Chapter Seventeen

Thunderclouds rolled in as Amari stood on the shore of Lake of Rage. The waves kicked up along the shore as Amari stood, clothes tattered once again, poised for battle. The opposite side of the shore facing her stood a dark, shadowy figure. All that she could make out was the figure's height and fierce red eyes. The figure threw a pokéball and out came a Gengar in a brilliant flash of light. The ghost's grin grew wider and wider as it gave a menacing wink.

Amari struggled to find Magnar, but to no avail, her Cyndaquil was nowhere to be seen. She grabbed at her belt and found a pokéball that she knew contained her father's Absol. She threw the pokéball and out popped a Gengar. She screamed and took several steps back. She threw another ball, this one should have been her father's Primeape. Another Gengar appeared as the trio then started moving towards her. Amari collapsed onto the sand beneath her as the three Gengars inched closer. Amari let out a scream as the shadows closed in.

"Amari!"

Amari sprung out of bed as a familiar face greeted her. It was her mother. She pulled her into a hug as Crim and Burgand peeked in through the doorway.

"The nightmares seem like they've gotten worse." Clara held her daughter to her chest.

Amari continued to sob as she gave her mother a nod. Crim elbowed his son as he motioned for them to make themselves scarce. Amari wiped her eyes as she looked down at the bed, glad to be back in a familiar place. After every that had happened in such a sort amount of time, she was grateful for the normalcy her home provided.

Clara let go of her daughter and frowned. "I'm sorry about last night."

Amari shook her head quickly. "Don't be. I shouldn't have acted so quickly. I don't know why I thought I'd be able to get used to Dad's pokémon."

Clara showed a slight smile. "Because you will. You are his daughter after all."

Amari stood up from the bed and began to get dressed while she furled her eyebrows skeptically. "But I've not gotten used to them after all these years."

"That's true, but you never had to," Clara replied with a small nod. "We never thought you'd be a trainer, so you'd never really be able to. Yet here you are with a Cyndaquil, not only training him but loving him too." Clara stood up from the bed. "I think you should try and see if your new housemate could help you out. I bet he'd do anything to try and make up with you, after the jerk you made him out to be."

Amari stared at the dresser across the room. Her father's pokéballs sat there, unopened. The pokémon inside eager to help Amari, if only she'd let them.

Now properly dressed, Amari stepped outside onto the back patio of her home. The sun was still shining, and the skies seemed clear with what Amari could make out through the forest that surrounded her home. She could see her mother's Poliwag jumping in the small pond they kept for her mother's water pokémon. That was another pokémon that Amari hadn't had too much issue with, more than likely because it was one of the least menacing things that she had ever seen. Regardless, seeing that small pokémon gave her hope as she held Magnar close to her chest.

Amari stepped out into the yard and was startled by a loud noise behind her. She turned around and looked up. Crim and Burgand were both on the roof of her house. The home was somewhat of a fixer-upper in that neither she nor her mother were handy at all. The only one who was capable, meaning the least scared, had been Alaric. He was hardly ever home, so there were some minor home maintenance issues that needed attending to.

"Good…good morning!" she yelled up at them, shielding her eyes from the sun.

Burgand looked down, somewhat relieved to see Amari out and about.

"Mornin'," he answered as he hammered a bit of wood over a hole that was in the room. "Gave me and Dad a bit of a scare. We could hear you from all the way out here."

Amari's face turned a bright pink. "I…I'm sorry."

"No reason to apologize, I'm glad you're okay." He finished the quick patch of the roof, then jumped down a few parts of the roof and eventually slid down so that he could get to the ground. Amari blushed even more when she realized he was worried, at least for a moment. "I know you probably still think I hate you, but after what we went through…" He took a moment to find the right words. "I want to make sure I can keep that promise."

Amari couldn't contain herself. Her eyes began to tear up once more as her frown grew into a smile.

"Now don't start cryin' again! I don't know how many times a day I could handle that!" Burgand laughed as he took a handkerchief out from his pocket and dabbed it under Amari's eyes, realizing that he was getting a little too close, handed it to her for her to finish. "Looks like your roof is okay for now. We managed to get that fence patched up too. Beedrills have been digging in it like crazy, it looks like."

"Oh…thank you. You really didn't need to go to so much trouble," Amari was stopped by Burgand's hand being held up I front of her.

"Say no more, we're happy to help," he started, "besides, if we're just sitting around, me and Dad would go nuts." Crim could be heard yelling an affirmative.

The two stood awkwardly for a moment before Amari broke the silence. "So, about what I said yesterday," Amari started before she was interrupted by Burgand.

"Don't you fret about that, I've got a lot of plans," Burgand replied with a gleam in his eyes.

"Plans?" Amari asked. "What kind of plans?"

"You and I, Amari, are going to battle."

Burgand grabbed her hand as he led her toward the front yard which was quite a bit more spacious since it connected to the main road, rather than the dense forest in the back. He ran several yards away and then turned to face her. "And I'm sure you know this, but you can't use Magnar."

The Cyndaquil gave a frown as Amari nodded.

Burgand pulled out a pokéball out. "I'm not going easy on you, and this is going to be rough. Are you ready?" Burgand asked firmly.

Amari took a long breath and as she exhaled, nodded.

Burgand threw his pokéball, shouting, "Come on, Roy!" Burgand's Nidoking appeared in a flash of light and gave a roar towards Amari.

Amari's eyes shot wide open and her first instinct to run almost kicked in before Magnar bit her shoulder. She turned her head to see her beloved pokémon, wanting desperately for her to succeed. She scowled and looked at the Nidoking, digging her feet into the rich earth beneath her.

Her hand trembled as she reached down for her father's Absol. She looked at the pokéball before throwing it out, and the pokémon appeared before her, turning to face her. The Absol continued to stare at Amari as her legs quivered. She almost lost her balance by being so close.

"H-hello, Kali," she said softly. The Absol nodded and turned toward the Nidoking, letting out a growl.

Amari still gasped for air, but continued to watch the pokémon get into a ready stance in front of her.

"Looks like your father's Absol is ready for your command, Amari," Burgand remarked as he continued to watch his new friend struggle.

"Now what attacks did Dad always use?" Amari said to herself, wishing she had been brave enough to watch more of her father's battles.

"Roy, use Poison Jab!" The Nidoking rushed toward Kali, inflicting heavy blows over and over.

"Kali!" Amari screamed. She couldn't bring herself to give a command, in total shock of seeing her father's beloved pokémon being pummeled by Burgand's.

"Roy, now use Venoshock!" The Nidoking opened its mouth as a poisonous liquid came out and covered Kali.

Amari covered her mouth as the Absol struggled to stay upright.

"Roy, use Horn Drill!" Burgand shouted. Roy rushed toward the Absol once more, his horn glowing and ready to drill into Kali.

"Kali, look out!" Amari finally shouted as the Absol jumped up in the air. "Use Psycho Cut!" The Absol's horn turned purple as its eyes started to glow. With a flick of her head, a dazzling ray of light shot out in a blade-like stream toward the Nidoking, which caused it to be knocked back, its body digging into the ground. Kali land back on the ground in front of Amari, turning to face her, its eyes returning to normal.

"You…listened to me," Amari whispered in shock. The Absol nodded once more as it turned back to face Roy, who was finally getting up from the ground.

"Roy, Thrash!" Burgand commanded as the Nidoking began to stampede once again toward the Absol.

"Kali, jump in the air again!" The Absol obeyed as it leapt over the rampaging Nidoking, who continued to rush toward Amari now.

Amari screamed as she was frozen in place, unable to move out of the way. Kali created a large, black ball in front of its horn, and with a similar swipe of its head, shot the Shadow Ball toward Roy, causing him to be knocked to the ground unconscious. Burgand extended his pokéball to bring Roy back inside for a rest. The Absol slowly approached Amari, as if to make sure she was safe.

Amari still flinched when Kali came closer, but then slowly extended a hand as the Absol allowed her to touch her head. "Kali…thank you."

Kali let out a cheerful yelp as Amari's expression went from one of fear to one of immense joy. "Kali, I promise that I will do my best to take care of you as well as my father did." Kali nodded as she disappeared back into Amari's pokéball.

Burgand grinned and he shouted across the field, "Okay, who's next?!"