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Chapter twenty

Battling a snob, rare items and burning cash

The snob was the first to toss his Ultra balls out into the battle arena, with Mason's following close after, and as the red light from them faded, Mason had to bit the inside of his lip to keep from groaning, of course he would use two of the same Pokémon, and of course it would be these two.

Across the arena stood two of the bulkiest Excadrills that Mason had ever seen. While they were about the same height that Mason had expected them to be, the pair clearly had way more body mass than what their species usually had, at least going by what pictures he'd seen of them.

'Well I guess that's what will happen if they are being used for excavation and mining non-stop' Mason thought to himself before he was pulled from his thoughts by the shrill voice of the rich snob.

"What the hell is this!" he all but demanded pointing at Mason's Pokémon, Growlithe and Spearow.

Mason arched an eyebrow, "My Pokémon, duh?" Mason said, feigning confusion but knowing exactly why the snob was confused, so far in all of his previous battles he'd used all of his other Pokémon, wanting to spread the battle experience out amongst his team, but he hadn't used either Spearow or Growlithe yet in any of his previous matches.

'Didn't see this coming did you, thought you could watch me and plan how to defeat my team once you knew my layout did you, nice try' Mason thought to himself while fighting to keep up his confused act.

"But they weren't any of the ones you used before!" the snob yelled clearly frustrated, "I've seen you use all your team in your previous battles, Marowak, Dratini, Poliwhirl, Golbat, Scyther and Squirtle, you can't have more than six Pokémon, and you never switched!" he said before pointing his finger at Mason, "That's it you're a cheater, you're carrying over the legal carry limit!"

Mason shrugged nonchalantly, "Oh I see your problem. Yeah, I'm carrying over the limit yeah, but it's not illegal for me, it's a perk of my job" he stated plainly.

"Y-Your job?" the snob stuttered, his right eye twitching.

Mason nodded, "Yeah," he said before glancing to the ref, "hey Ref, wanna fill him in?"

The referee nodded from his podium before typing in a command at his station to bring up Mason's profile on a screen facing the arena for all to see.

Trainer: Mason Storm

Age: 16

Home town: Pallet Town, Kanto

Pokémon registered: 8

Badges registered: 3

Profession: Trainer, Affiliated Field Move Researcher (Silph Co)

Carry limit: 8

Registered moves: 14

Mason had to try really hard not to chuckle when he saw the wide eyed looks that the screen got from all watching on, and the slack jawed look that the Snob had, before it was replaced with one of indignation. Mason could guess why, the legal carry limit wasn't something that you could change by throwing money at it. It would only change for a regular trainer after they proved they are capable of managing a full team of six Pokémon for two years at a minimum while traveling.

The leagues weren't about to just let new trainers run about with a dozen Pokémon, not only because of the danger involved but because none of them would know how to maintain and look after so many Pokémon right from the start. The only way that someone could change their legal carry limit without years of traveling was by getting a job that changed it due to the job's requirements, and there were only a handful of specific jobs like that.

Mason could clearly see that his carry limit was something that was grating on the snobs ego, he'd likely tried in the past to get his own carry limit changed only to be turned down regardless of how much money he had or how many palms he greased.

'To bad so sad' Mason chuckled for himself before clearing his throat, "can we get things started now, since clearly I'm not a cheater"

"Fine then," the snob said, grinding his teeth, "it doesn't matter, I'm still going to win, go start with…" the snob started to give his command but Mason was quicker.

Hearing the snob give his consent for them to continue, Mason had no qualms about giving his first command, "Combo one, pick your targets" Mason ordered sharply.

As soon as his order was given both Spearow and Growlithe sped into motion, Spearow taking to the air as she began to multiply with Double Team, as Growlithe took off running, leaving a trail of light behind her as she sped around the arena using Agility and started to circle one of the Excadrills as the multiple Spearow began to do the same above the other, before they began to strike.

Various Spearow began to dive bomb Excadrill one with rapid shot Aerial Ace, while Growlithe's maw opened and began to spew a torrent of bright white stars at Excadrill two, while still running and keeping out of range.

The sudden and rapid bombardment had both Excadrill on the defensive straight away, not waiting for orders as they raised their claws and tilted their heads to deflect most of the blows that came their way, clearly the two were experienced even if their trainer wasn't.

"What are you two doing, don't just stand there!" the snob yelled, "use Slash! Tear them to shreds!"

Hearing their orders the two Excadrill obeyed as their claws began to glow with energy as they moved to strike.

"Keep back but don't let up!" Mason ordered in return watching on.

The two Excadrills lashed out with their claws, but neither had luck hitting their targets. Spearow kept well out of reach in the air as she moved in and around her target using her clones as cover to strike, while Growlithe was just plain too fast for her opponent, keeping well out of range while she kept strafing it with Swift chipping away as she did so.

Mason grinned as he saw things playing out, things were going well and his plan was still on track. His sudden command had thrown his opponent off, his lack of open commands giving no way for his opponent to counter him. Combo one, it had been a command that he had taught a few of his Pokémon who met the criteria for it, speed and evasion were it's primary aspects, hit and run tactics basically. First his Pokémon would use a move to boost their evasion or speed and then go right into another move to start to chip away at their opponent. Of course not all of his Pokémon had the same combo numbers, in a long drawn out battle his opponents would eventually figure out the nature of some combos, so he had to vary them a little and give them secondary combo names to keep his opponents guessing.

Seeing his two Excadrill not having any luck hitting their opponents the Snob growled, "what are you idiots doing, stop messing around, bring them down with Crush Claw!"

Both Excadrill roared out as their claws began to glow crimson as energy began to seep out of them as they started to lengthen.

Hearing the command for the third gen attack Mason's eyes widened, while the move wasn't that much stronger than it's Slash counterpart it apparently gave the Excadrill extra reach that could be troublesome.

"Spearow, dodge to the sky, Growlithe swap to Combo two" Mason ordered while analyzing the situation.

Spearow nodded and dodged up and into the air, using the last of her double team as cover to narrowly evade a crimson strike.

Growlithe cut off her swift as she jumped out of the way of her own crimson claw before she began running once more, this time as embers began to fall from her maw as she began to rapidly circle both Excadrill, the flames making the pair step back to avoid them as the flames touched the ground and lingered, effectively caging them in.

Seeing the situation the Snob growled, "focus on the Growlithe, take it out, use Rocks Slide!" he ordered.

Both Excadrill then turned their attention to Growlithe as they raised their arms and claws up into the air as the space above them began to ripple as rocks began to form in the air out of some kind of energy.

"Growlithe, evade them," Mason ordered as the rocks began to fall.

Growlithe cut off her flames and put all her attention into her Agility as she began to dive and duck around every falling rock that came at her, jumping out of the way just as another came close to catching her as she dodged another, it seemed never ending as more and more rocks kept forming as the pair tagged up to attack her.

'Crap, she can't keep dodging forever' Mason thought to himself before calling out another command, "Spearow, help Growlithe, Combo two!"

"Spearow!" Spearow cried out before diving down fast with Agility as she shot at the pair of opponents, her form blurring as a dozen copies of herself appeared as they began to swarm the pair as they lifted up, their talons at the ready as they began to use Fury Attack in full force to deal some damage.

With the rocks no longer falling Growlithe came skidding to a halt away from the scene, looking a little tired, seeing this Mason gave another command, "Growlithe, back Spearow up with Fire Fang!"

Growlithe nodded and instantly raced forward, her maw blazing with fire as she leaped and latched on to one of the Excadrills arms with her blazing jaw making the larger Pokémon cry out from the pain.

"What are you doing, break away with Crush claw and finish this already!" the Snob yelled, clearly growing more frustrated by the second.

Hearing the command the pair once more obeyed as their claws blades with crimson energy and lengthened.

"Get back!" Mason yelled, but it was too late.

The Excadrill that Growlithe had latched on to raised its free arm and lashed out for Growlithe who had just released its other arm in an attempt to get away, but was caught in her retreat, being hit by the large claw before she was smashed to the ground and sent tumbling away.

Spearow seeing this went to aid her teammate, but in doing so exposed herself from her clones, and was caught immediately by the second Crush Claw that smashed her to the ground hard but not away from her opponent as the large Excadrill stood over her with his other claw ready to fall.

Mason's eyes widened as he saw the second attack about to fall, "Growlithe, Combo three, help Spearow!" he ordered quickly.

Growlithe got to her feet wincing but heard the order and obeyed as she ran at the Excadrill standing over Spearow starting to speed up with Agility as she gathered a large amount of flames in her maw and shot them ahead of her towards Excadrill.

Mason's fists clenched hard as he watched on, this wasn't meant to happen, he didn't expect this battle to be a clean sweep but he didn't expect to be pushed like this, Growlithe's third combo wasn't perfected yet, but it was the only semi long move combo they had, a three part combo, Agility to get moving quirky, followed by a Fire Blast or Flamethrower to clear the way before a surprised Take down through the cover the flames provided, the only problem was that Growlithe had problems gathering large amounts of fire while moving, that's why Combo one, Flame Trail, was their first combo with just being Agility and Ember to create trails of flames to restrict their enemies movements, he just hoped that Growlithe could pull this through when she couldn't before.

It didn't work.

Despite the flames being larger than what she had been able to produce in practice, they weren't nearly enough to cover her opponent's field of vision, and when she leaped forward into a take down, she was instead met by the second crush claw as a powerful backhand through her flames which send her rolling away with a yelp of pain. However while the attack had failed, it had succeeded in another way, taking the Excadrill's attention off of Spearow.

Spearow who had been in pain on the ground trying to recognize what had happened to her heard the yelp of pain from Growlithe and looked up in time to see her comrade being batted away. Her eyes blazed with her fury. How dare this brute lay a claw on one of their flock. She would make them pay.

It happened in a spit second, Spearow blurred with a sudden combination use of Agility and Aerial Ace as she shot up at the Excadrill with speed, her beak glowing with energy as she readied her strike, and then she threw herself into a spin as she drove her attack forward, hitting her opponent hard on the underside of its jaw, lifting the much larger Pokémon off its feet from the impact before throwing it back and into its partner as Spearow shot into the air still spinning as she went.

Mason had to fight from keeping his eyes from bulging from what he was seeing, that was Drill Peck, from what he had read about the move in his Pokédex, it fit the description anyway, and it wasn't something he had expected Spearow to suddenly just learn to use. 'It packed a hell of a kick' Mason thought to himself as he looked up as Spearow came to a halt in the air, he glanced to Growlithe who was getting up as well, not looking so good, 'she can't take another hit like that last one,' he thought before getting ready to call out his next command but stopped when Spearow spread her wings wide and let out a powerful cry… before she began to glow.

Spearow's body began to grow, her previously rather short wingspan increasing drastically, her neck growing out and her beak lengthening drastically. She knew just what was happening to her, evolution, she could feel it. She had felt ready to evolve for some time now, but she knew she would need some kind of push, or catalyst to do so, it looked like this battle and the emotions that were evoked in her was just what was needed. As her evolution finished, she spun in the air, her wings flaring out as she let out a second powerful cry, to let all the enemies of their flock know of her new strength, "Fearow!"

Mason couldn't keep the grin off his face, he had been right, she did just need some battle experience to help her to evolve.

The Snob snorted when he saw Mason's grin, "Don't look so cocky, just cause your Pokémon evolved doesn't mean you're going to win" he said sourly before snapping his fingers, "One of you use Earthquake, the other Rockslide, I want those to buried now!"

The two Excadrill nodded, one turning to Growlithe and raising its foot as he began to stomp on the arena floor sending out tremors making the ground of the arena crack and split raising up as it shot toward Growlithe, while the other Excadrill raised its arms and rocks began to form in the air above Fearow.

Mason frowned, things weren't over yet, but they would be, "Growlithe shut that earthquake down with Flamethrower, Fearow, Shatter those rocks with Drill peck, force them back and together" he ordered.

His Pokémon nodded and set to work, Growlithe jumping over a raised lump of earth as she gathered flames in her mouth as she took aim before letting out a powerful stream of flame sending it right into the tremor causing Excadrill.

While up in the air, Fearow's beak began to glow with energy as she shot towards the falling rocks, her beak acting like a jackhammer as she shattered one after the other as she made her way around before turning her attention toward the cause of the rocks and using her speed to advance on the ground Pokémon, no matter what defenses it raised before it was once again lifted off its feet and send flying back only to collide with its flaming partner who had been launched airborne by the powerful flamethrower from Growlithe, the second they met the flames began to spread as they both cried out in pain.

Seeing his Pokémon being beaten the Snob lost his cool, "what are you two idiots doing, you were two of the strongest diggers from daddy's mine, how can you be losing!"

Mason had seen and heard enough now, he honestly felt sorry for the two Pokémon having to put up with that idiot, but he wasn't about to lose his Pokémon because he wanted to go easy on them now. "Growlithe, finish this, Fire Blast"

Growlithe nodded and with her opponents clearly unable to move she took a second to gather more than enough energy to do the job and let the powerful blast fly, shaking the arena as the flames impacted, causing a large fiery explosion that dispersed the remaining flames from her previous flamethrower. As the smoke cleared, both Excadrill were lying prone on the battlefield, their eyes rolled up to the backs of their skulls and their bodies smoking from the damage they had taken.

Seeing the results the referee nodded and blew his whistle, "this match is over, the winner is Mason Storm from Pallet Town." he announced as many watching on began to clap at his victory.

The Snob stomped his foot in frustration snarling under his breath before he returned his two Pokémon, "fine then," he said before pocketing the Ultra Balls and tossing the other two towards Mason, "take them, see what I care," he said as Mason caught them before he turned to walk off.

"And the stone?" Mason called before the Snob could leave, clearly trying to act like he forgot it, but Mason wasn't about to give up his chance to get a Mega stone.

The Snob froze in his steps, his shoulders shaking in anger before he pulled the stone from his coat pocket and tossed it onto the battlefield.

"Don't think I'll forget this," he hissed before walking off clearly angry, but Mason couldn't care less at that moment as he ran onto the battlefield and took up the circular cut stone his eyes shining as he took in the colours of the stone, he was right it was a Scizorite stone.

'Perfect, if this is the real deal then once Scyther evolves into Scizor then I've already got half the items needed to mega-evolve him' Mason thought to himself as he pocketed his winnings, this was turning out to be a very profitable voyage.

-Time skip-

Mason was confused. It was twenty minutes later after the battle as he sat off to the side on the deck of the ship with Brock, having just been given his prizes after winning his tenth battle. Next to him sat an egg container with his new egg inside it, it was half white and half black, but at the moment Mason wasn't paying any attention to it, rather it was the case that he held in his lap that had all his attention, his second part of his reward.

It was an oak box with red velvet interior, and inside of it sat five scales in various shades of blue and orange, and Mason was at a loss as he looked at them, he had never seen them in the anime or the games, the closest he had seen was the dragon scale item but these were completely different colours.

"So explain to me again how exactly these work" Mason asked Brock to clarify as he looked at the scales trying to wrap his head around the things, still trying to process just what he was looking at.

"No worries," Brock mused, "I'm not surprised you don't know," he waved him off, "you know how there are items that if a Pokémon wears them that they will help increase the power of a Pokémon's moves of a specific type yeah?"

Mason nodded, 'like Mystic Water, for water types, Charcoal, for fire types and Miracle seed for grass types,', "Yeah I know about a few of them,"

Brock nodded, "well how do you think those first came about?" he mused, "such items were rare in the beginning until people found out how to produce them by using Pokémon. Nowadays it's usually the Pokémon Gyms who are responsible for making the items for their own specific gyms typing, we're also the only ones licensed by the league to sell them. Take pewter city for example, our gym specialized in rock types, so we produced and sold Hard Rock to any passing trainer who wanted one," he explained, "they are first generation Pokémon items, made by multiple Pokémon of the same type creating the time and pouring their energy into it. Over time as another Pokémon uses it to strengthen their attacks they will absorb the energy from the item to make themselves more powerful, but those five scales you have there are different, they are second generation Pokémon items"

Mason listened, this all was new to him, he knew about held items but the idea of a Pokémon absorbing the energy to become stronger themselves was all new to him, 'I guess this is just how it works in this world, unique and interesting I guess' he thought before arching an eyebrow at Brock's last statement, "And what's the difference between them?" he asked, interested in learning more.

"In a word, power," Brock stated realistically, "the first generation items are made reliant on multiple relatively strong Pokémon working together to pool their energies, while second generation items are made reliant on only a single Pokémon's energy"

"So they're weaker then?" Mason frowned, thinking he'd been ripped off by whichever member of the league had donated these scales to the item prizes.

Brock chuckled and shook his head, "not in the slightest," he said before taking a moment to think to himself before giving Mason a sideways glance, "I'm not really supposed to be talking about this, it's not something most trainers learn about until after they are recognized by the league as an Ace level trainer," he said a moment before going quiet to think again, "what do you know about Pokémon classifications?" he asked after a moment.

"What do you mean Level wise?" Mason asked, not getting what Brock was getting at.

Brock shook his head, "not exactly, the level system is just what newbie trainers use to gauge their Pokémon's strengths, a scale of one to a hundred," he stated plainly, "Don't you think that seems a little too small scale when compared to the world at large"

Mason frowned as he tried to think before something clicked and his eyes widened, "you're talking about a global leveling scale, classifications, like rankings."

Brock smiled slightly and nodded, "it would become clearer the longer you travelled and most trainers put it together within their first three years of traveling, well those that stick with it anyway" he mused, "there's the standard power levels for wild Pokémon and new trainers just starting off, levels one to a hundred, then there are the advanced Pokémon, after that you move on to ace level, then to Elite, champion, and finally Legendary classifications. The level range varies from group to group but you get the general idea."

Mason swallowed hard as he stared at Brock as in less than half a second he had opened his eyes to just how massive the world of Pokémon was, and how drastic the power scale of the world was, "and the classification for Pokémon to be able to make a second generation item?" he asked not really sure if he wanted to know, but feeling compelled to ask.

"Elite or above" Brock stated plainly and Mason felt his heart pound in his chest as he looked down at the scales again.

"So… I've been given what are essentially…. Five second generation Dragon Fangs, made by an Elite tier or above Pokémon" Mason said plainly trying to keep himself from screaming at the level of strength of the Pokémon these were made by.

Brock nodded, "precisely, usually second generation items are actually former parts of the Pokémon that made them, with their energy pooled in them for another of the same type to absorb over time" he explained, "it's really quite the prize, I suspect even a single one of those scales would go for two or three million at auction, depending on just what Pokémon they came from and what their classification they are listed under."

Ten to fifteen million, he was holding items that would be sold at auction for millions. It really shouldn't phase him that much considering just how much cash he now had in his account but it was still shocking.

His shock must have been showing on his face because Brock chuckled, "Don't worry too much" he said before clapping him on his back, "no-one but the two of us know you have them" he said as he reached over and closed the box, "so you're fine, though I'd recommend you keep it that way, and not use them in public. Give one to Dratini at night when no one can watch you and have him absorb the energy from it as he sleeps, it would be safer than having him carry it in battle or while he trained."

Mason nodded, "Yeah, thanks. Do you know how long it will take for Dratini to go through each scale?"

Brock shrugged, "it depends on the strength of the Pokémon who made it, first generation items are usually drained in about a week from constant battling, so maybe give it two weeks, but I'm sure Dratini will let you know when he needs a new scale, he will be able to feel when all the energy is gone from the first"

Mason nodded as he put the box of scales into his backpack, he would definitely have to look more into these second generation items and the classification scaling at a later date, things apparently weren't as straightforward as he originally thought.

"Now there's just one last thing to take care of" Mason mused as he held up the two Ultra balls that held the newest additions to his roster.

"Drilbur and Tyrunt" Brock mused as he looked at the balls that Mason held, "Can't say I know a lot about either of them, I may be a rock type specialist and know a fair bit about Pokémon due to my ambitions to be a breeder, I've never really had much cause to go looking into Pokémon from other regions, or historical Pokémon for that matter"

Mason nodded, "I know about the basics of them, mostly just from light reading in my spare time" he lied before shaking his head, "and both of them are shiny Pokémon to boot, I have to say I really lucked out with that win"

Brock chuckled, "Just don't do it too often, most respectable trainers don't use their Pokémon as bartering chips, their Pokémon tend to lose trust in them quickly if they do"

Mason frowned at that, "oh don't worry, I don't intend to bet my Pokémon ever again, I wouldn't have had Dratini not indicated that he wanted to be bet like that, he had faith that we'd win" he said as he looked at the two ultra balls, "first things first then." he said before pointing the two balls forward and letting his two newest Pokémon out into the world.

Tyrunt and Drilbur appeared in a burst of light and the pair looked around before finally turning to look at Mason.

Mason smiled down at them, "hello, my name's Mason your new trainer"

Both Pokémon simply stared at him as he spoke and remained silent after. This action made Mason frown, this silence wasn't natural. 'Did that prick have them trained to act like this, to be seen only and not heard' he thought to himself before he got up from his seat and knelt down in front of them.

"I understand if you both feel conflicted about this situation, your trainer wagered you both on a battle and lost, I can understand if you're feeling hurt by it" Mason spoke to them both softly, "however I want you both to know that I don't ever intend to do that with either of you again, you're a part of my team now, and we look out for one another here, we're family" he promised them both as he placed a hand on both their heads hoping to get them to at least say something, they didn't.

Mason frowned slightly but stood back up, "I just wanted to let you both know that, I'll return you know but I'll let you both out again later on to eat when it's time" he told them, only to get singular nods in return before he reluctantly raised their balls and recalled them before sitting back down to stare at the balls.

"That is concerning," Brock stated firmly as he looked at Mason and the balls he was holding.

Mason nodded, "yeah, not how I expect either of their species to act from what I've read, do you think he could have done something to them?" he asked, gripping the ultra balls a little tighter.

"Possibly," Brock said, sounding concerned, "it would be best to have Professor Oak have a look at them both to get a second opinion."

Mason nodded, "I'll give it a couple of days and try to work with them on my own, after that if they still aren't opening up I'll send them to the Professor," he said firmly, he had already sent Fearow, Squirtle and Growlithe back to the professor after his last match to let them rest up at the lab and to open up his party more, he had plans to recruit one more Pokémon on this voyage after all. Speaking of.

Mason shook his head and stood up attaching the two ultra balls to his belt with his other Pokémon's balls, "Alright, I suppose it's about time I went and started browsing the stalls and vendors to see what there is to buy, I'm a millionaire now, time to flex some cash" he grinned as he moved to sling his bag over his shoulders before lifting his new egg, secure in its incubator, and holding it in his arms.

Brock chuckled as he stood up as well, "just don't be letting that money go to your head, remember we still have a long journey ahead of us, if you are going to spend a large amount of it, be sure to spend it wisely."

Mason nodded, "don't worry I don't intend to blow it all on cheap trinkets… what would that amount of stuff look like anyway" he wondered.

Brock laughed, "I don't even think there that amount of merchandise on the ship for you to find out"

Mason shrugged, "eh, something to find out later for my bucket list then" he mused before turning to head off, he had a swindler to find and swindle out of his next Pokémon.

-Scene break-

Walking through the hallway made up of various stalls and vendors Mason couldn't make up his mind what to look at first, it was like there was a stall for everything, Shirts, training items, custom Pokéballs, the list was endless.

He must have spent at least a good hour going from stall to stall picking up various things that caught his eye. Two sets of Pokéball capsules and two dozen of every sticker the vendor had. Half a dozen Apricorns from the Johto region, of each colour, as well as twenty of each of the balls that were made from them. Three storage pods filled with a large assortment of berries from the Hoenn region, along with five more Pokéblock holders. Two TM cases each full of every TM that the vendor had available, along with a few other odds and ends.

All and all he spent a cool two hundred thousand on everything, and another two hundred thousand on TMs alone, but he considered it all money well spent.

The entire time he was browsing he was also keeping his eye out for items to help make his Pokémon stronger but he was having no luck finding anything.

'Guess Brock was right, I guess only Gyms sell the first generation items, and the second generation ones are even harder to come by, I'll have to plan ahead in the future and stock up on items for my team' Mason thought to himself before he came to a stop in front of a particular stall and grinned, 'bingo'

The stall wasn't anything flashy, just a plain wooden stall with a sign painted in red above it, but it was the large glass tank with a particular Pokémon inside it that caught his eye.

"Excuse me, how much for this Magikarp?" Mason asked the sly looking vendor with a triumphant glint in his eye.

Ten minutes later, Mason was walking away from the stall five hundred Pokédollars lighter in his account, but with a new, non-gold, Pokéball on his belt with his newest team mate inside. As he walked away he was idly thinking about how he should go about raising his new Magikarp to make sure it evolved into a loyal Gyarados and decided that he needed to have a chat with their resident water Pokémon expert.