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Written Story Johto Teen Tides Of The Soul: A Pokémon SoulSilver Nuzlocke

Extravanganza Accordian Demo
Thread Description
An aspiring, recently teenaged Pokémon Trainer is finally granted the freedom from home she's desired for years and seeks to live life the way she sees fit, but finds that even a free bird isn't exempt from the dangers awaiting beyond the safety of its nest.


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost



Arc 01: Humble Beginnings (1-7)
Arc 02: Road To Goldenrod (8-10)
Arc 03: Legendary Beasts (11-15)
Arc 04: Lake Of Rage (16-19)
Arc 05: Invasion Of Goldenrod (20-23)
Arc 06: Dragon's Den Trials (24-27)
Arc 07: Search For Lugia (28 & 29)
Arc 08: Celebi Time Travel (30 & 31)
Arc 09: Victory Road (32 & 33)
Arc 10: Indigo Plateau (34-36)
Arc 11 (Finale): Mt. Silver (37-39)

You may not remember me, as I've only recently re-signed up for the forums and have been working on this elsewhere, but this is a rewrite of my first of two Nuzlocke stories that I decided to put back on here. The original, crappier version still exists here (and idk if I'm going to delete it; probably will someday), but please! Read this one instead. I've since grown up and revised this story to hopefully be better than it was before. Think of this as the Final Mix/Royal version of my original SS Nuzlocke! It's the same story, but with plenty of changes and improvements (and actual flaws for my protag this time, dw).

Word of caution: the story quality may seem off in the beginning; that's bc some things of the old version were left in from years ago, and I'm constantly adjusting and tweaking it to look okay. So sorry if it looks off at first!

Actual story's down below! Wish me luck, folks!
Last edited:


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
It begins...

"Alright, today's the day!" I cheered.

It was a bright afternoon on August 2nd, a week after my 13th birthday. I put my white cap with a big red ribbon tied around it over my shoulder-length brown hair that was placed into two low pigtails that stuck out. Once I had my short blue overalls pulled over my red shirt with elbow-length sleeves, I pulled up my white knee socks, and put on my bright red sneakers. While admiring my new "Trainer look" in the tall mirror against my wall, my laptop rang to tell me I had a call on its phone mode. When I answered it, it was my close friend, Ethan O'Malley, his Marill sitting right next to him.

"Hey there, Ritsu!" Ethan greeted. "Happy August 2nd! You remember the plan, right?"

"Of course," I affirmed. "But, there wouldn't have to be a plan if my pushy mom would willingly let me go on my own Pokémon journey..."

"I know, I know. But, you know your mom. I mean, she's really nice and all, but considering she wouldn't even let you go to Violet City for school, I can only imagine how suffocating that has to get at some point."

"That's not all! Whenever I so much as mention the idea of going on a Pokémon journey, she always flies off the handle and goes on a tirade about 'how bad it is for a little girl like me', or the classical 'no daughter of mine is ruining her life by going out in the world at such a young age'! Arceus, I love her, but it's honestly like being in prison with her than a house..."

"Don't worry, this plan is flawless. After today, you'll be free as a Pidgey!"

"Well, let's go over it just in case. I go over to Professor Elm's Lab..."

"And if your mom asks?"

"I tell her you're just taking me to Cherrygrove to pick something up for little Marill. Then, I'll get my starter, Badge Case, and Trainer ID, then sneak away without her noticing. And best of all, I'm never coming back! Never!"

Ethan did a double take, surprised. "Well, Reets, if you put it that way--"

"--Ethan, she'll live. Mom doesn't have a choice but to let me go one of these days. I just know this will go perfectly for me!"

"Whatever you say, buddy. Good luck with the plan, Ritsu. Bye!"

After Ethan clicked off, I carefully walked downstairs, hoping my mom wouldn't notice me leaving. I looked back and forth between the seemingly empty lower level. When I didn't see any trace of anyone else nor heart them, I found the chance to be relieved. Alright, going great! So far, so good. The coast was clear! I could do this without anything getting in my way of realizing my destiny! Giddy, I kept sneaking through the living room with nothing but a great sense of success until...

"Ritsu!" Mom called.

'Uh-oh...' I thought, slowly turning to her. "Yes, Mom?"

"Wherever are you going?"

"Oh you know, just stopping by Cherrygrove City for a little bit!"

"Really? For what reason?"

"I'm just going to pick up something for Ethan! Yeah, his Marill's run out of its favorite snack, and he wants me to go get it this time!"

"Well... okay. I trust you, honeybuns!" Mom leaned close, still smiling, but with a more stern aura to her gaze. "But. You had better not be going to Elm's Lab to start a you-know-what behind my back. I just don't know what I'd do!"

"R-Right, to think I'd actually go on a Pokémon journey... how silly! I've learned my lesson, don't you know?"

"At least you finally agree with me there, Ritsu. You be careful in making that delivery, okay?"

"I will! Bye, Momma!"

Once I ran out of the door, I made sure Mom wasn't secretly watching me, and headed towards Professor Elm's lab to get my starter Pokémon. I was beyond giddy that my ruse had worked, now set on completing Phase 2 before I never see New Bark Town or my pushy old mother ever again, and twist that key to freedom in its proper keyhole. But, before I could reach for the doorknob I noticed a boy with shoulder-length, somewhat spiky red hair peering in through a lower window stealing my curiosity for just a small moment.

"Hmm, so this is the famous Elm Lab that everyone's been talking about..." he commented to himself.

"Excuse me, but what are you doing?" I asked, approaching him and startling the boy into facing me.

"Ah! What are you staring at, girly?! Mind your own business and get lost!"

He pushed me onto the ground before going back to looking at Elm's Lab from the outside. Brushing myself off, I angrily marched inside, trying to ignore the rude redheaded boy. I didn't know anything about him, but his attitude already made me feel like I needed a nice, long bath to scrub myself clean of that kind of presence. It was a rough first impression, yes, but those were always the most important ones. And, boy, did he mess up his majorly! The less I'd run into that snobby creep, the better.

"Good afternoon, Miss..." Professor Elm looked at his clipboard roster for my name. "Ritsu Levare, that was it! Are you ready to get your first starter Pokémon?"

"You know it!" I chirped, bouncing in place with glee.

"One more thing, Ritsu. Before I give you your PokéDex and Trainer ID, I need you to walk around with your Pokémon to see if it becomes more bonded with you!"

I excitedly skipped over to the three Poké Balls on the machine. Each of them were labeled "Totodile" in blue, "Cyndaquil" in red, and "Chikorita" in spring green. I thought carefully for a moment at which one would serve me best in my brighter future, and I grabbed the Poké Ball that said "Cyndaquil". Nothing against the other two, but a Water-type would only be useful against too small of an amount, and a Grass-type starter would do nothing but doom me as soon as I saw a puny little Weedle. The little Cyndaquil emerged from its Poké Ball in a flash, stretching its nubby arms and yawning as if waking up from a nap.

"Hi there, I'm Ritsu!" I greeted, offering a hand to shake. "I'm gonna be your Trainer from now on!"

"...Hmph," Cyndaquil pouted, turning its head away from me.

"What? Was it something I said?" I was genuinely taken aback by the cold shoulder given to me by a Fire-type of all things.

"Oh don't worry, Ritsu," Elm reassured me. "She's just a little pouty is all. I'm sure she'll 'warm up' to you eventually!"

I quietly laughed at Professor Elm's little pun. Holding my new starter in my arms, I tried talking to her again. I couldn't tell by the Cyndaquil's eyes being squinted so tightly they appeared closed, but she didn't seem to be "warming up" as Elm half-joked. In fact, whenever I so much as tried making visual contact, she turned away from me at every attempt. Every gentle word on deaf ears (or visible lack thereof) and getting too close got my fingers swatted. My patience was dwindling, but I decided to give her one more chance to lighten up.

"Um, hi again!" I greeted once more. "Remember me? Your Trainer? Who you're being the most inconsiderate little-- ahem! I mean." I put on my brightest smile possible, fighting back my irritation. "Who you aren't being as friendly to as you should be?"

"Yeah, hi, I guess," Cyndaquil sighed, deadpan. "My name's Blaze. You?"

"Ritsu. You don't seem to like me much, do you?"

"Gee, whatever gave you that idea? I know you're supposed to be my Trainer, but that doesn't mean I have to like you or anything. Especially since it hasn't even been five minutes and you're already driving me up the wall."

"Maybe you'll change your mind. I know I'm starting to, as a matter of fact." I dropped Blaze flat on the ground, ignoring her grunt of pain.

"You're asking for it, you annoying little t--!"

"--What's going on over there, Ritsu? Pokémon can't talk, you know," Elm stated.

"What do you mean they can't talk? I just had a whole conversation with Blaze! Here, listen to her say something."

Blaze cleared her throat and took advantage of me being the only one to apparently understand her by saying something so profane that I'd rather not repeat to comprehending ears. I was so shocked that I covered my ears, but Elm was unaffected and instead chuckled lightly at the games I seemed to be playing. Blaze on the other hand was smug, knowing she could get away with saying next to anything about me with nobody else stepping in about it. My face was redder than most of my favorite outfit, lower eyelid twitching at how despicable one little Pokémon could already be on the first day.

"Oh, Ritsu, you and your imagination," Elm chuckled. "Now, another thing, I have a small favor to ask of you. There's this researching partner of mine I want you to find."

"What's his name, Professor?" I asked.

"Mr. Pokémon. Yes, I know his name isn't very original, but, that's the beauty of pseudonyms! Point being, I need you to go a little bit past Cherrygrove, and find his house. I heard he's found a new discovery. Can you do that for me?"

"Well, I did tell my mom I was going to Cherrygrove, so I'm going to make it quick, okay?"

"Thank you! I wish you luck!"

Taking my Dex and ID from Elm, I hurried out of the lab with Blaze surprisingly in tow, probably plotting my downfall for dropping her so carelessly. Personally, that's what she got for mouthing off and making me look like an idiot in front of Professor Elm. As if that wasn't bad enough, the person I ran into on the way out made me feel as if my soul had just left my body. Of everyone I could possibly get caught with a starter Pokémon, it was my mother. The folded arms and stink eye she was giving me and Blaze made me feel like a cornered Pidgey staring at a hungry Arbok, making me know fully well I was in deep trouble.

"Picking up Marill food, eh?" Mom scoffed, yanking me by the overall strap so I could be even closer to her wrath. "Ritsu, why would you lie to me like that?! You march right back in there, and return that starter! I told you already I don't want you going on a Pokémon journey! EVER!"

"But, Mom, what's so horrible about going on a Pokémon journey?! I'm nearly two years late for it! What excuse do you have for not letting me go?"

"You don't need to hear my excuse-- gah, reason! I'm not going to let my only child go out and risk her life on some ridiculous 'soul-searcher' garbage or-- or something! Now, return that Cyndaquil this instant or you're grounded! Don't make me count to 3, Ritsu!"

"Not until you tell me why you've been so against me going on this journey! I was supposed to start years ago, but all you did was hold me back! Until you explain yourself, I'm not moving!"


"Come on, Mom! Don't I at least deserve to hear what's been going on with you? I'm not a little kid anymore!"

"Two, Ritsu."

"All you've done is treat me like I can't handle myself, or-- or like some glass doll you think is gonna get tipped right over. It's not fair! It's just not fair that I'm not allowed to have the life I want because you don't want it! What about what I want, huh?"

"T-- Two and a half...!"

"Not even one little reason?" I shook my head, sore. "Do you really not care about me enough to just explain yourself?"

Mid-ring finger raise, Mom froze, no longer looking angry. Instead, her jaw went slack, as if she were actually... hurt by what I said for once. Barely seconds later, all of her fingers went back down so she could talk. "Oh, Ritsu. You know I love you more than anything, baby. As much as I'd like to tell you why... I just don't know if that's a talk either of us are ready to have. It hurts for me just thinking about it, and I'm scared of how much it'll hurt you, too."

"Nothing's scarier than living with someone that feels more like a warden than a mom."

"A warden?! I'm not a--!" I gave her a look, nothing but sad at another day where I don't get to see what I'd been missing for three years, and angry that Mom would just feed me yet another half-baked excuse. "...Ritsu. Does hearing my reason really mean so much to you?"

"It'd be nice for a change."

"...Okay. I'll tell you." Mom took a breath through her nose with sea blue eyes full of pain, and I stood listening with clear indifference and doubt. "First of all, this has nothing to do with you. That might not help my case much, but to keep things as short as possible... it's because--"

"--Because Grandy and Grando brainwashed you into thinking being a Pokémon Trainer is bad for girls?"


"Or, do you just hate Pokémon that much, that you'd do anything to stay away from them? Even if they'd just be around me and not you?"

"No. No, Ritsu, it's because--"

"--Because you don't think there's anything good about a Pokémon battle, or because you don't think Pokémon Trainers can make it in the 'big world' by doing them?"

"No! Listen to me, it's because--!"

"--Because why, Mom? Why is the thing that almost every kid is bound to do in their lifetime so horrible? Why is it so bad you'd keep me practically locked up in the house and away from so much as a speck of tall grass without a chaperone?! Why?"

"B-Because, I'm scared I'll lose you for good! Just like I did your father!"

Okay, that's not the answer I was expecting. But any was better than "because I said so" and other versions of it like I was used to. Looking at my mother again, I started to feel a little bad for trying to leave her behind without so much as a goodbye when thick tears balled up in her watery blue eyes and fell down her face. She put her hands to her eyes to try and stop the tears, unable to face me while in such an emotionally fragile state.

"You were too young to remember, but when you were three, your father decided to take off on another journey. He promised me he would come back, but one day, he called and told me he had lost his whole team of Pokémon along the way."

"What do you mean 'lost'?"

"They died, Ritsu. They didn't faint like most Pokémon do when they lose a battle, but instead, they were gone. Forever. So, when his team died, that man decided to leave Johto to try and do his journey over... and he never came back." Mom was wiping her eyes free of more stubborn tears as she looked at the ground. "Even after he promised he would. For his family..."

I could feel my heart sink as my mom was telling me this. I lived my whole life not knowing my father's name so much as why he never appeared in my life. Not only that, but all those times I swore I'd heard Mom say "she'll never be ready. He definitely wasn't!" or "no one will leave me again" wasn't just to make me mad or spite me. Mom at this point was bawling her blue eyes out, and the best I could do after such a tough conversation was try and comfort her.

"...Mom," I started. "I promise I'll never abandon you. But, you have to let me go on this journey. I could be a really strong and really brave trainer! And who knows, maybe I'll even become Johto's next champion!"

"B-But how do I know you won't leave me like your father did? You always took more after him than you did me."

"Mom, c'mon! You should know me a lot better than that! What kind of daughter would I be if I just abandoned you out of the blue? Don't you trust me?"

"I know, baby. Yes, I do trust you and all, but--"

"--I promise! I'm gonna finish my journey, and still make time to come home to you or call. I mean, do you really think I'll go and mess up like Dad? Whoever he was, I'm not him. I wouldn't dream of leaving my own mother behind!"

"Says the girl who was up and ready to--" Blaze started to mutter.

"--She can't understand you, don't bother sassing me, little lady."

"You know what, Ritsu?" Mom sniffled, wiping the mucus from her face while trying to compose herself. "...Maybe you're actually right. Just because your-- ...that man made mistakes doesn't mean I should assume you will. I'm still not too confident about all of this, but I'll make an effort if it makes my girl happy. That's why, I guess I'll finally letting you go on your journey."

"Really?!" I beamed, already prepared to turn and get an immediate start. "Thank you, Mom!"

"Wait, Ritsu!" I turned, worried she was going to say something to sour my best mood. Instead, she smiled and handed me a PokéGear, alternating between pink and my favorite shade of orange. "You're gonna need this. Can't call me without your own PokéGear, silly!"

"Oh! That's right, I almost forgot about that." Giggling, I took the Gear from her and put it away, suddenly pulled into a hug with lots of kisses planted all over my face. "Gah! Haha-- Mom, Mom! Thank you, I love you, too, but--! I have to go, remember? Hahaha!"

"Just a few more." Smooch! Smooch! Sm-- ooch! ...Smooch! "There. I've got my fill, my little explorer. I won't keep ya waiting; three years has been plenty for both of us." Mom patted my lower back three times and sent me marching ahead, waving. "I love you, Ritsu! Call me as soon as you've done something cool! I'd love to hear how your journey goes, but hearing you're safe is even better!"

"I'll call after the first Gym! See you soon, love you, too, bye-bye for now!"

Mom went back home, waving and keeping the door open until she couldn't see me past a certain point near New Bark Town's border. Staring as far as I could through Route 29, the only part of me that moved were my trembling knees. My heart was pounding, but it wasn't because I was nervous, it was because my dream of being a Pokémon Trainer was finally coming true and the shock of it all finally caught up with me. Hopes high and gear strapped (though annoyed remembering I couldn't do anything actually worthwhile until I'd gotten Elm's request over with), I kept moving towards my new destination, awaiting a life of freedom from the gilded cage I once called "home".
As Blaze and I walked through the forest, I constantly tried to talk to her. No matter how friendly I was, nothing seemed to get her to like me. Unfortunately, as pleasant as giving up on her and moving on with my life sounded, I knew that would only be counterproductive on anybody's Pokémon journey. Whether she liked it or not, we were gonna do the bare minimum and cooperate if either of us were ever going to be happy. There was no way I would even consider letting her roadblock me from stretching my shriveled (and proverbial) wings.

“You should have just listened to your mother and returned me to Elm’s lab!” Blaze snapped after a couple more moments of stubborn silence. "Gah, why'd I get stuck with the sissy little stick in the mud of all people?!"

“Come on, Blaze,” I pleaded. “Am I really that bad that you don’t want to be near me? We just met a few minutes ago!”

“Listen, kid–-”

“It’s Ritsu,” I corrected sternly, giving my defiant new Pokémon a displeased glare. "And I just turned 13, so don't call me 'kid'! I am a teenager."

“Right. Listen, kid. No offense, but I just don’t see you as my type of Trainer. You’re annoyingly needy, your fashion choice is atrocious, and frankly, you look about as tough as a half-baked cookie. If I knew I was going home with someone so sorry-looking, I'd have just gone right back myself.”

Angry that she didn't seem to know her place and refused to learn, I was about to say something back to her. I couldn’t believe how rude my starter was being for no reason, so I thought giving Blaze a good talking-to was necessary. If anything, she should have been lucky I didn't choose another, much more worthy starter over her! But, before I could even get a single word out to my ill-mannered Cyndaquil, we were ambushed by a wild Sentret.

“Blaze, use Tackle!” I exclaimed.

Surprisingly, Blaze actually obeyed my command, and slammed her body into the Sentret, knocking it out instantly. Then, we were attacked by a wild Pidgey, but I had Blaze counterattack with the same move. However, the Pidgey was still standing strong, and managed to injure Blaze with its own Tackle.

“Blaze, don't give up! Keep going until that little Pidgey can't take any more! This is an easy fight, so you have no excuses to turn and run!"

I was hoping for my new Pokémon to follow orders like she should, but what happened after truly surprised me. Instead of another Tackle attack, Blaze unleashed a powerful Ember that had finally finished off the Pidgey. I was about to praise Blaze for defeating her first two opponents, but she suddenly collapsed.

“Help… me…” Blaze gasped, falling unconscious seconds later.

Panicking, I scooped her right up into my arms and ran all the way to Cherrygrove City. Blaze breathed weakly in my arms, and though I was disappointed she'd gone down that easily, I was also worried about her succumbing to her wounds. For my first Pokémon to die after I'd just got done telling Mom I wasn't going to be like my father... well, that wouldn't be a pleasant story to go home with, would it? Just as I was about to enter the Pokémon Center when I was stopped by a strange old man.

“Excuse me miss, is this a bad time?” the old man asked.

“A very bad time. My Cyndaquil--” I began to say until I was interrupted.

“--Wonderful! Allow me to show you around town!”

"I didn't finish talking, Mister! My Cyndaquil is--"

The old man grabbed me by the arm without listening to me for a second, which made my heart leap with worry. Over the span of a long and utterly pointless 30 minutes, the old man showed me around Cherrygrove City, despite the fact that I already knew my way around from past visits with Mom or Ethan's family when I wasn't visiting another close friend of mine's home. If this wasn't the exact definition of "waste of time", then I wasn't sure what was. Add insult to injury, Blaze was getting weaker by the second and I had no easy way of ditching the pesky old man.

“…And this is the Pokémon Mart, here you can buy items useful for your Pokémon. Over here is--”

“Sir, please, I already know what this place looks like! I live in the next town over! You're wasting a lot of my time right now!” I snapped, ignoring the hurt face he was giving me and speed-walking away. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go heal my Cyndaquil. Good day.”

Igot as far away from the man as I could, feeling nothing but relief that he decided not to follow me anyway and kept Blaze close in my arms in case anything jumped out at us and did an even bigger number on her. Once I finally got to the Pokémon Center front desk, the Cherrygrove Nurse Joy took Blaze from my arms, and healed her in no time flat. When Blaze finally woke up (in a way one could tell from a Cyndaquil's usually closed eyes; the yawning thankfully gave it away) after I got her back, she looked healthier than ever.

“How do you feel?” I asked.

“Could use a snooze, but, pretty good,” Blaze breathed, yawning. “Listen, 'Ritsu' was it? About what I said earlier..."


"Nothing much. Just that I'm... pleasantly surprised at you. All we beat was a Pidgey, but at least you were good enough to help me beat it! Maybe you're actually semi-competent after all!”

“...I’ll take it for now because we're behind on schedule as it is. Besides, this is only the beginning of our journey, Blaze! It's only gonna get rougher from there.” I rolled my eyes once at Blaze's pathetic excuse of an apology, but had to decide that it didn't matter at the moment more than the exciting journey she nearly kept me from enjoying to its fullest. Maybe I should have picked Totodile after all...

“Didn’t we have to go see that old man with the unoriginal stage name?"

“Ah! That’s right. Good thing that other old man gave me these nifty Running Shoes!” Despite the name, they weren't anything except attachments to the bottom of my normal shoes, said to help me run faster and more comfortably.

"At least something good came out of me almost dying. Gotta hand it to you for finally getting him to shut up!"

That I actually took as a genuine compliment. On the brighter side of things, there was no way I was going to see that old man ever again. Whatever happened to him after was none of my business since he was at best a speck of dust in the wind when it came to my agenda. After a 10 or 15 minute run up a hill, Blaze and I finally came across a house with a single Apricorn Tree planted next to it. The mail box didn't have a name on it, but I had no intention of doubting my apparently correct guess and assumed it was Mr. Pokémon's house.

“Finally,” Blaze panted. “Let’s go in, get the Egg, and not have to run so fast anymore.”

I knocked on the door, and a middle-aged man answered it. I looked at him up and down, considering doubt or incorrectness to be false as I changed my mental image of Mr. Pokémon. Although I couldn't assume ages, the name itself sounded like it belonged to someone a little... older. And yet, here I was looking at somebody not even close to the expected appearance or age range.

“Mr. Pokémon?” I wondered. “Odd, I imagined you to look a lot… older from what Professor Elm told me.”

“Haha, no,” the man chuckled. “He lives further up north. But, while you’re here, take this free Apricorn Box! With this, you can collect Apricorns, and make drinks and Poké Balls for your Pokémon!”

“Th-Thanks. Alright, Blaze, let’s go–-”

Much to my dismay, I found Blaze was fast asleep. She was probably tired from running, which was understandable enough, so I decided to carry her to the real Mr. Pokémon house. After another five minutes of running, we finally reached our destination. The mailbox this time actually read “Mr. Pokémon's House”, so I knew it was the right place (in hindsight, looking at the mailbox first would have helped me earlier). I walked inside to find Mr. Pokémon and the Kanto region’s own Professor Samuel Oak.

“Oh, hello there, young girl!” Mr. Pokémon greeted. “Are you by any chance Ritsu?”

“Yes, I am!” I confirmed, shaking his hand.

“Ah yes, you’re the one Elm sent to pick up my discovery! Here, on your way back to New Bark Town, I want you show Elm this Pokémon Egg.”

The Egg he handed me was white and decorated with red and blue triangles of all different sizes. Its design had a familiar feeling to it, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it on what it would hatch into. There were so many Pokémon in Johto alone, so it could have been any one aside from my first guess. Suddenly, Professor Oak walked in my direction, my eyes going starry from an esteemed researcher in my presence.

“Oh, you must be Professor Oak!” I beamed, bowing halfway to show my respect towards such a great man. “I hear you're just as famous in Kanto as Elm is here in Johto."

“Well, I am a little famous…” the flattered Oak answered, laughing. “But anyways, I’d like for you to help me out, Ritsu.”

“Okay, what do you need me to do?”

“Here in my hand is the latest version of the PokéDex. What you need to do is record the data of as many Pokémon you can encounter! If you're going throughout the Johto region anyways, I can expect lots of entries so long as you follow the limit laws for each Route."

“Sounds easy enough. I'll do it!"

“Great, I knew I would! I’ll just register my number into your PokéGear so we can keep up with each other.”

“Don’t worry, Professor! I’m gonna try to complete the PokéDex for you! You can count on me!”

"Good luck, young Ritsu! I expect great things out of you, you know!"

Giggling giddy, I set back out on the last side task I had to do before my journey would be back on track. As much as I'd rather that moment were right now, I knew I'd never hear the end of it from Elm if I didn't give him the Egg and be done with it. If I were fast about it, then nobody would have any problem. Until then, I counted by the seconds that I could finally leave my home for good, this time with an approval I never thought I'd get in the first place.
I ran out the door, holding the mysterious Egg in an Egg Case. I stopped dead in my tracks as my PokéGear started ringing. When I answered it, it was Professor Elm, who sounded like he was panicking. By the sound of it, it sounded like an emergency, which meant unfortunately interrupting my mental schedule yet again. Whatever he needed, it had better have been good!

“R-Ritsu, come quick!” Elm shouted. “Oh, it’s terrible! Just terrible! I'll explain everything when you get here!”

With Blaze still sleeping on my shoulder, I rushed back to New Bark Town. As I started running past the Cherrygrove City border sign, I accidentally ran into someone. I was about to apologize, but I was too surprised to remember to do so when I realized who it was. Light brown eyes from my head met the cold gray ones of the rude redhead I caught peeping into Professor Elm's lab earlier. And this time, he looked even less pleased to see me than the first time.

“Watch where you’re going!” the boy snapped until he got a good look at me unimpressed. “Oh, it’s only you. Nevermind.”

“Nice to see you again, too,” I huffed, turned off by the lack of manners. "Look, I'd 'love' to stay and chat, but I'd rather not deal with a rude little turd like yourself getting in my way. So, bye now!" I tried stepping to the side, but the boy deliberately blocked me with a nasty look in his gray eyes.

"And who the hell do you think you are? You think I'm gonna let some wimp talk down to me like that?"

"Wimp?" I looked around, playing innocent to bite back just as hard. "How strange, I don't see any 'wimp' around here. So, I think I'm giving some creepy old bully like you just the right amount of talking and respect he deserves."

“Oh, you stupid--!" The boy interrupted himself once he saw Blaze groggily wake up from her nap. "How did a weak-looking Trainer like you get such a cool Pokémon like Cyndaquil?”

“I am not weak! I'm just a beginner like you probably are! Go judge another book by their cover, why don't you?"

“Arceus, you're lame. Who even says stuff like that that's younger than 40? Anyways, my Pokémon’s better than yours, and I can prove it by beating you in battle! What do you say? Ready to prove my point, girly?”

The snippy redheaded boy that I already hated sent out his own starter Pokémon, which was a convenient (for him, not me, of course) Totodile to go against me and my only Pokémon. Seeing no way to back my way out of this battle I so desperately wanted to avoid in the first place, I sent Blaze out to get the fight over with. Although Blaze looked more than willing to take down her new opponent, Totodile was looking less than sure about its surroundings.

“Ach, lad,” Totodile gulped, the accent I couldn't quite place anywhere except somewhere near colder regions of Galar (the Crown Tundra, probably?). “What do ah do?”

“What do you mean 'what do I do'?!” the boy barked, surprising me by his obvious understanding of Pokémon speech. “You battle, you worthless runt!”

“Ohkeh, lad. G-Give me a move cohmmand, and ah'll do it.”

“Use Scratch!”

Totodile’s claws got slightly sharper and glowed a bright white. He dashed forward and slashed his claws into Blaze, making her bite back the pain without crying out. She shook her body of the pain, but some still lingered while she shuddered against it.

“Blaze, use Tackle!” I called as the first command. "It's only a little Scratch attack, alright? Don't back down from this guy!"

Brushing off her slight damage, Blaze countered Totodile’s attack by critically slamming into it. Totodile then used another Scratch attack, making Blaze collapse to the ground. I looked quite worried about my Cyndaquil, hoping nothing too bad happened to her after that one move used on her. My opponent however couldn't have appeared more smug about his apparent victory.

“Hmph, it looks like I—” the boy was about to gloat until we both saw what happened next.

Mid-sentence, Blaze got up and ignited her entire mouth with small wisps of flames. She released them in the form of a powerful Ember attack, then quickly gave Totodile more damage by using one last Tackle to its gut. Able to stand no longer and dare to fight Blaze for a chance at victory, Totodile lost all of its wind and fell onto its back, panting for breath much to its Trainer's bizarre irritation.

“Tch, I’d expect no less from a weak little Totodile,” the boy growled under his breath. “I’m gonna win next time! And you're not gonna fail me again! Or else.” He gave his own Pokémon a nasty glare, making it quiver slightly with one look.

"A-Aye, lad. Ah wohn't fail ya next time. Ah promise."

"Promising isn't good enough. You will win next time, runt."

“Well, I think you did pretty well for your first battle, little Totodile!” I chirped, trying to cheer the little thing up.

"Ah did? Thanks, lass--" Totodile was about to say until the boy grabbed him by the head.

“Don’t give it your encouragement, idiot! That only makes it weaker than it already is! With the way I'm raising it, I'm gonna be the strongest Trainer in the world, and you're still gonna be nothing. So do yourself a favor and stay out of my way!” With that, the boy stormed off with his Totodile in his hand, clearly resentful about losing.

“Exactly what I wanted in the first place before you forced me to battle you, you insufferable--” I mumbled, rolling my eyes in disgust until I looked down. “Hey, what’s this?”

I bent down to see that the redheaded jerk dropped his Trainer ID. I examined it carefully until I came across one important little detail listed over his age: his name. However, due to the odd spelling of it, I skimmed it again and again to get a good grasp on the identity. Suddenly, the boy came back empty-handed and swiped his card from me.

“Gimme that!” he snapped, shoving me away. He grabbed his Pokémon by the hand again and dragged him away like an abused child's toy. “Damn it, she probably saw my full name… Totodile, we’re leaving!”

“Yes, sir, ahm comin’,” Totodile sighed.

I was forced to watch the newly-named stranger leave again, scoffing with disgust and moving along in a different direction with Blaze. When I sprayed her with a Potion, she seemed equally (if not even more) disheartened about the boy as I was while we moved on to get back on track like we should have before the battle.

“Who the hell was that brat?” Blaze asked.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I just hope we never see his stupid face again. Now that he's finally out of my way, we’d better hurry back to Elm’s lab. He sounded like he was in trouble.”

"Trouble with what?"

"Dunno that part, either. He never got to tell me. Hopefully it's bad enough to warrant a second hand!"

When we finally reached the inside of the lab in New Bark Town, I called out for Professor Elm's name. All of a sudden, my arms were suddenly being held behind my back by an angry police officer, all before I even had time to think. I squirmed and cried out, but the cop just wasn't letting up or letting me get any real words out.

“Ah-ha!” she exclaimed, locking cuffs around my wrists. “I’ve got you now, you thief! You're under arrest!”

“Th-Thief?!” I stuttered. "I'm not a thief!"

“Don’t play dumb with me, kid! I know you took the missing Totodile, so hand it over!”

"I didn't take any Totodile! You can't just go and accuse someone of-- AUGH!" The police woman slammed me into the wall harshly, clearly unfazed by the tears coming out of my eyes. "That hurts...!"

"I said quit playing dumb! Now start talking or else!"

“Stop!” Ethan cried as he burst through the door, making the cop turn around to face him instead. “She’s innocent! Earlier, there was a redheaded boy looking in through the lab window! He's gotta be the main suspect!”

“What?!” The police officer turned from me to Ethan, raising an eyebrow. “Is this true, young man?”

“He’s right! I saw that same guy on my way here!” I insisted in my friend's stead.

“Can you describe him for me, please?”

“Well, he had long red hair, gray eyes, wearing dark purple clothes…”

“Do you know what his name was?”

“Yeah, it was…”

I thought for a moment, trying to remember what the complex name on his Trainer Card said. When the full name couldn't pop up, I made an abridged version of it, while remaining specific enough to give the officer the needed information.

“His name was Nico,” I answered, giving the shortened version. "Nico Morterra."

“Can you spell it?”

“N-I-C-O. And his last name is spelled M-O-R-T-E-R-R-A.”

“…R-A. Thanks, I’m going to look for this kid now!”

"Not so fast, ma'am!" I called out, making the officer stop dead in her tracks. I showed her the cuffs still pinching my wrists, giving her a rather dry expression in my eyes despite my otherwise friendly smile. "I think you might have forgotten something?"

"Whoops! You're right, I'm so sorry about that! Well, that and making you hit the wall like that. That was really uncalled for."

"Forgiven. Good luck in catching the thief, officer!"

I gave the policewoman a friendly wave as she returned the gesture and left. Handing the Pokémon Egg to Professor Elm, I watched him accept it and examine it carefully from head to toe. When he saw the design, he was so surprised he jumped back a few spaces. I flinched a bit at seeing him nearly drop it, but he thankfully caught it and saved whatever unborn creature incubated inside.

“I figured it was going to be an Egg, but I didn’t think I’d see such an unusual type!” Elm gasped.

“Hey, Professor,” I spoke up, holding up my PokéDex. “Look what Professor Oak gave me!”

“Oh, he gave you a PokéDex already? Then my work here is done! If you’re going on a journey, then I recommend you take the League Challenge. If you accept, then you must head to Violet City for the first Gym.”

“I accept! I’m going to get all eight badges, and face the Elite Four to become the next Champion of Johto!”

“That’s the spirit! First, let your Pokémon rest for a little.”

Once Blaze was well rested, we headed out of the door, and back to Route 29 where I saw Ethan and his Marill. He was at least a sight for sore eyes; I preferred seeing that boy over the other one I hoped would be arrested by the cops for thievery. Whatever they had in store for him would be completely justified in my opinion.

“Oh, hi, Ritsu,” Ethan greeted. “Are you officially starting your journey?”

“Yes, yes I am!” I heartily confirmed, happy that my words were true in spite of the several roadblocks that had recently gotten in my way from finding out where the first Gym was.

“You know, minus the Egg that obviously can't battle, you only have one Pokémon with you,” Ethan pointed out. “Do you know how to catch any?”

“Umm…” I pondered, “I don’t think so.” That wasn't entirely true. Years of reading and research to hopefully lead up to such a mighty moment gave me more than an idea. But, I was still just a beginner, so I wasn't too sure about going by the books' exact words. Something like this was an event no book could just tell you and end it; I'd have to see it for myself.

“Well then, let me show you how!”

Ethan sent his Marill against a wild Rattata. Marill used its Tackle attack a few times before the Rattata was totally weakened. He took out a miniature Poké Ball and pressed the center button, which made it grow to its normal size in less than a second.

“Once you get the wild Pokémon a little weaker, you throw a Poké Ball at it!” Ethan explained as he threw a Poké Ball at the wild Rattata.

The Poké Ball shook three times before finally clicking shut. I was slightly amazed by the catching method since I hadn’t had much experience on how to catch a Pokémon. This was my first time seeing it outside of books and television, so Ethan's performance earned my genuine applause.

“And that’s how you do it!” Ethan exclaimed, taking a bow at my claps. “I’m going to give you some Poké Balls so you can catch your own. Well, good luck and see you, Ritsu!”

The minute Ethan scampered off with his Marill, we encountered our first official wild Pokémon catch: a Sentret. Blaze weakened it a little with Ember, and I threw a Poké Ball at it. Three nerve-wracking waggles later, and the Ball clicked shut while I jumped for joy from having caught my first ever Pokémon (present company excluded).

“Welcome to the team, Yui,” I said, giving the Poké Ball a kiss before putting it away. “And now, onto the real beginning of my journey!”
As I scouted to find Violet City throughout the grasslands of the route approaching it, I was stopped by a young boy wearing a backwards blue cap, much to my great disdain. I honestly wanted to tell him to leave me alone and to let me keep walking, but just the look in his eyes was telling me that would be much easier said than done.

“Hey you, hottie!” the kid shouted. “My name’s Joey, and I’d like to battle you with my super awesome Rattata!”

“What?” I wondered. “Why such a random request for one?”

“Because, if I win, I get your number! Also, my Rattata's in the top percentage of Rattatas, you know! There's no way we'd lose!"

“You're seriously in my way right now, but fine." I looked at my only two Pokémon, both willing to fight. "Blaze, Yui, which one of you girls wants to battle?”

“Me!” Yui volunteered. “I’ve never been in a real Trainer battle before!”

“That's the way! Go get them, Yui! Be sure to win for me, okay?"

Rattata attacked Yui with its Tackle attack, but Yui remained strong. She critically hit Rattata with an impressive Scratch attack, flipping it on its backside to prevent it from getting up too easily. Rattata tried to strike Yui again with another Tackle, but Yui made it faint using one more instance of Scratch.

“Feh! You just got lucky with that!” Joey spat. “B-But, can I still have your number anyways, please?”

“Oh, okay." I registered Joey’s number into my PokéGear. As much as I didn't want him to call me, I'd otherwise feel bad about lying to a child. "It's only fair for beating you, I guess."

“Thanks, hottie! I’ll call ya as soon as I can, then we can talk about my over-the-top Rattata!”

“Please don’t,” I muttered. "I'd really rather you didn't."

After Joey finally left me alone, I prepared myself, Blaze, and Yui for the long hike to Violet City. The hike eventually got even more difficult when I kept getting challenged to a battle by a bunch of random Trainers. Luckily, Blaze and Yui won every single one of those fights, so we were able to keep going without anymore apparent interruptions. As I unconsciously stumbled into some tall grass, I was ambushed by a Ledyba.

“Blaze, take it down!” I shouted, pointing to the wild Bug-type.

“Gotcha!” Blaze obeyed.

Ledyba socked Blaze in the face with a rapid Comet Punch attack, sending her back a few feet. She had quite a few punch marks in the face, but I knew it was no big deal and did nothing about them since she was strong enough to shake them off. And she did, even though it made her angry. In revenge, Blaze instantly tackled the wild Bug/Flying-type with the aforementioned move.

“Blaze, use Ember!” I commanded next.

As Blaze released a breath of flames from her mouth and singed her opponent, Ledyba fell to the ground with a THUD. Blaze looked more than ready to finish it off for good when I held her back from attacking after giving things a brief thought at the very last second. She tried fighting back against my hand to get her wish, but I pushed her back even further and stood in front of the unconscious Ledyba.

“Don’t char it, Blaze,” I told her. "It’s already got a burn. Besides, I think I’m gonna catch it. We might need a Bug-type down the road.”

"For what? Bug-types are weak to almost everything!"

"Hey, you never know! She could be really useful to me in plenty of battles. Don't go jumping to conclusions just yet."

I tossed a Poké Ball at the barely conscious Ledyba, and the Poké Ball shook three times before clicking shut. Picking it up satisfied, I put my new Pokémon's orb away for safety after shrinking it. Even if Blaze wasn't entirely incorrect about Bug-types being a rather frail type, I just figured I wasn't putting my mind to all the potential our new friend had in store for us. I was open to pleasant surprises, so I assumed that's exactly what would happen as a result of catching Ledyba.

“And Ledyba makes three,” I commented. “Come on, ladies, we’re almost halfway to Violet City!”

I kept running until I saw a gate. Before I knew it, I had finally made it to the intended destination. My heart pounded with excitement as I took advantage of the unfamiliar sights. Remembering all the battles I had on the way here, I quickly went inside the Pokémon Center to heal my team. After a couple of minutes, the Nurse Joy at the counter gave me my Poké Balls and Blaze back.

“Hey, new teammate,” I said, sending Ledyba out of its Poké Ball. “Come out and meet everyone!”

“What?” Ledyba inquired, looking around at me and the other two. “Oh, it’s just you guys. Who are you anyways?”

I started the introductions by pointing to myself, then my Pokémon. “Well, my name is Ritsu. This is Blaze, and we’ve got a Sentret teammate named Yui!”

“Nice to meet you guys! My name is Hermia!”

“The bug’s a girl?” Blaze whispered.

“Shhh! Is everything out of your mouth insensitive?! Let me handle things," I whispered back, getting Blaze to shut up before I switched to a more friendly tone for Hermia. “Welcome to the team, Hermia.”

“Where are you guys heading off to?” Hermia asked.

“We’re going to challenge the Violet Gym. I'm on the Pokémon League challenge after all!”

“Hmm, I don’t think the Gym here is for me. After all, I’m a Bug-type, and this city’s leader uses Flying-types. Do the math.”

“Well, you can still stay with us. And who knows? Maybe you could win the next one!"

After returning Hermia to her Poké Ball, I began to look for a place to train. I asked a person idly walking by me, and they suggested that I begin training at a place called Sprout Tower. Taking heed to their advice, I followed the way they told me to go, and went inside the rickety wooden tower.

“Wow,” I breathed, admiring all of the Bellsprout statues. “This place sure has a lot of Bellsprout worship.”

“That just means the training dummies here are easy pickin' for me. Let’s hurry up and train,” Blaze suggested, pointing to (big surprise) a wild Bellsprout. “And look, there’s our first weed to pick on! Let's sneak up and get it!”

However, just as we began to walk towards the little Bellsprout Blaze had been eyeing, it heard my footsteps creaking on the wooden floor, and tried to run away. I felt really sheepish about disturbing it while Blaze gave me a slight glare for not being more careful about the approach in the first place.

“Nice walking, Bigfoot,” Blaze scoffed.

“It was an accident, mind your manners,” I spat, wagging a stern finger at Blaze. “Let’s just follow the Bellsprout before it gets away from us!”

Blaze and I restlessly pursued Bellsprout all over the tower until none of us could run or hide anymore. Each creak and each step made me cautious of the tower's possible collapse, but I forced my mind to put it off as silly since the tower likely would have fallen sooner if it was really that fragile. We both approached the Bellsprout, who was hiding its face behind its leafy hands and shaking like a fragile leaf.

“P-Please don’t hurt me!” Bellsprout pleaded.

“Listen, Planty,” Blaze said, deaf to the pleas for mercy. “You’ve got two choices: Either stop running like a little Meowth and let Ritsu consider capturing you, or let me burn you to a crisp. What'll it be?”

“Okay, okay! I could let you capture me if you promise not to kill me!”

“It’s a deal,” I agreed. “Do you have a name, little fella?”

“Y-Yes. I’m Lamar.”

“Welcome to the team, Lamar.” I tapped the Poké Ball against Lamar's forehead, then it absorbed him as red light and shook three times in my hand.

Once the Poké Ball clicked shut, I decided to train all four of my Pokémon (mostly Blaze and Yui, who were the only two not weak against Flying-types) by battling Trainers instead of finding wild Pokémon. I battled a bunch of male sages who kept telling me that they were the guardians of the tower. After I battled the last three sages, the team got stronger, and I was able to climb up to the top. Suddenly, I heard voices coming from nearby. I peeked beyond the tower support beam to see Nico talking to who appeared to be the main elder.

“You are quite strong, boy,” the Elder remarked. “But, the problem I see with you is your mistreatment of your own Pokémon. That's a red flag in itself."

“Why should that be my problem, old man?” Nico scoffed as he stormed off. “Why should I treat my Pokémon well? As long as they win my battles for me, then who gives a damn about the rest? Being nice to Pokémon and going soft on them, what a bunch of bull!"

“What’s your problem, Nico?” I interfered. “Pokémon aren't just tools for you to use and just toss out whenever you feel like it!”

“Like you know any better than the old man, Plumber Breath. You may have gotten a lucky chance last time, but you’re still as weak as him!”

I'm sorry. WHAT did he just call me?! “'Plumber Breath'?! And just who do you think you’re calling ‘Plumber Breath’?!”

Nico paid no attention to my angry outburst at all, and left the tower using an Escape Rope. I was about to take my frustration out on the floor by stomping my foot, but I remembered the place was fragile and bound to collapse from anymore trauma dealt to it. Now even more irritated at that fact, I grunted and grit my teeth, grumbling under my breath at having the misfortune of even looking at someone like Nico Morterra.

“Just ignore him, Ritsu,” Blaze suggested. “He’s just an asshole. Whatever crawled up his ass and died can stay there for all we care.”

“I know, and I couldn't agree with you more. But, he can just be such a pain! To think I was hoping I wouldn't have to deal with too much coming on my first journey too. The world could use a lot less people like him in it, that's for sure.”

“So nice of you to make it to the top!” the Elder greeted me. “My name is Elder Li, and if you would be so kind, I'd like nothing more than to see your stance on what it means to be a Pokémon Trainer."

"It would help me get stronger for the Gym. I'm in! I do have to let you know that I am a new Trainer, though."

"Oh, I don't mind. This is just a harmless evaluation is all."

The Elder sent out his own Bellsprout as my battle opponent. Already getting tired of seeing so many of those pesky little things (yes, I was in Bellsprout Tower, but could you blame me?), I sent Hermia out to battle. At first, she was apprehensive about having to fight until I made her look closer at her opponent. When she did, she calmed down a little.

"See? I told you you'd have a fair battle," I reminded Hermia. "Now, start off with a nice Supersonic! There's no way I could lose this!"

"Uh, don't you mean 'we' could lose this?" Hermia wondered.

"Use Supersonic, I said! Chop, chop, Hermia!"

Hermia released multiple glowing rings of mystic energy towards Bellsprout. The more it was exposed to Hermia's power, the more its own body began to spin from becoming more and more disoriented until its surroundings didn't make a lick of sense anymore. Bellsprout tried its best to focus on the battle, but it struggled to so much as stand straight up for a short second.

“Bellsprout, try and use Vine Whip!” the Elder shouted.

A pair of green vines sprouted from Bellsprout’s arms. Hermia was slightly afraid of the attack, but that fear melted into relief as Bellsprout accidentally hit itself with its own attack, causing it to faint on the spot. The Elder then sent out his Hoothoot to battle, and I switched Hermia for Yui. As much faith as I had in her to win, I didn't wanna risk anything just yet and opted for an easier choice that wouldn't result in things going sour.

“Hoothoot, attack with Peck!” the Elder commanded.

Hoothoot jabbed its beak into Yui’s side, and she let out a squeal of pain. But, because the attack wasn’t critical, Yui countered with her unrelenting Fury Swipes. After several of them that almost reduced it to shreds, Hoothoot was able to jab its beak into her forehead as a means to stun her long enough to get away from her sharp claws.

“Hoothoot, use Hypnosis!” the Elder cried.

“Yui, dodge and finish with Quick Attack!” I shouted. "I don't want you giving up! We're so close to my very first Gym battle, I can almost taste it!"

Luck happened to be on my side, because Hoothoot’s attack had missed, and it was defeated by Yui’s Quick Attack. Returning his fainted Pokémon to its Poké Ball, the Elder smiled with admiration. I cheered for Yui and hugged her tightly with glee from her victory. My cheek was squished against hers, finding mutual happiness in my Pokémon about our simple victory.

"Ritsu, I won!" Yui beamed.

"As things should be," I commented, putting her down. "You did so well, Yui!"

"Can I take a little rest now? I don't think I'll be battling for a bit."

"Don't get comfy now! We're going right to the Violet City Gym next, and you're gonna be my ticket to the first Badge! I'm not gonna have you slack now."

"Wait, Ritsu, shouldn't we--"

"--No, little missy! I'm not letting anything stop me from getting my Badge. This journey's not gonna go wrong, and I know it! With me calling the shots, we're not going anywhere but up, up, up!"

“Ah, I see,” Elder Li uttered, watching my actions. “You're much fairer to your Pokémon and work better with them as the team's leader."

“Of course! My Pokémon are also my friends, after all.”

"Yes, as any self-respecting Trainer should think. However, they don't seem to be your main concern. I've noticed that by what you just got done telling your Sentret."

"Huh? My Pokémon are my main concern! What else could matter?"

"From what I heard from you, you seem more focused on your own needs than your Pokémon's."

"Well, I do want my first Badge. Without it, I can't go through the rest of my dream journey! My friends are the key to my happiness and freedom!"

That didn't seem to assure Elder Li at all. He looked at me while scratching his chin, then at the weary Yui standing next to my feet trying to stand on her own pair despite the battle having worn her out silly. He sighed, shaking his head back and forth in a disapproving motion. I raised a brow, wondering what had gotten into him now.

"It's a step up from that rude boy, but the bar has never been lower," Elder Li exhaled. "Some advice to send you off? Your Pokémon aren't just keys to your own personal cage. Be more considerate of what they think, alright?"

"Al... right," I agreed with half a heart. 'But, I do love my Pokémon! Honest! They make me so happy, and winning with them makes me even happier! What's so bad about any of that?'

“So, with that being said, I proudly award you with this.” the Elder handed me a plain white Technical Machine disc.

“What does this teach?”

“It’s a move called Flash. In case you stumble into a cave where it’s too dark to see, a Pokémon who knows this move will light it right up!”

“Thank you, Elder Li!”

“Take this Escape Rope, young Ritsu. You’re going to need it if you want to get out of this old tower. And, please, think not just of yourself, but of others in your life, too."

Telling me twice wasn't necessary, so I didn't give him a response. Using the Escape Rope, I quickly got out of the tower and hurried toward the Pokémon Center to heal my team so they'd put up a better fight against our next opponent. Once their wounds were healed, I bought some Potions for the challenges ahead and headed to the Violet City Gym for my first Johto Badge ever.
The inside of the Violet City Gym was a little surprising. I looked around for the Gym Leader, but couldn’t find him. I found a strange platform, and decided to step on it. To my surprise, the platform was actually an elevator that took me straight up to the main Gym floor. I walked across the clear path and instantly reached where Falkner was standing. When he saw me, Falkner flipped his bangs up once and thrust an open hand out, as if marking his confidence.

“I’m Falkner!” he greeted. “I am a master of Flying-types! They say my birds are weak, and can be taken down with a simple electric volt or even a rock! But, I’m going to make sure they eat those words!”

“Um, who’s they?” I asked.

“…Most of my previous challengers. Anyways, let’s begin the battle!”

I was more than prepared for whatever first Pokémon he had ready for me. Surely the town's almighty Gym Leader had some sort of strong bird wanting to be sent out and be a worthy challenge. Either way, since I didn't have anybody to particularly overcome a Flying-type, so I went with an otherwise best choice. Okay, Falkner tossed his Poké Ball upwards, here it was! My first opponent!

...Oh. Falkner’s first Pokémon was a Pidgey. Of course, it was the first Gym after all. Still, I at least expected something a little more worth my while. Quietly snickering at the tiny thing and how the Badge had practically been handed to me on a silver platter, I sent Blaze forth to battle.

“Pidgey, use Tackle!” Falkner cried.

Unfortunately for him, Pidgey’s attack barely left a scratch on Blaze, who just brushed it off as if just a tiny nick to her skin. As she grinned devilishly, I commanded her to use Smokescreen. She did just as told, releasing a cloud of foul-smelling darkness from her mouth and obscuring everything in sight for all involved in the room. I couldn't see a thing, but it didn't take a genius to know Pidgey couldn't see either, so I was still on the advantageous end of the duel.

“Alright, Blaze!” I coughed as she exhaled a vision-obscuring cloud of smoke. “ACK! Finish it with Ember!”

The newly-strengthened Ember attack cleared the smoke from the room, revealing a victorious Blaze, and an unconscious Pidgey. Suddenly, Blaze was engulfed in a ring of flames. My caramel-colored eyes widened as I realized I was witnessing my own starter Pokémon’s evolution. When the flames extinguished, Blaze opened her eyes and presented herself as a Quilava.

“Well, it’s about time I evolved,” Blaze said. “I can see clearer than before!”

“I must say, you are quite strong!” Falkner remarked. “But, I’ve got one last Pokémon! Pidgeotto, go!”

I called Blaze back to let Yui have a chance to battle. Easy as it would be to let Blaze do the work and get me further through the League challenge faster, that didn't sound fair. Any and all able-bodied Pokémon caught by me was going to pull their own weight and help me out whether they liked it or not. She inspected her opponent before bracing herself to fight and look out for any attacks. Yui made the first move by using Fury Swipes, causing Pidgeotto to take a few steps back.

“We can’t give up!” Falkner declared. “Pidgeotto, use Gust!”

Pidgeotto began to rapidly flap its wings, stirring up a powerful current of wind. The current then turned into sharp looking blades, which proceeded to leave a lot of bloody cuts into Yui’s body. Yui collapsed to the ground, breathing so weak it looked non-existent. I went over to make sure she was okay, believing any other status besides fine to be false.

"Yui, up and at them!" I told her, tapping her sides. "Come on, I'm literally just at the finish line! Remember what I said about giving up too easily?"

No response. A bit irritated from Yui's lack of speech or motion, I tapped her again and told her to pull herself together. Falkner warned me Yui could be in serious condition, but I told him he was completely wrong and assured him my friend was just scratched and nothing more. For some reason, this didn't seem to soften the worried expression on Falkner's face even a little bit.

"Seriously, Miss, your Sentret--" Falkner started.

"--She's fine! I just know it! Yui's stronger than this!" I insisted, cutting Falkner off immediately. "We'll battle when she wakes up! I'll just get a Potion out for her and--"

"--How can you be so sure you're correct? There's a chance you're sadly wrong, you know."

"Oh, that's not possible. I'm definitely right, no doubt about it! Yui, wake up now!"

Again did I tap Yui and move her with my hand, only for her to respond weakly. Right when I was about to prove to Falkner I wasn't one to be wrong, Yui stopped moving as her eyes stated off into the distance with little light to them. Looking closer, I started getting nervous and shaking her again, now beyond scared when Yui showed no apparent signs of life.

“Yui!” I cried. “Are you okay?! Oh, no no! You're okay! You have to be okay!

I shook Yui a few times, but much to my horror, she wouldn’t move. My body was overcome with a mix of a bunch of feelings all at once: shock, grief, and pain. I felt the tear blobs tighten behind my eyes, preparing to fall from the awful truth. The first Gym challenge, and I was already off on the wrong track! No, more than that. One of my Pokémon was dead! What could I have done wrong?!

“No, Yui! Don’t be dead! Please don't be dead!” I pleaded.

As I blinked and wiped the tears from my eyes to keep my face dry, Yui’s body began to glow with a bright blue light. I set her own and tearfully watched the magic, cleaning my eyes as the light continued to shine before me. I noticed Yui began to grow much more slender, and her large tail merged with her body. When she stopped glowing, she was now a healthy Furret.

“Yui, you’re alive!” I exclaimed, hugging her with all my love. "I knew I was right! I knew all along!"

“Am I ever?” Yui said. “Now, let’s finish this battle!”

“Right! Use Fury Swipes one more time!”

“Pidgeotto, dodge it!” Falkner shouted.

Before Pidgeotto could escape, Yui scratched it multiple times with her sharper than ever claws. As Pidgeotto fell to the ground with a thud, Falkner sent it back to its Poké Ball.

“I’m quite impressed, Miss Ritsu,” Falkner praised. “You’re actually the first person to defeat me without using a Rock or Electric-type. As I am bound by the rules of the League, I present you with the Zephyr Badge!”

“Yes! My first Gym Badge ever!” I cheered as I held the Zephyr Badge high in the air.

“I wish you luck on your journey! Oh, but, one more thing."

"What is it?" I wondered, stopping myself from leaving.

"If I were you, I'd be less thoughtless for my next battle. What you trick yourself into believing is happening might not."

"Umm, sure..." I didn't really know what Falkner meant, but I'm sure it didn't actually apply to me. "Thank you very much!"

"Like talking to a brick wall, I see..."

Refusing to comment on that last rude remark, I happily scampered out of the Gym when I reached the bottom floor, feeling so proud of myself and actually looking forward to calling Mom to tell her all about it. Suddenly, I was stopped by a young woman wearing a black formal kimono decorated in beautiful golden rings along its fabric much like the yellow obi around her waistline. She reached inside my bag, and took out the Pokémon Egg I got from Professor Elm to examine for a good few moments. I reached to snatch it back and tell her off for going in someone's bag without permission, but she put a hand on mine as if foreseeing my thwarted objections.

“This Egg…” she said. “You must promise to take good care of it, okay?”

“Umm, yes ma'am,” I agreed.

“Thanks." Without saying anything else, the woman left, leaving me utterly confused.

“...Okay. That was odd.”

I checked my PokéGear map to tell me which way Azalea Town was. Already excited for my next battle, I followed the directed route, and headed to the southernmost city exit. With Blaze by my side, the lengthy hike through Route 32 had begun. Eventually, night had fallen, and we were both exhausted from walking and battling some of the trainers on that route. Luckily for us, there was a convenient Pokémon Center placed nearby, so we decided to check into it for the night. Once I'd gotten the call to Mom done, it was only a good night's victory sleep awaiting me after.

When the next day had finally come, I changed from my pajamas into my normal outfit, and continued the trip to Azalea Town. I kept walking until I came across a cave called Union Cave. Peeking inside of it and seeing nearly nothing but darkness made me freeze, my legs tempted to jiggle like spineless jelly while my pupils felt as though they'd shrunk considerably. I looked around and past the cave for another pathway, desperate to not go into the cave. Sadly, luck was on the opposite team, so I was forced to go inside Union Cave with Blaze following.

“I really hate caves!” I whined, shuddering in the dark and flinching at alien screeches and sounds. "They’re way too dark, and always creeping with stupid Zubats! You never know when one's just gonna pop up and scare you half to death!”

“Suck it up, Reets,” Blaze scoffed. “Before you know it, we’ll be out of here, and into Azalea Town. And I know you well enough to know that you can put off being a big baby for a few seconds.”

Suddenly, my eye was caught by a shaking rock. I nearly leaped out of my knee socks when it wouldn't stop trembling, pushing Blaze forward to protect me from whatever dared to try and ambush us at any minute. It had to be some kind of Zubat again; I just knew it! The rock’s shaking got even faster until it finally burst, revealing a wild Geodude to my relief.

“Phew. At least it’s not a Zubat,” I remarked. “Alright, Blaze, weaken it with Quick Attack.”

Once Blaze had inflicted some damage onto the Rock-type, I felt it was necessary to catch it. So, I hastily threw a Poké Ball at the Geodude, and the capture was a success. I let the Geodude out to properly meet it.

“Hi there!” I greeted.

“Hey,” Geodude said. “Name’s Braxton, what’s yours, lady?”

“My name’s Ritsu. And this is my Quilava, Blaze.”

“Charmed,” Blaze introduced indifferently.

“Do you know the quickest way out of this cave and into Azalea Town?”

“Yup,” Braxton answered. “Follow me.”

In a time span of about half an hour, I could finally spot the cave exit. There it was, the light at the end of the literal tunnel! No more pesky Zubats flying in my face for what I hoped was, well, ever! After returning Braxton to his Poké Ball, I excitedly hurried to the exit. But, my excitement quickly turned to disgust as we were suddenly caught in a sudden, but very heavy downpour. Note to self, bring or buy an umbrella for the rainier parts of Johto.

“Augh!” Blaze exclaimed, curling inwards. “I hate the rain!”

“What happened to 'suck it up', huh, Blaze?" I snarked to my Quilava's anger, changing my tune right after. “Okay, don't worry! We’ll be dry in no time, so you have to keep up with me, Blaze! Rain or dry, you're not stopping on my watch!”

Scooping Blaze underneath my bag so she could stay dry, I traversed West to our actual destination. My shoes got soggier with every puddle stepped in, wishing I'd brought my galoshes with me too for times like that. Even though the unexpected rain had finally stopped when we got far enough, I stopped walking when I saw an old man being harassed by a younger man in sketchy black clothes.

“Wh-Who are you?” the old man asked.

“You really don’t know?” the man in black sneered. “We’re Team Rocket!”

“Team Rocket? Didn’t you hooligans break up over three years ago?”

“Nonsense! …Okay, we did break up, but now we’re back in business! And, when we contact our leader Giovanni, all the world’s Pokémon will be ours! So, outta my way, ya old coot!”

The Team Rocket Grunt brutally shoved the old man onto the ground. The old man shakily got up and ran away from him. I had only heard a little bit about Team Rocket, but the little information I had told me that they were bad news. When I hurried into the peaceful town of Azalea, I stopped dead in my tracks at the object at my feet.

It was a Slowpoke, slowly bleeding to death from its chopped off tail.
"H-How did this happen?!" I gasped. "Do you know who cut your tail off, little Slowpoke?"

"Yes..." Slowpoke wheezed weakly. "Some guys in black who call themselves Team Rocket. And it wasn't just me they tortured, nearly half of my friends and family have been cut tailless."

"That's horrible! Who in their right mind would do that to an innocent Pokémon without second thought?!"

"Tell me about it. There are some pretty nasty people that came to Slowpoke Well. Do you... do you mind helping us out?"

"A well?" I shuddered, not enjoying the thought of a dark, murky place after having just come out of one. "Sorry, little Slowpoke, I have to go get a Gym Badge. I can't help you."

"Oh, please! I can't... I can't feel my backside! It hurts so badly!"

"I can only imagine so. Look, I'd love to help you, but this is gonna butt in on my Badge journey. Don't you think that's really important?"

"More important than my tail?! I lost a body part here, lady! Urgh... just when I thought I found a good human."

"No, your tail's just as important! Look, I'm sorry, little one, but there's nothing I can do right now! How about I give you a Potion so your wound doesn't get worse, and fight these Rocket strangers after I get my Badge? That should stop a nasty infection!"

I looked again at the languishing Slowpoke when I didn't get a response, sighing with discontent at the fact that I wouldn't be facing the Gym Leader as soon as I wanted. I darted my head between where Azalea Town was, and the Slowpoke fading away in my hands. Biting my lip, pity started to creep up on me when the Slowpoke started coughing and shivering. I took a deep breath, then told it my decision.

"Okay, I'll help you guys!" I assured, giving in. "I'm gonna teach Team Rocket a lesson really quick then get going! I mean, you do look like you could use some assistance after all."

"Thank you, ma'am..." Slowpoke whispered. "And if it's not too much trouble, can you please take me to the town's Pokémon Center? Contrary to what you said, a Potion isn't going to do much help..."

"Sure thing! It's the... least I could do." I grabbed Slowpoke and dashed to the Pokémon Center. Once the Slowpoke was healed with a bandage around its stump, I set it free and tried to find help. I was cut from my thoughts when my PokéGear started ringing. I was being called by Ethan.

"Hey, Ritsu!" Ethan greeted. "Are you in Azalea Town?"

"Yes, I am. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I heard there's a guy named Kurt who makes Poké Balls from Apricorns overnight! He lives in the most northwest part of town, you should go see him!"

As soon as Ethan hung up, I hurried northwest in Azalea Town, and found the Kurt guy's house. I knocked on the door without hesitation, and answering was an old man I could only assume was Kurt. Behind him clinging to his leg was a little girl with auburn hair, who was told to go inside by Kurt. Kurt rubbed his weary eyes, scanning me from head to toe after getting a clear vision shot.

"And who may you be, Miss?" Kurt asked.

"My name is Ritsu, sir," I answered. "Ritsu Levare."

"Nice to meet you, Ritsu!" Kurt greeted amicably as he got close to me and clasped both of my hands. "Ya wanna make some luscious Balls with me?"

"I assume you mean Poké Balls? Phrasing is a little important here."

"Yes, I mean Poké Balls." Kurt rolled his eyes, annoyed with me. "Like I haven't heard that one before..."

"Then, later. I have a lot of things on my plate, and I'm gonna take care of them so I can finally fight the Gym Leader."

"Well, if you don't want Poké Balls, then what brought you to my place?"

"A friend of mine. On my way here, I was actually told that the Slowpoke in the Slowpoke Well had their tails severed by these people named... what was it again? Oh!" I snapped my fingers when it came back to me. "Team Rocket. Does that ring a bell, Mr. Kurt?"

"...WHAT?! Why didn't you say so sooner?! Hang in there, Slowpoke! Kurtie's coming to the rescue!"

Kurt bolted out of the door, and I hastily followed him. Despite his old age, he was actually a fast runner. Suddenly, before I could climb into the well, I felt a light shaking coming from my bag. I pulled out the Egg Case, and I found out the shaking was coming from the egg. Amazed, I witnessed the top of the eggshell crack and pop off. Underneath was some sort of yellow lump, which turned into a baby Togepi in seconds. The little thing looked around curiously, seeing me and reaching out with its new arms inside of the case.

"Aww, he's so cute!" I beamed, instantly in love. However, I quickly corrected myself when I looked underneath the newborn Togepi. "Err, I mean she's so cute!"

"Abawaa..." the Togepi cooed while I cradled her in my arms as if she were a human baby.

"Awww! I'm going to name you... Rose. Do you like that name, Rose?"

"Yaaa! Yaaa!" Rose agreed, clapping her little nubs together.

"Hey!" Blaze snapped, getting half of my attention back at her. "When we're done with the stupid 'ooohs' and 'aaahs', we've got some Rocket butt to stop!"

"Well, someone's a little jealous," I teased. "Blaze, you're gonna have to get used to having someone else on the team. You should have started with Hermia and Yui already."

"I'm not jealous! I just don't like the unnecessary PDA you're giving that little... thing! If you're not careful, you're just gonna forget all about—"


"Th-The mission! Don't flatter yourself! Come on, what are we waiting for?"

After putting the newborn Rose into her new Poké Ball, Blaze and I climbed down into Slowpoke Well where we saw Kurt on the floor. I got close and saw he was trying to move his joints, but all that came from them was a CRACK sound and twitches of agony. I cringed when he let out a moan of pain in vain attempts to get up.

"Kurt!" I gasped. "Are you okay?"

"No," Kurt winced bluntly, clearly in pain. "I managed to scare off the Rocket Grunt that was guarding the well, but I took such a nasty blow jumping down here that I hurt my back."

"Can you still move?"

"No, it hurts to try and run. I could probably still climb the ladder back up, but I'm afraid I can't help you with your mission."

"It's alright, Kurt. I can handle things with my Pokémon! I'm gonna stop this 'Team Rocket', and save the Slowpoke!"

"Good luck to you, Miss Ritsu."

"I don't need luck! I've got the power of pure might, a moody Quilava, and being super goal-oriented on my side!"

Not wanting him to fall down again, I gave him a little push, and he made his way out of the well. I scurried deeper into Slowpoke Well despite my apprehension towards dark caves and the creatures in them, and found the first Rocket Grunt. He immediately ambushed me with his two Rattata, and I sent out Blaze and Braxton to battle. Blaze took out one Rattata with an Ember attack, and Braxton took the other down with Rock Throw.

"Why are you torturing poor little Slowpoke?!" I demanded to know.

"What's it to you, kid?" the Rocket Grunt sneered as he ran off.

I traversed the cave even further, easily taking down a male and female Rocket Grunt in minutes-long battles using the only Pokémon I had on me (except Rose, who was fresh out the Egg and in no shape to fight). At the end of the main cave, I saw a man with light teal hair in a Team Rocket uniform clearly up to no good, so I stepped forward to confront him.

"Well, well, well," the man gloated. "What do we have here? A little girl trying to act all big and bad?"

"Who's acting?" I spat. "I'm gonna make sure you and your no-good friends don't cause me anymore trouble! So you'd better get ready to lose, Team Rocket!"

"I'll be the judge of that! No little girl is going to defeat me, Rocket Executive Proton! I'm the most sadistic and powerful of all the Executives!"

I internally laughed at how Proton actually believed his faith was stronger than mine. Okay, I was a little worried at first when he prepared my first opponent, but I grew relieved when his Pokémon turned out to be a little Zubat (and thankfully only one too!). Scoffing, I sent Braxton to use Rock Throw, and the Zubat fell to the ground defeated after just one try.

"Wow, for someone as 'powerful' as he is sadistic, you have to be the worst battler I've met so far," I remarked.

"I'm not done yet, brat!" Proton shouted, throwing his next Poké Ball. "Koffing, teach her a lesson!"

"Braxton, come back! Lamar, show 'em what you got!" I switched my Geodude for my Bellsprout, whom I felt hadn't gotten his chance to shine yet considering the previous challenge.

"Wh-What?!" Lamar gasped, looking straight up at his opponent. "Ritsu, are you crazy?! Grass-types and Poison-types! Th-They don't mix!"

"Lamar, please." I pleaded to him, folding my hands and looking at him sincerely. "If you don't fight, Team Rocket's gonna keep doing nasty things to these poor Slowpoke. Do you want that on your conscience? Besides, you can't just live in fear for the rest of your life!"

"I-I know, b-but--"

"--No buts, Lamar! You're half-Poison, so no more excuses either! Fight the Koffing so we can win! Please do it for my sake!"

"Koffing, use your Tackle attack!" Proton commanded, taking advantage of the scene.

Koffing managed to inflict quite a bit of damage onto Lamar using all of its body might. Although he was scared out of his mind from the pain, Lamar hadn't a choice but to keep going and win the battle for us. I commanded Lamar to use a burly attack, and a single Wrap attack tightly squeezed the living daylights out of Koffing, leaving it immobilized.

"I-I'm doing it?!" Lamar wondered, raising a brow before brightening up. "Wowie! I g-guess I'm not as weak as I thought! Ooh, I could keep g-going! ...I hope."

"Do you give up now?" I asked Proton, tapping my foot with my hands on my hips.

"Never! Koffing, use Poison Gas!" Proton ordered.

Koffing released a toxic breath of smoke from its body holes. Lamar began to cough so violently that he couldn't focus. He tried fanning away the smoke with his leafy little hands, but not a single puff of poison would clear the way. I started to get scared, now completely regretting my hasty choice of sending Lamar out to the battlefield.

"Lamar, get out of there!" I shouted as loud as I could. "I change my mind; this is a really bad idea!"

"I don't think so," Proton chuckled evilly, snapping his fingers. "Koffing, finish it with Tackle!"

I couldn't see much beyond the Poison Gas, but I could hear clearly. My eyes widened as I could only hear a loud CRACK sound. When the smoke cleared, all I could see was the unconscious Koffing, and green chlorophyll oozing from Lamar's exposed skull. My Bellsprout wasn't moving an inch, nor was he breathing just as much. Proton had a smug look on his face, clearly satisfied with his victory.

"N-No..." I breathed in disbelief as I rushed to Lamar's body. "NO! Lamar, you can't die!"

"Hmph, to think that I could lose to a kid like yourself," Proton remarked.

Suddenly, my heart filled with pain and fury as I looked up at Proton. I could feel my body shaking lividly, losing all control when I spontaneously lunged out at Proton with tears still rushing down my face faster than a river. Proton let out a gasp when I yanked him down, then back up as I forced him to look at my pain. I was honestly surprised my hands weren't constricting his neck from how fast I'd charged at him, but he did look at least stunned.

"Tell me right now..." I growled, gritting my teeth in anger. "What are you horrible Rockets scheming to do?!"

"Like I'd tell someone like you," Proton sneered. "But, for here, we were planning on selling those stupid Slowpoke tails for profit. However, thanks to you, that plan is ruined."

Proton mysteriously fled the cave in a way too fast for me to see. Although I was just now meeting Team Rocket for real, I felt nothing but the blackest of hatred for scum like them now, Proton especially. Once he was gone, I looked at Lamar again. Despite my effort to resist my trembles of sadness, I started bawling over Lamar's death as Blaze tried comforting me. I heard footsteps in midst of my cries, the sound of Kurt's voice calling out to me then stopping when he was close enough.

"Ritsu, what's wrong?" Kurt asked, not seeing Lamar's body in my arms at first.

"Team Rocket... killed my Bellsprout," I sniffed wiping tears from my eyes.

"Oh no, I'm so sorry. That has to be the most awful thing that could happen to a Trainer." Kurt knelt down at me, putting a comforting hand on my shoulder. "But! You did save the Slowpoke! Maybe coming back to the town will cheer you up."

"I appreciate the offer, Kurt. But first, I need to lay Lamar to rest. It's only fair to him after he lost the fight and his life."

"Okay, kiddo. Take all the time you need, I'll be waiting."

I walked over to a nearby pool of water. Seeing no dig-able ground available, I decided to tie a small rock to Lamar's corpse, and I lowered him into the water. I tearfully watched him slowly sink to the bottom as his little leafy arms slowly spread out. As one final tear escaped from my eye, I bid my deceased Bellsprout goodbye, and followed Kurt back up to Azalea Town. My heart pounded slow and heavy from grief, and yet twinged in my chest with anger from the only one at fault for killing Lamar.

'Lamar, I swear,' I promised in my thoughts. 'One day, Team Rocket's gonna pay for this!'
Back at Kurt's house, I was still mourning Lamar after his recent death. I wiped the tears falling from my eyes, sniffling back the mucus that was also trying to make a grand escape with the salted liquid. To try and cheer me up, Kurt's granddaughter Maisy handed me a cup of pink milk tea that had a sweet-smelling aroma and an edible pink flower petal floating on top. Since I'd have politely declined if it'd been the far less drinkable hot leaf juice version that could only be salvaged by drowning it in honey, I took a little sip and reveled at the phenomenal creamy taste, licking the traces of the flavor from my lips as I took another sip.

"This is delicious!" I declared. "What's in it?"

"I just used one of Grandpa's leftover pink Apricorns, and blended it," Maisy explained. "I hoped it would cheer you right up!"

"Well, I always love a good chai or milk tea, so I guess I do feel a little better. Not much, but this certainly helped. Thank you, Maisy. You're such a thoughtful little sweetie pie."

"You're welcome! After all, you helped my Slowpoke, Billy, so it's the least I could do!"

"Ritsu, are you feeling well enough to leave?" Kurt asked.

"Yes, I think I'll be okay," I answered. "At least, I should eventually. Don't worry about me though!"

"Splendid! As a present, I made you a Friend Ball for the road! If you ever want me to make more Poké Balls for you, then register me in your PokéGear!"

Once Kurt was officially registered after a few button taps and setting selections, I took the Friend Ball and left his house for the Azalea Town Pokémon Center. When I got there, I got a call from Professor Elm while my surviving Pokémon healed up with the tender care of the Nurse Joy that worked there.

"Hello, Ritsu," Elm greeted.

"Hi, Professor. Oh! I just remembered, my Togepi Egg finally hatched!"

"Ah! So it was a Togepi Egg you got! Well, Ritsu, I knew you'd be trustworthy enough to take care of that Egg!"

"Thank you, Professor. I believed I was fairly capable of doing it! You should see Rose for yourself, she's so cute!"

"Yes, Togepi tend to be pretty darn adorable. Hey, tell you what? Because you've succeeded in hatching the Egg, I'll let you keep it!"

"Wow, really? I get to keep Rose? Oh, Professor, that's such an honor!"

"Anything for you, Ritsu. Take care on your journey, alright?"

After Professor Elm hung up, I went to the Poké Mart to buy stuff for my second Gym battle. I asked for plenty of healing Potions and special medicine, which were handed to me in no time. Once the supplies were paid for and mine for good, I hurried into the Azalea Gym. I spent about twenty minutes pulling levers and riding metal bug sliders before I finally reached Bugsy.

"Before we begin the battle, I must warn you; my Bug-types are not to be underestimated!" Bugsy gloated, sending out his Metapod as my first Gym opponent.

'He says that, and yet his first Pokémon is a Metapod that can't attack,' I thought, giggling at Bugsy's silly opinion. "Braxton, take the stage!"

As expected, Braxton quickly took down the Metapod with a few Rock Throws. When Bugsy sent out his Kakuna, Braxton did the same thing as before, and the Kakuna was defeated. Bugsy looked down at his crushed and unconscious Kakuna underneath the large boulders, letting out a somewhat frustrated noise as he recalled the Bug-and-Poison-type.

"Just because the same tactic worked the first two times doesn't mean it's going to work a third time!" Bugsy snapped, summoning his next Pokémon. "Scyther, go get 'em!"

"Braxton, use Magnitude!" I commanded.

The ground began to shake violently as Braxton concentrated his might. But much to my shock, Scyther managed to avoid the attack by leaping into the air when the Magnitude felt around a 7 or 8. When it was over, Scyther landed on the ground unscathed and confident. I pursed my lips at how things weren't going like I hoped, but still held strong to my faith in myself and Braxton.

"You see? It's not just about type vs. type. It's about speed," Bugsy remarked. "Scyther, use Quick Attack!"

In the blink of an eye, Braxton was critically struck with a nearly unseen attack from Scyther. When Scyther's blurry "wind" went back to Bugsy's side, Braxton collapsed onto the ground from his injury. After last time, I did start to worry a bit, but I could tell he was still breathing and quickly stopped being concerned.

"Scyther, finish with U-Turn!" Bugsy commanded.

"Blaze, come out and protect Braxton with Quick Attack!" I proclaimed, tossing Blaze's Poké Ball.

As soon as Blaze came out of her Poké Ball, she rammed herself onto Scyther at the speed of light. To finish the battle, she defeated Scyther with her Ember attack, ensuring the easy KO as if it were practically destiny. While Bugsy looked at his fallen Pokémon, I felt nothing but joy at my hope coming true and proving me right once again. I held out my hand to Bugsy, waiting for him to give me my reward I so rightfully earned.

"How's that for speed?" I laughed confidently, low-fiving Blaze.

"Pretty impressive, ma'am," Bugsy commented. "As a reward for defeating me-- and per League rules even if I wasn't such a good sport-- I present you with the Hive Badge."

"Alright!" I held up the ladybug-print Badge proudly, smiling at it. "Two down, six to go!"

"Hey, Ritsu," Braxton coughed, tapping me on the ankle. "I'd hate to interrupt your happy moment, but I'm still a little injured."

"Oh, right," I sprayed Braxton's wounds with a Potion. "Sorry, Brax. That Scyther was stronger than I thought."

"It's cool, brah. I'll be fine in no time!"

After I returned Braxton to his Poké Ball, I hurried out of the Gym to find the next city. Just as I was about to enter the correct corridor, I was suddenly approached by Nico. I let out a gasp of shock from being startled, though my insides felt the utmost disgust just by looking at Nico and his horrible existence.

"N-Nico!" I squeaked. "It's a surprise to see you're still around! What are you doing-- AH!"

"...Tell me," Nico demanded as he grabbed the collar of my shirt. "Has Team Rocket really returned?!"

I plucked his fingers away from my shirt until he let go, backing away with a confused glare. "Yes, they have. I just defeated a Rocket guy named Proton for murdering my Bellsprout."

"Ha! Don't make me laugh, Plumber Breath. There's no way in hell a weak little girl like you could have taken down a Rocket member. But, if you somehow defeat me, then maybe, just maybe, I'll take your word for it."

"You'd better count on getting beat, Mister!"

Once Nico sent out his Zubat, I sent out Yui and had her use Fury Swipes on her opponent. Over and over did Yui's sharpened claws cut through Zubat's body, the flying creature screaming in pain at each slash. By the time Yui was finished with her attack, Zubat looked worn out beyond all words, but Nico didn't seem to care at all. Instead, he growled just by looking at his own Pokémon, his upper lip scrunching up with pure disgust and something akin to hatred for the little thing.

"You'd better get up and fight, you weak little runt!" Nico snapped.

"But, sir..." Zubat wheezed. "That Fury Swipes attack was really critical."

"Like I care! Either you fight, or you can see your way out of here! I caught you when nobody else wanted to bother looking at you, and I can release change my mind just as easily."

Seeing no way to spare the Zubat, I told Yui to use her Quick Attack, and the Zubat fainted. Nico angrily sent out his Croconaw, and I sent Blaze out despite the disadvantage. She gave me a look as if I only had one eye on my face, but I told her I wasn't changing my mind and to win for my own sake of moving on. I had high hopes she'd do well, so I saw no reason she would lose besides her being a Fire-type. Even with the obvious advantage, I trusted my heart over another's logic and encouraged her.

"So we meet again, eh, Lizard Lips?" Blaze taunted.

"Aye, lassie," Croconaw answered. "So, we do."

"Croconaw, Water Gun!" Nico commanded.

Croconaw puffed up his cheeks, releasing a jet of water towards Blaze. I told her to dodge it, and she did so by dashing out of the way. There was a look in her eye that made me think she was grossed out by the water, but I didn't care. What I cared about what taking Nico to the cleaners and moving on to get the next Gym Badge while seeing the sights of Johto I'd missed for far too much of my life. Blaze was soon doused in a blast of water. Shivering from the cooled attack, she quickly shook herself dry and her flames reignited. Now, she looked angrier than ever at Croconaw.

"Blaze, attack with Smokescreen!" I exclaimed.

Blaze released a large cloud of smoke from her mouth, making it nearly impossible to see anything. While she wasn't at all affected, Nico, Croconaw, and I were coughing like crazy among the smoke. I covered my mouth with my long red sleeve, but the coughing didn't seem to stop due to the density of the Smokescreen. I squinted, trying to stay focused on the battle at hand that was stopping me from continuing my dream journey.

"Alright, now finish with Quick Attack!" I coughed, pointing a free finger.

Croconaw was then knocked out of the smoke, and landed on the ground unconscious. The cold look in Nico's gray eyes didn't seem to disappear as he sent Croconaw back to its Poké Ball.

"Ready to give up, Nico?" I questioned. "Only one of us is going to win, and I have quite the feeling it won't be you."

"Get real! There's no way I'm ever gonna lose to a weakling like you! Gastly, finish the job!" Nico cried.

"Hermia, come on out!" I called tossing Hermia's Poké Ball.

"Gastly," Nico said, smirking evilly. "Go ahead and use Mean Look!"

Gastly then gave Hermia a menacing glare as its eyes glowed read. Hermia tried to fly away from the fight, but was blocked by some strange barrier. She flew into it over and over in a vain attempt to break free, but her poor little body just couldn't do it. I told her over and over that I knew she won't lose and to either keep trying, or keep the fight up.

'We're gonna win! There's no doubt about it! I'm gonna be the victor of this fight!' I encouraged myself in my head.

"Now, Gastly, use Lick!" Nico ordered.

Gastly proceeded to creepily lick Hermia's face while she was still flying, causing slight paralysis. Despite her flight inhibited, Hermia was driven by my words of hope to keep going. Hermia tried to use a single Comet Punch, but due to the type of move it was, it left no effect. Her tiny little bug fist phased right through Gastly, who smirked evilly with Nico.

"Heh! Now finish with Curse!" Nico exclaimed. "This one's in the bag!"

A ghostly nail appeared to hammer itself into Gastly, leaving it a little bit weaker. But, when the same nail hammered into the horrified Hermia, a great amount of blood was squirting out of her neck area. I closed my eyes several times for each drive until the blood gushing stopped forever. Opening them, my heart dropped a few extra levels when my Ledyba wasn't moving. I rushed over to Hermia's static side, but it was too late; she was already dead.

"Hermia," I sniffled, feeling sobs posses my voice while I hugged her body. "B-Blaze, finish the battle!"

Angry over our teammate's death, Blaze quickly KO'd the already-weakened Gastly with a Flame Wheel attack. Afterwards, she quickly went to my side, looking pained at Hermia's corpse in my arms while I cried away in mourning. Nico on the other hand shook his head, empathy not even bothering to cross his mind at seeing me in such a "pathetic" state. All he did was sneer and recall his Gastly, putting it back on his belt in extra disappointment at having lost an easy battle.

"You're an even bigger weakling than I thought," Nico spat. "Why waste your time bawling over a weak little Ledyba?"

"Will you shut up..." I angrily hissed under my breath, feeling my blood start to boil with Nico's attitude being the fire.

"Why are you getting pissy at me? I mean, it's not like you're the reason it's dead, it's its own fault for being so damn weak. Quit beating yourself up over it and move on--"

"I said shut-- UP!" I hollered, springing up and slugging Nico in the mouth with every last drop of fury I had as the tears from my eyes stuck to my face. "You don't just kick around a Pokémon just because you think it's 'weak'! You'll never get far if you keep thinking that! Now, why don't you just do me a favor and just get away from me before I do something really ugly?!"

Shocked at my outburst, Nico spat out a bloody tooth and stormed off in a huff. He used his other hand to rub the sore area where I punched him, also grimacing at now needing dental care to take care of his predicament. Swishing the contents of his mouth, he spat out a patch of blood onto the ground and continued to leave my crying form behind without any hesitation.

"Hmm," I heard Nico ponder as he looked at the tooth in his palm. "Now, if only you were as strong in Pokémon battles as you are in MMA, apparently..."

"That prick is so going to get it!" Blaze hissed as she began to run after Nico.

"Just forget it, Blaze," I sighed, grabbing her by the part of her body furthest away from her ignited flames. "Nico's nothing more than a bitter old bully, and he'll never be worth arguing with. People like him can never grow a heart no matter how many chances you give them. Let's just forget about him, and keep going."

When we arrived at a place called the Ilex Forest, I buried Hermia in front of a nearby tree with a heavy heart. Before walking further, I said a short eulogy about Hermia on how although we hadn't spent much time together, she still meant a lot to me. I was still tearful and utterly heartbroken over losing another friend, but I desperately kept the tiny flame of hope that was ready to blow out alive and well. My cries of grief kept coming despite my efforts, moving through the forest as more tears fell.


Blaze, ♀️, Brave, Often dozes off, New Bark Town


Yui, ♀️, Calm, Sturdy body, Route 29


Hermia, ♀️, Mild, A little quick tempered, Route 31


Lamar, ♂️, Bashful, Alert to sounds, Sprout Tower


Braxton, ♂️, Hardy, Likes to relax, Union Cave


Rose, ♀️, Rash, Quick tempered, Slowpoke Well (Egg hatched)

Lamar, Lvl. 5-11, Chapter 6


Hermia, Lvl. 6-17, Chapter 7
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Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
First part of Arc 2 is right here! Decided to upload one chapter per post and just link the other chapters of that arc to it until said arc ends. ...It'll make more sense doing it than saying it, ok? 😅

When I walked away from Hermia's grave after mustering up enough courage to, I was suddenly stopped by a glasses-wearing boy with dark hair. Oh great, what could this stranger want to do with me now? Not only was I still in a hurry to move on and get to the better parts of traveling all over Johto, but even less was I in any mood to deal with anybody but myself and my Pokémon at the moment. He had a panicked expression, as if looking around to find something dear to him that had gone missing.

"Excuse me, Miss!" the boy exclaimed. "Have you seen any Farfetch'd around here?"

"No, I haven't, sorry," I told him, stepping around the boy without stopping.

"Well, if you do see two of them, be sure to bring them to me!"

Pretending to agree to that, I kept walking through Ilex Forest for a way out. While doing so, I came across a pair of Farfetch'd, clearly the ones I'd been informed of not too long ago. As much as I didn't want anything to do with the stranger, it would be a shame if I saw a worried Trainer's Pokémon and failed to tell them honestly. They were out in the open in front of a tree, so I tiptoed closer and quietly so they wouldn't see me coming in time. But, I accidentally stepped on a sneaky little branch, causing the Farfetch'd to flutter even further away from me.

"Oops," I muttered, feeling like a dolt.

After a couple minutes of stepping on conveniently placed branches and scaring the Farfetch'd more times than anybody should ever put up with, I carefully snuck up on and ambushed the two Wild Duck Pokémon. It took some extra wrestling and grabbing on tight for either of them, but finally, they were mine, and I was not starting over by letting them go loose. Going back and tracking down the glasses boy to present the twin Farfetch'd to him, another dark-haired man (who introduced himself as Otto, the Cutting Master of Johto) walked up to us.

"Ah, you've found my Farfetch'd!" Otto beamed, taking them back grinning. "As a reward for helping me and my son out, I'll give you a Hidden Machine!"

The Hidden Machine he gave me contained a move known as Cut. The Cutting Master's Son explained that when the move isn't used in battle, it can be used to cut down trees. Once they walked away, I saw that a tree was blocking my path. Before I could even react, Blaze simply burned down the tree with an Ember attack, and began to walk ahead of me.

"There. Now, we can go," Blaze said.

'Okay, that works too...' I thought as I followed her.

When I continued walking, I was startled by a loud THUMP. Too curious to just ignore a noise like that, I decided to follow it in the exact direction I guessed it'd come from. I got close enough to see my answer, which was a man repeatedly ramming himself into a large tree for reasons I had yet to understand. He did it again with no fruitful results, so I got closer to get a clearer answer.

"Excuse me, sir, but why are you slamming yourself into that tree?" I wondered, grabbing the man by the back of his shirt to stop him from doing it again. "Aren't you hurt?"

"Nonsense, I'm not hurt!" the man claimed as he faced me with cheeks full of bruises, missing teeth, a bleeding nose, and a black eye. "I'm just simply trying to catch a Pokémon by headbutting into the tree! You know, I could teach one of your Pokémon the move Headbutt if you'd like!"

"Umm... I guess?"

"Great! Let's see... which one of your Pokémon looks right for the job? Oh! How about that little one? She looks compatible!"

"What, you mean Rose?" I saw he was pointing to my Togepi's Poké Ball, instantly rejecting the absurd idea. "No, no, no, no! Not her. She's way too young to start battling or handling a move like that!"

Suddenly, we were ambushed by a wild Oddish, who'd probably had more than enough of the senseless banging against the tree thanks to the man I met. As I tried to fish for a Pokémon to use to catch it, Rose suddenly popped out of her Poké Ball with a determined look on her face. Without waiting for me to say anything, she ran gung-ho into battle, the Oddish bracing itself for any potential danger from a cute little Togepi. Not that there was any I could think of, but in all fairness, the two were equal in small size.

"Rose, no!" I pleaded. "You'll get hurt!"

Unfortunately, my pleas for reconsideration fell on deaf ears. Rose began to move her tiny little arms back and forth until they began to glow light blue. What happened next had truly caught me by surprise: Rose had swung her glowing right arm into Oddish, knocking it through and wrecking at least five trees. All I could do afterward was stand there mouthing a gape at Rose's stupendous power. She clearly didn't think anything of it, blowing on her sore fist and getting it to cool down from the tremendous force.

"Was that a...?" I gasped, completely speechless otherwise.

"Yep! I used Metronome, and it came out as Dynamic Punch!" Rose beamed, also surprising me with how fast Togepi learn how to speak after birth. "Do you think I'm too feeble to battle now, Ritsu?"

"Not at all, Rose!" I squeaked as I picked her up. "Do you want to learn Headbutt?"

"Yeah, yeah! Teach me the cool move, I wanna learn it! Hurry up!"

"Ahem. We say 'please' when we want things, Rosie."

"We do? Oh! ...Please teach me the cool move, I wanna learn it! Hurry up, please!"

That's better. After Rose learned the move using the HM/TM Player and headphones I took out of my bag, she immediately tested it out by tipping another three trees over. Each fall made her laugh with delight, doing it to more trees she saw in her way. Before she had could do it again to whatever forest life remained in the area, I quickly grabbed her and settled my squirmy Togepi down into submission.

"Alright, little missy," I warned. "Let's move on before you knock the entire forest down."

When we kept going, we heard a weak groan from nearby, turning out to be from the Oddish that lost against Rose. "Who turned out the lights...?" it groaned.

"Are you alright, little Oddish?"

"Oww... I've got a few sprains and bruises, but I think I'll be fi— GAH!"

"Let me take you to the Pokémon Center! We're heading to Goldenrod right now, anyway."

"I already told you. I don't need your help! Now please just go away!"

However, Oddish barely took two steps before keeling over in pain. Struggling to get up over and over, she finally decided to let me take her to treatment. As concerned as I was for the creature, I had to admit it was obvious how she wasn't going to get anywhere without medical attention. No Potion would be able to fix any potentially broken body parts, so I was willing to get her more advanced care beyond a simple first-aid kit in my bag.

"I'm glad you agree I'm right," I commented, putting little strips of bandage on her injuries. "My name is Ritsu, and this is my Togepi, Rose."

"It's nice to meet you, Ritsu. I'm Erin-- augh, can you please hurry and take me to the Pokémon Center?"

"Will do! You can be a new buddy of ours."

"...Buddy?" That seemed to catch Erin's intrigue. "I'm your buddy? I've never had a buddy before."

"You do now. Come along."

I grew one of my empty Poké Balls and dropped it on Erin's head so it could absorb her as red light. The Poké Ball lightly shook on the ground three times, then clicked shut to officially register Erin as a member of my team before I picked it up. Once I reached Route 34, the sun was already starting to set. As I cut through the grass, I was suddenly ambushed by a Drowzee. I sent Yui out on it, and she quickly attacked with a Fury Swipes attack. Drowzee stumbled for a little, but then its eyes began to glow bright blue, and Yui followed suit.

"Yui, use Fury Swipes again!" I ordered.

Strangely, Yui's attack failed didn't happen as it should have. No matter how many times she tried to retract her large claws, nothing would happen. She went as far as to shake her paws forward over and over, to no success and all the frustration. I hadn't realized why, but she did, slapping herself in the forehead with a groan.

"Bah, of course!" Yui barked. "That stupid Drowzee used a Disable attack on me!"

"Well, then attack with Quick Attack instead!" I suggested. "You can still do that, at least."

Luck was on our side since the attack hit Drowzee critically, but not enough to prevent me from catching it. Deciding to do just that and claim a new teammate, I tossed my last Poké Ball at her. No fighting or struggling ensued because of how weak Drowzee had become from the fight, and three shakes later, I had a new friend with me ready to travel.

"I'm going to call you Ellen," I told the Ball, putting my new Psychic-type away for safekeeping.

Up ahead, I noticed a Pokémon Day Care. When I approached it, I saw Ethan receiving a blue egg from an old man who appeared to be the proprietor of the building. Ethan held the Egg in his hands and looked at it with a smile, while the Marill at his feet rolled its eyes with pure disgust. I could see Ethan talking to the elderly man, Marill moving its hand and alternating an open mouth with a closed one as if imitating the conversation. Ethan caught his Pokémon doing this, giving Marill a sincere look of concern that made it stop before he went to talk again.

"Well, my dear grandson," the Day Care Man announced. "Here's your new Egg!"

"Thanks, Grandpa!" Ethan cheered. "Look, Marill! Pretty soon, you're going to have a new baby brother or sister around!"

"Ah, I bet that's gonna be fun..." I heard Marill groan with an obvious disdain in his voice.

"Ethan! Over here!" I called, running over and waving.

"Oh, hiya, Ritsu!" Ethan responded, doing the same gesture "Fancy seeing you here. This is my Grandpa Joel; he's the Day Care Man!"

"Pleasure to meet you, sir," I took Grandpa Joel's hand and shook it a few times.

"The pleasure's all mine, young lady," Joel responded.

"My Nanna's inside; I'll introduce you to her!" Ethan informed me as he pulled me into the Day Care like an excited kid would their mom at seeing a neat new toy. "Nanna, this is Ritsu. Ritsu, my Nanna, Susan."

"Ah, so this is your girlfriend!" the Day Care Lady, Susan remarked. "I must say, my young boy, you sure know how to pick 'em!"

"N-Nanna! I've already told you; my girlfriend's name is Kris, and she's traveling in Kanto until the end of the month! Ritsu's been my best friend since we were little kids."

"Oopsie! My bad, honey! So, what brings ya here, girl? Ya wanna leave a Pokémon with us?"

"No, thank you, ma'am," I politely declined. "I was just on my way to Goldenrod City to battle the Gym Leader."

"Ah. Well, okay then. If you ever change your mind, you know where our business is! And if you don't, our Ethan can happily remind you, sweetheart."

"But, before you leave, Ritsu," Ethan spoke up. "Let's register each other in our PokéGears."

"Hoo-hoo! You're quite the ladies' man, Ethan!"

"Is he? I don't think Kris would take too kindly to hearing that," I joked, fingers on my smirking lips.

"Nanna!" Ethan squeaked once our numbers were registered, all the more embarrassed by his grandmother. "I just told you, Ritsu's not my girlfriend! Please stop doing that. And Ritsu, you stop encouraging her. Neither of you are helping..."

I'd only gotten a foot outside the Daycare when Joel stopped me to register his and his wife's numbers into my PokéGear just in case I wanted to stop by again. Thanking him, I finally managed to cross the city limits into Goldenrod City. However, after the long day I had, I was beginning to feel a little bushed. Since it was getting close to nightfall, anyway, I checked myself and my team into a Pokémon Center room so that I would be ready to hunt the Gym down first thing in the morning. And, if I had time, a fun little detour of the city would go with it. For once, I gave into preparing myself for bed when it got late enough that night instead of hurrying along my journey, wanting myself to feel as well-rested as possible for anything that'd be in store for me to face and conquer with everything I had.


Erin, ♀️, Quirky, Scatters things often, Ilex Forest


Ellen, ♀️, Lax, Often lost in thought, Route 34

Arc 02, Part 2/3
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Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
I've kept this waiting long enough, so here's the first update with my new banner in my signature!

The next day, I was already feeling ready to explore the new city and find the Gym along my way. I went downstairs to the lobby to check myself out, and to check Erin's recovery progress. The Goldenrod Nurse Joy told me that Erin had a few benign sprains that will heal in time, and that she was well enough to come with me as long as she didn't do anything crazy right away. Since the shining Goldenrod was the largest city in all of Johto, there was plenty of ways to keep me busy while I sought the Gym and its Leader. First, I decided to pay a visit to the local bicycle shop called Miracle Cycle Bikes. Hoofing it through such a big place tired me out just thinking about it, nevermind doing it, and a nice set of wheels would get my agenda done much faster and easier.

"Hello, young lady!" the owner greeted. "Since you're the first one in this morning, I've got a little job for you."

"A job? How-- long would this take, if I did say yes?" I asked.

"Barely any time at all! And, if you're busy, it won't cut into your day plans."

That was a relief to hear. "What do I have to do?"

"Nothing too hard." They wheeled a shiny orange bicycle with a straw basket on the front and blue handlebar streamers out past the counter to show it off to me. "Just ride this little baby around the city wherever you go, and if enough people are impressed, this shop will be flooded in customers! After, I'll make it worth your while by letting you have the bike for free."

"A free bicycle? That's an offer that's hard to refuse. I'll do it!"

As I pedaled around on the bike outside the store, I decided to check out a place that interested me the most: the Goldenrod Department Store. This wasn't at all the time to be out shopping fancy free, but I did need some supplies for the next Gym battle. I folded the bike to fit it into my bag, and skipped inside to join the Department Store's bustling, busy atmosphere. I took the elevator up to the second floor since that's where the important stuff was waiting for me to buy it, browsing each shelf and picking up as many Super Potions as I could afford with the money I had so far. Thankfully, Falkner and Bugsy weren't stingy in victory pay, combining very well with my other battles.

"Hello! What will it be today?" the cashier asked when I walked up to her with my bag of Super Potions (and a few extra Poké Balls in case I wanted some new friends).

"Just these," I answered, watching her unload my future purchases. She looked at all of them, swallowing with a grim look on her face. "Is something the matter?"

"Ma'am, do you have the Plain Badge yet?"

"No, but it's very funny you ask me that. I'm going to get that next as soon as I find the Gym in this big city."

"I thought so. Please take these extra ten Super Potions, you're going to need them!"

"But I don't have that much money—"

"Don't worry, they're on the house! Trust me when I say this, young lady; this city's Gym Leader, Whitney, has this Miltank she uses in all of her Gym Battles."

"Oh, it's just a little Miltank. How bad could it be?"

"NO! Don't underestimate the Miltank, I repeat! Do not! Underestimate the Miltank. Just when you think you've weakened it, BOOM! Milk Drink undoes all your hard work. And as if that wasn't bad enough, it will destroy your Pokémon with either Rollout or Stomp, and repeat the whole process until either your hopes and dreams or Pokémon team are destroyed. Whichever one comes first."

Feeling a little terrified from such a strong warning (the customers behind me in line looking just as frightened doing nothing to help me), I hastily took my free Super Potions from the cashier and my bag of goods that I'd bought with my money. After she told me to have a nice day, that completed my shopping and continued my detour of Goldenrod City. Wherever I pedaled, I looked out for the Goldenrod Gym and followed the map on my PokéGear to make the job easier. Further up north, I found the building I wanted and pedaled towards it, only for Rose to ring the bike's bell and stop me when she had my attention.

"Yes, sweetie?" I inquired.

"Can we go someplace else first?" Rose requested, pointing across the street to a yellow tent with a purple top. "I wanna see what's in that building!"

"A tent? Oh, Rose, we're not going there. Absolutely not. The Gym's right in front of us! See? It's--" I turned to the door, finding a note telling me it was going to be a little bit longer due to the Gym Leader not having arrived yet. "--Closed?! What kind of Gym Leader is late for their own battles?! That's so unprofessional!"

"Does this mean we can go to the tent now? It's pretty! And purple!"

"You don't know what's in there. For all we know, it could be some scam artist, or-- or a crook in disguise!" Rose jumped out of the basket, running across the street with me pedaling fast after her. "Hey, hey! Don't run off like that! You could get run over!"

Rose read the sign in front of the tent slowly. "N-Nay...? Na-mi...?"

"That says 'name', Rose."

"Name? Name-- Rater! Name Rater, Ritsu! I don't know what that is, but I wanna find out! Pretty please with Cheri Berries on top?!" She batted her eyes at me, putting on her cutest face and grin.

"If we stop in there for a few minutes, will you let this go so we can get moving?"

"Uh-huh, uh-huh! You won't regret it!"

I sighed, picking Rose up and putting my bike away to begrudgingly walk inside the tent that only excited one of us (and here's a hint: it wasn't me). "Hello?"

"Hello," the old Name Rater greeted. "Would you like for me to rate the nicknames of your Pokémon? Or... my other services?"

"L-Like?" I backed towards the exit when the Name Rater reached under his table and pulled out... a crystal ball, slamming it on the surface. "Huh?"


"Fortune telling? That doesn't sound so bad. Make it quick, though. The Gym Leader will be back any minute, and I plan on beating her within the hour!"

"Stay a while, Miss! Whitney isn't picking her Gym up and running away. Unlike me, the day is young, so you can have your cake and eat it, too." When I took a seat in one of the cushions, I put Rose on the one beside me. "So, who wants their palms read? You? Or your little Togepi, maybe?"

"No, thanks. I like them the color they are," Rose said innocently.

"Rose, that's not what he means," I laughed. "Could you tell me my fortune, please?"

"Very well. What would you like to know about?" the Name Rater asked, swirling his hands around the crystal ball full of purple clouds.

"I'd like to know how I'm going to turn out in the future. Now that I'm a free woman, I want to hear how bright my future will be so that I can make it come true in a snap. Would that be okay, sir?"

"Alright, let me consult the Guardians of the Future!"

"The... what?" Maybe this man wasn't as trustworthy as I thought. Sadly, there didn't look to be any way out until he'd done his thing. Now, to play the waiting game...

The Name Rater concentrated to his best ability, letting out hums that alternated in volume. Everything around me started flickering on and off, Rose and I growing concerned at what was happening. It didn't help that whatever was on the table was shaking in place, now convincing me that there was more to the Name Rater than meets the eye, or a simple business founded for fun. Maybe he really was some sort of psychic man after all! After about a few minutes, the Name Rater finally burst out in amazement, spooking me into giving him my attention again.

"Yes, yes, a very bright future for you!" the Name Rater announced. "Before the end of this year, you shall rise as the region's true new Champion!"

"Really? Me, the Champion?" I gasped, eyes twinkling. "That's amazing! Oh, oh, what else after that? Maybe something further down the road after my journey? My life as an adult?"

"Hmm..." The Name Rater concentrated again, getting a vision in his head and screeching when it fully came to him. "Yes! Ah, yes! In February-- not too many years from now, actually! You will be happily married. And just a few years after that happens, you will give birth to a child who will eventually grow up to be one of the most powerful Pokémon Trainers there is! A-- I think they'll be a hero, even!"

"You're gonna have a hero?" Rose inquired. "Babies can't be heroes!"

'Me? A mother? And, they'll be as strong as I'll be?' I thought, disregarding Rose's question. While I admittedly liked kids, I never once put much consideration into whether I'd have my own someday, given I was still enjoying teendom. That one was going to be Future Ritsu's issue. "Okay, who am I going to marry in the future?"

"Well... that I'm not quite sure about. But, the Guardians of the Future are telling me that he's a very powerful Trainer himself, and someone you would expect the least at this moment in time."

"Oh. Anything else?"

"Umm... no. That's all I can tell you for now. The Guardians advise against giving away too much, lest it ruin somebody's future. And, I don't only mean yours, either." The old man stopped me from leaving the tent so easily, doing a gimme motion with his hand. "Not so fast. Name rating is free, but fortunes cost 100 Poké Dollars."

"Oh, sorry! Here you go. Goodbye for real!" I picked Rose up, holding her in both arms. 'Someone unexpected and powerful...? That's who I marry? I don't know anybody like that, I don't think...'

When I walked out of the tent after the payment was finally made, I bumped into someone standing outside, and we both fell to the ground. Rubbing my head free of its slight ache, I looked down to see I had bumped into Nico, who had an annoyed look on his face. Myself on the other hand felt nothing but contempt. Of all the people I could have seen again today, it was the murderer of one of my teammates in the flesh! Even with the goofy-looking space where his tooth used to be making a part of me laugh on the inside, it wasn't enough to beat just not seeing him period.

"Watch where you're going, Plumber Breath!" Nico snapped.

"I thought I told you to stop calling me that," I bit, venom in my tone. "Why are you even near this area? Were you going to nickname your Pokémon?"

"As if! Only an idiot like you would go to get a nickname rated. Besides, why would anyone even need to nickname something that's only good for battling?"

"Now who's the idiot? I've told you this before, Nico. Pokémon aren't just made to fight your battles for you! They can be your best friends, too!"

"If you don't want to be called an idiot, Pigtails, then don't say stupid things like that. And FYI, I was on my way to the city dentist after you punched one of my teeth out."

"I'll do it again if I have to..."

"Ooh, I'm soo scared! The only reason you managed to punch me is because you got upset over nothing. I bet you couldn't hit the bright side of a barn without all that adrenaline--!"

Proving his taunts wrong, I kneed him with every ounce of my might in the worst possible place a boy could get hit. As Nico gripped his injured area with both of his hands, he let out a squeal of unadulterated pain as he tried to walk away from me. In doing so, however, all he could muster was a constricted waddle, his hands still between his legs to protect his sacred area from any further injury. Judging by how his face turned red enough to rival his hair and the tears leaking down his face, I must have done a pretty good job in getting my point across.

"You're going to pay for that, Plumber Breath!" Nico screeched, his voice high-pitched because of where I kneed him.

"It's Ritsu. And, don't you forget it!" I trudged away, annoyed. "My gosh! What a pain in my rear..."

Suddenly, I got a call from the Bike Shop owner on my PokéGear, saying that customers were flowing in like no tomorrow. So, as promised, I got to keep the bike as a reward for helping his business flourish. Happy, I decided to pedal over to Route 35 to train some of my team for our next Gym Challenge. As I was training the girls (and Braxton), I was suddenly approached by a cute little Nidoran, the purple coat telling me it was a male one.

"Hey, lady," Nidoran spoke in a clearly young voice. "You a Pokémon Trainer?"

"Why yes, little one," I answered. "I am a Pokémon Trainer."

"Sweet! Can I come with you?" Nidoran asked. "Bein' out here in the wilderness can only do so much ta make a guy stronga!"

"Sure! The more the merrier! What's your name, little guy?"

"The name's Spike, ma'am. What's yours?"

"Ritsu. You've just earned yourself a one-way ticket to the team, Spike! Come on in."

I tossed a Poké Ball at him, and with three shakes, it clicked shut and accepted Spike. But, when it did, Spike was instantly sent to the PC Boxes thanks to me having no space on the team at the moment. Deciding to go get him later, I trained my team some more until we were strong enough to take down Whitney. Determined to get my third badge, I hastily pedaled back to Goldenrod City and entered the Gym to claim my rightful prize from the esteemed Gym Leader.


Spike♂️, Rash, Hates to lose, Route 35

Spike the Nidoran♂️

Arc 02, Part 3/3
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Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Pokédex No.
Jul 4, 2019
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Psychic
Of all the things I expected to be rebooted I didn’t expect this to be one of them. I’m liking it so far.


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Of all the things I expected to be rebooted I didn’t expect this to be one of them. I’m liking it so far.

Aww, thankies! Yeah, I've been rewriting this for a couple years now bc I was unimpressed with the first version (as one would in their older years seeing what their hs self shat out dkjoifwisjoiofedjlk), but didn't return to the updated forums until now. Hope the rest impresses, friend! 😊


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
A tad overdue, but here's the last part of Arc 02 for y'all! Hope you like it!

The inside of the Gym looked how I would describe as... a dollhouse. A big, pink, saccharine dollhouse full of workers dressed better for a mall or fashion show than they would be a Gym challenge. I did think the Clefairy-shaped ornaments were adorable, and the flowers were a nice touch, but the stench of overused perfume? No, thank you. Just that smell alone set my nostrils on fire without a trace of mercy in the air. As I passed through the Goldenrod City Gym, the women that worked there kept trying to offer me fancy perfume bottles and make up supplies, but I either ignored them or politely turned them down. One of them nearly got me with a dab of powder and spritz of "Swirlix Candy" perfume; I was lucky enough to get away from them and focus on making my way to the Gym Leader for my Badge.

"It's always nice to have a lovely girl come into the Gym," one of them remarked. "Whenever a boy comes in here, I'm always afraid they'll stench up the place something rotten! Ugh!"

"Boys will never understand how hard it is to be beautiful," another one said.

"Miss, are you sure you don't want some color on those lips?" a third lady asked me. "You look like you'd enjoy this new 'Swoobat Sweet' lipstick."

"No, thank you. I don't like makeup," I groaned. "Let me get to my battle so that I can leave as soon as possible."

After traversing the Gym's complex maze while trying not to get an unwanted makeover, I finally made it to Whitney. Anticipated at first, I was bewildered when I saw she was completely dazed by something, looking all around the room at something I couldn't see. Snapping my fingers a few times, I got Whitney's attention. She let out a slight yelp when she jerked her head towards me, but nonetheless looked friendly for a proper greeting of her own.

"Oh, hey!" Whitney chirped. "You must be, like, the new challenger!"

"Yes, I am," I said. "My name is Ritsu."

"Nice to meet you, Ritsu! So you, like, know the rules, right? If you beat me, you get this Plain Badge thingy or whatever! But if you, like, lose or something, then I'm totes gonna give you a makeover!"

"That sounds fair enough." The stakes were higher. It was either win and get the Plain Badge, or lose and look and feel like a clown. "Shall we begin the battle?"

"You bet, girlfriend! Clefairy, like, come on out to, like, battle!"

Once Clefairy was on the battlefield, I sent out Yui to battle it. My Sentret was as prepared to fight as ever, so I commanded Yui to use Quick Attack. Moving around faster than the blink of an eye, Yui swiped the side of her body into Clefairy, knocking it onto its feet before it had time to act any further.

"Clefairy, use that move with where you, like, wag your hands back and forth!" Whitney called out.

"You mean, Metronome?" I wondered.

"Metra-what now?" Whitney asked confused, scratching her head with a dumb look on her face.

'Holy Arceus, she's dumber than dirt! How could she have possibly become a Gym Leader?'

Clefairy waved its glowing hands back and forth, until it conjured a growing ball of darkness I figured to be the move Shadow Ball. When the Shadow Ball was unleashed, it simply poofed away when it hit Yui, leaving her completely unscathed. Yui looked around, laughing from the lack of damage done to her despite such an otherwise powerful Ghost-type attack.

"What?" Whitney squeaked, "Why didn't it work? Shouldn't Ghost moves have some kind of magic power to hit things?"

"This is the almighty powerful Whitney?" Yui scoffed. "She doesn't even know that Ghost-type moves don't work on her own specialty type!"

"You're telling me," I replied. "Alright, Yui, finish with Fury Swipes!"

As Yui repeatedly slashed her claws into Clefairy's body, Clefairy fell to the ground with a thud when its energy depleted to such a level. Once Whitney returned Clefairy to its Poké Ball, she clapped her hands excitedly, took out a different Poké Ball and sent out her most dreaded Pokémon: Miltank. The tubby pink cow made its stand with a stomp of its hooved foot, the grin on its face almost menacing on an otherwise innocent-looking exterior. I felt a slight shudder travel down my spine from its confidence, but Yui didn't look troubled in the slightest.

"You know what I don't get?" Whitney stated. "Every time I send out Milty to battle a Trainer, they always lose for some reason. And when the do lose, they get all, like, defensive and stuff!"

"Brace yourself, Yui!" I warned. "I heard her Miltank is not a force to be reckoned with!"

"Gotcha!" Yui confirmed.

"Use Cut!" I commanded.

Much to my luck, Miltank was beginning to get weaker from Yui's critical hit. But, before I could get Yui to use the next move, Whitney had Miltank use Milk Drink, which made it look like I hadn't attacked. Miltank licked its lips dry of milk, wiping away remaining saliva as it stood to fight some more.

"Aww, what?!" Yui and I exclaimed.

"Now use, like, Rollout!" Whitney said next.

Miltank stretched its body backwards slightly, only bending forward to roll itself into an unstoppable ball. In less than a second, Miltank met Yui's form in a swift roll, my own Normal-type's cry of pain making me gasp with horror. Because of Miltank's weight, the many times it had rolled over Yui were complete torture. On each roll, I winced as I heard a few bones crack, and I noticed one of Yui's paws was twisted at an angle it shouldn't be at.

"Y-Yui?" I whimpered.

"R-Ritsu... help me--" Yui pleaded weakly as I took a step forward to come to her rescue.

"Now, like, finish with Stomp!" Whitney commanded.

I couldn't take anymore steps forward from what happened next. Smiling evilly, Miltank raised a hooved foot above the horrified Yui, my eyes getting wider from what would occur. Once Miltank brought its foot down onto Yui's back, both Whitney and I shuddered as we heard a loud CRACK sound. Thick tears balled up in my eyes when I saw Yui wasn't moving an inch. Finally crying my heart out, I rushed over to Yui's side. As unfortunately expected, her spine was broken, and she had not survived the attacks.

"Is your Pokémon alright, hon?" Whitney asked, feeling a little guilty. "Because she doesn't look okay enough to battle and—"

"No! She's dead! Do you not understand that?!" I snapped tearfully. "Your stupid Miltank broke her spine!"

"Oh... I'm so, like, sorry that happened."

"You're gonna be sorry..." I wiped my eyes dry, now angry and throwing my next Poké Ball into the fray. "Ellen, take the show and use Poison Gas!"

Once Ellen was released from her Poké Ball, she released a toxic purple smoke from her snout onto Miltank. For a few short seconds, it appeared to have gotten poisoned judging by how it was limping and clutching its own stomach area, but it ate its secret Lum Berry and felt better. Ellen went in using a Headbutt to inflict some damage, but it only did about half the job I wanted it to do to my disappointment and hers.

"Milty, use Rollout!" Whitney commanded.

Much to my horror, Miltank had run Ellen over only once, but still managed to break her neck and rib cage. As she coughed out a large amount of blood, Ellen slumped to the ground. I quickly ran over to check her pulse, but unfortunately, there wasn't even a single beat. As if the tears from before were bad, now they gushed out of my eyes faster than a raging river as I pulled my Drowzee's dead body close to me and rocked it in my arms like a mother would her child. I shut my leaking eyes and wailed loudly, now mourning the loss of not one, but two of my beloved Pokémon.

"Man, why do your Pokémon keep, like, dying and stuff?" Whitney asked, clueless while I tilted my head up at her and looked with outrage.

"...You're gonna pay for this, you-- you evil cow!" I hollered, releasing Ellen to get back on my feet.

"Hey, that's no way to talk to Milty!" Whitney snapped as she hugged her Miltank.

"I wasn't talking about the Miltank. Rose, take this brainless little witch down!"

After Rose was released from her Poké Ball, Whitney started giggling like an even bigger idiot than she was to begin with just by looking at my choice of Pokémon. I looked at her venomously while she taunted and prodded at Rose, who was confused by the new reaction she was receiving until that feeling started melting into anger. And hearing the words "tiny" and "helpless" definitely weren't helping anyone's case, nevermind the ignorantly annoying Gym Leader's.

"You're going to use a little Togepi to battle?" Whitney scoffed. "Is the cute little baby going to twy and hit Milty?"

"I'M. NOT. A. BABY!" Rose screeched, cheeks red and angry among the white of her body.

"Rose, use Metronome!" I commanded.

"Yes, ma'am! This will teach you for calling me a baby!"

Rose waved her tiny hands quicker this time. The little nubs glowed a bright blue, slowly changing its form into the new attack. Suddenly, Rose was engulfed in a cloak of flames, and rammed into Miltank, sending it harshly onto Whitney. When she hit the wall, Whitney released a shout of pain, Milty rolling off of her as she rubbed her abdomen. Looking straight, Whitney's cotton candy pink eyes welled up with tears, the girl falling to her knees and bawling her eyes out of frustration.

"Gwaaah!" Whitney wailed. "I lost!"

"That's for Yui and Ellen!" I barked, boiling with anger. "I'm out of here, and I don't want to see the likes of you or your lousy Gym ever again!"

"Wait a minute!" a Lass said. "You can't leave without a Badge!"

"I can, I will, and I am." I tried to walk away while carrying Yui's body and dragging Ellen's, but two more Gym employees stopped me.

"No, she's right," Whitney sniffled. "You won the battle, like, fair and square. So, I present you with the Plain Badge thingy!"

I almost couldn't believe it. I knew I'd won fair and square, but getting the Badge after all was at least something to be proud of in spite of what happened. "Look, Rose, the Plain Badge is all ours after all!"

"And, Ritsu," Whitney started.

I gave her a glare. "Yes?"

"I'm really really, like, sorry about your Pokémon," Whitney apologized sincerely. "I honestly, like, didn't mean for this to happen."

"You probably didn't, I'm sure. But, that's not going bring my friends back to life, now is it? I'm sorry, but saying it just isn't good enough for me."

"No, it, like, won't. Really though, I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am! Is there any kind of, like, favor you want me to do?"

"I guess... you could help me bury them. They at least deserve a good, long rest. Could you do that?"

"Like, sure! That be, like, sooo rad of me to help you out!"

Picking up Yui and Ellen's corpses, I hauled them all the way to the Route above the city. I laid the girls flat on their backs, pulling down each pair of eyelids to let them sleep forever. After waiting for Whitney to meet me for a solid ten minutes, she finally arrived with some memorial flowers and a Squirtle-shaped watering can. I looked down at the watering can in her hand, raising an eyebrow at what use it could possibly be to me in any way or form.

"I got these from the Goldenrod Flower Shop!" Whitney exclaimed. "They also gave me this SquirtBottle that I'd like to give to you as an 'I'm sorry' gift!"

"Thank you, Whitney," I sighed, unveiling a handle and shovel head from my bag and digging two large holes after putting the shovel together. "Now, do me a favor, and go away. I want to be alone with them."

"Sure, sure, like, no probs, girl! I'll see myself out now."

I refused to respond, only feeling relief when Whitney finally hit the bricks, and a broken heart as I started interring two more of my beloved Pokémon; the first who'd been with us from the start, and another who was just getting started. Once we laid Ellen and Yui to rest in two separate graves when I finished digging, I let my tears fall to the ground and I said one final goodbye to my fallen friends. My heart sunk further the more dirt I dug up and showered them with, repeating the horrible process until neither corpse was visible. I put the flowers over each grave, saying another somber "goodbye" to Yui and Ellen as I wiped my tears away. After Whitney went back to the Gym, I somberly continued my walk. Then, I felt Rose gently nuzzle herself against my chest.

"Don't be sad, Ritsu," Rose assured. "It wasn't your fault. We did all we could, and we got a little unlucky! That's all."

"I know, Rosie, I know," I agreed. "But, I can't help but miss them both. What if I keep losing Pokémon after this?"

"Even if it does happen, you won't lose everyone in a battle. I mean, did you see the way I beat that Miltank?"

"Mmm-hmm! You were so strong!" I giggled, playfully bouncing Rose up and down. "You don't know how proud I am of you for all you did back there!"

"Wheeeee!" Rose squeaked. "Higher, higher!"

As I was bouncing Rose, one of my Poké Balls released a flash of white and out came Blaze. The minute she saw what I was doing, the same dirty look I recalled her having (aside from the ones she gives every two seconds) when I last coddled Rose returned. Her back flames seemed to simmer a bit hotter than usual matching her disdain, which I internally snorted at. Whatever she was getting bent out of shape over involving our youngest teammate, it was definitely nothing to sneeze at. Fire-types burned hotter, but she'll cool down well on her own and get over it.

"Hey, before you keep going gaga over that little omelette," Blaze hissed. "We've got a journey to focus on."

"Blaze, there's no reason to be so green-eyed every time I play with Rose a little bit," I scolded.

"What are you talking about? My eyes aren't green, they're red."

"No, Blaze. When I say 'green-eyed', it means 'jealous'."

"I am not jealous! I just don't like it when you talk to that Togepi thing."

"Whatever floats your boat, Blaze." That was the very definition of jealous, but telling Blaze that would be beating a dead Rapidash.

"Just so you know, Miss Blaze," Rose stated cheerfully. "I think we could be really good friends!"

"Save it, pee-wee," Blaze hissed. "If there's one thing you and I aren't gonna be, it's whatever your stupid definition of 'friends' is."

"Ritsu, why is Miss Blaze so mean to me?" Rose sniffled. "Did I say something wrong?"

"Don't worry, Rose," I assured. "Blaze just has a hard time getting used to new teammates is all. She'll 'warm up' to you eventually!"

"Haha," Blaze laughed with sardonic sarcasm. "That wasn't even funny when Elm said it."

"Except, this time, I'm not giving you the choice of playing nice. I have enough problems as is, and your bad attitude won't be one of them."

"Am I really hearing this from you, Ms. 'Do What I Say, When I Say'?"

"I'm the team leader. No orders means no clear direction through Johto. If you don't like it, well... start. That's all I can tell you."

Blaze snarled, but was returned to her Poké Ball so I didn't have to hear her argue. While I walked holding Rose, we finally reached a place called National Park. Because it was still early in the day, the shining sun really brought out the peace, the quiet, and the simple beauty of the lush park. Pokémon were springing up and going about their day, much like the relaxed human visitors near them. The grass within its centerpiece barriers still dripped with their last drops of dew, rolling into the soil underneath to become one with the roots hidden from sight. Just as I could feel myself relaxing among the peace as well, I heard a sharp cry of distress coming from the nearby, wilder sort of grass patch.

"Someone please help!" the voice cried. "A little assistance, if you would?!"

I didn't pay much heed to it and was actually prepared to ignore it, were it not for the scene literally jumping too close to me for a front row seat at the action. The one calling for help turned out to be a Hoothoot (what it was doing awake in the morning was beyond me; this really wasn't my day...) being assaulted by a gang of Weedle. The Weedle kept poking and jabbing the Hoothoot with their horns, the bird Pokémon not succeeding at fighting back properly. In fact, Hoothoot's posture was sloppy; slouching over and trying to keep its balance at the same time.

"If I wasn't so tired," Hoothoot yawned, sounding posh and proper, "you insects would get it for sure!"

"Rose, do you mind lending a hand?" I asked. "Can I trust you to handle this for me?"

"Not at all!" Rose exclaimed. "Uhh, I mean with lending a hand. You can trust me!"

"Great. Use Headbutt!"

Rose began to run quickly into the chaotic scene, jumping head first into the gang of Weedle and effectively separating them from the Hoothoot in distress. The horned bugs felt dazed and trying to process what had happened, in their moment of distraction was when Rose once again used Headbutt on a random pick to defeat them. Seeing their comrade fallen unconscious, the rest of the Weedle turned to my Togepi, who was standing in front of the awestruck Hoothoot to act as an adorable little egg-shaped bodyguard.

"You're gonna pay for that, little girl!" one of the Weedle hissed.

The Weedle gang was about to charge at Rose with their Toxic horns, but then she used her signature Metronome attack as a way to retaliate. As they drew near, her nub movements got faster and faster until they both glowed blue. Gathering all of the energy finally harnessed from an unknown source, Rose unleashed her randomized power on the Weedle gang. From her mouth burst a jet of scorching flames, which incinerated every Weedle that got in its deadly path and sent the lucky ones running for their mothers in fear.

"Don't mess with little Rosie!" Rose taunted, burping away the remnants of her Flamethrower. "Oh, wow! That was so cool! Well, hot. Hee-hee!”

"Good girl, Rosie!" I cheered. "I'd bet if those Weedles knew you just beat up the Milty, they wouldn't have even touched you!"

"And, I think Metronome is going to be a favorite of mine from now on. Wah-ha-ha! Wow! I've never felt so... so happy!"

Just after announcing that, Rose began to glow brighter than the sun, except in blue, floating before anything else started to happen just seconds after. Much to mine and Hoothoot's surprise, Rose's body grew longer, giving her a neck and what looked like a pair of little wings. Her stubby feet extended, now on the ends of two skinny legs. The crown of her head became more pointed in the back, almost like a slanted mountaintop. When she stopped glowing, Rose was now a Togetic and fluttering around in the breeze.

"I guess you're not so little anymore, huh, Rose?" I asked.

"Ma'am..." Hoothoot said, blushing and awestruck. "You saved my life! From now on, I am forever in your debt."

"It was no problem," Rose said. "Anything for a Pokémon chum! My name's Rose. What's yours, Mister?"

"Aloysius." Before Rose could struggle to pronounce that (as indicated by her face scrunching), he continued. "But, you can simply call me 'Louie' for short."

"That's a lot easier. Nice to meet you, Louie!"

"So, Miss Rose. Would you like to fly back to my nest and, um... get to know each other better with a nice chat or few?" Louie batted his eyes at Rose, who didn't react except for her friendly smile.

"But, we're already chatting, Mr. Louie."

"That we are. However, I meant--"

"--Rose, time to go!" I called after her, scooping her into my arms.

"Unhand my lady, you savage cur!" Louie screeched as he began to peck my thigh.

"Ow, ow, ow! Please! Stop it!"

"Release the Togetic, or I shall peck your thigh off!"

"I said stop it already! I'm not kidnapping her, I'm her Trainer!"

As soon as Louie heard those words, he immediately stopped pecking me. He gave Rose a bewildered look, but she nodded as if to confirm my fact of my ownership to her as her Trainer. Louie looked up at me and bowed in shame for the misunderstanding, letting a wing cross his body to complete the act of sincerity.

"Terribly sorry, Miss," Louie apologized. "I didn't know."

"At least you do now, so no repeats of that, or else," I scolded. "If I heard right, your name is... Louie?" Louie nodded. "My name is Ritsu."

"Enchanted to meet you. Now... this may seem a tad uncouth to ask after such a grave misunderstanding, but since my dear sweet Rose is your Pokémon, may I accompany you? This way, I can fulfill my debt to her for saving my life, and make it up to you for the attack by coming to swear my loyalty to you as well."

"While I have half a mind to say no considering you attacked me without thinking first, you might come in handy as a Flying-type down the road. That's your one saving grace." Just a bit too hard, I bonked Louie on the head with a Poké Ball, the capture successful after three shakes and a click. "Maybe some time in your Ball will help you wise up."

"Mister Louie is really weird, huh?" Rose said. "Why's he so nice to me and stuff?"

"You two are actual birds of a feather. He probably likes you because of that."

"Likes me? Likes me how?"

I winked. "A lot, let's just say. You'll figure it out soon."

That being said, I hoped those feelings were innocent and not hinting at mating season being right around the corner. Louie's feelings aside, Rose had only been evolved for a few measly minutes. Heading east from the National Park, we finally came across Route 36. The walk was halted when I came across an odd looking tree. Out of curiosity, I poked the "tree" under its "branches", and it began to wiggle. Smirking, I got an idea and pulled out the SquirtBottle Whitney had given me from my bag.

"Surely, a lot of plants love water?" I guessed as I poured water on the "tree".

The minute enough water had touched the "tree", the "tree" actually turned out to be a Sudowoodo. Being the Rock-type it was, Sudowoodo sprung up and started shrieking like a little girl would seeing an Ariados creep up on her regardless of the intent. It flailed out of control like a trapped creature, rolling on the ground trying to get the water off as if it were poison to my further exasperation. All I could do was stare and watch it all go down before my eyes.


"...Okay, I'm going to pretend that didn't just happen..." I decided, extremely dumbfound. "Shall we carry on to Ecruteak City, Rose?"

"Sounds good to me, Ritsu," Rose concurred, equally creeped out.


Louie, ♂️, Adamant, Alert to sounds, National Park

Yui, Lvl. 4-21


Ellen, Lvl. 10-18
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Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
I'm not updating this whilst shitfaced, you're updating this whilst shitfaced

Ecruteak City wasn't big and flashy like Goldenrod or anywhere close to it, but that didn't mean it had nothing worth writing home about. The calming atmosphere and sounds of the surrounding nature were soothing, dancing its way through my ears like a soft melody. As usual, the first stop was the Pokémon Center to heal my team, and get a few bandages for the cuts Louie pecked onto my thighs and legs. Just as I was about to get to the front counter, some random guy suddenly cut in front of me.

"Hey! That's rude, sir!" I snapped. "What is the matter with you?! Wait your turn in line like everybody else!"

"Oh, sorry. I didn't see you there, Miss," the guy apologized, bowing sincerely to earn my forgiveness. "My name is Bill, and I run the Pokémon Storage system here in Johto."

"Pleasure to meet you, Bill. My name is Ritsu." Accepting his apology for the ill-mannered act, I gave him a hand to shake.

"The pleasure's all-- whoa!" Bill's eyes went to the cuts and scratches all over my thighs. "What happened to your legs?"

"Oh, that. My Hoothoot thought I was a threat before I caught him, and tried to defend himself and my own Togetic. Don't worry, I'll fix them right up! They're just little boo-boos at worst."

"I see. Well, it was very nice meeting you, Ritsu."

After healing my Pokémon and bandaging my cuts (the Nurse Joy was nice enough to give me a little First Aid Kit to help the process), I decided to check out the Ecruteak Dance Theater. I went through the front doors, expecting to see a show in progress for me to sit back and enjoy with my team. But when I got in, I saw a woman in a fancy Flareon-themed kimono being harassed by a Team Rocket Grunt.

"Listen, you obi-wearing whore!" the Grunt barked. "You're gonna do what I say, and if you don't, things are gonna get ugly real fast!"

"I will never listen to someone like you!" the Kimono Girl hissed, her natural accent somewhat thick.

Who did that Rocket Grunt think he was?! Harassing an innocent woman just trying to do her job? Outraged, I marched up to the stage to put a stop to the Grunt's actions. Before he could say another word to her, I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and yanked him backwards as best as I could. He looked as though he was about to give a wallop to whoever did it until he saw my disapproving eyes, jumping back a foot upon recognizing me.

"Ah! You're that dumb kid that screwed us over in the Slowpoke Well!" the Grunt shrieked. "Why don't you run along, and beat—"

His sentence was cut off by Rose kicking him upside the noggin, reeling back in the hard blow that surprisingly didn't cause any sort of blunt force trauma. Rubbing his head in pain as he let out a shout, he stormed out the door in a huff. I could hear him cursing me and my Togetic on his way out, myself turning up my nose with disgust at someone so barbaric. I wanted so badly to teach the Grunt a lesson or two on courtesy via a verbal beatdown of my own, but the Kimono Girl walked up and stole my attention right out.

"You must be Ritsu, right?" the Kimono Girl inquired. "You are such a brave young girl. Thank you for saving me from trouble."

"You're very welcome, ma'am," I said back, bowing once with a smile.

"And so polite, too. Not like that red-haired boy that was in here earlier."

"Red-haired boy? Was his name Nico by any chance?"

"Yes. He was quite rude to me, and even talked down to his Pokémon, even to a point where he called them 'worthless' or 'trash'. People like that make me absolutely sick..."

'I'll be sure to teach him a lesson. That boy is an animal!' I thought, otherwise hoping I could pretend he didn't exist by not running into him. "You and me both. And considering how he isn't going to wise up, I can tell you he won't get far in life as a Trainer at all."

"Well, I'm sure even the most unlikely are capable of change, but for a boy like him, a little more of a miracle would be required."

"Oh, trust me. Not even a miracle could help him." I cleared my throat, bowing again to dismiss myself. "I'll be on my way now, ma'am. Sorry to hold you up."

"It was no trouble, young one. May the road you seek lead you to victory and nothing short."

Taking that as a positive proverb, I left the Ecruteak Dance Theater in peace. I was thinking about challenging the Gym right away, but something else had immediately caught my eye. I saw what looked like a tower, but it looked like it was nearly destroyed from a fire. Although the sign said "Stay away, this tower is unsafe", I wanted to check it out anyway after my curiosity got the better of me (and a little extra training wouldn't hurt; places like those were always Pokémon magnets). When I walked inside, I gazed down a huge hole in the floor. My eyes widened with wonder as I found myself looking at the three Legendary Pokémon of Johto: Raikou, Entei, and Suicune.

'No WAY!' I gasped in my head, rubbing my eyes and confirming I wasn't hallucinating. 'Actual Legendary Pokémon?! Right in front of me?! Oh, this journey just gets better and better!'

"You there, girl," a man wearing a purple magician's outfit with a red bow tie and a white cape said as he approached me, pointing down the same hole. "You see those three, too, right?"

"Mmm-hmm. How could anybody miss them? But, with such a... sudden approach, would you care to introduce yourself?"

"Oh! Right, I'm so sorry, where are my manners? My name is Eusine, and I'm on a quest to pursue the legendary Suicune."

"And my name is Ritsu. If it's Suicune you're looking for, it's downstairs. Why not just go down and give it a proper 'how do you do'?"

"Because, every time I try to get close to Suicune, it and its brothers just run away from me! So, that's why I'm looking at it closely with my friend Morty over there."

"To be honest," Morty spoke, approaching us, "I'm actually here to make sure this idiot doesn't do anything stupid."

Deciding to check it out for myself, I was about to take the wooden ladder down. Actual Legendaries in the same building as me! And to think all those books Mom had me read as a kid told me they were nothing but myths too! Before I could even take a step down, however, I was pulled back up by none other than Nico. He let go of my overall straps as I gave him a pouting look, not at all wanting to see him at a place like this. I looked back down at the Legendary Pokémon with disappointment, only to look straight at Nico when he opened his giant mouth.

"Well, well, well," Nico scoffed smugly. "If it isn't Plumber Breath, the little coward who kicks under the belt and the cause of an overpriced dental bill." He gestured to the replacement tooth in his mouth, looking so identical to his former real one that it was almost like I never punched him to avenge Hermia in the first place.

"I thought I told you to never ever call me that, Nico," I hissed, jabbing a finger to his forehead in response to his lack of manners. "The name is Ritsu. You hear me? R-I-T-S-U!"

Nico only backed away from me indifferently, at the most sneering at my finger touching him. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Listen, nimrod, do you see those Legendary Pokémon down in that hole? I'm going to catch them, and they're gonna do my bidding to make me stronger! Even if I gotta take 'em by force!"

"You'll have to fight me first before I let that happen, Nico!"

"If it's a fight you want so bad, it's a fight you're gonna get!" Nico took out a Poké Ball seconds after I did the same, tossing his upwards. "Magnemite, let's go!"

I sent Blaze out to deal with it, and she instantly took it down with Flame Wheel after spinning in place and turning into the ball of rolling fire. Whatever Nico was expecting in using a Steel-type against somebody with a powerful Fire-type, it just wasn't meant to be. Blaze was just as proud as I was, blowing across her paw when it was the last thing to extinguish before low-fiving me. Gritting his teeth angrily, Nico sent out his Croconaw, who stared Blaze down with a smug look as she shot daggers of hatred at him.

"Croconaw, use Bite!" Nico called out.

"Blaze, use Smokescreen when he opens his mouth!" I proclaimed.

As the black smoke entered Croconaw's throat, it began to cough violently. The smoke went deep into its lungs, exacerbating the coughs as Croconaw fell to its knees in agony. While I gave Croconaw a look of concern out of fear that I'd let Blaze go too far, Nico only sneered with disgust and rolled his pewter-colored eyes with the same feeling. He stomped his foot in anger, startling me and the two Pokémon alike. What got us more fearful was how the floor didn't look as though it could hold too much more with enough force, something Nico was either oblivious to or outright didn't care about.

"I didn't raise you to be so vulnerable to a stupid Smokescreen attack! You're not even hurt!" Nico barked. "Now stop fooling around and douse that rat with Water Gun!"

"Rat?!" Blaze gasped in outrage. "Who's the rat here out of us, 'cause it sure as fuck isn't me!"

Distracted by Nico's insult, Blaze found herself soaking wet once the Water Gun had hit her. Shivering, she shook herself dry and took Croconaw out with a Flame Wheel and a few Quick Attacks. Nico's next Pokémon was his Zubat, so I sent out Erin to fight despite the type disadvantage on my end. She looked at her opponent warily, but I told her I had enough faith to help her pull through and win. Despite this, Erin still gave me a look as if I had three heads and a Quagsire tail sprouting from my rear end.

"Ha! You're really going to use a stupid Oddish to fight against a partial Flying-type?" Nico scoffed with a haughty laugh. "To think you call me the stupid one for apparently 'abusing' my team! Zubat, use Wing Attack!"

Much to Nico's surprise, Erin swiftly dodged the attack with only a nick on her leaves. I told her to use Sleep Powder, and one whiff of the green stuff from her leaves put Zubat to sleep instantly. It hadn't fainted, but falling to the ground in a deep slumber seemed to count as such for Nico, who didn't look the least bit happy (then again, when did he ever? That boy never smiled at anything I'd consider satisfactory).

"Absolutely pathetic..." Nico grumbled as he returned his Zubat to its Ball and taking out the next. "Alright, toots, no more messing around! Gastly, come out!"

"Rose, take it down!" I called as I threw Rose's Poké Ball after returning Erin to hers for a break. "Rose, be a dear, and use your 'special move', won't you?"

"Yes, ma'am!" Rose giggled as she moved her arms back and forth.

"Pffft, I doubt a stupid Togetic could even use Metronome right," Nico gloated. "The move probably won't even be anything special."

Contrary to Nico's cynicism, the move Rose had selected was one beyond my imagination. She released an echoing howl and a super strong blast of wind at Gastly. But, because the blast was so strong, the floor below me and Nico collapsed, causing us to fall to the floor below. The crash was enough to startle the legendary Pokémon, and sent Raikou and Entei running. Suicune, however, just stared me in the eyes with curious intrigue, lightly licked my cheek, and fled. My surprise ended when I realized I was on top of Nico again.

"Get off of me!" Nico hissed, trying to push me off until he gripped the arm that tried to do it. "Gah!"

"What's wrong with you?" I bit, alarmed by his sudden outcry.

"N-Nothing!" I could tell he was lying by the way he was clinging to his arm protectively, the tear in his sleeve acting as further evidence.

"Let me see your arm, Nico. You're obviously not okay."

"No! Leave me alone, I said I'm fine!"

I successfully forced him to lift his hand off of his right arm, which had a huge bleeding cut that touched his shoulder underneath the torn sleeve. Deciding not to let it go untreated lest it result in something much worse, I got out the First Aid Kit that I received from the Pokémon Center and took out a cloth and some wound disinfectant. Nico of course kept fidgeting and absconding from the treatment, to which I kept at trying to get on his bloody injury.

"Nico, hold still! If you don't let me treat it, you'll get an infection!"

"I don't care, don't touch my arm! Get away from me, you idiot Plumber Breath!"

Oh, how this boy was pushing my patience. As much as I wanted to get away from him, that arm was a cry for help and ignoring it was not an option with me. I finally got Nico to stop fighting me long enough to shove the cloth disinfectant-side first to the wound, which made Nico hiss from the stings and keep doing so when I wiped away grimy, dark red blood starting to clump up on the surface.

"Gah! That hurts! You said you were gonna help it!"

"If you'd hold still, it wouldn't hurt as much! Besides, just be lucky I'm even treating it."

I slowly rubbed the wound with the cloth, and Nico started to calm down a bit while the pain died down. Once the cut was cleaned up, I carefully wrapped a long bandage around it and tied it in a small bow. To finish it off, I placed a peck of luck where the injury was covered, Nico ripping his arm back and pursing his lips stubbornly. He muttered something with a light tinge of pink in his cheeks, to which I asked him to repeat himself.

"I said! ...Thanks. I guess. What's with the sudden act of kindness, hmm? Do you pity me or something? Because if you do, I'm gonna--!"

"--On a normal basis, yes, I pity you in the worst way possible. But, in this one, even if you are an obnoxious little brat who clearly wasn't sent to time out nearly enough as a kid, I couldn't let you leave with a bloody arm."

"Why not?"

"Does that really need to be asked? When somebody's injured, the ideal thing to do would be to help them out. And since I had the right stuff to do it, I didn't want you getting an infection. Once a wound that big's infected, you're in serious trouble!"

"You... wanted to help me? You seriously wanted to?"

I nodded without hesitation. "Like I said. You're the ill-mannered spawn of Darkrai that doesn't know how to act normal, but even I know when people need help that serious. So, yes, I really wanted to help you."

Nico went silent for a few astonished seconds, quickly bouncing back and shaking off my genuine words. "Yeah well, whatever. You may have won that battle earlier, but you're still never gonna be better than me! When I'm the number one Trainer in Johto, you're gonna be sooo jealous!"

"We'll see about that, Nico," I laughed. "We'll definitely see about that. Especially when I'm coronated after I beat the League."

"Hmph, see you later, uhh... Ritsu," Nico said as he used an Escape Rope to leave the hole. "That was it, wasn't it?" I dumbly nodded, and he left at that.

"Hey, he finally didn't call me 'Plumber Breath' or 'girly'! I'll give him points for at least getting that right!" I felt a tad giddier than anybody should have been at that, but I was really tired of being called such a stupid, non-sensical nickname.

"What was that about?" I heard Nico utter from below, listening in. "And why's my heart beating so fast? Ah, whatever. Just ignore it, Nico, just ignore it."

Thinking nothing of that, I let Nico leave as he put a hand to his head. Then, Eusine and Morty thankfully climbed down into the hole to help me back up. Or rather, Morty helped me up, but as soon as we got upstairs again, Eusine shook me furiously. I released shaky yells from my throat as my head bobbed back and forth until Eusine finally let me go. He was the same man I'd met earlier, but from the lack of the previously friendly disposition, one would guess otherwise.

"What is with you?!" Eusine snapped. "Your stupid fall scared away my Suicune, klutz!"

"Oh. I'm sorry," I said remorsefully, realizing my chance to see the Legendaries had vanished with the crash.

"You don't have to apologize," Morty reassured me, giving his friend a look to silently tell him to wise up. "Eusine's just overreacting as usual. He's just salty because he can't look at Suicune for more than two milliseconds."

"I AM NOT OVERREACTING, MORT!" Eusine exclaimed, flailing his arms around and contradicting his loud claim that made the tower tremble and produce falling dust puddles. "And don't think I didn't see you get licked by Suicune, little girl! You're gonna get it now!"

"I'm not a 'little' girl; I'm thirteen years old! Emphasis on teen!" I snapped back in objection. "And my name is Ritsu!"

"I don't care who or how old you are! From now on, I'm going to get closer to Suicune, even if it means getting rid of you personally! Suicune will be mine, and mine alone!" With that, Eusine ran straight out of the tower, rambling all the way. I was a little unnerved by his sudden behavior, but Morty put a hand on my shoulder.

"Don't worry about my crazy friend, Ritsu," Morty told me comfortingly. "He's just obsessed with that one Legendary Pokémon is all. Say, why don't you come battle my Gym later on to make up for this whole mess?"

"You've got it, Morty! I'll come get your Fog Badge later!" I promised. "Don't do anything except be ready for me!"

As I watched Morty leave, I was suddenly approached by a Koffing that seemed to follow me around. He looked me in the eyes, floating around with a deep chuckle and a cough of smoke. I blocked my nose and waved the smoke away, the Koffing apologizing for the toxic puff sincerely.

"The name's Marley," Koffing introduced, his voice gruff and somewhat raspy. He coughed in my face a few more times, the smoke making me cough in turn. "Whoops! Sorry 'bout that."

"Nice...! To meet you, Marley!" I wheezed, eyes watering. I had no hand to shake on a Koffing, so I just waved once to replace it. "Normally, I'd ask you to cover your mouth, but I think you deserve a pass for that... oh, my goodness!"

"So, you're a Trainer right? That's awesome. You wouldn't happen ta need an extra buddy on your team, would ya?"

"Actually, I would! Did you, did you want to join my team, Marley?"

"Well, kid, I wouldn't be askin' ya if I didn't! Sign me up!"

Deciding that having a pure Poison-type on the team would definitely be helpful in the long run, I easily caught Marley with almost no hassle. His Poké Ball wiggled three times until it clicked shut, my fingers shrinking it and attaching it to my Poké Ball assortment of friends. After a quick healing at the Pokémon Center, I hastily rushed into the Ecruteak Gym to battle Morty for my next Badge. With one more recruit by my side, that next League Badge was as good as mine!


Marley, ♂️, Hardy, Often scatters things, Burned Tower

Arc 03, Part 2/5
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Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Pokédex No.
Jul 4, 2019
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Psychic
My favorite updates are the ones where the writer is totally ~~not~~ drunk.
"I will never listen to someone like you!" the Kimono Girl hissed in her usual Japanese accent.
Jokes on you Johto is based off Japan so technically everyone has a Japanese accent.
I was really tired of being called such a stupid, non-sensical nickname.
I mean the plumber part makes total sense considering your outfit is “what if Mario wore a white hat” still don’t get the breath part
"And why's my heart beating so fast? Ah, whatever. Just ignore it, Nico, just ignore it."
Now sails the SS Anime destination, definitely an Iceberg and not any other potential locations


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
My favorite updates are the ones where the writer is totally ~~not~~ drunk.

Jokes on you Johto is based off Japan so technically everyone has a Japanese accent.

I mean the plumber part makes total sense considering your outfit is “what if Mario wore a white hat” still don’t get the breath part

Now sails the SS Anime destination, definitely an Iceberg and not any other potential locations
Did I forget to mention some (but very few) things weren’t updated from the OG version? I did warn in the introductory post of that. That being said, Japan-inspired regions regardless... nobody in Pokémon has ever actually had the accent, so the joke isn’t really on me. Nonetheless, I’ll fix the boo-boos because wine makes me overlook things I wanted to edit (like the thing you mentioned), but missed it... 😓😭

(Don’t overthink the “breath” part; it’s merely a nickname)
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Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Just a short update following a... rough day at work, but nothing big because it's deadass just the Gym Battle ahahaha. Here, guys!

When I entered the Gym, everything was completely shrouded in darkness. Unlike the other Gyms, battling the Gym workers was actually necessary if I wanted to reach Morty. Before I could step forward, the Gym guide guy told me to take my shoes off first for courtesy reasons. Each time Marley and Louie took down an old Medium sister, they lit up their lanterns. After defeating the last Medium old lady in a quick battle, I could finally see well enough to reach Morty.

"Ready to battle, Ritsu?" Morty asked when I was at a fair distance on the battling platform.

"You bet! Marley, come on out!" I called, throwing my Koffing's Poké Ball and summoning him for the first opponent.

"Haunter, take charge!" Morty exclaimed.

Haunter's first move was Curse, which weakened both it and Marley. A spontaneous, magic nail oozing with red energy drove itself into Marley's body, taking some health from him as Haunter itself started wobbling with fatigue. While Haunter was still weakened, I sprayed Marley with a Super Potion, and he defeated Haunter with two Assurance attacks. I clapped at how strong my Pokémon was, having complete confidence that he could help me win with no struggles whatsoever.

"How remarkable, little lady," Morty remarked. "But, I'm not through yet! Gastly, go!"

I switched Marley for Louie. I figured that due to Louie being a partial Normal-type, Ghost-type moves wouldn't be an issue. I felt relaxed, my hope that Louie had this in the bag erasing any and all worry I stupidly had about this fight. I was still somewhat shaken about a possible Curse attack being used in the future, but just picturing the Fog Badge in my hand kept me steady and doubt-free about my Pokémon. They could do this. I especially could do this.

"Clever little sneak," Morty commented. "Gastly, use Curse!"

Gastly summoned a ghostly nail that pounded itself into its head and Louie. Despite being a little dizzy, Louie was still strong enough to fight. He merely shook off his weariness and pain from the ghost nail with a flap of his wings, his head-body mixture darting back and forth to clear up the rest of his pain.

"Louie, use Hypnosis!" I called out.

Louie's eyes glowed a bright red, and Gastly fell into a deep sleep when a strange red aura surrounded its near-incorporeal form. Louie managed to KO the already weakened Gastly with a new Confusion attack. However, the minute Gastly was defeated, Louie was surrounded by many glowing feathers. His body grew slightly taller and now, both his feet were present at the same time instead of just the one he alternated with on the ground. Once the magic glowing feathers vanished, Louie was now a Noctowl.

"Louie, you evolved!" I gushed, admiring the bigger bird and his wingspan. "Hmm, maybe you'll finally impress Rose with your big, beautiful new wings?"

"You think so?" Louie chirped cutely, his feathery dimples turning up.

"Who knows? I have some faith, but right now, let's focus on winning the Fog Badge. You can possibly get a girlfriend later."

"'Possibly'... that's far better than 'impossibly'! I shall take it!"

Morty decided to use Gengar as his final Pokémon. Not even close to being worried, Louie simply used another Hypnosis attack. Unfortunately for him though, this one missed Gengar. I blinked with total disbelief at the blunder while Louie did the same, disappointed the move didn't take and incapacitate Gengar. I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose and shaking my head. You have got to be kidding me...

"Gengar, show them what a real Hypnosis is all about!" Morty exclaimed.

Luckily, the Hypnosis attack also proved unsuccessful. The magic hit, but Louie was completely unaffected, almost as if he were wondering if something had happened at all. I looked at my PokéDex to access his stats and discovered that when Louie evolved, his ability had become Insomnia. My Noctowl bravely puffed out his feathery chest with a smug look on his face, following my orders to use another bout of Confusion, which put Gengar even closer to fainting than before.

"Alright, then... attack with Sucker Punch instead!" Morty called out.

Gengar quickly sneaked behind Louie with a silent pass, and bashed its fist into his body, knocking both me and him backwards. Luckily, Morty caught me in time so I wouldn't fall into the dark abyss below, while Louie was quick enough to fly above the darkness and back onto the battle floor. I looked at what could have been, heart pounding with fear as grim possibilities flashed through my mind.

"That was close, huh?" Morty remarked.

"Way too close!" I exclaimed.

I looked at the injured Louie and saw that he was obviously too weakened by the attack to battle any further. He assured me he was alright, but his twitch of pain told me otherwise while he gritted his beak to fight back the pain and fatigue. As much as I didn't want to given we were a pinch away from winning with him and his Psychic-type powers, I still withdrew him and sent out Marley to take his place in the Gym battle that was taking place.

"Be careful, okay Marley?" I pleaded. "You're not immune to Ghost-types unlike Louie."

"I don't need caution, I'll just take it down with Self-Destruct!" Marley exclaimed proudly.

"What?! No, Marley, Normal-type attacks don't wo—!"

Before I could even get the last word out, Marley began to glow bright white. Sensing danger, Morty ran and pushed me away from the growing explosion. Seconds later, we heard a BOOM loud enough to shake the Gym silly and draw unknown moans from under the floorboards (which I didn't want to know any more about). Little pieces of purple rubble scattered to where I was facing, my eyes focusing on the pieces with the utmost horror. My eyes shook, mouth quivering and agape when I figured out the source of the so-called rubble. When I tearfully looked up, all that was left of Marley was a pile of purple ash and pebble.

"Why'd you do it, Mar?" I sniffed, now outright crying. "Why?! Why, why, why, WHY, WHY, WHY?!"

"I'm so sorry about your Koffing, Ritsu," Morty said sincerely.

"Y-You didn't do anything, Morty..." Another sob shook my body, followed by a hiccup. "I should have stopped him... If only I wasn't so overconfident and--!"

"Ritsu, it's gonna be okay. If you went to try and stop him, you would have died. And you wouldn't want that, now would you?"

"N-No, of course not. But I should have told him otherwise before it was too late. Now, he's gone! Marley's gone and he's not coming back!"

"I... I wish there was some other way to help you," Morty sighed, more than guilty about the whole mess. "If you want to stop the battle now, then you can always come back later. And if you don't, then I'll understand."

"I can't just do that... Marley worked hard to get us this far, and doing that because he died-- it's unforgivable! I couldn't do that to him, Morty." I blinked to stop some tears, wiping the rest so I wouldn't make anymore. "I still wanna fight you. For Marley, at least."

"If that's what you want, then I can't try and stop you. Tell me when you're ready to continue."

I got back on my feet, taking a few breaths through choppy respiration. I felt some mucus come from my nose from crying, wiping that away too. I took out a Poké Ball from my chain, looking at it and kissing it as an act of hope and love. I told Morty I was ready, the Gym Leader himself going back to his post with a worried Gengar.

I sent Erin out to finish the job. She managed to easily subdue the Gengar with her new Mega Drain attack. The large green orbs went from Gengar to Erin's verdant leaves, her opponent growing visibly weaker from having its health taken in like a supplement. Gengar tried attacking again, but Erin easily dodged the attack before I told her to use Acid. She concentrated, her leaves curling inwards then outwards as they produced a deadly toxin. Although the move itself didn't do too much, one hit on the already fragile Gengar sent it to the ground, unable to battle any further. As Erin and I were cheering from Gengar's defeat, my Oddish was surrounded by a tornado of toxic leaves. She grew bulkier, got arms and legs, and the weed on her head turned into a large flower. Once the transformation was complete, Erin was now a Gloom.

"My, my, my," Morty remarked, "You've defeated me, and two of your Pokémon evolved. I'm impressed. Well, here's Gym Badge number four: the Fog Badge."

"Thanks..." I said, reluctantly accepting the Badge.

"You know, Ritsu. If you scatter your Koffing's, umm... ashes into the Gym's mysterious abyss, his soul will live on in the Spirit World."

"Really? Then how come if a person falls in, they just get sent back to the beginning of the room?"

"It's called the 'Spirit World' for a reason, you know." Morty sighed, looking down at the supernatural depths he managed to contain within just one Gym before turning his back on the sinister pits. "The spirits don't care too much about living things, or want anything to do with them."

As I scooped up the purple rubble, I tilted my hands down and blew it all into the abyss below whilst pouring what didn't move as easily. Each dust wisp, each pebble crossed the airy threshold for a second until it gave into gravity and went to the void, never to be seen again. I was fully prepared to give a simple salute and goodbye to Marley's remains before leaving, but that plan went up in smoke when something unexpected happened in its stead. What was just ordinary violet rubble took the form of an incorporeal version of Marley.

"Mar?" I wondered, going to make contact until my hand went right through him. "Oh..."

"Yeah, sorry, Reets. My body's totaled. Maybe... usin' Self-Destruct wasn't the best idea, don't ya think?"

My eyes welled up with more tears, sobs overtaking my body when I thought about what had just transpired to cause Marley's demise. True, it wasn't quite my fault like Morty said, but my overwhelming sadness overtook me and forced my body to mourn yet another fallen friend. We couldn't touch, but my equally grief-stricken Koffing got close enough to me to make a pretend hug, tears of his own dripping down his ghostly form. I let the tears and sobs come, my heart breaking into millions of pieces all the more.

"Goodbye, Marley," I sniffed as I put my arms around his form.

"Bye, Ritsu," Marley's ghost said. "Even though we haven't spent much time together, I'm still gonna miss ya..."

"Me too, buddy. Me too. Be good wherever you're going, okay?"

"Promise! I'll just see ya in the next world as soon as I can. 'Til then... I'll be more careful than I was in this one. For you, Reets!"

Marley's ghost closed his blank white eyes, and faded away to the afterlife. With my eyes still red from crying, I bid Morty goodbye and left the Gym. I promised myself that I wouldn't let anyone else die under my care, and after Marley's death, I was determined to make sure my Pokémon were safer in my care. I still wanted nothing more than to have faith in them, but putting too much of it in when the moment got grim no longer felt like an option that sat right with me. Not after what I'd just gone through. The further I got from the Ecruteak Gym, I made it a promise to be less careless when it came to my friends, their safety my biggest concern for the better, freer future we would share together.



Spike the Nidoran♂️ (Unboxed)

Arc 03, Part 3/5
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Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Pokédex No.
Jul 4, 2019
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Psychic
Ok why did you use self destruct in the Ghost type gym.


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Obligatory beach episode ahoy!

On Route 38, I decided to kill two Pidgeys with one stone by sending Spike out to train, and entrusting Rose to take up the responsibility of watching him. I told them both not to go too far, watching them go to a nearby area as I got some things of my own done for the future. I had faith in Rose and Spike, so I wished them luck with the speedy training and left. While I waited, I decided to battle a few of the local Trainers on the Route, starting with a Beauty named Valerie. Only a few minutes in, I was starting to win the fight using only Blaze against Valerie's one Pokémon. Thankfully, it was a Grass-type, so I had nothing to worry about considering types and Blaze's confidence.

"Alright, Skiploom!" Valerie exclaimed. "Use Tackle!"

"Blaze, dodge and use Flame Wheel!" I cried.

Skiploom unsuccessfully tried to ram itself into Blaze's body, but she quickly jumped high and rolled over Skiploom in a ball of roaring fire. When she came to a stop on the grass, Skiploom had a huge burn scar over its body. Valerie knelt down and sprayed her Skiploom with a Burn Heal, the scorch mark clearing up within seconds as she patted her beloved friend.

"Wow, you're good!" Valerie complimented.

"Thanks! Do you want to continue the battle?" I asked.

"Nah, I just wanted to see how good your Pokémon were, and I'd say they're League material!"

"You really think so? Gee, thank you!" I waved Valerie goodbye, feeling proud of the victory and smiling at the 1,008₱ I was awarded. "Not too bad on her part, either."

"Puh-lease," Blaze scoffed. "Sending me against a dinky Skiploom was just asking for a beating! Next time, get Louie to do it and wait for an actual fight to send me out for."

"I can't afford to have you get rusty, Blaze, no matter who you're up against. Consider it a warmup."

Blaze rolled her eyes. "Let me guess, because I'm a Fire--?"

"Unintentional this time. Speaking of training, I wonder how Rose and Spike are—"

I was cut from my thoughts when I heard the sound of Spike screaming in pain. I rushed over to his and Rose's area, only to find Spike being brutally chewed between the large teeth of a Raticate. I was about to have Rose use Headbutt on it, but the Raticate quickly spat out my wounded Nidoran, and cringed due to ingesting some of Spike's poison. Before I could make Rose or Blaze attack it, Raticate ran off with depleting energy. When it was out of sight, I held Spike close to me like a mother would her child.

"Spike, are you alright?!" I gasped, concerned. "Rose, I thought you were watching him!"

"I was, but then this Raticate attacked us, and was dumb enough to think Spike was a tasty treat!"

"Why weren't you more careful? Now Spike's hurt because of you! Oh, this isn't good, Rose! This isn't good!" Rose looked so guilty and small under my yelling, but I didn't care at the moment. My only concern was my wounded purple Nidoran.

"R-Ritsu..." Spike pleaded in a faint voice. "Help me..."

"Don't worry, Spike, you're gonna be okay!" I assured. "I'm gonna get you some help!"

Panicking, I swiftly ran all the way to Route 39 with Rose and Blaze following. I heard Blaze utter a "nice going, egg-brain" to the rueful Rose. Typically, I'd have told her to be nicer to my Togetic with a firm tone and called her out on being ill-mannered, but I let it pass for the time being despite Rose's growing guilt. As civilization was just within my reach, I was stopped by a humble old man with a hiking stick. I ran in place impatiently, feeling Spike writhe within my tender hold.

"Hey there, little girl!" the old man said to me, "Would you like to—"

"Excuse me, sir! Coming through!" I exclaimed as I shoved him out of the way, finally running for Spike's life.

I finally made it into the warm and sunny city of Olivine. There was going to be a lot more time exploring and sightseeing such a tropical seaside paradise as soon as Spike wasn't sick and groaning for help. I reached the Pokémon Center and put him down before the Nurse Joy, who worked together with her Chansey to heal Spike's wounds with a Super Potion and Antidote in that order. Relieved that Spike had been seen and tended to, I was about to take him back when Nurse Joy stopped me.

"Hold it," she said. "Although your Pokémon's wounds are treated, he's still got a few broken bones, and has contracted a major infection. I'm afraid he's going to have to stay here overnight, okay?"

"Okay," I sighed. "Is Spike going to be alright here?"

"We can't tell at the moment, ma'am. Your best bet is to wait and see. I'm... I'm sorry. We'll do our best to help you, though!"

Walking out of the Pokémon Center, Rose fluttered over to my side to cheer me up. One look at my sullen eyes made her flinch, hanging her head in shame as she recalled what she had done and the stinging words I'd given her before. Although I was still upset with my Togetic for not being more careful with our friend, I could tell how sorry she was because of it and what I'd said before.

"I'm sorry, Ritsu," Rose apologized. "If I had been more responsible, Spike wouldn't have gotten hurt..."

"It's okay, Rose," I assured. "I mean, yes, you made a huge mistake, and you need to be more responsible than that from here on out. You know better." Rose frowned and hung her head, so I kept going. "But, I don't want you to worry about it too much. All we can do now is hope Spike recovers."

"But, what if he doesn't?! Oh, then it'll really be--"

"--Rose, please." I took a light breath, putting gentle hands on her. "We can't think that right now. If we do, all we're gonna do is worry and it'll just ruin my salvageable journey. Understand?"

"Y-Yeah, I understand. But, I just feel so bad--!"

"--Rose. I said hush, and that's an order. Do not disobey me."

"R-Right... what I meant to say was-- Spike's gotta hang in there!" Rose forced a smile, the left corner of her mouth twitching. "He's a pretty tough little guy from what I just saw! Isn't that right, Ritsu?"

"Exactly! I have confidence that Spike will be fine! Before we prepare for the Gym Battle here, why don't we have a little R&R?" Rose blinked, I clarified. "'Rest and relaxation', sweetheart."

"Yeah! Can you say 'day at the beach', Ritsu?" Rose asked.

"Day at the beach! I couldn't have had a better idea than that, Rosie! Olivine City's the number one-- well, actually, probably the only beach in Johto, but that's what makes it number one, doesn't it? Let's get going!"

I ran over to the Olivine Beach Shop near the Gym to get some supplies, including a few shovels and pails, beach towels, a cooler, a beach umbrella with a yellow setting sun design on my favorite color (orange), and most importantly, snacks and drinks after everyone's likes and dislikes were taken into careful consideration. Once all the stuff was purchased, I walked out of the shop with a bright smile on my face. As I let excitement overtake me, I heard the sound of a door flying open. Nico came bursting out of the Olivine Gym where the noise came from.

"Ritsu!" Nico sputtered, stumbling back until his back hit the door. "Gah! Who put that stupid door there...?"

"Stay back!" I warned as I held Rose out in front of me. "I've got a Togetic that knows Metronome, and I'm not afraid to use her!"

"Calm down. I'm not gonna waste my time with you today. And you might as well forget about that Gym Battle while you're at it, too."

"And why's that? Where's the Gym Leader?"

"She's at the Lighthouse. Apparently, her Ampharos came down with something, and she said something about 'not leaving Amphy's side until he's better'. Tch, what kind of moron would cancel a Gym Battle all because some stupid Pokémon got sick?"

"At least she's thoughtful about her Pokémon!" I came face-to-face with him and tapped his forehead repeatedly with one finger. "The most basic way you can act towards your own team, and you can't even do that right, can you? For someone that's always saying I don't think, I think you should start doing it a little better yourself."

"Sheesh, don't get so close to my face...!" Nico's face flushed while he backed and looked away to avoid more physical contact with my finger. "Quit trying to pop my personal bubble with that thing."

I put a concerned hand to his forehead, wondering why it'd suddenly changed color that fast. "What's wrong with your face, anyways? It's all red and hot. Great, now here you are trying to be all big and bad by battling while sick. You just never fail to surprise me, do you, Mr. More-terror?"

"I'm not sick, stupid!" Nico swatted my hand away, his face and hair now the same deep hue. "Why do you even care?"

"I was only guessing if you were sick or not; it's not as big of a deal as you're making it out to be. Be thankful I'm even asking what's wrong in the first place since no one else around here or anywhere is going to."

"Yeah, well, don't be such a softie. That's how you get trampled on, and then the Trainer becomes the Pokémon." Nico mocked me as he flicked my forehead, storming off with a florid face. "Now, stay out of my way! So annoying..."

"That boy is seriously getting on my nerves..." I sighed, turning my back on him. "Can't he just leave me alone for one day? I don't want to have to go to the beach in a bad mood!"

"Just forget about him and get a good mood!" Rose suggested. "We've got a spot on the beach with our name on it."

Excitedly, I rushed over to the Olivine Beach and found a nice little spot near the water. Once I changed into my dark pink two-piece bathing suit, I let my whole team out for a little fresh air. Erin decided to play in the water and waves, Louie was helping Rose make a big sandcastle with all of his love, and Blaze decided to just lay down next to me as she sipped a Tamato Berry smoothie.

"Ahh...!" I sighed. "What a beautiful day! Nothing like a trip to the beach before the end of August. Right, Blaze?"

"It is pretty nice out," Blaze remarked. "Sucks we can't do this all the time."

"Nice enough for you to go swimming?"

"Don't push it, Ritsu."

"Hey, Blaze!" Rose chirped, flying over to us with Louie. "Wanna help me and Mister Louie make a sandcastle?"

"Make like your old egg and beat it," Blaze snarled. "I'm relaxing here, yolk-for-brains."

"Don't insult my lady!" Louie screeched. "How could such a rarity lack the grace that comes with it? Disgusting!"

"No, it's okay, Mister Louie..." Rose sighed. "I'm used to it."

Displeased at yet another one of Blaze's childish outbursts, I decided to go help them with their sandcastle, which made her object several times over and getting not a single response dignified from me. She could throw a tantrum all she wanted; I wasn't going to break that easily. Louie was happy, and Rose was as chipper as ever from my acceptance. Just as I was beginning to get up, Blaze quickly tugged my ankle.

"Come on, Reets!" Blaze pleaded. "Why are you going to help that little omelette anyway? What? Am I not good enough for ya or something?!"

"Because, unlike you, Blaze, I know how to be nice to others," I spat. "Now, until you decide to stop bullying Rose, stay put and don't come near us. Even if it takes you the whole beach trip to get it through your head!"

"Seriously?! But, Ritsu--!"

"--No. No buts, Blaze. You're taking your punishment and staying near the blanket, and that's final. Your rudeness towards Rose is inexcusable, and I'd rather go to her than have to hear you not make the slightest effort to be friends with your own teammates. At least she knows how to cooperate around here. Why can't you?"

"...Fine. If you'd rather hang out with Rose instead of me, then you can have her!" Blaze snapped as she ran away with a few tears, "You're never gonna see me again, you dumb traitor!"

"Blaze, wait!" I reached after her, but she only ran faster without listening to me. Now, I was starting to feel bad. "Louie, Erin, you guys stay here and watch the blanket. Rose and I are going to calm down Blaze."

"Ma'am, yes, ma'am!" Louie and Erin promised, saluting me.

Zipping across the beach towards Blaze, I stepped backwards when she shouted at me to go away at the same time she unleashed a powerful Ember attack. Some of the flames touched my foot, causing me to yelp out painfully as Blaze continued to run. Not wanting to give up the chase, I told Rose to fly forward and pin Blaze down just as she prepared another Ember attack. Blaze struggled in the grasp, but eventually gave in when I got close enough at the other side of the beach. When Rose let go, all Blaze did was turn away and sniffle back tears and sobs, not wanting to be seen so submissive.

"Are you okay, Blaze?" I asked, walking a little closer.

"Go away, Ritsu!" Blaze yelled tearfully, firing another Ember attack near my feet to fend me off. "After all, you've got Rose to hang with!" She said her name derisively, waggling her head to mock her even more.

"But, Blaze, you're my best Pokémon friend! I wasn't trying to get rid of you forever."

"Yeah, right! If I were your best Pokémon friend, then you wouldn't favor Rose over me!"

"Blaze, I don't favor Rose over you. I love all of my Pokémon equally like any self-respecting Trainer should, but you were being mean to Rose when she tries to make friends with you! I thought... I thought it'd teach you to be nicer to her."

"I told you, I don't want anything to do with her at all! And yeah, nothing says 'good lesson' like betraying me and leaving me in the dust!" Blaze had obvious sarcasm in her shouts, but also noticeable amounts of fear, which surprised me due to her usual brand of bravery. "It just comes to show how far up your own ass your head is! As long as you're happy, that's the important part, huh? Buncha bullshit..."

"O-Okay, maybe that wasn't the best way to go about that..." I admitted until I got stern again with my scolds. "But, still! You have no reason to harass Rose day in and out like this!"

"There's no point in being nice to someone that ain't worth my time! Especially someone who's hogging all the attention from my Trainer since she came out of that stupid Egg!"

"Why is there no point, Blaze?! Why do you get so defensive whenever I spend time with Rose?!" I saw Blaze was still very upset from my disapproving tone, so I calmed down a little and went back to being more gentle. "...I promise if you tell me, I'll understand."

"Will you now? How do I know you won't just chew me out for that, too, like always? That's all you do with me."

"There's no use in yelling at you if I know the whole picture. Please, Blaze, I want to understand. Just... just go ahead and tell me."

"...Alright. I'll tell you, but just this once." Blaze finally faced me and Rose, hesitant. "Back when I was a wild Cyndaquil, my parents always favored my big brothers over me. Every damned day it be all 'Oliver this' or 'Garrett that', never poor little lonely Blaze! Whenever Ollie and Garrett went to go hunt if Mom and Dad couldn't, I'd always see it as my chance to finally talk with them, just-- be hope I'd finally get noticed as their daughter. But, as soon as I did every time... they barely said a word to me or looked me in the eye, and the only time I'd see them go from blank-faced to smiling was when they came back and showed me up just by existing! It wasn't fair! And whenever you went all 'gaga, ooh, ahh!' over Rose, it just brought those stupid memories of mine right back!" Now thick tears were finally rolling down Blaze's cheeks and into the sand. "But, you're so self-righteous and uppity you don't get that, Ritsu! You don't get... you don't get why I hate being left out. First, my own parents, now my Trainer couldn't even care less about me, either?! I'm tired of it! I'm so fucking tired of not even getting to be second priority to anybody!"

Rose and I looked at Blaze with disbelief, taking in her story as potential images of what happened to her from the words flashed through our minds like a common theater. We kept our eyes on the frustrated Quilava, watching her let more tears fall out with uncharacteristic sobs of anguish into her little paws while her back was turned to us. It wasn't like I blamed her for not wanting to look our way, not after I'd gotten to hear an awful tale like that. I knelt down in the sand, letting the rough blanket of grainy specks dirty my heated skin as I started feeling bad about how I'd been going about things with Blaze up to this point.

"Blaze..." Rose said as shocked as I was, "I never knew. I'm so sorry!"

"I'm sorry, too," I replied. "It really was highly selfish of me to think you were just acting jealous of Rose, when this whole time, you were just feeling left out and scared of being ignored."

"What's this? Ritsu being selfish? Get outta here!" Blaze snarked, her voice quivering thanks to her tears. "I'm shocked you even apologized..."

I frowned, feeling even more guilty. Was I really that rough? "H-Hey, I'll tell you what. If you're up for it, I'd like to keep making it up to you today by doing whatever you want, when you want it. ...Within reason."

"I guess... but I'm not so sure. Are ya gonna stick to it instead of screaming your head off at me?"

"Of course. I wouldn't do the same thing twice if it's upset you this badly, Blaze." I opened my arms to her, a sincere look of remorse on my face. "Friends again?"

Blaze hesitated, but let out a sigh as she walked close to me on all fours. "...Friends again. But, only until you pull this a second time. After that, you're fresh outta chances."


I hugged Blaze, happy that she'd come to accept my apology. In midst of our embrace, we noticed Rose was drifting over to us with guilt hanging thick off her shoulders. Although Blaze was still highly apprehensive, I told them both things would be okay and for Rose to come closer and say what she needed to. Toughening up, Rose got close to Blaze and looked at her face-to-face, black eyes mixing with the red one's of my Quilava's.

"So... truce?" Rose asked holding out her short arm.

"...Truce, kiddo," Blaze agreed shaking Rose's arm with her paw. "Truth be told, I guess I'm the one who owes you an apology. Maybe... I was-- a little too snippy at you for all the wrong reasons, so... I'm sorry. Are we cool?"

"It's all water under the bridge! Don't worry too much about it, friend!" Rose smiled, hugging Blaze for just a second and letting her down on the sand. "Now, let's go back and have some beachy fun in the sun!"

"Don't say that..." Blaze groaned.

Once the three of us returned to the blanket, Blaze actually went to go help Rose and Louie finish their sandcastle. When I joined Erin in the cool rushing water, she came up to me with a sleeping Corsola on her head, and asked me if we could keep her new "buddy", as she called her. I thought long and hard about this decision, but ultimately decided we could use a special Water-type like her on the team. Fully agreeing with Erin, I captured the Corsola, and named her Kairi to fit an ocean-born Water-type like her.

As the sun was going down, we all had nice pre-packed lunches on the beach. Rose was all cozy near Louie, who looked as though he'd explode any moment from his intense infatuation. Meanwhile, Blaze was also shooting the breeze for the first time with Rose, smiling all the more without blowing up her temper. Finally, as I ate more of my sandwich and potato salad, Kairi was comfortable in my lap while having a pleasant conversation with Erin.

When it was time to go, everyone helped me pack our supplies up before I recalled all but Kairi to their Poké Balls. I figured it'd be nice to get to know her a little more, so I started to gather my things and walk off to the Pokémon Center. When I did, I finally noticed my skin had turned a shade of crimson, now sensitive and aching at almost every move. Kairi offered me a lift onto her back (despite not appearing all that big), but I kindly turned her down by the time we were close to our goal.

In our Pokémon Center room, I struggled to change from my bathing suit into a clean pair of pajamas decorated with little Chinchou on the pants and the blue short-sleeved shirt with a yellow lightbulb that came with the set. My sunburn felt as though it'd gotten worse, every nerve in my body sensitive beyond typical comprehension. The furthest I managed was shutting the lamp off and plopping myself onto the bed, my brown hair completely down to my shoulders and wrinkled.

"Oww..." I groaned. "I knew I forgot to do something at the beach..."

"Was that something putting on sunscreen?" Kairi asked pointing to my puffy red skin.

"Don't remind me..." I miraculously managed to get on the bed, the tender rouge pinching at my body with every movement to my discomfort. "You know, the horrible sunburn and future skin peeling aside... it would actually be nice to live here someday. Don't you guys think?"

"It would, wouldn't it? Of course, I did come from here. So if you think it's a nice place, you're not wrong. It's sunny, it's warm, it's pretty! You've got very little downsides to making this place your new home!"

"Good. I never thought I'd ever say this, but I am starting to miss New Bark Town. Even just a little. Though, compared to a place like Olivine, it's as small as ever! I've had to have been to a beach once or twice in my whole lifetime, and they just came and went from how long ago that was. But, to live in a bigger, brighter, more beautiful beach city like this one... wow! Could you imagine, Kairi?"

Kairi yawned before cuddling up on the foot of my bed. "When you're older, you can live here all you want, and nobody could tell you not to. Good night, Ritsu."

Yeah... nobody could tell me anything I didn't want to agree with by the time I'd become an adult, could they? Even now, I was a much freer girl than I was earlier in the year! "Good night, Kairi," I said as I drifted off to sleep with a very content smile, eyes closing into darkness in preparation for the dreams that awaited after a nice, long day relaxing on the beach.


Kairi, ♀️, Quiet, Likes to fight, Route 40

Arc 03, Part 4/5
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Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Here's the next chapter. Not too eventful, but... oh well.

The next day, I decided to give Mom a call to let her know how I'm doing, leaving out my current peeling as a result of my careless sunburn since she was definitely going to have my head for that one. I felt a little bad for having been too wrapped up to contact her, so I took no time to dial her number on my PokéGear. I waited and waited while my device rang. When she answered after the final ring, she sounded extremely happy to hear me after my journey began so long ago.

"Ritsu! You remembered to call me!" Mom beamed. "How's your journey coming along, sweetheart?"

"It's... going along pretty well," I half-lied, not wanting to tell her about my dead Pokémon and make her previous doubts bloom again so she'd beg me to quit and come back home. "I've got four out of eight badges already!"

"That's wonderful, Ritsu! Did anything else interesting happen? Did you make some new friends besides your teammates?"

"Well... he's not even close to being my friend, but there's this jerk I keep running into. His name's Nico, and he always seems to like bugging me."

"Hmm... how exactly does he 'bug' you, honey?" Mom asked.

"For starters, he always shoves me, calls me 'Plumber Breath', and he seems to freak out whenever I get near him. It's like he's allergic to me, or at least allergic to being nice to me. I can't tell which is which anymore."

"Oooh? Maybe this Nico boy could like you, Ritsu."

"Wh-What?!" I squeaked, utterly flummoxed when my mother assumed such a thing. "Mom, get serious. He's so mean to me! I want nothing to do with him at all!"

"Honey, I'm not saying you have to go near him. Just hear me out first. Have you seen him do any of the stuff you just listed to anyone else he's been around?"

"N-No... but come on, Mom! That's silly! He hates me and his Pokémon, no doubt."

"What? His Pokémon? Now, who would hate their own Pokémon? That's not very good protocol for being a Trainer."

"Nico would. He mistreats them; calls them 'worthless', screams at them over every little mistake, has the GALL to get worse when he inevitably loses to me or anyone, and doesn't even thank them for putting up with him every day! He ought to be grateful they haven't just ditched him for a better Trainer, if you ask my opinion."

"Good Lord! I take back what I said, that little punk sounds like trouble. You're better off avoiding him and finding a nicer boy to make you happy.

Ignoring that last part, I agreed with the rest. "For the most part, I've been avoiding him as best as I can, and yet he can't seem to stop running into me regardless. Fate's a little funny like that. But, don't you worry, Mom. I'm gonna straighten him out and teach him his place, even if he doesn't want to be there! I don't care!"

"That's my little Ritsu! Ready to take charge and put evil in its place. Call again soon, okay, pumpkin?"

"Yes, Mom! And if I can't call you for some reason, I'll send you a few letters! Cross my heart and hope to... you know."

"Bye, baby! I'm rooting for you all the way now!"

Mom hung up, and I hurried on over to the Gym to see if the Gym Leader was ready to battle. However, my heart sunk as I read a note on the door that said "Amphy's still sick; All battles are canceled until he gets better. If anyone wants to help, I'll be at the Glitter Lighthouse! Love, Jasmine.". Wanting to get the Mineral Badge as soon as possible, I hurried on over to Olivine City's famous Lighthouse. Since the elevator was out of order, I was forced to take a few flights of ladders. When I reached a certain floor, I discovered that the only way to go forward was to jump out onto the platform outside. Not wanting to do such a thing, I told Blaze to hold onto my back as I climbed my way down the Lighthouse. Unfortunately, my grip on the tower slipped a few climbs in and down I started to go with a scream.

"Holy Arceus, we're going to die!" I screamed with Blaze. "Louie, help us!"

I pressed the middle button of one of my Poké Balls, the creature summoned forth was thankfully Louie. He took no time to scoop us onto his large back and fly us back up to safety. Blaze and I were panting from the terror we'd just faced, Blaze glaring at me among her stressed expression. I patted her on the forehead with a sincere sorry, telling her it was a better method than jumping to our immediate deaths. Louie sat perched on the floor, his eyes equally worried about what could have become of me and Blaze.

"I do say, are you both trying to get yourselves killed?! Why scale a lighthouse, of all things?!" Louie screeched. "You're fortunate I was there, or else--"

"--Chill. We didn't have any other options because the elevator's busted," Blaze interrupted with a scoff. "Besides, you still acted fast enough to save us, didn't you?"

"Yes, but...

"We're okay, Louie, thank you," I said as I returned him to his Poké Ball. "I promise something like this definitely won't happen again. That was terrifying!"

"And if Jasmine makes us do this again before the elevator gets fixed, well, good luck to Amphy. He's gonna need it.

After climbing even more flights of stairs, I finally reached the beacon where Jasmine and Amphy were. Just looking at both Amphy and Jasmine made me a little sad though. They both looked like they haven't eaten in days, but Jasmine was still trying to bring down Amphy's fever with a cold, damp cloth. All the more, Amphy tried catching a breath of its own, only to take on air wisps that were shallow and unhelpful. Suddenly, it jolted up, coughing into its arm and worrying Jasmine to the point of her nearly crying from worry. I stepped closer, nabbing Jasmine's attention as she kept the cloth on Amphy's forehead.

"Oh, hello there," Jasmine greeted, waving to me weakly. "Could I help you?"

"Could you help me...?" Amphy wheezed, my heart clenching from how tired he'd looked and sounded, just barely able to raise his arm.

"Hello there yourself," I greeted back. "My name is Ritsu, and I was going to challenge your Gym when I saw the note. I figured you'd be super exhausted from looking after Amphy for this long, so I brought you some of my favorite orange slices and a bottle of Fresh Water. These will keep you hydrated and strong! There's no need to make yourself sick, too."

"W... Water...?" Amphy rasped, Jasmine taking the bottle for herself without hearing him. I didn't miss the frown on his face, but assumed it to be due to his illness more than anything else.

"Thank you so much," Jasmine said as she ate the snack I gave her with a chug of cold water. "Ah, that's much better. Hey, Ritsu, can you do me one more little eensy favor, if you don't mind?"

"What is it?" I didn't sound too sure, but I wasn't going to be forcing a sick Ampharos or its Trainer to fight me for a Gym Badge.

"Amphy's getting worse by the hour. There's a pharmacy in a place called Cianwood City not too far from here. I need you to get a special medicine from there so I can treat Amphy properly. As soon as you do, that battle is yours, and possibly my Badge with it."

That was all? Piece of cake! "You've got yourself a deal, Jasmine!"

Looking at my Poké Gear, I noticed that in order to get to Cianwood, I needed to cross the sea. Since I had recently taught Kairi Surf, I held onto her tightly as she zipped across the sea like a motorboat. Because she kept having to avoid obstacles like big rocks and Pokémon, water splashed everywhere on me. Kairi did a few jumps of faith when we encountered a stray Tentacool or two, landing in the water with a great splash. Once we got to Cianwood, I was soaked to the bone. Nothing to do about my clothes, I undid my lower pigtails and squeezed them dry, doing the same to my hat until I was ready to redo my hair and put the cap on my head again.

"Sorry, Ritsu," Kairi apologized. "It's a little harder when our sizes aren't even."

"It's alright, Kairi, think of it like... boogey boarding!" I assured, kneeling down to pat her. "I'll get dry eventually. Let's just get Amphy's medicine and go."

"Do you know where it is? And which medicine to get? This isn't exactly familiar territory, you know."

"Cianwood doesn't seem so big, so how hard could it be to find one little pharmacy? Plus, if it's special medicine that couldn't be picked up back in Olivine, there has to be a special prescription only the professionals would know about. Now, come on; we're burning precious time, and Amphy's probably getting sicker by the minute."

I searched around town, finding no building that would help me in any way. I found a local Cianwood civilian and asked them where the pharmacy was, to which they pointed me in the right direction. Thanking them, I entered the shop and asked the clerk for Amphy's medicine. After I got the SecretPotion for free once I told them it was for Gym Leader Jasmine's sake, I sailed back to Olivine City and hurried up the Lighthouse elevator to Jasmine and Amphy. But, when Jasmine carefully administered the medicine to Amphy, he didn't seem to be getting any better. Instead of waking up vigorous, he kept laying down with a beet red fever and shallow breaths that seemed to grow weaker.

"W-Why isn't the potion working?" Jasmine choked as tears started to stream down her face, "Isn't this potion supposed to cure any ailment?!"

"I'm sorry, Jasmine," I apologized, "Maybe Amphy will get better with time."

"But what if he doesn't?!" Jasmine bawled, hugging me out of anxious grief. "What if he doesn't even live through it?!"

Suddenly, Amphy shakily reached for the water bottle I gave Jasmine earlier. I noticed this while Jasmine looked on with teary eyes, making things easier for the Electric-type by moving it closer to where his hand would be. He let out a low noise from his throat, opening the cap and pouring the water down his throat. As he finished off the water and dropped the empty bottle, he cleared his throat and actually looked a lot healthier than before. While the redness in Amphy's face didn't quite vanish, it looks considerably less exacerbated and more of a gentle pink than a fiery red.

"Ahhh," I heard Amphy sigh. "I really needed that!"

"...He just needed water?!" Jasmine and I squawked in unison, completely surprised.

"Oh, Amphy! You're okay!" the joyous Jasmine beamed, hugging her friend tightly. "It's a miracle!"

Although Amphy was just as happy to be healthy, he looked out the window of the Lighthouse. He beckoned for Jasmine to let go of him, walking to the center and concentrating. Before either of us knew what was going on, Amphy's red orb on his forehead started to crackled with electricity until it finally glowed. We closed our eyes before the blinding light could damage our retinas, opening them slowly as we witnessed the rebirth of the light that so shone upon Olivine City. Amphy himself was gleefully powering the spinning mechanism that helped rotate his light through the city, the sound of many boats blaring their horns in the distance as they got close to the docks.

"Thank you so much, Ritsu," Jasmine said to me, shaking my hand. "I shall now return to the Gym. When you get the Storm Badge, come see me and I'll battle you, okay?"

"Okay!" I chirped. "I'll be there, Jasmine. Look forward to a good, clean fight."

I walked out of the room with Jasmine, but went a completely different direction at a certain point. Once I left the Glitter Lighthouse altogether, I ran into an old man. Just as I was preparing to walk past him, I recognized him from the face I'd so run into earlier trying to get Spike some medical attention. Feeling bad for pushing him, I decided to apologize with my utmost sincerity. When I finished saying I was sorry, the old man chuckled heartily with no sign of resent on his face from my little mistake earlier.

"It's alright, little miss!" the old man insisted. "My name is Baoba, and I'm the owner of the new Johto Safari Zone!"

"The Safari Zone? What's that?" I wondered.

"The Safari Zone is a place where all sorts of trainers go to catch new and rare Pokémon!" Baoba explained. "If you're interested, just come to Route 48!"

"I'll keep it in mind, Baoba. Assuming I have some time to visit your place."

"Great! Just register me in your Gear and call me when you're ready, little missy!"

As soon as I registered Baoba into my trusty PokéGear, he happily scampered away. The Safari Zone did sound like loads of fun, and I looked forward to possibly visiting it if or when I had the time to (which I doubted, honestly). Just as I was about to follow my instincts and go ahead to see it, I remembered what I had to do in order to see Jasmine again. Changing my direction, I set my sights back on the ocean and sailing to Cianwood. I returned to the beach and summoned Kairi, jumping onto her back as she started surfing all the way towards our coveted Storm Badge.


Arc 03, Part 5/5
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Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Pokédex No.
Jul 4, 2019
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Psychic
I like how Ritsu’s mom is totally down for her daughter to date someone who’s a jerk to her, but to Pokémon that’s a line too far. Also Ritsu is like “screw you mom I’m gonna date someone who isn’t nice because I wanna be a rebel”

Now Jasmine’s 400 IQ play if not giving somebody sick any water is great, which brings the question why wasn’t the Ampharos getting water before he came down with a bad case of dehydration.


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
I like how Ritsu’s mom is totally down for her daughter to date someone who’s a jerk to her, but to Pokémon that’s a line too far. Also Ritsu is like “screw you mom I’m gonna date someone who isn’t nice because I wanna be a rebel”

Now Jasmine’s 400 IQ play if not giving somebody sick any water is great, which brings the question why wasn’t the Ampharos getting water before he came down with a bad case of dehydration.
Except— Ritsu didn’t say she was going to date him? Like at all, wtf??? She just said she was going to talk some sense into him. The mom thing is one thing bc parents do the whole “bullying you = likes you” crap all the time (I don’t agree with it, but that’s a simple fact of what people do), but that’s definitely not what was said. 😒😑

The Amphy just needing water thing was an old SB joke I wrote years ago that I wanted to keep in for laughs and giggles. Not everything in this story needs to be taken overly-serious or analyzed (especially in the earlier, awkward phases of said story), jsyk...


Conqueror of the Cinnabar Gym
Pokédex No.
Jul 4, 2019
Pokémon Type
  1. Grass
  2. Psychic
Except— Ritsu didn’t say she was going to date him? Like at all, wtf??? She just said she was going to talk some sense into him. The mom thing is one thing bc parents do the whole “bullying you = likes you” crap all the time (I don’t agree with it, but that’s a simple fact of what people do), but that’s definitely not what was said. 😒😑

The Amphy just needing water thing was an old SB joke I wrote years ago that I wanted to keep in for laughs and giggles. Not everything in this story needs to be taken overly-serious or analyzed (especially in the earlier, awkward phases of said story), jsyk...
"Good Lord! I take back what I said, that little punk sounds like trouble. You're better off avoiding him and finding a nicer boy to make you happy.

Ignoring that last part, I agreed with the rest.”

That’s what I was referring to. It was meant to be more a dumb sarcastic comment admittedly


Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
"Good Lord! I take back what I said, that little punk sounds like trouble. You're better off avoiding him and finding a nicer boy to make you happy.

Ignoring that last part, I agreed with the rest.”

That’s what I was referring to. It was meant to be more a dumb sarcastic comment admittedly
Okay, now that you quoted that, I can see it, but only a little because Ritsu was agreeing w/ Kristen’s comment about Nico being trouble and ignoring the part about dating anybody at all.
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Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen, PT Model
Pokédex No.
Jun 16, 2022
Pokémon Type
  1. Fairy
  2. Ghost
Final part of the 3rd arc, and what better way to end it than two tough battles (one Gym, the other someone else)?

Once I sailed back to the small city of Cianwood, I noticed something towards the other side of the island. Its bright blue aura shone throughout, prompting me to get closer out of pure curiosity. When I took a closer look, I was surprised at what I'd seen. From its flowing violet mane and majestic form, it was none other than Suicune. It seemed to have heard my footsteps or breathy awe, seeing how quickly it turned around to see me. When it did, Suicune took slow steps closer to me while studying me at the same time.

"You..." Suicune said. "You are the one known as Ritsu, correct?"

"Y-Yes," I confirmed. "Why is a Legendary like you talking to someone like me, Suicune?"

"Because, I sense you are a very special Trainer, Ritsu. You have an immense amount of potential and a loving heart inside of you after you've come such a long way here. Besides, you're not out of control or needlessly obsessive, like—"

"Suicune~!" I heard Eusine chirp as he rushed in our direction. "I've finally found you, my precious treasure! Come to me at last!"

"Leave it to me to speak the Devil's name. I must leave. Farewell, Ritsu!"

As Eusine watched Suicune disappear with a look of anguish, his expression quickly turned to bitter anger as he turned to me with a face so red that it could make a Tamato Berry look light pink. Eusine's fists balled up, prompting me to hold my hands up defensively in case he tried anything physical or otherwise equally irrational. "You... Why does Suicune not run away from you?!"

"I don't know, Eusine!" I insisted. "Honest! It just wanted to talk to me and then left!"

"Don't you give me that bullshit! I can see now that the one thing that comes between me and my Suicune is you! I fail to see what's so special about you that it'd ignore me for you, so it's clear on what I have to do! I'm going to make sure you're eliminated for good!"

I tried to reason with Eusine to try and talk him out of doing anything crazy, but it fell completely on deaf ears. As a result, he picked a Poké Ball of his from his person and tossed it high, calling out his Drowzee and roping me into a sudden battle. As if that weren't bad enough, Drowzee looked just as willing to do harm as its psychotic Trainer did. I gulped, beyond scared despite forcing every ounce of me to brace itself.

"E-Easy, Eusine. Nice Drowzee, let's not do anything we might regret, okay, you two?" I offered, backing away with my hands up.

"Heh, heh..." Eusine chuckled evilly, ignoring my pleas to back down. "Once Drowzee disposes of you, I can finally be with Suicune! Drowzee, constrict her with Confusion!"

The sensation of being constricted was awful. It felt like my very skeleton was shrinking and there was no room to breathe. Gasping, I pressed my finger onto one of my Poké Balls, and summoned Louie. Once Louie attacked Drowzee with a critical Sky Attack from high above, I crashed to the ground gasping for breath. Louie immediately flew down close to me while I coughed, rubbing a wing against my back to help me breathe properly.

"Are you alright, Ritsu?" Louie asked.

"Yeah..." I gasped. "I think I'll be fine. I'll... I'll go ahead and send Rose out to help you take care of Eusine."

Louie seemed rather pleased to hear that as I fished for Rose's Poké Ball. I tossed it upwards as I pushed myself off the sand, Rose being summoned at the same second I was back on my feet. To retaliate, Eusine sent out his Haunter to aid Drowzee in the battle once the latter was healed using a Super Potion. Louie began to charge at Drowzee, but was stopped when he was caught in a sudden Confusion attack.

"Drowzee, finish off that annoying Noctowl!" Eusine cried out. "And as for you, Haunter, do whatever you please with the Togetic."

"With pleasure, boss," I heard Haunter say.

"I'd like to see you try! Ghosts can't hurt us Normal-types!" Rose boasted, confident as ever.

"Well, young Togetic, we'll just see about that," the sinister Haunter said as he approached Rose. It managed to get a tight hold of my Togetic, Rose herself alarmed at the sudden grasp.

"H-Hey, what are you doing?!" Rose squeaked as she squirmed in Haunter's clutches. "Lemme go, you creep!"

"Whatever I please..." Haunter whispered.

Much to my horror, Haunter wrapped its long and slimy tongue around Rose's neck. It stayed there, getting tighter and tighter until she started to gasp and writhe from her air supply being cut off. No matter how much she tried pulling at the tongue to get free and save herself, its saliva prevented any sort of grip and only got tighter and tighter in defiance. I could see Rose's eyes get bloodshot, nearly popping out of their sockets while her healthy white became an alarming blue in the face.

"ROSE! Stop it! Stop it! You're hurting her!" I pleaded. "You could kill her!"

"That's the idea. Now, while she can't attack, Haunter, use— what?!" Eusine gasped.

Unable to contain his rage any longer, a very infuriated Louie broke itself free from the Confusion using sheer willpower and charged right at Drowzee to subdue him using several moves. Using a high flight speed once that was done, Louie set his angry sights on a certain Ghost-type who still had its tongue and hands around a very horrified, breathless Rose. Haunter quickly dropped Rose to try and defend itself, but my Noctowl was much faster. When the shuddering Rose fell to the sand, I picked her up carefully to see if any other damage was done while allowing Louie to do his business.

"Get. Your filthy tongue. Off of ROSE!" Louie screeched as he introduced his sharp talons to Haunter. "I SHALL KILL YOU!"

Louie proceeded to give Haunter the beatdown of a lifetime; one that was far more brutal than Drowzee's. Despite both Pokémon being very easily defeated by two of my team members, Louie's rage didn't come close to being quelled. He harshly attacked Eusine for letting Haunter hurt Rose in the first place. Though he certainly deserved it, I quickly pulled my angry Noctowl off of Eusine to avoid anymore damage I didn't see as necessary.

"If you ever come near my lady like that again, it will be your neck!" Louie hissed.

"Hmph," Eusine pouted. "I guess I'm unable to do anymore damage here, so I'll be back to get rid of you another time!"

As Eusine quickly fled, Louie rushed over to Rose's side while I kept holding her. She was coughing and shivering, covered in ghost slobber thanks to Haunter's tongue with eyes widened to dinner plate size. I rubbed her back, helping her breathe a little clearer and take some time so she could calm down from such a traumatic attack. It started out as her hyperventilating, but gradually slowed to a steadier breathing until Rose inhaled and exhaled like normal and flew back to the air again. When I patted her back a few times, some extra coughs got out and cleared her lungs for good.

"Are you alright, my darling?" Louie asked.

"My throat hurts... and my heart's going so fast that I'm surprised I still have a pulse! But... I-I think I'll be okay, I just need a minute. I can at least breathe again..." Rose wheezed, a couple more coughs leaving her. "And, the less we see of that Haunter and his equally creepy Trainer, the better. 'Never' would be best, actually!"

"Don't worry, we won't," I said, still weak from the Confusion ambush. "Let's just... go get that..."

Before I could finish my sentence, my injuries forced me to the ground. I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into fatigue, trying to fight it to no avail whatsoever. In the end, my eyes fell shut and welcomed darkness; one thing I could only hear clearly were Rose and Louie's cries of concern that called my name out desperately.

When I woke up, I found myself in someone's home. Around me was a cozy bed and warm air, the atmosphere a lot calmer than earlier. I turned my head to the side and found myself staring at a beautiful young woman with dark red hair in a lower bun and green eyes wearing an orange blouse under a white apron and long, olive skirt. Visible under the apron in question was her stomach, which looked to be the size of a volleyball that I wasn't going to make assumptions about until she'd bring it up first (if at all). She noticed I'd woken up in just seconds, perking up and smiling when we made full eye contact.

"Oh, goodie, you're awake!" the woman chirped. "I found you unconscious on the beach, so I thought I'd bring you in until you were better."

"That was very nice of you, ma'am," I replied. "Thank you very much. I probably wouldn't have made it any longer out there."

"You're welcome, young one. Were you about to go to the Cianwood Gym by any chance?"

"Yes, I was. Why do you ask?"

"Because, I'm the Gym Leader's wife, Pamela. If you can beat my dear Chuck, then I'll give you this handy Hidden Machine! Since you've got a Noctowl on your team, I think it'll really come in handy if you need to go really far."

"Speaking of, is the Noctowl in question--?"

"--Right as rain. I took care of it and your Togetic, and they're both fully healed like their Trainer."

Pamela showed me a disc that contained the move Fly, compatible with either of my Flying-types. But, since Louie was bigger, he was an easy winner in that contest. Amazed, I accepted the Technical Machine and hurried out of the house after once again thanking Pamela for her help (and letting out a sigh of relief when, upon seeing me glance at her belly a few times, said "I know you're thinking it, and yes, that's my son in there." with a giggle). Once I healed Louie and Rose at the Pokémon Center and sent them back into their Poké Balls, I walked into the Cianwood Gym. The blast of the rushing waterfall drowned out the voices of all the trainers in the Gym of stone, sweat (LOTS of sweat, I may add, if the smell of feet didn't get me first) and fighting spirit. Still anxious to get the Storm Badge, I scurried up to get Chuck's attention without being detected by anyone else.

"Um, Mr. Chuck?" I asked, poking him. "I'd like to challenge you to a battle, please!"

But, with a closer glance, I noticed Chuck was sleeping underneath the ferocious waterfall despite the stiff pose of determination he'd maintained for what I assumed was a long time. Seeing an odd switch in the back of the Gym, I walked up the stairs and harshly cranked it using all my might, forcing the waterfall to slow into little drips until no water continued to fall atop Chuck's head.

"Hmm, wha--?!" Chuck slurred as he bolted awake. "H-Hey! Who interrupted my na— err, training?!"

"I did, Mr. Chuck. I'd like to be your next challenger, if now's a good time to do that."

"Hmph, alright then! But, I'm not going easy on ya, little girl!"

That was teenager to him, but I'd get my revenge through victory instead of giving a grown man a tongue lashing he probably wouldn't take as seriously as he should have. Firmly grasping his Poké Ball, Chuck threw it forward and out came an energetic Primeape as his first Pokémon. Naturally, I sent Louie out to take it on and defeat it in a matter of seconds using only the proper type moves. If I could stick to his primarily Psychic and Flying moves to deal as much physical damage as possible, this fight was bound to be a shoe-in.

"Primeape, use Focus Punch!" Chuck commanded.

Primeape put itself in a stance similar to Chuck's earlier one, concentrating its mind as its fist started to burn with some strange energy. It then swung its charged up fist furiously into Louie's body, sending him backwards through the air. Despite the impact of the blow, Louie endured his pain and swiftly soared down towards Primeape, critically damaging it with an Air Slash attack.

"Now, Louie! Finish with Peck!" I cried.

Louie raised his beak towards the ceiling in a single head cock backwards. He soared upwards, spreading his wings further and zipping downwards towards Primeape. As soon as Louie's beak made an impact with Primeape's body once the two Pokémon made physical contact, it fainted instantly, unable to sustain anymore damage or wounds any longer.

"You're not a bad Trainer, Ritsu. Makes sense if my Badge is the one next in line for ya," Chuck remarked. "But, I've still got one Pokémon left! Don't go kicking back just yet! You fight every last challenge until the final millisecond, and no sooner!"

I sent out Kairi to fight for the first time, but I started to regret it as Chuck's last Pokémon wound up being a Poliwrath due to the clear type disadvantage on my side. Being a Water-type was bad enough, but being half-Fighting only added to the potential horrors. Uh-uh, certainly not happening! When I was about to send Kairi back after an immediate change of heart, she assured me that she'd be alright battling a Pokémon that had an advantage over her. As much as I wanted to trust her, after what had happened with my other Pokémon in recent events, I kept trying to get her to change her mind.

"Ritsu, I can do this!" Kairi tried to assure me. "I'm strong enough to take on at least one Pokémon in this Gym!"

"But you're part Rock!" I warned her. "And you know how well Rock-types do against something that's Water and Fighting!"

"I know, but-- but maybe it wouldn't hurt to try! Just let me do this for you, Ritsu!"

"Kairi, please! I need to switch you out for someone! You're gonna die here if I don't; I just know it--"

"Poliwrath, use Surf!" Chuck called out.

I couldn't finish my pleas as Poliwrath spread its arms out; the Gym's waterfall beginning to change into a giant tidal wave. I was horrified to see it get high enough to a point where it could stand no longer. When Poliwrath made the wave crash down, Kairi braced herself and leaped through the water until she was surfing on top of the wave, completely ignoring my shouts of her name. Panicking, Poliwrath swirled its arms all around in a futile attempt to shake Kairi off of its tidal wave.

"I'm not giving up so easily!" Kairi declared bravely.

"Keep holding on like that, Kairi!" I exclaimed, starting to calm my nerves a bit. "Use Ancient Power!"

Kairi's body began to glow a bright white until she summoned a huge rock floating above her little body. Once she was fully charged, I gave her the right command and she fired the rock at Poliwrath, critically knocking it onto its back. It struggled to stay conscious, but just as I was hoping, it fell back down and seemingly conceded defeat.

"Hey, I think we did it!" I cheered, jumping for joy.

"Don't be too sure yet!" Chuck warned. "Poliwrath, use Body Slam!"

With a sharp determination in its eyes, Poliwrath leaped up as if it'd never been attacked with a giant magical boulder, and crashed itself onto Kairi. Once it got off of her, Kairi shakily tried to stand firm. But try as she may, her stance was wobbly and susceptible to a fatal attack to further the damage. Thankfully, she was still plenty conscious, but I wasn't sure how much the poor thing could take any longer despite her assuring me she'd be fine.

"Now, finish it with Focus Punch!" Chuck cried. "You've got this, Poliwrath!"

Exactly what I was afraid of! Not wanting to lose Kairi for good, I quickly tossed Erin's Poké Ball, and she instantly grabbed Poliwrath's fist before it could reach the wounded Kairi. Despite Poliwrath's power, Erin held onto the powered up fist with a completely straight face, showing no sign of fear. Instead, she shot daggers at Poliwrath as if it'd committed a serious crime. Surprised, Poliwrath tried to yank its fist out of Erin's grip, but had no luck.

"...Don't hurt my buddy," Erin said sternly, gritting her teeth.

Erin then proceeded to grab Poliwrath's arm with both hands, and slammed it into the ground back and forth mercilessly. She tossed it upwards once before grabbing her opponent, spinning Poliwrath around and tossing it directly into the wall concealed behind the waterfall area. Looking on at Poliwrath, it was clearly unconscious as it did nothing when it finally hit the ground following a slip from its crack in the wall. Equally amazed at Erin's strength and protectiveness towards Kairi as I was at that moment, Chuck hastily returned Poliwrath to its Poké Ball.

"Your Pokémon have some strength!" Chuck remarked. "For defeating me, I'm gonna give you the Storm Badge!"

"Don't you have to because of the League rules?"

"Well--! Yeah, but you get it! Gahahaha..." I opened my palm, and Chuck practically slapped the Storm Badge into my hand (owie...). "Now, normally, I'd give you a Hidden Machine as a bonus reward... but I left it at my house. My wife, Pam should know where it is, though."

"Oh, I was just there. I'll go get it right away."

Excited about my new badge, I congratulated Erin and Kairi for doing such a good job. After getting my promised Hidden Machine from Pamela (and delivering a homemade bento to Chuck when she asked me to make one last delivery; the food combined had enough protein to kill a Donphan), I went to the Pokémon Center to heal the girls' sustained wounds. But, as soon as they came back healthy, the Cianwood Nurse Joy called me over, showing only a morose frown as her expression.

"What is it, Nurse Joy?" I asked. "Is something wrong?"

"Your name is Ritsu, right?" Nurse Joy asked. "Ritsu Levare?"

I nodded. "Uh-huh. That's me."

"Well, I just got a call from my sister in Olivine about your Nidoran."

"What?! Is Spike okay?!"

"...That's why I called you over here. Let's just say... you need to hurry back to the Olivine City Pokémon Center. Before it's too late, that is."

Knowing that this couldn't possibly mean anything good, I ran to the ocean and began to surf back to Olivine while grabbing onto Kairi. As we were about to pass the mysterious Whirl Islands, however, an mysterious Sonic Boom suddenly struck me and Kairi from out of nowhere. Wounded, I grabbed Kairi under my arm and clung onto a rock near one of the islands. But, much to my surprise, I looked up to see Eusine and his Electrode with evil looks on their faces.

"I told you I'd get rid of you," Eusine stated, dark. "Now, you'll never steal Suicune from me ever again! Electrode, finish her off with Thunder!"

The last things I felt before slipping unconscious was the brutal burning of a lightning shock, and rapidly swirling as I was engulfed in water. In my final few seconds of remaining awake, I tried grabbing onto something, only to feel something constrict around my wrist when I at last succumbed to the numb darkness once more.

When I next woke up, I found myself on top of a Tentacruel's head. Around me were the rushing waves of the beautiful Johto sea, the nautical, blue beauty and peacefully salted aroma ruined only by my soaking clothes and hat. I was disgusted at the soggy feeling, yes, but such a feeling wasn't nearly as strong as my confusion and lack of understanding of the current situation. All I could recall was falling into the water and trying to save my own life.

"Oh, goody! You're awake!" Tentacruel beamed in a jolly voice when he noticed me. "You were in really bad shape when I found you under one of the whirlpools, Miss."

"D-Did... Did you save me?" I asked.

"You bet I did! My name is Clarence, what's yours?"

"Ritsu. It's such a pleasure to—" I paused, gasping as I remembered how I'd gotten out here to begin with. "Wait! Where is she?! She's gotta be here!"

"Where's who?" Clarence asked.

"Kairi! My Corsola is gone!" I squeaked panicking. I put my hands to the sides of my mouth to make my voice louder, looking all around the watery area. "Kairi! Kairi, say something! Where are you, Kairi?!"

"...Oh. I'm sorry to tell you this, Ritsu, but... you were the only one I found in the whirlpool. I'm afraid your friend is gone."

The words made my heart sink, my brain immediately thinking of the worst possible definition for the word "gone". However, it also denied any of it as the truth, yearning for either affirmation or denial from what Clarence really meant about Kairi's ultimate fate and why she'd gone missing from me in the first place. I turned to him, my eyes strained and paranoid while my heart started to punch itself against my rib cage.

"G-Gone?!" I sobbed. "Wh-What do you mean 'gone'? There's no way she c-could be--!"

"--Yes, I do. I mean she's been buried at sea," Clarence told me as lightly, yet honestly as he could. "When I saw you and Kairi get hit by lightning, you were so unconscious you didn't notice her body shatter into hundreds of pieces. I tried to save her, I really did! But in the end, she got washed away forever and I couldn't save all of your friend in time. I'm... I'm really sorry I couldn't help you out."

"N-No-- NO NO NO NO!" I bawled tearfully, the facial fluids unstoppable as they relentlessly ran away from my nose and eyes. "She can't be dead, she just can't be! Kairi! Where are you, Kairi?! Let me know you're okay!"

Still in denial about Kairi's demise, I tried to leap into the sea to find her body, but Clarence grabbed me with one of his tentacles. I kicked and punched to free myself and attempt to prove him wrong about Kairi being dead, only for the Tentacruel to grip tighter and keep me close to his large head.

"Let me go, Clarence!" I screamed. "I've got to find her! Kairi's out there somewhere! She just has to be!"

"Ritsu, I told you, she's gone! If you went to find her now, you wouldn't be able to find anything!" Clarence exclaimed.

"Yes, I will! She's-- she's gotta be okay somewhere!"

"No, Ritsu! Kairi is gone! I'm sorry, but I'm not gonna let you drown yourself looking for a dead Corsola!"

I kept fighting and struggling, demanding to be let go desperately so I could preserve my dying hope. Nonetheless, Clarence put me back on his head and restrained me. My struggles slowed down greatly, eventually stopping altogether as I hadn't a choice but to accept the brutal truth. More tears welled up in my eyes, sobs and mucus leaving me as the remains of my heart shattered into pieces. I buried my face into my hands and sobbed harder, the pain too strong to fight back any longer.

"This is awful..." I sniffed. "I said I wasn't gonna let anyone else die and I couldn't even do that right! Wh-What am I going to tell Erin?! She'll be even more heartbroken about this!"

Wiping my tears from my face, I asked Clarence through a choked voice to take me back to Olivine City. He agreed, making efforts to comfort me all the way through the ocean. While he sailed away from the islands, I tearfully whispered a final goodbye to the direction of wherever Kairi's remains were scattered. I gripped my shirt as more tears fell from my caramel eyes, in turn clutching my broken heart to fruitlessly prevent anymore damage to it.


Clarence, ♂️, Timid, Highly curious, Route 41

Kairi, Lvl. 20-32

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