A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

By QBOak

Adventure / Drama

Battle To The Death

“After Obsidian City, we have a ton of options for where we can travel next that have Gyms, too,” I said. “There’s Vermilion City, Gringey City… There’s Cerulean City back the way we came from, too.”

Me and a couple of my Pokemon were walking through a forest, on our way to Obsidian City. We had left Pewter City just the other day, all of us in good health, including Primeape.

Those nurses sure knew how to perform miracles for any situation.

Hoothoot flew in the air, close by all of us, turning its head in complete circles, carefully checking out the area with glowing red eyes. Prof. Oak had told me that Hoothoot would be great protection once I got to Obsidian City since there are Ghost Pokemon located there. Hoothoot’s move, Foresight, could reveal Ghost Pokemon in disguise and dissipate their created illusions.

Charmander walked right beside me.

It was great to get out and spend some time with my Pokemon. Especially Charmander, since me and it had such a rocky start in our relationship. I told it a little bit about my life growing up in Pallet Town and my goals I had set for myself to accomplish. It was fun being friends with Charmander now and I was in such a good mood that I found myself starting to discuss where we would go after we beat the Obsidian Gym Leader. Because we would beat him or her. No question there. That Badge was mine. The longer I spoke about our next destination, the more a certain fact I had in the back of my mind became more apparent.

It was dark outside.

We’d been traveling for over a day and my legs were killing me, my feet throbbing, and I was really thirsty. Plus, I was starting to wonder if we were lost. The map showed that Obsidian City was a little less than a day’s walk away from Pewter City. A decent walk, yes, but I’d gone above and beyond what I had expected to physically deal with before getting to the city.

I came to a stop, Charmander stopping as well and looking up at me.

Hoothoot’s wings flapped and kept him in the air as he turned to me.

Nothing but trees were in my sight as I spun in a slow circle. The only things visible beyond the trees closest to us were more trees and an overtly dark darkness. It even seemed abnormally dark. “Charmander, Hoothoot, stay sharp,” I warned.

Charmander and Hoothoot nodded seriously and we continued to move ahead.

I was terrified walking through here. Who knows how long we may have even been walking in circles all this time? I was starting to get hungry, and I knew my Pokemon must be as well. But there was no way we could stop now. Not in this creepy place.

A high pitched scream, louder than the shrillest whistle, rang out from right next to my ear. Just as I screamed in terror and shoved my hands out in the direction of the noise, stumbling backwards, a pair of dark, shadowy hands reached from the darkness and snatched my Hoothoot from the air! “HOOTHOOT!” I yelled, my heart slamming into my chest, staring in shock as my Hoothoot, terrified, was pulled into the darkness and trees! “HOOTHOOT!” I ran after my Pokemon, and a horrifying face shot out at me from the depths of the deep black nothingness between the trees.

It was a rounded face of some kind of beast, only twice the size of my own head. The face was split in half, directly down the middle, maggots squirming and dropping to the ground from the gash. There was no body attached to the neck. The head just hovered in front of me, shredded, moldy looking skin just hanging from the end of the neck, seeming to curl and writhe on its own disgustingly, and I was sure there were maggots feasting beneath. Though clearly an animal, there seemed to be human-like features in the mix, almost sewn throughout the fur. The eyes were a hard blue, but somehow not like an animal’s eyes. They almost looked familiar in their cold, knowing glare. Its open mouth contained the long, razor sharp blades of a deadly predator, but they weren’t white or yellow or even resembled teeth very much. They were a darker gray color and seemed to be made of maybe stone! Its tongue slid lazily over these powerful looking fangs or whatever and then rose up, almost kind of pointing at me! It was when I saw the matching pink antennae reaching out for me that I realized it wasn’t a tongue reaching for me, but a slug!!

I screamed louder than I ever had in my life and ran away from the… thing in the woods. I didn’t know where I was going, but I just kept moving. But... No! Hoothoot! I stopped running, and Charmander ran right past me without stopping!

“Hey!” I called, reaching out to it.

Charmander stopped and turned back to me, looking confused. It’s eyes widened in fear, and before I could ask why, it opened its mouth and spit fire at my head!

I ducked just in time for it to miss and looked at Charmander as if it had lost its mind. “Are you insa-?!” I was interrupted as Charmander’s eyes widened at me.

They grew wider. They were practically bulging from its eye sockets. When suddenly… Charmander’s eyes flew from its sockets and hit the floor!

YYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!” I bellowed, backing away. “Charmander!!!”

Charmander reached out its arms to me, and drops of water began slipping out from its eyes on the ground! My Pokemon was crying! Or its eyes were?? “Charmander!” it said. But its voice was no longer the light cry I was used to. My Pokemon now spoke in a deep, deformed tone. It continued to move slowly towards me, forcing me to back away, except Charmander wasn’t quite walking. It was dragging its feet. As I watched its feet drag along the grass and dirt below, I realized that my red lizard was leaving yellow ooze behind it. The substance was coming from under its feet. Charmander’s melting feet! Its feet were slowly melting into ooze and being left behind in a disgusting mess behind it!

I backed away even quicker, my stomach churning in disgust. Puking was becoming an easier action by the second. I wanted to help my Charmander, but this was just insane! I had no idea what was going on, or how to help. It was possible that I was in the middle of a seizure with how bad I was shaking. Or maybe an earthquake was underway this very moment. I thought about what other Pokemon I owned.

Kakuna, Metapod, and Primeape.

Okay? And??? I asked myself. What are you gonna do? Battle Charmander? In this condition?

Charmander’s eyes were still running with water from out of nowhere, rolling towards me next to Charmander. My Pokemon had melted down to its knees now in ooze, sliding towards me like a snail. Grossing me out. Horrifying me.

My heart was beating so hard and fast, I’d have preferred death over taking another painful thump. I also didn’t want to see my Charmander, now down to its torso, melting and sliding and leaving behind its yellow slime. I kept backing up until I slammed into a tree and just slid down it. Tears started up in my eyes, watching as Charmander got closer to me.

What looked like smoke started to rise from the yellow that Charmander was leaving behind. Its claws began dripping yellow drops. Its outstretched arms reached up to me, crying its name nonstop, in a voice that sounded so distorted, so unclear, so unlike my Charmander.

Tears flooded my eyes as the feeling of helplessness became overwhelming. I just wanted this all to stop! “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME??” My cheeks were soaked in tears.

Charmander flung its claws at me and the wet stuff splashed across my face.

I screamed and grabbed at my face. My heart beat even worse than it already was as I felt my skin. Some of it was gone?! My hands were digging in the holes in my face that the ooze had hit! It had burned through my skin! Shrieking in a frenzy, I grabbed at my face. My hands slid off my face, holding globs of skin in my them!! In a panic and loss of self control, I dropped to my knees and just screamed and cried.

Charmander moved closer to me, now melted down to its neck. It was nothing more than a head, sliding closer and closer, eyeballs rolling up to me continuously, still crying.

A red light flashed from somewhere close.

“HOOOOOOOOT!!!”

“HOOTHOOT!” I turned to the brightness.

Hoothoot was there, its eyes flashing a bright red light on me and Charmander.

I turned to Charmander and sucked in a deep breath of surprise.

Charmander looked like normal! It was standing there on its two feet, its entire body intact. No burning acid dripping from it, no acid on the ground, its eyeballs in its head!

I looked down at my hands. There was no skin in my hands from my face! And, my face was intact! No holes or burns! Then I saw the ghastly ghouls floating in the air.

A Haunter and a Gengar. Both were in the red light that Hoothoot was shining from its eyes, huge smiles on their faces.

I whipped out the Pokedex and pointed it at them.

Haunter. The Gas Pokemon and the evolved form of Gastly. Known well for their pranks which often end up intentionally deadly, this Pokemon feeds off of the life energy of living beings. There is little other information known about this Pokemon.

Gengar. The Shadow Pokemon and the evolved form of Haunter. This Pokemon enjoys a good joke. Some believe it may come from an entirely different dimension. No other data is available on this Pokemon.

“So you two were playing pranks, huh?” I said angrily. “That wasn’t funny!”

Haunter and Gengar, their mischievous grins on their faces, laughed at my anger and instantly disappeared into thin air.

I shook my head and slipped my Pokedex into my pocket, taking a look around. “Huh?”

The area didn’t look as bad as it had before. The tons of trees were spaced out much further and the darkness wasn’t all that bad. I could see a clear path! The jumble of trees and unfathomable darkness had all been a trick by the Ghost Pokemon who run this forest…

“Hoothoot! Charmander! Are you guys okay?” I checked on them.

They both nodded their heads quickly, obviously eager to leave this forest as much as I was.

I stood up. My knees were shaking so badly, I could barely hold myself up. I was still in shock about what had happened. They had made the illusions so real, I didn’t even realize there was no burning pain from the acid, I pondered. I had believed it so much, I didn’t even question the lack of pain I should have been feeling. I wasn’t sure what direction to run to, but I knew we needed to get out. “Come on, guys. Let’s just get out of here. Even if it leads back to Pewter City. Let’s just go.” I detected a hint of panic in my voice.

Charmander and Hoothoot agreed without hesitation and we ran. Or we began to.

A man appeared out of nowhere. He had a broad smile and almost blended in with the dark woods in his black outfit of jeans, a long sleeved, button up shirt, and shoes. “How are you enjoying your stay in Tragedy Forest?” he laughed.

“Huh?” I asked. “Tragedy Forest?”

He laughed again. “Well, that’s what they call Obsidian Forest. Tragedy Forest. Because nearly every Trainer who enters, leaves having a tragic accident.” His smile widened. “That is… if they leave.” He laughed lightly and ran his hand through his slightly curly black hair. His white teeth glowed and looked to be in perfect care. “My name is Shane. I am the Obsidian City Pokemon Gym Leader. As I was out here training my team of Ghost Pokemon, I heard screaming and found you having a bit of trouble with my friends. I commend you on your Hoothoot doing so well to protect its master.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir,” I nodded at him nervously. Something about him scared me. Where did he even appear from? “I’m Gary. I’ve come from Pallet Town to challenge your Gym for a Badge.”

“Ah, well, what do you know?” Shane replied. “Well, why not battle right here?”

“Here?” I asked.

“Yes,” Shane replied. “After all, this is where I was training, only a little distance further down. This is like home to me. And my Ghost Pokemon love it out here. It’s their habitat. We can truly see how you operate when the odds are against you and see if you truly deserve the Dimensia Badge.” He held out a small object.

It seemed to be made of glass, and there looked to be smoke floating around inside it. ...But it wasn’t glass, nor was any smoke inside of it... It was just beautifully crafted to appear that way.

“Wow,” I whispered, highly impressed. I felt lost in a trance from this captivating object. With a grunt, I closed my eyes and shook my head, and then turned to Shane. “Okay, then. Let’s battle!”

His smile was wide. It almost looked familiar. “Okay.” He took a few steps backwards, but dodged a couple of trees as if he knew they were there.

I looked behind me as I walked backwards away from the Gym Leader. This seemed a bit unconventional, but I was all for it if he was.

“I choose you, Haunter!” Shane tossed his Poke Ball.

A Haunter appeared, laughing gleefully.

I glanced around before looking back to the Gym Leader. “Hey, don’t we need a referee?” I asked.

Shane laughed very loudly. “Do we need some kid to tell us whether or not our Pokemon is able to battle or not? Are we that stupid that we can’t make that decision with our own two eyes?” He had a good point.

“I guess,” I muttered. “Fine! Then, Hoothoot, go get ’em!”

Hoothoot flew out, ready for combat.

“This will be a one-on-one match,” Shane announced. “First person whose Pokemon is defeated, loses.”

“Wait what?? One-on-one? Really?”

“Aw, I’m sorry. You’re scared?” Shane laughed. “The way you handled yourself out here with Gengar and Haunter, I should’ve known you would freak over such a rule.”

I was glaring at him now. “Fine! One-on-one! Let’s do it!”

Shane smiled that familiar smile again. “You may have the first move.”

“Hoothoot, Foresight!” I ordered. I knew Ghost Pokemon were immune to Normal and Fighting type moves. They did absolutely no damage to them. With Foresight, it got rid of that advantage and Normal and Fighting moves would hit. And Hoothoot being partly a Normal type Pokemon, it was immune to Ghost type attacks.

Hoothoot shined its light on Haunter and Haunter closed its eyes against the brightness.

“Now, Tackle it, Hoothoot!”

Hoothoot flew at Haunter with the Normal type attack at full speed.

“Haunter, Confuse Ray!” Shane countered.

Haunter stared at Hoothoot with its odd grin as a set of lights flew from its body and hit Hoothoot.

Hoothoot had a tired look on its face, and its eyes turned red. It dropped to the ground like a weight and looked around in a daze. The Flying type then flew forward determinedly, hooting sharply, and hit... a tree! Repeatedly! Hoothoot was tackling a tree continuously, Confused and unable to stop, only hurting itself in the process.

“Now, use Hypnosis!” Shane continued.

Haunter disappeared and reappeared in front of Hoothoot, right as it was about to charge forward with another Tackle. The Ghost opponent became disoriented in my view and there seemed to be an odd blur about it. In the next instant, Hoothoot fell down and was fast asleep.

“Hoothoot! Get up! Please!” I begged.

“Use Dream Eater! Finish this!” Shane called.

Haunter didn’t move, but what seemed to be a transparent version of Haunter flew forward from where Haunter continued hovering and it hit my sleeping Hoothoot.

I called for Hoothoot to wake up repeatedly, stomping on the ground, screaming, but nothing worked.

Hoothoot woke up in the next instant with a quick gasp. But I saw the worn out look in its eyes. I didn’t need a referee to know it was defeated. We had lost.

Shane smiled at me. “Nice try, Gary.” He walked closer to me, and his smile grew wider.

His Haunter floated closer to me, smiling just as creepily.

“Mander!” Charmander ran in front of me and tried to hit Shane with an Ember attack!

Shane disappeared and the flame hit the air!

“WHOA!!” I exclaimed.

Shane reappeared in an instant, and it was then that I recognized that smile.

A Gengar’s smile!

This wasn’t a human at all. It was another Ghost Pokemon trick.

I backed up as “Shane” and Haunter closed in on me and Charmander.

“HEY!” a voice barked.

I turned to see… Shane!

He had an angry look on his face. He stepped up to the Ghost Pokemon. “What do you two think you’re doing?”

The Shane with a Gengar smile turned into a Gengar instantly and its smile vanished.

Haunter’s smile disappeared into a face of shame as well.

“Get on out of here!” he demanded. “Don’t let me catch this kind of behavior again!”

The two Ghosts nodded their heads fast and soared into the woods.

Suddenly, the forest disappeared! We were no longer in a forest, but in a city! Looking around in awe, I saw buildings, people walking around outside staring at us strangely, hotels, houses, and a Pokemon Center!

As I stared in astonishment, the man who looked like Shane snapped me out of my awe. “Sorry about that. Those Ghost Pokemon can’t resist a good trick. And it can end deadly at times. You were in Obsidian City for quite a bit, I’m sure. The Ghost Pokemon must have been messing with you since you got out of Obsidian Forest.” He pointed and I saw a forest a distance away from Obsidian City at the end of a very long cement path.

“Wow…” I managed, and cleared my throat. “And this is real now?”

“Oh, yes, indeed,” the man replied. “I am the real Shane, Gym Leader of the Obsidian Gym. The Ghost Pokemon don’t usually come out this way. I keep this city safe from them. They know better than to behave like that. This city thrives because I keep the Ghost Pokemon from coming over here causing mayhem. I couldn’t believe when someone ran to me saying a kid was having a battle with me in the middle of the streets with a Haunter. I’d never battle in such a manner in the first place. And he said you seemed in a daze and something wasn’t right. I’m glad you’re safe, though.”

“Thank you for saving me. My name is Gary, by the way. I came here from Pallet Town for a Gym battle with you.”

Shane smiled a normal smile this time. Nothing like Gengar’s. He pointed behind me.

A short distance away, I saw my Hoothoot, still knocked out from its battle with Haunter. I ran towards Hoothoot and picked it up carefully.

“How about you take care of your friend there, first? Tomorrow night, we can have our battle,” Shane suggested.

“At night?” I asked.

“Yes. I love to battle when my Pokemon are most happy. And Ghost Pokemon are most happy when it’s night.”

I smiled back. “Tomorrow night it is.”

As I sat in the Pokemon Center, all of my Pokemon getting their treatment and some food, me eating a grilled chicken wrap I had purchased outside along the way from a food cart, I wondered about this upcoming battle. I didn’t even beat a rogue Pokemon pretending to be a Trainer, I worried. How can I expect to beat a real Gym Leader? Flashbacks of my match with Aurora flashed through my mind. I sighed and closed my eyes hard.

I was scared.

I didn’t sleep until very late the next day. Thoughts of what I had encountered with those Ghost Pokemon in Obsidian Forest kept me up until sometime in the afternoon! I finally woke up and saw that it was dark outside. My sleepy, groggy, dizzy mind tried to contemplate what was going on and where I was as I stared calmly out the window at the city. “AAAAAAAHHHH!!” I screamed suddenly as my brain jolted into action.

The Pokemon in the hospital that were outside of their Poke Balls, relaxing with their Trainers and other Pokemon in peace, began erupting into noise and fighting with each other at my sudden outburst.

I got up and ran out of the Pokemon Center lobby in a panic. My Gym match! It’s on now! What have I been doing all day?!

“What is wrong with that kid?” I heard someone shout as I flew out of there.

I ran straight to Obsidian Gym. I didn’t have time to train, but I did take some time earlier to find where the building was located. I got to the Gym doors and stopped, taking a few deep breaths to calm myself. I don’t even have a real strategy, I knew. I need to really find a way to make this work.

The Gym building wasn’t very wide, but it stood at four stories tall, made entirely of wood. It was well kept and looked brand new, painted with what looked like a fresh coat of white paint. I grabbed for the doorknob carefully, almost certain that the paint was still wet. To my surprise, the door pulled open! I leaned into the building and took slow steps on the polished wooden floor that literally shined, my reflection below me almost as good as a mirror.

Shane was sitting in a small wooden rocking chair in the room that looked a lot bigger inside than the building appeared to be outside, reading a book. He looked up at me and smiled. “Welcome, Gary!” he said cheerily. He closed his book and stood up.

“Good evening, Shane,” I replied, smiling back.

I noticed a man in the corner of the room. He seemed to have been waiting for me, already standing and wearing a smile. He wore black shoes, his purple socks stretched up past his knees, and a black T-shirt that reached almost all the way down to the top of the socks. On top of his head was a black beanie.

A few more cautious steps into the Gym, and there was a BANG! from behind me that made me jump and gasp, turning around.

The door had slammed shut, but nobody was there.

Footsteps behind me made me turn and I saw Shane approaching. I swallowed nervously, despite his warm grin.

He stopped before me and extended his hand, so we shook. Shane’s other hand clasped on top of mine, and then he waved to the man in the back. “This will be our referee for this match,” Shane introduced.

“Sounds fine,” I said with a quick nod.

“Give it your all, Gary. I hope to see great things from you tonight.”

“Don’t worry, Shane. You’re gonna be the first Badge I acquire on my journey to becoming a Pokemon Master.”

Shane nodded.

We took our places on either side of the battlefield in the middle of the room, which was outlined in white chalk. Unlike the rock filled battlefield of Pewter Gym, this one was empty. Nothing but the plain wood floor.

“This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle between the Obsidian City Gym Leader, and Gary from Pallet Town,” the referee started. “There is no time limit. The winner will be whoever defeats the opponent’s Pokemon first. Only the challenger is allowed to substitute Pokemon. Let the battle begin!”

“I choose you, Gastly!” Shane called out.

Gastly popped out of its thrown Poke Ball.

I hadn’t see this one in the Obsidian Forest, but I knew what it was before my Pokedex told me.

Gastly. The Gas Pokemon. Pranksters by nature, they can also catch prey by poisoning them through the skin whilst enveloping its prey with its body. They are easily blown away when they come into contact with the wind.

“Hm. Okay,” I acknowledged. “Charmander, go!” I threw Charmander’s Poke Ball and it came out ready.

“I encourage you to move first, Gary,” Shane offered.

“Charmander, now, Ember!” I accepted.

Charmander tried to catch Gastly, but Gastly simply disappeared to dodge and reappeared in an instant.

“Gastly, use Lick!” Shane went next.

“Charmander, return!” I recalled my Charmander in a panic just as Gastly’s tongue came flying out to slurp the poor thing.

Shane seemed surprised, but then smiled.

“Now, Hoothoot, I guess you’re up!” I flung the Poke Ball and watched it bounce.

Hoothoot came out.

“Aaah, good choice,” Shane approved.

“Foresight!”

Hoothoot hit Gastly with Foresight and the Ghost Pokemon was now susceptible to Normal and Fighting moves.

“Tackle it, now!”

Hoothoot flew at Gastly and tackled it to the floor.

Gastly looked down, but not out.

“Payback!” Shane shouted.

Gastly got up and slammed hard into Hoothoot, who flew across the room and tumbled on the floor.

“Hoothoot! Get up!” I urged.

“Hoothoot is unable to battle,” the referred stated.

“NO! Get up, Hoothoot!”

“Gastly is the winner!” the referee finished.

“WHAT???” I screamed. I couldn’t help but glare at the referee, who stared back at me solemnly. With a growl, I ran onto the battlefield and picked up my Hoothoot. “Are you okay?”

Hoothoot feebly hooted at me.

“You did great, Hoothoot. Thank you.” I returned Hoothoot to its Poke Ball.

“Now, Gary, you must respect the referee’s decision,” Shane told me sternly.

“I know. I was just surprised,” I explained to Shane, and then turned to the referee. “I’m sorry.” I bowed respectively to the referee, who nodded back. Payback, I thought as I walked back to my spot. What is that? I pulled out my Pokedex.

Payback. This move delivers more damage if the user attacks after the opponent.

Wow, I thought. So that’s why it hit so hard? “Okay. You’re up now, Primeape! Yyya!” I threw the Poke Ball.

Primeape came out, hopping up and down in eagerness.

Primeape may be a Fighting type Pokemon, but Gastly is under the effects of Foresight, I told myself. It can get hit by Fighting and Normal moves. “Primeape, Karate Chop!”

Primeape didn’t hesitate to fly at Gastly and take down the Ghost Type with Karate Chop.

Gastly couldn’t take that kind of hit, even being part Poison type, which are strong to Fighting type moves. “Gast...” Gastly breathed out weakly from the floor.

“Gastly is unable to battle! Primeape is the winner!” the referee stated.

Shane retreated his Gastly. “A well deserved win,” he congratulated. “That Foresight beforehand was definitely a boost for you to win against Gastly.”

“Thank you.”

“But your run might just end here,” he said with a slick grin. “Gengar, let’s finish this!”

As Gengar popped out of its Pokeball, my teeth gritted tighter as worry sunk in. Keep calm. Keep calm and believe in your Pokemon. “Primeape, use Screech!” Primeape sent out an ear piercing screech I didn’t think I’d ever get used to as long as I lived, and I covered my ears.

The referee, Gengar, and Shane covered their ears, too.

Gengar’s Defense was now badly weakened.

“Gengar, Confuse Ray!” Shane tried over the Screech.

Gengar tried hitting Primeape with Confuse Ray, but the Screech attack was still going and ruining Gengar’s concentration, and it missed, its moves flying all around the room and bouncing for a short couple of seconds against the floor, walls, and ceiling before vanishing.

I pulled out my Pokedex and looked over at Primeape to check his moves.

As I was wasting time checking out things on Primeape, Shane took advantage. “Use Mean Look, now!”

Gengar’s eyes glowed brightly and seemed to shine and suddenly, its eyes returned back to their normal spookiness.

“Mean Look…?” I asked my Pokedex.

Mean Look makes it impossible for the Pokemon who is hit with the move, to be retreated.

“Impossible!” I tried to recall Primeape, but the red beam didn’t even touch him before dying out.

Shane laughed. “I see you’re still a bit new to the world of Pokemon. I truly am who you think you’ll be getting your first Badge from. Well, not that easily. Gengar, Shadow Ball, now!”

This made me snicker.

Primeape took the hit and slid along the floor on its feet, his legs wobbling shakily.

“Great! Assurance, now!”

“Assurance!” Shane eyes went wide. “Gengar, get out of there!”

Primeape was already charging forward in a fury and hit Gengar with all his might.

Gengar was slapped down by the Dark type move, a Ghost type’s weakness.

Assurance works in almost the same manner as Payback. The only difference being that, while Payback deals more damage if you go last, Assurance deals more damage if you actually took damage in that turn, first.

“Gengar, Confuse Ray!”

Gengar got up and used Confuse Ray.

“Swagger!” I demanded.

Primeape glared at Gengar and started glowing a light red.

Gengar’s eyes glowed red as it was hit with the move and became Confused, just as Primeape was hit with Confuse Ray and became Confused.

“Gengar! NO!” Shane frowned, tightening his lips together.

Swagger raised the opponent’s Attack stats by a huge amount, but it also caused the opponent to become Confused. If it attacked itself in its confusion, it would seriously hurt.

And that was what was going on now. Both Gengar and Primeape were attacking themselves and each other, back and forth, not listening to either of their Trainers as we called out attacks to them.

“Primeape is unable to battle, Gengar is the winner!” the referee determined.

I stared in complete shock.

Primeape had been beaten, laid out on his back.

But Gengar wasn’t looking too good, either, and it was still Confused, its eyes still glowing red, wavering back and forth on shaky legs.

“Primeape, thank you! Come back for a well deserved rest!” I returned him to his Poke Ball.

“It’s up to you!” I said, throwing out Charmander. “Smokescreen!”

Charmander opened its mouth and covered the field in smoke, blinding the Confused Gengar.

“Ember!” I uttered desperately. “Ember away!”

Charmander set out fire continuously at the field. Flashes of fire here and there, but me nor Shane could see what was going on.

Something suddenly leaped from the smoke, high into the air. It was Gengar! Still Confused, Gengar dove back into the smoke, and Charmander set out more flames.

After a while, the smoke cleared.

“Gengar is unable to battle! Charmander is the winner!” the referee announced.

“Yes!” I cheered. “Great job, Charmander!”

“Charmander!” Charmander replied, smiling and looking back to me.

I smiled brighter, truly proud of my friend. It felt like we were connecting, now. We were to win our first Gym match. We had to.

“I guess it’s come to this, then.” Shane threw his final Poke Ball.

It was another Pokemon I recognized as being from Johto.

Misdreavus. The Screech Pokemon. Misdreavus is a phobovore. Its red necklace helps it control mystical powers.

“Right, a Misdreavus,” I remembered. “Charmander, Ember! Go!”

Charmander caught Misdreavus with Ember.

“Payback!” Shane retaliated.

My teeth gritted as Misdreavus charged right for Chamander and took it down. “Charmander, get up!”

Charmander stood back up, groaning, and gave its head a quick shake.

“Use Growl attack! Lower its Attack stat!” If we could lower the Attack and take less damage, we could win this.

“Confuse Ray!” were Shane’s orders.

Charmander growled at Misdreavus as it launched Confuse Ray. Both Pokemon were hit.

“Charmander! Please, use Smokescreen!” We’ll just attack amongst the smoke like last time, I decided, the desperate feeling to win by any means filling up my chest.

Charmander began swaying back and forth and ran forward with a Scratch attack… in the opposite direction Misdreavus was in! It ran right into a wall and stumbled back, crying out.

“Charmander, focus! Please!” I pleaded.

Charmander looked about and tried Scratch again, this time running at me!

“CHARMANDER!!” I shouted, backing up.

It continued towards me and I moved out the way, easily dodging the small reptile, trying to figure out how I could help it snap out of its Confusion.

It wasn’t running for the battlefield, but was past it yet again.

At the last second, I snatched it up from behind and held it strongly in my hands.

My Pokemon struggled against me for a bit, trying to attack me.

I tossed it to where the battle was happening, but as it landed, it turned right back around to go after me!

Shane laughed. “Misdreavus, Hex!”

Misdreavus’ eyes began to glow red and Charmander’s body was stopped just a couple of inches away from me, covered in a dark shade of color, and it was lifted high into the air, stopping at my height.

Charmander struggled and whined, trying to break free, but it flew past me, barely scraping my shoulder, all the way across the room and slammed hard into the wall. It slid down fast and remained in a crumpled heap.

“Charmander, get up!” I encouraged it.

It didn’t move.

“Charmander! GET UP!” I barked angrily. No way we’re losing this. No freaking way! Not again, damn it!

“Charmander is-” the referee began.

“CHARMANDER, GET UP AND FINISH THIS BATTLE!!!” I waved off the referee, hot tears burning my eyes.

“Charmander is-” the referee firmly began a second time.

I dropped to my knees as defeat began to sink in and wear me out. “Pleeeeease!” Tears were running down my face now. I’m not trying to push you further than you can go, I thought, more drops falling from my eyes as I kept my gaze on Charmander. I just believe in you. You’re much better than this. Even if you lose, it wouldn’t be like this. It can’t be over! Thinking these words was the best I could do. Deep down, I knew I was convinced that the fight was over, and it prevented me from having the energy to speak. Maybe I am being selfish, I admitted, sighing. Maybe I just am upset I’m losing to another Gym Leader. If Charmander is finished, then it’s finished. I have no right to push it any further.

“I hereby declare that Charmander –” the referee started once more.

I wasn’t going to interrupt this time. My chin hit my chest.

Silence filled the Gym.

The referee didn’t continue speaking. I wiped my eyes and turned to see him staring at my Charmander.

Squinting in confusion at the man, I turned to the strained grunt coming from my Pokemon.

It was pushing itself up from the floor! It was trembling weakly, every breath seeming to be a struggle for it, but its face said it was still ready to fight.

Shaking my head, I walked over to Charmander. “It’s okay, buddy. You tried so hard. Thank you. But that’s enough, now.” I knelt down and placed my hand on Charmander’s shoulder, and then embraced it in a hug.

In the second after my arms wrapped around its body, Charmander exploded in a flash of light! I gasped and pulled away as my Charmander’s form began to shift in the brightness!

It was growing! Charmander was evolving! Its silhouette showed its claws growing larger, its tail lengthening and getting thicker, and the shape of its head changing. It wasn’t long before the light faded away and I could see my new Pokemon.

“Charmeleon!” I blurted out.

Charmeleon. The Flame Pokemon. This Pokemon is very quick to temper. It can be extremely hard to raise and tends to disobey their Trainers if not raised properly. Its claws are exceptionally dangerous and used for hunting.

My new Pokemon looked me in the eyes. “Charmeleon!”

“Are you okay?” I asked.

It smiled, and then closed its eyes and grunted as it fell back down, still in pain. That’s when the flame on its tail grew bigger. Its eyes opened with a sharp warning, fire burning in them. Something was happening. Charmeleon glared at Misdreavus and ran past me.

I stared down at my Pokedex and noticed some new things about Charmeleon within it.

“Wow, I’ve never seen such a strong bond between a Pokemon Trainer and his Pokemon in my entire life,” Shane smiled, openly awed. “That was beautiful.”

“The battle may proceed...” the referee nodded in disbelief.

“Charmander, you’re really weakened now, right?” My eyes widened and I shook my head.“ Oh! I mean, Charmeleon! Sorry.”

Charmeleon looked at me and nodded its head firmly.

“So, your Blaze Ability is on,” I continued. “Let’s use this to our full advantage and get this Badge! Fire Fang!”

“Chaaaarmeleon!” Charmeleon leapt at Misdreavus as its fangs became covered in flames, and it took a huge bite at Misdreavus.

Misdreavus yelled out in pain and tried shaking off Charmeleon, but Charmeleon hung on and took Misdreavus down to the floor.

“Ember!”

Charmeleon kept the bite on and let loose with an impressive Ember attack from its jaws, much more powerful than ever before, covering Misdreavus.

“Finish this!” I insisted quickly over Misdreavus’ helpless cries. “Flame Burst!”

Charmeleon leaped off of Misdreavus and spit a stream of flames into the air.

The fire soon formed a huge ball, which immediately exploded and sent waves of fire down on Misdreavus, who screamed in unison with Shane.

I watched the incredible move in amazement.

Once the fire show was over, so was the match.

“Misdreavus is unable to battle,” the referee ruled. “Charmeleon is the winner! I declare that this match goes to Gary from Pallet Town!”

“YYYEEEEEEES!!” I belted, and I ran to Charmeleon and hugged it.

It hugged me back, a lot more stronger than when it was just a Charmander.

“Charmander! Wait, oops… Charmeleon!! Ha! I’m so sorry, again! I’m so new to all this. I’ll get the name right. But, thank you, Charmeleon! Thank you! We won our first ever Badge!” I was crying all over Charmeleon, so grateful. So happy.

Charmeleon seemed to laugh a little and pulled me in for a bigger hug.

I hugged it back as hard as I could to match its strength. The presence of someone made me look up to see Shane, smiling down at us.

Shane knelt down, and in his hand was a small case.

Me and Charmeleon pulled apart to stare at what Shane had.

“Do you have one of these?”

“No. What is it?” I asked innocently.

He opened it.

I gasped. It was a case that held a Badge in it! The Dimensia Badge!

“This is a Badge case,” Shane told me. “You said mine would be your first Badge you would be obtaining, so I didn’t know if you had one of these yet or not. Once you obtain a Badge, you push it inside of the soft molding bottom and it takes the form of the Badge you got. And, for now, it holds your first ever Gym Badge. I gladly present you with the Dimensia Badge.”

I took the case from him carefully. “Wow! Take a look at this!” I took the Badge out and held it out for Charmeleon to see. “Oh, wait. Come on out, everybody!

“Hoooot!” Hoothoot hooted.

“Prime?” Primeape looked up at me intently.

“Metapod,” Metapod said patiently.

Kakuna sat quietly next to Metapod.

“Look, everybody!” I proclaimed. “Our first ever Gym Badge! The Dimensia Badge!”

Everyone was ecstatic.

Even the usually motionless Metapod and Kakuna seemed to flinch and twitch about a bit.

Primeape was all over me with excitement.

Hoothoot flew around the Gym.

Me and Charmeleon hugged each other for what could have been the rest of our lives.

“So, do you know where you are headed next?” Shane asked me.

It was the next morning, the sun only just starting to rise.

Shane had made a celebratory dinner for me and my Pokemon the night of our victory and even allowed us to spend the night in his enormous, four-story house.

It was the best I’d slept and eaten since beginning my Pokemon journey. I was definitely sad to have to go.

After a brief check up of my Pokemon at the Pokemon Center, it was time to leave Obsidian City.

“Yes. We’re going to Gringey City,” I answered. “It’s supposed to be located near a power plant. They have a Pokemon Gym there and it’s the closest Gym from here, so I figured that’s my next stop.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll do great there.”

“Thank you, Shane.”

“Good luck, Gary.”

Shane waved goodbye and I waved back, turning away and heading along a rocky path out of the city, Charmeleon walking alongside me.

Our first Badge was acquired.

The Dimensia Badge.

Our next stop was Gringey City.

Where everything would change.

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