Introducing the very first Dark-type Gym Leader! …He's also the weakest.
Entry 6 :: Gloride City and Fight Night TV
"It's not really about winning or losing, it's about getting stronger and doing your best."
Mickey led us straight to the doorstep. The city gate was a silver building with a flat, black rooftop. Prior to arriving, Mickey told us all about himself. His dad, as he earlier said, is a day guard at the south entrance of Gloride City, the one we're entering. His mom works at a candy store, so this kid is basically hailed as a hero by other kids of his age. A lot of people in the city know him because of his dad's popularity. We talked about the gym as well. He actually knows the Gym Leader; he's also teacher at the Trainer's school. Mickey said that the gym is inconvenient, though. The leader is a teacher first, Gym Leader second. He'd prefer interacting with the students and their Pokémon than taking on challengers and says that the future depends on today's young Trainers.
We walked through the gate of Gloride City and were almost immediately greeted by a security guard sitting at the counter on the right. He had a sturdy build and was bald.
"Who are these two?" he said, directing his attention to us.
"Oh, this is Jack and Marley," Mickey replied. "They're nice, and they need your help."
"Help?" He asked. "With what?"
"We're looking for someone," I spoke up. "His name's Kit Tyler. He's my height, has blond hair my length and he's got a green jacket."
Mickey's dad thought for a moment. "Sorry, I ain't seen him. Never walked by."
I did my best not to groan aloud. "You sure?" I persisted.
"Positive. I never forget a face."
My heart dropped to my stomach, but a thought quickly came to me. "Isn't there a night guard as well?"
"Yes, of course. His name's Rich, my brother, actually. He lives in the house closest to here. Just knock and tell him Rudy sent ya, and he'll help."
"Alright, we will. Thanks, Rudy!"
"Anytime." As we got to the other side, he called us again. "And hey! Hope you find your friend."
Saying that made me happy, actually. I smiled and said, "Thanks."
We walked into Gloride City. The roads were a bit wide and buildings were everywhere. Street lamps lined the sides of the roads. The town was active with people walking around, some having their Pokémon out.
"This town lights up at night," Mickey said. I forgot that he was with us, actually. "You should see it. Everything's all bright and pretty. Anyway, here's Uncle Rich's house. He's nice like my dad, so he'll help you out as well."
I knocked on the door. There was an uncomfortably long moment of silence. I was about to try again until I finally saw a man come to the door. It opened and he greeted us and Mickey. He looked a bit older than his brother, but was equally bald. He was in a pale blue robe.
"What brings you here at this hour, Mickey?"
"This is Jack and Marley. They need your help."
I told Rich about Kit. Fortunately, he had a different answer.
"That kid? Oh sure, I saw him walk by."
"You did?" I said, overjoyed. "W-When?"
"Oh, gosh, I dunno," Rich said. "It was close to the end of my shift, so maybe 5? 5:30?"
"He said he wanted to challenge the Gym, so he's gotta somewhere in the city," I said to Marley. She nodded in agreement. "Hey, thanks a lot, Rich, this means a lot."
"Oh, sure, anytime," he replied. "Good luck finding him."
"Thanks," I replied. "We'll be on our way. See ya!"
"You kids take care!"
At first, I thought of asking around for Kit, but thinking again, the city is pretty big, and there were a lot of people. Marley said she wanted to see the city and try to get more information, so she went off alone. After all, looking around in a place that you don't know won't get you anywhere. I stopped at the Pokémon Center close to the city entrance to get my Pokémon healed. It was actually a bit frightening there, as she was identical to the nurse in Sunset Town with a matching personality. Weird…
I stepped outside and immediately saw a group of people walking down the road together, all wearing the same thing. They wore white shirts, white bandannas, and white pants. Both the bandannas and shirts had the same logo on it: a red, unique 'R'. The R was all red and was circled by a red outline of the same shape. Their pants had red lining on them. These guys acted like the rulers of the world, the way they thought they were.
"Come on, move!"
"Make way, people! We don't want any of your stupid Pokémon."
Who were these guys? There were 8 of them, all in rows of two. The two in front both had Stoutland on leashes, growling and sneering at the crowd menacingly. People were murmuring as they slowly walked by. Who were these guys, anyway, thinking they owned the place? When they were away, the townsfolk talked in a normal voice.
"Those guys are nothing but trouble."
"Who do they think they are, anyway?"
"Them being here means bad news for all of us…"
I wanted to ask who they even were, but the crowd dispersed before I could speak up. I decided to leave them alone.
I explored Gloride City a bit and stumbled upon a building that caught my interest, thanks to the sign up front.
'Are you a traveling Trainer? Gloride City is a great place to start! Are you traveling for the ULTIMATE GOAL? In this building, you can find the key to your adventure! We don't care if you stink as a Pokémon trainer, everyone is good at something. Talk to the man inside and he'll help you on your journey.'
I didn't know what to make of this. I just walked inside. Before I even got a clear picture of the building, someone had already greeted me.
"Welcome, sonny boy! Come, come! Sit!"
I slowly walked in and closed the door behind me. The room had no lights. Only the window lit it up. There was almost nothing in the room, just a table the man (sharply dressed, at that) sat behind on a cushion, and another cushion, apparently for me. I took my seat.
"So," he said. "What do you wanna do on your journey?"
"Oh, uh," I began suddenly. I cleared my throat. "I guess I want to become the Champion."
"Champion, huh? Well, son, I gotta tell you that you're not alone. In fact, that's pretty much all anyone's told me they want to be. The Champion. Who doesn't want to be the Champion? You're gonna want this, though. You'll need it. Trust me." He slid a small, thick card. There were 8 openings on it. "That's a badge case. And you'll need this along the way as well." He slid a pale, pink PokéBall to me.
"Thanks," I said. "But what—"
The man disappeared out of thin air with a 'pop,' leaving me alone to an eerie emptiness. I placed the pink ball into one of my bag's pockets. I left the building and walked around some more until I came across the Trainer's School. Mickey was outside.
"Hi, Jack!" he said happily.
"Hey, Mickey," I replied.
"Hey, come inside, there's someone you should meet."
He opened the door and led me inside to a room filled with a few rows of long tables on each side. They were all empty. At the head of the room in front of a wide whiteboard was a desk with a young man already sitting there. The man had mid-length black hair, blue shirt with a black vest. He wore black pants with flames at the ankles. He had a piercing on the left edge of his bottom lip and didn't seem very old, probably in his early 20's. He seemed busy at work.
"Hey, Joshua!" Mickey said.
The young man looked up at us and smiled.
"I had a feeling you'd be here today, Mickey," he said.
"Aw, why are you working, Joshua?" Mickey said in a bit of a whine. "You know it's summer, right? School's out!"
Joshua laughed a bit. "Of course I know it's summer! I'm just drawing. I'd do it at home, but I like it in here."
"Hey, cool! And this is Jack! You might want to know him."
Joshua got up and shook my hand. "Hey, man," he said. "How's it goin'?"
"Alright," I said, shaking his hand. "You?"
"I'm good, I'm good. Anyway, what's up?"
"Jack wants to challenge your Gym! He says he's real good at Pokémon!"
"Is that so? Well, you've come at the right time, actually. My only free night for a fight this week is tonight. But, any friend of Mickey's is a friend of mine. He's my favorite student," he said as he brushed Mickey's head.
I got excited. "Really? I can challenge you tonight? On TV?"
Joshua nodded his head. "Yep. I can get the camera crew ready by tonight, and we can film the battle at midnight."
"Wow, thanks a lot!" I said. The foundation of my adventure was laid out. "I'll do it!"
"Great!" Joshua said. "Make sure you get to the TV station early. Like around 10 or so. But since it's 10 in the morning now, you don't have to worry about time, really. I'll go over to the station now and get everything and everyone ready."
"You're the best, man," I said.
"Don't let me down out there!"
I was feeling unusually tired, so I slept in the Pokémon Center (all Pokémon Centers are like hotels). There was a TV in my room. I flipped it to Channel 5, the battle channel. Fight Night TV airs on here. I heard on a commercial about the show Gym Challenge airing live tonight at midnight. That's when I realized that I was really, really nervous about this.
Live TV? Not only is this my first Gym challenge, it's also my first TV appearance, and it's live. And Gym Challenge is one of their most popular shows, especially since it's not something that airs everyday, or even on an orderly schedule. What I'm saying is that a lot of people are going to watch. What if I fail? I wouldn't know what to do…
I reached on the nightstand beside the bed and grabbed Hatchet's PokéBall. I released Pidove from it and got the expected onslaught of complaints.
"Hey! Who do you think you are, letting me out whenever you feel like it! I was sleeping, you know! And not only that, but I was having a damn good dream! Can you do anything that doesn't piss me off?"
"Alright, look," I growled. I was losing my patience with her. "Do you want to fight or not?"
Pidove turned her head to the side. "Hmph." she said in a sassy manner. "I can fight whenever I feel like it. Or at least—I COULD."
"Look, I'm challenging a Gym Leader tonight on TV, and—"
"Oh, on the idiot box, you say? I guess the media loves idiots like you—"
"—and I need your help." Hatchet turned back to me.
"Well, well, well," she said. "Look what we have here. The Trainer in need of my help! How shocking. I was right! You only got me because I'm one of the best out here! You got me so you could get stronger!"
"…What? No! I—"
"Let me tell you something, 'Jack.' I'm not your battle pawn. I got strong on my own just fine, and you're wrong if you think you can use that to your advantage.
"Stop calling me Hatchet you ignorant, insignificant idiot! If you want to be strong, why don't you man up and then fight Pokémon on your own! If you need me, I'll be in my prison."
"Your prison? What do you—"
"Nope, shut up!" Pidove shouted as she submitted herself into the capsule. It closed on its own and just sat there, completely still.
9:30 at night. I met Marley outside of the city's apartment complexes. She came over, carrying Chester.
Gloride City was different at night. All of the buildings were outlined with a neon blue, along with the streetlamps and even the roads' outline. It looked like one big party room.
"Hey, Jack!" Marley said. "You alright?"
"Not really," I said. "I'm a wreck. I'm feeling nervous and depressed and helpless. I'm about to challenge Joshua, the Gym Leader on TV, but I'm going to get killed. I heard that Joshua has 3 Pokémon. Axel has gotten strong, but him fighting 3 Pokémon from a Trainer with a good amount of experience would never go my way. And Hatchet will refuse to cooperate, and I don't know what to do about it…" I was talking really fast. I'm amazed Marley could make out all of that.
"You'll be fine," Marley said. "Really. You'll do great. It's not really about winning or losing, it's about getting stronger and doing your best."
"Yeah…" I said. "But still, I'm not confident. Maybe if Kit was here, he'd know what to say—"
"Jack," Marley said slowly. "You'll be fine."
I sighed, but I managed to truly smile. "Thanks, Marley."
We entered the station together and checked in at the counter. A guard was escorted me to a waiting room or something while Marley was being redirected elsewhere. I waited for about 10 minutes alone in silence on a bench attached to the wall, then Joshua came into the room. I thought that I wasn't gonna see him until the match started, so I was a bit surprised to see him now.
"Hey, kid," he said as he closed the door. "How are you feeling."
"Horrible," I groaned. I felt humiliated just being here. Joshua came up to me and crouched down so that he was just about eye level with me.
"Don't be so nervous," he said. He spoke softly and gently. "Just relax, trust in your Pokémon, and the sky is the limit from there."
"I know, I know," I said. "I've just got one Pokémon, though. Well, I have another, but it despises me and it's gotten me down, and then I've got a missing friend and I've never done any of this before." I was talking fast again.
"Whoa, easy. You'll have a panic attack or something if you keep stressing yourself. Most Trainers that come out to the field to battle me, they've never done it either, and yet I've seen outstanding results from a lot of them, win or lose. Just go with what you've got and make the best out of it."
I didn't respond. I let the words seep into my mind.
"Deep breath," he said. Inhale, exhale. It was probably the deepest breath I've ever taken. "Good. Just relax. If you want, talk to your Pokémon. No one's watching. In about 10 or 15 minutes, someone will come by to fix you up, and then some, uh, preliminary stuff."
"Preliminary stuff?" I repeated. I didn't understand that.
"Yeah, nothing major. You'll be requested to say some stuff about yourself. You're my co-host tonight, man, people are interested in you."
This did not help in the slightest. My stage fright (or whatever you wanna call it) skyrocketed and I gulped.
"Thanks, Joshua," I said nervously. "I'll try to not let you down."
"Now that's the spirit," he said, patting me on the shoulder. "The next time you'll see me is on the field."
He stood up straight and exited the waiting room, leaving me alone with my Pokémon. I rested my head against the wall and took another deep breath. I closed my eyes, and without consciously doing it, I took Axel's PokéBall and released him.
"Hey, Axel." Pyrote gave its cry with happiness. "How you feeling?"
He said he was feeling confident. It half made me feel better.
"Axel, I'm sorry if I'm asking too much, but I'm relying on every ounce of your strength. This is a big one. You think you can handle it?"
"Don't worry, Jack! If I didn't think I could handle it, we wouldn't be here."
"Alright, buddy. I'm counting on you," I said. We fist pounded, and then I summoned him back into the PokéBall. It made me feel glad that everyone was supporting me. My Pokévice rang and I checked it—my mom. I answered it.
"Hey, mom!" I said happily.
"Hi, honey! I heard from Marley that you're challenging the Gym on TV, so I wanted to call you and see how you were feeling."
"Well, I'm feeling better now. Things weren't so good earlier."
"Yeah…" Mom said. "I heard that Kit's missing. His mother is terrified. He hasn't called anybody recently."
"I bet she is. Me and Marley are pretty scared too… We were even with him. We just woke up and he was gone."
"Well honey, I know it's bad, but don't think about it now. Just concentrate on your objective, and you'll be fine."
"Thanks, Mom. I'm glad you called."
"Anytime, honey. You go and have fun!"
She hung up the Pokévice. Not even a minute later, Doug called me. Since Marley told my mom, I figured she'd tell the Professor as well.
"Hey, Doug," I said.
"Jack! You're gonna be on TV! That's great!"
"I know!" I exclaimed. "Everyone seems to be happy for me. I actually feel pretty good now. Everyone's making me feel better."
"Good! That's good! You should feel good! Just keep thinking positive and everything will go well," he said.
"Thanks a lot!" I said.
"Anytime. I'll let you go, since you must be busy getting ready. I'll be watching you on TV!"
"Thanks again, Doug. I'll see you around."
"Good luck and have fun with it!"
He hung up his line. Everyone seemed to say the same things to me, but it was okay. Now that I know that I've got faithful supporters, I feel much better and more confident. What pleased me a bit was that Doug didn't even mention that Kit's missing. He probably wanted the thought to stay out for now.
About 10 minutes later, a woman came in and I was led to some room where they brushed me up and groomed me a bit. They made my hair look better than ever and put a little makeup on my face to cover up some blemishes. They made sure I was ready to make my 'appearance.'
I was in the room for possible a half hour. I was then led down to ground level, seemingly at the edge of the building. They led me to a chair by an empty corner (actually kind of creepy when you think about it). A loud man holding a clipboard started giving me directions.
"Only 11 o'clock. You make good time, kid." He was almost shouting, despite the fact that he was a couple feet away and there was little to no noise around us. "We're just gonna ask some basic stuff about you. Joshy told you that, I reckon."
It really was some basic stuff, and to my fortune, the loud guy wasn't the one asking. My name, my home, dreams for the future, past achievements, blah blah blah. I did my best to tone down my nervousness as I casually answered. Hopefully it wasn't too noticeable.
"Great, kid, great," the clipboard guy said. "The show don't start 'till midnight, so sit tight until we're ready to start."
So I'm expected to sit here for the next 45 minutes with a bunch of people I don't know? I asked someone if I could go back upstairs into that waiting room, but everyone just kept saying 'ask that guy, he should know.' This went on several times, which eventually made me too frustrated. At this point, I wanted to leave rather than wait, but it's far too late to contemplate that.
I sat back down in the corner and figured Axel would be good company. But immediately when I took him out…
"Hey kid, Pokémon's gotta go," the clipboard guy said from across the room, interrupting whatever conversation he was having.
"But he's not doing anything…" I said. Seriously, all I wanted to do was talk to my Pokémon.
"Strict policy in here, kid. No Pokémon allowed while we work."
I find it 'strictly' ironic, considering this is a Pokémon Gym. I apologized to my saddened Pyrote as I returned him, leaving me alone again. From that point on, I twiddled my thumbs, tinkered with the Pokévice, and wrote in my journal about today, seeing as I had nothing else to do.
At a few minutes before midnight, I was finally led to the double doors at the edge of the room, probably the way into the stadium. I talked to a pretty cool producer guy that had enough interests to have a good conversation with every person on the planet. Behind me was a man with a cap that was brushing off his big camera. And on the other side of the doors… cheering. A lot of cheering.
Now, live TV can unnerve anyone for their first time. If you mess up, the world indirectly sees it. But here, hundreds of people will directly see it. Fantastic. Of course, this was no surprise to hear; as I waited in the corner, I could here a crescendo of people like a great big wave, and now it was ready to crash down.
I was at the doors for a while. I checked my Pokévice for the time. 11:59. Here we go. The show had now started. I was slowly jogging in pace from anxiety.
"You're not going live immediately, so no need to worry," the producer said.
"Whaddyou think that interview was for?"
There was a TV that was showing beside us, far away from the camera's line of sight. A speaker was heard on it.
"Welcome, viewers, to Fight Night TV! I'm Bob Casper with Kipp Dowell, and we are live from Gloride City with the Gym Challenge! This is where a Trainer's goal of becoming the Champion starts, right here in Fight Night's studio. Countless Trainers have fought long and hard in this stadium (the TV was flashing various shots of unfamiliar Trainers. The pictures were split in half, one side showing them fighting, and the other receiving a Gym Badge from Joshua. It makes me wonder how long he's been doing this), but not everyone has been victorious. Win or lose, a Trainer's adventure truly begins here. Tonight, our newest challenger is…"
I suddenly appeared on screen. "My name's Jack Dawn—I'm 15 years old—From Sunrise Town—My goal is to travel the world with my friends after becoming Champion—don't have many past achievements to be honest (well that's certainly embarrassing to admit)—I'm definitely nervous about being here, but I'm dead set on winning tonight."
The clip was cut multiple times in order to remove the interviewer. It made my nervous fast-talking sound even faster. I hardly even remember what was said, and I was the one who said it! The TV then showed two men overlooking the stadium, apparently Bob and Kipp.
"Certainly a young man with ambition, Bob. I sure hope he does well tonight." Thanks, Kipp.
"I as well, Kipp. Now let's get down to the stadium, where our challenger should be coming out now!"
I heard the stadium announcer echo his voice for the whole stadium to hear.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Fight Night TV welcomes our challenger! Age 15 and coming from the small, cozy, and nearby Sunrise Town: Jack Dawn!"
"Go, go!" the cameraman motioned. I opened the doors to the wide open stadium. I didn't really know what to do, so I ran to my spot on the field. The battlefield was made of dirt and was designed exactly like an official field. Two jumbotrons stood at the ends of the stadium. The starry sky of the city sparkled down on the dirt and the spectators surrounded the field in the stands, cheering. Cheering for me! I didn't really know what to do, so I removed my cap with my right hand and held it up high as a sort of greet to the city. I put my hand back down to my side after a moment, but didn't put my cap back on.
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, age 23, born in the northbound Ashton Town, the host of our event, and Gym Leader of Gloride City, please welcome our very own: Joshua Pecken!" The announcer dragged his name on for ages.
The stadium erupted with applause as I saw Joshua walk out of his doors and onto the field. He walked as he waved casually to his very own city. He took his place on the opposite end of the field and motioned to the crowd to settle them down. I put my hat back on, but backwards instead of frontward.
"Look at you, Jack!" he shouted to me. "I'm glad you could make it. Isn't this city wonderful? I love the excitement everyone brings when I introduce a new challenger. If you win, they'll be delighted and you'll be their icon. But if you lose…" He waved a finger.
"I don't wanna hear this 'if you lose,' man. I'm telling you I'm going to win."
"That's the spirit! Now, let's begin!"
Joshua pointed to a referee as a signal. The ref stood on a small platform on my right side of the field, directly facing the midpoint. He pointed two flags at his sides, a red and a green, red being on Joshua's side, the ref's right, and to his left, the green flag for me. He had them spread out.
"This battle is of Sunrise Town's Jack Dawn challenging the Gloride City Gym Leader, Joshua Pecken. There are no restrictions on the amount of Pokémon. Switching Pokémon and the use items are forbidden for this battle. Trainers, choose your first Pokémon."
"Purrloin!" Joshua declared. "Go!" He tossed a PokéBall up to the sky and the pre-evolved Liepard came down. Seeing as I didn't have a choice, I took Axel's ball and tossed it up.
"Go, Axel!" Pyrote shot out of the ball and onto the field with ease. I caught his discarded ball.
The announcer spoke again. "The first matchup is Joshua's Purrloin versus Jack's Pyrote. Let the gym challenge… begin!"
I rushed myself and took the lead. "Alright, Axel, use Tackle and Ember!"
Axel took off at full speed to Purrloin. As he dashed, he shot out several flames to the Dark-type cat.
"Purrloin, use Growl!"
Before the embers had a chance to reach him, Purrloin stayed put and made a sharp growl at Axel as a way of softening his damage.
"Now dodge that, Purrloin, and use Sand Attack!"
Purrloin got out of Axel's line of fire. When Axel got close, he turned around and quickly flapped up sand by kicking the ground. I commanded Axel to dodge. Axel successfully dodged by quickly rolling away from the thick dust clouds, but it was too close for comfort. The crowd was cheering.
"Purrloin, use Assist!"
Purrloin charged to Axel with his mouth ajar, likely readying a Bite attack. He was about to hit Axel head-on, but Axel was smart. He shot out of Purrloin's way and then engulfed him with a cloud of black smoke. A perfect attack. Purrloin was lost inside the cloud.
"Alright, Axel! The best Ember you could give!"
My Pyrote shot as many flames inside the cloud as he could. Pyrote could see Purrloin from outside of the cloud and he shot him down with ease. Both Joshua and I were silent until the smoke had dissipated—revealing Purrloin to be wiped out.
"Purrloin is unable to battle," the announcer… announced. "Pyrote is the winner!"
The crowd cheered. Well, half cheered. I definitely heard boos from the stadium. Oh well, they don't matter to me. Axel dashed over me, proud of his victory.
"Yeah, dude! High five!" I said, crouched down. Pyrote slapped my hand happily.
"Well done, Jack! Well done!" Joshua called from the other side. "That was an excellent move. But can you keep up with this…?"
He tossed a second PokéBall up high. Down came a small Crocodile-like Pokémon—Sandile. This could be a problem because Sandile were of the Ground-type, a double weakness for Pyrote.
"Alright, Axel," I said to Pyrote. "Don't take this one lightly. This one is a lot tougher than the last."
Pyrote gave a carefree nod. The match began with Joshua's command to his Sandile—an attack called Sand Tomb. This is devastating, should it hit Axel. I told Axel to run as fast as he could with Tackle. Sandile's attack created a sinking crack in the field, like sand flowing downward. It chased Axel viciously, trying to trap him in the flowing sand. Axel did well to move around it and not let it catch up. Joshua knew this plan was futile.
"Alright, Sandile, let's try Dark Pulse!"
Sandile broke contact with the Sand Tomb and created a beam-like attack. (I really wonder why they made a move called Dark Pulse a beam.) I tried to have Pyrote dodge it, but it was too late. The beam made solid contact and sent Axel rolling. A massive hit. Axel still managed to get back up.
"Good job staying up, Axel, now use Smokescreen!"
"Sandile, ROAR!" Joshua shouted quickly.
Sandile made a deafening roar directly at Pyrote before he could fire the Smokescreen. This roar was so brutal that Pyrote summoned himself back inside his PokéBall. The crowd went wild, with many 'Awww!'s of shock and excitement.
"Uh… what was that?" I said to myself. "Come on, Pyrote, get back out here!" I picked his PokéBall back from my belt, but Joshua stopped me.
"You can't do that, Jack," Joshua called. "That's the whole point of the move."
This was not good. I remember now what Roar did. If you have more than one Pokémon, then Roar usually sends the active Pokémon back to its Trainer, making the Trainer summon another Pokémon. And for me, the other Pokémon is Pidove…
I sighed heavily as I collected Hatchet's PokéBall. I stared at it, and against my will, called Hatchet out. Once again, she wasn't happy to see me.
"Let's all ignore the bird! Let every single Trainer ignore their own Pokémon! I told you I wasn't battling."
"Sorry, Pidove. I was forced to."
"Ha! Doesn't surprise me, with that weak little Fire-type. It serves you right."
"Am I interrupting?" Joshua said deviously. "Use Bite, Sandile!"
This caught both me and Hatchet off-guard. "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS."
"Look, Pidove, I'm really sorry. If you help me just this once, I promise on mine and Pyrote's life that I'll take you back to your home personally."
"Yeah, some choice I really have," she complained as she jumped away from Sandile. At least we were finally in agreement.
"Thanks, Pidove. Use Gust!"
"Bite again, Sandile!"
Sandile began to charge at Pidove again, but she created a whirlwind that kept him at bay, even pushing him back a bit. A good counter, but it wasn't getting us anywhere.
"Pidove, get out of there and use Quick Attack!"
"Keep using Bite, Sandile."
Pidove stopped her Gust attack and started charging at unmatched speed. Pidove stuck her head out, wings to her sides.
"Stop, Sandile, and use Dark Pulse instead!"
Uh-oh. That frickin' beam again. Pidove was too close to dodge in time. It made solid contact and, like Axel, sent her rolling away. Cheering commenced.
"Now use Roar!"
Sandile gave his frightening roar again, sending Pidove back to her capsule. Again with that move… I took the other PokéBall and summoned Axel again. We still kept pace.
"Now, Sandile, use Bite!"
Sandile came charging at us again. I told Axel to use Tackle. The two charged at full speed. Right before they made contact, I had Pyrote use Rock Bomb. He threw the explosive at breakneck speed, directly into Sandile's mouth, still hanging ajar. This was a critical hit on Sandile. Even for a Ground-type, that was massive. Cheering commenced again, but for me this time.
"Now, Pyrote, use Tackle!"
Pyrote charged at the Sandile, still a bit stunned from the previous attack, maybe a flinch. Joshua called for a Bite, but Sandile could hardly even move. Pyrote slammed right into him.
"Nice, Axel! Nice! Get him again!"
"Come on, Sandile! Sand Tomb!"
And now things stopped going my way. Sandile cleverly managed to catch Pyrote in the crevasse. When he did, a pool of the flowing sand opened up, trapping Pyrote.
"Finish him, Sandile! Dark Pulse!"
"Don't give up, Axel! Ember!"
Axel fired out burning flames to counter the Dark Pulse, but he was noticeably weaker than normal, thanks to Sand Tomb. Sandile and Axel kept firing, with the former slowly covering more distance than the latter. However, as the beam came mere inches from Axel, he started to glow with a burning aura. The Sand Tomb, hurting him with each passing second, had apparently damaged him to the point where his Blaze ability triggered. Kit told me about our his Foantide and Marley's Chipmonk having this sort of thing along with Axel, but this is the first time I've seen it.
The tide had turned into our favor again, as Axel's rejuvenated strength began to push the Dark Pulse back. Sandile noticed this and began to expend more power, which encouraged Axel to do the same. The attacks became increasingly forceful, with no apparent end to the struggle until the collision of power broke both attacks with an explosion engulfing the two. I was worried, as Axel could still be trapped in that Sand Tomb, but unable to do anything, stranded until he fainted… Joshua seemed equally worried, but the only thing we could both do was wait…
The smoke had cleared. The dust had settled. When I got my visibility back, I could see Sandile clearly, but couldn't see Pyrote in the Sand Tomb… instead was a different Pokémon outside of the pit. It was easily recognizable as Pyrote, but his size and bulk had grown quite a bit. Even the rocks jammed in his body were noticeably larger. Speaking of rocks, they were plastered all around his furry body, where he normally had them in his back, and one had strangely replaced his left eye. And I knew what had happened in that explosion; it was something I expected to see at some point, but definitely not tonight: Axel had gained enough strength through that struggle to level up.
"Axel…" I said softly, so wondrously proud of him at that moment. I saw my strengthened Pyrote—or whatever he was now—give a tough nod of confidence. He was ready to finish the round.
"Alright, Axel!" I shouted, more confident than ever. "Let's get him with Rock Bomb!"
Axel looked at me again and shook his head. I was confused and admittedly worried, thinking he suddenly stopped obeying me, but he instead used a move I've never seen him perform before. The rocks in his front shot out with a bright light. I knew what he was trying to do, he was telling me that he replaced his Rock Bomb with… something else. Now that I think about it, I'm not that happy that I don't even know what my Pokémon is or what it does… but I can worry about it when I finish kicking Joshua's butt.
Speaking of that, the rock projectiles fired from Axel were more forceful than ever, though they didn't explode. The strengthened attack coming from a strengthened Pokémon was too much for Sandile to handle. He was finally knocked out.
"Sandile is unable to battle," the announcer said, holding up my flag high. "Pyrate is the winner!"
Pyrate. That's what he was now. He did kinda look like an actual pirate with that rock eyepatch thing. Upon hearing the announcer, there was more cheering this time around. Axel had successfully managed to take out his equal as well as the opener, thanks to his surprise evolution. I had never been more proud of him. He ran to me, but he was rather slow. He was clearly exhausted.
"Pyrate, you are fantastic," I said. "Truly. He's still got another Pokémon, but just do what you can. Okay? Great, great job today. And congrats on your evolution."
I ruffled his head. Axel had never looked happier. He returned to his place on the field.
"Well done, Jack, well done," Joshua called. "You've definitely taken me by surprise and impressed me. You've got one tough cookie."
"I do what I can," I called. "Thanks, Joshua!"
"Whether you win or lose, you've earned my respect as a Trainer," Joshua said again. "This is my last and strongest Pokémon." He tossed the last PokéBall up. With confidence he shouted, "go, Umbreon!"
The Pokémon descended and landed on the dirt on all fours. On TV, I had once seen an Umbreon before, but this Umbreon was… different. An Umbreon is normally black with yellow stripes on its tail and ears. On its forehead and on all four legs, it had yellow rings. This Umbreon, however, was a lighter shade, more like a dark grey with had blue stripes and rings instead of yellow. His blue colors were beautiful and impressive. I had heard of different colored Pokémon, but never seen one in actuality. This must be the 'special kind' that Marley mentioned on Route 59.
"Let's begin! Umbreon, Shadow Ball!"
Axel moved like a turtle to dodge the dark sphere that bolted towards it. It was a close call. Axel has almost no strength left.
"Pyrate, use Tackle!"
"Umbreon, Dark Pulse!"
"Oh come on!" I said out loud. Pyrate used his last strength to dash toward the Umbreon. Even though he struggled to speed up, he was still quite faster than his previous form. Umbreon tried to chase him with Dark Pulse, but Pyrate was quick enough to make an attack on his right side. Umbreon struggled to stay up and canceled his Dark Pulse, but only momentarily. Before he even fully regained his ground, he re-fired the beam at Axel, knocking him away. Pyrate had fainted.
The announcer held the red flag up. "Pyrate is unable to battle. The winner is Umbreon!"
I heard Joshua's devoted fans cheer again. I sighed, but it entirely was okay for me. Axel pushed himself beyond his limit for this battle. For me. I was a proud Trainer.
"You rest up now," I said to Axel after I drew him back in his ball. He was far off, but these things have a hell of a range, apparently. "You've more than earned it. Thank you so much, Axel."
I took my one and only remaining PokéBall and threw it, releasing Pidove from the capsule.
Pidove, for once, didn't complain that I sent her out. She didn't say anything at all.
"Okay, Pidove. This is up to you. Just do what you can."
Pidove turned her head so she could see me, but didn't say anything. She gave a flick her left wing, as if she was brushing something away in the air. This was an unusual way of acting for her, but I didn't have time to ask.
"Alright, let's use Quick Attack!"
Pidove took off at full speed to the oddly-colored Umbreon. Joshua ordered Dark Pulse, but Pidove was smart. She jumped and flew around the attack. Umbreon tried to take her down by controlling the beam around, but couldn't shake her off. It wasn't long until Pidove made solid contact with the Umbreon's side.
"Nice, Pidove! Nice!" I shouted as I saw Umbreon roll from the hit. "Now, quickly, use Gust!"
Pidove flapped up a whirlwind. Umbreon's next order was another Dark Pulse. Without needing to get up, he shot out the black beam again. It took all of her might, but her whirlwind was actually stronger! Hatchet's Gust kept pushing back the Dark Pulse as it spiraled to Umbreon, and ended up making not one, but two direct hits in one move. Umbreon couldn't fall as he was already on the ground, but it did knock him away a bit. I think Joshua wanted to say something, but I didn't hear him say a word to me.
"Pidove, use Quick Attack!"
Umbreon lay on the ground. He had the strength to fight; Joshua and I both knew it. Joshua seemed to be waiting for something…
"Umbreon, Tail Whip, NOW!"
Right as Pidove was about to land another consecutive attack, Umbreon whacked her, as hard as he could, with his tail. It was like a game of baseball and he scored an RBI. Hatchet rolled once before landing back on her feet, talons grinding the dirt below. Umbreon kept up with her and wasn't giving up.
"Now, use Sand Attack!" Joshua yelled.
Umbreon kicked the ground fast and whipped up a cloud of sand, blinding my Pidove. She tried to clear her face from the sand, but Umbreon had already started its next move—Shadow Ball again. Shadow Ball is a Ghost move, and you're probably thinking that it couldn't affect a Normal-type Pokémon… well it didn't. However, the force from the attack was enough to knock her away. Before she even stopped tumbling after the hit, Umbreon used Dark Pulse. All four of its moves were cleared instantly in one vicious combo. Pidove ended up crashing into the wall.
Pidove had stood upright again. She was standing by the stands on the left. There was a mixture of fans cheering for me, trying to build Pidove's confidence back. The other part of the mix was of those that were rooting for Joshua's side, sending sarcastic remarks. Pidove cleared her face and let everything away as she cleared her head. She looked directly ahead at the opposing Umbreon, taking surveillance on it. He brushed the ground lightly with his front right paw.
I thought for a moment. Both Pokémon were weakened greatly by this point. Neither could endure much more. I thought of everyone's words, with them saying that even if things go wrong and you've hit the wall, the best part is being there. …That's what Pidove has done. Hit the wall. I used that wall to my advantage.
"Pidove, bounce off the wall and use Quick Attack," I called. Pidove jumped and planted her feet against the wall before taking off even faster than her maximum speed toward Umbreon. Joshua's Umbreon was about to use the Tail Whip method again, but I had Pidove move around him while keeping her pace; she rose just barely above Umbreon. I ordered a Sand Attack. Pidove seemed to have read my mind, because the move was exactly as I had envisioned it. Pidove summoned up a large sand cloud while she still kept flying around. The next move was Gust, and I told her to land. As she landed, she whipped up a whirlwind in time to catch the sand cloud and suck it into the vortex, creating a sandstorm-like attack. The twister captured Umbreon, blinding and attacking him at the same time. There was no escape.
"Now, Pidove! Finish it with Quick Attack!"
Pidove rushed over to Umbreon and charged into him. The force knocked Umbreon away from the twister and even negated the attack. Umbreon was beat up by it. He went a couple of feet in the air, bounced off the ground, rolled once, and then landed on its left side back by the wall where Pidove started, unable to get up. Pidove flapped over to her fallen opponent and stared. For the last time, I heard the announcer.
"Umbreon is unable to battle. Pidove is the winner! The Gym Leader Joshua is now out of usable Pokémon. The winner is—the challenger, Jack Dawn!"
The stadium erupted with applause. Some even stood and cheered for me. Pidove flew back over to my feet. I looked down just in time to see her look away.
"Pidove," I said to it slowly. She looked back at me. "Thank you. You did great."
Pidove looked away again before I had her retreat, but I swear that I saw her smile for a minute. Next thing I knew, cameras and reporters were gathering around me.
"Jack! Jack!" One male reporter shoved a microphone to me. "Jack, this is your first Gym challenge and you won! How do you feel?"
I scratched my head through my hat. "I dunno, honestly," I said. "I feel… overwhelmed. But mostly, I feel happy and proud!"
Another reporter questioned me. "What was it like during the battle? Did you feel nervous and improvise it?"
"A bit. I went with a bit of strategizing and made the best of what we had, and it wasn't until Axel evolved that I needed to draw an entirely new line. But it was my Pokémon who directed everything."
I heard Joshua through the crowd of reporters and cameramen. "Jack! Come with me, there's one last thing."
He separated me from the crown (REALLY? REALLY, LUX? HOW DID YOU MIX UP CROWD WITH CROWN.) and led me to the PokéBall design in the middle of the field. We stood across from each other along its center.
"Jack," Joshua said calmly. He had a microphone so the stadium could hear. Up on the stadium's bigscreens, we were both seen. "In honor of your perseverance, determination, and the trust you've built in your Pokémon to gain victory in this battle, I present to you this official badge of the Pokémon League in Falloh, (he held a small badge in his fingertips) the Lunar Badge," he placed it in the palm of my hand, "symbol that you have defeated me."
I heard the crowd cheer once again. A photographer quickly ordered for a picture, likely for the montage at the beginning of the show. I did my best not to look overly-excited, but I probably failed.
"Also, here," he said, snapping his finger at one man who gave him a CD. He handed the CD to me. "A gift from me to you."
The disc was completely black. I had no idea what it was.
"You look like you've never seen that before. That's a Technical Machine—or TM for short. TM79—It teaches the move Dark Pulse to any Pokémon that can learn it. Any TM can be learned as many times as you'd like as well, so feel free to use it as many times as you like."
"Hey, man, thanks a lot," I said gratefully.
"Nah. Thank you. That was a great battle and I'm proud of you. You're a good Trainer, Jack. And this last thing," he reached in his pocket and pulled out 13 Pokédollars. (The way I put it, 13 would be like 1300 in the game.) "Prize money. It's tradition in Pokémon Battles that the winner is awarded with money."
I took the money and thanked him yet again. We gave each other a friendly hug and said our farewells. I managed to find my way out of the stadium. Close to the entrance, I got a text message from Doug:
"Hey, I saw you on TV! Dude, you were fantastic out there. You really got me going at some times. Already, I see a strong Trainer. Keep at it!"
Marley was already in front of the station. She noticed me as I walked out.
"Jack!" she exclaimed, as she ran up to hug me. "Jack, that was great!"
I blushed a little. "Heheh, thanks, Marley! I'll tell you what, I was really nervous at parts, but I went with what you said and it paid off."
Pidove released herself from her PokéBall at that moment.
"I've been thinking a bit…"
"Oh hey, Pidove. We'll be going to your home in a few."
"Even in the PokéBall, I could see what was happening outside. You and Axel… did really good."
"Is that so? Are you complementing me now?"
"I've lightened up. I was hoping you would give me a second chance."
This made my day even better. "Of course I will! I wouldn't leave you behind if you didn't want me to. Heh, without you, I wouldn't last a second."
Pidove laughed a bit. "Thanks, Jack. I'm sorry I was such a prick. I've had… a rough time with humans."
"You'll be fine now," I said. "And thanks a lot for your hard work out there, Pidove."
"Pidove? Oh, you can call me Hatchet again if you like. I never really minded that nickname. After all, I would rather be called by something other than my species' name."
I kept my smile. "As you wish, Hatchet."
The three of us walked down the night's illuminated streets of Gloride City back to the Pokémon Center. Of course, along the way, my mom wouldn't stop messaging me, saying how proud she was of me. It made me wonder, though… I wonder if Kit saw it. We walked in the Pokémon Center and some of the workers there already recognized me.
"Weh-hell!" the man at the Pokémon Mart said. "If it isn't the man of the hour!"
I waved to him with a smile. I didn't really want to talk to anyone anymore tonight. I was extremely tired. The nurse healed my Pokémon while Marley arranged a room for the night. After she healed them, we walked up to our room where we had our own beds. We relaxed as she turned on the TV, and immediately, we were greeted by my own self. I didn't want to watch myself, anyway. I rolled on my stomach, head turned to the side, and quickly drifted asleep.
-End of Entry-
It moved on from its mischief and now attacks randomly, looking for a fight. Constantly seeking opponents, it will often get careless and challenge opponents far stronger.
Pyrate's Pokédex entry if you were curious. I didn't know how to put it in the story without being entirely out of place, so here it is.
Please don't go hating because I gave Joshua a shiny Umbreon. Please? This will most likely be the only one in the story. I made it shiny because Umbreon is my favorite Pokémon (until Fennekin evolves, anyway) and its shiny form is incredible. Thank ye.
However, if you want to hate me for disappearing last week, perfectly okay with that. Week before a break is always a pain in the rectum. But I'm gonna maliciously abuse this time off to air drum to Rise Against, play some Pokémon Showdown and Jak and Daxter, and drink unhealthy amounts of Jones Soda. …Along the way, I may upload the very last rewrites of this story so that I can actually write something original for once.
Long author notes for a long chapter, I suppose. …it was long, right? I spent over 12 hours writing the first edition of this chapter…
Chap 7 come soon yey.