"It was time to get started."

Those were my parting words prior to my starting my training. Truthfully, I held every intention of starting my training, of doing my best and bringing myself and my team towards greater heights.

Life had a habit of not letting that happen though.

For you see, though I want to train, though I want to explore this vast region, my schedule is tied around Winona's. As is standard for her, that would normally mean I would have no problems. Great woman that she is, Winona rather expects me to make my own way around her region, and if I don't she's likely to force me to do so regardless. Our personalities rarely clash because we tend to be on the same page in this regard, the desire for me to see all there is to see, to know all there is to know.

That was not the case in the here and now, however.

Staring down my opponent, a chubby-yet-tall teen with a mean looking Forretress – a Steel type Jasmine doesn't have! – I released Rayder onto the field. My Honchkrow cawed his ascendancy, flitting around the stadium before perching back down on my side. He glared at his opponent, a looking that was similarly returned, and I peered towards my right, towards the outer line of the middle of the arena, where a person stood on a raised dais.

Marty held a red flag in his left hand and a green in his right; I was the red, my opponent was the green. "This will be a two-on-two Pokémon battle held between Mason Graham of Slateport City and Jon Snow of Shamouti Island, representing the Fortree Gym in absence of Winona. No substitutions are permitted."

I nodded absentmindedly at that, still stuck in my own mind. As was the usual these past few weeks.

While rare, it is not unheard of for Gym Trainers to be allowed to take on the duties of a leader. Indeed, in the event of a Gym Leader being unable to perform, it was to be expected for one of their understudies to take the lead until either the leader in question is made better or a new leader is chosen. In most gyms, there are people at the ready to take over their duties, but Winona, being a young woman that earned her gym as opposed to an inheritance, doesn't have that sort of backup. Meaning it falls to me.

In most cases, such a position would be one of honor. By having me take over her gym challenges, she is essentially telling both the League and Hoenn itself that I am trustworthy with a Pokémon Gym. That I have the maturity, tenacity and capability to take on her dues without issue. A ten-year-old with that sort of clout is a rare thing. Supposedly, at least.

But that's in most cases. Me? Well…

I don't like it.

No, really. I don't. I do not want to be a Gym Leader, if I did I would never have even left Johto, and while I don't currently hold the title, as was always intended, I'm basically doing the job anyways.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Fuck being a Gym Leader.

That being said, I'm not dumb enough to think that this sort of thing wouldn't have happened at some point. No matter what career you choose, from the most exciting, to the most profitable, to the most stable, there will always be times in which you don't want to do a certain type of work. As a voice actor, I had to network and audition constantly for roles and peoples that never went anywhere; I'd say I got a part for every twenty or so auditions I attended. As a breeder, I have to give part of my profits to Professor Oak, which while sensible and expected due to the fact that he was doing the heavy lifting, still annoyed me. Primarily due to the fact that it's Oak.

I knew that something bothersome like this was bound to happen in some way upon becoming a Gym Trainer. Claire's understudies were always flitting around doing menial tasks that they'd rather have avoided. Aggravating though it is, I accepted this possibility from the moment I arrived.

What I do not accept, however, is the manner with which I was made responsible for these challenges.

Winona wasn't injured. She wasn't forced into an important meeting. There were no world-ending crises happening at the moment, and she was not involved with family drama.

No. Instead, my ever-so-kind benefactor had decided to take a vacation.

In the middle of the gym season.

Even worse, it wasn't hidden! Challengers knew that her Gym Trainer was taking over for her, and even though we were well passed that two-month break, droves of them were coming for what they believed to be an easier chance at a Feather Badge! Meaning I had to do even more work!

…You can understand my frustration.

Her vacation involved traveling to the region of Unova, where she was to both model with some Electric type Gym Leader entrepreneur. She said that there was a major fashion festival happening that she'd missed for the past few years and just could not miss it again. Lance was there too, for what I assumed to be some nookie.

She'd told me that it would only be a week, maybe a few days more, and we would be communicating daily so that the pair of us would always be up to date on whatever was happening.

It's been almost three weeks now, and after that first week of communication she stopped messaging me entirely. The only reason I know she's fine is because Marty left his phone on the break room counter a few days ago and I snooped in on a text she'd sent him, which ended up being a picture of her in some very revealing clubbing clothes in a neon-lit room grinding on a woman with a tall, slender frame and bright almond shaped eyes and long, overly style yellow hair. In the background, Lance was grinning like a madman, and the caption of the picture stated dont u wish u were here?

It was hot, I won't lie. Like, damn. Good stuff. If I was going through puberty, I probably would have pitched a tent.

But at same time, dear god I wish I could bleach my eyes sometimes.

At least Marty bit her back hard. Full stop, no holding back, fire. His reply was a picture of his wife's hand, wedding ring and all, with the caption don't u wish u had 1 of these?

What. A. Baller.

I blinked back into reality when an explosion boomed over the field. Befuddled, I looked on as smoke began to dissipate, and saw that Rayder was lain unconscious whilst this dude's Forretress hung on by a thread, a white scarf wrapped around one of its horns was billowing in the wind; a Focus Band. Wait, did this prick literally use explosion?! I'm all for cheap shots, Guano wouldn't exist if not for that, but that's some below the belt shit that even I wouldn't touch. Especially as an opener.

Mason was laughing at me, literal tears pooling from his eyes as he pointed at my KO'd bird, and Marty snapped up his red flag signaling my loss whilst also berating my opponent for poor conduct.

In retaliation, Mason blew Marty a raspberry.

Something in me snapped. I don't know if it was because I hated his strategy, if I just didn't like him, or if the stress of a job I didn't want to be saddled with finally came out, but it happened and it happened fast.

Returning Rayder, I then released Ramsey.

"Go to town," I told the Aerodactyl.

He did so with a jolly screech, swiftly knocking the Forretress out before another Explosion could be fired. Mason returned the Steel type with an angry grumble and brought out his second Pokémon.

It was an Electrode. As in the Pokémon notorious for exploding out of boredom.

FUCK THIS JOOOOOOOB!

.

Winona returned the next week, a fake tan covering her skin and a hard look in her eye.

"Do you see what's different about me, Jon?" She asked, arms crossed and angry. We were in her living room in her apartment, seated at her dinner table and sharing a meal of friend Tailowl Confused, I pointed out her tan, which earn me a click of the tongue and a shake of the head.

"I cut my hair three whole inches. I haven't cut my hair since I started my Journey when I was twelve." Winona said, flipping her long tail of lavender. She also took a big bite of a crispy wing.

Obviously I hadn't noticed that. Her hair was always long, and I rarely paid it any mind at this point. Had it been a more normal length, ending at the shoulder or maybe even the small of her back, I might have noticed. But with it already almost five feet in length and scraping against her legs… Yeah, wasn't gonna happen.

"Why'd you cut your hair?" I asked instead. Just because I didn't care didn't mean I had to voice that aloud. Not caring about hair did not mean not caring about life. I wasn't sure I would have a life if I said anything derogatory like that.

"A woman who cuts her own hair is going to change her life." Winona quoted, nodding in a sagely way as she dabbed her mouth with a napkin. "I dumped father. Lance was hitting on Elesa right in front of me and wouldn't let up on it. Totally bad boyfriend material. Sorry about that."

Considering Claire claimed that he never want to settle down and evidence showed this to be true, the fact that he stuck it out with Winona for as long as he did was more surprising than them breaking up. "I kinda expected it. No need to apologize. And Elesa is…?"

"The friend I visited!" She startled; arms raised high in exasperation. At my still confused look, her lips thinned. "The Electric type Gym Leader I mentioned."

"Oh, her."

"Yeah. Her. Jeez, Jon. I got her to do you a favor and you can't even remember her name?"

Confused, I looked her in the eye. "Favor?"

Winona nodded. "Elesa has a pretty strong Emolga; it was her starter. Everybody in Unova knows about it. She gave me some links to a few training articles she wrote about the species from before she became a Gym Leader. I thought you might like it."

And she was correct in that I would like it. Those would come in handy.

My Emolga and I were in an interesting position, in that while the gym challenges I was forced to deal with were annoying, they made a great opportunity for training and bonding. Lower level trainers came on a regular basis, allowing me to practice with Pokémon that didn't have as much experience.

I primarily used six Pokémon; Ramsey, Winter, Rayder, Harren, and Hode and Dore. Winter and Ramsey were used for higher level challengers, Ramsey to further build our bond and Winter because I promised my starter more battles. The other four needed the help; Rayder the most. His unexpected evolution really did mess up his growth, and it sadly made it so he couldn't learn some moves I hoped to teach him as a Murkrow.

The other three, however; they were fine. More than fine. Fantastic even! Harren was the name I chose for my Emolga, a black and yellow bat being the same sigil as the castle of Harrenhal in Game of Thrones. Yes, Emolga as a species were squirrels, not bats, but it felt close enough. Semantics and all that rot. And she didn't seem to mind, so it doesn't matter.

Harren really did like to fight, just as her breeder said, and she took to me quickly upon realizing that she'd be given the chance to battle if she listened to me. Her ability really was genuinely fantastic for combat, making her as impressive in immunities as my Gliscor, though he's more a tank and she's a glass cannon. Motor Drive made her immune to Electric attacks while also boosting her speed. Considering how important that sort of defense was when it came to being a Flying type specialist, she jumped right up my list of importance. She was on the same level of Ramsey in my priorities. I want her to be stronger.

I want to essentially build her up as a second Thoros; a Pokémon whose goal was to be able to match against a certain birb. Harren is to be my backup for Zapdos, maybe even my primary; I'm undecided. If she can absorb an attack the likes of which I saw on Shamouti, a bolt of lightning that set an entire forest aflame, she'll be flying faster than Baelish can Teleport.

Do you understand how ridiculous that is? Do you!? Because I do, and I'm not gonna let that slip through my fingers. I'm going to squeeze every ounce of talent I can out of that damned squirrel, and I'll do it with a smile on my face.

For the thunder-birb!

Problem is I haven't had much time to really train her properly. Battles are great for building experience, truly they are, but one-on-one training and group spars make a difference. As of right now she knows four attacks; Nuzzle, Double Team, Quick Attack and Acrobatics. With her as-of-yet unusable egg move Roost, she was on her way to being a well-rounded Pokémon.

I don't want her to be well-rounded.

I want her to be specialized to hell and back. I want to be able to take full advantage of the speed she might gain under the influence of an Electric attack. I want her to be able to wreck the hell out of her opponents, legendary or not.

Hopefully whatever article this Elesa has written will be able to help me learn what can be done for such a thing.

As for those other two Pokémon; Hode and Dore were of a different sort of problem. A new one for me. They forced me to break my rule about non-Flying type Pokémon. They were the evolved forms of Hodor.

Fun fact, one I did not know until it happened; Nincada evolve twice. I thought they had the chance to have a second evolution, thought that Shedinja was something that could only form from special circumstances, but nope. That was not the case.

Hodor had been doing some small scale battles for me against complete newbies. Kids that had Wurmple's and Zigzagoon's and Tailow's and such. Steadily he was getting used to battling and the experience was coming in with a fair frequency. It wasn't any surprise to me when he evolved into a Ninjask. He'd earned that evolution.

What was a surprised was when the bug immediately shed its freshly evolved skin, which then animated into another Pokémon; a Shedinja, a Ghost and Bug type Pokémon. Not expecting that, and not having any good names for ghostly bugs, I decided to go the simple route; I split their names up. Hode was my Ninjask, Dore was my Shedinja.

Because I am original.

At the end of the day, I figured having a Shedinja would settle me for a Ghost type Pokémon. Winona has her Electivire and most other specialists have something outside of their preferred typing. It's natural.

Plus, Wonder Guard was a broken ability that made it so that only type advantaged attacks can harm it. It, not he; apparently Shedinja didn't have a gender. Er, not that that matters at the end of the day. What truly matters is that only Fire, Flying, Rock, Ghost and Dark type attacks can hurt Dore.

Yeah, I'm alright with having Dore around.

"When can I get that article?" I asked Winona, taking another bite of my food.

"I'll send it to you soon. I'm still pretty jet-lagged and it's not like you'll be able to use it."

"Why not?" What was she gonna do to me?

"Because you've been here too long! It's time, once again, for you to take a few days away from the gym. At least. I took a month, three weeks longer than I meant to do originally. I'm sorry about that, by the way! I'll give you a month too to do whatever it is you want to do!"

"…Do I need to use the whole month?" I asked, resigned at this point.

"Use at least a week." She said, taking a swig of her drink.

I hummed. "Any idea's? I don't have any real plans, and flying around is great and all but without a game-plan things aren't going to be as fun."

"Well," she began. "There's plenty to see! If you want to look for some cool Flying types, Sky Pillar is your best bet; it's a nesting ground for Altaria and other rare Pokémon."

"I'll pass on that," I quickly said. An Altaria might be cool, but I'm pretty happy right now when it comes to my team. Too many Pokémon could really screw things up, and I already have a fair amount. Not counting my fossils or that Lairon I caught for Jasmine, I've got fourteen Pokémon. I'm always open for more, but at this point I think it'd be smarter to focus on them before dealing with others. For now, at least.

When you add in the fact that Sky Pillar also just-so happened to be the roost of Rayquaza, who is, as far as I'm aware, the most powerful Flying type Pokémon in existence… Probably smarter to avoid it. I'd be too tempted, and that could mean a quick death. Or a slow one. Death is pretty much a guarantee though.

"Sure," she said, sounding confused. Then she shrugged. "I mean, suit yourself. You don't have to catch a Pokémon. They like to battle there too. I did a lot of my training on the lower floors of Sky Pillar for my League tournaments."

"I'll check it out for when that time comes then."

"Hmmmm," sounded Winona, eying me oddly. Whatever. "Well, you could always play tourist. Plenty of cool cities and towns to see. There are tons of interesting islands around, like Maisie Island or Monsu Island or th Islands. Wales Island might be of interest to you; Professor Proctor revives Fossil Pokémon there."

Could be fun, but… "I think I've got my hands full enough with Fossil Pokémon."

Winona laughed a bit at my comment. "Fair enough. There are some cool sights too; a place called Izabe Lake on Izabe Island is home to a giant stone Poké Ball. Legend says that a King Claydol was caught in it."

Kings were always of interest to me and Winona knew it. "Oh?"

"Yeah, apparently it went crazy and caused an event known as The Great Destruction for the island. The stone Poké Ball was made and used to calm it. I learned about it from Wallace since the island is near Sootopolis City!"

Rampaging Kings were at-or-near the same capabilities as a rampaging legendary. As is the same issue with Sky Pillar, I'll have to pass. Sad as it is to admit."

That being said, I did have an idea based around that giant stone Poké Ball she spoke of. Or, at least an idea around a landmark. "Quick question, do you know of any giant trees in one of the forests of Hoenn? And I mean big, sky-scraper sized trees."

Winona blinked at the question. "I mean- yeah, there's one in Petalburg Forest. It's a natural landmark and a breeding ground for rare Grass type Pokémon. Why do you ask? Interested in a Tropius? You'll find those near here more than there."

"No, but I am interested in something else." I told her. Standing, I quickly finished off my food and deeply drank from my cup of water. "Thanks for the meal, I'm gonna start packing some stuff. No point in waiting around, right?"

"Right!" Winona repeated chipperly.

"Oh, one more thing. Any chance I could get some TM's for helping out while you were out?"

"Mmmmm, I guess… But I've got to be careful about them, they don't grow on trees, you know! Um… Let's say you can choose any three you want, one for each week I was out longer than I was supposed to be."

Depending on what I grab, that might not be a fair evaluation. But her words were any. In that, if I so chose, I could grab three Hyper Beam TM's, one the most expensive ones out there.

I can work with that.


Two days later had me sitting in the lobby of a Petalburg City breakfast house, where a three-stacked plate of waffles drizzled in syrup was being slowly devoured by yours truly. At my table, my smaller Pokémon, Baelish and Harren, too were eating their own food, Baelish with an assortment of berry bits and Harren with a plate of scrambled eggs with ketchup liberally applied. I'd come to discover she loved the stuff. Anything with ketchup would make her happy.

Even ice cream. The heathen.

I was scouring through my Pokégear whilst eating, hence why my eating was happening slowly. News coverages of the going ons of the forest I meant to enter today were little found, but some were available. There were a few articles about trainers being set upon by a flock of Tailow, one blurb about a dude that found a moonstone, and a handful of posts on blogs and such about a Dustox that made a habit of stealing supplies from campers.

Considering I had no intention to go camping this time around, I felt it best to not even worry about these things.

As an after-thought, I looked at the time, noting it to eleven in the morning, meaning it's about eight at night right now. On a Monday like today is, that meant she'd likely not be out. I pressed a few keys and brought my gear to my ear.

Ring…

Ring…

Ring…

Ring…

Rin- "Jon! How are you?"

"I'm good Aunt Claire." I replied, smiling.

"Glad to here it. This is a surprise! What are you calling for? Just want to chat?"

"I actually wanted to ask about a possible trade opportunity. Hypothetical, that is."

"Hypothetically," she said, a jokingly snooty tone in her voice. I chuckled at it. "Give it to me."

"A Treecko and a Sceptilite for your Gyaradosite."

The tree from Petalburg Forest was one of the last things I remembered from the Pokémon anime. I stopped watching for a variety of reasons, and certainly I don't remember much from it, but interesting stories always struck me.

That tree was massive, and as a massive tree is wont to do in this world, it housed Pokémon of similarly massive interest to a variety of people. Treecko, in this case. A great clan of the Grass type starter Pokémon of the Hoenn region could be found in this tree, and surely over the years their evolved counterparts of Grovyle and Sceptile too lived within its branches.

Mega Stones were presumed to form from the essence of certain Pokémon seeping into an environment. The how this is done remains a stark mystery, especially with such a new discovery, but as a whole, this was the believed system of the creation of Mega Stones. One that I subscribed to, at least; especially when Ramsey's own stone was added to the list.

A little while ago, Winona told me of the discovery of a Sceptilite, that the Mega Evolution of a Sceptile would gain a Dragon typing according to record. Gyarados are not Dragon types at all.

Hence, a question came into play. Would my aunt be willing to trade her Mega Stone for a different one and a Grass Dragon on top of it? Would she be willing to give me a Mega Evolution for my King to further her own personal power?

And if not her, would Lance? Surely he could scrounge up another Gyaradosite.

Claire whistled from her end of the line, impressed. "Where'd you find it?"

"I haven't found it yet," I admitted to her. "But I have found a Treecko nest. I'm just assuming one would be there. That's why I'm talking hypothetically."

"Well… Hm. This's a tricky one. I- guess? I can't honestly say. If you actually showed me the stone and a Treecko, I'd probably be more willing. Let's just say I might be willing."

"Then I might be just about ready to go for it."

"And while you do that, I might just give it some more thought."

I smiled. "I guess we both might be a bit busy."

"I might just agree."

We were silent for a little while longer, then mutually began to laugh. From there, we spoke amiably. I told her about my newest captures, my Emolga and Ninjask and Shedinja, and she told me about her newest Dratini, ready to battle and just in time since her current gym Dragonair had evolved into a Dragonite just this past week.

She also mentioned that she had a new boyfriend, a guy named Symon who was a local fireman. They met at a bar. Good on her.

Talks turned more menial from there. The basic how are you's to the you're not getting up to trouble are you? to the remember to wear fresh underwear. That I was the one to say that to her should be irrelevant.

After thirty minutes of talking, we decided to cut the call off. Goodbye's all around, I ended the call and placed my Pokégear back on the table, intent on finishing my food.

One problem. My waffles were missing.

Mechanically, I looked towards Baelish, who was smugly satisfied. "Did you eat me waffles?"

"Nope!" He chirped, pointing a stubby wing towards Harren, the Emolga in what appeared to be a food coma on the table, a bubble of drool tracing down her cheek.

Burying my head into my hands, I returned her and just bought a power bar.

.

Winter quickly brought us towards the forest. It was an ocean of green it felt, tree after tree lining the road, mountain paths sloping here and there, cliff-side villages sprouting from atop some of them. Petalburg Forest was a bowl, rocks its outline and trees its inside.

And in the center of it was a big ass tree.

I won't go into detail, mainly because the manner with which to describe it escapes me. But it was big. Easily the biggest tree I've ever seen. Hundreds of feet tall and wide like a large house, it stood so high up that its branches blotted out the sun in the surrounding area, leading to smaller trees that only made it appear even larger.

But the leaves were slowly but surely falling around it, branches turning grey with age, and I realized then and there that though it was impressive, it was dead. If not, then half-dead and well on its way.

"Bring us down Winter. Right in front of the big tree."

My starter did as I asked, swooping towards a heavy root jutting out from uneven earth. I rolled my fingers through his flank in thanks and returned him.

"Baelish." I said, poking at my chest. The Natu was snuggly fit inside the front of my jacket, and with a twitch he popped out, forcing me to have to pat my clothes back into shape. "Can you find any Treecko in this tree? Tell them I want to talk to them?"

"I can do this." He replied, boredly. "But I do not wish to."

"Really?"

He bobbed his body, his version of a nod. "Yes. I do not want to do this. Tell the others to find them. I will remain and translate as needed."

Unwilling to fight and thusly make a fuss, though I would surely get him back for being this way, I did just that. Grabbing three Poké Balls from my belt, I released their corresponding denizens. Thoros, Umber and Harren took the field with cries of their name. Though in Harren's case it was more of a blubber. Realizing my mistake and that the squirrel was probably still in a food coma state, I returned him and released Viserion instead.

Relaying those same orders their way, the trio agreed readily to find the some grass gecko's for me. As they departed, I snuggled myself against the flat bark of a raised root, rider than I was tall. Baelish hopped back onto my head, nesting into my hair, and we were quiet.

I was just enjoying the sun, the tropical climate of Hoenn agreeing with me. Tanning was never something I could feasibly do in my first life; I was paler than a piece of paper. Nowadays I could actually go in the sun and not be destroyed. For that alone I would have traded my body out.

The Pokémon part just made it all the better.

Viserion was the first to return, a Treecko on his back. It was an older specimen, wrinkles apparent through its scales, and it looked to me with clear interest.

"Eeck, ko." It said.

"What do you wish?" Baelish translated.

As an answer, I dug through my bag and pulled out Ramsey's Mega Stone. "I wanted to know if a stone like this exists in your tree."

The old Pokémon hopped down to examine the stone, its countenance in clear surprise. "Treecko, Tree!"

"The chief wears one as a crown. He is surprised that more exist."

"I would like to meet your chief then." I said calmly, mentally cheering. There was one here! Knew it! "Maybe even challenge him."

The Treecko looked at me shrewdly, judgingly. "Ko treecko tree tree ko eeck."

"He wishes to know why you would wish to challenge the chief. For glory? For capture? To steal their treasure? He is unsure."

"I do want it." I admitted. The Treecko startled, not expecting such candor. "And if your chief wield it then I want him too. But I'm not a tyrant. I have a Fire type, I could have had him burn this tree to the ground to get that audience. I'm not going to do that. Allow me to meet your chief. Let him decide."

The elder Treecko appeared disturbed at my mention of burning the tree down, but begrudgingly nodded his head in acceptance. With a loud cry of "TREECKO!" that had the forest birds fly away, heads upon heads of geckos began to appear. Some were large, some small, tome thick and some thin, old and young, male and female, they all began to appear. Thoros and Umber too returned, taking their places by Viserion's side.

And once a large circle of Grass types was formed, a shadow descended from a high branch, quietly appearing before me. It was a reptilian Pokémon, with a long neck and two crests on its scalp, yellow eyes rimmed with red, the same red that colored its lower jaw and belt-like band running across its waist. Along its back were two rows of large yellow seeds, and its tail was shaped as if it were formed from the branch of a palm tree. Predatory, it prowled around me, bringing the hackles of my Pokémon up, and I was surprised to see it.

Sceptile.

Of course, I shouldn't have been surprised. Powerful Pokémon being the leaders of packs was nothing new. That there was a Sceptile among Treecko, while unexpected, should not have surprised me.

And yet, it did.

But my surprise was quick to vanish as I instead focused on the pale blue gem resting on the scalp of that Sceptile, held in a crown of vines and thorns.

"Tile." It grunted, eyeing me carefully. "Sceptile. Scept."

"Treecko." The elderly Treecko replied, eyes still on me. All the eyes were on me. I almost felt like a celebrity. "Ko."

"She has heard the call of her sire and asked why he asked of her. He tells her that you wish to challenge her to speak. To challenge." Baelish explained.

The Sceptile rose to her full height, a good couple of feet taller than I was, and glowered down at me. "Scept? Tile."

"She questions your strength. She demands terms." My Natu said.

Let's rip that bandaid then. "I want to challenge you for the gem on your head. Should I win, I will take it. Should you win… I don't know. What do you want?"

Sceptile cracked her neck, a loud, bracing sound that unconsciously made me shiver. She peered at me curiously, then came upon my Aerodactylite. Eyes lit up, she pointed at it blatantly with a "Tile."

"That." Baelish said.

"I gathered as much." I grumbled at him. I should have just printed a picture of the Mega Stone instead of this. Now I might have to risk it.

Ish.

"That sounds fair." I said instead. "We'll put both of our stones on the ground and battle. The winner takes them both. Do you agree?"

"Sceptile!" Said the Sceptile with a firm nod. She removed her crown and gave it to the elder Treecko, and I too offered my Aerodactylite to him.

Full stop. I'm going to be doing some asshole moves. Should I lose to this Sceptile, I will not be losing that Mega Stone. It's too valuable, too useful, and too necessary to risk.

On that note, I withdrew two more Poké Balls from my belt and released them. Drogon took the field first, golden scales gleaming with the sun. His body jittered, a sure sign that he was ready to evolve if not for the everstones holding him back.

Nagga came next. The gargantuan Gyarados roared his release, startling everything in the vicinity. Crooning at me, he snaked around the base of the tree, as if he were a real life Nidhogg at the base of the world tree Yggdrasil.

Sceptile eyed him wildly, gawking with blatant worry. "Don't worry." I told her. "He's not your opponent. Drogon, my Charmeleon, is. My Gyarados is out just to put out any fires that might happen. I figured you wouldn't want your forest to be trashed from a battle.

Sceptile breathed out a sigh of relief, offering me a thankful wave.

We got in position, her clan of Treecko fielding the area away from Nagga whilst my Pokémon took the other. A makeshift field of dirt and grass and nimble roots was made in quick order, and Sceptile took one side whilst Drogon took the other.

"Begin!" Baelish cawed.

Sceptile started it quickly, shooting towards Drogon in a front flip, her tail ready the Slam into him. Drogon dodged out of the way and fired off a Fire Spin in response, testing her. The flames twisted around the clearing though caught fire to little; it had rained last night and some plants were still wet. What wasn't caught was quickly put out by Viserion's Water Gun.

Sceptile hissed as the flame engulfed her body, blocking her from view. When Drogon let up and the flame, she was no longer there; a pile of ruined dirt beneath where she once stood.

"She used Dig!" I called out, but it was too late.

Just as Drogon looked down, Sceptile shot out from beneath him, a blade of Grass type energy cutting him from her wrists. She shot high into the air and Drogon was felled away from her. I squinted my eyes as I saw something glisten around them.

No. Not something. Somethings.

"The everstones." I whispered, horrified.

As if to compliment my statement, Drogon's body lit up boldly, a white, searing light that I knew all too well at this point. Multiple emotions rolled through my body at the sight, pride, fear, anger, jubilation. I was proud to see a Pokémon I hatched reach its final evolution, fearful of the manner with which he evolved, angry as all hell because I wasn't ready for him to evolve just yet, and jubilant because I was about to have a Charizard.

It was all very confusing.

The light died down and a shadow took the field. Drogon's golden scales turned a slate grey color, his wing membranes a rich, velvety red that was shared with his great big eyes, slit like a predators. Two large prongs stood out from atop his skull, and as he observed his body, he belted out a cackling laugh that had his tan underbelly jiggling. With nary a thought he shot into the air, roaring loudly, and after his first flight he dove down hard at the Sceptile, his mouth wide open with controlled flame.

Sceptile made to move. Made to get away from Drogon, but fast though she was, flight was faster. A genuinely powerful stream of Overheat spilled out from his mouth, catching Sceptile and the surrounding area aflame, and as the surrounding Pokémon began to panic, I moved.

Smoke rose from all around as I pulled an Ultra Ball from my bag. Sceptile flailed and moaned in pain, and Drogon didn't let up. From Overheat, he then used Slash to force her further into the ground. I tossed the ball then, thankful for my unnatural ability to throw balls. Anime logic was king when it went my way.

Sceptile saw the Poké Ball too late. Her eyes widened as the black and yellow ball hit her leg, and try as she might, she could not escape its clutches. Sucked into the ball, I waited patiently for her make an escape.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

Six.

Seven.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten- click.

Aha. Ahahaha. Ahhhh…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!

Sceptile was mine. The Sceptilite was mine!

A great wall of water then fell down on me and the whole of the area, courtesy of a worried Nagga. From where smoke once was, steam now followed, and though there were some burnt patches lined along the area, the forest was safe.

I approached Drogon and offered him my first. He stared at it for a moment, then grinned a toothy thing and bumped me back. Good, he's still on my side. Charizard evolutions can get finicky like that.

Then, after giving him some pats because he's such a good boy! I bent down and picked up Sceptile's Poké Ball. Thinking I might capture a Treecko, I had left a party slot open, intent on getting the bugger willing to be made available to trade. Now that would be an even harder task.

Pocketing the sphere, I approached the elder Treecko and held out my hands expectantly. Hissing, he shoved the Mega Stones into my hands, the Aerodactylite fine but the thorns surrounding the Sceptilite causing my to bleed. I flinched, and he appeared satisfied for it.

Assholish, but to such a degree that I could not help but admire it.

Returning all of my Pokémon save for Drogon and Baelish, I then climbed onto his back. Needing a running start, he shot into the air, wobbly and worrisome at first, but then righted himself and readied to go.

Before he shot off to wherever he wanted to fly, I pulled out my Poké Gear and sent Claire a text.

Jon: Couldn't find a Treecko and Sceptilite.

Claire: Well, that's to be expected. Still, at least you tried.

Jon: Yeah, guess you'll have to settle. How does a Sceptile and a Sceptilite sound for your Gyaradosite?

There was a paused on her end. And then…

Claire: Deal.


Winter/Pidgeot – Male

Moves: Tackle, Gust, Sand Attack, Agility, Double Team, Whirlwind, Quick Attack, Wing Attack, Steel Wing, Twister, Hyper Beam, Sunny Day, Heat Wave, Attract, Rest, Sky Attack, Aerial Ace

Ability: Keen Eye


Thoros/Gliscor – Male

Moves: Sludge Bomb, Slash, Poison Sting, Metal Claw, Dark Pulse, Dig, Guano, Attract, Steel Wing, Iron Tail, Sandstorm, Ice Fang, Crunch

Ability: Sand Veil


Viserion/Dragonair – Male

Moves: Leer, Wrap, Thunder Wave, Water Pulse, Attract, Water Gun

Ability: Shed Skin


Umber/Delibird – Female

Moves: Present, Icy Wing, Peck, Rest, Attract, Ice Beam, Hail, Blizzard, Sky Attack, Double Team, Aerial Ace

Ability: Hustle


Baelish/Natu – Male

Moves: Peck, Leer, Night Shade, Calm Mind, Protect, Teleport, Flash, Confuse Ray, Psychic

Ability: Synchronize


Harren/Emolga – Female

Moves: Nuzzle, Quick Attack, Double Team, Acrobatics, Roost(Egg Move)

Ability: Motor Drive


Drogon/Charizard – Male(Shiny)

Moves: Growl, Scratch, Ember, Ancient Power, Attract, Iron Tail, Metal Claw, Sunny Day, Bite, Flamethrower, Dragon Rage, Dragon Claw, Dig, Protect, Fire Spin, Overheat, Heat Wave, Slash

Ability: Blaze


Nagga/Gyarados – Male

Moves: Splash, Tackle, Bite, Leer, Thunderbolt, Thunder Wave, Ice Fang, Crunch, Body Slam, Headbutt, Iron Head, Twister, Dragon Rage, Thunder, Scald, Flamethrower, Water Gun, Hydro Pump

Ability: Intimidate


?/Sceptile – Female

Moves: Pound, Dig, Leaf Blade, Bullet Seed, Solar Beam, Hidden Power, Toxic, Dragon Claw

Ability: Overgrow


Jon Snow – Male

Date: June 29

Orange League: Complete

Held Pokémon: Pidgeot, Gliscor, Dragonair, Natu, Emolga, Delibird, Gyarados, Charizard, Sceptile

Stored Pokémon: Kabuto(x2), Kabutops(x2), Omanyte(x2), Omastar(x2), Skarmory, Lairon, Honchkrow, Aerodactyl, Ninjask, Shedinja, Shelgon

Currency: ₽1,317,730


Apologies for the delay. Covid has hit me hard enough to force me to move. Alas, the details are unneeded. So I won't give them.

Drogon evolved! Hodor evolved! Jon stole a Sceptile! Harren stole some waffles!

All is right in the world.

Next chapter will involve a decently sized time-skip. I can't give an exact estimate, but I presume Hoenn will be finished within the next 3-4 chapters. Then Jon can begin his first gym circuit with a proper Pokémon League tournament. It'll be fun!

If you liked this chapter, please Favorite/Follow and don't forget to Review!