Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself
“Why don’t you take Butterfree with you against a Dark Gym Leader?” June suggested. “Are you still afraid of Bug types?”
“It has nothing to do with that,” I spoke moodily. “I have Primeape. He can beat Dark types easily. And all of my other Pokemon are more than capable of handling her. You saw the last match. She just barely won.”
“You both were down to your last Pokemon, but Charmeleon was nowhere close to beating Tyranitar,” June responded softly.
“Listen, June.” Her words were irritating me now. “I can handle her. Just leave me alone and let us train.”
“Whatever!” June’s patience was officially through. “Having confidence is fine, but if you just wanna be an idiot by choice, so be it. I just feel sorry for your Pokemon.” She stormed away, leaving me alone with my six Pokemon.
June and I had explored Dark City early in the dead freezing morning, our coats zipped all the way up, hoods pulled over our heads, looking for an area to train. It was only after reaching close to the end of the city that we had encountered a large opening hidden behind a pair of pretty tall, flimsy looking buildings made of planks, and even though I felt it wasn’t as private an area as I would have desired, it was better than nothing.
Training began with straightforward moves at the air, each Pokemon in turn, for about half an hour. After a short break, they practiced landing attacks against each other.
The training was simple, and made me wonder just how effective any of this was for them, but it was also the only thing I could think of for them to do. How do other Trainers raise their Pokemon other than battling?
Now, my team was staring at me after the argument June and I just had.
There was a reason I hadn’t taken Butterfree with me to battle Cleopatra, and it wasn’t because of my fear of bugs. I didn’t want to talk to Prof. Oak, yet. When Robin was with us, we had intended on calling Prof. Oak when we got to Dark City, but I didn’t really want to talk to him at all.
I also could’ve sworn Robin breathed a sigh of relief when we had tried to call Prof. Oak but found that the phones were all occupied. Perhaps he didn’t want to talk to him, either.
Personally, I just wasn’t ready. Calling Prof. Oak made a discussion about Aly and Kiwi inevitable. I had traded my Baltoy for Dugtrio using my Pokedex, so he knew I was okay, but making another trade for Butterfree was too far. He might feel like I was purposely refusing to call him, which I was, but I didn’t want him to catch on. And that was my stupid reason why I was gonna stick with the six I had.
I guess June is right, I thought. I hadn’t meant to snap at her, but I really didn’t want to think about the talk I’d have to have with Prof. Oak. I’d call him soon, but not right now. I just couldn’t do it. I also knew I’d have to call my mom, too… With a sigh, my eyes narrowed on my Pokemon. “Back to work!” I ordered. “Hydro Pump Charmeleon, Kingdra! Move it!”
Charmeleon countered with Dragon Rage.
“Air Slash Primeape, Hoothoot!”
Primeape did its best to dodge the attack but was taken down by it, overtaken by Hoothoot’s flight skills.
Dugtrio went underground and appeared underneath Weepinbell, tossing him into the air.
Weepinbell soared high but wrapped a vine around Dugtrio and swung himself back down towards the ground. He then strongly pulled himself forward, slamming directly into Dugtrio, taking both Dugtrio and myself by surprise.
“Wow! Now that was good stuff, Weepinbell!”
“Bell!” Weepinbell looked to me.
“Don’t let up, now! We’re battling Cleopatra and winning! Kingdra, Twister!”
The empty space we were training in looked like a minefield had been set off by the time we were done, dust all through the air, and I returned my team to their Poke Balls before making my way back to the Pokemon Center, where I found June.
She glared at me and didn’t say a word.
I wasn’t even mad anymore, but decided to just be quiet and handed my Pokemon to the beautiful Nurse Joy. The urge to say something smooth as she willingly took my balls was restricted by something telling me not to in the back of my head, my heart thumping in agreement. Although I didn’t understand why my senses were going off to stay quiet, I went along with them and simply nodded to Nurse Joy appreciatively and took a seat away from June.
Within a couple of hours, Nurse Joy was back with my Poke Balls on a tray, smiling.
I eagerly ran up to her and retrieved them.
“I wish you luck in your Gym match, Gary.” Nurse Joy glowed like an angel.
I could feel the blood rush to my head at her statement and I smiled broadly. “I appreciate such sincere, encouraging words, Nurse Joy. And no surprise from such a sweet, breathtakingly beautiful, miraculous healer of Pokemon as yourself.” I couldn’t hold it in anymore!
“Oh!” Nurse Joy exclaimed in surprise, taken aback, blushing. “Why, thank you!” She giggled, her hand rising to her face.
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t screwed up somehow, yet! This might just work, I thought. KEEP GOING!!! “After this Gym battle, which I know me and my Pokemon will win, perhaps after my Pokemon are healed, you could tell me about the life of a nurse and how you manage to care for all these incredible Pokemon,” I suggested. “I kind of always wanted to be a Pokemon Doctor, you know. Training and raising Pokemon is cool, I guess, but I think my real desire has always been to-AAAAHHHHH!!!!” I screamed out shrilly as the lobe of my ear was suddenly being yanked on.
June was the one tugging me!
“What are you doing?? Get off of me!!”
“You have a Gym match to focus on,” June grunted. “I don’t have time for your games.”
“What games? Let me GO!”
June let go once we were outside of the building.I grabbed my sore ear and scowled.
“I think I like that little technique you used on Robin,” June shrugged casually. “Might come in handy.”
“What are you talking about?” I growled. “That really-!”
“Can we get to Cleopatra already?” June asked impatiently.
Sneering at June and still rubbing my ear, I sucked my teeth and led the way towards the Gym. After knocking, there was only silence, my eyes on the sign on the Gym door.
Dark City Pokemon Gym
“Come in!” a voice from inside yelled.
I heard a loud cry from inside and shoved the door open. My eyes widened as I witnessed the scene before me.
Cleopatra and the referee from the first time I battled here were fighting in the middle of the battlefield! Physically fighting one another!
Bisharp stood where the referee stood before when watching me and Robin’s battles with Cleopatra.
Cleopatra leaped into the air and spun, finally throwing out a leg at the referee, who swiftly ducked and threw a punch at her. The Gym Leader grabbed it, still in the air, and flipped over the referee’s head. She landed and flipped the referee over her own head! The referee landed on top of Cleopatra’s shoulders and kicked at her face, but Cleopatra reached up and grabbed both of the referee’s feet at the last second. With a heroic flip, Cleopatra kicked the referee in the back, sending her flying and crashing to the floor on her face. My future opponent turned and stared at me with a mean glare. She wore an outfit similar to the one she had on the last time I battled her, but she wore black shoes instead of heels and a black shirt tucked into her black sweatpants, a circle of white around each leg. The black shirt was underneath her open, black, button up shirt. “You, again. Have you come for another attempt at my Badge?”
I didn’t say anything at first, deep in shock.
“If you’re not here to challenge me, you’ve no business here!” Cleopatra spoke sharply. “Get out!”
I shook my head. “Wait! I am here for a battle! Please!”
The referee stood up and dusted herself off, staring at me solemnly. She wore what appeared to be the same clothes as last time.
Bisharp was also giving me a cold stare.
The referee turned to Cleopatra, who nodded at her. They both bowed, and the referee walked over to Bisharp, who walked away and stood by its place on the battlefield, soon joined by Cleopatra.
I quickly entered my place and June walked over to one of the chairs on the side opposite of where the referee stood.
“This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle between Dark City’s Cleopatra and Gary from Pallet Town!” the referee stated immediately. “The first Trainer to defeat the opponent’s Pokemon is the winner! No time limit! BEGIN!”
“Umbreon, battle!” Cleopatra threw its Poke Ball.
“Primeape, let’s do it!” I sent him out.
“Umbreon!” Umbreon shouted out at Primeape.
“APE APE APE!” Primeape responded loudly.
“Let’s wrap this one up with Seismic Toss!” I started.
“PRRRIIIIIIIME!!” Primeape screeched, running recklessly at Umbreon.
Cleopatra glared at Primeape, but seemed oddly calm. “Psychic attack.”
That simple word made my breath cut short.
Primeape froze in its tracks and was outlined in the same blue color as Umbreon’s eyes began to glow in. He screeched from the pain as Umbreon applied pressure on him.
“Oh, no!” I gasped.
“Gary, she used the same move on Catherine!” June reminded me. “Did you really forget that?”
I did... It all came back to me now!
Catherine used Protect to block off the Psychic attack that Umbreon has used on her.
“Primeape!” I called desperately.
“Get rid of it.” Cleopatra waved her arm in the air.
Primeape was flung backwards and slid hard against the ground, landing at my feet.
My hand touched Primeape gently. “Hey! Primeape! Can you hear me? Come on!” I shook his still body.
My Pokemon groaned weakly.
“Primeape! Let’s get up and show her what we-!”
“Primeape is unable to battle. Umbreon is the winner!” the referee interrupted.
“What??” My eyes went in shock to the referee before gazing down upon Primeape.
“Ape…” Primeape weakly mumbled.
I grit my teeth tightly and closed my eyes. We were so easily defeated, and due to my own stupidity. “Come on back, Primeape. I’m sorry. This loss was my own doing.” My hand passionately squeezed the next Poke Ball. “Weepinbell, I’m choosing you!”
“Beeeeeeell!” Weepinbell said upon arrival.
“Gary!” June shouted disapprovingly.
I waved my hand at her, ignoring her. Weepinbell’s got spirit, I thought. Weepinbell will win this one. “Wring Out!”
“BEEEEELLL!!!” Weepinbell’s vine whipped out and wrapped around Umbreon in an instant.
“BREON!” Umbreon struggled as Weepinbell’s vine tightened around it.
“Don’t let go!”
“Psychic attack, now!”
Umbreon closed its eyes and focused hard.
“SLAM IT!” I demanded.
Weepinbell lifted Umbreon high into the air, but suddenly, his vine was outlined in blue, and it stopped moving!
Umbreon opened its eyes, now blue again, and the vine around it released it and Umbreon landed safely. “Umb!”
“Bell?” Weepinbell said as his entire body was outlined in blue and he was lifted into the air. “BEEEEEEEELL!!!!” Weepinbell screamed, the Psychic attack damaging it.
“NO!! Weepinbell! Come on! Fight back!!”
Weepinbell was tossed aside and rolling helplessly, stopping a few feet from me.
“Weepinbell!” I pleaded. “You can do it! Get up, now! Come on!! This isn’t over!! No way!! Weepinbell!! Get up and fight! Please!!”
Weepinbell twitched on the ground and struggled upright, shaking his body. “BELL!”
“Another Psychic and this is over,” Cleopatra said nonchalantly.
Umbreon used Psychic to lift Weepinbell into the air again and apply pressure onto its body.
“BEEEEEEEEEEELLLLL!!!” Weepinbell wailed out.
What can I do?? I thought frantically. How can we combat that damn thing if it’s gonna keep attacking with Psychic from a distance? There must be some way around this.
Weepinbell was let go and hit the ground, moaning out, “Bell…”
Cleopatra kept her eyes on Weepinbell, who was on the ground, groaning, but somehow, forced himself back up!
“BEEEEEELL!” Weepinbell screamed again.
“YEAH!” I cheered in my own state of disbelief, my hands tightened eagerly at my sides. “We’re still fighting! That’s right!”
Cleopatra shook her head in what seemed to be weariness at Weepinbell.
“Umbreon! Um!” Umbreon snarled at Weepinbell.
“BEEELL! BELL BELL!!” Weepinbell shot back.
“That thing doesn’t have much left in it.” She and Umbreon were shown to be wearing the same vicious face. “Another Psychic and this time, take it out!”
“Use Sunny Day!”
“UMBREON!” Umbreon let out.
“BEEEELL!” Weepinbell’s two leaves glowed white and two beams of golden light rose from them.
The lights soared towards the window as Umbreon’s eyes glowed blue. The beams hit the window just as Weepinbell was taken into the air, outlined in blue. A huge blast of light burst through the windows and lit the entire Gym in a bright blast of light.
“AAAAAHHH!!” Cleopatra screamed out.
“UUUUMMM!” Umbreon uttered painfully.
“Bell!” Weepinbell said as he was dropped, freed from Psychic.
June and the referee were stunned by the sudden light.
I squinted through it all, trying to focus through the sudden heat that filled the Gym, keeping my mind on the battle. “Now Slam that thing!”
“BEEEEEELL!” Weepinbell lifted Umbreon into the air while Umbreon was blinded, and Slammed it down hard.
Silence filled the Gym.
The referee was struggling to see through the brightness of the Sunny Day attack. “Umbreon is unable to battle! Weepinbell is the winner!”
“YAY, GARY!” June cheered, clapping, squinting from the sunlight.
Cleopatra growled as she squinted her eyes, struggling to see. She withdrew her Umbreon. “GO!” she commanded, not throwing a Poke Ball, but pointing at the field.
“SHARP!” Bisharp flew towards the field.
“Wring Out!” Using Wring Out on a healthy opponent did more damage.
Weepinbell wrapped his vine around Bisharp.
Bisharp struggled against the vines, making it more painful for itself as the vine merely tightened to its resistance.
“Slam it down!” I told my Pokemon.
Weepinbell lifted Bisharp and used Slam, bashing it into the floor.
Bisharp slowly got back up and shook its head.
“Feint Attack!” Cleopatra told her Pokemon.
Bisharp ran at full speed towards Weepinbell, and suddenly vanished!”Bell?” Weepinbell looked around swiftly.
Bisharp suddenly appeared, right in front of Weepinbell, and uppercut him.
Weepinbell flew into the air a few feet before dropping back down.
“Weepinbell, come on!” I urged him on. “Let’s go! Get up!!”
“How much further can you expect to push your Pokemon?” Cleopatra’s voice rang out irritably. “It’s defeated! What kind of Trainer are you?”
“BEEEEEELL!” Weepinbell groaned loudly, forcing himself back up.
Cleopatra was staring at Weepinbell in complete horror, as if she were seeing a ghost appear right before her eyes.
“The kind of Trainer who knows his Pokemon!” I answered. “This battle is far from over! We can take more, so you better bring your best if you wanna keep me from that Badge! Use Stun Spore!”
“Swords Dance!” Cleopatra reacted.
Before Bisharp could move, Weepinbell sprayed the air with the orange powder of Stun Spore.
Bisharp was covered in the orange spray and struggled to move against it.
“Now use Razor Leaf!” The advantage I now had was making me shake with excitement.
Weepinbell swung his leaves and leaves flew through the air, swiping at Bisharp.
“Sharp! Sharp! Sharp!” Bisharp was knocked about.
Weepinbell wrapped his vine around Bisharp and squeezed it tight.
Bisharp didn’t struggle as much as before, since it wasn’t in full health, so the attack didn’t do too much.
But that was just fine with me. “Vine Whip!”
Weepinbell lifted Bisharp into the air and slammed it in a whipping fashion repeatedly to the ground as Bisharp struggled harder, crying out.
Weepinbell lifted Bisharp high into the air before tossing it.
“Bisharp, get UP!” Cleopatra barked at the exhausted Pokemon.
Bisharp managed to pick itself up.
“This is ridiculous! Feint Attack!”
Bisharp ran at Weepinbell.
“Weepinbell!” There was nothing I could do.
Bisharp vanished in thin air again and reappeared in front of Weepinbell, slicing at him.
Weepinbell groaned and collapsed.
Bisharp stood up straight, seemingly satisfied with its work, Cleopatra straightening up at the same time, both Pokemon and Trainer in tune, mimicking each other’s style.
“Weepinbell! Get up! This is not over!” I encouraged him. “Let’s do this!”
Weepinbell wasn’t moving.
“You were always so damn tough! When I battled to capture you, you were a pain in my butt! Before you evolved! This is all you can take in your evolved stage?!” I shook my head, angry Weepinbell wasn’t responding to me. Desiring to find a way to reach him and get him back up to victory! For every second he didn’t budge, it was a nail driving deeper into my heart, the pain more infuriating and devastating to withstand. “I don’t think so, Weepinbell! Now get up! Get up and let’s win this!” My shoulders just about slumped as I felt myself give up on my Pokemon.
Weepinbell stirred a little bit. Finally, slowly, with a loud groan, he got back up. “Beeeeeell!” Weepinbell let out.
“Weepinbell!” My mouth hung open, overjoyed and moved that he was still going!
The angry, shocked look on Cleopatra’s face was priceless.
It was similar to the look on the referee’s face, and even Bisharp’s face!
“That plant should be wilted by now! Iron Head! Why are you going soft on that thing? DESTROY IT!!!” Cleopatra bellowed furiously.
“Use Razor Leaf!”
Weepinbell used Razor Leaf first and Bisharp was forced back.
Bisharp bent over, struggling to withstand the damage, and the blade on its head gleamed like shiny metal as it charged at Weepinbell.
Is this it? I wondered as Bisharp neared Weepinbell.
Bisharp froze in place, just an inch from Weepinbell.
Paralysis? I wondered.
“Sharp…” Bisharp collapsed to the ground.
“Bisharp is unable to battle. Weepinbell is the winner!” the referee declared.
I collapsed to my knees, smiling. “WEEPINBEEEEEEEEEEEELL!!!”
“BEELL!” Weepinbell didn’t even seem to believe his own win as he looked down upon his defeated foe.
Cleopatra returned her Bisharp to a Great Ball, glaring at it, and then up at me. She silently eyed my Weepinbell. “Chlorophyll gave you the upperhand,” she muttered.
I nodded my head, smiling.
“Even before the Paralysis play, using Sunny Day to aide in your Chlorophyll Speed boost... I guess you were… one step ahead of me, in a sense,” Cleopatra admitted. “Well played.”
“You can do it, Gary! You’re doing so am-aaaaaaa-zing!!” June was jumping up and down, squinting through the sunlight.
“Tyranitar, it’s time to finish this match!”
Tyranitar appeared from its Ultra Ball with an enormous roar.
I gulped but shook my head and glared at it, determined to beat the beast.
The sandstorm suddenly hit the field, triggered by Tyranitar’s Sand Stream Ability.
Weepinbell was immediately pummeled by the sand flying everywhere, grunting in pain.
The sunlight faded and the temperature immediately cooled down.
“Razor Leaf!” I acted first.
Weepinbell wasn’t as fast anymore with the sun gone. But was he faster than Tyranitar, at least?
Weepinbell whipped out a Razor Leaf that flew at Tyranitar.
The move sliced at Tyranitar’s body, but it didn’t budge.
“Your Weepinbell is the most impressive fighter I’ve seen on your team,” Cleopatra complimented. “Finish it!”
Tyranitar stomped at Weepinbell and lowered its fangs, which started to glow. It sunk them into Weepinbell and his voice rang through my head sharply. The towering Pokemon stood tall and shook its head, tossing Weepinbell across the floor easily.
“Weepinbell is unable to battle,” the referee stated. “Tyranitar wins!”
“Weepinbell, you were great,” I said proudly of my friend who gave his all for this battle, and returned him to his Poke Ball.
“Gary, don’t be stupid!” June warned as I grabbed my final Poke Ball.
“Charmeleon! GO!” I ignored her.
“GARY!” June raged in horror.
“CHAAAAAARMELEON!” Charmeleon fired flames around in the air.
Cleopatra shook her head. “Going for momentum. You can’t beat us with such a pathetic plan. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
“We’ll win!” I insisted. “We can do it!”
“Char! Char! Meleon!” Charmeleon yapped at Tyranitar.
“CHAAAAR!” A powerful burst of energy coming from the flame on his tail, his eyes glowing brightly white. Charmeleon ignored the sandstorm as he opened his jaws and a huge blast of flames came out, hitting Tyranitar.
Tyranitar pushed its body out daringly against the flames and grunted calmly.
“Char!” Chameleon clawed at the ground and dug his way under, quickly.
Cleopatra didn’t give any orders.
The ground shook a minute later and Charmeleon appeared from the ground, right underneath Tyranitar.
Tyranitar fell to the floor from the super effective hit, roaring, but got back to its feet.
“Now, Rock Smash! That’ll get their attention!”
“MELEON!” Charmeleon ran forward, his fists glowing, and swung at Tyranitar’s belly repeatedly, beating away at it.
Tyranitar uttered sharp barks of sorts with each hit, but kept its ground.
“MEL! MEL! MEL! MEL! MEL! CHAR! CHAR! MEL!” Charmeleon grunted, swinging at Tyranitar.
It was only seconds later that my eyes began to fill.
This wasn’t a battle at all. Cleopatra wasn’t even giving orders to attack. She was just letting us hit her brute of a Pokemon with all we had, teasing us. This was embarrassing.
June was a statue staring at Charmeleon like a statue. She knew all along this battle was pointless.
I had completely ignored her. This entire battle, I had been ignoring the wellbeing of my own Pokemon. My partners. My friends. I took advantage of those who would do anything for me for my own stupid reasonings before this match even began.
“CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!” Charmeleon roared, exhausted, no longer attacking.
“Charmelon,” I whispered, wiping at my eyes. I felt numb, and completely stupid. A failure of a Trainer, unable to raise his Pokemon to be strong enough to even amuse the opponent.
“Earthquake,” Cleopatra said in a low voice.
Tyranitar grunted lazily and lifted a foot, slamming it to the ground, rocking the entire Gym.
I was tossed to the floor, but felt so weak inside that I couldn’t even manage back up. How can we beat this thing? I wondered. This isn’t fair! Robin didn’t have to battle it? Why me? Would it have mattered? Am I just too weak a Trainer? Are my Pokemon not able to beat it?
Charmeleon was dropped by the quake and laid still.
“Rock Slide,” Cleopatra added.
Tyranitar roared into the air, and white rings appeared, immediately raining down rocks on Charmeleon.
“Charmeleon! NO!” I jumped to my feet, my fists clenched tight as tears fell out from my eyes.
Charmeleon’s eyes shot open and he leaped high in an attempt to avoid oncoming rocks. He got around the first rock and bounced off the second one to get past the third. While trying to dodge the fourth rock, he seemed to get something in his face... Sand! The sandstorm got to him and blinded him, causing him to rub at his eyes with his claws, and he was hit by the fourth boulder. The continuous rocks fell on him from there on.
“Earthquake!” Cleopatra continued mercilessly.
Tyranitar lifted its foot again and used Earthquake.
When the quaking was over, I was on my knees, staring at where Charmeleon was covered in rocks, unsure of where he was at all. Unsure if he was okay.
“Once more for good measure,” Cleopatra said coldly.
“NO!” I was horrified at her words.
Even the referee turned to Cleopatra with widened eyes.
June stood up. “Wait! You can’t!”
Tyranitar rocked the field once more.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” I reached out.
When the move was over, the new silence lasted several minutes, no movement coming from Charmeleon who was still covered in the stones.
My hands and legs moved to budge me to save my own Pokemon.
Suddenly, a rock from the pile started to shake.
The referee took a step forward with squinted eyes.
I waited impatiently, staring, hoping.
The rock, sitting in the middle of the pile, fell out, and Charmeleon’s head popped out. His tongue was sticking out, his head lying lazily against the rocks beneath him.
I closed my eyes.
“Charmeleon-” the referee started.
“I get it!!” I flipped out at her. “We lost…” I whispered sadly, returning Charmeleon to his Poke Ball.
The rocks on top of Charmeleon collapsed once my Pokemon was gone.
The sandstorm ended.
Cleopatra silently returned Tyranitar.
My throat was dry, making it difficult to swallow, but I managed before speaking as I found the bravery in me to stand before the intimidating Gym Leader. “You didn’t have to go that f-!”
“Stop making stupid decisions,” she shut me up quickly, staring at me with eyes so cold, I shivered. “You can expect to keep losing thinking you’re gonna win building off of past feelings and a desire to seek revenge. You’re nothing but a fool with that as your tactic, and all you’re doing is wasting my time, your time, and causing unnecessary harm to your Pokemon. You think how I ended that battle was rough??” She took a step at me.
Even though she was quite far from me, her advance made me take two steps back!
“That was a mere example, you dunce! Be grateful your Charmeleon isn’t dead. If you don’t start to understand how Pokemon battling really works, you will end up getting your Pokemon killed in combat. Personally, I recommend a different path if you can’t handle the one you’re on, Gary.” She said my name with disgust, looking down upon me like the black sheep of the family.
Her words, and stare, shattered me to pieces. I nodded and closed my eyes, turning quickly, trying to hide the tears that fell as I left Cleopatra’s Gym.
“Gary!” My mom’s face looked a mess from obvious exhaustion, crying, and lack of sleep.
“Hey, mom,” I grinned.
“Gary, you’re alive!”
“Come back home!” she begged frantically. “Ditch those damn monsters and come back home! Please! I’ll do anything! PLEASE!”
My eyes watered seeing my mommy in such pain. “Mom!” Tears ran from my own eyes now. “Mommy! I love you!”
“Gary! I love you, baby!” My mother looked terrible. The journey I was on was causing her so much stress, and it showed. “Come back home to me! Please! Gary, I can’t take this anymore! Ms. Say is going through a mass depression! We’re all keeping a close eye on her! We’re afraid she may… do something…”
Aly’s mother, I thought. Oh, no. I didn’t tear my eyes away from my mother, despite how hard it was to see her like this.
“Mrs. Tot is a wreck, too!” my mom continued. “Nobody has from Kiwi! Please, I can’t stand to have anything happen to you. Gary, come back home, ditch those damn creatures, and let’s just be safe. I can’t lose both of my children!!”
Melissa, I thought. My sister… Where is she...? Melissa…
“I can’t do this again, Gary. I can’t… lose… another…” My mom covered her face with her hands and wept loudly.
“MOM!” I lost it. “STOP IT! MELISSA IS FINE!” I stopped for a second, trying to breathe easier. My mom opened her mouth to speak again, but I started up. “Stop saying that, right now! I’m not coming back home! I’ve got to find Melissa! And I’m gonna finish what me, Kiwi, Robin, and Aly, promised that we’d finish! I’ll find Kiwi, too! Kiwi is fine! I don’t know where she is, but she’s okay! Kiwi’s strong! Don’t give up hope on her! Mommy, don’t give up on us!”
“Gary, just come back!!” my mom screeched at me, out of control. “My gosh, Gary, I heard you were with those men! Team Solace?! You were held hostage by them?! They’re really dangerous, but they have a point! Pokemon are dangerous! They’re trying to get rid of all of this crap!”
“MOM!!” I could not believe my ears. “SHUT UP! They are not evil!! Pokemon are my friends!!”
“GARY, DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME TO SHUT UP!!!” my mom came back at me.
“I won’t just let you talk about Pokemon like this!!” I went on. “I will NOT stand for you supporting Team Solace!! NEVER!! EVERRRR!!! How DARE YOU!! How can you dare support them??? They killed Aly!! They nearly killed ME!! Are you freaking stupid??? You must be crazy to dare believe in their cause!!”
“IF YOU WERE HOME, YOU WOULDN’T BE IN THAT PREDICAMENT!”
“SHUT UP! JUST FREAKING SHUT!! UUUUUUUUP!!! I AM NOT COMING HOME!! I REFU-!!”
My mom’s face disappeared from the screen. The screen was black.
I angrily closed my eyes, breathing heavily. The line was crossed, I knew. I shouldn’t have talked to my mom like that. I had gone entirely crazy. I’d never had such a bad argument with my mom before, though at times, our arguments got pretty close to that one, which usually resulted in me getting hit. Sometimes with a belt, her hand, or whatever object was nearby. I was a terrible person, and especially son, for talking to my mom like that.
I couldn’t possibly comprehend the pain she was in. There was no way for me to empathize in anyway with what she was going through. She lost a husband and her daughter was missing. Her son was out on the same journey that took her two closest family members away.
I’m so sorry, mommy, I beat myself up mentally, feeling nauseated now.
It was night now, and I was in the Pokemon Center.
My Pokemon had been cared for, but Charmeleon was still being treated after all he had suffered, but was expected to make a full recovery by tomorrow.
June had been sitting by herself in a chair.
I had decided to make a couple of phone calls. The one to my mom went as I had expected, sadly. I knew I had made a huge commotion at the Pokemon Center. I knew everyone was staring at me right now. I didn’t look back and instead dialed Prof. Oak, just as hesitantly as I’d called my mom.
Prof. Sketchit’s face popped up on the screen. He stared at me in shock. “Gary!”
“Prof. Sketchit?” I asked in shock.
“How are ya?” he asked, still shocked.
“Fine,” I said shortly. “How’re you?”
“I’m doing well. My gosh, everyone in Pallet has been worried about you, Robin, and Kiwi!”
That sentence only made me think of how Aly would never be in that kind of conversation again. “Robin’s okay,” I said in a low voice.
“What about Kiwi…?” the young professor asked me.
“Can I speak to Prof. Oak?” I asked impatiently, ignoring his question.
“Right away,” he said quickly, running away, disappearing from the screen.
I waited, hoping Prof. Oak wouldn’t appear, but knowing he would.
Prof. Oak’s face suddenly popped up in front of the screen. He smiled broadly. “GARY!”
“Hi, Professor…” I said, my eyes wide in surprise at his happiness.
“Gary, how have you been?” he asked. He made an odd, random, yet familiar, noise suddenly.
“I’m okay, Professor,” I replied. “How are you?”
“Excellent! Gary, Gary, Gary! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!! How many Badges do you have?!?! BADGES!!!! BADGES!!!” he exclaimed, his smile extending across his face.
“Wha…?” I had a strange feeling suddenly, bewildered by Prof. Oak’s actions. “I have the same five Badges I had the last time we spoke, but I’m working on-HEY!!” I was suddenly shoved out of the way and I landed on the floor.
“PROFESSOR OAK!!!!” I heard a loud squeal.
I looked up and saw June sitting in the chair I had occupied.
“HIIIIIIII!!!!” June sang out, smiling excitedly. “My name is June!! Oh, my gosh!! My name is JUNE!!! I used to be the Electric type Gym Leader of Gringey City, but I quit because I know so little about Pokemon and was a complete failure of a Trainer, and Gary has been teaching me SO MUCH since I’ve decided to travel with him!! It’s an honor to meet you, sir!”
“June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June!” Prof. Oak repeated, bouncing up and down. “June! June! June! June! June! June! I am Prof. Oak! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June! June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!June!”
“What in the world...?” I shook my head. That can’t be the Professor…
June giggled. “You’re so much more lively than I had expected! It’s so cute! I dreamed of the day I’d meet you, sir!”
“JuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJune!” Prof. Oak said rapidly. “Who are you? Electric! JuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJuneJune!!! Electric Gym Leader June!!!! JUNE!!!! JUNE AND GARY!!!! JUNE!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”June cocked her head, now looking confused and very worried. “Sir?” she asked. “Are you okay?”
I stood up and got closer to the screen.
“Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon, Porygon-Z, Pokemon, Baltoy, Pokemon, Butterfree, Pokemon, Ivysaur, Pokemon, Salamence, Pokemon, Persian, Pokemon, Gyarados, Pokemon, Dewgong, Pokemon, Sableye, Pokemon, Combusken, Pokemon, Golbat, Pokemon, Mantyke, Pokemon, Slowpoke, Pokemon, Noctowl, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon, Pokemon!!”
June and I exchanged glances, unsure of what to say at this point as we turned back to the screen.
“Why haven’t you caught more Pokemon?????” Prof. Oak brought his face close up to the screen. Suddenly, he began to cry hysterically! Tears were flowing from his eyes!
“Oh, no! Sir!” June responded with concern. “Prof. Oak! Are you okay? Don’t cry, sir! Please!”
“GET OUT OF HERE!” a voice yelled.
Someone else appeared briefly behind Prof. Oak, reaching out for him with fury.
The screen then went black.
June and I turned to each other with mirrored, stunned faces.
“Was that...?” I questioned June hesitantly. “Prof. Oak...?”
“Behind Prof. Oak...??” June finished.
The man who had appeared behind Prof. Oak for a second looked exactly like Prof. Oak!!
Had our eyes been playing tricks on us in the brief moment we got to see the other guy? That must have been it!
The screen suddenly turned back on. Prof. Oak was glaring out at us. His frown finally broke into a smile as he focused to me. “Gary!” He turned to June. “And who is this?”June looked at Prof. Oak, dumbfounded. “I just said…”
Prof. Oak’s eyes widened and he burst into laughter. “You must have been talking to Porygon-Z!! I’m so sorry.” He turned to me. “Gary, that thing you sent me is a nuisance! I appreciate the rare capture, but that Pokemon has been deleting my very crucial files, interrupting important phone call meetings, pretending to be me over phone calls, traveling over the internet, deleting other professors’ very important research data, and just really ruining everything!” Prof. Oak took a deep breath and exhaled. He smiled at me. “If you wouldn’t mind, would you like to take Porygon-Z with you on your journey?” He chuckled.
“Professor, I’m so sorry!” I apologized. “I had no idea it would be so much trouble! I will gladly take it!”
Prof. Oak laughed. “It’s quite alright! I learned so much from Porygon-Z! You have no idea! You’re the first Trainer in my roster to have captured a Pokemon in the Porygon family. How did you do it?”
I laughed a little, my hand rubbing the back of my head shyly. “I’m not sure you’d believe the work it took if I told you.””An amazing capture nonetheless, Gary! But I wouldn’t mind a little break from it for a couple of days. Or months… No matter how hard I try, it cracks every file I have protected and usually destroys them if not compromises them in some way!”
“Prof. Oak, I’ll gladly take Porygon-Z back, right away!” To be honest, this was thrilling! I’d never gotten to use it and I was really interested in trying it out.
“Thank you, Gary!” He turned to June. “And who is this?” he asked again warmly.
“I’M JUNE!” June burst out. “So you’re the real Prof. Oak, right?”
Prof. Oak chuckled. “Yes, quite so. A pleasure to meet you, June. Are you traveling with Gary?”
“YES! I used to be the Gym Leader in Gringey City, but I was so terrible, I quit and decided my journey may be strengthened by traveling with a Trainer like Gary, who knows, like, soooooooooooooooooo much about Pokemon! So, here I am! It’s an honor to meet you, sir! I admire, literally, everything you do! You’re just WONDERFUL! This is such an honor! I love you so much!”
Prof. Oak laughed heartily and began to blush. “Thank you, June. I’m grateful for this opportunity to meet you!”
June looked stunned. “He’s grateful… meeting... me!” June hands grabbed at her heart. “Sir, I am nothing compared to your greatness! The honor is nothing but mine!”
Prof. Oak laughed again. “This inspires a poem within me!”
Oh, no… I thought to myself.
“Miltank,” Prof. Oak began. “It carries its own weight, offerings to plenty.”
I stared blankly at the screen. Wha…?
“Oh, my gosh!!” June’s voice rang out in the building, making even the professor jump. “An original Prof. Oak poem! And I witnessed its creation firsthand! I could just DIE! This is the greatest day of my LIFE!”
My hand crashed into my face.
Prof. Oak laughed once again. Suddenly, his face turned deadly serious. “June, I enjoyed our conversation, but would you mind if I spoke to Gary in private for a while?”
“Yes, sir,” June said dreamily, standing up and almost seeming to drift away on air towards a chair where she landed softly, lost in space, smiling at the ceiling.
I sat in the chair and grabbed the receiver. “Professor?”
“Gary,” Prof. Oak said firmly. “Are you alright?”
I nodded. “Yes. I am.”
“If you haven’t spoken to your mother, I insist you do so right now.”
“I just got off the phone with her.”
“How are you doing on your journey? I see you have only collected one Pokemon since we last spoke.”
I sighed loudly. “I know, sir. I haven’t collected much, and I haven’t gained any Badges. I’m in Dark City right now, trying to beat Cleopatra.”
“Cleopatra, eh? Well, good luck, my boy. She won’t be easy.”
“Yeah… I know…”Prof. Oak sighed, his eyes closed.
I stared at him silently, awaiting his next words, knowing the small talk was now over.
Prof. Oak opened his eyes and stared at me solemnly. He took a very deep, long breath, and let it out. “Gary.”
“Aly,” he started.
A lump formed in my throat that wouldn’t leave, no matter how many times I swallowed.
“Gary. I’m really glad to see that you’re alright. We all know that you were with her. Everyone in Pallet was...” He paused on his words. “...anxious to hear from you. I must say, I was very shocked when you traded Baltoy for Dugtrio without even calling me or anyone to let us know you were okay, but I figured you were still torn up about Aly and maybe just needed some more time. Calling me was going to lead to the conversation we’re having now, inevitably. Nobody wants to have that talk. In a sense, though I wanted you to call and check in, even I must admit, it wasn’t the chat I was exactly looking forward to. Every once in a blue moon I’ve had to have one of these kinds of discussions with Trainers for one reason or another, and I’ll tell you, it never gets any easier. But I am very glad you did call in. I’m glad to see that you are okay. In a different sense, I’m sure you’re not, but you are looking alright considering the circumstances.”
“Thank you, Professor,” I said lowly, not taking my eyes off of him.
“Gary,” he continued. “Where is Kiwi?”
My eyes shut as I shook my head. “I haven’t seen her, Professor. I’m sorry.”
Prof. Oak nodded, staring at me firmly. “I understand, son.”
My gaze fell to my lap.
“I have an important favor to ask of you.”
“Okay,” I agreed, not knowing what it was, but somehow, feeling that I was willing to do it.
“It’s about Aly,” Prof. Oak stated.
I looked up now. “Huh? Aly?”
“Well,” Prof. Oak said slowly, not taking his eyes off of me. His eyes were as hard as stone, not showing any emotion in them. “Aly’s Pokemon.”
“What about her Pokemon?”
“She caught quite a lot of them, Gary.”
I waited for him as he paused.
“They are with me, now. They are doing well. They get along with the other Pokemon, and they are doing okay here. They were very shocked hearing that Aly wouldn’t be coming back for them. Many of them ran away, no longer bound to her, nor this place. Many were very sad as they left. The few who did stay, we are helping through this difficult process. She loved her Pokemon a great deal.” Prof. Oak’s eyes seemed to glimmer with tears for a second, but in a sharp blink, they returned back again, making me question if I had seen them tear up in the first place.
“That’s good, Professor,” I responded, still wondering what favor he had to ask of me.
“Gary. There is only but one problem,” Prof. Oak mentioned.
“Yes, sir?” I asked shakily.
“Yes,” Prof. Oak nodded. “She’d called me many times, late at night, crying about her disobedient Ivysaur. She has a very bad temper and didn’t listen to her often. Apparently, the last time she called me, she said she was doing okay and they were getting better at working together. But since then, well… that was the last time I had heard from her. After her mother heard about Aly’s passing, she rushed to Lavender Town. Aly’s Pokemon were eventually collected and sent to me. As I said, many left upon hearing of what happened to Aly. We can’t keep them here if they choose to leave. Many were very, very close to Aly. Not surprisingly, her cat Pokemon were utterly distraught. Of her cat Pokemon, only her Persian stayed with us. Her three Skitty and Glameow departed on their own.”
I nodded silently.
“A few of her Pokemon still remain here, but who knows for how long,” Prof. Oak went on. “Ivysaur was always with Aly. She never stayed with us here at the Lab. She was always the Pokemon Aly complained about the most, though. Ever since hearing of Aly’s passing, she has been very defiant and has been fighting with many of the Pokemon here.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Professor.” There was an uncomfortable silence as I began to get less and less patient, feeling my heart beat inside of my chest harder with the slowly passing time, waiting for what Prof. Oak wanted to ask of me.
“Gary.” Prof. Oak paused. “Do you remember your Charmander? When you first decided to raise him despite his rough behavior?”
“And even after the life threatening danger he put you in, you stuck by him and raised him into what he is today.”
“I need that kind of determination,” Prof. Oak said, leaning closer towards the screen I was viewing him from. “Tracey and I both agree that you would be the perfect person to take care of Ivysaur!”
I stuttered a jumble of nonsense words to the professor in shock.
Prof. Oak stared at me solemnly.
“What did you just say?” I finally managed.
“Gary, I am asking you to take care of Aly’s Ivysaur!” Prof. Oak spoke very loud and clear, almost angrily, at me.
I could only stare at him in horror. I was afraid to ask him what he had just said again, but the question hung on the tip of my tongue.
“What do you say?” he asked me in a calmer voice.
“Prof. Oak.” I shook my head. “This is such a surprise, sir. I don’t know what to say!”
“Do you need time to think about this?”
“NO!” I shouted, though I didn’t mean to. “I just mean… I’ll…” My words were caught in my throat.
“If you can’t, it’s okay, Gary. We just figured you’d be the best one to handle it. Once Robin gets in touch again, we can ask him, but we thought you were the best candidate to be honest.”
“Wait!” I said quickly. “I can do it! I’m just… so taken back by this! But, I will raise Ivysaur! I’ll gladly take her! Please, Professor! I insist!”
Prof. Oak eyed me hard for a long while before finally nodding his head. “Porygon-Z and Ivysaur it is, then.”
I nodded my head. “Yes, sir.” I grabbed two of the Poke Balls from my belt as Prof. Oak left the screen to grab the Pokemon he would be sending to me.
When Prof. Oak finally reappeared, the serious look on his face remained.
We exchanged Pokemon.
I felt like Kingdra would do great for Prof. Oak’s research, and could use some time in a wide open, water based area with some friendly Pokemon, so I exchanged her for Porygon-Z.
Weepinbell was exchanged for Ivysaur.
“Thank you, Gary,” Prof. Oak nodded.
I nodded back, not saying anything.
“Good luck on your journey. And collect more Pokemon! And inform me the second you find Kiwi!”
The screen went black.
My heart was beating at one million miles per hour. I stayed in the chair, staring at the black screen.
“Hey! I’m trying to use the phone!” someone complained from behind me.
I turned around to see an angry, though pretty, girl glaring at me, her red hair resting on her shoulders, her blue eyes gleaming deeply at me.
I stood up shakily and walked away from her, stumbling towards the door like a drunkard, my legs barely able to hold me up.
“Gary?” I thought I heard June call out to me.
I ignored it and walked out of the Pokemon Center, not looking around, completely in shock, dazed. Before my legs felt ready to give out, they stopped walking, and my body took the chance to inhale some fresh air a few times. I thought I heard the door to the Pokemon Center open and close. “Come on out! Everybody!”
I had to see this for myself. I couldn’t believe it otherwise.
The five Pokemon appeared.
Porygon-Z stared around at everybody, floating around and getting uncomfortably close in everyone’s face.
It floated up into Hoothoot’s face, who hooted angrily, flapping his wings, and Porygon-Z made a loud screech back and floated down to Dugtrio.
Dugtrio hid underground, and Porygon-Z moved over to Primeape.
“APEAPEAPE!!!!” Primeape took a swing at Porygon-Z, who moved backwards at the last second and floated over to Ivysaur.
“Ivy…” Ivysaur growled, glaring at Porygon-Z.
Porygon-Z made a short noise and, hovering in the air, turned itself upside down and circled around her body, spinning.
“SAUR! Ivysaur!” Ivysaur used Razor Leaf on Porygon-Z.
Porygon-Z dodged left and right, spinning in all different kinds of directions, avoiding the attack easily, and then stopped. It hung upside down, not moving, and then floated over to me, spinning around me rapidly.
I wasn’t sure where to move or what to do. I just tried to keep my eyes on it as it kept circling me. “Um… welcome, Porygon-Z?” I spoke uncertainly. “You’re one of latest members of the team and I’m glad to finally be able to meet you properly!”
Porygon-Z let out a loud, mechanical noise that slammed into my brain, forcing me to cry out and make me close my eyes and cover my ears. My entire head hurt! When the noise ended, Porygon-Z was gone!
I looked around frantically. “Porygon-Z!” I called out. “Where are you?”
My other Pokemon were also looking around, confused.
Oh, no! I realized. I just lost my new Pokemon already?!
“AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!” I heard a girl shriek.
With a gasp, I ran towards the scream and found a lady nearby the Pokemon Center, Porygon-Z circling her head nonstop. “Porygon-Z!” I ran up to them and returned it to its Poke Ball. “That’s enough!”
The lady looked at me in horror and ran away, shrieking at the top of her lungs.
I sighed and looked down at Porygon-Z’s Poke Ball. Smiling, I looked up at the other Pokemon who had followed me.
“Huh? Ivysaur!” I ran past my three Pokemon and back to the spot where I had left Ivysaur.
Ivysaur was still there, pawing at the ground.
“Ivysaur!” I breathed a sigh of relief.
Ivysaur growled at me.
I stopped a few feet away from her and knelt down slowly. “Ivysaur. Do you remember me?”
She kept glaring, growling louder.
I sighed sadly. “Ivysaur. I know you are upset about Aly. I can’t replace her for you, but I will do the best I can to take care of you. Let’s work together and fulfill what Aly would have wanted you to be. The very best that you could be. I may train a little bit different than her, but I promise I have good intentions for you and I’ll love you with everything inside of me. Can we try to work together?” I slowly extended my hand out to her.
Ivysaur looked at my hand. Vines shot out from her bulb and whacked my shoulders, throwing me back harshly.
“Gary!” a voice rang out as I screamed from my stinging shoulders.
I grabbed my pained shoulders, curling up into a ball.
Someone placed their hand on my back.
“PRIMEAPE!” Primeape’s voice rang strongly.
At Primeape’s voice, I uncurled myself and turned to see what was wrong. I saw June first, who was kneeling next to me.
“Are you okay?” she asked me.
I didn’t answer, but instead turned to Primeape, who was yelling at Ivysaur.
Ivysaur turned her head and closed her eyes, ignoring him.
Primeape kept talking strictly to Ivysaur.
Dugtrio went over to the two and stopped in the middle of them, facing Ivysaur. “Trio Trio!” He smiled at her. “Trio! Trio!”
Ivysaur turned to Dugtrio and stared him in the eyes.
“Trio!” Dugtrio inched closer to Ivysaur.
“Ivy…SAAAAAUR!” Ivysaur used Vine Whip and smacked Dugtrio, forcing him back into Primeape, knocking them both over!
Primeape got up immediately and stomped over Dugtrio, walking right on top of him, to get at Ivysaur!
“RETURN!” I recalled both Pokemon back just as Ivysaur turned to attack Primeape, Primeape ready to fight Ivysaur. This is gonna be a trip, I thought with a sigh, returning my other two Pokemon as well.
“Gary...” June said from behind me.
I turned to see her eyes full of tears.
My eyes immediately began to match hers.
June stepped up to me and embraced me in a hug, which I returned with my own tight hold onto her.
The second I had seen her tear filled eyes, I knew.
I knew that she knew.
I knew that she knew we had an unexpected member of our team now joining us.
And Aly’s Ivysaur.