The Real World
The Dark Trainer
Tanya scrambled around her room, frantic and rushed. Her backpack sat open on her bed, Cubone next to it and obediently holding his Pokéball. Clothes were scattered about the floor, stuffed animals thrown in disarray, and Tanya's rumpus was sticking up in the air as she peered under her bed.
"Ha!" she declared triumphantly, pulling out her folder and hastily shoving it in her backpack.
"Tanya! It's 9:10!"
Her eyes widened, her movements becoming quicker and clumsier as she raced to find her trainer's belt. Upon finding it hanging carefully in her closet, she snatched it from its hanger and buckled it around her waist, not even bothering to put it through the loops of her pants. Cubone held out his Pokéball for her and she grabbed it, recalled Savoc into the sphere, minimized it and hung it on her belt. It was a squeeze to fit the ball into its cupped holder and the plastic band that went over it and held it in place, but done quickly enough it slipped right in and held it securely. Tanya grabbed her backpack from the bed and raced out the door of her room and house.
It was times like these that made her believe that living across the street from the school was not such a terrible thing.
Traffic littered the two-lane street, as always, and Tanya became immediately annoyed with it. School started at 9:15 – The late bell was at 9:20. She didn't want to be late. Not today. She would not walk into school late on the day she came with a Pokémon. Her very own Pokémon! A gap in the cars finally appeared and Tanya ran through it, hurrying through the gates of the school. And, naturally, her class just had to be in the back of the school.
No one was in the hallways, so the first bell must have already rung. She walked as fast as she could to her class, not wanting to get in trouble for running if she were to be seen by an administrator, and was just waiting for the late bell to sound. Tanya made it to her class and into her seat without hearing the bell ring.
She let out a long breath, both slightly winded and proud that she had made it to class on time. With a satisfactory feeling swelling within her, she calmly took out her folder for the class – Pokémon Studies. It wasn't until she plopped her folder on her desk and looked up that she noticed her teacher staring at her. Tanya, baffled, raised her eyebrows. Absently-mindedly, she checked the clock, discovering that the late bell had already rung minutes ago. She shifted in her seat, suddenly uncomfortable.
"Well, Tanya, you're off this time. Next time it's a detention," Mr. Patski warned lightly, "Now, as you all know, I'm sure – The Pokémon Reserve opened yesterday. Did any of you stop by?"
Several people raised their hands, none of which Tanya remembered seeing there.
"And did anyone get a Pokémon?" he chuckled, expecting no one to raise their hand.
Tanya looked around, wanting to make sure she was the only person before she raised her hand, but found that Jayme Parell already had her hand raised high.
"I did!" she called out sweetly, grinning broadly.
Mr. Patski instantly became interested and beckoned Jayme to the front of the room. She absolutely loved being the center of attention and everyone seemed eager for her to get up in front of the class; she smiled, genuinely pleased and excited at the prospect of showing off. Tanya slid low in her seat, crossed her arms and huffed.
"Well, everyone, as you know Pokémon are very expensive. Some costing as much as eighty-nine thousand dollars! But, the Pokémon I selected cost only forty-five thousand. Now, I'd like to ask everyone to stay back because I'm going to let her out and she doesn't like strangers. She's kind of shy."
Jayme giggled and smiled, slid her small trainer's bag off of her shoulder (to which Tanya sneered at as it was the Misty-fashioned bag) and pulled out a single Pokéball. She placed it on the ground gently and pressed the large, white button to open it.
The class cooed in unison, entranced by the innocence of the creature. Next to Jayme, it was small, but it was obvious that it was bigger than a housecat, though not as big as a dog like a Chinese Chow. Its seemingly delicate build, small nose and large ears, neatly groomed fur and curled tufts of hair, curiously, didn't make Vulpix beautiful – Rather, it was the epitome of cute. Tanya swore from that day on that Vulpix was the definition of cute, despite her harsh dislike for Jayme and her flamboyant mannerisms.
Vulpix backed away slowly, hiding unsuccessfully behind the feet of Jayme. Jayme twisted around and picked up Vulpix, cradling her in her arms tenderly. More than one person was anxious to get up and pet the Pokémon, but they were never given the opportunity as Jayme recalled her frightened Pokémon.
For a moment, Tanya contemplated the mannerisms of the Vulipx. Why did they seem… wrong? She realized then that it was odd for a Vulpix to cower like that. Granted, each would have their separate personalities, but they were naturally arrogant, proud animals. (No, not animals, Tanya thought, Pokémon). They weren't shy, or cowardly. They were depicted often as snobs. Like Jayme, Tanya brooded.
"Thank you for sharing, Jayme. You're a very lucky young lady, I hope you know," said Mr, Patski.
"Yeah," she smiled.
"It's a shame no one else here was lucky enough to get a Pokémon. We could have witnessed a battle first-hand."
"I have one," Tanya said calmly, though her stomach had twisted in her nervousness; she didn't like it when everyone stared at her.
"Spectacular! Let's go out back, then."
The class eagerly got up.
"Wait. This isn't fair. She knows I have a Vulpix, but I don't know what she has."
"Cubone," Tanya answered.
Immediately Tanya thought of what a dumb move that had been. She shouldn't have told her! Before a battle, people don't know what Pokémon the other person has, they just have to try and take everything into account. But, she was proud to have a Pokémon and she couldn't wait for them to know what it was.
"Those ugly bone-things?" Jayme made a disgusted face, to which Tanya took great offense.
"Like your Vulpix is any better. What'd you do to it anyway?" she spat, "you scare its ego away already?"
Jayme gave her a funny look, which made her feel pretty stupid.
"No… That's how just how she is."
"Defected," Tanya ridiculed.
"Gees, you don't have to be so rude. I didn't do anything to you," Jayme said and picked up her pace, walking away from her.
They moved into position, taking opposite sides approximately fifty yards apart. The Pokémon had to have plenty of space to battle, and the trainers had to be out of harms way- or at least have time to move should an attack go awry. The class made a large circle, full of gaps, around the battlefield. Jayme again placed her ball on the ground and pressed the button, releasing Vulpix. Tanya slid her Pokéball out and tossed it to the ground; the impact somehow triggered it to open. Something like the way an air bag works in a car.
"Go, Savoc," she said, though she felt pretty foolish saying it.
Saying the name in front of the others made it sound less great then when she had first thought it up. It was just a play on Havoc. Besides, 'Savoc' sounded better. He appeared and was quick to assess the situation, noting instantly that there was a Pokémon across from him to battle. Savoc spread its legs and raised his bone in an attacking stance; Tanya was impressed.
Vulpix was actually the larger of the two.
"Charge it!" Jayme commanded.
Was she an idiot? Cubone's had tough skin, so a tackle attack would hardly phase it.
"Wait for it."
She planned to wait until it was in close range, then Savoc would be able to bat it away with its bone-club.
What the-? Tanya didn't know what it was doing until Vulpix had jumped, kicked off of Savoc's skull helmet with its hind legs and jumped high in the air. Higher than any animal could.
"Fireblast it, hon," Jayme instructed, cocky.
Tanya really didn't like her tone.
With a nod, he pulled his arm back and then flung the bone at Vulpix. Tanya's eyes widened when the bone missed. Damnit! She shouldn't have agreed to this without finding out what level Savoc was at- she didn't know his strengths, weaknesses, or what he was even capable of! Her eyes widened further when Vulpix discharged a jet of fire, heating her up even though she was a safe distance away. Savoc was standing there. Why was he just standing there?
"Get out of the way!" Tanya shouted desperately, taking a step forward as if she were going to run in but then thought better of it.
He wasn't fast enough to get out of the way, so he dropped and buried his head, trying to cover it with his short arms. The fire splashed over his back and he screamed. It was the most horrible sound she had ever heard; a loud, shrieking "Booooh!" sound with the growl in his voice mingled in with it too. Tanya winced, but she didn't run over just yet. If she did, then the match would be over. Savoc could still get up… she hoped. Pikachu always did for Ash, she just had to believe he would do the same for her. He didn't get up. His back was charred with black, but it wasn't scalded. It shouldn't have been humanly possible, but she saw it: his back burnt like the edges of a piece of paper.
"What's wrong with you? Go check on him!" Jayme called to her.
Tanya sighed. He wasn't getting up. She jogged over to him and knelt down beside him, mindful of the eyes of her classmates on her. Up close, it looked a lot worse. Savoc's skin was reddened and raw and now she felt really bad. She touched him tentatively, wary of his injuries.
"Savoc?" she whispered.
She was really really worried when he didn't respond. Was he unconscious? Or worse? Tanya bit her lip and looked to Mr. Patski, who approached her with a spray bottle. A potion. She had seen pictures of them, but she didn't think to buy any at the Reserve. She took it gratefully and sprayed Savoc twice with it. She waited. And nothing happened.
"It'll take some time for him to heal. Recall him into his Pokéball."
Numbly following his orders, she returned him to his ball. She walked along with the class, thinking about the battle. She was a horrible trainer. God, she didn't even know what he could do. When they got home, they would be doing some major training. No more battles, not for a while. Not until she was confident she knew what Savoc could do, and improved his aim.
Some of her classmates, actually all of them, were talking about the battle. They weren't even trying to keep their voices down when they said "she sucks". Tanya's cheeks were burning, her palms were sweating and her heart was still beating from the nervousness and excitement that had been involved with the battle. She already knew she wasn't going to be able to survive if they kept on going, insulting her abilities. She knew what she was doing, she just… made some beginners mistakes. Big, fat mistakes. Someone said she didn't care about her Pokémon. That just made Tanya feel worse. Savoc had been down, but she still waited like he was going to get up and make some spectacular comeback – she had hoped no one else would have noticed. Obviously, and unfortunately, they did.
And if that wasn't enough Mr. Patski was analyzing the battle! Tanya blinked her eyes, fighting back tears, and stared at her hands folded over her binder. Jayme had taken a risk using Cubone as a springboard – big deal. Everything Tanya had down was wrong. She should have had him use a tackle – and should have known that his aim was poor – and his skull plate would have knocked Vulpix out of it.
The period couldn't end fast enough and Tanya was out the door as soon as it did. She didn't go to her next class, though, she went to the clinic. She couldn't cope with a day of ridicule. It's not like they had any Pokémon. They didn't know what being in a battle was like. Nervous. Tense. Quick decisions have to be made. It was her first battle – did they expect her to make all the right ones on her first attempt? But Jayme had. Which made Tanya feel lousy. She should have been better than her, but she wasn't.
Tanya complained to the nurse of a migraine and an uneasy stomach. The bit about her stomach wasn't a lie either. She felt like she could spend a good fifteen minutes in the bathroom regurgitating her breakfast out in the toilet. Wait. No, she didn't remember eating breakfast. Ha! She had been so excited about showing off her Pokémon, and frantic about being late, that she had entirely forgotten to eat.
The nurse wouldn't let her stay the entire day and sent her out in time for lunch. Tanya hoped that no one would bring up her battle, that it would have already died down. But it hadn't.
"So, I heard you got your ass kicked. Kill your Pokémon already?" Derik, a seventh grader, taunted.
"No!" she cried defensively.
She stormed off to find some place quiet to eat. She brought out Cubone too, to give him lunch and see how he was. He wasn't healed fully. Actually, his skin still looked pretty cooked, but if he moved carefully he seemed all right. Tanya watched him closely, pitifully, as he at the Pokémon chow she had given him.
"I'm so sorry, Savoc. I won't make you battle again."
He looked at her, just staring with nothing in his expression. Though, it was hard to gage the full expression if it couldn't be seen. Tanya felt compelled so say something else.
"And we're gonna train when we get home. I shouldn't have made you battle without testing you first. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking. At all."
Savoc nodded once, slowly. He didn't seem angry, but she did feel like he was giving her the cold shoulder. Tanya knew she deserved it. She had really messed up. Hurting a Pokémon was definitely a moral, not mortal, sin it seemed. Not hurting them physically, but emotionally. Tanya was sure she had offended him, or hurt him, in some way – but she wasn't sure what exactly.
"I'm sorry," she whispered again, touching his helmet. She ran her thumb over it, it was smooth with faint line indentations that most (straight) animal horns have. If he saw how honestly apologetic she was, then maybe it would get that sad, blank look out of his eyes.
Author's Note– Hey folks! Been a while. A long while. I didn't even want to keep writing this anymore, but I had the inspiration for another chapter. I had started writing it anyway, so I just finished it up. I think I'll probably continued with this, though rather periodically. Currently, I'm taking a Creative Writing course in high school, so I'm going to see how that helps my skills.
Teaser– There's more to this story then we know… Much, much more.