The three of us sat in the Pokemon Center's lobby anxiously. My leg was shaking so much that I'm sure I was vibrating the entire sofa, but Taylor and Nico didn't seem to care. The sign of a syringe above the operating room door was still illuminated brightly. From what I saw, I was sure that the Nidoran's injuries weren't that serious―but then again, I'm no doctor. Hell, I was sure that Gyarados was part Dragon-type till last year.

Nico seemed the most distraught, his emotionless expression staring predatorily at the sign. Its red and white colors reflected brightly in the whites of his eyes, at first appearing to be blood vessels ready to burst with anticipation. I gave him a simple smile and put my arm around his shoulders.

"You can relax, man. Nurse Joy knows what she's doing. I'm sure Nidoran will be all right."

"Thanks," he replied. He clasped his hands together tightly. "But what if something really bad had happened to her? The Nidoran, I mean. What if she has a broken rib, or a punctured lung, or―." His speech was stopped abruptly by a resounding ping. The sign faded and the doors opened, revealing Nurse Joy wheeling in an operating table with a few Chanseys helping.

Nico sprang up before I could blink. He rushed over to the table with Taylor and I following. Nidoran was lying down on the table, peacefully asleep, with steady, even breaths. Her injured leg bandaged tightly, as were her chest and small tail. Nico reached over to stroke her, but Nurse Joy quickly stopped him.

"Oh no," she said in a harsh whisper. "She shouldn't be bothered at all. She's very delicate right now and needs plenty of rest."

"What happened?" I asked in the same whisper, so as not to wake the snoozing Poison-type.

"Well," Joy began, indicating the parts of Nidoran's body as she mentioned them, "Her leg was obviously damaged pretty badly. It was fractured extensively, and not very cleanly. That pain alone must've been unbearable. Other than that, lots of cuts, lots of bruises. Her tail was tweaked a bit, and large lacerations covered her chest. I'd say she's lucky you guys came along so fast. Had you not, she would have been much worse off."

"What do you think happened to her?" Taylor asked.

"I can't be sure," she replied. "Probably some kind of Pokemon attack. Though I can't think of anything in Mt. Moon that would do this much harm to a Nidoran, especially one this healthy." She paused and furrowed her brow in thought. "How did you say you found her, again?"

"There was a group of Geodude surrounding her," Nico said, "like a wall, protecting her. They wouldn't even let us get near to her."

"Well, Nico the Pokemon whisperer got through," I added laughingly.

Nico blushed and continued his story. "She looked like she had been there for a while and was in really bad shape. If the Geodude weren't there to protect her, she definitely would have…" Nico couldn't bring himself to say the words.

Joy tapped her chin in thought. "That's so bizarre. Not only are Nidoran not found in Mt. Moon, but they don't typically have relationships with Geodude of that magnitude, if it all."

"Maybe they were just nice Pokemon?" Taylor suggested.

Joy laughed. "Yes, that also could be true, but it's still an odd situation. Why don't you three enjoy yourselves around the city while Nidoran recuperates? I'm assuming you're wanting to challenge Misty?"

"As a matter of fact, we are!" I answered proudly.

"Wonderful!" She clapped her hands together. "Hopefully you'll have a chance to challenge her before the Gym closes."

"When will that be?" I asked, looking outside to see the sun growing heavy in the sky and drifting down to the horizon.

Nurse Joy glanced at her watch. "I'd say another hour or so. If you really want to challenge her today, you'd better get a move on, but I would wait till tomorrow."

I smirked. "I'm known to take risks," I said with a wink. "Do you guys want to come?" I asked Taylor and Nico.

Taylor shrugged. "I don't have anything better to do." We both turned to Nico.

"Um, I think I'll stay here with Nidoran. I don't feel right about leaving her here alone. But I'll be sure to come over and catch your battle as soon as I can."

"Suit yourself," I said with mild disappointment. "Catch you later, then." Taylor and I exited the Pokemon Center and began walking through the crowded main streets of Cerulean as we headed for the prominent building that we knew to be the Cerulean Gym.

"So now that we're finally alone," Taylor began with a sinister tone, "what happened between you and Nico last night?"

That question caught me off guard. My heart skipped a beat and my mouth became dry. I didn't think we were that loud, but I guess tents are thin. "W―What do you mean?"

Taylor rolled her eyes. "You don't have to play stupid, Terran. I already know how stupid you are, and this is something you're actually quite savvy in."

I didn't respond to the insult. I took in a deep breath and sighed. "What all did you hear?"

"I heard enough, and so could everybody else within a mile radius."

I winced. "Were we really that loud?" As a worried afterthought, I asked, "Did Michelle and Brooke hear anything?"

"No, they were both asleep. And yeah, you were. I have to say it was kind of bizarre hearing Nico's angry voice. It was strangely hot." Now it was my turn to eye roll. "Anyway, what are you guys now? Friends? Boyfriends? Friends with benefits?"

"Jeez, Taylor!" I exasperated, a little louder than I should have. "Who do you think I am?"

"I don't know, Terr," she said haughtily, crossing her arms. "I really don't know. I didn't know my own brother had a thing for other guys till a few days ago. What else haven't you told me? Are you secretly a werewolf? A vampire, maybe?"

She was overreacting, but she did have a point. Though, to be fair, I didn't really know I had a 'thing' for guys much longer than she did. "I'm sorry, Taylor, for not telling you sooner. But, this whole thing is new to me. I don't know what to do―or how to do it."

"Well, you can start by telling me what you two were yelling about, then how it ended with your tongues down each other's throats."

"Arceus, Taylor…" I grumbled. "Basically, we just decided to take things slow. That's it."

"And then you shoved your tongues down each other's throats."

Before I could retort, I saw we had arrived at the Gym. A wide concrete square was placed in front of the building, largely desolate, save a few Trainers doing some last-minute training for their Gym battle or bragging about their recently earned badges by crushing beginning Trainers. A long line was present in the Gym lobby, reaching outside the doors.

"Looks like I'm not gonna see Misty today," I said.

"That could be for the better," Taylor said. "Honestly, the only reason I came along was to see you get your butt handed to you. You haven't trained hardly at all since Pewter City. I still don't know why you would even consider challenging a Gym Leader like this."

"Tell me how you really feel, Tay."

"I just did." She glanced around the square. "Just find somebody to battle, and maybe you'll be able to eke out a win by the skin of your teeth." She had a point. A couple battles wouldn't hurt. I didn't even have to go out of my way to look for an opponent. When you're standing outside a Gym with a bunch of battle-hungry Trainers, it's difficult not to find a battle.

"Excuse me, you wouldn't happen to be a Trainer, would you?" a voice from behind us asked. We turned and saw the slender, very cute girl before us. She had bright green eyes, and choppy shoulder length brown hair. She seemed fairly anxious, either itching for a battle, or just feeling uncomfortable around strangers. Probably the latter.

"I would be, yes," I responded happily. "I was actually looking for a battle. Would you mind?"

"No, not at all!" she replied.

"Great!" We moved towards the center of the square where there was enough open area to have a battle. Other Trainers began to crowd around us, relieved to take a break from their own battles to watch someone else's. "I'm Terran, by the way," I quickly introduced.

"My name's Yuika Easton, but everyone calls me Yules," she explained.

"Well, great to meet you, Yules."

"You too."

"How does a three-on-three sound?" I suggested as I groped for the Pokeballs on my belt.

"That sounds perfect. You can choose first."

"Thanks." I thought for only a brief moment before picking my first Pokemon. "Let's get this started, Bulbasaur!" Bulbasaur emerged from his ball like he had been in there his entire life.

As he came out, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a single man leaning against the Gym wall in the shadows. His face was obscured by a large hat and collar of a trench coat that fell to the ground. His beady eyes peeked above large sunglasses, scanning the entire group of Trainers critically, especially Yules and I, probably because we were in a battle. I quickly averted my gaze and tried to put him out of my mind. I didn't need to worry myself about anything else that was probably unnecessary. Though, that guy sure was creepy…

"All right, Blaziken, come on out!" My eyes grew wide as the high leveled Pokemon came forth, fiery determination emanating from every cell. Bulbasaur visibly shook. "Blaziken, use Fire Punch!" Yules commanded. The Blaziken charged straight forward, not wasting any time, its arm extended and glowing brightly as it charged with flames.

"Bulbasaur, jump out of the way, hurry!" I ordered on instinct. Bulbasaur jumped out of the way, just avoiding the powerful and super effective attack. Blaziken screeched to a halting stop just before running into the crowd. "Use Stun Spore, Bulbasaur!" Bulbasaur launched the paralyzing spores into the air, floating around Blaziken. Blaziken's muscles tensed up and his motion was severely reduced. He could still move, but no faster than a Slowpoke.

"Blaziken, try to use Aerial Ace!" Yules commanded another super effective move. Blaziken thrust forward to the best of his ability, but couldn't get far enough off the ground to execute the attack.

I finally took my opening. "Bulbasaur, use Poison Powder! Then follow with Razor Leaf!" A cloud of purple dust was sprayed over Blaziken's limp form. Blaziken flinched as he took steady damage from the poison now coursing through his body. Bulbasaur shot wave after wave of razor sharp foliage at the Fire- and Fighting-type. Though the Grass-type attack did little damage, combined with the Poison Powder, significant pieces of Blaziken's health were being depleted.

Yules continued shouted commands, hoping Blaziken would gain enough strength to execute them. "Fire Punch! Come on, Blaziken, you can do this! Try Sky Uppercut! Double Kick!"

I smiled as I realized that this first round would belong to me. Then it all came crashing down. Blaziken's wincing eyes suddenly flashed open. He rose to his feet, shocking Bulbasaur into ceasing the Razor Leaf attacks. With a final charge forward, a clenched fist alight with flames slammed into Bulbasaur, knocking him out in an instant.

Yules cheered gleefully. "Good job, Blaziken! I knew you had it in you!"

"Blaze…" it mumbled with a small smile, clearly weakened and close to fainting, but not giving up.

I bit my lower lip as I returned Bulbasaur. This would be a tough battle, just what I needed.

Hey, remember me? Yeah, I'm that guy that updates his stories sometimes! Sorry this took so long, but I'm in the last few weeks of school, so everything is so crazy between final projects, exams, and all of the other events that go along with it. I'm sorry this chapter is a little lackluster, but I'll hopefully a lot more high-quality writing up when summer starts and I have time. Also, special thanks to Ash-Aijo, who provided me with the character of Yules. Sorry I couldn't really do her justice in this short time, but I promise she'll come into her own in the near future. :) Speaking of the near future, I'll warn you now, a HUGE amount of plot is about to be thrust upon you in the next couple chapters, including, but not limited to: a new evil team, a sinister plot by wild Pokemon, the discovery of something history changing, and the story behind Julie (remember her from a long time ago?). Trust me, it'll be a big pill to swallow in such a short time. In other news, the poll on my profile is in a tie right now, so make sure you all vote to decide which direction the story will take after this story line! Till then, I hope you leave some reviews, and you continue reading! :D