A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

Round Five: The Power Of One

“The field matches are over now, Gary,” June smiled, gazing around at the people walking by us as we sat together on a bench outside. “The Indigo Stadium is just going to be strictly a normal field. And this is going to be your last three-on-three battle, too. If you win here, it’s six-on-six matches!”

“Yup,” I replied, smiling up into the sky. “This is it. I’m not losing at this point. I’m headed straight for the top.”

“This is your first battle here without a specific field. No more playing around with the field to win.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, turning to her, my smile fading, feeling offended by June’s words.

“No, no,” June shook her head sharply, looking at me warily. “I only mean, you used the field, but so did your opponents! So it was even! I know you would have won if the field were just normal. I just mean, neither you nor your opponent will be able to use the field to an advantage.”

I let out my breath and leaned back against the bench, looking back up. My first round battle on the Grass Field was won with pure power, I thought angrily. My opponent used the field to try to win. The Water Field was used by my opponent, too. I won with strategy and strength. The Rock Field was the same thing. My opponent used the field to try to win, but lost to me and my Pokemon’s overwhelming power. The Ice Field was really the only time I really used to field to end up winning. June doesn’t know anything. What is she talking about? A scream broke into my thoughts and I looked down at my surroundings.

It was such a beautiful, warm day, a gentle breeze swaying the grass and the leaves in the trees above and on the ground. The sky was a strong blue, enormous clouds glowing white next to the sun. The air was clean, fresh, and gentle.

June and I were in the middle of a huge, grassy clearing.

Many people with their Pokemon had been playing in the area surrounding us, laughing. Others had been practicing moves with their Pokemon and preparing for upcoming battles.

The scream came from a woman who was looking at something in fright, her eyes following it. It was hard to miss what this woman was eyeing.

A microwave was hopping along the grass!

My mouth dropped open in shock. I stood up, walked closer to the microwave, and stopped, the sun now beaming right on me. I instantly could feel the temperature rise around me, so different from the comfort I had felt sitting on the bench in the shade.

The microwave had sparking arms that reached up into the air, and it almost looked like it had eye designs near the top of its head, near a large spike that sat on top of it. The microwave hopped past the gaping woman, me, and June, and stopped several feet away from us, right in front of my Drifloon, who stared down at it. The door to the microwave opened and a plate of rice with a slab of meat on top, floated out and hovered in front of my now red faced Drifloon.

“June, is that your Rotom?!” I questioned.

June was staring in shock at the scene before us.

Many Trainers and Pokemon were looking at this, actually. Surely everyone in the area.

Drifloon’s face got even redder and she backed away a few feet.

“ROTOM!” June didn’t sound too angry, just a little bit exasperated. She walked up to Rotom and snatched the plate out of the air. “Rotom, put that microwave back right this second! You cannot go around stealing things!” She held out the plate at it. “And take this back, as well!”

The microwave let out a sad cry and the plate floated away from June and into the microwave again. It hopped away quickly and disappeared around a corner, into the Pokemon League Village.

June sighed and looked up at Drifloon, smiling.

Drifloon looked down at the ground, her face even more red somehow.

June walked over to me and giggled. “My Rotom sure has a thing for your Pokemon. It’s never acted this way when I’ve raised it. First your Porygon-Z makes it misbehave, and now-”

“That was not Porygon-Z’s fault!” I snapped.

“Yeah, right,” June mumbled. “Anyway, now it looks like Rotom has a crush on your Drifloon!”

“Really?” I turned to Drifloon.

“Well, duh! My Rotom is always acting out in front of Drifloon. Just look at her! She’s blushing!”

Drifloon indeed did seem pretty embarrassed and shy. She always was. Whenever I sent her out, she always got a little shy around me and would back up a little when I would try to touch her. She was also very shy around all of the other Pokemon.

Rotom indeed did seem to be drawn to Drifloon.

June fanned herself with her hand. “Whew! It sure did get hotter, huh?”

“It’s the sun. We were sitting in the shade.”

“The Pokemon don’t seem to mind it too much, huh?”

Pikachu, Ampharos, Manectric, and my Weepinbell were all curled up against each other in the grass, snoozing under the hot sun.

Eevee was leaping into the air, popping the bubbles that Kingdra was blowing while sitting in the lake.

Lanturn was with them, too, but not in sight, underwater.

The last time I saw Charizard, he was carrying a happily screeching Primeape on his back, flying away with Noctowl.

Galvantula had crawled into the trees upon her release, and I gladly hadn’t seen the nasty thing since.

Magneton and Blitzle seemed to be battling in a friendly manner. Blitzle would use Quick Attack on Magneton to little effect, while Magneton would try to dodge and Tackle him back.

Electivire was laying on his back with his arms sprawled out, lazily snoring in the sun, away from the rest of us.

“Well, it’s too hot for me,” June complained. “Let’s get back in the shade, Gary.”

“Alright,” I agreed. “You wanna come with us, Drifloon? It’s hot, isn’t it?”

“Floooooon!” Drifloon agreed, nodding her head.

Something smacked against the side of my head, hard. “OW!” I grabbed my head where I’d been hit.

“Hey! That’s my fan!” a female’s voice rang out.

My eyes widened as a fan appeared, floating in the air next to my Drifloon! Green, glowing appendages reached out from the sides. The fan was on, blowing air on my Drifloon, who immediately started blushing again. I could make out what looked like a face near the bottom of the fan.

“ROTOM!” June screamed, starting to sound angry now. “I just told you to stop that!”

I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at this.

“Gary! And June!” a different voice called out happily.

I stopped laughing, but the smile didn’t fade from my face as I saw who was running towards me. “Robin! What’s up?” I ran towards him.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Robin laughed. “I can’t believe you’re here right now!”

“Me and June were just resting up here, but I guess we should be heading towards the Indi-”

Robin ran right past me, and I didn’t need more than one guess to figure out where he was headed.

“What luck this is that’s brought us together!” Robin gushed, holding June’s hands in his. He gently pulled June closer to him.

June’s eyes bulged in shock. “Uh... Hi...?” she squeaked nervously.“It’s such a pleasure to meet you just thirty minutes before my battle will be beginning,” Robin said lovingly. “Perhaps a good luck kiss from the planet’s most gorgeous girl?” Robin puckered his lips.

WHAT?!” I shouted. “Thirty minutes?? My battle is fifteen minutes before yours! We gotta go!” I yanked June by the arm just as Robin leaned in to kiss her, June struggling to break free of Robin’s grasp, and pulled her around in circles, returning my Pokemon to their Poke Balls.

June returned hers as well.

“CHARIZAAAAARRRRD!!!! NOCT-!!!” I stopped as I spotted two dark figures flying towards me. “We’ll see ya later, Robin! Good luck in your battle!” I ran towards the dark shapes.

Charizard roared while Primeape happily grunted, Noctowl crying out as they all flew closer to me.

*

“Round Five of this year’s Pokemon League competition is officially underway as the preliminaries are now over and we have gotten to the point where special fields are now removed!” the announcer began. “Today, we have the Green Trainer, Gary, representing Pallet Town!”

The crowd cheered, having never really stopped, but at my introduction, got even louder.

There was no rising platform for me to stand on in this field. It was just me standing on the ground of the dirt field.

“And the Red Trainer, Mario Fore, from Twinleaf Town in the Sinnoh region!”

The crowd continued to cheer ecstatically.

The referee raised his flags, the red one at Mario, the green one to me. “Battle on!”

“Hitmonchan! I choose you!” Mario tossed his first Ultra Ball.

“Hitmoooooonchan!” The Pokemon sent out a flurry of punches in a total blur.

Hitmonchan. The Punching Pokemon. Even wild Hitmonchan are almost never seen without a Trainer. When under ownership of a Pokemon Trainer, whether fighting under the good or evil purposes their Trainer strives for, they will battle with all their hearts to succeed in those goals.

“Primeape’s got what it takes! Go get ’em!” I yelled.

“AAAAAPE APE!” Primeape leaped in place in front of Hitmonchan.

“It’s gonna be a brutal, physical battle of Primeape and Hitmonchan to kick things off in this round!” the announcer stated. “This should be a good one!”“Primeape, use your Cross Chop attack!”

Primeape’s arms crossed in front of him and glowed white as he leaped at Hitmonchan.

“Counter!” Mario ordered.

Hitmonchan’s body was outlined in an orange color as Primeape’s arms hit. He cried out and shoved his arms forward, tossing back Primeape, who screeched in pain and hit the ground hard.

“Now use Ice Punch!” Mario continued.

“Primeape, get up! Use Screech!”

Primeape shook his head and got to his feet, but Hitmonchan was quick. He pulled back a glowing blue fist and swung at Primeape.

Primeape cried out as ice formed around his body, surrounding him. He was Frozen in seconds.

“Now Close Combat to finish this off!” Mario demanded.

“Primeape, get out of there!” I cried desperately.

Hitmonchan punched with unimaginable speed, breaking the ice on the first hit, pummeling Primeape with multiple punches.

Primeape rolled all the way to the wall and spread out on his back.

“Primeape, get up! We can do this!” I pleaded. “Fight back with your own Close Combat!”

Primeape stirred and got to his feet, breathing hard. “Prime...” He didn’t move.

“Primeape! FOCUS!” I screamed. “Use your Thrash attack!”

Primeape yelled out and ran at Hitmonchan quickly.

“Bullet Punch!” Mario spoke.

Hitmonchan disappeared, reappearing in the next instant near Primeape, who was still running towards him. As Primeape ran past Hitmonchan, not seeing him, Hitmonchan pulled back a glowing red fist and swung it at Primeape, catching him off guard.

Primeape dropped immediately to his back.

“Primeape is defeated! Hitmonchan is the winner!” the referee declared, waving the red flag.

“Hitmonchan has completely overpowered Primeape, using Counter to send back the hit it took with double the damage and using a powerful onslaught of attacks to take down Primeape!” the announcer said excitedly to the roaring crowd.

“Primeape, thank you! Return!” I said, returning him to his Poke Ball. A Fighting type Pokemon, I thought, looking at Hitmonchan, who didn’t look very tired. Now may not be the best time to go around testing things out, but... “Drifloon! Let’s go!” I threw her Dusk Ball at the field.

“Floooooooon!” Drifloon sang out, spinning a little, her appendages wavering out at her sides and then stopping to stare at Hitmonchan.

“The Green Trainer, Gary, sends out a wise enough choice in the Ghost and Flying type, Drifloon!” the announcer commented. “Will it be enough against the Fighting Pokemon with a variety of different type moves, including those Drifloon is weak to?”

“Hitmonchan, let’s use Ice Punch once more!” Mario told his Pokemon.

Hitmonchan ran to Drifloon, raising a glowing, blue fist.

“Drifloon, dodge that!”

Drifloon didn’t move, but instead reached out with both of her appendages and wrapped them around Hitmonchan’s wrist!

Hitmonchan struggled to move forward, but couldn’t as Drifloon held him back! The Punching foe flinched and groaned.

My eyes widened in shock. “Um...” I pulled out my Pokedex, unsure of what was going on or even what to tell Drifloon to do.

Constrict. The user wraps around the opponent and squeezes.

Drifloon is at a good level, I noticed, checking out her information on my Pokedex. She knows a fair variety of moves, too. In fact... “Thunder Wave!”

Drifloon let loose a light beam of electricity down her appendages and zapped Hitmonchan.

Hitmonchan growled and fell to his knees, now Paralyzed.

“Gust attack!”

Drifloon’s body glowed light blue and a tornado formed in front of her. “Floon!” The tornado flew out at Hitmonchan and Drifloon let go of him as he was sucked inside, spinning and crying out helplessly.

The attack ended and Hitmonchan was knocked out on the ground.

“Hitmonchan is unable to battle! Drifloon wins!” the referee announced.

“Drifloon takes out the weakened Hitmonchan!” the announcer cheered. “The Super Effective Gust was just good enough to wipe out whatever health was left in him.”

The crowd excitedly cheered for my win.

“Nice one, Drifloon!” I congratulated her. “Let’s keep it up!”

Drifloon was blushing and lowered her head amongst the applause surrounding her.

“Crawdaunt! Make this quick!” Mario sneered as he sent out his next Pokemon.

“Crawdauuuuunt!” an enormous lobster uttered.

Crawdaunt. The Rogue Pokemon and Corphish’s evolved form. This territorial Pokemon will not hesitate to throw out any opponent that comes too close. Very vicious, they are often found to be too difficult to raise.

“And it’s a Crawdaunt, a half Water, half Dark type Pokemon!” the announcer explained. “Crawdaunt does have the type advantage here!”“Crawdaunt, end this match with Night Slash!” Mario instructed.

Crawdaunt’s pincer glowed purple and it swung at Drifloon.

“FLOOOOOOOOON!” Drifloon wailed and bounced on the ground. She immediately floated back into the air.

“Drifloon is not going down easily and is still up and raring to fight back!” the announcer pointed out.“Night Slash it again!” Mario was sounding impatient. “Knock it out this time!”

“Hey!” I said happily, looking up from the Pokedex. “She knows Stockpile! Do it, Drifloon!”

Drifloon’s body glowed purple as Crawdaunt swung another blow to her. She backed up, wincing in pain, but shook her head and determinedly glared at Crawdaunt.

“Then let’s see it survive Crunch attack!” Mario followed up.

Crawdaunt opened its mouth and ran at Drifloon. Glowing, jagged lights appeared from its mouth and flew out at Drifloon.

“Thunder Wave!” I told her.

Drifloon swooped underneath the Crunch attack and flew at Crawdaunt. Hovering above it, her body sparked with blue electricity and hit Crawdaunt.

Crawdaunt whined from the zap and curled up on the ground, twitching from Paralysis.

“Now, Hex attack!” I insisted.

Drifloon’s eyes glowed purple and red, and Crawdaunt’s body was outlined in the same colors.

Crawdaunt cried out as it was lifted in the air, helplessly struggling against the attack.

“Stockpile!”

Drifloon let go of Crawdaunt and her body glowed a little brighter from Stockpile, boosting her Defense and Special Defense.

“Crawdaunt! Finish that Drifloon! Crunch it!”

Despite its Trainer’s shouts, Crawdaunt remained on the ground, its back arched painfully.

“Okay, now I want you to try Spit Up!” I said with an eager smile.

Drifloon opened her mouth and with a loud cry, a huge white beam fired out, hitting Crawdaunt.

“DAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUNNNNNT!” I heard Crawdaunt scream as I closed my eyes against the bright flash.

When I could see again, the attack ended, Crawdaunt was on its back.

“Crawdaunt is unable to fight! Drifloon is the winner!” the referee determined.

“And that’s round number two for Drifloon! It’s taken a lot of damage, but has come out on top so far!” the announcer chronicled. “How much more can it take? Will it defeat the last Pokemon Mario has?”

“Flooooooon...” Drifloon said in a low voice, blushing once again, her head down.

Mario returned his Crawdaunt and immediately, angrily, sent out his last Pokemon.

“Lickitung?” I asked out loud, pulling out my Pokedex. It looked... bloated.

Lickilicky. The Licking Pokemon. Lickitung’s evolved form. Its saliva can decompose virtually anything. It stores saliva in a space in its throat, and also uses the space to store its tongue.

“And Mario’s last Pokemon is going to be a Lickilicky!” the announcer went on. “Let’s see if Lickilicky will be Mario’s saving grace.”

“Lickilicky, use Knock Off!”

Lickilicky’s tongue flew out, outstretching the size of its entire body, and, sparking with dark sparks, headed for Drifloon.

“Drifloon, hold it back! Constrict again!” I wasn’t so sure of how great an idea that was, but it was the best I could think up on the spot.

“Flooooon!” Drifloon wrapped her appendages around Lickilicky’s tongue and they struggled against each other, Lickilicky trying to hit Drifloon, Drifloon holding on tight and keeping the tongue at bay.

“Power Whip!” Mario barked.

Lickilicky’s tongue stopped sparking and glowed purple. It started to whip its tongue wildly, and Drifloon was helplessly slammed into the ground repeatedly!

She cried out but refused to let go of Lickilicky’s tongue.

“Drifloon, try Thunder Wave!”

Drifloon kept getting slammed into the ground, unable to focus on attacking.

Lickilicky finally released Drifloon, who collapsed.

“Floooooon...” Drifloon moaned.

“A Thunder will do it!” Mario smiled.

Lickilicky’s body sparked brightly.

“Drifloon! Get up!” I begged. “Use Thunder Wave!”

Drifloon’s eyes opened as Lickilicky sent out a blast of lightning at her.

Drifloon!” I yelled out to her.

A puff of smoke covered Drifloon and Thunder hit the spot where she was lying.

The smoke cleared within a moment, and...

...Drifloon was gone!

“Drifloon?” I gasped. “Drifloon! Where’d you go?”

“And it looks like Drifloon has completely vanished from the battle!” the announcer said with surprise.

Lickilicky looked around in confusion.

A mumble rose up from the crowd as they stared at the field, some people looking around them in the stands.

“Drifloon?” I whispered, my heart beating in fear. “What happened?”

Flooooooon!” a tiny voice squeaked out from the field.

“Drifloon?” I squinted hard.

Lickilicky suddenly made a noise and pointed at the ground.

Drifloon??” I gasped again.

A tiny little thing was hovering just above the ground. “Flooooon!”

Minimize. The user shrinks itself down drastically in size, making it hard to hit.

“Incredible! As a defensive tactic, Drifloon has shrunk itself down in size dramatically using the move Minimize and avoided Thunder from Lickilicky!” the announcer exclaimed.

The crowd began to applaud and make a commotion.

“Drifloon! I’m just glad you’re okay!” I called to her.

“Floon! Floon!”

“Thunder it ’til you catch it!” Mario was visibly upset.

Lickilicky charged up and shot Thunder attacks all over the field.

It’ll catch her eventually, I knew, unable to keep my eyes on the tiny Ghost. “Stockpile!”

“Flooooon!” There was the tiniest little glow on the battlefield before it disappeared.

Lickilicky continued to try hitting my little Ghost Pokemon.

“Stockpile! Just keep it going!” I instructed.

“Floon!”

Lickilicky continued to try shocking Drifloon, but it didn’t seem to be hitting anything but the ground.

“Once more!” I knew Stockpile could be built up three times at maximum. Then we could Swallow to recover health, or Spit Up for a strong attack.

“Just hit that blasted balloon once, Lickilicky!” Mario was fuming. “ONCE!

Lickilicky was trying, but Drifloon was the tiniest little dot on the field, flying around with ease.

“Go and use Spit Up!” I told Drifloon.

Floooooooon!” A huge beam of light fired from out of nowhere, behind Lickilicky, catching it off guard.

It screamed and stumbled on its legs, its enormously sized self unable to slow down and it ran right into a wall, the bleachers rocking, the crowd above screaming. It stumbled around in a daze.

“Gust!”

“Floon!” Something tiny flashed on the ground, and in the next instant, an enormous tornado formed, flying at Lickilicky.

Lickilicky was sucked into it and helplessly tossed around until it ended. It stumbled around dizzily and fell flat on its stomach. Its tongue rolled out of its mouth.

“Lickilicky in unable to battle! This match goes to the Green Trainer, the team of Gary and his Drifloon!” the referee ruled.

The crowd roared with excitement as I ran onto the field, squinting as I tried to find my Pokemon. Once I spotted her, I ran up to her and knelt down, smiling. “Drifloon! You did it!” I held out my palm.

“Floon?!” Drifloon looked up at me.

“Wow, Drifloon!” I laughed, scooping her into my palm. “You actually did it! You took them all out! You were so great! WOW!

Drifloon looked away, blushing a very deep, hard to see red, shaking her head. “Floooooooooooon...”

“If I didn’t say it before, welcome to the team, Drifloon!”

“Drifloon takes out three Pokemon on its own!” the announcer was recalling excitedly. “Not to throw away Primeape’s assistance against Hitmonchan, but Drifloon did incredible today, folks! Gary will be moving on to the sixth round!”

“The sixth round, Drifloon! We made it this far! We’re definitely going all the way! I love you! You’re wonderful!”

Drifloon wrapped her appendages around my hand tightly, blushing even harder. In the next second, she released me and floated into the air.

I looked up at her as she got harder to see.

“Gary!” I turned to see June standing in the bleachers, waving to me from the front. “We have to go see Robin’s match!”

“OH!” Grabbing Drifloon’s Dusk Ball, I held it out to her. “Drifloon, thank you for all your help today! Really! Come on back!” After returning her, June and I bolted out of the stadium.

We were out of there in seconds, rushing past people in the lobby, and out of the building.

“This way!” June led me down the street, around crowds of people.

I was following her at first, but then stopped.

June ran ahead, unaware that I was no longer paying attention to her.

A girl was crying on the end of a bench, her head in her hands. Her black hair glowed against the setting sun. She wore a short blue dress and white sandals.

I kept my eyes on the girl, not moving, my heart pounding hard. Slowly, I stepped over to her and sat down on the other end of the bench.

It creaked from me sitting on it, and the girl looked up at me with her light blue eyes leaking tears onto her familiar face. She sniffled and then looked down, wiping her eyes.

“You’re Ashley,” I said to her.

She turned back to me quickly, more tears flowing down her face. “Huh? Who are you?”“My name is Gary,” I told her. “I’m a competitor at this competition. I remember you. You carried the torch at the Opening Day Ceremonies.”

She swallowed and stared at me quietly. “You almost look familiar to me. I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?”

“Yeah. We’ve bumped into each other once or twice,” I smiled.

Ashley wiped at her face.

“Would you like to tell me why you’re crying?”

Ashley looked down and smiled. “Silly reason, I guess. I... lost. That’s all.”

“Oh...” This news brought me down more than it should have, perhaps. “I’m really sorry.”

She nodded.

“You made it awfully far.”

“Top sixteen isn’t too bad, right?” She was still smiling.I nodded. “You bet. I saw your battle once. You used a Golduck to beat a Rhydon, Nidoking, and Seaking.”

“Oh!” Ashley brightened up. “Yeah. I remember that.”

“Your tactic with Golduck beating Seaking kind of inspired me a little bit in one of my battles. I melted the Ice Field around a speedy Weavile and then froze it again around its body when it fell in the water, trapping it.”

“Ooooh!” Ashley laughed. “That sounds cool.”

“Thanks.” I smiled at her, admiring her smile that was so reminiscent of my sister’s.

Her smile widened, her small lips lengthening.

I exhaled nervously through my nose before my next words came out. “You remind me of my sister.” I needed to say something, anything, to try and hold back the tears I could feel building up in me. If I didn’t speak, I was sure to cry.

“Really?”

I nodded. “You look, exactly, like her.”

Ashley looked away. “Is she competing?”

I paused, wanting desperately to say “yes.” The word just wouldn’t come out. My lips refused to even open to allow it.

After a moment, Ashley turned to me. “Gary?”

My mouth finally opened. “No.” I swallowed. “She isn’t competing.”

“Is she a Pokemon Trainer?”

“She is. She just isn’t here at this competition. Maybe next year.”

“Is she traveling in another region?”

Ashley’s questions were beginning to upset me. I could feel so many emotions running through me. “I’m-um-not...” I stammered. “She’s-no-yes-um...”

“I’m sorry,” Ashley spoke up, grabbing my shoulder. “I don’t mean to be so nosy. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. It’s none of my business.”

I stared into her eyes, my own eyes watering uncontrollably now.

Ashley stared back, a sorrowful look on her face.

Melissa, I thought to myself, and had to look away from Ashley. “It’s great that you made it so far.” I stood up, my eyes closed. “Good luck on your journey, whatever you decide to do from here. I hope I was some help. I’m... really glad I finally got to speak to you. Goodbye!” I ran away from Ashley, down the street as fast as I could.

“Stop!” a voice came out from behind me, pounding footsteps accompanying them.

No! I yelled angrily in my head. Don’t follow me! Just leave me alone! My shoulders were grabbed.

“Gary! Wait!”

“Huh?” I turned around to the familiar voice. “June!”

She pulled me into a hug. “Sssshhh. It’s okay. It’s okay. I saw her.”I weakly hugged June back. “She isn’t here, June,” I mumbled. “Melissa isn’t here. It wasn’t her.”

“I know,” June whispered, rubbing my back. “I know.”“I knew she wasn’t Melissa, but, I believed... I believed that just maybe...”

June rubbed my back, tightening her hold. “I understand.”

“But she isn’t here,” I croaked weakly, sadly, tears falling from my eyes. “At all. Melissa was never here.”

“She’s out there, Gary,” June said soothingly. “Not here. But out there somewhere. That’s guaranteed. You’ll find her one day. She’s out there.”

“How do you know?” I moaned weakly.

June’s arms wrapped even tighter around me. “Damn it, she is! And you’ll meet her one day, Gary. Just shut up and accept it. Believe!”

I pushed free from June’s hold and shook my head at her, my eyes dripping tears without regret. “My mind doesn’t operate that way, June. I tried to believe that, but I need more proof. I’ve just been lying to myself by believing without a reason. I can’t do it anymore. I need proof!”

“You have no proof of anything, so believe in something, Gary,” June said firmly. “Why not believe in good?”

“Because of my dad,” I sniffled, closing my eyes tightly. “My dad, and my sister. Both are gone. I can’t just believe that everything’s okay, June. I can’t! It’s just too much! I need to know so much! I need something to hold onto! Something I can know for certain for once in my life.”

“Fine. Believe in the worst case scenario. That’s okay, Gary. Just don’t stop. Don’t you dare stop, Gary. This isn’t over.”

The urge to grab June as tightly as I could filled me up as I stared at her, absorbing her words. My eyes closed tightly as I fought the feeling, going back and forth over it in my mind, forcing emotions into the tears that I strained out.

Inhaling hard, my eyes opened.

June stared back at me solemnly.

Quickly, my arm wiped across my cheeks, and I nodded at her.

June nodded back.

“I won’t stop,” I promised. “No matter what, I won’t stop.”

June smiled at me.

“What do you say we try and catch the ending of Robin’s battle with Courtney?” I suggested.

“Definitely.” June led the way, and just a couple of minutes later, we stood in front of a huge stadium building. My friend stepped up to the door and it opened automatically.

“Aahh!” June gasped as someone rushed out, slamming into her, knocking her to the ground.

“HEY!” someone screamed angrily as they fell after running into June.

“Courtney!” My eyes were wide.

Courtney looked up at me, squinting her eyes. They quickly turned to fury. “Gary!” She looked down at who she ran into. “And this one.”

June scowled. “My name’s June! We came to see you battle against Robin!”

Courtney’s face got red with anger. “No surprise he’s a friend of yours!” She stood up and dusted off her blue jeans, adjusting her pink T-shirt. Running her hands through her pink hair, she angrily stormed past June and brushed past me.

“Hey!” Is the battle over? I wondered.

June looked to me and I helped her to her feet. “You get the feeling Courtney lost?” she asked me.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” a familiar laugh rang out.

June and I both turned to see Robin! He winked at us. “She sure doesn’t take loses well, huh?” He burst out laughing again.

“Congrats, man!” I stepped up and shook his hand.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Wasn’t easy,” he admitted. “I just barely won it! She wore my Pokemon down, but we came through in the end. She really seemed to dislike Launcher.”

“Launcher?” I asked.

“Ha ha ha! My Sharpedo! I dunno why, but she sort of freaked out. Was a bit weird. But anyway, we won! Ha ha ha ha!”

“Great! I did well in my match, too!”

“Well, duh! I knew you’d win! No doubt! It probably was a whole lot easier of a match than mine was, too. Ha ha ha ha ha!” He turned to June. “I may have done better had I gotten that good luck kiss.” He stepped up to June as she immediately tried to run away, but he blocked her path. “Don’t worry, my dear. A victory kiss would be just as delectable.” He puckered out his lips.

June looked around desperately for help. “Um... uh... how’s Catherine?” June blurted out.

Robin’s eyes opened and he fixed his lips, taking a step back from June. His eyes burned into mine and I returned the stare. He looked down. “She’s well. Thank you.” He looked back up at me eagerly. “So, I guess I should go and find out who I’m battling against at registration! Did you find out who you’re going against, yet?”

“Nope,” I shook my head. “I came straight here after my win!”

“Well, let’s go, man!” He bolted past me, getting through the crowd, and June and I followed after him. It took longer to get there because of us trying to get through the huge crowd, but we eventually arrived at the registration building and Robin and I raced to the counter. “Hi!” we both cried out in unison, slamming our palms down.

The lady stared at us in surprise, but managed a smile. “Hello! How may I help you two?”

“We’re ready to compete in the sixth round, Miss! We’re raring to see who we’re battling next!” I informed her.

“I see! Well, just hand me your ID and we’ll get started!”

I gave her my Pokedex and she slipped it into a slot in a machine on the desk, typing on a keyboard in front of a laptop, her eyes on the screen. She handed me back my Pokedex and smiled. “Gary, go to that booth over there, and you’ll find a game to play! That will tell you who you’re up against next.”

I ran towards what looked like an old school arcade game booth. It was off, but when I got there, it instantly flashed on, a group of red Gyarados flying across the screen. I picked up a red, toy gun from a matching plastic holster and aimed at one of the Gyarados, trying to hit one, but I kept missing.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Come on, Gary! Some of us want to compete in this year’s tournament! Maybe you should have let me go first! Ha ha ha ha!” Robin guffawed.

“GOT IT!” I had finally shot one of the Gyarados.

The Gyarados roared and blinked in multiple colors on the screen and S-61 flashed across the screen.

I placed the toy gun back in the holster and ran back to the lady behind the counter. “S-61! What’s that?”

The lady typed on the keyboard and then pointed at the screen above her head. “And your opponent will be...”

Robin’s faced popped up on the screen, a broad smile on his face.

I gasped and backed up as my heart went insane, beating my chest like a mallet.

Robin stuttered.

“Oh!” June gasped.

Robin’s face smiled out at us.

Robin and I wouldn’t be battling in the finals.

After tomorrow.

After round six was over.

One of us would no longer be competing at the Pokemon League.

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