A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

By QBOak

Adventure / Drama

A Two-For-One Special

“GAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!” I screamed angrily.

Robin’s feet pounded the ground as he ran.

He got a damn head start, I thought bitterly, just inches behind him. I can’t let him win! I closed my eyes, my teeth pressed against each other tightly as I ran as hard as I possibly could.

“Hey! Come on, guys!” I heard June cry from way behind us. “I can’t run that fast!”

“I WIIIIIN!!!!!” Robin shouted at the top of his lungs.

I opened my eyes and saw him run past the sign.

Welcome To Dark City

There were some smaller words written underneath, but I blew right past the sign before I could read it and after several seconds, my feet finally slowed down to a complete stop, a few feet past Robin, who had a bright smile and an excited look on his face.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I win! Good effort, there,” Robin laughed.

I kept my hands on my knees and breathed heavily, glaring at him. “You had a head start!” I accused.

“Oh, come on,” Robin teased. “I said the rules loud and clear. You should’ve been ready!” He was breathing hard, too, but he stood up straight and kept his smile plastered.

I looked away from him and gazed at the city we stood in.

It was pretty sandy and dusty, with even tumbleweeds rolling across the ground. Ranch style houses lined up with each other, stores built from cut wood dotting the area every so often. It felt like I was in a Old West movie. There were no roads or streets; just a sandy ground lying beneath my feet.

“What do you say we get to the Pokemon Center?” Robin asked, still struggling for air. “My Pokemon could use a little check up before heading off to battle Cleopatra.”

“I wonder where the Gym is.” I sniffed in the dry air.

Robin and I walked forward, looking for the Gym and the Pokemon Center.

“You have a plan for battling Cleopatra?” Robin questioned me.

“Kind of,” I replied. “I mean, I think the Pokemon I have can more than take care of Dark type Pokemon. I’m gonna win no matter what.”

“That’s the spirit!” Robin cheered. “But after me. Ha ha ha ha ha!” He winked.

“My battle will be more epic than yours,” I said eagerly, grinning.

“Epically boring,” Robin retorted with a matching grin.

“From how easily I’ll sweep through her team!” I said loudly.

Robin stopped talking, thinking about what I’d said. “BLAH! You got me…” he conceded. “But this will be my ninth Badge. So HA!”

It was my turn to be quiet. “Yeah, well, you can have all the Badges in the world. When we meet at the Pokemon League, we’ll see what’s what.”

“You’ve got that right, buddy! And you better be a challenge, because we will not be losing!”

Our conversation was interrupted by a loud bang!

Robin and I turned to see the Pokemon Center, right before us!

It was also in an old fashioned, wooden, Old West fashion, but my attention was quickly snatched away by three people in black masks, dressed in black sweaters, black jeans, and black sneakers. They had kicked open the door to the Pokemon Center, the door flying open and hitting the front of the building, making the bang! noise, and were running out, a large, black bag slung over each of their shoulders.

“NO! Please!” a voice I instantly recognized as Nurse Joy, pleaded from inside the Pokemon Center. “We need those items for Pokemon Trainers!”

Thieves, I thought to myself. I won’t let them steal from the Pokemon Center. From Nurse Joy! I glared at them angrily and stepped in front of them bravely. “Stop, thieves!” I demanded, extending my hand out to them.

The three people continued running and knocked me aside as if I weren’t even there.

I landed on my back and looked up, groaning in pain, as Robin stared after the three crooks, his mouth hanging open.

“HEY!” Robin shouted after them. He turned to me and ran over, extending a hand to help me up. “Good idea, Superman.”

“Shut up,” I grumbled, embarrassed, as I took his hand and pulled myself up. I dusted off my clothes. “We’ll just use our-”

Before I could finish my sentence and grab a Poke Ball, a dark, thin figure leaped from the top of one of the buildings and flew at one of the three people, hitting him directly in the head.

The person collapsed with a loud cry.

Another figure appeared from out of nowhere and uppercut the second person, who collapsed with a scream, as the third individual ran past.

The second figure seemed to make a sharp maneuver and with a twist, hit the thief in the back as he tried to escape.

The thief grunted and collapsed on his face.

“Whoa!” Robin let out in amazement.

The figure that leaped from the building stood up and grabbed the first thief. “We don’t allow your kind around these parts!” a woman spoke. She had a deep, powerful voice that made my heart beat a little faster, the conviction in her voice sending chills down my spine.

The second figure let out a cry and picked up the other two thieves, dragging them over to the woman.

The group got closer to me and Robin and I could see them clearly.

The woman had long, flowing dark hair that reached almost to her ankles. She wore black high heeled shoes and tight, black pants. A long sleeved, black button up shirt was worn open, a tight white shirt underneath tucked into her pants. She was pretty thin yet figured lovely, and probably over a foot taller than me. Her black eyes pierced through me and I almost took a step back, stunned.

The second figure was just as intimidating as she was, but it wasn’t human. I didn’t know what it was. A Pokemon?

Bisharp. The Sword Blade Pokemon. In combat, this Pokemon shows no pity and will kill any opponent who dares to encounter it. They can often be spotted giving orders to their pre evolved form, Pawniard.

“Bisharp!” Bisharp said sharply.

“Wow!” Robin exclaimed. “That thing looks deadly!” Robin held onto his Pokedex.

The woman turned to him, causing Robin to look up at her, his eyes widening, and take a step back. “Were you two Trainers robbed by these people?” she asked.

We both shook our heads quickly.

“W-w-we just came here to battle the Dark type Gym Leader, Cleopatra, and were first gonna have a quick rest at the Pokemon Center!” Robin stammered.

I nodded in agreement quickly.

“I see,” the woman replied. “Well, after you heal your Pokemon, you can find the Gym on the opposite side of the Pokemon Center. It’s the building right behind it. I look forward to our match.”

My eyes widened in shock.

“Whoa! YOU’RE the Gym Leader here?!” Robin shouted.

The woman nodded solemnly.

“Cleopatra! Thank you so much!” I heard Nurse Joy. She was running out of the Pokemon Center.

I turned to her and smiled widely. “Nurse Joy!”

“Hello, Nurse Joy,” Cleopatra greeted her, smiling, to my surprise. She looked very beautiful with a smile on her face. A complete transformation from the cold stares she gave me and Robin. She seemed warm and friendly, now. “I’ll handle these crooks. These two nice boys will help you bring in the stuff the thieves stole.”

“Yes, I will!” I said eagerly, attempting to pick up all three bags in my hands, but being able to just barely lift them an inch off the ground, groaning hard.

“I’ll take one...?” Robin slowly offered, taking a bag and hoisting it over his shoulder, eyeing me suspiciously.

“I’ll take this one!” Nurse Joy offered, taking the second bag.

I hoisted the third one over my shoulder, embarrassed I wasn’t able to do it all myself and failing in front of Nurse Joy.

“With all that occurred in Saffron and the Silph Co. no longer running properly for the time being to manufacture Pokemon supplies sufficiently, the thieves are really making an appearance lately,” Nurse Joy shook her head. “We have so little supplies as it is. It really doesn’t help to have thieves stealing from us. I guess everyone is in need of supplies, too, but we can’t steal to get them! That doesn’t solve anything!”

I shivered hearing the name “Saffron.”

“I’ll take these guys to the Police Department,” Cleopatra said to me and Robin. “I shouldn’t be long. I look forward to our match.”

“Hey, we just wanted some-” one of the thieves, a man, moaned in the clutches of Cleopatra.

Cleopatra swiftly backhanded the man’s face so hard, his face mask fell off.

OW!” the man whined.

“Pick up your litter,” Cleopatra spoke coldly.

The man, still in Cleopatra’s grip, reached down and pick up his own mask, just barely reaching it as Cleopatra didn’t let go of her grip.

The other two thieves seemed unconscious, being held by Bisharp.

Cleopatra turned back to me and Robin. “See you soon.” She and Bisharp took the three thieves away, walking out of sight.

I turned to Robin in shock.

Robin looked back at me with an impressed look. Suddenly, his face broke into a smile. “My kind of woman. Aha ha ha ha ha ha!! This is gonna be the best battle, EVER! Come on, Gary!” He followed Nurse Joy inside the Pokemon Center.

“HEY!” I heard the booming voice from behind me as I attempted to follow Robin. “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU TWO?!”

I turned and gasped. “JUNE!”

She had her hands wrapped around her stomach, gasping for air, her face red, glaring at us. “YOU TWO JERKS LEFT ME!! WHAT THE HELL??”

I turned to Robin just in time to see him drop his bag and burst past me, towards June.

“June!” he placed a hand on her shoulder. “I’m so sorry! Please, forgive me! You look a beautiful wreck! With Gary crying over losing in our race, and then we saw Cleopatra and her Bisharp stop some thieves trying to rob the Pokemon Center...! Forgive me for ever deserting you, sweet angel. Allow me to carry you in my arms towards the Pokemon Center and care for y- HEY OWOWOWOOOOOWWW!!!”

I pulled Robin by the ear, away from June and towards the Pokemon Center, dragging one bag. “Grab the other bag,” I said sharply, walking past it.

“Okay, okay!” Robin grabbed the bag as I continued pulling him, whining all the way.

*

“Well, this is it!” Robin stated. “Do you think she’s here yet?”

“Only one way to find out,” I replied impatiently. My heart was beating fast.

Robin, June, and I stood outside of a wooden door, a nail hammered in it, a wooden sign hanging from a rope which was on the nail proclaiming: Dark City Pokemon Gym. We came straight from the Pokemon Center and, after explaining to June about Cleopatra and receiving our Pokemon back from Nurse Joy, headed for the Gym.

Would I have to battle that Bisharp? I wondered. It doesn’t matter. I’ll beat everything she’s got!

“You guys gonna enter, or what?” a voice spoke harshly. The three of us turned to see Cleopatra standing by the corner of the Gym, staring at us coldly. She walked over to us, her heels clanking on the elevated, wooden platform the Gym was built on top of, staring at me, Robin, and then June. “Are all three of you are challenging me?” she asked.

“No!” Robin said quickly. “Me and Gary. But I’m first.”

Cleopatra didn’t say anything. She turned to Gym, reaching out for the door.

“WAIT!” I let out in a panic, short on breath instantly as fear took over me with a sudden realization. I backed away quickly in fear, grabbing June and Robin by the arm and pulling them with me.

“Hey!” Robin spoke in confusion.

“Gary, what’s wrong?” June asked, worried.

Cleopatra stopped, her freezing eyes now on me.

“The bombs…” I remembered. “Is your Gym safe? Have it been inspected, yet? Team Solace placed bombs in several Gyms! They haven’t all been disarmed, yet!”

“WHOA!” Robin let out.

June gasped and covered her mouth, her eyes wide in horror.

Cleopatra remained with a cold glare on her face. “My Gym is safe!” she spoke harshly. “I wouldn’t have a Gym battle without knowing my Gym was completely safe to use! If you’re gonna be stupid you can find another Gym’s time to waste.” She turned and quickly opened the door, disappearing inside.

The three of us exchanged glances.

I felt bad, my heart beating even harder now. I didn’t mean to sound stupid or accuse her of not being a good Gym Leader or anything…

Robin, me, and June followed after Cleopatra.

The place was very spacious, lit with light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, shining brightly. The building was only one story tall, but the roof was a long distance up. Several windows lined the walls, no light coming in from outside, the sun blocked by gray clouds.

A young woman was in the room, doing push-ups, grunting with each push.

The floor had a black design painted in the middle of it, outlining the battlefield, the woman right in the middle of it.

A Bisharp stood on one end of the battlefield, staring at us.

Metal chairs were set a short distance from the battlefield, a set on one side, another set on the other.

Cleopatra walked past the woman, her heels clicking on the floor, and stopped on her side of the field, next to Bisharp. “Well, I don’t care to stand her all day.”

“Right!” Robin ran to his side.

June and I took a seat next to each other in a chair.

The woman doing push-ups stood up. She wore baggy gray sweatpants and a matching gray hoodie. She bounced on her heels a bit before walking over to where June and I sat.

“State your name, Trainer,” Cleopatra said loudly.

“I am Robin! From Pallet Town!”

“This Gym match is between Robin from Pallet Town and the Dark City Pokemon Gym Leader, Cleopatra!” the woman in the hoodie announced. “This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle! No time limit! The first Trainer to defeat all of the opponent’s Pokemon shall be declared the winner! Let the battle start now!”

“Houndoom, go!” Cleopatra spoke loudly, glaring, tossing a Poke Ball.

The vicious black dog appeared, howling loudly.

I covered my ears and shivered from the terrifying sound.

“I choose you, Subliminal!” Robin threw Kecleon’s Poke Ball to the floor.

Subliminal cried out as it was released.

Kecleon. The Color Swap Pokemon. When hunting, they blend in with their surroundings no matter what the background. The only thing that remains is the zigzag pattern on their belly.

“Subliminal, Ancient Power!”

Subliminal started to glow white. The white removed itself from Subliminal’s body and formed a ball before flying at Houndoom.

With a shivering howl, Houndoom leaped over it with ease.

“Use Fire Fang!” Cleopatra pressed.

Houndoom’s fangs were coated in fire as it fell, jaws wide open, aiming for Subliminal.

“Sucker Punch!” Robin countered.

Subliminal vanished in thin air and reappeared right underneath the terrifying dog and swung a fist directly underneath its belly.

Houndoom howled in pain, but reached down with a growl and bit into Subliminal with Fire Fang.

Subliminal sounded pained as Houndoom hung on with its jaws and took it to the floor.

Houndoom hung on to Subliminal, growling and shaking its head angrily.

“Subliminal, use Lick!” Robin ordered.

Subliminal, still screaming out, opened its mouth and gave Houndoom a Lick across the face.

Houndoom dropped Subliminal and backed up, growling, shaking its head hard.

“Houndoom, Crunch! Finish that thing!” Cleopatra demanded.

Houndoom stood in place, shaking hard.

“Paralysis!” Robin acknowledged. “Subliminal, finish it with Ancient Power!”

“Keeeeeeeecleon!” Subliminal cried, tossing another ball of energy at Houndoom.

Houndoom let out a sharp, painful howl as it was tossed across the floor, sliding to a stop.

“Houndoom is unable to battle! Kecleon is the winner!” the referee stated.

“Yeah! You did, Subliminal!” Robin cheered, jumping up and down a few times, swinging his fist in the air. “Let’s take out the next one, too!”

“Kecleon! Kecleon!” Subliminal cheered, jumping, too.

“Yay, Robin! Keep going all the way!” June cheered, clapping.

“Take ’em all out, Robin! You’ve got this! Congratulations!” I said, applauding.

“Well done,” Cleopatra nodded, returning her Houndoom. “Next, I choose Umbreon!” She threw another Poke Ball.

“Umbreon!” the black Pokemon shouted at Subliminal.

Umbreon. The Moonlight Pokemon. One of the evolutions of Eevee when raised properly and then exposed to moonlight. The rings on its body glow at will, aiding their Trainers lost at night. When agitated, it sprays poison sweat from its pores for protection.

“Okay, let’s get another win!” Robin sounded determined. “Disappear!”

Subliminal suddenly vanished from sight!

June and I gasped.

“Hey! The zigzag!” I pointed at the field. “It’s still there, like the Pokedex said!”

“That’s his Ability!” June nodded. “I’ve never seen it before, though. Amazing!”

“Feint Attack,” Cleopatra said calmly.

Umbreon looked up at the ceiling and walked forward. It calmly looked down, and then around the Gym. It stopped suddenly, looking out to the side. Suddenly, Umbreon charged forward and tackled the air!

“Keeeeeecleon!” Subliminal was in shock as it was hit, becoming visible again. He bounced along the floor but got back up, glaring at Umbreon.

“Even when invisible, Feint Attack never misses,” June said, focusing on the match. “That was a good move to get Subliminal into view again.”

“Dig!”

“Umbreon!” Umbreon dug underground immediately.

As Subliminal looked about helplessly, the floor began to quake, and Umbreon burst through it.

“KEEEEEEC!” Subliminal flew through the air and flipped several times before crashing to the floor. He slowly got up, glaring at Umbreon. “Kecleon!” Subliminal spoke strongly.

“Subliminal, that’s the spirit!” Robin encouraged him. “Let’s fight back with a Slash attack!”

Subliminal didn’t move.

Everybody watched Subliminal.

“Subliminal? Didn’t you hear me?” Robin asked. “Use Slash attack, now!”

Subliminal stood still.

June shook her head next to me.

I turned to her. “What?”

June didn’t say anything. She kept her eyes on the field.

“Subliminal!” Robin called.

Subliminal took one step forward. He collapsed.

“Kecleon is unable to battle! Umbreon is the winner!” the referee ruled.

I gasped. “Wow!”

Robin smiled. “Thanks a lot, Subliminal. Return!” Robin looked to Cleopatra. “That’s a really nice Umbreon you’ve got! It’s very strong and looks great!”

Cleopatra nodded solemnly. “I appreciate that.”

Robin nodded back and threw his next Poke Ball out. “Go! Catherine!”

“Squirtle!” Catherine narrowed her eyes at Umbreon. Suddenly, she seemed to lose her focus. “Squirt?” She looked to her left... towards me... and her face broke into a huge smile as she recognized me.

“CATHERINE DON’T DO IT!” Robin demanded angrily.

Catherine turned to Robin and stopped. Then she turned back to me. “SQUIRTLE!” She ran towards me.

Robin must be feeling a little bit better, I realized. Now, Catherine is feeling a little bit better, too. His Pokemon really were picking up on his feelings and reacting accordingly.

I sighed and stood up.

“Gary…” June whispered.

I turned to her. “What else can I do…?” I whispered back sadly.

I walked up to Catherine, my heart pounding hard, not wanting Catherine to disobey her Trainer.

“Squirt! Squirt!” Catherine was so happy, reaching up to me, her eyes glistening with joy.

“Heya, Catherine!” I said wearily, smiling nervously, but picking her up. “How’ve you been?”

“SQUIRTLE!” Catherine reached forward to wrap her tiny arms around my neck.

I hugged her. “Good to hear!”

“Squirtle!” Catherine waved at June joyfully.

I turned to see June standing a few feet behind me. “Catherine! It’s great to see you again!” She smiled and waved. “I’m glad you’re doing so great!”

I turned to see Robin covering his face with his hands in anger, making fists and then opening them just to make fists again, growling.

“What is going on here?” Cleopatra said angrily. “Are we battling or not?? Robin, you’re about to be disqualified if you don’t send out a Pokemon to battle!”

“WHAT????” Robin blew up. He ran towards me.

I quickly handed him Catherine and backed away, afraid he was going to swing at me.

Robin snatched Catherine to her immense surprise and placed her on the field in front of Umbreon. “Catherine is battling!” Robin announced frantically. He ran back to his place.

“Well, let the battle continue!” the referee determined.

“Catherine, use Hydro Pump!” Robin barked.

“SQUIRTLE!” Catherine shouted with determination, jumping into the air and pulling herself inside of her shell, spinning rapidly, spraying Umbreon with water.

Umbreon was knocked off its feet and rolled across the floor.

“Psychic!” Cleopatra chose.

“Protect!” Robin decided.

Umbreon’s eyes glowed light blue to attack, but Catherine’s body was outlined in blue and the Psychic failed.

“Scald attack!”

Catherine took Umbreon off its feet with a blast of piping hot water.

Umbreon hit the floor and shakily got back to its feet.

“Skull Bash!”

Catherine lowered her head and charged at Umbreon. “Squirtle Squirtle Squirtle SQUIRTLE!”

“Use Dig!” Cleopatra went.

“Umb!” Umbreon just barely moved before it was suddenly engulfed by flames!

“It’s Burned!” I pointed out.

Umbreon cried helplessly and its Dig attack was interrupted as it collapsed, groaning.

“SQUIRTLLLLLLLE!” Catherine slammed her head into Umbreon.

“Um! Breon!” Umbreon slid across the floor and remained still.

“Umbreon is unable to battle! Squirtle is the winner!” the referee declared.

“YES!” Robin ran to the field and hugged Catherine. He then lifted her into the air. “You did it!”

“Squirt! Squirtle!” She turned towards me and June and waved her arms happily. “Squirtle! Squirtle!”

June and I clapped and laughed.

“They’re so close,” June muttered.

I turned to her, and looked back.

She was right.

Robin and Catherine were such a good team. Catherine was so powerful. So strong. But still a Squirtle…

“Your Squirtle is something special,” Cleopatra complimented, returning her Umbreon. “Let’s see how it does against my final Pokemon.”

“Bisharp!” Bisharp zoomed onto the field, standing up straight.

Robin turned to Bisharp with a determined look. He turned to Catherine and nodded.

Catherine smiled with a matching look of determination and nodded back.

“Let’s do it, Catherine!”

“Squirtle!”

Robin set Catherine down and returned to his place.

“Let the battle begin!” the referee demanded.

“Scald!”

“Slash through it!” Cleopatra instructed.

Bisharp’s blade glowed white and it charged into the Scald attack, its blade slicing the water at the middle as it ran towards Catherine!

“NOW!” Robin screamed.

Bisharp charged forward and used Slash on Catherine.

“Where is she?” June gasped.

“What??” I didn’t understand what June had just said and turned back to the battle, confused.

Catherine didn’t budge as she was hit.

And disappeared!

My eyes widened and I leaned forward to see what just happened.

Bisharp looked around in confusion.

What??” Cleopatra seemed frustrated.

Robin stood smiling. His smile faded and he yelled, “SCALD!”

“SQUIRTLE!” Catherine’s voice rang out.

Everyone looked to see Catherine in the air, above Bisharp!

“No way...!” Cleopatra gazed in disbelief.

Catherine hit Bisharp with Scald and Bisharp hit the floor.

“Hydro Pump!”

Catherine pulled herself into her shell and spun rapidly, hitting Bisharp with Hydro Pump rapidly.

“SHAAAARP!” Bisharp flew into the air but landed on its feet. “Bisharp!” Suddenly, flames covered it.

“Another Burn! We’re on a roll!” Robin couldn’t hide his broad grin.

“Feint Attack!” Cleopatra spoke through bared teeth.

Bisharp ran at Catherine quickly and raised a sharp blade.

“Squirtle!” Catherine glared at the blade and awaited the attack.

“SHARP!” Bisharp swung one of its feet at Catherine instead, hitting her across the face.

“SQUIRT!” Catherine rolled across the floor, but stopped herself and pushed herself up onto one knee.

“Night Slash!”

Bisharp’s blades started to glow dark purple and it ran at Catherine, who was still trying to shake off the Feint Attack.

“Run into it! Aqua Tail!”

“Is he crazy?!” I argued.

“Oh, my gosh!” June said loudly, her eyes nearly popping out of her skull.

Catherine got up and with a loud cry, charged at Bisharp, her tail surrounded by a sudden burst of swirling water.

Bisharp and Catherine got closer.

Closer.

Closer…

“SHAAARP!” Bisharp was covered in flames again. It hit the floor for a second, bent over in pain.

“SQUIRTLE!” Catherine leaped into the air and twisted to smack Bisharp in the head with her Aqua Tail.

“BISH!” Bisharp was on its back.

“Finish it! Hydro Pump!” Robin urged.

“Squirt!” Catherine used Hydro Pump again.

Bisharp was overwhelmed and stumbled on its feet.

Catherine ended her attack and glared at Bisharp. “Squirtle!”

“Bisharp, use-” Cleopatra started.

“Sharp...” Bisharp fell face forward to the floor.

There was a loud silence in the Gym.

“Bisharp is unable to battle. Squirtle is the winner!” the referee ended the battle. “This match goes to Robin from Pallet Town!”

Cleopatra stared in shock at her Bisharp, and then looked to Catherine and smiled.

Robin ran up to Catherine, who was waiting for him with her arms wide open, and embraced her in a hug, spinning in place, cheering, dancing. “We did it! We did it! Catherine, you’re the best! YAY! I LOVE YOU!”

June and I ran up to Robin.

“You two were wonderful!” June gushed. “Wow!”

“Congratulations, but what happened during that Slash attack when you first did Scald?” I asked, smiling at Catherine, who smiled back.

“She did Substitute,” Robin explained, holding Catherine high in the air. “It makes the user vanish and be replaced by a copy. Kind of like a Double Team attack.”

Cleopatra walked over to Robin, having already returned her Bisharp without the four of us noticing, her heels making a loud clack against the floor. She held out a small black case and opened it. “Congratulations. The Obfuscous Badge is yours.”

Robin pulled out the oddly shaped Badge. It wasn’t really in any true shape, but was almost circular and was pitch black. He held it high. “We did it, Catherine!”

“Squirtle!” Catherine replied.

“Okay, okay,” Cleopatra said, clapping her hands impatiently. “Isn’t this kid next?” She glared at me as she spoke those last words.

I swallowed hard, but nodded. “Yes!” I said seriously.

“Then take your place and let’s begin!” Cleopatra took her place again.

I nodded and hurried over to where Robin had stood.

Robin and June hurried out of the area.

“State your name.” Cleopatra crossed her arms moodily.

“I’m Gary. From Pallet Town!”

“This match is between Gary from Pallet Town and Dark City’s Gym Leader, Cleopatra,” the referee repeated. “This too will be a three-on-three battle. No time limit. The first Trainer to defeat all of the opponent’s Pokemon is the winner! BEGIN!”

“This time, I choose Sneasel!” Cleopatra threw a different kind of Poke Ball this time. I stared at the black and white ball with the yellow design as it opened and revealed her new Pokemon.

“Sneasel!” Sneasel said sharply from the Ultra Ball.

Sneasel. The Sharp Claw Pokemon. Sneasel enjoy eating Pidgey eggs. Their sharp claws are used as weapons and to climb trees to raid nests.

“Primeape, let’s do it!” I threw his Poke Ball.

“PRIIIIIMEAPE!” Primeape punched his fists together eagerly.

“Squirtle Squirtle!”

I turned and saw Catherine sitting in Robin’s lap, next to June.

Robin was staring straight ahead at me, a serious look on his face.

June’s eyes went from me, to Robin, to Catherine, and then back to me, a worried look on her face.

I turned back to the battle. “Primeape! Use Karate Chop!”

“Quick Attack!” Cleopatra said.

Like lightning, Sneasel ran forward and tackled Primeape before he could even move.

Primeape was knocked off his feet and slid backwards.

“Fury Swipes!” Cleopatra added.

Sneasel cried out as it swiped at Primeape repeatedly.

“Now use Slash attack, now!”

Sneasel slashed at Primeape as he tried to protect himself to no avail, unable to attack.

“Now use Metal Claw to end this!”

Sneasel’s claws started to have a shiny sheen to them as it raised them over Primeape.

“Stop that attack and flip it into Seismic Toss!” I blurted out, the opportune moment finally arriving.

As Sneasel lowered its claws upon Primeape, Primeape grabbed hold of it, surprising Sneasel!

Cleopatra grimaced angrily.

Primeape started spinning in place, faster and faster as Sneasel wailed out. Primeape and Sneasel were both a complete blur until Primeape finally let go and Sneasel flung like a bullet past me, just barely missing my shoulder and slamming into the wall behind me.

A huge dent in the wall housed Sneasel.

“Sneasel is unable to battle,” the referee declared. “Primeape is the winner!”

“YEAH! We did it!” I was bouncing like rubber, thrilled with my first win.

Primeape leaped up and down, grunting and cheering.

“Squirtle Squirtle Squirtle Squirtle!!!” Catherine cheered, jumping up and down on Robin’s lap.

Robin clapped quietly.

“That was great, Gary!” June was standing up and applauding.

Cleopatra walked past me solemnly, heading towards her Sneasel, and stopped short several feet away before returning it to its Poke Ball. The only sound that was heard was her heels hitting the floor as she walked back to her spot and faced me. “Drapion, you’re next!” Cleopatra threw out a ball that stayed on the floor and revealed her next Pokemon, giving me time to recognize this as another Ultra Ball.

With a loud cry, the enormous scorpion looking monster leered down at me.

“Wow!” I said, backing up a couple of steps, not so much out of fear as to take in the creature. I’d never seen such a Pokemon.

Drapion. The Ogre Scorp Pokemon and the evolved form of Skorupi. A Pokemon proud of its strength, some will battle foes without the use of its powerful poison to prove how strong it is, while others prefer using their toxins to finish its enemies.

“Primeape, watch out!” I warned. “Now go and use Close Combat!”

Primeape screeched and charged at the colossal scorpion.

“Bring it closer!” Cleopatra insisted.

Drapion’s long tail clutched Primeape and brought it quickly to its face as Primeape swung at it furiously, just barely missing.

“Use Thrash attack!” I was enraged and embarrassed at how this second fight was going already, punching at the air with my Pokemon.

Primeape started swinging fiercely, struggling harder than before, but still unable to reach the opponent.

“Ice Fang!” Cleopatra went with.

Drapion’s tail moved quickly and shook my Primeape like a rag doll until Primeape was disorientated. Then, the tail brought Primeape into Drapion’s gaping jaws and it bit Primeape, who screamed as ice started surrounding his body until he was a solid block of ice.

“Hit a home run,” Cleopatra said easily.

I watched helplessly as Drapion tossed Primeape into the air.

Drapion’s tail gleamed like metal, and as Primeape came down, Drapion smacked Primeape with a loud SMASH! freeing Primeape from the ice, but sending him flying past me and into the wall.

“Primeape!” I ran to where Primeape was clearly knocked out, wedged in a hole right next to the one Sneasel has been. “Thank you. You did just fine. Please, return!” I returned Primeape to his Poke Ball and ran back.

“SQUIRTLLLLLLE!” I heard Catherine.

“Go on, Gary! You can beat that thing!” June encouraged me.

I turned to see Robin staring quietly, Catherine excitedly supporting me in his lap. “Next, I choose you! Dugtrio!” I decided next.

“Trio Trio Trio!” Dugtrio sang out.

I had switched out Dugtrio for Baltoy using my Pokedex while we were in the Pokemon Center healing our Pokemon.

The phone booths were filled with people, so me and Robin never got to call Prof. Oak like we had intended to.

“Earthquake!”

“TRIIOOOOO!” Dugtrio caused the Gym to rock, making me stumble helplessly.

Cleopatra widened her legs and bent them a little, balancing herself in her heels.

Drapion collapsed to the ground but got back up.

“Ice Fang.”

“Dig!”

Drapion stomped heavily towards Dugtrio, just as Dugtrio vanished through the floor of the Gym.

“Swords Dance!” Cleopatra said shortly after me.

Drapion’s arms started glowing purple and it swung them around in a seemingly lazy fashion.

“Now, Earthquake!”

With a huge roar, Drapion stomped the ground.

Dugtrio popped out of the ground at the exact same time.

Both Pokemon collided into each other’s attacks and collapsed.

“Come on, Dugtrio!” I pleaded. “Get up! GET UP!”

With a groan, Drapion stirred and forced itself to its feet.

“Dugtrio is unable to battle. Drapion is the winner!” the referee determined.

“You did excellent, Dugtrio,” I thanked him. “Return!” I grabbed my final Poke Ball.

“Squirtle! Squirt! Squirt!” Catherine continued to cheer for me.

“Come on, Gary!” June called. “This isn’t over, yet! You can beat her! Drapion’s almost down!”

Robin was the only one not cheering or saying anything at all. He just eyed me silently, sternly.

June was right. Drapion was almost down for the count, breathing heavy and looking exhausted.

“Charmeleon, I choose you!”

“CHAAARMELEON!!!” Charmeleon aimed for imaginary opponents in the air, hitting them with its flames. He finally glared at Drapion.

“Squirtle! Squirtle! Squirtle Squirtle!” Catherine was going crazy now.

Charmeleon turned around in surprise. “Charmeleon!” he said happily, giving Catherine and Robin a thumbs up and winking.

Catherine jumped up and down for joy, but Robin merely nodded solemnly.

“Okay, Charmeleon, let’s beat this thing!” I told my Pokemon. “Show it your Flamethrower!”

With a loud cry, Charmeleon blasted Drapion with Flamethrower.

Drapion had nowhere to escape.

“Earthquake!” Cleopatra instructed.

Drapion let out a deep roar and raised a foot, attempting Earthquake, but the foot kept rising. Soon, the foot, and the entire Pokemon, fell over and collapsed.

“Drapion is unable to battle. Charmeleon is the winner!” the referee nodded.

Returning her Drapion, Cleopatra stared at me coldly. “I believe this match ends here, young man.” She threw her final Poke Ball, an Ultra Ball again, to the field.

With a loud roar, an enormous Pokemon appeared, towering over Charmeleon.

Charmeleon looked up in shock, but then growled at it, showing no fear. Even taking a step forward!

I pulled out my Pokedex, my mouth hanging open, well aware of what this Pokemon was.

Tyranitar. The Armor Pokemon. Their thick, rocky hide provides good protection against opponents. This Pokemon is not known for flinching against any kind of enemy or any attack used against it.

I began to regret bringing out Charmeleon. I checked out the Pokedex information on Tyranitar. “A Dark and Rock type,” I mumbled. I smiled. We can win this, I convinced myself. “Rock Smash it!”

Suddenly, a gust of wind and sand blew across the field.

“HEY!” I covered my eyes with my arm. “What’s going on?” I squinted hard, struggling to see.

The entire field was looking like it was in the middle of a sandstorm! Sand was blowing through the air by a strong wind!

Charmeleon looked like he was having a hard time dealing with the situation, the sand whipping him in the face.

Sand Stream. This Ability causes a sandstorm through the battle.

Crap! I thought angrily. Well, this isn’t fair! Rock, Ground, and Steel types are the only ones who aren’t gonna get hurt in a Sandstorm! Tyranitar is Rock. Charmeleon isn’t any of those types.

“Char! Char!” Charmeleon grunted against the Sandstorm.

We have to act quick, I thought. “Rock Smash!”

“CHAR! MMMMELEON!” Charmeleon roared, raising a glowing fist and charging through the Sandstorm at Tyranitar. He slugged the giant foe.

Tyranitar roared and backed up a couple of feet, but otherwise, it looked fine, staring down at Charmeleon.

“Do it again! Quick!”

Charmeleon punched Tyranitar again, pushing it back a foot, but Tyranitar didn’t seem to mind.

“Keep going!” I insisted.

Charmeleon stepped up to Tyranitar and beat the beast with consistent punches from his glowing fists as Tyranitar glared down at him, not reacting to the powerful attacks. Charmeleon was looking like he was getting beaten up just from the Sandstorm alone.

Catherine, June, and I were cheering on Charmeleon, encouraging him, pushing him on, as he attacked Tyranitar, but Tyranitar stood its ground.

Charmeleon stopped punching and glared up at Tyranitar, heaving, worn out, sand beating him in the face. “CHAR! CHAAAARMELEON! CHAR CHAR CHAR CHARMELEON!” Charmeleon raged at Tyranitar.

Tyranitar roared in response.

Charmeleon was getting really mad, growling now.

“So, Charmeleon wants to play,” Cleopatra said with a smirk. “Then, let’s play. Crunch attack!”

Tyranitar’s teeth glowed white and it took a huge bite into Charmeleon.

June, Catherine, and Charmeleon screamed out at the same time. Charmeleon from pain, June and Catherine from the shock of seeing the towering beast bite into the much smaller lizard.

Tyranitar lifted the squirming Charmeleon into the air in its jaws.

“End this with Stone Edge,” Cleopatra said easily.

Tyranitar’s body was outlined in white for a second.

The white outline separated from its body and formed two rings made of several white, pointed orbs, circling Tyranitar. The white light faded from around the orbs and they formed into multiple gray rocks!

Tyranitar tossed its head, throwing Charmeleon into the air.

Charmeleon could do nothing as the rocks all pointed and rushed at him. He screamed out and I watched, unable to help, my eyes filling up as Charmeleon was pummeled by the rocks. He finally came crashing down to the floor at Tyranitar’s feet.

We all stared silently at Charmeleon, the only sound heard being the wind from the Sandstorm.

Charmeleon was getting covered in sand, hidden from everyone’s view.

Tyranitar grunted and smiled.

“Charmeleon is un-!”

With a grunt, Charmeleon’s claw reached up and grabbed Tyranitar’s foot.

Cleopatra gasped loudly and leaned forward to get a better view, a stunned look on her face.

Tyranitar let out a loud, surprised sound, looking down in shock at Charmeleon.

Charmeleon’s flame burst into an even brighter, stronger fire. His body was radiating a fiery, red color.

Blaze Ability, I knew, my eyes wide.

Charmeleon grunted again and lifted his head up. He turned to the referee and shook his head.

The referee stared at Charmeleon in disbelief.

“Meeeel,” he gasped, pushing himself onto his feet, breathing hard, glaring at Tyranitar. “MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL!!!!” His eyes closed and he swung a glowing fist at Tyranitar.

Tyranitar toppled over, but it looked more like it was from shock than from a powerful hit. Tyranitar got up easily.

“This one has spirit,” Cleopatra admitted. “Time to end it. Rock Slide!”

Tyranitar let out a loud roar up to the ceiling, raising its claws. White rings appeared above Tyranitar’s head.

“Now, Earthquake!”

Tyranitar let out a roar and stomped the ground.

“CHARMELEOOOOON!” I called out desperately. “NOOOOO!!”

Charmeleon leaped high into the air, trying to get over the Earthquake.

Rocks started to pour from the white rings in the air, raining down on Charmeleon.

Charmeleon grabbed one of the rocks that fell and tried to climb on top of it, but another landed on top of him and took him straight down to the Earthquake as more rocks fell from above.

“STOOOOOOOP!!! MY CHARMELEON!!!” I begged, tears raining from my face.

“It’s far too late, now,” Cleopatra told me. “You should’ve quit a long time ago. This battle is over.”

Once the ground had stopped quaking.

Once the rocks had stopped falling.

The only sound to be heard was of June whimpering, Catherine whimpering, and me sniffling.

I managed to drag my unwilling feet over to my Charmeleon, into the dying Sandstorm, as the referee declared that Cleopatra was the winner of the match. I shoved a large rock that laid heavily atop my Pokemon and stared down at him mournfully.

Charmeleon’s flame died down to a much smaller flame, and the red aura disappeared from around his body. His eyes remained closed as I carefully lifted him. He didn’t respond to my touch.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. I wished I had more to say, but I didn’t. With a sigh, I returned Charmeleon back and wiped at my eyes with my sleeves, standing up. I bowed to Cleopatra. “Thank you.” Quickly, I turned and exited the Gym, heading to the Pokemon Center, hearing June, Robin, and Catherine hurrying quickly after me.

*

“You alright, Gary?” Robin asked.

I nodded, keeping my eyes on the ground, slumped in a chair at a wooden booth me, Robin, and June were sharing.

“You did good out there, man!” he threw in.

“Yeah...” I muttered. “Thanks.”

“Next time, you’ll get her for sure. That Charmeleon is freaking tough!” He chuckled lightly.

I smiled a bit and nodded. “He is.”

We were at the Pokemon Center, all of my Pokemon given to Nurse Joy for healing and a check up.

“Charmeleon wasn’t the best option against that thing,” June commented. “But you didn’t know she had one.”

I thought about what she said.

“You know, I let Catherine watch your battle for a reason,” Robin brought up suddenly.

June and I turned to him.

He was staring down as he spoke. “As you noticed, she still hasn’t evolved and still behaves the same around you. I wanted to have her see how you battle. This was a great opportunity. It didn’t matter if you won or lost. I just wanted her to see a different style of battling, I guess. Specifically, your style of battling. I thought, maybe, she’d see how different you and I are. Maybe, it’d help her to get over you or whatever the issue is exactly. I don’t really know how. If you’d won, maybe she wouldn’t have preferred your style of battling over the way me and her battle. If you’d lost, which you did, maybe she’d see me as the superior Trainer. Of course, that could’ve backfired if you’d won and she’d preferred your style of battling.” Robin sighed. “Had that happened, maybe it would’ve been best if you raised her instead.”

“Are you stupid?” I snapped at him. “How can you say such a thing?” My anger was building.

Robin looked up at me, glaring. “You really don’t know what it’s like to love a Pokemon and it doesn’t return your feelings. You don’t know what it’s like to try and figure out the best thing to do for your Pokemon when it seems like you, its Trainer, aren’t the best thing for it! Walk in my damn shoes before you talk, Gary! I’m looking out for her best interest! I don’t know what to do anymore!”

I didn’t know what to say to that. “I’m sorry,” I managed in a low voice.

Robin nodded, his eyes lowering again.

I turned to June, who was staring back at me sadly, quietly.

“I’d like to battle you one more time,” Robin requested.

June and I turned to him again.

“When your Pokemon are better, let’s have us a quick battle. Just think about it. I’m gonna go get some fresh air.” Robin stood up and left the Pokemon Center.

“What are you gonna do?” June asked after a moment.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked back at the door where Robin had left through.

I didn’t know what to do anymore. My main priority at the moment was making sure my Pokemon were all okay.

But after that.

After that.

I had no idea.

No idea one of the most important and defining moments in my life.

In June’s life.

In Robin’s life.

In Catherine’s life.

In our lives.

Was just around the corner.

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