Ice cold wind blew against my body, forcing me to shrivel up against it but I continued pressing forward with my hands in my jacket pockets. The jacket was too thin for this kind of weather, even zipped all the way up to my chin. My cap, flipped backwards, wasn’t made to cover one’s ears, so my ears were feeling ready to fall off. Tears rolled out of my eyes and vanished at a constant pace as if I were crying as I blinked them free and struggled to see. I was freezing. Winter time has definitely arrived, I knew.
It was hard to keep track of what time of the year it was and what was going on in the world once you became a Pokemon Trainer.
My pace quickened as I walked past the sign and started heading downhill. I turned my gaze to the water lining the path alongside me as I was forced to jog lightly.
A sea of water, pushed by the air blowing harshly, went as far as my eyes could see. Waves rose high into the air and crashed down, sending sprays of water to the edge of the path I walked along. I imagined it must be a pretty ideal spot to walk along in the summer, the sun high in the air, glistening off the water and reflecting beautifully.
But in this harsh cold that was blowing now, even keeping away the typical Bikers that are supposed to frequently hang around this area, I couldn’t enjoy the view as I tried focusing on not freezing to death. I guess I’ll pull out my winter coat and hat when I reach the next town, I thought. Fuchsia City. A pumped feeling filled my chest and the cold was starting to bother me just a tiny bit less at the thought of finally getting to the next town and obtaining my next Badge. It seemed like forever since I’d battled for a Gym Badge.
Not since… Saffron City.
I was shivering hard in my thin jacket from the terrible cold outside, but thinking of Saffron sent a special chill down my spine.
My eyes were glued to the water beside me. I’d always had a special relation when it came to water. On one end, I hate it. I hate swimming, or being sprayed with water, or any other kind of contact with the stuff outside of needing to wash myself. But watching the rain fall, walking through a storm with or without an umbrella, or staring at a body of water, these things attracted me somehow. It was probably because it was a part of nature. One of the things I loved so much about Pallet Town was how simple it was. It was surrounded by plant life, Pokemon, and one large section of water that leads to Cinnabar Island. It was all I needed. When I was upset at my house after an argument with my mom, I could run to the Seafoam Islands, situated not far from Pallet Town, and gaze at the water in needed peace. I also liked to walk onto Route 1, just a few steps in, and sit there, hoping to run into a cool Pokemon and maybe even befriend it.
Prof. Oak always told me never to go out there alone, and would bark at me if he caught me, but in his old age, that rarely ever happened.
Prof. Sketchit was usually the one who was around to spot me, but he never would yell at me or get upset. He was a lot more kind but insisted all the same that I not go out there by myself.
When I did sneak out there to meet Pokemon, all I ever ran into were usually just Rattata, and they always ran away from me.
A wave raised from out of the sea, accompanied by a sudden, huge gust of wind, and it crashed down, spraying the ground again.
The sky looked so gloomy, I could’ve thought it was raining right now. My favorite kind of weather. My comfort zone, so to speak. I hoped it would rain. My eyes on the water, thinking about as many things as I could contain in my mind at one time as I usually do, including my Gym battle, my new Pokemon, wondering what else lies before me on this journey I’m on, something caught my eye.
I kept walking but stared at the sudden motion in the water.
Was it spinning? Yes! The water was spinning! A whirlpool!
I stopped moving and stared, shivering worse than before in the cold and also due to my shock at this sudden occurrence. I gasped as a pair of glowing white lights shone from the center of the whirlpool, and my mind immediately flashed to the story my grandma had told me about encountering a Lugia!
“A pair of glowing yellow lights appeared from the water. The loudest roar of the night suddenly came from those lights and an enormous shadow of a creature began to rise,” I remembered her saying.
Could this really be… a Lugia?? I wondered.
A creature began to raise itself out of the whirlpool.
As I backed up in fright, I realized it wasn’t a Lugia.
But it was something almost as scary. Something incredibly strong and also, one of my favorite Pokemon ever. Its orange body shot out of the water as it let out a loud cry, its tiny wings carrying its heavy body quickly through the air. It then made a turn and flew down towards the water. Right before colliding with it, it made a turn and flew straight, skimming the surface of the water with its wing.
I smiled at the great beast before pulling out my Pokedex.
Dragonite. The Dragon Pokemon. The evolved form of Dragonair. This highly intelligent Pokemon lives in an unknown area deep within the sea. They are extremely kindhearted and help people who are lost at sea. Despite having such small wings and a large body, their proportions and strength make them one of the fastest flying Pokemon in the world.
“Looking good, Dragonite, but you’ve got to be faster than that!” a voice called out.
I looked around, but couldn’t see where the voice was coming from.
“Let’s get back to land and we’ll try again!” the voice continued.
Dragonite make a quick turn and flew over to the ground, landing heavily next to a large green bag, standing up proudly.
“Yah!” the voice said loudly.
A figure leaped from behind Dragonite and stretched its arms out like an Olympic competitor landing on their feet after pulling off some kind of complicated acrobatic movement. It was a woman. She was soaking wet, like her Dragonite.
Where did she come from? was what came to my mind.
The woman faced her Dragonite and rubbed its stomach. “You did okay, but you can do better, and you know it,” she said sternly before hugging it. “Let’s take a break and relax before we go diving again, ok? After that, we’ll go skydiving!”
Dragonite let out a loud, happy cry.
The woman laughed as she let go of Dragonite and turned around. She froze and her eyes widened, noticing me.
The Dragonite also saw me and glared.
“Problem?” the woman said moodily, glaring at me with a look that matched the Dragonite’s.
I swallowed and backed up, feeling a bit uncomfortable suddenly. “What? No!” I exclaimed. “I… I just… I…”
“Spit it out!” she said impatiently.
“Nothing! I’m on my way Fuchsia City and I saw your Dragonite fly out of the water. I was just looking at it. Geez.” I muttered the last word under my breath. I didn’t need her thinking I had a problem with her. She seemed a little bit like a loose cannon to me.
“Well, this is my dear Dragonite,” she told me, smiling brightly, patting her Dragonite’s belly. “I’m out here training some of my other Pokemon and I always take my trustworthy Dragonite with me, so I thought he could use a bit of exercise too so he doesn’t get too lazy and slow, which apparently he has.” She looked up at Dragonite, who turned his head angrily, glaring at the sea. “Don’t give me that attitude.”
Dragonite huffed a breath and continued to look at the sea.
The woman turned back to me and laughed. “He always likes to act tough in front of company.”
I smiled back. “So you’re a Pokemon Trainer?” I asked.
“Trainer?” she said with a sinister grin. “I supposed you could say that, though Gym Leader would be a much more appropriate title.”
“Gym Leader?” I gasped. “You’re not Ozne, are you?”
She laughed really loudly, startling me. “Of course not!” she yelled, still laughing. “Do I look like a guy to you?”I was shocked, my mouth dropping. “I’m so sorry,” I apologized, raising my hands and shaking my head.
“It’s fine. I guess I’m not the prettiest girl,” she rolled her eyes, snickering.
“No, it’s not that!” I said quickly. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean you weren’t pretty or anything at all! I guess Ozne just isn’t a very normal name so I didn’t think properly about what gender it could fit. I kinda still don’t...” I laughed weakly, but this girl just pouted angrily. My small smile vanished. “I’m really sorry about that! What is your name?”“My name is Leigh,” she answered. “I happen to be the Gym Leader of Midori City. I specialize in Dragon types.”
My eyes widened in surprise. “You raise Dragon types? How lucky!”
Leigh laughed. “Indeed I am. Dragons have legendary strength and are incredibly rare.”“Midori City…” I muttered, thinking hard on the familiar name. “That’s really far away from here! Really far away! What brings you all the way here?”Leigh laughed once again. “I told you! I’m training my Pokemon!”
“Oh…” I replied. “But, why here?”
Leigh turned to the water. “Midori City is very beautiful, and resides in an area that doesn’t get very cold often. It’s just beautiful,” Leigh explained. “Dragon types don’t like the cold. I wanted to work on our weakness to Ice type moves by training in some colder areas. It’s winter now, and it’s not nearly as cold in Midori as it is over here. There are plenty of much colder areas and regions than this one, but I decided to take it slow and just train here for now. Dragonite and I took a dive in some cold water, going down to a certain depth and then flying back up to the surface. The cold air, mixed with the speed of my Dragonite’s flying, results in even colder air and tougher training.”
“Why were you with your Dragonite underwater?” I asked. “You could’ve drowned!”“Dragonite knows how far below to go without me getting hurt,” she waved me off with a strong chuckle. “Dragonite goes deep down on his own if I can’t go that far. Now that it’s colder, his speed has been affected and he isn’t flying at top speed. But that’s gonna change, right Dragonite?”
Dragonite faced his Trainer and with a determined look, grunted and nodded his head.
Leigh smiled. “Good boy.” She laughed loudly.
“Wow. Well…” I paused. I wasn’t sure I should say what I was thinking, but I knew I had to. I couldn’t possibly chicken out, no matter what the opponent’s Pokemon was. “Leigh, I request a Pokemon battle for your Badge!” I said eagerly.
Leigh’s smile remained as she closed her eyes, shaking her head. “You’re not listening, are you?”
“Huh?”“I’m only out here training. I don’t even have a Badge to give. I don’t have my team with me to battle you. I only took Dragonite and some other Dragon Pokemon to train out here.”
“Oh…” I said, disappointed. “I get it.”
It was starting to annoy me. What was so funny all the time? She was reminding me of Rob.
“Don’t worry about it. But… could you maybe do me a favor?” Leigh asked.
“Um… I guess… Maybe,” I said curiously.
“Would you let me have a Pokemon battle with you?” she asked eagerly. “So I can raise my other Pokemon I took along with me.”
My eyes widened. “Sure! That’d be great!”
She turned to Dragonite. “Once I’m done here, we’ll get back to some serious training. Return!”
Dragonite was put back in his Poke Ball.
My eyes squinted at Leigh. What did she mean by “serious” training? I thought. What did “once I’m done here” mean? I’m going to need to show her I’m no pushover.
Leigh pulled out three Poke Balls from her back pocket and stared at them. “How many Badges do you have so far?” she asked, not looking up from her Poke Balls.
“I have four so far,” I replied.
Leigh looked up at me. “Just four?” she asked with a sigh. “Fine. That’ll do I guess for a bit of a warm up. Or something…”
“Hey! What’s that mean?” I shouted.
Leigh laughed. “Oh, nothing. Let’s just have some fun.”“I don’t want fun!” I was getting angry. “I want a real battle! Bring out your best!”
“Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha,” Leigh continued laughing heartily. “Well, you’re quite excited, aren’t you? Calm down. For someone like you, I’ll just choose…” Leigh threw a Poke Ball. A fairly large Pokemon I was very familiar with came out, letting out a tiny squeal.
Dratini. The Dragon Pokemon. This rarely seen Pokemon is extremely shy and rarely ever seen. In certain small communities, it isn’t even believed to be real.
“A Dratini…?” I said meekly.
“Yes, this is one of my Pokemon I’ll be using.”
“But… you already own a Dragonite!”
“And? You really have four Badges and don’t have the experience to know that every Pokemon is different?” Leigh snapped. “I have multiple Dragon Pokemon back in Midori City. I caught them from all around the world. I have many of the exact same Pokemon. They each have their own personalities and battle style and are all special.”
“I understand that, but… I was kind of hoping to battle your Dragonite…” I said in a low voice.
“HA HA HA HA HA!” Leigh busted out. “Listen, um… what’s your name again?”
“Gary,” I muttered, glaring at her for laughing at me.
“Listen, Gary,” Leigh continued. “We’ll have a… um…” She thought about it for a minute. “Let’s just make this a two-on-two Pokemon battle. If you can beat even one of my Pokemon, I’ll not only let you battle Dragonite, but whether you win or lose to Dragonite, which, you’ll lose to by the way, I’ll give you the Tarragon Badge. I’ll just fly back to Midori and I promise your Badge will be delivered to you by my Dragonite. He can fly really fast and is guaranteed to find you. Or, I can have him send it to your home.”
My teeth became to tighten. She totally thought I sucked as a Trainer. I couldn’t let her get away with that. “I will not play by those rules,” I said calmly, but furious on the inside. “If I win your Badge, it will be for defeating all of your Pokemon, not in an uneven match. And I don’t wanna battle your Pokemon in training. I wanna battle the Dragonite.”
“My Gym, my rules,” Leigh said with plenty of attitude. “Two-on-two. Beat one Pokemon. If so, you get a Badge. If not, you can just go right along, living with the fact you couldn’t beat a Gym Leader if you had an advantage. If you can’t do that, you might as well just go back to wherever you came from and stop collecting Badges.”
My fists balled tightly at my sides. “I’ll return to Pallet Town when I’ve obtained eight Badges! And I’ll win them fair and square! If you won’t let me earn a Badge by fair means, I don’t want the Badge in the first place!” I began to storm away from her, livid.
Leigh sighed. “Oh, fine,” she said. “Beat two of my Pokemon then, okay? If so, you win the Badge.”
I turned back to her, calming down. “Fine, but can’t I battle Dragonite?” I pleaded.
“No. My Gym,” she said impatiently. “You battle whatever I send out to you.”
Irritated by her, I accepted this. “Fine. Dratini? Hm…” I looked to my belt. “Could this match take place in the water, then?”
Leigh laughed. “Get in the water, Dratini,” Leigh said kindly.
With a loud squeal, Dratini leaped into the water, moving with the waves. She seemed a little uncomfortable in the freezing water.
“Kingdra, let’s go!” I threw her Poke Ball into the air.
“DOOOOO!” Kingdra cried out, landing in the water with a splash.
Kingdra and Dratini faced each other.
“You have a Kingdra?” Leigh squealed. “Well, now that is impressive!! Let’s just see how well it’s been raised, though. Thunder Wave!”
Blue sparks shot from Dratini’s body and electrocuted Kingdra.
“DOOOOOO!!” Kingdra was now Paralyzed.
“Kingdra, do Twister!”
“Twister right back!” Leigh retorted.
My eyes widened as both Pokemon created a large Twister in the middle of the ocean, both attacks flying quickly at each other.
The two Twisters hit each other and combined into one enormous Twister attack!
“Take control!” Leigh ordered.
“Kingdra, focus!” I urged her on.
Their Twister attacks now combined, both Pokemon fought for control over which direction the attack would go in.
Water churned heavily in the struggle, splashing me, Leigh, and the ground all around us.
I was officially an icicle, but I didn’t care. This battle was heating me up somewhat. Leigh’s Dratini is incredible, I admitted once I realized what was going on.
Dratini’s Twister was strong enough to hold back Kingdra’s, and they both seemed equally matched in fighting for control over the attack. Kingdra, a fully evolved Pokemon, should be having no trouble in this battle, but she was.
“Hyper Beam!” Leigh screamed.
Dratini let go of its mental control of the Twister and a large white beam fired from its mouth, hitting the Twister and completely destroying it!
The Hyper Beam continued flying towards Kingdra and hit.
“DOOOOOO!” Kingdra sailed through the water from the force of the hit.
“Kingdra! Focus!” I screamed at her as she bobbed weakly in the water. No way we were gonna lose that fast! “GET! UP!”
“Doooo…” Kingdra shook her head and stared weakly at Dratini as it recharged its energy after the Hyper Beam.
“This is your chance, Kingdra!” My eyes focused on Kingdra for a moment as I contemplated my plan in my head. “Try to use an Ice Beam attack!”
“Dooooo!” Kingdra tried to shoot out Ice Beam, but it failed.
We hadn’t really gone over that move yet.
“Doooooooooooo…” Kingdra closed her eyes, focusing as hard as she could.
“Kingdra…” I muttered, staring at her urgently, wondering if there was a better move she could use instead, something immediate.
“End this with Dragon Rush!” Leigh spoke.
I turned to Dratini as its head started to glow with a blue light before shooting forward at Kingdra, and the light covered its entire body.
“DOOOOOO!” Kingdra shot out a blue beam from its mouth, hitting the flying Dratini.
As the beam hit Dratini, Dratini continued to easily soar right through the attack, unaffected, and smashed into Kingdra, taking her underwater.
Leigh and I gazed at the water for a few minutes, waiting for our Pokemon to resurface.
Bubbles finally appeared on the surface.
“Doooo…” Kingdra said as she appeared, fainted and bobbing on the surface of the water.
“Kingdra!” I ran to her as a huge wave of water splashed against me.
With a squeal, Dratini came out of the water and splashed back in, soaking me a second time. It stared calmly at me and Kingdra.
I glared at her before turning to Kingdra. “Thank you, Kingdra. You did great. I’m proud of you, okay?”“Dooo…” Kingdra replied with disappointment as I returned her to her Poke Ball.
“Hard to believe a Trainer like you got even one Badge when you’re sending out Pokemon and telling them to use moves they don’t even know,” Leigh commented, shaking her head.
I couldn’t get mad.
She was absolutely right.
With a sigh, I grabbed another Poke Ball from my belt, staring at the ground. I looked up at Leigh determinedly. Pressing the center button of my Poke Ball, causing it double in size in my hand, ready to eject my Pokemon out for battle, I threw it. “GO!”
“CHAAARR!!!” Charmeleon shot flames into the air, seeming focused and energetic, perhaps feeling my anger and will to win.
“Well then, I guess this will be a land battle,” Leigh laughed. She smirked at me. “Aqua Tail!”“Dragon Rage!” I went with.
Charmeleon’s flame on his tail exploded in a huge burst of energy and his eyes glowed a bright white as a huge flame was forced from his mouth.
Dratini leaped out of the water, its tail surrounded by spiraling water. As it swung its tail around to attack, Charmeleon’s Dragon Rage hit Dratini. Dratini screamed out as the Aqua Tail attack continued and hit Charmeleon in the face.
“MEEEEEEL!” Charmeleon dropped hard.
Dratini bounced along the ground from the Dragon Rage before getting back up.
Charmeleon remained still. The flame on his tail was burning low and yellow.
I gripped his Poke Ball tightly in my hand, angry, hurt, feeling weak in my legs.
“Well, good effort. That was-” Leigh started.
“Char…” Charmeleon groaned. He was pushing himself up with his claws!
“Charmeleon!” I gasped.
“Meeel…” Charmeleon collapsed again and didn’t move.
“Charmeleon!” I ran to him and knelt down beside him. “Hey, take it easy. Come on back. You did great. That’s it.” I returned him to his Poke Ball and wearily stared at the spot where he was just at.
I heard the sound of Leigh returning her Dratini to its Poke Ball. “You were just perfect. I knew you could do it,” I heard her say proudly, loudly. Her footsteps headed towards me.
I held in the tears of disappointment that burned my eyes and inhaled a deep breath before standing up and facing her.
“You wanted to beat two of my Pokemon and couldn’t even get through the offer of one Pokemon, ha ha ha!” she laughed boastfully. “You were a fun battle. I enjoyed that match a lot.”
“Thank you, Leigh. I understood a lot from that match.” I let out a sigh as my head fell.
“Don’t feel too bad.” She placed a gentle hand on my shoulder. “I train in the extreme and always have. Once you and your Pokemon get stronger, and you learn how to battle closer, you’ll be a better Trainer. You’re still young. You only have four Badges. My Pokemon have been through very rough battles and intense training. You head on over to Midori City one of these days and maybe we’ll have us a battle, okay? Just make sure not to call out moves your Pokemon don’t know yet. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Rob really needs to meet up with this girl... I thought bitterly.
I nodded solemnly. “Thank you, Leigh. I appreciate that offer.”
“Oh, wait a minute.” Leigh ran over to the green bag lying on the ground a few feet away. She opened it and dug around before running back to me with her arms full of items. “Here are some vitamins for you and your Pokemon! And some Potions and other things to heal them up. I guess you can consider it some kind of reward for good effort and heart or whatever.”
“Oh... Thank you so much, Leigh,” I said softly, really surprised and not sure what to say. I took off my bag and opened it for her to drop the items inside, and then closed my bag and slung it back over my shoulder. As Leigh and I silently eyed each other, me shivering in the cold, I realized I should’ve taken out my coat and hat.
“Well, good luck with Ozne. I just had a battle with him myself before training out here.”“Really?” I asked. “Did you win?”
She winked at me with a smile. “Good luck, Gary.” She turned and walked over to the edge of the water. “Go, Dragonite!”
With a huge cry, the enormous dragon flew from his Poke Ball, high into the sky, then dove down. Just before he went underwater, Leigh leaped onto his back and hung on tight as Dragonite disappeared, a huge wave splashing me in his wake.
Route 17 was traversed with a constant smile. Before long, I saw a sign stating I was on Route 18. I was almost at Fuchsia City. The path I was on was no longer going downhill, and I was able to just walk like normal instead of the almost forced jog I had to deal with on Route 17. My stomach was alerting me that it was time to come to come to a stop and set up a group dinner for me and my Pokemon. My battle with Leigh happened a while after lunch, and it was getting dark out now. I walked off the path and into the grass, where I sat down and took off my bag. A large bottle inside of it read: Calcium. Alongside the Calcium were a few bottles of Super Potions and Full Heals. Then I saw something else that intrigued me.
Some of these things Leigh had given me were items that boost a Pokemon stats! Calcium boosts the Special Attack. Protein boosts Attack. Iron boosts Defense. And Zinc boosts the Special Defense.
I could give these to my Pokemon, mixed in their food, I considered. And that’s what I did, pulling out some food bowls and filling them up, mixing in the specific vitamins I thought would best benefit the individual Pokemon, and then I sent out all of my Pokemon.
They all eagerly ran forward to their bowls and ate eagerly.
I pulled out a bag of cereal and ate from it.
After eating and some playtime, my Pokemon were all laying down in the grassy, open plain, staring up at the sky, except Kingdra, who decided to make her way to the sea nearby us and stare up at the sky from there.
I walked over to Charmeleon, whose flaming tail was at normal power and size and was carefully lying on his stomach, and sat next to him. “You alright?” I asked.
Charmeleon sat up and nodded at me. “Char.”“Good. I know our battle was pretty rough today, so I’m just checking on how you feel.”
Charmeleon stood up and flexed his muscles, showing he was just fine.
I laughed. “Good. After a good night’s rest, we’ll continue on, then.”
“Char, Char,” Charmeleon nodded in agreement.
I walked over to Kingdra, feeling it getting colder as I got closer to the water.
Kingdra saw me and swam closer to the edge of the land.
“How do you feel, Kingdra?” I asked her.
“Dooo, Dooooo,” Kingdra replied to me.
“You okay after that battle?”
Kingdra looked down sadly.
“Hey, don’t be down!” I sat by her. “You competed with an obviously high leveled and well raised Dragon type and put up a good fight. You even learned a new move in the midst of that match! You have nothing to be ashamed of. You were amazing.”
“Doooo!” Kingdra said, looking up at me, looking happier.
I pet her head and walked back over to my other Pokemon, pulled my sleeping bag closer to the water where Kingdra was, and curled up inside of it.
My other Pokemon all moved over closer to me, surrounded me, and laid in the grass.
Kingdra stayed in the water, but close to us as well, as we all went to sleep.
The sky was lit brightly, warming me even further inside of my thick, black winter jacket and red beanie hat with a Poke Ball design on the front of it. I grabbed the straps of my backpack and continued walking along Route 18. A loud cry from above grabbed my attention.
A Dragonite! It was high in the air but I could just make out a person sitting on top of it, waving down to me.
I smiled and waved back at Leigh and her Dragonite.
Dragonite smiled and waved at me for a moment before disappearing at lightning speed, high into the clouds above.
I stood there, smiling at the spot they were at last. As I stared into the sky, I thought about the city I was soon to enter.
Worry grasped at my heart, making it beat faster. Leigh is an incredible Gym Leader, I told myself. There are bound to be more like her out there. Anger filled me up suddenly as I dwelled on that I was unable to beat Leigh. How could I become a Pokemon Master and not beat every challenge presented before me? Gym Leaders were the test of a Pokemon Trainer’s strength, and I failed. Horribly.
Just like in Pewter City.
Fists formed and they rose a little bit as I thought of Aurora and her Kabutops, my head lowering. My eyes closed as my fists fell to my sides and released. My breath came out swiftly through my nose. Aurora... Soon, Aurora. I will be back.
For now, I have another test at the Fuchsia City Gym.
Did Leigh beat Ozne? She never answered me.
Even if she did beat him, just how long will I last?
If she didn’t, do I stand any chance whatsoever?