It was very slow work, moving through the swamp. Though it got progressively deeper, the trio were only up to their waists in smelly swamp water. The swamp water, however, was also thick, restricting their movement somewhat.

"Ugh," grunted Violet. "This is disgusting."

"Yes, we heard you," sighed Orange, rolling his eyes. "We heard you the first twenty times."



"Shut up."

At that moment, however, a young boy in a yellow t-shirt and blue shorts approached them, drifting on a small raft that appeared to be made of, curiously enough, concrete pillars bound together with vines.

"Hey, you!" he exclaimed to the trio, rowing himself towards them with what appeared to be a giant 7. "I'm the second trainer of Nugget Swamp, which of you is to be my opponent?"

"That'd be me," volunteered Red as he took a Poké Ball off his belt and enlarged it.

Grinning, the Youngster acted likewise, and threw his Poké Ball. ".4! Go!" he shouted.

The Poké Ball split open, and in a flash of light, a .4 materialized, gibbering excitedly. Red then threw his own Poké Ball. "Go, Rattata!"

In a flash of light, Red's Rattata appeared, expertly treading water in the swamp with ease.

".4! Agility!" the Younster ordered.

"Rattata, Quick Attack!" Red commanded.

.4 began to fly all over the place, zigzagging here and there, and picking up speed all the while. Rattata, meanwhile, leapt out of the water at high speed, slamming .4 into a nearby aluminum tree.

"Don't give in, .4!" the Youngster said. "Use Psywave!"

"Rattata, dodge it!" Red yelled, but his order was in vain; .4 launched a volley of glowing blue energy rings from its body, which Rattata was unable to evade. When the attack concluded, Rattata looked worn out already.

"That .4 must be pretty strong," Violet observed. "That Psywave looked like it did a lot."

"Use TM28 now!" the Youngster ordered. .4 complied, zooming forward and exploding in Rattata's face, sending the Rat Pokémon flying backwards. It landed in the swamp water before Red and slowly sank into it.

"Come on, Rattata," Red pleaded, plunging his hands into the muck in an attempt to locate Rattata, when suddenly a blinding flash of light forced his eyes shut. The glow brightened as its source breached the surface of the swamp, allowing the shocked onlookers to better observe Rattata evolving. Finally, the glow faded, revealing a larger creature with light brown fur to be swimming in front of Red. Orange took out his Pokédex and aimed it at Red's newly-evolved Pokémon.

"Raticate, the Rat Pokémon, and the evolved form of Rattata," droned the Pokédex. "Raticate's webbed hind feet make it an excellent swimmer. It hunts for prey by swimming in rivers."

"Yeah!" exclaimed Red. "We got it now, Raticate! Hyper Fang now!"

"Rrrrraticate!" shrieked Raticate as it zipped across the swamp with great speed and sank its prominent front teeth into .4, causing it to shriek in obvious discomfort. As Raticate let go, .4 fell into the swamp, where it bobbed on the surface, making no effort to move.

".4, get back!" exclaimed the Youngster, returning the Caffeine Pokémon to its Poké Ball. At the same time, he threw another Poké Ball. "Let's go, now, Ekans!"

In a flash of light, a long, purple creature was unleashed into the swamp, where it dove down and promptly resurfaced. It sported a pair of yellow eyes, and a single yellow band was visible around part of its body. It might have had more, Red supposed, but as it was half submerged in the swamp at the moment, there was really no way to tell. "Ekanssssss," it hissed menacingly. This time, it was Violet's turn to hold out her Pokédex.

"Ekans, the Snake Pokémon," it stated. "Ekans moves silently and stealthily. It eats the eggs of Pidgey and Spearow whole."

"Raticate, Hyper Fang!" Red ordered again.

"Ekans, Wrap it!" the Youngster commanded.

"Ekansssss!" Ekans hissed as Raticate swam towards it. As it came close, however, Ekans's long body emerged from beneath the swamp water and tightly bound the Rat Pokémon.

"Raticate, no!" Red exclaimed.

"Raticate can't move!" said Orange.

"R... Raa... Raaticaaaate..." Raticate grunted as it tried to break free of Ekans's grasp, but with no success. More than once, it tried to position its fangs so as to be able to bite Ekans, but it was unable to even do this. Once Raticate had fainted, Ekans relinquished its grip, allowing Red to withdraw it.

"OK," said Red as he took out another Poké Ball and threw it. "Charmeleon, let's go!"

The Poké Ball opened up, and Charmeleon was unleashed, landing on a low-hanging tree branch which, despite the fact that it appeared to have been made up entirely of tissue paper, held the Flame Pokémon's weight well. Though Charmeleon looked ready for action, it eyed the swamp water below warily.

"Ekans, Bite attack!" ordered the Youngster.

"Charmeleon, Flamethrower!" called Red.

"Char!" roared Charmeleon as it let loose with an impressive stream of flame, just as Ekans leapt out of the water. The Poison-type was caught in the Fire move, and upon its conclusion, Ekans's charred form fell back into the water, where it floated on the surface, making no attempt to move.

"Gah!" grunted the Youngster as he held out the Poké Ball. "Ekans, return!" Once Ekans was back in the ball, he rowed off to the side as Red withdrew Charmeleon. "I did my best, I have no regrets," he sighed, gesturing deeper into the swamp.

"I get the next one," Orange told Violet and Red.

"Sounds fair to me," Red agreed as they continued to wade.

Deeper and deeper into the swamp they wandered, wading sluggishly through the thick, smelly liquid. Then, Violet gave a violent cough.

"Ugh!" she exclaimed. "Something reeks around here!"

Orange responded by raising his left arm and sniffing the armpit. He then shrugged and said, "It's not me, I can tell you that much."

"No, this is worse than you," argued Violet, earning a glare from Orange. "This... ugh! It smells like an overflowing dumpster on a hot day!"

"Koff Koffing," came a deep voice from directly behind the trio. Simultaneously, they wheeled around, and could now see- and smell- the source of the particularly foul stench. A large purple sphere with small bumps all over it was floating in midair, giving off a strange, yellow gas from aforementioned bumps. It was drinking the swamp water, and it seemed to be enjoying itself, for it would occasionally give off a contented sigh, each one accompanied with another puff of smelly, yellow gas. It then turned around, having just noticed the trio; its face consisted of a pair of eyes above a wide, grinning mouth with only two small, yet sharp, teeth within. Below its face could be seen a skull-and-crossbones design, the same shade of yellow as the smoke it was emitting.

"It's a Koffing!" exclaimed Violet, holding out her Pokédex. "Oh, those are so cool!"

"Koffing, the Poison Gas Pokémon, droned the device. "Koffing stores several different types of toxic gases within its body, and mixes them to create potent Poison attacks. It feasts on raw garbage to add chemicals to these gases."

Orange turned and looked at Violet. "You're gonna catch this thing, aren't you?" he asked.

"Is it that obvious?" Violet replied, grinning happily, already holding a full-sized Poké Ball in her right hand. "Migraine, I choose you!" she added, throwing the ball.

In a flash of light, Violet's Psyduck materialized, landing in the swamp water and swimming around.

Koffing made the first move- it opened its mouth wide and unleashed a plume of black smoke from within, causing Migraine to give weird, quacking coughs.

"That's Koffing's Smog attack," Red warned Violet. "It could poison Migraine if you're not careful!"

"Migraine, Water Gun!" Violet ordered.

"Psy aye aye aye aye!" quacked Migraine as it unleashed a blast of water from its mouth, striking Koffing with expert precision as the Smog faded away.

"Koff!" groaned Koffing as the Water Gun made contact. Migraine unleashed another Water Gun, but this time, Koffing was ready, and responded by unleashing a thick stream of smelly, dark liquid from its mouth, meeting the Water Gun in midair, each attack blocking the other.

"What was that?" wondered Orange out loud.

"Koffing's Sludge attack, duh," replied Violet. "Migraine, use your Submission attack now!"

"Psy!" replied Migraine as it swam towards Koffing, then leapt out of the swamp water. Koffing, however, was ready for this one. The skull and crossbones briefly flashed with a white light, and then a pair of arms made entirely of yellow smoke burst forth from two of Koffing's pores. The gaseous arms grabbed Migraine, and Koffing began to wrestle it into a nearby tree.

"OK, since when can Koffing learn Submission?" asked Orange.

"It can't," Red replied, as he checked his Pokédex. "That Koffing knows Mimic, though, that must be what it's doing.

Meanwhile, Koffing had slammed Migraine headfirst into a tree, a fact Violet was quick to notice.

"Migraine, use your Confusion attack!" she ordered.

"Psy..." replied the Psyduck, its eyes glowing light blue. Then, a pair of blue beams of psychic energy exploded forth from the Water-type's eyes, striking Koffing directly, and sending it falling into the swamp water below. Groaning, it struggled to get back into the air, but Violet was wasting no time; she had already dug a red-and-white sphere out of her fanny pack.

"Poké Ball, go!" she exclaimed, throwing the orb at Koffing. Upon contact, the sphere split open, and Koffing, now turning into a shapeless mass of transparent red energy, was sucked inside. The ball then snapped shut and landed on the surface of the swamp water, where it wobbled back and forth, sending small ripples across the rancid surface of the marsh. After several moments, the ball fell still. Beaming, Violet waded over and picked up the Poké Ball.

"Nice," grinned Orange.

"What are you gonna name it, Violet?" asked Red.

"Skulls," replied Violet.

"'Skulls'?" repeated Orange. "Not 'Skull'? It only has the one skull, you know-"

"And when it evolves into a Weezing, it'll have two," Violet replied smoothly. "Now, let's keep moving, we have to find the next trainer- WAH!" For at that moment, some of the swamp muck in front of her started to rise up. As some of the water fell away, though, it became clear that what had risen wasn't really a part of the swamp. It did look to be roughly the same consistency, though, a pile of odd, purple gunk- with a pair of eyes.

"Eeeewwww," whined Violet as she backed up hastily, holding her Pokédex out like a shield. "Koffing are cool, at least, but Grimer are just creepy!"

"Grimer, the Sludge Pokémon," said Violet's Pokédex in its usual mechanical monotone. "Grimer appears in filthy areas. It thrives by sucking up polluted sludge that is pumped out of factories."

"Shoo! Get going!" Orange exclaimed to the Grimer. Grimer shook its head, however, defiantly standing its ground. At this, Orange waded his way in front of Violet and threw a Poké Ball into the air. "Q, let's teach this thing some manners!"

In a flash of light, Orange's Q materialized. "Kyuuuu," it hummed in its soft, melodic voice.

"Q, Confusion attack now!" Orange ordered. Q complied with the command, firing off a beam of blue energy. Grimer yelled out as the attack made contact, but immediately fought back by launching a stream of Sludge from its mouth. Q squealed in discomfort as the Poison move hit.

"That's one tough Grimer," remarked Red.

"Q! Headbutt!" exclaimed Orange.

"Kyuuuuu," replied Q as it dove down and slammed into Grimer, knocking its sludgy form backwards. Grimer got back up, however, and its eyes started to glow green. Immediately, several green orbs of energy floated out of Q's body and into Grimer's, seeming to revitalize the latter.

"Grimer can learn Mega Drain?!" exclaimed Orange. "That does it! Q, use TM50!"

"Wha?" Red replied, as his Pokédex spoke up.

"TM50, a move with no type. A frenzied technique in which the user slaps the opponent repeatedly."

A pair of glowing, rectangular appendages sprouted out of Q, one out of each side, and it dove down on Grimer, slapping it repeatedly with these appendages.

"Gri-i-i-i!" exclaimed Grimer, unable to react to the repeated slaps. As Q finished the attack, Grimer ceased movement, collapsing in a small, sludgy heap that bobbed about lazily on the water's surface. Orange then took out a Poké Ball.

"Orange, you wouldn't!" Violet exclaimed.

"Consider this payback for Flutters!" Orange cackled. "Poké Ball, g-" However, before Orange could throw the ball at Grimer, it turned into red energy and was sucked straight up. The trio's collective gaze followed this energy, until they saw where it ended up; inside a Poké Ball being held by a brown-haired girl around Red's age, who was standing on a tree limb.

"That Grimer was yours?!" exclaimed Violet, outraged.

"Yep!" the Lass replied. "I like to test trainers by not actually giving my Grimer commands, so they can't tell what they're up against. I was very impressed with that battle, though. I did my best, I have no regrets. Go on through."

Still glaring and grumbling audibly, Violet continued to wade through the swamp, Red and Orange following close behind.