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Thread: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

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    Default The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    You last visited: 24th January 2010 at 01:34 PM
    Hello, again, members of the forum. After a long absence, I remembered this forum, and decided to start posting here again. This is a story that I originally posted on another forum, and it is still going there, so I thought I should check how well it would fare here. I hope you enjoy it.

    The writing will improve in the upcoming chapters, since it had been a few months since I wrote this prologue.

    Contents
    Prologue
    Debut Arc
    §1: A Father Figure
    §2: Childhood Friends
    §3: Who's That Chick?
    Cianwood Arc
    §4: Where She Belongs
    §5: Start Swimming
    §6: We're Standing Firm!
    §7: Companions
    §8: Control The Storm
    §9: The Gathering
    §10: Teamwork
    Memories Arc
    §11: A Long Time Ago
    §12: Leading Sinnoh
    §13: Stronger
    §14: Reunion
    Mahogany Arc
    §15: The Battles Ahead
    §16: Are We Friends?
    §17: Feel The Heart Beat
    §18: What Power Means
    §19: I’m Not The Reason
    Aura Arc
    §20: Broken, Like Me
    §21: Unneeded Powers
    §22: I Cannot See
    §23: Blind Again
    Gym Leaders Arc
    §24: I Can Breathe Now
    §25: A New Spirit
    §26: For The Memories
    §27: The Warm Welcome
    Knot Arc
    §28: Clash
    §29: A Temporary Hue
    §30: To The Shade
    §31: The Lessons
    Battles Arc
    §32: A True Test
    §33: The Softer Side
    §34: The Night Sun
    §35: Here’s To You
    §36: Not A Solution
    §37: Becoming
    §38: What You’ve Learnt
    §39: Tightrope
    §40: For Now
    Veilstone Arc
    §41: Actuality
    §42: I Wish They’d Stop
    §43: Torturous Aspiration
    §44: A Simpler Time
    §45: How You’ve Changed
    §46: Your Fault
    §47: Discovering Willpower
    §48: Up To You
    §49: My Turn To Win
    §50: Harmony
    Epilogue


    Prologue

    “Um… Now, a speech from the guest of honor,” A young female spoke into a microphone to a room filled with the top trainers of Sinnoh. She had long blonde hair, and was dressed in a complete black outfit. And although she tried to, she couldn’t hide the nervousness in her voice. “Um… Let us clap for him.”

    Her face became burning red as she heard her latest statement through the speakers, and a few chuckles were released. But she soon returned to her seat, and gave the stand to a large muscular man wearing only a pair of blue pants, orange shoes, and what seemed like a ripped mask.

    “Thank you,” He said with a hint of accent in his voice. “But I think the real guest of honor is you, Cynthia! You’ve been the Champion for less than a month and you’re still handling things amazingly! You’re even younger than me, and stronger!”

    Cynthia blushed again when everyone clapped for her. “But to all of Sinnoh,” The man spoke once more. “No human or Pokémon can survive without water, yet water can sometimes cause great suffering,” Everybody in the room became confused, and looked at each other to see if anyone had understood what the man was trying to say. “This is where it gets exciting!”

    Everybody leaned forward, to hear what the man had to say, even though they still could not comprehend his random thoughts. “Thank you for accepting me in your ranks!” He shouted into the microphone, causing everyone to jump out of shock in their seats. “I am flattered that you would consider me good enough to become a Sinnoh Gym Leader! Even though I’m from another region, I have seen Sinnoh as where my home really is! I, Crasher Wake, The Torrential Masked Master! I will become a great Gym Leader worthy of the Sinnoh region!”

    The room was silent, and Crasher Wake showed disappointment; he had expected the crowd to cheer as in all of his wrestling matches. “Well… Um…” Cynthia stuttered as she took the microphone back. “It’s time to present the guest with his gift…” She reached into the empty area underneath the microphone stand while Crasher Wake tried to sneak a look.

    After some seconds of rummaging, elbowing Crasher Wake’s knee, bumping her head against the wood of the stand, and a very childish scream, Cynthia produced a Pokémon egg. It was a normal-looking Pokémon egg, the same as all the others obtained from the Day Care. She handed it to Crasher Wake and stuttered her way out of the scene and back into her chair.

    Everyone congratulated Crasher Wake and shook his hand. The trainers formed a line in no specific order, and none of them took more than thirty seconds talking to the new Gym Leader. But he wasn’t prepared for a punch to be delivered to him by a young girl.

    The four-year-old girl had short pink hair and glowing eyes of the same color. She gave a very arrogant grin and slowly prepared to punch again. “Excuse my daughter,” An average-looking man said as he held his daughter from delivering another punch. “This is Maylene; she’s quite the troublemaker. I’m the Veilstone Gym Leader. Nice too meet you.” He offered his free hand to shake, and Crasher Wake accepted it.

    “I will beat you! And be Gym Leader!” The little Maylene said and punched again with her free hand. “I am strongest than you!”

    “I’m sure you are!” Crasher Wake laughed and brought his whole body in level with Maylene’s. His eyes met her eyes, and the determination in them almost disturbed Crasher Wake’s balance. “I can tell that you’ll be the strongest. Strongest than all of us!” He reached for his egg and handed it to Maylene. “This is yours. An early gift from me to you for becoming a Gym Leader in the future.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th April 2013 at 09:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default §1: A Father Figure

    It was another rainy day in Route 212. The water smashed against the mud and caused everything in close proximity to be covered in it; Riolu and Floatzel were no exception.

    The orange Pokémon with the two tails, an inflation device around his body, and fins attached to his hands covered his body with a great mass of water and jumped seemingly an impossible distance for such a Pokémon. His tails began spinning as he descended, causing the water covering him to spin as well, and he launched himself at an unmatched speed before he hit the ground. His tails were spinning more rapidly with every second and increasing his speed, and the water around him left a straight trail behind him that collided with the ground as he went forward.

    The Floatzel smashed against a small blue and black Pokémon. The Riolu had red eyes, long arms compared to his size, swift black feet and a singly blue tail. The small Pokémon tried to hold Floatzel from connecting with his body, but his attempts failed. As soon as Floatzel’s Aqua Jet connected, the water exploded forwards and covered Riolu. Floatzel’s head pushed Riolu back a few paces and eventually flew him away towards his trainer, who jumped forward to catch her Pokémon.

    A slightly older Maylene with a band-aid on her nose held her Pokémon in her arms and rubbed his bruised belly. “We didn’t lose,” she said after Riolu looked at her with obvious concern in his eyes. “There’s no win or loss in training.” Riolu smiled and she smiled back. Her head rose up to see her opponent.

    Floatzel was looking with a different kind of concern in his eyes when his trainer, Crasher Wake, approached him and petted him. “We didn’t go too hard on you guys, did we?” He said. Crasher Wake had lived enough time in Sinnoh for his accent to become faint, but it was still clear at some points.

    “We’re as strong as before!” Maylene said excitedly. “We will even become strongest than this!”

    Crasher Wake laughed and returned Floatzel to his Poké Ball, while Maylene carried Riolu in her arms. She followed her mentor through the rain as he talked. “You’re old enough now to know the difference between Strongest and Stronger!” He laughed. “About time to say it the correct way, eh?”

    “Strongest is my catch phrase!” Maylene shouted over the rain, even though it wasn’t necessary.

    “It’s a word, not a phrase,” he laughed again, only harder this time, which also seemed unnecessary. “You’re a real fighter!”

    Maylene grinned and let out an excited “Yeah!” that Riolu helped her with as they both raised their right fists. By then, the group had reached Pastoria City, a city full of trees and fresh grass due to the close proximity it had with the rain. Crasher Wake opened the door of his Gym for Maylene and they walked to his room at the far end of the Gym. Crasher Wake had to press a few buttons to reach the Gym Leader spot, and a few secret buttons to open a door in the wall behind him that led to his room.

    Maylene sat on one chair and let go of Riolu, who sat down on the floor quietly awaiting food. Crasher Wake noticed him and grabbed a small bag of berries; he handed it to Riolu. “Don’t eat too fast,” he laughed again. “And don’t finish it. Keep some for your trip back to Veilstone City.”

    He then grabbed his own chair and dragged it to sit in front of Maylene, who was rubbing mud off of her bare feet. “How are your parents?”

    Maylene kept rubbing at her feet as she answered. “They’re fighting again,” she sighed. “I don’t know why. They always go to their room and fight and think I can’t hear them. But I do and I sometimes hear ‘Money’ and they get too loud and I go outside and train and…” She paused to catch her breath before continuing again. “And then I go outside and train and then come here when and train with you. Dad knows I come here to you sometimes, but mom always worry about me being alone outside. Do you have food?”

    Crasher Wake got up and grabbed a microwaveable berry pie from his fridge. He stuck it in the microwave after removing the wrapping and setting it on a plate. “Just remember that you can always come here whenever you want to,” he said. “You know that, right?”

    “I got mud on the floor,” Maylene said even though the mud was visible ever since they had entered the Gym and she was just stating the obvious. “Do you clean?”

    “I just clean this room with Floatzel, but the rest of the Gym I just flood to clean!” He laughed again and produced a fresh-looking pie from the microwave. The smell of berries overwhelmed the room and Riolu almost abandoned his food for this new meal. The purple pie appeared to shine as Crasher Wake carried it underneath the white lights of the room. He handed it to Maylene who almost jumped into it. “Your hands are muddy!”

    She let out a sigh of frustration and got up to wash them. Crasher Wake dragged a table and set it between their chairs, put the pie on top of it, produced some utensils from a nearby drawer, and pushed it all to Maylene as she returned to her seat.

    The utensils proved useless as Maylene dug into the pie with her hands and shoved large quantities into her mouth. Crasher Wake laughed while Riolu looked on in regret; Maylene destroyed a perfect pie! The Pokémon returned to his own food before the back of his head received what seemed like a ball of pie that pushed his forward and onto the floor. Maylene laughed as Riolu got up and threw some berries back, and soon enough the pair had ended up with one quarter of the pie on the floor, half the berries smashed against the walls, and the remaining divided between their stomachs.

    Crasher Wake was worried at first when he saw Maylene eating berries as they were usually only eaten by humans, but throughout his time with her, he learned that she was no ordinary girl. There was no female in all of Sinnoh that was even slightly similar to her, not in the entire world either.

    “Are you ready to go back home?” Crasher Wake said. “I want to visit Veilstone again, so I’ll come with you.”

    “We can train on our way back!” Maylene jumped up in excitement and Riolu copied. “Come on! Let’s go! Run run run run run!”

    Maylene punched the door open and jumped head first in to the waters of the Gym while Riolu jumped from one platform to the other. She eventually reemerged from the water and walked out of the door. She shook her entire body and splashed water all over Riolu. Crasher Wake appeared through the door behind them and grabbed them both. He put Maylene on his left shoulder while Riolu sat on his right. “We’re not training! We’re running! Are you ready?!” He shouted.

    “Yes!” Maylene shouted in happiness as Crasher Wake ran forward through the city aiming to reach Veilstone City quicker than ever. The wind caused Maylene’s pink hair to fly behind her in the same manner as Riolu’s ears.

    For a few moments, Maylene forgot about her worries. She forgot about her parents, about becoming the strongest, about taking her father’s position as a Gym Leader, about one day defeating Crasher Wake, and every other bit of information that ever crossed her mind throughout her life. Her entire concentration was on the wind. At that moment, she became carefree again, just like the time where she received Riolu as an egg from Crasher Wake.

    She didn’t know what the future held for her nor cared. It was all about her having fun with her life. She wrapped her arms around Crasher Wake’s neck as he began to pick up more speed. The receptionist at the Hotel Grand Lake shouted at them as they ran past; Crasher Wake had apparently knocked a few items and people down, which made Maylene give out her childish laughter. They ran through Route 214 and stopped as soon as they reached Veilstone City.

    Crasher Wake panted heavily as he put the pair down. “I shouldn’t be this tired!” He said and stood up straight. “I am strong!”

    “But I am Strongest!” Maylene grinned and punched Crasher Wake, and he acted as if she threw him back a few paces. “Let’s go! Mom has dinner for sure!” She grinned again and ran towards the Gym. Riolu ran after her and Crasher Wake followed. She burst through the door of the Gym, jumped over a few obstacles, evaded a few punches, and finally reached the Gym Leader spot, where she began to hit a few secret buttons.

    “Why did they try to punch you?” Crasher Wake asked and looked at the other Trainers in the Gym. “Do you want me to punish them?”

    “I told them to do that!” Maylene laughed. “I told them to help me become the Strongest! They said yes, and now I have to not get hit by them!”

    “What if one of them actually hits you?”

    “Then I hit back!” Maylene grinned and punched Crasher Wake, something she got used to doing. “Just like you let me punch you to train! I let them punch me to train!”

    “Maylene, is that you?” A delicate female voice came from the other side of the door and it slowly opened up to reveal her mother. “Crasher Wake, what a nice surprise. Please, do come in.” She held the door open for the pair, and picked Riolu up as if he was am infant.

    “What’s for dinner, mom?”

    “Honey, I can smell the berry pie. You also have stains; so don’t deny it, you already ate”

    Maylene and Crasher Wake exchanged laughs. “I’ll go catch up with your father!” He said and walked away to her parents’ room, while Maylene followed her mother to the kitchen, where she was cooking, as far as Maylene was concerned, food.

    “How was your training today, Maylene?” She said as she stirred something that was cooking on the oven.

    “Very good,” Maylene smiled. “I’m sure I’ll become the next Gym Leader! You will give me food, right?”

    “I’m sure you will,” she said. “You’re a very strong young lady, you can become the next Gym Leader. But honey, why don’t you aim higher? I’m sure you’re strong enough to become the Champion. Cynthia is young, and she managed to do it. You can do it as well. You can defeat her.”

    “Cynthia is a cool person,” Maylene responded. “I liked watching her battle. I really like her hair.” Maylene’s mother almost burs into laughter at the last statement, as Maylene was never the type of girl who took an interest in these issues, and hearing it just seemed odd. “I can defeat her,” Maylene continued. “But I don’t want to! I want to make daddy proud by taking his position!”

    Maylene held her fists up and crossed her arms to shape an X in front of her chest. “I will also become an Aura Master!” She shouted and stretched her arms out, as if she was firing some sort of an aura attack. She then stood normally again and smiled at her mother. “You are giving me food, right?”

    “Sure thing, honey,” her mother laughed and walked towards her. “I will feed you until you become the Strongest and even after you become all grown up.” She flicked at Maylene’s forehead and smiled. “Because even when you grow up and become the Strongest, you will still be my child.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:11 PM.

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    Default §2: Childhood Friends

    Crasher Wake left back to Pastoria the next day after spending the night telling stories of his wresting matches to Maylene. It took her some time, but she eventually fell asleep. Her mother insisted on Crasher Wake spending the night in the guest room, as it was too dark outside, which seemed absurd considering that Crasher Wake could take care of himself.

    ‘Good morning, sleepy girl.’

    ‘I dreamed that I kicked Crasher Wake all across Sinnoh,’ Maylene said while rubbing her eyes. Her mother let out a fragile giggle and shifted her attention back to making breakfast. ‘I also became very strong and made a new city called MayleneWorld. I became Gym Leader and very strong. Everyone loved me because I was strong.’

    ‘That’s sweet,’ her mother said. ‘Come here and have breakfast.’ Maylene walked up to a small chair and pulled it to the kitchen, where her mother had made something edible. She began munching away at it while her mother talked. ‘I also got a call from dad’s friend in Snowpoint, Candice is going to come to Veilstone. Isn’t that exciting? You haven’t seen her in a long time!’

    ‘Yeah!’ Maylene exclaimed. ‘But what do I do? She likes clothes and hair and makeup and looks and beauty and I don’t.’

    ‘But you’re still friends.’

    That was partially true. Maylene and Candice weren’t close friends at all; everything that happened between was awkward and their conversations were shallow. Maylene didn’t like hanging out with Candice, but she has proved to be a good battler who was always willing to learn from Maylene, as well as teach her some skills.

    ‘I guess I can go play with her,’ Maylene said as she took the last bite of what she finally recognized as a sandwich, though the ingredients were still unknown. ‘When will she be here?’

    ‘In a few hours,’ her mother answered. ‘But I don’t want you to just spend your time battling; get to know each other.’

    ‘I will, mom,’ Maylene said, got up and ran to hug her mother. ‘Thanks for the food. I will go outside now!’

    Maylene ran off before her mother could finish her generic ‘Be careful!’ sentences. She flung the door wide open and ran through the Gym. She jumped over obstacles, avoided a few kicks and punches, and got out of the Gym.

    It was as sunny as ever. Maylene looked at her hometown and couldn’t help but feel proud. The future for Sinnoh was looking bright. Many greeted her as she walked around the town. After years of walking barefoot, she learned to ignore the pain, and slowly her body became accustomed to it.

    She walked towards the meteorites that rested on the eastern side of the city. The four shiny rocks glittered under the sunlight, the gray reflecting on the small craters surrounding them, and the wind moving some of their dust around. Maylene was mesmerized by the sight, and reconsidered the differences between her and Candice; she obviously cared for beautiful things.

    ‘Maylene,’ a male voice called out to her, but the meteorites captivated her too much for her to notice it. ‘Maylene!’ He said again and she immediately recognized the voice.

    ‘Daddy!’ she jumped up and turned to see her father standing with a Poké Ball in his hand. ‘Good morning!’ She ran up to her father, and in a swift movement jumped up to kick him. Her foot connected with his chest, and the pair fell to the ground.

    ‘I just wanted to bring Riolu to you,’ he laughed. ‘You should really stop kicking me whenever you see me. I was young when I told you to start, but I’m not anymore.’

    ‘You’re still young,’ Maylene said. ‘Your hair is not white yet.’

    ‘Here’s Riolu,’ he rolled the Poké Ball over to Maylene and got up to dust himself off. ‘Have fun with Candice, and be careful.’

    ‘Sure thing daddy.’ Maylene wanted to talk more, but her father had already turned his body away from her and walked off. She sighed and looked down at the Poké Ball that was sitting in front of her.

    She grabbed it and got up, dusted herself off in the same manner as her father, and sent out her Riolu. The Pokémon formed and yawned for what seemed like aged. ‘Are you ready, Riolu?’ Maylene asked excitedly and Riolu looked at her with a confused look. ‘Candice is coming!’

    Riolu smiled and let out a cry of excitement as well. Maylene began running and he ran behind her. The pair seemed to just want to run around the city in circles, which was another form of training they would do. He feet made light sounds against the ground beneath her, her hair started flying farther behind her as she increased her speed, and a smile spread across her face as she saw Riolu beating her.

    ‘You’re getting faster!’ she shouted. ‘But I am getting faster too!’ She increased the speed in which he legs moved, and took even longer steps. She looked as if she was jumping from one point to the other. Her feet made louder sounds whenever she hit the gravel, her body started tiring, but she managed to run past Riolu.

    The Pokémon copied her actions, and slowly started catching up to her again. Maylene looked back at the Pokémon with another wide smile, unaware of the Department Store in front her. She began laughing and closed her eyes, which made Riolu’s frantic arm waving for her to look forward useless. She opened her eyes after a few seconds to see that her surroundings has changed. The horizon lost the trees and adapted walls, the ground felt softer, and a faint sound of music surrounded her. She realized that she had gone through the automatic doors, which meant that she was heading for the counter.

    But he realization came too late. Before Maylene could even think of slowing down, her legs hit a hard surface and her body flipped upside down. She could see the other end of the counter attached to the roof and everything else hanging upside down. Her back smashed against the opposite side of the counter, and she let out a scream of pain before falling to the ground.

    A few people ran up to her and gasped as they realized that she was Maylene, the Gym Leader’s daughter. Riolu ran up to her and pulled her head, which seemed odd at first, but her body slowly moved after the Riolu. Her legs fell to the ground, her body straightened, and after Riolu jumped onto the side Maylene crashed into, her body became in a sitting position.

    A few seconds later, she opened her eyes to hear gasps of relief. ‘I’m not that hurt,’ she said. ‘Just a scratch, it’ll go away.’ More gasps of relief, followed by a few people leaving the scene. ‘Sorry about that,’ she chuckled nervously. ‘Didn’t want to make problems. Riolu, let’s continue training!’

    She jumped up and over the counter. Riolu followed her through the door and back outside. ‘How long have we been running for?’ She asked, even though she knew that Riolu wasn’t able to answer. The light of the day changed since she last remembered it; she never gave attention to her surroundings while running. ‘Candice should be here soon, I think.’ Riolu nodded and the pair walked back to the Gym, where, as expected, Candice was waiting.

    She was as tall as Maylene. Candice had black hair tied into two braids the extended out, which matched her brown eyes. She wore a white shirt and a short orange skirt that was the same colour as her shoes. She had a blue sweater tied around her waist and a blue bowtie that matched her striped socks.

    Beside her was a round black Pokémon covered in a yellow and orange triangular cape. She had small blue eyes and round feet and hands. The Snorunt noticed Maylene and pulled at Candice’s socks slightly, which cause her to turn her head a little and shift her attention from Maylene’s mother to Maylene.

    ‘Maylene!’ the smile on her face broadened. ‘I just got here! How are you?’

    Maylene’s mother walked out of the scene after finishing her talk with Candice and went to watch a show about berries. Candice walked up to Maylene and shook a little, confused as to whether or not to hug her.

    ‘I’m good,’ Maylene responded. ‘How are you?’

    ‘Just feeling a little hot,’ she laughed. ‘You don’t have the snow that we have in Snowpoint.’

    ‘Yeah, we don’t,’ Maylene laughed as well. ‘What made you come here?’

    ‘I was going to Hearthome to see a Pokémon Super Contest! Why don’t you come with me?’

    ‘I’m fine with you going,’ her mother added. ‘I talked with Candice about it before you came here. You can go if you want, just be careful while on the road.’

    Candice reached out and grabbed Maylene’s hand. ‘We will have fun!’ she said and dragged Maylene behind her. ‘Let’s go, Snorunt!’

    Snorunt followed them, and Riolu was the last to leave the house. Candice let go of Maylene’s hand, and the pair began running through Veilstone, towards Hearthome. She couldn’t understand why she was going with Candice. Maylene has never been interested in these types of contests; she preferred battling. But having no friend but a foreign wrestler who is old enough to be her dad didn’t seem enough.

    Candice was always warm and friendly to Maylene, who she didn’t object to that. Even though it was awkward and weird, she still appreciated their shallow friendships, and hoped that the contest would strengthen it.

    Before realising it, she was already in Hearthome City. ‘We really ran fast,’ she said. ‘Is that even possible?’

    She turned around to see that Candice wasn’t there, but Riolu was. ‘Were we too fast for them?’ Maylene laughed. ‘Let’s go back to join them again.’ Riolu nodded and turned around, ready to run back towards wherever they left Candice and Snorunt.

    A beam of ice suddenly drew itself from the horizon and towards Maylene’s feet. A small dot began approaching them, and it was soon evident that it was Candice and Snorunt. The Pokémon skidded across the ice, with Candice right behind him. She looked as happy as Maylene was when Crasher Wake ran with her on his shoulder. Her hair blew back the way she came, and her smile was wide.

    Maylene remembered the time when she was careless for a few moments in time, and relived it. She smiled and jumped onto the ice. The force made her skid across it towards the approaching Candice. Snorunt jumped off of the trail to avoid being crushed by the two girls.

    ‘I won’t get off!’ Candice shouted. ‘You should give up!’

    ‘I never give up!’ Maylene shouted back. ‘You’re the one who should get off of the ice.’

    ‘We’ll crash into each other!’

    ‘We will!’

    Candice bent her knees a little, which seemed to increase her speed. Maylene struggled to stay on the ice, but she didn’t want to fall off and allow Candice to win this. The girls approached each other. Candice flowing elegantly across the ice, one leg in front of her and the other bent awkwardly behind her.

    ‘If you don’t get off I might knock you over!’

    The distance became shorter. Candice’s right foot was mere meters away from Maylene’s. Panic overtook the latter, and before she knew it, she was on the grass again. Candice passed her, laughing childishly as she waved for Snorunt to jump back onto the ice.

    It was at that moment that Maylene realised something; she can’t be the Strongest without learning from Candice.

    Their friendship was just starting.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 11th March 2013 at 08:34 PM.

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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Welcome back to TPM, Kyuuketsuki! Hope you can stick around even longer this time!

    Keep going with this fic; I think it has promise. I can see what you mean about the writing style (the tenses are a little bit skewed here and there) but there is an observational aspect to your narration that is refreshing and shows some genuine talent, I think (things like Maylene noting how her conversations with Candice are shallow, etc. - I can relate to this). So, nice work and keep it up.

    Cheers!
    ...Quest for the Truth of the Legend ...

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    Winner of 12 Silver Pencil Awards 2011 - Including Best Plot, Best Character in a Leading Role, Best Moment and Best Fic of the Forum for Lisa the Legend!

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pikachu
    Feel free to withdraw at any time, Gavin.

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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    Welcome back to TPM, Kyuuketsuki! Hope you can stick around even longer this time!
    I hope so, too. I had a lot of fun here last time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    Keep going with this fic; I think it has promise. I can see what you mean about the writing style (the tenses are a little bit skewed here and there) but there is an observational aspect to your narration that is refreshing and shows some genuine talent, I think (things like Maylene noting how her conversations with Candice are shallow, etc. - I can relate to this). So, nice work and keep it up.
    Thanks for the compliment! It's nice to see the little things being recognised.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    Cheers!
    Thanks for reading and for the comment! I hope you stick around, and hopefully, you'll like the upcoming chapters.

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    Default §3: Who's That Chick?

    Maylene has been to Hearthome City before, but she had forgotten how beautiful it is. She didn’t expect it to be this entertaining for someone who is more interested in battling, but the display of beauty and coordination in the contest excited her; it showed a whole new side of Pokémon to her.

    She sat between Candice and some loud girl who booed Fantina, the Hearthome City Gym Leader, when she won with Loony the Drifblim. Candice walked out with the crowd and Maylene followed. She struggled to keep up with her, as it was very crowded, and no one seemed to notice a small girl amongst them as they bushed her around. Riolu clang on to Maylene’s right foot until they managed to get out, where Candice and Snorunt were waiting.

    “Did you like the contest?” Candice started. “I loved it! It was so exciting. Did you see Fantina? I want to be like her one day! Strong and elegant!”

    “It was very good,” Maylene said. “And fun. We should do this more often.”

    Suddenly, an arm wrapped itself around Maylene’s neck. It was covered with a black sleeve and a green cloak; Maylene recognized it as the loud girl’s arm.

    “Some contest, right?!” she shouted. “Though I didn’t like that Ghost Pokémon, even if it was Fantina’s.”

    “Who are you?” Maylene said as soon as she broke out of her grasp.

    “I’m Gardenia,” she said. “And I know that you’re Maylene; I saw you at the party a few years back. Wanted to meet you ever since. Punching a large body like that; you must be rebellious.”

    Maylene had turned around and managed to attach a more accurate look to the name. Gardenia had short orange and black hair, and her clothing seemed to be a wild mixture of green, black and orange, with most of her midsection showing.

    “I’m Candice,” Candice said. “A friend of Maylene’s. Nice to meet you.”

    “Where are you girls going?” Gardenia asked. “If you have nothing important to do, we could have out little adventure together.”

    Maylene glanced over at Candice who seemed to have surrendered the decision away. She thought it over for a few seconds. Her mother wouldn’t want her getting into any kinds of trouble, but she trusted Maylene, and knows that she can take care of herself. Crasher Wake on the other hand, would approve in a heartbeat.

    “Alright,” Maylene said. “What kind of adventure?”

    “I’ll call it ‘The Quest to Find a Cute Boy’, and I know just the one. You guys just follow me.”

    “Where to?” Candice asked, but Gardenia had already run off, and Maylene followed her. She sprinted after the pair, all the while questioning why they should trust this complete stranger.

    Gardenia led them out of Hearthome City and into a cave that everyone in Sinnoh knew as Mt. Coronet. Maylene jumped over obstacles and looked as if she was a free running expert; why didn’t Crasher Wake train her here before?

    “Where are we going?” Maylene shouted after the speeding Gardenia.

    “To Oreburgh City!” Gardenia responded. “To the Gym Leader’s son!”

    The group went through an exit, and ran across a long path, then down a slope, where Oreburgh City awaited them. Gardenia seemed to know her way around, while Maylene looked around in surprise; all the buildings, roads, people, they were all different from Veilstone, Hearthome, and Pastoria City.

    “What do you think of this city?” Candice asked, breaking Maylene’s trance of awe. “I’ve passed it before, but never visited it fully. Now, it makes me happy to know that where we live has so many different cities.”

    “I like it,” Maylene responded simply. “It’s different.”

    The pair followed Gardenia to the Gym, where they met the famous Byron. He was a large man with scruffy purple hair and worn-out clothes. But his son, Roark, was who they came to meet. He had a different shade of his father’s hair, though it was obviously more taken care of. His eyes matched his hair, and his clothes seemed to be those of a worker. The final touch was a helmet with a flashlight.

    Gardenia seemed to know them both before hand, and it didn’t take long for Roark to leave his father’s side and follow them outside. “This is Roark,” Gardenia started the typical line. “These are Maylene and Candice, from somewhere and somewhere.”

    “Nice to meet you two,” Roark said and tipped his helmet a little bit. “Are you friends of Gardenia?”

    “You could say that,” Maylene laughed. “We’re recent friends.”

    “Let’s train!” Gardenia exclaimed. “I know you want to become a Gym Leader, Maylene; I also heard that at the party. Roark wants to become a Gym Leader as well, so do I! What about you Candice?”

    “I haven’t given it much thought…” Candice said. “I’m not very good at battling.”

    “Then you’ll train with us!” Gardenia shouted.

    One Year Later

    “Hello, Maylene!” Crasher Wake kicked down Maylene’s door, much to everyone’s surprise. But Maylene didn’t care about the door; Crasher Wake was here!

    He had left for some business in Johto a few months ago, and seeing her mentor for the first time in years brought more joy to Maylene then she could have imagined.

    “Huge man!” she shouted and jumped towards him to hug him. As soon as her body collided with his, they were both sent tumbling back towards the wall, which suffered an obvious dent as Crasher Wake smashed against it. “I missed you, stupid person!”

    “I leave for a few months and Gardenia affects your speech this much?” he laughed, and Maylene followed. By now, his accent has transformed completely and became undistinguishable from Maylene’s, and his trip to Johto wasn’t long enough to change it.

    Maylene had also changed with time. She had grown a little taller, her speech began resembling Gardenia’s, who had become a close friend along with Candice and Roark, and her free spirit grew to become wilder than it was before.

    “What did you do in Johto?” Maylene said. “Tell me all about it, person!”

    “The details don’t matter,” Crasher Wake said. The pair had got off of the floor and sat of the bed. “I came back for a short time, I will go back to Johto in a few hours.”

    “You came just to visit me?”

    “That and something else,” Crasher Wake said. “I have talked to a friend of mine. His name is Chuck, he’s a Gym Leader there and is currently training some boy named Brawly to become a Gym Leader as well. He accepted to train you.”

    “But I was happy training with you and my friends,” Maylene’s tone dropped to one that resembled her former speech. “I didn’t even have much time to grow Strongest.”

    “You will meet them again,” Crasher Wake said. “And you will make new friends as well. This will help you, Maylene. Your parents had already agreed on you going. Besides, I’ll be there as well.”

    Maylene lowered her head and faced the sheets of her bed. She thought it over for a few seconds. Was she really willing to abandon her friends without a goodbye? What will Candice, her most trusted friend, thin of her? What about Gardenia, the one who taught her the tough attitude she built upon? What will she do when she realises that Maylene had left? And Roark, the cute boy she had a crush on. Would she have to forget him as well?

    “You can always come back at anytime you want,” Crasher Wake said. “It’s just a short boat trip away. So, are you coming?”

    Maylene sighed and looked up. Her eyes met Crasher Wake’s, her body filled with determination, and her hand reached for Riolu’s Poké Ball. She jumped onto the floor and ran out of the room.

    “I’ll race you there!” she yelled back, even though she didn’t know which way to go. But it was a new adventure, and a new quest to make her the Strongest. Who knows, maybe this Brawly boy is cute enough to replace Roark.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:13 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default §4: Where She Belongs

    Crasher Wake and Maylene arrived in Cianwood City by boat. At first, Maylene regarded the city as still being developed, but the discovery that it was how they set out to build it made her think of Johto as primitive people. If the city housed Chuck, one of the greatest Gym Leaders, then why isn’t it as developed as Sunyshore City? Which, even though she never visited, is near the sea as well and far more advanced than this city.

    Maylene began to doubt that Chuck was great. He could be amazing to the Johto people, but if that was their standard of a great city, then he can’t possibly live up to the great trainer standard they had back in Sinnoh. Crasher Wake led her to the Gym, where a young boy, slightly older than Maylene greeted them.

    His hair and eyes were blue. He wore an orange shirt, blue pants, and shows that were primarily black. “Welcome, Maylene,” he addressed her. “I’m Brawly, and I’m training under Chuck at the moment. I’m very glad that you’ve accepted the offer to train with us.”

    “It’s nice to meet you,” Maylene said, and a rush of Gardenia-like insults climbed up her vocal cords, but she managed to hold them back. “Are you from Cianwood City?”

    “No, I’m from Hoenn,” Brawly said, much to Maylene’s surprise. “But I came here just to train in order to become a Gym Leader.”

    Maylene knew that trainers from Hoenn were very strong, and if a trainer from there believed that Chuck is good enough to train him, then he must be strong. The fact that he, like her, wanted to become a Gym Leader made him appeal to her. Maylene found herself suddenly taking a liking to Brawly.

    Beside him was a Pokémon that Maylene had never seen before. Brawly noticed her glancing at him occasionally, and decided to introduce him. “This is Makuhita,” he said. “He’s my Pokémon. Chuck will help you catch one soon, so don’t worry.”

    Maylene alternated her head between Brawly and Crasher Wake in confusion. “In Johto, trainers like to keep one of their Pokémon out of their Poké Ball all the time,” Crasher Wake said. “You should send out Riolu.”

    “Why don’t you send out one of your Pokémon?” she asked as she grabbed Riolu’s Poké Ball and sent him out. He studied the bulky yellow Pokémon and his surroundings. Everything was different. Unlike Maylene, he didn’t get to experience the transition from the cold weather in Sinnoh to the warm breeze of Johto slowly.

    “I already did,” Crasher Wake laughed loudly. “They’re all in the sea waiting for me.”

    “You’re not staying here with me?”

    “I have some business to take care of,” Crasher Wake said. “I will visit you often though. I’ll be in Johto as well, so just ask Chuck to contact me anytime you need me.”

    Maylene said her goodbyes to Crasher Wake again. Her mentor was leaving again, but at least he wasn’t going to be away this time. Crasher Wake jumped into the water, and swam alongside his Pokémon away from Cianwood City, and towards whatever his business was.

    Brawly led Maylene into the Gym, and to her surprise, it was larger than expected. Many were training with their Pokémon, but one person stood out, and she guessed that it was Chuck. The man, who was as large and bulky as Crasher Wake, was meditating underneath a waterfall, seemingly unaware of any other’s presence in the Gym.

    “He’s just meditating,” Brawly said. “The only way to get his attention is to shut down the water. I’ll take the one on the right, you take the one on the left.”

    Maylene didn’t understand what he meant by “the one on the left”, but when Brawly began climbing the ledges on their right, she understood. She looked up at the place where he instructed her to go, and managed to spot a large winch, it must be what he meant by “the one on the left”.

    She began to climb towards it, but was stopped by a man who shouted at her, causing Riolu to jump in front of her. “Words are useless,” he said, which caused Maylene’s protests to fade away before she produced them. “ Let your fists do the talking!”

    Before Maylene could respond, the trainer sent out a small gray human-shaped Pokémon with a tail, which Maylene recognized as Machop. She might as well train while she’s here.

    “Riolu, use Force Palm!” Maylene ordered.

    “Seismic Toss!” the trainer responded.

    The two small Pokémon ran towards each other, each one swinging back one arm. Machop proved faster, and managed to grab Riolu with his entire arm. He made a quick turn, and ran in circles with amazing speed, while Riolu stayed almost attached to Machop’s arm.

    “Come on, Riolu!” Maylene encouraged her Pokémon, who nodded back in response. He struggled against the air current that occurred due to Machop’s increasingly fast running. He put his palm against Machop’s face and yelled out as he released a small beam of aura that sent Machop flying back. But he had been running for so long, and Riolu’s attacked caused him to fly back as well.

    The two Pokémon smashed against a rock, but Machop seemed to be the least harmed from the collision of attacks. “Revenge!” his trainer order, and Machop grinned.

    “Force Palm again, Riolu!” Maylene shouted. “You can do it!”

    The Pokémon nodded confidently and ran forward towards the Machop that just prepared his body for another collision. His palm glowed with a faint light that shaped to a circle, and he pressed it against Machop as soon as he reached the opposing Pokémon. The beam fired once again, but it only caused Machop to take a few steps back that he made up for by taking more steps forwards.

    “Riolu, get out of there!”

    Machop grinned as Riolu looked back at his trainer. His right hand shaped into a fist, and he dug it deep into Riolu’s body. The blue Pokémon gasped at the fist that twisted against his belly. Machop took a few steps forward. His entire body was behind Riolu, and they were back to back, except for Machop’s right fist. He pushed Riolu’s body in the direction he was facing, and his arm worked as a spring, causing Riolu to roll back towards Maylene before fainting.

    “That was a good battle,” Brawly said, but Maylene was too concerned about Riolu to notice him. “I hope Nob didn’t go too tough on you.”

    “Will you be okay, Riolu?” she asked her Pokémon, still unaware of Brawly’s presence. Riolu nodded at Maylene, who was hunched over her Pokémon, and slowly got up to his feet, causing Maylene to do the same.

    Brawly coughed to draw Maylene’s attention to him. “Chuck asked me to make you go this way and battle Nob,” he said. “There isn’t a winch on the other side, so I guess we kind of tricked you.”

    Maylene did an amazing job of holding back her insults, and simple said “Oh.”

    “I turned the water off though,” Brawly said. “Chuck should be waiting for us. Let’s go.”

    Maylene began to miss her friends; they didn’t trick her into battling, they just asked. Sure, Gardenia was the prankster that always got her into trouble, but it was still a direct question when it came to battling. Brawly led her to Chuck, who stood tall waiting for them with his arms crossed.

    “There’s no greetings,” he said. “You’s turn to battle her.”

    “Don’t worry,” Brawly said to Maylene. “He actually can talk well, he’s probably just messing with you.”

    Great. Another trick. At that moment, Maylene grew furious. Her homesickness overcame her, and it mixed with her anger. She did what she could do best. A few steps forwards, some body movement, and her fist ended up against Chuck’s face.

    To everyone’s surprise, Chuck fell backwards. At first he tried to keep his balance, but the water beneath him didn’t help. His whole body created a loud thud as it smashed against the floor behind him, causing some water to splash.

    “I like you, girl!” he shouted while still on the ground, which reminded her of Gardenia’s way of addressing people based on their gender. “Crasher Wake was right, but he didn’t tell me about your strength.” He started to get up. “Was trying to break the ice, but I guess you do a better job at that than me.” He began to laugh in a manner that, even though it was different than Crasher Wake’s, reminded her of her mentor. She felt an urge to punch again, but realised that everyone in the Gym was already looking at her like a villain, and more attention was not needed, even though Chuck didn’t express any disapproval.

    “Let’s go outside,” Brawly said. “Chuck wants to see you battling me.”

    “Can’t Chuck say so himself?” Maylene responded; she must get rid of Gardenia’s influence if she wanted to fit in. “I have to get Riolu healed first.”

    Her Pokémon nodded, causing Brawly to nod back. He led her to the Pokémon Center, where the nurse was similar to the ones in Sinnoh, but not the same. Riolu got the treatment he needed, which wasn’t intensive, and followed Brawly alongside Maylene to the beach, where Chuck was waiting with another Pokémon she didn’t recognise.

    It was another bulk Pokémon, but it was blue with a swirl in the center of his body. “Poliwrath,” Chuck said his name to introduce him. “This is Maylene.”

    A hint of anger returned to her; how is introducing her to the Pokémon, who should be aware that she was coming, more important than introducing the Pokémon to someone who has never seen the species before.

    “Is this the one I get to beat?” Maylene said, mixing Gardenia with herself again, even though she was trying hard to stop it.

    “You’ll battle me actually,” Brawly laughed. “Makuhita, are you ready?”

    Riolu could sense that Maylene wanted to release all of her anger, and that he was the medium for her. Makuhita prepared to battle by punching the air. “Give your all, Maylene,” Chuck said. “I want to see a real battle!”

    “Force Palm!” Maylene commanded, catching Makuhita by surprise, and causing Brawly to react desperately.

    “Arm Thrust!”

    Riolu ran forward, preparing his palm for another attack, but Makuhita managed to avoid the attack by stepping slight to the right. He brought one palm forwards, hitting it against Riolu, and the second palm followed, causing Riolu to fall back a few paces to his right.

    “Try it again!” Maylene ordered swiftly, catching the opponents by surprise again.

    This time, Riolu managed to hit. Makuhita’s body withstood the hit at first, but Riolu pushed his palm forwards, causing the attack to intense for a few more second before Makuhita was sent back a few paces as well.

    “Vital Throw!”

    “Quick Attack, Riolu!”

    The blue Pokémon used the experience he got from the running he did with Maylene as a tool to smash his body against Makuhita’s. The yellow Pokémon retaliated, and quickly punched Riolu’s head to cause him to fall to the ground, before punching his back again, causing Riolu to slam harder to the sand.

    “Arm Thrust again!”

    Maylene knew that it was dangerous, but she had to risk it to win. “Reversal!” she ordered, and Riolu prepared his body through breathing heavily. Makuhita’s attack hurt Riolu greatly, who accepted the attack. The spots that Makuhita had attacked flowed a white colour. The energy moved towards Riolu’s fist, which began glowing brighter than any of his other attacks.

    He jumped forward and dug his fist into Makuhita’s body, whose mouth flew open to emit a painful sound, but failed. His heavy body fell to the ground, causing a loud thud and a cloud of sand to rise up before settling down. Riolu panted and smiled before looking at Maylene, who opened her arms to welcome Riolu. He ran forward and hugged his trainer.

    “I didn’t know you could make it through that one attack, but you did,” she said. “I will never doubt you again.”

    “That was an excellent battle,” Chuck stepped forward. His voice abandoned the tone it had, and was taken over by a more serious one. “I look forward to training you. You will fit in nicely with us.”

    Maylene grinned at Chuck as she sat on the ground with Riolu in her arms. “I’ll be Strongest than you when I leave.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:15 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default §5: Start Swimming

    “Ok then…” Candice stuttered. “T-Thank you ma’am.”

    She walked out of Maylene’s house, and Gardenia followed her. Even though she only knew her for a year, Candice was certain that Gardenia was holding back a gigantic rant about Maylene, who, as they have discovered, left for Johto without telling them. Gardenia was too experienced in the field that she knew they had to put a fair distance between them and the Gym before ranting away, as doing so just after the door was closed was not safe.

    Candice walked slowly; a desperate attempt for Gardenia to forget about that topic, but the latter responded by grabbing Candice’s hand and pacing away, dragging the resisting girl with her. The pair had reached the meteorites before Gardenia opened her mouth and let it all out.

    “She’s an idiot!” she started. “How could she go to Johto without telling us?! Is she too good for us now?! Did that stupid region with their stupid ‘We’ll walk with Pokémon!’ policy seem more important than our superior Sinnoh?! At least we have a League! They’re so poor that they share theirs with Kanto, another disaster I tell you. Did you hear about the sissy Erika? A tragedy! I should go there and release all her tormented Pokémon. And don’t even get me started about Hoenn; those idiots with their idiotic ‘We’ll be one with nature!’ attitude. I know I’m supposed to like grass and all, but come on! Can’t they grow up instead of living on trees?”

    “Are you done?” Candice sighed.

    “I’ll tell what I’m done with,” Gardenia started again. “I’m done with that idiot girl and her ‘I will be an Aura Master!’ attitude. Johto are lucky if they know what aura is! Only we have a trainer who uses aura, those idiots probably don’t even have the education to know what it is. A punch of morons I tell you. Did you hear about their stupid Pokégear? Who needs radio? The world has MOVED ON! I’ll tell you what, I once saw this tour book, and in it was a picture of a monument, or a landmark, for Johto. It’s a burnt tower.”

    Gardenia stayed silent for a while, tapping her foot rapidly against the ground, and waiting for a response. “And what?” Candice said and rolled her eyes.

    “And what?! I’ll tell you what. A burnt tower! Who keeps a burnt tower! ‘Oh look, we angered the rainbow clown bird and he burned out tower, we must keep it around cause we have bad memory’. At least we have something significant for a landmark. Mt. Coronet, that library thing somewhere, the temple in your snow land, the beacon. Do they have an underground? I DIDN’T THINK SO!”

    “I think they have a beacon as well, and it’s called a lighthouse,” Candice said. “And we also have an abandoned building, remember? The one you were too scared to enter?”

    “It’s haunted!”

    Candice stood opposite Gardenia in silence for a few minutes as the latter kicked some stones every once in a while. “Did you let it out now?” she asked and tilted her head.

    “We’re going to Johto.”

    *

    “I would like to visit Sinnoh sometime,” Brawly said. “Do you know anything about Hoenn?”

    The pair was facing the waves as they clashed against the sands of the beach, while Riolu and Makuhita were in the water. Brawly had been trying to teach Maylene to surf, but she ended up breaking his surfboard. Their swimming suits were covered in sand and water, as well as their bodies.

    At first, Maylene felt awkward being next to a shirtless boy, but she eventually managed to adjust to the situation. “I know that you have water,” Maylene said. “More than us. But I don’t know about Johto, since I didn’t see anything else.”

    “We do have a lot of water,” Brawly laughed. “Which is great for surfing. Crasher Wake will love it if he sees it. But we also have Drake, one of the strongest Dragon Pokémon trainers. There is a Space Center in Mossdeep City, and I think there is one in Sinnoh near your city.”

    “We don’t have anything like that in Veilstone, but we do have meteorites,” Maylene said. “We should go back to Chuck now and continue the training; I’m sure he wouldn’t want us taking a long break.”

    *

    Gardenia had dragged Candice to the beach of Sunyshore City, a very impressive city in the Sinnoh region. It was always busy, with tourists coming in and out, teenager girls hanging around the Gym in hopes of seeing the Gym Leader, but Gardenia had something else in her mind.

    “We can’t take a ship to Johto,” Candice said. “We’re too young to be allowed on without parents. Besides, I don’t think any ship is leaving from here.”

    “We’re not taking a ship,” Gardenia said. “We’re swimming!”

    Candice looked at Gardenia for a few seconds, slowly tilting her head. “You’re crazy, aren’t you?” she said as her head shot back into place. “We can’t swim to Johto!”

    “I am swimming,” Gardenia replied and pointed at herself with her thumb. “And if you don’t want to come with me to get Maylene back, then maybe you’re not a true friend.”

    “Fine,” Candice took a few steps forwards untill her face was almost touching Gardenia. “You want to swim, swim. I am sick of you and everything you dragged me into this past year, and Maylene. I’m glad she’s gone actually, at least now you’re not around her anymore. I only put up with you because you helped Maylene sometimes, but not anymore. I have no reason to stay friends with you. You’re a horrible person. Swim on your own. I hope you never come back.”

    *

    There was a cave under construction on the west of Cianwood City. They have just begun digging, and are apparently planning on reaching the other side, where they have just discovered is not just sea. Maylene was grinning, thinking of all the possibilities. She could easily go to the other side and prepare a surprise for them. It could be a tribute to Gardenia, who she met exactly one year ago today.

    She walked towards the steep walls and started climbing. Riolu followed her closely, with a grin similar to Maylene’s on his face. The cliff was very slippery, and Maylene would occasionally slip, but she always managed to grab back onto the rocks before falling to the ground. The climb took a lot of her time, and when she reached the top, she was drenched in sweat.

    “What should we do, Riolu?” she asked her Pokémon, who shook his head. “Gardenia would have had an idea by now. I wonder how everyone is doing back in Sinnoh. Now that I think about them, I regret leaving without telling them.”

    Maylene sighed and kicked a stone, and in the most comical way, started a chain reaction of small rocks hitting each other for a few seconds. Maylene grinned and sat on the ground, but the collision caused the small rocks to fall off of the edge. It was then that she realized that this formation was not stable.

    She could hear larger rocks colliding with the beach, and felt the earth shake beneath her. The formation tilted a little, and the sound of an avalanche was clearer. Her mind searched for the safest way down as soon as she got up, but she was unable to think clearly when her life was in danger. Before she knew it, the entire piece of land she was on fell to the opposite side of the edge she climbed, towards the water.

    Riolu tackled Maylene and held on to her. The pair flew away from the rock. She screamed for help, but her voice was drained away when her right shoulder scrapped against the wall of another formation. She winced in pain and tried to grab the wound.

    There was a large splash, followed by Maylene and Riolu falling into the water. The wave from the rock caused her to flip upside down, and the salty waters made her gasp as the wound ached her even more. She tried swimming out, but couldn’t operate her limps in her state of panic. The force of her body crashing into the surface left a pain that didn’t help.

    Riolu was just a few meters below her, and he was just as hopeless and she was. Her arms became weak, her wound stopped hurting her, and her entire body became still. She felt her body rising before she lost consciousness.

    *

    Canalave City held ‘that library thing’ that Gardenia had mentioned, which was called the ‘Canalave Library’.

    But Candice wasn’t interested in that. A boat was leaving to Johto soon, and that was the only thing that was important to Candice. She hated to admit it, but Gardenia was right; Maylene was irresponsible in going to Johto without telling them, and she was doing the same thing. No one knew that Candice planned on going to Johto, not even Gardenia. Just because Gardenia came up with the idea didn’t mean they had to go together.

    Roark was the only person that saw Candice in Canalave, and she covered her actions by lying and saying that she was here for the library. She felt bad about lying to him and about not being with him to support him. His father was selected as the replacement for the Canalave Gym Leader, and asked to pick his own replacement. Roark wanted to become a Gym Leader, but Byron chose someone named Riley, whose current whereabouts are unknown.

    She managed to sneak onto the ship, and his with the cargo. She hoped that Gardenia wouldn’t be able to sneak onto the ship as well, but couldn’t tell whether she was here or not; the places for hiding were varied.

    She heard the sound that indicated for everyone to climb aboard, and she gave out a sigh of relief. The ship began moving slowly, the sound of the bridge rising echoed in the small cargo chamber, it began picking up speed, and Candice prepared herself for whatever happens to her in Johto.

    Maylene had better have an explanation.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:15 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default §6: We're Standing Firm!

    Maylene lay on the shore. She had become unconscious, but thankfully, her body flipped again, and she floated to safety. The rock that smashed against the water sent the waves that flipped her up and pushed her away, and the same thing happened to Riolu, although he stayed conscious and hung on to Maylene’s body.

    Chuck had been busy breaking a few rocks with Brawly, and they would occasionally find items that have been buried in the sand. The fact that Maylene was missing removed all the possibilities of her not being involved. Chuck was furious, and he called Crasher Wake back to Cianwood.

    It was a hunt for Maylene, who lay on the shore of the other side of the formation. Riolu was sitting by her, waiting for her to wake up, when a man approached them. He was shirtless, and wore a black belt that held his torn pants. He wore weights around his wrists and ankles, and his hair was dirty and long.

    Riolu didn’t trust the stranger, but he was Maylene’s only hope, so he allowed him to approach his unconscious trainer.

    “She’s the one that caused the avalanche,” he said, as if ordering the truth to do as he commands. “You’re her Pokémon.”

    Riolu nodded. The man placed his palm against her chest, moved it to her left lung, and pressed slightly. His hand was focused on just one spot in her lung, and his press became harder before Maylene gasped for air, but coughed water.

    She coughed for what seemed like a minute. The man turned her to her side, as to keep her from swallowing the water again. “You’re alive,” he said. “Now explain.”

    Maylene stared at the man for moments, trying to recognise him, but she neither saw her before, nor heard of someone that matches his description. “I’m Maylene,” she said. “Who are you?”

    “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “You’re the one that caused the avalanche, aren’t you?”

    “It was an accident.”

    The man stood up, and Maylene copied. She knew that it was hopeless for her; what she did was dangerous. Some could have gotten hurt, and no one will be pleased about it. They will probably try to kick her out of Johto. But her thoughts stopped when she was the man walking away from her, and a surprise came over her. She had thought that he would be the end of her time in Johto, but either way, she wasn’t going to let him just walk.

    “Hey, man!” she called out to him, but he didn’t stop. “Don’t walk away!”

    But her kept walking. Maylene ran after him, and her presence was obviously known, as the man started talking.

    “I don’t mind what you did,” he said. “It was dangerous, but I don’t care. This is my training area, but they want to use it for themselves. It was a secret. At least you slowed their progress until I find another spot.”

    Maylene was confused. How could he not care about the danger he caused? How is it possible for what happened to be good? She ran in front of him and stopped, which he did as well. They looked into each other’s eyes for seconds.

    “Someone could be hurt,” she said. “You have to help them like you helped me.”

    “Out of my way, kid.”

    The man walked past her, and as he did, Maylene became more confused, and anger took over her. “Listen to me!” she shouted before directing a fist towards the man, who responded like no one did.

    His left hand grabbed her fist, stopping her in midair, and his right hand formed into a fist that he dug into Maylene’s body. He didn’t care about the fact that she had just sustained an injury, or that she was a girl, or that she was a child. He punched with all of the force he could use to cause the most pain without killing her.

    Maylene coughed blood, but the man didn’t stop. He lowered his left hand, dragging Maylene along with it, and raised it behind Maylene’s back, effectively twisting her arm. Riolu tried to jump and help, but was kicked away violently. The man then smashed his left knee against her back, causing her to scream in pain, and drove her to the ground.

    Her body smashed against the sand and rocks. His arm still twisted, and the man’s knee still on her back, keeping her down. He used his right hand to grab her head and raise it, before smashing it against the ground. Just enough to haze her vision but not knock her out.

    “Don’t try that again,” he said. “You won’t die, but you will be hurt for a long time.”

    She felt her body being released. As soon as her arm hit the ground, she winced in pain; it must be broken. Her whole body rose up a few centimeters when the man’s weight was lifted. Her vision returned to her, and she saw the ground right next to her, where Riolu landed once again; the man had kicked him off again.

    Riolu tried to attack the man again, but Maylene’s eyes told him not to before she drifted off into sleep. The pain wasn’t great, and it wasn’t enough to make her lose her consciousness again, but Maylene was tired. Her body was very strained, and she couldn’t find the energy to stay awake, so she fell asleep.

    *

    “Calm down, Chuck!” Crasher Wake shouted. “We don’t know if she did this! And we still have to find her!”

    “She could have killed someone!” Chuck responded angrily. “I am not training her anymore! What she did was reckless!”

    The men kept arguing about Maylene and forgot the world around them. At that moment, the girl was the most important person, and so far, the only suspect. She had to be found, but Crasher Wake and Chuck were too busy speculating on whether or not she was responsible for what happened.

    Crasher Wake refused to believe that she caused the avalanche, and believed that she was the one most hurt by it, which is why she was missing. He knew Maylene his whole life, and concluded that she was not the type to cause such a thing then run away and hide. To him, Maylene was a noble human who would never flee.

    “She did it!” Chuck insisted. “If she didn’t, then she would be here now! I should have never trained her! When we find her, she goes back to Sinnoh!”

    Brawly listened to their argument outside the Gym, with Makuhita by his side, pulling him away from the Gym to no avail. He believed that Maylene caused the avalanche, but it was no reason to kick her out of Johto. His reasoning was simple; if she could break a surfboard easily, then she is capable of causing an avalanche in the formation that was hit many times by the water, and had a construction hole in the center.

    Brawly felt a tug that wasn’t Makuhita’s. He turned around and looked down to see Riolu. “Where is Maylene?” he asked the Pokémon, who responded by pointing at the opposite side of the sea. He was breathing heavily, and seemed to be about to collapse.

    Brawly didn’t know where to go exactly, but there was a chance to stop the two men from arguing. He ran towards the southeast of Cianwood City and dived into the water. He began circling around to go wherever Riolu was pointing when Crasher Wake passed him on Floatzel.

    “You don’t get to run off to play the hero, kid,” he said. “Hang on to Floatzel.”

    Holding on to Crasher Wake was Riolu, who told the man to swim out to Maylene. Brawly held on to Floatzel and tried to avoid his spinning tails. They seemed to go at an amazing speed, and Brawly struggled to hold on. The water got into his nostrils and ears, his eyes were closed, and his clothes became heavy. It was unbearable, but it soon stopped when they reached a piece of land.

    “Maylene!” Crasher Wake shouted, and Riolu pointed in a specific direction. Crasher Wake ran forward with Riolu in his arms, while Brawly stayed back with Floatzel; he was too tired of being dragged around to follow.

    The pair spotted Maylene on the ground, and Crasher Wake dropped Riolu without care for the Pokémon. He picked up Maylene and ran back towards Floatzel. He passed Riolu, who grabbed the trainer’s left leg, as he was too weak to run behind him. They reached Floatzel, and he prepared to swim off again. Brawly climbed on behind Crasher Wake, and Riolu climbed onto his arms.

    Floatzel didn’t find it difficult to carry the ground back to Cianwood City, which Brawly found surprising; Crasher Wake must have spent a lot of time training the Pokémon. He occasionally glanced at Maylene, who was held very carefully in Crasher Wake’s arm, peaceful-looking and safe.

    *

    The man sat on the edge of a cave many meters above the water. He watched as Crasher Wake carried Maylene off into the distance. He recognised the large body and the Riolu that he kicked a couple of times earlier. His guard was finally over. Now that someone has carried her to safety, he can leave his watch point. The girl was brave for trying to punch him, but also stupid. She obviously didn’t know who he was, evident by her actions and questions, and he regretted abusing his ambiguity to damage her without any consequences, but at the same time, he was glad that he did so. He will meet her again, and he couldn’t wait for it; there was no doubt that she would advance quickly and become an actual figure in this world.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default §7: Companions

    Maylene’s mother had come to Johto in a matter of hours through using her husband’s connections. Crasher Wake had informed her of her daughter’s condition, and the hospital she was kept in. He sat at the far end of the room, while her mother talked to Maylene, who was covered in bandages and caskets.

    Chuck was at his Gym, still refusing to accept Maylene back, though she was not informed of his decision yet. Brawly went on training; even though he cared about Maylene, he knew that she was alive, will recover, and since she won’t be staying here anymore, he might as well focus on himself rather than on the girl he didn’t know very well.

    “Can I talk to you for a minute?” Maylene’s mother said to Crasher Wake. “Outside, please.”

    “Bring me some food from the cafeteria when you come back!” Maylene shouted.

    “Sure thing, honey,” her mother said and followed Crasher Wake to the hallway of the hospital. “I don’t want this happening ever again.”

    “It won’t,” Crasher Wake said. “I’ll make sure of it.”

    “No, you don’t understand. I won’t let it happen. She’s coming back to Sinnoh with me.”

    “I think you’re overreacting,” Crasher Wake said, almost begging. “This is for her own good.”

    “Her own good? Being crushed by rocks is her own good?” she said, almost shouting. “Riolu won’t ever be coming back with us. Had he not run off, Maylene wouldn’t have followed him and-” she breathed heavily. “I don’t want her here anymore.”

    Crasher Wake could see the woman almost breaking into tears, and there was no arguing with an emotional mother. “I’ll go get Maylene some food,” he said before backing away from the argument. “Please, think this through.”

    *

    Riolu searched relentlessly for the man who attacked Maylene; he didn’t care if he was weaker, the man had to be defeated. His search began in Cianwood City, which was the closest to the scene, meaning that the chanced of the man living here are high.

    He would occasionally run into Poliwrath, who was smashing rocks. The bigger Pokémon would give Riolu an evil look before sending him away, and Chuck did the same. Brawly would offer him the chance to train with Makuhita, but Riolu would always refuse, and continue his search, but he found nothing in Cianwood, which meant that it was to return to the place where they were attacked.

    Crasher Wake exited the hospital, and spotted Riolu pacing off to the direction they used to reach Maylene. “Riolu,” he called out to the Pokémon and approached him. “Maylene is awake, and she told us what happened.”

    Riolu lowered his head. He knew that Chuck wanted her sent away, and this would probably be what does it. Crasher Wake signaled for Riolu to follow him, and he did. They reached the shore they used, and sat next to Floatzel, who was resting after the long demanding ride.

    “She said that you had run off for a reason she didn’t know,” he said. “And that she followed you. You two were on a cliff when the avalanche happened. She got hit by some rocks and dragged to the ground. You broke the rocks and dragged her across the water to where we found you, because you didn’t want more rocks falling on her. Is what she said true?”

    Riolu managed to hide his surprise; Maylene had lied. And even though he didn’t like it, he nodded. “That’s good news,” Crasher Wake said. “Well, not her getting hurt.” He laughed loudly, making it evident that Crasher Wake was still Crasher Wake, even in tough times. “That means she’ll be able to stay here. Now we just have to convince her mother.”

    Riolu gave a fake smile as Crasher Wake left. Searching for the man now would just destroy the lie. He walked to the water to wash of his dirt and sweat, when he noticed Floatzel. The Pokémon looked at Riolu with half-closed eyes, judging him. He knew that it was all a lie, and he looked as if he would attack Riolu.

    *

    Everyone gathered in Maylene’s room, with Chuck in front of all of them. He wanted Maylene to tell him that she wasn’t responsible directly, as he believed in his ability to detect lies. He stared down at Maylene, who tried hard to maintain her confidence. Her mother, Brawly and Crasher Wake were behind him.

    “So you didn’t cause the avalanche?” Chuck finally said, demandingly.

    Maylene tried to stay calm, and for the most part, managed to fake it. “I didn’t,” she said. “I was hit by the rocks.”

    Chuck looked down on the girl for a few second, showing no change in his expression at all, causing Maylene to worry that her lie was discovered. What will her mother, Crasher Wake, father and everyone in Sinnoh think?

    “You can stay,” Chuck said. “Now you just have to convince your mother.” He laughed before exiting the room, followed by Crasher Wake and Brawly.

    “Mom, please,” she said. “Just let me stay. I’ll be more careful. Please.”

    “I love you, Maylene,” her voice took on the motherly tone that Maylene had gotten used to. “When Crasher Wake told me about what happened, I came here without thinking it through. I know you’re a strong, and you can take care of yourself, but I can’t help but worry; I’m a mother.” She chuckled and wiped at her teary eyes. “I’ve decided to stay here for a week before going back to Sinnoh. I’m not ready to leave you after this incident just yet.”

    “But I can stay right?”

    “Yes, you can.”

    Maylene attempted hugging her mother, but the movement caused her to knock over some equipment, which in turn led to a beep that indicated her heart had stopped. The closest nurse rushed in terror, but emitted a sigh of relief as soon as she saw Maylene laughing nervously.

    *

    Riolu smashed a rock, and another, and another.

    Chuck had allowed him to help in smashing some of the larger rocks that fell due to the avalanche, while passing trainers handled the smaller ones in hopes of finding some items. Maylene was going to be hospitalised for a few more days, so he might as well train on his own. He also took the opportunity to train with Brawly and Makuhita.

    Maylene attempted joining the training after being discharged, but all she could do in her condition was sit under the waterfall with Chuck. And a few days later, her mother left, not for Sinnoh, but for a tour across Johto. Crasher Wake left after making sure that Maylene was taken care of and that she was recovering. She found herself alone again in Cianwood City, with no companion but Riolu.

    One night she cried herself to sleep; leaving home was one thing, but having people from home leave her was another. The feeling of loneliness overcame her, and she regretted leaving home so abruptly. Her parents, friends, and everyone she knew in Veilstone and the Gym was away from her. She started to question her decision to train in Johto before falling asleep.

    Her dreams were no different; homesickness and longing for the people she knew. She would wake up in the middle of the night at the feel of something moving next to her; it was Riolu attempting to keep her company in what was the hardest time of her life.

    A week later, she was free to move her limbs as she wanted to, but the nurses advised her to take it easy, and demanded that Chuck wouldn’t demand the same intense training he did before. That week, Makuhita defeated Riolu for the first time due to Maylene’s mind being occupied by the people she left behind.

    And the week ended with her crying herself to sleep again.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:16 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default §8: Control The Storm

    Maylene woke up to the sound of Riolu opening the window, a habit which he took up to wake his trainer up before Chuck kicked open the door and summoned her for training. She got up and prepared herself for a busy day of training, and it started as normal. She joined Brawly and Makuhita in destroying some of the last rocks, but the avalanche has caused the formation to become very sensitive, and everyday new small rocks would fall whenever someone walked through the construction hole, but these were taken care of by passing trainers.

    “I think that’s enough for today,” Brawly said. “It’s time to train with Chuck.”

    “Sure,” Maylene said. “You go first, I’ll come after a minute.”

    Brawly walked away silently, which Maylene didn’t mind; she found it very difficult to act the way she did around Brawly and Chuck after she lied to them. She stared at Riolu while he smashed some more rocks before getting up.

    “Come on, Riolu,” she called out. “It’s time to train.”

    Riolu looked back, nodded, and walked towards Maylene. She turned around to walk towards the Gym and saw Chuck standing directly behind her.

    “There’s someone here to see you,” he said. “She says she’s from Sinnoh.”

    “Who is it?” Maylene asked, and caught a glimpse of Riolu trying to look at the far end of the island.

    “She wouldn’t tell me her name,” Chuck said. “But she’s wearing a lot of green and black.”

    “Gardenia!” she exclaimed as if Crasher Wake had taken over her body and ran past Chuck towards the beach Riolu had been staring at. She saw the figure of Gardenia growing closer, and he smile widened. Gardenia didn’t seem to notice Maylene, as she was talking to Brawly. “Gardenia!” Maylene shouted to grab her friend’s attention.

    Brawly and Gardenia both turned their heads towards Maylene, who was running towards with unmatched speed, the same speed that caused her to caused a scene in Veilstone a little more than a year ago. Gardenia grinned and grabbed Brawly by the shoulders before pushing him towards Maylene. The two collided, causing Maylene’s face to crash first into the sand, while Brawly fell to his side.

    “How could you leave without telling us?!” Gardenia shouted. “I searched all of this stupid Johto, only to find you in the one place where fun comes to die!”

    “I came to train,” Maylene said as she got up and dusted herself. “You told me to not care about what people think and train as hard as I can, remember?”

    “What do you think you’re doing?” Chuck said as he approached the group. His face red with anger, and the sand exploded under his stomps. “You can’t come in here and start assaulting my apprentices!”

    “Don’t worry, I’ll leave soon,” Gardenia said. “And I’m taking Maylene.”

    “I’m not going back just yet!”

    “Who are you anyway?!”

    “Shut up!”

    The trio’s shouting and cries mixed with each other, and became indistinguishable. Each one of them talked to the other two at the same time, and it was evident that none of them could comprehend anything of what was said.

    “No one is leaving!” Chuck’s voice roared, causing the three to silence themselves, and most of the city’s people to shift their attention towards the scene. “A storm is coming, and leaving or entering Cianwood City is dangerous for now, and thus, has been forbidden. That’s an order from the Pokémon League.”

    “But we’re taking about your Pokémon League,” Gardenia mocked him. “It’s probably just a few drops of rain that you all will be overreacting about like idiots!”

    “I don’t care what you think, young girl,” Chuck said. “For your safety, you will go nowhere.”

    Brawly started to speak, but a pain suddenly shot up his right foot, causing him to wince. The water around his foot started to freeze, and he was stuck in it. Maylene and Gardenia shared a look; they knew that it was Snorunt; Candice was probably skating her way through the ocean, and they weren’t mistaken. A few seconds later, a figure appeared on the trail of ice, and approached the island at amazing speed. As it got closer, they could see Candice, Snorunt and another person on a boat that was sliding through the ice as if it was a rollercoaster.

    Makuhita managed to chop the ice in time to knock Brawly out of the boat’s way before it collided against the sand and came to a stop. “Sorry,” Candice said to Chuck, who towered over the group. “This fisherman offered me a ride across the ocean, but we encountered a storm on the way and I had to get us out of there.”

    She was drenched in rainwater, as was the fisherman. The boat was damaged and a small pool had formed in the center of it, but was frozen. “Who are you?” Chuck asked, arms crossed and anger still showing.

    “That’s Candice,” Gardenia said. “A liar who didn’t want to come to Johto.”

    “Maylene, the Gym, now,” Chuck said and marched off. “Everyone else stay here.”

    Maylene exchanged happy glances with Candice, worried ones with Candice, and received pity ones from Brawly. Riolu started to follow her, but was stopped by Brawly, and since he knew Chuck more than them, Riolu trusted him. The two barefoot fighters walked towards the Gym. The door was fully open, but that didn’t stop Chuck from unnecessarily swinging them hard enough to detach them.

    “Are they your friends?” Chuck said as soon as the pair stopped just a few centimeters before the waterfall.

    “Yes, they are,” Maylene said. “They’re really good friends from Sinnoh.”

    “I don’t mind them visiting you, or even staying here,” Chuck said. “But I won’t train them, and I certainly don’t like how they can come unannounced; they’ve disrupted everything. We were supposed to start training.”

    “I’m sorry,” Maylene said. “I didn’t even know they were coming.”

    “I don’t care about what you knew or didn’t,” he said. “I want you to find a solution to this. I don’t have the time to take care of more people; I’m a Gym Leader.”

    “What will you do now?”

    “They can stay for now, and training will have to be canceled for today either way, because of the storm I received news of before I came to find you. You can leave now.”

    Maylene didn’t question his decisions; she knew that as long as she had the permission to go out of the Gym, she could stop the conversation, even though she had a lot of questions. She walked back towards the beach, where Candice, Gardenia and Brawly were waiting. Riolu seemed to be the only one who noticed her, as her two friends were arguing, while Brawly was taking care of the ice around his shoe with Makuhita’s help.

    “Brawly, Chuck said that training for today was canceled because of the storm,” Maylene said. “Gardenia and Candice, how did you get here?” Her tone suddenly shifted to that of excitement about meeting her old friends again.

    “I traveled normally,” Gardenia said. “By foot.”

    “Boat,” Candice said. “Though I did end up in Kanto, and had to walk all the way here.”

    “Well, you two are a real problem,” Brawly said. “You didn’t even think about it before traveling all the way here from Sinnoh?”

    “Shut up, surfer boy,” Gardenia said. “Go play in the waved or something. Make a sand castle.”

    Brawly got up and placed a hand on Maylene’s shoulder. “I don’t think she’s a good friend,” he said. “The other might be, but I’m not sticking around for long.”

    Gardenia ignored his remark as he walked away from the group. “You shouldn’t be mean to him,” Maylene said. “He’s a good friend.”

    “Unlike Candice,” Gardenia said. “She didn’t even want to come visit you, at least not with me.”

    “That’s because you’re a horrible person!” Candice shouted. “You keep making these insults and think it’s fun, but you’re only making me feel bad for hanging out for you!”

    “Shut up!” Gardenia shouted and almost approached Candice as if to hit her, but Snorunt jumped in front of her trainer and kicked up some sand before freezing it. It got into Gardenia’s eyes, causing her to reach for a random Poké Ball and throw it at the ground.

    A short green Pokémon covered by a large leaf appeared. She held a blue rose on one hand, and a red in the other. Three spikes emerged from her head, and her think legs stood close together as she took on a battle stance.

    “Poison Sting!”

    “Snorunt, Blizzard!”

    Roselia put her two roses together, and created numerous small darts. They gathered around the tips of the roses and began to move closer towards the center, where they seemed to be sticking to each other with some purple liquid, creating a larger dart, although it was still small.

    But Snorunt proved too fast for Roselia’s attack, she used the slight wind and lowered the temperature with her breath, and it was enough to causing a ferocious attack on Roselia. The Grass Pokémon winced at the sting of the cold, the dew on her leaves froze, helping the ice spread across her body, and soon the Pokémon fell to the ground covered in a thin layer of ice.

    “Shadow Ball.”

    Snorunt grinned as she gathered energy around her to form a purple orb that shot at Roselia. The ice around it shattered, causing Roselia’s leaves and roses to suffer small rips before she was thrown back towards Gardenia’s feet.

    “If that’s what you want,” Gardenia started, almost crying. “Then fine, I’ll go away.”

    She withdrew Roselia into her Poké Ball and ran past Candice and Maylene. The latter tried to stop her and shout after her, but Gardenia jumped into the boat too fast, and force caused it to start sliding down the path that Snorunt had created, held in the center by the edges that were created when it went across the trail the first time around.

    The fisherman looked on in disbelief before going into the Pokémon Center to take shelter from the approaching storm, while Candice looked at Maylene with coldness in her eyes. “We better go into the Pokémon Center as well,” she said. “It’s safer there.”

    “What about Gardenia? It’s not safe for her to be in the middle of the sea, is it?”

    “It’s Gardenia,” Candice said. “Why should we care?”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:17 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default §9: The Gathering

    “How could you say that?” Maylene said, shocked and in disbelief at how Candice, her best friend, treated Gardenia worst than she would have treated a stranger. “Why were you so rude to her? I thought we were all friends!”

    “I never liked her,” Candice said, her voice devoid of any kind of emotion. “I’m glad she’s gone, and you should be as well.”

    Maylene was shocked. This was Candice, the outgoing friendly girl everyone loved. How she could change so dramatically was beyond her. Candice walked off, and Snorunt followed her. The sand beneath her feet was kicked up with each step, and was carried away by light winds; the storm was approaching.

    Maylene walked behind Candice, and sped up her footsteps. She slowly approached her friend, and began passing her by. Riolu was already beside her, and he shared a look of confusion with Snorunt; their trainers were acting very out of character.

    Chuck opened the door to him Gym, as if he knew that the group was approaching the Gym. Maylene went in first, and Candice followed her. The last ones in were Riolu and Snorunt, who looked up at the large body that is Chuck, and shared another look; he obviously had a plan in mind.

    Maylene sat by Brawly and began talking to him, while Candice walked around the Gym, studying every aspect of it with a look of fascination on her face; at least she was herself again.

    Maylene and Candice had a very strong friendship, and throughout the years they’ve been friends and the one year they’ve been closer than sisters, their relationship passed on to their Pokémon. But these two did not encounter the conflict their trainers did, and seeing each other once again meant that it was time to return to their old habits.

    They couldn’t fully use their playful nature in the wide area, since the storm was approaching, and everyone was instructed to lock their doors, but the Gym itself had many opportunities. Snorunt started their sting of events, and approached the large Pokémon that Chuck referred to as Poliwrath. It was helping him and the other trainers reinforce the windows of the Gym with various objects. Riolu and Snorunt cannot help in anyway, but they weren’t meaning to.

    Snorunt studied the Poliwrath in the same manner that Candice used to study the Gym. Her tiny legs barely allowed her to keep up with the strong Pokémon as it carried random chairs from the back of the Gym to the windows, and she would occasionally slip due to walking into the water then out of it, while Riolu found it easy to follow, especially with all the training he had done with Maylene.

    She covered her mouth with her hands and giggled; why not make the Gym her own play zone?

    The water was conveniently placed at the center of the gym, and part of it crept out onto the ground. As soon as no one’s foot was in it, she released the freezing breath she had held inside, and the entire water turned into ice. Snorunt’s face lit up; the Gym was suddenly hers to skate in as she wants. In her excitement, she forgot that everyone needed to go through it to get the items they need.

    The first was a trainer, who slipped onto the ice, and a few others followed as they rushed to help him. That was when Snorunt knew what she has done. Candice knew right away that Snorunt was responsible, and approached her.

    This was going to reflect badly on Maylene; her friends coming and causing a problem in a desperate time was not something that would reflect positively on her. He rushed up the Gym, and towards the wheel that would turn on the waterfall. He stood on one of the handles, and jumped on it to make sure that it would lower, and it did, along with the bridge.

    “No!” Chuck suddenly shouted. “Don’t do that!”

    But it was too late. The waterfall rushed down to meet the ice and broke it apart, but the chunks had blocked the drain, causing the water to creep onto the ground near it, and towards the door.

    “Lift up the bridge!” Chuck shouted again, but Riolu’s thoughts were scattered. “The storm!”

    His warning came too late; the water flooded towards the door in no time, and removed most of the furniture holding the door and windows, causing the frail walls of the Gym to give away and let the rainfall in. Everyone in the Gym was shocked to see what was flailing in the middle of Cianwood City. Dozens of tentacles smashed against the sand and would occasionally hit the Pokémon Center, which was stronger than most of the buildings in Cianwood and managed to withstand the hits.

    “It’s a Tentacruel!” Check shouted over the wind and rain. “The storm must have washed it onto the beach.”

    His thoughts and speech were incoherent in the middle of that storm, but everyone knew what was happening, and what they had to do. Poliwrath acted on instinct and jumped towards the Tentacruel, grabbing some of the flailing limps together to stop the assault on the Pokémon Center. Chuck ordered the trainers to help, and they all sent out several Fighting-types to help, but they seemed useless against the force of the Pokémon, whose hits threw the Pokémon away, the only who managed to hold on was Poliwrath, but his strength was slowly failing him.

    “He can’t hold on anymore!” Brawly shouted. “Makuhita, let’s help!”

    The short Pokémon nodded, and ran alongside his trainer. Brawly held his broken surfboard in his hand, and dug it into the ground for support. Makuhita leaned against it, and managed to catch and stop some of Tentacruel’s movements, but the situation was still helpless; Makuhita failed as quickly as all the other Pokémon before him.

    “It’s no use!” Chuck screamed at the top of his lungs. “Go inside!” He instructed, even though half of the wall was gone, but everyone still obeyed. They rushed back into the Gym, and everyone but Maylene and Candice seemed to know what was going to happen. The former’s attention stayed on Chuck, who produced a second Poké Ball.

    “Primeape!” he shouted as he threw it towards the ground. “Behave yourself!”

    The order sounded weird to Maylene; why wouldn’t a Pokémon behave itself around the trainer who raised it? Chuck must be a bad trainer for not being able to control his own Pokémon; how could Crasher Wake trust him with training her?

    The sand would have kicked up at the force of the throw, but the Poké Ball produced no effect against the sand but a muffled sound as Primeape emerged from it. He was a round Pokémon covered in scruffy hair, with four limps emerging from it. But his most striking feature was his face; a look of violence overcame it, and he seemed to want to attack Chuck, but one of the tentacles smashed against his back, and that was it.

    Primeape let out a violent war cry, almost deafening. He turned around to face the flailing Tentacruel and ran forward, while leaving wide footprints on the mud under him. His hands wrapped against a dozen of the limps, and lifted the Tentacruel up, before smashing it against the Pokémon Center, making the Pokémon shriek in pain. Poliwrath was knocked aside as well, and was unable to get up as Tentacruel hit him unwillingly.

    “This is horrible!” Maylene shouted. “Crasher Wake wouldn’t allow this! Riolu, stop that thing! Force Palm!”

    The blue Pokémon hesitated, but he couldn’t allow himself to endanger Maylene, who ran towards the scene. He followed his trainer, knowing exactly what was required of him. Makuhita joined the group halfway, while Brawly helped some of the people at the Pokémon Center move to a safer place; the building was shaking violently against the Tentacruel.

    “Makuhita, will you help us?” Maylene said hopefully, and the Pokémon nodded. “Thank you. Now, let’s stop the Primeape!”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:18 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default §10: Teamwork

    Brawly joined the group somewhere in the distance between the Gym and Primeape, but Maylene was too concerned to notice. The raging Primeape had defeated the wild Tentacruel with ease, and knocked out Poliwrath without even intending to; how can her Riolu and Brawly’s Makuhita even hope to beat it?

    It seemed hopeless, and for a moment, Maylene wanted to turn back and run away. This was dangerous, and Riolu could get seriously hurt; she herself could get seriously hurt.

    “Makuhita, Force Palm!” Brawly ordered his Pokémon, and Maylene knew she would have to contribute to the battle; there was no turning back now.

    “Quick Attack!” Maylene commanded, forgetting that she had already ordered an attack.

    The sand, the rain, and the wind seemed to work against Riolu and Makuhita. Primeape glared at both of the approaching Pokémon, before rushing to meet them. With one fist, he propelled Makuhita backwards, causing it to crash into the mud, while he grabbed Riolu with the other by the neck.

    “Riolu!” Maylene called out for her Pokémon, desperate for his safety. She ran forward as the Primeape brought Riolu down, and crashed him into the mud as well, before his gaze switched to Maylene.

    Without a second of thinking, she jumped up, legs first, attempting to kick the Primeape away from her partner, only for her to feel a sudden rush of wind, and the see world spinning around her; Primeape had grabbed her ankle, and she was now flying towards the sea.

    *

    Surrounded by whirlpools, under the rain, and at night; this wasn’t Gardenia’s best day. Roselia was by her side, and she wasn’t too pleased with their situation either.

    “You can stop complaining!” Gardenia argued with Roselia, who would sigh at every drop of rain that hit her, and groan at every thunder that shot itself from the sky. “I know we’re in a bad situation! It isn’t my fault.”

    Roselia’s eyes widened and she turned her face slowly towards Gardenia; a dramatic gesture her trainer had taught her. “Oh, don’t do that!” Gardenia insisted. “We’ll just wait for the storm to finish! And no! For the last time, there might be ghosts in there!”

    Gardenia shouted at her Pokémon, and pointed at the cave behind them. “I wanted you to stay with me! Not because I needed you, but because I knew you would be worried about me!”

    Roselia scoffed, and got up slowly before shaking her body, and sending all of the sand that was on here flying towards Gardenia. “What do you think you’re doing?!” Gardenia cried. “N- No! You. Are. Not. Going. Into. The. Cave!”

    *

    Maylene felt the seawater rush into her lungs. She remembered when she fell off of that cliff, and how she lied about it to stay here; was it her decision that will kill her? It can’t be; she’s too young. She suddenly felt something grab her, and pull her down. No. Something had tackled her, and was now swimming her up.

    She gasped for air as her emerged above the surface. A pair of strong hands wrapped themselves around her, and upon further inspection, she recognised them as Poliwrath’s; he must’ve regained consciousness while she was battling the Primeape, as much as getting thrown into the ocean counted as a battle.

    Riolu and Makuhita were still battling, with Brawly commanding the both. Chuck and his students watched, and as Maylene looked around the island, she recognised several Fighting Pokémon helping the people out of the Pokémon Center.

    The island approached Maylene as Poliwrath kept of carrying the little girl to the island. “Riolu!” she shouted, unable to contain herself from joining the battle. “Copycat!”

    Primeape knocked Makuhita to the mud again, and targeted Riolu. The two Pokémon’s actions became mirrored; Primeape raised his right fist, and Riolu copied. The pair exchanged several quick punches, and the raindrops rippled in the air between the two. For several seconds, they were locked in combat, until the wind became colder, and the air around them started to freeze.

    Maylene was now on the beach, set down by Poliwrath, who started approaching the Primeape, but stopped at the sudden coldness of the weather. Primeape’s wet fur started to harden, his fists to slow down, and his movement eventually stopped.

    “Good job, Snorunt,” Candice said, but her voice was devoid of the Candice Maylene knew as her friend. “It’s over.”

    And it was. Riolu delivered the final punch, and Primeape fell to the mud, motionless. Chuck quickly seized the opportunity, and returned his still Pokémon to it’s Poké Ball. “Thank you, Candice,” he said. “That was a great move.” Chuck then turned to Maylene, who was almost collapsing due to the weight of her wet clothes. “Maylene, you really are made of tough stuff,” he laughed. “And Brawly, great job with Makuhita’s endurance, and with being able to command two Pokémon; must be a skill from Hoenn!”

    “That’s it?” Candice said as the last bit of rain turned to snow. “Good job? How about you learn to control your Primeape? Everyone was in danger!”

    “Don’t talk back to me, little girl,” Chuck’s voice took on a more serious tone as he turned to Candice. “I am your elder, and your superior.”

    “No,” Candice said. “No. I don’t care anymore. I’ve been nice to people for too long.”

    Chuck stared at Candice; she was defiantly too young to be thinking like that. “I think there’s someone you would like to meet,” he said. “But right now, we’ll put the Tentacruel back in the sea, and deal with the damage.”

    As he finished his sentence, he glanced at where Tentacruel lay, only to see it missing, with Poliwrath emerging from the sea one more time. “Everyone, rebuild the Gym!” Chuck ordered his students. “Maylene, Brawly, and Candice, follow me.”

    *

    Roselia scoffed, and got up slowly before shaking her body, and sending all of the sand that was on here flying towards Gardenia. “What do you think you’re doing?!” Gardenia cried. “N-No! You. Are. Not. Going. Into. The. Cave!”

    Roselia shrugged off Gardenia’s pleading, and walked into the darkness of the cave, leaving her trainer alone in the middle of the storm, wondering why everyone seemed to leave her. Seconds later, there was a thud, and Roselia rolled out of the cave.

    “Oh, now you decide to come back,” Gardenia exclaimed. “Well, guess what, we’re no longer-“

    She turned her head to see that Roselia was unconscious, and to her shock, someone kicked her away from the entrance. “You’re too annoying, kid,” a barefoot, shirtless man said. “Why don’t you leave?”

    “What is wrong with you?!” Gardenia cried in disbelief. “What did you do to Roselia?! Are you crazy?!”

    In her moment of rage, Gardenia threw a punch at the man, only for him to catch it. “I’m guessing you’re from Sinnoh as well.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:18 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default §11: A Long Time Ago

    To Maylene, it was absolutely amazing how a small command like ‘rebuild the Gym” would cause those who were in the storm with their Pokémon and on the brink of death to actually rebuild the Gym, with their own hands, nonetheless. They grabbed the blanks of wood, held them against the borders of the Gym, and in the silliest manner Maylene had ever seen, used duct tape.

    “That’s not a solution,” Brawly muttered before raising his voice. “Chuck, that’s not a solution.”

    “Yes, it is,” said Chuck. “And when did you start calling me Chuck?”

    Candice scoffed at the pair’s jokes and irritating laughs. She looked down to see Snorunt, who was walking beside her, but keeping her distance. Candice observed her Pokémon; it seemed to be rejecting her, and rightfully so. She had ignored her for a long time, and completely rejected Gardenia from her life soon afterwards. She became a cold person, as opposed to the warm girl who embraced life.

    Looking back, Candice saw Maylene and Riolu, who were walking together, and playing some sort of ‘hit my hand with your paw’ game. Maylene held one hand in Riolu’s face, and kept the other underneath him as he sat on it; it must be some form of training that, although seemed to work, looked ridiculous. But that wasn’t what Candice was focused on.

    Maylene and Riolu were still friends; they cared about each other, interacted, and actually enjoyed each other’s company. Of course, they weren’t always that close, it seemed like only moments away when Riolu’s best friend was Snorunt, and Candice was Maylene’s; why couldn’t that split have brought Candice and Snorunt close as well?

    “Very well then,” bellowed Chuck, causing Riolu to fall off of Maylene’s hand. “Ever since you got here, Maylene, we’ve had problems piling up.”

    “Yes, Chuck, I caused the storm,” sighed Maylene, before realising what she did. “Oh, I-“

    “That’s what happens when she spends just a few moments with Gardenia,” said Candice. “She becomes rude like her.”

    “I think it’s called sarcasm,” laughed Brawly. “I’m not sure, though.”

    “Are you kids done?” Chuck sat in the puddle of water just in front of the waterfall. “I’m not going to send you back home, Maylene; you’re training under me, and I never give up on anyone, especially if they have the potential you have. I just want to tell you that I understand if you wanted to go back home. You were seriously hurt in that mountain accident, and that wasn’t your fault, it was mine. I failed to protect you.”

    “I-It’s not your fault,” laughed Maylene nervously. “You didn’t cause that rockslide.”

    “And neither did you,” said Chuck. “But let’s not dwell on that.”

    “Yeah, bad memories,” said Maylene. “Of the rocks hitting me.”

    She couldn’t control a small shiver that went through her body as she remembered the man she couldn’t land a hit on, and not because of the pain he caused her, but because he humiliated her.

    “Candice, I’m not sure why you want to stay in Cianwood, but you’re more than welcome to stay in the Gym,” said Chuck. “I understand you’re a friend of Maylene.”

    “I don’t plan on staying here,” replied Candice. “I will leave.”

    “Where to?” said Chuck. “You don’t know any place in Johto.”

    “I’ll just go back to Sinnoh,” said Candice. “I came here on my own, and I can go back on my own.”

    “I was hoping you’d stay here, Candice,” said Chuck. “You’re a mature person, especially for your age, and Maylene would surely need you.”

    “Maylene doesn’t need me, and I’m sure my family is worried about me.”

    And with those words, Candice turned around. She walked back from where they came, and Snorunt followed her. She was determined to leave, and no one can stop her. Her footsteps echoed out of the Gym, and Maylene felt abandoned again.

    Crasher Wake, who she could call her true father, and even wished he were sometimes, had left Cianwood, and her mother followed him, and now her friends, Gardenia and Candice. It seemed as if home left her, and not the other way around.

    This couldn’t happen again.

    Her legs carried out her actions; she ran after Candice, and like her, said no word to the unsuspecting males. The hallway out of the Gym was a long way filled with turns, and Chuck was covering the waterfall, so she couldn’t go through it. Only one solution remained. She jumped to the side, tackling a wall that fell apart with a ripping sound. The Trainers and their Pokémon stares at her as the chain reaction started, and eventually, the Gym needed rebuilding again.

    Shouts and protests and pointed fingers; Maylene destroyed their hard work, and they couldn’t stand building it again. Riolu finally reached his trainer, who was still on the ground, turning her head rapidly while the other Trainers surrounded her. But to her, all that mattered was that Candice was nowhere in sight, but a second ice trail was.

    Her instincts took over again, and she ran for the trail. Those who tried to stop her were either kicked away or punched, with Riolu mimicking her actions for the Pokémon who tried to stop him. The mud under her feet slowed her down, but she soon found it helpful as she jumped onto the trail.

    “Slippery!”

    Riolu tried to comprehend what Maylene just shouted in the middle of their adrenaline rush, but he soon realised it. Due to his size, his entire body was covered with mud, and that gave him, and Maylene’s feet, a great speedy start. But he soon lost his balance.

    His face crashed onto the ice, and his entire body flattened. Riolu’s own jump, and temporarily running across the ice, created a momentum that sent him flying through the trail, still spinning. He crashed onto the unsuspecting Maylene, and knocked her onto her back.

    The mixture of the ocean water and the cold ice was almost nostalgic for Maylene. She couldn’t help but laugh as she lost complete control over her body, and trusted fate to carry her to wherever the trail of ice ended. The cold feel of Sinnoh, and the salty water of Johto; for a moment, she had it all.

    Just for a moment, she had it all. Frozen in time, and in the two places she wanted to be, but the familiar sands ended that dream. They flooded around her and Riolu, and informed her that her fun was over. Riolu helped her up, and they exchanged looks before observing their area. The sand around them, and the sea with the ice trail behind them, and her friend in the distance.

    “Candice!” Maylene called out desperately. “I need you to stay!”

    Candice slowly turned around. There stood Maylene, panting and desperate, walking towards the only friend from Sinnoh that can stay with her, and with a smile, Candice walked towards her. “Maylene, I knew you’d follow me,” said Candice. “I was counting on it. I will still get on the ship back to Sinnoh, though.”

    “W-What?” Maylene’s fatigue slowly settled in, but it was nothing compared to Candice’s words.

    “I tried to be your friend, but you ignored me, and then left for Johto,” Candice continued. “I already told you that I’m tired of being nice to others. I’m going, Maylene, just like you did. Goodbye.”

    “B-But, we’re friends,” pleaded Maylene. “Why are you rude?”

    “I’m not rude!” beamed Candice. “I’m not Gardenia! You’re not my friend!”

    Candice’s arms shot out and pushed Maylene to the ground, sanding a cloud of dust up around them. Riolu, seeing how his friend was treated, turned to Candice. He didn’t care that they once were friends, and with a quick movement, sent his fist flying through the air to meet Snorunt. With a cough, and a gasp from Candice, she fell to the ground as soon as Riolu’s hit landed. He shot his eyes up at Candice, and walked away towards his trainer.

    Snorunt’s eyes started tearing up as her former best friend rejected her, just because Candice rejected Maylene. And as soon as Riolu took Maylene’s side, Candice walked away, towards the ship back to Sinnoh. Snorunt glanced at her trainer, then back at Riolu; she knew where her loyalty was, and she didn’t like it. Candice has changed, and not for the good, but she was still her trainer, and she had to stick with her.

    With a sad glace, Snorunt followed Candice, while Riolu remained with Maylene.

    “She was nice,” Maylene spoke to Riolu. “Thank you, Riolu, for taking my side. I don’t have anyone left.”

    Riolu lowered his head, before sitting on the sand next to Maylene, and patting her as if she were his Pokémon. “We should go back to Chuck,” said Maylene. “Just across the… ice…”

    The pair exchanged looks; it certainly was unfortunate. Melted ice could get them nowhere across the ocean, and Maylene couldn’t help but think that Candice had intended for this to happen. Everything was fine for a moment, but not now.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:18 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default §12: Leading Sinnoh

    “This must be why mom told me to be careful!”

    “It’s fine, Maylene,” Gardenia shouted back. “We’re fine! It’s just snow!”

    Four figures, completely surrounded by snow. One of them was the determined young Gardenia, who was taking the lead despite not knowing her way around. The girl right behind her, and the one who caught up to her often, was Candice. She knew the way to her hometown by heart, but Gardenia seemed to perceive this, like everything else, as a competition, and the fierce little girl pushed her back every time she caught up to her. Right behind the two were Maylene and Roark, who struggled the most.

    Of course, some of them were hesitant on taking a trip to the north of Sinnoh without any adult accompanying them, as were their parents, but Candice convinced them that it was as safe as drinking water, and Maylene’s mother had to admit that her daughter wasn’t easily phased, and if there was any group of kids that were safer in the world than adults, it would be this one.

    Throughout her life, Maylene challenged everything, and even defeated a few Trainers at her father’s Gym. She was easily the strongest in the group, but also the most rash, never thinking before delivering a hit. Gardenia followed up on the same rash personality, but produced such bluntness that easily repelled anyone who meant the group any harm.

    Candice gave the brains that the group needed. Every situation she was in was one that she resolved with the least damage caused, and she got the group out of danger’s way many times. The same could be said for Roark, who served the ability to think about the future, and the safety of the group, as opposed to Candice, who specialised in the situations they were already in.

    They would surely all be friends forever; they created a very unique combination of skills, and shared a common goal: help each other.

    They kept battling their way through the blizzard, and Maylene took this opportunity to train her endurance. “We should be there soon!” Candice shouted. “You’re finally going to see where I live!”

    “Right now, it seems very bad!” Gardenia beamed. “What kind of crazy folk live here?! Crazy folk!”

    Candice ignored Gardenia, as she always did when she fired an insult at anyone, and ran forward, attempting to finally go ahead of Gardenia. She used her speed in the snow and her experience as an advantage when she created a distance between them, and ran ahead of the group before returning to the path they were taking.

    Furious, Gardenia ran even faster, and the pair behind them copied silently. Candice proved herself reliable when they did reach Snowpoint City in a few minutes. They ran to the Gym, where they took shelter from the cold for a little while.

    “You cheated!” Gardenia started. “Candice cheated, everyone! She ran away from the path, and went in front of me!”

    “But you pushed her many times,” Roark added, much to Gardenia’s annoyance. “Let’s see Snowpoint now; this trip would be useless if we don’t.”

    “Yes, I’ll show you,” Candice said. “Follow me!”

    With a scoff, Gardenia followed Candice, as did the others. Roark seemed very eager to learn about all the history of Snowpoint, and eager to study the Snowpoint Temple, even though Candice had already informed him that it was off limits, even for her.

    “How do you train in here?” Maylene started. “Do you go to the blizzard?”

    “No, I don’t train like you three do,” Candice smiled. “I think the stronger bond you have with your Pokémon, the stronger the Pokémon will be; you already know that. It’s why Snorunt and I are almost never apart. Oh, let’s send out our Pokémon!”

    With a nod of agreement, they all sent out their Pokémon. Roselia appeared on Gardenia’s side, Riolu on Maylene’s, Cranidos on Roark’s, and Snorunt on Candice’s. Their first instinct was to look at their surroundings, and they eventually recognised the snowy ground as Snorunt’s home, and in turn, Candice’s home, and without a moment delay, they took the opportunity to play in the snow, while their trainers sat amongst some trees.

    “I like Snowpoint,” Maylene said. “Every city in Sinnoh is different. And the trip here was good for my training.”

    “It was quite a challenge,” Roark said. “I didn’t enjoy it, though. But Candice and Gardenia seemed to; they were racing in the blizzard!”

    “Yeah, you two are weird,” Maylene added. “I was sure Gardenia would win.”

    “I would have won, but Candice cheated,” Gardenia repeated. “Because she’s a cheater!”

    “When do you have to be back home, Roark?” Candice asked, ignoring Gardenia again, but that wasn’t the only reason she had for changing the subject.

    “Tomorrow morning,” Roark said. “Our parents know we’re spending the night here, but my dad wants me back home early to pack everything.”

    “Canalave City is very far away!” Gardenia said. “It will be harder to drag you around Sinnoh, but I’ll still do it!”

    “We’ll be seeing less of you,” Candice said, with a very faint hint of sadness, and a blush. “We won’t be the same group without you.”

    “Hey, Candice,” Gardenia started. “Do you want me to help Roark up that tree for you?”

    “What do you-“ Candice suddenly realised what Gardenia meant. “T-That’s fine. We’re not g-going to climb.”

    “Yeah, I don’t like it,” Roark said. “Canalave is far away, and I like Oreburgh. I’m not sure who my dad will put as the Gym Leader in Oreburgh to replace him, but my grandpa is the temporary replacement now. I just really wish he would pick me. He would never think that I’m strong.”

    “He will,” Maylene said. “You’re strong, Roark! You even defeated Riolu once! You can become a Gym Leader, and eventually, we will become Champions!”

    “Two Champions?” Roark smirked. “That’s not possible.”

    “The four of us will be Champions!” Maylene corrected him. “We will be strongest than everyone!”

    *

    The spot where they last were a group was now back to it’s former cold glory. No more trace that they were there at all. Candice walked to it, and sat where Roark did, Snorunt by her side. She looked up at the tree Gardenia had pointed out, and then turned her gaze to Snorunt. Her eyes started watering, and her chest fluctuated with silent short gasps.

    “I’m sorry,” she pleaded to Snorunt, letting all of her tears flow. “I’m so sorry. I- I don’t… It wasn’t me… I didn’t, I didn’t want to do this, but they never liked me. They always made fun of me. Snorunt, I’m sorry.”

    The Pokémon started crying with her trainer, and it was as sudden as Candice’s breakdown. She jumped into her arms, and they held each other in an embrace that felt cold, but couldn’t have been more comforting. Snorunt’s cold body froze some of Candice’s tears, and her own tears as well.

    Candice could apologise, but she didn’t want to; it was too late now, and it would only cause Gardenia to make more fun of her. She slowly fell back, onto the snow that once was nothing to her, but now, she felt cold, as cold as ice.

    *

    It was just a few days ago that Candice returned to Sinnoh, but it was already different. Roark had moved to Canalave, Maylene to Johto, and Gardenia, who she never considered a friend, was nowhere to be found. She sat alone in front of Lake Acuity, not even her own Pokémon Snorunt was next to her.

    By now, Maylene must be mad at her for rejecting everyone from her life, and the only person she didn’t push away was Roark, but he had been pulled away. She regretted her decisions; that wasn’t her, a girl who was praised for her rational decisions and wits couldn’t make such a great mistake, but she did.

    Even if she regretted her choices, she was still determined not to back down; she would never beg someone to be her friend if they refused to, even if it was Maylene, who picked Gardenia over her. There wasn’t any hope for their friendship, not even hope for her at all.

    Or so she thought. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, or rather, hope on the horizon; Roark battling his way through the blizzard.

    *

    “You’re becoming really strong, really fast,” Brawly punched his fist against Maylene’s. “That’s just in a few days, as well!”

    “Thanks, Brawly,” Maylene said. “You’re a good friend.”

    “Or maybe, a good person in general,” Brawly chuckled. “You’re a great friend as well, Maylene.”

    “Do you think I’m becoming stronger because my friends aren’t here?” Maylene frowned. “I mean, you’re here, but I meant my friends from Sinnoh.”

    The pair was sitting at the shore, where the mud was sand again, the ice trail Candice left was gone, and all forms of connection Maylene had with her Sinnoh friends was cut. The sun was setting, and Maylene decided to join Brawly in his daily routine of watching it, even though, to her, there wasn’t anything more boring that that.

    “It’s not that they are not here,” Brawly said. “It’s just that there aren’t any more distractions. Even if they were there, that storm would have still hindered us, and that rockslide.”

    “I guess you’re right,” Maylene said, and remained silent for the final moments of the sun’s day. “There she goes. I will miss her.”

    *

    “You mean Riley refused the position?” Candice gleamed. “And suggested you as his replacement?”

    “That’s right,” Roark’s smile couldn’t get any wider. “And you’re the first to know, aside from my father and Cynthia. Maylene is in Johto, and I have no idea where Gardenia is, but I’m actually glad I told you first; you can keep a secret. I want to surprise everyone I tell by telling them personally.”

    “I’m so happy for you, Roark!” Candice threw her arms around him. “Your dream has come true!”

    Roark returned the hug, and they embraced for a while. It had always been Roark’s dream to become a Gym Leader, just like Maylene’s dream, and that was what connected the two. But when it came to Candice, something else connected them; they cared for each other greatly, more than anyone else. Not only did their intellect compliment each other, but so did their unspoken feelings.

    “So where is Gardenia?” Roark asked after their embrace was broken.

    “Johto,” Candice scoffed. “Better off, I never liked her.”

    “That’s unlike you,” Roark frowned. “You are a friendly person; what happened?”

    “I never liked her,” Candice repeated. “Since the start, I never liked her. The only good thing she did to me was introduce me to you.”

    “But she’s a nice person,” Roark said. “I know you think she’s rude all the time, but she cares about us all. How many times did she defend your name?”

    As much as Candice hated it, Roark was right. Gardenia had stood up for Candice several times when people called her weak for not training her Snorunt like everyone else, and even punched an old lady that dared to say that Candice was bad at contests.

    “Yeah, but she teased me,” Candice said. “And made fun of me.”

    “Candice, listen to yourself,” Roark pleaded. “You’re an amazing person, and I know that. It’s unlike you to be so cruel and rash; that’s Gardenia.”

    She hated it again; Roark was right, again. She was being as rude as Gardenia, and as rash in making her decisions; she didn’t even see herself that way. Her feelings flooded back to her, her feelings of regret and remorse for what she did; that was the true Candice.

    “I’m sure you can work things between you two,” Roark added. “And I hope you do, for my sake. It’s selfish, but I would like our group of four back.”

    *

    As everyone who met them would say, these four were the future of Sinnoh. Maylene, Candice, Gardenia, and Roark. They all had dreams, ambitions, and a lot to learn from each other. They were all quite mature in their way of thinking, but at their core, they were still children, and the world was still an open space to discover.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:20 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Wow, you've really zoomed ahead with this! Good work.

    I can see what you mean about the writing style improving over time - the latest chapters have a much more sophisticated style and yet it's very clean and undercomplicated, which works well for a fic like this. I must admit that there are still occasional issues - your tenses seem off sometimes and the narrative itself can be a bit clunky. But what redeems these problems is a certain observational element that I mentioned earlier: you seem to notice very common quirks in everyday life and insert them into your writing, which is refreshing. The dialogue, too, even if it can be clunky from time to time, has that same realism running beneath it. So despite the occasional grammatic problems on the surface, I think you definitely have some promise as a writer and I'd encourage you to keep honing your skills and challenging yourself.

    I don't think I have a chance in hell of keeping pace with this fic properly - I'm now working two jobs, trying to complete my Honours thesis, and attempting to somehow find time to focus on my own writing as well - but I urge you to keep writing and will be watching from afar, commenting when I can!

    Cheers, Kyuuketsuki!
    ...Quest for the Truth of the Legend ...

    Lisa the Legend

    Winner of 12 Silver Pencil Awards 2011 - Including Best Plot, Best Character in a Leading Role, Best Moment and Best Fic of the Forum for Lisa the Legend!

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    Feel free to withdraw at any time, Gavin.

    Quote Originally Posted by DragoKnight View Post
    ...Far too many references!! You're like the Swiss army knife of discussion.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    Wow, you've really zoomed ahead with this! Good work.
    I noticed that too, which is why I started slowing down, that and my lack of internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    I can see what you mean about the writing style improving over time - the latest chapters have a much more sophisticated style and yet it's very clean and undercomplicated, which works well for a fic like this. I must admit that there are still occasional issues - your tenses seem off sometimes and the narrative itself can be a bit clunky.
    I still have a long way to go before my writing comes close to acceptable, so thank you for pointing out my weak areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    But what redeems these problems is a certain observational element that I mentioned earlier: you seem to notice very common quirks in everyday life and insert them into your writing, which is refreshing. The dialogue, too, even if it can be clunky from time to time, has that same realism running beneath it.
    Thank you, I'm glad to see I have some good qualities about my writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    So despite the occasional grammatic problems on the surface, I think you definitely have some promise as a writer and I'd encourage you to keep honing your skills and challenging yourself.
    That's what I'm trying to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    I don't think I have a chance in hell of keeping pace with this fic properly - I'm now working two jobs, trying to complete my Honours thesis, and attempting to somehow find time to focus on my own writing as well - but I urge you to keep writing and will be watching from afar, commenting when I can!
    Well, good luck with everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Luper View Post
    Cheers, Kyuuketsuki!
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  18. #18
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    Default §13: Stronger

    Having rebuilt the Gym, and helped fix the Pokémon Center, Chuck finally returned to his regular training schedule. There were no more distractions, and no more obstacles; he expected the best from both Brawly and Maylene.

    They trio stood next to the mountain that had suffered from the alleged natural disaster, which was actually just Maylene’s foolish actions, a tribute to the day she met Gardenia, nonetheless. Maylene stood between Riolu and the ocean, while Brawly stood in front of the closed cave entrance, with Makuhita right in front of him. Chuck observed the two, the tension rising at the wait for a command from Chuck to start the battle.

    And he seemed to be toying with them for his own enjoyment, often opening his mouth and pausing to exhale, which causes the pair’s attack orders to freeze in the air. At that very moment, though, Maylene was determined to prove herself; she had advanced way past the little girl who just wanted to punch the new Gym Leader to prove her strength and ability to become a Gym Leader to Cynthia, the new Champion back then, at that party.

    It was a little ignorant of her to think that by just daring to assault an older man, she would become a Gym Leader, and as time progressed, and she came to know Crasher Wake, she felt sorry for trying to use him back then, even though it seemed like an innocent move. Back then, she was very ignorant, but Crasher Wake had trained her until she was able to command Riolu, and became connected with the Pokémon. And her Johto trip hadn’t been in vain; Chuck had taught her strategies that she planned on using, and Riolu had gotten considerably stronger. And the back of her head was filled with the times she battled her friends in Sinnoh, and lost and won many times.

    With a bark, Chuck snapped her back into the battle as he commanded it to start, and with similar shouts that overlapped, Maylene and Brawly ordered their Pokémon, almost ready to run forward and battle with their Pokémon; something that Maylene had attempted before.

    Riolu’s agile body allowed him to run through the sand with the most graceful manner. He ran from side to side, strafing to avoid Makuhita’s gaze; the Gut Pokémon had already prepared the attack in the form of a glowing fist, much too familiar to Riolu’s own fist.

    With a small ripple that broke through the air, they clashed, their arms extending towards the other, and blocking any attempts of an attack. They were locked in combat, pushing against the other, while their trainers clenched their teeth.

    “Sand-Attack!” Brawly shouted, quicker than Maylene had expected.

    Makuhita’s foot drew back, and kicked up sand towards Riolu’s eyes, but the Pokémon and his trainer knew each other too well; a split second before Maylene shouted her order to duck, he had ducked, only to meet Makuhita’s rushing knee at an order from Brawly.

    Riolu fell to the ground in a sudden slump, and quickly rolled over to dodge whatever attack Makuhita had planned. He dug his palms into the ground, and jumped back to his feet with an agile cartwheel. Another set of commands, and two creatures’ moment of peace was over.

    This time, both of them rushed towards each other. The sand around them kicked up in piles of dust as they met in another clash, but with another quick move, Makuhita slid to the ground, and Riolu tumbled forwards, meeting another direct hit from Makuhita in his midsection, and he was sent flying back towards the trainers.

    He hit the sand with another similar thud, and saw Makuhita rushing towards him out of the corner of his eyes. This battle was far from over, and Riolu wasn’t going to lose that easily, especially not to Pokémon that was almost his equal; Riolu had the advantage of speed.

    And utilising it under Maylene’s attack command, he began digging into the sand, and quickly created a sinkhole that closed as he went beneath the ground. Makuhita knew this move; it had been used against him many times. He gathered all of his strength in his fists, and leaned forward, anticipating Riolu’s move.

    And once again, Maylene’s thoughts had long since stemmed into Riolu, and infected his mind with the same nonsensical, unpredictable decisions. His feet shot through the sand, and Makuhita blocked them easily, but it was the rest of Riolu’s body that he didn’t consider.

    His fists shot up beneath Makuhita, and grabbed the Pokémon as they turned in the air before Makuhita’s back smashed against the sand, and Riolu delivered a Force Palm that sunk Makuhita deeper into the ground, and sent Riolu flying, ready to descend and land his final hit.

    Brawly’s familiar shout broke through the air again, and Makuhita kicked sand up to meet Riolu, causing his to miss his attack, and land on the ground. Makuhita rushed to Brawly’s side, while Riolu struggled back to his feet, the sand in his eyes slightly hindering his movement.

    “Now, Makuhita,” Brawly grinned. “Rock Slide! The mountain!”

    Makuhita copied his trainer’s devious smile, and jumped back towards the mountain. He delivered a quick punch, and sent a few rocks rolling down before he flung them at Riolu, who wished he had kept the sand in his eyes.

    The situation was too familiar for Maylene, and Riolu. Memories of the rockslide they were in rushed through her head. The small rocks hitting her body, the painful scratch against the jagged mountainside, and the possibility of never being able to achieve her dream. Her tongue was twisted with fear, unable to emit a single sound.

    The same was for Riolu, who was neither able to move, nor wanted to. He had to protect Maylene, even if it meant falling to the ocean, another aspect that seemed to repeat itself.

    A blur of blue appeared in front of the pair, and a rush of watery sounds followed. Rocks splashed into the ocean, the water rushed though Maylene’s ears, and the shadow of Riolu swimming to rescue her. Almost on the verge of losing her breath, Maylene returned to the battle with a shout from Chuck.

    “The battle is over!” he said, seemingly only to Brawly. “Did you forget what I taught you?!”

    Maylene breathed a sigh of relieve. Riolu walked back to her side, and they shared a look with the round blue shape that, now that thinking clearly was an option, she recognised as Chuck’s Poliwrath. He had blocked the rocks with an attack of his, and the ground connecting him and Makuhita was a wet line of dirt and rocks.

    Following Chuck’s orders, Brawly walked back to the Gym, and Chuck gestured for Maylene to follow. The group walked back slowly to the Gym, a sign that meant Chuck was going to do something that would affect the course of their training, a sign Maylene had seen enough of to realise that she did something wrong, but in this instant, it seemed to be Brawly who was getting the blame.

    He was facing the sand, and walking unusually fast. Makuhita behind him frowned as he exchanged apologetic looks with Riolu, who returned them with a comforting smile and a nod; the pair did have a brutal fight, and it was very plausible that they would think the other was out to kill them.

    Finally at the Gym, Chuck walked the pair to his office, and withdrew his Poliwrath there. Maylene stood next to the entrance and faced the two males that seemed to be about to reveal something to her.

    “Maylene,” Chuck addressed her, bringing back the feeling that it was actually her that did something wrong. “I’m sure you think you know why Brawly is training here. Would you care to tell her, Brawly?”

    He exchanged looks with Chuck, almost avoiding his sight, but not wanting to back down. Brawly knew that whether he had met Chuck’s eyes or not, he still had to tell Maylene; this must be part of Chuck’s training.

    “Become a Gym Leader,” Chuck said. “I was brought here to train to become a Gym Leader.”

    “Again,” Chuck added before insisting. “again!”

    “Again,” Brawly sighed of frustration. “I was already a Gym Leader before I came here, one of the best actually.”

    “You were only one of the best because of the reason you’re here,” Chuck said before turning to face Maylene. “I was impressed with his reputation as an undefeated Gym Leader, so I went to Hoenn to visit his Gym, and found out what he should admit.”

    Brawly’s eyes travelled to his mentor again, almost condemning him for making him admit his mistakes. Just as he was about to speak, Chuck pointed at Maylene, signifying that Brawly was to admit to her, and not to Chuck.

    “I cheat in battles,” Brawly said after facing Maylene. “Chuck found that out, and reported me, which got me fired, and then he promised that he’ll get me my position back if I stopped cheating in my battles; he said I had potential. That’s why he brought me here; to train into becoming a Trainer who doesn’t cheat.”

    “It’s a very thin line,” Chuck said. “Between using strategies, and cheating. You’ve crossed that line many times.”

    “I knew you were injured in that rockslide, and it would probably bring back bad memories,” Brawly said. “Chuck noticed that I instructed Makuhita to attack the mountain, and not use the rocks that were already lying around. I’m sorry, Maylene, it was a cheap move.”

    “Oh,” Maylene couldn’t find another way to express her reaction; she felt betrayed by Brawly. He tried to use her fear against her, and he had managed to paralyse her long enough for him to win had Chuck not intervened. “Oh.”

    Riolu’s gaze darted from Brawly to Makuhita, who didn’t seem to care about his trainer’s actions as much as he cared about pleasing Brawly. Even though the two Pokémon weren’t close friends, Riolu was still disturbed by the realisation.

    “The important issue is that he apologised,” Chuck said. “I hope you can forgive him, Maylene.”

    Chuck dismissed the trainers with a wave from his hand, and Maylene was the first out of the Gym. She didn’t care about Brawly using her fear against her anymore, but the fact that she was now weak. It wasn’t the rockslide as much as the outcome of it that scared her; being defeated by a man, and facing the threat of losing her dream of ever becoming a Gym Leader when her mother wanted to take her back to Sinnoh. She didn’t use to be afraid of anything, but Riolu realised that his trainer was officially facing a threat that shook her to the core, and that concerned both of them; anyone can use that fear to defeat her.

    His hand reached Maylene’s, and he pulled it down to drag her attention, before nodding slowly, as if to tell her that it didn’t matter. She smiled at him, and he smiled back before dragging her to the rocks; this time, it was him who would be training her.

    “You’re the best, Riolu,” Maylene said. “Together, we’ll be stronger.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:20 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default §14: Reunion

    Summer on Cianwood was very unbearable, especially for someone who was used to the cold weather of Sinnoh.

    It had been a few months since both Gardenia and Candice left Cianwood, and Chuck revealed why Brawly was training, and for the longest duration of her life, Maylene felt alone. The only person who was there for her was Chuck, but she found it very difficult to spend significant time with him without feeling guilty about lying to him.

    And then there was Riolu, who became so engulfed in his training that he and Maylene grew apart. The pair had only spent time together when they were battling, and with Maylene barely battling Brawly anymore, she found a new training partner in Nob, a trainer she first battled when she had initially arrived at Cianwood.

    Nob, like most Gym Trainers training under Chuck, wore the uniform that Chuck demanded everyone should wear with pride. It was a common Karategi that represented the Trainer’s ability not only to fight with Pokémon, but on their own as well, and the only Trainers that were allowed to train in the Gym were those with black belts, such as Nob.

    Standing by her side was Riolu, and by Nob’s was his Machop. The pair was stationed against the mountain where she last battled Brawly, only this time, it was Maylene with her back to the mountain.

    “I hope you’re ready to lose,” Nob shouted. “It’s time for me to take the lead, and break the tie!”

    “You can hope to,” Maylene responded. “But I’ve been training the hardest since our last battle! You can never defeat me now!”

    “Machop, let’s show her what we’re truly made of!” Nob shouted. “Use Karate Chop!”

    Machop sped before Maylene even had a chance to think of an attack to counter Machop’s. The side of his hand threw Riolu towards the sandy ground as soon as it connected with him, and he prepared to launch another attack.

    “Copycat, Riolu!” Maylene shouted. “You’re faster than Machop!”

    Riolu grinned at Machop, who began another Karate Chop attack, and responded with the same attack. And as Maylene predicted, he was faster, and his attack landed first, causing a succession of quick Karate Chops to follow, leaving Machop in a hopeless state, desperately trying to block the coming attacks.

    “Did our last battle teach you nothing, Maylene?” Nob said. “Use Revenge!”

    As soon as Nob gave his order, a cloud of dust rose around the Pokémon with a quiet explosion, and seconds later, Riolu flew out of it towards the mountain, and Machop ran after him. A singly punch managed to break through the rocks that were in his way, but it gave Riolu a chance to respond with his own attack.

    He tackled Machop to the ground before delivering the attack that Machop had just used; Rock Smash. A smaller cloud rose as Riolu pushed his opponent further into the ground, before jumping upwards and avoiding Machop’s attack.

    “That’s unfortunate for you, Maylene!” Nob shouted. “Looks like I win this match, Focus Blast!”

    “Force Palm, Riolu! Don’t give him a chance to attack!”

    Machop began to prepare his attack, while Riolu descended to the ground, ready to knock Machop down again, but his opponent quickly fired a light ball of energy that smashed against Riolu and consumed him, before dragging him to the ground with a smash.

    “End the battle with a Karate Chop!”

    Machop jumped towards his opponent before Nob could finish his instructions, and delivered the final attack to Riolu before he had a chance to get up, ending the battle with a grunt from Riolu.

    “That’s eight wins for me!” Nob exclaimed. “I have the lead now!”

    “Congratulations, Nob,” Maylene said as she picked up Riolu. “But the next battles are all mine! You did a good job, Riolu, but we still have to train harder.”

    Riolu looked up at his trainer and nodded slowly before jumping back to the ground, and rushing towards Machop to spar, while Maylene walked over to shake hands with Nob, something that she picked up from watching some of Chuck’s Gym Battles.

    “I keep forgetting that you also train,” Maylene said. “I always think that I’m the only one getting stronger.”

    “Everyone is getting stronger, even Chuck,” Nob said. “I don’t think there is a limit to how strong we can get.”

    “I guess not,” Maylene said. “We can never be our Strongest.”

    “Maylene!” A single call from Chuck ended their conversation abruptly. “Come here! There’s someone here to see you!”

    “You better go see that person,” Nob said. “I’ll look after Riolu and Machop while they train.”

    “Thanks, Nob,” Maylene said. “Let’s battle again sometime soon!”

    And with a final wave, Maylene ran towards the Gym, where Chuck was waiting for her by the door. He gave her a pat on the head before urging her inside, when she couldn’t find words to describe her happiness.

    Even though she had spent the majority of the past four months with Nob, and they grew so close that they developed a sibling-like relationship, she still found herself alone and homesick. But at that moment, when she went through the door of the Gym to be greeted by the one person she admired the most, Crasher Wake, all of her feelings were replaced.

    She rushed towards him as he opened his arms to greet her, and in the spirit of their first meeting, she decided to show him how strong she had gotten, and delivered a punch that was able to knock him down.

    “You’ve been training!” Crasher Wake exclaimed as his body smashed into the ground. “Soon enough I can make you wrestle with professionals!”

    “Yeah, I got stronger while you were away!” Maylene said. “Nob has been teaching me how to fight!”

    “You got ‘stronger’?” Crasher Wake looked puzzled. “Don’t you mean ‘Strongest’?”

    “You two seem to have a lot of catching up to do,” Chuck said. “And I have a very busy schedule.”

    Chuck excused himself from the Gym, and walked out towards the mountain, where Nob and the other Trainers would take a break. As soon as he left, Crasher Wake got back up to his feet, and faced Maylene; she had changed a lot since he last met her. She didn’t seem to be the free-spirited child he once knew, and became too focused on becoming a Gym Leader.

    “Maylene,” Crasher Wake started. “I can tell you got so much stronger; I’m really proud of you. Care to let me know how Chuck has been taking care of you?”

    “He’s very strong, and his Poliwrath, they taught Riolu some good techniques,” Maylene said. “I also trained with Nob a lot, and sometimes on my own, but that’s about it.”

    “What about Brawly? Haven’t you been training with him?” Crasher Wake said. “And what happened with you and your friends? Candice seemed different back in Sinnoh, and Gardenia is missing.”

    “I don’t know what happened,” Maylene said. “They just left. But Gardenia is missing?”

    “Well, knowing her, I’m sure she’s okay,” Crasher Wake gave his signature, unnecessarily loud laugh. “Anyway, I’ve been talking with Chuck about your training, and I want to see what you’re made of! We’ll battle, and if you’re strong enough, we’ll go to catch you a Pokémon!”

    “Seriously?!” Maylene jumped with joy. “I want a Floatzel! Just like you! Or a Machop! Like Nob!”

    “We’ll decide that later!” Crasher Wake exclaimed. “We have to battle first! Are you ready?!”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:21 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Fuck me, seriously, I had written a whole reply and it just kinda never got through.

    So in short, I like how realistic the whole fic is. It's based on pokemon and gymleaders from different regions, which I like. It's all about cross-blending right?

    More so, I like how their many battles in this fic, how they constantly push themselves to get stronger. I think an evolution might be in the boat for this? Har har har. Still, good going with that, I'm curious to see how this develops, where the plot is going.

    I'm gonna do a fighting monotype challenge on Platinum I think, got me mood. Haha.

    Keep up the good work!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by MeLoVeGhOsTs View Post
    Fuck me, seriously, I had written a whole reply and it just kinda never got through.
    I hate it when that happens...

    Quote Originally Posted by MeLoVeGhOsTs View Post
    So in short, I like how realistic the whole fic is. It's based on pokemon and gymleaders from different regions, which I like. It's all about cross-blending right?
    It's more about Maylene growing up, as well as her friends, and all the influences in their lives that affect their path. The main focus is on Maylene, then Candice, then Roark and Gardenia.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeLoVeGhOsTs View Post
    More so, I like how their many battles in this fic, how they constantly push themselves to get stronger. I think an evolution might be in the boat for this? Har har har. Still, good going with that, I'm curious to see how this develops, where the plot is going.
    It's a bit too early for evolutions right now, but of course there will be some; it's just part of becoming stronger.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeLoVeGhOsTs View Post
    I'm gonna do a fighting monotype challenge on Platinum I think, got me mood. Haha.
    Oh wow! I'm glad my story inspired something, and good luck! Be sure to keep me posted!

    Quote Originally Posted by MeLoVeGhOsTs View Post
    Keep up the good work!
    Thank you for reading and commenting! I hope you keep on reading, and I hope you like what is to come!

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    Default §15: The Battles Ahead

    As Maylene had learned throughout the years, Crasher Wake wasn’t like most Trainers or Gym Leaders when it came it battles.

    His Pokémon followed his commands faithfully, regardless of how much they seem at a disadvantage, and with a twist, he would always be the one with the upper hand. He didn’t seem to care about winning as much as everyone else did, either, as he seemed to opt for longing the battle rather than ending it.

    And even with these in mind, Maylene had never been able to defeat him, not once. Yet it seemed as if she had to win now, if she was to expand her team, and move a step closer towards her goal. As usual, Crasher Wake sent out his trusty Floatzel, the Pokémon Maylene was convinced was the incarnation of Crasher Wake in Pokémon form; he was every bit as eccentric as his master. And as usual, Riolu was Maylene’s choice, as he was her only Pokémon so far, though this battle could change that.

    To their side were Nob and his fellow Trainers, all with their Pokémon, wanting to witness Crasher Wake battle. Aside from his Machop, Nob had his other Pokémon out, a Machoke. He was a muscular Pokémon with ripped gray skin, due to it not being able to contain his muscles.

    Chuck stood with his Poliwrath, but his Primeape was still in his Poké Ball, which Maylene appreciated. And finally, there was Brawly, who stood with his Makuhita, silent and observing the field without looking directly at Maylene, nor Riolu.

    “Are you ready, Maylene?!” Crasher wake roared. “Floatzel and I sure are!”

    Floatzel shrieked in response, and jumped a couple of time, just to send clouds of dust flying around him, a sight that Maylene became frustrated with. Riolu took his battle stance, and turned his head to show Maylene his nod.

    “I’m ready!” she shouted. “Riolu, lead with Force Palm!”

    “Quick Attack!”

    As it was with almost every battle, Floatzel managed to land the first attack. He shot himself through the air like a bullet, and crashed into Riolu, sending the pair toppling to the ground. Riolu quickly jumped up to his feet, and delivered his attack to Floatzel’s midsection, which was followed by a loud laugh from Crasher Wake.

    “Waterfall! Command the waters!”

    Floatzel imitated his Trainer’s loud behavior as the sand beneath them started to open up. Riolu tried to desperately run away, but a pillar of water rose up beneath them and sent them flying towards the air. Floatzel held Riolu between himself and the shooting water, causing Riolu to receive the full power of the Waterfall attack.

    Not waiting for an order from Maylene, Riolu utilised the same technique Floatzel used, and grabbed the Sea Weasel before turning himself around, and causing Floatzel to receive the attack he unleashed on Riolu.

    “Stop the Waterfall!”

    “Yes! Use Quick Attack! Drive Floatzel to the ground!”

    Riolu let go of Floatzel, and used his opponent’s body to jump to the air, and as the Waterfall stopped, and the water disappeared, Riolu’s body glowed a light white colour as he left several afterimages behind him. He smashed against Floatzel, and the pair descended to the ground.

    “Dive!”

    The pair smashed into the sand, which quickly broke apart to reveal the remains of the Waterfall attack. A small, but deep pond of water sucked the pair in with the help of Riolu’s attack, and mere seconds later, Riolu was kicked out.

    “Now use Surf! But Floatzel, don’t sweep Maylene with you!”

    The Pokémon popped his head out of the bond, and gave a nod to his Trainer. The sea behind Crasher Wake started approaching the battlefield, causing the spectators to back up towards slightly higher ground. As Riolu descended towards Floatzel, the water rose up to meet him, carrying Floatzel with it. He grabbed Riolu before swimming through the water, and onto the sea with amazing speed.

    His tails spun around each other with amazing speed that propelled him away, and Maylene’s shouts and commands were soon inaudible to Riolu. The pair swam further and further away before taking a sharp turn. The water smashed against Riolu’s body, and he struggled to try and get out of Floatzel’s hold, but his opponent held on to him as tightly as he could against the speed and Riolu’s attacks; not only was letting go of Riolu not a part of Crasher Wake’s orders, but Riolu would be hopelessly lost in the sea if it wasn’t for Floatzel.

    The pair sped forward, back towards Cianwood, where the water had withdrew itself back into the sea, and the closer they came, the clearer Maylene’s voice became.

    The pair hit the sand, and before the momentum was lost, Riolu acted on his Trainer’s command. He held on to Floatzel, and interrupted the halt that Floatzel had attempted, using his body to fling Floatzel into the mountain, utilising the full speed the pair had travelled with back to Cianwood.

    Floatzel’s body crashed with a loud thud before falling to the ground, but Riolu wasn’t safe either. He was thrown to the ground by the same momentum he used to throw Floatzel to the mountain, and for a second, the pair lay on the sand peacefully, before getting up.

    Both Maylene and Riolu looked behind their backs. Crasher Wake gave a grin to Riolu, and followed with a comforting look, almost like trying to show him he was impressed. While Floatzel gave a nod to Maylene, and had it not been for the battle, a hug.

    Two more commands, and the Pokémon flew towards each other, butting heads with almost equal powers, their bodies leaving several afterimages behind them. Another set of commands, and the pair flew away before jumping back towards each other.

    This time, Floatzel’s body was covered in water, while Riolu prepared for the attack he started the battle with. Floatzel flew towards the smaller Pokémon, leaving behind him a trail of water that vaporised as his body smashed against Riolu’s.

    The pair was sent to the ground again, and as Riolu hoped to deliver the final attack, his body failed him. Maylene looked on with sadness as she realised that she had lost the battle and her chance of catching a new Pokémon. She walked towards her Pokémon, and picked him up before Crasher Wake walked towards the group.

    “That was a good battle,” he said. “You’re defiantly stronger than ever before!”

    “But not strong enough,” Maylene said. “I lost again, and if I remain like this, I’ll never be strong enough to become a Gym Leader.”

    “You’re becoming too focused on that,” Crasher Wake said with the lowest voice Maylene would ever hear coming from him. “This is not good. It’s because your friends aren’t here; you don’t have any distractions.”

    “That’s good,” Maylene said. “That way, I can become stronger!”

    “No!” Crasher Wake said. “Being a Gym Leader isn’t just about being strong! What use is it if you seclude yourself?!”

    “What?” Maylene’s head shot up, as if she had been asleep all this time, and woke up in a different place.

    “Maybe I can help with that,” Chuck said as he approached the group. “There’s someone I want you to meet, a Gym Leader from Johto, actually. You can learn a thing or two from him. How do you feel about taking a trip?”

    *

    “Candice, listen to yourself,” Roark pleaded. “You’re an amazing person, and I know that. It’s unlike you to be so cruel and rash; that’s Gardenia.”

    She hated it again; Roark was right, again. She was being as rude as Gardenia, and as rash in making her decisions; she didn’t even see herself that way. Her feelings flooded back to her, her feelings of regret and remorse for what she did; that was the true Candice.

    “I’m sure you can work things between you two,” Roark added. “And I hope you do, for my sake. It’s selfish, but I would like our group of four back.”

    “Me too,” Candice said. “But it’s too late now; there’s nothing I can do.”

    “Maybe I can help with that,” Crasher Wake said as he approached the group. “There’s someone I want you to meet, a Gym Leader from Johto, actually. You can learn a thing or two from him. How do you feel about taking a trip?”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:21 PM.

  23. #23
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    Default §16: Are We Friends?

    Summer on Cianwood was very unbearable, especially for someone who was used to the cold weather of Sinnoh. With that on her mind, Maylene welcomed the cold of Ice Path.

    Even though Chuck had instructed her to head for Mahogany Town and meet the Gym Leader there, the mere mention of an icy area caused Maylene to pass through the town and ignore it, just for a hint of a nostalgic feeling. The Ice Path was nothing compared to the blizzards and hardships of Snowpoint, but Maylene was content with it.

    Unbeknownst to her, the small detour was a deciding moment of her life, even though it seemed insignificant at that time.

    The echoes of light footsteps entered her ears. A wild Pokémon was her first guess, as well as Riolu’s, as he took on his battle stance, ready to get some training along the way. The sound approached, and out of the corner emerged a Pokémon very familiar to Maylene, a Snorunt.

    With a puzzled look, Riolu gave up on his stance, and looked up at Maylene. She didn’t know why her Pokémon gave up on the battle, but it had to be for a good reason. Her eyes travelled to Snorunt, who had the same confused stare as Riolu.

    “Snorunt?” she was as puzzled as the Pokémon when she recognised the Snorunt. “I thought Candice was in Sinnoh.”

    The trio froze, as if they were part of a scene in a dramatic play, exchanging confused and puzzled looks, when Candice finally broke their silence.

    “The statues are more lively that you three,” she said as she approached the group, coming to a stand just a few steps behind Snorunt. “Don’t assume you’re the only one from Sinnoh in Johto.”

    “Candice,” Maylene sighed; the pair hadn’t departed on a good note, and this was their first meeting in months. “I was just confused; I’m sorry.” Maylene said, resisting the urge to point out that since they were moving their heads, they were livelier than statues; something that Candice would have undoubtedly took as a “Gardenia-thing to say”.

    “What are you doing here, Maylene?” Candice said, not moving any closer to Maylene and Riolu.

    “Chuck told me to come here,” Maylene responded. “It’s good to see you, Candice. I feel bad about the fight we had, and I’m sure Riolu does as well; he and Snorunt are good friends.”

    Riolu nodded, and for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t to indicate his agreement with Maylene’s battle commands. Snorunt looked forward towards her friend; like Candice, she couldn’t remember why she was mad to begin with, but unlike Candice, she wasn’t embarrassed to admit that she regrets her decision, and hopes will be forgiven, even though it wasn’t clear who was at fault in the entire situation to begin with.

    “So, umm,” Candice started. “How are you?”

    Maylene walked up to Candice and shook a little, confused as to whether or not to hug her.

    “I’m good,” Maylene responded. “How are you?”

    “Just feeling a little hot,” she laughed. “You don’t have the snow that we have in Snowpoint.”

    “Yeah, we don’t,” Maylene laughed as well. “What made you come here?”

    “Crasher Wake told me to,” Candice said. “He said that I should visit the Gym Leader of Mahogany Town, but I decided to visit Ice Path because-“

    Candice’s gaze travelled to Snorunt, and then back up towards Maylene. “Snorunt was feeling lonely,” she finally said. “So I thought we might catch a new Pokémon. She’s never been good friends with Roark’s Cranidos, you know.”

    “Roark!” Maylene boomed. “How is he? I really missed him!”

    “He’s fine. Training, actually,” Candice said. “He’s a- He’s here, actually.”

    “He’s here?! Let’s go see him!”

    At the moment, Candice gave a smile, the only sign Riolu and Snorunt needed to run towards each other and collapse in a hug. As their bodies hit the ground, Maylene’s instinct told her a cloud of dust would rise up, but when it didn’t, she was thankful that for the first time in a long time, she wasn’t obsessed with training and becoming stronger, and neither was Riolu.

    She followed Candice, and started quizzing her about life back in Sinnoh, the people she’d seen, the weather, the contests, her parents, almost every subject but Gardenia. While Riolu and Snorunt took turns in throwing snowballs at each other, and their Trainers, just to dwell on the moment, hoping it would last forever.

    The group traversed the twists and turns of the ice, until they eventually reached a clearing in which Roark was congratulating his Cranidos on a recent win. The sound of talking and playing drew Roark’s attention to the group, and he boomed with happiness when he saw his friend.

    “Maylene!” he shouted, almost causing the Ice Path to cave in. “Maylene!”

    “Roark!”

    The pair, mimicking Riolu’s and Snorunt’s previous actions, crashed in a hug. “I missed you,” Roark said. “I hope Candice didn’t tell you.”

    “I didn’t tell her,” Candice said. “You said you wanted it to be a surprise.”

    “I’m a Gym Leader!” Roark said, not waiting to observe Maylene’s expression. “I took over my father’s position after Riley refused it!”

    “Congratulations!” Maylene said, and jumped back into another hug. “You finally did it!”

    Candice joined the hug in second, while Cranidos greeted Riolu with a handshake. Maylene didn’t know how happy she was amongst her storm of thoughts; she certainly was glad, but her most dominant thought was “What about me?”.

    Roark became a Gym Leader, and Candice was out to catch a Pokémon; it seemed as if her friends were achieving her goals, and normally, it would have made her feel jealous, but it just made her feel ambitious. Chuck told her to come here for a reason, and he wanted to prepare her to become a Gym Leader. This was her chance to take a step closer towards her goal, and she had to take it after missing the opportunity Crasher Wake had offered her.

    Whoever the leader of Mahogany Town was, he was the next step towards that goal, and whatever he had to do to make Maylene stronger, she was going to accept it.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:21 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default §17: Feel The Heart Beat

    It wasn’t a particularly engaging battle. Snorunt and Swinub exchanged attacks with little diversity, and their similar type caused the battle to prolong itself.

    Swinub was a small brown Pokémon. Her spherical body was covered in lightly-coloured fur, with darker strands seemingly reaching towards her closed eyes and pink snout; what attracted her to the group in the first place, or rather, the food that the group was eating.

    Candice shouted another command, and Snorunt scrapped her legs against the ice to produce a small chunk of powder that she chucked at Swinub, who responded with the same attack; it wasn’t clear whether the pair was playing or battling.

    After spending so much time battling viciously and seriously, Maylene had forgotten that Candice wasn’t the battling type. While she certainly held her own against Maylene more than a year ago, her technique was still to bond with her Pokémon and hope for the best, something that Maylene found ridiculous after spending such a long time training herself and Riolu physically.

    Candice flung a Poké Ball at the fleeing Swinub; she had to catch her now or the Pokémon would get away. Surprisingly to Maylene, Swinub was caught with ease. The battle had been uneventful, and quite boring, yet it was enough to catch Swinub. Either Candice was lucky, or Swinub was extremely weak, or the bonding technique worked.

    “She must be hungry,” Candice said. “That’s why she approached us.”

    “She must have been weak when you caught her,” Maylene said. “Well, congratulations, Candice.”

    “Thanks, Maylene,” Candice said as she sent out her new capture and began feeding her. “There, there, you should eat something.”

    She was happy for Candice, but Maylene couldn’t shake the feeling that she deserved to catch a Pokémon as well. All Candice did was play with Snorunt, while she and Riolu trained harder than Candice ever could. Roark congratulated Candice as his Cranidos and Maylene’s Riolu went to greet the new member of the team. Maylene thought of Gardenia, and how she would react if she saw Candice catching a Pokémon using these methods; she was very much like Maylene, and cared for strength more than connection.

    The group spent the night in the Ice Path, taking shelter in corner that Swinub had sniffed out, and determined to be empty of wild Pokémon, which would have been obvious had it not been for the several Sneasel that hid around corners and attacked at night, as Candice informed the group.

    The night passed quickly for Maylene as she stayed up talking to her friends, glad that she was finally together with them again. She told Roark about her time on Cianwood, and unlike Chuck and Crasher Wake, she didn’t like to him regarding the rockslide, which Candice learned about at the same time. She informed them of how she missed an opportunity to catch a Pokémon, and how things weren’t as they used to be between her and Brawly.

    While it wasn’t a distinctive or special time, the group just wanted to be together again, even though one vital member was missing. They trio eventually retired to sleep, while the Pokémon took turns guarding the group; they knew the three humans had a long journey ahead of them, while they were able to rest in their Poké Balls.

    *

    A knock sounded on the door, and immediately, Pryce guessed it was a new naďve challenger. He didn’t have the heart to open the door, but since it was within arm’s reach, he didn’t mind. He swung the door open slowly, observing the three figures that looked up at him.

    One of the two girls tried to step up, prompting Pryce to raise his cane, and press it against her chest, forbidding her entry. “Can I help you?” he said, with every hint of frustration in his voice.

    “I’m here to see the Gym Leader,” the pink-haired girl said. “Are you the Gym Leader?”

    “Are you a challenger?” Pryce said, taking his time to glance from one child to the other. “Are you all challengers?”

    “No,” the pink-haired girl replied. “We’re-“

    Pryce’s cane shot towards her head, smacking her with a loud thwack. “I never asked what you are here for,” Pryce said. “If you are not challengers, then go. I am not interested in your merchandise, nor any carol you want to sing.”

    He started closing the door, when the pink-haired girl held it open. “Listen to-“

    Another thwack cause her to blink away her thoughts, but soon enough, she started protesting again, when Pryce hit her with his cane again.

    “Insolent child,” he clenched his teeth. “You are forbidden from-“

    “You’re forbidden!”

    As she expected, Pryce attempted to hit her again, when she grabbed his cane and tried pulling the cane from his hand. Surprisingly, the old man had a firm grip on the cane, and as much as the girl pulled, it didn’t seem to move. She jumped and placed her legs on either side of the door, attempting to brace her legs against the wall of the Gym, when she fell to the ground.

    “Gravity,” Pryce said. “It is as old as I am, if not less. Be wise, youngster, and get out of my sight.”

    “But we’re children,” the dark-haired girl spoke for the first time. “Why are you so mean to us?”

    Pryce pulled his cane out of the pink-haired girl’s hands, and attempted smacking the other girl for speaking without permission, only to have the boy block his path. The cane connected with his helmet, but aside from a tilt, it did no damage.

    “Do not waste my time, you three,” Pryce said. “Do not come again.”

    With a quick movement, he smacked the boy’s right side with his cane, before maneuvering and hitting the dark-haired girl between her eyes. He quickly retreated, and smashed the door shut, leaving the three children with a bewildered stare.

    “He’s a ninja!” Pryce heard the boy say before grinning, and striding off towards his seat in the Gym.

    *

    Nervous wasn’t enough to describe how Maylene, Candice, and Roark felt about being at the step of the Gym Leader who was going to supposedly make them stronger. But after their interaction with the old man that had appeared, Roark’s words weren’t enough to describe the bizarre situation.

    “He’s not a ninja,” Candice said as she rubbed her forehead. “I’m not even sure he was the Gym Leader.”

    “What did he mean by ‘merchandise’?” Maylene asked.

    “He probably thought we were here to sell something,” Roark said. “Since you said we weren’t challengers.”

    “That idiot!” Maylene shouted. “How could he think kids would work? How could he hit me?!”

    “That shirtless man in the mountains hit you,” Roark said. “And you often wrestled Crasher Wake, didn’t you?”

    “But this one is an old man,” Maylene said. “What do we do?”

    “We’ll come back at a later time,” Candice said. “Maybe wait for a challenger to come in, and sneak in after them.”

    “That won’t work,” Roark said. “We’re a little bit obvious.”

    “We’ll break the door and go in,” Maylene exclaimed. “Right after we get something to eat!”

    “That’s not a good idea,” Candice said, and Roark nodded in agreement. “Let’s just try again later; he could be in a better mood then.”

    “I think we should just wear a disguise,” Roark said. “That has worked once before.”

    “Yeah but Fantina was stupid,” Maylene said. “I still think we should break the door.”

    “Why don’t we talk about this in the Pokémon Center,” Candice said. “And heal our Pokémon while we’re discussing how to get in.”

    Maylene reluctantly agreed, and followed her friends to the Pokémon Center, where they gave their Pokémon to the nurse, and sat around a table discussing how they would gain entry to the Gym. None of their suggestions changed, but by the time the nurse returned their Pokémon to them, they had settled on Candice’s idea, even though they didn’t like it; they were afraid Candice might get angry and storm off.

    The Pokémon, now outside their Poké Balls, gathered around the new member, Swinub, and tried their best to welcome her. Riolu showed her all the training he had received, and how strong he was compared to the other Pokémon, while Cranidos told her of the few challengers he had encountered in the short months he spent in the Gym, before taking a short trip to Johto. And Snorunt told her of the cold of Sinnoh, and how she would feel at home there, something that Swinub longed for.

    Time passed quickly as each group conversed, silence only creeping on them, and the rest of the Pokémon Center, when a certain person entered through the door.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:23 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default §18: What Power Means

    Maylene, Candice, and Roark looked on, as everyone seemed to cower in fear of the old man they had encountered, but soon they recognised that it was just admiration. He walked up to the nurse and talked quietly to her, shooting his stare at anyone who dared approach her; even if all they wanted was to heal their Pokémon, Pryce wasn’t willing to let anyone listen in. The nurse nodded in agreement, and walked to the backroom, while Pryce left the Center, ignoring the three trainers he had encountered earlier.

    “What do you think is going on?” Candice whispered.

    “I don’t know, but I’ll find out!” Maylene said, and she ran for the exit. “Come on, Riolu!”

    Riolu nodded in agreement, and followed his trainer out of the Pokémon Center. Candice joined them a few seconds later, followed by Swinub, while Snorunt, Roark, and Cranidos seemed to wait by the door.

    “It’s locked,” Roark’s muffled voice came through the door. “I’ll see what’s going on with the nurse.”

    Candice would have tried to open the door for her friend, but Maylene didn’t want to wait; she dashed after Pryce, and Candice followed her. Roark walked back to the counter, where the nurse emerged.

    “The door is locked,” he said to her. “What’s going on? Can you open it?”

    “I was too late,” the nurse said. “I tried to shut down the system, but I failed again.”

    She broke into tears, and crashed to the floor dramatically. Soon enough, Roark learned that the nurse had fainted, and his only chance was to see if anyone else knew anything, as they seemed strangely calm. He approached an elderly woman, and asked if he could sit next to her.

    “Sure, sit down, my boy,” she said. “You should not worry.”

    “Do you know what is happening?” Roark asked. “Why the Pokémon Center is locked, and why everyone but the nurse seems so calm?”

    “Ah yes, that girl,” the old lady spoke of the nurse. “She worries too much, but she has a good heart. She is only thinking of the folk here, but she should not worry, either.”

    “Care to explain what is happening to me?” Roark said.

    “Yes, yes, curiosity is an interesting aspect,” she said. “Let me start at the beginning.”

    The old lady began telling her story, while Maylene and Candice dashed after Pryce. Riolu followed Maylene as he often did when running back and forth across Cianwood and Veilstone, while Swinub tried hard to keep up with Candice; the only reason she followed her out of the Gym was to stay close to her Trainer, as a Pokémon Center was still new territory for her.

    “Old man!” Maylene shouted. “Wait!”

    Pryce stopped walking and turned around, as the girls approached, he considered smacking them again with his cane, but ultimately decided against it; time wasn’t on his side. He started walking on, and when the girls reached him, they began walking behind him.

    “I am assuming you want to help,” Pryce started. “Do not think you are strong enough.”

    “We won’t help you do anything,” Maylene said. “You should be helping us.”

    “You didn’t listen to us,” Candice hurried through her sentence. “But we wanted to tell you that Crasher Wake and Chuck told us to come here.”

    “The wrestler and the fighter,” Pryce chuckled. “I should have known. Trying to dump their responsibilities on me. Where is the boy?”

    “Stuck at the Center,” Candice said. “His name is Roark. I’m Candice, and this is Maylene.”

    “Roark,” Pryce repeated slowly, pondering on every syllable of the name. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

    “He’s a Gym Leader in Sinnoh,” Candice said, proud of her friend. “He’s Byron’s son.”

    “Why that is surprising,” Pryce said. “I had heard that Byron was going to choose Riley as his replacement. You know, I met Riley, and it is a shame he doesn’t use his gifts for more.”

    “Gifts?” Candice looked at Maylene; the pair was confused as to why the old man was suddenly talking to them, but didn’t question it.

    “Yes, Riley is truly gifted,” said Pryce. “He is a wonderful trainer, and one of the few who defeated me. His techniques surpassed mine, and if he wanted to, he could be the strongest Trainer in the world, but he is too humble for his own good. He does not want to use his powers for his own personal gain; I am surprised you do not know, as he is from Sinnoh, but he is an Aura Master.”

    The mere mention of Aura sent all thoughts out of Maylene’s head. She forgot about her goal, and limited her scope to just being a Gym Leader, but the uttering of the word reminded her of how she told her mother that she would be a Gym Leader, before becoming an Aura Master, and the strongest Trainer.

    “Riley suggested Roark,” Candice said, drawing Maylene back into the conversation. “Roark wanted to be a Gym Leader like his father for a long time, and he finally did it.”

    “I see,” Pryce chuckled. “Problems with the father; why that reminds me of our very own Falkner.”

    “Where are we going?” Maylene asked, as the group left Mahogany Town.

    “I do not care what you or your friend do as long as you do not get in my way,” Pryce said. “There is some business I need to take care of.”

    The group came to a clearing, where some people dressed in black outfits with a red ‘R’ were waiting. Several grunts, sighs, and curses emerged when Pryce appeared to them.

    “Die already, old man!” one of them shouted.

    “We will take care of you this time,” another said. “There are more of us now!”

    “You can come back as much as you like, with as many of you as you like,” Pryce said, digging his cane into the ground. “I will kick you away like the peccable, inconsequential creatures you are.”

    With roars of anger, they all threw down their Poké Balls, and a number of Pokémon unfamiliar to Maylene and Candice appeared, but none of them drew attention as much as the Pokémon Pryce sent out, a Pokémon that Candice recognised.

    He was a round Pokémon covered with ice that revealed his black skin at some areas. Two horns emerged from his sides, and two eyes stared through the holes in the ice armor.

    “It’s Glalie,” Candice said in awe. “An evolution of Snorunt.”

    Maylene didn’t think much of it, nor did she know why Candice was so mesmerised by the Pokémon; she was more impressed with what Glalie did. A single command from the old man, and the Pokémon froze the area around them.

    An old tree with a weak bark crumbled to the cold, the large body of water behind the people froze to the core, the Pokémon fell to the ground, and their Trainers followed, all but one.

    “Tell your master, whoever they are, to give up,” Pryce said. “Your Pokémon shall be set free, and your associates shall be arrested. Flee while you can.”

    With terror on his face, the remaining man ran away, while the world around Candice began to melt.

    *

    “Care to explain what is happening to me?” Roark said.

    “Yes, yes, curiosity is an interesting aspect,” she said. “Let me start at the beginning. In the recent years, there have been a few scientists working in the name of science.”

    She paused for a nod, and Roark obliged. He knew this was going to be a long talk, especially since the woman seemed to like repeating herself, and it was best to do whatever she needed in order to finish the story in time before he has to go back to the Gym.

    “But in a shocking twist, they weren’t scientists,” she threw her arms back and waved them frantically, drawing from Roark the surprised expression she needed. “They were just trying to catch and evolve Pokémon evilly, and rule the world. They started out as a small group, but when they tried to expand, things got interesting.”

    “It was already interesting,” Roark said; he was a fast learner, and quickly learned how to humor the old lady. “It must have been a hard time.”

    “It would have been,” the old lady said. “But my lovely husband, Pryce, rose up to the problem, above all else. He became the hero, and the one doing the good work. He quickly learned how to anticipate these people’s moves, and he kept a Pokémon on the outskirts as a lookout. When these evil people tried to do their evil work to us, the good people, he stopped them. Somehow, they can do technical stuff and lock the doors of the Center and Gym, since they are electronic, but Pryce gets out in time, and stops them every time.”

    “That is impressive,” Roark said. “Is Pryce the Gym Leader? The one who warned the nurse?”

    “Oh, boy!” the old lady’s eyes widened. “You never heard of Pryce!”

    “Youth these days,” Roark said. “We’re very uneducated.”

    “That you are!” she said. “Read a book in your life. There is a giant library in Sinnoh, and from the Pokémon behind you, it looks like you’re from there. Pryce is a legend. In a few years, he will become a myth, maybe some people will even worship him. You should cherish the moment you met him for the rest of your life. No one has ever come close to being as strong as Pryce, and if he wasn’t an old man attached to his home, Mahogany Town, he would defeat everyone.”

    “Impressive,” Roark said. “That strong, huh?”

    “Stronger,” the old lady said. “I saw your own Cynthia’s battles; she will lose against him, if she’s lucky. I saw him battle Riley many times; Riley only won once. The Champion is too scared of him, and he ran away, or at least, that’s how the rumor has it. He’s strong enough to shake the earth to it’s core, and the freeze it all.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:24 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default §19: I’m Not The Reason

    As she followed Pryce back to Mahogany, Candice pondered on the display of strength. Glalie must have been his strongest Pokémon, and if it wasn’t, then the thought of the amount of power his other Pokémon possessed scared Candice. She never cared for becoming stronger, and never seriously thought about evolving her Pokémon. What frightened Candice more than anything was how Pryce seemed to defy her theory; his Glalie was strong, seemingly with no emotional connection.

    Maylene was begging Pryce to train her, slowly becoming focused on her training again, but Candice couldn’t care less about being trained; Crasher Wake told her to come here for a reason, and it certainly wasn’t for getting strong, as it wasn’t her goal.

    Swinub was now in her arms, and while she was a very new capture, not having spent a full day in her Trainer’s possession yet, she knew that Candice was concerned about something, and tried as hard as she could to comfort her. Candice was obviously a great person, the minute she captured her, she offered her the food she was seeking, and if Swinub hadn’t started attacking, Candice probably wouldn’t have ordered an attack in response.

    The group eventually reached Mahogany, where the Pokémon Center’s door was unlocked, as well as the Gym’s. Pryce and Maylene took the lead, the latter still begging him for his secret of strength, while Candice and Swinub were right behind them, and Riolu walked at the end of the group.

    Snorunt jumped in happiness at the sight of her Trainer, but quickly realised that Candice’s thoughts were distant. She nevertheless approached her Trainer and stood by her. Pryce quickly told Maylene off, and went into his Gym, denying her entry again.

    “What happened?” Roark said, slightly nudging Candice.

    “Just some bad people,” she replied. “He defeated them.”

    “His name is Pryce,” Roark said, looking at Maylene. “Was he really that strong?”

    “Yes!” Maylene exclaimed. “He was very strong! I know why Chuck told me to meet him. If I want to be a Gym Leader, an Aura Master, and a Champion, then I need to be stronger than him! I have to train harder than ever!”

    “I don’t think he’ll train you,” Candice said. “And I don’t think I’m here to train.”

    Without another word, she pushed through the door, and walked towards Pryce, who was at the far end of the Gym. Maylene and Roark struggled, but Candice found her way easily through the ice, and stopped just in front of the old man, who hadn’t noticed her, and was scolding a Gym Trainer.

    “Hello,” she said as the Gym Trainer began retreating, but not before she was out of ear’s shot. “I’m a challenger. Battle me.”

    “Where is your Trainer Card?” Pryce said, not wanting to waste any time with an unofficial challenge. “You can not challenge me without a Trainer Card, nor any other Gym for that matter.”

    “I’m not challenging you for a Badge,” Candice said. “I want a normal battle, between two Trainers, and I will defeat you.”

    “You will not,” Pryce said. “But let me demonstrate my strength to you, and hopefully your weak Pokémon will learn something.”

    He threw a Poké Ball to the ground, and the Glalie the pair had seen earlier emerged. “Go, Snorunt,” Candice told her Pokémon. “We can win this.”

    Snorunt stepped into the arena, and as soon as she did, Glalie flew towards her and smashed against her small body, sending her skidding across the ice, already knocked out. Glalie turned to face Candice, who was at close proximity to him. He turned to her Swinub, and shot a quick beam that froze the Pokémon in her arms.

    “You have lost,” Pryce said. “The battle did not last five seconds.”

    “Snorunt,” Candice ignored Pryce, and hurried to her fallen Pokémon. “Are you alright?”

    The Pokémon slowly nodded in response, and struggled up to her feet, hanging onto Candice to stand, and she eventually picked Snorunt up, before walking back to face Pryce. She held her fallen Pokémon in her arms, and comforted them with words of encouragement.

    “Do not be ridiculous,” Pryce scoffed. “Your Pokémon have lost, and there is no use in telling them they did a good job; they did not.”

    “It’s important,” Candice said. “Otherwise, they’ll just feel bad. I honestly feel that they did good in the battle.”

    “What have they possibly done right in this battle?”

    “They didn’t run,” Candice said, and Roark placed a hand of support on her shoulder. “What if your Pokémon lose? Won’t you try to encourage them as well?”

    “Friendship is meaningless, young girl,” Pryce said, noticing Candice’s way of thinking. “If you keep relying on it, you will never become strong.”

    “I can become strong, and you will hear of me when I do,” Candice said. “I will follow my own path in training my Pokémon, and I will be strong enough to hold your position.”

    “You will fail,” Pryce said. “A bond is not strong enough to win you a battle.”

    “It is, and you will see,” Candice said. “Unlike you, I won’t push everyone away from me, and act so cold towards them. You have to have friends to encourage you just as you encourage your Pokémon!”

    “Do not believe the fairytales,” Pryce said. “There has never been a strong Trainer who held your same beliefs. You will never be strong.”

    Candice realised that it was useless to argue with Pryce any further; his mindset wasn’t going to change anytime soon, and her best bet was to prove him wrong. “There’s always a first time,” Candice said. “This won’t be the last you hear of me. Good luck with your life, Pryce.”

    With a single wave, she walked back the way she came, determined more than ever to prove that it was possible to become strong through friendship, no matter how ridiculous it sounded. Maylene and Roark followed through the door, and into the Pokémon Center, where Candice gave her fallen friends to the nurse, and sat with Maylene and Roark around the table they had been sitting around earlier in the day.

    “That was quite an interesting speech,” Roark started. “I wonder what Gardenia would have though of it. I especially liked the part where you told him to stop pushing people away.”

    “I know,” Candice said. “I was wrong; I never gave Gardenia a chance. I judged her too quickly, and I will apologise for it; I always wanted to, but I was just too stubborn to do it. I didn’t want to seem weak, but if I remain like that, I might become like Pryce.”

    “But, Candice,” Maylene started, her voice lower than usual. “What will you do?”

    “If I see Gardenia, I’ll apologise,” Candice said. “And I will prove that I can be strong, and not by becoming the type of Trainer Pryce is. I’ll become a Gym Leader, and prove him wrong.”

    “But, what you said,” Maylene said, still in her low voice, almost avoiding Candice’s gaze. “I don’t think it’s possible. You have to train to be strong; that’s what I’ve been doing for months.”

    “I’m sure this is what Crasher Wake told me to come here for,” Candice said. “He wanted to make me realise that what I did was wrong; maybe that’s why Chuck told you to come here as well.”

    Maylene nodded slowly. The nurse returned Candice’s Pokémon to her, and as she greeted them and encouraged them for their performance, Maylene couldn’t help but feel that she was missing the point. Chuck told her to come here for a reason, and it wasn’t to train; he must have known that Pryce wouldn’t take any apprentices. If it was to realise what Candice had said, then it must have been Maylene’s fault, because she still believed in strength over the bond with her Pokémon.

    As Roark started telling the pair about the woman he had met, and the story she told him, Maylene’s thoughts travelled towards Pryce, and if she wanted to be as strong as him. She looked at Riolu, and tried to recall the time when she and Riolu had not been training, to no avail. Almost every moment the pair spent with each other was spent training, or hoping for the future. She never took the time to know her Pokémon, and who he was, even though he never hesitated in helping her, even lying for her.

    Even though she still kept her mindset, Maylene began to doubt.

    *

    The group made the long trip to Cianwood, where Candice thanked Crasher Wake for sending her to meet Pryce, before going to teach Swinub how to skate across water. Roark spent his time with Brawly, learning more about what it is to be a Gym Leader, and occasionally battling, even winning a few battles.

    Candice and Roark, as well as Crasher Wake, planned on going back to Sinnoh in a few days, and two nights before their trip, Maylene approached Crasher Wake.

    “I want to come to Sinnoh with you,” Maylene said. “When I went to Pryce, he mentioned someone from Sinnoh called Riley, and that he was strong. I want to ask him how he became so strong.”

    “I’ll take you,” Crasher Wake said. “You never told me what you learned from Pryce, but that doesn’t matter. If you want to meet Riley, I’ll take you to him.”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:24 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default §20: Broken, Like Me

    Surprisingly to Maylene, Chuck was very supportive of her decision to temporarily go back to Sinnoh, even saying that she deserved a break. She had only spent a little over five months in Cianwood, with her first month constantly being interrupted, whether it was her accident, the storm, the Candice and Gardenia situation, or Brawly’s revelation, but Chuck said that she had trained harder than everyone else, and she was the one most deserving of a rest.

    Brawly seemed too emotional when he said goodbye to Maylene, while Nob hoped to one day visit her when she becomes a Gym Leader. With a final word to Chuck, promising that she’ll be even stronger when she comes back, and more dedicated, Maylene left Cianwood.

    Another surprise to Maylene was when Floatzel managed to carry the entire group, even though it was Crasher Wake who carried the three children above him, and each of them carried their Pokémon. The world around them shifted and turned; Cianwood disappeared into the horizon, the ocean water got darker and darker as they swam over deeper areas, they passed some islands with a heavily damaged boat on one of them, they saw some of the strangest creatures swimming alongside them, Pokémon that they had never seen before, and as Maylene, Candice, and Roark observed the world around them, they imagined it slowly turning to Sinnoh, just as quickly as the scenery was shifting.

    But they knew it wasn’t that simple, and when they reached land, they took the boat back to Sinnoh, as Crasher Wake and Roark were both Gym Leaders, they were allowed a free ride, as well as an accompanying guest.

    “Did anything change back in Sinnoh?” Maylene asked once they had sailed.

    “Nothing of importance,” Crasher Wake said. “Cynthia just got tougher and tougher!”

    “Gardenia is missing, “ Roark added. “Some say she accidently went into the Old Chateau and got killed.”

    “She’ll never go there,” Maylene grinned. “She’s scared of Ghost Pokémon.”

    “I hope we find her,” Roark said. “This is our chance to finally reunite, after five months.”

    “I hope you four reunite as well,” Crasher Wake said. “Even though I don’t like it when you use my Gym as a swimming pool!”

    “I forgot about that!” Maylene boomed. “We have to do that once I get back in Sinnoh!”

    “And make the trip to Snowpoint!” Roark said. “See if that weather in Johto broke you or not!”

    “And go to contests!” Candice said. “The way we always used to!”

    As the groups discussed what nostalgic activities they were going to do, Candice hoped they would find Gardenia, as these things wouldn’t be complete without her ranting, and she had to apologise to her for what she did. Roark started thinking about how he was going to teach Maylene about being a Gym Leader in Sinnoh, and hoped to see their entire group eventually becoming Gym Leaders, or more. Maylene, as much as she wanted to meet Riley, was more exited to see her mother, and show her how her little girl grew up.

    *

    It had just been a few hours, but they passed like minutes as Maylene reminisced with her friends. Being so focused on her training and becoming a Gym Leader completely consumed her; she had forgotten how much she missed her friends, and even though she met in Ice Path, she felt as if she has just met them on the boat ride.

    Roark had to attend to his duties as a Gym Leader, and Candice, with her new goal, decided to follow him, and learn about the occupation. Roark couldn’t be happier; if there was anything he loved more than following his father’s footsteps, it was learning and teaching.

    Maylene climbed onto Crasher Wake’s back, just like she always did, and commanded him to run to Veilstone. This time, it was different, she appreciated the tree she had thought was too small, she enjoyed the sight of the Pokémon she once thought were stupid to approach a tree covered with honey, she loved the pipes that ventilated the Underground, the Trainers battling in the cold weather, the girl dressing their Pokémon for contests, and heading off to start the journey to Hearthome, and Crasher Wake, who had always been there to take her on this ride to her home.

    Maylene jumped off as soon as they set foot in Veilstone, and ran towards her Gym, passing many people that exclaimed with happiness at her sight, but they knew that the person she wanted to see most was her mother. Riolu ran right behind her, and the pair found themselves to be faster than before.

    She crashed through the door of the Gym, and then through the door to her home, where her mother jumped out of her seat with shock, then jumped with joy towards her daughter.

    “Maylene!” she cried tears of joy as she wrapped her arms around her daughter, as if she had been dead all this time. “You won’t believe how much I missed you! I felt horrible for leaving you on Cianwood and touring Johto! I’m sure you wanted to see all the clothes and fashion with me!”

    She let out a gentle laugh; she knew her Maylene, and that she wasn’t interested in clothes and fashion. “Mom!” Maylene whined. “You know I don’t like those things!”

    “I love you so much!” her mother said as she planted many kisses on her daughter’s face. “I’m sure your father will be delighted to see you!”

    “Is he here?” Crasher Wake asked.

    “No, I don’t know where he is,” she said. “And how are you, Crasher Wake? I haven’t seen you in a long time.”

    “Catch up later!” Maylene shouted. “Crasher Wake needs to do something right now! And I need to help him!”

    “I know you’re so busy becoming the Strongest,” her mother hugged Maylene again. “But come back in time for dinner.”

    “I will, mom!” Maylene said. “I’ll tell you about everything that happened!”

    With a final hug, Maylene led Crasher Wake out of the Gym, and instructed him to take her back to Pastoria, where they were supposed to meet Riley. He ran back to his Gym, Maylene on his shoulders, and Riolu in her arms; she had just sent him out after a long rest in the Poké Ball.

    They passed through the same scenery again, and for the first time in her life, Maylene saw the things she used to ignore; she had taken Sinnoh for granted all of this time, and it is going to be harder than before when it is time to go back to Johto.

    They eventually reached the Gym, and as they expected, Riley was already there. He was tall, and didn’t look very old. His black hair was covered with a blue hat that matched the rest of his outfit, which consisted of a blue jacket and black trousers. He had a soft smile on his face that extended slightly as he saw the approaching pair.

    Maylene jumped off of Crasher Wake’s back, and ran ahead of him, towards Riley, who took a few steps back. She stopped just a few meters ahead of him, and studied him.

    “Why did you step away from me?” she said, fearing that it had something to do with her Aura; what is she was a bad person?

    “It’s nothing, really,” Riley said, slightly waving as if to dismiss her thoughts. “I just remember you punching Crasher Wake at his party a few years back, and I was worried you’d try to punch me to test me, but please don’t; I’m very fragile.”

    It was at that point that Maylene noticed Riley’s Pokémon. He was a medium-heighted Pokémon that stood on his two legs in a matter similar to Riolu. His tail, arms, face, and body, all resembled her Pokémon’s but seemed like an advanced version of them. Riolu studied him from afar, and as Maylene realised that it was the evolved form of Riolu, she was overcome with a strange sensation.

    This was what it takes to be strong. Riolu would have to evolve eventually, and Maylene would stand with the same Pokémon behind her, if she was to ever become as strong as she hoped to be. She couldn’t help but see herself in Riley’s place, standing in front of that Pokémon, and commanding it; did she want to be like Riley?

    She let out a slight gasp when she realised that what Candice thought when she saw Pryce’s Glalie must have been similar to her own thoughts; that’s why Candice wanted to become a Gym Leader, and apologise to Gardenia. It wasn’t to prove Pryce wrong; it was to not become like him.

    “I’m flattered you’re impressed,” Riley said, completely misunderstanding Maylene’s expression and gasp. “This is Lucario, which is Riolu’s evolved form, as you probably guessed, or already knew.”

    “How about we go inside?” Crasher Wake said, putting a hand on Maylene’s shoulder, and leading her into the Gym after Riley held the door open for them, and stepped in after them. The group went back to Crasher Wake’s small room at the end of the Gym, and sat around a table.

    “It’s nice to meet you, Maylene,” Riley said. “Crasher Wake told me you were a special girl, and it was a little obvious; I wouldn’t have the guts to punch a wrestler! I’m deathly afraid of fighting.”

    “But I thought you were a Pokémon Trainer,” Maylene said. “How can you be scared of fighting?”

    “Oh, no, no,” Riley chuckled. “Don’t misunderstand me. I was talking about walking up to a stranger, and punching them, because they might just hit me back. But I do battle Pokémon for fun, and it’s only light-hearted battles that I participate in. I sometimes don’t explore new areas, because I’m afraid of battling Pokémon with strangers, and sometimes, I would wait for any Trainer to come by, and I would follow them.”

    “You would follow a stranger?” Maylene asked, slightly disappointed with Riley; she had expected someone even tougher than Pryce, not a coward.

    “No, no, no,” Riley said, becoming more and more intimated with Maylene’s attitude. “I, well, not to brag, but I can sense Aura, and I would judge a person by that.”

    “That’s useful,” Maylene said. “I hope to control Aura and sense it someday, too!”

    “You can do it, too?” Riley gasped.

    “Not yet, but I can learn!”

    “Oh…” Riley sat back in his chair, crossing his arms, and sinking further down. “Umm, but it isn’t… I can… You will be… Umm, you’re lucky.”

    “What?” Maylene and Crasher Wake said in unison as Riley’s mumbling became too low to hear.

    “You’re lucky,” Riley repeated. “It isn’t something you learn, and I can judge whether someone can use Aura or not. You’re lucky you can’t, because you’ll be stronger that way.”

    “I can’t use Aura?” Maylene almost broke into tears; this was one of her dreams, and now Riley said that she wasn’t able to fulfill that dream. Coming from anyone else, she would have shrugged him off, but this was Riley, someone that Pryce respected, and Pryce was someone that Chuck recognised as strong, and Chuck was a friend of Crasher Wake, the one person she respected the most.

    Riley kept talking, but Maylene couldn’t listen; she didn’t care how lucky he thought she was, and what his justifications are. What if she couldn’t become a Gym Leader, either, or a Champion? She recognised that she had to work for her goal, but never the chance that she might never achieve it.

    Riley was forced to stop midsentence when Maylene finally broke into tears, and ran out of the Gym, too ashamed to face anyone, not even Riolu. She ran out of the Gym, and out of Pastoria. Her feet became dirty with mud, and her clothes were soaked with rain; she had entered the area west of Pastoria where she and Crasher Wake had always trained; it could have been for nothing.

    She sat against a tree and cried, eventually being joined by Riolu. He didn’t even try to comfort Maylene, as much as he wanted to; he knew it would be pointless. Riolu, the Emanation Pokémon, was much like his evolved form Lucario; he could sense Aura in the form of emotions, a weaker version of Lucario’s powers, and throughout the years, he had seen Maylene go through many feelings: happiness, worry, anger, excitement, confusion, longing, and even sadness.

    But it was never to this degree. Aura might have been the one thing that remained as an obstacle between them, as Riolu had always used it to understand Maylene’s feelings. He wanted it to be the last time, Maylene’s sadness was too much for him to handle, and it was clear without the use of any powers. So instead of comforting his Trainer, Riolu sat next to her, and he wanted it to be the last time. He memorised Maylene’s sadness, and promised to never allow it to happen again, before locking his powers away.

    In that moment, the world was suddenly devoid of any emotions, as Riolu tried to forget about his powers, and saw the world through different eyes. No more Aura was emitted from Maylene, and no more Aura from those approaching him; anyone could have been behind them, but there was no way to tell. Riolu turned his head to Maylene, who was deep in her sorrow. If she couldn’t use Aura, then he wouldn’t use it.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:24 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default §21: Unneeded Powers

    “Maylene,” Crasher Wake tried to comfort her, but to no avail. “Please, don’t be sad; I don’t like seeing you like this.”

    As much as he didn’t like seeing Maylene in tears that mixed with the rain, Crasher Wake’s voice remained the same loud one Maylene had always known, though the emotions behind it were different.

    “Talk to me, Maylene,” Crasher Wake started repeating his words. “You can’t let yourself be alone. Maylene, please don’t be sad; I don’t like seeing you like this.”

    But again, it was useless. Maylene didn’t have the heart to talk, or the mind to comprehend what Crasher Wake was saying, all the while Riolu worked on suppressing his powers, and looking at Crasher Wake, he realised that the human had picked the wrong time to display a new emotion.

    Both of the ambitious children were facing a turning point in their lives, and it wasn’t an easy transition; having to let go of something they held on to since they were born was harder than they could have ever thought. Crasher Wake had to go through the same transition at a point in his life, but at that time, he had many friends to help him through it, and he was determined to be that friend to Maylene.

    And although he was determined to be there for the little girl, he knew that before he could help her, she had to take her time to grieve first.

    *

    “I will beat you! And be Gym Leader!” The little Maylene said and punched again with her free hand. “I am strongest than you!”

    “I’m sure you are!” Crasher Wake laughed and brought his whole body in level with Maylene’s. His eyes met her eyes, and the determination in them almost disturbed Crasher Wake’s balance. “I can tell that you’ll be the strongest. Strongest than all of us!” He reached for his egg and handed it to Maylene. “This is yours. An early gift from me to you for becoming a Gym Leader in the future.”

    “That’s too generous,” Maylene’s father said, tightening his grip on his daughter’s shoulder and pulling her back. “This is supposed to be your gift, not Maylene’s.”

    “How can she start training if she doesn’t have a Pokémon?” Crasher Wake laughed as he looked around the room. “There are many youngsters in the room, and she has to start beating them all!”

    “How about we let the others in line congratulate you?” Maylene’s father said as he slowly backed away, dragging his daughter with him, despite her resistance.

    They worked their way through the crowd, and sat back at their table, opposite a young girl that next to her mother shyly. Some people entered the room, while others left, all while Maylene studied them; she had to be stronger than all of them.

    Cynthia, Crasher Wake, and all the other people from Sinnoh seemed very different, and as she sat next to her father, Maylene tried figuring out how each of them battled. Cynthia was definitely strong. Her battles were impressive, and she’s one of the youngest Champions ever.

    “To be the Strongest, I have to defeat Cynthia,” Maylene said, while her father smiled. “I have to be a Champion, not just a Gym Leader.”

    “That’s a very ambitious goal,” her father’s smile fainted. “You don’t even know if you’ll become a Gym Leader; and that in itself is an impossible goal.”

    “You became a Gym Leader, daddy,” Maylene said, believing that she had cornered her father. “You became a Gym Leader, and I am your daughter, so I have the potential.”

    “Not everyone has the potential,” he said. “None of my parents were Gym Leaders, so obviously, it isn’t an ability that is inherited. You will have to work hard to be a Gym Leader, Maylene, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You don’t have to aim to be like me.”

    “But I want to become the Strongest,” Maylene said. “Will you train me? You’re strong!”

    “Maylene, stop it,” her father said, his voice suddenly taking on a stern tone. “It is an impossible goal.”

    *

    “Hello, Maylene,” Riley said softly as he approached the crying girl, holding an umbrella above his head. “May I sit next to you?”

    Maylene gave no answer. Her face remained buried between her knees, while Riolu signaled that it was safe for Riley to sit next to them. The rain was still falling and drenching the youngsters.

    “I have to tell you something, Maylene,” Riley breathed heavily, his voice shaking; he had never encountered someone who wanted these powers he considered a curse so much. He sat next to Maylene, holding the umbrella high above her head, and prompting Riolu to come closer in order to be sheltered from the rain. “I know how much you want me to tell you that you have control over Aura; Crasher Wake told me, but I won’t lie to you, Maylene. You shouldn’t cry over this; being able to control Aura does not make you stronger, you would constantly have to hold back, as to not hurt yourself or your Pokémon, or your opponents, no matter who they are.”

    “But Pryce…” Maylene tried talking, but her words were hard to understand. “He… he said…”

    “You met Pryce, huh?” Riley let out a hum as he turned to face the horizon; Maylene must think highly of Pryce if his opinion meant that much. “Pryce is a very strong Trainer.”

    “Yeah!” Maylene shouted, momentarily breaking away from her sad demeanor. “And if he thinks you’re strong, then you must be strong!”

    “But I’m not strong,” Riley said. “Pryce is much stronger than me, and he can’t control Aura. You should aim to be like him, not like me. We battled so many times, yet I only won once.”

    A few moments of silence were filled by the sound of the rain crashing against the umbrella and the puddles. Maylene sunk back into her sadness, and ignored the world around her.

    “I’m not good at this,” Riley murmured. “But I hope you will aim to be stronger than me, because you can.”

    As he got up to leave, he took one last glance at Maylene. He realised that there is nothing he could say that would comfort her; especially since he was the cause of the misery she was in.

    *

    “My dad says I can’t take the egg,” Maylene told the large man in front of her. “He says it’s for you.”

    “That’s stupid!” Crasher Wake shouted. “I thought you were going to become the Strongest! How will you do that if you keep listening to your dad?!”

    A girl sitting at a table close to the pair oohed, as if to prompt a fight, while Maylene pondered as hard as a girl her age could about not listening to her father; he couldn’t possibly stop her.

    “Right!” Maylene shouted. “Give me the egg! You adults are weak against me!”

    “That’s more like it!” Crasher Wake let out a loud laugh. “Don’t be afraid of anything in your way! Be like me, and don’t let an ocean stop you! If you see one, swim! If you see a mountain, climb!”

    “Yes!” Maylene shouted as she grabbed the egg, reluctant to become a rebel; but at least for a moment, she would embrace this side of her. “As soon as the Pokémon hatches, we’re defeating you!”
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:25 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default §22: I Cannot See

    “She has such a blind faith in you, it’s scary,” Riley said. “I really hope you will look out for her; she’s a great girl, but she is still a child.”

    “I will take care of her,” Crasher Wake said. “I will never stop!”

    Putting his hat back on, and grabbing the umbrella, Riley bid one last farewell to his friend as he left for whatever destination awaited him. As the door closed behind Riley, Crasher Wake called and informed Maylene’s mother that her daughter had fallen asleep, and that she will come back in the morning. Glancing back at his couch, he could say the tiny pink-haired girl sleeping deeply, still drenched in rain and covered in mud. Riolu was right by her side, fully awake, and staring in awe at his Trainer.

    The Pokémon had grown accustomed to sensing Maylene’s aura while he slept, constantly knowing that she was safe, but now that he had started suppressing his powers, trying to sleep without sensing the girl’s aura proved difficult. He had carried Maylene back to Crasher Wake’s house after she fell asleep as she cried, and now that her tears had stopped, Riolu was left with only the knowledge that she was sad.

    Whether her crying had eased her pain, or she had accepted the fact that she could not control her Aura, or refused to acknowledge what Riley had said was a mystery to Riolu. For a while he wished he could understand Maylene as much as Crasher Wake seemed to understand her. The human had learned her emotions, and built his knowledge regarding the girl without the use of any power.

    Giving up his Aura powers meant that Riolu knew his Trainer and her feelings as good as if he were a new capture.

    *

    As Cranidos smashed his hard skull against the rocks with joy at finally being surrounded by the place he was used to, Snorunt began to understand how he felt every time he visited them in Snowpoint. Swinub and her were used to the cold and the blizzards, and they liked the freezing weather as much as Cranidos liked the enclosed space of the Oreburgh Mine.

    Roark and Candice chatted away about trivial stuff that did not concern the Pokémon, but from what they overheard, the pair seemed to be planning a trip to the Canalave Library, and Snorunt was glad that she overheard a plan to invite Maylene along; it was time for the pair to forget their differences, and maybe even get in touch with Gardenia again.

    Cranidos delivered another blow to the wall of rock, a blow strong enough to throw him back in recoil, as if he had been punched away. Slowly getting up, Cranidos rubbed the dirt out of his eyes, and took a closer look at the wall, before letting out a shriek.

    The Head Butt Pokémon took on a battle stance, and shrieked again, drawing Roark’s attention, and startling the opponent. A lump of rock emerged from the wall, leaving behind a hole that perfectly matched the Geodude’s body. The Pokémon looked as if a boulder had grown two muscular arms, and a pair of determined, menacing eyes.

    “This is perfect,” Roark said, taking his position behind Cranidos. “We’ll catch it! Start off with a Headbutt!”

    As if they were in perfect understanding of each other, Cranidos rushed to deliver his attack before his Trainer finished giving his order. Cranidos rushed head first to meet his opponent, who darted forward, welcoming the challenge.

    *

    Dawn crept slowly over Sinnoh, and Pastoria City was always be the last to see the light. The faint light shone through the window, and spread itself across the ceramic floor of Crasher Wake’s house, eventually climbing up the couch, and resting against Maylene’s eyes, as if willing her to wake up.

    Having had a very light sleep all night long, Riolu woke up as soon as he felt the brightness of the room increase, and saw Maylene still sleeping peacefully, undisturbed by the light that continued on past her head and rested against the wall behind her.

    Springing from the chair he spent the night on, Riolu walked towards the kitchen, where a few raw berries were always kept. Having spent a fair amount in this house, he knew that Crasher Wake wouldn’t mind, and grabbing a handful of berries, leaving enough for Crasher Wake’s Pokémon, Riolu started out of the house, and eventually left the Gym.

    As he had expected, Pastoria City was as dull as any foggy city would be in the start of the day. He made his way out to Route 212, and after eating the berries he had picked up, prepared to take on any challenge; he had to train as hard as he could to compensate for the powers he gave up.

    A croaking sound drew his attention to a blue Pokémon his height. He had orange cheeks, and yellow eyes that were surrounded by simple black markings, giving him a dead stare. His arms ended in three fingers, two of which were black, while the last was orange, and the Pokémon’s midsection seemed to be covered in bandages.

    Riolu identified the Pokémon as Croagunk, the mascot of Pastoria City, and a formidable opponent, perfect for Riolu to test his fighting. The Croagunk noticed his foe, and as if knowing that Riolu was a threat, prepared to receive an attack.

    The pair stood still for a few seconds, each trying to read the other’s move, but both failing to do so. As tempting as it was, Riolu was determined to not using his Aura powers, and he reminded himself of that with each passing second. And with each passing second, his heart would beat faster as Croagunk eyes became narrower; the Toxic Mouth Pokémon knew his opponent was nervous and inexperienced.

    With a dash and a quick turn, Croagunk sent mud flying towards Riolu’s eyes, leaving him desperately trying to clean them, and to see where his opponent was, when a punch hit him, and a shock of pain spread itself across Riolu’s right side. As he fell, Croagunk delivered another attack that sent Riolu rolling into a marshy area, defeated as quickly as he had challenged his opponent.

    Croagunk knew that the battle was over, and that Riolu, even if he had the power to fight back, did not have the will. As if pitying the Pokémon, he walked away, occasionally glancing back to satisfy and assure himself that he won that fight.
    Last edited by Kyuuketsuki; 9th March 2013 at 01:25 PM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: The Barefoot, Fighting Genius!

    Great to see this continue. I've read the DPP-manga a few months back and this is even cooler now! Nice to see the pokemon's point of view now, but I wonder how Riolu will cope without Aura..

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    Default §23: Blind Again

    The Oreburgh City Gym looked like a normal Gym on the outside, but was like a mine on the inside. There were many layers of rocks, and a few wooden bridges connecting them. Some Trainers were ready to welcome challengers that enter the Gym with a battle, weakening them for Roark, and training in the process.

    Most new Trainers would come with a Turtwig or a Piplup, and those who picked a Chimchar would catch a Budew, but that was the first time the Gym Trainers encountered someone who trained both a Turtwig and a Roselia, Budew’s evolved form.

    ‘I win,’ Gardenia laughed as the large formation of rocks fell to the ground. ‘You call that thing an Onix? Really, kid, why are you even a Trainer? You’ll never be good. Now move out of my way, I’ve got a Roark to destroy.’

    *

    ‘Come on, Maylene!’ Crasher Wake pleaded. ‘Let me carry you to your house! I will run like I always do!’

    ‘I don’t want to,’ Maylene said. ‘I’ll just walk back home with Riolu.’

    ‘Forget what Riley said! What does he know? He only defeated Pryce once!’ Crasher Wake started shouting, and Riolu didn’t believe that his voice could get any louder, yet somehow, it did. ‘Riley is an idiot! He can only sense Aura, but you can kick a grown man to the ground! Come on, kick me!’

    ‘In the house?’ Maylene said. ‘What if I break something?’

    ‘Since when did you care?!’ Crasher Wake shouted, grabbing Maylene by the leg, and lifting her up to his eyes. ‘You hesitated, now you can’t kick me! What are you going to do, upside-down girl?!’

    With a grump, Maylene pushed her fist as hard as she could into Crasher Wake’s face, but the man wasn’t even fazed. He let his lips slide into a smirk as he squeezed harder on Maylene’s leg, and she knew he was challenging her; a simple punch wasn’t enough. But even though she knew it would do no good, Maylene shouted and punched again, while Crasher Wake gave his signature loud laugh; taunting Maylene. Either the man was a genius, and he knew how to give Maylene her motivation, or he was an idiot, as all seemed to do was reinstate what Maylene had been telling herself; that she was weak.

    And as Riolu’s eyes darted from Crasher Wake’s face to Maylene, he understood his Trainer a little better. Maylene wasn’t going to let anyone challenge her and get away with it, which is exactly what Crasher Wake was doing. Riley’s mistake was trying to be easy on the girl, and not to break her spirits; had he outrightly told her that she was weak, she would have responded with a fight, likely beating Lucario all by herself.

    Crasher Wake let out a scream of pain as Maylene fell to the ground, quickly getting up and tackling the man to the ground, revealing a few drops of blood on the floor. The sound of glass shattering finally drew all of Riolu’s consciousness to the fight; Crasher Wake’s nose was bleeding, and he held it while Maylene kicked him again and again; letting all her anger out.

    Brawly used her near death experience against her in their battle, Pryce mocked her, and Riley told her that she couldn’t use Aura. With each kick, Maylene let out all the emotions she had been holding for the past five months, and as much as Riolu wanted to help Crasher Wake, who seemed to be cowering in a heap on the floor next to a broken plate, he feared for his own safety.

    A hand pushed him out of the way, and a blur of orange rushed past, colliding with Maylene and sending water flying in all directions, washing away all of Riolu’s mud trails, and causing all electricity in the house to shut down. A few pieces of the broken plate floated past Riolu, followed by some red dots, before more water entered the room.

    ‘I’m fine, Floatzel,’ Crasher Wake said, nudging his Pokémon away from Maylene. ‘Are you going to let me carry you to Veilstone now, Maylene?’

    The girl looked around the house; Floatzel must have produced a lot of water. She was completely drenched in the aftermath of the attack, and the TV was smoking, likely also a result of Floatzel’s attack. Riolu floated in the corner, looking around in horror, his eyes were wide open, and as he met Maylene’s soft eyes, the pair exchanged a chuckle.

    ‘Yes!’ Maylene said as she climbed Crasher Wake. ‘Take me to Veilstone.’

    *

    At the end of the Oreburgh Gym was an official arena where the Gym Leader, Roark, would battle his challenger. There were rocks scattered inside the Gym, and knowing that Roark was currently in the Oreburgh Mine, Gardenia had forced the Gym Trainers to build her a throne on Roark’s side, where she sat patiently, two youngsters behind her ready to answer to her, and a Turtwig on her lap.

    She had received the small green Pokémon from Professor Rowan, hiding her Roselia from him in her Poké Ball, and insisting that she was a new Trainer looking for a starter. Turtwig had a small branch ending with two leaves rising from his head, and a hard brown shell on his back.

    After meeting a member of the Johto Elite 4, Gardenia lost to him in a battle, and followed him for some time, constantly challenging him, and always losing to him, and he had finally managed to make her lose his trail. Gardenia decided that the only way to meet him again, and to defeat him, was to train and become as strong as a Gym Leader, or even stronger, and since challenging Gyms was how Cynthia did it, Gardenia was sure it would work for her.

    Hearing the door of the Gym open, and the footsteps of someone who had to be Roark enter, Gardenia, with a wave of her fingers, ordered the Trainers to get into position, and they both kneeled down, as if they were butlers waiting for an order. Gardenia quickly crossed her legs, and began stroking Turtwig. The footsteps echoed closer, revealing the footsteps of another person, and Gardenia hoped that it was Candice.

    As the pair entered the arena, the sensors activated, and beams of light attacked from the ceiling revealing the entire Gym to the Roark and Candice.

    ‘Hello, Roark. Hello, Candice,’ Gardenia smirked; her grand enterance back into Sinnoh was successful. ‘I’m sure you missed me.’

  32. #32
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    Default §24: I Can Breathe Now

    The world around her was a blur of colours once more. Trees merged with the ocean and the houses, and the noises of the Pokémon slowly overcame the talks of the humans. Maylene, carefree once gain, was completely focused on the wind. As Crasher Wake carried her and ran to Veilstone, like he had always done before she travelled to Johto, the little girl reverted to the way she was at that time; she was carefree and ignorant.

    All her weaknesses didn’t matter, and there were no obstacles in her way. Maylene forgot all those who posed a challenge to her, and all those who made her life harder. At that time, she would dwell in the single moment that would always go by too fast.

    *

    ‘I have to say, Roark,’ Gardenia said, still stroking Turtwig and sitting in the most conceited of ways. ‘I never thought you would become a Gym Leader so soon, but I’m glad you did; it means I’ll get my first Gym Badge from you.’

    ‘Gardenia, I’m so glad you’re safe!’ Roark said, booming with joy. ‘Where were you all this time?’

    ‘I was busy becoming stronger,’ Gardenia smirked, getting up slowly. ‘In Johto!’

    For a while, Roark and Candice were at a loss for words; Gardenia had created such a dramatic, exaggerated situation that the pair waited for hidden cameras to come out of the shadows, and for someone to shout ‘Cut’, while Gardenia kept staring at them, proud of the immaculate way with which she had handled the situation

    ‘Umm, Gardenia,’ Candice started, praying that the stubborn girl won’t interrupt her. ‘I just want to say that I’m sorry. I treated you horribly, and I never gave you a chance to show me what kind of friend you are. I know both Maylene and Roark appreciate you, and I’m sorry that I never did.’

    ‘An apology?’ Gardenia’s smirk started expanding, when her eyes shifted towards Roark, who had narrowed his eyes, as if prompting her. ‘It’s alright; I forgive you.’

    ‘Really?’ Candice started smiling. Her hands clasped together, and the twinkle in her eyes grew.

    ‘Yes,’ Gardenia said, narrowing her eyes at Roark. ‘But first, we have to battle! If you win, then I will stop teasing and making fun on you, which I’m sure is what made you not like me, and If I win, then I get Roark’s Gym Badge; seems fair to me.’

    ‘A battle? Now?’ Roark started. ‘Nobody cares about battling right now; you have to tell us exactly what you were doing all this time! And you have to tell everyone you know that you’re back! You have to go see Maylene; she’s back in Sinnoh right now! How can you even think about battling right now?’

    ‘Please, Roark,’ Gardenia laughed, still stocking her Turtwig. ‘Don’t get dramatic; we don’t need any of that.’

    ‘You’re right, Gardenia,’ Candice said. ‘Let’s forget the drama and battle like we used to!’

    With a swipe at the pocket of her jacket, Candice picked one of two Poké Balls, and sent out her capture from Johto. The Swinub looked around the Gym; it was as if they had never left the Oreburgh Mine.

    ‘Thankfully, I just healed my two Pokémon,’ Candice said. ‘And it seems quite fitting for me to use my newest Pokémon against your newest Pokémon, assuming you’re using Turtwig.’

    ‘You assumed right, Candice,’ Gardenia said, putting her Turtwig back on the ground. ‘I hope you got stronger, because I have. Turtwig! Start with a Tackle!’

    ‘Don’t be phased, Swinub!’ Candice reassured her Pokémon. ‘Use Powder Snow!’

    Swinub took in as much air as she could, and released it with a sharp squeal. Small particles of snow rushed towards the approaching Turtwig, striking the Pokémon as violently as if he had been pelted by ice. The Tiny Leaf Pokémon lost his direction as he tried to cover his face from the snow, and as he turned it, his forelegs failed to handle the speed of the turn in the midst of his confusion, and the Pokémon was sent rolling across the rocks, taking in more damage that he would have taken had he stopped.

    ‘Great job, Swinub!’ Candice shouted. ‘Now, follow that attack with a Mud-Slap!’

    ‘Not again, Candice!’ Gardenia beamed. ‘Turtwig, Withdraw!’

    Acting upon his commands immediately, Turtwig rolled himself against his opponent’s attack, showing only his hard brown shell. Swinub flung some dirt at Turtwig, but it was to no avail, and the quickness with which he followed Gardenia’s second order gave no chance for the Pokémon to defend herself.

    Unrolling himself from the ball, Turtwig finished his run and threw his body, backed by the momentum, against Swinub, sending the small Pokémon back towards Candice. Rolled up and squealing in pain, her Trainer knew that Swinub couldn’t fight anymore; it was her first serious battle, and the Pokémon would need a lot of training before she could catch up to Turtwig, a Pokémon that had without a doubt received many experiences to build his battling techniques upon.

    ‘You did well for a first serious battle, Swinub,’ Candice said, rubbing her Pokémon where the Tackle had hit. ‘I’ll put you back in your Poké Ball for now; rest, and after this battle, I’ll heal you.’

    With a nod and a strange purr, Swinub retreated into her Poké Ball, leaving the battlefield and officially winning Gardenia the first match. Turtwig walked back to his side of the field, and stood in front of his Trainer, waiting for the next opponent. His confident rose, but Gardenia knew that Candice’s next Pokémon is Snorunt, her strongest Pokémon, and Turtwig, being a relatively new Pokémon, had no chance against her.

    With another quick swipe at her jacket, Candice put Snorunt’s Poké Ball back into her pocket, and withdrew the second one. Snorunt emerged as soon as the Poké Ball left Candice’s hand, and with a self-glorifying attack, sent the Poké Ball back to Candice without having it touch the ground. Both Gardenia and Roark knew that Snorunt’s most used strategy was to pry off of the opponent’s lack of confidence, but it was too late to warn Turtwig now; he was already nervous about facing an opponent that seemed to have more confidence than he ever could.

    ‘Headbutt!’ Candice commanded.

    ‘Tackle, Turtwig!’ Gardenia shouted, knowing that defending would do them no good.

    Snorunt wrapped her hands around her cloak and bolted towards Turtwig, colliding with him with the full force of both their attacks, but he still had some fight left in him. This wasn’t that far from over; all it needed was just one more attack, and being in such close proximity, Candice immediately gave her second command.

    ‘Ice Fang!’

    ‘No, Turtwig! D-Dodge!’ Gardenia shouted helplessly, but Turtwig had already lost.

    Drastically lowering the temperature in her mouth, Snorunt had taken a large breath of air as she opened it, covering her teeth with a thin layer of ice, before lowering it and clasping her jaws against the small Turtwig. The Pokémon let out a cry of pain as the cold hit his already-injured leg, and fell in a heap on the rocky floor, with his limp still in Snorunt’s mouth.

    The Snow Hat Pokémon slowly let go of his leg; dropping it suddenly might cause a jolt of pain that was unnecessary. Gardenia retreated her Pokémon to his Poké Ball, and gave a look of resignation; she should never have tried to take on Snorunt with Turtwig.

    ‘Roark, would you mind taking Turtwig to the Center?’ Gardenia started. ‘I think that fall did a lot more damage than we think it did.’

    ‘Yeah, sure,’ Roark said, sprinting to meet Gardenia and take the Poké Ball from her cupped hands. ‘Do you want me to heal Swinub as well, Candice?’

    ‘Why not?’ Candice said, chucking her Poké Ball at Roark as he ran past her towards the exit. ‘Snorunt and Roselia against each other again, huh, Gardenia?.’

    ‘And again, Candice,’ Gardenia grinned. ‘I will win.’

  33. #33
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    Default §25: A New Spirit

    The two Pokémon knew each other as if they were sisters, and nothing Snorunt could do was going to lower Roselia’s confidence in herself; she had become accustomed to this strategy from their many battles.

    ‘Alright, Snorunt,’ Candice started. ‘We can win this. Use Ice Fang!’

    ‘It’s not going to work again, Candice!’ Gardenia shouted across the arena. ‘Roselia, start with a Leech Seed!’

    Snorunt knew that attack well, and if she fell victim to it again, it could decide the battle. She ran to the right, constantly circling Roselia, as she got closer, making it harder for the Thorn Pokémon to hit her opponent. And as soon as she was close enough to land her attack, Snorunt jumped at Roselia’s side, sending the pair rolling together across the rocks as the Ice Fang successfully hit the target.

    Roselia let out a scream of pain as Snorunt bit into her harder. The pair rolled, sending a single long cloud of dust up towards the air, before Roselia managed to shake off Snorunt, and each of the Pokémon rolled away from the other. They got up at the same time, not standing opposite each other, yet not in front of their Trainers, waiting for orders.

    ‘Magical Leaf!’ Gardenia shouted. ‘Take your opportunity!’

    With a wail, Roselia brought her roses together, and separated them to send a flock of colourful leaves flying towards Snorunt. The Ice Pokémon pulled the cloak over her head, and took the attack with all of its force. The leaves scratched and injured, but eventually, they all flew past, degenerating into the air as vibrantly as they had appeared.

    All that was left was a cloud of dust, a perfect line created by Roselia’s attack that connected the Pokémon. ‘Icy Wind!’ Candice let a smile slip by. ‘Take your opportunity, Snorunt!’

    One easy blow, and the dust slowly turned into cold ice that drifted in the air, back towards Roselia, scratching and stinging her all over her body. Candice shouted another order, and as sudden as the attack had been, Roselia felt the full force of another attack from Snorunt.

    She had run towards her opponent, who was distracted by the pain, and slammed head first into the smaller Pokémon’s body with a Headbutt attack. The pair tumbled to the ground again, only this time, Snorunt failed to get up; as hard as she struggled, she was pinned to the dirt.

    ‘You shouldn’t have tried that, Candice,’ Gardenia grinned. ‘Such a close-ranged attack, with such a determined direction. You know Roselia never forgets an order.’

    Candice took a closer look at Snorunt, praying that it wasn’t what she thought it was. She squinted, and saw the green seeds stuck to Snorunt; Leech Seed had hit, and her worst fears were true.

    Roselia got up, moving to the far side of the field, as far away from her opponent as she could get. She sent another flock of leaves towards Snorunt as she evaded the Pokémon’s attacks; it was easy to stay out of the way of an attack when the attacker was stationary.

    Candice kept on beaming orders, but with each second, Roselia sapped more health, and Snorunt grew weaker. It was a slow defeat, but a defeat nonetheless, and it had eventually dawned; Snorunt gave away, and her head fell to the ground motionlessly.

    Gardenia had won.

    ‘Yes, we did it!’ Gardenia beamed, running to hug Roselia, while Candice went to her Pokémon. ‘I’m really proud of you, Roselia!’

    ‘Congratulations, Gardenia,’ Candice said, picking Snorunt up and holding her. ‘That was a good battle.’

    ‘Which means I get the Coal Badge!’ Gardenia said, punching the air in front of her repeatedly. ‘And because you didn’t win, I can still tease you!’

    ‘That is what we agreed on,’ Candice reluctantly said. ‘We’ll just wait until Roark gets back, then we can get you your Badge.’

    ‘Of course,’ Gardenia started. ‘That was a tough battle, and as much as I’d like to think I improved, you’ve definitely improved even more. I won’t tease you as much as I used to, but I still will.’

    ‘You did get stronger,’ Candice smiled. ‘And thank you; I hope we can be better friends to each other this time around.’

    ‘I believe this means we should hug,’ Gardenia said, wrapping her arms around Candice, and holding her tightly. ‘This is a new life!’

    *

    ‘You’re going to be excited,’ Roark said. ‘I can’t believe you came here so soon.’

    ‘Yeah well, being a crybaby isn’t going to help me become the Strongest!’ Maylene said. ‘And Crasher Wake is a fast runner!’

    ‘Clearly!’ Roark laughed. ‘I’m sure Candice will be glad that we’re spending the rest of your vacation together.’

    ‘I sure hope so,’ Maylene said. ‘That whole ‘becoming Strongest’ thing did terrible stuff to us.’

    ‘But we’re all back together now, right? And that’s all that matters.’

    ‘Right!’ Maylene gave a single, violent nod. ‘Why didn’t Candice heal Swinub with you anyway?’

    ‘Oh, she was busy,’ said Roark, opening the door to the Gym and lowering his voice. ‘She was meeting an old friend.’

    ‘I see,’ Maylene said, instinctively lowering her voice as well. ‘Do I know that old friend?’

    ‘Maylene! Long time no see, mindless muscle!’

    Maylene gasped at the sight of not just any old friend, but a friend that she had wanted to see for such a long time, and apologise for the way she treated her, but at that moment, all Maylene could think about was how amazing it was that Gardenia was there, right in front of her.

    ‘Gardenia!’ Maylene shrieked. ‘Gardenia!’

    She ran up the stairs, and tackled her old friend to the ground. ‘You’re actually here! You’re here! I can’t believe you’re here!’

    ‘Me neither!’ Gardenia shouted back, wrapping her arms around Maylene like she had done to Candice just minutes ago. ‘I can’t believe you’re back!’

    ‘This is going to be amazing! The four of us, back together again! I can’t believe Roark and Candice found you!’

    ‘No, I found them!’ Gardenia laughed. ‘All they did was stare at my magnificent comeback!’

    ‘What comeback?! I want to see the comeback!’

    ‘Well then we’ll reenact it!’ Gardenia laughed again, kicking Maylene as hard as she could, sending her rolling down the stairs and out of the Gym. She got up and dusted herself, and pointed at the two Gym Trainers. ‘You, turn off the light, and you, prepare the throne! We’re doing it again!’

  34. #34
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    Default §26: For The Memories

    The group was huddled together at the edge of Route 207, each with their Pokémon. Roark was standing tall beside Cranidos, the Pokémon he had discovered as a fossil while on one of his exploration trips with his father. He remembered that moment vividly, and always smiled as he recalled the smile of approval his father gave him; he hadn’t been prouder of his son.

    Soon afterwards, Roark, with the help of the Oreburgh Mining Museum, managed to resurrect the Skull Fossil, and right then, as he looked at his first Pokémon, he became as proud as his father had been. The pair had come a long way and obtained the title they had long dreamed of; a Gym Leader.

    Right next to Cranidos was Roark’s second Pokémon, the Geodude he had caught just earlier that day, and beside Geodude stood Roselia, next to her Trainer.

    Gardenia had caught Roselia after wrestling the Pokémon to the ground; at least, that was the story she told them. Knowing Gardenia, there had to be some exaggerations. On Gardenia’s right side was her new Pokémon, the Turtwig she had claimed from Prof. Rowan.

    Then stood Candice, along with Snorunt and Swinub. The young girl had befriended Snorunt when the pair were just children, and they had been companions ever since. And she had caught Swinub in Johto, a moment that Roark was present to see.

    And then, farthest away from Roark, stood Maylene, along with Riolu.

    ‘This is it, Maylene,’ Roark said, giving a hint of a smile. ‘Once you catch a Pokémon, we’ll all have two each.’

    ‘This is weird,’ Maylene choked. ‘I never caught a Pokémon before.’

    ‘Neither did any of us,’ Candice said. ‘Well, except for Gardenia, but she did it on her own. Roark and I were pretty nervous when we caught Swinub and Geodude.’

    ‘You’re right,’ Maylene said, though the thoughts in her mind completely clouded what Candice had said. ‘Here we go, Riolu.’

    She took the first few steps towards the tall grass, where all the Pokémon hid. Riolu followed close by, while Gardenia shouted encouraging words at her friend. Another step, and Maylene felt as if her rapidly beating heart was going to pierce her chest and escape.

    Beside her, Riolu was an anxious as she was. He had already lost the first battle in which he didn’t use his Aura powers, the powers he had vowed to suppress, and never before had he been that unsure of an outcome. This meant a lot to Maylene; it was a step she had to take if she were to become a Gym Leader, like she had always hoped.

    Behind her, her friends cheered her on, prompting her forward with their words of encouragement. They seemed to have a deluded, blinded confidence in her, the type that would only be associated with the young; in their eyes, nothing could go wrong. Maylene took one more step, a giant one, into the tall grass, and almost immediately, as if waiting for her, something tackled her leg.

    She fell to the ground with a yelp, as Riolu jumped forward to tackle the Pokémon. ‘It’s a Machop!’ Maylene exclaimed upon one glance; she knew that Pokémon well, having seen it under the command of many Gym Trainers in Cianwood City. ‘This is great! Riolu, use Force Palm!’

    As usual, the Pokémon drove his hand into his opponent, but something was different. Machop wasn’t fired back, there was no beam of energy that flew out of Riolu; the attack had become a mere push. Maylene’s eyes shifted from one Pokémon to the other in confusion; had she been frozen in time? Was the anticipation just delaying the events in her mind?

    And then Machop delivered his attack, driving the side of his hand deep into Riolu’s side, and retracting it just as fast. Something was different, and it had the worst timing ever. But to Riolu, it was simple; it was just the implications of a decision he had taken, and as much as he knew it was not going to be an easy start, he wasn’t leaving Maylene behind.

    As his attacks proved to be much weaker than before, and as he struggled to avoid and defend himself against Machop’s rapid hits, Riolu recalled that decision; he had always wanted Maylene to be able to control her Aura powers, because as soon as she did, they would have become an unstoppable pair. He knew that they would be in complete unison and understanding of each other, and he had worked on perfecting his own Aura powers, to make it easier for Maylene to learn her own powers.

    But ever since Riley told her than she will never be able to control Aura, Riolu had to forgo his own abilities; the pair was going to have to learn to connect with each other on a different level, to be in unison without using external powers, otherwise, the pair would just grow apart. Riolu had relied too heavily on his reading of other Pokémon’s Aura in the past, and he was just suffering the consequences.

    ‘Reversal!’ Maylene commanded. ‘Do your best, Riolu!’

    Machop’s hand approached for another hit, but Riolu held it firmly, stopping the attack and flipping Machop over his head. He hit the ground in a heap, letting out a scream of surprise, before Riolu delivered a punch to his opponent.

    There was another hit, a cold object; a Poké Ball had hit Machop, and that was his last thought before he was sucked into the sphere. A ding chimed through the field to signify the success of the capture. Riolu stared in awe at the Poké Ball lying on the ground in front of him, the gravity of the moment hitting him harder than he had anticipated.

    Gardenia was the first to cheer, and the others followed immediately, rushing to hug Maylene, who just stared blankly. Riolu was staring back at her, standing beside the settle Poké Ball; they had never thought much of it, but the capture of a new Pokémon meant that it wasn’t just Maylene and Riolu anymore.

    There was a new entity on this journey, a change neither of them was fully ready to face.

    *

    They often thought of Hearthome City as another home; it was where Maylene and Candice had met Gardenia, who eventually introduced them to Roark, and the city was big and busy enough for them to have fun however they wanted. Going there seemed like a fitting end to the short vacation they had together.

    The receptionist at Amity Square recognised them immediately, and allowed them in, even though they had no Pokémon accompanying them. The four children settled atop a small island in the middle of the lake. The water was very shallow and clear, showing the school of Finneon that swam around to the amusement of all the speculative eyes.

    ‘This is nice, isn’t it?’ started Candice. ‘All four of us, spending time together again.’

    ‘And the weather,’ Roark laughed. ‘Never forget the weather.’

    ‘Yes, and the weather,’ Candice grinned. ‘But really, this is nice!’

    ‘It is,’ Gardenia said as she started to unwrap the food she snuck in. ‘But it’ll probably be the last time for a long time. Just think about it; a year ago, we all had nothing to do.’

    ‘You’re right,’ said Maylene; she was tapping her toes against the grass and picking at the folded flowers. ‘I have to go back to Johto tomorrow, Roark has to return to his Gym, and you want to go around and collect Badges.’

    ‘So that leaves Candice out,’ said Gardenia. ‘You’re the only one without something to do, Frosty.’

    ‘I did decide that I want to prove Pryce wrong, didn’t I?’ Candice said as Gardenia handed her one of the sandwiches she snuck in. ‘He thinks that having a bond with your Pokémon means you’re weak, and I want to prove him wrong.’

    ‘And how will you do that?’ Roark said.

    ‘I don’t know yet,’ Candice continued. ‘But I’ll figure it out eventually, and then I’ll prove him wrong.’

    ‘But really,’ started Maylene. ‘Do you think it’s possible? I’ve had Machop for a few days now, and he doesn’t listen to me at all; all he wants to do is train.’

    ‘You’ll get to him eventually,’ said Gardenia. ‘Turtwig was like that at first, but then I defeated him with Roselia. We showed him; he can’t be strong without us!’

    ‘Maybe that’s it,’ said Roark. ‘Maybe he wants to battle Riolu again.’

    ‘I didn’t really have any problems with Swinub,’ said Candice. ‘She’s been very kind so far. But it is possible to become strong through friendship.’

    ‘Please don’t start with a speech,’ Gardenia said. ‘We don’t need to bore ourselves to death; we have televisions for that.’

    ‘Cheer up, Maylene,’ Candice said, putting her hand on her friend’s shoulder. ‘We won’t see each other for a very long time, and we don’t need to spend the rest of the day moping.’

    ‘Or boring ourselves!’ Gardenia added, grinning.

    ‘Or boring ourselves,’ Candice chuckled. ‘After this, why don’t we sneak into the Trophy Garden again?’

    ‘Or trick Fantina again,’ said Roark. ‘That never gets old.’

    ‘Why not something new?’ said Gardenia. ‘I heard Sunyshore City got a new Gym Leader; let’s bore him!’

  35. #35
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    Default §27: The Warm Welcome

    This time, it was definite.

    Maylene had said her goodbyes and seen all the places she wanted to remember. She got her closure, and there could be no more excuses to go back to Sinnoh, or to ever have it disturb her training. Whatever Chuck demanded, she had no excuse not to do it. Maylene knew that for most of her training here, she had it easy. As a newcomer, she didn’t work as hard as Brawly, Nob, or any of the other Gym Trainers, and she had to avoid any rough activities after she had her accident.

    With her mind completely focused on anticipating the rough training she was going to have to go through, Chuck revealing that he intended on sending her away once more was more than a shock to her.

    ‘A guy named Bruno will be of help,’ Chuck said as he moved wooden craters and lifted steel, assisted by his Primeape. ‘He’s part of the Elite 4, so he knows much more than I do. Brawly already went to train there, so you can just join them.’

    Maylene’s eyes followed the rushing Primeape and his Trainer; they were so busy doing whatever it is that they needed to do. Chuck must have learned to control his Pokémon sometime while she was gone, as her last memory of the Primeape involved herself falling into a large body of water, an occurrence that was often followed by hazy memories.

    She slowly backed out of the Gym, and went to join her waiting Pokémon. Riolu was resting against the warm sands that he had never experienced in any place but Cianwood, and Machop seemed to be confused by, yet ecstatic at, the change in the weather. He often ran off and challenged other Trainers’ Pokémon, but they were also too busy to pay attention to him.

    Riolu looked up at his Trainer expectedly, waiting for any response from her. They had never seen Chuck and his Trainers so absorbed in their work before, and amidst all the building and the running around, Maylene knew that, as Chuck had told her, she had to go.

    ‘Apparently we have to go to a place in Kanto,’ Maylene said with a sigh. ‘The Sevii Islands. We can train there with a guy named Bruno if we want, and Brawly is already there.’

    Riolu’s head almost fell in disappoint; they had come all this way to finish their training, and they were more excited than ever, and more determined, yet another trip was in order. Machop turned to the pair not long afterwards, and joined them in their disappointment; he wanted to fight as soon as possible, and fight anything he can fight.

    He immediately went for Riolu, jumping at him fist first, and throwing the smaller Pokémon to the ground. Machop started jumping in his place, his fists in front of him, and shouting at Riolu to get up for a fight.

    ‘Not now, Machop,’ Maylene said. ‘There will be a time for that, but not now.’

    Riolu lifted himself up from the sands; Machop had just joined them and he was already annoying. He walked behind Maylene, who started for the sea, talking about whether they should swim or wait for a boat, but all Riolu could concetrate on was Machop’s unnecessary taunts.

    The Superpower Pokémon kept on jumping in his place, diving higher into the air with each leap. He was eager to battle, as he always was, and joining sides with a human didn’t change that; any moment that he was able to spend out of the Poké Ball was an opportunity for a fight. His jumps slowly brought his forward towards Riolu, who was staring with disregard, unable to fathom this obsession, even though it was in him as well.

    Maylene had been lucky in capturing a Pokémon that was as enthusiastic about becoming stronger as she and Riolu were, but it was evident that the way with which Machop tried to achieve his goal was vastly different; while Maylene and Riolu turned to those stronger than themselves for guidance, Machop seemed to not only crave battles at any given moment, but unable to accept loss.

    To Maylene, it was her new Pokémon’s strength; the fact that he would stop at nothing to become stronger. But to Riolu, it was Machop’s weakness; the Pokémon lacked the doubt that drove Maylene and Riolu to Cianwood, and the fear of not achieving their dreams.

    ‘We’ll just wait for a boat,’ Maylene announced as she turned around to face her still Riolu and jumping Machop. ‘I told you, Machop, not now. We can’t fight.’

    Machop looked at his owner defiantly before walking off towards the approaching Chuck and his Primeape. The large Pokémon was carrying numerous boxes above his shoulders, while Chuck was holding a large metal beam; Maylene still had no idea why everyone seemed to gather building supplies in the cave.

    With a jump, Machop managed to kick the top box to the sand, brining it down with a crash, sending screws and scrap metal digging into the sand, and lifting a considerable amount of weight off of Primeape’s left arm. He toppled to the ground at the sudden shift, and all of the boxes followed the example of the first, sending iron rods, chains, bags of sharp steel, and various other interpretations of metal into the sand. Machop landed on the ground safely, returning to his challenging, taunting style of jumping, looking Primeape directly in the eye, and waiting for the inevitable fight to start.

    Primeape let out a shrill shriek before running towards the Machop. He drove his fur-covered body into the smaller Pokémon, and fired him to the side of the Gym. Machop’s body left a dent, and he fell to the ground with a gasp, but Primeape didn’t stop; he ran forward once more, picking Machop up by his leg, and smashing him like a rag doll against the corner of the Gym. The building suffered another dent, a dent that got deeper with every hit.

    ‘Stop that!’ Maylene shouting and ran forward. ‘You’ll kill him!’

    Riolu followed his Trainer, as did Chuck. Each time their feet met the ground, Machop’s head collided against the Gym, and as they got closer and closer, the corner eventually came apart, and Machop was thrown into the Gym. Primeape jumped in after his victim, landing knee first on the unsuspecting Pokémon. The floor beneath them cracked as Primeape drove his knee into his prey once more.

    Maylene was the first to jump through the hole in the Gym, sending her body flying towards the Primeape who had been in that same situation not too long ago; he grabbed Maylene by her leg again, and flung her out of the hole, and towards the ocean. Riolu jumped up, catching his Trainer before she fell headfirst into the waters of Johto for the third time, and fell back from the force as Chuck passed him.

    He went into the Gym, and with one forceful grip, lifted the flailing Primeape off of the unconscious Machop. ‘Come get your Pokémon,’ Chuck said to Maylene, the Primeape still struggling in his hand. ‘And make sure he doesn’t act like a petulant child again.’

    ‘I’m sorry,’ Maylene said as she produced a Poké Ball. ‘I don’t know why he did that.’

    ‘It’s evident why he did that,’ Chuck said, dropping Primeape now that Machop was no longer in the area close to them. ‘You were not ready for a second Pokémon, Maylene, and you should not have caught that Machop.’

  36. #36
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    Default §28: Clash

    The S.S. Aqua arrived in Vermilion City in the middle of the night. Maylene lazily left the bed she had been sleeping on, and was forced to leave the ship. Her vision was hazy, and she swayed as she walked, yawning and rubbing at her eyes.

    The city was surprisingly noiseless. Even though passengers were constantly leaving and boarding ships, they were all quiet and organised, not making any sound that might disturb those who were sleeping in their own houses, or in the port. Maylene sat on a bench close to the ship she had just exited, and waited for another ship, one that would take her to the Sevii Islands.

    In her pocket, Riolu and Machop were resting in their Poké Balls, next to a blue plastic container that held an identification card, as well as the Rainbow Pass that would allow Maylene to travel to the Sevii Islands. All Maylene had to do was wait for one of the many ferries that would take her to where she was supposed to meet Bruno.

    She had left Cianwood in a hurry, taking care not to cause any more problems. Perhaps Chuck was right; maybe she wasn’t ready for another Pokémon. Even before she caught Machop, she and Riolu had been growing apart; they were less synchronised in their battles, and they hadn’t spent any time training together.

    The fact that Riley had shot down all her hopes of becoming an Aura Master seemed to affect Maylene deeper than she had expected. It wasn’t as simple as accepting it; she had to learn how to cope with it. She reached into her pocket, and produced Riolu’s Poké Ball, a Poké Ball that was scratched and damaged from years of ownership. She held it between her palms, and stared at it intensely, wondering if Riolu could stare back at her, and if his mind housed the same thoughts that Maylene’s did.

    She pushed her finger against the release button, and Riolu formed from the beam of light that shot out of the Poké Ball. He turned to face Maylene, who patted the area on the bench next to her, and climbed to sit next to her.

    ‘I’m sorry, Riolu,’ Maylene started, squeezing out the words. ‘Ever since you hatched, it was always about me becoming Stronger.’

    Riolu stared back at his Trainer, etching closer to her. He placed his head against her hip, and wrapped his arms around her, and Maylene’s arms covered Riolu. Even though Maylene had been expecting a regretful speech about how she never cared for Riolu’s feelings, it seemed that what she said was enough.

    Riolu’s hold was comforting, and his body was relaxed against her arms.

    *

    Maylene woke up to the sound of a ship leaving, sending water flying in a heap behind her. From the corner of her eye, Maylene noticed that the ship was different than the white, luxurious-looking cruises that set sail; it was almost completely black, and the passenger she left behind was different than all the rest.

    He wore a green tank top, camouflage pants, and brown boots. His eyes hid behind his sunglasses, and his blonde hair went up in spikes. His body was muscular, and his footsteps were loud, giving him many stares from the people who awaited their own ships.

    Behind him was an orange coloured Pokémon whose tail ended in a thunderbolt pattern. He walked on two long feet, and had stubby arms. His ears went up high above his head, his cheeks were composed of two sacs that frequently emitted electricity, and he looked around in confidence, encouraging all the people to avert their gaze, all but Maylene.

    Riolu was awake beside his Trainer, sitting on the same spot on the bench, and like Maylene, staring at the strange man. The orange Pokémon’s sacs started emitting longer bolts of electricity, and he started growling.

    ‘Settle, Raichu,’ the man said; his voice was deep and loud, and the Pokémon calmed down immediately. The man turned his head to face Maylene and Riolu. ‘Don’t stare.’

    *

    Even though the Sevii Islands were part of Kanto, they seemed much more different and distinct. The ocean breeze was colder than it was in Cianwood, Olivine, or Vermilion, and the trees were all huddled together behind the buildings, amongst which stood a Pokémon Center larger than any other that Maylene had ever seen.

    As she walked, the wood beneath her foot gave light sounds that combined with the crashing waves and gave her the feeling of something new. Everything around her seemed different, bringing about her excitement, something that she always carried along with each new beginning.

    Riolu walked next to her, observing his new surroundings with a fearful curiosity, a feeling that something was wrong, but he walked on as Maylene entered the Pokémon Center. Brawly greeted her, and they delved into light conversation that Riolu ignored; he was too focused on whatever was wrong.

    There was a large machine attached to a computer, and it took up all the space that a Pokémon Center wouldn’t normally have. A man was working on the wires and all the mechanics of it, and a nurse approached him, handing him a glass of water. To the side, a couple of children were exchanging stories that would seem trivial to most adults, and a Pokémon Trainer sat opposite them checking his Pokédex.

    None of them seemed to be the source of Riolu’s unrest.

    Riolu reluctantly followed Maylene out of the Pokémon Center. Brawly led them to a boat that he rowed past the dock, and as he and Maylene kept on talking, Riolu’s feeling of uneasiness rose more and more, taking up all of his thoughts.

    The boat moved slowly, pushing itself through the water with Brawly’s help. The sea was clam, and the air was as cool as it had been when they arrived. A few Pokémon jutted their heads to observe the group, but dived back into their depths whenever the humans were close. Brawly’s arms stopped controlling the oars, and they sailed slowly, until the boat’s bottom hit the land.

    ‘Good to see you here,’ a man said to them, approaching them with his arms folded before him. ‘Time to train, Maylene.’

    Riolu recognised him. He was the man that Maylene had encountered just outside of Cianwood, right before he attacked her. Maylene froze in her place as Brawly left the boat, and extended a hand to her; she was as scared as Riolu, if not more. Her last encounter with the man left her injured and unable to train, almost crippled.

    ‘Come on, Maylene,’ Brawly said, flexing the fingers of his extended hand. ‘Is something wrong?’

    ‘I’ll assume she didn’t tell you,’ the man said. ‘I was the man who attacked her.’

    Brawly’s eyes turned to Bruno in disbelief; Maylene never mentioned being attacked, nor could he imagine a grown man attacking a young girl so brutally that she would be paralysed with fear at the sight of him.

    ‘It was the day in which the mountain in Cianwood suffered an avalanche,’ the man explained. ‘Did she never tell you?’

    Riolu jumped out of the boat, and stood between the man and Maylene; he was ready to protect his Trainer, who was still frozen in her place.

    ‘Calm down,’ the man said. ‘I’m not going to attack her again, and my attack was merely a response to her own attack. I never permanently injured your Trainer.’

    Even though Riolu’s uneasiness still remained, he was convinced that the man wouldn’t attack Maylene again. Maylene tried to utter out a word, but it turned into a sequence of mumbles.

    ‘It doesn’t matter now,’ the man said. ‘My name is Bruno, and you’re here for me to train you.’

    There were sounds of grunting, and for the first time, Maylene noticed the Pokémon that were battling behind Bruno, amongst which was Makuhita, defending himself against a vicious attack from a muscular, four-armed Pokémon. His body was a dull grey, and three ridges rose up on his head. The Pokémon glanced back at Maylene from the corned of his eye, and gave a small grin.

    ‘Don’t waste time,’ Bruno said. ‘Take Brawly’s hand, and follow me.’

  37. #37
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    Default §29: A Temporary Hue

    Even though Maylene knew that it was not safe for her to trust Bruno so fast, she couldn’t help but do trust him.

    All the man’s Pokémon had the utmost respect and undying loyalty for him, something that she had only seen in Crasher Wake, and only after years of spending time with him. And while she and Chuck had their differences, the fact that he trusts Bruno was reassuring.

    Maylene had not trained for a few days, only observing him and Brawly, something that Bruno seemed to understand, and ever since then, he had ignored her, letting the young girl sit on the beach and observe him and his Pokémon train opposite Brawly and his own Pokémon. Riolu had always been by her side, never letting himself back into his Poké Ball, but even he seemed to be gradually trusting Bruno.

    Perhaps it was the fact that Brawly was present that was reassuring to Maylene and Riolu, maybe his presence meant that Bruno wouldn’t dare attack her again. Even though Maylene was starting to feel safe around Bruno, she still couldn’t bring herself to train with him. She was sure that Bruno wouldn’t harm her, but his training seemed very harsh.

    While Crasher Wake focused on making Maylene and Riolu think as one, and Chuck focused his training on making the Pokémon stronger and sturdier, Bruno focused his training on the humans. Observing Bruno as he trained Brawly, it seemed that the young apprentice was as exhausted by the training as his Makuhita, if not more.

    It was a hot day, and once again, Maylene lingered away from the training, observing from a distance as Brawly panted heavily. Makuhita, being a Pokémon, had long since been able to split a brick in half, but Brawly had been struggling for a few days.

    ‘Do you ever intend on joining Brawly?’

    Both Maylene and Riolu turned around, and the Pokémon flung himself protectively before Maylene at the sight of Bruno.

    ‘How long have you b-been standing there?’ stuttered Maylene, all the feelings of safety she had developed quickly evaporating.

    ‘Just a few seconds,’ said Bruno. ‘Will you join Brawly for your training or not?’

    ‘I… I don’t know yet,’ said Maylene. ‘I just-‘

    ‘I want an answer now,’ said Bruno, and Maylene got up off of the rock she had been sitting on as the large man took a step forward. ‘You can either start now, or leave.’

    Bruno’s voice was loud enough to draw Brawley’s attention to the pair. Riolu remained before Maylene, though he had no clue as to what to do if Bruno decided to attack. Even Riolu couldn’t believe it, but the human was too strong for him.

    ‘An answer, now,’ said Bruno.

    ‘I can’t decide that quickly!’ said Maylene, trying as hard as she can to sound confident. ‘You have to give me time!’

    ‘You’ve had more than enough time,’ said Bruno. ‘If you stay on this rock for the rest of your life, then you’ll never become a Gym Leader. This moping will not benefit you; it’s time you grew up, and faced your life.’

    Maylene wanted to retaliate, but all she could think of was arguing for more time. If she said yes, she would be sucked into training that she was convinced was too much for her at that moment, especially now that her fear of Bruno had returned with full force, and if she said no, then she would miss out on this opportunity. Maybe that’s why she had been feeling safe; Bruno had not spoken to her at all for days.

    It was at that point that the muscular four-armed Pokémon approached the group, and stood behind Bruno. He folded his arms and stared at Maylene, a grin widening his face, unlike Bruno, who stood completely motionless.

    ‘Decide now,’ said Bruno. ‘Or you’ll have to leave against your will.’

    Maylene still stood as if she was about to break into a run, and Riolu, although he remained in front of her, turned his head and started looking expectedly at his Trainer as well.

    ‘And whatever your decision is, don’t think you can change it,’ said Bruno. ‘If you say no, never come back again and expect me to train you.’

    ‘Fine, I’ll leave,’ said Maylene.

    At those words, Riolu completely turned around, giving his back to Bruno, and faced his Trainer. He started protesting, but it seemed useless; for some reason, Maylene had refused the opportunity to become stronger. It couldn’t have been because Bruno had defeated her; that would never get in her way.

    He turned around, facing Bruno and his Pokémon, before jumping off of the rock. He rose into the air, his arm extending behind his body, and thrust it at the Pokémon, who blocked it with ease. Riolu fell to the ground and took on a challenging stance.

    ‘You want to battle Machamp?’ Bruno asked, and Riolu responded with a yell.

    Machamp looked at Bruno expectedly, and the human gave a nod. At once, he jumped forward, and Riolu only had a second to fling himself back before Machamp’s fist dug deep into the sand. A loud muffled thud came as the earth shook, and sand flew in all directions. Machamp jumped towards the Riolu, smashing the rock Maylene had been sitting on, and once again missing the small Pokémon who managed to duck just in time.

    Maylene’s eyes had been covered ever since Machamp’s fist had hit the ground, and sand flew towards her, but when she lowered her arm she saw that she was against the cliff at the far end of the island, her feet not touching the ground. Bruno’s arm was wrapped around her waist, and she hung like a ragdoll.

    ‘Machamp would have hit you,’ said Bruno as the two Pokémon continued to fight, Riolu doing nothing but dodging Machamp’s attacks. ‘Right now, he’s only attacking Riolu in the most basic form, and I will start ordering some attacks from him; I suggest you do the same.’

    But there was nothing that Maylene could think of; whenever Riolu landed on the ground, he only had a second before Machamp had reached him again, and he had to jump away again. Her only option was to retreat her Pokémon. She drew Riolu’s Poké Ball from her pocket, but Bruno’s hand swatted it away, and the sphere flew towards the rocks before shattering as it hit them.

    ‘No retreating!’ Bruno shouted as he dropped Maylene to the ground.

    She became much more frightened. It was as if all her insides had clamped onto each other, and the fear in her increased each time Machamp shook the earth beneath her. With Bruno towering over her, and Machamp’s giving one vicious attack after the other, Maylene was convinced she would die.

    ‘Start battling!’ Bruno shouted again, and Maylene broke into tears.

    She started sopping hysterically, her face against the sand and her yells of anguish louder than the smashing rocks. Beside her, Bruno shouted an order, and a cry of pain echoed throughout the island. Everything stopped, and Maylene hoped that it would stay that way, but then there was a light thud, and Riolu’s body was left sprawled across the ground, surrounded by a cloud of dust.

    Maylene looked up, wiping the tears and sand from her face. Her Pokémon was coughing blood, and his left arm appeared to be bent unnaturally. Machamp stood over him, and only then did Maylene notice that Bruno was no longer next to her. He was standing next to Machamp, casting a look over Maylene before he walked away, his Pokémon closely following him.

    At once, Maylene got up and sprinted for Riolu, who was deep in the sand. She wrapped her arms around her Pokémon, and brought him up to her chest, carefully avoiding his arm. Brawly came over to the pair, and tried to pry Riolu away.

    ‘His arm is just dislocated,’ he said somberly, not making any eye contact with Maylene. ‘I’ll fix it quickly.’

    Reluctantly, Maylene let Brawly take hold of Riolu, and with a slight cry of pain, and a sudden sound, Riolu’s arm looked natural again.

    ‘He just needs rest,’ said Brawly. ‘Just don’t let him battle for a while. I would recommend that you return him to his Poké Ball, but I doubt that would work again.’

    Maylene flung her head around, and was met with the sight of red and white fragments that scattered amongst the rocks. It was the Poké Ball that Crasher Wake had given her, and Riolu was the Pokémon she had received a long time ago from him.

    She wiped at her tearing eyes, and Brawly walked away from the pair. Maylene hugged Riolu again, and she remained still for a long time. The sun set, and the sky became full of stars. Riolu’s hand tightened around Maylene’s, and the pair sat amidst the sand.

    ‘I’m sorry, Riolu,’ said Maylene. ‘I should never have dragged you with me. It’s all my fault for wanting to become a Gym Leader. Life was easier when we never left Sinnoh.’

  38. #38
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    Default §30: To The Shade

    Vermilion City didn’t change in eleven days, but Maylene had hoped that something would distract her from the events that had come to pass. Riolu was cradled in her arm, and the remains of his Poké Ball were packed away with her belongings. She stood leaning on the rails of the port, watching the sea and hoping for anything to distract her while she waited for the S. S. Aqua to take her back to Cianwood.

    There are many people aside from Chuck that she would have preferred to talk to, but he was the closest person she could think of; everyone else was in Sinnoh, and she didn’t know anyone from Kanto. A Magikarp was popping against the surface of the water, trying to jump over the water, but always stopping her swim too soon, her mouth constantly gaping as if she was surprised.

    Riolu was clutching at Maylene’s blue shirt when, hours later, the arrival of the S. S. Aqua was announced by the ship’s loud horn, and the dull voice that came with a shrill noise from the megaphones. Maylene showed her ticket, and was able to quickly find her room. She locked the door, and was overcome by a deep slumber.

    *

    The next day, Maylene opened her eyes as soon as the sun had risen. She walked to her window, leaving Riolu fast asleep on the bed. The light reflected on the buildings of Olivine City, and the surface of the sea was glinting, disturbed only by the ripples of the slowing ferry. A good distance was still between them and the dock, and everyone seemed to take that opportunity to watch the sunrise as the footsteps outside Maylene’s door indicated.

    After a few minutes, Maylene started to notice some disturbances in the surface of the sea. A new set of ripples intercepted those created by the S. S. Aqua, and they slowly became waves. A large serpentine beast with glaring red eyes had come into view, and only when it approached the window did Maylene register that it was looking directly at her.

    The Pokémon’s jaws clamped around the circular window, and with a fast motion, pulled it out. The frightened screams of the people above reached Maylene’s ears as she fell onto the floor, and Riolu woke up with a wince.

    The Gyarados swam away past the hole, and right behind his fin, Maylene spotted a familiar face.

    ‘Come on, jump aboard!’ Crasher Wake screamed unnecessarily.

    She didn’t have to think about it; she trusted Crasher Wake enough to do what he said. Maylene wrapped her arms around Riolu, and walked to where the window used to be. The Gyarados swam closer to the ferry, and Crasher Wake was reaching for Maylene.

    ‘What about my bag?’ said Maylene. ‘It has my clothes and everything in it.’

    ‘I’ll take of it, just jump to me!’

    With a final check that the numb bundle in her arms was indeed Riolu, she dived towards the hole, and fell into Crasher Wake’s arms. Gyarados gave a roar, and it swam away as all the spectators took photos and stared in disbelief.

    ‘How did you know where to find me?’

    ‘Brawly called me and told me what happened,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘So I just sailed the sea until I found you; caught this Gyarados while at it!’

    He gave a slap to the Gyarados, and the Pokémon roared in anger.

    ‘Are you going to take me back to Sinnoh?’

    ‘Do you want to go back to Sinnoh?’

    ‘Yeah, I think I’m done,’ said Maylene, casting a glance at Riolu. ‘It’s not like I can go anywhere else.’

    ‘What about Chuck? You can still train with him,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘Besides, I think I’m starting to like Johto! The sea here is great! Sinnoh is cold, and the seas there are not good enough. But this! This is great!’

    Maylene lacked Crasher Wake’s enthusiasm. She glanced again at Riolu, and her eyes lingered on the Pokémon, who looked back in surprise. He couldn’t believe that Maylene would give up on her goal, and Crasher Wake seemed to reflect his thoughts.

    ‘Listen, Maylene, I know you faced more hurdles during the past few months than ever before, but you can’t give up! You said you wanted to become a Gym Leader! You would be great as a Gym Leader!’

    ‘I don’t have what it takes, though.’

    ‘Name the Gym Leaders that you know!’

    ‘There’s you, dad, Roark just became one, his dad, Fantina, and there’s Chuck and Pryce from Johto, and Brawly from Hoenn.’

    ‘And you’re Strongest than all of them!’ Crasher Wake gave a loud laugh. ‘You have all that it takes to become a Gym Leader! Gyarados, let’s go for Olivine!’

    Gyarados gave a roar, and swam faster towards the city. They stopped at the beach, where they all stepped onto the sand, and Crasher Wake returned Gyarados to his Poké Ball. He signaled for Maylene to follow him, and walked towards the center of the city.

    ‘We’ll start by getting back the old you! I don’t like this depressed Maylene!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘The old Maylene ate a lot, so you’re going to start eating!’

    It took them a few minutes of roaming to find a restaurant, and Crasher Wake held the door open as Maylene went in reluctantly. They sat at a table in the centre of the restaurant, and a waiter handed them their menus.

    ‘Anything interests you? I can see a lot of things I want to eat!’ exclaimed Crasher Wake.

    Maylene shook her head, and handed her menu to Riolu, who was sitting on a chair, and almost completely below the table.

    ‘Come on, Maylene,’ Crasher Wake pleaded. ‘Moping won’t get you anywhere! No one blames you. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that it was all Bruno’s fault. When Brawly told me what happened, the first thing I wanted to do was go to Bruno and give him the same treatment he unfairly gave you!

    ‘But right now, I want to make sure you’re okay, and you’re obviously not. This isn’t the Maylene that I know! I want you to show Bruno that you don’t need his help. You can become a Gym Leader on your own, and you can defeat him. I want you to show them all. Be stronger than Chuck, be stronger than Pryce, be stronger than me, your father, anyone! Be the Strongest!’

    ‘And what if I don’t want to be strong anymore?’ said Maylene. ‘What if I don’t want to be a Gym Leader?’

    ‘Then you can stop training, but you do want to be a Gym Leader,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘When I was your age, I was constantly made of for my size, but I didn’t let that get in my way!’

    ‘I didn’t know you were born skinny…’

    ‘I wasn’t! Kids made fun of me because I was huge. I was as tall as you when I was four! You have the ability to be strong, and I’ll prove it!’

    Maylene looked up questioningly at Crasher Wake, and one glance at his eyes zoomed her back. In that moment, Maylene could have sworn she had travelled to all the times she and Crasher Wake had a battle. Every drop of rain surrounding them was clear in her head. Every blotch of mud on her clothes was as present.

    She hadn’t had such a sensation for a long time. Excitement mixed with her doubt, and quickly overcame it. Maybe it was the fact that she had never defeated Crasher Wake, and she made him to be a godly figure in her mind, flawless in his battles, that erased her fear of defeat.

    ‘There’s a twist, though!’ Crasher Wake said with a grin. ‘Since your Machop is new to your team, and my Gyarados barely spent three hours in my possession, we’re going to use them, and have a battle that will shake Johto to its core!’

  39. #39
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    Default §31: The Lessons

    It wasn’t raining, and no clouds obstructed the sun. That day, all of Johto seemed brimming with energy, and the sand beneath Maylene’s feet glittered like diamonds. She stood opposite Crasher Wake on Route 40, gripping the Poké Ball that contained Machop. Only a few paces separated the two Trainers, and the longer Maylene stood there, the more her feelings of doubt left her.

    ‘Ready or not, here I come!’ screamed Crasher Wake. ‘Go, Gyarados!’

    Crasher Wake tossed his Poké Ball into the air. It spun forward rapidly, and opened to reveal the large creature he had caught less than a day earlier. The Gyarados smacked the Poké Ball with his tail, and it flew back towards Crasher Wake.

    ‘Send out your Pokémon!’

    Maylene was nervous. She glanced at the Poké Ball in her hands; of course she’d lose, but Crasher Wake made it clear to her that this wasn’t about winning. She had to learn to command her Machop, and that is what really mattered; she was too dependent on Riolu, who was standing by her, waiting for the Machop to come out.

    Maylene flung the Poké Ball to the ground, and it split to send out the small Pokémon. Machop looked around as the Poké Ball bounced back to Maylene; he was never used in a battle before. A grin spread across Machop’s face, but it quickly disappeared when he saw his opponent. The Gyarados growled, and Machop took a step back, his arms in front of him, ready to attack and to defend.

    ‘Machop, start with a Karate Chop!’ Maylene shouted.

    Without any second’s hesitation, Machop jumped into the air, and was heading for the Gyarados. He brought his hand down on the Pokémon, who gave no reaction except for roaring in return. Machop landed back on the sand, even more weary of the Gyarados than before.

    ‘I’m afraid just attacking won’t be good this time, Maylene!’ Crasher Wake laughed. ‘You see, Gyarados is Flying Pokémon; your Machop can barely do much to him.’

    ‘Then why did you even suggest that we battle?’

    ‘Because when you’re a Gym Leader, you don’t get to choose your opponents,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘You reputation will beat you, and all challengers will bring exactly what counters you!’

    It was true. Maylene had seen many challengers of her father and of Crasher Wake bring exactly what Pokémon would help them get the Badge. It’s not as simple as just becoming a Gym Leader; it carried with it the burden of defeat. Maylene’s mind raced between ideas; even though the Gyarados resisted Machop’s attacks, it was still affected, if only marginally. She could keep on ordering more attacks, or actually use strategy.

    She considered the route of doing what Brawly did; finding what Gyarados is afraid of, and exploiting it, before remembering how it felt and quickly disregarding that thought.

    ‘Focus Energy!’

    Machop relaxed his body and soothes in his spot. He had been as nervous as Maylene, but his comfort seemingly extended to her, as she found herself calming down as well. It was strange not seeing her Pokémon attack after an order, even if she had never battled with Machop before.

    ‘That’s it?’ Crasher Wake laughed. ‘Sooner or later, I’m going to start giving orders for attacks! Better plan your moves carefully, Maylene!’

    ‘Use Leer!’

    If Crasher Wake wasn’t attacking yet, then Maylene must use all the time she had the best way she could. Machop’s defensive stance completely disappeared; he was ready to attack, and the grin returned to his face.

    ‘That’s about as much time as I can give you,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘Aqua Tail!’

    The Gyarados gave a deafening roar that almost took all of Maylene’s confidence. It leapt towards the Machop, flipping over itself in the air and bringing his tail down. Machop leapt out of the way, ducking and diving to the side as the blue tail crashed into the sand, creating a den, and causing some of the sea to their side to splash.

    ‘Low Sweep!’

    Almost instantly, Machop was back on his feet and managed to strike his opponent before it had time to adjust itself. Gyarados fell to his side, creating more dents in the sand, and causing the water to slowly seep into the battlefield, and if Maylene had learned anything through her years of battling Crasher Wake, it was that a Water Pokémon with access to its habitat can be very deadly.

    ‘Karate Chop, and jump out of the way!’

    ‘Surf!’

    She knew the attack too well. Machop jumped towards the rising Gyarados and gave it another strike that did nothing to slow it down. The larger serpentine Pokémon was completely upright, and Machop hurriedly jumped back as it gave a roar.

    It was only a split second before an explosion of noise surrounded the group. A wave rose up to her left, and Maylene could’ve swore she saw a man in swimwear flying off of it; she did not want that force hitting Machop. She did not even consider the fact that they were battling by the sea.

    The wave crashed into the sand, working its way to the end of the beach. Maylene and Riolu braced themselves; from experience, they knew that the force of the attack wasn’t directed at them, but at Machop. The grey Pokémon changed his direction and ran towards the rocks, hoping in vain for the wave to dissipate the further it got from the sea. Gyarados gave another roar, and the attack boosted itself. Another wave joined the first.

    Machop leapt onto the mountain, climbing furiously as the waves hit the rocks, slowly rising and catching up to him. In moments, one of them hit him in the back, and he gave a yelp of pain as his body was pushed against a particularly jutting rock. The attack drew itself back, and Machop fell down, slowly making his way through the water and back to the sand.

    ‘That was a good job!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘Look at Gyarados!’

    Maylene and Riolu, who were dripping with water and had been completely submerged in the waves, shifted their eyes to the larger Pokémon. It was still standing, but Gyarados was panting. Machop leaned back against the rocks, and gave another silly grin.

    ‘You’ve never made any of my Pokémon pant before!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘And if that doesn’t prove to you that you’re Strongest than before, then I don’t know what will.’

    ‘You did give me three free attacks,’ said Maylene. ‘You didn’t give any commands to Gyarados at the start.’

    ‘That is my strategy, then!’ he gave a much louder laugh. ‘Not all Trainers are the same, and some of them even differ from Pokémon to Pokémon. With Riolu, you gave one order of attack after another, and with Machop, you worked on giving him an advantage. In less than a year, even that will change!’

    Maylene couldn’t help but give a dump smile. She gestured for Machop to come, and he ran towards her.

    ‘That was a great job, Machop,’ said Maylene. ‘You were Strongest; perfect for my team!’

    Riolu offered his hand to the Pokémon, and the Machop took it gracefully. Soon enough, the pair had jumped off to the side, and began sparring together. Crasher Wake returned Gyarados to his Poké Ball, and made his way to Maylene. They exchanged no words, but a mere smile.

  40. #40
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    Default §32: A True Test

    A year had passed since that day in Olivine City. For her age, Maylene had become quite tall, and Riolu and Machop had gotten stronger than they had ever been; the pair had been training against each other since that day. And like them, Maylene had been training for that whole year.

    As well as training with him, Maylene had spent the year travelling around Kanto with Crasher Wake, who refused to tell her how he was able to take a year off from his Gym Leader duties. Her time with Chuck and Brawly, and her visits to Pryce and to Bruno; nothing was a match to the time she spent with Crasher Wake. She had travelled to Johto and Kanto, and completely forgot about the fact that a Gym Leader she adored and looked up to was by her all this time.

    Their last stop was Saffron City, where the buildings shot to the sky and gave off many golden lights that were apparent even in the day. Maylene didn’t know whether or not Kanto had a capital, but if it did, then it had to be Saffron. The large bustling city was connected to four other cities, and each of them seemed to have been touched by residents of Saffron and their modern ways. The streets and the buildings reminded Maylene of Sinnoh. After a year, she would finally get to go back; she couldn’t even believe her mother had agreed to this tour of Kanto.

    Riolu and Machop were right behind her, and Crasher Wake was leading the way, getting many looks as the passing citizens studied his outfit.

    ‘Did you save the best for last?’ said Maylene.

    ‘You can tell!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘I can’t get anything past you! You’re as smart as an adult!’

    ‘Or you’re as smart as a small child,’ said a female. ‘It’s nice to see you again, Crasher Wake.’

    Maylene whirled around to see the source of the voice. A young-looking woman stood behind her. She had long flowing grey hair and crimson red eyes. She wore a black tight suit topped with a red shirt and skirt. Her skin was very pale.

    ‘Ah, Sabrina!’ Crasher Wake screamed unnecessarily. ‘It’s great to see you again!’

    The large man ran over to the comparatively petite woman and took her in a hug before lowering her back to the ground. She gave a faint smile before turning to Maylene.

    ‘So, you’re Maylene,’ said Sabrina. ‘It’s very nice to meet you.’

    She offered her a hand, and Maylene took it after noting the white glove that covered it.

    ‘Yes, I’m Maylene,’ she said. ‘Crasher Wake didn’t tell me who you are.’

    ‘My name is Sabrina. I’m the Gym Leader here,’ said Sabrina. ‘I understand you want to become a Gym Leader in the future.’

    ‘I do!’

    ‘Best of luck to you, then,’ said Sabrina. ‘Now, what brings you two to Saffron?’

    ‘We’re travelling Kanto,’ said Maylene. ‘Crasher Wake saved the best for last!’

    ‘So I gather,’ said Sabrina. ‘Well, I hope you enjoy your time here.’

    Giving Maylene a pat on the head, Sabrina walked away. The young girl turned to Crasher Wake with a quizzical look as the larger man shrugged.

    ‘Why does she wear those gloves and long sleeves?’ said Maylene. ‘It’s really not cold.’

    ‘Oh, no one agrees about that!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘Some say she’s just crazy, and hey, I wear things that make people think I’m crazy!’

    Crasher Wake gave his signature loud laugh; even after a year, Maylene had not grown tired of it at all. Maylene had met a few Gym Leaders along her trip around Kanto, and even a girl only a few years older than her who wanted to become a Gym Leader as well; the fact that her father held a position as one, like Maylene’s father, instantly made her like the girl.

    Compared to all the ones she’d met, Sabrina seemed like the most normal of the Gym Leaders; it was only her strange choice of excessive clothing that made her stand out. In fact, all Gym Leaders seemingly had some trait that made them stand out, and it certainly wasn’t hard to figure out what made Crasher Wake different from the rest.

    ‘If I become a Gym Leader, how will I stand out?’ said Maylene.

    ‘Hmm, that’s a tough question. I guess you don’t obviously stand out,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘You’re more like Sabrina in that regard; who might stand out to us, but to the people in Saffron City, she doesn’t attract attention. She’s very subtle.’

    ‘Yeah, I guess she is.’

    Maylene looked up to the sky; the sun was setting; almost playing a game of hide-and-seek behind the various skyscrapers that dotted the city. The streets once again became bustled as life and activity exploded throughout them. Crasher Wake wasn’t a good tour guide, and Maylene often just followed in silence and marveled at the sights she saw without knowing what they were called.

    A particular building stood out amongst the others. It was the tallest in Saffron City, and the clean glass panes that surrounded it reflected every golden light from the surrounding buildings and made it look like the brightest building. The darker it got, and the more the sun was leaving Saffron, the brighter the structure became. Soon, it was as if the building had no glass panes, but was made entirely of the golden light.

    ‘What’s that?’

    ‘Oh, that,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘It’s the Silph Company, according to this sign.’

    ‘Well, I could’ve read that!’ said Maylene. ‘I mean, why is it important?’

    ‘Just because it’s big, that doesn’t mean it’s important!’

    ‘I could say the same thing about you!’

    Once again, Crasher Wake gave his loud laugh. Riolu and Machop, who were sparring throughout Saffron City, had grown tired and were walking sluggishly behind Maylene. Crasher Wake had only ended the day when the night was certain over them. A few slowly left the streets for the comfort of their homes, but many more remained. Crasher Wake had suggested going to meet Sabrina one last time before going back to Sinnoh when Maylene saw the state of the Gym.

    Several figures stood in front of it; there was no way the pair would ever get in. They were all wearing black outfits. It was only a few seconds before all the lights of Saffron City turned off at once, and everything was plunged into darkness.

    A red light started spinning at the top of the Silph Company building, accompanied by a siren, but like the golden before them, it was only a matter of seconds before they disappeared.

    ‘Something’s not right,’ said Crasher Wake. ‘Stand close to me, Maylene.’

    ‘We should go check that building.’

    ‘I promised your mom I would protect you, and that is what I’ll do!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘You’re my top priority right now. Is Riolu and Machop still next to us?’

    The two Pokémon gave sounds of confirmation, and Maylene felt Crasher Wake’s large hand on her shoulder, squeezing her in place.

    ‘That was an emergency,’ said Maylene. ‘It has to be! Red light and annoying noises!’

    ‘Sabrina is the Gym Leader here; if anyone was going to do something in Saffron, then they’ll regret it.’

    ‘Sabrina is stuck in her Gym! They ganged up on her!’ shouted Maylene. She tried to pry her body away from Crasher Wake’s hold, but to no avail. ‘If you want to keep me safe, then come with me! We have to check that place!’

    ‘No, Maylene! It isn’t our job!’

    ‘It’s your job as a Gym Leader!’

    Crasher Wake froze in his place; it was as if the lights inside him had been turned off as well. He chanced one glance at Maylene, then a nod. His hold on Maylene was lifted, but so was the little girl. Crasher Wake took her up to his shoulder, and the two Pokémon clung onto the man.

    He ran through streets of frightened people and crying babies, hushed whispers and panicked screams, before they reached the largest building of Saffron. Four figures stood in front of it, and all of them turned to face the silhouette.

    A woman stepped forward. She must have been the leader, as she wore a dress that was completely white, and her hair was red. With each step she took, her heels clicked against the concrete.

    ‘Whoever you are, don’t think you can come in,’ the woman said. ‘I’m here to stop you if that’s the case.’

    ‘You can’t stop the two of us!’ Maylene shouted and jumped off of Crasher Wake’s shoulder.

    ‘I know you,’ said the woman, studying the large man. ‘You’d be hard to miss with such an outfit. He’s a threat.’

    ‘Then should I take care of him?’ a green-haired man said, taking a step forward as well.

    ‘It’s too dangerous; he’s a Gym Leader,’ said the woman. ‘Proton and Petrel will help you. I’ll take care of this girl.’

    Fear overcame Maylene; whatever this was, she knew that her life hanged on the balance. Riolu and Machop were by her side once more, but so was Crasher Wake.

    ‘That’s not happening,’ he said. ‘You four will leave before all of you cry at my feet.’

    ‘Big words from a big thing,’ said the green-haired man. ‘I guessed you would be all doings with no words, but it must be the other way around.’

    The man walked quite formally to the woman. He stood by her and produced a Poké Ball, and Maylene felt her fear cripple her. Her legs started shaking, and all the confidence she had evaporated in mere seconds. She stared at the man as he sent out a Pokémon that seemed demonic to her.

    It stood on all fours, and growled at the pair of Pokémon. His tail was a pointed arrow that whipped around, and his black body was surrounded by what looked like a skeleton. He had two horns sprouting from his head, and fire leaking out of his mouth.

    Fire. Maylene took a step back, and the Pokémon gave a grin.

    ‘Flamethrower, Houndoom,’ the man said with a grin that resembled that of his Pokémon. ‘Incinerate them both.’

    A jet of fire raced towards Maylene, and the intensity of the heat was there before it. For a split second, Maylene was sure she would die, but she couldn’t blink. A familiar figure appeared in front of her, and the fear in Maylene intensified.

    ‘RIOLU!’

    How could he be so stupid to jump in front of her? His arms were extended, ready to receive the blow of the attack, and absorb as much of it as he could.

    As the attack got closer, another figure became clear. It punched Riolu away, and spun rapidly in his place, sending water flying in all directions. Maylene shielded her eyes against the droplets that stuck her like bullets; she was soaked in a few seconds.

    The Pokémon exploded in a jet of water that shot to the sky, still spinning. It blocked the Flamethrower, and caused the Houndoom to retaliate in anger; his attack had been stopped.

    ‘Great job, Floatzel!’ said Crasher Wake. ‘Now I’ll tell you again. Leave now!’

    A round, purple Pokémon dashed for Crasher Wake, leaving a trail of gas behind him. The large man was quick to act, and he tossed a Poké Ball to the ground from which emerged a Pokémon Maylene had not seen before. It was plumb and blue, with a fat tail that seemed to heavy for it to lift.

    ‘Quagsire, use Slam!’

    The blue Pokémon jumped into the air and brought his tail down on the purple Pokémon.

    ‘A Weezing? How weak!’ the woman said. Maylene turned to the voice, but all she met was a purple-haired man with a slight hunch. ‘I’m Petrel, and impersonations are what makes me stand out!’

    He said the last line with an almost perfect imitation of Maylene’s voice. The young girl took another step back, and the man took two steps forward. Before him was a hairy Pokémon. It had a long tail, and its fur was brown. Long, deadly teeth stuck out of its mouth.

    ‘Raticate, give her a little chomp, why don’t you?’

    The Pokémon dashed for Maylene, but once again, Floatzel was quick enough to leap away from the Houndoom and into the Raticate. Crasher Wake sent out his Gyarados, and was giving commands to his three Pokémon as the Floatzel leapt back towards the Houndoom; it was the only one of Crasher Wake’s Pokémon that was fast enough to keep Houndoom at pay.

    Through the battles around her, Maylene saw the woman send out a long purple Pokémon with a pattern that resembled a fact right below its face. She gave a grin, and even though Maylene knew it was a trap, she dashed forward. Crasher Wake screamed for her to stop, but it was in vain.

    She had gotten them into this mess, and the least she could do is help. Crasher Wake showed utmost confidence in Maylene, and if he was sure Sabrina was able to defeat these people, then he must have trusted her as well. Riolu and Machop, even though they were hesitant, dashed through gaps in the battle after Maylene. The purple Pokémon hissed at the approaching trio.

    ‘Why don’t we start with introductions,’ said the woman. ‘My name is Ariana, and I’ll warn you before we start: you will get thrashed! It is my job to stop you from getting into that building, and if some grunts are enough to trap Sabrina in her Gym, and those three can stop that man, then, as the best, I will certainly be able to stop the worst; you.’

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