A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

By QBOak

Adventure / Drama

Gone In The Wind

“No way...” Tera whispered, glaring at me, squinting hard.

“You,” I said in a low voice, my eyebrows narrowing.

“Tera!” Tammie cried excitedly, running towards her. She wrapped the Gym Leader in a hug, Tera weakly hugging back, not removing her eyes from me. “Tera, you’ve finally returned! I’m so glad to see you’re back, my love.” She kissed her on the cheek.

Tera didn’t turn from me.

I continued eyeing her right back.

“Tera?” Tammie asked, noticing Tera wasn’t paying attention to her. She turned to look at me, and then turned back. She looked back and forth a few more times and stopped at Tera. “Tera, do you know Gary?”

YOU?!” June shouted, shocked. She got to her feet. “Of all people, you are the BUG Gym Leader? You’re a Gym Leader?! WHAT?!

“...Or perhaps his friend?” Tammie inquired.

Tera turned to June and her face got even angrier. She turned back to me. “What are you doing here??”

I swallowed and didn’t say a word. This can’t be, I thought. Of all people, not her. Not her. Anybody on Earth but her! I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.

“Are you here to battle for the Hexapoda Badge?” Tera questioned, her southern accent deeper than ever, stepping away from Tammie and towards me.

I inhaled deeply and glared at Tera. “You’re the Gym Leader of Viridian City? The Bug Gym Leader, at that?”

“I can’t believe you’re here,” Tera growled. “You! Why can’t you just leave me alone?”

“Trust me, I had no intentions of coming to Viridian for my final Badge,” I insisted. “If I had time, I’d go to another Gym, but I don’t have time for that. I need your Badge. Now!”

Tera turned to Tammie. “Did you two battle already?”

Tammie nodded. “Yes, but what’s going on here? How do you three know each other?”

Tera turned to me, giving me a nasty look. “This guy has been a bother to me for quite a while. I keep running into him, and he irritates me every time I see him. He’s just a puny Trainer with no skill, no talent, and a laughable fear of bugs.”

“It isn’t funny!” I raged.

“It’s an absolute riot,” Tera retorted. “And now you’ve come to the Bug type Gym to earn your last Badge.”

“You’re the pathetic one!” June cried out. “You don’t even like Bug types! Why are you a Bug type Gym Leader?”

Tera ignored June, focused on me.

“Okay, I don’t understand what’s going on here,” Tammie said sadly, her arms wrapped around her shoulders as she watched with concern.

“I’ll battle you tomorrow. You already lost here for today. If I could, I’d just reject you entirely, but I can’t. I must accept all challengers. Return tomorrow and you can battle for the Hexapoda Badge and lose. Until then, get the hell out of my Gym.”

I stared in disgust at Tera. “Gladly.” I turned to June. “Let’s go.”

June didn’t look away from Tera, but walked after me.

I walked towards Tera, keeping a good distance away from her, still stunned to have found out that she was the Bug type Gym Leader of Viridian City.

Our eyes were glued to each other as I got closer to the Gym door.

“Bye...” Tammie called out in a low, cautious voice.

June and I exited the building, June slamming the door hard behind her. “Do you believe that?!” June screamed angrily, stomping the ground. “Her name is Tera, and she’s the freaking BUG Gym Leader here! A GYM LEADER! Of all the things, she had to be the one! That rotten little brat! I mean, I can’t even believe this is happening! Gary, she’s who you have to beat before you can enter the Pokemon League!”

I looked back at June, my anger gone. I knew I could beat Tera, but I was still worried for some reason.

I’d have to face my biggest fear and win, and I was running out of time to accomplish my goal.

*

Nurse Joy smiled at me slightly, clearly forced. “Um, Gary, dear?” Nurse Joy asked after I dropped my six Poke Balls onto the desk, requesting them to receive some food and a checkup.

“Yes, Nurse Joy?” I replied, looking at her innocently.

“Do you still have that Porygon-Z with you?” she asked me kindly.

I nodded. “Yes. I do, actually.”

Nurse Joy’s forced smile widened. “Right, then. You see, as I’m sure you remember, your Porygon-Z caused a fair amount of trouble here the last time. Are you sure it’s under control and won’t... act out again?”

I stared at Nurse Joy in shock, a little bit hurt by her statement, but I understood her concern. “I’m sorry for what happened here the last time we were here. I don’t think it will happen again. It doesn’t always do that. Honest. Actually...” I picked up Porygon-Z’s Poke Ball and held it out, sending out the Pokemon.

Porygon-Z looked at me excitedly.

“STOP!” I reached out and wrapped my hands around the beak-like appendage on its face. “NO SCREECHING!”

Porygon-Z couldn’t be stopped. It screeched excitedly and my hands released it, covering my ears as I bent over in pain, screaming.

Everyone in the Pokemon Center cried out and many of them hit the floor, covering their ears.

Nurse Joy fell down, too, disappearing behind her desk, covering her ears and screaming.

Chansey did the same.

When the noise finally ended, my head was still ringing. I looked up at Porygon-Z angrily. “That’s enough!” My patience was up with this Pokemon, and I stood up. I stepped near it as its head spun in circles slowly. “Stop the damn screeching, will ya?? I know you’re happy to get out of your Poke Ball and see me and other people, but you need to calm down! That noise is driving people, myself included, crazy! Just come out and be-” I pressed my lips together, considering my words. “-a bit more quieter! Please! And also, when you’re in a Pokemon Center, stop messing with the electronics! Just eat, get healed, and end it there! Enough of these games, Porygon-Z!”

Porygon-Z trembled as it hovered in the air. It let out a low whine which grew a little bit louder, slowly.

“No more crying, either!” I said strongly. “Please! Just stop it!” I swallowed, trying to keep myself calm, but knowing I needed to put my foot down with this thing if I ever expected it to change. “You need to be stronger than this! You can’t be such a baby all the time! Come on, already!” I crossed my arms in front of my chest and glared at Porygon-Z. “You need to grow up already! You’re a fully evolved Pokemon! Start acting like one!” I knew I sounded like a parent at this point, and I guess I was...?

Porygon-Z lowered towards the ground, hovering right above it, its head lowered, whining with a mechanical pitch.

My heart sunk against my will to be tough.

Porygon-Z didn’t mean any harm. It was just really playful. But it was causing harm to others by its actions, and as its Trainer, I had to tame it.

“Now, go with Nurse Joy, okay? Get some rest,” I said firmly, keeping up my position.

Porygon-Z floated up into the air and hovered above the desk, its head still down.

Nurse Joy was standing up, watching with a warm smile.

I gently pet Porygon-Z’s head and smiled.

Porygon-Z turned to me and let out a low cry.

“Thanks,” I nodded sincerely.

Porygon-Z seemed to perk up and it let out a lighter cry.

Chansey walked over and placed a tray on the table. The tray had six circular dents in it and she placed my Poke Balls in them. Lifting the tray, Chansey walked towards the door in the back, Porygon-Z floating alongside her.

“Wait!” someone called out. I turned to see June standing by the front door of the Pokemon Center, holding her enormous bag to her face, staring at Porygon-Z fearfully. She cautiously walked over to Nurse Joy and quickly dug through her bag, pulling out her ten Poke Balls. She dropped them on the desk. “Mine, too, please.” Her Poke Balls rolled on the table, most of them falling to the floor. June then backed up a few feet, keeping wary eyes on my loose Pokemon.

Porygon-Z was watching June and it let out a loud shout and floated over to her.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” June shrieked in terror, running and disappearing out the front doors in a matter of seconds.

Porygon-Z hovered near me and collapsed to the floor, hurt by June’s action.

I bent down quickly and grabbed it up, pulling it into a hug, staring after where June ran as I shook my head, Porygon-Z whining sadly.

*

“So is your plan as simple as it sounds?” June asked me.

“I guess,” I answered. “It may be simple, but there’s nothing wrong with having an advantage in battle.”

“Unless the advantage you think you have is turned into your disadvantage, somehow.”

“Huh?” I turned to her, barely able to see her in the dark.

June and I sat on the outskirts of Route 1, the darkness surrounding us as our Pokemon hung out together, partaking in various activities.

All of my Pokemon came out together, but I gave a stern talking to Primeape about his disobedience during our battle with Tammie. I wanted all of my Pokemon to be there for this talk. It was for Primeape, but it still involved everyone. We were a team, after all. Every win was celebrated together, and so should our failures. Everyone needed to know not to do that. Primeape looked sorry, and I rubbed his head roughly, letting him know it was okay, but not to do it again.

Once June’s Pokemon came out, Primeape was swinging blows at Ampharos, who was using Cotton Guard to defend herself.

Charizard had soared above in the skies, gone from view completely.

Baltoy spun in circles as Eevee playfully tried to jump and land on Baltoy. Baltoy dodged around her and twirled around the area as Eevee adorably gave chase, her tail wagging hard with joy.

Galvantula was in the treetops, silently watching inside of a sparking, electric web.

Manectric sat by itself, curled up, sleeping.

Blitzle was bouncing around, eagerly watching Ampharos and Primeape fight.

Magneton hovered above June.

Pikachu sat in June’s lap.

Rotom and Porygon-Z had been facing each other for the longest time when June and I had sent them out. They eventually had taken to spinning in a huge circle, crying out to each other, not once looking away from the other. One would cry out, and then the other would follow. They spun faster as time progressed in their strange, dizzying little game.

June and I had decided to leave Electivire and Ivysaur in their Poke Balls for tonight. We weren’t in the mood for their crappy attitudes.

June also felt that Lanturn would be happier in her Poke Ball since she was part Water type and may not care to be in the grass since she isn’t as agile there as she is in the water.

I had sent out Kingdra, but she was showing signs of not wanting to be out with the other Pokemon tonight, so I returned her in her Poke Ball.

“I was just saying,” June continued, “a type advantage isn’t always an advantage. If the opponent is skilled, what you think is a lead for you will turn out to be your worst battle. I’m sure you have enough strength and skill to beat Tera, but you have to be wary. Your battle with Tammie could’ve been a lot better.”I nodded. “You’re right, June. Tomorrow, I’ll do my best. I’m kind of upset she didn’t let me battle today, though. My Pokemon were healed in a good enough amount of time to rechallenge her. She knows my time is limited.”

“She probably is doing this on purpose. Don’t let it get to you. Focus on the battle tomorrow. You can do this.”

“I have to do this, June. It’s now or never.”

Porygon-Z and Rotom continued to spin around faster, facing each other, a wide circle between them, crying out gently to each other in turn.

*

Viridian City Pokemon Gym were the words on the door, painted in yellow and black, that my eyes were glued to as I knocked on the Gym doors the next morning.

June stood beside me, her hardened eyes on the door.

The door opened a moment later and Tera stood in front of us. She wore a sky blue dress and white shoes, her brown hair was twisted back and around, sitting on her left shoulder. Butterfree sat on her right shoulder, as usual. She stared at me for a second, looked at June and gave her an even more dirty look, and turned around, disappearing inside of the Gym as she walked away.

June pushed past me into the Gym, knocking me aside.

I stared after June in shock and hurried in, closing the door behind me.

Tera took her place in the battlefield, the same referee in the suit and sunglasses standing where he stood during my battle with Tammie, his hands clasped in front of him.

June kept her glare on Tera as she took her seat in the bleachers.

I didn’t see Tammie anywhere as I stepped onto my side of the battlefield and looked into Tera’s angry eyes. “Tera, before we battle, I have to ask!” I called out. “How can you claim to dislike Bug type Pokemon and be the Bug type Gym Leader?”

Tera didn’t look away from me. She waved her hand at the referee.

“This will be a battle between Gary from Pallet Town and Viridian City Gym Leader Tera for the Hexapoda Badge!” the referee announced. “This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle. No time limit. Only the challenger is allowed to substitute Pokemon. Let the battle... begin!”

“GOOOO!” Tera shouted, pointing at me.

“FREEEEEEEEE!” Butterfree sanf out with strongly, flying from Tera’s shoulder.

She’s using her Butterfree. “Right! Charizard, go!” I yelled.

Charizard roared upon his release and landed on the Gym’s floor.

“Flamethrower! End this match immediately!”

“Butterfree, dodge!” Tera ordered.

Charizard used Flamethrower, but Butterfree flew right above the attack.

“Now for you to see what he can do,” Tera said coldly. “Whirlwind!”

Butterfree flapped his wings rapidly and the gust blew against Charizard.

Charizard growled, and suddenly started to glow red! Charizard turned into pure red energy and flew back towards me!

“Hey!” I yelled, backing up.

Charizard was returned to his Poke Ball!

Before I could react, a white beam shot out from one of my Poke Balls and towards the field.

“Baltoy!” Baltoy cried out and spun in place. It maneuvered over to Butterfree.

“Baltoy?” I gasped in confusion.

“It’s Whirlwind, you dunce!” Tera called out rudely. “It switches out your Pokemon! You truly are amongst the dumbest, aren’t you?”

I stared at Tera in shock, ignoring her mean comments. “No! I didn’t intend to use Baltoy for this battle!”

“That’s the point!” Tera snapped.

I turned to June, who was glaring at Butterfree with a focused look.

Baltoy headed towards Butterfree to greet him by spinning in circles.

“Whirlwind!” Tera repeated.

As Baltoy attempted its typical greeting of spinning circles around Butterfree, Butterfree’s wings flapped hard and hit Baltoy with a gust of wind. My Pokemon was stopped and it just spun in place. It was turned into red energy and forced into returning!

“Stop it!” I looked down at my belt as another white beam shot out from one of my Poke Balls.

“Priiiiiime!” Primeape shouted, jumping up and down, punching his fists repeatedly.

“NOOOOOO!” I cried out helplessly, reaching out for him. My hand clenched tight.

My three Pokemon had just been chosen for me.

I hadn’t intended on Primeape or Baltoy being in this battle. My idea was Charizard, Porygon-Z, and, arguably, Ivysaur...

“Psybeam!” Tera demanded.

Primeape wailed out as he was dropped to his back.

“Primeape, get up!” I urged. “Use your Thrash attack! NOW! We don’t have time to waste here! We need to make this quick!”

Primeape groaned as he got back up. His eyes had a dim, red glow to them.

He’s Confused! I realized.

Primeape immediately leaped forward and socked Butterfree right in his middle.

Butterfree screamed out helplessly as Primeape continued to mercilessly pummel him.

“Blow it away with Gust!” Tera told her Pokemon.

Butterfree flapped his wings and a gust of wind blew Primeape off of him.

Primeape slid on his feet, shook his head, and ran towards Butterfree again. He ran, ran, ran, and ran... right past Butterfree...

Right past Tera...

...and started punching at the wall, headbutting and attacking in Confusion!

“PRIMEAPE! Focus! Come! OOOOOON! We don’t have time for this!”

“Quiver Dance!”

Butterfree started to flap frantically, yet rhythmically, maneuvering around the air.

“Quiver Dance...” I muttered, pulling out my Pokedex.

Quiver Dance. The user dances to raise its Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed.

“Primeape, you need to relax for a moment! Please!” I begged. “Just stop!”

To my surprise, Primeape froze and heaved heavily. He turned around, facing Butterfree. His eyes weren’t red. He was no longer Confused!

“Alright!” I cheered. “Primeape, we can still win this! Let’s use that move we worked on! Rock Slide, now!”

“Priiiiiime...” Primeape raised his fists into the air. “AAAAAAPE!

White circles opened in the air and enormous boulders dropped from them.

Butterfree zoomed around the falling rocks, his Speed much faster, but one rock landed on his back, taking him down.

“YES!” I leaped into the air as a collision of more rocks fell on the Bug.

“Psybeam!” Tera pressed on.

A rock on top of the pile was tossed off, a multicolored beam rising from where it sat, and Butterfree flew into the air from the pile, breathing hard, leering at Primeape.

“Thrash it!” I pushed my Pokemon.

Primeape leaped at Butterfree and swung.

Butterfree hovered higher and dodged easily.

“End this!” Tera said.

Butterfree used Psybeam, hitting Primeape in the back.

Primeape was forced to the ground as he screamed. He slid along the floor, coming to a stop.

“Primeape is unable to battle!” the referee announced. “Butterfree is the winner!”

“Damn it,” I whispered. “You did well, Primeape. Thank you. Butterfree doesn’t have much more left in him.” I returned him and grasped my next Poke Ball. “Alright, finish this match off, Baltoy!” Just in case, I’ll save the best for last, I told myself.

“Baltooooooooy!” Baltoy cried, spinning in place.

“Quiver Dance!” Tera had her Pokemon use.

Butterfree did his dance again, boosting his Stats.

“Ancient Power!” I told Baltoy.

“Tooooooy!” Baltoy’s body glowed white and a spiraling white ball removed itself from Baltoy’s body, firing at Butterfree and slamming into him.

Butterfree was shot down hard from the hit, wailing painfully.

“We’ve got him now!” I celebrated with a huge smile.

“Butterfree is una-” the referee started.

I gasped, along with the referee, as Butterfree’s head lifted and shook hard. He floated into the air weakly, looking ready to drop.

“He’s done!” I freaked out impatiently. “One more Ancient Power!”

Baltoy used the move again, but Butterfree, even faster now, flew right underneath it!

“Quiver Dance again!” Tera insisted.

Butterfree danced in the air.

“Ancient Power!! We can destroy that Bug!”

Baltoy attacked again, but Butterfree was too fast and dove under it again.

“Bug Buzz!” Tera chose happily.

Butterfree’s wings flapped rapidly and it let out a shrill cry that made me cover my ears and close my eyes.

I forced my eyes open and watched as red waves came off of Butterfree’s body and hit Baltoy.

June had one eye closed, covering her ears, watching the match.

The referee covered his ears, struggling just to watch against the blaring sound, but kept his eyes on the battle.

Tera squinted against the noise but stayed focused.

Baltoy spun in place hard and finally flew back, landing on its back. It groaned and twitched as the attack continued.

“Baltoy!! Ancient Power!! You’ve got to fight! Get up!! This is our only chance!”

Butterfree stopped attacking, and Baltoy remained on its back.

“Baltoy is unable to battle! Butterfree is the winner!” the referee determined.

Tera smirked at me.

I gritted my teeth. “Return!” I returned Baltoy. Letting out a growl from deep in my throat as my lips pursed together hard, my eyes focused on Butterfree, I placed Baltoy’s Poke Ball on my hip. I won’t lose to this stupid Bug, I thought. Not now. I don’t have the time for this. I have to win now! “Charizard, help us out!”

Charizard roared and blasted threatening fire into the air without warning.

Butterfree was almost hit and dodged around the flames, fluttering his wings like mad.

“Charizard, Flamethrower!”

Charizard used Flamethrower, and Butterfree flew above it.

“Bug Buzz!”

Butterfree’s loud attack screeched through the room again.

Charizard roared loudly and covered his ears.

Charizard!” Covering my ears, I tried to think through the situation. Tried to uncover a victory.

Charizard let out a huge roar and started spitting fire into the air without warning.

Butterfree’s attack ended as he tried to avoid the random blasts of fire aiming for him, but it was too late.

In Charizard’s desperation for the Bug Buzz to end, he caught Butterfree off guard and engulfed him in fire!

Butterfree’s cry brought a shiver throughout my body as he fell.

“Butterfree is unable to battle! Charizard is the winner!” the referee declared.

Alright!” I finally got one down! “One down! We can beat two more nasty Bugs! Let’s go, Chariza-!” I froze as I caught Tera’s eyes.

Tera’s eyes were practically flashing with fury at me! I’d never seen this heated a look on her face before.

It froze me and I stared back at her, my eyes and mouth wide.

She silently returned her Butterfree. “YOU THINK THAT FIRE HAZARD IS GONNA BE ENOUGH TO WIN, HUH?!” Tera bellowed. “Let’s see how you do against her!” She grabbed her second Poke Ball and threw it.

“Ninjask!” The speedy Bug Pokemon zoomed around the field quickly.

“That thing,” I muttered, watching her appear and disappear all over the field as Charizard tried to keep an eye on her.

A growl grabbed my attention. I turned to see June eyeing Ninjask. Her eyes seemed glued to her even though she was moving at an impossible to trace pace, following her. June looked completely furious.

Does she just want me to win? I considered. No... She’s still trying to read Tera’s Pokemon, I remembered. Could she read Butterfree? What about Ninjask? I turned back to my fight. “Alright, let’s get that Badge! Now! Flamethrower!”

Charizard used Flamethrower, but Ninjask easily vanished just before the fire hit, reappearing elsewhere. My Pokemon continued to attack, but the ninja like movements of Ninjask were just too much, and Ninjask seemed to be getting faster with every passing moment, her body occasionally glowing white.

What is that? I wondered, and used my Pokedex.

Speed Boost. The user’s Speed increases over time, continuously.

“Ugh...” I groaned. “With an ever increasing Speed like that, we’re at a bad disadvantage...”

“A type advantage isn’t always an advantage. If the opponent is skilled, what you think is a lead for you will turn out to be your worst battle.” June’s words rang through my head.

Ninjask flew threw the air, untraceable.

Hey... I considered. Maybe... she’s too fast!

I suddenly remembered battling Aurora for the first time. Her Graveler was so fast that Mankey couldn’t attack it. We used that to our advantage and managed to reach Graveler in time with a Low Kick as it was landing Rock Throw.

We can do this! I thought determinedly. “Charizard, just use Flamethrower! Forget about aiming! Just hit the air!”

Charizard grunted and used Flamethrower into the air.

Ninjask dodged easily.

“Don’t stop!” I urged him. “Just keep using it!” Ninjask may just be too fast for her own good. Maybe she’ll just end up running right into the attack all on her own!

Charizard kept using Flamethrower, but Ninjask kept dodging, no matter where Charizard’s flames fired at.

This isn’t working, I soon realized. We’re just wasting time.

“Double Team.”

Ninjask multiplied all over the field, filling it with tons of Ninjask.

“Again!”

Ninjask multiplied into even more Ninjask.

“Flamethrower!” I wasn’t able to think calmly. “Keep going!” my voice cracked.

Charizard didn’t attack, confused, unsure of where to strike. Finally, he blasted a stream of flames at the bunch of Ninjask.

Several Ninjask vanished upon impact, but there were still tons more, the real one somewhere in the mix.

Charizard attacked again, but only a few Ninjask clones were hit, vanishing again.

“Double Team!” Tera repeated.

Ninjask multiplied again, taking over the entire field now, copy Ninjask amongst other copies, some of them visible copies as parts of their bodies were disappearing against each other, poking through each other, but still confusing Charizard and myself.

“Swords Dance!” Tera went on.

“Charizard, you have to find the real one!” I demanded frantically. “Fire Spin! Hit ’em all!”

All of the Ninjask spun in place in a complete blur, several of them disappearing as Charizard used Fire Spin on them, a spiral of powerful fire spewing from his jaws.

Charizard continued to attack, trying to find the real Ninjask.

“Keep it going! Max out that Attack!” Tera’s face was deadly, her eyes on her Pokemon as she continued to spin hard.

Charizard continued to use Fire Spin, destroying clones, but the real one still out there.

Where could that damn thing be? I wondered, my heart beating hard. I turned to June for a moment and it caused a double take as I saw her staring at the battle angrily, her fists clenched by her sides. Her eyes were locked on one spot. I turned to look at what she was eyeing, but could only see tons of spinning Ninjask.

The Ninjask were still being attacked, but Charizard wasn’t hitting the real one.

Charizard stopped attacked, breathing hard, growling at the multiple clones remaining.

“Charizard, this isn’t the time to stop!” My hands slapped the sides of my legs impatiently. “Keep firing away!”

The Ninjask suddenly stopped spinning.

“No...” I whispered, my heart pounding a little bit harder now.

Charizard used Fire Spin again, destroying more clones.

“Screech!”

Ninjask let out a loud Screech, my ears instantly stinging, feeling ready to pop as I covered them and bent over, screaming. “STOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!”

I couldn’t hear her, but I could see June screaming, her ears covered.

The referee seemed to be screaming, too, covering his ears.

Charizard covered his ears, his Fire Spin no longer being used as he roared.

Tera covered her ears, too, but she seemed the least bothered, focusing on the match. She opened her mouth and said something I couldn’t hear.

Ninjask’s attack didn’t end.

After another moment, Tera gave another demand.

I fell to my knees as Ninjask continued to Screech. My fingers dug at my ears, ready to rip them right off!

Charizard fell to one knee, roaring helplessly.

Is she telling Ninjask to keep Screeching?? I can’t do this anymore!!!

Finally, the Screech did stop.

My hands fell to the floor as I gasped for my breath to return.

June was rubbing her head with her hands, looking sick, staring at Ninjask weakly.

The referee took off his sunglasses and closed his eyes, shaking his head for a while before replacing his sunglasses and looking at the battlefield.

Charizard was on both knees, hunched over with his claws on the floor, groaning weakly.

“Charizard!” I called out to him.

“Slash attack.”

All the Ninjask, clone and real alike, soared towards Charizard in slow motion through my eyes as I realized what was happening.

Swords Dance was used to boost Ninjask’s Attack as high as possible.

Screech was used to lower Charizard’s Defense as low as possible.

Double Team was used to distract Charizard so both Swords Dance and Screech would have enough time to build up.

And now...

“Back to back attacks! Take it out!”

CHARIZARD!” June leapt to her feet.

All of the Ninjasks’ forearms glowed white as they slashed at Charizard.

Charizard let out an enormous roar that hurt my already sore ears as well as my pounding heart.

All of the Ninjask flew at blinding speed, back and forth, from every direction, attacking Charizard mercilessly.

Charizard was finally relieved of the onslaught of attacks and he dropped face down. My Pokemon didn’t make a sound.

“NO! CHARIZAAAAAAARD!!” I gripped his Poke Ball in my hand. I knew he couldn’t go on any further, and I also knew that if he could get back up, I didn’t want him to go through anything worse. But if we didn’t win now...

“Charizard is unable to battle! Ninjask is the winner!” the referee stated. “This battle goes to Viridian City Gym Leader, Tera!”

I quickly returned Charizard to his Poke Ball before crashing to my knees. There was so much anger running throughout me. I was furious! I could’ve cried from the way I felt. My fists slammed into the Gym floor.

We had failed our goal to get all eight Badges in time to compete in the Pokemon League. All of our dreams were destroyed. Everything we had been through now meant nothing...

Tera returned her Ninjask and looked at me coldly. “You’re worse than ever. Get out of my Gym!”

Someone grabbed me, making my heart leap, and I looked up to see June grabbing my arm, pulling me to my feet.

“It’s okay, Gary,” she said strongly, hardened eyes on Tera. “Let’s go. We have training to do.”

I shook my head. “There’s no time...” I whispered weakly, shakily.

“I said, come on!” June raged at me. She pulled me hard and I stumbled after her towards the door.

“You’re welcome to try again tomorrow if you think it’ll make a difference!” Tera called out nastily.

June opened the Gym door and took me outside. She turned back towards the Gym, spit on the inside of the building floor, and slammed the door shut.

*

“She’s good,” June told me as we sat together in the open plains of Route 1 by a tree. The sun was beaming strongly on our faces from above in the afternoon heat.

I nodded.

“But you’re much better, Gary,” June added.

I didn’t say anything nor move, staring at the ground.

“At your best, you can find a way to beat her, Gary,” June said firmly. “You were battling the same way you battled Tammie. You just leaped in. You were rushing. You need to stop worrying about how much time you have left, Gary. You’ll make it in time for the Pokemon League. That battle was not your last chance to make it in time. But if you keep on battling like that, it is! You’ll never get this Badge if you keep on blinding yourself to what’s important. Trust me, Gary. I went through the same thing as a Gym Leader. Battling for the wrong reasons. Blinding myself to what was important. Don’t ruin yourself, Gary.”

I inhaled deeply and held it for a moment, finally exhaling. “That Whirlwind completely took me off guard, too. I didn’t know what to do. She really took control of that battle when she did that. She got a good view of my other Pokemon, and the ones who came out weren’t even meant to be used.”

“Yeah. Tera knew what she was doing, I guess. Seeing your three may have helped her plan what Pokemon she’d use.”

I turned to June. “You were trying to read her Pokemon again. I saw you.”

June got quiet, keeping her eyes on the grass, running one hand threw it gently.

“It didn’t work, did it?”

June just shook her head.

My Pokemon had been taken to the Pokemon Center after my battle with Tera. By the time they were healed, it was the middle of the afternoon.

I had given up all hope completely of being able to make it to the Pokemon League in time, but June calmed me down and reminded me that I still had about a week until the competition began. It wasn’t over yet. I had time. But it was running out fast.

I looked away and up to the sky before standing up. After taking several steps away from June, I threw my six Poke Balls into the air.

Charizard roared.

Primeape screeched excitedly and hopped in place.

Ivysaur yawned and looked up at me, growling, her face no longer bandaged, her wounds from her battle with Cleopatra’s Bisharp barely visible.

Kingdra stared at me expectantly, her back and face still bandaged up from her battle with Aurora’s Kabutops.

Baltoy spun in place slowly and stopped, looking at me.

Porygon-Z let out a loud screech.

The seven of us all screamed in rage from the sudden blast of noise.

June, Charizard, Primeape, and I covered our ears.

Ivysaur closed her eyes and used Razor Leaf on Porygon-Z.

Porygon-Z stopped screaming and used Protect, and the Razor Leaf was blocked.

Kingdra helplessly cried out and fell back.

Baltoy cried out and spun in place as fast as I ever saw.

“PORYGON-Z!” I had no idea what I was supposed to do with this thing anymore, but I was at the end of my patience.

Porygon-Z seemed to be happy, its head tumbling in the air, its appendages flapping in the air like wings while its body whirled around in place. It looked at me and immediately let out a sad cry, seeing my enraged face.

“We’ve been over this before!” I scolded, pointing at it. “No screaming! Just cut it out! There’s a time to play and stuff, but this isn’t the time! That loud screeching is never acceptable!! Is that clear??”

Porygon-Z started shaking in the air.

I gripped my Pokemon strongly and it started to whine sadly. “Porygon-Z, please! Enough is enough. You need to stop this crying and acting out. You need to relax more. Are you understanding me, here?”

Porygon-Z made an ever odder sound than usual. I could only describe it as the sound of a computer shutting down, like the mechanical noise of something collapsing with a childlike sound.

I squinted in confusion. “I love you, honestly. But we need to communicate better, and this screaming thing you do is not gonna help us to get closer. You need to be a lot more responsible for your actions. When I send you out, you cannot do that screaming! When you’re in an environment with electronic equipment, you need to behave properly and not do what you want. When I tell you something serious, you need to stop crying all the time and just be strong and take orders! I only instruct you for your own good, not to be mean! And I only do it because I really need you to listen to me! You need to trust that. Trust me! You’re a great Pokemon, a powerful battler, and a fun friend, but there’s a few things you and I need to work out. That’s why I need you to work with me. Because you’re my friend and I love you. We’re friends, right?” My face softened into a smile and held my Pokemon closer to me.

This seemed to please Porygon-Z and it looked happy, trembling in my arms.

I smiled and laughed a little, turning to my other Pokemon.

Everyone was watching me eagerly, except for Ivysaur. She had laid down and seemed to be sleeping.

I gently tossed Porygon-Z into the air and it tumbled away, stopping and hovering above Baltoy.

Baltoy kept spinning in place.

Porygon-Z shocked Baltoy with electricity, creating a spinning tornado around Baltoy that grew, eventually engulfing both Pokemon inside of it.

Ivysaur opened one eye and watched as my other Pokemon gazed at the electric show in awe, the tornado continuing to build up higher.

“STOP!”

The electric tornado disappeared and Porygon-Z and Baltoy stared at me, frozen in place.

My other Pokemon looked at me as well.

I sighed but managed a smile. “Well, that’s a start.” My face went serious. “Listen, I have something to say to you all. I wanted to apologize. Charizard, Primeape, Baltoy. We could have won in our battle against Tera, or at least done a lot better, if my mind weren’t so preoccupied on the Pokemon League. We’re still only one Badge away from winning. I had thought we had all eight Badges, but we hadn’t gotten them all yet.”

Charizard grunted.

“The Pokemon League is only about a week away. I’m nervous about getting there on time. There’s nothing wrong with being nervous about competing in the Pokemon League or getting there on time, but when it takes over and ruins the path you’re on to get to the Pokemon League, that’s when it’s not a good thing. That’s what’s happened to me. That’s what ruined our battles against Tammie and Tera at the Gym. I apologize to Baltoy, Charizard, and Primeape, as well as to all of you, too. Kingdra, Ivysaur, and Porygon-Z, becau-”

Porygon-Z flew into my chest and I grabbed it, surprised, as it started to cry in my arms.

“Porygon-Z...” I said, exasperated. “Don’t cry.” I smiled and hugged it. “I apologize to all of you because we’re a team!” I called out over Porygon-Z cries. “When one of us screws up, we all screw up! When one of succeeds, it’s a win for us all. So, next time, tomorrow, we’re going to Tera’s Bug Gym and we’re winning our eighth and final Badge! The Hexapoda Badge!”

Five of my Pokemon cheered, Porygon-Z soaring out of my arms and crying out with joy, Ivysaur preferring to give her usual nasty attitude and act like she didn’t care.

I turned to June. To my surprise, she was nowhere in sight. “June?” I called out.

From behind the tree June and I had been sitting by, a hand reached out and gave me a thumbs up.

“June?” I asked in confusion.

Porygon-Z let out a loud cry and flew past me and around the tree.

June shrieked as if her life were in danger and took off for Viridian City faster than I may have ever seen her run in my life.

Porygon-Z gave chase.

With a sigh, I turned to my other five Pokemon and smiled. “Come on back, guys,” I said with a little laugh, returning them to their Poke Balls, and I ran after June and Porygon-Z.

“GARY! TELL IT TO STOP THIS!” June begged. “YOU TOLD IT TO LISTEN TO YOU FROM NOW ON AND NOT CAUSE ANYMORE PROBLEMS! DO SOMETHING!!!

“I don’t really count this as much of a problem for me!” I laughed.

THIS ISN’T FUNNYYYYYYY!!!

But it was. It was hilarious.

To me, at least.

As we ran through Viridian City, June leading the way, chased by Porygon-Z, chased by me.

People staring at us in confusion as a terrified girl was chased by a floating Pokemon and a laughing boy.

I temporarily forgot the seriousness of the situation I was in.

The battle I had to look forward to tomorrow.

The clock that was steadily ticking.

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