They say the central pillar of this tower was formed from the stem of a Bellsprout over 100 feet tall, which is why it always seems to sway slightly. I don't know how much truth there is in that story, but I've certainly never met a 100-foot Bellsprout and I suspect it's just something the humans made up, a story to tell their young. But, whatever the truth of the matter, this tower (located in the north of Violet City) has become known as Sprout Tower in honour of that legendary Bellsprout.
I too am a Bellsprout, but not a giant one. The average height for a Bellsprout is just over two feet, with some exceeding three feet, though even this is far short of the 100 feet attained by the Bellsprout whose stem is said to lie at the centre of this tower. We are Grass/Poison Pokemon which resemble yellow bell-shaped flowers, hence our name. And, while we may appear fragile (thanks largely to our slender stems) we can still put up a decent fight. And that is what the Bellsprouts belonging to those who train in this tower are taught to do.
Each of the trainers here has their own way of bringing out a Bellsprout's natural abilities. For example, my trainer, Thom, has taught me to "bend my stem", to be flexible and avoid getting too caught up in one particular way of doing things. He says being too rigid in your approach can leave you unprepared if something unexpected happens and, when it comes to Pokemon battles, this can lead to defeat. Of course, you can't always predict the outcome of a battle; there is always a chance that your opponent might do something completely unexpected, forcing you to think on your feet. But at least a flexible approach prepares you for most situations.
Many trainers who come to Violet City are drawn to Sprout Tower. Some come to hear about the fabled Bellsprout which grew to 100 feet tall . . . yada, yada, yada. But most come to challenge the Elder, the most venerable of all the trainers here and the only one with a Pokemon that isn't a Bellsprout. Or rather he does have a Bellsprout, but he also has a Hoothoot. You can find him on the top floor and, if you can defeat him in battle, he will give you a prize.
First, though, you have to get past all the other trainers and their Bellsprouts. And, like I said before, a Bellsprout should not be underestimated; just because we look weak and fragile doesn't mean we can't battle. I've floored many an opponent with my Vine Whip and sent many others to the Pokemon Centre to be cured of the effects of my Poison Powder. I don't send them personally, of course, but you know what I mean.
Thom generally trains on the second floor, where you can clearly see the central pillar swaying rhythmically. It's almost hypnotic at times and many a trainer has lost a battle here because they were distracted by the movement of the tower and weren't concentrating on the battle. Not Thom, though; the trainers here are taught to ignore all distractions and concentrate on one thing and one thing only, the Pokemon their Bellsprout is battling. If we lose, it's because the opponent was stronger than us, but we make sure to learn from our mistakes and feel no shame in defeat. That was one of the first things the Elder taught Thom shortly after he joined the ranks of the trainers here.
I'll never forget that day. Thom and I had just battled a girl's Vulpix and, rather predictably, we'd lost. Afterwards, Thom was sitting dejectedly in his room when the Elder came to speak to him; I was out of my Poke Ball at the time, so I heard everything that was said. I don't remember it all now, just the moment when the Elder said:
"Win or lose, the important thing is that you and your Pokemon have fun battling together. You must learn from your mistakes, young one, and remember the lessons they teach you so that you may continue to grow as a trainer."
That's the sort of advice the Elder offers and Thom knew he would be wise to follow it; after all, the Elder has been a trainer for many years and has learned a great deal in that time. The first thing Thom did was get me to learn moves such as Poison Powder and Stun Spore, so that I would at least have a chance the next time I came up against a Pokemon with a Type advantage over me. Indeed, my next opponent proved to be a Starly belonging to a boy from Sinnoh, but I managed to Poison the bird, forcing the boy to use his back-up Pokemon, a Zigzagoon. I lost that battle, but, following the Elder's advice, Thom told me not be discouraged, that I should use my defeat as a learning experience.
Thom has been training in Sprout Tower for over ten years now, ever since he found me as a wild Bellsprout. You might think, with all the battle experience I've gained, I would have shown some sign of evolving into a Weepinbell. But I haven't; none of the Bellsprouts trained in this tower have evolved, at least none that I know of. There's no rule that says they can't evolve; it's just something that doesn't happen. And most of my fellow Sprout Tower Bellsprouts don't want to evolve, since they are happy the way they are.
Besides, being an evolved Pokemon doesn't necessarily make you a better Pokemon, especially in the hands of an incompetent trainer. I saw this for myself when a boy tried to battle Thom and me using a Darmanitan which he had obtained via a trade with a trainer from Unova. He clearly thought having an evolved Pokemon, and a Fire Type at that, would give him a considerable advantage. I was a little worried myself at first. But, as the battle got under way, it soon became clear that the boy was not competent to handle such a powerful Pokemon.
The Darmanitan repeatedly ignored its trainer's commands, using Attacks other than the one it had been told to use and Tackling the boy when he tried to recall it. In the end, it took a nap, right in the middle of the battlefield, forcing the boy to recall it and admit defeat. It wasn't one of those Zen Mode Darmanitans - I've heard of them, but I've never seen one - so it didn't turn into a statue. It just lay down on the floor and started snoring so loudly that the central pillar shook more than usual. Fortunately it was recalled soon after.
Afterwards, the Elder (who meets all the trainers who take on the tower, regardless of whether or not they win any battles here) had this to say. "You cannot reach the top of a tower without first reaching the bottom." He said the boy lacked the experience to handle a powerful Pokemon like Darmanitan and advised him to hone his skills on weaker Pokemon before trying to handle something stronger.
At this, the boy looked outraged. "But weak Pokemon are pathetic! If I'm gonna win the League, I need strong Pokemon! That way, I'll be able to take on any opponent and beat them!"
The Elder tried to explain that even weak Pokemon grow strong with training. But the boy was not in the mood to listen and stormed out of the tower. I haven't seen him since and I sometimes wonder if he took the Elder's advice to heart. But, based on what I saw of him, I think that's highly unlikely.
I have encountered other trainers like the boy with the Darmanitan, trainers who think they can only succeed if they have strong Pokemon from the start. As such, they tend to be dismissive of unevolved Pokemon, considering them to be inferior and pushing their Pokemon to evolve as quickly as possible. But, like I said before, no Pokemon should be underestimated, even if it appears to be small and puny; it may have hidden strengths. So don't dismiss a Pokemon just because it looks weak or it hasn't evolved; "strength cannot always be measured by brute force", as the Elder says.
If you want to hear more of his words of wisdom, or battle the trainers here, or even see for yourself the pillar formed by the stem of the legendary 100-foot Bellsprout, please drop by the next time you are in Violet City. Sprout Tower is open to everyone; you don't need any special items to get in, or even any Gym Badges. In fact, many rookie trainers make the tower their first port of call when they arrive in Violet, since it gives them a chance to train their Pokemon before they try for their first Badge.
I look forward to meeting you.