We arrived at the fifth village by sundown. We could all see the sun setting slowly. "At least we found the Pokemon Centre..." Aeleus said, yawning.

I looked up at the single tower they called a Pokemon Centre. "...Um...are you sure this is a Pokemon Centre?"

"Oh, Charis, don't worry!" Jayden slapped my back and I winced at the dull ache that followed. Stupid Pokeathlon. "Let's just head in and see. Well, if it isn't, we could always camp out!"

Firaga and Skittles both groaned, and when St. Sitrus looked to the Charizard and Delcatty for an explanation, they started gesticulating wildly and whining, sounding very distressed. Minerva, Swirls, Seishin and Chikyu all joined in the lively discussion, but the more the Pokemon complained, the more St. Sitrus beamed at the prospect of camp.

And when St. Sitrus fixed us all a meaningful look, the Pokemon fell into silence, looking pleased with themselves for having gained an anti-camper...until the Heracross pulled out more Sitrus berries from beneath his magic wings.

"...I have this strange feeling that St. Sitrus didn't get what camp meant." I sighed, looking at the large, looming tower. "We should just go in and check it out, right?"

All of us walked in, and instead of bright lights illuminating the building, it was complete darkness save for Firaga's tail and everyone's beady eyes staring around.

Jayden gulped. "Um, this is weird...should we...turn back and hope that we'll make it to the sixth village?"

"I have your markers, you know."

Suddenly, I felt a buzzing noise coming from the side. Gulping, I threw myself onto the ground, just as something sharp flew overhead and slammed into a wall.

Firaga hurried over to the wall, where a stinger was lodged neatly in it. "Seishin, give us some light!" Jayden quickly demanded, and the Kirlia wasted no time in illuminating our surroundings.

It wasn't very helpful. We couldn't even see our opponents; just each other's worried faces...except St. Sitrus, chomping down on a Sitrus berry. He wasn't in the least bit disturbed by a stinger that could've killed.

"If you manage to find me in the darkness..." a voice boomed through the speakers, "...you may have the markers and the attacks will stop."


"However, failure to do so..." and we watched apprehensively as a Persian snaked towards us. First there was one, and then there were two, and then four, and then-, "...you all will subject yourselves to a memory wipe which will clear Team Rocket's imprint on your minds. That is, of course, if you survive this ordeal. I am sure Lanseal will simply sack me; nothing more, and no one will know about what happened a few days ago."

And he said something that chilled me.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

I know quoting The Hunger Games was rather weird, but considering the plot of young people getting killed to entertain others...the quote was bad.

All three of us started to panic. "WhatdowedoWHATDOWEDO?" I screamed in absolute horror, running around in circles. Panic finally settled on St. Sitrus' face...or was it just concern for his lunatic of a trainer?

"Calm down, and uh, RUN!" Aeleus shouted back, and we both ran back to the door, trying to use brute force to break out, only to run headfirst (that was just me actually) into a hard, cold door that was securely locked.

I heard a roar and stopped breathing when another stinger zipped past my face, lodging itself firmly next to me. I could practically feel the heat emanating from it...and from the corner of my eye, a purple glisten made me realise that it was no ordinary stinger.

Poison Sting.

I inched away from it, hoping that I wouldn't bump into anything else. But I did; I bumped into Skittles.

"Nyah!" she hissed, and glared at me. She wasn't very pleased with our situation either. She was looking darkly into the...dark. And at last I saw what she was glaring at.

A Shuckle...?

His shell was glistening; he was obviously increasing his defences in the dark, while we were all screaming our heads off (or maybe it was just me) and not doing much productive searching. His eyes were closed in deep concentration, making not a single move.

"Skittles, use Blizzard to freeze the Pokemon!" I whispered, and the Delcatty quickly obliged, as she opened her mouth and released a strong Blizzard. The cold wind made the Shuckle even more rigid, and as ice formed, he was soon encased in a strong mold of ice.

"I think you should maintain it; you never know what this thing is capable of..." I trailed off as Skittles nodded pleasantly. She prowled around her masterpiece, blasting an Ice Beam here and there.

Then I suddenly remembered I had my phone. Pulling it out of my pocket, I pressed at a random button, brightening the small path. As I crawled slowly, I spotted Firaga's tail swishing its way in my direction, and I felt relieved when he pulled me up to my feet with an amused snort.

With Firaga was St. Sitrus, who now looked worried for his surroundings. There wasn't much of a sound except for our heavy breathing and Jayden's pacing around, looking for Aeleus. "Hey Saint, could you give me a Sitrus berry?" I asked weakly, and St. Sitrus grinned happily, handing me his berry. I took it and whispered, "Sorry I have to do this, St. Sitrus," before I grabbed Firaga's tail and lit it on fire. Then I tossed it away from us, and I saw the face of a Persian looking at us suspiciously, before he snarled.

"Uh oh," I muttered under my breath, as the Persian started to multiply himself, with a splendidly performed Double Team. Clones and clones of Persians appeared, all looking equally real and menacing. I couldn't help but cry out in fright.

"F-Firaga, Fire Spin! St. Sitrus, we need more berries to light the room!" St. Sitrus nodded and started handing me slightly rotten Sitrus berries, a few Pecha and Oran berries that probably saw better days, and because he knew of my plan, he lit them all up with Firaga's tail and threw them in many directions. With his strength, I managed to gauge how big the room was, and I caught a glimpse of Mr Grunt standing there, observing the battles with a sly smile on his face.

Jayden and Aeleus were handling more Persians and Beedrills. As they tried to take down the Double Teaming Pokemon, the real Persian and Beedrill kept trying to land a hit on their Pokemon. "Chikyu, Razor Leaf! You too, Seishin; not Razor Leaf though, but you know what I'm talking about! A Magical Leaf!"

"Kirrr!" Seishin replied hastily, rolling her eyes at how anxious Jayden was; she was shaking but still trying to maintain a modicum of composure. Her voice belied her supposedly strong stance. Seishin was confident, and she was shaking too, but with energy radiating instead of fear; the Kirlia was going to protect her trainer.

St. Sitrus finally scattered enough berries around the room for me to see everything clearly. "St. Sitrus, follow me! Firaga, clear a path; I'm stopping the attacks!"

Firaga nodded and blasted a Flamethrower in the direction of Mr. Grunt, still looking quite amused and unruffled by the light in the room, and the flaming berries that lit up the place. The Persians there dissipated, and we quickly ran across the room.

As I was going to reach Mr Grunt, a shattering of ice was heard, and Skittles was suddenly sent flying, right into us. The Delcatty got up, hissing at the Shuckle, who just looked as though he was hibernating. "Rest...!" I hissed to myself. "St. Sitrus, go fight off the Shuckle and make sure he doesn't harm Firaga, alright?" When I saw worry cross his innocent features, I smiled at him. "It's alright, I have Skittles with me, don't I?"

"Nyah!" Skittles nodded, as she nudged him away. The Shuckle was launching a Stone Edge at the Charizard's back, but St. Sitrus swiftly knocked away the opponent. I gulped as I continued to squint around for Mr Grunt. The teacher was missing from his seat, and as the berries started to burn out, we were running out of time.

"Can you find him, Skittles?" I asked, looking around uncertainly. My eyesight was good enough for general usage, but when it came to darkness, I was almost as useless as a Magikarp. Skittles poked her nose through the air, trying to sense him around. "We just need to poke him in the eye or something, it'll probably stop the attacks..."

"Doubt it would, Charis," came the reply at my side, and before I could scream, I saw a ghost of a familiar smile – it was Aeleus, and Swirls, the once carefree Poliwhirl narrowing his eyes darkly.

"Give me another way, then!" I snapped, frowning.

"Find the light switch?" he offered, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes.

"Give me one reason as to why would a Rocket intent on having our brains and hearts for dinner leave the light switch unattende-"

Aeleus stood up while I was speaking and flicked on the elusive light switch. The room which we had feared was now a completely normal empty room, save for Mr Grunt and his Pokemon. A Beedrill, two Persians who had stopped multiplying themselves, and a Shuckle. Jayden realised she was tussling with Chikyu's vines for some unknown reason (and screaming, "Stop, you evil Chikyu clone!" repeatedly) and Mr Grunt was just a few steps away from where I was, on all fours.

Jayden and Chikyu stopped. "Um...this is awkward."

Mr Grunt looked at all of us. His Persians were looking exhausted, his Beedrill looked as though he was enjoying himself (trying to kill us, no less) and his Shuckle was just looking nonchalantly at Firaga and St. Sitrus. Firaga realised that St. Sitrus was just seated by the wall, watching the battle between Firaga and the Shuckle, with a handful of Sitrus berries, and with absolutely no intention of helping out. He looked pretty happy about it as well, and Firaga looked as though he was going to tear out the Heracross' throat.

"Okay, we found you and your light switch, so...um, do we get to leave without potentially dying?" I asked, as I backed towards the wall where Aeleus and the light switch was. Skittles was shaking her head to get used to the harsh light, and Swirls was rubbing hard.

"Dying?" Mr Grunt seemed genuinely surprised. "Who said I was going to kill you students?"

We all stared at him in silence until I laughed nervously. "Um...maybe I exaggerated everything again..."

"Like the fall that you thought would kill you," Aeleus remarked.

"And well, tons of other things," Jayden chirped in.

His Beedrill looked sheepish at this point, rubbing the back of his head. "Well, no. Not really. I was going to just destroy your defenses, both physical and mental, so I would prepare you for a memory wipe-out, after which you would walk out of this tower completely unharmed, except for a hole in your memory you all would be unable to explain." Mr Grunt said this all so bluntly I frowned at the thought of...urgh.

Firaga rolled his eyes and hurriedly launched into attack mode. He delivered an Iron Tail to an unprepared Shuckle, then blasted a Flamethrower at Beedrill, before turning to the two Persians and destroying them both with an Overheat that burnt them both.

"...so we can walk out now?" I asked, as Firaga yawned.

Mr Grunt stood with his mouth gaping. "J-Just like that?" he spoke shakily. His calm stance somehow crumbled at the sight of his defeated Pokemon. "Y-You can't be ser-"

"Mr Grunt, I'm afraid we're serious. Seriously!" Jayden insisted.

Aeleus smiled at him. "Well, we'd best get going. See you around, eh, Mr Grunt?"

The teacher smirked. "I doubt you'll be seeing me around once you leave this room."

Firaga, who was more than ready to leave (he had already pushed open the door and had one foot outside), turned around and gave a confused sound. "Um, what?" I asked.

"Once you leave...it means that I have already failed the mission," Mr Grunt explained nonchalantly, "and that would mean Team Rocket would erase my memory instead."

"You mean you're getting sacked?" I paraphrased, raising an eyebrow. "But isn't that a good thing to get sacked from the world's most evil organization ever?"

He gave a dry laugh. "I've been working in Team Rocket ever since I was about your age, actually. You could say that much of Team Rocket is imbedded in my memory."

Aeleus frowned. "They're erasing decades of memories, you mean to say. And it wouldn't be a very...nice outcome."

"Correct. But I've expired a long time ago; I think it's completely alright. Watching the three of you battle is good enough." He smiled and walked over to Aeleus, giving him a weak squeeze on the shoulder. "At least I'm going brain-dead for bright students who would do fantastically well in their lives. Whether you're planning to be a Pokemon trainer," and his eyes twinkled in my direction, "a martial arts expert, or even a doctor, you'll do fine, and that's good enough for me, I believe."

Now we all felt this small lump at the back of our throats; he didn't want to kill us and now, he had to subject himself to a memory wipe that would leave him severely handicapped; a 17-year-old or something in a 50-year-old's body. Years and years of memories, good or bad; they had to be destroyed.

"Now go, hurry, before the Rockets get here. And take the markers. Don't say a word about this. And...I hope you don't meddle in Team Rocket's affairs." He frowned at Firaga, and then turned to me. "It's dangerous. Nothing like the Pokemon show. We're absolutely nothing like that; we're everywhere. You just keep an eye out for yourselves, okay?"

"But Mr Grunt-!"

"Go. Coins, Whiskers, please ensure they leave the premises immediately." Mr Grunt took a step back and sat down in his simple chair, his eyes closed.

The two Persians came to us and snarled, though their eyes were sad, as though they already knew that this was coming. We moved away, and as our backs collided with the door, it swung open and we fell outside, stunned as the great glass door swung shut, once again.

"...What do you think just happened?" Jayden nervously asked, as we picked ourselves up and tried to stare into the cold glass building.

"I'm not very sure...but if what Mr Grunt says is true, we'd better get out of here; the Rockets are coming soon," I replied, gulping as I heard footsteps approaching. Aeleus and Jayden silently agreed and without casting a single glance back at the Battle Tower, we moved away from the horrors that Mr Grunt would face, because that was his wish, and we respected that.

No one said a word until we reached the 6th village, which was a bustling little carnival. "Step right up, challengers!" we could all hear a great booming voice shout, "and enter the Battle Factory battles! If you win 3 battles at one go, you'll win a prize! Lanseal students step forth; your markers are with me and you have to win at least 3 battles too!" an announcer called out, with a conveyor belt in front of her. It was already dark, and we were all drained and mildly upset at our helplessness at the fifth village, but suddenly, our moods lifted at the sights and sounds.

"Cotton candy!" Jayden shouted in excitement, and Firaga looked at me with a pleading look. Skittles licked her lips and St. Sitrus was off, attacking a stranger's Sudowoodo before realising that the 'tree' could attack him and had no sap to speak of. He got pretty excited by the atmosphere and I couldn't blame him.

As Firaga tugged my bag repeatedly, I sighed. "Okay, we'll have ten bucks each to eat and do whatever we want." I pointed at the large looming clock, perched on a steel pole that resembled a Steelix. "We have to meet back by the announced by 8pm, so we have 30 minutes."

"Yes, mummy, see you!" Jayden called, laughing as she ran towards the candy store, with a rampaging Charizard, a salivating Heracross, a very sugar-high Delcatty, and all the other Pokemon going crazy and rushing towards the poor candy man, toungues wagging and looking very eager to stuff themselves silly.

"I'll go back for some cotton candy later," I muttered to myself, sulking. "Too much of a queue."

Aeleus looked around thoughtfully. "I'll go look around this place. I don't see a Pokemon Centre. This village is just a straight path with stands lining it, you know." He smiled, then walked off, in search of a rest place for later on.

I sighed and walked over to where the announcer was standing, and then I spotted Kishon, Kimberly Younan and Daisy Hart all standing before the announcer, looking very grim.

"Hey, guys," I greeted as I joined them, "how's everything?"

"Horrible," Kishon spat, looking rather upset. "This game is horrid. We couldn't even get past the second battle without getting thrashed."

"I keep on getting Kishon's Garchomp as one of my choices!" Kimberly wailed.

"Isn't getting Gairbith a good thing?" Kishon questioned, appalled. Gairbith crossed his arms, mimicking his trainer, and glaring at Kimberly darkly.

"I want Hope and Precious!" she replied. Her tall, slender frame towered over Kishon and he couldn't help but give a sulky pout.

Hope and Precious were Kimberly's 'children' as she had put it affectionately once; a Leafeon and a Pichu who almost evolved but didn't. They were now practically glued to her side, nuzzling her legs.

Daisy Hart grinned. "I like games! Come on, guys, one more try and we'll let Charis and her friends try or something!"

Kishon narrowed his eyes at me, but I saw a playful glint in his eyes, and a twitch of his lips. "At least I can see you lose."

At this, Daisy grinned. Her Buizel, Bombi, burst out laughing, and her Breloom Pita looked on in consternation.

"...that wasn't very nice of you." I remarked.

Kishon shrugged, then turned to the announcer. "Fine! We'll do this one more time!" he snapped. "Return, Gair, Cerine!"

In an instant, the Garchomp and Ralts were engulfed in a warm red light, returning to their Pokeballs. The two girls did the same, and they resolutely chucked the Pokeballs onto the conveyor belt, which led into a machine.

"Alright! Here goes!" the announcer cheered. She jammed this bright red button and the Pokeballs moved into the machine. When they were all in, the machine started making those mechanical noises, and it sounded as though the Pokeballs were being mixed in with the others. Then, the announcer pressed the big button again, typing in a few more commands, before the conveyor belt started to move, presenting 3 stacks of 6 Pokeballs each. The Pokeballs all rolled and stopped in front of the three students, as I watched on.

"Ahh! I got the Garchomp again!" Kimberly cried out, as Kishon pursed his lips into a thin line, looking on crossly. He examined the Pokeballs in front of him and picked a random two, shutting his eyes tight.

"It works like this; you get to mix in your Pokeballs with at least 60 more Pokeballs provided by the Battle Factory," Kishon explained, "and then, they'll mix everything up, and provide you with 6 random Pokemon. You can 'rent' out two Pokemon, and then you'll enter battle. See that guy over there?"

He pointed to the battlefield, where a competitor was standing with a Charmeleon and a Bellossom. "If I were to beat this guy right now, I can choose to exchange one of my current Pokemon," and he gestured to the Pokeballs in his hand, "with one of his current Pokemon. We can do this exchange for all the battles, and if we get through the third battle, then we'll win."

I nodded as the announcer boomed, "Alright! Who will go first in your group?"

"We're releasing the Pokemon first," Kishon said, as the Pokeballs rolled back into the machine. "On the count of three!"




At once, my eyes were brutally assaulted by a strong red light. Then I saw 6 completely different Pokemon standing before the three trainers.

Kishon had an Ursaring and an Ariados before him. "They seemed the best I could choose from, somehow," he muttered, sighing.

Kimberly smiled as she released her Pokemon – a Beautifly and a Marshtomp. "They're both so cute!" she grinned at the two male Pokemon. Beautifly looked mildly flattered, while the Marshtomp scowled.

Daisy released her Pokemon – Kishon's Ralts, Cerine popped out, and another Ludicolo, who started to dance around the frightened Ralts. "I thought you might appreciate me taking Cerine for you," Daisy stated, smiling.

"Anyway..." Kishon started, looking at the opponent, "Kimberly seems the most fit for this battle, so we'll just let her go. We won't go because we all need to fight at least once; we'll type-match for this round."

Daisy frowned. "Aw, but we all need to have a go!"

"And look what that brought you. You guys were with Lila Nola Patch for the whole afternoon until she decided to go as an individual." Kishon crossed his arms impatiently. "And she won without you two."

"But now you're with us!" Daisy retorted, but we were silenced by one very happy Charizard skipping his way over, armed with what seemed like a Mount Everest of cotton candy. What made everything worse was how Skittles and St. Sitrus were literally coated with the cotton candy. Skittles resembled a pink cloud, with the cotton candy engulfing her entire body like a body armour, while St. Sitrus was not only wearing cotton candy on his body, but he also carried several stuffed toys and more candy. He carefully handed me the stuffed toys, plucked some cotton candy off his body, and offered the pink clump to me.

"Um..." I looked at his genuinely sincere, happy eyes and sighed. "Okay. You have too many stuffed toys; I can't even take the cotton candy because my hands are full!"

St. Sitrus beamed and nearly choked me to death by stuffing the cotton candy into my mouth, taking me by surprise, and causing Kishon to grin. I chewed on it and tried not to glare with St. Sitrus beaming in my face proudly.

DING! DING! "Oh, what a shame, Kimberly is down and out!" the announcer shouted.

"...what the f-" I glared at him before he could swear in front of St. Sitrus, "-earow was THAT all about?" Kishon roared, as Kimberly skipped down.

"She lost, but it was a fantastic fight though!" Daisy commended, and Kimberly blushed modestly.

"What fight? One moment they started...and the next moment, Kimberly's here and the announcer just said we've lost!" Kishon spat out, horrified. "Why, if you chose Gair-!"

"Who is not cute!" Kimberly cut him.

"-he would've destroyed, annihilated those two Pokemon all by himself!" Kishon continued, as the announcer's helper returned them their Pokeballs. Gairbith and Cerine returned to his side, with the Garchomp looking quite annoyed.

"Well, he wasn't cute!" Kimberly argued back.

"Heyo, guys! Did you guys try the cotton candy? It's heaven!" Jayden chirped in, unaware of the argument. Aeleus walked towards us calmly, and I realised that it was already 8pm.

"I've heard of this sort of challenge," Aeleus remarked, looking at the machine. "The actual Battle Frontier for trainers includes this challenge, but you won't even have your Pokemon to choose from."

Jayden eyed the machine suspiciously. "Well...it doesn't seem very safe, but oh well. Let's give it a go!" She pulled out her Pokeballs and returned Chikyu and Seishin to their Pokeballs. Turning to the helper, Jayden announced, "We're entering! Charis, Aeleus, and me!"

As Aeleus returned Swirls and Minerva to their Pokeballs as well, I looked at St. Sitrus apologetically. "Sorry, Saint, you can't have a Pokeball. But at least you can watch!" The Heracross nodded understandingly and I returned Firaga and a now cotton candy-free Skittles to their Pokeballs. We all dropped our Pokeballs in together, and I awaited the 6 Pokeballs to choose from.

"Here you go!" the helper smiled at us as the machine churned out 3 stacks of Pokeballs. I realised that upon closer inspection, I could feel what Pokemon was in the ball. I saw a familiar Ivysaur and smiled at him. Then I looked at the others and picked the Starmie. "I'm done choosin-"

"YEEEEEEES!" Jayden squealed, picking up a Pokeball. "Charis, I got Firaga, I got Firaga!" I could almost sense his extreme displeasure as Jayden purposely tucked the Pokeball underneath her armpit, and continued to look around.

Aeleus looked at the Pokeballs and sighed. "I don't see any familiar faces..." he mumbled. "Okay, what did you guys pick?"

I released Jayden's Chikyu and the Starmie. "Chikyu and Starmie," I replied. Chikyu gave me a reassuring smile.

Jayden released a very unhappy Firaga and a bouncing Grumpig. "These are mine!" she gestured, and yelped as Firaga lunged for her arm.

Aeleus nodded to himself and picked through the Pokeballs. "Okay then, I'll go with...these two," he said, and released a Muk and Honchkrow.

"Fantastic!" the announcer chirped, as our first competitor stepped up, with two Pokemon – a Bibarel and an Umbreon. We all looked at our Pokemon, and after a moment all turned to look at me.

"...fine, I'll go, I'll go!" I snapped as I grouchily got up. Chikyu and Starmie already got themselves acquainted and they were both ready to go.

"Ready? Let's go!"


"Chikyu, Razor Leaf at both of them! Starmie, Bubblebeam! Keep them at length!" I commanded.

The man before us seemed excited. "Come on, Umbreon, Dark Pulse! And Bibarel, use Hydro Pump and destroy all those useless attacks!"

Umbreon threw his head back and widened his eyes, releasing a ball of aura containing dark thoughts. I could've sworn I heard Jayden mutter "Expecto Patronum" under her breath. "Starmie, Hydro Pump! Chikyu, reach for the Bibarel with Vine Whip!"

Chikyu dodged Bibarel's Hydro Pump and quickly retaliated with her vines reaching out for the Bibarel. She grabbed the Pokemon firmly and repeatedly slammed him on the ground. Bibarel responded with an instinctive bite on the vines which caused Chikyu to flinch.

"Razor Leaf!" I quickly commanded, as I watched Dark Pulse and Hydro Pump connect and dissipate immediately. Starmie, on its own, launched an Ice Beam that froze the Umbreon to his spot. As Chikyu's Razor Leaf swerved towards the opponents, Bibarel tried to dodge it to no avail, getting knocked out in the process, while the Umbreon braved the cold and the leaves slashing at him.

"Now, Starmie, Water Pulse!" I quickly commanded as Starmie blasted at the Umbreon, knocking him out as well, much to the man's dismay.

I looked over at Kishon and beamed when I saw his face.

"Alrightttt then! Do you want to rent out one of his Pokemon?" the announcer asked, and looking at Starmie, I shook my head. I walked down to Aeleus, who gave me a thumbs-up, and Jayden, who shoved me slightly to hug Chikyu. "Aw, Chikyu, you're the best!"

"Next up!" A Roserade and a Bastiodon stepped up, with a mean-looking punk with a purple mohawk grinned at us and winked.

"Which lady's gonna court me?" he asked slyly, wriggling his eyebrows at me and that was all it took for Firaga to drag Jayden and the Grumpig up, eager to kill. He glowered at the man, who simply laughed. "Ooh, so if you lose, Charizard, I'm not only going to rent you out, I'm also going to go ask your trainer out!" he taunted. Firaga had never looked so insulted. He flexed his claws and snarled. Even the Grumpig looked wary.

Jayden was jumping up and down. "Alright, let's do this for Charis, Firaga!" Jayden cheered excitedly, and Firaga nodded vigorously.

Kishon nudged me. "I think you'll be single for a looong time, Charis," he teased.

"Oh, shut up and watch!" I retorted.


The match started. When the bell rang, Jayden just sat down. "Grumpig, just use Psychic on Roserade over and over again!" she commanded, as she plopped down. "Firaga, do your thing!"

Before the punk could even react, Firaga reared his head back and blasted Overheat, aiming it at Roserade briefly, before hitting the Bastiodon.

"Bastiodon, use Iron Head!" the punk shouted, as Jayden smirked, with Roserade slowly sinking to the ground, still smoking from the Overheat and unable to fight anymore.

The Bastiodon charged at Firaga, his large head gleaming, and Firaga leaned forward, arms reaching out as though to embrace the foe. Instead, as Iron Head connected, Firaga struggled to fight back, grappling at the rough edges of his head. I realised what Firaga was going to perform as the Charizard wrestled the Bastiodon, growling and snarling.

"Bastiodon, move back and catch the Charizard off-guard!" the punk commanded, and in a split second, the Bastiodon retreated back, causing Firaga to stumble. However, Firaga still had his hold on the Bastiodon. Huffing, the Charizard swung his large wings outwards and flew vertically up, with the Bastiodon twisting his head and trying to pry himself loose. He succeeded, but he was quite a distance above the battlefield, which was alright for Firaga, who suddenly plummeted after the Bastiodon for a Seismic Toss. They did a nose dive together to the ground, fighting each other, until they crashed onto the ground, with Firaga triumphantly sitting on top.

"One more battle to go!" Jayden cheered, as she leapt down to greet us. Firaga jabbed his claws at the punk for a moment, before coming over with a pleased smile on his face.

Aeleus nodded and we waited for our next opponent – a young girl with Seishin and a Golduck.

"Yo, Seishin!" Jayden called, waving at her Kirlia, "don't let the girl down, okay! Put up a good fight!"

The Kirlia nodded gently, and gave the young girl a bright smile. It seemed as though the girl wasn't old enough to own two Pokemon; she looked as though she was girl smiled kindly at Jayden, and then patted Seishin.

"Thanks for that, Jayden," Aeleus mumbled as we both nudged him towards the battlefield. "Um...hi! I'm Aeleus!" he called out to the girl, who nodded politely.

"I'm Tania," she replied shyly. Aeleus gave her a friendly grin.

"So," he started, smiling at her as though he was an older brother, "what brings you here at night? Don't you have school tomorrow?"

Tania nodded her head, but she explained, "I'm...not very good at Pokemon...so Mummy thought I should try this! It's free and if I try, I may win something." She looked at Aeleus and smiled. "My Pokemon is a Togepi."

"That's nice," Aeleus replied, as the announcer came up to them, ready to begin the match. "Do your best, Tania! I won't be going so easy on you!"

Tania nodded, as the bell sounded.


"S-Seishin, is that it? Use Psychic on that Honchkrow!" Tania commanded weakly, and even though Seishin knew it would have no effect, she did it for the young girl. Summoning her energy, the Kirlia attempted to take down Honchkrow, to no avail, naturally.

"Tania!" Jayden shouted, "Psychic attacks don't have any effect on Dark types!"

"O-Oh!" she furrowed her eyebrows and Aeleus smiled.

"Honchkrow, use Night Slash on Seishin!" The Honchkrow nodded and swiftly flew towards Seishin, his talons stretched and glowing with dark energy. He slashed at the Kirlia, sending the poor Kirlia backwards. Tania gulped. She looked at her Golduck, who nodded at her reassuringly, and then she stood up a little straighter. "Golduck, use Surf!"

"Poor Seishin..." Jayden mumbled, as the Golduck built his wave as he churned out water from his beak, before riding the waves to crash onto all the Pokemon in the battlefield, including Seishin, who was too weak to continue, with the Surf and the super-effective Night Slash.

"My turn again," Aeleus said with a smile. "Muk, use Pound on the Golduck."

"Muuuuk!" the Muk crawled towards the Golduck at an alarmingly fast speed, launched himself up and slammed onto the poor Golduck, as purple sludge dripped all over the Pokemon. Golduck winced, as he found himself poisoned by the sludge that seeped into his skin.

"Ah! Golduck!" she cried out, frowning.

"Your turn, Tania," Aeleus graciously let her go first.

"Um...uh...Golduck, can you use Ice Beam?" she asked, and the Pokemon nodded, panting out of exhaustion. "Great! Use Ice Beam on the Honchkrow!"

"Good move, but like what teachers have been saying for the past 10 years of my education, it's not enough," Aeleus noted. "Honchkrow, dodge it and use Night Slash again!"

The Honchkrow nodded and easily dodged the otherwise lethal Ice Beam, and then delivered his final attack on the Golduck, who out of exhaustion collapsed and fainted.

Tania looked at her Golduck and Seishin sadly. Jayden got up the stage and followed Aeleus to Tania and the two fallen Pokemon. "Aw, Seishin, you did well." Jayden handed her a Sitrus berry which no doubt came from the saint of Sitrus berries himself. St. Sitrus got up the stage as well, and handed the girl a whole load of berries, patting her head affectionately.

I looked at the young girl. "You'll do great in school," I told her, "and I mean what I say."

"T-Thank you, all of you!" Tania said, giving us a quick bow. "My mum's waiting for me, see you later!"

With a wave, and even a brief hug for Aeleus and her rental Pokemon, she hurried off to an older woman's arms, presumably her mum. We all watched before Jayden turned to Aeleus, a sly grin on her face. "Aw, Aeleus, you'd make a great dad!" she remarked, nudging him playfully with her elbow. "I heard Charis wanted to be a mum some day!"

"Hm, we'd make interesting babies," Aeleus remarked, and they both gave me equally stupid grins. Firaga, who was now in my possession, gave Aeleus a glance head to toe and scoffed.

"Yeah, yeah, save that talk for next time, okay?" I quickly changed the subject. "Aeleus, did you find a Pokemon Centre?"

Aeleus shook his head. "No, not really. Doesn't seem like it."

We all let that fact absorb first, before we realised what it meant.


Chapter Number 20. Wow.

This chapter seemed a bit...lacking. I don't know. And it's the twentieth chapter.

Anyway, I'm still willing to publish any specials you guys want to write. Or even help out in a fanfic if you want to write an entirely new one. I'll be willing to help whenever I can.

I'm also going to publish an interesting chapter when I'm done with it. Interesting in the humorous, familiar sense I guess.

And I've been thinking of doing a realistic Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, 10 years from when this story begins. It'll feature Firaga and I already have a chapter waiting to be finished, but I just need feedback on whether or not people would read it.

And...um, well, that's pretty much it.