A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

Round Six: Gary Vs Robin; Pallet's Last Hope

I waited patiently, the phone receiver ringing in my right ear, until Prof. Oak’s face finally appeared on the screen.

“Gary!” he greeted me with a broad smile.

“Hello, sir,” I said in a low tone.

Prof. Oak’s smile faded instantly. “What’s with the sad face? Is something wrong?”

“Hiiiii, Professorrr!” June bumped me over to the side and sat beside me on the limited space of the chair, smiling excitedly at Prof. Oak.

His eyes bulged out and he slid back in his chair. “June! Um... Hello.” He chuckled nervously.

“June!” I glared at her. “I told you to behave!”

“I am! I just wanted to say hi to Prof. Oak,” June said to me sadly. She turned back to the professor, smiling again. “How are you, great, all knowing, master of Pokemon information?”

Prof. Oak got red in the face and he closed his eyes while rubbing the back of his head, smiling. “I don’t know about all knowing master, but I’m doing okay. How are you two?”“I’m doing well, but Gary here is really nervous about his upcoming battle.”

Prof. Oak’s face hardened as his hand lowered. “Ah, yes. Your next match is against Robin.”

“How did you know?” I asked, surprised.

“Robin told me just last night. He seemed rather excited about it, and was only upset that you two wouldn’t be battling in the final match.”

I nodded, remembering last night when Robin and I had found out we’d be battling today.

He had been stunned at first, but soon began to eagerly tell me how exciting this was going to be.

I had forced a smile on my face to match Robin’s happiness, but inside, I was afraid for some reason. I wasn’t ready to battle Robin, yet. We were supposed to make it all the way. Together.

For Aly.

For Kiwi.

Only one of us was going to proceed, now.

I dwelled on the upcoming match all night, not saying much to June, who had asked if I was okay a few times. I would only say I was fine, and then stayed quiet. I didn’t eat that night, either.

Catherine was strong on my mind as well. I wondered how she was doing. I wondered how she would act when the time came for me to battle her.

It was past three in the morning before I finally fell asleep.

After leaving our Pokemon at the Pokemon Center, June led the way to a huge restaurant to have some breakfast hours later, but I had refused to eat. I was hungry, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat anything, even when June slid her plate of her remaining two chocolate chip pancakes over to me.

I didn’t want her germs, anyway.

We had left the restaurant and it was my turn to lead the way towards one of the buildings holding battles that made up the Indigo Stadium. Once inside one of them, I had made my phone call to Prof. Oak, telling June to keep herself calm.

“Robin plans on giving it his all,” Prof. Oak told me. “I expect you’ll do the same.”

“Of course! I’m just nervous.”

“You two had to battle eventually, right?”

“That was the plan, but I wanted it to be the final match.” I sighed. “I guess we all wanted a lot, huh?”

Prof. Oak was silent, his eyes focused on me.

“Nothing worked out how we planned it at all,” I said thoughtfully, wearily. My eyes lowered, unable to handle Prof. Oak’s hard stare, my own emotions starting to overflow into my eyes. “Nothing turned out how we expected it to.”

“Feebas. Persistence spells success.”

I looked up at Prof. Oak in confusion. “Huh?”

June screamed by my ear, making me jump and nearly fall out of my chair. “A POEEEEEMMMMM!!!!

“June! What the hell!” I barked at her.

June gasped and covered her mouth, staring at me with wide, shocked eyes. “Sorry.”

I turned back to Prof. Oak.

“What I’m trying to say, Gary, is that even in the ugliest of situations, hold out hope,” Prof. Oak explained. “Things can change for the better. They do all the time. Just keep striving forward, and you can’t be stopped no matter what the situation is.”

“Okay,” I said, his words not really helping me feel any better. I needed much more than what he said. Things can get better, but they can also get a lot worse, no matter how much hope or faith you have. But I couldn’t just give up, either. Now wasn’t the time. Now, I had to be strong and give meaning to everything I’d gone through so far since I began my Pokemon journey.

“By the way,” Prof. Oak added. “I thought you might want to know that Kiwi is back in the hospital.”

What?!

“She became unresponsive to her mother, or anyone else, so she was rushed back to the hospital. It’s a very scary time for her mother right now. For all of us, really. We think she’ll be okay, but we can’t be certain. Keep her in your thoughts.”

“Thank you, sir.”

He took a deep breath. “I wish you good luck in your battle, Gary. I wish I could be there, but I’m just too busy in my research today. I’ll be watching for sure, though. Be sure to battle hard. For yourself, and for your Pokemon.”

“I have no choice but to win this battle!”

Prof. Oak smiled. “Take care, you two.” He hung up.

I put the phone back on the receiver and turned to June.She had her arms crossed and stood up, looking away, attitude written on her face.

“What’s with you?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she said quickly.

“Fine,” I shrugged. “Don’t tell me, then.” I walked away from her to sit on a bench by the window, annoyed to find that the sun was shining in my face from that spot.

June followed me and sat near me, sighing. “It’s about Kiwi.”

“If it’s nothing good, then just keep quiet,” I said sharply.

“Then don’t ask!” she said loudly.

“You’re really still mad at her?”

“You said not to say anything bad about her, so don’t freaking ask me about her!”

“Fine!” I glared out the window angrily, my adrenaline pumping within me, and quickly turned back to June, unable to let this go. “I really can’t believe you! How disgusting of a person can you be?”

Let it go!” June screamed. “I have my beliefs, you have yours! Now just leave me alone already! Just drop it!”

I couldn’t keep quiet. I was unable to stop myself, letting everything out. “No! I wanna know why you’re being so stupid about this!”

June pointed her finger in my face. “Don’t push me, Gary! I swear you better not push me!”

“Or else what?” I challenged.

“What do you want from me? Huh? WHAT?

“I want a reasonable excuse for why you think Kiwi would harm a Pokemon!”

“I gave you one! If you won’t accept it, fine, but don’t go looking for anything deeper than that. You’re really freaking pissing me off right now, Gary! If you’re going to keep acting like this, I can just go home to Gringey! I don’t need this from you!” She stood up and walked away.

“Hey!” I got up and blocked her path.

She crossed her arms and looked furiously at me.

I swallowed and kept my teeth tightly together, my eyes narrowing at her.

She didn’t back down. Her face spoke volumes of the harsh things her mouth held captive behind it.

“Let’s just forget it,” I offered after a few minutes of silence, and sighed.

June let out her breath. “You were the one pursuing it,” she muttered.

“And I was wrong,” I admitted. “I’m sorry.”

June’s anger vanished from her face and was replaced with sorrow. She opened her mouth and nodded, but then closed them again. “It’s okay.”

I looked to the clock on the wall. “My battle won’t begin for a few more hours. Let’s walk around a bit. Get some fresh air. I can think of what Pokemon I’ll bring with me in the battle with Robin.”

June smiled and placed a hand gently on my shoulder, and we left the building together.

*

“Pokemon fans! Welcome to this afternoon’s battle, held here at Indigo Stadium!” the announcer shouted to the immediate explosion of noise from the thrilled crowd. “Today is round six of this year’s Pokemon League competition, and it promises to be a hot one as two Trainers from Pallet Town will be competing!”

A cool breeze blew through the hallway I was in through the open door, the warm sun beaming through.

“And here comes the Red Trainer, Robin Butters!”

Applause filled the stadium as Robin entered. I could see him, waving and smiling, but a hint of nervousness showed through on his face as he stopped running, looking towards where he knew I had to come out from.

“And Robin’s challenger, the Green Trainer, Gary!”

My feet were forced forward as I ran to stand on the opposite side of Robin.

“It’s finally come down to this!” Robin called to me, no longer smiling, solemnly eyeing me.

I nodded, my whole body shaking.

“After this, one of us will go on to become the Pokemon Champion!”

I couldn’t speak. I could only nod.

Robin held up a Poke Ball. “Let’s make it the best battle, ever!”

“Right!” I finally spoke, reaching for my own Poke Ball.

The referee raised a red flag to Robin, and the green flag towards me. “Trainers! Begin the match!”

“Bright Eyes! GO!” Robin’s first Poke Ball was hurled at the field.

It flew through the air and burst open.

“Feraligatr!” the enormous beast yelled.

“Whoa! Croconaw’s evolved!” I pulled out my Pokedex.

Feraligatr. The Big Jaw Pokemon. The evolved form of Croconaw. This Pokemon is a fast swimmer, but much slower on land, usually crawling on all fours to travel quicker. Living with the rest of their evolutionary family near water, they are a rare find.

Robin winked. “That’s right. Croconaw is now a Feraligatr!” He laughed loudly.

“Okay. Weepinbell, you’re up first!” I threw his Poke Ball out.

“Bell!” Weepinbell said upon appearing from his Poke Ball.

“This match is kicking off with Feraligatr versus a Weepinbell!” the announcer declared. “Gary has the type advantage here! Let’s see how this one will play out!”

“Weepinbell, move first and use Razor Leaf!”

“Bell! Bell!” Weepinbell shot several leaves out at Bright Eyes.

“Bright Eyes, dodge it!”

“Gatrrrrrrrr!” Bright Eyes flew back as it was hit, dropping down.

“Get up and fight back with Agility!” Robin instructed.

Bright Eyes instantly leaped to its feet and charged across the field in rapid zigzags, disappearing and reappearing around the field.

“Use Sweet Scent to slow it down!” I tried.

Weepinbell’s mouth opened wide and a pink powder flew out, a pleasant aroma slowly filling the air.

Bright Eyes slowed down and finally stopped running, sniffing the air and smiling in a daze.

Robin even seemed to have a lost gaze on his face as he sniffed the air.

“Vine Whip it!”

Weepinbell used Vine Whip, smacking Bright Eyes in the chest with the strong move.

Bright Eyes was snapped out of its daze and roared loudly, flying back and falling again.

“Bright Eyes!” Robin cried out.

Bright Eyes groaned, but it got up, shaking its head.

“There you go!” Robin beamed. “It’s our turn, now! Ice Fang!”

“Stop it with another Sweet Scent!”

Before Weepinbell could attack, Bright Eyes, its Speed now boosted from Agility, ran even faster at Weepinbell, its jaws open and coated in ice.

Weepinbell cried out painfully as Bright Eyes bit into him. His body slowly began to become covered in ice and within seconds, he was Frozen.

“Weepinbell seemed to be doing so well at first, and seemed to have the upper hand,” the announcer let out through the delighted roars of the crowd. “But now, Feraligatr has gained the advantage by Freezing Weepinbell!”

“Superpower!” Robin called out.

Bright Eyes flexed its muscles, making them pop out strongly, noticeably, and it grabbed my Frozen Weepinbell. Lifting him up into the air, it pulled back a fist, tossed Weepinbell lightly in the air, and punched the block of ice.

“BEEEEEEEELL!” Weepinbell screamed out as he was freed from the ice around him after Bright Eyes shattered it. He flew past me, crashing into the wall.

“Now, finish it with Ice Fang!” Robin went on.

Bright Eyes moved fast, blowing right past me and attacking before Weepinbell could even get up, sinking its jaws into him.

Weepinbell wailed out as Bright Eyes shook its head viciously, finally releasing Weepinbell and tossing it back into the battlefield.

Weepinbell moaned weakly in a collapsed heap.

“Weepinbell! Get back up and use your Stun Spore!”

“Weepinbell is unable to battle! Feraligatr is the winner!” The referee waved the red flag at Robin.

I gasped, turning to the referee.

The crowd erupted in cheers.

“HA! You did it, Bright Eyes!” Robin was leaping in the air as his Pokemon returned to its spot. “I knew you could do it!” He looked at me and winked.

“With a type disadvantage, Robin has turned the tables around and used Weepinbell’s weakness of Ice to pull out the first win!” the announcer explained happily. “Gary will have to pull out a better trick in order to beat this Pokemon!”

I can’t believe it, I thought weakly, and although I didn’t want to admit it, fearfully. How could my Weepinbell go down that easily? No way. Shaking my head, I returned Weepinbell. “You did good. I know we’ll take down that thing. Thank you.” I stared at Robin, who was smirking at me, and then looked over to Bright Eyes.

Bright Eyes looked just fine for something that took a fair amount of strong hits.

Grabbing my next Poke Ball, I shouted, “Noctowl, I choose you!”

Noctowl hooted, flapping his wings, looking down at Bright Eyes.

“Next up, Gary is relying on Noctowl to combat Feraligatr!” the announcer introduced my Pokemon. “Let’s see what he has planned!”

“Start off with Hypnosis!” I ordered.

“Bright Eyes, Agility!”

Bright Eyes moved quickly as Noctowl’s eyes glowed red and red circles flew out from them at Bright Eyes. It was way too quick, easily getting around the rings.

“Hydro Pump attack!” Robin told his Pokemon.

Bright Eyes stopped moving and aimed a strong blast of water from out of its mouth, hitting Noctowl.

Noctowl was hit and tumbled in the air, but flapped his wings to stay up.

“Echoed Voice!”

“Hydro Pump!”

Bright Eyes used another Hydro Pump and Noctowl was shot down out of the sky, dropping to the ground.

“Noctowl, get up!” I begged. “Come on! Get up, now! Fight back! Please! Get up!

Noctowl shook his head, pushing himself up to his talons.

Robin smiled, staring at my Noctowl, visibly impressed.

“Noctowl is showing that it’s going to take a bit more than that keep it down!” the announcer commented. “This owl is back up and ready for more!”

“Ice Fang will finish it!” Robin smiled broadly.

Before Noctowl could move any more, Bright Eyes had already sunk eager fangs into him.

Noctowl screamed, desperately struggling, smacking Bright Eyes in the face frantically as ice started to form on his body.

Noctowl!!!

Noctowl’s beak opened wide as he screamed, the ice taking over his body. Suddenly, the scream intensified drastically, and I had to cover my ears as Noctowl finally started to use Echoed Voice!

Bright Eyes held on tight to Noctowl, tightening its jaws.

“Noctowl, don’t give in!” I urged.

Noctowl’s Echoed Voice took another turn, getting even louder, slicing into my eardrums.

My hands pressed as hard as possible against my ears.

Bright Eyes opened its jaws, releasing Noctowl, and backed up, roaring from the sharp noise and raising its claws to cover the sides of its face.

Noctowl collapsed, and the ice around him shattered! He flapped his wings and got into the air, but he was breathing harshly, struggling to remain ascended.

“More! More! Keep up the Echoed Voice!” I told my Pokemon.

Noctowl’s Echoed Voice got even louder, ringing in my ears as I struggled to focus through it and pay attention to the battle.

Robin had his ears covered, leering at Noctowl. “Dig attack!”

Bright Eyes released its ears and tore through the ground, disappearing in the hole it made.

Noctowl stopped screaming, looking around.

“And Robin orders Feraligatr to use Dig, a Ground type move that does not harm Flying type Pokemon,” the announcer noted. “It would appear that Robin only wanted Feraligatr to get out of the way of the intensifying Echoed Voice!”

The ground began to rumble, and Bright Eyes burst from the ground, reaching up for Noctowl.

Noctowl rose into the sky, keeping away from Bright Eyes’ grasp.

“Now, Hydro Pump!”

Still underneath Noctowl, Bright Eyes opened its gaping jaws and a strong stream of water came out, catching Noctowl. It descended to the ground, landing smoothly as Noctowl tumbled down as well.

“Aqua Tail!” Robin continued.

Bright Eyes’ tail swirled with water and it leaped up high. Once above Noctowl, it did a flip in the air and came down, slamming its tail into Noctowl’s back.

Noctowl came crashing down, raising a mixture of dirt and dust.

The dust cleared, and Bright Eyes was breathing heavily, looking down at Noctowl.

Noctowl was on his stomach, not moving.

“Noctowl is unable to battle! Feraligatr is the winner!” The referee waved the red flag to Robin once again.

“And Feraligatr manages to take out two Pokemon from Gary’s side!” The announcer sounded more pleased than I wished him to. “Gary is looking in poor shape as he must now send out his third Pokemon, whereas Robin hasn’t had to use any others! However, Feraligatr is definitely looking tired by now. Let’s see if it can take out yet another of Gary’s Pokemon!”

“Noctowl, good battle. Come on back, now.” I returned my Pokemon and stared mournfully at his Poke Ball before looking up at my rival.

Robin’s face contained a smirk, pleased with his wins so far.

This isn’t over. My heart pounded even harder as I grabbed my next Poke Ball. “Primeape! You’re next!” With a grunt, I tossed the Poke Ball to the ground.

The Poke Ball bounced once and then kept still in the grass, finally opening and sending out my Pokemon in a white light.

“And the Green Trainer’s next choice is his Primeape!” the announcer mentioned.

Primeape and Bright Eyes stared each other down, Primeape hopping in place, Bright Eyes breathing tiredly.

“Start off with Cross Chop, Primeape!” I began.

“Dig away!”

Primeape attacked, his arms glowing white, crossed in front of him as he leaped at Bright Eyes.

Bright Eyes dug away quickly.

“Assurance!” I went on desperately.

The ground rumbled and Bright Eyes burst from the ground, tackling Primeape.

Primeape grunted and flew through the air, landing on his back. He immediately hopped to his feet and raised a fist coated in a dark aura and ran at Bright Eyes, smacking it in the chest and tossing it back.

“Primeape takes a hit to deliver one back!” the announcer’s voice detailed. “Using Assurance, the damage it normally does is doubled if the user is attacked beforehand!”

“Bright Eyes, use Hydro Pump!”

“Grrrrr,” I growled, trying to think of some way to dodge as Bright Eyes attacked. “Do Assurance again!”

Primeape was knocked off of his feet from Hydro Pump and soared across the field, tumbling to a stop, but got up and ran as fast as he could, attacking with Assurance, knocking Bright Eyes back hard.

The alligator seemed to struggle to get over the impact, but it was still standing!

Primeape was already looking worn out!

“Primeape, don’t give in!” I encouraged him.

“APE! PRIMEAPE!” Primeape shouted at Bright Eyes, punching his fists together.

“GATRRRRRRRRRR!” Bright Eyes roared back.

“Dig attack, Bright Eyes!”

Bright Eyes dug under again.

“Primeape! Watch out!” was all I could come up with. There just wasn’t enough time to think!

Bright Eyes burst through the ground.

“Primeape, grab onto it, now!”

Primeape screeched painfully from the Dig attack he took, but opened his eyes and glared at Bright Eyes, grabbing it by the neck as he ascended from their collision.

“Seismic Toss!”

Primeape wrapped his legs around Bright Eyes’ neck and started to tumble in the air!

“Bright Eyes!” Robin gasped.

The two Pokemon fell towards the ground, tumbling faster, and Primeape finally tossed Bright Eyes beneath him.

Bright Eyes fell hard, right on its face, a small explosion of a cloud of dirt covering him.

The dirt finally did clear.

“Bright Eyes, get up! Let’s keep it up!” Robin insisted.

To my surprise, Bright Eyes pushed itself up slowly. Its body was now outlined in blue!

“What’s that?” I wondered out loud, reaching for my Pokedex.

“APE!” Primeape was still in the air, falling, and had raised a hand into the air as he came down at Bright Eyes.

Bright Eyes looked up and its eyes widened in shock. “Feraligatrrrrr!!!

Primeape hit it in the head with Karate Chop as he came down, his hand slamming on top of its head.

Neither Pokemon moved.

Bright Eyes looked at Primeape.

Primeape still had his hand on his opponent’s head, holding himself up in midair. He let out a cry and pushed himself back, tumbling in the air and landing easily.

Bright Eyes fell backwards.

“Feraligatr is unable to battle! Primeape is the winner!” the referee announced, waving the green flag at me.

“YYYEEEEEAH!” I cheered. “That’s the way to do it, Primeape! We beat it!”

Primeape grunted happily.

It almost sounded like the crowd was now screaming even louder over my victory. Maybe it was all in my head, though.

“And finally, Gary has managed to take down Feraligatr!” the announcer acknowledged. “It looked like Feraligatr’s Torrent Ability had just been activated, which boosts Water type moves when the user is low in health, but Primeape knocked it out before Feraligatr could do any further damage! Down one Pokemon, Robin still has five left to Gary’s four as the score starts to even up a bit!”

“Way to show ’em how tough you are, Bright Eyes,” Robin said proudly, returning his Pokemon. He smiled up at me. “Took you long enough. I thought I might be sweeping you for a moment.” He laughed.

“You won’t even be winning this match, Robin,” I said with a less certain smirk than I wanted to muster, but couldn’t. “I’m taking this one all the way.”

“We’ve only just begun.” Robin threw his next Poke Ball. “Center! I choose you!”

A Pokemon resembling a floating rock in the shape of the sun appeared.

“Huh? Center?”

Solrock. The Meteorite Pokemon. It is said that Solrock fell from space. The sun is used as its sole source of energy.

“Okay, then. Rock and Psychic. Primeape, use Close Combat!”

Primeape took off and jumped at Center, swinging a fist down on its head, causing Center to fall. He landed and ferociously kicked and punched at it for a while before backing up, keeping his eyes on it.

Center floated back up and gave a sharp shake.

“Psychic, now!” Robin said on his turn.

Center’s eyes glowed blue, and Primeape was outlined in the same shade!

Primeape screamed and twisted and struggled helplessly as Center lifted him into the air.

“Primeape, get out of there and use Assurance on it!”

Primeape was tossed back and skid along the ground. Twitching, he opened his eyes and struggled to get up, but collapsed.

“Primeape is unable to battle! Solrock is the winner!” the referee nodded.

“And Solrock has taken down Primeape!” the announcer’s call competed against the screaming crowd. “The type advantage here was just too much, and Primeape had a pretty rough battle against Feraligatr! The score is now leaving Gary with only three Pokemon left, and Robin still is holding onto a very healthy five!”

“Primeape! Return and get plenty of rest!” I smiled at his Poke Ball after returning him. “You’ve helped us out. This battle is ours! Next up is Drifloon!”

“Flooooooooon!” Drifloon stared at Center, her appendages swaying beside her.

“Oh, wow!” Robin pulled out his Pokedex.

Drifloon. The Balloon Pokemon. Drifloon are filled with air, and can expand or shrink in size depending on their mood.

“Drifloon, Shadow Ball!”

“Center, Shadow Ball!”

Both Pokemon threw a dark ball to each other.

The balls collided and exploded in dark smoke.

Once the smoke faded, I yelled, “Thunder Wave!”

Drifloon’s appendages sparked and she fired a light Electric beam at Center.

Center groaned and backed up, twitching in pain, now Paralyzed.

“Center! Use your Stone Edge!”

Center’s body was outlined in white and white circles spun around its body. The circles separated into individual white balls that continued to spin around its body until taking the form of sharp, gray stones, and flew at Drifloon.

“FLOOOOOOOONNNN!” Drifloon spun through the air from the impact.

“Focus, Drifloon! Use Hex!”

Drifloon shook her head and glared at Center. Her eyes glowed purple and red, and Center’s body was outlined in the same color. “Floooon!” Drifloon tossed back Center with her move.

Robin’s Pokemon shakily descended, but maintained itself and remained floating.

“Shadow Ball!” were my next orders.

Floon!” Drifloon tossed a Shadow Ball at Center, forcing the opponent down quick.“Solrock is unable to battle! Drifloon is the winner!” the referee stated.

“Drifloon makes the score a little bit more even now as it defeats Robin’s Solrock in a couple of Super Effective moves!” the announcer proclaimed. “Using Hex on a Pokemon with a Status ailment doubles the normal damage! Well played by Gary! This battle is shaping up to be a very interesting one, Pokemon fans! Robin may have four Pokemon left, with Gary having three, but I think this is truly anyone’s match!”

“Good work, Drifloon!” I congratulated her.

Drifloon turned to me and blushed, and then looked away, swaying in place.

“Come on back, Center! You were awesome! Ha ha ha ha ha!” Robin returned Center and grabbed his next Poke Ball. “Cloakie! Let’s finish off that thing!”

“Wormadam!” a strange Pokemon sang out.

Wormadam. The Bagworm Pokemon. The evolved form of a female Burmy. This Pokemon’s evolution is Bug, and either Steel, Ground, or Grass as her second type, depending on the environment Burmy was in when she evolved.

“And Wormadam is the next Pokemon for Robin!” the announcer said.

“This one is Bug and Steel,” I saw from my Pokedex. “Flying moves are good on Bug, but not Steel. Ghost isn’t good against Steel, and neutral on Bugs. Drifloon, how about we begin things off with Focus Energy!”

Drifloon’s body let off a white glow as she bounced in the air like crazy.

“Cloakie, Iron Head!”

Cloakie’s head glowed with a metallic shine and she leaped at Drifloon, tackling into her.

Drifloon fell back, but otherwise seemed just fine.

“Now, use your Gust attack!” I told my Pokemon.

Drifloon glowed purple and a tornado appeared in front of her.

It flew at Cloakie and sucked her inside. She flew out of the tornado and bounced along the ground, gasping with each bounce as the tornado disappeared.

“Cloakie, fight back with Mirror Shot!”

Cloakie’s body glowed light blue for a moment before the blue removed itself from Cloakie’s body, turning into a ball and firing at Drifloon.

“Drifloon, dodge that!”

Drifloon vanished on the spot and Cloakie’s attack missed! She reappeared almost exactly where she had vanished, blinking in and out of view for a couple of seconds before remaining visible. “Floooon...”

Robin blinked his own eyes in disbelief before baring his teeth. “Attract!”

Cloakie spun in place, a series of hearts swirling around her body. The hearts spun away from her and surrounded my Drifloon.

Drifloon floated into the air, spinning around, looking at the hearts.

“Attract...” I murmured, thinking.

Cloakie winked at Drifloon.

The hearts hit Drifloon.

Nothing happened.

“Uh... Robin...” I started.

Robin raised a quick hand to his forehead. “Don’t tell me...”

“It appears that Attract did not work!” the announcer said it for me. “Attract makes the opponent fall in love with the user, but only if the opponent is of the opposite gender! It looks like, since all Wormadam are female, that Drifloon is a girl!”

The audience started to laugh.

Drifloon started to blush and backed up, looking away.

“This would happen to me.” Robin shook his head, a look of dismay on his face.

“Drifloon, use Shadow Ball!”

“Flooooon!” Drifloon flung a Shadow Ball at Cloakie.

Cloakie was hit and tumbled along the ground.

“Again!”

Drifloon attacked again as Wormadam got back up, forcing her to stay down.

“Use Iron Head! Take her out already!” Robin was getting frustrated.

“Dodge that!”

Cloakie flew at Drifloon, but Drifloon soared into the sky and dodged as Cloakie flew right past her.

“Shadow Ball!” I repeated.

Drifloon attacked again, and the Shadow Ball hit Cloakie in the back.

Cloakie’s back flashed a bright white, and she wailed out before crashing.

“Wormadam is unable to battle! Drifloon is the winner!” the referee ruled.

“Wormadam has been taken out by a very determined Drifloon!!” the announcer commended. “That last move, Shadow Ball, hit Wormadam right in the sweet spot, as you may have seen from that flash from her body! That Critical Hit, helped along by that Focus Energy Drifloon did earlier, may have been the push Drifloon needed to take out Wormadam!”

“Drifloon! That’s another win! Way to go!”

“Flooooon!” Drifloon soared into the sky, spinning in place, her face once again a deep red.

“The score is now even with both Trainers having three Pokemon each!” the announcer told. “But with Drifloon having taken a lot of damage, who knows how long before the score changes!”

“You did your job well, Cloakie! Return!” Robin smiled. He looked up at me. “Well, it’s even for now. Three versus three.”

I nodded, smiling back. “Let’s make Pallet proud.”

“I’m sure we already have.” Robin picked his next Poke Ball up. “Dots, go!”

“Chaaaaaaa!” Dots cried out.

“The next Pokemon out is a Pikachu! This little guy definitely has the type advantage!” the announcer informed.

“Dots, use Thunderbolt!”

“Pika Pikachuuuuuu!” A strong beam of lightning fired out from Dots, at Drifloon.

“Move it!” I said sharply.

Drifloon swiftly avoided the attack, spinning and diving around multiple jolts from Dots.

“Shadow Ball!”

Drifloon charged up the attack and threw it towards Dots as she avoided another shock of lightning.

Dots choked out as it was hit, tumbling head over heels on the ground before sprawling out flat on its stomach. Its teeth gritted as it struggled back up on all fours, narrowing its eyes at my Pokemon. “Chuuu...” it growled.

“Don’t give in, little buddy! Fight back!” Robin pleaded.

Dots shook its head and forced itself to its hind legs.

“Shadow Ball again!”

Drifloon launched another Shadow Ball at Dots.

“Thunder!”

Dots ran towards Drifloon and leaped over the Shadow Ball thrown at it. Its body sparked, flashed, and finally, as it soared over Drifloon, it sent a tremendous beam of electricity down to her.

FLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!” Drifloon screamed out louder than I’d ever heard her scream before. She hit the ground hard and didn’t move afterwards.

“Drifloon!” I called to her.

Dots landed. “Pikaaachu!” Dots smiled.

“Drifloon! Please! Can you get up?”

“And that’s gotta be it for this strong fighter, and yet what is the referee waiting for?” the announcer asked.

The referee was focusing on Drifloon.

I squinted at my Pokemon. “Drifloon?”

Drifloon stirred once, and then didn’t move.

“Drifloon!” I insisted. “If you can get up, I’m begging you, get up! I’m counting on you!”

Drifloon stirred again.

Dots’ cheeks started to spark as an angry look came over its face.

Drifloon stirred again. In the next instant, she shakily floated back up into the air, her body sparking.

AMAZING!” the announcer bellowed to the loud, surprised applause of the crowd. “Drifloon has actually gotten back up! She is now Paralyzed, but is not yet defeated! That is one strong fighter, refusing to go down by any means!”

“Thunder, once more!” Robin’s face was in a rage.

Dots ran forward, its entire body sparking.

“Constrict it!” I demanded.

Dots got closer and leaped into the air.

Drifloon reached out and wrapped her appendages around Dots.

Dots squeaked out in surprise as Drifloon squeezed the rodent.

“Astonish!”

Drifloon’s face darkened and became more frightening, ugly, and intimidating. Loud, ghastly cries and mournful, spooky sounds filled the stadium, occasional screams flying out.

It was hard to tell if the noises were from Drifloon’s Astonish attack, or the now silent audience!

Dots screeched, its body stretching out as it eyed Drifloon in terror, and the mostly yellow Pokemon drooped down in defeat. It was then dropped and remained motionless.

“Pikachu is unable to fight! Drifloon wins!” the referee waved at us with the green flag.

“DRIFLOON HAS WON! DRIFLOON HAS DEFEATED PIKACHU!” the announcer burst at the top of his lungs.

I leaped in the air excitedly. “DRIFLOON! YOU WON! YOU WON! You actually did it!! YEAH! We’re gonna win this!”

Drifloon’s entire body was a flash of red now as she went from shooting quick side glances at me to looking down.

“The score is now at three for Gary, and two for Robin! Somehow, that Drifloon is just not giving up!” the announcer mused. “What will Robin do next as the tables are moving in Gary’s favor?”

“Dots, you worked hard,” Robin said, a stunned look on his face as he looked down at his Pokemon. “Return!” After returning his Pokemon, he looked up at Drifloon, and then down at me. “One hell of a Pokemon you got there, Gary.” He didn’t look angry, but he wasn’t smiling, either.

“She sure is,” I beamed proudly at my blushing Drifloon.

“Flooon...” she spoke gently, her appendages swaying as her body twisted side to side and she lowered herself to just above the ground.

Robin grabbed his next Poke Ball. “Let’s just see how much longer she will last. I choose Count!”

“Gliscor!” some kind of bat looking Pokemon let out threateningly.

Gliscor. The Fang Scorp Pokemon. The evolved form of Gligar. Gliscor emit sound waves to detect obstacles ahead of them when flying. Unlike Gligar, this Pokemon is nocturnal.

“Night Slash her!” Robin ordered.

“Shadow Ball!”

Drifloon tossed a Shadow Ball attack as Count flew at Drifloon with its pincers glowing purple.

Count was hit directly in the neck, its neck flashing white, showing yet another critical hit. Its eyes closed briefly as it raspily gasped out, but continued to soar at Drifloon.

Drifloon vanished instantly, and Count flew right on past her.

“Another Shadow Ball!”

“Block that!” Robin spoke quickly.

Drifloon reappeared on the spot it disappeared and used Shadow Ball.

Count turned around and flew straight for Drifloon. As Shadow Ball got closer, Count raised a glowing pincer and swiped at the Shadow Ball, turning it into smoke!

I gasped.

Count pulled its pincer back and smacked the top of Drifloon’s head.

Drifloon shrieked in a shrill, high pitched cry as she dove straight down. Her voice echoed through the stadium until she met the ground.

Her haunting melody stayed with me for a moment and my body gave a shocking, uncomfortable, nervous jump ending in chills. “Whoa...” I muttered, shaking off the sudden spook I got.

The referee’s eyes were wide as he stared at my Drifloon silently. His eyes then closed and he shook his head, seeming to focus again. “Drifloon is unable to battle. Gliscor is the winner.”

“Drifloon has finally been taken out!” the announcer confirmed. “Drifloon is down, and the score has returned to an even two versus two! Drifloon definitely did an amazing job, no doubt about it! But her time has finally come and Gary must choose his next Pokemon.”

“Drifloon, that was amazing! Take it easy, now.”

Gliscor was gliding in the air, back and forth, not making a sound.

I looked down at my belt and grabbed my next Poke Ball. “Kingdra! Let’s go!”

“Dooooo!” Kingdra bounced in place, her eyes on Gliscor.

“Up next, we have Kingdra! I would say that Kingdra has the type advantage here, but really, this battle has shown us just how little that means!” the announcer admitted.

“Count! Ice Fang!”

“Kingdra, Hydro Pump!”

Count flew to Kingdra with its mouth wide open, its sharp teeth covered in ice.

“DOOOOOO!” Kingdra hit Count right in the stomach with her attack, forcing it back as it screamed against the Super Effective attack.

“Count, get out of there!”

“Don’t let it get out of range!” I insisted of Kingdra.

Kingdra kept the powerful stream of water on Count, who squirmed and whined, struggling to escape the attack.

It wasn’t long before Count seemed to be worn out, still unable to get away.

Robin gasped and then growled. His fists tightened and rose as his lips pressed together in frustration.

“Gliscor is out of steam, ladies and gentlemen!” the announcer said warily. “Could this be it for Gliscor?”

“Okay, fine!” Robin leered at Kingdra. “Get Kingdra! Dive at it!”

My eyes widened, stunned, as Count angrily opened its eyes and flew at Kingdra quickly, diving through the Hydro Pump!

What is it doing?!” I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“And it looks like suicide on the battlefield as Robin orders his Gliscor to continue into this powerful attack!!” The referee sounded as stunned as I felt. “What could be the plan here??”

Count forced its way through the water, getting closer to Kingdra, a determined look on its face.

“Kingdra, finish it!”

“Count, take it out! Guillotine!”

One of Count’s pincers glowed light blue and it grabbed Kingdra by the neck.

“KINGDRAAAAAA!!” I bellowed.

Count slammed Kingdra down, taking her out instantly.

“Kingdra is unable to battle! Gliscor is the winner!” the referee judged.

The crowd was louder than ever at this news.

“Gliscor pulls a truly daredevil move and risks its health pushing through the Hydro Pump, finishing the match at close range with a Guillotine attack, a move that immediately knocks out the opponent!” the announcer told us all. “And now, a weakened Gliscor must take on Gary’s final Pokemon. Robin still has one remaining Pokemon if Gliscor can’t hang in there!”

Count hit the ground, sitting on its long tail, breathing hard, its eyes closed.

“Count! That was awesome! Just hang in there! Only one more Pokemon left!” Robin encouraged.

Count didn’t respond, exhausted.

“Kingdra, I’m really proud of you. You can come back.” I looked up at Robin.

Robin stared at me firmly.

I closed my eyes and grabbed my last Poke Ball. “Charizard!” My eyes shot open with determination. “It’s all up to you, now! GO!” I threw his Poke Ball.

Charizard roared as he came out. He grunted at Count, and then looked over at Robin. Smiling, he gave him a thumbs up.

“Charizard! Awesome seeing you again, buddy!” Robin greeted him eagerly, giving him a thumbs up back.

“And Gary’s last Pokemon is his Charizard!” the announcer called out. “Let’s see how Gliscor holds up!”

“Count, Guillotine! FAST!”

Count’s pincers glowed light blue and it leaped at Charizard.

“Fire Spin!” I shouted in a panic.

Charizard caught Count in the face, forcing it back, and it was dropped, groaning.

“Gliscor is out! Charizard is the winner!” The referee stared in my direction, the green flag at me.

“And Charizard effortlessly takes down Gliscor in one swift blaze!” the announcer went on as Robin returned Count to its Poke Ball. “Having taken no damage whatsoever, it looks like this final battle will be a fair one as both Trainers have brought the other down to the very last! What does Robin have left?”

Robin grabbed his last Poke Ball. “I dunno about you, but, while I didn’t plan it to end this way, I’m glad it did.”

“I couldn’t have planned this if I tried,” I replied, knowing what was in that Poke Ball.

“This was destined,” Robin said seriously.

“Yeah,” I said in a lower voice, waiting.

“Catherine! It’s time to win! HAA!” He threw his Poke Ball high into the air.

The Poke Ball opened and sent out the Pokemon within.

My eyes gaped in shock and my mouth dropped at what landed heavily.

Charizard let out a sharp cry and took a step back.

“Blastoise Blaaaaaaaast!” A Blastoise stood, staring up at Charizard.

B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-Blastoise?!” I stammered hard.

“Blastoise!” the Blastoise turned to me and smiled. “Blastoise!”

“And for the final Pokemon, it is Blastoise versus Charizard!” the announcer determined. “This should prove for the most entertaining battle yet!”

Blastoise. The Shellfish Pokemon and Squirtle’s final stage. Blastoise are a very calm and gentle Pokemon who enjoy living in peace with their evolutionary family.

I stared at Blastoise in shock for a long moment, and then turned to Robin.

“It’s been a while, huh, Gary?” he asked.

I could hardly nod, but I managed.

Catheriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!!!!!!!!” a shrill shriek rang out from the bleachers.

Robin, Catherine, me, and Charizard all turned to the stands to see June hanging over the edge, smiling and waving excitedly. “I’m so proud of youuuuuuu!!! Congratulations!! GOOD LUCK OUT THERE!!!!

Catherine waved both arms towards her, calling back happily.

“Thank you, my darling!” Robin also called back, waving both his arms, too “This one is for you and all the help you gave us! MUAH!” Robin blew a kiss to June, pressing his hands to his mouth and releasing it.

June looked around, visibly embarrassed, and covered her face, backing up towards her seat.

“Okay, okay, so Catherine is now a Blastoise,” I said impatiently, turning to Robin with a determined look. “It’s time to begin this battle.”

Robin turned to me. “Agreed, Gary.”

I looked at Catherine.

She was already staring at me with a serious stare.

I nodded.

She smiled and nodded back.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Charizard roared out to her, and Catherine responded back, nodding.

“Charizard, it’s time to do this! Dragon Pulse!!”

Charizard flapped his wings and soared into the air, attacking with Dragon Pulse.

Catherine was forced back several feet, but shook her head and looked up at Charizard.

“Wing Attack!”

Charizard’s wings glowed white and he flew into Catherine, knocking her over.

Catherine managed to get back up to her feet.

“Now, Dig!”

Charizard dove down and dug up a hole, diving into it, and disappeared for a moment. The ground rocked and he popped up quickly underneath Catherine, tossing her onto her back. Charizard landed on the ground and roared at the sky, sending flames into the air.

“And Charizard is attacking strongly, overtaking Blastoise with ease!” the announcer stated. “Is Blastoise going to have a turn, or is Charizard already proving to be too much?”

“Charizard, don’t let up! Use Fire Spin!”

“Catherine, use Rapid Spin!”

Charizard flapped his wings, ascending into the air, and sent out a blazing flame at Catherine.

She pulled herself into her shell, spinning quickly at Charizard, tackling him right in the stomach, dodging Fire Spin.

Charizard grunted in shock, flapping his wings to stay in the air as Catherine landed.

She attacked us... I thought, my eyes widening. Catherine actually attacked us! I couldn’t hold back my smile as I shouted, “Wing Attack!” We’re having our first official battle, ever! Catherine and Charizard’s first battle is taking place right now! I can’t believe this!

“Keep Charizard back!”

“Blas. TOOOOOOOOOISE!” Water sprayed from Catherine’s cannons, hitting Charizard in the chest.

Charizard roared and backed up in the air, getting away from the water.

“Follow Charizard with Hydro Pump!”

“Charizard, don’t let it keep up! MOVE!

Charizard swerved around Hydro Pump, Catherine trying hard to aim at him, but Charizard was too swift.

“Flamethrower!”

Charizard attacked with fire, hitting Blastoise in the chest, but she didn’t seem to notice, continuing to aim at Charizard with Hydro Pump.

We need to get in there, I thought. We need a break in the water to charge in and hit her. “Scary Face!”

Charizard’s face turned ferocious and he roared, causing Catherine to stop attacking and back up in fright.

“Catherine, don’t stop!” Robin pleaded.

“Wing Attack, now!”

Charizard dove down and hit Catherine hard, knocking her over.

“Now use Dragon Pulse!”

Charizard attacked her, and Catherine rolled helplessly along the ground, stopping on her stomach, groaning.

“Come on, Catherine! This isn’t what all of our training has to show!” Robin began to rage. He was losing his cool, now. “GET UP! This match belongs to us! It’s time to fight!

Catherine groaned and pushed herself to her feet. She shook her head.

“Charizard, finish her! Use Fire Spin!”

Charizard sent out spirals of flames at her.

“Protect!” Robin countered.

A blue force field surrounded Catherine and the Fire Spin didn’t touch her.

“Skull Bash!”

Catherine leaped strongly into the air at Charizard, her body outlined in silver, and she slammed her head into Charizard’s stomach.

Charizard groaned loudly as Catherine took him down. He whipped his tail quickly and smacked Catherine off of him. Roaring, he stomped towards her and attacked with Dragon Claw, his claw glowing light blue.

Blaaaaaast!” Catherine fell hard from the impact.

“Hey!” I watched this in surprise. “I didn’t say to use that...”

“Catherine, get up!” Even from a distance, I could see that Robin was shaking, worry on his face. Worried he was about to lose this battle.

Catherine got up shakily, shaking her head, trying to catch her breath.

Charizard was worn out as well, but suddenly, he attacked Catherine with Fire Spin.

Catherine cried out, stumbling back and falling over again.

“Charizard! Wait! Don’t use that move! I didn’t give you any orders!” I called in confusion.

Catherine stood up weakly.

“Use your Wing Attack!” I told Charizard.

Charizard flew at Catherine, using Wing Attack.

“Hydro Pump it! Now!

Catherine faced Charizard and braced herself, stomping her feet on the ground, leaning forward to aim her cannons, and blasted Charizard with the attack.

Charizard was forced back against the wall, right beneath the screaming fans, some trying to reach down and touch Charizard in their excitement.

“Charizard!” Hit again! I thought angrily, my chest beating with worry over the turnout of this fight.

“This battle is getting very serious, and very intense, extremely quickly!” the announcer screamed over the roaring fans. “How will this possibly end?”

Charizard groaned and got to his feet, shaking his head. He growled at Catherine.

“Charizard, stay in the air and stay away from her! Use Dragon Pulse again!”

Charizard shot me a furious look and instead, ran towards Catherine, roaring!

“Charizard?” I gasped in shock.

He raised a glowing, light blue claw and swiped at Blastoise.

“Protect!”

Catherine used Protect again, blocking the move.

Charizard swung another Dragon Claw at her, but it bounced off of her Protect again.

“Charizard! What do you think you’re doing? Cut it out! Get in the air!”

“Hydro Pump it!”

Catherine’s Protect faded away, and before Catherine could attack again, Charizard swung his tail at her feet, tripping her to the ground.

Catherine looked up at Charizard, shocked, as my rampant dragon roared at her and hit her with Fire Spin.

“CHARIZARD!” I was scared now! What was Charizard doing?

The crowd seemed to be loving it, yelling and cheering happily as my Pokemon was completely losing control.

“Rapid Spin your way out of there!” Robin tried.

With Charizard still burning her with Fire Spin, Catherine pulled herself into her shell and spun quickly, flying into Charizard’s face, knocking his head back, hard.

Charizard toppled over.

Catherine popped her limbs and head out of her shell, standing behind Charizard.

“Charizard...” I whispered. “Why? Why aren’t you listening to me now?”

“And Charizard looks like it is finally down!” the announcer guessed. “It almost looked like it wasn’t listening to its Trainer for a moment, but the beast seems to have been tamed!”

Charizard’s eyes were closed. He didn’t move.

I let out a shaky breath. “No...”

Charizard’s left arm twitched. His body gave off a red glow, and his closed eyes tightened and then opened. He forced himself up to his feet, snarling.

“And Charizard is back up!” the announcer cheered. “Charizard has taken some tremendous amounts of damage, but is still up, but on its last legs as its Blaze Ability is now activated, boosting Fire moves when it is at its weakest point!”

“Charizard, will you relax for a moment and listen to me?!” I pleaded.

Charizard ignored me, looking around angrily, finally turning around and seeing Catherine behind him. He roared and ran towards her, reaching out to grab her, a deadly look on his face.

“CHARIZARD! STOP IT!”

Charizard kept charging at Catherine.

“Hydro Pump again!”

Catherine attacked, but Charizard soared above the attack and used Fire Spin on her.

Catherine gave in to the attack, falling.

Catherine! Don’t you give in, either!! This round belongs to us!! This is ours! I know you can do it! Let’s keep going, Catherine!!”

Charizard roared again.

“Charizard, damn it!!” I was now beside myself in fury. “What has gotten into you?! Stop this! Cut the crap out right now and listen to me!! We’re a team! Stop ignoring me!!”

Charizard attacked again with Fire Spin.

“Catherine, watch out!” Robin urged.

“BLAST!” Catherine leaped to her feet and hopped backwards, just barely getting away from the flames. Her body was glowing blue now.

I gasped, too afraid by all that was going on to grab my Pokedex to confirm what I already knew.

“And now Blastoise has pushed itself to the limit and its Torrent Ability is activated, boosting Water moves!” the announcer confirmed for me.

Charizard roared and flew at Catherine, his wings glowing, trying to end the match with Wing Attack.

Catherine braced herself, glaring at Charizard.

“Don’t do it! STOOOOP!” My eyes were filling up with tears. This wasn’t how I wanted things to go! Win or lose, this wasn’t a real battle! I had lost control of my Pokemon!

“CATHERINE, FINISH IT!”

Charizard roared.

“BLAAAAAAAAST!” Catherine used Hydro Pump, hitting Charizard in the chest.

Charizard roared out, but with an even more horrifying, crazed look on his face, he continued to charge forward, through the Hydro Pump, forcing his way towards Catherine!

Blastoise screamed back at Charizard, forcing strong streams of water from her cannons at him, trying to force him back.

Charizard roared once more and suddenly flipped backwards, hard, slamming down on his back, and stayed still.

I stared, hurt, at my Pokemon.

Robin stared down at Charizard solemnly.

Catherine looked down at Charizard, looking ready to drop.

The crowd kept cheering strongly, thrilled.

The red glow faded from Charizard’s body.

The referee waved the red flag to Robin. “Charizard is unable to battle! This match goes to the Red Trainer, Robin, and his Blastoise!”

The crowd’s cheering was so loud, it made me jump in fright.

“ROBIN HAS DEFEATED GARY!!!” the announcer bellowed like mad. “ROBIN HAS-!!”

A loud roar rose above the screams of the announcer and the cheers of the crowd.

I jumped even harder and turned to see Charizard get to his feet!

He heaved heavily, looking like some kind of demon, his fiery eyes at Catherine.

Catherine and Robin hadn’t moved from their spots, looking Charizard with matching, stunned eyes.

Charizard roared, causing the ground itself to rock strongly, nearly toppling me over.

The audience was silenced immediately, now focusing on Charizard.

I swallowed. “Ch-Charizard...?”

Charizard roared and soared into the air. He turned quickly and flew into the bleachers, around the audience, roaring, whipping up wind with his large wings, and shooting fire from his jaws!

June shrieked in terror and ran for her life!

“CHARIZARD HAS COMPLETELY LOST IT!!” the announcer warned. “IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT EVERYONE EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!! CHARIZARD IS GOING RAMPANT!!!”

“CHARIZARD!” I ran after him as he blew flames at the stands while people fled in a panic.

Charizard roared angrily and turned back towards Catherine as the stands emptied and burned in his rage. He flew at her, a red missile.

Catherine stared in shock at Charizard, not moving.

Robin ran forward and stepped in front of Catherine, outstretching his arms and closing his eyes tightly, gritting his teeth.

Catherine aimed her cannons at Charizard from behind Robin, a dark look on her face unlike anything I’d ever seen from her before.

Charizard roared an angry bellow that hurt my eardrums as he flew towards Robin and Catherine.

After several minutes of silence, Robin finally opened his eyes. He saw me standing a few feet away, a Poke Ball in my outstretched arm, and realized that Charizard was now gone.

I lowered my arm and put the Poke Ball back on my belt.

Robin stared at me, a sad, pitiful look on his face. He swallowed before opening his mouth and saying, “Gary.”

Congratulations, I said in my head. I couldn’t get the word out of my mouth. Before my tears showed, I turned and ran as fast as I could towards the exit of the burning stadium.

*

I’m out, I thought furiously, looking up at the bunk bed above me, laying down on the lower bunk, my hands behind my head. My time here is actually up. And it’s all thanks to that stupid Charizard of mine. That damn Charizard! All of the things we went through! Everything we overcame! Our accomplishments together! They all mean nothing! He completely freaking disobeyed me. That good for nothing dragon. I can’t even stand to look at the damn thing! I should just release him!

I had left the Indigo Stadium and ran to a Pokemon Center to leave my Pokemon. Immediately after that, I ran to my room and cried in my pillow. The next thing I knew, I woke up. Remembering the battle I had with Robin, I went into the bathroom and showered in mostly cold water before returning to my bed.

I failed. I didn’t win. I lost to Robin. I didn’t even lose fairly! Charizard wasn’t even listening to me! It’s just not fair! A knock at the door to my room made me look through the darkness over to it, not saying a word.

“Gary?” I heard the familiar voice of June.

I didn’t answer. Just go away! I thought, returning my gaze upward, anticipating her opening the door.

The door did open, slowly, and June poked her head in. “Gary.” The door creaked as she opened it wider and she flipped on the light switch.

My eyes squinted in the sudden flash and I sucked my teeth, scowling at June. My eyes widened at the sight of Robin behind her. I turned away, my back facing them.

Their footsteps crossed over to me, and I felt someone sit on my bed.

“Just go away!” Tears rolled down my face.

A hand landed gently on my shoulder.

I turned sharply and leered into the eyes of Robin. I swallowed, my eyes easing, pausing my planned words. I thought June had grabbed me, and had intended to yell at her. Seeing Robin, I held my tongue, unsure of what to say to him, anger and a deep sadness taking over me.

Robin calmly looked back at me. “Let’s take a walk, shall we?”

I turned away. “I don’t want to.”

“You always knew everything, you know? You always were reading and saying random facts about all sorts of things. Well, today, there’s one thing I know for sure. You want to take a walk. And you will take a walk. Right now.”

I didn’t reply, refusing to move, testing Robin’s claim.

Robin stood up and walked away, stopping at the door. “You, me, and June. Right, Gary?”

*

After Robin and I retrieved our Pokemon from the Pokemon Center, the three of us walked together in silence for a very long time, left the Pokemon League Village, and were now walking through a clearing near the woods.

I was dwelling on my battle I’d had with Robin during our walk, embarrassed and unsure of what to say.

Robin stopped walking, keeping his eyes to the ground as he had done the entire time of our walk.

June and I stopped, looking over at Robin.

Soon after, I looked away, lowering my own eyes.

Robin sighed and reached for a Poke Ball. His arm extended with his hand holding it. “Catherine! Come out!”

“Blastoise!” Catherine uttered happily.

Robin rubbed her stomach and smiled, both of them standing at eye level.

Catherine smiled back, and then turned to me. “Blast! Blastoise!” She stepped towards me.

On instinct, I walked up to her quickly and wrapped my arms around her enormous body as best as I could. “Catherine!” I began to weep against her. “Congratulations, Catherine! I’m so proud of you!”

“Stoise! Blastoise!” Catherine wrapped me in a crushing hug.

Ignoring the tight squeeze, I looked at her. “It’s been so long. I’m so glad to see you again. To see that you’ve...” My words got stuck in my throat.

“She’s gotten over you and has fully accepted her Trainer,” June said.

Catherine turned to June and released me, stomping over to her.

“Come here, you!” June ran to Catherine and they embraced. She rubbed the Pokemon’s sides and stared into her eyes. “You’ve come such a long way, sweetheart! I’ll always remember when you were just a little Squirtle. I’ll always remember the moment I saw you come out of your Poke Ball today. Oh, Catherine!” June’s eyes dripped happy tears as she placed her face against the side of Catherine’s.

“Blastoise!” Catherine hugged June tighter.

“I’m glad everything worked out between you two, Robin,” I said, turning to him.

Robin and Catherine exchanged happy glances.

“I only want her to be happy.” Robin didn’t take his eyes off of Catherine. “I explained that to her. I told her that I love her. I told Catherine that she means everything to me. I said I’d release her if that would make her happy. I’d give her to you if that would make her happy. I couldn’t get through to her no matter how hard I tried, and it made me feel like I wasn’t the right Trainer for her anymore. She was hurting me deeply. I expressed that to her. “

“Catherine would never want to hurt you,” June said softly.

Robin nodded. “Catherine loves me. I told her how I feel. I told her how much pain I was going through, but how willing I was to stick by her and work with her, or release her, or do whatever it took for her satisfaction.” He turned to me, tears twinkling in his eyes. “She’s special to me. My very first Pokemon. I can’t explain it. She’s... everything to me. My best friend. I support whatever she wants. At that moment, I hugged her, and she showed me just how much she loves me back.”

“She evolved,” June sniffled.

Robin wiped at his eyes, nodding.

“Robin.” I stepped up to him. “I’m sorry about...”

Robin’s smile faded and he stared at me solemnly. “I’m sorry that happened, too. It came out of nowhere. What happened?”

“I have no idea,” I replied, now frowning.

“I know what happened.”

“What?” Robin and I cried out to June in unison.

“Send him out,” June insisted.

I immediately reached for my Poke Ball and sent out Charizard.

Instead of his usual enthusiastic roar of a greeting, he quietly stood there, looking at the four of us. His eyes landed on Catherine, and he lowered his head.

“Yeah! You should be ashamed!” I stepped forward.

Charizard let out a low, sad noise and lowered his head even further.

“Gary. No.” June waved a hand at me and stepped up to Charizard. She placed a hand gently on his chest and rubbed it, causing Charizard to purr a little. June turned to me. “Charizard is sorry.”

“He damn well better be!” I flipped out. “I wanna know what the hell was going on through your thick skull! What the hell was that crap out there? We lost because of you! How dare you ruin our dreams like that!”

Charizard cried out sadly, turning his head away.

“Gary!” June spoke angrily. “I said to stop it!”

“Why should I?”

June sighed. “You have every right to be angry,” June said in a calmer voice. “I understand. But right now, Charizard is very scared.”

“Of what?”

“You!”

“Me?!”

“Look how you’re acting! Charizard knew you’d be disappointed in him. He’s very sorry for what occurred!”

“And what exactly happened?” I crossed my arms.

June continued to rub Charizard. “His pride took over.”

Pride? What do you mean by that?”

“I saw it on his face during the battle. Some of the moves you ordered got him injured instead of damaging Catherine. He was desperate to win and felt like he could do it better all on his own. He wasn’t satisfied with following orders anymore. He wanted to take Catherine down all by himself. He’s never lost a battle to her before. Of course, they’ve never had a full battle before, either, but regardless, Charizard lost control and ended up defeated. He lost to a friend. It hurt his pride even further when the crowd started cheering and celebrating his loss. Charizard understands he was wrong to get so upset, and is truly sorry.”

My eyebrows furrowed at Charizard.

The area was quiet as no one said a word.

Finally, I walked up to Charizard.

Charizard turned to me, nervously watching.

I stopped right in front of him, my eyes burning into his.

“Gary...” June said warily.

I raised a hand and reached out to Charizard. He closed his eyes and winced, groaning lightly as I gently touched his stomach. I rubbed him, and he opened his eyes in shock, staring down at me. “I forgive you.”

A smile broke out over Charizard’s face.

“But,” I added.

Charizard’s smile faded.

“I want you to formally apologize to them.” I waved behind me.

Charizard looked up.

“It’s okay, sweetie,” June whispered, leaning forward a bit. “You’re forgiven by me.” She gave my Pokemon a wink and a big smile.

Charizard grunted and smiled, but then looked up at Robin and Catherine, his smile disappearing.

Catherine and Robin looked back at Charizard.

Slowly, Charizard walked around June and I and approached them.

Robin stepped back and nodded at Charizard. “It’s okay, buddy. I forgive you.” He gave Charizard a thumbs up.

Charizard returned the gesture with a pleased utterance of a sound. His smile went away again as he was left to face Catherine. Raising his claw to the back of his head, he looked down and grunted in a low voice.

Catherine stood there, listening to Charizard.

Charizard stopped talking and slowly lifted his head, staring at Catherine with sad, wide, watering eyes.

Catherine kept a cold glance on her face for a while, not replying.

Charizard lowered his head sadly.

“Blastoise! Blastoise!” Catherine moved at Charizard and cheerily wrapped him in a hug.

Charizard let out a pleased roar and hugged Catherine back.

“Awww!” June gushed. “Just too cute!” She clasped her hands together and brought them to her face.

Robin chuckled lightly and turned to me. “Kind of funny when you think about it, eh, Gary?”

“Huh? What?” I turned to him.

“All this time, I lost our battles due to Catherine not listening to me. But this time, you lost to me due to Charizard not listening! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!”

My head dropped. “Yeah. A riot...” I mumbled.

Robin slapped my back, hard, causing me to take a step forward from the hit, my eyes bulging in shock. “Hey! Don’t be so down! You have a lot of work to do as a Trainer, but one of us is still in this! Only one of us could win, after all. I would’ve won, anyway, even if Charizard had listened to you! Ha ha ha ha ha!!”

“No way!” I argued.

Charizard grunted, turning to Robin, breaking his hug with Catherine.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Anyway, at least we now know who will be winning this competition. Only one of us was going to make it. Just look at it this way. You lost to the Pokemon League Champion!”

I managed to smile. “Yeah. I guess you’re right. You better win it!”

“You better be there to watch!”

“You bet, Robin!”

“And of course, I’ll be there, too!” June chimed in cheerfully.

“Apparently, my next battle is against some kid named Arnold!” Robin informed us.

“Arnold?” I gasped, remembering the kid I saw battling a couple of times. The kid who looked so familiar to me for some reason, but I just couldn’t remember why.

“Yeah! Do you know who I’m talking about?”

I had looked up Arnold in the database before my fifth round match. He was the only Arnold participating that far in the competition. Robin was definitely facing the same Arnold.

I have to find out who this kid is, I knew, glaring down at the grass beneath me.

The end of the Pokemon League competition was approaching fast.

I’d be receiving the answer to many things, very soon.

In more ways than one, the end was near.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.