"Finish it, Skulls! Sludge attack now!" shouted Violet.
"Koff!" Skulls exclaimed as it blasted its opponent, a white-and-orange frilly fish-like Pokemon with a single, sharp horn on its head, with a stream of thick, smelly, dark goop. The Goldeen was blasted backwards by the Poison move, and it came to rest right in front of its trainer, who was clad only in swim trunks, and was, for reasons nobody in the group really wanted to know, swimming in the deeper portion of Nugget Swamp. Sighing, the Swimmer withdrew Goldeen.
"I did my best, I have no regrets," he stated simply as he swam off to the side. "Proceed."
"You do know you can just stand up in this, right?" asked Orange. "It's not that deep."
"I know that," scoffed the Swimmer. "I just don't like to take the easy way out. Most trainers will ride an aquatic Pokémon across the waves, but not me. Besides, if I ever pass up an opportunity to swim, how will I keep up this buff physique?" he added, flexing his left arm in order to show off his muscles.
"Sounds reasonable to me," Violet said, eyeing aforementioned muscles.
"Let's go," said Orange pointedly, leading the way. Violet shot him a particularly nasty glare, but followed him, albeit somewhat reluctantly. Red said nothing, and merely waited for the fight to break out once they were out of earshot of the Swimmer. To his mild surprise, however, this never happened. Violet and Orange remained silent as the trio made their way through the waist-deep swamp water, though they would occasionally shoot dirty looks at each other.
Before long, a boy around Red's age approached the group, dressed in a green jacket with matching pants and a cap.
"Let me guess, you're number five?" asked Red.
"You got that right," nodded the Jr. Trainer. "Which one of you am I battling?"
"I'll go," volunteered Red. "Violet, you got the last one, and Orange, you took the one before that."
"That one shouldn't count, I didn't know that Grimer had an owner," Orange replied stubbornly.
"It still counts, though," Violet added.
"Violet?" said Orange.
Violet looked to be at a loss for words, obviously not having expected this. Orange smirked at the dumbfounded expression on her face.
"Yeah, how do you like it?" he asked. "Not so funny when it's turned around on you, is it? How was that, Red? Er... Red?"
For Red had already started to battle the Jr. Trainer. His Paras was floating on the surface of the swamp water, glancing warily at its opponent- a Mankey.
"Mankey, go! Scratch attack!" ordered the Jr. Trainer.
"Paras, Stun Spore!" Red commanded.
"Paraaas!" exclaimed Paras as it unleashed a cloud of yellow dust from its mushrooms. Mankey, who had been swimming expertly through the pond water, approaching Paras at a fast pace, was forced to stop as the spores stunned it.
"Now Scratch it!" called Red.
Paras clumsily swam through the swamp water, and took a vicious swipe at Mankey with its right claw. Screeching in pain, Mankey swam, with great difficulty, over to the nearest tree, which appeared to be made entirely out of popsicle sticks, duct tape, and toilet seats. Slowly, the Pig Monkey Pokémon climbed its way up the arboreal anomaly, and stood on a branch hanging over the swamp, glaring down at Paras.
"Good, Mankey!" the Jr. Trainer exclaimed. "Use your Body Slam!"
"Paras, Leech Life now!" Red commanded.
Mankey screeched as it leapt out of the tree, attempting to land on Paras, who simply bared its teeth, and chomped down on Mankey as it landed, sucking away some of its energy.
"That does it, Mankey, let's get ready to finish it!" the Jr. Trainer shouted. "Use Rock Slide!"
"Paras, Bide!" Red exclaimed, causing Violet and Orange to exchange surprised looks.
"Bide?" repeated Orange. "Since when-"
"I used the TM I won in Rewept Gym while Violet was battling that Swimmer," Red explained. "I figured Paras could use another move."
Paras's entire body took on a bright yellow glow as Mankey fired a pair of red beams from its eyes. The beams flew over Paras, leaving a number of strange, glowing red circles in their wake. Then, from each circle fell a number of brown boulders, each one landing on Paras. Most of them fell into the swamp water after striking the Mushroom Pokémon, but some remained on top. Then, once the attack was done, the glow intensified, and Paras launched an intense beam of yellow energy at the surprised Mankey, knocking it off the tree limb and into its trainer's arms. Mankey made no further effort to move.
"I did my best, I have no regrets," sighed the Jr. Trainer as he withdrew Mankey and stepped aside.
"Is that all you guys can say when you lose?" asked Orange. "More importantly, that's five of you guys we've crushed now, so where's our reward?"
"You're almost out of the swamp," replied the Jr. Trainer. "The guy in charge of the challenge should be standing at the edge of the swamp, he's the guy you talk to about a reward."
"Thanks," said Red as he withdrew Paras. Red now led the way, and sure enough, not two minutes later, the group found themselves back on dry ground/aluminum siding/floor tiles. They had left Nugget Swamp. Standing nearby was a man wearing a nondescript gray hoodie sweatshirt and white pants. He approached the trio immediately.
"I must congratulate the three of you," he said. "You have defeated our five contest trainers, and have earned this great reward- a genuine gold Nugget!" At this, he reached into a bag slung over his shoulder and pulled out what appeared to be a solid gold sphere, about the size of a Poké Ball.
"OK, I'm just gonna come right out and say it," said Orange. "Which one of us holds onto it?"
"I volunteer Red," Violet replied. "I think we can both trust him."
"Thanks, Violet," grinned Red as he accepted the Nugget from the man and placed it into his backpack.
"When we go back to Ruceelna tonight, we'll stop at the Pokémart," suggested Orange. "Those places will buy literally anything off of a trainer. We sell it there and split the profits three ways, that sound good?"
"Fine by me," said Red and Violet simultaneously.
"One more thing," the man added. "Would any of you be interested in joining Team Debug? We're a-"
"An extremist criminal organization who tries to wipe out entire races of Pokémon," Violet interrupted. "Thanks, but no thanks."
"Over my dead body," added Orange.
"Same here," put in Red.
The man scowled at the trio. "You can't be serious," he stated. "Sure, Team Debug gets some bad press, but we're going to save the world! Now, it looks like you three need convincing! I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse!" As he said this, he unzipped his hoodie, revealing his shirt which displayed the Team Debug insignia, and then took three Poké Balls off his belt and threw them all at once. "Diglett! Venonat! Weepinbell! Go!"
In three flashes of light, a trio of Pokémon materialized; a small, brown creature with a simple face consisting of two small, beady, black eyes, a large red nose, and no visible mouth, which appeared to be at least partly underground; a spherical insect covered in purple fur, with a pair of large, round, red eyes, a mouth with two small fangs, a pair of antennae, and two small hands; a yellow, bell-shaped creature that looked something like a larger-than-life replica of a Bellsprout's head, with a pair of leaves on its sides, not unlike what a Bellsprout had on its twig-like torso. Simultaneously, Red, Orange, and Violet held out their Pokédexes at these creatures.
"Diglett, the Mole Pokémon," said Red's Pokédex. "Diglett lives about one yard underground, where it feasts on plant roots. It sometimes appears aboveground."
"Venonat, the Insect Pokémon," droned Orange's Pokédex. "Venonat lives in the shadows of tall trees. It uses its large, radar-like eyes to move about in darkness."
"Weepinbell, the Flycatcher Pokémon, and the evolved form of Bellsprout," stated Violet's Pokédex. "Weepinbell's Acid can dissolve anything. This Acid in addition to its PoisonPowder are its main means of subduing its prey."
Once the Pokédexes had finished speaking, Red took out a Poké Ball and enlarged it, Orange and Violet following suit. They then threw the balls simultaneously.
"Charmeleon, I choose you!" Red shouted.
"Chompy, let's do it!" exclaimed Violet.
"Go! .4!" exclaimed Orange.
In another three flashes of light, Red's Charmeleon, Orange's .4, and Chompy, Violet's Bellsprout, materialized at the same time. The Debug Grunt scowled at the sight of .4.
"Attack that abomination first!" he ordered. "Diglett! Scratch!"
"Wait a second, Scratch?" asked Orange, as he cast a dubious glance at the Mole Pokémon, who seemed to sport no obvious appendages, let alone anything sharp. "With what?" he asked.
As if in response, Diglett moved forward, plowing its way through the rock, the ceramic tiles, and the aluminum siding, and its nose began to glow. As the nose glowed, it lengthened, coming to a point. Diglett then twisted around in the ground as it approached .4, the point of its nose raking the Caffeine Pokémon's side.
"Well, that was weird," Orange remarked. ".4, use TM28!"
.4 gibbered excitedly as it dove down at Diglett and promptly exploded. As the dust cleared, however, it became clear that Diglett had evaded the attack by going underground, as evidenced by the small hole in the ground, and the fact that Diglett was resurfacing some five feet away from .4, looking totally unscathed.
"Chompy, Growth!" Violet ordered.
"Charmeleon, hit Venonat with Flamethrower!" commanded Red.
".4, Agility!" called Orange.
The Grunt then proceeded to bark out orders to his Pokémon. "Diglett, Sand-Attack! Weepinbell, you use your own Growth! Venonat, Sleep Powder!"
Chompy and Weepinbell simultaneously took on light green auras and proceeded to grow until they were double their usual sizes. Weepinbell was now just as tall as its trainer, while Chompy was still shorter than its evolved form. As they glared at each other, Diglett spun in place, sending a spray of sand in Charmeleon's direction, though .4 began to fly in circles around the Ground-type with increasing rapidity. Then, on Orange's order, .4 used TM28 once more, and this time, the blast knocked Diglett out. Charmeleon, meanwhile, easily overpowered the cloud of blue dust Venonat had emitted with a powerful stream of fire, rendering the Venonat unconscious in the process.
The grunt withdrew Diglett and Venonat, but didn't look particularly concerned. "Wrap the Charmeleon!" he ordered.
"Bell," grunted the Weepinbell in a deep voice as the brown stem-like protrusion on top of its head lengthened, growing into a lengthy vine, and, before anyone could do anything about it, binding Charmeleon completely, except for its tail. Charmeleon flailed its tail about, attempting to use Ember on Weepinbell, but the attack missed miserably. Weepinbell squeezed tighter as Chompy and .4 moved in to attack. .4, in its excitement, however, used TM28 a few seconds too early. While Weepinbell was hit by the attack, it didn't seem to have taken nearly as much damage from the blast as it ought to have. It did, however, have the effect of forcing Weepinbell to release Charmeleon, though this turned out to not be such an issue; Charmeleon had already fainted.
"Now use Razor Leaf!" the grunt ordered as Red withdrew Charmeleon.
"Chompy, Vine Whip!" Violet commanded.
".4, TM09!" shouted Orange.
Weepinbell swung its leaves around wildly, and a flurry of razor-sharp leaves flew forth from them. Chompy sprouted a pair of vines from behind its leaves, managing to swat down most of them, but some struck .4, who screeched with discomfort as its body caught fire. .4 rose up high into the air, ready to dive-bomb Weepinbell.
"Jump with Vine Whip!" roared the grunt.
"Bell bell Weepinbell," replied Weepinbell as its brown stem extended once again, and this time, it slapped the ground hard, propelling itself into the air just as .4 dove. The Pokémaniac-type slammed into the ground, creating a fiery explosion, which Weepinbell had managed to evade completely. Knowing already that .4 was down, Orange withdrew it, leaving only Chompy to deal with the Weepinbell.
"We are so screwed," muttered Orange to Red.
"I heard that," snapped Violet as Weepinbell landed right where it had started from. "Chompy, Sleep Powder!"
"Weepinbell, Slam!" commanded the grunt.
The Bellsprout exhaled a cloud of glittery blue dust from its large mouth, which Weepinbell hopped out of the way of before slapping Chompy with its vine, sending it flying into a large rock. Shakily, Chompy got back onto its roots and walked back over to Weepinbell, a determined look in its eyes. Without even waiting for orders, Chompy lunged at its evolved counterpart, its body getting longer, and constricted the Weepinbell with its continually lengthening torso. Weepinbell groaned under the pressure of the Wrap attack, and attempted to pry the Bellsprout off with its leaves. This proved futile, however, and only spurred Chompy to squeeze harder. At last, the Bellsprout relinquished its grip; the Weepinbell hadn't fainted yet, but was panting heavily. Clearly the attack had taken a lot out of it, but it still looked willing to battle.
And then Chompy began to glow.
"All right!" Violet exclaimed as her starter Pokémon proceeded to evolve, its slender body shrinking away into the top of its head, the head itself getting larger, the leaves shifting their position. When the white light faded, there were now two six-foot Weepinbell present, each one glaring at the other, though the Debug Grunt's Weepinbell looked noticeably less confident now.
"Chompy, let's end this," said Violet, a confident smirk on her face. "Acid."
"Bell!" exclaimed Chompy as it blasted a stream of corrosive purple fluid from its gaping mouth. The grunt's Weepinbell groaned in agony as the attack landed, and quickly flopped over onto its back, shrinking back down to its regular size.
"All right, Chompy!" Violet cheered as her own Weepinbell shrunk back down to its original size.
"It's a shame," sighed the grunt as both Weepinbell were withdrawn to their Poké Balls by their respective trainers. "Talent like yours, you could have made it big in Team Debug. You, though, redhead, you got a lot to learn about Pokémon. Specifically, what is and isn't a Pokémon-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've heard that garbage before," interrupted Orange as he walked away.
"Hey, Orange, where are you going?" asked Red as he ran over to him. "We gotta go back through the swamp to get back to Ruceelna."
"Yeah, but we don't have to get back just yet," replied Orange as Violet caught up. "The day's only half done, and I can see some trainers over there. Didn't we come out this way for training in the first place?" When neither Red nor Violet raised any objections, Orange grinned at them and ran off towards the nearest trainer, challenging him to a battle at the top of his lungs.
"I don't know why, but I hate it when he's right," sighed Violet as she and Red walked off after Orange.