader! So what happened was, I was made an official Gym Leader by the Pokemon League of Kanto and my location was to be here in Gringey City, despite my young age of twelve! But due to my connection with Lt. Surge, it was decided that I would also be in charge of the Thunder Badge! So, sometimes, when too many challengers come to him, or he is too busy, he sends them off to my Gym for a battle!”
She stopped talking to my surprise and I nodded quickly. “That’s cool!”
She laughed. “I know, I know, I talk a lot,” she admitted.
“No, no, it was cool!”
She sighed. “My only problem is, I’ve been a Gym Leader for one year and have never won a battle.”
My eyes widened. “Really?”
She nodded sadly. “The Pokemon League is coming down hard on me now. If I keep on losing, I’ll lose my Gym status…”
“Oh, no...” was all I could say.
By this time, she had paid the food bill and we were walking together back to the Pokemon Center.
The sun was setting.
“Hey! Look!” June grabbed my hand and pulled me to where the water was. “Look at the sunset! I come here every day, all alone, to watch this. It’s nice to have company this time.” She smiled at me.
I wanted to smile back, but I felt too uncomfortable, so I didn’t. My head turned away from her and to the sunset. It was really nice. My eyes glanced to my hand, still in June’s hold. I really wanted her to let go of my hand. This was too unbelievable for me to accept.
People had been staring at us when she yanked me over here.
June and I stood there by the water together for what could have been days before the sky was almost completely dark, and we headed back to the Pokemon Center. The walk back was embarrassing.
For some reason, more people were pointing and smiling at us, trying to be secretive about it.
I collected my Pokemon from Nurse Joy, who said they all were in great health. She then looked to me and June and smiled brighter. “Great to see you again, June!”
“Same here, Nurse Joy!” She turned to me. “Gary, will you come with me for a moment?”
“Um… sure,” I said in a low voice. As I followed her, others in the Pokemon Center were snickering and pointing at us. I glared at them, but this only made them laugh louder.
Once we got outside, she looked at me. “Will you take a walk with me?” she pleaded.
“Please, take a walk with me,” she repeated. “I want to know all about you! You interest me so much! The way you use your Pokemon. The way you were with Robin’s Squirtle. There’s... really something about you. Please, tell me all about you!” She took another step forward, just a few inches away from me.
That smile. It was just completely stone meltingly gorgeous.
I wanted nothing more than to walk with her. To tell her anything she wanted to know about me. But other things were on my mind. “I can’t.”
Her mouth fell open just a bit. “Why?” She looked so sad, and very adorable like that.
“I really only came here for a Pokemon battle. I’m sorry. I just… wanted to battle you for your Badge…” The truth was that I was a coward around pretty girls, and always have been. I’ve never been comfortable with them and only in my wildest daydreams even imagined a situation of merely having a romantic stroll with one.
June’s face was now blank. She frowned, all the warmth and love from her face now cold as ice. Or maybe red with a fiery anger. It seemed to be both at the same time. “Fine!” She took a couple of steps back from me, her eyes on fire. “Tomorrow morning. First thing. Bring your best three Pokemon.” She turned and stormed away.
My heart slammed against my chest.
She had totally lost her temper on me. She didn’t say much or scream, but I could feel the hurt. The pain. The anger. The rejection. Rejection…
“I think she chose you as her Trainer, and you rejected her.” June’s words echoed in my head.
Had I… “rejected” June somehow? I wondered. I scratched my head as I watched her stomp away until she disappeared around a corner. I need to explore this city and find out where the Gym is, I realized.
As I searched for this Gym, my thoughts lingered on the events of today.
Gym Leader June.
And my Gym battle tomorrow morning.