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Written Story Johto Mature An Arduous, Atoning, and Amazing Adventure

Extravanganza Accordian Demo
Thread Description
The thoughts of a teenager in his alphabet-themed journey. Last updated July 25.

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
820
Nature
Rash
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Ghost
Pryce may have been easy (didn't expect otherwise), and I see what you tried to do grinding Nora in Mt. Mortar (bonus happiness so you can have a Crobat earlier, yeah), but then... I can't see heads or tails from Rocket's plan.
Do we believe Zane can break this operation out without having Adam joining forces? Doubt it, but there's always hope...
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
929
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
The logic’s a bit of a stretch, but, I mean, it’s not completely false.
Poor Adam. It's tough trying to do things for the greater good when it means lying to a good, respectible professor.
Right when I’m writing about not experiencing delays, I get a call from Elm about a recent development that’s causing a region-wide commotion.
The plot is never convenient for the one fighting it! I like the part where Adam is trying to figure out what Team Rocket's plan is here. He really is turning into quite the hero!
 
OP
QuietGuardian

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,578
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ground
@bhelryss Well, you can probably get a sense of the Clair team based on my last version of the category team. Of course, she's not the main threat right now…

@Leon Yorunaki Team Rocket would be delighted to hear that their plan has confused you. As for any role that Zane might have, you'll just have to keep reading to see.

@Spectacles Adam is certainly having a tough time of it, but he's also discovering his inner hero! Even if he may not be thinking that way right now.

Not much to report…there are a lot of people about, but they’re mainly clustered near the Radio Tower, behind the police and whatever other officials have shown up. I didn’t get too close in case the fake Lance was there, and I want to stay as far away from him as possible. And I have heard people say that Lance recently flew in and is in the process of negotiating. I guess if he’s in charge of that, he’s got free rein to handle it as poorly as he needs to…but if he does it too poorly, he’ll look bad…maybe he’s trying to strike a careful balance. Well, good for him. I hope he fails miserably.

So I’ve distanced myself from the crowd. I’m wondering if maybe the Radio Tower thing is just a distraction while Team Rocket does something else out of people’s sight. If that’s the case, I haven’t found anything to back that up. Of course, Goldenrod’s a huge-ass city, and it may not even be here at all. But…I can still look around, right?

Argh, I hate feeling like I have to do something but not knowing what it is. If only I had a bit of guidance! But I have no idea where it would come from! Unless I just so happen to see another Legen—
A hushed voice cut into Adam voicing his thoughts. “Hey! Hey, kid!”

Adam nearly dropped his tape recorder and turned to the speaker. It was a man probably about twice his age leaning out from an alleyway—and he was dressed in the black uniform of a Team Rocket member. Immediately, Adam’s free hand went to his Poke Balls. “What do you want?” he asked, his voice carrying both suspicion and fear.

The man shook his head. “It’s okay, I’m not really with them! I’m an undercover agent. And I could use your help!”

Adam’s suspicion didn’t dissipate completely, but he did take interest. “With what?”

The man pointed down the alley. “Team Rocket’s keeping some of the captured people from the Radio Tower in an old facility down that way. Most of their members are at the tower itself, so it’s not heavily guarded. If we can rescue them, they might be able to help take back the tower!” He looked at Adam almost appraisingly. “And not to make assumptions, but you look like a strong trainer. Are you on the League challenge?”

“Um, yeah.”

“How many badges?”

“…Seven.”

The man’s face lit up. “Great! You should be able to overpower the guards. And I can help you! I don’t have to worry about blowing my cover; if we take down Team Rocket here, I won’t need it anymore! So what do you say?”

Adam thought for a minute. He knew there was no guarantee that this man was telling the truth…but what were his other options? Continue to wander aimlessly around the biggest city in Johto in the hopes of finding something else? “Okay,” he said, nodding.

The man smiled. “Great, thank you. Just follow me.” He turned and walked back down the alley, with Adam following at a moderate distance. The pair continued for a few minutes before stopping in front of a dilapidated-looking single-story building. “This is it,” the man said in an undertone. “Wait here for a minute while I go inside. If it’s all clear, I’ll let you know.”

He opened the door and went in, with Adam hanging back, concealing himself behind a nearby dumpster so no one in the doorway would be able to see him. A few seconds later, the door opened a crack. “Okay, c’mon in!” called the man.

Senses alert, Adam approached the door and slowly pushed it open, advancing into the space. He had a brief glimpse of what looked like an old storage unit before he heard the door close behind him and the lights went out.

Instantly, his sense of danger flared up. Acting on instinct, he tried to move quickly from his spot, but he lost his balance and fell to the floor—a split second before a whooshing sound came from over his head. “Shit! I missed!” said a rough voice from right nearby.

“You dumbass! Lights on! Find him!” said another voice.

As quickly as it had been taken away, the light returned, right as Adam got to his feet. He blinked and looked around—and felt his stomach drop. Surrounding him were no fewer than five men in Team Rocket uniforms, all looking at him with unmistakable malice. And that included the one that had led him here. He instinctively backed up against the nearest wall, his expression becoming horrified as he realized the current situation. As his gaze came to the man he’d met in the alley, the latter sneered. “You know, literally anyone can say they’re an undercover agent,” he said in a mocking tone.

Another one of them, who was carrying a metal pipe, took a step forward. “Yeah, that’s the kid from the hideout, all right,” he snarled. “Adam something, wasn’t it?”

“Adam Blakely!” said a third. “We looked you up after that little incident.”

“What do you want?” said Adam loudly, failing to keep the fear from his voice.

His adversaries took notice and laughed. “Aw, scared, are ya, kid?” said the armed one. “We wanna make sure you don’t cause any more trouble.” He hefted his weapon. “A good whack to the head oughta do the trick.”

“And it would have, if you hadn’t missed,” said the one Adam had first met. “But we can still manage. After all, we’ve got you outnumbered and backed into a corner.”

The Rockets began advancing…but as they took their first steps, Adam acted. Dropping his hand to his belt, he released one of his Poké Balls. A flash of light emanated from it, and when it faded, the situation was very different. Now standing in between Adam and his would-be assailants was two hundred pounds of muscles and blue scales, fangs and claws at the ready.

His confidence restored, Adam looked out from behind Louis. “All right…who fucking wants to be first?”
I really, really, really fucking hate Team Rocket. They just tried to fucking ambush me by having one of them pretend to be undercover! Now I kinda do want to fuck them up.

*sigh* Then again, I don’t know how careful I should be. They told me they know about me, so it’s not like I can be out of their sights altogether, but it might be dangerous to aggravate them even more.

On the other hand, I do have an opportunity here. The bastards lured me to a building by saying that they had some people from the Radio Tower captured there. While that was a complete lie, I did manage to corner one after Louis kicked their collective asses, and he panicked and offered to give me information. He told me that they actually did have the director of the Radio Tower stashed away in an underground location. If I could free him, that might put a wrench in their plans…

Fuck it, I’m in a fighting mood after that shit they just pulled. I won’t try to go to the Radio Tower, but I can still do something to them. And if I need to get any other Rockets out of the way, I can use Una again; I took some inspiration from Lance and incapacitated the one I interrogated with her Sleep Powder.

…You know, now that I think about it, should avenging Lance be part of my goal here, too? I mean, the guy was a respected Champion, and he seemed like a cool guy for the brief period that I worked with him. Doesn’t he deserve something in regards to this? Guess all this time I’ve been thinking about the impact on me…

Okay, I’ll use that as something else to push me forward. Let’s see what damage we can do, for Lance!
So Goldenrod has a fucking labyrinth under it. That fucker who pointed me in this direction probably knew I wouldn’t be able to find the director quickly. I hope Una’s Sleep Powder gave him nightmares.

There are actually a few trainers down here, who challenged me to a battle and got stomped. I didn’t really have time for it, but they were insistent, and I’m not going to broadcast to everyone I meet that I’m in a hurry looking for Team Rocket members. I have asked a couple of people if they’ve seen a guy in black, but no dice.

Dammit, this is just like what happened at the hideout in Mahogany Town! …Well, not really. I’m not actively in enemy territory. Just a big complicated public place that my enemies happen to probably have a hostage in somewhere. …Shit, I hope he’s not in too much danger.

Ugh, that’s the second time now I’ve realized I haven’t been thinking about others. First with avenging Lance, now with the safety of the director of the Radio Tower. *grunt* But there’ll be plenty of time to focus on my selfishness later. I need to make sure the guy Team Rocket took is okay. If I can. I guess I just gotta keep trying to find—

…Did I just hear someone?

Cycle: Pokémon name
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
ButterfreeButterflyUna
FeraligatrBig JawLouis
GloomWeedKen
GolbatBatNora
GravelerRockIgor
GyaradosAtrociousHeidi
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,036
Location
in the sunshine
Nature
Gentle
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon can be found encouraging plant growth in other people's gardens, but can be territorial about the resulting blooms
yessss moving right along then, huh!!

feraligatr are good intimdatrs
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
929
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Now standing in between Adam and his would-be assailants was two hundred pounds of muscles and blue scales, fangs and claws at the ready.
🙌 🙌 🙌 The badassery. Go Louis!
Fuck it, I’m in a fighting mood after that shit they just pulled.
Comet approves of this attitude. It's also funny because Adam normally curses a decent amount but it's so much more prominent now that he's all riled up from Team Rocket's attack.
…Did I just hear someone?
Ahh another cliffhanger!!
 
OP
QuietGuardian

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,578
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ground
@bhelryss Indeed, and Intimidate isn't even their ability! (I mean, nothing was in Gen II, but past then.)

@Spectacles Louis gets a great moment for this!
Adam's a different person from Comet in several ways, but there's definitely some overlap, and that overlap grows when he's agitated like this.

Adam turned off the tape recorder and focused all his attention on the sound he’d heard. It was coming from up ahead…like someone was fiddling with something metallic…

He rounded the corner, hand on Louis’s Poké Ball. “What…Zane?

His half-brother, who had been bent over the knob of an old-looking door, jumped at his name and turned. “Adam? What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same question. And what are you doing with that door?”

Zane looked indecisive for a moment, but then drew himself up proudly. “We were right! Team Rocket’s revealed themselves, but we’ve been on their trail, and now we’re ready to take them down! They were hoping they’d get the advantage by catching everyone by surprise, but that didn’t work on us, so we’re ready to take apart this operation! I heard that there might be hostages down here, so I came to check. I was just figuring out how to open this door. I’ve almost got it, in fact…”

He returned his attention to the lock with the small tools in his hand, but Adam wasn’t ready to let the conversation pause. “What the hell? You’re willingly messing with Team Rocket? Those guys are fucking dangerous!”

“They’re not as bad as you might think,” said Zane, still focused on the door. “Sure, they’ve had a lot of time to organize after going into hiding, but they don’t have a central leader nearly as strong as Giovanni was. And if you have a team of strong Pokémon with you, you can fight off their worst threats.” The lock gave a click, and he smiled and stood up. “Got it!”

He reached for the knob, but Adam moved faster and closed his hand around it first. “Zane, you still don’t know what you’re dealing with.”

Zane raised an eyebrow skeptically. “I told you, Adam, I’ve been working with people who have been tracking Team Rocket. We knew about them before you or anyone else did, even Lance, with the incident in Mahogany Town two days ago.”

Adam inadvertently grimaced at the mention of Lance and Mahogany Town. “Yeah? And you think that you’ll be able to break them up after putting a stop to this?”

“This is their attempt at a triumphant return. We stop it, they lose their return and any momentum they’ve been gathering!”

Adam shook his head. “Then you still don’t know everything.”

Zane narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?”

Adam hesitated. “Look, I was at Mahogany Town, okay? I…saw some things.”

Zane blinked. “You…were involved with that? Why didn’t I hear anything?”

“…They didn’t want to draw too much attention to me.”

Zane stared at Adam, his expression initially difficult to read. However, as Adam studied it, its characteristics revealed itself. There was skepticism that Adam was telling the truth…but there was also hope that he was, and that there was more Zane could be a part of.

At that moment, the significance of this for Zane hit Adam clearly. Zane wanted to be a hero, just like Red Fields. That was what had led him to find a group that had a noble, if farfetched, goal in mind—that of stopping Team Rocket, before their reemergence was even known for sure. And it’s what had driven him to take drastic measures like steal a Chikorita from the lab in New Bark Town. Adam had always known Zane was drawn to ideas like this, and their encounter in Olivine City had proven that he was willing to follow them. But it had never really occurred to him just how important it was to his half-brother. How much Zane was willing to pursue that idea…even if it blinded him or involved taking high risks.

Adam hardened his expression. “Get out of here, Zane. You don’t want to make yourself a target.”

Zane frowned in confusion. “Make myself a target? I can handle myself!”

“You don’t know that.”

“You don’t know that I can’t.”

Adam shook his head. “You still don’t know the danger you’re facing.”

“What danger?”

“…I can’t tell you.”

Zane scowled. “Then stop trying to boss me around. You can’t enforce what I can and can’t do.”

Adam thought for a moment, then lowered his hand from the doorknob…and moved it to a ball on his belt. “Battle me.”

“What?” said Zane.

“You said if you have a team of strong Pokémon, you can fight off Team Rocket. Well, if I defeat you, you’ll have to retreat.”

Zane’s expression went from confused to shocked to angry. “What’s with you? Do you just want to be the only hero here?”

“No. Just the only one they go after.”

Zane set his face in an angry, determined expression. “Fine. You want a battle, I’ll give you one! And I won’t lose, not with how far I’ve come!”
I may have just made Zane hate me for the rest of his life. But if taking away his big hero moment means that “the rest of his life” is much longer, then it’s worth it.

It’s just…I’m starting to get some more thoughts about why Team Rocket is doing this. Why they’re making a public attack on the Radio Tower when they already have a more threatening plan going on under the radar. They basically gave away their existence with the incident at Mahogany Town, so people do know that they’re up to something. If they draw attention to something else, they can make people look away from their real goal. Plus, a big play like this might lure out opposition: people that Team Rocket can keep an eye on as potential threats to their operations. I couldn’t let Zane expose himself as one of them.

And, to his credit, he would qualify as a potential threat. He’s really grown his team since I fought him last. His Golbat was able to give Igor a hard time despite being at a disadvantage, and his Meganium was tough enough to withstand Acids from Ken pretty easily. Not to mention Haunter wore Una down before she beat it, even though she had a Psychic attack. Good thing I’ve got tough Pokémon myself.

*exhales* Anyway, I’ve got to keep going. Hopefully the director is down here somewhere.
Well…the good news is that Team Rocket’s Radio Tower takeover has been stopped. The bad news is, I think that might have been their plan.

I fought a handful of Rockets after I beat Zane, through the door that he’d thought was where they were. So he was right about that, at least.Then I got to a higher-ranking guy, the last one keeping the director hostage. And he was tough. He started off with a Koffing and a Weezing, and I thought Igor would be able to handle them just fine, but they used their poison to really do a number on him and dodged his attacks pretty well. So when they finally went down and the guy sent out Golbat, I recalled Igor and tried Heidi. She had a rough time of it, too, with the damn thing making her confused, but she got in a good hit that helped to turn the tide and lead to her victory.

The Rocket’s last Pokémon was a Houndoom, and I sent out Louis, hoping he’d have an easier time. But he didn’t at first. It had Dark Pulse and managed to keep him at a distance, so I had him use Surf to hit it with a hard Water attack. It was able to avoid the brunt of the attacks, and it kept weakening Louis with continued Dark Pulses. He did ultimately land a good Surf that took out a lot of its stamina, but it seemed like it could still fight just fine.

And then it didn’t. The Rocket had it use Smog. That’s a much weaker attack than Dark Pulse, and it takes some time to form the smoke, so it’s an attack that can be evaded pretty easily. So Louis had no problem taking it out with another Surf. And the Rocket himself didn’t make much of an effort to run away, so I was able to send out Una and put him to sleep. At the time, I thought it was strange, almost like he’d just given up. And you know what I think now? That’s exactly what he did. He and everyone else who was arrested were set up to take the fall, so that people would think that Team Rocket had been stopped after this whole thing. I was kinda skeptical of this idea at first, since criminals are more likely to look out for themselves and not let themselves be arrested…but the fake Lance could be planning to use his Champion authority to eventually get them out. Or something like that.

That bastard was on TV, too. I watched the news covering the end of the takeover. He made a short statement and commended the trainers who managed to get into the Radio Tower and dismantle Team Rocket’s operation. There were a handful of them—could be people from Zane’s little group. Thankfully, he wasn’t one of them, so Team Rocket doesn’t know about him. Though I’m sure he’s broken up about that right now—but hopefully he’ll learn the truth soon.

At least I managed to get away without being featured, again. I did rescue the director from that underground place after I beat the Rocket guarding him, but I didn’t tell him my name and actually said that I wanted to be anonymous. And from what I’ve seen since then, the director’s been good about honoring that—he did say he was rescued, but he said his rescuer didn’t want to be identified, and he hasn’t described me or anything. ‘Course, the Rockets might still suspect me…fuck.

I also got something from the director as a thank you, but I don’t know what exactly it is. It’s an old glass bell that I think is broken, since it hasn’t made any noise since I got it, but the director said it was an artifact of great significance. Well, I can focus on figuring that out later, if I get the chance.

Right now, I need to get back to Mahogany Town. I’ve lost most of a day to this whole business. I guess my Pokémon did get some activity, so it wasn’t a total waste of time, but it’ll take several hours to get back to where I was, then a longer time to make it to Blackthorn City. And I can’t delay. I have no idea when Team Rocket is planning on unleashing whatever it is they hope to do, but if they’re going as far as to have someone impersonate one of the highest-profile people in both Johto and Kanto, they’re probably not going to want to stretch it out too long and increase the risk of being found out. Sure, he’s fooled everyone so far, but that’s not guaranteed to last. I’d still be concerned if I were them.

Agh, but it’s late, so I don’t know if I should try to book it to Ecruteak, at least. On my bike, I could make it there in a couple hours…fuck, but that’s when it’s daytime, and I don’t know if it being dark will slow me down. It probably will. Hell, knowing my luck, I could run into a rock or something and flip over. And Mara isn’t on the team, so I can’t fly anywhere…and if I get her out from the PC, Elm might get curious. ‘Course, that’s assuming he doesn’t already know I’m in Goldenrod thanks to the tracking device in my Pokédex. At least there’s nothing else that gives him a reason to believe I had anything to do with this Team Rocket business.

Fine, I’ll stay here tonight. But I need to go to bed now and get up early.

Cycle: Pokémon name
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
ButterfreeButterflyUna
FeraligatrBig JawLouis
GloomWeedKen
GolbatBatNora
GravelerRockIgor
GyaradosAtrociousHeidi

Adam wasn't exaggerating when he mentioned that the fight against Zane was a challenge. Igor did need to be healed before defeating Golbat, thanks to Confuse Ray, Bite, and some bad luck. Ken put Meganium to sleep but could do next to nothing even with Acid after it put Reflect up, so I switched to Heidi to finish the job. Magnemite and Sneasel were easier, with Igor and Louis, respectively, defeating them, but Haunter posed something of a risk to Una, as it outsped and did over a third of her HP with Shadow Ball. Fortunately, her Confusion was a 2HKO, and it confused Haunter and caused it to hit itself, so she only took one attack before winning.

The Rocket guarding the director was a combination of the three male Executives I fought in-game (no offense to the female one, but she gave me hardly any trouble). The one impersonating the director, with all the Koffing and Weezing, was harder for Igor than I'd thought, in part due to the fact that he kept rolling Magnitude 5s. He was never really in any danger, but Smokescreen and poison made the battle longer than I'd have liked. The executive calling himself the "Team Rocket fortress" had a single Golbat that did give Heidi some trouble, but she pulled through. And the final executive did make me worry a bit with his Houndoom; obviously it didn't know Dark Pulse, but Bite and Faint Attack did enough damage to Louis that I was worried that a high-roll crit might take him out. So I healed for a couple turns after a Surf took Houndoom to red, and then it did use Smog, which gave me the window I needed to take the final shot. No fatalities in the end, but not completely smooth sailing either.

I'll be traveling next weekend, so there won't be another update then, but we'll pick up the weekend after that.
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,036
Location
in the sunshine
Nature
Gentle
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon can be found encouraging plant growth in other people's gardens, but can be territorial about the resulting blooms
nicely done!! im glad adam isn't involving zane, but i'm worried their relationship won't recover from this perceived thunder stealing

and i want them to be close ;o; brothers should be friends
 

apocalypsewriter

Conqueror of the Fuchsia Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
5390
Caught
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
54
Well, I went and binged this today. Now I'm upset for many reasons. (The deaths, that there is no more to read, how good it is, the works.)

Time to watch the thread and be patient for the next update! This is really good. I didn't know how I felt about Adam at first, but he has really grown on me. I love the different formats used and all of the in universe reasons for the alphabetlocke rules and to keep Adam going on with his adventure.
 

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
820
Nature
Rash
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Ghost
Oh, what a mess...
Adam is a bit too gullible for the job, sure, but at least he's a competent trainer.
Having to fight Zane out of it was only expected because of game plot, though. I failed to see the pieces falling in place until they did, and that last part with TR forfeiting easily when confronted was really clever. I really curious about how things will go from there...
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
929
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Zane wanted to be a hero, just like Red Fields.
Really liking this insight into Zane. It's a lot easier to see him in a more sympathetic light knowing this, both for us and for Adam.
But if taking away his big hero moment means that “the rest of his life” is much longer, then it’s worth it.
Ah Adam has grown so much. Hopefully Zane will learn to forgive him.
Hell, knowing my luck, I could run into a rock or something and flip over.
^True. Adam has not had it easy.
 
OP
QuietGuardian

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,578
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ground
Whoops, I'm overdue for an update.

@bhelryss Their relationship has taken a hit, that's for sure. Brothers being friends is very nice, but unfortunately it doesn't always happen…

@apocalypsewriter Welcome and thank you for coming on with such praise! Sorry you read this right when there was a slight delay in the updates.
I tried to write Adam as someone that you could potentially like at first but that would also grow on you, so I'm glad to hear that went over well with you.

@Leon Yorunaki In his defense, Adam was at least a little suspicious of the Rocket that double-crossed him.
I have to admit, I'm having fun constructing Team Rocket's sinister plans in this story. They're not doing straightforward evil things that can be stopped with brute force like in the games.

@Spectacles Zane's a character that I didn't really know what to do with at first, and then this idea of him being a wannabe hero formed and turned out well. (He'd also almost certainly idolize Comet if he lived in that universe.) But will a wannabe hero find it in his heart to forgive his half-brother? We'll find out later…

Okay, I made it back in good time. Got an early start this morning and flat-out booked it back to Mahogany. I’m a little out of breath, but I can take a bit of time to recover before starting on the way to Blackthorn. Probably should have something to eat, too. But I can’t take too long. I need to get through the Ice Path to get to Blackthorn City, and that place is no joke. Especially since four members of my current team are weak to Ice…good thing Louis and Heidi are such bosses. They’ll have to do a lot of the work.
Okay…okay, we’re doing okay. The Ice Path is big as hell, but I’m getting through it. And there aren’t actually a whole lot of strong wild Ice Pokémon in here, so it’s not just Louis and Heidi that have had to fend them off. A lot of Golbat, actually, which Nora and Igor can take. Una and Ken less so, admittedly, but at least I’m not putting all the pressure on a third of the team.

I did catch an Ice Pokémon from here, though: Queenie the Swinub. Not great letters, so she’ll probably spend all her time at Elm’s lab, but at least it makes it look like I’m still taking things normally. Although, shit, an Ice Pokémon would have been good to use against Clair!

…Wait, I wonder if I can work around that. I have Louis with me now, and he’ll be on the team for Clair, and we’re in an icy location…could I teach him an Ice attack? I know it’s not something he’d normally be able to do, but I know that this sort of thing is possible, and Water Pokémon have an easier time learning Ice attacks than a lot of others, since the two elements are closely related.

Yeah, let me see if I can make progress on that while I go through the rest of the Ice Path.
Made it to Blackthorn! Unfortunately, this means I need to switch my team again or Elm will get suspicious. Luckily, it’s only Ken and Igor that have to leave, being replaced by Mara and Lara.

I’ve had a quick dinner and want to check out Route 45 before it gets too dark. I think it’s a place with strong Pokémon, which will help with training for Clair. I just hope that I have enough time to train sufficiently…I can pretend for Elm that I’d like to spend a bit of time up here before returning to New Bark Town, but I can’t take too long. And with all the team rotating I’ve done, some of the Pokémon I have aren’t very strong. I might just need to do some intense training and hope everyone can handle it.
Ugh, damn it! I found a Donphan on Route 45 and caught it without even thinking about its category, and it turns out Donphan’s the Armor Pokémon, so I had to make another team change! This could set me back even further!

…But I just gotta go with it. And maybe it won’t be too bad. Wulfric, the Donphan in question, does at least look like he’s a powerful fighter, and I had to exchange Una for him, and a Butterfree might not be as much use in Clair’s gym. And at least I didn’t have to use the other Pokémon I caught today—I took a quick look in Dark Cave and found a wild Slowpoke that I caught and named Vivien. She’s definitely weaker than Wulfric, but she’s the Dopey Pokémon, which, while pretty high in the alphabet, isn’t high enough to get a spot on the team.

So my team for challenging Clair is a Donphan, Gyarados, Golbat, Feraligatr, Pidgeotto, and Marowak. Yikes, that’s a notable weakness to Ice and Electric, and Dragon Pokémon are known for being able to pull out some surprises. At least Louis managed to pick up an Ice attack of his own—though of course it didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted. I tried to teach him Ice Punch, thinking it would be a strong option, and he sort of got the hang of it, but he can only pull off the ranged version, where he makes a fist, surrounds it in ice, and shoots the ice as he makes the punching motion. Yeah, it’s better than nothing, but his style is to fight up close. I guess he could still use it up close, but it still wouldn’t really carry the force of the impact behind it. Fuck, I should’ve taught him Ice Fang instead! Wait, maybe I can teach it to Heidi…but then I’d have to spend time going back to the Ice Path, and it doesn’t seem like as good of a training spot as Route 45. Shit! Why do I have to be stuck in such a hard place?

Agh, I need to calm down. I know what I want to do and I can’t waste too much time moaning about it. It’s dark now and I need to get a decent night’s sleep if I want to make good progress tomorrow.
Shit, the wild Pokémon here are almost too strong. Some of the weaker members of my team, like Mara and Nora, have been needing help against them. Luckily, Louis and Heidi, at least, are up to the task of pitching in. Though it does mean that they get tired more easily…but they’ve got strong spirits. They can keep going.

Wulfric, as I thought, is also a tough fighter, though being just caught here means that he’s still mostly on the level of a lot of the wild Pokémon and can’t fight too many of them without getting worn out. I’ve had some others pitch in, but he’s more resistant to help, because of fucking course he is. I’ve actually noticed him almost trying to show off his strength, especially when Heidi and Louis are around. Maybe that could be a motivator of some kind, if I frame it properly?

I wish I had a clearer head. I didn’t get as much sleep last night as I’d have liked. But I’m here now and we’re training, and I need to focus on that as much as I can.

We did get to battle another trainer in the area, and he was tough enough to give us a good experience. With luck, I’ll be able to find more like him. It may mean I’ll need to watch out more for my Pokémon’s health, but I have various medicines that I’ve stocked up on, and if I need it, the Pokémon Center isn’t that far away. It would just make me lose some time in the trip there and back, not to mention the (albeit not very long) waiting while everyone gets healed.
I’m worried I may have overdone it today. I tried staying out longer than usual this evening, even making lunch and dinner out of on-the-go rations instead of buying something, so that the team would have the maximum amount of time possible to train. But they showed signs of slowing down, even after I explained that we really needed to put our noses to the grindstone. I hope I wasn’t pushing them past their limits—or wait, do I want to? Is that a way to boost their limits? Or would that just exhaust them and make them unable to do much? Because that I definitely don’t want to do.

I did ask one of the nurses here at the Pokémon Center if Pokémon can rest sufficiently in their Poké Balls after a particularly tiring day, and he said that, while Poké Balls did offer some rest, a more comprehensive one could be achieved through natural means, i.e., without putting them into the stasis of Poké Balls. He did manage to talk me into renting a room that the Center has for that very purpose for the night, so hopefully that’ll help.

I need to get rest of my own, though.
Everyone was looking better today (including myself—or at least I felt better), so I thought we’d check out the gym. The trainers there don’t fuck around: we were able to beat the ones we challenged, but only a handful wore out my team, so I had to come back to the Center. It’s a good way to fight strong opponents, but I don’t want the Pokémon to get tired too quickly.

But somehow we need to get up to Clair’s level soon.
Fuck. Elm just sent me a message asking when I thought I’d come back to New Bark Town. He’s starting to ask questions. Hell, he’s probably been asking questions for a while now, just now he’s actually asking me instead of himself.

I can’t stay here for much longer. But is the team ready to face Clair?

…Fuck it, I’ll tell him I want to spend one more day on my own before coming back. If we push it, we can get to our goal by tomorrow.
The team’s in the Center’s resting room again. They’ll need it, because we need to fight Clair tomorrow.

I do think we’re in a decent place. Mara evolved into a Pidgeot earlier today, so that’s good. …Shit, I feel like I should be happier for her for reaching her final form, but I’m too preoccupied with worrying about my plans. Hopefully I can have an opportunity to feel it later.

Quick rundown of the rest: Heidi and Louis are still fighting hard, Wulfric seems determined not to be outdone by them and so has put in a lot of work himself, Lara has adopted a laser focus on training after seeing how serious I am, and Nora’s doing okay, even though she’s still a Golbat. I guess I haven’t known her for long enough to get that bond to evolve her into Crobat. She can be our reserve fighter tomorrow.

Wait, fuck! I forgot to actually schedule a match! I’d better get over there early tomorrow morning and hope one’s available before long.

For now…deep breaths. Gotta calm myself enough to fall asleep. I’ll take care of what I have to take care of tomorrow.
Clair’s available almost right away. We’re doing this. I just have to keep a cool head and pray that the training we did was enough.

Cycle: Category
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
DonphanArmorWulfric
GyaradosAtrociousHeidi
GolbatBatNora
FeraligatrBig JawLouis
PidgeotBirdMara
MarowakBone KeeperLara

I think this holds the record for most individual entries in a single update. But most of them are short, and I thought they got the story to an appropriate point to leave off.

To anyone who thought, "hey, wait, Slowpoke aren't in Dark Cave," you're absolutely right. The grind for Clair took a while, and as part of it, I went to other places in Johto to train up, like Union Cave. That took me past Slowpoke Well, and while I was retrieving the items in the bottom floor, I encountered a Slowpoke, which was my catch for the area. Her category is high enough that she could conceivably see use, so I wanted to make sure I included her, but it would make no sense for Adam to travel that far with his plan being to train and challenge Clair as soon as he could. Therefore I made Vivien my catch for the nearby Dark Cave, a location that I didn't get a catch from in-game.

As for Adam, he's really rushing through Blackthorn City, isn't he? Wonder how that will turn out for him…
 
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bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,036
Location
in the sunshine
Nature
Gentle
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon can be found encouraging plant growth in other people's gardens, but can be territorial about the resulting blooms
"wonder how that will turn out for him" SQUINTS

that doesn't sound promising.....
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
929
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
Clair’s available almost right away. We’re doing this. I just have to keep a cool head and pray that the training we did was enough.
Ah the franticness is palpable here!! Especially with Elm getting suspicious now. Adam is rushing and nervous, not a good combination when facing the most difficult gym leader.

Speaking of training, how do you stay sane while grinding so much in a Gen II game?
 

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
820
Nature
Rash
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Ghost
The good thing of doing this run in gen2 is the fast-forward button. The biggest danger is also the fast-forward button...

Not much happened this round, but I can feel the tension around, and that's no joke at all.
And, if I remind well, there's a mandatory visit to New Bark before going to league. Oops. How will Elm react to that League frenzy, and how bad can things turn to Adam while in that rush? Prospects aren't the best, but I have my hopes high regardless...
 

apocalypsewriter

Conqueror of the Fuchsia Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
5390
Caught
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
54
Can't wait to see how the battle goes! And the fallout which will follow when returning down to New Bark. A lot is converging about now. The build up is definitely delicious.
 
OP
QuietGuardian

QuietGuardian

Johto League Champion
🌱Featurer
Screenshotter
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
33
Caught
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,578
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Dark
  2. Ground
@bhelryss Well, you never know. Maybe everything actually did go smoothly and I'm just trying to build dramatic tension.

@Spectacles I wanted Adam's frantic feelings to come through, so happy to hear that was your impression! As for all the Gen II grinding, the gameplay for this run happened a long time ago, but I'm guessing I went through the motions while watching YouTube videos in a browser window, which is an approach I still use today.

@Leon Yorunaki Yeah, the tension for upcoming events was definitely the focus. And you're correct about a visit to New Bark Town being necessary to access the League. Not that that necessarily equates to an encounter with Elm, but the possibility's definitely there…

@apocalypsewriter Thanks, glad you're enjoying the buildup! Things are definitely coming to a head, in one way or another.

“Kingdra, return.”

In a flash of light, the unconscious Kingdra lying in front of Gym Leader Clair vanished. She cast her gaze to the other side of the battlefield, where a Gyarados was barely keeping itself upright, swaying slightly with exhaustion. Behind it stood her opponent, seventeen-year-old Adam Blakely. His expression, which had previously borne sky-high levels of focus and tension, began to develop into one of incredulous realization. “I…won?”

Clair put her hands on her hips. “You have managed to defeat my team of Pokémon, yes.”

Joy and satisfaction now began to take their place on Adam’s face. “Yes! I did it! Great job, Heidi!” He pulled out a Great Ball and recalled the Gyarados, then walked along the battlefield, taking long strides to put himself in front of Clair in a few seconds, where he looked at her expectantly.

Clair met his gaze with a steely expression. “You won, yes. In the process, you drove your entire team of six Pokémon to exhaustion, when they looked like they had already been through a lot.”

Adam’s expression fell as he realized he was not getting the congratulations he had expected. “But…they pulled through in the end!”

“At what cost? Can you be sure that none of your Pokémon have suffered severe strains or other debilitating injuries that will not heal so quickly?”

“I…I can take them to the Pokémon Center right after this!”

“A Pokémon Center is not a miracle cure. There are some things that they cannot heal in just a few minutes. There are some things that they cannot heal at all.” She folded her arms. “Let me ask you a question. There were multiple times when it was clear your Pokémon were falling behind in this battle, when their exhaustion was catching up to them. Yet instead of recalling them, you kept pushing. Why did you not read the signs and do what was best for them?”

Adam’s tone became defensive. “Are you saying I shouldn’t have tried to win?”

“Winning isn’t everything. And besides, if you wanted to win, why not take the time to ensure it? It was clear that you at least had a chance in our battle. If you had prioritized the well-being of your Pokémon, you could have taken the loss here, gone back to training, then returned in another few days with a team that was much more suited to the task of defeating me.”

“A few days?”

Clair raised an eyebrow. “Being a proficient Pokémon Trainer takes time and effort. Surely you realize that by now.”

“Well, yeah, sure, but…” Adam swallowed nervously. “Okay, I see your point. I’ll make sure to think about that from now on. Can I have the badge?”

Clair stared at him for several seconds, reading his uneasiness as his gaze shifted and he fidgeted. Finally, she answered. “I cannot award you the Rising Badge at this time.”

Adam’s face reflected the shock that accompanied that statement. “What? But…but I won our battle!”

“As a Gym Leader, it is my responsibility to make sure that challengers are worthy of being awarded with my gym’s badge. While that qualifier often equates to winning a battle against me, there are exceptions. And I will not let someone so reckless be allowed to enter the Pokémon League.”

“But…I have to!”

“And why is that?”

“I…I can’t say. I just need this badge!”

Clair unfolded her arms. “If you cannot tell me what your reasoning is, I have no reason to believe you. Come back in a few days with a team that can fight me without overexerting themselves.” She turned to leave.

“Wait!” Adam called out. “Please! I need this, it’s really important!”

Clair looked back at him. “If it’s so important, take the time to work for it.”

“I need it now! Please!”

Clair sighed, then slowly turned back to face Adam again. “You’re going to be persistent about this, aren’t you? Fine. If you want another chance to prove yourself worthy of the Rising Badge, you may take the Dragon Clan Challenge.”

Adam blinked. “The Dragon Clan Challenge?” His expression was apprehensive, but there was a hint of hope in it, as well.

“Yes. It is a tradition belonging to the founders of this city, going back hundreds of years. If you pass, you will be granted the Rising Badge.” Her expression darkened. “Be warned, though: it is not for the faint of heart, and there are consequences of failing. If you choose to accept it, it is at your own risk.” When he hesitated, she added, “Of course, it is up to you. You may leave this gym and prepare yourself more adequately for a future battle with me. There is no penalty for not obtaining your badge on your first try.”

Adam swallowed. “No…I’ll take the Dragon Clan Challenge.”

His answer was mildly surprising, but Clair did her best to hide it. “Very well. Go to the northernmost point of town, where you will find the Dragon’s Den. Repeat this line to the man standing guard and he will let you in: ‘The waterfall shines in the autumn sun.’ After that, go to the shrine in the center of the cavern. There you will be tested.” Her gaze flickered to the Poké Balls at his belt. “Before that, though, I would advise leaving your Pokémon at the Pokémon Center for a check-up. You will not need them for your test.”

Nervousness was still written all over Adam’s face, but he nodded. “Okay.”
Adam supposed he should have expected a place called the Dragon’s Den to be impressive, but still, he couldn’t help but stare after he’d entered. It was a single open space, but the walls rose hundreds of feet, gently curving towards the top, where an opening in the ceiling cast the day’s light into the chamber. A clear blue pond filled the center, sparkling in the sun, and perched on top of it was a wooden shrine, supported by posts at each corner and connected to the floor of the cave by three bridges, extending outward at 120-degree angles.

Adam felt himself tense up. That had to be the location that Clair had directed him to, where the challenge would take place. He wished he had some idea of what it was going to be…but Clair hadn’t been inclined to tell him, and he was pretty sure she hadn’t been in the mood to answer his questions. Her reprimand still stung him…but hopefully he could somehow prove himself now, with this second chance.

As he walked forward, he became conscious of what sounded like noises of battle echoing around him. He glanced to the side and found that he could make out figures in the distance, along the outskirts of the cavern. It didn’t take long to identify them as trainers and Pokémon, and they looked like they were going through training exercises of various kinds. Some were concentrated on low-activity tasks he couldn’t make out, and some were simply sparring. His hand instinctively went to his belt, but there were no Poké Balls there, as he had taken Clair’s advice and dropped off his team at the Pokémon Center before coming. He really hoped she had been exaggerating when she’d talked about the kinds of injuries they could suffer…

He clenched his hand into a fist and continued walking, reaching the nearest bridge before long. It creaked slightly as he walked across, but otherwise gave no indication of lacking the strength to support him (a comfort after his experience in the Burned Tower). Drawing nearer to the shrine, he noticed two figures standing at the door. He became aware of their gazes on him, but he tried not to let it bother him too much and kept walking. Still, it felt like longer than it should have before he reached his destination and stood face-to-face with the two figures, both clad in dark blue fancy-looking robes.

The one on his right spoke. “What is your business here?” she asked.

Adam cleared his throat. “Um…Clair sent me, to take the Dragon Clan Challenge.”

The guards exchanged a quick glance, then the one on the left nodded. “Yes, she has informed us of your coming,” he said in a deep voice. “You may enter. Please remove your shoes in the antechamber, then proceed into the main sanctum. Your examiner will meet you shortly.”

Moving in unison, the guards each grasped a large door handle and pushed inward, revealing a small room with a smaller but ornate golden door on the other side. Adam stepped through, and the door shut behind him—and as they did, he couldn’t help feeling trapped. Taking a deep breath, he removed his shoes as instructed, then slowly put a hand on the golden doors and pushed. They swung inward, and he passed through, emerging into a larger, dimly-lit area. A handful of lamps provided low light, allowing Adam to see the large dragon statue on the right wall. It looked like it had been carved out of wood and intricately decorated with different shades of blue paint. It didn’t look like any Dragon Pokémon he was familiar with, but he thought he saw some aspects of different ones represented together. Around the other walls hung other, much smaller, carved dragon heads.

Unsure of what to do now, Adam stood in place, trying not to appear as awkward as he felt. Minutes passed, however, and there was no sign of any other person, so he began to slowly walk around the room. “This is the place, right?” he muttered to himself. “They said ‘the main sanctum’…I mean, this does seem pretty main.” He looked around at the dragon heads on the wall. “Is this part of the challenge? Is there some sort of clue here?”

But just a few seconds after he started examining one, he heard a noise from across the room and looked up to see another pair of golden doors opening, through which came an old man dressed in robes similar to those of the guards outside, only his had golden fringes. “Ah, welcome,” he said in a gracious tone. “Adam Blakely, I presume?”

Adam blinked. “Uh, yeah. How’d you know?”

“Clair called me and told me you were coming.” The old man held up a PokéGear, then, upon noticing Adam’s somewhat surprised expression, said, “Oh come now, you didn’t think that just because we practice ancient traditions in this temple, that means we don’t make use of helpful technology, did you?”

“Uh…” Adam was saved from giving a proper answer by a small retinue of more people in blue robes carrying in several items. They moved to the center of the chamber, set them down, then turned and bowed to the large dragon statue before leaving.

Adam looked down. Now in the middle of the room was a small table, with two simple mats lying next to it across from each other and an ornate-looking teapot with matching cups. The old man gestured to them. “Please, sit.”

Adam hesitated, still unsure what to make of the situation, but he quickly decided it would be in his best interests to follow along, at least for now. He lowered himself onto one of the mats, and his companion followed suit with the other mat. “What…is this the challenge?” he asked.

The man smiled. “Not quite what you were expecting, was it? In truth, the Dragon Clan Challenge has gone through many changes over the years. Once, it was a ritual in which the individual taking the challenge would face a formidable Dragon Pokémon. They may have had to physically subdue it, calm it down with their words, or perform any other task that the elders saw fit. Of course, when we got permission from the Pokémon League to include it as an optional feature of earning the Rising Badge, we couldn’t include any elements that would put a trainer in genuine harm’s way. Therefore, we have made certain substantial modifications.”

Adam glanced down. “…So now it’s just a tea party?”

“Not entirely,” the man replied. “We will sit and have our tea under the watchful gaze of the Azure Dragon.” He gestured to the large statue. “Even if you are unfamiliar with it, I suspect you can feel a certain presence, no?” Adam glanced over to it…and he had to admit, there was a definite power that it radiated. “Furthermore, I will be questioning you during this process. We of the Dragon Clan are well trained in reading others…but keeping with the spirit of the old traditions, I am not the only one who will be testing you.”

From his robes, he pulled out an old-looking Poké Ball and pressed the release button, and a blue, serpentine Pokémon appeared in the room with them. “This is Guanyin,” said the man. “A Dratini, and one of our greatest helpers in our work.” He put a hand to his chest. “And you may call me Master Drascu. Now, shall we begin?” He lifted the teapot and filled both tea cups, then set it back down. “Drink, and we will talk.”

Trying to keep down his nervousness, Adam lifted his cup to his lips and sipped gingerly. He was no tea expert, but it still seemed like high-quality stuff…although it was hot, so he couldn’t drink too much at once. As he did, he noticed the Dratini uncoil its long body and slide over to him, then begin to crawl onto his lap. “Um…” he said.

“It is part of the evaluation process,” said Drascu. “Guanyin will be able to sense your true intentions more effectively if she is physically closer. Assuming, of course, that that is no source of great discomfort. If it is, we will use another method.”

“Uh, no, I guess it’s okay…” Guanyin had passed her head over his lap and was now curling around his torso.

“Good. Rest assured, she will do you no physical harm…unless she is provoked, of course.”

Adam wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, but it made his heart beat a little faster as the Dratini continued winding up his body, finally stopping when her head was at his left shoulder.

“So,” said Drascu, having just taken a drink himself, “Adam Blakely. Clair has told me that she believed you to be overworking your Pokémon in your battle with her.”

Adam instantly felt defensive. “Well, okay, maybe, but—”

Drascu held up a hand. “Do not rush to speak in your defense. That is not what I want to hear right now.” Adam fell silent, hoping he hadn’t already made a catastrophic misstep. “First, a few simple questions. Tell me: what are Pokémon to you?”

Adam blinked. “Huh?”

“That is the question I would like you to answer first. Please answer freely and honestly.”

“Uh…” Adam thought. There was nothing wrong with being honest here, was there? He was confident he could come up with an “ideal” answer, but he didn’t want to test his examiners’ ability to detect untruths. “Well…I mean, they’re fascinating creatures…uh, they can make great companions…”

Drascu spoke up. “I am not asking what you think Pokémon are. I am asking what they are to you. How do you see Pokémon in relation to yourself? What is your impression of them after obtaining seven badges from the Pokémon League?”

“Oh, sorry.” Adam thought some more, focusing his mind on the experiences he’d had with Louis, Mara, Deborah, Una, Heidi, and everyone else. “They’re…they’re pretty great. Um, they’re not perfect, but, well, neither are we. We humans, I mean. But…they’re really resilient, almost always willing to push forward even when the going gets tough. And they’re great to have around. Just, for like, companionship, and reassurance that things will go well, and…yeah, stuff like that.”

It wasn’t an answer he was particularly proud of, and as soon as he’d stopped speaking, he wished he could’ve had more time to prepare his response. But Drascu was nodding, and from his shoulder, Guanyin let out a “kyuuuuu.” “Thank you,” said the old man. “What about when battling? What helps you to win your Pokémon battles?”

“What…helps me to win them?” Adam repeated. “Uh…I guess it helps to know what I’m up against, and figure out who would do best, and make sure they’re prepared well enough. Other than that, um, it’s good to just know things in general, I guess, so you can make calls during the battle if things don’t go like you thought they would.”

“So you place importance on the value of strategy and preparation?”

“Uh, yeah, I guess.”

“I see. What about when raising Pokémon in general? What is most important for that?”

Adam thought again. “Well…maybe just looking out for them? Like, I want to make sure they can get stronger, but I don’t want to put them in dangerous situations to do it. And I’ve got to make sure that I’m communicating with them in some way. Like…I’ve had instances where I’ve had a Pokémon that’s tough to raise because of their attitude. But I’ve just had to let them know that things are going to be a certain way and help them…get used to it.” He hesitated, thinking of Gretel. “But then…it doesn’t always go well. Still…I want to make sure I keep pressing on for everyone else.”

“Hm.” Drascu looked at him as Guanyin let out another “kyuuuu!” “Interesting response. You appear to have genuine care for your Pokémon companions. Yet you seem to have overlooked that in the pursuit of victory against Clair.”

Adam tensed up. “I…I didn’t want to push them beyond their limits. But…I needed to win!”

The elder’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Did you? Then let me ask you this next question. Why are you so ardent in your attempts to reach the Indigo Plateau? There is no time limit you are under. What caused this seeming lack of patience that Clair noticed?”

Adam hesitated. He should’ve known it would come to this. But what could he say to such an important figure in the very hometown of Lance Varga that wouldn’t get him immediately thrown out? “I…I saw something recently that makes me need to get to Indigo Plateau as soon as possible.”

“And what would that be?”

“…It’s something that I can’t tell anyone about.”

“Why not?”

“…It’s dangerous.” And no one would believe me, he silently added.

“Oh? If danger is the only factor here”—Adam wasn’t sure if he was imagining the slight emphasis on “if”—“then surely it would help to let others know, would it not? One person cannot always tackle danger all by themselves. And besides, is it not your duty to inform the appropriate people of the danger so that they may handle it?”

Who the fuck are the “appropriate people” when you’re the only one that knows the Champion is an imposter? Adam thought. “…What if I can’t?”

“I fail to see a reason why that would be. If it is a matter of secrecy, I can assure you that I, at least, am more than capable of being discreet. And, I will add, if there is a message you need to get to the Pokémon League, I am quite capable of helping with its delivery.” He gave a small smile. “Being the grandfather of the Champion does come with some benefits.”

Adam started. “You’re…Lance’s grandfather?!”

Drascu looked curious. “Indeed I am. I am Clair’s grandfather, as well—she and Lance are cousins. I have known her all her life, which is why I was able to trust her in her assessment of you and see if I could investigate further.”

Adam looked away, his mind reeling. No way he could tell Drascu the truth! He wasn’t the right person to deliver the news of his own grandson’s death! He was just someone who’d been in the right place at the right time—or the wrong place at the wrong time perhaps would be more accurate.

Drascu spoke again. “This information seems to have distressed you. Why is that?”

Adam’s thoughts cast about wildly for something to say. “Uh…I’m gay! And, uh, I’m in love with Lance, and, uh, didn’t want his family to know!” It was not a good excuse, he knew, but it had popped into his head and he barely had time to think of anything.

Drascu raised an eyebrow. “That’s not something that I would call exceptional. Plenty of people have become attracted to my grandson over the years. And it hardly explains your need for such urgency.”

“Oh, uh…I mean, my brother’s in love with him! But, um, he’s dying, and he needs me to pass on his love letter…” Adam was pretty sure the temperature of the room was dropping, and it was all he could do to keep from wincing, knowing that his outlandish attempts at lying were crashing and burning. Drascu’s expression had become cool, and even though he wasn’t looking at Guanyin, he could feel the Dratini’s distaste radiating off of her.

The dragon master spoke. “You are changing your story quite frequently, aren’t you? First there was something dangerous that you saw, then you professed love for Lance, and now you’ve passed it on to your ‘dying brother.’” He shook his head. “You have shown me some positive qualities, but your inability to tell the truth makes me believe that you cannot be trusted with the final badge of the Pokémon League. I suggest you spend some time on self-reflection until you are able to reach a point at which you can convey your honest feelings and do not endanger the Pokémon you battle with.” Adam’s heart sank. “Furthermore, I must impose a consequence for your actions.”

Adam tensed up, and he suddenly became very aware of the six-foot-long Pokémon coiled around his body. “Wh…what is it?”

“I will recommend to Clair that you are given a period of time during which you may not challenge the Gym again. In this case, I believe a fortnight should suffice.” Seeing Adam’s confused expression, he elaborated. “That is to say, two weeks.”

Adam’s jaw dropped. Two weeks? That would make his plan impossible to pull off! Elm would never let him stay in Blackthorn City for that long, and by then, the fake Lance could have made his move! “But…”

Drascu gestured to Guanyin, and the Dratini began to slide down Adam’s body. “Being a Pokémon Trainer worthy of challenging the Elite Four and Champion means more than just training Pokémon to be strong. We of the Dragon Clan are tasked with making sure challengers have these qualities. And I cannot let you through based on what you have said to me.”

Adam felt hollow. He’d actually come close to doing something about Team Rocket’s plan, but it hadn’t gone through. He hadn’t been able to pull it off.

Drascu spoke again, and though Adam wasn’t looking directly at him, he could tell the old man was looking in his direction. “There is no need to be so hard on yourself. But you must learn to better yourself, as well. Even my grandson, talented as he is, did not get to the point where he was worthy to become Champion in a short period of time. Through patience and hard work, he learned the true meaning of strength and humility, making him into the man he is today.” He stood to leave, Guanyin now at his side. “Perhaps keeping that in mind will help you on your own journey of—”

“He’s dead.”

Drascu froze. Adam forced himself to look at him, and saw the dragon master’s expression turn into something he hadn’t seen before. Rather than composure, patience, or disappointment, Drascu’s face registered confusion. “…I beg your pardon?”

The words had slipped out of Adam, but having said them seemed to unblock the dam that had been holding back the truth. “Lance. He’s…he’s dead. I…I saw it, Team Rocket killed him, and they’ve replaced him with an imposter.” He swallowed. “I’m…I’m so sorry, I know I’m not the right person to tell you this, but…I’m the only person who knows.”

“Kyuu!” Guanyin drew herself up, her face angry and tone indignant. Drascu did not express the same anger, but his expression darkened. “You…saw it? When?”

“When he went to investigate them at Mahogany Town. I was just there and he brought me along. We got separated, and…I found him later…”

Drascu’s frown deepened. “This is…a very serious matter you speak of. Do you have any sort of proof that you can show me?”

“…No.”

The dragon master’s tone became icy. “Then why on earth should I believe you?”

“I don’t know!” Agitated, Adam jumped to his feet. Guanyin tensed, as if expecting an attack, but he turned away from the two of them and began pacing. “I have no fucking idea what I’m doing! I’ve spent the past several days in absolute terror because I don’t know what I’m facing or what I can really do! I’ve just been moving forward in the blind hope that somehow I can make a difference in this fucked-up situation that I and the entire region have been put in! And I’m no master, I just became a trainer a month ago, which was all to repay a debt because I fucked up in the first place, but somehow I made my way through most of the region in one piece, and then this fucking shit comes up—and I know I’m not the one suffering most, I’m still alive, but I couldn’t fucking do anything to save Lance and now I feel completely alone in this ridiculous scenario where I’m the only one who knows that something needs to be done but can’t do a thing to prove it!” He turned his anguished face towards Drascu. “I never wanted my Pokémon to get hurt, but I thought that getting quickly to the Pokémon League could let me do something! I’ve been feeling like I’m racing against a time bomb, desperately trying to get to it and hoping against hope that I’ll be able to turn it off and not get myself killed in the process! And maybe it was too reckless and this was something that never could’ve worked, or maybe I just fucked it up, because, well, that’s just what I fucking do, but I thought there was a chance, and I couldn’t let myself stand by and let happen whatever evil plan is coming next!”

He paused, breathing heavily. And a second after he did so, a noise came from his backpack. It wasn’t something he’d heard before; it sounded like a kind of chime. But there was more to it, almost like it had a mystical quality.

He wasn’t the only one who noticed it. “What is that?” asked Drascu.

“Uh…I don’t know,” Adam admitted. His outburst having lost momentum, he decided he could investigate. Moving quickly, he swung his backpack off his back and opened it. The chime itself had stopped, but there was still a ringing in the air. And it was coming from… “This, I guess,” he said, holding up the bell that the director of the Radio Tower had given him.

Drascu walked over, his expression intent on the item. “May I see it?” he asked, holding out his hand. Adam nodded, but when he passed it over, the ringing in the air stopped.

For a few moments, the dragon master examined the bell. As he did, Adam saw various emotions cross his face. Curiosity, wonder, disbelief, and what looked like sadness. “Do…do you know what it means?” he asked.

Drascu looked back at him, his expression solemn. Wordlessly, he returned the bell. Then, he pulled out his PokéGear, dialed a number, and held it to his ear. “Clair. Yes, I have finished examining him. I request that you register him as a victor of your gym and make your way here with a Rising Badge. Thank you.”

Adam blinked. “Wait…did I pass after all?”

Drascu hung up, then put a hand on Guanyin’s head as she looked at him with an inquiring stare and fixed his gaze on Adam. “Adam Blakely…if what you say is in fact true, then there is something more that you need to do.”
Joseph had to work hard to keep his feelings to himself as Leonard drove the car over the rough terrain heading in the direction of Blackthorn City. They hadn’t been on the road for that long, but already Joseph thought this was a poor use of their time. Not to mention it was an awkward setup, with him having to keep his laptop open and observed at all times, as the car took its fast and bumpy trek.

Something on the screen caught his eye, and he looked more closely. “Oh, great…he’s on the move, Leonard.”

“On the move where?” Leonard asked, his tone determined.

“He’s been heading west for a few minutes, but he’s just passing the border of the city, into the mountains. And it’s a straight line, too. He might be on a Flying Pokémon.” Joseph sat back with a small groan. “I don’t think we’ll be able to keep tracking him like—” But Leonard cut him off, swerving to the left more sharply than Joseph would have liked. “Wh…where are we going now?”

“Through Dark Cave. There’s a path that can be driven, and it’ll get us to Violet City more quickly than going back down and through Cherrygrove.”

“You mean we’re still…” Joseph ran a hand through his hair. “Leonard, look. I understand why you’re upset, but why not contact the authorities? They’d be able to reach his location much more easily than we can, and they can stop him from doing anything else.”

“The authorities wouldn’t be able to deal with this appropriately,” Leonard replied. “And I don’t believe you know exactly what I am feeling, Joseph.”

Joseph frowned. “Yeah, well, I don’t think you know exactly how I’m feeling, either. I know Adam’s been a big help, but you’re acting like he’s in trouble rather than doing something that he knows he shouldn’t. Again, might I add. What makes you think this trip is worth abandoning our work for the day in a desperate attempt to track him down? He’s not our responsibility.”

For a minute, Leonard didn’t say anything. Then, he gave a small sigh. “Joseph, I’m sorry that my actions aren’t sitting well with you. To be honest, you do make some good points. But…” He seemed to be thinking of the best way to express his thoughts. “Let me ask you something. Our pursuit as scientists is to uncover more of the secrets of the universe for humanity to understand. Do you think that we will ever know everything that there is to know?”

It was an odd question, but Joseph thought about his answer. “Well…I hope not. Otherwise, that would be the end of discoveries. And…I guess I do think that the pursuit of discovery is an eternal thing.”

Leonard nodded. “I agree. Some things we will never fully understand, nor be able to fully explain. And, in this case…I cannot fully explain why I feel the way I do. Call it a gut feeling or something deeper, but something is telling me that I need to make personal contact with Adam as soon as I can.”

Joseph hesitated. “I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries, but…this doesn’t have anything to do with Miriam, does it?”

“…I don’t think it does. Of course, I can’t say for certain. And I may be wrong.” He smiled tightly. “But if we were always afraid of being wrong, we’d never get anywhere, would we?”

“I mean, that’s true, but…”

“If I turn out to be mistaken here, Joseph, I will make it up to you. For now, I would like to continue to follow my instincts. Keep an eye on his movements as you have been, please.”

Joseph sighed. “All right.”

This is essentially part one of an important section of the story that I split due to length. Part two will be next time, along with the current team report and notes on gameplay, including the Clair battle.
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,036
Location
in the sunshine
Nature
Gentle
Pronouns
they/them
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
this pokemon can be found encouraging plant growth in other people's gardens, but can be territorial about the resulting blooms
ooooOOOO THINGS ARE REALLY GETTIN MOVING

what's up leonard.....what are you thinkin :3c?

also im glad adam got the opportunity to speak to somebody (though like, having a dratini lie detector confirming your grandson's death and replacement is probably....not a good way to find this out) about what's been happening, this is way too much for one pair of shoulders
 

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
820
Nature
Rash
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Ghost
oh boy, way to make sense of the original "crying baby" personality Clair shows in the games. Pushing a team too hard seems a reasonable motive for not giving the badge, and it makes some sense of the whole ordeal into Dragon's Den.
However, however... I can't help but be at unease from the last part. Who TF are these guys and why are they so interested in Adam? I'm sure they're up to no good and the idea of even more problems going his way scares me to a bit.
 

apocalypsewriter

Conqueror of the Fuchsia Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
5390
Caught
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
54
Ah! What's going on? THE MYSTERY.

On the other hand, while it was definitely such a tense read, I am glad Adam got to spill everything to Drascu. And even more glad for the bell, because apparently the Dratini reading Adam wouldn't be enough. Which is fair, it's why Drascu asked for proof. Because Adam could believe it and still be confused about what actually happened. I really feel for him though, it's a terrible thing to hear about a loss of a loved one. Especially when you think your grandson is still alive because some imposter is out there.

Still, hopefully with Drascu on his side, believing him, Adam will have some assistance moving forward. I would have wondered if Drascu might try to take matters in his own hand and tell Adam to leave it be for those with more experience and clout, but his last line is saying Adam has more, so no. Super curious now! (As if I wasn't before.) Pins and needles here for the next update, thanks for this one! It was definitely a blast.
 

Spectacles

Rule Maker
Team Alpha
Pokédex No.
139
Caught
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
929
Location
Pennsylvania
Nature
Jolly
Pronouns
she/her
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
Pokédex Entry
It hides deep inside caves where no light ever reaches it and remains virtually motionless there. ~Pokemon Crystal, entry #52
“You won, yes. In the process, you drove your entire team of six Pokémon to exhaustion, when they looked like they had already been through a lot.”
Huh, that is an interesting take. I was expecting maybe a loss due to Adam's haste but this is just as complicated.
“A Pokémon Center is not a miracle cure. There are some things that they cannot heal in just a few minutes. There are some things that they cannot heal at all.”
Clair would be great at doc-lockes.
No way he could tell Drascu the truth! He wasn’t the right person to deliver the news of his own grandson’s death!
Hnnng this part was so stressful! Poor Adam, I probably would have reacted the same way under that kind of pressure.
“I have no fucking idea what I’m doing!
Ah the poor guy. At least he finally got it off his chest to hopefully someone who can help him.
 

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