Simple things can so easily become great issues.
A person, someone he didn't even know, told him not to bother with a training career. So he went to challenge.
"Hello, how can I help you?" asked the pretty blonde behind the front desk.
"Is this... Cerulean Gym?"
"Certainly is, sir."
The challenger smiled to himself and straightened his collar. In his twelve years of life, he had never been called 'sir' before.
"If you wish to challenge, my daughters are training, and they may like to practise."
He frowned slightly. "Practise? Do you mean they're just amateurs? I wanted to earn a gym badge."
"And so you may try. They are more difficult than you might think."
The lady pointed towards a door, and he went to enter the challenging floor, when she stopped him.
"Wait - I need your name for posterity."
"Atoshi," he said calmly, and went to fight.
In the gym, a large swimming pool, he found four little girls - one could not have been much more than four, while the other three looked around eight.
"Oooh, let me fight!" said the youngest, seeing him enter.
"Nuh-uhh, you're too little Misty! Your Pokemon is a weakling!"
"Is not! Better than yours!"
"Wonderful, I have walked into a kindergarten," muttered Atoshi.
One of the older girls, a blonde, rolled her eyes at her sisters and said, "welcome to Cerulean Gym. Let's have a one-on-one!"
"No FAIR Daisy!" whined her bluenette sister.
But they began to battle nonetheless.
"Go, Hitmonlee!" called Atoshi.
"I choose Seaking!"
Hitmonlee materialised on its podium, kicking one foot idly in the air. Its opponent, Seaking, flopped into the pool and bobbed there, horn glittering with water.
"Right! Seaking! Horn attack!"
The harmless-looking Pokemon suddenly narrowed its eyes, horn spinning into a drill, and swam rapidly towards the enemy.
"Hitmonlee, use your double kick!"
Hitmonlee turned, raised its eyebrows at Atoshi, and twirled its body in a fancy - but non-combative - display of footwork.
"Monlee," it said calmly, and seemed to not even notice the Seaking, until it rammed it. "Hitmon!"
It turned to glare at its trainer, clutching its injured chest.
"Hey, do not blame me," said Atoshi, "if you would listen to me, you would not have been hurt."
Hitmonlee opted for the devastatingly witty retort of sticking its tongue out.
The water in the pool swelled up around the fish Pokemon in a spiraling wave, and Atoshi winced.
"Hitmonlee, if you are quick, you may be able to JUMP KICK the Seaking before it can send its attack off."
Hitmonlee neglected to take the hint and stretched its foot up to pick its toenails.
"Must you do that," groaned Atoshi, as a great gushing of water crashed in on his Pokemon, sending it flopping into the water.
"Mon," it sputtered, treading water.
"Now, Hitmonlee, please listen and try your rolling kick, it may work underwater."
It clearly had no intention of listening, and cast its eyes skyward. Atoshi ground his teeth in frustration as little Daisy had her Seaking fury attack.
Hitmonlee flew out of the arena, landing on dry ground with bruises from the horn. It made no effort to rise, and Atoshi sighed as he held up his Pokeball, resignedly.
"Yaaay Daisy!" cheered her sisters, the three of them having remained in the water all through the battle, and Seaking swam back to its trainer for congratulations. Daisy petted it on the head and recalled it.
"I'm gonna be the gym leader some day," boasted Daisy.
"Me too," protested one of her sisters.
"And me three!" agreed the other.
Misty pouted. "What about me?"
"You can be the janitor!"
Misty sniffled and Atoshi quickly crept from the room so as to not bear witness to a temper tantrum - although he surely heard it.
Slipping out without the mother of girls seeing him, Atoshi leaned against the cold bricks of Cerulean Gym, staring at his Pokeball with a blank expression. No, he wouldn't believe that he shouldn't be a trainer. All he needed was a Pokemon he could get along with.
"Cubone," came a voice, and Atoshi saw a tiny - were Cubone normally that small? - figure at his feet. He smiled, picked it up, and held it to his chest.
He walked on.