Chapter 5: Bellsprout Tower
"Wow… look at that pillar go!" Mizuko gawked at swaying pillar in the middle of tower.
After entering Sprout Tower, the Pokemon became very curious and amazed at the large pillar in the center, amused at its movements. Mizuko had begun to even mimic the pillar. Bron stared intently at the giant pillar, trying to understand its shaking. Sain, perched on Landon's shoulder, looked on with great interest. Landon, however, seemed very bored.
"Guys, come on," the trainer sounded a bit annoyed, rolling his eyes. "It's just a pillar. Can we go upstairs?"
"I would really like to know why this pillar exists in this tower," Sain remarked, choosing to ignore Landon's impatience.
"Ah, interested in the flexible pillar in Sprout Tower?" a woman, looking in her late 20s, with long black hair walked up to the team.
Landon internally groaned. 'Great, now we're going to be down here even longer…'
Looking up at the pillar, the woman continued. "Legend has it that this pillar was once a 100-foot Bellsprout, hence why this pagoda is known as 'Bellsprout Tower'. Bellsprouts are very highly regarded by the monks."
"Whoa! 100-foot?" Mizuko jumped in shock. "That's awesome!"
Sain stroked his beak. "Sounds a bit far-fetched if you ask me…"
"Who cares? Let's just go…" Landon muttered under his breath.
"Nowadays," the woman went on, "the flexibility of the pillar protects the tower from earthquakes. It also symbolizes the battles and training from the monks upstairs."
"Ah, so that's the purpose," Sain remarked. "That's very useful, preventing earthquakes."
Landon gave a heavy sigh. "But do you hear that? Battles! Upstairs! So we should be going!"
The woman merely shook her head. 'Just another young trainer anxious to train and no interest in history. Well, at least he's not as rude as the boy before.' She said, "Well, sounds like someone's eager. Even though monks are normally peaceful, they do see the value and discipline in training their Bellsprout. If you want to train with them, just go up the stairs over there on the left."
Landon looked excitedly at the direction the woman was pointing and started making his way. "All right! Come on, team! We got monks to battle!"
However, Mizuko and Bron appeared a bit reluctant.
"I don't know Landon," Mizuko stated, his voice a bit worried. "She said that the monks train Bellsprout, and Bellsprout are grass Pokemon…"
Bron nodded in agreement. "Bron weak against grass. Grass cut right through."
"Hmmm, good point," Landon agreed. But then he smirked and turned his head to Sain. "Guess you will be the star of this tower, Sain."
"I will do my best, dear trainer," Sain said, giving a slight bow.
Landon chuckled and then took out Mizuko's and Bron's pokeballs. "Okay, you two. You can return for now. I'm sure Sain will do fine on his own."
After returning his two other Pokemon, Landon continued towards the stairs, feeling very eager to take on and win more battles.
"Sain! Finish that Bellsprout off with one more Peck!"
"Ah! My Bellsprout has fallen…"
"Yes!" Landon jumped up, fist-pumping in celebration. "That was awesome, Sain! Another win!"
"Good work, Bellsprout," The monk said, returning his Pokemon. "We'll obviously have to focus more on Flying Type discipline." The monk turned his attention to Landon. "Excellent battle, young trainer. You're raising your Spearow to be quite the formidable foe."
"I know, right?" the trainer exclaimed. "Sain's just that awesome!"
"Hmmm," the monk slightly narrowed his eyes, taking note of Landon's response. "Well, best of luck to the rest of your journey. Remember: it's not an easy path."
Landon waved his hand at the monk and started to continue his way forward. "Yeah, yeah. I know."
Sain shook his head at Landon's behavior. 'When is that kid going to learn?' After giving a slight bow to the monk, the Spearow caught up with his trainer and flew along side him. "Landon, do you remember what I told you about modesty and not being rude?"
The trainer groaned. 'Oh no, not this again…'
"Landon, I just think that you should-"
"Whoa! What's that!?"
The trainer abruptly cut his Pokemon off as he shouted and pointed forward. There, ahead of them, was an odd purple gas-like substance. What made the substance particularly odd was that there was a darker purple circle in the center of it. Even stranger, the darker purple had eyes and a mouth. Landon grinned widely.
"That's a Gastly, Sain!" he whispered to his Spearow, excitement in his voice.
"Ah, a new Pokemon?" Sain asked, very intrigued.
"Yup! I always thought it would be awesome to have a ghost Pokemon. And now, here's our chance! Think you got this, Sain?"
Sain gave a firm nod. "No problem, trainer!"
The Spearow turned sharply in front of him, staring at the ghost Pokemon ahead of him. Readying himself, Sain flexed out his beak and prepared his wings. Finally, he flew at high speed towards the Gastly and struck the other Pokemon, piercing the Gastly's head. However, the attack proved to be a bit too sharp; after receiving the impact, the Gastly quickly evaporated, giving one last cry before disappearing. There were a few moments of silence, as Sain and Landon gaped at the open space where the ghost Pokemon once was. Finally, the shock wore off.
"…did you just kill the Gastly?"
"Well, I don't know if I killed it, per say. I mean, he was already dead, being a ghost Pokemon and all…"
"I'm sorry, Landon. I guess I don't know my own strength. Have been getting stronger…"
"Well, you get some, you lose some. It's all part of the Pokemon journey, right?"
"Now, Landon, there's no need to be so glum."
"I'm sure you'll have another chance to-"
After the unfortunate encounter with the Gastly, the duo continued on their way up the tower, battling monks they came into contact with. Their Bellsprout proved to be no match for Sain's swift beak, so it was an easy win each time. And soon enough, the two reached the top floor.
"Finally!" Landon exclaimed, stretching out his arms above his head. "Wonder if we'll get a reward for making it to the third floor?"
"Are physical rewards and winning all you care about?" Sain said, half-joking.
"Hey, give me a break!" Landon retorted, smiling a bit. "I just went up three stories and had to battle a bunch of monks."
"You mean I had to battle a bunch of monks," Sain corrected, smirking.
Before Landon could respond, the duo heard noises deeper in the room: sounds of smashing and Pokemon cries. The trainer knew immediately what was going on. He raced to the source of the sounds (with Sain following), hiding behind the moving pillar so he wouldn't disturb. Peeking from behind the pillar, Landon noticed that he had just missed the final move of the battle. A Bellsprout lay on the ground, defeated and fainted. He was quickly returned to his Pokeball by his trainer, a much older looking monk. The Bellsprout previous opponent, a Chikorita, swung its leaf around and gave a cry for victory.
The Chikorita definitely caught Landon's attention. 'Wait a minute! Could that be…'
Sure enough, the Chikorita was returned to its Pokeball and out stepped its trainer for Landon to see: Damion, the red-headed thief. Landon looked at the boy his age with disgust. 'What's that loser doing here?'
"So I won, as expected," Damion huffed, glaring at the elder monk. "So give me the goods!"
Landon momentarily forgot his disgust and got excited. 'Yes! I will get a reward for making it here!'
The elder monk sighed, shaking his head as he approached the red-haired preteen. "Yes, your Pokemon did best mine. So as promised, you can take this Hidden Machine."
The monk reached into his pocket and produced the small, CD-like device in his hands. Damion made a move to grab it from the monk, but the monk quickly moved his hand behind him, keeping it out of reach from the boy. Damion growled out of anger and annoyance.
"What gives, old man!? I won, so give it up!"
"You and your Pokemon won. Remember, Pokemon aren't tools of war. You should learn to treat your Pokemon with kindness."
"Don't you lecture me! I'll treat my Pokemon however I want to!"
The monk stood still, unphased. He moved the HM from behind his back and handed it to Damion. "Love is the greatest strength. You won't get stronger if you don't love."
"Hmmph!" Damion angrily snatched away the machine and started stomping his way out. As he passed the pillar, Landon called out to him, "Still using that stolen Chikorita, you pathetic thief?"
Damion immediately stopped and whipped around to glare at Landon. "You!? What's a weakling like you doing here?"
"I'm the weakling!?" Landon shouted back, clenching his fists. "Looks who's talking! Only a wimp would go and steal their first Pokemon!"
"Hmmph! This Chikorita has proved to be strong, so that's all that matters! You don't know anything and neither does that stupid elder!"
"Don't you speak ill of monks!" Sain commanded sharply, now getting angry at the rude, young boy.
"Oh please!" Damion exclaimed, rolling his eyes. "Now, a wussy, little bird is going to lecture me? Know your place, you stupid Pokemon!"
"Hey! Don't you dare talk that way about my Pokemon!" Landon retorted, defending Sain. "Did you forget? I was the one to beat YOU! Do you want to go again?"
"Please, I don't have time to waste for the likes of you!" Damion said, turning away. "Not for you, not for weak Pokemon, and not for monks. Where does he get at, telling me to be loving to Pokemon. I care not for weak pokemon! Strong Pokemon are all that matters!"
With that, Damion took off, running to the stairs and running down. Landon growled in frustration and called out, "No! Come back here and face me, you coward!"
The 11-year-old trainer was about to take after Damion, but the elder called out to him before he ran off: "Leave him be. He has much to learn, but it will come in due time."
Landon took a few moments staring out at the stairs. Sain flew up to the boy and perched himself on Landon's shoulder again. He whispered into the boy's ear, "Come now. The elder is right. He's not worth it now."
With that, Landon finally relaxed himself and turned to walk towards the elder. As he approached the older man, he stated to Sain, "I just can't believe Damion. Calling me a weakling when I was the one to beat him! Not to mention, he's a bloody thief! And he insulted you, Sain!"
"I know, I know," Sain patted the back of his trainer's neck as they reached the elder. "He's rude and arrogant, but don't let it get to you; they're just words."
The elder gave a firm nod. "I sensed much distress and anger within that young boy. I don't know what could be troubling him, but if he never over comes it…" The elder trailed off, looking a bit lost in thought.
After a few moments, Landon blinked in confusion and waved his hand in front of the old man. "Ummm… hello?"
"What?" the elder snapped out of his thoughts and turned his attention back to Landon. "Ah, yes. My apologies. So, introductions?"
The elder took a moment to bow to Landon and then continued. "I am Elder Li, the leader of the monks here in Bellsprout Tower. Congratulations for reaching the top floor."
"Okay, I'm Landon, from New Bark Town," Landon gave a small bow to the older man. "And thanks! It was pretty easy with my awesome Spearow here!" The trainer acknowledged Sain on his shoulder.
"Hmmm," Elder Li stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Well, allow me to judge the bond between you and your Spearow myself. Shall we battle?"
"Huh?" Landon raised his eyebrows in surprise. "But aren't your Pokemon still tired from your battle with Damion?"
"No worries; I have other Pokemon which are ready for battle. So, Landon of New Bark Town, will you grant me the permission to check the ties between you and your Pokemon?"
The young trainer smirked. "Let's do it! Go, Sain!"
Sain shot forth from Landon's shoulder and hovered above the ground in front of his trainer. The Spearow spread open his wings and gave out a cry.
"So it begins," the elder softly stated, reaching into his sleeve and bringing out a Pokeball. Throwing the ball forward, he commanded, "Come forth! Bellsprout!"
The Pokeball opened and energy shot out towards the ground. The energy soon converted to take the shape and form of a vine creature with a yellow bell-like head.
Landon gave a smirk. "Okay, Sain! Same strategy per usual! Charge right at that plant!"
Without a second thought, the Spearow rushed right towards the Bellsprout, aiming his beak right at the Bellsprout's head. Before the Bellsprout realized it, Sain had jabbed his sharp beak right on top of his bell-like head. The Bellsprout instantly fell back, becoming dazed from such a hard jab.
"Awesome job, Sain!" Landon cheered on his Pokemon. "Now, do it again!"
As Sain prepared himself for another quick Peck Attack, the elder tried to command his Pokemon to stay focused and hit the Spearow with Vine Whip. However, the Bellsprout still felt pretty dazed and had trouble staying on his roots. And even when attempting to shoot out some Vine Whips, Sain proved way too fast to touch. The Spearow attacked the Bellsprout again and again, until finally, the flower Pokemon could take no more and fainted.
"Yes! Another Bellsprout down! Great work as always, Sain!" Landon congratulated his Pokemon, Sain giving him a grin.
"Good, good," the elder muttered, returning his fallen Bellsprout. "I understand how simple it must have been to reach the top, with that Spearow of yours. But let's see how your Spearow fares against this. Go forth!"
Elder Li threw another Pokeball, opening and revealing yet another Bellsprout. Landon laughed. "Oh please! Another Bellsprout? This will be a clinch!"
"Be warned, young trainer! Type advantage doesn't mean instant victory."
"Whatever! Let's start this!" Landon turned his attention back to Sain. "Just like before, Sain! Let's try to end this even quicker."
Sain gave a firm nod and began another quick Peck attack. He flew at top speed right towards the Bellsprout. Sain mentally prepared himself for the impact of the bell-like head against his beak. However, to his misfortune, Sain's beak happened to come in contact not with the Bellsprout's head but rather the wooden floor.
Landon watched on, absolutely shocked. Sain had crashed into the spot on the floor where Bellsprout had been, and the Bellsprout was nowhere to be seen. But that Bellsprout had been there on the floor just a moment ago, hadn't it? Now, it had seemingly vanished right before Sain launched his attack. However, Landon soon discovered where the flower Pokemon had gone when vines flew from behind a Bellsprout statue, smacking Sain's back.
"What!?" the trainer shouted, taking a step back in shock. "No way! The other Bellsprouts barely even touched Sain! Now this one landed a direct attack!?"
"As I stated before," Li spoke up, "type advantage does not mean instant victory. You'll find that this Bellsprout may be a little quicker than what you've experienced. In addition, perhaps it would have served you well to develop another battle strategy."
Landon's face turned a bit red but he shrugged it off and looked towards his Pokemon. "Come on, Sain! Get up! We can't lose here!"
Upon hearing his trainer, Sain pushed himself back up. He felt a sharp pain on his back, but he tried to ignore it as he flapped his wings to fly up. While doing so, the Bellsprout slithered back, preparing another Vine Whip.
Landon warned Sain, "Look out! The Bellsprout's gonna attack!"
The Spearow looked ahead and noticed the Bellsprout preparing another attack. He tried to fly up high to avoid it, but the Bellsprout proved too fast. The Vine Whip hit the underside of Sain's belly, causing the little bird Pokemon to cry out again.
"Ah man," Landon said, looking up worriedly at Sain. The bird Pokemon managed to stay flying, but he was still hurting. That Bellsprout was a lot faster than the others they had battled. It didn't seem like Sain would be able to out-speed this Pokemon, especially not in the condition in was in now. Desperately looking around for another idea, Landon noticed all the dust that was collecting on the floor. A lightbulb quickly turned on for the trainer, and he called back to his Pokemon, "Sain! I have a crazy idea, but I think it might work! Concentrate on the dust on the ground, gathering it by flapping your wings!"
Sain indeed think this was a crazy idea, but put his faith in his trainer. He began to focus on his new task. The elder watched on in slight confusion and amusement.
"Hmmm, very interesting indeed," Li thought out loud, wondering what Landon could be planning. "Still, this is a battle, and I indeed to do my best to win. Bellsprout! Prepare another Vine Whip!"
"Sain! Avoid it, but don't stop gathering!"
On Landon's command, Sain kept flapping his wings to pick up and dust and tilted to avoid the Vine Whip, noticing it using his peripheral vision. Still, the Vine Whip proved too fast and scrapped the Spearow's lower back. Despite the pain, Sain pushed through.
Landon desperately cheered on his Pokemon, hating to see him hurt. "Come on, Sain! I know it hurts, but you can do it!"
"That Spearow of yours is fairly tough," the elder monk remarked. "But I think that it's time to step this up a notch. Bellsprout! Use Growth!"
The Bellsprout closed its eyes and stood very still. Soon enough, a faint, glowing green energy surrounded the little grass Pokemon. Landon felt his heart drop. 'Crap! If that Bellsprout gets super powerful from Growth, Sain may not be able to withstand that power! And Mizuko and Bron won't do well against a grass type! Got to end this quickly!'
"Sain!" Landon called back to his Pokemon. "Keep going, man! Just a few more minutes!"
Sain continued to gather the dust, producing a growing dust cloud in front of him. Meanwhile, the glow around the Bellsprout kept getting brighter and brighter, definitely growing more powerful by the moment. The trainer grinded his teeth, getting more and more anxious. Finally, when it seemed as though Sain had gathered enough dust to Landon's liking, the Bellsprout stopped glowing. His Growth power-up move had completed.
"Excellent Bellsprout," Elder Li commended. "Now, prepare to show this flying type the true potential of a grass move!"
The Bellsprout prepared himself to give one more powerful Vine Whip at the hurting Spearow. As he unleashed his compelling vines, Landon blurted out, "Quick, Sain! Now! Blast that dust cloud at the Bellsprout!"
Following that command, Sain hurled the gathered dust right at the Bellsprout. The sudden dusty cloud caused the Bellsprout to lose focus and drop his vines before they could even come in reach of Sain. The dust catching in his eyes, the Bellsprout tried to rub them out with his leaf arms. And the Spearow saw no better opportunity than this.
Sucking up his pain, Sain rushed forward, landing a hard Peak Attack right on the Bellsprout's head. The Bellsprout stumbled back, becoming even more confused with the dust in his eyes and the attack on his head. But Sain wasted no time. Running on pure adrenaline, he landed Peak Attack after Peak Attack, not allowing any time for Bellsprout to recover. Landon grinned with great excitement while the elder looked on at the scene, dumbfounded. Finally, Sain landed one final Peck Attack, sending the Bellsprout flying back into one of the Bellsprout statues. The grass Pokemon then fell to the ground, passed out.
"Ah, excellent!" Elder Li, reaching for Bellsprout's pokeball to return his fainted Pokemon. "It appears you've bested my prize Bellsprout! Admirable work!"
"YES!" Landon jumped up in excitement. "You did it, Sain! You're the best!"
"Yes…" Sain weakly said, dropping back to the ground and breathing heavily.
"Sain?" Landon quickly hurried over to his bird Pokemon, concern in his eyes. "Sain, are you okay?"
"Those last moves… took a lot… out of me…." Sain admitted, breathing heavy between each phrase. "I feel… really exhausted… and worn out… and hurt…"
"That's okay, man," Landon softly stated, his eyes full of pride. "You were awesome. You deserve a good rest."
Landon returned the worn-out Sain back to his Pokeball, vowing to go to the Pokemon Center once exiting the tower. The trainer got up and approached the elder monk. "So can I get my reward now?"
"Yes, yes, of course. You truly having a strong bond with your Spearow, so you deserve it," Li stated reaching into his pocket and taking out a small CD-like device. "This is the Hidden Machine known as Flash."
"Oh!" Landon exclaimed, a bit surprised. "So that's where it is! Guess it didn't take long to get after all!"
"Hmmm? You've been on the lookout for this item?"
"Well, I wanted to check out Dark Cave," the 11-year-old began to explain, "but I didn't want to wait until I found Flash. So I just… yeah…"
The elder looked blankly at Landon for a few seconds before quickly shrugging it off. "Regardless, teach Flash to a Pokemon, and you'll be able to light up even the darkest of areas."
"All right!" Landon snatched the TM from Li and turned to leave. "Well then, I'll be on my way! I have a Pokemon to heal and a gym battle to rest up for!"
Before Landon could make a step towards the stairs, the elder called back to him. "Aren't you forgetting something, dear boy?"
Landon spun right back around, looking a bit confused. "…what?"
Elder Li looked back at Landon firmly. "A certain statement? A polite phrase?"
"…I'm not following."
"Because I just gave you something thing? Something that you seem to appreciate?"
The elder sighed, shaking his head. "Do the words 'thank you' ring a bell?"
"Oh." Landon quickly gave a slight bow to the monk. "Thanks for giving me this HM. And thanks for the awesome battle, sir."
"Hmmm, you're quite welcome," Li said back, still looking firmly at Landon. "But in the future, it would do you well to remember your manners and be respectful."
"Yeah, yeah," Landon said, resisting the urge to roll his eyes, and turned back around to make his way towards the stairs.
The elder continued to speak to him. "Best of luck at your gym battle. Remember: Gym Leaders are more powerful then your typical trainer."
Landon softly sighed and boredly said, "I know. I'll be prepared."
"And remember: A Pokemon journey isn't easy. There's a lot to discover, but also a lot to lose. Cherish every relationship, for it could end at any time."
Landon stopped a moment, a bit taken back. After a few seconds, he continued walking, now having reached the stairs. Without looking back, he raised his hand as to wave goodbye to the monk and walked back down to the second floor.
Li watched the boy as he disappeared down the stairs, and then gave a heavy sigh.
'That boy has much promise, but he has a long way to go. I can only hope he'll mature soon…'
Struggled a bit writing the battle scene, so hopefully it didn't suck too much. Also, the encounter with the Gastly was based on my own attempt during my Nuzlocke Challenge. Sad that I missed out on getting it. But Sain was stronger than I expected.