How am I doing with fights? Too short? Too long? Not enough detail? "Too similar too each other?

Some characters will be out of character. Just a bit. Maybe.


Zigzagoon: The Tiny Raccoon Pokemon
Zigzagoon restlessly wanders everywhere at all times. This Pokémon does so because it is very curious. It becomes interested in anything that it happens to see. The hair on Zigzagoon's back is bristly. It rubs the hard back hair against trees to leave its territorial markings. This Pokémon may play dead to fool foes in battle
.

"You're so cute," May cooed as she petted the wild Pokemon. Brendan reread the "bristly" part of the entry and wondered how the girl was able to brush her hand on its body without getting hurt.

"You said that about the last three Pokemon we found," he said before looking at his DexNav.

Today marked their first official day traveling. After having to fight their parents to let them go, the pair rushed past Littleroot and Oldale. Brendan reasoned that if they worked fast to record the Pokemon in the area, they would be able to make it to Rustboro before sunset. Currently, the two were on the path to Petalburg where Brendan would visit his dad.

"I can't help it. Don't these guys look so fuzzy?" May stood up and returned to Brendan's side. "Let's see...We got Zigzagoon, Poochyena, Seedot, Taillow, and *shudder* Wurmple."

"Now that's rude. Bug-type Pokemon aren't that creepy."

"But their pincers! And their poison attacks! I bought a bunch of antidotes just in case we had to deal with them."

"But what about Beautifly? Or Vivillon?"

"Well...You got me there." May walked ahead of Brendan and spotted a building in the distance. "Hey Brendan! I think I see Petalburg!" Catching up to May, the tan skinned boy looked for his dad's town. "We got here faster than I expected. You excited to see your dad?"

"You bet. We should hurry. Oh, and I should probably say this now, but sorry for my dad's eccentric behavior." The two picked up their speed until they reached the new city. The first thing they did upon entering Petalburg was marvel at being in a new place. It was certainly bigger than the last two towns. There was even a lake near both exits. The biggest difference though, was the large building located in the upper middle of the city with a sign reading, "Petalburg Gym." Brendan spotted two people standing in front of the Gym. One of them was none other than his father while the other seemed to be a Trainer.

"You weren't bad," he heard the man say. "It was a good battle. A word of advice though? You shouldn't focus on just charging through attack after attack. A good strategy can get you through a tough fight, especially if your opponent is stronger than you. I want you to remember that."

"I understand…" said the Trainer dejectedly. "Thank you for the battle." It was clear to the two that the boy lost. As he walked away, Brendan's father noticed the movement to his left and spotted Brendan coming his way. His face instantly switched from "Gym Leader" mode to "Dad" mode. As a bit of an explanation, his father seemed to have two sides to him: A workaholic and tough Gym Leader, and a doting father. Guess which side his mom liked better.

"Brendaaan! Come here and give your old man a hug!" Before the boy could say anything, his dad sprang forward and caught his boy in his arms. Brendan grimaced at the feeling of his father's knuckles pressing into his head. "How long has it been since I last held you in my arms?"

"It's only been three months," came Brendan's muffled response. "Dad, I can't breathe." When he was finally released, he took a deep breath and readjusted his hat.

"I take it you're finally starting your journey? Birch called me the other night and told me what went down. I expected to see you yesterday, but you never came!"

"A lot happened. I needed rest and time to prepare myself. If I'm going to fight you, I'm going to need me at my best." His dad's face hardened again as he addressed him as a Gym Leader.

"Hmph! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I won't be accepting your battle today."

"What? Why?"

"Because you are a special case. When I fight you, I want you to have experience! Passion! Strength! Otherwise, you're going to end up like that last boy. I'll say this now: I haven't been beaten once since I opened this gym."

"So when can I fight you?"

"Let's see...When you have at least 4 badges, then you can challenge me. I won't accept at any other time."

"...*sigh* Fine, whatever."

"Good! Now that we've got that out of the way...care to tell me why Birch's daughter is with you?" Returning to "Dad" mode, the man gestured to May who had stood a distance away from the two. Realizing that she had been noticed, the girl bowed her head in greeting.

"Hello, Mr. Norman...sir. You might already know it, but I'm May Birch. My dad asked your son if I could accompany him while we fill our Pokedexes. It's nice to meet you." Norman gave May a look over, before a grin stretched across his face. Brendan could already tell that he didn't like the look of it.

"Ho-ho? Birch, you sly dog." He returned the bow with a face that was uncharacteristically serious. "I leave my son in your care from now on."

"Dad, did you have to phrase it like that?" The man laughed. May tilted her head in confusion, not understanding the implications of Norman's words.

"Just a joke, just a joke." Just before Brendan could tell his dad off, a new presence approached the group.

"U-um!" said an unconfident voice. The three turned their heads at the voice's owner to find a frail looking boy with bright green hair slowly approaching them. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but you are Norman, right?"

"Huh? That's me. You wouldn't happen to be Wally, would you?"

"Yes. I was told to come to you to get a Pokemon of my own. Because of my condition, my parents are sending me to stay with my relatives in Verdanturf for the gentler atmosphere. I thought that if I could bring a Pokemon with me, then it would make me staying there a bit less lonely. The thing is...I've never caught a Pokemon myself."

"I see." Norman turned to his son. "Brendan, did you hear that? Could I ask you to go with Wally to keep him safe while he catches a Pokemon?"

"Me? Sure, I guess."

"Good. Wally, if you're going to catch a Pokemon, it would be best for you to have one by your side. I'll lend you this Zigzagoon, so that you can experience what it's like to be in a battle. And here is a Pokeball. I expect great results."

"Wow, you're going to lend me your Pokemon? Thank you very much. I won't let you down." Wally turned to Brendan and bowed deeply. "F-for the meantime, I will be in your care."

"He's pretty polite," May remarked.

Brendan and May followed Wally as he searched the tall grass just outside of Petalburg. Not knowing what to do, the boy seemed to just wander left and right as if walking a certain number of steps would trigger a Pokemon battle.

"Perhaps it would be better if you were more still," May suggested. "I think with all your movement, they're thinking of you as a predator rather than a Trainer. Since the Pokemon here are much more docile, you should make yourself small to appeal to them."

"Nerd," Brendan jokingly muttered, earning him a smack on his arm.

"Really?" Wally asked. "Um…" He stopped his pacing and crouched low. Not even a minute later, a small Poochyena approached him curiously. "Awawa! A Pokemon actually came! W-w-what should I do?" At a loss, Wally began flailing his arms about. The erratic movement caused the Poochyena to flee the area. "Ah! It fled…" From Brendan and May's point of view, the boy seemed to deflate in disappointment.

"Most Pokemon won't attack unless provoked," Brendan instructed. "If you clearly show that you want to challenge them, they'll understand and fight you. But if you falter, they'll think you're not worth it and move on."

"Oh? Who's the nerd now?" May teased. The boy reached his hand towards the back of May's head and lightly tugged at her small ponytail.

After a few more moments of waiting, Wally heard another rustling in the grass. It was a different Pokemon this time; one the Pokedex wielders had not seen before.

"Ralts," said the new Pokemon. It resembled a small child just a bit over a foot high with green hair and wearing a white gown. In fact, it looked a bit like Wally himself but Brendan wasn't going to say that out loud.

Ralts: The Feeling Pokemon
Ralts senses the emotions of people using the horns on its head. This Pokémon rarely appears before people. But when it does, it draws closer if it senses that the person has a positive disposition. If its Trainer is in a cheerful mood, this Pokémon grows cheerful and joyous in the same way.

"Careful..." Wally mumbled to himself. He put on his best serious face and bowed his head respectfully. "Please accept my challenge." In response, the wild Ralts returned the gesture. Wally was thrilled. Grabbing Zigzagoon's Pokeball, he summoned the fuzzy Pokemon and prepared for battle.

"Zig!"

"Zigzagoon, please use Sand Attack." The Pokemon turned its back and began kicking its hind feet to pick up sand and dirt. Ralts found its sight obscured, but it didn't seem to faze it even a little bit. It took a deep inhale.

"RAAAALTS!" A loud but gentle cry dispelled the dust cloud and seemed to strike Zigzagoon without any sign of physical damage.

"That move would be...Disarming Voice," Brendan noted, looking at his Pokedex. "It says here, it never misses and hits your Pokemon emotionally."

"That sounds bad," Wally said. "Then let's go for the offensive. Headbutt!" Zigzagoon pulled itself together and ran at its opponent with intent to strike. But right before it could make any contact, the wild Pokemon blinked out of existence and reappeared just a few feet away. It seemed to giggle as Zigzagoon fell on its face. Angered, Zigzagoon continuously repeated its action with the same result every time.

"That's a pretty mischievous Pokemon," May stated as she watched the Ralts teleport from place to place. "I don't know if Wally's going to make it if it can do tricks like that."

"Especially since Ralts can use ranged attacks while Zigzagoon needs to make physical contact," Brendan added. "Wally! As long as Ralts is focused, it has the upper hand. You have to distract it somehow!"

"Distract it?" The green haired boy repeated. "I'll try. Zigzagoon! Get close to Ralts." Zigzagoon nodded and slowly walked in front of its foe. The Ralts seemed confident in its own ability to get away and allowed it to come. "Quick! Baby Doll Eyes!"

"Zigzagoon," cooed the furry Pokemon as it looked up at the Ralts with wide and innocent eyes. A special aura seemed to emanate from Zigzagoon, making Ralts (and May) stop and stare. Its entranced state caused it to let its guard down enough for Zigzagoon to attack.

"Bite!" It took Zigzagoon an instant to cease its psychological attack and switch to a physical one. Taking advantage of Ralts' current state, it pounced and chomped the foe's head. Ralts let out a shrill shriek. "Yes!" Ralts instantly teleported out of Zigzagoon's mouth. The wild Pokemon expressed what looked like anger in the face of being hit.

"Ralts!" Stubbornly stomping its feet, it surprised Wally when it suddenly split into two. And then four. Then eight.

"Double team?" Wally said, concerned. All eight Ralts teleported and reappeared in a circle around an alarmed Zigzagoon. Leaves began to levitate from the trees and at the Ralts' sides. By the look of things, it was intending to finish the battle by surrounding its foe with Magical Leaf. "Oh no, what do I do?" The green haired boy was at a loss as the attacks were released and rushed closer and closer to Zigzagoon.

"Dig!" Brendan suddenly blurted. The Zigzagoon seemed to take his orders and burrowed deep in the ground in time to dodge the move. The Magical Leaves passed through the middle and attacked the Ralts opposite to them. The clones disappeared into nothing, while the real one was visibly hurt.

"It worked…" Brendan started to apologize profusely for butting into Wally's battle.

"S-sorry! It's just that I was getting into the battle and it kinda came out, you know?"

"It's okay. I never would have thought of that. Thank you." He turned back to the battle and saw Ralts worriedly looking around for Zigzagoon. "Alright, let's finish it! Come on out!"

"Goon!" yelled his Pokemon as it popped out from underneath its opponent. Ralts was taken aback and sailed through the air before landing on the soft grass. The dazed look in its eyes showed that it had fainted. Wally took his chance to bring out his Pokeball and hurling it at the defeated Ralts. The Pokeball swayed left and right for a while before stopping, indicating that it had indeed been caught.

"Alright," Wally cheered as he picked up the ball. "My first Pokemon!"

"Congratulations," May said with a quick applause. Wally approached the two with a bow.

"Thank you for your help. I owe this moment to the both of you."

"I'm just glad you were able to do it," replied Brendan. "It was really exciting seeing you battle. You'll make a tough Trainer yet."

"You really think so?"

"Of course. If you can harness that Ralts' skills, you'll be able to run circles around your opponent easily."

"I'm glad you think so. Say, can I see your PokeNavs?" Curiously, the two shrugged their shoulders and handed the boy their devices. Wally proceeded to input his contact information. "I'll be going back to Mr. Norman now. I hope we can meet each other again one day. Maybe you can visit me in Verdanturf?" Wally waved his new friends goodbye and jogged back to the Gym.

"Another friend~" cheered May. "Come on, we should go too."

"Alright. Let's go back to the Gym first. I have something to give to my dad."

Brendan raised his foot to move, but found that his shoelaces were being tugged at. The tan skinned boy looked down to find another Ralts at looking up at him with a hand at its mouth like an infant.

"How long has this little guy been here?" May crouched down to get a closer look. "Does it need something?"

"Ralts," it chimed in a higher pitch than Wally's. It was a girl. Brendan crouched as well, making sure not to startle it.

"Can I help you?"

"Ralts, Ralts." The Pokemon glowed, giving it a pink outline. Suddenly, one of his Pokeballs jumped out of his belt and floated just above the wild Pokemon.

"I think it wants to come with you," May inferred. As if to confirm, the Ralts put its hands in front of itself and bowed respectfully.

"Is that so?" Brendan snatched the Pokeball from the air. "Are you sure?" Ralts nodded. "Well then, welcome to the team." He tapped the Pokeball to the Ralts' head and watched as it disappeared in a white flash. Surprisingly, the ball didn't move at all and instantly made the "thunk" sound of a successful capture. Brendan picked up his new Pokemon and put it in his belt. "Hm...I'm thinking Sopheria. That's a nice name."

"No fair. How come that Ralts came to you?"

"Because I'm cooler." Brendan dodged May's swipe and instantly ran away, towards the Gym with a playful laugh.


"I take it you're heading for Rustboro?" Norman asked.

"Yeah," Brendan replied. "We got a bit sidetracked, but we should still be able to make it before sunset. I wish we could keep talking, but we should probably go."

"Well alright. I'll see you when you get those badges. I expect a wonderful fight."

"You won't be disappointed. Oh, and mom told me to give this to you." From his bag, Brendan brought out an envelope and handed it to Norman.

"A letter, huh? Let's see…" He opened it up and began scanning to words. The pair watched in amusement as the man became increasingly sweatier and distressed. He stuffed the letter in his pocket. "W-well, would you look at the time? I think I should close the Gym for today. I suddenly feel like going home and visiting your mother. You two run along now, before night falls." Grabbing his jacket, the man broke into a sprint out the door. "Stan! Lock the Gym!"

"What was that about?" May wondered aloud. Brendan chuckled.

"Dad's workaholic behavior tends to keep him from the house. I'm sure my mom was just grilling and threatening him to come home." May joined in on his laughter.

"Oh. Your dad's pretty funny."

"You got that right. We should get going too."

"Right."


Brendan and May were able to scan some of the local Water-type Pokemon in the lakes before getting out of Petalburg. According to their map, the only way to Rustboro was through Petalburg Woods. In between their scavenging for new Pokemon on Route 104, Brendan and May accepted a few challenges from other Trainers. All of which they won. May decided to catch herself a Taillow because she wanted to be able to look ahead of them.

The sun beat down on the two as they continued their search for Pokemon they had yet to record. Irritated, May wiped away a bead of sweat threatening to go into her eyes. Brendan had resorted to removing his hat, a sentiment that she learned was not something he was fond of.

"You want to take a break?" May finally suggested as she pointed to the beach. "Over there looks like a good place to rest."

"That sounds good," Brendan said. "All this standing is making my feet sore." The two ceased their search and sat down on the stone steps. They brought out some food for them and their Pokemon to enjoy the sight before them. Overlooking the water, the pair relaxed and let the sea breeze cool them down. "Hoenn sure has a lot of water. Way more than Johto at least."

"I know, right? It's supposed to be part of the charm, but some people say there's too much water. I actually like it though. It's like a natural air conditioner."

"Maybe I should have chosen that Mudkip instead." Suddenly, the boy ducked his head before he could get hit with a Bullet Seed. "I'm kidding, Kusa. I'm glad I chose you."

"Do you give all your Pokemon nicknames?"

"Some of them. If the inspiration comes to me. Something about naming your Pokemon really gives it a special feeling, don't you think?"

"Hm…" May grabbed her Torchic and held her out on front of her. The girl let out a hum. "If I were to give you a name, what would it be? Chippy? Fieri? Talonflame?" Her Pokemon chirped stubbornly at its Trainer. "You don't want a nickname? I guess that's fine too." She set Torchic down and turned back to the water with her hands cradling her head.

Surprisingly, silence fell between the two Trainers. It was the first time that they had ceased talking to each other since the two started their journey, and it surprised May how lonely it felt. In fact, she was surprised at how great the two got on so quickly. It didn't take even a week, and they were already joking around like old buddies. Honestly, it was the most fun she had ever had in her life. She silently thanked the boy for agreeing to be her friend and making her feel the way she felt. Looking back to the scene in front of her, she watched as other people played in the water, jogged the perimeter, and fished. They all looked like they were having fun. She contemplated asking if Brendan wanted to play in the water as well.

Her eyes wandered and settled on her traveling partner whose attention was occupied by his Ralts. Sopheria, as he had taken to calling her, pressed herself close to the boy as he petted her head. May noted the serene look on his face. He must've been having the time of his life. After years of waiting, he was finally able to go out into the world. But there was another emotion there as well: Determination. Brendan had already expressed to her that his dream was to become Hoenn's champion. And while it was a very difficult dream, she had to admire how set he was to tackle the obstacles along the way. What is there in the world that will make me feel as passionate as him? She asked herself. She wondered what this journey had in store for her. If it even had anything in store for her.

"May?" Brendan's voice knocked her out of her thoughts. Focusing back on reality, she saw that her friend was looking concerned for her. "You've been staring at me for like a minute now. Is there something on my face?"

"No," she replied. "It's nothing, really. I was just spacing out." Brendan wasn't so easily convinced, but she continued to assure him until he let it go. "More importantly, I think we should finish up here and move on to the woods. I'd say we have an hour or two before sundown." The two cleaned up and returned their Pokemon before getting back on their feet. After a little stretch, it was off to Petalburg Woods.

Brendan couldn't help but feel uncomfortable as May stuck close to him with a hand around his arm. Being creeped out by Bug-types, the girl insisted that he stay close as a shield.

"You can practically hear them crawling all over the place," she whispered. "Doesn't it just make your spine tingle?"

"They're harmless," Brendan retorted. The only ones you really have to watch out for are Dustox, Ninjask and Shedinja, but they won't attack as long as you're not disturbing them." He looked to his companion who was turning her head left and right to look for said Pokemon. A mischievous idea rose in his head. "You know...They say that if you look into the hole on a Shedinja's back, it sucks your soul out and turns you into a walking husk of a person."

"R-really?" Unbeknownst to her, Brendan was fiddling with his Pokedex until he got to Shedinja's entry.

"Yeah. There are many stories about it. I used to have this book and it had a picture of a Shedinja's back. Supposedly, since the cameraman didn't look at it directly with his own eye, he only slipped into a coma. Hasn't woken since. The picture itself didn't have any effect. Still, every time I looked at that hole, it felt like all of my energy was draining."

"Brendan, you're scaring me."

"Right, sorry." He waited until she was looking the other way when he pressed the button to replay a Shedinja's cry. He was actually concerned by the speed at which she turned her head in his direction. Her face paled instantly at the sight of him. Brendan was doing his best lifeless face, mimicking the expression of someone who just had their soul sucked out. Whatever that looked like.

"Ahhhhhh!" May screamed as she started to run away for fear that she might end up the same. After a few seconds, her body froze when he heard a snicker from the supposedly empty boy. She looked back to find that Brendan was doing his best not to rack. "Wait, you're okay?" The boy couldn't hold back anymore and started to laugh hard.

"You-haha you should have seen the look on your face! Hahaha." The concern and fear that had taken her vanished and was soon replaced with anger.

"Brendaaaaan!" May stomped over to the boy and gave him a hard push to the chest. He doubled back and fell on his ass with a smile still on his face. "Ugh, you- you-"

"Alright, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It was a good chance and I took it."

"You nearly gave me a heart attack with that stunt!"

"And I deserve whatever is coming to me." May looked ready to yell his ears off, but somehow calmed herself down. She whispered to herself what sounded to Brendan like a curse on his name.

"...Whatever. Here." The girl offered her hand to help him up. He gladly took it, but soon found himself being pulled behind her. Brendan fell on his face with a wad of dirt in his mouth. "Serves you right." She didn't wait for him to get up and walked ahead of him, her fear of Bug-types distracted by her mood.

"I deserved that," Brendan said to himself, realizing that his actions had a bigger effect on her than he thought. "I definitely deserved that." After pushing himself off the ground and cleaning his mouth, Brendan rushed to catch up to May to gain her favor again.

When he found her, May was sitting on a rock waiting for him to show up. She still looked sour, which was to be expected. Her Torchic seemed to glare at him, daring him to do anything funny. The two stared at each other for a while. Neither moved a muscle until Brendan took a careful step forward.

"You still mad?" he chanced. "Not going to fry me where I stand, are you?"

"...No," she replied. Though to which question, he wasn't sure. Just to be safe, Brendan got on his knees and bowed deeply. He remembered how his father often did it whenever his mom was mad at him. Perhaps it would work on her.

"I'm sorry. I guess I went too far back there. If you can forgive me…"

"I'm not mad. You're kind of overdoing it with all that bowing. Get up before you stain your clothes."

"Not until you make me. That's what my dad says when he asks for forgiveness from my mom." Rolling her eyes, May stood from her seat and helped the boy up. Her face when he looked up showed that she was tired.

"Like I said, I'm not mad. If anything, I'm ashamed that I let myself blow up like that. I've never struck someone seriously before. That's not how I should be treating my only friend."

"To be fair, it was completely justified. Besides, I was the cause of this problem. I should be the one feeling ashamed."

"But still…"

"The way I hear it, friends fight all the time. It ends in different ways. Sometimes it splits them up, sometimes it just makes them drift further apart. Other times, it brings friends closer together. And seeing how I'm the one who wronged you, it's only fair that I let your decision decide what the outcome will be."

"*sigh* Way to put the pressure on me. Where did you even hear that kind of thing if you've never had a friend before?" Brendan shrugged his shoulders.

"Okay, I'll admit. I kinda pulled that one out of my ass. I sounded cool though, right?" He offered a grin and tried putting on a cool pose, but it came out a bit forced. The sight of it made May burst out in chuckles.

"You dork," she laughed. "You're just trying to get me to smile, aren't you?" Brendan's forced smile vanished and a genuine one took its place.

"Guilty. It worked, too." May laid her fist where she had pushed him earlier and gave another lighter one. "I take it you're happy now?"

"Shut up. Come on." She turned around and continued walking towards the northern exit. Brendan followed close behind.

"Yes, ma'am."

The pair navigated their way through the heavily wooded area, finding Pokemon like Slakoth, the two Wurmple evolutions, and Shroomish. Their little spat ironically caused May to find the courage to walk without fear of Bug-types. That didn't stop Torchic from marching beside her like a bodyguard. On their next turn, they encountered a lanky man wearing thick glasses and a lab coat. He seemed to be scouting the area for something. And with great fervor, too.

"Hmmm…" Said the man aloud. "I can't seem to find any here." Brendan and May asserted their presence by clearing their throats. "Oh? I'm sorry, am I in your way?"

"Not at all," Brendan replied. "Is there something we can help you with?"

"I'm glad you asked. You see. I'm actually looking for-"

"HEY!" Yelled a new voice. From beyond the curve, a man in strange red clothing stomped his way over to the scientist. He wore a hooded vest with horns over a thick striped full-body skinsuit, shorts, and large red boots. The pair couldn't help but think about how uncomfortable it must've felt in Hoenn weather. "Do you have any idea how long I was waiting outside the entrance waiting to ambush you? Well I'm tired of waiting!" He grabbed the scientist by the front of his shirt. "You're coming with me, Devon researcher."

"Please, no!"

"We have to help him!" May exclaimed. Torchic stood to attention and chirped angrily at the man.

"What's this? You trying to pick a fight?" The scientist was tossed to the side as the red clad man reached for his Pokeball. "You got a lot of nerve trying to cross a Team Magma member. Go, Poochyena!"

"Leave this to me, Brendan. Make sure the scientist is safe."

"Got it." Brendan ran towards the downed man, getting the attention of the grunt. He ordered his Pokemon to attack him. May had other plans for him.

"Your opponent is me! Use Ember!" Torchic blasted the Poochyena's torso, causing it to trip and roll to the side. It furiously growled at Torchic for disrupting its attack.

"Fine, I'll pick you off first. Thunder Fang, go!" Poochyena bared its fangs. From between the cracks of its teeth, electricity crackled and whizzed in the air. It chased after Torchic with malicious intent.

"Blind him with a Sand Attack!" Torchic kicked the ground beneath it and sent a spray of sand to the charging Pokemon. The attack hit, but there didn't seem to be any effect. Poochyena reached its target and sunk its fangs into May's Pokemon. A large current of electricity ran through Torchic's body, causing it to spasm.

"That's right, Poochyena. Don't let go no matter what. Fry that little bird!"

"Torchic, no! Quick! Use Fire Spin!" The Fire Pokemon mustered whatever strength it had left and expelled a torrent of flame from its body. Poochyena staggered in the heat, but it didn't let go for anything. Finally, he felt Torchic's body go limp from exhaustion. It spat out its foe like a broken play thing. May quickly called Torchic back in its ball.

"May!" Brendan called. "Let me help!"

"No," she firmly refused. "I can do this!" She grabbed Taillow's Pokeball. "Torchic was defeated by just one attack...That Poochyena is stronger than the other's we've faced…But if I can't beat it on the ground, I'll take it on in the sky! Taillow, I choose you!" The flying Pokemon came out of the Pokeball and instantly took to the sky. "It's been hurt by Fire Spin. We'll use that to our advantage!" As if on cue, Poochyenna was assaulted by the effects of Fire Spin. It howled in pain. "Aerial Ace!" Taillow flew high in the air and dived with frightening speed.

"Don't let that runt hit you! Dodge it and hit it with another Thunder Fang!" Assuming Taillow's path was set, Poochyena jumped to its side and bared its fangs again. It didn't expect Taillow to change direction a whole 90 degree in a split second and slam into where it had been hit by Torchic's Ember. Poochyena was knocked aside by sheer force. And to make matters worse, it was again burned by Fire Spin. "Now! Use Iron Tail!"

"Double Team and Agility!" Poochyena with its silver tail was about to pounce at Taillow, but was stunned when it split into several copies and quickly flew circled around it.

"Don't waste time finding the real one! Just attack them one by one!" Poochyena struck a Taillow with its tail, only for it to phase through the illusion. Seeing this, it repeated its attack on the nearest copy with the same results. Little did it know, the real Taillow had escaped high above the trees and was coming down fast.

"Finish it with Steel Wing!" The bird Pokemon broke through the blanket of sticks and leaves with its silver wings. The Poochyena was still occupied by the clones when it was struck right down its back. The mere impact caused its knees to buckle and burrow into the ground, creating a crater. Poochyena's strength quickly faded before finally passing out.

"Poochyena!" cried the Magma Grunt. He grit his teeth as he called back his Pokemon. "Shit, how could I lose to some little girl? The boss is gonna have my head if I don't get those papers."

"Face it," May said. "Without any Pokemon, you're powerless."

"Grr...Don't get cocky, kid. You're messing with an organization here. When the boss hears about this, he'll crack down on you, you hear me? Team Magma will be on your tail!" He turned around and retreated with a final warning. "Enjoy your coexistence while it lasts!" Once he was out of the way, May ran to Brendan and the scientist. The man was lying on the ground, unconscious.

"How is he?" May asked.

"He's knocked out. Must've hit his head when he fell down. He'll be up in no time. More importantly, what the hell was with that guy?"

"I don't know. But from what he said, it sounds like there's an organization trying to wreak havoc here in Hoenn."

"Just like Rocket…We'll need to be careful from now on.

"Agreed." Suddenly, the scientist woke with a start, startling the two teens. "Mr. Scientist! Are you okay?"

"What?" he asked. The memories of what happened flooded back to him. His hands immediately reached for his bag. Once he opened it, the man gave a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness it's safe. Did you two chase that man off?"

"May was the one that beat him," Brendan confessed. "I made sure you weren't hurt or anything."

"I see." Standing up, the man fixed his clothing and pushed up his glasses. "You two have my most sincere gratitude. If not for you, these papers would have fallen on unruly hands."

"Do you know anything about that person?" May asked.

"His clothes match the description of these people I've been hearing about. Rumor has it that two teams have formed in Hoenn, terrorizing science labs and such for parts and machines. In honesty, not much is known about these two groups. All we have are names: Team Magma and Team Aqua. Other than that, we don't even have an idea of what their end goal is."

"Nothing, huh?"

"If you'll excuse me, I need to go back to the Devon Corporation. They will want to hear about this. Oh, and allow me to heal your Pokemon. It's the least I can do."

"Allow us to come with you," Brendan suggested. "That Magma guy ran in the direction of Rustboro. For all we know, there might be more of them lurking around."

"You'd do that? Well then, allow us to depart. We must make haste." The man ran ahead of them.

"He sure has a lot of energy for someone who almost got kidnapped. We should catch up to him."

"Yeah. Oh, by the way…"

"What is it?" Brendan scratched the back of his head, all while avoiding eye contact with the girl.

"You were pretty awesome back there. The way you beat that guy...I was really impressed. You really showed me just how strong you can be." May stopped and stared at her friend's embarrassed expression. His face glowed a light shade of red. May had a feeling that the boy wasn't used to complimenting people. Or was it because he didn't have much experience complimenting someone of the opposite sex? Either way, it was an unexpected trait. She brought a hand to her mouth and let out an amused giggle.

"Really? Thanks. It means a lot coming from you."

"You're laughing at me…"

"Well it's just your face. How can I not laugh? Think of it as getting even for earlier." Embarrassed even further, Brendan decided to run ahead of her to catch up with the scientist. May was glad that he didn't see her face. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to hide the blush ravaging her face as well. "Wait for me, Brendan!"


While you're at it, tell me if these chapters are working for you. Whether its length, detail, action, etc. Maybe you prefer smaller but more chapters. Maybe you like longer chapters with lots of scenes. Warn me if the pacing is too quick or slow relative to the amount of story in the chapter. More importantly, warn me about cliches.