Welcome back to another chapter of Holly Rising! This one's a bit on the longer side. There is a prompt here, but I will explain afterwards to avoid spoilers. As always, I do not own Pokémon and see the author's notes for details. All prompts are the property of Wizardmonfan, and are summarized here with permission.

14. Distress

After a few minutes, Holly's tears had dried.

Thinking positive memories could do that, it seemed.

After a while, Anabel extended a hand.

"Why don't we get going?"

Holly smiled.

"To the next city?"

Anabel shook her head.

"No, for you to fulfill the next part of your promise. As long as we're here, we may as well find someone for you to battle. Better to fulfill it sooner rather than later, right?"

Holly nodded.

"But where will we go? The city is so small…"

"Well, we will be sure to find someone."

Anabel got up, and Holly followed.

As the woman led her around the city, Holly couldn't see much. Perhaps there was something here. Holly kept staring at the ground.

For once, she didn't want to go into battle.

And she knew why.

Holly clenched her fist.

It was because of Nidoran.

She'd promised Anabel she would use her, but now, Holly wasn't so sure.

What if Nidoran acted up again?

What if she didn't listen to Holly?

What if she hated her?

But Holly knew regardless of how she felt, she still had to battle.

Anabel wouldn't have it any other way.

Holly still could not help feeling glum.

At least, until Anabel put a hand on her shoulder.

"Look up, Holly. There's something here."

Holly stole a glance upward, and her eyes widened.

Before her loomed a giant building.

It looked like a huge fancy mansion, but Holly wondered how many people could live in there. Its white exterior and orange roofs looked like they'd just been polished. Holly could see people scurrying like mice to and from the building, but she had no idea what they were doing.

"Anabel, what is this place?"

Anabel simply pointed.

Holly quickly followed the woman's finger to a sign. She could read the words, "Pokémon Tech."

Holly simply blinked in confusion.

What exactly was this place, and why did Anabel bring her here?

So, Holly couldn't resist the urge to blurt out, "What's Pokémon Tech?"

However, it was not Anabel who replied.

Instead, another voice answered.

"It's a school for Pokémon Trainers."

Holly spun around, and came face-to-face with another woman.

She looked younger than Anabel, but she was definitely older than Holly. Dark brown hair tumbled down her back, and she wore blue professional-looking clothes. Her brown eyes were warm but firm as she greeted the two.

Holly shivered. She might not have known who the woman was, but it was clear she held a position of authority.

Holly tried to say something, but the woman answered instead. "Oh hello, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Giselle, and I'm the head of Pokémon Tech."

She glanced at Holly, who tried to shrink back.

"Now, you were the one who wanted to know what Pokémon Tech was?"

As if sensing Holly's discomfort, Anabel walked up beside her.

"Yes, her name is Holly, and my name is Anabel. Pleased to meet you."

Giselle simply nodded.

"Well, as I said, Pokémon Tech is a school for Trainers. It's a bit different than other schools, though."

Holly blinked.

"Why is that?"

Giselle quickly replied.

"Well, other schools prepare Trainers for journeys. This school is for those who don't want to go on one."

Holly couldn't believe what she was hearing. Why wouldn't a Trainer want to go on a Pokémon journey? They made up a Trainer's very identity!

"Why wouldn't someone want to go on a Pokémon journey?"

Giselle kept her cool and she replied. "Well, a lot of times they can't. There's the issue of money, simply not feeling ready, or even disabilities. For that reason, if a student graduates from our school, they have the same qualifications as someone who got the Badges for the Pokémon League. We've trained many people here, including Cerulean's current Gym Leader. If you see her, say hi to her for me."

Holly's eyes went wide. So someone could just sit in school and be as ready for the Pokémon League as someone who went on a dangerous journey? That didn't seem fair!

And what did Giselle mean by disabilities? Did Trainers go to the school in wheelchairs? Holly shut her eyes, trying to picture wheelchairs everywhere, but she couldn't. How would people like that even get into the Pokémon League?

Maybe they just had lots of help... But still, part of the fun of being a Trainer was being on one's own…

She couldn't imagine not being able to do that!

Why even go?

Holly blurted out again. "Why would a Trainer with a wheelchair go on a Pokémon journey?"

She winced at a smack from Anabel. "Holly! That's not nice! And a disability doesn't always mean a wheelchair!"

But Holly still continued.

"They wouldn't ever be able to go alone, and the journey is dangerous even for a normal person! I can't imagine a handicapped person getting very far!"

Another slap came from Anabel, but Holly ignored it.

Instead, she was lost in her own thoughts.

She remembered the poison, how much that had hurt her, and how she could barely move…

And then there were the less dangerous things, like the fierce battle against Brock's Vulpix…

Or the Growlithe that nearly blew her away with its Roar…

Even the idea of catching Pokémon, and the proper timing with the Poké Balls…

Sometimes, it felt like she could hardly do any of that…

So how could a disabled person?

Holly was ripped back to the present as she noticed that Anabel had fixed her with an icy glare. Giselle's face was considerably softer, but she still held a firmness in it.

"We had one disabled Trainer could do everything a normal Trainer could. And more."

Holly still couldn't believe it.

"How?" She gasped out.

Giselle continued. "Well, for one thing, she wasn't in a wheelchair. She still relied on a machine to move, but she could walk."

Holly continued staring at Giselle. Wasn't a machine that helped people walk a wheelchair?

She opened her mouth to say something but Giselle silenced her.

"She was a phenomenal battler, one of the best I've seen in years. Her first day here, she had no Badges. And yet she took on several students at the top of our beginning class with ease."

When Holly looked dumbfounded, Giselle explained.

"That'd be like if you, on your first day of training, decided that you were going to challenge someone with three or four Badges."

Holly's eyes widened.

She couldn't imagine doing that! Let alone winning!

"How would someone be that strong?" Holly blurted out.

Giselle had a warm smile on her face as she answered.

"Well, I shouldn't say it was her first day. She might not have had any Badges, but she had been working with Pokémon a long time before that. She was used to them helping her."

"But how did she even get to the school? How could she battle? She couldn't have gone on a journey…"

"A sternness flashed in Giselle's eyes as she continued. "She got around the school just like everyone else, but with help from her Pokémon. And she battled with their help too. I remember she had to follow some special rules from the League, but she could have more than six Pokémon."

Holly burst out. "More than six Pokémon? Isn't that cheating?"

Holly couldn't help but feel the rage creeping into her voice. So the Trainer could have more than six Pokémon just because she couldn't walk? That didn't seem fair!

"I don't know the details, but there was something in place from League so that she couldn't cheat. And I do remember she took the rules very seriously."

Holly was so full of rage that she didn't see Anabel walk up towards her. However, Holly could not miss the pained look on Anabel's face.

Was she in pain because of Holly's rage? She should have been used to it by now…

And why slapping her when she mentioned something about that disabled Trainer? Given what Anabel could do, Holly supposed should expect no less. And she could ask her later…

But now the woman was speaking.

"It's not uncommon for disabled Trainers to have a license for more than six Pokémon, Holly. The ones they don't use in battle help them in other ways. They're called service Pokémon. I'm not too familiar about the process myself, but I'm sure we can ask someone."

Holly just couldn't stop staring as Giselle continued. This was all so odd!

"As for the journey, the Trainer found ways to go on one just like any other person. But she chose to stay back for a few years so that she could prepare. By the time she felt ready, she was much older than the usual Pokémon Trainer. But she was also prepared, and had traveled a lot before then."

Confusion was written on Holly's face. Why would someone wait for a journey? It was what defined Pokémon Trainers! And if she was already that good at Pokémon, then what did she have to fear?

Holly tried not to let a smirk show.

Obviously, the Trainer must've been a giant scaredy-cat! Well, she could knock that out of her!

Holly boldly stepped forward.

"Is that Trainer here? I want to battle her!"

Giselle shook her head, but a broad smile crossed her face. "No, she's traveling on her journey now. She's kept in contact with us when she can, so we know she's still around. But, she probably will traveling be for a long time."

Holly couldn't help asking.

"Is it because she moves slower?"

Giselle shook her head.

"I think it's more because of who she is. I remember she was hell bent on becoming a Pokémon Master, and one of her goals was to complete everything in every region… Oh, and she likes challenging herself too… She'd use all these different teams and battle tougher Trainers again and again… I'd imagine she's doing the Gym Challenge more than once, just to see how the different teams work…"

Anabel had also taken to smiling. "Some Trainers are like that. If you get stronger, Holly, you might just meet this one."

Holly tried to hide her confusion, but wasn't sure how successful she was.

Why would anyone want to do the challenge multiple times? Once was hard enough! And why would someone want to complete everything? That sounded almost impossible!

But then again, from the way Anabel talked, it seemed like that was normal for some people. And the woman would know. She'd probably seen a lot of Trainers like that in her Battle Frontier days. Holly thought perhaps she would ask her later.

For now, Holly focused on Giselle, who was still holding her smile.

"Now then, have you come to learn at the school?"

Before Holly could reply, Anabel stepped up.

"No, Holly just wants to battle."

Giselle smiled.

"Well, I'd be happy to provide that! Why don't we battle at one of the places on the grounds? There should be one someone's not using."

Holly nodded. This wouldn't be any disabled Trainer, but this would be good enough.

It didn't take long for Giselle to find a battle arena. The two stood across from each other, while Anabel watched from a nearby bench.

"Let us begin." Giselle stated, and Holly nodded.

She couldn't wait to battle, but more importantly, she couldn't wait to show Anabel she could keep her promise!

Now, it looked like she could do both.

Holly focused on Giselle, and the woman held a Poke Ball in her hand.

She tossed it into the air. "Sylveon, go!"

A Pokémon appeared with a mighty cry. Even though its cream-colored fur looked silky smooth, its bright blue eyes shone with determination. Red and blue ribbons twirled in the slight wind. The Pokémon walked on graceful red paws that matched its huge ears.

But despite its grace, Holly knew it had to be a formidable opponent.

She could not let her guard down, and yet she smiled.

This was the perfect opportunity to impress Anabel! Sylveon was week to Poison, and she knew just who on her team used it.

Holly tossed her own Poké Ball in the air. "Nidoran, let's get going!"

The blue rabbit appeared, and let out a piercing screech.

Hostility burned in its eyes, and Holly was grateful at least it was on her side.

But for now, she thrust out her hand.

"Nidoran, Poison Sting!"

Nidoran dashed towards the Sylveon, horn glowing purple with venom.

It slammed into its opponent, and Sylveon let a scream. It tumbled backward, and took a while to shakily stand up.

Holly grinned. This would be an easy victory!

Yet Giselle didn't seem fazed.

"Sylveon, Fairy Wind!"

Sylveon's ribbons glowed bright pink. In another minute, a fierce wind whipped in the area. Holly thought she could see that the wind was shining and pink, but it was difficult to tell as she covered her eyes. The wind flew towards Nidoran, yet she looked almost bored. To her, it must've just been a light breeze.

Holly smiled again. Someone who ran a school should know better than to use a move that an opposing Pokémon was strong against!

But Giselle wasn't finished.

"Sylveon, Quick Attack!"

Holly quickly countered. "Nidoran, Poison Sting again!"

Yet Sylveon sped off before Nidoran could even ready her horn.

It slammed into the smaller Pokémon, knocking her back. However, Nidoran quickly stood up, eyes burning. Her horn glowed purple again, and she slammed into Sylveon before it could recover.

The opposing Pokémon let out another screech and it tumbled back again. It staggered to its feet, but now it took even longer. Holly could see the pain in the Pokémon's eyes, but she chose not to pay attention.

Victory was close!

Holly's grin grew even wider as she shouted. "Let's finish this! Poison Sting!"

Nidoran let out a cry and charged towards Sylveon. Before the opposing Pokémon could even move, Nidoran rammed it with its deadly, glowing, horn.

Sylveon flew backwards, slamming into the ground again. However, this time, it didn't get up.

Holly pumped her fist in the air.

"Yes! Good work, Nidoran!"

Out of the corner of her eye, Holly could see Anabel smile and nod approvingly.

She'd won a battle, and she'd continued to make Anabel happy! Things couldn't be better!

Holly refocused her attention to see that Gisele was still standing on the battlefield.

She quickly recalled her Pokémon. "Impressive. You and your Nidoran are quite talented."

Holly noticed another Poké Ball gleaming, and tensed as Giselle continued talking.

"But, let's see how you handle this Pokémon."

She tossed her Poké Ball into the air again.

"Go, Scizor!"

A Pokémon erupted on the battlefield, letting out a ferocious roar. It appeared to be encased in red armor, with tiny wings. Its pinchers looked as though it was about to snap up anything, and Holly could see what looked like eyes. The fake eyes on the pinchers matched the real eyes on the Pokémon. Both glowed with a golden fire.

Despite the opposing Pokémon's intimidating appearance, Holly still grinned.

This couldn't be easier!

Scizor was very weak to fire, so all she had to do was use Torracat!

Yet when Holly reached down to grab her Fire Pokémon's Ball, her hand only hit emptiness.

She frowned, feeling for it on her belt.

But there was only a void where Torracat's Poké Ball had been.

It was then that she remembered Anabel's words.

"Until further notice, I'm keeping Torracat."

Holly grimaced, and her face went pale.

Of course! Anabel would still have Torracat! She was serious about her word…

But now was an emergency! If Holly didn't have Torracat, she'd lose the battle. Perhaps Anabel would give it back, just for now.

Holly flashed a desperate look in Anabel's direction, hoping she would get the message.

Yet the woman shook her head.

Holly resisted the urge to scream.

She couldn't lose this battle! She just couldn't!

Holly faced Anabel, desperation burning in her eyes. Mouthing the word "please", she glanced straight at the woman.

"No." Anabel's voice was firm in her short response, and Holly shivered as she registered the chilling finality.

Holly's eyes went wide. There was no way she could win! None of her Pokémon were strong enough to face a Scizor!

She was torn back to the battle by Giselle's voice.

"Having a little trouble with your friend, there?" There was no sympathy or mockery in the woman's voice, only curiosity.

Yet Holly fought hard to keep from becoming embarrassed.

How would she tell Gisele what happened? What would the woman say?

Instead, Holly started stuttering. "Well, I, uh…"

Suddenly, Giselle's eyes hardened. "I heard about someone who ran off to the lake with a Poké Ball in their hand this morning. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

At this, Holly gulped.

She felt all the color drain out of her face. Her eyes were wide, and her face twisted into an expression of shock.

How could Giselle know? Holly thought no one had seen her!

She tried to back away, only to feel a firm hand on her shoulder. She tried to struggle, but the hand gave her a hard shove. Holly yelped as she was pushed back into the battle.

Holly whirled around to find Anabel standing behind her, a severe expression on her face.

"Tell the truth." She growled.

Desperation once again burned in Holly's eyes, but once again, the woman was no help. So Holly turned and faced Giselle, the other woman fixing her with her own severe expression.

Holly could feel herself shaking so much that she thought she might collapse. She tried to keep her voice even, but it was shaking too. It was a miracle she managed to talk at all. "That was me! My Pokémon… I…" Holly tried to force herself to talk more, but Giselle cut her off. "…Don't know what you did or why, but if you are a true Pokémon Trainer, you will finish this battle."

Holly nodded shakily. It wasn't like she had any choice!

Giselle shouted. "Scizor, Bullet Punch!"

Scizor zoomed across the battlefield faster than Holly ever thought its appearance could suggest. One of its pinchers glowed blue.

Before Nidoran could even register what was happening, the opponent slammed into her again and again. Holly gritted her teeth, trying to keep herself from crying out with every hit. Nidoran's screams pierced her ears, and yet there was nothing she could do.

That morning, she had tried to end Nidoran's life.

Now, she could only feel its pain.

When Holly finally forced herself to look, Nidoran was battered and bruised.

However, she was still standing.

Somehow, Holly realized she had a voice.

She quickly called out a command.

"Nidoran, Double Kick!"

Nidoran's legs lashed out as it prepared to attack. They make contact with the heavy armor, but the Scizor didn't even flinch. It looked as though nothing had hit it, because the attack didn't even leave a dent.

Giselle simply pointed at Nidoran.

"Bullet Punch."

Again Nidoran was pummeled by Scizor's glowing pincher. Again Holly resisted the urge to cry out as she felt her Pokémon's pain.

But this time, Nidoran couldn't stand. She lay on the ground in a heap, eyes closed.

Holly quickly recalled her and turned to face Giselle. The woman was looking at her expectantly, and Holly grimaced.

She promised Anabel she'd fight to the end…

So she had to send out more Pokémon, no matter how hopeless it was.

Holly clutched another Poké Ball, flinging it into the air.

"Go, Pikachu!"

The mouse Pokémon appeared, glaring at its opponent as it dropped down on all fours.

Holly sighed. At least Pikachu was confident. And Electric type Pokemon did good damage against Steel types.

Maybe Pikachu would have a chance.

But Holly was proven wrong almost immediately.

"Scizor, Quick Attack!"

Scizor sped across the battlefield at blinding speed. Before Holly could even shout out a command, it knocked into Pikachu.

The mouse went flying across the battlefield, crashing to the ground.

Like Nidoran, it lay crumpled in a heap, showing no signs of getting up.

Holly held back tears. She had only one Pokémon left, and it wouldn't do anything!

But she had to fight to the finish.

So, she tossed her last Poké Ball, trying not to keep her eyes focused on the battlefield.

"Go, Mawile."

The Steel type Pokémon appeared, defiantly facing its adversary.

Holly wished she could share its confidence.

Yet again, before she could attack, Giselle issued a command. "Bullet Punch."

Holly gulped.

Perhaps Mawile would be able to withstand the barrage of blows.

Yet even it could not do anything as Scizor charged forward. Scizor punched Mawile repeatedly, and the Pokémon screamed in pain. Holly could see that its metal jaw was noticeably dented, and knew there wasn't long left.

Yet she had to try anyway.

"Mawile, Bite!"

That was a mistake.

Mawile opened its jaws, but it was far too slow. It had barely commenced its attack before Scizor had already moved away.

And now it was wide open.

Giselle didn't waste any time seizing the advantage.

"Scizor, Bullet Punch! Finish this!"

Scizor flew forward, glowing blue pincher punching Mawile straight in its open mouth. The Pokémon made a noise that sounded like half screaming, half choking. Scizor had not even backed away before Mawile fell backwards.

Holly recalled her Pokémon, keeping her face to the ground.

"Is that all you have?" Giselle asked in a soft voice.

Holly nodded, but she couldn't see much as her vision blurred. Tears streamed down her face, and she tried not to sob noisily.

If only she had Torracat, she would've won the match! If only Anabel had given it back… Just this once…

Now she was dealing with a loss. It may not had had been the loss Anabel had in mind, but Holly did not care.

The tears made it sting nonetheless.

Holly was dimly aware of someone running up in front of her. Then, she heard Giselle's voice. "You're Pokémon are very strong. You just need a little more training. Come on, don't cry…"

Another person ran up from behind her, and she registered that it was Anabel.

She resisted the urge to lash out as the woman whispered. "It's okay, it's okay. There will be a lot more battles."

Yet Holly couldn't stop the tears.

It wasn't okay, and who knew there would be any more battles?

Suddenly, she heard Anabel again. "Look, Holly.

Giselle exclaimed. "Oh my!"

Holly wiped away the tears to see that Nidoran was twitching. How odd… She swore was unconscious before…

But just as she was about to walk over, Holly's Pokémon was surrounded by a bright white light. She shielded her eyes but the light still glowed.

Holly wanted to close her eyes, but she knew it would be brief.

Sure enough, after a few minutes, the light stopped.

Holly uncovered her eyes and was face-to-face with a new Pokémon.

Her Nidoran was no more. In her place was another blue rabbit, but it was larger. It still had piercing red eyes, but there was a new maturity within them. The blue horn on Nidoran's head was gone, replaced by blue spikes on the new creatures back. It no longer ran around on all fours, but instead stood proudly on it hind legs.

Holly hadn't ever seen one of her own Pokémon do this before, but she knew what it was.

Giselle said something first, though.

"Congratulations! Your Nidoran evolved into Nidorina!"

Holly mumbled a "thank you" as Anabel responded.

"Congratulations! And Nidoran behaved itself!"

Giselle gave shot her a curious look, and Anabel simply nodded gravely.

Giselle's eyes widened, and Holly imagine she was horrified at the implication.

Things had taken a turn for the worse, and so quickly.

First she lost the battle, and now someone else knew about what happened that morning…

All because of Anabel.

Now, she couldn't even look at her.

Holly recalled her Nidorina. Tears still dripped from her face as she slowly walked up.

A concerned look crossed Anabel's face, but Holly doubted it was genuine.

"Holly…" She started to say, but Holly cut her off.

"Let's just go." Holly muttered, head down as she walked to the Pokémon Center.

Author's notes:

First, an optional prompt. Pokémon Tech is in Sable City, and Giselle is the head. Players can find and battle her, although is not required. Unlike the Gym Leaders, there are no specific Pokémon Giselle's required to use.

Now for the rest of it…

-Pokémon Tech first appears in the anime, although there it is in between Cerulean and Vermillion City. As Giselle states, it's an alternate option for Trainers who want to enter the Pokémon League. Once they graduate, Pokémon Trainers automatically entered into the league. In the anime, it's never stated why Trainers choose this over the traditional journey, but I figure the reasons listed above would make sense.

-Also in the anime, Giselle is only a student at Pokémon Tech (albeit stronger than most). However, in this RP, Giselle is stated to be the head of Pokémon Tech. Therefore, I figure the most logical conclusion is that she is older. She's also a bully in her original appearance in the anime. However, as a grade of liberty, I chose to make her quite a bit kinder.

-Her talking about training Cerulean's Gym Leader comes from a battle in the anime. In the anime, Misty becomes angry about how Giselle is treating her fellow students. Misty challenges Giselle to a battle, but Giselle wins easily. She then offers to battle Misty with other Pokémon, but the latter is too frustrated to accept. It's also worth noting that Giselle uses Pokémon that's weak against Water, the type that Misty uses.

-Top beginning Trainers being the equivalent of three or four badges comes from in the anime. When another student, Joe, mentions Giselle being the top of the beginner's class, he mentions that's better than even having three badges.

-In the anime, Giselle's only revealed Pokémon are Cubone and Graveler. However, the anime reveals she has more. Furthermore, it's not unreasonable to think that she would've picked up some more as the years passed. I wanted to have Giselle have a Fairy type because it seemed fitting and it would allow Holly to use Nidoran. As for her other Pokémon, I originally wanted Holly to win this battle, but decided to have her lose to show off the effects of the punishment from the previous chapter. It would also be good example of showing how Holly deals with loss. Scizor was the perfect Pokémon for both things.

-The idea for disabled trainers going to Pokémon Tech comes from an observation I made when I first saw the episode. Since Trainers didn't have to go on Badge collecting journeys, I figured that this could be a place where disabled trainers could go. I thought of that because of my own disability, which would probably prevent me from going on a journey, and then immediately imagined myself studying at the school. When I saw Pokémon Tech again at the RP, I remembered what I'd thought about the episode, and this led to the dialogue in the chapter.

-Similarly, Holly's reaction to a disabled trainer attending school and going on a journey is based on how the Pokémon series works with disabilities. In all Pokémon media, disabled Trainers are hardly ever seen. The few times they are seen, it's never elaborated on how they get around. For example, the Hoenn Pokémon trainer Wally has a breathing problem. Yet he goes through an area known for falling volcanic ash, and somehow gets out fine. Another glaring example is Cyrus, who is implied to have some sort of psychological issue, but it's never explained what it is or how it specifically affects him.

-Service Pokémon is based on a real-life concept called service animals. In real life, animals can be trained to perform tasks for someone with a disability (e.g. a dog flipping off a light switch or closing a door). Since Pokémon are trained to do many different things for Trainers, I didn't think it was that far-fetched for disabled people to want to train them as service animals. However, service animals are never seen in any Pokémon media (as far as I'm aware). So, Holly does not know about them.

-The idea of completing everything and challenging the Gyms with different teams comes from two distinct play styles. Players can choose to complete everything in the games, and some entries in the series will even give rewards for doing so. Using different teams to complete the Gym challenge comes from something called a challenge run. A challenge run is one where a restriction is in place to make the game more difficult. Usually, this involves only using specific teams, although it can also be done using many different ones.

-On another topic, Nidoran evolving one when fainted comes from the games. In the fourth generation onward, Pokémon could evolve even if they fainted.

-And finally, there is an introduction to another OC. This OC will be a recurring and major character in the RP, but she's not limited to it. I also plan to use her in a few other works in the same universe as Holly Rising. As for what she is, she's actually a reimagining of the character I created when I was younger and first trying to write for the Pokémon fandom. However, I will explain more when the character actually appears.