He was the type of boy who tried very hard to seem like he had it all figured out, because he did not have it all figured out.

It was six in the morning on the boy's tenth birthday, but Arthur Will Blakewight wasn't going to celebrate his special day with cake and balloons. His pale skin lacked colour. His limbs were athletic, but his body was fifty pounds overweight. His tired and dark-circled golden eyes looked like death, and the tangled cobalt-blue locks on his head made bed-heads look tame.

Layers of once-blank paper sheets coated with calculations and statistics and Pokemon names formed a thick mess at the brown computer desk in a corner of his small blue bedroom. Arthur had his knees curled to his chest in a luxurious gamer's chair as his three computer monitors displayed countless windows filled with maps and Pokemon information. The bed shoved away into the corner of his room was coated in Digimon bedsheets, and his old TV was showing old Digimon episodes, not that he was watching or listening to them any more.

He'd been up all night fretting over what Pokemon had to be in his team, and what route through his homeland of Ferexalt would gather his desired Pokemon as efficiently as possible.

He twirled a pen in each of his ambidextrous hands. What diversions from the main path would be worth the time they would take? What parts of his journey could he skip to shave some days off his route?

And most importantly of all, there was the ultimate question.

The question life was really all about.

What Pokemon would he use on his team?

Swift speedsters, offensive powerhouses, defensive fortresses, and cheap gimmicks...

Pokemon exclusive to Ferexalt, Pokemon that could also be found in other regions, Pokemon that originated from other regions, and local regional variants of foreign Pokemon...

A manic and frenzied energy overtook his body as he cast some papers aside, digging through his layered sheets for a clean page, which he began to fill with numbers and calculations.

Nothing he did seemed right. No one answer he had for his question lacked flaws. With each Pokemon he added to his team to fix one flaw, he added a new problem that needed correcting. A new important type too many Pokemon in his team was weak to. A new overabundance of Special attackers on a team that lacked Physical attackers or any easy way to deal with defensive walls.

A knock at his bedroom's wooden door pierced through the madness and dragged his overworked mind back to reality, where he once again felt exhausted and lost in a world this so-called genius could never fully understand.

"Arthur," An old man's voice, a comforting presence, met his ears from behind the locked door. "It's time."

Arthur kicked off the ground to slide his gamer chair away from his messy desk, and towards the center of the room. Slowly, he rotated his chair, letting him take in the sight of every second-place award and third-place trophy on shelves, and every wood-framed certificate and celebratory photograph mounted on his walls.

When his vision came upon a massive painting of his whole family, he couldn't help but think that the austere and regal-looking rich people in that painting were like strangers to him. He didn't recognize the man and woman that each had one hand on one of his shoulders. He didn't recognize the brothers and sisters of those adults, or the generation of even older people behind them. The only person on that painting he really recognized? His grandfather, the man who had raised him while his father was busy being a Gym Leader halfway across the country and his mother was busy being a researcher for Northern Lights, the private military company his father used to run with.

Breathing deeply, the scent of his bedroom's dirty laundry hamper was like a fist to his nose as he got up out of his chair. Reminding himself what day it was, trying to summon up some optimism even as the papers scattered around his room sang mocking sonnets about his failure to plan a good Pokemon team, he walked to his bedroom door. And then he unlocked his door, opening it for the old man he saw before him.

Arthur was greeted by a thin and wiry skeleton of a man at death's door, a man who had fought in two wars and lived for seventy five long years. A grey beard, grey sideburns, and a shiny bald spot covered by a black military cap lined with gold. Nondescript clothing, black trousers and black shoes with a black shirt. The only noteworthy things about him were his Pokeball-laden black belt and those dark Golden eyes so sharp and bright, you'd wear he was still in his prime where it counted. He grinned, revealing false jaws with real golden teeth. "Hello, Grandson."

"Hi, Granddad," Arthur emotionlessly waved a small hand up to his old man's old man. He forced a smile he didn't quite feel. "Today's the big day."

The old man shoved a Pokeball into Arthur's chest, forcing him to grab it and hold it still. "Happy birthday," The old man smiled.

Arthur looked down at the shiny red and white Pokeball, before getting his PokePhone out and loading up the PokeDex app. After scanning his Pokeball, his screen told him about the Pokemon he had been given.

"But Granddad, I want to visit Professor Hazel's place for a traditional Starter Pokemon, just like everyone else!" Arthur protested, putting his phone back into his pocket.

"Just like everyone else, eh?" The old man grinned. "You're not like everyone else. You're rich, and the other trainers will want your money. So make sure you spend it all, got it? Don't hoard it like I used to, or it'll just get stolen. And make sure you always travel with friends."

"But I don't need any friends!" Arthur insisted, and he held the Pokeball out for his grandfather to take. "And I don't need your hand-outs! I'm an adult!"

"Then you can put your unwanted Pokemon in a PC Box and forget all about him, like most adult trainers," The old man folded his arms. "I dare you to carry that boy to Ironax, and see how many thieves gang up on you. Sooner or later, you'll need him."

Arthur rolled his eyes. "Granny's the one who sees the future, not you."

"Why do you think she told me to give you this?" He asked.

"Fine," Arthur sighed, "You win. But I'm still getting a Snivy from Professor Hazel."

"A WHAT?" The old man looked disgusted. "Are you sure you want THAT, instead of a proper Ferexaltian starter like Cubush? Have you SEEN what he evolves into?"

The old man moved away from his room to point at one of the many paintings in these rich brown halls decorated with red carpets and many, many doors. He pointed at a painting that was made when the old man was just twenty years old, and the leader of a Grass-type Gym.

The painting's wooden frame had a solid gold label, with the following engraved upon it:

Gym Leader Jack – A Man Who Knows His Roots!

Arthur's grandfather was, back then, a buff behemoth of a man Arthur could only dream of being. He was in a bold, valiant stance, his long blue hair flowing in the wind, decked out in green overalls. He was seated atop a long-horned and thorny-horned equine war-horse named Chargacacia, and its long braided grassy tail held a long wooden broadsword in its grip. That Grass-type powerhouse's pre-evolved form of Foalirage stood beside him, a thin and gangly young equine that could rival a Ninjask in speed. A Ferrothorn was on the ground in front of the horse, and a . Matching the old man in height, even though the man was atop a massive horse, there was a massive and muscular two-legged and four-armed bear with thick grassy fur and bright golden eyes. The Ferexaltian Grass-type starter of Cubush would evolve, becoming a slightly-bigger and two-legged thing with absurdly oversized arms named Beararm. That Pokemon's body would grow to match his oversized arms when he evolved one last time into Treebeark.

"I'm getting a Ferexaltian Snivy, they're autumn-coloured and they're Grass and Fire-type," Arthur explained. "If I get one with Contrary, I get rewarded for using Leaf Storm and Overheat all day."

"Clever trick," The old man named Jack smiled, ruffling the boy's hair. And then, he grew serious. "Don't rely on it too much. Listen, when I was your age, my father was... not the nicest person around. He didn't want a kid, he wanted another Pokemon to train. I didn't want to be his, so I grabbed one of his empty Pokéballs and ran away from home. I swore to never return, even after days outside turned to months, and years. Even when I broke my leg, I stayed outside. Because I knew if I limped back home like a defeated mutt, I'd never be allowed back out again."

Arthur wasn't sure what to say. "Oh."

"I'm telling you this because you don't have to go through what I went through. I know you want everyone to think you're tough and hardcore, but listen... Unless a wild Pokemon attack burns this town down, you'll always have a place here, got it?"

"Got it." A genuine smile spread across Arthur's face. "You shouldn't say things like that, it'll tempt fate. Plus, the hero coming from a destroyed hometown is super cliché."

"Yeah, because that's what life is really all about," Jack rolled his eyes. "Avoiding clichés at all costs."

"Should I talk to Granny now?" He asked.

"Sure, when you're dressed up and ready to go." Jack said before walking off, and Arthur closed the door before setting his new Pokeball down on a bedside table.

Now that he was alone, it was time for Arthur to throw off his dull grey pyjamas and replace them with what he planned on wearing outside.

A few of his outfit ideas had been overly flashy and complicated, with painted paper-mache Pokemon parts that would never survive the harsh realities of a life on the road. He thought about wearing something that screamed "I am a Psychic" so nobody would suspect that he is an unlicensed Psychic, but he decided not to do that because it would attract undue attention.

So his outfit started out simple. It needed to be easy to wear, easy to move around in, rugged enough to survive the harshest environments, and comfortable in the highest and lowest temperatures this region had to offer.

It also had to look cool, of course. Pokemon weren't just athletes in this region, they were athletes who wanted fame and fortune!

Thick black socks, black hiking boots with white highlights, ordinary white undies, baggy black cargo pants with many steel-zippered pockets, and a sleeveless black cotton footballer's shirt with the white teeth of a dragon's open jaws on the stomach, a shiny golden number One over his heart, and a bigger Chroman numeral "I" that meant One in shiny gold paint on its back. That's how it all began. Over that shirt, he put on a cobalt-blue hooded jacket with a steel zipper running straight down its chest. The Chroman numeral "I" had been painted onto its back in shiny gold paint. The jacket's sleeves were overly long and zippered twice, letting him conceal his hands or free them from the elbows at will. And with small pockets on the inside of his zippered sleeves, he could pull anything in his inventory out of them.

He checked himself out in a full-body mirror, posing like he was commanding a massive Pokemon to attack. Shaking his head and combing through his cobalt-blue hair with his fingers, he eventually got his windswept hair to point its spikes away from his face before they curled and pointed wherever they wanted. He didn't think his outfit screamed anything in particular besides "I think zips are cool", which was exactly the look he was going for.

And then he put on a black belt, to which many Pokeballs could be magnetized. His new Pokemon from his Grandfather became the first Pokeball to rest on that belt.

Arthur grabbed a racer's helmet, a round and tough thing with thick inner padding, jet-black with a clear visor and golden flames painted on the side in shiny reflective gold paint. A thick vertical white racing stripe ran from the back of the neck over the helmet and through the darkened sunglasses-like visor, stopping at the helmet's chin. The Chroman numeral "I" had been painted onto the helmet's forehead in shiny gold paint. Unzipping a cargo pants pocket and placing his visor to it, the helmet was converted into data and absorbed fully into a "Dataspace Inventory", a virtual backpack designed to make storing up to 999 of any item easy and weightless.

Arthur didn't even need a backpack with the power of his Pokephone's Dataspace app making the weight of everything he carried a non-issue, but he wanted a backpack anyway for tradition's sake, so a black hiker's backpack was hoisted up onto his back, securing the arm-straps tightly.

Arthur grabbed some dark sunglasses, and they went into his pockets, where they were absorbed into data. Opening a wide cupboard up to reveal hundreds of cans of beans, he grabbed can after can and put them against his pockets, where they were absorbed into data. He grabbed a thick black raincoat with a water-repelling outer layer, and he grabbed some thick and baggy waterproof pants that could easily be put on over his main pair of trousers, which were also waterproof anyway. They went into his Dataspace Inventory, along a pair of black shorts and a stockpile of ninety Ultra Balls he'd spent all his pocket money on during the years leading up to his tenth birthday. Then he grabbed plastic containers full of pre-made meals that didn't need to be warm to be eaten, and wouldn't age a day in the high-tech limbo dimension of dataspace. Finally, he snatched up his art supplies, paper, heavy leather falconry gloves with rubber insulation, a laptop, energy bars, seed cakes, canned drinks, bottled energy drinks, a two-month supply of Pokemon food for every type just in case, bug spray, flammable liquid, un-flammable liquid, washing powder, anti-bacterial water-purifying tablets, a high-power water purifier, a solar charger, a flashlight, spare copies of everything he was currently wearing, spare copies of the gloves he'd put on soon, regular Potions and Hyper Potions, some good Technical Machines and some useless ones he could sell for emergency money, some Full Restores, and some bitter but effective Revival Herbs.

Last, but not least, he outfitted his hands with a pair of black fingerless gloves with padded diamond-studded thick black hand-plates on the back. If his hands ever needed more protection, he could always get some thick leather falconry gloves out of his pockets and wear those. Thanks to their inner layer of rubber insulation, he wouldn't have to worry about Electric-type attacks striking his hands.

Arthur gave himself one last supply check in the mirror. Socks, shoes, rugged and heavy trousers, a light black shirt that wouldn't make him overheat during physical activity, a cobalt-blue hoodie great for all weathers and hiding his identity if he ever had to do so, a backpack, and gloves. He checked his phone's Dataspace Inventory, seeing that he had everything he thought he needed.

And that was it.

He took one last look at his messy bedroom, and thought about how much he would miss this place.

Fully dressed, he quietly left his bedroom and quietly slipped down a long hall and two flights of stairs, only to find his grandparents waiting for him. Both his skeletal grandfather, and his even more skeletal grandmother. The kind old hag looked great for someone ninety-six years of age, and Arthur made sure to give them both a hug before he left.

"Any last-minute wisdom before I go?" Arthur asked his grandmother.

"Wear a raincoat," She smiled.

As if cued by her words and the laws of comedic timing, thunder was heard and rain began to pour. The grassy ground outside swelled with moisture.

Arthur reached into his pocket before pulling his thick black hooded raincoat out of dataspace, putting it on and zipping it up. "Thanks, Granny!" He smiled as he started to leave the building.

"Come back safe!" His grandmother called to him. "And always trust your instincts!"

The heavy rain outside came down in thick grey sheets that concealed much from view, but with tall snow-capped mountains to the right and south, along with sand and stormy seas to the north, his hometown of Daybreak wasn't anything to write home about anyway. It was just a remote place in Ferexalt's countryside where the rich tended to live, and nobody had any reason to ever come here unless they were here to fight the local Gym Leader, Professor Hazel. Her Grass-type team was incredible, almost never defeated, but she refused to fight anyone with fewer than six badges, so he unfortunately couldn't start his journey by trying to beat her in front of all the kids here to get their Starters. His heavy footfalls sank entire inches into the moistened ground as he leaned forwards and sprinted from his family manor to his town's little unassuming combination Pokemon Ranch, Independent Medic, and Laboratory in the middle of nowhere.

Arthur decided to hide his grandfather's gift, that Pokeball, in his pocket. He wasn't sure if Starter Pokemon were for trainers without anything else or not, but he didn't want to risk it.

His journey had officially started, so when he left the rainy world outside to enter a clear white laboratory, he didn't pay much attention to the six other kids in a hospital-inspired waiting room. He just sat down, whipped his phone out, and took a second to admire the sleek black rectangle protected by a thick rubbery black phone case with a black Dragon's Fang in a white circle on the back before he loaded up some saved Digimon Tamers fanfics and began reading alone.

At seven-thirty in the morning, Professor Hazel stepped out of her lab and into the waiting area with a trolley of Pokeballs following her, pushed by a loyal Sceptile. She was a beautiful and tall woman with long hazel hair and bright green eyes, and her belt contained fifteen Pokeballs because she was a Professor. "My name is Professor Hazel, welcome to the world of Pokemon, let's get this over with. First one here gets a Pokem-"

Arthur sprang to his feet and rushed over to her with an eager grin, putting his phone away.

"...Mon." She blinked in surprise. "You're eager."

"Who wouldn't be? It's my big day!" He beamed.

"Alright, take your pick. We have Ferexalt's Starter Pokemon, but we were also forced to have one Starter Pokemon from each of the other regions."

"Wait, so I could get something from Hoenn if I wanted?" Arthur asked.

She nodded.

"I'd like a Ferexaltian Snivy, please," Arthur told her.

"Then take one."

He whipped out his phone, scanning all the different Pokeballs at once, and he began mumbling to himself as he looked over each Pokeball on offer.

"Fire and Grass type, nature's wrong. He looks strong, good attack and special attack, but his nature's wrong. This one's good, Timid nature to lower Attack and boost Speed, Speed and Special Attack IVs aren't exactly great but I can fix those through training, ability is Contrary as it should be... Aha! Here we go! I choose you, Ferexaltian Snivy!"

Throwing his right fist into the air, clasped around a Pokeball, his thumb pressed the Pokeball's button. It grew and popped open, spilling frenzied and chaotic light onto the ground before him, light and data that took the form of a little orange yellow-eyed snake with a dry orange autumn leaf on the end of her tail.

She looked up at him and stretched her little plant arms out with a big smile. A cheerful "Snivy!" was what everyone around him heard, and what his own ears heard. But in his heart, and deep within his Psychic mind, he heard her say "Trainer!"

Arthur warmly smiled down to her. "You're my new Pokemon, Ferexian Snivy."

She tilted her head in confusion, wondering how she could understand him perfectly.

"In fact, I'm going to name you Amber!" He decided. "Because you're orange, and it sounds like Ember, which is a Fire-type move."

"Vee Vee-Sni!" Amber the Snivy repeated, but in Arthur's heart, he heard her repeat "Amber!".

Arthur crouched down and held his hands out to her, and she backed away in fear. "Come on, I'll help you get onto my shoulders."

Confused, she asked him what shoulders were.

"Right here," Arthur patted his right shoulders. A delighted grin on her face, she didn't need his help. Vines emerged from her neck to shove herself off the ground, leaping into the air where she landed on his shoulder, facing the same direction he faced. Trembling just a little now that she was high up, she wrapped her vines tightly around his neck and clutched the side of his head in fear.

"Too tight, can't breathe!" He wheezed, pulling at her vines. She nervously let go, afraid that she'd be punished for choking her trainer. But he wasn't the type to punish a Pokemon unless they'd done something truly awful. "Come on," He said to the little orange friend on his right shoulder, "Let's go on an adventure!"

"Right, everyone else, if you want a Pokemon of your own, form a line with the closest one to me at the front and the furthest from me at the back. If you push or shove, you're out, got it?"

Arthur began walking out of the waiting room while the other kids formed a line. One of the kids called out to him. "Hey, you, rich boy!" He yelled. "Fight me later!"

"Sure, if you can catch me," Arthur smiled, gave him a two-fingered salute from the forehead, and put the hood of his coat up before rushing out of the laboratory and into the outside world.

Amber let out a fearful scream that gradually transitioned into an excited cry of joy once she felt the rain upon her.

His feet crushed and displaced muddy earth once more, and the rain brought a worried thought into his mind...

This Snivy was Fire and Grass type. Did she like the rain?

He looked down at her as he headed for the guard post at the town's exit, and watched as she stretched herself out as though she were sunbathing.

Arthur smiled. Good, it seemed her Grass-type nature was enough to counteract the average Fire-type's weakness to water and hatred for rain.

When he got to the town's guardpost, he found a strong wooden fortification with an open gate and two sleeping cops, who he woke up with a friendly yell of "Hello there! It's me, Arthur! I'm going to start my Pokemon adventure!"

The cops didn't seem impressed with him. "Get out and get it over with," One growled at him, "You'll be crawling back in fear by sundown."

"No way!" He declared defiantly, headed through the gate, and left his town behind.

Route One Thousand wasn't really an impressive sight, just a large maze of tall hedges in which Shruberrys made their home. But in this rainy weather, they'd all seek refuge inside their hedges, leaving nothing but the birds and fish out. Long grass formed the path through the maze, and as soon as he took four steps into the grass, he was attacked by a Magpry.

He was a small black bird with black talons, black claws, black wings, a white chest, and a white head with a horizontal black stripe over his eyes, almost as if he was wearing a mask. He held a golden nugget in his talons, and made sure to fly up to his twiggy nest in a nearby tree and deposit his prize before swooping straight at Arthur.

"Hold it tight, choke it without breaking its wings!" Arthur called to his Snivy, whose vines stretched out to grab the Magpry, wrapping around its body before forming a noose around its neck and tightening. When the Pokemon was almost completely unconscious, Arthur used an Ultra Ball on the Pokemon, capturing it easily. One shake, two shakes, three shakes, and... It was caught! With a smile on his face, he put the Pokeball on his belt.

With that done, he resumed walking through the hedge maze, wondering why Shruberrys insisted on using their signature move Hedge Maze to do this to every route they could be found on.

"Great job, Amber!" Arthur reached up to pet his little Snivy, and she timidly leaned away from his hand. "Don't worry, I'll just gently stroke your head. It feels nice!"

"Why would it feel nice?" Amber asked him.

"I don't know. But it does, trust me."

She nervously held still, and he gently moved his hand over to her face before slowly stroking the top of her head. Confused, she relaxed a little more with each second as she gave in to the delightful sensation, until she eventually flopped onto her belly and fully embraced the petting.

"It's like you've never gotten headpats before," Arthur remarked.

"I haven't," She admitted.

"Not even from your mother?" He asked.

"I don't have a mother. I was an egg born in that lab, with a lot of sisters I left behind. Some of us get to be chosen by the big hoomons, and some of us get to stay with the nice Smart Lady!"

"What's a Hoomon?" Arthur wondered.

"You are."

"No, I'm a Human. My name is Arthur. And a group of us is called Humans."

"Hoo... mons?"

"Hyoo-mans," He said.

"Hoomons!" She smiled. "Arthur the Hoomon and Amber Snivy, the best team ever!"

"I don't know why, but I always thought you Pokemon would have made up a cool Pokemon-style name for us. Like... Smartools, since we're smart and we use tools. Or Apexel, since we're apelike apex predators who excel at everything we put our minds to."

"Nope! You're Hoomons. You always want to know 'hoo' is in this forest, or in that mountain, and catch them all! Arthur, Why do you speak Fighting-type?"

"What?" He asked.

"Normally I can't understand humans unless they're telling me to do an attack I know. I know 'Vine Whip' means hit them with my vines and 'Ember' means spit fire at them. But you... Your voice makes sense to me. And that's not normal. Hoomon voices don't make sense to anyone because they use all the sounds, so even other Hoomons have trouble telling what they say! All Pokemon can understand each other, but different types say things different ways. And some types have their own special secret way of talking! The Pikachus back at the lab said things with electricity that made no sense to me. But I understood what the Bulbasaurs said with smells and what the Torchics said with heat. But you... You sound kind of like a Fighting-type Pokemon, with a Psychic-type's accent."

"That's how I sound to a Pokemon?" Arthur wondered.

Amber the Snivy nodded.

"That's kind of cool," Arthur decided. "I guess if I was a Pokemon, I would be Fighting and Psychic type, because I really am Psychic. But don't tell anyone! It's a secret."

"Why is it a secret?" Amber asked.

"Not every human is a Psychic, so some humans get envious. We used to have a psychic royal family in charge, but they got overthrown and kicked out. The loser in charge of Ferexalt now said anyone with Psychic powers has to have their head checked to get their Psychic license, then either work for the government forever to keep their Psychic License, or they get arrested for being a Psychic without a license."

"What's a license?"

"It's a little card that says you're allowed to do something," He explained.

"Like how a Gym Badge says you beat someone!" She realized.

"Yeah. I want to beat all the Gym Leaders and get all the Gym Badges! I don't want to be the government's tool, I want to live my own life and be the best Pokemon trainer ever!"

She seemed nervous, and pained. "You're getting a little loud."

"Sorry, dear," He smiled and spoke softly again.

They were attacked by another Magpry, but this time, Will didn't want to catch it. So he commanded his little Amber to get some Vine Whip practice in by letting it fly around her, then trying to whip it! Eventually, she'd struck the bird enough times for it to retreat and fly away.

"Excellent!" Arthur smiled as the feeling of victory surged through both of them, strengthening them both.

Every four to ten steps, there was another wild Pokemon to fight, usually a Magpry or Rattata. They settled into a comfortable rhythm that was thrown off when something new showed up to fight!

This Pokemon had the long and silvery sleek body of a flying atlantic salmon, but with long fins that stuck out straight like the wings of an old Spitfire plane. Squirtflier was this Pokemon's name, and she was ready to fight!

The Squirtflier flew circles in the sky above Arthur and Amber, too fast for her vines to hit. So he sent out his Magpry as bait, telling him his name was Sly right before he noticed the Squirtflier diving down to Tackle him. But at that distance, it was easy for Amber to wrap the Pokemon up in her vines and tighten mercilessly, though she ended up overpowered and pulled off Arthur's shoulders by the flying fish. He frantically grabbed his Amber and commanded her to gradually pull him closer, reeling him in like a fisherman. She didn't know what a fisherman was, but she knew how to pull, so she struggled and strained and pulled.

Arthur commanded Sly to fly up and strike the Squirtflier with Peck, taking advantage of the foe's helplessness to strike it in the back of the head beak-first, knocking the Squirtflier out, causing it to fall to the ground like a damaged kite. Arthur threw his Pokeball at the Water and Flying-type flying fish, and the ball struck true, absorbing the Pokemon into light and data as it bounced back into Arthur's waiting hand.

With two Pokemon caught and two Pokemon gifted to him, he sent out his Magpry to hunt for rare items around the area. Then he sent out his Squirtflier, who was still unconscious. Shaking her and yelling in her face woke her up. He named her Dick, after Moby Dick. After explaining to his two new birds why they could understand him just fine and why he could understand them, Arthur sent his Dick out to help his Snivy. He ordered her to fly above the battlefield and fire Ice Beams and Gusts and Water Guns down at anything her teammate fought. She was still tired from the previous battle, but in her position as a support gunner while Snivy dodged attacks and grabbed foes, she proved herself to be a fine addition to the team. Her ability was Swift Swim, and her speed was boosted by this rain.

His Magpry's ability was Pickup, something Arthur was reminded of when the little guy deposited a golden nugget into his hands before flying off to search some more. He didn't plan on using that weakling in combat, since Pokemon like that served their trainers better this way.

Though he'd need to make sure he didn't let Magpry out in cities or towns, if he didn't want his bird to steal someone's unattended property.

He kept on walking through the hedge maze, rain bouncing off his raincoat, his two Pokemon making short work of anything that attacked him. He wondered if his Grandmother really thought he'd need the Pokeball his grandfather had given to him.

When he finally got through the hedge maze, he found himself with two choices: He could fish in the ponds to his left, check out some caves to the right, or go straight ahead into Ironax Town.

After whipping out his Good Rod, casting it far into the pond, and sensing a bite, he reeled his caught Pokemon in with strength only a Psychic could have before he swung the fish onto dry land, where it flopped helplessly and put up little resistance.

It was a cod, a big dumb blue cod with its head uncovered and its body coated in orange fried fish batter. It was a Coddock!

He simply allowed the useless fish to struggle at the end of his rod until it tired itself out, then he used an Ultra Ball to catch the garbage Pokemon. It had just one use, and that wasn't to be an offensive threat.

Arthur Will Blakewight thought about the team he'd assembled so far. A Water type Coddock, a Water and Flying type Squirtflier, a Grass and Fire type Ferexian Snivy, and his fourth Pokemon...

With his fishing complete, he ran into a cave for shelter, ready to show her something cool. "Anyway, now that I've finally got four of my own Pokemon, you're going to love this!"

He got out his phone and showed her its screen. It was waterproof, but he didn't want rain to get on it anyway. In her vision, the back of his phone blocked his trainer's face from view, confusing her. "Master Arthur?" She asked.

"I've got a program ready called Tutor-It-All. It uses the code found on Technical Machines to teach you moves you can learn naturally, moves you can learn from TMs and HMs, and anything Move Tutors can teach you. I don't even need to send you out to teach you more moves! Plus, I bought the Paid Version so I don't need to watch an Ad after every move! Isn't that great? This means I can get you out of Tackle Hell as soon as possible!"

The Snivy tilted her head curiously. "What does Tackle hell mean?"

"It's an expression, it means 'That period in a young Pokemon's life when the only offensive move they know is Tackle and battles just boil down to using it over and over'."

"What's an expression?" Amber the Snivy asked.

"It's a saying, a metaphor. Like saying... It's raining Skittys and Poochyennas! If someone says that, it isn't really raining Skittys and Poochyennas from the sky. It just means it rains a lot."

"That sounds confusing. Pokemon don't talk like that. Why would humans talk like that?"

"It confuses the dumb humans," Arthur smiled. "And it sounds cooler than just saying it's raining really hard."

"You hoomons are strange," Amber sighed happily. And then, she grew nervous. "But are you sure we should use this program? What if something goes wrong?"

"Wouldn't it be cooler if we learned our moves the old-fashioned way?" The low and slow but still-female voice of Dick the Squirtflier asked.

"Hey, hey, shut up! I say, if we've got a shortcut to power, we take it!" Sly the Magpry squawked in his high birdlike voice.

Will pressed some buttons on his phone for a few minutes, and a Ferexian Nincada wandered over to curiously watch him. It was like a regular Nincada, only it had butterfly wings and it was armoured with shiny pink metal. "Done," He said, putting his phone away.

"Is that it?" Amber wondered.

"Hey, this feels weird!" Sly laughed, spinning around and surrounding himself in a tornado of swirling darkness. Breaking the tornado apart with a wide stretch of his wings, he blasted pure lightning from his beak towards the Nincada, zapping it to the ground. A Thunderbolt from a trained Magpry could have fried that Pokemon in an instant, but Sly wasn't a trained Magpry. The bug turned around, ready to flee, but-

"Dick, Ice Beam!" Arthur commanded.

Dick launched a focused beam of intense cold energy from her mouth, chilling the Nincada until its movements slowed and ice crystals formed along its body.

"And that's game!" Arthur declared, throwing an Ultra Ball at the Nincada, filling the ball with converted light and getting it back.

To his shock, the Nincada escaped, only for a whip strike from Amber to knock it to the ground. It was still, and Arthur caught the Pokemon.

Five Pokemon now took up slots on his team, though they were all exhausted, some more than others. And his first Pokemon was fine. When he got these bad boys (and bad girls) healed up at Ironax, he would have more Pokemon than most new trainers, even if they weren't individually as strong as those who trained one Pokemon as hard as they could. And he could put that gift from his grandparents away, proving he didn't need it.

When Arthur left the cave, he found three humans waiting for him. He didn't bother looking at the humans or memorizing anything about them, but one had a Torchic, one had a Rowlet, and one had a Charmander. While they'd taken an attack or two on the way here, they didn't look that tired at all compared to his own Pokemon.

"Hello," Arthur gave a friendly greeting.

"I see you've caught yourself five Pokemon with your rich daddy's Pokeballs. We each have one! If you have that much money, you should share it with us! Fight us, three on one!" One human said.

"I'd rather not," Arthur admitted, walking around the Pokemon and heading into the rainy outside world where their Fire-types would be weaker.

"Too bad! Torchic, use Ember on his stupid Snivy!" One human commanded.

Arthur's shoulder launched his Snivy off his shoulder as he dodged the attack, and his Snivy whipped the Torchic's eye out, stunning it and making it scream and panic, running around wildly.

Arthur commanded Sly to use Thunder on the Squirtle, the only foe who grew stronger from the rain outside. Sly flew high into the air, charging lightning around him, before firing it high into the rainclouds above him with a scream, sending a thicker column of lightning down upon the Squirtle to fully engulf him. Squirtle screamed and fainted, and the use of that powerful move tired Sly out. He was blindsided by a Razor Leaf fired by the Rowlet, knocked out completely.

With just a Torchic and a Rowlet to take out, Arthur ordered his Dick to use Hydro Cannon. The three boys laughed, not expecting his Squirtflier to actually douse that weakened Torchic in a rain-enhanced falling ocean of water. Tired and helpless, his Squirtflier gently glided in slow circles around the battlefield, where it was taken out by another Razor Leaf from Rowlet.

Torchic was exhausted by the attack, but not out completely. Amber wrapped her in her vines and started to choke her, but Torchic spat embers at the vines, burning them and making Amber flail her vines wildly in an attempt to put them out. Distracted, it was easy for Torchic to run close and Peck Amber's eye out, badly wounding the Pokemon Arthur returned to his Pokeball.

Amber the Snivy was down, Sly the Magpry was down, Dick the Squirtflier was down, and all he had left were his first Pokemon and the weak little Ferexian Nincada, which he sent out anyway. He ordered the Pokemon to dodge, and watched as the scuttling insect frantically skittered around the arena, dodging attacks and tiring its foes out before taking an Ember to the back and having its wings burned off.

With no other options, he returned his Pokemon to his Pokeball with two foes remaining, a weakened Torchic and aggressive Rowlet.

"That was your last Pokemon, rich boy!" One human yelled. "Now you're done!"

"Not yet," Arthur smiled as he sent out his final Pokemon. One who had also learned his best moves from Arthur's phone.

It was one foot and eight inches tall. Its round grey body had two blue metal arms that ended in blue flames. Its thin legs ended in wide paws with two steel toes. Two fang-like metal blades emerged from its stomach. Its head was defended by a blue armoured helmet with a long broadsword blade emerging from the top. Its jaws were big and filled with sharp sharklike teeth. The eye-holes on its helmet revealed the hollow black interior of its head, in which a blue flame burned, as though it had a burning blue right eye. "Iaaaaaaa," It whispered menacingly as ice-cold mist left its body.

"Behold, Ferexian Pawniard!" Arthur declared. "Fighting and Ghost-type! His name is King!"

Looking back in confusion, he asked why he could understand his master.

"I'm the greatest Pokemon Trainer who ever lived!" Arthur boasted, answering the question with a lie. "Now, King! Finish off the Pokemon of these fools!"

At the end of one arm, an Aura Sphere formed. Shadows rose to wreath its other arm in long and thin black claws. Throwing its Aura Sphere at the ground between the two Pokemon, they dodged and left themselves wide open for a slice of the Pokemon's shadowy claws. The dark attack sliced into both their souls, causing enough pain for both of them to black out, crowning King and his trainer Arthur as the victor.

The three humans swore at the boy and gave him some money, which he pocketed.

And then, he noticed that a girl in a pink raincoat had been watching the whole match. She didn't seem to have any Pokemon around, but she didn't look like she'd ran through the dirt after being chased by a Pokemon either. Clapping slowly, she grinned at him, her coat hiding her eyes from view.

And he felt that his adventure would only get crazier from here.