Cool Rush In
I ran through Route 1 at top speed, the trees and grass around me a complete blur.
“Gary, are you okay?” Prof. Oak asked me.
The rustling in the grass around me meant nothing as I continued to run as fast as was possible for me.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe we’ve ever met,” Shane said, squinting hard at me through the screen as we talked, me staring back at him in shock. “This battle you just described doesn’t ring a bell to me at all. I haven’t had a proper Gym battle in quite a number of months due to the troublemaking Ghost Pokemon in this city interfering in one way or another. This is the Badge I hand out to Trainers who do defeat me in battle.” Shane held up the Dimensia Badge.
It was all black and had a purple swirl design in the middle.
It looked nothing like the Dimensia Badge I had been carrying all this time.
The sun beamed down on me as I ran, sweating, exhausted, but not slowing down.
“You never battled Shane,” Prof. Oak told me. “I’m afraid you may have never even made it to Obsidian City.”
I pounded into the grass with my sneakers, running hard, urgently, desperately.
“Your Badge was just a Gastly in disguise,” Prof. Oak spoke in a low voice. “You never won the Dimensia Badge, let alone ever even met Shane.”
I couldn’t hear June calling my name as I ran, surely trying her best to keep up with me.
Nothing in the world was going to slow me down. I felt like I was running at top speed already, but I sucked in a deep breath and held it, desperate to move even quicker by any means necessary.
“Do you and June get into arguments often?” Prof. Oak asked.
June and I exchanged glances before turning back to Prof. Oak. We both nodded slowly.
“I suspect that Gastly was feeding off of the negative energy between you two, typical of Ghost type Pokemon.”
I leaped over a log on the ground and continued running without missing a beat. I ducked under a large tree branch and snapped a twig under my foot, not stopping, hardly breathing.
“You only have seven Badges, Gary,” Prof. Oak informed me.
Pokemon ran across the grass, near my feet, trying to get away from me as I shot through like a bullet.
“Back in Viridian City, there’s a Gym,” Prof. Oak stated. “Your best bet is to travel there and try for your final Badge before it’s too late.”
“There’s a Gym in Viridian City?” I gasped. “You never mentioned that when I was there before, back when I had been attacked by the Mankey!”
“Yes, well, as I recall, when I asked where you were planning on going, you said that you intended on going to Pewter City,” Prof. Oak replied. “After your experience with that group of Mankey, I figured maybe you weren’t ready to go straight for a Badge in Viridian City. I thought you may want to take some time traveling through Viridian Forest. Maybe catch some more Pokemon and train before battling against a Gym Leader. There are so many Gyms out there. You can choose from any of them.”
I ran as thoughts of my conversation with Prof. Oak swirled around in my head.
“I told you to keep Hoothoot with you, Gary,” Prof. Oak scolded. “Your Hoothoot’s Foresight could have exposed your Badge as a fake, and the entire battle you had as nothing more than an illusion. Or, perhaps your battle was real, but it wasn’t against Shane.”
“But, I did have Hoothoot with me, Professor!” I exclaimed.
“There’s no time, Gary,” Prof. Oak said sharply. “You only have a little over a week before the Pokemon League competition begins! You need to get to Viridian City. Now!”
Prof. Oak had called Shane after we had gotten over the initial shock of my Badge being exposed as a Gastly in disguise.
Shane hadn’t recognized me, nor had any recollection of our battle. He believed the Ghost Pokemon in the area had created a powerful illusion to trick me into believing I was battling for my Badge against him, when in reality, I hadn’t battled anything but a bunch of Ghosts looking to play a huge prank. Only this prank went as far as having a Ghost following June and I for almost a year, posing as a Gym Badge the entire time.
Viridian City, I thought, swallowing hard, my throat sore and dry. I could see the city and I suddenly started to slow down, stumbled, and fell to my knees, breathing heavily.
“Gary!” June stopped a few feet from me, also catching her breath. She stared at me, worry in her eyes. “Are you alright?”
I stood up and nodded sadly, but didn’t speak, swallowing again.
June looked past me and then back to me. “We’re almost there. Viridian City is just a couple of minutes away.”
“I know,” I replied, my breathing slowing down.
June brushed her hair out of her eyes. “This is really scary. My heart is racing right now, and not just from the running. You were done, Gary! You had all eight Badges!”
“I can’t believe this is happening!” I said loudly. “In about week, the Pokemon League competition will begin, and I still only have seven Badges! After all of this, I find out that one of my Badges was a freaking Gastly playing some damn trick on me! Playing a freaking game! I may not make it in time to compete in the Pokemon League! Everything I’ve accomplished. Everything we’ve accomplished, June! You, me, and my Pokemon. Everything we’ve gone through. It can’t be for nothing!” I thought of Robin. Aly. Kiwi. My eyes narrowed determinedly. “I have to get my final Badge.”
June nodded, a serious look on her face. She looked up into the sky. “I can’t believe it, though. A prank by a Gastly, and we didn’t even know. And our constant bickering and fighting was satisfying Gastly’s hunger and needs.”
“It’s time to get my final Badge, for real this time,” I said firmly, and turned around, walking towards Viridian City. I didn’t hear June following me, so I looked back.
June was still looking up into the sky, lost in thought.
Is she coming or what? I wondered. Whatever. I turned my head back and started jogging. A couple of minutes later, I stood in Viridian City. I wonder where it is. My eyes bounced through the city, trying to see the Gym, and finally I proceeded walking.
“Hold up!” June was just now bursting out of Route 1 and slowed down as she reached me.
I pulled out the Town Map and focused on it, soon spotting the Gym. It wasn’t far away at all. After just a few minutes of walking, we turned to see an enormous building that was exactly where the map said the Gym would be. I put the Town Map away and faced the building, my fists clenched tight.
The building was wider than it was tall. It was all green, and the roof was as blue as the sky above, curved, reaching down the sides of the building.
“This is it, Gary,” June said warily. “This time, you’ll earn your final Badge. Your eighth Badge. You’ll compete in the Pokemon League, and you’ll win.”
My heart beat even faster as I stared at the Gym. Bugs, I thought. Charizard will clean up easily. This will be a synch.
“I still can’t believe that final Badge was really a Gastly, and we didn’t even know it,” June muttered.
I turned to her as she looked down. It was then that I remembered when I had shown what I had thought was the Dimensia Badge to my grandma and auntie. They both stared at it in awe, my grandma unable to take her eyes off of it for a while.
I recalled when Kiwi and I were on the mountain before entering Saffron City, when June and I had gotten separated. Kiwi and I had been attacked by the group of angry Psychic Pokemon. Kiwi had seen the Badge, captivated by it, too.
My eyes widened remembering being surrounded by the Psychic Pokemon as they readied attacks at Kiwi and I. A bright flash of light had somehow managed to scare off the Psychic Pokemon, and weakened one of them that I ended up catching. My Baltoy. The Dimensia Badge had almost seemed to glow for a brief instant, but I had thought that maybe I was seeing things.
Gastly saved me and Kiwi...? I considered.
I turned to June and blinked, which seemed to snap me back to Earth and realize my mouth was hanging open, and I closed it.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I nodded quickly and turned to the Gym. “Enough wasting time. Let’s get that Badge.”
We both walked up to the Gym door.
It was tall and green and a golden door knob stuck out from it. The words Viridian City Pokemon Gym was painted on the door in a mix of yellow and black letters, every word trading places in color.
I raised my fist and knocked on the door repeatedly.
We both waited impatiently, staring at the door, waiting for it to open.
The doorknob twisted suddenly and the door slowly creaked open. A woman stepped out and gazed at me, and then turned to June, looking at us innocently, barely an inch taller than me.
I gasped a couple of short, sharp times and backed away in shock.
June cried out, gawking at the young lady.
“No way!” I exclaimed. “Tammie?!?!”
Tammie turned to me and smiled. “Yes, that’s me. Are you two here to challenge the Viridian City Gym?”
I stared at Tammie silently, completely stunned by her being here.
Her honey blonde hair sat on her shoulders. Her blue eyes stared at me observantly, tracing me up and down. She turned to June and gave her a once over as well. “Are either of you here to challenge this Gym...?” she asked slowly.
“I am!” I finally said. “But... you... You’re Tammie! The Elite Four member and user of Ice types!”
Tammie’s smile spread further. “Yes, I am!”
“It really is you!” June gasped. “I can’t believe it! What an honor to meet you!”
Tammie rolled her eyes up at the sky, smiling. “Well, thank you,” she said, staring at June. “Who are you?”
“My name is June,” June said brightly. “This is Gary, my friend. He’s come to challenge your Gym.”
Tammie turned to me and tilted her head slightly. “Nice to meet you, Gary. You ready to battle me for a Badge?”
“Battle you? An Elite Four member? For my Badge?”
Tammie giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. It came out as more of a strong, thick, coughing laughter than anything. “The Gym Leader isn’t here right now. She’s been away for long time. I’ve been filling in for her until she returns. She’s a really good friend of mine. So you’ll be battling my Pokemon for your Badge.”
My mouth hung open as I stared at Tammie, my eyes hanging from their sockets.
June turned to me with her wide eyes.
“Or, you can try another Gym, of course,” Tammie suggested, crossing her arms in front of her light blue shirt.
“No!” I blurted out. “I don’t have time for that!”
“I’m aware,” Tammie replied. “You’ve only got about a week. If you’d like to come inside and try for your Badge, I welcome you inside.” She turned and strut off in her blue jeans, her white sneakers softly leading her path as she disappeared inside of the Gym, the door sliding shut behind her.
“Gary, you’re about to battle an Elite Four member for your final Badge!” June whispered.
“Elite Four or not, I can’t let anybody stop me,” I said bravely. “My goal is to defeat every Pokemon Trainer out there. No matter how tough, I have to keep going. This is exactly the kind of challenge I want. She’s the Ice Elite Four member, so my plan remains. Charizard all the way!” I walked to the door and opened it.
“But, Gary! Think about it carefully!” June insisted as I walked inside. “She’s an Elite member for a reason! Don’t think you can just win with a type advantage!”
It was fairly dark, shadows filling every corner of the dimly lit brown room. One set of bleachers sat against the wall. A battlefield was outlined in white paint on the floor.
Tammie was already standing on one side of the battlefield, looking towards me.
A tall man dressed in a black suit and sunglasses stood outside of the field, his hands clasped together in front of him.
I walked up to the other end of the battlefield and faced Tammie.
June walked past me and took a seat in the bleachers.
“So, Gary, how many Badges do you have so far?” Tammie asked.
“I have seven,” I answered. “I’m here to win my eighth so I can compete in the Pokemon League!”
“I assumed you must have at least seven this late in the game,” she smirked. “How do you feel about battling a member of the Elite Four?”
“This will really show just how strong I am and how much further I have to go before I can become a Pokemon Master,” I said eagerly, smiling, raising a fist in excitement. “I’m ready to win!”
“Good attitude, Gary,” Tammie complimented. “Most of the Trainers I’ve faced while filling in for the Gym Leader here have complained that I’m too strong and it isn’t fair because I’m stronger than a Gym Leader. I think that’s ridiculous. With the right training, a lot of love and trust, and a deep bond and connection between Pokemon and Trainer, nothing is impossible in a Pokemon battle.”
“Yeah!” I agreed.
“But, Gary,” Tammie smiled mischievously, “you’re not gonna be defeating me today.”
“It’s got to be today!” I shouted.
“Go on ahead and officially state your name and where you’re from then, Gary!” Tammie nodded.
“Gary, from Pallet Town!”
Tammie turned to the man in the suit and winked and nodded.
“This is a Gym battle between Gary from Pallet Town and Tammie of the Elite Four, filling in as Viridian City’s Gym Leader,” the man announced. “This will be a two-on-two Pokemon battle. The first Trainer whose Pokemon gets knocked out, loses. Only the challenger is allowed to substitute Pokemon. There is no time limit. Let the battle begin!”
“Abomasnow, I choose you!” Tammie yelled, throwing what looked like a Great Ball.
“Charizard, go!” I shouted, throwing his Poke Ball.
“SNOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!” Abomasnow roared menacingly.
Charizard let out a loud roar back, threateningly.
Abomasnow. The Frost Tree Pokemon. This is the evolved form of Snover. Abomasnow can sense and create snow storms. Their feet clutch the ground so strongly, it is practically impossible to knock one over.
“A Grass and Ice type?” I murmured, staring at my Pokedex. “Both of those types are weak to Fire.” I put away my Pokedex with a smile. “This will be no sweat.”
“Gary, please don’t let your guard-!” June tried.
Suddenly, snow appeared! From out of nowhere, cold snow began billowing around the inside of the building roughly, knocking into me, forcing me to keep my balance and not fall over.
Charizard stomped his feet and growled into the sudden storm.
Abomasnow was now a lot harder to see as it camouflaged against the snow.
Tammie seemed just fine in her short sleeved shirt as she merely crossed her arms.
I was shivering pretty quickly but held myself together. “Charizard, go in and use Flamethrower! Finish this quickly!”
Charizard let out a tremendous roar and used Flamethrower, hitting Abomasnow in the chest.
Abomasnow closed its eyes and groaned, finally screaming out in pain, but stood its ground.
Charizard’s painful attack ended and I eagerly stared at Abomasnow expectantly.
Abomasnow lifted up one foot with a grunt and slammed it back down to the Gym floor. It let out a huge roar and opened its arms, looking furious and ready for more.
Charizard grunted in surprise and then flinched a couple of times from the constant snow and ice hitting it.
“No way! It’s still okay??” I couldn’t believe Abomasnow was still standing! “Charizard, focus! It’s just cold! Don’t let that get to ya!”
“Gary, Abomasnow’s Ability is Snow Warning!” June informed me. “A hailstorm is created as soon as Abomasnow hits the field! It’s difficult for any Pokemon that isn’t Ice to withstand!”
“Oh, no!” It was surprise after surprise for me.
Tammie smiled. “A very powerful Charizard you have there, Gary. Easy to see. But you’re gonna need to try a little harder than that to take us out.”
“Charizard, use your Fire Spin this time!”
Charizard growled at Abomasnow and flapped his wings, lifting himself high into the air. With an angry roar, he spit a stream of spiraling flames at Abomasnow.
Abomasnow was hit and it roared again, its eyes closed, swatting at the fire. When the attack ended, Abomasnow hadn’t moved from its spot, glaring at Charizard, but breathing heavily.
“We’re wearing it out, Charizard! One more Fire Spin and finish it off!”
Tammie snickered. “I think it’s time to see just how tough Charizard is. Leer!”
Abomasnow’s eyes glowed red and it glared at Charizard as he opened his jaws to attack.
Charizard let out a confused cry and stared at Abomasnow in fear, backing up in the air.
“Charizard, what do you think you’re doing?!” I barked angrily. “Don’t stop! End this battle! Fire Spin, now!!”
Charizard didn’t move, staring at Abomasnow.
“Now, use Sheer Cold!” Tammie eyes lit up.
“BOMASNOOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!” A twinkling white beam of ice streamed out of Abomasnow’s mouth and hit Charizard in the chest.
He cried out painfully, and I immediately knew something was seriously wrong. Charizard fell flat on his back, weakly moaning.
“Charizard is unable to battle! Tammie is the winner!” the referee declared.
“HEY!” There was NO WAY Charizard was out THAT easily!! “What was that???!”
Sheer Cold. A powerful Ice move that instantly knocks out the opponent.
I stared with a stunned look at my Pokedex before putting it away.
“Nice try, Gary,” Tammie teased. “Keep it coming, though. You’re good!”
Type advantage isn’t my friend here, I finally accepted. But her Abomasnow is still weak. We can take it out real quick and knock out her last Pokemon, too. I won’t be so easily taken out. Not at this stage. Not now. “Good work, Charizard. Come on back!” I returned my Pokemon and went for a different Poke Ball. “Primeape, I’m counting on you!” I threw his Poke Ball with confidence. He’ll definitely be the one to take this match home, I was sure.
“PRIME!” Primeape yelled eagerly, punching his fists together.
“Primeape, we can take that thing out with a Cross Chop!”
Primeape ran at Abomasnow with crossed arms. As he neared Abomasnow, his hands started to glow white.
“Mist!” Tammie said calmly, still smiling.
Abomasnow opened its mouth and a white mist filled the battlefield.
I could just barely make out Primeape’s silhouette stop and look around in confusion before he disappeared from my view. “Primeape!”
“Ape! Primeape!” Primeape called back.
“You’re a little too forceful, Gary,” Tammie commented through the smog. “Your Pokemon look strong, but you need a much better plan than just charging into a battle. Especially against an experienced Trainer as myself. Now, watch and learn.”
The Mist faded, and Abomasnow was now standing behind Primeape as Primeape glanced around.
“Behind you, Primeape!” I pleaded desperately.
“Prime?” Primeape started to turn around.
“Leer,” Tammie said quickly.
Primeape faced Abomasnow as it used Leer. He cried out frantically, screeching in fear.
“Now, Ice Punch!” Tammie ordered.
Both of Abomasnow’s hands glowed light blue and it swung a fist at Primeape.
Primeape screamed as ice began to form all over his body from where he was hit. The ice continued to surround him until he was a solid block of ice.
“NO!” I screamed angrily, my heart pumping with fear, my teeth gritting tight. “PRIMEAPE! COME ON! GET OUT OF THERE!”
“Allow us,” Tammie winked. “Wood Hammer!”
Abomasnow’s arm glowed turquoise and it slammed down on Primeape, smashing the ice around him.
Primeape was tossed back and hit the floor on his back, bouncing twice before laying still.
“Primeape! Get up, now!” I demanded frantically. “This isn’t over yet!! Get up! This is for our final Badge! Please! Don’t give in so easily! I believe in you! Just get up and focus!!”
Primeape shook his head and shakily got to his feet. He fell forward onto his fists but struggled to get up.
“No...” I whispered, watching.
Primeape fell to his face. He pushed himself back up with one arm, and then his other arm pushed against the floor. He stood up, stumbling, looking dizzy and weak.
“Primeape,” I said weakly. All of our training, I thought. All that we’ve been through on our journey. I get to challenge a member of the Elite Four, and this is all I have to show for it? Is this the best we are? Is this it? Have we failed our planned destiny? My shoulders slumped in defeat.
“PRIIIIIME!” Primeape let out, heaving hard, glaring at Abomasnow. His eyes turned to me and our eyes met.
Can he see the defeat in my eyes? I wondered. He looks so eager. He looks weary, but eager.
“APE! AAAAPE!” Primeape suddenly yelled at me, jumping up and down repeatedly. After a few jumps, he dropped to his knees, but quickly pushed himself to his feet again, glaring at me.
I shook my head. No, Primeape, I thought. This is wrong. You can see the defeat in me, but you want to keep on fighting. But even I’m not sure we’re ready for this.
“PRIIIIIIME APE APE APE!!!” Primeape raged, and ran at Abomasnow, pulling back a fist, ready to attack.
“Primeape!” I insisted. “STOP IT!”
Primeape ignored me and continued to charge at his opponent.
“Ice Shard!” Tammie instructed.
Abomasnow raised its hands over its head and a ball of light blue, glowing ice formed between them. It quickly tossed it at Primeape.
“AAAAAAAAPE!!” Primeape was tossed back against the force. His body was surrounded by a light blue light which soon faded as Primeape laid on his back.
“Primeape is unable to battle. Abomasnow is the winner!” the referee determined. “This battle goes to temporary Viridian City Gym Leader and member of the Elite Four, Tammie!”
“Return,” I said in disappointment, returning Primeape.
“Good work, Abomasnow,” Tammie thanked, and returned her Pokemon. She walked over to me, her smile never fading. “You’re a great Trainer. You just need to take your time. A battle isn’t always just gonna be laid out before you to win. You kept charging right in with every move you used. I understand why, but sometimes, it’s best to take it slow. Let the opponent get the first hit. View the battle style and try to counter it. At least, that’s my strategy. Stay cool.” She winked.
I smiled, but my head lowered. I stared at Primeape’s Poke Ball.
“Looks like you let down your Pokemon,” Tammie added. “Poor thing had so much energy. You need to really sync with your Pokemon and understand their feelings, but I guess your Pokemon also need to do the same with you. A Pokemon battle is a team effort. It isn’t just about having a powerful Pokemon. I have a feeling you understand that, though. You won seven Badges. I’m sure you’re very skilled and have had some memorable battles.”
I looked up at Tammie and somehow managed to smile. “Yeah. You know, I’m pretty embarrassed. I think I could’ve done better.”
“Everyone could do better, Gary. Even I could have done better in our battle.”
“I think you’re just trying to be nice, now,” I said with a little laugh.
“I disagree, Gary. Sincerely,” Tammie said, her face turning more serious.
June was now walking up to us warmly. “You both did great.”
Tammie beamed at June before returning to me. “You’re welcome to come back any time and try again for your Badge. Thank you for our battle, Gary.”
“Thank you, too, Tammie. I learned a lot from you. Next time, I’ll definitely give you a proper battle.”
“I know you will. But...” Tammie winked. “You won’t win next time, either.”
“Ha! Just wait and see, Tammie!” I challenged.
Tammie nodded and extended her hand.
I took it and we shook gently.
I heard the door to the Gym open.
Tammie turned to see who had entered. An excited look came over her face as she released my hand and clasped hers together. “Well, well. Of all people. If it isn’t Tera! Our precious Bug type Gym Leader has finally returned after such a long time away from the Gym.”
June turned to look at Tera. She immediately shrieked, horrified, stumbling back until she fell against the bleachers, looking at the Gym Leader as if she were a ghost.
I jumped, startled at her reaction.
The referee smiled and walked forward a few steps. He bowed at Tera.
Finally, I turned around and laid my eyes on the returning Gym Leader. I hadn’t tried to speak, or swallow, or anything, but I somehow choked nonetheless.
She stood wearing pink shorts and matching, pink sneakers with pink bows on them, her pink socks visible at her ankles. She wore a white top covered by a light, red jacket, zipped up despite the heat. Her white sunglasses sat on top of her head. Her brown hair, twisted, wrapped around her head, ending on her left shoulder.
A Butterfree sat on her right shoulder.
The Butterfree girl.
The Butterfree girl was Tera.
The Butterfree girl was the Gym Leader of Viridian City?!?!
The Butterfree girl was the BUG Gym Leader of Viridian City?!?!?
The Butterfree girl’s name was Tera?!?!
Tera looked at me and squinted hard, not believing her eyes. She blinked several times, hard, almost looking as if she believed I would disappear if she blinked hard enough.
I honestly wished I could just disappear.
I wanted to be anywhere else but here, finding out that the only thing preventing me from getting my eighth Badge and competing in the Pokemon League, was the Butterfree girl.