A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

And The Winner Is

My fist rapped hard a few times on the door of the Gym.

Shortly after, the door opened and I saw the referee of the fight I had here. He looked me up and down. “Here for your rematch?” he asked.

“No,” I replied. “Here to obtain my Badge!” I gave him my best smile.

He didn’t seem amused, returning a blank stare.

I sighed. “Yeah, yeah, here for my rematch,” I spoke lowly, feeling embarrassed now.

The kid opened the door and let me in. Today, the referee was wearing blue jeans with matching blue socks in red sneakers and a black jacket over his white T-shirt. “Wait here,” he said in a seemingly tired voice.

I got here a lot earlier than I did yesterday, even skipping breakfast myself, which is highly unlike me, but I made sure my Pokemon ate and were ready to battle.

The kid went into the same room as he did yesterday and closed the door.

A Gym in a house, I thought as my eyes looked through the empty, wide room where the battle would be taking place. Does Ozne live here? What about the referee? It’s such a big house, but seems so empty. I inhaled deeply. No trace of that foul aroma from Weezing.

The referee came back out of the room. “He’ll be down in a moment,” he told me. “He’s just finishing breakfast.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I can come back a little later.”

“No, he’s already on his way,” he spoke quickly. “It’s fine.”

I heard a yawn from upstairs and footsteps moved slowly across the floor. “You’re here early this morning, Gary!” Ozne called down.

“Good morning!” I turned to the staircase, my heart pounding rapidly, my arms shaking. “I can come back later if it’s too early!”

“No! No need, Gary.” Ozne’s footsteps moved down the stairs. “You and I shall have a fine match this day, I hope.”

“Hopefully without any stink bombs,” I laughed.

Ozne didn’t laugh and I instantly regretted the joke. “Sorry,” I apologized. This is why I never tell jokes, I scolded myself. I am not a funny person. What was I even thinking??

“No, it’s okay…” Ozne spoke slowly as his steps continued down. “Trust me, this battle will be quite different, Gary.” Black shoes greeted me first, followed by dark brown slacks and a black belt just visible beneath his purple, button up shirt. He wasn’t wearing a hat today. He smiled upon seeing me. “Good to see you again.”

“Nice to see you, too.” It seemed right to walk over to him to shake his hand, and I did so.

“Do you think you’re ready this time?” Ozne asked.

“Definitely,” I said confidently.

“We’ll see,” he smiled slyly. He walked over to his position on the battlefield and I walked over to mine, thinking about that look he gave me. It worried me a bit.

“This is the rematch between Gary from Pallet Town and Fuchsia City Gym Leader, Ozne,” the referee said. “This shall be a three-on-three Pokemon battle. No time limit. Gary is the only one allowed to switch Pokemon. The first Trainer to knock out all of the opponent’s Pokemon will be declared the winner. Let the battle… begin!”

“Gengar! Let’s start!” Ozne threw his first Poke Ball.

The Poke Ball hit the floor and POP!

A Gengar was released from within. “Gengar!” Gengar grinned at me.

My heart beat faster and I took a few steps backwards, startled by the first Pokemon.

“Don’t tell me you have a fear of Ghost type Pokemon, too,” Ozne squinted at me. “Though I suppose there may be some reason to fear them…”

I wasn’t particularly afraid of Ghost type Pokemon, but I didn’t exactly have the best history around Gengar and Haunter after my time in Obsidian Forest, also known as Tragedy Forest. And I especially didn’t enjoy my time around Haunter in Saffron City. Those two Pokemon in particular kind of terrified me a bit. I was totally unprepared for Ozne to bring out a Gengar! “No,” I managed, taking a slow step forward. I picked my first choice Pokemon. “I’m fine. I’ll start off with Hoothoot!”

Hoothoot’s Poke Ball soared through the air and opened, sending out white energy that took the form of the bird Pokemon.

“Hoooooot Hoot!” Hoothoot said.

“Hoothoot, use Extrasensory!” I ordered.

Hoothoot flew through the air, his eyes glowing gold, and opened his beak, a rainbow beam flying out and hitting Gengar. “Hoooooooooot!” Hoothoot cried out as he lifted Gengar into the air and threw him back.

“GAAAR!” Gengar slammed into the ground. It hopped back up to its feet, smiling widely.

“Gengar, let’s do a little Will-O-Wisp!” Ozne said.

Gengar’s hands faced each other and a blue ball formed between them.

The ball shot out mini balls at Hoothoot, who tried desperately to avoid the attack, but was eventually hit and fell to the floor with a pained scream.

“Hoothoot, get up!” I encouraged him. “Hang in there! You can do this!”

Hoothoot shook his head let out a loud hoot, hopping onto his foot.

“Let’s go, Hoothoot! Zen Headbutt!”

“Sucker Punch!” Ozne countered.

Gengar disappeared and reappeared just as fast, right in front of Hoothoot, and charged at him headfirst.

“HOOOOOT!” Hoothoot was taken completely by surprise. He tumbled through the air for a second, but then his head started to glow blue and his eyes opened. He made a U-turn in midair and charged directly at Genger, hitting him dead on.

Gengar’s smile was no longer being worn, an angry pain now on its face as it slid on the floor on its back from the hit it took.

“Gengar!” Ozne cried out. “Thunder that bird!”Gengar’s eyes opened and it glared at Hoothoot, hopping up immediately and raising its hands into the air. They crackled with electricity for a second before a huge yellow jolt of lighting came directly for Hoothoot.

Hoothoot dodged and flew as high up as he could, just barely dodging continuous shots from Gengar’s Thunder.

I can’t just stand here and watch, I thought to myself. I have to give a command. But what?

“Just going to let your Pokemon get beaten again?” Ozne stared at me expectantly.

“Wait!” I snapped my fingers. “I’ve got it! Foresight, Hoothoot! Charge right in!”

Hoothoot swung around and charged at Gengar with courage, dodging around the Thunder attacks aimed right for him. His eyes glowed red and shined over Gengar, who closed its eyes and covered its face against the light.

“OK! Uproar!”

Now that Foresight had been used on a Ghost type like Gengar, Normal type moves like Uproar would damage it.

Covering my ears in preparation, I watched as Hoothoot ascended and then used Uproar. The noise rocked Gengar back and cause Ozne and the referee to cover their ears.

“GENGAR! BLAST THAT BIRD!” Ozne bellowed over the roar.

Gengar seemed to be struggling to conjure up its Thunder attack over the raucous. It finally generated some electricity and blasted them all over the Gym, missing Hoothoot easily.

Hoothoot didn’t even have to move to avoid getting hit.

The Uproar was deafening and Gengar was not enjoying it.

The instant Uproar finally ended, I lowered my hands and shouted out, “End this with Zen Headbutt, now!”

Hoothoot shot forward like a bullet, his head glowing blue.

“Destiny Bond!”

Gengar’s body became outlined in blue.

Hoothoot slammed into Gengar and forced it into the wall.

“Garrrr...” Gengar moaned in defeat.

“Hooooo-ooooooot!” Hoothoot cheered happily, flapping his wings and flying through the air.

Two swirling shapes appeared from Gengar’s eyes and hit Hoothoot.

“Hooooot…” Hoothoot’s celebration was cut short, and with a feeble grunt, he dropped heavily, knocked out from the Destiny Bond attack.

“Both Gengar and Hoothoot are unable to battle,” the referee stated.

I stared in disbelief at the two Pokemon.

Ozne had a bitter look on his face as he returned his Gengar.

“You were amazing, Hoothoot! That was just great.” I returned Hoothoot. “That’s one down.”

“Thank you for your sacrifice, Gengar,” Ozne told Gengar’s Poke Ball. He reached for his next one. “Now, I choose you, Crobat!”

The thrown Poke Ball opened and an enormous bat flew out.

“Whoa! A real Crobat!” I’d only ever read about these and seen them in pictures.

Crobat. The Bat Pokemon and the final form of Golbat. This Pokemon is active at night. Crobat has gained extra wings since evolving. If seen using only using the wings on its forelegs or hind legs, it’s a sign that Crobat has been flying a long distance.

Wow. A Crobat, I thought. I wasn’t prepared to be battling one of those, either. But I can beat it, no doubt. “Okay, then. Baltoy, go!”

Baltoy’s Poke Ball rolled along the ground and stopped, finally popping open and sending it out.

“Baltooooooy!” Baltoy sang, spinning in place.

“Psybeam!” I said.

A bright beam of many colors was delivered from Baltoy and nearly hit Crobat, but it was too fast. It dodged Baltoy’s attack easily.

“Wing Attack!” Ozne demanded.

Crobat swooped low at an incredible speed and swiped at Baltoy.

“Toy! Toy!” Baltoy dodged the attack!

Crobat had missed, but it kept coming back around with split second timing to smack Baltoy with one of its wings repeatedly!

Baltoy was somehow just barely avoiding getting hit, spinning in place and swiveling to the side!

Crobat was moving quicker than my eyes could keep up with, and I was sure Baltoy was bound to get hit any second.

Baltoy continued to dodge Wing Attack and Ozne’s patient was visibly fading as his fists tightened, raising to his face while he started to growl.

“Yes! You‘re doing it, Baltoy! Try to fight back now with Ancient Power!”

Baltoy spun in place even faster and its body glowed white. The glow removed itself from Baltoy’s body and formed a ball. Baltoy spun faster and smacked the ball at Crobat.

Crobat let out a loud screech as the super effective move hit. The bat seemed dazed as it flew around the room with no particular pattern, dropping and rising, calling out repeatedly before finally seeming to regain its composure and hover in the air, flapping its wings rapidly.

“Poison Fang!” Ozne told his Pokemon.

Crobat swooped down with its fangs glowing a dark purple. It tried to bite Baltoy, but Baltoy started spinning and moved out of the way.

“Damn it! Come on, Crobat!” Ozne snapped impatiently. “We’re not about to lose to this spinning top!”

“Use the Extrasensory move!” I instructed Baltoy.

“Baaaaaaaaal!” Baltoy stopped spinning and a gold color covered its eyes, shooting a rainbow beam at Crobat.

Wailing sharply, Crobat hit the floor, Flinching.

Inhaling hard in surprise, a smile swiftly appearing on my face, I pointed, “It’s Flinching! Use Extrasensory again! End this!”

“Tooooooooyyyyy!” Baltoy aimed again with Extrasensory.

Crobat cried out helplessly from the floor, but didn’t get up from it after Baltoy’s move was finished.

The referee took a step forward and seemed ready to call Crobat defeated when the large bat startled all three of us as it fluttered itself back to life, pushing itself up into the air with a determined, deadly shriek.

“Crobat!” Ozne uttered happily. “I knew you could do it! This has lasted long enough. We’ll end this here!”Crobat fluttered its wings and stayed in the air, screeching at Baltoy.

“Toy!” Baltoy seemed to respond back.

“Swift attack!” Ozne chose.

Crobat flapped its wings even harder and a series of golden star shapes flew at Baltoy.

Baltoy couldn’t dodge the attack.

Swift was a move that never misses.

Baltoy spun in place and tried to maneuver out of the way but was hit easily.

“Poison Fang!” Ozne followed up.

Crobat swooped in on the disoriented Baltoy with glowing, purple fangs, and bit down on it.

“BAAAAAAL!” A purple color flushed over Baltoy’s face. It was Badly Poisoned.

Baltoy spun slowly in place once Crobat let go. It looked dizzy.

“Now, use your Bite!” Ozne’s next words were for Crobat.

Crobat swooped down once again and hit Baltoy with the move type it was weak to.

Baltoy let out another cry of pain, struggling with the fangs of the enormous bat.

“Baltoy, you can finish this one off! Extrasensory from close range!”

“Baaaalllll…” Baltoy said feebly, dizzy from the Bad Poisoning and struggling with the Bite.

“Quickly, use Air Slash!”

Crobat released Baltoy and rose over my little Pokemon. Its wings covered its body completely as they glowed a light blue color. When they opened, a series of light blue balls shot out and slammed relentlessly into Baltoy.

“Toy! Toy! Toy! Toy! Toy!” Baltoy whined before being knocked over.

“Baltoy! No! Get up! Come on! We’re so close!” I pleaded.

“Baltoy is unable to battle!” the referee stated.

NOOOOO!” I raged.

“Crobat is the winner!” the referee finished.

I gritted my teeth and took a shaky breath. With a groan, I retreated my worn out Pokemon. “You did your job, Baltoy. Thank you.” Only one left, I told myself. I have to make sure it counts. Something that can handle surprise attacks and can deliver a few of its own. Charmeleon might be just the energy I need to handle this kid. Or maybe even Primeape? Is his brute force method the best counter for this Gym Leader? Kingdra has Ice Beam for Golbat, but what about his last Pokemon? Or maybe… Weepinbell? Its weak to Flying moves, though. But... I had switched Dugtrio for Weepinbell again this morning with my Pokedex. I grabbed one Poke Ball and stared down at it. Each passing second made my grip tighten around it until I shut my eyes and just made up my mind in that moment. Crobat’s weak, I knew. But, how weak? Weak enough? “I believe in you! Weepinbell, go!”

“Beeeell!” Weepinbell bounced in place.

Ozne stared down at my choice in surprise. “A Grass type against my Flying Pokemon?” Ozne questioned. “I know type doesn’t always matter, but I’d like to think this may not be a time to test that theory out.”

“Weepinbell’s here for a purpose! With it, I’m getting your Badge! Right, Weepinbell?” My eyes hardened on Ozne.

“Beeell!” Weepinbell agreed.

“Suit yourself,” Ozne said, shrugging.

We have to slow that rapidly flying bat down. “Sweet Scent!”

The sweet aroma filled the Gym.

“Air Slash, Crobat!”

Crobat seemed distracted by the sweet aroma.

“Yeah! Now, Wrap attack!”

Weepinbell wrapped its vine around Crobat.

Crobat looked startled as it snapped out of the daze it was in.

“Stun Spore!”

The orange powder from Weepinbell’s gaping hole surrounded Crobat as it struggled against the Wrap attack.

“Crobat, get out of there, now!” Ozne insisted.

Crobat couldn’t move. It was Paralyzed. It grunted out, unable to even struggle.

“Slam it down!” I yelled.

Weepinbell lifted Crobat high before bringing it down harshly with a loud thump! It then released Crobat.

“Crobat is unable to battle,” the referee announced. “Weepinbell is the winner!”Ozne stared at Crobat with sadness, shaking his head. With a sigh, he said, “You did really well, my friend. I’m proud of your work today.” He returned Crobat to its Poke Ball. He looked up at me. “You’ve done well today, Gary. I admit. I’ve been put into a couple of situations I didn’t see coming and was unable to overcome to my satisfaction. But, we’ll have to see how you do against my last Pokemon before this battle is decided. May the best Pokemon win.”

“I thought you would’ve been using at least the other two Pokemon you brought out yesterday,” I admitted. “I didn’t expect these two. I’m excited about your last Pokemon, Ozne.”

“Oh, don’t you worry, Gary. The wait is over. GO!” Ozne threw the Poke Ball at the field.

“Tentacruuuuel!” the large jellyfish Pokemon called out in a deep voice.

“Tentacruel…” I whispered. A common Pokemon in the waters of Kanto and most other regions.

Tentacruel. The Jellyfish Pokemon and the evolved form of Tentacool. When hunting, Tentacruel dowse the prey in toxins to immobilize it. The red orbs on its head glow when it is excited or angry. They may flash the orbs to alert others.

“A Tentacruel,” I smiled.

The typings of these Pokemon evened them out very well. Tentacruel’s Water moves wouldn’t hurt my Grass type much, and while Grass is weak to Poison, Weepinbell also being Poison would neutralize the damage. Poison moves wouldn’t hurt Tentacruel too badly, and Grass moves would be neutralized as a combination of Tentacruel being Poison, which resists Grass, and also Water, which is weak to Grass.

“Well, then. May the best Pokemon, and Trainer, win! Begin with Growth!” I started.

Weepinbell started to glow light green.

Ozne opened his mouth, but then closed it, staring intently at Weepinbell.

“Use your Growth again!” I told Weepinbell, keeping my eyes on Ozne, who was not giving any orders to his Tentacruel.

Weepinbell used Growth again.

Ozne stayed still, his arms crossed in front of him.

What’s he doing? I wondered. “Don’t stop, Weepinbell!” I urged it.

Ozne kept staring at Weepinbell.

Was he wondering what move to use? Was he having a moment of not knowing what to do, like he got so angry with me for doing earlier and during our last battle? No, I realized. That isn’t it at all. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s up to something... “Weepinbell, stop!”

“Bell?” Weepinbell stopped glowing and waited for directions.

“Use Knock Off!”

“Tentacruel, Barrier!” Ozne finally told his Pokemon.

A blue barrier surrounded Tentacruel and Weepinbell’s attack bounced right off it. Tentacruel seemed completely unaffected.

“Supersonic!”

Tentacruel raised its tentacles and a blue aura surrounded it.

A loud sound pierced my ears. “GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” I bent over in pain against my will, covering my ears, my head feeling ready to burst.

Weepinbell was wailing wildly, slapping itself with its own vine!

I suddenly understood was going on as I watched Weepinbell slapping itself repeatedly, Ozne also watching this, covering his own ears, his face full of determination.

Ozne allowed Weepinbell to use Growth to raise its Attack strength. He then had Tentacruel use Supersonic to Confuse Weepinbell so that if Weepinbell began attacking itself in Confusion, the damage it would do to itself would be that much stronger from its own strength boost! Ozne even had Tentacruel do Barrier to lessen the damage from any moves Weepinbell did manage to inflict on it through the Confusion.

The referee was crouched down on the floor, screaming and covering his ears.

When the screeching noise finally subsided, my ears were still ringing and the difference was hardly noticeable.

Weepinbell looked exhausted, still slapping itself repeatedly, wearing itself out.

We can’t go out like this, I thought. “NO WAY!” I burst out. “Weepinbell, get focused! Use Sweet Scent again!”

Weepinbell looked around in a daze with its red eyes still showing its Confusion, but it still managed to fill the Gym with a sweet scent.

“Tentacruel, Screech attack!”

Tentacruel looked ready to attack, but didn’t. The aroma took over and it seemed to be trying to decide whether to attack or let the sweet smell take over.

“Tentacruel, what are you doing?! Attack!!” Ozne grabbed at his head in frustration.

“Growth attack!”

Weepinbell, swaying in place, still Confused, started to glow light green again.

This is so risky, I knew. But we’re running out of options. We have to make every hit count. “Stun Spore!”

Weepinbell kept swaying in place as the light green glow faded. Its vine reached up and it slapped itself again, falling over onto the floor.

“Damn it, Weepinbell!! Stun Spore!!” I barked at it, my heart pumping like mad.

“Use your Screech!” Ozne persisted.

Tentacruel shook itself out of the daze from Sweet Scent and let out an ear shattering screech.

It was even louder than my Primeape’s Screech.

My hands pressed against my ears as if they were trying to go through my head and squash my brain. “STOOOOOOOOP!! PLEASE!! I CAN’T TAKE IT!!! GGAAAAAAAAHHH!!! WEEPINBELL, HEEEELP! USE STUN SPORE!!!” I was on my knees before I even knew it, screaming and begging for my head to not shatter, knowing I’d be deaf before the battle was over. Within a couple of minutes, my hearing seemed to have shifted. Everything sounded altered. Had I finally started to go deaf?

There was a distant voice screaming. I looked up to see an enraged Ozne, yelling at Tentacruel.

Weepinbell was looking at me, hopping up and down urgently. It wasn’t Confused anymore!

Tentacruel was bent over, shaking hard.

Everything sounded fairly distant. I shook my head, trying to clear my ears, and ended up hurting my head, causing it to throb. The Screech attack had ended, but its effects were still with me.

Weepinbell kept jumping up and down, waiting for me to give it orders.

“Growth! Just do it!” I commanded, still confused by what was going on with Tentacruel.

Weepinbell faced Tentacruel and began to glow light green again.

“Tentacruel, shake it off!” I could hear Ozne, though he sounded further away than it looked was the volume he was yelling at.

Tentacruel was still bent over, shivering, a sore look stuck on its face.

I didn’t get the situation, but I still knew I had to attack. “Now use… Wait a minute,” I realized. “Tentacruel can’t move! Stun Spore!” I recalled giving Weepinbell the order to use Stun Spore when Tentacruel had deafened me with Screech. “You Paralyzed it, Weepinbell?”

“Bell Bell!” Weepinbell hopped in place.

“Then let’s go for another Sweet Scent!”

The Sweet Scent filled the room again.

“Now-” I started.

“Poison Jab that thing!” Ozne interrupted.

“Tentacruuuuuuel!” Tentacruel leaped forward and swung a glowing, purple tentacle at Weepinbell.

“Beeeeeell!” Weepinbell was sent flying, crashing into me.

“Whoa!” I exclaimed, catching it and hitting the floor. Weepinbell wasn’t really that heavy, but the sudden collision caught me off guard and my legs just gave out in surprise. “Hey, you okay there, Weepinbell?”

Weepinbell was breathing heavily, but it nodded with determination.

“Good stuff, Weepinbell,” I said, rubbing his dry, leafy body. “Let’s show them what we’ve got! GO!”

“Bell!” Weepinbell leaped out of my lap and faced Tentacruel.

“Supersonic! I want this match over with!” Ozne spoke strongly.

“Sleep Powder!” I said frantically, covering my ears anyway.

Tentacruel was quicker, raising its tentacles as it glowed blue and letting out its piercing scream.

Weepinbell was hit and once the attack ended, it swayed back and forth, Confused again.

Ozne nodded. “Finish it off! Hydro Pump!”

Tentacruel raised one of its stingers and aimed at Weepinbell.

“Weepinbell!” I was unsure of what it could do. There was no time to think. “Vine Whip!” I wasn’t sure why I said Vine Whip. It was just a desperate shout. An attempt at something!

The vine flew out and wrapped around Tentacruel sharply.

Tentacruel blasted at Weepinbell with Hydro Pump.

Weepinbell suddenly squeezed Tentacruel for a quick second with its vine before spinning Tentacruel by flinging it into the air!My eyes bulged as I stared in shock as Tentacruel soared up high, spinning like a top!

The Hydro Pump spewed out from Tentacruel and sprayed all over the floor of the Gym instead.

The referee backed up as some of the Hydro Pump sprayed out towards him.

“Uh. Uh. Uh…” I stuttered in shock. “Razor Leaf!”

Weepinbell rapidly began to fling sharp leaves at Tentacruel as it sailed into the air, screaming as the leaves cut into it.

“Tentaaaaaaaaaa!!” Tentacruel was coming back down, now.

“Weepinbell! Make sure that landing is a good one!”“Tentacruel, focus!” Ozne begged. “Wrap that thing up with your tentacles! You can make it!”

Tentacruel was in a daze from the attacks and wasn’t able to listen to Ozne.

Weepinbell wasn’t Confused anymore and bounced over to Tentacruel, using a vine to wrap it up before forcefully slamming Tentacruel the rest of the way down.

“Tenta…” Tentacruel muttered from the floor.

The referee stared at Tentacruel for a moment.

Ozne glared at Tentacruel, his fists clenched tight.

I stared at Tentacruel, my heart beating strongly against my chest.

A pair of tentacles suddenly reached up from Tentacruel’s body and wrapped around Weepinbell!

I gasped. “No!”

“Yes! Keep it up, Tentacruel!” Ozne encouraged his Pokemon as it got back up.

Weepinbell used its vine to wrap around Tentacruel and squeezed.

Both Pokemon were squeezing the life out of each other.

I glared at Weepinbell, my teeth tightening, my fists balled, watching intensely.

Ozne did just the same, his eyes on Tentacruel.

They continued squeezing each other, neither giving in, giving the last of their energy into their attack.

“Cruel…” Tentacruel kind of moaned and gurgled as it gave in and collapsed against Weepinbell’s vine.

Weepinbell’s vine slipped off of Tentacruel as it let out its own weary moan, looking exhausted, keeping its eyes on the opponent.

Weepinbell wasn’t the only one looking at Tentacruel.

We all stared at it. Waiting.

“Tentacruel is unable to battle! Weepinbell is the winner!” the referee deduced. “The winner of this match is Gary from Pallet Town!”

“YYEEEEAAAAAAAHH!!!!” I leaped into the air, shocked, thrilled, overjoyed! “We did it!” I took off, running up to Weepinbell, and squeezed it tightly in my arms.

“Bell! Beeeeell!” Weepinbell’s vine wrap around me, too, squeezing tight.

I laughed gratefully and hugged it tighter. “You won, Weepinbell! We finally earned another Badge!” I collapsed to my knees, feeling exhausted from the battle, myself.

Weepinbell fell against me, too.

I took my five Poke Balls and tossed them to the ground.

My Pokemon all came out in a flash and stared at me and Weepinbell.

“We won our fifth Badge, everybody!” I informed them with a weary laugh.

Everyone let out their own cheerful cries and bounced around each other in celebration.

“Not yet,” Ozne said coldly from right behind me.

I whipped around. “Huh?”

He stared down at us sternly. “You haven’t won anything.”

“Hey! What do you mean?” I said angrily, getting up to my feet. “We won that match fair and square!”

“You haven’t won your Badge,” Ozne said firmly. He broke out into a smile. “Until I’ve actually handed it to you.” He held out a box with a Badge inside of it. It was a deep purple, circular, and looked like it had bumps across the front of it.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I quickly took the Badge from him.

“Congratulations on winning the Mephitic Badge.”

“We won the Mephitic Badge!” I held it up for everyone to see.

My Pokemon all made a loud commotion.

I rubbed my fingers across the bumps on the front of the Badge and smiled.

“Your battle this time was, I feel, a learning experience for me, Gary,” Ozne admitted. “Thank you. You earned that Badge. You did your very best and brought a great strategy to win along with you. You acted according to the situation, and the faith you and your Pokemon have in each other is what ultimately got you the win. That’s what I like to see from my challengers. You didn’t leave your Pokemon behind. Congratulations, Gary.”

“Thank you,” I beamed brightly.

“So, five Badges, huh? That’s great! Do you know what Gym you’re headed for next?”“Um… to be honest… no. I haven’t quite thought about it, yet.”

“Have you been to Celadon City, yet?” he asked.

“Yes. I have my Rainbow Badge.”

“Hm… well, I think the closest city with a Gym from here would probably be Dark City.”

“Dark City...”

“Yup. There’s a Dark Gym Leader over there named Cleopatra.”

“Then I think I might just be heading over there...”

*

As I stepped outside of the Gym, I saw to my great surprise that it was snowing! I loved the snow! My walk away from Ozne’s Gym was with my head in the clouds, my face to the sky, walking blindly as I smiled up at the bright sky and falling crystals. I bet Pokemon love the snow, I considered. After they get healed up, maybe we can try and have a little bit of fun in the snow before we head off to Dark City.

The fir tree in the distance looked beautiful covered in snow. The streets looked even cleaner than they already were, doused in the snow.

Everything looked different. New. Changed.

I smiled as this thought stuck with me in my mind.

Everything looked different. New. Changed.

*

Everything I once knew and loved was on its way to becoming different.

New.

Changed.

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