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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.
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 Adam is indeed discovering that doing things by yourself isn't always the way to go. And yeah, things are still moving along!

@Leon Yorunaki Much as I like Johto, I do think it's a little silly that Clair just refuses to give you the badge after you beat her, so I did want to reimagine that aspect of the game. Glad you liked it!
As for the two guys interested in Adam, I'll admit that your reaction was pretty much just what I was hoping for, introducing a mystery/potential threat after all this went down. I debated including that part at all, but you made me glad I did.

@apocalypsewriter Good old Clear Bell Ex Machina, huh? And yeah, Drascu is absolutely going to have a hard time with the loss of his grandson, even if that's not the focus here.
Yes, hopefully Adam is on the path to getting assistance. As for those with more experience taking matters into their own hands, you may find that addressed in this update.

@Spectacles I suppose I could've written in a loss, but I did beat Clair in-game, and I wanted to stick to that.
I don't know if Doc-Lockes would be Clair's expertise, but she I think has enough of a level head and reasoning mind that she'd be able to take on the challenge without too much stress unlike some Doc-Locke protagonists.
Adam in the Dragon's Den was stressful, but it was necessary to lead up to his outburst at the end, which was good to get out for both him and me.

Adam’s heart was beating fast as he entered Ecruteak City. He wished the trip could have been shorter, but Mara had only had enough energy to carry him just past Mahogany Town. At least she and the others hadn’t suffered any long-term injuries from battling Clair…but that didn’t mean they were back to top shape.

He angled himself right, remembering what Drascu had said about going to the temple at the north of the city. As he walked, his mind spun wildly, as it had been doing for almost the entire trip. Would the monks believe him? Was he actually going to meet Suicune? How in the world would he manage to handle that?

Time seemed to both stretch on and pass quickly, so that when the temple was in sight, he felt like his stomach had been twisting with anxiety for ages, but also like he had arrived too soon and wasn’t ready. Nevertheless, he continued his walk towards his destination.

That is, until a voice called out his name. “Adam!”

Adam started violently and turned. When he saw who was addressing him, his eyes went wide. Getting out of an old-looking SUV just a few feet away was Professor Elm. He strode in Adam’s direction, while behind him, Adam could see his assistant Joseph get out to stand next to the car. “Adam, what’s going on?”

“Wh-what are you doing here?” said Adam, dodging the question.

Elm frowned. “I saw online that you had won the Rising Badge. I thought that was odd, and when I tried to call you, you didn’t pick up. My intuition told me something was wrong, so I tracked your Pokédex and drove to meet up with you.”

Adam suppressed the urge to wince. He had been hoping that his winning the Rising Badge wouldn’t have been noticed so quickly, though he had suspected it when Elm had called his PokéGear earlier that day. He had been planning on coming up with an explanation once things had been better sorted out…but obviously that wasn’t going to work now.

Elm continued. “I’m not accusing you of anything, Adam, but getting the Rising Badge was not a part of our agreement, so I’d like to know what drove you to take that action. And as someone with a significant involvement in this project of yours, I do think I deserve to know.”

Adam felt hot with shame. Even though Elm wasn’t speaking in an accusatory tone, it still felt like Adam had shortchanged him. But…could he tell Elm the truth? He had held off on it in the interests of safety, and because it was almost too ridiculous to believe. However, Drascu had told him that the Clear Bell had rung for him because he had come out with the truth (and expressed a desire to help others). Could he really continue to suppress it? And while Elm was still wearing a frown, he didn’t look angry. He looked more concerned than anything.

Adam took a deep breath. “Okay…I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you anything. But…I’m doing something that’s kind of unbelievable.”

Elm’s expression became more curious. “How so?”

“Well…you remember that explosion in Mahogany Town? And how I told you I didn’t have anything to do with it? …That was a lie. I was there.”

The professor’s eyebrows jumped up. “You were? Are you okay?!”

“Uh, yeah, I’m fine. Well, physically, at least. But anyway…” Adam took another deep breath. “I was there with Lance, the champion, but Team Rocket killed him and I barely made it out. They replaced him with an imposter that looks and acts just like him, but it’s not him. I’m the only person who knew this, and I was terrified about what he was planning to do, so I thought I could try to get to the Pokémon League and dethrone him as Champion before that, even if that had a miniscule chance of working. That’s why I beat Pryce and fought Clair. I barely won, but she said she wouldn’t give me a badge unless I passed the Dragon Clan Challenge, so I went to their shrine in Blackthorn City and spoke to an elder. He didn’t believe me when I told him what was going on, but I’ve got this item that’s apparently called the Clear Bell and has a connection to Suicune, and it rang when I told him the truth, which he said is reflective of my soul and meant that I wasn’t lying. Then he sent me here to meet some monks and possibly even Suicune itself.” He began to speak more quickly. “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to get you involved with Team Rocket’s plot and because I didn’t think you would believe me. And I know I have no concrete evidence; I know this whole thing started with me stealing from you so you know I’m not trustworthy, but I swear it’s true, and if there’s anything I can do—”

“Who said I know you’re not trustworthy?”

Adam paused. “Huh?”

Elm’s expression remained serious, but it looked less intense than it had when Adam was explaining his situation. “Yes, you stole from me and that’s why I sent you on this journey in the first place. But even then, I didn’t think you were really untrustworthy. If I had, I would not have come up with this project as a way for you to repay me. As a matter of fact, I received a lot of pushback from the police when I proposed it along with dropping the charges.”

“You did?” Even as he asked that, Adam realized it wasn’t hard to believe. The stern faces of the officers that had dealt with him swam into his mind. “Oh, yeah, I guess that makes sense.”

Elm nodded. “They were concerned that sending you on a Pokémon journey would give you an excess of freedom—especially since, if you really wished, you could have disappeared entirely and started a new life as a trainer.”

“I could have?”

“Certainly. A place like Goldenrod City, for instance, would be almost guaranteed to have someone who could forge a new Trainer ID for you. Once that was done, you’d just have to catch some new Pokémon registered under it, leave behind the old ones and your Pokédex, and blend into the population of Johto. It wouldn’t be easy, but it would be possible. I, however, did not see that as a concern. I may have moved to New Bark Town only a few years ago, but that gave me enough time to get to know you on a basic level. And you’ve never struck me as anything like a malicious liar. When it came out that you were the one who had stolen my equipment, I thought that was just the result of a teenager making a dumb mistake. So, I thought, why not give him a chance to be more responsible? And you know what? You’ve done exactly that. You went along with my complex project idea and have put in dedicated work to raise many different Pokémon as an honest trainer. It hasn’t always been easy, but you’ve kept going, and with the Pokémon you send back to me, I’m able to see definite results. You’ve shown remarkable talent for it, too—here we are barely a month after you’ve started, and you’ve already proven yourself worthy of all eight Johto badges! Granted, your focus has been almost entirely on raising Pokémon during your journey, which has probably expedited your progress when compared to others, but that’s still no mean feat at all. And, furthermore, you seem to have been raising the Pokémon very well. You’re not cruel or careless. That says plenty about your character, too.”

“But…” Adam hesitated, but the thought had jumped to his mind and wouldn’t let go. “What about…the ones who didn’t make it?”

Elm nodded in understanding. “You mean Gretel, Benjamin, and Victor. It’s more than understandable that accidents would happen, Adam. I’ve never held that against you, especially after hearing the distress in your voice when you told me about them.”

Hearing those words, Adam felt like a large weight was lifted off his chest. Sure, Elm had never said that it was Adam’s fault he lost the Pokémon he had, but he hadn’t been able to shake the nagging suspicion. But hearing this from Elm now, when they were face-to-face and speaking openly…it felt much more believable.

The professor continued. “All that is to say, no, Adam, I don’t think you’re not trustworthy. So if you say that Team Rocket has replaced Champion Lance with one of their agents…” He hesitated briefly. “Well, I won’t pretend there’s no skepticism in me, but at the very least, I do not think you’re lying.”

Adam didn’t speak for a moment. His brain felt like it needed time to process everything Elm had said. All this time, he’d suspected Elm of harboring some inner resentment because of his crime against him, but the man had just earnestly told him that he trusted him, even when confronted with his crazy story. “You…you do actually believe me?”

“I do. And it sounds like you’re caught up in a very serious matter. I’d like to offer my assistance in any way that I can.” A thought seemed to strike him. “In fact…” He turned and walked back to his car, earning an inquisitive glance from Joseph. After exchanging a few words in a tone too low for Adam to hear, he opened the back door, took something out, and walked back. “This might be of use to you. And perhaps it will convince you that you have my full confidence.”

He held out the item, and Adam’s jaw dropped. Sitting in Elm’s hands was a Poké Ball with a purple top, adorned with two red spots and an elegant letter M. “The…the Master Ball?” He looked back up at Elm, his expression bewildered. “You’re…giving it to me?”

“I am. I have not been able to make great use of it, and at least at the moment, I think your need is much greater.”

Still, Adam couldn’t help staring at it. Not only was this one of the rarest known items, a Poké Ball that could catch nearly any Pokémon without fail…it was also the most valuable item he had stolen from Professor Elm, and the one that had really prompted the search for a thief that had led straight to him. Slowly, he reached out his hand, closed it around the ball, and took it. He felt like he should say something, but all that came out was, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I hope it helps. Is there anything else I can do?”

Adam blinked. “Oh! Um…” He racked his brain, and something came to mind. “Well…if I’m going to be working against Team Rocket…I’m a little worried about what they might do in retaliation. Could you do something to keep an eye on my mom? Maybe even get the police’s help, if they’re willing to cooperate? Or, like, even tell them that I’ve gone rogue and might strike again, or something.”

A small smile appeared on Elm’s face. “Yes, I will certainly do what I can in that regard. And your idea’s not a bad one—I think I may be able to convince our good friend Officer Dickless that you still pose a threat.”

Hearing Elm use his crass nickname evoked an involuntary laugh from Adam. It only lasted a second, after which he felt mildly embarrassed, but Elm just let out a small chuckle of his own. “I’ll go ahead with that. Do you know when you’re going to make your move?”

Adam shook his head. “No. I’m still not completely sure what I’m going to be doing, honestly; I was hoping that coming here with the Clear Bell would give me my next step.”

Elm nodded. “Then you go ahead with that and do what you need to do. I need to return to New Bark Town, but keep me updated, okay? That includes telling me if you need my help with anything else.”

Adam nodded. “Yeah, you got it.” He hesitated. “Thanks again for all your help…and sorry for not telling you anything before now.”

“Well, you’ve gotten caught up in something big and very troublesome. I know you had your reasons. Just remember now, though, that you don’t have to do this alone.”

Adam couldn’t help a smile rising to his face. “Okay…yeah.”

He turned to leave, but he had only walked a few steps before he heard Elm snap his fingers and exclaim, “Oh! One other thing.” He turned around. “I believe the Pokémon League itself has stricter guidelines than the gyms, so I don’t think you’ll be able to make a challenge with Pokémon that aren’t registered to your Trainer ID. When I get back to my lab, I’ll transfer all the ones you’ve trained so they’re officially registered to you.”

For the second time in their encounter, Adam’s jaw dropped. “You will? You’ll be giving them to me?” he asked, unable to keep the eagerness out of his voice.

Elm smiled kindly. “Yes. It’s something I’d been meaning to do at the end of your project, anyway, since you’ve invested so much time and effort in them and have formed such close bonds. But it sounds like this is the best time for that.”

For a moment, Adam didn’t move. Then, acting on impulse, he walked up to Elm and hugged him for a couple seconds, too overcome with emotion to put his feelings into words. He broke off and gave Elm a big smile, then ran off to the temple.
Today has been…I don’t even know how to describe it. SO much has happened. I don’t intend to cover it all here, because I’d be writing all night, but there’s been a ton of significance. The battle with Clair, the meeting with Drascu, and the encounter with Elm—by the way, Elm’s a fantastic guy and I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said or written about him. But I think the most incredible thing was what happened after all that.

So after Drascu identified the bell I got from the Radio Tower director as the Clear Bell, he told me to go to Ecruteak City and show it to the monks in the northern temple, since it’s so rare for it to ring for anyone. Well, I did, and they were amazed. They brought me to a back exit that led me to a path going to the Tin Tower, which was where someone with the Clear Bell should go and wait. I was to do all that alone, so I definitely felt nervous as I made the walk. In another scenario, I might have appreciated the peaceful silence of the area, but this time, it gave me more opportunity to wonder/worry about what was going to happen.

I got to the Tin Tower and hung up the Clear Bell as I was instructed to do. It rang out for a few minutes, then stopped. After that, nothing happened for a while, which I guess makes sense now that I think about it, but I was feeling really restless at the time. I waited for about forty-five minutes and was just wondering if there was a point when I should give this up and go back, when I heard a slight noise in one of the above floors—I should probably note that the area of the tower I was in was a central open space that extended all the way to the roof, so I could see all the floors going up from the ground level. I looked up…and Suicune jumped right down in front of me.

I stood still, and we stared at each other for a minute. I got the sense that Suicune was reading me somehow, but I forced myself not to look away. I even sorta tried to read it back, but to be honest, I got nothing—nothing, that is, until it sprang into action. It leapt backward, then started running and jumping around the area (looking a lot better than that makes it sound), and I got an image of a Poké Ball in my mind. After a few seconds, I realized that it was sending me a message: I was to try to capture it. Unfortunately, my Pokémon—holy shit they really are actually mine now—that I had with me at the time were still worn out from the battle with Clair, so they couldn’t help me weaken Suicune like a normal wild Pokémon. Of course, Suicune was no normal wild Pokémon, and somehow, I got the sense that it wasn’t asking to fight them. It was testing me and me alone.

I had a bunch of Ultra Balls with me, so I started throwing them at Suicune, but it did not make that easy. It was moving so fast that my first few throws didn’t even come close. After that, I started trying to watch it more carefully, to see if it had a pattern. I got a better sense of where to throw from that, though I still missed several times. I was really excited when one finally connected and confined Suicune…but it still wasn’t going easy on me, and it busted out. This continued for a little while; I even started picking up Ultra Balls that had missed and re-using them. I got better at aiming and nearly got Suicune to stay in a couple of them, but they never succeeded. And the balls that it escaped from broke, so my supply started going down.

Then I thought of Elm’s gift. The Master Ball. I worried a little about whether using it would offend Suicune, as sort of a cheat, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of instances where Legendary Pokemon have evaded capture even when confronted with a Master Ball. Plus, well, I also remembered Elm’s words about not having to do this alone. So I figured it would be fitting to use the thing he’d just given me. I took it out, took careful aim, and threw…and it connected. And I swear Suicune looked at me just before it hit and I got the sense that it could have avoided the ball if it had really wanted to. But it didn’t, and it was sucked in. For the next few seconds, I watched with bated breath, wondering if a Legendary Pokémon could bypass the Master Ball’s capability to flawlessly catch any Pokemon, but after a few moments of wiggling, it came to a stop. I had caught Suicune!

…Holy shit, writing that makes it feel more real, and more unbelievable. This is a Pokémon that some people think acts as a messenger of the gods, and other people think is an actual avatar! People have fought literal wars over Legendary Pokémon, and I’ve just got one in my pocket! Me, a kid from New Bark Town! How fucking insane is that?

I mean, I guess I can come up with a rationale for it. My guess is that Suicune will only be my Pokémon to help with this region-threatening Team Rocket situation, and after that, it’ll go its own way. Still, I don’t get why it’s me of all people that gets to be its trainer for a little while. Well…maybe I’m not the most worthy, but I’ll do everything I can to at least not be unworthy.

When I returned to the temple from the Tin Tower, I found the monks waiting for me, along with Morty and Eusine, whom they had contacted. I wound up explaining the whole situation to them, and since I had met Suicune and it had allowed me to capture it, they believed my story. We also got in contact with Drascu—one of the monks had his PokéGear number, I guess. And between all of us, we formed a plan.

Drascu had thought about confronting the fake Lance himself, but doing so might put him in danger, if the imposter decides to silence him. And with all his current influence, not-Lance can come up with reasons to avoid seeing people, to avoid clueing them in on the truth. So challenging the League still seems like our most reliable way to get to him. Furthermore, we need to do it soon; the League’s annual celebration of the summer solstice is coming up, and that seemed to the others like a perfect time for Team Rocket to make their move. Trouble is, in preparation for it, and to make sure things aren’t shaken up immediately beforehand, Indigo Plateau is closed to all challengers for ten days before the event, meaning I’ve only got until the 11th to complete my challenge.

The next question was which six Pokémon I should use. Obviously I’ve got Suicune. The other five took some discussing. Sadly, I fucked up with my category team and pushed them too hard for the Clair battle, meaning they won’t be fit enough to get started on training as soon as we’d like and I’ll have to leave them behind. I’m disappointed, since it had great Pokemon like Louis, Mara, and Heidi, and I would’ve liked them on my team when I became Champion. Then again, it’s possible I might not get to that point at all—but more on that later. My group and I decided I should lean towards taking Pokémon I’ve been training, since they’re already strong and have a bond with me. I’ll skip over the details, but in the end, we decided to bring Anne Marie and Gavin for their power and Deborah and Faith for their utility. For my sixth, Morty actually came up with a unique idea: Felix, Matt Watanabe’s Rhydon. Apparently, he was quite the battler some time ago, and even though he hasn’t been in that scene for a while, he’s displayed an eagerness to return to it. He’s been helping Mr. Watanabe with manual labor, but Mr. Watanabe’s not a trainer. So we got in contact with them, as well, and Mr. Watanabe agreed to the proposal, meaning Felix the Rhydon is now part of my team! I’m not used to him the same way I’m used to the others, but he seems agreeable, especially once we told him he’d be going with me for some very tough battles.

Wait, is this pretty much just my nickname team again? Weird how that turned out…

Once we’d settled on that, we moved on to next steps. Both Morty and Eusine, as it turns out, have pretty thorough battling experience, so they’re going to help with the training process. It needs to be intense, since we’re gearing up for the Elite Four and Champion, but it also needs to be carefully done, so I don’t excessively tire anyone out like I did the category team. There are also some special moves that will apparently be particularly useful for the challenges ahead that some of my Pokémon will have to work on learning. We’re going to do our best to get it done in just five days, since I’ll need two days to make the journey to the Indigo Plateau, where I’ll be able to schedule a challenge for the following day.

…I gotta say, it does feel a lot nicer to have people on my side to help me through this. I’m way less anxious than I have been the past few days. They’re giving me a lot to appreciate.

That being said, I will have to go through the battles alone. And they’re no picnic. The Elite Four all have different setups for battle, and while Lance has no gimmick, his Pokémon are the toughest of all. Yeah, it’s the fake Lance who’ll be using them, but I’m sure he knows how to. If he winds up backing me into a corner, we’ll need to think of a Plan B to reveal his true identity. The match will be broadcast live, so anything I can do will be sent to hundreds of people across the region. …Shit, that’s probably not the best way to put it. I’ll get stage fright if I think about that too much.

We didn’t actually start training today, since it was getting late in the afternoon when we finalized our plan. I did gather the team and bring them up to speed, though, and happily, they all displayed resolve to go through with it. The presence of Suicune might’ve helped, granted, but hey, Suicune’s presence helps me feel a hell of a lot better, so I can’t begrudge my the MY Pokemon the same. They’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

I got some dinner, finally able to feel like I don’t have to eat in a rush, then had a long call with my mom. She’s obviously worried for me, but she also said she was very proud of what I was doing. And that was really nice to hear.

Speaking of my family members, I wonder where Zane is now. Now that I’m not keeping my plan to myself anymore, I might actually consider getting his help. Even though he’s kind of a prick, I have to admit he’s a good fighter. But I have no way of contacting him, and while I’m not being 100% secretive about what I’m doing anymore, I’m definitely not going to do something like broadcast it to the region in the hopes of getting his attention.

I think that’s about everything for now. I’m staying in a lodge near the temple, free of charge thanks to Morty and the monks, and it’s got an inviting bed. And I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow. And my hand is getting really sore from writing.

All right, there's a bunch of stuff to go over on the back end this time.

First, the Clair battle. It wasn't as bad as I made it out to be here. Louis took down the Dragonair with Surf and Ice Beam; both paralyzed him with Thunder Wave, but I only had to use a Full Heal for the second, as I gave him a Przcureberry before the fight and he was faster and could 2HKO. Lara defeated the Dragonair with Thunderbolt, dishing out two Bonemerangs and taking two Dragonbreaths. And Heidi took care of Kingdra with Leer and Strength, while it didn't threaten her too much. I kept the victory in the story but changed it to be an undescribed particularly hard-fought win for two reasons: one, I wanted the difficulty to be more severe in-story, and two, it felt weird to give Clair three Dragonair when I've already established there are Pokémon from other regions in this version of Johto.

Second, Suicune. Admittedly, I did use the Master Ball on a Legendary, but I gave it a legitimate try first, using Heidi to get it to red and throwing a bunch of Ultra Balls (and a few Heavy/Great Balls). When those didn't work, I went for the Master Ball—but box Legendary or not, Suicune was still going to have to follow the Alphabetlocke rules, even if that meant not using them for the Elite Four. So, what random letter do I get for their name? An honest-to-goodness A. That's why Suicune will be on the team for this next stretch—I gave them the name Ace in-game, but that may or may not turn up in the actual story.

Third, the team. I rotated to nickname right after beating Clair, so the gameplay followed the rules even if the story didn't quite do so. Originally, Heidi and Igor were on that team, too, but catching Ace knocked off Igor. I went for the Indigo Plateau shortly thereafter, and in Victory Road, I caught Felix the Rhyhorn, so I had to go back and restructure my team, putting him on in place of Heidi. Since interrupting forward progress didn't make sense for the story, and because Adam needs strong Pokémon for this next segment, I reworked things so that Felix was already a battle-toughened Rhydon that he received in Ecruteak City. I'm also doing things out of order by training the team and then going to Indigo Plateau, as it was the other way around in-game, but it didn't make sense for Adam to go there first and then train his butt off in the current circumstances.

Things will be a little calmer the next update, but as you can tell, we're certainly heading for more excitement.

Cycle: Nickname
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
SuicuneAuroraAce*
TentacruelJellyfishAnne Marie
RaticateMouseDeborah
YanmaClear WingFaith
RhydonDrillFelix
KinglerPincerGavin
*gameplay only
 
Last edited:

apocalypsewriter

Conqueror of the Fuchsia Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
5390
Caught
Apr 4, 2022
Messages
56
Everything with Elm was so heartwarming. Though...
I don’t think you’re not untrustworthy.
The extra not here threw me off before I realized it must be a mistake. Or was it supposed to read "trustworthy"?

But how in the world did you get so lucky as to roll an A right then? I felt that in my bones.

You've inspired me to play an alphabetlocke too. I've never done an alphabetlocke before. I'm doing mine on a randomized Emerald and it's been loads of fun. One day I might combine an alphabetlocke with an apocalocke for maximum inanity.

As per usual, great update! Can't wait to see how things move forward from here. Adam with a whole support group behind him is all I've ever wanted. <3
 

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
you lucky b-
Double-A legendary? Granted, it exacerbates your electric weakness, but there's a huge competitive strategy called "overload", where you stack multiple pokemon of the same type so the opponent's checks can't handle enough. Water seems a reasonable type to do so in a Nuzlocke, especially when electric coverage is few and far between and you have multiple answers to Grass (yeah, Felix helps with Electric, too)

But this is not what this chapter is about, but redemption. Adam really deserved what came, and what's to come. Having people to help him at this last stretch is a nice something that makes this chapter a wholesome experience.
Also, re-reading last chapter with this one's knowledge opens up a load of stuff from that can, and will, be important. Way to tease us into danger, though.
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,037
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
ToT ELM STATING HE ALWAYS THOUGHT ADAM WAS TRUSTWORTHY

and getting the help he needs ;o;

and HIS POKEMON. HIS! HE LOVES THEM, THEY'RE HIS NOW!!!! im so soft about it
 

Electro

Dr. Ultimate Procrastinator Extreme
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
928
Caught
Oct 22, 2019
Messages
660
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he/him
Pokémon Type
  1. Fire
  2. Fighting
“Who said I know you’re not trustworthy?”
aaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAA
So, I thought, why not give him a chance to be more responsible? And you know what? You’ve done exactly that.
Oh god, this is wonderful.
“You…you do actually believe me?”

“I do. And it sounds like you’re caught up in a very serious matter. I’d like to offer my assistance in any way that I can.”
Trust and validation from the adults in his life!
I think I may be able to convince our good friend Officer Dickless that you still pose a threat.”
I do think the joke is funny, but it really says how well Elm thinks of Adam that he uses his insulting nickname for Officer Dickless.
Plus, well, I also remembered Elm’s words about not having to do this alone. So I figured it would be fitting to use the thing he’d just given me.
And I swear Suicune looked at me just before it hit and I got the sense that it could have avoided the ball if it had really wanted to.
Suicune: He could catch me at any time, but I want to be sure that he learned the lesson about the power of friendship.
 

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
Awww I’m so glad Adam was finally able to clear the air with Elm and will officially have his Pokémon registered to his ID!! And omg that’s hilarious that Suicune has an A nickname and is also the Aurora Pokémon. But hey, Suicune is a cool Pokémon and a lot of fun to use! Plus you won’t have to spend so much time grinding it!
 
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
@apocalypsewriter Mistake? Me? I have no idea what you're talking about, and if you look back at the last part, you'll find that segment completely makes sense. You must have misread it. (Seriously, though, thank you for pointing that out. It should indeed have been "trustworthy" instead of "untrustworthy.")
I'm honored to hear I've inspired you to try one of these yourself! I will say that while it's fun to be directed to use Pokémon you might not otherwise, I do sometimes get a little frustrated with being dictated exactly which Pokémon I have to use.

@Leon Yorunaki Interesting, I haven't heard of overload before. I do wonder if that's something that might involve sacrificing one or two Pokémon to the opponent's type counter, which isn't an ideal approach for a Nuzlocke. Fortunately, Electric is not a super-prevalent type in Crystal—and, like you said, I always have Felix.
And you're right that the focus of last update was the culmination of what Adam's done throughout his journey and the positive effects it's had. It was a great feeling to get to this point!

@bhelryss I love seeing your reactions! Yes, there's a lot of positive emotion I put into the last update, and I'm glad it had an impact!

@Electro I've been hinting at Elm having a very good nature, especially when it came to Adam, but this was a great opportunity for me to show that more concretely, in the moments you pointed out and others.
Also, you're probably not far off with imagining Suicune's thoughts.

@Spectacles Suicune may be one of the weaker box Legendaries, but it's still very much a welcome addition—especially with the providence of getting an A for its name! And you're right that the fact that I caught it at a high level doesn't hurt, either.

Whew, today was intense! I’m tired, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I think it could be good to record how each Pokemon is coming along.

Deborah’s working with Morty to learn Shadow Ball, which will be good against Will, but he’s teaching her both the ranged and contact versions for versatility. She had some trouble getting the hang of it at first, but she’s gotten a lot better, though I think she’s still more comfortable with the contact version.

Anne Marie is picking up a new trick, too: Icy Wind. We don’t have the region’s Ice specialist to help her, but Water types do have a natural inclination towards learning Ice moves, which helps her. The idea is that Icy Wind could be useful against not-Lance’s dragons, since Anne Marie is shaping up to be quite powerful.

Faith’s been working on her battle strategies, which for her is basically hit and run. The monks tried to teach her Ancient Power, but to no avail, so they’re pretty sure she’s one of the Yanma that can’t learn it. That does throw a bit of a wrench into our plans, but Morty and Eusine were still confident that she could be helpful. She picked up Wing Attack today, and we’re working on teaching her Return, a charge attack that grows stronger based on the relationship a Pokémon has with their trainer. I wouldn’t say Faith is the one I’ve bonded with the most, but I will say that she’s given me a new appreciation for her species, and I’m really glad I’ve had her around.

Gavin’s battle strategy is more just plain old “hit.” His massive claws are great for using Strength, and his tough shell means there are a lot of attacks that will just bounce off of him. He does have to be more careful of ranged attacks, though. Speaking of which, launching that kind of attack isn’t his forte, either, but I’m teaching him Surf anyway to make use of his element.

Felix has been getting back into the swing of things, warming up his battling muscles and remembering how to use his moves. He’s got some powerful ones at his disposal, like Earthquake and Iron Tail, but apparently he’s got a condition that makes it hard for him to use Rock moves, so we might not be able to rely on those. I think it’s similar to Faith not being able to learn Ancient Power—something about having trouble drawing in minerals from the surrounding area to form rocks. I get the sense that it makes Felix kind of frustrated, but he seems to channel that into his ferocity, so once he’s back in top form, he’ll be a total juggernaut.

And last but not least, there’s Suicune. I didn’t think it would need to train with us, having the strength of a Legendary Pokemon and all, but it has gotten in on the action a little bit. Maybe it wants practice, or maybe it wanted to show me the moves it can use: I saw what I’m pretty sure was Waterfall, Aurora Beam, and Gust. I’m glad it already has an Ice move, since there’s an extremely good chance I’ll have to use it against not-Lance.
Training today was mostly focused on finishing up initiatives from yesterday. Deborah finished learning Shadow Ball, and Anne Marie has got Icy Wind down. The latter is now working on Sludge Bomb while the former picked up Strength; both attacks seem easier for them to learn since they’re of their type.

Faith is getting the hang of striking her opponent and then immediately flying away before they can retaliate, but some of the faster Pokemon that we’re using for training, like Morty’s Gengar, can still manage to get her. She’s on the frail side, so avoiding attacks is going to be critical.

Gavin’s got Surf under his belt, and he’s not bad at it, shooting a powerful jet of water out of his mouth. He still prefers to use his claws, though. He’s actually taken to sparring with Felix, since they’re both hard hitters and defenders. For his part, Felix’s progress is still good.

Suicune joined in the training again today, even sparring against some other team members. I got the sense it was holding back, but it still gave them a challenge.
Felix finally seems like he’s back to his peak! And he’s going to see if he can go even higher! He was actually able to bruise Gavin pretty badly earlier today, but fortunately that was only a minor setback, and Gavin actually seemed kinda happy for him. Meanwhile, Deborah and Faith are still working at the speed game and getting really adept at it. Anne Marie’s able to move pretty quickly as well, which is good for our prospects even if it’s a little creepy to see a Tentacruel crawl along the ground. I know I have nothing to fear from this particular Tentacruel, but the image is still a bit unnerving.

Other than that, not a whole lot to report on my Pokémon’s progress for today. We actually lightened up a bit on training at the recommendation of Morty and Eusine, so as to not drive anyone too hard—what I should’ve done when training for Clair. At least I’ve got people on my side now who really know what they’re doing. I tried to enjoy the sights in Ecruteak with my time off, but I found it hard to focus on them. I’ll actually be kinda glad to get back to more intense training tomorrow.

I might’ve also been anxious because of Suicune, who went off on its own for most of the day. It gave me an almost reassuring look before doing so, so I didn’t really think it had abandoned me or anything, but I couldn’t shake the doubt entirely—and even if I had, I’ve grown used to Suicune’s presence, even if it’s only been for two days. It’s done a lot to help me feel like I might actually be able to pull this off. But, as I suspected, Suicune did indeed return this evening. I don’t know why it went off, but hopefully it was related to something that will help us with this.
Shit, there’s only one more day of training left. It’s becoming more and more real that I’m going to have to travel to the Indigo Plateau to try to put a stop to the fake Lance. I’ve gotta hope that all this training will be enough and focus on those feelings instead of the mounting anxiety.

We went back to a full day of training today, and that included efforts to make me more adept with commanding my Pokémon. Morty and Eusine said I had a good grasp of strategy in battle, but when you get as high-level as the Pokémon League, shouting out detailed commands isn’t always the best option. Single-syllable or even nonverbal instructions can be used to get the message across as quickly as possible, as well as not tip your opponent off as to what you’re doing. So we came up with some of them for each Pokémon, based on the moves they’re most likely to use a lot. Deborah has “blast” and “rush” for the ranged and contact versions of Shadow Ball, respectively. Anne Marie has “bomb” for Sludge Bomb, “freeze” for Icy Wind, and “block” for Barrier. For Faith, I clap my hands for Return and just say “wing” for Wing Attack. For Felix, I clap my hands twice for Iron Tail and say “quake” for Earthquake. Gavin’s main attacks are Surf and Strength, which are both one syllable, so we left off on creating different commands for those—not that there’s no merit in doing so, but with our limited time, we figured they were low priority.

I didn’t get around to making up commands for Suicune today. This is partly because I don’t know how much I’ll actually be commanding it and partly because it spent a lot of time on its own working on something else. I caught a couple glimpses of it; it looked like basic target practice, shooting a small jet of water at some nearby trees. I was kinda confused, since it looked like Water Gun, and that’s a fairly weak Water attack—actually, not even Water Gun, since it was so thin. But Suicune’s pretty highly intelligent, so I assume this has some sort of purpose that I’m just not aware of.

Better get to bed. I want to make sure I can give my all tomorrow.
We’re done. Training wrapped up earlier than usual today, partly because my Pokémon were starting to plateau. There’s only so much progress they can make in a short period of intensive training, and they’ve just about reached that point. That being said, I’m proud of them for making it that far. We might actually have a chance!

I was in contact with Elm today, so when I was done with training, he sent Mara to pick me up. It was a little weird saying goodbye to Morty, Eusine, and the monks, since I’ve been spending a lot of time with them and they’ve all been super-helpful. The monks even taught me some breathing exercises to help control my nerves, which I’ve already started using. But they all told me they were glad they could help and hoped that their efforts would contribute to saving the region. Now I guess it’s all up to me…no, don’t think about that too much. Breathing exercises.

When I got back to New Bark Town, Mom was waiting for me with dinner, and she had invited Elm to join us. We talked a lot about our plans: I told them what I’m going to do, and they told me that they’re going to hole up in the lab the evening before I do my challenge, two nights from now, since I’ll have registered myself as a challenger by then and not-Lance could get wind of it. Elm will call the Cherrygrove Police with a fabricated story about me going rogue and threatening to steal more lab equipment, so hopefully they’ll send some officers to patrol around the lab who’ll be able to intercept any Team Rocket agents that try to do anything. If things get really rough, Elm can use my Pokémon to defend them. It’s a fairly solid plan…though I can’t help but have reservations. Will the police believe the story? Is Elm a good enough battler? I feel kinda bad questioning his abilities, but the fact is that he doesn’t have the experience I do working with my Pokémon.

Hopefully I’m just being overanxious because this involves the safety of my favorite person in the world. I know Mom’s got plenty of grit, but still…well, I just gotta trust it’ll work.

I should go to bed. Mom didn’t want me staying up too late, but I felt I at least had to get my thoughts out. It’s basically a routine at this point.

Cycle: Nickname
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
SuicuneAuroraAce*
TentacruelJellyfishAnne Marie
RaticateMouseDeborah
YanmaClear WingFaith
RhydonDrillFelix
KinglerPincerGavin
*gameplay only
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,037
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
aw, no yanmega for you

i am so excited to see how things will be going

TIME TO FACE LANCE - well, the e4 at least

oh hang on there's one more brother battle still to go, right? ooh please confide in ur bro
 

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
I’m tired, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I think it could be good to record how each Pokemon is coming along.
This was a great team recap! And I love the idea of Deborah training with Morty for Shadow Ball.
When I got back to New Bark Town, Mom was waiting for me with dinner, and she had invited Elm to join us.
And this is the calm before the storm. Can't wait to see how this all plays out!
 

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
Nice, time for the training montage.
And even that was made a fun read, how did you do that?
No, seriously, I love how you go into those details sharing which moves you'll be running for them, yet still making it interesting as part of the diary. Faith not being able to learn AncientPower made me remember how odd these evolution methods are, especially since Piloswine actually can learn AncientPower in G/S/C through breeding (I think Omastar gets it by level, then he passes to a Wooper and then to Swinub). So... yeah.
I also love how you made the commands shorter and/or non-verbal. I'm a personal fan of this approach as well, since when you're shouting your moves out you're also giving important info to your opponent to react properly at it.

Now I just wonder how will Zane react to the Suicune when he sees it. Especially because he is not aware of the plan...
 
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 Nope, no Yanmega in Gen II.
We are certainly heading to the Elite Four, but there's a couple things to do before then…one of which you touched upon.

@Spectacles Thanks! If the Ghost Gym Leader is right there, might as well get his assistance, right?

@Leon Yorunaki I'm glad to hear you liked it so much!
I was partially inspired to change the commands by a post from Rumors some months ago about how it would make so much more sense to not have to shout out attack names in the middle of battle. Not that I'm doing away with that entirely, but I thought it was worthwhile to think about.
Well, Zane's reaction may or may not be coming up shortly…

I’ve been trying to hold off on making any journal entries, written or audio, focusing on just moving forward. But I’ve reached a good spot to stop for one now. We took a lunch break earlier, but then the focus was on eating before pressing on. Mom and Elm packed plenty of food for me and my Pokémon, so at least we don’t have to worry about low supplies in that department.

The most eventful thing that’s happened so far was about an hour after we got through Tohjo Falls. A Ponyta ran up to me, and it seemed frantic; I thought I was actually in danger of getting attacked myself, but then I noticed the Eevee on its back. It looked sick, and the Ponyta was trying to fix my attention on it. Well, I’ve got some typical spray medicines like Hyper Potions, but when I used one, it didn’t seem to do anything. So I managed to communicate to the Ponyta that I could capture the Eevee and it would be sent somewhere where other people could take care of it. The Ponyta agreed, but after I caught the Eevee, it seemed concerned about what was going to happen, so I wound up catching it, too, and sending them both to Elm. I gave him a quick call to let him know about the situation, and he promised he’d do what he could.

Other than that, things have been pretty routine. There are some tough wild Pokémon out here, but my own Pokémon have been able to handle them just fine. This place itself is pretty wild, though, with rough paths and a lot of overgrown foliage. I’ve taken to having at least one member of my team out at all times just in case. But that’s about to change: I’m about to start walking on the long dock that makes up most of the rest of Route 27. Wild Pokémon aren’t as much of a concern there, but I have heard that it’s a place for League-sponsored trainers to wait for potential challengers to test. I figure if I’ve beaten Clair, they shouldn’t be too bad…but then again, beating Clair drove the Pokémon I used to exhaustion.

But I’m taking a different approach here. This is a new set of Pokémon that have been more carefully trained. I’ve gotta be confident they can handle this.
They handled it! The trainers didn’t give us an easy time, but we reciprocated and came out the victors. I held off on using Suicune, since I didn’t want word to spread that a challenger has a Legendary Pokémon, but everyone else contributed.

I shouldn’t have much longer to go now before reaching Route 26, and there’s a rest house pretty much right at the border that’s intended for trainers making this trip, since it’s about the halfway point of a two-day trek. I’ll stop there and bunker down for the evening before continuing tomorrow.
Made it to the rest house without incident. I’ve seen a few other trainers around, but they’ve mostly been ones that I fought earlier today—I guess this place provides housing for them as well as anyone with eight badges—so I don’t know if there are any other actual challengers staying here. I hope not; if I have competition for scheduling my League challenge, I don’t know if that could mean I wouldn’t be able to do it in time. Gods, that would be terrible. I did try asking someone if they’d had other challengers pass through today, but she told me they weren’t supposed to give out any information on challengers. I could head outside and see if anyone comes, maybe while doing some training of my own…but after all the traveling and battling I’ve done, I’m tired, and I bet my Pokémon are, too. So now that I’ve eaten dinner, I think I’ll just do my best to take it easy tonight. There’s more work to be done tomorrow.

Oh, Elm also said that he was able to stabilize the Eevee I sent him earlier today, so that’s good. Once she’s had a bit more time to recover, we can decide what to do with her next.
Shit, I just ran into another League challenger. I mean, I beat him in a three-on-three without any of my Pokémon losing, so that set him back, but it made me feel like my competition for a spot against the Elite Four is real. Uh, is it a bad thing that I considered it good that I impeded his progress? Well, at least I’m doing it for non-selfish purposes. And my team took down his, and he’d obviously trained well enough to come here. That’s a good sign, right?

*exhale* Now I just gotta hope no one’s very far ahead of me. This doesn’t seem like a popular time for challengers, so that’s going for me, but, as I just saw, that doesn’t mean—
“YOU!”

Adam jumped and whirled to face the source of the voice. Emerging from a cluster of bushes just a few feet away, looking disheveled and furious, was Zane. “Zane? What are you—”

“I saw what you did!” yelled Zane, pointing an accusing finger at his half-brother. “You went and got the Rising Badge after you stopped me in Goldenrod!”

“Um…yes?”

“So you didn’t want to be a hero by helping stop Team Rocket, you wanted a way to have all the glory to yourself! And that’s why you’re going for the Championship!”

“What? No, Zane, this isn’t abou—”

“Well, too bad! You stopped me then, so I’m stopping you now!” As he spoke, he threw a Poké Ball. “Go, Nightclaw!”

Zane’s Sneasel materialized, and his trainer wasted no time. “Ice Punch!” he yelled, pointing at Deborah, who had been walking with Adam. Nightclaw sprang into action, leaping forward and drawing back his arm as icy crystals began to form around his hand.

Deborah, however, was not caught off guard. Zane’s tone of voice had already prepared her for hostility, and when she saw another Pokémon lunging towards her in an attack, her body was already prepared to respond. Moving quickly thanks to her intensive training, she hopped to the side, causing Nightclaw’s attack to miss. “Zane! Cut it out, dammit!” Adam yelled.

But Zane was not to be deterred. “Again!” he commanded, and Nightclaw crouched as he prepared to leap forward with another attack.

Adam growled. “You damn stubborn asshole…fine. Deborah, Strength!”

Nightclaw jumped again, but this time, Deborah met him in the air, adding her own offensive force. The two met with a crash, leaving Nightclaw dazed and Deborah barely fazed. “One more!” shouted Adam, and his Raticate slammed into her opponent a second time, knocking it to the ground.

Adam looked back at Zane. “Now, can I have a second to—”

“Necroshade, Confuse Ray!”

Zane’s Haunter was still materializing as he shouted the command, but she understood it all the same. Her eyes glowed and a multicolored flashing pulse of energy appeared in between her hands, which she then sent straight at Deborah.

Adam gritted his teeth. Confuse Ray could track opponents, so Deborah would have a hard time dodging it. Maybe instead…“Deborah, through it! Rush!”

The Raticate immediately cloaked herself in swirling shadow and leapt forward. The ray of light hit her, but her momentum was sufficient to carry her straight into Necroshade. Having not expected an attack so quickly, the Haunter took the blow head-on and slowly sunk to the ground, unable to continue.

“I still won’t stop!” yelled Zane as he recalled her while reaching for another Poké Ball. “Magnaleaf, Razor Leaf!”

The Meganium took the field of battle and launched a volley of sharp leaves. Deborah, now under the effects of the Confuse Ray, was unable to dodge them all…although she did display some deft movement that Adam hadn’t expected from a confused Pokémon.

Still, he didn’t intend to keep her out. The more this battle dragged on, the more damage his Pokémon would take, which would set him back in ways he couldn’t afford. “Deborah, come back!” he called, holding out her Poké Ball, and a beam of light sucked her back in.

“Send out whoever you like! Magnaleaf will hit them the second they’re out!” shouted Zane.

Adam narrowed his eyes. Zane had a point, which was why it was risky to call back Pokémon like this in the middle of battle. So who would be best suited for this? Anne Marie came to mind, being able to take a hit well, and she could probably use Sludge Bomb to take down the Meganium the easiest of anyone on his team. Well, anyone except for possibly—

He blinked. That could be a way to end the fight as quickly as possible. “Okay, Zane,” he said, reaching for his belt. “Maybe this’ll get you to shut up and listen!” He pulled out the purple ball from the pouch that concealed it from onlookers and threw it. “Suicune, come out!”

The sleek blue Legendary Pokémon burst out of the Master Ball, standing regally and fixing its gaze on Zane, whose expression went from angry and determined to astonished. “Wait…but that’s…how did you…”

Magnaleaf, however, had his orders, and he sent another flurry of leaves at his new opponent. But instead of taking evasive action, Suicune merely stood still, letting the leaves rake over its body without flinching. Magnaleaf suddenly looked uncertain, seeing a Water Pokémon withstand his attack like it was nothing, but he shifted slightly to a firm stance even as he glanced back at his trainer for further instruction.

Said trainer, however, was still processing the sight in front of him. “Why…why do you have…” He shook his head. “No…it could be a trick…a Ditto, or a Zoroark…”

At those words, Suicune let out a growl. It was an almost musical sound, but there was clearly power behind it. “No, that’s the real deal, Zane,” said Adam.

“Then…what the hell is going on?”

Adam raised his eyebrows. “Oh, so you’re willing to listen now?”

“Shut up and tell me!”

Adam bit back a retort about those two things being impossible to do at the same time. “All right, here you go…” And he launched into an explanation of what had been going on the past several days. As he did, he saw Zane’s face go through several emotions: horror, awe, and what looked like disappointment. When he finished, Zane spoke. “But…wait, if you knew about this at Goldenrod, why didn’t you tell me?”

Adam averted his gaze. “I was…worried about what Team Rocket could do to people that knew.”

“Worried? But I’m a strong trainer! We could’ve taken them!”

Adam raised an eyebrow. “We could have taken a man using the Pokémon raised to be the strongest in the region?”

You were planning on it.”

“I was going for a plan that barely had any chance of working, and I didn’t want to drag other people into it.”

“Yeah, but wouldn’t it have had a better chance if someone else was helping?”

“…Yes, but I didn’t realize that at the time.”

Zane frowned. “It kind of sounds to me like you did want to be a lone hero.”

Adam’s temper flared. “Is everything about fucking heroics with you, Zane? Not everyone has the same obsession with becoming a hero! There are more important things, like doing something good just because it will benefit a lot of other people! We’re not all after glory that comes with it!”

“I don’t only want glory!” Zane angrily retorted. “I want to do things for lots of other people, too! You really think I’m just trying to be a hero?”

Adam threw up his hands. “Honestly? Sometimes, yeah! You do stupid shit like stealing a Pokémon, then you go off on your own and don’t bother to tell anyone anything, all to chase a rumor that there are some bad guys to stop!”

“How are you one to say that?! You stole stuff from the same guy, and you just told me that when you decided to go up against Team Rocket, you didn’t want to tell anyone!”

“I…” Adam hesitated. “I mean, yeah, I stole stuff from Elm, too, but I’m not saying that wasn’t stupid, either.”

“Yeah? And what about fighting Team Rocket? You’re doing the same thing you accused me of when you said I only cared about glory!”

“But I don’t give a shit about glory! I don’t even want to draw attention to myself!”

“Really? Well, trying to become the Champion is a funny way of showing it!”

“Oh, you got any better ideas? There’s not much else I can do at this point! Just because I’m doing it doesn’t mean I have to like it!”

“Okay, so now you’re saying that the reason you’re in the right and I’m not is just because you don’t like it? So does that mean that everyone who’s ever gotten any enjoyment out of their time in the spotlight is just a shallow fame seeker?”

“Don’t put words in my mouth!”

“I’m just saying what you’ve told me your standards are!”

“If that’s what you’ve heard, then unclog your ears, dumbass!”

“How about you unclog your tongue? Or, wait, I’ll do it for you!” Zane raised a fist.

“Oh, you want to try that with me! I’ll take you on, you little—”

“Kuuuuuuuuu!”

The noise made both arguers jump slightly; they had almost forgotten their Pokémon were with them. But Suicune had moved to stand between them and turned its head from one to the other, looking at them with reproachful eyes. They seemed to say, “Stop. Now is not the time for fighting.”

Nobody said anything for a minute, but Adam could feel his anger ebbing away. He also couldn’t shake Zane’s words—was what he was doing really that similar to what Zane had done?

They stood in silence, until Adam let out a sigh. “Fine. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about this back in Goldenrod. I wasn’t thinking straight. And…I guess I don’t really think that you’re just chasing fame.”

Zane met Adam’s gaze with a hint of triumph, but then he dropped it and looked somewhat guilty. “Yeah, well…sorry I ran off without saying anything.”

The silence returned. Adam finally broke it. “Well…I guess we’ve both done some fucking up.”

“…I guess.”

More silence. It wasn’t entirely comfortable, but Adam did feel like things were clearing up between them. After another short stretch, it was Zane who broke it. “So…can I do anything to help now?”

Adam got the sense that Zane was trying to change the subject, but he had no objections. “Uh…actually, yeah, I think so.”

“What is it?”

Adam gave a wry smile. “Well, you can do what I’ve been telling you to do this whole time. Go home.”

Zane looked upset. “What? You’re just sending me back home when you’re off to do this huge thing?”

“No, that’s not it. I’m worried about Mom, Zane. What if Team Rocket, when they hear about my challenge, tries to go after her as a way of getting to me? She and Elm will get some police patrolling the area, but they won’t know what they could be up against. But if you’re there, too, you could do a better job of fighting them off. Because, well, you are strong.”

His explanation seemed to satisfy Zane, and after a few moments of thinking, the redhead asked, “What about you, though?”

“Well…” Adam inclined his head at the Legendary Pokémon standing just a few feet away. “I do have my own sources of support.”

A few more moments passed, and then, Zane gave a nod. “All right. I can go back. But…what about Professor Elm? How do I know he won’t come after me for what I did?”

“Elm’s a good guy, Zane. If you tell him you’re there to help with this situation, he’ll let you. After that, well, you’re going to have to face him someday. Just be honest about everything, and I’m sure he’ll be reasonable.”

Zane exhaled. “Okay.”

“All right. Thanks for your help.”

“You’re welcome.”

“…Probably want to get a move on. New Bark Town’s a ways away.”

“Oh, that’s not a problem.” Zane pulled out a Poké Ball and opened it, releasing a Kadabra. “Ultramind can teleport me to familiar places.”

“Oh. Well, good, then.”

“Yeah.”

“…Well, then, I’ll see you around.”

“Right. …Good luck.”

“Yeah…thanks.”
Well, it’s nice to have gotten things settled with Zane. I do feel better now, knowing that he’ll be in New Bark Town if Team Rocket comes calling tonight or tomorrow.

For my part, I’m trying to make up for lost time. Hopefully I can reach Victory Road shortly. That’ll take a while to get through.

Cycle: Nickname
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
SuicuneAuroraAce*
TentacruelJellyfishAnne Marie
RaticateMouseDeborah
YanmaClear WingFaith
RhydonDrillFelix
KinglerPincerGavin
*gameplay only

The Eevee and Ponyta were other Pokémon I got before making the League challenge in-game: Eevee from Bill in Goldenrod and Ponyta from Route 26 (I accidentally KO'ed my Route 27 catch, an Arbok). Neither of them got names high enough in the alphabet to come on board for this stretch.

I took a lot of narrative license for the battle with Zane. In-game, it of course did not end only partway through. I also hadn't gone through all the intense training yet, so Felix was still a Rhyhorn and some of the TMs hadn't been distributed, like Shadow Ball for Deborah and Icy Wind for Anne Marie. Felix and Anne Marie did have Earthquake and Sludge Bomb, respectively, which was a big help, as Felix went up against Magneton and Haunter and Anne Marie took down Meganium. As for the rest, Ace defeated Sneasel and Golbat, and while Deborah didn't display the same prowess she did in the story, she did take down Kadabra cleanly with two Strengths.
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,037
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
for some reason i thought you were playing ss rather than gen ii proper

im glad the brothers reunited, but good lord do they clash like oil and water

im, really nervous about the narrative ending of this run, because i'm pretty sure that your team is going to get thru the e4 just fine

that kid named his kadabra ultramind

oof ow the edge
 
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 Nope, this is good ol' fashioned Crystal. I've actually never played the Johto remakes—not that I don't want to, I just haven't gotten into them.
As nice as it would have been to have Adam and Zane hug and make up, I just didn't see that happening. They've still got resentment towards each other, and while this last interaction certainly helped, it didn't completely solve everything. It's something to continue to work towards.
Well, I unfortunately can't say anything to soothe your nerves about the end of this run—but then again, I can't say anything to agitate them further, either. (Out of curiosity, are you nervous for a particular reason, or just because you're invested in the story?)
I wouldn't call Zane edgy, exactly; he's just a nerd who wants to name his Pokémon in ways he thinks are cool. (Not that he's necessarily right.)

I think I lucked out. It seems like the League wasn’t expecting many challengers this close to the ten-day closure, so there aren’t that many League-staffed trainers I have to fight here. That’s really good for timing, and for making sure my Pokémon don’t get too tired. Not to say there aren’t still plenty of wild Pokémon, but it’s not as harsh.

Shit, I hope I didn’t curse myself by saying that, and there’s gonna be a bunch of trainers waiting for me right at the end. Well…we should still be able to take them.
I’m here. No going back now. Victory Road didn’t give me too much of a hard time, so we’re all here in one piece. And I registered my challenge. Normally, the Elite Four and the Champion are challenged on different days, so there’s enough notice to put together a live broadcast and a crowd for the Champion battle, but given the unique timing, I was able to set up an Elite Four challenge for tomorrow morning and a tentative Champion challenge for the afternoon. Tentative…ugh, that word makes me anxious. If I don’t even make it to not-Lance, we’re good and fucked.

But my Pokémon are in good shape. I’m keeping them in their Poké Balls, despite there being a complimentary resting room provided here, because I don’t know if not-Lance or any of his agents might try to do something to them in the night. And they’re not totally exhausted. They should be fine. I also confirmed with the woman who registered me that even though challengers have to register their teams when they schedule their matches, that information is kept confidential from their opponents, in the interest of fairness. She was pretty shocked to see that one of the Pokémon on my team was Suicune, but I managed to get her to be calm about it by giving Morty a call—he’s got influence as the Gym Leader in a city known for its connection to Legendary Pokémon. So that information should hopefully be secure. If I can save Suicune for not-Lance, I might be able to catch him off guard, not to mention use its full power.

I think I’ve done pretty much everything. I have a lot of medicine, and my Pokémon are secure. I let Mom and Elm know that I made it, and I heard that Zane is back in New Bark Town. Now I just need to get some dinner and rest up as best I can.
Mom (11:25 p.m.): Hey, you awake?
Me (11:25 p.m.): Yes. Why? You okay?​
Mom (11:26 p.m.): It’s Zane. Wanted to let you know that some Rockets were here just now. I fought them off.
Me (11:27 p.m.): Thank you, that’s a relief.
Me (11:27 p.m.): What happened exactly?​
Mom (11:28 p.m.): One of the cops patrolling the area ran into them. They didn’t have strong Pokémon to fight them off but I was in the lab and heard what was happening so I came out.
Mom (11:29 p.m.): I stationed Magnaleaf at the door to the lab then had Shadowfang, Nightclaw, and Necroshade go around the sides.
Mom (11:29 p.m.): They tried using Golbat against Magnaleaf but Ironspark took care of them. And Ultramind helped out where he was needed.
Mom (11:30 p.m.): It did get a little scary when they tried setting fire to the building but your Feraligatr pitched in there and stopped them.
Me (11:31 p.m.): Fuck, they’re not playing around.​
Mom (11:31 p.m.): They still weren’t enough to get past us.
Me (11:32 p.m.): Did they run off?​
Mom (11:32 p.m.): Yeah. Used a smoke bomb to escape. I wanted to capture some but couldn’t.
Me (11:33 p.m.): At least they’re gone now.​
Mom (11:33 p.m.): Yeah. Cops are going to pay a lot more attention now in case they come back.
Me (11:34 p.m.): They’d better fucking not.​
Mom (11:34 p.m.): Just beat the imposter tomorrow and we won’t have to worry about that.
Me (11:35 p.m.): Yeah, that’s all there is to it, isn’t it?
Me (11:35 p.m.): Hope I can fall asleep tonight.
Me (11:36 p.m.): But I will admit, it’s good to know you were able to stop Team Rocket when they came. Thanks again.​
Mom (11:37 p.m.): And I’ll be here if they come back.
Me (11:37 p.m.): Also, have you talked with Elm about the Pokémon you stole?​
Mom (11:38 p.m.): He said we’d address it after this whole business was over but he was at least glad to see I hadn’t been mistreating him.
Me (11:39 p.m.): Okay, that’s something.​
Mom (11:39 p.m.): Mom’s telling me to let you get to sleep so I’ll sign off. Hope you can manage to get some tonight.
Me (11:40 p.m.): Thanks. Hope you can, too.​
I’ve got 12 minutes until I can begin my challenge. I keep staring at the doors as if doing so will let me walk through them any sooner. I keep worrying there’s something that I forgot to do, but at this point, even if there was, it’s probably too late to address it. Gotta go with what I’ve got now. If all goes well, next time I’ll be writing here, I’ll have gotten past all four of the Elite Four’s chambers.

Cycle: Nickname
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
SuicuneAuroraAce*
TentacruelJellyfishAnne Marie
RaticateMouseDeborah
YanmaClear WingFaith
RhydonDrillFelix
KinglerPincerGavin
*gameplay only

This update wound up being on the short side, but I thought it was appropriate to stop here. I considered writing a traditional prose segment that actually went into Zane defending the lab in New Bark Town from Team Rocket, but I wound up not really feeling it, and besides, I could cover what happened in the text message conversation. That's another experimentation with different ways of storytelling.

Gameplay-wise, I got Ace to Level 46 and everyone else to 45 before making the League challenge, since I had already done a lot of grinding and Gen II gives you a pretty big advantage between stat experience and badge boosts. I've already gone over the bulk of their movesets in the story, but they're also listed below, for those who are curious:
Ace: Leer, Waterfall, Aurora Beam, Gust
Anne Marie: Surf, Barrier, Sludge Bomb, Icy Wind
Deborah: Dig, Tail Whip, Shadow Ball, Strength
Faith: Wing Attack, Foresight, Screech, Return
Felix: Tail Whip, Iron Tail, Earthquake, Strength
Gavin: Surf, Leer, Stomp, Strength
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,037
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
for some reason i have a hunch that the narrative ending is going to be. unfortunate?

like, even if he becomes champion, lance uh

well he likes to hyper beam people in the face

and that was before he was transplanted by a Bad Guy

kids are so charmin, as i kid i called my pokemon things like skyrender and skydancer, deepfang or the like. i'd call it edge just because it's got this gothamesque theater to it. like he's walking around with batman supervillains/antiheroes/small time comic heroes

im optimistic that the brothers will continue to patch up their relationship

oohhhh rockets already.....damn

oh im so excited....

the txt convo was really good, i appreciated it
 

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
She was pretty shocked to see that one of the Pokémon on my team was Suicune, but I managed to get her to be calm about it by giving Morty a call—he’s got influence as the Gym Leader in a city known for its connection to Legendary Pokémon.
I really like this little tidbit- it's always funny how no one in the games ever reacts to you having a god on your team hahah

I loved the text conversation between Adam and Zane. They've really come such a long way. Can't wait to see how the League goes!
 

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
I've only got to read both chapters in a row, and getting them together feels even better than getting these two pieces with a time gap. No one can deny it was a fun battle, a lovable redemption arc for Zane the Edgy Guy ™️, and the realization it won't be an easy task for Adam. The Rockets caught wind of that a bit too fast for comfort, and they aren't pulling any punches.
Now only the Elite remains, and I can't help but wonder what sort of dangers wait for Adam. It can't be that bad, r-right? You do have a plan for not-Lance, and that's what matters!
 
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, I mean, this story's Lance didn't actually Hyper Beam anyone in the face. But, uh, yeah, the imposter probably wouldn't have the same reservations.
Zane probably does think of himself as walking around with small time heroes, tbh. As for patching up his relationship with Adam, the two of them are at least in a better position to do that.
Thanks for the text conversation feedback! I like that this run has given me opportunities to experiment with a bunch of different ways to tell a story.

@Spectacles It does make sense that people would raise eyebrows at a trainer bringing a Legendary Pokémon to the League, doesn't it? Glad you liked that part, and glad you liked the text conversation, too! Time to see how (most of) the League goes right now!

@Leon Yorunaki Grouping the last two parts together might've made more sense than what I did, honestly. The perils of posting a story as you write it and you're figuring things out…
The Rockets did catch wind of things quickly, but keep in mind that they've got someone at the head of the Pokémon League and they were already familiar with Adam. And they're not afraid to play dirty.
See for yourself some of the dangers that await Adam in this update!

Whoo! One down! I fought Will at nine o’clock, and now I’m on the other side. ‘Course, he didn’t make it too easy. I’ve got a few minutes before going to my next challenge, so I can talk about it now. Beats worrying about the next match.

So, Will’s battlefield is covered with mirrors, which work to both confuse the enemy and have attacks bounce off, either back at the attacker or angled for a tricky offensive shot. That last one is particularly for his Psychic attacks. But Deborah’s Shadow Ball came in real handy here—hell, she was the star of the show! What she did was when she wasn’t sure if she was aiming at an actual Pokémon or a reflection, she fired a ranged Shadow Ball, and if it hit a mirror and bounced back at her, it didn’t affect her, since she’s immune to Ghost attacks!

She started off against Will’s first Xatu, which was tricky, moving around to make itself hard to hit and using Confuse Ray, whose flashing effect was amplified by the mirrors—so, like, all the flashing makes the opponent disorientated while the Confuse Ray tracks them. But actually, thanks to Zane and some wild Golbat in Victory Road, I found that if Deborah is using contact Shadow Ball when it hits, the effect of Confuse Ray is less strong—I guess the ghostly energy does something? Maybe? Anyway, I had her do that whenever a Confuse Ray came at her, and it helped, even if she wasn’t able to aim straight at her opponent when doing so.

So when she found Xatu, it went down to a Shadow Ball—the contact version—and Strength. Will sent out Jynx next, and Deborah was able to track it much more easily, taking it down with a Shadow Ball before it could really do anything. Exeggutor had more luck, though. It’s not that evasive, so Deborah found it pretty well, too, but it used Leech Seed to start draining her energy. I recalled her after she took it down, since the plant doesn’t get sucked into the ball with her, but then I had to send out someone else, so Gavin was up against Slowbro. He wasn’t as well suited to it, since Slowbro’s Psychic did a lot of damage, and it bouncing off all the mirrors made him disoriented, and he had a hard time getting close. What I wound up doing was having him smash some of the mirrors with his claws, so Slowbro couldn’t use them anymore, and from there, he could close the distance between them and bring his claws to bear on it, taking it out. For Will’s last Xatu, I sent Deborah out again, and she was fortunately able to use her previous strategies to track it down and take it out! Although it did wing her with a Psychic attack, so she was pretty worn out when the battle was finished. But she was a huge help, and the bulk of her part in this whole challenge should be pretty much over now.

Will wasn’t too happy that I’d broken some of his mirrors, but he did congratulate me on my win and said that I had demonstrated impressive skill. Now we’ll see how Koga goes.
Koga cleared! His challenge was really unique, though. Instead of a traditional battle, I had to go through this wooded path, meeting and battling his Pokémon along the way. For that, I started with Faith, since her keen eyesight would help us not be caught off guard by anything jumping out. Turns out that was the right call, as she saw the thin web laid by our first opponent, an Ariados, and didn’t get caught in it. And once she’d seen that, she started looking around, and she found it pretty quickly, lurking nearby. She got in a Wing Attack, which did some real damage, but then it started using Double Team to make illusions of itself. That tripped her up at first, but she identified the real one and took it out with another attack. Then, not long after that, she found a Venomoth hiding in the trees and went after it, too. It tried shooting a Toxic at her, but she was able to dodge it and fly circles around it, literally! She also took it down with two Wing Attacks.

After that, though, I had to change tactics. We went into a darker area, and a Crobat flew down at us. Faith was able to see it in time and get out of the way, but due to her substantial disadvantage, I called her back in favor of Anne Marie. She started out with a Barrier to help protect against its Wing Attacks, but it was fast, so it was hard for her to land a hit. So what I did was I had her use Icy Wind to slow it down, and that really helped, so from there, she started blasting it with Surf—it had Double Team like Ariados did, but Surf could hit multiple copies at once, so while she did miss a couple times, she was still able to overwhelm it in the end.

I switched out Anne Marie for Felix after that, since I was expecting to need her a lot more down the line and he was a fresh fighter. That wound up going really well, as he stepped in a small swampy area that was hiding a Muk, but it couldn’t do much and was vulnerable to his Earthquake, which took it right out. Our last challenge was a Forretress, which was sitting still in a clearing shortly before the exit. Felix charged it, and while it stood firm—uh, or whatever the right word is for something that doesn’t have legs—he overpowered it, clearing the way to the exit. When I got there, Koga appeared out of almost nowhere, but maybe that was just to show off, since he just commended me for the strategies that led to my victory.

Next up is Bruno. He’s known for really wearing down challengers, so I’m a bit nervous. But I’ll be facing him in just a couple minutes, regardless of how I feel.
Damn, I am so lucky to have Suicune on my side. Bruno would’ve taken me down a Pokémon if I hadn’t. Maybe two.

I don’t mean that Suicune actually fought. But Bruno’s chamber is superheated, which wears down the fighting Pokémon even more. Oh, and I don’t mean “Fighting Pokémon” as in the majority of ones that he uses. They’re actually pretty well-suited to the heat, probably from so much experience with it. He’s also dressed for the place, only wearing a pair of white pants so he’s not overwhelmed by heat. Well, that, or he really wants to show off his muscles.

Anyway, regarding the fight, I led with Faith again, and she took on Hitmontop. It used Quick Attack to keep up with her, though her Wing Attack led her to victory thanks to type advantage. Bruno sent out Hitmonlee next, which I thought was odd because it was still weak to Flying, but that’s when I first noticed my Pokémon slowing down because of the heat. But Faith was still faster than I think Bruno anticipated, since she took out Hitmonlee pretty easily—Wing Attack knocked it off balance, and Return brought it down while it was still recovering. But then when Hitmonchan came out, I didn’t want to risk continuing with Faith, especially since it’s known for its elemental punching attacks. In fact, it gave me a bit of pause, wondering who I could send out safely against such a versatile opponent.

I wound up going with Anne Marie, hoping she could keep it at a distance with Surf, and she did! It did try using ranged Thunder Punch to get in some damage, but she shook that off pretty well, since it didn’t have the force of Hitmonchan’s actual punching power behind it. After being battered for a little while, it went down.

What was not so easy was Bruno’s next Pokémon, his Machamp. Surf didn’t affect it as heavily, and it was actually able to rush in through the blasts of water and start laying into Anne Marie. She set up a Barrier to help her take the attacks, but it was relentless. Ultimately, I had her change tactics and blast it in the face with a Sludge Bomb, which sent it staggering a bit. She put some distance between them and hit it with another Sludge Bomb, but it put on a burst of strength, ran up to her, and hit her with a really hard Cross Chop. Luckily, it was on its last legs then, so a Surf finished it off, but Anne Marie was really worn down at that point, both from damage taken and the heat. And Bruno’s last Pokémon was an Onix, which seemed like it would be easy prey for her, but I felt bad leaving her out any longer, and I was kinda worried that it could get in an attack like Earthquake before she attacked. So I played it safe and sent out Gavin, and despite it not being his forte, he won with Surf.

What made me especially nervous, and where Suicune came in, was after the fight. I was able to use medicine to heal Anne Marie’s wounds, but they didn’t affect the heat exhaustion, and she could barely hold herself up. I was scared that she was out and wouldn’t be able to fully recover in time for the Champion battle, but then I felt Suicune’s ball move in my pocket. I let it out, and it went over to Anne Marie and touched its nose to her, and it perked her right up! After I saw that, I brought out Faith, who had also been worn down by the heat, and Suicune restored her energy, too. I had no idea that was something it could do; maybe it has to do with its Water element being able to cool things off? Or, wait, am I imagining it, or are there legends of Suicune being able to purify polluted water? Could that be a skill that extends to Pokémon?

Whatever the case, I’m grateful for it. Because Karen is next, and she’s the toughest member of the Elite Four. We’ll need all the strength we can get against her.
Holy shit, I made it. Karen might have gone easy on me, but still, I’m past the Elite Four.

Her battlefield is in almost total darkness. Karen was born nearly blind, so she wants to test senses besides sight. Her first Pokémon was an Umbreon, which I know because the yellow markings on its body lit up for a couple seconds after she sent it out. After that, I couldn’t see it, and Umbreon made its way around the dark battlefield lightly. I could barely hear it, even. Fortunately, I had Felix out—and I could see his outline, barely—and he used Earthquake to cover a lot of ground, doing damage to Umbreon even when he couldn’t see it. It sent a Confuse Ray his way, but he managed to hold himself together enough to use Earthquake again, and Karen recalled Umbreon after that. I was surprised it was that easy, since I know I’ve heard Umbreon are hard to take down, but—well, I’ll get to that later.

I only briefly registered Karen’s next Pokémon, but I definitely saw a big flower, so I recalled Felix and sent out Faith. Faith seemed like she could see it just fine even in the low light, meaning she could hit it dead-on and avoid things when necessary. I guessed it was a Grass type, probably a Vileplume, so I had her use Wing Attack. She swooped into the darkness and definitely hit something, but after that, she flew back to me and was buzzing nervously. I wondered if Vileplume had done something, maybe scattered some spores, so I told Faith to hang back as needed and attack again when the coast was clear. She did just that, and her opponent went down.

I definitely wasn’t keeping her in against the next Pokémon, though. It was a Houndoom that lit up the battlefield with a powerful burst of flame. I sent in Anne Marie, and, like Felix, she used a spread attack to make sure she hit an opponent she couldn’t see—in her case, Surf, of course. Houndoom got in some good blows, though; I’m pretty sure I saw it jump on her and use Crunch. But she threw it off and hit it with another Surf, and Karen recalled it right after that.

Her next Pokémon was a Gengar, who made its entrance by having its eyes glow red for a second before melting into the darkness. Pretty effective intimidation tactic, I’ll admit. Since Anne Marie had taken some decent damage, I brought her back in favor of someone else, namely Deborah, since she hadn’t had any opportunities to contribute since Will, was immune to Ghost attacks, and had a Ghost attack of her own. Gengar tried some other scare tactics on her, like making the sound of its laughter echo, but Deborah’s a hardy Pokémon and didn’t succumb. She tracked it down and hit it with a Rush, and it kept trying to scare her instead of using an actual attack, so she brought it down with just one more of them.

Last was a Murkrow, which made its presence known by cawing loudly when it was sent out. I thought that I could give my last non-Legendary Pokémon a crack at this battle, so I switched to Gavin. Murkrow do have the advantage of being faster than their evolved forms, but they’re frail, so after Gavin got a chance to connect with Strength and give it a good whack with his claw, the battle was pretty much over.

I was riding a high having beaten Karen so easily, but she actually came up to me after the battle and spoke in a low voice, asking if I was going after the person on the Champion’s seat. I thought it was a weird question, since why else would I be there, but after a few moments, I realized that she knew that something was off about Lance, too. She told me that she’s had to train her senses to be sharper than normal to help make up for her blindness, and she’s noticed something different about the fake Lance’s voice and presence in general. I confirmed that I was here for him, and she wished me good luck in defeating him. Thinking back to how smoothly that battle went, I wonder if she wasn’t as harsh on me as she is to other challengers, wanting me to overthrow the fake Lance. I hope that doesn’t invalidate my challenge or anything. Then again, it’s a hard thing to prove. And I have been told that I’m now cleared to challenge the Champion. I need to wait until 4:00 to give them time to edit the footage of the battle into a highlight reel, and then there’ll be a quick pre-match bit where they review my performance so far and analyze it for anyone watching or attending. Since this is such a last-minute challenge, I don’t expect there to be many people in the stadium where I’ll fight not-Lance, but the live broadcast will still give me a good enough chance to get my message out to a bunch of people.

I’ll give my Pokémon one last chance to rest up. After that, I’ve got nothing to do but march through the doors for the most important battle of my life.

…I’m gonna need to use those breathing exercises again.

Cycle: Nickname
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
SuicuneAuroraAce*
TentacruelJellyfishAnne Marie
RaticateMouseDeborah
YanmaClear WingFaith
RhydonDrillFelix
KinglerPincerGavin
*gameplay only

If I was better at posting on time, I'd have worked it out so the climax took place on the same day irl as in the story, i.e., today, June 11. But I can still match the Elite Four battles in that regard.

I stuck fairly close to the actual game events in telling the story, but there are some discrepancies. For Will, Deborah recovered from Confuse Ray using a Bitter Berry, not by coating herself in ghostly energy. But she really did OHKO Jynx and defeat Exeggutor before I recalled her due to Leech Seed. Gavin got lucky against Slowbro; it used Amnesia on the first turn and its Psychic wound up being a 2HKO on him, so when it used it, it was already in KO range from a third Strength. For the second Xatu, I actually tagged in Ace after Will healed, Deborah hurt herself in confusion, and Psychic took her to yellow HP. But I didn't want to bring in Suicune in the story just yet, and Deborah would've won if Will hadn't used his Max Potion, so I gave her the victory in-story.

For Koga, the changes are mostly in the order of battle. Faith did take out Ariados first, even using Foresight to bypass its Double Team boost, but Crobat was up next. Anne Marie slowed it down with Icy Wind and defeated it after several turns, including one for both sides spent on healing. Then came Venomoth, who missed Toxic and went down to Wing Attack/Return from Faith. After that, Forretress, which fell to two Earthquakes, and Muk, which fell to one.

Similar case for Bruno. Faith took out Hitmontop with two Wing Attacks after taking two Quick Attacks. Onix was next, against whom I gave Gavin a chance (possibly because he was holding the Amulet Coin), and he OHKO'ed with Surf. Next was Anne Marie vs. Hitmonchan, which was over after two Surfs and a Thunderpunch that did 20 damage. Poor Hitmonchan; its coverage options really don't help it much before Gen IV. After that was Hitmonlee, which was actually OHKO'ed by Faith's Wing Attack. And finally, Machamp, which put up a fight against Anne Marie, including a critical Cross Chop that brought her to red HP.

Karen's fight was closest to its in-game counterpart. Felix and Faith used a Bitter Berry and Przcureberry for Umbreon's Confuse Ray and Vileplume's Stun Spore, respectively. Houndoom's Crunch did respectable damage to Anne Marie, but she still had an easier time against her third consecutive E4 ace than against the previous two. Gengar only used Spite on Deborah before her second Shadow Ball KO'ed, and Murkrow did decent damage with Faint Attack to Gavin but went down to Strength and Stomp.
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,037
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
oooooo yes

good job on getting through the e4! i like the way the narrative is taking us, and i loved!!! the way you showed each e4 as a different mental challenge. mirrors, complete darkness, trickery and misdirection...

so cool
 

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
What she did was when she wasn’t sure if she was aiming at an actual Pokémon or a reflection, she fired a ranged Shadow Ball, and if it hit a mirror and bounced back at her, it didn’t affect her, since she’s immune to Ghost attacks!
I love this!! What a cool idea. And Deborah continues to be MVP.
I let it out, and it went over to Anne Marie and touched its nose to her, and it perked her right up!
And I love this little tidbit with Suicune. I also tend to try not to rely on legends too much even when they're on the team, so this is a nice way to include them in the battling story wise even if they didn't fight. Also, how was using a Yanma? I didn't think they would be very good, especially in these early gens, but Faith seems to be holding her own pretty well.
Karen was born nearly blind, so she wants to test senses besides sight.
Also very cool!

Great job on the elites; here's hoping Lance goes well!
 
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 Thank you! I think the origin of my idea for this Elite Four came from thinking about Koga fighting like a ninja and having his Pokémon surprise the opponents, and from there, I gave them all themes corresponding to their in-game battlefields (Will's reflective floor, Koga's trees, Bruno's lava, and Karen's dark pit).

@Spectacles Yeah, in runs where I allow Legendaries, I make sure not to use them for everything. Don't want to take the challenge out of a Nuzlocke challenge, after all!
As for Faith, I won't say that a Gen II Yanma is great, but I wound up being pleasantly surprised with how much she was able to contribute, even in the Elite Four! Granted, it did help a lot that this was Crystal, where she was actually able to learn a STAB move in Wing Attack. Overall, I'm quite glad that my ruleset forced me to have her on the team.

Sheesh, this next part was so long that I wound up splitting it and still needed an extra week to get it ready! Sorry for the delay. The next part will potentially also be in two weeks.

For a fight that hadn’t had much notice, there was a fair turnout on June 11. Word could and had still spread quickly. Teleportation services had been organized for those who wanted to make the journey but were too far to use conventional transportation, which was most of the population of Johto and Kanto. Some people took time off from work, and others were given it. Many others who couldn’t or wouldn’t leave their daily routine had the option of watching the event with their colleagues or alone at their work stations, while those that typically got off earlier in the day didn’t have to worry about that. A challenger making it to the Champion of the Pokémon League was no small feat, and nearly everyone in the two regions was interested in the outcome.

Few groups of watchers, though, had the same level of tension as a certain trio in New Bark Town. A woman with dark hair sat in a chair, eyes glued to the TV, hands twisting in her lap. Standing behind her left was a tall slim man with thinning brown hair, right hand tightly gripping the back of her chair. To the right sat a red-haired teenage boy on a couch, intensely gazing at the scenes playing out on the screen.

At the stadium, however, the air was one of excitement and anticipation. People turned up with little in their minds other than seeing a good Pokémon battle, potentially leading to a new recipient of the title of strongest trainer in the battling circuit. And the two commentators in the booth were more than happy to feed into that feeling.

“Welcome, everyone!” came the amplified voice of one of them. “We’re here at the Indigo Plateau covering what looks to be a very interesting match for the Championship! I’m José Collins, joined as always by my partner in crime, Chet Michaelson!”

“Great to be here as always, José!” said Chet. “And I agree with you: I think we’re in for an interesting match today. Defending his title is the renowned Lance Varga, master of dragons. Gunning for his seat is Adam Blakely, a 17-year-old from New Bark Town, Johto. He’s started out from humble origins, but he’s put together a team of Pokémon that’s proven themselves strong enough to make it past the Elite Four!”

“And it’s not your typical team, either,” said José. “Adam seems to be going for a combination of strength and technique with his lineup. Let’s take a look at some of the footage from his Elite Four challenge to get a sense of what I’m talking about.”
Adam sat alone in the small room, trying to contain his nerves. Through the door that separated him from his final challenge, he could faintly make out some of the noises coming from the stadium, the ambience of the crowd and the chatter of the commentators. Nothing clear enough to understand, which was by design: this period of time was meant for the audience and would cover things like suggested strategies for the challenger, which he wasn’t supposed to hear, and the team that the challenger had brought for the battle, which the Champion wasn’t supposed to hear. Adam could only wonder what the commentators were speculating about for his team, considering that Pokémon like Yanma and Raticate weren’t typically seen at this level and he’d only ever shown five out of six members.

At that thought, his hand fell to his belt, where, along with the balls of the five non-Legendary members of his team, he wore the pouch that contained Suicune’s Master Ball. It had come from one of the monks in Ecruteak, with the idea that keeping Suicune as hidden as possible would give him an advantage. Even though it wasn’t possible to tell what Pokémon was contained in a ball from the outside, a Master Ball would definitely raise eyebrows. Concealing it until the right moment could serve to surprise his adversary, and he’d taken any advantage he could.

Of course, before even considering using Suicune, he had to give a good showing with his other Pokémon. He’d used his medicine on them between the battle with Karen and now, so they had no outstanding wounds, and the few hours of rest had done them good. They’d been strong enough to defeat the Elite Four without Suicune, but part of the challenge of the Elite Four was navigating the specialized battlefields. Against the Champion, it was a contest of pure strength and skill. No gimmicks, just a straight-on Pokémon battle. For that reason, Lance’s Pokémon were known to be a cut above the Elite Four’s in terms of things like raw power and technique.

But those days of training hadn’t been for nothing. Adam had to believe in his Pokémon.

The minutes continued to tick by, until finally, a door on the opposite side from the stadium opened, and a League official popped his head in. “Time to get in place, Adam.”

Adam started. “Oh…right.”

The official gave him a smile. “Good luck. I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

Adam appreciated the intent behind the words, but he needed to do more than “fine.” The official was implying that winning didn’t matter too much as long as he established himself as a worthy trainer. But in this case, if he lost…then so much more was at stake. Still, he nodded his thanks and moved to the door to the stadium. Another several seconds of waiting, and…

“Let’s hear it for our challenger: Adam Blakely!”

The door had begun to slide open just before these words were said, allowing Adam to hear them. It finished opening right as his name was spoken, so the applause and cheering for him began just as he started walking in. He had to suppress a flinch, not having expected it to be so loud—especially considering the wall of glass that separated him from the crowd for the latter’s safety. But he was determined to keep moving forward and keep his eyes on target. Then, he realized that he might look unfriendly if he didn’t acknowledge the crowd, so, several seconds after he’d started walking, he raised his right hand and gave a jittery wave. Great work, entrance of the year, he thought sarcastically.

Luckily for him, it was a short walk until he reached the challenger’s box on his side of the stadium. “And his opponent!” came the voice of one of the commentators—he’d seen enough of these matches to recognize it as Chet. “Reigning Champion of eight years, hailing from Blackthorn City, former member of the Elite Four, the dragon master, Lance Varga!”

A door at the other side of the stadium opened to wild applause. People were clearly more enthusiastic for Lance than they were for Adam. He supposed he couldn’t really blame them, but his chest still tightened at the thought of these people cheering on a complete fake.

Not that he looked fake, though. The imposter strode through the door with a confident but not cocky gait, immediately smiling and waving at the fans cheering for him, looking just like a man who’d had plenty of experience doing this sort of thing. A small part of Adam’s mind wondered just how long it had taken to perfect that walk.

His opponent reached his own box, then started forward, Adam doing the same after a second’s hesitation. The two would meet in the middle, shake hands, then take their places again. As they drew near to each other, Adam studied the imposter’s face. There was no trace of malice that he could see; not-Lance appeared to be completely committed to putting on the show.

The imposter held out a hand. “Congratulations on making it this far. Let’s have a match we can both be proud of.”

Adam nodded but didn’t say anything, merely taking the outstretched hand and shaking it without dropping his gaze. He released his hand, perhaps a little quickly, and the two turned around and walked back to take their places. “Here we go, everyone,” said José. “As soon as the official gives the go-ahead, the battle for the Championship will begin!”

Two officials stood next to the battlefield, one on either side. One had a whistle in his mouth, and just a few seconds after José’s statement, he blew it.
Stalling before sending out the first Pokémon was considered poor behavior, so Adam’s hand quickly went to Anne Marie’s ball and threw it, hoping she would match up well against the Pokémon whose ball not-Lance was now throwing. Anne Marie burst out in a flash of light, just as the other Pokémon was doing the same. “Looks like we’re in for a treat!” said Chet. “It’s a battle between titans of the sea: Tentacruel and Gyarados!”

Immediately, not-Lance pointed a finger up at the sky. “Rain!” he commanded.

Gyarados moved quickly, undulating its long body in a rhythmic pattern while unleashing a roar at the sky. In moments, dark clouds had formed, and rain was beginning to fall.

Adam acted quickly, too. “Bomb!” he called.

Toxins flowed down Anne Marie’s tentacles, and she brought them together to form a glob of sludge, blasting it at her opponent. It hit the Gyarados’s body, sizzling as its corrosive fluids sank into skin. The large serpentine Pokémon roared in pain, turning its angry eyes to Anne Marie. Uh-oh, might need to get defensive, thought Adam. He yelled “Block!” just as not-Lance smacked the back of his right hand into his palm. The orb at the front of Anne Marie’s head glowed, and a semi-opaque red light covered her body while Gyarados swung a wet tail at her. It connected with a loud smack, but she remained upright.

“Whoa!” said José. “Gyarados goes right in for a powered-up Aqua Tail, but Tentacruel’s Barrier blocked a lot of the damage!”

“Bomb again!” yelled Adam.

Another Sludge Bomb flew at Gyarados and splattered against its scales, but this time, Gyarados merely grunted in pain and arched its body so the wounded section was pointing upward. As Adam watched, the rain poured down on the sludge and began to wash it off. He gritted his teeth; Gyarados was using the rain not just as offensive support to boost the power of Aqua Tail, but as defensive support to counter Sludge Bomb, as well.

Not-Lance smacked his hands together again, and Gyarados’s powerful body moved as its tail came to bear on Anne Marie again. For a second time, she withstood it, but she looked shakier than before. Fuck, thought Adam. Sludge Bomb doesn’t have the same potency anymore. Surf would get a boost from the rain, but it would hardly affect a Gyarados. That just leaves…wait, actually, that might work. “Freeze!”

Anne Marie lifted her front tentacles, and a blast of cold wind shot out from her underside. As it swept over Gyarados, the water from the rain accelerated its chilling effects, and ice began forming on its body, restricting its movement. It roared and growled in frustration, but it couldn’t escape, and a moment later, it lost its balance and fell to the ground with a crash. It was still very much in the game, thrashing around and breaking the ice…but Adam had an opening. “Get it now! Bomb!” he yelled.

Anne Marie launched a third Sludge Bomb at her opponent, and this one caught it directly in the face. A bellow of pain escaped Gyarados and it began thrashing around indiscriminately as the poisonous sludge dripped into its eyes and mouth. Adam felt himself tense up—Gyarados could do some real damage if it was out of control like that, but could this also mean they were close to winning?

A moment later, however, there was a flash of light, and Gyarados vanished. Startled, Adam looked across the battlefield at not-Lance, who had Gyarados’s ball in one hand and raised the other in a gesture of surrender. “And the first matchup ends with Adam’s victory!” yelled José. “Lance has forfeited, possibly out of concern for his Gyarados’s condition…yes, he’s calling over a medical team now.”

“Well, that was some nasty sludge it took to the face,” said Chet. “I’m sure he wants to ensure it didn’t cause any lasting damage.”

A cheer went up from the crowd, though Adam couldn’t tell if they were cheering for his victory or for what they perceived as Lance’s compassionate act. Shit, is he trying to discredit me? he wondered. Or lull me into a false sense of security?

But no trace of his foe’s true nature showed on his face. He handed over Gyarados’s ball to a pair of medical staff, then turned his attention back to the battle. He took another ball off his belt, hurled it, and it burst open to reveal…a Dragonite.

Adam’s first reaction was confusion. Why would not-Lance send out a Dragon/Flying Pokémon when he’d seen Anne Marie use an Ice attack? He had to be up to something…so he made a quick decision. “Anne Marie, come back!” he called, holding out her ball as it sucked her back in.

“Adam’s decided to make a switch for this next opponent!” said José. “Who will he choose?”

Rapidly, Adam considered his options. Lance’s star Pokémon was a Dragonite, but it had a different appearance from this one, and he knew Lance had other such members of the species to battle with. And those ones tended to use elemental attacks. If he’d sent this one against Anne Marie, that potentially meant it was an Electric user. So he made his selection, and a couple seconds later, Felix emerged onto the field, ready for battle.

“Here we go for the second match: Rhydon versus Dragonite!” said Chet.

Not-Lance snapped his fingers twice in quick succession, and Dragonite began flapping its wings, creating a violent wind that buffeted Felix with force and rain. “Get in, Felix!” Adam yelled.

Felix began moving forward…but as the wind got stronger, he got slower. And it wasn’t just wind. Scarlet flashes were swirling in the air, and Felix flinched in pain. The wind was howling ferociously now, moving in a circle around Felix…

Adam swore. Dragonite wasn’t just making it windy: it was using a Twister attack! Wind infused with draconic energy surrounded Felix, gradually wearing him down. “C’mon, Felix, push through!” Adam yelled. But with the winds as vicious as they were, he could barely hear himself yell that, and he didn’t think Felix could tell he had even said anything. “Do I just have to wait this out?” he muttered to himself.

But not-Lance snapped his fingers again, this time three times, and Dragonite kept beating its wings, turning its Twister into an unceasing assault. Adam gritted his teeth. If it was able to keep this up for an extended period of time, Felix might go down before he had a chance to attack. The rain was dissipating, at least, but its effect had been minimal compared to the damage proper from Twister. Adam had to think of a way out of this.

An idea came just a few seconds later. Could another force counter and stop Twister? It was an impressive attack, but not as strong as it seemed. And Felix was a powerful Pokémon. If he could, say, use Iron Tail against the wind, would that do something? No harm in trying, he thought, and raised his hands to clap them together twice. But when he did, nothing happened. Frowning, he tried again, bringing them together even harder to increase the volume, but Felix still gave no indication that he had heard. Shit, this really is a way to trap opponents. Should be considered fucking cheating. Seriously, though, what the fuck am I supposed to do if I can’t get any commands to Felix?

Through the winds, he could barely make out Felix grimacing. He lifted one giant foot, as if he was trying to move forward some more, but a burst of energy flashed in his face, stopping him, and he dropped it back to the floor with a powerful thud. Damn, Adam thought, I could feel that even from over—wait, maybe that’s it! He raised his right leg and brought it down as hard as he could, then quickly repeated the motion. Felix didn’t attack, but his head did turn slightly in Adam’s direction. Adam repeated his double stomp, then did it again, hoping Felix would get the message.

He did. With a roar, Felix hardened his stance and swung his tail, which had begun to shine. The thick appendage cleaved through the buffeting wind, even pushing some of the draconic energy back at the Dragonite. Taken aback, it stopped its attack and dropped lower in the air. “Go now!” Adam yelled. “Strength!”

Felix was moving before Adam had even finished speaking. Only a few feet separated him from his foe, and for such a heavy creature, he could move quickly in short bursts. The distance between them was closed, and he slammed an arm into Dragonite’s side, knocking it prone. Wasting no time, Adam clapped twice, and as Dragonite struggled to get up, Felix bashed it with another Iron Tail. It fell down again and did not get up.

“Another victory for Adam!” said José as not-Lance recalled his fighter. “Rhydon took a beating from Dragonite’s continuous Twister attack, but it managed to break out of it to take the win!”

Cheers came from the crowd, and while Adam couldn’t help but feel gratified, his focus was on his enemy’s next move. After a moment of thinking, not-Lance pulled out another ball and tossed it out. It opened to reveal a Pokémon that Adam had not been expecting. “Lance’s next Pokémon is his Charizard!” said Chet. “An unorthodox choice, to be sure. What does he have planned, and how will Adam react to it?”

Even Adam didn’t know the answer to the second part of the question. Sending out a Fire/Flying Pokémon to fight a Rock Pokémon seemed like a rookie mistake. Granted, Felix didn’t have any Rock attacks, but his opponent didn’t know that, and why take the risk? Unless this was like the Dragonite, and it knew an unexpected move that would be strong against Felix…

He hesitated for too long. “Burn!” called not-Lance. Charizard reared back its head and unleashed a torrent of flame at Felix, who roared when it hit. Adam grimaced. Felix was in this battle now, for better or for worse. “Strength!”

Felix rushed forward, but Charizard was not caught off-guard. It flapped its wings and rose into the air, out of Felix’s reach. “Keep it up!” said not-Lance, and another jet of flame erupted from its jaws to cause more damage to Felix. As Adam thought of what to do next, Lance spoke again. “Your Rhydon doesn’t know any Rock attacks, does it?” Adam didn’t respond, but Lance nodded as if he had answered—which he supposed he had. “I wondered about that when it didn’t use any in our last match.”

So the secret was out. And Felix’s lack of Rock attacks made him a surprisingly poor matchup against Flying Pokémon, who could fly out of his reach, and, as was sometimes the case, launch their own attacks without fear of a counterattack. This was certainly the situation here; Felix might have a natural resistance to Fire attacks, but that wouldn’t allow him to hold off indefinitely. In fact, he looked like he was getting close to going down already.

Adam’s eyes darted around the battlefield. Was there something he could use to try to even the odds? No, the entire thing was just a flat expanse of stone. Nothing that could be used to—wait, stone? “Felix, quake!”

Felix lifted a foot and slammed it into the ground, sending a powerful shockwave in the direction of Charizard. The Fire Pokémon barely glanced at it as it passed harmlessly underneath…but Charizard hadn’t been Adam’s target. The smooth surface was now cracked in several places, and pieces had broken off from the larger object. Adam pointed down at them. “Felix, there’s your ammo! Bring it down!”

A satisfied smile appeared on Felix’s face, and he quickly bent down to scoop up some of the chunks of rock in his arms. Once he had straightened up again, he took one of them in his hand and threw. It wasn’t the most talented of efforts, but Adam saw Charizard recoil slightly. It had gone from attacking to being defensive, and that was a step in the right direction. Felix continued to throw, and Charizard rose higher into the air—though it could only go so far if it wanted to stay within earshot of its trainer. It was able to move side to side to avoid the projectiles, but with every attempt, Felix got more used to the process and came closer to hitting his mark.

Not-Lance narrowed his eyes. “Dive!” he commanded.

Charizard pulled up its wings and sank into a dive, angling towards Felix. Adam didn’t know what this strategy was, but he decided it was best to stop it. “Nail it!”

Felix had one rock left. Gripping it with both hands, he hurled it at the incoming Charizard, and this time, his aim was true. Charizard barely pulled up, eyes wide, when the rock made contact, hitting it in the chest and knocking it to the ground several feet away. “Yes!” said Adam, unable to contain himself. “Get in and pummel it with Strength!”

Felix needed no further encouragement. Lumbering across the damaged stone, he raised his arm for the blow to deliver to his opponent.

Then, not-Lance snapped his fingers. Before Adam or Felix had time to react, Charizard reared up, mouth open, and fired a beam of yellow energy directly at Felix’s head. The impact knocked him off his feet, and he crashed on his back, unmoving. “Oh! What a twist!” said José. “Charizard seemed down, but it looks like it was just luring Rhydon into a trap—a trap sprung with a Hyper Beam that put Rhydon down!”

He tricked me! Adam felt his frustration rise. I thought I had him! Now I’m one Pokémon down! He exhaled. It’s okay…I’m still ahead, and I have two more Pokémon with an advantage against Charizard. Anne Marie’s a little worn out and I might need her Icy Wind for other Dragon Pokémon. So let’s try Gavin. He took out Felix’s ball and recalled him, then picked out Gavin’s and threw it. The Kingler burst out, clicking his pincers. “Adam’s still going for the type advantage, it looks like!” said Chet. “Will it work for him this time?”

“Surf!” called Adam. A large stream of water shot from Gavin’s mouth and hit Charizard, who was still recovering from the effort of firing Hyper Beam. It grunted as it took the attack, but a second later, it shook itself and shifted its stance, looking battle-ready once again. “Up and burn!” called not-Lance. Charizard flapped its wings and rose into the air again, then fired another Flamethrower from its jaws. The flames washed over Gavin, and he let out a cry of pain. Shit, thought Adam. Gavin’s not great at taking ranged attacks. “Keep it up, Gavin! Shoot it down!”

But Gavin’s control over firing streams of water was still far from perfect. His continued Surf attacks couldn’t keep up with the evasive skills of a Champion-level Pokémon that had been trained to execute complex aerial maneuvers. And with its ability to stay out of his reach while still attacking, he couldn’t get close enough to use his claws to their effect. Before long, he slumped to the ground in defeat. “Another defeat for Adam!” said José. “With just one Pokémon with a type disadvantage, Lance has evened the score between them!”

Adam tried to keep a cool head as he recalled Gavin, but panic was starting to bubble up. Not-Lance was really pulling out all the stops now. He couldn’t afford to fall behind. Okay, Gavin didn’t work. Let’s think more strategically. Type advantage helps, but it’s not everything. Charizard is a mostly ranged attacker that can stay out of reach, so I shouldn’t use a physical attacker, or at least, one that can’t fly. Trouble is, this team leans towards the physical…Deborah’s only ranged attack isn’t very strong, and while Faith could meet Charizard in the sky, she’d get fried by just one Flamethrower. Suicune I want to save until I absolutely need it. So I need Anne Marie now. His decision made, his hand went to his belt and tossed Anne Marie’s ball for the second time in that fight.

“Tentacruel comes back out!” said Chet after Anne Marie appeared. “Adam’s still going for that type advantage, even though it hasn’t worked too well for him.”

“It might not just be that,” said José. “Tentacruel is a different kind of fighter from Kingler. Let’s see what Adam has planned.”

“‘Preciate it,” Adam muttered. “Surf!”

Another flood of water shot at Charizard, and while it flew out of the way again, Adam wasn’t as concerned. For one thing, Anne Marie was much more adept at ranged attacks than Gavin was, so it wasn’t like she was at a clear disadvantage when fighting long-range. For another, she was much better suited to taking ranged attacks, meaning Charizard’s previous strategy of keeping its distance while launching Flamethrowers wouldn’t be nearly as effective. And lastly, while Anne Marie had been tired out somewhat from her earlier battle, Charizard was in the same boat. Its dodge definitely seemed slower this time around, at least.

Not-Lance may have noticed, too, because he quickly got more aggressive. “Rush!” he called.

Huh, so he has that command, too, thought Adam, just as Charizard folded its wings in and dove straight at Anne Marie. As it rocketed towards her, it readied a claw, then slashed her as it flew by. The impact sent Anne Marie reeling, though she managed to catch herself before she fell.

Adam gritted his teeth. “Block!”

The orb on Anne Marie’s head glowed, and she was covered in a soft red light again. “Again!” yelled not-Lance, and Charizard turned around for another run.

There was no time for Anne Marie to attack; Charizard was too fast. But maybe… “Anne Marie, grab it when it goes by!”

Charizard had already started diving when Adam called out, but Anne Marie was still able to ready herself. Thanks to Barrier, the next Slash was much less effective, and as Charizard tried to fly away, several tentacles shot out to grab it. Slowed down as it was, it couldn’t avoid them all, and two wrapped around its legs to keep it from going far. “Now Surf!” Adam yelled.

Anne Marie lifted her other tentacles, and a deluge of water slammed into Charizard. It roared and thrashed around, trying to free itself, but Anne Marie was able to hold firm. Looks like it might only take one more! Adam thought.

Not-Lance was frowning, but he didn’t seem too distressed. “All right,” he said. “Slash!”

Charizard ceased its struggles and focused its energy on an attack. With Barrier still up, Adam wasn’t worried…but when Slash connected, it sounded louder than usual. And, as Adam watched, Anne Marie’s tentacles went limp, and she crumpled to the ground. “What?! How…”

Not-Lance wore a light confident expression. “Barrier is useful, but a critical hit from an attack can cut right through it. And Slash just so happens to be an attack that can easily score such a hit.”

Charizard had extricated itself from Anne Marie’s grip, and while it was too tired to take to the air again, it was still able to stand, while she was not. Adam stood there in disbelief. Had this single Pokémon really taken out half of his team on its own?

But then, he noticed movement. Anne Marie’s tentacles appeared to have shifted slightly. Next moment, with what was obviously a massive effort, she had hauled herself up again. Charizard’s surprise lasted only a second, but that was all Anne Marie needed for one final blow: a massive flood hit Charizard dead-on, sweeping it away to the other side of the battlefield, where it lay limp on the ground, finally defeated. Anne Marie wobbled, then, with her own energy completely drained, she joined her opponent in unconsciousness.

A roar went up from the crowd. “What a finish!” said José. “Charizard pushes Tentacruel to its absolute limits, but it manages to find the energy to end the bout in a draw!”

“Incredible,” said Chet. “And this is really why Lance is the Champion. With just one Pokémon, he made a complete comeback from his earlier struggle, taking out three Pokémon that had a type advantage! This is what makes Pokémon battling at this level so special, folks!”

Adam tensed. Yes, this was what made Lance a Champion-level battler. He had trained his Pokémon to face all sorts of challenges, even ones they might not seem suited to. And he was able to command them so well, with a strategic mind that went nearly unrivaled. This imposter had mastered that, too.

A thought suddenly came to him. Was it in any way possible…that he had been wrong? Could he have misinterpreted what had happened in Mahogany Town? What if this really was Lance that he was fighting, and the region wasn’t in any danger? He hadn’t shown any indications of being a Team Rocket agent for the entire battle. What if the dead Lance he had seen wasn’t dead and had made it out, or what if that was the would-be imposter, and Lance had managed to fight him off? His perception of recent events could have been clouded by what he thought he had seen. What if this entire campaign had just been one big mistake?

The horrifying idea kept him rooted in place. Mechanically, he recalled Anne Marie as Lance did the same to Charizard, but he wasn’t able to get his thoughts together enough to decide on his next move. And when Lance threw another ball and his next Pokémon took to the field, his anxieties only worsened. Facing him now was a huge Dragonite, feet planted firmly on the ground, scars along its body attesting to many intense combats over the years.

Adam knew who this was. This was Scorpius, Lance’s ace Pokémon. Originally the runt of his litter, he had been taken in by Lance and trained devotedly. Over the years, he had grown much stronger than ever expected, and he and Lance had formed a close bond. Now, he was an overwhelming force of power and a symbol of the real effect of a friendship between Pokémon and trainer.

The doubts grew. Why would an imposter use Lance’s closest Pokémon? Wouldn’t he want to distance himself from those who knew the real Lance best?

A loud voice cut into his thoughts. “There it is! The one and only Scorpius the Dragonite!” said Chet. “Lance doesn’t often bring him out so early in the match. Is he planning to end things now?”

“Could be,” said José. “But even if he does, Adam will at least have had the experience of facing down one of the most famous Pokémon in Kanto and Johto!”

Adam felt his shoulders slump. Even the commentators didn’t think much of his chances. He had gotten in over his head, and now he wasn’t even sure if it was for anything. He noticed the officials looking his way, clearly waiting for his next move, but he didn’t know what it was now. Could he bring himself to use Suicune when he doubted the mission he thought it had joined for? Then again, if Suicune had joined him, did that mean he was right? Or was there some other explanation?

“Challenger!” called one of the officials. “Please send out your next Pokémon!”

Adam’s heart jumped, and he fumbled with his belt. Making a last-minute decision, he tossed one of the balls onto the field, and it burst open to reveal Deborah.

“A Raticate?” said Chet, clearly trying (without being fully successful) to keep the surprise out of his voice. “Interesting choice for Adam!”

Adam was pretty sure he knew what “interesting” meant. But he couldn’t take the time to ruminate on it. The battle was underway now. “Deborah, Strength!”

Deborah raced towards Scorpius and slammed into him, but the Dragonite barely flinched, his hardened scales taking the blow. “I appreciate those who bring unconventional Pokémon to a battle,” said not(?)-Lance, “but you’ll have to do better than that!”

He seems like he’s toying with me! Adam gritted his teeth. “Rush!”

Shadows swirled around Deborah, and she lunged forward for another attack. Again, however, Scorpius didn’t seem fazed as he took the hit. “How about we show you what we can do now?” said Adam’s opponent. “Blaze!”

Scorpius reared back his head, and Adam barely had time to call “Look out!” before a massive Fire Blast erupted from his mouth. Thanks to Adam’s warning, Deborah was poised to leap out of the way, but she couldn’t evade the attack in its entirety. Flames scorched her fur, and she made a noise of pain as she hit the ground, rolling with the impact (though fortunately, doing so put out any lasting fire).

Adam’s heart sank. She doesn’t stand a chance out there. As much progress as they had made, his Pokémon just couldn’t measure up to those of a Champion. Maybe I should just call her back and forfeit now. She and Faith would at least avoid getting hurt. His fingers drifted to his belt.

But he noticed Deborah leap back up, and there was no sense of resignation in her eyes. She was determined to see this fight through. It was not what Adam was expecting; for the most part, Pokémon didn’t have quite the same intelligence level as humans, but they were smart enough to read the flow of battle, especially when they’d had as much training as Deborah. It had to be clear that she was outclassed, but she showed no signs of wanting to retreat.

“Tenacious,” said Adam’s opponent in an appreciative tone. “But I’m not taking it easy in this fight! Scorpius…go crazy!”

The familiar command elicited a few cheers from the crowd. Scorpius, used to the routine that it signified, closed his eyes as a soft white glow enveloped his body.

Adam clenched a fist. He’d seen enough of Lance’s matches to know what this was. Scorpius would coat himself in a Safeguard, then use Outrage, a massively powerful Dragon attack. It normally left its user confused from the exertion required, but Safeguard would protect against that. It was a devastating combination that more often than not resulted in the opposing Pokémon being knocked out. And yet…having seen Deborah’s expression, Adam couldn’t help but feel his own desire to fight. “Deborah,” he called out in a stronger voice than he thought he’d be able to manage, “Strength as hard as you can! Show them we’re not going down easily!”

The Raticate tensed her muscles, then ran forward one more time. With what could be described as a battle cry, she rammed with her full strength into Scorpius’s belly, where the scales were slightly thinner than on the rest of his body. And this time, he definitely felt it. Letting out a surprised exclamation, he stumbled backwards as his eyes opened. He transferred his gaze to Deborah, and for the first time, Adam thought he could read that he was treating her as a true opponent.

Of course, that did not bode well for what was about to happen. Scorpius let out a massive roar, and red energy swirled around his hands as his eyes became less focused. One giant arm came crashing down, and while Deborah had the agility to avoid it, the same could not be said for the second one. It drove her into the stadium floor and was immediately followed up by a thick tail slamming into her, sending her flying. As Scorpius’s face turned to her, ready to attack again, Adam made his move, taking out her ball and recalling her. She hadn’t been declared defeated, but it was clear she was out of the fight.

“Well, Adam and his Raticate did what they could,” said José, “but there aren’t many Pokémon out there that can stand up to that sort of power!”

Despite the commentator’s words, though, Adam could feel his determination returning. He had come here for this battle. He couldn’t afford to give up now. Plus, while he was worrying about being wrong…what if he was right? If Lance did turn out to be an imposter, he’d be making the biggest mistake of his life if he didn’t give the fight against him all he had. And he couldn’t forget Karen’s words of suspicion that had come from her own observations. There was still a chance that he was right.

And at this point, that meant one clear course of action. Reaching for the pouch on his belt, he removed the Master Ball and threw it. “Suicune, go!”

Cycle: Nickname
Pokémon nameCategoryNickname
SuicuneAuroraAce*
TentacruelJellyfishAnne Marie
RaticateMouseDeborah
YanmaClear WingFaith
RhydonDrillFelix
KinglerPincerGavin
*gameplay only

Anyone who can figure out what the names José Collins and Chet Michaelson are references to gets a round of applause.

I'll leave the full in-game notes for the battle with Lance for next time. For now, I'll just say that in-story KOs on Adam's side don't necessarily reflect in-game KOs, but an in-game KO doesn't have to be represented in-story as a death.
 

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